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Old 13th February 2010, 03:35 PM   #1
Kapyong
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Who claimed to have met Jesus personally?

Gday all,

In response to Doc's claims, here is more detail on :

Who claimed to have met a historical Jesus ?

It is frequently claimed that we have multiple eye-witnesses who claimed to have met Jesus.

This is probably why believers respond with cries of
"why would they die for a lie?"
"how could it all be a hoax?"
"that's just a conspiracy theory"
when a sceptic claims the Gospels are not true history.

Because -
believers are convinced we have numerous reliable claims from identifiable people that they met Jesus - thus if Jesus did not exist, then all those eye-witness claims must have been a "hoax". If Jesus was not historical, the claims to have met him must have been a "lie", If Jesus never lived then all those multiple claimed eye-witnesses must have been involved in a "conspiracy".

So, let's examine the evidence -

How many :
* identifiable people
* claimed to have met Jesus
* in authentic writing.
?

Paul
Paul never met a historical Jesus, and never claimed to.
He did claim to have had revelations "thru Christ" etc.
He did claim to have had a vision of Christ.
And others (Acts) claim Paul had a vision of Christ.

It is worth noting that Paul does not place Iesous Christos in history :
* No places - Paul never mentions Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Calvary, etc.
* No dates - Paul never places Iesous Christos in time.
* No names - Paul never mentions Mary, Joseph, Pilate, Judas, Nicodemus, Lazarus etc.
* No miracles - Paul never mentions the miracles/healings of Jesus
* No trial/tomb - Paul never mentions the trial or the empty tomb etc.
Paul's Christos is a heavenly being, not a historical person.

the 500
Paul claims 500 others had a vision of Christ. The Gospels do not mention that, no other writer mentions that, and we have no names or evidence for any of the 500. Even IF it happened - they had a VISION like Paul - nothing historical.

G.Mark
The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to traditon, Mark was a secretary of Peter and never met Jesus. This Gospel, like all of them, started out as an un-named book.

G.Matthew
The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to tradition it was written by an apostle - but it never says so, and it mentions Matthew without the slightest hint that HE was writing it.

G.Luke
The author of this book never identifies himself, and never claims to have met Jesus. According to tradition it was written by a follower of Paul.

G.John
According to tradition this Gospel was written by the apostle John, and the last chapter says :
" This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true."
This is part of a chapter that was added to the Gospels, and it is clearly someone else making a claim for the book. It most certainly does not even come close to specific claim that anyone personally met Jesus.

Jude
This letter contains no claim to have met Jesus.

Johanines
1 John contains this passage :
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4We write this to make our[a] joy complete.
Some believers assert this is a claim to have met Jesus.
What did he see and hear? He certainly never says it was Jesus. He just had a spiritual experience and wants to tell everyone about it - "God is light". Nothing here about any historical Jesus at all.

James
There is no claim to have met Jesus in this letter - supposedly from Jesus' BROTHER ! Yet it contains NOTHING anywhere about a historical Jesus, even where we would expect it. It is clear this writer had never even HEARD of a historical Jesus.

Revelation
No claim to have met Jesus.

the Petrines
2 Peter has this passage :
1.16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
Here we see Peter directly claim to have witnessed Jesus' transfiguration. The ONE and ONLY such direct personal claim in the entire NT.
But -
2 Peter is the very latest and most suspect book in the whole NT - scholars agree it is a forgery, so do many Christians, ancient and modern. A late and deliberate forgery that claims NOT to be based on "cunningly devised fables" - probably in direct response to critics claims. THAT is the one single book that contains a claim to have met Jesus.

Clement
Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did.

Papias
Does not claim to have met Jesus or anyone who had.
He did claim to have met Presbyters who told him what some disciples had said.
Discusses two books of Matthew and Mark , not called Gospels, not quite like modern Gospels.

Polycarp
Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did.
Irenaeus claimed Polycarp met discples who met Jesus

Ignatius
Never claimed to have met Jesus or anyone who did.

Justin
Never claimed to have met anyone who met Jesus.
Discusses UN-NAMED Gospels not quite like ours.

So,
the entire NT contains only ONE specific claim to have met a historical Jesus - from the most suspect forgery in the whole book.

There is NOT ONE reliable claim by anyone to have ever met Jesus.

