Historical Jesus

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

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

#24441  Postby angelo » May 08, 2012 5:11 am

Evan Allen wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:This is incorrect, Occam's Razor clearly argues against Mythicism, which requires either very unusual readings of several texts or establishing interpolations ad hoc. We have some biographical details about Jesus in Pauline epistles and in non-Christian accounts that are simply dismissed by these methods with insufficient evidence, sometimes no evidence at all. Material in the gospels that is poorly explained by an invented figure is nevertheless explained away. Aside that, it would require that around one hundred years ago either the overwhelming majority of relevantly trained scholars suddenly stopped asking a question that was posed before that time or developed a very strong bias against Mythicism. What we have there is not the simpler hypothesis, but an unsound hypothesis that is laden with extensive and dubious claims.


I think this is wrong. Occam's razor clearly states that one should not needlessly multiply entities. In Latin -- Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora.

I am going to list the HJ hypothesis and the MJ hypothesis and we will count the entities involved.

HJ -- Historical Jesus, followers of Jesus in Palestine, Oral story tellers throughout the Roman Empire, collectors of oral stories from throughout the empire, gospel authors.

MJ -- Gospel authors.

By my count, HJ has at least five entities, MJ has one. Seems simple to me.

Exactly my point. Occams Razor shaves away the improbable until the probable, or the simplest explanation is left. Or put another way. The simplest explanation is generally the correct one.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24442  Postby angelo » May 08, 2012 5:43 am

It's far easier to make a case for MJ than it is for a HJ.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24443  Postby Stein » May 08, 2012 5:55 am

angelo wrote:It's far easier to make a case for MJ than it is for a HJ.


Correction: It's far easier to make a case for HJ than it is for a MJ.

Are you some kind of bot? Is Dejuror?

You know, I found a remark by an atheist on another forum with which I wholeheartedly agree:

http://www.secularcafe.org/showthread.php?t=11049

“I take it seriously, because, if atheists win the culture war, then seemingly so will a bad methodology and delusional model of history, and I take that to be a scary thought. ” – “Apostate Abe”

Also, I enjoy some remarks concerning this very thread that I've just found from our own Tim O'Neill at this page:

https://www.quora.com/Atheists/What-are ... t-atheists

They're spot-on.

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

#24444  Postby angelo » May 08, 2012 6:08 am

The writings of Paul are the very first christian literature we have. Assuming he existed and half his epistles are attributed to him, nowhere does he say he met, or knew anyone who had met or seen this Jesus. According to some his conversion happened just a handful of years after Jesus supposed earthly existence, yet he only speaks of a heavenly being, not an earthly one.Mark could easily just be writing hearsay or fiction. From those two sources rests the whole HJ.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24445  Postby dejuror » May 08, 2012 6:33 am

Stein wrote:
angelo wrote:It's far easier to make a case for MJ than it is for a HJ.


Correction: It's far easier to make a case for HJ than it is for a MJ.

Are you some kind of bot? Is Dejuror?....


Your rhetoric does not help you at all. They expose that you have NO credible evidence whatsoever for YOUR Jesus.

There is NO corroborative evidence from antiquity of any so-called Christian who physically met a human Jesus. An historical Jesus, a HUMAN Jesus did NOTHING directly or personally for any known Christian of antiquity.

The supposed contemporary of Jesus, Paul was NOT influenced by an actual human Jesus but by REVELATIONS.

A human Jesus did NOTHING to develop the Jesus cult.

The Jesus cult was INITIATED from what people HEARD about Jesus.

THE Jesus cult did NOT require a real Jesus--ONLY STORIES.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24446  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 08, 2012 7:10 am

People here may enjoy the discussion between Carrier and a commenter on this blog post. Starting at comment 63, the commenter asks some very good questions about the status of evidence in Carrier's fantasist theory while Carrier becomes increasingly evasive and starts to fire his ad hom cannon ("Trying to pull fallacies on me like moving the goal posts, non sequitur, argument by assertion, and other nonsense, is wasting my time and yours." "Trying to claim that isn’t how our conversation proceeded is starting to make you look like a liar at this point. At the very least, you clearly can’t engage in an intelligible conversation.") at the end. It is not a good impression of Carrier.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24447  Postby angelo » May 08, 2012 7:20 am

Seems to me like its a case of attacking the messenger.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24448  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 08, 2012 7:30 am

angelo wrote:Seems to me like its a case of attacking the messenger.


Eh, if you mean with that that I'm attacking Carrier, then you might want to look again. What I have done is pointing people to a discussion where Carrier performs pretty poorly and is incapable of presenting evidence. Then I note Carrier's fallacious tactics to dismiss his opponent and comment that he makes a poor impression. So where am I exactly "attacking"?

