Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

Prior to the Christian Revolution of the 4th century

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

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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#21  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 18, 2017 10:25 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:The Loeb translation mentions by name 16 known spurious works (forgeries) out of a total of 82 manuscripts for Lucian. Given all these known forgeries under the name of Lucian, what form of guarantee can anyone make about the historical integrity of any specific work in this collection? As far as I am concerned - given these known forgeries - there can be no doubt that the church has corrupted this literary source for their own ends. The question to be answered is whether the Christian references in two of these works (Life of Peregrine, Alexander the Prophet .... The Philopatris is certainly a forgery) is genuinely from the hand of Lucian, or whether they have been "added" by later Christian scribes. Both answers are viable. But perhaps you have some further data?

I doubt whether the estimated number of manuscripts that were forged (by the church) in the name of Lucian has decreased since the Loeb translation.


This isn't a very satisfactory answer. The idea that there was some kind of church conspiracy to multiply the works attributed to Lucian "for their own ends" (!?), with "manuscripts...forged (by the church)", stretches credulity. More plausible is that, to the extent general explanations of misattribution should be attempted at all, Lucian's fame and reputation meant works were simply assigned to him erroneously, whether earlier or later. The same occurs in the case of other famous classical authors: Lysias, 'Homer' and Aristotle are good examples. Of course, reasons will vary beyond this general phenomenon.

That aside, it shouldn't need to be said that the mere fact we have good reason to doubt some works in the very large corpus does not mean we have good reason to doubt all of them. So I'm still wondering what the evidence is that you've found to suggest these works are spurious, or, if you now accept they aren't, what the evidence is of the Christian references within them being spurious.

You also missed my question about what works on Lucian you've read in the course of your study of him.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#22  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 18, 2017 12:59 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:The Loeb translation mentions by name 16 known spurious works (forgeries) out of a total of 82 manuscripts for Lucian. Given all these known forgeries under the name of Lucian, what form of guarantee can anyone make about the historical integrity of any specific work in this collection? As far as I am concerned - given these known forgeries - there can be no doubt that the church has corrupted this literary source for their own ends. The question to be answered is whether the Christian references in two of these works (Life of Peregrine, Alexander the Prophet .... The Philopatris is certainly a forgery) is genuinely from the hand of Lucian, or whether they have been "added" by later Christian scribes. Both answers are viable. But perhaps you have some further data?

I doubt whether the estimated number of manuscripts that were forged (by the church) in the name of Lucian has decreased since the Loeb translation.


This isn't a very satisfactory answer. The idea that there was some kind of church conspiracy to multiply the works attributed to Lucian "for their own ends" (!?), with "manuscripts...forged (by the church)", stretches credulity.


If you read what I wrote I did not suggest that the church was responsible for all the forged works of Lucian. The corruption of this source by the Christians is being considered for only two of these works (Life of Peregrine, Alexander the Prophet). A third work (formerly attributed to Lucian) that mentions Christians - The Philopatris - is certainly a forgery.


More plausible is that, to the extent general explanations of misattribution should be attempted at all, Lucian's fame and reputation meant works were simply assigned to him erroneously, whether earlier or later. The same occurs in the case of other famous classical authors: Lysias, 'Homer' and Aristotle are good examples. Of course, reasons will vary beyond this general phenomenon.


I understand that. My interest is restricted to the OP - works of literature that make reference to the Christians.


That aside, it shouldn't need to be said that the mere fact we have good reason to doubt some works in the very large corpus does not mean we have good reason to doubt all of them.


The Christian references in two works (see above) are being subjected to doubt.

So I'm still wondering what the evidence is that you've found to suggest these works are spurious, or, if you now accept they aren't, what the evidence is of the Christian references within them being spurious.


The OP is sceptical that the Christian references in these two works are genuine to Lucian's hand.

You also missed my question about what works on Lucian you've read in the course of your study of him.


The Life of Demonax was my favourite. I have read the two works under examination. That is basically what the OP is looking at.
"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"

#23  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 18, 2017 1:46 pm

OK, so the claim is now not that the works as a whole are spurious, but that the Christian references within them are. So, again, what's the evidence of that?