But -
there is a vast body of CLAIMS by later Chrsitains - claims that are NOT supported by the earlier books, or by history.

So,
If Jesus wasn't historical, there is NO LIE, NO HOAX and NO CONSPIRACY requird at all - because there are NO actual claims to have met Jesus to be a hoax or a lie or a conspiracy in the first place.

Just later claims, and books, and claims about books.


Kapyong
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Old 15th February 2010, 03:11 PM   #2
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Doc -

will you address this issue ?


K.
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Old 15th February 2010, 03:23 PM   #3
Matthew Ellard
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Originally Posted by Kapyong View Post
Gday all,

Just later claims, and books, and claims about books.

Kapyong
May I reproduce your list on another forum? I will supply a link to this forum and credit you accordingly. It is for a skeptic forum. I am an atheist. I support your view and thank you for your effort.

Thanks Mate.
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Old 15th February 2010, 08:05 PM   #4
Kapyong
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Gday,

Originally Posted by Matthew Ellard View Post
May I reproduce your list on another forum? I will supply a link to this forum and credit you accordingly. It is for a skeptic forum. I am an atheist. I support your view and thank you for your effort.
Thanks Mate.
Thank you :-)

You are welcome to freely use my post above as you wish.
It would be nice to keep my name Kapyong on it :-)
I've posted it a few times here and there...

I wonder if DOC will ever respond ?


K.
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Old 16th February 2010, 04:49 PM   #5
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The book of Mormon is signed by a whole of slew eye witnesses who said they saw Joseph Smith's golden plates. There are others who are on Mormon record, though not mentioned in the actual book of Mormon, to have witnessed miracles performed by Joseph. Joseph Smith and many of his followers were arrested or killed for their beliefs.

By the Christian argument presented in the OP, then we should all defer to the Mormons, because, unlike the Bible, the eyewitnesses who swore they saw the plates all provide their first and last names and can be proven historically through public record to have definitively existed in the time of Joseph Smith, and some can be proven through public record to have known him personally.
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Old 16th February 2010, 05:17 PM   #6
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Who is this Smith person?

Lots of people are also on record for having met and spoken to Mohammed. His historical existence, along with the whole story of his life and times and sayings are extremely well documented and aren't doubted. But that doesn't add (or lessen) any credibility to his claims for being God's spokesman.

So whether or not there are documented credible eyewitness accounts of first-hand meetings with the historical Jesus of Nazareth isn't going to make any difference to the credibility or otherwise of mainstream Christian teachings.

Personally I have no problems with accepting the probability of his historical existence; and that he went around the place with his mates preaching and 'casting out spirits'; and that he eventually upset the powers-that-be so much that he was sentenced to death. I even like some of his teachings and parables - the Good Samaritan, for example - but my credulity is stretched beyond breaking point with the claim that he was resurrected. Either he survived the cross and was spirited away by his friends (do you like the pun?!) or he died, and his friends made up stories afterwards.

But credible first-hand accounts of meeting Jesus? I don't think it really matters to either believers or doubters - and the same goes for Mohammed, Buddha, Hercules, Rameses II, and Smith.
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Old 16th February 2010, 05:31 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
So whether or not there are documented credible eyewitness accounts of first-hand meetings with the historical Jesus of Nazareth isn't going to make any difference to the credibility or otherwise of mainstream Christian teachings.
I can't imagine posting anything here will make any kind of difference to mainstream christian teachings.
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Old 16th February 2010, 06:09 PM   #8
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This has been an important fact for some questioning Xians I've known.

Some fundie churches like to claim the bible is 100% historically accurate and proven by archaeology and consistent. When followers realize it totally is not, it can open their eyes.

If God really came down here, inhabited a human body, performed never-before-seen miracles, started a new religion, and was brutally murdered....jeez....some eye witnesses would have written it down.

Even if they didn't, one would think god would have inspired them to, instead of inspiring people to do so many generations later.
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Old 17th February 2010, 02:38 AM   #9
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It gets even better than that. According to Matthew, a whole bunch of people got resurrected too when Jesus gave the ghost, but apparently waited patiently in their grave until Jesus popped up again, and then went and visited their relatives and friends in town. I do believe that if a bunch of corpses, presumably in various stages of decomposition, had swarmed a city, it would have been a _major_ event. Not only would a bunch of locals write about it, but we'd even have documents in Rome about what to do about the zombie plague of Jerusalem.

