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Old 16th August 2019, 01:51 PM   #121
IanS
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
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.

Yep, agree with that … I'd also reject their expertise and suspect bias.

Except to also say - from the words of the quoted question, I'd also ask who these “Atheist Scholars” are supposed to be?? Are we talking about Atheists employed as Biblical Studies lecturers? Because apart from Bart Ehrman and Hector Avalos, I don't know of many others.

Or are we talking about Atheist academics in entirely differently fields, such as Physics (because there are lots of atheists there) … well, if we are talking about those people as “Atheist Scholars” then afaik almost none of them have any particular interest in debates about a HJ. And the vast majority have probably never looked at the claimed evidence of a HJ. So that entire question seems ill-founded in the first place.
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Old 16th August 2019, 02:18 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
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.
But we're not talking about just scholars. The whole topic of the discussion is historians. Can you tell me about them? Or are you saying that there are none? Or none who conclude that Jesus kind-of existed?

Quote:
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".
We're speaking of a particular subset of Christians. I will remind you that plenty of Christians have gone against the dogma of their time to advance science, so clearly at least a good number of those with a science or professional background can ignore their biases to a degree.

I don't accept your blanket statement, is all. Your suspicion of bias is rational, but you're just taking it too far and generalising without considering other factors.
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Old 16th August 2019, 02:22 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
The criterion is people who can support their opinions with evidence.
But at what point do you accept that the evidence or argument is sufficient, if we're ignoring the experts?

Can I ignore the conclusions of physicists if I don't think the evidence for QM is sufficient? Or chemists? Or lawyers vis-à-vis de law?

If not, why in this case can we ignore them? Do you agree with Ian that they are not actual experts? Not a single one of them? There's not a single real historian who concludes HJ?
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Old 16th August 2019, 02:32 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post

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?
I would say very few of those people had a very definitive opinion on the subject. Given that movable type and the Guttenberg bible was invented in the 15th century. Most of these people until you get to the 18th century were illiterate and Mass was done in Latin until the 20th century.
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Old 16th August 2019, 02:43 PM   #125
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But at what point do you accept that the evidence or argument is sufficient, if we're ignoring the experts?

Can I ignore the conclusions of physicists if I don't think the evidence for QM is sufficient? Or chemists? Or lawyers vis-à-vis de law?

If not, why in this case can we ignore them? Do you agree with Ian that they are not actual experts? Not a single one of them? There's not a single real historian who concludes HJ?
Being an expert in physics is very different than being an expert in dead languages and religion. The bias is almost certainly going to be stronger in religion. Experts in other fields can be held accountable in ways that is impossible with ancient religious characters.
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Old 16th August 2019, 03:02 PM   #126
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Being an expert in physics is very different than being an expert in dead languages and religion. The bias is almost certainly going to be stronger in religion. Experts in other fields can be held accountable in ways that is impossible with ancient religious characters.
That's certainly true but that's a far cry from dismissing all experts on the topic as biased beyond credibility, especially without qualifying that with some sort of evidence. I think that's why Ian's now saying that they are not actual experts. It's easier to dismiss them that way.
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Old 16th August 2019, 03:49 PM   #127
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
That's certainly true but that's a far cry from dismissing all experts on the topic as biased beyond credibility, especially without qualifying that with some sort of evidence. I think that's why Ian's now saying that they are not actual experts. It's easier to dismiss them that way.
I don't think it is fair to dismiss them outright. We'd know even less without them. But I find it unreasonable to simply accept their opinions on the historicity of characters in ancient writings. The biblical stories resemble fan fiction a little too much to simply accept that the characters were real.
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Old 16th August 2019, 03:56 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
.... Different people have cherrypicked radically different and mutually incompatible Jesuseseseses. Which of them is the real one? ...
Well, I am Jesus, obviously, and so is my wife...
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Old 16th August 2019, 03:59 PM   #129
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Originally Posted by Ricardo View Post
Has anyone who recommends loving enemies existed?

Don't you have a book or books that posters here must read before you will engage them in debate on this subject? You know, like on the other thread, can't waste your time talking to pseudo skeptics can you?
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:03 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Well, I am Jesus, obviously, and so is my wife...

If all there people claiming to be Jesus were laid end to end .............

Hey .......... that's not a bad idea.
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:12 PM   #131
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The following is the text from the works of Josephus that describes Jesus and mentions the crucifixion.
It is considered to be a falsification inserted by the early Christians. Obviously a hand written text could be fixed by scribes at any time in the approximately 1500 years the manuscript existed before printing was invented.
But that is no reason not to give it consideration.

The following text is from Flavius Josephus (c37-100AD)
The Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18.3.3

Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works,- a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

From the annals of the Roman historian Tacitus. Annal 15:44

15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader's generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruellest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour.
15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.

Pliny the Younger
Pliny was the governor of the Roman province of Bithynia, in present-day Turkey. In about 112 AD, he wrote (in Epistles X.96) to the emperor Trajan, asking for advice on how to deal with the Christians in his province, because he was executing so many of them. Pliny wrote:

'They were in the habit of meeting before dawn on a fixed day. They would recite in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a God, and would bind themselves by a solemn oath, not to do any criminal act, but rather that they would not commit any fraud, theft or adultery, nor betray any trust nor refuse to restore a deposit on demand. This done, they would disperse, and then they would meet again later to eat together (but the food was quite ordinary and harmless.)
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:42 PM   #132
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
The following is the text from the works of Josephus that describes Jesus and mentions the crucifixion.
It is considered to be a falsification inserted by the early Christians. Obviously a hand written text could be fixed by scribes at any time in the approximately 1500 years the manuscript existed before printing was invented.

