Historical Jesus

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

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Re: The Ahistoricity of Jesus

#21101  Postby Blood » Jan 31, 2012 1:41 am

TimONeill wrote:
Er, yup. Way back in 1906 Albert Schweitzer's ground breaking classic, The Quest of the Historical Jesus, cautioned about reconstructions of the historical Jesus that bear too close a similarity to their reconstructors.


A novel approach indeed, which is why Schweitzer simply asked himself, "What would the 'real' Jesus of the first century look like?," and then built on ideas (borrowed from David Friedrich Strauss and others) to construct a "Jesus" that would satisfy his main criteria of not sounding modern or pious. Big deal.

TimONeill wrote:
"The Jesus Seminar" is a overwhelmingly liberal American group of scholars who have come up with a Jesus who is remarkably like themselves: radical, socially-progressive, non-violent, sympathetic to the poor and marginalised, preaching a message of wisdom and self/social transformation. As one of their critics once noted, he's more "Jesus of California" than Jesus of Nazareth. Unfortunately for their hippy Jesus, the gospels and other NT materials are riddled with all this apocalyptic stuff about fire and last judgements and the unrighteous being swept away by a fearsome Messiah and an angry Yahweh. Which is all, like, totally unmellow and not at all in keeping with their Jesus. So they attempt to make this all go away by trying to argue that this is actually a later addition, and not an early stratum at all.


All perfectly valid arguments, considering the sources, and ones made by quite a few scholars who aren't Americans or liberals. And some of the 150 scholars associated with the Jesus Seminar did accept the apocalyptic model, so your attempt to smear the whole seminar is utterly groundless.

TimONeill wrote:
Bart Ehrman gives a good, succinct summary of why this doesn't work at all in his Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium pp. 132-134.


One of the weakest of all modern "historic Jesus" books, mind you. Over 90% of it is perfectly compatible with NT Wright's or William Lane Craig's apologetics industries. That you find it some sort of brilliant treatise about the "real" Jesus is laughable.

TimONeill wrote:
One of the nice things about the apocalyptic Jesus idea is that it's advocates escape Schweitzer's trap of resembling their reconstruction - Paula Fredriksen is an agnostic Jew, Bart Ehrman is an agnostic ex-Christian and Dale Allison is (I think) a liberal Christian (of some kind). None of them are apocalypcists. Unlike the aging hippies of the "Jesus Seminar" they aren't arguing for a Jesus that is simply a reflection of their own ideologies, but for an uncomfortable and not terribly attractive Jesus who fits his historical and religious context. That's why it has a ring of authenticity that the contrived hippy Jesus can never have.


And all of them are theologians deeply invested in believing they've discovered a "real" Jesus to worship in a modern, semi-secular way. Which is, in fact, very much a reflection of their own ideologies and self-interests. If you cannot have miracle-working Jesus, the "apocalyptic" one will do just fine as an academic consolation prize. As Schweitzer himself reminds his readers in the epilogue of The Quest of the Historical Jesus, the Galilean holy man "means something to our world because a mighty spiritual force streams forth from Him and flows through our time also. This fact can neither be shaken nor confirmed by any historical discovery. It is the solid foundation of Christianity." Hardly a statement of objective historic inquiry.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21102  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 1:55 am

dogsgod wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Stein wrote:
And why would Christian scribes sprinkle the Antiquities with references to OTHER Jesus wannabees whose followers sometimes end up in pitched battles with Roman soldiers? What Christian purpose would that serve? Obviously, these descriptions of these wannabees come from Josephus, not meddlesome scribes.

Stein


Well, Stein, we're talking about the nefarious and cunning Christian Hegemony™ here and it doesn't pay to underestimate them.

No, sir.

They peppered in these other references to make the two references to JC seem more natural. To make them fit in better and seem less suspicious. A brilliant masterstroke of forgery displaying their awesome powers of manipulation and foresight in anticipating a problem no one would take seriously for over 1500 years!

