Re: [asa] The apostle warns of evolution

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Tue Sep 05 2006 - 15:38:45 EDT

While of course I have read various biblical scholars & commentaries, the statements I made stand on their own. They come from my own reading of the text, informed by my own theological training. There is no need to fantasize about what scholars I supposedly "esteem." & the reason I said I don't consider Holding much of an authority has nothing to do with his degrees &c. It's because some of his claims that I've seen - including some you've posted &, as I noted, another that had just been presented to me on Tweb - are flawed. Whether they are his own views or those of someone he considers and authority is beside the point.

If you want to engage the substance of my argument yourself, do so - I hope without smirks, "lols" &c. But I'm not interested in debating Holding via an errand girl.

  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Janice Matchett
  To: George Murphy ; Robert Schneider ; Jon Tandy ; Brent Foster
  Sent: Tuesday, September 05, 2006 2:09 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] The apostle warns of evolution

  At 04:10 PM 9/4/2006, George Murphy wrote:

    The argument in II Pet.3 has to do with the delay of the parousia. Many in the 1st generation of Christians thought the parousia to be imminent and some, as we can see from I Thess.4, were disturbed by the fact that some Christians had died before that happened. For those with such an expectation, the death of the whole apostolic generation would of course raise doubts about the truth of the Christian message. Thus in context "fathers" most naturally refers to the apostles & perhaps other prominent early Christians.

  @ "...Who are the persons Peter calls "our fathers"? Kelly (p. 355) and Schelkle (p. 224) argue that they were first-generation Christians. But Bigg (p. 291) and Green (Peter and Jude, p. 128-29) consider this unlikely. "Fathers" are much more likely to be OT fathers as in John 6:31, Acts 3:13, Romans 9:5, and Hebrews 1:1. This is the normal NT usage, and the other view requires a clumsy forger to have missed so obvious a blunder. "Our fathers died" (lit., "fell asleep") is a lovely metaphor for the death of believers (cf. Acts 7:60; 1Thess 4:13-14). [Blum, EBCOT]

  [relevant examples snipped]

  [ Even an "authority" you probably highly esteem ] Bauckham admits that the weight of the evidence is for this interpretation (WBC:290):
  "Those who wish to maintain that 'the fathers' are the OT patriarchs or prophets have the weight of usage on their side. In early Christian literature, continuing Jewish usage, hoi pateres ('the fathers') means the OT 'fathers,' i.e. the patriarchs or, more generally, the righteous men of OT times (John 7:22; Acts 13:32; Rom 9:5; Heb 1:1; Barn. 5:7; 14:1; Apoc. Pet. E 16; Ep. Apost. [Coptic] 28); apart from our passage, the only possible exception is 2 Clem 19:4, which could refer to dead Christians but most probably refers to the OT saints..."
  Accordingly, the data is against your ..interpretation... (Item #9 over 1/2 way down the page under: "Question...are 1st and 2nd Peter NOT by Peter, but by someone using his name?")

    This is only one indication of the relative lateness of II Peter but is supportive of that. Among other things, the fact that the letters of Paul are referred to as among the "scriptures" (3:16) - the only place in the NT where this terms is used in reference to NT writings - is another indication. .."

  @ "[You're] ..really following the party line of HiCritz--without even thinking critically about the assumptions teeming in their arguments..." (Scroll down to item #11 over 1/2 way down the page under: "Question...are 1st and 2nd Peter NOT by Peter, but by someone using his name?")

    I don't consider Holding much of an authority. ...." ~ Shalom George

  @ When atheists and other skeptics use that red herring against him, Holding accurately points out how intellectually dishonest it is, since those using it already KNOW that the reason he locates and quotes the latest highly respected scholarly authorities is precisely because he doesn't portray himself as an "authority" either - except in his areas of expertise, which are:

  MASTERS IN LIBRARY SCIENCE, 1991 Florida State University
  BACHELORS IN ENGLISH, 1990 University of Central Florida

  As a matter of fact, careful readers will know that your _real_ disagreement isn't with him - it's with the scholarly "authorities" he consults and inconveniently quotes.

