Friday, January 21, 2011

Darek Barefoot's new book, Gospel Mysteries

Darek Barefoot is perhaps best known to this audience as the one who published a response to Richard Carrier's critique of my book on Internet Infidels. In my estimation, that response goes beyond simply rebutting Carrier's mistakes to making a positive contribution to the development of the Argument from Reason. He also had some good discussions with Blue Devil Knight and Doctor Logic during the heyday of Dangerous Idea 2, mostly back in 2007.

His new book, Gospel Mysteries, defends the inspiration of the Bible by arguing that the typological connections between the Old Testament and the New Testament strongly indicate that the claim that the Old Testament prefigures Christ is not something that the early Christians just made up. The Amazon page I link to here includes a detailed review by J. D. Walters, a sometime commentator here and a contributor to Christian CADRE, which should give you a more detailed account of the argument than I can supply here.


Edwardtbabinski said...

Typology is wonderful, it explains everything, but proves nothing.

Talk about a severe case of parallelomania.

OT authors utilized ideas and imagery from the ANCIENT NEAR EAST, and from previously written canonical and noncanonical Hebrew writings.

NT authors utilized ideas and imagery from previously written books in the OT, and from previously written canonical (NT) and noncanonical (inter-testamental) writings.

The book of Revelation is a literary creation (not a vision) based on ideas and imagery from the OT, and from previously written canonical (NT) and noncanonical (inter-testamental) writings.

If Derek has to go back to the "old books" (the argument from typology has already had its day) like Tim is doing, then conservative apologetics is merely demonstrating it has nothing new to say.

Guys! Catch Up! Read Thom Stark's The Human Faces of God. Read White's Scripting Jesus. Read Dale Allison's Constructing Jesus.

Read these pieces. . . The Rise of Monotheism and Israel's Theological Worldview [Key Articles That Sum Up What Scholars Are Discussing]:

Edwardtbabinski said...


The O.T. never admits where it obtained its general ideas and conceptions that reflect ancient Near Eastern culture around them from cosmology to priesthoods, temple building and sacrifices.

In fact other ancient Near Eastern writings had to wait until the 1800s before we could even begin to translate them and start comparing them with Hebrew ideas.

See the chapter, “The Cosmology of the Bible” in the new book, The Christian Delusion.

The O.T. also mentions the names of books that no longer exist, but presumably from which its information was derived:

The Book of Wars (Num. 21:14-15) The Book of Jasher (Josh. 10:13)
The Chronicles of David (1 Chron. 27:24)
The Book of the Kings of Israel and Judah (2 Chron. 27:7; 35:27; 36:8)
The Book of the Kings of Israel (1 Chron. 9:1; 2 Chron. 20:34)
The Words of the Kings of Israel (2 Chron. 33:18)
The Decree of David the King of Israel (2 Chron. 35:4)
The Chronicles of Samuel the Seer (1 Chron. 29:29)
The Chronicles of Nathan the Prophet (1 Chron. 29:29)
The Book of Gad (1 Chron. 29:29)
The Book of the Prophet Iddo (2 Chron. 13:22)
The Words of Shemaiah the Prophet (2 Chron. 12:15)
The Deeds of Uzziah by Isaiah the Prophet (2 Chron. 26:22; 32:32)
The Book of Jehu (2 Chron. 20:34)
The Record book of Ahasuerus (Esther 2:23; 6:1)
The Book of Remembrance Mal. 3:16
The Lost Book of the Covenant (May be the Covenant Code)
The Manner of the Kingdom
The Acts of Solomon
The Chronicles of the Kings of Judah
The Book of the Kings of Israel
Book of Samuel the Seer
Prophecy of Ahijah
Iddo Genealogies
Story of the Book of Kings
Acts of Uziah
Acts of the Kings of Israel
Sayings of the Seers
Laments for Josiah
Book of the Chronicles
Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia

Edwardtbabinski said...


Then there’s the NT writings. Jesus and the Apostles employed—and even appealed to the authority of—non-canonical ideas, oral traditions, deuterocanonical, extracanonical writings, and varying textual recensions of their day:

