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The Bible Geek

 

The Bible Geek

Robert M Price presents theology with a twist
 but without the spin

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The Bible Geek Podcast 14-023
Monday, April 7th 2014, 1h50m
00:00:00 A common narrative device in Greco-Roman myths is for a god to promise someone anything they ask, and it leads to tragedy. It's a clear indicator of fiction. Is Mark 6, about Herod's promise, eventuating in the killing of John the Baptist, such a mark of fiction?
00:05:42 I'm curious to hear what you think a person like Apollos or the early Jerusalem Church may have believed.
00:10:42 You've said there likely weren't synagogues in Galilee until after the Pharisees were scattered subsequent to the Fall of Jerusalem. But, weren't there synagogues all through the Diaspora? Didn't Paul preach in some? Why wouldn't there be any in Galilee?
00:14:38 Could you talk a bit about Ezra and Nehemiah?
00:24:57 I would be very interested in hearing your "testimony". Your days with InterVarsity, how you thought then, your experiences at Seminary, what prompted your doubts, the whole process of leaving the faith etc. How many once-prominent doctrines have swept the churches over the centuries and are now vestigial? It used to be that 80% of creationists were old earth creationists and 20% were young earth creationists. Now that is reversed. What accounts for that shift? Big money donors to advocates of young earthism? Read Frank Schaeffer's books and learn about Francis' stash of pornography, his repeated threats of suicide, his temper tantrums where he did things like pulling table cloths off tables in restaurants dumping everyone's food and his repeated hitting of Edith on many occasions, as well as demanding sex from her nightly. What's going on with the New Calvinism? Where did that come from?
00:44:28 Do you think what became orthodox Christianity was the Pauline church trying to incorporate the Jewish church, or the Jewish church trying to incorporate the Pauline church?
00:47:35 Why do you think that the Jewish church that produced the gospel of Matthew would be based on the Pauline gospel of Mark if the two communities were at odds and there was no true history behind Mark's story?
00:52:37 Do you think its fair to say that the early Catholic church took the Gnostic concept of the Demiurge and made him into the Devil?
00:54:49 Doesn't Matthew base his story of Judas' fate on the story of Ahithophel, who betrayed David, then hanging himself, while Acts 1:8 retells the story of Joab betraying Amasa, making as to kiss him, then gutting him?
00:57:50 Where do people get the idea that angels have no free will? What about the fall of Satan and the "sons of God"?
01:01:05 In John 2 Jesus comments that if "this temple" is destroyed, he will raise it up in 3 days. The Jews retort that this temple has taken 46 years to build. It seems like such a specific amount of time. Does not such specific dating imply a historical Jesus?
01:05:59 You've often pointed out that it is illegitimate to strip the gospel of their many miracles and then consider the remaining Swiss cheese a legitimate historical source. Isn't this a case of the ancient legal principle, "Falsus in Uno, Falsus in Omnibus": false in one, false in all? A witness who willfully falsifies one matter is not credible on any matter if it is without corroboration.
01:08:21 Are the names Caiaphas and Cephas synonyms meaning "rock" in Aramaic? Or might Cephas be a Greek name meaning "of the head"? I was told Cephas was called such as the head of the church.
01:13:17 Isn't it possible that Luke 7:28 could be evidence of an earlier Jesus tradition that didn't rely on a human incarnation of Jesus? If Jesus wasn't born of a woman, then there isn't a problem saying that John is the greatest born of a woman.
01:14:52 You said you saw three influences for Christianity: Gnosticism, Mystery Religions, and the Roman hero cult. Why not add Philo?
01:18:15 The "law of attraction" may be a function of the psychological factor of resilience. The ancient custom of "oil" anointing to cool a visitor would make more sense if they used good-smelling oils (either by the addition of resins like frankincense and myrrh or extracted and expensive essential oils such as lemon rind oil) that would overlay a certain amount of body odor in a culture where the weather was hot (especially for travelers), baths were few, and garlic was (probably) a popular spice. If the ancients were able to distill ethanol and essential oils, making perfume, they may have used that. It would have been cooling in addition to making the anointed smell good.
01:23:27 What are your thoughts regarding the "Two Powers in Heaven" concept?
01:29:36 I heard someone say recently that Orthodox Christianity does not believe at all in the death of Christ being about the redeeming of humanity from sin. In fact that they don't believe in original sin. Instead their thinking has always been that Christ's life and death is about the unification of God and humanity, somehow. What do you know about this huge difference, east and west, if it is truly the case?

