Refutation of Eldberg's claims, page 2

Rev. Äke Eldberg reproduced portions of text from my website, as below; under that comes his remarks in italics, and beneath that my response.

From my website. Without the originals, as in the case of the Talmud of Jmmanuel (TJ), one has only its surviving co-discoverer's word that it had been in the form of scrolls, somewhat crumbly in places despite the resin encasement in which they had been preserved. However, this is much more than scholars have to go on with respect to their studies of the New Testament gospels, for example, of which neither the originals nor their first translations or copies, nor their second copies... exist, and for which of course no eyewitness testimony exists.

The word of one living person is "much more" than the existing manuscript evidence for the New Testament? Hilarious. For the credibility of the real NT, see under "Has the Bible been censored?" on this site.

Scholars know that soon after the 2nd quarter of the 2nd century commenced, citations from the Gospels, especially from Matthew, began to appear; somewhat later came mention of the Gospels by name. Entirely missing is how the first Gospel came into existence, when and where, and any explanation of why so late. After Matthew did appear, however, Christians used it, with some pieces of its manuscripts surviving, starting a century later still. This isn't being disputed. It's the source for the first Gospel that is of primary concern, for how faithfully could it have been incorporated into the existing Gospels if no one wished to preserve it, after using it? Scholars know next to nothing about it, but the TJ fulfills the qualifications for being it. Having a witness to its discovery in 1963 still alive, especially when many persons have vouched for his honesty, gives us invaluable information not available in regards to the Christian Gospels. The TJ, whether in the form of the original scrolls or as a translation, allows us to readily understand why the Gospels came out so late, and with attributed authors only, not to mention learning of the historical Jesus' original teachings.

From my website. When the TJ scrolls were translated into German during the years between 1963 and 1974, occasional peculiarities within the Aramaic writing found their way into the German text, through having been translated rather literally. These are called Aramaisms. The most definite ones that have come to this investigator's attention are as follows: (full text of examples omitted here)

Among the examples of Aramaisms presented by Deardorff, we find "fell on their faces", "and not", "if not through", "they, the celestial sons", "A stone will turn into bread", "Amen", and "Behold!" It is irrelevant whether they are real Aramaisms or not. But it is very relevant that most of them occur in the New Testament and in ancient apocryphs. Anyone intentionally imitating the literary style of the Bible would of course seize upon expressions which are untypical for his own modern language.

The 2nd, 3rd, and 4th of these cannot be appreciated without their contexts, which are filled back in below:

2.) TJ 5:30 "If a thought causes you annoyance, eradicate it and ban it from your brain. It is better to destroy a thought that incites annoyance and not to bring the whole world of thought into an uproar.

3.) TJ 15:14 "What would be better to make them come alive and think, if not through speaking in parables!"

4.) TJ 4:51 "So spoke they, the celestial sons between the North and the West, before they brought Jmmanuel in the metallic light back to Israel..."

In normal German as translated into English, 2.) would use than and 3.) would use than by or than through. Aramaic didn't have the "than" type of comparative, so alternate words had to be used to get the meaning across, which were later translated rather literally into the German. In 4.) the awkward "proleptic pronoun" stems from a distinctly Aramaic usage. Eldberg is making Eduard Meier out to be a New Testament linguist and connoisseur, when his schooling didn't finish the high school level, and he took no advanced study later (except what he learned from his contacting ETs). It is quite improbable that he could have learned 2.) - 4.) from casual contact with the German Bible. The other four types of Aramaisms listed are more evident to a reader of the New Testament, as Eldberg indicates, yet a New Age hoaxer who's a non-scholar could well have slipped up and not thought of using them in invented passages. Hence these Aramaisms speak more to the TJ's genuineness than not.

From my website. Because there was no punctuation within the ancient texts, it was frequently the custom in Aramaic to alert the reader to the beginning of a quotation through use of an expression like "He answered and said...," with the "said" indicating the start of the quotation. [Five examples of this were given, plus mention of there being at least ten more, in TJ verses not paralleled by any Gospel.]

This is a type of expression not just found in Aramaic but in many ancient texts from before the invention of punctuation. It is quite frequent in the Bible, and many modern Bible translations have kept the redundant "and said". Of course an imitator would notice this as a characteristic formula, and use it in his forgery.

