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Old 8th December 2017, 01:08 AM   #161
Craig B
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Yea, that's crap.

And I just pointed out with reference that only 3% of that civilization was literate. That Paul was doesn't make the civilization literate.
Yes it does. The Jews of his day, as of all other times, encapsulated their religion in the form of a book. In their mythology, their god gave a written message to Moses, which he was sufficiently indignant to drop when he saw that the people had set up an idol - a golden calf - in his absence. That story is symbolic of the relative sanctity of written words and idols in Israelite society.

Jews were and are "the People of the Book". Their God is never exhibited in a visual form, only his alleged words in a book. They have no images in their places of worship, but they have scrolls. Their civilisation is a literate one. They worship words on parchment, to the exclusion of other material objects.

Now they had enough writing to make it perfectly feasible, that when different writers mention the same names, it is possible to accept that they are referring to the same people. We have various sources doing this:

as many sources as are in the Pauline and other epistles;
as many sources as are in the Gospels;
the chronicler Josephus:

and it is my inclination to accept that these are referring to the same Jesus, the same Peter, the same James.

You seem to want to argue that the society of that time was not literate enough to permit that to happen, But that is ridiculous. Writing was widely enough disseminated to support such records as well as Paul's correspondence, and collections like the DSS.

Society was literate. To say it was not, because only a few percent of people could read, is like saying it was in the Stone Age, not the Iron Age, because only a few people were blacksmiths who knew the art of smelting.

If you want to find a really non-literate society from that time, consider for example the Celts, who spurned books in favour of mnemonics. See Caesar, Gallic War Vi, 14
Report says that in the schools of the Druids they learn by heart a great number of verses, and therefore some persons remain twenty years under training. And they do not think it proper to commit these utterances to writing, although in almost all other matters, and in their public and private accounts, they make use of Greek letters. I believe that they have adopted the practice for two reasons--that they do not wish the rule to become common property, nor those who learn the rule to rely on writing and so neglect the cultivation of the memory; and, in fact, it does usually happen that the assistance of writing tends to relax the diligence of the student and the action of the memory.

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Old 8th December 2017, 05:48 AM   #162
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Yes it does. The Jews of his day, as of all other times, encapsulated their religion in the form of a book. In their mythology, their god gave a written message to Moses, which he was sufficiently indignant to drop when he saw that the people had set up an idol - a golden calf - in his absence. That story is symbolic of the relative sanctity of written words and idols in Israelite society.

Jews were and are "the People of the Book". Their God is never exhibited in a visual form, only his alleged words in a book. They have no images in their places of worship, but they have scrolls. Their civilisation is a literate one. They worship words on parchment, to the exclusion of other material objects.

Now they had enough writing to make it perfectly feasible, that when different writers mention the same names, it is possible to accept that they are referring to the same people. We have various sources doing this:

as many sources as are in the Pauline and other epistles;
as many sources as are in the Gospels;
the chronicler Josephus:

and it is my inclination to accept that these are referring to the same Jesus, the same Peter, the same James.

You seem to want to argue that the society of that time was not literate enough to permit that to happen, But that is ridiculous. Writing was widely enough disseminated to support such records as well as Paul's correspondence, and collections like the DSS.

Society was literate. To say it was not, because only a few percent of people could read, is like saying it was in the Stone Age, not the Iron Age, because only a few people were blacksmiths who knew the art of smelting.

If you want to find a really non-literate society from that time, consider for example the Celts, who spurned books in favour of mnemonics. See Caesar, Gallic War Vi, 14
Report says that in the schools of the Druids they learn by heart a great number of verses, and therefore some persons remain twenty years under training. And they do not think it proper to commit these utterances to writing, although in almost all other matters, and in their public and private accounts, they make use of Greek letters. I believe that they have adopted the practice for two reasons--that they do not wish the rule to become common property, nor those who learn the rule to rely on writing and so neglect the cultivation of the memory; and, in fact, it does usually happen that the assistance of writing tends to relax the diligence of the student and the action of the memory.
Clearly, you and I have a different definition of literacy. If you want to say that because 3 percent of the population could read and write more than its own name it was literate than you got me. Its like your definition of records.
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Old 8th December 2017, 07:47 AM   #163
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Has yer never played the parlor game of gossip/telephone? Oral tradition is notoriously subject to myriad problems. It would be a lot more reliable if people weren't involved.
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Old 8th December 2017, 08:04 AM   #164
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Clearly, you and I have a different definition of literacy. If you want to say that because 3 percent of the population could read and write more than its own name it was literate than you got me. Its like your definition of records.
If you can tell me that Judaism is not a religion of the Book, and that it is impossible for records to be kept for six decades, if only a few percent of the population are competent readers, then I will concede your point.

