The Bathroom Wall

With any tavern, one can expect that certain things that get said are out-of-place. But there is one place where almost any saying or scribble can find a home: the bathroom wall. This is where random thoughts and oddments that don’t follow the other entries at the Panda’s Thumb wind up. As with most bathroom walls, expect to sort through a lot of oyster guts before you locate any pearls of wisdom.

34006 Comments

There is a God!

And he is a plumber. The Bathroom has been flushed.

Thank you Reed.

Great!

Course, that still leaves what happens when the new plumbing acquires a big drip…

Wait, what am I saying?

Ingeborg Esbrandt said:

Hey, nice post :) - well, even though I came via Google searching for “justfaces spreadshirt” wondering why this post came up on top??? Greetings xoxo

Spammer alert!

To make one point about the previous thread. John Kwok wrote:

“Sorry Jim, but your invocation of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy is not helpful here. Incidentally there are many Muslims and Muslim Americans who oppose its construction, simply because they recognize that building it near Ground Zero is needlessly offensive to the families of the victims and the survivors of the 9/11 attack. Some of the most prominent critics - who are Muslim Americans - include Wall Street businessman Mansoor Ijaz (who tried to assist the Clinton administration in extraditing Osama bin Laden from the Sudan) and former United States Navy officer Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

[…]

If you are going to call Miss USA, a Muslim American, Rima Fakih, a bigot, then be my guest. Same is true for those two prominent Muslim Americans I had mentioned. Or other Muslim Americans who, like them, have spoken out against building the “Cordoba House” Islamic Center (Of course I am also against it, but am definitely not a bigot.).”

Unless YOU are a practicing Muslim your opposition to this cultural center is pure bigotry, so your saying that you’re “definitely not a bigot” is false. Your ruse of hiding behind the Muslim-Americans’ backs is the same as of the racists who think that using the n-word is OK because so many African-Americans use it. If you are a Muslim, well then, I find your views on the issue just silly, not bigoted.

Kris,

You can’t possibly know what I know.

mrg said:

DS said: Kris has certainly demonstrated that he doesn’t deserve anything more.

Actually, I was suggesting we all insult and abuse DH. If he wants to invite it, why not oblige?

We already tried that on Kris. You can only call someone an @$$hole, a bastard and crazy so many times before it gets tiresome. What’s the point of bashing me?

Kris has called me a liar for stating the obvious facts about him. We can all see what he has done, so why would he deny the stunts he has pulled? He is the one who invaded our space to attack the cause of the blog, yet he expects us to be tolerant and respectful of him no matter what he says? There is no law or principle I know that demands any such thing.

Kris said:

What you said about me is a complete lie. I didn’t start the insults and attacks. You and your asshole buddies here did. And trying to con FF with lies about me and that swill about respecting people you and they (“we”) don’t agree with is yet another one of your acts of deliberate dishonesty. You and most others here wouldn’t know what respect is if it hit you like a freight train going 60 miles per hour.

Since the statements you make about me are false, you’re a deliberate liar, according to your own standards for others. Of course your standards for yourself are completely different. How convenient for you.

The ONLY reason you and most others aren’t now viciously attacking FF is because she said she’s a woman. Even then, some of you have been pretty blunt to her, and especially rude before she said she’s a woman, even though she has been nice the whole time.

My questions to her are not an attack or a trap. They are sincere. You are grossly misrepresenting me and are just showing yourself to be the hypocritical, dishonest, delusional liar you are.

You are a seriously fucked up lunatic with delusions of godhood who needs a good ass kicking.

By the way, Mr. theological agnostic, unitarian, universalist, dis-honorable, bushido, liberal, un-scientific pseudo-skeptic, what are you going to add to or subtract from your self-created, self-serving, bogus religion tomorrow?

You just keep piling up your lies and hypocrisy Dale. You said “You do what you like, but I’m done with Kris for good.” yet you’re still bashing me and lying about me.

You also said you respect people with whom you disagree but then you say “I went after him anyway.” when you first saw me here. When I first came here I didn’t say anything that warranted you going after me.

