1. Standard memberNemesio
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    17 Mar '08 03:37
    In the liturgical churches (and some others) today was 'Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion,' in
    which Jesus' (final) entry into Jerusalem takes place and, subsequently, He is arrested, tried,
    and crucified.

    Of the historical details that get debated, I would propose that these are the most reliable;
    that is, I think just about all of us can agree that some man named Jesus was preaching in and
    around Jerusalem for some period of time, was arrested, presumably summarily tried, and crucified
    under the governorship of Pontius Pilate. And, specifically, that Jesus entered Jerusalem in
    some dramatic fashion, recognized by a number of followers, and caused some sort of ruckus
    in the Temple. Obviously, Christians and non-Christians will obviously debate the significance
    of these events, but that is not the purpose of this thread.

    So, given that these events are the most reliable (and, in fact, set the stage for the most
    important theological dogmas -- that is, the Sacrifice [and it's meaning] and the Resurrection),
    I was reflecting on these passages today. And -- lo and behold -- there are irreconcilable
    contradictions even in these passages, the ones considered the most reliable.

    Consider the Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem. Confer with the Gospels of Sts Matthew (chapter
    21, verses 1-22), Mark (chapter 11, verses 1-25), and John (chapter 12, verses 12-19).

    In the Gospel of St Matthew, the events occur in the following progression:
    The Disciples procure an ass and colt and Jesus enters Jerusalem (1-11);
    Jesus cleanses the Temple (12-16);
    Jesus leaves for Bethany (17);
    The next morning, Jesus curses the fig tree which withers immediately, to the Disciples amazement (18-21).

    In the Gospel of St Mark, the events occur in the following progression:
    The Disciples procure a colt (no ass, noun declensions indicate singular) and Jesus enters Jerusalem (1-10);
    Jesus enters the Temple and 'looks around' and then goes to Bethany (11);
    The next morning, Jesus curses the fig tree and the Disciples heard the curse (12-14);
    Jesus cleanses the Temple (15-18);
    Evening falls, and they leave the city again (19);
    The next morning, the Disciples notice and comment upon the fig tree which is now withered (20-26).

    In the Gospel of St John, the events occur in the following progression:
    Jesus procures His own ass (not a colt, and the noun is declined in the singular again) and Jesus enters Jerusalem (12-15).

    The cleansing doesn't even occur at this time for Saint John -- it occurs at the beginning
    of Jesus' ministry (see chapter 2, verses 13-22).
    (And no fig tree, but a complete omission is a minor concern.)

    ---

    Now, the English-translation Bible I generally use (the NAB) has copious footnotes addressing
    these contradictions
    . That is, not only do the editors of this Bible try to ignore the contradictions,
    but they bring them to the readers' attentions. And, rather than try to harmonize them, they
    observe that the Gospel writers had different aims and ordered, edited and altered the stories
    in ways consistent with the individual author's particular hermeneutic.

    Consider this note, regarding two animals in St Matthew versus one in the other Gospels:
    "Instead of the one animal of Mk 11:2, Mt has two, as demanded by his understanding of Zec 9:9."
    ...
    and regarding Jesus' sitting on two animals: "an awkward picture resulting from Matthew's misunderstanding
    of the prophecy." (emphasis mine)

    Or, consider this note regarding the reordering of events for the cleansing of the Temple:
    "Matthew changes the order of Mk and places the cleansing of the temple on the same day as
    the entry into Jerusalem, immediately after it. The activities going on in the temple were not
    secular but connected with the temple worship. Thus Jesus' attack on those so engaged and his
    charge that they were making God's house of prayer a den of thieves constituted a claim to
    authority over the religious practices of Israel and were a challenge to the priestly authorities."

    Finally, consider this note regarding the fig trees:
    "In Mk the effect of Jesus' cursing the fig tree is not immediate...By making it so, Matthew has
    heightened the miracle
    ....

    Evidently, the Roman Catholic Church (the publisher of this Bible translation) has no difficulty
    with:
    1) The idea that contradictions exist;
    2) The idea that the various authors of the Gospels (and other books) have edited, changed,
    added and omitted stories to suit their particular hermeneutical interests;
    3) Bringing attention and theological scholarship to bear on these changes to their faithful; and
    4) That the books remain fully inspired by the Holy Spirit.

