Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33781  Postby RealityRules » Jul 23, 2013 11:29 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:Another argument is that the Paulines were the product of a school rather than an individual. Not unlike the way the OT Prophets were composed according to "minimalists" like Philip Davies.

The NT canon and its components had to be compiled through collation and editing by a group or school of like-minded people ...
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33782  Postby spin » Jul 24, 2013 12:00 am

As your post is more a discussion closer than a, umm, response, Neil, I'll just summarize some of the points:

Baptism

There is no antecedent for baptism. It's already assumed by Paul and Mark's rationalization of it is only post hoc. Vague precursors concerning Israel coming through water and fire may reflect the Marcan attempts to reconcile baptism, but he still attaches baptism to John. That leaves John the most likely candidate for introducing it, who is externally attested in conflictual content in Josephus. John serves no purpose in the theology of christianity and has to be accommodated, not even recognizing Jesus in the synoptics.

Messianism

There is no source available to talk directly about any failed messianism in the first century, given the inappropriateness of expecting either Jewish or christian sources to do so. We have indirect means, such as the existence of political uprisings that reflect messianic notions of removal of foreign influence. The fact that Jesus is made a messiah, despite his not reflecting the longstanding Jewish literary notion of the messiah, suggests an effort to make him fit a known understanding of the messiah. There is also gospel reference to people who come claiming to be the messiah, suggesting that such messianic claims had been made.

Paul

Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.

Pauline language

Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion. On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus. There is no time assuming Paul was not the initiator of christian rhetoric for dedicated terminology to have developed. When he uses terms they must be seen as based on earlier ones, such as his use of "assembly" (usually translated as the christian "church") or a constructed phrase like "in christ". There is just no christian literary precedents for Paul's language, so it can only come from what non-christian vocabulary that existed prior to his writing. That means we need to read him freshly, without christianizing his writings, if we hope to understand what he is talking about, though this is complicated by later reworkings. I'm fond of the title of an article by J.C. O'Neill, "Paul Wrote Some of All, but Not All of Any".
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33783  Postby RealityRules » Jul 24, 2013 12:50 am

spin wrote:Paul

Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.

"Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do" ..
.. yet you have read them slavishly!, and go on to do so ....

spin wrote:Pauline language

Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion. On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus. There is no time assuming Paul was not the initiator of christian rhetoric for dedicated terminology to have developed. When he uses terms they must be seen as based on earlier ones, such as his use of "assembly" (usually translated as the christian "church") or a constructed phrase like "in christ". There is just no christian literary precedents for Paul's language, so it can only come from what non-christian vocabulary that existed prior to his writing. That means we need to read him freshly, without christianizing his writings, if we hope to understand what he is talking about, though this is complicated by later reworkings. I'm fond of the title of an article by J.C. O'Neill, "Paul Wrote Some of All, but Not All of Any".

"On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus" ... yet there are plenty of arguments that is not true!!

neilgodfrey wrote:
RealityRules wrote:.
People read the Paul documents as if they are historical records - to do so seems a big assumption

see http://www.rationalskepticism.org/christianity/questioning-the-authenticity-of-the-pauline-documents-t27743.html#p1106613


Another argument is that the Paulines were the product of a school rather than an individual. Not unlike the way the OT Prophets were composed according to "minimalists" like Philip Davies.


dejuror wrote:.... it is actually corroborated in the Canon and by Apologetics that the Pauline Corpus was LATE and that Paul was ALIVE after gLuke was composed.

1. The author of Acts writing some time AFTER the Gospels knew NOTHING of the Pauline Corpus. Read Acts.

2. Apologetics writing in the 3rd and 4th century claimed there was a tradition that Paul was ALIVE after gLuke was composed. See Commentary on Matthew 1 and Church History 6.25.

3. An apologetic source, the Muratorian Canon, claimed the Pauline Corpus was composed AFTER the Apocalypse of John. See the Muratorian Canon.

4. Letters to place Paul in the 1st century at the time of Nero have been deduced to be forgeries. See the Paul/Seneca letters.

5. In the writings of Justin Martyr c 150 CE it would appear that he knew "details" of the story of Jesus found in the Gospels but knew of NONE of the "details" of the Pauline post-resurrection visits. See the writings of Justin.

