Adelaide Chapter

Early New Testament Manuscripts by Kevin Rogers, Director Reasonable Faith Adelaide

January 2, 2017

Papyrus P52

Introduction

The New Testament (NT) manuscripts are defined as those manuscripts that are still extant that were copied manually prior to the invention of the printing press. This article gives an overview of the New Testament manuscripts. It is a summary of a talk that is view-able on YouTube.

This article covers:

  • Writing Forms,
  • New Testament Papyri,
  • Highly Significant Papyri,
  • The great uncial codices,
  • Criticisms of the manuscript record, and
  • The significance of the NT manuscripts.

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AUSTRALIAN SPIRITUALITY: OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES

March 1, 2016

 

This is a summary of David Turnbull’s presentation on Australian Spirituality on the 25th February 2016. A video of his presentation will be available from our You Tube site.

David Turnbull

David Turnbull

My personal cross-cultural journey over five decades has established my belief that evangelism and apologetics are influenced by the context and require a cross-cultural communication framework.  The goal is twofold –

  1. Reduce the noise that prevents the hearing of the message, and
  2. Present the message in a manner (verbal and non-verbal) that enables the audience/hearers/respondents to decode what was encoded rather than block the message through the heavy use of filters.

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The History of Religious Intolerance

November 5, 2015

The nature of religious intolerance in the early modern Era

By Matt Gray

On the 10th of September Matt Gray spoke to our Reasonable Faith group on ‘the nature of religious intolerance in the early modern era’ and the proposition that enlightenment secularism ushered in a greater level of tolerance in early modern Europe.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

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The Resurrection

September 6, 2015

The Resurrection

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1601-1602)

“The Incredulity of Saint Thomas” by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio (1601-1602)

 

“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us.” 1 John 1:1-2

This is a summary of Steve White’s presentation on an argument for the resurrection on the 27th August 2015. (more…)

The Dating of the New Testament Documents

January 29, 2015

On the 18th of September Dr. Stephen Spence, professor of New Testament studies and theology at Tabor College, spoke at Reasonable Faith Adelaide about the nature of the oral tradition that is behind the New Testament and about how we can date when the New Testament documents were written.

Dr Stephen Spence

Dr Stephen Spence

This is a brief summary of his talk. A video of his talk and the subsequent discussion is available on You Tube.

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Faith and Reality

January 4, 2015

On the 27th of November Brian Schroeder provided a presentation on Faith and reality.

Brian Schroeder

Brian Schroeder

He covered the following issues:

  • Is faith believing without evidence?
  • What is the nature of faith?
  • Is faith reasonable?
  • What should we put our faith in?

A You Tube recording of the meeting is available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ff59zUuSCUs  and Brian’s summary of his talk is provided in Faith and Reality Summary.

Do we have Free Will?

November 29, 2014

Do we have Free Will?

Most naturalists or atheists believe that the mind is totally the result of the physical operation of the brain. If this is true, then all of our thoughts, emotions and choices are due to the physical movements of atoms and molecules within the brain and are ultimately solely due to the laws of physics. It then it seems to strongly imply that all our thoughts and choices are determined by the motion of particles within the brain and that our perception that we have free will is an illusion. (more…)

Flood Geology

September 28, 2014

“Flood Geology”

presentation by Ray Lakeman

Ray addressed a Reasonable Faith Adelaide (South Australia) meeting on the 14th of June 2014 with a Young Earth Creation view of the Biblical Deluge.  A “Flood Geology” video of the talk is on YouTube: The talk is 1 hour, and the group discussion is 50 minutes.  Some people have posted comments on YouTube.  See the video here:

www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeiCthuDOQw

or check all videos from “ReasonableFaithSA” here:

www.youtube.com/user/ReasonableFaithSA

Reasonable Faith Adelaide neither supports nor opposes a Young Earth Creation view, and encourages healthy and respectful argument. You can receive the RFA email by signing up on our website. (more…)

Is the Old Testament Reliable?

August 3, 2014

Is the Old Testament Reliable?

This is a summary of the presentation given by Steve White to Reasonable Faith Adelaide on the 24th of July 2014.

Steve White

Steve White

1.     Introduction

This is a summary of the presentation by Stephen White on “The Reliability of the Old Testament” given to Reasonable Faith Adelaide on the 24th of July 2014.

Since the Adelaide Chapter commenced meeting about two years ago much of its debate and arguments have been about the reliability of the 27 books we know as the New Testament (NT), which are the specifically Christian writings of the Bible. However, for many Christians, the NT is just a progression of God’s revelation that commences at Genesis Chapter 1 and continues through the 39 Bible books we know as the Old Testament (OT). Is there evidence to support for reliability of the OT?

