On Virgin Births before Christianity. To Rook.

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On Virgin Births before Christianity. To Rook.

My last topic became garbled with off topic stuff. I want to narrow this way down. Don't go tell me to just read what you read. That's not how things work. You provide a CITATION from a book for a specific piece of evidence you would like to present. Now, Rook, please provide the evidence that a mythic character before Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin. And the evidence should predate Christianity. Please do not respond with a tirade about how STUPID and IGNORANT I am. Just cite the evidence.


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Loathe as I am to do

Loathe as I am to do someone's homework for them...

How about many mythological characters?

"Virgin birth stories were farely common in pagan myths. The following mythological characters were all believed to be have been born to divinely impregnated virgins: Romulus and Remus, Perseus, Zoroaster, Mithras, Osiris-Aion, Agdistis, Attis, Tammuz, Adonis, Korybas, Dionysus."

- Hayyim ben Yehoshua, "Refuting Missionaries, Part 1: The Myth of the Historical Jesus"

I'd hazard a guess to say that more than a few of those listed are pre-Christian. Or are you wanting someone to pull from a pre-christian work?


Feel free to disregard this if your only purpose is to bait Rook. 

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Cite a primary source for

Cite a primary source for that, NOT a secondary source. What ancient text, artifact, or inscription demonstrates that those characters were thought to have been born of a virgin?


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Kabane52 wrote:Cite a

Kabane52 wrote:
Cite a primary source for that, NOT a secondary source. What ancient text, artifact, or inscription demonstrates that those characters were thought to have been born of a virgin?
Where is the primary source for jesus' "virgin birth"?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Do you even know what a

Do you even know what a primary source is? The primary sources that Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

What are the primary sources that the people you listed were THOUGHT to have been born of a virgin? By primary source, I mean a source that the members of that religion wrote, scriptures, inscriptions, artifacts. 

 And by the way, Mithra was born of a rock, as David Ulansey says. There are several artifacts showing Mithra's rock birth. Dionysus was born of Zeus and Semele.

 

Those are the gods I can list offhand of definitely NOT being born of a virgin. 


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Kabane52 wrote: The

Kabane52 wrote:
The primary sources that Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Prove it.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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Kabane52 wrote:Do you

Kabane52 wrote:

Do you even know what a primary source is? The primary sources that Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

What are the primary sources that the people you listed were THOUGHT to have been born of a virgin? By primary source, I mean a source that the members of that religion wrote, scriptures, inscriptions, artifacts. 

 And by the way, Mithra was born of a rock, as David Ulansey says. There are several artifacts showing Mithra's rock birth. Dionysus was born of Zeus and Semele.

Those are the gods I can list offhand of definitely NOT being born of a virgin. 

 

Your primary sources were written and compiled by people who knew of the myths and 

(consciously or not) used them to build their Jesus. They also worked backwards to show that he fulfilled the prophecies of the OT.

I don't count the Gospels as a source as the writers were not followers of the religion but were its creators (along with Paul of Tarsus). 

 I didn't say that Mithra was without controversy - The "born of a rock" and "born of a virgin" have their supporters/detractors. Doesn't make him or Jesus any less a fantasy.

 If you list Dionysus as not being born of a virgin by being born of Zeus and Semele, you can also make the case for Jesus (if he existed) not being born of a virgin either (being born of a union between Yahweh and Mary). The only difference was Yahweh was alledgedly invisible when he raped the child.

I also notice that you glossed over all the gods of Egypt that meet your definition.

Feel free to check this out (or gloss over it as you will) http://www.pocm.info/index.html. 

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Apparently you're a little

Apparently you're a little confused about primary sources yourself.  In the case of jesus' "virgin" birth, the primary source likely does not exist as it would be an original writing, not a copy of it, nor would it be a bible currently in existence as they are mostly fiction as a result of ennumerable changes and mistakes by scribes over the centuries since christ supposedly existed.  By the way, as has been pointed out several times on other posts here, Mary was not a virgin.  The original word used in describing Mary did not translate to "virgin", it translated as "young woman".

I belive, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, but christians seeking more influence in the world postulated that idea many, many years after christ's supposed exocution.

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Kabane52 wrote: Do you

Kabane52 wrote:

Do you even know what a primary source is? The primary sources that Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

What are the primary sources that the people you listed were THOUGHT to have been born of a virgin? By primary source, I mean a source that the members of that religion wrote, scriptures, inscriptions, artifacts.

And by the way, Mithra was born of a rock, as David Ulansey says. There are several artifacts showing Mithra's rock birth. Dionysus was born of Zeus and Semele.

 

Those are the gods I can list offhand of definitely NOT being born of a virgin.

Since you dont want Rook to be blasphemously bluntly  honest with you. I will.

You confuse "detail" as being original when the motifs(over all theme of "purity&quotEye-wink predate Christianity.

"Born of a rock" is simply an early story which avoids, JUST LIKE CHRISTIANITY, the dirty vagina.

You ARE an idiot if you actually think that a disimbodied being with no penis got a girl pregnant. You might as well believe that that same being used his invisiable ghost sperm to get a rock pregnant.

Religion is no different in how humans market it than Coke Vs Pepsi. Coke comes out with a Cherry soda, Pepsi looks at it and says" I like that idea, we'll come up with our own version, give it a new name with a different color can and different name".

So, unless your magicall sky daddy wants to produce a sample of sperm(dont worry I wont hold my breath|) I will religate your NON-VAGINAL fiction to the same fiction of Mythra avoiding the vagina too.

BOTH myths avoid the female vagina, which lends the reader to the idea of purity. Saying that the details are different IS BULL!

SO THE F WHAT? Both stories avoid the yucky vagina. 

It never occures to you that humans back then as they do today, compete in every aspect of their lives, from sybling rivalry to  political rivalry to religious rivialry.

If you readly accept that Christianity is a split of the Jews, then you should be able to conect the dots(unless you are a tottal retard|) and accept that the Hebrews got their ideas and motifs from prior cultures as well. That makes much more sense than believing in hokus pokus abracadabra.

Long before the Jesus myth claimed to cure blindness, Horus(THE Rx symbol at your pharmacy BTW) was cannonized by the ancient Egyptians as curing blindness.

Long before the "flood" of "Noah" the Epic of Gilgimesh spoke of a flood and boat and gathering of suppies to survive the flood.

But if you want me to believe that a disimbodied being knocked up a girl without intercourse you have to be out of your mind. I wouldnt believe someone explaining lighting with Thor, and I dont buy your tripe either.

It is just your Dungions and Dragons fantacy. Your problem here is that you've run into smart people who dont buy something just because someone is selling it.

ABRACADABRA, HOKUS POKUS, GOD DID IT....POOF! VIO LA!

That is all you have, and just as hokie and fictional as any myth of any other religion in history, now or then.

"My savior was born a virgin. Daddy knocked her up through tellikenisis"......No, She got knocked up through a Ouiji Board......No ......God used his rabbits feet......yea yea....thats the ticket."

 

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A copy of a primary source,

A copy of a primary source, whatever. We don't have the original manuscripts of any ancient text. And on the virginity of Mary, you are wrong. The Greek for virgin is "parthenos" and is what is used in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.

 You are probably referring to Isaiah 7:14, which is taken as a messianic prophecy by Matthew which states,

"The virgin will be with child"

 The Hebrew used here is "almah". This word can mean young woman, but it is never used with someone who is not a virgin. The word that many say should have been used is "betulah", but this most often is translated as "young maiden". 

Almah implies virginity far more than betulah. 


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"You confuse "detail" as

"You confuse "detail" as being original when the motifs(over all theme of "purity"Eye-wink predate Christianity.

"Born of a rock" is simply an early story which avoids, JUST LIKE CHRISTIANITY, the dirty vagina."

I laughed out loud at that one. There is no "purity" involved in Mithra's birth, because Mithra was not born of a human, he was the son of a rock, not the son of a woman or God. Rock=Virgin? Sure, no one has had sex with the rock (at least I hope not) but rocks are not classified as virgins or nonvirgins. You're straining. Furthermore, Roman Mithraism (the Mithraism we know about) begins to grow popular after the composition of the gospels (except perhaps John, which doesn't mention the virgin birth)

 

Could you provide evidence that predates Christianity that Horus was thought to cure blindness? The Epic of Gilgamesh subject is off topic here, and although I have an answer, I don't want to go off on a rabbit trail.

 
When a Mythicist says Mithra was born of a virgin, do you think of a rock? No, you think of a virgin girl. Now, be honest when you claim virgin births and at least clarify that you mean a rock is a virgin. 

 Now I'm going to go marry a rock, because you know, a rock and a woman are basically the same thing, right?

 


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This is a rather silly

This is a rather silly dispute, Kabane.  There are tons of evidence for other gods predating Christianity and Jesus who had virgin births.

You first have to keep in mind we are NOT talking about a virgin in the sense of never being impregnated.  More, we are talking about a woman who claims to have become pregnant with God-sperm (to put it bluntly), as god is the father.  This is a commonly held theme.  The Argonautika (third century BCE) talks about Orpheus being born of a union held between his mother Kalliope and the river god Oiagros.  Some manuscripts claim it might have even been Apollo (who ravaged more than his share of women, apparently).

 But this is really quite irrelevant as I don't necessarily think it has as much to do with the authors of the Gos. Matt and Luke taking from Orphic traditions (or any other traditions) as much as they were reinterpretating the nature of Isaiah, the use of the Greek scribes translation of Hezekiah's birth from a bethulah (young maiden) to a parthenos (virgin), while utilizing the narratives of this legend to build their own.  There are other things to take into account as well.  Why doesn't mark, the first Gospel author by whiuch Matthew and Luke borrowed from, make mention of this birth narrative in any way?  Why does he not mention it at all, only to have Jesus initially walk on the scene?  It seems that Matthew, in an attempt to make Jesus conform more to the developing canon of the Old Testament, does he reinterpret Isaiah to develop his own narrative.  Mark doesn't, as Mark follows Pauline theology more than Matthew does (who seems to dislike Pauline thought), and feels that birth is corrupt and where sin follows.  So, instead of Jesus having a birth in Mark, Mark determines that Jesus will 'walk into frame' at a desired moment.

Now, to the question of whether or not the greek translators and scribes of the Septuagint changed this passage in Isaiah to virgin deliberately is not really a pertinant question.  It was probably done in the hopes of making their traditions more readable to the Hellas and Hellenized Jews--a tactic that Jews engaged in frequently during the Hellenistic Age, especially in the Diaspora.  Did Matthew know of the altercation?  Perhaps, but again it isn't really relevant - all that matters is what the intention of Matthew was when he created the narrative to begin with.  

