Christian Archeology

Archeology

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

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Re: Christian Archeology

#41  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 11, 2017 2:06 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... I think duvduv just has an excess of skepticism about well-established history.


The only problem with that is - in the case of the conflict between the preservers of the "One True Jesus Story" and the preservers of the "Other Fascinating Jesus Stories" - the "well established history" was assembled by tax exempt officials of the "Nicene Church Organisation" and its descendents. They and their "history" are likely quite corrupt.

An historical narrative without underlying historical evidence is to be questioned.

Especially given that it consists largely of church dogma and other related church propaganda

Archaeological evidence is highly regarded but where is it?

Archeological evidence for what? I am certainly NOT arguing for the one true Jesus, only that there were many anti-Roman sects around in Palestine at the time. Sure, the Nicea conference was fixed, but that has nothing to do with what I said. Rather, it was the way that Constantine fudged the bible to encourage the locals to "turn the other cheek", make them easier to control. Probably, the sect leaders would not have even considered "turning the other cheek"!
Figurines of a thousand cult gods have been found in the Roman Empire, thousands of shrines and hundreds of temples but - arguably - none of these relate to the Christian cult prior to the 4th century.

What that shows is what I said - that there were many little politico-religious sects around 2 millenia ago in Palestine.
Last edited by DavidMcC on Jan 11, 2017 2:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#42  Postby crank » Jan 11, 2017 2:10 pm

The Library at Alexandria didn't burn, at least it wasn't destroyed by one big fire, that's one of those weird myths that refuses to get corrected. There is no definitive consensus as near as I can tell, Yale history professor Paul H. Freedman in an online lecture series HIST 210: THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES, 284–1000, very good and recommended, says:
Alexandria is the most famous because it had this magnificent library as part of the museum, and the mystery of what happened to this library, allegedly burned by the Muslims in the eighth century on the grounds that you didn't need to know anything except what's in the Koran. And this is not true. The library had disappeared long before the eighth century and probably was the victim of the kinds of disorders that began in the third century, when we began the course, the kind of disruptions of local society, opportunities for plunder, neglect. And the Museum was actually closed by the emperor Caracalla in the third century.


And wiki backs this up to some extent:
Arguably, this library is most famous for having been burned down resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books; its destruction has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge. Sources differ on who was responsible for its destruction and when it occurred. The library may in truth have suffered several fires over many years. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by the army of Julius Caesar in 48 BC and an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD.
After the main library was destroyed, scholars used a "daughter library" in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city. According to Socrates of Constantinople, Coptic Pope Theophilus destroyed the Serapeum in AD 391, although it is not certain what it contained or if it contained any significant fraction of the documents that were in the main library. The library may have finally been destroyed during the Muslim conquest of Egypt in (or after) AD 642.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#43  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 11, 2017 2:13 pm

Very interesting, crank, but shouldn't it be in a thread of its own? :scratch:
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Re: Christian Archeology

#44  Postby Alan B » Jan 11, 2017 2:25 pm

So the burning of the library in the documentary about Cleopatra presented by Elizabeth Taylor was wrong. :whistle:

Ah, well. That's enough off topic.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#45  Postby crank » Jan 11, 2017 2:29 pm

DavidMcC wrote:Very interesting, crank, but shouldn't it be in a thread of its own? :scratch:

Maybe it should, it's one of those things that 'everyone knows' but is likely wrong, so to me that means it needs flagging whenever it pops up. That's all the motivation I had here.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#46  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 11, 2017 5:12 pm

As I have said, this thread is not about the Bible, and anyhow, I wouldn't trust christian archeologists further than I could throw them. However, Roman authors from the time might have done better. However, I am no authority on Roman authors from 2000 years ago. :(
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Re: Christian Archeology

#47  Postby RealityRules » Jan 11, 2017 9:27 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
..I am certainly NOT arguing for the one true Jesus, only that there were many anti-Roman sects around in Palestine at the time ...

Figurines of a thousand cult gods have been found in the Roman Empire, thousands of shrines and hundreds of temples but - arguably - none of these relate to the Christian cult prior to the 4th century.

What that shows is what I said - that there were many little politico-religious sects around 2 millenia ago in Palestine.