Plus, you said you respect people with whom you disagree but then you say “I’d go after Ann Coulter if that bitch showed up here too.” So much for you respecting people you disagree with.

As usual the things you claim about yourself, and me, are false, which makes you a chronic LIAR, according to your standards for others.

You admit to slamming me a lot but of course you try to make it look like you’re a saint for doing so. Whether you or anyone else here ever accepts it or not, I’m just giving you and others shit back because you and/or they started it, either with me or someone else who didn’t or doesn’t deserve it.

I didn’t escalate the situation. You and your fellow, lying, arrogant hypocrites did.

It really cracks me up to see you guys acting exactly like some of the creationists you hate and condemn so much. You accuse and attack them for not listening and having closed minds, and for playing what you think are ridiculous games, but you do the same thing. Congratulations, you have become your enemy.

FODS

I haven’t lied about anything, you jackass! The simple fact is that you have invaded Panda’s Thumb and have been a disruptive force from the beginning and have played us like suckers. I’m not fooled by you and no one else is. Even if you were insulted by one or two people in the beginning, you could have ignored it and just responded to the ones who were being positive to you, like flowersfriend has been, but instead you started throwing shit at everyone who dared to reject your tactics. We insulted you because that seemed to be what you liked, but I get tired of that after a while. You don’t, appearantly.

If you seriously think you have made ANY positive contributions to this community here, you are even more delusional than most Creationists!

Dale Husband said: What’s the point of bashing me?

None whatsoever, but since any comments to a troll are going to produce nothing but bashing in response, that leads to what the point of the comments was.

John often fails to read for comprehension. A poor highschool education , no doubt.

Ghrom said:

To make one point about the previous thread. John Kwok wrote:

“Sorry Jim, but your invocation of the Ground Zero Mosque controversy is not helpful here. Incidentally there are many Muslims and Muslim Americans who oppose its construction, simply because they recognize that building it near Ground Zero is needlessly offensive to the families of the victims and the survivors of the 9/11 attack. Some of the most prominent critics - who are Muslim Americans - include Wall Street businessman Mansoor Ijaz (who tried to assist the Clinton administration in extraditing Osama bin Laden from the Sudan) and former United States Navy officer Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser.

[…]

If you are going to call Miss USA, a Muslim American, Rima Fakih, a bigot, then be my guest. Same is true for those two prominent Muslim Americans I had mentioned. Or other Muslim Americans who, like them, have spoken out against building the “Cordoba House” Islamic Center (Of course I am also against it, but am definitely not a bigot.).”

Unless YOU are a practicing Muslim your opposition to this cultural center is pure bigotry, so your saying that you’re “definitely not a bigot” is false. Your ruse of hiding behind the Muslim-Americans’ backs is the same as of the racists who think that using the n-word is OK because so many African-Americans use it. If you are a Muslim, well then, I find your views on the issue just silly, not bigoted.

Malchus said: A poor highschool education , no doubt.

Oh Bob, I can hear the howls now: “Set phasers to SLAUGHTER!”

Kris said:

Mike Elzinga said:

With a troll’s profile ready at hand, and with sufficient discipline on the part of the regulars, that could be cut to zero.

Profile ready at hand? What exactly does that mean Mike? Ready for what or whom? Do you have printed profiles of all the people you’ve labeled as trolls and hand them out to passersby on street corners? Or, do you create a profile file in your computer containing your intricate and exhaustive (LMAO!) calculations and determinations about each alleged troll and somehow send a copy of it to everyone on Earth to warn them of impending doom? Or, do you only dispense it to other regulars here who are able to contact you personally and who request a copy because they let you do their thinking for them?

Or, do you just think that your stupid ‘profiles’ actually matter, when in reality they actually don’t? Do you really believe that what happens on this website, or your asinine profiles, or what you do with them, matters one iota to the vast majority of the people on Earth? Get over yourself Mike.

Hey, if you have my profile handy, why don’t you post it here? I could use a good laugh.

