Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#121  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 10, 2017 2:12 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:

The reasons I have for agreeing with one set of scholars over another should be logically obvious from the hypothesis raised in the OP and repeated for at least the 5th time in the bolded section immediately above.


Yeah, and I've read it for at least the fifth time. There's no argument there for thinking the reference is interpolated ...


It's not an argument it's a specific hypothesis in the field of history. Do you understand the difference? As far as I am aware a hypothesis requires neither evidence or argument. It must be falsifiable, and it must not be falsified by any available evidence. Ideally the hypothesis seeks to have a great explanatory power concerning all the available evidence (in the set of evidence under investigation)


Yeah, I get the difference. At the moment, you've hypothesised that the reference is interpolated.


I have hypothesised that all the references have been interpolated. That the entire set of references to Christians in the pagan literature of antiquity are interpolations of the church. Or like the case of Epictetus, errors of association.

I'm looking for reasons for thinking that hypothesis might be, you know, true.


So am I. Or false. I am not necessarily stuck on it. I am just following the historical method.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#122  Postby Tracer Tong » Jul 10, 2017 2:19 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:

Yeah, and I've read it for at least the fifth time. There's no argument there for thinking the reference is interpolated ...


It's not an argument it's a specific hypothesis in the field of history. Do you understand the difference? As far as I am aware a hypothesis requires neither evidence or argument. It must be falsifiable, and it must not be falsified by any available evidence. Ideally the hypothesis seeks to have a great explanatory power concerning all the available evidence (in the set of evidence under investigation)


Yeah, I get the difference. At the moment, you've hypothesised that the reference is interpolated.


I have hypothesised that all the references have been interpolated. That the entire set of references to Christians in the pagan literature of antiquity are interpolations of the church. Or like the case of Epictetus, errors of association.


Uh huh.

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote: I'm looking for reasons for thinking that hypothesis might be, you know, true.


So am I. Or false. I am not necessarily stuck on it. I am just following the historical method.


Not that I can see, I'm afraid. Quite the opposite, actually.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#123  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 10, 2017 2:28 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:

It's not an argument it's a specific hypothesis in the field of history. Do you understand the difference? As far as I am aware a hypothesis requires neither evidence or argument. It must be falsifiable, and it must not be falsified by any available evidence. Ideally the hypothesis seeks to have a great explanatory power concerning all the available evidence (in the set of evidence under investigation)


Yeah, I get the difference. At the moment, you've hypothesised that the reference is interpolated.


I have hypothesised that all the references have been interpolated. That the entire set of references to Christians in the pagan literature of antiquity are interpolations of the church. Or like the case of Epictetus, errors of association.


Uh huh.

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote: I'm looking for reasons for thinking that hypothesis might be, you know, true.


So am I. Or false. I am not necessarily stuck on it. I am just following the historical method.


Not that I can see, I'm afraid. Quite the opposite, actually.


So what do you see as a failure in the application of the historical method as outlined above?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#124  Postby Tracer Tong » Jul 10, 2017 2:34 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:

Yeah, I get the difference. At the moment, you've hypothesised that the reference is interpolated.


I have hypothesised that all the references have been interpolated. That the entire set of references to Christians in the pagan literature of antiquity are interpolations of the church. Or like the case of Epictetus, errors of association.


Uh huh.

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote: I'm looking for reasons for thinking that hypothesis might be, you know, true.


So am I. Or false. I am not necessarily stuck on it. I am just following the historical method.


Not that I can see, I'm afraid. Quite the opposite, actually.


So what do you see as a failure in the application of the historical method as outlined above?


I probably wouldn't put it in those terms, but just say that you don't seem interested in testing whether your hypothesis is true, though you've been given many chances to do so. There's therefore nothing to discuss, really.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#125  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 12, 2017 6:53 am

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
So what do you see as a failure in the application of the historical method as outlined above?


I probably wouldn't put it in those terms,


No. I am putting it in those terms and asking a straightforward question.

When you say you are studying the classics, does that include history and the historical method, or does that relate to the actual Greek manuscripts, their critical apparatus, and their English translations?


... but just say that you don't seem interested in testing whether your hypothesis is true,


Of course I am interested, why do you think I have assembled a comprehensive list of literary evidence?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#126  Postby Tracer Tong » Jul 25, 2017 12:41 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
So what do you see as a failure in the application of the historical method as outlined above?


I probably wouldn't put it in those terms,


No. I am putting it in those terms and asking a straightforward question.


And I've given you a straightforward answer.

Leucius Charinus wrote:When you say you are studying the classics, does that include history and the historical method, or does that relate to the actual Greek manuscripts, their critical apparatus, and their English translations?


All of the above, though I'd say "historical methods".

Leucius Charinus wrote:
... but just say that you don't seem interested in testing whether your hypothesis is true,


Of course I am interested, why do you think I have assembled a comprehensive list of literary evidence?


