At this rate I'll catch every fundy atheist on YT in a plagiarism scandal by 2056.
Friday, March 29, 2013
I'm using the Forge this week to supplement a TektonTV vid to be loaded today. This is a reprint of material from Trusting the New Testament concerning a textual question surrounding Mark 1:41, as considered by Bart Ehrman.
Mark 1:40-1: The Mean Jesus
And there came a leper to him, beseeching him, and kneeling down to him, and saying unto him, If thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.
This passage nearly always seems to arise when Ehrman wishes to illustrate how orthodox scribes corrupted the text of the New Testament. The case is as follows:
- The word rendered “compassion” in the above should actually be rendered anger.
- Christian scribes, puzzled by Jesus’ behavior and anger at this unfortunate leper, changed the word to “compassion.”
Our analysis consists of three questions.
Is Ehrman correct about “anger” being the original reading? The answer to this question is, quite likely, yes. Ehrman’s case for the original reading being “anger” is coherent and logical, and is in accord with the evidence. It also fits well with the context, for as Ehrman also points out, the word used in v. 43 (“and forthwith sent him away”) is the same as is used of Jesus casting out demons. It is a strong word indicating that the leper was not treated with kid gloves.
Is it such a problem if Jesus was angry in this passage? It is here where Ehrman’s case is more controversial. In order for Ehrman to argue that scribes changed the text out of some sort of confusion or embarrassment, it needs to be shown to begin with that what is in the text is problematic. Ehrman’s argument in this regard is that the text shows Jesus treating the leper unfairly, in a way that scribes found embarrassing; hence they changed the text.
There are two aspects to responding to Ehrman’s analysis of the passage.
The evidence shows that scribes were not at all embarrassed by Jesus’ anger in other passages. Indeed, one wonders why, if this were such a problem for Christians, why did they not dispense with the Old Testament, and why did they identify Jesus with the YHWH of the OT? This was an option taken by the Marcionite heretics of the early second century, but was clearly not the path of orthodoxy. Beyond this, as Ehrman admits, even elsewhere in Mark (3:5) Jesus is said to be angry, and in Mark 10.14 he is indignant with his disciples.
It is here where we may take first notice of Ehrman’s way of presenting matters differently to his scholarly audience than he does to a popular readership. Ehrman, as Wallace notes, “argues implicitly” in a scholarly article on this topic “that Jesus’ anger in Mark 1.41 perfectly fits into the picture that Mark elsewhere paints of Jesus” and that “apart from a fuller understanding of Mark’s portrayal, Jesus’ anger is difficult to understand.” In Misquoting Jesus, however, Jesus’ anger is presented as though it represented a significant difficulty for our portrait of Jesus, especially in Mark.
Is Jesus’ anger in this passage somehow morally problematic? This question is the more critical one, however. Ehrman paints a picture of Jesus getting angry at a poor, suffering unfortunate who just wanted to be healthy. But several aspects of the story warn us not to take it so simply, and give us an intelligible reason for Jesus to be angry, and rightfully so.
o We hardly need to imagine this person to be covered head to toe in leprosy and suffering in great pain. Indeed, by law and custom, he was required to stay away from others and openly declare himself “Unclean!” as a warning. Instead, he came to Jesus and kneeled down in front of him. For him to be able to do this suggests that his leprosy was limited in scope and coverage – otherwise he would have been detected long before he approached so closely.
o The preceding passage (1:39) refers to Jesus preaching in the synagogues of Galilee. It seems likely that this episode occurred as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue setting, which also coheres with the indication that the man was “cast out” of the place where they were. In any event, the healing took place publicly – in such a way that this leper forced Jesus’ hand to get an immediate healing.
o To make matters worse, once Jesus touched the leper to heal him, others would immediately consider Jesus ritually unclean. Correspondingly, Mark notes that once the man spread the word about the healing, Jesus could no longer enter the city, and had to stay in the desert (1:45) – which is what he would have had to do until the time of ritual impurity had passed.