Which really is also the kind of thing that casts doubts about the "historical Jesus" and if whoever was crucified for rebellion there even bore any resemblance at all to the guy in the bible.

E.g., did he actually tell the parable of the good Samaritan? The one who mentions that parable is Luke, a follower of Paul. It's written by someone who not only had never met Jesus or heard that parable from him, but got it all second hand from Paul who also had never met Jesus.

E.g., did Jesus actually hold the famous sermon on the mount? The one who mentions that one is Matthew, probably the least reliable of all the pseudepigraphic "gospels". Matthew plain old lied all over the place, among other things by inventing dozens of incidents where Jesus fulfilled this or that OT prophecy... as misunderstood by Matthew. Matthew is the guy who makes Jesus ride on two donkeys at the same time, like a circus performer, to fulfill a prophecy that Matthew had misread and doesn't actually say that. Matthew is the guy who has Mary (who had just given birth!) and the newborn treck to Egypt and back, in less than 40 days, doing a lot more miles a day than a trained army on a forced march, just so he can pretend to fulfill another mis-read prophecy. Matthew is the guy who invented a plain old lie about Herod to justify that, that isn't corroborated even by Herod's worst enemies and detractors. Etc, etc, etc. Can you really trust him that Jesus actually did _anything_ that Matthew wrote?
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by imagineaa View Post
...Even if they didn't, one would think god would have inspired them to, instead of inspiring people to do so many generations later.
To nitpick, it was much more likely to have been a generation or two.

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
It gets even better than that. According to Matthew, a whole bunch of people got resurrected too when Jesus gave the ghost, but apparently waited patiently in their grave until Jesus popped up again, and then went and visited their relatives and friends in town. I do believe that if a bunch of corpses, presumably in various stages of decomposition, had swarmed a city, it would have been a _major_ event. Not only would a bunch of locals write about it, but we'd even have documents in Rome about what to do about the zombie plague of Jerusalem.

Which really is also the kind of thing that casts doubts about the "historical Jesus" and if whoever was crucified for rebellion there even bore any resemblance at all to the guy in the bible.

E.g., did he actually tell the parable of the good Samaritan? The one who mentions that parable is Luke, a follower of Paul. It's written by someone who not only had never met Jesus or heard that parable from him, but got it all second hand from Paul who also had never met Jesus.

E.g., did Jesus actually hold the famous sermon on the mount? The one who mentions that one is Matthew, probably the least reliable of all the pseudepigraphic "gospels". Matthew plain old lied all over the place, among other things by inventing dozens of incidents where Jesus fulfilled this or that OT prophecy... as misunderstood by Matthew. Matthew is the guy who makes Jesus ride on two donkeys at the same time, like a circus performer, to fulfill a prophecy that Matthew had misread and doesn't actually say that. Matthew is the guy who has Mary (who had just given birth!) and the newborn treck to Egypt and back, in less than 40 days, doing a lot more miles a day than a trained army on a forced march, just so he can pretend to fulfill another mis-read prophecy. Matthew is the guy who invented a plain old lie about Herod to justify that, that isn't corroborated even by Herod's worst enemies and detractors. Etc, etc, etc. Can you really trust him that Jesus actually did _anything_ that Matthew wrote?
I find it difficult to see how people can take Matthew as history but I think you are on the wrong track by saying that he lied. I'm not studying the NT at the moment but the OT. I am halfway through Ezekiel and that highly metaphorical style is a better lens through which to read something like Matthew than a historical one. As I happen to believe that there is something more to Jesus than a wandering rabbi (sorry amb!) this makes things problematical as I don't know enough to try to understand how the different styles of writing to be found in the gospels work.

I have found the 'zombies' to be difficult for the reasons you describe. Therefore I wonder if an apocalyptic view is appropriate - that they are meant to show that Jesus and the kingdom has power and is real from a symbolic point of view. I agree that one can then ask, well, perhaps most of the gospel is symbolic and Jesus was only a preacher, if he existed at all. And that is a very fair question.

