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Old 14th December 2017, 08:30 AM   #361
TubbaBlubba
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Well, you've shown me people for whom the evidence is thinner. You didn't actually show me any reason to think that there is a consensus those people are likely to have existed.
How could I convince you of that? There isn't even a debate on whether various sparsely attested politicians/aristocrats exist, because while limited, the source material all points in the same direction.

The only reason you bother to be skeptical of it is your need to be convinced Jesus didn't exist. Sorry, pick up a book on historiography to see how it's done. I'm done with you and your motorized goalposts.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:38 AM   #362
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I told you, there isn't enough evidence to warrant a conclusion.
I asked for an opinion, not a conclusion.
Quote:
This thread seems pointless.
Nobody is forcing you to post to this thread.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:42 AM   #363
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
The only reason you bother to be skeptical of it is your need to be convinced Jesus didn't exist.
Just for the record: I'm not convinced Jesus doesn't exist. Your need to see me as an extremist doesn't help your argument. Proving Jesus couldn't have existed is a much higher bar to cross than proving he likely did. And I would guess that I've believe Jesus actually existed for something around 80% of life. I'm pretty sure I went from "can't tell", to "probably existed", and back to "can't tell" during my membership on this board. That would have been during the Jame Ossuary incident. The first reports of that I saw had it being acquired by a museum so I just casually accepted that it had been vetted.

So that's for the benefit of other readers, you can go back to making stuff up about me now.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:43 AM   #364
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I asked for an opinion, not a conclusion. Nobody is forcing you to post to this thread.
I gave you my opinion. You just quoted it. My opinion is there isn't enough evidence to warrant a conclusion. Sheez.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:48 AM   #365
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BTW the subject of the thread is "Does Paul Exist". I think he probably did though this thread has given me reason to think the case is weaker than I'd thought.
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Old 14th December 2017, 09:04 AM   #366
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
... I'm pretty sure I went from "can't tell", to "probably existed", and back to "can't tell" during my membership on this board. That would have been during the Jame Ossuary incident. The first reports of that I saw had it being acquired by a museum so I just casually accepted that it had been vetted.

So that's for the benefit of other readers, you can go back to making stuff up about me now.
Thank you for the substantive content of that post. What surprises me is your reference to the James Ossuary. That was a mere scam produced for the purpose of profiting from religious mania. Its creator has a history of this kind of behaviour. You might as well decide whether Jesus did or did not exist on the basis of Chaucer's Pardoner
For in his male he hadde a pilwe-beer,
Which that, he seyde, was oure lady veyl;
He seyde he hadde a gobet of the seyl
That Seïnt Peter hadde whan that he wente
Upon the see til Jhesu Crist hym hente.
He hadde a croys of latoun ful of stones,
And in a glas he hadde pigges bones.
The James Ossuary was, so to speak, full of "pigs' bones" placed there by a similar swindler to exploit similar fools. What have phoney relics to do with historical authenticity? Caligula is supposed to have had a shield he said had belonged to Alexander the Great. I imagine it was fake, but that has nothing to do with whether Alexander existed or not.
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Old 14th December 2017, 09:24 AM   #367
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Well, of course. Had I known all that at the time I wouldn't have accepted it. But as I said the first report of it I saw was that a museum had bought it and was going to put in on display. I didn't know about the suspected forgery aspect until it arrived at the museum broken.

I hope you understand that I don't accept it now.
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Old 14th December 2017, 10:19 AM   #368
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Well, of course. Had I known all that at the time I wouldn't have accepted it. But as I said the first report of it I saw was that a museum had bought it and was going to put in on display. I didn't know about the suspected forgery aspect until it arrived at the museum broken.

I hope you understand that I don't accept it now.
Of course, I understand that. I'm only saying that it tells us nothing about whether Jesus or James existed, for this reason: it's as easy, and it may be as profitable, to manufacture false relics of real people, as of imaginary people. Proving the relic real would be evidence that a James existed, and was the brother of someone called Jesus. Proving it false tells us nothing at all about the people named on it.
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Old 14th December 2017, 10:24 AM   #369
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Right. I agree. Were you expecting me not to?
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Old 14th December 2017, 11:45 AM   #370
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Right. I agree. Were you expecting me not to?
I wasn't expecting anything in particular. I was reacting to your
I'm pretty sure I went from "can't tell", to "probably existed", and back to "can't tell" ... during the Jame Ossuary incident.
So that incident had some kind of effect on you.
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Old 14th December 2017, 03:54 PM   #371
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
...
I honestly don't remember if there's any great reason in the early sources to believe that Peter actually led the church in Rome (which would make him the "first Pope". I never took as much of an interest in those writings; they're really convoluted.
If things are roughly as we think they are it is very unlikely that Peter went to Rome, more unlikely that he played a significant role in the development of the early Christian church and impossible that he was the first Pope in the normal sense of the word Pope.

1.Peter's probable language was Aramaic. It is unlikely that he spoke Greek and if he was as characterized, a fisherman, it is even more unlikely that he would have been a mover and shaker in early Roman Christianity.

2. Paul lists 23 people he greeted in Rome (Romans 16). Peter wasn't one of them.

3. Documentation of Peter's time in Rome is late. The first known documentation of it is in a letter form Gaius, where he talks about Peter establishing a church. The letter is dated to between 170 and 180 AD.

4. There is no chance that Peter was a pope in the normal sense of the word Pope because there was no organized Church for him to be pope of.

5. I have seen arguments that the promotion of Peter to super apostle and his founding of the Catholic Church in Rome was part of an early plan to justify Rome as the head of the Catholic Church. They seemed plausible to me at the time I read them.

Link to an article about the possibility of Peter founding a church in Rome:
https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/...peter-in-rome/ The article struck me as credible.

There is the possibility that nothing is quite as we think it might have been. Most of what we think we know of Peter is from the Gospels and I believe the Gospels are mostly fictional. The Jewish group that Paul visits might have been a Hellenized Jewish sect and the group's leaders spoke and wrote Greek well. It is plausible that members of this group might have interfaced with Hellenized Jews that were in Rome.
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Old 14th December 2017, 04:23 PM   #372
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Thoughts on two TubbaBlubba arguments

1. The early creation of a lot of Jesus Gospels in multiple places suggests that there was an actual Jesus character that underlies the Jesus fiction that was created.