The Bible Geek Podcast 14-022
Friday, April 4th 2014, 1h26m
00:00:00 What do you think about the idea that "Luke" was the "paperback writer" (c.f., the Beatles) of his time who decided to write his Luke-Acts novel to break into the field and make a few shekels?
00:03:37 Does the graffiti depicting the ass-headed god of the Christians stem from a pun on the similarity between "Iao", a corruption of "Yah", and the Egyptian word for "ass"?
00:05:57 What are the origins of the Christian and thus Islamic concept of hell or a place of eternal torture and torment for sinners and disbelievers?
00:10:55 A listener's testimony.
00:19:34 How did the god "God" come to be known as "God"? Is it just a linguistic trick of the English language? Is the same effect achieved in other languages? Were the Greeks the first people to singularize their old polytheistic term and invent this linguistic sleight of hand? How did we get from "a god" or "the gods" to just "God"? Are the equations the same in other languages?
00:24:39 Whom do you think the author of Judith has in mind playing the part of Nebuchadnezzar? I think it must be Tigranes the Great. Was the book originally written in Hebrew or in Greek in your view?
00:25:47 Re: the Bryennios List: Is the work of great antiquity as claimed by Jean-Paul Audet? What do you make of the canon list, in particular the apparent Hexateuch of the 5 books of Moses and the book of Joshua? Do you think the author might have had knowledge of Joshua's origins, and perhaps knew that the book was written before Deuteronomy and Numbers had been completed? How else would you explain the unusual order of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Joshua, Deuteronomy and Numbers?
00:29:13 Can we use the social-scientific "paradox of the periphery" to discover traditions in historical Christianity that were lost to mainstream Christianity? If so, what would you consider to be the "periphery?" Can you think of any peripheral Christian traditions that might give us a window into past Christian traditions that have disappeared from mainstream Christianity?
00:37:50 According to Mark 6:1-6, Jesus is first able to teach in the local synagogue (6:2), leaving the locals "astonished." Then they ask dopey questions, but still are impressed (6:3), although the writer contends that they think he's basically a nobody, even being offended by him. Huh? Why?
00:50:27 What is the significance of Jesus healing Peter's "mother-in-law"? None of the apostles are mentioned as being married in any of the gospels, so it is rather odd that Peter's "mother-in-law" is singled out. Is there some parallel to the Old Testament here?
00:54:57 Was Bruno Bauer right to identify Philo and Stoicism as the origin of Christian thought?
01:00:51 How is Matthew 28:18 best explained? It conflicts with trinitarianism because you can't give yourself something you already had. And it looks like part of an adoptionistic Christology.
01:07:45 Could you address the writings of Roman Piso, who claims he has found through his research that virtually all of the Popes of the Catholic Church descended from Arrius Piso?
01:10:08 In Matthew and Luke Jesus warns not to put the Lord to the test. How do the serpent handlers and poison drinkers square these verses?
01:15:47 Jesus' sacrifice on the cross is depicted as a tremendous act of love, but given that he suffers for six lousy hours and then receives heavenly glory for eternity, isn't his sacrifice barely a momentary inconvenience?

