Saturday, September 23, 2017

... on Rachel's Take on Biddle, Part 1 Video

Part 1: Is The Bible Reliable? 'Genesis As History'
Rachel Oates | added / Ajoutée le 21 sept. 2017

2:20 Difference from Quran.

Bible is a collection of 73 books (Daniel Biddle recognises 66, some Orthodox recognise a few more than we Catholics).

The 66 books would have 40 different authors, some of them also intermediate authors before the final one, because they stretch over too much history to work otherwise. Even in non-historic ones, some parts have been added later than others, Psalms are typically by King David, but psalm 137 is clearly from Babylonian captivity, hundreds of years later.

So, it is more impressive for 40 human authors to receive what can be considered as one divine revelation over several media, like collective history, like personal revelations in dreams, like personal revelation by dictation, and still all 40 or more authors agree between them, than for one man to have a revelation and it is consistent.

Suppose the Quran is consistent (there are people saying it contradicts itself wildly, but let us not overdo it) that means either God spoke to Mohammed consisitently, or a devil did, or he invented consistently.

But with 40 different men, and with a devil continually adapting his lies to different circumstances, you can forget the theory of 40 men inventing revelation with full consistency and you can also consider the Devil would be hard put to readapt lies contrary to the ones he was using then and there, over and over again. Lies aren't all that useful. Without human inventors and without the Devil being able to do the work, that leaves God.

If you want to compare the Quran to anything in the Bible, it reads (the little I have read) as a mixture of Isaiah and Psalms - there is no history in it, except glimpses. Muslims know their history, not from the Quran, but from Hadiths and Sunnah - much of which is taken over from Christian and Jewish sources.

This means, the Quran doesn't have a trouble of consistent historiography, because it is not doing any continuous historiography. It also means that when Wahhabis copy Protestant "Bible alone" to "Quran alone", the Wahhabis can't prove Young Earth creationism from their criterium. I am fairly widely, if not well, known by Muslims in the Paris region, and was more so when going to George Pompidou library. I have met Muslims who knowing I am a young earth creationist blogger have criticised me for that, as if my criterium were to be judged by theirs, a Quran which has nothing to say on the subject.

As the Quran makes very little historic claims, and as Muslims are very wary about taking history too seriously, it is a bit difficult for a Muslim to ditch the Quran due to its ahistoricity.

The Bible, by contrast, makes historic claims, and some guys are ditching it because they believe it is incorrect on them.

2:28 Both involve rules, both are considered holy texts by their adherents.

Perhaps both claim to be different from any other book too - but there are only so many right religions, namely one, and there are fairly many wrong ones, so only one of these books could be right in the claim.

What Biddle has so far said is still consistent with the Bible being wrong in the claim : he is introducing why he is putting it to some kind of test, isn't he?

2:32 If by fiction you mean stories, I don't think you will find too much of that in the Quran.

It is a claim on precisely ONE man receiving and being supported by other men HAVING received a revelation from God. How do we know what Jesus or Moses thought about the matter?

Oh, Mohammed gets a revelation, which tells us what Jesus or Moses said. It didn't occur to him (or did it?) to actually check books older than his own revelation and see what Moses is supposed to have written himself or what Jesus is supposed to have said according to His disciples, no, Mohammed's revelation trumps all that.

Guess where a lot of scepticism on Gospels come from ... and yes, the West has been in contact with Muslims fairly intensely at times, since the first Crusade, in 1089 [1095, sorry].

2:41 Obviously, the claim that the Bible is (through at least 40 different people using different methods, some clearly simply normal historiography, as applied by a religious believer not excluding miracles) also does involve that armed force is sometimes right and homosexual acts are wrong.

But I thought you were giving the Bible the benefit of the doubt, weren't you?

Will you at least go to Daniel [Biddle] for the answer?

2:59 The start of the chapter was more like, what is the challenge, what does Daniel need to prove.

Seeing your reaction, it seems he took a mouthful ... and I think he knows it.

3:02 "I mean that is circular logic."

There is no such fault. He has not committed any circular proofs, so far, beyond what you are reading into his words through gratuitous "reading between the lines". You seem very much trained to read that between the lines, and very little eager to explain exactly what circular proof he is supposed to commit.

For example: "Here is what the Bible claims. [Quotes] This is what the Bible claimed, therefore it is true." But you never allow him to speak that far, you interrupt him before he even gets to the quotes.

And in fact, I don't think that is what he is going to say either.

3:31 No, you still get wrong what he said in the introduction. First of all, he was not asking whether the Bible was true, but whether the truth of the Bible implies the historic truth of Genesis 1-11. Second, he was not giving judgement on whether it is true, he was just saying, if it isn't, he would have to ditch the whole Bible. Which of course he was not willing to do.

