Historical Jesus

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

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Re: The Ahistoricity of Jesus

#21  Postby Pierce Inverarity » Feb 26, 2010 11:28 pm

While I don't subscribe to Doherty's brand of mythicism Re: the existence of Jesus as a historical person, I think it is highly unlikely that such a person ever existed or was the inspiration/founder for earliest Christianity.

Tim, when you say
It's pretty hard for any objective analysis to read all that as anything other than Paul talking about an earthly, historical person.
you're conflating "earthly" and "historical." Is it not possible that Paul believed Jesus had an (utterly obscure) earthly existence but that nevertheless there was no such actual person? "Born of a woman" in Paul, for me, actually confirms this view, for what man is not born of a woman? It highlights just how little Paul can say about this person. In all, this and other passages in Paul (and out of the whole corpus, your few citations are nearly exhaustive) offer so little in the way of any specificity that would indicate biographical rather than mythical/legendary material, and absolute silence on anything that appears in the Synoptic narrative, that it's become impossible for me to read Paul as talking about the figure that is presented to us in the gospels.

In a recent series of exchanges with a real, live PhD NT scholar, it has become even more clear to me that the ones in this debate who "assume their conclusion" are the historicists.

Unfortunately, I'll be out of town over the weekend and I can't really follow up on this. But I will be game for any continuing discussion on the issue starting next week, should there be interest.

Good to see some RDF forum refugees creating something out of the ashes. (I wasn't ever a member, but I hope I can make some contributions here and be a part of the newly reconstituted community.)

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Re: The Ahistoricity of Jesus

#22  Postby TimONeill » Feb 26, 2010 11:44 pm

Pierce Inverarity wrote:While I don't subscribe to Doherty's brand of mythicism Re: the existence of Jesus as a historical person, I think it is highly unlikely that such a person ever existed or was the inspiration/founder for earliest Christianity.


"Highly unlikely", why exactly?

Tim, when you say
It's pretty hard for any objective analysis to read all that as anything other than Paul talking about an earthly, historical person.
you're conflating "earthly" and "historical." Is it not possible that Paul believed Jesus had an (utterly obscure) earthly existence but that nevertheless there was no such actual person?


Given that Paul tells us he had met and known Jesus' friend Peter and his brother James, I can't see how this works.

"Born of a woman" in Paul, for me, actually confirms this view, for what man is not born of a woman? It highlights just how little Paul can say about this person.


If you isolate it from the other things he says about this person and remove it from its context, you can make it look that way, certainly. But he does say other things about a historical Jesus and he is saying several other things about him even in Galatians 4:4 - he also says he was a Jew and that he came to fulfil the Law.

In all, this and other passages in Paul (and out of the whole corpus, your few citations are nearly exhaustive) offer so little in the way of any specificity that would indicate biographical rather than mythical/legendary material, and absolute silence on anything that appears in the Synoptic narrative, that it's become impossible for me to read Paul as talking about the figure that is presented to us in the gospels.


Again, context is everything. I wrote an e-mail to my brother the other day that referred in passing to our late father. But I didn't mention the circumstances of his death, when it occurred or describe his funeral. Why? Context - the e-mail had nothing to do with these things. And Paul does refer to things in the synoptics - his teaching on divorce and the apocalypse, as well as his final meal, his execution, the role of the Jewish leaders in his death, his burial and his resurrection.

In a recent series of exchanges with a real, live PhD NT scholar, it has become even more clear to me that the ones in this debate who "assume their conclusion" are the historicists.


Because the arguments of the Mythicists are so weak and it's not necessary to go back and re-invent the "did Jesus exist?" wheel whenever anyone begins to talk about the historical Jesus. Some things are taken as settled. And I don't think you'll find any historicists here assuming any such thing - we've all put every single idea in this debate under the microscope many times. I know I certainly have.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#23  Postby Pierce Inverarity » Feb 26, 2010 11:45 pm

There is not a single historical source by anyone that actually saw Hannibal, not one. So Hannibal didn't exist?


