Discourse to the RRS regarding Tacitus

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Discourse to the RRS regarding Tacitus

The quote from Tacitus in question will be found below:

Tacitus wrote:
"But neither the aid of man, nor the liberality of the prince, nor the propitiations of the gods succeeded in destroying the belief that the fire had been purposely lit. In order to put an end to this rumor, therefore, Nero laid the blame on and visited with severe punishment those men, hateful for their crimes, whom the people called Christians. He from whom the name was derived, Christus, was put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. But the pernicious superstition, checked for a moment, broke out again, not only in Judea, the native land of the monstrosity, but also in Rome, to which all conceivable horrors and abominations flow from every side, and find supporters. First, therefore, those were arrested who openly confessed; then, on their information, a great number, who were not so much convicted of the fire as of hatred of the human race. Ridicule was passed on them as they died; so that, clothed in skins of beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or committed to the flames, and when the sun had gone down they were burned to light up the night. Nero had lent his garden for this spectacle, and gave games in the Circus, mixing with the people in the dress of a charioteer or standing in the chariot. Hence there was a strong sympathy for them, though they might have been guilty enough to deserve the severest punishment, on the ground that they were sacrificed, not to the general good, but to the cruelty of one man." (Annals XV, 44)

The following is the first claim by the RRS against Tacitus:


RRS wrote:
(1) It is extremely improbable that a special report found by Tacitus had been sent earlier to Rome and incorporated into the records of the Senate, in regard to the death of a Jewish provincial, Jesus. The execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events conceivable among the movements of Roman history in those decades; it would have completely disappeared beneath the innumerable executions inflicted by Roman provincial authorities. For it to have been kept in any report would have been a most remarkable instance of chance.

It should be noted that the quote above is complete assertion, and provides no evidence for support. It should also be noted that the assertion above screams an argument from silence, which is a logical fallacy, since the argument basis itself upon the absence of the purported Roman records which, like most ancient Roman records, could have been lost and/or destroyed by the ravages of time. That being said, I will list the 3 RRS claims in the assertion above:

1. "It is extremely improbable that a special report found by Tacitus had been sent earlier to Rome and incorporated into the records of the Senate, in regard to the death of a Jewish provincial, Jesus."

2. "The execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events conceivable among the movements of Roman history in those decades; it would have completely disappeared beneath the innumerable executions inflicted by Roman provincial authorities."

3. "For it to have been kept in any report would have been a most remarkable instance of chance."

Although there are 3 listed above, I will deal with # 2 for now.

The RRS asserts that "the execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events... ." This statement completely contradicts the RRS' position that Jesus never existed, otherwise how could Jesus be a "Nazareth carpenter?"  If he never existed, he could hardly be a carpenter. Therefore, to claim this as a reason as to why the Roman authorities would not have any record of the execution of Jesus is ludicrous and completely self-defeating. Since we know that the only record of Jesus being a carpenter comes from the Holy Bible, and the RRS claims the Gospel record as a fabrication and Jesus did not exist, then to claim that the reason the Tacitus would not have read a previous record of the execution of Jesus is because he was an insignificant carpenter not worthy of note is very surprising and considerably amusing.

In order for the statement to be valid, the RRS must admit to the existence of Jesus. If not, then I will await their explanation as to why the RRS would use what they claim as a fabrication in the Gospel of Jesus being a carpenter to support their reasoning. The logical reasoning is completely invalidated, for you cannot use a a self-proclaimed fabrication to assert a possibility, truth, or a fact. If the Gospel record of Jesus being a carpenter is a fabrication as the RRS claims, then they cannot use a fabrication to quantify their reasoning as to why no Roman records existed for Tacitus to refer to. It is completely illogical. The following is an illustration of the faulty logic:

ASSERTIONS:

1. Jesus did not exist.
2. Jesus was a lowly Nazareth carpenter.
3. The Romans would not have kept a record of Jesus' execution because Jesus was a lowly Nazareth carpenter.

Question: If Jesus did not exist, how then could he be a Nazareth carpenter?

The logic simply falls apart under examination. If Jesus did not exist, he therefore could not be a Nazareth carpenter, and the RRS reasoning as to why no Roman records existed for Tacitus was because Jesus was a lowly Nazareth carpenter is logically invalidated. The only way to validate this argument is to admit that the lowly Nazareth carpenter existed, which subsequently would mean that Jesus must have existed.

If the RRS argues that "Assuming Jesus existed," then 'the execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events conceivable... ,'" then that assumption must come with evidence to support it. This means that in order to support the assumption, you must provide evidence to support the existence of Jesus.

Interesting twist, I must say. Either way you look at it, the argument is logically invalidated, and/or the assumption contradicts the RRS position of the non-existence of a historical Jesus.

In conclusion, according to the information available in # 1, the argument in its entirety is logically invalidated. The 3 claims I listed from the RRS in # 1 all depend on Jesus existing to be validated. Since the position of the RRS is that Jesus did not exist historically, then their argument in # 1 is logically and ideologically contradictory to their claims.

I now ask the RRS to respond to this argument before I continue through the rest of their claims against Tacitus.

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Before making assertions

Before making assertions perhaps you should review more up-to-date material on this message board?  Nobody here is currently making that claim, and in fact it is years old.

Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.  It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.  There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.  Especially since the time Tacitus wrote this in the 110's CE, two canonical Gospels had already been written, Marcion and many of his followers were already confronting the orthodoxy on their practices, and Luke-Acts was being written, while also refuting the dozens or more other noncanonical Gospels and Acts being circulated at the same time. 

The distinction between Acts and Paul on Pauline theology and church theology alone is more then enough evidence to disregard the hearsay on Jesus during this period.  Especially when examining the immense amount of mythmaking taking place.

 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Before

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Before making assertions perhaps you should review more up-to-date material on this message board?  Nobody here is currently making that claim, and in fact it is years old.

Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.  It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.  There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.  Especially since the time Tacitus wrote this in the 110's CE, two canonical Gospels had already been written, Marcion and many of his followers were already confronting the orthodoxy on their practices, and Luke-Acts was being written, while also refuting the dozens or more other noncanonical Gospels and Acts being circulated at the same time. 

The distinction between Acts and Paul on Pauline theology and church theology alone is more then enough evidence to disregard the hearsay on Jesus during this period.  Especially when examining the immense amount of mythmaking taking place.

 

 

On the contray, I took this evidence directly from this site, and which is found in your own post on this site at the following address:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/rook_hawkins/the_jesus_mythicist_campaign/2901

 

Perhaps you forgot about it?

 

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I just told you it was

I just told you it was outdated.  Perhaps you don't read what people write to you?  Check when that was posted.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Tacitus

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.

 

Why is it irrelevant? Your position is that Jesus is not historically evidenced, yet you say the Tacitus quote is "probably genuine," and yet claim it as irrelevant?

How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.

Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

Therefore, there is no reason to accept this argument.

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.

Again, you have no more evidence to support Tacitus learning this from Christians than anybody else does of him learning it from some long lost Roman records. All is speculation, and all without evidence.

You must understand that without evidence your argument does not have any more weight or truthfulness than the one that claims Tacitus "could have gotten his information from Roman records."

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Especially since the time Tacitus wrote this in the 110's CE, two canonical Gospels had already been written, Marcion and many of his followers were already confronting the orthodoxy on their practices, and Luke-Acts was being written, while also refuting the dozens or more other noncanonical Gospels and Acts being circulated at the same time.

Since we do not have complete records of any canonical Gospels in existence during the time of Tacitus, then again this must be regulated as speculation. I am of course aware of the GoJ parchment, as well as other evidence, but parchments and fragmented quotes of Gospel entries do not qualify that they came from the current canons. They only point to a possibility, but certainly not a certainty.

In other words, I can accept that some Gospels were in existence, but to say that the ones in existence included the current canon is quite presumptious. 

Also, what evidence can you present for Luke-Acts being written during the 110s? Internal evidence clearly shows it was being written decades before. Here, let me show you:

 

And when we came into Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the camp commander. But Paul was allowed to dwell by himself, with a soldier guarding him.

 

 You can see by the use of "we" above that the author was claiming to be with Paul during Paul's lifetime, sometime before the temple destruction, at around AD58.  According to your position, it would mean that the author was writing Acts some 50 -60 years later. This would be unlikely given the age of the person who was with Paul during Paul's lifetime.

Acts contains evidence of a 1st person narrative in many places, indicating that whoever was writing it traveled with Paul during the mid 1st century. If we reasonably conclude that the person was a mere 25 years old in AD58, it would put him in his 80s to be writing Acts sometime in the AD 110 - 115.

It would also be very unlikely that a younger person writing Acts could get away with using a 1st person narrative during the AD 110s-120s while creating a complete fabrication. It would be rather obvious to his peers that he was lying due to his age.

Therefore, I must respectfully disagree with your dating of Acts, and side with the scholars regarding a date of circa AD70.

I am willing, howewver, to entertain the notion that Acts was redacted during the 110s - 120s.