Furthermore, you have used that premise - "that there were many little politico-religious sects around 2 millennia ago in Palestine" - to assert that one (or more) of those sects in the 1st century was a Christian one.

It would be appropriate for you to provide evidence to back your assertion; particularly, given the title of this thread, archaeological evidence.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#48  Postby RealityRules » Jan 11, 2017 9:44 pm

crank wrote:The Library at Alexandria didn't burn, at least it wasn't destroyed by one big fire, that's one of those weird myths that refuses to get corrected. There is no definitive consensus as near as I can tell, Yale history professor Paul H. Freedman in an online lecture series HIST 210: THE EARLY MIDDLE AGES, 284–1000, very good and recommended, says:
Alexandria is the most famous because it had this magnificent library as part of the museum, and the mystery of what happened to this library, allegedly burned by the Muslims in the eighth century on the grounds that you didn't need to know anything except what's in the Koran. And this is not true. The library had disappeared long before the eighth century and probably was the victim of the kinds of disorders that began in the third century, when we began the course, the kind of disruptions of local society, opportunities for plunder, neglect. And the Museum was actually closed by the emperor Caracalla in the third century.

I'm unsure why you've posted this^. there has not been any proposition that the Library at Alexandria was destroyed by Muslims or was destroyed in the eight century.

The Great Library of Alexandria is somewhat relevant to this thread, however, as support for the proposition of DavidMcC about various, numerous religious sects existing in the eastern Mediterranean in Antiquity: that Library, and others like it, such as the Library at Ephesus, were likely destroyed when they were because they contained texts and documents contrary to then predominant Christian theology, and because they did not contain Christian texts (otherwise one would think they would have just been purged of non-Christian texts, rather than being destroyed wholesale) viz. -
crank wrote:
And wiki backs this up to some extent:
Arguably, this library is most famous for having been burned down resulting in the loss of many scrolls and books; its destruction has become a symbol for the loss of cultural knowledge. Sources differ on who was responsible for its destruction and when it occurred. The library may in truth have suffered several fires over many years. Possible occasions for the partial or complete destruction of the Library of Alexandria include a fire set by the army of Julius Caesar in 48 BC and an attack by Aurelian in the 270s AD.
After the main library was destroyed, scholars used a "daughter library" in a temple known as the Serapeum, located in another part of the city. According to Socrates of Constantinople, Coptic Pope Theophilus destroyed the Serapeum in AD 391, although it is not certain what it contained or if it contained any significant fraction of the documents that were in the main library. The library may have finally been destroyed during the Muslim conquest of Egypt in (or after) AD 642.


Moreover, there is a reasonable amount of archaeological evidence of various non-Jewish and non-Christian sects in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st and 3rd centuries a.d/c.e. - Mithracism, other mystery religions (Egyptian, Greek), etc.



Earliest archaeology
Inscriptions and monuments related to the Mithraic Mysteries are catalogued in a two volume work by Maarten J. Vermaseren, the Corpus Inscriptionum et Monumentorum Religionis Mithriacae (or CIMRM).[115] The earliest monument showing Mithras slaying the bull is thought to be CIMRM 593, found in Rome. There is no date, but the inscription tells us that it was dedicated by a certain Alcimus, steward of T. Claudius Livianus. Vermaseren and Gordon believe that this Livianus is a certain Livianus who was commander of the Praetorian guard in 101 CE, which would give an earliest date of 98–99 CE.[116]

...The earliest dateable Mithraeum outside Rome dates from 148 CE.[123] The Mithraeum at Caesarea Maritima is the only one in Palestine and the date is inferred.[124 - "No dedicatory plaques have been discovered that might aid in the dating. The lamps found with the taurectone medallion are from the end of the first century to the late 3rd century CE. Other pottery and coins from the vault are also from this era. Therefore it is speculated that this Mithraeum developed toward the end of the 1st century and remained active until the late 3rd Century." ]

Earliest cult locationsAccording to Roger Beck, the attested locations of the Roman cult in the earliest phase (circa 80 120 CE) are as follows:[125]

