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Old 30th September 2019, 05:42 AM   #401
HansMustermann
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Slight correction, Josephus's "The Jewish War" was written around 75CE in Aramaic, and the Greek translation is slightly later. The Jesus Ben Ananias event is said to have started some 4 years before the war which started in 6 6CE. And apparently he kept at it until the actual siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE, some 7 years and 5 months later, which actually lets us pinpoint the start of the Jesus Ben Ananias incident to somewhere between December 62CE and March 63 CE. (Source: "The Jewish War", Book 6, Chapter 5.)

I'm not sure where the 68 CE year comes from, it's certainly nowhere to be found in "The Jewish War". Which itself couldn't possibly be published in 68 CE and describe a siege that happened in 70 CE. (Unless, I guess Vespasian was right about Josephus being a prophet )
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Old 30th September 2019, 05:55 AM   #402
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Well that sounds pretty convincing, what’s that from exactly? Is it/why isn’t it commonly accepted as a possible or likely inspiration?
Well, it just illustrates the problem I have with identifying any one person as "the historical Jesus."

Jesus Ben Ananias had no disciples, no ministry, no message of salvation, no wisdom to impart, etc. For about seven and a half years he literally just said these words over and over and over again: "Woe to Jerusalem!" Even when they beat him up or whatever, that's the only words he said over and over again. Which is why the governor Albinus concluded that the poor guy is just crazy. (Which he probably was.)

Seven and a half years later, on the walls of the besieged Jerusalem, he was still going around the walls going "Woe to Jerusalem!" over and over.

Until he finally said something different by adding, "And woe to me!" as a big ass catapult rock was coming at him.

The only thing he is recorded as saying BEFORE he got into that loop, was shouting "A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the sanctuary, a voice against the bridegroom and the bride, a voice against all the people!" Until they rounded him up and started beating him, at which point he just got into the "Woe to Jerusalem!" loop.

(Though even there I have a slight correction: he never shouted either in the temple. He was shouting his "a voice..." stuff in the street. So scratch one commonality with our Jesus.)

Is that the same Jesus that the Gospels describe? Really?

That's like saying that Bruce Banner and Bruce Wayne are the same Bruce because they both fought for justice and stuff
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Old 30th September 2019, 06:10 AM   #403
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Well that sounds pretty convincing, what’s that from exactly? Is it/why isn’t it commonly accepted as a possible or likely inspiration?
He has been suggested in that context, but it's not very convincing.

He was killed during the siege by a catapult shot coming over the wall into the city. So he doesn't look like Jesus the Nazarene in the manner of his career or death. He was flogged and dismissed as an inconsequential madman, and then killed in crossfire during a war, not executed. So he doesn't fit the role of messianic preacher very well.
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Old 1st October 2019, 08:51 AM   #404
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Ah, ok, I see. So it sounds like you guys aren’t kidding when you say there were kind of a lot of Jesus-ish figures around that chunk of history. To the point where there’s some that surface-read like OH HEY! And then you’re like ‘oh, no, not really.’

Does anyone have a book or a blog or something where they talk about what kind of evidence we have for various early historical figures or events, maybe discussion of when history gets more ‘nailed down’ in various places? “We’re pretty sure this guy/event was real and really did thing x y and z because of this evidence here, but this other guy/event just shows up in references from stuff written later, but it makes sense, and this third guy/event could have been made up from whole cloth as far as anyone can tell” type stuff? Meta-historical discussion?

Maybe with a side of when consensus changed because of new discoveries, like how IIRC most people decided Troy was more or less made up until they found ruins that would fit Troy really well? Or like, if very early historians like very early naturalists just Went With Stuff instead of trying to actually verify anything, and how the field of historical study itself changed over the centuries?

Last edited by Lithrael; 1st October 2019 at 08:52 AM.
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Old 1st October 2019, 01:21 PM   #405
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Ah, ok, I see. So it sounds like you guys aren’t kidding when you say there were kind of a lot of Jesus-ish figures around that chunk of history. To the point where there’s some that surface-read like OH HEY! And then you’re like ‘oh, no, not really.’

