Geesh… even Fox News can destroy the mythicists arguments

To analyze earthquake activity in the region, geologist Jefferson Williams of Supersonic Geophysical and colleagues Markus Schwab and Achim Brauer of the German Research Center for Geosciences studied three cores from the beach of the Ein Gedi Spa adjacent to the Dead Sea.

Varves, which are annual layers of deposition in the sediments, reveal that at least two major earthquakes affected the core: a widespread earthquake in 31 B.C. and an early first century seismic event that happened sometime between 26 A.D. and 36 A.D.

Bible-era earthquake reveals year of Jesus’ crucifixion | Fox News.


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14 Replies to “Geesh… even Fox News can destroy the mythicists arguments”

  1. You mean there really was an earthquake in Bithynia in the first century AD – the one already mentioned by Richard Carrier when he wrote about it in 1999, a mere 13 years ago?

    1. Oh dear…. No, Steve. This one actually can be pinpointed closer to date and geographical location.

      Honestly, you guys are a hoot. So Carrier self-publishes 13 years ago (you know, along such outstanding authors like those guys who believe the world really is flat) and he is more believable than all of human history, science, and anthropology?


      Someone has a messiah complex.

      Speaking of fiction, have you guys read Carrier’s latest book?

      1. Hi Joel, We can only apologise if Richard recorded 13 years ago the fact that there was an earthquake.

        What can you do? Recording facts, sheesh… No wonder you are so upset.

        1. Steve, you realize that earthquakes were recorded for a very long time, right? Umm…

          Oh, that’s right. Dick has a monopoly on facts. Everyone else is just fiction.

          And, again… wrong geographical location. But, keep trying. Even monkeys are able to fling enough poo to get something to stick.

  2. So someone incorporated an actual natural event in a work of fiction? Because, no one has ever done that before…

  3. Joel,

    I’m not a mythicist, but the evidence for earthquake activity along the Jordan Valley is long (stretching as far back as the 7th millennium BC, and one must not forget about references in the OT to God “shaking the earth.” Even today earthquakes occur in Israel). As geologists point out, the Dead Sea Rift is not a small one. Google: earthquakes Israel

    Interestingly, Josephus mentions an earthquake in a story involving a high priest in Palestine named “Jesus” the son of Gamalas, and a commander named “Simon,” the son of Cathlas, and includes a line about “amazing concussions and bellowings of the earth, that was in an earthquake. These things were a manifest indication that some destruction was coming upon men, when the system of the world was put into this disorder; and any one would guess that these wonders foreshowed some grand calamities that were coming.” [The Wars of the Jews, Book 4, Chapter 4, Paragraphs 4-5 ]

    The quake Josephus mentions was not an earthquake at Jesus’ death, but does give us an indication of how people viewed earthquakes back then, as foreshadowing human events, and perhaps indicative of the uses that someone like Matthew also might make of them when writing his story about Jesus. Whether an earthquake coincided with the death of the biblical Jesus as perfectly as Matthew depicts it does, is another question.

    Speaking of Matthew’s introduction of an earthquake motif (found in none of the other Gospels) note that the Greek (Septuagint) translation of the book of Ezekiel mentions an “earthquake” accompanying the valley of dry bones resurrection scene. But the Hebrew (Masoretic) text of Ezekiel does not mention an “earthquake” in those passages. Only in the Greek translation of the Hebrew can you find mention of an “earthquake” in that scene, and since the author of Matthew relied on the Greek OT translation (rather than the Hebrew Masoretic text) he may have combined the idea of a mass resurrection with an earthquake in order to add a further “fulfillment” to Jesus’ death from the book of Ezekiel (well, from the Greek translation of the book of Ezekiel, not from the Hebrew text).

    Matthew also happens to be the only NT author who mentions a mass resurrection accompanying Jesus’ death. He is also the only NT author to mention guards being terrified two times, once at the sight of the opening of tombs and mass resurrection when Jesus died, and once more then other guards were terrified a day and a half later at the sight of an angel descending from heaven and moving the stone in front of Jesus’ tomb and sitting on top of it. (None of the other Gospels mention a single earthquake, nor that the tomb was sealed and guarded, nor do they mention an angel coming down from heaven and sitting on the rock outside the tomb.) And both of those Matthean resurrection tales, viz., the opening of many tombs, and the opening of Jesus’ tomb, are preceded by an earthquake. But none of the other Gospels mention a single earthquake, let alone two of them as in Matthew.

    Speaking of other earthquakes in the ancient world.