I have no argument against the war between the Gospels, as that is clearly evidenced by the Gnostics, Nazarenes, and other followers of Jesus.

Rook Hawkins wrote:
The distinction between Acts and Paul on Pauline theology and church theology alone is more then enough evidence to disregard the hearsay on Jesus during this period.  Especially when examining the immense amount of mythmaking taking place.

What church theology are you refering to? Could you be speaking of the Nazorenes as being the church in Jerusalem? If so, I agree, the difference between the apostles theology and Paul is obvious to even a moderate student. This is precisely why there was friction between them, and why Paul was shunned.

 

 

 

 

 

Act 28:16

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:I just

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I just told you it was outdated.  Perhaps you don't read what people write to you?  Check when that was posted.

Then what is it doing on your site if its outdated? Why is it still there representing your views? It was written 18 months ago, with no links to any update.

 

What are people supposed to do when no message about it being outdated is published? And why is your website still publishing it if it does not represent your views?

Do not blame people for getting confused when the author of confusion is your own website.

Blame yourself, no one else.

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They are supposed to be

They are supposed to be diligent enough as adults to stop waiting for people to give them answers and take responsibility to search the sight thoroughly enough to see if they have had their positions already answered.  Adults, responsible ones, do this daily with everything in their lives, but as soon as they come to a message board, it seems, they instantly become intellectually lazy.  There is a reason why we have a "google search" option on the left hand side of the website. 

However, you are right I should post a disclaimer here.  I do not remove old posts, because I feel that people have a right to see what I have posted in the past, even if I stand corrected on something, or update it.  It is for the benefit of being open and honest, so people do not question my integrity (although it inevitably happens that the occasional nitwit will come on here and do so, often ignorantly). 

I trust in the rest of your endeavors on this site you'll be goodly enough to look before you leap, and in turn you'll gain more respect around here.

 

Regards.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:They are

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

They are supposed to be diligent enough as adults to stop waiting for people to give them answers and take responsibility to search the sight thoroughly enough to see if they have had their positions already answered.  Adults, responsible ones, do this daily with everything in their lives, but as soon as they come to a message board, it seems, they instantly become intellectually lazy.  There is a reason why we have a "google search" option on the left hand side of the website. 

However, you are right I should post a disclaimer here.  I do not remove old posts, because I feel that people have a right to see what I have posted in the past, even if I stand corrected on something, or update it.  It is for the benefit of being open and honest, so people do not question my integrity (although it inevitably happens that the occasional nitwit will come on here and do so, often ignorantly). 

I trust in the rest of your endeavors on this site you'll be goodly enough to look before you leap, and in turn you'll gain more respect around here.

 

Regards.

Perhaps if you understood that I did look for an update to your Tacitus argument and was unable to locate any update to it.

Please direct me to the latest update on your Tacitus argument.

Thank you.

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Again, I already posted the

Again, I already posted the new position I hold on Tacitus above, in my original post to you.


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Also, to my disadvantage, I

Also, to my disadvantage, I cannot post a disclaimer on that nor can I delete the thread, as for some reason my mod abilities do not reflect well on threads that existed two or three updates ago.  I do not know why, there seems to be a glitch.  This is the update I would have posted, however, and will post when the glitch is fixed:

 

Before reading this list, one should read the first post in this thread and review my blog for additional details.  Much of this information is years old (some of it as old as 6 years) and is in desperate need of revisions.  Many revisions have already been made, so please read my blog for more information and see the above post for additional off-site links to revisions to many positions discussed here.  [4/22/2008]

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Again, I

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Again, I already posted the new position I hold on Tacitus above, in my original post to you.

Okay, I have responded to that position and await your response.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Also, to

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Also, to my disadvantage, I cannot post a disclaimer on that nor can I delete the thread, as for some reason my mod abilities do not reflect well on threads that existed two or three updates ago.  I do not know why, there seems to be a glitch.  This is the update I would have posted, however, and will post when the glitch is fixed:

 

Before reading this list, one should read the first post in this thread and review my blog for additional details.  Much of this information is years old (some of it as old as 6 years) and is in desperate need of revisions.  Many revisions have already been made, so please read my blog for more information and see the above post for additional off-site links to revisions to many positions discussed here.  [4/22/2008]

No problem, I accept your explanation and understand. Hope you get the glitch fixed soon so this problem does not continue. I could see how it could get frustrating explaining these things over and over to new people who come on board.

I wish you well, and good luck.

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.

 

Why is it irrelevant? Your position is that Jesus is not historically evidenced, yet you say the Tacitus quote is "probably genuine," and yet claim it as irrelevant?

It is as irrelevant as the Parium Marble, in that just because it says a legendary character lived or event happened does not make it so.  I am not holding to different standards here, and am applying criticism to everything equally.  I give my reasons below for not accepting this evidence as reputable.

Quote:
How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

No, I am not doubting it.  It is just not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus.  This is also in light of the compendium of evidence, when viewed in its cumulative whole. 

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.

Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

So where do you propose he received his information?  It is not speculative to suggest that Pliny didn't communicate this, especially considering they were good friends and were communicating at this juncture in time.  I see no reason to doubt this conclusion, as Pliny obviously communicated with others about his experience with Christians. 

Quote:
Therefore, there is no reason to accept this argument.

Claiming speculation and not giving an additional explanation does not suffice for a dismissal.  You'll have to do better than this to show my hypothesis is incorrect.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.

Again, you have no more evidence to support Tacitus learning this from Christians than anybody else does of him learning it from some long lost Roman records. All is speculation, and all without evidence.

Considering Tacitus usually cites his sources, I find it dubious that you would suggest this.  Why does no other Christian write of these records or make mention of them?  Why do they, in turn, only go back to the various Gospels and Acts, and later on, Josephus and the early church fathers?  Why not the Roman records?  This is a rather silly argument. 

Quote:
You must understand that without evidence your argument does not have any more weight or truthfulness than the one that claims Tacitus "could have gotten his information from Roman records."

There is evidence of correspondence between Pliny and Tacitus, and that they were good friends.  There is no evidence of Roman records.  SO far, my explanation is statistically more probable than yours.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Especially since the time Tacitus wrote this in the 110's CE, two canonical Gospels had already been written, Marcion and many of his followers were already confronting the orthodoxy on their practices, and Luke-Acts was being written, while also refuting the dozens or more other noncanonical Gospels and Acts being circulated at the same time.

Since we do not have complete records of any canonical Gospels in existence during the time of Tacitus, then again this must be regulated as speculation. I am of course aware of the GoJ parchment, as well as other evidence, but parchments and fragmented quotes of Gospel entries do not qualify that they came from the current canons. They only point to a possibility, but certainly not a certainty.

Why do you suppose that manuscript fragments are the only evidence for dating the Gospels?  This is a little naive of you.  The Gospels themselves, particularly Luke-Acts, give us some very good indications of when they were written.  Since Luke-Acts took information and replicated them in its own form, means and narrative, the conclusion is adequate that Mark and Matthew came before it.  Please review any modern scholarship on the dating of the Gospels and the intertextuality between them.

Quote:
In other words, I can accept that some Gospels were in existence, but to say that the ones in existence included the current canon is quite presumptious.

Not really.  Especially considering the narrative reworking.  I suggest you spend some time reading my article on Languages and Dating.  I would admit that the form in which the canonical Gospels exist in today may not have reflected the Gospels in their entirety during the period in question.

Quote:
Also, what evidence can you present for Luke-Acts being written during the 110s? Internal evidence clearly shows it was being written decades before. Here, let me show you:

 

 

And when we came into Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the camp commander. But Paul was allowed to dwell by himself, with a soldier guarding him.

 

 You can see by the use of "we" above that the author was claiming to be with Paul during Paul's lifetime, sometime before the temple destruction, at around AD58.  According to your position, it would mean that the author was writing Acts some 50 -60 years later. This would be unlikely given the age of the person who was with Paul during Paul's lifetime.

Survey says...Oh wrong, sorry.  The author of Luke-Acts clearly was not with Paul when he was alive.  The author of Luke-Acts switches from first-third person because of what the authors intent was.  You cannot take a Gospel at face value.  I suggest you read modern criticisms for the dating of Luke-Acts.  Start with Joseph B. Tyson and Richard I. Pervo.  When you read them, and can adequately refute their positions, I will accept your conclusion here.  However no adequate refutation exists in written form against their conclusions, which are now a year old.

Quote:
Acts contains evidence of a 1st person narrative in many places, indicating that whoever was writing it traveled with Paul during the mid 1st century. If we reasonably conclude that the person was a mere 25 years old in AD58, it would put him in his 80s to be writing Acts sometime in the AD 110 - 115.

Again, you're being naive.  The Homeric epics show signs of first person narration as well.  But the accounts were written hundreds of years after the period they are describing.  You cannot take ancient literature at face value like this.  You have to first understand intent, and from there make your judgments.  Currently you're taking intent for granted.