Does anyone have a book or a blog or something where they talk about what kind of evidence we have for various early historical figures or events, maybe discussion of when history gets more ‘nailed down’ in various places? “We’re pretty sure this guy/event was real and really did thing x y and z because of this evidence here, but this other guy/event just shows up in references from stuff written later, but it makes sense, and this third guy/event could have been made up from whole cloth as far as anyone can tell” type stuff? Meta-historical discussion?

Maybe with a side of when consensus changed because of new discoveries, like how IIRC most people decided Troy was more or less made up until they found ruins that would fit Troy really well? Or like, if very early historians like very early naturalists just Went With Stuff instead of trying to actually verify anything, and how the field of historical study itself changed over the centuries?
You could start with wiki:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...historiography.
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Old 1st October 2019, 02:49 PM   #406
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Originally Posted by Lithrael View Post
Ah, ok, I see. So it sounds like you guys aren’t kidding when you say there were kind of a lot of Jesus-ish figures around that chunk of history. To the point where there’s some that surface-read like OH HEY! And then you’re like ‘oh, no, not really.’
Oh, let me illustrate how far down THAT rabbit hole goes.
So have a seat and let me tell you the story of a man. A handsome and educated man, and, as some believed, a holy man. Many expected him to be (in a valid sense at the time) the mashiach (messiah), i.e., an anointed king by divine right from the line of David.

For, you see, the divinely-sanctioned line of David had failed when Herod was put on the throne, but our hero was of the seed of David through his mother, Mary. (Mariamne in Aramaic, a form of the biblical Miriam in Hebrew.) And thus pretty much the last hope at a fulfilment of God's promise to put someone from David's line at the top until the end times.

His mom's partner, btw, was called Joseph.

He had a younger brother too, who was held in similarly high regard by the people.

But some were against him, and accused him of plotting to overthrow the king. (Which most definitely would have been one way to fulfil that prophecy.)

When he was somewhere around 30 years old (rounded to the nearest 1 significant digit), the Jewish authorities brought his case before the highest Roman authorities (the Emperor, in fact, not just some local procurator) who, if I'm allowed to use a figure of speech, washed their hands of it all and sent it back to the Jewish king.

He was tried by a collusion of the Jewish and local Roman authorities, where they bore false witness against him, and they sentenced him to death although he was innocent.

And even after his death many did not forsake him, and were persecuted for it. They executed about 300 people who were not very happy with it, in fact.

Oh, and Herod The Great was dead set to kill him.

And, oh, he's mentioned in Josephus too.
And if you thought I'm talking about the gospel Jesus, you'd be wrong. I'm talking about Alexander, the son of Herod The Great. (And yeah, funny coincidence, the guy his mom was accused of boning was called Joseph.)

The lesser problem with it is that he was executed in 7 BC, and not by crucifixion, but by strangling.

The bigger problem is that as far as we know, he never was a wandering rabbi (though he sure travelled a bit), and never preached turning the other cheek. In fact, he was a vain and vindictive ass hole.

But you can see why I'm wondering if that story is one of the many mashed up into what became the gospel Jesus. Basically when the gospel authors were collecting oral rumours about the messiah, some decades afterwards, different people might have been actually telling them about entirely different messiahs.
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Old 2nd October 2019, 05:53 AM   #407
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Interesting! Thanks for the examples, and thanks Brainache for the link. It’s one of those things that’s difficult to google if you don’t know the word.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:37 AM   #408
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Hysterical Jesus

I believe in Hysterical Jesus.


As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 07:52 AM   #409
Craig B
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I believe in Hysterical Jesus.


As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
I agree that is the most probable background to the later biographical or pseudobiographical accounts in the record, but even the earliest of these accounts is already contaminated by the lies about miracles that you refer to. That there was a wandering preacher who incited some disturbance in the Temple during Passover and was then crucified is, however, entirely plausible. That he subsequently rose from his tomb is not.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:54 AM   #410
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I believe in Hysterical Jesus.





As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
I think there probably was a guy that was at the heart of what grew to be christianity as we recognise it, that person was probably Paul.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 02:45 PM   #411
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I believe in Hysterical Jesus.


As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
Just to make it clear, I allow the possibility that at some point there was one guy (or more guys) that some other guys thought was all holy, and some guy told some tall tales about him to some other guy, who told his own version to some other guy, who told Paul.