I have shown you also that the expression "oral record" is accepted in scholarship. Refute these things if you can. Otherwise I "got you" I suppose.
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Old 8th December 2017, 08:46 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If you can tell me that Judaism is not a religion of the Book, and that it is impossible for records to be kept for six decades, if only a few percent of the population are competent readers, then I will concede your point.
This still doesn't make a society literate. Records in fact can be kept for centuries. But can you tell me what records were being kept in Jerusalem in the first century? No, you cannot. You have bits of info from which you are deducting an answer. The problem is while deduction is a perfectly reasonable method at reaching an answer, it can be wrong.

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I have shown you also that the expression "oral record" is accepted in scholarship. Refute these things if you can. Otherwise I "got you" I suppose.
Its accepted in absence of written records, but it is highly untrustworthy. I've seen many many studies on memory and the conclusion is overwhelming. Our memories are highly unreliable and constantly being corrupted by new information. And stories change on almost every retelling.
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Old 8th December 2017, 09:39 AM   #166
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
This still doesn't make a society literate. Records in fact can be kept for centuries. But can you tell me what records were being kept in Jerusalem in the first century? No, you cannot. You have bits of info from which you are deducting an answer. The problem is while deduction is a perfectly reasonable method at reaching an answer, it can be wrong.
That is nonsensical. Of course I am deducing a theory from bits of evidence. But that doesn't mean that Jewish society wasn't literate. It means that its centres were burnt and sacked in 70 AD, and much of the written material was destroyed or lost.
Quote:
Its accepted in absence of written records, but it is highly untrustworthy. I've seen many many studies on memory and the conclusion is overwhelming. Our memories are highly unreliable and constantly being corrupted by new information. And stories change on almost every retelling.
You denied with apparent contempt that the expression "oral record" is a valid one. Now you admit it is, but are telling me it's not reliable. So what? It's still a record.

Now I am saying that I am inclined to believe that the Jesus and James mentioned by Josephus are the same persons referred to in the earlier sources, and that Josephus was not referring to ben Damneus or some other person, in his reference to a Jesus and his brother James. Can you now address yourself to that topic?

It has a bearing on whether Paul existed, because if that is right Josephus is thereby an independent witness to the existence of people Paul is reported to have encountered in Jerusalem.

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Old 8th December 2017, 10:10 AM   #167
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From the Department of Redundancy Department:

Similarity of names is no guarantee of identity in persons.
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Old 8th December 2017, 10:15 AM   #168
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That is nonsensical. Of course I am deducing a theory from bits of evidence. But that doesn't mean that Jewish society wasn't literate. It means that its centres were burnt and sacked in 70 AD, and much of the written material was destroyed or lost. You denied with apparent contempt that the expression "oral record" is a valid one. Now you admit it is, but are telling me it's not reliable. So what? It's still a record.
Just because you refuse acknowledge the sense of it doesn't make it nonsensical. Its not a record. Its a memory. That some might label it a record doesn't make it valid.

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Now I am saying that I am inclined to believe that the Jesus and James mentioned by Josephus are the same persons referred to in the earlier sources, and that Josephus was not referring to ben Damneus or some other person, in his reference to a Jesus and his brother James. Can you now address yourself to that topic?
You're entitled to your opinion and my opinion is that we really don't know.
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It has a bearing on whether Paul existed, because if that is right Josephus is thereby an independent witness to the existence of people Paul is reported to have encountered in Jerusalem.
No. He is an independent witness to having heard stories that may or may not have originated with Jesus or may in fact have originated with Paul. I already said, I believe there was a Paul.
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Old 8th December 2017, 12:00 PM   #169
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
From the Department of Redundancy Department:

Similarity of names is no guarantee of identity in persons.
True, easy to confuse a couple people named Lebowski. However, one Lebowski is also known as El Duderino. Ringo, always trying to impress, declares he didn't meet anybody of importance on his trip to Jerusalem (except the two most important people in the early church!), Pietro and the brother of El Duderino. Josephus, likewise, describing a past event remarks that the person brought before the hastily assembled Sanhedrin of judges was the brother of Lebowski, who was called El Duderino.
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Old 8th December 2017, 06:34 PM   #170
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Maybe Jesus was a real person or maybe Jesus was just a good story going around the Middle East.
Perhaps the Jesus figure, as written, might have been a composite character, in the same way that some characters in docudramas such as Apollo13 and Patriots Day, are a mishmash of several characters.