Aha. But the silence about Jesus is total. The man is completely invisible to history. I believe you miss a key difference between the historical figures you cite and the case of Jesus. You see, somebody had to have led the Carthaginian forces across the Alps and into Italy. Somebody had to defeat Scipio and the fleet from Pergamum. Somebody had to have been the brilliant tactician that had every military leader of the era learning and imitating his tactics. There's a big "hole" in history if we remove Hannibal from the picture, so it's not a matter of having a source from anyone that actually saw him. So much about our historical record of late Republican Rome would have to be rewritten to remove Hannibal that it's far more likely that he existed than that he did not.

There is nothing remotely comparable for Jesus. There's nothing in the historical record that he needs to have done. We have some texts, and evidence of a religious tradition. We have evidence of mythmaking and literary invention, which do not require an inspiration in reality, though they may often have it. Please tell me you can see a difference between indisputable figures of history --figures without whom we would need to start from scratch on reconstructing the history of the period-- and debatable figures like Jesus and King Arthur, who, if they existed, left no trace other than stories of dubious provenance told about them.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#24  Postby RichardPrins » Feb 26, 2010 11:53 pm

TimONeill wrote:I was simply showing that it's merely the nature of ancient sources - we rarely have contemporary attestation for anyone.

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Re: The Ahistoricity of Jesus

#25  Postby Pierce Inverarity » Feb 26, 2010 11:55 pm

Given that Paul tells us he had met and known Jesus' friend Peter and his brother James, I can't see how this works.


We'll have to have a debate some time later. I'm afraid I simply can't do it justice right now.

However, you are assuming your conclusion here. Only if there was a historical person for James and Peter to have been brother and friend to, which isn't indicated by anything else Paul says about them, is this a problem. "Brother of the Lord" is possibly an honorific, just as could be Simon being called (or having decided to call himself) the Rock. Insisting otherwise is reading the Synoptics back into Paul, which is assuming what you wish to prove.

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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#26  Postby Apollonius » Feb 26, 2010 11:59 pm

Pierce Inverarity wrote:
There is not a single historical source by anyone that actually saw Hannibal, not one. So Hannibal didn't exist?


Aha. But the silence about Jesus is total. The man is completely invisible to history. I believe you miss a key difference between the historical figures you cite and the case of Jesus. You see, somebody had to have led the Carthaginian forces across the Alps and into Italy. Somebody had to defeat Scipio and the fleet from Pergamum. Somebody had to have been the brilliant tactician that had every military leader of the era learning and imitating his tactics. There's a big "hole" in history if we remove Hannibal from the picture, so it's not a matter of having a source from anyone that actually saw him. So much about our historical record of late Republican Rome would have to be rewritten to remove Hannibal that it's far more likely that he existed than that he did not.

There is nothing remotely comparable for Jesus. There's nothing in the historical record that he needs to have done. We have some texts, and evidence of a religious tradition. We have evidence of mythmaking and literary invention, which do not require an inspiration in reality, though they may often have it. Please tell me you can see a difference between indisputable figures of history --figures without whom we would need to start from scratch on reconstructing the history of the period-- and debatable figures like Jesus and King Arthur, who, if they existed, left no trace other than stories of dubious provenance told about them.


Agree somewhat, but there IS something in the historical record, it just takes a lot of detective work to pick it apart. The gospels exist. They tell stories that are too troublesome for myth makers to just make up. Why would christians make up a story where their messiah was killed? Makes no sense. All this "it was for your sins" stuff that came later is just nutty. But they came up with that to explain away the problem of their leader being killed.

Stories that are complete myth don't do that, usually!
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Re: The Ahistoricity of Jesus

#27  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 1:52 am

Pierce Inverarity wrote:
Given that Paul tells us he had met and known Jesus' friend Peter and his brother James, I can't see how this works.


We'll have to have a debate some time later. I'm afraid I simply can't do it justice right now.


Fine.

However, you are assuming your conclusion here.


No, I'm doing nothing of the sort. Paul TELLS us he met these people. And what he tells us fits with other evidence we have about these people (eg Josephus also mentioning that Jesus had a brother called James). If the Myther wants to argue he meant something else, then the onus is on them to provide evidence that the clear meaning of what Paul said actually means something else. I've seen Mythers try to do this and Occam's Razor makes short work of their efforts.

Only if there was a historical person for James and Peter to have been brother and friend to, which isn't indicated by anything else Paul says about them, is this a problem.


