Emails with Jordan (part 2)

 

Brian Holtz independently tackled Jordan on his resurrection claims (also continued here). Jordan sent me the link and I had the following correspondence with Jordan regarding some claims on consensus he repeated from our previous discussion.

 

 
From: <Steve Locks>
Sent: 14 January 2003 22:35
Subject: Re:

Hi Jordan,
 
Thanks for letting me know about your page at http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/emailbag_files/holzmail.htm
 
Just one comment - I am surprised that you are still claiming scholarly consensus and particularly that Lüdemann agrees with your "4 points." Given that I have already quoted him as disagreeing about an empty tomb at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet why do you think he agrees with you?
 
In addition to what is at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet also note the following:

 

If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable. If that were the requirement of belief as a Christian, then I would sadly leave my house of faith. With me in that exodus from the Christian church, however, would be every ranking New Testament scholar in the world--Catholic and Protestant alike: E. C. Hoskyns, C. H. Dodd, Rudolf Bultmann, Reginald Fuller, Joseph Fitzmyer, W. E. Albright, Raymond Brown, Paul Minear, R. H. Lightfoot, Herman Hendrickx, Edward Schillebeeckx, Hans Kung, Karl Rahner, Phyllis Trible, Jane Schaberg, D. H. Nineham, Maurice Goguel, and countless others.

- John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? A Bishop's Search for the Origins of Christianity (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994), p. 238

Similarly as reported on the Sea of Faith website:

The recent programme on Rev Andrew Freeman emphasised his failure to believe in a literal resurrection, but it failed to also inform viewers that all significant theologians for the past 100 years agree with him. In what sense then is he heretical?

Maybe you want to wait until I give my next formal reply, that's fine if so, I appreciate the time these things take and the other things we are all doing!

Also I would like to put up your complete discussion with Ed Babinski verbatim on my website, rather than the shorter version http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/emailbag_files/edmail.htm on yours, as there was much intriguing discussion about the resurrection that I haven't seen covered in any of your or my previous conversations and which I think is too interesting to remain just private between you, me and Ed. Anyway I think people should be able to judge for themselves if they have the time and interest to read all this. Maybe you are going to do this anyway or consider it too long for your emailbag? Whatever, I have no problem hosting it and it could save both of you some effort. If so maybe you would link to the whole thing for those who want to read it all? I'm asking Ed as well, my only worry is that his "Habby" email might be copyright.

Best wishes,

Steve
----------------
Leaving Christianity: www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html

 
Sent: 15 January 2003 00:54
Subject: Re:


Hi Steve,

I have no problem at all with you posting the entire Babinski exchange. You are correct that I had space concerns. Please send me your link so I can add it to the MailBag.

As far as, "Just one comment - I am surprised that you are still claiming scholarly consensus and particularly that Lüdemann agrees with your "4 points." Given that I have already quoted him as disagreeing about an empty tomb at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet why do you think he agrees with you?"

He agrees that there is no available body. That's the item I hold at issue.

I'll read the rest of this post tonight before bedtime. I much appreciate your input. I'll probably add it to the Holtz mail--OK?

Have a good night and I'll talk at ya soon.

Jordan

 
Sent: 15 January 2003 23:07
Subject: Babinski exchange

Hi Jordan,
 
<< I have no problem at all with you posting the entire Babinski exchange. You are correct that I had space concerns. Please send me your link so I can add it to the MailBag. >>
 
Excellent - will do (Ed said yes too). I'll let you know the URL as soon as I've done it (probably by this time tomorrow).



<< I'll read the rest of this post tonight before bedtime. I much appreciate your input. I'll probably add it to the Holtz mail--OK? >>
 
I had a look at your Holtz email page http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/emailbag_files/holzmail.htm just now. Could you include the quotes I gave from Spong and the SoF as well since it is was in reply to your claim regarding consensus (maybe I should have said just 2 points!). Ta.
 
Here they are again (incase you didn't keep the email):

 

In addition to what is at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet also note the following:

 

If the resurrection of Jesus cannot be believed except by assenting to the fantastic descriptions included in the Gospels, then Christianity is doomed. For that view of resurrection is not believable, and if that is all there is, then Christianity, which depends upon the truth and authenticity of Jesus' resurrection, also is not believable. If that were the requirement of belief as a Christian, then I would sadly leave my house of faith. With me in that exodus from the Christian church, however, would be every ranking New Testament scholar in the world--Catholic and Protestant alike: E. C. Hoskyns, C. H. Dodd, Rudolf Bultmann, Reginald Fuller, Joseph Fitzmyer, W. E. Albright, Raymond Brown, Paul Minear, R. H. Lightfoot, Herman Hendrickx, Edward Schillebeeckx, Hans Kung, Karl Rahner, Phyllis Trible, Jane Schaberg, D. H. Nineham, Maurice Goguel, and countless others.