This means, you are misquoting what he said previously, or misreferring it, to back up your misinterpretation now.

And one more thing, for 40 different persons who haven't met each other and who lived in extremely different circumstances in times very different from each other, to have "same agenda" is in itself fairly remarcable.

One explanation - not your first pick, no doubt - would of course be that they were constrained by the facts of the case, by the revelation already both given and proved to them by historically attested miracles.

3:36 "I can't accept as really being all that meaningful"

I agree, misreading what someone is saying is not very meaningful, and the result is not very meaningful.

Btw, if on any point I do misread you, how about your "shouting out". While you might not convince me, I'd have to take it somehow into account.

3:48 The question is not if Bible is reliable. The question is how reliable the Bible has to be not to be a fraud.

It is like you are not just hiring any baby sitter, you are hiring one which claims to be Mary Poppins. Before you start hiring her, you might want to know if she really is Mary Poppins. And when you start looking around, you might want to preface the research with "hey, this babysitter claims to be Mary Poppins". That might be why you go to family Banks for a photograph of their known Mary Poppins and so on.

4:10 Babysitters tend to make money. Has it occurred to you some Bible authors weren't (clearly unlike Mohammed who died a millionaire or equivalent).

And they knew they had no monetary interest.

4:22 If you want to know how Moses is like a babysitter, you might want to ask someone he babysat - like David or Daniel or Ezra or Jesus.

So, past client is actually part of the testing over several centuries by different people receiving not verbally or topically identical, but consistent revelation.

Oh, btw, Mohammed was not babysat by either Moses or Jesus, by either Genesis or Gospel of St Matthew.

4:38 The people who wrote the Bible were independent of those currently making money of it.

4:46 Yes, we understand you want pure fact, unbiassed in favour of the Bible.

Perhaps you might want to take a cue from its enemies?


The bulk of the inscription deals with Merneptah's victory over the Libyans, but the last 3 of the 28 lines shift to Canaan:[12]

The princes are prostrate, saying, "Peace!"
Not one is raising his head among the Nine Bows.
Now that Tehenu (Libya) has come to ruin,
Hatti is pacified;
The Canaan has been plundered into every sort of woe:
Ashkelon has been overcome;
Gezer has been captured;
Yano'am is made non-existent.
Israel is laid waste and his seed is not;
Hurru is become a widow because of Egypt.

The "nine bows" is a term the Egyptians used to refer to their enemies - the actual enemies varied according to time and circumstance.[13] Hatti and Hurru are Syro-Palestine, Canaan and Israel are smaller units, and Ashkelon, Gezer and Yanoam are cities within the region; according to the stele, all these entities fell under the rule of the Egyptian empire at that time.[14]

So, in 1208 BC - I suspect more recently, but I am not sure about details of recalibrating Egyptian chronology, I'll leave it at that - Merneptah is somewhere in Egypt claiming there won't ever be any Israelite any more. He is claiming he made sure of that, perhaps by infanticide, perhaps by castration, or whatever else might be meant by "Israel is laid waste and his seed is not". Rohl redates Merneptah to Merneptah 888 BC to 875 BC.

United Kingdom of Israel is dated to "This is traditionally dated between 1050 and 930 BCE," (I would actually place it somewhat earlier, with Syncellus and St Jerome, but it is clearly after 1208 BC) and "Modern historians are divided on the historicity of the United Monarchy as described in the Bible.[5] There is little extrabiblical evidence of a United Kingdom of Judah and Israel in the 10th century BCE." - Except that Rohl identified Layaba in Amarna letters with Saul, which makes a change in Egyptian chronology.

But what if Merneptah was as late as 888?

"According to the Hebrew Bible, the Kingdom of Israel (Hebrew: מַמְלֶכֶת יִשְׂרָאֵל, Modern Mamlekhet Yisra'el, Tiberian Mamléḵeṯ Yiśrāʼēl) was one of two successor states to the former United Kingdom of Israel and Judah. Historians often refer to the Kingdom of Israel as the "Northern Kingdom" or as the "Kingdom of Samaria" to differentiate it from the Southern Kingdom of Judah." "The Kingdom of Israel existed roughly from 930 BCE until 720 BCE, when it was conquered by the Neo-Assyrian Empire. The major cities of the kingdom were Shechem, Tirzah, and Shomron (Samaria)."

This means that Merneptah can't have wiped out the Samarian kingdom either.

[ Edit : As it lasted after him, even on his placing by Rohl.]

So, we clearly find Merneptah bragging about an exploit he didn't do. This is not evidence from the Bible, but from its enemies. And that might be the kind of thing Biddle comes to later in the chapter, if you ever actually read it instead of ranting about opening lines.

