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Old Yesterday, 11:43 AM   #441
Darat
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Originally Posted by TubbaBlubba View Post
From what I can recall, Ehrman said "Whatever else one may say about Jesus, he certainly existed". That's not the same as saying "the existence of Jesus is certain", and misunderstanding figures of speech is a really poor excuse for an argument.
I don't see any substantial difference, what's the difference?
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Old Yesterday, 12:08 PM   #442
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
But that is not hearsay. That is recording the testimony of eye-witnesses to the events under study. Calling that hearsay is like calling the court stenographer's report hearsay... she didn't personally see any of the things the witnesses saw, she is just recording what they said.
That's a terrible analogy. A stenographer records and attests to the date, location and the name of the individual eyewitness being deposed as well the testimony. None of the Gospels are the recordings of eyewitnesses. They are stories told by anonymous people. My not be exactly hearsay, but it's damn close.
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Old Yesterday, 12:08 PM   #443
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
But that is not hearsay. That is recording the testimony of eye-witnesses to the events under study. Calling that hearsay is like calling the court stenographer's report hearsay... she didn't personally see any of the things the witnesses saw, she is just recording what they said.
That's right, the stenographer is there to record events, like a historian. but a witness is in a different position. Thucydides was a historian who witnessed some but not all of the events he describes.
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Old Yesterday, 12:30 PM   #444
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
I don't see any substantial difference, what's the difference?
The first, when contextualized, is an illustration of the state of historiography. There's some legitimate debate on who Jesus was, but no historian worth his salt seriously disputes his existence, because there simply are no grounds for doing so.

The second implies a largely context-free probabilistic judgment, that there is some absolute probabilistic standard by which we can say the existence of Jesus is certain.

The takeaway is that while you may dispute the degree to which the methods of ancient history yield "true" conclusions*, there is nothing particular about the existence of Jesus in this regard. If you're saying that scholars exaggerate the certainty about Jesus' existence, your issue is with Ancient History and its methods in general.

*an exercise historians today rarely engage in because it is pointless; instead history is usually described in terms of a practice of establishing narratives on the basis of the available source material.
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Old Yesterday, 01:59 PM   #445
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
That's a terrible analogy. A stenographer records and attests to the date, location and the name of the individual eyewitness being deposed as well the testimony. None of the Gospels are the recordings of eyewitnesses. They are stories told by anonymous people. My not be exactly hearsay, but it's damn close.
Look at the specific quote I am replying to... the Gospels are not mentioned.

The Gospels cannot possibly be actual eye-witness accounts because the people who physically committed them to written copy for the first time (whoever they were) not only could not possibly have personally witnessed any of the events therein, they could not have even spoken to eye-witnesses to these events, because all those eyewitnesses would have been already dead. The Gospel writers were writing from at least third & fourth, hand accounts... in effect they are at the end of a chain of "Chinese Whispers". This is not that same as a historian who writes down the actual recorded accounts of eye-wtinesses.
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Old Yesterday, 02:22 PM   #446
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Look at the specific quote I am replying to... the Gospels are not mentioned.

The Gospels cannot possibly be actual eye-witness accounts because the people who physically committed them to written copy for the first time (whoever they were) not only could not possibly have personally witnessed any of the events therein, they could not have even spoken to eye-witnesses to these events, because all those eyewitnesses would have been already dead. The Gospel writers were writing from at least third & fourth, hand accounts... in effect they are at the end of a chain of "Chinese Whispers". This is not that same as a historian who writes down the actual recorded accounts of eye-wtinesses.
Why Chinese WhispersWP?
Chinese whispers—known as telephone in the United States - is an internationally popular children's game, in which the players form a line and the first person in the line whispers a message to the ear of the next person in the line, and so on, until the last player is reached, who announces the message to the entire group. The first person then compares the original message with the final version. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.
These are not the conditions in which stories are normally transmitted socially or collectively from one generation to the next. CW is a children's game in which artificial conditions of verbal communication are created to produce amusing outlandish effects.
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Old Yesterday, 02:29 PM   #447
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I don't know, as you have given no citations or references or links.