    How do literalists:
    A) Confront harmonizing these irreconcilable accounts; and
    B) Address the issue that other churches (such as the RCC) don't strive to harmonize them, but
    embrace and explain their differences. Why is this option so untenable?

    Nemesio

    P.S., I also never noticed that St Matthew has Jesus mocked in a scarlet military cloak
    (27:28) but two other Gospels record that He was mocked in a purple cloak (cf. St Mark 15:17,
    St John 19:2; St Luke makes no comment the color of the cloak in 23:11). Given that
    scarlet (red leaning towards orange) and purple are totally different, I thought it deserved
    mention (and, like above, the NAB calls attention to it in a note).
  2. Cape Town
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    17 Mar '08 07:12
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    Of the historical details that get debated, I would propose that these are the most reliable;
    Of the historical details in the new Testament, I would think that the most reliable are the ones that would not normally get debated, such as the existence and travels of Paul and some of the other disciples.

    I think that you would find that in a large Church like the Roman Catholic Church with a centralized hierarchy and a tradition of studying theology etc, some things (such as contradictions in the Bible) have to be faced and dealt with. Smaller churches on the other hand may not have to. In fact, smaller churches often end up with groups with differences of opinion, then they split into new denominations. Some churches are such that each congregation has its own set of teachings and beliefs.
    In my home town of Livingstone, Zambia pop 200,000 aprox, there are about 150 denominations. This, I think, highlights how big a problem interpreting the Bible really is.
  3. Joined
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    17 Mar '08 17:142 edits
    Aside from the fact that you completely left out Luke's progression of the events, all of these accounts were written 30 to 70 years after the events took place. How accurate do you think you would be writing about a significant event in your life 50 years after it happened?

    The colt referenced in these chapters is a young donkey, so whether the verses reference a donkey or a colt it's still a donkey.

    The "Triumphal Entry" of Jesus into the city of Jerusalem is significant in that it fulfils the prophecy of Zechariah (9:9). The timing of the event is not critical though, as long as it occured before the arrest and crucifiction of Jesus Christ.

    The point is that these events are either fulfillments of prophecies or parables acted out for the understanding of the disciples and later the followers of Jesus Christ.

    I would suggest that although they are siginificant events, the contradictions in the re-telling of these events by Matthew, Mark, John, AND Luke are not irreconcilable but rather are understandable ommisions or mistakes in the sequence of the events related decades after the events took place.

    You should try other translations of the Bible. My favorite is the NKJV, but I have several others as well as an Amplified Bible which gives greater understanding of the original scriptures. A parallel Bible (multiple translations side by side for comparison) might also be a good acquisition. Try reading a different translation every year or every other year for a deeper and more thorough understanding of the Bible. Don't forget to pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the scriptures as well! 🙂

    GOD Bless You!
  4. Joined
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    17 Mar '08 17:25
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I think that you would find that in a large Church like the Roman Catholic Church with a centralized hierarchy and a tradition of studying theology etc, some things (such as contradictions in the Bible) have to be faced and dealt with.
    See, for instance, the documentary on the BBC on Saturday, about the various gospels that the early church decided should be removed from the official record. There would be much bigger contradictions if some of those had been left in.
  5. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Mar '08 02:331 edit
    Originally posted by tnetcenter
    Aside from the fact that you completely left out Luke's progression of the events, all of these accounts were written 30 to 70 years after the events took place. How accurate do you think you would be writing about a significant event in your life 50 years after it happened?

    I know I would be even more inaccurate than these authors because oral tradition plays a
    far less significant role in daily life for me than it did for them.

    However, I would never claim that my stories are either inspired by God, nor free of contradiction
    or error.

    You seem to be one of those Christians who admits that there is error in the Bible, thus this
    thread is moot for you.

    I left out St Luke because either his recounting was harmonious with the others, or he omitted
    details (such as no withering fig tree). I assure you, I know St Luke's text better than any
    other Gospel.

    The colt referenced in these chapters is a young donkey, so whether the verses reference a donkey or a colt it's still a donkey.

