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How unlikely is the relocation hypothesis on naturalism?

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  • How unlikely is the relocation hypothesis on naturalism?

    I’d like to thank my opponent GnarlyOcelot for inviting me to debate him on this topic. I hope I can provide as much a challenge for him as I’m sure he’ll provide for me.

    My goal will be to try and establish that it’d be surprising that the relocation hypothesis is true, given naturalism and our background knowledge; but, not shocking. That is, I want to show that P(Relocation Hypothesis|Naturalism&k)=0.3.

    First, I’ll need to define the hypothesis, naturalism, and unpack k.

    I take the Relocation Hypothesis to say something like this: Very shortly after Jesus’ corpse was buried, it was relocated to another burial site.

    Generally, this hypothesis is used to explain how Jesus’ tomb was discovered empty: his body had been relocated without his disciples knowing it. This doesn’t just imply that his disciples were ignorant of this move; it also indicates they were unaware of where Jesus’ body was moved to.

    I take naturalism to be the thesis that atheism is true, and nothing supernatural exists.

    Finally to save space and unless my opponent disagrees, I’ll assume the following items to be within k (note these *certainly* aren’t exhaustive):
    (i) Jesus of Nazareth was executed via crucifixion by Roman official’s hours before the Sabbath began.

    (ii) Jewish law operative during this time and in this region would’ve mandated that Jesus be buried by sundown, and in a criminal burial lot.

    (iii) Jesus of Nazareth was buried just before the Sabbath began by a member of the Jewish high council.

    The question then becomes, does (i)-(iii) [inter alia] + Naturalism imply that the relocation hypothesis is true?

    Well, we know that if Jesus had to be buried by sundown and no pious Jew could bury Jesus on the Sabbath, that whoever buried Jesus would’ve had to rush. Further, given that Jesus’ appropriate burial place was in a criminal lot, and that the Jew(s) who buried Jesus belonged to or were at least sympathetic with the same council that condemned Jesus for blasphemy, it’s quite likely that Jesus’ buriers would try to get him to the criminal lot.

    But, of course, they have to go to Pilot to get Jesus’ body down from the cross (assuming he’s dead at this point), then march him some distance to then have to prepare the body and complete his burial. This seems like it could take hours.

    Further, supposing whoever buried Jesus had been up all night at Jesus’ trial, and dealing with the riots throughout Jerusalem, it seems likely that they’d seek to place Jesus’ body in a temporary burial site. Then, after the Sabbath had finished, they could resume their duties and relocate Jesus’ body to its appropriate site.

    Since this site wouldn’t be where Jesus was *supposed* to have been buried, they’d want to do this relocation business as soon as possible.

    Perhaps at this point you’re wondering, ‘wait…isn’t the relocation hypothesis supposed to be unlikely?’ Yes, it is. There are numerous considerations which when taken into account significantly decrease the likelihood of this hypothesis.

    For instance, it isn’t like Jesus was the first person to ever be executed this shortly before the Sabbath. You’d think there were precautions for this situation. For example, the Jews would likely have tried to recover the body a lot sooner than what Gospel’s portray: 3 p.m. This may very well have involved killing Jesus by some other means than crucifixion, since practically no one would die of crucifixion in just 6 hours; it usually took over a day. So, it seems surprising that the Jews found themselves in such a hurried situation. Why not just say they had more than enough time to get Jesus to his appropriate burial site the first time around? Plus, given the riots, you’d think Pilot would permit Jesus’ body to be taken down early lest he incite any violence.

    And, “seriously?” you might ask, “can we *really* be confident in the exact day and time some 2,000 year old, poor Palestinian Jew was killed?”
    Although, as I suggested above, given the riots and the trial (things which are unlikely to have occurred every Friday) it may be plausible that Jesus’ buriers found themselves in a rush.

    My opponent will soon list stronger objections than these. Remember though, it is *my* position that the relocation hypothesis is unlikely given naturalism and our background knowledge. So, showing this won’t defeat my position. He has to show that it would be highly unlikely, even shocking that Jesus’ corpse be relocated (etc.) given naturalism and k.

    It seems to me that while it certainly is unlikely that Jesus’ body was relocated, there are many ways we can conceive of such a thing happening. I mean it wouldn’t be *shocking*, just unexpected. Hence, I numerically represent this state of ‘surprise’ as 0.3.
    "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

    "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

  • #2
    Whittling that .3 down to something more sensible

    Introduction
    It is my goal to demonstrate that .3 is too high an epistemic probability to assign to the reburial/relocation hypothesis (RH). Before all is said and done, I actually hope to convince Perplexity that it would be closer to shocking if RH were true. It's first worth pointing out that there is a technical difference between "reburial" and "relocation" hypotheses. The reburial hypothesis of Carrier and Lowder et. al. embarrassingly misunderstood Jewish references to "secondary burial" as something other than the moving of bones into an ossuray (bone box) a year or so later when the body fully decomposed. So, e.g., Lowder now admits "The reason for the change is that I have been persuaded to view the (posited) temporary storage of Jesus' body in Joseph's tomb as just that: temporary storage, not formal burial under Jewish law." I'm going to be charitable then and assume Perplexity likewise means "relocation" (i.e. the "temporary storage" hypothesis) rather than "reburial".

    Evidence against RH:
    (a) Jewish law absolutely demanded actual "burial" on the day of death, and temp. storage in no way constituted burial. Temp. corpse storage required amazingly rare/special circumstances that aren't met in the case of Jesus (e.g., if a relative dies during a family wedding).
    (b) If/when a corpse had to be temp. stored, it's highly unlikely that it would be stored in a tomb (rather than traditional shaded spots spoken of in the few Jewish literary references to the practice).
    (c) The earliest possible re-location time was a no-go: Rather than relocate Jesus in the dark on Saturday evening, Joseph would've relocated the corpse at a convenient time on Sunday.
    (d) Joseph's tomb was specifically for "burial" (and storage isn't burial).
    (d1) Tomb was sealed by the golel (which would needlessly increase work-load and stench on RH)
    (d2) Needless work: Moving light/odorless bones a year later is obviously much more preferable.
    (e) There were guards at the tomb. (Which poses problems for a number of reasons)
    (f) If the corpse was re-located, then only the most outlandishly ad hoc scenario could justify the possibility that AD 30 Christians wouldn't find out (both proactively and reactively on numerous fronts).


    Evidence for RH:
    (a') Joseph didn't love Jesus. He wasn't family, friend, nor follower.
    (b') Jewish Law: "Bury criminals in criminal graveyards!"
    (c') Joseph didn't have time to formally bury Jesus.

    Let's consider the evidence for RH in this first post.

    Regarding (a'), Perplexity alludes to Mk 14:52 where it says "all [the Sanhedrin] condemned Him [Jesus]". But,
    (a'1) "All" is often less than literal (e.g. Mk 1:5, "all the country of Judea was going out to him, and all the people [...] were being baptized."
    (a'2) Even if "all" was literal, it doesn't need to refer to "all" Jerusalem Sanhedrinists. We don't know which members were present at the hearing.
    (a'3) Even if every single member was present, we still don't that they all participated in the vote.
    (a'4) Even if perplexity overturns a'1-3, consider Jn 19:38 ("Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews"). Joseph would've known his voice wouldn't count for anything, so how likely is that he would have risked admitting his allegiance?
    Though not a popular thesis among critics, I think it's highly likely that Joseph was a disciple. This best explains Jn's comment, as well as Lk 23:50 ("a good and righteous man"), and Mt 27:57 ("had also become a disciple of Jesus"). Moreover, Mk similarly compliments Joseph as one "who himself was waiting for the kingdom of God", a deliberately esoteric phrase which I'd argue instances 'protective obscurity' all three times it is used in Mk. I.e. It's a Christian in-house code phrase for "this person is a Christian" (cf. Mk 1:14-15) designed to respectfully avoid publically exposing secret disciples while they were alive. That Joseph's name is so carefully preserved (despite being a minor character) is also best explained by this hypothesis, as well as the type of burial we see Joseph giving Jesus.
    Regarding (b'), there is a lot to tease out:
    (b'1) Jesus wasn't a criminal in the sense required; Jesus wasn't a "to-be-stoned" blasphemer (e.g., cf. Mishnah Sanhedrin 7:5 and Mk 14:60-64).
    (b'2-3) Even if the Sanhedrin did condemn Jesus as a criminal in the sense required, I argue that Joseph of Arimathea didn't feel that way about Jesus. Moreover, the Jewish texts cited by Carrier et. al. are dubious insofar as there is serious debate over whether these traditions existed in AD 30 and also whether they would've been enforced in AD 30. Regardless, even as written, they only apply when the Jewish council personally executes the criminal themselves, not when they merely condemn/judge him (M. Sanh 6.5; Sem. II 6, 9; B. San 47b). Gerd Lüdemann (Atheist NT scholar; Prof. of Early Chrstn Hist. & Lit.) is right, "The assumption that Jesus was buried in a cemetery for those who had been executed, a Jewish practice, is almost impossible, because Jesus had not been executed by the Jewish authorities."
    (b'4) If it were the Jewish-designated criminals tomb, the gospels could hardly fail to mention it, because its so important historically (like mention of Jesus' crucifixion) and because it served their obsession with the Isaiah 53 prophecy, "His grave was assigned with wicked men."
    Regarding (c'), which is where most of the force comes from, we have an argument which fails on numerous counts:
    (a'1) The crucifagrum would have been applied early enough to allow plenty of time for folks to bury the bodies. As Perplexity himself notices, this wasn't their first rodeo. It's unthinkable that the Jews only just realized in the nick of time that the victims needed to be dead in time for them to take the bodies and bury them.
    (a'2) Even blindly assuming Pilate wasn't on-site, and also assuming that the Centurian didn't accompany Joseph when he asked Pilate for the body, and assuming they weren't rushing, the total process would still not have taken long. E.g., Raymond Brown writes in his 2 volume masterpiece on Jesus' final days that "The actions now about to be described (going before Pilate who would call in the centurion, buying the linen cloth, taking the body down, tying it up, and putting it in a burial place) would have taken not much less than two hours."
    (a'3) A Sabbath eve twilight burial is not at all uncommon in the Rabbinic literature (cf. B. Baba Bathra 100b, Semahot IX.9), which also suggests that burial did not take long at all and/or the timing was relaxed.
    (a'4) In fact, though Carrier writes "David is said to wish that he would die on the eve of the Sabbath so his body would experience a final Sabbath before its burial on Sunday (Eccles. 12:148)", the citation itself actually an instance of a twilight burial (contra Carrier). David wanted to die on the eve of the Sabbath so that his burial arrangements would *not* be postponed (cf. The commentary by Feldheim, The Midrash Rabbah). That is, even if the King of Israel died later in the day than Jesus died, immediate burial would still be possible and required. I explained this exegetical point to Richard and he responded "Thanks for calling my attention to this. I will issue a correction in my FAQ when I get back to it."
    (a'4) Mk 16:6 ("they") makes it clear that Joseph used servants, something we'd already expect of a "prestigious member of the Sanhedrin"; multiple persons are also already required to open/seal Jesus' tomb (the sealing-stone was too heavy for one person).
    (a'4a): With servants, Joseph wouldn't even need to stay at the burial. Joseph could've left them to finish.
    (a'4b): With servants, getting things done before sunset would be a breeze.
    (a'5) Prima facie, the hypothetical criminals tomb that RH requires would've, in all probability, been closer to the cross than Joseph's tomb. Glenn Miller explains "the only movement of the body would have either been from the Cross to the (biblical account) Tomb of Joseph of A (traditional map sites yield a distance of only 50 yards); or from the Cross to the northern necropolis (300-600 yards?); or with the farthest plausible distance to the vicinity of the Haceldama--"Field of Blood" area--around a mile [at 3 mph, that's a 20 minute walk for a worst-case scenario]."

