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Old 16th August 2019, 07:32 AM   #81
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
...why not? Knowledge of an important historical character is fascinating in and of itself.







Yeah but let's assume for a moment that we find some archive dating from the time that confirms a few mundane details about someone clearly identifiable as Jesus. Would that not be an important find, regardless of how different he turns out to be from the Jesus in the Gospels?
Yes that would be an important find. But until we have it I'm sticking to the fact that we know i.e. the Jesus in the Christian texts did not exist.
ETA could a historical figure be the inspiration for the Jesus in the Christian texts? Yes they could be, but we don't need one to explain the facts we do have so Okham's razor......
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Old 16th August 2019, 07:34 AM   #82
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Originally Posted by TragicMonkey View Post
Some guy.
A very naughty boy?
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Old 16th August 2019, 07:35 AM   #83
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Yeah but Wikipedia is notoriously unreliable when it disagrees with me.

On the other hand on RationalWiki there is quite a comprehensive page:
Evidence for the historical existence of Jesus Christ


I just skimmed through for now and this caught my eye:


Quote:
So some basic criteria as to what a historical Jesus even is must be set down and for the sake of simplicity this article will use Carrier's criteria for a minimal historical Jesus with regards to the evidence:

  1. An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death
  2. This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities
  3. This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod)
Those criteria are pretty strict, just number one would be fine by me. I thought Jesus was probably the Ulana Khomyuk of the Bible in any case.
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Old 16th August 2019, 07:40 AM   #84
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
You don't think it'd be important to be able to uncover the life of this guy even if he didn't correspond much to the legend? I think it would be even more interesting and important to do so. Same for Jesus. If he's exactly as described, fine. But if he's significantly different, even better!

I get the impression that the objection to the HJ is purely on the ground that it would give legitimacy to Christianity. It wouldn't, really. And even if it did, that has no relevance to the discussion.

In that case (the highlight) I think you are barking up a non-existent tree. That is - people here are not (as far as I am aware) expressing scepticism about the existence of Jesus simply in order to ridicule or dismiss religious belief/theism.

Afaik the scepticism here is based almost entirely upon the fact that what has been presented as evidence for a HJ, is really not evidence of a HJ at all.

It's really only evidence of how in the relative ignorance of biblical times, anonymous authors wrote about other unknown people of the past who were said to have witnessed a promised messiah (promised since 500 to 1000 years before in the OT) performing miracles that proved he was the son of God. That's only evidence of how easily people believed things that today we would all agree to be quite obviously untrue myth making. There is really no evidence there of any living Jesus known to anyone.

So, what we are objecting to is (for example) people here doing things such as making a fallacious “appeal to authority” when they quote people like Bart Ehrman who wrote a recent book repeatedly claiming “Jesus definitely existed”, when Ehrman's only actual source is that quite absurd miracle writing that is the bible.

And the only reason any of us take exception to this today, is because Christianity continues to have such a huge hold over the lives of half the worlds population (inc. the governments and the law makers). So, as the entire basis of all Christianity the existence of Jesus is by no means a trivial issue.
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Old 16th August 2019, 07:47 AM   #85
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Here's the problem.

I'm gonna make a claim. In 1809 a guy named John Smith lived in Albany New York and he invented a perpetual motion machine.

If I go to the census records for that timeframe and area and can prove that someone named John Smith lived in Albany, New York around that time, which I most probably could... what have I proved?

"Some guy name Jesus probably lived about that time in about that place" and "There is any validity at all to the stories of Jesus of the Bible" are completely separate questions.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:08 AM   #86
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yes that would be an important find. But until we have it I'm sticking to the fact that we know i.e. the Jesus in the Christian texts did not exist.
ETA could a historical figure be the inspiration for the Jesus in the Christian texts? Yes they could be, but we don't need one to explain the facts we do have so Okham's razor......
Yeah but that's not really how the razor works. The lack of a real Jeebus isn't necessarily the simpler solution to the question.

Anyway I don't think we fundamentally disagree.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:09 AM   #87
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Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
You must believe that Jesus existed!
Must I?

I do believe it's very likely that a rabbi belonging to a radical apocalyptic sect was executed by the Romans for sedition in the early 1st Century.

I also believe that a Christian named Nicholas of Myra lived in the early 4th Century, but that doesn't mean I believe in Santa Clause.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:10 AM   #88
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
In that case (the highlight) I think you are barking up a non-existent tree. That is - people here are not (as far as I am aware) expressing scepticism about the existence of Jesus simply in order to ridicule or dismiss religious belief/theism.
Well it looks suspiciously with what you're doing, using the religious beliefs of the historians to dismiss their conclusions.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:21 AM   #89
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
...why not? Knowledge of an important historical character is fascinating in and of itself.