6. It has been deduced that many letters of the Pauline Corpus were composed AFTER c 70 CE.

7. It has been deduced that the Pauline Corpus has multiple unknown authors.

8. Aristides did not acknowledge Paul at all as the one who evangelized the Roman Empire . See Aristides' Apology

9. Arnobius did NOT acknowledge that Paul preached to the heathen. See Arnobius' Against the Heathen"

10. In Minucius Felix Octavius there is no mention of the entire Pauline Corpus. See Minucius Felix's Octavius

11. The first Apologetic source to mention the Pauline Corpus by name claimed Jesus was crucified under Caudius c 48-50 CE or about 20 years after the 15th year of Tiberius. See Irenaeus "Against Heresies".

12. 1st century Jewish and Roman writers show no influence at all of the Pauline Messiah and Gospel.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33784  Postby spin » Jul 24, 2013 1:32 am

RealityRules wrote:
spin wrote:Paul

Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.

"Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do" ..
.. yet you have read them slavishly!, and go on to do so ....

Nice try, but you aren't dealing with what you are attacking. I specifically start with a narrative and see its implications, implications that don't accord with the usual interpretations, when taken literally. That requires a further study.

RealityRules wrote:
spin wrote:Pauline language

Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion. On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus. There is no time assuming Paul was not the initiator of christian rhetoric for dedicated terminology to have developed. When he uses terms they must be seen as based on earlier ones, such as his use of "assembly" (usually translated as the christian "church") or a constructed phrase like "in christ". There is just no christian literary precedents for Paul's language, so it can only come from what non-christian vocabulary that existed prior to his writing. That means we need to read him freshly, without christianizing his writings, if we hope to understand what he is talking about, though this is complicated by later reworkings. I'm fond of the title of an article by J.C. O'Neill, "Paul Wrote Some of All, but Not All of Any".

"On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus" ... yet there are plenty of arguments that is not true!!

I am well aware of them, but they are not the issue in the particular analysis. And if you persist, it is obvious when Paul attacks the leaders of what would become the normative understanding of religious organization, that he is not the product of later normative church thought. He is neither trinitarian nor even binitarian, so he is obviously not toeing later church ideas. The Pauline letters show no knowledge of the developed Jesus tradition, when we see the lonely Lucan last supper as a post-Marcan implant (1 Cor 11:23-27). All point to an early phase of Jesus tradition development. We can see signs of later insertions such as the Peter material in Gal 2:7b-8 which talks of two gospels one to the circumcised and one to the gentiles, a notion abhorrent to Paul's one true gospel attitude. Again an insertion to bring church order into Paul, making him subservient to the "pope of Rome". Another such addition is the amusing resurrection witnesses of 1 Cor 15:3-11 which renders useless the conditionals in the passage that follow it. This passage is normatizing in nature by defending the conventional church history and denigrating Paul. These insertions are at the cost of Paul in favor of church tradition. The evidence is clear to me of an early Paul adapted to later christianity.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33785  Postby RealityRules » Jul 24, 2013 3:50 am

spin wrote:The evidence is clear to me of an [early] Paul adapted to later christianity.

I can agree there is a strong likelihood the Pauline writings were adapted to [later] christianity, but there are several other issues -
    * whether all the Pauline epistles were written by one person or one group/school, or are a collated collection from several difference sources; &
    * whether some of or all the Pauline writings were about an early gnostic tradition that likely preceded or started concurrently with an early christian theology
It is possible the Pauline writings were, like the canonical gospels, developed over a considerable period of time; even over decades or over 2 or more generations

edit: It is possible some of them were developed before the first century.

What seems clear is that reference to the Pauline writings do not appear before the mid-late 2nd C.

What does not seem clear is how reliable the messages in the Pauline epistles are [add] or how much they reflect developing theology before or when they were incorporated in the canon.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33786  Postby dejuror » Jul 24, 2013 4:06 am

neilgodfrey wrote:I thought you knew your Paul better than this. Paul makes no reference to any earlier material at all?


The Pauline writer did refer to earlier material. The Pauline writings refer to far more earlier material than all the other non-Pauline Epistles. The Pauline Corpus was a product of the Septuagint, the Later Gospels and Acts.

1. 1 Cor. 15
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received , how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried , and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures


2. 1 Cor 11.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks , he brake it, and said , Take , eat : this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped , saying , This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye , as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.


3. 1 Corinthians 14:18 KJV
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.


4. 2 Corinthians 11:33 KJV
And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.


