Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42941  Postby dejuror » Apr 08, 2020 10:53 pm

dogsgod wrote:True, however that does not rule out that there may have been one, we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on.


Once you admit "we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on" then the HJ argument can now be ruled out and should have been ruled out long long ago.

The fact is you know what we presently have. We have no historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth and the stories about the supposed character with his disciples and Paul are compilation of forgeries, fiction, Greek/Roman mythology and manipulated false prophecies ripped from Hebrew Scriptures.

The HJ argument makes no sense with not knowing what to go on.

What we have right now supports the argument that Jesus of Nazareth was not a figure of history.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42942  Postby dogsgod » Apr 09, 2020 12:47 am

dejuror wrote:
dogsgod wrote:True, however that does not rule out that there may have been one, we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on.


Once you admit "we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on" then the HJ argument can now be ruled out and should have been ruled out long long ago.

The fact is you know what we presently have. We have no historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth and the stories about the supposed character with his disciples and Paul are compilation of forgeries, fiction, Greek/Roman mythology and manipulated false prophecies ripped from Hebrew Scriptures.

The HJ argument makes no sense with not knowing what to go on.

What we have right now supports the argument that Jesus of Nazareth was not a figure of history.


Mythical theories abound as well, and some of them are really bad. Aristotle came to the conclusion that the earth is a sphere, but for all the wrong reasons. It's one thing to acknowledge given theories, it's quite another to choose one and defend it as if we can be certain about anything when it comes to religious texts.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42943  Postby proudfootz » Apr 09, 2020 2:03 am

dogsgod wrote:Surely you jest.


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Re: Historical Jesus

#42944  Postby Stein » Apr 09, 2020 2:04 am

Oh, sure ..........
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42945  Postby dejuror » Apr 09, 2020 5:29 am

dejuror wrote:Once you admit "we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on" then the HJ argument can now be ruled out and should have been ruled out long long ago.

The fact is you know what we presently have. We have no historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth and the stories about the supposed character with his disciples and Paul are compilation of forgeries, fiction, Greek/Roman mythology and manipulated false prophecies ripped from Hebrew Scriptures.

The HJ argument makes no sense with not knowing what to go on.

What we have right now supports the argument that Jesus of Nazareth was not a figure of history.

dogsgod wrote:
Mythical theories abound as well, and some of them are really bad. Aristotle came to the conclusion that the earth is a sphere, but for all the wrong reasons. It's one thing to acknowledge given theories, it's quite another to choose one and defend it as if we can be certain about anything when it comes to religious texts.


HJ arguments are always extremely absurd because those who make them knew in advance that there is no historical evidence whatsoever to support their baseless fallacies.

The argument that Jesus of Nazareth, his disciples and Paul were figures of fiction cannot be overturned at all since it is supported by the existing evidence.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42946  Postby dogsgod » Apr 13, 2020 3:32 pm

dejuror wrote:
dejuror wrote:Once you admit "we just have no way of knowing with what we have to go on" then the HJ argument can now be ruled out and should have been ruled out long long ago.

The fact is you know what we presently have. We have no historical evidence for Jesus of Nazareth and the stories about the supposed character with his disciples and Paul are compilation of forgeries, fiction, Greek/Roman mythology and manipulated false prophecies ripped from Hebrew Scriptures.

The HJ argument makes no sense with not knowing what to go on.

What we have right now supports the argument that Jesus of Nazareth was not a figure of history.

dogsgod wrote:
Mythical theories abound as well, and some of them are really bad. Aristotle came to the conclusion that the earth is a sphere, but for all the wrong reasons. It's one thing to acknowledge given theories, it's quite another to choose one and defend it as if we can be certain about anything when it comes to religious texts.


HJ arguments are always extremely absurd because those who make them knew in advance that there is no historical evidence whatsoever to support their baseless fallacies.

The argument that Jesus of Nazareth, his disciples and Paul were figures of fiction cannot be overturned at all since it is supported by the existing evidence.
Atheists for Christ might disagree, but nothing else is new.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42947  Postby Svartalf » Apr 13, 2020 4:58 pm

The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42948  Postby Ironclad » Apr 13, 2020 7:01 pm

IIRC, and I probably don't, the only other resource for a HJ figure is the Koran. Otherwise this guy is a blank.
:dunno: maybe
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42949  Postby dogsgod » Apr 13, 2020 9:29 pm

Svartalf wrote:The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.

