Monday, July 15, 2013

Irrefutable Arguments? Part 6

It’s time for “red flag” #6 from our atheist:

6)…100% FACT: we have nothing close to an original of any gospel book (besides a single fragment from the 1st century and a dozen or so from the 2nd century one has to around 200 AD before we get any real readings from the gospels) …RED FLAG!!!! 

There’s nothing here we haven’t covered in depth before. Many times we have pointed out that this is an arbitrary setting of the bar to atmospheric heights which would never be used by any historian or textual critic for works like those of Tacitus and Josephus – for whom, we have no originals, and earliest copies at a historical distance five times or more away from the origins, compared to the Gospels. (E.g., Tacitus’ Annals, written in about 115 AD, have no earlier copy than the ninth century.)

While we’re at this subject, I’d like to note a miscellaneous objection from other sources, and ask for some feedback.

"Hey, textual reliability doesn’t mean historical reliability, you know!"

Yes, we know. We also know that Skeptics have been pointing this out for years. We also know that we have yet to see a single Christian apologist actually argue such a thing. I’m not saying they never have done so, just that in 15+ years of seeing atheists hoist this one, I still have no idea who they are talking to.

The feedback I’m asking for: Has anyone ever actually seen a Christian apologist argue that textual reliability equals historical reliability? Note that it is of course a prerequisite of historicity that a text be a reliable report. I am not asking if any apologist has ever presented textual reliability as a stage in establishing historical reliability. I am asking if they have ever argued directly that textual reliability equals historical reliability.

If you know of such an apologist, I would like a name, and a reference for where this was argued.

Nick Peters has more.

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