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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Desposyni
    Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 14:03
Originally posted by Leroy


Do you have any historical evidence that the four Gospels included in the canon of the New Testament were edited with an agenda in mind or is your opinion, stated as fact, based on an evaluation?

The gnostic gospels are without historical value not because they were edited (I do not claim or know if they were) but because they lack any sort of connection to the apostolic period or the people associated with the apostles (such as Ignatius or Polycarp whom contradict them). They were actively opposed from the very beginning by Irenaeus, who knew Polycarp, for historical reasons: these [gnostic] doctrines, the presbyters who were before us, and who were companions of the apostles, did not deliver to you.

So the historical evidence is quite clear that the gnostic gospels have nothing to do with the relevant people or period.

They had been written in roughly the time the NT ones were written, so have absolutely the same claim to be treated in the same way as the NT one are.


No, they were written decades after and most of them at least a century.

How is all this relevant historically? With all due respect, but we are having a historical discussion?

That the NT gospels were edited is obvious - they were selected among all others circiulating around writings for a reason. What was this reason - because they fit or didn't contradict what was emerging as a Christian doctrine, as molded with whatever agendas in mind. Which is OK - history is not exact scoence, and each historical POV has one agenda or another - that's why a historian measure them and cross them with each other to weed out the agendas.

It's not necessary the gospels to have been connected with the apostles per to show what variety of people were thinking about Jesus and his story. In the case, the Gnostic gospels show what the gnostic were thinking about it.

And yes, we are having a historical discussion, not a theological one, and the first duty of a historian is to doubt his sources, /especially those that were frankly religious or political, in the case the Nt gospels are both/, and treat all of them in the same way, exstracting from them what can possibly be historically true and recognize what is fantastic and impossible. And in the case of your example, Mary being and staying a virgin is as impossible and fantastic as Jesus killing his playmates and blinding their parents.

Anyway, in the same way in which you use writings of the early church fathers to show that certain people at that time were thinking that Mary was a virgin, one can use the Gnostic ones to show that other people weren't thinking that at all. In the case Sidney proved quite convincingly that the idea of Mary being a perpetual virgin is a late idea, possibly from 4th century AD, and has nothing to do with the early Christian movement.

The Early Church Fathers are with nothing more reliable than the Gnostics were - both groups of thinkers show what people with different interests and POV were thinking about teh matter. The first one poured Greek philosophy in their POV, the second poured bunch of Hermetic, Mitraistic, Zoroastrian, etc elements. Both groups can only show what people though about Mary, not what Mary really was, and as such they have the same value. That one of the groups made an organized religion, and the other withered and vanish means nothing as to the claim of truth in their works.

I'll find info on exactly how old which gospel is, and how do they compare with each other.




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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 17:17
Originally posted by Don Quixote

It's not necessary the gospels to have been connected with the apostles per to show what variety of people were thinking about Jesus and his story. In the case, the Gnostic gospels show what the gnostic were thinking about it.


If no connection is required then you might as well consult the Book of Mormon on this matter.

In the case Sidney proved quite convincingly that the idea of Mary being a perpetual virgin is a late idea, possibly from 4th century AD, and has nothing to do with the early Christian movement.


On the contrary, if you had read Clement (and my post about it) you would know that the belief in the continued virginity preceded the gnostic gospels.

The Early Church Fathers are with nothing more reliable than the Gnostics were - both groups of thinkers show what people with different interests and POV were thinking about teh matter.