    Conclusion
    I think much of this should be news to Perplexity, so if Perplexity believed P(Relocation Hypothesis|Naturalism&k)=0.3 before, then after reading this post things should change. If not, I look forward to fleshing out my arguments against the relocation hypothesis.
    Last edited by GnarlyOcelot; 03-01-12, 08:04 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      1st Response to GnarlyOcelot:

      In this installment, I'll only be addressing GnarlyOcelot's critiques of my opening statement, not his Evidence Against RH, points (a)-(f). He seems to indicate in his conclusion that he believes his rebuttal validates his position, and will only advance his evidence against RH if I disagree.

      Before getting into his rebuttal, I want to make a quick point on notation: under GnarlyOcelot's section "Regarding (c')", he listed his sub-points as (a'1), (a'2),..., etc., instead of (c'1), (c'2),...,etc. So, to avoid confusion when I say "(c'1), (c'2),...," etc., I'm referring to his (c') sub-points.

      I'll follow his format, and thus will begin with his (a') sub-points, and on through to his (c') sub-points.

      (a'): Joseph didn't love Jesus. He wasn't family, friend, nor follower.

      (a'1)-(a'3):

      The first thing I'd like to say about his (a'1)-(a'3) is that we can get (a') without any reference to Mk. 14:52. For instance, we might agree with esteemed scholar Raymond Brown who didn't believe Joseph of Arimethea was a disciple of Jesus at the time of Jesus' burial because (inter alia) Jesus' women followers didn't assist in the burial. [1] Or, that Joseph was at the trial simply because there was such a trial, and as my opponent says in (c'4), Joseph was a "prestigious member of the Sanhedrin". So, we might regard his (a'1)-(a'3) as irrelevant. But, I don't want to concede these points.

      We needn't understand the "all" in Mk. 14:52 as literal to understand it as referring to a majority. Of course there will be exceptions. But, the fact that the word "all" is used non-literally elsewhere doesn't tell us it's being used non-literally here. Given Joseph's prestigious status in the Sanhedrin, it's more than likely that he was at this thing, regardless of whether the word "all" is literal or not. Further, all I need to show is that Joseph considered Jesus a blasphemer, not that he voted against him at this trial, and I certainly wouldn't infer that he did vote against Jesus simply because he was at the trial.

      (a'4):

      We can grant that the hypothesis "Joseph of Arimethea was a disciple of Jesus" best explains certain texts like Jn. 19:38 (etc.) and still affirm that Joseph was neither family, friend, nor follower of Jesus at the time of the burial. We'd just be agreeing with Brown that Joseph converted later. The Gospel authors would then be taking common knowledge that Joseph was a follower of Jesus, and reading it back into history. I mean, seriously, look at Jn. 19:38. Joseph would have had to get Jesus' body from Pilate to bury it by sundown regardless of whether he was a follower of Jesus.

      (b'): Jewish Law: "Bury criminals in criminal graveyards!"

      (b'1):

      "It is often pointed out that the technical definition of blasphemy recorded in Mishnah (Sanhedrin 7:5) requires that to be guilty a person had to pronounce the name of God, the Tetragammeton (often transcribed as 'Yahweh' today). Because there is no evidence that Jesus ever defied that prohibition, some scholars argue that the Evangelist displays considerable ignorance of first-century Judaism. But the problem is not so simple. The Mishnah was compiled about ad 200, and incorporates not a few regulations modified by the relatively more humane and sophisticated heirs to the Pharisees. There is no evidence whatsoever that the Sadducees ever adopted so narrow a definition of blasphemy, and they largely controlled the Sanhedrin and influenced not a little of religious opinion in and around Jerusalem. The hotch-potch of competing and fervent religious opinions in Palestine before the fall of Jerusalem in ad 70 sometimes mocks the streamlined, restrained and largely univocal vision preserved in the Mishnah." [2]

      (b'2-3):

      I addressed his first point here in my response to his (a'4) above. His other points concern some alleged texts cited by Carrier which I've neither appealed to nor which GnarlyOcelot has identified, so there isn't much I can say in response to the Carrier remark. In his The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, esteemed scholar Craig Keener cites the authors of one of the best Matthean commentaries in the world: ""The only surprise," Davies and Allison note (on Matt 27:60), is that Joseph buries Jesus in a family tomb rather than a criminals' burial plot." [3] I find it shocking that these heavy-weight scholars would expect Jesus to be buried in a criminals' burial plot if GnarlyOcelot is correct. Although, he cited Lüdemann to the contrary. So, I'll concede that criminal burial plot claims are controversial.

      (b'4):

      I don't understand why my opponent thinks the early Christians would have been aware of Jesus' burial place within the criminal-lot. RH is generally used to explain why Jesus' followers discovered an empty tomb. i.e., it's usually assumed, on RH, that the early Christians didn't know where Jesus was moved to. (This would explain why Jesus' tomb wasn't venerated)

      (c'): Joseph didn't have time to formally bury Jesus.

      (c'1):

      As I argued in my opening statement, generally, the Jews would have been prepared for burying a body just before the Sabbath. But, I noted there were circumstances here that were unlikely to occur every Friday, like riots. So, (c'1) doesn't seem very strong to me, even though it's a fair point.

      (c'2):

      "In the Synoptic chronology Jesus died c. 3 p.m.; after Joseph stopped to secure Pilate's permission (Mk 15:43), perhaps only an hour remained before sundown and the prohibition of work. Although anointing (Mk 16:1) and washing the corpse were permissible on the Sabbath, some other elements of the burial could be conducted only in the most preliminary manner for the moment, though undoubtedly hastened considerably through the agency of Joseph's servants." [4]

      "Mark describes the sparest type of burial, marked by haste and lacking in amenities." [5]

      (c'3):

      I'm not sure how GnarlyOcelot's references here are relevant to Jesus' case. Was Joseph and his servants in a relaxed environment? Keener would seem to disagree.

      (c'4):

      I don't understand how this is relevant.

      (c'5)a-b[6]:

      Keener agreed with this; but, also noted that there was only about an hour to pull this shindig off.

      (c'6):

      GnarlyOcelot claims that the criminals plot required by RH would have probably been closer to the cross than Joseph's tomb, and cites Glenn Miller to support him. But, Miller's quotation explicitly contradicts my opponent's claim. Miller say's Joseph's tomb was the closest to the cross: only 50 yards away, whereas the necropolis was 300-600 yards. I'm not sure if this is a typo or not.

      Conclusion:

      While my opponent has afforded reason to think P(RH|Naturalism & k) < 0.5, he has not produced reason to think P(RH|Naturalism & k) << 0.5.


      Foot notes:

      [1]: Brown, Raymond E. Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to Grave. A Commentary On the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels., II. ABRL, 7; New York: Doubleday, 1994. p. 1218.

      [2]: Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Leicester, England: Inter-Varsity, 1991. p. 396

      [3]: Keener, Craig S. The Historical Jesus of the Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub., 2009.

      [4]: ibid.