Of course, there is still the existence of the Jerusalem church - can we know what they believed?
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:14 AM   #11
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A metaphor or simile is only as good as it serves to illustrate one issue or aspect better than just saying it in plain text would. Something which is just metaphor, but nobody can tell exactly for what, is in the end just a fancy way of saying that he was writing falsehoods.
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:15 AM   #12
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Gday,

Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
Lots of people are also on record for having met and spoken to Mohammed. His historical existence, along with the whole story of his life and times and sayings are extremely well documented and aren't doubted.
Really?
Have you checked?

Surprisingly, I think you will find the reality is much less solid. There is indeed a minority view that Mohamed did not exist. But that's for another thread :-)


K.
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Old 17th February 2010, 03:19 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
A metaphor or simile is only as good as it serves to illustrate one issue or aspect better than just saying it in plain text would. Something which is just metaphor, but nobody can tell exactly for what, is in the end just a fancy way of saying that he was writing falsehoods.
I take it you don't get on with prophetic writing, then!?
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Old 17th February 2010, 08:37 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Kapyong View Post
Really?
Have you checked?

Surprisingly, I think you will find the reality is much less solid. There is indeed a minority view that Mohamed did not exist. But that's for another thread :-)
I would recommend a book by Barnaby Rogerson called 'The Prophet Muhammad'. It's a biography written by a non-Muslim westerner, so he's not trying to convert anyone - nor is he muslim-bashing - it's simply the story of the man. Here's a newspaper review.

What I really liked about the book is that it's written like a novel; you keep turning the pages because you want to find out what happens next.


PS: The point of my post was to counter the argument that just because Smith was a real person, therefore everything he had to say must be true. Non sequiter or what.
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Old 17th February 2010, 08:53 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
PS: The point of my post was to counter the argument that just because Smith was a real person, therefore everything he had to say must be true. Non sequiter or what.
I don't think that was SC's point. Rather it was pointing out that if Xians accept the ancient view that so-and-so "met" Jesus, when there's scant evidence that anyone associated with early Christianity actually DID meet Jesus, then Mormonism becomes the more "true" because the people that claim to have seen the Tablets (including Smith) can be proven to have actually existed.

Personally, I think there was a Jesus. He probably didn't do everything listed, but could have been an iterneant preacher, who taught the golden rule and maybe a few of the other parabels. Might have even been crucified. Let's face it, saying that there was a man named "Jesus" ~2000 years ago is like saying that there's a man named "Bob" today. There' s thousands of them. If even one of those was an iterant preacher, then bigno, there's your "historical" Jesus. Everything else is myth.

Granted, 90% of that is speculation, but I have an easier time believing that people, even then, would glom on to something that had even a tenious connection to reality than total fabrication. I also will admit that I'm not so sold on this idea that it makes an iota of difference to my day-to-day life. It's a working theory that I use to make sense of tales from that time and subject.
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Old 17th February 2010, 09:13 AM   #16
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Isn't the given Simon Peter more or less historically established to have existed?
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Old 17th February 2010, 11:05 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by kmortis View Post
I don't think that was SC's point. Rather it was pointing out that if Xians accept the ancient view that so-and-so "met" Jesus, when there's scant evidence that anyone associated with early Christianity actually DID meet Jesus, then Mormonism becomes the more "true" because the people that claim to have seen the Tablets (including Smith) can be proven to have actually existed.
Fair enough. I misunderstood what SC was getting at, and withdraw unreservedly my previous and uncalled for sarcastic tone. (Slinks away with tail between legs...).

Sorry, SC.
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Old 17th February 2010, 02:29 PM   #18
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Gday,

Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
I would recommend a book by Barnaby Rogerson called 'The Prophet Muhammad'. It's a biography written by a non-Muslim westerner, so he's not trying to convert anyone - nor is he muslim-bashing - it's simply the story of the man. Here's a newspaper review.
I read the review.
There is no mention of anyone who met Mohamed there.
Is there any such references in the book?

I see this comment :
"Scholarly works on Muhammad have tended to bog themselves down in arguments over sources, or new theories cunningly devised to undermine their rivals in the field. While obviously knowing his subject inside out, Rogerson has cleverly avoided this trap, concentrating instead on the tale itself, freeing up the flow of knowledge blocked by the academic approach."