Who then proceeded to be a completely opaque door between us and that guy, because for all his long letters, he says nothing about Jesus except the last supper. And in fact makes it a thing of pride that all he's preaching about Jesus doesn't come from any man, but from his own revelations. Even when he literally stayed at Peter's place for a while, apparently Peter has nothing to add to what Paul already knew from his revelations. (Or quite possibly Paul refused to listen to anything Peter had to say.)

What I vehemently contest is the possibility of reconstructing that guy from the gospels.

Essentially if you take everything that defines a guy -- what he said, what he believed, what he did, etc -- and replace it with allegoric fiction, is it still the same guy? If you were in the year 4000 or so, and all you had about Abraham Lincoln was a supernatural movie in which he kills zombies with an axe, would you really believe that you can reconstruct the historical Abraham Lincoln from there?
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Old 3rd October 2019, 02:55 PM   #412
HansMustermann
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I believe in Hysterical Jesus.


As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
Also, can you reconstruct even that? There are plenty of examples of people who did not in fact claim to be a messiah, and even denied it, but around whom such legends grew anyway.

My canonical example is David Reubeni, who really wasn't a rabi, didn't preach anything, etc, but who was taken for a messiah anyway. He was a high stakes con-man who scammed even the Holy Roman Emperor. But then some crazy girl had a dream in which Reubeni was the messiah, and soon a whole cult of Reubeni was sweeping Europe. And I mean really fast, not like the Jesus cult which grew at glacier pace.

Reubeni, who probably didn't fancy being burned at the stake in the 16'th century, actually actively denied his being the messiah or anything of the sort. It literally made people believe even more that he's the messiah. (Yeah, Life Of Brian was a documentary) At least one guy who came to greet the messiah, and was told quite bluntly by Reubeni that he's nothing of the sort, is documented to have just concluded that it means he's not worth the messiah's attention, and proceeded to be even more pious a worshipper of Reubeni.

Hell, even in BC times, I gave the example of prince Alexander. He was anything BUT a pious man. He was a spoiled crown prince, with all that you'd expect that to mean. He was vain, he was vindictive, and generally he was an all around ass hole. Yet he had literally hundreds of devouted followers who believed him to be the messiah sent by God to save Israel. Some 300 even went to their deaths for that belief. Like, right after he was executed, not some slow growing cult.

So why does our Jesus have to have been a rabbi? He COULD have been one, but then he could have been literally anything else, and could have gotten a following just the same.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 08:57 PM   #413
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I believe in Hysterical Jesus.


As for Historical Jesus, I think there was an actual guy who started it all, because why not. Of course I don't believe the lies about all the miracles he supposedly performed. He was just another preacher man with a few followers like millions of others who came before and after him and most of whom are completely forgotten and lost to history.
You have invented your Hysterical/Historical Jesus. You have no historical evidence whatsoever that your Jesus did live and was "just another preacher man".

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Old 3rd October 2019, 09:14 PM   #414
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
I agree that is the most probable background to the later biographical or pseudobiographical accounts in the record, but even the earliest of these accounts is already contaminated by the lies about miracles that you refer to. That there was a wandering preacher who incited some disturbance in the Temple during Passover and was then crucified is, however, entirely plausible. That he subsequently rose from his tomb is not.
It is entirely plausible that the character called Jesus of Nazareth did not exist.

There is no historical evidence to support the argument for an historical Jesus.
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Old 3rd October 2019, 11:45 PM   #415
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Who then proceeded to be a completely opaque door between us and that guy, because for all his long letters, he says nothing about Jesus except the last supper.
That is because "Jesus" was nothing more than an instrument. Christ was conceived as some sort of alter-ego.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
And in fact makes it a thing of pride that all he's preaching about Jesus doesn't come from any man, but from his own revelations.
That's the safest conclusion to draw, superficially considered. It's terribly convenient to represent Paul as an eager opportunist.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Even when he literally stayed at Peter's place for a while, apparently Peter has nothing to add to what Paul already knew from his revelations. (Or quite possibly Paul refused to listen to anything Peter had to say.)
Or that was made to conform to the silly Acts of the Apostles narrative. Paul is likely a historic figure. Peter seems symbolic.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
What I vehemently contest is the possibility of reconstructing that guy from the gospels.
Undoubtedly, the gospel narratives are historically unreliable for reconstructing the life of a person.