Matthew 2:23 (unknown prophecy),
Matthew 23:2-3 (rabbinic tradition),
Matthew 27:24 (“Story of Susanna” = Daniel 13:46 LXX),
Mark 10:19 (“do not defraud” = Sirach 4:1 LXX),
Luke 11:49 (unknown scripture),
John 7:38 (unknown Scripture),
Acts 7:14 (vs. Exodus 1:5),
Acts 7:16 (cf. Gen. 50:12-14, Joshua 24:32),
Acts 7:20-30 (Jewish traditions about the early life of Moses),
Acts 7:36 (Testament of Moses),
1 Corinthians 2:9 (Apocalypse of Elijah–So identified by Origen, Commentary on Matthew 27.9. This was bitterly disputed by Jerome (Letter 57 [to Pammachius] §9 [NPNF, 2nd series, vol. 6, p. 117]), who claimed the verse was taken from Isaiah 64:4 “according to the Hebrew text.” In fact, however, the Hebrew is only a very rough approximation of Paul’s language in 1 Corinthians 2:9, and Jerome may well have been wrong on this point.)
1 Corinthians 10:4 (Jewish tradition),
2 Corinthians 11:14 (Life of Adam and Eve),
Galatians 3:19 (Jewish tradition; cf. also Acts 7:38,
Acts 7:53, and Hebrews 2:2),
Ephesians 5:14 (Apocalypse of Elijah–So identified by Epiphanius, Against Heresies 1.3.42; see also Jerome, Commentary on Ephesians 3.5.15.),
2 Timothy 3:8 (Book of Jannes and Jambres),
Hebrews 1:6 (Septuagint and Dead Sea Scrolls),
Hebrews 10:5-6 (Septuagint),
Hebrews 11:4–5 (Book of Enoch),
Hebrews 11:35-37 (2 Maccabees 6-7, Martyrdom of Isaiah),
2 Peter 2:4 (Book of Enoch),
James 1:19 (= Sirach 5:13),
James 4:5 (unknown Scripture),
Jude 9 (Assumption of Moses),
Jude 14-15 (Book of Enoch),
Revelation 15:3-4 (the Song of the Lamb–Note also that John 10:22 places Jesus at the Temple during the Feast of Dedication (i.e., Hanukkah), a religious celebration whose only scriptural justification is in the Books of Maccabees. [1 Maccabees 4:36-59; 2 Maccabees 1:18-2:19, 10:1-8])
The apostle Paul–in both his speeches and writings–made extensive use of the late apocryphal work known as The Wisdom of Solomon [not to be confused with the Book of Proverbs, but instead, a late non-canonical apocryphal work attributed to “Solomon,” and which contained some definitely “weird” ideas.]:
Acts 17:27 (compare with Wisdom 13:6),
Acts 17:30 (compare with Wisdom 11:23),
Romans 1:19-23 (compare with Wisdom 13:1-5),
Romans 9:19-23 (compare with Wisdom 12:12-18 and 15:7)
Romans 13:10 (compare with Wisdom 6:18),
1 Corinthians 6:2 (compare with Wisdom 3:8),
Ephesians 6:11-17 (compare with Wisdom 5:17-20),
2 Timothy 4:8 (compare with Wisdom 5:16.)

If you want to understand the OT or NT you can't rely on typology, you have to read other works from that time and that milieu. There are plenty of books out there that contain selections from other ancient works that can help one understand the NT and OT in their milieu.

Darek Barefoot said...


Your comments are interesting. However, my book does not deny various cultural influences on biblical writings. Nor does my book make some kind of argument from simple thematic resemblance. I set forth various objective criteria for comparing typological alignments within the bible with features of non-biblical literature both ancient and modern.

My case may be subject to valid criticism, but that criticism must speak to the evidence and arguments I actually present and not tilt at straw men. It might even be a good idea for anyone attempting to critique my book to read it first.

Alex Dalton said...

I will definitely be picking this up. I've studied typology for many years and have always felt that such an argument could be pursued. I'm actually excited to read this as an apologetic, but even moreso for greater theological understanding.

Alex Dalton said...

Ed: The O.T. never admits where it obtained its general ideas and conceptions that reflect ancient Near Eastern culture around them from cosmology to priesthoods, temple building and sacrifices.

Alex: Shame on that sneaky O.T.!

Anonymous said...


Not sure why you think this is important. Would you rather the biblical writers were completely ignorant of the culture they lived in? Quoting from other works is part of competent writing!

Also, if your point is that the Bible should not be literarily dependent upon non-biblical sources (a point I find irrelevant), then you'll have to remove from your list all those references to Sirach, Wisdom, the Septuagint, Maccabees, and the Story of Suzanna (I don't think I missed any there). These ARE scriptural references, according to the overwhelming number of Christians in the world, both today and throughout the last 200 years. Until the Protestant Revolt in the 16th Century, 100% of Christians regarded these books as part of the Old Testament. After the 16th Century, only that minority of Christians that went over to the Protestants removed them from the Bible. They are still in my copy, as they are in every other Bible read by members of the Orthodox (300 million) and Catholic (1.2 billion) Churches.

Anonymous said...

That should have read "the last 2000 years".

Mr Veale said...

