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Marduk
6th December 2010, 04:51 PM
I'm afraid I'm not following. I thought we were discussing cherry-picking within the NT. What evidence in the NT contradicts an historical Jesus? The miracle stuff doesn't contradict an historical Jesus; I think most folks think it just isn't true.

Don't ask me, I'm not the one saying "this bit, not that part, this part, not that bit"
When someone tells you a story which contains fictional elements, do you still believe the story is basically true, me I call shenanigans, at least until theres enough supporting evidence
:D
So you don't even try to be rational? Got it.
I didn't say it was rational,
:p


I on the other hand, think the evidence points towards a (non-magical, non-divine) man named "Jesus" whom a cult formed around 2000 years ago. It's not 100% certain, just more likely than not. Now, could I be mistaken in my evaluation? Sure, but if I thought the evidence didn't support the existence of such a person, then I wouldn't believe he existed..

Nope, you on the other hand have the same opinion as me on a historical Jesus, but unlike me you will not be honest enough with yourself to admit that there is no evidence with which to form such a conclusion, last chance, show me the evidence

I think it is intellectually honest to do ones best to believe in things which, to the best of your ability to determine, the evidence supports. Believing in things you think you know the evidence doesn't support is not.
then why do you believe in something which you have repeatedly shown no evidence for and which you have ignored evidence to the contrary, thats not honesty, thats bs pseudohistory
You'd last 5 seconds at a real history forum!!!
:D
I believe the issue here is that the pro historic Jesus camp simply is trying to say that if you remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult and that's not really an extrodinary claim - therefore they accept it at face value.
No, the pro historic jesus camp are saying if you remove remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult, but then being entirely unable to show any of the remaining evidence for that belief while at the same time ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. We're not talking about fact here at all, we are talking about unsubstantiated belief, faith if you like. I have repeatedly asked to be shown the evidence
I am still waiting
;)

Piggy
6th December 2010, 04:52 PM
Same here. Being constantly told I'm ignorant and lacking understanding by someone who's main argument is "prove it didn't happen" is frustrating.

I have a feeling that there's another agenda at work here.

I'm not asking anyone to prove anything didn't happen.

I'm simply asking for a coherent no-Jesus theory which matches all the (admittedly incomplete) evidence we do have, and which does not generate problems it cannot answer.

This is the same standard we apply when asking, say, 9/11 Truthers to defend their hypotheses which disagree with the evidence-based scientific consensus.

But rather than get any sort of response along those lines, I'm treated to arguments from ignorance, dismissal of the scholarship as "argument from authority", incorrect assessments of the scholarship (e.g., scholars believe Jesus lived because people wrote about him), and a complete failure to even address the very real problems posed by a no-Jesus hypothesis.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 04:55 PM
Bullcrap. Insisting that something must be supported by evidence isn't defending a conspiracy theory.

And I don't give a flying f bomb about the rest of your handwaving about how to properly treat Paul to support Paul, it's still fallacious. Wake me up when you actually have a logically valid argument. Apologies for when it's ok to use circular logic just aren't it.

Just because you're willfully ignorant of the evidence doesn't mean there is no evidence.

And just because you don't care how Paul's letters should be properly treated doesn't mean that there is not a proper scholarly approach to his letters.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 04:59 PM
Don't ask me, I'm not the one saying "this bit, not that part, this part, not that bit"
:D

If someone told you that their father met a man who could heal the sick with his hands. And someone else told your they knew someone who met the same man at the same time. And a third person, named Peter, said they actually knew the man and spent a lot of time with them. Would you believe no such charlatan ever existed?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:01 PM
Nope. I'm just saying it's BS to claim that he was telling the truth, just because you can handwave about motives.

Asking "Why was this written?" is one of the central questions in textual scholarship. We seldom come up with iron-clad answers, but we usually are able to ascribe some degrees of likelihood -- usually based on very careful textual analysis and comparison with other sciences such as archaeology -- and to rule out many wrong answers.

There are reasons why scholars believe Paul was accurate about some things and inaccurate about others (wilfully or not), and why we are forced in some cases to withhold judgment.

You can engage with these points if you like, but ignoring them does not in any way help your attempt to overturn the current scholarship.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:05 PM
I didn't say it was rational,
:p

I am glad your irrationality is not in question.



Nope, you on the other hand have the same opinion as me on a historical Jesus, but unlike me you will not be honest enough with yourself to admit that there is no evidence with which to form such a conclusion, last chance, show me the evidence

Ahh, you can read minds now? Or do you read hearts? Maybe you can go get the million dollar price.

Nice bit there about the "last chance" thing, but I think we all know that isn't the case. Anyhow, we've gone over the evidence in this thread. You just toss out all the evidence that disagrees with you and refuse to look at texts from a historical perspective. Not terribly reasonable of you, but no one is saying you are rational, right?

then why do you believe in something which you have repeatedly shown no evidence for and which you have ignored evidence to the contrary, thats not honesty, thats bs pseudohistory
You'd last 5 seconds at a real history forum!!!

Most historians believe there was a man named Jesus who lived around 2000 years ago and that this man is the "Jesus" to which the gospels and others refer. So, you're actually quite wrong here.

No, the pro historic jesus camp are saying if you remove remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult, but then being entirely unable to show any of the remaining evidence for that belief while at the same time ignoring all the evidence to the contrary. We're not talking about fact here at all, we are talking about unsubstantiated belief, faith if you like. I have repeatedly asked to be shown the evidence
I am still waiting
;)

The problem here is you are completely unable to avoid tossing the baby out with the bathwater.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 05:05 PM
Just because you're willfully ignorant of the evidence doesn't mean there is no evidence.

And just because you don't care how Paul's letters should be properly treated doesn't mean that there is not a proper scholarly approach to his letters.

I'm agreeing with Hans, Bob and the rest of the "show me some ****** evidence camp Piggy, speculation doesn't cut it, to prove something requires empirical evidence that can be measured. All you have is speculation and circular reasoning. By the same standard you are using to claim Jesus existed, i.e. paul, then every story ever written using a first person narrative is equally historical

apparently you can't see it, but the only support youre getting here is from people who don't know the history and who don't know a fallacious argument when theyre making it
I'm halfway between the two here, I want to believe in a historical Jesus, a guy who said a lot of good things which a lot of people have used to live good moral lives, but I'm not seeing the evidence. Still I'll console myself with the words

John 8:32And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
:p

I am glad your irrationality is not in question.


SNIP. bs dr
You're a liar, you make repeated claims for your own evidence which hasnt been shown yet, and you pretend mine doesnt exist, yet its all there for anyone to read
shame on you
your discourse is dishonest and willfully ignorant
pathetic attempt at discussion
:rolleyes:

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:12 PM
You're a liar, you make repeated claims for your own evidence which hasnt been shown yet, and you pretend mine doesnt exist, yet its all there for anyone to read
shame on you
dishonest and ignorant too
pathetic
:rolleyes:

You're the one who agree that you weren't rational, much to my surprise. I thought pointing out the inconsistency would at least get you to line up your beliefs and reasoning.

I'm not a liar. We've said many times what our evidence is, both in the Bible and without and in reasoning about how people behave (including how cults based around a man whom people lived with for a long time work*). You simply go "that's not evidence" to all evidence or just flat out ignore posts, but your insistence that there is no evidence does not make it so.

It seems that when lacking reason or facts, you resort to name calling.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:14 PM
all the contemporary historians dont seem to have heard of him

Why would we expect them to?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:15 PM
Why would we expect them to?

Because we're supposed to make nonsensical assumptions so that we can reach the "right" conclusion, I think.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 05:17 PM
Don't ask me, I'm not the one saying "this bit, not that part, this part, not that bit"
When someone tells you a story which contains fictional elements, do you still believe the story is basically true, me I call shenanigans, at least until theres enough supporting evidence
:D




I'm only asking why you call that cherry picking when it isn't. Cherry picking is something else than what you are describing unless you can show me where in the NT there is evidence that Jesus was not an historical figure and which Gao was ignoring on purpose.

Scholars do not randomly choose what parts of the NT likely preserve historically reliable information. They rely on criteria that they decide upon ahead of time. For historical Jesus research they generally use 3 criteria:

Criterion of independent attestation
Criterion of dissimilarity
Criterion of contextual credibility

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:18 PM
I'm only asking why you call that cherry picking when it isn't. Cherry picking is something else than what you are describing unless you can show me where in the NT there is evidence that Jesus was not an historical figure and which Gao was ignoring on purpose.

Scholars do not randomly choose what parts of the NT likely preserve historically reliable information. They rely on criteria that they decide upon ahead of time. For historical Jesus research they generally use 3 criteria:

Criterion of independent attestation
Criterion of dissimilarity
Criterion of contextual credibility

Adding to this, I'm going to put out here once again that the individual stories in the NT were originally separate. They were only later put together.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 05:20 PM
You're the one who agree that you weren't rational, much to my surprise. I thought pointing out the inconsistency would at least get you to line up your beliefs and reasoning.

I'm not a liar. We've said many times what our evidence is, both in the Bible and without and in reasoning about how people behave (including how cults based around a man whom people lived with for a long time work*). You simply go "that's not evidence" to all evidence or just flat out ignore posts, but your insistence that there is no evidence does not make it so.

It seems that when lacking reason or facts, you resort to name calling.

I adressed your argument, you have lied, I havent seen any evidence from you at all
Link to it, right now,
You claimed I havent provided any evidence, when in fact I have destroyed every speculation you came up with so far with solid testable evidence.
you got nothing and you have had nothing all the way through this that I have seen, not one quote, not one link, nothing
:mad:

I'm only asking why you call that cherry picking when it isn't. Cherry picking is something else than what you are describing unless you can show me where in the NT there is evidence that Jesus was not an historical figure and which Gao was ignoring on purpose.

deciding which parts to acccept and which parts to ignore no matter the motivation is cherry picking
I dont see how you are failing to see that.
The parts of the NT that attest to Jesus not being a historical figure
are you kidding
do you know many other real people who perform miracles ?, rise from the dead, who are the product of a magical birth, who can feed five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes, who fly up into the air and walk on water, all of that is not evidence of a real person, so its being ignored. Thats the classic definition of cherry picking
Lets have a look at Flash Gordon, ok so I dont believe he went to Mongo in a spaceship built by Flexi Jerkoff, I dont think he could have defeated Ming the Merciless, but yanno, he must be real because he was an american football player, thats the same as what they are saying
what a load of bollox
:D
Why would we expect them to?
they recorded all the other proclaimed Messiahs executed by the Romans
youre going to have to try harder
;)
Adding to this, I'm going to put out here once again that the individual stories in the NT were originally separate. They were only later put together.

Thats not helping with claims of authenticity, they were all written within a 30 year period and then carefully selected 200 years later from many that were discarded. The reason they were selected was to create a state religion
so your claim is just attesting that their authenticity has been fabricated to control people. It says very little else

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:20 PM
Even terrible sources like the Historia Augusta, which is so bad that it's been suggested that it may have been written as a parody of histories, have their uses and are rarely dismissed in their entirety.

Precisely.

There's this (erroneous) notion out there that textual scholarship takes documents and attempts to trim out the falsehoods and then declare what's left over "true".

But as you say, this isn't how it works at all.

Because the fact that someone prints lies or mistakes can be just as useful to a historian as someone printing the truth.

Take Deuteronomy, for instance. We know it's a forgery. But that doesn't mean we toss it on the fire, because the promulgation of that particular forgery at that particular time tells us quite a bit about the folks who produced it, even if it tells us nothing about the people who were claimed to have produced it (but did not).

And we do not doubt that Ezra and Nehemiah were real on the basis of Deuteronomy being a forged document.

Merko
6th December 2010, 05:23 PM
Maybe someone should start a thread discussing whether we need so many threads discussing whether there is evidence for a historical Jesus. Or better yet, maybe a thread asking why anyone cares.
This is not a thread about whether there is evidence for an historical Jesus. This is a thread about the hypothesis of an ahistorical Jesus. How would such a myth start? What positive evidence, if any, is there for such a development? What kind of evidence could we expect to find if Jesus is an ahistorical deity?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:27 PM
This is not a thread about whether there is evidence for an historical Jesus. This is a thread about the hypothesis of an ahistorical Jesus. How would such a myth start? What positive evidence, if any, is there for such a development? What kind of evidence could we expect to find if Jesus is an ahistorical deity?

Sounds like the same thing to me. It's just a different angle on the discussion.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:32 PM
I have been on this forum for some time, the arguments made for the existence of Jesus are always the stupidest, your rhetoric is no exception, I believe in the relevance of the teachings of Jesus, yet as I am an unbiased researcher I have yet to find any real evidence for his existence, despite spending years researching the subject

Excuse me, but if you had actually spent "years researching the subject" then you would not be making the arguments you're making.

First, you don't actually seem to be familiar with the scholarship at all. If you were, you'd be discussing it.

The fact that you post juvenile graphics and respond with phrases such as "duuuuuuuuhhhh" does not help.

I mean, look, it's fine if you want to toss opinions around, but please do not try to pass yourself off as a "researcher" who has spent "years" on this matter. That kinda gets under my skin, especially since the no-Jesus crowd are disparaging decades of painstaking, detailed, and largely thankless work by a host of dedicated scholars.

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to excavate sites, to reconstruct scrolls from fragments, to cross-reference scrolls and codices that have been scattered to far-flung places (and sometimes chopped up and recycled), to catalog terms and reconstruct the phases of languages and even timelines of how letters were written in order to establish dates?

Please do not presume to consider yourself a researcher in this field.

I have had the privilege of studying under legitimate researchers and scholars, but I do not presume to claim that I am one of them. I am a student, and will always be a student. But I know how to be a student.

I advise you to learn how, yourself.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 05:35 PM
I adressed your argument, you have lied, I havent seen any evidence from you at all
Link to it, right now,
You claimed I havent provided any evidence, when in fact I have destroyed every speculation you came up with so far with solid testable evidence.
you got nothing and you have had nothing all the way through this that I have seen, not one quote, not one link, nothing
:mad:

I've certainly made links, several in fact. And you've ignored points and arguments I've made on this page and the last page (and many pages prior, of course). The idea that you've "destroyed every speculation [I've come] up with so far" is, frankly, laughable.

You frequently ignore points you don't like, such as the fact the New Testament is NOT one document, but many, and was only later put together. Or that it does have things written by people that met Jesus, such as Peter. Or that Jesus is referenced elsewhere outside of the New Testament. Or that if we applied the same standards to people such as Alexander the Great, then we'd know basically nothing about them (we have basically nothing on Alexander from contemporary sources -- so do you largely think information about his life us unknown?).

Thats not helping with claims of authenticity, they were all written within a 30 year period and then carefully selected 200 years later from many that were discarded. The reason they were selected was to create a state religion so your claim is just attesting that their authenticity has been fabricated to control people. It says very little else

Look, I know a very modest amount on this subject, but even I know that we have copies of various accounts from before they were incorporated into the Bible. How can you argue so vehemently about this stuff when you don't even know the basics about the accounts we do have? We also have some accounts and writings that were not accepted by the early church, btw.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:36 PM
Thats because its another straw argument, there are plenty of non fictional records that should attest to the existence of Jesus but don't
no census records, no court record from his trial, no records about him at all from contemporary historians who were both Jewish and resident in Jerusalem and faithfully recording Jewish history as it happened, your analogy is totally false and you know it.

So, do you have other census records from obscure villages in Galilee at that time?

Do you have court records from the trials of the hundreds of men who were crucified for sedition, or any other cause?

Do you have records from historians detailing all the fringe Jewish sects in the provinces?

Do you?

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 05:37 PM
deciding which parts to acccept and which parts to ignore no matter the motivation is cherry picking
I dont see how you are failing to see that.


Shall I link you to your own definition of cherry picking? Are we using a different definition now? That's fine, but we need to agree on it if we are going to discuss the same thing?


The parts of the NT that attest to Jesus not being a historical figure
are you kidding
do you know many other real people who perform miracles ?, rise from the dead, who are the product of a magical birth, who can feed five thousand people with a few loaves and fishes, who fly up into the air and walk on water, all of that is not evidence of a real person, so its being ignored.


Nope, I don't know a single person who can do any of those. But having that info in a story is not evidence of an ahistorical Jesus necessarily. It is evidence, if we accept it, of a miraculous Jesus.


Thats the classic definition of cherry picking


OK, so we are using a new definition of cherry picking than you stated earlier. So, what is the formal definition of cherry picking -- choosing one fact over another even if you use distinct criteria? We need an agreed upon definition.


Lets have a look at Flash Gordon, ok so I dont believe he went to Mongo in a spaceship built by Flexi Jerkoff, I dont think he could have defeated Ming the Merciless, but yanno, he must be real because he was an american football player, thats the same as what they are saying
what a load of bollox


How is that even remotely close to what I am trying to say? Where are you getting that argument? Are you suggesting that my argument is that because there is versimilitude in a story that we must believe all aspects of a story? If so, can you please link me to where I made such an asinine remark?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 05:42 PM
There is NOT ONE reliable claim by anyone to have ever met Jesus.

Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

Why would he be so intent on proving his bona fides in that way if it were not accepted by the community at the time that James, Peter, and John actually did study under Jesus and receive their authority by virtue of having been his disciples?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:02 PM
If you allow this humble lurker to interject, I believe the argument is actually as follows:

We all accept the extrodinary claims require extrodinary evidence, right?
If a guy tells you he ate a sandwitch for lunch there is no reason to doubt him even though you have no evidence to the fact.
If a guy tells you that the ate a sandwitch on mars, then he better offer up some evidence for the fact.

I believe the issue here is that the pro historic Jesus camp simply is trying to say that if you remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult and that's not really an extrodinary claim - therefore they accept it at face value.

It's actually even more detailed than that, because the "magical stuff" is also informative.

These texts were not all produced at once, and there are extra-Biblical Xian texts to take into account, as well.

When we place them as well as we can in time and geography, and establish the chains of versions of the texts, note the changes and such... what we get is a kind of river system of texts, flowing forward in time as they branch out, cross or merge into each other, die out or gain strength....

It's an incomplete picture, but a dynamic one.

This stream of evidence is linked with other streams of evidence, including archaeology, linguistics (when did loan-words come into use, what are the historical references, and so forth), etc., even psychology.

And after all that, we get a kind of trajectory of beliefs running throughout these various communities.

It's then possible, to a certain extent, to trace the ideas themselves backward and draw conclusions about the very early days of the religion.

And when we do that, at no point do we encounter even a single thread of evidence which leads us to believe that the Jesus cult did not grow out of a Jewish sect led by a historical Jesus.

What we have, in fact, is a process of apotheosis -- followers of the founder of the group elevating him to the rank of deity.

And this process has parallels which help us to understand how it works.

When you do this, you see all the factionalization, the in-fighting, the squabbles, as well as the agreements, the confabulations, the aggrandizements. And it generates a much richer history than you're going to get any other way.

This is all very detailed work, and that's why it's not amenable to quick superficial answers. The 9/11 Commission had it easy compared to scholars of ancient texts.

The no-Jesus crowd generally take a very limited and superficial view of the subject, and don't care much for digging into the nitty-gritty. Some do -- like Price -- but so far every one of those efforts has been rife with crank pseudo-scholarship. The errors are easy to point out when the details are trotted out.

One can try to avoid that by simply failing to engage with the details, but in doing so, one fails to address the very real substantive problems generated by these hypotheses.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:05 PM
So, do you have other census records from obscure villages in Galilee at that time?

Do you have court records from the trials of the hundreds of men who were crucified for sedition, or any other cause?

Do you have records from historians detailing all the fringe Jewish sects in the provinces?

Do you?

there goes all your credibility, I dont have all those records, neither do you
yet youre the one trying to make a claim, I am not
fail
that is not a sceptical approach piggy, as people have been trying to tell you
about time you started learning yourself
:p
your entire claim is based on speculation about Pauls motives
thats bs piggy and as its your personal opinion, its totally invalid

tsig
6th December 2010, 06:09 PM
Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

Why would he be so intent on proving his bona fides in that way if it were not accepted by the community at the time that James, Peter, and John actually did study under Jesus and receive their authority by virtue of having been his disciples?

How can you possibly know Paul's motivation?

Of course the argument cuts both ways. Where are the passages saying that they who saw Jesus have greater authority than those who have just had visions?

It seems that when it all shook out that Paul was accepted and his visions were taken as gospel truth.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:10 PM
I've certainly made links, several in fact. snipped for dishonesty
.

I've just been through the last two pages and you haven't posted a single link
I challenge anyone here to show me one that youve posted
you yourself have already failed to provide the evidence I've asked for on no less than five occaisons
it would be a matter of seconds for you to link to your post containg the imaginary evidence youre talking about, but you have been unable to do so
we all know why that is don't we
:rolleyes:

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:15 PM
I'm agreeing with Hans, Bob and the rest of the "show me some ****** evidence camp Piggy, speculation doesn't cut it, to prove something requires empirical evidence that can be measured. All you have is speculation and circular reasoning. By the same standard you are using to claim Jesus existed, i.e. paul, then every story ever written using a first person narrative is equally historical

apparently you can't see it, but the only support youre getting here is from people who don't know the history and who don't know a fallacious argument when theyre making it
I'm halfway between the two here, I want to believe in a historical Jesus, a guy who said a lot of good things which a lot of people have used to live good moral lives, but I'm not seeing the evidence.

If you would like to discuss evidence, we can certainly do that.

Now, given that a historical Jesus is accepted scholarship -- I don't know of any mainstream scholar who disagrees... do you? -- then what is your evidence for the existence of the religion to which Paul converts in the absence of a rabbi Jesus?

Let's not pretend that our starting point is neutral. It certainly is not. There's a helluva lot of legwork that's already been done here.

Some very specific questions have been asked which your camp is refusing to even deal with.

We accept the existence of a historical Jesus because it fits all the available evidence: a cult which uses obscure (not mainstream) prooftexts to portray a rabbi from Nazareth, baptised by John, as a possible messiah and Son of Man; a converted evangelist who goes out of his way to assert his reception of the Word through a vision as equivalent to the reception of the Word personally on the part of the disciples; the development in later (but not much later) traditions of stories to explain touchy details which we are at a loss to explain if the figure of Jesus were either invented or based on previous messianic tradition.

These are just starting points.

Would you care to deal with them?

And btw, if you claim that you and Hans and Bob know the relevant history better than Wasp and Gao and Drachasor and I do, you are seriously deluding yourself.

Anyway, yeah, I'd love to discuss details. Let's do.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:15 PM
Shall I link you to your own definition of cherry picking? Are we using a different definition now? That's fine, but we need to agree on it if we are going to discuss the same thing?





Nope, I don't know a single person who can do any of those. But having that info in a story is not evidence of an ahistorical Jesus necessarily. It is evidence, if we accept it, of a miraculous Jesus.





OK, so we are using a new definition of cherry picking than you stated earlier. So, what is the formal definition of cherry picking -- choosing one fact over another even if you use distinct criteria? We need an agreed upon definition.





How is that even remotely close to what I am trying to say? Where are you getting that argument? Are you suggesting that my argument is that because there is versimilitude in a story that we must believe all aspects of a story? If so, can you please link me to where I made such an asinine remark?

This is the definition I am using
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy)
I think it applies perfectly to whats going on in this thread
apparently you don't
thats fine, I don't have an issue with your disagreement
its just that I think different to you on this matter
but we don't have anything else to talk about do we
;)

Gao
6th December 2010, 06:16 PM
Nope.
I have them all on disk so I can search by text.
Fast, wide - shallow and simplistic. I think that this is the problem here. You can't really get a good feel for how people wrote, how they viewed what they did, or even what history really was back then by a shallow search of terms. I recommend both reading some of the original authors straight through, preferably with some decent annotations, as well as work from modern historians. If you're in college or something (I can't really tell how old anyone is here), then I really recommend taking some courses on ancient history. Whatever you do, I recommend reading things that aren't just focused on Jesus so that you can get a good feel for this stuff without getting distracted by that particular issue. Suetonius would probably be a good starting point, as his work is pretty accessible.