The ethics should be extracted from the narrative. Regrettably, Thomas Jefferson did not go further than that, despite his great exercise of common sense.

The narrative should have also been adjusted. "Jesus wept" is easily the worst offender. He would have looked like an idiot standing there doing nothing as time passed by. He already knew he would "raise" Lazarus or that Lazarus was only "asleep". He would not have wept out of compassion for the plight of his female associates. The frequent depiction of women as prone to tears and weeping in the gospels is an unjust caricature. In antiquity, women were respected for their divining capacity.

What's obvious is that Jesus at the present time is either an amalgam of various revolutionary agitators (i.e. Barabbas, John the Baptist) or the concept of a matchless teacher of ethics was mingled with their lives. The revolutionary side of Jesus can easily be gleamed from his denunciations of the rich, in his wishes for the prevailing state of affairs to collapse, and his emphasis on the divide between poor/rich.
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Old 4th October 2019, 12:18 AM   #416
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Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
That is because "Jesus" was nothing more than an instrument. Christ was conceived as some sort of alter-ego.
That is also possible, as is the possibility that Christ was some figure they constructed out of pieces out of context from the OT. If you can take a real guy, remove everything about him, and replace it with "fulfilled" prophecies from the OT, you can do the same without the real guy just as well. There are lots of possibilities, really.

Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
That's the safest conclusion to draw, superficially considered. It's terribly convenient to represent Paul as an eager opportunist.
"Opportunist" is actually more charitable than some of the stuff I've said about Paul.

Nevertheless, what I was saying isn't my conclusion. Paul actually boasts just that in Galatians 1:12.

Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
Or that was made to conform to the silly Acts of the Apostles narrative. Paul is likely a historic figure. Peter seems symbolic.
Err, no, that's not from Acts. If it were Acts, I would have dismissed it myself. That's Galatians 1:18-19. He stays two weeks with Cephas (which is the same Aramaic name as Petros in Greek), also meets "James the brother of the Lord" in that time, yet he still insists that his message comes only from personal revelations. I.e., whatever those two may or may not have said about Jesus, Paul is not conveying.

Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
What's obvious is that Jesus at the present time is either an amalgam of various revolutionary agitators (i.e. Barabbas, John the Baptist) or the concept of a matchless teacher of ethics was mingled with their lives. The revolutionary side of Jesus can easily be gleamed from his denunciations of the rich, in his wishes for the prevailing state of affairs to collapse, and his emphasis on the divide between poor/rich.
Or both. It's not a dichotomy, really.
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Old 4th October 2019, 12:46 AM   #417
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
You have invented your Hysterical/Historical Jesus. You have no historical evidence whatsoever that your Jesus did live and was "just another preacher man".
Your evidence that he didn't?
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Old 4th October 2019, 12:47 AM   #418
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By that logic, do you have evidence that it wasn't an early X-man?
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Old 4th October 2019, 01:20 AM   #419
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Paul actually boasts just that in Galatians 1:12.

Err, no, that's not from Acts.
My mistake, it's been a while since I read his epistles.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
If it were Acts, I would have dismissed it myself.
Glad to hear.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Or both. It's not a dichotomy, really.
It must necessarily be a dichotomy. The greatest individuals exercise restraint, are always realistic, without fanaticism, aggression, or provocation beyond what is required. Rousseau was not responsible for the indulgences of the French revolution.

On the other hand, there are exceptional cases where a great man is not only responsible for propagating the idea, but also for it's practical implementation as well. Mohammed was one such fella.
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Old 4th October 2019, 02:24 AM   #420
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
By that logic, do you have evidence that it wasn't an early X-man?
Me? I'm only considering possibilities that seem like realistic possibilities to me.

No, I also don't have evidence that he wasn't from the planet Krypton, but I don't think I need any to rule that out.

Whereas a normal bog-average human man with no supernatural superpowers and with a few followers willing to make up tall tales seems like a very mundane and plausible possibility.
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Old 4th October 2019, 03:05 AM   #421
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Me? I'm only considering possibilities that seem like realistic possibilities to me.



