Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33821  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 25, 2013 8:34 am

spin wrote:We were basically having a reasonable discussion with its usual mix of banter, until you posted this. That's where it seems to me you jumped the rails. It was a response to the post that talked of "Scrogg & Groff's ... butterfly effort" and asked "Where is the, umm, baptism?" Hey, hell, my post was really bad attitude.


Slight confusion here. The attitude descriptors were introduced by you much later. I did say that dismissing an argument as a "butterfly effort" was not exactly engaging cogently with the intellectual arguments. . . . My bad, I guess. :facepalm2:

spin wrote:We have both strangely maintained our different views in the discussion. You thinking that I'm not engaging with arguments and I think you are not engaging. What's it to be, Neil? Is there a discussion here to be had?


I love cordial intellectual discussions. What would you like to discuss?

spin wrote:I like the way you went off half-cocked without waiting to see if you understood what was being talked about.


I never went off anywhere. I'm still here. I was following the conversation so closely I was even able to observe the drifting shift in meaning of a certain term from a quixotic charge right down to becoming a simple truism.

spin wrote:Which cannot be done without engaging with what the text puts before you, ie reading it as literally as possible. That allows you to decide what text type it purports to be and whether its words purport to be matter of fact, florid, metaphorical, allegorical, mystical. I agree that a dealing with a text, especially one distant from our cultural context, requires a lot of work. The first step however should be a literal reading, otherwise you can't do much work at all.


Sigh. How does one establish the meaning of a text without first knowing its genre and intent of the author or purpose for which the text has been preserved? (Which leads us to the questions of variant meanings for different audiences who may have deployed the text at this or that time or other.) And how does one establish those things without first establishing something of the provenance of a text and doing a textual analysis comparing it with known literary forms that surround its historical space?

Yes, I really do agree. One first needs to read and have a basic awareness of the words expressed in the text before one can actually have a fundamental knowledge of the text in order to ask those questions. That is the truism bit. It should not need to be expressed, but let's repeat it in case we've forgotten it: one has to read a text first before one can ask sensible questions about it and speak about it with a modicum of knowledge. Yes, one has to be able to first apply technical reading competency to a text one wishes to discuss.

But whether one can justify a literal reading of the text will not be known until after that analysis is done. And if we don't have all the information we need for these things, then we will have to couch all our discussions within a prevalent consciousness of those limits. We can't just barge in gratuituously assuming that we know "X" from such a text or that such a text tells us "Y".
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33822  Postby spin » Jul 25, 2013 12:26 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:We were basically having a reasonable discussion with its usual mix of banter, until you posted this. That's where it seems to me you jumped the rails. It was a response to the post that talked of "Scrogg & Groff's ... butterfly effort" and asked "Where is the, umm, baptism?" Hey, hell, my post was really bad attitude.


Slight confusion here. The attitude descriptors were introduced by you much later. I did say that dismissing an argument as a "butterfly effort" was not exactly engaging cogently with the intellectual arguments. . . . My bad, I guess. :facepalm2:

The particular post of yours I linked to showed someone who acted like--as one might imagine--they'd had an enema that went wrong. That's where it seemed to me the quality of discussion went radically askew. I then went back to my post that you were responding to to see something that might have caused such an allergic reaction.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:We have both strangely maintained our different views in the discussion. You thinking that I'm not engaging with arguments and I think you are not engaging. What's it to be, Neil? Is there a discussion here to be had?


I love cordial intellectual discussions. What would you like to discuss?

spin wrote:I like the way you went off half-cocked without waiting to see if you understood what was being talked about.


I never went off anywhere. I'm still here.

I'm supposed to restrain myself at this attempt at a half pun on the phrasal verb "go off" that overlooks the the comment. :smug:

neilgodfrey wrote:I was following the conversation so closely I was even able to observe the drifting shift in meaning of a certain term from a quixotic charge right down to becoming a simple truism.