Now if you mean that the commenter is attacking Carrier, that's an even weirder claim since the commenter used overall even more careful language than I did in my post (which was also not rude or a personal attack). So what are you complaining about?

Aside that, have you read the exchange? What are your thoughts on it?
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24449  Postby angelo » May 08, 2012 7:48 am

A good scrap. But I may be biased toward Carrier as I find his reasoning fair.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24450  Postby archibald » May 08, 2012 8:40 am

Ignorantia, is this the same lexicographical stuff that magicrooster brought up a while back, about how 'X the brother of Y' usually means biological? If so, I can't say that at that time I found it conclusive. For one thing, it seemed, at least to a large extent, to compare to non-Pauline sources, when it seems that this was arguably a special case (not to mention that the gospels also explicitly quote Jesus himself as having defined 'his brothers' as non-sibling). Second, it didn't seem to offer any parsimonius answers to brothers plural in 1 Cor 9:5, given the lack of any evidence for siblings as travelling missionaries, or even just bigwigs, though I think travelling missionaries seems more plausible.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24451  Postby IgnorantiaNescia » May 08, 2012 9:22 am

It is about that phrase, yes. The point is that Carrier suggests a meaning for that word without bringing any evidence along. The only thing Carrier has shown on a charitable reading is that it is possible that it could mean fictive kinship, but he has not shown it is likely. He needs to do word research before suggesting such readings, otherwise we could all invent new meanings for difficult portions.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24452  Postby stevencarrwork » May 08, 2012 10:14 am

angelo wrote:The writings of Paul are the very first christian literature we have.


That is one reason Ehrman has to rewrite history, positing sources of the Gospels earlier than Paul.

Historians should not rewrite history....
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24453  Postby archibald » May 08, 2012 10:18 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:It is about that phrase, yes. The point is that Carrier suggests a meaning for that word without bringing any evidence along. The only thing Carrier has shown on a charitable reading is that it is possible that it could mean fictive kinship, but he has not shown it is likely. He needs to do word research before suggesting such readings, otherwise we could all invent new meanings for difficult portions.


It does appear that Carrier's comparitive lack of knowledge let him down in that exchange. He is clearly not as expert in the matter as the person he is discussing with. He also strikes me as slightly unwilling to admit that.

But what I am more interested in is whether the lexicographical analysis does or can in fact lead to anything conclusive. This is not clear to me and I don't even need cito's level of skepticism to say that. It seems quite clear to me that 'brother/brothers of the lord' can easily mean something in Paul which 'X/X and Y the brother/brothers of Z' doesn't mean in wider literature of the time.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24454  Postby stevencarrwork » May 08, 2012 10:21 am

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:It is about that phrase, yes. The point is that Carrier suggests a meaning for that word without bringing any evidence along.


Brother Ignorantia is right, hallelujah! Praise the Lord!

Paul regards every Christian as a brother of Jesus.

Luke/Acts , the only even halfway attempt at a history of the church, goes out of its way to disconnect any idea anybody may have had that James the church leader was a brother of Jesus.

Of course, 'brother of the Lord' is prima facie evidence of a historical Jesus.

But that is all it is. Just as pictures of the Maitreya are prima facie evidence that the Maitreya exists.

But Benjamin Creme invented the Maitreya.

If one religion can start with a totally invented person (and produce photographs of him), it is simply naive for Brother Ignorantia to claim that one phrase settles the matter.

Especially as Brother Ehrman has written that he cannot give 'some assurance' that we have the original text of Galatians. Who knows? It might possibly be an interpolation. Ehrman's whole schtick is that these texts were changed so often, that we just don't have the manuscripts to say what the original texts said. He is probably writing another book to say that even as we speak.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24455  Postby archibald » May 08, 2012 12:06 pm

stevencarrwork wrote:But Benjamin Creme invented the Maitreya.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Share_International

Fascinating. I love the bit where the followers think Raj Patel is the maitreya, because...only the true messiah would deny that he is the messiah. Shades of Monty Python.

But yes, this seems to show that in principle, if a messiah is anticipated, there is no need for an actual messiah to arrive for followers to think one has, born in 1972 and now living in Brick Lane in London.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24456  Postby archibald » May 08, 2012 12:11 pm

Apparently, there is a list of maitreyan claimants, just like there is a list of messianic claimants in Judaism and Christianity (and other religions).

The most interesting seems to be this guy, Budai (otherwize known far and wide, in one incarnation at least, as 'The Laughing Buddha'), who seems to be a very good analogy for Jesus.



