Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Archeological Confirmation of Acts

Here.  Oh yeah, the guy's a Christian, so his arguments must be no good.

35 comments:

Papalinton said...

"Oh yeah, the guy's a Christian, so his arguments must be no good."

No, but you have to question his choice of bibliography given this article is about the archeology of the Book of Acts:


1. Tyndale publishes Christian fiction, nonfiction, children's books, and other resources,
2. Eerdmans Publishing Company is a religious publishing house based in Grand Rapids, Michigan
3. Baker Books. has a vision for building up the body of Christ through books that are relevant, intelligent, and engaging.
4. HVBC runs a small bookstore as a ministry of the church to provide great ... the bookstore carries resources from trusted publishers to help the church family.
5. Fortress Press has been a pioneer in religious scholarship.
6. Paternoster Press is a British Christian publishing house
7. Zondervan is an international Christian media and publishing company

Where are all the seminal archeology references?

planks length said...

Thanks for that, Victor - very interesting. Like I said (under a different topic), Acts just feels like a genuine history when you're reading it. Nice to know that there's more to that than just one's impressions.

BenYachov said...

Of course if any Atheist Archaeologists agree with any of his conclusions then the usual suspects will default to their "no true Atheist" meme.

It is tedious.

But what can you do? Gnus are intellectually and mentally inferior. They are to Atheism what Flat Earther's or neo-Geocentrists are to Christians.

Victor Reppert said...

Well, acceptance of the historical reliability of Scripture gives people a reason to become Christians. If someone concludes that the Scriptures are reliable, the people most likely to publish it are going to be Christian publishing houses. Why does the religious affiliation of the archaeologist affect the actual archaeology. It's either sound or it's not.

If there someone says an argument for theism is a good one, probably Prometheus won't publish it.

Papalinton said...

"Of course if any Atheist Archaeologists agree with any of his conclusions then the usual suspects will default to their "no true Atheist" meme.

It's not a matter of atheist archeology but rather which 'truth' is the real 'truth'. It's interesting that an archeologist from the end of the 19th century remains the seminal Apologetical guide on this matter.

While it seems reasonable to suggest the archeology of a region might be reflected in Acts, and indeed that archeology is consistent with the period the writer of Acts lived, the central issue that cannot be confirmed by the archeology:

"Historical accuracy
Main article: Historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles
The question of authorship is largely bound up with the one of the historical value of the contents. A key contested issue is the historicity of Luke's depiction of Paul. According to the majority viewpoint, Acts describes Paul differently from how he describes himself, both factually and theologically.[19] Acts seems to differ with Paul's letters on important issues, such as the Law, Paul's own apostleship, and his relation to the Jerusalem church.[20] Scholars generally prefer Paul's account over that in Acts.[21] Representing a traditional view, however, some scholars and historians view the book of Acts as being quite accurate and corroborated by archaeology, while agreeing with the Pauline epistles."


That is, the veracity of the historical content of Acts cannot be confirmed by archeology no matter how colourful Apologists seek to paint the relationship. The above quote makes pains to note that: Representing a traditional view, however, some scholars and historians view the book of Acts as being quite accurate and corroborated by archaeology, while agreeing with the Pauline epistles.

And it must also be noted:
"When Ramsay turned his attention to Paul's letters, most of which the critics dismissed as forgeries, he concluded that all thirteen New Testament letters that claimed to have been written by Paul were really his." Wiki
But we know that ain't correct, right?

DJC said...

Victor,


Well, acceptance of the historical reliability of Scripture gives people a reason to become Christians. If someone concludes that the Scriptures are reliable, the people most likely to publish it are going to be Christian publishing houses.


Acceptance of the validity of theories of biological evolution give people reason to become atheists. But if someone does peer-reviewed analysis, research and experimentation demonstrating validity of biological evolution, the people most likely to publish it are not going to be "atheist publishing houses" but scholarly journals.

Are scholarly journals now seen effectively as "atheist publishing houses" or does Christianity seem to be steadily abandoning the respectability of peer-reviewed journals?

oozzielionel said...

"does Christianity seem to be steadily abandoning the respectability of peer-reviewed journals?"

That may depend on whom you identify as your peers...

Steven Carr said...

Amazing! The author of Acts had heard of Athens!

Athens actually did exist! Amazing!

That's one in the eye for sceptics and their bizarre claims that if the Bible mentions Athens, then Athens did not exist because the Bible is fiction.

im-skeptical said...

Isn't it amazing what kind of 'evidence' they find convincing? The resurrection must be true because the bible says some people witnessed the risen Jesus. Yet they can find plenty of reasons to dis-believe anything an atheist says.

planks length said...

"The resurrection must be true because the bible says some people witnessed the risen Jesus."

That, plus the fact (as you and I have already discussed at length) no alternative explanation holds up to the slightest scrutiny. Every last one of them is less believable than to accept that the Resurrection occurred as literal, historical fact.

im-skeptical said...

"no alternative explanation holds up to the slightest scrutiny"

If you don't care to apply the slightest scrutiny to what you believe.

planks length said...