Your question does little to understand the narrative; to answer questions, they are unproductive.  Rather, Kabane, you only seek to cause confrontation and have proven your desire to remain bias and unlearned in an attempt to remain delusional.  Perhaps you should ask yourself why you ascribe to the testimony of four pseudonymous authors who use each other to update and modernize a growing kerygmatic process, or legend?  Why is it only half of the narratives produce a birth narrative, when all four are - according to your apologists - attempting to write biographical accounts?  A little odd to miss such an extravagant and miraculous event such as a virgin birth, wouldn't you say?  Yet somehow, all can remember trivial events like sayings and parables..but 'forget' to include the essential conception between God and Mary?  You certainly wouldn't claim that the birth was not felt to be an important inclusion. (If you do, you do so at your own logical demise-as you certainly felt strong enough in it that you sought to make it unique to Christianity and defend it, and you never even met these characters of the narratives in question)

Perhaps your energy should be spent understanding your religions narratives instead of taking them for granted? 

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The great Indian epic

The great Indian epic "Mahabharat" chapter 6 of which is popularly known as Bhagwad Gita was written around 3000BC.

 

The five main characters of this called Pandavas(5 brothers) were born of Virgin mothers and were son of different Gods.

1.Eldest Yudhishtar born to Virgin Kunti was son of Dharma(Judge of dead people)

2.Bhima born of Virgin Kunti was son of God of wind(Vayu), He was so powerful that he is said to have strentgh of 100 elephants, he once tossed an elephant by its tail and that elephant is still orbiting somewhere in space and has not returned.

3. Arjun(best friend of Lord Krishna) born of Virgin Kunti was son of Indra(God of Heavens)

4.Nakula and

5. Sahdev were twins born of Virgin Madri were sons of Aswini Kumar son of SUN

 Virgin here means giving birth without having sexual intercourse with different Gods.


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Rook,  Virgin means one

Rook,

 Virgin means one who has not had sexual intercourse before. Sorry. That's just the definition and you can't redefine it. 

 

Sumra,

I was going to ask you to quote the text, but that's really irrelevant. Indian mythology had not spread far enough to influence Judaism. Even Rook Hawkins admits this. 


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Kabane52 wrote: Rook,

Kabane52 wrote:

Rook,

Virgin means one who has not had sexual intercourse before. Sorry. That's just the definition and you can't redefine it.

 

Sumra,

I was going to ask you to quote the text, but that's really irrelevant. Indian mythology had not spread far enough to influence Judaism. Even Rook Hawkins admits this.

Ok moron, since you know everything, other than you patent response of "God did it|" which is a claim, not evidence. Show us HOW, or pray to your invisible friend to show us HOW he knocked up a girl?

What's that you say? You dont know how|? DUH! Maybe because you are too dense to consider that your savior story was made up.

1. Magic exists

2. People are capable of making up fiction and believing it to be fact, even when it isnt.

Which is more likely to you?

Stop your stupid quibbling over detail. Unless you can show us HOW a dissibodied being got a girl pregnant, you have nothing but a mere claim. Calling the "details" unique is a bullshit distraction from the fact that all you have is, "God did it". Big deal, all religious labels claim their god did it as apposed to yours.

Hocus pokus is hocus pokus and if it sounds like fiction, we are going to call it exactly what it is. For the same reason I reject Thor as being the source of lightning, I also reject the bullshit claim that God magically knocked up Mary.

 But in the end you still cannot, nor will you ever be able to demonstrate HOW such an event could happen. And while you rightfully reject the magicall claims of Muslims claiming that Allah picks the sex of the baby, you hypocritically fail to apply the same use of logic to reject that, to your own claims.

You are on nothing but autopilot who is bent on selling fiction as fact at all costs because your ego wont allow you to consider that the story you baught is fiction people merely believe to be fact. 

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kabane52, christianity is

kabane52, christianity is grandchild of hinduism.

 

for your information as you need quotes : No Hindu religious texts including Vedas contains the word Hindu. Some people say that Hindu word came from River Indus(Indus valley civilization)

there are references of sacrifices and phallic(penis) worship in old testament which are very much part of hinduism  and refered to in Vedas.

 Quotes directly from Vedas and Puranas can be provided on demand


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Kabane52 wrote: Rook,

Kabane52 wrote:

Rook,

Virgin means one who has not had sexual intercourse before. Sorry. That's just the definition and you can't redefine it.

I didn't redefine it, I simply clarified.  I never changed the definition of virginh, simply the context in which we are discussing how this virgin got impregnated.  Perhaps you should read instead of assume?  And you failed to address any of my points, which you owe me an intellectually honest agreement that such examples of virgins being impregnated by Gods existed prior to Christianity.

Quote:
Sumra,

I was going to ask you to quote the text, but that's really irrelevant. Indian mythology had not spread far enough to influence Judaism. Even Rook Hawkins admits this.

Do not misrepresent my argument againsy Acharya.  I said that it has not been adequately proven that such a link exists, not that it was impossible for it to have been.  No evidence has really been given outside of cosmetic similarities.  But it is really irrelevant.

YOU did not ask for examples of virgin births that INFLUENCED Christianity.  Your initial claim was that no gods or people (period!) had virgin births prior to Christianity.  This is just false.  You need to either admit your initial charge was false and update your position, which is still flawed (see the one example I gave which predates Christianity by 250 years), or just give up and admit this is probably not the best position to hold.

 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: I

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I didn't redefine it, I simply clarified.  I never changed the definition of virginh, simply the context in which we are discussing how this virgin got impregnated.  Perhaps you should read instead of assume?  And you failed to address any of my points, which you owe me an intellectually honest agreement that such examples of virgins being impregnated by Gods existed prior to Christianity.

 

 

YOU did not ask for examples of virgin births that INFLUENCED Christianity.  Your initial claim was that no gods or people (period!) had virgin births prior to Christianity.  This is just false.  You need to either admit your initial charge was false and update your position, which is still flawed (see the one example I gave which predates Christianity by 250 years), or just give up and admit this is probably not the best position to hold.

 

I must say I'm a bit puzzled by the exact definition of "virgin birth" you're using here Rook.  The examples of supposed parallels with the Christian story of how Jesus was allegedly conceived all involve a god having sex with a mortal or otherwise getting inseminated (ie with sperm, as with Anahita swimming in a lake containing divine semen).  The Christian story, on the other hand, has no sex, certainly no semen and, actually, no insemintation.

This is the main reason these supposed "parallels" don't get a lot of play amongst scholars outside of the Acharya S Fanclub and the Freke and Gandys of the world.  If Mary had had sex with a divine being or had been impregnated with semen in some other way, they'd definitely be parallels.  But someone who has had sex (even if it's only with a shower of gold) isn't a virgin and the subsequent birth isn't a "virgin birth".  Technically someone who gets pregnant by swiming in divine semen infested waters would be a virgin, but she's still been inseminated. 

No sex and no insemination is found in the Christian story and it's analogues seem to be more Jewish than pagan - eg the miraculous conceptions of Isaac or the Baptist.

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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To clarify, you might not

To clarify, you might not be comprehending my position. I never said that the story was a parallel with pagan stories, but your conclusion that the story is more Jewish is not supported by scholarship. The gospel narratives are most certainly Hellenized, they are VERY Greek, down to the point where Mark (which Matthew and Luke copied and reinterpreted) utilized several traditions, including Orphic traditions, and also utilized the Homeric Epics in formulating specific scenes through a common process of the time called mimesis.

That does not mean that the story is meant to be nonJewish, it certainly has a lot of judaic influence, as it is midrash - but Hellenized Jews were known to reinterpret scripture to create fiction. See Josephus' use of scripture to make Moses story more Greek, or Josephs - or how he completely created a fictionalized tale of Alexander the Great and his march on Jerusalem. Want to get more biblical? The book of Job is a Greek dialog, and the book of Tobit is also a Odyssey copy made Jewish - a Greco-Judaic fiction novel. The line between Greek and Jew in Hellenized near east is very thin, and generally transparent. This is a common anthropological and sociological ignorance of many New Testament scholars I'm afraid.

In the end, what Matthew was doing was reinterpreting Isaiah - in a strictly Hellenized way. The Greek looks something like this:

Matthew 1:18, "του δε ιησου χριστου η γεννησις ουτως ην μνηστευθεισης γαρ της μητρος αυτου μαριας τω ιωσηφ πριν η συνελθειν αυτους ευρεθη εν γαστρι εχουσα εκ πνευματος αγιου."

Literally translated "But of Jesus Christ, the origin was thusly; His mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, before they could come together (συνελθειν αυτους) she was found (with child - implicit) in the womb with the holy spirit."

And also Matthew 1:20, "ταυτα δε αυτου ενθυμηθεντος ιδου αγγελος κυριου κατ οναρ εφανη αυτω λεγων ιωσηφ υιος δαβιδ μη φοβηθης παραλαβειν μαριαμ την γυναικα σου το γαρ εν αυτη γεννηθεν εκ πνευματος εστιν αγιου"

Again translated, "But when he had reflected on this, a messenger of the Lord (Kuriou) through a dream (onar) shown to him (ephane auto) and said, 'Joseph, son of David (This is taken right from Pauline Theology!) do not be afraid to take Mary as yours, for in her was conceived (gennhthen) by the holy spirit."

To say there is no sex is silly. Especially since even the early church thought there was - so much so that when Luke rewrote the birth narrative in Matthew, he added in the sex to make it more implicit.

Consider Luke's addition in Luke 1:31; 34-35: "και ιδου συλληψη εν γαστρι και τεξη υιον και καλεσεις το ονομα αυτου ιησουν....ειπεν δε μαριαμ προς τον αγγελον πως εσται τουτο επει ανδρα ου γινωσκω και αποκριθεις ο αγγελος ειπεν αυτη πνευμα αγιον επελευσεται επι σε και δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι διο και το γεννωμενον εκ σου αγιον κληθησεται υιος θεου"

Translated, "And look! You will concieve in the womb and give birth to a son and call him Jesus...Mary said to the messenger, 'How will this be since I know not a man?' and answering her the messenger said, 'The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι), therefore the one being concieved (γεννωμενον) will be holy and called son of God. (υιος θεου)"

The sex is very implicit. It is no different then the narrative in Argonautika, "Thence I made all speed to snowy Thrace, to the land of the Leibethrians, my own fatherland, and I entered the far-famed cave, where my mother concieved me on the bed of the Great-Hearted Oiagros." - no sex there either - it is also implicit in the Orphic account. And much was the case in many Greek narratives where virgin women are taken by Gods.

