What’s Wrong with the World

The men signed of the cross of Christ go gaily in the dark.

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What’s Wrong with the World is dedicated to the defense of what remains of Christendom, the civilization made by the men of the Cross of Christ. Athwart two hostile Powers we stand: the Jihad and Liberalism...read more

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Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Lydia on Apr 18, 08:43:

Ah, but remember: Allegedly Alter & Torley are just "following the consensus of scholarship." Right. ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 17, 22:17:

Is there no fringe theory Alter will not endorse? If you said "spiritual resurrection" to a bunch of first century Jews you would be laughed at...if they could even understand what that meant. For further information, see here: http://www.tektonics.org/lp/physrez.php ... [More]

The denial of reality must be totalitarian

Comment posted by Lydia on Apr 17, 19:51:

I mean that you sound like a skeptic making fun of Christian beliefs: "Hey, if God can change creation so that there's a talking snake and it's hard for women to have babies, why not think that people who think they are the opposite sex are some newly invented part of God's creation?" If you were serious...well...I'm not sure if that is better or worse. Jesus affirmed the gender binary quite clearly. People who hate their own natural sex and want to cut off their genitalia and pretend to be the opposite se ... [More]

The denial of reality must be totalitarian

Comment posted by mike on Apr 17, 19:06:

Lydia: Wow! that was a pretty harsh response to a comment I thought raised valid considerations about the nature and development of God's creation. I have followed this blog for years and appreciate your analytic presentations such as your recent dust up with Lacuna. In all the years I think I have commented only once or twice. So maybe you wouldn't mind telling me just what you mean by "Troll" as it relates to my comment, or as it relates to me as a person. ... [More]

On that (in)famous "saints rising" passage in Matthew 27

Comment posted by Lydia on Apr 17, 09:37:

I just now found Boreas's (to my mind, rather silly) comment "backstage" in the unpublished comments folder, where it had languished because of too many links. I'll respond briefly. Boreas weirdly complains about my statement that "controversy swirled around Licona's questioning of the historicity of this Matthew passage in his 2010 book" on the grounds that the controversy began with Norman Geisler's objections to the passage. Huh? So I say "controversy swirled" and don't give a blow-by-blow account of t ... [More]

The denial of reality must be totalitarian

Comment posted by Lydia on Apr 16, 20:30:

Troll alert. Do not feed. ... [More]

The denial of reality must be totalitarian

Comment posted by Mike on Apr 16, 19:20:

Lydia: I don't see why you and the comments to your post are so godawful sure that transgender people are not the result of God's creative efforts. Starting your post with the story of Eve in the garden, I think, argues for a more tolerant view of the variety and unexpected results of God's handiwork. At the time of the snake, Eve the woman was made in the image of God to be Adam's helper. But, according to the narrative in my KJV, Eve did not know she was naked and did not know about good and evil. The sna ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 15, 22:54:

Wait: You can't use the thesis that Matt and Luke borrowed from Mark as a point against them, and also use their variance from Mark as a point against them. First of all, if we accept that Mark was written first, what precisely is the objection to their borrowing from Mark? Is this somehow something only shysters and frauds do? If Mark had already laid out the skeleton of what Jesus was up to in his public ministry, such that he hit on the core and several of the non-core themes, then presumably anythi ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 15, 22:01:

Riffing to some things above... Judas’ name is mentioned 22 times in the Christian scriptures: Mark 3, Matthew 5, Luke-Acts 6, and John 8. Raymond Brown (1994, 2:1396), commenting on this data wrote, “If that listing of NT works is correct chronologically, interest in Judas was progressive." 
 Judas’s death: Mark (nothing), Matthew= hanged himself, Luke/Acts= intestines explode How is this an issue? There is the simple usual harmonization. A successful skeptical argument would have to argue that it is h ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 15, 20:27:

Hello Callum: Thank you for writing. You wrote: "Furthermore, the narratives demonstrate plagiarism (Matthew copies Mark; and Luke copies Matthew and Mark); editing, embellishing, and legendary or mythological exaggeration; “differences”; contradictions; and seeking to fulfill political/theological agendas." Demonstrate. DEMONSTRATE. I'll have to go back and see where you actually demonstrated legendary embellishments as opposed to that blessed word 'speculate'. RESPONSE: Matthew copies Mark [Essential ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Callum Savage on Apr 15, 15:18:

"Furthermore, the narratives demonstrate plagiarism (Matthew copies Mark; and Luke copies Matthew and Mark); editing, embellishing, and legendary or mythological exaggeration; “differences”; contradictions; and seeking to fulfill political/theological agendas." Demonstrate. DEMONSTRATE. I'll have to go back and see where you actually demonstrated legendary embellishments as opposed to that blessed word 'speculate'. ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 15, 12:55:

You need to pay more attention to what is actually written, Mr. Alter: Tony wrote: Luke cannot plausibly make up Ananias go over to do a healing because he felt like it, RESPONSE: Of course, he could! However, he probably had a reason. Robert Price (The Legend of Paul's Conversion [online] speculates: In saying "because he felt like it" , the antecedent of "he" is not Luke, but Ananias. "Ananias" is the most proximate noun, and referencing Ananias makes the statement sensible: If Luke had Ananias say ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 15, 04:38:

Hello Tony and ChristSeeker [CS]: Thank you for taking time to interact with us in this important and relevant topic: CS: How am I speculating? I'm literally just repeating information from the narratives themselves. RESPONSE: You are speculating (and believing) by espousing a position that cannot be confirmed by evidentiary proofs and facts. What the NT provides are claims of Jesus's resurrection, NOT evidentiary proof. Numerous scholars and theologians do not accept the purported historicity of the acc ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 14, 06:10:

Hello Tim, Lydia, Tony, ChristSeeker and everyone else: This morning I just became aware of an updated (April 13), detailed response to Tim's [Tim McGrew] critique of Vincent Torley's essay. The essay is an excellent response to Tim's criticisms and the purported shortfalls found in Vincent's work. I think that Tim and Lydia's readership will benefit by examining this essay. The essay is located over at theskepticalzone. And, of course, it would be interesting to read a response by Tim. What do we know a ... [More]

(Guest Post) Was there a guard at Jesus’ tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 14, 03:31:

It seems to me quite obvious that even if only one Apostle died for their faith, then this would still be a valid "point" for Tony's side. ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 13, 00:56:

Mr. Alter's comments seem to be of diminishing value: Tony wrote: Being a believing Christian does not prevent me from hearing such hypotheses out and weighing the evidence. But it is a far cry from THAT to the practice of throwing forward every silly hypothesis anyone ever thought of, willy nilly, as if they were all worth repeating, as if each one constituted a reasonable argument. RESPONSE: Partially correct. However, your opinion can be applied in both directions (for detractors). There are, in fact ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 12, 18:31:

RESPONSE: Here, you are speculating. If you permit, you and others believe the historicity of Matthew 1 and Luke 1-2. In contrast, detractors do not share your belief. You added, “it was a fairly private event.” Question: How do you know? Similarly, you and others believe the historicity of Paul’s travel to Damascus (Acts 9, 22, 26). Again, in contrast, detractors do not share your belief. This topic is discussed in Volume 1, and in greater detail in volume 2. Furthermore, others have written works that qu ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 12, 13:50:

Hello Nobody special, Callum, Tony, and ChristSeeker: Nobody special wrote: here is an interesting short book RESPONSE: (1) Everybody is special and (2) thank you for the suggested reading. Callum wrote: “Also, that Matthew used Mark wouldn't undermine the idea that Matthew added details he knew about that Mark didn't include” RESPONSE: An alterative is Mark did not include these details in his gospel because they did not exist until Matthew invented them. Tony wrote: “What I am doing is pointing out ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 11, 20:43:

Therefore, if I understand your position, a person is expected to replace his or her faith with Christianity (and all of its ramifications: rejection of his or her religion, culture, traditions; and possible loss of family, friends, acquaintances, etc.), based on contrasting/differing testimonies. Heavens no, what a cardboard caricature of why a person would convert from paganism to Christianity! Or from Judaism to Christianity. Or, frankly, from ANY religion to another. In the first place, particular ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 11, 18:19:

RESPONSE: (1) But Matthew copies and edits Mark; and Luke copies and edits Mark and Matthew… Discussed earlier… (2) The NT records are a significant foundation employed to evangelize those of other faiths. Yet, these recorded testimonies differ. Theories exist on both sides of the religious aisle for these differences (edits, or redactions, or modifications). Therefore, if I understand your position, a person is expected to replace his or her faith with Christianity (and all of its ramifications: rejection ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 11, 13:44:

I agree completely with Tony. (What else is new?) Not wanting to sound iconoclastic or too idiosyncratic, but I think this stuff is all critical thinking and a willingness to track down details, really. A well-read layman ought to be able to meaningfully evaluate Licona vs McGrew. (I think that I can, at least, and I'm pretty convinced that I'm not particularly special, perhaps a bit stubborn and intellectually combative yes, but nobody ever compared me to Aquinas.) I hope this assertion that it is in the ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 11, 12:44:

Joe, this is exactly right. Thank you for a well-stated clarification of using (or not using) credentials and "time spent" on a subject. I referred to Lydia McGrew's work on this subject not because she has spent more time doing it, but because she has been making better arguments, repeatedly, consistently, on a sustained basis, over that time. I have (mildly) criticized one or two of her minor points in that long stretch, but on 99.9% of it she has simply mopped the floor up with the other views that ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Joe Lightfoot on Apr 11, 00:39:

RESPONSE: The number of years that one spends researching and writing; going to school; attempting to master a discipline has no relationship to its accuracy or success. Here, figuratively, I am shooting myself in the foot having devoted approximately eleven years to my project. But think about this reality: many religious leaders: imams, rabbis, clerics, ministers, priests, theologians, etc. have devoted years of their lives to learn their calling [seminary/temple/yeshivah, etc.], teaching it (what they le ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 10, 23:43:

Oh, and there's this part: Tony wrote: Starting with the basic principle that applies both in history and in story-making: a person doesn't tell, up front, EVERYTHING that happened just as it happened. They leave out details. Or, they skip details and later circle back and insert them. This is a basic fact of human nature. Response: You are offering a speculation. You do not have the slightest way to know why the details in the three records in Acts differ. Both of us can parade proponents representing b ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 10, 20:30:

I am not going to bother responding to Mr. Alter's complete mis-read of my comment about scare quotes for "New Testament Scholars", anybody can read the comment I made and see. The only thing worth even half bothering about is this: I said: Because, you know, that would explain why he left the safety of his house to heal his most dangerous enemy! Mr. Alter's Response: False. You assert this opinion (i.e., the recorded accounts in Acts and elsewhere) because you are a believer. I assume that your a ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Callum Savage on Apr 10, 17:23:

Also, that Matthew used Mark wouldn't undermine the idea that Matthew added details he knew about that Mark didn't include. ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Nobody special on Apr 10, 16:58:

Off topic... since many assertions are made about the "obvious" dependence on Mark... here is an interesting short book (for those who don't have heard about it) written by John Rist on the independence of Matthew and Mark: https://guardedacumenblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/04/john-m.-rist-on-the-independence-of-matthew-and-mark-society-for-new-testament-studies-monograph-series-1978.pdf ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 10, 11:19:

Hello ChristSeeker and Tony: Thank you for your follow up replies. Both inputs are appreciated. You (ChristSeeker) wrote: 1. Stories differ. So what? That's what happens when you have different people who notice different things. RESPONSE: (1) But Matthew copies and edits Mark; and Luke copies and edits Mark and Matthew… Discussed earlier… (2) The NT records are a significant foundation employed to evangelize those of other faiths. Yet, these recorded testimonies differ. Theories exist on both sides of ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 10, 01:23:

That Jesus appeared to Paul as a physical, bodily person (v. 9) is also refuted by his own personal testimony in Acts 9, 22, and 26. Paul ONLY reported that he head a voice and saw a bright light. The word opathe (i.e. appeared) is extensively discussed in the literature. Even Christian writers candidly acknowledge that this term can/often is employed in a non-visionary sense Huh? That doesn't even make sense. If you want to make an argument that Paul might not have seen Christ, you can try, but at le ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 9, 12:03:

1. Stories differ. So what? That's what happens when you have different people who notice different things. 2. The matter of eyewitnesses is pretty irrelevant to the point I was trying to make. As your quote indicates, you're trying to say that the Gospels were written very far away from the events that they narrate. RESPONSE: It is, in fact, possible that the author of Acts shot himself in the foot. Those things do happen. However, I do agree with you that, “In real life, when people tell the same stor ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 9, 09:23:

Hello ChristSeeker: Thank you for contributing to the discussion. You wrote: As a matter of fact, regardless of how you choose to date the Gospels, the Gospel authors were undoubtedly quite close to the events of Jesus' life and death chronologically… And 40 years is nothing - it's not as if Nixon is ancient history. I can still visit Washington, Nixon's hometown, interview people who knew him, touch items belonging to him, etc. Mark would be in a somewhat different situation, but not far off. People who ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tim on Apr 9, 09:21:

Vincent and Tony, Sim's paper is a train wreck, based on figures in his calculations that even he acknowledges are speculative. He deliberately refuses to count Jews in Jerusalem for Pentecost (p. 421), argues against the explicit testimony of Luke in Acts on the basis of really weak arguments from silence (pp. 422-23), etc. But any excuse will do in order to get around those pesky first-century sources, I suppose. ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 9, 00:28:

Finally, here's this nugget from Alter: RESPONSE: Paul ONLY reported that he head a voice and saw a bright light. The word opathe (i.e. appeared) is extensively discussed in the literature. Even Christian writers candidly acknowledge that this term can/often is employed in a non-visionary sense (Ceroke 2003, 149; Milligan 1997, 455; N T Wright 2003, 323) [see. pp. 734-742 in my text] We live in a free country! If you wish to believe that Paul saw Jesus in a bodily form, that is your belief. Your belief MUS ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 9, 00:14:

RESPONSE: You are assuming that Saul’s/Paul’s accounts in Acts 9, 22 and 26 are factual. I, and others do not share your enthusiasm. This topic is discussed in my text (pp. 712-722; 730-734) and extensively in my (hopeful) volume two, and texts by other writers. Significantly, these accounts “differ” and they not multi attested. Adding to the problems, Jesus is speaking to Paul in the Hebrew tongue a well-known Greek proverb of its days. This topic, and more, is discussed in the literature, from both sides ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 8, 23:58:

Here's a silly little argument that Alter makes: You state: “Under the circumstances, it is historical arrogance to allege that authors far closer to the facts.” Really? What “CLOSER” are you referring to? TIME: Mark (70), Matthew (80-85), Luke (85-90), and John (95-100)? And, for your information, in my text I ALSO discuss earlier dates. GEOGRAPHY: Mark (Rome?), Matthew (Palestine?, Antioch of Syria?), Luke (outside of Palestine), John (Syria, Asia Minor) ARE THESE TIMES and PLACES CLOSE TO THE EVENTS TH ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by ChristSeeker on Apr 8, 14:05:

RESPONSE: You are expressing your opinion. Others scholars reject your opinion. For example: John Granger Cook. See. 2.2 Jesus’ Crucifixion as a Political Execution pp. 198-203. In: Crucifixion and burial [NTS] 2011 Heinz-Wolfgang Kuhn. Die Kreuzesstrafe…, ANRW II.25.1 (1982), 706-18, 733 [cited by Cook) E. P. Sanders 1985: 317 “it was highly probable that he was executed for sedition or treason, as would-be king.” A.N. Sherwin-White thinks that Pilate executed Jesus on the charge of sedition. Roman So ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Vincent Torley on Apr 8, 10:37:

Hi Tony, Just a quick point re the numbers of Christians in the first century A.D. David Sim does not claim that there were only 1,000 Christians by the end of the first century; rather, he argues that there were no more than 1,000 Jewish Christians by then, representing just 0.0166 per cent of the total Jewish population of the Roman empire. He estimates the total Christian population throughout the Roman Empire in the year 100 A.D. at somewhere between 7,500 and 15,000. Sim's paper can be accessed online ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 7, 16:10:

Insofar as its success (expansion/growth of the Christian movement), an important variable is how to measure the successful spread of early Christianity. David C. Sim [HTS (1/2), 2005 estimates there were no more than 1,000 believers by the end of the first century. And, that growth has also been examined by Rodney Stark (1996: 5-7). He estimated its expansion was similar to that of the Mormon Church. My point was not that the expansion of the group was in any sense amazing, it was only that it DID IN FA ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Tony on Apr 7, 15:21:

Perhaps, that is why the Bible (Exodus) reports that there was a national revelation to the more than one million Children of Israel… Not merely a revelation to a few obscure fishermen (and others) primarily from Galilee. This national revelation along with the experienced liberation from Egypt avoided any possible dispute about the eggs Remember, I am NOT Orthodox, nor am I a fundamentalist. I have no idea what sort of religious view you hold, I was going by your presentation of the first quote above: ... [More]

Was Jesus Buried in Joseph of Arimathea's New Tomb?

Comment posted by Michael J. Alter on Apr 7, 14:27:

Hello Callum and Tony: Callum wrote: "You mean oral history. Oral tradition doesn't kick in for a few generations after the events happen. They must be distinguished. RESPONSE: You are correct! Thank you. Tony wrote: None of the NT writings were available during the first 2 decades of the spread of Christianity - it happened with oral testimony alone. But spread it did. The writings were not the foundational feature of (successful) evangelization. While there is some doubt about the exact timing of the ... [More]