This was another allergic reaction. I talked of the necessity to read the text literally before anything else and a few people spat the dummy. Had they thought about what I was saying rather than shooting their feet off with that half-cocked gun, I doubt there would have been such a reaction. :crazy:

It is a truism that is necessary to say: you first must read a text literally. Otherwise you can't get any further.

neilgodfrey wrote:
spin wrote:Which cannot be done without engaging with what the text puts before you, ie reading it as literally as possible. That allows you to decide what text type it purports to be and whether its words purport to be matter of fact, florid, metaphorical, allegorical, mystical. I agree that a dealing with a text, especially one distant from our cultural context, requires a lot of work. The first step however should be a literal reading, otherwise you can't do much work at all.


Sigh. How does one establish the meaning of a text without first knowing its genre and intent of the author or purpose for which the text has been preserved? (Which leads us to the questions of variant meanings for different audiences who may have deployed the text at this or that time or other.) And how does one establish those things without first establishing something of the provenance of a text and doing a textual analysis comparing it with known literary forms that surround its historical space?

Yes, I really do agree. One first needs to read and have a basic awareness of the words expressed in the text before one can actually have a fundamental knowledge of the text in order to ask those questions. That is the truism bit. It should not need to be expressed, but let's repeat it in case we've forgotten it: one has to read a text first before one can ask sensible questions about it and speak about it with a modicum of knowledge. Yes, one has to be able to first apply technical reading competency to a text one wishes to discuss.

This brings us towards some foundation to talk on.

neilgodfrey wrote:But whether one can justify a literal reading of the text will not be known until after that analysis is done. And if we don't have all the information we need for these things, then we will have to couch all our discussions within a prevalent consciousness of those limits. We can't just barge in gratuituously assuming that we know "X" from such a text or that such a text tells us "Y".

There are varying degrees of acceptance of a literal reading. For example when the writer of Galatians puts forward to justify himself the experience of a revelation, William James and his book "The Variety of Religious Experience" comes to mind. Yet how does this particular revelation fit into the scheme of the developing religion that focuses on the figures first of Peter and then to a lesser degree of James. That revelation should challenge the reader for it implies a direct channel to god that is not through the direct apostolic access to knowledge of god. In fact Paul is not a direct knower of Jesus at all, yet he is shown to know more than those who are supposed to have had direct contact according to the narrative of the gospels.

This is the sentence I wrote that I gather caused the ruckus:

    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 reaction to this I'd say was somewhat exaggerated. :roll:
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33823  Postby dejuror » Jul 25, 2013 3:36 pm

Spin's argument about a literal reading of the Pauline writings is hopelessly flawed and contradictory as soon as he admitted that they have no provenance.

How can Spin make a literal reading of a text after it may have been manipulated or without knowing if the text represents an unaltered copy?

In any event, the Pauline Corpus has nothing to support an historical Jesus because the Pauline writers are claiming to be witnesses of a resurrected character.

In other words, the Pauline writers are witnesses of Fiction and participated in the very Fiction.

1 Corinthians 15:15 KJV
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up , if so be that the dead rise not.


The Pauline Corpus is the flagship of forgery, false attribution and fiction in the Canon and was unknown by Christians up to the mid 2nd century.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33824  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 29, 2013 9:16 am

spin wrote:
The particular post of yours I linked to showed someone who acted like--as one might imagine--they'd had an enema that went wrong. That's where it seemed to me the quality of discussion went radically askew. I then went back to my post that you were responding to to see something that might have caused such an allergic reaction.


With such intellectual prowess as you express here I can see why you guard your anonymity.

spin wrote:
neilgodfrey wrote:Yes, one has to be able to first apply technical reading competency to a text one wishes to discuss.

This brings us towards some foundation to talk on.


Well I'm glad we can agree that one must first read a text before one can discuss it. Yep. Solid foundation there.

spin wrote:
This is the sentence I wrote that I gather caused the ruckus:

    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 reaction to this I'd say was somewhat exaggerated. :roll:


If you like. It was much more than that. But if that's how you read a text "literally" . . . .