But more can be said here, and will be iun my upcoming book, as to how Greek throught shaped Jewish thought. The concepts of dreams near birth, after birth and before birth are Greek concepts, which Hellenized Jews were drawn to. So much so that Luke includes an initial dream sequence dealing with John's birth prior to Mary's conception. Zechariah is shown a vision as well, concerning his wife. Note the language difference:

Luke 1:13, "ειπεν δε προς αυτον ο αγγελος μη φοβου ζαχαρια διοτι εισηκουσθη η δεησις σου και η γυνη σου ελισαβετ γεννησει υιον σοι και καλεσεις το ονομα αυτου ιωαννην"

"The messenger said to him, fear no Zechariah, for the request of yours and your woman was heard. Elizabeth will bear a son to you (γεννησει υιον σοι) and you will name him John."

In this instance, the language is not implicit that the birth is through Zechariah, especially being that his wife is sterile (steira - Luke 1:7). I recall when I was younger pondering the possibility that the intent here was to show that both Jesus and John were brothers through the Holy Spirit and their mothers. Alas though, that is simply speculative, but an interesting hypothesis that I feel deserves some more attention by papyrologists. In either case the context is important, and the context should be on trial. And as I stated earlier, the intent of Matthew is very clear. He is reinterpreting Isaiah (which he even admits too! - Matthew 1:22-23) and spinning it to reflect negatively on Pauline thought and his own creativity (of which he is a Hellenized Jew!). Thomas L. Thompson writes extensively on the literary tropes used by Matthew, and well worth the time to read.

Sorry for getting long-winded there. I just hate when my position is misunderstood and I have to explain myself further. My time is very limited.

EDIT: Also, the Greek word for virgin, or parthenos, is never used in Matthew.  (see above) - Mary was a virgin, until she was impregnated by the Holy Spirit - and gave birth to Jesus without yet knowing a man (Joseph did not sleep with Mary - per Matthew - until after her birth).  The virgin part of the story comes from Mary not engaging in sex with a man (human).  The fact that the spirit did concieve with Mary a child (per the Greek) indicates a sexual encounter that would have been understood in the context of its Hellenized Jewish audience, and would have been acceptable.   

 

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aiia wrote: Kabane52

aiia wrote:
Kabane52 wrote:
The primary sources that Jesus was thought to have been born of a virgin is the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Prove it.

 

...Were Matthew and Luke written by Christians?

Yes

 Did they mention a virgin birth?

Yes

 

Then they are primary sources. You really don't know what a primary source is, do you? 


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Brian37 wrote: Kabane52

Brian37 wrote:
Kabane52 wrote:

Rook,

Virgin means one who has not had sexual intercourse before. Sorry. That's just the definition and you can't redefine it.

 

Sumra,

I was going to ask you to quote the text, but that's really irrelevant. Indian mythology had not spread far enough to influence Judaism. Even Rook Hawkins admits this.

Ok moron, since you know everything, other than you patent response of "God did it|" which is a claim, not evidence. Show us HOW, or pray to your invisible friend to show us HOW he knocked up a girl?

What's that you say? You dont know how|? DUH! Maybe because you are too dense to consider that your savior story was made up.

1. Magic exists

2. People are capable of making up fiction and believing it to be fact, even when it isnt.

Which is more likely to you?

Stop your stupid quibbling over detail. Unless you can show us HOW a dissibodied being got a girl pregnant, you have nothing but a mere claim. Calling the "details" unique is a bullshit distraction from the fact that all you have is, "God did it". Big deal, all religious labels claim their god did it as apposed to yours.

Hocus pokus is hocus pokus and if it sounds like fiction, we are going to call it exactly what it is. For the same reason I reject Thor as being the source of lightning, I also reject the bullshit claim that God magically knocked up Mary.

But in the end you still cannot, nor will you ever be able to demonstrate HOW such an event could happen. And while you rightfully reject the magicall claims of Muslims claiming that Allah picks the sex of the baby, you hypocritically fail to apply the same use of logic to reject that, to your own claims.

You are on nothing but autopilot who is bent on selling fiction as fact at all costs because your ego wont allow you to consider that the story you baught is fiction people merely believe to be fact.

 

I'm not here to argue about the historicity of the virgin birth. But even if I was, I'm not going to give "lol skydaddy" arguments much time, because they are worthless appeals to ridicule.  


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I'm not dealing with your

I'm not dealing with your other claims because they don't deal with whether the gospels drew upon other mythology to form the virgin birth. Which it seems you don't support? Okay, if you don't support that, then I guess I'm done.

 


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Rook_Hawkins wrote: To

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

To clarify, you might not be comprehending my position.

I may not be. 

 

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I never said that the story was a parallel with pagan stories,

Sorry, but that's how I understood "(t)here are tons of evidence for other gods predating Christianity and Jesus who had virgin births."  If this isn't saying these stories and the Christian story are parallels (in some sense), what is it saying? 

 

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but your conclusion that the story is more Jewish is not supported by scholarship.

 I assume you mean that there is some scholarly work on the subject which you personally find persuasive. 

 

 

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The gospel narratives are most certainly Hellenized, they are VERY Greek, down to the point where Mark (which Matthew and Luke copied and reinterpreted) utilized several traditions, including Orphic traditions, and also utilized the Homeric Epics in formulating specific scenes through a common process of the time called mimesis.

 Thanks, but I'm aware of all this.  The extent to which this is true is the issue.  There are some who believe these texts are highly Hellenized (such as Thompson, obviously) and others who believe quite the opposite (Christian conservatives mainly).  There's a broad range of opinions between those two poles.  I'm sure you'd agree that to state Thompson's position as though it's simply a fact is overstating things a bit (apologies if I've misunderstood you on this though).

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The book of Job is a Greek dialog, and the book of Tobit is also a Odyssey copy made Jewish - a Greco-Judaic fiction novel.

 Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that it can be argued that Job is a Greek dialogue or was influenced by such works or that scholars like G.R. MacDonald have argued that Tobit was influenced by the Odyssey?  Again, stating these things as hard facts strikes me to be overstating things quite a bit, even if you personally find these interpretations convincing.

 

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The line between Greek and Jew in Hellenized near east is very thin, and generally transparent. This is a common anthropological and sociological ignorance of many New Testament scholars I'm afraid.

Most of the ones I've read are aware of the influence of Hellenization.  There's just a range of views on its extent.

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To say there is no sex is silly. Especially since even the early church thought there was - so much so that when Luke rewrote the birth narrative in Matthew, he added in the sex to make it more implicit.

I'm not sure it's helpful to call what I'm saying "silly".  Again, you might think there is some implicit sex in these stories, but given that no sex is mentioned or even clearly implied (certainly not in the way it is in the pagan stories of divine impregnation) it's hardly "silly" to hold the position there is no sex in these two accounts.

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Consider Luke's addition in Luke 1:31; 34-35:

Translated, "And look! You will concieve in the womb and give birth to a son and call him Jesus...Mary said to the messenger, 'How will this be since I know not a man?' and answering her the messenger said, 'The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι), therefore the one being concieved (γεννωμενον) will be holy and called son of God. (υιος θεου)"

The sex is very implicit.

 Very.  So much so that I'm afraid I can't see it at all!

 

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It is no different then the narrative in Argonautika, "Thence I made all speed to snowy Thrace, to the land of the Leibethrians, my own fatherland, and I entered the far-famed cave, where my mother concieved me on the bed of the Great-Hearted Oiagros." - no sex there either - it is also implicit in the Orphic account.

Rather more explicit I'd say: the fact that a bed is mentioned indicates that Kalliope wasn't having a chaste mystical experience with Oiagros.  The account in Luke is quite different - it stresses the lack of any human sexual contact and the reference to the overshadowing "power of the Most High" doesn't have any sexual connotations that I know of.  I certainly can't see any similarity between it and anything in the passage from the Argonautika.

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In this instance, the language is not implicit that the birth is through Zechariah, especially being that his wife is sterile (steira - Luke 1:7).

Which is, I'd argue, a pretty clear parallel to the stories of the conceptions of Isaac, of Samson and of Samuel - all of whom were born to women who were meant to be sterile.  Philo's analysis of the story of Isaac's conception in De Cherubim (13:45) shows that the idea that a woman could conceive without sex simply by the power of God was not unique to the stories in Luke and Matthew. 

 

 

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I recall when I was younger pondering the possibility that the intent here was to show that both Jesus and John were brothers through the Holy Spirit and their mothers. Alas though, that is simply speculative, but an interesting hypothesis that I feel deserves some more attention by papyrologists.

?? I'm not sure I see how papyrologists are likely to shed more light on that question than other specialists.

 

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Also, the Greek word for virgin, or parthenos, is never used in Matthew.

Yes it is: Matt 1:23. 

Thanks for taking the time to add some details, it's appreciated.  I still can't say I agree with you though.  I can't see any sex at all in the gospel stories; implicit or otherwise.  That alone, along with the fairly clear parallels with the stories of Isaac, Samuel and Samson, indicate to me that the Jewish influence is rather stronger than any Hellenic ones.

Cheers,

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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Ebionite

Ebionite wrote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

To clarify, you might not be comprehending my position.

I may not be.

This still seems to be the case. 

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I never said that the story was a parallel with pagan stories,

Sorry, but that's how I understood "(t)here are tons of evidence for other gods predating Christianity and Jesus who had virgin births." If this isn't saying these stories and the Christian story are parallels (in some sense), what is it saying?

It is saying these stories predate Christianity - not they they parallel them.  Please read what I write and do not implicate. 

 

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but your conclusion that the story is more Jewish is not supported by scholarship.

I assume you mean that there is some scholarly work on the subject which you personally find persuasive.

No, I mean there is a concensus that the story is very Hellene. 

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The gospel narratives are most certainly Hellenized, they are VERY Greek, down to the point where Mark (which Matthew and Luke copied and reinterpreted) utilized several traditions, including Orphic traditions, and also utilized the Homeric Epics in formulating specific scenes through a common process of the time called mimesis.

Thanks, but I'm aware of all this.

I don't think you were as aware as you claim. 

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The extent to which this is true is the issue.

No, the extent to which this can be proven is would be an issue, but since it can be proven there is no issue.  History is not about truth - it is about fact.  Truth is a philosophical concept as far as I'm concerned.

