Historical Jesus

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

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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33701  Postby angelo » Jul 17, 2013 12:13 pm

At Fatima over 20.000 people claimed to have seen the sun hurtling towards the earth. Mass hysteria has always been with us, it's part of the human condition.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33702  Postby Mus Ponticus » Jul 17, 2013 6:35 pm

The great scholar, dr. Richard Carrier, who according to some users here 'avoids peer review' has some good news:
My new book, On the Historicity of Jesus, has passed peer review and is now under contract to be published by a major academic press specializing in biblical studies: Sheffield-Phoenix, the publishing house of the University of Sheffield (UK). I sought four peer review reports from major professors of New Testament or Early Christianity, and two have returned their reports, approving with revisions, and those revisions have been made. Since two peers is the standard number for academic publications, we can proceed. Two others missed the assigned deadline, but I’m still hoping to get their reports and I’ll do my best to meet any revisions they require as well.
He seems to be really bad at avoiding peer-review ;)
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33703  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 17, 2013 10:47 pm

Can someone explain how peer-review for books normally works? It sounds as though Richard Carrier has chosen the people he wants to review is book, or have I misunderstood? With journal article peer review the normal process is that the author does not know who the reviewers are and the reviewers are not told the name of the author of the article they are reviewing.

Neil
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33704  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 17, 2013 10:55 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:Can someone explain how peer-review for books normally works? It sounds as though Richard Carrier has chosen the people he wants to review is book, or have I misunderstood? With journal article peer review the normal process is that the author does not know who the reviewers are and the reviewers are not told the name of the author of the article they are reviewing.

Neil


Ah -- no sooner do I ask than I find the answer -- Carrier explains in detail: http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/arc ... 0#comments
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33705  Postby spin » Jul 17, 2013 11:51 pm

willhud9 wrote:
dogsgod wrote:..

So you are saying that if you were to agree with mainstream scholarship and that Galatians was indeed Pauline authorship, then therefore in Galatians, when Paul says he met Peter, that turned out to be some random bloke he, Paul, invented which the gospel authors expanded upon in the Gospels to create one giant world religion. Boy oh boy talk about stretching to reach the mark. :scratch:

When Paul says he met Peter... well, Paul doesn't say that at all. He says he met Cephas, apparently the same person mentioned several times in 1 Cor and further in Gal, interpreted by later tradition as Peter.

[Note the interpolation at 2:7b-8, where Paul apparently suddenly talks of Peter where elsewhere he talks of Cephas and two distinct gospels to the circumcised and to the gentiles, despite Paul being adamant there was only one gospel for all. A number of biblical scholars have had trouble with the veracity of this passage.]

So Paul certainly acknowledges Cephas, but docile readers have no trouble with the change to Peter, because later tradition has prepared them to take it.

willhud9 wrote:The easier and more logical answer is that when Paul says he met Peter, he met Peter whom was actually a disciple of Jesus.

This is not reading what Paul says, but what posterity says.

willhud9 wrote:Therefore, Paul's understanding of say the Lord's Supper, found in Corinthians comes straight from Peter,

Now you are just making things up. I see no active thought in such an analysis at all. It's pure surrender.

willhud9 wrote:which the author of Luke quotes verbatim from Corinthians and modern historians are in general agreement that Corinthians pre-dates Luke.

You should attempt to justify this assertion through a philological analysis rather than through anally transmitted channels.

willhud9 wrote:Paul talked to Peter for 15 days. He even stresses in the epistle that he is not lying. Due to the context of the letter, we can assume that different factions were popping up and one faction did not hold Paul to be an authority of the church and therefore his teachings moot.

Talking of "the church" here is pure anachronism.

willhud9 wrote:But this is easily gleamed from a simple reading of the text. I have no idea why you would wish to go through loops and hoops of sketchy information to make a case.

All you've demonstrated is that you are not interested in what the text actually says. Instead, you manipulate the text with plainly later ideas. Not much hope here for an understanding of Paul.

willhud9 wrote:The reason Paul doesn't mention the life of Jesus abundantly is for several reasons:

All of which is facile conjecture. When you don't know shit, making things up is no remedy.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33706  Postby lpetrich » Jul 18, 2013 1:25 am

angelo wrote:At Fatima over 20.000 people claimed to have seen the sun hurtling towards the earth. Mass hysteria has always been with us, it's part of the human condition.

