This a fanatastic reposnse to a challengine problem.
Who wrote the paper?
I wrote the paper...
I wondered what you thought of preterism, since that's another way I've seen Christians react to the apocalyptic Jesus question.
Also, it's not just Jesus predicting a soon coming Son of Man, there's also many NT texts, practically some found in every NT writing, that seem to expect a soon coming Lord and final judgment, as listed by Tabor in his online article, "New Testament Texts on the Imminence of the End," and in my own list with some annotations added to the NT passages, "The Lowdown on God's Showdown."
"Excuses" for the delay of the Lord's coming also seem to appear in Luke-Acts (whose author adds a "time of the Gentiles" and even an age of the Spirit), and in later NT writings like the Petrine Letters.
Let me start off by saying that I appreciate your interest in this very important, complex, and interesting issue. I think that if you have read Dale Allison's extensive work ranging over multiple books on this issue now, you can't help but think that full and/or partial preterism has weak explanatory scope and power; not to mention being implausible, and ad hoc in light of the full case Allison makes.
If you will take another look at my paper I list 4 things that Jesus thought were imminent pre-Easter: Son of Man coming on the clouds, the last judgment, the restoration of Israel, and the imminency of the general resurrection. Jesus had no notion of a second coming pre-Easter. Then, post-Easter when certain pre-Easter expectations were fulfilled with Jesus, the rest was left to a second advent producing the rest of the inaugurated or ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ element in the NT. The Christ has come and has been raised, and the Christ will come again in glory on the clouds of heaven. Obviously this didn't happen. I also discuss whether the delay in the Second Coming disproves Christianity. So, really, what Jesus thought was imminent is distinct from what certain early Christian communities thought (post-Easter) was imminent, namely, the Second Coming or parousia.
I also discuss on pages 10-20 (summarized from a book by Dale Allison) the entirety of the New Testament teaching with respect to the post-Easter interpretation of the Christ-event including the material you draw attention to. It is true that some letters and books in the Bible have an over-realized or realized eschatology while the majority seem to have an inaugurated eschatology. It is Luke and Peter in particular that seem to want to explain away the delay as no problem or a misunderstanding which probably has to do with the imminent expectation of the Second Coming being falsified. But, the interesting thing is not so much that some people were wrong about the imminency of the Second Coming, but why they thought there was a 'first coming' and why they thought a Second Coming was imminent I think.
So, my position already takes as true that Jesus was wrong and that the imminency of the Second Coming was also wrong, but that in light of the religio-historical context, the resurrection, and objective crtieria for siphoning off a speakers presuppositions from their statements that this all comes together to vindicate the truth of Christianity EVEN IF we are convinced by the work of someone like Dale Allison...I would be interested in whether you think my argument goes through since as far as I know my case is unique.
There's a book that takes a similar tact as your paper. The author accepts that a false prediction was made. It is titled, "In God's Time" by moderate Evangelical, Craig Hill: http://books.google.com/books?id=1mmpm5Gm9awC&lpg=PP1&pg=PR5#v=onepage&q&f=false
He also has a website. http://www.ingodstime.com/
But if there are errors or questions here, why not elsewhere in Scripture?
And speaking of errors, what about adding to Scripture? There are two later added endings to Mark and both of them also come in minor variants. And both Matthew and Luke differ MOST from each other exactly in those places where their tales contain pre-Baptismal scenes or post-resurrection scenes in Jesus' life (where Mark was silent, so neither Matthew nor Luke could follow maintain their closeness by following Mark in those areas). There is also evidence that some of Paul's earliest writings (1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16), feature later interpolations. Fascinating discussion and link to slide show here: http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2011/06/pauline-interpolations.html
William O. Walker also has argued pretty convincingly for interpolations made in Pauline letters: https://vridar.wordpress.com/2011/06/03/a-case-for-interpolation-does-not-rely-on-manuscript-evidence/
So I have questions, and the validity of the resurrection or of other Gospel stories are among them.
I'm nearer the view of Dale Martin at Yale, or Goodacre over at the NTPod. Dale Martin recently debated Licona, and I think Dale's questions were all valid ones. http://www.apologetics315.com/2012/10/michael-licona-vs-dale-martin-did-jesus.html I had not heard Dale Martin before aside from his free lectures on itune U, so it was refreshing to see him take on Licona the resurrection apologist. After you listen to Dale you might want to read my website post, A Carnival of Questions for Resurrection Apologists, which was written even before I listened to Dale Martin's points raised in the debate with Licona: http://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2013/03/carnival-of-questions-for-resurrection.html.
I bought the book you mentioned on kindle last night...not really what I had expected based on your comment; oh well.