Yeah but let's assume for a moment that we find some archive dating from the time that confirms a few mundane details about someone clearly identifiable as Jesus. Would that not be an important find, regardless of how different he turns out to be from the Jesus in the Gospels?
But that's history-fiction. Good subject for a novel: a monk finds a manuscript from the time of Jesus where he says that Jesus was a traitor and a coward. What does the monk do? I like the subject. I will not demand copyright.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:22 AM   #90
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Originally Posted by JoeMorgue View Post
I'm gonna make a claim. In 1809 a guy named John Smith lived in Albany New York and he invented a perpetual motion machine.

If I go to the census records for that timeframe and area and can prove that someone named John Smith lived in Albany, New York around that time, which I most probably could... what have I proved?
That's pretty much what the stipulations from RationalWiki quoted in post #83 are getting at; there are a certain number of attributes that must be possessed by any individual claimed as the historical Jesus. So, if you could find a newspaper article saying "Local man invents perpetual motion machine" and naming John Smith, then you'd have strong evidence that your specific John Smith existed; or, if you found that he worked in some job related to engineering and was known for having weird ideas, you'd have weaker but still very interesting evidence. And if you found that there were only three John Smiths living in Albany at that time, but that the patent office had rejected a claim on a perpetual motion machine from Jonas Smithson of Albany, New York, in 1813, then you'd have some evidence that the John Smith you're referring to was actually a composite of two different people - though you might not be certain which two.

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Old 16th August 2019, 08:23 AM   #91
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
Yes that would be an important find. But until we have it I'm sticking to the fact that we know i.e. the Jesus in the Christian texts did not exist.
ETA could a historical figure be the inspiration for the Jesus in the Christian texts? Yes they could be, but we don't need one to explain the facts we do have so Okham's razor......
The man or rabbi type wandering around pissing off the Romans was possible. There were many small sects opposed to roman conquest and tried to fight back. First one gains notoriety for going out big then as memory fades he gains credit for acts of others.
Then centuries pass and the cult assimilates other cultures with new ideas and poof!

A superhero.

It is known miracles of religious jesus has parallel un mythology going back as far as Sumerian mythology. We have clay tablets in museums to prove it.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:23 AM   #92
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
But that's history-fiction. Good subject for a novel: a monk finds a manuscript from the time of Jesus where he says that Jesus was a traitor and a coward. What does the monk do? I like the subject. I will not demand copyright.
...what?

I really don't understand your point. You're acting as if the discovery of evidence for a real person who was the inspiration for bible-Jesus wouldn't have gigantic historical significance.
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:49 AM   #93
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well it looks suspiciously with what you're doing, using the religious beliefs of the historians to dismiss their conclusions.

Well, I just explained why that is not is not the case. And yet you are still making the same accusation ...

... it looks exactly as if you are sticking with a pre-conceived fallacious idea merely because you want to.

Repeat - the reason why people are now sceptical is because material (the bible!) which was for hundreds of years claimed to be such good evidence as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed, now turns out to be of such an atrocious biased low standard that it barely counts as any evidence for a real Jesus at all.

And yet despite that, the people who the HJ believers here are appealing to as the “historian authorities”, still claim that same evidence from the bible provides absolute “certainty” of Jesus existing .
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Old 16th August 2019, 08:57 AM   #94
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Well, I just explained why that is not is not the case. And yet you are still making the same accusation ...
Sorry, I go with the evidence, not with your claim. I'm sure you can relate.

Quote:
Repeat - the reason why people are now sceptical is because material (the bible!) which was for hundreds of years claimed to be such good evidence as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed, now turns out to be of such an atrocious biased low standard that it barely counts as any evidence for a real Jesus at all.
Except that this isn't true. We've known that the bible is not a reliable historical document for a long time. And despite long threads on the topic you've apparently forgot that it is not the sole source of the conclusions about the HJ.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:08 AM   #95
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
But not equal numbers. The Academic consensus is that there was a historical Jesus (HJ).

Do you have a cite for this?
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:11 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Nevertheless, no one has come up with a better explanation for the texts we have than an actual religious leader who was killed by the Romans.

The idea that he was a pure invention raises more questions than it answers.

No serious Scholar has a problem with the fact that the gospels aren't accurate records of his life. It's the same problem Historians deal with all the time regarding individuals in antiquity.

