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Old 11th December 2017, 11:23 PM   #281
Craig B
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I Ehrman says that the earliest copy of Mark that historians are able to view dates to about 220AD. And this is a partial copy. Still historians estimate that the original Gospel of Mark was written in about 65AD.

And this is typical of the other Gospels as well. Yet I bet 99 percent of Christians are totally unaware of this fact. And 99 percent that are aware, just don't care as I found out in a discussion with a Baptist minister.
The earliest ms of Julius Caesar dates to the ninth century. But if we date his work not by that, but by internal evidence in the wording of the text, we obtain an earlier date. Mark's text indicates, according to these historians to whom you allude, that
Mark, as it lies before us, must have been redacted before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70; so vague are its forecasts of disasters that were to befall the holy city. In Luke, on the other hand, these forecasts are accommodated to the facts, as we should expect to be the case in an author who wrote after the blow had fallen.
See Fred. C. Conybeare. “The Historical Christ; / Or, An investigation of the views of Mr. J. M. Robertson, / Dr. A. Drews, and Prof. W. B. Smith.”, which was written over a century ago.

Unless you are stating that there is no other evidence that Mark was written before AD 220, the happenstance age of the earliest surviving ms is no indication of the date of composition of the wording it contains.
our oldest manuscript of Herodotus’ Histories, is a tenth-century CE manuscript from the Laurentian Library (no. 70. 3) in Florence, Italy
One could repeat examples of this without limit.
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Old 12th December 2017, 03:19 AM   #282
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I can't imagine the strong evidence that could ever be produced to prove Jesus was a myth. Especially when you view the almost entire absence of evidence that is offered to prove he was real. What you are suggesting is pretty much comparable to proving a null hypothesis.

I heard Bart Ehrman speak about the Gospels. Not a mythicist, a former Fundamentalist pastor and scholar, but now an atheist discussing the absurdity of believing the inerrancy of scripture. Ehrman says that the earliest copy of Mark that historians are able to view dates to about 220AD. And this is a partial copy. Still historians estimate that the original Gospel of Mark was written in about 65AD.

And this is typical of the other Gospels as well. Yet I bet 99 percent of Christians are totally unaware of this fact. And 99 percent that are aware, just don't care as I found out in a discussion with a Baptist minister.


I am not saying it has to be "proved". Of course it does not have be absolute proof - literal "proof" is impossible for anything (even in science Evolution, Quantum Theory and Relativity etc. are not actually "proofs" ... they are simply matters of extremely strong evidence).

I am simply talking about the hypothetical situation that would arise if for example we found an exceptionally early gospel (e.g. early 1st century, and accurately & scientifically dated) which made very clear that the original concept of Jesus was at first belief only in a spiritual figure experienced in peoples religious visions, i.e. not actually a real human being at all. That's not inconceivable is it (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls were a complete surprise to everyone, and they were only discovered as recently as the 1940's ... so such occurrences are not impossible).

Actually it's not far off from what we already have with the letters of Paul, where Jesus is believed by Paul and by 500+ others, but known to them only as a matter of religious belief in visions of spirits from the sky.

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Old 12th December 2017, 04:11 AM   #283
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Actually it's not far off from what we already have with the letters of Paul, where Jesus is believed by Paul and by 500+ others, but known to them only as a matter of religious belief in visions of spirits from the sky.
Where are you getting that from? It's not what your text says.

"1 Corinthians 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."
Did Cephas and the twelve know Jesus only as a matter of belief in visions of spirits from the sky? That's not what the gospels say.
"6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep." Had any of these met a Jesus during his lifetime? The text says nothing about that one way or another.

"7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles." Did they know him only as a spirit from the sky? "8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me." Paul, we are told, indeed never met Jesus except in visions, but that may not have been the only reason he believed in him. He tells us he met a variety of people who, we are told elsewhere, had been associates of Jesus.

Now you may reject the concept of a real Jesus, but you are not entitled to say that 500 people knew Jesus only as a spirit from the sky when the texts tell us nothing about what they knew, how they knew it, or the reason why they are believers and "brethren". Have you forgotten your own preference for "extremely strong evidence"?
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Old 12th December 2017, 05:01 AM   #284
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
I am not saying it has to be "proved". Of course it does not have be absolute proof - literal "proof" is impossible for anything (even in science Evolution, Quantum Theory and Relativity etc. are not actually "proofs" ... they are simply matters of extremely strong evidence).