    I had two points raising this: first, one account had two animals, the others clearly have a
    single animal; and, the editors of the NAB acknowledge that St Matthew misunderstood the
    prophecy which he cited.

    The point is that these events are either fulfillments of prophecies or parables acted out for the understanding of the disciples and later the followers of Jesus Christ.

    Um, the point is that St Matthew altered the story so that the prophecy appears to have come
    true.

    I would suggest that although they are siginificant events, the contradictions in the re-telling of these events by Matthew, Mark, John, AND Luke are not irreconcilable but rather are understandable ommisions or mistakes in the sequence of the events related decades after the events took place.

    Well, only one can be right: either Jesus was on two animals, or He was on one; either the
    fig tree withered that day, or it withered the next; either He knocked over the tables on the
    first day or the second. That's what 'irreconcilable' means. One was in error.

    You should try other translations of the Bible. My favorite is the NKJV, but I have several others as well as an Amplified Bible which gives greater understanding of the original scriptures. A parallel Bible (multiple translations side by side for comparison) might also be a good acquisition. Try reading a different translation every year or every other year for a deeper and more thorough understanding of the Bible.

    I try to read it in the Greek, actually, with a commentary; I don't trust other people's translations
    generally. I've never heard of an Amplified Bible.

    Don't forget to pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding of the scriptures as well!

    I pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in all things.

    Nemesio
  6. Cape Town
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    18 Mar '08 06:27
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    That's what 'irreconcilable' means. One was in error.
    At least one. As with many of the stories in the new Testament that are clearly an attempt to fulfill prophesy, there is a significant possibility that they were totally fabricated. Many Christians realize this but refuse to admit it, even those that accept the contradictions have a hard time going one step farther.
    I personally find it ridiculous for anyone to honestly believe that if we study the new testament from a neutral or atheistic standpoint, ie we do not assume Godly inspiration in the writings, then the story of say Jesus' birth is even remotely likely to be true.
    It is unlikely that the writers would have know much about Jesus' early life, and it is well known that the significance of the location of his birth was to fulfill a prophesy. Some elements such as the census, have significant evidence against them.
  7. Joined
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    18 Mar '08 08:25
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    You seem to be one of those Christians who admits that there is error in the Bible, thus this thread is moot for you.

    I don't admit that there are "errors" or "contradictions" just that there are ommisions of unimportant details and possibly minor problems with the sequence of events (attributable to problems of memory by the authors). Certainly nothing "irreconcilable"

    For example, in the case of the donkey. Matthew says that Jesus said to go get the donkey and the colt. The others don't mention the other animal. However, all 4 state that Jesus rode the colt (young donkey) so how important is the 2nd animal? It appears that only one of the disciples thought it important enough to mention both animals. Is that an irreconcilable error? Hardly! Definitely not a contradiction!

    The fig tree - Matthew says the fig tree withered immediately, this was the morning after his arrival in Jerusalem. Mark says Jesus rebuked the fig tree (the morning after) and the morning was when the disciples saw it. So I don't see an obvious contradiction there either. Neither Luke or John mention the fig tree. Not important enough? Or just didn't remember when they wrote their books?

    The cleansing of the temple - Matthew and Luke both say that Jesus cleansed the temple immediately after his arrival in Jerusalem. Mark says that Jesus went into the temple immediately after arrival. John doesn't mention going into the temple at all but talks about Jesus teachings there. Matthew and Mark both mention going to Bethany after visiting the temple and coming back to the temple the next day. So 2 of the 3 accounts (Matthew and Luke) have jesus cleansing the temple immediately and Mark has it happening the next day. But all 3 have Jesus IN the temple immediately after arrival and the next day. So it appears that Mark messed up on the sequence of the events. Is this an "irreconcilable" contradiction? Not in my opinion. Again a simple mistake of memory of events from decades ago.

    The real question is how important is the sequence of these particular events? Did the temple get cleansed? Without a doubt! Did the fig tree whither? Absolutely! Did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? Yes!

    The four Gospels are meant to be read together to get a fuller picture of the events that occured around Jesus life and and the teachings of his ministry. They weren't written by historians or scribes, but by the disciples themselves - the actual witnesses to the events.