We've had this conversation before, and it was quite lengthy. Yet you remain unable to produce an alternative explanation that can't be shot more full of holes than a sieve. So once again, let's hear it. If not the literal truth, then what happened?

(And no links, please. Your own words, here on this website.)

im-skeptical said...

What happened? They dumped his body in a mass grave along with the rest of the crucified people. Someone claimed he was in a tomb, but nobody ever saw him there. Then, the tomb was seen to be empty.

planks length said...
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planks length said...
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planks length said...

A nice fairy tale, but it unfortunately fails to account for the continued belief by many thousands of Jews that Jesus was the Messiah. There were many would-be messiahs in His time, but in every single case, once they had been defeated by the Roman authorities, their followers quickly dispersed and the self-proclaimed messiah became nothing more than a footnote to history.

In. Every. Single. Case. Without exception.

Had Jesus not literally, physically rose from the dead and revealed Himself to many afterwards, He would today be no better known than Simon Bar Kokhba - a curiosity to history buffs and nothing more. In the 1st Century A.D., the surest way to show yourself to be a phony messiah would be to be executed by the Romans and dumped into a mass grave. This is not speculation. It is demonstrated fact.

And this is not some case of the Apostles somehow fooling themselves about what happened. Without clear and demonstrable evidence that He is indeed risen, their "movement" would have gone the way of all the others, even if they had somehow deceived themselves into believing something false. But there was such evidence. As Cleopas said near the end of Luke (ironically, to Jesus Himself), "Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?" You see, people knew.

No, the "body dumped in a mass grave" theory is one of the most easily debunked. You'll have to do much better than that.

On a side note, Pilate was well known to be a typical corrupt Roman official, and would have readily responded to Joseph of Arimathea's offer of a substantial bribe by allowing Jesus to be buried according to traditional Jewish custom. It is highly unlikely that he would have passed up such "low hanging fruit".

A second side note, when the religious authorities later attempted (quite strenuously) to silence Peter and the other Apostles, it would have been simplicity itself to just trot out the Roman soldiers who would have (in your account) "dumped" the body of Jesus, and put an end to the troublesome movement before it spread. Why didn't they? Because that's not what happened!

I could keep going, but that's already enough holes in your story to sink it beyond recovery.

im-skeptical said...

"No, the "body dumped in a mass grave" theory is one of the most easily debunked."

So go ahead and debunk it. So far, all I've heard is that people believed in the myth, so it must be true. That's it? Not very convincing (unless you are inclined to be convinced).

planks length said...

"So go ahead and debunk it."

I just did.

im-skeptical said...

Ok. To be fair, you did say a bit more than that. Let's take a look.

"There were many would-be messiahs in His time, but in every single case, once they had been defeated by the Roman authorities, their followers quickly dispersed and the self-proclaimed messiah became nothing more than a footnote to history."

So Jesus is one of many messiahs, and he happens to be one of the most successful. There has to be one who is more successful than the others. This is not an argument for the truth of the story.

"In. Every. Single. Case. Without exception."

Not true. There have been many such figures, with various degrees of success.

"Had Jesus not literally, physically rose from the dead and revealed Himself to many afterwards, He would today be no better known than Simon Bar Kokhba - a curiosity to history buffs and nothing more."

You can't claim to know history would have unfolded under different circumstances.

"In the 1st Century A.D., the surest way to show yourself to be a phony messiah would be to be executed by the Romans and dumped into a mass grave. This is not speculation. It is demonstrated fact."

How so? Your claim is that if Jesus had actually been buried in a mass grave, that would prove that he was nothing? The logic escapes me.

"Without clear and demonstrable evidence that He is indeed risen, their "movement" would have gone the way of all the others"

Again, you can't claim to know history would have unfolded under different circumstances. Furthermore, I haven't seen the evidence, and neither have you. All we have seen is a story in a book that is known to be edited and modified over the years.


So once again, your debunking fails as far as I'm concerned. And anyone with a skeptical attitude would agree.

planks length said...

"and he happens to be one of the most successful"

This merely demonstrates your total incomprehension of what it meant in the 1st Century to be a "messiah". Jesus was the least successful of all the supposed messiahs, yet all the quasi-successful ones are to a man dust under history's chariot wheels, while the complete and total failure, the carpenter from Nazareth who raised no armies, whose closest followers all fled the scene at the first sign of trouble (those that didn't outright betray Him), who was thoroughly quashed by the Romans with no trouble at all... He is the one we all remember today.

"Not true. There have been many such figures, with various degrees of success."

Absolutely true. Name one self-proclaimed messiah of that period whose movement survived his defeat by the Romans by more than a couple of years. ((crickets))

"You can't claim to know [how] history would have unfolded under different circumstances."

Point taken, but the evidence (you do like that word), in the form of what happened to all the others, supports my interpretation.

"The logic escapes me."

Most logic does. I agree with you there.

"Again, you can't claim to know history would have unfolded under different circumstances."

Again, the evidence supports my view.

im-skeptical said...

"Again, the evidence supports my view."