Quote:
It would also be very unlikely that a younger person writing Acts could get away with using a 1st person narrative during the AD 110s-120s while creating a complete fabrication. It would be rather obvious to his peers that he was lying due to his age.

That's silly.  I suggest you research the Second Sophistic, please.  Also consider how many pseudonymous Gospels and Acts exist written by people long after the death of those the works are ascribed to, in many cases hundreds of years later, and they were considered "canonical" by many Christians.  Do you really think you have an adequate argument while not knowing any of this?

Quote:
Therefore, I must respectfully disagree with your dating of Acts, and side with the scholars regarding a date of circa AD70.

You can disagree, but your evidence is lacking, your conclusions are false, and your logic is based on ignorance and poor research.  So currently you're not doing too well.  Hopefully you'll read up a bit more before the next round?

Quote:
I am willing, howewver, to entertain the notion that Acts was redacted during the 110s - 120s.

I have no argument against the war between the Gospels, as that is clearly evidenced by the Gnostics, Nazarenes, and other followers of Jesus.

Assuming the whole case in point.  Do not do that.  You have yet to prove a historical Jesus.

Quote:
Rook Hawkins wrote:
The distinction between Acts and Paul on Pauline theology and church theology alone is more then enough evidence to disregard the hearsay on Jesus during this period.  Especially when examining the immense amount of mythmaking taking place.

What church theology are you refering to? Could you be speaking of the Nazorenes as being the church in Jerusalem? If so, I agree, the difference between the apostles theology and Paul is obvious to even a moderate student. This is precisely why there was friction between them, and why Paul was shunned.

Paul isn't shunned.  Paul shuns them.  Read Galatians.  Acts is clearly a late fiction, you cannot trust it.

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Also, to my disadvantage, I cannot post a disclaimer on that nor can I delete the thread, as for some reason my mod abilities do not reflect well on threads that existed two or three updates ago.  I do not know why, there seems to be a glitch.  This is the update I would have posted, however, and will post when the glitch is fixed:

 

Before reading this list, one should read the first post in this thread and review my blog for additional details.  Much of this information is years old (some of it as old as 6 years) and is in desperate need of revisions.  Many revisions have already been made, so please read my blog for more information and see the above post for additional off-site links to revisions to many positions discussed here.  [4/22/2008]

No problem, I accept your explanation and understand. Hope you get the glitch fixed soon so this problem does not continue. I could see how it could get frustrating explaining these things over and over to new people who come on board.

It can be.  I respect your understanding and appreciate it.

Quote:
I wish you well, and good luck.

I like you, you seem honest.  Please stay around.  I hope we can continue this discussion as civilly as we have been.  I ask you do not take my blunt responses for rudeness, I'm just short on time often and like to keep my replies short, unless I feel a real need to go into detail.  (However, that is really what my blog is for)

Regards.

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The questions you will see

The questions you will see from me are logical questions; ones which you will face from people far greater than myself if you enter the scholarly world. Do not become offended at these questions, nor with me personally. If you cannot answer them, simply reconsider the validity of your argument and dismiss it if necessary. It is pointless to hold onto an argument if it cannot be supported, and it is also intellectual suicide to hold onto frivolous arguments in the scholarly world.

My aim here is not to point my finger and laugh at you, but to provide solid counter-arguments against your position for the purpose of approximating the truth. You need these type of arguments to help you identify the strengths and weaknesses in your position, and you need these kinds of arguments from someone with a clue.

I have a clue.

Therefore, let's take a look at what you are saying.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It is as irrelevant as the Parium Marble, in that just because it says a legendary character lived or event happened does not make it so.  I am not holding to different standards here, and am applying criticism to everything equally.  I give my reasons below for not accepting this evidence as reputable.

By using the same method of argument as you use above, we can equally say that because it says Jesus lived, then we have been given no reason to believe he didn't. Let us use some logic in assessing the text according to your argument.

The Tacitus text claims that a man named Christus, understood as Jesus, lived and was executed by Pontius Pilate. What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

No, I am not doubting it.  It is just not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus.  This is also in light of the compendium of evidence, when viewed in its cumulative whole.

You have asserted that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus. Yet, you have not explained why. We are not dealing with a compendium of evidence when viewed in any cumulative whole, but only with the Tacitus text.

You must now provide arguments backed with evidence to support your position that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation.

(Please understand that my questions may seem like demands, but on the contrary they are designed to really make you examine the validity of your arguments. This exercise will make you far stronger.)

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.

Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

So where do you propose he received his information?  It is not speculative to suggest that Pliny didn't communicate this, especially considering they were good friends and were communicating at this juncture in time.  I see no reason to doubt this conclusion, as Pliny obviously communicated with others about his experience with Christians.

I do not propose that Tacitus got his information from any specific source, because no evidence exists to support any assumption. It is in fact speculative to suggest Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus because you have not provided evidence to support the claim. Your assertion that just because Tacitus and Pliny were good friends who communicated indicates that it is possible Pliny educated Tacitus can only be seen as a possibility, but without support.

You must understand that if you claim Pliny as the one who educated Tacitus, then you are claiming that Tacitus received his information about Christ from a Roman authority. Pliny was the governor of Bithynia-Pontus, and was also very active in the Roman legal system.  He was known for prosecuting at the trials of many provincial governors, as well as presiding over the trials of early Christians and other trouble-makers.

Therefore, you must understand that if you are arguing for Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus, then you are arguing that Tacitus got his information about the prosecution and execution of Jesus from an expert in Roman law, who would undoubtedly be educated in Roman legal history, which would include any history of the execution of Jesus by Pilate.

Do you now understand the problem with your argument? As you can see, it can be completely used against you, and supported with evidence.

Do not be angry, but instead take what you can get from this argument and, as I said previously, re-examine the validity of your arguments. You will realize soon that despite my knowledge on the subject of the historicity of Jesus, my knowledge is not why I am here.

I can see that smile on your face from here. You've figured out what I'm doing. Let's continue.

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
Therefore, there is no reason to accept this argument.

Claiming speculation and not giving an additional explanation does not suffice for a dismissal.  You'll have to do better than this to show my hypothesis is incorrect.

In the scholarly world, you must understand that speculation is left in the dust if not supported with additional evidence. Let me give you an example of exactly what I am trying to convey.

Subject 1: "Albert Einstein was a closet homosexual with a fetish for ladies underwear."
Subject 2: "How do you know this?"
Subject 1: "I just know, and I don't have to explain how."
Subject 2: "Yeah ... okay. See ya."

Your argument is not all that dissimilar from the argument above. It's considered baseless assertion, and the value of the assertion will be minimal, and over time it will be forgotten due to the fact that it has no support. Like the argument above, your argument will face ridiculing in the forum of scholarly review.

I suggest that you do not present any argument that does not have a good degree of support. Your reply to me above does nothing to negate my quoted statement, as my quoted statement remains valid due to the fact that you did not contest it with evidence.

Understand that evidence is God in the scholarly world, while talk is cheap. No evidence = no point. It's that simple. It's that cut and dry. Therefore, you must present evidence to support your claim, or abandon the claim for the sake of credulity.

Rook you will never get another chance to gain credulity if you screw up on your first book. If you present arguments like this in your book, you may never get published again. I'm not kidding you one iota. If you wish to be a serious author, then take serious critiques from people with a clue. Take them to heart. Grit your teeth, bite down hard, and take the full blunt at this point in time, because it's far better you take it now and make adjustments, then take it later and never get a 2ND chance.

This only a web forum, it is not your life. Here, you can make changes to your arguments, but once they are etched in stone in your book, well ... they are etched in stone.

I will return again to complete this argument.

Have yourself a good night, and always remember to doubt yourself. Challenge your ideas and beliefs completely. It's okay to be wrong and correct yourself, but its never okay to know you are wrong and do nothing about it.

Take that advice from someone who has been wrong far more often than anyone else I know.

Good night.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Tacitus

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.  It is more than likely Tacitus got his information from Pliny the Younger, a correspondent and friend of his.  There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.  

For a student of classics, there's also the slight change in prose style for this passage (in Latin). It's not like it's precise or rigorous to say so, but that section doesn't "read" like Tacitus. It's choppier. The rhythm doesn't really match the surrounding chapters. Obviously that's no conclusion, it just makes me suspicious.

So while it's "probably genuine" in the sense that it may have been copied faithfully, there's still some controversy even of that point. After that is when you're faced with the fact that he's essentially repeating gossip.

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HisWillness wrote:For a

HisWillness wrote:
For a student of classics, there's also the slight change in prose style for this passage (in Latin). It's not like it's precise or rigorous to say so, but that section doesn't "read" like Tacitus. It's choppier. The rhythm doesn't really match the surrounding chapters. Obviously that's no conclusion, it just makes me suspicious.

So while it's "probably genuine" in the sense that it may have been copied faithfully, there's still some controversy even of that point. After that is when you're faced with the fact that he's essentially repeating gossip.