What is being argued is that the evidence for Jesus is good. I agree. That it is accepted by the generality of scholars. Do you agree or not?
I think what most scholars would say is that (i) the evidence is sufficient to accept that he most likely existed and (ii) we have slightly more evidence for him than we have for any other such early first century Jewish preachers. We don't have "good" evidence for any such figures in this period, but we wouldn't expect to.


Quote:
IanS simply impugns the honesty and motivation of these scholars. What is your view of that?
That's idiotic.

Quote:
Is the invocation of Carrier's name an argument? People here say "Carrier says such and such", as if that settled the matter, but they have yet to explain his argument in detail, or relate the positive claims he makes. What are these, by the way? Or are we simply to alter Philippians 2:10 to read: "at the name of Carrier every knee should bow"?
The constant invocation of this unemployed blogger and failed academic with his paltry output of published research and his clunker of a book is one of the enduring mysteries here. It's not like unemployed PhD graduates are rare or deeply significant. Though I admit that, due to normal levels of non-narcissistic modestly, most of the others don't have his amazing capacity for self-aggrandisement.

Quote:
My view: we have multiple sources for Jesus, including notices, probably not all interpolated, of his existence from non-Christian writers. The Christians who have left us accounts imported mythical elements and religious preconceptions into their writings, but they were not writing Harry Potter style fanfic or anything of that kind. That suggestion is absurd. Nor were they purely plagiarising one another. Various stages in the development of the Jesus story can be discerned in the Christian scriptures, and they are often in contradiction.
Well, yes. That is the most accepted view of non-Christians who have studied the question. The Myther alternatives require some gymnastic contortions.

Quote:
Important events in the evolution of religion occurred at that time, and the existence of a real Jesus is in my view the best and least arbitrary way of accounting for these developments.
Exactly. The Principle of Parsimony is a key tool in historical analysis. The fact that Mythicism requires an extended game of "what if" on several key points is the main reason I find it so totally unconvincing.
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Old Yesterday, 02:37 PM   #448
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Originally Posted by IanS View Post
... but when he says that his claim is absurd. There is no genuine credible evidence of anyone ever meeting any such real living person as Jesus.
Total garbage. Paul talks about several who did, including Jesus' own brother.

Quote:
And if none of the biblical writers ever met any such person, then at best all they could be writing about is whatever they had heard other unknown unnamed people say about claimed reminiscences of Jesus in some unspecified past
More nonsense. Paul talks about known people (Cephas, James) who met him and the context makes it clear that this had been about 20 years earlier and not long after Jesus' execution.

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... that's what is commonly called "hearsay", and it's not credible as reliable evidence ...
See above. Compared to most ancient source material, what we have in this case is actually remarkably close to the events.

Quote:
and especially not when 2000 years after that writing we finally discover through science that almost every significant mention of Jesus in those claimed but anonymous reminiscences is physically impossible (i.e. a miracle of some sort).
Goal post shifting. Whether the guy existed and whether the miracles attributed to him later are true are two separate questions. We have miracles attributed to all kinds of historical people in this period, so I'm afraid miracle stories are not a good indicator of non-historicity.

Quote:
Somebody briefly mentioned Josephus. But the writing of Josephus cannot possibly be evidence for a living Jesus, because we have precisely not one single word that Josephus wrote at all, and in particular nothing from the claimed time of his writing circa 100AD ... instead what we have is Christian copying apparently dating from about 1100 AD !!
Which can also be said about ... pretty much every other source we have form this period.

Quote:
.... that's a whopping 1000 years later. It's 1000 years too late (in fact it's anonymous hearsay that's 1000 years too late!). And the same applies to the writing of Tacitus, that too is apparently only known to us as Christian copying from about 1000 years after Tacitus died.
That's a "whopping" 1000 years that we also find with every other source from this period. And simply saying that these sources may be unreliable because of this transmission is not sufficient. You have to actually show reason to think so. Try that with Tacitus. Good luck.
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Old Yesterday, 03:39 PM   #449
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Look at the specific quote I am replying to... the Gospels are not mentioned.