In Apollo 13 the character Henry Hurt is fictional, but he's a composite of NASA protocol officer Bob McMurrey (who was assigned to act as a buffer between the Lovell family and the press) and a number of other employees of the OPA. Similarly, the character Sergeant Tommy Saunders in Patriots Day is based on several BPD Police Officers.

I have always wondered whether a similar thing might be going on with the Jesus figure. Perhaps Matthew, Mark Luke, John and Paul have combined the attributes of several preachers who were around at the time.
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Old 8th December 2017, 06:51 PM   #171
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Perhaps the Jesus figure, as written, might have been a composite character, in the same way that some characters in docudramas such as Apollo13 and Patriots Day, are a mishmash of several characters.

In Apollo 13 the character Henry Hurt is fictional, but he's a composite of NASA protocol officer Bob McMurrey (who was assigned to act as a buffer between the Lovell family and the press) and a number of other employees of the OPA. Similarly, the character Sergeant Tommy Saunders in Patriots Day is based on several BPD Police Officers.

I have always wondered whether a similar thing might be going on with the Jesus figure. Perhaps Matthew, Mark Luke, John and Paul have combined the attributes of several preachers who were around at the time.
It's impossible to know. There were many messianic prophets running around Judea at the time. It was the 1st century equivalent of the Burned over district.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burned-over_district

Also, could you have used a more obscure character? I saw that movie a half a dozen times and I had to look that up.
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Old 8th December 2017, 07:07 PM   #172
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Along similar lines, we know that Santa Claus is, in part, a conflation of two historical figures.
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Old 8th December 2017, 07:09 PM   #173
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I thought there would have been more of a consensus here on the basic facts of Jesus historicity and early Christian history. I expected the thread to focus more on Paul and various scenarios of the role he played if any on the formation of Christianity.

I have disagreed with quite a bit of what has been said so far and without responding to anybody in particular I would like to express what I think the situation is.

There are roughly 4 overlapping groups with regard to Jesus historicity and early Christianity history.
1. Religious historians with a mostly religious view of Jesus and Christian history
2. Religious historians who attempt to review the available data with an eye to getting it to confirm their overall views of Christian history but still attempting a degree of secular objectivity
3. Secular historians that believe it is likely to certain that Jesus existed
4. Secular historians that believe the available evidence suggests it is likely that a flesh and blood Jesus didn't exist.

The religious historians pretty much promote what is the standard religious view of Jesus and the origins of Christianity. They spend a lot of time trying to tease facts out of the New Testament to provide more insight into the life of Jesus.

The religious historians that attempt a secular view of early Christian history. These people find proof of Jesus in many different sources that are pretty much rejected by more secular historians. They make claims of archeological support for Jesus and claims that second century historians who mention Christians provide proof that Jesus existed. They may have a somewhat more secular view of the Gospels than the fully religious historians but they still see the Gospels as providing significant proof of Jesus.

The mythicists and the non-mythicist historians agree on a great deal. They reject the idea that the various second century writers advance the case of an historical Jesus. They both advance a very skeptical view of the Gospels. The standard view is that they weren't written by the authors ascribed to them and the authorship is unknown. They fully accept that the Gospels contradict each other, that they contain geographical errors that places their authorship outside of the Jerusalem area, that they contain historical errors introduced intentionally because the authors new they were writing fiction, and it is not known when and where they were written. Usually they agree that Mark was the first Gospel written and the other Gospels accounts of the key accounts of Christian belief were based on Mark so at the most there is one independent witness to events contained in the Gospel, however most would not see Mark as a source of reliable history either.

The issue of the historicity of Jesus is obviously the main issue that divides the groups 3 & 4. But that is not as important a distinction as it might seem. Neither groups believes in the supernatural nature of Jesus or that Jesus was a significant first century religious leader that founded Christianity in any important way. Nothing reliable is left of what Jesus's message might have been or how much of that message was incorporated into the future religion of Christianity. It is not clear that Christianity didn't die out entirely at some point only to be revived by the groups that wrote the Gospels. Jesus did not influence in any clear cut way what became the message that he was credited with in the Gospels.

As to the interpretation of the evidence that separates the mythicists and the historicists:

Josephus
Most mythicists (maybe all) believe the Testimonium Flavium is a pure interpolation and the reference to James the brother of Jesus was not what was originally written and the Jesus referred to is Jesus bar Damneus a character already introduced by Josephus. The historicists may continue to believe that Josephus may contain a reference to the Jesus of Christianity. I think the evidence is against the historicists here.

Paul
Some mythicists, maybe most believe that Paul probably existed. Carrier and Doherty believe that Paul did not intend to reference a real human Jesus. Obviously historicists do. I don't know. I think even if Paul existed and he intended to reference a real human Jesus it is still possible that a real human Jesus didn't exist.