I'm pleased to hear you've read the works in question. But I'm surprised to hear you've read no literature on Lucian or these works beyond a very old Loeb introduction, given your earlier claim to have "made a study".
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#24  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 19, 2017 2:43 am

When I wrote that "I'd made a study" I was referring to all the references that have been gathered together in this study of "Pagan witnesses to the historicity of Christians" [in the literature of antiquity]. There are 21 citations listed, and the study involved examining each of these 21 references in order to gauge how much or how little historical integrity may or may not be associated with each and every one according to their particular circumstances.

The Loeb introduction to Lucian informs us that the collection of works attributed to Lucian includes a large number of forged works in the name of Lucian. This fact obviously must diminish and qualify what may or may not be said about the two specific works of Lucian in which these Christian references appear. This was my primary comment here. Obviously a lot has happened in the study of Lucian's works since then, but I don't think much is going to change regarding the large number of works that have been at one time or another attributed to Lucian but which now are perceived as being misattributed to Lucian.

These 21 literary citations form the basis of evidence by which people assume (rightly or wrongly) that the Christians were mentioned by pagan writers (i.e. mentions OUTSIDE the church) in antiquity and prior to the Christian revolution of the 4th century. My point is that there are various problems with all these references and that one possible explanation for these problems is that the entire set of these references have been inserted into the literature by the Christian church in the 4th century or later.
"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"

#25  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 20, 2017 5:39 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:When I wrote that "I'd made a study" I was referring to all the references that have been gathered together in this study of "Pagan witnesses to the historicity of Christians" [in the literature of antiquity]. There are 21 citations listed, and the study involved examining each of these 21 references in order to gauge how much or how little historical integrity may or may not be associated with each and every one according to their particular circumstances.


Remember my question: the claim is now not that the works as a whole are spurious, but that the Christian references within them are. So, again, what's the evidence of that?

Your 'study', if it's as described, will enable you to answer this question, which you don't do in this post. I look forward to your detailed reply.
Die Alten sind weder die Juden, noch die Christen, noch die Engländer der Poesie. Sie sind nicht ein willkürlich auserwähltes Kunstvolk Gottes; noch haben sie den alleinseligmachenden Schönheitsglauben; noch besitzen sie ein Dichtungsmonopol.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#26  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 22, 2017 3:37 am

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:When I wrote that "I'd made a study" I was referring to all the references that have been gathered together in this study of "Pagan witnesses to the historicity of Christians" [in the literature of antiquity]. There are 21 citations listed, and the study involved examining each of these 21 references in order to gauge how much or how little historical integrity may or may not be associated with each and every one according to their particular circumstances.


Remember my question: the claim is now not that the works as a whole are spurious, but that the Christian references within them are. So, again, what's the evidence of that?

Your 'study', if it's as described, will enable you to answer this question, which you don't do in this post. I look forward to your detailed reply.


Here is the summary results of the study in chronological order for the period ending with Lucian in the later 2nd century:

Leucius Charinus wrote:Status of CHURCH FORGERIES relating to ......

Pagan Witnesses to the Historicity of Christians



1st Century BCE
0.0 BCE Erythraean Sibyl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythraean_Sibyl [FORGERY]
0.1 106-043 Cicero translates Sibyl’s acrostic predicting Jesus to Latin [FORGERY]
0.2 040 BCE Virgil: advent of Christ predicted [FORGERY]


1st Century
1.1 030-033 King Agbar of Edessa - the letter to Jesus [FORGERY]
1.2 093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews [INTERPOLATION]
1.3 050-065 Seneca - the wonderful correspondence with "Dear Paul" [FORGERY]
1.4 054-305 Nero to Diocletian: Persecution of Christians [SUSPECTED MYTH] http://www.rationalskepticism.org/chris ... 49785.html


I am aware that opinion is divided on whether Josephus was a "rank forgery", however this review is treating the TF as a "rank forgery", that fits in quite well with all the other purported references to Christians in the writings of the 1st century.