The Gospels cannot possibly be actual eye-witness accounts because the people who physically committed them to written copy for the first time (whoever they were) not only could not possibly have personally witnessed any of the events therein, they could not have even spoken to eye-witnesses to these events, because all those eyewitnesses would have been already dead. The Gospel writers were writing from at least third & fourth, hand accounts... in effect they are at the end of a chain of "Chinese Whispers". This is not that same as a historian who writes down the actual recorded accounts of eye-wtinesses.
Sorry, I misunderstood.
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Old Yesterday, 03:46 PM   #450
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Why Chinese WhispersWP?
Chinese whispers—known as telephone in the United States - is an internationally popular children's game, in which the players form a line and the first person in the line whispers a message to the ear of the next person in the line, and so on, until the last player is reached, who announces the message to the entire group. The first person then compares the original message with the final version. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.
These are not the conditions in which stories are normally transmitted socially or collectively from one generation to the next. CW is a children's game in which artificial conditions of verbal communication are created to produce amusing outlandish effects.
While I agree, it's not a perfect analogy, in some ways it's far worse. At best, people might remember small bits, but to expect that the entire gospel of Mark to be accurately passed from person to person for 20 to 50 years is risible.
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Old Yesterday, 03:50 PM   #451
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For those who propose there is evidence of the nature of Jesus in the Gospels:
What is that evidence?
What can you tell us about this Jesus? What language did he speak? Was he an Essene? Was he a Hellenized Jew? Did he say any of the parables attributed to him? When was he born? Where was he born? Did he preach that he was a God? Who were the actual members of the group he was in? How many followers did he have? Is there anything true in trial narrative? Was he actually crucified? If so, why? When did he die? What part of the New Testament theology did he create? How long did his ministry last? Was he married?

I understand that there is a lot of speculation about the answers to questions like these. My question is what facts about Jesus do you find evidence for in the Gospels?
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Old Yesterday, 03:57 PM   #452
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
For those who propose there is evidence of the nature of Jesus in the Gospels:
What is that evidence?
What can you tell us about this Jesus? What language did he speak? Was he an Essene? Was he a Hellenized Jew? Did he say any of the parables attributed to him? When was he born? Where was he born? Did he preach that he was a God? Who were the actual members of the group he was in? How many followers did he have? Is there anything true in trial narrative? Was he actually crucified? If so, why? When did he die? What part of the New Testament theology did he create? How long did his ministry last? Was he married?

I understand that there is a lot of speculation about the answers to questions like these. My question is what facts about Jesus do you find evidence for in the Gospels?
Those questions would require a book to answer in any kind of depth. Luckily, someone has already written such a book.
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Old Yesterday, 04:03 PM   #453
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Originally Posted by TimONeill2 View Post
Those questions would require a book to answer in any kind of depth. Luckily, someone has already written such a book.
It should be noted that the fact that we will not be able to say certainly how Jesus is best characterized has few implications if any for his historicity; besides, any characterization (e.g. "Hellenized Jew" or "Apocalyptic prophet") is a narrative construct where there will always be different perspectives.

Of course the fact that we do not know for sure exactly what Alexander the Great's aims were, or what the exact relationship of the Macedonian state with the Achaemenid empire was (was it entirely independent, or some kind of march/vassal/client state?) doesn't mean much for the historicity of the individuals involved-
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Old Yesterday, 04:42 PM   #454
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
While I agree, it's not a perfect analogy, in some ways it's far worse. At best, people might remember small bits, but to expect that the entire gospel of Mark to be accurately passed from person to person for 20 to 50 years is risible.
What requires the entire gospel of Mark to be passed word for word surreptitiously from one individual person to another individual person for 20 years or 50 years? Is that, in your opinion, the mechanism by which transmission of information within a community takes place over several decades?