See above.

"Brother of the Lord" is possibly an honorific,


And here's where the attempts to explain the clear meaning of the phrase away begins to come unglued. It's "possibly" an honorific? Sorry, but "possibly" doesn't cut it on its own. Where is the evidence that it's an honorific? Because we have multiple attestation that Jesus had a brother called James. We have that evidence in the NT (the gospels, Acts, Galatians), in the Patristics (Eusebius, Hegesippius) and in Josephus. So unless you can come up with an example of ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου being used as an honorific, simply waving a hopeful "possibly" doesn't make that evidence disappear. All too many Myther counter-arguments are like this - they seem to think presenting some other possible interpretation is enough. It isn't.

Insisting otherwise is reading the Synoptics back into Paul, which is assuming what you wish to prove.


Nope - see above. I'm reading what Paul says in the context of the evidence we have. Unless you have better evidence that indicates my reading is wrong and that ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου was used as an honorific then my reading is solidly-based and yours is hopeful hand waving based on wishful thinking and an a priori assumption of a conclusion. Do you have actual evidence to back this weak, hopeful "possibly" up? Then let's see it.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#28  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 2:03 am

Pierce Inverarity wrote:
There is not a single historical source by anyone that actually saw Hannibal, not one. So Hannibal didn't exist?


Aha. But the silence about Jesus is total. The man is completely invisible to history.


No, it isn't total at all. We have references to him in the works of his followers that date to within a few decades of his death. Then we have Josephus. Even if you dismiss Antiquities XVIII.63 wholesale (as most scholars don't), there's still Antiquities XX.9 to contend with. And then there's Tacitus. Compared to other Jewish preachers, prophets and wannabe Messiahs of the time - people like Theudas, the Egyptian, Hillel, Gamaliel and the Baptist - Jesus is actually comparatively well-attested.

Yet few bother to doubt the existence of those others, despite them being attested much less fully. Any ideas why that might be ... ?
:ask:


I believe you miss a key difference between the historical figures you cite and the case of Jesus. You see, somebody had to have led the Carthaginian forces across the Alps and into Italy. Somebody had to defeat Scipio and the fleet from Pergamum. Somebody had to have been the brilliant tactician that had every military leader of the era learning and imitating his tactics. There's a big "hole" in history if we remove Hannibal from the picture, so it's not a matter of having a source from anyone that actually saw him.


If I could be arsed I could come up with a string of Jesus Myther-style "maybes" that would "explain" all that and detail how Polybius and co. "invented" a mighty "Hannibal-figure" out of earlier antecedents as a way of "explaining" a series of defeats by totally separate Spanish, Gallic and Carthaginian enemies.

But my analogy between the Jesus and Hannibal wasn't claiming that the two had the same level of liklihood of existence anyway. I was simply showing that if we don't have contemporary sources for someone as clearly significant as Hannibal then it's absurd to base any kind of argument on the lack of contemporary attestation on the similar lack for someone as insignificant as Jesus.

There is nothing remotely comparable for Jesus.


Luckily for me my analogy was not arguing that Hannibal and Jesus were comparable in that respect. See above.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#29  Postby jerome » Feb 27, 2010 2:38 am

I post all the early sources I can think of and someone says the silence is total??? :scratch: If you mean contemporary sources: sure, there are none. Take any 5 analogous figures from Josephus and try to find contemporary sources...

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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#30  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 3:07 am

jerome wrote: If you mean contemporary sources: sure, there are none. Take any 5 analogous figures from Josephus and try to find contemporary sources...


Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity. We know of Jesus from Josephus and several other sources and yet we're told he is "invisible to history"? WTF?

What we see at work here, ladies and gentlemen, is irrational, ideologically-driven bias. And that's deadly to the proper analysis of history.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#31  Postby Monkey's Nephew » Feb 27, 2010 7:02 am

TimONeill wrote:
jerome wrote: If you mean contemporary sources: sure, there are none. Take any 5 analogous figures from Josephus and try to find contemporary sources...


Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity. We know of Jesus from Josephus and several other sources and yet we're told he is "invisible to history"? WTF?

What we see at work here, ladies and gentlemen, is irrational, ideologically-driven bias. And that's deadly to the proper analysis of history.