I am simply talking about the hypothetical situation that would arise if for example we found an exceptionally early gospel (e.g. early 1st century, and accurately & scientifically dated) which made very clear that the original concept of Jesus was at first belief only in a spiritual figure experienced in peoples religious visions, i.e. not actually a real human being at all. That's not inconceivable is it (e.g. the Dead Sea Scrolls were a complete surprise to everyone, and they were only discovered as recently as the 1940's ... so such occurrences are not impossible).

Actually it's not far off from what we already have with the letters of Paul, where Jesus is believed by Paul and by 500+ others, but known to them only as a matter of religious belief in visions of spirits from the sky.
While NOTHING can be proved to 100 percent, some things have been proven to a point to deny them would be perverse. Such as the theory of gravity, electromagnetism, evolution, germ theory, the holocaust. And while I'm not sure that the existence of Paul reaches quite that level of confidence, I have little reason to disbelieve that there wasn't an actual Paul. But that is because everything about Paul is ordinary. There waa someone like Paul who pushed this story, so why couldn't it have been someone named Paul?

The problem inherent to an actual Jesus, is that little about Jesus is ordinary or believable. If everything about Jesus is unbelievable, it goes to say the person of Jesus could reasonably be dismissed as mythical as well
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Old 12th December 2017, 05:06 AM   #285
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Where are you getting that from? It's not what your text says.

"1 Corinthians 15:5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve."
Did Cephas and the twelve know Jesus only as a matter of belief in visions of spirits from the sky? That's not what the gospels say.
"6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep." Had any of these met a Jesus during his lifetime? The text says nothing about that one way or another.

"7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles." Did they know him only as a spirit from the sky? "8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me." Paul, we are told, indeed never met Jesus except in visions, but that may not have been the only reason he believed in him. He tells us he met a variety of people who, we are told elsewhere, had been associates of Jesus.

Now you may reject the concept of a real Jesus, but you are not entitled to say that 500 people knew Jesus only as a spirit from the sky when the texts tell us nothing about what they knew, how they knew it, or the reason why they are believers and "brethren". Have you forgotten your own preference for "extremely strong evidence"?
What 500 people? You don't know that anything in Corinthians is true, any more than you know ANYTHING in Genesis is true.
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Old 12th December 2017, 05:10 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
What 500 people? You don't know that anything in Corinthians is true, any more than you know ANYTHING in Genesis is true.
I didn't say I know it is true. I stated I know what the text says, and it doesn't say anything about what the 500 visionaries believed about Jesus. I've no idea what is true - if anything - in this passage. But you or I or anyone else can read what it says.
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Old 12th December 2017, 06:04 AM   #287
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
You mention Academic University based Historians; do any of them think the Historical Jesus didn't exist? Note: Randell Helms is not a Historian either.

If you don't like the way Ehrman argues the case for HJ, you could try contacting any of the University based Academic Historians of the Ancient Near East and find out why just about all of them accept the HJ
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
So what are all the non-christian Historians at secular Universities saying about it? Are they all just accepting the biased Christians' word for it all, or are they possibly also looking at the question and reaching the same conclusions?
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Richard Carrier is highly dismissive of it? Oh well then... Let me know when someone agrees with him.