My response:
I used to make this argument as one of the bits of evidence that supported the idea that there was a historic Jesus. I think now it is a very weak argument. First the writings began about 40 years after the hypothetical death of Jesus. That is strange if there was an historic Jesus. For forty years nobody seemed all that interested and then somebody writes Mark and the Jesus fiction fad takes off.

Secondly, the argument often made by Jesus mythicists, that there is ample evidence of exactly this kind of thing happening when it is known that the subject of the religion is known to not exist. Usually about this time they bring up John Frum. I wasn't originally impressed with this argument. Just because it happened someplace else doesn't mean it happened here. But that misses the point of the argument I think. The point of the argument is that it is proven to be possible that a belief in a culture can develop without an underlying true event.

2. The fact Nazareth is mentioned in the Gospels (Matthew and Luke) suggests that there is information in the Gospels that isn't derived from Josephus, Paul or other known sources and that suggests maybe other some truth made it into the Gospels from reliable sources.

I think there is merit to this argument. My view has been that the Gospels can be explained entirely as historical fiction with historical references that can be explained because the data was available from other probable sources. A reference to a tiny town largely unknown by anybody suggests that some kind real information made it's way to the Gospel writers beyond what might have been expected if they are purely historical fiction.

Unfortunately there are many other explanations for this.
1. The whole Nazorean confusion. Nazorean seems to denote membership in a group or at least say something about the beliefs of the person it is applied to. It is plausible that the town of Nazareth was just picked because it sounded like Nazorean. Frankly the arguments about all this are complicated and I don't have a very good understanding of them.

2. The author of Matthew is suspected to have been Jewish. He might have known of the town from personal sources.

3. Nazareth didn't exist at the right time. This argument appears to be bogus. There is a book claiming that the town didn't exist in the time the hypothetical Jesus was born, but both Ehrman and Carrier among others don't agree with the argument.
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Old 14th December 2017, 04:43 PM   #373
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[quote=davefoc;12114367]
I used to make this argument as one of the bits of evidence that supported the idea that there was a historic Jesus. I think now it is a very weak argument. First the writings began about 40 years after the hypothetical death of Jesus. That is strange if there was an historic Jesus. For forty years nobody seemed all that interested and then somebody writes Mark and the Jesus fiction fad takes off. [/quote9

There is really nothing strange with those details appearing only 40 years later. Obviously there would have been oral, and presumably some written, sources before that. As I have noted it is more typical for the time span to be 100-300 years before our first written sources shows up. So IMO there is no merit to this counterargument.

Quote:
Secondly, the argument often made by Jesus mythicists, that there is ample evidence of exactly this kind of thing happening when it is known that the subject of the religion is known to not exist. Usually about this time they bring up John Frum. I wasn't originally impressed with this argument. Just because it happened someplace else doesn't mean it happened here. But that misses the point of the argument I think. The point of the argument is that it is proven to be possible that a belief in a culture can develop without an underlying true event.
Yep, so there it is important to qualify exacly what we're looking at. There's a difference between "some people believe some guy existed" (as with John Frum) and "multiple authors agree on key biographical details". AFAIK, we do not have multiple consistent early accounts of John Frum's birthtown, place of death, et cetera. It's the consistency of such details that makes the case for Jesus' existence compelling as opposed to someone like, say, Heracles, where nobody seemed able to agree on any details like place of birth, death, etc.
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Old 14th December 2017, 05:21 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I used to make this argument as one of the bits of evidence that supported the idea that there was a historic Jesus. I think now it is a very weak argument. First the writings began about 40 years after the hypothetical death of Jesus. That is strange if there was an historic Jesus. For forty years nobody seemed all that interested and then somebody writes Mark and the Jesus fiction fad takes off.
There is really nothing strange with those details appearing only 40 years later. Obviously there would have been oral, and presumably some written, sources before that. As I have noted it is more typical for the time span to be 100-300 years before our first written sources shows up. So IMO there is no merit to this counterargument.



Yep, so there it is important to qualify exacly what we're looking at. There's a difference between "some people believe some guy existed" (as with John Frum) and "multiple authors agree on key biographical details". AFAIK, we do not have multiple consistent early accounts of John Frum's birthtown, place of death, et cetera. It's the consistency of such details that makes the case for Jesus' existence compelling as opposed to someone like, say, Heracles, where nobody seemed able to agree on any details like place of birth, death, etc.
I am not sure of your basis for the comment "multiple authors agree on key biographical details". That seems like a substantial mischaracterization of the situation. There is only one known source for basic facts of the crucifixion. There is nothing thought to be factual about any of the birth narrative. Which authors are you reading that you would base your idea that there is something here that is factual? Did the sky go dark? Did earthquakes happen when Jesus died? Did Herod order the death of thousands of babies? Do Luke and Matthew agree on the home town of Jesus? Do Luke and Matthew agree when Jesus was born? What part of the Jesus trial story do you find plausible? Who was recording the dialog during that time?

How is it that obvious fiction is strong evidence of anything? People make stuff up and that it the simple obvious explanation here. What is hard to understand how you think you can pick some reliable data out of something that is almost purely fictional.

Somehow the idea of a religion based on the Jesus character made its way to the areas where the Gospels were written (Paul is the primary idea for this but I'm not sure that's correct), the idea gained traction and people started writing Jesus fiction. The Jesus stories are dependent on each other, not in a way that suggests multiple sources. They are dependent on each other in a way that suggests plagiarism.
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Old 14th December 2017, 06:00 PM   #375
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
If things are roughly as we think they are it is very unlikely that Peter went to Rome, more unlikely that he played a significant role in the development of the early Christian church and impossible that he was the first Pope in the normal sense of the word Pope.

1.Peter's probable language was Aramaic. It is unlikely that he spoke Greek and if he was as characterized, a fisherman, it is even more unlikely that he would have been a mover and shaker in early Roman Christianity.

2. Paul lists 23 people he greeted in Rome (Romans 16). Peter wasn't one of them.

3. Documentation of Peter's time in Rome is late. The first known documentation of it is in a letter form Gaius, where he talks about Peter establishing a church. The letter is dated to between 170 and 180 AD.

4. There is no chance that Peter was a pope in the normal sense of the word Pope because there was no organized Church for him to be pope of.

5. I have seen arguments that the promotion of Peter to super apostle and his founding of the Catholic Church in Rome was part of an early plan to justify Rome as the head of the Catholic Church. They seemed plausible to me at the time I read them.

Link to an article about the possibility of Peter founding a church in Rome:
https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/...peter-in-rome/ The article struck me as credible.