Seems to me like seeing the Sun through clouds, complete with afterimages. So "mass hysteria" is unlikely here, more like accepting some preferred hypothesis. Since there were large numbers of people together looking at the Sun, they were far from independent sources, since they could easily have discussed with each other what they saw.

With the writing of the New Testament, we don't have any independent sources on the activities of that document's writers, so the most we can do is to try to reconstruct its composition using internal evidence.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33707  Postby lpetrich » Jul 18, 2013 2:09 am

Richard Carrier states that "I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years." A press that's in an appropriate specialty, I may add: Sheffield Phoenix Press - Home
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33708  Postby angelo » Jul 18, 2013 7:42 am

lpetrich wrote:
angelo wrote:At Fatima over 20.000 people claimed to have seen the sun hurtling towards the earth. Mass hysteria has always been with us, it's part of the human condition.

Seems to me like seeing the Sun through clouds, complete with afterimages. So "mass hysteria" is unlikely here, more like accepting some preferred hypothesis. Since there were large numbers of people together looking at the Sun, they were far from independent sources, since they could easily have discussed with each other what they saw.

With the writing of the New Testament, we don't have any independent sources on the activities of that document's writers, so the most we can do is to try to reconstruct its composition using internal evidence.

Can also be that in a mass crowd of onlookers someone shouts: "look, the sun is hurtling towards us." Every eye will suddenly look up and in chorus all will see the sun hurtling towards them when it did no such thing. It's because they wanted to see a miracle. Don't forget, these people were all believers as far as we know. It's the same thing as ufonauts seeing spaceships in the sky while sceptics only see the sky.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33709  Postby tanya » Jul 18, 2013 7:27 pm

spin wrote:This is not reading what Paul says, but what posterity says.

Acknowledging its brevity, spin's statement, perhaps intended merely as facile, offhand rejoinder, is nevertheless profound, in my opinion. Absorbing the thought contained within this phrase of modest dimension, "...what Paul says" represents, I believe, the key to improving this thread.
spin wrote:When Paul says he met Peter... well, Paul doesn't say that at all. He says he met Cephas, apparently the same person mentioned several times in 1 Cor and further in Gal, interpreted by later tradition as Peter.

[Note the interpolation at 2:7b-8, where Paul apparently suddenly talks of Peter where elsewhere he talks of Cephas and two distinct gospels to the circumcised and to the gentiles, despite Paul being adamant there was only one gospel for all. A number of biblical scholars have had trouble with the veracity of this passage.]

So Paul certainly acknowledges Cephas, but docile readers have no trouble with the change to Peter, because later tradition has prepared them to take it.

Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text, with a view towards clarifying two points (and deliberately ignoring the "james, brother of the lord" business).

point 1: εὐαγγέλιον, gospel. What does it mean: It could mean, holy scripture, or it could mean oral lecture, or it could mean written doctrine, but not necessarily "holy".

point 2: Peter vs. Kephas. Spin could be right, but, if we follow his advice, we draw the opposite conclusion. Kephas indeed seems to be regarded as synonymous with Peter, by the several authors of "Paul's" epistle to Galatians.

My conclusion is that Galatians was composed decades after the Gospels, not before, as spin has argued.

Let us examine the text a bit, to adhere to spin's admonition to
...justify this assertion through a philological analysis...


Galatians 1:6
Θαυμάζω ὅτι οὕτως ταχέως μετατίθεσθε ἀπὸ τοῦ καλέσαντος ὑμᾶς ἐν χάριτι Χριστοῦ εἰς ἕτερον εὐαγγέλιον
look at the phrase "eis eteron euangelion". Is that a proper way to write Koine Greek, to indicate that one's faith has been subverted, rather than indicating that one is reading the wrong source material?
can one go to a different place? YES
can one visit a different person? YES
can one grasp a different object? YES

can one go to a different ideology or faith? NO

A person who was paralyzed, and could not travel, could still CHANGE his or her FAITH, without moving single muscle. But the same, or different person, could not encounter a different locus, or person, or touch a different object, from the one currently manipulated, by simply resting, sessile, fixed at a single locus, contracting no muscle, moving no joint.
The key word here, is eis.