Except, of course, they forget to insert references into Philo to complete the picture! Oh, well, they're cunning forgers when needed and bumblers when not...they're just convenient like that.



Are you forgetting that Eusebius promoted the legend that Philo met Peter in Rome? Jerome (345-420 C.E.) even lists him as a church Father. http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/

It kind of makes one wonder how all these church fathers became church fathers. Do you think Philo knew he was a church father?


This is just another line of evidence that what we know as 'christianity' is a gathering together of a lot of disparate hellenic/judaic mixing that had been going all over the eastern part of the Mediterranean region on for a couple of centuries.

If an anonymous street preacher got swept up with everything else,there's no need to postulate such a person started the process that had been going on for generations before the time of the Roman takeover of Judea.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21103  Postby dogsgod » Jan 31, 2012 2:15 am

proudfootz wrote:
dogsgod wrote:
TheOneTrueZeke wrote:
Stein wrote:
And why would Christian scribes sprinkle the Antiquities with references to OTHER Jesus wannabees whose followers sometimes end up in pitched battles with Roman soldiers? What Christian purpose would that serve? Obviously, these descriptions of these wannabees come from Josephus, not meddlesome scribes.

Stein


Well, Stein, we're talking about the nefarious and cunning Christian Hegemony™ here and it doesn't pay to underestimate them.

No, sir.

They peppered in these other references to make the two references to JC seem more natural. To make them fit in better and seem less suspicious. A brilliant masterstroke of forgery displaying their awesome powers of manipulation and foresight in anticipating a problem no one would take seriously for over 1500 years!

Except, of course, they forget to insert references into Philo to complete the picture! Oh, well, they're cunning forgers when needed and bumblers when not...they're just convenient like that.



Are you forgetting that Eusebius promoted the legend that Philo met Peter in Rome? Jerome (345-420 C.E.) even lists him as a church Father. http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/

It kind of makes one wonder how all these church fathers became church fathers. Do you think Philo knew he was a church father?


This is just another line of evidence that what we know as 'christianity' is a gathering together of a lot of disparate hellenic/judaic mixing that had been going all over the eastern part of the Mediterranean region on for a couple of centuries.

If an anonymous street preacher got swept up with everything else,there's no need to postulate such a person started the process that had been going on for generations before the time of the Roman takeover of Judea.


On a somewhat similar note, the church can be traced back to the fourth century, prior to that the history of the church appears to be folklore in that bishops can be linked all the way back to the original apostles, the apostolic succession as it were, in response to gnosticism, as if there is such a link. I wonder how many got swept up and were posthumously appointed as bishops by Eusebeus.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21104  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 2:23 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
proudfootz wrote:Now I have not read Nailed, but it seems that if it's true as Fitzgerald says he cites scholars by name and identifies majority opinions among scholars the charge of a 'false dichotomy' might well be a misreading of the book.

And doesn't that sound weird in itself?


Not to me. Sounds very straightforward.

Fitzgerald writes how:

"the facts that support [Fitzgerald's book "Nailed"] are often considered not radical at all by the majority of Biblical scholars - many have been accepted as the majority opinion for centuries"

on the one hand, and on the other:

"the majority of Biblical historians have always been Christian preachers, so what else could we expect them to say?".

Simply weird.


It's probably the context that is important - the facts Fitzgerald uses are those uncontroversial ones, not at all radical by any means, despite the fact that many scholars simply assume there was an 'historical Jesus'.

It only seems 'weird' when you remove the first part of the second quote:

"...the majority of Biblical historians reject the idea that Jesus never existed, the majority of Biblical historians have always been Christian preachers, so what else could we expect them to say?"

Makes more sense?

One of my criticisms of Doherty's latest book is his tendency to address apologetic arguments, even when critical scholarship says something different.