  • Mithraea datable from pottery
  • Nida/Heddemheim III (Germania Sup.)
  • Mogontiacum (Germania Sup.)
  • Pons Aeni (Noricum)
  • Caesarea Maritima (Judaea)
      [lamps found with the taurectone medallion are from the end of the first century to the late 3rd century CE. Other pottery and coins from the vault are also from this era. Therefore it is speculated that this Mithraeum developed toward the end of the 1st century and remained active until the late 3rd Century.[124]


Classical literature about Mithras and the Mysteries

According to Boyce, the earliest literary references to the mysteries are by the Latin poet Statius, about 80 AD, and Plutarch (c. 100 AD).[126]

Statius
The Thebaid (c. 80 AD[127]) an epic poem by Statius, pictures Mithras in a cave, wrestling with something that has horns.[128] The context is a prayer to the god Phoebus.[129] The cave is described as persei, which in this context is usually translated Persian, however according to the translator J.H.Mozley it literally means Persean, referring to Perses the son of Perseus and Andromeda;[127] this Perses being the ancestor of the Persians according to Greek legend.[130]

Plutarch
The Greek biographer Plutarch (46–127 AD) says that "secret mysteries ... of Mithras" were practiced by the pirates of Cilicia, the coastal province in the southeast of Anatolia, who were active in the 1st Century BCE: "They likewise offered strange sacrifices; those of Olympus I mean; and they celebrated certain secret mysteries, among which those of Mithras continue to this day, being originally instituted by them."[131] He mentions that the pirates were especially active during the Mithridatic wars (between the Roman Republic and King Mithridates VI of Pontus) in which they supported the king.[131] The association between Mithridates and the pirates is also mentioned by the ancient historian Appian.[132] The 4th century commentary on Vergil by Servius says that Pompey settled some of these pirates in Calabria in southern Italy.[133]

Dio Cassius
The historian Dio Cassius (2nd to 3rd century AD) tells how the name of Mithras was spoken during the state visit to Rome of Tiridates I of Armenia, during the reign of Nero (Tiridates was the son of Vonones II of Parthia, and his coronation by Nero in 66 AD confirmed the end of a war between Parthia and Rome). Dio Cassius writes that Tiridates, as he was about to receive his crown, told the Roman emperor [Nero] that he revered him "as Mithras".[134] Roger Beck thinks it possible that this episode contributed to the emergence of Mithraism as a popular religion in Rome.[135]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithraism


eta: http://www.tertullian.org/rpearse/mithr ... ?page=main

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Re: Christian Archeology

#49  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 12, 2017 1:21 pm

RealityRules wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
..I am certainly NOT arguing for the one true Jesus, only that there were many anti-Roman sects around in Palestine at the time ...

Figurines of a thousand cult gods have been found in the Roman Empire, thousands of shrines and hundreds of temples but - arguably - none of these relate to the Christian cult prior to the 4th century.

What that shows is what I said - that there were many little politico-religious sects around 2 millenia ago in Palestine.

Furthermore, you have used that premise - "that there were many little politico-religious sects around 2 millennia ago in Palestine" - to assert that one (or more) of those sects in the 1st century was a Christian one.

It would be appropriate for you to provide evidence to back your assertion; particularly, given the title of this thread, archaeological evidence.

Still a history-denier, eh? Too bad:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus
The term "historical Jesus" refers to attempts to "reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by critical historical methods," in "contrast to Christological definitions ('the dogmatic Christ') and other Christian accounts of Jesus ('the Christ of faith')."[1] It also considers the historical and cultural context in which Jesus lived.[2][3][4]
The vast majority of scholars who write on the subject agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] although scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the biblical accounts, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[9][10][11][12] Historical Jesus scholars typically contend that he was a Galilean Jew living in a time of messianic and apocalyptic expectations.

(I have already backed up my claim that there were many little polico-religious groups/sects around at the time.)
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Re: Christian Archeology

#50  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 12, 2017 1:26 pm

... Actually, the thread title is ambiguous - it doesn't say whether it means archeology by christians or about them. There has been some pretty awful archeology BY christians, such as the one that claimed to have found Noah's arc on mount Ararat! :rofl:
(It was a natural rock formation.)
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Re: Christian Archeology

#51  Postby Scot Dutchy » Jan 12, 2017 5:18 pm

DavidMcC wrote:... Actually, the thread title is ambiguous - it doesn't say whether it means archeology by christians or about them. There has been some pretty awful archeology BY christians, such as the one that claimed to have found Noah's arc on mount Ararat! :rofl:
(It was a natural rock formation.)