5. Galatians 4:4 KJV
But when the fulness of the time was come , God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law


6. Galatians 2:20 KJV
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


7. Galatians 2:7 KJV
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me , as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter


8. Romans 1:3 KJV
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh..


9. Philippians 2
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation , and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.


10. Romans 1:16 KJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


11. Galatians 2:1 KJV
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.


12. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 KJV
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33787  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 24, 2013 10:01 am

spin wrote:As your post is more a discussion closer than a, umm, response, Neil, I'll just summarize some of the points:

Baptism

There is no antecedent for baptism. It's already assumed by Paul and Mark's rationalization of it is only post hoc. Vague precursors concerning Israel coming through water and fire may reflect the Marcan attempts to reconcile baptism, but he still attaches baptism to John. That leaves John the most likely candidate for introducing it, who is externally attested in conflictual content in Josephus. John serves no purpose in the theology of christianity and has to be accommodated, not even recognizing Jesus in the synoptics.


This is all opinion. No supporting evidence. And no dealing with the nature of the literary evidence itself. I could simply declare the opposite. So what? Where is your argument?

spin wrote:Messianism

There is no source available to talk directly about any failed messianism in the first century, given the inappropriateness of expecting either Jewish or christian sources to do so. We have indirect means, such as the existence of political uprisings that reflect messianic notions of removal of foreign influence. The fact that Jesus is made a messiah, despite his not reflecting the longstanding Jewish literary notion of the messiah, suggests an effort to make him fit a known understanding of the messiah. There is also gospel reference to people who come claiming to be the messiah, suggesting that such messianic claims had been made.


Question begging.

spin wrote:Paul

Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.


I thought the idea that a literal reading is by definition a "true" reading was one of the most elementary mistakes that can ever be made. You justify this by means of another elementary error of logic: the false dilemma.

spin wrote:Pauline language

Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion. On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus. There is no time assuming Paul was not the initiator of christian rhetoric for dedicated terminology to have developed. When he uses terms they must be seen as based on earlier ones, such as his use of "assembly" (usually translated as the christian "church") or a constructed phrase like "in christ". There is just no christian literary precedents for Paul's language, so it can only come from what non-christian vocabulary that existed prior to his writing. That means we need to read him freshly, without christianizing his writings, if we hope to understand what he is talking about, though this is complicated by later reworkings. I'm fond of the title of an article by J.C. O'Neill, "Paul Wrote Some of All, but Not All of Any".


Paul was writing to PRE-Christians? Is this some sort of argument that "in Christ" was a descriptor of certain Jewish assemblies made up of people who, distinctively, actually believed in a messiah?

You evidently have no wish to zero in on any one specific question for discussion as I originally suggested.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33788  Postby Ian Tattum » Jul 24, 2013 10:54 am

dejuror wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:I thought you knew your Paul better than this. Paul makes no reference to any earlier material at all?


The Pauline writer did refer to earlier material. The Pauline writings refer to far more earlier material than all the other non-Pauline Epistles. The Pauline Corpus was a product of the Septuagint, the Later Gospels and Acts.

1. 1 Cor. 15
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received , how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried , and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures


2. 1 Cor 11.
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks , he brake it, and said , Take , eat : this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped , saying , This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye , as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.


3. 1 Corinthians 14:18 KJV
I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all.


4. 2 Corinthians 11:33 KJV
And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.


5. Galatians 4:4 KJV
But when the fulness of the time was come , God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law


6. Galatians 2:20 KJV
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.


7. Galatians 2:7 KJV
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me , as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter


8. Romans 1:3 KJV
Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh..


9. Philippians 2
5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation , and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.


10. Romans 1:16 KJV
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth ; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.


11. Galatians 2:1 KJV
Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also.


12. 1 Thessalonians 5:2 KJV
For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

You make a very good argument here for Paul's letters agreeing in places with Acts and the Gospels, but that might lead to a variety of other conclusions!
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33789  Postby spin » Jul 24, 2013 12:48 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:As your post is more a discussion closer than a, umm, response, Neil, I'll just summarize some of the points:

Baptism

There is no antecedent for baptism. It's already assumed by Paul and Mark's rationalization of it is only post hoc. Vague precursors concerning Israel coming through water and fire may reflect the Marcan attempts to reconcile baptism, but he still attaches baptism to John. That leaves John the most likely candidate for introducing it, who is externally attested in conflictual content in Josephus. John serves no purpose in the theology of christianity and has to be accommodated, not even recognizing Jesus in the synoptics.


