Historical Jesus

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

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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24501  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 7:27 am

archibald wrote:Do remind me, what's Wells' latest position? One more change of heart and he'll be eligible for free Membership to the Hoffman Club and the Allison Bad Patch society.


He believes in two historical Jesuses, one earlier Pauline Jesus who was crucified and a later Galilean preacher described in Q, while Mark's Jesus was a fictional creation, throwing one mythical Jesus into the mix. So the score is one mythical Jesus, two historical Jesuses. I suppose that makes him a "double historicist"?

http://www.bede.org.uk/gawells.htm

So I doubt he'll soon adopt Hoffmann's stance of "Jesus probably existed, Mythicism is a valid thought but the method is bollocks" (paraphrase) or Dale Allison's apocalyptical Jesus.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24502  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 7:35 am

archibald wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:As for that claimed spectacular U-turn, it really is an anti-climax. Dr Hoffmann responds on his blog....



Except nobody said it was spectacular, did they?

Is this really the level of discussion? Every 'onside' contribution is applauded and every 'offside' contribution is underplayed and apologised for. One gets the impression that if Richard Dawkins started advocating HJ, he'd be lovingly adopted on the spot. :)


Several people here have made a lot out of it, so I introduced the claim ironically and corrected it by quoting Hoffmann's own reply. I certainly wouldn't applaud every "onside" contribution, there are plenty of proponents of historicity I'd never mention, either here or anywhere else.

As for Dawkins, who was recently more supporting of a historical Jesus (albeit goeded into that position) than when he wrote TGD, I'd say "more power to him" but I see no need to adopt him as an authority or even his arguments. Carrier's PhD is naturally much more relevant than Dawkins's.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24503  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 7:43 am

Corky wrote:Whatever happened to all those thousands of Jews who supposedly believed all that Jesus nonsense? It's as if they vanished into thin air - since there aren't any in any history of that time period. It's as if the Jews never even heard of the god-man until after the Jewish wars. Did they all get killed defending Jerusalem in 66-70 AD? Yeah, that must have been it, they all got killed and that's why there weren't any Jews in a church founded by Jews.


Whom do you think Josephus had in mind aside the Greeks when he wrote: "He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks."? Jawa's?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24504  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 7:50 am

Blood wrote:
Byron wrote:And now the general point: the MJ case has fatal objective flaws.

Chief among them is the oft-claim that it's unfairly suppressed or ignored by the academy. This'd have weight if a shred of evidence were ever produced to back it up. It isn't. Ever.

Carrier's made insinuations about tenured professors being pressured to avoid MJ and non-tenured academics fearing for post. But he offers zero proof. If MJ could point to journal-standard articles from qualified academics denied publication, I'd be the first to cry foul. But it can't. Instead we get claims that the academic methods are flawed. Argued for outside the academy. Academia's made self-critique into a goddamn industry. If there was a compelling case for a new methodology, why is it being made outside the academy?

It all looks, inescapably, like the MJ case can't take the heat of academic scrutiny. I'll maintain this conclusion until its most qualified advocates cut the excusemaking and pony up their research.



It's pretty simple. You get kicked out of Jesus College if you suggest he's a myth. Then you're no longer qualified to be published.

Just give it time. A hundred years ago, you would have been kicked out if you'd suggested Moses was a myth.


This is rather weird, in Europe there's even a tiny liberal wing inside some Protestant churches that propagates Mythicism. So it's a-ok for churches that some ministers reject it, while it's kicked out of universities? Then who control those faculties according to you? Wouldn't they more likely to be less religious than the people who control those churches?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24505  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 7:58 am

proudfootz wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
Blood wrote:

Because they're Bible students interested in propagating religious doctrine, not seriously investigating history.


Apparently Ehrman says the so-called 'Jesus experts' never investigated whether the object of their study was an historical person or a fictive one:

"First, I realized when doing my research for the book that since New Testament scholars have never taken mythicists seriously, they have never seen a need to argue against their views, which means that even though experts in the study of the historical Jesus (and Christian origins, and classics, and ancient history, etc etc.) have known in the back of their minds all sorts of powerful reasons for simply assuming that Jesus existed, no one had ever tried to prove it.

Odd as it may seem, no scholar of the New Testament has ever thought to put together a sustained argument that Jesus must have lived. To my knowledge, I was the first to try it...."