      [5]: Brown, Raymond E. Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to Grave. A Commentary On the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels., II. ABRL, 7; New York: Doubleday, 1994. p. 1218.

      [6]: He lists (a'4) twice, I'm not sure if this was his intention but I separated them for organization.
      "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

      "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

      Comment


      • #4
        (a'1i) The gospels grammatically/contextually represent Joseph as a believer at the time of Jesus' burial (cf. a'4i below). So, the evidences that I listed are still better explained by Joseph's being a pre-Easter disciple (as the gospels suggest) than his being a post-Easter disciple. So (a'1-a'3) stand in my favor.

        (a'1ii) This response unjustifiedly (and perhaps implausibly) assumes that the women would know that Joseph was a secret believer in Jesus then.

        (a'1iii) Joseph knew where Jesus' body was, so if Joseph converted post-Easter (from a previously hostile position), then the empty tomb (with a non-relocated body) is by far the best explanation for his conversion. Ponder this for a while.

        (a'1iv) It's unlikely that Joseph would convert without checking to see if Jesus' (famous) body remained where he left it. If it wasn't gone, then he wouldn't have converted.

        (a'4i) Perplexity, this is both grammatically and contextually unacceptable. It reads "Joseph of Arimathea, being [i.e. "insofar as he was"] a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews, asked Pilate..." Contextually, Joseph's being a disciple is the explanation Jn gives for why he wanted Jesus' body, and the "being" grammatically indicates he was a disciple then and there, not simply later in life.

        (a'44i) Perplexity, what is the evidence that this high ranking leader was assigned to bury Jesus? The evidence is merely the currently undermined belief that, though he buried Jesus, he wasn't a disciple. So now (a1-3) and (a4) stands.

        (b'1i) Perplexity, Carson (accurately) notes that it's "possible" that M. Sanhedrin 7:5 didn't apply in AD 30, and its "possible" that Jesus blasphemed (in the to-be-stoned- sense) in some hitherto unknown way. Still, dubious evidence is in favor of Jesus' not being a blasphemer is still evidence and trumps the non-existent evidence that he was considered by them to be a blasphemer. So all (a'1-4) and (b'1) stands.

        (b'2-3i) Perplexity, I gave sustained evidence that Joseph was a disciple, so the first part needs to be addressed. Also see Jos. Ant.5.44; there was purportedly one burial spot for those "stoned and burned", and another for those "beheaded and strangled" -- there was no spot for the crucified. I gave evidence that Jesus wouldn't have been buried in a criminals plot because Jew's only did this when the Jewish council personally executes the criminal themselves, not when they merely condemn/judge him (M. Sanh 6.5; Sem. II 6, 9; B. San 47b). None of these texts/evidences were addressed, so along with (a'1-4), (b'1) and (b'2-3) stand strong.

        (b'4i) Perplexity, if Jesus' was relocated to a criminals tomb, Christians would know about it and happily report it (for reasons given). That Christians would know is built on evidence (f) of my first post, which reads "If the corpse was re-located, then only the most outlandishly ad hoc scenario could justify the possibility that AD 30 Christians wouldn't find out (both proactively and reactively on numerous fronts)." Since (f) has not been overturned, this technically stands. Still, readers should reserve judgement because Perplexity chose not to address my positive case yet; i.e. maybe he is right about (f) being unjustified. Perplexity, please address (f) now so we can come to a conclusion about (b'4) [which again, technically is still standing].

        (c'1i) Perplexity, the threat of riots followed the influx of Jews to Jerusalem during festival days, but festival days happened almost monthly so this was all old news to everyone. They were used to this because they'd been dealing with it almost monthly for years. There's no chance the Romans would've risked not giving the Jews plenty of time to bury the crucified precisely because they were afraid of riots!

        (c'2i) Perplexity, I'm not sure why you quote Keener here, since what he says is compatible with the information I provided. Keener indicates that even if only one hour was left after Pilate was consulted, that was time to get everything done by sunset ("PERHAPS only an hour remained before sundown"), though it might or might not require making haste. I agree; this works against your thesis. Sunset was 6:15-7:15 PM, and Jesus died very loosely around 3:00 PM. As Brown notes, in actual fact, the whole event including max travel would probably take a little under 2 hours. Though Keener entertains the idea of it taking twice as long, Brown's max is actual and justified (cf. the Miller excerpt). It's a max because this is all assuming Pilate was not on site and also assuming that the Centurion didn't accompany Joseph, both assumptions of which enjoy not the slightest of justifications. This evidence for a temporary storage amounts to nothing.

        (c'3i) Perplexity, whether the "environment" was relaxed is irrelevant. The idea is not to let the sun go down while the corpse was exposed; every minute that it does is an offense. The pious Jew was not permitted to sleep until the corpse was buried ("So long as his dead lies unburied, a mourner may sleep neither on an upright bed nor on an inverted bed" [Semahot XI.16]). So if the corpse died before sunset, even right before, Joseph would've done everything possible to finish burying Jesus ASAP (even if it went on a little after sunset).


        (c'4i) Perplexity, it suggests that even a king who dies just before sunset was to be buried (presumably even if it meant going a little past sunset).

        (c'5i) Perplexity, Keener doesn't say they didn't have time; quite the opposite, he thinks they'd have time even if only an hour were left. Servants especially make quick work of the burial. You also left this completely unaddressed: "With servants, Joseph wouldn't even need to stay at the burial. Joseph could've left them to finish" though as Keener notes, it was not even a violation for Joseph to stay and attend to the corpse; he was merely prohibited from carrying it.

        (c'6i) I think "The Joseph tomb" is just a name; it doesn't exclude it from being a criminals tomb.

        (c'6ii) Assume the Joseph tomb wasn't a criminals tomb. The teeth of this argument still lies in the fact that the "farthest plausible" criminals tomb was still only a negligible 15 minutes extra of walking only 3 mph down the road. That's the worst case scenario! So c1-6 all stand and absolutely obliterate the (c) argument for temporary storage.

        I'd like to start making head way into my positive case now, so please address at least the first of my positive evidence against RH in your next response.

        Comment


        • #5
          2nd Reply to GnarlyOcelot:

          (a')'s:

          The fact that the gospels describe Joseph as a disciple at the time of the burial no more confirms the position that he was, than that the gospel authors were being anachronistic. P(gospel descriptions of Joseph A as a secret disciple|gospel authors were being anachronistic & k) > 0.5. So, the gospel's descriptions of Joseph certainly aren't evidence that he was a secret disciple, as I said.

          I find your remark about the women's ignorance odd. Because the Apostle's weren't expecting a resurrection, Jesus' death sent them spiraling into a reclusive depression for weeks. So, what exactly would Joseph of Arimathea believe about Jesus at the time of the burial? What would it *mean* to be a secret disciple of a dead guy whom Joseph wouldn't have expected to be coming back any time soon? You might be able to make the case that someone very close to Jesus like his Apostles or women followers would retain hope after his death, but for a major leader of the Sanhedrin who was far removed from any personal relationship with Jesus? If anything, you'd think Jesus' execution would've moved Joseph to think "ah, I was wrong about the guy." So, I think it's far less plausible that he was some kind of secret disciple than that the women were ignorant of a major Jewish political figure's affinities towards their beloved, executed leader.

          (b')'s:

          Carson never uses the word 'possible.' Instead, he says, "There is no evidence whatsoever that the Sadducees ever adopted so narrow a definition of blasphemy..." So, I'm not granting you dubious evidence, I'm with Carson: there is no evidence whatsoever. All we have is the gospel texts telling us that Jesus was accused of blasphemy.

          As to whether Jesus wouldn't have been buried in a criminals plot because the Jews didn't execute him, you base this argument off of texts you undermined earlier. In your first post, you said it's dubious that the following sources employed by Carrier applied in 30 CE, M. Sanhedrin, Semehot and B. San. I agree with you on that, but it seems you may have changed positions. As Carson noted there is a restrained and largely univocal vision preserved in the Mishnah that doesn't reflect the vibrant religious diversity in Palestine before 70 CE. It seems most plausible to me to infer from these texts that there were criminal plots tout court. There's nothing irrational about adopting such a minimalist view.

          "We must be careful to recognize limitations in our knowledge of burial practices in Jesus' lifetime. Even before recent sensitivity about the limited applicability of the Mishna to Jesus' time, and therefore about mishnaic rules for burying the bodies of the condemned, Buckler recognized that the references to burial in Josephus indicated a different situation in the 1st cent. From that envisioned by later information." [1]

          "It was common among older Jewish scholars to rely heavily on the Mishna (ca. A.D. 200-220), the Tosepta (3d century), the Palestinian (or Jerusalem) Talmud (5th century), and the Babylonian Talmud (6th century) as well as the rabbinic midrashim from various centuries to reconstruct the historical Pharisees and Sadducees. More recently, Jewish scholars like Jacob Neusner and Shaye Cohen, as well as Christian scholars like E. P. Sanders and Anthony Saldarini, have urged greater caution in the use of rabbinic literature to delineate the very different conditions of Judaism in pre-70 Palestine." [2]

          As Craig Evans says: "It seems most probable that the priests would have raised no objections to the burial of the three men. Indeed, they probably would have arranged to have them buried, before nightfall, in tombs reserved for executed criminals." - p. 7

          As to (f), you haven't motivated any of your points in your positive case yet. So, (f) just seems to me to be a sweeping statement yet to be supported. Further, if we take the (a) of your positive case seriously, then we should think 30 CE Christians would be surprised to find an empty tomb: they wouldn't have expected relocation since it was so crazy rare. The conjunction of RH, (a) and (f) seems to lead to the conclusion that (a) is what's ad hoc here. Ironically.

