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Luke as a modified version of Mark

excreationist

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I found this video to be entertaining and insightful....
[YOUTUBE]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=78bsM7RbK0A[/YOUTUBE]
Notes:
https://www.nonstampcollector.com/blog/footnotes-for-the-gospel-of-luke-the-alternative-facts-gospel

The headings for the notes:

  1. Mark as a source for Luke
  2. Copying errors
  3. Appealing to a Roman audience
  4. Pilate (Rome) presented as reasonable and just
  5. Different versions floating around
  6. Different portrayals of Jesus’ approach to his own death
  7. Christianity before Paul was a great deal more Jewish than it became after his ideological victory
  8. James, the brother of Jesus
  9. Altering the chronology of Mark
  10. A one-way journey out of Galilee
 

Lion IRC

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If you had a time machine and could go back and ask Luke/Lucius direct questions, how do you think he would answer;

1. Was Jesus scourged by the Romans? Probably yes or probably no? (Luke 23:22)
2. Why did the Jews take Jesus to Pilate? Didn't they have the ability to execute Jesus? (Luke 23:1)
3. If you were standing before Caesar would you deny his deity and instead confess Christ? In other words...when you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, how to will you defend yourself? By appeasing Rome? (Luke 12:12)
4. Did Pilate commit an abomination by mixing the blood of massacred Gallileeans with Jewish sacrificial offerings? Coz you seem to be the only Gospel writer who reports this extraordinarily anti-Roman accusation against Pilate. (Luke 13:1)
 

excreationist

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If you had a time machine and could go back and ask Luke/Lucius direct questions, how do you think he would answer;

1. Was Jesus scourged by the Romans? Probably yes or probably no? (Luke 23:22)
2. Why did the Jews take Jesus to Pilate? Didn't they have the ability to execute Jesus? (Luke 23:1)
3. If you were standing before Caesar would you deny his deity and instead confess Christ? In other words...when you are brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities, how to will you defend yourself? By appeasing Rome? (Luke 12:12)
4. Did Pilate commit an abomination by mixing the blood of massacred Gallileeans with Jewish sacrificial offerings? Coz you seem to be the only Gospel writer who reports this extraordinarily anti-Roman accusation against Pilate. (Luke 13:1)
I think most of the Bible isn't historical.... but based on the video he could say that those things probably happened even if he made it up....
 

excreationist

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Luke was not an eyewitness. He wrote about what he had heard.
I think Luke says that he carefully investigated the stories - not that he was there in the events.

In the video he just made up stuff to appeal to Romans more, etc. Though he pointed out that these changes could possibly be true (in theory).
 

Tigers!

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Luke was not an eyewitness. He wrote about what he had heard.
Luke never claimed to be an eye-witness. Yet that does not mean he is unreliable.

Most historians are not eye-eyewitness but we do not discount their writings because of that.
 

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Luke was not an eyewitness. He wrote about what he had heard.
Luke never claimed to be an eye-witness. Yet that does not mean he is unreliable.

Most historians are not eye-eyewitness but we do not discount their writings because of that.

The ancients didn't necessarily apply the same rigour as our historians. Plus Luke was a convert. Faith doesn't encourage critical examination of stories that are attractive to the believer. Bias can be a factor.
 

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Luke was not an eyewitness. He wrote about what he had heard.
Luke never claimed to be an eye-witness. Yet that does not mean he is unreliable.

Most historians are not eye-eyewitness but we do not discount their writings because of that.

The ancients didn't necessarily apply the same rigour as our historians. Plus Luke was a convert. Faith doesn't encourage critical examination of stories that are attractive to the believer. Bias can be a factor.
Sigh. Historian today are not immune to bias.

Do we discount all history because of possible bias?
 

DBT

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The ancients didn't necessarily apply the same rigour as our historians. Plus Luke was a convert. Faith doesn't encourage critical examination of stories that are attractive to the believer. Bias can be a factor.
Sigh. Historian today are not immune to bias.

Do we discount all history because of possible bias?

Individual historians may be prone to bias. Then other historians check the work and demolish it.

Did that happen at the time of Luke?
 

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Sir William Ramsey, said to be one of the greatest archeologists, was once a sceptic of Lukes writings. Eventually he changed his mind after a few decades, studying and investigating through his expertise of Archeology.

According to Sir Ramsey: “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.” ... “This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”
 

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Sir William Ramsey, said to be one of the greatest archeologists, was once a sceptic of Lukes writings. Eventually he changed his mind after a few decades, studying and investigating through his expertise of Archeology.

