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5150
18th Mar 2008, 07:20
Not being a religous person, I was wondering how it is decided when Easter is?

Surely the dates are set in stone like Christmas and my birthday?? :confused:

Curious Pax
18th Mar 2008, 07:33
This might help: When is Easter? (http://www.happyeaster.org.uk/when-is-easter.html)

DON T
18th Mar 2008, 08:03
Or this:

...western Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon (the paschal moon) that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox on March 21. If the paschal moon, which is calculated from a system of golden numbers and epacts and does not necessarily coincide with the astronomical full moon, occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday.

There again maybe not!:confused::confused:

Krystal n chips
18th Mar 2008, 08:41
Having read the link, it would appear the World Council of Churches is closely aligned with the UN in terms of cohesive decisions.....so thank you very much for excelling yourselves this year.....a Northerly airstream predicted, BST a week later, and thus yet another Easter consigned to oblivion. :}

"Now than we all our God"....etc, etc.

chiglet
18th Mar 2008, 11:25
And here's me thinking that it was tied in with Passover......oh hum
watpiktch

Keef
18th Mar 2008, 11:26
It's easiest just to look it up! I've got a nifty little routine on my PDA that will calculate it for any date up to 4099 AD.

I don't think Easter 2008 will be cast into oblivion for those who celebrate it - it's a busy week, this week!

Krystal n chips
18th Mar 2008, 11:54
Keef,
No offence intended towards you or your occupation.....but wouldn't, in all fairness, be a lot simpler if a fixed date could actually be agreed on instead of what seems to be arcane bickering...to judge from the link ?.

BDiONU
18th Mar 2008, 11:58
Not Easter per se but associated 'date' malarky. My favourite explanation about how leap years are calculated. Get ready for your brain to explode ;)

When I was a kid, I had a friend whose birthday was on February 29th.
I used to rib him that he was only 3 years old, and he would visibly
restrain himself from punching me. Evidently he heard that joke a lot.

Of course, he was really 12. But since February 29th is a leap day, it
only comes once every four years.

And why is it only a quadrennial event?

Duh. Astronomy!

We have two basic units of time: the day and the year. Of all the
everyday measurements we use, these are the only two based on concrete
physical events: the time it takes for the Earth to spin once on its
axis, and the time it takes to go around the Sun. Every other unit of
time we use (second, hour, week, month) is rather arbitrary.
Convenient, but they are not based on independent, non-arbitrary
events.

It takes roughly 365 days for the Earth to orbit the Sun once. If it
were exactly 365 days, we'd be all set! Our calendars would be the
same every year, and there'd be no worries.

But that's not the way things are. There are not an exactly even
number of days in a year; there are about 365.25 days in a year. That
means every year, our calendar is off by about a quarter of a day, an
extra 6 or so hours just sitting there, left over. After four years,
then, the yearly calendar is off by roughly one day:

4 years at 365 (calendar) days/year = 1460 days, but

4 years at 365.25 (physical) days/year = 1461 days.


So after four years the calendar is behind by a day. That means to
balance it out again we add that day back in once every four years.
February is the shortest month (due to some Caesarian shenanigans), so
we stick the day there, call it February 29th, the Leap Day, and
everyone is happy.

Except…

The year is not exactly 365.25 days long. Our official day is 86,400
seconds long. I won't go into details on the length of the year itself
(you can read a wee bit about it here), but the year we now use is
called a Tropical Year and it is 365.242190419 days long. With malice
aforethought — my calculator won't hold that many digits, let's round
it to 365.2421904.

So it's a bit short of 365.25. That hardly matters, right?

Actually, it does, over time. Even that little bit adds up. After four
years, we don't have 1461 physical days, we have

4 years at 365.2421904 (real) days/year = 1460.968762 days.


That means that when we add a whole day in every four years, we're
adding too much! We should really only add 0.968762 days. But that's a
bit of a pain, so we add in a whole day.

So even though we add a Leap Day in to balance the calendar, it's
still a bit off. It's a lot better, for sure, but it's still just a
hair out of whack. This time, it's ahead (since we added a whole day
which is too much) by

1 - .968762 days = 0.031238 days, or about 45 minutes.


That's not a big deal, but you can see that eventually we'll run into
trouble again. The calendar gains 45 minutes every 4 four years. After
we've had 32 leap years (128 years of calendar time) we'll be off by a
day again!