I say, that's a bit rough. I thought he was quite clear - and made a good point. Here, let me amend the first sentence:

But the silence about Jesus from recorded events within his lifetime is total.


The point is that, not only is there no contemporary record of Jesus, there is no contemporary record of any act that, if not carried out by Jesus, would have to have been carried out by some other, similar (and missing) figure.

As for this:

Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity.


I think it's closer to the truth that no-one gives a shit about their historicity. Jesus is the one that people argue about because Jesus is the main character in the story.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#32  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 7:23 am

Monkey's Nephew wrote:
TimONeill wrote:
jerome wrote: If you mean contemporary sources: sure, there are none. Take any 5 analogous figures from Josephus and try to find contemporary sources...


Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity. We know of Jesus from Josephus and several other sources and yet we're told he is "invisible to history"? WTF?

What we see at work here, ladies and gentlemen, is irrational, ideologically-driven bias. And that's deadly to the proper analysis of history.


I say, that's a bit rough. I thought he was quite clear - and made a good point. Here, let me amend the first sentence:

But the silence about Jesus from recorded events within his lifetime is total.


The point is that, not only is there no contemporary record of Jesus, there is no contemporary record of any act that, if not carried out by Jesus, would have to have been carried out by some other, similar (and missing) figure.


Sorry, what does this mean? If there is no contemporary record of Jesus, much as there isn't for most ancient figures except a few extremely important ones, how could there be any record of any of his "acts"? And what exactly does "any act that, if not carried out by Jesus, would have to have been carried out by some other, similar (and missing) figure" mean? I can't work that highly confused sentence out at all.


As for this:

Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity.


I think it's closer to the truth that no-one gives a shit about their historicity.


The only reason some apply a far higher requirement for the existence for Jesus than they do for any number of less well attested figures is that he is the focus of Christianity. So a level of attestation that is no problem at all for dozens or even hundreds of other figures who are accepted as existing without question even though they are mentioned in passing in one source is suddenly not enough for Jesus, for some strange reason. That's irrational.

Jesus is the one that people argue about because Jesus is the main character in the story.


No, Jesus is the one that suddenly needs a far higher level of attestation because Jesus is the main character in a modern religious story. In other words, an ideological desire to undermine Christianity drives certain non-believers to shift the level of evidence required to a higher level for Jesus because of a clear bias and prejudice.

That's not rational. The level of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus should be no more or no less than that required for any other First Century Jewish preacher, prophet or Messianic claimant. As rationalists, we should be careful to avoid bias based on modern Christian ideas about who this particular Jewish preacher was. To do so is irrational.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#33  Postby Monkey's Nephew » Feb 27, 2010 7:32 am

TimONeill wrote:Sorry, what does this mean? If there is no contemporary record of Jesus, much as there isn't for most ancient figures except a few extremely important ones, how could there be any record of any of his "acts"? And what exactly does "any act that, if not carried out by Jesus, would have to have been carried out by some other, similar (and missing) figure" mean? I can't work that highly confused sentence out at all.


Just summarizing the argument as I read it:

Pierce Inverarity wrote:You see, somebody had to have led the Carthaginian forces across the Alps and into Italy. Somebody had to defeat Scipio and the fleet from Pergamum. Somebody had to have been the brilliant tactician that had every military leader of the era learning and imitating his tactics. There's a big "hole" in history if we remove Hannibal from the picture, so it's not a matter of having a source from anyone that actually saw him. So much about our historical record of late Republican Rome would have to be rewritten to remove Hannibal that it's far more likely that he existed than that he did not.


Can you say the same for Jesus?


As for this:

Exactly. We know of Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others solely from Josephus. Yet no-one questions their historicity.


I think it's closer to the truth that no-one gives a shit about their historicity.


The only reason some apply a far higher requirement for the existence for Jesus than they do for any number of less well attested figures is that he is the focus of Christianity. So a level of attestation that is no problem at all for dozens or even hundreds of other figures who are accepted as existing without question even though they are mentioned in passing in one source is suddenly not enough for Jesus, for some strange reason. That's irrational.

Jesus is the one that people argue about because Jesus is the main character in the story.


