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Everything posted by Peterkin

  1. I do not like the sound of 'preferential' in a scientific study. Of course, most are done on university students, which might level the field, especially if all the students are a. in institution in their native country and b. chosen from the same range of disciplines in every country. (Coz, if you were using exchange or foreign students, you have a huge bias from the get-go.) You can never know, if you ignore them. The commonalities are easy. It's the differences that are hard.
  2. Except Christianity itself, which started before Paul's ministry and spread, via zealous missionaries, all across the Roman occupied territories and into Rome itself, during the first half of the first century CE. The time-line would strongly suggest a precipitating event or person at or near the beginning of that century, in or near Jerusalem. After the temple was destroyed in 70CE, each Jewish community was centered on its own local synagogue, but the Christian idea had already been transmitted to Gentiles, and by 100 CE, it's an independent religion. This is long before it becomes a Roman official religion, long before the Bible is compiled or the canon decreed. So it had to get going and take root on its own merits and by the efforts of its apostles. They didn't come from nowhere for no reason, and they were not preaching any mish-mash of pagan demigods and equinox myths: they had a clear, strong, coherent message that won people over.
  3. I said I wouldn't, but.... Okay, I lied. How are you making sure that the subjects you choose from each linguistic group have the same level and type of linguistic development? You might have a science teacher from group, who has an extensive specialized vocabulary in his field, but little or no interest in kitchenware, and a bricklayer from another group whose hobby is collecting archaic folk sayings. Different ages, genders, occupations, proclivities, interests, education, literacy and reading habits, facility in language acquisition and familiarity with foreign languages... How do you choose the subject population?
  4. Don't we already have a pretty thorough understanding of how languages are related? The similarities of German and Dutch is not coincidental, as they're closely related, while Faroese belongs to the Nordic branch of Germanic languages, more like Icelandic and Danish. Here is a striking graphic depiction I would also expect differences in vocabulary based on geography: while a Sudanese might need no words for snow, a Laplander is likely to have a dozen, and their description of wind and water would also be quite different. But I'm skeptical as to whether difference can be measures strictly by vocabulary, without reference to structure, grammar and inflection. However, as I don't get what it is you're tying to measure, or why, I'll stay out of this thread.
  5. Another time, another place. On topic, however, I'd like to say that reasonable evidence should be considered in a neutral light. I think there is no argument over the existence of Pontius Pilate, his animosity toward the Jews, or the political unrest and mass executions under his prefecture? The revolt of 67CE, was real enough? What if divinity, immaculate conception and other miracles were not considered as prerequisite to existence? What if an obscure carpenter from a province that didn't assume importance until after rebellion isn't mentioned by name in contemporary Roman records? How many common tradesmen are mentioned by Roman historians or scribes? How many records were there of baby boys named Yeshua, or any similar phonetic transpositions from the Hebrew alphabet to the Greek? The Romans just let them get on with their little internecine squabbles, reforms, heresies, cleansings and schisms. Why would they remark on one more itinerant preacher? Why would they remark the crufixion of another blasphemer? And, as blood sacrifice was a traditional form of atonement and divine forgiveness in the Jewish religion, why wouldn't the followers of that preacher take his martyrdom for a sign of his divinity? If you don't demand strict correspondence to the Biblical version - which is obviously embellished and inflated, as well as Europeanized at a much later date - there is no obstacle whatever to the existence of a mortal man at the branching-off of a new religion from an old one.
  6. Yep. Nothing depends on their position. For a theologian, there is a prior commitment, a faith, a canon to uphold: a great deal at stake. So I can understand why they're entrenched and will defend their position by any means at their disposal - even if it includes stretching credulity and accepting evidence unsupported by outside sources. I think atheists should be more open-minded and consider a longer perspective. But that's, again, a personal opinion.
  7. Outside this thread, none that I think it's worthwhile to dig up. David Fitzgerald comes to mind. Bart Ehrman, and carrier, too, seem unduly concerned with the details of the gospels, which we already know were written (possibly dictated) from imperfect memory and with the lack of a back-story for a preacher whom none of his disciples even met until he was 30 years old and far from home... Why would he be telling them about a home and childhood he had forsaken when he reinvented himself as a prophet. Obviously, the virgin birth and Bethlehem had to wedged in decades later to make the prophet more magical - probably the miracles, too. All that shows is that there was no one physical person who ticks all the boxes in the Jesus story --- not that those ideas and sermons didn't come from a real person - whatever his name and ancestry might have been.