But that is no reason not to give it consideration.
???????

Good one.
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Old 16th August 2019, 04:59 PM   #133
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
But we're not talking about just scholars. The whole topic of the discussion is historians. Can you tell me about them? Or are you saying that there are none? Or none who conclude that Jesus kind-of existed?

We're speaking of a particular subset of Christians. I will remind you that plenty of Christians have gone against the dogma of their time to advance science, so clearly at least a good number of those with a science or professional background can ignore their biases to a degree.

I don't accept your blanket statement, is all. Your suspicion of bias is rational, but you're just taking it too far and generalising without considering other factors.

Re. the first highlight - the fact that throughout the history of the last 400 years, i.e. since the modern concept of science began with people like Galileo (circa 1612), many people who became scientists prior to (say) the twentieth century were also devout Christians, really is not a reason to argue as many religious people do today, that our increasing knowledge from science does not result in less religious belief. Because, clearly, religious belief has declined steadily as more and more people in society become better educated in science.

Now you may say that is not the point you were making. But it is a point that I am making!

Beyond that - many of the people who became well known scientists during that time (1600 to 1900) did so when most people in Europe were devout believers in Christianity and devout believers in the bible as a source of quite definite truth about Jesus and his miraculous works.

In the early years, say 1600 to 1800, many of those early scientists did not believe, and did not expect, their scientific discoveries to cast any serious doubt on Christian religious beliefs. Even when they did discover things which appeared to contradict the biblical beliefs, they almost always found a form words and a way of speaking which claimed that their discoveries and explanations from science, whilst true, were in no way evidence against God, Jesus, or the inerrancy of the bible.

And just to be clear as to why the above addresses your point - the above explains how those early scientists after Galileo, were able to as you put it "ignore their biases" ... they were able to do that because they could still at that stage argue that none of their discoveries amounted to a really serious blow to religious belief ... they could continue, quite easily, to maintain both a total belief in the bible and Christianity, whilst also explaining why their scientific discoveries were correct.

Really, up until the publication from Darwin in 1859, the only discovery that was thought to be seriously threatening to Christianity, was that initial work of Galileo which appeared to contradict the teaching of the Catholic Church which at that time was insisting that the words of the bible made it certain that the Earth must be at the centre of the universe.

However, when Darwin published "On The Origin of Species" in 1859, that really did put the cat amongst the pigeons. Because although in that first publication Darwin apparently made no mention of the evolution of humans from earlier apes, it was obvious to everyone that the theory of evolution that Darwin had set out inevitably did mean that humans had indeed evolved from apes.

As it happened, Darwin (again like almost everyone at that time) was quite deeply religious. But afaik, it is widely said that his discovery of evolution did seriously reduce his own faith in religious beliefs.

So, just to summarise all of that – Darwin and Galileo were able to overcome their earlier religious bias, and were then able to report findings which they knew were in contradiction with Christian beliefs of the time (those were all biblical beliefs … ie those beliefs all came from a quite literal belief in the inerrancy of the bible). But neither Galileo or Darwin were full time lecturers in Biblical Studies! So they could more easily afford to have increased doubts about the truth of the bible (because those doubts were not at odds with their profession). That is not however the case with Christian Bible Scholars today – firstly, none of them are scientists who understand from their research why today modern science has really become incompatible with religious belief & quotations from the bible as evidence of Jesus, and secondly none of those modern-day Bible Scholars think they are being seriously biased when they rely on the bible as their main source of evidence … they fail to recognise any such religious bias, precisely because they are not educated in subjects like science which would allow them to see very clearly why use of the bible as their main/primary source of evidence is not credible at all.


On your second highlighted sentence – what are the other factors that you think I must consider when I say that where Bible Scholars are known to be practising Christians, that inevitably introduces and unacceptable bias immediately for any belief they express for the existence of Jesus upon claims that the biblical writing is a reliable enough source of evidence?

What I am saying is that to claim a belief in Jesus as someone who was more likely than not to have existed, i.e. to claim that his existence is probable, you need evidence that is entirely independent of the bible.

It is of course true that not just Bible Scholars, but many people here and elsewhere on the net, do claim to have independent evidence of Jesus in writing such as Tacitus and Josephus. But that writing is not credible either, and for numerous reasons. Amongst which (a) it cannot be shown to be independent of the biblical writing and/or independent of what Christians at the time were preaching on the streets … that is – there is no indication at all that either Josephus or Tacitus had any information about Jesus other than what they had got from Christian believers themselves … and by the date when Tacitus and Josephus were writing (i.e. circa 90AD to 120AD) it is inconceivable that any Christians of that time would ever have personal first-hand knowledge of meeting or seeing Jesus. IOW – as far as we can honestly tell, there is no indication that Tacitus or Josephus were reporting anything other than anonymous hearsay from Christians at the time who had certainly never met any such person as Jesus.

But on top of that – we do not have any writing from Tacitus or Josephus actually dating from around 100AD. Instead the earliest writing that actually exists from either of those authors is apparently from a whopping and quite ludicrous 1000 years later in the 11th century! And that is frankly 1000 years too late to be even considered as credible evidence at all of things which the authors themselves never personally knew anyway. And as if that was not enough, we must also add the apparent fact that even Biblical Scholars themselves now admit that Christian copyists of the time were in the not infrequent habit of simply changing what original authors had said, wherever they came to believe that the original writing was wrong or where they decided that it failed to mention enough about their various beliefs.
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Old 16th August 2019, 06:30 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
The following is the text from the works of Josephus that describes Jesus and mentions the crucifixion.
It is considered to be a falsification inserted by the early Christians. Obviously a hand written text could be fixed by scribes at any time in the approximately 1500 years the manuscript existed before printing was invented.
But that is no reason not to give it consideration.

