The temple was not made with hands
Carrier draws attention to a selection of what he calls “leading examples” of undesigned coincidences. The first concerns the prediction of Jesus’ resurrection in John 2: 18-22. He writes,
Mark 14: 55-59 and 15: 27-30 repeatedly show the Jews who accuse Jesus of destroying the temple; John 2: 18-22 “explains” that when Jesus said this, he was speaking metaphorically about his body. This is obviously only John explaining his source, Mark. There is no undeveloped coincidence here.
However, John does not mention the later misrepresentation of Jesus’ statement and its use as an indictment against Jesus. In addition, the false witnesses in Mark and Matthew do not accurately represent Jesus’ words (since he said nothing about destroying and rebuilding a man-made temple, but not human-made). But nothing in any of these gospels gives any clue as to what Jesus actually said. Only John gives us the back story. In fact, the false testimonies in Markus and Matthäus are inexplicable allusions. The reader gets stuck and wonders when Jesus made this statement. It is also hinted at by those who mock Jesus on the cross in Mark 15:29 and Matthew 27:40. This suggests that it was a well-known statement from Jesus (not something that the false witnesses made up entirely of material), although Mark and Matthew do not provide the excuse, and although Mark and Matthew make it clear that the witnesses The interrogation of Jesus gave false evidence against Jesus through this charge. We therefore have two interrelated reports that indicate that they are independent of one another, based on the truth.
John’s expansion of Philip as a character
The Gospel of John chooses the student Philip to expand into a series of stories (in John 1, John 6, John 12, and John 14), and uses him to perform story functions where previous authors did not. There were no previous stories about the man (except perhaps a story that took place long after Jesus’ ministry in Acts 8 and may not be concerned with the apostle Philip at all). However, we should be “surprised” that John imagined Jesus would ask Philip where to buy food for the crowd before feeding the five thousand near Bethsaida, and John alone decides to place Philip’s hometown in Bethsaida (what for a coincidence)!), as both Mark and Luke – John’s well-known sources! – had already placed this event near Bethsaida.
Here too, Carrier simply missed the point. John points out that Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida, but this is only a temporary mention and in a completely different context than the story about the diet of the five thousand (John 1:44; John 12:21). If John 6: 5 had invented Jesus’ dialogue with Philip, he would probably have mentioned Bethsaida as the scene of the miracle and / or would have stated in the same context that Philip’s hometown was Bethsaida. Luke, on the other hand, does not mention Philip in this connection, but rather Luke does indicate that the event took place in Bethsaida (Luke 9:10). The best and simplest explanation for this coincidence is that the reports are rooted in the truth independently of one another. Carrier’s explanation can be good possible, but it’s not at all probably.
Matthew moves things
Carrier continues with his next example. He writes,
In Matthew 8: 14-16, Jesus heals Peter’s mother-in-law from fever (among several other people with other diseases), and only in the evening are some of the demon-possessed people brought to him to be healed. McGrew claims that this is only explained in Mark 1:21, where we are told that this was the Sabbath that we know ends in the evening, which explains why they had to wait. Of course that doesn’t make sense. Why should the demon possessed have to wait, but not all the other people Jesus healed that day? Mark lets Jesus heal a demon-possessed person in the same passage where he says it was the Sabbath! Matthew cannot think so clearly that this only happened after the Sabbath. It’s also Markus, Matthew’s source, who places more exorcisms that evening. Matthew just copies Mark. He only left out the synagogue material (moved it to other chapters). This is not a coincidence. It is not even a coincidence. This is just an author’s license that moves things from the source he copies.
This is another example that McGrew explicitly does not use (and gives the reasons for it). Again, this indicates that Carrier didn’t even bother to read the book he’s trying to review (see part 2 of my series of answers for another example where Carrier makes this mistake). McGrew writes in Chapter 3 of her book:
I took care not to use a single accident that was not designed, which could be plausibly explained by the incomplete reproduction or elaboration of Markus by Matthew or Luke.