  8. There's still room in the world greener [non-chemically treated] grass The Hidden Life of Trees - Peter Wohlleben
  9. Nor would that make the entire text a forgery. Somebody wrote the books. When? Over a period of time, possibly the whole 400 years between the death of some man, later identified as Jesus, who was executed, presumably for sedition, which would have been the most common charge, and the compilation of the final text. Somebody collected, selected and edited those books for inclusion in their official religious text. If they commissioned fake books, they were certainly in a position to hire skilled forgers, rather than clumsy ones. I would surmise that the obvious forgeries, therefore, predate the Council, and my guess as to their origin would be early Christians who couldn't write as well as the putative Luke and verified Paul, but wished to ride their authority. This, btw, is why so much apocrypha was excluded, because they were terrible writing. Other bits, perhaps because they were contemporary and not in accord with the compilers' intent. Careers can be made, also, on disproving the accepted version of things. Unfortunately, too many non-Christian historians are just as determined to see deceit and fakery as the christian ones are to deny it, they go to absurd lengths to attack even reasonable evidence for the other side's position.
  10. Two I mentioned before: Konrad Lorenz - Behind the Mirror; The Foundations of Ethology. All of them, really - dated, but well ahead of the curve and quite readable. Erich Hoyt & E.O. Wilson - The Earth Dwellers - Adventures in the Land of Ants. A very favourite from long ago: Arthur Koestler - The Sleepwalkers: A History of Man's Changing Vision of the Universe Excellent story-telling. (Don't you wish all good books were written by nice people?)
  11. Then why deny that the humans weaving that invention existed, lived, believed, preached and organized? Priests exist now - all kinds of clerics and prelates. They have existed for several thousand years. We didn't. We were fine with nature spirits, demons, totems and all sorts of local, familiar supernatural entities. Rulers need big, powerful gods. Mostly, he said "Stop fornicating and obey me." Psychological, mostly.: people are scared a lot of the time! And I think that's what scholars have done. Only: if one was a very bad forgery, wouldn't you expect the other also also to be bad? I mean, wouldn't you expect an inept forger to make all bad copies and a skillful one to make all good ones, rather than one of each?
  12. Guy writes books, gets his face on ugly stained glass windows, I guess he exists, must have a name. Why not Luke? Why does he need justification? Somebody started the cult; somebody spread it; somebody established it. If you don't dispute the identity of Constantine, why worry about whether the others existed?
  13. I don't understand slice and dice as applied to experience. The concept behind glass - if behind is the right word - is the brilliant idea of melting sand and reshaping it. Maybe 4000 years old, but now a wide-spread idea. People make glass the same ways in all countries. People use glass the same ways in all countries. People experience glass as drinking vessels, containers, corrective and magnifying lenses, light-porous window coverings, coffee table tops, picture protectors, church window decorations, trinkets and jewelry, paperweights and Christmas tree ornaments. In all countries. They talk about it in slightly different groupings or reference. Drinking, storing liquids, seeing, decorating.... Sure they do. They have words for all of those experiences. Everyone has words for them.
  14. That's not a conceptual difference. That's a structural difference.
  15. Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas was a favourite of my youth. Structures - or why things don't fall down by JE Gordon
  16. The examples you gave were unconvincing: shadow and shade are of the same root, conceptually similar, with English having an extra little more nuance. Desk and table are the same species of furniture, where Russians probably add the specific function with an extra word, such as writing table, dining table, dressing table, cutting table (which is what desk apparently was in Latin) and you can say it that way in English, too. 'Blue' is an imprecise collective term for part of the spectrum which includes two dozen named shades. If Russian has two words, I would guess they refer to tints and tones - light and dark blues. But if the words refer to a colour range in that same portion of the spectrum, it's not a different concept - and I suspect they, too have more words to describe different shades and mixtures of blue. These are minor variations of vocabulary. They give the translator a moment's pause, but the concepts nevertheless correspond closely that an adequate translation is possible. That's where I would draw a conceptual line: not where you have a choice of words to say the same thing, but where you can't find any words to convey the meaning. An English speaker with a good vocabulary might very well differentiate tumbler from goblet from jigger, from spectacles and windowpanes; otherwise, you might say wineglass, water glass, juice glass, shot glass; eyeglasses; window glass; in common parlance, they're simply using the name of the material it's made from, and I'm sure there is Russian name for that, just as there is in Hungarian, which is 'uveg', but in polite company you drink from a 'pohar', because the thing "glass" is commonly used for is a bottle. You can differentiate drinking vessels in various ways, and differentiate the products made of glass, but the concept for both glass (the material) and drinking vessel is the same. I see variations in vocabulary: one tends to use a general term which needs to be refined if you want the specific item, while the other goes directly to the specific. If you can describe a thing when you don't know its name, the concept is the same. Again, with the manner and direction of motion, that seems to me a matter of emphasis, and number of words available for detailed description. English is a monster on vocabulary - it has gobbled up so many words from other languages that it can hone in on minute description with a single word where another language would have to use modifiers to achieve the same information-content. But again, I'm not seeing how moving upward quickly with the use of hands and feet is conceptually different in each language, just because one has shorthand for it and another doesn't. Can you describe how it would be different? My legs are tired. I need to sit down. Where is a furniture with a flat surface on which to place my bum?