This is all opinion. No supporting evidence. And no dealing with the nature of the literary evidence itself. I could simply declare the opposite. So what? Where is your argument?

Neil, I'm not looking for attitude. I can get that elsewhere. The only point that is necessary here is that you have come up empty-handed in your effort to find a serious antecedent for baptism.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:Messianism

There is no source available to talk directly about any failed messianism in the first century, given the inappropriateness of expecting either Jewish or christian sources to do so. We have indirect means, such as the existence of political uprisings that reflect messianic notions of removal of foreign influence. The fact that Jesus is made a messiah, despite his not reflecting the longstanding Jewish literary notion of the messiah, suggests an effort to make him fit a known understanding of the messiah. There is also gospel reference to people who come claiming to be the messiah, suggesting that such messianic claims had been made.


Question begging.

You can call it whatever you like. Looking for clues is certainly not question begging. Your response is simply evasive.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:Paul

Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.


I thought the idea that a literal reading is by definition a "true" reading was one of the most elementary mistakes that can ever be made. You justify this by means of another elementary error of logic: the false dilemma.

When you want to engage in conversation, consider what you are responding to. The first thing one must do with a text is read it as literally as possible. If you don't do that, then you cannot work with the text. One will tend to overlay the text with what they bring to the text from later interpretations. This makes the text extremely hard to analyse.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:Pauline language

Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion. On the christian chronology Paul was writing 20 years or less after the reputed time of Jesus. There is no time assuming Paul was not the initiator of christian rhetoric for dedicated terminology to have developed. When he uses terms they must be seen as based on earlier ones, such as his use of "assembly" (usually translated as the christian "church") or a constructed phrase like "in christ". There is just no christian literary precedents for Paul's language, so it can only come from what non-christian vocabulary that existed prior to his writing. That means we need to read him freshly, without christianizing his writings, if we hope to understand what he is talking about, though this is complicated by later reworkings. I'm fond of the title of an article by J.C. O'Neill, "Paul Wrote Some of All, but Not All of Any".

Paul was writing to PRE-Christians?

What do you intend with this question?

neilgodfrey wrote:Is this some sort of argument that "in Christ" was a descriptor of certain Jewish assemblies made up of people who, distinctively, actually believed in a messiah?

No, it isn't. It's an argument that says it's difficult to make sensible statements about derivation of Pauline language usage, as we have no pre-Pauline christian literature to contextualize Paul's usage. That leaves earlier non-christian, including Jewish, influences for Paul to adapt.

neilgodfrey wrote:You evidently have no wish to zero in on any one specific question for discussion as I originally suggested.

If you want a discussion, you might participate as though you do.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33790  Postby tanya » Jul 24, 2013 12:59 pm

spin wrote:Paul was writing in a literary context that was essentially pre-christian, so his terms and notions are not the settled notions of an established religion.


Unlike you, spin, I have no idea when "Paul" wrote. Accordingly, I have no basis for confirming or opposing your suggestion regarding "literary context...pre-christian". I really am uncertain when "christianity" began, and therefore, I am equally uncertain when "pre-christian" era ends, and christian era begins.

Here are five Greek historians, with different backgrounds. Choose another, if you prefer. My point is simple: What is there about the text of any of these five authors, that would indicate "literary context" for their extant works? At least one of these authors adheres to a religious ideology, so, there ought to be room here, to illustrate a simple example of writing which provides "literary context", sufficient to declare an approximate date of composition, based on the intrinsic merits of the work itself.

Appian of Alexandria 95 CE – 165 CE Ῥωμαϊκά

Arrian of Nicomedia 86 CE – 160 CE Ἀλεξάνδρου ἀνάβασις

Dio Chrysostom 40 CE – 115 CE Discourses (volume III, #32)

Dexippus 210 CE – 273 CE Chronica Historia

Dio Cassius 150 CE – 235 CE History of Rome, vol LX http://remacle.org/bloodwolf/historiens ... e1.htm#ECL