Your “profile” is a person who needs attention and does not even try to get it by behaving in any consistent or coherent fashion. You are a manipulative jerk who takes ANY response from others and uses it as an excuse to attack. You bash us for not being tolerant enough of Creationists, while stating Creationist fallacies yourself. Then you turn around and deny being religious and question why certain others who are Creationist take their religion so seriously. Such strange behavior is pathological in the extreme.

Gee, this website seems VERY important to you, considering how much time you spend here.

You are either crazy or a fraud, Kris.

The fun thing about the BW is that the trolls either have to cave in and respond on the BW – which they don’t want to do – or pass up responding – which they REALLY don’t want to do.

Kris said:

Whatever you do, don’t even consider that when people come here and sincerely want to ask, discuss, debate, learn, and/or contribute in some way, that when they’re mercilessly insulted and attacked and erroneously lumped into your hated group of ID/creationists, they just might not like it and may fight back, and especially when they offer reasonable explanations of their words and the explanations (and the person) are ignored, misinterpreted, misrepresented, slammed, bashed, and ridiculed by you and the rest of the mindless haters here. Yeah, don’t even consider that for a second. You and the other haters and bashers here are way too perfect to have to consider such things. It’s never your fault.

Your track record is too well known here for us to consider that you are sincere about anything. You are even WORSE than the average Creationist troll because you keep going back and forth between acting non-religious and acting like a Creationist. You cannot be both, so you must be bullshitting us. Nobody here can take that seriously.

Expressed violent thoughts a number of times?? Yeah Mike, I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar, but I haven’t “expressed violent thoughts a number of times” in the way you’re implying. You’re the one who needs a psychiatrist, along with some others here. If you’re considered sane, I’d rather be considered crazy. And comparing me or anyone else you simply don’t agree with to a serial killer just helps show how paranoid and delusional you are.

If you don’t like being called a liar, stop being one. At least I have ALWAYS told the truth about YOU.

DH, a very minor issue here: the first part you cited above was addressed to me, and personally I find it amusing to watch such comments fall into a hole of resounding silence.

However, as far as the rest goes, carry on.

mrg said:

DH, a very minor issue here: the first part you cited above was addressed to me, and personally I find it amusing to watch such comments fall into a hole of resounding silence.

However, as far as the rest goes, carry on.

Oh, did you want to answer him here first? Be my guest. But I figured I’d just make a note of ANY inappropriate thing Kris says elsewhere and post it here, answer it here, and wait for Kris to take the hint and stop attacking us everywhere else and just slam people here.

Dale Husband said: Oh, did you want to answer him here first? Be my guest.

Why would I want to do that? But if my own rejoinder is indifference, I can at least politely ask that the effect not be spoiled.

Kris threatens: “I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar,…”

Lotsa bluster; everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

Mike Elzinga said: … everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

AARGH! I am so outa here!

Kris said:

Mike Elzinga said:

mrg said:

Serial killers are maybe a bit much of a comparison.

The point was the sociopathic needs of such an individual. This troll has expressed violent thoughts a number of times. But a psychiatrist would have a better handle on this that I.

I think people like attention; it’s just a question of what kind of attention. When I was the factory contact guy in my corporate life, a colleague in marketing told me that it was true I put up with a lot of abuse – I did – but added: “People thank you sometimes.”

And they did. I get thanks on occasion for my current efforts as well – not often, and maybe thanks aren’t the be-all and end-all of the effort … but on the other side of the coin, if nobody ever thanks me, what reason would I have to honestly believe what I was doing actually did anyone good?

Now take the negative mentalities that show up here … does anyone ever thank them for what they’re doing? It’s obvious it never happens, and just as obvious that they haven’t any expectation that it will.

They still want attention, and lacking any concept that they will ever be praised, they have no alternative but to be disruptive. If one cannot build, then they can only take satisfaction in destruction.

Yeah; you are pointing out common desires that nearly everyone has. But sociopaths also know this and manipulate these.

But I suspect most of us can simply walk away from these kinds of manipulations when we have other things to do that are satisfying; and I suspect most of the moderators here on PT do in fact have other things vying for their attention.