As a starting point the 39 OT books accepted in the English Protestant Bible are those defined in Jesus statement at the end of Luke (Ch 24 v 44): ‘These are the words which I spoke unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me’:

This grouping of the OT books was as follows:

  1. The Law of Moses (Jewish Torah): Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
  2. The Prophets (Jewish Nebi’im): Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Joshua, Judges, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings and the 12 minor prophets
  3. The Psalms (named after the first major book of the group) also known as the Writings (Jewish Kethubim):
    1. Psalms, Proverbs, and Job
    2. Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and Esther
    3. Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, and 1 and 2 Chronicles

Other Jewish writings of that time largely confirm this list of books as being the accepted Holy texts.

The following presentation focuses on a sample of the books found in the OT, especially the early chapters of Genesis whose reliability is most often questioned. Evidence for the Flood account of Genesis 6-9 has been covered by Ray Lakeman previously and will not be presented here.

2.     Evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls

In November 1946 an Arab shepherd boy threw a rock into a cave while searching for his flock at Qumran on cliffs above the Dead Sea – he heard jars smash and discovered the Dead Sea scrolls. Scrolls continued to be discovered in the same area until 1956.

A Qumram Site

A Qumram Site

The scrolls (972 documents) are believed to be buried by the Jewish Essene sect and can be dated from 400 BC to 135AD based on the style of writing and the coins found with them. The documents contain all books of our OT except for Esther (the only book not to mention God) as well as other books and Essene communal rules. At that time all Hebrew was written in consonants only.

Prior to 1946 the oldest Jewish OT was dated about 980 AD in the Masoretic Text (MT) which is still used as the basis for the English Bible OT translation. The MT style of copying the OT books added vowels after about 600AD and also marks to assist copy accuracy. Some 60% of the OT Dead Sea scrolls can be easily correlated with the MT used for our Bible OT, especially the Law of Moses and some of the prophets, such as Isaiah. Another 20% are in a Qumran specific style based on MT, with 5% from the Greek OT translation and another 5% with the Samaritan OT. So now we can compare our OT to sources from over 2200 years ago. This has verified that the MT maintained a remarkable accuracy over that time.

Qumran Isaiah

The Qumran scroll of Isaiah is a 95% match to the MT used for our OT translation of Isaiah. The other 5% is largely spelling differences. Of the 166 Hebrew words in Isaiah 53, the great a prophetic chapter of God’ servant suffering for others sins, only 17 letters differ from that used for our English translation.

The Isaiah Scroll

The Isaiah Scroll

The Quality Assurance process of OT reproduction was highly effective in preserving the meaning of Isaiah passed down to us 2200 years after the Qumran scrolls and probably – by the demonstrated process in use – for a further 500 years to Isaiah’s original writing.

Qumran Daniel

Apart from Genesis, Daniel is probably the OT book whose purported 6th BC date of composition is most under attack. This is because of Daniel’s accurate prediction of Persian and Greek history to succeed that of Babylon with inference of one more world power before God’s anointed Messiah. The book also predicts the Messiah would appear 483 years after the order to rebuild Jerusalem – subsequently made by the Persian King Artaxerxes in 445 BC. Sceptics maintain it must have been written about 165 BC because of its many accurate predictions of rivalry between the Greek kingdoms in Syria and Egypt that affected Judah culminating in the Maccabean revolt against Antiochus IV (ruler of the Seleucid Empire from 175 – 164 BC).

The Qumran writings show that by about 200 BC the book of Daniel was accorded the same reverence as other OT books and could hardly have been written at that time.

Internal Historic Evidence from Daniel Chapter 5

Chapter 5 of Daniel narrates the last feast of Belshazzar King of Babylon when he saw ‘the writing on the wall’ and offered the third place in the Kingdom to whoever could declare its meaning. This accurately reflects that Belshazzar was made co-regent with his father Nabonidus, and could only offer the third ranking place in the kingdom. This is a detail that was unlikely to be known in Judah after centuries of Persian and Greek rule. Records of Belshazzar and his co-regency were not known in recent times until the Nabonidus Cylinder was discovered in 1853.

3.     Dating of the Sinai Covenant and its Renewals

The Covenant given to Moses on Mount Sinai (Exodus 20 through Leviticus) has the structure of treaty between a sovereign and his vassals or subjects. Such treaties are known from other civilisations through history and can be compared with that in Exodus, Leviticus and its renewal in Deuteronomy and finally at the end of the book of Joshua after the people of Israel enter their promised land. The structure of the Covenant matches that of a Hittite treaty of 1400-1200 BC and not that of Aramean or Assyrian treaties 900-650 BC, indicating a date of the events and composition of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy and Joshua parallel with Hittite treaties.