Please note that I have underlined the word "fact" in your quote above. You need to understand that a fact is something which has been conclusively proven.

Since you have stated that you were merely suspicious of the wording, how then do you go from being merely suspicious to claiming a fact?

People get misunderstood because of the words they use. I myself am not immune to making these mistakes, but I am much wiser to it from experience.

 

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FathomFFI wrote:HisWillness

FathomFFI wrote:

HisWillness wrote:
For a student of classics, there's also the slight change in prose style for this passage (in Latin). It's not like it's precise or rigorous to say so, but that section doesn't "read" like Tacitus. It's choppier. The rhythm doesn't really match the surrounding chapters. Obviously that's no conclusion, it just makes me suspicious.

So while it's "probably genuine" in the sense that it may have been copied faithfully, there's still some controversy even of that point. After that is when you're faced with the fact that he's essentially repeating gossip.

Please note that I have underlined the word "fact" in your quote above. You need to understand that a fact is something which has been conclusively proven.

Since you have stated that you were merely suspicious of the wording, how then do you go from being merely suspicious to claiming a fact?

People get misunderstood because of the words they use. I myself am not immune to making these mistakes, but I am much wiser to it from experience.

Oh, it's a fact that he was essentially repeating gossip. Read the passage. Classical works are all taken with a grain of salt anyway. Nobody even though of the eruption of Vesuvius as necessarily having taken place until the remains of Pompeii were found. My suspicions of the wording imply that the gossip was most likely either altered by Christian scribes, or inserted altogether. Those are two completely different points of contention, though.

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HisWillness wrote: Oh, it's

HisWillness wrote:

 

Oh, it's a fact that he was essentially repeating gossip. Read the passage. Classical works are all taken with a grain of salt anyway. Nobody even though of the eruption of Vesuvius as necessarily having taken place until the remains of Pompeii were found. My suspicions of the wording imply that the gossip was most likely either altered by Christian scribes, or inserted altogether. Those are two completely different points of contention, though.

1. Upon reading the passage I find no evidence that he was essentially repeating gossip. There is no evidence in the context to support this assertion.

2. There is no evidence of Christian interpolation whatsoever.

Firstly, your two points above contradict each other. Was Tacitus repeating gossip, or was it a Christian interpolation? Which one is the supposed fact that you speak of?

It's obvious that both cannot be facts. Since you have contradicted your position, then your claim of a fact in this matter is clearly suspect, and without merit. You cannot present two completely different and opposing positions as facts and then claim either one or both to be a fact.

It is illogical.

Do you now see what I see in your argument?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
There were also Christians in Rome, so I see no reason why Tacitus wouldn't have been able to learn his information from hearsay both from his friend and the rumor mills on the streets.

Again, you have no more evidence to support Tacitus learning this from Christians than anybody else does of him learning it from some long lost Roman records. All is speculation, and all without evidence.

Considering Tacitus usually cites his sources, I find it dubious that you would suggest this.  Why does no other Christian write of these records or make mention of them?  Why do they, in turn, only go back to the various Gospels and Acts, and later on, Josephus and the early church fathers?  Why not the Roman records?  This is a rather silly argument.

Firstly, you are making several arguments from silence. Secondly, you are now citing Christians as the source of Tacitus' education, when previously you cited Pliny the Younger, indicating uncertainty. Thirdly, you are suggesting that the earliest Christians would somehow have access to Roman records when the Roman records themselves evidence Christians as being maliciously persecuted. Fourthly, why would any self respecting Christian of that age wish to cite Tacitus' record? The record is a scathing hatred filled rebuke of Christianity, and hardly anything any Christian would want to refer to.

But let us examine your questions regarding the silence of early Christians in regards to not mentioning Tacitus. Below you will find listed some early Christian writers, and information about them.

ORIGEN:

In regards Origen, there was absolutely no reason for Origen to use the Tacitus text in his Contra Celsus work. Celsus was not disputing the existence of Jesus, but was ridiculing the Christian religion's claim of the divinity of Jesus, as well as the validity of the Christian religion itself. In fact Celsus admits to the existence of Jesus, and even names the father of Jesus as Pantera, an additional attestation to the existence of a historical Jesus. The entire Contra Celsus work was one in which Origen attempts to justify the philosophy of the Christian faith and a refutation of paganism, and no where was there any cause to justify the existence of Jesus to Celsus, since by his own admission, Celsus believed that Jesus existed. There was absolutely no reason for Origen to quote Tacitus to Celsus, for to do so would leave Origen quoting a very uncomplimentary and blasphemous statement by a Roman authority.

Therefore, anyone who attempts to use Origen as an argument from silence is making an unjustified attempt to misrepresent the Contra Celsus work by giving the false impression that the work itself was some kind of Christian work which attempts to justify the existence of Jesus to Celsus. It simply wasn't, and it simply didn't.

Clement of Alexandria:

Using an argument of silence against Clement of Alexandria must exclude the possibility that Clement of Alexandria was unaware of the existence of the works of Tacitus. One embellishment of this argument from silence is that the characterization of Clement of Alexandria is as one who collected quotes from pagan authors to justify the existence of Jesus, but the truth is that he did indeed collect quotes from many various pagan authors- not to supply proof of the existence of Jesus- but to justify his own philosophical views by comparing them to ancient philosophers.

The author of this tale has misrepresented the works of Clement of Alexandria. Also, the author must assume Clement of Alexandria was aware of Tacitus "Annals", and there is no evidence whatsoever that he was.

Tertullian:

None of Tertullian's arguments called for the use of this passage from Tacitus. The arguments of Tertullian whereas he referenced Tacitus only twice dealt with Tacitus' book "The Histories," and were all used to argue against the assertion that Judaism was created from the worship of the head of an ass. Again, this is another argument from silence, and even then the author's argument is unsubstantiated. Tertulian simply had no reason to use the Tacitus passage whatsoever.

That's just a few, and the rest can all be addressed in like manner. Although addressing arguments from silence is not required as a means of defense, my objective here was to show how many of these arguments are actually fallacious when investigated and confronted with direct evidence.

Arguments from silence are a logical fallacy, unless they utilize abductive reasoning. Abductive reasoning begins with a set of accepted facts and attempts to approximate the best explanation. In order for the argument from silence to be valid in regards to the silence of the early Christian writers, a set of accepted facts must be established. In short, factual evidence must be supplied to demonstrate cause for abductive reasoning.

a) Is it a fact that the Tacitus text did not exist for the early Christian writers to reference?
b) Is it a fact that the Tacitus text would be required by any of the early Christian writers?
c) Is it a fact that any of the early Christian writers knew about the Tacitus text?

These are just a few examples of facts that need to be established before abductive reasoning can be utilized to aid an argument from silence. With no facts you have no abductive reasoning, and subsequently no valid argument from silence.

I will engage more in this discussion later.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Quote:You

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
You must understand that without evidence your argument does not have any more weight or truthfulness than the one that claims Tacitus "could have gotten his information from Roman records."

There is evidence of correspondence between Pliny and Tacitus, and that they were good friends.  There is no evidence of Roman records.  SO far, my explanation is statistically more probable than yours.

Since you have no evidence of a correspondence between Pliny and Tacitus regarding Christians, then you must understand that you have no evidence at all to support your assertion. Evidence of them being good friends is not evidence to support that they discussed anything about Christians. The first question scholars would ask you is this:

Q: What evidence do you have to support Pliny the Younger as being the one to educate Tacitus in regards to the Christians?

If you reply to them with the answers you gave to me, you will be rapidly dismissed. Assertions and speculations are not evidence, especially when they come with no hint of support. Tacitus spoke with many people, so why not just choose anybody as being the one to educate him about Christians? Since no evidence exists to show any corresponence between Tacitus and Pliny regarding Christians, then by using your argument methood we can equally say that Tacitus recieved his information from Joe Blow down the street at the local Roman tavern. We can say anything because, according to your argument, evidence is not required.

But the truth is, evidence must be required to at least give cause for abductive reasoning. Claiming that Pliny knew Tacitus does not substantiate any fact that Pliny educated Tacitus on the Christians. Here is the your faulty logical train of thought:


Subject 1: Because Pliny knew Tacitus, Pliny educated Tacitus in regards to the Christians.
Subject 2: What evidence do you provide to support Pliny educated Tacitus in regards to the Christians?
Subject 1: The evidence is that Pliny knew Tacitus.

This is a logical fallacy known as a circular argument. It's the same kind of argument theists use when promoting their beliefs. Here is the same example from them:

Subject 1: The bible is the word of God
Subject 2: How do you know this?
Subject 1: Because the bible says so.

Rook, do not trap yourself into circular arguments in the scholarly world. They will expose those in a heartbeat and dismiss you to the Tower of London to have you drawn and quartered.

More later.

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quote=Rook_Hawkins]Quote:Rook

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Especially since the time Tacitus wrote this in the 110's CE, two canonical Gospels had already been written, Marcion and many of his followers were already confronting the orthodoxy on their practices, and Luke-Acts was being written, while also refuting the dozens or more other noncanonical Gospels and Acts being circulated at the same time.

