If Jesus is to Make Appearance

Jan 2015
874
England
You ignore the sentence:

Matthew 24:34
Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled.

For many skeptics this is proof that Jesus (if historical) made a mistake with his apocalyptic prognosis, which makes his alleged sonship with God seem very questionable.
Jesus said that just after giving this illustration:

"Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen."

So 'this generation' clearly applies to the generation that would see the things he had just been telling them about (wars, pestilences, earthquakes, persecuting of Christians, and the message of the Kingdom being preached around the world). Otherwise, the illustration about the tree (which he explicitly connects his following comments to) would not make any sense.

When we see leaves growing on a new branch, we know that summer is near.
When we see all these things happen (wars, etc.), we would know that Jesus is 'near at the doors'.
'This generation' will not pass away until it takes place.

The whole point is about the closeness of Jesus' coming once his followers finally saw all those things he was describing actually happen.
 

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,144

tomar

Ad Honoris
Jan 2011
13,144
Jesus said that just after giving this illustration:

"Now learn this illustration from the fig tree: Just as soon as its young branch grows tender and sprouts its leaves, you know that summer is near. Likewise also you, when you see all these things, know that he is near at the doors. Truly I say to you that this generation will by no means pass away until all these things happen."

So 'this generation' clearly applies to the generation that would see the things he had just been telling them about (wars, pestilences, earthquakes, persecuting of Christians, and the message of the Kingdom being preached around the world). Otherwise, the illustration about the tree (which he explicitly connects his following comments to) would not make any sense.

When we see leaves growing on a new branch, we know that summer is near.
When we see all these things happen (wars, etc.), we would know that Jesus is 'near at the doors'.
'This generation' will not pass away until it takes place.

The whole point is about the closeness of Jesus' coming once his followers finally saw all those things he was describing actually happen.
The english version does not support this interpretation

When YOU see all these thing, know that he is near at the doors...

He is talking to specific people who are supposed to see these things

I say to YOU that THIS generation will by no means pass away etc...

these specific people are told that they will see these things and it will all happen for their generation....
 
Jan 2015
874
England
The english version does not support this interpretation

When YOU see all these thing, know that he is near at the doors...

He is talking to specific people who are supposed to see these things

I say to YOU that THIS generation will by no means pass away etc...

these specific people are told that they will see these things and it will all happen for their generation....
Well, if you read the rest of the chapter, you will see that he uses 'you' in a way which must apply to his followers in general, not to those three men to whom he was talking on that occasion.

"Then people will hand you over to tribulation and will kill you, and you will be hated by all the nations on account of my name."
 

holoow

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,737
Vilnius, Lithuania
The figure of Satan is quite problematic...

2 immediate problems:

If only an angel, not clear why an omnipotent God cant get rid of him ?
How could Satan "tempt" Jesus , if Jesus is God ?

Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
Matthew 4:1-11
No women's images in temptations? Very strange. From history of Christian asceticims one can assume that women are tool of Satan ( one influential early church writer called women 'devil's gateway' ). BTW, is Satan that stupid? How you can tempt God of the Universe with earthy kingdoms.

IC 1101.png
 
Nov 2016
587
Germany
Well, if you read the rest of the chapter, you will see that he uses 'you' in a way which must apply to his followers in general, not to those three men to whom he was talking on that occasion.
There are basically two possibilities to translate "generation" (Greek: genea) in this context: a generation in the sense of a people existing in a certain temporal interval (about 30 years), and generation in the sense of the people of Israel as a whole through all times of its existence. Those apologists who want to save 24:34 from embarrassment either assert the meaning "a future generation", or they interpret "generation" as the Jewish people as a whole and from its beginning.

The problem with the two latter interpretations is that Paul clearly talks of a present generation in his letter to Thessaloniki when he writes:

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

So if in one of Paul's Epistles, which are at the center of early Christianity and decisively shape it, the reappearance of Jesus is put into the lifetime of the presently living, this can only mean that Mt 24:34 is also to be understood as an expression of an imminent expectation, i.e. "this generation" is the generation currently living.

Furthermore, the interpretations "future generation" and "all Jews from the beginning" do not explain why some manuscripts of Mt do not contain the expression "this generation", whereas the interpretation "present generation" would explain this: the copyists have recognized the problem and simply omitted the sentence.
 
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May 2011
2,859
Rural Australia
Both Christianity and Islam appear to be "book religions" that feature fictional stories,
promulgated by the supreme victors of civil wars at the zenith of their military power.