          (c')'s:

          I find it much easier to believe that Joseph and his crew were rushed than that they had plenty of time to bury Jesus. You didn't interact with my quotation of Brown when he says Mark's burial account is marked with haste. What an odd way to describe the burial if they weren't rushed. So, even granting that the influx of Jews on holidays like this brought threats of riots, the text itself depicts a rushed burial. It gets worse. Think of how shocking it would be that Joseph (and his crew) wasn't intending to relocate Jesus, that he had more than enough time to bury Jesus, and that he was a secret disciple of Jesus, but buried Jesus in haste without any affinities. It would make far more sense of the texts that we have on your hypothesis to say formal burial was delayed, and thus Jesus' body was temporarily stored until later.

          I thought my citation of Keener was pretty straightforward: there was perhaps an hour before sundown, and according to Brown it took just under 2 hours to bury someone. Conjoining these claims gives us the conclusion that the burial would've persisted after sundown. However, who knows when the sun set on a particular day over 2,000 years ago? For all we know, it could have been setting early this night. We're so far removed from details like these that I don't think we should rest any serious conclusions on them.

          I think the phrase 'absolutely obliterate' is quite an exaggeration. At best, this makes it a surprising hypothesis. Which is what I've been arguing for.

          So, in conclusion, I don't think these objections to RH do anything more than support my contention: RH is surprising, given naturalism and k, but it's not shocking.

          On To The Positive Case:

          I'll address only (a) for the sake of space. As noted earlier, my opponent hasn't motivated any of the points in his positive case yet, so even if you disagree with my response to (a), you shouldn't accept (a), at least yet.

          What is involved in burial according to Jewish law? Well, we actually don't know very much apart from the Laws (my opponent is likely to cite) which were written hundreds of years after Jesus' death.

          Does my opponent mean that Jewish Law required the dead to be buried permanently once they were buried? He provided a counter-example to this earlier: second burial, in which the remains of a corpse were relocated to an appropriate site (usually a family plot) about a year after the initial burial. Perhaps he just means that Jewish Law required the dead to be buried permanently on the day of their death unless they were to be relocated later according to the Law. If so, I'd like him to produce the law which says this. I'm not aware of any.

          In essence, I think (a) is just kind of vague. It could mean a number of things. But, I don't want to say more lest I construct an argument for (a) he doesn't endorse.

          Footnotes:

          [1] Brown, Raymond E. Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to Grave. A Commentary On the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels., II. ABRL, 7; New York: Doubleday, 1994. p. 1206.

          [2] Meier, John P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. v. 3. New York: Doubleday, 1991. p. 303.
          "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

          "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

          Comment


          • #6
            [Hey Perplexity, I'm not going to try to figure out how to translate your response to the old number system, but for reference-sake please try to preserve the numbers this time in your response (even if you choose not to respond to some).]


            Regarding (a') As seen below, all things considered, we have no good reason to think Joseph buried Jesus merely as a duty (rather than out of personal respect/love). As a matter of fact we have some unaddressed standing reasons to think Joseph was a disciple with just the means and will to take care of Jesus' body. So this first evidence for reburial comes up short.

            (a'1) The prior probability of the authors "being anachronistic" (an ad hoc hypothesis) is lower. Consider the hypothesis that the original Markan manuscript had the burial account unwittingly added via a highly improbable ink-spill. Then, P(gospel description x of Joseph-burial | x was the content of an accidental ink-spill blot & k) = 1, but this ink-spill explanation is even more ad hoc than your explanation! As a result, it's inferior to your explanation for the same reason your explanation is inferior to mine: Lower prior probability. The question just is "how much lower?"

            (a'2) That Jesus' prospects at being messiah were overtly shattered actually adds to my point that the women wouldn't risk assisting in the burial even if Joseph was a secret disciple. After all, if they had no reason to think Joseph was a disciple before, they certainly had no reason to think it now that Jesus was dead. So this evidence for a' doesn't work.

            (a'3) To answer your (new) objection: Being a "disciple" needn't mean thinking of Jesus as messiah; Joseph need only admire Jesus deeply for his teachings and message (about love, the coming kingdom, special need for reform etc.). So this evidence for a' doesn't work.

            (a'4) Joseph knew where Jesus' body was, so if Joseph converted post-Easter, then the unexpectedly empty tomb in his metaphorical backyard is the most natural explanation for his conversion. This counts against a'.

            (a'5) It's unlikely that Joseph would convert without checking to see if Jesus' (famous) body remained where he left it. If it wasn't gone, then he wouldn't have converted. Reburial fails to help then with the very phenomenon it was invoked to explain: Jesus' missing body. This counts against a'.

            Regarding (b') As seen below, all things considered, we have no good reason to think that Jewish law required Jesus to be buried in a criminals tomb. So this second evidence for reburial comes up short.

            (b'1) The Mishnaic evidence you depend on is evidence, but it's inconclusive for reasons you outlined in addition to the fact that it's so poorly attested. It's therefore best seen as a prima facie evidence only.

            (b'2) Keener writes "Although they cannot have believed that Jesus had committed blasphemy according to its technical legal definition (see comment on 9:3), they have an important reason to deal with him quickly: he clearly poses a threat to the temple establishment, and as a messianic claimant he threatens their power and the nation’s stability (cf. Jer 26:9, 11)." [IVP Bible Commentary on the NT] Carson on the other hand is less confident. He doesn't express an opinion as to whether Jesus was a blasphemer; he is content to say "There is no evidence" for it. Well, is there (significant) evidence? Who is right? I don't know myself, but this shady area certainly doesn't help with are confidence in (b').

            (b'3) Even if the Sanhedrin felt Jesus belonged in a criminals tomb, the b' evidence depends on establishing that Joseph of Arimathea felt Jesus belonged in a criminals tomb (or that he would bury according to the Sanhedrin's wishes). You don't have any working arguments for this and I incidentally have arguments that Joseph didn't agree with the Sanhedrin, as the gospels themselves attest (Also see c'3 below).

            (b'4) For the first time now you appeal to the gospels to show Jesus was not simply accused of blasphemy (i.e. preliminarily condemned), but that he was conclusively/officially a condemned blasphemer in the to-be-stoned sense. I don't know where you think this is established in the gospels (e.g. Mk 14:64 isn't by itself clear as to which of the two senses Jesus was a blasphemer). As Glenn Miller explains, this probably wouldn't have been final-condemnation. Two days were required for final-condemnation and "as one reads the Mishnah, one gets the impression that a lot of double-checks and opportunities to escape and/or repent were available before the death penalty was finally placed. We see nothing of the sort in the case of Jesus. [...] I agree with McCane that there is no reason to believe that this 'cabinet' (council) was united in its position vis-à-vis what to do about Jesus..." If you can't establish it was a final-condemnation, then b' falls here.

            (b'5) Even granting the reliability and applicability of these Mishnaic texts (which you need), the criminals burial demonstrably wouldn't be applicable to Jesus because he wasn't executed by the Jewish court (and he didn't even die in a way that would fit either of the assumed criminal plots). I gave ample attestation for this.

            (b'5) In considering evidence (f), I stated that "If the corpse was re-located, then only the most outlandishly ad hoc scenario could justify the possibility that AD 30 Christians wouldn't find out (both proactively and reactively on numerous fronts)." Why do you ask for the motivations behind this statement? I should think they are obvious enough: If Jesus' body was missing from the original tomb, then everyone involved in the resurrection debate (apologists, hostile Jews, and prospective-Christians) would want the disappearance investigated. Who could resist? Unlike the theft hypothesis etc., we're daunted with this question: How on RH could people fail to learn from Joseph et. al. (proactively and reactively) that they had relocated the body? Geza Vermes is right, "[t]he fact [is] that the organizer(s) of the burial was/were well known and could have easily been asked for and supplied an explanation." Also recall Allison's words on the subject in our previous debate. What are your best naturalistic explanations? I bet they are going to look pretty contrived!

            (b'4)
            I don't understand why you said (a) is ad hoc or why it is relevant here. Could you elaborate?


            Regarding (c') As seen below, all things considered, we have no good reason to think that Jesus burial was rushed, much less in a way that would've made temporary storage an option for those who buried Jesus.

            (c'1) Regarding the "haste/frugal" quote, Brown has been severely criticized for making it. For a lighter critique, Matti Myllykoski (no conservative) writes "However, nothing reveals a tendency to characterize the burial as hasty, incomplete or unsatisfactory (Pace Brown, The Death of the Messiah, 2.1245-46). The idea that Joseph bought the linen cloth, which is hardly a redactional feature, stresses the completeness of his action. The strong verb enelissein, which is used of fettering prisoners, putting children in swaddling by hand and feet, and holding people fast in the net, is probably used to imply that the body of Jesus was tightly wrapped. This indicates more likely a complete than an incomplete action."[1]

            (c'2) I don't think you can make a responsible argument from silence here, but it's worth noting that on the hypothesis I proffered, Joseph of Arimathea was a secret disciple. Scholars have noted the Markan tradition employing "protective anonymity" in the passion, deliberately leaving out Mary's name and then Peter's name during their respective pericopes in ways that cry out for explanation. The reason, it turns out, is that the early church formed their tradition in a way that intentionally avoided exposing them to contemporary hostiles. Similarly, I've suggested the Mk tradition opts to use otherwise inexplicably oblique[2] in-house phrase ["himself was waiting for the kingdom of God"] to tip off insiders as to the characters allegiance without exposing him. Mk uses this phase when describing Joseph too so as to respectfully avoid exposing his allegiance to the Jews he was afraid of. This makes for a clean explanation of the facts which Perplexity has no access to.