The following text is from Flavius Josephus (c37-100AD)
Disclaimer: As always, when I post on this subject, it is from the position of not believing in the reality of Historical Jesus as an individual. I merely address that which is written in the Bible in much the same way that a critic writes about the characters, events and places in a fictional book or movie.

The writer Flavius was not contemporaneous will the alleged Historical Jesus

If Jesus really existed, he is claimed to have lived from around 6 BC to around 30 AD. He was certainly already dead before Flavius Josephus could possibly have written this... if in fact he did write it, and there seems to be a lot of doubt about that.

I consider it highly unlikely that there was a single person who you can say was Jesus. Lay preachers were a shekel a dozen around that time. It is far more likely that the character the Bible calls "Jesus Christ" was a conflation of a number of different individuals, in much that same was that a number if different individuals such as the Earl of Loxley, the son of the earl of Loxley, the historical outlaw Roger Godberd, the mysterious character know as "Rabunhod" in various regions across England, from Berkshire to York, Robert Hood the famous murderer and lastly, the Earl of Huntington have been conflated to become "Robin Hood".
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Old 16th August 2019, 10:26 PM   #135
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It occurs to me that Islam is way more credible as a religion than Christianity in at least this much, that no one doubts that their particular prophet actually lived. He may have been crazy, or a pedophile, or a cynical scamster, or all of the above, but at least he existed.

Allah hu akbar! Mohammad hu perfectly real!

(Ditto scientology, but I'm afraid don't know what their war cry is.)
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Old 16th August 2019, 10:34 PM   #136
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Originally Posted by Chanakya View Post
...snip...(Ditto scientology, but I'm afraid don't know what their war cry is.)
"Show me the money!"
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Old 16th August 2019, 10:49 PM   #137
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
...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.
I just said that it seems very, very unlikely this fabulous discovery that you imagine.
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Old 17th August 2019, 01:03 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I would say very few of those people had a very definitive opinion on the subject. Given that movable type and the Guttenberg bible was invented in the 15th century. Most of these people until you get to the 18th century were illiterate and Mass was done in Latin until the 20th century.

I expect most people were indeed illiterate prior to the 18th century (note that I had suggested the start of the 19th century, rather than up to the 18th). But it was not necessary for those people to read the bible themselves. Afaik, they were most definitely taught about Christianity, God and Jesus by vast numbers of preachers, priests, vicar, bishops, cardinals, popes etc.

If you read the book “Galileo's Daughter” by Dava Sobel, which is actually a fascinating book that was compiled entirely from a large mass of still existing letters written by Galileo to his two daughters and the letters that one daughter in particular wrote in return to Galileo, then you will read there how the church bells in Florence and elsewhere, rang out constantly all day long, and also even all night long! … people could not get away from the call of the church and it's preachers at that time, at least in the major cities of Italy … from the description in that book, you are struck by the fact that people could barely have a normal conversation on the streets without being constantly drowned out by the call of the church.

If you make a Google search, or just search in Wikipedia, then I think you will find that the Christian church was responsible for almost all eduction in Europe from at least around 1200 AD, so that children were taught all about the bible in church schools. I don't think there can really be any doubt that since the time of Galileo (c.1600) up until say 1800, people all across the developed parts of the world such as all over Europe, certainly did all know about what was claimed in the bible for the life of Jesus as the miraculous son of God. People did believe that the biblical teaching was unquestionably factual truth. And that religion really dominated the lives of everyone at the time.
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Old 17th August 2019, 01:55 AM   #139
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Originally Posted by Scorpion View Post
The following is the text from the works of Josephus that describes Jesus and mentions the crucifixion.
It is considered to be a falsification inserted by the early Christians. Obviously a hand written text could be fixed by scribes at any time in the approximately 1500 years the manuscript existed before printing was invented.
But that is no reason not to give it consideration.

The following text is from Flavius Josephus (c37-100AD)
The Antiquities of the Jews. Book 18.3.3

Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works,- a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principle men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.

From the annals of the Roman historian Tacitus. Annal 15:44

15.44.2. But, despite kindly influence, despite the leader's generous handouts, despite appeasing the gods, the scandal did not subside, rather the blaze came to be believed to be an official act. So, in order to quash the rumour, Nero blamed it on, and applied the cruellest punishments to, those sinners, whom ordinary people call Christians, hating them for their shameful behaviour.
15.44.3. The originator of this name, Christ, was sentenced to torture by Procurator Pontius Pilate, during the reign of Tiberius, but although checked for a moment, the deadly cult erupted again, not just in Judaea, the source of its evil, but even in Rome, where all the sins and scandals of the world gather and are glorified.

Pliny the Younger
Pliny was the governor of the Roman province of Bithynia, in present-day Turkey. In about 112 AD, he wrote (in Epistles X.96) to the emperor Trajan, asking for advice on how to deal with the Christians in his province, because he was executing so many of them. Pliny wrote:

'They were in the habit of meeting before dawn on a fixed day. They would recite in alternate verse a hymn to Christ as to a God, and would bind themselves by a solemn oath, not to do any criminal act, but rather that they would not commit any fraud, theft or adultery, nor betray any trust nor refuse to restore a deposit on demand. This done, they would disperse, and then they would meet again later to eat together (but the food was quite ordinary and harmless.)