According to Sir Ramsey: “Luke’s history is unsurpassed in respect of its trustworthiness.” ... “This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians.”

I found him in Wikipedia under the spelling Ramsay. He died 80 years ago -- no telling what subsequent textual studies would've shown him. Wiki says that he considered all the Pauline letters in the NT to be correctly ascribed to Paul, a position that can be vigorously debated today. So he was a convinced Christian who found cities where the NT writers said they would be. Who would expect the opposite, that writers relating events or legends in Palestine would not know where cities were?
Luke has the long account of Mary's pregnancy and the Magnificat, and I think you have to be a lockstep believer to believe that her canticle is not a later invention to gild the story. Somehow she comes out with a poem which, who knows, 80 years later has been preserved and archived by the faithful. It's very much like the extended poetic metaphors in John, in which Jesus sounds nothing like the terse speaker of the synoptic gospels, doesn't share a single parable, and phrases his speech like a philosopher king. I know these objections don't mean squat to the faithful, but they are glaring to me.
 

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I think it's worth investigating.

I borrowed this excerpt from apologist called Josh McDowell. Yes I know, an apologist, but it's what he highlights that's important; some of the reasons why Sir Ramsay changed his mind:

Luke spoke of Philippi as a “part” or “district” of Macedonia. It was believed he erred because the Greek word meris did not mean “district.” Archaeological evidence unearthed showed, however, that “district” was the exact meaning of the Greek word meris that Luke had used.

Luke referred to Lysanias the Tetrarch of Abilene in his Gospel. Because the only known Lysanias to historians was killed in 36 B.C., Luke was thought to be in error. Then an inscription was found bearing the name of Lysanias the Tetrarch and dated between 14 and 29 A.D., just at the right time period.


Luke was thought to be wrong about the census taken at the time of Christ, because critics said there was no evidence of a census and that the governor called Quirinius was in power too late, 6 A.D., to be in his position at the time of Christ. They also stated that it was not required for the people to return to their birth homes. But archaeology showed that in fact these censuses were done regularly and that one was indeed taken at the time of Christ and, furthermore, that Quirinius was governor (or at least an administrator of some type, see footnote #5 below) a second time, in 7 B.C. They also found evidence on a papyrus document showing that during the censuses people were required to return to their own homes and countries.[4][5]

Luke referred to the Philippian officials as praetors, when some scholars thought the titles should be duumvirs, but archaeological finds showed that in fact praetors was the right title for the Roman magistrates of the colony.


Luke used the title politarchs for the Thessalonian officials, but since this title was not found in the classical literature Luke was again assumed to be wrong. Then several inscriptions were found that used the title politarchs, and five of them referred to Thessalonica.[6]

(footnote reference in link)

Archaeology proves Luke’s history in the Bible
https://thebiblecanbeproven.com/archaeology-proves-lukes-history-in-the-bible/

(Pardon me Ideologyhunter, its Ramsay)
 

Swammerdami

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Thank you to Learner, whose interesting and useful post gave me a new perspective on Luke.


My understanding is that the Gospels by Luke and Matthew each have three sources:
Luke = Mark + Q + specific_to_Luke
Matthew = Mark + Q + specific_to_Matthew​
Q is a very early source for which the main (only?) evidence is commonalities between Luke and Matthew.

Is there a reconstruction of "Q" on-line?
 

funinspace

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Thank you to Learner, whose interesting and useful post gave me a new perspective on Luke.


My understanding is that the Gospels by Luke and Matthew each have three sources:
Luke = Mark + Q + specific_to_Luke
Matthew = Mark + Q + specific_to_Matthew​
Q is a very early source for which the main (only?) evidence is commonalities between Luke and Matthew.

Is there a reconstruction of "Q" on-line?

I don't think you will find anything on "Q" beyond conjecture. It is simply a label placed on the assumed oral and maybe prior written material that is thought to have existed prior to any of the Gospels having been written. It is not a bad assumption, but that is all it really is, in order to explain the formation of the 4 Gospels within the cannon.