            (c'3) You said "I thought my citation of Keener was pretty straightforward: there was perhaps an hour before sundown", but bro... I agree, "Perhaps" there was just an hour left, but that isn't to affirm there "likely" was only 1 hour left. And regardless, read this carefully: Brown didn't say burying *simpliciter* took at least 2 hours. Look at the quote again; he said it was 'preparations' ("going before Pilate who would call in the centurion, buying the linen cloth") + 'transportation' + 'burial' that took less than 2 hours. Keener simply said that, after the preparations, "perhaps" there was only an hour left. So here is a worst-case[3] "perhaps" scenario that Keener is talking about (which I agree is a "perhaps"): 1. Jesus dies at 3:00, 2. The Romans employ crucifragram to survivors at 3:30, 3. Joseph asks Pilate for Jesus' body at 4:00, 4. The centurion confirms at 5:00 [one hour left], 5. Joseph moves the body to the burial site somewhere between 5:15 and sundown (which Glenn Miller puts at 6:15 to 7:15). So we have no reason here to think there was no time. On this worst-case scenario, Keener sees no problem with Jesus being buried before sunset, and certainly no problem with the corpse being moved to the right tomb by sunset... so why do you see a problem?

            (c'4) You didn't address the fact that Joseph had slaves which could do the whatever post-sundown work that needed to be done.

            (c'5) In fact, in light of the above, between 3:00 and 6:15 (or 7:15), the prior probability of there being enough time for Joseph to personally to bury Jesus where he needed to be buried is high. This is accentuated all the more when we recall the fact that distance to an alleged criminals tomb would've been an extra 15 minute walk max, and the walk is the only part that was forbidden to Joseph at sundown. None of this was addressed. That's not good news for your hypothesis, and actually should've been listed under my evidences. Let's call this evidence (g). Please respond to it.



            (a) Jewish law absolutely demanded actual "burial" on the day of death, and temp. storage in no way constituted burial. Temp. corpse storage required amazingly rare/special circumstances that aren't met in the case of Jesus (e.g., if a relative dies during a family wedding).
            (a1) "Secondary burial" was the gathering of the corpses bones a year after death into an ossuary (small bone box). "Reburial", however, is the demonstrably illegal reburying of a corpse before that 1 year mark. You'll recall in my opening post the quote from Lowder confessing "The reburial hypothesis is the hypothesis that Jesus received a secondary burial [My insert: Confusingly, not in the above sense, but in the sense that there were two official burials]; in contrast, the relocation hypothesis only entails a primary burial. The reason for the change is that I have been persuaded to view the (posited) temporary storage of Jesus' body in Joseph's tomb as just that: temporary storage, not formal burial under Jewish law." You wonders why we should think it wasn't formal burial. The answer is that, if it were, Jesus couldn't have been moved from it. You asked for citations. There are many, notably:
            Semahot IV.7 -- "He may not be exhumed. After the tomb has been sealed, the dead may not be stirred from his place."
            Semahot XIII.6 -- "Whosoever finds bones in a tomb should place them in an arcosolium [a container]. So Rabbi Akiba. The Sages say: "He should not move them from their place.; If he found them in a kok or in a loculus (types of shelves/beds, upon which the corpse decomposed until bone collection), he should not move them from their place."
            Semahot XIII.7 -- "Neither a corpse nor the bones of a corpse may be transferred from a wretched place to an honored place, nor, needless to say, from an honored place to a wretched place; but if to the family tomb, even from an honored place to a wretched place, it is permitted, for by this he is honored."
            Semahot XIV.2 -- And finally, "A tomb may be neither moved from place to place nor transferred from family to family."
            Regulations become even more evident as one considers the hyper-interesting exceptions to this no-reburial rule (none of which apply to Jesus), exceptions which presuppose that it wasn't generally permitted. So diverse a range of tradition constitutes strong prima facie reason that reburial wasn't permitted, a conclusion recognized by those who are plenty aware that anachronsisms exist.



            - - - -
            [1] [Fair Play: Diversity and Conflicts in Early Christianity (BRILL, 2002) 61.]
            [2] John Crossan: That oblique expression, "looking for," makes it impossible to be sure that Joseph was among the followers of Jesus and that, once again, is precisely its Markan purpose. [The Jesus Controversy, 22.]; Raymond Brown: If that was what Mark meant [i.e. that Joseph was a disciple], why did he take such an indirect and obscure way of saying so? [Death of the Messiah, 1215.]; Craig Evans: [Mk's tradition or] Mark’s choice of words is intriguingly ambiguous [...] we must wonder why Mark is so noncommittal with regard to the man's attitude toward Jesus. [Word Biblical Commentary, 518-19.]. It was superflous insfoar as all Jews were waiting for this, it doesnt look anything like a typical compliment, and Mk arguably wouldn't apply such a phrase to non-Christian (much less a rich one).
            [3]It's worse case "because this is all assuming Pilate was not on site and also assuming that the Centurion didn't accompany Joseph".
            Last edited by GnarlyOcelot; 03-06-12, 12:12 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              3rd Response to GnarlyOcelot:

              [I apologize for not following the number system in the last response, I figured on being brief with the (a')-(c')'s and let you have the last word on the matter so we could move on to your positive case]

              (a'1): Whether the prior probability of the authors "being anachronistic" is lower than your hypothesis is a matter of what information is in k, not simply the fact that the anachronistic hypothesis is ad hoc. If k contains the information I'm suggesting it does, your hypothesis has a lower prior.

              (a'2): This is very unclear to me. After putting all their eggs in one basket, it seems they'd react carelessly out of sheer grief.

              (a'3): Your description of what it could mean for Joseph to be a disciple will shortly become very important. Working with this understanding, I see no reason why we shouldn't say Joseph admired Jesus' teachings about "love, the coming kingdom, special need for reform etc." but still say he felt Jesus' high self-understanding was blasphemous or some such. I mean, he couldn't have been that deep of an admirer of Jesus considering he didn't stand up for him at any point.

              (a'4)-(a'5): In response to your (new) objection, I question why you bring talk of conversion into the discussion. You're indicating that Joseph converted to Christianity with the belief in Jesus' resurrection, and wouldn't have if he had relocated Jesus' body. But, as you stated in (a'3) "Joseph need only admire Jesus deeply for his teachings and message" to be a disciple of Jesus. And the empty tomb is irrelevant to such discipleship per se. Now, you might say even as this kind of disciple, Joseph would have checked the tomb upon hearing the kerygma if only out of respect for Jesus. But, at this point I don't think we're dealing with the probability of RH. We're dealing with the probability of auxiliary hypotheses that may or may not be employed. For example, some might say this is exactly what Joseph did, but the Apostles (et al) were deluded via cognitive dissonance or some such. It's certainly not my intention to defend such auxiliary hypotheses, only to point out that this point of yours either fails, or directs to other hypotheses.

              (b'1): I agree.

              (b'2): It doesn't appear that Keener and Carson are in disagreement. They both agree that Jesus wasn't accused of blasphemy as defined by the Mishna, but neither say he wasn't accused of blasphemy in a more generic sense.

              (b'3): I suppose I disagree.

              (b'4): I've gone back over my previous "(b')" section and am not sure why you think I claimed Jesus was accused of blasphemy in the 'to-be-stoned' sense. In my (b') section, I largely tried to undermine attempts to so confidently apply texts like the Mishna to 30 CE Palestine. As I say there, I adopt a minimalist stance and thus merely infer that Jesus was accused of blasphemy and there were criminal plots. But, I don't endorse the idea that there was a 'to-be-stoned' sense of blasphemy at work here. Again, I find it curious that you're now employing texts whose application to this time and place you previously called dubious.

              (b'5): I find this confusing as well. I've not argued for the reliability of the Mishnaic texts, I've actually argued the contrary citing Meier and Brown. And as I previously said, you get the idea that a criminal would be buried in a criminals plot only if executed by a Jewish court from the texts that I've undermined. We shouldn't be at all confident that this rule your appealing to was even existent in this region and time. As Meier indicates, the idea that we can gain a confident picture of the Sadducees and Pharisees in Palestine < 70 CE from these texts is outdated.

              (b'6): I wouldn't expect to answer such a challenge with just RH. An auxiliary hypothesis is needed, but I don't want to digress into which would most plausibly meet the challenge, that's for a different discussion. The reason why I don't think an RH defender need answer this objection can be expressed through the following analogy: Suppose a defender of the resurrection hypothesis 'God raised Jesus from the dead' encounters the objection that there is no reason at all to expect God's raising of Jesus to occur at a point in time and in such a way that Jesus' women followers discovered an empty tomb. It's just as likely on the resurrection hypothesis that God raised Jesus when the women arrived at the tomb. In reply to this, the resurrection-defender won't simply repeat his hypothesis, he'll need to employ new information: auxiliary hypotheses. But then, the debate is about those other hypotheses.