There are thousands of Secular Universities all over the world staffed by people who aren't Christian Scholars. They have departments of History with real Historians and everything: How many of them accept Richard Carrier's reasoning? (I'll give you a hint: It's a round number)
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Well then it shouldn't be hard for you to find one who has published a favourable opinion of Carrier's work. Off you pop...
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
there really are many secular Scholars in Universities throughout the world who study the Ancient Near East and none of them appear to accept Carrier's idea. Some of these Scholars might even be Jewish, why haven't they jumped on the Mythical Jesus donkey train?
It would be extremely challenging to come up with an argument more thoroughly worthless than that, on any subject.
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Old 12th December 2017, 06:15 AM   #288
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I have to agree with Yuppy. Just because the Gospels aren't written in dactylic hexameter like the Illiad doesn't make them non-fiction. Keep in mind that these stories include, the raising of the dead, walking on water, a virgin birth and turning water into wine.
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Old 12th December 2017, 06:18 AM   #289
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If everything about Jesus is unbelievable, it goes to say the person of Jesus could reasonably be dismissed as mythical as well
But not everything about Jesus is unbelievable. It is perfectly believable that he was born in Nazareth, a Jew, baptized by John, gathered a number of followers, and was executed by Pontius Pilatius as a subversive.
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Old 12th December 2017, 06:56 AM   #290
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
But not everything about Jesus is unbelievable. It is perfectly believable that he was born in Nazareth, a Jew, baptized by John, gathered a number of followers, and was executed by Pontius Pilatius as a subversive.
This was written in 1914.
“ ... they [mythicists] insist on regarding the New Testament, and in particular the four Gospels, as a homogeneous block, and will not hear of the criticism which discerns in them literary development, which detects earlier and later couches of tradition and narrative. This is what I call the Sunday-school attitude, and it lacks all perspective and orientation.

... “Their insistence that in the case of Christian origins the miraculous and the non-miraculous form a solid block of impenetrable myth is all the more remarkable, because in secular history they are prepared, nay anxious, for the separation of truth from falsehood
Fred. C. Conybeare. “The Historical Christ"
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Old 12th December 2017, 07:48 AM   #291
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
But not everything about Jesus is unbelievable. It is perfectly believable that he was born in Nazareth, ...
Isn't the birth place Nazareth one of the more contentious claims (ignoring for a moment that Luke puts it in the even less credible Bethlehem)? Something about Nazareth not even being a place at the alleged time of JC's birth? Something about misreading an OT prophecy that the Jesus fans wanted to come true?

Also, details of the execution seem unusual for a mere subversive.

I think "believable" is a very low standard. Similar to how 9/11 CTists find it believable that "they" rigged the towers with explosives. Absent video evidence to the contrary, that's an unfalsifiable belief.
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Old 12th December 2017, 08:04 AM   #292
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Isn't the birth place Nazareth one of the more contentious claims (ignoring for a moment that Luke puts it in the even less credible Bethlehem)? Something about Nazareth not even being a place at the alleged time of JC's birth? Something about misreading an OT prophecy that the Jesus fans wanted to come true?

Also, details of the execution seem unusual for a mere subversive.

I think "believable" is a very low standard. Similar to how 9/11 CTists find it believable that "they" rigged the towers with explosives. Absent video evidence to the contrary, that's an unfalsifiable belief.
The statements that Jesus was born in Nazareth and executed by crucifixion are entirely credible. Crucifixion was used quite lavishly by the Romans, and they were careful to maintain good order during Passover when the city was filled with excited pilgrims. The existence of Nazareth at the time is disputed, not miraculous. The prophecy that "he shall be called a Nazarene" cited by Matthew is not to be found in extant Jewish scriptures. But being called a Nazarene isn't a miracle either, like being born to a virgin, or rising from the dead.
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Old 12th December 2017, 08:08 AM   #293
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
While NOTHING can be proved to 100 percent, some things have been proven to a point to deny them would be perverse. Such as the theory of gravity, electromagnetism, evolution, germ theory, the holocaust. And while I'm not sure that the existence of Paul reaches quite that level of confidence, I have little reason to disbelieve that there wasn't an actual Paul. But that is because everything about Paul is ordinary. There waa someone like Paul who pushed this story, so why couldn't it have been someone named Paul?

The problem inherent to an actual Jesus, is that little about Jesus is ordinary or believable. If everything about Jesus is unbelievable, it goes to say the person of Jesus could reasonably be dismissed as mythical as well


Sure, we are not disagreeing. Though I'd put it slightly different where Jesus is concerned ...

... I would say it's not fair or really correct to say that his existence might as well be dismissed just on the basis that almost everything claimed for him in the gospels and letters of the NT is "unbelievable"; for me that would not be clear enough or well reasoned enough to "dismiss him as mythical". But what I would say about it, is that it's highly unsatisfactory and actually quite suspicious that even today the church leaders and bible scholars continue to claim that actual real evidence exists in such great abundance and such detail as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed (and that is what virtually every last one of them do claim) ...