No, I also don't have evidence that he wasn't from the planet Krypton, but I don't think I need any to rule that out.



Whereas a normal bog-average human man with no supernatural superpowers and with a few followers willing to make up tall tales seems like a very mundane and plausible possibility.
Problem with this approach is that we do not find a mundane man in the Christian texts.

What we have is literally a superman, he just doesn't have a cape and we know the claimed historical facts in the biblical texts are (to be generous) erroneous.

What you are doing is saying "the biblical Jesus is a superman, the historical evidence in the bible is bunk but it all could have been based on a real person".

Now of course it could have been based on a real person, and we do indeed know myths do arise about people we can conclude by other evidence did actually exist.

However what we also know is that for many of the more recent religions we have documentary proof (from eye witnesses at the time, from documents, from arrest warrants and so on) that they are made up from whole cloth or a reweaving of existing beliefs, the Superman in DC comics is an example of how a mythical superman can be created.

We also know these religions are often made up by a singular person who is charismatic, strong willed and arrogant, who will reinterpret current beliefs and rely on claimed revelations to support his or her claims and thus proof of his or her new religious message.

And what do we find in the biblical texts?

A charismatic, strong willed, arrogant man who reinterpreted some existing beliefs and who relied on claimed revelations to prove his new religious message was The Truth.

Problem is that person is Paul.

So whilst there could have been a real historic Jesus we certainly do not need one to explain the origins of christianity as we know it today.

And we certainly don't have evidence for a historical Jesus that we can tie into what we know of the origins of christianity. Until we do I'm of the view that Paul "invented " what we know as Christianty and Jesus as the Christian's hold him to be was an invention of Paul.
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Old 4th October 2019, 03:28 AM   #422
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Originally Posted by ehhz View Post
It must necessarily be a dichotomy. The greatest individuals exercise restraint, are always realistic, without fanaticism, aggression, or provocation beyond what is required. Rousseau was not responsible for the indulgences of the French revolution.

On the other hand, there are exceptional cases where a great man is not only responsible for propagating the idea, but also for it's practical implementation as well. Mohammed was one such fella.
I would still disagree that it's a dichotomy between specifically (1) amalgamating several individuals, and (2) basing and ammending what goes into that amalgam based on one's idea of an ideal person.

I mean, watch me do it on the spot: my ideal king should be wise like Marcus Aurelius, charismatic like Caesar, great at tactics like Napoleon, just like Henry I "the lion of justice", open minded about religion and opposed to slavery like Cyrus the Great, a patron of the arts like Louis XIV, etc. I just created a fictive person unlike any that actually existed by amalgamating traits from a whole bunch of actual persons. But what made the cut to go into that melting pot was based on my idea of an ideal person.
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Old 4th October 2019, 03:31 AM   #423
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Me? I'm only considering possibilities that seem like realistic possibilities to me.

No, I also don't have evidence that he wasn't from the planet Krypton, but I don't think I need any to rule that out.

Whereas a normal bog-average human man with no supernatural superpowers and with a few followers willing to make up tall tales seems like a very mundane and plausible possibility.
The problem is that what's possible is not the same as what is. I mean, it's also quite possible that I'm a Chinese grandma, but that's not actually true.

More to the point you don't get to demand evidence for a negative, just because the positive is only possible. It's still your burden of proof if you want to claim the positive. And it just being possible is not meeting it. By far.
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Old 4th October 2019, 03:50 AM   #424
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:17 AM   #425
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Originally Posted by dejudge View Post
It is entirely plausible that the character called Jesus of Nazareth did not exist.

There is no historical evidence to support the argument for an historical Jesus.
There is evidence in the form of writings composed in the decades following his lifetime. You reject it as unreliable, but that doesn't mean it's not there. It is there, and it is evidence. Is it reliable? Certainly not wholly so. But to what extent do these sources contain real historical information? The person who says, such and such an event is probably true, is required to justify that assessment, but there is a similar requirement on the person who says it is probably false, and the means by which such assessments are made is critical analysis of the sources.
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:27 AM   #426
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I mean, watch me do it on the spot: my ideal king should be wise like Marcus Aurelius, charismatic like Caesar, great at tactics like Napoleon, just like Henry I "the lion of justice", open minded about religion and opposed to slavery like Cyrus the Great, a patron of the arts like Louis XIV, etc. I just created a fictive person unlike any that actually existed by amalgamating traits from a whole bunch of actual persons. But what made the cut to go into that melting pot was based on my idea of an ideal person.
That is you doing it on the spot, based on your ideas. But your ideas are not the issue.

