OK, so there's this book called Bible Bloopers: Evidence That Demands a Verdict, Too!. I wasn't able to get it because no library in the WORLD had it to loan (I guess they had been warned), but a helpful reader found it at some sort of used book sale, and that seems to have been the way it oughtta be. The author, Michael Ledo, claims to be refuting McD's Ready Defense, but McD's material makes only token appearances. The publisher (of course!) is the "Atlanta Freethought Society", and the book comes with all the scholarship you might have expected: use of junk sources like as Graham's Deceptions and Myths of the Bible and Walker's Women's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, and an endorsement of a theory of conspiracy like Roman Piso theory (which is given a chapter, but not endorsed; I guess you'll have the virtue of an "open mind" just because you may consider it possible): Ledo says that he is "convinced there were coded into the texts of the New Testament (and selected texts of the Old Testament) a system to determine authorship based on the works of Pythagoras." This is the kind of intellectual maturity being a "freethinker" will get you, apparently (as opposed to using the works of Biblical scholars). You won't find anything worth the price (even used) in this book, so let's just run down of some of the sillier parts, as well as notes where answers can be found for other material. Some (like creation/evolution) is beyond our scope.
Alphabet Soup (also, later chapter, Old Testament Forgeries) -- naturally the JEDP theory is endorsed; see here. Among the amusing added touches we don't cover there: the old Ishmaelites/Midianites objection; a claim that J prefers the name "Canaanites" while E prefers "Amorites" (though the two names appear together in 17 verses throughout the OT); a note about Elohim being plural (which also answers Ledo's bit about "El" being a pagan deity -- the word "El" for the Hebrews is more abstract), and just in case an excuse that a "few anamolies" (actually, a large number) can be explained away with redaction to save the theory. The only scholarly source cited is one written in 1936; otherwise Ledo thinks a "Bible Handbook" offered by American Atheists press is suitable.
Creation -- contains a closing statement that God is not needed to explain how order came from chaos; rather, "chaos science, fractal geometry, and attractors" explain how order arose. I bet you had no idea it was that simple a sound bite. For Babylonian Genesis see here.
The Firmament -- see here.
Noah's Anachronism -- an amusing case of decontextualization, as Ledo thinks that Noah being told about "clean" and "unclean" animals is messed up, since it was not until Moses' time that these categories were set. Apparently Ledo isn't aware that concerns for ritual purity and conceptions of "clean" and "unclean" have existed in every society worldwide. Even today you have concepts of ritual purity, such as not stepping on cracks and keeping dishes on your plate separate.
Moses' Anachronism -- alludes to Sargon but also to an alleged Moses "copycat" named Mises who supposedly wrote laws on two slabs of stone, divided waters with a rod, etc. Unfortunately for Ledo, his source for this nonsense is Lloyd Graham's Deceptions and Myths of the Bible (see link above). Ledo also claims that Ps. 78:2-3 ("I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old: Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.") proves that all of the OT history is a "parable" and therefore not history. It apparently escapes Ledo that the words used mean proverbs or maxims, not narratives, and that what follows is a summary account put in the form of maxims. The reference is to style, not nature of the material in content. (Note that the word mashal or parable is used of a "true story" elsewhere: Numbers 23 uses it of Balaam's oracles of the future; it is used in Deut. 28:37 of a historical Israel; it is used in 1 Sam. 10:12 of Saul's historical actions that made him seem to be a prophet.)
Canaanite Festivals -- we are told that the Canaanites were the first to have feasts of unleavened bread, firstfruits, weeks, and booths. Unfortunately Ledo's primary source for this seems to have been Walker's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets, which is about as reliable a source as a prison inmate. His only other relevant source is that 1936 item, and Sir James Frazer's outdated material.
Pharaohs and Kings -- Ledo has read Rohl's book, or has he? The conclusions he reports from Rohl don't look very familiar. For example, Ledo says Rohl concludes the Amarna letters were "written by Saul." What is in Rohl is not that Saul wrote any of these but was mentioned in them.
David the Bisexual -- see here.
Psalm 22 -- see here and principles here. Ledo is also unaware that the Romans had rights to the property of those they executed.
Daniel -- see here and here.
Now, some lowlights from the NT section...
Theophilus -- On the dating and authorship of Luke see here. Ledo thinks Marcion could not have accepted Luke because of his Gnostic tendencies; he's aware of the point that Marcion edited Luke, but doesn't offer any reply to it.
The Virgin Birth -- see here and you can match some of Ledo's list of alleged virgin-born figures here. See also here for better scholarship that a sound bite from Spong on the subject.
Mary -- Ledo's list of "Mary parallels" with similar names looks impressive....until you realize his source for it is stuff like Graham's Deceptions and Myths of the Bible. His use of these undocumented, unscholarly sources speaks volumes.
Horus -- see here. You won't find answers to several of the claims Ledo makes here for parallels, because they are simply made up by his sources like Massey and Jackson who are not Egyptologists or scholars. Once again, let's Ledo's uncritical use of sources speak for itself.
The Lord's Prayer -- Ledo claims that the Lord's prayer "precedes Christianity in the form of a Jewish Kadish." Maybe it does. If so, so what? 1 Cor. 8:6 is a rewrite of the Jewish Shema. Do prayers have to be original just because Ledo is bored? Tekton Research Associate Punkish adds: The Jewish Kaddish might predate Christianity (though that is debatable - it's earliest forms are in Palestinian Aramaic) - and it is a communal mourner's praise to God, intended to be recited some time after the funeral (and so there are no requests for personal needs for instance, instead there are requests for national and individual peace - whereas the Lord's prayer encourages active peace in forgiving others). In order for it to be said communally a rabbi is required to gather a quorum of ten Jewish males, so unlike the Lord's Prayer it cannot just be said anywhere at any time. It is a recitation (with response by the congregation), definitely said in Talmudic times - which is certainly too late. Textually then, the Lord's Prayer probably predates it, contra Ledo.