... that claim has been shown to be laughably naive at best, if not actually downright dishonest. Because whatever anyone thinks of the books written by various mythicist authors over the past century, what is very clearly established by their writing and their research is just how incredibly weak the evidence for Jesus actually is. So that blanket denial by Bible Scholars and Church leaders is (to repeat) in itself so disingenuous that it should raise serious doubts about their motives, their reasoning, and in fact their honesty whenever they talk about Jesus.
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Old 12th December 2017, 08:14 AM   #294
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
... highly unsatisfactory and actually quite suspicious ... laughably naive at best, if not actually downright dishonest ... incredibly weak ... so disingenuous that it should raise serious doubts about their motives, their reasoning, and in fact their honesty whenever they talk about Jesus.
Quite so. They're all out to get you, as well.
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Old 12th December 2017, 08:59 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
Isn't the birth place Nazareth one of the more contentious claims (ignoring for a moment that Luke puts it in the even less credible Bethlehem)? Something about Nazareth not even being a place at the alleged time of JC's birth? Something about misreading an OT prophecy that the Jesus fans wanted to come true?
Great question. Nazareth appears to have existed, but it was a tiny hamlet (Ehrman suggested no more than 1000 inhabitants, IIRC, even that sounds large to me); there is some archaeological evidence (coins, IIRC) from around the time of Jesus at the archaeological site near its traditional location (the modern-day town).

You're thinking of Matthew's "And he shall be called a Nazarene". This actually works the other way around - there is no such prophecy and there are several theories about where exactly Matthew got it (suggestions include misreading "Nazarite" if he read the Septuagint bits about Samson, or something about "A branch will spring forth" where "branch" has the same root as Nazareth in Hebrew). So what it looks like here is rather that Matthew, knowing Jesus was from Nazareth, canvassed the TaNaKh for a corresponding prophecy. This was actually very common in the Hebrew prophetic tradition - prophecies were almost always taken out of context.

Quote:
Also, details of the execution seem unusual for a mere subversive.
Such as? Crucifixion appears to have been the normative punishment for political crimes of that sort.

Quote:
I think "believable" is a very low standard. Similar to how 9/11 CTists find it believable that "they" rigged the towers with explosives. Absent video evidence to the contrary, that's an unfalsifiable belief.
Sure. But it's "believeable" and those details are consistent in multiple independent traditions, and aspects of how they are presented (e.g. discrepancy between the accusations of the Sanhendrin and that of Pilate) suggest they are not part of a tacked-on narrative.
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Old 12th December 2017, 09:08 AM   #296
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Paul was preaching in a letter to believers in Corinth … he says that Jesus “appeared” to Cephas and the twelve, and then appeared to more than 500 people at once, and finally appeared also to Paul himself … but this was all AFTER Jesus had died! Here are the relevant passages -


https://www.biblegateway.com/passage...Corinthians+15

1 Corinthians 15New International Version (NIV)
The Resurrection of Christ


15*Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. 2*By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.
3*For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4*that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5*and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve. 6*After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7*Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8*and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.


The Resurrection of the Dead

12*But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13*If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. 14*And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. 15*More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16*For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17*And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18*Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19*If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.

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Old 12th December 2017, 09:26 AM   #297
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
But not everything about Jesus is unbelievable. It is perfectly believable that he was born in Nazareth, a Jew, baptized by John, gathered a number of followers, and was executed by Pontius Pilatius as a subversive.
I agree, yes it is. And if that is all there was to the story, I would think there would be little reason to doubt it. But the moment the story includes the unbelievable, the entire story becomes suspect.
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Old 12th December 2017, 09:29 AM   #298
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I agree, yes it is.. But the moment the story includes the unbelievable, the entire story becomes suspect.
Do you apply this standard to all ancient works?

For a completely trivial example from a 2-second googling, Plutarch's Biography of Caesar: “But the place which was destined for the scene of this murder, in which the senate met that day, was the same in which Pompey’s statue stood, and was one of the edifices which Pompey had raised…plainly showing that there was something of a supernatural influence which guided the action and ordered it to that particular place.” (Plutarch, 241)


Supernatural elements are very common in anecdotes in ancient sources, so you'd be dismissing... well I don't know how many works.
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Old 12th December 2017, 09:33 AM   #299
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IanS

I'm not sure why you pasted these extracts from well known texts. What point are you making here? We know - surely everybody knows - that Paul claimed to have received revelations of Jesus after his death. That is not in dispute. Your cited texts contain an affirmation, by the way, of Paul's belief in Jesus' humanity
1 Cor 15:12 ... how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised ... 15 But he (God) did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. 16 For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either.
That is, if the generality of humans are not raised from the dead, then Christ is not raised.

