Historical Jesus

Abrahamic religion, you know, the one with the cross...

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#101  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 6:35 am

klazmon wrote:I'm surprised angelo hasn't turned up in this thread or maybe he has a new nym.


Hello! I'm here. See below. :)
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#102  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 6:37 am

Sorry, I meant see above. :dopey:
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#103  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 6:43 am

angelo wrote:Although Doherty and Carrier and some I can't remember just now, are criticized for some of their claims. One who I have yet to see any criticism about is R. G. Price's book........Jesus, A Very Jewish Myth where the claim is made and very well researched is that the whole scenario and story of Jesus is wholly taken out of the O/T.


The problem with Price's version of the Myther thesis is that, at key points, the Jesus story doesn't fit with the OT ideas of the Messiah at all. The early Christians and gospel writers had enormous difficulty making a crucified Jesus seem to fit the Messianic prophecies in any way at all, for example. And the whole idea of a crucified Messiah was not only totally new, it was also a major difficulty for many potential converts and a very hard part of the story for Christians to sell.

So why is it in the story?

If Jesus existed, the answer to that question is simple: it's in the story because it happened, awkward or not. But this kind of very awkward, totally novel and completed unprecedented element completely undermines Price's theory. If Jesus was simply invented out of Messianic expectations of the time, he would fit those expectations far better than he does. Price fails to explain the awkward ways he doesn't fit those expectations in a way that stands up to Occam's Razor.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#104  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 6:54 am

Hi Tim. Even though you have claimed to have kicked my ass many times. It's Good to see you here. Another who makes a good researched argument was Arthur Drews in his The Christ Myth. There are more than is admitted who doubt Jesus' existence. And not all are kooks.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#105  Postby Agrippina » Feb 28, 2010 7:20 am

From a Jesus point of view, the Messiah is not a dead one. The OT doen't say that he came to earth and then died. The idea of the Messiah was born out of the diaspora during the exile to Babylon and modern Jews still believe that the Messiah will come to take Jerusalem back from the Arabs. "Next year in Jerusalem" has nothing to do with a dead Messiah, so the OT texts don't apply to Jesus.

This is also the reason why israel rejects the idea of sharing Jerusalem with the Palestinians. No amount of round the table discussions with American Secs of State is going to convince them to give up the idea of a Messiah coming to kick the Palestinians out of Israel. So no, the OT texts were not written to fit Jesus or Jesus written to fit the OT.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#106  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 7:34 am

angelo wrote:Hi Tim. Even though you have claimed to have comprehensively kicked my ass many times.


Fixed! :thumbup:

It's Good to see you here.


Hmmm. Whether it's good to see you here will depend on if you adopt the same tactic of simply ignoring counter-arguments that you used in the old place. That didn't exactly win you fans. I'm going to cut you some slack if you actually engage with counter-arguments rather than pretending they aren't made. But the second you revert to that bone-headed tactic the gloves will be off. You've been warned angelo - don't fuck up.


Another who makes a good researched argument was Arthur Drews in his The Christ Myth.


Arhur Drews the Nazi fan who wrote his Jesus Myther book back in 1913. Great to see you're leaning on cutting edge, up to the minute scholarship there angelo. :roll:


There are more than is admitted who doubt Jesus' existence.


Especially if you go back to 100 years ago to drege them up. And there are precisely as many Mythers as are "admitted" - virtually none amongst modern scholars.

And not all are kooks.


Just most of them.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#107  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 10:23 am

I quote a paragraph from Jesus, A very Jewish Myth, quote,''The difficulty in making a case against the historical existence of Jesus is that there is no universally accepted historical view of J C in the first place. Many people. it seems both Xtians and non extians, were content to hold on to a greatly diminished historical Jesus who becomes undetectable to history, while others continue to argue for Jesus Christ as the Son of God as described in the gospels. Very different arguments are needed to address these differing views. A god example of this is the case of the ''empty tomb''. Believers in the Christian story put forward the fact there is no evidence of veneration of a tomb of a Jesus as evidence that Jesus as evidence that Jesus really was the son of God and really was resurrected, thus there was no body in t5he tomb to venerate, thus explaining why we have no evidence for early veneration of the location of his burial. This is difficult for people who believe in a real historical Jesus who was just a man to explain, because they then have to explain why a real person who inspired the gospels wouldn't have had the location of his burial venerated. The explanation that there was no Jesus in the first place, however, solves all of these problems, but has to be explained properly to address differing claims.'' end quote, Which he does in a scholarly manner.