So we have to ask - are not these 'Jesus experts' on a par with astrologers and unicorn specialists who've never even thought to question the foundational basis of their house of cards discipline? :think:

The link:

http://ehrmanblog.org/did-jesus-exist-as-part-one/


I am afraid you are reading more into Ehrman than he has said. NT scholars and ancient historians have long been aware of the academic theory of Jesus Mythicism and know the reason for rejecting it, but few since Albert Schweitzer have spend much words debunking it by writing several pages and putting it to print. With sustained Ehrman probably means something like "full-length" since he must have been aware of Van Voort's discussion of it in Jesus Outside the New Testament. In any case, there have been earlier rebuttals by scholars of Mythicism.

So in anycase, he is not saying is that all scholars are simply too biased or collectively conspiring against Mythicism.


I don't necessarily take Ehrman to be saying that. He seems to be simply admitting that the historicity of Jesus is assumed (as some HJers here say 'the question is settled') and they go on from there.

I think it's quite telling that Ehrman seems to have advanced quite far into his career before ever seriously considering the question as to whether the subject of his scholarly career even existed - and the prompting for such a study had to come from the lay audience outside 'the academy'!

I doubt Ehrman believes that he and his colleagues are 'too biased' - but I think what he and his colleagues write about the mythicist challenge tells a different tale. But Ehrman does seem to say in so many words that no 'serious' rebuttal to the mythicist challenge has come from 'the academy'.

So if Ehrman is aware of these alleged 'rebuttals' you refer to, Ehrman doesn't seem to think much of them. :coffee:


Ah, good, another reasonable post.

Well, I still disagree and think you're reading a little too much into "assuming" here, while the "powerful reasons for simply assuming" must receive some more attention. I'm sure he means intellectual reasons with "powerful reasons" and I'd be surprised if only a few NT scholars read Scheitzer early in their career - who, as Ehrman said, addressed the Mythicism of his day. Of course, I could be wrong on that point, but Ehrman thinks that other professionals could have come up with arguments for historicity as well.

As for Ehrman's awareness of the full-length scholarly rebuttals - or attempted rebuttals if you prefer, I do not think he is aware of the full-length ones, though I didn't mention that in my previous post so you couldn't have known that. There have been several of them though, but they just aren't very high-profile. As for Robert van Voort's chapter, I think he is aware of that one, but one good chapter isn't really a "sustained argument", is it?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24506  Postby archibald » May 09, 2012 8:48 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
archibald wrote:Do remind me, what's Wells' latest position? One more change of heart and he'll be eligible for free Membership to the Hoffman Club and the Allison Bad Patch society.


He believes in two historical Jesuses, one earlier Pauline Jesus who was crucified and a later Galilean preacher described in Q, while Mark's Jesus was a fictional creation, throwing one mythical Jesus into the mix. So the score is one mythical Jesus, two historical Jesuses. I suppose that makes him a "double historicist"?

http://www.bede.org.uk/gawells.htm

So I doubt he'll soon adopt Hoffmann's stance of "Jesus probably existed, Mythicism is a valid thought but the method is bollocks" (paraphrase) or Dale Allison's apocalyptical Jesus.


Er, Hoffman's current stance, I think you mean. He previously described the historicity question as unanswerable and open. Pretty much like me, and I'm almost sure I didn't see the words 'bollocks methods' in his foreword to Wells' 'The Jesus Myth'. :)

As for Wells himself, it's true he's had a change of heart, but what do you make of this, from your link to Bede's Library:

'Paul, he (Wells) claims, knew nothing of Judas, Pilate or Jesus's earthly ministry nor exactly when he had lived. However he made very clear, contra Earl Doherty and indeed the chairman of the meeting, that Paul did believe Jesus had been a real Jewish man put to death by crucifixion.

http://www.bede.org.uk/gawells.htm

A double historicist. Indeed. Good one. The more Jesuses the merrier. :)
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24507  Postby archibald » May 09, 2012 8:58 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:

Several people here have made a lot out of it, so I introduced the claim ironically and corrected it by quoting Hoffmann's own reply.


No, you didn't correct it. You quoted what Hoffman is now saying. Unfortunately for him, he can't erase what he said before, and even if it's not a spectacular u-turn, the sort of stuff he's currently coming out with is a clear shift in emphasis, away from the mythicism option, which is all I would ever have described it as.