It's not plausible to me except as a puerile game in which unrealistic conditions are imposed for the purpose of inducing the creation of outlandish gibberish, which makes children giggle.
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Old Yesterday, 04:51 PM   #455
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
While I agree, it's not a perfect analogy, in some ways it's far worse. At best, people might remember small bits, but to expect that the entire gospel of Mark to be accurately passed from person to person for 20 to 50 years is risible.
Concerning the gospel of Mark, there is a tradition from Papias one of the early Church leaders that it was written by an associate of Peter:
Quote:
...a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he [Papias] has given in the following words]: And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements...
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/papias.html

Wiki on Papias:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papias_of_Hierapolis

Make of it what you will.
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Old Yesterday, 06:05 PM   #456
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
What requires the entire gospel of Mark to be passed word for word surreptitiously from one individual person to another individual person for 20 years or 50 years? Is that, in your opinion, the mechanism by which transmission of information within a community takes place over several decades?
If it isn't written down it is likely to be corrupted by our faulty memories and biases.
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
It's not plausible to me except as a puerile game in which unrealistic conditions are imposed for the purpose of inducing the creation of outlandish gibberish, which makes children giggle.
Oh well. We are all entitled to our own perspectives. Not that they are right.
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Old Yesterday, 06:20 PM   #457
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Originally Posted by TimONeill2 View Post
Those questions would require a book to answer in any kind of depth. Luckily, someone has already written such a book.
Or garbage in, garbage out.

You have no way of knowing what might be true in the Gospels about Jesus except where the information lines up with other evidence.

Can you answer simple questions about Jesus based on the Gospels? I don't think you can. I suggest that what is going on here is dowsing. As long as you know the answer you think the dowsing rod works.

If you decide to answer this post, please refrain from telling me about all the historians that are sure they can retrieve reliable data out of it. There are probably thousands of dowsers in the world that think the same thing about their ability to find water. OK, the dowsers don't have PhD's, but they also don't belong to a club where maintaining old myths is good for their careers and rocking the boat isn't.
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Old Yesterday, 06:22 PM   #458
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There may be some other people in this thread, as well as myself, of whom invocation of the mere name of Carrier does not cause the knee to bow. For their benefit and mine, please condescend to present these arguments of Carrier's, and explain why you find them so convincing.
Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I'm trying to get the messenger to deliver the content of the message, not just tell us that Carrier wrote it for us.
Most of the individual points Carrier uses are not unique to him and were familiar to me before I watched some of his speeches, so I presume they would be to most others (with any interest in this kind of stuff) too; things like...
  • lack of validity of methods & arguments from historicist side, as found by not only him but also others who have ever bothered to seriously look into them such as Earl Dougherty (even if the others didn't take the next step from there like Carrier)
  • lack of need for a real Jesus to explain Christianity as an assemblage from parts of concurrent (back then) and prior religious movements/concepts
  • lack of anything else left of the Jesus story in the Gospels to point to as a real human core of the story if you take away the supernatural stuff and the embellishments that only got added much later
  • problems with non-Biblical sources such as the fact that Josephus's brother-of-James reference is part of a story which clearly identifies that "Jesus" at the end as the son of a priest named Damneus, and that his wildly-out-of-character Jesus love letter is squished between other paragraphs on a single completely unrelated subject which clearly originally flowed continuously through that point without the wildly-out-of-character fan-girl insertion
  • progression of the story in the New Testament in chronological order from the seven non-forged Epistles to the Gospels in their actual order starting with Mark, depicting a Jesus who first appears only in "visions" and has no past attributed to him other than dying & resurrecting (the location of which isn't specified), to a Gospel containing nothing but some preaching-&-miracle-working (on Earth) and the death & resurrection, to later Gospels derived from that containing more & more other stuff like birth/childhood stories and extended sermons and a few incongruous post-resurrection appearances (...I verified this one myself by trying to clear my mind of modern Chrsitian ideas and reading those books in their correct order. It really is impressive how un-Jesus-like "Jesus" starts out.)

The thing that ties Carrier's interpretation together, and which I hadn't heard from others before hearing it from him, is the fact that we know that there was certainly a sect of Judaism/Christianity in the first century which believed in an angel, minor god, or such, described as the son of Big Daddy God, who had always lived with God in the highest level of the heavens since the beginning, but eventually descended to a lower one ruled by the Devil, was killed there (in one of the lower heavens) by the Devil, and ascended back to his home in the highest level, thus having defeated death for the sake of humanity... and that god's/angel's name was Jesus. ("The Ascension Of Isaiah" tells the story, and Pliny the Elder wrote about the people who had such a belief.)