Since we do not have complete records of any canonical Gospels in existence during the time of Tacitus, then again this must be regulated as speculation. I am of course aware of the GoJ parchment, as well as other evidence, but parchments and fragmented quotes of Gospel entries do not qualify that they came from the current canons. They only point to a possibility, but certainly not a certainty.

Why do you suppose that manuscript fragments are the only evidence for dating the Gospels?  This is a little naive of you.  The Gospels themselves, particularly Luke-Acts, give us some very good indications of when they were written.  Since Luke-Acts took information and replicated them in its own form, means and narrative, the conclusion is adequate that Mark and Matthew came before it.  Please review any modern scholarship on the dating of the Gospels and the intertextuality between them.

Firstly, I advise you with the utmost sincerety that my scholarship is, and always will be, cutting edge. This is not a boast, but a statement designed to instill confidence in you in regards to my motive to being here. I am not here to doubt your scholarship, but to expose the weaknesses in your arguments for the betterment of of your own scholarship. Please understand that I am an old hat at this, and have been squeezed through the wringer more than just a few times myself by able minded scholars intent on teaching me the finer virtues of debate, much to my humiliation.

The result of their teaching is evident in the quality of the arguments you see me presenting to you. I will pick you apart, piece by piece, throw them all down on the ground and tell you to pick up the good pieces and leave the rest on the floor. I assure you, by the time I am done with you, you will be doubting everything you know about many of the things you assert, and you will become a far better man because of it.

I am not your enemy, I am just playing the devil's advocate.

Secondly, gospel fragments do not confirm that they come from the canons. For example, the oldest Gospel of Mark stops at the empty tomb, but the canon teaches the resurrection. This begs the question: Is the oldest Gospel of Mark the original, or is the canon a redacted version? What is the truth? There are arguments running amuck about it, but at the end of the day the solid evidence is that the oldest Gospel of Mark does not have anything written past the empty tomb, and therefore provides an argument that the resurrection story was an interpolation.

All Gospel fragments do is confirm that a Gospel existed. It could be the same as the canon, and it could just as easily not be precisely the same as the canon. You cannot tell what a jigsaw puzzle picture is by looking at one small piece, and a fragment is just one small piece. We cannot say that the fragments date the canon for a certainty, but only that they date a Gospel. Whatever Gospel version it is, is an unknown. Is it part of a complete canon gospel? How do you know? How do you know it's not part of another previous gospel that was later redacted, and all you are seeing is what the original and the redacted versions have in common? Since we have the original Gospel of Mark as evidence, we therefore have abductive reasoning at our disposal.

Since we know that a Gospel of the Hebrews existed, we have clear evidence to support other Gospels. Since we can see the similarities in the 4 canons, then we must accept the same similarities would also exist in non canonized Gospels. Again, we are provided with abductive reasoning because the evidence supports it, and solidly.

The Gospel of Thomas illustrates many of the teachings of Jesus in the canons almost verbatim. And yet again, all the more reason to employ abductive reasoning.

Do you understand this? When you have evidence to support doubt, then in the interest of true scholarship that evidence must be brought to light and discussed. It must be fairly evaluated with intellectual honesty, and either accepted or rejected without bias.

It is what it is. It's black and white, yes or no, right or wrong. The only way it can be a "maybe" is with abductive reasoning.

That's the truth, Rook. Trust me, and believe it, or at the very least, investigate what I claim about abductive reasoning. I give you my word that I will not steer you wrong.

Back soon ...

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 From now on, please do me

 

From now on, please do me a favor, and respond to everything at one time, otherwise you’re making me do more work than I want to do.  I have to go through, copy all your remarks into one document, reformat it, and go through the hassle of separating your comments from mine.  Do us all a favor, and hit the quote button, quote things all in one reply, and save me (and you) time. 

Quote:
The questions you will see from me are logical questions; ones which you will face from people far greater than myself if you enter the scholarly world.

You fail to realize I’m already a part of the scholarly community.  You do know I am being reviewed for publication?

Quote:
Do not become offended at these questions, nor with me personally.

Very well.

Quote:
If you cannot answer them, simply reconsider the validity of your argument and dismiss it if necessary.

Only if you promise to do the same.

Quote:
It is pointless to hold onto an argument if it cannot be supported, and it is also intellectual suicide to hold onto frivolous arguments in the scholarly world.

You understand you are coming from this position, not I?  The burden of proof rests on he who alleges. 

Quote:
I have a clue.

Based on your earlier replies to me, I am skeptical.  That is not an insult.  You are naïve about the state of the evidence.  More on this as we review your passages.

Quote:
Therefore, let's take a look at what you are saying.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

It is as irrelevant as the Parium Marble, in that just because it says a legendary character lived or event happened does not make it so.  I am not holding to different standards here, and am applying criticism to everything equally.  I give my reasons below for not accepting this evidence as reputable.

By using the same method of argument as you use above, we can equally say that because it says Jesus lived, then we have been given no reason to believe he didn't. Let us use some logic in assessing the text according to your argument.

Fallacy of False Analogy.  That is not what I am saying.  Perhaps you do not know what the Parium Marble is? 

Quote:
The Tacitus text claims that a man named Christus, understood as Jesus,

By you. 

Quote:
lived and was executed by Pontius Pilate.

I would note that he does not say that Christus was executed. 

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators.”

You can assume the extreme penalty means death, but there is no real evidence textually to assume execution, nor even crucifixion.  You are stretching this. 

Quote:
What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.

There are a lot of reasons for doubting this claim.  Not all rest squarely on the Tacitus passage.  You must review the whole state of the evidence, which I do not think you’ve done, and come to a conclusion based on it.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

 

Quote:

How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

No, I am not doubting it.  It is just not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus.  This is also in light of the compendium of evidence, when viewed in its cumulative whole.

You have asserted that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus. Yet, you have not explained why. We are not dealing with a compendium of evidence when viewed in any cumulative whole, but only with the Tacitus text.

You are minimalizing the evidence by ignoring it all.  If we only took evidence in bits and pieces a lot could be assumed but little would ever be understood or interpretable.  This is your naivety playing into your judgment as I discussed earlier.

Quote:
You must now provide arguments backed with evidence to support your position that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation.

Tacitus is not a reputable representation of anything.  Please consult any modern encyclopedia on antiquity for the article on Tacitus and ancient historians, also see Grant’s Greek and Roman Historians (1995).  You can not, nor should you, put trust in the words of any historian or documentarian from antiquity.  You should never believe what you read, even if you cite it for something; caution must always be made.  Historians, particularly Roman historians, were almost always under the influence of outside sources, generally the politics of their period, their families, friends, the Caesar’s, the populace, and most certainly, rumor. 

Tacitus is recounting events from 40 years prior, he is writing his works, the Annals, in c. 110’s CE.  He is no longer in Rome when he is writing these down, but probably in Asia, where he was proconsul from c. 112-113.  Pliny at this time was the Emperors legatus Augusti in Bithynia-Pontus, which is in Asia Minor.  This is the period in which he executed those Christians and wrote to Trajan to confirm he had done the right thing.  I have no doubt that he would have also consulted his good friend Tacitus, and probably even Suetonius, who was also a good friend.  It is interesting also that Suetonius does not mention this event occurring in Rome, but Tacitus does, often in digression state.  He goes on about he superstition of the religion and does not explain the horrible abominations (flagitia invisos) he claims that the Christians committed, the reason for their lack of respect among the populace in Rome.   

Quote:
(Please understand that my questions may seem like demands, but on the contrary they are designed to really make you examine the validity of your arguments. This exercise will make you far stronger.)

I’ve really already examined the evidence.  Keep in mind, at one time I originally thought the chapter was an addition added by later Christians.  You do know we are missing the years in which this Christus supposedly lived from his Annals.  Yet we get no information regarding this at all.  We are also missing his Histories for these years, and also the reign of Nero, so there is no way to examine if he wrote about this incident again. 

I have only accepted the authenticity of the account because I see it being something he picked up in Asia, from Pliny.  This is why he does not mention Christians anywhere else in his Annals. 

Quote:
Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

There is more reason to accept this conclusion than there is that he was getting his information from records, especially since he often cites his sources when he pulls them from the records elsewhere in his Annals.  There is additional reason to assume this link.  He calls Christianity a “destructive superstition” (exitiabilis superstitio) which is exactly the thing that Pliny calls it in his letter to Trajan.  (Pliny calls it a superstition twice, in one instance he calls it a superstitionem pravam—a depraved superstition—and also a superstitionis istius contagio, or a contagious superstition.  This meets one criterion for reworking or borrowing, specifically in interpretability.  Also, both Tacitus and Pliny both recount the leader as ‘Christ’ instead of ‘Jesus’, indicating another link between the two.  The only difference between Pliny’s account and Tacitus’ account is that in Pliny’s letter to Trajan, he never mentions that Jesus lived under the reign of Tiberius, nor was he penalized by Pilate, and Tacitus specifically suggests (oddly) that the populace calls them Christians after their leader, which suggests that Tacitus got this additional information from the population and not records (vulgus Christianos appellabat auctor nominis eius Christus). 

