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Old 12th December 2017, 06:53 PM   #321
TubbaBlubba
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
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.
No, I have addressed the other point as well. The particular point here is: Having so many sources written so soon after his death is an exceptionally good situation. The presence of fictional/narrative elements doesn't invalidate that, because those are common in Greek biographies (Plutarch, Sicilus, etc). Nor does geographical issues, because those weren't the main concerns of the authors. So the problems we face with the sources of Jesus are common problems that historians often have to contend with.

Honestly, the demand seems to be that I present a figure exactly like Jesus in every single way that clearly exists. I can't do that, and this is the type of unreasonable demand conspiracy theorists present. If I pick random consuls and kings, that's bad because no-one has heard of them (despite the fact that I there showed that mainstream secular historians DO accept the existence of figures on MUCH MUCH weaker basis than Jesus, and that there's not som moronic Christian conspiracy going on). If I pick Alexander, that's bad because his existence is too obvious. But what I can do is show that the individual problems mythicists often have with the evidence for Jesus all exist to varying degrees for many other figures as well, and that in many ways the situation is very good - plurality and closeness in time of sources and early mss, and the important fact that Paul claims to have met a member of Jesus' immediate family, despite having no incentive to do so.

In some ways the sources are not good, since the narrative/mythical material takes up so much space. But in spite of this, we have several consistently occurring biographical details - born in Nazareth, Jewish, brother called James, gathered followers, baptized by John, executed by Pontius Pilate. The best way to explain this persistence is that these were well-known facts of a real man's life. The addition of mythical elements can be understood by studying the literary and religious traditions and context in his time and place, and often their evolution is better understood with the conclusion that Jesus did exist.

And that's how this type of historical inquiry works - you arrive at the explanation suggested by the evidence.

So at this point, of course you can invent a conspiracy that explains away all these pieces of evidence. But that's just a bit of tendentious mental masturbation you can engage in with ANY historical figure. Using instead the best methods of source criticism and literary analysis, the almost disappointingly simple conclusion is that a historical Jesus did exist.

You may reject the method used. Just be aware that you are rejecting practically an entire academic discipline and more or less declaring most pre-modern historical research invalid.
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Old 12th December 2017, 07:00 PM   #322
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Is it that dire though? Paul calls himself a Jew, a seed of Abraham and from the tribe of Benjamin. His 'gospel message' is clear: Jesus' death has relevance to the Gentiles. He was writing to churches in Christ outside Judea, made up of both Jews and Gentiles. He persecuted the early Christians (churches 'in Christ') in Judea, and then he converted after some kind of experience, to preach what the early Christians were preaching.

True, he doesn't spell out a lot of things, but again, if the letters were forgeries, why not spell them out?
I was waiting to answer this until the thread had moved a bit more in the direction of your question.

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

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

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

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

So after 7 or 8 years since I first looked for an answer to my flawed question about Jesus, the only thing I feel I know about all this is that my original idea about the nature of Jesus was wrong. And the beginnings of Christianity seem to be just about as big a mystery to me as they did years ago and I know a ton more stuff about the issue.
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Old 12th December 2017, 07:15 PM   #323
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
I was waiting to answer this until the thread had moved a bit more in the direction of your question.

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

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

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

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

So after 7 or 8 years since I first looked for an answer to my flawed question about Jesus, the only thing I feel I know about all this is that my original idea about the nature of Jesus was wrong. And the beginnings of Christianity seem to be just about as big a mystery to me as they did years ago and I know a ton more stuff about the issue.
The beginnings of the churches can only really be guessed at by evaluation of some very problematic sources (pseudepigraphic epistles and the like). Still, I think it's pretty obvious that a Jewish-Gentile conflict existed, that Paul supported a more "Gentile" interpretation, and that he was to some degree in conflict with James, who apparently had a position of authority in the Jerusalem church.