In addition, please don't act like you're sure that certain authors should have mentioned Jesus if you haven't really read any of their work. As someone who's actually read a collection of Seneca's epistles, I have to say that there's honestly no reason to think he would have cared about Jesus at all. He really showed no interest in the eastern empire and not that much in religion. He mostly wrote about philosophy and how his life was going. This holds regardless of what Christians wrote about him. Despite this, I see him on many lists of people who supposedly should have mentioned Jesus, including yours. If you want to convince someone like me otherwise, the only real way to make a good argument would be from actually studying his work.

This is more work than shallow searches, but those who have read these works can easily tell when those who haven't start talking about it. Without going in depth, you'll be very limited in how far you can argue or really understand the sources themselves.


I don't want to do that.
I think Jesus has been mis-categorised because of cultural bias.

If Jesus was not the dominant religious icon of our cultures, we would class Jesus with Bacchus and Dionsys and Osiris and Hercules. Well you're going to have to develop a better argument for this. Luke at least claims that what he's telling originated with eyewitnesses, and the Gospels and Acts are far more rooted in real places, people, and times than any story I've ever heard about Dionysos, Osiris, or Hercules. In fact, I'm unaware of any story of a fictional person from antiquity that's really like the Gospels at all. The closest thing I can think of is Philostratus' Life of Apollonius, and that's about a real person, though it's probably pretty inaccurate. At the very least, the founders of Christianity were telling a new and very different sort of myth. You will therefore need to work with this and show that they were indeed creating something new like this.



What reason do you have to assume it's history and not religious myths? Those are not mutually exclusive options. In any case, the data we have to deal with is that there was a religion about a Jesus called Christ in the first century. This Jesus died and was resurrected, and he was tied often rather awkwardly to Old Testiment "prophesy", and he didn't really resemble a traditional messiah figure despite being declared such. The earliest details of Jesus tie him to a relatively recent events compared to most religious figures, and he is much more tied to a real place, time, etc. than someone like Dionysos.

Quite simply, the simplest explanation for that is that Jesus was a real person. We know plenty of real people who in life or after death were declared gods, so it's hardly something particularly extraordinary. On the other hand, we know very few that created anyone within recent history. In addition, much of the "prophesy" is rather awkward and makes more sense if retroactively fitted to Jesus rather than as a basis for creation of the Jesus story. You'll also notice that the biggest areas of disagreement in the Gospels are the virgin birth and resurrection narratives, which indicates their later addition to the story, which would make sense if the Gospels were built upon the story of a real person to whom neither thing happened.

This isn't to say that it's impossible that Jesus was fictional, but these things simply make far more sense if there was a historical Jesus, which makes me say that his existence is more likely than not.
You have ASSUMED your first step. Please show me where I did this above.
I think you should revisit that - have you read Doherty ? No I have not read his work yet. Looking him up, his work doesn't seem to have made a whole lot of impact, and the man only has a bachelors in ancient history and classical languages. Have many of those with more expertise in these matters showed strong agreement with his methods or conclusions?

I argue Jesus is a myth because :
1. it started with a spiritual being This is something that I think you have to establish. Given the lack of sources before Mark that go into much detail about Jesus, it's hard to make firm conclusions on the earliest beliefs. Care to go into more detail about this one?
2. the Gospels arose LATE How late are you proposing, exactly? You'll find many different date ranges for these works depending on who you talk to, and many people think that works like Q came a decent amount of time before our surviving Gospels. In addition, do keep in mind that we often have to use sources that came well after the fact for any significant detail on historical figures. For instance, was around 200 years or so after Alexander the Great's death before our first surviving work on him was written, and we rely much more on works written one and two hundred years or so after that.
3. the Jesus stories are clearly crafted from the OT Some seem to be so, yet others seem to be OT verses awkwardly forced into being "prophesy." This is another thing that you'd have to go into more detail about.
4. many early Christians did NOT believe in a Jesus of the flesh Which is vastly different than saying that he wasn't historical.
5. No historical evidence Tacitus, Celsus, and maybe Josephus. In addition, the Gospels, the epistles, and Christianity itself still need explanation, and they make far more sense if they make far more sense if Jesus really existed, as far as I can tell.
6. clear evidence of stories growing over time You could show the exact same thing of many historical figures. Heck, compare the signs of Claudius' impending death in Suetonius to Cassius Dio, who wrote 100 years or so later, and you'll see the clear growth of legend.


In short, I don't think you've done enough research to make a good case yet, and you haven't yet presented much detail at all on your 6 points. You may at some point be able to make a strong case for a mythical Jesus, but it's going to take some more work.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:20 PM
they recorded all the other proclaimed Messiahs executed by the Romans

1. You have no way of knowing this.

2. Jesus was likely executed for sedition, most probably for attempting to lead a tax revolt.

3. Emoticons are not evidence. (Big boy forum, here.)

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:22 PM
And btw, if you claim that you and Hans and Bob know the relevant history better than Wasp and Gao and Drachasor and I do, you are seriously deluding yourself.

Anyway, yeah, I'd love to discuss details. Let's do.
I will discuss factual details, if youre just going to continually run over your unsupported beliefs for Pauls motivation then don't bother

btw Piggy, this is the second time you have attempted to denigrate my knowledge of this subject with your posts
You know nothing about the level of my knowledge
I know everything about yours
You'd easily lose this one
but I doubt you'd be able to accept it, youre one of those people who's personal insecurity requires that you are seen to be right on everything, who can't admit he's wrong, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. You'll talk crap until people give up bothering with you and then declare yourself victorious
You'd make a good fundamentalist
:D

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:23 PM
there goes all your credibility, I dont have all those records, neither do you
yet youre the one trying to make a claim, I am not

This is patently false.

You are now being clearly intellectually dishonest.

You are the one who claimed that we should have these records.

It's getting to the point where there's really no reason to continue having a discussion with you.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 06:24 PM
I've just been through the last two pages and you haven't posted a single link
I challenge anyone here to show me one that youve posted
you yourself have already failed to provide the evidence I've asked for on no less than five occaisons
it would be a matter of seconds for you to link to your post containg the imaginary evidence youre talking about, but you have been unable to do so
we all know why that is don't we
:rolleyes:

Again, you ignore arguments you find inconvenient (and btw, my links are older than the last two pages, but that's how it goes).

But here's the link I posted on Troy:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troy_VII (excavated in the 1980s, and the one believed referenced by Homer).

Here's a bit on Alexander the Great:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_the_Great#Sources

Note that all original sources have long since vanished. We only have people referencing supposed sources (not that even they were necessarily sticklers for accuracy, Plutarch had his own reasons for talking about Alexander). Ignore that, and we don't know much about him at all, and heck we can only confirm he existed as a real person due to contemporary reference which says basically nothing about him. Pretty much the same criticisms you apply to Jesus would work well against the vast majority of what we know about Alexander the Great.

As for the NT:
First compositions of individual parts:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Dates_of_composition
Were well before 100 AD

The NT as a collected work, seem to be from the late 2nd Century:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Testament#Early_versions

But of course how can you expected to google anything about the New Testament or Jesus when you are debating about whether the later ever existed as a person?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:27 PM
I will discuss factual details, if youre just going to continually run over your unsupported beliefs for Pauls motivation then don't bother

btw Piggy, this is the second time you have attempted to denigrate my knowledge of this subject with your posts
You know nothing about the level of my knowledge
I know everything about yours
You'd easily lose this one
but I doubt you'd be able to accept it, youre one of those people who's personal insecurity requires that you are seen to be right on everything, who can't admit he's wrong, even in the face of overwhelming evidence. You'll talk crap until people give up bothering with you and then declare yourself victorious
You'd make a good fundamentalist
:D

The reason I like having discussions w/ folks like Wasp is that I'm able to learn from them. I do get corrected, and this helps me going forward.

But in fact, I do know quite a bit about your "level of knowledge" from the blatant mistakes you make. And quite frankly, it amazes me that you continue to charge forward.

At any rate, yeah, let's do get into details.

Where should we start?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 06:28 PM
This is patently false.

You are now being clearly intellectually dishonest.

You are the one who claimed that we should have these records.

It's getting to the point where there's really no reason to continue having a discussion with you.

Well, he did openly admit he is irrational about this subject, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:31 PM
This is patently false.

You are now being clearly intellectually dishonest.

You are the one who claimed that we should have these records.

It's getting to the point where there's really no reason to continue having a discussion with you.

we have records for others who were proclaimed the messiah and executed is what I said piggy
you just lied about what I said so you could force some straw into the argument
they recorded all the other proclaimed Messiahs executed by the Romans


thats you and Drachosaur willing to lie about the evidence now
thats dishonest
and its pretty pathetic as well as anyone reading this can see the truth of what I said
youve lost this discussion
I don't enter into discourse with people who think intellectual dishonesty is a debating tactic
:rolleyes:

Drachosaur, I see you are now posting wiki links without any explanation of why
thats pretty pointless, I could post lots of pages from wiki which state that scholars disagree on the existence of a historical Jesus.
I could posts hundreds of pages of people saying that Jesus doesnt exist, that Harry potter and Sherlock Holmes do exist
that will not advance the discussion
what I asked for from you was the evidence that you have posted in this thread which attests to a historical Jesus, I asked you to link to your posts, but instead you exposed your clear lie about posting lots of links in the last two pages, you havent posted any have you, admit it
youre out of here as well
ciao
:p

Gao
6th December 2010, 06:32 PM
deciding which parts to acccept and which parts to ignore no matter the motivation is cherry picking


So then were you not cherry picking when you said that you disbelieved the story of Vespasian healing the blind and the lame and the supposed miracles surrounding Augustus? Or do you reject the rest of Suetonius' work on those people as well?

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:38 PM
So then were you not cherry picking when you said that you disbelieved the story of Vespasian healing the blind and the lame and the supposed miracles surrounding Augustus? Or do you reject the rest of Suetonius' work on those people as well?

I didn't say I disbelieved it, I said that Suetonius was simply reporting the facts as he had heard them or that he was writing propoganda for Roman Emperors
so youre now into straw as well

:D

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 06:39 PM
Where is the empirical evidence of Jesus' existence?

Marduk
6th December 2010, 06:43 PM
Where is the empirical evidence of Jesus' existence?

There isnt any
I have been asking for it all the way through
all I get is denial, assumption, speculation, hostility and lies
I can't be assed with this thread any more
Its a waste of my time
;)

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 06:44 PM
Drachosaur, I see you are now posting wiki links without any explanation of why
thats pretty pointless, I could post lots of pages from wiki which state that scholars disagree on the existence of a historical Jesus.
I could posts hundreds of pages of people saying that Jesus doesnt exist, that Harry potter and Sherlock Holmes do exist
that will not advance the discussion
what I asked for from you was the evidence that you have posted in this thread which attests to a historical Jesus, I asked you to link to your posts, but instead you exposed your clear lie about posting lots of links in the last two pages, you havent posted any have you, admit it
youre out of here as well
ciao
:p

I didn't understand you can't read. Because I explain why I posted them right next to the link, which then backs up my statement. Maybe if you actually bothered looking things up, you'd have seen that.

Also, I never said I posted any links in the last two pages. Go check. I said I had posted arguments you hadn't responded to on the last two pages, and I said I have posted links in this thread. Reading comprehension is an important skill, Marduk.

It's clear you are not interested in an honest discussion, as you repeatedly ignore facts presented to you, ignore evidence provided by link that support points, ignore arguments that point out how your reasoning is flawed, and ignore arguments in general. Maybe that other thread did a real number on you, but you are being very, very far from rational or sensible here.

You repeatedly state that certain things are not so, but your theories are the worst kind of popular tripe, your methods are sloppy, and your conclusions are highly questionable! You are a poor historian, Marduk.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 06:46 PM
There isnt any
I have been asking for it all the way through
all I get is denial, assumption, speculation, hostility and lies
I can't be assed with this thread any more
Its a waste of my time
;)

There are many historical documents indicating he was a real person. Many, but not all, of them were collected together as the New Testament. That fact you can't even realize that the New Testament represents multiple sources, is proof you are being highly biased in your assessments.

Gao
6th December 2010, 06:46 PM
I didn't say I disbelieved it, I said that Suetonius was simply reporting the facts as he had heard them or that he was writing propoganda for Roman Emperors
so youre now into straw as well

:D

But by your own logic, you are required to believe, disbelieve, or remain undecided about Suetonius' work entirely, otherwise you're cherry picking. So which is it, or do you admit that it can be rational to believe some parts of a work to be correct, but doubt others?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 06:47 PM
I didn't say I disbelieved it, I said that Suetonius was simply reporting the facts as he had heard them or that he was writing propoganda for Roman Emperors
so youre now into straw as well

:D

But given that he was clearly wrong with what happened, that means you shouldn't trust anything he wrote, right? It would be like thinking some aspect of what was in the Gospels might be true when they also had miracles, yes?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:48 PM
we have records for others who were proclaimed the messiah and executed is what I said piggy
you just lied about what I said so you could force some straw into the argument

You said we have records for all of them.

So, please...

A. Produce these records.

B. Demonstrate that these records are complete.

C. Demonstrate that Jesus was actually executed for claiming to be a Jewish messiah, and not for leading a tax revolt.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:49 PM
Where is the empirical evidence of Jesus' existence?

What do you mean by "empirical"? What evidence are you willing to accept?

And more to the point, are you willing to offer a similar level of evidence for a coherent no-Jesus theory?

carlitos
6th December 2010, 06:54 PM
I've certainly made links, several in fact.
Long time lurker, first time poster...

I haven't seen you post a link to firsthand witness accounts of Jesus that were written during his lifetime. Such as my some of the historians Marduk referenced. If I'm wrong, please post again, and we can all see it. As a bonus, you will make Marduk look bad, and maybe he'll post some more funny pictures.

Piggy, I think that I get your point, but aren't you asking people to prove a negative?

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 06:56 PM
There are many historical documents indicating he was a real person. Many, but not all, of them were collected together as the New Testament. That fact you can't even realize that the New Testament represents multiple sources, is proof you are being highly biased in your assessments.

Nope, those are no more empirical evidence for the existence of Jesus than this (http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Complete-Collection-ebook/dp/B001ECQKQ6/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1291686586&sr=8-14) is evidence that Sherlock Holmes existed, this (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Romeo-and-Juliet/William-Shakespeare/e/9780451526861/?itm=4&USRI=romeo+and+juliet) is evidence that Romeo and Juliet existed, and this (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Harry-Potter-Paperback-Boxed-Set/J-K-Rowling/e/9780545162074/?itm=3&USRI=harry+potter) is evidence Harry Potter ever existed.

Outside of faith, there is no reason to believe Jesus was any more real than Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Juliet, and Harry Potter.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 06:59 PM
Piggy, I think that I get your point, but aren't you asking people to prove a negative?

No, we're simply asking the no-Jesus contingent to explain how any no-Jesus hypothesis actually fits the available evidence without generating unsolvable problems.

If they can do that, then we have to shift our perspective to 50/50 -- it's equally as likely that he existed as that he didn't.

The current scholarship clearly comes down on the side of a historical Jesus, because it fits all the evidence without raising any issues that make us say, "Hey, wait a minute, if Jesus really lived, how can you explain this bit here?", whereas assuming no historical Jesus leaves us unable to answer many significant questions.

So the no-Jesus crowd needs to do two things:

1. Show how a historical Jesus leads to a problem without a clear solution.

2. Explicate a coherent no-Jesus theory that does not lead to problems without clear solutions.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:00 PM
Nope, those are no more empirical evidence for the existence of Jesus than this (http://www.amazon.com/Sherlock-Holmes-Complete-Collection-ebook/dp/B001ECQKQ6/ref=sr_1_14?ie=UTF8&qid=1291686586&sr=8-14) is evidence that Sherlock Holmes existed, this (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Romeo-and-Juliet/William-Shakespeare/e/9780451526861/?itm=4&USRI=romeo+and+juliet) is evidence that Romeo and Juliet existed, and this (http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Harry-Potter-Paperback-Boxed-Set/J-K-Rowling/e/9780545162074/?itm=3&USRI=harry+potter) is evidence Harry Potter ever existed.

Outside of faith, there is no reason to believe Jesus was any more real than Sherlock Holmes, Romeo and Juliet, and Harry Potter.

Please provide evidence that any of these people were universally accepted to have been real people by their contemporaries, and that those who believed them to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 07:02 PM
Please provide evidence that any of these people were universally accepted to have been real people by their contemporaries, and that those who believed them to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

Please provide evidence that Jesus was universally accepted to have been a real person by his contemporaries, and that those who believed him to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:08 PM
This is the definition I am using
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cherry_picking_(fallacy)
I think it applies perfectly to whats going on in this thread
apparently you don't
thats fine, I don't have an issue with your disagreement
its just that I think different to you on this matter
but we don't have anything else to talk about do we
;)

We have this issue to discuss -- what the definition means and how it is applied. Once that is covered we can certainly stop.

OK, that's the same definition you started with, which is fine with me.

We were discussing cherry-picking info from the NT.

You said that Gao cherry-picked NT info about an historical Jesus, meaning in short, a Jesus who actually lived. For him to ignore information in the NT contradictory to the contention that Jesus existed there would have to be information in the NT about Jesus not existing, which I highly doubt; I've never personally run across it. That is what cherry-picking means by your own definition; that a person ignores contradictory information and only pays attention to information that helps their argument.

That the NT is rife with myth is an entirely different issue. Those myths, according to DOC, are just more examples of who Jesus was (historically), so the presence of myth is not a contradiction to an historical Jesus.

Leaving myth to the side is not cherry picking. We are not forced to accept Jesus as he is presented in the gospels whole-cloth. We don't have to accept any of his portrayal from the gospels, in fact. Many people who study this accept few of the stories as they were told; and they decide this not a whim but by applying strict criteria.

They also point out glaring problems that arise if we think that someone made it all up or gathered a group of myths to start a new religion. It is those glaring details that we are trying to point out. That is definitely not cherry-picking.

I have seen several people in this thread throw around the names of logical fallacies without much care for the appropriateness of those designations. I would like to see them properly used.

Puppycow
6th December 2010, 07:09 PM
Does it matter whether he was real or not?

Mohammed, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people.

That doesn't make their religions any truer than Christianity, even if Jesus never actually existed.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:10 PM
I haven't seen you post a link to firsthand witness accounts of Jesus that were written during his lifetime. Such as my some of the historians Marduk referenced. If I'm wrong, please post again, and we can all see it. As a bonus, you will make Marduk look bad, and maybe he'll post some more funny pictures.

I've NEVER claimed such accounts existed.* I've also maintained you don't need that to show that someone very likely existed. If you disagree, then that means without one short inscription on stone about Alexander the Great, then you would think it would be irrational to believe in him too.

There is a letter that's become part of the NT that's said to be by Peter the Apostle and he certainly claims that. It's of debatable authenticity though.

Piggy, I think that I get your point, but aren't you asking people to prove a negative?

No, it's not much different from asking for someone to prove the Planet Vulcan doesn't exist or the Planet Pluto in the year 1900. The former required General Relativity to explain Mercury's behavior without a Vulcan and the latter was discovered where the indirect evidence indicated it would be.

Is it possible that Jesus was not a real person? Sure. It's just not likely based on the available evidence.

*If I did it was an error in a post, but I don't think I ever said that.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:13 PM
Does it matter whether he was real or not?

Mohammed, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people.

That doesn't make their religions any truer than Christianity, even if Jesus never actually existed.



Not a damn bit, which is why I find it hilarious that a bunch of atheists are fighting about this.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:14 PM
Please provide evidence that Jesus was universally accepted to have been a real person by his contemporaries, and that those who believed him to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

All surviving documents about Jesus within the first two centuries of his existence clearly assume he was a real person.

You can't say the same about Sherlock Holmes or Harry Potter.

More than this, the vast, vast, vast majority of texts regarding Potter or Holmes indicate they are fictional characters, so it would be extremely unlikely for a couple thousand years from now to only have documents survive that act like either one is real.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:15 PM
1. You have no way of knowing this.

2. Jesus was likely executed for sedition, most probably for attempting to lead a tax revolt.

3. Emoticons are not evidence. (Big boy forum, here.)

Maybe you missed this:


Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

Why would he be so intent on proving his bona fides in that way if it were not accepted by the community at the time that James, Peter, and John actually did study under Jesus and receive their authority by virtue of having been his disciples?


]tsig
How can you possibly know Paul's motivation?

Of course the argument cuts both ways. Where are the passages saying that they who saw Jesus have greater authority than those who have just had visions?

It seems that when it all shook out that Paul was accepted and his visions were taken as gospel truth[/U].

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:17 PM
If they can do that, then we have to shift our perspective to 50/50 -- it's equally as likely that he existed as that he didn't.




I'd go back to believing he never existed (more like 10-90) if there were a viable no-Jesus theory. That used to be my position before I studied this stuff in more detail.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:21 PM
All surviving documents about Jesus within the first two centuries of his existence clearly assume he was a real person.




I'm sorry, but that's not exactly true. Marcion thought Jesus was spirit and only looked human. Minor quibble, I know, but someone is going to jump all over this.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:21 PM
Where is the empirical evidence of Jesus' existence?

The NT when properly interpreted by Piggy et. al.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:23 PM
Maybe you missed this:


Originally Posted by Piggy View Post
Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

Why would he be so intent on proving his bona fides in that way if it were not accepted by the community at the time that James, Peter, and John actually did study under Jesus and receive their authority by virtue of having been his disciples?


]tsig
How can you possibly know Paul's motivation?

Of course the argument cuts both ways. Where are the passages saying that they who saw Jesus have greater authority than those who have just had visions?

It seems that when it all shook out that Paul was accepted and his visions were taken as gospel truth[/U].



OK, I don't understand. Could you please explain?

carlitos
6th December 2010, 07:24 PM
If you disagree, then that means without one short inscription on stone about Alexander the Great, then you would think it would be irrational to believe in him too.

But there are loads of contemporary accounts of Alexander the Great. There is a freaking city named "Alexandria." Admittedly he was a much more significant historical figure, but the comparison rings hollow. Asking to assume Alexander the Great from "one short inscription" is a strawman, and a poor one.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:24 PM
Please provide evidence that Jesus was universally accepted to have been a real person by his contemporaries, and that those who believed him to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

Sure thing.

Paul's letters demonstrate that he was very keen to position his posthumous "contact" with Jesus as equivalent to the disciples' contact with the living Jesus.

There is no rational explanation for this, under the cirumstances, except for a contemporary acceptance of their contact with a living Jesus. (Unless you'd like to offer one.)

If you'd like citations, we can certainly delve into that. It's a topic I address in several of my posts on the Price thread.

We have no contrary accounts. I know of none in the scholarship. If you do, I'd love to hear about them.

Also, we see that Matthew, a Jew writing in Galilee, takes pains to use prooftexts to counter arguments from locals who point out that Jesus never performed any miracles in the place where he lived. Matthew admits that this is true, btw.

There is no reason for Matthew to mount such a defense if there were not, in fact, people there making the accusation against the local Jesus cult. And no one would make such an accusation if they did not accept that Jesus lived -- instead, they would make the accusation that there was no such person.

It's significant that we do not get this kind of argument from the urban gentile writers, btw, who would not have had to deal with any such issues.