We can directly connect them to the apostles or their students. This is not possible with the gnostic gospels which were written decades or centuries later. Unless you present a challenge to the evidence I have provided, I will end my participation in this discussion here.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 19:17
Well, Leroy, the Book of Mormon is as human written as the NT gospels, and the connection between the NT gospels and the apostles is as imagined as is a possible one between the gnostic ones and the apostles, or the Book of Mormon and them. The NT gospels weren't written by apostles, we don't know who wrote them, nor were they written by one person to start with. Most of them were copied from Mark, and Mark was edited as it's end. So, there is no apostolic  connection between the gospels and apostles, and the Book of Mormon only shows how religions are made - by humans with agendas. The NT gospels are as 'sacred' as the Book of Mormon is, and it's only faith, not objective info, that makes people to think otherwise. I told you, I put all religions in one and the same bag - the Catholic or any other Christian doctrine is not anything more special, more valid, or more true than the Mormon one is, or the cult of John Frum, for that matter - it's all mythology. There are like 38,000 Christian denominations, and each one claims some unique license on truth - and I don't know how many other religions, cults, etc, in the history of humanity - and they have exactly the same right to claim what they see as truth as you and the Early Church Fathers have, So, let's keep theology away from historical discussion, shall we?

All the NT gospels were written decades after the events:
1. Matthew, ascribed to the apostle Matthew, was actually written at the end of the 1st century - and was drawn from 3 sources, Mark included - if it was written by an actual apostle, it would not need other 3 sources to draw from.

2. Mark - written in 70 AD, the earliest one, relies on several underlining sources, and wasn't written in the tradition of Peter's preaching; it was written in Syria or Palestine and later incorporated in the tradition. Also, the earliest  original we have was edited, with his last page most probably torn off, since the text ends in verse 16:8 with a conjunction, and no one ends a text like that; the verses 16:9-20 were added later, as to show how the gospels were edited to fit agendas - this is the only historical proof we have of that, but it's telling enough; who knows how many editions the other gospels had we don;t even suspect about.

3. Like - written 75-100 AD, drew on Matthew, Mark and 2 other sources, is written in Greek for a non-Greek audience, by a person who was educated in  Hellenic tradition.
4. John was written in 90-100 AD by a person who was acquented with the Greek philosophy and the was Philo of Alexandria connected  Plato's Logos with the Hebrew god, and references the O from it's Greek translation, the Septuaginta - he wasn't an apostle, because he was too well educated, probably Greek, and not the ordinary people Jesus picked up to be his apostles.

A detailed analysis of the NT gospels can be found in "The Historical Jesus" by Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, 1996; I access it on Questia but I cannot copy from it, most lamentably. Anyway, according to it Mark,  and the source "Q" that can be reconstructed from the gospels, together with other material which went in Matthew and Luke, each of those sources represents a independent tradition, whether oral or written /pg. 25/. The content of those sources is related, that's why they say roughly the same story. Also, Mark we know from 3rd century forward wasn't the only version of him available - and this is proven through the instability of the text, etc, - so there were several Marks to go around - this is circumspective proof that what we have was edited, more than once, so get to the result we have. Also, on pg. 26 it's comperehensively proven that the text wasn't written in Rome by Peter /as the Catholic tradition claims/, but in Syria, in 70 AD, during the Jewish-Roman War, by an unknown person, maybe theologian, who collected some versions and combined them in one. So, the facts coming out as a result of textological analysis prove that Mrk is not written by Peter, nor by an apostle, not is it a evewitness by any means. The story of the other gospels is similar, the whoever penned them using Mark as a base plus some other lore; so, there is no apostolic tradition or authority  in them.

So, none of them were written by an apostle, and none of them actually claims to be written by such, this is a myth that they were.
The Gnostic Gospels found in Nag Hammadi were dated between 3 and 4 century, but those are the dates of the buried manuscripts only; Thomas was compiled circa 140 AD, the oral material for it is is most probably older, from 50-100 AD "... But recently Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University has suggested that the collection of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, although compiled c. 140, may include some traditions even older than the gospels of the New Testament, "possibly as early as the second half of the first century" (50-100)--as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John...." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/pagels.html

The Protoevangelicum of James that we cited dates 145 AD, the same date as the Gnostic Thomas. Thank you for your post on Clement, /I haven't read him/, but no matter who said that Mary was a virgin, I cannot accept this a a possible proof for her being so, because reality shows differently; it can only testify what people thought about that; and Clement lived 150-215 AD, so, we was born 1 year after the Gnostic Thomas was compiled, and the Nag Hammadi library was dated. So, I don't see with what the Protovenajelicum of James is more valid than the gnostic Thomas - except that one one is considered "heretical" and the other not, with is a theological distinction, not a historical one' Clement, if everything, is later that whoever wrote Thomas.