All of this just to deflect from the central points being argued:

  • It is nonsense to suggest that Paul identified certain Jewish assemblies on the basis that they believed in a messiah, and even more nonsensical that he described them as being "in the messiah", comparable to Stoic jargon to describe living "in reason".

  • And it is flawed methodology to assume that any narrative or document conveys historical information without first addressing questions of provenance (of which we are ignorant in the case of the Gospels, and even the letters of Paul) and literary analysis.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33825  Postby Blood » Aug 02, 2013 3:09 am

Here's a Gospel dated by scholars to 1941.

The iconography portrays identifiably authentic historical places and figures (New York Tunnel, Hitler behind the wheel of an underground tank, Nazi soldiers with Swastika armbands, a 1930s car, guns from the right era).

The consensus is that Captain Terror must have existed, since he is well-attested in contemporary literature. No literature exists that explicitly states Captain Terror was mythical or fictitious, even though the enemies of Captain Terror (such as Hitler and the Nazis) had every reason to make such a claim. Ergo, Captain Terror must have existed.

Scholars admit that the scene portrayed here is probably legendary. There is no contemporaneous attestation of Hitler driving an underground tank into the New York Tunnel. However, some scholars claim that this scene is based on a secret plot by the Nazis to invade New York through the tunnel and subway system there, and therefore this scene is good witness to the general reliability of the Captain Terror iconography and literature.

Some scholars believe that Captain Terror was a US Army man, named Eddie or Ed or possibly Eduardo, who dressed up in red tights and blue gloves and served in the special forces. His real name is unknown, since he was a top secret commando agent. Other scholars believe he was a God, and was the real reason why the Allies won WWII. After all, if the common soldier didn't believe that a God was fighting on his side, why would he have gone so willingly to his death? It doesn't make sense, scholars argue.

History did not record how Captain Terror died -- "if indeed he did die," some scholars hasten to add.

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33826  Postby angelo » Aug 02, 2013 6:01 am

The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.

The John Rylands papyrus fragment 52 of John's gospel dated in the year 125-135 contains portions of John 18, verses 31-33,37-38. This fragment was found in Egypt. It is the last of the gospels and appears to have been written in the 80's to 90's. Most scholars say it was written in the early 90's. This means that the time span between the original writing of John and its earliest copy (fragment) is approximately 35-45 years.

John does not mention the destruction of the Jewish temple in 70 A.D. Some say this is because John was not focusing on historical events. Instead, John focused on the theological aspect of the person of Christ and listed His miracles and words that affirmed Christ's deity. This is a possibiltiy, but like the reasoning used regarding Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the lack of significant historical markers is also evidence that it was written early on.

Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.
-------------------------------
What apologetics say about the gospels. Anyone with just a small amount of logic can see the huge hole big enough to drive a bus through this statement which is taught at seminaries throughout the christian world.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33827  Postby dejuror » Aug 02, 2013 6:58 am

angelo wrote:The writer of the gospel of John was obviously an eyewitness of the events of Christ's life since he speaks from a perspective of having been there during many of the events of Jesus' ministry and displays a good knowledge of Israeli geography and customs.


There is nothing in the Gospel according to John about Jesus of Nazareth that is corroborated--Not even Nazareth.

Do you not remember that it was the author of gJohn who wrote that Jesus was the Logos, God the Creator who made heaven and earth and that he walked on the sea of Galilee for about 3 miles and after he was crucified and buried that he resurrected that he ate and cooked Fish for his disciples??

gJohn is not history at all, but a compilation of myth fables about the Son of God composed sometime in the 2nd century or later.

The Jesus story in gJohn is later than the Synoptic story.

In gJohn Jesus is EQUAL to God. JESUS does not claim he is equal to God in the Synoptics.

