Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#121  Postby TimONeill » Feb 28, 2010 10:08 pm

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


Really? So what was my 2000 word post here then, if not a detailed critique of Doherty's thesis?

Ultimately, I think it comes down to what you're willing to believe.


For some, maybe. For objective rationalists it comes down to which analysis explains the evidence most parsimoniously and which requires a whole cluster of "maybes", "perhapses" and other suppositions. The Myther thesis doesn't stand up to Occam's Razor because it rests on a mass of suppositions.

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"


I'm a "hardcore atheist". And there are any number of others who are atheists, Jews and other non-Christians on the historicist side. What "bias" do we have? The biases of the Myther side, on the other hand, are plain to see.

My biggest contention is how can you be so sure either way?


"So sure"? Who is "so sure"? Like any subject in ancient history where our evidence is not completely clear, my position on this is not "sure", just a provisional assessment of what the evidence seems to indicate.

I think that was Richard Carrier's conclusion in that article.


I think you'll find that Carrier is now rather more "sure". Unsurprisingly for an anti-Christian polemicist, he's now much more "sure" Jesus didn't exist. What a shock.

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.


Or it shows that it's a weak and contrived theory that busy academics don't bother to waste their time taking seriously.

The fact is, the evidence in favor of the existence of Jesus is not overwhelming,


No, just sufficient for the idea that he existed to be generally accepted, since the arguments against that evidence are weak, flawed and contrived.

and for anyone to denigrate someone who disbelieves in the existence of Jesus is simply being dishonest and closed-minded.


So if we "denigrate" a flawed, fringe theory we're being "close minded"? Is this some kind of New Ager forum all of a sudden?

Believing in the non-existence of Jesus should be on par with believing, say, what the exact numbers were in the battle of Thermopylae.


Pardon?

Anyone who thinks that there is actually enough evidence to make it fall one way or the other decisively, is a fundamentalist.


Find me someone here who says the evidence can be made to fall one way or another "decisively". I can't see anyone saying anything so absurd. "Sufficiently", however, is another matter ...
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Jesus Existed! Now - are you still an atheist?

#122  Postby Lion IRC » Mar 01, 2010 2:55 am

Did Joseph of Arimathea really exist? Were James and John and their dad Zebedee real people? Did they run a fishing co-op? Was Judus Iscariot a real person? Was he a Sicarian or just an ordinary person “from Karioth”? Is Pontius Pilate a myth? Was there ever a high priest named Caiaphas? Was Jesus Jewish? How can anyone prove that Saul came from Tarsus? What was Jesus doing in Jerusalem during Passover anyway? Was His trial robe purple or red?

I am always curious about the bible-errancy crowd. Why would any atheist have a need/desire to debunk or verify the historicity of Jesus? Would an atheist who accepts that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person be any more inclined to accept the reality of God? There are hundreds of similar questions which atheists can ponder but why bother? If you wont accept anything other than "empirical" evidence of God how does the historical critical method and canonical exegesis get you anywhere?

The intent of the Gospel is Christology not effective historical first hand communication by credible eye witnesses rushing to meet a publishing deadline. What is written matters. How and when it was written seems beside the point. And I have never seen any serious challenge to the unselfish motives of Gospel writers. Likewise I have never seen any counter-Gospels - no State sponsored documents full of the names of people who were there and who could refute that it ever happened. There should be hundreds.

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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#123  Postby ElDiablo » Mar 01, 2010 4:52 am

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Could it be that Jesus has a somewhat pivotal and supernatural role to many Christians?
God is silly putty.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#124  Postby Lion IRC » Mar 01, 2010 5:44 am

Hi ElDiablo,
I understand the common use of the word supernatural and I realize humans are bound by language such as miracle, "laws of nature", etc.
But I actually don't find it unusual that a divine Being (whose existence and energy potential are of an order of magnitude such that ...."human is to divinity as earth is to universe") can actually do things recounted in the bible.
I just question the whole “bible errancy” approach.
Does anyone expect atheists to have an epiphany simply as a result of something from archeology or textual criticism which persuades them Jesus "probably did exist"
There are countless people who think Jesus, Moses, David, Solomon, et al were historical figures yet they remain atheists nonetheless.
I believe that people’s atheism begins to develop hairline cracks when they think about the much more fundamental questions of theology rather than “what shape was Jesus’ tomb?”
Multiverse theory, quantum weirdness, wormholes, time travel, existence in other dimensions, Higher beings?
These things don’t enter into human thinking as the end result of a process of “straining at gnats” or demanding to see the stigmata.
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Re: Jesus Existed! Now - are you still an atheist?