His being raised is an earnest of the future resurrection of all humanity, of which it is a first example.
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Old 12th December 2017, 09:39 AM   #300
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
Sure, we are not disagreeing. Though I'd put it slightly different where Jesus is concerned ...

... I would say it's not fair or really correct to say that his existence might as well be dismissed just on the basis that almost everything claimed for him in the gospels and letters of the NT is "unbelievable"; for me that would not be clear enough or well reasoned enough to "dismiss him as mythical". But what I would say about it, is that it's highly unsatisfactory and actually quite suspicious that even today the church leaders and bible scholars continue to claim that actual real evidence exists in such great abundance and such detail as to make it a certainty that Jesus existed (and that is what virtually every last one of them do claim) ...

... that claim has been shown to be laughably naive at best, if not actually downright dishonest. Because whatever anyone thinks of the books written by various mythicist authors over the past century, what is very clearly established by their writing and their research is just how incredibly weak the evidence for Jesus actually is. So that blanket denial by Bible Scholars and Church leaders is (to repeat) in itself so disingenuous that it should raise serious doubts about their motives, their reasoning, and in fact their honesty whenever they talk about Jesus.
I agree 100 percent. But they are unlikely to give an inch on this. And I've noticed that particularly on this idea that they are universally mockingly dismissive. And their motives is quite transparent.
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Old 12th December 2017, 09:52 AM   #301
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Do you apply this standard to all ancient works?

For a completely trivial example from a 2-second googling, Plutarch's Biography of Caesar: “But the place which was destined for the scene of this murder, in which the senate met that day, was the same in which Pompey’s statue stood, and was one of the edifices which Pompey had raised…plainly showing that there was something of a supernatural influence which guided the action and ordered it to that particular place.” (Plutarch, 241)


Supernatural elements are very common in anecdotes in ancient sources, so you'd be dismissing... well I don't know how many works.
Your argument is a bit of reductio ad absurdum. First, I said suspect, not false. Second, there is a difference between the emperor of Rome and an itinerant preacher in Judea.

Was King Arthur real? Why or why not?
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Old 12th December 2017, 10:03 AM   #302
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I agree 100 percent. But they are unlikely to give an inch on this. And I've noticed that particularly on this idea that they are universally mockingly dismissive. And their motives is quite transparent.

Yep!
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Old 12th December 2017, 10:27 AM   #303
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Originally Posted by John Jones View Post
Then you should have no problem providing one.
Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Seriously? You obviously read the thread, so this is nothing but abject dishonesty, much like your earlier reply on a misstatement I had already corrected a few posts down.

Here:
http://www.internationalskeptics.com...4&postcount=64
Those are really poor examples. The reason no one questions the existence of those examples is because no one has ever heard of them. I think John could easily not recognize those as being examples of what you claimed.
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Old 12th December 2017, 10:47 AM   #304
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Those are really poor examples. The reason no one questions the existence of those examples is because no one has ever heard of them. I think John could easily not recognize those as being examples of what you claimed.
Swoooosh, there goes the goalposts!

Let's look at what you actually asked for examples of. You quoted this:

Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
There are countless figures for whom there are no contemporary records. 20-30 years is a VERY good timeframe for a first written reference in ancient, and even in later history. Sources written HUNDREDS of years after the fact are routinely used by historians.
Care to retract your statement that these are "really poor examples"? Nevermind that a Roman Consul or king was surely much more famous in his lifetime than Jesus was in his own! Also, how about addressing the case of Alexander the Great? The first written sources (excluding the stone tablet in Thrace and the clay tablet in Babylon; let's suppose those had never been found for the sake of argument, they are strokes of luck more than anything else) were written down 300 years after his death, many 400-700 years after, and the manuscripts are much younger than that. All accounts contain various, sometimes high, degrees of fictionalizations. Why have higher standards for the sources of Jesus?
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Old 12th December 2017, 10:50 AM   #305
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Just for someone who appears not to grasp the point about what Paul's letter says about himself and others witnessing Jesus – he is talking about himself and others witnessing Jesus AFTER JESUS WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE DIED !!