LX. Ὁτι τῶν Ῥωμαίων ἁλούσης ὑπὸ Γαλατῶν τῆς πόλεως εἰς τὸ Καπιτώλιον ἀνασκευασαμένων, ὁ Κάμιλλος φυγὰς ὢν, εἰσπέμπει πρὸς αὐτοὺς, ὡς ἐπιθέσθαι βούλεται τοῖς Γαλάταις. Ὡς δὲ ὁ διακομίζων τὰ γράμματα εἰς τὸ φρούριου ἀφίκετο, οἱ βάρβαροι τὰ ἴχνη διεσημαίντο. Καὶ μικροῦ δεῖν καὶ τὸ καταφύγιον ἔλαβεν ἂν, εἰ μὴ ἱεροὶ χῆνες βοσκόμενοι τὴν τῶν βαρβάρων ἔφοδον διεθρύλλησαν, καὶ τοὺς ἔνδον Ῥωμαίους διυπνίσαντες τοῖς ὅπλοις παρέστησαν.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33791  Postby RealityRules » Jul 24, 2013 1:06 pm

spin wrote:Paul
Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.
neilgodfrey wrote:I thought the idea that a literal reading is by definition a "true" reading was one of the most elementary mistakes that can ever be made. You justify this by means of another elementary error of logic: the false dilemma.
spin wrote:When you want to engage in conversation, consider what you are responding to. The first thing one must do with a text is read it as literally as possible. If you don't do that, then you cannot work with the text. One will tend to overlay the text with what they bring to the text from later interpretations. This makes the text extremely hard to analyse.

The first thing one must do with a text is place it in context:
    Is it a text supported by other texts; other accounts of the time?
    Is it supported by other things - artifacts; objects; archaeology?
Only then can one determine if it ought to be or can be read literally.

Sure one can evaluation in light of others' evaluations/interpretations, but one ought to work from first principles
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33792  Postby spin » Jul 24, 2013 1:17 pm

RealityRules wrote:
spin wrote:Paul
Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.
neilgodfrey wrote:I thought the idea that a literal reading is by definition a "true" reading was one of the most elementary mistakes that can ever be made. You justify this by means of another elementary error of logic: the false dilemma.
spin wrote:When you want to engage in conversation, consider what you are responding to. The first thing one must do with a text is read it as literally as possible. If you don't do that, then you cannot work with the text. One will tend to overlay the text with what they bring to the text from later interpretations. This makes the text extremely hard to analyse.

The first thing one must do with a text is place it in context:
    Is it a text supported by other texts; other accounts of the time?
    Is it supported by other things - artifacts; objects; archaeology?
Only then can one determine if it ought to be or can be read literally.

Sure one can evaluation in light of others' evaluations/interpretations, but one ought to work from first principles

Seriously, you can't do very much at all unless you first try to read a text literally. Unless the text is epigraphy there is nothing else you can do. You have to contend with what the text says. There are varying degrees of proficiency in doing so.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33793  Postby dejuror » Jul 24, 2013 4:25 pm

Ian Tattum wrote:
You make a very good argument here for Paul's letters agreeing in places with Acts and the Gospels, but that might lead to a variety of other conclusions!


One of those conclusions is that the Pauline Corpus was composed AFTER the Gospels and Acts of the Apostles.

It is extremely important to remember that the Jesus cult itself place Paul LAST.
It is extremely important to remember that a Pauline writer admitted he was LAST to be seen of Jesus.

The story of Paul by the Jesus cult writers is that Saul/Paul was blinded by a bright light and heard a voice of Jesus LONG after Jesus had already ascended in a cloud.

The story in Galatians is that when Paul was CALLED to preach the Gospel he did NOT confer with those BEFORE him. The Galatian writer even claimed he First went to Arabia.

Galatians 1
15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. 18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.


There is no known tradition in the Jesus cult that the Pauline writers started the Jesus cult.

In fact, there was a tradition that the Pauline writer FIRST started to Persecute the Jesus cult.

1. Acts 8:1 KJV
And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles


2. Acts 26:11 KJV
And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme ; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.


3. 1 Corinthians 15:9 KJV
For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


4. Galatians 1:13 KJV
For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it


The Pauline Corpus is in agreement with Acts that Saul/Paul did NOT start the Jesus cult and was one of the FIRST who attempted to DESTROY the cult.

Now, Acts of the Apostles does NOT claim anywhere that the Pauline Corpus was composed up to the time of Festus or up to c 59-62 CE.

There are NO visions of Jesus by Saul/Paul in Acts.

There is not one reference to the Pauline Corpus in Acts.

Essentially, there were NO Pauline letters to Churches up to at least c 59-62 CE.