So, no, the virgin birth doctrine doesn't predate the Gnostic gospels, on the opposite, it came about later that the time  they were written, let alone the time the oral material for them was collected. The Virgin birth doctrine was solidified by Christian phisolophers how lived in 4th century, like Athanasius, Epiphanius, etc, even Hyppolitus lived in the 3rd. There isn't any reason why I have to accept a philosophical doctrine that is based on nothing else but human musing, done by people with very earthly interests and agendas. I see the Gnostic gospels with the same value as the writings of the said and quoted by you Christian philosophers.



Edited by Don Quixote - 11-Apr-2012 at 22:09
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Apr-2012 at 22:42
I do not agree that the sources I presented, all dating before 230AD and based on earlier traditions, are somehow less historically worthy of attention than the ones you present – the NT, Nativity of St. James, St. Clement, etc.

I did precisely what you suggested and looked outside the NT, but now suddenly if it doesn’t appear in the NT teachings it’s not acceptable? You yourself presented an apocryphal text (the Nativity of James) as supporting evidence for your argument, so I think it’s rather bad sport of you to reject others out of hand. I precisely limited myself to material dated around the time of that work, so that there could be a like with like comparison, and a chance of genuine traditions still existing at third or fourth hand.

Early church fathers did oppose ‘gnostic’ doctrines, but their opposition mainly focused on the nature of Christ’s pre-existence and post-resurrection states, the creation of the world, and the means of salvation – not on whether Jesus had brothers or that Mary was a virgin forever. You quote the Holy Fathers, Ignatius and St. Clement, yet nothing you quoted shows a belief in perpetual virginity, only that Jesus was born of a virgin – which is a belief I do accept as being a very early one. If Tertullian (d.221) says Mary wasn’t a perpetual virgin, and those other writers don’t suggest it, then there is no argument for this doctrines early existence.

The Church historian Eusebius writes that groups like the Ebionites (who only later acquired that name), existed in the 1st century, and believed Jesus was born from Mary and Joseph and was just a good man who gained his righteousness through his own acts, not through an inherent divine nature. These were a separate group from the followers of the 1st century Carpocrates who also believed Jesus was the son of Joseph, as did another group, also in the 1st century, the followers of Cerinthus. Cerinthus was absolutely hated by St. John, who saw him as the enemy of truth, yet Cerinthus claimed to have writings from one of the apostles himself, so whose truth was St. John opposing – Cerinthus’, or a fellow apostle’s? The belief that Jesus was the son of Joseph did exist from an early time, and among people who certainly believed and supported a faith in Jesus, and who could have recieved information from his own family, just as the opposing side could have. My own opinion is that this belief existed alongside the belief that Jesus was born of a virgin, maybe even believed by the same people at the same time (as a mystery of God) but that the latter belief came to dominate.

The early Church Fathers also accepted works not in the current New Testament. There was no uniformity between the different early churches, separated as they were by large distances and different languages, over which works were regarded as accepted truth. Eusebius, in the 4th century, himself rejected the currently accepted Revelations of St John as a disputed work (even though he believed it to be written by the apostle), but accepted the Gospel of the Hebrews (not in our NT), while he classes some of the letters of Peter and John, and those of James and Jude as spurious (all now accepted). He also wrote that Irenaeus (who knew St. John) accepted works such as the Shepherd of Hermas and the writings of an unnamed (and now unknown) apostolic presbyter, works which do not appear in our canon. The NT selection was based not on its authenticity to the earliest tradition, but because it accorded with the beliefs of the Catholic church at the time that it was decided upon.

As to only accepting works as historically valid that are attributed to eye-witnesses of Jesus’ times, or with evidence of an oral tradition from them - how are we to know what literature existed in the 1st century AD concerning Christ? There was definitely more than the existing NT, for the gospel of Luke opens with the statement that “many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as they were delivered to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word”. There therefore must have been more narratives pre-dating Luke then just the Matthew & Mark that we have. How do we know some of these pre-Luke accounts were not used by those people later labelled as ‘heretics?’