We do not travel to a different faith, religion, or ideology. We may change our thoughts, or our ideas, or our perceptions, over time, and with new information, but we have no requirement to accomplish physical displacement of our corpus. We don't "go" to a different faith. We adopt a different faith, we listen to new ideology, we study new religious movements, but we don't move to those places where the new religion is broadcast. If anything, Jehovah's witnesses come to us. The whole concept of proselytization, and the apostles' raison d'etre, is to bring the faith to the people. It is not necessary for the world's population to migrate to Jerusalem, to receive the good news of Jesus Christ. The good news is brought to them.

Does εὐαγγέλιον here represent some text, possibly MMLJ, or a synthesis of them, like Tatian's version, or, a prototype of one or more of the 4 gospels, or does εὐαγγέλιον here, in this context ("as Paul says") simply signify "path", "creed", "ideology", or "faith"? Does μετατίθεσθε assist us in distinguishing these two possibilities? Can such a profound "change" (μετατίθεσθε) derive from simply listening to an evangelist of one stripe or another, or, does change this profound derive only as consequence of consulting a written source, i.e. intensive study of written doctrine?

Does Galatians 1:8 assist us in distinguishing these two possibilities?
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!
Harsh. Dogmatic, unyielding. leads us to the concept of "the truth", which, almost by definition, must be written, so as to continue forward in time, extending beyond the life of the "preacher". We observe this in 2:5:
οἷς οὐδὲ πρὸς ὥραν εἴξαμεν τῇ ὑποταγῇ, ἵνα ἡ ἀλήθεια τοῦ εὐαγγελίου διαμείνῃ πρὸς ὑμᾶς

"...that the truth of the gospel might continue with you"

Can "the truth" remain in Galatia, after the evangelist has returned to Rome, or Jerusalem, or wherever, i.e. if he does not deposit, among the congregation, a written "Gospel" containing "the truth"?

Therefore, I believe, based on Galatians 1:6 and 2:5, in particular, that "Paul" here is referring to the four written Gospels, not to a "gospel", i.e. bit of spoken propaganda. In other words, I find this epistle to reveal the existence of one or more of the synoptic gospels, and/or John, prior to elaboration of these epistles by "Paul".

But, wouldn't "Paul" have written "grafe" or "grafe agios" for sacred, written text, instead of simply describing the opposing religious ideology as "good news"? He did not. He explained that no matter who is dissembling, even an angel, one must ignore those sentiments, and focus on the previous ideas expressed by Paul, (and contained within the written gospels).
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33710  Postby lpetrich » Jul 18, 2013 9:23 pm

Most UFO sightings are UFO's in the literal sense of the term: Unidentified Flying Objects -- objects that seem mysterious. They are mostly small-looking objects, angular-size small. A commonly-spotted one is the planet Venus. Though it's almost as big as the Earth, it is nevertheless below our visual resolution because of its distance from us. Venus is a common UFO because, among other things, objects don't come with name tags on them. Likewise, the Fatima Sun effects were likely afterimages and the like, but afterimages don't have tags on them stating "This is an afterimage".

But unfounded urban legends can and do appear. snopes.com documents numerous recent urban legends, like an unfounded one about the fate of Arnold the pig in the TV show Green Acres: snopes.com: Arnold Ziffel Eaten at Cast Party If such urban legends can emerge in our time, then they can easily have emerged in past centuries, especially when rationalism and skepticism and fact checking were not as common as today. Richard Carrier once wrote about Kooks and Quacks of the Roman Empire: A Look into the World of the Gospels There is a rationalist skeptic in his account: Lucian of Samosata, who exposed religious prophet Alexander of Abonutichus as a charlatan, someone who worked much like present-day TV "psychics".