This could be the case, possibly though not necessarily, if Meier had tried to turn himself into some sort of New Testament scholar. However, those who have investigated his life have learned that prior to about 1967 he was far too busy doing odd jobs for a living as he traveled around the Mideast and India, and after that, upon getting married and moving back to Switzerland, was again too busy trying to earn a living and raise a family, to have engaged in any such Gospel "imitating" skullduggery even if his character had been of that sort. I pointed out this mark of genuineness because a New Age hoaxer could well have slipped up and forgotten to insert such "and said" expressions. It obviously counts more towards genuineness than hoax, for if such expressions were not present in TJ material not paralleled by Matthew, you can imagine how Eldberg would have jumped on that as indication of a hoax!

From my website. Sometimes the lack of any quotation marks leaves doubt as to where a quotation ends and the narration recommences. Then the translator or editor may misplace the end-quotation mark. There is one spot in the TJ where this appears to have occurred: TJ 12:4-5 4It is written, however, "Whosoever commits adultery and fornication shall be punished, because the fallible are unworthy of life and its laws; thus they shall be castrated or sterilized." 5If unbetrothed men and women bed down with one another in disgrace and without loving each other, they shall be punished also, for those fallible are unworthy of life and its laws; thus they shall be castrated or sterilized. The quotation marks are shown here where the German editions of the TJ have placed them, at least up through its 2001 edition. However, the clause "because the fallible are unworthy of life and its laws..." must be where Jmmanuel's words have resumed (...)

Proves nothing except that Meier made his quote a bit too long for Deardorff's taste.

Perhaps the editor didn't make the quote too long; the reader can try to decide this for him/herself. [Added later; I now believe that the end of the quotation in the 2001 edition of the TJ occurs at the proper place, though the text contains an error of translation. See below.]

The quoted passage is interesting from other points of view though. It speaks of sterilization of women, a surgical procedure which requires opening the abdominal cavity. Such surgery was unknown before the 19th century. This is clearly an anachronism.

I certainly understand Eldberg's point. Below I replace an earlier response I had made on this point with the opinion I've since learned that Meier himself has on the matter. Meier believes that the words translated as "entmannt" (castrated) and "entweibt" (sterilized) were mistranslations by Isa Rashid of the original Aramaic. He suggests that the Aramaic had utilized a phrase like "cut off" or "cast out" for the penalty; hence the guilty ones were to be expelled and banished.

This is actually a plausible explanation for the appearance of "sterilized" in these verses. TJ 12:4 reads, "It is written, however, 'Whosoever commits adultery and fornication shall be punished, because the fallible are unworthy of life and its laws; thus they shall be castrated or sterilized.'" But where is anything like this written? The closest one comes to it in the Scriptures is at Lv 18:20-29. There, however, the penalty is for the guilty ones to be cut off from their people (or to be executed: Lv 20:13). It seems that Rashid, reading of the punishment for a fornicator, having male fornicators in mind, assumed that "cut off" (krt or karath in Hebrew) meant castrated here. He evidently did not take the time to review Lv 18:29. So for offenses that could involve women as well, he had to add "or sterilized" for completeness. Thus, not only was "sterilized" incorrect, but also "castrated." These verses of TJ 12, taken by themselves, admittedly would seem like a "smoking gun" against the TJ's genuineness, and for them I have assigned PHoax a value of 0.99 (see also Mt 5:28 discussion). However, in translating some 1,748 sentences or verses of Aramaic into German, with little if any outside help, Rashid should be allowed to have made a few mistakes.

The phrase "bed down with one another in disgrace and without loving each other" is also an obvious anachronism which reflects the modern idea of "falling in love" as a precondition for sex. An ancient text speaking of careless extramarital sex would simply have said "fornication".

Here the TJ's words "in lovelessness" do not imply "without falling in love." Instead, bedding down "in disgrace and without loving each other" to me conveys the idea of "sex for the sake of sex." Fornication was covered in the previous TJ verse.

From my website. Another indication that the original had been an ancient text lacking punctuation is that in many places within the TJ's German text there is a series of three or more nouns, adjectives or verbs in a row, each separated by "and" ("und") rather than by a comma and a final "and."