The Galileean -- some of this is acceptable, but Ledo's central idea that the Zealots existed in 6 AD is way off; see here. The likely reason for Ledo's demise is (yet again) his uncritical use of irrelevant and non-scholarly sources, in this case, Carmichael's Birth of Christianity. See also there on the later chapter Barabbas.
Jesus the Magician -- Ledo offers such undocumented bloopers as a claim that it "was common knowledge that a demon can be sent into food" and that magical spells of the time "generally ended" with phrases like, "I am the Son of the living God" and "I am the truth." and "I am the Son of God."
The Son of Man -- see here. We learn here that Ledo cannot spell "Ezekiel." (We learn later he thinks there is an S at the end of "Revelation".) We also get from him that the title "Son of Man" was found in Egypt in 3000 BC. If so, it is only a support to us, as the linked article shows.
Jesus the Homosexual -- see here for a more critical look at Ledo's primary source than he offers.
The Dead Sea Scrolls -- Ledo mentions -- but does not clearly endorse -- the wacky theories of John Allegro, Eisenman and Wise, and Barbara Thiering. This is also apparently one of the benefits of being a "freethinker" of Ledo's type: You can uncritically promote any idea no matter how wacky, because that is a form of intellectual freedom.
Zoroaster -- see here.
Jesus' Breasts -- Ledo gets this nonsense from Lloyd M. Graham who thought the KJV's Rev. 1:13 ("And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.") meant female breasts. I suppose that men have "nipples" makes them women as well. On John being illiterate see here.
And that should be enough to keep anyone busy who thinks that Ledo has anything worthwhile to say. The scholarship he presents is dismal; his sources are mostly of the conspiracy variety, and it's so bad that not even Josh McDowell is likely to blink, let alone anyone involved in Evangelical scholarship.
And now an update. Ledo has responded, with The Infidel Guy's form providing a venue here; we provide the link as politely asked. :-) Here's our response, with what Ledo wrote:
The initial criticism is ad hominem. He is critical of my sources. Being critical of sourcework is "ad hominem"? No, it is brute fact and particularly relevant. Ledo often made use of garbage sources by non-experts and shows no awareness of any critical Biblical or secular scholarship that has emerged in the past 50 years. His source listing may as well have been picked at random from the shelves of a public library's religion section, while blindfolded. For an example, take a good look at the bibliography at the end of this article, on JUST the subject of the trial of Jesus. Ledo knows of only one of these in his book: Carmichael. Ledo would never soil his hands with more detailed and learned works by the likes of Hengel, Weatherly, or Catchpole. There is no "ad hominem" in pointing out such ribald, amateurish sourcework. But due credit: We at least get this admission -- The first one, Graham's Deceptions and Myths of the Bible I will concede is a terrible source. Once I discovered how bad the source was I had to edit the book prior to publishing. Then one wonders why it was not completely deleted from the book. This is an example in fact of Ledo's uncritical nature. Deceptions gives absolutely no credentials for Lloyd M. Graham. It postulates a thesis that planets are burned out suns. These two things alone should have warned any intelligent person (or, someone like Ledo, who is certainly quick to dismiss, i.e., the New Testament because of what he would call incredible and insufficiently attested tales) not to touch Graham's book with a 500 foot pole. It is good that Ledo now admits he chose a bogus source, but it's too late now to make excuses. In fact Mr. Holding's criticism of Graham's work is very kind. I could torn Graham's work to shred's [sic] far better than Holding. Maybe, but that's like saying Ledo could have beaten up a cockroach better than me. It should be noted Lloyd Graham does use sources. These are however 19th century sources, most of which have been exposed as frauds. But Ledo missed that anyway. In my book Graham is used as a secondary or back up reference to a primary one (except in one case, Mises- which I wanted to edit out, but Jim Wilson, the editor wanted to keep in because he just completed his editorial process.) I liked the title of Graham's work, but it is a deception to accept it as justified critic [sic] of the Bible. Wow. So he liked the title. Now isn't that a great reason to choose a book to do research with? I mean it. All you Ph. D. people out there have been missing the boat all this time. Silly people, you DON'T pick a source because the author has credentials in the area he writes about! That's stupid! So next time, be sure and check that title, NOT the education of the author. Unlike J.P. Holding, I however do not discount all the works of an author because of an error in one of his works. "An error"? Try enough errors to sink a boat. Graham's book averages at least five per page, including errors in science that ought to make Ledo cringe.