You seriously need to review the evidence more carefully.  Assuming that Tacitus pulled his records of Jesus from an imperial document is more specious and rests purely on wishful thinking.  Instead, the evidence reveals a more simple explanation. 

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 Rook_Hawkins wrote:From

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
From now on, please do me a favor, and respond to everything at one time, otherwise you’re making me do more work than I want to do.  I have to go through, copy all your remarks into one document, reformat it, and go through the hassle of separating your comments from mine.  Do us all a favor, and hit the quote button, quote things all in one reply, and save me (and you) time.

Very well, but prepare yourself for some very long posts with that method.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
The questions you will see from me are logical questions; ones which you will face from people far greater than myself if you enter the scholarly world.

You fail to realize I’m already a part of the scholarly community.  You do know I am being reviewed for publication?

I do know about your review, but being a part of a scholarly community is not what makes a scholar any more than a graduate certificate does. The true mark of a scholar is that which demonstrates a profound and advanced knowledge of a particular subject.

Since you are still under review for publication, then the jury is still out. And even if you are published, any claims of being a scholar will not be made by you, but rather your peers.

Impressing yourself is nothing. Impressing your peers is everything.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
If you cannot answer them, simply reconsider the validity of your argument and dismiss it if necessary.

Only if you promise to do the same.

It's like a religion to me.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
It is pointless to hold onto an argument if it cannot be supported, and it is also intellectual suicide to hold onto frivolous arguments in the scholarly world.

You understand you are coming from this position, not I?  The burden of proof rests on he who alleges.

I have alleged nothing. I have asked to see your arguments against the validity of the Tacitus text regarding Jesus. I have not presented a view on it, but am only here to examine your arguments.

There are two burdens of proof. The first burden of proof is indeed on he who alleges, but the 2nd burden of proof also rests with anyone else who alleges. It's know as "assuming a burden of proof."

The moment you provide counter-points with evidence, you have assumed a burden of proof because you have made a counter-claim. Here is a simple example:

Subject 1: The Tacitus text is authentic, and here's my evidence.

Subject 2 The Tacitus text is not authentic, and here's my evidence.

Both subjects above have burdens of proof because both made a claim either for or against the authenticity of the Tacitus text, and both volunteered evidence. The moment you bring new evidence into a debate, you have assumed a burden of proof because of that evidence. You then must defend the integrity of your evidence from the original claimant.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
I have a clue.

Based on your earlier replies to me, I am skeptical.  That is not an insult.  You are naïve about the state of the evidence.  More on this as we review your passages.

I assure you, you will regret this statement later.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Therefore, let's take a look at what you are saying.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

It is as irrelevant as the Parium Marble, in that just because it says a legendary character lived or event happened does not make it so.  I am not holding to different standards here, and am applying criticism to everything equally.  I give my reasons below for not accepting this evidence as reputable.

By using the same method of argument as you use above, we can equally say that because it says Jesus lived, then we have been given no reason to believe he didn't. Let us use some logic in assessing the text according to your argument.

Fallacy of False Analogy.  That is not what I am saying.  Perhaps you do not know what the Parium Marble is?

Yes I know about the Parium Marble. My point which eluded you was "just because it says a legendary charactor did not live, or event did not occur does not make it so." In the context of  Jesus, just because you say he did not exist, does not make it so.

That kind of argument works both ways, and is actually pointless.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
The Tacitus text claims that a man named Christus, understood as Jesus,

By you. 

Actually, almost universally agreed upon by almost every reputable scholar, if you want the truth. You should be aware that it will indeed be intellectual suicide to deny that Christus refers to Jesus, as all arguments to support that assertion have been met with solid evidence to the contrary, bringing ridicule to those who were hense regulated to the bottom-feeders of the intellectual gene pool.

But if you feel you can contest it ...

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
lived and was executed by Pontius Pilate.

I would note that he does not say that Christus was executed. 

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators.”

You can assume the extreme penalty means death, but there is no real evidence textually to assume execution, nor even crucifixion.  You are stretching this.

Actually, the words "extreme penalty" literally refer "crucifixion."

Quote:
The Roman statesman Cicero called it "the most cruel and disgusting penalty" (Verrem 2:5.165) and "the most extreme penalty" (Verrem 2:5.168). The Jewish historian Josephus, who certainly witnessed enough crucifixions himself, called it "the most wretched of deaths." The Roman jurist Julius Paulus listed crucifixion in first place as the worst of all capital punishments, listing it ahead of death by burning, death by beheading, or death by the wild beasts.
Quote:
What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.

In fact, the crucifixion was put at the top of what is known as the three summa supplica, giving it distinction as the extreme penalty, with the # 2 spot being filled in by burning creamtio, and the third being interchanged between decapitation decollatio, and of being fed to wild beasts damnatio ad bestias.

In other words, Christians were either sliced and diced, thrown on the barbie, or fed to the dog, depending on the party atmosphere, if we take Nero's exploits into consideration.

How do you like your Christian, Rook? Rare? Medium? Or well done?

Would you like fries with that?

$8.99 please. Will that be cash or debit?

Thank you, and have a nice day.

But seriously, extreme penalty does indeed refer to crucifixion.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:

What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.

There are a lot of reasons for doubting this claim.  Not all rest squarely on the Tacitus passage.  You must review the whole state of the evidence, which I do not think you’ve done, and come to a conclusion based on it.

Hey, I will be the first in line to admit to the likely possibility that there is much that I do not know. I have no problems learning new things, and adding those new things to my own position, if they are proven worthy enough to add.

But first, we need to see legitimate arguments to doubt it.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:

How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

No, I am not doubting it.  It is just not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus.  This is also in light of the compendium of evidence, when viewed in its cumulative whole.

You have asserted that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus. Yet, you have not explained why. We are not dealing with a compendium of evidence when viewed in any cumulative whole, but only with the Tacitus text.

You are minimalizing the evidence by ignoring it all.  If we only took evidence in bits and pieces a lot could be assumed but little would ever be understood or interpretable.  This is your naivety playing into your judgment as I discussed earlier.

Rook? In an effort for me to ignore evidence you must first provide it. Your argument is meaningless without it. Since you have not yet provided the evidence requested, any claims of me ignoring it are just crazy man.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
You must now provide arguments backed with evidence to support your position that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation.

Tacitus is not a reputable representation of anything.  Please consult any modern encyclopedia on antiquity for the article on Tacitus and ancient historians, also see Grant’s Greek and Roman Historians (1995).  You can not, nor should you, put trust in the words of any historian or documentarian from antiquity.  You should never believe what you read, even if you cite it for something; caution must always be made.  Historians, particularly Roman historians, were almost always under the influence of outside sources, generally the politics of their period, their families, friends, the Caesar’s, the populace, and most certainly, rumor. 

Tacitus is recounting events from 40 years prior, he is writing his works, the Annals, in c. 110’s CE.  He is no longer in Rome when he is writing these down, but probably in Asia, where he was proconsul from c. 112-113.  Pliny at this time was the Emperors legatus Augusti in Bithynia-Pontus, which is in Asia Minor.  This is the period in which he executed those Christians and wrote to Trajan to confirm he had done the right thing.  I have no doubt that he would have also consulted his good friend Tacitus, and probably even Suetonius, who was also a good friend.  It is interesting also that Suetonius does not mention this event occurring in Rome, but Tacitus does, often in digression state.  He goes on about he superstition of the religion and does not explain the horrible abominations (flagitia invisos) he claims that the Christians committed, the reason for their lack of respect among the populace in Rome.

Okay, much was said here, but I ask that you do not ask me to read large volumes as a means of attempting to locate your points.  Therefore, I will address this assertion when you have actually provided quotes from your sources, as opposed to expecting me to purchase these volumes, and then research them to contest or confirm your position.

Put it in a nutshell, Rook, and get your point across clearly.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
(Please understand that my questions may seem like demands, but on the contrary they are designed to really make you examine the validity of your arguments. This exercise will make you far stronger.)

I’ve really already examined the evidence.  Keep in mind, at one time I originally thought the chapter was an addition added by later Christians.  You do know we are missing the years in which this Christus supposedly lived from his Annals.  Yet we get no information regarding this at all.  We are also missing his Histories for these years, and also the reign of Nero, so there is no way to examine if he wrote about this incident again.

But where does Tacitus quote years for much of anything in Annals? He doesn't use years much at all, but was still using pre-Gregorian old-school technique of assigning eras. The reign of Nero, for example, is an era. In fact, we see this as a common trait among all the writers from that era. His description of the era of Christ's death pinpoints it to AD 30 - 35.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I have only accepted the authenticity of the account because I see it being something he picked up in Asia, from Pliny.  This is why he does not mention Christians anywhere else in his Annals.