    Um, the point is that St Matthew altered the story so that the prophecy appears to have come true.

    Not really, he included a detail that the others left out of their accounts (that there were two animals).

    I try to read it in the Greek, actually, with a commentary; I don't trust other people's translations generally. I've never heard of an Amplified Bible.

    I believe that the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew, which would make the Greek a translation as well. You say that you don't trust other peoples translations, but you're reading a translation and using a commentary as well. Commentaries have their place in the study of the Bible, but they are after all just someones opinion of what the meaning of the scripture is. I prefer to rely on the interpretation that the Holy Spirit gives me.

    The Amplified Bible, is an attempt to include all the possible meanings of the various words in the Bible. Often times a word in one language has multiple meanings in another language or conversly NO valid meaning in a particular language. The amplified helps to get around the problems with various translations by including all the meanings that got left out in the translation process. It's great for getting to the real meaning of scripture, but it's a bit rough to read on a regular basis. A good tool.

    I pray for wisdom, knowledge, and understanding in all things.

    That's good! GOD Bless You!
    Jeff
  8. Cape Town
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    18 Mar '08 08:462 edits
    Originally posted by tnetcenter
    I don't admit that there are "errors" or "contradictions" just that there are ommisions of unimportant details and possibly minor problems with the sequence of events (attributable to problems of memory by the authors).
    Are the words too strong for your liking? You certainly admit that different gospels say different things implying that at least one is incorrect.


    The four Gospels are meant to be read together to get a fuller picture of the events that occured around Jesus life and and the teachings of his ministry.
    Meant by whom?

    They weren't written by historians or scribes, but by the disciples themselves - the actual witnesses to the events.
    You actually believe the gospel writers witnessed the events? Come on, be realistic.

    I believe that the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew,
    You believe wrong. In fact the fact that they were written in Greek is one indication that they were not written by 'actual witnesses to the events'. Another indication is that they copied from each other quite extensively.
  9. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    18 Mar '08 08:561 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    [b]I believe that the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew,

    You believe wrong. In fact the fact that they were written in Greek is one indication that they were not written by 'actual witnesses to the events'. Another indication is that they copied from each other quite extensively.[/b]
    The original language of the gospels is disputed: the traditional view being that the language was Aramaic, the modern view being that it was Koine Greek. Since Koine Greek was 'the lingua franca of the Mediterranean' (Wiki), it could well have been spoken by 'actual witnesses to the events', whether or not they were named Mathew, Mark, Luke or John. Your conclusion here is bunkum.

    But probably they were written by people relying on oral tradition. They agree as to the essentials. Islam assigns the gospels the status of hadith (oral tradition).
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    18 Mar '08 09:02
    Originally posted by Nemesio

    How do literalists:
    A) Confront harmonizing these irreconcilable accounts; and
    B) Address the issue that other churches (such as the RCC) don't strive to harmonize them, but
    embrace and explain their differences. Why is this option so untenable?
    Becuz they is dumb as Luther, viz. Gadarene pig faeces.
  11. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Mar '08 14:221 edit
    Originally posted by tnetcenter
    I don't admit that there are "errors" or "contradictions" just that there are ommisions of unimportant details and possibly minor problems with the sequence of events (attributable to problems of memory by the authors). Certainly nothing "irreconcilable"

    What is the different between a 'memory problem' and an 'error?'

    For example, in the case of the donkey. Matthew says that Jesus said to go get the donkey and the colt. The others don't mention the other animal. However, all 4 state that Jesus rode the colt (young donkey) so how important is the 2nd animal? It appears that only one of the disciples thought it important enough to mention both animals. Is that an irreconcilable error? Hardly! Definitely not a contradiction!

    Except that the other texts use 'animal' in the singular, both noun and verb forms. So either
    St Mark was right -- there was one animal -- or St Matthew was right -- there were two. You
    can't have it both ways; one of them reported this action incorrectly.

    The fig tree - Matthew says the fig tree withered immediately, this was the morning after his arrival in Jerusalem. Mark says Jesus rebuked the fig tree (the morning after) and the morning was when the disciples saw it. So I don't see an obvious contradiction there either. Neither Luke or John mention the fig tree. Not important enough? Or just didn't remember when they wrote their books?