Thus, going back over the above list with that story in mind, we have a different kind of question: not whether a single established potential explanation (human Jesus) seems good enough, but which of two established potential explanations (originally human Jesus or originally angel/god Jesus) fits better. And the Bible itself, in its actual order, fits the heavenly version better; that progression from no signs of anything about Jesus having ever had anything to do with Earth but only story elements that are found in the heavenly version, to essentially the same tale as in the heavenly version but just transplanted to Earth but still with nothing else in particular added to it, to finally somebody getting around to adding mundane embellishments about a life on Earth as a human would have lived it, is exactly what would be expected if the original version were the heavenly one. If he'd originally been human, the expected progression would be in the opposite order: first a story that sounds human, and then supernatural embellishments later.

(Also notice that, with the embellishments in the later Gospels being derived from the Old Testament and Josephus's writing about some other people, or if not that then just invented brand-new, there is no need to invoke the idea of Jesus's human life story being preserved orally without a trace for decades before getting written.)

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Old Yesterday, 10:26 PM   #459
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Originally Posted by davefoc View Post
Or garbage in, garbage out.

You have no way of knowing what might be true in the Gospels about Jesus except where the information lines up with other evidence.

Can you answer simple questions about Jesus based on the Gospels? I don't think you can. I suggest that what is going on here is dowsing. As long as you know the answer you think the dowsing rod works.

If you decide to answer this post, please refrain from telling me about all the historians that are sure they can retrieve reliable data out of it. There are probably thousands of dowsers in the world that think the same thing about their ability to find water. OK, the dowsers don't have PhD's, but they also don't belong to a club where maintaining old myths is good for their careers and rocking the boat isn't.
Well, that was a rather snotty reply. You asked how scholars can work with the kind of ancient textual materials we have for the origins of Christianity and I said, correctly, that the questions you asked would take a book to answer. And then I cited a book by a leading non-Christian scholar that actually answers most or all of your questions. I did that partly because I'm enjoying a nice summer Sunday afternoon and don't really have the inclination to write the kind of long post your questions would require, not that even a very long post could do the job adequately.

But tomorrow I'll respond in more detail. Yet somehow I suspect nothing I say will be acceptable to you ...
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Old Yesterday, 11:36 PM   #460
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Why Chinese WhispersWP?
Chinese whispers—known as telephone in the United States - is an internationally popular children's game, in which the players form a line and the first person in the line whispers a message to the ear of the next person in the line, and so on, until the last player is reached, who announces the message to the entire group. The first person then compares the original message with the final version. Although the objective is to pass around the message without it becoming garbled along the way, part of the enjoyment is that, regardless, this usually ends up happening.
These are not the conditions in which stories are normally transmitted socially or collectively from one generation to the next
Rubbish

Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
CW is a children's game in which artificial conditions of verbal communication are created to produce amusing outlandish effects.
Its also an expression in the English language (the language I grew up speaking, and later taught as a subject at Secondary School)...

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/...inese-whispers

... which relates to the process in which information becomes less reliable each time it is passed by being spoken from one person to the next.

This is the context I was using it in.
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Last edited by smartcooky; Yesterday at 11:59 PM.
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Old Today, 01:17 AM   #461
Craig B
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
If it isn't written down it is likely to be corrupted by our faulty memories and biases.
Oh well. We are all entitled to our own perspectives. Not that they are right.
What do you mean, "corrupted"? There was no predetermined text that had to be recalled word for word, as there is, by definition, in the Whispers game. There was no secret transmission from one single person to another. There was no funny comparison of the original and final message. None of the defining conditions of the game were fulfilled, or required, in the real world.

We must realistically propose this, in that real world: that a community can recall that Jesus was baptised in the course of a religious revival several decades previously, by a wandering apocalyptic preacher. That he gathered followers, and his mother and brothers came and tried to remove him cos they thought he was nuts. That he went to Jerusalem during Passover, caused a disturbance in the temple and was executed. That it happened at the time when a person called Pontius Pilate was governor.