In fact, in footnote 15 of Chapter 3, McGrew lists exactly this example as one that she deliberately omitted because incomplete copying can take it into account. She writes,
There are three coincidences that I have left out of my discussion for this very reason: The coincidence between Luke 22: 63-64 and Matthew 26: 67-68, “which struck you” because Matthew could have contained only one piece of information information contained in marks; the “wait until evening” coincidence between Matthew 8:16 and Mark 1:21, since Matthew may have only received incomplete information from Mark;; the coincidence regarding the command to the disciples not to tell anyone about the transfiguration until after the resurrection from Matthew 17: 9 and Luke 9:36, since all information can be found in Mark 9:10, depending on the translation from the Greek in marks. [emphasis added]
The disciples keep a little secret
Carrier then makes the same mistake a third Time. He writes,
In Luke 9: 28-36, after the transfiguration, we are told: “The disciples kept this to themselves and at that point did not tell anyone what they had seen.” But in Luke’s source, Mark 9: 9-10, we are told, “Jesus gave them the order not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man rose from the dead.” Why does Luke leave out the reason why the disciples keep this to themselves? Because he wanted to. Luke reselects Mark’s repeated theme of the “messianic secret”. When Jesus orders someone to remain silent in Mark, Luke sometimes removes this detail from his report. Luke simply does that as an author. He wanted to mitigate that. And so he does it here too. That is why Luke turns it into the disciples who decide to keep the secret. Otherwise, he transmits the same information that he receives from Mark: They remained silent until later (“at that time” records “until the Son of Man rose”). There is no accident to explain here. This fits in with Luke’s already documented editorial tendencies.
You will find that in the quote I gave from McGrew’s book she mentions this example as the third example that she deliberately did not use, and Carrier still cites it as one of her “leading examples”. Did Carrier actually read McGrew’s book? It seems doubtful.
What was John the Baptist talking about?
In the Gospel of John alone (1:15 and 1:30), John the Baptist claims that Jesus existed “before” him. McGrew irrationally believes that he means “born six months before him”, as shown in Luke, when he obviously thinks that he has existed since the beginning of time, as the Gospel of John had just told us (1: 1-7), and recalls even us in the previous verse! (1:14)
Here too, Carrier really missed the point. John the Baptist is Allusion to the pre-existence of Jesus. That’s exactly the point McGrew is addressing. It is John the Baptist who is six months older than Jesus, not the other way around, as Carrier incorrectly claims. But if you don’t know the story of Luke, you may ask, “How does John the Evangelist know that John the Baptist is not just saying that Jesus is older than him?” John the Evangelist assumes that John the Baptist means that Jesus already exists. This is the only possible interpretation, precisely because John the Baptist (Jesus’ cousin) and John the Evangelist are aware that Jesus was actually younger than John the Baptist, a detail that can be found in the synoptic, but not in John.
How does John the Baptist know?
Likewise, if John deletes the baptism scene because he loathes adoptionism: McGrew believes that it makes no sense, as John knows that Jesus is the Son of God; as if all of Scripture was not full of prophets who knew such things because the Holy Spirit informed them. John does not need a theater to portray John the Baptist as the well-known prophet he was. He simply compresses the narrative of his source and makes it great. In Mark, John never learns that Jesus is the Son of God. He later asked Jesus in Matthew and Luke, but we are never told whether the answer convinced him. The next step of embellishment: Johannes knows it prophetically from the start! This is a Johannine editorial tendency, not an unspecified coincidence.
Here, too, carrier unfortunately misses the point. John does not tell of the baptism of Jesus. All that John says about the matter is this (John 1: 32-34):
32 And John gave testimony, “I saw the spirit coming down from heaven like a dove, and he stayed on it. 33 I did not know him myself, but he who sent me to water for baptism said to me, “Whoever sees the Spirit descend and stay, baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34 And I saw and I testified that this is the Son of God. “
Why should John, from the sight of the Spirit descending on Jesus, conclude that Jesus is the Son of God? The Gospel of John leaves this unresolved. The special revelation given to John the Baptist is given in verse 33, and all that is in it is that he was told, “Whoever sees the Spirit descend and remain, baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” There is nothing on which the Spirit descends as the Son of God. However, if we turn to the synoptic gospels, we learn the missing piece of the puzzle. We read in Matthew 3: 16-17:
16 And when Jesus was baptized, he rose immediately from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descend like a dove and rest on him; 17 And behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am very satisfied.”