Btw, Cito (who isn't a mythicist, so you might have trouble 'taking his mythicism seriously' as you put it) may not have been interested in your point about lexicography, but I was willing to engage, and asked some questions in your direction, regarding how much weight, in the overall scheme of things, such analyses can really bring to bear, especially with such a small sample (from Paul I mean) of what appear to be usage exceptions (unflagged up), and what value there is in comparing Paul's own' somewhat personal language to non-Paul sources, and if Brothers of the Lord' is supposed to be siblings, how come their elevated status in the early church is completely unattested, not least from Paul's list of witnesses? Sharpen your parsimony slicer for that one. :)

Specifically, does 'iakobon ton adelphon tou' (Gal 1:19) not sound quite similar to 'titon ton adelphon mou' (2 Cor 2:13)?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24508  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 9:38 am

archibald wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:

Several people here have made a lot out of it, so I introduced the claim ironically and corrected it by quoting Hoffmann's own reply.


No, you didn't correct it. You quoted what Hoffman is now saying. Unfortunately for him, he can't erase what he said before, and even if it's not a spectacular u-turn, the sort of stuff he's currently coming out with is a clear shift in emphasis, away from the mythicism option, which is all I would ever have described it as.


Could you please provide a full-context quote of his words, so that we can discuss it here? I'm open to changing my mind on this, even though I'm inclined to give Hoffmann the benefit of doubt.

archibald wrote:Btw, Cito (who isn't a mythicist, so you might have trouble 'taking his mythicism seriously' as you put it) may not have been interested in your point about lexicography, but I was willing to engage, and asked some questions in your direction, regarding how much weight such analyses can really bring to bear, especially with such a small sample (from Paul I mean), and what value there is in comparing Paul's own' somewhat personal language to not Paul sources, and if Brothers of the Lord' is siblings, how come they are missing, even from Paul's list of witnesses?


As you know, I admitted that it is possible for it to have such meaning, but my position is that such judgments should be based on the evidence. There are limits to the weight of such analyses - especially in the case of a small corpus - but I think there is good reason to suppose that Paul conformed to common usage, especially since that formula is also used in the LXX. Whereas Paul indeed had his own usage, how likely is it he would mean something rather different from the standard meaning (biological kinship) if there isn't evidence of specialised Christian jargon here? I hope we can agree that the default reading of "James, the brother of the Lord" is much more parsimonious.

As for the brothers as witnesses, he does for James, it's in 1 Corintihians 15: 7: "Then he appeared to James, then to all apostles." But I am not sure I understand this argument, for should Paul have believed that all brother witnessed a "resurrected" Jesus?

archibald wrote:Specifically, does 'iakobon ton adelphon tou' (Gal 1:19) not sound quite similar to 'titon ton adelphon mou' (2 Cor 2:13)?


Sound? Yes. Mean? No. First, the part from Galatians is incomplete, the full title reads "Iakobon ton adelphon tou kuriou" which means "James (Iakobon, noun in accusative case) the brother (ton adelphon, article and noun in accusative case) of the Lord (tou kuriou, article and noun in genitive case)", (which makes it sound a little more dissimilar, but that isn't the crucial point). The issue is that the structure is different, "Titon (Titus, noun in accusative case) ton adelphon ([the] brother, article and noun in accusative case) mou (my, first person possessive personal pronoun)", so it doesn't conform to the formula "X, the brother of Y" that's under debate - rather it's simply a way of saying "X, my brother" because mou is just the Greek way of saying "my". It is not debated that the latter formula can refer to fictive kinship.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24509  Postby angelo » May 09, 2012 9:38 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
Corky wrote:Whatever happened to all those thousands of Jews who supposedly believed all that Jesus nonsense? It's as if they vanished into thin air - since there aren't any in any history of that time period. It's as if the Jews never even heard of the god-man until after the Jewish wars. Did they all get killed defending Jerusalem in 66-70 AD? Yeah, that must have been it, they all got killed and that's why there weren't any Jews in a church founded by Jews.


Whom do you think Josephus had in mind aside the Greeks when he wrote: "He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks."? Jawa's?