Could such data be recalled by a community over forty or more years? It goes without saying that such is eminently possible. My friends and I jointly recall and reminisce together over data of similar complexity drawn from events over half a century. Any group of people of sufficient age can do that.

Do you mind that guy who could drive devils out of sick people? Yes I do. Big crowds used to follow him about. I went to see him a couple of times. Yeshua. I think he was a carpenter to trade. He ended up getting crucified by that psycho governor who was around when I was young; Pilate, yes that's the name. He was from that family that lived in Capernaum, you'll remember them. James, Joses, Simon: who was the other one? Michael I think. No, I'm sure it was Judas ...

Now who says the exact words in which it was recalled had to be the same at the beginning and end of the period?

Last edited by Craig B; Today at 01:22 AM.
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Old Today, 01:38 AM   #462
Craig B
Penultimate Amazing
 
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Originally Posted by smartcooky View Post
Rubbish



Its also an expression in the English language (the language I grew up speaking, and later taught as a subject at Secondary School)...

https://www.macmillandictionary.com/...inese-whispers

... which relates to the process in which information becomes less reliable each time it is passed by being spoken from one person to the next.

This is the context I was using it in.
Wrong context. It was not passed from one person, then by that person to a second, then by that to a third. It circulated within a community, and was continually exposed to collective meditation and discussion.

I am impressed that you can converse in English and even taught it, but this is not the first time I have presumed to contradict a teacher. Why, I remember as if it was yesterday ...
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Old Today, 02:36 AM   #463
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
[*]problems with non-Biblical sources such as the fact that Josephus's brother-of-James reference is part of a story which clearly identifies that "Jesus" at the end as the son of a priest named Damneus
Cite the clear statement to that effect please
Quote:
and that his wildly-out-of-character Jesus love letter is squished between other paragraphs on a single completely unrelated subject which clearly originally flowed continuously through that point without the wildly-out-of-character fan-girl insertion
Wow! Is that a disquisition on the TF? Is that the tone and quality of Carrier's doctrine as vouchsafed unto his disciples? Surely not.
Quote:
The thing that ties Carrier's interpretation together, and which I hadn't heard from others before hearing it from him
No wonder!
Quote:
is the fact that we know that there was certainly a sect of Judaism/Christianity in the first century which believed in an angel, minor god, or such, described as the son of Big Daddy God, who had always lived with God in the highest level of the heavens since the beginning, but eventually descended to a lower one ruled by the Devil, was killed there (in one of the lower heavens) by the Devil, and ascended back to his home in the highest level, thus having defeated death for the sake of humanity... and that god's/angel's name was Jesus. ("The Ascension Of Isaiah" tells the story, and Pliny the Elder wrote about the people who had such a belief.)
You treat the Ascension of Isaiah as a dependable first century source? Cite Pliny please
Quote:
And the Bible itself, in its actual order, fits the heavenly version better; that progression from no signs of anything about Jesus having ever had anything to do with Earth but only story elements that are found in the heavenly version, to essentially the same tale as in the heavenly version but just transplanted to Earth but still with nothing else in particular added to it, to finally somebody getting around to adding mundane embellishments about a life on Earth as a human would have lived it, is exactly what would be expected if the original version were the heavenly one. If he'd originally been human, the expected progression would be in the opposite order: first a story that sounds human, and then supernatural embellishments later.
The miracle birth stories are later than Mark, and the resurrection account was added to Mark and is not in the earliest texts.
Quote:
(Also notice that, with the embellishments in the later Gospels being derived from the Old Testament and Josephus's writing about some other people, or if not that then just invented brand-new, there is no need to invoke the idea of Jesus's human life story being preserved orally without a trace for decades before getting written.)
If they were suddenly and arbitrarily invented then there is no need for them to have been recalled by a group for several decades, I agree. But is it plausible that this should happen at that time with no immediate cause, or is it more plausible that the memory of an obscure community could escape us for four decades until it was written down? The second is vastly more likely by any standard of reasonableness.
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