Regardless, I would respectively suggest that any secular historian tha doesn't acknowledge the tenuous nature of the evidence for an historic Jesus is not objectively characterizing the evidence of an historic Jesus.
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Old 8th December 2017, 07:51 PM   #174
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post

The mythicists and the non-mythicist historians agree on a great deal. They reject the idea that the various second century writers advance the case of an historical Jesus. They both advance a very skeptical view of the Gospels. The standard view is that they weren't written by the authors ascribed to them and the authorship is unknown. They fully accept that the Gospels contradict each other, that they contain geographical errors that places their authorship outside of the Jerusalem area, that they contain historical errors introduced intentionally because the authors new they were writing fiction, and it is not known when and where they were written. Usually they agree that Mark was the first Gospel written and the other Gospels accounts of the key accounts of Christian belief were based on Mark so at the most there is one independent witness to events contained in the Gospel, however most would not see Mark as a source of reliable history either.
The standard view regarding the authorship of the canonical gospels from most of what I've read is that no one knows who the authors of the Gospels and the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were ascribed to them in the 4th century. And that fact is written in the introduction of the Gospels in the NIV Bible.
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Old 8th December 2017, 09:41 PM   #175
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The standard view regarding the authorship of the canonical gospels from most of what I've read is that no one knows who the authors of the Gospels and the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were ascribed to them in the 4th century. And that fact is written in the introduction of the Gospels in the NIV Bible.
I wasn't sure how what you said differed from what I said at first. Is your point that some people, even people in what I called the religious historians group acknowledge that the gospels were possibly not written by the people who they were attested to? I am sure that is true, although I have seen quite a bit of objection to that view. I edited the Wikipedia article on Luke so that it was about the Luke character in Acts and Colossians, but included it as a fact that the Luke in Acts is credited as the author of Gospel of Luke by traditional views. One of my fellow editors would have none of it and wanted the article to be about the author of Luke/Acts and the character in Acts, and Colossians. The article is now a bit on the confused side because it treats the author Luke and the character Luke as the same fellow, but then goes on to talk about how they might not be. Oh well.

ETA: I think Luke may be the one Gospel where there is the most support for the idea that its author is the person that is traditionally accredited as such.
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Old 8th December 2017, 10:01 PM   #176
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I wasn't sure how what you said differed from what I said at first. Is your point that some people, even people in what I called the religious historians group acknowledge that the gospels were possibly not written by the people who they were attested to? I am sure that is true, although I have seen quite a bit of objection to that view. I edited the Wikipedia article on Luke so that it was about the Luke character in Acts and Colossians, but included it as a fact that the Luke in Acts is credited as the author of Gospel of Luke by traditional views. One of my fellow editors would have none of it and wanted the article to be about the author of Luke/Acts and the character in Acts, and Colossians. The article is now a bit on the confused side because it treats the author Luke and the character Luke as the same fellow, but then goes on to talk about how they might not be. Oh well.

ETA: I think Luke may be the one Gospel where there is the most support for the idea that its author is the person that is traditionally accredited as such.
How is it possible to come to that conclusion when as I understand it that none of the Gospels are signed and are not self referential. Or am I wrong?
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Old 8th December 2017, 10:19 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
How is it possible to come to that conclusion when as I understand it that none of the Gospels are signed and are not self referential. Or am I wrong?
Are you asking how is it possible that it can be fairly well known that the attributed authors of the Gospels are not the actual writers?

This is fairly well established I think, but I am not well enough versed to make a comprehensive case for that off the cuff. I would start with the fact that they are written in Greek, a language that was probably not spoken by the characters they are attributed to. The normal comeback to this is that Greek was the lingua franca of the Mediterranean and it is very possible that a Palestinian peasant might have spoken Greek. I think this is not accurate. Josephus talked about his difficulties with learning Greek. It is doubtful that Palestinian peasants could speak and write good quality Greek. The attestations are late and in the case of Luke it seems unlikely that he was Paul's companion when Acts differs so significantly from Paul's writings. ETA: And of course, the characters whom authorship is attributed to would be pretty friggin old by the time they got around to writing the Gospels assuming the normal dating of the Gospels is not very wrong on the low end the normal dating of Jesus isn't off by a major amount. ETA: It seems conceivable to me that Jesus and his buddies were Hellenized Jews. Is it possible that Christianity began in the Hellenized Jewish community?

