Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33661  Postby proudfootz » Jun 29, 2013 2:53 am

Corky wrote:I reckon Vridar, the historical Jesus blog, has upset the powers that be...


With any luck this mistake will be corrected.

It would be a serious loss for one of the few bright spots in the vastness of the interwebs to be snuffed out.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33662  Postby Zwaarddijk » Jun 29, 2013 11:41 am

Evan Allen wrote:Don, have you heard of a distinction without a difference? I think you just made one. Sort of like "There was a historical Paul Bunyan that we can know nothing about."

The distinction Don makes there is quite important. I don't doubt one moment that the gospels contain midrashic exegesis - what I do doubt is identifying the whole work as a midrash.

Sure, the gospels could in their entirety be some kind of metaphorical work - as some mythicists contend - but if so, they have to be of a genre that significantly differs from the aggadaic midrash genre.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33663  Postby proudfootz » Jun 29, 2013 12:37 pm

The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33664  Postby Zwaarddijk » Jun 29, 2013 6:34 pm

proudfootz wrote:The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...


What's even weirder is the complainant had Creative Commons as well as All Rights Reserved claims in different parts of of his blog layout, as well as have been making a few rather explicit lies about the whole affair. The complainant is a Christian, so it seems he thinks the ban on false witnessing is one of those Jewish ritual commandments Jesus' death abrogated ... lucky for him it's not one of the ten big commandments, right?
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33665  Postby Corky » Jun 29, 2013 9:28 pm

proudfootz wrote:The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...

It doesn't seem to be in the same place...my old bookmark still takes me to the "no longer available" notice. Oh well, just so long as it's back, right?
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33666  Postby Stein » Jun 30, 2013 12:05 am

What a marvelous article here. I wonder if this has been cited in this thread before --

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

READ IT!

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33667  Postby proudfootz » Jun 30, 2013 12:44 am

Corky wrote:
proudfootz wrote:The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...

It doesn't seem to be in the same place...my old bookmark still takes me to the "no longer available" notice. Oh well, just so long as it's back, right?

No, you will probably need to make a new bookmark that goes to vridar.org and not to wordpress.

Currently they are trying to retrieve content from the old site.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33668  Postby proudfootz » Jun 30, 2013 1:01 am

Stein wrote:What a marvelous article here. I wonder if this has been cited in this thread before --

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

READ IT!

Stein


I believe it has been cited. The author claims no one in the 'lay audience' is capable of being open minded.

He means you, Stein. And me.

Image

Apparently this piece is an effort to shut down all discussion.

"Leave it to us, the Denizens of the Ivory Tower: only we can decide for you what you should believe. Leave your offering and go! "
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33669  Postby proudfootz » Jun 30, 2013 1:03 am

Zwaarddijk wrote:
proudfootz wrote:The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...


What's even weirder is the complainant had Creative Commons as well as All Rights Reserved claims in different parts of of his blog layout, as well as have been making a few rather explicit lies about the whole affair. The complainant is a Christian, so it seems he thinks the ban on false witnessing is one of those Jewish ritual commandments Jesus' death abrogated ... lucky for him it's not one of the ten big commandments, right?


Yes, a rather sad state of affairs.

Perhaps the complainant didn't realize what 'fair use' meant when he agreed to it?
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33670  Postby james1v » Jun 30, 2013 1:26 am

proudfootz wrote:The good news is that Vridar is back up!

http://vridar.org/

The issue was over copyrights - one wonders if the complainant would have been so touchy about copyrights if it was a complimentary citation...


New Poop, renewed evangelism! It wouldnt suprise me if the followers complained, alot.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33671  Postby tanya » Jun 30, 2013 12:21 pm

Stein wrote:What a marvelous article here. I wonder if this has been cited in this thread before --

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

READ IT!


Stein's command represents my marching orders. Yes Sir. Thank you, sir. Anything you write, sir.

The Jesus Process: Maurice Casey by rjosephhoffmann

Mythicism: A Story of Bias, Incompetence and Falsehood

Copyright (c) 2012, Maurice Casey


Let's see what he writes:
Mythicists also presuppose that the attestation of the Gospels somehow ought to be similar to the attestation of modern documents written in cultures where writing is normal, and books are printed. This is why, as mythicists try to date the Gospels as late as possible, one of the reasons they use is the date of surviving manuscripts. In doing this, however, they show no understanding of the nature of ancient documents and their transmission,...


Lots to discuss, but the question here is simple: How does this summary, even if accurate, (which I deny, emphatically), relate to "Historical Jesus"?

Even if every living and dead "mythicist", of whatever flavor, were WRONG, how would that fact validate the concept of an historical Jesus? Thales and Aristotle had notions regarding species' evolution, but would proving them WRONG, clarify the correctness of Darwin's observations on finches in the Galapagos? With respect to "Historical Jesus", the task before the "true believers" is simple: find some finches, forget about Thales and Aristotle's (wrong) notions.

