The Instigator
Envisage
Con (against)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
annanicole
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points

The Acts of Apostles Was Composed Before 100AD

Do you like this debate?NoYes+4
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 2 votes the winner is...
Envisage
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/8/2015 Category: Religion
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,649 times Debate No: 71298
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (155)
Votes (2)

 

Envisage

Con

I am honoured to have Annanicole as my opponent for this debate. This debate regards the Canonical Book of Acts.[http://en.wikipedia.org...] and composition regards to it's completion in largely it's present form preserved in the ancient manuscripts, ignoring minor changes/copyist errors that may have occurred.

The burden of proof is shared, thus voting must be cast on the perponderance of the evidence presented. Appeals to authority will hold no weight either. Voters are required to give a RFD that contrasts each side's arguments as to why one side won out over the other. The minimum ELO to vote is 2500

Format:
10,000 characters, 72h, 3 rounds
Round 1: Acceptance, Rules, Definitions
Round 2: Opening arguments (no rebuttals)
Round 3: Rebuttals & Arguments
Round 4: Rebuttals & Arguments

Round 5: Rebuttals & conclusion, no new arguments.
annanicole

Pro

This round is basically for acceptance and definitions of terms; therefore, I'll simply provide a little background and a few definitions.

1. Since no one can conclusively "prove" precisely when the manuscript that came to be known as the Book of Acts, or Acts, or Acts of the Apostles, Envisage and I will be dealing in likelihoods and probabilities, i. e. "When was Acts most likely written?"

2. By Acts of Apostles, I mean the fifth book of the New Testament, a book which was most likely originally nameless, but later acquired the name Acts.

3. By "composed", I mean that the entirety of the book, sans interpolations and additions, was terminated in its present general form before AD 100.

Now, I may say that my view actually is that the Book of Acts was terminated in AD 62/63, and I have yet to see an ounce of internal evidence that suggests otherwise. Perhaps Envisage will present such evidence. However, for the purposes of this debate, I need only affirm composition prior to AD 100. Of course, I can line up modern-era "scholars" that will "prove" my contention - provided I get to pick and choose what constitutes a "scholar". I trust that Envisage can do likewise. That is one reason citing scholar's many and varied opinions on the date itself was discouraged. Another reason is that nobody has an adequate definition of "expert" or "scholar". Another is that "scholars" notoriously change with the wind. Views fall in and out of favor, then back in again, then out.

Good luck, and I hope it makes for interesting reading for those who might be interested.
Debate Round No. 1
Envisage

Con

I would like to thank Annanicole for accepting this debate! I will be using the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible for all my Bible quotes. I personally will be advocating for a date within the second half of the second century, ~170-180 AD.

Framework
Much of my affirmation will be an attack on the Gospel of Luke, which is authored prior to Acts, and by the same author. This round will concentrate mostly on external evidence, I will address internal evidence next round where I am sure Con will focus most of her affirmative.

Premise: Common Authorship of Luke & Acts
Both Luke and Acts share explicit parallels in both their opening chapters, the introduction and address, but also Acts explicitly references a pre-ceding work about Jesus:

“In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach, 2 until the day when he was taken up, after he had given commands through the Holy Spirit to the apostles whom he had chosen. 3 He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.” (Luke 1:1-3)

Clearly the introduction paragraph is in reference to something very much like the Gospel itself, moreover there is a shared addressee “Theophilus” which none of the other apocrypha or canonical books & Gospels of the New Testament share. The linguistic & theological agreements between the two are also best explained by shared authorship.[1]

Given this is also the traditional view, I do not expect Con to disagree, I will expand if needed in later rounds. It follows that Acts has historical priority (comes before) over Luke.

Argument From Silence
Our earliest reliable mentions of the Gospel of Luke or Acts are from Irenaeus and Tertullian writing ~180AD, and ~ 208AD respectively. No reliable Luke-exclusive or Acts mentions predate this, which I expect Con will challenge later. Moreover, absolutely no manuscript, parchment or fragment of the Gospel of Luke *or* acts conclusively predates 200AD, with the earliest fragment of Luke we have could possibly date is 175AD, with upper range of 225 AD.[2] Fragments of Acts dating even later still. A picture is added for aesthetic appeal:

While Justin Martyr (writing around ~150AD) and Papias (possibly writing 95-120 AD) both clearly cite the synoptic of Matthew and Mark in their “A dialogue with trypho”

And “Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord” respectively, no Luke exclusive or Acts quotes exist in either.

We essentially would expect citations and references to Luke to be included throughout these works given they cite Matthew and Mark, but none are to be found, whereas the other synoptic are cited. The combined physical and textual absences make for a cumulative argument from silence. If Tiger Woods scored a hold in one last week and one of the golfing magazines (which we would expect to report it given it’s genre) failed to report it, then we have a weak argument from silence, if every single one of the numerous magazines failed to report it then we have a much more compelling case, which is what I am presenting here.

Internal Evidence

Theophilus

Both Gospels are addressed to “Theophilus”:

In the first book, O Theophilus, I have dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach,” – Acts 1:1

it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 4 that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.” – Luke 1:3-4

“most excellent Theophilus” is most naturally referring to someone of power, not an insignificant individual. This is unsurprising given that composing a work like Acts or Luke is a large undertaking, requiring significant time investment, and specific skillset (reading & writing skills were not freely available during 1st-2nd centuries) etc. Thus it would have been an expensive undertaking, too.

The simplest candidate is Theophilus of Antioch (died 181-183 AD), the seventh Bishop of Antioch 169-~183 AD), and thus in an obvious position for the Gospel to be addressed to.[3] Looking at Luke’s two other uses of the “most excellent” title, clearly in both cases these refer to both actual people, and also people of power (Roman officials):

And when he had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying: “Since through you we enjoy much peace, and since by your foresight, most excellent Felix, reforms are being made for this nation,….” Acts 24:2-3

But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational wordsActs 26:25

Marcion Priority

Overview

The Gospel of Marcion is attributed to Marcion, thus is highly unlikely to have been a first century work. IF it can be shown that The Gospel of Marcion has historical priority (came ‘prior’) over Luke then of course Acts (which follows Luke) must also be a second century work.

He Gospel of Luke is essentially the same as the Gospel of Marcion verbatim, thus one most certainly used the other in their construction, the unusual lack of variation indicates that other hypothesis such as a common source, are unlikely.

Priority via. Accretion

The Gospel of Luke contains virtually everything within Marcion, with additional material of its own. The Gospel of Luke most importantly contains the prologue, infancy narrative, John the Baptist material (Luke 1:1-4:15) and an extra five verses onto ending of Marcion (“Witness & The Ascension”) (Luke 24:48-53) and Jesus’ Geneology (3:23-3:38).

Only one verse in 1-4:15 in Luke is attested in Marcion, which is 3:1. To show the order of the below:

GOSPEL OF MARCION

GOSPEL OF LUKE

Dedication to Theophilus (1:1-4)

John the Baptist Foreshadow (1:5-25)

Jesus Birth Foreshadow (1:26-38)

Mary (1:39-56)

The Birth of John the Baptist (1:57-68)

Zechariah's Prophecy (1:67-80)

Jesus Infancy Narrative & Baptism (2:1-52)

Gospel of Marcion begins here:

Marcion (3:1):

In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea. Jesus descended [out of heaven] into Capernaum…”

Luke (3:1)

“In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee…”

Bapsism of Jesus (3:1-22)

Jesus’ Geneology (3:23-3:38)

Temptation of Jesus (4:1-13)

Jesus Opens Minitry (4:14-15)

…Jesus descended into Capernaum, a city in Galilee, and was teaching [in the synagogue] on the Sabbath days.

Luke (4:31)

And he went down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee. And he was teaching them on the Sabbath

Thus, we have two hypothesis, either Marcion removed all these narratives, which necessarily included the geneology, baptism and temptation narratives since he would have been aware of the third chapter. Moreover Marcion would have had to have completely arbitrarily chosen Luke 3:1 to start his Gospel. Alternatively, Luke would have just padded out Marcion with infancy narratives found in the Protevangelium and a geneology.[4] The Geneology is also not found in the other Gospels, indicating it is a Luke-exclusive addition, demonstrating an invention on Luke’s part. There is no reason for Marcion to remove these narratives, especially given that they would have provided additional evidence for his anti-semetic theology. Moreover Marcion is completely ignorant of Acts and any other material. It also makes no sense for Marcion to arbitrarily remove the five verses at the end of Luke, and is much more cleanly explained by Luke wanting to add his own flavour at the end, including his affirmation to God and witness to Jesus.[5]

Longer Verses

In addition to the missing verses, Luke also contains numbers lengthened verses, many more instances than the reverse (36 lengthened, 6 shortened), and the lengthening are both in content and length are more severe than the “shortenings” – 18.85 words per lengthening instance, 7 words per “shortening instance”. It follows by law of accretion that Luke more likely edited Marcion than vice versa, especially given the required “shortenings” of Luke would have cut material irrelevant to his theology, e.g. Marcion 3:19 removes the Jesus healing miracle, although Marcion funny accepts Jesus’ miracles in his theology and in the rest of the text. Luke also has a much more detailed and vivid account of the healing of Jarius’ daughter, with no theological reason for removal (Luke 8:43-45, Marcion 5:41).[5]

Terminus Post Quem

Olivert Discourse

The earliest possible date for the Book of Acts is 70-71 AD. This is due to the references to the Olivert Discourse in Luke 21, from which some of the events (such as the temple destruction) historically date to 70 AD or later.[6] Thus Luke must follow these events, thus IF the Gospel of Luke was composed in the first century, then there is only a 30 year window for it to be so. Note that we have to account for time between the composition of the Gospel of Luke, then Acts.