The Bible Geek Podcast 14-021
Tuesday, April 1st 2014, 60m
00:00:00 Promotional announcements.
00:01:04 Does the Bible itself extend the right to the believer to accept some parts of scripture and ignore others?
00:11:08 What is the Geek's opinion on Cartesian Dualism? It would seem to me that substance dualism is an all-important covert assumption of Christianity, since talk of afterlife becomes incoherent if nothing beyond physical matter exists.
00:18:24 Is there any intentional comedy in the bible?
00:25:04 How do Muslims view the Christian religion? Is there room for Christians in the Muslim heaven?
00:28:57 How did the concept of biblical inerrancy come about? There's no way the Bible itself can contain claims of inerrancy, because it couldn't refer to itself before it was in existence as a collection of writings.
00:34:21 Is it possible that, as Moses gave Hoshea the name Joshua, John the Baptist gave Jesus the name Jesus? Is this is a sign that Jesus succeeds John after his death, just like Joshua with Moses?
00:36:13 Would you agree that verses such as Numbers 31:17-19 clearly show that if absolute morality exists, the Bible and it's God(s) are not the source of it?
00:44:04 How come we never hear anything about the families and biological descendants of the apostles? Wouldn't the gospel message be a lot stronger with some bona fide apostolic bloodlines?
00:46:49 If Jesus is supposedly descended from the royal house of David, how do apologists explain his humble beginnings in Nazareth as a peasant carpenter?
00:48:00 Would you care to discuss the "personal savior" business and its late arrival in Christianity? Is it anticipated in The Teachings of Silvanus (90.29)?
00:54:44 I once read about a pre-Christian Hellenistic belief that if a man lived a perfect life then he could become one with God or even become God, perhaps by being reunited with original divine spark. Can a line be drawn from this to the doctrine of Jesus' sinlessness?

The Bible Geek Podcast 14-020
Monday, March 31st 2014, 1h47m
00:00:00 The "Ransom Theory" was the major view of half of Christianity until theologians like Thomas Aquinas changed the theory into a type of penal substitutionary atonement view popular today. Did everyone just have it wrong in the beginning, and now all of a sudden the "true" meaning of Jesus is death is understood 1000 years after the fact? Mustn't Protestants ask themselves, "Was the Church wrong for 1500 years and only now we understand God?" "Was God only kidding about having the Apocrypha in the Bible for the first three quarters of Christendom and now these are okay to be ignored?" How can the Bible today be taken out of its historical context and claimed to be authoritative? All of this had me wondering, when will it stop? How do we know that the bible we have in today's form is the correct version? What if 500 years from now every religion combines to one large Universalist religion, sharing one holy book. would that be the stopping point of when we understand the 'true' meaning of the bible? What if in another 1000 years from now people realize that Jesus' true form is a Chimpanzee, and he comes from the planet of the apes, and the reason he came to earth was to show us how to be more like monkeys?
00:24:01 Do you think fundamentalists try to mask the critical knowledge uncovered in the last century from the public? Do you think there will be a time when everyone will eventually realize that magic and prophecy have never been real?
00:28:53 A magician explains how his knowledge of stagecraft started him doubting the gospel miracles.
00:34:42 Jesus might have been a myth, but how does that account for the alleged direct contact and handing down of teachings that the Apostolic fathers said that they received from the disciples themselves?
00:37:13 Why did the apostolic fathers seem to teach that Christians went to heaven immediately after they died, whereas the N.T. authors seemed to believe that nobody went to heaven, or was even conscious, until the resurrection itself?
00:43:25 Do the verses in the New Testament that proclaim Christians are incapable of sinning (specifically 1 John 3:5-9) acknowledge that the sacrifices at the Jerusalem Temple were for unintentional sins? Did the author assume the sacrifice of Jesus was only for unintentional sins? Therefore Christians couldn't murder or rape, but they could commit other sins unintentionally? Or does the author completely contradict himself, as 1 John 1 says Christians do sin and 1 John 3 says they are not capable of sinning.
00:47:29 Why, given that both Matthew and Luke stress in great detail that Jesus was of the royal line of David, didn't they change the portion of Mark where Jesus seems to flatly deny it?
00:56:02 Are there original documents in existence that record the discussions and debates about which books to include the New Testament canon?
01:04:51 Might there have been some significant influences from traditional Zoroastrianism present in the development of Shi'a Islam?
01:15:37 Is it possible the so-called physician Luke was treating the thorn in Paul's flesh as described in 2 Corinthians 12:7?
01:17:27 Any book suggestions re: the theory that Revelation is the oldest book of the New Testament and might be described as "semi-Christian"?
01:21:06 Apologists say that the fact that Jerusalem isn't mentioned by name in the Pentateuch is evidence that the books were written before the founding of Jerusalem or at least before it became an important city. Correct?
01:29:11 Suppose that Acts 2 was not a matter of glossolalia (which it was soon interpreted as) but of an innovation whereby religious reciters, hoping to better attract a multi-ethnic crowd, planted not just repeater personnel in crowds but UN-style interpreters?
01:38:12 In Mark chapter 5, though Jesus has told everyone else not to talk about his miracles, he tells the possessed man to "Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you", then later in verse 43 he goes back to telling people to keep quiet, after raising a little girl from the dead. Why would he tell the demon possessed man to spread the word, but tell everyone else to keep quiet? Regarding the story of the demon-possessed man, I never understood why the demons killed the pigs. If they wanted to kill something, why didn't they just kill the man? What happens to the demons after the pigs are dead? Why did Jesus listen to the pleading of the demons in the first place?