Sourced from Jesus, A very Jewish Myth, by R G Price not to be confused with Robert M Price who does not explicitly state that Jesus is purely mythical.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#108  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 10:53 am

angelo wrote:I quote a paragraph from Jesus, A very Jewish Myth, quote,''[i]The difficulty in making a case against the historical existence of Jesus is that there is no universally accepted historical view of J C in the first place.


Irrelevant. The details of who or what he was is another issue - the question is whether or not he existed at all.

Many people. it seems both Xtians and non extians, were content to hold on to a greatly diminished historical Jesus who becomes undetectable to history, while others continue to argue for Jesus Christ as the Son of God as described in the gospels. Very different arguments are needed to address these differing views.


Irrelevant. See above.


A god example of this is the case of the ''empty tomb''. Believers in the Christian story put forward the fact there is no evidence of veneration of a tomb of a Jesus as evidence that Jesus as evidence that Jesus really was the son of God and really was resurrected, thus there was no body in t5he tomb to venerate, thus explaining why we have no evidence for early veneration of the location of his burial. This is difficult for people who believe in a real historical Jesus who was just a man to explain, because they then have to explain why a real person who inspired the gospels wouldn't have had the location of his burial venerated.


Price is assuming here (i) that he had any kind of formal burial in the first place (most crucified people didn't) and (ii) that the earliest idea of a resurrection involved a corpse coming back to life (all the earliest evidence indicates no such idea).


The explanation that there was no Jesus in the first place, however, solves all of these problems,


Yes - badly. While creating a host of greater problems. Which is why Price's amateur thesis is a self-published vanity project of no significance or credibility.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#109  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 11:09 am

Price is assuming here (i) that he had any kind of formal burial in the first place (most crucified people didn't) and (ii) that the earliest idea of a resurrection involved a corpse coming back to life (all the earliest evidence indicates no such idea).

Then, why did this no one completely disappear from history as thousands probably did before and after? What was it that he was remembered for and built up a religion that holds up to a third of the worlds population. Could not the real founder be none other than Paul and some sayings from wandering sages of that time that eventually became a myth or legend of a real to life single man, namely a Yeshua?

What was the mental rapture that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus? This may be the real birth of Christianity.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#110  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 12:07 pm

angelo wrote:
Then, why did this no one completely disappear from history as thousands probably did before and after?


Because, as sociological studies have shown, when a group's eschatological expectations are disappointed such groups tend to reinterpret the disappointment in a way that allows them to salvage as much of the original expectation as possible. In this case, the idea that Jesus was the Messiah who was going to usher in the expected kingship of God was reinterpreted after his (unexpected) death as the idea that Jesus had risen and gone on to heaven and would soon return when the kingship of God came.


What was it that he was remembered for and built up a religion that holds up to a third of the worlds population.


See above.


Could not the real founder be none other than Paul and some sayings from wandering sages of that time that eventually became a myth or legend of a real to life single man, namely a Yeshua?


Given that Paul explicitly tells us that the Jesus sect existed before he joined it, no. That makes no sense. It also makes no sense given that he refers directly to Jesus, to his recent earthly existence and to people who had known him, including Peter and Jesus' brother James. So that idea is clearly and completely wrong.

This has all been pointed out to you before and you've simply ignored it.

What was the mental rapture that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus? This may be the real birth of Christianity.


That is total nonsense. Paul TELLS us he was persecuting Jesus' followers when he had that vision. So clearly Christianity existed before Paul's conversion. Your argument makes zero sense and is a fantasy that can only be sustained by totally ignoring swathes of evidence. As usual.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#111  Postby Bengt » Feb 28, 2010 12:14 pm

Then, why did this no one completely disappear from history as thousands probably did before and after?