#125  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 5:51 am

Lion IRC wrote:Did Joseph of Arimathea really exist? Were James and John and their dad Zebedee real people? Did they run a fishing co-op? Was Judus Iscariot a real person? Was he a Sicarian or just an ordinary person “from Karioth”? Is Pontius Pilate a myth? Was there ever a high priest named Caiaphas? Was Jesus Jewish? How can anyone prove that Saul came from Tarsus? What was Jesus doing in Jerusalem during Passover anyway? Was His trial robe purple or red?


We could ask a whole string of similar questions about any number of obscure ancient historical characters for whom our sources are scanty and/or less than reliable. Are you saying that because we can’t get definitive answers to such questions we shouldn’t bother trying to ascertain anything about the historical Jesus.

I am always curious about the bible-errancy crowd. Why would any atheist have a need/desire to debunk or verify the historicity of Jesus?


An interest in history in general and in the possible origins of a major relgion perhaps? That’s certainly good enough for me.

Would an atheist who accepts that Jesus of Nazareth was a real person be any more inclined to accept the reality of God?


I have no idea. It certainly doesn’t incline me that way.

There are hundreds of similar questions which atheists can ponder but why bother?


Some people are simply interested in history. I know I am. I’ve spent years studying corners of ancient and medieval history far more obscure than this one.

If you wont accept anything other than "empirical" evidence of God how does the historical critical method and canonical exegesis get you anywhere?


See above – it potentially gives us an insight into history.

The intent of the Gospel is Christology not effective historical first hand communication by credible eye witnesses rushing to meet a publishing deadline.


Of course. The nature of the sources are taken into account when interpreting them. That’s basic historical method. Only a naïve idiot would take the gospels as being first hand, objective works of journalism. Well, a naïve idiot or a fundie.

What is written matters. How and when it was written seems beside the point.


If we want to get some kind of historical understand from them, how and when they are written are not beside the point at all.

And I have never seen any serious challenge to the unselfish motives of Gospel writers.


The what?

Likewise I have never seen any counter-Gospels - no State sponsored documents full of the names of people who were there and who could refute that it ever happened. There should be hundreds.


There should? Why? If Christianity was little more than obscure sect of peasants for most of its first two centuries, who would have had the incentive to write any “counter gospels”?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#126  Postby angelo » Mar 01, 2010 7:24 am

Kirbytime wrote: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.

Well put. That in a way is my belief as well. I cannot accept a historical Jesus without more proof of what's out there at present. What is out there at present and Tim's evidence is not enough to convince the many doubters.
All the arguments for are mostly based on the N/T and a sliver of mentions by Tacitus, Josephus and one or two more who it must be said cannot be used as evidence according to Bart Ehrman who is a much better respected scholar than Tim will ever be. In saying that, Ehrman thinks Jesus probably existed.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#127  Postby angelo » Mar 01, 2010 7:27 am

This is from a post on the FRDB forum by AA5874.

I challenge the notion that "Paul" was a 1st century writer . There is no corroborative source for" Paul" outside of the Church.

The PAULINE writings must be proven to be from the 1st century before this character whose conversion found in Acts is fictitious can be used as some sort of contemporary.

It is very critical that PAUL'S history be confirmed or that an historical source external of the Church be located to date Paul.

What PAUL thought or wrote about Jesus may be of no historical significance if he was nowhere in the 1st century.

Why did the Church canonise Acts of the Apostles with a most fictitious conversion of Saul/Paul?

People who knew the Pauline writer and were his converts would have known that his conversion was fiction as found in Acts, not once but three times.