Up to the late 2nd century writers for the Jesus cult still did NOT know of or showed no influence by the Pauline Corpus.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33794  Postby Stein » Jul 24, 2013 4:35 pm

Michael66 wrote:
angelo wrote:There's also that moment because of political expediency by Constantine when he decreed that henceforth christianity would be the new religion of the Empire along side the pagan ones. Christianity had the better salesmen who had a better more believable product to sell which gave the masses some hope. That product was a perceived resurrection of the dead.


Certainly Constantine had an important role to play in Christian history. But history also showed us that Christianity spread also in times of persecution. The early martyrs (including, probably, the apostles) also played an important role - living witnesses that the Christian faith was worth dying for.

The thing is Angelo, you can point to Paul or to Constantine, or whoever played a role in spreading the faith. But it doesn't really show anything other than the fact that people were involved in the faith being spread. It may seem a bit harsh, but my gut response is "so what?". It doesn't seem to prove or disprove anything about the claims of Christianity - it just describes how the faith spread. No one would deny that Paul and Constantine were important people in spreading the faith, but, 'so what?'


Welcome to THE THREAD, Michael66. :cheers:

Cheers,

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33795  Postby Stein » Jul 24, 2013 4:58 pm

Ultimately, Wells ended up re-framing his perspective toward a possible HJ, somewhen, somehow, because of the sayings, particular the parallel ones in Matt./Luke, sometimes referenced as the so-called "Q" sayings.

If someone like Wells ultimately found those sayings to be more persuasive as history than anything in the rest of the data, they certainly deserve close attention.

For sheer appearance frequency in the originals at relatively more independent and earlier strata levels, like Mark, Paul, or "Q" (instead of dependent levels like later spinoffs of Mark, etc.), two sayings in particular reappear the most, "There are last which shall be first" & "Lose your life to others to save it". On the off-chance, then, that those two may go back the earliest, we may be looking at two sayings here that Jesus himself may have stressed the most, more than some of the others, which may not even be from him at all.

Now clearly, of all the sayings, the golden rule became the most repeated in later generations. But that saying is not pertinent here. Unlike the two already cited, the golden rule is not original to Jesus at all, first appearing in an ancient Egyptian tale, "Eloquent Peasant", where the Golden Rule is introduced as "Act for the man who acts, to cause him to act". Centuries later, a disciple talking with Confucius in the Analects assures Confucius that "I won't do to others what I would not wish done to me", to which Confucius responds "Tzu-Lu, you're not at that level yet!"

The other two cited sayings here, on the other hand, appear, in fact, as core principles, entirely Jesus's own, & a justified claim to fame -- justified, that is, in that no one else in history has laid claim to them. They first appear as Jesus's and they remain so for the balance of the historic record. Similarly, the most recent research appears to confirm "Love your enemies" as unique to Jesus. The first two, in appearing to be unique, have not even been as exhaustively researched as "Love your enemies". The latter has been subjected to the most intense scrutiny of all -- and it is also a saying associated with some of the earliest textual strata we have. Yes, plenty before Jesus have said things like "Don't hate those that hate you", or "Respond to injury without injury", and so on. But pro-active encouragement to go out and actually love one's enemies is a step too far for every other thinker known in history.

Consequently, going by the textual and strata patterns, the central message of the sayings is not the golden rule but either "There are last which shall be first" or "Lose your life to others to save it" -- or "Love your enemies". These are all unique to Jesus, but not the golden rule. These three are of the most central historic importance then, and in fact, their rapidest success was among the slaves -- hardly a coincidence. The philosophy is both wise & original here if we stick to these and similarly multiply attested "planks".

This philosophy would have spread like wildfire no matter what, purely because of its radical aspects. No, most don't follow it, of course, but that doesn't stop it from making a splash purely because of its eccentricity. It achieves notoriety that way instead of through actual practice. Still, it's something to ponder the even greater impact it might have had if the noxious mumbo-jumbo that the church added on hadn't effectively muffled it. But it did. For a while, it was even forbidden for anyone but church officials to even look at the Beatitudes, for instance, much less distribute them. Only the virgin birth and the post-Resurrection appearances were distributed widely -- the latest and least creditable accretions of all to the textual strata. No surprise, of course. (And even these were generally distributed in paraphrase, not in the original wordings.) The church hierarchy clearly detested, feared and loathed all the social commentary but found the mumbo-jumbo innocuous. So churchmen have done their muffling work most efficiently: To this day, even on freethought sites in the twenty-first century, it's the bogus magic man that gets talked about, not the radical social thinker. So congratulations, churchmen, and a hearty Fuck you.