Let us assume for a moment that it was John the Evangelist Not a reliable, partially independent, factual account of the events, including the testimony of John the Baptist. For example, suppose he put words in the mouth of John the Baptist and told about baptism, partly fictional and partly based on reports in the earlier Gospels. This does not explain this hypothesis omission the voice from heaven from the words of John the Baptist in John. If the Gospel writer invented a speech for John the Baptist based on other accounts of events, one would at least expect him to complete the speech and not write it in a way that raises unnecessary questions. John the Baptist’s account would also be more dramatic and theologically more profound if it included the voice of heaven, and it would have been easy to include the voice in a single additional sentence. John the Baptist could have said: “I saw the spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and he stayed on it. And I heard the powerful voice from heaven that said, ‘This is my beloved son.’ “
Carrier goes on
The same thing happens with the Eucharist: Contrary to McGrew’s naive astonishment, John does not have to present the inauguration of the Passover as his sources; At this point, all Christians were already fully familiar with this tradition. That he moves it into history to combine it with the feeding narrative is simply his author’s license; no evidence of an undesigned coincidence.
Carrier’s explanation is possiblebut not most probably. Talk to a group of people (especially a Jewish Audience) about eating his meat and drinking his blood without further explanation of what exactly he meant is extremely strange (John 6: 35-59). However, Jesus later explains in a story that is not reported by John, but only in an overview of what he meant when he began the sacrament. As McGrew summarizes
The institution is recorded just In Synoptics, Jesus’ discourse about himself as bread of life and the need to eat his flesh and drink his blood is recorded just in John. The answer to the question [of why Jesus talked to the people about such an odd thing as eating his flesh and drinking his blood] is that he spoke in John 6 to introduce the sacrament at the end of his ministry and expected his followers to put everything together later if they persisted in discipline (unlike those that fell away in John 6:66) -67).
Carrier also writes,
And the same thing happens again with the cup metaphor: In John’s sources, Jesus speaks of drinking the cup of his destiny in his Gethsemane prayer. John simply shifts the metaphor to his rebuke from Peter because he used violence to arrest him. He does so in line with his editorial tendency to remove all evidence that a picky Jesus doubts and worries and asks to be dismissed from his mission, and to replace it with the evil tough man Jesus he represents everywhere. This is another example of this trend.
The point here is that Jesus’ use of the cup metaphor in John 18:11 (“Put your sword in your sheath; shouldn’t I drink the cup that Father gave me?”) Is curious since Jesus is nowhere else in John is used the metaphor of a cup to indicate God’s judgment (the metaphor is derived from various Old Testament passages such as Psalm 75: 8). In the three Synoptic Gospels, however, Jesus had prayed in precisely these terms the very same night, asking that if possible God could eliminate the need to endure his anger and call him the “chalice”. When the soldiers came to arrest Jesus, Jesus accepted this as an indication of the father’s decision to give him the mug and therefore says, “Shall I not drink the mug that Father gave me?” John has left out the context in which Jesus prayed that night regarding the cup metaphor. The Synoptic Gospels, on the other hand, do not include Jesus’ approval of the Father’s decision to give him the chalice. The reports therefore fit together so that the truth is the best explanation.
It’s the same if Johannes Luke’s unique “correction” from Mark’s story precludes the servant’s earlobe from being cut by Jesus’ healing (oddly enough, to nobody’s astonishment). It is clear that John simply preferred Mark’s version. No further explanation is required. It is no coincidence that John alone lets Jesus explain that his mission is peaceful. All Gospels communicate this point about Jesus in their own way. John just does it his way and extends Jesus’ refusal to lead a rebellion by letting Jesus explain what he means. Earlier Christians did not have to explain it in the text. it was explained to them personally.