If I were you, I would abandon the Pliny assertion. As I have demonstrated, it works far better against you than it does for you.                                                 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

There is more reason to accept this conclusion than there is that he was getting his information from records, especially since he often cites his sources when he pulls them from the records elsewhere in his Annals.  There is additional reason to assume this link.  He calls Christianity a “destructive superstition” (exitiabilis superstitio) which is exactly the thing that Pliny calls it in his letter to Trajan.  (Pliny calls it a superstition twice, in one instance he calls it a superstitionem pravam—a depraved superstition—and also a superstitionis istius contagio, or a contagious superstition.  This meets one criterion for reworking or borrowing, specifically in interpretability.  Also, both Tacitus and Pliny both recount the leader as ‘Christ’ instead of ‘Jesus’, indicating another link between the two.  The only difference between Pliny’s account and Tacitus’ account is that in Pliny’s letter to Trajan, he never mentions that Jesus lived under the reign of Tiberius, nor was he penalized by Pilate, and Tacitus specifically suggests (oddly) that the populace calls them Christians after their leader, which suggests that Tacitus got this additional information from the population and not records (vulgus Christianos appellabat auctor nominis eius Christus). 

You seriously need to review the evidence more carefully.  Assuming that Tacitus pulled his records of Jesus from an imperial document is more specious and rests purely on wishful thinking.  Instead, the evidence reveals a more simple explanation. 

I have reviewed the evidence very closely, and the result was the argument I gave you, which has not been addressed by you yet in this post. Perhaps the next.

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FathomFFI

FathomFFI wrote:

 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
From now on, please do me a favor, and respond to everything at one time, otherwise you’re making me do more work than I want to do.  I have to go through, copy all your remarks into one document, reformat it, and go through the hassle of separating your comments from mine.  Do us all a favor, and hit the quote button, quote things all in one reply, and save me (and you) time.

Very well, but prepare yourself for some very long posts with that method.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
The questions you will see from me are logical questions; ones which you will face from people far greater than myself if you enter the scholarly world.

You fail to realize I’m already a part of the scholarly community.  You do know I am being reviewed for publication?

I do know about your review, but being a part of a scholarly community is not what makes a scholar any more than a graduate certificate does. The true mark of a scholar is that which demonstrates a profound and advanced knowledge of a particular subject.

Since you are still under review for publication, then the jury is still out. And even if you are published, any claims of being a scholar will not be made by you, but rather your peers.

Impressing yourself is nothing. Impressing your peers is everything.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
If you cannot answer them, simply reconsider the validity of your argument and dismiss it if necessary.

Only if you promise to do the same.

It's like a religion to me.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
It is pointless to hold onto an argument if it cannot be supported, and it is also intellectual suicide to hold onto frivolous arguments in the scholarly world.

You understand you are coming from this position, not I?  The burden of proof rests on he who alleges.

I have alleged nothing. I have asked to see your arguments against the validity of the Tacitus text regarding Jesus. I have not presented a view on it, but am only here to examine your arguments.

There are two burdens of proof. The first burden of proof is indeed on he who alleges, but the 2nd burden of proof also rests with anyone else who alleges. It's know as "assuming a burden of proof."

The moment you provide counter-points with evidence, you have assumed a burden of proof because you have made a counter-claim. Here is a simple example:

Subject 1: The Tacitus text is authentic, and here's my evidence.

Subject 2 The Tacitus text is not authentic, and here's my evidence.

Both subjects above have burdens of proof because both made a claim either for or against the authenticity of the Tacitus text, and both volunteered evidence. The moment you bring new evidence into a debate, you have assumed a burden of proof because of that evidence. You then must defend the integrity of your evidence from the original claimant.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
I have a clue.

Based on your earlier replies to me, I am skeptical.  That is not an insult.  You are naïve about the state of the evidence.  More on this as we review your passages.

I assure you, you will regret this statement later.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Therefore, let's take a look at what you are saying.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

It is as irrelevant as the Parium Marble, in that just because it says a legendary character lived or event happened does not make it so.  I am not holding to different standards here, and am applying criticism to everything equally.  I give my reasons below for not accepting this evidence as reputable.

By using the same method of argument as you use above, we can equally say that because it says Jesus lived, then we have been given no reason to believe he didn't. Let us use some logic in assessing the text according to your argument.

Fallacy of False Analogy.  That is not what I am saying.  Perhaps you do not know what the Parium Marble is?

Yes I know about the Parium Marble. My point which eluded you was "just because it says a legendary charactor did not live, or event did not occur does not make it so." In the context of  Jesus, just because you say he did not exist, does not make it so.

That kind of argument works both ways, and is actually pointless.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
The Tacitus text claims that a man named Christus, understood as Jesus,

By you. 

Actually, almost universally agreed upon by almost every reputable scholar, if you want the truth. You should be aware that it will indeed be intellectual suicide to deny that Christus refers to Jesus, as all arguments to support that assertion have been met with solid evidence to the contrary, bringing ridicule to those who were hense regulated to the bottom-feeders of the intellectual gene pool.

But if you feel you can contest it ...

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
lived and was executed by Pontius Pilate.

I would note that he does not say that Christus was executed. 

“Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators.”

You can assume the extreme penalty means death, but there is no real evidence textually to assume execution, nor even crucifixion.  You are stretching this.

Actually, the words "extreme penalty" literally refer "crucifixion."

Quote:
The Roman statesman Cicero called it "the most cruel and disgusting penalty" (Verrem 2:5.165) and "the most extreme penalty" (Verrem 2:5.168). The Jewish historian Josephus, who certainly witnessed enough crucifixions himself, called it "the most wretched of deaths." The Roman jurist Julius Paulus listed crucifixion in first place as the worst of all capital punishments, listing it ahead of death by burning, death by beheading, or death by the wild beasts.
Quote:
What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.

In fact, the crucifixion was put at the top of what is known as the three summa supplica, giving it distinction as the extreme penalty, with the # 2 spot being filled in by burning creamtio, and the third being interchanged between decapitation decollatio, and of being fed to wild beasts damnatio ad bestias.

In other words, Christians were either sliced and diced, thrown on the barbie, or fed to the dog, depending on the party atmosphere, if we take Nero's exploits into consideration.

How do you like your Christian, Rook? Rare? Medium? Or well done?

Would you like fries with that?

$8.99 please. Will that be cash or debit?

Thank you, and have a nice day.

But seriously, extreme penalty does indeed refer to crucifixion.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:

What reason do we have for doubting this claim? In order to even substantiate doubt, we must have reason. You have said you will give your reasoning below. Fair enough, now let us explore those reasons.

There are a lot of reasons for doubting this claim.  Not all rest squarely on the Tacitus passage.  You must review the whole state of the evidence, which I do not think you’ve done, and come to a conclusion based on it.

Hey, I will be the first in line to admit to the likely possibility that there is much that I do not know. I have no problems learning new things, and adding those new things to my own position, if they are proven worthy enough to add.

But first, we need to see legitimate arguments to doubt it.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:

How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine? Are you doubting your position on the non-existence of Jesus?

No, I am not doubting it.  It is just not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus.  This is also in light of the compendium of evidence, when viewed in its cumulative whole.

You have asserted that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation of what would be required for historical evidence of a historical Jesus. Yet, you have not explained why. We are not dealing with a compendium of evidence when viewed in any cumulative whole, but only with the Tacitus text.

You are minimalizing the evidence by ignoring it all.  If we only took evidence in bits and pieces a lot could be assumed but little would ever be understood or interpretable.  This is your naivety playing into your judgment as I discussed earlier.

Rook? In an effort for me to ignore evidence you must first provide it. Your argument is meaningless without it. Since you have not yet provided the evidence requested, any claims of me ignoring it are just crazy man.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
You must now provide arguments backed with evidence to support your position that the Tacitus text is not a reputable representation.

Tacitus is not a reputable representation of anything.  Please consult any modern encyclopedia on antiquity for the article on Tacitus and ancient historians, also see Grant’s Greek and Roman Historians (1995).  You can not, nor should you, put trust in the words of any historian or documentarian from antiquity.  You should never believe what you read, even if you cite it for something; caution must always be made.  Historians, particularly Roman historians, were almost always under the influence of outside sources, generally the politics of their period, their families, friends, the Caesar’s, the populace, and most certainly, rumor. 

Tacitus is recounting events from 40 years prior, he is writing his works, the Annals, in c. 110’s CE.  He is no longer in Rome when he is writing these down, but probably in Asia, where he was proconsul from c. 112-113.  Pliny at this time was the Emperors legatus Augusti in Bithynia-Pontus, which is in Asia Minor.  This is the period in which he executed those Christians and wrote to Trajan to confirm he had done the right thing.  I have no doubt that he would have also consulted his good friend Tacitus, and probably even Suetonius, who was also a good friend.  It is interesting also that Suetonius does not mention this event occurring in Rome, but Tacitus does, often in digression state.  He goes on about he superstition of the religion and does not explain the horrible abominations (flagitia invisos) he claims that the Christians committed, the reason for their lack of respect among the populace in Rome.