Matthew also reaches into non-canonical writings (which we know because the source is lost to us) to justify Jesus's location in Nazareth, which indicates that he really was from Nazareth, because if he was not, there would be no reason to go to such an effort to claim that he was.

Not one inkling of evidence has come down to us to indicate that anybody at the time doubted the existence of Jesus, even though we have clear evidence that some doubted his performing miracles, and that some doubted his status as a messiah on the grounds of where he was born.

Luke invents a birth narrative which is surely fabricated in order to place Jesus's birth in Bethlehem -- despite the fact that he did not live there -- in order to align Jesus with prophecy.

If Jesus had not been known to have lived elsewhere, there would be no reason to go to such lengths. Instead, the tradition would simply have had him living at the location which concurred with prophetic tradition.

So here's the thing.... If you want to propose that the current scholarship is wrong, and that there was some doubt at the time about the fact that Jesus did live, that he grew up in Nazareth in Galilee, and that he was crucified, then by all means, present a coherent theory. I'm all ears.

But if you do, it's going to have to take these facts into account.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:27 PM
Does it matter whether he was real or not?

Mohammed, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people.

That doesn't make their religions any truer than Christianity, even if Jesus never actually existed.

It matters if you care more about history than about proving myth and theology to be true.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 07:29 PM
Sure thing.

Paul's letters demonstrate that he was very keen to position his posthumous "contact" with Jesus as equivalent to the disciples' contact with the living Jesus.

There is no rational explanation for this, under the cirumstances, except for a contemporary acceptance of their contact with a living Jesus. (Unless you'd like to offer one.)

If you'd like citations, we can certainly delve into that. It's a topic I address in several of my posts on the Price thread.

We have no contrary accounts. I know of none in the scholarship. If you do, I'd love to hear about them.

Also, we see that Matthew, a Jew writing in Galilee, takes pains to use prooftexts to counter arguments from locals who point out that Jesus never performed any miracles in the place where he lived. Matthew admits that this is true, btw.

There is no reason for Matthew to mount such a defense if there were not, in fact, people there making the accusation against the local Jesus cult. And no one would make such an accusation if they did not accept that Jesus lived -- instead, they would make the accusation that there was no such person.

It's significant that we do not get this kind of argument from the urban gentile writers, btw, who would not have had to deal with any such issues.

Matthew also reaches into non-canonical writings (which we know because the source is lost to us) to justify Jesus's location in Nazareth, which indicates that he really was from Nazareth, because if he was not, there would be no reason to go to such an effort to claim that he was.

Not one inkling of evidence has come down to us to indicate that anybody at the time doubted the existence of Jesus, even though we have clear evidence that some doubted his performing miracles, and that some doubted his status as a messiah on the grounds of where he was born.

Luke invents a birth narrative which is surely fabricated in order to place Jesus's birth in Bethlehem -- despite the fact that he did not live there -- in order to align Jesus with prophecy.

If Jesus had not been known to have lived elsewhere, there would be no reason to go to such lengths. Instead, the tradition would simply have had him living at the location which concurred with prophetic tradition.

So here's the thing.... If you want to propose that the current scholarship is wrong, and that there was some doubt at the time about the fact that Jesus did live, that he grew up in Nazareth in Galilee, and that he was crucified, then by all means, present a coherent theory. I'm all ears.

But if you do, it's going to have to take these facts into account.
And again, this is all from letters from people who had never actually met Jesus, nor even saw him in person, and who wrote the letters decades after the supposed fact. Not only that, you fail to provide evidence of universal acceptance by contemporaries. Instead, you're assuming the outliers indicate universal acceptance. Again, you have simply provided evidence that people believed he existed. That is no more than an appeal to popularity.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:29 PM
Does it matter whether he was real or not?

Mohammed, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people.

That doesn't make their religions any truer than Christianity, even if Jesus never actually existed.

Some still carry a torch for Jesus. They may be atheists in their minds but their hearts belong to Jesus.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:30 PM
I'm sorry, but that's not exactly true. Marcion thought Jesus was spirit and only looked human. Minor quibble, I know, but someone is going to jump all over this.

And yet, this does not actually dispute a historical Jesus. It only claims that his appearance as a human was deceptive.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:31 PM
But there are loads of contemporary accounts of Alexander the Great. There is a freaking city named "Alexandria." Admittedly he was a much more significant historical figure, but the comparison rings hollow. Asking to assume Alexander the Great from "one short inscription" is a strawman, and a poor one.

Name 3 contemporary accounts of Alexander the Great. Go and look them up. I provided a link already, so it shouldn't be hard, right?

A city named after something doesn't prove that thing existed. Athens doesn't prove Athena.

All contemporary accounts (save one very short one carved on stone) are lost. We only have people who reference those accounts. We don't actually have first-hand accounts.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:31 PM
Some still carry a torch for Jesus. They may be atheists in their minds but their hearts belong to Jesus.

Oh, don't be ridiculous.

Now you're accusing anyone who concludes that the Jesus cult was started by Jesus's followers of being a covert Xian.

That's silly beyond words.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 07:33 PM
To steal a line from DOC's thread (post #3 over there):

These are all reasons to believe the NT authors wrote what they believed was true, but it is not evidence that it was true.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:33 PM
And again, this is all from letters from people who had never actually met Jesus, nor even saw him in person, and who wrote the letters decades after the supposed fact. Not only that, you fail to provide evidence of universal acceptance by contemporaries. Instead, you're assuming the outliers indicate universal acceptance. Again, you have simply provided evidence that people believed he existed. That is no more than an appeal to popularity.

I expected a response like this.

If you care to actually hash out the implications of the texts that have come down to us, we can do that.

Or you can keep up the crank. Your choice.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:34 PM
Where is the empirical evidence of Jesus' existence?


Didn't we already cover it? It is piss-poor and circumstantial. The argument is based on circumstantial evidence alone. So, if you have a better explanation that accounts for the evidence, again, we would all like to hear it.

It isn't as if we wouldn't change our minds if you presented a good no-Jesus theory.

I don't understand this constant appeal to 'where's the evidence' as though there is something new that someone can say. You cannot argue that there is no evidence, because there is some. It's just not very good. This is not an issue of new or better or strong evidence; no one has much evidence to discuss, however you might feel about it all. This is an issue of what best theory we can arrive at with that piss-poor evidence.

But, as with all theories, we have to work with the evidence that we have; and the theory that we think best fits that evidence points to an historical Jesus. Repeating 'where's the evidence?' is silly in this situation. Provide a better (not necessarily simpler, but that always helps) explanation for why there was a cult in the first place, why Jesus was said to come from Nazareth, why he was said to be baptised by John and why he was said to be crucified and I will gladly change my mind.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:34 PM
And again, this is all from letters from people who had never actually met Jesus, nor even saw him in person, and who wrote the letters decades after the supposed fact. Not only that, you fail to provide evidence of universal acceptance by contemporaries. Instead, you're assuming the outliers indicate universal acceptance. Again, you have simply provided evidence that people believed he existed. That is no more than an appeal to popularity.

You can't assume these are outliers, you'd have to show it. Further, it would be rather odd for them to all be outliers in the same way (e.g. in agreement that Jesus lived). You'd expect outliers regarding a person to have a wider spread of opinion, I'd think.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:35 PM
And yet, this does not actually dispute a historical Jesus. It only claims that his appearance as a human was deceptive.

Right, but it is going to be misinterpreted. Better to jump on it first.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 07:37 PM
You can't assume these are outliers, you'd have to show it.

No, the burden of proof is on Piggy, et al, to show these weren't outliers. This is your claim, not mine. Now, evidence it.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:37 PM
How can you possibly know Paul's motivation?

Of course the argument cuts both ways. Where are the passages saying that they who saw Jesus have greater authority than those who have just had visions?

It seems that when it all shook out that Paul was accepted and his visions were taken as gospel truth.

Paul's motivations are hashed out by reading the entirety of his work and placing it in context.

Do you have a coherent alternate explanation for those passages?

If so, please lay it out.

I don't know what you mean by "when it all shook out", but that's certainly irrelevant because Paul himself admits that his claims were not universally accepted.

So we do know that there were those who did not accept that his vision was equivalent in granting authority to the credentials of the actual disciples.

You know, I really do wish that the folks here who are not familiar with the texts would simply admit as much, and not attempt to posit their ignorance as some sort of counter-argument bearing enough weight to contradict the accepted scholarship.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:37 PM
Some still carry a torch for Jesus. They may be atheists in their minds but their hearts belong to Jesus.

What tosh.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:38 PM
Some still carry a torch for Jesus. They may be atheists in their minds but their hearts belong to Jesus.


Everyone gets a full beer on that one.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:40 PM
OK, I don't understand. Could you please explain?

Here Piggy speculates on Pauls' motivation:

Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

So my question.

Then I point out that walking with Jesus didn't seem to have any special authority as Piggy had been implying:

Of course the argument cuts both ways. Where are the passages saying that they who saw Jesus have greater authority than those who have just had visions?

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:41 PM
No, the burden of proof is on Piggy, et al, to show these weren't outliers. This is your claim, not mine. Now, evidence it.

Wrong.

The burden of proof is upon those who propose a hypothesis contradicting accepted scholarship.

I repeat: A historical Jesus melds with all the available evidence and generates no problems which cannot be answered; a no-Jesus hypothesis raises questions which have no answers.

That being the case, it's the no-Jesus crowd who have the burden of proof.

Let's not pretend otherwise.

To say that the school of Jesus was founded by Jesus is a huge yawner. To say that it was instead attributed to a fictional character is literally without any precedent or parallel whatsoever.

So the burden of proof is squarely on the no-Jesus camp.

ETA: Please note that the historical-Jesus camp has repeatedly raised fundamental issues that no one in the no-Jesus camp has yet addressed; meanwhile, the no-Jesus camp has yet to point out a single problem posed by a historical Jesus.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:43 PM
But there are loads of contemporary accounts of Alexander the Great.


No, actually there are not. I tried to find them once assuming that there must have been and was surprised to learn that the surviving accounts we have are from centuries after his death. There is some physical evidence though.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:43 PM
Here Piggy speculates on Pauls' motivation:

It's not speculation.

It's a legitimate question which you will either address or not.

So far you choose "not".

Can you explain those passages absent a historical Jesus?

Can you?

Do or do not.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:43 PM
No, the burden of proof is on Piggy, et al, to show these weren't outliers. This is your claim, not mine. Now, evidence it.

No, if you have a handful of documents from a given time period collected all over, then it is sensible to conclude they represent a random spread of views within a given topic taking into account any given biases that might culturally exist. Assuming they are all outliers is ridiculous. If Jesus was some purely invented god-figure, you'd expect to see documents of all sorts of fantasies about him being a human and not being a human, especially before all the parts of the myth were ironed out.

Consider King Arthur as an example.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur#Medieval_literary_traditions

You can see that there are all kinds of views on him all over the place. They vary wildly. The one we are all familiar with today is but one of them. That's the sort of thing you'd expect from Jesus stories if he was purely fictional, I believe.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:44 PM
Oh, don't be ridiculous.

Now you're accusing anyone who concludes that the Jesus cult was started by Jesus's followers of being a covert Xian.

That's silly beyond words.

I'm not a shoe salesman but I know the sound of one shoe fitting.:D

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:44 PM
I point out that walking with Jesus didn't seem to have any special authority as Piggy had been implying:

If it did not, then why did Paul spend so much time on the issue?

Explain.

Seriously. Explain yourself. Don't assert, explain.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:45 PM
No, actually there are not. I tried to find them once assuming that there must have been and was surprised to learn that the surviving accounts we have are from centuries after his death. There is some physical evidence though.

I only found out in this thread and I was rather shocked. I got an audio biography of him once for driving long distances and I don't recall them ever mentioning that detail.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:45 PM
I'm not a shoe salesman but I know the sound of one shoe fitting.:D

Nice emoticon.

Now, let's get back to the actual issue. Can you explain yourself?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:47 PM
I'm not a shoe salesman but I know the sound of one shoe fitting.:D

Congrats, you've now become an atheist with dogma and are busy ostracizing people that don't agree with you.

And about the existence of a historical Jesus of all things.

*sigh*

Piggy
6th December 2010, 07:48 PM
Provide a better (not necessarily simpler, but that always helps) explanation for why there was a cult in the first place, why Jesus was said to come from Nazareth, why he was said to be baptised by John and why he was said to be crucified and I will gladly change my mind.

Same here.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:48 PM
Here Piggy speculates on Pauls' motivation:



So my question.

Then I point out that walking with Jesus didn't seem to have any special authority as Piggy had been implying:


OK, sorry, I was confused because the first quote in that link had nothing to do with Paul or that issue; it was Piggy's reply to someone talking about recording the names of all other known Messiah's the Romans killed. I thought you were trying to draw some parallel and I couldn't see it. Probably just a cut and paste thing.

tsig
6th December 2010, 07:51 PM
Paul's motivations are hashed out by reading the entirety of his work and placing it in context.

Do you have a coherent alternate explanation for those passages?

If so, please lay it out.

I don't know what you mean by "when it all shook out", but that's certainly irrelevant because Paul himself admits that his claims were not universally accepted.

So we do know that there were those who did not accept that his vision was equivalent in granting authority to the credentials of the actual disciples.

You know, I really do wish that the folks here who are not familiar with the texts would simply admit as much, and not attempt to posit their ignorance as some sort of counter-argument bearing enough weight to contradict the accepted scholarship.

You keep saying things like that then you never do it.

You know, I really do wish that the folks here would stop calling others ignorant.

It's better to show your wisdom than brag of it.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 07:52 PM
Then I point out that walking with Jesus didn't seem to have any special authority as Piggy had been implying:

Well I guess if you don't know anything about social structures in general and in cults in particular, your reasoning might make sense.

I mean, you are seriously arguing that we have no reason to think being one of the 12 guys closest to the big cheese of a cult doesn't make people treat with more respect?

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 07:59 PM
You keep saying things like that then you never do it.

You know, I really do wish that the folks here would stop calling others ignorant.

It's better to show your wisdom than brag of it.


I agree with you, but he is right. The way that we decide on/project/arrive at motivation of any character in fiction is by reading about them. We pick out motivations of people writing their autobiographies, writing e-mails, writing letters all the time. We might be mistaken in our conclusion, however.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 08:03 PM
Wrong.

The burden of proof is upon those who propose a hypothesis contradicting accepted scholarship.

I repeat: A historical Jesus melds with all the available evidence and generates no problems which cannot be answered; a no-Jesus hypothesis raises questions which have no answers.

That being the case, it's the no-Jesus crowd who have the burden of proof.

Let's not pretend otherwise.

To say that the school of Jesus was founded by Jesus is a huge yawner. To say that it was instead attributed to a fictional character is literally without any precedent or parallel whatsoever.

So the burden of proof is squarely on the no-Jesus camp.

ETA: Please note that the historical-Jesus camp has repeatedly raised fundamental issues that no one in the no-Jesus camp has yet addressed; meanwhile, the no-Jesus camp has yet to point out a single problem posed by a historical Jesus.

As I have stated many, many times in this thread alone, I am not in a specific camp. I don't care if he existed or didn't. I do care that you are using fallacious means of argument to defend your camp. I do care that the same people who are using fallacious means of defending their camp have lambasted DOC for using the same fallacies.

For all the reasons DOC's evidence was invalid in that thread, your evidence is invalid here.




And, again, I will ask you politely to refrain from ad-homs. There is no need for them.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:06 PM
As I have stated many, many times in this thread alone, I am not in a specific camp. I don't care if he existed or didn't. I do care that you are using fallacious means of argument to defend your camp. I do care that the same people who are using fallacious means of defending their camp have lambasted DOC for using the same fallacies.

For all the reasons DOC's evidence was invalid in that thread, your evidence is invalid here.

I assume DOC was trying to prove that Jesus was a Magic Man, which is an extraordinary claim. As such, proving it is much hard than showing that, most likely, Jesus was just some dude rather than a pure myth. What is insufficient for one could easily be sufficient for the other.

tsig
6th December 2010, 08:08 PM
It's not speculation.

It's a legitimate question which you will either address or not.

So far you choose "not".

Can you explain those passages absent a historical Jesus?

Can you?

Do or do not.

I'm supposed to explain the Bible to you to show there's not an historical Jesus?

You don't see a problem with this approach?

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 08:09 PM
I assume DOC was trying to prove that Jesus was a Magic Man, which is an extraordinary claim. As such, proving it is much hard than showing that, most likely, Jesus was just some dude rather than a pure myth. What is insufficient for one could easily be sufficient for the other.

I didn't say the evidence presented was the same, I said the arguments presented are based on the same faults in logic.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:11 PM
I'm supposed to explain the Bible to you to show there's not an historical Jesus?

You don't see a problem with this approach?

Eh, you can't explain how the many stories that were later put together into the New Testament came to be and how remarkably similar they were (compared to say, King Arthur myths) assuming Jesus was purely made up?

We aren't arguing about things for which there is no record regarding. We have texts and documents. From a historical perspective you have to be able to explain how they came to exist in the form they are in. Before you just reject one theory (Jesus was a dude) that does a decent job of explaining the facts, you have to show that your theory makes more sense.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:12 PM
I didn't say the evidence presented was the same, I said the arguments presented are based on the same faults in logic.

Then you must think that how historians deal with ancient documents is a complete sham.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 08:13 PM
You keep saying things like that then you never do it.

You know, I really do wish that the folks here would stop calling others ignorant.

It's better to show your wisdom than brag of it.

We can certainly get into this if you like. As I said, it's an issue I dealt with on the Price thread. Would you care to discuss the specifics? If so, I'll be glad to pick it up later in the week (I'm going to bed now and I'll be away on Tuesday). But I'm not going to dive into the text if everything I say is just going to be dismissed out of hand.

If you are really interested in looking into this in some detail, I'm all for t.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 08:15 PM
Then you must think that how historians deal with ancient documents is a complete sham.

*sigh* No. What evidence do you have that corroborates the NT?

tsig
6th December 2010, 08:16 PM
I didn't say the evidence presented was the same, I said the arguments presented are based on the same faults in logic.

Well we haven't had the "Argument from the # of posts" yet.

Piggy
6th December 2010, 08:17 PM
As I have stated many, many times in this thread alone, I am not in a specific camp. I don't care if he existed or didn't. I do care that you are using fallacious means of argument to defend your camp.

You are indeed in a camp. You are in the camp of those who argue that no-Jesus hypotheses have an equal standing with accepted scholarship, despite the fact that they are crank theories with no evidentiary basis and boat-loads of unanswerable problems.

That's an argument that needs to be defended, just as any challenge to any evidence-based scholarly consensus needs to be defended.

And I'm sorry if you think that I'm committing an ad-hom by pointing it out when you make arguments from ignorance. I'm afraid that can't be helped. I'm not going to refrain from pointing that out just because it gets your back up.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:18 PM
Well we haven't had the "Argument from the # of posts" yet.

That would probably only prove this conversation is a massive waste of our time.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:19 PM
*sigh* No. What evidence do you have that corroborates the NT?

Again, the dang NT is not one document. It's many documents that were put together in the late 2nd Century. Earlier copies of most of the individual texts have been found (maybe all, I don't know that for sure).

Piggy
6th December 2010, 08:20 PM
Before you just reject one theory (Jesus was a dude) that does a decent job of explaining the facts, you have to show that your theory makes more sense.

Indeed. But this is one thing he's not inclined even to attempt.

Ichneumonwasp
6th December 2010, 08:32 PM
As I have stated many, many times in this thread alone, I am not in a specific camp. I don't care if he existed or didn't. I do care that you are using fallacious means of argument to defend your camp. I do care that the same people who are using fallacious means of defending their camp have lambasted DOC for using the same fallacies.

For all the reasons DOC's evidence was invalid in that thread, your evidence is invalid here.




And, again, I will ask you politely to refrain from ad-homs. There is no need for them.



OK, I'll take you at your word.

It is your contention that one side of this sorry debate is using 'the same fallacious means of defending their camp as have lambasted DOC' for using the exact same fallacies.

That is a positive claim. Can you support it? I would like to see your evidence for this claim. Not vague generalities or feelings that this is what is going on, but actual evidence to support the claim.

It's time to start naming names and showing that whoever you have named has used the same reasoning that DOC uses.

Since I recall getting into this exact same argument in DOC's thread I'm not sure what evidence you plan to use, but please, since that is your only interest in this thread, provide us with the details.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 08:39 PM
Gday,

Then why does Paul go out of his way -- repeatedly, seemingly at every opportunity in fact -- to insist that his contact with Jesus in a vision gave him the same authority as the disciples who got the word first-hand?

That's not true at all.

Paul does NOT say he has the same authority as anyone who got the word 1st hand.

Paul does not even hint that ANYONE got it 1st hand - from any historical person.

Paul makes it clear that HE got it in VISIONS,
and that OTHERS got it in VISIONS
and that he did NOT get it from any man;
and that HE is just as much an apostle as they are.

Paul makes it clear that it's all VISIONS,
no-one met any Jesus at all.


K.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:48 PM
Gday,



That's not true at all.

Paul does NOT say he has the same authority as anyone who got the word 1st hand.

Paul does not even hint that ANYONE got it 1st hand - from any historical person.

Paul makes it clear that HE got it in VISIONS,
and that OTHERS got it in VISIONS
and that he did NOT get it from any man;
and that HE is just as much an apostle as they are.

Paul makes it clear that it's all VISIONS,
no-one met any Jesus at all.


K.

Eh, he talks about the Last Supper. How can he do that and claim no one ever met the guy?

1 Corinthians 11:17-34 (New International Version, ©2010)

Correcting an Abuse of the Lord’s Supper
17 In the following directives I have no praise for you, for your meetings do more harm than good. 18 In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19 No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God’s approval. 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!

23 For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

27 So then, whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of sinning against the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Everyone ought to examine themselves before they eat of the bread and drink from the cup. 29 For those who eat and drink without discerning the body of Christ eat and drink judgment on themselves. 30 That is why many among you are weak and sick, and a number of you have fallen asleep. 31 But if we were more discerning with regard to ourselves, we would not come under such judgment. 32 Nevertheless, when we are judged in this way by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be finally condemned with the world.

33 So then, my brothers and sisters, when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. 34 Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.

And when I come I will give further directions.

Ugh, that was annoying to find.

I'm sure there are probably better passages, I just went through wikipedia's entry on Paul until I found something that looked like it would work. Got it on my third try.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 08:50 PM
OK, I'll take you at your word.

It is your contention that one side of this sorry debate is using 'the same fallacious means of defending their camp as have lambasted DOC' for using the exact same fallacies.

That is a positive claim. Can you support it? I would like to see your evidence for this claim. Not vague generalities or feelings that this is what is going on, but actual evidence to support the claim.

It's time to start naming names and showing that whoever you have named has used the same reasoning that DOC uses.

Since I recall getting into this exact same argument in DOC's thread I'm not sure what evidence you plan to use, but please, since that is your only interest in this thread, provide us with the details.

I already have.

Piggy believes that since Scholars accept it, it must be true - that's a Docism (Appeal to Authority)

Piggy has also claimed that embarrassing details have been included, which indicates that the story must be true - that's directly from Doc's OP. Here's from your response to that:
Number one cannot even be used as evidence that the gospel writers believed the information to be true. It can be used as evidence of how they wrote their confessional pieces. Number one referring to Doc's argument #1:

Reason #1

The New Testament Writers Included Embarrassing Details About Themselves.



I have already quoted Hokulele's post in Doc's thread, but I'll post it again here:

These are all reasons to believe the NT authors wrote what they believed was true, but it is not evidence that it was true. Note that I have been called a crank for posting the exact same argument in this thread, nearly verbatim.


Need more?

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 08:54 PM
Gday,

No I have not read his work yet. Looking him up, his work doesn't seem to have made a whole lot of impact, and the man only has a bachelors in ancient history and classical languages.