The point here is Jesus’ statement (found only in the Gospel of John): “If my kingdom were from this world, my servants would have fought so that I would not be handed over to the Jews” (John 18:36). is striking because the same gospel depicts Peter as if he were to cut off the high priest’s servant’s right ear, an act that is believed to be a struggle to prevent it from being turned over to the Jews (John 18:10) in Luke, who does not report Jesus’ testimony to Pilate that Jesus actually healed the ear of the high priest’s servant (Luke 22:51).
Carrier gives another example:
Similarly, no other author liked the idea of doing this when Matthew tried to count women and children among the “five thousand” who were miraculously fed, so they didn’t. There is no “coincidence” to be explained, let alone with an oddly elaborated theory that Lydia McGrew develops using women and childcare processes.
Again, it appears that Carrier has not taken the time to seriously consider this example. It doesn’t even represent what McGrew argues about the number of people miraculously fed. Matthew tells us that the five thousand relate specifically to the number of men: “And those who ate were about five thousand men besides women and children” (Matthew 14:21). Mark 6:44, Luke 9:14 and John 6:10 also indicate that 5,000 men have been fed, although they do not add “except women and children”. How was this number calculated? The solution can be found in Mark 6: 39-40: “Then he ordered them all to sit in groups on the green grass. So they sat in groups of hundreds and fifties.” Likewise we read in Luke 9: 14-15: “And he said to his disciples: Let them sit in groups of about fifty each.” And they did it and let them all sit down. “Sorting the crowd into groups made it possible to get an idea of how many were present, but that still doesn’t answer the question of how they knew the number Menexcluding women and children present. The Gospel of John does not indicate the groupings of hundreds and fifties, but it gives us important information. In John 6:10 we read: “Jesus said: ‘Let people sit down’. Now there was a lot of grass in the place. So the men sat downabout five thousand [emphasis added]”Jesus instructs the disciples to let people sit in groups (as given by Mark and Luke), but it is the men who actually sit down (as John alone states). This therefore sheds light on how many men could be approached .
See things that are not there?
Nowhere in that dialogue, when a later writer of the Gospel of John added a second ending to the second and invented a strange dialogue between Jesus and Peter that restored Peter’s status as supreme disciple, there is no remaining aversion to Peter. McGrew’s claim that we need other gospels to explain why Jesus is “common” here to Peter is a coincidence. Jesus is not common to Peter here. Period. And John already records that Peter had to be saved and knew it. No other gospel is needed to interpret what John signals through this new mythical narrative.
Carrier doesn’t seem to know what this is about either. The point is that in John 21:15, Jesus said to Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than this?” This seems like a pretty strange thing for Jesus – why does Jesus ask Peter if he wants Jesus anymore loves than the other disciples? The answer is not given by John, but the Synoptic Gospels report (although John does not) that Peter boasts of it he was the most faithful of the disciples (Matthew 26:35; Mark 14:31; Luke 22:33). This background story, provided by the Synoptic Gospels, then illuminates Jesus’ question to Peter in John 21:15: “Do you love me more than this?”
Carrier goes on
In the same way, Mark explains that Jesus separated the disciples into pairs, why Matthew listed them as couples, and why Luke, who almost certainly used Matthew as the source, and John, who clearly used Luke as the source, maintained this. No further explanation is required.