Marcus Aurelius once asked him his advice on what to do about the Marcomanni and the Quadi, some Germanic tribes on the far side of the Danube. Throw two lions into the Danube and a great victory would result, though in rather flowery language. MA ordered two lions thrown into the Danube, but it was the Marcomanni and the Quadi who won the great victory. When asked about it, he stated that the god he was channeling had not stated who would have the great victory.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33711  Postby Blood » Jul 19, 2013 1:25 am

lpetrich wrote:Richard Carrier states that "I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years." A press that's in an appropriate specialty, I may add: Sheffield Phoenix Press - Home


Oh, don't worry, the defenders of the faith will come up with clever reasons to dismiss this book. I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.

We can also expect to hear that old chestnut "these arguments were refuted long ago."

Most likely, they'll just pretend it doesn't exist.
"One absurdity having been granted, the rest follows. Nothing difficult about that."
- Aristotle, Physics I, 185a
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33712  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 19, 2013 1:45 am

Blood wrote:
lpetrich wrote:Richard Carrier states that "I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years." A press that's in an appropriate specialty, I may add: Sheffield Phoenix Press - Home


Oh, don't worry, the defenders of the faith will come up with clever reasons to dismiss this book. I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.

We can also expect to hear that old chestnut "these arguments were refuted long ago."

Most likely, they'll just pretend it doesn't exist.


The irony is that Thomas Brodie was publishing mythicist arguments since 1984 but only after he learned that he had to shut up about making the logical conclusions explicit (that the Gospels and Epistles were not derived from an historical Jesus but were literary re-writes of Jewish Scriptures, etc). His "Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery", makes all that very clear.

http://vridar.org/category/book-reviews ... ond-quest/
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33713  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 2:05 am

tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Clearly, Christianity was established when whoever-wrote-Galatians wrote it.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33714  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 2:21 am

Blood wrote:
lpetrich wrote:Richard Carrier states that "I think this will be the first pro-Jesus myth book of any kind published by a university press in the last fifty years." A press that's in an appropriate specialty, I may add: Sheffield Phoenix Press - Home

Oh, don't worry, the defenders of the faith will come up with clever reasons to dismiss this book.

A friend of an acquaintance has emailed me re what some have said on social media - [paraphrasing] "it'll be the exception that proves the rule".

The "rule" of church authoritarianism?


Blood wrote:I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.

Carrier has addressed this, somewhat
It works the same way in history as in science. An academic press will often even ask you, as standard procedure, whom you think would be best suited to peer review your submission (they will ask for as many names as possible, because being unpaid, most when asked will decline). They might not go with names you recommend, but they will consider them. And the process after that is usually triple-blind (not just the public but even you won’t know who the actual peer reviewers end up being, while the reviewers won’t be told who the author is, either, although in practice that can sometimes be guessed).

"There are almost always revisions required in their reports, and often they will list a lot of non-required suggestions as well. Generally you do your best to satisfy all requirements, even if it requires some sort of compromise. If some requirement is truly unreasonable, you can appeal to your editor, you might consult the other peer reviewer as to the merits of the first reviewers’ demands. If both reviewers say you must do it, you must do it. If one says you must and the other says you don’t, it’s the editor’s call.

"(For example: I had one paper with a peer reviewer saying I must do x but I had a whole paragraph in the article already doing that, which I can only conclude the reviewer didn’t read, and they didn’t respond to the editor’s request for clarification when I pointed this out, so the editor asked the other reviewer if my existing paragraph satisfied the first reviewer’s demand, the answer was yes, and editor agreed I wasn’t required to do anything further.)

"Occasionally (although this happens more often with journal papers than books) you will get a stubborn dogmatic douchebag of a reviewer who fails to understand (or even actually read) half of what you said and is on a tear to defend some pet thesis of his/her own and makes unreasonable demands etc. (once I an editor agreed with me that a reviewer was out of line and should be replaced with someone else, although that didn’t happen in this case). This is one reason there was a brief push to un-blind peer review so people could call out peer reviewers pursuing vendettas (since often a reviewer can tell who wrote the work they are reviewing, and personal grudges enter in; or they have some irrational bias against the thesis that no evidence could ever persuade them out of, and authors often complained of not having been assigned a more reasonable reviewer). But there is a reason that fashion didn’t catch on…