There is the possibility that nothing is quite as we think it might have been. Most of what we think we know of Peter is from the Gospels and I believe the Gospels are mostly fictional. The Jewish group that Paul visits might have been a Hellenized Jewish sect and the group's leaders spoke and wrote Greek well. It is plausible that members of this group might have interfaced with Hellenized Jews that were in Rome.
If you're interested in early accounts of Peter and Paul you could try the Clementine writings (Pseudo Clementine maybe):
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf0...i.iii.lxx.html
Quote:
“And when matters were at that point that they should come and be baptized, some one of our enemies,596 entering the temple with a few men, began to cry out, and to say, ‘What mean ye, O men of Israel? Why are you so easily hurried on? Why are ye led headlong by most miserable men, who are deceived by Simon, a magician?’ While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult, so that the people might not be able to hear what was said. Therefore he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman, to excite every one to murder, saying, ‘What do ye? Why do ye hesitate? Oh sluggish and inert, why do we not lay hands upon them, and pull all these fellows to pieces?’ When he had said this, he first, seizing a strong brand from the altar, set the example of smiting. Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like readiness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James, and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him.”
My bold: That "Enemy" is Paul hellbent on causing disruption amongst the early leadership of the church in Jerusalem. How authentic it is is a matter of debate.
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Old 14th December 2017, 06:03 PM   #376
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Just for the record: I'm not convinced Jesus doesn't exist. Your need to see me as an extremist doesn't help your argument. Proving Jesus couldn't have existed is a much higher bar to cross than proving he likely did. And I would guess that I've believe Jesus actually existed for something around 80% of life. I'm pretty sure I went from "can't tell", to "probably existed", and back to "can't tell" during my membership on this board. That would have been during the Jame Ossuary incident. The first reports of that I saw had it being acquired by a museum so I just casually accepted that it had been vetted.

So that's for the benefit of other readers, you can go back to making stuff up about me now.
I would argue that task is impossible. Basically a null hypothesis. At best one could prove is that the evidence is negligible, but as we have seen that point will always be arguable.

The number of times believers have said to me 'well, you can't prove there isn't a God' has been too numerous to count. 'Of course I can't' I reply and then they go off thinking they are justified in their belief. Never mind that they are accepting the same level of proof, maybe even less then alien abductions and some Indian guru miracle claims of living breathing people walking around today.
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Old 14th December 2017, 07:28 PM   #377
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
...

There is the possibility that nothing is quite as we think it might have been. Most of what we think we know of Peter is from the Gospels and I believe the Gospels are mostly fictional. The Jewish group that Paul visits might have been a Hellenized Jewish sect and the group's leaders spoke and wrote Greek well. It is plausible that members of this group might have interfaced with Hellenized Jews that were in Rome.
TubbaBlubba's arguments have made me think a little bit more about the nature of the people that founded Christianity. The author of the Jesusneverexisted site mentioned that there were many Greek immigrants and Hellenized Jewish immigrants living in Rome.

This seems exactly like the kind of place where Christianity might have developed. Jewish authorship for Matthew has been suggested for a long time. I wondered about that when I first heard it since it is openly anti-Semitic. One possibility is that the author of Matthew was a Hellenized Jew. Perhaps his apparently anti-Semitic views were a manifestation of his biases again the Orthodox Jews that won the Maccabean revolt. Plus it fit with the Roman anti-Semitism that grew out of the firs Jewish-Roman War.

It seems possible that the Jewish group that the Jesus focused religion developed in was a Hellenized Jewish group in Judea and that they had routine communication with Hellenized Jewish groups living in Rome.

I don't know how any of this is either verifiable or disprovable. We have the writings of Paul and that is about it. Is there anything to suggest he was a Hellenized Jew? Is it possible the Jewish Christians that he claimed to be prosecuting were Hellenized Jews and his big idea was to join them and stop prosecuting them? Although, his role as a prosecutor of any religious group seems a bit strange. Who was funding lone wolf religious prosecutors?
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Old 14th December 2017, 07:42 PM   #378
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I gave you my opinion. You just quoted it. My opinion is there isn't enough evidence to warrant a conclusion. Sheez.
I think this is a valid opinion. Sometimes not enough is known to make a reasoned guess about the truth of something and sometimes so little is know that the probability of something can't even be determined.

One of Carrier's idea is to try to make these kind of guesses about the chances of something, but the problem is that the error bars are huge he assigns to his inputs and his estimate about the chances of something vary wildly depending on his assumptions about his inputs. It sounds a lot like a proof of garbage in garbage out to me. RecoveringYuppy's approach takes a whole lot less mathematics and the results are similar. We really don't know what happened and the information is not available that would let us know.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:04 PM   #379
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I am not sure of your basis for the comment "multiple authors agree on key biographical details". That seems like a substantial mischaracterization of the situation. There is only one known source for basic facts of the crucifixion. There is nothing thought to be factual about any of the birth narrative. Which authors are you reading that you would base your idea that there is something here that is factual? Did the sky go dark? Did earthquakes happen when Jesus died? Did Herod order the death of thousands of babies? Do Luke and Matthew agree on the home town of Jesus? Do Luke and Matthew agree when Jesus was born? What part of the Jesus trial story do you find plausible? Who was recording the dialog during that time?

How is it that obvious fiction is strong evidence of anything? People make stuff up and that it the simple obvious explanation here. What is hard to understand how you think you can pick some reliable data out of something that is almost purely fictional.

Somehow the idea of a religion based on the Jesus character made its way to the areas where the Gospels were written (Paul is the primary idea for this but I'm not sure that's correct), the idea gained traction and people started writing Jesus fiction. The Jesus stories are dependent on each other, not in a way that suggests multiple sources. They are dependent on each other in a way that suggests plagiarism.
The thing is, you can't study the Gospel's like "fiction" as we see it today. They were a type of ancient biography, concerned with presenting a sort of moral/spiritual truth.

The reason for why those particular details stick out has to do with their nature and the particular context. E.g. there's the contrivances of putting Jesus in Betlehem, suggesting his being from Nazareth was well known. Baptism implies submission making it an unlikely event to insert let alone make so pivotal. Etc.

It's not that these details all come from multiple sources exactly, but that they appear to have been completely uncontroversial among several authors who did work with many sources.