About the dating, I cannot allow this bit of utter stupidity to pass, unnoticed. I don't try to "date the Gospels as late as possible." I accept the traditional notion that Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus are fourth century creations. They appear to represent copies of earlier texts. They are the two oldest complete texts of the canon. When were those earlier texts composed? I acknowledge that some folks accept palaeographic analyses of ancient papyrus, dating fragments as early as mid second century.

Stein: you need to furnish some evidence, since Casey/Hoffman cannot or will not, explaining how our notion of the dates of the two codices above, or the oldest extant fragments are wrong, and why the real date of these fragments, or codices, is much earlier.

With regard to "modern documents", vs. "ancient documents", I dispute this notion. Scholars still read Eratosthenes and Archimedes, without concern about "the nature of ancient documents".

My reason for regarding Jesus as "mythical", rather than "historical" is simple: Mark 1:1.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33672  Postby proudfootz » Jun 30, 2013 1:59 pm

Really a dreadful mess:

Paul’s epistles were written in a high context culture, which was homogeneous enough for people not to have to repeat everything all the time, whereas American, European and many other scholars belong to a low context culture, which gives them quite unrealistic expectations of what the authors of the epistles ought to have written. This is one basic reason why Paul says so little about the life and teaching of Jesus. To some extent, his Gentile Christians had been taught about Jesus already, so he could take such knowledge for granted. He therefore had no reason to mention places such as Nazareth, or the site of the crucifixion, nor to remind his congregations that Jesus was crucified on earth recently.


On this 'theory' we must conclude that christians weren't taught about the resurrection since Paul feels compelled to talk about it. A lot.

Now is this what Casey believes to be the case?

Or is this an unintended consequence of an ad hoc high- versus low-context culture explanation for the absence of an historical Jesus in Paul, which of course needs further ad hoc explanations to make it come out 'right'?

The article itself is worth a read, but the comments are very enlightening indeed!

One poster linked to this article:

Because if you look at it more closely, what is often presented as a scholarly debate between those who think Jesus was a myth and those who think he was an actual person looks more like a professional conflict between those who want to examine the question and those who don't want anyone to entertain any doubts about the matter. Historians versus obscurantists might be a more apt term than mythicists versus historicists.) Hick has accurately described the cutting edge of practice in theological seminaries and departments of New Testament studies when it come to the question of Jesus' existence, namely, that it is treated as if there were no question. And it is the cutting edge in those places just as much today in 2012 as it was when Hick said so in 1986. The question is how much this cutting edge resembles anything which could be legitimately be considered an academic cutting edge.

http://thewrongmonkey.blogspot.com/2012 ... e-way.html


In fiction the 'method' of the obscurantists would be called a 'willing suspension of disbelief'.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33673  Postby Blood » Jun 30, 2013 4:16 pm

Stein wrote:What a marvelous article here. I wonder if this has been cited in this thread before --

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

READ IT!

Stein


Stein, Maurice Casey's article has been discussed extensively here already. Do a search under his name.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33674  Postby Blood » Jun 30, 2013 4:34 pm

proudfootz wrote:Really a dreadful mess:

Paul’s epistles were written in a high context culture, which was homogeneous enough for people not to have to repeat everything all the time, whereas American, European and many other scholars belong to a low context culture, which gives them quite unrealistic expectations of what the authors of the epistles ought to have written. This is one basic reason why Paul says so little about the life and teaching of Jesus. To some extent, his Gentile Christians had been taught about Jesus already, so he could take such knowledge for granted. He therefore had no reason to mention places such as Nazareth, or the site of the crucifixion, nor to remind his congregations that Jesus was crucified on earth recently.


On this 'theory' we must conclude that christians weren't taught about the resurrection since Paul feels compelled to talk about it. A lot.



As Levi-Strauss noted, any retelling of a myth is a new version of the myth. The theory of "high context culture" is a new rationalization of the same old myth, and not a very good one, since Casey actually doesn't understand what Edward Hall's "high context culture" actually means. And this is the guy who thinks he has authority to lecture us on the fine nuances of textual scholarship. :P
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33675  Postby Stein » Jun 30, 2013 8:41 pm

proudfootz wrote:
Stein wrote:What a marvelous article here. I wonder if this has been cited in this thread before --

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/s ... clnk&gl=us

READ IT!

Stein


I believe it has been cited. The author claims no one in the 'lay audience' is capable of being open minded.

He means you, Stein. And me.

Image


A - hem. Casey is an atheist.

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33676  Postby dogsgod » Jul 01, 2013 2:27 am

Stein wrote:

A - hem. Casey is an atheist.

Stein


Is that supposed to mean something? I know some Christians that are more open minded than most atheists, and a lot smarter too, so what?