So we need to adjust our calendar again. But 128 years is hard to
remember, so it was decided to round that down to 100 years. After a
century, we'll have added that extra 45 minutes in 25 times (every
four years for 100 years = 25 leap years). To be precise, after 100
years the calendar will be off by

25 x 0.031238 days = 0.780950 days.


That's close enough to a whole day.

Confused yet? Here's another way to think about. After 100 years,
we'll have had 25 leap years, and 75 non leap years. That's a total of

(25 leap years x 366 days/leap year) + (75 years x 365 days/year) =
36,525 calendar days.

But in reality we've had 100 years of 365.2421904 days, or
36524.2421904 days. So now we're off by

36,525 - 36524.21904 = .78096

which, within roundoff error, is the number I got above. Woohoo.

So after 100 years, the calendar has gained almost a whole day on the
physical number of days in a year. That means we have to stop the
calendar and let the spin of the Earth catch up. To do this, every 100
years we don't add in a leap day! To make it simpler, we only do this
in years divisible by 100. So 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap
years, we didn't add an extra day, and the calendar edged that much
closer to matching reality.

But notice, he says chuckling evilly, that I didn't mention the year
2000. Why not?

Because even this latest step isn't quite enough. Remember, after 100
years, the calendar still isn't off by a whole number. It's ahead by
0.78095 days. So when we subtract a day by not having leap year every
century, we're overcompensating; we're subtracting too much. We're
behind now, by

1 - 0.780950 days = 0.21905 days.

Arg! So every 100 years, the calendar lags behind by 0.21905 days. If
you're ahead of me here (and really, I can barely keep up with myself
at this point), you might say "Hey! That number, if multiplied by 5,
is very close to a whole day! So we should put the leap day back in
every 500 years, and then the calendar will be very close to being
right on the money!"

What can I say? My readers are very smart, and you're exactly correct.
So, of course, that's not how we do things.

Instead, we add the leap day back in every 400 years! Why? Because if
there is a stupid way to do something, that's how it will be done.

After 400 years, we've messed up the calendar by 0.21905 days four
times (once every 100 years for 400 years), and so after four
centuries the calendar is behind by

4 x 0.21905 days = 0.8762 days


and that's close enough to a whole day. So every 400 years February
29th magically appears on the calendar, and once again the calendar is
marginally closer to being accurate.

As a check, let me do the math a second way, in the same method I did
for the leap century gambit above. In 400 years we've had 303 non-leap
years, and 97 leap years. The total number of days is therefore

(97 leap years x 366 days/leap year) + (303 years x 365 days/year) =
146,097 calendar days.


But we've really had

400 x 365.2421904 days = 146096.8762

We can see the remainder is 0.8762 days, which checks with the
previous calculation, and so I'm confident I've done this right.
(phew)

Of course, the calendar's still not completely accurate at this point,
because now we're ahead again. We've added a day, when we should have
added only 0.8762 days, so we're ahead now by

1 - 0.8762 days = 0.1238 days.

Funny thing is, no one worries about that. There is no official rule
for leap days with cycles bigger than 400 years. I think this is
extremely ironic, because the amount we are off every 400 years is
almost exactly 1/8th of a day! So after 3200 years, we've had 8 of
those 400 year cycles, so we're ahead by

8 x 0.1238 days = 0.9904 days.

If we then left leap day off the calendars again every 3200 years,
we'd only be behind by 0.0096 days! That's phenomenally accurate. I
can't believe we stopped at 400 years.

But despite that, we're done! We can now, finally, see how the Leap
Year Rule works:

What to do to figure out if it's a leap year or not:
We add a leap day every 4 years, except for every 100 years, except
for every 400 years. In other words…
If the year is divisible by 4, then it's a leap year, UNLESS
it's also divisible by 100, then it's not a leap year, UNLESS FURTHER
the year is divisible by 400, then it is a leap year.


So 1996 was a leap year. 1997, 1998, and 1999 were not. 2000 was a
leap year, because even though it is divisible by 100 it's also
divisible by 400.

1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was. 2100 won't be,
nor 2200, nor 2300. But 2400 will be.

This whole 400-year thingy was started in the year 1582 by Pope
Gregory XIII. That's close enough to the year 1600 (which was a leap
year!), so in my book, the year 4800 should not be a leap year.