Did he actually write that? What evidence is there that those are Josephus words and not christian interpolation?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24510  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 9:48 am

angelo wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
Corky wrote:Whatever happened to all those thousands of Jews who supposedly believed all that Jesus nonsense? It's as if they vanished into thin air - since there aren't any in any history of that time period. It's as if the Jews never even heard of the god-man until after the Jewish wars. Did they all get killed defending Jerusalem in 66-70 AD? Yeah, that must have been it, they all got killed and that's why there weren't any Jews in a church founded by Jews.


Whom do you think Josephus had in mind aside the Greeks when he wrote: "He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks."? Jawa's?

Did he actually write that? What evidence is there that those are Josephus words and not christian interpolation?


First of all, evidence is needed for demonstrating that it is a Christian interpolation rather than Josephus' own writings. Let's not reverse the burden of proof here. Secondly, the gospels do no portray Jesus converting many Greeks so it would be weird for Christians to directly contradict their own writings. Meier wrote in A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus Volume One:

In the whole of John's Gospels, no one clearly designated a Gentile ever interacts directly with Jesus; the very fact that Gentiles seek to speak to Jesus is a sign to him that the hour of his passion, which alone makes a universal mission possible, is at hand (John 12:20-26). In Matthew's Gospels, where a few exceptions to the rule are allowed . . . we find a pointedly programmatic saying in Jesus' mission charge to the Twelve: 'Go not to the Gentiles, and do not enter a Samaritan city; rather, go only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6). The few gentiles who do come into contact with Jesus are not objects of Jesus' missionary outreach; they rather come to him unbidden and humble, realizing they are out place. For Matthew, they point forward to the universal mission, which begins only after Jesus' death and resurrection (28:16-20). While Mark and Luke are not as explicit as Matthew on this point, they basically follow the same pattern: during his public ministry, Jesus does not undertake any formal mission to the Gentiles; the few who come to him do so by way of exception.

Hence the implication of the Testimonium that Jesus equally won a large following among both Jews and Gentiles simply contradicts the clear statements about the Gospels. Unless we want to fantasize about a Christian interpolator who is intent on inserting a summary of Jesus' ministry into Josephus and who nevertheless wishes to contradict what the Gospels say about Jesus' ministry, the obvious conclusion to draw is that the core of the Testimonium comes from a nonChristian hand, namely, Josephus'. Understandably, Josephus simply retrojected the situation of his own day, into the time of Jesus. Naive retrojection is a common trait of Greco-Roman historians.


So, there's good reason to suppose those are Josephus' own words.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24511  Postby angelo » May 09, 2012 10:10 am

There is the fact that the Testimonium didn't appear until Eusubious wrote about it in the third century. Before this time there is silence on it from various other christian writings. Had the Test. been in existence, don't you think they would have mentioned it? Especially since every scrap of evidence for their Jesus was grasped with both hands.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24512  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 10:26 am

angelo wrote:There is the fact that the Testimonium didn't appear until Eusubious wrote about it in the third century. Before this time there is silence on it from various other christian writings. Had the Test. been in existence, don't you think they would have mentioned it? Especially since every scrap of evidence for their Jesus was grasped with both hands.


No, since no early opponents ever denied Jesus existence it is unlikely that they would have had any use for the uninterpolated Testimonium. But only after it was interpolated did it become a useful "authority" for Christians to cite. So this theory does not succeed.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24513  Postby angelo » May 09, 2012 10:43 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
angelo wrote:There is the fact that the Testimonium didn't appear until Eusubious wrote about it in the third century. Before this time there is silence on it from various other christian writings. Had the Test. been in existence, don't you think they would have mentioned it? Especially since every scrap of evidence for their Jesus was grasped with both hands.


No, since no early opponents ever denied Jesus existence it is unlikely that they would have had any use for the uninterpolated Testimonium. But only after it was interpolated did it become a useful "authority" for Christians to cite. So this theory does not succeed.

Depends at how one looks at it. I see it as proof that Eusebius [father of christian church history ] forged it.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24514  Postby archibald » May 09, 2012 10:52 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:

Could you please provide a full-context quote of his words, so that we can discuss it here? I'm open to changing my mind on this, even though I'm inclined to give Hoffmann the benefit of doubt.


Ah yes. The benefit of the doubt. That thing that some get and others don't. :)

Actually, I'm not particularly interested in us agreeing or disagreeing to what degree Hoffman's view has hardened or softened, but if you can get from this.....