Is BS written by an atheist somehow to be more palatable than BS written by a believer? BS is BS regardless, is it not? Heck, I know some efing cats that are smarter than some of the atheists that post on this board.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33677  Postby proudfootz » Jul 03, 2013 1:32 pm

dogsgod wrote:
Stein wrote:

A - hem. Casey is an atheist.

Stein


Is that supposed to mean something? I know some Christians that are more open minded than most atheists, and a lot smarter too, so what?


Is BS written by an atheist somehow to be more palatable than BS written by a believer? BS is BS regardless, is it not? Heck, I know some efing cats that are smarter than some of the atheists that post on this board.


Casey's alleged confessional status is irrelevant - he doesn't think anyone here should be discussing Jesus.

...and for goodness sake don't look behind the curtain to see how the 'consensus' is made! :o
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33678  Postby proudfootz » Jul 03, 2013 2:09 pm

Blood wrote:
proudfootz wrote:Really a dreadful mess:

Paul’s epistles were written in a high context culture, which was homogeneous enough for people not to have to repeat everything all the time, whereas American, European and many other scholars belong to a low context culture, which gives them quite unrealistic expectations of what the authors of the epistles ought to have written. This is one basic reason why Paul says so little about the life and teaching of Jesus. To some extent, his Gentile Christians had been taught about Jesus already, so he could take such knowledge for granted. He therefore had no reason to mention places such as Nazareth, or the site of the crucifixion, nor to remind his congregations that Jesus was crucified on earth recently.


On this 'theory' we must conclude that christians weren't taught about the resurrection since Paul feels compelled to talk about it. A lot.


As Levi-Strauss noted, any retelling of a myth is a new version of the myth. The theory of "high context culture" is a new rationalization of the same old myth, and not a very good one, since Casey actually doesn't understand what Edward Hall's "high context culture" actually means. And this is the guy who thinks he has authority to lecture us on the fine nuances of textual scholarship. :P


One rather gets the impression Casey would have flunked out of that course had he taken it.

http://vridar.wordpress.com/2012/06/10/ ... -internet/

The 'high context' gambit doesn't really work as there appears to be many situations represented in the epistolary record where it would not only be appropriate to mention some supposed word or deed of Jesus, but the episode would be the trump card that would have settled the debate.

Other rationalizations put forward to explain the silence have included the claim that, since every epistle writer knew that the details of Jesus’ life and ministry were familiar to their readers (which would be a very questionable assumption in itself), no one bothered to make even a passing reference to any of those details, even in places where they would naturally come to mind. J. P. Holding, in his rebuttal to my views—see Reader Feedback—has put it that "there was no need" to mention all these elements of the Gospel account.

I have already attacked the rationality of such arguments in several places on the site. (For example, the response to William in Reader Feedback set 19.) What I am concerned with here is to provide a comprehensive picture of this pervasive silence on the Gospel Jesus contained in the New Testament epistles. While many aspects and examples of it have been touched on throughout my articles, the full extent of it, the nitty-gritty of it, may come as a surprise to many readers. In the present feature, "The Sound of Silence," I will point out and comment on virtually all the identifiable places in the Pauline corpus (Paul and pseudo-Paul), in Hebrews, James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 2 John and Jude, where a reference to some Gospel element, some mention of the historical Jesus, would seem natural, or even called for. One would, of course, not expect to find such a reference in every single instance. But to find it missing in so many instances, covering all aspects of the life and death portrayed in the Gospels, is an astonishing phenomenon which cannot be blithely dismissed or explained away. This is a silence which cuts across every early document, through several authors and a multiplicity of situations, and it creates a very powerful and compelling "argument from silence."

http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/silintro.htm


This is why it seems likely that the gospel tales were unknown to the authors who were supposedly hob-nobbing with Jesus's earthly intimates and converting multitudes all over the Empire to their newly-minted religion for the first time.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33679  Postby GakuseiDon » Jul 04, 2013 12:29 am

proudfootz wrote:The 'high context' gambit doesn't really work as there appears to be many situations represented in the epistolary record where it would not only be appropriate to mention some supposed word or deed of Jesus, but the episode would be the trump card that would have settled the debate.