A similar clue involving or (the German "oder") occurs at TJ 20:24 and 33:10, where three nouns or prepositional phrases are connected by two or's without use of intervening commas, as in "A or B or C," rather than the modern structure "A, B or C." In Meier's Foreword to the TJ (1978 version, p.8; 1996 version, p. xvi) one may notice that he uses the modern structure.

The same applies here; these peculiarities are characteristic of non-punctuated text (including NT manuscripts) and have been retained in some translations, which is probably where Meier picked them up.

Meier is again being assumed to have been a biblical scholar. There is no basis whatsoever for this assumption.

From my website. Even a brief comparison of the TJ against the Gospel of Matthew discloses that one depends upon the other. The correspondence in order of events and sometimes in wording is too close to permit any other possibility. In comparing them, then, we continually raise the question: Is it more plausible that the writer of Matthew based his text upon the ancient TJ scrolls, or that a 20th-century literary hoaxer based the TJ upon Matthew?

Deardorff presents a table of parallells where numbers in blue and green color indicate that the Matthew text has received "valid questions and criticisms" from scholars, "to which the TJ is not subject". He then claims that the number of criticized passages in Matthew is greater than the number of criticized passages in "Talmud Immanuel", and takes this as proof that TJ is the original and Matthew the distorted rewrite.

I don't recall having written what Eldberg says in his last sentence above, and don't find it in my website. Scholars haven't yet gone over the TJ and judged its verses, especially those having parallels with Matthew, and how could they do that fairly if their standards involved assumptions stemming from Christianity? However, one can fairly tally the logical criticisms that such scholars have heaped upon Matthew, and notice the multiple numbers of times that the TJ does not evince the problem despite often possessing parallels to the Matthean verse in question. Counting the "greens" and the "blues" gives some 235 verses/passages for which this applies.

Eldberg didn't mention that with the insight gained by having the TJ on hand, I myself, an independent scholar, could pick out some 156 more such instances. This is the sort of outcome one would expect would happen if the true teachings of the historical Jesus were discovered and compared against the most relevant Gospel.

Thus, Eldberg has tried to dismiss the guts of my analysis without even coming to grips with it.

From my website: In these comparisons, the Matthean verse(s) are listed first under "Mt," followed by the parallel or cognate Talmud of Jmmanuel (TJ) verse(s) when the parallels exist. To access those Matthean verses that have received scholarly criticism or question, just click within the Table below. Explanations follow the Table. (long table omitted here)

This is very unscholarly. It's like putting two cars beside each other, subjecting car A (but not car B) to a thorough technical inspection -- and then presenting the examination results of car A as proof that the unexamined car B is better! He digs up "criticism" on passages in Matthew from scholars, but presents no results of similar scholarly examinations of TJ. Probably because there are none; serious scholars wouldn't touch TJ with a ten foot pole.

The website viewer may see for him/herself that car "B" (the TJ) is examined in all its verses that possess parallels to criticized Matthean verses, and many others are presented as well. Then discussion follows as to the probability that a hoaxer would have known about the criticism, or have thought of it for himself, versus the implications of the Matthean verse being non-genuine as pointed out by the scholar, plus other considerations. To save a little space, I did not present comparisons of the TJ and Matthew in the small percentage of cases in which their parallels were essentially the same. However, in analyzing one scholar's criticisms of Matthew, that of F. Beare, I noticed that he had relatively fewest criticisms to make of those Matthean verses that scarcely deviate from the TJ, and most to make of verses that deviate the most from the TJ (in Celestial Teachings (Wild Flower Press, 1990)).

It's true that most scholars won't touch the TJ; I gave several reasons for this here. However, these are not valid reasons why true scholars should turn off their curiosity. It simply wouldn't make sense to judge the TJ on the basis of standards that are false or invalid due to a majority of present-day scholars having bought into false assumptions of theologically committed scholars of the 19th century.

In fact, it is the other way around. The genuine ancient text of Matthew is the result of a complex process where information was gathered from various sources such as the synoptic text and others, which scholars try to analyze from Matthew's text. What we have today is a collection of Jesus stories and sayings edited together to form a whole. The very fact that it is not the work of a single writer, strengthens the probability that it is not a hoax. A problem-free, polished "biography of Jesus" would have a higher hoax probability.