So, the book you quoted is the OPPOSITE of scholarly research. It's a STORY - which ASSUMES Mohamed existed, but completly IGNORES sources and evidence?

That's you book you cited to back up your claim that
"Lots of people are also on record for having met and spoken to Mohammed"?
A book that IGNORES sources?



Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
What I really liked about the book is that it's written like a novel; you keep turning the pages because you want to find out what happens next.
Right.
So it's a STORY, based on assuming Mohamed existed.
But has NO evidence from people who actually claimed to have met him personally?


Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
PS: The point of my post was to counter the argument that just because Smith was a real person, therefore everything he had to say must be true. Non sequiter or what.
But sadly, your point was wrong.
So, are you like DOC?
Will you argue and dissemble and bluster on and on to avoid admitting error?

Or will you check the facts to see whether your claim
"Lots of people are also on record for having met and spoken to Mohammed"
is actually true?

Because as far as I know (and I HAVE checked) there is not ONE 1st hand account of having met Mohamed. Instead we have a HUGE body of claims like :
"so-and-so said, that someone else wrote, that a guy in bar met someone who knew Mohamed."


K.

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Old 17th February 2010, 03:01 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Kapyong View Post
"so-and-so said, that someone else wrote, that a guy in bar met someone who knew Mohamed."


K.
Waddya talking about?! Mo was my third college roomate's cousin's first boyfriend's babysitter's great-grandmother's uncle (by marriage)'s father-in-law's doctor's lawyer's grocery clerks' toe-nail-polisher's aunt's third cousin's window washer's camel trader. How much more direct do you want than THAT?
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Old 17th February 2010, 06:09 PM   #20
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Kapyong, it was an interesting thread you started with a good thought-provoking OP. But, with respect, your response above is a little over-excited.

I don't happen to have a personally signed document by one of Mohammed's scribes lying around the house, counter-signed by a second witness to the first signatory. Nor do I have any by, oh, let's say St Patrick. He wrote two letters, but - hey! - maybe they were actually made up by an 8th century museum curator hundreds of years after the death of the fictional 'Patrick'.

Maybe the same thing happened with another historical celebrity, Julius Caesar, who, like Mohammed, dictated his reports to a scribe. Maybe the likes of Trajan or Hadrian or Nero fabricated the 'Caesar Story' in order to justify why Emperor/Dictators like themselves had subverted the Roman Republic?

Actually I don't doubt the historical existence of Julius Caesar, even though I personally never met anyone who says he shook hands with him. (And I liked his books; much better written and more blood-thirsty than the quasi-liberal ramblings of Mohammed. "Be nice to widows and the poor". Ha! Caesar wouldn't have any truck with that leftie nonsense.).

Where does one draw the line? What do you accept as reasonable evidence that a particular named person existed a long time ago?
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Old 17th February 2010, 06:12 PM   #21
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I think that the original poster was quite specific, but do you not understand this?

Quote:
How many :
* identifiable people
* claimed to have met Jesus
* in authentic writing.
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Old 17th February 2010, 06:30 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by carlitos View Post
I think that the original poster was quite specific, but do you not understand this?

I do understand it. And that's why I think the rest of the OP was so interesting as K laid out a good argument for the answer to the question being 'none'. It's a point well made and one that I accept.

I also find it more plausible that the various books of the NT were based - even if only very loosely and quite sometime afterwards - on the life and times of a real man, rather than on a completely fictional character. For one thing, there's more than one account and those accounts vary. As any investigating magistrate or policeman or journalist will tell you, it's when the various 'witnesses' tell an identical story that you smell a rat.
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Old 17th February 2010, 06:49 PM   #23
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http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_t...#39;_disciples

Were the Matthew, John and Peter (disciples), different people than the authors of the Books by their name, then?, if the OP is correct?
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Old 17th February 2010, 07:23 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_the_names_of_all_of_Jesus'_disciples

Were the Matthew, John and Peter (disciples), different people than the authors of the Books by their name, then?, if the OP is correct?
No one knows who wrote these books except for Paul who was not a disciple. Evidence points to the fact that many of the Gospels did not have any attribution until later and it is only via tradition.
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Old 17th February 2010, 08:09 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
Kapyong, it was an interesting thread you started with a good thought-provoking OP. But, with respect, your response above is a little over-excited.
Look, your claim was false.
I see all too many people make claims like this without checking.


Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
I don't happen to have a personally signed document by one of Mohammed's scribes lying around the house, counter-signed by a second witness to the first signatory.
Now you try to change the subject, instead of just saying :
"Sorry, I was wrong."


Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
Where does one draw the line? What do you accept as reasonable evidence that a particular named person existed a long time ago?
We debate that endlessly, here and elsewhere.

But that's not the point - I was trying to hold you to account for claiming their were many eye-witnesses to Mohamed.

Now, sadly, I see you are unable to admit error.
If you cannot admit error, you have little credibility in my eyes.


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Old 17th February 2010, 08:12 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by The Drain View Post
For one thing, there's more than one account and those accounts vary. As any investigating magistrate or policeman or journalist will tell you, it's when the various 'witnesses' tell an identical story that you smell a rat.
So, the various accounts of Hercules show he was real,
at least according to your arguments.

The thing is - myths vary too.
Variation in a story proves nothing.

The story of Xenu has some variations too - do you think he was real?


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Old 17th February 2010, 08:14 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
Were the Matthew, John and Peter (disciples), different people than the authors of the Books by their name, then?, if the OP is correct?
It is a firm consensus of modern NT scholars that those books were NOT written by the person whose name they bear.

Letters of Peter, John, Jude, James - all forgeries by unknown people who never met Jesus.


K.
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Old 17th February 2010, 08:17 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by WhiteLion View Post
Isn't the given Simon Peter more or less historically established to have existed?
I'll go out on a limb and say no. Or maybe a proper answer to your question would be "less". Care to say why you think this? A quick Google doesn't turn up any reason to think there's any particular reason to think he might be real.
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Old 18th February 2010, 04:50 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by WhiteLion View Post
Isn't the given Simon Peter more or less historically established to have existed?
And in the context of the OP, even if one accepts Simon Peter's existence, he left no writings. As the OP points out most biblical scholars discount the idea that the 2 epistles of Peter in the NT were actually written by him.
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Old 18th February 2010, 06:28 AM   #30
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Originally Posted by Iamme View Post
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_are_t...#39;_disciples

Were the Matthew, John and Peter (disciples), different people than the authors of the Books by their name, then?, if the OP is correct?
The only parts of the NT which aren't pseudepigraphic fanfic seem to be about half of Paul's epistles and the Revelation Of John. (Which as you know is a different John.) The rest seem to even have later added fanfic to the original (but still well after Jesus) fanfic.

The Gospel authors seem to not only not have been from the same time or place, but occasionally they seem to not even really know Hebrew or be really familiar with the geography of the place or the Tanakh. E.g., when Matthew makes Mary a virgin, he's obviously basing it on a mis-translation of the Tanakh into Greek, namely on the Septuagint. He aims to "fulfill" a prophecy which only says "virgin" in that particular translation, but the original Hebrew only really says "young woman."
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Old 18th February 2010, 06:53 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
The Gospel authors seem to not only not have been from the same time or place, but occasionally they seem to not even really know Hebrew or be really familiar with the geography of the place or the Tanakh. E.g., when Matthew makes Mary a virgin, he's obviously basing it on a mis-translation of the Tanakh into Greek, namely on the Septuagint. He aims to "fulfill" a prophecy which only says "virgin" in that particular translation, but the original Hebrew only really says "young woman."
Well, that would seem to be kind of a big deal. Could you link me to somewhere I could read more about that? I have only read about the Septuagint in passing. Thanks.
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Old 18th February 2010, 07:23 AM   #32
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For example, http://www.religioustolerance.org/virgin_b5.htm
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Old 18th February 2010, 09:04 AM   #33
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Thanks. Wikipedia appeared to have a pretty good summary as well.
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Old 18th February 2010, 10:43 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
I'll go out on a limb and say no. Or maybe a proper answer to your question would be "less". Care to say why you think this? A quick Google doesn't turn up any reason to think there's any particular reason to think he might be real.
Well I am not sure, I vaguely remembering him being, amongst the apostles, one of the more historically noted ones in terms of having existed. It must've been 14 years give or take a year since we delt with that particular topic in theology class. It's not really important but I had a distinct recollection that this was the case with Simon Peter, and by default wondering if others here could elaborate this or that way as Peter was quite often mentioned outside of canonial/apocryphical texts as an actual entity in historical texts of on that time.
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Old 18th February 2010, 11:50 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by WhiteLion View Post
... and by default wondering if others here could elaborate this or that way as Peter was quite often mentioned outside of canonial/apocryphical texts as an actual entity in historical texts of on that time.
What historical texts of what time?
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Old 18th February 2010, 12:20 PM   #36
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Well, it probably helps to also put around of context there.