Hell, I’m retired and I can’t get through everything I want to get through in a week. The only reason I even show up here is that the PT topics are often very interesting, and I have a high speed connection that allows me to look in from time to time when I happen to be working on my computer. So most of the time I’m multitasking up a storm when I’m here.

Expressed violent thoughts a number of times?? Yeah Mike, I would thoroughly enjoy kicking your ass and the asses of anyone else who has called me a liar, but I haven’t “expressed violent thoughts a number of times” in the way you’re implying. You’re the one who needs a psychiatrist, along with some others here. If you’re considered sane, I’d rather be considered crazy. And comparing me or anyone else you simply don’t agree with to a serial killer just helps show how paranoid and delusional you are.

Whew! Glad I never called Kris a liar. I only called him a coward and a bully.

Mike Elzinga said: Lotsa bluster; everybody’s collective asses are exposed right here.

So it’s like “one of these days Alice, POW! To the mooning”?

Another collection of Kris’ delusional rants.

Kris said:

And of course your insulting comments, and the insulting comments by the other hypocrites here, don’t violate any of those rules you posted, eh?

Apparently, all that matters here is that any insults have to be aimed at creationists or anyone who doesn’t blindly and viciously attack them right along with you guys/gals.

Giving you back your own shit isn’t allowed. Questioning you isn’t allowed. Having a mind of my own isn’t allowed. Calling you on your bullshit isn’t allowed. Anything less than total devotion and obedience to you and your creationist hating ‘cause’ isn’t allowed. Hypocrisy, by you and your cohorts, is allowed, and encouraged.

Kris said:

And of course you and others going on and on about “trolls”, and repeatedly posting “DNFTT”, isn’t “SPAM”. Yeah, whatever.

Why do you think that a “dissenter” is automatically a “troll”? You’ve said you’re a Christian. Would your Christian God approve of your insulting, hypocritical, hateful behavior?

Kris said:

Maybe, just maybe the moderators are getting wise to the hypocrisy and other bullshit you and others are guilty of.

Now STFU spamming troll.

How do you like your own shit thrown back at you?

Panda’s Thumb is a blog made for defending evolution and promoting proper science education, and since Kris was the one who invaded the blog to spew both Creationist arguments that we were expected to “tolerate” (like we are supposed to tolerate falsehoods?) and then claim to be non-religious at other times, why shouldn’t we regard him as unwelcome, inconsistent and disruptive? Why shouldn’t we treat him like he is the enemy, when that’s all he has ever acted like since he arrived here?

An example of hypocrisy would be us invading and attacking ID promoters on Uncommon Descent. I’ve never done that, and never will. Maybe Kris can go over there and drive the ID people crazy for a while, to prove to us once and for all that he is an equal-opportunity critic, and not a bigoted Creationist concern troll.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/

Kris the creationist wrote:

“If, however, “descent with modification” is defined as showing that speciation (evolution) occurs and/or occurred, then that’s a different ballgame, and requires greater evidence. While a lot of evidence points to a persuasive probability that descent with modification, including divergence/speciation, occurred throughout(?) the history of life, there’s a lot more work to do to before it can reasonably be said that it has been established close to 100%, and I’m not sure it can be reasonably said that it can be established ‘empirically’. Many inferences have been and have to be made, and inferences are a matter of opinion.”

This is of course incorrect. I already posted a link to a web page entitled:

29+ Evidences for Macroevolution

If Kris wants to discuss the point, he can do so here. Maybe someone will want to discuss it with him. Unless of course he is just plain chicken shit.

DS said: Kris the creationist wrote:

You might just leave a short bland note on the original thread to invite him to come to the BW for discussion. He’ll ignore it, of course, but that works too.

Yawn.

(Bored.)

All the spamming at The Immune System Cross-examination Still Burns, and other forums, is very unChristlike, don’t you think?

Makes you wonder if these anti-science creation-supporters are Christians? (Never known a real creationist who wasn’t.)