It is extremely easy to deduce which stories about Jesus were the earliest.

How do we know or can deduce the Septuagint PREDATED the books of the NT Canon?

We see word for word copying of passages from the Septuagint and the authors of the books of the Canon even identified the names of the books found in it.

There is hardly any word for word passages in the Synoptics taken from gJohn.

It is gMark that was copied word for word which is a fundamental factor to determine which books of the Canon were early.

If gJohn was earlier than gMark then we would EXPECT the authors of gMatthew and gLuke to copy gJohn---- NOT gMark.

The authors of gMatthew and gLuke copied the story of gMark sometimes word for word and use a similar chronology for almost all the fables of Jesus.

gJohn is a LATE SANITIZED Gospel which is compatible with the Later Jesus cult teachings composed sometime in the 2nd century or later.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33828  Postby angelo » Aug 02, 2013 7:19 am

^^^You are correct, but I often wonder how many laymen know this. If the origins of the N/T was public knowledge, how many people would remain in the pews listening to some deluded/con artist preacher shouting from the pulpit with bible in hand.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33829  Postby spin » Aug 02, 2013 10:16 am

neilgodfrey wrote:All of this just to deflect from the central points being argued:

It is nonsense to suggest that Paul identified certain Jewish assemblies on the basis that they believed in a messiah,

Perhaps you could expand, rather than just making a bald assertion.

neilgodfrey wrote:and even more nonsensical that he described them as being "in the messiah", comparable to Stoic jargon to describe living "in reason".

On what grounds do you compare the phrase "in the messiah" with "in reason"?

neilgodfrey wrote:And it is flawed methodology to assume that any narrative or document conveys historical information without first addressing questions of provenance (of which we are ignorant in the case of the Gospels, and even the letters of Paul) and literary analysis.

This may be true, but you seem to lack a reason for stating it here.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33830  Postby Blood » Aug 12, 2013 2:14 am

Wow, ten whole days with no action in this thread. I think that's a record.

I guess everyone's too busy reading the Reza Aslan book. :mrgreen:
"One absurdity having been granted, the rest follows. Nothing difficult about that."
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33831  Postby proudfootz » Aug 12, 2013 5:44 am

Blood wrote:Wow, ten whole days with no action in this thread. I think that's a record.

I guess everyone's too busy reading the Reza Aslan book. :mrgreen:


Me, I've been reading Ehrman's book on the historical existence of Jesus.
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33832  Postby angelo » Aug 12, 2013 6:36 am

I read that. It didn't convince me Jesus existed. Ehrman is using the same old tired arguments he has been using for years. Nothing new or any convincing new evidence to make a case for his existence.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33833  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Aug 12, 2013 7:12 am

angelo wrote:
Though there is still some debate on the dates of when the gospels were written, they were most assuredly completed before the close of the first century and written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses.
-------------------------------
What apologetics say about the gospels. Anyone with just a small amount of logic can see the huge hole big enough to drive a bus through this statement which is taught at seminaries throughout the christian world.

:lol:
For second there you had me fooled.
"Respect for personal beliefs = "I am going to tell you all what I think of YOU, but don't dare retort and tell what you think of ME because...it's my personal belief". Hmm. A bully's charter and no mistake."
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Re: more data, less palaver

#33834  Postby tanya » Aug 12, 2013 8:51 am

Blood wrote:I guess everyone's too busy reading the Reza Aslan book.

http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainmen ... us/278410/

Or, perhaps the off-topic squabbling between spin and neilgodfrey, proved underwhelming:
spin wrote:On what grounds do you compare the phrase "in the messiah" with "in reason"?

???
Even had Neil replied, how would that dialogue clarify or establish or repudiate a claim of Jesus' historicity? One needs criticism of data, and challenge to interpretations of data, not mere word teasing, for this topic of "historical jesus" to flourish. Did Christianity itself flourish, because such inane questions, comparable to spin's above, had been posed, or, were ordinary, uneducated farmers attracted to the nascent movement, after the Bar Kokhba revolt,
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jso ... volt1.html
because of a promise of something materially superior in the afterlife?