The pickle is that the 'mythical Jesus' hypothesis is under fire from both straight up christian apologists as well as biblical scholars, so Doherty for example must address criticisms on both fronts.

It seems that Fitzgerald is aware that Biblical scholars -- whatever the majority believes -- are doing good enough work for Fitzgerald to use. So if it is a bad argument, why address it? And if it is a good argument, why worry if it is being made by a believer?


I'm not certain which particular argument you are referencing here.

Like Doherty, I think Fitzgerald is preaching to the converted.


Not sure why this charge couldn't be as easily made of 'academic scholars' whose work is published in forums only their fellow 'insiders' will ever read.

He should just work from critical scholarship, and forget what 2.1 billion people believe.


If you'd like such a book to be written - there's an opportunity for you to write it.

Or alternatively, he should work from the beliefs of 2.1 billion people, and not worry about critical scholarship.


I expect Fitzgerald had reasons for taking the approach he did. If he's espousing a 'mythic Jesus' hypothesis, then he will expect to be attacked on all fronts. Best be prepared for that, eh?

But Fitzgerald mixes these two approaches, and the result is not good.


I actually haven't read the book.

You have?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21105  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 2:46 am

dogsgod wrote:
Stein wrote:
dogsgod wrote:
Stein wrote:

And some of the wannabees even had followers who had pitched battles with Roman battalions(!), yet Philo isn't found referencing those either. Why not? Again, mythers seem incapable of understanding such a thing as an analogy.

Stein
Are you here to contribute anything to the discussion or is your only interest in taking pot shots at what you call "mythers"?



I've contributed plenty here: detailed analysis on point after point throughout this thread. I find it rich that you, Proudfootz and others like you, are now using the debate tactic of "When are you going to provide detailed analysis" against posters like Byron, myself, and/or GakuseiDon, when that's precisely what we've done extensively before posters like Proudfootz were even on the scene. It's very convenient for posters like Proudfootz to ignore the Search engine and not read up on the detailed contributions we've been providing for hundreds of pages. A Proudfootz, or whoever, will trot out tired nonsense that we've already analyzed in depth long ago. They think they're contributing something new. They aren't. They're just providing hand-me-down incantations from the mythers handbook with which we're all too familiar and that have been soundly debunked in depth, pages and pages before.

Stein


No one asked you "When are you going to provide detailed analysis", you were asked if you here to contribute anything to the discussion or is your only interest in taking pot shots at what you call "mythers".


Yes, what's 'rich' is the claim that 'all this has been refuted before' and providing a link like this:

The Scholarly Consensus

It's a bullshit move.

Your so called "mythers handbook" is just another potshot, you love to dish out but can't take any criticism in return evidenced by your petulance and your squealing to the moderators should anyone call you a believer. You claimed to have debunked something, perhaps in your own mind you have but obviously the rational skeptics here remain skeptical.


Yes, something about 'rational skepticism' seems to set off some HJ posters into a tizzy.

'Why don't they bow down to The Consensus as required? Destroy them!"
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21106  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 3:00 am

dogsgod wrote:
proudfootz wrote:
dogsgod wrote:Are you forgetting that Eusebius promoted the legend that Philo met Peter in Rome? Jerome (345-420 C.E.) even lists him as a church Father. http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/

It kind of makes one wonder how all these church fathers became church fathers. Do you think Philo knew he was a church father?


This is just another line of evidence that what we know as 'christianity' is a gathering together of a lot of disparate hellenic/judaic mixing that had been going all over the eastern part of the Mediterranean region on for a couple of centuries.

If an anonymous street preacher got swept up with everything else,there's no need to postulate such a person started the process that had been going on for generations before the time of the Roman takeover of Judea.


On a somewhat similar note, the church can be traced back to the fourth century, prior to that the history of the church appears to be folklore in that bishops can be linked all the way back to the original apostles, the apostolic succession as it were, in response to gnosticism, as if there is such a link. I wonder how many got swept up and were posthumously appointed as bishops by Eusebeus.