5:25 "it tells us nothing, does it"

It tells us exact how big the burden of proof is, which Biddle might be coming to.

5:43 Here you did an excellent job.

How do we know The Blair Witch Project is NOT real history?

Maybe your take is "it contains things that just don't happen", well, that is useless to any Christian and leaves me wondering why Sherlock Holmes is not history on your view, Conan Doyle's work being remarkably free from "things that just don't happen".

For my own part, I trust the TRADITION that Sherlock stories and Blair Witch project were published as entertainment.

And precisely same way, I trust the TRADITION that Genesis and Exodus, Kings and Gospels and Acts were NOT published as entertainment.

5:55 But they weren't real - how do we know that?

Well, if they had been, there might have been some kind of police investigations going on. As far as we know from TRADITION this was not the case. If they had been, the guys involved might not have come out afterwards and said things like "this is how we wanted TO DO the film". Perhaps you know from TRADITION they did make such statements. If they had been, none of the faces would have reappeared as actors in other films, and TRADITION here in the guise of wikipedia tells me that

  • Heather Donahue
  • Michael C. Williams
  • Joshua Leonard

were starring and Heather Donahue has been acting from then to now, Michael C. Williams has done acting twice since then, and:

Joshua Granville Leonard (born June 17, 1975) is an American actor, writer and director, known primarily for his role in The Blair Witch Project (1999). He has since starred in films such as Madhouse (2004), The Shaggy Dog (2006), Higher Ground (2011), The Motel Life (2012), Snake and Mongoose (2013), If I Stay (2014), The Town That Dreaded Sundown (2014), and 6 Years (2015).

In other words, we have this information from TRADITION which says that everyone involved is habitually taking money for an entertainment type involving fiction.

With Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, we can debate on whether he was into fiction or docufiction, but we know he was living some centuries after events. As OTHER sources are not treating Homer as fiction, I am siding for docufiction. Zeus and Athena on Mount Olympus debate Ulysses? Fiction, no human observer involved, Homer is not even actively claiming to have this from a vision. Ulysses did some excellent archery against the suitors? Probably true.

But you could of course treat OTHER sources (involving Livy) as also writing fiction, including about the Carthaginian Wars ... you usually don't do that, but that is about the equivalent of your take on the Bible.

6:39 The reward is at least as testable as health benefits from doing yoga.

Daniel gives a claim, this logically means (since he is not the fool you are consistently protraying him as) he is going to back it up in one way or another.

6:46 OK, you can test it.

Btw, if you are living together with Dan, one first way of testing it would be to get married and ditch the condoms or pills or whatever you are using.

7:13 There being a reward is clearly proof it is something one has at least some interest in following, as for C.

As for A and B, that is another matter. BUT Biddle has so far NOT been cited as saying this promise proves that the Bible is true.

All I see is your citing "here are the claims the Bible makes", and I would expect, after that, not the "therefore it is true" which you pull in at every single passage, but a "let's see how we can test them". Which for some reason, at 7:13 in 10:51, you have still not cited.

I expect his first test (from content list seen on screen) to be "can we trust the transmission, or must we fear it is completely garbled" (a very valid question on other grounds too, like Muslims claiming Bible is completely garbled, since otherwise it would be too good evidence against certain parts of the Quran, where it speaks on Biblical characters).

And with 3 minutes and 38 seconds left, you have still not touched on his answer.

8:02 Tent makers is cute, perhaps, but it is also a fact.

When St Paul considered these guys he had converted were not up to supporting his existence financially, he made tents for a living.

UNLESS you have good reason to claim that is a fictional statement. Suppose Luke lied about it in Acts 18:3, see quote here:

[1] After these things, departing from Athens, he came to Corinth. [2] And finding a certain Jew, named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with Priscilla his wife, (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome,) he came to them. [3] And because he was of the same trade, he remained with them, and wrought; (now they were tentmakers by trade.)

In other words, in Corinth, St Paul was returning to a trade he already knew. If Luke was not lying.

How about this:

[7] For yourselves know how you ought to imitate us: for we were not disorderly among you; [8] Neither did we eat any man's bread for nothing, but in labour and in toil we worked night and day, lest we should be chargeable to any of you.

II Thessalonians [chapter 3] - claimed to be written by same St Paul.

In other words, he was claiming to the recipients to have, visibly to them, supported himself by working - if he knew tentmaking, it is clearly possible. And if the letter was actually sent by him to them, he would have been stupid to say sth which they knew not to be true. Right?

A fraud might tell you "when I was younger, I made tents with my bare hands", but he would hardly tell you "a while ago, YOU SAW ME work hard" if in fact he hadn't done that.

So, if he was not making tents, there is some VERY elaborate and hard to explain fraud going on here.