The Gospel of Luke & Acts are known to possess strong parallels in Josephus’s works “Jewish War” and “Jewish Antiquities”, written 79 & 94 A.D. respectively. Thus, if these parallels are correct, then one used the other as a source, and if Luke used Josephus in “Jewish Antiquities” then that yields a limit of 94 AD.[7]

This also results in the realization that almost every famous person, institution, place or event mentioned in L that can be checked against other sources is also found in Josephus[7]

"More than any other Gospel writer, Luke includes references to the non-Christian world of affairs. Almost every incident of this kind that he mentions turns up somewhere in Josephus' narratives."[7]

Conclusion

  1. 1. Udo Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings, p. 259
  2. 2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  3. 3. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  4. 4. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  5. 5. http://www.marcionite-scripture.info...
  6. 6. http://en.wikipedia.org...
  7. 7. http://infidels.org...
annanicole

Pro

Thanks to my opponent for his opening arguments. I shall critique a few of them and then offer a few statements in support of a pre-A D 100 date. Remember, we are dealing with likelihoods and probabilities, the preponderance of the evidence - not far-fetched and remote possibilities founded on assertion.


Con: "It follows that Acts has historical priority (comes before) over Luke."

Con has evidently confused himself by attributing Acts 1: 1-3 to the Gospel of Luke, then drawing a conclusion based upon what appears to be a typo.


Con: "Our earliest reliable mentions of the Gospel of Luke or Acts are from Irenaeus and Tertullian writing ~180AD, and ~ 208AD respectively. No reliable Luke-exclusive or Acts mentions predate this, which I expect Con will challenge later."

I sure will. Here is what Iranaeus said:

"Luke, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the gospel preached by him." (1)

From whence could Iranaeus have learned this?

"Polycarp was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also by apostles appointed bishop of the church in Smyrna, whom I also met in my youth ... most nobly suffering martyrdom, departing this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles ... " (2)

But Polycarp (69- 155 AD) wrote,

"... our Lord Jesus Christ, who endured to face even death for our sins, whom God raised, having loosed the pangs of Hades ... Him that raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead and gave unto him glory and a throne on His right hand." (3)

Compare:

"... the Christ, that neither was he left unto Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. This Jesus did God raise up ... Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted ... God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2: 32-35)

Is it not most probable that the passage from Polycarp, circa 110 - 140 AD, is a quotation of the second class from the 2nd chapter of Acts?


Con: " 'most excellent Theophilus' is most naturally referring to someone of power ... "

That would be true. However, applying the descriptor "most excellent" to a minister, deacon, or elder is quite a stretch. Such terms as "most excellent" and "most noble" were generally reserved for judges, governors, senators, i. e. political leaders.


Con: " IF it can be shown that The Gospel of Marcion has historical priority (came ‘prior’) over Luke then of course Acts (which follows Luke) must also be a second century work."

Yes, but you cannot come close to showing that. The Gospel of Marcion was condemned as a perversion - called by Tertullian a manipulation and an adulteration - of the Gospel of Luke. (4, 5)

"Certainly that is why he (Marcion) has expunged all the things that oppose his view, ... on the plea that they have been woven in by his partisans; but has retained those that accord with his opinion." (5)


Con: "The Geneology is also not found in the other Gospels, indicating it is a Luke-exclusive addition, demonstrating an invention on Luke’s part."

A genealogy back to Abraham is given in Matthew -and such records were extant prior to the destruction of the temple in AD 70. Many first-century Jews could trace their lineage back to Abraham through several different lines, and the genealogy given in Luke from Abraham back to Adam is easily reconstructed from Genesis. Your own argument turns against you because extensive, closely-guarded genealogical records existed prior to AD 70. Unless Luke totally fabricated the Jewish portion of the genealogy, a post-AD 70 date is impossible.


Con: "There is no reason for Marcion to remove these narratives"

Marcion had every reason to remove a genealogy tracing back to Abraham: Marcion wished to purge Christianity of all things Jewish, and an Abrahamic line of descent is exactly that. He retained his own perverted version of Luke because Luke was closely associated with Paul.


Con: "The earliest possible date for the Book of Acts is 70-71 AD. This is due to the references to the Olivet Discourse in Luke 21."

That would be true if the destruction of Jerusalem were stated as an accomplished fact in Luke - or in Acts, for that matter. To the contrary, the temple is always depicted as still standing and fully functioning in the entire New Testament. Con decided beforehand that no one could have so accurately predicted the fall a decade before the fact, and has constructed an argument based upon his own bias.


Con: "... Luke includes references to the non-Christian world of affairs."

The is not surprising since Luke addressed his gospel account particularly to the Gentiles. That is why he, unlike Matthew, continually explained Palestinian geography and Jewish customs.


Con: "Almost every incident of this kind that he mentions turns up somewhere in Josephus' narratives."

So? The reverse is true, as far as it goes. For all you or I know, Josephus had access to Luke/Acts. Or both Luke and Josephus had access to a common written or oral source or sources. There are also vital differences, even disagreements, between Luke/Acts and Josephus. In fact, these same skeptics point out the discrepancies, throw up their hands, and claim that Luke/Acts is not historically reliable! Where there's a will, there's a way, I suppose. To hear our skeptic friends tell it, Luke was an incompetent third-rate plagiarist on top of being blatantly dishonest: he borrowed from Josephus, but demonstrated an uncanny ability to still get the facts wrong.


Clement of Rome


Paul wrote to the Phillippian church most likely from Rome,

"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers" (Phil 4: 3)

Clement of Rome (d. circa AD 100) commends the Phillippian church saying, in part,

"Ye walked after the ordinances of God", then gives as an example "(ye were) more glad to give than to receive, and content with the provisions which God supplieth." (6)

Whether the Clement of Phil 4: 3 is the same as Clement of Rome, I will not pause to argue; however, I will simply point out that the only NT reference to "It is more blessed to give than to receive" is from the book of Acts (Acts 20: 35), and Clement of Rome refers to the statement as dogma, or ordinance, or decree. (7) Again, is not the most likely scenario that the statement from Clement is a quote of the second class from the book of Acts?

Clement also wrote:

"Show mercy, that ye may obtain mercy; forgive, that it may be forgiven unto you; as ye do, so shall it be done unto you; as ye give, so shall it be given unto you; as ye judge, so shall ye be judged; as ye are kindly affectioned, so shall kindness be showed unto you; with whatsover measure ye measure, with the same shall it be measured unto you." (I Clem 13: 2)

The whole passage may be reproduced from Matthew and Luke, with the exception of "Give, and it shall be given to you" which is found only in Luke. (Luke 6: 38)


Dinner, Movie, and Sex - But Skip the Orgasm


The last few chapters of Acts contain Paul's legal issues and imprisonment:

1. Paul's appeal to Caesar, which broke off his trial before Festus
2. Festus is puzzled concerning what report should accompany the prisoner to Rome
3. Festus consults Agrippa and brings Paul before Agrippa. Paul gives his defense.
4. Voyage to Rome
5. Two years' "imprisonment" in Rome

If Paul's trial before Caesar had taken place when Acts was completed, whether it resulted in acquittal or conviction, it is unaccountable that the book terminates without a word on the subject. It would reflect the omission of the culminating fact to which a long series of events led. My opponent's position is that the book of Acts is about like stopping sex before the orgasm - and on purpose, at that: possible, but inexplicable to normal people. What if an historian published a work on Jodi Arias and worked his way through her childhood, teen-age years, jobs, various courtships, relationship with Travis Alexander, the death of Mr. Alexander, her arrest, her charges, her indictment - then shut the whole production down before the trial and outcome? That is my opponent's position on Acts. It is remotely possible, but highly unlikely.

Some of the defining moments for Christianity in the first century include:

(1) The martyrdom of James the Just in AD 62 (8),
(2) The Neroean persecution in AD 64 (9),
(3) The probable deaths of Peter and Paul in the late 60's (10),
(4) The siege of Jerusalem in AD 66-70, and
(5) The destruction of the temple in AD 70.

Not a one of them is mentioned in the entire NT, including Acts. Why not? If this be merely an argument from silence (a form of argumentation which my opponent apparently endorses), then I'd say it's a pretty compelling one. (His "argument from silence" is that the book of Acts was not called "the book of Acts" before about AD 180. That may be true, but what of it? Nobody is maintaining that the current title - or any title - existed before AD 100.)


"We" and "Us"


The author of Acts claims multiple times to have been a companion of Paul. I counted at least 34 such references beginning at Acts 16: 11 and continuing to Acts 28: 16. The terms "we" and "us" are constantly employed.