Why did the author of Acts refuse to write about the death of Paul once he was martyred?

Why was Acts of the Apostles written in a manner so that it would appear that it was written before the death of Paul?

Paul is a most questionable character.

I refuse to accept Paul as a contemporary of Jesus until some one can show he did exist in the 1st century using credible external non-apologetic sources.

How did PAUL manage to meet people who are most likely to have been fictitious characters

How did the Church not know that more than one person was using the name Paul to write Epistles?

Jesus cannot be historicised by fictitious characters.

It must be demanded that Paul's history be ascertained before he can be used as a contemporary
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#128  Postby Monkey's Nephew » Mar 01, 2010 7:51 am

TimONeill wrote:
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.


If you can't think of plausible alternative explanations, I really don't think you're trying very hard. Here's the short version of two, off the top of my head:

The Catholic Church wrote:OMG!
You killed Kennythe Messiah!
You bastards!

Now get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness!


Martin Luther wrote:OMG!
They killed Kennythe Messiah!
Those bastards!

KILL 'EM!


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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#129  Postby Agrippina » Mar 01, 2010 8:41 am

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.


I don't think he was a real person but the historians and the history written that is available for us to read seem to point in the direction that at least they believed he was. Personally I think all of it is a fairytale, but that's only my personal opinion. I can't argue with historical evidence without a time machine. :cheers:
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#130  Postby Agrippina » Mar 01, 2010 8:56 am

TimONeill wrote:
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.


Thank you. I'm an old person so I tend to get a little sensitive when my questions are answered with rudeness and dismissal, so forgive me.

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.


OK I haven't had the time to read through pages and pages of people shouting abuse at each other in order to arrive at the answer to a simple question, so again, thank you for giving me your opinion.

I agree that the three events do tend to point to a real person, but could they not just as easily have been three different people, i.e. one person from Nazareth, another baptised by JtB and yet another crucified, all put together in the mythology to be one person?

If you look at all the previous mythology, take for instance the flood story. Any student of Ancient History and mythology knows that there were several flood myths because flooding was, and still is frightening, and we know that ignorant Bronze Age people would've construed their area to be all that there was (I see this with my cleaning lady, she doesn't understand that there is a world beyond her immediate environment and that Johannesburg must be at the edge of the earth). So using this logic, how much more so people who don't have access to news of the outside at all. Therefore if these people managed to put together one story about Noah and claimed that that was the true story, couldn't the people who wrote about those three events have been doing something similar? And the apocalyptic teaching, as you say, fits the "context of his times," couldn't that just have been added to fit in with the idea of kicking the Romans out any way they could?

I just wonder about this. Can you tell me why it shouldn't be the real truth and why we have to accept that the three events did apply to only one person?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#131  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 9:03 am

angelo wrote:
Well put. That in a way is my belief as well. I cannot accept a historical Jesus without more proof of what's out there at present. What is out there at present and Tim's evidence is not enough to convince the many doubters.


When the "many doubters" consist almost entirely of amateurs with an anti-Christian axe to grind while non-Christian scholars and experts find the evidence entirely sufficient, I'll stick with the scholars thanks.

Bart Ehrman who is a much better respected scholar than Tim will ever be. In saying that, Ehrman thinks Jesus probably existed.


Ummm, yes. Along with almost every other scholar, Christian or non-Christian, on the planet. Evolution has its "many doubters" as well. Funnily enough, they all happen to be fundies with an axe to grind. They are opposed by scholars and experts from a wide variety of backgrounds who all agree evolution is real.

See any similarities there angelo?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#132  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 9:22 am

angelo wrote:This is from a post on the FRDB forum by AA5874.


Oh Christ! I know I wanted you to come up with some kind of original arguments rather than simply mindlessly repeating the same ones we've debunked a dozen times, but you're reduced to recycling the ranting of that insane arseclown?

insane arseclown wrote:I challenge the notion that "Paul" was a 1st century writer . There is no corroborative source for" Paul" outside of the Church.


Except the internal evidence of the seven Pauline works that are generally accepted as indisputably his clearly indicates a common authorship and contains elements that equally clearly indicate a First Century date.