4.     External Evidence for Genesis Chapters 10-11

Customs match the era

Genesis 11-24 record the following customs that break the Law of Moses yet match those recorded for the Mitani Kingdom 1500-1350BC, indicating composition that is faithful to historic accuracy rather than being consistent with Jewish law:

    1. Abram marries his half-sister Sarai
    2. Sarai gives her maid to Abram to bear a child
    3. Abram’s servant was his heir until he has a son.

Names match the area

Genesis Chapter 11 verses 20-26 list Abrams ancestors whose names can be matched to names of towns in the area of Haran in south-east Turkey:

  1. Great Grandfather Serug to modern town of Suruc as well as Assyrian texts.
  2. Grandfather Nahor to Assyrian and Mari texts of a town matching that name.
  3. Father Terah to Til Turahi (mound of Terah) mentioned in 9thC Assyrian text.

The Ziggurat of Babel matches archaeology

Genesis 11 verses 1-8 describe the Tower of Babel made from brick, tar and mortar common in Mesopotamia instead of stone used in Canaan.

Verse 4 describes Babel as ’a tower that reaches to heaven’, similar to titles of other Ziggurats found in the area e.g. Ziggurat at Larsa – The House of the Link between Heaven and Earth.

Shem’s generations timeline match known population growth

Genesis 11 verses 10-26 list nine generations from Shem, son of Noah, to Abram including the ages of the father when each son was born. This amounts to 350 years from birth of Shem’s son Arphaxad, two years after the Flood to birth of Abram at about 2000BC.

The world’s population was approximately 600 million in the year 1650 and increased to about 2,400 million by 1950. This means that it would have doubled twice in 300 years, or doubling every 150 years,

According to Genesis 6-11 only Noah and his family—eight in total—survived the deluge about 4300 years ago. That population has to double 29½ times to get the current world’s population of ~7,000 million, at an average doubling rate of once every 152 years.

Shem’s generations timeline match DNA evidence

The spread of population from the Tower of Babel about 4200 years ago is consistent with latest Genome dating of Australian aborigines (as far as the evolutionary paradigm will allow):

Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, reported “evidence of substantial gene flow between Indian populations and Australia about 4,000 years ago”.  They analysed genetic variation from across the genome from Australian Aborigines, New Guineans, Southeast Asians and Indians. “Long before Europeans settled in Australia humans had migrated from the Indian subcontinent to Australia and mixed with Australian Aborigines,” according to the study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. It found “substantial gene flow from India to Australia 4,230 years ago ie… well before European contact,” it said. Reference:  cosmosmagazine.com/news/ indians-broke-australian-isolation-4000-years-ago-study. 15 Jan 2013.

Ancient Greek history of foundation of Babylon matches Shem’s generations timeline

Babylon was founded 1903 years prior to its conquest by Alexander in 331BC according to Simplicius work De Caelo (Latin: About the Heavens), from work by Aristotle: ‘Astronomical observations made by Babylonians were taken to Greece by Callisthenes at Aristotle’s request’.

Historic accuracy in Genesis Chapter 10

Chapter 10 lists Noah’s descendants such as Mizraim (Egypt in Greek), Ashkenaz, Eber (Hebrew), Javan (name for Greeks elsewhere in OT) and Asshur population groups still identifiable today.

Chapter 10 lists Shinar (Sumer) and city states Erech and Akkad whose ruins and language have been reconfirmed by archaeology in the last 150 years as well as Babylon and Nineveh which have been known throughout history.

5.     External Evidence for Genesis Chapters 4-5

Sumerian King List

The Sumerian King List is an ancient record (circa 1800 BC) of the kings of Sumer and Akkad, originating in the late 3rdM during the reign of Utu-hegal king of Uruk (Erech in Genesis 10).

Its preamble begins with: ‘when the kingship was lowered from heaven’. It goes on to list the succession of kings, the length of their reigns and city which they ruled. The King List lists an early group of kings who lived extraordinary long lives – like Genesis 5. After a great flood the subsequent kings lived shorter but still very long lives – like Genesis 11.

