Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why One But Not The Other?

From Alt.Bible.Errancy discussion list, 6-2-98:

Bill, I'd like to see your reaction to this. On my Errancy list, 
have tried to get biblicists to explain why they don't accept 
such miraculous claims as those that the Roman historians 
Tacitus and Suetonius made but do accept very similar claims 
that are made in the NT. Some are trying to defend that old 
inerrantist legend that Sir William Ramsay was a biblical 
skeptic until he studied the writings of Luke and found him 
to be a first-rate historian. Their argument is that if Luke 
was accurate in reporting ordinary information like the 
names of people and places known to have existed, 
topographical information, social customs, etc., then that 
is sufficient to believe that he was also accurate in reporting 
extraordinary events, even though none of them has ever 
been independently corroborated. I have cited the examples 
of Tacitus and Suetonius, who both claimed that the emperor 
Vespasian healed a blind man by putting saliva on his eyes 
and a man with a crippled arm by just touching him, both 
of which fabulous claims are very similar to miracles that 
the NT attributed to Jesus. Since Tacitus and Suetonius 
were obviously accurate in much of the ordinary information 
they reported, such as the names of Roman leaders, battles 
that were fought, and such like, why would not the same 
logic that biblicists apply to Luke also apply to Tacitus 
and Suetonius? They both claimed that the miracles 
that Vespasian performed were witnessed by many 
people, and Tacitus said that the men had been sent 
to Vespasian by the god Serapis. I have asked biblicists 
to address this matter, and the only one who has is 
tiptoeing through the tulips but not really explaining 
why he is willing to trust Luke but not Tacitus and 
Suetonius. Maybe Bill S won't mind addressing this 

Farrell Till

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