This probably explains why certain authors like Paul (arguably gnostic) and Theophilus (apparently ignorant of any Jesus) could become included in the 'orthodox' column in the 4th century.

While it may be no one person 'invented' christianity, certainly one man did much to define it as we know it today - Eusebius, suspected author of the Testimonium Flavianum.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21107  Postby RealityRules » Jan 31, 2012 6:30 am

proudfootz wrote: This is just another line of evidence that what we know as 'christianity' is a gathering together of a lot of disparate hellenic/judaic mixing that had been going all over the eastern part of the Mediterranean region on for a couple of centuries.

If an anonymous street preacher got swept up with everything else,there's no need to postulate such a person started the process that had been going on for generations before the time of the Roman takeover of Judea.
dogsgod wrote:On a somewhat similar note, the church can be traced back to the fourth century, prior to that the history of the church appears to be folklore in that bishops can be linked all the way back to the original apostles, the apostolic succession as it were, in response to gnosticism, as if there is such a link. I wonder how many got swept up and were posthumously appointed as bishops by Eusebeus.
proudfootz wrote:This probably explains why certain authors like Paul (arguably gnostic) and Theophilus (apparently ignorant of any Jesus) could become included in the 'orthodox' column in the 4th century.

While it may be no one person 'invented' christianity, certainly one man did much to define it as we know it today - Eusebius, suspected author of the Testimonium Flavianum.

It is possible disparate stories with initially differently name characters were cobbled together and names changed to suit the new bigger narrative.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21108  Postby dejuror » Jan 31, 2012 6:49 am

proudfootz wrote:...The pickle is that the 'mythical Jesus' hypothesis is under fire from both straight up christian apologists as well as biblical scholars, so Doherty for example must address criticisms on both fronts....


The Search for the Historical Jesus of Nazareth was initiated 250 years ago because the NT was rejected as historically reliable and the rejection of the NT had NOTHING at all to do with Doherty.

Those who are searching for the Historical Jesus of Nazareth are STUCK in "Mud" since they ONLY have UNRELIABLE sources, the Gospels and Acts, that mentioned a character called Jesus of Nazareth, baptized by John.

From now on, any time any HJer tell me anything about their Jesus I will just tell them that their Sources are historically UNRELIABLE.

The Historical Jesus of Nazareth cannot be corroborated when non-apologetic sources do NOT mention an Obscure Jesus of Nazareth, baptized by John and crucified under Pilate.

The Sources that mention a character called Jesus of Nazareth also claimed he was Fathered by a Ghost was God the Creator or that he Walked on Sea Water and was well-known.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21109  Postby Rick » Jan 31, 2012 7:10 am

Blood wrote:The silence of Philo (or any historian) is a weak argument. For one thing, it's not like the complete works of Philo (or any historian of antiquity) has survived until now. Philo, or some other unknown historian, could have written about him, but those documents didn't survive. Very, very little from the ancient world has. Just imagine how much more we would have to work with if the Library of Alexandria had survived intact.



Philo leaves us in fact a sizeable body of work, Blood - different sources claim 850 000 words and thirty manuscripts.

For a list see: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/philo.html

Not only that but: “His works were preserved by the Christian church, primarily because some early Christians perceived him as a Christian. Eusebius speculated that the Therapeutae, the Jewish group of ascetic hermits in the Egyptian desert that Philo describes in De vita contemplativa (‘Contemplative Life’) was in fact a Christian group.”

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Philo_Judaeus

And the early religious leaders, including Eusebius, made of course ample use of Philo’s thoughts.

By itself it’s hardly conclusive, but I don’t think Philo’s silence on Jesus is a weak argument at all. (Besides, it’s the sheer preponderance of these inexplicable absences that gives the AFS its weight.)