But is it really a problem? What difference does it make? The fictitious role Pilate was cast into tells us nothing about Pilate, so what are we left with other than names that sound the same?
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42950  Postby Svartalf » Apr 14, 2020 8:42 am

Ironclad wrote:IIRC, and I probably don't, the only other resource for a HJ figure is the Koran. Otherwise this guy is a blank.
:dunno: maybe

the koran doesn't count, is was made up in the 7th c. when chretinity was already widespread and the legendarium well established.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42951  Postby newolder » Apr 14, 2020 9:13 am

Svartalf wrote:The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.

That's not how anything works though, is it? That there is no evidence for a non-fictional character here means we can dismiss the claim outright. No one has to provide evidence for the non-existence of a purely fictional character because that is the way to absurdity. What would "supporting evidence" for the non-existence of Slartifbartfast even look like? :scratch:
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42952  Postby proudfootz » Apr 15, 2020 1:26 am

Svartalf wrote:The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.

I don't think anyone is arguing that the 'gospel' narratives were written all on a rainy afternoon.

But the thing about fan fiction is that it builds on the already-existing framework to deliver its own message.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42953  Postby felltoearth » Apr 15, 2020 11:51 am

newolder wrote:
Svartalf wrote:The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.

That's not how anything works though, is it? That there is no evidence for a non-fictional character here means we can dismiss the claim outright. No one has to provide evidence for the non-existence of a purely fictional character because that is the way to absurdity. What would "supporting evidence" for the non-existence of Slartifbartfast even look like? :scratch:

Svartalf has never heard of fan fiction, I guess.

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42954  Postby Stein » Apr 17, 2020 12:52 am

Svartalf wrote:The problem is that there is no real supporting evidence one way or the other... to me, that a plurality of writers could have come with such a big cast of important characters from completely whole cloth seems a bit of a big claim.


Especially, of course, when this plurality includes obvious non-Christians like Pliny, Suetonius, Josephus, or someone like Tacitus, who only uses direct witnesses. That's why any snark against you over fan fiction is pure gaslighting and a blatant ad hominen.

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Re: Historical Jesus

#42955  Postby RealityRules » Apr 17, 2020 11:24 am

Svartalf wrote:Isn't Tacitus close enough to count? He was not a novelist, but a real historian.

Stein wrote:... or someone like Tacitus, who only uses direct witnesses.

Except for Annals XV.44 he doesn't ... And he's not as pristine a historian as people make out.

There are a number of possibilities. The best hope for the authenticity of Annals XV is it's based on hearsay. But there's poor provenance for it for centuries.

Arthur Drews noted Annals VX.44 is similar to a passage in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus written ~401 a.d. in his 1912 Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, and proposed that, rather than the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus being based on Annals XV.44, the Annals passage is based on Sulpicius' [or they could have been penned or inserted/interpolated at the same time].

Besides the argument of Richard Carrier, 2014, that there was a sentence inserted in Annals 15.44 - viz, "The author of this name, Christ, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” ('auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat') - there is the simpler proposition of Jay Raskins (author of The Evolution of Christs and Christianities, 2006) that, where the current, extant version of Annals XV.44 has Tiberius and Pontius Pliate, it originally had Nero and Porcius Festus, respectively, and Chrestus for Christus, so would have originally read

    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite punishments on a class hated for their disgraceful acts, called Chrestians by the populace. The author of this name, Chrestus, was executed by the procurator Porcius Festus in the reign of Nero, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.
    [via https://jayraskin.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/294/]
Nero is referred to before that passage and after, and his mention there would better fit.

Note also that Raskins uses what's in Antiquities 20:8.10 support his argument.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42956  Postby Thomas Eshuis » Apr 18, 2020 7:18 am

Tacitus only describes what Christians in his day claimed to believe. He doesn't actually claim that it all happened or that he had access to people who witnessed Jesus and parts of his life/death.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42957  Postby Leucius Charinus » Apr 19, 2020 3:51 am

RealityRules wrote:
Svartalf wrote:Isn't Tacitus close enough to count? He was not a novelist, but a real historian.

Stein wrote:... or someone like Tacitus, who only uses direct witnesses.

Except for Annals XV.44 he doesn't ... And he's not as pristine a historian as people make out.

There are a number of possibilities. The best hope for the authenticity of Annals XV is it's based on hearsay. But there's poor provenance for it for centuries.

Arthur Drews noted Annals VX.44 is similar to a passage in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus written ~401 a.d. in his 1912 Witnesses to the Historicity of Jesus, and proposed that, rather than the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus being based on Annals XV.44, the Annals passage is based on Sulpicius' [or they could have been penned or inserted/interpolated at the same time].