The TJ allows us to deduce that since the 19th century mainstream Gospel scholarship has gone farther awry, in assuming that Mark, not Matthew, was the first gospel, in order that the writer of Mark not seem so unchristian if he had utilized Matthew but omitted its Sermon on the Mount and many parables and discourses. The TJ allows us to understand that Matthew derives from the TJ, not from Mark or from any hypothetical "Q." Thus the situation is simpler than might be imagined, except that Matthew as derived from the TJ was first written in Hebrew and/or Aramaic, and was later translated into Greek. At the latter stage, it appears that some additional alterations crept in then at the hand of the translator. Further alterations over the centuries due to multiple transcriptions by scribes are very numerous but are also quite minor.

In his last sentence Eldberg seems to be setting the stage for saying that if the TJ, when judged by logical standards, is found to be essentially problem free, then it would have a very high probability of being a hoax, whereas in his talk of "car B" (the TJ) above, he implies that the more problems it has, the more likely it would be a hoax. One can't have it both ways. I think most scholars would disagree with the former.

From my website. I have tried not to present "invalid" criticisms based only upon assumptions that with hindsight appear to be false, even when they support the TJ's text over the Matthean text. The most common "invalid" assumptions are:

(a) The supposition that a Matthean verse is non-genuine merely because it or a portion of it is not found in Mark;

(b) The supposition that a Matthean verse is non-genuine merely because it or a portion of it is found in Luke but not in Mark (i.e., the scholar assumed it had been contained in the hypothetical document called "Q" and therefore was not original with the writer of Matthew);

(c) The supposition that a Matthean verse or words within it are non-genuine merely because of an argument that overlooks the likelihood that Matthew was written first in the Hebraic tongue, as attested by the external evidence, with its translation into Greek coming only after Mark and/or Luke were written;

(d) The supposition that no person, no matter how unique and how well attested to have been a short-range prophet, could validly prophesy events in his distant future as well; this would include certain OT prophets in addition to Jesus/Jmmanuel;

(e) The supposition that no such thing as the human spirit, its evolution and power, along with the spiritual world, could exist;

(f) The supposition that angels must not be equated to ETs or their means of transport to UFOs.

Deardorff attempts to make his presentation look more scholarly by discarding a number of suppositions that would seem to support his case. He does not tell us where these suppositions come from and it would be highly surprising of they were the products of 20th century Bible scholars.

It's clever. He invents some obviously false ideas which (if they were true) whould strengthen his case. Then he discards them to give us an impression of scientific honesty. However, in terms of relevance he might just as well have discarded the supposition that drunkenness is caused by pink elephants.

Let Rev. Eldberg be surprised, then. It is understandable that as a pastor, not a scholar, he would not have had much time to look into what scholars have had to say about the Synoptic Problem (i.e., the relative priority of the Gospels). Supposition (a) has very frequently been made. Scholar F. Beare did it many times in his commentary The Gospel according to Matthew (1981), and so have others because of the majority view that Matthew is based mainly on Mark (therefore, the reasoning goes, certain verses in Matthew not in Mark were added by the writer of Matthew on his own volition).

Supposition (b) has been invoked many times by Davies and Allison, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel according to Saint Matthew (1997), for example. This is because the concept of Q has gained ground in recent decades despite no reasonable explanation why, if it was used by the writers of Matthew and Luke (and even Mark), it never survived, and was never mentioned in any literature. However, the assumption of the one-time existence of Q was crucial for scholars who wished to assume that Luke and Matthew were written independently.

