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.
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.
Frank Walton AKA Atheismsucks has been roaming the internet in an attempt to discredit me and slander my name. Normally he is small peanuts, but this has gone on long enough. He states in his blog that I have plagiarized Dennis McKinsey and in doing so has committed a grave error. On top of this, he has spread this rumor around on Myspace and blogs of friends of the RRS for some time now. But this is about to end one way or another.
The fact is, Dennis McKinsey is a good friend of mine, who has supported me and I him over the past several years in our endeavors. When Dennis was looking to get on Internet Radio, I was more then willing to help him get on Freethoughtmedia.com. He even guest stared on the Rational Response Squad where he vocalized his friendship with me, and our history. This show is available for free download on my profile in the playlist box. It is show number 2. In the event that it has been bumped for newer content, here is a link to listen: http://www.rationalresponders.com/media/RRS-Show2-48k.mp3