I honestly don't remember if there's any great reason in the early sources to believe that Peter actually led the church in Rome (which would make him the "first Pope". I never took as much of an interest in those writings; they're really convoluted.
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Old 12th December 2017, 08:11 PM   #324
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
... Still, I think it's pretty obvious that a Jewish-Gentile conflict existed, that Paul supported a more "Gentile" interpretation, ...
This is a clue as to what was going on, but what does the clue mean? One interpretation is that the conflict between Peter and Paul was woven into Acts because the conflict made sense to the people that Acts was aimed at. This was weak support for the idea that there were indeed two nascent Christian communities in the areas where Christianity began, A Jewish community that was transitioning to some kind of Jesus focused religion and a Gentile group that had followed Judaism in some way that was transitioning to a Jesus focused religion.

God fearer groups were a possibility for the Gentiles and Ebonites were a possibility for the Jewish groups. And there the trail ends. Archeology has not succeeded in finding that there was substantial contact between God fearer groups and Jewish groups, and evidence that Ebionites existed early or any Jewish Christian groups existed early is non-existant except what can be teased from the New Testament.
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Old 13th December 2017, 02:54 AM   #325
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
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.


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.


There is also another reason (which I and some others pointed out many times in the previous huge HJ threads). Namely that the reason why nobody actually cares about whether specific named figures like Alexander, Socrates, Pythagoras, Julius Caesar or other early Roman Emperors actually existed is because whether or not the name of the individual is correct, what is certainly true is that museums and historic sites around the world are filled with ancient buildings and artefacts from the exploits of rulers & leaders like Julius Caesar ... so whether individuals like Cesar or Pythagoras were really responsible for anything, some leader or ruler from that time certainly did command their armies into various battles and did have all sorts of buildings erected etc. (and did promote ideas such as Pyhagoras Theorem and did have philosophical movements such as the "Pythagoreans" existing under that name).

So real individuals did do all of that, whatever their actual name was.

But none of that applies to Jesus.

In his case it's his actual existence which is essential to the credibility and continuation of the Christian church & it's teaching today. If Jesus did not exist then the Church loses the entire basis for it's very existence … it would be based on a deceit. Or to put that the other way around – for the Church to have credible existence today, Jesus himself must have existed and must have done at least some of the things described in the bible … but it is certainly not the case (unlike all those other examples) that the church could claim “well some miraculous person must have done all the things described in the gospels and letters, even if it was not Jesus!” - the church could not claim anything like that, because that claim would be 100% untrue! … so, uniquely, in the case of Jesus (or other entirely god-like miracle figures) it's Jesus himself who has to exist.
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Old 13th December 2017, 05:48 AM   #326
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Originally Posted by GDon View Post
Is it that dire though? Paul calls himself a Jew, a seed of Abraham and from the tribe of Benjamin. His 'gospel message' is clear: Jesus' death has relevance to the Gentiles. He was writing to churches in Christ outside Judea, made up of both Jews and Gentiles. He persecuted the early Christians (churches 'in Christ') in Judea, and then he converted after some kind of experience, to preach what the early Christians were preaching.

True, he doesn't spell out a lot of things, but again, if the letters were forgeries, why not spell them out?

Re the highlight - even bible scholars and church leaders apparently now accept that about half the letters are indeed forgeries ... so by your logic, why don't those forged ones "spell it all out"? (whatever it is that needed "spelling out").

Also, just as a side-note - afaik many bible scholars today agree that figures like Abraham were probably never actually real people. In which case Paul would not be the seed of any such mythical figure from the OT ... but also how in the first place did Paul ever decide that he was descended from Abraham (if that's what he was claiming)? Iirc, Jesus was likewise said to be descended from King David, although David is apparently another one that's now thought to have been probably mythical.
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Old 13th December 2017, 07:10 AM   #327
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
There is also another reason (which I and some others pointed out many times in the previous huge HJ threads). Namely that the reason why nobody actually cares about whether specific named figures like Alexander, Socrates, Pythagoras, Julius Caesar or other early Roman Emperors actually existed is because whether or not the name of the individual is correct, what is certainly true is that museums and historic sites around the world are filled with ancient buildings and artefacts from the exploits of rulers & leaders like Julius Caesar ... so whether individuals like Cesar or Pythagoras were really responsible for anything, some leader or ruler from that time certainly did command their armies into various battles and did have all sorts of buildings erected etc. (and did promote ideas such as Pyhagoras Theorem and did have philosophical movements such as the "Pythagoreans" existing under that name).

So real individuals did do all of that, whatever their actual name was.

But none of that applies to Jesus.