Once again, Carrier does not seem to know what is important. Matthew 10: 2-4 lists the twelve disciples:
2 The names of the twelve apostles are as follows: First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James, the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; 3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James, the son of Alphaeus, and Squidward; 4 Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him. [emphasis added]
I encouraged the word “and” to highlight Matthew’s grouping of the twelve disciples into pairs. However, nothing in Matthew’s gospel explains why the twelve are combined in pairs. Only when we turn to the Gospel of Mark will this be illuminated. In Mark 6: 7 we read: “And he called the twelve and began sending them out in pairs, giving them authority over the impure spirits.” The fact that Jesus sent the disciples in pairs shows why Matthew groups the twelve in his list in Matthew 10: 2-4. The Gospel of Mark also lists the twelve disciples in Mark 3: 13-19, but his list does not group them in pairs. Matthew also reports on the sending of the disciples (Matthew 10: 5-15). However, he does not state that they were sent in groups of two. Therefore, Matthew and Mark fit together in a way that can best be explained by being independently rooted in the truth.
Who missed the point?
Carrier goes on
Similarly, Mark would never have thought that Joseph of Arimathea was a “disciple” of Jesus. on the contrary, Markus is concerned with constructing the irony that a disciple is not the one who dutifully cares for the burial of Jesus (Markus uses numerous ironies of this kind, as I have often written). So we don’t have to look at John’s embellishment of the Arimatean mythology by inventing this detail just to explain why Mark imagines Joseph having the courage to ask Pilate about Jesus’ body. Markus already gives us his imagined reasons: it was too early for Jesus to be dead (which made Pilate quite nervous) and the Sabbath was approaching quickly (leaving little time for a funeral). No coincidence here.
Yes, there may be other factors that may have contributed to Joseph’s nervousness about approaching Pilate to ask about the body of Jesus. Given Pilate’s character in the ancient sources, it would probably have taken a lot of courage to approach Pilate in general. For this reason, I consider this to be one of the weaker examples of non-coincidences. Even so, Mark’s mention that Joseph “took courage” and went to Pilate to ask about the body of Jesus fits very well with Matthew 27:57, indicating that Joseph was one of Jesus’ disciples – a detail that Mark said has not provided. This is the point McGrew made in her book. Perhaps Mark’s source (possibly Peter) had watched Joseph torment himself to present himself to Pilate as a student of the man Pilate had just executed, and so Mark mentions by the way that he “took courage” without explaining (as is the case) Matthew) that Joseph himself was a student.
Don’t pay attention to what an author did?
Likewise, when Matthew lets Jesus say that great deeds have been done in Bethsaida, McGrew says that Matthew must anticipate Luke’s later placement of five thousand feeds near Bethsaida. But Matthew never says that. Obviously he didn’t think that. Matthew tells us what he thought: “Then Jesus began to denounce the cities where most of his miracles had been done because they had no regrets.” Asked and answered. No further explanation is required. Unlike McGrew, it wasn’t Luke who arranged the feeding of the five thousand near Bethsaida. it was Matthew’s source: Mark, who actually did two miracles there. But Matthew chose to put his story of condemnation (which he probably had invented) before feeding and move the healing of the blind to another place, so he had to lead the story of condemnation with a general reference to “most of his wonders”. This is called a planned coincidence.
The point here is that Matthew’s account of the feeding of the five thousand is given in Matthew 14, about three chapters after Jesus’ denunciation of the unrepentant cities of Chorazin and Bethsaida, because of the miracles he did in those cities, they did not believed him (Matthew 11:21). Matthew tells less chronologically than Luke. Besides, Matthew doesn’t even tell us that the feeding of the five thousand took place in Bethsaida. Only Lukas says this explicitly. Since the diet of the Five Thousand was a very public miracle (involving some five thousand men as well as women and children), this would be an ideal candidate for a miracle that people living in Bethsaida should have left without any excuse to accept the evidence for that messianic testimonies of Jesus. It is entirely possible, but not certain, that Jesus’ feeding of the four thousand (Matthew 15: 32-39) took place in Chorazin, the other unrepentant city that was denounced in Matthew 11:21. After this event, Jesus got on a boat and went to the Magadan region (Matthew 15:39), a region beyond the lake of Galilee from Chorazin (as well as Bethsaida).
Carrier next claims that certain coincidences can be explained as a product of legendary development and embellishment. He writes,
Similarly, McGrew is amazed at how later gospels embellish history, how Joseph of Arimathea had a grave to hand in which Jesus could be placed. But that’s how legends are simply embellished over time. There are no coincidences here.