How did PAUL manage to meet people who are most likely to have been fictitious characters


I love it when these guys back up their fanatical belief in the non-existence of one person by invoking the non-existence of a slew of others. Given enough time they'd manage to depopulate the entire ancient world.


How did the Church not know that more than one person was using the name Paul to write Epistles?


Considering that a whole swag of letters attributed to Paul were rejected as non-canonical - eg the Third Epistle to the Corinthians, the Epistle to the Laodiceans and the Epistle to the Alexandrians - clearly it was understood that some supposedly Pauline works were by a later hand. And modern scholars have worked out that several canonical ones were also almost certainly not by Paul. But the seven mentioned above are all written by one person on linguistic and internal evidence and all seem to date to the First Century.

Unless, of course, every scholar of the last few hundreds years is wrong this internet arseclown is right. I'll let people work out which seems more likely.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#133  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 9:26 am

Monkey's Nephew wrote:
TimONeill wrote:
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.


If you can't think of plausible alternative explanations, I really don't think you're trying very hard. Here's the short version of two, off the top of my head:

The Catholic Church wrote:OMG!
You killed Kennythe Messiah!
You bastards!

Now get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness!


Martin Luther wrote:OMG!
They killed Kennythe Messiah!
Those bastards!

KILL 'EM!


Crowd control through guilt and tribalism. Why not?


Because (i) there is no precedent for any expectation of a Messiah who gets killed, let alone crucified and (ii) the whole crucifixion thing was a major headache for early Christianity and actually proved the major reason for many to NOT accept Jesus as the Messiah.

The idea that "guilt and tribalism" would work in their favour makes no sense once you understand the context of Messianic expectation and exactly how much of a headache selling the idea of a crucified man as the Messiah was to the early Christians.

The idea that they would invent these impediments simply makes no historical sense at all.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#134  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 9:36 am

Agrippina wrote:
I agree that the three events do tend to point to a real person, but could they not just as easily have been three different people, i.e. one person from Nazareth, another baptised by JtB and yet another crucified, all put together in the mythology to be one person?


Could they? Possibly. Lots of things are possible. But do you have any evidence or cogent argument that indicates that this is what happened? Without that, a mere "could have been" is pretty worthless. All kinds of things could have happened. Historical analysis consists of finding evidence for which of them probably did.


If you look at all the previous mythology, take for instance the flood story.


Sorry - bad example. The Flood story developed over hundreds of years. The Jesus story is set in the 30s AD and was being told about a single person just 15-20 years later. Spot the difference.


couldn't the people who wrote about those three events have been doing something similar?


Given the time frame noted above, the idea that the story is about one guy because it was about one guy makes much more sense. Unless you have some evidence that it was about three. Do you? Because a mere "could have been" doesn't count.

And the apocalyptic teaching, as you say, fits the "context of his times," couldn't that just have been added to fit in with the idea of kicking the Romans out any way they could?


There's another of those "could have beens". You can play that game a thousand different ways and come up with all kinds of interesting and exotic combinations of suppositions. That's not how you analyse history, however. History is based on evidence, not castles in the air constructed out of suppositions.

Can you tell me why it shouldn't be the real truth and why we have to accept that the three events did apply to only one person?


Can you show me a scrap of evidence that indicates it applied to three? Or give any reason we should imagine these stories weren't about one guy that is more substantial than "let's pretend"?
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#135  Postby Mephistopheles » Mar 01, 2010 9:36 am

Gah, I wonder if people would be less inclined to one-up Tim if he weren't so...caustic? This entire thread seems really counterproductive toward deconverting mythers.

My two cents: I accept that an historical Jesus existed. I am also 100% certain that Jesus did not exist--that is to say, the Jesus character as depicted in the Bible. That character is guaranteed to have been fabricated to some degree.