BD

BlueDiamond
18th Mar 2008, 12:01
My brain hurts after reading that. :(

G-CPTN
18th Mar 2008, 12:08
No offence intended towards you or your occupation.....but wouldn't, in all fairness, be a lot simpler if a fixed date could actually be agreed on instead of what seems to be arcane bickering...to judge from the link ?.Am I missing something, but isn't Easter a religious festival?
Why, therefore, should the dates be relegated to fixed dates to suit the general populous?

Dushan
18th Mar 2008, 12:08
Easter being Sunday, I usually don't go out on a date, although I have occasionally taken a roll in the hay, looking for Easter eggs.

ZH875
18th Mar 2008, 12:23
BDiONU, thanks......


However could someone please explain why there 365 days in a year, but there are 52 weeks consisting of 7 days?.

As 52 x 7 = 364

Maths ain't my strongpoint.....

Gainesy
18th Mar 2008, 12:55
That's just done me last brain cell in ZH.:confused:

lordsummerisle
18th Mar 2008, 13:28
G-CPTN,

Easter is a religious festival, I understand based on a fictional character from an old novel, probably similar to Harry Potter, though without the special effects or believability.

The thing about the dates is, if there can be a religious festival based on this characters birth date, why not his death/rebirth date? Don't have a Christmas Saturday moved every year for arcane religious/astrological reasons.

Hill Walker
18th Mar 2008, 13:28
Whatever the reason, it's 2 days I don't have to be in work for so I'm not complaining...:):):)

S'land
18th Mar 2008, 13:45
A bit off topic, but was not the birth of Christ celebrated in July by the early church? If I remember correctly it was only moved to 25 December by one of the church councils to coincide with the old Roman festival of "Die Natalis Solis Invicti" and the Winter Solstice (25 December was the W. Solstice in the Caesarien calendar).

5150
18th Mar 2008, 13:52
I'm working all of it :rolleyes: as usual.

Thanks for the answers!

Windy Militant
18th Mar 2008, 14:04
It's all down to the Religious zealot compulsive behavior thing. In the good old days, you got up when the sun rose and you went to bed when it set, no Worries! Then the Johnnie come lately God bothers decided that as the Universe was made by Himself it must be perfect. So therefore they set to prove this. Unfortunately by the time that they'd figured out that the Universe was far more perfect or maybe that should be complex than they'd figured on, they'd made a right Horlicks of things.
On second thoughts perhaps it's for the best. Pilots watches are big enough as things are. Imagine the size of the things, if instead of an arbitrary Solar mean they they had to work out proper elliptical Solar time allowing for Keplerian motion. :}

barry lloyd
18th Mar 2008, 14:14
...western Christians celebrate Easter on the first Sunday after the full moon (the paschal moon) that occurs on or next after the vernal equinox on March 21. If the paschal moon, which is calculated from a system of golden numbers and epacts and does not necessarily coincide with the astronomical full moon, occurs on a Sunday, Easter is the following Sunday.

There again maybe not!

Well, no actually. if you're Greek or Russian Orthodox you'll be observing Easter Sunday 2008 on April 27th because their religions still use the Julian calendar for calculating the Easter festival. However they do fall on the same dates on 2010 and 2011!

sisemen
18th Mar 2008, 16:09
Roll on 2010. Hopefully we'll be calling it "Twenty Ten" rather than the cumbersome "Two Thousand and ...." that we've been using since Twenty Hundred clicked over.

ATNotts
18th Mar 2008, 18:46
It's always confounded me that whilst the good Lord was born on the same date every year (25th December alledgedly) he managed to die on different dates every year. Hardly a convincing arguement for his existence, or the rest of the stories written about him and his mates.

It would be a darned sight more convenient if the whole thing was rejigged. I suggest his birth be September - we're a bit short of public holidays in the Autumn, and the weather's a bit better than December. Easter would be fine in late April, and how about moving whitsun to July - again, weather's better in us poor sods in England get no public holidays at the moment, between May and August.

Must drop Ratzinger an Email!

al446
18th Mar 2008, 21:23
Did you really think all that out and type it BDiONU? You must be the next pope cause I couldn't be bothered reading it. I only know I will be working it so double time.:D
Screws up my annual leave as next year's is 2 days less:ugh:

chiglet
18th Mar 2008, 23:58
However could someone please explain why there 365 days in a year, but there are 52 weeks consisting of 7 days?.

As 52 x 7 = 364

Maths ain't my strongpoint.....