You dont have faith :naughty: :crazy: :crazy:
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Re: Christian Archeology

#52  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 12, 2017 6:47 pm

Scot Dutchy wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... Actually, the thread title is ambiguous - it doesn't say whether it means archeology by christians or about them. There has been some pretty awful archeology BY christians, such as the one that claimed to have found Noah's arc on mount Ararat! :rofl:
(It was a natural rock formation.)


You dont have faith :naughty: :crazy: :crazy:

Thanks for the compliment! :thumbup:
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Re: Christian Archeology

#53  Postby RealityRules » Jan 13, 2017 10:09 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
Still a history-denier, eh? Too bad:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus
The term "historical Jesus" refers to attempts to "reconstruct the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth by critical historical methods," in "contrast to Christological definitions ('the dogmatic Christ') and other Christian accounts of Jesus (the 'Christ of faith')."[1] It also considers the historical and cultural context in which Jesus lived.[2][3][4]
The vast majority of scholars who write on the subjectx agree that Jesus existed,[5][6][7][8] although scholars differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the biblical accounts, and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[9][10][11][12] Historical Jesus scholars typically contend that he was a Galilean Jew living in a time of messianic and apocalyptic expectations.

Yes, there is

    a/ a history of belief that Jesus was a real entity

    b/ a history of Jesus being narrated as having been an entity

but, beyond mere narratives, there is no proof that the character central to the books of the NT was a single, real person.


x "The vast majority of scholars who write on the subject" tend to be Christians.


There is a whole thread on this forum dedicated to discussing whether there was a historcal Jesus: the Historical Jesus thread. Perhaps you might like to discuss your (and others') smug assertions there.




DavidMcC wrote:
I have already backed up my claim that there were many little polico-religious groups/sects around at the time.

But that was not your primary claim.

DavidMcC wrote:
This whole thread is missing the point. It is a historical fact that there were many little religious sects around in Roman-occupied Palestine, some of them aimed at resisting the Romans, so the early christians would have been one of them.
So what?2


This thread is about Christian Archaeology.

    2 So what you could do is provide evidence of some archaeololgy that substantiates your claim.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#54  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jan 14, 2017 5:44 am

DavidMcC wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... I think duvduv just has an excess of skepticism about well-established history.


The only problem with that is - in the case of the conflict between the preservers of the "One True Jesus Story" and the preservers of the "Other Fascinating Jesus Stories" - the "well established history" was assembled by tax exempt officials of the "Nicene Church Organisation" and its descendents. They and their "history" are likely quite corrupt.

An historical narrative without underlying historical evidence is to be questioned.

Especially given that it consists largely of church dogma and other related church propaganda

Archaeological evidence is highly regarded but where is it?

Archeological evidence for what?



The "Nation of Christians".
"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: Christian Archeology

#55  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 12:47 pm

Leucius Charinus wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:... I think duvduv just has an excess of skepticism about well-established history.


The only problem with that is - in the case of the conflict between the preservers of the "One True Jesus Story" and the preservers of the "Other Fascinating Jesus Stories" - the "well established history" was assembled by tax exempt officials of the "Nicene Church Organisation" and its descendents. They and their "history" are likely quite corrupt.

An historical narrative without underlying historical evidence is to be questioned.

Especially given that it consists largely of church dogma and other related church propaganda

Archaeological evidence is highly regarded but where is it?

Archeological evidence for what?



The "Nation of Christians".

Come again? Never heard of it.
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Re: Christian Archeology

#56  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jan 14, 2017 1:46 pm

Archaeological evidence that supports the historical existence of Christians.