In case peopel could not be bothered to read the admittedly long reply that I gave to Belz above -

- the problem with both Josephus and Tacitus as evidence for Jesus, is that despite Christians (and others, inc. all Bible Scholars) saying that their writing comes not long after the time of Jesus, in fact it turns out that the earliest copies we have from either Tacitus or Josephus are not from around 100AD, but actually from the 11th century! ... ie 1000 years after the fact!!

That's waaaaay too late to be credible for the tiny few words that either of those authors may, or may not, have ever written as hearsay repetition of what anyone once believed about Jesus.

And just re- the highlight from Pliny – there is not a single word in that quote that is anything remotely like evidence of a real Jesus. He's just talking about problems that he had with Christians.

And whilst on this point – we should note that the word “Christ” just meant the long promised messiah from the Old Testament, ie promised as "the Christ" since at least 500BC if not from 1000BC! It did not necessarily mean anyone named Jesus at all … it's just the word (“Christ”) used to mean the Messiah from OT belief. In other word “Christians” just meant a group of people who believed in the coming of the messiah ie the promised “Christ”.


Think that's too fanciful and a stretch too far to raise a note of caution about whether by around 100AD it was actually Jesus who all of these earliest “Christians” believed to be the “Christ”? Well, just read Paul's letters again – there he quite specifically admonishes those who he calls “the leaders of the Church of Jerusalem”, who he also says were “apostles before me”, telling them that they and others were naming and worshiping various different people as the “Christ”.

Last edited by IanS; 17th August 2019 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 17th August 2019, 03:24 AM   #140
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
If you make a Google search, or just search in Wikipedia, then I think you will find that the Christian church was responsible for almost all eduction in Europe from at least around 1200 AD, so that children were taught all about the bible in church schools. I don't think there can really be any doubt that since the time of Galileo (c.1600) up until say 1800, people all across the developed parts of the world such as all over Europe, certainly did all know about what was claimed in the bible for the life of Jesus as the miraculous son of God. People did believe that the biblical teaching was unquestionably factual truth. And that religion really dominated the lives of everyone at the time.
There are two things I have to say about that

1. A religious organisation teaching the masses about their religion is not "education", its distribution of propaganda; the teaching dogma to the gullible.

2. Even if you do regard it as "education", it does not balance out the other terrible things the Christian church was responsible for; the bloody genocidal wars of religion, the Inquisition, the systematic and brutal oppression of woman, the murders of people who dissented from Church dogma, such as burning William Tyndale at the stake for translating the Bible into English, burning Joan D'Arc for dressing like a man, the razing of Palestrina, and the orchestration the systematic murder of the Knights Templar, among many, many other reprehensible acts.
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Old 17th August 2019, 06:33 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
That is not however the case with Christian Bible Scholars today – firstly, none of them are scientists
Well, historians are not scientists, either. Are there any actual historians who study the historicity of Jesus? I ask because as I noted you seem to simply dismiss the experts on the matter by the use of an ad hominem. So far you've not actually made the demonstration that I'm asking for.

Quote:
On your second highlighted sentence – what are the other factors that you think I must consider when I say that where Bible Scholars are known to be practising Christians, that inevitably introduces and unacceptable bias immediately for any belief they express for the existence of Jesus upon claims that the biblical writing is a reliable enough source of evidence?
Ian, you really should realise that your claim that this bias is inevitable and overwhelming is the thing I'm questioning. I do not accept that your claim, on its face, is sound. Can you demonstrate that it is, or not?
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Old 17th August 2019, 06:34 AM   #142
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I don't think it is fair to dismiss them outright. We'd know even less without them. But I find it unreasonable to simply accept their opinions on the historicity of characters in ancient writings. The biblical stories resemble fan fiction a little too much to simply accept that the characters were real.
But that's the issue I'm raising. Whenever other posters discount the experts because something feels too much X or not enough Y to them, we call them woo-woos and tell them to read expert opinions on the matter. But in the case of Jeebus, suddenly our doubts about expert opinions is entirely sound. I am questioning this reasoning.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
I just said that it seems very, very unlikely this fabulous discovery that you imagine.
Do you not understand the point of hypotheticals in a discussion?
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Old 17th August 2019, 07:32 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Do you not understand the point of hypotheticals in a discussion?
The Da Vinci Code, The Last Temptation of Christ, O Evangelio segundo Jesus Cristo... I like specially the last one.
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Old 17th August 2019, 07:36 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
In case peopel could not be bothered to read the admittedly long reply that I gave to Belz above -

- the problem with both Josephus and Tacitus as evidence for Jesus, is that despite Christians (and others, inc. all Bible Scholars) saying that their writing comes not long after the time of Jesus, in fact it turns out that the earliest copies we have from either Tacitus or Josephus are not from around 100AD, but actually from the 11th century! ... ie 1000 years after the fact!!
The problem is not the dating of the first manuscripts. The problem is that Josephus is manipulated and Pliny is a second-hand testimony. Like Tacitus and others.

Getting stuck with objecting to the date of the first manuscripts leads to a stupid discussion that would eliminate the possibility of at least half of ancient history. Pliny's first manuscripts - only six pages of them - date back to the 6th century. Is Pliny also of no use in studying the history of Rome?