It’s funny how trolls stubbornly resist being prodded to direct their comments to the BW. They know that once they do, they don’t have any real nuisance value any more: “What’s the point of trolling, then?”

Kris huffs and puffs and squeaks “What are you afraid of?” hiding behind his mommy’s apron. Afraid to mix it up on the big kid’s playground, he’ll sit in the sandbox and cry.

Poor widdle Kwis! Mean old scientists call you out on your stupid shit? Maybe if we ignore the little wanker he’ll go back into the closet and play with himself.

Geeze, I’m beginning to miss FL! I tell you, the neighborhood is going to hell.

I knew the asshole was chicken shit. All he haas to do is come here and provide a better explanation for the 29 different independent data sets that are all consistent with common descent. Until he does, I guess he will just be someone who believes in evolution but not in common descent. Yea right.

Everyone should remember, he had his chance to discuss science, he chose to quote mine and insult instead. He can cry all he wants to now, but everyone is wise to his crap.

Dave Luckett said:

Black-and-white thinking is everywhere, it seems. If not miracles, then nothing.

It does not follow that because there is evidence for fanciful elaboration, that therefore it was all false. There’s too many touchstones of reality about the basic events of the Gospels to completely dismiss them as historical record. There was a Roman governor called Pilate, and another in Syria called Quirinius, Kings called Herod (the Great and Antipas), a census at about the right time, a pool in Jerusalem where and as described, a temple and a temple hierarchy, villages called Cana, Chorazin and Bethsaida, a historical emnity between Samaritans and Hebrews, sicarii like Judas… it goes on.

I could write a novel with Hitler, Himmler, FDR, Churchill and a lot of other well documented characters, I don’t see the use of proper names evidence of anything excpet that someboy used the names in their writings.

The supernatural events, the miracles, the Godhead of Jesus, the resurrection and the entire superstructure of redemption and the trinity - yes, those I reject. They’re beyond all verifiable reality. To convince me that those are or were real, you’d have to provide me with extraordinary evidence, and the Gospels are not that.

But I know there were claimants to the Messiahship, and that they were killed. I see evidence in the Gospels for an earlier source in Aramaic. I see the evidence for Aramaic verse-forms in the Beatitudes, and I understand that somebody spoke these earlier than the Gospels’ Greek, in that language. I can place many other sayings of Jesus firmly into Jewish tradition and thought. I don’t have to stretch belief at all to hold that there was such a Galilean holy man, and the fact that these sayings existed in the day demonstrates that someone said the words. Why not Yeshu bin Yussuf? Why does he, the man himself, have to be relegated to myth?

Since the same words had already been in use much earlier than the alleged time of Jesus, what do they tell? There may of course have been any number of people using the same words at the time.

What is the least hypothesis? That a number of different sources converged on a complete fabrication, or that they had a starting point from which they diverged? The former is hardly to be distinguished from conspiracy theory; the latter is the common experience of all narrative historical sources.

Legend, as I remarked, is everywhere - but I also defined legend. It is fanciful elaboration, interpolation and extrapolation from a base source. Arthur, King of Britain, never existed - but there’s reason to believe that a successful Romano-British war leader did. Count Roland of Roncesvalles turns out to be a grubby border raider, no hero of chivalry - but he existed. George Washington didn’t cut down the cherry tree, but he was no liar, all the same.

Why is it so hard to believe that the same process was applied to the life of Jesus?

I repeat my suggestion of reading what John Allegro wrote i his reappraisal of th Dead Sea Scrolls. I believe it is very relevant to any debate wrt the character of Jesus.

I also want to draw attention to “The Secret Gospel” by Prof. Morton Smith. Especially the mention of

Mark 14:48 – 52:

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me? I was daily with you in the temple teaching, and ye took me not: but the scriptures must be fulfilled. And they all forsook him, and fled. And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.

According to Prof. Smith, that had something with a secret, nightly initiation to do.

Interesting, Although I find Prof. Smith’s speculation about the possible contents of the initiation rather farfetched.