A Circadian Year is 354.25 days...rounded up to 365.
Therefore the "Leap" of the Leap Year is the "extra" day.
BTW If you really want to be awkward....Look at the dates for the Solstice and Equinox. They aren't fixed either....:E
watpiktch

BlueWolf
19th Mar 2008, 01:29
Am I missing something, but isn't Easter a religious festival?

Yes and no. It is held when it is held to coincide with the Northern Hemisphere Spring Equinox, which honest decent Gods-fearing European Pagans had been celebrating for millenia, before the Christians with their new upstart Arab religion came along and hijacked it. It was a Fertility Festival, hence all the eggs, and rabbits, and so forth. Being all about rebirth and new life anyway, it fitted nicely with the Christian concept of the rebirth and resurrection of JC.

For those of us in the Southern Hemisphere it maketh no sense, because it's autumn here.

Xmas is the same. 'Twas Yuletide long before the newcomers decided to hold a Mass for Christ at the same time.

ZH875
19th Mar 2008, 08:18
.....

A Circadian Year is 354.25 days...rounded up to 365.
Therefore the "Leap" of the Leap Year is the "extra" day.
BTW If you really want to be awkward....Look at the dates for the Solstice and Equinox. They aren't fixed either....:E
watpiktch

It doesn't matter how much you add on to a day, a day is 24 hours, and 7 days make 1 week, 52 weeks is 1 year, so is the 'extra day' in the first week of next year, because no week has 8 days?

Keef
19th Mar 2008, 10:57
I'm baffled. Those who spend much of their time decrying religion (far more than I spend defending it) want to sound off about when the religions hold their festivals. Whatever floats your boat, I suppose.

I see the bulk cut'n'paste clan is doing well in here (as in most threads with any religious input).

This thread was about Easter, not Christmas. Nobody knows when Jesus' birthday was, so a date was picked. After some dallying, most Churches settled on December 25th, which happened to be the old midwinter festival date. Two for the price of one, if you like.

Easter date was set because that is when Jesus rose after crucifixion - the date is precisely known because it was round a major Jewish festival. Logically, the date should therefore have been "locked" to that Jewish festival, but the ancient folks who set the calculation rules got it wrong, just as Dionysius Exiguus (after all his research) got the year of Jesus' birth wrong (consensus now is that he was born around 4 BC).

So we have all the palaver with Epact and Golden Numbers and the rest. I can live with that. It adds a bit of interest that the date of Easter varies a bit. I don't think it bothers those to whom it matters. It shouldn't matter to those who don't bother.

BlueWolf
20th Mar 2008, 07:07
Keef, I wasn't having a go. Really I wasn't. I think all religions are a bit silly, mine included, as I have said many times, here and elsewhere.

You are a Christian. I respect that. Christians are good people in my experience; tolerant and forgiving, benevolent and charitable, honourable, forthright, brave, and for the most part, honest and decent people.

And Christ was very certainly a real man, a man of faith, a leader, a teacher, and a healer, who was gifted, talented, able, capable, and knowledgeable, far beyond the understanding of his peers, both historical and contemporary. Of this historical truth, I believe there is no doubt.

I, on the other hand, choose to serve the Earth Mother. Mine is an older religion than yours, but in all probability, no more a completely true one; like Christians, and other believers of monotheistic faith, I believe that there is, ultimately, only one God. However, as a Pantheist, I elect to make separation between the different and various aspects of God; or moods of God, or specific areas of interest of God, and in keeping with the traditions of my Norse and Celtic ancestors, I choose to recognise those aspects as distinct and separate parts of God, and I also choose to anthropomorphise them, as did my forebears. I call them The Gods, as did those of my family lines who went before me.

If and when the time comes, and we are faced with a common enemy, I will be happy and proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Christians. But the fact remains that our festival was there first, and you lot nicked it, and the Equinox does move, which is why Easter moves, and that was what the question was about.

I hope I have answered it.

Dushan
20th Mar 2008, 11:29
Easter falls on the first Sunday, after the full moon after Spring Equinox. This year they are bang, bang, bang one day apart. The equinox was today, the full moon is tonight, therefore Easter is on Sunday. Next time it will be this early will be some time in 2237 or such (somehow I don't think anybody will be celebrating by then...). The last time it was in 1911.

Cumulogranite
20th Mar 2008, 12:24
Thanks for the complicated maths lesson there. Personally before entering into such a calculation I prefer to look at a calendar printed by someone that has already done the maths for me, and thus saves the amount of pain that my head is currently enduring.