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Old 17th August 2019, 07:50 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I expect most people were indeed illiterate prior to the 18th century (note that I had suggested the start of the 19th century, rather than up to the 18th). But it was not necessary for those people to read the bible themselves. Afaik, they were most definitely taught about Christianity, God and Jesus by vast numbers of preachers, priests, vicar, bishops, cardinals, popes etc.

If you read the book “Galileo's Daughter” by Dava Sobel, which is actually a fascinating book that was compiled entirely from a large mass of still existing letters written by Galileo to his two daughters and the letters that one daughter in particular wrote in return to Galileo, then you will read there how the church bells in Florence and elsewhere, rang out constantly all day long, and also even all night long! … people could not get away from the call of the church and it's preachers at that time, at least in the major cities of Italy … from the description in that book, you are struck by the fact that people could barely have a normal conversation on the streets without being constantly drowned out by the call of the church.

If you make a Google search, or just search in Wikipedia, then I think you will find that the Christian church was responsible for almost all eduction in Europe from at least around 1200 AD, so that children were taught all about the bible in church schools. I don't think there can really be any doubt that since the time of Galileo (c.1600) up until say 1800, people all across the developed parts of the world such as all over Europe, certainly did all know about what was claimed in the bible for the life of Jesus as the miraculous son of God. People did believe that the biblical teaching was unquestionably factual truth. And that religion really dominated the lives of everyone at the time.
I have no doubt about the long arm of the church. It was the quasi-arm of the governments. But I have my doubts about what "most" of the citizens believed. Maybe almost everyone bought it hook line and sinker or maybe many just went along because they didn't want to suffer the inquisition.
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Old 17th August 2019, 07:52 AM   #146
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
There are two things I have to say about that

1. A religious organisation teaching the masses about their religion is not "education", its distribution of propaganda; the teaching dogma to the gullible.

2. Even if you do regard it as "education", it does not balance out the other terrible things the Christian church was responsible for; the bloody genocidal wars of religion, the Inquisition, the systematic and brutal oppression of woman, the murders of people who dissented from Church dogma, such as burning William Tyndale at the stake for translating the Bible into English, burning Joan D'Arc for dressing like a man, the razing of Palestrina, and the orchestration the systematic murder of the Knights Templar, among many, many other reprehensible acts.

Sure. I did not mean it was a neutral unbiased non-religious education (you did not think I was saying that, did you?). I'm just saying (in reply to what acbytesla said), that afaik (eg from a simple check with a Google search), from at least about 1200AD onwards, until probably at least 1700 to 1800, throughout educated parts of Christian Europe it was the churches and the religion that set up most schools ... where they no doubt taught all sorts of stuff from the bible ... afaik it's undeniable that children and adults were taught about, and did know very well, what the Christian church proclaimed as the truth from God, Jesus and the Holy Bible.

And I don't know of any substantial evidence to suggest that the general mass of the population (or indeed the priests and bishops themselves) took any other view except to believe that the bible was certainly all true.
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Old 17th August 2019, 08:18 AM   #147
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The problem is not the dating of the first manuscripts. The problem is that Josephus is manipulated and Pliny is a second-hand testimony. Like Tacitus and others.

Getting stuck with objecting to the date of the first manuscripts leads to a stupid discussion that would eliminate the possibility of at least half of ancient history. Pliny's first manuscripts - only six pages of them - date back to the 6th century. Is Pliny also of no use in studying the history of Rome?
Nonsense. I'm not sure you can study anything about ancient history without a truck load of salt.

Dates are important. If they weren't, then we can assume all the characters in the Old Testament were also real.

The further the documents are away from the events in time and distance, the more questionable they become. When they are written 30, 50 100 a 1000 years later the more ridiculous they grow as a source. When people point to Josephus and Tacitus as proof, it really is ridiculous.

It would be like me attesting to the life of William McKinley and having only oral stories to call upon. I didn't know McKinley and neither did anyone telling me about him.
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Old 17th August 2019, 08:32 AM   #148
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I just want to say that the few “Biblical Scholars” that I have discussed this with, one a Lutheran pastor and the other studying to be a Presbyterian minister, were both able to compartmentalize their faith separately from their academic knowledge.

They both academically said that someone kinda like Jesus inevitably existed in first-century Palestine, probably more than one, and various stories and legends grew from him/them.

They were not convinced of a single historical figure who would be recognizable as the Jesus of the Bible.

They also had faith in the existence of the Jesus of the Bible as their savior.

So that is a small bit of evidence that the faithful can do scholarship without their beliefs tarnishing the work.
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Old 17th August 2019, 08:41 AM   #149
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
I just want to say that the few “Biblical Scholars” that I have discussed this with, one a Lutheran pastor and the other studying to be a Presbyterian minister, were both able to compartmentalize their faith separately from their academic knowledge.

They both academically said that someone kinda like Jesus inevitably existed in first-century Palestine, probably more than one, and various stories and legends grew from him/them.

They were not convinced of a single historical figure who would be recognizable as the Jesus of the Bible.

They also had faith in the existence of the Jesus of the Bible as their savior.

So that is a small bit of evidence that the faithful can do scholarship without their beliefs tarnishing the work.
I doubt you can entirely separate their faith from their scholarship. I'm not saying that to dismiss their work. But faith is belief without evidence. Itself an irrational idea.
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Old 17th August 2019, 08:44 AM   #150
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Well, historians are not scientists, either. Are there any actual historians who study the historicity of Jesus? I ask because as I noted you seem to simply dismiss the experts on the matter by the use of an ad hominem. So far you've not actually made the demonstration that I'm asking for.

We are not talking about "historians". The people you are claiming as "experts" are Christians who are employed as Biblical Studies teachers.