In fact some of the gnostic scriptures do have attributable authors. Of the ones I quoted, the Gospel of St. Philip is accepted as a compilation of sayings and extracts from the earlier works of Valentinus (d.c.175 AD). Valentinus was a gnostic, opposed by Irenaeus (who only wrote about him after he had died), yet he claimed to have been a student of Theudas who had been a student of St. Paul, and was also a student of Basilides, who was taught Christianity by Glaucias who had been a companian and interpreter of St. Peter. This is a line of tradition that few of the early church fathers can mirror (Tertullian, Clement, Origen, Justin Martyr etc), and yet because these other writers were on the winning side (i.e. their writings accorded with the Catholic church that eventually gained power within Christianity, and so their opinions survived), they are viewed as more valid, and that based largely on their own say-so.

DQ has already talked about the Acts of Thomas and how they might be of an early tradition, but also the Second Apocalypse of James, while dated to the mid 2nd Century, is also believed to contain oral tradition separate not only from the work of Valentinus, but also from, yet contemporary with, the 1st century gospel writings.

I’m not suggesting that everybody who claimed to be a Christian in the early church all had equally valid beliefs based on tradition. I’m sure making things up, taking advantage of situations, and pandering to gullibility and prejudice existed then as much as now. But if people believed it, it must have had a meaning and made sense to them. All those ‘gnostics’ and ‘heretics’ and ‘orthodox’ believers were not just mad or wilful, especially as many died for their beliefs alongside, or at the hands of, other Christians during times of persecution.


Edited by Sidney - 11-Apr-2012 at 22:58
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2012 at 13:11
I don't have much free time currently. I'll try address both post posts this weekend. Smile
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Apr-2012 at 22:44
When you have time, LeroySmile
I came upon a "Lost Books of the Bible" edition with everything from The Protoevangelion to the Lost Gospel of Peter, the 2 Clements, Barnabas, the Hermas, the Letters of Herod and Pilate, etc - so I'm digging in it. For long reading I prefer a book rather than e-one, because my eyes start burning after 5-6 hours on the screen. So, by the time you have time to answer I should be able to know which apocripha you are talking about, so we avoid gross misunderstanding.
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  Quote Leroy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2012 at 19:29
Sorry for the late response, I have less free time now that I work for a living.

Yes, the Book of Mormon is as humanly written as the canonical Gospels. My point is that the Book of Mormon, like the gnostic gospels, has no connection to the period or the people it writes about. How can late second and third century gnostic gospels have the same level of historical value as first century Christian writings concerning first century events?

There are like 38,000 Christian denominations, and each one claims some unique license on truth - and I don't know how many other religions, cults, etc, in the history of humanity - and they have exactly the same right to claim what they see as truth as you and the Early Church Fathers have,


How many of those denominations were existent in apostolic times? What does it matter?

So, let's keep theology away from historical discussion, shall we?


I do not view history from a naturalistic perspective, but where did I make a theological argument? Ermm

All the NT gospels were written decades after the events:


I agree.

Anyway, according to it Mark,  and the source "Q" that can be reconstructed from the gospels, together with other material which went in Matthew and Luke, each of those sources represents a independent tradition, whether oral or written /pg. 25/.


The Q source hypothesis is based on inductive reasoning, so it is not a logical or epistemically justified conclusion

Also, Mark we know from 3rd century forward wasn't the only version of him available - and this is proven through the instability of the text, etc, - so there were several Marks to go around - this is circumspective proof that what we have was edited, more than once, so get to the result we have.


The textual variations are minor, one or two letters in a few words and a minor variation in a place name. There is one other early version, the difference being that it has a shorter ending of Mark (chapter 16). There are some differences to be found in fourth century manuscripts, but those are fourth century manuscripts.