The Bible Geek Podcast 14-019
Friday, March 28th 2014, 1h16m
00:00:00 Is there any genuine textual basis in the N.T. for the Augustinian/Calvinistic version of the doctrine of Original Sin (meaning both a fallen/corrupted human nature AND damnable guilt for Adam's sin)?
00:16:26 Irving Finkel's newest book The Ark before Noah seems to confirm Dr. Barton's theory that the ark, symbolically, was not just a boat but an artificial Mountain of God built to allow the Flood hero to reach the floodgates in the heavens and close them, thereby shutting off the rains. The Flood hero built a coracle and constructed several tiers (or heavens) on it culminating in a roof (or sky dome) which the hero climbs through to pray to his God. It is much clearer, now, that the original Ark was a microcosmic world intended to allow the hero to affect the macrocosmic world through his actions.
00:22:22 Do we have an example of Jesus being worshiped in the Bible the way we see Christians worship today? I recall the throngs of people being healed, and coming to see Jesus speak. I don't recall, though it may be in the Bible, of anyone praying to Jesus or asking for anything in his name.
00:34:54 Do you think it's possible that there were two Jesuses? One a la Eisenman's brother of James and a Pauline Jesus? The former being based on a real person via the gospels, and the latter on Paul's heavenly Jesus? At some point, quite early on, the two traditions merged? Is this idea even considered in scholarly circles?
00:40:42 You say the title TEN COMMANDMENTS came to be re-appropriated from the Ritual Commandments (Ex. 34) to the largely ethical ones (Ex. 20), a result of the later Deuteronomic writer changing the emphasis to please the priestly class. This makes perfect sense, but is it possible the change was due to the influence of Marcionite or at least the Pro-Pauline factions? Or is there clear evidence that the switch clearly occurred in the Pre-Pauline era? If there was no Exodus, where did the Hebrews go? Or were they never there in the numbers suggested?
00:47:16 The Jerusalem Bible footnote says the serpent was The Adversary, The Devil. Aren't the authors just reading back into the text what they want to be there?
00:48:23 Is Jesus' "I'm thirsty" on the cross an anti-docetic device?
00:50:10 Luke 1:32 says Jesus "will be called the Son of the Most High," while Luke 1:35 has him called "the Son of God." Isn't this a conflation of Most high, Elyon and Yahweh?
00:52:44 In Luke chap 6 and elsewhere, Jesus and the Disciples walk through farmer's fields taking heads of grain. Isn't that stealing?
00:54:14 In Luke chapter 8:16, we read that no one puts a lamp under a bed. Isn't this anachronistic? Did Hellenized Jews have beds?
00:56:25 Why does KJV have all those italicized words?
00:58:42 Why can't you get a job at a secular university?
01:01:48 You have pointed out that the 40 days of rain in Genesis is contradicted by the stitching in of a second flood story where it rains for 120 days. I don't think it says that it rained 150 days but that it took 120 days for the water to recede. I mean I think this is what is meant by the word "prevail" in "And the waters prevailed upon the earth a hundred and fifty days." How have other scholars interpreted the word, "prevail"?
01:02:50 How strong is the evidence for the historicity of Josiah?

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