We have several sources containing real or alleged info about Jesus. Why did these authors "do it". To find that out we need to examine the texts. Then we may find out about these authors' ideas, which is more to the point. Which of their sources were ideal, and which, if any, were based on real occurrences?
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:40 AM   #427
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
That is you doing it on the spot, based on your ideas. But your ideas are not the issue.

We have several sources containing real or alleged info about Jesus. Why did these authors "do it". To find that out we need to examine the texts. Then we may find out about these authors' ideas, which is more to the point. Which of their sources were ideal, and which, if any, were based on real occurrences?
Well, that wasn't supposed to be a proof of Jesus or anything. Ehhz said there was a dichotomy between (1) amalgamating a bunch of other people, and (2) making up an ideal person. I was just saying that you can do 2 via 1, so it's not a dichotomy.

It's not a claim of knowing that that's what they did for Jesus, though. I'm just saying literally just that: it's not a dichotomy between 1 and 2.
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:46 AM   #428
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There is evidence in the form of writings composed in the decades following his lifetime. You reject it as unreliable, but that doesn't mean it's not there. It is there, and it is evidence. Is it reliable? Certainly not wholly so. But to what extent do these sources contain real historical information? The person who says, such and such an event is probably true, is required to justify that assessment, but there is a similar requirement on the person who says it is probably false, and the means by which such assessments are made is critical analysis of the sources.
I will refer you to the modern historical method -- as opposed the somewhat outdated one used by biblical scholars like Ehrman -- where the sources about Jesus are in fact of the kind of quality that would get him dismissed as a probably fictive character. Same as the great philosopher Timaeus from Plato is dismissed as probably a made up author-insert, because he only appears in one author and not an unbiased author at that: Timaeus exists only to voice Plato's own ideas.

That's not to say that a person named Timaeus couldn't have existed. But THE Timaeus from Plato, who has conversations with Socrates and Solon and voices a specific set of arguments, that one is a different person and probably did not exist.
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Old 4th October 2019, 04:56 AM   #429
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
That's not to say that a person named Timaeus couldn't have existed. But THE Timaeus from Plato, who has conversations with Socrates and Solon and voices a specific set of arguments, that one is a different person and probably did not exist.
Agreed. The virgin born Jesus who raised the dead is assuredly a figment, but the preaching Jesus who was crucified after a disturbance in the Temple is presumably a different person, in the sense that such people could plausibly exist as a matter of historical fact. It's like King Arthur who is a leader of horsemen fighting Saxon invaders. That's plausible, but it is not plausible that he had a magic sword. So take his sword away and maybe there's some truth in what is left of the story.

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Old 4th October 2019, 05:00 AM   #430
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I will refer you to the modern historical method -- as opposed the somewhat outdated one used by biblical scholars like Ehrman -- where the sources about Jesus are in fact of the kind of quality that would get him dismissed as a probably fictive character. Same as the great philosopher Timaeus from Plato is dismissed as probably a made up author-insert, because he only appears in one author and not an unbiased author at that: Timaeus exists only to voice Plato's own ideas.

That's not to say that a person named Timaeus couldn't have existed. But THE Timaeus from Plato, who has conversations with Socrates and Solon and voices a specific set of arguments, that one is a different person and probably did not exist.
You mention Solon. It is agreed that he existed although evidence about him is very sparse. Wiki
Ancient authors such as Herodotus and Plutarch are the main sources, but wrote about Solon long after his death. 4th-century orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times.
That is possibly less than the evidence we have for Jesus, scanty though that is.
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Old 4th October 2019, 05:23 AM   #431
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
There is evidence in the form of writings composed in the decades following his lifetime. You reject it as unreliable, but that doesn't mean it's not there. It is there, and it is evidence. Is it reliable? Certainly not wholly so. But to what extent do these sources contain real historical information? The person who says, such and such an event is probably true, is required to justify that assessment, but there is a similar requirement on the person who says it is probably false, and the means by which such assessments are made is critical analysis of the sources.
But those of us that at the moment don't consider there is evidence for an actual historic Jesus don't have any burden of proof.