EXAMPLE: INDEX of cited "Early Christian" Inscriptions

* 01 253 CE - de Rossi's Cornelius Stone [Probable forgery].
◦ 02 250 CE - The Marcus son of Alexander inscription. ["I beg of you, kind brothers, by the one God"]
◦ 03 217 CE - the Marcus Aurelius Prosenes inscription. [Later hand: "welcomed before god"]
◦ 04 250 CE - Basilides Inscription, Ostia, Rome [The phrase "he sleeps" is christian?]
◦ 05 3rd CE - "Helix" athlete, Eumenia. [not located]
◦ 06 3rd CE - Nicomedia, Bithnya: 3rd CE Phoenician wood carver. [not located]
◦ 07 3rd CE - Aurelius Aristeas Inscription, Akmonein. ["reckon with the righteousness of God."]
◦ 08 1st CE - Erastus Inscription, mid first century. ["Paul mentions an Erastus"]
◦ 09 3rd CE - Fox; Harland; Snyder - Asia Minor and Phrygia ["he will reckon with (the living) God." ].
◦ 10 200 CE - The Marcus Demetrianos Inscription ["most holy ones who also had faith in God"].
◦ 11 216 CE - Inscription of Abercius [Cannot be unambiguously associated with christianity]
◦ 12 253 CE - Inscription of Pectorius. [Cannot be unambiguously associated with christianity]
◦ 13 079 CE - Christian Inscription of Pompeii. [Lost; Cannot be unambiguously associated with christianity]

These have been all cited in recent literature as "Christian Inscriptions" but there
are problems with each and every one of these items.


In the 4th century Constantine's Old Lady - the first Christian archaeologist (and 2nd Christian pilgrim to the "Holy Land") turned up the Cross and Nails. We don't seem to have any Christian crosses before the 4th century. The items listed and discussed in "Archaeological evidence of church life before Constantine" -- by Graydon F. Snyder - are likewise all problematic and ambiguous as "evidence" demonstrating the [archaeological] existence of Christians before Constantine.



BTW the reference to the "Nation of Christians" is significant because this is what the Church historian Eusebius called the "Early Christians". It was such a good trope, that he interpolated it into Josephus ("TF"). By it, I just mean "Christians" although it is just as expedient to use the term "Nation of Christians" because that is what Eusebius calls them.

Eusebius was writing a new "National History", not of the nation of Greeks or Romans, but of the nation of Christians.

Here is what one historians writes:


    p.139

    "Preparatio evangelica is one of the boldest attempts ever made to show
    continuity between pagan and Christian thought."

    "[Eusebius], the witness of the last persecution and the advisor and apologist
    of Constantine was in a vantage position to appreciate the autonomy and strength
    of the institution that had compelled the Roman state to surrender at the Milvian
    Bridge in 312. Though anxious to preserve the pagan cultural heritage in the new
    Christian order - indeed very anxious, as we shall soon see, to use the pagan tradition
    for his Ecclesiastical History - Eusebius knew that the Christians were a nation,
    and a victorious nation at that; and that their history could not be told except
    within the framework of the Church in which they lived. Furthermore, he was well
    aware that the Christian nation was what it was by virtue of its being both the
    oldest and the newest nation of the world."


    The Classical Foundations of Modern Historiography
    Arnaldo Momigliano


    [my formatting]


Momigliano wrote with liberal doses of irony.

Wink. Wink. Nod. Nod.



The search for the Historical Jesus has ended in abysmal failure.
Sooner or later people will start looking for the Historical "Early" Christians.
Did they exist? Or were they fabricated along with the "One True Canonical Jesus Story"

Time will tell.


The only thing I can say at the moment is that I have listed out all the pre 325 CE evidence that has been cited and/or discussed by modern academics and examined each and every item. Not one item passes scrutiny.

ERGO "Something dramatic happened in the fourth century."
"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: Christian Archeology

#57  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 14, 2017 3:43 pm

RealityRules wrote:Perhaps you might like to discuss your (and others') smug assertions there.

Smug assertions?! What ARE you talking about. :scratch: I am an atheist, but I am pretty sure that Roman repression would have been resisted by many of the various politico-religious sects, and Historical Jesus is as good a name as any for one of the leaders of that resistance. What he actually said is what is lost, thanks to Constantine, because that emperor had his own agenda, which was to re-write the early christians' rebellious religion (which can't have been like any version of the bible) so that they would not be so rebellious, but "turn the other cheek", as the real Jesus probably didn't say.
It is an historical fact that Constantine had trouble with the early christians, and that he converted to christianity in order to control them, and re-write their religion.