With respect to (c), a majority of scholars have discarded the previous belief, held up through the 18th century, that Matthew was first written in the Hebrew tongue (as attested by Papias, Irenaeus, Origen, and others). As I see it, that's because after assuming that Mark came first, and was written in Greek, then Matthew, if based upon Mark, should also have been first written in Greek (there are many places in Mark and Matthew where exactly the same Greek wording is duplicated over 20 consecutive words; however, there's an alternate explanation for this). One may check this out with any modern textbook on Gospel origins. Thus, the scholarly consensus cannot allow that the writer of Mark altered Hebraic Matthew, and then, when Hebraic Matthew was later translated into Greek, that the translator made a few alterations, some of which were more reverential in nature relative to Mark. Mt 8:25 is an example; it uses "Lord," while its Markan parallel, Mk 4:38, uses "Teacher." F. Beare criticizes Matthew for this, the TJ finds the whole stilling-of-the-storm pericope to be a redaction, while my website Mt-TJ verse comparison did not make use of Beare's criticism.

Regarding (d), an example is that most scholars place no credence in the nativity story (Matthean or Lukan), for one reason because they feel that the Isaiah prophecy of a messiah named Immanuel to appear in his distant future could not possibly have been fulfilled, and therefore the prophecy must instead have been intended as a very short-range prediction. I did not treat this as a valid criticism in my comparison of Matthean and TJ verses.

Suppositions (e) and (f) come into play when examining TJ verses that speak of rebirth (reincarnation) or of guardian angels, who are of human form and could travel around in the cosmos. Having studied much literature supporting the reality of reincarnation and of the UFO phenomenon, I cannot criticize the TJ on those grounds. The evidence supporting the reality of both reincarnation and the UFO phenomenon continues to grow, year after year.

I see no "drunkenness" or "pink elephants" in this.

He also fails to define what he means by "genuine" in this context. Bible scholars discuss which of the many sources of the gospels a passage comes from. Questions of "genuineness" would only be relevant if we assume that the gospel of Matthew was the work of a single writer, into which other material had been inserted later, or from which original text had been deleted -- which is clearly not the case.

Many scholars' works on the Gospels involve the word "redaction" very frequently; mine also. A redaction is where one gospel writer is deduced to have altered what another has written to suit his own taste, where the verses can still be determined to be parallels of each other. Each redaction involves a non-genuine aspect -- Jesus didn't say this, but said that; or he and the disciples didn't go here, but there, etc. If one of these is correct (genuine), the other is non-genuine. The Jesus Seminar, as will be noted, finds that a very large percentage of the sayings of Jesus within the Gospels are non-genuine; this means they deduce that he never spoke the words that were placed in his mouth.

From my website. To each of the verse/passage comparisons in the table above a probability has been assigned that it could be a hoax, while avoiding the invalid suppositions listed above. Each probability, labeled PHoax, is a fractional value lying between 0 and 1; a value of 0.5 represents complete uncertainty whether the TJ is a hoax or not, judging from the particular verse comparison, a larger value represents probability that it is a hoax, and a smaller value represent probability that it is not a hoax. I estimated probability values to the closest 0.05 only, and have combined them for each Mt-TJ chapter's set of verse comparisons according to the rules for accumulating probabilities. (table omitted here)

Scholars have long debated to what extent the utterances of Jesus in the gospels are genuine quotes, or have been formulated by the gospel writers. The difference is subtle. Let's say that I heard a famous person speak, a few years ago. His words made a lasting impression. Today I write a book about him. I think back and remember a couple of phrases he used. But most of what I remember is the gist of the speech, not the exact words.

Now, in our time, we are careful to differentiate between quotes and attributed sayings. Ancient writers did not make that fine distinction, but put quotes as well as their own formulations in the mouth of the person they were writing about. What Jesus says in the gospel of Matthew is probably a mix between real quotes and utterances formulated by the author to capture the gist of what he actually said.

When the Gospel writer puts his own formulation into the mouth or head of Jesus, when it was not there in the Gospel he was copying/editing, that introduces a non-genuine phrase or verse. It's often not subtle. An example is in the "walking on the sea" episode, where the last part of Mk 6:48 reads, "He meant to pass by them," while the Matthean parallel to the episode is essentially the same except it doesn't contain this remark. So the writer of Mark allowed Jesus to walk way out on the water to the vicinity of the boat in the windy weather, and would then just have him pass by the boat, ignoring the disciples, except for happening to see them? It's primarily instances of addition, alteration or omission of words, phrases, sentences and passages like this that have caused scholars to try to determine which Gospel writer was at fault. The above example makes it seem that Jesus could care less about his disciples, if Mark is based upon Matthew, and scholars are aware of many other examples of this. This seems to have been a very strong reason why 19th-century scholars opted for Mark having come before Matthew, so that the writer of Matthew would have smoothed out the "warts" in Mark. The TJ indicates that the writer of Matthew put much of his own material in the mouth of Jmmanuel, while omitting huge chunks of it also, and otherwise altering words and phrases.