Again, Carrier failed to interact with what coincidence actually is. So allow me to put it in concrete terms. In John 19: 41-42 we read:
41 Now there was a garden at the place where he was crucified, and there was a new grave in the garden in which no one had yet been placed. 42 Because of the Jewish preparation day, they left Jesus there because the grave was nearby.
How did you get this new grave in the garden? Nothing in John tells us. But if we turn around Matthew 27: 57-60 we read
57 When evening came, a rich man from Arimathea named Joseph came, who was also a disciple of Jesus. 58 He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him. 59 And Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen 60 and put it in his own new grave, which he had cut into the rock. And he rolled a large stone to the entrance of the tomb and went away.
That Joseph of Arimathea was rich and that Joseph laid Jesus in his own grave are details that only the Gospel of Matthew provides. This material, unique to Matthew, helps illuminate the report in John, suggesting that Matthew has access to independent information about the report in Mark about the funeral of Jesus. Matthew also explains the Gospel of Luke, since Luke does not explicitly tell us that the tomb belonged to Joseph. Matthew states that the tomb was new, although he does not say that no one has been placed in the tomb yet, a detail found in Luke and John. However, it does not seem likely that Luke simply concludes from Matthew’s word “new” that no one had previously been buried in the grave, since Luke’s account appears to be completely independent of Matthew. For example, Luke highlights the goodness of Joseph, which makes it quite striking when he copies from Matthew that he does not mention that the tomb belonged to Joseph himself. Luke also includes details that were not found in Matthew, such as that Joseph was a member of the Sanhedrin and was waiting for the kingdom.
Johannes scheint auch unabhängig von den anderen Evangelien zu sein, da sein Evangelium einzigartiges Material enthält, wie die Rolle des Nikodemus, Josephs geheime Jüngerschaft, die Nähe des Grabes zum Ort der Kreuzigung Jesu, der Ort des Grabes in einem Garten und die Menge der verwendeten Grabgewürze. John und Luke sind sich einig, dass zuvor niemand in diesem Grab begraben worden war. Es ist jedoch nur Matthäus, der angibt, wie es war, dass Joseph Zugang zu diesem Grab hatte.
Carrier fährt fort,
Ebenso ist sie erstaunt, dass die einzigen Evangelien, die einen anderen Joseph als Vater Jesu erwähnen, die einzigen zwei Evangelien sind, deren Krippenerzählungen die Erwähnung seines Vaters erfordern. Natürlich wird sie den offensichtlichen Grund dafür nicht akzeptieren: Luke schreibt Matthews Erzählung neu. Und Matthäus erfand diesen Namen – zweifellos, um der rabbinischen Überlieferung zu entsprechen, dass der Vater des Messias Joseph heißen würde und nicht irgendein Messias, sondern speziell der Messias, der sterben und auferstehen würde, um die Endzeit zu signalisieren (Über die Historizität Jesu) S. 73-75). Gleiches gilt für den Grund, warum John Dinge wie den Namen des verstümmelten Dieners Peter hinzufügt (erinnern Sie sich, wie typisch es in der legendären Entwicklung ist, dass Namen zu Nebenfiguren hinzugefügt werden?).