Are there any actual neutral independent historians who normally write about research into the "historicity of Jesus"? Answer is - I do not know if they are any or not. But if there are any, and if they follow Bible Scholars in presenting the bible as evidence for a Jesus who they claim is certain upon such evidence, then they too would be making a claim that is entirely unwarranted and without credible foundation.

What other "demonstration are you asking for?



Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ian, you really should realise that your claim that this bias is inevitable and overwhelming is the thing I'm questioning. I do not accept that your claim, on its face, is sound. Can you demonstrate that it is, or not?

What do you mean by a "demonstration". You have asked me to explain why Bible Scholars would "inevitably be biased" in concluding that Jesus was "definitely" real, and I have explained exactly that to you in detail several times now ...

... do you want that same explanation again?

The explanation is that almost all those Bible Studies scholars who you are relying upon as "experts" whose opinions we should trust and whose conclusions we are not qualified to dispute (according to you), are lifelong practising Christians ... which means that even before they knew any detailed evidence at all from degrees in biblical studies, they were already totally comitted to a belief in Jesus, God, and the truth of the bible as their source of belief ...

... as a practising worshipping Christian, you cannot do anything else other than to insist that Jesus must have existed (if only as a mere mortal human), otherwise if as a Christian Bible Scholar you do ever finally admit that having studied all that has been offered as evidence for Jesus, you must now in all honesty conclude that he did not ever exist (or that it's quite possible that he never existed), without making a complete mockery of your position of still claiming to be a Christian believer! The two positions are completely incompatible with one another.

What other “demonstration” are you realistically demanding? Look – the situation is that we have tens of thousands of devout Christians who pursed their religious interests far enough to forge a career lecturing Biblical Studies. If you ask any of them for evidence that Jesus was a real person, every last one of them will present to you first as their primary most convincing evidence, the gospels and letters of the bible …

… but unless they are entirely blinded by their own religious faith, then they really must know that the bible is not a credible source of reliable evidence for a real “historical Jesus”. So why do they all insist on repeatedly using the bible as their evidence? Is the answer because they are all liars and frauds? I don't think so. I think they do all really believe that the bible is a fine source of the evidence. Or is it because the bible truly is a reliable source of credible factual evidence for the life of Jesus? Well … if you think the bible is such a factual reliable source then we can stop right there, because only the most deluded of the faithful could believe that. Or is it because without clearly realising it themselves, those Christian Bible Scholars have deluded themselves by such things as “Confirmation Bias” into believing that at least some scraps of vital truth about Jesus can be teased out from a huge mass of what is now known to be quite obvious, and quite unarguably, a huge pile of untrue religious miraculous myth-making?

I think it's the latter. i.e., Christian bible studies teachers are showing unintentional but nevertheless quite massive levels of delusional bias when they believe that a source such as the bible can be credibly presented as evidence sufficient to claim “Jesus definitely existed” (and that's a direct quote from Bart Ehrman, who has kept on repeating those words long after it has been pointed out to him that he really cannot truthfully make such a claim upon any known evidence).

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Old 17th August 2019, 09:07 AM   #151
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Originally Posted by autumn1971 View Post
I just want to say that the few “Biblical Scholars” that I have discussed this with, one a Lutheran pastor and the other studying to be a Presbyterian minister, were both able to compartmentalize their faith separately from their academic knowledge.

They both academically said that someone kinda like Jesus inevitably existed in first-century Palestine, probably more than one, and various stories and legends grew from him/them.

1. They were not convinced of a single historical figure who would be recognizable as the Jesus of the Bible.


2. They also had faith in the existence of the Jesus of the Bible as their savior.


So that is a small bit of evidence that the faithful can do scholarship without their beliefs tarnishing the work.


Did you not ask them why they were making those two highlighted statements (1 and 2)? Because those two statements are incompatible with one another ...

... that is - you are saying that these bible scholars all told you (1) I am not convinced that a historical Jesus existed, but (2) I am convinced Jesus existed.

Are you saying that they were only convinced of a Jesus who somehow existed only as a spiritual figure of religious belief in the bible? Because that's not a real existing figure at all ... is it?
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Old 17th August 2019, 09:09 AM   #152
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Sure. I did not mean it was a neutral unbiased non-religious education (you did not think I was saying that, did you?). I'm just saying (in reply to what acbytesla said), that afaik (eg from a simple check with a Google search), from at least about 1200AD onwards, until probably at least 1700 to 1800, throughout educated parts of Christian Europe it was the churches and the religion that set up most schools ... where they no doubt taught all sorts of stuff from the bible ... afaik it's undeniable that children and adults were taught about, and did know very well, what the Christian church proclaimed as the truth from God, Jesus and the Holy Bible.

And I don't know of any substantial evidence to suggest that the general mass of the population (or indeed the priests and bishops themselves) took any other view except to believe that the bible was certainly all true.
I doubt it would exist considering what they did to non-believers. I live in the US. There is a coercive nature with religion. Even in our society and yet we're free to disbelieve. I've probably not believed in this hokum most of my life. And yet I would identify as a Christian most of that time. It was only recently that 8 began to make it clear that I think religion is bs.

The masses in Europe had little choice.
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Old 17th August 2019, 10:36 AM   #153
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Originally Posted by Belz...
But at what point do you accept that the evidence or argument is sufficient, if we're ignoring the experts?
When the evidence is sufficient and the techniques applied to the evidence can be demonstrated to work. And if the experts are as stupid as the hypothetical ones you asked you reject them as experts and recognize them as idiots.