Well, I would like to politely suggest you do so - he has the best developed and most plausible MJ theory - if only to get a better idea of what the arguments are.

I mention this because many critics don't seem to have much idea what the MJ theory really claims (of course there are various theories, but Doherty's is by far the best in my view.)

Hearing the argument :
"but if Jesus was just wholly made up .... blah blah blah ... "
is extremely fustrating because that is the complete OPPOSITE of what the JM theory claims !

Or hearing :
"the JM conspiracy theory is wrong because ... blah blah blah "!
is really annoying because the JM theory has NOTHING to do with any conspiracy theory ! (well, there ARE 1 or 2 crazy JM theories which argue that, e.g. MountainMan and Carrota and AchayraS with her pygmies and freemasonic conspiracy , but they are way fringe.)

I don't argue for any "conspiracy", nor does Doherty - but we see that all the time! In reality - the phrase "conspiracy theory: has come to mean "crazy **** I don't believe".


It's like hearing :
"if we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"


I don't really think you are fully aware of the arguments yet, and I'd like to suggest you check up on Doherty because :
1. I agree largely with him
2. he has the best developed JM theory
3. it's an ABE not a ATS

An Argument to the Best Explanation, not an Argument from Silence, which forms merely a PART of the theory.


(Thanks for your polite posts, I look forward to catching up with more of your comments.)


K.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 08:56 PM
I already have.

Piggy believes that since Scholars accept it, it must be true - that's a Docism (Appeal to Authority)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_authority
"On the other hand, arguments from authority are an important part of informal logic. Since we cannot have expert knowledge of many subjects, we often rely on the judgments of those who do. There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true. The fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible in principle and can hence be exempted from criticism."

Piggy has also claimed that embarrassing details have been included, which indicates that the story must be true - that's directly from Doc's OP. Here's from your response to that:

Piggy claimed, rightly, that the writers clearly had to justify embarrassing details about Mr. Perfectman (Jesus). Embarrassing details about each other is just infighting; nothing big. Embarrassing details about Jesus is a different sort of thing, and shouldn't happen if you make a guy up to look great and awesome and fulfill prophecy.

These are all reasons to believe the NT authors wrote what they believed was true, but it is not evidence that it was true.

But no one is saying what they said is true because they said it or believed it. We are taking what they said, and reasoning about WHY they would have said particular things to attempt to reach the truth about what they were talking about. We're looking for what is the cause of the writing to even exist. That's a very different thing as well.

tkmikkelsen
6th December 2010, 09:15 PM
Eusebius of Caesarea
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eusebius_of_Caesarea
;)

Yes, that is the guy I was thinking about. Couldn't remember his name and was too lazy to look it up. Thank you.

:)

Puppycow
6th December 2010, 09:53 PM
Does it matter whether he was real or not?

Mohammed, Joseph Smith and L. Ron Hubbard were real people.

That doesn't make their religions any truer than Christianity, even if Jesus never actually existed.

Not a damn bit, which is why I find it hilarious that a bunch of atheists are fighting about this.

It matters if you care more about history than about proving myth and theology to be true.

Some still carry a torch for Jesus. They may be atheists in their minds but their hearts belong to Jesus.

Fair enough. FWIW, here's my thoughts:

"Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence." - Carl Sagan

Occam's Razor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor)
The Razor generally recommends selecting the competing hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions (aka postulates, entities) when the hypotheses be equal in other respects. For instance, they must both sufficiently explain available data in the first place.

With the above two principles, I think that the "hypothesis that makes the fewest new assumptions" is that there was a historical Jesus, who was the leader of a cult with a few followers, but of course all the claims of miracles were cult mythology for the purpose of impressing the impressionable.

There is nothing extraordinary about the existence of cults and cult leaders. I'm sure that untold numbers of cults have existed in the past and most have vanished without any trace. So it is unsurprising that very little hard evidence of the existence of Jesus should remain 2000 years later. And as Sagan said, the absence of such evidence is not evidence of Jesus's absence. Because it was 2000 years ago, most people were illiterate, and recordkeeping was spotty.

Finally, it just seems easier for an actual person to start a cult than for a nonexistent person to start a cult. To have a cult spontaneously form around a nonexistent person is difficult to imagine, and I can't think of any other examples of this occurring. Usually, there is an actual person at the center. So, this would be the "new assumption" that is necessary for any "no-Jesus hypothesis," but which is not necessary for the "Jesus was a cult leader hypothesis."

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:14 PM
Gday,

or provide the model that I've been asking for for quite some time now. Care to do any of these things?

Doherty provides a full 'model',
a comprehensive JM theory.

I hope you read it.


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:20 PM
Gday,

I find the insistence that Jesus was some sort of ancient conspiracy to make about as much sense as any conspiracy theory, however.

Wow - there we go again !

No-one here has argued a JM "conspiracy".
The JM theory is NOT about a conspiracy at all!

How unfortunate that you still have no idea what the MJ theory is.


If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys, Drachasor?


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:24 PM
Gday,

This is another straw man argument, no one here has said there was any conspiracy.

Incredible isn't it !
So many critics are so convinced, yet they have NO IDEA what the MJ theory even claims !


If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:27 PM
Gday,

So why are you so certain about someone who, correct me if I'm wrong, only had one brief reference in history, but so sure that one with many references didn't exist? Why don't you doubt Sabbe?

Firstly - I did say I am NOT certain, just "probably".

The reason I don't doubt Sabbe is because she is entirely plausible and there is NOT ONE reasons to doubt it.

Totally different for Jesus, who has many reasons to be doubted.


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:32 PM
Gday,


I believe the issue here is that the pro historic Jesus camp simply is trying to say that if you remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult and that's not really an extrodinary claim - therefore they accept it at face value.

I understand this,
I think most posters here understand it.

But -
I disagree, I think this is wrong.

It often boils down to :
It's plausible that Jesus existed.

Well, maybe it is to some people - but so what?
Implausible things DO happen.

Being "plausible" doesn't prove anything.
Sure - it may be plausible, OK.
I just don't think it's TRUE.


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 10:39 PM
Gday,


How late are you proposing, exactly [the Gospels]? You'll find many different date ranges for these works depending on who you talk to,

Well, have a look at my table :
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dal.sahota/qdj/Table.html

I think it's clear that the Gospels only became known in early-mid 2nd century.

What do YOU think?


K.

DOC
6th December 2010, 10:39 PM
I believe that either way, it's an argument from incredulity. "There's just no reason for anyone to make up these embarrassing and/or convoluted details unless they were telling the truth." That's precisely the argument used by DOC and it is precisely the argument used by Piggy. Regardless of why either of these two felt the argument was deserved, they're still using the same fallacious argument.

It would only be a fallacious argument if I said it was impossible for the NT to be false because there are very embarrassing details about Christ and the apostles in it. It is not impossible for that reason, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for those very embarrassing details to be in something made up to promote Christianity. Since it doesn't make much sense, it can be considered some evidence that those embarrassing details are there because they actually happened.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 10:56 PM
Wow - there we go again !

No-one here has argued a JM "conspiracy".
The JM theory is NOT about a conspiracy at all!

How unfortunate that you still have no idea what the MJ theory is.

Here's what I meant (I admit I didn't explain myself...I can see how it wasn't obvious).

1. You have a good number of separate accounts all agreeing that Jesus did exist and hung around with his disciples for quite a while (years at least, quite possibly a decade or more).

2. These sources, while differing on some details, had a fair number of general consistencies, from what I understand. Compare to the King Arthur myths where you see huge discrepancies.

3. Even people criticizing Jesus as a divine being still think he existed. No one for over 200 years ever doubts his existence, even early accounts.

I have trouble seeing how you get these multiple, fairly consistent accounts (again, comparing them to something like the King Arthur myth), and no one doubts the existence of the figure if he didn't actually exist. Seems to me like it would take a great deal of concerted effort to fake all that. This is doubly absurd when the era was somewhat silly with "messiahs."

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 10:58 PM
I understand this,
I think most posters here understand it.

But -
I disagree, I think this is wrong.

It often boils down to :
It's plausible that Jesus existed.

Well, maybe it is to some people - but so what?
Implausible things DO happen.

Being "plausible" doesn't prove anything.
Sure - it may be plausible, OK.
I just don't think it's TRUE.


K.

So your argument is that while it is plausible that Jesus existed and is somewhat implausible (in your view) that he didn't, you think he didn't?

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 10:59 PM
It would only be a fallacious argument if I said it was impossible for the NT to be false because there are very embarrassing details about Christ and the apostles in it. It is not impossible for that reason, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for those very embarrassing details to be in something made up to promote Christianity. Since it doesn't make much sense, it can be considered some evidence that those embarrassing details are there because they actually happened.

Embarrassing details about apostles makes perfect sense, both to discredit rivals and to emphasize how great Jesus was.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 11:07 PM
Gday,

In addition, please don't act like you're sure that certain authors should have mentioned Jesus if you haven't really read any of their work.

That is most unfair, and incorrect.
I did NOT say I hadn't read ANY of Philo. I have scanned it, dipped into it, read some of it, searched it.

Now you falsely make it sound like I know absolutely NOTHING what-so-ever about Philo (who is the ONLY one I said "should mention Jesus".)

That is beneath you.
Please - we are actually managing to discuss this without abusing each other - how rare that is :-)
I DO know enough about Philo to reasonably claim he should have mentioned Jesus, and HAVE read some of his works - you are free to disagree and argue otherwise.
But please don't insult me with false claims of ignorance like that.


As someone who's actually read a collection of Seneca's epistles, I have to say that there's honestly no reason to think he would have cared about Jesus at all. He really showed no interest in the eastern empire and not that much in religion. He mostly wrote about philosophy and how his life was going.

Seneca was a "probably should have".
I disagree with your opinion, and so did early Christians.


Please show me where I did this [assumed Jesus was historical]?

Sure - right here :

"When it comes to the story of Jesus, I think we need to careful that we don't accidentally throw out history along with the falsehoods. "

In that passage you have assumed that there IS history to throw out.

Here we are discussing IF there is history of Jesus, and you warned against "throwing out the history" which is clearly an assumption that there IS history there to throw out.

K.

Drachasor
6th December 2010, 11:17 PM
That is beneath you.
Please - we are actually managing to discuss this without abusing each other - how rare that is :-)
I DO know enough about Philo to reasonably claim he should have mentioned Jesus, and HAVE read some of his works - you are free to disagree and argue otherwise.

Except you can't claim him not mentioning Jesus is a big deal as best I understand it, since we don't have all of his works; they didn't survive. He very well could have mentioned Jesus, but the document was lost to time.

BobTheDonkey
6th December 2010, 11:43 PM
Except you can't claim him not mentioning Jesus is a big deal as best I understand it, since we don't have all of his works; they didn't survive. He very well could have mentioned Jesus, but the document was lost to time.

Yes, but the default should not be:

"There is no evidence to the contrary, therefore, I believe."


As of right now, there is no surviving evidence of Jesus' existence. At best, all that is known is based on conjecture based on a handful of works written by people who believed. That is insufficient evidence to prove this handful was not the outlier, as Piggy put it.


Hoisted by one's own petard, I do believe.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 11:51 PM
Gday,

Or that it does have things written by people that met Jesus, such as Peter.

"Things written by people that met Jesus" ?

In fact, there is just ONE claim to have met Jesus - in a very NON realistic passage in 2 Peter, the latest and most obviously forged book of the entire NT.

So we don't have ANYTHING "written by people that met Jesus".

The people IN the Gospels are completely disconnected from the people who WROTE the stories.

The authors of the Gospels are all unknown people who never met Jesus.

The epistles of James and Jude are obviously not by anyone who ever met Jesus, event though they are meant to be his BROTHERS !

The letters of John are certainly not by anyone who ever met Jesus.

And the letters of Peter are not by anyone who ever met Jesus.

That's the conclusion of modern NT scholarship - not one single book of the NT was written by anyone who ever met Jesus.

Indeed - NO Christian claimed to have met ANYONE in the Gospel stories - Mary, Joseph, Lazarus, Martha, Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea etc. etc. - completely unknown to historical Christians.

The Gospels were unknown to Christians generally until early 2nd, and evolved until late 2nd century :
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dal.sahota/qdj/Table.html

What's notable is that knowledge about JESUS and the Gospel events, tracks with knowledge ABOUT the GOSPELS themselves.

We can clearly see from that chart above, that knowledge about Jesus and the Gospels events, came FROM the Gospels.

Christians had no historical tradition about Jesus and the Gospel events until AFTER the Gospels appeared. That is a clear sign of NONhistoricity - the way knowldge about Jesus came FROM the Gospel.

And it all started with G.Mark - religious literature or midrash, or allegory or myth - but NOT fiction.

The other 2 just copied G.Mark, and the much later G.John tells a very different story.

The entire Gospel story of Jesus spring from ONE book - G.Mark.

But the Gospel stories of Jesus in G.Mark are crafted from the Tanakh - Jesus is NOT fictional meaning any old thing, he is NOT "made up" - his story didn't randomly come out of some writers mind, it was crafted from pre-existing stories and beliefs.

That's not "fiction" - meaning false.
It's MYTH - meaning true, but not literally.

Stories about a historical Jesus of Nazareth were unknown until the Gospels arose - that's why no sceptic could have challenged the historical claims in the Gospel as not being true - because no-one had even HEARD of a historical Jesus until mid 2nd century or so.

By then, a CENTURY and 2 wars had passed - Jerusalem had been razed to the ground, the Jews dispersed or killed.


K.

Kapyong
6th December 2010, 11:58 PM
Gday,

In fact, I'm unaware of any story of a fictional person from antiquity that's really like the Gospels at all.

Me neither.
But so what?

You leave it unsaid that
"...therefore Jesus probably existed".


Why does being sui generis means it's historical?

A one of kind masterpiece of spiritual literature based on a mythical being is just as likely as being based on a historical being.

What is it about being one-of-a-kind makes it more likely to be historical ?

You will therefore need to work with this and show that they were indeed creating something new like this.

Why?
People DO create masterpieces - we already know that.

We already agree it's something NEW and unprecedented - you agree the the Gospels are one of a kind.

Why don't YOU show why that makes it historical ?


K.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 12:07 AM
Gday,

I don't know what you mean by "when it all shook out", but that's certainly irrelevant because Paul himself admits that his claims were not universally accepted.

So we do know that there were those who did not accept that his vision was equivalent in granting authority to the credentials of the actual disciples.

Pardon ?
Paul does NOT say the reason his teachings were not always accepted was because his credentials were less than any 'actual disciples' - i.e. those who had met Jesus.

Paul NEVER says there was anyone who met Jesus(*)

Paul says that he was just as much as apostle as any other - making it clear his visions made him as good an apostle as the others' visions did.


(*) No, Brother of the Lord does not count.

K.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 12:13 AM
Yes, but the default should not be:

"There is no evidence to the contrary, therefore, I believe."

You go with the theory that fits the facts best. "Jesus Never Existed" doesn't do a very good job explaining everything that popped up about in the first century AD.


As of right now, there is no surviving evidence of Jesus' existence. At best, all that is known is based on conjecture based on a handful of works written by people who believed. That is insufficient evidence to prove this handful was not the outlier, as Piggy put it.

Assuming all remaining documents are outliers is a pretty hefty assumption.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 12:22 AM
"Things written by people that met Jesus" ?


In fact, there is just ONE claim to have met Jesus - in a very NON realistic passage in 2 Peter, the latest and most obviously forged book of the entire NT.

I misspoke. And it is far from universally agreed that Peter's letter was forged from what I understand.

The Gospels were unknown to Christians generally until early 2nd, and evolved until late 2nd century :
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dal.sahota/qdj/Table.html

What's notable is that knowledge about JESUS and the Gospel events, tracks with knowledge ABOUT the GOSPELS themselves.

We can clearly see from that chart above, that knowledge about Jesus and the Gospels events, came FROM the Gospels.

Christians had no historical tradition about Jesus and the Gospel events until AFTER the Gospels appeared. That is a clear sign of NONhistoricity - the way knowldge about Jesus came FROM the Gospel.

That doesn't make sense on two levels. First, what are you proposing Christians were about if they had never heard of Jesus? Second, as best I can tell, you're acting like that works we have and from when we have dated them is a fairly comprehensive showing of when the information in them first appeared. From what I understand it is generally thought that many of the gospels and other writings were based on earlier works that we do not posses. Seems to me that's more like a chart showing that as Christianity became more popular, more writings about it survived. Isn't that what you'd expect?

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 12:24 AM
Gday,



Pardon ?
Paul does NOT say the reason his teachings were not always accepted was because his credentials were less than any 'actual disciples' - i.e. those who had met Jesus.

Paul NEVER says there was anyone who met Jesus(*)

Paul says that he was just as much as apostle as any other - making it clear his visions made him as good an apostle as the others' visions did.


(*) No, Brother of the Lord does not count.

K.

Paul talks about the last supper though, so how does that not count as him saying people met him?

DC
7th December 2010, 12:26 AM
Gday,



Incredible isn't it !
So many critics are so convinced, yet they have NO IDEA what the MJ theory even claims !


If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?


K.

because you have absolutely no idea how Evolution works.

Brainache
7th December 2010, 12:26 AM
What happened to Marduk?

Just as he and Piggy actually started to interact on this thread he dropped his lolly, described himself perfectly (although for some strange reason referred to himself in the third person and called himself Piggy) and then ran away. :(:D:p





:boxedin:

The Norseman
7th December 2010, 01:30 AM
Assuming all remaining documents are outliers is a pretty hefty assumption.


It seems reasonable to me that if these outlying documents were much more carefully guarded or protected then the chances of them remaining as intact as they are is increased significantly, whereas corroborating documents or disproving documents like census roles for example, would not have been.




(Personally, I'm leaning more towards the Jesus-was-a-real-dude side than not, but it's an interesting thread.)

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 01:46 AM
Gday,

Eh, he talks about the Last Supper. How can he do that and claim no one ever met the guy?

Exactly WHO does Paul claim met Jesus at the Last Supper?
Please list the names.


The Last Supper in Paul

Firstly - note that Paul describes the "Lord's Supper", not the "Last Supper". Only Paul uses this term in the NT.

Paul Received it

1 Cor. 11-23 "For I received from the Lord... "
Paul "received" (Greek paralambanoo) from the Lord

This verb "received" can mean to receive or take-over or hear some knowledge or information; or to have a revelation of the divine.

Consider Galatians 1:11-12 on how Paul received the gospel he preaches :
"For I neither received it from man, nor was I taught it, but [I received it] through a revelation of Jesus Christ."
Paul tells us clearly he "received" his gospel of Jesus through revelation.

So Paul received this through revelation :
"...what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."

How can a revelation be referring to a historical event? No - Paul is describing a spiritual event that took place in a heaven - perhaps the heaven beneath the Moon; or a mythical event that took place in the mythical "forever".

Does he give a place? No.
Does he give a date? No.
Does he give any names of those present? No.
It's not a historical event at all - Burton Mack agrees.

And it's certainly not a claim that anyone met a historical Jesus.

Other References ?
Do other early writers mention the Last Supper?
Nope - not one single NT epistle writer does so.

But consider Hebrews 9:19-20 from about Paul's time -
"For when every commandment of the law had been declared by Moses to all the people, he took the blood of calves and goats, with water and scarlet wool and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book itself and all the people, 20saying, "This is the blood of the covenant that God commanded for you."

Here is a book which describes the old sacrifice, and Christ's new sacrifice (which takes place in heaven), yet without the slightest hint of Christ's alleged Last Supper on earth with it's new covenant. Hebrews 7:1-3 is similar. The writer of Hebrews had clearly never heard of a Last Supper.

The Didakhe from late 1st century also mentions a communal meal, with bread and wine - not the slightest hint of the Last Supper - or indeed anything about Jesus' life and death.

And 1 Clement from the 90s can mention a "eucharist to God" without any mention of The Last Supper.

Otherwise, outside the Gospels, there is a total silence from Christians about the Last Supper until mid-late 2nd century, when the Gospels first became widely known to Christians.
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dal.sahota/qdj/Table.html


I'm sure there are probably better passages,

There are no passages where Paul clearly indicates a particular person met a historical Jesus.
None.


K.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:00 AM
Gday,

So your argument is that while it is plausible that Jesus existed and is somewhat implausible (in your view) that he didn't, you think he didn't?

Look -
I think it is completely useless and irrelevent to argue that it's "plausible" or not.

Endless repetitions of
"I think it's likely that Jesus existed"
leave me cold.

So what if someone has the opinion it's LIKELY or PLAUSIBLE?
Instead - what matters is whether it's correct or accurate or 'true' in the vernacular (although in history it's rarely actually certain of course.)

And some people seem to leap straight from "it's plausible"
to "therefore it's true".

I personally have a background steeped in myth and magic - so I think it's completely plausible that Jesus was a myth. But I don't think that is an argument per se.

Saying "plausible" or "likely" is really just code for : "my subjective opinion".

OK, so suppose I am happy to admit that it's slightly more plausible that he existed - let's say it's 51% existed, 49% that he was a myth.

But so what?
That says almost nothing by itself.
That does NOT mean the 51% side just proved the case, which is how it is sometimes seen.

I like to talk about the particulars, that argue WHICH is correct, not wishy washy nonsense and claims about opinions about theories about what is "likely" or "plausible".


K.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:06 AM
Gday,

Except you can't claim him not mentioning Jesus is a big deal as best I understand it, since we don't have all of his works; they didn't survive. He very well could have mentioned Jesus, but the document was lost to time.

And - he very well could have mentioned that Jesus was a newly created myth.

He very well could have mentioned that Jesus was space alien.

One can hardly argue like that.


K.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:20 AM
Gday,

And it is far from universally agreed that Peter's letter was forged from what I understand.

I reckon it's fairly certain.


That doesn't make sense on two levels. First, what are you proposing Christians were about if they had never heard of Jesus?

I didn't say "never heard of Jesus".
I said had no historical tradition - they didn't know (almost) any of Jesus' life UNTIL the Gospels appeared.

But -

Did you know that there WERE some early Christians who described their religion WITHOUT any Jesus at all?

Did you know there were early Christians who argued that Jesus was a PHANTOM ?

Did you know one early Christian essentially denied the crucifixion as a Christian belief?

And Paul thought Jesus was a spiritual being that was revealed IN him, Paul.

The main point is - the historical Jesus of Nazareth and the Gospel events were essentially unknown until early-mid 2nd century when the Gospels appeared.

Second, as best I can tell, you're acting like that works we have and from when we have dated them is a fairly comprehensive showing of when the information in them first appeared. From what I understand it is generally thought that many of the gospels and other writings were based on earlier works that we do not posses. Seems to me that's more like a chart showing that as Christianity became more popular, more writings about it survived. Isn't that what you'd expect?

No.
The dates are the dates of WRITING, not later copies.

And it's not about how many documents there are, it's about what the documents CONTAIN - e.g. no Christian mentioned the empty tomb until mid 2nd century. DOZENS of books fail to mention it, then AFTER the Gospels appear, everyone starts mentioning it. So it is OBVIOUS that the empty tomb is a late addition. Most of the Gospel stories are late like that.

This chart clearly shows the evolution of BELIEF about Jesus.

That knowledge about a historical Jesus was UNKNOWN to early Christians.


K.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 02:20 AM
And - he very well could have mentioned that Jesus was a newly created myth.

He very well could have mentioned that Jesus was space alien.

One can hardly argue like that.

And yet that's what you are doing.

The proper position is to draw no conclusions, because we can't be remotely sure that any record he made wasn't lost or that he didn't see the point in commenting on it. Instead, you draw the conclusion it didn't exist.