"It is the most common procedure in academic publishing to have peer review be at least single-blind (the public won’t know who peer reviewed a work, the editor will simply ensure they have adequate credentials etc., while the author might know who the peer reviewers are and the peer reviewers might know who the author is). The reason peer review is kept anonymous to the public (and as much as possible to the authors as well) is to ensure academic freedom, since peer reviewers must be free to give honest judgments without fearing attacks on their career or reputation (as for example Ehrman and others have threatened to do, and has actually happened before: see my discussion of this here and here). For that very reason I won’t be naming my reviewers unless they give me permission (and I’m not inclined to put them on the spot by asking).

"My own effort to line up formal peer reviewers (which I started before I got a publisher in order to speed up the pipeline to publication) was to find peers who held diverse opinions of the thesis but whose work in the field is exemplary and whose judgment I highly respected (and who held ranking professorships in the field). Before reading the manuscript, one was sympathetic to the thesis, one was undecided as to its merits, and two others were actively opposed to the thesis (but not irrationally)."

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4090/comment-page-1#comment-47802



Blood wrote:We can also expect to hear that old chestnut "these arguments were refuted long ago."

Yet they ususally fail to acknowledge previous quests for the alleged-historic-Jesus, or fail to provide refutations to them, or both.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33715  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 19, 2013 2:33 am

Blood wrote: I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.


Isn't it the argument of the likes of Ehrman, McGrath, Hurtado, et al that "no-one" qualified in the area believes Jesus didn't exist. So if there really are are indeed liberals or radicals sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory and who are qualified to peer review the book then we have to think that we were being misinformed all along . . . . .
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33716  Postby RealityRules » Jul 19, 2013 3:54 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Blood wrote: I can already think of one excuse: the peer reviewers Carrier recommended were liberals or radicals who were already sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory.

Isn't it the argument of the likes of Ehrman, McGrath, Hurtado, et al that "no-one" qualified in the area believes Jesus didn't exist"?
So if there really are are indeed liberals or radicals sympathetic to the Christ Myth theory, and who are qualified to peer review the book, then we have to think that we were being misinformed all along . . .

Of course Ehrman, McGrath, Hurtado, et al will be referring to pro-Christian apologists.

No doubt they're aware of 'historical-Jesus agonostics' like Thomas L Thompson and Tom Verenna, among others, and surely Thompson's now seminal works on the OT and biblical 'criticism' will be known to all in the field
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33717  Postby dejuror » Jul 19, 2013 5:21 am

RealityRules wrote:
tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Clearly, Christianity was established when whoever-wrote-Galatians wrote it.


Your statement is not logical.

You seem not to understand that Galatians attempts to establish that the writer did NOT start Christianity.
In Galatians it is claimed Paul was a persecutors of those in Christ.

Christianity must have been already known and established if Paul persecuted the Jesus cult.

The earliest source for a cult of Christians is Lucian of Samosata c 160 CE.

Whoever wrote Galatians knew the Later Jesus stories in the Canon.

The Pauline Corpus matches the Later Gospels and Acts--not gMark.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33718  Postby neilgodfrey » Jul 19, 2013 5:42 am

RealityRules wrote:
tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Clearly, Christianity was established when whoever-wrote-Galatians wrote it.


Is this drawing upon Eric Zuesse's case made in Christ's Ventriloquists?
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33719  Postby spin » Jul 19, 2013 7:42 am

RealityRules wrote:
tanya wrote:Let's follow spin's advice, and look at Paul's text ...

& Galatians 1:22 "I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ"

Sadly the use of "churches" is a tendentious translation. There were no churches (in what became the christian sense) when Paul wrote. There were just assemblies or congregations. That these particular congregations were in christ, indicates that they were messianists. There is no evidence provided by Paul that these people believed in Jesus.

RealityRules wrote:Clearly, Christianity was established when whoever-wrote-Galatians wrote it.

Naaaa.
Thanks for all the fish.
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Re: Historical Jesus [strict moderation]

#33720  Postby angelo » Jul 19, 2013 8:07 am

Some have stated with some conviction that this christian cult existed long before there was talk of a historical Jesus.
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