False: making an assertion without the evidence to support the assertion and/or ignoring evidence that refutes an assertion: red flag for misleading or false argumentation.

There is zero evidence for the part of your assertion that they were "promulgated by the supreme victors of civil wars", at least in regard to Christianity, we are in no possession of any reliable evidence to support your assertions on this point.

I am not familiar enough with Islam to judge the veracity of your assertion in this regard.

Additionally, there is evidence of pre-Constantine biblical literature in regard to DP 24 as primary evidence that undercuts your assertions/theory. DP 24 continues to stand as solid archeological evidence. Per a scholar that you have referred to on occasion, Brent Nongbri, from his recently published book, God's Library, (RE: page 55 )about DP 24, aka P.Dura 10:

But we can say with confidence that this piece has a secure terminus ante quem of 256 CE.​
CLARIFICATION: Based on promulgation as to intimate initiation or creation based on your thesis that Constantine created Christianity.

I would support your assertion if your position has changed to recognize Christianity as not being invented by the victor or if you are saying here that the victor is promulgating an already existing doctrine/religion/set of beliefs.

To be clear, if you are saying that Constantine took an already existing doctrine or existing religious material (re: Christianity) and used it for his purposes then I would agree with your assertion.
Do you mean "kick-started" as in created or are you using it to mean using some religious material already in existence ?

Am I reading you correctly here ? I do not read "kick-started" as created, so, the victors, RE: Constantine, is using religious material already in existence.

The language you are using here has a different spin from that of your thesis.

Have you changed your position in regard to your thesis ?
In regard to my original comment, and irrespective of the truth value of my thesis, it is generally acknowledged that Constantine brought Christanity (as we know it) into political significance. (And ditto for the Islamic parallels) following his supreme victory in the "civil war" between the West and East of the Roman Empire. My comments also included the observation that the implementation of "monotheist book religions" was an efficient method of controlling the people across very large geographical areas of newly conquered territory. Both Islam and Christianity had the precedent of Sassanid Persia in which c.222 CE Ardashir established a centalised monotheistic state cult called Zoroastrianism and which included a "canonised holy writ" - the Avesta. The ruler did not need a legion of troops in each city. It was more efficient to have a canonised Holy Writ preserved by, and in possession of, a delegated person (priest, bishop, poobah, etc) who repesented the supreme warlord.

In regard to the pivotal role Constantine played in the implementation of Christianity, for example look at the statement made by Philip Davies:

RE: Did Jesus Exist?
Does this matter very much? After all, the rise and growth of Christianity can be examined and explained without the need to reconstruct a particular historical Jesus. The persistence of Christianity owes most, in fact, to Constantine, who opted for it as the imperial cult, and endowed it, creeds and fancy dress included, with imperial trappings.
Next to him, we should credit S/Paul [sic] and his missionary and literary efforts, and finally Jesus, in whose name all this was done, but who might not have wanted to answer for the consequences.​
[my formatting]​

Ifr you dont mind I will respond separately on the matter (especially DP24) of the thesis that we are dealing with a 4th century whole cloth "fabrication of the Christians"
 
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May 2011
2,859
Rural Australia
Additionally, there is evidence of pre-Constantine biblical literature in regard to DP 24 as primary evidence that undercuts your assertions/theory. DP 24 continues to stand as solid archeological evidence. Per a scholar that you have referred to on occasion, Brent Nongbri, from his recently published book, God's Library, (RE: page 55 )about DP 24, aka P.Dura 10:

But we can say with confidence that this piece has a secure terminus ante quem of 256 CE.​
It is my understanding that DP24 is classed as some form of "harmony gospel" similar to that attributed to Tatian
Diatessaron - Wikipedia

After more than a decade of searching for, identifying, and evaluating the evidence supporting the (unexamined?) postulate that Christianity existed before the 4th century, if I were to list all such evidence (i.e.that identified by other scholars and academics) sorted by a ranking of confidence concerning the DATE of the evidence, then DP24 would have to be listed first - at the top.

I will agree that many academics can and do say with confidence that this piece has a secure terminus ante quem of 256 CE.

Although I am not as confident on the security of the dating of DP24 as others, I have and will admit that I need to address this.
There are essentially two possibilties. These may be ascribed with a DRAFT ESTIMATE of probability as follows. Feel free to revise.