What also stamps certain "planks" like "Love your enemies" as so unusual is that sayings like this don't aid the sort of cult-think typical of brainwashers like the churchmen whose chief interest is in promoting a circle-the-wagons siege mentality instead. For altruism as startling as "Love your enemies", it remains unlikely, though not impossible, that a mere transcribing disciple -- however dedicated to the spirit of a social radical like Jesus -- would bother to offer caveats admonishing a general love of one's opponents when his primary concern would be to promote an acceptance of Christians and Christianity above all. Usually, planks established "by committee" inculcate an us/them dynamic, not Love your enemies.

It remains barely possible that someone else sincerely extrapolated the fundamentals of Jesus' message through proselytizing with admonishments so profoundly selfless and specific as these, perhaps admonishments not strictly reflecting the letter of Jesus' own formulations at all, merely their spirit. Nevertheless, that still seems less likely than one lone visionary eccentric speaking for himself without yet having some "institution" in mind at all. Caveats of such specific selflessness just come more plausibly from an independent pioneer, not from later followers who might sometimes be "plus royaliste que le roi", for whom caring for one's enemies would be the last thing they'd have in mind. In the end then, who else but Jesus himself could most plausibly have voiced such a warning against knee-jerk vindictiveness? That consideration alone would seem to confirm the general authenticity of the so-called "Q" passages.

So far, no other name than Jesus is associated with these sayings. And since there's a symbiotic textual history attached to the smallest nexus of these sayings -- and by coincidence, the most radical nexus -- tying them together at a very early textual stage -- historians go with the more likely option rather than the less likely: The more likely is that a small core of sayings among the couple of hundred out there more likely than not comes from one individual flouting his peers, rather than several hucksters snake-oil-ing them en masse in the name of a "leader".

Given that Wells ultimately felt that this tiny nexus of sayings comes off as more plausibly historic than the balance of the data, here's a question for a-historicists: WHO WAS THAT ONE INDIVIDUAL WHO WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EARLIEST RADICAL NEXUS OF SAYINGS IF IT WAS NOT JESUS? And if you still think that pro-active stuff like Love your enemies can be generated purely by committee.................. :roll:

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33796  Postby Clive Durdle » Jul 24, 2013 7:57 pm

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD


And who were that group who looked in detail at all the sayings and concluded....
"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33797  Postby Stein » Jul 24, 2013 8:33 pm

Clive Durdle wrote:
Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I [am] the LORD


And who were that group who looked in detail at all the sayings and concluded....


You're being entirely inattentive -- how convenient.

Refraining from avenging wrongs versus pro-actively loving those who are one's enemies are totally different things. I even said as much in my post. Furthermore, this Leviticus saying is generally addressing feuds among one's own people, not behavior aimed entirely at the "other". Hence, "love thy neighbor" here, NOT "Love your enemies".

Next.

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33798  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 24, 2013 11:04 pm

spin wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
The first thing one must do with a text is place it in context:
    Is it a text supported by other texts; other accounts of the time?
    Is it supported by other things - artifacts; objects; archaeology?
Only then can one determine if it ought to be or can be read literally.

Sure one can evaluation in light of others' evaluations/interpretations, but one ought to work from first principles

Seriously, you can't do very much at all unless you first try to read a text literally. Unless the text is epigraphy there is nothing else you can do. You have to contend with what the text says. There are varying degrees of proficiency in doing so.


Before we know how to ready any text we need to establish its provenance, and one major reason we need its provenance is to guide us in knowing how to do a basic literary analysis on it so we can figure out exactly what sort of text it is. (We generally do these things subconsciously and within microseconds in relation to texts we are familiar with.)

The assumption that a literal reading of a text is somehow the most "authentic" is a naivety that has led to all sorts of misdirections.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33799  Postby RealityRules » Jul 24, 2013 11:24 pm

spin wrote:Seriously, you can't do very much at all unless you first try to read a text literally. Unless the text is epigraphy there is nothing else you can do. You have to contend with what the text says. There are varying degrees of proficiency in doing so.

You have to contend with what the text says in context of what the text is about.