Oh, one more thing. You might try to solve the mystery by claiming he either never wrote or never sent that letter. Well, if it was written in his lifetime, he would have said "no, that is not from me, don't be silly, you know I didn't work", and if it was written long after, how did the real writers convince Thessalonian Christians they had been receiving this letter decades or perhaps a century earlier, when they hadn't?

8:16 How we know there were this many authors ... let's say someone wanted to tell you Aeneid was in fact written by Homer, or conversely Iliad and Odyssey by Virgil - how would you go about proving them wrong?

Obviously, you would go to HISTORY of TEXT RECEPTION, also known as TRADITION.

Suppose Iliad and Odyssey were written by Virgil, that would mean they weren't there when Plato and Socrates discussed them.

This means that if Iliad and Odyssey were forgeries from well after Plato and Socrates, the passages in Plato where Socrates is discussing Iliad and Odyssey (and sometimes quoting lines) are in fact also forged.

But this raises another question : if this passage in Plato (author name, and Socrates is a character he claims to have studied under) is forged by someone wanting to project Iliad or Odyssey far back, how come this succeeded?

Is Plato all forged? What about everyone before Virgil who claimed to have read Plato? Are their writings forged too?

Or is Plato genuine, just the passage spurious? Well, that would be hard with a genuine text, because all we see from authors well before Virgil, is that Plato was well known, at least what we have preserved from him. The list begins at least with his disciple Aristotle, who disagreed with him. And what is more, disagreed with him on the subject of poetry, of epic poetry, of Iliad and Odyssey.

You would have to say while Iliad and Odyssey are forged, while a passage in a dialogue of Plato is mysteriously forged, all of Aristotle's Poetic (that is the title of one of his works, the one I spoke about) is forged.

In other words, finally you come up with a burden of forgery which no forger would possibly be able to furnish. Artists, including forgers, tend to have knacks of their own style, recurring in work after work. We are not all of us very good at varying ourselves, and a man forging BOTH Iliad AND Odyssey AND a passage in Plato in all text traditions we have of the work (and one very well integrated in the rest of the dialogue too, it is hard to imagine how it would have looked like before the supposed forgery) AND a whole work of Aristotle, though not his most difficult one, that is somewhat too much for a forger.

And if you wanted a committee of forgers, why not accept the Moon landing fake while you are at it? It is easier to pinpoint NASA or some top responsibles in NASA as a potential committee of forgers, than to pinpoint any reasonable committee of forgers behind Iliad and Odyssey and their mention in Plato and this being mentioned in Aristotle. Virgil belonged to a school of poets, not to a school of philosophers, even supposing he had known Homeric Greek (which is another Greek than Classic Attic or Alexandrian Koiné, or than newer Ionic of Herodotus) well enough to forge the one, he might have had severe difficulties in doing two as clearly opposed philosophers as Plato and Aristotle. Especielly, Plato is writing in Classic Attic (he is one of the models for its correct usage), while Aristotle is on the verge to Alexandrian Koiné, but not quite over the limit totally either.

I am not taking your word for your having read all 17 pages of the chapter and not having come across one single indication of how we know who wrote what in general.

8:44 If he really doesn't say we generally know who wrote what in what purpose if there is a tradition from back to the author, perhaps he was too much taking it for granted.

YOU are taking it for granted yourself, when you so to speak "know" Blair Witch project was not real events.

And rightly so.

9:21 "who found this out"

Accumulated knowledge in unbroken tradition is not something one finds out, except as a new member of the tradition.

It's like asking "who found out that Tolkien was the author of Lord of the Rings?"

Tolkien and his friends. His publisher. Everyone else. AND since it has not been forgotten (even by you atheists so far!) it is not something someone has a need to "find out".

One could remark, there are people who study these questions, and he has chosen the conservative and Christian scholarship, excluding some Catholics and all Orthodox insofar as he takes the Masoretic timeline (Exodus took place in 1510 BC, not 1450, or perhaps even 1600's BC). Atheists usually prefer the set of scholars one can call Modernist, the equivalent of saying if not Virgil, well, at least Apollonius Rhodus wrote Iliad and Odyssey, and if Plato gave bits and pieces of Homer, that only means some scraps previously existing were available to Apollonius Rhodus. But we can't presume it was the whole poem or sth.

In this last minute of the video, you claim Biddle is not giving any clues on why we know the facts we do about the Bible, authorship and external evidence for this (external evidence for inspiration would be ensuing chapters, like testing Genesis against evidence).

The chapter you claim to have studied is from page 14 to page 30 or so (next one begins on page 31). This according to preview on Amazon which features list of contents.

You have not been giving the content of 16 pages in this critique. You have chosen a few tidbits you found easy to attack.

Oh, it is only the first part of a longer footage on the chapter?

We'll see if you do better on next video.

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