Maybe one day someone will prove that he never existed, but that hasn't happened yet.
Did King Arthur exist? It's a story. But it is believed by many to have some historical roots.

The same is true for Jesus. But all we really know about Jesus is that there were stories. That's it. Nothing else. Regardless of what historians accept as good evidence, what there is, is poor.

There are no writings about Jesus that were made concurrently with his life or really any time even close to his lifetime Paul's first epistle was written more than two decades after Jesus was reportedly crucified and Mark which is believed to be the first of the gospels was written four plus decades after his life. So what we have is a story that was told over and over again that eventually somebody decided to write down...maybe.

Could it be that Paul was just a master storyteller and found that this was a good way to make a living and others just took his story and embellished it?
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:11 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Do you have a cite for this?
He's already cited Wikipedia, but apparently all of those historians are filthy biased Christians.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:13 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Could it be that Paul was just a master storyteller and found that this was a good way to make a living and others just took his story and embellished it?
Could be. He does mention clashing with the disciples on some doctrines. Don't know why he'd bring that up that way.

Quote:
Regardless of what historians accept as good evidence, what there is, is poor.
Why on this single topic do we discount expert opinion?
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:39 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Sorry, I go with the evidence, not with your claim. I'm sure you can relate.

What "evidence" is that?

Nah ... you just don't want to accept that others here (inc. me) are sceptical due to the complete lack of any credible evidence.

However, also, along with that lack of evidence, we do of course now understand that the "evidence" which had so utterly convinced people up until maybe just 200 years ago, i.e. the "evidence" of how miraculous this individual was, that is now (since our better understanding of science) known to actually be direct positive evidence against that source of biblical writing for Jesus ... ie - evidence of repeated claims of miracles is definitely evidence to show that the source (the bible) is totally unreliable.



Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Except that this isn't true. We've known that the bible is not a reliable historical document for a long time. And despite long threads on the topic you've apparently forgot that it is not the sole source of the conclusions about the HJ.

No. You are trying yet again (not very successfully) to twist things to make all sorts of untrue fallacious claims. What I just said was “ material (the bible!) which was for hundreds of years claimed to be such good evidence as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed, ...” … to spell that out – from biblical times, for about 1700 years right up until about 1800 (or, in fact, even well beyond 1800) it was claimed, and almost all people believed, that the biblical writing in the gospels and letters amounted to such strong evidence that almost everyone believed it to be beyond doubt that Jesus was a real person …

… it's only quite slowly since that time (since roughly 1800 onwards) that more & more people have slowly begun to realise how weak that biblical writing is as evidence of a real figure of Jesus actually being known to anyone.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:51 AM   #100
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
What "evidence" is that?
Your own arguments. It should be obvious from my few lasts posts.

Quote:
Nah ... you just don't want to accept that others here (inc. me) are sceptical due to the complete lack of any credible evidence.
What you consider credible is no concern of mine, actually. What I do find irking is your knee-jerk dismissal of historians on the basis of their religion. Not only have you not established a bias on their part, but you refuse to allow that what they consider convincing could be important to the discussion. All you're considering is your own incredulity.

Quote:
However, also, along with that lack of evidence, we do of course now understand that the "evidence" which had so utterly convinced people up until maybe just 200 years ago, i.e. the "evidence" of how miraculous this individual was, that is now (since our better understanding of science) known to actually be direct positive evidence against that source of biblical writing for Jesus ... ie - evidence of repeated claims of miracles is definitely evidence to show that the source (the bible) is totally unreliable.
Totally irrelevant, since that's not what is being discussed.

Quote:
No. You are trying yet again (not very successfully) to twist things to make all sorts of untrue fallacious claims. What I just said was “ material (the bible!) which was for hundreds of years claimed to be such good evidence as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed, ...” … to spell that out – from biblical times, for about 1700 years right up until about 1800 (or, in fact, even well beyond 1800) it was claimed, and almost all people believed, that the biblical writing in the gospels and letters amounted to such strong evidence that almost everyone believed it to be beyond doubt that Jesus was a real person …
Who cares what the claim is? I told you that a lot of people questioned the factual claims of the bible for far longer than 200 years, and that's true. You can call it untrue all you want, but you're wrong.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:52 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
From Wikipedia, The historicity of Jesus is the question of whether Jesus of Nazareth can be regarded as a historical figure. Nearly all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical-critical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is effectively certain, although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.
But this is kind of the point. Apparently, there was a person .... in the middle east... at that time.

What he said, did and taught and other details of his life are not really known at all.

And that is Jesus.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:56 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
But this is kind of the point. Apparently, there was a person .... in the middle east... at that time.