In his case it's his actual existence which is essential to the credibility and continuation of the Christian church & it's teaching today. If Jesus did not exist then the Church loses the entire basis for it's very existence … it would be based on a deceit. Or to put that the other way around – for the Church to have credible existence today, Jesus himself must have existed and must have done at least some of the things described in the bible … but it is certainly not the case (unlike all those other examples) that the church could claim “well some miraculous person must have done all the things described in the gospels and letters, even if it was not Jesus!” - the church could not claim anything like that, because that claim would be 100% untrue! … so, uniquely, in the case of Jesus (or other entirely god-like miracle figures) it's Jesus himself who has to exist.
That's quite ingenious, as an attempt to circumvent the general principles of historical source criticism. Well, if it wasn't Caesar, it would be someone else, and it therefore doesn't matter if we get everything wrong, but the Church worships Jesus as God, so he has to exist.

Now that's true. If you worship a god, that god really has to exist.

Here is the problem, though. The targets of your invective and of your belief that they are liars and charlatans are not only Christians, who worship Jesus as a god, but the generality of atheist secular historians - who believe Jesus existed, but do not worship him as a god.
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:10 AM   #328
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Craig B: Are you posting in the wrong thread or have this thread confused with another.

Has anyone in this thread identified any specific "atheist secular historian"? Or just a "secular historian"?
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:41 AM   #329
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's quite ingenious, as an attempt to circumvent the general principles of historical source criticism.
I'm not going to go back to look for a quote from TubbaBlubba, but the's said similar things. Can you cite these general principles and/or process you've described? I live near a history department and know a couple dozen historians, so you could cite textbooks (ETA: or course catalogs) if that's best.
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:44 AM   #330
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That's quite ingenious, as an attempt to circumvent the general principles of historical source criticism. Well, if it wasn't Caesar, it would be someone else, and it therefore doesn't matter if we get everything wrong, but the Church worships Jesus as God, so he has to exist.

Now that's true. If you worship a god, that god really has to exist.

Here is the problem, though. The targets of your invective and of your belief that they are liars and charlatans are not only Christians, who worship Jesus as a god, but the generality of atheist secular historians - who believe Jesus existed, but do not worship him as a god.
Did you quote the wrong post in your reply?
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:28 AM   #331
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I'm not going to go back to look for a quote from TubbaBlubba, but the's said similar things. Can you cite these general principles and/or process you've described? I live near a history department and know a couple dozen historians, so you could cite textbooks (ETA: or course catalogs) if that's best.
If you live near a history department and know a couple of dozen historians you are in a good position to cite textbooks if you think fit.
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:30 AM   #332
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
If you live near a history department and know a couple of dozen historians you are in a good position to cite textbooks if you think fit.
You're asking me to cite textbooks for the principles you claim exist?
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:37 AM   #333
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
You're asking me to cite textbooks for the principles you claim exist?
I'm expecting you to argue your point in support of IanS if you wish to. You have the resources to do so if you are acquainted with two dozen historians, after all.
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:39 AM   #334
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OK. So I'll ignore your claim that IanS is violating general principles since it's complete BS.
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:51 AM   #335
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
OK. So I'll ignore your claim that IanS is violating general principles since it's complete BS.
Ignore it if you please, or get IanS to be specific about these general principles noted here. To whom is he referring? Who are the suspect, downright dishonest, laughably naive people
Originally Posted by IanS View Post
... 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.
When you get an answer to that, get back to me, and we can discuss these persons.
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Old 13th December 2017, 11:10 AM   #336
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Ignore it if you please, or get IanS to be specific about these general principles noted here.
It was you who claimed there were general principles being violated by IanS.

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
To whom is he referring? Who are the suspect, downright dishonest, laughably naive people When you get an answer to that, get back to me, and we can discuss these persons.
To people who hold those views. It's TubblaBlubba (and you?) advancing that side of the argument in this thread.

And since you appear to be trying to poison the well by accusing IanS of things that he didn't do, I'll point out that IanS was not referring to any forum member in that post you are quoting.

Neither of you have substantiated the efficacy of the general principles or analytic techniques you claim make the case.
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Old 13th December 2017, 11:22 AM   #337
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
It was you who claimed there were general principles being violated by IanS.