Image


There is not enough information (that I can find) on what Chinese sources are used to form the view that he may be based on an actual monk from 1000 years ago, so it is hard to compare him with Jesus, other than noting the similarities (was a man, now a god etc). There are a few sources that I can find, but these are variously described as 'traditions' and poems/koans. I have no idea if there are any better sources or not. The absence of them anywhere that I can find makes me wonder if there aren't, or if there are and if I asked the question in China I might get a better answer. :)

http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budai

http://www.uwec.edu/philrel/shimbutsudo/hotei.html

http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/his ... hans13.htm

http://www.taoism.net/living/1999/199907.htm
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24457  Postby Blood » May 08, 2012 1:13 pm

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:
Evan Allen wrote:
IgnorantiaNescia wrote:This is incorrect, Occam's Razor clearly argues against Mythicism, which requires either very unusual readings of several texts or establishing interpolations ad hoc. We have some biographical details about Jesus in Pauline epistles and in non-Christian accounts that are simply dismissed by these methods with insufficient evidence, sometimes no evidence at all. Material in the gospels that is poorly explained by an invented figure is nevertheless explained away. Aside that, it would require that around one hundred years ago either the overwhelming majority of relevantly trained scholars suddenly stopped asking a question that was posed before that time or developed a very strong bias against Mythicism. What we have there is not the simpler hypothesis, but an unsound hypothesis that is laden with extensive and dubious claims.


I think this is wrong. Occam's razor clearly states that one should not needlessly multiply entities. In Latin -- Frustra fit per plura quod potest fieri per pauciora.

I am going to list the HJ hypothesis and the MJ hypothesis and we will count the entities involved.

HJ -- Historical Jesus, followers of Jesus in Palestine, Oral story tellers throughout the Roman Empire, collectors of oral stories from throughout the empire, gospel authors.

MJ -- Gospel authors.

By my count, HJ has at least five entities, MJ has one. Seems simple to me.


Mythicism also requires hundreds of NT scholars and classic historians who have been either been hoodwinked into ignoring Mythicism or deliberately suppressing Mythicism since it waned in academia. But abstractions are entities as well and those are generally the kind of entity Mythicism indulges in. You could think of the supposed sub-lunar fleshly realm in Doherty's version or the expectation of a crucified Messiah (based on mishandling of evidence) in Carrier's version. Not to mention the Mythicist-posited interpolations and the suggested readings of passages based on slim lexicographical evidence.

So, colour me unconvinced that Mythicism is the more parsimonious theory.



Tell me what's more likely --

An apocalyptic Messiah figure was crucified, but his followers (against all precedent in Jewish thinking) deified him into a God. A complex process of oral transmission, originally exclusively Aramaic, reached highly educated Greek speakers and writers within 40 years, who, contra the original movement, turned it on its head and made it into an anti-Jewish religion,

or:

Some Greek speaking, anti-Jewish theologians rewrote some stories from the Septuagint?
"One absurdity having been granted, the rest follows. Nothing difficult about that."
- Aristotle, Physics I, 185a
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24458  Postby proudfootz » May 08, 2012 1:15 pm

Stein wrote:
angelo wrote:It's far easier to make a case for MJ than it is for a HJ.


Correction: It's far easier to make a case for HJ than it is for a MJ.


:fly:

The very first thing bible students who propose an 'historic Jesus' have to do is throw out most of the stuff written about Jesus by early christians. Why? Because it's pure unadulterated fiction. Virgin birth, prophecies, voices from heaven, demons, angels, miracles, healings, etc etc etc.

The HJ hypothesis requires a lot of sifting out of all the evidence we have about Jesus to find those few phrases which aren't blatant and undeniable mythology.

The evidence for an historical Jesus could be written on a matchbook cover with room left over for your favorite lines from Matthew Arnold's poetry.

Yes, it's easy to make your case after you throw out 98% of the evidence and misrepresent the other 2%. :coffee:
"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?

#24459  Postby Blood » May 08, 2012 1:17 pm

IgnorantiaNescia wrote:You are correct to say that massive scholarly imcompetence or a massive scholarly conspiracy is entirely irrelevant to the historicity of Jesus, but this is about the parsimony of Mythicism. Like other pseudo-academic* theories, it needs to address why the experts are so wrong.


Because they're Bible students interested in propagating religious doctrine, not seriously investigating history.
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Re: What Can We Reasonably Infer About The Historical Jesus?

#24460  Postby proudfootz » May 08, 2012 1:23 pm

stevencarrwork wrote:
angelo wrote:The writings of Paul are the very first christian literature we have.


That is one reason Ehrman has to rewrite history, positing sources of the Gospels earlier than Paul.

Historians should not rewrite history....


As no doubt our HJ friends are eager to point out - Bart Ehrman is not a historian and is not qualified to tell us anything about whether there might have been an historical Jesus.

He's obviously some kind of crank with an agenda. :whistle:
"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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