On the other hand Barbara Walker's work, Woman's Encyclopedia of Myth and Secrets is a scholarly work and is in the line of Frazier [sic] and Campbell. Like heck it is. Walker calls herself a "professional researcher and writer" which is a roundabout way of saying she has no relevant training in her subject area. Walker's book is a pastiche of unsubstantiated claims and nonsense. Beyond that: I couldn't find anything Holding wrote that was specific against her work. The need is not that pressing. Go to the page about the book on Amazon and look for the review by Dan Norder, owner of mythology.com. Here's what he says, " as a mythologist who has tried to find evidence to support her statements and can't....all you need to do is follow her footnotes. It may look impressive when she makes three statements in a paragraph and cites three references to back her up, but it's a lot less impressive when you actually have those books and they don't say at all what she claims they do. I've done it (I have a large library of mythology books)....You'll probably be shocked at the differences in what she claims those sources say and what they really do....Here is just the highlights of a few of many errors in just one entry: "Mara Exceedingly ancient name of the Goddess-as-Crone" The first sentence isn't even done yet and already it's got the crone theory that she tries to push on everything (none of the figures of Mara have anything to do with crones) and capitalizes the term for no good reason. And, to top it off, all but the relatively recent (last 500 years or so) references to Mara say that it is a MALE figure, not female. So this exceedingly ancient name isn't a crone and isn't even a goddess. Then we have: "The gypsies, with their traditions rooted in Hinduism, knew Mara to be the death goddess who trapped the soul of the Enchanted Huntsman in a mirror and caused his death--" I bought the book she references, guess what... Mara is a gypsy girl, not a goddess, the one doing the magic is the Devil (called as such, the typical Christian male one) and Mara loved the huntsman and didn't want him to die. The sentence ends: "a myth that paralleled ancient Pelasgian stories of the death of Dionysus" (in another reference in the book she outright calls Mara's huntsman "Dionysus" and doesn't claim it's a parallel but the exact figure -- the book isn't even internally self-consistent). So I go look up that myth, and they aren't related at all, except by the loosest of wishful thinking interpretations. And then later in this entry she references supposed related goddesses like Mari, etc. that *no other source anywhere* (excepting those who borrowed from this book) has any records or even hints at. She must have just made them up, assuming that if a word exists with some feminine sounding meaning (with a lot of twisting and misunderstanding of linguistics) then it must have originally been a goddess because she says so...." Norder concludes that Walker's book is "incredibly flawed and biased scholarship," which is a pretty harsh statement coming from someone with no reason to harbor a grudge against it. Thus, when Ledo says: He lumps it With Graham's work hoping his readers will ignore her scholarly work after they read a criticism on Graham. "Scholarly work," baloney sandwiches! Walker's book is best lumped with yesterday's trash, just as I said. I guess the idea is since they both dare to compare "two nudists taking dietary advice from a talking snake" to a myth, they must both be wrong. No, the idea is that in terms of scholarship, they are both unmitigated GARBAGE. Period.
Holding is also In disagreement as am I of the Piso conspiracy theory. I have made posts against the theory at the Piso web site and have been banned from it. Join the club; I know people who have had the same done. My biggest objections are the absurdity of the corollaries of the theory. The idea that that this idea was passed down via secret societies is absurd. It was founded in the 19th century and should be stated as such. The second problem is the fact there were no numbered manuscripts in spite of the author's claim. Because there are a number of items and ideas presented in the New Testament which indicate a Roman or pagan origin, one would have to be skeptical of the true origin. That's vague, but with no details, we'll let is pass. It is not an absurd idea by any stretch of the imagination, that the initial author might have encoded his name into the work. By itself it may not be; but apparently it is agreed that the whole of the Piso thesis is. Now having said that- I will state once again that I would be skeptical of any such claim that it was uncovered because there are no original manuscripts. In fact my work documents several such changes in the original New Testament Gospels, which failed to be mentioned in the critique of my book, with Holding taking the easy shots. Gee, isn't it Ledo's fault for including something that can BE an "easy shot" then? I found no such thing as described here in the book; we'll just see if Ledo produces any examples for us.
Holding objects to the idea that I can accept some ideas of an author and not others, or that I can present an idea and not endorse it because it lacks scholastic merit. Not sure how Ledo comes to that conclusion, since he doesn't quote me. I say no such thing as the former; the latter I did say something about, and nothing here is said to show that it isn't a foolish thing to do. It is interesting he never mentions Immanuel Velikovsky as one of my sources. Why? I just picked names as exemplars that I thought the most readers of my site would know: Graham, Walker, the Piso dog. I have never written on Velikovsky, so whatever "interest" Ledo has here is his imagination at work. I have endorsed two ideas of Velikovsky. One is that Thutmose III was the Pharaoh Shishak; the second is Admonitions of Ipuwer is about the plague period of Egypt. Perhaps Holding does not mention Velikovsky because he was the primary source of the book, The Genesis Flood upon which creationism is built. Perhaps Ledo just has a vivid imagination. I read Genesis Flood about 20 years ago and don't remember anything but the colors of the cover. I do not get into issues about creationism and the flood, so I don't know or care that Velly had a thing to do with it. The idea that Mars and Venus were comets a few thousand years ago approaching the earth at will and causing destruction may be even too much for those who are beholden to talking serpents to swallow. Funny words from a guy who uoted as a source someone who thinks Venus and Mars were suns (Graham). But hey, no one said freethinkers were consistent. BTW Punkish notes that Velikovsky's degree is in medicine!