He is preaching in an open letter to readers in Corinth, telling them that God has given them proof that after they die they will be raised to heaven providing they pledge allegiance to the faith preached by Paul … where he tells them that the proof from God is that God has granted to Paul, and to Cephas and James and to “all the apostles” as well as 500+ others a vision of the risen messiah … that was God's proof that all faithful believers would also be raised to heaven as their reward for joining the faith.

None of them ever claimed to have met any such living person as Jesus. Instead they all met Jesus as a spiritual vision of divine revelation.

Amazingly, Paul even specifically included “James” amongst those who were granted a divine vision of the spiritual (deceased) Jesus! I say “amazingly”, because according to Bart Ehrman and almost all bible scholars as well as all senior church figures such as the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the many hundreds of their underlings, that same James is claimed to be quite certainly the actual family brother of Jesus, i.e. someone who had presumably known Jesus almost daily since birth … and yet here is Paul telling us that James was amongst those who had to be convinced by God through a divine revelation that showed Jesus only as a spirit in the sky! …

…. so when Ehrman mockingly says “you would think James would know that his own brother (Jesus) was real!”, I might say to Ehrman “if James really was the blood brother of Jesus (such that they were both about 30 years old when Jesus died), then you would think that after all that time together, James would not have needed the same revealing vision from God to show him that Jesus was in fact the long awaited but now dead messiah!”.
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Old 12th December 2017, 10:54 AM   #306
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I would second that point. It was some kind of vision, not that they had a population of 500 people who each knew a flesh-and-blood Jesus.

I had the same idea myself when reading, but I would have put it much less well and less forcefully.
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Old 12th December 2017, 11:00 AM   #307
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Swoooosh, there goes the goalposts!

Let's look at what you actually asked for examples of. You quoted this:

Care to retract your statement that these are "really poor examples"?
No, cause those are really poor examples. Are you completely unaware of what this thread is about? The whole context of this thread is about whether we have sufficient evidence to prove Paul and/or Jesus existed. The only reason the existence of those examples you provided isn't doubted is because no one has ever heard of them.

Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Also, how about addressing the case of Alexander the Great?
I looked in to the historicity of Alexander the Great to see if it was comparable to the historicity of Jesus and Paul a few days ago. You'd have to be a complete idiot to think they are comparable. I didn't see any reason to bother talking about it with you. It's truly absurd comparison.
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Old 12th December 2017, 11:10 AM   #308
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
that same James is claimed to be quite certainly the actual family brother of Jesus, i.e. someone who had presumably known Jesus almost daily since birth … and yet here is Paul telling us that James was amongst those who had to be convinced by God through a divine revelation that showed Jesus only as a spirit in the sky! …

…. so when Ehrman mockingly says “you would think James would know that his own brother (Jesus) was real!”, I might say to Ehrman “if James really was the blood brother of Jesus (such that they were both about 30 years old when Jesus died), then you would think that after all that time together, James would not have needed the same revealing vision from God to show him that Jesus was in fact the long awaited but now dead messiah!”.
As you will recall, I have pointed out that the text says nothing about the visionaries believing in the previous human existence of Jesus because of the revelation. That applies to the 500, and to James. But seeing a dead sibling might convince somebody, not of that sibling's past existence, which would already be known from memory; but of his present supernatural one, which might not otherwise have been believed in.

We know that Paul considered Jesus to have become a supernatural being only following his death, before which he was "flesh".

You are in various posts denying that anyone would have believed in a previous living human Jesus were it not for the visions. That is absurd.
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Old 12th December 2017, 12:00 PM   #309
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Do you apply this standard to all ancient works?

For a completely trivial example from a 2-second googling, Plutarch's Biography of Caesar: “But the place which was destined for the scene of this murder, in which the senate met that day, was the same in which Pompey’s statue stood, and was one of the edifices which Pompey had raised…plainly showing that there was something of a supernatural influence which guided the action and ordered it to that particular place.” (Plutarch, 241)


Supernatural elements are very common in anecdotes in ancient sources, so you'd be dismissing... well I don't know how many works.
Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Your argument is a bit of reductio ad absurdum. First, I said suspect, not false. Second, there is a difference between the emperor of Rome and an itinerant preacher in Judea.