And I certainly don’t subscribe in the slightest to O’Neill’s convenient notion that Philo didn’t mention Jesus because he allegedly “didn't appear to be interested in such claimants.” Not only was Philo a staunch defender of the Jewish faith and its traditions but, as further underscored by a number of family connections to the priesthood and Herod, he was strongly committed to the existing status quo.

Wikipedia: “Philo made his philosophy the means of defending and justifying Jewish religious truths. These truths he regarded as fixed and determinate; and philosophy was used as an aid to truth, and as a means of arriving at it. With this end in view Philo chose from the philosophical tenets of the Greeks, refusing those that did not harmonize with the Jewish religion, as, e.g., the Aristotelian doctrine of the eternity and indestructibility of the world.”

Humphrey’s Site admirably explains the early Church’s expedient use of Philo’s works:-

Much as Josephus would, a half century later, Philo wrote extensive apologetics on the Jewish religion and commentaries on contemporary politics. About thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words are extant. Philo offers commentary on all the major characters of the Pentateuch and, as we might expect, mentions Moses more than a thousand times.

Philo described the course of events in his work named for the anti-Jewish governor of Egypt, Flaccus. His work was familiar to the early Christians when decades after his death they composed the gospels. One passage of Flaccus contains a curious pre-figuring of several famous verses found in the Gospels.

When the works of Philo were studied by early Christian theorists (the Alexandrian school of Clement, Origen, etc.) not just the construct of the Logos but the "allegorical method" proved a godsend: the Old Testament presaged not merely Greek wisdom but the Christian godman himself! Thus the scripture of the Jews could be scoured for subtle clues supposedly prophesying a saviour in human form.

Philo knew nothing of Jesus but when, a century after Philo's death, the Christians were historicizing their godman from preconceived notions of what the Saviour should be, they borrowed freely from Philo's work. Thus the Christian apologist Justin Martyr multiplexed "divine reason" into the myriad forms that populate the landscape of Christian theology:

"I shall give you another testimony, my friends," said I, "from the Scriptures, that God begat before all creatures a Beginning, a certain rational power from Himself, who is called by the Holy Spirit, now the Glory of the Lord, now the Son, again Wisdom, again an Angel, then God, and then Lord and Logos."

– Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho, LXI – ("Wisdom is begotten of the father, as fire from fire.")

In the 4th century so impressed was Church propagandist Eusebius by Philo's descriptions of the Therapeutae (Hellenized Jewish Buddhists of Alexandria) that the church historian decided the Therapeutae were in fact early Christian monks. As for Philo himself, Eusebius cheerfully disregarded chronology and credibility and had the grand old Jewish philosopher reading the (as yet, unwritten) gospels and epistles – and conversing with Peter in Rome!

"It seems likely [Philo] wrote this after listening to their expositions of the Holy Scriptures, and it is very probable that what he calls short works by their early writers were the gospels, the apostolic writings, and in all probability passages interpreting the old prophets, such as one contained in the Epistle to the Hebrews and several others of Paul's epistles.

It is also recorded that under Claudius, Philo came to Rome to have conversations with Peter, then preaching to the people there ... It is plain enough that he not only knew but welcomed with whole-hearted approval the apostolic men of his day, who it seems were of Hebrew stock and therefore, in the Jewish manner, still retained most of their ancient customs." (Eusebius, The History of the Church, p50, 52.)

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/philo.html


It certainly is a “shambolic fiasco”, nunnington - a natural consequence of the way Christianity developed out of numerous competing factions?

Does it really matter for our purposes though? Arriving at a historical Jesus from the available evidence?

Doherty examines the religious material itself (not to ignore his equally solid Argument from Silence etc of course, and what else), concluding that there was no real underlying person to begin with, only a metaphysical or allegorical being. On the other hand, I doubt if any two biblical scholars would ever agree on the same exact version of Jesus (where would this industry be!). Then, as GakuseiDon highlighted, there’s the public version, the flesh-and-blood one subscribed to by the average believer.

