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This review is from: Who Wrote the New Testament?: The Making of the Christian Myth (Paperback)
If we read the dialogues of Plato the person who is the mouth piece of his thought is a historical character Socrates. It is clear however that Plato is not simply writing down what Socrates has said, but he puts in his mouth ideas that he thinks are correct. Mack thinks that this was a common practice in Greek communities and that a large number of the sayings of philosophers like Diogeneses were constructed after the event to reflect the spirit of his philosophy.
Mack is a biblical expert and has written previous works on the subject including one on the existence of a common source of sayings for two of the Gospels known as Q.
In this book he uses as a tool of exposition the recent finding of the Gospel of Thomas. A manuscript written in Coptic which was found in 1945. Rather than being a Gospel which purported to tell Jesus life, this is a collection of his sayings. Mack believes that all of the Gospels have a similar background. A series of sayings which have been developed by different Christian communities to reflect their teachings over practical and theological issues. The interesting thing about the Gospel according to Thomas is that there are no miracles, there is no crucifixion and no physical resurrection, suggesting that these things became important somewhat later.
He sees the writing of the Gospels as something akin to fiction writing. The authors of the Gospel wrote their stories to illustrate and to explain the doctrinal intricacies of their belief system. In much the same way that an ancient Greek may have developed a saying of Diogeneses to illustrate a point about his philosophy.
Later these stories have become something else and have been seen as literal history. The book is interesting as an exposition of what is common knowledge about the study of the bible. I personally would have preferred more detail about some things such as the means of dating the Gospels. However the book is aimed to be an introduction to a complex field.
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Initial post: Apr 1, 2012 12:38:06 PM PDT
EXposition? Really? The guy couldn't read Hebrew and Greek of the very text he debunks, if he were paid a billion dollars! LOLOLOL this is one of the funniest claims I've ever heard.
Look: disbelieve the Bible if you want to, but don't make a fool of yourself making claims about its authorship if YOU CANNOT READ THE TEXT. The King-James-Only idiots put their feet in their mouths by making similar claims, at the opposite end -- that the KJV, one of the most-documented ERROR-riddled translations, is somehow perfect.
If you CAN read the text, you find it compelling. Too much symmetry, it makes too much sense, there is too much coherency over 66 authors and a 1500-year timespan, to be anyone's invention. When real history matches the meter of the text which you can demonstrate from Adam through Christ (not Bible codes nonsense but a TIMELINE Christendom itself still doesn't understand) -- then honey, you take notice. But hey: it's up to you to study the matter, or not.
But DO NOT MAKE A FOOL OF YOURSELF and make claims about the Bible, pro or con, UNTIL YOU HAVE DONE YOUR HOMEWORK IN THE TEXT. This guy did none. Patently.
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