That's like getting half of a book, and then concluding nothing of substance was in the half you don't have, just because you don't have it.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:23 AM
Paul talks about the last supper though, so how does that not count as him saying people met him?

See below.

But - he doesn't talk about the Last Supper - but the Lord's Supper - did you notice that ?

It's a mythical or spiritual event - else can you NAME who Paul says met him there?


K.

GrandMasterFox
7th December 2010, 02:24 AM
Excuse me, stepping out of lurk mode again,
I just wanted to point out that after going over most of this thread and DOC's thread I find it almost an astounding matter that no one (that I noticed and correct me if this was brought up before) have not addreesed this idiotic notion of embarassing details.

Sure, a lot of people claimed it isn't evidence in and of itself, but there's a great issue here that's being missed.

Allow me to present with to present some positive evidence that there is perfectly good reason why emberassing details were written about Jesus.
It's right here in this thread:

It would only be a fallacious argument if I said it was impossible for the NT to be false because there are very embarrassing details about Christ and the apostles in it. It is not impossible for that reason, but it doesn't make a lot of sense for those very embarrassing details to be in something made up to promote Christianity. Since it doesn't make much sense, it can be considered some evidence that those embarrassing details are there because they actually happened.

There was an attempt to promot christianity. What do these guys do then? They write emberassing details. Now DOC is claiming that is he more keen to accept the NT and all that follows it because of that.

Seriously, do you not see a connection here?
They wanted to achieve something (get people to accept christianity) they wrote something and as a result got their wishes (peopel accept christianity).

How can any sane person does not see that they got exactly what they wanted and still claim that there is no sense in writing emberassing details on the matter?!?

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:25 AM
Gday,

And yet that's what you are doing.

The proper position is to draw no conclusions, because we can't be remotely sure that any record he made wasn't lost or that he didn't see the point in commenting on it. Instead, you draw the conclusion it didn't exist.

That's like getting half of a book, and then concluding nothing of substance was in the half you don't have, just because you don't have it.

What total bollocks that is.

I am drawing conclusions from what we have.

But you pretend the evidence we DON"T have will be different from what we have, AND that it will support YOUR pet theory.

K.

Brainache
7th December 2010, 02:30 AM
Gday,



Look -
I think it is completely useless and irrelevent to argue that it's "plausible" or not.

Endless repetitions of
"I think it's likely that Jesus existed"
leave me cold.

So what if someone has the opinion it's LIKELY or PLAUSIBLE?
Instead - what matters is whether it's correct or accurate or 'true' in the vernacular (although in history it's rarely actually certain of course.)

And some people seem to leap straight from "it's plausible"
to "therefore it's true".

I personally have a background steeped in myth and magic - so I think it's completely plausible that Jesus was a myth. But I don't think that is an argument per se.

Saying "plausible" or "likely" is really just code for : "my subjective opinion".

OK, so suppose I am happy to admit that it's slightly more plausible that he existed - let's say it's 51% existed, 49% that he was a myth.

But so what?
That says almost nothing by itself.
That does NOT mean the 51% side just proved the case, which is how it is sometimes seen.

I like to talk about the particulars, that argue WHICH is correct, not wishy washy nonsense and claims about opinions about theories about what is "likely" or "plausible".


K.

G'day Kapyong.
Was there a tradition of this kind of mythological thinking amongst 1st century Judeans? These are the people coming up with the Jesus stories, so I'm wondering if there is any precedent for this kind of thing in that culture.

Looking outside the bible at something like the gospel of Thomas I can sort of see how someone might say that what it describes is more like a group of people got together and someone stands up and tells the group what Jesus says. Like the way Pentacostals do that speaking in tongues stuff except they used real words. There are lots of times where the disciples say things like "When will we see you lord?" which seems a strange question to ask someone sitting in the same room... but that might be something to do with the translation.

BobTheDonkey
7th December 2010, 02:33 AM
Excuse me, stepping out of lurk mode again,
I just wanted to point out that after going over most of this thread and DOC's thread I find it almost an astounding matter that no one (that I noticed and correct me if this was brought up before) have not addreesed this idiotic notion of embarassing details.

Sure, a lot of people claimed it isn't evidence in and of itself, but there's a great issue here that's being missed.

Allow me to present with to present some positive evidence that there is perfectly good reason why emberassing details were written about Jesus.
It's right here in this thread:



There was an attempt to promot christianity. What do these guys do then? They write emberassing details. Now DOC is claiming that is he more keen to accept the NT and all that follows it because of that.

Seriously, do you not see a connection here?
They wanted to achieve something (get people to accept christianity) they wrote something and as a result got their wishes (peopel accept christianity).

How can any sane person does not see that they got exactly what they wanted and still claim that there is no sense in writing emberassing details on the matter?!?
I saw it...I just often don't feel eloquent enough to really be able to get that across. :)

Just like I find it amazing that these guys will take stuff that should be reasons to not support a historical Jesus, and make that a reason to do so (just as DOC's done in his thread). The embarrassing bit falls right into this. As does the lack of records (usually it comes down to: There are no records stating he didn't exist, therefore he must have existed. Ironically, I'm called the crank and conspiracy theorist for asking for evidence. Go figure).

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:34 AM
because you have absolutely no idea how Evolution works.

But how can we be here by PURE CHANCE ALONE ?
after all - it's Just a Theory.


K.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 02:37 AM
It seems reasonable to me that if these outlying documents were much more carefully guarded or protected then the chances of them remaining as intact as they are is increased significantly, whereas corroborating documents or disproving documents like census roles for example, would not have been.

You'd expect a lot of divergence within a complicated myth if it was truly created from nothing or almost nothing. Like I said, take a look at the King Arthur myth and how it went all over the place with who Arthur was and just about every aspect of the story.

We don't see that regarding Jesus much at all from what I've seen. Things are remarkably consistent even though it was only until the late 2nd century that there were any compilations of the works. Even works that weren't compiled into the New Testament. Even early critics agree on the rough flow of the story (obviously they give it their own negative twist).

It doesn't seem that reasonable to me that you'd have a myth like this spring up, spread around, remain fairly cohesive, without something anchoring to reality if you will.

And again, no one here has even come up with a reasonable story about where all this stuff came from if it wasn't based on anything at all.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 02:40 AM
What total bollocks that is.

I am drawing conclusions from what we have.

But you pretend the evidence we DON"T have will be different from what we have, AND that it will support YOUR pet theory.

You are NOT drawing conclusions from what we have. You're saying "there's no surviving record of this, therefore we should act like he never wrote about it." That's drawing conclusions about the nature of things we don't have.

I am saying we should act like we don't know what he said or didn't say. You are saying we should act like we do know (e.g. that he didn't say anything at all).

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 02:43 AM
Excuse me, stepping out of lurk mode again,
I just wanted to point out that after going over most of this thread and DOC's thread I find it almost an astounding matter that no one (that I noticed and correct me if this was brought up before) have not addreesed this idiotic notion of embarassing details.

Sure, a lot of people claimed it isn't evidence in and of itself, but there's a great issue here that's being missed.

Allow me to present with to present some positive evidence that there is perfectly good reason why emberassing details were written about Jesus.
It's right here in this thread:

...

There was an attempt to promot christianity. What do these guys do then? They write emberassing details. Now DOC is claiming that is he more keen to accept the NT and all that follows it because of that.

Seriously, do you not see a connection here?
They wanted to achieve something (get people to accept christianity) they wrote something and as a result got their wishes (peopel accept christianity).

How can any sane person does not see that they got exactly what they wanted and still claim that there is no sense in writing emberassing details on the matter?!?

That doesn't at all explain the Nazareth bit, which was clearly swept under the rug so that people wouldn't notice the story doesn't add up without intensely looking. That's the sort of details we are talking about here; the stuff they clearly have to explain that doesn't fit their narrative.

Brainache
7th December 2010, 02:45 AM
Excuse me, stepping out of lurk mode again,
I just wanted to point out that after going over most of this thread and DOC's thread I find it almost an astounding matter that no one (that I noticed and correct me if this was brought up before) have not addreesed this idiotic notion of embarassing details.

Sure, a lot of people claimed it isn't evidence in and of itself, but there's a great issue here that's being missed.

Allow me to present with to present some positive evidence that there is perfectly good reason why emberassing details were written about Jesus.
It's right here in this thread:



There was an attempt to promot christianity. What do these guys do then? They write emberassing details. Now DOC is claiming that is he more keen to accept the NT and all that follows it because of that.

Seriously, do you not see a connection here?
They wanted to achieve something (get people to accept christianity) they wrote something and as a result got their wishes (peopel accept christianity).

How can any sane person does not see that they got exactly what they wanted and still claim that there is no sense in writing emberassing details on the matter?!?

I think the thing that Piggy argues is a bit different.

The thing is there was a whole list of things that the Messiah was supposed to be according to Jewish tradition. This includes being born in Bethlehem and destroying the enemies of Israel. So if Jesus was a fictitious character his story would have included those details from the start. Instead what we see is later versions of the Jesus story inventing BS about a census requiring Joe and Mary going to Bethlehem to have the baby and a bunch of stuff about how Jesus being killed by Romans was actually a great victory on some ethereal plane... instead of the ignominious fate it really was.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 02:48 AM
I didn't say "never heard of Jesus".
I said had no historical tradition - they didn't know (almost) any of Jesus' life UNTIL the Gospels appeared.

But -

Did you know that there WERE some early Christians who described their religion WITHOUT any Jesus at all?

Did you know there were early Christians who argued that Jesus was a PHANTOM ?

Did you know one early Christian essentially denied the crucifixion as a Christian belief?

Maybe I missed the part of the thread where you went over the nature of Christianity with Jesus as a very vague entity and the writings relating to it (I have sat out parts of it). Please explain.

BobTheDonkey
7th December 2010, 02:51 AM
That doesn't at all explain the Nazareth bit, which was clearly swept under the rug so that people wouldn't notice the story doesn't add up without intensely looking. That's the sort of details we are talking about here; the stuff they clearly have to explain that doesn't fit their narrative.

Methinks you've missed the gist of Fox's post...

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 02:58 AM
Gday,

G'day Kapyong.
Was there a tradition of this kind of mythological thinking amongst 1st century Judeans? These are the people coming up with the Jesus stories, so I'm wondering if there is any precedent for this kind of thing in that culture.

The place was awash in mythical and spiritual thinking -

The Jews had traditions such as Sophia, and the Righteous Vindicated Jew - archetypes or Ideas with capital I.

Consider Philo and his Logos :
"For the Father of the universe has caused him to spring up as the eldest son, whom, in another passage, he [Moses] calls the first-born; and he who is thus born, imitating the ways of his father, has formed such and such species, looking to his archetypal patterns."

And in 1st century we get the books about the various heavens, usually 7 heavens - 2 Enoch, 3 Baruch, Testament of the 12 Patriarchs, Vision of Isaiah. Also see Plutarch's Vision of Arideus.

In these books, the heavens are described as full of beings and activities.

Satan and spiritual forces of the Air

Satan or the devil is the prince of power in the Air. Many Christians quote the following passages :
Ephesians 2:2, 1st C. :
according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.

For more details, see my post here for a list of mythical ideas that were present in Paul's time :
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/christianity/the-air-beneath-the-moon-t14112.html
I hope Gao checks out this page - this is what I can achieve with my shallow method :-)

Another theme from the time is the heavenly Jerusalem :

The New Jerusalem

We first see mention of a new Jerusalem in Ezekiel 40-48.

The New Jerusalem is discussed by Christians from 1st C. on :
Revelation 3:12
I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from my God, and my own new name.

As well as - 2nd C. The Epistle of the Apostles, The Testament of the Twelve Patriarchs, Irenaeus; 3rd C. Hippolytus and Tertullian; and 4th C. Augustine, Cyril Jerusalem, Eusebius, Gennadius, Gregory Nazianzen, Jerome and Rufinus. It was a popular subject.


The Heavenly Jerusalem

The Heavenly Jerusalem (or Jerusalem Above) also arises in 1st C., apparently derived from Ezekiel.

There is a Heavenly Jerusalem :
Hebrews 12:18 :
For you have not come to a mountain that might be touched
...
But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem,

There is a perfect tabernacle that is not man-made
Hebrews 9 :
When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation.


2 Baruch and 4 Ezra - of the 1st C. - both discuss the heavenly Jerusalem.

Many other authors from 2nd C. on too -
Clement of Alexandria, Instructor, 2, 2nd C. :
We have heard, too, that the Jerusalem Above is walled with sacred stones; and we allow that the twelve gates of the celestial city, by being made like precious stones, indicate the transcendent grace of the apostolic voice.

So do - 2nd C. Irenaeus; 3rd C. Hippolytus, Origen, Tertullian; and 4th C. Ambrose, Athanasius, Augustine, Eusebius, Gennadius, Jerome, John Chrysostom, Rufinus. Another popular subject.

It's also from the 1st century that we see specific reference to the "third heaven" - from Paul, and also the Life of Adam and Eve.


Heavenly Models or patterns of Earthly Things

The Heavenly Jerusalem, the Temple, and Mt Zion above etc. are models of earthly things :

Irenaeus, Heresies 5, 2nd C. :
But in the times of the kingdom, the earth has been called again by Christ [to its pristine condition], and Jerusalem rebuilt after the pattern of the Jerusalem Above


Vision of Isaiah - 1st C! (As Above So Below)
10. And as above so on the earth also; for the likeness of that which is in the firmament is here on the earth.


Yes.

All the ideas which lead to a Mythical Jesus who was crucified in a lower heaven - in the Air Beneath the Moon - are present in 1st century.



K.

Drachasor
7th December 2010, 03:01 AM
Methinks you've missed the gist of Fox's post...

I did understand it. I understand perfectly how some embarrassing make a story more engaging to the believer. Others do not. If Jesus murdered people, then the whole story wouldn't have gone over very well, for instance. Similarly, there are various prophecies he was supposed to fulfill. He doesn't fulfill some of them and extensive justification has to be made for how he fulfilled others, and then they toss in a couple they make up. That part doesn't really make a lot of sense. If you want a guy that fulfilled prophecy, you just have him do that. You can still have the embarrassing side bits that people like GOC find endearing as well.

In other words, only a certain kind of embarrassing detail really works in the way Fox said. Others do not.

GrandMasterFox
7th December 2010, 03:02 AM
That doesn't at all explain the Nazareth bit... <snipped>

I think the thing that Piggy argues is a bit different.

The thing is there was a whole list of things that the Messiah was supposed to be according to Jewish tradition. This includes being born in Bethlehem and destroying the enemies of Israel. So if Jesus was a fictitious character his story would have included those details from the start.<snipped>

No, you are both wrong on exactly what I said.
You are claiming that "it doesn't make sense that X would be written about jesus because it wouldn't make people believe it therefore we believe it" - Do you not see the issue here?

Again, let's be clear, I'm not saying this is evidence for either side.
But one side claims that there is "no reason" for such things to occur which is just plain absurd as something that has achieved its purpose cannot be said to have no sense in it.

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 04:31 AM
Gday,

Maybe I missed the part of the thread where you went over the nature of Christianity with Jesus as a very vague entity and the writings relating to it (I have sat out parts of it). Please explain.

Well, "vague" is not a term I used, but here are some examples of early Christians with a mythical or spiritual Jesus, or a phantom Jesus, or even NO Jesus :

1st century Hebrews :
Christ performs his sacrifice in heaven, and -
8:4 “So then, if he were on Earth, he would not be a priest” usually translated slightly oddly to avoid actually saying Jesus was never on Earth.


Revelation talks about Christ as a 'First Born of Heaven' - the birth actually happens in heaven and a dragon tries to get the baby - it's all weird stuff about a mythical Jesus that has NOTHING to do with history. You've read Revelation, right? Do it at daytime with people around - not alone at night with candles in a storm.

Consider the esoteric poem in Ephesians (probably not by Paul) - it seems to be a climactic prayer from the initiation ritual in the Mysteries of Christos (ch.5:14) :
"Therefore it is said:
Awake O sleeper,
and arise from the dead
and the Christos will shine on you"Really? WHEN "is it said" ? This sounds exactly like an initiatory ritual - the initiate, called 'dead' in the physical body, is enticed to 'rise' above the physical so the Christos may shine on him. That clearly is all about a mythical Christ - not a historical Jesus.

Early 2nd century we have the odd case of the Didakhe (the Two Ways, or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles), a book that describes Christian beliefs and practices, including a ritual meal of wind and bread. What's notable is what's MISSING - Jesus is missing - all the Gospel stories appear unknown to this writer - e.g. it quotes "Love Thy Neighbour" but does NOT say it came from Jesus !

Early 2nd century, 2 John warns of those who don't
"acknowledge the coming of Jesus Christ in the flesh"He is referring to others Christians of his time who do not believe Jesus ever came in the flesh at all.

Barnabas declares Jesus is NOT the son of David or Son of Man (because he is Son of God,) he was revealed in 'flesh in a figure' - i.e. something like flesh but not really. Paul also talks of Jesus and his "likeness of flesh".

Marcion, in mid 2nd century, claimed Jesus was a phantom or spiritual entity, and not born of Mary :
“...they deny ... His humanity, and teach that His appearances to those who saw Him as man were illusory, inasmuch as He did not bear with Him true manhood, but was rather a kind of phantom manifestation. Of this class are, for example, Marcion...”(Sorry folks, I've lost the danged author references from my quick notes, I really will get back to these and Gao's request.)

Now just consider this little known snippet - a certain Aristides in the period 138-161 referred (in Syriac) to :
"... the gospel, as it is called, which a short time was preached among them".
He is saying the the Gospel is new - has only been preached for a short time - in the period 138-161 (because he names the emperor.) And that is is called "The Gospel" - singular. And it has no author's name attached yet.
Clear evidence that the Gospel only became known, even to Christians, in early-mid 2nd century, and that even that late it was un-named and still singular at least as far as that writer knew.

Basilides, in mid 2nd century, claimed Jesus was a phantasm, not flesh:
"Christ sent, not by this maker of the world, but by the above-named Abraxas; and to have come in a phantasm, and been destitute of the substance of flesh"

A book called the Pastor (or Shepherd) of Hermas was written in early 2nd century or so - it was part of most early 'bibles' for some centuries - but it has almost no historical Jesus in it at all, rather some mythico-mumbo-jumbo.

About this time there is a Christian book called (Mathetes Epistle to) Diognetus - it responds to 'close and careful inquiries' and preaches in Neo-Platonic tones of the Logos, his Son - but no time, place, or identity for this incarnation are provided. The name Jesus never appears once !


Now, here is the Smoking Gun (Doherty coined that term here) - Minucius Felix, in about 2nd century, explicitly denied the incarnation and crucifixion along with other horrible accusations. It's dense writing which is why it was not censored I guess, but he is actually saying that he has heard the story that Christians worship a man who was crucified but he does NOT agree - he does NOT think crucifixion is a Christian belief at all! And he specifically says Christians do not worship a God born as a man, because Gods are NOT born as men :
"...he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men ... when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far from the truth"

Then there is the odd Heracleon from the 160s or so – it is quite esoteric, quotes the Gospel of John and discusse places in the Gospel as representing certain planes of existence (like dimensions) :
' The “child” “in Capernaun” is one who is in the lower part of the Middle (i.e. of animate substance), which lies near the sea, that is, which is linked with matter. he child’s proper person was sick, that is, in a condition not in accordance with the child’s proper nature, in ignorance and sins. ' and ' The words, "After this he went down to Capernaum," indicate the beginning of a new dispensation, for "he went down" is not said idly. Capernaum, means these farthest-out parts of the world, the material realm into which he descended. '

In the 170s, Athenagoras of Athens wrote a detailed esoteric Christian treatise On The Resurrection Of The Dead arguing that resurrection is possible (in a non-fleshly body), but without once mentioning the resurrection of Jesus, or even using the words Jesus or Christ ! He also composed In Defense of the Christians - no Jesus nor Christ is mentioned, but the Logos is directly equated with the Son of God.


So -
we see that quite a few early Christians had all sorts of bizarre NON-historical beleifs about Jesus. Of course we rarely hear about them now, because the literalists WON - and the rest is, er, history.


Kapyong

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 04:49 AM
Gday,

So if Jesus was a fictitious character ...

If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?

The MJ does NOT claim a 'fictitious character' - meaning the author can say anything they want - just make it all up.

A central plank of the MJ theory, generally, and certainly mine - is that it was NOT fictional.

The Jesus stories were CONSTRAINED by prior beliefs and stories - they were lifted from the Tanakh mostly, and had to meet popular expectations, as much discussed here.

That is NOT "fictional" (false.)
It is "mythical" (true, but not literally.)

his story would have included those details from the start.

Matthew TELLS us straight out there was a belief that he
"he shall be called the Nazarene" - a prophecy or belief now lost to us.

The authors were constrained to include Nazareth AND Bethlehem - yes.

No, it was not because of historical reality

They were constrained in what they could write by BELIEFS, not by history.


K.

Belz...
7th December 2010, 04:56 AM
I have been on this forum for some time, the arguments made for the existence of Jesus are always the stupidest

For the historical Jesus or the mythological one ?

Belz...
7th December 2010, 05:13 AM
I believe the issue here is that the pro historic Jesus camp simply is trying to say that if you remove all the magical stuff then you are left with a claim of there was a guy named jesus and he simply had a cult and that's not really an extrodinary claim - therefore they accept it at face value.

I don't think they accept at face value at all. I don't think that's how historical research is done.

Belz...
7th December 2010, 05:23 AM
Lets have a look at Flash Gordon, ok so I dont believe he went to Mongo in a spaceship built by Flexi Jerkoff, I dont think he could have defeated Ming the Merciless, but yanno, he must be real because he was an american football player, thats the same as what they are saying
what a load of bollox

Come on, Marduk. You're usually more skeptical than this. This isn't even remotely close to the arguments made. At least adress the actual points.

Belz...
7th December 2010, 05:35 AM
Please provide evidence that Jesus was universally accepted to have been a real person by his contemporaries, and that those who believed him to be real were not outliers.

Thanks.

What's funny about your request is that, when answered, you'll just say it only proves that people believed he existed. But isn't that the very thing you're asking for ?

And:

And again, this is all from letters from people who had never actually met Jesus, nor even saw him in person, and who wrote the letters decades after the supposed fact. Not only that, you fail to provide evidence of universal acceptance by contemporaries. Instead, you're assuming the outliers indicate universal acceptance. Again, you have simply provided evidence that people believed he existed. That is no more than an appeal to popularity.

Gosh, I'm good.

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 05:41 AM
I already have.

Piggy believes that since Scholars accept it, it must be true - that's a Docism (Appeal to Authority)

I'm not entirely sure that is why he believes it, but yes if that is the case then you are correct. I think, instead that his appeal to aurhority is just a reference to authority and not intended as proof. It is not qrong to appeal to authority, but we cannot prove propositions based on such an appeal. Authorities are authorities for a reason. One of the problems (and this is a general issue that I plan to discuss in another post) is with the authority that DOC used -- because he was not much of an authority.

Piggy has also claimed that embarrassing details have been included, which indicates that the story must be true - that's directly from Doc's OP. Here's from your response to that:
Number one referring to Doc's argument #1:


That is actually one of the real issues here. Piggy is not claiming that the story is true -- that all of the story is true -- because of embarrassing details, only that some bit of it might be true. Again I will address this is a general post.




I have already quoted Hokulele's post in Doc's thread, but I'll post it again here:

Note that I have been called a crank for posting the exact same argument in this thread, nearly verbatim.


Need more?


As I mentioined in Piggy's earlier thread I do not agree with the term crank. And Hokulele's post was a little different from what you are saying. I say this in part because, to the best of my recall, she thinks it is likely that there was an historical figure or figures on whom the stories were hung. But she would be a better person to ask about her beliefs.