EDIT: It is also a fact that the Romans wanted to build a temple in Palestine, and make the local people pay for it. Hence extra taxes were levied, sparking resistance from the taxed. Surely you don't deny THAT bit of history as well?
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Re: Christian Archeology

#58  Postby RealityRules » Jan 14, 2017 10:33 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
... I am pretty sure that Roman repression would have been resisted by many of the various politico-religious sects, and "Historical Jesus" is as good a name as any for one of the leaders of that resistance. What he [Jesus] actually said is what is lost, thanks to Constantine, because that emperor had his own agenda, which was to re-write the early Christians' rebellious religion (which can't have been like any version of the bible) so that they would not be so rebellious, but "turn the other cheek", as the real Jesus probably didn't say.

See my fuller response on p. 2106 of the Historical Jesus thread

    eg. So the Jesus of the NT is not really a "historical Jesus"? ...he's a construct of Constantine?


DavidMcC wrote:
[Constantine] converted to Christianity in order to control them, and re-write their religion.

    That's an interesting proposition.


DavidMcC wrote:
It is also a fact that the Romans wanted to build a temple in Palestine, and make the local people pay for it. Hence extra taxes were levied, sparking resistance from the taxed. Surely you don't deny THAT bit of history as well?

    There were two or three instances that Romans wanted to build significant Roman structures in Palestine.

    The fiscus Judaicus (aka fiscus Iudaicus) was the tax-collecting agency instituted by Vespasian to collect a new tax imposed on Jews throughout the Roman Empire as a result of the First Roman-Jewish War of 66–73 AD (the First Jewish Revolt) (Josephus BJ 7. 218; Dio Cassius 66.7.2).. Revenues were directed to the Temple of Jupiter Optimus Maximus in Rome.

    This new tax replaced the levy (Tithe) on Jews towards the upkeep of the Temple: that Tithe had only been payable by adult men between the ages of 20 and 50 (and probably only by those living in Judea). The fiscus Iudaicus was imposed on all Jews, including women, children, and elderly —and even Jewish slaves. It was humiliating to the Jews. In addition, if it were determined that a person was not Jewish, but was living a Jewish life, this person could also face the confiscation of his property as well as the possibility of execution if he was unwilling to sacrifice to the Roman gods and the emperor (Pliny, Ep. 10.96; Rev. 14:9-11). This group probably included 'Gentiles' and other 'pagans'.

    Those who had abandoned Judaism were exempt from paying it.

    One of the unintended consequences of the Jewish Tax was that it forced the various communities to define themselves as either Jewish or non-Jewish. One the one hand there were those traditional Jews, who saw themselves as Torah observant and covenant members of Israel, and who would never shrink from that identity; they would clearly pay the tax. On the other hand, there were those who, although Jewish by blood, tried to hide their Jewishness in order to prevent having to pay the tax: this was apparently far more widespread than one might initially realize. For example, there were thousands of Jews who had been captured as slaves and been brought to Rome during Pompey's assault on Jerusalem in 63 BCE.

    By Domitan's time many of the descendants of those slaves saw themselves as thoroughly Roman: they bitterly resented having to pay such a heavy tax (Domitian expanded the tax; see next paragraph). Finally, there were those who, although not Jewish by blood, nevertheless practiced the Jewish faith in both Messianic and traditional Jewish communities. Of these groups, the early Messianic Community found itself particularly vulnerable since these followers of "The Way" belonged to a faith that was still considered a party of Judaism.

    Domitian, who ruled between 81 and 96 AD, expanded the fiscus Iudaicus to include not only born Jews and converts to Judaism, but also on those who concealed the fact that they were Jews or who merely observed Jewish customs. Suetonius relates that when he was young an old man of 90 was examined to see whether he was circumcised, which shows that during this period the tax was levied even on those above the age of 62.

    In 96 AD the emperor Nerva determined that the fiscus courts were the improper venue for convicting non-Jews of living a Jewish life improfessus. It is contended that Nerva instituted a change in the official definition of a “Jew,” from an ethnic to a religious one, and limited the tax to those who openly practised Judaism. This would have permitted apostate Jews to avoid the tax.