Or were you asking how is it remotely possible to think that Luke could be the author of Luke? I'm not sure. I go back and forth on this kind of thing. Is it possible we have some fundamental misunderstanding on what has gone on here? Maybe the whole early Christianity went in ways that we don't understand and some things we think aren't possible were. Really solid data points are hard to find until the third century. Before that it's just a jumble of speculation.

ETA: You are right that the Gospels do not have internal attributions. They are also not dated, nor do they have good clues as to where they were written. Carrier suggests that this is not normal for ancient writings. Carrier and many others have suggested that information was intentionally destroyed that didn't fit with what the powers that be were pushing. That seems probable but not certain. Evidence of the precursors to Christianity seem to have been intentionally deleted from the historical record.
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Old 8th December 2017, 11:42 PM   #178
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Perhaps the Jesus figure, as written, might have been a composite character, in the same way that some characters in docudramas such as Apollo13 and Patriots Day, are a mishmash of several characters.

In Apollo 13 the character Henry Hurt is fictional, but he's a composite of NASA protocol officer Bob McMurrey (who was assigned to act as a buffer between the Lovell family and the press) and a number of other employees of the OPA. Similarly, the character Sergeant Tommy Saunders in Patriots Day is based on several BPD Police Officers.

I have always wondered whether a similar thing might be going on with the Jesus figure. Perhaps Matthew, Mark Luke, John and Paul have combined the attributes of several preachers who were around at the time.
One of the possibilities - because our information is so sparse - is that incidents from the careers of more than one character have been conflated in the biography of Jesus: but I don't think that Jesus was created in the same way as the characters in Patriots Day or Apollo 13. Why do you think that these comparisons are relevant?

The more probable source is an account of the career of a person believed to be real, to which appropriate mythical elements are added over time, as beliefs about the character became more extravagant. But Paul, our earliest source, knows little of these, presumably because they had not yet been invented. His Jesus is of the seed of David in the flesh, i.e. begotten in a conventional manner by Joseph, not yet a virgin-born demigod.

I don't believe there were ANY virgin born demigods present in the area, with whose career that of the peripatetic exorcist Jeshua might have been merged; so I think the process was accretion of myth rather than conflation of multiple real elements.

Was being born of a virgin in Bethlehem in the presence of angels the attribute of a preacher around at the time as you would have it? I sincerely believe not. I think it's an extravagance derived from a misreading of Isaiah 7:14 by persons acquainted with the Greek version of that text.

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Old 9th December 2017, 06:31 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
One of the possibilities - because our information is so sparse - is that incidents from the careers of more than one character have been conflated in the biography of Jesus: but I don't think that Jesus was created in the same way as the characters in Patriots Day or Apollo 13. Why do you think that these comparisons are relevant?

The more probable source is an account of the career of a person believed to be real, to which appropriate mythical elements are added over time, as beliefs about the character became more extravagant. But Paul, our earliest source, knows little of these, presumably because they had not yet been invented. His Jesus is of the seed of David in the flesh, i.e. begotten in a conventional manner by Joseph, not yet a virgin-born demigod.

I don't believe there were ANY virgin born demigods present in the area, with whose career that of the peripatetic exorcist Jeshua might have been merged; so I think the process was accretion of myth rather than conflation of multiple real elements.

Was being born of a virgin in Bethlehem in the presence of angels the attribute of a preacher around at the time as you would have it? I sincerely believe not. I think it's an extravagance derived from a misreading of Isaiah 7:14 by persons acquainted with the Greek version of that text.
As far as the virgin birth is concerned. Haven't I heard that in the ancient languages of either Greek or Syrian Aramaic, or Hebrew that the word for young girl was exactly the same as virgin and this part of the story may have been a mistake that became part of the myt?
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Old 9th December 2017, 06:39 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
As far as the virgin birth is concerned. Haven't I heard that in the ancient languages of either Greek or Syrian Aramaic, or Hebrew that the word for young girl was exactly the same as virgin and this part of the story may have been a mistake that became part of the myt?
No there are different words. In Greek an intact virgin is parthenos, and a girl is neanis. In Hebrew the respective terms are betulah and almah. The LXX Greek of Isaiah 7:14 appears to contain a mistranslation, not a loose term compelled by a deficiency of Hebrew vocabulary. Later Greek versions correct the word, from parthenos to neanis.

But I agree that this, and not any authentic historical event, is the source of the virgin birth stories.
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Old 9th December 2017, 06:48 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
No there are different words. In Greek an intact virgin is parthenos, and a girl is neanis. In Hebrew the respective terms are betulah and almah. The LXX Greek of Isaiah 7:14 appears to contain a mistranslation, not a loose term compelled by a deficiency of Hebrew vocabulary. Later Greek versions correct the word, from parthenos to neanis.