In the second century we have ....



2nd Century
2.1 101-112 Pliny the Younger - Plinius, Ep 10:97; letter to Emperor Trajan [SUSPECTED FORGERY]
2.2 101-112 Emperor Trajan - Dear Pliny (a rescript) [SUSPECTED FORGERY]
2.3 115-116 Tacitus - Annals 15:44 [SUSPECTED FORGERY]
2.4 118-119 Suetonius - Lives of the Twelve Caesars, Nero, 16. [Earliest Archetype from PSEUDO-ISIDORE at Corbie Abbey?]
2.5 125-135 Epictetus (via Arrian) - the Galilaeans [Epictetus refers to the lawless tribes of Judea, not the Christians]
2.6 170-180 Marcus Aurelius - The "christian" reference at Meditations 11:3 [INTERPOLATION]
2.6 170-180 Lucian of Samosata - Life of Peregrine, Alexander the Prophet, Philopatris [At least 15 other works are known to have been forged in the name of Lucian]



Obviously most people are quite aware that a number of translators have pronounced the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius to have been interpolated, and that is the expert advice that this review will be using.

The question to be answered out of this complete review is whether or not it is possible that the entire set of references listed are forgeries.

I seek evidence of authenticity for these works. If I find evidence of authenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will increase. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. Those who wish to see evidence of interpolation or forgery or inauthenticity in these works might start at the top of the list and work down.

The references not discussed so far are the following:


2.8 177-177 Celsus: known only via Origen as preserved by Eusebius [Hmmmm...]
2.9 180-200 Galen

3rd Century
3.0 Early 3rd Mishnah ... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mishnah (Christian references?)
3.1 230-235 Cassius Dio
3.2 220-240 Julius Africanus Thallus mentions Christians? [NO?]
3.3 240-270 Mani - Various writings (dated from the end of the 4th century)
3.4 260-270 Plotinus
3.5 280-300 Porphyry - Platonist academic preserved writings of Plotinus.
"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"

#27  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 22, 2017 10:51 am

And, again, there's no answer to my question. I'm asking about the evidence of 'interpolation' of the Christian references in Lucian. I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#28  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 23, 2017 3:06 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:I seek evidence of authenticity for these works. If I find evidence of authenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will increase. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. Those who wish to see evidence of interpolation or forgery or inauthenticity in these works might start at the top of the list and work down.


Tracer Tong wrote:And, again, there's no answer to my question. I'm asking about the evidence of 'interpolation' of the Christian references in Lucian. I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.


There appears to be evidence that 16/82 of the manuscripts in the name of Lucian have been forged and are considered inauthentic. That is about 20% of Lucian's purported works. I have stated my position clearly above. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. I have found evidence of inauthenticity - 20% of Lucian's works are considered forgeries.

My question to you is for you to provide some evidence in support of the authenticity of these two Christian references in Lucian's works. I am impervious to any argument from authority. The reason that I am impervious to any argument from authority is because I have extremely good reasons to believe that the church organisation has forged manuscripts in support of its own pseudo-historical agenda. These have been listed above. I'm asking about the evidence that the Christian references in Lucian are authentic. Aside from an appeal to authority, I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.
Last edited by Leucius Charinus on Jun 23, 2017 7:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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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"

#29  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 23, 2017 7:26 am

Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity
edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, George H. van Kooten

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zY ... 9D&f=false

PA Brunt's arguments that the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius is an interpolation are summarised 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"

#30  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 23, 2017 12:11 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:I seek evidence of authenticity for these works. If I find evidence of authenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will increase. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. Those who wish to see evidence of interpolation or forgery or inauthenticity in these works might start at the top of the list and work down.


Tracer Tong wrote:And, again, there's no answer to my question. I'm asking about the evidence of 'interpolation' of the Christian references in Lucian. I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.


There appears to be evidence that 16/82 of the manuscripts in the name of Lucian have been forged and are considered inauthentic. That is about 20% of Lucian's purported works. I have stated my position clearly above. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. I have found evidence of inauthenticity - 20% of Lucian's works are considered forgeries.