Alphabet Soup After complaining about the lack of scholarship in my sources, he attacks the Wellhausen theory of document hypothesis. This theory is accepted by all the top Biblical scholars in the world today and is taught at the world's greatest institutions. Which of course makes it right? No, this is just Ledo's way of admitting he can't address any arguments presented in my links. As a matter of fact, if he were half up on scholarship, he would know that this theory is being critically examined again by top scholars, and has been rejected by several, notably R. N. Whybray, whose work I make use of. Holding's objections in this case are not beyond reason, however he ignores the fact that the contradictions in the OT stem from what is considered conflicting sources. No, Ledo merely assumes that is where they stem from, and assumes that there are contradictions to begin with. As it is, he won't address any particulars, so this is just rah-rah. There are distinct differences in style and story which should cause one searching for the truth to question. Holding does not do this. Yes I do. That's what I gave the links for. Had ledo followed them, he would have found several essays on the subject. But I more or less predicted that that would cause him to work too hard. He lists a few anomalies and dismisses the whole theory instead of attempting to think the idea through to it natural conclusion. I and Glenn Miller analyzed in detail several issues, claims, and anachronisms in the theory, and dismissed it. This I have done and present evidence in my new book, On Earth as it is in Heaven. That's nice. Which does little for Bible Bloopers and what Ledo thereby roundaboutly admits is an inadequate dealing with the subject. As for that new book, Ledo offers a summary of his own findings, and admits that he has "gone against conventional scholarship in my latest book, conflicting with Bible Bloopers," saying also, "I have chosen the Midianites over the Ishmaelites as being the correct or original text," whatever that means in context. He goes on with some more self-promotion that isn't relevant to our critique, but we may as well address:
The primary meaning of Elohim is "gods" or "the gods." This is taken from the concordance one can find on line. Compare the two words for yourself. http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=0430&version=kjv
http://www.biblestudytools.net/Lexicons/Hebrew/heb.cgi?number=0433&version=nas Wow, online lexicons. Sure beats peer-reviewed journal articles and scholarly monographs. But it may surprise Ledo to know that we don't entirely disagree; see here, which I linked to but Ledo said nothing about. Israel was best described as monolatrous, not monotheistic; the problem is, we've loaded the word "God" with proper name status. Now watch though as Ledo goes off the deep end:
Jehovah, YHWH was Yerah, a Canaanite moon god. He is associated with the night time sky and the constellations. El, or Elohim is a later addition to the text. It was taken from the Babylonian god Enlil who was kindly old bloke who presided over a court of gods, similar to the JOB story. Yeah. Real wild stuff for scholars of the ANE to howl at. I may see about getting Ledo's new book later; from the description it doesn't seem much of a threat to Biblical scholarship. Ledo goes on to reminisce about some inconsistency he saw on the Ankerberg show years back; well, I'm not beholden to John's stuff, so we'll skip to where Ledo gets back on track with our critique.
My source for this is in my book is the obvious one, #103 Strong's Concordance. Holding opts to list the "least credible" of my sources in his criticism, apparently being unfamiliar with the sources he claims to use himself. Which ones? Like Mark Smith's Origins of Biblical Monotheism or Hurtado's One God, One Lord, or Winston's article on what is meant by Jewish monotheism? Ledo clearly has no idea what sources I use or am familiar with.
Creation I will let each individual compare Babylonian religion to the Old Testament and make their own criticism. Basically, he has no answer to my own analysis and so falls back on "you decide" for lack of an answer. In my next work I use a Christian web page which claims they are different to point out the similarities. It seems the main issue is the stories are not identical, idea for idea, word for word so they must be different. Who gives a flick if it is a "Christian web page"? How about answering my arguments? Is this web page by a scholar like Heidel, or does it use such sources? Now catch this fractured analogy:
We live in an age were the Flintstones were based the Honeymooners. These shows were vastly different, yet one was stolen from the other. These were shown in the same culture to the same audience. How much different would it have been had the Flintstones been made for Mexico? Would we even be able to tell it was borrowed? The similarities between the Babylonian stories to that of the Bible are far more similar than the Flintstones and the Honeymooners, yet the Christians cry, "foul" because there exists the expected differences. Half worth the effort, but keep in mind that both shows in turn were derived from the same common source: The foibles of young married couples in real life. Anyway, it's a bad sub for actually addressing my points.
Firmament I will make one correction to Holding's thesis. The circle of the earth is not a reference to the earth but the circle of the zodiac or Mazzaroth as the Bible refers to it. And what contextual marker supports this view? None. Ledo simply makes it up. I find it absurd to think that the Hebrews alone believed in a spherical earth while its neighbors believed else wise. I actually think they didn't care for the most part about the shape of the earth. It was rather busy, what with the need to keep from starving and all of that sort of thing. The fact is- it was forbidden under penalty of death to say the world was a sphere and not the center of the universe. This penalty was not imposed by scientists, but by the church scholars who read and interpret the Bible. OK…and how did this affect ancient Hebrews, particularly? Did the church leaders go back in time and threaten them? I'd also like documentation for this "forbidden under penalty of death" bit. It sounds like some of that silly freethinker hearsay that gets passed around. Now that they were proven wrong they say, "We didn't mean that really, this language is NOW poetic, ya, ya, that's it, it's poetic. That's the ticket." Sure. Meanwhile that's a fine substitute for actually addressing my detailed arguments. As late as the 1950s a young Billy Graham claimed rockets could not ascend into space because they would bump into the firmament. I wouldn't mind a source for that quote. Of course, with due respect, Billy is a great evangelist but when it comes to contextual exegesis he isn't exactly R. N. Whybray, or even Gleason Archer or Duane Garrett for that matter.
Genesis 1:6-8 "And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament and separated the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And it was so. And God called the firmament heaven."