FWIW, I don't think Sir William Ramsay was ever a 'sceptic' of Christianity. He may have had some questions on historical accuracy of GoL, and later changed his mind on that. Josh McDowell is a cheap apologist hack, that was quite willing to distort information to suite his dogma. AFAIK, there is no evidence supporting the idea that a Roman censuses occurred where 'people were required to return to their own homes and countries'. Though I am going on memory from 15 or so years ago...
 

funinspace

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A good article on the whole purported census where people had to go back to their ancestral home, or the created notion that Joseph may have had property around Bethlehem (but somehow ended up in someone's barn...); and some other things brought up in this thread like Ramsey.
https://www.webpages.uidaho.edu/ngier/census.htm
Much has been said about Luke's excellence as an historian. Luke did indeed emulate the models of historical narrative which were current in his day. But to claim that Luke is a consummate historian by modern standards--as many evangelicals do--is a position which cannot be maintained. In a letter to me, F. F. Bruce concedes that conservative apologists have been too eager to declare Luke's inerrancy. So eager was W. M. Ramsey to prove Luke correct about the enrollment in Bethlehem that he, according to Bruce, "unwisely damaged his well-founded reputation as a very considerable scholar." In his Anchor Bible commentary Catholic scholar J. A. Fitzmyer lists other historical mistakes in Luke's writing and offers the most definitive argument against Ramsey's claims about the famous Christmas census.

There is no record of Caesar Augustus' decree that "all the world should be enrolled" (Lk. 2:1). The Romans kept extremely detailed records of such events. Not only is Luke's census not in these records, it goes against all that we know of Roman economic history. Roman documents show that taxation was done by the various governors at the provincial level. As we shall see later, the property tax was collected on site by travelling assessors, thus making unnecessary Joseph's journey away from what little property he must have owned. Gleason Archer quotes a census expert who claims, without documentation, that "every five years the Romans enumerated citizens and their property to determine their liabilities. This practice was extended to include the entire Roman Empire in 5 B.C.E."1 This goes against the fourteen-year cycle which Archer himself uses to argue that Quirinius was pulled from his busy duties in Asia Minor to do a Syrian census in 7 B.C.E., fourteen years earlier than the one recorded in Josephus and Acts 5:37.
<snip>
We can now understand why Jesus never mentions his birth in Bethlehem; and that, except for the birth stories, Jesus is always connected with Nazareth. The writer of John apparently does not know of Jesus' alleged birth in Bethlehem. Nathanael does not know it (7:46) and no one answers the challenge of the crowd when they say "Is the Christ to come from Galilee? Has not the scriptures said that the Christ...comes from Bethlehem?..." (7:42). In Evidence That Demands a Verdict evangelical Josh McDowell challenges skeptics to assess the evidence for the Christian faith. McDowell uses the mistranslated Vatican inscription and ascribes it to Quirinius without good scholarly reasons. He even cites the Egyptian papyrus above, but astonishingly enough implies that it required people to return to their ancestral homes.9 Concerning the birth stories of Jesus, the evidence demands this verdict: most of the details are legendary and Jesus was in all probability born in the Galilean town of Nazareth.
 

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Thank you to Learner, whose interesting and useful post gave me a new perspective on Luke.


My understanding is that the Gospels by Luke and Matthew each have three sources:
Luke = Mark + Q + specific_to_Luke
Matthew = Mark + Q + specific_to_Matthew​
Q is a very early source for which the main (only?) evidence is commonalities between Luke and Matthew.

Is there a reconstruction of "Q" on-line?

Cheers for that Sammerdami, indeed it's an interesting perspective. This particular aspect regarding Q, I myself haven't delved into ( being many other aspect areas), but now checking out a few things on Q (Quelle = source). It seems there isn't any Q reconstruction just as funninspace mentions. If there was in any case, Q would actually be opposed to the idea that the Apostles wrote the Gospels.

What Sir William Ramsay highlights about Luke is his independence as an intelligent individual, going about writing and reporting about relevant people and events.

Sir William Ramsay is an interesting fellow himself, and funny enough .. he was raised as an atheist! But I'm glad you notice the important parts (supposed errors of Luke) that shouldn't be dismissed just because it's presented by a theist or apologist like Josh McDowell et al.

Nice one!
 

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Sir William Ramsay is an interesting fellow himself, and funny enough .. he was raised as an atheist!
I'd really like to see a citation for him being atheist, and not just an apologist saying he was... (hint: good luck with that)

But I'm glad you notice the important parts (supposed errors of Luke) that shouldn't be dismissed just because it's presented by a theist or apologist like Josh McDowell et al.
Plenty of Christian theologians would disagree with McDowell's spin on details like the census, so it isn't 'just because' he's a theist...

C.S. Lewis called the Deluge a fairy tale, yet he is a beloved Christian by so many.
 

Learner

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Sir William Ramsay is an interesting fellow himself, and funny enough .. he was raised as an atheist!
I'd really like to see a citation for him being atheist, and not just an apologist saying he was... (hint: good luck with that)

That's a valid point. I automatically did what others have done... quote from wikipedia before doing some investigating.