Belz...
7th December 2010, 05:41 AM
youre out of here as well
ciao
:p

No, no !!! I want to see you two duke it out about the details of the Jesus/no-Jesus debate. Don't opt out just as Piggy accepts your challenge !!

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 05:53 AM
Excuse me, stepping out of lurk mode again,
I just wanted to point out that after going over most of this thread and DOC's thread I find it almost an astounding matter that no one (that I noticed and correct me if this was brought up before) have not addreesed this idiotic notion of embarassing details.

Sure, a lot of people claimed it isn't evidence in and of itself, but there's a great issue here that's being missed.

Allow me to present with to present some positive evidence that there is perfectly good reason why emberassing details were written about Jesus.
It's right here in this thread:



There was an attempt to promot christianity. What do these guys do then? They write emberassing details. Now DOC is claiming that is he more keen to accept the NT and all that follows it because of that.

Seriously, do you not see a connection here?
They wanted to achieve something (get people to accept christianity) they wrote something and as a result got their wishes (peopel accept christianity).

How can any sane person does not see that they got exactly what they wanted and still claim that there is no sense in writing emberassing details on the matter?!?



I could be remembering it wrong, but I thought we had a brief flare up in DOC's thread over the question of an historical Jesus (the kind we are discussing here); but, yes, you are entirely correct about there being more than one reason for certain embarrassing details. I have, in this thread, chastised DOC for that issue.

It is not that embarrassing details (full stop) demonstrate the truth of som issue, but that the existence of embarrassing details increases the probability that the detail in question reflects a real occurrence. What we have to do to argue against each embarrassing detail is find a better explanation for it. I have used the example of Simon of Cyrene before -- he's the guy who carried Jesus' cross supposedly. First mention is in Mark, and it seems pretty clear that Simon of Cyrene serves a distinct literary purpose. While it can be considered a bit embarrassing that someone else had to carry Jesus' cross for him, the whole idea of "taking up your cross" is encapsulated in that story. And the guy who does it is not one of the disciples but some random dude watching the event. The irony in the story is that it is juxtaposed against another Simon (Peter) who is denying Jesus. The literary explanation is a better explanation for why that detail is in place I think. I might be completely biased, but I think it is much more likely that an ancient author would have constructed such a story for illustrative purposes than that a small detail like that -- someone carrying his cross -- was remembered precisely and put into the story 40 years later.

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 06:00 AM
Marduk,

I'm not sure that I explained myself completely in my last post to you; perhaps this will help better.

What you are identifying as cherry-picking concerns a different issue. Leaving out the myth would be cherry-picking details about who Jesus was. That is why scholars try to arrive at set criteria for what they include and exclude in their analyses. But it is still a form of cherry-picking, you would be correct about that -- as I have already mentioned that Luke Timothy Johnson argues.

But what concerns us here is not who Jesus was, but that Jesus was. Cherry picking for this issue, as I said would be to include details that promote the idea that Jesus existed and ignore details that contradict his existence. For this argument we make no precise claim about who Jesus was. We leave that to another day. We speculate about who he was, but I think we have very good evidence -- as you have mentioned yourself -- that he was insignificant if he existed. None of the many (non-Christian) people writing at the time mention him.

LibraryLady
7th December 2010, 06:24 AM
Because this is essentially the same discussion I've merged the two threads.

Gao
7th December 2010, 06:37 AM
Gday,



Well, have a look at my table :
http://members.iinet.net.au/~dal.sahota/qdj/Table.html

I think it's clear that the Gospels only became known in early-mid 2nd century.

What do YOU think?


K.

The problem here is how do you differentiate a work that was written by someone without knowledge of the Gospel story from one that didn't discuss the events of Jesus' life due tothem not being relevant to the main point? For instance, the Didache was largely about ritual and church organization, so I wouldn't expect many details of Jesus' life to be mentioned at all, as they'd have nothing to do with the main point of the text.

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 06:38 AM
There is an issue about evidence that has been raised several times in this thread; I know it arose in DOC's thread as well more than once , but I haven't followed that thread for a long time and don't know what all was said. I know that I mentioned to six7s, in that thread, something along the lines of what I say below.



There are two issues or valences(?) with the word 'evidence' -- that some piece of data is evidence and the strength of the data as evidence.

Evidence is commonly defined as something that tends to prove or disprove some fact or proposition. It is a very broad term, so it unfortunately allows folks to hide behind its semantic content. We can, for instance, use the idea that people believing that Jesus existed as evidence that Jesus existed. And that is evidence, since it is something that tends to prove or disprove something else.

But it is horrible evidence.

I am going to borrow from Blobru, here, and I hope it makes sense.

What is important for evidence to be strong is its specificity. If there is one and only one interpretation of a piece of evidence, then we speak of it as providing proof. As an example, think of eye-witness testimony with physical traces left behind -- I saw him pull the trigger, here is the videotape that someone else took of it, and here is the gun he dropped with his finger prints on it. Granted, I have used several lines of evidence to illustrate the point, but it is hard to think of a single thing that is non-controversial. We do not speak of any evidence as absolute proof because our senses may be fooled (evil genie, we are all in a simulation, etc.). That is about as close as we come to proof.

When there are two possible interpretations for a piece of evidence it loses its force, so we are forced to decide which of the interpretations is better -- say there are only two possibilities for Simon of Cyrene carrying the cross, that he did it and that it was a literary construction. We have to build a case for a particular interpretation and that usually involves the next issue, which is corroboration. Interpreting the story in the context of how stories were told in the ancient world, I think, balances things toward a literary trope.

When we have terrible evidence we are left with two options -- we can't make any useful case, or we can peice together corroborating evidence to try to build a case. That is the nature of Piggy's argument. He uses a few corroborating bits of evidence -- all of which, by themselves, are poor pieces of evidence -- to build an argument that is stronger than any of its parts.

DOC tried to use a variant of this argument, but he didn't pull it off very well because I think he was simply parrotting what was in the book he read and didn't fully understand how it worked. He was, however, on the right track. The problem is that whatever case one builds must also be a better explanation than competing cases.

The way to attack this argument is not to say "where's your evidence, ha, you haven't got any" because that is a false statement. The way to attack this argument is twofold -- to build a better case to explain the evidence that has been brought to the table or find something that contradicts the argument being proposed. I think the best contradiction to an historical Jesus is the absence of anyone not a believer writing about him. The problem with that as evidence, however, is that there is a perfectly valid counter to it -- that he was actually so insignificant that no one would write about him. The absence of legal records is no help because there is no reason to expect that there would be any in his case.

There is another alternative, though, and that is to say -- who cares?

When discussing whether there was a person behind the myths, though, I think it is also very important to separate the idea of who Jesus was and that Jesus was. Who he was is an entirely different issue.

Gao
7th December 2010, 08:20 AM
That is most unfair, and incorrect.
I did NOT say I hadn't read ANY of Philo. I have scanned it, dipped into it, read some of it, searched it.

Now you falsely make it sound like I know absolutely NOTHING what-so-ever about Philo (who is the ONLY one I said "should mention Jesus".)

That is beneath you.
Please - we are actually managing to discuss this without abusing each other - how rare that is :-) I meant to refer to all of those you listed as "probably should have" and some of those under "could have" that you seemed to think were significant. I haven't read Philo myself, so I can't comment much on that, but it seems clear to me that you never read much of Senecca or Plutarch. I've read a decent amount of both, and neither are authors where I would expect any mention of Jesus, and your reasoning for why you would expect such a mention did not betray more than cursory knowledge on the works of either author.

In addition, you should probably read about these sources a little bit before you put them in a list like this. For instance, you list Damis as a contemporary of Jesus who could have mentioned Jesus, but not only do the letters of "Damis" survive only as a source for Philostratus' work on Apollonius of Tyana, but it's generally agreed that those letters were a later forgery, as they contain plenty of incorrect information that wouldn't make sense from someone who actually journeyed with Apollonius.

I DO know enough about Philo to reasonably claim he should have mentioned Jesus, and HAVE read some of his works - you are free to disagree and argue otherwise.
But please don't insult me with false claims of ignorance like that. Again, I wasn't trying to specifically argue about Philo, and I'm sorry that it came off that way. I have not read enough of that source to tell you that much about it at all. My concerns are mostly about the other sources you thought were significant that it seems you haven't read much of.

Seneca was a "probably should have".
I disagree with your opinion, and so did early Christians. Well can you give your reasoning for this then? You're going to have trouble coming up with much of a case if you haven't even read any of Seneca's work. As someone who has, I have to say that I would really, honestly be surprised if he cared at all about or even heard of Jesus. This holds regardless of what early Christians thought, and you won't be able to convince me otherwise without going into detail about why anyone would think otherwise.

In addition, you will need to provide evidence of the intent of the Christians who forged those letters. They could just as easily have done it for the purpose of making Paul look better rather than to have Seneca mention Jesus. If you can't put forth a convincing case for the latter, then the former still stands as an at least equal possibility.


Sure - right here :

"When it comes to the story of Jesus, I think we need to careful that we don't accidentally throw out history along with the falsehoods. "

In that passage you have assumed that there IS history to throw out.

Here we are discussing IF there is history of Jesus, and you warned against "throwing out the history" which is clearly an assumption that there IS history there to throw out. No I have not. My point was that one shouldn't reject the entirety of a work simply due to such a work having parts that are false, as just about every work from antiquity has falsehoods in it. We need to examine the work carefully to figure out exactly what it is and what it tells us. With the works relating to Jesus, as stated elsewhere, there are things that don't make much sense unless there was a historical Jesus of some sort.

BobTheDonkey
7th December 2010, 09:33 AM
What's funny about your request is that, when answered, you'll just say it only proves that people believed he existed. But isn't that the very thing you're asking for ?

And:



Gosh, I'm good.

Read the first quote again, this time for comprehension. While you're at it, read the interchange leading up to that post. Then you can come back and explain why your characterization of those two posts is a strawman ;)

Gao
7th December 2010, 09:40 AM
Gday,



Me neither.
But so what?

You leave it unsaid that
"...therefore Jesus probably existed".


Why does being sui generis means it's historical?

A one of kind masterpiece of spiritual literature based on a mythical being is just as likely as being based on a historical being.

What is it about being one-of-a-kind makes it more likely to be historical ?



Why?
People DO create masterpieces - we already know that.

We already agree it's something NEW and unprecedented - you agree the the Gospels are one of a kind.

Why don't YOU show why that makes it historical ?


K.

I'm saying that this is a small factor in figuring out whether a historical Jesus is a more likely explanation for what we have than a fictional Jesus. It's hardly proof in and itself.

Belz...
7th December 2010, 10:03 AM
Read the first quote again, this time for comprehension. While you're at it, read the interchange leading up to that post. Then you can come back and explain why your characterization of those two posts is a strawman ;)

It's not a strawman, since I predicted your reaction precisely.

Gao
7th December 2010, 10:28 AM
For more details, see my post here for a list of mythical ideas that were present in Paul's time :
http://www.rationalskepticism.org/christianity/the-air-beneath-the-moon-t14112.html
I hope Gao checks out this page - this is what I can achieve with my shallow method :-) Alright, I've checked this out. First of all, in the future, please provide specific reference for your quote. It's difficult to check something in context when all you have is a quote an an author.

As for this issue, I would run this past someone who has some expertise in this particular area if I were you. This isn't a particular topic I've put much research in, but I am a bit worried that you seemed to get your ideas entirely by searching for a few words and taking out of context quotations.

All the ideas which lead to a Mythical Jesus who was crucified in a lower heaven - in the Air Beneath the Moon - are present in 1st century.
I think I speak for all of us when I say that our primary concern is that we have seen no evidence that anyone believed in a mythical Jesus who was crucified in the lower heaven. That certainly isn't in the Gospels, and I've seen nothing from Paul that indicates it. Quotations that state that some people believed that Jesus wasn't of the flesh do not back this point, as ancient people had no problem with the idea of non-flesh beings on the Earth, as evidenced by all the ghost stories that survive from antiquity.

It does appear that you have made another post that deals with some of the sources in a bit more detail and may have addressed that above issue a bit, so I'll get to that shortly.

Gao
7th December 2010, 11:02 AM
I don't have the time to go through each of these at the moment, but I figured that I should address your "smoking gun".

Now, here is the Smoking Gun (Doherty coined that term here) - Minucius Felix, in about 2nd century, explicitly denied the incarnation and crucifixion along with other horrible accusations. It's dense writing which is why it was not censored I guess, but he is actually saying that he has heard the story that Christians worship a man who was crucified but he does NOT agree - he does NOT think crucifixion is a Christian belief at all! And he specifically says Christians do not worship a God born as a man, because Gods are NOT born as men :
"...he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men ... when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far from the truth"

Again, in the future, please provide specific references for these passages to make it easier for people to look these things up. Luckily, this is the same translation as the one on EarlyChristianWritings, which you can find here (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/octavius.html). The first half of the quotation is from chapter 9, and the second is from chapter 29.

Now Kapyong, here is where we find the problem with your shallow reading. If you actually read the work from the beginning, you'll find that this is a conversation amongst three people about the merits of Christianity. Octavius takes the side of the Christians, and Caecilius takes the side of the pagans. Chapter 9, which contains "...he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men" is one of those arguments against Christianity from Caecilius. It is the opinion of pagans that's being referenced here, not that of Christians. This is therefore something that Felix disagrees with, so it in no way supports the idea that this was a Christian belief.

Chapter 29, on the other hand, is at least from Octavius, the Christian. Let's take a look at that in context:
CHAP. XXIX.--ARGUMENT: NOR IS IT MORE TRUE THAT A MAN FASTENED TO A CROSS ON ACCOUNT OF HIS CRIMES IS WORSHIPPED BY CHRISTIANS, FOR THEY BELIEVE NOT ONLY THAT HE WAS INNOCENT, BUT WITH REASON THAT HE WAS GOD. BUT, ON THE OTHER HAND, THE HEATHENS INVOKE THE DIVINE POWERS OF KINGS RAISED INTO GODS BY THEMSELVES; THEY PRAY TO IMAGES, AND BESEECH THEIR GENII.

"These, and such as these infamous things, we are not at liberty even to hear; it is even disgraceful with any more words to defend ourselves from such charges. For you pretend that those things are done by chaste and modest persons, which we should not believe to be done at all, unless you proved that they were true concerning yourselves. For in that you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross, you wander far from the neighbourhood of the truth, in thinking either that a criminal deserved, or that an earthly being was able, to be believed God. Miserable indeed is that man whose whole hope is dependent on mortal man, for all his help is put an end to with the extinction of the man. The Egyptians certainly choose out a man for themselves whom they may worship; him alone they propitiate; him they consult about all things; to him they slaughter victims; and he who to others is a god, to himself is certainly a man whether he will or no, for he does not deceive his own consciousness, if he deceives that of others. "Moreover, a false flattery disgracefully caresses princes and kings, not as great and chosen men, as is just, but as gods; whereas honour is more truly rendered to an illustrious man, and love is more pleasantly given to a very good man. Thus they invoke their deity, they supplicate their images, they implore their Genius, that is, their demon; and it is safer to swear falsely by the genius of Jupiter than by that of a king. Crosses, moreover, we neither worship nor wish for. You, indeed, who consecrate gods of wood, adore wooden crosses perhaps as parts of your gods. For your very standards, as well as your banners; and flags of your camp, what else are they but crosses glided and adorned? Your victorious trophies not only imitate the appearance of a simple cross, but also that of a man affixed to it. We assuredly see the sign of a cross, naturally, in the ship when it is carried along with swelling sails, when it glides forward with expanded oars; and when the military yoke is lifted up, it is the sign of a cross; and when a man adores God with a pure mind, with handsoutstretched. Thus the sign of the cross either is sustained by a natural reason, or your own religion is formed with respect to it.

The title of that probably comes from a later date, since that's the case with chapter titles in most works like this, but it summarized the issue rather well: it's not a denial of crucifixion or Earthly incarnation: it's a denial that Jesus was a criminal.


I hope you can now see just how problematic your shallow method is. Using it, you've managed to misinterpret the opinion of a fictional pagan for that of early Christians, and you've misinterpreted a denial of Jesus being a criminal for a denial of the crucifixion or an Earthly Jesus. In the future, please read the works in their entirety and make sure that you really have a good grip on them before you present them as strong evidence.


Edit: From the way you phrased this, it sounds like you might have gotten this right from Doherty. Did you?

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 11:30 AM
I think I speak for all of us when I say that our primary concern is that we have seen no evidence that anyone believed in a mythical Jesus who was crucified in the lower heaven. That certainly isn't in the Gospels, and I've seen nothing from Paul that indicates it. Quotations that state that some people believed that Jesus wasn't of the flesh do not back this point, as ancient people had no problem with the idea of non-flesh beings on the Earth, as evidenced by all the ghost stories that survive from antiquity.

It does appear that you have made another post that deals with some of the sources in a bit more detail and may have addressed that above issue a bit, so I'll get to that shortly.


There is, in fact, limited evidence, but evidence nonetheless, that Paul did think of Jesus as having lived on earth. In fact, his entire theology is based around the idea that he lived, died, was buried and was resurrected. There is no way to make sense of 1Corinthians without a belief in resurrection in the body; Paul says that he is not talking about spiritual resurrection, but a future event that will happen to them in the body. The spiritual Jesus, the resurrected Christ, was Paul's primary concern though since Jesus' earthly life appears to have meant next to nothing to Paul. That is why he almost exclusively speak of Jesus in spiritual terms -- almost exclusively being the important issue.

Greediguts
7th December 2010, 11:55 AM
Hey guys! How is everyone? What's happening in this thread? BTW - I got a new, custom title from the JREF pixies! Ya like?

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 11:57 AM
Hey guys! How is everyone? What's happening in this thread? BTW - I got a new, custom title from the JREF pixies! Ya like?


Dude, you're back! I like it.:)

Come join in the fun.

Hokulele
7th December 2010, 12:37 PM
Hey guys! How is everyone? What's happening in this thread? BTW - I got a new, custom title from the JREF pixies! Ya like?


Awesome!

And to try and clarify a bit on the concept of "embarassing details", I think a distinction should be made regarding who is being embarassed by them. In DOC's case, he is arguing that the details are embarassing to the characters within the text (Jesus, Peter, etc.), whereas Piggy is arguing that the details are embarassing to the authors of the text (who most likely aren't Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, regardless of what DOC believes). In other words, the details of the Jesus' birth are an embarassment to those who claim that he was some sort of Jewish Messiah which had to be explained away somehow. This resulted in the sorts of divergence between the texts that would be unexpected if the entire tale weren't based on some inconvenient truths (inconvenient for the Christians, that is).

It is very different from DOC's argument that fiction can't be fiction if the main character is embarassed by what is written about him/her.

Granted, there could be other reasons for which the nativity narrative was added in different ways, but once again, I look for the simplest explanation that best fits all the data points, not a different justification for every data point.

Simon39759
7th December 2010, 01:34 PM
The gospels disagree on this point.

Mark -- an urban gentile -- depicts the disciples as failing to understand Jesus's revelations. Matthew -- a Galilean Jew -- "corrects" Mark, and shows the disciples as being privy to special knowledge.

This little schism parallels Paul's tiff with the Jerusalem leaders, who held their authority by virtue of being disciples.

The gentile churches were inclined to downplay the inherent authority of the disciples over other church leaders, while the Jewish groups placed much more importance on this direct lineage.

I was alluding to Matthew's 16:20; Jesus specifically instructs the Disciple not to tell "the big secret" about him.
Also, all along the NT, we have this slow unveiling of Jesus' true nature to his disciple, never coming out flatly to tell but instead letting them guess by themselves.

BobTheDonkey
7th December 2010, 01:49 PM
It's not a strawman, since I predicted your reaction precisely.

Can you show me where Piggy provided evidence that the belief in Jesus was not an outlier?

Kapyong
7th December 2010, 01:57 PM
Gday,


The title of that probably comes from a later date, since that's the case with chapter titles in most works like this, but it summarized the issue rather well: it's not a denial of crucifixion or Earthly incarnation: it's a denial that Jesus was a criminal.

No.
You are wrong.



K.

Gao
7th December 2010, 02:04 PM
Gday,



No.
You are wrong.



K.

Then please explain how I am wrong. The text is right there fore everyone to see. Where does the author indicate that he doesn't believe in an Earthly crucifiction?

Edit: and keep in mind that saying that Jesus is not an Earthly being does not mean that he doesn't believe that Jesus was on Earth. Given the next sentence, he seems to be contrasting that with being mortal.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:22 PM
Gday,



That's not true at all.

Paul does NOT say he has the same authority as anyone who got the word 1st hand.

Paul does not even hint that ANYONE got it 1st hand - from any historical person.

Paul makes it clear that HE got it in VISIONS,
and that OTHERS got it in VISIONS
and that he did NOT get it from any man;
and that HE is just as much an apostle as they are.

Paul makes it clear that it's all VISIONS,
no-one met any Jesus at all.


K.

There's no need to shout, I'm not blind.

But no, you're incorrect here.

If you'd care to offer any citations from Paul in which he claims that the disciples got their authority through a vision rather than through Jesus in the flesh, that would be quite interesting. I'm not aware of any, myself.

Rather, Paul only speaks of himself getting authority from Christ in a vision.

And he goes out of his way to equate his authority with those of the recogized "pillars", insisting that it also comes from Jesus. The fact that there is any question about his legitimacy as an apostle, yet no hint of any question about the legitimacy of the authority of the pillars, shows clearly that he's having to make his case because his circumstances compared to theirs were different. If everyone had gotten their authority in the same manner, this would not be an issue and there would be nothing to discuss.

For instance, in describing the approval of his mission, he describes objections that some had to his being recognized as an apostle at all, and it is only through the agreement of the pillars that these objections are overcome:

On the contrary, when they saw that I had been entrusted with the gospel for the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel for the circumcised (for he who worked through Peter making him an apostle to the circumcised also worked through me in sending me to the Gentiles), and when James and Cephas and John, who were acknowledged pillars, recognized the grace that had been given to me, they gave to Barnabus and me the right hand of fellowship, agreeing that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcized.

He says, in effect, "Look, Jesus gave Peter his authority and his message, which no one denies, and I'm saying that I also got mine from Jesus, so I am also a valid messenger."

Again, no mention of any vision to these others, and even when they do agree that he has a mission to carry the word of Jesus, they do not allow him to do so to the Jews, even though Paul is a Jew. Instead, he is only allowed to be a messenger to non-Jews, and there's some grumbling about that, so clearly he is not considered to be on quite the same level as the disciples.

Now let's consider whether it's reasonable to conclude that the pillars were somehow communicating with an incorporal Jesus, or whether they were viewed as having been contemporaries of Jesus.

First, we're inclined toward the latter simply because there is no indication anywhere that the former is true, nor is there any such tradition in ca. 1st century Judaism of students of a rabbi communicating with him exclusively through visions.

But the clincher is that Paul makes clear reference to Jesus's life, death on the cross, and resurrection from the dead.

I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!

Clearly, Paul believes that Jesus lived and died.

Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

Can't be raised from the dead if you never died and you can't die if you never lived. Through baptism, they receive the grace made possible by Jesus's death on the cross.

For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him.

One life, one death, then resurrection into eternal life. That's Paul's biography of Jesus in a nutshell.

Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified

His doctrine is very clearly that Jesus was a living man who was bodily crucified, died, and was raised from the dead by God.

For to be sure, he was crucified in weakness, yet he lives by God's power.