Auch hier hat Carrier den Punkt von McGrews Argumentation einfach verfehlt. Es geht nicht nur darum, dass Joseph nur in den Erzählungen über Geburt und Kindheit in Matthäus und Lukas präsent ist (das letzte, was wir von ihm während der Reise nach Jerusalem sehen, als Jesus in Lukas 2 12 Jahre alt ist). Darüber hinaus fehlt Joseph konsequent in der Erzählung, selbst wenn die Mutter, die Brüder und Schwestern Jesu anwesend sind. Zum Beispiel in Markus 3: 20-21; 31-35 lesen wir,
20 Dann ging er nach Hause, und die Menge versammelte sich wieder, damit sie nicht einmal essen konnten. 21 Und als seine Familie es hörte, gingen sie hinaus, um ihn zu ergreifen, denn sie sagten: Er ist verrückt. […] 31 Und seine Mutter und seine Brüder kamenund draußen stehend schickten sie zu ihm und riefen ihn. 32 Und eine Menge saß um ihn und sprachen zu ihm: “Deine Mutter und deine Brüder sind draußen und suchen dich.” 33 Und er antwortete ihnen: “Wer sind meine Mutter und meine Brüder?” 34 Und als er sich zu denen umsah, die um ihn herum saßen, sprach er: „Hier sind meine Mutter und meine Brüder! 35 Denn wer den Willen Gottes tut, der ist es Mein Bruder und meine Schwester und meine Mutter. ” [emphasis added]
Oder betrachten Sie Markus 6: 1-3:
Er ging von dort weg und kam in seine Heimatstadt, und seine Schüler folgten ihm. 2 Und am Sabbat begann er in der Synagoge zu lehren, und viele, die ihn hörten, waren erstaunt und sprachen: Woher hat dieser Mann diese Dinge? Was ist die Weisheit, die ihm gegeben wurde? Wie werden solche mächtigen Werke von seinen Händen ausgeführt? 3rd Ist das nicht der Zimmermann, der Sohn Mariens und der Bruder von James und Joses und Judas und Simon? Und sind nicht seine Schwestern hier bei uns?”
Oder Johannes 2:12:
12 Danach ging er mit nach Kapernaum hinab seine Mutter und seine Brüder und seine Jünger, und sie blieben dort einige Tage.
Darüber hinaus fehlt die Erwähnung von Joseph in Szenen, in denen man definitiv erwarten würde, dass Joseph erwähnt wird. Zum Beispiel sagt Jesus in Johannes 19:27 vom Kreuz zum geliebten Jünger: “Siehe, deine Mutter!” Dann wird uns gesagt, dass “der Schüler sie von dieser Stunde an zu sich nach Hause brachte”. Warum sollte Jesus die Fürsorge seiner Mutter eher einem Jünger als seinem eigenen Vater anvertrauen?
In Apostelgeschichte 1: 12-14 lesen wir auch:
12 Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away. 13 And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. 14 All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Again, Joseph is completely absent.
John, however, is clearly aware that Jesus had had a father named Joseph, since Joseph is briefly alluded to in John 1:45 (“We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph”) and John 6:42 (“They said, ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?'”).
Nowhere are we told what happened to Joseph. There is consistent and silent presumption of his death without any positive affirmation of that fact. This suggests that the gospel authors knew more about the circumstances surrounding Jesus’ father Joseph than they explicitly tell us in their accounts. This is a hallmark of truthful reportage which I call the uniformity of expressive silence, a term coined by John James Blunt.
The Approach to Bethany Six Days Before Passover
Carrier’s next example pertains to John’s extraneous detail about Jesus’ approach to Bethany taking place six days prior to Passover (I flesh this out in my article here). He writes,
How does John know the day before the triumphal entry was six days before the Passover? Because he is using Mark as a source and pays close attention to how many days Mark signals as passing in this interval (Historicity, pp. 423-24). This is the exact opposite of an “undesigned” coincidence.
While this explanation is possible, it is wildly implausible for a number of reasons. For one thing, Mark telescopes the narrative in Mark 11, and does not reveal that Jesus’ entrance into Bethany occurred the evening before His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. If you were to read only Mark you might come away with the impression that Jesus entered Bethany and Jerusalem on the same day, but this is contradicted by John, which gives further information (Jesus spent the night in Bethany before entering Jerusalem). Further, Mark 13 does not explicitly state that the olivet discourse took place in the evening, but this is something that may be inferred from the fact that Jesus’ accommodation for the evening was in Bethany (a detail supplied by John but not Mark) and the fact that the mount of olives is midway between Jerusalem (where Jesus had been all day) and Bethany where His accommodation for the evening was. Another fact that argues against Johanine dependence on Mark here is that John appears to place the anointing of Jesus’ feet at Bethany on the Sunday before Passover (John 12:1-8), whereas Mark appears to place it on the Wednesday prior to Passover (Mark 14:1-9), suggesting that either Mark or John (I would lean towards John) made a minor ‘good-faith’ mistake on this point.