But I agree that this, and not any authentic historical event, is the source of the virgin birth stories.
Here's the LXX:
Quote:
διὰ τοῦτο δώσει κύριος αὐτὸς ὑμῖν σημεῖον ἰδοὺ ἡ παρθένος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει καὶ τέξεται υἱόν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Εμμανουηλ
"Parthenos" could at the time apparently mean either specifically a virgin, or a young girl in general. Kind of like "maiden" in English. But almah, as you note, did not have that dual meaning, it just meant "girl".
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Old 9th December 2017, 08:17 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Perhaps the Jesus figure, as written, might have been a composite character, in the same way that some characters in docudramas such as Apollo13 and Patriots Day, are a mishmash of several characters.
Almost all features of Jesus' deeds and sayings -specially his deeds- are responses to well known gods' and prophets' deeds and sayings in Hellenized or Jewish worlds. Wheter or not a certain Jesus existed, his narrated life was modeled according to the religious narrative of that epoch. This is a little suspicious.

The fact that Jesus existed or not is a mere academic-religious problem. It is not very relevant.
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Old 9th December 2017, 08:45 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The standard view regarding the authorship of the canonical gospels from most of what I've read is that no one knows who the authors of the Gospels and the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were ascribed to them in the 4th century. And that fact is written in the introduction of the Gospels in the NIV Bible.
Evangelists' names were mentioned by Irenaeus of Lyon, c. 180 EC. 4th. century doesn't sounds to me.
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Old 9th December 2017, 08:46 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by David Mo View Post
Almost all features of Jesus' deeds and sayings -specially his deeds- are responses to well known gods' and prophets' deeds and sayings in Hellenized or Jewish worlds. Wheter or not a certain Jesus existed, his narrated life was modeled according to the religious narrative of that epoch. This is a little suspicious.

The fact that Jesus existed or not is a mere academic-religious problem. It is not very relevant.
I agree to a point. There very well could have been a itinerant rabbi who preached at the time what would have been considered heresy and was executed. And his name may have been Jesus. Considering all the people who faced the inquisition and who were executed for questioning a Jesus after that would it be surprising that someone who spoke against Jewish doctrine in the first century in Jerusalem might face the same fate?

None of that proves a deity. As for Paul, I can't help but compare him to Joseph Smith and others who started a new religion. I do consider the possibility that the Jesus story started with him or that he embraced and embellished a story for his own purposes.
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Old 9th December 2017, 10:17 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I agree to a point. There very well could have been a itinerant rabbi who preached at the time what would have been considered heresy and was executed. And his name may have been Jesus.

None of that proves a deity. As for Paul, I can't help but compare him to Joseph Smith and others who started a new religion. I do consider the possibility that the Jesus story started with him or that he embraced and embellished a story for his own purposes.
That covers just about every possibility except that Jesus was a deity, and nobody has been claiming that anyway.

I agree that Paul embellished things, but I still incline to the view that he believed Jesus to have recently lived on Earth and been executed; and I think that the people he met in Jerusalem were the previous associates of Jesus with the same names.

ETA All these issues have been discussed, in much the same terms, for more than a century. This book by a historicist was published to rebut mythicism in 1914. It's still worth a read.

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Old 9th December 2017, 10:32 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That covers just about every possibility except that Jesus was a deity, and nobody has been claiming that anyway.

I agree that Paul embellished things, but I still incline to the view that he believed Jesus to have recently lived on Earth and been executed; and I think that the people he met in Jerusalem were the previous associates of Jesus with the same names.
That's because I don't know or think we can ever know with anything remotely close to certainty. Authors often create a character based on a real or a multiple of real characters who had different events happen to them. I personally find it suspicious that none of the Gospels were written before Paul's preaching.
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Old 9th December 2017, 10:44 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That's because I don't know or think we can ever know with anything remotely close to certainty. Authors often create a character based on a real or a multiple of real characters who had different events happen to them. I personally find it suspicious that none of the Gospels were written before Paul's preaching.
I find it reasonably unsurprising. First we have the writings of a guru who creates a sect. Then we have a collection of the sayings of the real or supposed source of the teachings embraced by the sect. That's Q, a source for the later Synoptics. In the meantime, we get the first, and least supernatural, of the gospel stories, Mark. Then we have more elaborate accounts, and finally a highly spiritualised account, in the Fourth Gospel.

This development can be seen in the progressive retrojection of the moment when Jesus became supernatural, according to the sources.

In Paul, at his death and resurrection. In Mark, at baptism, as an adult. In Mt and Lk, at his conception. In John, he was there at the Creation, with God. By Pliny's day, if not before, he was being worshipped as if he was God, full stop.