I am stunned to discover that there are publications by recognised scholars that do not reach evangelical conclusions.

I mean! Who knew?!


Mr Veale said...

Generally, when someone recommends "The Christian Delusion", I begin to wonder if they imbibed much from the scholarly works that they reference.


Edwardtbabinski said...

Typology has proven nothing for 2,000 years. I believe we also had typology arguments prior to the discovery and translating of other ancient Near Eastern texts that demonstrate how long certain ideas have been around, from god running the weather and sending plagues and lightnings and other curses to gods blessing a nation with prosperity and peace, so long as the temples were built to them and the priests did their jobs, and the people in general didn't neglect worship and holy festivals of various sorts.

Also, most biblical commentaries explain the ways that literal words taken from the Greek Old Testament (LXX) were incorporated into the NT. They were actively emulating the OT and probably creating Gospel miracles stories about Jesus as well, to demonstrate he was like Elijah (in Mark), Moses (in Matthew), etc.

As for the Gospels, many commentaries mention the questions involved in their study, the literary relationships, they were not four separate eyewitness accounts. Stories were sometimes edited, added and subtracted. Other times the literary relationships are identical parallels, or near identical.

And the authors were actively thinking about these relationships. No miracle is needed to explain them.

They even incorporated relationships to non-canonical literature, intertestamental tales, and different versions of the LXX, not the main versions.

The prophecy in Matthew, about an unnamed prophet who allegedly prophesied that "He shall be called a Nazarene." Could be a different version of some lines found in the Dead Sea Scrolls in a copy of 1 Sam., which are perhaps the closest to the lines in Matthew yet discovered, but still no cigar since they are still not speaking of the town of Nazareth. But to Matthew, well, he could see parallels with Jesus's life everywhere, having the same parallelomaniac vision as Derek and typologists of the past.

Mr Veale said... why did the Matthean community (and every other Christian community that we know of) believe that a Crucified Man completed, summed up and explained Israel's history?


Edwardtbabinski said...

A quotation from the preface to The Grounds of Christianity Examined (Boston, 1813):

"It is remarkable, that the ablest modern advocates for the truth and divine authority of the gospel, as if they knew of no certain, demonstrative proof which could be adduced in a case of so much importance, seem to content themselves, and expect their readers should be satisfied, with an accumulation of probable arguments in its favour; and it has been even said, that the case admits of no other kind of proof. If it be so, the author requests all so persuaded to consider, for a moment, whether it could be reconciled to any ideas of wisdom in an earthly potentate, if he should send an ambassador to a foreign state to mediate a negotiation of the greatest importance, without furnishing him with certain, indubitable credentials of the truth and authenticity of his mission? And to consider further, whether it be just or seemly, to attribute to the Omniscient, Omnipotent Deity, a degree of weakness and folly, which was never yet imputed to any of his creatures ? for unless men are hardy enough to pass so gross an affront upon the tremendous Majesty of Heaven, the improbability that God should delegate the Mediator of a most important covenant to be proposed to all mankind, without enabling him to give them clear and, in reason, indisputable proof of the divine authority of his mission, must ever infinitely outweigh the aggregate sum of all the probabilities which can be accumulated in the opposite scale of the balance. And to conclude, I presume it will not be denied, that the authenticity and celestial origin of any thing pretending to be a Divine Revelation, before it has any claims upon our faith, ought to be made clear beyond all reasonable doubt; otherwise, it can have no just claims to a right to influence our conduct."

The author of the above work, George Bethune English (1787?-1828), graduated from Harvard in 1807, received the highest academic award, the Bowdoin Prize for his dissertation, and was awarded a Masters in theology in 1811. During his theological studies at Harvard he began to doubt the truth of the Christian religion which he critiqued in a book titled, The Grounds of Christianity Examined (Boston, 1813), a book that drew a great deal of attention at the time. One reader commented that his work would ‘pass like wild-fire through the country,’ On November 4, 1814, the Church of Christ in Cambridge excommunicated him for this work. But what would make a nineteenth-century Harvard Divinity School graduate turn his back on his deeply held religious beliefs and write an incisive attack on Christianity? Apparently it was an obscure sixteenth-century polemic called the Chizzuk Emunah, written by a scholar from a heretical Jewish group. Formerly a Congregationalist minister, George Bethune English had rejected challenges to his faith until he discovered Rabbi Isaac ben Abraham of Troki’s book, which led him to write:

‘Either the Old Testament contains a Revelation from God, or it does not.’

From this he concluded that if the Old Testament were true, Christians were distorting the divine revelation. If it were false, then there could be no basis for their faith.

Aware of the hostile response that he could expect from religious Americans, English not only argued his case against Christianity, but also his right to argue his case.