1. Pseudepigraphic BS seems to have been more of a norm than we nowadays would assume.

Nowadays you might quote Washington or Jefferson if they happen to support whatever you're selling, but you probably wouldn't even think of writing your own BS speech and signing it George Washington. But back then, when the information was a lot more scarce, and access to documents was spotty even for the rich and as good as non-existent for anyone else (books cost a mint, really), it seems to have been not only viable, but _fashionable_ to do just that. Inventing evidence was pretty much the name of the game.

Any character who was some kind of figure of authority -- and there were only a handful of canonic signature characters in that story to choose from -- would sooner or later get a bunch of fanfic written in his name. Or be used as a sock-puppet in it.

At any rate, just in the gospels category, the amount of pseudepigraphic forgery is _staggering_. Not just what was included in the bible at Nicaea, but just look at how much was rejected too. There was a "Gospel Of Peter" written in Simon Peter's name around 150 AD. (Hell of a long life he must have had, eh? Also, it's surprisingly hostile towards the Jews.) There was a "Gospel of Thomas". There was a Gospel of none other than Judas. (In which actually Judas is just an obedient disciple who does what he's told by Jesus to do, in order to set the events in motion. Also, he's Jesus's favourite disciple, and the only one who's been fully initiated by him.) There is _another_ Gospel of Thomas, and one of none other than James, both of which introduced the idea of perpetual virginity of Mary which made it into the official doctrine although neither of the actual "gospels" made it into the Bible. There's _another_ Gospel of Luke, which apparently differed massively from the one included in the Bible. There's another version of Matthew which lacked the miraculous birth and a bunch of other stuff, and which was apparently used among the actual Hebrews. And yet _another_ Gospel of Matthew that tries to fill in the infancy part of Jesus, and which now is better known as Pseudo-Matthew. Etc.

And the occasional funny guy even went and invented his own Garry Stu apostle in whose name to write. E.g., the Gospel of Barnabas, who in that text is one of the 12 apostles.

Some such forgeries continued to be written well after the standardization of the Bible at Nicaea too.

E.g., the Acts Of Barnabas seems to be from the 5'th century, and tries to retcon a historical claim to greatness and independence for the church of Cyprus and clearly deals more with 5'th century events than anything relevant to Jesus. It also name-drops Matthew and Mark to make itself seem more like the real deal, but again, it's pure forgery anyway.

E.g., the aforementioned Gospel Of Barnabas seems to date from the 1600's and hold some clearly Muslim views that simply don't fit its being supposedly contemporary to Jesus and foretells Muhammad by name. (And there is an earlier mention of a Gospel Of Barnabas in the 4'th century too, but that's probably a different document, since it was before Islam. So that would make it _two_ different pieces of pseudepigraphic crap attributed to the same fictive apostle.

So to cut a long rant short, just that someone name-dropped a major character like Simon Peter in their fanfic, well, doesn't say much. It's like finding Yoda in modern Star Wars fanfic, really.

2. Well, it helps if you understand that documents were copied by hand by scribes back then, not mass-printed from an original text. Copies of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy were the norm. And not all of them were very faithful copies.

E.g., it seems that a bunch of Christian scribes added their own "clarifications", maybe well meant, but nevertheless corrupting the original text. E.g., if they saw "Jesus" in a text, they'd often show their piety by adding some "our Lord" qualifier that the original text didn't have.

It is, for example, generally considere the case that Josephus's mention of Jesus is such a BS addition. In the text that says, "and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" the part I bolded seems to have been such an addition by some idiot (if well meaning) scribe.

To their defense, they probably _were_ well meaning, but not particularly knowledgeable. To say the least. To some of them such names as Jesus or even James were uncommon foreign names, and a mention such as James the brother of Jesus might have seemed like obviously meaning who they thought it meant. In reality both were extremely common names.