Also, on pg. 26 it's comperehensively proven that the text wasn't written in Rome by Peter /as the So, the facts coming out as a result of textological analysis prove that Mrk is not written by Peter, nor by an apostle, not is it a evewitness by any means. The story of the other gospels is similar, the whoever penned them using Mark as a base plus some other lore; so, there is no apostolic tradition or authority  in them.


Inductive reasoning.

So, none of them were written by an apostle, and none of them actually claims to be written by such, this is a myth that they were.


I am not arguing for direct authorship (see my post on authorship).

The Gnostic Gospels found in Nag Hammadi were dated between 3 and 4 century, but those are the dates of the buried manuscripts only; Thomas was compiled circa 140 AD, the oral material for it is is most probably older, from 50-100 AD "... But recently Professor Helmut Koester of Harvard University has suggested that the collection of sayings in the Gospel of Thomas, although compiled c. 140, may include some traditions even older than the gospels of the New Testament, "possibly as early as the second half of the first century" (50-100)--as early as, or earlier, than Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John...." http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/story/pagels.html


Not most probably, unless you have a confirmation bias. Only one fragment of the Gospel of Thomas can be dated before 200. There are no references to the Gospel of Thomas before 222-235. No one dates the Gospel of Thomas to the first century. If you read Helmut Koester (thanks for the reference) and other so-called early camp scholars (see list on Wikipedia) you will see that they are actually dating the composition of a hypothetical Q source, and not the Gospel of Thomas which they hypothesize may have preserved some of Q's non-existent text. By comparison, the Gospel of Mathew is generally dated to between 62 and 69. The Gospel of Matthew is directly quoted in the Didache (50-100), by Ignatius (35-108), and Polycarp (69-155). Papias (before 69-?) identifies Matthew as its author.

Thank you for your post on Clement, /I haven't read him/, but no matter who said that Mary was a virgin, I cannot accept this a a possible proof for her being so, because reality shows differently;


How do you prove history? Confused

As for my argument, from historical evidence and the lack of it, it was to show that Mary did not have any other children than Jesus or that there is at least there is no reason to assume that she did. Maybe I'm wrong, you are invited to correct me by using earlier historical sources than mine.

So, I don't see with what the Protovenajelicum of James is more valid than the gnostic Thomas - except that one one is considered "heretical" and the other not, with is a theological distinction, not a historical one' Clement, if everything, is later that whoever wrote Thomas.


Clement most likely died a few decades before the Gospel of Thomas was written (not that it matters). The exact date for the Gospel of James is not known, the estimation is based on a parallel tradition found in St. Justin Martyr (100-165). The Gospel of James has some importantance because it does not contradict earlier (or later) writings and is connected by tradition, unlike the gnostic gospels.

So, no, the virgin birth doctrine doesn't predate the Gnostic gospels, on the opposite, it came about later that the time  they were written, let alone the time the oral material for them was collected.


The virgin birth is clear from the canonical Gospels and the early writers such as Ignatius (35-117) Smyrnaeans 1, 1 (truly born of a virgin), Ephesians 19, 1 (hidden were the virginity of Mary). Maybe you are confusing it with Mary's continued virginity, in which case you are still mistaken by at least a century (see previous posts, Irenaeus (130-202), Heresies, 5, (The human race . . . is rescued by a virgin; balanced . . . by virginal obedience), Clement (150-215), Stromata, 7, 16 (which gave birth to the truth and continue virgin), Gospel of James). Even outside of the context of the birth of Jesus, the early Fathers continue to call Mary the Virgin or the Virgin Mary in their writings. This does not make any sense if she was not supposed to have continued a virgin.

Nick, I will respond to your message when I have some free time again. I've read the Gospel of Philip, it actually says that Mary is the virgin whom no power defiled. By the way, the gospel (fourth century manuscript) is dated late third century by its translator, third century seems to be the general consensus. What gnostic gospels actually say or imply that Mary was not a virgin or did not continue to be one? I would like to read them and see if there are any first or early second century references to them.
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2012 at 21:30
Again, Leroy, none of the gospels are connected with any of the actors of the time of Jesus, they all tell legends and lore. There is no connection, no transfer of apostolic power to Rome, nothing - just claims for power based on legends. Like the fake testament of Constantine. All Christian churches have the same validity of claim to any possible truth, because objectively none of them was found by Jesus, who died before the churchy institutions were created.