Essentially we see what we'd expect if the movement started with a real charismatic figure.
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:09 AM   #380
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Essentially we see what we'd expect if the movement started with a real charismatic figure.
Or someone's vision of a real charismatic figure.
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:14 AM   #381
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
First the writings began about 40 years after the hypothetical death of Jesus. That is strange if there was an historic Jesus. For forty years nobody seemed all that interested and then somebody writes Mark and the Jesus fiction fad takes off.
It's not so strange if this was an apocalyptic cult who expected the world to end at any moment. Only when the original members start to die off does it dawn on them that they might have to wait a bit longer than they were expecting, and maybe they should write down how it all started before the last one who knows dies.
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:24 AM   #382
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I There is nothing thought to be factual about any of the birth narrative. Which authors are you reading that you would base your idea that there is something here that is factual? Did the sky go dark? Did earthquakes happen when Jesus died? Did Herod order the death of thousands of babies? Do Luke and Matthew agree on the home town of Jesus? Do Luke and Matthew agree when Jesus was born? What part of the Jesus trial story do you find plausible? Who was recording the dialog during that time?

How is it that obvious fiction is strong evidence of anything? People make stuff up and that it the simple obvious explanation here. What is hard to understand how you think you can pick some reliable data out of something that is almost purely fictional ... and people started writing Jesus fiction. The Jesus stories are dependent on each other, not in a way that suggests multiple sources. They are dependent on each other in a way that suggests plagiarism.
All of this is special pleading, and simply not justified by the data. The birth stories are clearly non factual. Only the later Synoptics contain them, and in contradictory forms. Not Mark, not John, not Paul, not the Sayings Source, not any other epistle author. In Matt and Luke moreover, we have additional sources, giving us the genealogies, which contradict the virgin birth by making Jesus a descendant of Joseph. The contradictions between Matt and Luke in any case do not suggest plagiarism at all, and it is ludicrous to suggest that they do. If they were plagiarised, they would agree, and neither the birth stories nor the genealogies agree between themselves or with each other.

Plagiarism is the very opposite of that. These disagreements prove multiplicity of sources. Plagiarism is indicated when different authors say the same thing. It is contra indicated when they say different things, as Matt and Luke habitually do, when they are not relating things derived from Mark or from the separate collection of Jesus' sayings they also seem to have known.
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:31 AM   #383
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba;12114555[HILITE
]The thing is, you can't study the Gospel's like "fiction" as we see it today. [/hilite]They were a type of ancient biography, concerned with presenting a sort of moral/spiritual truth.

The reason for why those particular details stick out has to do with their nature and the particular context. E.g. there's the contrivances of putting Jesus in Betlehem, suggesting his being from Nazareth was well known. Baptism implies submission making it an unlikely event to insert let alone make so pivotal. Etc.

It's not that these details all come from multiple sources exactly, but that they appear to have been completely uncontroversial among several authors who did work with many sources.

Essentially we see what we'd expect if the movement started with a real charismatic figure.
I don't see why you can't. There are lots of Biblical characters that are certainly false and were plagiarized from other religions. Trying to differentiate between real people that had gross exaggeration written about them and totally fictional characters in Ancient history is difficult in the best of circumstances when the civilizations were powerful and left monuments and writings. But Judea was never that.

You can argue all day long that this is what we could expect if the movement started with a charismatic figure but it's really only an assertion.

And if what you are saying is true, who's to say that charismatic figure wasn't Paul and not Jesus?
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:34 AM   #384
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
All of this is special pleading, and simply not justified by the data. The birth stories are clearly non factual. Only the later Synoptics contain them, and in contradictory forms. Not Mark, not John, not Paul, not the Sayings Source, not any other epistle author. In Matt and Luke moreover, we have additional sources, giving us the genealogies, which contradict the virgin birth by making Jesus a descendant of Joseph. The contradictions between Matt and Luke in any case do not suggest plagiarism at all, and it is ludicrous to suggest that they do. If they were plagiarised, they would agree, and neither the birth stories nor the genealogies agree between themselves or with each other.

Plagiarism is the very opposite of that. These disagreements prove multiplicity of sources. Plagiarism is indicated when different authors say the same thing. It is contra indicated when they say different things, as Matt and Luke habitually do, when they are not relating things derived from Mark or from the separate collection of Jesus' sayings they also seem to have known.
You seem to be acknowledging there is plagiarism and then arguing there isn't? Authors are well known to not plagiarise everything, to add their own bits and pieces.

I'm also not seeing the special pleading? I see him saying we know the birth stories are fictional. that isn't special pleading that is simply applying what we know about the world to the stories and on those grounds they fail.
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Old 15th December 2017, 01:05 AM   #385
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Originally Posted by Pixel42 View Post
It's not so strange if this was an apocalyptic cult who expected the world to end at any moment. Only when the original members start to die off does it dawn on them that they might have to wait a bit longer than they were expecting, and maybe they should write down how it all started before the last one who knows dies.
An interesting idea. So the earliest sect is really in Judea. Their theology makes it over to where the Gospels are going to be written. Their ideas float around for thirty or so years until it is noticed that the big suck up into heaven hasn't happened and people start to imagine that it's not going to happen for awhile and the reconfigure the religion and start writing the Jesus stories.

I'm not sure the argument makes it more or less likely that an historical Jesus existed. In some way or another a group or groups of people developed early Christian theology and after some time began to write Jesus fiction. There is a wide range of theories possible as to why the writing didn't begin earlier and we have no facts to sort out which theory is right. Maybe, as you say, nobody thought about writing Jesus stories until enough time had gone by that it didn't look like he was coming back, or maybe they did write Jesus stories and their writings were destroyed for failure to support later theology, or the writings were just lost, or maybe it just took time for the nascent Christianity to develop enough that there was a demand for Jesus stories.

I lean to the latter although some combination of all four seems possible.

This thread has lead to some refinement of my overall ideas about a likely scenario and I'd like to write them down:

1. Jesus sect really does develop in Judea. We don't know anything about it. We don't know the role of a hypothetical Jesus, we aren't sure he existed. We don't know what their beliefs were except it seems they were following some form of Judaism

2. Paul really existed. He may have been the individual who first spread the earliest form of Christianity to Greeks immigrants in Rome transitioning from Mithraism to a form of gentile Judaism. It is also possible that the Greek immigrants in Rome that were following some form of Judaism first got their ideas from Hellenized Jews they were living near to. All we seem to know here is that somehow the Gentiles who were following some kind of Judaism began to believe in an early form of Christianity.

3. Eventually Christianity had gained enough traction that it became apparent that there was a market for Jesus stories and after the first one was written (perhaps Mark) and it demonstrated a viable market for Jesus stories a lot more Jesus stories were written.