There are several problems here: you're uncritically accepting Harmon's views of which works are spurious, and further equating them with a wider consensus on the matter; misusing the term 'manuscript'; and confusing 'forgery' with spuriousness in general, despite the fact that the former is only a relatively rare species of the latter.

But all this is really beside the point: we've clarified that you don't suggest The Passing of Peregrinus and Alexander the False Prophet are spurious, but rather that the references to Christians within them are. Pointing to the fairly obvious fact that not all works in the Lucianic corpus are genuine does nothing to support that conclusion, and I've still yet to see the results of the study you've claimed to have undertaken in relation to these passages.

Leucius Charinus wrote:My question to you is for you to provide some evidence in support of the authenticity of these two Christian references in Lucian's works. I am impervious to any argument from authority. The reason that I am impervious to any argument from authority is because I have extremely good reasons to believe that the church organisation has forged manuscripts in support of its own pseudo-historical agenda. These have been listed above. I'm asking about the evidence that the Christian references in Lucian are authentic. Aside from an appeal to authority, I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.


I take the references to be genuine because they occur in two works of the corpus that I've no good reason to suspect of being spurious, and don't of themselves give me a good reason to suppose that they don't belong to those works. You seem to think there is such a good reason, but won't tell me what you think that might be.

Leucius Charinus wrote:Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity
edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, George H. van Kooten

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zY ... 9D&f=false

PA Brunt's arguments that the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius is an interpolation are summarised above.


I'd rather go and read the piece than rely on a summary. Still, it's of interest that the author suggests that linguistic arguments that the reference is spurious have not been widely accepted. I wonder if this affects your commitment to the view that the text is ungrammatical.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#31  Postby RealityRules » Jun 23, 2017 12:42 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity
edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, George H. van Kooten

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zY ... 9D&f=false

PA Brunt's arguments that the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius is an interpolation are summarised above.

Not just Brunt's arguments. Footnotes 37 to 41 inclusive also refer to doubt about "the text of n.3" -

Eichstaedt, 37; Rutherford, 38; Haines, 39; Dalfen, 40; and, from footnote 41, Hard and Staniforth.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#32  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 23, 2017 1:19 pm

RealityRules wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity
edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, George H. van Kooten

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zY ... 9D&f=false

PA Brunt's arguments that the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius is an interpolation are summarised above.

Not just Blunt's arguments. Footnotes 37 to 41 inclusive also refer to doubt about "the text of n.3" -

Eichstaedt, 37; Rutherford, 38; Haines, 39; Dalfen, 40; and, from footnote 41, Hard and Staniforth.


Not all of those scholars are cited as examples of those who doubt the reference; indeed, Rutherford is against calls for deletion, as I've pointed out before. It's "Brunt", by the way.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#33  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 23, 2017 4:04 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
RealityRules wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:Religio-Philosophical Discourses in the Mediterranean World: From Plato, through Jesus, to Late Antiquity
edited by Anders Klostergaard Petersen, George H. van Kooten

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=zY ... 9D&f=false

PA Brunt's arguments that the Christian reference in Marcus Aurelius is an interpolation are summarised above.

Not just Blunt's arguments. Footnotes 37 to 41 inclusive also refer to doubt about "the text of n.3" -

Eichstaedt, 37; Rutherford, 38; Haines, 39; Dalfen, 40; and, from footnote 41, Hard and Staniforth.


Not all of those scholars are cited as examples of those who doubt the reference; indeed, Rutherford is against calls for deletion, as I've pointed out before.


For the purpose of this discussion ( I assume you read the OP) there are enough scholars who have supported the deletion of the reference as an interpolation to flag this reference as such. As a matter of interest do you consider that the item 1.2 093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews is an interpolation, or are you going to defend the authenticity of this as well?
"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"

#34  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 23, 2017 4:30 pm

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:I seek evidence of authenticity for these works. If I find evidence of authenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will increase. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. Those who wish to see evidence of interpolation or forgery or inauthenticity in these works might start at the top of the list and work down.