I have found it interesting to note that in the Acts of Thomas, 26 - 27, we find a nocturnal initiation that to me looks like it might have something in common with what Prof. Smith wrote. It is not too different from what I’ve heard has been practiced even in our own time.

Rolf said:

I could write a novel with Hitler, Himmler, FDR, Churchill and a lot of other well documented characters, I don’t see the use of proper names evidence of anything excpet that someboy used the names in their writings.

One, sure you could use the names of historical figures in a novel. You’ve been brought up in the presence of the realistic historical novel. You know it as a genre. But that genre didn’t exist in the first century CE. So, to your assumption that it’s all an invention, you add the further assumption that someone invented that genre as well, but that it then submerged, to reappear about 1720 CE. I really don’t think so.

Two, proper names of characters is not the only data I quoted, and the data that I did quote - Samaritans and Hebrews, Judas’s nickname, place-names, customs, the pool in Jerusalem (all knowledge of it was lost until the twentieth century) and so on - is real and verifiable, not like details surrounding other fantastic tales like those of Arthur or Roland. And even the legends of Arthur and of Roland, numinous and exaggerated as they are, have some real core to them.

You say that other figures might have been saying the same things at the time, or earlier. Well, yeah. Somebody said these things at the time, and the internal evidence is that at least some of them were said originally in Aramaic. Why not by Jesus of Nazareth, Yeshu bin Yussuf? If others could have said them, why not him?

Sure, sure, it could all have been made up from whole cloth, out of a sort of collective fictionalising groupthink. Stranger things have happened. Nothing is certain, and nobody knows that better than me. But I don’t think it’s the way to bet.

I think the way to bet is that there was a Galilean holy man of that name, who was sufficiently misguided to make a public claim to be the Messiah, and who might have become a serious problem, so the Romans killed him in the manner prescribed for potential rebels, with the connivance and approval of the Jewish temple hierarchy, who saw him as a threat to themselves, as well - and possibly to civil order, to boot.

I see nothing in this interpretation to stretch credulity in the slightest. Not only could it have happened, I can show evidence that it did happen, to others. On the other hand, I find the contention that none of this happened at all, and the very existence of such a person was fabricated, to be a far less credible account of the known facts.

Dave Luckett said:

One, sure you could use the names of historical figures in a novel. You’ve been brought up in the presence of the realistic historical novel. You know it as a genre. But that genre didn’t exist in the first century CE.

There are certainly tales in Biblical literature that use real places and real people in imaginative literature. There are a couple in the Apocrypha, but I would point to the Book of Esther as something like a historical novel, and the Book of Jonah as short story. Or one can point out the use of real places in the Illiad and the Odyssey.

The idea of there being something like a dichotomist was not just my imagination made me turn to my friend Google for help and indeed, there he was:

Dichotomist

Case settled.

Tom S said:

There are certainly tales in Biblical literature that use real places and real people in imaginative literature. There are a couple in the Apocrypha, but I would point to the Book of Esther as something like a historical novel, and the Book of Jonah as short story. Or one can point out the use of real places in the Illiad and the Odyssey.

I rather doubt that. Are any of the stories you quoted both realistic AND discernably fictional historical narratives? Do they quote the names of real, known, historical people that are found in other sources, or give details of real identifiable places? I would suggest not. Where they name places at all, they are just names, not geographical descriptions. I would suggest that the intent is not to give a fictional treatment that reads like real history, but to tell folk-tales and legend. These are mythic stories that read like mythic stories. The Gospels simply do not read that way.

In the case of the Homeric poems, the genre is legend, as I defined it - an enormous elaboration, fantasm and hyperbole of what may well be a core of fact. That process can also be seen operating in the Gospels, but in the Homeric poems it has gone much further, eroding details, blurring, fantasizing. Consider the interesting case of the strait between Scylla and Charybdis in the Odyssey, now usually identified with the straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily. Messina exists, and it’s dangerous to small sailing vessels, but there are no details in the text that would actually define it, nor is it named by Homer.