Was King Arthur real? Why or why not?
Also, I think Carrier makes a good point about how absurd it is to think that the evidence for a Jesus and for Julius Caesar is comparable.

Quote:
we have actual coins and inscriptions dating from Caesar’s time and the time of his contemporaries. None for Jesus. We also have several eyewitness accounts. Caesar’s own, as Bock mentions (although he omits the most important one, the Civil War) and Cicero’s and Sallust’s, as Bock also mentions (although he omits the most important one, Cicero’s Letters). But also Pompey (surviving collections of Cicero’s letters include letters from Pompey) and Augustus (Caesar’s adopted son and successor, who commissioned many inscriptions and coins). And Livy, a contemporary of Caesar, covers Caesar in his histories—and in their poetry, so do contemporaries Virgil, Ovid, and Catullus. The Gospels are not eyewitness sources, name no eyewitness sources, and have no verifiable eyewitness sources. There are no eyewitness sources for Jesus. There are at least nine for Caesar. https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7862
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Old 12th December 2017, 12:22 PM   #310
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I looked in to the historicity of Alexander the Great to see if it was comparable to the historicity of Jesus and Paul a few days ago. You'd have to be a complete idiot to think they are comparable. I didn't see any reason to bother talking about it with you. It's truly absurd comparison.
You don't get it, do you? I'm comparing, not equating, the two. Understanding the paucity of sources for a figure so monumental as Alexander really should make you understand how remarkably good the sourcing situation is for Jesus, compared to what we would expect.

You asked me to give you examples that indicate what typical sourcing situations are for figures in ancient history, and what reasonable standards to apply to Jesus are. Using the same standards as for other figures, such as random Roman Consuls or Near Eastern kings, it is easy to see that the situation for Jesus is really quite good, and extraordinary compared to what you would expect.

Now, if you wish to be a hyper(pseudo)skeptic and only acknowledge the most famous figures in history as probably existing, be my guest. But be aware of what you're doing and how you're going against the practice of mainstream ancient historians.
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Old 12th December 2017, 12:24 PM   #311
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Also, I think Carrier makes a good point about how absurd it is to think that the evidence for a Jesus and for Julius Caesar is comparable.
The point isn't that the "evidence is comparable" as a whole, for crying out loud. The point is to compare the standards of evidence you are demanding for Jesus to the situation for far, FAR, FAR more monumental figures in history. If the first source of Alexander's life and deeds occur 300 years after his death, can we really demand "contemporary" sources for Jesus? If one of the most important accounts of Caesar's life includes supernatural elements, can we reject the Gospels on those grounds?
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Old 12th December 2017, 01:00 PM   #312
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
The point isn't that the "evidence is comparable" as a whole, for crying out loud. The point is to compare the standards of evidence you are demanding for Jesus to the situation for far, FAR, FAR more monumental figures in history. If the first source of Alexander's life and deeds occur 300 years after his death, can we really demand "contemporary" sources for Jesus? If one of the most important accounts of Caesar's life includes supernatural elements, can we reject the Gospels on those grounds?
I'm not 'demanding' anything. There were billions of real people that there is no trail. But that doesn't mean that there is credible significant evidence for any specific one of them. I'm not arguing that Jesus didn't exist, but that the evidence of no fault of Jesus..(unless he was/is a God) is not that persuasive. The crux of the problem is how does one differentiate between stories about a mythical person or a real person with mythical qualities?
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Old 12th December 2017, 01:14 PM   #313
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
It would be extremely challenging to come up with an argument more thoroughly worthless than that, on any subject.
And yet you have done it. Congratulations I guess...

But really, please explain to me why experts in the field are not lining up behind the ideas of Richard Carrier. Note that phrases like "They are all in on it" or "They are all slaves of Christian dogma" will be met with the scorn they deserve.

Or is it your contention that secular Historians never study the Ancient Near East or First Century Roman Palestine? Why would they? It's not as if anything important for the subsequent two millennia of culture in Europe happened there...
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Old 12th December 2017, 01:30 PM   #314
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The crux of the problem is how does one differentiate between stories about a mythical person or a real person with mythical qualities?
That is not the main issue. It really is this: how do we distinguish between stories about a mythical person, and mythical stories that have been added to the biography of a real person?