              (b'7): Sure. Suppose that given RH, "only the most outlandishly ad hoc scenario could justify the possibility that AD 30 Christians wouldn't find out (both proactively and reactively on numerous fronts) [where Jesus' body was]". Then, suppose your (a), which gives us the scenario that explains the Christian's ignorance. It follows that (a) is a "most outlandishly ad hoc scenario".

              (c'1): I won't press this point any more, I wasn't aware he'd been so criticized for the remark.

              (c'2): The anachronist hypothesis easily handles the protective anonymity of Joseph in Mk. 15:43 (etc.): Mark wouldn't have wanted to expose Joseph's current allegiances and thus wouldn't have depicted Joseph in any way which would have made him vulnerable. This doesn't tell us that Joseph had such allegiances at the time of burial, just at the time of Mark's writings.

              (c'3)-(c'5): I've argued that Jesus should have been buried in a criminals tomb, and that Joseph would've buried Jesus thus. It dawned on me that I don't need to explain why Joseph didn't initially bury Jesus the way he should and would have by appeal to brevity of time, or fortuitous events. To me, it seems far more probable that (i) Jesus should have been buried in a criminals tomb, and (ii) Joseph would have buried Jesus thus than that Joseph initially buried Jesus in a non-criminals tomb without intention to relocate. So, in response to (c'3)-(c'5): good points, I don't think I can defend brevity of time as a plausible explanations for why Joseph buried Jesus in this tomb rather than a criminals plot. The issue still seems unclear to me, for example Jesus' women followers arrive Sunday to anoint Jesus' body etc.: complete the burial. Why would they consider the burial incomplete? I don't really know why Joseph did what he did, but I believe it's far less likely that he wasn't intending on relocating Jesus than that (i)-(ii) are false.

              (a): My opponent wants to show that Jewish Law required actual burial at the day of death, and that temp. storage didn't constitute such burial. What evidence does he advance to motivate these claims?

              His first citation talks about relocation after actual burial has taken place, it doesn't say actual burial must take place at the day of death, or that temp. storage doesn't constitute actual burial.

              His second citation seems the same as the first: it doesn't tell us that burial is required at the day of death or that temp. storage doesn't constitute such burial.

              His third citation doesn't motivate either claim but at least tells us that remains couldn't be transferred from an honorable site to that of the wicked unless the latter was a family plot. However, I've (and my opponent did as well) undermined the application of these texts to Palestine ~30 CE. Who knows whether these details were followed then? Even if they were, they don't motivate GnarlyOcelot's claim.

              His final citation doesn't motivate either claim, but merely says a tomb cannot be transferred. But, what kind of tomb is being spoken of? I'm guessing a permanent one.

              Thus, it seems to me that none of these proposed evidences support (a).
              "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

              "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

              Comment


              • #8
                .
                Regarding (a')
                (a'1) Regarding background knowledge, you can't put the controversial things that we're debating in k. Clearly, if a qualified biographer reports "John here was a Christian at time t", then this evidence that John was a Christian at t. If someone believed that Joseph was merely post-easter Christian, they would not expect it to be consistently written that he was a pre-Easter Christian. Show me one person who has background knowledge so warped that they would expect that. On the other hand, if Joseph was a pre-Easter Christian, then it's much more likely that the gospel writers all say he was a pre-Easter Christian. That's clean and expected. This is evidence in my favor.

                (a'2) Wait. Upon Jesus' crucifixion, the disciples were all fearful of suffering the wrath of Rome. Saying the women would "likely" risk revealing their affiliations to a probable hostile who would turn them over, just because they were distraught, is irresponsible. At best you could say it wouldn't be impossible given their mental state, but it would still be extremely unlikely. The apostles were distraught too and they weren't doing anything stupid like that; they were fleeing and hiding (consider Peter's denials). If the Sanhedrinist Joseph of Arimathea were a disciple, the liklihood that the women would know this (and therefore feel comfortable helping the intimidatingly prestigious stranger) is very low.

                (a'3) [Resolved]

                (a'3*) You granted my point regarding (a'3), but said something I have to disagree with. Namely, "[Joseph] couldn't have been that deep of an admirer of Jesus considering he didn't stand up for him at any point." I addressed this earlier: cf. (a'1) to (a'3) of the original numbering system, as well as the original (a'4), that "Joseph would've known his voice wouldn't change anything [except his saftey], so how likely is that he would have risked admitting his allegiance?" Needless to say, its low.

                (a'4) Perplexity, you cited Brown in holding that Joseph converted to Christianity, which entails resurrection belief. As it happens, in considering Jn 19:38 ("Joseph of Arimathea, being a disciple of Jesus, but a secret one for fear of the Jews") and Mt 27:57 ("had also become a disciple of Jesus"), I think the most natural thing to believe is that Joseph did deem Jesus messiah, but that his hopes were shattered when Jesus was crucified. Nevertheless, Joseph would still desire to bury Jesus just as any other disciple like Peter would (even if he wasn't a disciple in the "I currently believe he is the messiah" sense). So again, "Joseph knew where Jesus' body was, so if Joseph converted post-Easter, then the unexpectedly empty tomb in his metaphorical backyard is the most natural explanation for his conversion." (Note: Given simply that the body went missing, its more likely that it went missing from Joseph's tomb which we know Jesus was put in than that it went missing from a hypothetical criminals tomb which it was hypothetically relocated to, so "Joseph finds Jesus' body unexpected missing" counts as evidence against RH).

                (a'5) An "auxiliary hypothesis" is a technical term denoting an ad hoc addition to a theory in order to save it from falsification. That Joseph would check the tomb he put Jesus in before converting isn't an auxiliary hypothesis, its a straightforwardly likely event. The only auxiliary hypothesis (and this is perhaps what you meant) would be theses like "Someone reburied Jesus again immediately after Joseph reburied Jesus, and without Joseph's knowledge or ability to find out." Insofar as such (necessary) auxiliary hypotheses stack on extra improbability to RH, Joseph's post-easter conversion would count against RH.

                Regarding b'
                (b'1) [Resolved]

                (b'2) Carson thinks there is no evidence that Jesus wasn't accused of blasphemy (in the to-be-stoned sense that would [arguably] call for criminals burial), and Keener thinks there is evidence that he wasn't accused of such blasphemy. I think Carson, if pressed for accuracy, would grant that M. Sanhedrin 7:5 counts as weak evidence in favor that he wasn't accused of blasphemy in the relevant way., while Keener thinks it is not-weak. It certainly counts as at least weak evidence.

                (b'3) Even if the criminal-burial mishnah references reflected AD 30 Jerusalem, and even if the Sanhedrin officially/finally condemned Jesus as a blasphemer, it doesn't follow that Jesus would've been put in a criminals grave. Why? Because Joseph could disagree with the Sanhedrin's judgement, and it was Joseph who took responsibility for handling Jesus' corpse. You still have to establish that Joseph would bury Jesus in a criminals tomb in order for b' to work.

                (b'4) It's normal to take a minimialist view about these Jewish texts, but they still count as evidence (otherwise, we can just throw out all of b' right from the getgo). So, we have reason to think Jesus wasn't a condemned in the final the to-be-stoned sense to be a blasphemer (that is, in an ultimate sense that would require Jesus be buried in a criminals tomb, assuming there were such things in AD 30).

                (b'5) Even if the criminal-burial references (M. Sanh. 6:5; J. Sanh. 6.10; B. Sanh. 47a) reflected AD 30 Jerusalem, and even if the Sanhedrin officially/finally condemned Jesus as a blasphemer, and even if Joseph agreed with the condemnation, you'd still have to esablish that the references (e.g. Sem. 2.6, B. Sanh. 47b, M. Sanh 6.5) suggesting the Sanhedrin must personally execute Jesus didn't apply in AD 30, nor Semahot 2.9: "No rites whatsoever should be denied those who were executed by the state".

                (b'6) In considering evidence (f), I stated that "If the corpse was re-located, then only the most outlandishly ad hoc scenario could justify the possibility that AD 30 Christians wouldn't find out (both proactively and reactively on numerous fronts)." Why do you ask for the motivations behind this statement? I should think they are obvious enough: If Jesus' body was missing from the original tomb, then everyone involved in the resurrection debate (apologists, hostile Jews, and prospective-Christians) would want the disappearance investigated. Who could resist? Unlike the theft hypothesis etc., RH stands daunted with this question: How could people fail to learn from Joseph et. al. (proactively and reactively) that they had relocated the body? Geza Vermes is right, "[t]he fact [is] that the organizer(s) of the burial was/were well known and could have easily been asked for and supplied an explanation." Also recall Allison's words on the subject in our previous debate. This will inevitably require yet more improbable auxiliary hypotheses.

                Regarding (c')
                (c'1) [Resolved]

                (c'2) Mk says Joseph "who himself [like the women, AT the time of the burial] was waiting for the kingdom of God". Your disgustingly ad hoc "anachronism" hypothesis is like the ink blot hypothesis. When an historical biographical work indicates that "p is a Christian at time t", then the prior probability is astronomically higher that he was a Christian at t than that "he was a Christian later than t and the author was being anachronistic." You aren't permitted to include things in k that we are debating.

                (c'3) [Resolved]

                (c'4) [Resolved]

                (c'5) [Resolved]

                [Note: I don't believe the women went to "complete the burial"; if they did, it's because they didn't see how Joseph buried Jesus inside the tomb (they assumed the worst)]. Ultimately, it seems we agree that the (c') "no time" evidence for reburial doesn't hold up.]