Now, since it's clear that Paul understands Jesus as a living man who died and was resurrected into heaven, and since he's clear that the pillars got their authority from Jesus, and he never makes any mention of that happening through a vision -- even though he states that his mission was given to him in that way -- and since he admits that some in the Jewish church objected to the legitimacy of his authority, but not to the authority of the pillars, there's simply no way we can conclude that he means to say that the disciples communicated with Jesus by means of visions.

It only makes sense to conclude that they got their authority from the living Jesus, whom they knew.

And this has been the mainstream church view from earliest times.

In other words, a living Jesus makes perfect sense of all this, the absence of a living Jesus turns it into nonsense.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:25 PM
Piggy believes that since Scholars accept it, it must be true - that's a Docism (Appeal to Authority)

Piggy has also claimed that embarrassing details have been included, which indicates that the story must be true - that's directly from Doc's OP.

Not quite. I understand the scholarship and I know it to be sound. If you object to it, you're going to have to present a coherent counterargument.

Again, you can't just brush aside decades of legitimate scholarship by branding it an argument from authority or some such.

And it doesn't matter to me if DOC or anyone else makes mention of arguments from embarrassment. That doesn't somehow make them an invalid tool for understanding ancient texts.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:28 PM
Note that I have been called a crank for posting the exact same argument in this thread, nearly verbatim.

No, you have been called a crank because you repeat crank theories which are universally rejected by legitimate scholars and you refuse to get your hands dirty by actually engaging with any details.

Can you cite any credible source showing any acceptance at all of no-Jesus ideas in legitimate scholarly circles?

Can you describe how a no-Jesus theory could be coherent with all the available evidence?

No, you can't. And yet you continue to insist that these ideas should be accepted on a par with the accepted scholarship.

That's why you're being called a crank.

BobTheDonkey
7th December 2010, 05:30 PM
Not quite. I understand the scholarship and I know it to be sound. If you object to it, you're going to have to present a coherent counterargument.

Again, you can't just brush aside decades of legitimate scholarship by branding it an argument from authority or some such.

And it doesn't matter to me if DOC or anyone else makes mention of arguments from embarrassment. That doesn't somehow make them an invalid tool for understanding ancient texts.

Sigh. Do you have any evidence other than people believed Jesus was real?

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:37 PM
I'd like to suggest you check up on Doherty

Doherty is not a scholar. This is the kind of publication that he participates in (http://depts.drew.edu/jhc/jhcbody.html).

Here's his review of Price's crank theories (http://depts.drew.edu/jhc/doherty_price.html), which I debunked extensively on another thread.

Reading Doherty is like reading Hal Lindsey or watching "In Search Of".

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:39 PM
Sigh. Do you have any evidence other than people believed Jesus was real?

Fortunately, people are starting to ask the right questions so that we can get into that evidence. Hopefully, that will continue and we can have a real discussion.

Of course, I've given quite a bit of evidence and analysis on the Price thread, which you know, so you're already aware that I've discussed evidence in some detail.

And of course, you're being intellectually dishonest by attempting to boil down the argument that way, as if "some people believed he was real" were the sum total of it.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:42 PM
It often boils down to :
It's plausible that Jesus existed.

What you omit here is the fact that no one (including Doherty) has ever been able to come up with a coherent no-Jesus theory that holds water.

That's important, too.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:49 PM
Paul does NOT say the reason his teachings were not always accepted was because his credentials were less than any 'actual disciples' - i.e. those who had met Jesus.

Paul NEVER says there was anyone who met Jesus(*)

Paul says that he was just as much as apostle as any other - making it clear his visions made him as good an apostle as the others' visions did.

Paul mentions (as I've cited above) that there were those in Jerusalem who did not accept him. And he was never given the same status as the disciples.

Paul definitely speaks of Jesus as having been a living man who died on the cross, and he says the pillars got their authority from him, and we have no indication that anyone ever doubted that they were Jesus's disciples.

There is simply no reason to doubt that the Jesus cult was begun by a rabbi Jesus.

There is also no explanation of how such a group could have come to be at that time and place without a rabbi Jesus to found it.

This last bit is the important part that the no-Jesus crowd consistently ignores and refuses to engage with.

Do you have a coherent explanation for the formation of this group, and their beliefs, and the ongoing traditions, without a rabbi Jesus as a founder?

If you're going to propose a hypothesis that disagrees with accepted scholarship, you're going to need one.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:52 PM
Paul talks about the last supper though, so how does that not count as him saying people met him?

Correct. Paul clearly portrays Jesus as a man who lived recently, had disciples, was crucified, died, and was resurrected from the dead by God into eternal life in heaven.

And although he never goes off on some tangent to explain the backstory of James, Peter, and John -- in the context of the letters, why would he? -- it is entirely consistent with everything we know that these men were among those disciples.

Greediguts
7th December 2010, 05:55 PM
Would this be a bad time to ask how everyone feels about John the Baptist? Historical or mythical?

Or how about Hannibal - historical or mythical?


Also, I noticed someone (Kapyong?) mentioning that scholars know several letters in the NT to be forgeries (or at least one specific letter he mentioned - I'll have to go back). I have read the same findings by different scholars, yet among those scholars I find none that support a "mythical Jesus" theory or Paul being a "snake-oil salesman". Is there a textural critic that supports a different theory than "historical Jesus"? I'm asking honestly as I would like to read their work.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 05:59 PM
But - he doesn't talk about the Last Supper - but the Lord's Supper - did you notice that ?

It's a mythical or spiritual event - else can you NAME who Paul says met him there?

That's a complete non-sequitur.

Because he calls it "The Lord's Supper" it's mythical or spiritual? That makes no sense.

Because he doesn't stop to make a roll call, he can't be describing an earthly event?

These are just silly arguments.

No, they're not even arguments.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 06:03 PM
No, you are both wrong on exactly what I said.
You are claiming that "it doesn't make sense that X would be written about jesus because it wouldn't make people believe it therefore we believe it" - Do you not see the issue here?

Again, let's be clear, I'm not saying this is evidence for either side.
But one side claims that there is "no reason" for such things to occur which is just plain absurd as something that has achieved its purpose cannot be said to have no sense in it.

We're saying that it doesn't make sense either as (a) a lie, or (b) a pre-existing tradition.

Rather, taken together, these things only make clear sense as justifications for facts that required justification to others who were also aware of those facts as facts.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 06:07 PM
To those who think no-Jesus is plausible, answer me this:

1. Name anything we know from Biblical texts, extra-Biblical texts, or any source of understanding about the Ancient Near East and Judaism ca. the 1st century which is inconsistent with a historical Jesus.

2. Provide a no-Jesus narrative that accounts for everything we do know, without inventing unknown traditions and texts and such out of thin air.

When you do that, I'll listen to you.

Until then, I'll stick with the scholarship.

Thanks.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 06:08 PM
Hey guys! How is everyone? What's happening in this thread? BTW - I got a new, custom title from the JREF pixies! Ya like?

Same old same old.

It's kind of like the Price thread, but without Price's attempt to actually create a semblance of a coherent argument.

And nice siggie.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 06:15 PM
Can you show me where Piggy provided evidence that the belief in Jesus was not an outlier?

Why are you asking for that, when we have no reason at all to believe that belief in Jesus as a man was odd?

Certainly, the Xians were attacked for their belief in who/what Jesus was, and that he was resurrected.

But since there's no reason to believe that anyone at all disagreed about the fact that he lived, there's nothing to ask about.

Lord Emsworth
7th December 2010, 06:24 PM
Here's his review of Price's crank theories (http://depts.drew.edu/jhc/doherty_price.html), which I debunked extensively on another thread.

Are you sure? There are several Prices.

One is Robert M. Price, who you can even call a real scholar. Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Price


And the other one is R. G. Price, the author of a website:
http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm
That other thread(?):
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=177059

Piggy
7th December 2010, 06:32 PM
Are you sure? There are several Prices.

One is Robert M. Price, who you can even call a real scholar. Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_M._Price


And the other one is R. G. Price, the author of a website:
http://rationalrevolution.net/articles/jesus_myth_history.htm
That other thread(?):
http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=177059

Thanks for the correction. I was conflating the Prices.

But no, I wouldn't call Robert M. Price's work legitimate scholarship.

Lord Emsworth
7th December 2010, 06:54 PM
But no, I wouldn't call Robert M. Price's work legitimate scholarship.

I don't know about the work. In the end I am just too lazy for even that. I was more thinking of the titles.

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 06:59 PM
I was wondering something today that I had never really thought about before. This may have an easy answer, such as he had other things to discuss, but why did Paul never leave us any evidence that he was even aware of Jesus while he was alive (assuming that he lived)?

Paul mentions that he persecuted Christians, so its possible that he could have persecuted followers of Jesus while Jesus was still alive? Or did he really not care about Jesus' life? Or is it possible that Jesus was so insignificant that Paul, who apparently was in Jerusalem around that time, didn't even know about him? That he only began to persecute Christians after they claimed that Jesus had been resurrected?

If one of the latter, wouldn't that imply that Jesus didn't do much to attract attention in the region? There is probably not much reason for Paul to have mentioned any knowledge that he might have had about Jesus during his life (if he had any), but it does seem a bit strange. Of course, he also mentions virtually nothing of what he presumably learned from Peter when he met him in Jerusalem.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 07:16 PM
I was wondering something today that I had never really thought about before. This may have an easy answer, such as he had other things to discuss, but why did Paul never leave us any evidence that he was even aware of Jesus while he was alive (assuming that he lived)?

Paul mentions that he persecuted Christians, so its possible that he could have persecuted followers of Jesus while Jesus was still alive? Or did he really not care about Jesus' life? Or is it possible that Jesus was so insignificant that Paul, who apparently was in Jerusalem around that time, didn't even know about him? That he only began to persecute Christians after they claimed that Jesus had been resurrected?

If one of the latter, wouldn't that imply that Jesus didn't do much to attract attention in the region? There is probably not much reason for Paul to have mentioned any knowledge that he might have had about Jesus during his life (if he had any), but it does seem a bit strange. Of course, he also mentions virtually nothing of what he presumably learned from Peter when he met him in Jerusalem.

I've often wondered about that timeline, especially if James went to Jerusalem before or after the crucifixion.

If the group had a presence in Jerusalem before the crucifixion, they may well have been persecuted for failure to sacrifice, or violation of Sabbath laws, or some such. I doubt they would have been vilified for associating with unclean people there, at least not by mainstream Jews.

So Paul could, theoretically, have been a detractor of the Jesus cult during Jesus's lifetime without meeting Jesus, if only James and his group were in Judah.

On the other hand, if the Jesus cult underwent the kind of experience described by Cialdini in his examination of cults, which tend to actually put proselytization into high gear when they receive a blow to their doctrine, they may have only come to general notice -- or become a general nuisance -- after the crucifixion. In which case he may have never even heard of Jesus until after his death.

Ichneumonwasp
7th December 2010, 07:26 PM
I've often wondered about that timeline, especially if James went to Jerusalem before or after the crucifixion.

If the group had a presence in Jerusalem before the crucifixion, they may well have been persecuted for failure to sacrifice, or violation of Sabbath laws, or some such. I doubt they would have been vilified for associating with unclean people there, at least not by mainstream Jews.

So Paul could, theoretically, have been a detractor of the Jesus cult during Jesus's lifetime without meeting Jesus, if only James and his group were in Judah.

On the other hand, if the Jesus cult underwent the kind of experience described by Cialdini in his examination of cults, which tend to actually put proselytization into high gear when they receive a blow to their doctrine, they may have only come to general notice -- or become a general nuisance -- after the crucifixion. In which case he may have never even heard of Jesus until after his death.


Which is very interesting, if we think about it, because that would imply that since Paul was in the general area, Jesus wouldn't have done that much to gain attention. If Jesus existed, this might actually argue why no one else took notice of him. He just didn't amount to much.

Piggy
7th December 2010, 08:02 PM
Which is very interesting, if we think about it, because that would imply that since Paul was in the general area, Jesus wouldn't have done that much to gain attention. If Jesus existed, this might actually argue why no one else took notice of him. He just didn't amount to much.

Yeah, I don't see any indication that he did amount to much.

And imo, if it hadn't been for Paul, the cult wouldn't have, either.

The place was littered with radical rabbis and their various schools.

Greediguts
7th December 2010, 09:41 PM
Speaking of John the Baptist...:)

(Just wanted to share so this is an FYI for those interested or to see who might be familiar with the work.)

The Mandaeans may have originated in Palestine as early as the time of John the Baptist and Jesus.

The Mandaean text Haran Gawaita is a collection of mythological and historical traditions. The majority of scholars have taken the title to refer to a real location: the once famous town of Haran located in what is now the southern part of Turkey. This professor (http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/j/jbuckley/index.shtml) has begun to question those ideas.

The land of Haran is quite arid and since the Mandaeans wash often and baptismal rites are very important, Prof. Buckley thinks they would have sought flowing water and headed towards the Euphrates.

Haran Gawaita means "inner Haran". "Inner" (versus "outer") is a frequent expression in Mandaeism for "hidden" or "mystical". She proposes that the title refers to a mythologized Wadi (river) Hauran. In Mandaean liturgies, she finds a river named Hauran present in baptism hymn prayer 28.

The traditions of the book state that they fled persecution and found refuge in the far-western area of Iran, ruled by King Ardban.

Much of the questions regarding Mandaean origins and emigration routes have centered around which King Ardban of the Persian dynasty of the Arsacids is being mentioned in the text. Scholars used to believe there were five King Arbans. Based on recent interpretations made on the basis of numismatics (studying coins) the list of King Ardbans has been shortened to four. Prof. Buckley proposes King Ardban II (ruler circa 11-38 CE) as the most plausible Ardban from the Mandaean text.

The old hypothesis was the Mandaeans originated in the 2nd or 3rd century among Jews or Semitic people living in Mesopotamia. This allowed plenty of time for traditions about John to spread east from Palestine. The new hypothesis has the Mandaeans originating in Palestine and taking baptismal rites with them into the Mesopotamia. Of course, they wouldn't have been considered "gnostic" in the 30's. This would have begun as a group (school?) loyal to John.


I'm just starting to delve into the Mandaean's history so this is a very brief overview. I'm looking at picking up some of her books (review (http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2008/03/review-of-jorunn-jacobsen-buckley-great.html)). I would like to find out more about the group and what can be derived from their texts. If anyone is familiar with any text that would be helpful please let me know!

Of course, if John the Baptist (which to the Mandaeans was the Aramaic name Yuhana - no "the Baptist" added) did not exist then...;)

So in a roundabout way this post is on-topic...yes? Maybe? A little?

Ichneumonwasp
8th December 2010, 01:54 AM
Speaking of John the Baptist...:)

(Just wanted to share so this is an FYI for those interested or to see who might be familiar with the work.)

The Mandaeans may have originated in Palestine as early as the time of John the Baptist and Jesus.

The Mandaean text Haran Gawaita is a collection of mythological and historical traditions. The majority of scholars have taken the title to refer to a real location: the once famous town of Haran located in what is now the southern part of Turkey. This professor (http://www.bowdoin.edu/faculty/j/jbuckley/index.shtml) has begun to question those ideas.

The land of Haran is quite arid and since the Mandaeans wash often and baptismal rites are very important, Prof. Buckley thinks they would have sought flowing water and headed towards the Euphrates.

Haran Gawaita means "inner Haran". "Inner" (versus "outer") is a frequent expression in Mandaeism for "hidden" or "mystical". She proposes that the title refers to a mythologized Wadi (river) Hauran. In Mandaean liturgies, she finds a river named Hauran present in baptism hymn prayer 28.

The traditions of the book state that they fled persecution and found refuge in the far-western area of Iran, ruled by King Ardban.

Much of the questions regarding Mandaean origins and emigration routes have centered around which King Ardban of the Persian dynasty of the Arsacids is being mentioned in the text. Scholars used to believe there were five King Arbans. Based on recent interpretations made on the basis of numismatics (studying coins) the list of King Ardbans has been shortened to four. Prof. Buckley proposes King Ardban II (ruler circa 11-38 CE) as the most plausible Ardban from the Mandaean text.

The old hypothesis was the Mandaeans originated in the 2nd or 3rd century among Jews or Semitic people living in Mesopotamia. This allowed plenty of time for traditions about John to spread east from Palestine. The new hypothesis has the Mandaeans originating in Palestine and taking baptismal rites with them into the Mesopotamia. Of course, they wouldn't have been considered "gnostic" in the 30's. This would have begun as a group (school?) loyal to John.


I'm just starting to delve into the Mandaean's history so this is a very brief overview. I'm looking at picking up some of her books (review (http://exploringourmatrix.blogspot.com/2008/03/review-of-jorunn-jacobsen-buckley-great.html)). I would like to find out more about the group and what can be derived from their texts. If anyone is familiar with any text that would be helpful please let me know!

Of course, if John the Baptist (which to the Mandaeans was the Aramaic name Yuhana - no "the Baptist" added) did not exist then...;)

So in a roundabout way this post is on-topic...yes? Maybe? A little?

That's very interesting.

Well Josephus mentions him and not just in passing, so I think John is a pretty good lock. We have independent attestation from Christian sources who are not primarily writing about him and Josephus. Don't know about other sources.

Brainache
8th December 2010, 01:54 AM
Hey Piggy, what's the deal with the Gospel of Thomas?

Why do they all talk to Jesus as if he is in the room, but no one can see him? Were they like Quakers at a friendly meeting individually piping up with what they think the holy ghost Jesus is telling them inside their heads?

Is Thomas one of the early books, or what?

Aepervius
8th December 2010, 02:53 AM
OK, I'll take you at your word.

It is your contention that one side of this sorry debate is using 'the same fallacious means of defending their camp as have lambasted DOC' for using the exact same fallacies.

That is a positive claim. Can you support it? I would like to see your evidence for this claim. Not vague generalities or feelings that this is what is going on, but actual evidence to support the claim.

It's time to start naming names and showing that whoever you have named has used the same reasoning that DOC uses.

Since I recall getting into this exact same argument in DOC's thread I'm not sure what evidence you plan to use, but please, since that is your only interest in this thread, provide us with the details.

Somebody earlier said "the letters of paul are true , because a letter to make a conversion would not include embarrasing detail".

That is *EXACTLY* what DOC said.

FFS.

This is a DOC LIKE argument.

I don't care if J existed, because if he did, he was one of those 100% human and mortal preacher, he got more lucky in the following, and it snowballed into the big cult Christianity is today.

But FFS , don't use the same stupid argument than doc used.

Embarrassing detail. Pah. As if this literature technic was not already known at the time, or other god story did not include that.

I will edit later to point out which post did such an argument.

ETA: Bob already pointed that out :
You are being a crank (I'm sorry). Historians assume that a written document was written for a reason. It seems a fairly safe assumption religious texts were written to convert people, yes? Yet they include awkward explanations for details that there'd be no reason to include in a fictional figure that was created to convert people (like the Nazareth thing). The earliest arguments against Jesus all indicate the authors of those criticisms thought he was a real person as well, just not divine.

The difference with Holmes, of course, is that there are plenty of people all over the planet who know he is fake and have written with that assumption clearly in their writings since the character first appeared. You don't see that with Jesus, so it is a very different thing. In fact, the number of writings that regard Holmes as real I am sure is much, much smaller than the ones that know he is fictional.

The most simple explanation is that he was real.


replace drachnsor with DOC and you could post that in another thread.

Aepervius
8th December 2010, 03:03 AM
Not quite. I understand the scholarship and I know it to be sound. If you object to it, you're going to have to present a coherent counterargument.

Again, you can't just brush aside decades of legitimate scholarship by branding it an argument from authority or some such.

And it doesn't matter to me if DOC or anyone else makes mention of arguments from embarrassment. That doesn't somehow make them an invalid tool for understanding ancient texts.

You understand the scholarship but you are missing ONE detail IMHO. Although it is a well founded conjecture, it is only conjecture/hypotheses. I am much more confident in saying which emperor existed, which pharaoh, etc..., than I am confident in all the scholarship on the supposed existence of J, which repose mostly on literary criticism, rather than, third party independent reporting.

BobTheDonkey
8th December 2010, 03:14 AM
You understand the scholarship but you are missing ONE detail IMHO. Although it is a well founded conjecture, it is only conjecture/hypotheses. I am much more confident in saying which emperor existed, which pharaoh, etc..., than I am confident in all the scholarship on the supposed existence of J, which repose mostly on literary criticism, rather than, third party independent reporting.

That's what I'm screaming.


So far, this thread would be better titled:

"Evidence that the NT writers were really good at telling stories"

Brainache
8th December 2010, 03:31 AM
You understand the scholarship but you are missing ONE detail IMHO. Although it is a well founded conjecture, it is only conjecture/hypotheses. I am much more confident in saying which emperor existed, which pharaoh, etc..., than I am confident in all the scholarship on the supposed existence of J, which repose mostly on literary criticism, rather than, third party independent reporting.

You seem to be missing the point that it's not that these details are embarrassing that makes them compelling, it's that they are there at all.

Why have a Nazarene Messiah, if the Messiah is supposed to come from somewhere else?

Why have a crucified Messiah when he is supposed to be a hero who defeats the enemy?

Why have a Messiah who is a disciple of John The Baptist, when he is supposed to be getting all his sermons straight from God?

etc.

The most compelling argument seems to be that these things were a problem for people who wanted to say Jesus was God, so they had to work around them by inventing a lot of other details to make this heretic Rabbi into a Messiah.

Why else would they need to, if they didn't have a pre-existing story that didn't match up with what they wanted people to believe?

The pre-existing story isn't what it should have been so they have to add in lots of guff to get it to match what their audience wanted the messiah story to look like.

Either that or they made up a Messiah who didn't match anyone's idea of what a messiah should be. A bit like writing a Sherlock Holmes story about an accountant instead of a detective, it makes no sense.

Or as Kapyong asserts they had a spiritual thing happening and they were channeling a spirit called Jesus. A spirit who ate and drank and talked to people and got killed by Romans, but was not there at all really...

Belz...
8th December 2010, 04:53 AM
Can you show me where Piggy provided evidence that the belief in Jesus was not an outlier?

And what would that have to do with me predicting your moving the goalposts ?

Belz...
8th December 2010, 05:01 AM
Again, you can't just brush aside decades of legitimate scholarship by branding it an argument from authority or some such.

It's the same thing creationists do when they say that scientists can "say whatever they want".

Belz...
8th December 2010, 05:02 AM
This is a DOC LIKE argument.

Unfortunately, the fact that DOC uses it does not make it false.

The mistake DOC makes is the extra step he takes, stating that everything happened the way it's written.

Ichneumonwasp
8th December 2010, 06:10 AM
Somebody earlier said "the letters of paul are true , because a letter to make a conversion would not include embarrasing detail".

That is *EXACTLY* what DOC said.


I agree that if someone made the argument you claim, it would be a DOC like argument. Unfortunately the example you cite does not claim what you say it does. He does not say that Paul's letters are true because it includes embarrassing details. He said that there are pieces of information -- like the Nazrene thing -- (which appears nowhere in Paul's letters) that Christians would not likely include in order to convert people. First, that isn't exactly DOC's argument; second, the charge was that the same people who chastise DOC for a particular type of argument are using the same logic as DOC in this thread. Do you have evidence that Drachasor chastised DOC over this issue in his thread?


I don't care if J existed, because if he did, he was one of those 100% human and mortal preacher, he got more lucky in the following, and it snowballed into the big cult Christianity is today.


I don't think many of us care that much. It's interesting stuff to learn about, but it doesn't have any impact on any of our lives beyond that.


But FFS , don't use the same stupid argument than doc used.


I agree that no one should use one of DOC's poor arguments, but there is nothing wrong with using any of his arguments that are not so poor. You are skating dangerously close to the actual ad hominem argument (as opposed to how most people inappropriately use that term here) in regarding all of DOC's arguments as a priori invalid.


