Recently, I have been having an exchange in my other Wordpress blog concerning my post on Josephus (which you can find here and here). So far the exchange has been pretty friendly, despite the disagreements. I thought it would benefit everyone to read the exchange. I'll also add some additional comments on at the end.
Josephus: What's the Deal?
By Rook Hawkins
Far too often apologists and evangelicals bring up Josephus as a source for a historical Jesus. This is a continuing error among scholars, and it is fueled by secular scholars who are either persuaded by pseudo-scientific evaluations of the texts, or for reasons dealing only in their presuppositions, such as those discussed above. The Testimonium Flavianum is generally brought up by both apologists and historical Jesus questers more than any other document. Although other supposed mentions of Jesus exist, the subject, so as to not seem as if an Argument from Silence is the only means at which one can attain the position held in this book, will be limited to the Testimonium due to its importance and scope of usage. For this reason, included here in this section is a specific refutation towards the use of this passage, as will be provided ample evidence for its entire dismissal as an interpolation.
This question is in two parts: (1) What languages are the oldest copies of the books of the Bible found in, and (2) what language is it believed to be originally written in? I would also like to know why many different books of the bible were written in different languages originally.
If the Gospels are literary fictions, can you give us any other examples of a fictitious narrative written by Hellenized Jews to reflect reinterpretation of scripture with Greek influence?
ANSWER FROM ROOK HAWKINS: Yes. There are quite a few examples I could give, but because I’m short on time because my book demands so much from me, I’ll use the most simple example with the most groupings I can list without having to go into a whole lot of details. The book of Tobit. Tobit is, for lack of a better way to put it, edifying fictions. The story uses very specific literary motifs and tropes, as well as Greek folklore (the dangerous bride, the greatful dead, etc&hellip. Nothing in this story is meant to be taken as historical narrative.
I’ll lay out some basic bullet points for you concerning Tobit and Homer. There are four main characters in both the Odyssey and Tobit (Mainly books 1-4 of the Odyssey).
(1) Odysseus (father)
(2) Telemachus (son)
(3) Mentor (The Goddess “flashy-eyed” Athena disguised in human form)
(4) Penelope (mother, weaver)
(1) Tobit (father)
(2) Tobias (son)
WHAT IS A GOSPEL?
By Rook Hawkins
What is a Gospel? For the last few hundred years, New Testament scholars, particularly in Germany, have been asking themselves this very question. Are they the biographies of a miraculous savior written by those who knew him and were closest to him? If that is the case, were they redacted by later Christians to include specific dogmatic and doctrinal ideals? Or, were the Gospels written up to centuries after a historical, human Jesus, by which Christians embellished his story into fictional history? And If that is what they are, do the discrepancies between the four Gospels represent the authors own theological perspectives? If so, how would one accurately determine which perspective is that of the authors and which is the perspective of the so-called real Jesus?
Now we have 3 non-working cars at the RRS house. But, we're making sure our websites work.
Jewish Assimilation into Greek Culture
By Rook Hawkins
Recently, I published several blogs on the mythicist position. One was in response to the recent occult-like followers of Acharya S on the radical claim of hers that both Krishna and Buddha had established some sort of influence on the development of the Jesus mythos. Why this is near impossible has already been discussed in that blog, and thee are other threads dealing with said topic in my Jesus Mythicist Campaign forum, and won’t be touched on much more in this entry. However, with the recent blog to Rick Hillegas who published in American Atheist magazine recently, I felt it necessary to explain what counts as credible acculturation and socio-cultural assimilation.
Over the past few weeks I have been getting an increase if fanboys (literally) of Acharya S, who pour in from who knows where (perhaps the Raves and Shindigs are letting out earlier then usual?). Perhaps they mean well, but this is really what the Jesus Mythicist Campaign was meant to expose - the poor and sloppy scholarship of some of the mythicist defenders out there. Among those who would discredit the movement, I feel Acharaya S is a valid candidate who has been among other things sloppy.
Now, let me clarify by saying I think Acharya is a great woman, who seems to be genuine in her desires to expose the flaws of Jesus historicists. And she is definitely a person with a quality personality. But, scholarship is not a popularity contest, despite what Bart Ehrman thinks. Scholarship is based on foundations of scientific observation and inductive reasoning that seems to be missing from the works of Acharya S (although I have yet to read her new book, with a preface by Robert M. Price, whom I think very highly of), and worse yet, her fans seem to be trolling the interwebs with intent and purpose.
I CAME TO ATHEISM BY ACCIDENT, AND I DECIDED TO STAY
By Rook Hawkins
Looking back from where I am at now, my life has always been one of luck. I am one of only three brothers to survive past one year of age, I have the most caring and understanding—if not down right supportive—family a guy could ever hope for, and I’ve really never been denied anything I’ve sought after save perhaps a full career serving my country which is something I think I’ll never get over. My parents did divorce when I was four years old, and even among the normal bickering that parents do when they think they know what is best for their child, I never really felt like I was in a bad place, even if my childhood was something other then what would be considered ‘normal.’
Mark smiled broadly as he walked towards his next class. He had been waiting for this all day long, since he first had witnessed the great speech given by a new political party the night before. He had anxiously waited in study hall that morning, and later he picked at his food and tapped a fork on the lunch table, hoping these periods would pass swiftly and bring about his Social Studies course. But the time had passed by slowly.
Even still, he had finally made it. And although he was slightly hunched over due to extensive homework assignments he had picked up during the various courses of the day he didn’t let it bother him. All week perhaps he would have scrapped his feet and moved a little slower, but today he tried to move at a heightened pace.