Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Argue for and against Christianity

Moderator: Moderators

User avatar
JoeyKnothead
Under Probation
Posts: 18676
Joined: Fri Jun 06, 2008 10:59 am
Location: Here
Has thanked: 1638 times
Been thanked: 1120 times

Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #1

Post by JoeyKnothead »

From Post 7 here:
JehovahsWitness wrote: We have multiple written records of verifiable evidence of the awsome acts of YHWH (Jehovah) the God of the bible. Acts performed before hundreds, sometimes thousands of eye-witnesses such as the parting of the Red Sea, providing of manna in the desert, the test on mount Carmel, as well as countless miracles performed before and/or experienced by witnesses.
For debate:

1. Please offer some means to confirm these alleged events occurred.

2. Please offer some means to confirm there were hundreds, or thousands of witnesses to these alleged events.

Folks're reminded that in this section of the site the Bible ain't considered authoritative.
Discovery is finding things that exist.
Invention is using things discovered.

Create that path and engineer a metamorphosis.

- William

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2003
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 266 times
Been thanked: 950 times

Re: Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #31

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Difflugia wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 5:28 am
TRANSPONDER wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:46 amI don't quite see how that relates, however, to the question of whether Jesus spoke to a lot of people as the gospels claim or it was a more secretive thing inflated by the writers who wanted to make Jesus a big deal. But the silence of later writers calls that claim into question.
It relates if the Sermon isn't something Jesus historically delivered, but was written into the story and placed into the mouth of Jesus for the benefit of Matthew's readers. Matthew's account didn't worry about making the crowd plausible because it didn't matter to the story.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Sun Dec 19, 2021 3:46 amMy point that the Sermon (in Luke and Matthew) does NOT appear to have been given to a crowd of people (as is the popular scenario today) but just to the disciples. Mark of course does not come into that as he has no Sermon, though Mathew uses some of the material that Mark has (in a different context) to bulk out the Sermon.
I disagree. Matthew 7:28-9:
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the multitudes were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them with authority, and not like the scribes.
Matthew wanted Jesus to deliver a sermon and wanted it delivered to a crowd, who were "astonished" and then followed him (8:1). Historical verisimilitude wasn't particularly important to Matthew, who already had Herod ordering the slaughter of a bunch of babies to avert a prophecy and would later have a bunch of dead people walking around to be witnessed by everyone in Jerusalem.
You are correct. According to Matthew (and Luke) though Jesus sat down with his disciples, he had seen the crowds and was clearly addressing his sermon to them Although one could argue that he went up the mountain to get away from them and they waited for him to come down, (which might have been the New Moses intention of the original author of this text), Matthew relates it to a teaching they all heard. Bear in mind that this passage relates to Jesus teaching with Authority (that is, from God) and not as the scribes (that is, not from God, I suppose, since this is the Pauline -Christian view here) Point being that I recall that term pops up in other contexts (I'll check) and Matthew might have bussed it in and amended the scenario.

Let me check Luke. Now Luke 6 has Jesus (6.17) on a level place where the huge crowd was, and (aside Matthew implies large crowds too) this looks to me like Luke claiming large crowds that were not in the original text as here (as in Matthew) Jesus addresses his disciples. There is no astonishment by the crowd.

Now in Luke 4 .32 this exact same remark or observation was after the declaration in the Temple (context is the Rejection at Nazareth) and return to Capernaum which could be seen roughly as the same place as Matthew's Sermon, though Luke has his later, after some Sabbath wrangles and calling the disciples, which is where Luke reckons his talk to them would be appropriate, because I believe that this Sermon is part of a separate document that Matthew and Luke use in different places. Mark does not have it so there is no 'sermon'.

However, Mark does have the passage at 1.22, and here we see the original context. Jesus goes to the Synagogue and teaches with authority, and not as the scribes, and when you think about it, This is what Luke does in his sabbath wrangle in the synagogue, even though he pads out and rearranges his material. Comparing it with Mark shows it was the same original form.

So what this means is that Matthew transported this particular passage to the context of Jesus' sermon to his disciples and making it seem like it was to a crowd, which is not what the original text said, even if both Matthew and Luke assumed (at their remote date of authorship) that Jesus was teaching to multitudes.

Which, to get back to topic is not what history tells us; no contemporary historian knows anything about Jesus other than by later Christian claims or comments on that.

User avatar
Difflugia
Guru
Posts: 2294
Joined: Wed Jun 12, 2019 10:25 am
Location: Michigan
Has thanked: 1842 times
Been thanked: 1363 times

Re: Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #32

Post by Difflugia »

TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:24 amHowever, Mark does have the passage at 1.22, and here we see the original context.
I never noticed that!
TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:24 amSo what this means is that Matthew transported this particular passage to the context of Jesus' sermon to his disciples and making it seem like it was to a crowd, which is not what the original text said, even if both Matthew and Luke assumed (at their remote date of authorship) that Jesus was teaching to multitudes.
I get what you're saying, now.
TRANSPONDER wrote: Mon Dec 20, 2021 6:24 amLet me check Luke. Now Luke 6 has Jesus (6.17) on a level place where the huge crowd was, and (aside Matthew implies large crowds too) this looks to me like Luke claiming large crowds that were not in the original text as here (as in Matthew) Jesus addresses his disciples. There is no astonishment by the crowd.