  Edwin Yamauchi knows the score:

  "Higher" or literary criticism is the study which attempts to determine the questions of authorship, of the date, and of the composition of any literary texts on the basis of vocabulary, style, and consistency . . . . In biblical studies higher criticism received its classic exposition in 1878 in the work of Julius Wellhausen [through the Documentary/JEDP Hypothesis, which dated elements of the Pentateuch from the 9th to the 6th centuries, BC] . . . on the basis of Wellhausen's concept of the evolution of Israel's religion. According to this viewpoint, which was influenced by Darwin and Hegel, the religion of the Hebrews evolved at first into a national henotheism . . . and only much later in the time of the literary prophets and the Exile into an ethical monotheism . . . . Wellhausen, who was a great Arabic and Hebrew scholar, reconstructed Israelite life on the basis of Arabic poetry. He refused to believe that either Egyptian or Akkadian had been deciphered.

  In New Testament criticism the scholar who corresponds . . . to Julius Wellhausen . . . is F. C. Baur of Tubingen (1792 - 1860). . . . Baur seems to have been influenced by Hegel's philosophy. The philosophic dialectic of Hegel assumed that history went through a pattern of thesis-antithesis-synthesis. According to Baur, Paul represented Gentile Christianity (thesis) advocating freedom from the law. Peter's party representing Jewish Christianity (antithesis) and advocating adherence to the law was the group that reacted against Paul's teaching. From this conflict emerged a synthesis of the second century church (as seen in Acts) .

   . . . Baur having established an evolutionary scheme of development believed he could date the New Testament documents according to their place in this pattern. On this basis he accepted only four of the epistles as genuinely Pauline . . . John's Gospel was dated as late as the second half of the second century. The Acts of the Apostles was also assigned this late date . . . Baur's views were quite dominant throughout the nineteenth century and have left a lasting legacy for the twentieth century , though many of his assumptions have been disproved . . . . . Johannes Munck . . . argues that the Tubingen concept of a struggle between Jewish-Christian nomism and Gentile-Christian antinomism has now been compressed by scholars into the thirty years between the death of Jesus and the death of Paul.[The Stones and the Scriptures (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1972), pp. 27 - 30., 92 - 3]

  To insist on a standard of proof that is not used for other similar cases of historical documents, betrays a hidden agenda.

  Quoting Dr. John Warwick Montgomery - The Jury Returns: A Juridical Defense of Christianity

    "As for the skepticism of the so-called higher critics (or redaction critics) in the ["L"-word] theological tradition, it stems from an outmoded methodology (almost universally discarded today by classical and literary scholars and by specialists in comparative Near Eastern studies), and from unjustified philosophical presuppositions (such as anti-supernaturalistic bias and bias in favor of religious evolution). A.N. Sherwin-White, a specialist in Roman law, countered such critics in his 1960-61 Sarum Lectures at the University of London.

      It is astonishing that while Graeco-Roman historians have been growing in confidence, the twentieth-century study of the Gospel narratives, starting from the no less promising material, has taken so gloomy a turn in the development of form-criticism that the more advanced exponents of it apparently maintain-so far as an amateur can understand the matter-that the historical Christ is unknowable and the history of His mission cannot be written. This seems very curious when one compares the case for the best-known contemporary of Christ, who like Christ is a well-documented figure-Tiberius Caesar. The story of his reign is known from four sources, the Annals of Tacitus and the biography of Suetonius, written some eighty or ninety years later, the brief contemporary record of Velleius Paterculus, and the third century history of Cassius Dio. These disagree amongst themselves in the wildest possible fashion, both in major matters of political action or motive and in specific details of minor events. Everyone would admit that Tacitus is the best of all the sources, and yet no serious modern historian would accept at face value the majority of the statements of Tacitus about the motives of Tiberius. But this does not prevent the belief that the material of Tacitus can be used to write a history of Tiberius.

    The conclusion is inescapable: if one compares the New Testament documents with universally accepted secular writings of antiquity, the New Testament is more than vindicated. ..."

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Received on Tue Sep 5 15:39:49 2006

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