"And from thence the brethren, when they heard of us, came to meet us ... and when we entered into Rome, Paul was suffered to abide by himself ..." (Acts 28: 15-16)

Is my opponent's contention that the author was a pretender who fabricated his companionship with Paul? Was the writer truthful? If so, a post-AD 100 date is extremely unlikely, and this "response-to-Marcion" theory is impossible.

1 Against Heresies, Iranaeus, 3: 1
2 Against Heresies, Iranaeus, 262, 263
3 Letter to Phillippians, Polycarp, Lightfoot's Translation, 1: 2, 2: 1
4 Adv. Marc., Tertullian, Book IV, 1, 1
5 Ibid., Book IV, 6, 1-2
6 Epistle to Corinthians, Clement, 1: 3, 2: 1
7 https://www.blueletterbible.org...
8 Antiq., Josephus, 20: 9
9 Annals, Tacitus, 15: 44
10 Hist. Eccl., Eusebius, 2: 25

Debate Round No. 2
Envisage

Con

I thank Con for her opening arguments.

Rules
Annanicole violated the rules of this debate by rebutting in the opening round “Round 2: Opening arguments (no rebuttals)”, however… being a nice guy I will let this slide.


Correction
I did mix up Luke & Acts in 1:1-3, in any case Con and I are not in disagreement here, Luke comes before Acts, and both share common authorship. Thus none of my arguments are affected.


Rebuttals
Con’s positive case comes in two parts:

  1. 1. Internal Evidence regarding the Apostle Paul
  2. 2. External Evidence of Clement of Rome


Internal Evidence regarding Paul
Con’s arguments regarding the internal evidence clearly mandate a pre-70AD hypothesis, otherwise her arguments from silence, and references to Caesar, etc. make absolutely no sense. However, a pre-70AD date is impossible historically if:

  1. 1. Con doesn’t challenge the common authorship and Luke’s historical priority over Acts
  2. 2. Con doesn’t challenge that Luke 21 is an explicit reference to the Olivet Discourse, an event that with virtual historical certainty took place in 70AD

If both of these points are correct, then the only way the author could have written the Olivet discourse is if the chapter was a later addition or the author had some divine foresight. The evidence is against the former, there is nothing to suggest Luke 21 is anything other than original to the Gospel, and the latter is a priori highly unlikely if we assume the principle of uniformity of nature.[http://en.wikipedia.org...] The past is physically like the present, and hence foresight of the sort required for Luke is impossible. Con attempts an ad hominum attack by stating I am biased, but if Con is going to approach this subject honestly, then she must adopt historical methods, which prioritise explanations by their prior likelihood. Thus Con needs to demonstrate that prophecy of this form is a likely explanation before one approaches the evidence, this could be done by showing that prophecies do occur today, and their rate is above the expected noise level. She has spectacularly failed to do this.

Simply put, no such event occurs verifiably today, despite there clearly being many prophetic claims today. I only need to cite the vast number of (failed) doomsday prophecies to make my case to this end.


Thus we have good reason to believe that even if prophecy were possible, it would be an extremely rare & unlikely event since the number of confirmed prophetic claims vastly outweighs the number of “genuine” prophetic claim. Thus on every single route of historical investigation, a pre-70AD date is impossible and thus Con’s entire argument from internal evidence is moot.

So, the question is, which is more likely:

  1. 1. Some form of post-diction which is well-within our background knowledge of possible explanations, and justifiable with theological motivations
  2. 2. Some person had some supernatural foresight into the future, of which no similar occurance can be verified today


To the historian, the answer is obvious


“Dinner, Movie, and Sex - But Skip the Orgasm”
Con’s argument is essentially:

1. If the Book of Acts was written post-100AD, then it would contain further details of Paul
2. It does not contain further details of Paul

C. Therefore the Book of Acts was not written post-100AD


Pro’s arguments for the first premise of this argument are left drastically wanting. She needs to actually affirm why we would expect the author of Acts to include these events. Also she ignores other explanations, for example hypothesis for the Gospel of Mark’s abrupt ending start as simple as a “missing page” in the Gospel. Even assuming the premise it was a historical account yields other explanations, such as Luke simply not knowing that happened to Paul (since he was imprisoned), etc.


Similar mechanisms are easily possible for the Book of Acts, the explanation would be within background knowledge, and wouldn’t need to propose a physically untenable notion of prophecy to remain intellectually consistent.


Con completely skips over these, since she is presupposing the premise that the book was composed virtually in real-time, and if her only argument for it being so are arguments from silence then the weight of my arguments from silence from both external and physical evidence carry much more objective weight.

External Evidence
Attributions of Authorship
Note that even if we accept all of Con’s dubious presuppositions, we are supposed to believe that Iranaeus, writing from 180 AD actually knew who composed these Gospels, when every single verifiable person before them did not cite any author names. Not Justin Martyr, Clement, Polycarp, Papias, NT Writers themselves, not the NT documents themselves with the exception of Paul actually allude to any name.


Thus, we have serious reason to doubt that Iranaeus actually knew who authored several of the documents he claims to know. This on top of the fact that all of the Gospels are internally anonymous third person accounts (something Con values given her “we” and “us” argument), and the fact that four to seven of the Pauline Epistles are unauthentic leaves not much we can agree with Irenaeus on regarding attribution at all.

Furthermore, Luke and Paul, assuming traditional attribution is correct, have inexplicable inconsistencies in their narratives, to quote Britannica:

That an actual companion of Paul writing about his mission journeys could be in so much disagreement with Paul (whose theology is evidenced in his letters) about fundamental issues such as the Law, his apostleship, and his relationship to the Jerusalem church is hardly conceivable”

The Book of Acts portrays Paul as a miracle worker, yet such references are absent from the Pauline letters (e.g. Acts 13:6-12, 14:8-10, 20:7-2 etc.), and most importantly doesn’t reference Paul as an apostle, which is one of Paul’s most important theological positions.[ http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net...]

Establishment of Priority
Moreover, Con does not establish historical priority of 1 Clement over Luke-Acts, thus until he does, this argument is unsound. Does Clement quote Luke-Acts, or does Luke-Acts quote Clement. Do they quote a common derivative source. The same applies to Polycarp, to which the “quoted” passage is less than impressive. How on earth is that supposed to be a convincing quote? The parallel is so vague that it could easily have come for another work, or have come from intermediary sources. Moreover ti doesn’t establish priority even if it is a quote.


Clement of Rome
I will address this in two parts:


1. Traditional Attribution of 1 Clement to Clement
Con gives absolutely no reason to believe that Clement composed this epistle, and her entire argument is unsound until she does so. The epistle is internally anonymous and there is no basis for this attribution assumption, since the internal and external evidence have no specific interpretation. [http://tinyurl.com...]

2. Specificity to Acts
The parallel to Luke also exists within Marcion 6:38 (thus it does not establish a quoted Luke over Marcion), and the Parallel to acts is unimpressive, as it is both short and variant from the “quote”:

“In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:35)

“And ye were all lowly in mind and free from arrogance, y ielding rather than claiming submission, more glad to give than to receive, and content with the provisions which God supplieth.“ (1 Clem 2:1)

Given just 5 of 25 words parallel here, this is a weak quote at best, and certainly does not establish priority in any meaningful sense.

“We” and “us”
The vast bulk of the Book of Acts is not written first person, including portions which portray Luke's presence.[Acts 16:10–17, 20:5–15, 21:1–18, and 27:1–28:16] Thus, it seems much more likely that these are a separate account/writing that was later incorperated, since we would expect much more first-person accounting than is observed. Also, Luke never claims to be an eyewitness to any of the events he purports, and he is explicit in his prologues


"Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word have delivered them to us" (Luke 1:1-2)


Nowhere does he mention in either account that he witnessed anything.

Summary
I will defend/bolster my original case in the following round. So far, half of Con's case is physically impossible, and the other half is based on the flimsiest of evidence.

annanicole

Pro


I want to thank Con for his reply and shall get right into an analysis of it. First of all, I hate to squander 3,000 characters correcting blatant errors, but lest someone be led down the wrong path, I shall do so.



Factual errors



Con: "Con doesn’t challenge that Luke 21 is an explicit reference to the Olivet Discourse, an event that with virtual historical certainty took place in 70AD"



We both can't be "con", but I'll "let that slide." Certainly I will challenge that the Olivet Discourse was "an event that with historical certainty took place in A. D. 70." How in the world would you set about to prove that the Olivet Discourse occurred with "historical certainty" in AD 70? Your fellow atheists/agnostics would love to know.


*****


Con: "The Book of Acts ... most importantly doesn’t reference Paul as an apostle, which is one of Paul’s most important theological positions."



"But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they rent their garments, and sprang forth among the multitude, crying out" (Acts 14: 14)

I'd stay off of that "rejectionofpaschalswager" site. The writer is ignorant and is leading you into making silly claims.


*****



Con: "The Book of Acts portrays Paul as a miracle worker, yet such references are absent from the Pauline letters"


References are absent? Where do you come up with this stuff?

"For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed in the power of signs and wonders by the power of the Spirit of God ... I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ" (Rom 15: 18-19)

"I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all" (I Cor 14: 18)

Pro is again depending upon sources who are woefully ignorant.


*****



Con: "Luke never claims to be an eyewitness to any of the events he purports, and he is explicit in his prologues."