- John Shelby Spong, Resurrection: Myth or Reality? A Bishop's Search for the Origins of Christianity (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994), p. 238

Similarly as reported on the Sea of Faith website:

The recent programme on Rev Andrew Freeman emphasised his failure to believe in a literal resurrection, but it failed to also inform viewers that all significant theologians for the past 100 years agree with him. In what sense then is he heretical?



Best wishes,
 

Steve
----------------
Leaving Christianity: www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html

 
Sent: 16 January 2003 13:59
Subject: Re: Babinski exchange

I was actually going to wait on your formal post but let me toy with it a while. You may be right that it's appropriate with Holtz. Let me see where he goes on the next step. I think he might present it in his own form.

J.

Sent: 17 January 2003 01:41
Subject: Scholars

Hi Jordan,
 
Surely my quotes from Spong and the SoF are even more appropriate than my comments on, and your response to, Lüdemann's beliefs? Lüdemann was just the one individual you named in your claims of consensus, which is why I pickled up on him, but the point is that he is far from alone and what he believes about the burial of Jesus is far removed from your own beliefs. As I have already discussed at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet and http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2sup/comgrave.html Lüdemann wrote that he believes the evidence points to any burial place being completely unknown - even by first century Christians. If an interment location is unknown then it could not have been seen empty. If that is what you mean by the body was not available then it is not much of a claim for Lüdemann being in consensus with you, surely?
 
What is more important though is that examples such as I gave in the quotes from Spong and the SoF should be faced in evaluation over whether the consensus on the resurrection is really in your favour. This was also brought up in the book "Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment : A Debate Between William Lane Craig and Gerd Lüdemann" that I discussed in our debate at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet
 
So I think you really should put the Spong and SoF quotes below on your http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/emailbag_files/holzmail.htm page. i.e. the much larger issue that you often bring up is scholarly consensus, so it is far more appropriate to include, and criticise if possible, the quotes I gave (retained in the emails below) than merely the Lüdemann part.
 
Maybe you should also clarify exactly what you mean by "absence of a body." Does "tomb unknown" really qualify? Would "eaten by dogs" (a la Crossan) qualify? I gave you http://members.tripod.com/enoch2112/ByronBurial.htm to read which mentions:
while some scholars still hold that Jesus was buried with dignity, it is now quite common to read assertions to the contrary.  
and
It is precisely by looking closely at the ways in which Christian theology has shaped these stories--what has been changed, what has been emphasized, and (most especially) what has been presupposed and even tacitly admitted--that we can turn up a revealing clue about the historical circumstances of Jesus' burial. I refer, of course, to the well-known fact that the Gospels embellish and glamorize the burial of Jesus. Many scholars have already commented on this tendency in the Gospels. Because he held such a prominent place in the worship of early Christians, their stories naturally seek to refine, polish and beautify the circumstances of his interment.
etc.
 
 
 
In your 3rd reply to me http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/debates_files/locks3.htm in response to my tackling you for dropping the "absence of a body" in the "consensus of scholars" when I showed difficulties with this you replied:
"Steve, once again, misquoted me. Nowhere, I repeat NOWHERE in my formal debate with Steve did I present that NT scholars concur an empty tomb."
Whereas on your website at http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/debates_files/locks.htm you wrote:
"Regarding the consensus of scholars, J. P. Holding (personal communication) stated .. Yes---this is the majority consensus, and that of objective secular historians...viz., the overused (but still useful) note by Michael Grant, that whatever the problems with the Gospels, the evidence indicates an empty tomb"
 
As you can see there is a conflict here so I think you need to clarify what your position is. More importantly though I think you should explain why you claim scholarly consensus in the light of the quotes I gave you from Spong and the SoF (see email below) and those earlier from Geering, Michael Goulder etc. at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet and http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply1.html#concensus 
 
 
 
Best wishes,

Steve
----------------
Leaving Christianity: www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html

<Snipped repeat of above emails...>

Sent: 17 January 2003 03:29
Subject: Link Added

http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/emailbag_files/edmail.htm
http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/debates_files/debates.htm

Steve's link was added to the pages above. Ed's Habermas was in Steve's link so I did not include it.

I am holding of on Steve's input until his formal response.

J.

--
"Jordan"
===============================
G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se.
http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan
===============================
--

A few days later I received the following email from Jordan...

Note: For the rest of this page the email address for Brian Holtz contained a typo (i.e. from Feb 22nd to March 4th). We were then "replying to group" so the typo was maintained. It should be understood that Jordan (and the rest of us) intended to keep Brian in the circle but he didn't receive any of the emails below. Eventually he spotted this page on 9th March and let us know what had been happening!