This successive elaboration seems credible to me. Paul, as befits an early source, expounds it in a muted form.

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Old 9th December 2017, 11:35 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I find it reasonably unsurprising. First we have the writings of a guru who creates a sect. Then we have a collection of the sayings of the real or supposed source of the teachings embraced by the sect. That's Q, a source for the later Synoptics. In the meantime, we get the first, and least supernatural, of the gospel stories, Mark. Then we have more elaborate accounts, and finally a highly spiritualised account, in the Fourth Gospel.

This development can be seen in the progressive retrojection of the moment when Jesus became supernatural, according to the sources.

In Paul, at his death and resurrection. In Mark, at baptism, as an adult. In Mt and Lk, at his conception. In John, he was there at the Creation, with God. By Pliny's day, if not before, he was being worshipped as if he was God, full stop.

This successive elaboration seems credible to me. Paul, as befits an early source, expounds it in a muted form.
Maybe, but also, maybe not. We don't actually know that the Q documentever even existed at all and who's to say that Q wasn't written by Paul if it did?
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Old 9th December 2017, 12:21 PM   #189
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
who's to say that Q wasn't written by Paul if it did?
Have you got any evidence to support this alternative hypothesis? People who have done linguistic analysis would probably find it rather untenable. We have extensive extant writing of Paul's. It would be very difficult indeed for him to have forged something like Q without leaving traces. You're engaging in conspiracy-minded what-if:s. "Yeah, but what if the CIA forged that?"
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Old 9th December 2017, 12:32 PM   #190
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Have you got any evidence to support this alternative hypothesis? People who have done linguistic analysis would probably find it rather untenable. We have extensive extant writing of Paul's. It would be very difficult indeed for him to have forged something like Q without leaving traces. You're engaging in conspiracy-minded what-if:s. "Yeah, but what if the CIA forged that?"
I was under the impression...perhaps mistaken, that Q and M are unknown documents hypothesized as a source of Matthew, Mark and the third one that is similar.. For some reason, it escapes me at this moment if it was Luke or John. Terrible thing age. First your memory goes and then your penis.
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Old 9th December 2017, 12:39 PM   #191
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Maybe, but also, maybe not. We don't actually know that the Q documentever even existed at all and who's to say that Q wasn't written by Paul if it did?
It would be most surprising if Paul was the collector (or inventor) of sayings of Jesus, in view of a notorious fact about Paul's writings
Paul’s own faith in Christ has been formed primarily through powerful religious experiences of the risen Lord (Gal 1:11-17; 2 Cor 3:18—4:5; 12:1-10; Phil 3:3-16; cf. Acts 9:1-9). Accordingly, Paul’s focus lies in the crucified, exalted and coming Christ; what the earthly Jesus may have said or done holds limited relevance to him.
And he tells us almost nothing about the words or deeds of the living Jesus.
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Old 9th December 2017, 12:53 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It would be most surprising if Paul was the collector (or inventor) of sayings of Jesus, in view of a notorious fact about Paul's writings
Paul’s own faith in Christ has been formed primarily through powerful religious experiences of the risen Lord (Gal 1:11-17; 2 Cor 3:18—4:5; 12:1-10; Phil 3:3-16; cf. Acts 9:1-9). Accordingly, Paul’s focus lies in the crucified, exalted and coming Christ; what the earthly Jesus may have said or done holds limited relevance to him.
And he tells us almost nothing about the words or deeds of the living Jesus.
Thanks, makes sense.

It doesn't really matter to me if Paul is the origin of the story or someone who added to it like Joseph Smith and others did. I have thought for a long time that Christianity is really the cult of Paul.
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:08 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I was under the impression...perhaps mistaken, that Q and M are unknown documents hypothesized as a source of Matthew, Mark and the third one that is similar.. For some reason, it escapes me at this moment if it was Luke or John. Terrible thing age. First your memory goes and then your penis.
Not exactly. Mark is a source in its own right; material from it is heavily used (often verbatim or with improved grammar) in Luke and Matthew, along with the basic structure. In addition, Luke and Matthew share a large amount of material (lengthy quotes attributed to Jesus and various exchanges, mostly) that cannot be found in Mark. This material is hypothesized to come from a document called "Q"; some argue that it was one document (mainstream view), some argue that it was several. Finally, there is material that is particular to either Matthew and Luke; the sources for this material are called M and L respectively.
¨
So we have:
Mark
Luke (Mark + Q + L)
Matthew (Mark + Q + M)

Q can to an extent be reconstructed assuming it is a single document.