Huh? The prologue to Acts is anything but explicit. There is neither confirmation nor denial of eyewitness accounts in the Acts prologue, but as we read the book we discover that the writer was indeed an eyewitness of many of the later events beginning at about AD 50.


*****


Con: "Nowhere does he mention in either account that he witnessed anything."



Yes he does.

"And when we had come in sight of ( after sighting) Cyprus, leaving it on the left hand, we sailed unto Syria, and landed at Tyre; for there the ship was to unlade her burden. And having found the disciples, we tarried there seven days." (Acts 21: 3, 4)

Here the author of Acts claims to have been sailing with Paul, seeing Cyprus by boat, landing at Tyre, then finding fellow disciples at Tyre. And that's just one instance of many. Surely you are not saying that the author of Acts said, "I didn't witness anything", then flipped and repeatedly indicated the opposite.



Rebuttal



Con: "Con attempts an ad hominum attack by stating I am biased, but if Con is going to approach this subject honestly, then she must adopt historical methods"


LOL You sit there and practically admit bias and complain when someone points it out, then issue a papal bull in which you decree which tools are admissible. Your argument is basically:

1. Luke portrays Jesus as accurately predicting the fall of Jerusalem.
2. "I've decided that such a prediction is impossible."
3. "The 'prophesies' in Luke must be vaticinium ex eventu."
4. "I will date the book of Luke after AD 70 based, in part at least, upon that notion."
5. "Since Acts post-dates Luke, then Acts must have been written post AD 70."

Nobody is going to fall for that - and I had already said,

"Con decided beforehand that no one could have so accurately predicted the fall a decade before the fact, and has constructed an argument based upon his own bias."

All you've done is confirm it. We are not debating the proposition of "Is miraculous prophesy possible?", and your little opinion on that subject is not the gauge by which date ranges are determined. Nor is mine, either, for that matter. If you'd like to debate "Does the Bible contain supernatural prophesy?" sometime, I will be glad to, but for now you can't just petitio principii your way into it. Another thing: Con's edict, "She must adopt historical methods" is just another way of saying, "I can't come up with a decent refutation of the internal evidence because it is all against me, so I'll make a case by denying the miraculous." I can employ the historical-critical method as one tool, and a limited tool at that. I need not limit myself to it, however, just as I do not limit myself to internal evidences.


*****


Con: "Simply put, no such event occurs verifiably today, despite there clearly being many prophetic claims today. I only need to cite the vast number of (failed) doomsday prophecies to make my case to this end."


"Love never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall be done away; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away." (I Cor 13: 8-10)

In the passage, Paul is predicting the end of supernatural knowledge, prophesies, and tongues when that which is complete (referring to the final revealed word of God) has come . We have "that which is complete" today, and con has graciously confirmed that there are no miraculous supernatural gifts, including prophesy, today.


*****


Con: "She needs to actually affirm why we would expect the author of Acts to include these events."


Oh, I did - and Con offers no plausible explanation otherwise. His position is, "She needs to explain why the author of an historical narrative who knew the conclusions of THE major events of the AD 60's - Paul's trial, Neroian persecution and siege/fall of Jerusalem - would bother to mention them." I'm expected to explain why a historian could be expected to include the climactic events of his narrative? That quibble falls under its own weight. I might expect such from Saint Brad or MadCornish, but they are both certifiably crazy. I'm a little surprised by it here.


*****


Con: "Also she ignores other explanations, for example hypothesis for the Gospel of Mark’s abrupt ending start as simple as a “missing page” in the Gospel. Even assuming the premise it was a historical account yields other explanations, such as Luke simply not knowing that happened to Paul (since he was imprisoned), etc."


#1 What other explanations?

#2 There is plenty of manuscript evidence that the last page of Mark was lost. (1) There is ZERO evidence anywhere that a supposed last page of Acts was lost. Con made it up and declared it a very reasonable explanation. Actually, it is far-fetched and unworthy of critical examination.

#3 Is the notion that Luke simply did not "know" that ... (1) James was martyred, (2) Jerusalem was besieged for 3 1/2 years, (3) the temple was destroyed, and (4) Paul was either convicted, acquitted, or martyred ... a reasonable "other explanation"? Con offers this as a reasonable possibility - and it is - if the book was written around AD 64! However, it is far-fetched if a post-AD 100 date is under consideration. Thus, his objection is actually in my favor.


*****


Con: "The epistle (I Clement) is internally anonymous and there is no basis for this attribution assumption, since the internal and external evidence have no specific interpretation."



The book most likely either describes the Neroian persecution of AD 64, or the Dominitian persecution of the AD 90's. It is addressed to the same people who received a letter from Paul, and was without exception attributed to Clement, a leader in the church in Rome.



*****


Con: "Thus, it seems much more likely that these are a separate account/writing that was later incorperated, since we would expect much more first-person accounting than is observed."


Ummmm .... nobody is asserting first-person reporting prior to Acts 16. In the next twelve chapters, however, there are at least THIRTY-FOUR claims of first-person reporting. There is not an iota of any sort of evidence that these narratives were "later incorporated". No internal evidence. No external evidence. Zilch. Con is just winging it, i. e. making it up as he goes.



Affirmative


Luke offered tedious explanations to his Gentile audience when he assumed a lack of contemporary familiarity with certain terms and customs: as a rule, he avoided Jewish terms such as "rabbi" and "scribe", deferring to the Gentile terms and identified familiar Jewish customs:

"According to the custom of the priest's office" (Luke 1: 9)
"Brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law" (Luke 2: 27)
"They went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast" (Luke 2: 42)

Contrast this with the lack of explanation when he assumed a contemporary familiarity with his terminology, even when employing ambiguous and confusing terminology:

"Herod, the king of Judaea" (Luke 1: 5)
"Herod being tetrarch of Galilee" (Luke 3: 1)
"Herod the king" (Acts 12: 1)
"Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat ... the angel of the Lord smote him (Acts 12: 21)
"King Agrippa" (Acts 26: 27)

The point is that Luke offered tedious explanations when he surmised that his intended audience might be confused; however, he offered absolutely no explanation at all when employing very confusing terminology concerning Jewish kings and herods. Why not? The most likely reason is: Luke knew full well that his intended audience, although Gentile, knew who the leaders - the herods or kings - of the Jews were. My opponent must conclude that Luke used terminology that my opponent himself cannot understand without help (nor could I), and that Luke used such confusing terminology 50, 60 or 70 years after the fact when nobody else could understand them either. I guess that is possible, but is it likely?

Thank you, and I await my opponent's response.

(1) Warren-Ballard Debate, National Christian Press, 1953, 104-108. Also see Dean Burgon's book on the subject, "A Vindication of the Last Twelve Verses of Mark."
Debate Round No. 3
Envisage

Con

Thanks Pro.

Preface
I will be defending my positive case in this round, however I will also address a few superficial points of Pro’s.

Positive Case
Address to Theophilus
Note the scale of the work that the Gospel of Luke, and Book of Acts would have required. It would make absolutely no sense to compose such a work (with Acts being a much more original undertaking than the Gospel) and send it to an absolute nobody. The simplest and cleanest explanation is it is addressed to Theophilus of Antioch. Pro makes no attempt to discredit this outside of a bare assertion, especially given I have contrasted two other addresses to “most excellent”, also well-known positions of power.

Furthermore, Theophilus of Antioch would provide a significant amount of explanatory power:

1. Anti-Marcionite theology – which would corroborate Luke’s anti-Marcionite style in Acts, and also added Jewish references/heritage.
2. Theophilus of Antioch didn’t seem to know about Jesus in his early life, writing over 29,000 words with only passing references to (unnamed) Gospels, such as his version of the trinity In like manner also the three days which were before the luminaries, are types of the Trinity, of God, and His Word, and His wisdom. And the fourth is the type of man, who needs light, that so there may be God, the Word, wisdom, man. Wherefore also on the fourth day the lights were made.” [1]

Marcion Priority
Just to clarify for readers, Luke predates Acts, thus if Marcion predates (has historical priority over) Luke, then it also has priority over acts. Pro has not challenged my argument that the Gospel of Marcion (Gospel of the LORD) is a late composition, hence I only need to defend Marcionion priority to negate.

Pro’s only defence to this largely comes from assertions from Tertullian, however Tertullian’s line of reasoning is found with him performing textual criticism on the two texts, the work of which si extant today in his five works against Marcionism, which is inherently polemic.[2] IF we accept the position that the Gospel of Luke was written early and Marcion was written ~120-130AD, then Tertullian is writing of events he is many decades removed from being contemporary (he was born in 160AD), thus he is unlikely to have reliable second hand evidence. His first hand evidence from his textual criticism I have argued against at length in my opening.

Other Marcion Omissions
Another major omission is the “Parable of the Tenets” (Luke 20:9-20), to which is anti-semetic, especially in Luke 20:19 where the parable in all three synoptics are clearly against Jewish leaders. If Marcion came after Luke it would be absurd to think he would omit this passage, as it directly supports his theology.