To be honest, I think it’s only the latter that has any real relevance to this topic (apart from which, as far as I’m aware, none of us are biblical scholars, whereas it’s fanciful to suppose that our scholars will ever concur on one universal ‘harmonised’ version), so that all we ever really needed to do here is to compare the basic outline of this Jesus tale (one we all know), stripped of its supernatural elements, with whatever plausible historical information is available to us. If none exists, there’s no historical inference to be made, with Jesus relegated to the realm of belief or mere supposition.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21110  Postby dogsgod » Jan 31, 2012 8:11 am

Rick, good info. Philo also wrote about Pilate and Jewish Roman conflict.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21111  Postby Rick » Jan 31, 2012 8:38 am

Sure did. Philo also mentions that he once visited Jerusalem, whereas Josephus in turn mentions Philo of course.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21112  Postby angelo » Jan 31, 2012 8:56 am

Blood wrote:The silence of Philo (or any historian) is a weak argument. For one thing, it's not like the complete works of Philo (or any historian of antiquity) has survived until now. Philo, or some other unknown historian, could have written about him, but those documents didn't survive. Very, very little from the ancient world has. Just imagine how much more we would have to work with if the Library of Alexandria had survived intact.

Your forgetting that the library was torched by xtians. Had they discovered any mention of this Jesus they would have guarded it with their lives. Obviously there was nothing there that was of any interest to them.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21113  Postby nunnington » Jan 31, 2012 12:48 pm

Rick wrote:

It certainly is a “shambolic fiasco”, nunnington - a natural consequence of the way Christianity developed out of numerous competing factions?


I can't quite follow your logic here. Are you saying that the mission of Jesus is shown to be a failure, because there were different Christian factions? How does that follow?

I'm not a historian, so I would hesitate to draw any conclusions vis a vis HJ or MJ. Theologically, the failure of the mission has been of great importance, but that does not really seem to have implications as to historical veracity.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21114  Postby GakuseiDon » Jan 31, 2012 12:51 pm

Rick wrote:
Blood wrote:The silence of Philo (or any historian) is a weak argument. For one thing, it's not like the complete works of Philo (or any historian of antiquity) has survived until now. Philo, or some other unknown historian, could have written about him, but those documents didn't survive. Very, very little from the ancient world has. Just imagine how much more we would have to work with if the Library of Alexandria had survived intact.

Philo leaves us in fact a sizeable body of work, Blood - different sources claim 850 000 words and thirty manuscripts.

For a list see: http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/philo.html

Yes, and have a look at the titles. Which of his books should have mentioned Jesus? "On Mating"? "On Dreams"? "On the life of Moses"? "On Drunkenness"?

If he had written a book called "On Messiah claimants", then we might expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus. But he didn't. So tell me which of those 30 manuscripts should we expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus? Perhaps give a list of the top three candidates.

Rick wrote:And I certainly don’t subscribe in the slightest to O’Neill’s convenient notion that Philo didn’t mention Jesus because he allegedly “didn't appear to be interested in such claimants.” Not only was Philo a staunch defender of the Jewish faith and its traditions but, as further underscored by a number of family connections to the priesthood and Herod, he was strongly committed to the existing status quo.

Did Philo write about any of the rebels threatening the status quo in Galilee or Judea? The nearest is his report on "a certain madman named Carabbas" in "On Flaccus", but that was about events in Alexandria applying to Flaccus, and Carabbas was no rebel or Messiah claimant.

Later Christians used Philo because his philosophical works and allegorical approach was useful; but the reverse doesn't appear to be true. Philo might have found the Gospel of John interesting, but that was written a good 50 years after Philo's death.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21115  Postby Blood » Jan 31, 2012 1:08 pm

angelo wrote:
Blood wrote:The silence of Philo (or any historian) is a weak argument. For one thing, it's not like the complete works of Philo (or any historian of antiquity) has survived until now. Philo, or some other unknown historian, could have written about him, but those documents didn't survive. Very, very little from the ancient world has. Just imagine how much more we would have to work with if the Library of Alexandria had survived intact.