Tracer Tong wrote:And, again, there's no answer to my question. I'm asking about the evidence of 'interpolation' of the Christian references in Lucian. I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.


There appears to be evidence that 16/82 of the manuscripts in the name of Lucian have been forged and are considered inauthentic. That is about 20% of Lucian's purported works. I have stated my position clearly above. If I find evidence of inauthenticity then the estimation of the historicity of early Christians will decrease. I have found evidence of inauthenticity - 20% of Lucian's works are considered forgeries.


There are several problems here: you're uncritically accepting Harmon's views of which works are spurious, and further equating them with a wider consensus on the matter; misusing the term 'manuscript'; and confusing 'forgery' with spuriousness in general, despite the fact that the former is only a relatively rare species of the latter.

But all this is really beside the point:


Yes it is really.

we've clarified that you don't suggest The Passing of Peregrinus and Alexander the False Prophet are spurious, but rather that the references to Christians within them are. Pointing to the fairly obvious fact that not all works in the Lucianic corpus are genuine does nothing to support that conclusion,


If the Lucianic corpus as a whole lacks integrity then it follows that any claims about any work in the corpus must be negatively impacted.

... and I've still yet to see the results of the study you've claimed to have undertaken in relation to these passages.


I have already advised you that the study undertaken is in relation to the list of 20 or more references listed in the OP.

Leucius Charinus wrote:My question to you is for you to provide some evidence in support of the authenticity of these two Christian references in Lucian's works. I am impervious to any argument from authority. The reason that I am impervious to any argument from authority is because I have extremely good reasons to believe that the church organisation has forged manuscripts in support of its own pseudo-historical agenda. These have been listed above. I'm asking about the evidence that the Christian references in Lucian are authentic. Aside from an appeal to authority, I've yet to see what you think that evidence is.


I take the references to be genuine because they occur in two works of the corpus that I've no good reason to suspect of being spurious, and don't of themselves give me a good reason to suppose that they don't belong to those works.


The oldest Lucian manuscripts are from at least the 9/10th century. Lucian supposedly wrote (1) The Passing of Peregrinus, (2) Alexander the False Prophet and (3)"The Philopatris" in the 2nd century. You may have no good reason to suspect these have been tampered with by the church organisation however, as mentioned in the OP, I do. You are effectively relying upon the authority and the integrity of the middle ages church in this matter. Do you readily admit to this? A simple yes or no will suffice.

You seem to think there is such a good reason, but won't tell me what you think that might be.


Once the entire list of references (above) is examined it becomes clear that at one time or another each and every reference listed has been questioned and/or assailed as a forgery and/or an interpolation by the church. The simplest most consistent explanation of all these instances of forgery and/or interpolation is that there were in fact no references to the Christians in the pagan literature prior to the Christian revolution of the 4th century, and that the Christian church (of the 4th and subsequent centuries) "corrected" this state of affairs by forging them.

That is my position at the moment. If you can convince me that any of these references are genuine I would be happy to change my position. FWIW - and in support of my position - the archaeological record (for "Christians" prior to the 4th century) mirrors this situation.
"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"

#35  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jun 24, 2017 4:01 am

For those who have not yet thought about the arguments in the OP here are some claims to consider:


1) The list of references being studied is - to the best of my knowledge - comprehensive.

    Note that the list is comprised of any references to the existence of "Christians" that fall OUTSIDE of the "Church History" of Eusebius and which are to be found in the "pagan" and/or Jewish and/or "Classical" literary sources of antiquity prior to the Christian Revolution of the 4th century. The OP is not interested in any literary testimony from the (4th century or later) Church organisation. The OP thus seeks independent corroborating literary (or indeed archaeological, epigraphic, etc) evidence to the existence of "Christians" that is being claimed in the "Church History".


2) The earliest references listed prior to the end of the 1sr century of the common era are all completely BOGUS and have been recognised as such by at least some recognised scholarship.