By the way, have just shown it to me sister in law, a maths graduate from Cambridge.













She says her head hurts!!!!

phnuff
20th Mar 2008, 16:35
Booger,
Phnufflet (aged 9 and good at maths), has read the long post about leap years and now wants it explained to her. :eek:

P***** should come with a sanity warning

BTW, it appears that spelling the name of this site like
p p r o o n
is automatically translated to P*****

Sailor Vee
20th Mar 2008, 19:21
Jesus rose after crucifixion - the date is precisely known The day after Passover, but it can't be fixed because that is tied to the lunar calendar! Religion------Bah! Humbug!

Keef
20th Mar 2008, 21:26
Keef, I wasn't having a go. Really I wasn't.

No, I know you weren't ;)

Sorry about nicking your festival - wasn't me wot dun it, honest, it was that other bloke :)
I suppose we can share it!

selfloadingcargo
20th Mar 2008, 23:36
...ummmm, seems to me that the biggest underlying thing going on here is a wish for repetitive certainty (like Christmas always falls on the 25th December).

But if we look at life, the biggest certainty is that nothing is certain - so having Easter move around the place seems more in tune with how life actually works.

It is a gesture in the direction of actual experience - so let's celebrate it for its wonderful divergence from boring, repetitive normality.

...or is that a little too philosophical?

shedhead
21st Mar 2008, 03:36
I think its fantastic that the christians celebrate easter at the same time as the pagan festival of oestre,wow they even pronounce it the same way!

S'land
21st Mar 2008, 14:28
selfloadingcargo:


But if we look at life, the biggest certainty is that nothing is certain

You forgot the one certainty in life - death.

Ken Wells
21st Mar 2008, 16:44
Also Ramadan changes every year in 2008 will start on Monday, the 1st of September and will continue for 30 days until Tuesday, the 30th of September. :zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz::zzz:

ZH875
21st Mar 2008, 16:47
selfloadingcargo:

You forgot the one certainty in life - death.


The other two certainties being Taxes and Nurses :ouch:

BDiONU
22nd Mar 2008, 07:30
Christians are good people in my experience; tolerant and forgiving, benevolent and charitable, honourable, forthright, brave, and for the most part, honest and decent people.
Really? Thats one of the most sweeping broadbrush statements I've ever read. So if anyone you meet terms themselves a christian then they're a bonza person, as far as you're concerned. No christians in prison I suppose?
And Christ was very certainly a real man,.
What evidence do you have for your assertion? To the very best of my knowledge there is nothing other than the tales written 100 years after his 'death'?

Happy Easter!
BD

BlueWolf
22nd Mar 2008, 10:49
Really? Thats one of the most sweeping broadbrush statements I've ever read. So if anyone you meet terms themselves a christian then they're a bonza person, as far as you're concerned. No christians in prison I suppose?

I refer to real Christians. They know who they are, and so does anyone who meets them. Never been to prison, so I can't comment on that.


What evidence do you have for your assertion? To the very best of my knowledge there is nothing other than the tales written 100 years after his 'death'?

I've met him. I say this with my Reiki Master hat on.

Happy Easter to you too.

Namaste.

Keef
22nd Mar 2008, 15:10
What evidence do you have for your assertion? To the very best of my knowledge there is nothing other than the tales written 100 years after his 'death'?

Don't mind BDi - he likes to have a pop at Christians. I think it's called the "St Paul - Stage 1" phase. He'll be a passionate convert yet, I pray.

Not sure what those 100-year-after tales are, though. Most of the New Testament - which is the main witness to the life of Jesus - was written within 50 years of the resurrection. The stuff written later doesn't have the benefit of being by eye-witnesses or the early disciples, and tends to be more philosophical and contemplative (not that there's anything wrong with that, per se).

I think its fantastic that the christians celebrate easter at the same time as the pagan festival of oestre,wow they even pronounce it the same way!
I didn't know the pagan festival was linked to the Passover - learn something new every day!
Most languages use the Hebrew "Pesach" as the origin - Pâques, for example, in French. It's us Germanic lot who used "Ostern". Aint linguistics fun!

shedhead
22nd Mar 2008, 15:45
linguistics are always fun for instance, oestregen the female fertility hormone is named after oestre and not after easter even though women do tend to get all hot and cross when they have a bun in the oven!