Of course, any such formulation is subject to the risk that the writer may remember inaccurately or let his words be affected by church doctrine. But Deardorff makes no allowance for a possibility other than "genuine" or "hoax". In his view, the gospel either reports every word exactly as Jesus said it, or it is an intentional distortion of the truth, designed to deceive readers. This is where he is wrong. Regardless of what percentage of "real quotes" from Jesus we guess are present in the gospel, none of this proves that the existing utterances are intentionally faked to say something Jesus would never have said. Only an advanced conspiracy theory could make such a conclusion seem valid.

It is in the comparison of Matthew and the TJ that I state that either Matthew was based upon the TJ, in which case Matthew is the fraudulent writing, or the TJ is based upon Matthew, in which case the TJ would be the hoax.

When it comes to looking at where scholars have found Matthew to be questionable or non-genuine, there I made estimates of the probability of the direction of dependence in each independent instance. I would allow for the possibility that the scholars were wrong, or that a TJ hoaxer could have been aware of the scholars' objection, or that he could have thought of the logical objection himself. There were no "either-or" assumptions there, as the estimated probabilities usually ranged between 0.2 and 0.5. Examples abound in the Mt-TJ comparison section of this website, while Eldberg does not give any particular examples of his complaint.

Hence, the method I used did not assume that "the gospel either reports every word exactly as Jesus said it, or it is an intentional distortion of the truth, designed to deceive readers." Earlier in this debate I have in fact mentioned my belief that Jmmanuel no doubt dictated most of his teachings years after the fact to his disciple/writer as best he recalled them, which would not likely have been precisely as they had been spoken even assuming he possessed a remarkable memory.

Moreover, even if the evidence pointed to a serious distortion of Jesus, perpetrated by the gospel writers, this would say nothing whatsoever about the genuineness of the TJ. It would still remain an obvious hoax.

There are several hundred TJ-Mt verse comparisons indicating that Eldberg's hoax claim needs to be reversed. He hasn't yet delved into even one of them to say how and where my logic or conclusions may be incorrect.

Further, the probabilities which Deardorff has assigned to the verses of Matthew and TJ are subjective.

I've said that myself. That's the level where the debate should be held -- at each verse/passage comparison, making as unbiased an estimate as possible in each instance of how much the probability leans one way or the other: if scholars have found one or more logical reasons why a Matthean verse/passage is non-genuine or highly questionable while the TJ does not suffer from the criticism, yet one of the verses/passages is obviously dependent upon the other, what is the best sober estimate of the TJ being the hoax?

Let me do my own version of math here, in similar way. Facts and their assigned probabilities for that TJ is a hoax:
   1. The manuscript is not available: +100 zillion
   2. Only one living person has ever seen the manuscript: +100 zillion
   3. It only exists in a modern-language translation, not even a copy exists in the original language: +80 zillion
   4. No real scholar has examined, much less endorsed, the text:: +70 zillion
   5. Translator is unavailavle (dead or never existed): +28 zillion
   6. Only living witness is a professional UFO activist and by "coincidence" the alleged manuscript supports all his UFO ideas: +200 zillion
   7. Conspiracy theories are used to explain away all these shortcomings: +50 zillion

So there it is, scientifically and mathematically proved: The probability that TJ is genuine is one in 628 zillion. And I'm not even a mathematician! :-)

There does seem to be a drunken, pink elephant here! ;-)

In 1.) (By manuscript, Eldberg means the original TJ scrolls.) He fails to consider that if the TJ is genuine, it would be so upsetting to those in position of authority who learned of it that it is very unlikely that it would survive or ever be made available to scholars or to the public. His own reaction above is but a faint indicator of this. However, upon taking this consideration into account, the probability I would assign there is 0.5 at most, since there are two polarized ways of looking at the matter, each with an extreme probability assigned, which counterbalance each other.