Now in Luke 4 .32 this exact same remark or observation was after the declaration in the Temple (context is the Rejection at Nazareth) and return to Capernaum which could be seen roughly as the same place as Matthew's Sermon, though Luke has his later, after some Sabbath wrangles and calling the disciples, which is where Luke reckons his talk to them would be appropriate, because I believe that this Sermon is part of a separate document that Matthew and Luke use in different places. Mark does not have it so there is no 'sermon'.
That is an interesting point. I'm pretty much convinced that Luke was working from a copy of Matthew, but I think here is a very good example of what Matthew and Luke would look like if they were independent, but shared the "Q" source. Since the two are, as you point out, variations on "he said to his didsciples," the pattern totally fits what you're claiming.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2003
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 266 times
Been thanked: 950 times

Re: Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #33

Post by TRANSPONDER »

Thank you. That is indeed the conclusion I have come to. I don't think that Luke based his gospel on Matthew as such but used the original synoptic text. His continual contradiction of Matthew is hard to believe if he was using Matthew. But I have found that text common to Matthew and Luke (but not Mark) looks like a separate document (I call it "Q" as well ;) ) and both incorporate it into their gospels in characteristic ways. Notably the sermon on the mount is all in one lump in Matthew but Luke uses just half of it as an address to the disciples (which they both have) but thereafter - significantly beginning with the Lord's Prayer placed as being taught to them before they set out to Jerusalem - is used during the trip to Peraea across the Jordan. A very interesting example if the 'not a jot or tittle of the Law' which Luke also uses 'it is harder for the Law to pass away' or some such. Same text by a bit different and in a much later place. All the Sermon material is there (as I recall) but used in a different way. I think it is evidence for a 'Q' document.

Sorry to get off the thousands of witnesses, but I'm impressed that you saw the point and the implications. That passage does suggest that Matthew transported it in to add to his sermon with the crowd but the original 'Q' document was just teachings (Moses - like on a mountain and giving the New Commandments) given to his disciples. This is why I believe that redaction criticism can reveal a lot about the way the gospels were compiled and adapted, and that tells us a lot about how and why the gospels were written and by whom.

User avatar
Miles
Prodigy
Posts: 3353
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2009 4:19 pm
Has thanked: 256 times
Been thanked: 926 times

Re: Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #34

Post by Miles »

bjs1 wrote: Sun Dec 12, 2021 12:43 pm
JoeyKnothead wrote: Sat Dec 11, 2021 4:09 pm 2. Please offer some means to confirm there were hundreds, or thousands of witnesses to these alleged events.
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.
Acceptance is not confirmation.

2). Build a time machine.
Go to it. :approve:


.

TRANSPONDER
Guru
Posts: 2003
Joined: Thu Apr 29, 2021 8:05 am
Has thanked: 266 times
Been thanked: 950 times

Re: Hundreds, Thousands of Eyewitnesses

Post #35

Post by TRANSPONDER »

bjs1 is making an apologetic that has to be taken seriously.

'If you don't trust the Bible, how can you trust any other book?' Sometimes manifesting as 'prove that Julius Caesar/George Washington/Lincoln lived'.

The evaluation of historical record here is a tricky one. Many of them contain plainly mythical elements, or at least doubtful ones. When the Viking discovery of America was first suggested it was treated as a crackpot theory. Even when it was taken more seriously (more because people got used to the idea than there was any more evidence for it ;) ) there was not much evidence. Only a few disputed stones claimed to have Norse runes on. Now the Viking settlements have been found and so that matter is 'settled'. The matter of historical figures is easier. We have a lot of evidence to support Washington, and even Caesar though I'm foggy about the amount of supporting evidence.

The existence of Pilate was never doubted though the never -mentioned worry was that Josephus and Philo didn't match in detail though they portrayed him in the same character. But the inscription found at Caesarea was the 'Viking settlement' of Pilate. And if he was real, that Jesus was, right? Well, arguable.

What isn't arguable is that there is no extra - Biblical evidence for Jesus as anything more than a religion that people followed. Significantly, Philo says nothing about him and neither does Josephus IF one is persuaded that the Flavian testament is a forgery, and few would now deny that at least some of it has to be fraudulent. I also think the reference to James is a Christian gloss and Tacitus is only recounting the Christian claim, which in any case only reports the sort of death meted out to a failed zealot messiah who had a following even in Rome. Well...that was known because there was a 'Church' in Rome even before Paul wrote his letter to them.

So for me it's not so much about whether Jesus existed but if he did, can we trust what the Gospels say about him? That's where the test case of the Nativities come in. If they are demonstrably fictitious, then something else that looks equally discrepant is going to be doubted. The death of Judas is a good 2nd example and the resurrection accounts after that. So the question of the crowds that followed Jesus around trampling on each others' toes
is dubious simply because you'd expect him to get a mention in the histories of the time.

What I argue is that Gospel text analysis can show how the gospels were put together and edited. That's why it is important to understand that the Sermon was originally just to the disciples and not to the huge crowd, even though Luke dragged them into it. That's not to deny that the gospels all claim huge crowds, including Mark, but sometimes it is in contradictory contexts.

While the Bible apologist can weave it all together (the 'many other things' excuse to invent anything you like), gospel contradiction to extent of arguably being Fabrication (1) makes a lack of lack of 'clean hands' which becomes legitimate reason to doubt anything that looks a bit fishy, and the importing of huge crowds into the Sermon which (it seems) was (in the purported "Q" document) originally just to the disciples, makes this airy bussing in of a load of Extras to make a huge audience look historically questionable.

Which, together with the uncanny feeling that underneath the bold declarations of fame and a huge fanbase, Jesus' mission was actually small and secretive, might account for why Extra biblical historians know nothing about him, other than possibly Tacitus, who just says that Pilate crucified the one that 'Christians' were named for..

(1) e.g not a single parable in John and not a hint of John's sermon in the synopticss

Post Reply