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There are some who believe these texts are highly Hellenized (such as Thompson, obviously)

Why would you say "Thompson, obviously?"  Thompson never wrote anything dealing with the Hellenization of the Gospels.   

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and others who believe quite the opposite (Christian conservatives mainly).

And they do not make up scholarship, but apologetics.  They are not the same. One is a scientific process, the other is a defensive position.

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There's a broad range of opinions between those two poles.

Not really. 

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I'm sure you'd agree that to state Thompson's position as though it's simply a fact is overstating things a bit (apologies if I've misunderstood you on this though).

You did.  Clearly you did not read my whole position.  Thompson is not the one claiming this.  The perspective that the Gospels are Hellenized is universal - mark wrote in a Hellenized Diaspora, in Greek - making it Hellenized.  Perhaps you do not understand the terminology?  (Hellenism = Hellenismus = "I speak Greek/I act Greek&quotEye-wink    

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The book of Job is a Greek dialog, and the book of Tobit is also a Odyssey copy made Jewish - a Greco-Judaic fiction novel.

Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that it can be argued that Job is a Greek dialogue or was influenced by such works

Sure. 

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or that scholars like G.R. MacDonald

You mean D. R. MacDonald (his name is Denis). 

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have argued that Tobit was influenced by the Odyssey? Again, stating these things as hard facts strikes me to be overstating things quite a bit, even if you personally find these interpretations convincing.

You do not understand how the scientific method works, do you?  Please understand that there is a difference between history and apologetics.  History is a scientific field, much like forensics, archaeology or anthropology.  People do not just invent conclusions, they draw them from the evidence.  When you have parallel Greek phrases in Tobit to the Odyssey, there is no doubt concerning influence and reuse.  The whole story can be found mainly in Book IV of the Odyssey.  Perhaps instead of assuming I am overstating - you pick up a book and read it to find out yourself.  I am annoyed by the fact that you would accuse me of overstating a position that I am obviously more studious in then you are.  I do take offense to this.  

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The line between Greek and Jew in Hellenized near east is very thin, and generally transparent. This is a common anthropological and sociological ignorance of many New Testament scholars I'm afraid.

Most of the ones I've read are aware of the influence of Hellenization. There's just a range of views on its extent.

Basically just restated what I said. 

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To say there is no sex is silly. Especially since even the early church thought there was - so much so that when Luke rewrote the birth narrative in Matthew, he added in the sex to make it more implicit.

I'm not sure it's helpful to call what I'm saying "silly".

Well, in that case it hasn't been very helpful for me to have to constantly repeat myself over three posts because you aren't reading things all the way through.  But I am dealing with it anyway. 

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Again, you might think there is some implicit sex in these stories, but given that no sex is mentioned or even clearly implied (certainly not in the way it is in the pagan stories of divine impregnation) it's hardly "silly" to hold the position there is no sex in these two accounts.

It is silly because you are applying modern romantic idealism to antiquity where no such idealism existed. 

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Consider Luke's addition in Luke 1:31; 34-35:

Translated, "And look! You will concieve in the womb and give birth to a son and call him Jesus...Mary said to the messenger, 'How will this be since I know not a man?' and answering her the messenger said, 'The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι), therefore the one being concieved (γεννωμενον) will be holy and called son of God. (υιος θεου)"

The sex is very implicit.

Very. So much so that I'm afraid I can't see it at all!

What the hell do you think "concieved" means in the context of the Holy Spirit "coming upon" her and "overshadowing her!"  Are you blind or just being difficult?! 

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It is no different then the narrative in Argonautika, "Thence I made all speed to snowy Thrace, to the land of the Leibethrians, my own fatherland, and I entered the far-famed cave, where my mother concieved me on the bed of the Great-Hearted Oiagros." - no sex there either - it is also implicit in the Orphic account.

Rather more explicit I'd say: the fact that a bed is mentioned indicates that Kalliope wasn't having a chaste mystical experience with Oiagros.

Again, you are so obviously applying modern idealism to ancient thought.  "Bed" here is bieng used metaphorically.  The author of Argonautika didn't literally mean there was a bed in the cave.  The bed is symbolic - like the overshadowing in Luke's story.  The conception in antiquity was the sex.  THAT was the similarity I was pointing out.  There was a concieving - a seed implanted.  It is a Jewish spin to a Greek trope.

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The account in Luke is quite different - it stresses the lack of any human sexual contact and the reference to the overshadowing "power of the Most High" doesn't have any sexual connotations that I know of.

You have to just be giving me a hard time now.  The "coming to her" to "overshadow her" is obviously a sexual reference.   

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I certainly can't see any similarity between it and anything in the passage from the Argonautika.

k. 

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In this instance, the language is not implicit that the birth is through Zechariah, especially being that his wife is sterile (steira - Luke 1:7).

Which is, I'd argue, a pretty clear parallel to the stories of the conceptions of Isaac, of Samson and of Samuel - all of whom were born to women who were meant to be sterile.

No disagreement.  But these stories are certianly derived from hellenistic ideas as well.  No matter how you look at it, the concept of miraculous birth narratives really stem from Hellas - considering most of the Old Testament was written during the Hellenistic Age. 

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Philo's analysis of the story of Isaac's conception in De Cherubim (13:45) shows that the idea that a woman could conceive without sex simply by the power of God was not unique to the stories in Luke and Matthew.

You are correct.  But I ask you - what do you think the power of God is?  Perhaps our problem lies with how we each are interpreting sex.  You seem to equate sex with modern literature.  Raunchy, vulgar, explicit.  Man shoves dick in woman, ejaculation, etc...

And although it wasn't a taboo thing, there are very few explicit sex scenes - even in the Romances and love stories of the day.  And the Bible only includes a few books where such sexually explicit language is used.  Consider the Isaac story.  Where does Abraham take Sarah?  He doesn't...Isaac is concieved and thus a birth.  There is no explicit sex scene, but Sarah attributes the birth to Abraham (Gen. 21:7) Praytell how people concieve without some form of sex?  If you say "through the power of God" - that is exactly right.  His "power" is the implicit sexual contact between him and the woman. The story does not need an explicit sex scene to infer sexual contact.  You are hoping for too much.

 

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I recall when I was younger pondering the possibility that the intent here was to show that both Jesus and John were brothers through the Holy Spirit and their mothers. Alas though, that is simply speculative, but an interesting hypothesis that I feel deserves some more attention by papyrologists.

?? I'm not sure I see how papyrologists are likely to shed more light on that question than other specialists.

It is just a statement.  You are reading too into things.  I chose papyrologists because of their masterful skill of grammar and linguistics on papyri - the very skill needed to understand what is happening in the text?  o.O 

 

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Also, the Greek word for virgin, or parthenos, is never used in Matthew.

Yes it is: Matt 1:23.

You are correct.  That was my mistake. 

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Thanks for taking the time to add some details, it's appreciated. I still can't say I agree with you though. I can't see any sex at all in the gospel stories; implicit or otherwise. That alone, along with the fairly clear parallels with the stories of Isaac, Samuel and Samson, indicate to me that the Jewish influence is rather stronger than any Hellenic ones. Cheers,

Again, the stories of Samson, Isaac and Samuel have strong Hellenic influences themselves.  But I think you need to realize something.  The author of any particular work would use models to formulate plot and narrative - there can be anywhere up to 6 different models that any author would draw from.  Certainly Matthew used that many. He had Mark's Gospel, the scriptures, Pauline theology (through letters or tradition), Greek philosophical works (probably cynical) and possibly even Thomas (hypothetically).   Matthew used his own creative juices to spin a new narrative, so you are right, but also missing a larger picture.  The work is OBVIOUSLY Hellenistic, in that it was written in Greek, by a Hellenized Jew who was using the Greek version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint).  The story reflects both hellenic and Jewish thought - which is exactly what I said.

I never said the story paralleled other virgin births - just that they EXISTED prior to the Christian one.  That was all kabane asked for and I offered it to him.  I feel you read or skim too quickly and don't pick up on details like that.  Perhaps you should not be so quick to criticise? 

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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Quote:
I never said that the story was a parallel with pagan stories,

Sorry, but that's how I understood "(t)here are tons of evidence for other gods predating Christianity and Jesus who had virgin births." If this isn't saying these stories and the Christian story are parallels (in some sense), what is it saying?

It is saying these stories predate Christianity - not they they parallel them. Please read what I write and do not implicate.

Yes, you do say they predate Christianity. You also say that they were "virgin births", which was the part of the sentence I was referring to. How can citing pagan "virgin births" in reference to the Christian "virgin birth" not be a reference to a parallel between the previous and later "virgin births"?

 

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but your conclusion that the story is more Jewish is not supported by scholarship.

I assume you mean that there is some scholarly work on the subject which you personally find persuasive.

No, I mean there is a concensus that the story is very Hellene.

There's a consensus that the story could be influenced by Hellenic tropes etc, sure. Some take that further and say it's a Judaic spin on those types of stories (as you do). Others point to the differences between the Christian story to the its OT analogues and find it more likely to be a solely Jewish element. Others are somewhere in between (as I am actually). To state baldly that my position is simply "not accepted by scholarship" is overstating things, as you must be aware.

You agreed with me that it would be more accurate to say "it can be argued that Job is a Greek dialogue or was influenced by such works". Surely you'd also agree that it would be more accurate to say "I find the scholarship that supports the idea this element is largely Hellenic more persusive" is a lot more accurate than stating flatly that my position is "not accepted by scholarship".

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The gospel narratives are most certainly Hellenized, they are VERY Greek, down to the point where Mark (which Matthew and Luke copied and reinterpreted) utilized several traditions, including Orphic traditions, and also utilized the Homeric Epics in formulating specific scenes through a common process of the time called mimesis.

Thanks, but I'm aware of all this.

I don't think you were as aware as you claim.

Okay. I'll still assure you that I'm quite aware of this. I'm definitely aware enough that I don't need the meaning or significance of mimesis explained to me. Cool

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The extent to which this is true is the issue.

No, the extent to which this can be proven is would be an issue, but since it can be proven there is no issue.

"Proven" is quite a big claim in the study of history. Some things can be "proven", certainly. We can prove Boudicca burned down Londinium in AD 60 by matching Tacitus' account of her uprising with concrete and datable archaeological evidence. Are you saying that it can actually be "proven" that Mark used Homer to create a mimetic transvaluative hypertext, as MacDonald argues? This can be "proven" as Boudicca's destruction of Londinium can be?

Or are you overstating things and just find that argument of MacDonald's persusive?

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History is not about truth - it is about fact. Truth is a philosophical concept as far as I'm concerned.