What he said, did and taught and other details of his life are not really known at all.

And that is Jesus.
Why is it necessary to misrepresent other people's arguments when you're right?

Oh, yeah. It's only necessary when you're wrong. So if you're right, cut it out.
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Old 16th August 2019, 09:59 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Why is it necessary to misrepresent other people's arguments when you're right?

Oh, yeah. It's only necessary when you're wrong. So if you're right, cut it out.
I didn't misrepresent anything. That's what the wikipedia article says. They all agree there was a Jesus. There is no agreement about what he said or did or about the details of his life.
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Old 16th August 2019, 10:01 AM   #104
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Originally Posted by pgwenthold View Post
I didn't misrepresent anything.
You don't think "there was a person in the middle east at that time" is more than a small bit of hyperbole?

No one's claiming that someone who would qualify as HJ would not require a number of basic characteristics, which is what you implied. How is that not a misrepresentation?
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Old 16th August 2019, 10:56 AM   #105
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Could be. He does mention clashing with the disciples on some doctrines. Don't know why he'd bring that up that way.

Why on this single topic do we discount expert opinion?
Because it is ancient history where a great deal of mythology and history is intertwined. I'm personally inclined to believe there was an historical person named Jesus. Say 70/30. I doubt we can be really any more sure than that.
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Old 16th August 2019, 11:04 AM   #106
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Did King Arthur exist? It's a story. But it is believed by many to have some historical roots.

The same is true for Jesus. But all we really know about Jesus is that there were stories. That's it. Nothing else. Regardless of what historians accept as good evidence, what there is, is poor.

There are no writings about Jesus that were made concurrently with his life or really any time even close to his lifetime Paul's first epistle was written more than two decades after Jesus was reportedly crucified and Mark which is believed to be the first of the gospels was written four plus decades after his life. So what we have is a story that was told over and over again that eventually somebody decided to write down...maybe.

Could it be that Paul was just a master storyteller and found that this was a good way to make a living and others just took his story and embellished it?

Without wishing to disagree at all, but just for the sake of accuracy/clarity, and because there are people on this site who often read these threads but who rarely post anything, so that if nothing is said against any factual sounding comments then they may easily assume that that the comment is true or widely accepted as correct – but in fact we do not know when Paul's letters were written ... just to explain that for anyone who is not fully up-to-speed on this subject -

- the date given by all Biblical Scholars, and almost universally accepted even by sceptics such as Richard Carrier, G A Wells, Alvar Ellegard, Earl Doherty and others, is indeed around 50AD to about 59AD. However, we need to be clear that we do not actually have any such letters from anywhere near that date.

The earliest date we have for those letters is from Papyrus P46, which is typically dated circa.200AD. Some Biblical Scholars have suggested that P46 maybe slightly earlier than 200AD, however, others have said it might be considerably later.

But the essential point, especially for any readers here who might think the date of these letters (or the dates for canonical gospels) is fairly well established, is just to point out that the dates commonly given for any of this biblical writing are far from being well established. And in fact the earliest copies that we have and which actually exist, almost certainly all date from centuries after the believed lifetime of Jesus.

That's important for several reasons. Firstly, because the reason why Biblical Scholars try to insist on the earliest possible dates for gospels and letters, is because as soon as any such writing becomes removed from the events by more than about 50 years, the more rapidly it becomes unreliable as evidence for whatever it claims. And certainly, anything that is nearly 200 years & more after the events, has to be regarded with extreme caution.

Secondly – what we have as the Letters of Paul are 13 documents that were all once thought to have been written by Paul himself. However, it was later realised that only 6 or 7 of them were written in similar style as if from the same author (and the other 6 or 7 appeared to be from various different writers). From that it was apparently concluded that the 6 or 7 in the same style were all written by Paul. However, there is of course no evidence for that. It is just as likely that those 6 or 7 were written by some other person, and that only one of the the remaining letters was actually by Paul (or maybe more than one, or maybe none at all from Paul).

We could of course add that its' clear from the letters that Paul had never met any living Jesus. And that nowhere does he actually mention anyone else that had ever claimed to have met a living Jesus … both Paul himself, and anyone else Paul mentions in the letters, are only ever said to have known Jesus from religious visions of a heavenly spiritual figure that had risen from the dead. That does of course leave the famous half-sentence where in one of the letters the writer says “other apostles saw I none, save James the Lords brother” … but I'll leave any debate about that for another time (we have discussed it literally thousands of times before).