No, Jesus is the one that suddenly needs a far higher level of attestation because Jesus is the main character in a modern religious story. In other words, an ideological desire to undermine Christianity drives certain non-believers to shift the level of evidence required to a higher level for Jesus because of a clear bias and prejudice.

That's not rational. The level of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus should be no more or no less than that required for any other First Century Jewish preacher, prophet or Messianic claimant. As rationalists, we should be careful to avoid bias based on modern Christian ideas about who this particular Jewish preacher was. To do so is irrational.


I honestly think you're misunderstanding this. I'd guess that it isn't that people are accepting these characters' historicity without question, so much as these characters simply aren't important enough to history to bother spending much time questioning their veracity.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#34  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 7:48 am

Monkey's Nephew wrote:
TimONeill wrote:Sorry, what does this mean? If there is no contemporary record of Jesus, much as there isn't for most ancient figures except a few extremely important ones, how could there be any record of any of his "acts"? And what exactly does "any act that, if not carried out by Jesus, would have to have been carried out by some other, similar (and missing) figure" mean? I can't work that highly confused sentence out at all.


Just summarizing the argument as I read it:

Pierce Inverarity wrote:You see, somebody had to have led the Carthaginian forces across the Alps and into Italy. Somebody had to defeat Scipio and the fleet from Pergamum. Somebody had to have been the brilliant tactician that had every military leader of the era learning and imitating his tactics. There's a big "hole" in history if we remove Hannibal from the picture, so it's not a matter of having a source from anyone that actually saw him. So much about our historical record of late Republican Rome would have to be rewritten to remove Hannibal that it's far more likely that he existed than that he did not.


Can you say the same for Jesus?


Since the analogy between the lack of contemporary attestation for Jesus and the equivalent lack of contemporary attestation for Hannibal doesn't require me to, this question is irrelevant.


I honestly think you're misunderstanding this. I'd guess that it isn't that people are accepting these characters' historicity without question, so much as these characters simply aren't important enough to history to bother spending much time questioning their veracity.


Understood. But the so-called "importance" of an ancient figure to someone today makes no difference to whether or not there is sufficient reason to accept they exist. There is sufficient evidence for historians to accept that Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others exist. Given that there is even better evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus existed, they accept the existence of him as well. So the internet amateurs who disagree with the scholarly consensus have to explain why we should not accept that any of these people exist.

The fact that they don't like modern Christianity or they have some teenaged resentment of their Christian parents isn't enough. Can you present some rational reasons to doubt the existence of any of these people? Let's start with Theudas.

Over to you. Make it good.
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#35  Postby Monkey's Nephew » Feb 27, 2010 8:02 am

TimONeill wrote:Understood. But the so-called "importance" of an ancient figure to someone today makes no difference to whether or not there is sufficient reason to accept they exist. There is sufficient evidence for historians to accept that Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others exist.


You assert that historians accept these characters existed; I have no idea whether this is actually true. I don't much care, either. If the evidence for their existence is as scant as the evidence for Jesus, then personally I'm pretty happy to take the same stance with them as I am for Jesus, YHWH, or any other figure for whom evidence is, shall we say, sub-optimal. Said stance is that I see no reason to believe you when you say they exist(ed) given the evidence you've provided, but I'll be happy to re-evaluate if you're able to provide something more.

Given that there is even better evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus existed, they accept the existence of him as well.


As far as I'm aware, some do and some don't. You seem to have a habit of asserting absolutes where none exist - I'd get that checked, if I were you.

So the internet amateurs who disagree with the scholarly consensus have to explain why we should not accept that any of these people exist.


No, they only have to explain why they don't accept. I've already given my reasons above.

The fact that they don't like modern Christianity or they have some teenaged resentment of their Christian parents isn't enough. Can you present some rational reasons to doubt the existence of any of these people?


Geez, man. Talk about poisoning the well.

Let's start with Theudas.


Let's not.

Anyway, I'm supposed to be finishing up a grant application. I may or may not participate here further, depending on the extent of my writer's block.

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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#36  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 8:20 am

Monkey's Nephew wrote:
TimONeill wrote:Understood. But the so-called "importance" of an ancient figure to someone today makes no difference to whether or not there is sufficient reason to accept they exist. There is sufficient evidence for historians to accept that Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and several others exist.