Besides the argument of Richard Carrier, 2014, that there was a sentence inserted in Annals 15.44 - viz, "The author of this name, Christ, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius” ('auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat') - there is the simpler proposition of Jay Raskins (author of The Evolution of Christs and Christianities, 2006) that, where the current, extant version of Annals XV.44 has Tiberius and Pontius Pliate, it originally had Nero and Porcius Festus, respectively, and Chrestus for Christus, so would have originally read

    Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite punishments on a class hated for their disgraceful acts, called Chrestians by the populace. The author of this name, Chrestus, was executed by the procurator Porcius Festus in the reign of Nero, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular.
    [via https://jayraskin.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/294/]
Nero is referred to before that passage and after, and his mention there would better fit.

Note also that Raskins uses what's in Antiquities 20:8.10 support his argument.


Not one single author (Christian or pagan) cites that Chrestian reference in Tacitus until the 15th century when the manuscript was suddenly and unexpectedly "discovered" in the archives of the utterly corrupt 15th century church industry.

If this utterly corrupt organisation of men could conduct inquisitions, and execution, and tortures then they are not going to be stopped by interpolating a manuscript of Tacitus. At that time the Jesus of the Faith was being transformed to the Jesus of History forgery by forgery
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42958  Postby Clive Durdle » Apr 22, 2020 4:59 pm

Just found something rude about Tacitus

The banquet in the sacred grove illustrates that the Batavians were only partially romanized - or Tacitus wants us to believe this. Otherwise, they would have gathered in a town hall. Tacitus' words remind one of what he writes in his Origins and customs of the Germans.

It is at their feasts that the Germans generally consult [...], for they think that at no time is the mind more open to simplicity of purpose or more warmed to noble aspirations. A race without either natural or acquired cunning, they disclose their hidden thoughts in the freedom of the festivity. Thus the sentiments of all having been discovered and laid bare, the discussion is renewed on the following day, and from each occasion its own peculiar advantage is derived. They deliberate when they have no power to dissemble; they resolve when error is impossible. [Tacitus, Origins and customs of the Germans, 22; tr. A. J. Church and W. J. Brodribb]

This description of the Germanic way of consultation is highly suspect. Like all Greek and Roman authors, Tacitus was obsessed with the opposition between civilization and barbarism. The Romans and Greeks considered themselves to be civilized, and because they lived in the center of the earth's disk, it could reasonably be assumed that only savages dwelt on the edges of the earth. Since the Greeks and Romans lived on river plains, it was quite obvious that barbarians dwelt in the mountains and forests. (See below; Tacitus even describes the Dutch coast as rocky; Annals, 2.23.3) This explains why the Romans and Greeks always mention forests, even when there were no forests at all. As a matter of fact, pollen research has shown that the Dutch river country were hardly wooded in the Roman age. This does not mean that there never was a banquet in a sacred grove, but that we must be cautious. Tacitus wants to show that the Batavians were noble savages, and is not necessarily telling the truth.



Another feature of ancient descriptions of far-away people, is that they often resemble each other - after all, they were all living on the edge of the earth. The custom of making a double judgment - one when drunk, one when sober- is also known from another source, the Histories of the Greek researcher Herodotus of Halicarnassus (1.133), who correctly says that it is a Persian custom. Again, this does not mean that the Germans did not consult each other in a state of inebriety, but it warns us that we must remain careful when we read the extremely tendentious Histories of Tacitus.
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42959  Postby Clive Durdle » Apr 22, 2020 4:59 pm

"We cannot slaughter each other out of the human impasse"
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Re: Historical Jesus

#42960  Postby RealityRules » Apr 30, 2020 4:30 am

Last year M. David Litwa published an interesting book, How the Gospels Became History: Jesus and Mediterranean Myths, in which he 'argues the authors of the Gospels “deliberately shaped myths about Jesus into historical discourse to maximize their believability for ancient audiences”.'

Some is available here via Google Books

Litwa discusses it here


Neil Godfrey wrote a a long series of blog-posts reviewing it, starting here


Richard Carrier has just published a blog-post titled, 'Litwa's Confused Critique of Mythicism', about, as the title suggests, Litwa's critique of aspects of mythicism in the book -

Carrier starts off agreeing that 'the authors of the Gospels “deliberately shaped myths about Jesus into historical discourse to maximize their believability for ancient audiences”,' and notes

    'In other words, they made their myths look like histories, because that’s what the pagans around them were doing.'
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