But it is those letters, as weak and seriously unreliable as they clearly are, that are counted as almost certainly the best evidence anyone has for a historical Jesus.
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Old 16th August 2019, 11:27 AM   #107
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Your own arguments. It should be obvious from my few lasts posts.

Well I already asked you what evidence you are talking about. And you just side-stepped that again. So what are you claiming, what is this evidence you keep claiming?


Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
What you consider credible is no concern of mine, actually. What I do find irking is your knee-jerk dismissal of historians on the basis of their religion. Not only have you not established a bias on their part, but you refuse to allow that what they consider convincing could be important to the discussion. All you're considering is your own incredulity.

It's not just me who has been explaining to you why these people are Bible Scholars and not actually “historians”. Various people have just been explaining that to you!

And I have also just explained to you why the the beliefs of life-long Christians are inevitably biased when it comes to their belief in evidence of Jesus and their reliance upon the bible as their source.


Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Totally irrelevant, since that's not what is being discussed.

Who cares what the claim is? I told you that a lot of people questioned the factual claims of the bible for far longer than 200 years, and that's true. You can call it untrue all you want, but you're wrong.

OK, what percentage of people in Europe (say) from (for example) 600AD to 1800AD, believed that the bible told absolute truth about Jesus? Are you seriously trying to claim that people across the Christian dominated lands of the planet during those times (e.g. roughly 600AD to 1800AD) did not regard the bible as actual truth for what it said about Jesus?
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Old 16th August 2019, 11:27 AM   #108
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Because it is ancient history where a great deal of mythology and history is intertwined. I'm personally inclined to believe there was an historical person named Jesus. Say 70/30. I doubt we can be really any more sure than that.
I'm more of a 60/40 guy, myself.

Funny how that works.
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Old 16th August 2019, 11:33 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Well I already asked you what evidence you are talking about. And you just side-stepped that again.
How is responding exactly to your question "side-stepping"? Your arguments, and your behaviour, lead me to the conclusion I voiced. This isn't rocket science, man. Now, if you meant which line of text, specifically, that's another matter. Did you mean that, or in the general case? Remember we've been doing this dance for years now.

Quote:
It's not just me who has been explaining to you why these people are Bible Scholars and not actually “historians”. Various people have just been explaining that to you!
Let me rephrase that, then: What any of you consider credible is no concern of mine.

Quote:
And I have just explained why the the beliefs of life-long Christians are biased when it comes to their belief in evidence of Jesus and their reliance upon the bible as their source.
Voicing your opinion is not the same as supporting it. You have not demonstrated bias. You've stated that it exists.

Quote:
OK, what percentage of people in Europe (say) from (for example) 600AD to 1800AD, believed that the bible told absolute truth about Jesus?
Why must you always go for dishonest questions and points like this? You know this is going to get nasty, so why go there? We're talking about experts on the texts, remember? We're not talking about the masses who couldn't even read to begin with.

And to answer your disingenuous question: I don't know, and neither do you. But Bible literalism is a relatively recent phenomenon.
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:02 PM   #110
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
How is responding exactly to your question "side-stepping"? Your arguments, and your behaviour, lead me to the conclusion I voiced. This isn't rocket science, man. Now, if you meant which line of text, specifically, that's another matter. Did you mean that, or in the general case? Remember we've been doing this dance for years now.



Let me rephrase that, then: What any of you consider credible is no concern of mine.



Voicing your opinion is not the same as supporting it. You have not demonstrated bias. You've stated that it exists.



Why must you always go for dishonest questions and points like this? You know this is going to get nasty, so why go there? We're talking about experts on the texts, remember? We're not talking about the masses who couldn't even read to begin with.

And to answer your disingenuous question: I don't know, and neither do you. But Bible literalism is a relatively recent phenomenon.

It may get "nasty" from you, because that's apparently your character. Actually it just sounds like a very silly and quite pathetic threat from you. But I'm not making anything here nasty in any way at all.

All I'm doing is explaining why the evidence claimed by bible scholars and Christians falls too far short of what's required.

As for bias, I am saying that Christians who believe in the truth of Jesus, God, & the holy bible, are inevitably biased when it comes to believing that the bible offers factual evidence of Jesus. Are you disputing that?

And re. the last highlight - no! I was talking about the public masses. I specifically said that almost everyone alive at that time (e.g. before about 1800) who lived in the Christian world, did believe that the bible provided unarguable evidence of Jesus. In fact I could have gone further and added that of course almost all of the Christian clergy also believed that the bible was the inerrant source of truth about Jesus …

… how many people across those nations do you claim disagreed with that?
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:14 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
It may get "nasty" from you, because that's apparently your character. Actually it just sounds like a very silly and quite pathetic threat from you.
Where the hell did you see a threat in there? The point of the matter is that of course if you bring out dishonest arguments, the tone will increase. It's on you, when that happens.