So it's "a fact" that Mark used Orphic traditions, and the Homeric Epics? This is not simply a possible interpretation, this is "a fact"? Is that really what you're saying?

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There are some who believe these texts are highly Hellenized (such as Thompson, obviously)

Why would you say "Thompson, obviously?"

My mistake - I was posting from work and that was a result of trying to do too many things at once (including referring to the part of your post where you recommended Thompson's book). Of course I meant MacDonald.

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and others who believe quite the opposite (Christian conservatives mainly).

And they do not make up scholarship, but apologetics. They are not the same. One is a scientific process, the other is a defensive position.

Fine - I was simply contrasting the two widest extremes. If you leave out the conservatives (fine by me!) the point still stands - there's no monolithic agreement on this issue. You clearly support one interpretation and I support another. I have no doubt you find the position you champion highly persuasive. But it's still just one postion in a range of possible positions and interpretations that can be reasonably maintained on this. Again, the elevate the interpretations you favour to the status of "facts" is misrepresenting things.

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There's a broad range of opinions between those two poles.

Not really.

How can you say that? Of course there is. There are those who, like MacDonald, think Mark (for example) is largely a hypertextual fiction based heavily on Greek literary elements. There are others who find this idea absurd. There are others still who are in between. Is this not the case?

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The perspective that the Gospels are Hellenized is universal - mark wrote in a Hellenized Diaspora, in Greek - making it Hellenized. Perhaps you do not understand the terminology? (Hellenism = Hellenismus = "I speak Greek/I act Greek&quotEye-wink

I understand the terminology adequately thanks. Of course Mark is Hellenized to some extent - how could a work written in Koine for (it seems) a largely non-Jewish audience not be? But it's quite a leap from saying that to saying that Mark's work definitely used Homer and the Orphic traditions as though this is "a fact" and not simply an interpretation. And not one that's won a lot of support at that.


 

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or that scholars like G.R. MacDonald

You mean D. R. MacDonald (his name is Denis).

Clearly that was a typo Rook. I've read the guy's book, so I think you can forgive me a slip of the keyboard while posting from work. Though if we want to get niggly, his name is actually "Dennis". Wink

 

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have argued that Tobit was influenced by the Odyssey? Again, stating these things as hard facts strikes me to be overstating things quite a bit, even if you personally find these interpretations convincing.

You do not understand how the scientific method works, do you?

Reasonably well - I have a couple of siblings with PhDs in physics and genetics. But we're talking history: a Humanities discipline.

 

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Please understand that there is a difference between history and apologetics.

That's well and truly understood. No-one here is talking apologetics that I can see. You do realise I'm an atheist don't you?

 

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History is a scientific field, much like forensics, archaeology or anthropology. People do not just invent conclusions, they draw them from the evidence.

Well, history certainly is a discipline that applies a rational method, evaluates evidence and draws conclusions; some of which can be firmer than others. It doesn't use "the scientific method" (in, say, the Popperian sense) but I understand what you're saying.

I also understand how evidence is evaluated in historical analysis etc, since I do have a degree in history. This still doesn't justify you overstating possible interpretations as though they are rock solid facts.

 

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When you have parallel Greek phrases in Tobit to the Odyssey, there is no doubt concerning influence and reuse. The whole story can be found mainly in Book IV of the Odyssey.

Sorry, but to say this can be taken as a fact and that there is "no doubt" that this interpretation is mistaken is simply false. There is plenty of room for doubt. You may find the idea that these parallels are evidence of derivation or hypertextual mimesis overwhelmingly persuasive, but it is still an interpretation of the evidence. One of several explanations. You can't elevate it to the level of fact just because you find it convincing.

 

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Perhaps instead of assuming I am overstating - you pick up a book and read it to find out yourself. I am annoyed by the fact that you would accuse me of overstating a position that I am obviously more studious in then you are. I do take offense to this.

I don't have to read any book at all to know that your assertion that there simply can't be any doubt that this interpretation is 100% correct is wildly overstating things. This academic reviewer certainly didn't find the idea that Tobit is based on the Odyssey very convincing. Are you annoyed by his disagreement with you as well?


 

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To say there is no sex is silly. Especially since even the early church thought there was - so much so that when Luke rewrote the birth narrative in Matthew, he added in the sex to make it more implicit.

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Again, you might think there is some implicit sex in these stories, but given that no sex is mentioned or even clearly implied (certainly not in the way it is in the pagan stories of divine impregnation) it's hardly "silly" to hold the position there is no sex in these two accounts.

It is silly because you are applying modern romantic idealism to antiquity where no such idealism existed.

Er, no - I'm simply being careful not to assume anything or read something into the text unless there's good reason to do so.

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Consider Luke's addition in Luke 1:31; 34-35:

Translated, "And look! You will concieve in the womb and give birth to a son and call him Jesus...Mary said to the messenger, 'How will this be since I know not a man?' and answering her the messenger said, 'The holy spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you (δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σο&iotaEye-wink, therefore the one being concieved (γεννωμενο&nuEye-wink will be holy and called son of God. (υιος θεο&upsilonEye-wink"

The sex is very implicit.

Very. So much so that I'm afraid I can't see it at all!

What the hell do you think "concieved" means in the context of the Holy Spirit "coming upon" her and "overshadowing her!" Are you blind or just being difficult?!

Neither. See above - I'm just being careful not to leap to a conclusion without a good evidential reason to do so. Could it mean sex occured? Sure. But does it? Well, it would be interesting if it did. And it's not like I have any problem with the idea the way most Christians would: the text could imply that all three persons of the Holy Trinity jumped Mary and had an extended fourway gangbang with her for all I care. But the question is, is there any reason for believeing that these phrases imply sex? The fact that I find it a neat idea isn't enough.

If, for example, we found the use of the phrase "δυναμις υψιστου επισκιασει σοι" or something very close to it in, say, the Septuagint or Josephus in a context where actual sex was definitely involved, then that would be good evidence to back up the possibility this is what is implied here. It wouldn't make it "a fact", but it would certainly strengthen the possibility and add validity to it as a hypothesis. But without some supporting indication like that, it doesn't carry much weight.

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It is no different then the narrative in Argonautika, "Thence I made all speed to snowy Thrace, to the land of the Leibethrians, my own fatherland, and I entered the far-famed cave, where my mother concieved me on the bed of the Great-Hearted Oiagros." - no sex there either - it is also implicit in the Orphic account.

Rather more explicit I'd say: the fact that a bed is mentioned indicates that Kalliope wasn't having a chaste mystical experience with Oiagros.

Again, you are so obviously applying modern idealism to ancient thought. "Bed" here is bieng used metaphorically. The author of Argonautika didn't literally mean there was a bed in the cave.

Er, I didn't say there was an actual bed in the cave. I said that the fact that a bed is mentioned makes the idea that some genuine man/god on woman, physical sex is implied here is clear in a way that the Luke passage is definitely not. Since sex often happens on beds and all. Wink

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The bed is symbolic - like the overshadowing in Luke's story.

That the bed reference makes it clear that sex is implied is hard to doubt. In the absence of any similar evidence that "overshadowing" has any sexual connotations, however, this is not like the Luke story at all.

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The conception in antiquity was the sex. THAT was the similarity I was pointing out. There was a concieving - a seed implanted. It is a Jewish spin to a Greek trope.

That Luke is saying she got knocked up is also not in doubt. The difference is that there was no "bed stuff" going on. Yahweh did his mystical God magic and made someone who shouldn't concieve (in this case, a virgin) get pregnant. He did this just as he had with the sterile mothers of Isaac, Samuel and Samson. That's a Jewish trope.

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You have to just be giving me a hard time now. The "coming to her" to "overshadow her" is obviously a sexual reference.

Sorry, but simply asserting that this is "obvious" won't do. Do you have any evidence to support this interpretation?


 

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In this instance, the language is not implicit that the birth is through Zechariah, especially being that his wife is sterile (steira - Luke 1:7).

Which is, I'd argue, a pretty clear parallel to the stories of the conceptions of Isaac, of Samson and of Samuel - all of whom were born to women who were meant to be sterile.

No disagreement. But these stories are certianly derived from hellenistic ideas as well. No matter how you look at it, the concept of miraculous birth narratives really stem from Hellas - considering most of the Old Testament was written during the Hellenistic Age.

Ummm, you've just done it again: "these stories are certianly derived from hellenistic ideas as well". Certainly? No - possibly. Maybe, or maybe not. You can't just declare these things to be certainties, no matter how certain you may be about them.

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Philo's analysis of the story of Isaac's conception in De Cherubim (13:45) shows that the idea that a woman could conceive without sex simply by the power of God was not unique to the stories in Luke and Matthew.

You are correct. But I ask you - what do you think the power of God is? Perhaps our problem lies with how we each are interpreting sex. You seem to equate sex with modern literature. Raunchy, vulgar, explicit. Man shoves dick in woman, ejaculation, etc...

No, I'm not doing anything of the sort. I've read plenty of ancient literature and am quite aware of what you're saying here. Of course "the power of God" etc could be euphemistic expressions. The question, though, is there any actual evidence that they are? The fact that you and I rather like the idea or that it leads to some other neat possibilites or that it supports some other ideas that look good or fit with our preferences simply isn't enough.

 

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?? I'm not sure I see how papyrologists are likely to shed more light on that question than other specialists.

It is just a statement. You are reading too into things. I chose papyrologists because of their masterful skill of grammar and linguistics on papyri - the very skill needed to understand what is happening in the text? o.O

Sure, but it was still an odd choice of term, since the question doesn't really have anything much specifically to do with the interpretation of texts on papyrus. But anyway ...


 

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I never said the story paralleled other virgin births - just that they EXISTED prior to the Christian one. That was all kabane asked for and I offered it to him. I feel you read or skim too quickly and don't pick up on details like that. Perhaps you should not be so quick to criticise?

 

You've said the pagan examples were virgin births, like the Christian story. That's a parallel. And "criticise"? All I've done is disagree with you and discuss why. This is a discussion forum, after all. I've been polite and friendly throughout. I'm sure we can discuss these things, which are clearly of mutual interest, in a friendly way can't we? Who knows: one of us may even convince the other. Wink

 

Cheers.

{fixed aiia}

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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Ebionite

Ebionite wrote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
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I never said that the story was a parallel with pagan stories,

Sorry, but that's how I understood "(t)here are tons of evidence for other gods predating Christianity and Jesus who had virgin births." If this isn't saying these stories and the Christian story are parallels (in some sense), what is it saying?