Though I also think that, given the natural decrease in the number and credibility of sources as we go back in history, while we can say with some amount of certainty that "Jesus existed," that statement is in no way as certain nor verifiable as "Francois-Marie Voltaire existed" or "Bill Clinton existed." So I can appreciate some of the members' concerns that Tim is touting Jesus' historicity like it is absolute fact. It isn't fact, and it likely never will be no matter how many historians label it as such because of the paucity of data historians have to work with. At best, it, and most other archaeo-historical claims, are merely very educated guesses, and should be treated as such.

I do thank Tim for clearing up a lot of misconceptions and especially disproving that Jesus Puzzle bullshit.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#136  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 9:49 am

Mephistopheles wrote:Gah, I wonder if people would be less inclined to one-up Tim if he weren't so...caustic? This entire thread seems really counterproductive toward deconverting mythers.


Back on the old forum we once had a roll-call of people who I had talked out of accepting Mythicism. For modesty's sake, let's just say that my track record at "deconverting mythers" is pretty good. And I think you'll also find that I'm not "caustic" at all to those who are genuinely interested and open to persuasion. Given that we've been around and around and around and around all this with angelo about two hundred times, knocking his tired arguments on their arse every time, you'll have to forgive me if my replies to him, however, are less than respectful. He's proven over and over again that his devotion to the idea that Jesus didn't exist is a faith position that would make a die-hard Creationist look like Voltaire.

My two cents: I accept that an historical Jesus existed. I am also 100% certain that Jesus did not exist--that is to say, the Jesus character as depicted in the Bible. That character is guaranteed to have been fabricated to some degree.


Agree 100%.

Though I also think that, given the natural decrease in the number and credibility of sources as we go back in history, while we can say with some amount of certainty that "Jesus existed," that statement is in no way as certain nor verifiable as "Francois-Marie Voltaire existed" or "Bill Clinton existed." So I can appreciate some of the members' concerns that Tim is touting Jesus' historicity like it is absolute fact.


Given that I've never said anything remotely close to saying it's "absolute fact" and have repeatedly made it clear that I think nothing of the sort, those "concerns" are actually ridiculous.


It isn't fact, and it likely never will be no matter how many historians label it as such because of the paucity of data historians have to work with. At best, it, and most other archaeo-historical claims, are merely very educated guesses, and should be treated as such.


These are all things I've noted many, many times. That said, the best educated guess that explains the evidence most parsimoniously is still the idea that there was a historical Jewish preacher called Yeshua who was the basis for this "Jesus".

I do thank Tim for clearing up a lot of misconceptions and especially disproving that Jesus Puzzle bullshit.


You're welcome. I suspect the people who really needed to read that post didn't bother. Glad you did and that you found it useful.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#137  Postby angelo » Mar 01, 2010 10:00 am

The selling of the idea of a crucified messiah was easy. The Jewish tradition, before the appearance of Christianity, there was no expectation of a suffering messiah.
But doesn't The bible constantly talk about the messiah who would suffer? As it turns out, the answer is no. Since the beginning, Christians have frequently cited certain passages in the O/T as clear prophecies of the future suffering messiah, passages such as Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22, in which someone suffers horribly, sometimes expressly for the sins of others
These passages, Christians have claimed, are clear statements about what the messiah would be like.
Jews who do not believe in Jesus, however, have always had a very effective response: The messiah is never mentioned in these passages.
Before Christianity there were no Jews that we know who anticipated a messiah who would suffer and die for the sins of others and then be raised from the dead.

Sourced from- Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#138  Postby TimONeill » Mar 01, 2010 10:24 am

angelo wrote:The selling of the idea of a crucified messiah was easy.


Really?

The Jewish tradition, before the appearance of Christianity, there was no expectation of a suffering messiah.
But doesn't The bible constantly talk about the messiah who would suffer? As it turns out, the answer is no. Since the beginning, Christians have frequently cited certain passages in the O/T as clear prophecies of the future suffering messiah, passages such as Isaiah 53 and Psalms 22, in which someone suffers horribly, sometimes expressly for the sins of others
These passages, Christians have claimed, are clear statements about what the messiah would be like.
Jews who do not believe in Jesus, however, have always had a very effective response: The messiah is never mentioned in these passages.
Before Christianity there were no Jews that we know who anticipated a messiah who would suffer and die for the sins of others and then be raised from the dead.