Quote:
All I'm doing is explaining why the evidence claimed by bible scholars and Christians falls too far short of what's required.
In your opinion. However in the balance between actual experts on the matter and IanS, it's not hard to choose.

I mean, you could muster an argument that might outweigh theirs if you showed either a greater expertise on the matter, or if you demonstrated that their beliefs are affecting their judgment (in reality, not in theory). But so far, and over these many years, you have not done so. Instead you decided to attack their character, for some reason. I guess it was unavoidable. It's the only argument you have left.

Quote:
As for bias, I am saying that Christians who believe in the truth of Jesus, God, & the holy bible, are inevitably biased when it comes to believing that the bible offers factual evidence of Jesus. Are you disputing that?
I am, but before we go on: are you a professional? Do you work in a field where you have to, say, analyse a problem and produce a solution regardless of how you feel about it? Because I do. Professionals do this all day long, and historians are no different. Sure, bias can play a role, but you haven't demonstrated that it affects the larger consensus in any meaningful way.

As to your question: You're claiming that said bias is an obvious and unavoidable effect of being a Christian, but I think that's actually being unfair to Christians to think they can't do their jobs professionally. And that's me saying that.

Quote:
And re. the last highlight - no! I was talking about the public masses.
Well, they're entirely irrelevant to the discussion, so there you have it. Nicely done.
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:36 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Without wishing to disagree at all, but just for the sake of accuracy/clarity, and because there are people on this site who often read these threads but who rarely post anything, so that if nothing is said against any factual sounding comments then they may easily assume that that the comment is true or widely accepted as correct – but in fact we do not know when Paul's letters were written ... just to explain that for anyone who is not fully up-to-speed on this subject -

- the date given by all Biblical Scholars, and almost universally accepted even by sceptics such as Richard Carrier, G A Wells, Alvar Ellegard, Earl Doherty and others, is indeed around 50AD to about 59AD. However, we need to be clear that we do not actually have any such letters from anywhere near that date.

The earliest date we have for those letters is from Papyrus P46, which is typically dated circa.200AD. Some Biblical Scholars have suggested that P46 maybe slightly earlier than 200AD, however, others have said it might be considerably later.

But the essential point, especially for any readers here who might think the date of these letters (or the dates for canonical gospels) is fairly well established, is just to point out that the dates commonly given for any of this biblical writing are far from being well established. And in fact the earliest copies that we have and which actually exist, almost certainly all date from centuries after the believed lifetime of Jesus.

That's important for several reasons. Firstly, because the reason why Biblical Scholars try to insist on the earliest possible dates for gospels and letters, is because as soon as any such writing becomes removed from the events by more than about 50 years, the more rapidly it becomes unreliable as evidence for whatever it claims. And certainly, anything that is nearly 200 years & more after the events, has to be regarded with extreme caution.

Secondly – what we have as the Letters of Paul are 13 documents that were all once thought to have been written by Paul himself. However, it was later realised that only 6 or 7 of them were written in similar style as if from the same author (and the other 6 or 7 appeared to be from various different writers). From that it was apparently concluded that the 6 or 7 in the same style were all written by Paul. However, there is of course no evidence for that. It is just as likely that those 6 or 7 were written by some other person, and that only one of the the remaining letters was actually by Paul (or maybe more than one, or maybe none at all from Paul).

We could of course add that its' clear from the letters that Paul had never met any living Jesus. And that nowhere does he actually mention anyone else that had ever claimed to have met a living Jesus … both Paul himself, and anyone else Paul mentions in the letters, are only ever said to have known Jesus from religious visions of a heavenly spiritual figure that had risen from the dead. That does of course leave the famous half-sentence where in one of the letters the writer says “other apostles saw I none, save James the Lords brother” … but I'll leave any debate about that for another time (we have discussed it literally thousands of times before).

But it is those letters, as weak and seriously unreliable as they clearly are, that are counted as almost certainly the best evidence anyone has for a historical Jesus.

Thanks for the detail.

And that's really why I'm skeptical of a historical Jesus. I'm more inclined to believe there was a charismatic itinerant rabbi named Yeshua preaching in the early first century. But i know how stories are spread and exaggerated over time. And say what you will, the vast majority of scholars studying this had a bias. You cant ignore that.