With due regard to the complexity of evidence surrounding Christian origins—a subject that has been complicated, in a good way, rather than solved by the discoveries of modern scholarship—I no longer believe it is possible to answer the “historicity question. “ No quantum of material discovered since the1940’s, in the absence of canonical material would support the existence of an historical founder. No material regarded as canonical and no church doctrine built upon it in the history of the church would cause us to deny it. Whether the New Testament runs from Christ to Jesus or Jesus to Christ is not a question we can answer.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/opeds/hoffman1044.shtml

......to recent use of the word 'nutters', by reading the nuances of the context, then good luck with that. I'm not especially convinced, no personal offense intended, that you have a sufficiently open mind. But then, that's my prerogative, to say that to both sides. Ah, the benefits of a rational, neutral position. :)



IgnorantiaNescia wrote:As you know, I admitted that it is possible for it to have such meaning, but my position is that such judgments should be based on the evidence. There are limits to the weight of such analyses - especially in the case of a small corpus - but I think there is good reason to suppose that Paul conformed to common usage, especially since that formula is also used in the LXX. Whereas Paul indeed had his own usage, how likely is it he would mean something rather different from the standard meaning (biological kinship) if there isn't evidence of specialised Christian jargon here?


If the words 'standard' or 'formula' here were empirical or scientific, or just plain...tangible, I might agree more, but they are so not that. And that is what Cito is saying. Personally, I can't think of a good reason to assume that it's likely we can work out 'what Paul meant', given his arguably extraordinary reliance on brother as non-sibling (I don't think this can be just waived away by looking elsewhere) and the non-flagging up of any exception being made in the verses which HJers focus upon.

IgnorantiaNescia wrote: I hope we can agree that the default reading of "James, the brother of the Lord" is much more parsimonious.


We can agree on that. OTOH, the sibling take on 1 Cor 9:5 seems to be unparsimonius. It's a close call. One can't read one without the other.

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:As for the brothers as witnesses, he does for James, it's in 1 Corintihians 15: 7: "Then he appeared to James, then to all apostles." But I am not sure I understand this argument, for should Paul have believed that all brother witnessed a "resurrected" Jesus?


I didn't mean James. I meant brothers plural.

Are you saying that the supposed eminent, with their arguably implied missionary status siblings didn't see their risen brother, though 500 lesser blokes did? One wonders what could have convinced them. One wonders what they might have preached. Parsimony gone on holiday has it? :)



IgnorantiaNescia wrote:Sound? Yes. Mean? No. First, the part from Galatians is incomplete, the full title reads "Iakobon ton adelphon tou kuriou" which means "James (Iakobon, noun in accusative case) the brother (ton adelphon, article and noun in accusative case) of the Lord (tou kuriou, article and noun in genitive case)", (which makes it sound a little more dissimilar, but that isn't the crucial point). The issue is that the structure is different, "Titon (Titus, noun in accusative case) ton adelphon ([the] brother, article and noun in accusative case) mou (my, first person possessive personal pronoun)", so it doesn't conform to the formula "X, the brother of Y" that's under debate - rather it's simply a way of saying "X, my brother" because mou is just the Greek way of saying "my". It is not debated that the latter formula can refer to fictive kinship.


I need further clarification on this. Can't Galatians read as 'the lord's brother' just as 2 Cor 2:13 reads 'my brother'? The linguistic structure is identical, it seems to me. And it appears to me that, for example, the later gospels (say, Matthew 12:49) give us every reason to suppose, in addition to Paul's habitual usage, that early Christians might easily have considered themselves both brothers of each other and of Jesus.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24515  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 10:53 am

archibald wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
archibald wrote:Do remind me, what's Wells' latest position? One more change of heart and he'll be eligible for free Membership to the Hoffman Club and the Allison Bad Patch society.


He believes in two historical Jesuses, one earlier Pauline Jesus who was crucified and a later Galilean preacher described in Q, while Mark's Jesus was a fictional creation, throwing one mythical Jesus into the mix. So the score is one mythical Jesus, two historical Jesuses. I suppose that makes him a "double historicist"?

http://www.bede.org.uk/gawells.htm

So I doubt he'll soon adopt Hoffmann's stance of "Jesus probably existed, Mythicism is a valid thought but the method is bollocks" (paraphrase) or Dale Allison's apocalyptical Jesus.