BDiONU
22nd Mar 2008, 18:23
Don't mind BDi - he likes to have a pop at Christians. I think it's called the "St Paul - Stage 1" phase. He'll be a passionate convert yet, I pray.
I don't have a specific downer on christians, its all religion. I'd have thought that very plain by now.
Not sure what those 100-year-after tales are, though. Most of the New Testament - which is the main witness to the life of Jesus - was written within 50 years of the resurrection. The stuff written later doesn't have the benefit of being by eye-witnesses or the early disciples, and tends to be more philosophical and contemplative
Ahem! The authorities relied upon to prove the reality of Christ are the four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These Gospels, and these alone, tell the story of his life. Now we know absolutely nothing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, apart from what is said of them in the Gospels. Moreover, the Gospels themselves do not claim to have been written by these men. They are not called "The Gospel of Matthew" or "The Gospel of Mark" but "The Gospel According to Matthew", "The Gospel According to Mark", "The Gospel According to Luke," and "The Gospel According to John." No human being knows who wrote a single line in one of these Gospels. No human being knows when they were written, or where.
Walter R. Cassels, the learned author of "Supernatural Religion," one of the greatest works ever written on the origins of Christianity, says: "After having exhausted the literature and the testimony bearing on the point, we have not found a single distinct trace of any of those Gospels during the first century and a half after the death of Christ."
One other 'proof' is the work of the roman Flavius Josephus. Unfortunately he wasn't born until 37 or 38AD, jesus 'died' in 30AD approx. So couldn't have been known personally by Josephus.

BD

BDiONU
22nd Mar 2008, 18:31
I refer to real Christians. They know who they are, and so does anyone who meets them. .
ROFL!!! True christians huh? Have you heard about No True Scotsmen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman)?
Never been to prison, so I can't comment on that.
You can do better than that, there are plenty of statistics available out there. From the US Federal Bureau of Prisons on 5th March 1997 these are the statistics on religious affiliations of inmates:
Response Number %
---------------------------- --------
Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Muslim 5435 7.273%
American Indian 2408 3.222%
Nation 1734 2.320%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Moorish 1066 1.426%
Buddhist 882 1.180%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%
Scientology 190 0.254%
Atheist 156 0.209%
Hindu 119 0.159%
Santeria 117 0.157%
Sikh 14 0.019%
Bahai 9 0.012%
Krishna 7 0.009%
---------------------------- --------
Total Known Responses 74731 100.001% (rounding to 3 digits does this)

Unknown/No Answer 18381
----------------------------
Total Convicted 93112 80.259% (74731) prisoners' religion is known.

Held in Custody 3856 (not surveyed due to temporary custody)
----------------------------
Total In Prisons 96968

Breaking that down into only christians:

Catholic 29267 39.164%
Protestant 26162 35.008%
Rasta 1485 1.987%
Jewish 1325 1.773%
Church of Christ 1303 1.744%
Pentecostal 1093 1.463%
Jehovah Witness 665 0.890%
Adventist 621 0.831%
Orthodox 375 0.502%
Mormon 298 0.399%

Judeo-Christian Total 62594 83.761% (of the 74731 total responses)
Total Known Responses 74731


BD

Keef
22nd Mar 2008, 21:29
Ahem! The authorities relied upon to prove the reality of Christ are the four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. These Gospels, and these alone, tell the story of his life. Now we know absolutely nothing of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, apart from what is said of them in the Gospels.

Ahem! Wrong.

The Gospels are not the only NT documents that witness to Jesus. Try, for example, the Epistles of Peter, who was one of the apostles.

St Paul wrote quite a few letters, and he died around 65AD - certainly not a century and a half after the death and resurrection. He also knew and had regular contact with the apostles.

The earliest example of the Gospels that I know of is a papyrus fragment of Mark's Gospel (in most folks' view, the earliest of the four), found at Qumran and dated around 68AD. It can't be much later, because we know that the Qumran community was destroyed soon after that. The balance of scholarship dates Mark's Gospel around 64 AD, in Rome.

The earliest known fragment of John's Gospel is dated around 125-150 AD - again consistent with scholarship and the estimated date of writing.

So there are two "hard" traces, within a century and a half of the resurrection. Your "scholar" who wrote "we have not found a single distinct trace of any of those Gospels during the first century and a half after the death of Christ" obviously hadn't done his homework.