Chance.

What was it that he was remembered for[...]


Someone thought he was the Messiah.

and built up a religion that holds up to a third of the worlds population.


Again, chance.

Could not the real founder be none other than Paul [...] What was the mental rapture that Paul experienced on the road to Damascus? This may be the real birth of Christianity.


But that's not the question at hand. Sure, Paul may very well have been the guy who "started Christianity", but that's a different discussion. This has nothing to do with the question: Was there, under these layers of myth, a real life guy behind these stories named Yeshua, or was everything made up by Paul? The evidence suggests the first alternative. If Paul really made it all up, he did a shitty job at it. :)
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#112  Postby angelo » Feb 28, 2010 12:25 pm

That is total nonsense. Paul TELLS us he was persecuting Jesus' followers when he had that vision. So clearly Christianity existed before Paul's conversion. Your argument makes zero sense and is a fantasy that can only be sustained by totally ignoring swathes of evidence. As usual.

I didn't say it did not exist before Paul's conversion if that's what happened. Obviously the Q document could already have been in existence, again hypothetical. The sayings were around, possibly for decades. It was Paul who was as we would today call him the ''promoter'' of these sayings, seemingly coming from a single source when it could have been from a community of Q members, or the dozens of sages who roamed the countryside.
Paul knew nothing about the ''man'' Jesus of history. All his information came years after the supposed life of this man, and at that, at best second hand, at worst, an already on going tradition.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#113  Postby Agrippina » Feb 28, 2010 12:52 pm

Tim it's very difficult to discuss anything with you when you are so dismissive of any questions people have. I'd like to ask you a question about this but I am hesitant to do this because I sense that either I'll be sent off to provide evidence I don't have or that I'm spouting some unspeakable version of garbage. If you're prepared to give me a civil answer, then I'll continue the discussion because I am interested, so please don't just dismiss me with an aggressive reply. :cheers:

I know that you accept that Jesus probably did exist and that a lot of the material that supports this is truthful. My question is this, how much of his life as written in the sources do you, personally, believe to be true? What parts are real and what parts are mythology, according to what you've read, learned and personally believe?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#114  Postby MS2 » Feb 28, 2010 7:45 pm

Who'd have thought it? All that time on the front pages of RDnet I thought I was a lone voice in the wilderness defending the 'Jesus was a real person' point of view, while it seems there must have been at least a few in the forum who agreed.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#115  Postby stijndeloose » Feb 28, 2010 7:48 pm

MS2 wrote:Who'd have thought it? All that time on the front pages of RDnet I thought I was a lone voice in the wilderness defending the 'Jesus was a real person' point of view, while it seems there must have been at least a few in the forum who agreed.


You'd be surprised! Quite a few, actually!

Welcome to the lifeboat! :cheers:
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#116  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 7:50 pm

angelo wrote:
That is total nonsense. Paul TELLS us he was persecuting Jesus' followers when he had that vision. So clearly Christianity existed before Paul's conversion. Your argument makes zero sense and is a fantasy that can only be sustained by totally ignoring swathes of evidence. As usual.


I didn't say it did not exist before Paul's conversion if that's what happened. Obviously the Q document could already have been in existence, again hypothetical. The sayings were around, possibly for decades.


Then Paul doesn't represent "the birth of Christianity". It pre-dated his conversion.


It was Paul who was as we would today call him the ''promoter'' of these sayings, seemingly coming from a single source when it could have been from a community of Q members, or the dozens of sages who roamed the countryside.


Here we go with these hopeful Myther "could have beens". His source "could have been" from "the dozens of sages who roamed the countryside"? Okay, so why does he attribute it to ONE particular guy - Jesus - whose friends and relatives he knows and had met? Explain, with evidence. For once.


Paul knew nothing about the ''man'' Jesus of history.