Differences with TubbaBlubba (ETA and Craig B after I read his post above) scenario as I understand their view.
I think TubbaBlubba imagines that more data about a historical Jesus came out of Judea than I do. He imagines various Jesus stories making it out of Judea orally with bits of real events that the Gospels writers infused their stories with. I doubt it. The Gospels are historical fiction regardless of how they were intended to be viewed and there is very little data in them that demonstrates a knowledge of a real Jesus based sect in Judea.
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Old 15th December 2017, 01:20 AM   #386
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
You seem to be acknowledging there is plagiarism and then arguing there isn't? Authors are well known to not plagiarise everything, to add their own bits and pieces.

I'm also not seeing the special pleading? I see him saying we know the birth stories are fictional. that isn't special pleading that is simply applying what we know about the world to the stories and on those grounds they fail.
Yes, true, but it's not legitimate to conclude on those grounds that "people started writing Jesus fiction". The authors of the birth stories didn't plagiarise and were not making up fiction. They were relating passages from the scriptures which they thought to be true, and applying them to Jesus, and their disagreements show that they were working independently of each other. This is not made up fiction, far less plagiarism. It is another phenomenon altogether.
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Old 15th December 2017, 01:37 AM   #387
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Yes, true, but it's not legitimate to conclude on those grounds that "people started writing Jesus fiction". The authors of the birth stories didn't plagiarise and were not making up fiction. They were relating passages from the scriptures which they thought to be true, and applying them to Jesus, and their disagreements show that they were working independently of each other. This is not made up fiction, far less plagiarism. It is another phenomenon altogether.
Of course, I can't know that the Gospel writers were just making stuff up intentionally. How could you know they weren't intentionally just making stuff up? Overall our difference on this seems to stem from a different world view. I really doubt that a guy pulling stuff out of the old testament and using it as source material for stories about somebody completely different doesn't have a pretty good idea that he is just making stuff up. And what about all the dialog that got made up? Did he think their was a remote chance that any of the words he was writing had actually happened? It's possible I guess, but sometimes people just lie and that's the simple explanation for what is going on here.

I had no doubt that at times the authors wrote fiction independently of each other. That's why their fictional stories aren't always the same.
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Old 15th December 2017, 01:47 AM   #388
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
.

Plagiarism is the very opposite of that. These disagreements prove multiplicity of sources. Plagiarism is indicated when different authors say the same thing. It is contra indicated when they say different things, as Matt and Luke habitually do, when they are not relating things derived from Mark or from the separate collection of Jesus' sayings they also seem to have known.
We don't know what the original sources for the Gospels were. There is basically 2 different canonized distinct Gospels. John and (Matthew/Mark/Luke). There is no way to know that Matthew and Luke weren't copies of Mark with that author's perspective.
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Old 15th December 2017, 07:40 AM   #389
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I was waiting to answer this until the thread had moved a bit more in the direction of your question.

The thing that got me interested in all this was a simple question that I thought I would research, have my curiosity satisfied and move on. How was it that Jesus, this charismatic fellow that had founded this great world wide religion had been so unsuccessful at converting his fellow Jews?

I learned on the first day of my research that my question was horribly flawed. There was no wildly charismatic Jesus that had created a religion with such an appeal that it even managed to attract non-Jewish people.

So this guy (assuming he existd) was a small time preacher/rabbi that left behind a small band of fans that spread his message throughout the Mediterranean region. OK, but where was the proof for even that idea? There were traditions up the yahoo about one guy or other founding a church. But the evidence was very thin for those claims and the biggest claim of all that Peter was the first Pope of Rome is almost certainly false unless our ideas about Peter and the other apostles are completely wrong.

So maybe Paul did it. That's a common idea. But where did he get the funds to support his hobby? How was it that there seemed to be Christian congregations at such an early time as he suggests? What was the nature of those Christian churches? Did he found them all? Did he found any of them? The thing I thought might pin this down is writings of the early hypothetical Jewish Christians. They are attested to by early Church fathers but nothing of their own writings survives.

So after 7 or 8 years since I first looked for an answer to my flawed question about Jesus, the only thing I feel I know about all this is that my original idea about the nature of Jesus was wrong. And the beginnings of Christianity seem to be just about as big a mystery to me as they did years ago and I know a ton more stuff about the issue.


I don't think it's all that difficult to find possible answers to those question. For example every possible angle of all that is covered in Carrier's 2014 book “On the Historicity of Jesus”.

But if you want a more specific/direct suggestion here for how Christianity may have begun, and answers about the role of Paul and Jesus in that beginning, then as a guess I would suggest the following -

- the first thing to note is that long before the time of Paul and Jesus, since about 1000BC in the Old Testament, Jews in that region had been expecting the arrival of a messiah promised by God. In the OT the belief seems to have been that the messiah would be a royal ruler who would deliver military victories for the Jewish nation in order to reverse what the people believed was an unfair history of continual repression, slavery and defeat by foreign powers .

The second thing to note is that when the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered in the 1940's (and slowly translated over the next 20 years) it became clear that in that exact same small region where Paul and Jesus were preaching around 30AD, there had already been a Jewish sect called the Essenes writing religious and community scrolls since at least 200BC, and where the Scrolls revealed messiah beliefs that were significantly different from what was thought to be the traditional Jewish belief in the OT.

The difference was that in the Scrolls the messiah was apparently believed to be a priestly religious figure sent by God to gather the faithful in readiness for what was believed to be God's Day of Judgement, i.e. an apocalypse that was expected to happen very soon (at any moment). According to the small (but much more enlightening that usual in this subject) book by Stephen Hodge (The Dead Sea Scrolls: The Essential Guide to Their Origin, Meaning and Significance, 2001), at the time when the Scrolls were being written (approx. 200BC through to c.70AD) there were large numbers of ordinary street preachers in that region preaching different versions of the apocalyptic messiah similar to that described in the Scrolls.

If we now “fast forward” 200 years to the time of Paul and Jesus – iirc, in one of Pauls letters he describes his early education in religious belief, saying he was progressing beyond his years and had been taught and believed the traditional teaching from the OT, which centred around the messiah promised as a royal ruler leading the people to a great military victory (e.g. King David). And of course in another letter Paul talks about the time before his vision when he says he “so savagely persecuted those in the Church of God”.