    The coins of Nerva [Archaeology!] bear the legend fisci Iudaici calumnia sublata -"abolition of malicious prosecution in connection with the Jewish tax"- in reference to his reform of the harsh policies of Domitian.

    Marius Heemstra argues in The Fiscus Judaicus and the Parting of the Ways. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament. 2. Reihe, 277 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010) that this tax had an important role in the separation of Judaism from other social and cultural systems, particularly recent Gentile-deconverts; a process commonly called “the parting of the ways.” Heemstra relates the tax and its relaxation to the supposed writing of various 'Christian' texts in the late 1st century, but I am not so sure those relationships can be verified.

    There seems to have then been increased tensions between Jews and Gentiles: supposedly a growing anti-Gentile polemic within the Traditional Jewish communities.

    (One of the characteristic features of Nerva’s short reign was his attempt to relieve the poor. He bought up large lots of land from the wealthy landlords, and let them out to the needy citizens. It is noteworthy that he submitted this law to the assembly of the people. In the next place, he showed his great interest in the cause of public education. He set apart a certain fund, the interest of which was used to educate the children of poor parents. This interest in providing for the care and education of the poorer classes was continued by his successors.)

    It remains unclear when exactly the fiscus Iudaicus was abolished. Documentary evidence confirms the collection of the tax in the middle of the 2nd century, and literary sources indicate that the tax was still in existence in the early 3rd century. It is not known when the tax was formally abolished. Some historians credit the emperor Julian the Apostate with its abolition in about 361 or 362
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Re: Christian Archeology

#59  Postby Leucius Charinus » Jan 15, 2017 1:24 am

RealityRules wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
[Constantine] converted to Christianity in order to control them, and re-write their religion.

    That's an interesting proposition.


That interesting proposition is premised with the hypothesis that the Christians existed before Constantine's propaganda, legal, social, military and literature campaign. The OP is focussed on the archaeological evidence underpinning this hypothesis.

What if this hypothesis, believed [by practically everyone] to be true by an implicit reliance upon the literature and manuscript "evidence"
(lovingly preserved by the descendant organisations of the original c.325 CE Nicene Church Organisation),

is NOT supported by the archaeological evidence
(but rather various forms of "confirmation bias" [of the literary evidence])?

Where does that leave us?

I can try to answer that.

It leaves us with the documents alone.

And with our guide, THE authoritative master of the Early Christian literary evidence, "Eusebius".

We seem to have an "Early Christianity" populated by a "Divine Institute" that became a church with Bishops writing INTER-OFFICE MEMOS to one another about the heretics, Apologists writing letters to Roman Emperors, Saints and Martyrs on every street corner persecuted by those nasty pagan Emperors. We seem to have some form of "Nationalistic Literature" for the "New and Strange", yet quite clearly victorious, "Nation of Christians".

In the evaluation of the [historical] TRUTH VALUE of all this Christian nationalistic literature ["literary evidence"]

it is, alas,

IN "EUSEBIUS" WE TRUST.

There is no other guide.

Unless there is an archaeologist in the house with some evidence.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

Emperor Julian (362 CE)
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Re: Christian Archeology

#60  Postby DavidMcC » Jan 15, 2017 12:55 pm

RealityRules wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
... I am pretty sure that Roman repression would have been resisted by many of the various politico-religious sects, and "Historical Jesus" is as good a name as any for one of the leaders of that resistance. What he [Jesus] actually said is what is lost, thanks to Constantine, because that emperor had his own agenda, which was to re-write the early Christians' rebellious religion (which can't have been like any version of the bible) so that they would not be so rebellious, but "turn the other cheek", as the real Jesus probably didn't say.

See my fuller response on p. 2106 of the Historical Jesus thread

    eg. So the Jesus of the NT is not really a "historical Jesus"? ...he's a construct of Constantine?


DavidMcC wrote:
[Constantine] converted to Christianity in order to control them, and re-write their religion.

    That's an interesting proposition.

...

It's an "interesting proposition" that I happened to be taught at school, in Latin and Roman history, IIRC.
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