This isn't science. It's history and it's ancient history to boot.
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:46 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Where the hell did you see a threat in there? The point of the matter is that of course if you bring out dishonest arguments, the tone will increase. It's on you, when that happens.



In your opinion. However in the balance between actual experts on the matter and IanS, it's not hard to choose.

I mean, you could muster an argument that might outweigh theirs if you showed either a greater expertise on the matter, or if you demonstrated that their beliefs are affecting their judgment (in reality, not in theory). But so far, and over these many years, you have not done so. Instead you decided to attack their character, for some reason. I guess it was unavoidable. It's the only argument you have left.



I am, but before we go on: are you a professional? Do you work in a field where you have to, say, analyse a problem and produce a solution regardless of how you feel about it? Because I do. Professionals do this all day long, and historians are no different. Sure, bias can play a role, but you haven't demonstrated that it affects the larger consensus in any meaningful way.

As to your question: You're claiming that said bias is an obvious and unavoidable effect of being a Christian, but I think that's actually being unfair to Christians to think they can't do their jobs professionally. And that's me saying that.



Well, they're entirely irrelevant to the discussion, so there you have it. Nicely done.

Where are these dishonest arguments that I'm "bringing out".

And who says that people here must not disagree with Christian Bible Scholars who say it's certain that Jesus existed? That's the fallacy of an "appeal to authority".

Do you think the bible is a reliable source of factual evidence for Jesus? How many of those Bible Scholars do you think are citing passages from the bible when asked for their source of evidence about Jesus?

Do you think we should never question that use of the bible as a source of belief that Jesus was a real figure?

You say you put it at 60% likely that Jesus existed. How did you arrive at that figure? What evidence did you use to decide that it was more probable than not that Jesus was a real person?
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:57 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Where are these dishonest arguments that I'm "bringing out".
Well I've pointed it out before, but you're right: That's no way to pursue a discussion. Let's start over and focus on the actual arguments, shall we?

Quote:
And who says that people here must not disagree with Christian Bible Scholars who say it's certain that Jesus existed? That's the fallacy of an "appeal to authority".
No, it isn't. That's a misunderstanding of the fallacy. The fallacy in question applies to experts outside of their fields. Experts within their fields are actual authorities!

Quote:
Do you think the bible is a reliable source of factual evidence for Jesus?
No, but I think experienced historians can probably glean some information from it, regardless. Just like one can glean information from the lies someone utters, for instance, or how computer programmers can understand what a bugged piece of code is actually doing.

Quote:
How many of those Bible Scholars do you think are citing passages from the bible when asked for their source of evidence about Jesus?
Quite a few, I'd gather, since the bible is ONE of their main sources of (literary) evidence on the subject.

Quote:
Do you think we should never question that use of the bible as a source of belief that Jesus was a real figure?
No, that would be ridiculous. Is that a serious question? You quoted my 60/40 split right below, so why are you treating it as 100/0?

Quote:
You say you put it at 60% likely that Jesus existed. How did you arrive at that figure?
I'm putting my general convinced-ness into numbers. It's not a formula. If you find it uncomfortable, I'll leave it into words: I find it more likely than not that the stories of Jesus are based on a real person, or a conflation of real persons. But I don't have strong feelings about that.

Quote:
What evidence did you use to decide that it was more probable than not that Jesus was a real person?
Ugh, you know what, right now I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of the whole HJ debate all over, because that would be very long and the week-end is starting. I just want to know if your contention that historians' Christian beliefs are skewing the general consensus is based on actual evidence you can cite, or if it's just your opinion based on reasoning (which is valid but may not be sound.)

Here's a reverse hypothetical: assume that the consensus from atheist scholars was that Jesus is entirely mythical. Would you say that their lack of belief is a bias that's affecting said consensus, or would you take their expertise as having great weight?
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Old 16th August 2019, 12:59 PM   #115
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Thanks for the detail.

And that's really why I'm skeptical of a historical Jesus. I'm more inclined to believe there was a charismatic itinerant rabbi named Yeshua preaching in the early first century. But i know how stories are spread and exaggerated over time. And say what you will, the vast majority of scholars studying this had a bias. You cant ignore that.

This isn't science. It's history and it's ancient history to boot.

Yep. Entirely agreed.

And I've said many times before on this forum that I am not claiming that Jesus did not exist, or even that he probably did not exist.

I have no idea whether he existed or not. But the reason why I have no idea, is that there really is a complete death of any reliable evidence.

IOW - I'm merely agreeing with those who say there simply is nowhere near enough reliable evidence of Jesus as a real person, to conclude that he probably did exist, or that he probably did not exist.