(It should be remembered that the usual dating for Homer would put the earliest parts of the poems (the famous Catalogue of Ships in Iliad chapter 2) at least three hundred or more years after the events they describe, while the earliest Gospels are not more than a generation or two after theirs. Not surprising, in that case, that the process went much further in Homer.)

These stories simply doesn’t read like, for example, the account in John 5, where specific details of a specific place are given, and none of them have anything like Luke’s attempts - fallacious as they are - to precisely date the stories he tells. Look, for example, at the opening of Luke 3. These simply are not the words of someone who thinks he is telling a yarn, or a fantasy, or is creating myth. Either these writers have invented a completely novel genre - realist historical fiction - or else they think that they are stating fact. Certainly there is mythologising going on, but I think the way to bet is that something is at the heart of it - something that actually happened.

Dave Luckett said:

Tom S said:

There are certainly tales in Biblical literature that use real places and real people in imaginative literature. There are a couple in the Apocrypha, but I would point to the Book of Esther as something like a historical novel, and the Book of Jonah as short story. Or one can point out the use of real places in the Illiad and the Odyssey.

I rather doubt that. Are any of the stories you quoted both realistic AND discernably fictional historical narratives? Do they quote the names of real, known, historical people that are found in other sources, or give details of real identifiable places? I would suggest not. Where they name places at all, they are just names, not geographical descriptions. I would suggest that the intent is not to give a fictional treatment that reads like real history, but to tell folk-tales and legend. These are mythic stories that read like mythic stories. The Gospels simply do not read that way.

In the case of the Homeric poems, the genre is legend, as I defined it - an enormous elaboration, fantasm and hyperbole of what may well be a core of fact. That process can also be seen operating in the Gospels, but in the Homeric poems it has gone much further, eroding details, blurring, fantasizing. Consider the interesting case of the strait between Scylla and Charybdis in the Odyssey, now usually identified with the straits of Messina between Italy and Sicily. Messina exists, and it’s dangerous to small sailing vessels, but there are no details in the text that would actually define it, nor is it named by Homer.

(It should be remembered that the usual dating for Homer would put the earliest parts of the poems (the famous Catalogue of Ships in Iliad chapter 2) at least three hundred or more years after the events they describe, while the earliest Gospels are not more than a generation or two after theirs. Not surprising, in that case, that the process went much further in Homer.)

These stories simply doesn’t read like, for example, the account in John 5, where specific details of a specific place are given, and none of them have anything like Luke’s attempts - fallacious as they are - to precisely date the stories he tells. Look, for example, at the opening of Luke 3. These simply are not the words of someone who thinks he is telling a yarn, or a fantasy, or is creating myth. Either these writers have invented a completely novel genre - realist historical fiction - or else they think that they are stating fact. Certainly there is mythologising going on, but I think the way to bet is that something is at the heart of it - something that actually happened.

The Book of Esther begins by naming “Ahuasuras” king of Persia, and most people see that a rendering into Hebrew the name of Xerxes I.

Wikipedia says of the genre of the Book of Judith:

“Most contemporary exegetes, such as Biblical scholar Gianfranco Card. Ravasi, generally tend to ascribe Judith to one of several contemporaneous literary genre, reading it as an extended parable in the form of a historical fiction, or a propaganda literary work from the days of the Seleucid oppression.”, among other ideas.

I have no interest in arguing the status of the Gospels. I am only suggesting that the concept of a historical fiction was not wholly alien to the ancient world, even if it had not had developed as far as “Gone With the Wind” or “War and Peace”.

I’ll give you the Book of Judith. You’re right about that; it’s a historical novel, and realistic fiction, both. It’s pretty plain that its writer knew he was writing fiction, and it shows conscious irony - certainly a mark of composed narrative.

Very well, there were such things as consciously fictional narratives set in the past, and possibly one might describe some of them as realistic by intent. For me - I understand, not for you - the question is, do the Gospels fall into the same category?

If they are in that category, they go much further into the realms of realism than the stories of Judith or Esther. Apart from the (possible) identification of “Ahaseurus” with Xerxes, there’s hardly an identifiable historical or geographical detail in Esther at all; Judith, while realistic, makes many obvious mistakes about geography and history, far worse than Luke’s botched dating - Nebuchadnezzar is said to be King of Assyria, and his capital is put at Nineveh, for instance.