 
From: " G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se."
To: "Steve Locks"
Cc: "A.S.A. Jones" "Brian Holtz" "Daniel Pech" "J. P. Holding"
Sent: Saturday, February 22, 2003 6:43 PM
Subject: Scholars


Hi Steve,

In the following mail you expressed a concern that Holtz expressed. I trust the re-written "My Position" satisfies all of our concerns.

Let me know what you think. My latest reply to Holtz is forthcoming probably this weekend.

Thanks again for your time and effort.

Jordan
BTW: I think it would be nice if you and I had a short, informal telephone chat just to get to know each other on a more personable basis. Careful, though, Temy and I did that and now we're very close friends outside of our theism opposition.
 

Jordan Re-write:
My Position

Nearly all New Testament scholars, regardless of their theological leanings, agree:

a. Jesus Christ existed.

b. He faced crucifixion.

c. The crucifixion KILLED Him.

d. By Godly hook, earthly crook, or whatever, there was and remains no known available body.

e. Jesus' followers saw (or believed or lied they saw) SOMETHING they believed to be a risen Jesus.

--
"Jordan"
===============================
G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se.
http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan
===============================
--




From: "Steve Locks"
To: "G. Zeinelde Jordan"
Cc: "Brian Holtz"
Subject: Scholars
Date: Fri, 17 Jan 2003 01:41:55 -0000
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi Jordan,
 
Surely my quotes from Spong and the SoF are even more appropriate ...
 
<Snip repeat of earlier emails>

 
From: Steve Locks
To: G. Zeinelde Jordan
Cc: Ed Babinski; J. P. Holding; Daniel Pech; Atheist Brian Holtz; A.S.A. Jones
Sent: Sunday, February 23, 2003 9:43 PM
Subject: Re: Scholars

Hi Jordan,
 
I'm afraid I don't see how your re-written position answers any of my criticisms, let alone satisfies them. At the risk of being pedantic I'll repeat -hopefully with clarification - the questions I raised and number them so we can keep track of what your answers are. Could you give your opinion on these, or at least explain how your re-written position satisfies them?
 
 
1) According to the quote from Spong (quoted in previous correspondence below) your position as "..a fundamentalist in as much as I accept the Bible, the New Testament in particular, literally" is in disagreement with "every ranking New Testament scholar in the world." A number of times in our debate you have appealed to scholarly consensus and also to the quality of scholars, making claims such as "anyone arrogant enough to claim superior knowledge to the scholars hails from an interesting breed indeed."  How do you respond to Spong's quote given your beliefs about the importance of following scholarly consensus? Similarly Thomas Sheehan at "The First Coming How the Kingdom of God Became Christianity " (part two) writes "According to the majority of exegetes, all the gospel accounts of the first Easter morning are legends, with or without an original historical base." Since you have heavily criticised those who go against scholarly consensus, I think you should explain why you claim scholarly consensus is favourable for your fundamentalist beliefs in the light of such quotes and those earlier from Geering, Michael Goulder etc. at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2.html#maet and http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply1.html#concensus
 
Also note that I have shown you where I have got my information on scholarly consensus, whereas I cannot find any evidence from yourself on what you claim consensus is other than (2) below which you later flatly denied!
 
2) Can you explain this contradiction. You stated in our debate: "Nowhere, I repeat NOWHERE in my formal debate with Steve did I present that NT scholars concur an empty tomb." Whereas previously on your website at http://www.theism.net/authors/zjordan/debates_files/locks.htm you wrote:
"Regarding the consensus of scholars, J. P. Holding (personal communication) stated .. Yes---this is the majority consensus, and that of objective secular historians...viz., the overused (but still useful) note by Michael Grant, that whatever the problems with the Gospels, the evidence indicates an empty tomb." Do you or do you not agree that the scholarly consensus is that there was an empty tomb? It appears you are making a much weaker claim - i.e. "By Godly hook, earthly crook, or whatever, there was and remains no known available body."
 
3) Could you clarify exactly what you mean by "no known available body." Does "tomb unknown" really qualify? Would "eaten by dogs" (a la Crossan) qualify?
 
4) You stated Lüdemann believes in "the empty tomb" whereas infact he writes that he believes the evidence points to any burial place being completely unknown - even by first century Christians. If an interment location is unknown then it could not have been seen empty. If that is what you mean by the body was not available then it is not much of a claim for Lüdemann being in consensus with you, surely? It also doesn't say much for supernatural Christianity if Jesus was eaten by dogs, or his place of internment was completely unknown - do you agree?
 