John is a matter in its own right, I think it is usually thought to be composed of a number of sources (poem at the start, Signs source, etc) plus a large contribution from the compiler himself (Jesus' language is at times very similar to the compiler's, suggesting he was at best paraphrasing source material).
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:12 PM   #194
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Thanks, makes sense.

It doesn't really matter to me if Paul is the origin of the story or someone who added to it like Joseph Smith and others did. I have thought for a long time that Christianity is really the cult of Paul.
It's hard to make sense of that. Paul was a paramount authority; there are countless epistles forged and attributed to him. If he was responsible for the Gospel stories, I'd really expect someone at some point to allege this in the early Christian writings.
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:13 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Not exactly. Mark is a source in its own right; material from it is heavily used (often verbatim or with improved grammar) in Luke and Matthew, along with the basic structure. In addition, Luke and Matthew share a large amount of material (lengthy quotes attributed to Jesus and various exchanges, mostly) that cannot be found in Mark. This material is hypothesized to come from a document called "Q"; some argue that it was one document (mainstream view), some argue that it was several. Finally, there is material that is particular to either Matthew and Luke; the sources for this material are called M and L respectively.
¨

So we have:
Mark
Luke (Mark + Q + L)
Matthew (Mark + Q + M)

Q can to an extent be reconstructed assuming it is a single document.

John is a matter in its own right, I think it is usually thought to be composed of a number of sources (poem at the start, Signs source, etc) plus a large contribution from the compiler himself (Jesus' language is at times very similar to the compiler's, suggesting he was at best paraphrasing source material).
Material or hypothesized material?
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:19 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
It's hard to make sense of that. Paul was a paramount authority; there are countless epistles forged and attributed to him. If he was responsible for the Gospel stories, I'd really expect someone at some point to allege this in the early Christian writings.
That's also something that has always mystified me. Why do or should Christians give a **** what Paul says? Its not like he's God or even Jesus. At best, one can say he had a dream about Jesus,
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:26 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
As far as the virgin birth is concerned. Haven't I heard that in the ancient languages of either Greek or Syrian Aramaic, or Hebrew that the word for young girl was exactly the same as virgin and this part of the story may have been a mistake that became part of the myt?
Bart Ehrman has an article on this whole thing: https://ehrmanblog.org/why-was-jesus...thew-and-luke/
'
He isn't breaking any new ground here. I have read this kind of summary several times, but he does make a comment that might be interesting.

He says Matthew's idea of the virgin birth is that it fulfills a prophecy and Luke's idea is that it proves Jesus was divine. Regardless Matthew and Luke story about the Virgin Mary goes to a couple of points:
1. They were just making stuff up or they were writing down rumors started by people who were just making stuff up
2. They were using the Septuagint as their source for the Old Testament stuff. That they used the Septuagint as their source is a big clue as to what is going on here. But I don't know what to make of that. The NT authors were Hellenized Jews or the NT authors were members of a gentile group like the God Fearers who were following a kind of Judaism that was inspired by Hellenized Jews?
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:38 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Material or hypothesized material?
The material is in the gospels. The source of it is unknown. Scholars call that unknown source M (or L or Q).

Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That's also something that has always mystified me. Why do or should Christians give a **** what Paul says. Its not like he's God or even Jesus. At best, one can say he had a dream about Jesus,
He introduced the Christ concept to the non-Jewish Greco-Roman world.
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:51 PM   #199
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
The material is in the gospels. The source of it is unknown. Scholars call that unknown source M (or L or Q).
Exactly. M, L or Q are hypothesized sources for the Gospels. No one actually knows if those sources existed.

Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
He introduced the Christ concept to the non-Jewish Greco-Roman world.
I understand that..But so what? I mean you wouldn't mix me up wth Harry Potter or JK Rowlings if I wrote an afterword to the Half Blood Prince would you?
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Old 9th December 2017, 01:53 PM   #200
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Richard Carrier on Q: https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/12352

He is a little snarkier than usual in this post which, perhaps, undermines his credibility a bit. It still seems his point is valid. 1. No evidence of a Q document has ever been found. 2. There is no reason for the Q hypothesis since normal copying and restructuring was clearly done by the Luke and Matthew authors without a Q document so why did they need a Q document to do some of their rewriting, copying and creative writing? 3. The hypothesized Q document contains much more than just sayings and if you're going to hypothesize that it existed why not throw Mark into it as well? And at that point you can hypothesize just about anything and without evidence just about anything is possible.

ETA:
Mark Goodacre wrote a book arguing that Q didn't exist. This is a summary of ten reasons he put forth for that:
http://markgoodacre.org/Q/ten.htm
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