The problem is that, on the whole, paper documents don't survive for 2000 years. For learned atheists to pronounce based on the (erroneously assumed) absence of early copies is not impressive. I've got some books that are only 400 years old, and they are in very delicate condition. I don't see them lasting another 1600.

If you want to pretend the New Testament was written centuries after the period it describes, feel free. If you want to claim there's nothing outside the Gospels that tells the story of Jesus' life, feel free. You're misleading people, though. Those who have read the New Testament and studied the subject know you to be wrong.

G-CPTN
23rd Mar 2008, 11:27
http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediaselector/check/player/nol/newsid_7300000/newsid_7307100?redirect=7307102.stm&news=1&nbwm=1&bbwm=1&bbram=1&nbram=1

BDiONU
23rd Mar 2008, 13:53
The earliest example of the Gospels that I know of is a papyrus fragment of Mark's Gospel (in most folks' view, the earliest of the four), found at Qumran and dated around 68AD. It can't be much later, because we know that the Qumran community was destroyed soon after that. The balance of scholarship dates Mark's Gospel around 64 AD, in Rome.

The earliest known fragment of John's Gospel is dated around 125-150 AD - again consistent with scholarship and the estimated date of writing.
Amazing amount of discussion around about who wrote what, when and where, as we've both just amply demonstrated.
If you want to pretend the New Testament was written centuries after the period it describes, feel free.
Even the earliest date you claim above is 68AD, 38 years after jesus 'died'. If there were so many remarkable things going on at the time (like the miracles) you'd think people would have written about it then, not waited nearly a lifeltime (in those days). Shrug.
Those who have read the New Testament and studied the subject know you to be wrong.
You appear to assume that I've not read it. I have read with open eyes and open mind and to me the bible is full of the most appalling things.
Those who believe it be the innerrant word of god are, quite frankly, barking.

BD

Captain Speedbird
23rd Mar 2008, 14:31
Easter date was set because that is when Jesus rose after crucifixion. He rose after crucificxion? You crazy guy! :}

Keef
23rd Mar 2008, 21:02
barking.

Woof.

As I think I've said before on here, you don't know what I believe. I don't think I've ever written that the Bible is the innerrant (sic) word of God.
But if it makes you happy to call me "barking", then be happy.

There are good reasons why the Gospels weren't written down immediately. Some of them even say why they were written. It seems likely from textual analysis that there were other documents (now lost) that were written down earlier. But don't worry about it. I don't.

shedhead
23rd Mar 2008, 21:49
the problem from my point of view is the translation of the text.
the whole thing has been translated from the original language into Greek then from Greek to Latin and then into modern(ish) English. there are still huge arguments to this day about what it really said/meant by that word or phrase.
We have problems trying to work out who did what and when last week never mind two thousand years ago bd's scepticism is well placed in my opinion.

BlueWolf
24th Mar 2008, 01:44
You can do better than that, there are plenty of statistics available out there

Very probably, but I can't be @rrsed going through them. Professing to belong to a particular religion, and actually being a genuine Christian, are very often two different things, and not always even connected.

Likewise, whether one prefers one's porridge sugared or salted probably has very little bearing on one's claim to Scots nationality. Personally I prefer Weetbix, but then I'm a Pagan. :p

sisemen
27th Mar 2008, 07:40
Dionysius Exiguus (after all his research) got the year of Jesus' birth wrong (consensus now is that he was born around 4 BC).



Wow! This is a bit of a conundrum. If Christ was born 4 years before Christ then who the Christ was Christ?

And how does one refer to the 30 odd years between BC and AD??

:confused:

Arm out the window
27th Mar 2008, 09:56
Hmm ... reasonable people arguing the toss with the aim of proving whether the basic principles of Christianity are real or not; you'll never resolve the issue unless JC himself comes back in his fiery chariot or whatever he's likely to use!

Reference to names, places, dates, people and writings are no use at all - you either believe or you don't, and any amount of attempts to convince the 'other side' will be pointless, I'm convinced.

Carry on, though! A good argument can be an end in itself.

For the record, though, may I say I don't believe that anyone can claim to know the truth about any of the big questions of the universe, so accepting what's told to you by supposedly knowledgeable humans without convincing proof (same as us, just a generation older) isn't for me.

That's not saying I reject religion out of hand, it just isn't convincing. That makes me agnostic, I suppose. For you religious types, have you honestly had the big revelation experience, or what?