benchwarmer wrote: ↑Sun Dec 12, 2021 2:32 pm
bjs1 wrote: ↑Sun Dec 12, 2021 12:43 pm
For events prior to 1826, be it biblical or otherwise, there are only two ways to confirm that hundreds of people were witnesses.
1). Accept the written records of the event.
2). Build a time machine.
Perhaps, but there are ways to increase confidence in the claim of multiple witnesses:
1) Statements from the witnesses themselves. These should be independent and not contain any obvious copying from one to another. They should name themselves as the author of the witness statement and details on when the witnessing happened. Example: I, Joe Blow, on the 3rd day of summer harvest in the 5th year of king Doofus, saw a purple blimp in the sky.
2) Statements from non-witnesses that detail who some of the witnesses were. Statements from (1) will back this up. Example: Many people saw a purple blimp in the sky on the 3rd day of summer harvest. Among them were Joe Blow, Mary Carry, and John Song.
3) Archeological (or other physical evidence) that supports the above (1) and (2). Example: The town where Joe Blow and Mary Cary claim to be from has been excavated and discovered to be within the kingdom of king Doofus and in the right time frame based on various dating methods.
Is it a slam dunk? No, of course not, no history really is. However, the above is far better than dependent, anonymous claims about there being witnesses.
This always seems to lead to the same type of apologetic "Well, how do you know Julius Caesar was real?!". The appropriate answer, of course, is that we don't know with 100% certainty, but all written and other physical evidence seems to corroborate the claim.
This is why Extra -Biblical accounts are a biggie in apologetics. On my former board, we used to say 'Three certain things, Death, Taxes and "Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Thallia, Phleghon...
" The emphasis of the historical reliability of the Gospels was banged away at time after time. I don't deny that they Look convincingly based on real events and it's possible that they are. I think a surprising amount of the Jesus -story could be true. But of course there will be doubts about the walking on the water. the Gadarene swine and - of course - the resurrection.
But at the risk of wearing out my hobby -horse, much more than just miracle - claims look dubious under examination. The Nativity (even without the mobile star) falls apart, and the resurrection gets dragged down with it. After that, the death of Judas, the penitent thief, the murder -attempt at Nazareth, the sermon on the mount (oh yes
) and indeed the raising of Lazarus, the trial -accounts and pretty much the rest of the discrepant stuff goes down the well like it was all chained together.
That's why I said before that we can disregard Luke's bunch of washerwomen, and say that only the 2 Marys is credible (if anything) and we have to doubt these other airy claims of crowds of listeners treading on each other and consider whether the hidden hints beneath the Oz -screen of Christian overpainting that Jesus' mission was actually rather secretive.