This gives up a physical description of the firmament. It is capable of separating water. "Capable of" is Ledo's own imagined add-in. It merely does separate the two - it does not say that it was the motive that separated them and kept them separate. What happens is as science progresses, Biblical interpretation follows. If the Christians or Hebrews were the first to proclaim the world was round and set out to prove, because their holy book stated it was so, they would have a real argument of their current revised interpretation. As long as their interpretations follow science and fail to lead science, I will be a skeptic of their claims. Nice bravado, but in the end, a poor excuse and exchange for actually confronting what I wrote. This will apparently be Ledo's only method: the old burp and run.
Noah Interesting that Holding, differs from the Bible and now uses a comparison to pagan societies to make the claim Noah knew "clean" beasts from "dirty" beasts. I have no problem with this interpretation of Holding to suggest man did not learn of the "clean" beast from God as the Bible states, but made up the idea on his own. He is trying to have it both ways. I am? How? What I am doing is contextualizing the text. If Ledo can't argue with it or provide an argument against, he should just admit it and move on.
Moses I will not argue the Mises story. I do not like it myself. However the Sargon connection I continue in my next work. It also seems that the story of Sinuhe is also involved in the Moses legacy as well as David vs. Goliath. Fine. I deal with Sinuhe too, here. It's not better than Sargon. Ledo goes on to tell us what he'll have in his future arguments, which is nice but not very useful in terms of actually addressing a word I said. Ledo does ask: Could Holding please cite the approximate age Moses was placed in the basket and show evidence bitumen was used in Egypt during that period? He failed to do that. They used wax and made a wet paste to seal ships as noted by Herodotus. I have searched in vain to try to find were the Egyptians used bitumen to seal anything before 1000BCE including. Including…what? Surely Ledo jests. Pitch or bitumen was used all over the ANE. Citing Herodotus, who lived hundreds of years after the time of Moses, is as irrelevant as citing construction methods on the Titanic to address how the Spanish Armada was put together. I'd also like to know what documents Ledo has been looking at from that era that have talked about this subject. Moses was probably no more than a toddler, BTW, otherwise he'd have been too hard to hide. Holding glosses over this point, but never address it, opting to take the easy Mises hit. I can hardly "gloss over" what isn't brought up. And isn't it Ledo's fault for including an "easy" hit? So the critic is to blame for his subject's errors? That's a new take on personal responsibility…
Canaanite Festivals My main source of this is not what Holding claims. Here again he takes an easy ad hominem way out. Nothing "easy" about it - that is where the claim is found. Another source for it makes it no more credible or up to date. They are actually from that "outdated" 1936 source (apparently old means outdated unless it is 2000 year old to Holding) Given the pace of scholarship, 1936 is not only outdated, it is pitiably so. Old Testament Religion by Elmer A. Leslie (A.B., S.T.B., Ph.D. professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Literature, Boston University School of Theology). In fact I **** near plagiarize his work. I added the other sources as secondary references. This is an Abingdon Press book, which is basically a Biblical/Jesus publisher. I would suggest any argument against this chapter be taken specifically against the work of Elmer Leslie, and not haphazard ad hominems. No argument is needed. This is an outdated, unsubstantiated claim made by a source that should have been rejected for more modern ones. In any event Ledo obviously does not want to bring forward Leslie's specifics and subject them to critical evaluation.
Pharaohs and Kings I must question if Holding understood what he read in this book. Conclusion 16 where Rohl claims Labayu is Saul. On page 208 he claims the letters were written by the "scribes of Labayu." Technically he doesn't claim they were written personally by Saul himself, which was not my meaning even though Rohl describes them as the "letters of Labayu." His claiming I was incorrect in saying they were "written by Saul" is not the kind of scrutiny his Bible could withstand. In other words Ledo wants to blame me for his own lack of clarity. In any event, we'll never see him addressing Rohl in any real detail.
David the Bisexual I am not sure why Mr. Holding even bothered to have a link to this chapter. Because it is a common issue and readers deserved better data than Ledo provided. I don't think he even read what I said in the chapter, just the title and then he made ignorant assumption I subscribe to this theory when in fact I do not. Not enough, apparently, to keep Ledo from presenting it for reader judgment. Hence addressing it remained necessary. What I wrote was a criticism of Dr. Harwood's work on the topic. While I agreed with him on a couple of his points, I mostly disagreed with his work. I never made a concluding statement on the topic (a sin of freethinkers to allow people to make up their own mind.) And to just lay out such material uncritically under the pretense of doing so for "open minds" while doing as little primary research as possible. In my next book, the story is immaterial as Jonathan is not in the original text. Should be great news for OT textual critics and scholars who will find that news. Next:
Psalm 22 Holding Obfuscates on the issue. Rather than just coming out and claiming what the Hebrew Lexicon claims about the phrase in question, he confuses the issue with meaningless references to the Dead Sea Scrolls and the mistranslated Septuagint. Eventually Holding ends up in defeat, unable to justify the translation. Um, sure. That's why I provided the link to Miller's detailed article. "Meaningless" means, from Ledo, "the analysis was so far above my head I couldn't figure it out." The article he references was about Jewish exegesis of the NT period, which erases his claims of abuses. I am well aware of the Roman custom. You mistake a tongue-in-cheek statement on translation for a meaningful one. When one reads the KJV translation it gives the impression that main or sole reason the Romans divided up the robes of Jesus is to fulfill some obscure Hebrew prophecy. That's an "impression" you get if you read with horrid carelessness and a dash of paranoia, perhaps. Sounds like an excuse. And now that you brought up the topic, why does Jesus still have on a robe in all the depictions of his crucifixion? Beats me. Ask the artists. Crucifixion victims were almost always crucified in the nude, though the Jews may have pestered the Romans to allow a brief loincloth - which is all I have ever seen Jesus wear in depictions, not a full robe.