You assert that historians accept these characters existed; I have no idea whether this is actually true.


Okay, then let me help you - it is. If an ancient source talks about how such and such a person existed and did such and such a thing, we accept that they did unless we have really good EVIDENCE that the source in question is lying or mistaken. We have no such evidence for Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet etc. Or for Jesus. If you want to present such evidence for any of them, now would be good. But it makes zero sense to assume that any of them didn't exist when we have attestation they did. Quite the opposite, actually.

I don't much care, either. If the evidence for their existence is as scant as the evidence for Jesus, then personally I'm pretty happy to take the same stance with them as I am for Jesus, YHWH, or any other figure for whom evidence is, shall we say, sub-optimal.


That was nicely tricksey. See what you did there - you slipped in "YHWH" as though some ancient historian was saying he was a human figure in the same way they say Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet or Jesus was. Crafty, but bullshit. Yes, anyone making that claim about a god's existence would be suspect. But we are talking about people mentioning Jewish prophets, preachers and Messianic claimants. People like Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and Jesus. Nice try, but there is no comparison between the mention of these unremarkable people and some god. Why is the evidence for Theudas, the Egyptian, the Samaritan Prophet and Jesus "sub-optimal"? Explain please. And be more careful this time.

Given that there is even better evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus existed, they accept the existence of him as well.


As far as I'm aware, some do and some don't. You seem to have a habit of asserting absolutes where none exist - I'd get that checked, if I were you.


I've been "checking" this stuff for 20+ years thanks. "Some do and some don't"? Really? And which professional scholars "don't" according to you? Check carefully before answering.

Let's start with Theudas.


Let's not.


Why not?
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#37  Postby Crocodile Gandhi » Feb 27, 2010 8:28 am

I don't know very much about the details pertaining to any permutation of a historical Jesus, but I have learned a lot by skimming over Tim's posts both here and back at RDF. I'm certainly willing to accept that a man named Jesus (or otherwise?) lived a long time ago and was a person of some note. The question I would like to ask is, is there any corroborating evidence in any writings around the time of Jesus' life - by which I mean within a hundred years or so of his death - that attest to the miracles he performs in the Bible or his resurrection?
If I believe in heaven I deny myself a death. Dying keeps me conscious of the way I waste my breath - Cosmo Jarvis
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#38  Postby TimONeill » Feb 27, 2010 8:32 am

Crocodile Gandhi wrote:I don't know very much about the details pertaining to any permutation of a historical Jesus, but I have learned a lot by skimming over Tim's posts both here and back at RDF. I'm certainly willing to accept that a man named Jesus (or otherwise?) lived a long time ago and was a person of some note. The question I would like to ask is, is there any corroborating evidence in any writings around the time of Jesus' life - by which I mean within a hundred years or so of his death - that attest to the miracles he performs in the Bible or his resurrection?


No.

Glad you can recognise that as a separate question though. :thumbup:
Homo sum: humani nil a me alienum puto
"I am human: nothing that is human is alien to me."

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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#39  Postby Crocodile Gandhi » Feb 27, 2010 8:42 am

TimONeill wrote:No.

Glad you can recognise that as a separate question though. :thumbup:


Thanks. I think my position on the issue is that while I am willing to accept that a historical Jesus existed, in the absence of any evidence of any kind of divinity or continuance of life after he had died, I don't really care if he existed. Sure, this man did a great amount to shape the way that billions of people live their lives, but it doesn't affect me all that much as to whether I will follow the religion. Whether he existed or not - and I'm not doubting that he did in saying this - the belief in his eternal divinity is just rubbish.

This also doesn't mean that I am indifferent to people spreading falsehoods and lies about the reality of whether he existed.
If I believe in heaven I deny myself a death. Dying keeps me conscious of the way I waste my breath - Cosmo Jarvis
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Re: RESOURCE: Historical Sources for Jesus

#40  Postby Agrippina » Feb 27, 2010 8:42 am

Thanks Jerome, nice to have all that source material in one place. :cheers:

And yes, none of it is a eye-witness report but it's useful to have the ones that refer to the event together for future reference.
Nothing is too wonderful to be true, if it be consistent with the laws of nature.
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