Geneology
Pro’s positive argument for existence of Jewish records prove nothing, since they presuppose that the Gospels were complete honest historical documents. A position that Pro has both not supported, and is flat out falsified by the level of disagreement within the synoptics. Details were changed left right and centre, apparently largely for theological reasons. Thus a complete fabrication isn’t particularly surprising (much like virtually all pseudoepigraph literature).[3]

Argument From Silence
Pro has completely dropped these do far. Note that most of pro’s positive arguments are themselves arguments from silence. I admitted outright that arguments from silence are problematic, however I gave reasons to believe why my argument from silence is unusually strong. Pro’s argument from silence however is spectacularly lacking in the reasoning for:

1. Why we would strongly expect the omitted material to be included
2. Any abductive assessment of the early hypothesis

All of Pro’s arguments for #1 have been implicit, and rather spectacularly underwhelming. I gave a few examples off the top of my head, which are simple in nature as to why a writing would omit those portions, including the very basic “no reason to include that material for the purpose of the composition”. Even sheer laziness, or the death of the uthor would make for an explanation orders of magnitude more plausible than what would otherwise entail “a real prophecy occurred”. Thus Pro also drops point #2, it’s abductively absurd.

Luke & Josephus
Pro seems to advocate for Lukan priority over Josephus, moreover the disagreements are likely born of theological motivations. Josephus simply does not have this level of motivation in his works, given they are of a historical nature, thus it doesn’t make sense for Josephus to cite Luke-Acts, which is a clearly a theological composition (especially given Josephus is himself Jewish). Furthermore IF Josephus had access to Luke-Acts, then we would expect at least some references to Jesus/Christ, even in passing/informative. However no such passage authentically exists in Josephus.
Moreover, the quantity of parallels rules a common source unlikely, no such source is extant today either, and Josephus’ works were clearly prominent after publication. Furthermore, other parallels make no sense if Josephus used Luke as a source, for example the parallel of “The Boy Jesus at the Temple” Luke 2:42 is a parallel with Josephus’ own childhood story:

“And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to customAfter three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answer” (Luke 2:42)

“Moreover, when I was a child, and about fourteen years of age, I was commended by all for the love I had to learning; on which account the high priests and principal men of the city came then frequently to me together, in order to know my opinion about the accurate understanding of points of the law.”(Josephus' Life 1.2 8)

Why on earth would Josephus base his own childhood story on a shared source, or Luke…

Negative Case
Plenty of space left, so will address Pro’s previous round.

Factual errors
Olivet Discourse
The events of the Olivert discourse foreshadow the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem. This was a misnomer rather than an error. In either case, it’s an event which depicts future events, thus by far the most likely explanation is that it is composed after these future events. (Expanding on this later)

Apostleship
Pro makes a valid point that there is one, exactly one allusion to the apostleship of Paul, but in doing do completely ignores this is literally the only reference in the entire text. Paul is always referred to as “brother” by other apostles, moreover the book itself sets the criterea for apostleship, and Paul fails every single one of them.

“So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.”(Acts 21-25)

Paul the non-miracle worker

I have read these passages dozens of times, and I have yet to find a miracle in them. Maybe my eyes are fuzzy, or maybe Pro is seeing things.

Paul vs Acts
Pro depicts the author as a travelling companion of Paul. However if this is true, then how is it possible the Paul knows virtully nothing of Jesus' life as a human. Jesus is entirely revelatory to Paul in his epistles.[8]

Historical Method
IF Pro is not using a historical method to make her inferences, then she would be best served to actually provide her heuristic framework by which she determines the most likely explanation of facts. The historical method is a form of abductive reasoning, or inference to the best explanation, thus if Pro does not adopt this method, which has highly successful in virtually any fields of enquiry, including philosophy, diagnosis and not in the very least, the scientific method!

Any set of facts can have multiple explanations, thus we must implement techniques from sorting the most likely explanations from the least likely explanations. In the historical method, and abductive reasoning, we have three general principles, the plausibility condition, the causality condition, and the inference condition.[5]

Pro however violates the plausibility condition on an extreme level, and simply does not address any of my philosophical points regarding this. It is beyond what we have experience with, it violates the principle of uniformity of nature, and it is a non-simple explanation. All three are preferred by explanations within our already accessible explanatory set that puts the terminus ad quo past 70AD.

Thus, if Pro is going to grossly violate these principles, then she better have some exceptionally high standards of evidence fulfilled in order to do so justifiably. Unfortunately these standards of evidence are simply inaccessible from this type of enquiry, and likely require modern instruments and data recording.

Furthermore, Pro’s position becomes self-defeating if she must reject the uniformity of nature principle, since virtually all of our inferences about the past where this principle no longer held are unsound, and are in the realm of complete speculation. Without the assumption that the past is physically like the present we cannot do history.[6]

Luke’s “tedious” explanations
I struggle to see a coherent argument from Pro here. Moreover her entire argument is based on a subjective assumption of what “contempory familiarity” entails. Given Luke clearly used older sources (at the very least other synoptic Gospels, and I argue, Marcion, Josephus and James), I hardly see the challenge this issues.

References
1. Apologia ad Autolycum Book 2 Chapter 15
2. Adversus Marcionem
3. http://tinyurl.com...
4. http://plato.stanford.edu...
5. http://faculty.arts.ubc.ca...
6. http://tinyurl.com...
7. http://tinyurl.com...

annanicole

Pro

Con: "Pro has completely dropped these (internal evidences) so far."

Pro dropped a lot of stuff, and regrettably so, to correct blatant factual errors. Every point I made concerning internal evidences still stands, and Con's responses are mostly poor guesses.


THE INTERNAL EVIDENCE OF ACTS







Now that sums it up pretty well.




Con: "Even sheer laziness, or the death of the author would make for an explanation"


The author of Luke/Acts was ... ummm ... lazy? He just reached the climactic scenes and decided to quit! Con offers that as a plausible explanation. It is actually unworthy of critique. Another one is "death of the author". But Luke reportedly died in at age 84 in Boetia, which places his death closer to the AD 90's - not AD 64. (5) These are splattershot guesses by Con.






More Factual Errors, Deja Vous All Over Again





Con: "The vast bulk of the Book of Acts is not written first person, including portions which portray Luke's presence. (Acts 16:10–17, 20:5–15, 21:1–18, and 27:1–28:16)"



SIghs. Con cites dozens of passages (above) in which the author employs the word "we" and "us", then proclaims that they are not "written first person". Other than attaching a link to a basic grammar book, I'm not sure how to answer that.



*****



Con: " (In) A Dialogue with Trypho" and “Exposition of the Sayings of the Lord” respectively, no Luke exclusive or Acts quotes exist in either.



"...in the Memoirs which, as I have said, were drawn up by the apostles and their followers, it is recorded that sweat fell like drops of blood while He (Jesus) was praying, and saying, 'If it be possible, let this cup pass'." (Dial with Trypho, 103: 8)

"And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground." (Luke 22: 44)

That's a "Luke-exclusive" quote in AD 150 or so - and if not, will Con please advice us as to its source? Surely Con will not claim that Justin quoted from the Gospel of Marcion.



*****


Con: "Moreover the book itself sets the criterea for apostleship, and Paul fails every single one of them"



Acts 1 sets the criteria for apostleship among the original Twelve at that point in time (before the establishment of the church) - not for all time. Then Acts refers to Paul as an apostle. How much plainer can it get? You seek to force a contradiction upon Luke based upon your own misapprehension of the matter.




*****



Con: "However no such passage authentically exists in Josephus."


Yes, it does. Notice that Con has an on-again, off-again love affair with textual criticism.


" ... The brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" (4)

is regarded as genuine, whereas the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely an interpolation containing Christian additions.



REBUTTAL



Con: "Tertullian is writing of events he is many decades removed from being contemporary (he was born in 160AD)"



Why, it seems to me that Tertullian should have been very contemporary with your hypothesized date of composition of Acts (if not also Luke), and no doubt he had close contacts who greatly pre-dated your proposed date. Suffice to say that Tertullian had every opportunity to know that the Gospel of Luke was not of recent (AD 160-180) origin.



*****



Con: "I have read these passages dozens of times, and I have yet to find a miracle in them."



You read Paul's statement, "I speak with tongues more than ye all" dozens of times and came to the conclusion that speaking fluently in a language that one has never studied does not constitute a miracle?


*****



Con: "Paul knows virtully nothing of Jesus' life as a human. Jesus is entirely revelatory to Paul in his epistles.[8]"

I cannot find Con's "footnote 8", but I assume he is referring to the gospel of Christ - not the details of Jesus' "life as a human." At any rate, Con's statement is untrue. Paul instructed his followers to "have the mind of Christ" which implies Paul's knowledge of Christ's mind, His teachings, and the like.


*****



Con: "Con gives absolutely no reason to believe that Clement composed this epistle, and her entire argument is unsound until she does so."



I am not out to prove that Clement of Rome wrote 1 Clement. All of antiquity testifies to that without a single dissent just as all of antiquity testifies that Marcion corrupted the Gospel of Luke, again without a single dissent. To the contrary, if you wish to dispute traditional authorship, don't quibble about it. Make a case for it.



*****



Con: "Pro seems to advocate for Lukan priority over Josephus ...


Certainly I do.


Con:
"... moreover the disagreements are likely born of theological motivations."