It is saying these stories predate Christianity - not they they parallel them. Please read what I write and do not implicate.

Yes, you do say they predate Christianity. You also say that they were "virgin births", which was the part of the sentence I was referring to. How can citing pagan "virgin births" in reference to the Christian "virgin birth" not be a reference to a parallel between the previous and later "virgin births"?

You're moving goal posts here.  I never said that because two accounts deal with virgin births they had to be parallel...they are just virgin births.  Just as two resurrection accounts (Inanna and Jesus) exist, one written before the other, does not mean both are "parallel" - simply that both exhibit the same trope.  We are arguing this point, in my opinion, when we both agree we're just stating things differently.  The Christian story in the Gospels is not paralleling any particular Greek story.  

 

 

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but your conclusion that the story is more Jewish is not supported by scholarship.

I assume you mean that there is some scholarly work on the subject which you personally find persuasive.

No, I mean there is a concensus that the story is very Hellene.

There's a consensus that the story could be influenced by Hellenic tropes etc, sure.

I think you are understating the consensus.  It is not only influenced by Hellenic tropes, it was also written using Hellenic methods in the Hellas language. 

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Some take that further and say it's a Judaic spin on those types of stories (as you do). Others point to the differences between the Christian story to the its OT analogues and find it more likely to be a solely Jewish element. Others are somewhere in between (as I am actually). To state baldly that my position is simply "not accepted by scholarship" is overstating things, as you must be aware.

There is nobody who I am aware of which a critical scholar who would claim that Matthew's birth narrative is purely a Jewish trope.  It is a naive perspective of the Hellenistic Jewish community which assumes some form of competition between Hellenism and Judaism.  No such competition existed, the two were mutually inseperable.  You are grossly understating the anthropological and sociological data gathered over the past 200 years.

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You agreed with me that it would be more accurate to say "it can be argued that Job is a Greek dialogue or was influenced by such works". Surely you'd also agree that it would be more accurate to say "I find the scholarship that supports the idea this element is largely Hellenic more persusive" is a lot more accurate than stating flatly that my position is "not accepted by scholarship".

Certainly it is more accurate.  But I wasn't aiming for accuracy, I was aiming for time conservation.  I'm writing two books, and my time is very limited.  I apologize if at any time I come off as harsh or blunt, my intent is just to get my thoughts out quickly enough without exceeding my limits of my brain functions.  

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The gospel narratives are most certainly Hellenized, they are VERY Greek, down to the point where Mark (which Matthew and Luke copied and reinterpreted) utilized several traditions, including Orphic traditions, and also utilized the Homeric Epics in formulating specific scenes through a common process of the time called mimesis.

Thanks, but I'm aware of all this.

I don't think you were as aware as you claim.

Okay. I'll still assure you that I'm quite aware of this. I'm definitely aware enough that I don't need the meaning or significance of mimesis explained to me. Cool

Very well. 

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The extent to which this is true is the issue.

No, the extent to which this can be proven is would be an issue, but since it can be proven there is no issue.

"Proven" is quite a big claim in the study of history. Some things can be "proven", certainly. We can prove Boudicca burned down Londinium in AD 60 by matching Tacitus' account of her uprising with concrete and datable archaeological evidence. Are you saying that it can actually be "proven" that Mark used Homer to create a mimetic transvaluative hypertext, as MacDonald argues? This can be "proven" as Boudicca's destruction of Londinium can be?

Or are you overstating things and just find that argument of MacDonald's persusive?

Actually, yes, it is proven.  We already know that in order to have the ability to even write in Greek, one needs to first attend some form of education - by which teachers utilized Homer as a model for students to copy and at times recreate to learn.  We can show, again, verbatim Greek lines taken from Homer in Mark where similar tropes are seen.  Probability dictates fact.  The probability is substantial enough that Mark used Homer to prove this theory. 

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History is not about truth - it is about fact. Truth is a philosophical concept as far as I'm concerned.

So it's "a fact" that Mark used Orphic traditions, and the Homeric Epics? This is not simply a possible interpretation, this is "a fact"? Is that really what you're saying?

Yes.  Are you going to claim that it is impossible to claim fact here?   

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There are some who believe these texts are highly Hellenized (such as Thompson, obviously)

Why would you say "Thompson, obviously?"

My mistake - I was posting from work and that was a result of trying to do too many things at once (including referring to the part of your post where you recommended Thompson's book). Of course I meant MacDonald.

Fair enough. 

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and others who believe quite the opposite (Christian conservatives mainly).

And they do not make up scholarship, but apologetics. They are not the same. One is a scientific process, the other is a defensive position.

Fine - I was simply contrasting the two widest extremes. If you leave out the conservatives (fine by me!) the point still stands - there's no monolithic agreement on this issue. You clearly support one interpretation and I support another. I have no doubt you find the position you champion highly persuasive. But it's still just one postion in a range of possible positions and interpretations that can be reasonably maintained on this. Again, the elevate the interpretations you favour to the status of "facts" is misrepresenting things.

K.  I disagree.

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There's a broad range of opinions between those two poles.

Not really.

How can you say that? Of course there is. There are those who, like MacDonald, think Mark (for example) is largely a hypertextual fiction based heavily on Greek literary elements. There are others who find this idea absurd. There are others still who are in between. Is this not the case?

You can't be between a position of literary usage.  You either feel Mark used Homer or you don't.  There is no "middle" ground.  If you think he partially used Homer..you still admit he used Homer.  The grey area does not exist on matters like this.  Any other question would be irrelevant to the subject: Homeric influence on the Gospels (In this case) Your desire or need to remain agnostic is not helpful, nor does a choice to remain indecisive on a particular issue mean I am overstating a position.  

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The perspective that the Gospels are Hellenized is universal - mark wrote in a Hellenized Diaspora, in Greek - making it Hellenized. Perhaps you do not understand the terminology? (Hellenism = Hellenismus = "I speak Greek/I act Greek&quotEye-wink

I understand the terminology adequately thanks.

You keep saying that, but then if you understand there should be no disagreement.  I find it hard to buy into statements like these when clearly Mark and Matthew and Luke and John were Hellenized.  A disagreement only exposes ones ignorance. 

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Of course Mark is Hellenized to some extent - how could a work written in Koine for (it seems) a largely non-Jewish audience not be? But it's quite a leap from saying that to saying that Mark's work definitely used Homer and the Orphic traditions as though this is "a fact" and not simply an interpretation. And not one that's won a lot of support at that.

That last bit is pretty false.  MacDonald's position is widely accepted.  Across the board.  He himself is a Christian, who has supporters of scholarship in both the conservative and liberal sides.  His books have all recieved strong, supportive reviews.  The only dissenters are those who feel their faith threatened - you are bringing apologists back into the equation. 


 

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or that scholars like G.R. MacDonald

You mean D. R. MacDonald (his name is Denis).

Clearly that was a typo Rook. I've read the guy's book, so I think you can forgive me a slip of the keyboard while posting from work. Though if we want to get niggly, his name is actually "Dennis". Wink

K. Thanks.

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Please understand that there is a difference between history and apologetics.

That's well and truly understood. No-one here is talking apologetics that I can see. You do realise I'm an atheist don't you?

You keep bringing up dissenters of my position, but the only people who claim a purely Jewish authorship to Matthew are those who only engage in Apologetics.  If you agree that Matthew is Hellenized, there is no dispute between us.  I can't help but feel you're arguing just to argue.   

 

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History is a scientific field, much like forensics, archaeology or anthropology. People do not just invent conclusions, they draw them from the evidence.

Well, history certainly is a discipline that applies a rational method, evaluates evidence and draws conclusions; some of which can be firmer than others. It doesn't use "the scientific method" (in, say, the Popperian sense) but I understand what you're saying.

History uses the same basic formula for drawing a hypothesis that any other science uses.  That hypothesis is weighed and tested against available evidence, and if it is persuasive enough it passes into the realm of theory.  And if more of a substantial case can be drawn, inductively, the theory can be weighed with a probability theory, like Bayes', and determined to be fact.  It is an outdated perspective to assume we cannot determine facts in antiquity.  I'm certainly not saying every theory should be considered fact, but if it passes through the grinder and fits with archaeological and anthropological data, then we're golden.  

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I also understand how evidence is evaluated in historical analysis etc, since I do have a degree in history. This still doesn't justify you overstating possible interpretations as though they are rock solid facts.

No it doesn't.  The evidence supplied by the scholars who did the analysis does.     

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When you have parallel Greek phrases in Tobit to the Odyssey, there is no doubt concerning influence and reuse. The whole story can be found mainly in Book IV of the Odyssey.

Sorry, but to say this can be taken as a fact and that there is "no doubt" that this interpretation is mistaken is simply false. There is plenty of room for doubt. You may find the idea that these parallels are evidence of derivation or hypertextual mimesis overwhelmingly persuasive, but it is still an interpretation of the evidence. One of several explanations. You can't elevate it to the level of fact just because you find it convincing.

I don't.  The evidence for the position elevates it to the level of fact.  I'm just passing along the title. 

 

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Perhaps instead of assuming I am overstating - you pick up a book and read it to find out yourself. I am annoyed by the fact that you would accuse me of overstating a position that I am obviously more studious in then you are. I do take offense to this.

I don't have to read any book at all to know that your assertion that there simply can't be any doubt that this interpretation is 100% correct is wildly overstating things. This academic reviewer certainly didn't find the idea that Tobit is based on the Odyssey very convincing. Are you annoyed by his disagreement with you as well?

You apparently didn't read the review... It was about his book concerning the Acts of Andrew: NOT about Tobit, which first appeared in a monograph published in 2001, this review was in 1994.  His book on the Homeric Epics in Mark came after this book, and his book on the Acts of the Apostles also later.  The reviewer didn't even KNOW about the arguments from MacDonald on Tobit because they weren't published yet. The line was "MacDonald promises (313) "a description of the role the Odyssey played in the Book of Tobit, the Gospel of Mark, and the Acts of Luke" and such a display would indeed lend plausibility to his claims about the dependence of the Acts of Andrew on Homer, but I remain sceptical that any such dependence can be shown."  I did not find his review of Dennis all that damaging to his position on Andrew either.

Consider the following reviews:

www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/homerandmark.html 

atheism.about.com/od/bookreviews/fr/HomerMark.htm

http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/931_181.pdf

http://www.bookreviews.org/pdf/931_2905.pdf

The last two are from the Review of Biblical Literature (of the SBL) and the first is from the Secular Web.