I've no idea. But it doesn't seem to be for the purpose of critical discussion.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#127  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 26, 2017 3:47 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:When you say you are studying the classics, does that include history and the historical method, or does that relate to the actual Greek manuscripts, their critical apparatus, and their English translations?


All of the above, though I'd say "historical methods".



In Arnaldo Momigliano,"On Pagans, Jews and Christians", 1987
the author writes the following ....

    Chapter 1:
    Biblical Studies and Classical Studies
    Simple Reflections upon Historical Method

    p.3

    Principles of Historical research need not be different
    from criteria of common sense. And common sense teaches
    us that outsiders must not tell insiders what they should
    do. I shall therefore not discuss directly what biblical
    scholars are doing. They are the insiders.

Since you identify as a Classical historian, what do you think the author possibly means when he refers to Biblical Historians as the insiders and Classical Historians as the outsiders? Specifically of what are they inside or outside?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#128  Postby Tracer Tong » Jul 26, 2017 5:11 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:When you say you are studying the classics, does that include history and the historical method, or does that relate to the actual Greek manuscripts, their critical apparatus, and their English translations?


All of the above, though I'd say "historical methods".



In Arnaldo Momigliano,"On Pagans, Jews and Christians", 1987
the author writes the following ....

    Chapter 1:
    Biblical Studies and Classical Studies
    Simple Reflections upon Historical Method

    p.3

    Principles of Historical research need not be different
    from criteria of common sense. And common sense teaches
    us that outsiders must not tell insiders what they should
    do. I shall therefore not discuss directly what biblical
    scholars are doing. They are the insiders.

Since you identify as a Classical historian, what do you think the author possibly means when he refers to Biblical Historians as the insiders and Classical Historians as the outsiders? Specifically of what are they inside or outside?


I haven't identified as a "Classical historian". That aside, I don't understand the point of your question.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#129  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jul 27, 2017 12:13 pm

What does the author possibly means when he refers to Biblical Historians as the insiders and Classical Historians as the outsiders? Of what are they inside or outside?
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#130  Postby Tracer Tong » Jul 27, 2017 12:14 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:What does the author possibly means when he refers to Biblical Historians as the insiders and Classical Historians as the outsiders? Of what are they inside or outside?


You seem to have missed my prior response: I don't understand the point of the question.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#131  Postby Leucius Charinus » Aug 03, 2017 1:43 am

Never mind.

Try this instead about the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius that started the ball rolling.

Which of the following options may best reflect a measure of certainty
concerning the AUTHENTICITY of this literary reference?


Certain (100%)
Almost Certain (87-99%)
Probable (61-86%)
Chances about EVEN (40-60%)
Probably not (13-39%)
Almost certainly not (1-12%)
Impossible (0%)

Anyone else is welcome to provide their own provisional conclusion.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#132  Postby Tracer Tong » Aug 03, 2017 11:08 am

I'd say things are about 50-50, for me. I'd need to do more reading before that changed.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#133  Postby Leucius Charinus » Aug 03, 2017 11:42 pm

Fair enough
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#134  Postby Tracer Tong » Sep 06, 2017 4:13 pm

I've now got my hands on Brunt's piece. I haven't read all of it yet, but a brief flick through shows that he explicitly rejects the argument advanced in the Loeb that the text is ungrammatical, as I've done.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#135  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 07, 2017 2:06 am

I would be interested to learn - in summary - what his arguments against authenticity are.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#136  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 08, 2017 12:14 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:I've now got my hands on Brunt's piece.


What's it called? I may be near a university library next week.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#137  Postby Tracer Tong » Sep 08, 2017 7:18 pm

It's called "Marcus Aurelius and the Christians".
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#138  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 15, 2017 1:20 am

UPDATE


Date .. Classical Literary Witnesses to the Historicity of Christians

BCE-BCE Erythraean Sibyl [%4th century fabrication]
106-043 Cicero translates Sibyl’s acrostic [%fraud (Robin Lane Fox)]
040 BCE Virgil: advent of Christ predicted [%fraud (Robin Lane Fox)]
030-033 King Agbar of Edessa - the letter to Jesus [%Eusebius?]
030-033 Letter from Herod Antipas to Pilate [#STATUS?]
034-034 Letter from Pilate to Tiberius (via Tertullian) [#STATUS?]
034-037 Report of Tiberius to the Senate (via Tertullian [#STATUS?]
093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews 18 [%Eusebius?]
093-094 Josephus Flavius - Antiquity of the Jews 20 [%Interpolation?]
050-065 Seneca - correspondence with "Paul" [%4th century Forgery]
054-305 Nero to Diocletian: Persecution of Christians (Separate thread)