The issue of "mythical qualities" possessed by people doesn't necessarily arise. I'm not even sure what it might mean in this context.

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Old 12th December 2017, 01:41 PM   #315
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That is not the main issue. It really is this: how do we distinguish between stories about a mythical person, and mythical stories that have been added to the biography of a real person?

The issue of "mythical qualities" possessed by people doesn't necessarily arise. I'm not even sure what it might mean in this context.
Fine. A distinction without a difference.
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Old 12th December 2017, 01:44 PM   #316
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
The crux of the problem is how does one differentiate between stories about a mythical person or a real person with mythical qualities?
And are you genuinely intersted in what the historiographical approaches are? I could probably dig up some reading. Or do you feel we can't ever know much about anything in the ancient world?
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Old 12th December 2017, 01:55 PM   #317
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post

But really, please explain to me why experts in the field are not lining up behind the ideas of Richard Carrier.
Do you, or anyone for that matter, have any reliable polls on what historians actually believe. I can't find anything I trust on this matter. All seems to come from people with an axe to grind.
Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Note that phrases like "They are all in on it" or "They are all slaves of Christian dogma" will be met with the scorn they deserve.
Why is that second one worthy of scorn? Historians aren't precluded from being Christian are they?

Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Or is it your contention that secular Historians never study the Ancient Near East or First Century Roman Palestine?
Can you explain what you mean by "secular Historian"? At least in the US, most historians working at secular institutions would still be Christian wouldn't they?
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Old 12th December 2017, 02:01 PM   #318
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
Fine. A distinction without a difference.
That's fine. I just thought that "mythical qualities" might mean something other than that myths have been added to someone's biography, and I wasn't sure what the difference might be.
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Old 12th December 2017, 02:22 PM   #319
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's fine. I just thought that "mythical qualities" might mean something other than that myths have been added to someone's biography, and I wasn't sure what the difference might be.
I really don't think all of this makes much difference except for the fact that Christians treat the Bible as if it is history and inerrant. There are many real people running around today that claim to have been abducted by aliens and returned to Earth and almost no one believes them. But an anonymous someone writes a few stories about a carpenter philosopher in ancient times and calls them God and billions of people not only believe that, but live their lives around it?

It's downright absurd.
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Old 12th December 2017, 06:31 PM   #320
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
The point isn't that the "evidence is comparable" as a whole, for crying out loud. The point is to compare the standards of evidence you are demanding for Jesus to the situation for far, FAR, FAR more monumental figures in history. If the first source of Alexander's life and deeds occur 300 years after his death, can we really demand "contemporary" sources for Jesus? If one of the most important accounts of Caesar's life includes supernatural elements, can we reject the Gospels on those grounds?
Your point here seems to be that the evidence for Jesus is being rejected because it doesn't meet the same standards that are used to validate the existence and actions of other historical persons.

This is a sad twisting of ideas. Yes, undoubtedly some of the commonly believed information about an historical person is based on evidence that might have been corrupted for various reasons including lying to misrepresent things that the author doesn't want to report accurately for his reasons and copying errors. How does this effect the argument that the evidence for an historical Jesus is very thin?

That the Gospels were not written contemporaneous with the life of Jesus is only a very small part of the reasons that the evidence from the Gospels is rejected. It is also rejected because they are written in the style of fiction where the author provides no information about how he could know what he reports, because the Gospels contain geographical and historical errors, because they are promoting an obvious agenda, because there are serious contradictions between the individual Gospels, because the authors are not identified, because the groups the authors are part of are not identified, because the location where the Gospels are written is not identified, because any information about how the Gospels came to be has been lost to history likely because it was intentionally destroyed, because the language they are written in is not the language of the people they are reporting on, because three of the Gospels depend on Mark so at most there is a single source for the most significant parts of the text, and because there is absolutely no mention of the events the Gospels described by any Jewish authors or secular historians of the time (ETA: except for what one is to make of Paul's epistles).

Your point seems to be that all the above should be ignored because one of the arguments used against the authenticity of the Gospels is that they are late with regard to the hypothetical life of Jesus. There is a kind of absurdity to this that I wonder if you'd noticed.
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