    Status of CHURCH FORGERIES relating to ......

    Pagan Witnesses to the Historicity of Christians

    CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER ...

    1st Century BCE
    0.0 BCE Erythraean Sibyl https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythraean_Sibyl [FORGERY]
    0.1 106-043 Cicero translates Sibyl’s acrostic predicting Jesus to Latin [FORGERY]
    0.2 040 BCE Virgil: advent of Christ predicted [FORGERY]


    1st Century
    1.1 030-033 King Agbar of Edessa - the letter to Jesus [FORGERY]
    1.2 093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews [INTERPOLATION]
    1.3 050-065 Seneca - the wonderful correspondence with "Dear Paul" [FORGERY]


For those who may be interested in the earliest sources listed BCE these are to be found from claims made by Constantine and others in the 4th century. It was believed that the Erythraean Sibyl had predicted the advent of Jesus Christ and that the two Latin poets had echoed this prediction. In a letter to Arius c.333 CE Constantine advises that he is moving the evidence of the ancient Sybil's prediction to Alexandria so that all could behold the wonder of it. The historian Robin Lane Fox refers to parts of this bullshit as a "fraud twice over".

Is there anyone in this forum who disputes that the Christian reference found in Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews has never been assailed as an [INTERPOLATION]?

NO there cannot be.

    And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him,
    has still to this day not disappeared.


    Flavius Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3, 3

Even if any clown here thinks the TF might be "authentic" [even "partially"] the issue is whether or not any competent scholar at one at any time has assailed it as a "rank forgery, and a very stupid one too".

I do not accept the authority of the church in this historical matter and seek to test the church "history" by seeking external independent corroboration of ancient historical evidence. And I don't think that evidence exists. And if it does exist, reduced to the complete list of references being studied here in the OP, then these references have been forged by the Church organisation.


Dig?
"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. "

Emperor Julian (362 CE)
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#36  Postby MS2 » Jun 24, 2017 2:00 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
Is there anyone in this forum who disputes that the Christian reference found in Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews has never been assailed as an [INTERPOLATION]?

NO there cannot be.


I'm not sure what you mean by 'assailed', but if you genuinely wanted to give a balanced presentation you'd acknowledge that while the reference as it stands is believed by the majority of scholars to have been interpolated, the majority also believe there was a reference to Jesus in the underlying original. From wiki:
Of the three passages found in Josephus' Antiquities, this passage, if authentic, would offer the most direct support for the crucifixion of Jesus. The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus with a reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate which was then subject to interpolation.[5][6][7][8][10] James Dunn states that there is "broad consensus" among scholars regarding the nature of an authentic reference to Jesus in the Testimonium and what the passage would look like without the interpolations.[9] Among other things, the authenticity of this passage would help make sense of the later reference in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 where Josephus refers to the stoning of "James the brother of Jesus". A number of scholars argue that the reference to Jesus in this later passage as "the aforementioned Christ" relates to the earlier reference in the Testimonium.[1][2][58]


Leucius Charinus wrote:
Even if any clown here thinks the TF might be "authentic" [even "partially"] the issue is whether or not any competent scholar at one at any time has assailed it as a "rank forgery, and a very stupid one too".


Some might think the 'clown' is the one using such language to shut down any opposition to your view
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#37  Postby RealityRules » Jun 24, 2017 10:50 pm

MS2 wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Is there anyone in this forum who disputes that the Christian reference found in Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews has never been assailed as an [Interpolation]?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'assailed', but if you genuinely wanted to give a balanced presentation you'd acknowledge that, while the reference as it stands is believed by the majority of scholars to have been interpolated, 'the majority' [have] also believe[d] there was a reference to Jesus in the underlying original. From wiki:
Of the three passages found in Josephus' Antiquities, this passage, if authentic, would offer the most direct support for the crucifixion of Jesus. The general scholarly view is that, while the 'Testimonium Flavianum' is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus with a reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate which was then subject to interpolation.[5][6][7][8][10] James Dunn states that there is "broad consensus" among scholars regarding the nature of an authentic reference to Jesus in 'the Testimonium' and what the passage would look like without the interpolations.[9] Among other things, the authenticity of this passage would help make sense of the later reference in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews Bk 20, Chap 9, 1 where Josephus refers to the stoning of "James the brother of Jesus". A number of scholars argue that the reference to Jesus in this later passage as "the aforementioned Christ" relates to the earlier reference in the Testimonium.[1][2][58]