I think we can take it from that, that the Church of God was preaching belief in an apocalyptic messiah similar to that of the Essenes and the Scrolls. Because after his vision, Paul says that he converted to their belief (i.e. joining the Church of God), and where Paul was now converted to preaching an apocalyptic messiah … e.g., he preaches at length to explain why Jesus must be raised from the dead as THE central message of his beliefs and the beliefs of the Church of God … but that was also the same central belief expressed in the Scrolls.

Of course the Scrolls do not mention the name “Jesus” (though it would never have been written as “Jesus” anyway. Instead it would have been either Iesous (in Greek) or Yehoshua (in ancient Hebrew), or some other word/name in whatever dialect the Essenes were using in the Scrolls). In the scrolls the figure of a messiah is in some way connected to a figure called The Teacher of Righteousness, but it is deliberately unclear in the scrolls whether or not that teacher of Righteousness was actually regarded as the messiah, or even whether that person was a living individual at the time (which could have been anywhere from about 200BC through to about 70AD), or whether that Teacher/Messiah was in fact someone believed from a long distant past in OT prophecy. And the reason for that lack of any clarity is because the Scrolls were deliberately written in coded evasive language, apparently to avoid persecution from larger religious groups in that region (or invading forces of different religious beliefs) … though on that point we should also remember Pauls own words about how he was savagely persecuting believers in the Church of God.

To me, a history like that makes it appear reasonably possible that the sect which Paul described as The Church of God were either the remnants of the Essenes, or else another very similar group (where, to repeat – Hodge says that the Scrolls showed numerous street preachers at that time preaching versions of an apocalyptic messiah) … they are similar in that they believe in the messiah as an apocalyptic messenger from God who saves the people with the promise of an imminent day of judgement when the faithful will be raised to heaven (inc. the dead), and that was of course THE central message that Paul also began believe and preach after his vision.

In that scenario, neither Paul or any members of the Church of God would ever have known Jesus, because Jesus would have probably been a figure believed by the Essenes from centuries before. Paul himself may or may not have been real … he may have been real and may have written some of the letters, or perhaps someone else more educated wrote them for him or wrote much later as if they were writing on his behalf, … or else he could have been an imaginary figure where one or more later writers wanted to re-create a religiously persuasive history that could be presented to rulers or wealthy patrons of the time (e.g. a wealthy patron seeks some deep inside knowledge and understanding of the vastly important faith, and an expert in the religion simply writes it all down for him).
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Old 15th December 2017, 07:41 AM   #390
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
An interesting idea. So the earliest sect is really in Judea. Their theology makes it over to where the Gospels are going to be written. Their ideas float around for thirty or so years until it is noticed that the big suck up into heaven hasn't happened and people start to imagine that it's not going to happen for awhile and the reconfigure the religion and start writing the Jesus stories.

I'm not sure the argument makes it more or less likely that an historical Jesus existed. In some way or another a group or groups of people developed early Christian theology and after some time began to write Jesus fiction. There is a wide range of theories possible as to why the writing didn't begin earlier and we have no facts to sort out which theory is right. Maybe, as you say, nobody thought about writing Jesus stories until enough time had gone by that it didn't look like he was coming back, or maybe they did write Jesus stories and their writings were destroyed for failure to support later theology, or the writings were just lost, or maybe it just took time for the nascent Christianity to develop enough that there was a demand for Jesus stories.

I lean to the latter although some combination of all four seems possible.

This thread has lead to some refinement of my overall ideas about a likely scenario and I'd like to write them down:

1. Jesus sect really does develop in Judea. We don't know anything about it. We don't know the role of a hypothetical Jesus, we aren't sure he existed. We don't know what their beliefs were except it seems they were following some form of Judaism

2. Paul really existed. He may have been the individual who first spread the earliest form of Christianity to Greeks immigrants in Rome transitioning from Mithraism to a form of gentile Judaism. It is also possible that the Greek immigrants in Rome that were following some form of Judaism first got their ideas from Hellenized Jews they were living near to. All we seem to know here is that somehow the Gentiles who were following some kind of Judaism began to believe in an early form of Christianity.

3. Eventually Christianity had gained enough traction that it became apparent that there was a market for Jesus stories and after the first one was written (perhaps Mark) and it demonstrated a viable market for Jesus stories a lot more Jesus stories were written.

Differences with TubbaBlubba (ETA and Craig B after I read his post above) scenario as I understand their view.
I think TubbaBlubba imagines that more data about a historical Jesus came out of Judea than I do. He imagines various Jesus stories making it out of Judea orally with bits of real events that the Gospels writers infused their stories with. I doubt it. The Gospels are historical fiction regardless of how they were intended to be viewed and there is very little data in them that demonstrates a knowledge of a real Jesus based sect in Judea.
I don't see the advantage of this narrative. It has less explanatory power and no textual evidence.
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Old 15th December 2017, 09:31 AM   #391
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
[see above]
Thank you Ians. That seems like a good summary of what might have happened I was already familiar with some of those ideas but I had not seen them put together so succinctly.

I particularly liked some of the themes in your narrative
1. Uncertainty - There just isn't evidence available to support very detailed narratives and I thought you did a good job of acknowledging that.
2. A key to the rise of Christianity was preexisting groups.
3. There was some kind of connections between those preexisting groups and the preexisting groups in areas where Gentile Christianity developed. Maybe it was Paul, but the more likely situation IMO is that the transfer of theology occurred on a wider front that perhaps included Paul.
4. The possibility that the Jesus that inspired the earliest forms of Christianity had lived and died well before the time of Paul. This is a common theory, but I like it in that it seems more straightforward to accept what seem like references to a real Jesus in Paul's epistles as references to a real person than to try to explain them as references to a person that had never lived.
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Old 15th December 2017, 10:08 AM   #392
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
I don't see the advantage of this narrative. It has less explanatory power and no textual evidence.
I am never sure I completely understand what your views are, but your reference to "textual evidence" suggests that is an area where we disagree. I think thousands of man years have been wasted trying to derive "textual evidence" out of the New Testament. I don't know if you have tried to read one of the Gospels with the idea of pulling some truth about the life of Jesus out of them but to me when something reads like fiction, contains many errors and provides no information about how the author came to know what he wrote it is very difficult to figure out if there is truth in it some place. No amount of parsing and scrutinizing is going to change that. Paul's epistles are different in that they seem to be legitimate letters written by some kind of religious proselytizer and some kind of historical information might be teased out of them. But they don't provide much information about Jesus.

The results of the Jesus Project give some credence to the idea that searching for "textual evidence" in most of the New Testament for truths about the life of Jesus is not that productive if truth is the goal.