To people who hold those views. It's TubblaBlubba (and you?) advancing that side of the argument in this thread.

And since you appear to be trying to poison the well by accusing IanS of things that he didn't do, I'll point out that IanS was not referring to any forum member in that post you are quoting.

Neither of you have substantiated the efficacy of the general principles or analytic techniques you claim make the case.
I don't imagine he was referring personally to me; but in that case he was referring to commentators in general, and it would be interesting to know to whom, and why.

I am certainly advancing the argument that Jesus existed as a human being, and you or Ian S are welcome to advance reasons why you think I and others are wrong, but if he thinks that makes me dishonest, or that special unique standards of proof apply to the proposition that Jesus existed - as a person, not a god, which don't apply to claims of the existence of other persons, then he has failed to establish these assertions.
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Old 13th December 2017, 11:31 AM   #338
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Neither of you have substantiated the efficacy of the general principles or analytic techniques you claim make the case.
What is it that you want substantiated? Be specific - what would convince you of the efficacy of the methods of ancient history? I have repeatedly provided you with extensive answers to your requests for examples and elaboration, but you have dismissed or even derided them without any sign of a good-faith attempt to understand the point. I'm not going to do another pedagogical presentation just to have you reply "lol, not exactly like jesus, u stupid".
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Old 13th December 2017, 12:55 PM   #339
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
What is it that you want substantiated? Be specific - what would convince you of the efficacy of the methods of ancient history?
You mean what would convince me of your opinion about the efficacy in this particular example? You probably can't. If you had convincing evidence I think you would have started with it.
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Old 13th December 2017, 01:33 PM   #340
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
You mean what would convince me of your opinion about the efficacy in this particular example? You probably can't. If you had convincing evidence I think you would have started with it.
I invite you to look at the recent posts you have made on this page, and tell me whether they consist of constructive engagement or, unfortunately. deprecatory invective. When you wish to discuss this subject with composure and equity, you will find me a willing participant.
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Old 13th December 2017, 01:45 PM   #341
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
You mean what would convince me of your opinion about the efficacy in this particular example? You probably can't. If you had convincing evidence I think you would have started with it.
So you have already decided that nothing will convince you that the methods of ancient history works. Why engage, then?
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Old 13th December 2017, 01:46 PM   #342
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
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.
No I don't have any polls on this question. What I have is a total absence of any professional Historians agreeing with Richard Carrier's Myth Jesus idea.

Quote:
Why is that second one worthy of scorn? Historians aren't precluded from being Christian are they?
Well, no, but they also aren't precluded from being Atheist, Jewish, Hindu or whatever. If they publish sloppy research they can all expect to be criticised by their peers.

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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?
The US is not the whole world. Even if we limit our terms to Universities in the "Western" world we can find hundreds of Universities in Europe, Scandinavia, and other places which are less "Christian" than the US. Any of those Universities that have an Ancient History Department will have courses on Historiography, Critical Analysis of Ancient Texts, etc. They will probably have courses on the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome etc. No one from any of these places is coming out saying "Hey Look! Jesus never existed!", or even "Richard Carrier makes a good case". Their silence speaks volumes.

Just ask yourself why there are no Jewish Academics jumping on the mythical Jesus bandwagon. They would be the first people I'd expect to embrace this idea, but they don't.
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Old 13th December 2017, 01:55 PM   #343
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
So you have already decided that nothing will convince you that the methods of ancient history works. Why engage, then?
Sigh. No it's your opinion I don't accept. And I don't think you speak for all historians.
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Old 13th December 2017, 02:00 PM   #344
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Sigh. No it's your opinion I don't accept. And I don't think you speak for all historians.
I have never claimed to speak for all historians, merely shown how the methods of ancient history apply to Jesus. I have provided multiple examples to back this application up as per your requests, all of which you have glibly dismissed out of hand, promptly moving the goalposts.

So, clearly, you do not accept the methods of ancient history, although you might accept some completely imagined version of those methods where contemporary written sources are aplenty.
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Old 13th December 2017, 02:24 PM   #345
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
I have never claimed to speak for all historians,
You did it when you said this: "So you have already decided that nothing will convince you that the methods of ancient history works."