=======

101-112 Pliny the Younger Ep 10:97; letter to Trajan [Book 10?]
101-112 Emperor Trajan - Dear Pliny (a rescript) [Book 10?]
115-116 Tacitus - Annals 15:44 [Not cited before the 15th century]
117-138 Hadrian: Letter to Servianus (Historia Augusta) [HA]
118-119 Suetonius - Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Nero 16) [9th century]
118-119 Suetonius - Lives of the Twelve Caesars (Claudius 25) [9th century]
122-122 Hadrian - Letter to Minicius Fundanus [preserved in Justin].
125-125 Aristides the Philosopher - Apology [#STATUS?]
150-150 Antoninus - Epistle to assembly of Asia; Justin, Apology 1 [#STATUS?]
170-180 Marcus Aurelius - Letter to Senate; Rain Miracle; Justin, Apology 1 [#STATUS?]
170-180 Marcus Aurelius - Meditations 11:3 [%Probable interpolation]
170-180 Lucian of Samosata - Life of Peregrine [Unchallenged]
170-180 Lucian of Samosata - Alexander the Prophet [Unchallenged]
170-180 Lucian of Samosata - The Patriot [to be addressed]
170-180 Lucian of Samosata - The Timarion [to be addressed]
180-200 Galen - Greek: "On the Pulse" 2 references [manuscript transmission?]
180-200 Galen - Arabic: "On the Prime Mover" [STATUS?]
180-200 Galen - Arabic: "Summary of Platonic Dialogues" [STATUS?]

=======

230-235 Cassius Dio [%Christian reference occurs in 11th century Epitome]
240-270 Mani - Various writings [dated from the end of the 4th century]
260-270 Plotinus [Does Plotinus mention Christians?]
270-275 Aurelian: Letter about Sibylline Books (Historia Augusta) [HA]
280-303 Porphyry: Platonist academic preserved Plotinus
280-380 Historia Augusta: 10 further Christian references [HA]

=======
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#139  Postby Leucius Charinus » Sep 15, 2017 2:11 am

Hypothetical scenario for the interpolation of Tacitus, Pliny, Trajan, Suetonius

If we look at a summary of the earliest manuscripts for the above authors it would appear that they converge during the 9th century in the scriptoria of Benedictine Abbeys in the Carolingian and German regions ...

Tacitus Annales 1-6: scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Fulda (9th)
Pliny Letters (9 book): scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Fulda (9th)
Tacitus Annales 11-16: scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino (11th CE).
Suetonius: (Paris, BnF lat 6115) from north-central Carolingian France (9th)

Also ...

Pseudo-Isidore: scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Corbie; north-central Carolingian France (9th)


As noted, the Pseudo-Isidore forgery mill is believed to have operated out of the scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Corbie at the same time - in the early to mid 9th century.

    An Edition-in-Progress of the False Decretals


    By the Pseudo-Isidorian forgeries, scholars understand a vast and influential corpus of legal materials assembled by unknown clerical agitators in ninth-century Frankish Gaul. The attribution to Pseudo-Isidore is a mere convention, for the documents themselves adopt a variety of pseudonyms and historical perspectives. While forgeries abound in the Pseudo-Isidorian corpus, they stand alongside many authentic texts that the forgers have merely compiled. Other items have been corrected, interpolated or otherwise revised. The most imposing constituent of the forgery corpus, known as the False Decretals, was also the most widely read. At its heart lie nearly one hundred pseudonymous papal letters, or decretals, masquerading as the correspondence of popes from Clement I, Peter’s successor, through Gregory the Great. The Pseudo-Isidorians did their work in the archiepiscopal province of Reims, in the several decades preceding 850. New research has shown that they used the library of the monastery of Corbie on the Somme. Corbie scribes also produced some of the earliest and most important manuscripts of the forgeries. Though we know where and approximately when the Pseudo-Isidorians worked, their identity remains a deep historical mystery.

    https://pseudo-isidore.com/

None of this establishes anything, except that the people involved in the back-office of the Benedictine scriptoria during the 9th century were quite capable of operating a forgery mill. It seems remarkable that the earliest manuscripts for Tacitus, Pliny, Trajan, Suetonius appear in Benedictine scriptoria during the same epoch. FWIW a number of the manuscripts for Tertullian have their earliest exemplars from Corbie Abbey in the mid 9th century.

To clarify c.850 CE may be the earliest possible date (for a possible forgery of all of these references) whereas the latest possible date may be closer to the 15th century. Motivations may greatly change between these time periods. In the mid 9th century the church forged stuff to give the bishops and Rome more power.

The question to be asked is "Did they also interpolate a few "Christian" references to Tacitus, Pliny, Trajan, Suetonius at the same time"? (I realise the Tacitus Annales 11-16 is first known at the scriptorium of the Benedictine abbey of Monte Cassino in the 11th century, and that the Pliny reference is from Book 10; but clearly manuscripts moved around within the Benedictine scriptoria ).

Overall if we are permitted to consider the possibility of an interpolation of these four classical authors with references to the early Christians, then at the moment the earliest possible date may involve Benedictine scriptoria of the mid 9th century as outlined above.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#140  Postby Tracer Tong » Sep 17, 2017 12:07 pm

I'm still interested in what arguments you have for thinking the Meditations reference is probably interpolated. Also, when you refer to the Christian references in Lucian, what do you mean by "unchallenged"?
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