As it is we all know the Jesus of the bible did not exist, so if you want to claim you have someone you believe to have been an or the "inspiration" for the character in the bible stories you need to show how you link your candidate to the Jesus in the bible. That's the part I have yet to see substantiated by actual evidence.

Of course we may never be able to access evidence of that link, and in that case I'd say since we know the biblical Jesus didn't exist we have no reason to believe there was a historical person that inspired the bible character, the evidence then clearly points to that Jesus being a fictional creation.
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Old 4th October 2019, 06:43 AM   #432
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My take-away from reading so far - perhaps several of you have overlapping views:

There existed in the first century CE a genre of messianic characters, some real, some fictitious, some real with fiction ascribed to them, and this genre was fed a) by OT prophecy and precedent and b) the current politics of Judea/Israel under Roman rule, with non-Davidic kings and what not.

Paul wrote extensive and (eventually) influential fiction with a main character called "Jesus", that drew largely from the existing genre.

Why Paul's fiction ended up ruling the day and staying popular till today is a bit unclear, but has nothing to do with whether he was thinking about a particular person, an amalgam of real persons, or made it up from whole cloth.

The gospels (the two that remain in use; one that comes in three versions) also were written as part of a wider genre. The ones that survive survived because they were, or were made to be, sufficiently consistent with the Pauline Jesus character.

A bit like Sherlock Holmes meets Lord Voldemort. In principle, Holmes could be based on some real detective, but the stories are just two genres intertwined.
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Old 4th October 2019, 07:01 AM   #433
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Originally Posted by Oystein View Post
There existed in the first century CE a genre of messianic characters, some real, some fictitious, some real with fiction ascribed to them, and this genre was fed a) by OT prophecy and precedent and b) the current politics of Judea/Israel under Roman rule, with non-Davidic kings and what not.
Sounds in some ways like superhero comics, though for some reason we're not allowed to compare them with religion in any way, shape or form.

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Old 4th October 2019, 07:25 AM   #434
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
But those of us that at the moment don't consider there is evidence for an actual historic Jesus don't have any burden of proof.
Whether you have evidence or not is not for you to decide. It exists. You reject it, so you have the burden of explaining to me why sources say he existed when he did not. If Jesus didn't exist and we have various sources that say he did, then the existence of these sources needs to be explained, and I think that the supposition that there was a historical character behind the material they contain is an economical and plausible way of explaining them.

Quote:
As it is we all know the Jesus of the bible did not exist
Who says that? I certainly don't..
Quote:
the evidence then clearly points to that Jesus being a fictional creation.
Not like a character in a novel. So not fiction in a normal sense where both the author and the readers know the story isn't true. The followers of Jesus believed it was true. By fictional, do you really mean "unhistorical" perhaps?
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Old 4th October 2019, 07:49 AM   #435
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
I would still disagree that it's a dichotomy between specifically (1) amalgamating several individuals, and (2) basing and ammending what goes into that amalgam based on one's idea of an ideal person.

I mean, watch me do it on the spot: my ideal king should be wise like Marcus Aurelius, charismatic like Caesar, great at tactics like Napoleon, just like Henry I "the lion of justice", open minded about religion and opposed to slavery like Cyrus the Great, a patron of the arts like Louis XIV, etc. I just created a fictive person unlike any that actually existed by amalgamating traits from a whole bunch of actual persons. But what made the cut to go into that melting pot was based on my idea of an ideal person.
I see your point.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:00 AM   #436
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
...snip...