And BTW, I am convinced the methods of ancient history work in general. But I'm not convinced they are being applied properly in this one, very emotional, topic.
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Old 13th December 2017, 02:27 PM   #346
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Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
No I don't have any polls on this question.
Then I don't really know what to do you with the rest of your post. Seriously, how do I know any of it is accurate? How do you know?
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Old 13th December 2017, 04:12 PM   #347
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
And BTW, I am convinced the methods of ancient history work in general. But I'm not convinced they are being applied properly in this one, very emotional, topic.
Then you should be able to pinpoint the fallacy. Of course, you want to have your cake and eat it...
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Old 13th December 2017, 05:12 PM   #348
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I'm not very knowledgeable about this, but wasn't Paul famous for spreading Christianity in the early days? Lots of other cults presumably withered away with the death of their leader to be lost to history, so it's sort of amazing that Christianity was able to keep spreading.

Someone must have done that. If not Paul, then who?
I don't think religions just spread naturally like a virus. Someone needs to be a leader of the movement.
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Old 13th December 2017, 07:35 PM   #349
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Then you should be able to pinpoint the fallacy. Of course, you want to have your cake and eat it...
Point me at the argument where you want me to pinpoint a fallacy.

Most common fallacies on this subjects are appeal to authority or popularity.
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Old 13th December 2017, 07:49 PM   #350
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Point me at the argument where you want me to pinpoint a fallacy.

Most common fallacies on this subjects are appeal to authority or popularity.
I have made a number of posts laying out the basic argument: numerous authors working with multiple divergent sources agree on basic biographical details: born in Nazareth, Jew, brother called James, baptized by John, gathered followers ("the twelve"), executed by Pontius Pilate for some kind of crime against the state, (and believed to have risen from the dead). In addition, we have Paul, who notes that he met James, Jesus' brother. The best way to explain the agreement of these details is that there was a man Jesus whose life and deeds was the basis for the cult.

That is the main argument in its simplest, most straightforward form.
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:17 PM   #351
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OK. Thanks. I see no argument there, so I also see no fallacy. I disagree with your opinion that that is the best explanation for agreement of those stories about the life of Jesus.
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Old 13th December 2017, 08:26 PM   #352
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
OK. Thanks. I see no argument there, so I also see no fallacy. I disagree with your opinion that that is the best explanation for agreement of those stories about the life of Jesus.
Really? No argument? Apart from the whole, "sources agree on basic biographical details"?

Well, you have not even attempted to formulate a counterpoint to this simple, parsimonious, intuitive explanation, so congratulations, you have formulated an unassailable position. On the other hand, until you formulate a more convincing explanation, the simple parsimonious one wins by default.
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Old 13th December 2017, 10:47 PM   #353
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
Then I don't really know what to do you with the rest of your post. Seriously, how do I know any of it is accurate? How do you know?
Because I live in a world that contains many Universities which teach Ancient History. A world that has many professional Historians, not all of whom are Christian and none of whom are pushing the mythical Jesus idea.

Ancient History is a subject that is full of ambiguities and gaps in the records. Historians have developed methods to glean information from ambiguous material and in this case have concluded that a Historical Jesus is the most plausible interpretation of the evidence. If they are wrong, it is up to someone to demonstrate it. Merely disagreeing with their conclusion without understanding how they reached it is worth nothing.
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Old 14th December 2017, 03:06 AM   #354
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
OK. Thanks. I see no argument there, so I also see no fallacy. I disagree with your opinion that that is the best explanation for agreement of those stories about the life of Jesus.
Then can you let us have the explanation you prefer for the references to Jesus and his associates in these sources? What is your opinion?
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Old 14th December 2017, 04:25 AM   #355
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The question of a "historical" Jesus is an odd one. If there was a human being called Yeshua ben Yosef in the early 1st Century ACE then all well and good. However to many (most?) of us reading here at best he was some sort of rabbinical teacher or cult leader to whom fantastical tales of magic and miracles have become attached. We have no real picture of a real, human Jesus because of these accretions. Personally from my reading I think there was a real historical person behind the legends of King Arthur, but that person has been so overshadowed by the literature surrounding the myth his real existence doesn't really matter anymore. Same for Jesus.
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Old 14th December 2017, 04:38 AM   #356
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Originally Posted by Parsman View Post
The question of a "historical" Jesus is an odd one. If there was a human being called Yeshua ben Yosef in the early 1st Century ACE then all well and good. However to many (most?) of us reading here at best he was some sort of rabbinical teacher or cult leader to whom fantastical tales of magic and miracles have become attached. We have no real picture of a real, human Jesus because of these accretions. Personally from my reading I think there was a real historical person behind the legends of King Arthur, but that person has been so overshadowed by the literature surrounding the myth his real existence doesn't really matter anymore. Same for Jesus.
Then the discussion of the existence of such people as Jesus or Arthur will be of no interest to you. Can I say that personally I find the question quite interesting, as I am fascinated to think how a normal human being can be turned into a God within a century of his lifetime.