{fixed aiia}

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Ebionite
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Quote:Quote:Yes, you do

 

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Yes, you do say they predate Christianity. You also say that they were "virgin births", which was the part of the sentence I was referring to. How can citing pagan "virgin births" in reference to the Christian "virgin birth" not be a reference to a parallel between the previous and later "virgin births"?

You're moving goal posts here. I never said that because two accounts deal with virgin births they had to be parallel...they are just virgin births.

Sorry, but if there are virgin births in both the Christian stories and the pagan ones, that’s a parallel. If you’re claiming that, then you’re claiming a parallel. I’m not moving any goal posts, I’m simply sticking to what the word “parallel” means.

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Just as two resurrection accounts (Inanna and Jesus) exist, one written before the other, does not mean both are "parallel" - simply that both exhibit the same trope.

Which are parallels. Are you using “parallel” in some other way? I’m not saying that there is a connection between them or that there is any derivation relationship between them when I use the word “parallel”, just that the element in question exists in both. You say the “virgin impregnation by the divine via sex” exists in both. I say it doesn’t – there’s no sex in the gospel stories.

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I think you are understating the consensus. It is not only influenced by Hellenic tropes, it was also written using Hellenic methods in the Hellas language.

Sure. But I think you’re overstating the consensus by saying there’s some kind of consensus on the idea that this particular trope is Hellenic rather than Judaic.

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There is nobody who I am aware of which a critical scholar who would claim that Matthew's birth narrative is purely a Jewish trope.

IIRC Raymond E. Brown does.

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It is a naive perspective of the Hellenistic Jewish community which assumes some form of competition between Hellenism and Judaism. No such competition existed, the two were mutually inseperable. You are grossly understating the anthropological and sociological data gathered over the past 200 years.

I don’t hold that the story is purely a Jewish trope. That there may have been some Hellenic cultural influence on this largely Jewish trope - of which the writer of gLuke and gMatthew may or may not have been conscious when they wrote this story – is distinctly possible.

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You agreed with me that it would be more accurate to say "it can be argued that Job is a Greek dialogue or was influenced by such works". Surely you'd also agree that it would be more accurate to say "I find the scholarship that supports the idea this element is largely Hellenic more persusive" is a lot more accurate than stating flatly that my position is "not accepted by scholarship".

Certainly it is more accurate. But I wasn't aiming for accuracy, I was aiming for time conservation.

Okay. I do appreciate your time. I’m a fairly busy guy myself, which is why I’ve taken a while to give this reply the attention I think it needs. But, in the interests of clarity and an appropriate tone, it would be useful to avoid making statements of opinion into ones that read like statements of fact.

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"Proven" is quite a big claim in the study of history. Some things can be "proven", certainly. We can prove Boudicca burned down Londinium in AD 60 by matching Tacitus' account of her uprising with concrete and datable archaeological evidence. Are you saying that it can actually be "proven" that Mark used Homer to create a mimetic transvaluative hypertext, as MacDonald argues? This can be "proven" as Boudicca's destruction of Londinium can be?

Or are you overstating things and just find that argument of MacDonald's persusive?

Actually, yes, it is proven.We already know that in order to have the ability to even write in Greek, one needs to first attend some form of education - by which teachers utilized Homer as a model for students to copy and at times recreate to learn. We can show, again, verbatim Greek lines taken from Homer in Mark where similar tropes are seen. Probability dictates fact. The probability is substantial enough that Mark used Homer to prove this theory.

Sorry, but that doesn’t make it “proven”. Boudicca’s rebellion is proven: the accounts in Tacitus square too well with the archaeology for it to be otherwise. All you have with gMark/Homer is a hypothesis with some degree of probability. You think that’s very high. I don’t.

You did need education to write in Greek and, even if gMark’s prose is a bit rough, its author would certainly have had at least some exposure to Homer. But the verbal correspondences aren’t close enough or frequent enough to warrant any claim that they “prove” gMark is a mimetic hypertext on Homer. Even MacDonald admits this and then argues that the structural correspondences are enough to carry this thesis anyway.

We can “prove” other texts were definitely based on Homer. For example, we can prove that James Joyce’s Ulysses definitely was, because we have letters and other documentation from Joyce that tell us so. Even if we didn’t have these, we have documentary evidence from his publishers and from his friends which also tell us so. That the structure of Ulysses is based on Homer is well and truly proven.

If, however, in 2000 years a researcher suspected that this was the case but all the external evidence that proved it had disappeared, it would be harder to prove it. That researcher could still make a very solid case that this was Joyce’s intention (the chapter titles and the title of the novel alone would make this pretty easy), but in the absence of any explicit external evidence, he couldn’t maintain that it was ”proven”, just that it was highly likely. If the copy of Ulysses our future researcher was working with happened to be, for some reason, missing its title and chapter headings, his task would be even more difficult. He could still make the case that Ulysses was based on Homer, but he sure as hell couldn’t claim it was “proven”.

Correspondences, even verbatim ones, are slippery things on which to base a hypothesis about derivation. Take another work based on Homer – the Coen Brothers film O Brother Where Art Thou?. That’s clearly based on the Odyssey, but originally it wasn’t. The Coens had written the screenplay and were actually in the process of casting and pre-production when several people who’d read the script commented on the parallels with Homer. They had not intended any such parallels, but they liked the idea so they rewrote some scenes and added a couple of new ones to make the correspondence even closer.

A future researcher who found the first draft of the screenplay to O Brother Where Art Thou? and declared that the writers intended it to be based on Homer would be wrong. And if he claimed his arguments “proved” this, he’d be dead wrong.

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So it's "a fact" that Mark used Orphic traditions, and the Homeric Epics? This is not simply a possible interpretation, this is "a fact"? Is that really what you're saying?

Yes. Are you going to claim that it is impossible to claim fact here?

Yes – see above.

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There's a broad range of opinions between those two poles.

Not really.

How can you say that? Of course there is. There are those who, like MacDonald, think Mark (for example) is largely a hypertextual fiction based heavily on Greek literary elements. There are others who find this idea absurd. There are others still who are in between. Is this not the case?

You can't be between a position of literary usage. You either feel Mark used Homer or you don't. There is no "middle" ground. If you think he partially used Homer..you still admit he used Homer. The grey area does not exist on matters like this.

Of course there is. As R.J. Rabel notes in his review of MacDonald’s book:

Parallels do not necessarily signal direct influence, especially in the case of the Homeric poems, which have exercised a pervasive influence, both direct and indirect, over many aspects of Western culture, ancient and modern. One can discern literally hundreds of close parallels between the Ilia and, say, Clint Eastwood's hero's tale Unforgiven. Many elements of the Western owe much to the Iliadand its distinctive vision and critique of the nature of heroism, even where direct influence seems to be lacking. Far fewer parallels link Richard Wagner's The Flying Dutchman[b] to the [b]Odyssey, though the composer cited the Homeric poem as one of his major influences.

Apart from the supposed Homeric elements which seem to exist mainly in MacDonald’s imagination, there’s every chance that the influence of Homer on Hellenic culture generally can explain some of the seeming correspondences. This includes the direct verbal ones. Homer influenced Greek and pervaded Koine in the way Shakespeare influences and pervades English. Someone can say that a rose by any other name smells as sweet or that they want a sea change without ever having read Romeo and Juliet or The Tempest or even being aware that Shakespeare is the origin of those phrases. Someone finding those phrases in their writing and claiming this “proves” they were directly inspired by Shakespeare would be, once again, dead wrong.

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Your desire or need to remain agnostic is not helpful, nor does a choice to remain indecisive on a particular issue mean I am overstating a position.

Sorry, but saying this idea is “proven” is definitely overstating things. It can’t be “proven” if there are viable alternatives. And there clearly are. I you want to hold the position that the idea MacDonald’s thesis is correct has an extremely high degree of probability, go ahead. But that’s as far as you can go.

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I understand the terminology adequately thanks.

You keep saying that, but then if you understand there should be no disagreement. I find it hard to buy into statements like these when clearly Mark and Matthew and Luke and John were Hellenized. A disagreement only exposes ones ignorance.

But I’ve never said that they weren’t. I’m simply disagreeing with you regarding the extent, nature and some of the specific possible examples of that Hellenisation. It’s quite an athletic logical leap to go from saying they were Hellenised to saying that, therefore, MacDonald’s hypothesis is correct. One doesn’t necessarily lead to the other.

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Of course Mark is Hellenized to some extent - how could a work written in Koine for (it seems) a largely non-Jewish audience not be? But it's quite a leap from saying that to saying that Mark's work definitely used Homer and the Orphic traditions as though this is "a fact" and not simply an interpretation. And not one that's won a lot of support at that.

That last bit is pretty false. MacDonald's position is widely accepted. Across the board.

Across the board? What about Robert J. Rabel (above)? He doesn’t buy it and he’s a Homer scholar. Karl Olav Sandnes doesn’t buy it either: check out his  critique (Imitatio Homeri? An Appraisal of Dennis R. MacDonald’s “Mimesis Criticism,” JBL 124/4 (2005) 715-732) To say he’s been accepted across the board is, again, overstating things.

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The only dissenters are those who feel their faith threatened - you are bringing apologists back into the equation.

So Rabel is an apologist?

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You keep bringing up dissenters of my position, but the only people who claim a purely Jewish authorship to Matthew are those who only engage in Apologetics.

Is Raymond E. Brown an “apologist”? Your Richard Carrier doesn’t think so:

The best on this issue is Raymond Brown's Birth of the Messiah. Like Mikulski, Brown is a devout Catholic. But he is an objective scholar, usually fair to all parties in any debate, and always erudite and cautious. He is internationally recognized as a leading, if not the leading expert on the Christian nativity accounts. ( The Problem of the Virigin Birth Prophecy )


 

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If you agree that Matthew is Hellenized, there is no dispute between us. I can't help but feel you're arguing just to argue.

If I agree that it’s Hellenised, that doesn’t mean I agree that this particular element in the story isn’t (i) substantially Jewish and looking back to OT tropes and (ii) missing the key element that would make it a clear and direct parallel with the pagan stories: actual sex.

As I argued in my last post, simply saying that it seems “obvious” that the account in Luke “implies” sex doesn’t really cut it. What seems obvious to one person is not obvious at all to someone else. More to the point, what might seem obvious to someone in 2008 might have no such connotations to someone in AD 80. You needs some supporting evidence to make this case and I’m afraid I can’t see any.