                Regarding (a) The evidence I gave was for the conclusion that "Reburial (prior to decomposition) was not permitted". So now we have this argument:
                1. If reburial (prior to decomposition) was not permited, and if Jesus was genuinely buried (rather than stored) on crucifixion day, then RH is false.
                2. Reburial (prior to decomposition) was not permitted. [Established]
                3. Jesus was genuinely buried (rather than stored) on crucifixion day. [cf. Dt 21:22-23, m. Sanh. 6:4-5, b. Sanh 46b etc.]
                4. Therefore, RH is false.

                Comment


                • #9
                  4th Response to GnarlyOcelot:

                  (a'):

                  (a'1): If we removed the controversial information being debated over from k, then we couldn't say your hypothesis has a higher prior probability because I'm objecting to your line of reasoning.

                  (a'2): I'm not being irresponsible at all. I think the Apostle's actions are very surprising. I don't see how they could have had such an intimate relationship with Jesus and then behave the way they did. I'd expect the women to act as they did, given their loss. The best you could do is mitigate the options to possibility, but that weakens your case as well as mine.

                  (a'3*): I don't see how you addressed this in the original point system. You just claimed that Joseph would've known his voice wouldn't have counted for anything. You don't give us any reason to agree with you. Given his prestigious status, why wouldn't his voice count for anything?

                  (a'4): The only claim I can see here to interact with is that Joseph would desire to bury Jesus like any other disciple would. But, as I pointed out there's nothing incompatible with saying Joseph was Jesus' disciple but disagreed with his high-self understanding, in which case he'd want to bury Jesus but in Jesus' appropriate burial site: a criminals tomb.

                  (a'5): I never granted that Joseph converted. So, the auxiliary hypotheses I'm speaking of concern whether Joseph would attempt to verify the claims about Jesus' resurrection. As I said, for all we know, this is exactly what Joseph did. On auxiliary hypotheses like cognitive dissonance reduction, Joseph's pointing out that Jesus' body was still in the tomb wouldn't have made the Christians change their mind. But, all this talk just diverts attention away from RH.

                  (b'):

                  (b'2): Ok, I agree with this. But, remember my case is just that Jesus was accused of blasphemy tout court, not that he was accused of blasphemy in the to-be-stoned sense.

                  (b'3): I agree. That's been my case elsewhere.

                  (b'4): I agree, and as I've argued Jesus was condemned as a generic blasphemer.

                  (b'5): This seems backwards to me. These texts aren't innocent until proven guilty, we're skeptical of their applicability to this region and time unless and until wee see reason to believe otherwise. Do you have any reason to think these details applied in this region and time?

                  (b'6): This is just a quote from post 6, I addressed that. If you feel I've done so inadequately (perhaps why you've repeated yourself?) I need you to explain why because in my mind I did fair job of making my point.

                  (c'):

                  (c'2): Yeah, no one should agree with this. The Gospels don't say that Joseph was a Christian, they say he was a disciple. GnarlyOcelot himself told us this needn't mean he was a Christian. Ultimately, my opponent's case for Joseph's discipleship reduces to the reliability of the gospel authors qua biographers. "Because the commitment to accuracy and the liberties taken could vary greatly between biographers, identifying the canonical Gospels as bioi will take us only so far. Each Evangelist will need to be judged by his performance." [1] So, I'm not sure what my opponent is trying to do with pressing the literary genre of the gospels. He has to do much more than this if he wants us to give them the benefit of the doubt. Note, I didn't say he couldn't do this, but he certainly hasn't yet.

                  (g): I've listed your new argument as g instead of a because it's substantially different from all of your other points in your positive case.

                  Interestingly, the truth-conditions for a material conditional tell us that if the antecedent is true and consequent is false, then the conditional itself is false. Take a look at my opponent's first premise. If we accept the antecedent (which he wants us to), but hold to RH, then (1) is false. Now, he might say it's not a material conditional and all that matters is whether the antecedent is sufficient for the consequent. But, of course the antecedent isn't sufficient, because there are other hypotheses it fails to take into account like theft. So, I think we should be skeptical of (1) on at least the latter grounds.

                  Why should we accept premise (3)? We can disregard the references to m. Sanh. 6:4-5, b. Sanh 46b "etc." Both my opponent and I are skeptical of their applicability to the relevant time and region. They're not innocent until proven guilty. What about Dt. 21:22-23? Oddly, even GnarlyOcelot would agree with me that Dt. 21:22-23 isn't enough to establish that Jesus was genuinely buried on crucifixion day. He said in his opening statement: "Temp. corpse storage required amazingly rare/special circumstances that aren't met in the case of Jesus..." So, he knows that Dt. 21:22-23 had exceptions. The next move will be for him to tell us why this couldn't have happened with Jesus.

                  All in all, I don't think we should accept this argument as sound, at least yet.


                  [1] Licona, Mike. The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2010. p. 204
                  Last edited by Perplexity; 03-09-12, 01:29 PM.
                  "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

                  "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Starting with my first (and only so far) positive evidence against RH [relocation hypothesis], I gave this modus ponens argument:
                    1. If <pre-decomposition reburial was not permitted>, and if <Jesus was genuinely buried on crucifixion day>, then RH is false.
                    2. Both conditions are met.
                    3. Therefore, RH is false.

                    (a1) "Interestingly", he says, premise 1 is false if RH is true. Set aside the fact that it isn't interesting; why say this Perplexity unless you mean to affirm RH (as grounds for rejecting premise 1)? Do you not agree that this move would be question-begging?

                    (a2) Perplexity then challenges premise 1 on grounds that q "can" be false even if p is true; after all, consider the theft hypothesis! First, a mere logical "can" is insufficient to overturn premise 1 because we're applying this to an historical argument (i.e., "Then RH is false" should be interpreted as "this counts strongly against RH"). But regardless, just look at premise 1; it doesn't matter if the theft hypothesis is true, premise 1 would be unaffected.

                    (a3) With the other conditional defended in a previous post, Perplexity now considers rejecting <Jesus was genuinely buried on crucifixion day> [lets call it CB]. The implication is that Jesus' body was only stored in a tomb, not genuinely/officially buried. This turns the reburial hypothesis into the relocation hypothesis. I list m. Sanh. 6:4-5, b. Sanh 46b, and Dt 21:22-23 in support of CB. Deuteronomy 21 reads "his corpse shall not hang all night [...], you shall surely bury him on the same day". In response, Perplexity calls attention to my opening post, which implies that Dt 21 wasn't sufficient to prove crucifixion-day burial because temporary storage was sometimes permitted. My whole original post read: "Jewish law absolutely demanded actual "burial" on the day of death, and temp. storage in no way constituted burial. Temp. corpse storage required amazingly rare/special circumstances that aren't met in the case of Jesus (e.g., if a relative dies during a family wedding)."
                    As you can see, the temp. storage clause was always accounted for in the argument. So my argument resembles this argument:
                    1. Men always have testicles (barring very special exceptions).
                    2. Socrates is a man.
                    3. Therefore Socrates has testicles.
                    Perplexity's objection amounts to saying "Ah, you admit there are exceptions! You haven't/can't prove that Socrates wasn't just such an exception, so Socrates' being a man doesn't help/belong in your case for Socrates' having testicles!" If Perplexity can't see the problem in his response, then I guess I'll label this "[resolved]" and rest content that most everyone else will see it.

                    (a4) In response to "m. Sanh. 6:4-5, b. Sanh 46b etc.", Perplexity complains that "We can disregard the reference [...] Both my opponent and I are skeptical of their applicability to the relevant time and region. They're not innocent until proven guilty." Isn't it interesting that one of the only three evidence for RH that Perplexity can and does marshal is that (allegedly) Jewish law demanded criminals be buried in criminal tombs, a proposition that Perplexity can only defend via the same m. Sanh. 6:4-5! That's why I chose it. We can "disregard" it in my case, but not his (which he continues to defend).

                    (a5) Unlike the alleged Jewish law that Sanhedrin-executed criminals were to be put in a special criminals graveyard (dubiously established by only a few controversial references), that corpses had to be buried on the day of death is unanimously recognized by scholars. This isn't just from m. Sanh. 6:4-5, b. Sanh 46b, and Dt 21:22-23, we get it from IIQ Temple, 4Q492, 4Q285, 4Q251, its attested multiple times by Josephus (4.317, 3.377, 4.202, 4.265), Philo (De Specialibus Legibus III 151-152), and the New Testament (where Jews employed crucifragrum to the crucified precisely to permit them time to get the corpses buried before sunset.


                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Moving on to Perplexity's three arguments, for the first we look at the case that Joseph didn't care enough about Jesus to permit him to stay for the year in his tomb (even if it were legal). So Joseph would have relocated Jesus. In short, we find that either Perplexity takes up Browns post-Easter conversion of Joseph thesis, and runs into bit problems, or he rejects Brown's thesis, in which case he runs into other big problems.

                    (a'1) Previously Perplexity introduced into his background knowledge what we are in the very process of debating. After calling him on this, he now accuses me of the doing same, but gives no examples. Perhaps he means I'm presupposing a strong gospel reliability, but I'm not. Even the most critical of scholars concede that the Matthew's reporting "p believes q at t" is at least evidence that p believed q at t. This is accentuated all the more when there's no discernible motive to spin a lie that "p believes q at t", and all the more when its its uncontested (in ancient sources), and all the more when it is multiply attested.