Daniel- Mr. holding does a great injustice to the truth. Ledo does a great injustice to my full article by not addressing any of it. He contends that those who hold the belief that the Book Of Daniel was written 168-165 BCE are "radical critics." Perhaps a bout with Mr. Webster and reality would be in order. Perhaps a bout with perspective would be in order. Of course the radical critics to not think THEMSELVES radical; yet I show that their positions are indeed radical, and Ledo needs to address them and show why they were not. As it is, he seems to have stopped reading my huge article after the second sentence, after seeing that phrase, then babbles on about "scholars" and "institutions" (this again from a guy who once considered Lloyd M. "No Credentials Listed" Graham a useful source) and then says: Holding's history lesson leaves much to be desired and perhaps if he could come up with another 6th century BCE Hebrew writing with Greek and Persians phrases, there would be something to his linguistic argument. "Greek and Persian phrases," huh? As I said quite clearly, that's actually THREE Greek WORDS (not "phrases"), all three of them musical instruments that would be typical loanwords; and the Persian is all admin terms that would come into Daniel's vocab in his later career. What Ledo needs to explain is why we do not find metric tons of Greek phrases in a work supposedly composed in the Hellenistic period. What he totally ignores is the fact the story is written from two separate points of view, i.e. first person and third person. What other Bible author did that? Try Josephus as an author who did it. Try Moses. (Oops, that question is begged, too.) Variation from third and first person is not any sort of reason to suppose multiple authors. If not, why not? My main source for this work was "Harper's Bible Commentary" which I purchased in a Christian book store. Gee, and that he bought it there and not off AntonLavey.com somehow validates it as a source and makes its arguments correct? The author was W. Sibley Towner, Ph.D. The Reverend Archibald McFadyen, Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va. That's nice. In the meantime Ledo didn't address any but the tiniest portions of my argument, and he botched that ("PHRASES") badly.
Theophilus- Again I do not understand Mr. Holding's problem. I give both sides of an issue, claim they are both faulty and allow the reader to make a decision. The "problem" is irresponsible scholarship, and not knowing that one "side" is let out by someone who never should have been given an ounce of credence. If I wanted to prove Luke could not have possibly have written Mark, when Mr. Holding claims he did, I would have reprinted his page on the topic. Uh…what? When "Luke" could not have written Mark? Oh-kay….the point is that the whole "later Theophilus" deal is refuted by an early date for Luke. Get it? As with the Book of Daniel the argument he makes against it is far weaker then the one he presents of his opponents. In any event, Ledo has no answer to speak of, nor any way to absolve himself of irresponsible use of sources.
Virgin Birth -Again Holding's response has less bite than presented by those whose argument he presents. The virgin birth concept took on several forms, including barren births. I will go into detail into this in my next work. We'll pass on the silly details; Ledo says Is. 7:14 is mistranslated, and on that see here for links to the ThinkTank refuting that notion. It is illicit to speak of a "virgin birth concept" in "several forms"; it is either virgin or it is not. Period. Broadening the target base is not acceptable.
Mary's- Again Graham is a secondary source. There are other sources listed in my book. All one has to do is to pick up a book on mythology and look under the letter "M" to confirm my list. "A book on mythology"? Like what? Walker's un-credible work? No, this is just bunk, and Ledo will find it in no credible source.
Horus It is interesting how Holding quickly dismisses the works of Freke and Gandy by lumping them with Gerald Massey as a source. I e-mailed Timothy Freke after he had published The Jesus Mysteries and in fact he had stated he had never heard of Gerald Massey. Their book is well documented, much of which uses primary sources. Their book is junk and garbage, as I have showed in several works on this site. Ledo can search for their names if interested. In any events, Freke doesn't need to have heard of Massey to be given a similar evaluation.
I will let the works of Gerald Massey speak for themselves. Judging from the tomes of information he has accumulated, the man is certainly no dummy as Holding might project. While Massey is not degreed, I would certainly call him an Egyptologist. In other words, Ledo is a sucker for a thick book. That's no judgment worth a hill of beans. No, he was no "dummy"; he was a scoundrel who had no business in the field, and he had no certification as an Egyptologist. Jackson, who I list as a reference is secondary as he basically sites Massey. He is immaterial. Then why was he cited at all? Why was he even used? This is merely an excuse for being caught using a poor source. Holding wants Massey to use classic interpretations of myths, which he does not. Massey read his own hieroglyphs. Massey had no qualifications to do so. His work is unrecognized by professional Egyptologists; it never appeared in refereed, peer-reviewed journals; he is referenced by no professional Egyptological source, and when I asked a leading Egyptologist for an opinion of Massey, he had never even heard of him. That sure speaks well for his credibility as a source!
The myths and stories concerning Egypt's gods vary from location to location and from age to age. Thus one can find and quote a story different from what anyone else can. The worship of the gods Horus and Osiris in Alexandria is the closest I have found to mimic Christianity, or vice-versa. Vague, so there's no much that can be said in reply. As laid out so far it's just a "wait and see, I'll show you" excuse.