But I'm glad you notice the important parts (supposed errors of Luke) that shouldn't be dismissed just because it's presented by a theist or apologist like Josh McDowell et al.
Plenty of Christian theologians would disagree with McDowell's spin on details like the census, so it isn't 'just because' he's a theist...

C.S. Lewis called the Deluge a fairy tale, yet he is a beloved Christian by so many.

I may not agree with McDowell entirely either which is a normal thing (not that I place myself as in the same league of theologians), but what he presented seems to be a known variety of "issues" regarding Luke, among scholarly circles. I would think that rather than McDowell that you place your focus on, Sir Ramsay IS the top expert here, which McDowell highlights.
 

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But I'm glad you notice the important parts (supposed errors of Luke) that shouldn't be dismissed just because it's presented by a theist or apologist like Josh McDowell et al.
Plenty of Christian theologians would disagree with McDowell's spin on details like the census, so it isn't 'just because' he's a theist...

C.S. Lewis called the Deluge a fairy tale, yet he is a beloved Christian by so many.

I may not agree with McDowell entirely either which is a normal thing (not that I place myself as in the same league of theologians), but what he presented seems to be a known variety of "issues" regarding Luke, among scholarly circles. I would think that rather than McDowell that you place your focus on, Sir Ramsay IS the top expert here, which McDowell highlights.

Ramsay was certainly a well respected archeologist in his time, but that was also well over a century ago. I don't think it can be said that "IS the top expert", not that he isn't an expert. I'm also not really sure what Ramsay has said on this topic as the site you linked talks a lot about what McDowell said. And McDowell or the site gets real blurry on exactly who says what. Anywho, I thought I'd make a few points against what this site says in general.

First, I'd like to quote from The New Oxford Annotated Bible; NRSV with the Apocrypha; An Ecumenical Study Bible; Copy right 2001. This is the opinion of a group of Christian theologians working with the best information available with their conclusions on the passage Luke 2:1-7.

From the notes on 2.1-7: "1. General censuses of Roman citizens are known from 28 BCE, 8 BCE, and 14 CE; but outside the New Testament this enrollment under Caesar Augustus is not attested. Casear Augustus reigned 27 BCE - 14 CE. His rule marked a time of peace, the pax Augusta, which caused the populace to hail him as lord and savior of the world. 2: Quirinius was at this time legate or commissioner of Augustus in a war against a rebellious tribe, the Homonadenses. As such he was a military governor of Syria, while civil administration was in the hands of Varus. It is possible that Quirinius was affiliated with Syria as a governmental authority on two different occasions, 6-4 BCE and 4-9 CE."

I'd like to bring up my 3 amigos: Possible, plausible, probable

It seems that there are 3 major issues:
1) Was there a census? I think at best on one can say this is possible, but not recorded in known history outside of Luke. See Oxford Bible reference above. With the level of Roman records we have, this doesn't seem to rate even as plausible.

2) Was Quirinius in charge? He was not. Luke is simply wrong. Is is possible he had some other title/role, that has been missed? Sure that is possible, but again not really that plausible. Again, see the Oxford Bible.

3) Was the a requirement to go to ancestral homes? Is this possible? Doesn't even seem logistically possible, but still in the realm of what if's, why not, as most anything is technically possible with silent evidence. The Egyptian reference below is firstly for Egypt, not the Empire. Secondly, it talks of returning to 'their homes' not 'their ancestral homes'. Thirdly, just how far removed was Joseph from any 'ancestral' family anchoring to Bethlehem? The answer of course is unknowable. But any census requiring people to migrate around to where their family had come from going back 50-500 years is simply ridiculous. It would be a nightmare in their day to consider such.

Another reference that goes into details on Egyptian papyrus's, dates, and governors, that comports to my general summary.
https://infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/luke_and_quirinius.html
"Last, in regard to the practices of enrollment, a papyrus found in Egypt gives directions for the conduct of a census.

"It reads: 'Because of the approaching census it is necessary that all those residing for any cause away from their homes should at once prepare to return to their own governments in order that they may complete the family registration of the enrollment and that the tilled lands may retain those belonging to them.'"

In totality, it seems one has to tie together 3 things that are best possible, but each are individually unlikely. The 3 together seem far less likely when linked together. The best argument seems to be that since we lack absolute proof that it didn't happen this way, Luke's version of this particular detail is still technically possible. Not much to hang one's hat on IMPOV...
 
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