Originally Posted by Belz...
Can I ignore the conclusions of physicists if I don't think the evidence for QM is sufficient? Or chemists?
Yes, you're allowed to be stupid. And it would be stupid because the evidence physicists and chemists have can be demonstrated to be sufficient and the techniques can be shown to work.

Originally Posted by Belz...
If not, why in this case can we ignore them? Do you agree with Ian that they are not actual experts? Not a single one of them? There's not a single real historian who concludes HJ?
No one has identified who these experts are other than citing less than a handful of people, none of whom are historians outside of what appears to be a very narrow discipline.

The best "evidence" cited so far for this consensus appears to be the wikipedia article on the historicity of Jesus.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scient...climate_change

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

Compare, I mean contrast, those two pages. On the first one, I can tell that the consensus has actually been measured and demonstrated multiple times. I can tell who was asked what, how many people were asked, and what organizations they represent.

The second one? Total crap. Three assertions that there is a consensus. A vague description of who the members of that consensus are. No explanation of who the specifically members they are, what institutions they represent, or how their opinion was determined. Clicking on the sources for those claims takes you to references that can't be verified online and the say so of three people. And you can't tell anything about how those three people formed their opinions that a consensus exists.
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Old 17th August 2019, 11:16 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
That's certainly true but that's a far cry from dismissing all experts on the topic as biased beyond credibility, especially without qualifying that with some sort of evidence. I think that's why Ian's now saying that they are not actual experts. It's easier to dismiss them that way.


Without checking back, I don't think I have said that Bible Scholars are not experts on what they study. Can you quote where I said that, because I don't recall that?

Nor was it me who first started to say that what I was claiming was "bias". Iirc, it was you who first described it as a claim of bias.

However, what I have said about it is this - the people that you were describing in this thread as "experts", where you then added that we are not qualified to question or disbelieve what these "experts" claim, was that the people you are talking about as the "experts" are actually Bible Studies teachers and not actually neutral mainstream independent (non-Christian) historians.

That is - the people you are talking about as experts who have written extensively about the Historicity of Jesus, are people like Bart Ehrman, E.P. Sanders, Dominic Crossan, Burton Mack, Mark Goodacre, Craig Evans etc. etc. Those people are all Bible Scholars, i.e. teachers of biblical studies. They are not neutral independent historians who amongst other things just happened to write at some point about the history of Jesus.

I have never said that people like Ehrman or Sanders or Crossan or Goodacre have not studied very deeply into the gospels and epistles, their earliest origins, the sources and the languages used etc. etc. I am sure they have read every extensively into all of that.

However what I am saying is negative or unsatisfactory, is that the material they present as evidence is completely unconvincing. And in fact, almost all of it is vastly worse than merely unconvincing – it's bordering on claims so absurd as to be quite shocking (ie claims from the bible). And that seriously undermines their credibility for what they conclude when (conveniently for them as believing Christians) they conclude that the evidence does indeed show that Jesus must have been real (just as they had always believed).

You talked about whether we should accept the authority and opinions of other experts in other fields such as physics. Well the answer is that we should accept it, providing they can show really solid testable and independently confirmed evidence for whatever they claim. But the problem in the case of Jesus is that the “expert” bible scholars cannot provide any such credible or reliable independent confirmed tested evidence of Jesus at all … and yet we are (according to you) nevertheless duty bound to accept what they say despite the complete lack of evidence … or in fact it's vastly worse than a mere complete lack of reliable evidence, because the actual position is that these “experts” are presenting material and sources as evidence when those sources and that material is the very opposite of being in any way credible as evidence to support their claim that Jesus “definitely existed” (see the footnote re. that quote, and re. what is being used as “evidence).




Footnotethe claim that Jesus certainly existed was made several times by Ehrman in his 2013 book Did Jesus Exist (DJE). But note also, in that book when Ehrman gives his position of claiming Jesus certainly existed, he widens that claim to include virtually all his academic colleagues by saying -

“Virtually all scholars of antiquity agree Jesus was a Jewish man, known to be a preacher and a teacher ...” (page 12 of DJE) …

“I agree with Schweitzer and virtually all scholars in the field since his day that Jesus existed ...” (page 14, DJE) …

“For now I want to stress the most foundational point of all … Jesus himself was not a myth, he really existed” (page 14, DJE) …

“Schweitzer himself knew full well that Jesus actually existed.” (page 13, DJE) …

“But there was a historical Jesus, who was very much a man of his time. And we can know what he was like.” (page 13, DJE) …

“I will set out the evidence that has persuaded everyone else, amateur and professional alike, that Jesus really did exist” (page 34, DJE) …

“even though there are innumerable historical problems in the New Testament, they are not of the scope or character to call seriously into doubt the existence of Jesus. He certainly lived, ...” (page 37, DJE) ….

“He may have been only semi-literate, but he certainly lived” (page 37 DJE),


What is the point of me reproducing for you the exact quotes from Ehrman's book? Well I hope you don't really have to ask that, because the point is blindingly obvious and really very damming for Ehrman – what the quotes show is (a) that Ehrman was repeatedly claiming to know for certain that Jesus existed, (b) that he claims this certainty comes from evidence he finds in the bible, and (c) he says that virtually all scholars in the field agree with him about the reality and evidence showing certainty for Jesus.