Isn't it amazing what kind of 'evidence' they find convincing? The resurrection must be true because the bible says some people witnessed the risen Jesus. Yet they can find plenty of reasons to dis-believe anything an atheist says.

im-skeptical said...

planks,

Please indulge me, if you will.

Explain the logic that is so evident to you but not to me. If Jesus was buried in a mass grave, that would prove that he wasn't divine? Sorry, I don't get it.

I know your belief is pinned on his rising from the dead, but what does it matter where they put his body?

planks length said...

"but what does it matter where they put his body"

It wouldn't. But the Gospel narratives are sufficiently reliable that we can confidently assert that Joseph of Arimathea bribed Pilate with a substantial sum of money to allow him to take possession of the body of the crucified Jesus, and place it in his own tomb. There are libraries of books that painstakingly go through the reasons why we can be assured of this. Might I recommend Pope Benedict's two and one half volume Jesus of Nazareth as possibly the best starting point?

im-skeptical said...

OK. I think I get it. It would be absurd to suggest that any historical situation might have occurred that doesn't agree with the bible, because that's not what the bible says.

This is the basis of the logic that leads you to believe the 'evidence' offered in the bible. It must be true because the bible says so.

'nuff said.

planks length said...

"OK. I think I get it. ... It must be true because the bible says so."

Why do you so consistently get things backwards? Your track record is truly amazing. That statement is so foolish and so wide of the mark as a characterization of my thought processes, that I truly believe you are making no attempt to understand. Why do you participate in dialogs on this site if you have no desire to deal with the persons you are actually conversing with instead of some imaginary strawman?

"It" may be considered true, not because "the Bible says so", but because objective, dispassionate research (we all know how much you admire that) has shown the various books of the New Testament to be faithful narratives of actual events, with nothing made up. (There appears to be considerable re-ordering and/or combining of various disparate events, but that is simply a matter of style and intent, and not of veracity.)

And by the way, the statement "the Bible says so" is like saying "the New York Public Library says so". You are aware that there is no such book as "the Bible", right? It is an anthology of 73 books by at least as many writers, written in dozens of differing literary styles and conventions, with widely varying purposes and intended audiences. It would make sense to say "First Corinthians says so" (or maybe even "Paul says so"), but to make sweeping generalizations about all 73 books in one, uncaveated phrase is just laziness.

im-skeptical said...

planks,

"because objective, dispassionate research (we all know how much you admire that) has shown the various books of the New Testament to be faithful narratives of actual events, with nothing made up."

This is news to me. What objective, dispassionate research has shown that a rotting corpse got up and spoke with people? The only ones I know of who have made such findings are neither objective nor dispassionate. They are theists who already believe this story, and they are intent on showing that the story is true.

“And by the way, the statement "the Bible says so" is like saying "the New York Public Library says so".”

With all due respect, the bible is not the New York Public Library. The library is a place where you can find well-sourced research material, corroborating information, and alternative viewpoints.

planks length said...

"The only ones I know of who have made such findings are neither objective nor dispassionate. They are theists"

Extremely interesting - and revealing. So according the Im-allegedly-skeptical, being a "theist" makes one automatically unobjective and biased. The corollary must then be, that to be objective and dispassionate one must be an atheist. What utter bunk! That's yet another statement of yours which makes you utterly unworthy of the title "skeptical".

I've got news for you. Some of the most ruthlessly objective authorities on the Scriptures are believers... who happen to be so because of their research into the Bible. You seem to think that there is only one acceptable outcome to objective analysis, and that is to agree with you! Has it ever occurred to you that you are the hopelessly biased party here?

You really need to change your moniker to "I-slavishly-and-unthinkingly-adhere-to-any-anti-God-idea-that's-floating-around-there". Or, if you prefer to maintain your brevity, you could just use "im-credulous". A more credulous (that's the opposite of skeptical, by the way) person than you cannot be found (at least on this website).

planks length said...

Damn typos! That should have read "So according to" in the first paragraph.

im-skeptical said...

planks,

Plenty of believers have made honest, objective examinations of the biblical stories. They are now atheists.

planks length said...

... and vice versa. So your comment about theist researchers not being objective remains bunk. And you remain im-gullible.

I'm sorry, but I can no longer address you as "im-skeptical" without my sides hurting too much from laughing. It is painfully evident to everyone except yourself that you exhibit none of the qualities of skepticism, and all of the qualities of slavish, unreflecting acceptance of whatever the gnu brigades lay out there for you.

im-skeptical said...

I'm sorry. A believer who examines the evidence with the goal of confirming his belief is not objective.

planks length said...

"A believer who examines the evidence with the goal of confirming his belief is not objective."

As you do when it comes to "blind, unguided" evolution.

im-skeptical said...

Evolution is not religion. It's science. It has plenty of evidence behind it. It it doesn't cause cognitive dissonance. I don't have to create a separate category of understanding (like "metaphysics") to accept it. It fits with what I understand. The arguments against it are unscientific. They don't fit with what I understand, and the evidence they cite is far too thin.

planks length said...

Thank you for proving my point.

im-skeptical said...

Your point being that as long as it's religion, you will believe whatever the bible says, regardless of the evidence.