There have been several publications that provide reason to doubt any of the TF -

1. G.J. Goldberg's 1995. “The Coincidences of the Testimonium of Josephus and the Emmaus Narrative of Luke.”
But in recent years there has been

2. Louis Feldman. 2012. “On the Authenticity of the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’ Attributed toJosephus.”
    in New Perspectives on Jewish Christian Relations, eds. E Carlebach & J Schacter (Brill), pp. 13–30.

    “In conclusion, there is reason to think that a Christian such as Eusebius would have sought to portray Josephus as more favorably disposed toward Jesus and may well have interpolated such a statement as that which is found in the Testimonium Flavianum.” (p. 28)

3. Richard Carrier. 2012. “Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200.”
    Journal of Early Christian Studies 20.4: 489–514 [discussed the TF, too]

    Carrier has discussed the TF a few times on his blog, including recently where he references all these other papers.

4.a. Ken Olson. 2013. “A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum.”
4.b. Ken Olson. 2013. “The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus.” The Jesus Blog (August 13):


5. Paul Hopper. 2014. “A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus: Jewish Antiquities xviii:63.”
    in Linguistics and Literary Studies: Interfaces, Encounters, Transfers, eds. Fludernik & Jacob (de Gruyter), pp. 147–169.

    Abstract: "...The present article offers a narratological analysis of the passage, comparing the styles of event reporting in the passage with the three other episodes in Josephus’s Pontius Pilate sequence. The study concludes that the uses of the Greek verb forms such as aorists and participles are distinct in the Jesus passage from those in the other Pilate episodes, and that these differences amount to a difference in genre. It is suggested that the Jesus passage is close in style and content to the creeds that were composed two to three centuries after Josephus."

    available as a downloadable pdf here

Some, most, or all of these have previously been in the wiki entry, but they seem to have been edited out.

.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#38  Postby Tracer Tong » Jun 25, 2017 2:23 am

Leucius Charinus wrote:If the Lucianic corpus as a whole lacks integrity then it follows that any claims about any work in the corpus must be negatively impacted.


But that obviously doesn't follow, though. The mere fact that certain works in Lucian's vast corpus are probably spurious hardly means that any claim about any of the works in the corpus is "negatively impacted", which also goes for the claim that the references to Christians in The Passing of Peregrinus and Alexander the False Prophet are spurious. I hope that this isn't the extent of your reasoning, but if it is, it's best if you clarify that now.

Leucius Charinus wrote:For the purpose of this discussion ( I assume you read the OP) there are enough scholars who have supported the deletion of the reference as an interpolation to flag this reference as such. As a matter of interest do you consider that the item 1.2 093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews is an interpolation, or are you going to defend the authenticity of this as well?


I've not much looked at it, but from what I remember it seems clearly to have been, at least in part, subject to interpolation. But it's a relatively obvious case, of course.
Die Alten sind weder die Juden, noch die Christen, noch die Engländer der Poesie. Sie sind nicht ein willkürlich auserwähltes Kunstvolk Gottes; noch haben sie den alleinseligmachenden Schönheitsglauben; noch besitzen sie ein Dichtungsmonopol.
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#39  Postby RealityRules » Jun 25, 2017 3:59 am

Tracer Tong wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:...As a matter of interest do you consider that the item 1.2 093-094 Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews is an interpolation...?

I've not much looked at it, but from what I remember it seems clearly to have been, at least in part, subject to interpolation. But it's a relatively obvious case, of course.