Keep in mind here that Bart Ehrman is by far the best known and most widely quoted expert in this exact field of historicity of Jesus. And he is by far the most frequently quoted and claimed expert from people on the internet who say they believe Jesus was real and who dismiss all people they call “mythicist's” as not fit to have any useful opinion. Ehrman has been in this field as an academic for over 30 years, and he knows very well indeed vast numbers of colleagues in this field, i.e. the people he describes as “virtually all scholars” who he says agree with what he says about Jesus.

So what is this evidence that Ehrman has uncovered which shows Jesus to be a “certainty”? Well it's actually two things, both of which come specifically from the bible. The first is that famous half-senetence that I referred to before in one of Paul's letters where it says “other apostles saw I none, save James the Lords brother”. Ehrman says that sentence means that we know Jesus had actual brothers and family, and we know that Paul had actually met one of his brothers. So he concludes that is proof that Jesus must have been real, and he says of that to his readers and/or listeners (where he gave a public reading from that book when it was first published, i.e. to a room of about 30 people in a book-store) “you would think his own brother would know if Jesus was real!” … he probably thought that was an amusing remark, but he's also telling his audience that in order to make them think “oh yes, obviously his own brother would know that for certain, and Paul actually met this brother, so any idea that Jesus was not real is clearly just some mysticist anti-Christian nonsense”.

The other piece of evidence that Ehrman claims in his book, is something that he mentioned to that audience at his book reading, where he said (just from memory, but it's on YouTube) “the other piece of evidence is too complicated to explain to you here”.

If people here really want to argue about it then we can go over yet again those claims of evidence that Ehrman gets from the bible, though we have been over it many times before, and none of it is remotely convincing except perhaps to those who are already predisposed (“biased”?) towards wishing to simply accept Ehrman as an “expert” without bothering to look seriously at what he is claiming to be such convincing reliable evidence of Jesus that he can declare it be a “certainty”.

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Old 17th August 2019, 12:30 PM   #155
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
We are not talking about "historians".
Excuse me. YOU may not be talking about historians, but I've been talking about them exclusively. I'm sorry if you thought I was talking about some other group.

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Are there any actual neutral independent historians who normally write about research into the "historicity of Jesus"? Answer is - I do not know if they are any or not.
Then you honestly have no basis for your objection.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:35 PM   #156
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
When the evidence is sufficient and the techniques applied to the evidence can be demonstrated to work.
But the issue is that people who have a long expertise in a field can interpret the evidence better than you. That's why we have experts in the first place -- we can't each have all of that knowledge in all fields.

So what's the difference between these experts and others? You'll say that one has the evidence and the other not, but what makes you able to determine what evidence is enough if you are not, yourself, a historian, or a physicist? At some point you have to trust some authority on these topics.

Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
The Da Vinci Code, The Last Temptation of Christ, O Evangelio segundo Jesus Cristo... I like specially the last one.
Why can't you answer the question?
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:37 PM   #157
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
So what's the difference between these experts and others?

I quite obviously just pointed out a major difference. Obviously no point in talking to you.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:38 PM   #158
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
Ian, you really should realise that your claim that this bias is inevitable and overwhelming is the thing I'm questioning. I do not accept that your claim, on its face, is sound. Can you demonstrate that it is, or not?

He's got you there Ian. He can cite Christianity's impeccable record on creationism.
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Old 17th August 2019, 12:39 PM   #159
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Originally Posted by Belz... View Post
I'm of the opinion that a physical person who was the inspiration for Jesus may have existed, and that this is likely, but there's no solid evidence for this.

Again, discussed to death on this forum.
Yeah. This is a matter that leaves me nonplussed.

It is possible that a historical Jesus existed. Whatever that is

It is certain that a plethora of jewish apocalyptic prophets existed, so jesus could well be an amalgam of some or more of those.

It is possible that no actual jesus existed.

I care not a whit.

Nevertheless whole scads of people get bent out of shape on the issue.

I fail to see why this is so important. Or why some atheists want to wrangle that hog.
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Old 17th August 2019, 02:43 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I quite obviously just pointed out a major difference. Obviously no point in talking to you.
Well, that escalated quickly.

Obviously -- to coin a phrase -- I have an issue with the distinction you made, for the reasons I mentioned, and that's why I'm digging further. It's like you didn't actually read my response. So I'll expand:

None of us have the time to be experts in everything. That's why in almost every case we trust authorities on a particular topic to be able to tell us how things work -- mechanics, doctors, physicists, historians, nail salon employees, you name it. We can read a few books on a topic but we'll not spend years of our lives to match the experts, because we simply don't have the time or the inclination. But if we trust the experts to know more than we do, then it's _they_, not us, who determine what's good evidence, and what the consensus is. Now, here you're saying that these experts are not experts because their evidence is BS. That would imply that experts in a field are actually not the ones who determine what's good evidence. So who does? Every one of us, regardless of our credentials? Sure, to a degree, but not to match their experience for sure. And such a position would make us all into mini-experts who can just hand-wave away any actual experts into any number of fields if we, individually, feel that the evidence is not up to our standards. See the issue? The only way to avoid a bit of circular reasoning is to essentially deny the very concept of experts. I take a bit of issue with that, which is why I reject your proposal. There must be something else that differentiates experts from non-experts.

Quote:
He's got you there Ian. He can cite Christianity's impeccable record on creationism.
Yeah because if it's not entirely and completely unreliable, it's got to be impeccable, right? No other option. No, sir.

Talk about a false dichotomy! I don't know why this topic summons such strong feelings in you that you need to lie and twist the truth to get your way. How about you dispassionately discuss this instead? I'm requesting this because I'm concerned that you can't set aside your biases when it comes to this topic. Gee, where have I heard that before?
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