This has been addressed before on this thread, which I suppose is one reason why the thread is so long, since the same points get raised again and again. :cheers:

There is a logic problem to that argument. "It is in the Gospel, but it is not in Paul." This doesn't really tell us much about Paul, unless we already know that the Gospel event/saying actually occurred. The argument may work against apologists who assume ALL the Gospels are accurate. But mainstream scholarship does not take this position. As I write in my review of Doherty's "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man" several years ago:

    A final example: Doherty warns that it is a mistake to read Gospel events into the writings of Paul and other early letters. He states that even “critical scholars now agree” that Jesus' deeds “could not possibly have matched those of the Gospel story” (page 21) and that “critical scholarship... has begun to admit that much of the Gospel story... is indeed fabrication” (page 82). And yet, Doherty finds significance in Gospel details that are missing in Paul:

      The descent of the dove into Jesus would have provided the perfect parallel to Paul's belief that at baptism the Holy Ghost descended into the believer. The voice of God welcoming Jesus as his Beloved Son could have served to symbolize Paul's contention (as in Romans 8:14-17) that believers have been adopted as sons of God. (Page 65)
    I doubt very much that critical scholarship would expect to find the Gospel story of the dove descending on Jesus in Paul, given that Paul states that Jesus was appointed Son of God by his resurrection from the dead rather than by his baptism (as seen in Mark). It might give fundamentalists food for thought, but would any critical scholar be concerned by the lack of that particular Gospel story in Paul?

proudfootz, can you give me an example of something that Jesus said or did in the Gospels that really happened (at least according to mainstream scholarship), such that Paul should have mentioned it?

proudfootz wrote:This is why it seems likely that the gospel tales were unknown to the authors who were supposedly hob-nobbing with Jesus's earthly intimates and converting multitudes all over the Empire to their newly-minted religion for the first time.

If using Paul's letters, then the problem is that many consider them as "occasional" letters. That is, Paul wrote them to address issues that had arisen in mostly gentile communities. Now, the logic here is that if some deed or saying by Jesus gives a "slam dunk" case for or against an issue "in places where they would naturally come to mind", then surely we wouldn't expect it to be an issue that Paul needed to address in the first place? In other words if Paul addresses issues that have arisen, then more than likely they are issues that were NOT addressed by known deeds or sayings of Jesus.

Again, probably best to discuss actual examples. If you have any, let's discuss!
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33680  Postby dogsgod » Jul 04, 2013 1:23 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
proudfootz wrote:The 'high context' gambit doesn't really work as there appears to be many situations represented in the epistolary record where it would not only be appropriate to mention some supposed word or deed of Jesus, but the episode would be the trump card that would have settled the debate.

This has been addressed before on this thread, which I suppose is one reason why the thread is so long, since the same points get raised again and again. :cheers:

There is a logic problem to that argument. "It is in the Gospel, but it is not in Paul." This doesn't really tell us much about Paul, unless we already know that the Gospel event/saying actually occurred. The argument may work against apologists who assume ALL the Gospels are accurate. But mainstream scholarship does not take this position. As I write in my review of Doherty's "Jesus: Neither God Nor Man" several years ago:

    A final example: Doherty warns that it is a mistake to read Gospel events into the writings of Paul and other early letters. He states that even “critical scholars now agree” that Jesus' deeds “could not possibly have matched those of the Gospel story” (page 21) and that “critical scholarship... has begun to admit that much of the Gospel story... is indeed fabrication” (page 82). And yet, Doherty finds significance in Gospel details that are missing in Paul:

      The descent of the dove into Jesus would have provided the perfect parallel to Paul's belief that at baptism the Holy Ghost descended into the believer. The voice of God welcoming Jesus as his Beloved Son could have served to symbolize Paul's contention (as in Romans 8:14-17) that believers have been adopted as sons of God. (Page 65)
    I doubt very much that critical scholarship would expect to find the Gospel story of the dove descending on Jesus in Paul, given that Paul states that Jesus was appointed Son of God by his resurrection from the dead rather than by his baptism (as seen in Mark). It might give fundamentalists food for thought, but would any critical scholar be concerned by the lack of that particular Gospel story in Paul?

proudfootz, can you give me an example of something that Jesus said or did in the Gospels that really happened (at least according to mainstream scholarship), such that Paul should have mentioned it?

proudfootz wrote:This is why it seems likely that the gospel tales were unknown to the authors who were supposedly hob-nobbing with Jesus's earthly intimates and converting multitudes all over the Empire to their newly-minted religion for the first time.

If using Paul's letters, then the problem is that many consider them as "occasional" letters. That is, Paul wrote them to address issues that had arisen in mostly gentile communities. Now, the logic here is that if some deed or saying by Jesus gives a "slam dunk" case for or against an issue "in places where they would naturally come to mind", then surely we wouldn't expect it to be an issue that Paul needed to address in the first place? In other words if Paul addresses issues that have arisen, then more than likely they are issues that were NOT addressed by known deeds or sayings of Jesus.

Again, probably best to discuss actual examples. If you have any, let's discuss!


There's a difference between reading the gospels into Paul, such as Paul meeting disciples of Jesus, and seeing Paul's influence on the gospel writers since Paul came first. Assuming that Paul met disciples of Jesus comes from having read the gospels, that is an example of reading the gospels into Paul. Paul met some "pillars" that were later portrayed as disciples of Jesus by gospel writers, that is one example as to how Paul's writing influenced the gospel writers.
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