I'm not going to devaluate the literary and textual analysis of the gospels only because you call them "inductive". The analysis of the texts show what they are, not claims by a religious institution whose agenda is to keep power over people's beliefs in it's hands. In fact, the textual analysis is as close as we can get a scientific analysis of a piece of lore. If a material is considered after textual analysis to have this and that date, this is as close to science as we can get. So, there is enough info from the textual anaysis of Thomas to date in in the same time or before the Synoptic gospels. Why wasn't it mentioned earlier - because it was suppressed later, never made it in the NT, and therefore even if it was mentioned, those mentionings were erased by the church, that had the power in it's hands and coudln't favor the individualistic approach of Thomas. In fact, if they were to accept Thomas, they had to disband themselves - something no power institution even had done or will do.

The Protoevangelicon of James is such a fairy tale, that it beats even the canonical gospels in the creation of impossible stories. You may take it as a historical document, if you so wish, but you cannot require me to do so. There is reality, things that could have happen, or as you called it "naturalistic view of history" /which I favor/, the rest that couldn't have happen is theology,  not history.

The virgin birth is impossible, hence not history, no matter who said it and when, it cannot happen. How do I prove history - check it with reality; one cannot get pregnant without sexual activity, hence it couldn't have happened in that time before the "baby in the vial". This is not history, and never was, only a theologically based idea that is impossible in reality.

We are going in circles, and I don't want to repeat myself time and again. You keep your opinion, I'll keep mine. And mine is:
1. Mary wasn't a virgin, because virgin birth is impossible.
2. Jesus was a man, with a family and all.
3. His subsequent mythologization is not history, as the life of Zeus is not.
4. He had relatives, maybe even kids - and this is more probable, even though we lack evidence for it, than fairy tales about virgin births.
5. The question about the Desposyni doesn't really matter - as both those who claim the "Bloodline of Jesus" and those who refute it do it for their own agendas.


Edited by Don Quixote - 24-Apr-2012 at 22:57
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Apr-2012 at 23:23
I'm on the last 1/4 pf the "Magdalene Legacy" by Laurence Gardner, and I have to admit that it's gets quite improbable, even though not as much as the NT gospels, etc. The gist of it as I see it, is that Jesus was from the regal line of David, and his parents were Essenes, that he didn't die on the cross, instead live a long good life, having daughter first and then a son, who became, as time went, the forebears of the Fisher kings, and eventually, King Arthur.  He interprets many things in the NT in a purely symbolical ways, for which I would like to see his sources.

The whole story reads like a good novel, but I have to admit that it has it's inner logic, and, all in all, tells bout things of life - people are born, get married, die, etc; he connects quite a few legends, /like Joseph of Arimathea ending up in Britain/, art symbolism, medieval lore and poems, and they somehow make sense. Does that makes his book history - I don't think so; but then, more does the NT have any right to pass itself as history per se, nor any theological work based on it.

In short, I tend to consider the "Jesus Bloodline" theory as  more probable than the Christian theory on the matter, at least it doesn't contradict the basic realities of life. OTOH, there is too much symbolic interpretations on events that don't seem to need such treatment - something that is spread too thin, as they say in Bulgaria "feels like someone sucked it from her fingers".
If anyone has read it and has an opinion on it, I'd be grateful if he/she shares it here.