Here is, (in my opinion) a more interesting, and more appropriate comment, from Aslan, who is after all, an instructor in "creative writing" at a college in California. This quote comes from the link above.

Reza Aslan wrote:In a sense, that’s the impression I have of the historical Jesus as well—I see him as a man who challenged political authorities for no other reason except that they had set themselves up as authorities, over and above anything good or bad that they were doing.


If we replace "historical Jesus" with "historical Captain John Yossarian" (Catch-22), does not the former Christian, now Muslim, creative writer's opinion, convey precisely the same content?

If we begin with faith, and assume xyz, we can obtain any result we wish. If we start, instead, with evidence, the path leads away from historicity of "jesus", and towards 1800 year old creative writing.

How far back in human history can we observe story telling? Did the Egyptians or Hindus or Chinese have ancient mythic tales, transmitted in writing, prior to emergence of the Roman empire? Who was the first "creative writer"?

proudfootz wrote:Me, I've been reading Ehrman's book on the historical existence of Jesus.
I acknowledge confusion with this admission. I think of you, as someone far more intelligent than that. I am a little disappointed to learn that you would waste your time scanning that collection of palaver. I devoted fifteen minutes reading his published extracts, and found them absurd. I can't imagine mining that text in search of something useful, or even appropriate, to the question of the historicity of Jesus. May as well read a copy of Popular Mechanics from 1933 to learn about CT studies
http://www.ndt.net/article/art2011/pape ... M%2014.pdf

of the carbonized papyrus scrolls at Herculanaeum.
http://treasures.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/Thre ... rculanaeum

:)
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33835  Postby angelo » Aug 12, 2013 9:27 am

I also didn't complete reading it. In my case it was curiosity. I'd heard so much about this book that I had to read it for myself.
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Re: Historical palaver

#33836  Postby tanya » Aug 12, 2013 8:06 pm

Thanks, angelo, I hope that you or proudfootz, or any other forum member could offer so much as ONE sentence from Ehrman's book, not found in the available published excerpts, from last spring, that assists us in understanding what Ehrman believes constitutes evidence for an historical Jesus.

I seem to recall, maybe my memory is faulty, something like this: "well, we know from Paul, that Jesus had a brother, so, how could Jesus not be historical?"

If I am wrong, please remind me of the correct text.... Perhaps I have mischaracterized Ehrman's text.

And, didn't Ehrman write, something like this:
"oh, yes, you know the original gospel had been composed in Aramaic, because Jesus was a native speaker of Aramaic."

Perhaps I err, and what I think he wrote, is completely different from his actual text. What I remember thinking at the time I had read those few chapters, published on line, was, ? how did this chap become a professor at a university? How did he obtain a doctorate from Princeton, with logic so terrible? Well, now you have both read his book, illuminate us, or at least one of us, with some message of lofty proportions, addressing the spectacular or mundane, nuance or brilliance, something of utility, derived from that exercise: wading through Ehrman's collection of sentences designed to reiterate:

"Jesus was an historical being",

over and over again, as if offering instruction via mesmerization. Did either of you learn something useful by reading his book? If so, what? His text, as I recall, was about 90% nonsense, and the rest argument, crying about mythicists. Who cares about mythicists in a book purporting to focus on Jesus' historicity? I don't. It matters not a whit, what mythicists, or anyone else writes, what counts is the data, demonstrating historicity. Where, in Ehrman's text, is the data exposed, to reveal the historicity of Jesus? There isn't any data. The emperor has no clothes.

:)
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Re: Historical palaver

#33837  Postby Corky » Aug 13, 2013 10:21 pm

tanya wrote:

I seem to recall, maybe my memory is faulty, something like this: "well, we know from Paul, that Jesus had a brother, so, how could Jesus not be historical?"