                    (a'2) [Resolved] Upon Jesus' crucifixion, the disciples were all fearful of suffering the wrath of Rome. As far as I know, this is not controversial among scholars. Perplexity nevertheless thinks that, if Joseph was a secret disciple and the women didn't know, that it's "likely" that the women would approach and assist the Jewish Sanhedrinist in burying Jesus regardless of how overtly dangerous it was. Why? Simply because "After putting all their eggs in one basket, it seems they'd react carelessly out of sheer grief." Those are Perplexity's words; I'm content letting them stand on their own merits and setting this to [resolved].

                    (a'3) Perplexity, I never imagined you'd object to this. The Sanhedrinists voted (publically), and Joseph's vote was the same as any other. So (i) given that decisions do not normally turn on the vote of any single one of the ~71 Sanhedrinists, and (ii) given how the event is portrayed [relatively unanimous decision against Jesus], the likelihood that Joseph's judgement would've change the ultimate decision seems very low.

                    (a'4) In favor of Joseph's being a disciple, I appealed to the testimony of Mk, Mt, and Jn. Perplexity has not objected to the argument that gospels portray Joseph as a disciple, which counts against his unsubstantiated claim that Joseph didn't care about Jesus. But wait, Perplexity might have a way out. He writes "We'd just be agreeing with Brown that Joseph converted later. The Gospel authors would then be taking common knowledge that Joseph was a [converted] follower of Jesus, and reading it back into history." Now remember this, because later on Perplexity says "I never granted that Joseph converted." This means he is still faced with granting that the best explanation for the texts (our only evidence of Joseph's view of Jesus), is that he was a disciple pre-Easter, i.e. that Joseph did care enough about Jesus to permit him to stay the year in his tomb (if it were legal). So (a') falls.

                    (a'5) No matter which auxiliary hypotheses you add on to RH, unless they have a 1.0 likelihood of being true and a 1.0 likelihood of bringing about the aberrant data they were marshaled to explain, RH will be the worse for it. Usually, auxiliary hypotheses stack on significant improbability in order to save the hypothesis from becoming unbearably improbable in light of the new evidence/consideration. In short: My evidence has done it's job because either RH is less likely than it was, or RH+ is less likely than RH was before the new evidence.

                    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    Now we move to evidence (b') for RH, which states that Jewish law demanded Jesus be buried in a criminals tomb.

                    (b'1) [Resolved]. Elsewhere, Perplexity states "we can disregard" Jewish commentary evidence, which is the entirety of his (b') evidence! More reasonable, however, is that it is evidence, it's just inconclusive. If Perplexity disagrees, then I don't even have to respond to the rest of b' because its already refuted (though no scholar is that skeptical).

                    (b'2) Perplexity, "to-be-stoned" is meant to be synonymous with "to-be-executed (for blasphemy)"; meaning it was "final". So: The Sanhedrin can condemn a person of blasphemy in the preliminary sense and even continue to accuse him during the hearing, while the final judgement remains to be seen. The stoning doesn't come until the end. Remember, I wrote "As Glenn Miller explains, [...] two days were required for final-condemnation and 'as one reads the Mishnah, one gets the impression that a lot of double-checks and opportunities to escape and/or repent were available before the death penalty was finally placed. We see nothing of the sort in the case of Jesus.'"

                    (b'3) I noted that you also have to show it is probable that Joseph agreed to the hypothetical final condemnation of Jesus, which you haven't done; the relevance of b' depends on this. Assuming [fairly, imo] that Joseph was likely a Christian at least post-Easter, the likelihood that Joseph thought of Jesus as a "should-be-dead" blasphemer is especially dubious. Still, you've decided not to respond, so I'll happily set this at [resolved].

                    (b'4) So with the proper understanding of 'to-be-stoned', reconsult the following: "It's normal to take a minimalist view about these Jewish texts, but they still count as evidence (otherwise, we can just throw out all of b' right from the get-go). So, we have reason [Sanhedrin 7:5] to think Jesus wasn't a condemned in the final the to-be-stoned sense to be a blasphemer (that is, in an ultimate sense that would require Jesus be buried in a criminals tomb, assuming there were such things in AD 30)." Also "Carson (accurately) notes that it's "possible" that M. Sanhedrin 7:5 didn't apply in AD 30, and its "possible" that Jesus blasphemed (in the to-be-stoned- sense) in some hitherto unknown way. Still, dubious evidence is in favor of Jesus' not being a blasphemer is still evidence and trumps the non-existent evidence that he was considered by them to be a blasphemer.

                    (b'5) You write "These texts aren't innocent until proven guilty, we're skeptical of their applicability to this region and time unless and until wee see reason to believe otherwise"; ok so what is your evidence that m. Sanh. 6:4-5 (criminals tomb requirement) is applicable? Is it uniquely innocent until proven guilty? Why the double standard? No, the normal minimalist position would be that this is weak/inconclusive evidence of pre-70 AD criminal burial plots. The same evidence (m. Sanh. 6:4-5) suggests it must be a personal execution by the Sanhedrin, crucifixion was not. It's worth noting that even without these texts, you still haven't shown that there isn't a more than .5 likelihood that personal-execution was required for burial in the criminal tombs--the texts in question just make it more likely than .5 that they wouldn't have put him in a criminals tomb.

                    (b'6) If RH+ (relocation hypothesis + auxiliary hypothesis) is Perplexity's hypothesis rather than RH simpliciter, then RH+ is by definition the topic of debate. Suppose Perplexity is a YEC who advocates a global flood (GF), and I convince him that there isn't enough water on the earth for GF. According to Perplexity's logic, this powerful evidence against GF doesn't belong in the debate(!) just because he might add in the following auxiliary hypothesis: "There was a massive floating water canopy above the earth that contained all the extra water!" making it GF+ (or GF+ was what he meant all along). Well now he's either been forced to open up a whole new can of worms, or his original hypothesis was a can of worms from the get-go, and in both cases he doesn't get to relegate that to a different debate. Otherwise, Perplexity could systematically dismiss all my evidences against RH as well as RH+ by continually coming up with wildly contrived auxiliary hypotheses to make my counter-evidence certain and consistently say "but you can't critique me on the elaborated hypothesis because it's for a different debate". Btw, Perplexity is more than welcome to try to tease out any allegedly unlikely auxiliary hypotheses I'd need to add in for resurrection hypothesis (if we ever come to that debate).

                    Finally, we look at the last piece of evidence for RH, an evidence that has been abandoned, but there is a loose thread to tie up:

                    - - - - - - - - - - - - -
                    (c) Perplexity, you wrote that "The anachronism hypothesis easily handles the protective anonymity of Joseph in Mk", so I'm talking here about your "disgustingly ad hoc anachronism hypothesis", that is, the Brown hypothesis. On this hypothesis, Joseph is a post-Easter Christian, who is called a disciple on crucifixion day precisely because the authors are inaccurately retrojecting that affiliation. Moreover, you can freely replace "Christian" with disciple if you want and nothing changes. So again "When an historical biographical work indicates that 'p is a Christian at time t', then the prior probability is astronomically higher that he was a Christian at t than that 'he was a Christian later than t and the author was being anachronistic'." I also am not presupposing strong gospel reliability; Licona who you quote would agree wholeheartedly with my claim here and I'll get an e-mail to prove it if you wish. Look again at (a'1) of this post.



                    In conclusion, my first argument against RH stands strong and we have five more that haven't even been touched (but will be as soon as we can get a [resolved] on a few more of Perplexities arguments). Regarding Perplexities argument, the only one ostensibly with any fight in it is the first, namely "Joseph didn't care enough about Jesus to permit him to stay for the year in his tomb (even if it were legal)." The evidence for this is Mk's report of the women's keeping a distance from Joseph as he buried Jesus, instead of helping. Set aside the fact that this is easily explained even if Joseph were a disciple, it's amazing that he attributes such high reliability to this passage while casting doubt on the much better attested fact of Joseph's discipleship: This is something for which there is no motivation to lie about, it's uncontested attestation, and it is multiply attested. The deliberate protective obscurity of Joseph's affiliation employed in Mark is also difficult to explain if Joseph wasn't really a disciple at the time. This is Perplexity's best evidence?
                    As for the alleged Jewish requirement to bury criminals in criminal tombs, this is based on texts Perplexity has all but abandoned (and to any degree that he doesn't abandon them, they suggest the court had to personally implement the execution). Cf. the rest of the counter-evidences which all stand.
                    As for the final evidence that there was no time to bury Jesus in the criminals time, this has been abandoned. We are left wondering why Joseph would've put Jesus in his tomb rather than the criminals tomb.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      After discussing the debate with GnarlyOcelot in chat, we've come to the conclusion that there were a number of unfortunate misunderstandings that ended up muddling the issue at hand. However, we've clarified the issue and it seems to me that GnarlyOcelot has definitely succeeded in his goal. His goal was merely to show that the correct evaluation of RH given my unique noetic structure is much lower than the evaluation that I'd actually given it. The result of our discussions over my evidence for RH, and (a few) of his objections to RH is that my confidence in (a') has been weakened, has nearly been removed for (b'), and is no longer existent for (c'). So, given these adjustments within my noetic structure, I cannot evaluate RH as anything near 0.3.
                      "So it seems at any rate that I am wiser in this one small respect: I do not think I know what I do not." - Socrates

                      "At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid." - Nietzsche

                      Comment

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