Edited by Don Quixote - 24-Apr-2012 at 23:27
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2012 at 00:13
In connection why I say that the NT gospels are not historical sources per se, I want to link a part from the book "The Truth and fiction in the Da Vinci Code" by Bart Ehrman - unfortunately I cannot copy from it, bit here the book can be read for free, and I link specifically the page http://archive.org/stream/BartEhrman-TruthAndFictionInTheDaVinciCode/TruthAndFictionInTheDaVinciCode#page/n129/mode/2up/search/page+111 that state what I sat all the time - that the NT gospels are not written by Jesus's disciples, nor even connected to them, and than they are agenda-laced material, not a bio by any means. They have no more historical value than any Gnostic or other writing, no more authority than them - the last is my assertion.
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2012 at 10:31
Re; The New Testament vs Gardner

The early Christian mythologising of Jesus was part of an expectation within their contemporary literature and beliefs. It was often customary for a hero to have a divine father, or divine approval of their birth, and to have portents surrounding their career and death (Alexander the Great, Pythagoras, Romulus, Vespasian, Appollonaris, Augustus, etc). It is not surprising that stories like this were attached to Jesus (whether you believe he ever existed or not). You can trace some of these stories as they snowballed and expanded down through the centuries (including IMO the divine nature of Christ, the virgin birth, the harrowing of hell, the career of John the Evangelist, etc). Early Christians claimed Jesus as someone special, and presented what their peers expected from the biography of someone special.

Laurence Gardner however is claiming to be an academic historian, yet is not doing what his peers would expect of him. He is not consitantly critical about his sources, is not adverse to misquoting or making misleading re-translations, makes statements without adequate proof, presents his personal musings as generally accepted ideas, and gives as definate facts things that are only just slim possibilities or interpretations. At least that was the impression I had after reading his Magdalene book.


Edited by Sidney - 25-Apr-2012 at 10:33
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  Quote Don Quixote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25-Apr-2012 at 18:14
I agree with you, Sid, on all your points. My personal trying to get to a relatively realistic bio of Jesus and people he was connected with is to try to strip them from everything that is realistically impossible, or that shows mythologization patterns. Anyway, from a down-to-earth humanly POV, he was a great moral teacher, and this is what matters, to me at least, in the grand scheme of things.

On Gardner, plus everything you mentioned, it seems to me, he doesn't really support his statements with adequate sources, because every time I try to check any of his statements I cannot get to the primary source. I'm going to finish the book just for the finishing it  - but I don't take it seriously, nor am I going to search for his others books.
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  Quote Sidney Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24-Feb-2013 at 12:48
Another Desposyni claimant (although it is a very late attribution with no evidence that the individual named, or any of his close contemporaries, made the connection) is St. Servatius. According to the "Golden Legend" by Jacobus de Voragine, written in 1275, Mary, the mother of Jesus, was the daughter of Anne, and Anne had a sister called Hismeria.

"Hismeria had two daughters, named Elizabeth, and Elind. Elizabeth was mother to John Baptist, and Eliud [sic] engendered Eminen. And of Eminen came St. Servatius, whose body lieth in Maestricht, upon the river of the Meuse, in the bishopric of Liège."

Another tradition says that Hismeria, the aunt of Mary, was the mother of a son called Eliud, who in his turn had a son Emyu. Emyu married Memelia and was the father of Servatius. Other traditions then dispense with Emyu, and say Eliud himself married Memelia and fathered Servatius.

According to historians the Servatius who is buried in Maastricht was bishop of Tongeren, and died c.384 AD. But according to Church tradition St. Servatius succeeded St. Maternus as bishop of Tongeren. This Maternus was also bishop of Triers and Cologne, had been raised from the dead by St. Peter, and died in 128 AD, putting Servatius in the early-mid 2nd Century AD.

As stated, Servatius as a Desponsyi is a late tradition, but if he was around in 128 AD, that would fit chronologically as the son of a cousin of John the Baptist.

As a late attribution, its interesting his relationship to Jesus is established through Mary, whereas most early claims to being Desposyni were through Joseph the carpenter. By the 13th Century Mary's perpetual virginity was well established, so all relatives of Jesus had to be via her (even to the extent of having the 'brothers' of Jesus turned into cousins descended from Mary's sister, when some earlier beliefs had made them Joseph's sons by a previous marriage).

Edited by Sidney - 24-Feb-2013 at 13:06
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