Figure Sumerian King List

Wikipedia.org comments on the King List:

  1. The King List seems to have had a ‘profound influence’ upon both the Hellenistic Greeks and upon the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Bible.
  2. For example William Hallo has demonstrated that there is a similarity between the Cainite Genealogy (Genesis 4), and the Sethite Genealogy (Genesis 5), with the duplication of names (Enosh and Enoch, Jared and Irad, Methusaleh and Methushael, Lamech and Lamech), being inspired from the seven generations of pre-diluvian kings in the King List.
  3. Uanna-Adapa appears in Borosus (Greek era Babylonian author of History of Babylon) as Oannes, and in the Bible as Adam.
  4. Exaggerated lifespans of the Sumerian King List.. seems to have been an artefact of the conversion from an early numerical system based upon 360 to a base 10 system for enumerating years.

6.     External Support for Genesis 1 Creation Account

According to Dr Clifford Wilson in The Stones Still Shout p12 – A creation tablet found at Ebla in Syria dated circa 2200 BC  ascribes the works of creation to one great being, ‘Lugal’, literally ‘the Great One’ who brought creation into being from nothing.

Whereas the later creation account Enuma Elish (‘When Above’) are Assyrian copies of earlier Babylonian creation story collected by Assyrian King Ashur-bani-pal about 700-626B.  Earth was created by the God Apsu (freshwater ocean) and Tiamat (saltwater ocean).  They then created other god’s but these displeased Apsu, and he decided to kill them all. Ea another god heard this and killed Apsu. Marduk patron god of Babylon was then born. Soon other monster gods were created.

Thus the Genesis 1 account of creation matches that of the simpler earliest account rather than the fantastic account recorded from early Babylonian records in Assyria.

Conclusion

The Qumram scrolls demonstrate that the transmission of the OT text has been reliable since 400 BC. It seems reasonable to extrapolate this back to the times of their authorship, but this does not prove that the original accounts are historically accurate. There is currently no explicit external evidence for the events of the Bible prior to Kind David (about 1000 BC). This is mainly due to the fact that the evidence fades out the further we go back. However, there is a significant amount of circumstantial evidence that shows that the historical events described in these ancient stories match the habits of their times and are at least plausible.

Starlight, Time and the New Physics

July 2, 2014

Starlight, Time and the New Physics

by John Hartnett

Christians are divided on the issue of evolution and the age of the earth. During the first half of 2014 we have had a number of meetings that cover aspects of this issue and various speakers have been given the opportunity to present their views. Reasonable Faith Adelaide does not currently endorse any particular view. However, we acknowledge that this is an enormous issue that thinking Christians should not ignore.

On the 20th of February, Dr John Hartnett presented a critique of Big Bang Cosmology. That presentation pointed out various problems with the Big Bang Theory. However, John did not provide and alternate view on that night.

On Thursday the 12th of June Dr John Hartnett spoke on “Starlight, Time and the New Physics” in which he described his cosmological model that he claims is consistent with the observed evidence and a Young Earth Creationist view. Although John is an eminent physicist, his talk is understandable by the general public. The talk was very interesting regardless of whether you agree with a Young Earth view. John is a very competent scientist and a good public speaker. There were plenty of beautiful slides of stars and galaxies. He was also very open about assumptions and limitations of his model. The You Tube recording is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW8VJOBF3o0. This is well worth watching. For reference, see Starlight, Time and the New Physics – Power Point Slides.

 

John Hartnett

John Hartnett

 

Associate Professor John Hartnett is one of the world’s leading advocates for Young Earth Creationism in the area of physics and cosmology and also lives in little old Adelaide. John received both his B.Sc. (hons) and PhD with distinction from the School of Physics at the University of Western Australia. He is currently employed as an ARC Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) Fellow at the University of Adelaide, in the Institute of Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and the School of Chemistry and Physics. His research interests include ultra-high stability cryogenic microwave oscillators based on pure sapphire resonators, ultra-stable cryogenic optical cavities and tests of fundamental theories of physics and their cosmological implications. He has an interest in the large scale structure of the universe that shows periodic structure1 and in alternate cosmologies that do require dark matter and dark energy.2 He holds to a biblical creationist worldview and has developed and continues to develop cosmogonies that are faithful to biblical text. He authored “Starlight, Time and the New Physics” and “Dismantling the Big Bang: God’s Universe Rediscovered” (co-authored with Alex Williams). He is the 2010 recipient of the IEEE UFFC Society W.G. Cady award. He has published more than 100 papers in scientific journals and book chapters.

1J.G. Hartnett, K. Hirano, “Galaxy redshift abundance periodicity from Fourier analysis of number counts N(z) using SDSS and 2dF GRS galaxy surveys,” Astrophysics and Space Science,  318, 1 & 2, 13-24, 2008.

2J.G. Hartnett, A valid finite bounded expanding Carmelian universe without dark matter, Int. J. Theoretical Physics, 52 (12): 4360-4366,2013.