Worshippers of the divine Jesus, by the way, don't regard the gospels as "literature surrounding the myth" of Jesus. They think their scriptures are "the word of God".
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Old 14th December 2017, 06:32 AM   #357
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Actually I personally find the "truth behind the legend" to be fascinating. As mentioned I have read extensively on Arthurian myths and traditions. I have read decent arguments for an "Arthur" who may have been a late Roman officer, an early Romano-British war band leader, a prince of a Scottish tribe, a Cornishman with possible connections to Tintagel... It is all very interesting to me. But at the end of the day unless there is some amazing archaeological find we will never know the truth and in that respect it doesn't matter. What inspires people are the stories and myths and that may even inspire them to look into the history. And even if we can't identify the "historical" Arthur that doesn't prevent us from enjoying or following the stories and legends. That is also how I feel about a "historical" Jesus. Unless you are using his "historicity" to argue that this is why Christianity is a unique expression of human religiosity as it is a real man-god in a real time on Earth it doesn't really matter if he was real because again the myths and legends stand on their own. Interesting to look into the history but essentially it doesn't matter in the long run. More so for Jesus as we have the element of Faith for some people which matters more than fact.
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Old 14th December 2017, 07:26 AM   #358
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
Really? No argument? Apart from the whole, "sources agree on basic biographical details"?

Well, you have not even attempted to formulate a counterpoint to this simple, parsimonious, intuitive explanation, so congratulations, you have formulated an unassailable position. On the other hand, until you formulate a more convincing explanation, the simple parsimonious one wins by default.
There's nothing intrinsically simpler about assuming Jesus is real rather than made up. That is simply your opinion.

Originally Posted by Brainache View Post
Because I live in a world that contains many Universities which teach Ancient History. A world that has many professional Historians, not all of whom are Christian and none of whom are pushing the mythical Jesus idea.
Lot of people claim a consensus. No one has actually documented such a consensus. I'm starting to wonder if this consensus is real or not.

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Then can you let us have the explanation you prefer for the references to Jesus and his associates in these sources? What is your opinion?
I told you, there isn't enough evidence to warrant a conclusion.

This thread seems pointless.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:08 AM   #359
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I told you, there isn't enough evidence to warrant a conclusion.

This thread seems pointless.
I've shown you examples of people being taken to exist on much thinner evidence. So given the very extensive source material on Jesus your suggestion is that historians throw up their hands in the air and go "gee, who knows!"? You think that's how historians work? History isn't a court of law and there's no absolute bar for evidence. You construct a historical narrative based on what you have. Barring an alternative explanation for the origins of the gospel, any historian not suffering from your copious bias would conclude Jesus most likely existed.
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Old 14th December 2017, 08:25 AM   #360
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
I've shown you examples of people being taken to exist on much thinner evidence.
Well, you've shown me people for whom the evidence is thinner. You didn't actually show me any reason to think that there is a consensus those people are likely to have existed.

Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
So given the very extensive source material on Jesus...
It's your opinion that the material is extensive.

Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
You think that's how historians work? History isn't a court of law and there's no absolute bar for evidence. You construct a historical narrative based on what you have. Barring an alternative explanation for the origins of the gospel, any historian not suffering from your copious bias would conclude Jesus most likely existed.
My copious bias. That's funny.

But in any event, read what you just wrote. You're not describing a process that can reach certainty or even, necessarily, any particular lower standard. The process is unavoidably constrained by bad data. The historical techniques you mentioned don't materialize new evidence out of the ether.
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