Take the language used, for example:

καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς ὁ ἀγγελος εἶπεν αὐτῇ, Πνεῦμα ἀγιον ἐπελεύσεται ἐπὶ σέ, καὶ δύναμις ὑψίστου ἐπισκιάσει σοι· διὸ καὶ τὸ γεννώμενον ἀγιον κληθήσεται, υἱὸς θεοῦ.

If we found examples of “ἐπελεύσεται” or related words being used as a euphemism for sex or in passages implying sex in the LXX, we might have some support for the idea that actual sex is implied in gLuke’s story. But if we look at passages with similar expressions using that word we don’t’ find anything of the sort. What we find instead is a series of passages talking about Yahweh honouring someone or setting them aside for a special purpose. For example:

Then the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet, summoning the Abiezrites to follow him.

(Judges 6:34)

Then the Spirit of the Lord will come upon you mightily, and you shall prophesy with them and be changed into another man.

(1 Samuel 10:6)

Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my spirit upon him; he will bring forth justice to the nations.

(Isaiah 42:1)

And there are plenty more examples like those. This doesn’t, of course, mean that this is the only meaning this expression can have, but unless you can come up some actual examples of it having some sexual meaning, it makes rather more sense that it has this or some similar meaning in the gLuke passage as well.

Simply asserting that it has a sexual meaning because you want it to doesn’t really do the trick. You need some evidence.

Without that evidence your argument that the gLuke passage etc should be seen as beiong directly related to the Hellenic trope/s of sexual contact between a mortal and a deity doesn’t stand up. Unless there’s some evidence of sexual contact, the more obvious parallel lies in some entirely non-sexual Jewish tropes.

 

Cheers. 

{fixed aiia}

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


Hambydammit
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Yeah, well...

Yeah, well...

For those of us who don't believe that Jesus spoke modern English, there's another monkey wrench to toss into the equation:

From my essay: Myth, Culture, and Sexuality

It has become increasingly clear that many of the most ancient myths have been altered by a shift in gender domination. The highly esteemed mythologist, Joseph Campbell, calls it “The Great Reversal. He places it at approximately 600 BCE. From this point on, we see the earlier notions of humans and human nature as integral parts of a natural system gradually disappear, to be replaced by a negative interpretation, where human nature is a thing to be defeated. As a clear example, the term “virgin” is widely agreed to have changed meaning. In the earliest myths, a virgin was an unwed woman, not a sexually chaste one. The hierodules, sacred prostitutes in the temples of Ishtar, were known as “the holy virgins.” An archaic term for children born out of wedlock was “parthenioi,” literally “virgin-born.”

*****

The implication is clear.  Earlier conceptions of gods and procreation did not place a particular emphasis on chastity, at least not to the extent that the ascetics and early Christians did.  After "The Great Reversal," we have observed a marked departure from goddesses as creative forces and an emphasis on patriarchal figures as the originators of life.  They are using the subordinate and dangerous women/goddesses, but not revering them as did earlier mythologies.  (Witness the transformation of the Oracle at Delphi from a female dominated myth to one where Apollo was the keeper.)

In simple terms, if there are few myths from earlier centuries focusing on a lack of sperm for virgin births, it is simply because such paradigms were not common, and indeed, would have seemed a bit ridiculous.   As the conceptions of female sexuality changed, the concept of virginity also changed, and the emergence of new myths coincides with these newer, less egalitarian world views.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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This is getting more time

This is getting more time consuming then I had originally thought.  We both agree, we're just arguing it from different angles.  It seems more that you are just arguing to argue now.  I appreciate your opinions on the matter, thank you for them.  But as far as I'm concerned there is no need to resurrect this thread again. 

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Heh... I didn't even really

Heh... I didn't even really mean for you to get back into it, as what I added didn't disagree with anything you said.  I was simply pointing out yet another way the insistence on precursers being "exactly" like the Jesus myth is silly.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: This is

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
This is getting more time consuming then I had originally thought.  We both agree, we're just arguing it from different angles.

We disagree on the key point at issue - whether any sex is implied in the gospel stories.  Without that, they are not parallels with the Hellenic and other 'pagan' stories of deities having sex with or otherwise impregnating women.  Without that, the gospel stories are far closer to Jewish tropes than Hellenic ones, even if there was some leve of influence (concious or otherwise) on the writers of the gospels. 

 

Quote:
It seems more that you are just arguing to argue now. 

 No, I'm continuing the discussion because I disagree with you on key points and feel I do so for very valid reasons.  Telling me that I'm arguing for the sake of arguing is a bit dismissive and condescending to an unwarranted degree.  I'm continuing a discusssion because I think it's worth continuing, that my position is a solid one and I know this material in some detail.   

Quote:
I appreciate your opinions on the matter, thank you for them.  But as far as I'm concerned there is no need to resurrect this thread again. 

That's entirely your perogative, of course.

Cheers.

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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  There is no resurrection

 

 

There is no resurrection with Osirus. It was a zombification. Second, the hero of the account is not Osirus, but Isis or even Horus, their son. This is far different than Christ's reusrrection account where he was the gloriously Prince of life who was was seen by others on earth before his ascension into heaven.

There are other marks that distinguish Jesus' death and resurrection from the allaged pagan parallels: (1) In the mystery religions, the gods did not die willingly as Christ did. As Martin Hengel points out, "Attis and Adonis were killed by a wild boar, Osirus was torn to pieces by Typhon-Seth and Dionysus by the Titans. [see Martin Hengel, Crucifiction, 5-6]. (2). Hengel likewise points out that "crucifiction" plays no part in the mysteries" and cites the contribution of A.D. Nock, Essays on Religion and the Ancient World, vol. I, Z. Stewart, ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1972), 170, as an authoritative refutation of those, specifically Charles Kerenyi, who claim that crucified gods are found in the mysteries. (3). In ancient romance literature, the hero was always saved at the last moment prior to being crucified, and there was the obligatory happy ending (Hengel, Crucifiction, 81-82, 8Cool.

"The conception that that the god dies and is resurrected in order to lead his faithful to eternal life is represented in no Hellenistic mystery religion." [French scholar Andre Boulanger]. See also Nash, The Gospel and the Greeks, 161-62; quoting Andre Boulanger. 





Adonis is more than a hundred years after Jesus. Pierre Lambrechts has shown that there are no indications of a resurrection in the early information we have about Adonis. While there are four texts that speak of his resurrection, they date to from the second to the fourth century AD -- long after Jesus. [see Lambrechts, "La resurrection' d Adonis," Melanges Isidore Levy (1955), 207-40, quoted in Yamauchi, "Easter --Myth, Hallucination, or History?"

 

BOOKS REFUTING PAGAN-PARALLEL THEORY

 

The Gospel and the Greeks, by Nash

 

Resurrection Narratives, by Mettinger

 

Myth Became Fact (essay), by C.S. Lewis

 

The Virgin Birth of Christ, by Gresham

 

Historical and Literary Studies: Pagan, Jewish and Christian, by Bruce

 

Pauline Baptism and the Pagan Mysteries, by Gunter

 

Persia and the Bible, by Yamauchi

 


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I felt obligated to respond

I felt obligated to respond when this load of absurdity just exploded in my face.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

Your primary sources were written and compiled by people who knew of the myths and 

(consciously or not) used them to build their Jesus. 

*facepalm* okay for one, There is no evidence of religious influence from the Greeks and pagans on the Jews between the time of the Maccabean revolt and the destruction of the Temple. as Eddy and Boyd note, The evidence only indicates hellenization on a superficial level. However, we see that after the maccabean revolt, Jews of palestine and of the Diaspora became more conservative in their religious observances. Secondly, the Jews were very aware of these pagan myths and found them absolutely abhorrent. This would be like me being convinced that my brother rose from the dead because I saw E.T The Extra Terrestrial.

jcgadfly wrote:
They also worked backwards to show that he fulfilled the prophecies of the OT.

*facepalm* I think you (and a lot of other atheists as well) should stop reading Thomas Paine and start reading serious modern scholarship because, quite frankly, even Robert Price will not agree with this Canard. Jewish exegesis of Old Testament passages and how they related to current events did not limit itself to a strict "predict--> fulfill" relationship. But rather, there were a plethora of themes expressed in the OT fulfilled by Jesus. This midrashic technique we witness in the Gospels is actually evidence in favor of their authenticity because they would not have these passages fulfilled in such an awkward manner if the events were fabricated outright (which is what is needed for their to be no historical Jesus)

jcgadfly wrote:
I don't count the Gospels as a source as the writers were not followers of the religion but were its creators (along with Paul of Tarsus). 

While I agree that they were the "creators" of a religion, the church traditions surrounding their martyrdom fit perfectly within what we know about History. Secondly, authorial bias is rarely counted as a serious objection to the historicity of a source because ALL ancient history has an agenda.

jcgadfly wrote:
I didn't say that Mithra was without controversy - The "born of a rock" and "born of a virgin" have their supporters/detractors. Doesn't make him or Jesus any less a fantasy.

it does make Jesus less of a "fantasy" (if you think the historicity of Jesus is a fantasy, please read some serious scholarship as Rook Hawkins is no fucking scholar). however, as noted above, the jews knew of these myths and hated them.

jcgadfly wrote:
If you list Dionysus as not being born of a virgin by being born of Zeus and Semele, you can also make the case for Jesus (if he existed) not being born of a virgin either (being born of a union between Yahweh and Mary). The only difference was Yahweh was alledgedly invisible when he raped the child.

"raped the child"? There was no transfer of sperm you idiot. Rook Hawkins, you really should try harder to combat ignorance on the part of atheists on this board, not just theists.

jcgadfly wrote:
I also notice that you glossed over all the gods of Egypt that meet your definition.

Feel free to check this out (or gloss over it as you will) http://www.pocm.info/index.html. 

you must be joking with Kabane.

I normally don't refer people to tektonics anymore, but this is just too much.

http://www.tektoonics.com/etc/parody/pocemon/pikachumyth.htm

 

"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias


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  The first clear account

 

 

The first clear account we have of a dying and rising god outside Christianity, is Adonis in the second century A.D. The next is Attis in the third century A.D. You people need to know this. There are no primary sources showing a dying and rising god B.C.

 

Swedish scholar, TND Mettinger, says in his book "THE RIDDLE OF RESURRECTION," that the almost universal consensus of scholars today, is that there were NO dying and rising god's that preceeded Christianity. They ALL post date the first century. Read also

 

THE GOSPEL AND THE GREEKS, by Nash.

Zeitgeist has been thoroughly refuted. It is based on total lies. Go to Youtube and type in "ZeitgeistDebunked." (one word).