Your forgetting that the library was torched by xtians. Had they discovered any mention of this Jesus they would have guarded it with their lives. Obviously there was nothing there that was of any interest to them.


There is no evidence for that.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21116  Postby Blood » Jan 31, 2012 1:20 pm

Rick wrote:
Philo leaves us in fact a sizeable body of work, Blood - different sources claim 850 000 words and thirty manuscripts.


Yes, it's substantial, but far from complete. We can never say for sure that Philo didn't mention Jesus and/or Christians unless we were reasonably confident we had his complete works.

Also, Philo's preservation by the church is a counter-argument to the forgery of the TF, since Eusebius and company would have had every reason to interpolate a few Jesus references into the works of the great Philo.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21117  Postby Blood » Jan 31, 2012 1:25 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Yes, and have a look at the titles. Which of his books should have mentioned Jesus? "On Mating"? "On Dreams"? "On the life of Moses"? "On Drunkenness"?

If he had written a book called "On Messiah claimants", then we might expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus. But he didn't. So tell me which of those 30 manuscripts should we expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus? Perhaps give a list of the top three candidates.


Yes, that's an excellent point. We would only have reason to expect Philo to have mentioned Yeshua ben Yosef the Nazarene if he had actually written a book specific to the topic of current prophets and sages. If such a book existed, and talked about all sorts of recent prophets from Galilee or Judah, but didn't mention Jesus -- only then would the silence of Philo be a strong argument.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21118  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 1:36 pm

Blood wrote:
angelo wrote:
Blood wrote:The silence of Philo (or any historian) is a weak argument. For one thing, it's not like the complete works of Philo (or any historian of antiquity) has survived until now. Philo, or some other unknown historian, could have written about him, but those documents didn't survive. Very, very little from the ancient world has. Just imagine how much more we would have to work with if the Library of Alexandria had survived intact.

Your forgetting that the library was torched by xtians. Had they discovered any mention of this Jesus they would have guarded it with their lives. Obviously there was nothing there that was of any interest to them.


There is no evidence for that.


Here's one version of the story of the Library of Alexandria:

Whom do we blame for the destruction of the library? We like Matthew Battles' summary. He notes that scrolls (like books) erode and fall apart over time, and we're dealing with five or six centuries. If an old scroll were crumbling, a scribe would have to make a new copy by hand. Battles writes:

"Before the flames, before theft and censorship, the fate of books is bound up in the constant shuffling and transformation. Though Alexandria's libraries were universal in scope, their librarians faced hard choices. Manuscript scrolls were costly and time-consuming to produce, and the scribes' precious labor could not often be lavished on minor texts. Naturally, only the major works were copied in any great quantity. The rest--the secondary, the extra-canonical, and the apocryphal--dropped out of view."

Battles suggests that the destruction of the library wasn't due to a single great fire, but on account of "moldering slowly through the centuries as people grew indifferent and even hostile to their contents."

He concludes: "What happened to the books of Alexandria? Many, many centuries happened to them--too many for their inevitable dispersal and disappearance to be staved off, no matter whose mobs rioted in the streets, no matter which emperors set fires."