Embarrassing detail. Pah. As if this literature technic was not already known at the time, or other god story did not include that.


We've already been through how the criterion of dissimilarity works. The existence of embarrassing detail in a story may simply be a literary technique serving a clear purpose, as you mention. I provided an example in discussing Simon of Cyrene. It is the embarrassing details that do not have a ready explanation and seem to serve no other purpose that stick out. Those are the details that must be explained; and they are still best explained by the existence of an actual historical figure, albeit a very insignificant one.


ETA:

And it isn't simply that embarrassing details exist that one should accept some of this as probably true -- it is that the early Christians were clearly embarrassed by the details, so they had to try to explain them away, cover them up.

Ichneumonwasp
8th December 2010, 06:18 AM
You understand the scholarship but you are missing ONE detail IMHO. Although it is a well founded conjecture, it is only conjecture/hypotheses. I am much more confident in saying which emperor existed, which pharaoh, etc..., than I am confident in all the scholarship on the supposed existence of J, which repose mostly on literary criticism, rather than, third party independent reporting.


How is Piggy missing that detail? I think everyone is much more confident about well represented emperors for whom we have literary and physical evidence.

What exactly is it that you think Piggy is arguing for you to say that? He flat out says it is a theory; we all say it is a theory. But it does have evidence to support it; and this theory is the one that best fits the evidence. That is how all of science and scholarship works -- we build the best model and discard it when a better comes along that better explains the evidence.

Once again, you guys can attack this from two angles -- provide strong evidence that contradicts an historical Jesus so that we would have to search for another better explanation for the evidence that we have; or construct a better explanation for the available evidence that is more consistent with Jesus not existing.

BobTheDonkey
8th December 2010, 03:23 PM
And what would that have to do with me predicting your moving the goalposts ?

Oh, my, you're right. The retort of asking Piggy for the exact same criteria he asked for, and then later explaining that it's still not A) what he claims it is and B) still just hearsay is moving the goal posts. Right.

Piggy
8th December 2010, 05:08 PM
Hey Piggy, what's the deal with the Gospel of Thomas?

Why do they all talk to Jesus as if he is in the room, but no one can see him? Were they like Quakers at a friendly meeting individually piping up with what they think the holy ghost Jesus is telling them inside their heads?

Is Thomas one of the early books, or what?

Thomas is a collection of the sayings of Jesus. Matthew and Luke apparently worked from a similar collection.

The earliest fragments of Thomas in Greek date from around 200, but the original could be much earlier than that.

Piggy
8th December 2010, 05:15 PM
You understand the scholarship but you are missing ONE detail IMHO. Although it is a well founded conjecture, it is only conjecture/hypotheses. I am much more confident in saying which emperor existed, which pharaoh, etc..., than I am confident in all the scholarship on the supposed existence of J, which repose mostly on literary criticism, rather than, third party independent reporting.

Well, let's not confuse literary criticism with textual scholarship, which is much more demanding and rigorous. And the textual scholarship works in tandem with other disciplines such as archaeology.

But no, it's not "conjecture" by any means.

No one here is denying that the evidence is fragmentary, nor that much of it is ambiguous.

However, the totality of the evidence is best explained by a historical Jesus and none of it is contradicted by a historical Jesus or is even problematic within that theoretical framework.

On the other hand, assuming no historical Jesus does leave us without sensible explanations for much of that evidence, or requires us to invent unknown (and at times rather outlandish) "lost" texts and traditions in order to explain it.

And quite frankly, I've never heard a decent no-Jesus explanation for the key "embarrassment" texts, nor for Paul's apparent acceptance of Jesus's earthly life, nor for the lack of any contemporary objections to that notion (although we do hear of objections to the Xians' interpretation of that life).

So, unless someone can come up with a coherent no-Jesus theory which fits all the evidence without requiring imaginary texts/traditions and without generating unsolvable problems, there's really no reason to entertain the hypothesis.

ETA: As for J as a lost text, we come to that conclusion because the evidence leads us to it. We do not invent it in order to support a hypothesis which otherwise has no support. That's quite a different situation.

Brainache
8th December 2010, 09:21 PM
Thomas is a collection of the sayings of Jesus. Matthew and Luke apparently worked from a similar collection.

The earliest fragments of Thomas in Greek date from around 200, but the original could be much earlier than that.

OK, I hope this isn't getting too off-topic, but I've been wondering what this bit is supposed to mean:
37. His disciples said, "When will you appear to us, and when will we see you?"

Jesus said, "When you strip without being ashamed, and you take your clothes and put them under your feet like little children and trample then, then [you] will see the son of the living one and you will not be afraid."

38. Jesus said, "Often you have desired to hear these sayings that I am speaking to you, and you have no one else from whom to hear them. There will be days when you will seek me and you will not find me."


http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

Belz...
9th December 2010, 04:49 AM
Oh, my, you're right. The retort of asking Piggy for the exact same criteria he asked for, and then later explaining that it's still not A) what he claims it is and B) still just hearsay is moving the goal posts. Right.

Bob, you're obviously having memory problems so allow me to refresh it:

Please provide evidence that Jesus was universally accepted to have been a real person by his contemporaries, and that those who believed him to be real were not outliers.

In short, you ask piggy to show that Jesus' contemporaries BELIEVE he existed i.e. accepted him as a real person. And when piggy provides such evidence you suddenly claim that this isn't what you asked for:

Not only that, you fail to provide evidence of universal acceptance by contemporaries. Instead, you're assuming the outliers indicate universal acceptance. Again, you have simply provided evidence that people believed he existed.

So basically, that people believed he existed in his time is no evidence that he was accepted as a real person by his contemporaries. Excuse me if I find that laughable.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 06:04 AM
ETA: As for J as a lost text, we come to that conclusion because the evidence leads us to it. We do not invent it in order to support a hypothesis which otherwise has no support. That's quite a different situation.

I woke up this morning and realized I'd posted nonsense in this PS. Since my mind was on the NT and questions of sources, I was thinking of Q and treated your reference to J as if it were a reference to Q.

J, of course, is not a text, but rather a redactor or group of redactors. The scholarship which attempts to delineate the influence of the various groups of redactors (Yahwistic, Ehohistic, and Deuteronomistic) is extremely detailed and complex, and not particularly relevant here, but as with our deductions about the Q document(s) we do not invent them in order to support a hypothesis; rather, a close examination of the texts, in combination with context provided by other evidence, leads us to conclude that these editors/compilers existed.

If anyone has a coherent alternate theory to explain all the various versions of the texts that have come down to us, that would certainly be interesting, but it would deserve a different thread.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 06:05 AM
OK, I hope this isn't getting too off-topic, but I've been wondering what this bit is supposed to mean:

Damned if I know. Thomas is often quite opaque.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 06:13 AM
So basically, that people believed he existed in his time is no evidence that he was accepted as a real person by his contemporaries. Excuse me if I find that laughable.

Bob seems to be asking for evidence that nobody at that time doubted that Jesus was a man.

Technically, this would require us to go back in time and interview everyone.

The actual situation, of course, is that we simply find no evidence that anyone thought he did not live as a flesh-and-blood man, so there's no reason for us to conclude that anyone did doubt his human existence.

So if someone wants to float a theory that folks in the early 1st century Judah and Galilee did doubt that Jesus was an actual rabbi, it's up to them to provide some evidence to that effect.

In other words, if there's no evidence at all that X was the case, and assuming that X was not the case causes no problems with the available evidence, then anyone who wants to propose X (in this case, contemporaries doubted the physical existence of the rabbi Jesus) is the one who need to explain why we should entertain this idea, explain what the evidence is, and come up to solutions for any problems it causes.

Which is to say, basic standards of reason.

Ichneumonwasp
9th December 2010, 07:02 AM
OK, I hope this isn't getting too off-topic, but I've been wondering what this bit is supposed to mean:

http://www.gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html


I know this is just assumption on his part, but Ehrman's way of explaining that one is to rely on Gnosticism; this is actually one of his favorite examples to demonstrate that many of the Thomas sayings have a Gnostic origin.

The idea is that while the disciples saw Jesus (his body) they did not see the Christ -- which was the divine spark trapped by the material body of Jesus. Taking off clothes refers to shedding the body to reveal the divine spark trapped in the material world.

Brainache
9th December 2010, 11:54 AM
I know this is just assumption on his part, but Ehrman's way of explaining that one is to rely on Gnosticism; this is actually one of his favorite examples to demonstrate that many of the Thomas sayings have a Gnostic origin.

The idea is that while the disciples saw Jesus (his body) they did not see the Christ -- which was the divine spark trapped by the material body of Jesus. Taking off clothes refers to shedding the body to reveal the divine spark trapped in the material world.

OK. Thanks. That seems to make sense because I see a few other lines in there about the Christ not being the same as the flesh of Jesus. But don't tell Kapyong.

Drachasor
9th December 2010, 12:31 PM
So basically, that people believed he existed in his time is no evidence that he was accepted as a real person by his contemporaries. Excuse me if I find that laughable.

Bob defines as "outliers" anyone that we have records of having any thoughts regarding Jesus (since they all thought he was real).

BobTheDonkey
9th December 2010, 07:56 PM
Bob, you're obviously having memory problems so allow me to refresh it:



In short, you ask piggy to show that Jesus' contemporaries BELIEVE he existed i.e. accepted him as a real person. And when piggy provides such evidence you suddenly claim that this isn't what you asked for:



So basically, that people believed he existed in his time is no evidence that he was accepted as a real person by his contemporaries. Excuse me if I find that laughable.
No, Belz, read it again.

I asked Piggy for the exact same level of proof he asked me for. That aside, it's not quite the low level of evidence you're attempting to present it as. The evidence Piggy was required to provide by his own requirements required evidence that:

1) Jesus' existence was universally accepted (this was not evidenced)
2) those who believed were not outliers (this was not evidenced)

Keep in mind that, at no point did I claim this would be sufficient evidence, nor even worthy evidence. My post was a direct retort of Piggy's request for the exact same with regards to Holmes.

My goal posts for this discussion have always included that people claiming to believe is nothing more than evidence that people believed. You have, again, attempted to strawman my posts into an argument that I never made.

BobTheDonkey
9th December 2010, 07:59 PM
Bob defines as "outliers" anyone that we have records of having any thoughts regarding Jesus (since they all thought he was real).

Really? So then there's plenty of contemporary evidence for Jesus' existence?

Because none has been presented besides letters written 30+ years after the fact by a person who never actually met Jesus. That does not prove the level of evidence Piggy required of me, nor does it prove anything other than people believed in Jesus' existence 30+ years after the fact.

Ichneumonwasp
9th December 2010, 08:01 PM
I woke up this morning and realized I'd posted nonsense in this PS. Since my mind was on the NT and questions of sources, I was thinking of Q and treated your reference to J as if it were a reference to Q.

J, of course, is not a text, but rather a redactor or group of redactors. The scholarship which attempts to delineate the influence of the various groups of redactors (Yahwistic, Ehohistic, and Deuteronomistic) is extremely detailed and complex, and not particularly relevant here, but as with our deductions about the Q document(s) we do not invent them in order to support a hypothesis; rather, a close examination of the texts, in combination with context provided by other evidence, leads us to conclude that these editors/compilers existed.

If anyone has a coherent alternate theory to explain all the various versions of the texts that have come down to us, that would certainly be interesting, but it would deserve a different thread.


Yes, but read the post again. In this situation J meant Jesus.

Brainache
9th December 2010, 09:14 PM
Really? So then there's plenty of contemporary evidence for Jesus' existence?

Because none has been presented besides letters written 30+ years after the fact by a person who never actually met Jesus. That does not prove the level of evidence Piggy required of me, nor does it prove anything other than people believed in Jesus' existence 30+ years after the fact.

After what fact?:duck:

BobTheDonkey
9th December 2010, 09:20 PM
After what fact?:duck:

Touche. :D

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:25 PM
I know this is just assumption on his part, but Ehrman's way of explaining that one is to rely on Gnosticism; this is actually one of his favorite examples to demonstrate that many of the Thomas sayings have a Gnostic origin.

The idea is that while the disciples saw Jesus (his body) they did not see the Christ -- which was the divine spark trapped by the material body of Jesus. Taking off clothes refers to shedding the body to reveal the divine spark trapped in the material world.

I agree with Ehrman that Thomas shows clear gnostic influences, and last time I checked this was pretty much accepted in scholarly circles.

But the gnostics are damn hard to suss out a lot of the time.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:29 PM
No, Belz, read it again.

I asked Piggy for the exact same level of proof he asked me for. That aside, it's not quite the low level of evidence you're attempting to present it as. The evidence Piggy was required to provide by his own requirements required evidence that:

1) Jesus' existence was universally accepted (this was not evidenced)
2) those who believed were not outliers (this was not evidenced)

Keep in mind that, at no point did I claim this would be sufficient evidence, nor even worthy evidence. My post was a direct retort of Piggy's request for the exact same with regards to Holmes.

My goal posts for this discussion have always included that people claiming to believe is nothing more than evidence that people believed. You have, again, attempted to strawman my posts into an argument that I never made.

Ok, let me qualify my statement.

As far as we know, the existence of a man, the rabbi Jesus, was universally accepted, and we have no reason to think otherwise.

That's accurate.

If you have any reason to claim that anyone in Galilee and Judah at the time of Paul's writings thought differently, then I'd love to see it.

Of course, you can invent doubters who are utterly lost to history, but since you can do that for any claim (e.g. witnesses to the gov't plot to blow up the World Trade Centers who have been hushed up or killed) it has no value.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:32 PM
Really? So then there's plenty of contemporary evidence for Jesus' existence?

Because none has been presented besides letters written 30+ years after the fact by a person who never actually met Jesus. That does not prove the level of evidence Piggy required of me, nor does it prove anything other than people believed in Jesus' existence 30+ years after the fact.

You're still dodging the question.

Can you produce a single conflict with the available evidence posed by a historical Jesus, and can you describe a complete and coherent no-Jesus hypothesis that accounts for all the evidence without either adding unanswerable questions or requiring that we believe in traditions and texts of pure imagination?

If the answer is "No", then there's nothing to consider.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:33 PM
Yes, but read the post again. In this situation J meant Jesus.

Oh, sorry. I'm accustomed to "J" meaning the Yahwist redactor of the Torah.

I'm getting very little sleep lately. This forum is my guilty pleasure, I'm afraid.

BobTheDonkey
9th December 2010, 11:44 PM
You're still dodging the question.

Can you produce a single conflict with the available evidence posed by a historical Jesus, and can you describe a complete and coherent no-Jesus hypothesis that accounts for all the evidence without either adding unanswerable questions or requiring that we believe in traditions and texts of pure imagination?

If the answer is "No", then there's nothing to consider.

I already presented a hypothesis that you have ignored. I stated, quite clearly, that it's possible Paul (or someone else) was just a good writer.

On the other hand, nothing you have presented has any real weight because: there is no reason to conclude it is true beside confirmation bias. There is no reason to conclude that Paul and the recipients of his letter were not outliers. You are making the claim that Jesus was universally accepted, I demand you present evidence that this is true. The evidence you have does not support the conclusion that Jesus was universally accepted as true.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:51 PM
I already presented a hypothesis that you have ignored. I stated, quite clearly, that it's possible Paul (or someone else) was just a good writer.

I'm sorry, but that's not a serious counter-hypothesis to the existing scholarship.

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:52 PM
On the other hand, nothing you have presented has any real weight because: there is no reason to conclude it is true beside confirmation bias. There is no reason to conclude that Paul and the recipients of his letter were not outliers.

Outliers as opposed to what?

Your imagination?

Piggy
9th December 2010, 11:57 PM
You are making the claim that Jesus was universally accepted, I demand you present evidence that this is true. The evidence you have does not support the conclusion that Jesus was universally accepted as true.

As I've said, we've seen absolutely no indication of any doubt about Jesus's flesh-and-blood existence.

Paul certainly believed he lived, and there is no record of any contrary beliefs at the time, and the existence of the Jesus cult indicates that he did, given the customs of 1st century Judaism.

So what reason do we have to even go off on any tangent about Jesus not being historically real?

Unless you can show any evidence that there's something to discuss here, there's nothing to talk about.

All the evidence points to absolutely no doubt about Jesus's actual life on this earth, which is to say, universal acceptance that he was a Galilean rabbi.

If you have no evidence to the contrary, then there's nothing to discuss.

BobTheDonkey
9th December 2010, 11:58 PM
I'm sorry, but that's not a serious counter-hypothesis to the existing scholarship.

Because you don't agree with it? Where are the contemporary records of Jesus' existence? Where is the evidence that is anything more than hearsay twice (or more) removed from someone who knew this guy who dated this girl who's uncle saw Jesus walking down the street one day?

Where is the evidence that Jesus' existence was believed universally instead of by only the handfuls of people included in Paul's letters? Look, letters from 2 different groups is hardly proof that these people weren't outliers. Where are the other record of Jesus' existence? Nowhere. The only other records are people commenting about how people believe in this Jesus character. So, really, just more proof that people believed people believed Jesus existed - that's moving backwards, actually. Doesn't get us any closer to actual evidence of Jesus' existence.

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:02 AM
Because you don't agree with it? Where are the contemporary records of Jesus' existence? Where is the evidence that is anything more than hearsay twice (or more) removed from someone who knew this guy who dated this girl who's uncle saw Jesus walking down the street one day?

Well, you see, there's this sect which cites Jesus as their founder, which conforms 100% with what we know about how Judaism worked back then.

There's also the fact that his purported followers went out of their way to justify facts about his life which do not conform to what anyone would expect from a purely invented messiah figure at that time.

There's also the fact that we have absolutely no precedent for any such sect forming around an imaginary human who was claimed to have lived in contemporary times.

You can't just handwave all that away and pretend that your no-Jesus hypothesis -- made up out of thin air without even a single scrap of evidence to make anyone think it might be accurate -- deserves a seat at the table.

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:03 AM
Look, letters from 2 different groups is hardly proof that these people weren't outliers.

Outliers compared to what?

BobTheDonkey
10th December 2010, 12:03 AM
As I've said, we've seen absolutely no indication of any doubt about Jesus's flesh-and-blood existence.

Paul certainly believed he lived, and there is no record of any contrary beliefs at the time, and the existence of the Jesus cult indicates that he did, given the customs of 1st century Judaism.

So what reason do we have to even go off on any tangent about Jesus not being historically real?

Unless you can show any evidence that there's something to discuss here, there's nothing to talk about.

All the evidence points to absolutely no doubt about Jesus's actual life on this earth, which is to say, universal acceptance that he was a Galilean rabbi.

If you have no evidence to the contrary, then there's nothing to discuss.
All that proves is that there is a lack of evidence. That lack of evidence does not indicate that Paul was not an outlier. Rather, it only supports that we have no further records.


See, here's the issue that you can't seem to wrap yourself around:

There is nothing more than conjecture that Jesus existed. You claim that all surviving evidence points to it (even though that's not exactly true), but then ask for me to prove a negative - that there was no Jesus. I don't have to prove he didn't exist, you must provide evidence that he did. So far, you have only been able to provide snippets of writings from the time and since the only surviving records indicate Jesus existed, you choose to take those as representative of all records from that time. You simply cannot make that assumption based on Paul's letters, much less the NT.

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:04 AM
So, really, just more proof that people believed people believed Jesus existed - that's moving backwards, actually. Doesn't get us any closer to actual evidence of Jesus' existence.

Please present your coherent and complete theory which explains all the available evidence but which does not inlcude a historical Jesus.

Thanks.

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:07 AM
All that proves is that there is a lack of evidence.

Wrong. Incomplete evidence is not the same as no evidence.

On the other hand, there literally is no evidence at all for a no-Jesus hypothesis.

And you continue to ignore the problems created by a no-Jesus hypothesis.

That lack of evidence does not indicate that Paul was not an outlier.

Compared to what?


There is nothing more than conjecture that Jesus existed. You claim that all surviving evidence points to it (even though that's not exactly true), but then ask for me to prove a negative - that there was no Jesus. I don't have to prove he didn't exist, you must provide evidence that he did. So far, you have only been able to provide snippets of writings from the time and since the only surviving records indicate Jesus existed, you choose to take those as representative of all records from that time. You simply cannot make that assumption based on Paul's letters, much less the NT.

You cannot deny the fact that I have provided evidence for my position and you have provided none for yours. Also, you have refused to even deal with the problems created by a no-Jesus hypothesis, while it is still true that no such problems are created by assuming that Jesus was historically real.

So far, there's nothing in your claims that I (or anyone else) actually have to deal with.

nvidiot
10th December 2010, 12:11 AM
Pardon me for delurking here (love these threads btw, thanks to piggy and Bob) but do you have to provide an alternative and reasonable hypothesis to point out the errors of logic or fact in an accepted one?

BobTheDonkey
10th December 2010, 12:17 AM
Wrong. Incomplete evidence is not the same as no evidence.

On the other hand, there literally is no evidence at all for a no-Jesus hypothesis.

And you continue to ignore the problems created by a no-Jesus hypothesis.



Compared to what?




You cannot deny the fact that I have provided evidence for my position and you have provided none for yours. Also, you have refused to even deal with the problems created by a no-Jesus hypothesis, while it is still true that no such problems are created by assuming that Jesus was historically real.

So far, there's nothing in your claims that I (or anyone else) actually have to deal with.
Note, again, I am not arguing that Jesus didn't exist. I am arguing that you haven't proven he did. There is a difference there, one that I find infuriating to have to continue to remind you to address.


I have, repeatedly, addressed your points. You refuse to acknowledge that I have done so because you refuse to acknowledge what my position on this matter actually is. I do not have to prove Jesus did not exist to prove that your evidence is inconclusive. You must prove that your evidence is conclusive - a feat you have not yet managed to do.


So, as they frequently ask DOC in his thread:

Any evidence yet?

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:25 AM
Pardon me for delurking here (love these threads btw, thanks to piggy and Bob) but do you have to provide an alternative and reasonable hypothesis to point out the errors of logic or fact in an accepted one?

No, if there are such errors.

Piggy
10th December 2010, 12:38 AM
Note, again, I am not arguing that Jesus didn't exist.

Dude, I know that. But you are arguing that a no-Jesus hypothesis deserves a seat at the table. Yet you haven't demonstrated that it does.

I am arguing that you haven't proven he did. There is a difference there, one that I find infuriating to have to continue to remind you to address.

But you don't have to remind me of anything. Both I and Wasp, at least, have pointed out more than once that we're not arguing for absolute proof.

Rather, what we're saying is that a historical Jesus is both the most mundane possible explanation and the one that fits all the (admittedly incomplete) evidence we do have, while a no-Jesus hypothesis not only has no evidence to support it but also introduces problems with no solutions.

Under those circumstances, regardless of the question at hand, such contrarian hypotheses are not worthy of consideration.

I have, repeatedly, addressed your points.

I'm sorry, but I have to point out that this is not true.

You have yet to provide a complete and coherent no-Jesus hypothesis which explains all the available evidence. You haven't even attempted it.

You refuse to acknowledge that I have done so because you refuse to acknowledge what my position on this matter actually is. I do not have to prove Jesus did not exist to prove that your evidence is inconclusive. You must prove that your evidence is conclusive - a feat you have not yet managed to do.

See above.

It's not that the evidence is complete.

It's that the most boring and mundane explanation also fits all the evidence we do have, and a no-Jesus hypothesis creates insoluble problems

This is why it's not a coin-toss, not a 50/50 proposition.

If a no-Jesus hypothesis is going to be considered on a par with the notion of a historical Jesus, it at least has to make sense in light of all the evidence we have. And so far, no such hypothesis has met that standard.

And you can't insist that one does simply on the basis of being unaware of what the evidence is.