Regarding 2.), precisely the same reasoning applies. However, we have a copy of the written testimony from the witness who was assassinated, in addition to the oral and written testimony from Eduard Meier. At most, for PHoax here I would assign 0.5. There are two sides to the matter!

If 3.) applies to a copy (transcription) of the TJ made some 1900 years ago, which is not now available, the same reasoning also applies. It was just as heretical then as now, and the custodian of the TJ transcription at the church where the writer of Matthew was located would have kept very close watch over this document, which was likely destroyed some time after Hebraic Matthew was translated into Greek, due to the TJ's terrible heresies from the Christian viewpoint. PHoax is 0.5.

Regarding 4.), the reasons why "reputable" biblical scholars cannot touch the TJ, or report on their findings if they were to seriously examine it, are quite evident. Any two or three of these reasons keep scholars away, all eight certainly do. Yet the reasons ought not, scientifically and scholastically speaking, keep scholars away who are curious and courageous. I would again assign PHoax of 0.5 (maximum uncertainty); Eldberg is again counting on lack of evidence here.

Re 5.), it is not at all independent of 2.).

Re 6.), Meier's UFO activism extends only to his own UFO experiences, photos, movie film and videotape. He does not go around vouching for the UFO experiences of others, and does not travel far from his own home. Someone else maintains his website. Hence I wouldn't label him a "UFO activist." It is not surprising that the TJ pretty well supports his ideas, since it is the other way around also: his ideas mostly agree with what's in the TJ. Those ideas were promulgated nearly 2000 years ago by a UFO contactee named Jmmanuel, whose ET contactors were from the same group as is Meier's main contactors. Meier has learned from them as well as from his own experiences. Those who espouse the (real) truth about a matter tend to agree on it. The question boils down to: Is the UFO phenomenon real or not? The UFO witnesses and their close friends and researchers, plus others who've looked into the matter, say "Yes, beyond doubt." Many non-witnesses say in effect, "No; show me a UFO I can touch and then I'll believe." American polls on the subject over the past 4 decades would assign an average value of PHoax = 0.5, as to whether UFOs are real or just mistakes and hoaxes.

Re 7.) there are only two conspiratorial themes involved. One is that Christian or Jewish leaders who learned about the TJ and its contents would strongly desire to remain silent about it, so as not to upset their own religion and their own faith. The other is that those in on the bombing raid that destroyed the TJ scrolls and tried to destroy Rashid, and those who were involved in his later assassination, would wish to remain strictly silent about their nefarious activities. Such conspiracies of silence are only to be expected, and would be self-imposed if not ordered by authority.

I would like to remind the reader that for accumulating probabilities on a given yes-no matter, the procedure is not quite so simple as just multiplying them together if they're not all very low or very high probabilities. Why is Eldberg remaining silent about the particulars of the Matthew-versus-TJ verse comparisons and not looking into their probabilities? Is this also a conspiracy of silence?

From my website. The reader is reminded, however, that many scholars exist who insist that Matthew is dependent upon Mark, that a hypothetical document "Q" once existed, that no such thing as the spirit world exists (they haven't studied the past-life, NDE and OBE data), and that UFOs aren't real and associated with extraterrestrials (they haven't studied the UFO phenomenon).

Scholar's research results (on the sources of NT texts) are here mixed with their personal religious beliefs (denial of the spiritual world) and opinions about UFO phenomena. All of which are lumped together to show how prejudiced they are.

The polarizations I speak of are very real. A scholar who has been raised to believe that Mark preceded Matthew usually has no interest in looking into a matter that would prove otherwise, etc. Such prejudices are real and sometimes admitted.

By the same logic, we can assume that all scientists who don't believe in a spiritual world or UFOs, will produce false scientific results. Nonsense, mr Deardorff!

Eldberg's first sentence is indeed nonsense, and in no way represents my views or writings. In my website I have repeatedly used scholars' results that are based on logic and not on false premises, even though some of the same scholars' other findings may be based upon false premises. Truth and falsehood often come mixed together.