    Philostratus (AD 170–244/249) records in the life of Apollonius that earthquakes occurred in Crete during the reign of Claudius. He also records earthquakes during the time period in Chios, Miletus, Samos and Smyrna.

    Tacitus mentions earthquakes in Laodicea and Rome during the reign of Nero in addition to Colosse and Hierapolis. Tacitus, The Annals, Book 12 and 14, written in approximately AD 109.

    The Roman philosopher Seneca (3 BC–AD 65) records an earthquake at Campania.

    Suetonius (AD 75–160) records an earthquake in Rome during the reign of Galba (AD 68–69).

    1. First, that’s why the LXX rocks.

      Second, the point of this article was to suggest that both mythicists and literalists treat the text the same.

      1. I don’t know what you mean by “rocks.” It shows me how desperately Gospel authors wished to prove Jesus had “fulfilled” OT “prophecies.”

        After peering at so many desperate pesher like and midrashic like interpretations of OT passages (or even half-passages lifted from the OT) I grew disillusioned concerning just how “marvelous” such “prophecy fulfillments” were.

        One highly awarded scholar at Harvard was likewise disillusioned after such a study, in the 1800s, George Bethune English (1787?-1828). He graduated from Harvard College in 1807, and received the highest academic award, the Bowdoin Prize for his dissertation, and was awarded a Masters in theology in 1811. During his theological studies at Harvard he began to doubt the truth of the Christian religion which he critiqued in a book titled, The Grounds of Christianity Examined (Boston, 1813) [FREE ONLINE] English’s book drew a great deal of attention at the time. One reader commented that his work would ‘pass like wild-fire through the country,’ On November 4, 1814, the Church of Christ in Cambridge excommunicated him for this work.

        What would make a nineteenth-century Harvard Divinity School graduate turn his back on his deeply held religious beliefs and write an incisive attack on Christianity? An obscure sixteenth-century polemic called the Chizzuk Emunah, written by a scholar from a heretical Jewish group, forever changed George Bethune English’s life. Formerly a Congregationalist minister, Bethune English had rejected challenges to his faith until he discovered Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki’s book, which led him to write:

        ‘Either the Old Testament contains a Revelation from God, or it does not.’

        From this he concluded that if the Old Testament were true, Christians were distorting the divine revelation. If it were false, then there could be no basis for their faith.

        The result of his newfound beliefs was “The Grounds of Christianity Examined,” a widely circulated critique of Christianity addressed to an extremely religious America. Aware of the hostile response that he could expect, Bethune English not only argued his case against Christianity, but also his right to argue his case.

        1. The LXX is preferred to the Hebrew = rocks

          Ed, you are approaching the prophecies bit from an Evangelical stance which is not historic. The problem is, is that no one was attempting to suggesting that Jesus fulfilled any prophecies.

          TO suggest so shows why and how people can lose sight of the critical issues of the Texts.

          1. The LXX in Ezekiel of “earthquake” is preferred over the Hebrew? But not in modern day translations of that portion of Ezekiel, is it?

            Your view that “no one was suggesting Jesus fulfilled any prophecies” needs to be clarified for me to understand what you’re talking about concerning each such “prophecy” mentioned throughout Matthew that he says was “fulfilled” in some fashion. I’m open to learning more about this view your proposing, but I honestly don’t know what you’re talking about unless you are proposing a far vaguer understanding of prophecy and fulfillment than I’ve yet heard scholars propose. All I’ve heard is that the NT authors were making some of the loosest connections possible between OT texts and the first coming of Jesus, connections that no scholar in his right mind would make today who knew basic principles of exegesis (but Evangelicals claim it was O.K. for the gospel authors to make since they were “inspired”).

          2. Second, isn’t your claim that “no fulfilled prophecies are suggested” in Matthew a similar tactic to Walton’s claim that the description of creation in Genesis 1 is “purely functional,” having no connection at all with how the ancient might have assumed the cosmos was shaped? Such exegetical opinions appear to remain unproven and in dispute. And the trajectory of Matthew as a developer of Mark’s story is something we both agree upon, and that alone is enough reason for me to disdain such works as being any more “inspired” than the works of rival novelists building on one another’s stories for greater effect. I’m not spiritually moved by such “theological imagination” at work. I might as well watch the new season of Dr. Who.

          3. I think Walton has a made a pretty good case for his views on Genesis 1, and the more so with his second book.

            Let’s leave ‘inspired’ by the Evangelical way-side. What do you think the author of 2 Tim 3.16 meant by inspired?

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