Er, Hoffman's current stance, I think you mean. He previously described the historicity question as unanswerable and open. Pretty much like me, and I'm almost sure I didn't see the words 'bollocks methods' in his foreword to Wells' 'The Jesus Myth'. :)


He still thinks it is an open question, though, but he thinks it is more probable that Jesus did exist. He has admitted he tends more towards Jesus having existed nowadays and he is open about that (even in that thread, from which I quoted before). In any case, I still fail to see a U-turn in this, only a small shift. "Bollocks" is my word, his word is "madness".

Remember what I have posted before in this thread:

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
archibald wrote:
proudfootz wrote:

Based on snippets I've read Hoffman[sic] has expressed doubts on the historicity of Jesus in the past.


A member of 'the academy', expressing doubt about the historicity of Jesus? Whatever next?


Not much more, he has commented in the comments of his recent post that he tends more towards a historical Jesus and thinks that Myther methodology is bunk.

rjosephhoffmann wrote:“4) there have been a significant increases in the methodology and data supporting the idea of a mythical Jesus” False.

Actually, the evidence has trended much the other way. The myth theory was much stronger at the turn of the twentieth century. Scholarship has made the position increasingly untenable, especially in the last fifty years.

__________________
Andrew wrote:Dr. Hoffman, I just listened to your interesting appearance on “Point of Inquiry” (15 June 2007) and was surprised to hear you deny the historicity of Jesus. Do you still hold to that? Because I had gotten the opposite impression from reading your blog.

rjosephhoffmann wrote:I have often had doubts about the historicity of Jesus. Many critical NT scholars and even theologians do. Have a look at what’s coming next week.

rjosephhoffmann wrote:I still think the question is intrinsically interesting. Everything depends on how it’s approached. What I have said ultimately in a series on the topic is that the evidence doesn’t permit us to judge absolutely; I think I am still in that camp, though I tend to be persuaded more and more that Jesus existed.

giu73 wrote:So, is it a “slam dunk” or does “the evidence doesn’t permit us to judge absolutely”? I am buffled, expecially since all that Carrier has always said is that mythicism is *slightly* more probable than historicism. So, is this a respectable position, or just madness?

rjosephhoffmann wrote:The conclusion isn’t “impermissible”–it may not be reachable (as I’ve said); but the method, which is what matters, is madness–especially in forming the premises that have been used to reach it.

__________________
Not much to console Mythers, it seems.


http://www.rationalskepticism.org/chris ... l#p1294977

This all seems internally consistent for Hoffmann to claim, in my eyes.

archibald wrote:As for Wells himself, it's true he's had a change of heart, but what do you make of this, from your link to Bede's Library:

'Paul, he (Wells) claims, knew nothing of Judas, Pilate or Jesus's earthly ministry nor exactly when he had lived. However he made very clear, contra Earl Doherty and indeed the chairman of the meeting, that Paul did believe Jesus had been a real Jewish man put to death by crucifixion.

http://www.bede.org.uk/gawells.htm


I'm not convinced about Paul's ignorance of Jesus' earthly ministry at all, Paul does mention some elements of earthly ministry, like Jesus' teachings on divorce (1 Cor 7: 10) and recounts what he said during the Last Supper (1 Cor 11: 23-26). It is not detailed, but he does mention such aspects.

archibald wrote:A double historicist. Indeed. Good one. The more Jesuses the merrier. :)


I wonder whether he thinks gJohn has references to again another Jesus? ;)
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24516  Postby archibald » May 09, 2012 11:00 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:

This all seems internally consistent for Hoffmann to claim, in my eyes.


I already know that. To you, personally, it's an internally consistent shift. :)

In my view, we could, if we wished, easily press the phrase 'u-turn' into service to describe changing from 'open question' to 'nutters', though I am happy with 'shift'.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24517  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 11:02 am

angelo wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
angelo wrote:There is the fact that the Testimonium didn't appear until Eusubious wrote about it in the third century. Before this time there is silence on it from various other christian writings. Had the Test. been in existence, don't you think they would have mentioned it? Especially since every scrap of evidence for their Jesus was grasped with both hands.


No, since no early opponents ever denied Jesus existence it is unlikely that they would have had any use for the uninterpolated Testimonium. But only after it was interpolated did it become a useful "authority" for Christians to cite. So this theory does not succeed.

Depends at how one looks at it. I see it as proof that Eusebius [father of christian church history ] forged it.