    What exactly does contradiction mean to you?

    So it appears that Mark messed up on the sequence of the events.

    Okay, so you do admit of errors in the Bible. I'm glad we cleared this up.

    The real question is how important is the sequence of these particular events? Did the temple get cleansed? Without a doubt! Did the fig tree whither? Absolutely! Did Jesus ride into Jerusalem on a donkey? Yes!

    Well, actually the fact that the Gospel writers do make errors leaves the door opened to whether
    those errors served an editorial purpose. That was the point of my extensive quotation from
    the NAB's notes.


    The four Gospels are meant to be read together to get a fuller picture of the events that occured around Jesus life and and the teachings of his ministry. They weren't written by historians or scribes, but by the disciples themselves - the actual witnesses to the events.

    Actually, St Luke specifically states that he was not a witness. And the attributions to the
    texts are all pseudonymous anyway (except for the Johaninne text, which claims to have been
    written by St John).

    Not really, he included a detail that the others left out of their accounts (that there were two animals).

    Yes. He included it for the specific purpose of making the prophecy appear fulfilled.
    The notes indicate that St Matthew misunderstood the prophecy, which only involved one
    animal, but St Matthew misconstrued the ass and colt as separate animals (the device of parallelism
    in Hebraic poetry).

    I believe that the Gospels were originally written in Hebrew, which would make the Greek a translation as well.

    I think an early second-century Greek translation of a late first-century Aramaic text is going
    to be more reliable than a 20th-century English translation of those texts, especially in light
    of all the theological musings that have gone on (along with the dogmatic stances which such
    translations often apply).

    You say that you don't trust other peoples translations, but you're reading a translation and using a commentary as well. Commentaries have their place in the study of the Bible, but they are after all just someones opinion of what the meaning of the scripture is.

    They aren't theological commentaries; they are translation commentaries. That is, when a
    each Greek word is translated, they provide a number of definitions in order to transmit the
    meanings (plural) that the author could have meant.

    I prefer to rely on the interpretation that the Holy Spirit gives me.

    Well, as long as the Holy Spirit isn't lying to you (that there are no errors in the Bible), I'd
    listen to her.

    The Amplified Bible, is an attempt to include all the possible meanings of the various words in the Bible. Often times a word in one language has multiple meanings in another language or conversly NO valid meaning in a particular language. The amplified helps to get around the problems with various translations by including all the meanings that got left out in the translation process. It's great for getting to the real meaning of scripture, but it's a bit rough to read on a regular basis. A good tool.

    This sounds terrific. Thanks for the reference!

    Nemesio
  12. Standard memberNemesio
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    18 Mar '08 14:25
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Becuz they is dumb as Luther, viz. Gadarene pig faeces.
    Luther made many, many, MANY comparisons to poop. His audience must have had a great
    acquaintance with it (farmers? fertilizer?) because it's in almost every theological paragraph that
    I've ever seen of his.

    Nemesio
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    18 Mar '08 15:09
    Originally posted by Nemesio
    In the liturgical churches (and some others) today was 'Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion,' in
    which Jesus' (final) entry into Jerusalem takes place and, subsequently, He is arrested, tried,
    and crucified.

    Of the historical details that get debated, I would propose that these are the most reliable;
    that is, I think just about all of us can agree tha ...[text shortened]... ed
    mention (and, like above, the NAB calls attention to it in a note).
    dude stop looking for contradictions in the bible there are too many of them.
  14. Territories Unknown
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    18 Mar '08 16:24
    Funny stuff. Only from an arrogant mind can come questions so heavily loaded as these. Who wrote the piece? Who was the intended audience? Such questions never burden the arrogant mind: they are more content in their insistence that a first century author sound exactly like a 21st century investigative reporter. Keep dreamin', bro.
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    18 Mar '08 16:34
    Jesus' last words

    Matt.27:46,50: "And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, eli, lama sabachthani?" that is to say, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" ...Jesus, when he cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost."

    Luke23:46: "And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, "Father, unto thy hands I commend my spirit:" and having said thus, he gave up the ghost."

    John19:30: "When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished:" and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost."
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