Massey does use sources, but not ones that are easily verified with a web page as Holding demands. Massey sites [sic] locations, such as the Temple of Karnak as his source. Big deal. I can send a tourist to Karnak, and he can cite it as a source, and this proves, what? He also uses various Books of the Dead and heavily relies on Egyptian Rituals. For instance to site [sic] Massey: "The resurrection robe is always red….when Horus rises again, in the character of the avenger it is as a red god. The manes thus addresses him , 'Our fearsome one, who art over the two earths; Red God, who orderest the block of execution!' (Rit. Ch 17 Renouf). Jesus likewise appears to have been represented as the red God or god in red. For 'they stripped him and put on him a scarlet robe.' Oops, sorry to disappoint, but that's just more of Massey's ignorance showing. First, to describe what Horus had as "resurrection" is patently dishonest and blatantly incorrect, as my article explained. Second, Jesus' "red robe" (actually, it would have been closer to what we call purple) was not worn at the resurrection, and in fact, was only worn while he was being mocked. No parallel. Massey does list his sources, if you care to read him and check them out. This is apparently too much work for Holding who chides Massey for using primary sources. No work needs be done. Massey is a vastly uncredentialed source who deserves no credence. Any futz on a log can go into Karnak and announce his opinion, but it takes a trained scholar to have those opinions be worth ten cents. Ledo then offers a wacky idea of the robe as an astrological symbol and promises more in his new book; NT scholars should pay heed and give up all their seats. We go on after:
What Mr. Holding wants is to for us to provide a list from someone like Wallis Budge stating "Jesus was like Horus in these 200 ways." He is correct when he states this list does not exist. It doesn't even exist in 2 ways. The only way it exists at all is by fudging terminology (calling the Lego-snap revivification of Egyptian gods a "resurrection") and by so generalizing in a way that would include everyone from Chu Chulain to Superman ("a great hero"). However he does make statements such as "the Egyptians declared their god to be One, and without a second, and meant precisely what the Hebrews and Arabs meant when they declared their God to be One." You can read the statements such as "thus being one god I became three" and make your own connections. Budge actually is somewhat out of date, but without context there is not much that can be said of this statement. What "god" is Budge referring to? What deal is it to say a god is "one"? Is there some connection between Thor and Baal because both are able to said to be "one"? Worthless generalization accomplishes nothing. Budge does speculate the idea [sic] of the judgment of the dead arose in Egypt. "The Egyptians of every period in which they are known to us believed that Osiris was of divine origin, that he suffered death and mutilation at the hands of the powers of evil, that after a great struggle with these powers he rose again, that became henceforth the king of the underworld and judge of the dead…and that raised Osiris to such exalted position in heaven that he became the equal in certain cases, the superior of Ra, the Sun-god, and ascribed to him the attributes which belong unto God." That's nice. It proves, what? As my article notes, there is simply no comparison to Jesus. If Ledo can engage specifics rather than sound bites, let's see him do it.
The Lord's Prayer I wanted to show people that Jesus' sayings were in no way unique or a revelation to that age as one would expect from a true God. What is it that made Ledo think that he needed to burn this straw man to begin with? Ancient society was conservative in outlook; if anything, Jesus would be expected to merely reaffirm the conventional wisdom, not spout "new" things. Indeed anything "new" was automatically regarded with suspicion. Ledo wasted his time here because he has no knowledge to speak of, of the social world of the NT. Jesus performed no great miracles that were already being performed by would-be messiahs. How about some examples? No one until Bar Kochba (135 AD) ever claimed to be Messiah, and there are no parallel miracles outside the OT. Nor did Jesus say anything special that would make one think he had special knowledge that would come with being a God. As noted, this is nothing but a burnin' hunk o'straw. The OT already had God's revelation; what newness was needed? And if Jesus said anything new, then we'd hear whines that he was inconsistent with the OT. You can't win. That was the point in showing where the Lord's Prayer came from, although it is not stated. Then maybe it should have been. It would have made the straw man more apparent. I was hoping people could just read the facts and draw their own conclusion. (This would be a unique idea to Christianity built upon indoctrination.) An even more unique idea to skeptics would be studying the material in context. As noted, once again, the "it had to be new" claim is bogus. Draw your conclusion about Ledo on the basis of how little knowledge he shows of the Biblical era.
Galilean Holding's reply is a long generic response that has little or nothing to do with what I wrote. If so it is because Ledo's chapter here had little to do with anything. It was just a pastiche of this and that about Galilee and Galileeans, with no discernible point made; some of it is just "fun facts" and it has odd points mixed in deserving of criticism. I made it quite clear that I was only addressing a couple of ideas in the chapter anyway. Again he singles out one source to be critical about and ignore [sic] Josephus and historian Michael Grant as my main sources. They sure as heck were not "main sources" for the points I criticized. There is nothing in your criticism which refutes the idea the Zealot movement started in 6 AD. There's nothing to refute a claim that it started in 160 BC, either. The claim that it started in 6 AD is simply arbitrary, is not supported by any contemporary source, and is not held by any scholar in the field; and it is thoroughly refuted by the material in the link, which Ledo just waves at. I did not associate Jesus with the Zealot movement as you stated. I speculated it was "possible" Judas was associated with this movement and concluded "there was no evidence to support this hypothesis." Again I left any connection up to the reader by simply presenting the evidence. In other words, Ledo merely presented various claims (including those associating Jesus with Zealotry) uncritically, without sifting them or consulting serious literature (other than what was convenient and at hand). I question if it is actually my book Mr. Holding is writing a critique. It is. Our question is when will Ledo own up to his irresponsible presentations, laid out under the pretense of "letting the reader decide".