Alice Whealey writes that people who accuse Eusebius of forgery have a record of being ironically come-upped. She thinks it's false that Eusebius forged the Testimonium.

Olson's general approach to Eusebius, exemplified by his argument that "it is perhaps incredible that Josephus should have written a passage so useful to Eusebius' apologetics"* founders on a logical fallacy. Eusebius quotes verbatim many different sources throughout his works, and he very often tries to use them in some sort of apologetic way. The attempt to use texts apologetically does not indicate that the texts were forged. Eusebius quotes numerous passages of Plato in Books XI-XIV of Praeparatio Evangelica in order to illustrate Christianity's similarity to Plato's ideas, but no scholar would argue that Eusebius created these passages of Plato ex nihilo simply because he tried to use them apologetically. Some modern commentators have been so irritated by Eusebius' very unmodern apologetic approach to Constantine and other emperors that they charged Eusebius with forging the official documents quoted in Historia Ecclesiastica and Vita Constantini. But then part of the official document quoted at v. C. II 24-42 turned up in an early fourth century papyrus manuscript.* And part of an official document quoted at h. e. IX 7,3-14 turned up on an inscription in Asia Minor.* Clearly, Eusebius was not in the habit of simply forging ex nihilo every source of a sensitive nature that he quoted to support his apologetic interests. In sum, the stylistic evidence, his overall track record of neither simply inventing sources out of whole cloth nor substantially rewriting them, and the fact that the Testimonium was such an awkward vehicle for the quite modest apologetic uses that he put it to, make it very doubtful that Eusebius either totally rewrote or forged the Testimonium ex nihilo.


This is of course the same Dr Whealey whose opinion on the Arabic and Syriac Testimonium Flavianum is often cited by Mythicists as bare fact. She might be wrong here, of course, but the language of the reconstructed Testimonium is quite in line with Josephus' language in general.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24518  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 09, 2012 11:10 am

archibald wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:

This all seems internally consistent for Hoffmann to claim, in my eyes.


I already know that. To you, personally, it's an internally consistent shift. :)

In my view, we could, if we wished, easily press the phrase 'u-turn' into service to describe changing from 'open question' to 'nutters', though I am happy with 'shift'.


What I think is consistent is his claim that he never denied the existence of Jesus with the fact that he has only changed moderately. Here's his response again:

It is a very simple question. I hope it will not offend you if I say there is not a simple answer. It depends entirely on what you mean by historical Jesus. If you mean the figure in the gospels in every particular, then I do not know many NT scholars of any repute who believe that. If you mean “Did Jesus exist?” as an historical postulate, my answer is yes, but with reservations. Bultmann falls into this camp–and I assume you know his arguments? If you ask, “Is Jesus a myth,” then my answer is, No. First because a myth is a specific literary genre that mythicists including most atheists usually get wrong. Second because it usually implies a deception which cannot be attributed to the sources or their transmission. Does this clear things up? I very much doubt it. If on the other hand you ask me whether I have changed my mind: that is simple. No. But in order to understand what this means, you would need to read a bit and not listen to a podcast from 2007–my views go back to works as early as 1984. And that requires a bit of effort and concentration. To help you out: I will tell you that I regard the question of historicity a real question. At this point, I regard the question to have been answered affirmatively: the preponderance of evidence sways in the direction of a historical Jesus. I have said so repeatedly. And finally it is a matter of evidence, not what I “think”or “believe.” Richard Carrier’s arguments have done nothing to convince me that there was no historical Jesus, and indeed, I find his entire methodology ignorant, intellectually flawed, and useless.


So, what is inconsistent with what had been said before?

Hoffmann has made it very clear that he has a beef with the methodology of some. If you want you can ask him whether he thinks Wells is a nutter now, but I see no reason to ask him.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24519  Postby nunnington » May 09, 2012 11:13 am

Somewhere, Hoffman has the amusing if rather bitchy comment, that mythicism consists largely of amateurs correcting other amateurs. Anyway, he accepts both the idea of the myth Jesus and the historic Jesus.

The 3 upcoming essays should be interesting.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24520  Postby angelo » May 09, 2012 11:13 am

It is agreed by most historians that the Testimonium is partly forged though is it not? Why couldn't it be wholly forged? Because Alice Whealy says it's not? If partly forged, couldn't Jo be just writing hearsay? But this has been debated here many times before.
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