So it is that Jesus’ reason for being angry becomes perfectly coherent. By forcing Jesus’ hand publicly, and compelling him to leave the city for a time, this leper interrupted Jesus’ ministry and made it less effective by restricting his movements, and also compelling people to go where Jesus was to receive their own healings. The leper could have waited until Jesus was somewhere else so that the healing could be done without all the fuss.
Thus, we have the final question: Was the change made out of embarrassment? From the above two points, the answer is clearly no. We can only speculate, then, as to why the change was actually made; perhaps scribes thought that compassion was a more likely reaction in the context, simply because it was a healing. But whatever the reason for the change was, it is obvious that scribal embarrassment over an “angry Jesus” was not one of them.
Posted by J. P Holding at 6:19 AM
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Friday, March 8, 2013
As noted, I won't post here unless I have something to say, and THIS was worth saying. This past week I caught not one, but TWO YouTube fundy atheist plagiarizing. See vids below.
Funny, I thought these guys were honest seekers who could think for themselves.
Funny, I thought these guys were honest seekers who could think for themselves.
Posted by J. P Holding at 9:06 AM
Friday, February 1, 2013
In the comments for my vid on how to define the “unforgivable sin,” and what that means in terms of the so-called “Blasphemy Challenge,” one of the high priestesses of fundy atheism at YT – one styled “WildwoodClaire1” – left this inane query:
Speaking of the consequences of "denying the holy spirit," where do you think the Jews killed in the Holocaust went? Are they in hell, writhing in agony next to their persecutors and murderers? If not, why not?
“Speaking of”? Er, no. For one thing, the vid had nothing to do with the “consequences” of the sin; that was not even mentioned in the vid. It also has nothing to do with Jews killed in the Holocaust, who weren’t engaging in “blasphemy challenges”. Finally, as readers well know, I don’t buy into the “writhing in agony” picture of hell. Three strikes – the troll is out.
What this does represent is a habit ingrained in many people, but particularly fundy atheists, and particular YouTube fundy atheists, who find the 500 character limit to be an excellent way to mouth off in ways that keep your opposition from offering a depth answer. As I said in an article for CRJ, it’s not hard to present an emotionally (not rationally) sound argument for the problem of evil: Just pick some headline event that makes people cry, then ask why God allowed it. In contrast, a theodicy requires a lot more words, a lot more care, and a much longer attention span. Note that those are three things fundy atheists lack, as do YT viewers as a whole. The combination does a great deal to encourage them.
Such comments as these, though, are just what I call GPA Attacks – not grade point average, but “Goad, Provoke, Annoy.” Such comments are obvious by their very nature: They are decidedly NOT on the topic of the vid, and/or require some abject straining (which is transparently mistaken) to MAKE them relevant to the vid. They are also usually, as noted, emotionally charged, irrationally (non-)argued summaries of some complex issue, which the fundy atheist knows good and well will not be able to be intelligently answered with 5 million characters, let alone 500. And of course, it’s a dash of what I’ve called hurling the elephant. Here alone, we have the troll squeezing in two for one, at least: The problem of evil, and the horror of hell.
Fundy atheists like to brag that Christianity is dying. The bright side (?) is that if this is what’s replacing it, it won’t last long.
On that note, a bulletin about the Forge blog. I’ve come to a crossroads where I need to prioritize and pare off some duties that seem less relevant and productive. On that account, e-books and vids are taking a front seat, and the Forge experiment is taking up the rear. I’ll keep it alive and going, but from now on I’ll use it only either as a place to put extras for vids (like the Christian Religious Knowledge Test), or if I have something to say that fits best here.
Posted by J. P Holding at 9:48 AM
Friday, January 11, 2013
My time is limited for this and the next few weeks, so Forge entries will be short or may not go up at all. But for this week I'll post a new vid I'm especially pleased to present, a Social Concepts of the Bible vid on different views of time -- using Wells' time machine tale as a parody basis.
Posted by J. P Holding at 3:14 AM
Friday, January 4, 2013
It was for good reason that Paul gave this advice. See the thread here for how someone professing to be a Christian for but a year is a real life example. Not just his take on atonement, but also his attempt to excuse pre-marital sex as Biblical, tell us exactly why Paul said what he did.