Me, I think that there’s enough in the Gospels to conclude that they partake of actual reality. And they were immediately taken as being accounts of real events. I’m pretty certain that Esther and Judith were always taken as being stories.

Dave Luckett said:

I’m pretty certain that Esther and Judith were always taken as being stories…

…among intelligent, objective readers.

Don’t forget the rise of YEC in the past century and their investment in “100% biblical literality and historical factuality” – to the ridiculous extent that even Job must be defended as historical events.

Just Bob said:

Dave Luckett said:

I’m pretty certain that Esther and Judith were always taken as being stories…

…among intelligent, objective readers.

Don’t forget the rise of YEC in the past century and their investment in “100% biblical literality and historical factuality” – to the ridiculous extent that even Job must be defended as historical events.

Job. Right. But what he and his two daughters did after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:32-36) is swept under the carpet. No awkward defense is necessary.

Now, that is what you might call considering the Bible stories as a job lot.

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Have the soup, give the cook a chance to clean up the kitchen

Dave Luckett said:

Now, that is what you might call considering the Bible stories as a job lot.

Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Have the soup, give the cook a chance to clean up the kitchen

Sometimes I wish PT had a “Like” button similar to the one in Facebook.

gnome de net said:

Just Bob said:

Dave Luckett said:

I’m pretty certain that Esther and Judith were always taken as being stories…

…among intelligent, objective readers.

Don’t forget the rise of YEC in the past century and their investment in “100% biblical literality and historical factuality” – to the ridiculous extent that even Job must be defended as historical events.

Job. Right. But what he and his two daughters did after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:32-36) is swept under the carpet. No awkward defense is necessary.

You’re thinking of Lot, the character in the Sodom and Gomorrah stories. Job is the one who bears all that happens to him.

Esther is a peculiar case in the Bible: There is no mention of God (in the Hebrew - but there are in the “additions” in Greek version, and the Apocrypha).

phhht said:

Tarred with the Epithet Loony: An Intermittent Series

Love thy neighbor as yourself. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Do not covet thy neighbor’s ass. These are the ethical foundations of any good swinger’s lifestyle.

If you like Jesus, pumping iron and pumping/getting pumped by acquaintances bound by holy matrimony, there’s a website just for you.

It’s called Fitness Swingers, and it’s the brainchild of Cristy Parave and her husband, Dean, who dreamed up the site after reportedly having a threesome with this wife and her female friend. Apparently, the sex was just heavenly.

The Florida couple, who met at a bodybuilding competition, are interested in sharing their beliefs and their spouses with others who feel similarly. They started their online network 7 years ago, and haven’t looked back. The pillars of their relationship: A commitment to their faith, to fitness, and to the ideals of the swinger lifestyle.

Dean Parave told Barcroft Media that he doesn’t think that his swinger lifestyle conflicts with his Christian beliefs. In fact, he considers it a kind of ministry.

“So far today, God hasn’t told me, ‘Dean stop that, it’s a sin. I don’t want you to do that.’ Until he does that, I’m going to keep trying to help as many people as I can,” he told Barcroft.

Christy said she needed a little convincing that it was moral at first, but now she’s totally convinced that god is on their side.

“God put people on the Earth to breed and enjoy each other,” she told Barcroft. “I feel God is always with me and he has put us here for a reason.”

HuffPo

These are the kinds of christians i can get behind.…well, her anyway.

TomS said:

You’re thinking of Lot, the character in the Sodom and Gomorrah stories. Job is the one who bears all that happens to him.

Aaarghhh!! (Well, they both have three-letter names with an “O” in the middle.)

Lot is the one whose wife got a salted.

[undisguised effort to change the subject]

A pertinent post at Friendly Atheist:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friend[…]t-the-bible/

The take-away quote: “…much of the Bible is an interplay of human agendas which often conflicted with one another.”

[/undisguised effort to change the subject]

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