Who says that? I certainly don't.. Not like a character in a novel. So not fiction in a normal sense where both the author and the readers know the story isn't true. The followers of Jesus believed it was true. By fictional, do you really mean "unhistorical" perhaps?
No I meant exactly what I said, we know the biblical Jesus did not exist. The biblical Jesus produced miracles and did other acts which human beings can't do therefore we know he didn't exist.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:08 AM   #437
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
You mention Solon. It is agreed that he existed although evidence about him is very sparse. Wiki
Ancient authors such as Herodotus and Plutarch are the main sources, but wrote about Solon long after his death. 4th-century orators, such as Aeschines, tended to attribute to Solon all the laws of their own, much later times.
That is possibly less than the evidence we have for Jesus, scanty though that is.
The differences are, starting from the most important:

1. We have the criterion of historical necessity for Solon. SOMEONE had to rule Athens at that point in time, and that SOMEONE somehow transitioned it to a democracy. We might as well call that one "Solon", but feel free to call him Jerry if you prefer.

We don't have the same necessity for a figure beyond the grave that gave messages to Paul in visions and revelations. (And not just once.) People are perfectly able of inventing or hallucinating non-existent persons too. We don't need a historical Gabriel to explain who was talking to Muhammad in those visions of his in the cave.

The necessity for SOMEONE to have done SOMETHING to start Xianity stops at Paul, really.

2. If you want to nevertheless propose the possibility that Solon never existed -- e.g., maybe the transition to democracy was done by some committee of the richest after the old king died, and they decided they'd like to have more say and could have more say without a king -- nobody's gonna be particularly opposed. Nobody will act as if Solon is set in stone, and by Zeus's pubes, you need exceptional evidence to not believe in Solon

3. If you wish to contest just whether we can reconstruct what Solon actually said or did, from those ancient mentions (like people try to reconstruct a rabbi Jesus), you'll find that actually mainstream historians are ahead of you. The poetry quoted as Solon's is taken as quite possible mis-atribution, and the laws attributed to him are KNOWN to be at least partially later laws that got mis-atributed. Really all that is claimed by historians is that SOMEONE had to rule Athens before it became a democracy, and we'll keep calling that guy "Solon", but exactly what he said or believed, nobody is sure.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:14 AM   #438
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
Agreed. The virgin born Jesus who raised the dead is assuredly a figment, but the preaching Jesus who was crucified after a disturbance in the Temple is presumably a different person, in the sense that such people could plausibly exist as a matter of historical fact. It's like King Arthur who is a leader of horsemen fighting Saxon invaders. That's plausible, but it is not plausible that he had a magic sword. So take his sword away and maybe there's some truth in what is left of the story.
The keyword there is: maybe. There are lots of things he may have been, or not been, and trying to nail any of them will need more evidence than it not being impossible.
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Old 4th October 2019, 08:22 AM   #439
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Originally Posted by Darat View Post
No I meant exactly what I said, we know the biblical Jesus did not exist. The biblical Jesus produced miracles and did other acts which human beings can't do therefore we know he didn't exist.
The Christian scriptures say some things about Jesus that can't be true because they are impossible. But they also relate things that are perfectly possible, and some of them are inconvenient for the miraculous Jesus. Like his mother thought he was nuts, or that he had brothers called James, Joses, Simeon and Judas; and "sisters" too, plural and unnamed.

These things are not consistent with his mother being a virgin told she was giving birth to the Son of God. The Son of God is insane? The Son of God has at least six siblings? So the Biblical Jesus is a composite character with possibly true and certainly false incidents in his career. Based on one real or imaginary person? Or more than one? We don't know, but we do know that there is no single "Biblical" Jesus, except in the minds of literalist Christians.

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Old 4th October 2019, 08:53 AM   #440
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Originally Posted by Craig B View Post
The Christian scriptures say some things about Jesus that can't be true because they are impossible. But they also relate things that are perfectly possible, and some of them are inconvenient for the miraculous Jesus. Like his mother thought he was nuts, or that he had brothers called James, Joses, Simeon and Judas; and "sisters" too, plural and unnamed.

These things are not consistent with his mother being a virgin told she was giving birth to the Son of God. The Son of God is insane? The Son of God has at least six siblings? So the Biblical Jesus is a composite character with possibly true and certainly false incidents in his career. Based on one real or imaginary person? Or more than one? We don't know, but we do know that there is no single "Biblical" Jesus, except in the minds of literalist Christians.
Not so sure what your point is? We know the biblical Jesus can't have existed and all fictional characters even super heroes have "everyday" attributes.
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