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

Nothing of particular value came out of the project that I am aware of except that it demonstrated that even with great knowledge of the New Testament "experts" weren't able to come to a consensus view.

I did notice something interesting that came out of the predecessor to this group, the Jesus Seminar. They proposed that Jesus was an itinerant Hellenized Jewish sage and faith healer. It seems plausible if not likely that the earliest group promoting a Jesus focused religion might have been Hellenized Jews.
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Old 15th December 2017, 10:40 AM   #393
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
... The possibility that the Jesus that inspired the earliest forms of Christianity had lived and died well before the time of Paul. This is a common theory, but I like it in that it seems more straightforward to accept what seem like references to a real Jesus in Paul's epistles as references to a real person than to try to explain them as references to a person that had never lived.
Why do you like a real Jesus, but one who died well before the time of Paul? In Galatians 1 paul meets the Lord's brother James. If this is to be explained as a reference to a real Jesus, then it also seems to indicate a recent Jesus.
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 to reveal his Son in me ... 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. 19 But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother
If that has anything to do with a real Jesus, is it not best explained by a real recent Jesus who had a disciple and a brother who are still living? If Peter is not the disciple Peter, and James isn't the Lord's brother, and the Lord is not Jesus, then the passage has nothing whatever to do with a real Jesus. But if it has to do with a real Jesus, that real Jesus must have been alive not very long before.
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Old 15th December 2017, 11:06 AM   #394
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Thank you Ians. That seems like a good summary of what might have happened I was already familiar with some of those ideas but I had not seen them put together so succinctly.

I particularly liked some of the themes in your narrative
1. Uncertainty - There just isn't evidence available to support very detailed narratives and I thought you did a good job of acknowledging that.
2. A key to the rise of Christianity was preexisting groups.
3. There was some kind of connections between those preexisting groups and the preexisting groups in areas where Gentile Christianity developed. Maybe it was Paul, but the more likely situation IMO is that the transfer of theology occurred on a wider front that perhaps included Paul.
4. The possibility that the Jesus that inspired the earliest forms of Christianity had lived and died well before the time of Paul. This is a common theory, but I like it in that it seems more straightforward to accept what seem like references to a real Jesus in Paul's epistles as references to a real person than to try to explain them as references to a person that had never lived.


Thank you. And yes .... except that I'm not saying Jesus did once live as real person ... I think that is far from clear within the model I gave. That is - it's unclear whether the Essene's (or the Church of God?) had really ever known any living person as the messiah ... iirc - in the Scrolls it looks like they are talking about their Teacher of righteousness as a real living person (who they may, or may not, have regarded as the messiah) but actually the Scrolls are so coded, deceptive and unclear that they may easily have been referring to a figure of belief from many centuries before in the the OT.




Psone other significant virtue of the model that I just gave (if you can call it a “model”), is that anyone who was really motivated to check that out, could do so in great detail if they wanted to devote all the necessary time and effort into personally deciphering all the relevant scrolls in sufficient detail. So it's a suggestion which at least has the virtue that it could be tested.

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Old 15th December 2017, 11:19 AM   #395
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I am never sure I completely understand what your views are, but your reference to "textual evidence" suggests that is an area where we disagree. I think thousands of man years have been wasted trying to derive "textual evidence" out of the New Testament. I don't know if you have tried to read one of the Gospels with the idea of pulling some truth about the life of Jesus out of them but to me when something reads like fiction, contains many errors and provides no information about how the author came to know what he wrote it is very difficult to figure out if there is truth in it some place. No amount of parsing and scrutinizing is going to change that. Paul's epistles are different in that they seem to be legitimate letters written by some kind of religious proselytizer and some kind of historical information might be teased out of them. But they don't provide much information about Jesus.
All sources require extensive source criticism. One big advantage of studying the gospels is that we have a good idea of what the biases of the authors were, and of the traditions they were writing in. It can be much harder when someone is writing about a controversial figure like Nero or Caligula around the same time, because of the tangle of demonization and propaganda surrounding the figures, making it hard to know anything at all about the, with much certainty except some pretty basic things.

So while religious hagiography is a very frustrating genre to work with, it's far from a worst case scenario.
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Old 15th December 2017, 12:45 PM   #396
IanS
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
How could I convince you of that? There isn't even a debate on whether various sparsely attested politicians/aristocrats exist, because while limited, the source material all points in the same direction.

The only reason you bother to be skeptical of it is your need to be convinced Jesus didn't exist. Sorry, pick up a book on historiography to see how it's done. I'm done with you and your motorized goalposts.


You seem to be in a serious state of denial.

Try taking at look at the facts. The first fact is (1) for nearly 2000 years the Church has insisted that the evidence for Jesus is so overwhelming that nobody ever need to doubt it at all. And even today, not only does the church make that claim, but almost all bible scholars also make that claim of absolute certainty about Jesus. And yet, if anyone actually asks to see that evidence, then the evidence collapses to zero! There actually is no such evidence at all.

That fact alone (and it is a "fact") should make any educated unbiased person highly suspicious of anyone such as Bible Scholars and Theologians who write claiming Jesus was real upon a mass of convincing evidence ... because if they say that (and the DO say that) then they are either naïve almost beyond belief or else monumental liars for Jesus!

The second fact which should cause anyone in their right mind to be sceptical about the existence of Jesus as a real person is that (2) almost everything known about Jesus comes from the biblical writing. And although until about 1900 almost everyone on the planet believed the words of the bible to be literally true, almost all properly educated people today know that virtually every mention of Jesus in the bible actually cannot be true because almost all of it is scientifically physically impossible!

Third fact – (3) as authors like Randel Helms have shown (in properly referenced academic books), the accounts given in the gospels can often be traced back to what was written many centuries before as messiah prophecy in the OT. In other words – it is quite obviously the case that the gospel writers were using the OT as a source for creating stories about their messiah (and that was a messiah, “Jesus”, who was certainly unknown to any of those gospel writers).

Next fact – (4) if the letters of Paul pre-date any of the gospels, as all bible scholars and church leaders claim they do, then in the earliest writing (i.e. Paul's letters), Jesus was not known to anyone at the time as a living person. i.e., neither Paul nor anyone he names in his writing ever claimed to have met a living Jesus. All of the people in Pauls writing, inc. Paul himself, apparently knew of Jesus only through religious visions.