 
As regards 'phone calls across the pond - I'm afraid for the reasons given at http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2sup/polemics.html I don't feel comfortable with that for now.
 
 
Best wishes,
 
Steve
----------------
Leaving Christianity: www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html

 
 
From: " G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se."
To: "Steve Locks"
Cc: "Ed Babinski"; "J. P. Holding"; "Daniel Pech"; "Brian Holtz"; "A.S.A. Jones"
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 3:21 AM
Subject: Re: Scholars


Steve, Ed, Brian,

Please be so kind as to rewrite the following item to YOUR satisfaction.

d. By Godly hook, earthly crook, or whatever, there was and remains no known available body.

Thanks,

J.

 
From: Steve Locks
To: G. Zeinelde Jordan
Cc: "Ed Babinski"; J. P. Holding; Daniel Pech; Atheist Brian Holtz; A.S.A. Jones
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 12:25 AM
Subject: Re: Scholars

Hello Jordan,
 
Hopefully we can move this forward. Remember that you originally wrote:
 
>I trust the re-written "My Position" satisfies all of our concerns.
>
>Let me know what you think.
 
So I answered regarding it satisfying all of our concerns: "I'm afraid I don't see how your re-written position answers any of my criticisms, let alone satisfies them" and then as requested I let you know what I think by re-iterating my requests for clarification.
 
It is all very well asking me/others what is/are my/our position/positions but the point is that I at least do not know what your position means! i.e. it is far from clear what the content of your position is and why you claim scholarly consensus, what exactly you are claiming scholarly consensus on etc. If you can or will answer these questions then that would help in "satisfying all our concerns" regarding clarification.
 
As for my position, as you know I have already given it. See http://www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/asym/jreply2sup/stevebelieve.html
You can consider that as my rewrite of your part d.
 
Will you answer my requests for clarification on the points I raised? If not why is that?
 
Best wishes,
 
Steve
-----------------------------------
Leaving Christianity
www.users.globalnet.co.uk/~slocks/decon.html
 

 
 
From: " G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se."
To: "Steve Locks"
Cc: "Ed Babinski"; "J. P. Holding"; "Daniel Pech"; "Brian Holtz"; "A.S.A. Jones"
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 11:43 PM
Subject: Re: Scholars


Okay, that's enough. Scholarship agrees that no Jesus corpse has ever been produced. It's that simple. Don't attempt to make history something other than what it is. You and I have already debated the body. If you have other comments, limit them to your next reply in our debate.

Then Ed Babinski joined in again...

 
 
From: "ed babinski"
To: jordan
Cc: slocks; jphold; pnpmacknam; brian Holtz; asaj
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 7:44 PM
Subject: Re: Scholars

jordan writes:
>Steve, Ed, Brian,
>Please be so kind as to rewrite the following item to YOUR satisfaction.
>d. By Godly hook, earthly crook, or whatever, there was and remains no
>known available body.
>Thanks,
>J.


ED:   My rewrite would leave out both "Godly hook" and "earthly crook,"
which implies they are the primary categories.   Though I would leave in
the "whatever" category, including legendary embelishments and the
apocalyptic resurrection-ist first-century religious imagination, as well
as the religious imagination of the whole first century Hellenistic
culture.  

As far as "no available body" that's inaccurate. The most that could be
said would be that no one knows for sure where Jesus was buried, nor what
shape the corpse was in seven weeks after he died (when Peter began
preaching).   The body could have been available though the remains were
probably unidentifiable by that time.   And probably nobody gave much of a
hoot about the birth of a small time Jesus cult at that particular time
and place in Jerusalem, (seven weeks after Jesus had been executed)
because the city was extremely busy with a major religious festival and
probably was filled with religious men and preachers of all types of small
sects.   The Christian myth probably began being spelled out in a more
grandiose fashion just to compete at that time and place, which may help
explain the need for "resurrection" speeches.  And of course the later
need for Jesus to be "born of a virgin" (a popular concept back then, even
said of Roman Emperors), and the need of his "rising into heaven" (again,
a popular concept -- even Josephus told the tale which was popular back
then of the ascent of Moses into heaven).   And Paul seems totally
unconcerned about "flesh and blood" which in his opinion, could not
inherit eternal life.    




 
 
From: " G. Zeineldé Jordan, Se."
To: "ed babinski"
Cc: slocks; jphold; pnpmacknam; brian holtz; asaj
Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 10:46 PM
Subject: Re: Scholars

Ed,

No "Bravo!" warranted here. All you've done is present a theory(s)--no body--same as scholars.

My re-write and my previous comment to Brian regarding it remain.

J

Later emails (7 months later).


Notes

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