It's like someone copying some SF text that mentions "Luke the son of Anakin" and assuming that it means the two signature characters from Star Wars. So they fill in their own "clarification", maybe something like "who had become Vader". But in reality that text referred to someone completely different, and the "clarification" is really just unintentional vandalism.

Some of the pseudepigraphic bible testimonies or gospels, or name-dropped apostles in other texts, may well be the result of such later editing.

E.g., the "[i]This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and has written them, and we know that his testimony is true[i]" at the end of the Gospel of St John (namely, 21:23) seems to be clearly such an addition. It's something which really isn't even written in the first person, and is probably just some scribe's way of saying "so there". But it has the side-effect of turning something which never claimed to be a first hand account, into something that does.

As far as I can tell at a quick reread, the author of that "gospel" never actually identifies himself as John, and it actually makes references to two people named John: John The Baptist and an apostle named John. But they're both in the third person, and the author doesn't claim to be either. So it takes a particularly bad case of brain-damage to leap from a mere mention of "John" in third person, to it being written _by_ John, and deserving the clarification in 21:23. But some idiot scribe added that line anyway.

Briefly: such scribe acts might have turned a bunch of texts which weren't actually intended to be pseudepigraphic forgeries into basically just that. By adding a "written by X himself" claim that the original never made.

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Old 18th February 2010, 12:50 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Well, it probably helps to also put around of context there.

1. Pseudepigraphic BS seems to have been more of a norm than we nowadays would assume.

Nowadays you might quote Washington or Jefferson if they happen to support whatever you're selling, but you probably wouldn't even think of writing your own BS speech and signing it George Washington.

Ahem...


Quote:
E.g., it seems that a bunch of Christian scribes added their own "clarifications", maybe well meant, but nevertheless corrupting the original text. E.g., if they saw "Jesus" in a text, they'd often show their piety by adding some "our Lord" qualifier that the original text didn't have.

It is, for example, generally considere the case that Josephus's mention of Jesus is such a BS addition. In the text that says, "[i]and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James[i]" the part I bolded seems to have been such an addition by some idiot (if well meaning) scribe.

To their defense, they probably _were_ well meaning, but not particularly knowledgeable. To say the least. To some of them such names as Jesus or even James were uncommon foreign names, and a mention such as James the brother of Jesus might have seemed like obviously meaning who they thought it meant. In reality both were extremely common names.

It's like someone copying some SF text that mentions "Luke the son of Anakin" and assuming that it means the two signature characters from Star Wars. So they fill in their own "clarification", maybe something like "who had become Vader". But in reality that text referred to someone completely different, and the "clarification" is really just unintentional vandalism.
Or, to use a more recent example, a scholar from the future reading an article about Bob and his brother John and assuming it must be about the Kennedies...
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Old 18th February 2010, 01:30 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by RecoveringYuppy View Post
What historical texts of what time?
Puhh, good question. I was hoping someone here could tell me, or remind me rather. I think some might be mentioned in the wiki on Peter, in the parts concerning the accounts outside of the NT. But I am have no idea if they are the same sources we studied back in the day.
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Old 18th February 2010, 02:39 PM   #39
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Gday,

Originally Posted by WhiteLion View Post
Peter was quite often mentioned outside of canonial/apocryphical texts as an actual entity in historical texts of on that time.
No he isn't.

The various Christian books mention :
* Peter
* Cephas
(* Simon Peter)

Paul thought Cephas and Peter was separate people - so did some other early Christians.

Later on, Peter and Cephas are considered the same person.

But there is NO mention of Peter in ANY historical books of the period. Just Christian stories and forgeries.


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Old 18th February 2010, 02:43 PM   #40
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Greetings Hans,

Thanks for your comments :-)

Allow me to pick a little nit :

Originally Posted by HansMustermann View Post
Not just what was included in the bible at Nicaea, but just look at how much was rejected too.
Actually,
the Council of Nicea had nothing to do with choosing the books of the bible.

This urban legend is endlessly repeated on the intarwebs,
but it's not correct.

Roger Pearce has a good page on this :
http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/nicaea.html

And, you can read the actual canons of council here:
http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3801.htm


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