Various commentators now argue all of the 'TF' is a later interpolation. See the references in the post above yours (two above^^ this one)
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Re: Pagan witnesses to the historicity of "Christians"

#40  Postby MS2 » Jun 25, 2017 11:01 am

RealityRules wrote:
MS2 wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
Is there anyone in this forum who disputes that the Christian reference found in Josephus Flavius - TF, Antiquity of the Jews has never been assailed as an [Interpolation]?

I'm not sure what you mean by 'assailed', but if you genuinely wanted to give a balanced presentation you'd acknowledge that, while the reference as it stands is believed by the majority of scholars to have been interpolated, 'the majority' [have] also believe[d] there was a reference to Jesus in the underlying original. From wiki:
Of the three passages found in Josephus' Antiquities, this passage, if authentic, would offer the most direct support for the crucifixion of Jesus. The general scholarly view is that, while the 'Testimonium Flavianum' is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus with a reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate which was then subject to interpolation.[5][6][7][8][10] James Dunn states that there is "broad consensus" among scholars regarding the nature of an authentic reference to Jesus in 'the Testimonium' and what the passage would look like without the interpolations.[9] Among other things, the authenticity of this passage would help make sense of the later reference in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews Bk 20, Chap 9, 1 where Josephus refers to the stoning of "James the brother of Jesus". A number of scholars argue that the reference to Jesus in this later passage as "the aforementioned Christ" relates to the earlier reference in the Testimonium.[1][2][58]

If you are going to quote me, please leave the words that I wrote. Feel free to say what you think, but don't represent it as what I think

There have been several publications that provide reason to doubt any of the TF -

1. G.J. Goldberg's 1995. “The Coincidences of the Testimonium of Josephus and the Emmaus Narrative of Luke.”


As far as the author is concerned it provides reasons why the passage is authentic.

But in recent years there has been

2. Louis Feldman. 2012. “On the Authenticity of the ‘Testimonium Flavianum’ Attributed toJosephus.”
    in New Perspectives on Jewish Christian Relations, eds. E Carlebach & J Schacter (Brill), pp. 13–30.

    “In conclusion, there is reason to think that a Christian such as Eusebius would have sought to portray Josephus as more favorably disposed toward Jesus and may well have interpolated such a statement as that which is found in the Testimonium Flavianum.” (p. 28)

According to your quote, Feldman merely concludes that the TF as it stands may have been written by 'a Christian such as Eusebius'. That doesn't mean Feldman didn't think there was no underlying passage referring to Jesus


3. Richard Carrier. 2012. “Origen, Eusebius, and the Accidental Interpolation in Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 20.200.”
    Journal of Early Christian Studies 20.4: 489–514 [discussed the TF, too]

    Carrier has discussed the TF a few times on his blog, including recently where he references all these other papers.

4.a. Ken Olson. 2013. “A Eusebian Reading of the Testimonium Flavianum.”
4.b. Ken Olson. 2013. “The Testimonium Flavianum, Eusebius, and Consensus.” The Jesus Blog (August 13):

    http://historicaljesusresearch.blogspot.com/2013/08/the-testimonium-flavianum-eusebius-and.html[/lis]


    5. Paul Hopper. 2014. “A Narrative Anomaly in Josephus: Jewish Antiquities xviii:63.”
      in Linguistics and Literary Studies: Interfaces, Encounters, Transfers, eds. Fludernik & Jacob (de Gruyter), pp. 147–169.

      Abstract: "...The present article offers a narratological analysis of the passage, comparing the styles of event reporting in the passage with the three other episodes in Josephus’s Pontius Pilate sequence. The study concludes that the uses of the Greek verb forms such as aorists and participles are distinct in the Jesus passage from those in the other Pilate episodes, and that these differences amount to a difference in genre. It is suggested that the Jesus passage is close in style and content to the creeds that were composed two to three centuries after Josephus."

      available as a downloadable pdf here

Some, most, or all of these have previously been in the wiki entry, but they seem to have been edited out


There are indeed some who argue the passage is wholly inauthentic. Which nobody disputes. My point was about Leucius Charinus's failure to give a balanced presentation of the position

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