Theological motivations? Why, most of the discrepancies have nothing at all to do with theology. They are simple factual discrepancies, some involving minutiae. Even the supposed similarities rely almost entirely on Theudas and Judas the Galilean being mentioned in both works. (6)


*****



Con: "Pro has not challenged my argument that the Gospel of Marcion is a late composition."



I do not challenge that it is a late adulteration, a perversion of the Gospel of Luke




*****



Con: "falsified by the level of disagreement within the synoptics."



Petitio principii again. I have not conceded any disagreement at all among the Synoptics - and if we depend on Con to point these out, we'll spend infinitely more of our time correcting his own factual errors rather than dealing with any proposed discrepancies.




*****



Con: "Moreover, the quantity of parallels rules a common source unlikely, no such source is extant today either"



"No such source extant today" has never slowed down a true skeptic. Where none exists, and there is no record that one ever existed, they'll make one up.



*****




Con: "Pro depicts the author as a travelling companion of Paul."




The author himself depicts himself as a travelling companion of Paul which makes absolutely no sense if the author was writing to Theophilus of Antioch in AD 170 or so.




Con's Theory of the Gospel of Marcion




Con's theory is basically that an orthodox Christian apologist- certainly not Luke, the companion of Paul - wrote a later fabricated gospel account and history to Theophilus, bishop of Antioch circa AD 170 as a type of rebuttal against the Gospel of Marcion, the latter being composed around AD 125. This rebuttal came to be known as Luke/Acts. Con says,

"The simplest and cleanest explanation is it is addressed to Theophilus of Antioch."

Con, recognizing the difficulty presented by the "we" and "us" passages, has further speculated that these 30 or 40 passages scattered throughout Acts 16 through Acts 28 were somehow later sneaked in! To boot, nobody caught on! And Con professes a lack of belief in miracles? It seems to me that Con advocates the miraculous. It would be about like Con writing an historical narrative to Queen Elizabeth today in which he professes to have been with Alexander Graham Bell when he invented the telephone back around 1870 - and strangely enough, such a farce would fool the queen and the overwhelming bulk of the scholars of Great Britain. A prophesy of the fall of Jerusalem would be more believable than that.



*****



Con states: "Our earliest reliable mentions of the Gospel of Luke or Acts are from Irenaeus and Tertullian writing ~180AD, and ~ 208AD respectively."

... and right there is a basic problem with the historical method when used alone, i. e. when ignoring input from other methodologies.

1. Con seeks to get mileage out of the fact that the Gospels and Acts were originally unnamed.

2. Notice that Con carefully avoids asserting that this is the first time the works are referenced, realizing that the habit of early writers was to cite the books, the "Memoirs of the Apostles" according to Justin, without attributing authorship.

3. Con further seeks to get mileage out of the fact that other works well known to Iranaeus and even Eusebius are no longer extant.

4. Con implies that the statement by Iranaeus constituted a very new position, a position unknown to his predecessors.

Con's mind apparently works this way: (1) Iranaeus first mentions Luke and Act in AD 177-180 AD, and (2) hence, we can trace Luke/Acts back to 177-180 AD - and no further! That's not how it works! Iranaeus got his information from somewhere, for Iranaeus stated,

"We have not received the knowledge ... by any others than those by whom the gospel has been brought down to us. Which gospel they first preached, and afterwards, by the will of God, committed to writing ... and Luke, the companion of Paul, put down in a book the gospel preached by him (Paul)." (2)

Who were these "others"? After all, Iranaeus didn't just awaken one morning in AD 177 with a woodie and exclaim, "Hot dayum, Paul's companion Luke wrote those books!" Con knows that, yet that's his position. The following sums up Iraneus's known sources:












1. As a youth, Iranaeus had been a disciple of Polycarp who in turn was a disciple of the Apostle John.
2. Papias (circa 70-163), writes Iraneaus, was "an ancient man who was a hearer of John and a companion of Polycarp".
3. Iraneaus was immediately preceded as bishop of Lyon by Pothinus, who according to Iranaeus died in AD 177. Later in life, Iranaeus worked closely with Pothinus. As a priest in Lyon in about AD 170, Iraneaus wrote on behalf of Pothinus and the churches in Lyon and Vienna to the churches in Asia and Phyrgia. (3) Once again, in the letter, we have direct quotes traceable to both Luke and Acts referenced.

So there are three characters, two of whom were intimate associates of Iranaeus, whose memories linked right back to the first century. No doubt dozens of other such men existed. Con's argument against the early date is based purely on philosophical grounds which he attempts to disguise as the "historical-critical method" of criticism.


(2) Iranaeus, Adv. Her., 1, iii, ch 8
(3) Lardner, Cred., vol i, p. 232 as quoted in Paley's Evidences ed. by Whately, p. 131
(4) Josephus, Anti, 20: 9: 1
(5) Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke
(6) Acts 5:36-37 compared to Josephus Antiquities 20:97-99, 102






Debate Round No. 4
Envisage

Con

I will try to summarise both my positive and negative cases in this round. I don’t particularly appreciate Anna’s attempts to arouse ridicule and emotion with her previous round. This is a debate, thus arguments need to remain objective, and free from emotional biases and inputs. Calling my arguments “splattershot” etc. is simply a case of Pro superficially avoiding the point that was made.

Positive Case
Justin Martyr
Boom! Pro has struck a bullet with Luke 22:44-45… or has she? Ironically the only “Luke-exclusive” verse she has managed to conjure is one that is held is serious scholarly disrepute.


"These verses are absent from some of the oldest and best witnesses, including the majority of the Alexandrian manuscripts. It is striking to note that the earliest witnesses attesting the verses are three Church fathers – Justin, Irenaeus, and Hippolytus – each of whom uses the verses in order to counter Christological views that maintained that Jesus was not a full human who experienced the full range of human sufferings. It may well be that the verses were added to the text for just this reason, in opposition to those who held to a docetic Christology"

Our earliest and best manuscripts of Luke, including P75 (175-225 AD), P69 (~250AD), Codex Vaticinus (325-350AD), and Codex Alexandrius (400-440) all omit these verses. These verses are no longer regarded as original to the Gospel in any shape or form, moreover these same verses have been interpolated into Matthew in miniscule family 13.[1] Mentions of this verse do not start until Sinaiticus which itself was marked by correctors at that time as doubtful.

Most likely explanation? Justin Martyr was not quoting (and could not have been quoting) Luke, since the verse did not exist in his Gospel at that time. Given Luke is 25% longer than Marcion, the fact the only verse she can render is historically dubious. These verses are a later interpolation which eventually became the textus receptus (which is what Pro is using given her quotes from the KJV, which lacks any application of modern scholarship).

While I regard his explanation of these verses as cogent, I do not need to go that far to discredit Pro’s argument.

Summary
Pro drops my manuscript arguments from silence, and Papias. Pro also fails with Justin Martyr, despite us having good reason to believe he would have included Luke or Acts exclusive quotes if they existed at the time. Her only substantive argument are from a Clementine quote (more one this later). If my rebuttal to that is cogent, then we have a very strong argument from silence against 1st century authorship of Luke.


Marcion Priority
Pro drops the bulk of my arguments for Marcion priority, including my argument form accumulation, and her defence to the Luke-response theory I can only state “I do not know how to refute an incredulous stare”. If the Marcion hypothesis is correct then it would be unsurprising, since he used Marcion virtually verbatim, and also Gospel of James. Thus the source hypothesis follows rather naturally for Acts. Pro also drops the lengthening of verses which would have aided his religion, including the parable of the vineyard, which makes absolutely no sense if Luke came before Marcion.


Pro’s only defence against this are polemecists writing in the third century with docetic works. Pro argues that Iraeneus’ attributions of author should carry weight, but ignores my argument from silence on this matter, and the fact he blatantly gets several other attributions completely wrong. Assuming Irenaeus’s attributions leads to absurd conclusions (such that I have pointed out with Luke & Paul being their attributed people).

Josephus & Luke
Pro drops my arguments that there exist many strong parallels between the works of both, so I now only need to affirm priority here. Pro also drops my argument from Josephus’ childhood story to help establish historical priority.


Mentions of Christ
Note that even if Pro’s assertion of this passage is correct then it has negligible impact on my case (since it’s not necessarily from Luke he derives that). Furthermore the rules state that arguments from authority will carry no weight, yet this is Pro’s only defence of the passage’s authenticity.


As for the passage, my argument is that it is a later interpolation, the reason being that earliest Christian sources do not quote this, most strikingly is Origen (184-253 AD), who wrote ~250k words in defence of Christianity, quoting from Josephus extensively, doesn’t quote this passage.[2] This makes absolutely no sense if we assume the passage is original to Josephus since it would have immediately made his case for him. The earliest quote of this passage is from Eusebius (260-339 AD), who himself is a known forger.

Theophilus Of Antioch
This is again unsurprising given the nature of how the author of Luke uses his sources (even if we assume Pro’s position to be correct, this fact still stands). The fact that the level of use of “us” and “we” is relatively minor compared to the bulk of the narration really doesn’t raise many problems to the Theophilus of Antioch hypothesis. A parallel argument can be ran that whoever it is addressed to is already going to know about the other orthodox writings, thus a plagiarised source would be seemingly unnecessary. Clearly given the Gospel & Books own theology and intentions, the idea of completely honest history is not upheld, nor was it intended to be, facts were changed for theological purposes.[3]


Negative Case
Internal Evidence

Terminus Ad Quo
I reiterate what I said in the third round, all speculation of a travelling companion of Paul is for nothing if such an even is essentially impossible. The terminus ad quo is at least 70 AD, thus any argument which mandates an earlier date is doomed to failure.