(1) DP 24 is actually provenanced from c.256 CE (85% probability?)

In this case my thesis is modified to acknowledge that there was a single "harmony type of gospel" in existence at the time that substantiates the existence of a story with elements similar to the four gospels, and which employed Greek abbreviations (nomina sacra). In a certain sense we could look at this as a type of Q document. The thesis would therefore follow that such a document came first, and the four gospel were derived from it, late, for example by Eusebius under mandate by Constantine. As to which historical figure is to be indentified with the character denoted by the Greek abbreviation "IS" in DP24, I have not yet been able to examine or determine. We could be looking at a story of the 2nd or even 3rd century.

(2) DP 24 is not actually provenanced from c.256 CE (15% probability?)

The converse is that DP24 is actually dated later, and was somehow introduced into the site at Dura Europos by some means or another, either in ancient times or modern. In this case the thesis does not require modification.


GENERAL: C14 Dating of the blank edges and spaces constituting DP24

This is the 21st century. C14 dating would tell us the date of DP24. I have not just been critical of DP24. I have pointed out that 21st century academic institutions (such as the British Library and many other institutes) should be routinely C14 dating all of these ancient manuscripts as a standard background task. Codex Sinaiticus and Alexandrinus are examples of important manuscripts that should be scientifically dated. At the moment they are dated by DOGMA. DP24 is I admit not being dated by dogma, but by sound archaeological principles, but the point about routine scientific dating of artefacts IMHO stands.


Final Comment

I believe that historians need to be able to deal with probabilities and possibilities. The world is not black and white but a billion shades of grey. The chances are that DP24 is provenanced from the 3rd century. But what does that really mean? It means that unless you ascribe absolute certainty (100%) to the claim, there will always remain a valid antithetical claim albeit with a small probability. How do we choose which of the antithetical pairs is true and which is false, and do we need to make such a decision given the circumstances? In these situations I think we have to consider both options. So I have. I hope that addresses some of your questions Cepheus.
 
Likes: Edratman
May 2011
2,859
Rural Australia
Have you changed your position in regard to your thesis ?
My position has not substantially changed. See above. It is critically dependent on the dating of DP24.

Current political events however allow me to try and present certain historical characters of the 4th century in a novel light. The Christian revolution of the 4th century, between Constantine and Theodoisus is not what it seems. A number of massive controversies erupted as a result of the appearance of Emperor Constantine's New Book.

One of these controversies was the reactionary appearance of "Other Jesus Stories" some of which read like Mills and Boone novels (eg: The Leucian Acts of the Apostles) while others read as repositories of esoteric wisdom (eg: Gospel of Thomas). Arius of Alexandria, who was subject to damnatio memoriae by Constantine for writing anti-Christian books has had his books destroyed. Or has he? I believe there is good reason to think that Arius was the author of at least some of these "Other Jesus Stories", but that the later Christian historians obliterated this historical fact. I also believe there is good reason to believe that Arius was not a Christian theologian, but rather he was a Platonic (Plotinic) theologian another historical fact that the later regime "corrected" in its process to harmonise and Christianise their world.

Another of the controversies happened much later when Emperor Julian weighed in to the discussion. Julian refers to the "fabrication of the Christians" but his three books were burnt.

I see merit in perceiving both Arius of Alexandria and the Emperor Julian as whistle blowers against the historical integrity of the Christian regime of their day.

My difficulties at present ...

However this opens the whole can of worms because of the implications that the Eastern (Greek) regime and the Western (Latin) regime harmonised a fabricated history of the heretics. They did that by making Arius a Christian and then by fabricating earlier authors such as Ireneus, Justin and Tertullian in issues including but not restricted to heresiology. They essentially claimed and documented (falsely) heretics before Arius. They claimed earlier authors for the "Other Jesus Stories", and fabricated the heresiology of Ireneus from 4th century heresiological authors and works such as the "Panarion" of Epiphanius. The Western regime boasted the support of Damasus who supported the "PETER WAS HERE" trade business in relics and bones. It also through Damasus boasted a prestigous Latin scriptoria oversighted by Jerome. The Eastern regime included the Cappadocians fathers, From WIKI - Basil the Great (330–379), who was bishop of Caesarea; Basil's younger brother Gregory of Nyssa (c. 335 – c. 395), who was bishop of Nyssa; and a close friend, Gregory of Nazianzus(329–389), who became Patriarch of Constantinople
 
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