How can you continue to say this when you know it's a LIE. He explicitly says Jesus was born as a human, of a human mother and born a Jew (Galatians 4:4). He repeats that he had a "human nature" and that he was a human descendant of King David (Romans 1:3). He referred to teachings Jesus made during his earthly ministry on divorce (1 Cor. 7:10), on preachers (1 Cor. 9:14) and on the coming apocalypse (1 Thess. 4:15). He mentions how he was executed by earthly rulers (1 Cor. 2:8) including Jewish authorities (1 Thess. 2:14-15) and that he died and was buried (1 Cor 15:3-4). And he says he had a earthly physical brother called James who Paul himself had met (Galatians 1:19).

Your argument is based on a deliberate and blatant LIE and you know it. And you're supposed to be a rationalist?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#117  Postby jerome » Feb 28, 2010 7:51 pm

MS2 wrote:Who'd have thought it? All that time on the front pages of RDnet I thought I was a lone voice in the wilderness defending the 'Jesus was a real person' point of view, while it seems there must have been at least a few in the forum who agreed.



Hey MS2! Welcome! In fact it had become pretty much accepted in the forum: i spent the period December 2006 to December 2008 clocking up a couple of thousand posts on the matter, but I'm a Christian (you can decide to what extent that influences me - I could just have honestly have typed 'I'm a historian') then Tim arrived and has been fighting for sense on the issue ever since, and i slunk off to so other things as he is far better ta it than me and an atheist to boot. :)

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#118  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 7:55 pm

Agrippina wrote:Tim it's very difficult to discuss anything with you when you are so dismissive of any questions people have.


Wrong. I always answer all legitimate questions. I am dismissive of assertions made without evidence and of arguments that get repeated endlessly despite the fact they have been comprehensively countered. I'm also pretty dismissive of people who keep telling me to "relax" when they have no idea of my state of mind.

I'd like to ask you a question about this but I am hesitant to do this because I sense that either I'll be sent off to provide evidence I don't have or that I'm spouting some unspeakable version of garbage.


Where have I ever done that in response to a question? I do that in response to assertions made without evidence. Spot the difference.

I know that you accept that Jesus probably did exist and that a lot of the material that supports this is truthful. My question is this, how much of his life as written in the sources do you, personally, believe to be true? What parts are real and what parts are mythology, according to what you've read, learned and personally believe?


I've answered this many times. The things in the story which don't fit Messianic expectations are the bits most likely to be historical: (i) his origin in Nazareth, (ii) his baptism by John, (iii) his crucifixion. There are other things which are also likely to be historical, especially his apocalyptic teaching, because it fits the context of his times better than it fits the ideas and context of the early Christian movement.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#119  Postby MS2 » Feb 28, 2010 8:08 pm

jerome wrote:clocking up a couple of thousand posts on the matter
j x

Wow! You've way more patience than me then. Just been and checked and I didn't even get to 1000, and most of those were on completely unrelated topics.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#120  Postby Kirbytime » Feb 28, 2010 9:22 pm

It's been 11 pages of posts and I have yet to see any detailed critique of what I originally posted.

Ultimately, I think it comes down to what you're willing to believe. A lot of problems seem to occur as a result of people accusing each other of bias, ex "of course hardcore atheists are going to look at the evidence and conclude that Jesus doesn't exist, baw baw"

My biggest contention is how can you be so sure either way? I think that was Richard Carrier's conclusion in that article. The very fact that the Jesus myth concept is so heavily scorned obviously shows the problems that many historicists face today in the sense of going against conventional history. The fact is, the evidence in favor of the existence of Jesus is not overwhelming, and for anyone to denigrate someone who disbelieves in the existence of Jesus is simply being dishonest and closed-minded. Believing in the non-existence of Jesus should be on par with believing, say, what the exact numbers were in the battle of Thermopylae.

Richard Carrier himself makes note when the guy says "no serious scholar places blah blah blah earlier than 70 AD". That's the kind of attitude that I agree with. Anyone who thinks that there is actually enough evidence to make it fall one way or the other decisively, is a fundamentalist.
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