Who are Alexander and Rufus?
Is Mark’s Rufus based on Paul’s Rufus? Natürlich nicht. Paul does not link his Rufus to either Cyrene or an Alexander or a Simon. Without that, coincidences of a single name are inevitable and thus require no explanation. Rufus was a common name.
The connection between the Rufus of Mark 15:21 and Romans 16:13 is plausible but not definite. Supporting this connection is the fact that early church tradition maintains that Mark’s gospel was written in Rome and the book of Romans was addressed to the church in Rome. Rufus also was obviously a well known Christian to Mark’s original audience, since he is name-dropped in Mark 15:21 as if Mark’s readers already know who he is and thus do not require an introduction.
Mark 15:21 contains an unexplained allusion, since Mark alludes to the fact that “they compelled a passerby, Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross.” We are not told who Alexander and Rufus are, but since the original audience evidently did, it seems very unlikely that they would have been name dropped like this unless the event Mark was describing was grounded in truth. Forgeries tend to minimize unnecessary details, not name drop persons with no relevance to the story.
The Miraculous Catch of Fish
Carrier presents his final example as the miraculous catch of fish, where John stresses that the net was not torn (John 21:11), recalling a previous episode reported only in Luke (but not in John) where the nets did break (Luke 5:6). Carrier writes,
And McGrew strains to argue that John’s miraculous catch story is not simply a redaction of Luke’s, but ignores everything we know about how redaction operates, despite our having hundreds of examples across ancient literature to learn by. Obviously John is simply rewriting Luke (Historicity, pp. 488, 505), just as Luke’s nativity is rewriting Matthew’s, each exactly as he pleases (Historicity, pp. 472-73).
Of course, Carrier doesn’t actually provide any evidence to indicate that John is redacting Luke’s account. In fact, McGrew actually addresses this hypothesis in chapter 1 of the book. Having listed numerous differences between the account given in Luke and John, McGrew writes,
These details do not fit an hypothesis that John is exaggerating the earlier miracle and thus producing a made-up miracle in his own Gospel. If anything, the fact that the catch of fish in Luke not only broke the nets but also began to sink two boats might mean that the number of fish in Luke is greater than the number in John 21. But given that John 21 also says that they could not haul the catch into the boat because of the quantity of fish (v 6), it is difficult to tell which number is supposed to be greater. This is exactly what we would expect if the events actually took place. One account isn’t copied, magnified, or manipulated from the other. One isn’t meant to look like a greater or lesser miracle than the other. Rather, they are just different — two accounts of two different events that vary in random details as two different, but in some respects similar, events might vary. And John, remembering that earlier catch and mentally noting the contrast, mentions, ‘The net was not torn.’
As he so often does, Carrier has assumed, without demonstration, that differences between gospel accounts must be the result of redaction rather than the gospel authors having independent access to truth.
In summary, Carrier demonstrates he has not read McGrew’s book, Hidden in Plain View (at least not carefully), despite claiming to review the book. This is shown by his utilization of three examples which McGrew explicitly states she has deliberately chosen not to use and in fact gives her reasons for not using them. Carrier also fails to cite any of McGrew’s blog posts where she interacts with many of the points he raises in his article. He also gets various of his facts simply wrong. I expect Carrier’s article to become a ‘go-to’ atheist resource for dealing with undesigned coincidences, since not many scholars have attempted to give a detailed critical appraisal of this type of argument. If this is the best critique of undesigned coincidences, we have grounds for increased confidence in the merits of this style of argument. I hope this article series may be used as a resource for those seeking to reach atheists with the evidences for the gospel, as they utilize the argument from undesigned coincidences.
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