Beware rhetorical questions from HJers with an agenda to defend the belief that Jesus existed.

We don't and can't know that "Paul", whoever he was, ever said any such thing and there are several good reasons to think that maybe he didn't. Ehrman doesn't go into any of those and instead asks another rhetorical question: "wouldn't James know if Jesus was his brother or not?" Well, duh, he would and should have mentioned that little "factoid" in the epistle he supposedly wrote in his own name. Here are 3 more reasons "Paul" may not have said "James the Lord's brother":

1.) The epistles of Paul were first presented by Marcion, who did not believe Jesus was a flesh and blood man.
2.) James, the brother of Jesus in the gospels, was not a disciple of Jesus and not an apostle.
3.) James, the brother of Jesus in the gospels, did not visit the empty tomb nor was he among the witnesses when Jesus appeared to his disciples after his resurrection in the closed room.

A fourth and fifth reason might be that the early Christians were notorious for interpolations and alterations of texts and "Paul" was not exactly honest and pretended to be who he wasn't, by his own admission, and was prone to invent bullshit allegorical interpretations of passages of the Septuagint.

In fact, it looks as though the whole NT story is allegorical interpretations of the OT which is plenty good reason for Ehrman not to even ask such intentionally misleading rhetorical questions. Seems dishonest to me...
Faith is disdain for evidence, dismissal of reason, denial of logic, rejection of reality, contempt for truth.
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Re: Historical palaver

#33838  Postby angelo » Aug 14, 2013 6:54 am

tanya wrote:Thanks, angelo, I hope that you or proudfootz, or any other forum member could offer so much as ONE sentence from Ehrman's book, not found in the available published excerpts, from last spring, that assists us in understanding what Ehrman believes constitutes evidence for an historical Jesus.

I seem to recall, maybe my memory is faulty, something like this: "well, we know from Paul, that Jesus had a brother, so, how could Jesus not be historical?"

If I am wrong, please remind me of the correct text.... Perhaps I have mischaracterized Ehrman's text.

And, didn't Ehrman write, something like this:
"oh, yes, you know the original gospel had been composed in Aramaic, because Jesus was a native speaker of Aramaic."

Perhaps I err, and what I think he wrote, is completely different from his actual text. What I remember thinking at the time I had read those few chapters, published on line, was, ? how did this chap become a professor at a university? How did he obtain a doctorate from Princeton, with logic so terrible? Well, now you have both read his book, illuminate us, or at least one of us, with some message of lofty proportions, addressing the spectacular or mundane, nuance or brilliance, something of utility, derived from that exercise: wading through Ehrman's collection of sentences designed to reiterate:

"Jesus was an historical being",

over and over again, as if offering instruction via mesmerization. Did either of you learn something useful by reading his book? If so, what? His text, as I recall, was about 90% nonsense, and the rest argument, crying about mythicists. Who cares about mythicists in a book purporting to focus on Jesus' historicity? I don't. It matters not a whit, what mythicists, or anyone else writes, what counts is the data, demonstrating historicity. Where, in Ehrman's text, is the data exposed, to reveal the historicity of Jesus? There isn't any data. The emperor has no clothes.

:)

Well, he does admit that any Jesus/new testament scholar who doesn't agree with the consensus that Jesus existed will find he/herself out of a job, or not being employed or given a grant by any University. I will grant him that even though he was trying to discredit people like Price or Carrier.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33839  Postby dejuror » Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Ehrman's "Did Jesus Exist?"--the historical argument for Jesus of Nazareth is a complete disaster. HJers hardly use his argument--it is as if the book does NOT exist.

"Did Jesus Exist?" confirms and exposes the weaknesses of the HJ argument.

Essentially, Ehrman's "Did Jesus Exist?" has opened the flood gates for the MJ argument.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33840  Postby angelo » Aug 14, 2013 3:17 pm

Its almost as if that is what he intended actualy.
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