From my website. The group of scholars who are best known for their deductions of genuine versus non-genuine Gospel verses is the Jesus Seminar. This group, once larger than 100 scholars, devoted one of their major efforts towards discussing and voting upon the genuineness of Matthew's teaching/discourse verses (see "Voting Records" in Forum 5, No. 1, March 1990). They judged 86% of these 719 Matthean verses to be non-genuine or probably non-genuine.

The "Jesus Seminar" started with an agenda. Their basic approach was that "Christianity as we know it did not originate with Jesus of Nazareth". Rather, the religion was formed later by Paul and others who assigned to Jesus the role of Messiah. From that basic, pre-conceived assumption, the Jesus Seminar set out to distill from the NT the "real historic Jesus" by stripping away everything that smacked of Christianity.

The TJ supports what Eldberg describes as the Jesus Seminar's basic agenda.

They are not the first to attempt this "demythologization" of Jesus. Regardless of whether they are right or wrong, it should be pointed out that the Jesus Seminar represents a radical, extreme position in modern exegetics. NOT a general scholarly consensus of any sort.

As a matter of fact, their individual views were quite wide ranging, and the impression should not be left that the individuals within the Seminar all concurred; their conclusions merely represent consensus views obtained through voting on the degree of perceived genuineness of each verse or passage. In their discussions of individual passages, their conclusions resulted from a wide range of individual criteria much more than from the agenda Eldberg mentions. Their membership included a fairly large fraction of liberal scholars, and to my mind this and their method of achieving consensus are what most distinguish them. The point was, scholars who are less bound by theological commitment than most have found the Gospel of Matthew (and the other Gospels) wanting in genuineness.

Continued from my website. Although this percentage is not so far from what the TJ indicates, this Seminar had few valid clues as to what was genuine and what not, and their batting average in this respect was dismal. They mainly assumed that "Jesus" genuinely spoke only weird or illogical, impractical utterances, such as "Turn the other cheek," "Love your enemies," and the parable of paying the workers in the vineyard the same wage whether they had worked one hour or all day.

Deardorff finds it incredible that Jesus could have made "weird or illogical, impractical utterances". In other words, a "Jesus utterance" can only be genuine if Deardorff agrees with it. With this fallacious reasoning, Deardorff reveals himself not only as an anti-Christian, but also as a lousy scientist. Whether we agree or not has no scientific value whatsoever in assessing the genuineness of a historical quote.

Eldberg has failed to state the arguments I've used. The historical Jesus was known by the people as a wisdom teacher, among other things. This much has come through even within the Gospel of Matthew. But a wisdom teacher (e.g., compare with Solomon) does not advise travelers to not wear sandals, to not store up any savings, to not resist evil, to never call anyone "father," plus other things listed above. Institutional NT scholars, not just myself, have commented on some of these weird utterances, and the TJ allows one to understand in some instances why the writer of Matthew fed them into his text.

From my website. The 1992 German version of the Talmud Jmmanuel (TJ) edited by Eduard Meier differs very considerably in detail, though not in substance, from his 1978 German version. For scholarly, investigative reasons, the 1978 TJ may be preferable to the 1992 and later editions. Thus these differences are discussed here. Meier made the alterations at the prompting of one of his Pleiadian ET contactors named Ptaah... [for the purpose of correcting errors]

If there are space aliens around who know the exact wording, we should be able to get a complete version from them, no? Why even bother with trying to prove the TJ manuscript's genuineness when it is not needed for the information?

Eldberg does not understand that space aliens, or ETs, do not go around giving out information that, if confirmed, would force millions of people to go suddenly berserk or end up in deep despair. This includes Rev. Eldberg. As once noted by Carl Sagan and co-author, the advanced ETs could well be obeying a Codex Galactica requiring them to treat emerging societies delicately. That's us. Throughout the UFO phenomenon they appear to have followed a strategy that includes plausible deniability, and Meier's ETs have appeared to follow the same policy. Meier had to work hard for the information he received from his ETs, and there is no guarantee that they didn't include some disinformation along with what they told him, as would appear to be the case with other contactees and abductees, so that science would not catch on too soon and the UFO coverup would not come unraveled prematurely.

Fortunately, the TJ is no channeling from aliens or spirits, but is historical, though because it is only a translation, no one is forced to believe it if it goes against their faith or prejudices.

End of response

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