I am sorry to just keep referencing things already on my blog, but I have a whole section devoted to objections to the case for the resurrection, and a section where the case is made for the facts that go towards inferring YHWH raising Jesus from the dead as the best explanation for those facts where I address your current questions as well as the carnival of questions you allude to which I saw a while back on your blog. In fact, NT scholars are completely aware of many of things you have questions about (e.g. interpolations, different accounts of the passion and resurrection narratives, lack of eyewitness material. etc.) and so they approach the NT as guilty until proven innocent but they have developed methods and criteria that have been used to glean historical nuggets from the NT documents including those typical facts that the majority of NT historians accept that go towards making the case for the resurrection. In fact, my blog contains responses to the entire history of posts from the Secular Outpost, Ex-apologist, and the infidels library, not to mention every other objection I have come across in articles, debates, books, etc. I also have a section where I am developing an alternate theory of inspiration (something very much like CS Lewis's literary theory of inspiration) where I allow the interpolations you list and more (see Ehrman's intro to the NT text and his debate with Dan Wallace) and where I accept mainstream scholarship on all issues including, the lack of eyewitness material in the NT, interpolations, errors, contradictions, failed prophecies, forgeries, etc. These are important questions (the answer to which falsify one theory of inspiration known as the plenary, verbal, confluent theory which entails inerrancy) which I didn't simply ask and present as challenges to others; I have done the hard work of reading primary sources and providing honest answers. Moreover, I already listened to Martin/Licona debate the first day it was posted on apologetics315.com (I also took his NT studies course on Open Yale Courses before he debated Licona so it was nice for me to see that as well). So, I am not sure if you are trying to stump me or raise an objection I haven't already blogged about or what have you, but so far I am neither stumped nor motivated to blog anything new. Would like to to try again:)?
The "best" explanation for "the resurrection" depends on a great many questions that remain open, none of which is as firmly closed as you suppose. We do not have access to such information.
Unless we have early first hand descriptions,we can't judge what they did or didn't see. 1 Cor does not depict the manner of the earliest alleged "appearances" (from how close up, far away, night, day, location, what if anything was heard). Nor does the passage that says, "he appeared to over 500 brethren" fit in well with Luke-Acts. Nor do we know their names. But surely God would have thought to preserve some actual first century first person testimonies, instead of slacking our thirst via the amazing preservation of scrolls from the Dead Sea by a sect of end-time predicting apocalyptists, which only raises more questions, not fewer questions concerning the types of wild eyed end times movements going on during the first century in Palestine.
Neither can you assume that the list of people to whom Jesus allegedly "appeared" in 1 Cor. equals the post-resurrection tales found in the last two Gospels.
Paul provides the only first person line in the NT when he writes, "lastly he appeared to me," but with no further description--neither can one assume that such a line equals everything said years later in Acts, which is as late as the last two Gospels if not later.
Neither can you assume that Paul's mention of "grave" equals the empty tomb story in Mark.
There are also parallels between the Markan empty tomb story and translation stories in the Greco-Roman world.
Whatever you think you know about the resurrection, it's second hand. And there's Gospel Trajectories that demonstrate how various stories grew and changed over time.
Also, the way Gospel authors pluck out OT passages and utilize them, or rather, bend them to their purposes, raises further questions, and does not induce confidence in such writings, yet the Gospels are filled with such questionable usage of OT ideas and passages.
And if I might speak theologically and philosophically rather than historically, I suspect that any God who damns people for questioning "the Gospel stories" or any second hand story, is not correctly taking into account humanity's limited lifespans and limited time for study, and communication difficulties, as well as humanity's penchant for group-think which is true of cults, religious groups or any human group.
There is the added difficulty concerning the fact that even accepting that miracles occur, they are a mixed bag, and do not point unerringly in the directly of any one religion, sect or theology being true. Amazing coincidences happen to everyone, spontaneous remissions from cancer don't happen only to Evangelical Christians, and loving NDEs happen to Buddhists or atheists. http://religiousmiracles.blogspot.com/2013/02/miracles-of-all-religions-provide-crazy.html
But that aside, what do you think of the wide variety of excuses put forth by Christians to explain away the predictions of soon coming final judgment made in the Olivet Discourse and elsewhere in the Gospels and NT? You don't seem to be a fan of either dispensationlism nor preterism, yet you must know some fellow Christians who are quite enamored with such views.
And there's also the "cross-thread" excuse, have you heard of it? It was published on the apologetics site, CARM, http://christiancadre.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-olivet-discourse-part-1.html
I think your view at least admits Dale Allison's scholarly questions are of genuine concern.
I'll only add that the prediction of soon coming final judgment is quite a whopper when it is found not only in the Gospels but throughout the NT, with excuses for the delay invented in later works like Luke, John 21, as well as the alleged letters of Peter:
New Testament Texts on the Imminence of the End
There's also much more worth listening to free online:
Wow Ed, I am not sure that you would pass a Turing Machine Test given the lack of interaction and constant repetition of your posts. Please ACTUALLY read my blog which contains answers and/or responses to every on one of the questions you raise. My answers don't need to be rebutting defeaters in every case but ONLY undercutting defeaters!!!