Pro attempts to dismiss my argument here as philosophical, ignoring that the entire process of inference and reason is grounded in philosophy. Without a good heuristic framework, then one cannot make reliable inferences. Our most successful framework for deducing reality is abductive reasoning, from which the scientific and historical methods are derived. Pro’s arguments require ignoring these highly successful routes of enquiry.

Pro drops that she needs to break the uniformity of nature principle (unless Pro can demonstrate that precise premonitions occur today, which she cannot, and even if they could occur today, that they do so at a non-negligible rate). Note my framework does not rule premonitions/prophecy as impossible a priori, it states that even if it were possible, it would have a very low a priori likelihood of being the correct explanation. Thus other more simple and mundane explanations are far more likely (e.g. Luke died, got lazy, etc. etc. etc.) Pro attempts to reduce these mundane explanations to incredulity, but ignores that I was drawing a parallel to her alternative, and what is more likely in principle

Travelling Companion of Paul in ~64 AD
Virtually all of Pro’s arguments here are arguments from silence and traditional attribution. I am not impressed. Moreover, Pro doesn’t make the necessary justification as to why a silence about certain facts would not be expected if it was not written contemporary. Without this justification, her argument from silence is an inherently weak one.


Pro can Gish Gallop things that are not mentioned within the text, but she will need to include good reasons why the author would include such events. Given that Pro cannot even make sound inferences as to the Book’s intended purpose (evidenced by my arguments that Luke is a response to Marcionism), I have no idea how Pro can make good inferences at to what we would expect to see in the Book of Acts, thus all her arguments from internal silence are unimpressive.

Again, what is Pro’s explicit argument for an early dating here, why would we expect a story set about the early Apostles contain later references. For the stronger claim, why would we always expect later references in later written stories, the argument that pseudoepigraphy did not occur, given that we have numerous examples of such within just the NT canon, is unimpressive.

Us & We Passages
Pro already must concede that Luke is no stranger to using sources verbatim, since Luke must at the very least depend on one of the other two synoptic Gospels, Mark and/or Matthew for material. Thus it would be unsurprising for the author of Luke-Acts to redact existing sources at that time, including the “us” and “we” portions. Other possibilities are as a deliberate stylistic device as a deliberate deception, which again would not be surprising due to what we already know from pseudoepigraphy and within the “anti-Marcionite” framework.[4][5]


External Evidence
1 Clement
Pro drops that the letter is internally anonymous, and again so what if it refers to the Neroian/Dominitian persecution? Reference to something =/= it’s contemporaneous to something. Pro’s only argument for authorship here are orthodox motivated, polemicists that could only have been writing a century after this fact (assuming early authorship)?


I think we can already scratch this argument of Pro’s. Pro is blatantly shifting the burden of proof (remember, BoP is shared in this debate, so Pro needs to uphold her own arguments) by assuming traditional authorship of this epistle. I already made the argument that attributed authorship (especially from religiously motivated apologists such as Tertullian, Irenaeus, etc.) is problematic, i.e. with at least four of the Pauline epistles and the other Gospels falsely attributed which Pro has dropped, and even 2 Clement (!).[6]

Summary
Not much to summarise here. To voters, ensure you vote based upon the preponderance of the evidence as required in the rules. I thank Anna for a fun last debate on DDO.


References
1. http://goo.gl...
2. http://goo.gl...
3. B.D.Erhman “Orthodox Corruption of Scripture” p64.

4. http://goo.gl...
5. B.D.Erhman “Forged” p207.

6. http://tinyurl.com...

annanicole

Pro

This is actually more of a debate over an AD 64 date versus an AD 170-180 date, whereas the proposition says "AD 100", but that's fine.


Con: "Pro attempts to dismiss my argument here as philosophical"



I dismiss your arguments against the early date as purely philosophical. I dismiss your arguments about AD 180 and "addressed to Theophilus of Antioch" on other grounds. You can't even tell us what would be gained by a writer in 180 AD employing a deceptive literary device in which he pretends to be an eye-witness.


*****



Con: "Pro has dropped ... Pro has dropped ... Pro has dropped ... Pro has dropped."



Do not assume that because I chose to correct some of Con's many, varied, and blatant factual errors and gross assertions, that certain other points were "dropped".. Con basically spent his time perusing various atheistic/skeptics' websites and incorporating their factual errors into his own arguments without actually verifying them. Some, or most, of these were corrected along the way. Others I simply ignored.



*****



Con: “Pro’s only defence against this are polemecists writing in the third century with docetic works.”



Con apparently does not know the 2nd century from the 3rd. I have cited precious little from the 3rd century.



*****



Con: "Pro attempts to reduce these mundane explanations to incredulity, but ignores that I was drawing a parallel to her alternative, and what is more likely in principle"



Con's explanations are borderline incredible, and the author’s principle for prophesy/fulfillment is laid down in Acts 11: 28,


"And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar."


Thus, the principle - at least with the author of Acts - is: (1) set forth the prophesy then (2) point out the fulfillment. Unfortunately, the principle does not apply if the book concluded before the fulfillment ever occurred.


“More likely in principle” is simply Con’s way of saying “more in accord with Con's own bias”. Con’s mindset is, “When all else fails me, I’ll deny the supernatural.”



*****



Con: "The terminus ad quo is at least 70 AD."



Correction: the terminus ad quo is the date of the last scene depicted in the book, which is AD 63/64. Con’s position of, “There ain’t no miracles now, and there weren’t no miracles then” has a tendency to rear its head when other arguments fly the coop.



*****



Con: "Virtually all of Pro’s arguments here are arguments from silence and traditional attribution. I am not impressed."



Yet Con is "impressed" with his own contention that a 140-yr-old man who pretended to be a companion of Paul wrote Acts and succeeded in passing off the ruse upon the majority of Christendom? Con characterizes this as "as a deliberate stylistic device as a deliberate deception” (whatever that is). Well, the only person here deceived by it is ... Envisage.



*****



Referring to Luke 22: 44-45, Con says, "Most likely explanation? Justin Martyr was not quoting (and could not have been quoting) Luke, since the verse did not exist in his Gospel at that time."



1. But the statement/question was,


"That's a "Luke-exclusive" quote in AD 150 or so - and if not, will Con please advice us as to its source?"



Surely it had a written source, for Justin wrote,



"In the Memoirs which, as I have said, were drawn up by the apostles and their followers, it is recorded that sweat fell like drops of blood".



Of course, I knew when I asked the question that Con (1) had to deny that the passage was in Luke, just as I knew that he (2) would never tell us exactly where or when it was written. And he didn’t. He can’t. He just “knows” that Justin didn’t cite Luke. It leave that for what it is worth.



2. There are very good and proper critical reasons that Luke 22: 44-45 is included in 99% of Bible translations:








One will note that the absence of the passage traces to one family of manuscripts (the Alexandrian group), whereas its presence is confirmed by a variety of manusripts from different families (Western, Eclectic, Byzantine, and Egyptian), quotes from early Christians, and early versions (translations). Again, we are examining the preponderance of the evidence, and Con is basing his entire argument on the exception. If Justin quoted from Luke, then Con’s entire theory is down the drain.


3. Justin was born in Flavia Neapolis in about AD 100 and died in Rome in AD 165. Thus, his main exposure was to the Western family of manuscripts, not the Alexandrian.



*****



Con: “Mentions of this verse (Luke 22: 44-45) do not start until Sinaiticus which itself was marked by correctors at that time as doubtful.”


Blatantly incorrect, as can be seen in the chart above. Con makes the mistake of thinking that our only sources for texual criticism are manuscripts, and even if that were true (which it isn't), the evidence is still against Con's claims.



*****



Con (concerning 1 Clement): "Pro is blatantly shifting the burden of proof."


No, I merely stated that if Con would like to dispute the unanimous voice of early Christians, including the near-conclusive writings of Dionysius, as well as any internal evidences that he is welcome to do so - and give his reasoning. Con chose not to do so.

1. Ancient writers, without a doubt or an exception, assert the letter to have been written by the Clement mentioned by Paul in Phil 4: 3, although I did not affirm or deny that position. Envisage says, 1900+ years later, "I don't know who wrote it."

2. Dionysius (c 100 - 171 AD), bishop at Corinth states that "it (1 Clement) had been wont to be read in that church (the church at Corinth) since ancient times." (1)

3. If we had another round, perchance Con would enlighten us as to what "since ancient times" would mean to a man born in the late 1st/early 2nd century.


4. The only objection Con could conceivably offer is, "Who quoted whom?" The evidence is in favor of "Clement quoted Luke", not vice versa.



*****



Con: "The fact that the level of use of “us” and “we” is relatively minor compared to the bulk of the narration really doesn’t raise many problems to the Theophilus of Antioch hypothesis."


No, it doesn't. Con is correct on that point, so Con can rightly say, "Pro has dropped". It raises only one problem: it makes Con's "addressed to Theophilus of Antioch" theory impossible - and ridiculous, to boot. The original recipient(s) would have branded the Book of Acts a fantasy and sought to commit the author to a 1st-century mental ward. Con styles it a "deliberate deception", yet no one was deceived.