None of that supports the statement "The selling of the idea of a crucified messiah was easy". It all indicates that the selling of a crucified Messiah would be hard, because there was no precedent for it. And we know from multiple sources of evidence that this did make selling Jesus as the Messiah hard. Paul refers to the idea of a "crucified Messiah" as "a stumbling block to the Jews and an absurdity to the Gentiles" (1Corinthians 1:23). Christians didn't even depict Jesus on the cross for the first 400 years of their faith's existence because the whole idea of worshipping someone who died in such a shameful and humiliating way was too awkward for them. The first depiction of Jesus crucified comes from a piece of pagan graffiti mocking Jesus - a crucified figure with a donkey's head depicted with a man standing in front of it and the sneering caption "Alexemenos worships his god".

Clearly selling a crucified Messiah was incredibly hard.

Sourced from- Jesus, Interrupted by Bart Ehrman.


Well, kind of. The words "The selling of the idea of a crucified messiah was easy." are yours. The rest - which totally undermines that assertion - is from Ehrman. Even for you, angelo, that little effort was spectacularly feeble.
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto
"I am human: nothing that is human is alien to me."

Publius Terentius Afer

History for Atheists - How Not to Get History ... Wrong
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#139  Postby angelo » Mar 01, 2010 10:48 am

The selling of the tale is one thing. The truth of it is something else completely different.

The core problem is this. And I may have posted something similar elsewhere.

If Jesus was the son of of god and the biblical accounts are accurate, [which no scholars worth his salt believes] then why is Jesus so glaringly absent from the other historical accounts of the time?

If he wasn't the son of god, but just a person, then how the hell did nothing more than a ''marginal Jew'' become elevated to the status of God himself just a few years after his death and burial?

That he began as a mythical son of of God in the first place solves both of these problems and is more in line with both the facts and traditional story than the claim that he was a simple Galilean Jew who later became mythologized.
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Re: Did Jesus exist?

#140  Postby Agrippina » Mar 01, 2010 1:36 pm

TimONeill wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
I agree that the three events do tend to point to a real person, but could they not just as easily have been three different people, i.e. one person from Nazareth, another baptised by JtB and yet another crucified, all put together in the mythology to be one person?


Could they? Possibly. Lots of things are possible. But do you have any evidence or cogent argument that indicates that this is what happened? Without that, a mere "could have been" is pretty worthless. All kinds of things could have happened. Historical analysis consists of finding evidence for which of them probably did.


If you look at all the previous mythology, take for instance the flood story.


Sorry - bad example. The Flood story developed over hundreds of years. The Jesus story is set in the 30s AD and was being told about a single person just 15-20 years later. Spot the difference.


couldn't the people who wrote about those three events have been doing something similar?


Given the time frame noted above, the idea that the story is about one guy because it was about one guy makes much more sense. Unless you have some evidence that it was about three. Do you? Because a mere "could have been" doesn't count.

And the apocalyptic teaching, as you say, fits the "context of his times," couldn't that just have been added to fit in with the idea of kicking the Romans out any way they could?


There's another of those "could have beens". You can play that game a thousand different ways and come up with all kinds of interesting and exotic combinations of suppositions. That's not how you analyse history, however. History is based on evidence, not castles in the air constructed out of suppositions.

Can you tell me why it shouldn't be the real truth and why we have to accept that the three events did apply to only one person?


Can you show me a scrap of evidence that indicates it applied to three? Or give any reason we should imagine these stories weren't about one guy that is more substantial than "let's pretend"?


Do you never, ever have a casual conversation and say "what if?" That's all I'm saying "what it." Not everything we imagine has to be proved. Do you ask for proof about every single thing everybody tells you. I'm not speaking as a historian, I'm looking at it purely from the point of view of a human who has lived long enough to suspect the motives of humans who have something to gain. I know what the historians say, I think you've beaten me with that stick enough times for it to sink in, I'm merely making conversational conjecture. :cheers:
A mind without instruction can no more bear fruit than can a field, however fertile, without cultivation. - Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BCE - 43 BCE)
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