Jesus the Magician I don't know how "undocumented" my source is when I list Jesus the Magician as a source. One would actually have to obtain that book and verify the source material to claim if it documented or not. Precisely. The claim is "undocumented" because all Ledo does is list books at the end, with no idea given what page to check, so that unless you just happened to read all the books, you have to rifle through every page (or hope for a lucky strike through the index) to check Ledo's claim. That is undocumented. Apparently Mr. Holding never did this, and erroneous leads the reader to believe I made these phrases up. Morton Smith, Ph.D. The Hebrew University, Th. D. Harvard; Professor of History, Columbia University is my source. His main source seems to be "The Magical Papyri of Paris." Of whatever worth that is. I found no references to it online; now that I know it was Smith who was the source, I can look it up. One would have liked some relevant details, like the DATE of this doucument, which seems to have been from the fourth to seventh century AD - rather too late to use to reference anything about Christianity!
Son of Man Here Mr. Holding again resorts to ad hominem to make his case. Meaning, I exposed Ledo's inadequacies as a reporter, and as a speller of Biblical names. Outside of that I don't see where he addresses anything in my chapter with his generic response. Translation: It's too hard for him to address. What Ledo calls "generic" is a detailed analysis of the origins and meaning of the SoM title as used by Jesus; it also shows that the version of the phrase in English in Ezekiel is not the same as what as in Daniel; it shows the real origins in Judaism, and renders any reference in Egypt, even if genuine, irrelevant.
Jesus the Homosexual Again I do not see what Mr. Holding's beef is with my text as I draw no conclusion opposite of his. I conclude it was a late composition, i.e. post Mark and that the homosexuality part was denied. No, he just presents it irresponsibly under the pretense of "let the reader decide". I gave the reader better means to make a decision than Ledo ever conceived.
Dead Sea Scrolls Again Holding is critical because I present various and even wacky ideas about the Dead Sea Scrolls by various authors which I do not endorse. I let the reader pick and choice which theory they are attacked to and follow it up on their own. Yes Mr. Holding, this is what being a "freethinker" is all about, as you so much disdain the idea of thinking outside the box. Being a freethinker means being irresponsible? Well, what do you know… (Except in believing snakes have vocal cords and can speak perfect Hebrew.) Or what can be translated into Hebrew. In any event, while miracles are already acceptable in my paradigm, stuff like Allegro has no such de facto outlet.
Zoroaster Holdings [sic] is turning this into a chicken or an egg argument. It does not really matter which came first. It doesn't? Tell that to Acharya S…in any event, since Ledo accuses Christianity of plagiarizing, it is quite important not just "who came first" but "whether it is really a match". The intent of the chapter was to demonstrate the desire or attempt to unify the empire under one savior god theology. Then I wonder why it ended with that bit about copying by Christianity…that sure had to do with "unifying the empire" by itself. Holding deceives his readers into thinking that the "satan" in Job was the devil we think of. This was of course a generic meaning "adversary or prosecuting attorney" and not the devil in this story. You should be ashamed of yourself for promoting this lie. Ledo should be ashamed of himself for promoting bad scholarship, but he isn't. See here for that "it's not the same being" nonsense refuted. The word "satan" in Hebrew has nine meanings. This lexicon does not do the word justice, but you get the idea. I get the idea that Ledo does lousy research from base sources. In any event my argument is based on Satan's characteristics and role in both testaments, not just a word.
Jesus' Breasts Again your explanation does little to address the actual Greek words in question. The Greek word "mastos" has nothing to do with male nipples and is never translated as such. I know it doesn't. The point is that merely having a "breast" does not make one a woman. Meanwhile, how about some documentation that mastos would not be used of males? The Greek lexicons say otherwise, Again Graham was not used. Manly P. Hall, the authority on occult symbols was my source. Graham uses it too, but it makes little difference as Hall was apparently no more academically credentialed. All of his books write glowing descriptions of him as a high ranking Mason but never seem to mention any degrees or journal credits. Why not? Research associate Punkish found out that he was a Ph. D. in literature, and so obviously not properly qualified here. In reality one does need a source to see the astrological connection. It is self evident. So "self-evident" that Ledo won't explain it to us. In that case, I'll just reply: It's so evidently nonsense it needs no refutation. (Note "Janus" on page 225 is a "blooper" it should read "Venus." The top Bible scholars and even the Roman Catholic Church deny that the same John who wrote the gospel text could not have been the same one who wrote Revelation. I have "top Bible scholars" who say the opposite. If Ledo thinks he can debate it head to head, then where's the beef? Will he ever stop hiding behind authority and become a critical freethinker?
If Mr. Holding chooses to believe in an invisible super Jew who flies around the world granting wishes to good little Christians (especially when 3 or more are gathered) that should be between him and his analyst. Two or more, actually, and that is a caricature of what is taught; see here. I may as well say, if Ledo chooses to believe in a goo to you by way of the zoo fantasy, that should be between him and his analyst, but I don't think there is an analyst alive who could take Ledo's case.
What is equally funny is Holding's tap dance about the conflicting genealogies of Jesus. In one statement he claims one is Mary's (but does not fully endorse the idea) in which case Luke is in error when it claims it is Joseph's genealogy. (Choose your error). He seems to want to have things both ways, but he cannot.
Holding claims the Zerubbabel and Salathiel are not the same ones in the Old Testament text, while other Christian web sites claim they are, because it fulfills prophecy. Actually, that's Miller's article, and merely citing a website that disagrees, with no critical comparison of arguments, is not an answer. But it is typical "freethinking" arrogance from Ledo, who clearly does not have the capacity to deal with anything we have presented in detail. And that's the story, folks.