The truth is that the entire 2nd half of Acts is riddled with dozens of first-person references. Con asserts that this may be a "deliberate stylistic device". Pray tell, what did the author hope to accomplish by employing this proposed "device"?



****



Con: "Thus it would be unsurprising for the author of Luke-Acts to redact existing sources at that time"


Redact existing sources, yet address the works to Theophilus, bishop of Antioch in AD 170, and forget that the author is claiming to have been a companion of Paul from AD 50-64? Con has repeatedly claimed that the author of Luke/Acts was an anti-Marcionite apologist, and now we find that this "apologist" presented himself as 140 years old at the time.

Another thing: con has presented that Tertullian and Iranaeus were not “contemporary” to my proposed date (AD 64) of the composition of Acts. That’s true. The kicker is that they were both contemporary to his proposed date (AD 170-180) - and they both testify that Con’s theory is wrong, of course. Every contemporary character states that Con's theory is wrong.


*****



Concerning internal evidences and arguments from silence, Con states, "She will need to include good reasons why the author would include such events"


Pfffffft. I have stated the reasons twice: the martyrdom of a leading Christian, the brother of Jesus, was an event of great importance, so great that it is mentioned by Josephus. Con, on the other hand, would ask us to believe that Luke (1) plagiarized from Josephus, but (2) left out the martyrdom of the Lord's brother. Believable? Then he just claims that the passage in Josephus is spurious.

The ultimate judgment of God against Jerusalem and the Jews was THE major Judeo-Christian event of the latter first century. Warnings of such impending judgment abound throughout the entire New Testament. Yet Con insists that I should somehow "prove" that this was important? At the very least, the synoptic Gospel writers would have pointed to the fall of Jerusalem as a Christian evidence, and a grand one at that.



*****



Con: "at least four of the Pauline epistles and the other Gospels falsely attributed which Pro has dropped, and even 2 Clement"


Why, II Clement hasn't even been mentioned by either one of us. How can I "drop" something that I never "held". It seems that Con confuses what he wishes was said with what actually was said.


*****


Con: "why would we expect a story set about the early Apostles contain later references."

Sir, we would expect an historical narrative which builds ... and builds .. and builds, with the last three chapters devoted to accusations against Paul, Paul's trials, Paul's appeal before Caesar, and even his trip to Rome to at least include the result of that appeal. How did it go? What happened to Paul? What did he say before the ruler of the world? It is ... ummm ... a little far-fetched for you to sit there and beg the question and complain that I did not offer the most appropriate scenario. Con seems to think that the author pulled a Lorena Bobbit, i. e. just whacked it off.



*****




I will close it out with a few characters yet remaining. I want to think Envisage for his time and participation, and hopefully some useful information was presented by both parties. I firmly believe that if all bias is laid aside, the evidence tilts squarely in favor of an AD 63/64 date of composition for Acts, with Luke probably being around AD 58-60.

(1) Paley, Evidences of Christianity, edited by Whately, p. 123
Debate Round No. 5
155 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by WFTL 5 months ago
WFTL
In my humble opinion annanicole, you won with clarity, verifiable documentation, and knowledge of the word of God as only a mature Christian, as yourself can possess, In Christian love.
Posted by PGA 1 year ago
PGA
If you take a look at his sources you will find that many were sites or people with specific agendas, IMO and every one of them were centuries removed from any early references. I pay particular attention to the sources people reference. Annanicole went to the early church fathers and Josephus for a few of her quotes.
Posted by Geogeer 1 year ago
Geogeer
@PGA - I fully appreciate what you are saying. And I personally find the Jesus Seminar stuff to be utter cr@p. I didn't look at the number of references or even the quality. As I find this to be very subjective. However, when some arguments were essentially unsupported by Anna I felt that something recognition of this had to be done.

As stipulated in my vote. I think that Anna had the better arguments - hands down. If this had been under the winner takes all system I would've had no problem giving her all 7 points. However, that is not the system they chose to debate under.
Posted by PGA 1 year ago
PGA
Georgeer said: "@PGA - As I explained the reference deduction was for the lack of references."

Lack of references? Envisage had 23 whereas Annanicole had 17, but what is of note is the sources listed by both. Annanicole refers to these early church fathers and historians whereas Envisage uses suspect scholarship such as in his 3rd round:

1) A skeptics guide to Christianity. This is an extremely biased site. It approaches Christianity from a specific paradigm. It infers and assumes a lot based on a liberal school of
2) German Higher Criticism and
3) scholars that have a beef with Christianity such as Bert Erhman or Jesus Seminar scholars such as Murphy-O'Connon.

The impact of the Jesus Seminar alone is shown here:
"Jennings stated, "We relied on the historians and scholars." These scholars were Paula Fredrikson (Boston University.), John Dominic Crossan (DePaul University), Robert W. Funk (author and founder of the seminar) Marcus Borg (author, Oregon State University), Reverend N.T. Wright (author), Father Jerome Murphy O'Connor, and Marvin Meyer (author). United together they did as much damage as possible in 2 hours to Jesus' life, His ministry, His message, His miracles, and the gospel writers. We should not underestimate the influence of this program as it attracted over 16 1/2 million viewers, and ABC"s website had well over 1 million hits. So anyone who was pursuing anything about Jesus and listened to these men had their search destroyed. This show is now being sold on video to further its influence."
See: http://www.letusreason.org...

So Annanicole uses sources close to the date whereas Envisage uses sources and inferences 17-20 centuries removed who have an extremely biased and specific paradigm that they approach the Bible from.
Posted by Geogeer 1 year ago
Geogeer
@PGA - As I explained the reference deduction was for the lack of references.

@Anna - If your argument had been right it would only require that the "oral tradition" be kept from 70 AD until whenever Envisage argued it to be a "fait accomplis" in the 2nd century.
Posted by annanicole 1 year ago
annanicole
Geogeer: "That being said, I would have expected him to argue that with ancient people, oral traditions - particularly one as important as family heritage - could have easily kept this knowledge in tact until the mid 2nd century."

That would have been a futile argument, a battle against the odds. You are talking about having to remember, by the 2nd century, more than 14 generations.
Posted by PGA 1 year ago
PGA
Georgeer, you should have given Annanicole points for both better sources and better spelling in addition to the points you gave her.
Posted by PGA 1 year ago
PGA
You've got to be kidding me Georgeer. Annanicole had far better sources and more logical arguments. Envisage built his whole argument on silence and inference. She dismantled most of his arguments piece-by-piece, especially the ridiculous argument about Theophilus. There were a number of people who fit the bill in the 1st century that Luke could have been writing to.

http://www.gotquestions.org...
Posted by Geogeer 1 year ago
Geogeer
I know. But you see as one judging the debate one cannot tell whether you made that up or it is just in your repository of knowledge that you've acquired over the years.

I'm normally really easy going on sources, but some fairly major rebuttals did not have sources in support. So while likely true, it wasn't supported.

That being said, I would have expected him to argue that with ancient people, oral traditions - particularly one as important as family heritage - could have easily kept this knowledge in tact until the mid 2nd century.
Posted by annanicole 1 year ago
annanicole
"It was an excellent argument that the Jews kept excellent records on genealogy. However you provided no source supporting your assertion. It is things like that that caused me to give Envisage the sources."

I didn't have a source.
2 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 2 records.
Vote Placed by Kozu 1 year ago
Kozu
EnvisageannanicoleTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Con mainly wins me on his "Marcion Priority" and "Terminus Post Quem" arguments. Con argues that since the Olivert Discourse is mentioned in Luke 21, and the events that it references (temple destruction) take place after 70AD, it naturally follows that the composition of acts must take place after this date. Pro refutes this idea by stating that these events were written down ahead of time and came to fruition through divine prophecy. I find Con?s reasoning of the "principle of uniformity of nature" sufficient to dismiss Pro's prophecy idea. Pro cites I Cor 13: 8-10 as an explaination for why the "principle of uniformity of nature" doesn't apply here, but I felt this was rather ad hoc and a bit of a stretch. This coupled with the fact that the works of Josephus were composed around 90AD which are used in Luke&Acts, it makes sense to believe these works were composed passed 100AD due to time it would take to write both of them. Pro responded to rebuttals early and had poor conduct.
Vote Placed by Geogeer 1 year ago
Geogeer
EnvisageannanicoleTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:33 
Reasons for voting decision: My thanks to both Envisage and Annanicole. It is a delight to see a proper debate produced from the religion forum. I am saddened that more people have not taken the time to vote on this, particularly considering the bad name given to the religious forum. They complain and then do not vote when something of quality comes out of the forum. I had started to write up a formal reason, but it is way too long to complete in the time left. As such the way that this debate was argued, it really comes down to does the evidence presented favour a Marcion origin or not? I must admit that as a believer it can be difficult to distance myself and be impartial. My apologies if anyone finds me not unbiased. Thus in the end I look at what argument(s) were the singly most convincing. I find that Pro's argument with regards to the use of we and us in the book of Acts to be most evidential with regards to the time of origin. Con did a better job with sources and had cleaner conduct.