  17. I don't know so many languages and was not aware of this. Similarities, yes; not differences. Could you show some conceptual difference in the languages you know? For instance, how would this ^^ be different in Germanic language from a Romance one? And if the hub is a conceptual meeting-place for things that have a ?functional relationship to one another, how would it work for the experience of needing a chair to sit on in different languages? Would you, for example ask in a different way? Or would you actually think about the chair in a different way? I never really followed up the hub idea before, either. I was thinking in terms of specific-to-general categorization, with increasing degrees of abstraction. But I see that only as a chain or ladder, rather than a cluster. Can you elaborate?
  18. Supposed to have several brothers? Why would this have been supposed by Paul, who didn't know Jesus? You're introduced to a guy, "This is James; he's Jesus' brother.' You just refer to him afterward by the relationship, not the birth-order, familal ratio or percent fraternity. (half brother, actually) People who wrote religious epistles two thousand years ago don't always adhere your to strict requirement of specificity and detail. Only what other people, including Paul, have written and the authorship of his gospel and The Acts of the Apostles. And this https://www.britannica.com/biography/Saint-Luke
  19. Unless a living leading apostle [Peter] was around to contradict him. Besides, where and when did Paul describe anybody or anything? "In the name of Christ the lord" and "It is written" and "God is faithful" "Stop being so naughty".... He uses the Name and the Word, not the persona or the story. He doesn't know the personality and doesn't care about the mortal man whose blessing he claims. But he does need to include in the idea of Christ the Lord who was raised from the dead (Remember, too, Jesus as equal to God won't be official canon for another 300 years after Paul's time.), all of the preachers who may have contributed to the various local Cristian cults. If you get too specific, you can alienate a congregation who have a recollection of a different prophet. (As I said earlier, the Jesus sightings reported in different places, after the crucifixion of one such preacher, strongly suggests that others had already taken up and carried the message to several provinces.) Paul was never interested in a historical Jesus, because at that time, the question didn't arise; historicity was not an issue; authority was. Also: as Luke is Paul's constant companion, and also an apostle in good standing, he already has a far better source of Jesus-lore.
  20. Coulda sworn I just said that. However, the church rules don't necessarily flow, or even follow from the instigator of the legend. A great many - one might go so far as to say, most - Christians don't turn the other cheek, love their neighbour, give to the poor or forgive those who trespass against them, let alone imitate the lilies of the field. There is a real JK Rowling, or there would be no Harry Potter. After one meeting, in which he was rebuffed? The less said, the better. You keep wanting floods of detail about other people from a man who was utterly self-absorbed.
  21. Sorry if i gave you a hard time. Ethology is sort of my pit-bull subject.
  22. Wasn't that clear? I thought I explained it early on. There were any number of rebellious cells, small insurgencies and political foments during the Roman occupation. There were also religious reformers and self-proclaimed prophets aplenty, each with a loyal following. From time to time, when one of these insurgents got uppity, or collected too large a following, the Romans would crucify him or a whole group of them, for sedition. There was not one Yehoshua stand-in; there were a dozen or more. Hence: distillation. Of course. All legends contain some truth. There is zero doubt about crucifixion as a means of punishing disobedient subject peoples (rarely used on Roman citizens, but slaves like Spartacus got it) There is zero doubt about the political dissent, Judean nationalism or the existence of religious reform movements. There is zero doubt that somebody, somewhere came up with the kernel of Christian doctrine, because the cult was already established, its churches in several far-flung places were already established when Paul joined up as a self-proclaimed apostle. Christianity exists. It can be rejected, but it can't be denied.
  23. I assumed that was implicit in "religious". Some gods, some demigods - but that's the embellishment part. The Jesus part is the leader, rebel, preacher, teacher, example-setter, trend-maker, martyr; the divine embellishments are the Christ part. Some forms of Jesus did exist; the myths were tacked onto his memory, only after he was killed, then raised to godhood by and authority that could impose its will on the religion of its times.
  24. No. James Bond is as real as all the best secret agents in the field: he's a distillation of a many examples of a real thing, with wish-fulfillment embellishments added. Harry Potter is an adult's interpretation of a child's fantasy-life: his exploits are the embellishments on a distillation of smart, decent, competent boys. Jesus is a distillation of political activists in an age when religion was an identifying aspect of nationalism, with foreign religious embellishments added later. The starting point, or template, is one or more actual humans who lived and worked toward something and died.
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