So what then is the problem in any of this? Well, the problem is that Biblical Scholars write books and give university lectures telling people that evidence from the bible shows as a matter of complete "certainty" that Jesus "definitely existed" (and those quotes of repeatedly claiming such "certainty" come from Bart Ehrman in his 2013 book "Did Jesus Exist" ... and Ehrman is one the most sceptical amongst Biblical Scholars, so we can only imagine what the others are telling their students).

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Old 16th August 2019, 01:08 PM   #116
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Here's a reverse hypothetical: assume that the consensus from atheist scholars was that Jesus is entirely mythical. Would you say that their lack of belief is a bias that's affecting said consensus, or would you take their expertise as having great weight?

I'd reject their expertise and suspect bias.
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Old 16th August 2019, 01:29 PM   #117
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Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
love the enemies?
Are you the enemy?
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Old 16th August 2019, 01:32 PM   #118
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I'd reject their expertise and suspect bias.
Well in that case it seems we can only believe Christian historians who reject HJ and atheist ones who accept him.

Or what's the set of criterion we're using, here?
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Old 16th August 2019, 01:35 PM   #119
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well I've pointed it out before, but you're right: That's no way to pursue a discussion. Let's start over and focus on the actual arguments, shall we?



No, it isn't. That's a misunderstanding of the fallacy. The fallacy in question applies to experts outside of their fields. Experts within their fields are actual authorities!



No, but I think experienced historians can probably glean some information from it, regardless. Just like one can glean information from the lies someone utters, for instance, or how computer programmers can understand what a bugged piece of code is actually doing.



Quite a few, I'd gather, since the bible is ONE of their main sources of (literary) evidence on the subject.



No, that would be ridiculous. Is that a serious question? You quoted my 60/40 split right below, so why are you treating it as 100/0?



I'm putting my general convinced-ness into numbers. It's not a formula. If you find it uncomfortable, I'll leave it into words: I find it more likely than not that the stories of Jesus are based on a real person, or a conflation of real persons. But I don't have strong feelings about that.



Ugh, you know what, right now I don't want to get into the nitty-gritty of the whole HJ debate all over, because that would be very long and the week-end is starting. I just want to know if your contention that historians' Christian beliefs are skewing the general consensus is based on actual evidence you can cite, or if it's just your opinion based on reasoning (which is valid but may not be sound.)

Here's a reverse hypothetical: assume that the consensus from atheist scholars was that Jesus is entirely mythical. Would you say that their lack of belief is a bias that's affecting said consensus, or would you take their expertise as having great weight?

OK, I don't think I need to say anything more about any of the above, except for the last highlighted parts ... because all the rest of it has already been answered several times above.

So just on the last part - firstly they are not "historians", and that is crucial. They are Biblical Scholars. And the difference is that almost all of them are practising Christians with a lifelong belief in Jesus, God, and the Bible.

Secondly - I think it's beyond any doubt or dispute, that if you ask Christians whether they believe the bible is a good solid source of evidence for the life of Jesus, then they will invariably claim that it most certainly is indeed a very good & reliable source for what they say is the "truth of Jesus". That is a demonstrable bias towards placing far too much faith in the words of a holy book which has since been "proved" to be filled with all manner of untrue claims about Jesus, i.e. claims of numerous miracles.

Almost all Bible Scholars are also practising Christians. And I know of no reason to think they are any less biased than all other Christians, when they themselves (i.e. the Bible Scholars) also cite that same bible whenever they are asked for evidence proving the existence of Jesus. As I said above - if you ask those Christian Bible Scholars for their evidence, the very first thing they will do, and often the only thing they will do, is cite various passages from the bible ... well that bible is NOT an unbiased source, in fact it's the very definition of the complete opposite of an unbiased source, and where those Bible Scholars are citing the Bible as their source (which is in fact every last one of them), then they too are 100% guilty of presenting that same bias.

What is needed is not Bible Scholars with a history of Christian faith pronouncing upon this subject. What's needed is investigators who are completely independent from any such religious bias, and using far more scientifically valid methods to look at whatever is claimed to be the evidence … but if the claimed evidence relies ultimately on the bible, then there is really nothing valid for any properly independent unbiased investigators to study.

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Old 16th August 2019, 01:47 PM   #120
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well in that case it seems we can only believe Christian historians who reject HJ and atheist ones who accept him.

Or what's the set of criterion we're using, here?

The criterion is people who can support their opinions with evidence. IMO there isn't enough evidence to decide the question. And the example you asked about (atheists saying Jesus is entirely mythical) is practically trying to prove a negative.
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