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/rea ... alexandria


And here's a brief discussion involving the Library on Richard Carrier's blog:


It also sounds like the film (Agora by Alejandro Amenábar) has her [Hypatia of Alexandria] "trapped in the legendary Library of Alexandria" in the midst of Christian riots in the end, which suggests she is burned with the library, when in fact those riots burned the library's annex, the Serapeum. A great loss to the ancient written record to be sure (tens of thousands of books were destroyed), nevertheless the Great Library itself was far larger (hundreds of thousands of books) and probably survived this occasion (in any case, it would have been situated on the other side of the city). I worry the film might perpetuate this slight error, confusing one library for the other. I know there is a tendency to go for the better story rather than the truer one. And though many pagan intellectuals may have been killed in the Serapeum (the Christians destroyed it specifically to crush the cult--burning the books was not their object), Hypatia was not. She was killed far more hideously elsewhere in the city (and decades later). By at least one account she died as a result of a Christian mob "scraping her skin off with tiles and bits of shell." And not in a library, but inside a Christian Church--to which she was dragged naked through the streets.

http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2009 ... patia.html
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21119  Postby proudfootz » Jan 31, 2012 1:43 pm

Blood wrote:
GakuseiDon wrote:
Yes, and have a look at the titles. Which of his books should have mentioned Jesus? "On Mating"? "On Dreams"? "On the life of Moses"? "On Drunkenness"?

If he had written a book called "On Messiah claimants", then we might expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus. But he didn't. So tell me which of those 30 manuscripts should we expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus? Perhaps give a list of the top three candidates.


Yes, that's an excellent point. We would only have reason to expect Philo to have mentioned Yeshua ben Yosef the Nazarene if he had actually written a book specific to the topic of current prophets and sages. If such a book existed, and talked about all sorts of recent prophets from Galilee or Judah, but didn't mention Jesus -- only then would the silence of Philo be a strong argument.


One thing I'm curious about - allegedly christians were persecuted by jews in the 1st century (Paul is supposed to have been a hunter of christians according to some scholars).

Even if Jesus was too obscure to get a mention, would not a region-wide man hunt such as portrayed be worthy of mention? Both Josephus and Philo are said to be connected to the establishment - would we expect them to comment on a heresy worthy of such drastic and far reaching action authorized by their class?

ETA: This alleged 'persecution' of which Paul is supposed to have been a part of may be another one of those 'Goldilocks' dilemmas - just as Jesus was obscure enough to escape notice by any trustworthy chronicle yet so famous the embarrassing circumstances of his family and career were known far and wide throughout the Roman Empire, the christian cult was just big enough to warrant the region-wide hunt for and killing of untold numbers of christians yet likewise this blood-letting was so unremarkable it left no credible evidence behind. :scratch:
Last edited by proudfootz on Jan 31, 2012 3:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn't." - Mark Twain
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#21120  Postby dejuror » Jan 31, 2012 2:53 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:... Which of his books should have mentioned Jesus? "On Mating"? "On Dreams"? "On the life of Moses"? "On Drunkenness"?...If he had written a book called "On Messiah claimants", then we might expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus. But he didn't. So tell me which of those 30 manuscripts should we expect Philo to have mentioned Jesus? Perhaps give a list of the top three candidates.


Which of his books should have mentioned Pilate the Governor of Judea and Tiberius the Emperor of Rome?

Philo mentioned Pilate and Tiberius and there is NO book by Philo called "On Emperors and Governors"

Which of his books should have mentioned Carrabbas the MAD MAN?

Philo mentioned in details an event surrounding a LUNATIC called Carrabbas where the Crazy man was crowned like a King.

Philo did NOT write a book "On Carrabbas"

Philo remembered to include the Acts of a Crazy man but somehow forgot to write about Jesus who was supposedly accepted by Jews as a Human Sacrifice of a Murdered victim in order to ABOLISH the Laws of the Jews with regards to Sacrifice of animals for Atonement of Sins.

Philo was a Jew and did NOT write that Jews accepted the HUMAN Sacrifice of Murdered victims.

The fact that Philo did NOT mention, Jesus, the disciples and Paul CANNOT diminish the argument that Jesus, the disciples and Paul are Fiction characters

Once Jesus, the disciples and Paul did NOT exist the writings of Philo would have looked PRECISELY as it is found without a single reference to any of them.

There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in Philo to diminish the argument that Jesus of Nazareth baptized by John was a Fiction character.
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