Seriously, these are theological texts; while they are now historically significant texts, they are not texts about significant historical events - they are merely alleged musings of an alleged apostle of a new religion.


spin wrote:Paul
Working from Galatians I have attempted to read the text as literally as possible in an effort to understand what it says, rather than what later interpreters have said it says. >>The result is that Paul argues against prior Jesus believers, indicating that his Jesus knowledge instead comes from revelation << (which doesn't require any supernatural event given todays understandings of psychology). He points to people in Jerusalem who show no knowledge of the gospel Jesus and who advocate torah observance, which Paul's Jesus has abrogated. Paul's writings have been heavily reworked, as can be seen with the attacks on his personality and insertion of later established church oriented notions and interests, so his writings cannot be read slavishly as many christian interpreters tend to do.

"The result"?? ... "his Jesus knowledge"??

Really ???!!

Perhaps you might read Robert M. Price's book
"The Amazing Colossal Apostle:The Search for the Historical Paul" (2012); Signature Books.

"In Price’s new book, The Amazing Colossal Apostle: The Search for the Historical Paul ... Price suggests that Paul is a composite of several historical figures, including Marcion of Pontos, Stephen the Martyr, Simon the Sorcerer, and the iconoclastic evangelist who was named Paul. His letters were actually written and edited by other people, including Marcion and an early Church Father, Polycarp of Smyrna."

"Price has joined the ranks of scholars who conclude that Acts was a second-century historical novel based on the writings of ancient authors like Homer, Virgil, Euripides, and Josephus. The result, according to Price, was a collection of stories and myths that have “virtually no historical value,” especially in how they relate to a real Paul. Some scholars have even used word-print analysis and other techniques to show that Polycarp was Paul’s principal editor and sole author of the epistles to Timothy and Titus, a finding with which Price agrees."

http://signaturebooks.com/2012/12/new-testament-scholar-says-apostle-paul-really-existed/

.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33800  Postby spin » Jul 25, 2013 1:32 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
The first thing one must do with a text is place it in context:
    Is it a text supported by other texts; other accounts of the time?
    Is it supported by other things - artifacts; objects; archaeology?
Only then can one determine if it ought to be or can be read literally.

Sure one can evaluation in light of others' evaluations/interpretations, but one ought to work from first principles

Seriously, you can't do very much at all unless you first try to read a text literally. Unless the text is epigraphy there is nothing else you can do. You have to contend with what the text says. There are varying degrees of proficiency in doing so.

Before we know how to ready any text we need to establish its provenance, and one major reason we need its provenance is to guide us in knowing how to do a basic literary analysis on it so we can figure out exactly what sort of text it is. (We generally do these things subconsciously and within microseconds in relation to texts we are familiar with.)

"Let's establish the provenance of this text."
"How do we do that?"
"Well, first let's look at it closely."
"Which edition?"
"The first, of course."
"Oh, you mean the 1867 edition."
"No, the actual document."
"But we don't have that. It was lost centuries ago. What'll we do?"
"Let's read the Loeb apparatus. It'll give us clues."
"OK, we've got some clues. What do they tell us about provenance of the text?"
"Well, we know where the earliest manuscripts reside.... I know! Let's get some critical analyses."
"Hey, wow. There's a lot of stuff written by these religious scholar guys about the text."

Still no provenance. But then, so many of the texts we have to deal with don't yield up their provenance in any substantive way whatsoever. There is no substitute for reading the text to get what can be found out about it and that includes first literally.

neilgodfrey wrote:The assumption that a literal reading of a text is somehow the most "authentic" is a naivety that has led to all sorts of misdirections.

I made the point that reading certain parts of Galatians literally rather than through the eyes of later tradition leads one to come to very different ideas, to conflict between later tradition and what Paul says. I think that is significant. I'm really sorry, if you don't like that, but it is a waste of a reader's time--if they are in the business of evaluating a text for what it says and how it fits into a context--not to attempt to find out what it says as closely as they can, which entails reading it literally among other things. Without doing so, you have no hope of contextualizing it. So go ahead, don't read what a text says literally and see what you can say that is useful about it. Nothing, of course, because you haven't actually read it.

Later traditional interpretation of a text is only another layer of mystification of the text, to be removed if you don't want to face all sorts of misdirections. The problem is that we come with much of that later traditional interpretation already built in, through the long effects of christian cultural dominance, so a literal reading is inherently harder to get. To start afresh you have to get back to the literal reading.
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