Last fact I'll bother to mention here (there are dozens more of course) – (5) probably the strongest piece of evidence for a real Jesus is the belief that a man named “James” was the actual family brother of Jesus. But how do we know that? Well it comes from just one half-sentence in just one letter attributed to Paul, where it says “other apostles saw I none, save James the Lords brother”. But there are multiple problems with assuming that to mean a literal brother to Jesus -

1. That same James supposedly wrote his own gospel … but nowhere in that gospel does James ever claim to be the actual brother of Jesus. In fact nowhere does he even claim ever to have met any such person as Jesus!

2. That single line of just 10 words appears only once in that one letter, and no such claim or mention is ever made again anywhere in any of the 13 Pauline Letters. It's a complete one-off.

3. The ten words read as if they are a series of afterthoughts added to the text at a later date. That is – first we have the 5 words “other apostles saw I none”, then as if it is an afterthought of something remembered later, it says “save James” (i.e. as if adding “oh, except for James, I forgot to say he was also there”), and then in case people did know who this “James” was, the writer adds “the Lords brother”, i.e. as if in another afterthought the writer decides he needs to explain who James was.

4. This meeting between Paul and James supposedly occurred, iirc, three years after Pauls vision of Jesus which so completely changed his life, whereby after his vision Paul's entire life was devoted to Jesus. And yet when after 3 years Paul meets the actual flesh-&-blood brother of Jesus, Paul apparently asks not one thing about what Jesus was like and how his brother had known him etc., and James the “brother” never tells Paul or anyone else a single word about anything at all to do with Jesus … they never discuss it at all ! … this is the most important religious figure ever on the surface of the Earth, their entire lives are totally consumed by worshiping every facet of this person, and yet when they meet his actual lifelong brother of 30 years, nobody bothers to mention a single thing about ever meeting or knowing Jesus!

5. In his letters Paul uses the words brother, brothers, brethren, sisters, sister dozens of times, but always to mean only brothers and sisters in the faith, almost never (if ever?) to mean actual family siblings. The only time it is claimed that he used the word “brother” to actually mean a real “brother” is that one never again repeated half-line about James.

6. It is clear from his letters, and particularly the recounting of his vision, that Paul never met any living Jesus. Instead Paul knew Jesus only because God granted him a divine vision by which Paul says he suddenly realised the true meaning of the messiah prophecy “hidden so long” in the coded prophecies of the OT, at which revelation he is blinded by a light from the sky and hears the voice of Jesus. However, in that same description Paul also says that hundreds of people had previously also been granted a vision of the risen spirit of the messiah (i.e. hundreds of people falsely claimed to have witnessed a miraculous vision of the messiah), but that also included James … that is, all that we learn from Paul about James “knowing” Jesus is that James was one the members of the Church of God who had claimed to witness a spiritual vision of Jesus.

7. Even apart from all the above, we do not actually know if Paul ever wrote any such words about James as the “the Lords Brother”, because we have not a single word that Paul ever wrote about anything. Instead, like everything else in the biblical records, all we have are anonymous Christian copies written centuries after any original writing is thought to have been destroyed. And the problem with Christian copies is that even bible scholars admit that they were often subject to alterations where later scribes came to believe that earlier texts were wrong or that they needed amending or clarifying with whatever later beliefs had become popular … and here I remind you of item 3 where it looks as if the format of those ten words may be a series of later afterthoughts.

There are no doubt many other points against that famous/infamous half-line in Paul's letter. But the above is more than enough to be going on with for now (more than enough to cast serious doubt on the veracity and/or literal accuracy of whatever those few words were supposed to mean).

Last edited by IanS; 15th December 2017 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 15th December 2017, 01:16 PM   #397
Rougarou
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
(snip)

Try taking at look at the facts. The first fact is (1) for nearly 2000 years the Church has insisted that the evidence for Jesus is so overwhelming that nobody ever need to doubt it at all. And even today, not only does the church make that claim, but almost all bible scholars also make that claim of absolute certainty about Jesus. And yet, if anyone actually asks to see that evidence, then the evidence collapses to zero! There actually is no such evidence at all.

(snip)
In Did Jesus Exist? biblical scholar Bart Ehrman claimed that Bible scholars generally do accept the existence of a historical Jesus. However, the point of his book is to make a case for why historians, even secular ones like himself, accept Jesus's existence despite the lack of "evidence for Jesus [that] is so overwhelming that nobody ever need to doubt it at all."
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Old 15th December 2017, 02:17 PM   #398
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Rougarou View Post
In Did Jesus Exist? biblical scholar Bart Ehrman claimed that Bible scholars generally do accept the existence of a historical Jesus. However, the point of his book is to make a case for why historians, even secular ones like himself, accept Jesus's existence despite the lack of "evidence for Jesus [that] is so overwhelming that nobody ever need to doubt it at all."
If it was as overwhelming as that, there would be no need to write a book. But he believes the evidence to be convincing if not overwhelming. You observe that Ehrman claims that scholars do generally accept the existence of a historical Jesus. Do you agree that they do, or do you disagree with Ehrman on this point?

Last edited by Craig B; 15th December 2017 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 15th December 2017, 02:29 PM   #399
Rougarou
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If it was as overwhelming as that, there would be no need to write a book. But he believes the evidence to be convincing if not overwhelming. You observe that Ehrman claims that scholars do generally accept the existence of a historical Jesus. Do you agree that they do, or do you disagree with Ehrman on this point?
I was responding to IanS's "almost all bible scholars also make that claim of absolute certainty about Jesus."

Edit: Craig B, your first sentence was my point. Ehrman did not claim "absolute certainty", nor did he portray his colleagues as making that claim.

Last edited by Rougarou; 15th December 2017 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 15th December 2017, 02:30 PM   #400
Elagabalus
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
...Differences with TubbaBlubba (ETA and Craig B after I read his post above) scenario as I understand their view.
I think TubbaBlubba imagines that more data about a historical Jesus came out of Judea than I do. He imagines various Jesus stories making it out of Judea orally with bits of real events that the Gospels writers infused their stories with. I doubt it. The Gospels are historical fiction regardless of how they were intended to be viewed and there is very little data in them that demonstrates a knowledge of a real Jesus based sect in Judea.
Eyes on the big picture, Dave. You still have to deal with Josephus, Antiquities XX.200:

Quote:
...Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so (the High Priest) assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Messiah, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned...


Josephus would have been around the age of 25 when this happened so well within living memory.

Since you've referenced the jesusneverexisted perhaps it's time for TON?*

https://historyforatheists.com/2017/...-theory-again/


*He's still a member here so be careful ...
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