Okay, much was said here, but I ask that you do not ask me to read large volumes as a means of attempting to locate your points.  Therefore, I will address this assertion when you have actually provided quotes from your sources, as opposed to expecting me to purchase these volumes, and then research them to contest or confirm your position.

Put it in a nutshell, Rook, and get your point across clearly.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
(Please understand that my questions may seem like demands, but on the contrary they are designed to really make you examine the validity of your arguments. This exercise will make you far stronger.)

I’ve really already examined the evidence.  Keep in mind, at one time I originally thought the chapter was an addition added by later Christians.  You do know we are missing the years in which this Christus supposedly lived from his Annals.  Yet we get no information regarding this at all.  We are also missing his Histories for these years, and also the reign of Nero, so there is no way to examine if he wrote about this incident again.

But where does Tacitus quote years for much of anything in Annals? He doesn't use years much at all, but was still using pre-Gregorian old-school technique of assigning eras. The reign of Nero, for example, is an era. In fact, we see this as a common trait among all the writers from that era. His description of the era of Christ's death pinpoints it to AD 30 - 35.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I have only accepted the authenticity of the account because I see it being something he picked up in Asia, from Pliny.  This is why he does not mention Christians anywhere else in his Annals.

If I were you, I would abandon the Pliny assertion. As I have demonstrated, it works far better against you than it does for you.                                                 

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Although we have evidence of the letters between Pliny and Tacitus, there is absolutely no evidence to support Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus regarding Jesus, Christus, or whoever you want to call him.

There is more reason to accept this conclusion than there is that he was getting his information from records, especially since he often cites his sources when he pulls them from the records elsewhere in his Annals.  There is additional reason to assume this link.  He calls Christianity a “destructive superstition” (exitiabilis superstitio) which is exactly the thing that Pliny calls it in his letter to Trajan.  (Pliny calls it a superstition twice, in one instance he calls it a superstitionem pravam—a depraved superstition—and also a superstitionis istius contagio, or a contagious superstition.  This meets one criterion for reworking or borrowing, specifically in interpretability.  Also, both Tacitus and Pliny both recount the leader as ‘Christ’ instead of ‘Jesus’, indicating another link between the two.  The only difference between Pliny’s account and Tacitus’ account is that in Pliny’s letter to Trajan, he never mentions that Jesus lived under the reign of Tiberius, nor was he penalized by Pilate, and Tacitus specifically suggests (oddly) that the populace calls them Christians after their leader, which suggests that Tacitus got this additional information from the population and not records (vulgus Christianos appellabat auctor nominis eius Christus). 

You seriously need to review the evidence more carefully.  Assuming that Tacitus pulled his records of Jesus from an imperial document is more specious and rests purely on wishful thinking.  Instead, the evidence reveals a more simple explanation. 

I have reviewed the evidence very closely, and the result was the argument I gave you, which has not been addressed by you yet in this post. Perhaps the next.

This is what you said in this e-mail:

(1) You will not read a book you haven't read, which is entirely pertinent to the discussion, and will continue to accept the historians at face value.

(2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.

(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.

(4) You will continue to assert rather then dismantle my arguments, especially considering the obvious evidence for my case.  Instead you'll just suggest I didn't make any.

(5) You will ignore the fact that we are missing the years of Christ's birth by assuming I was suggesting he wrote in years.  Even though you are correct and he didn't cite years, he was discussing periods, and we are missing the period that encompasses those years.  You have not refuted this point.

(6) You will attempt to contradict yourself and suggest a link between what Josephus says about crucifixion and assume that means the same thing in Tacitus, although claiming I can't do that (and my link is much more valid, since we know Pliny and Tacitus communicated.  No evidence exists that Tacitus knew of Josephus' works)

(7) You say a lot and prove nothing, ignore the whole of the evidence, and you appeal to authority without realizing that this association is still contested and debated, and has been for over three hundred years, since the dawn of the enlightenment and critical history.

(Cool You ignore that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations. 

That about sums up every point you've made since the beginning of this discussion. 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Tacitus is probably genuine, but it is irrelevant.

 

Why is it irrelevant? Your position is that Jesus is not historically evidenced, yet you say the Tacitus quote is "probably genuine," and yet claim it as irrelevant?

How can it not be relevant if it is probably genuine?

 

Because it's a report of hearsay, taken from Christians. It's not a historical claim on the part of Tacitus. Even William Lane Craig agrees with this!

 

If this is news to you, you're not ready for this discussion.

 

There are serious problems with using the passage you quoted as independent corroboration of Jesus:

Jeffery Jay Lowder states:

"There is no good reason to believe that Tacitus conducted independent research concerning the historicity of Jesus. The context of the reference was simply to explain the origin of the term "Christians," which was in turn made in the context of documenting Nero's vices..."

It is not just 'Christ-mythicists' who deny that Tacitus provides independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus; indeed, there are numerous Christian scholars who do the same! For example, France writes, Annals XV.44 "cannot carry alone the weight of the role of 'independent testimony' with which it has often been invested." E.P. Sanders notes, "Roman sources that mention [Jesus] are all dependent on Christian reports." And William Lane Craig states that Tacitus' statement is "no doubt dependent on Christian tradition."
- Jeffery Jay Lowder, "Evidence" for Jesus, Is It Reliable?
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

So it may simply be that Tacitus was relying on oral tradition, and not on any historical research for his reference to Jesus. Tacitus himself tells us about the value of such traditions:

"...everything gets exaggerated is typical for any story" and "all the greatest events are obscure--while some people accept whatever they hear as beyond doubt, others twist the truth into its opposite, and both errors grow over subsequent generations" (Annals 3.44 & 3.19). (Cited via Carrier's article)

As weak as the Tacitus claim is, it remains a possibility that even this weak bit of apparent corroboration is a later interpolation. The problems with this claim are examined here:

http://www.atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=38864&sid=eae887916e8679c9...

Some of these problems are summarized by Gordon Stein:

"While we know from the way in which the above is written that Tacitus did not claim to have firsthand knowledge of the origins of Christianity, we can see that he is repeating a story which was then commonly believed, namely that the founder of Christianity, one Christus, had been put to death under Tiberius. There are a number of serious difficulties which must be answered before this passage can be accepted as genuine. There is no other historical proof that Nero persecuted the Christians at all. There certainly were not multitudes of Christians in Rome at that date (circa 60 A.D.). In fact, the term "Christian" was not in common use in the first century. We know Nero was indifferent to various religions in his city, and, since he almost definitely did not start the fire in Rome, he did not need any group to be his scapegoat. Tacitus does not use the name Jesus, and writes as if the reader would know the name Pontius Pilate, two things which show that Tacitus was not working from official records or writing for non-Christian audiences, both of which we would expect him to have done if the passage were genuine.

Perhaps most damning to the authenticity of this passage is the fact that it is present almost word-for-word in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus (died in 403 A.D.), where it is mixed in with obviously false tales. At the same time, it is highly unlikely that Sulpicius could have copied this passage from Tacitus, as none of his contemporaries mention the passage. This means that it was probably not in the Tacitus manuscripts at that date. It is much more likely, then, that copyists working in the Dark Ages from the only existing manuscript of the Chronicle, simply copied the passage from Sulpicius into the manuscript of Tacitus which they were reproducing."
- The Jesus of History: A Reply to Josh McDowell
Gordon Stein, Ph.D. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/jesus.shtml

Supporting Stein's claim is that, as with the Testimonium, there is no provenance for the passage: No early Christian writer uses Tacitus' passage in their apologetics, even when discussing Christian persecution by Nero:

* Tertullian (ca. 155–230)
* Lactantius (ca. 240 - ca. 320)
* Sulpicius Severus (c. 360 – 425)
* Eusebius (ca. 275 – 339)
* Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430)

However, the key point here is that Tacitus did in fact write a thorough history of the purported times of Jesus and his ministry, and while this work is lost to us, Tacitus never makes any cross reference to it during his discussion of christians and Nero nor at any other point in his surviving works.
 

 

 

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/silence_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_quotjesus

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


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Rook_Hawkins wrote:[This is

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

[

This is what you said in this e-mail:

(1) You will not read a book you haven't read, which is entirely pertinent to the discussion, and will continue to accept the historians at face value.

(2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.

(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.

(4) You will continue to assert rather then dismantle my arguments, especially considering the obvious evidence for my case.  Instead you'll just suggest I didn't make any.

(5) You will ignore the fact that we are missing the years of Christ's birth by assuming I was suggesting he wrote in years.  Even though you are correct and he didn't cite years, he was discussing periods, and we are missing the period that encompasses those years.  You have not refuted this point.

(6) You will attempt to contradict yourself and suggest a link between what Josephus says about crucifixion and assume that means the same thing in Tacitus, although claiming I can't do that (and my link is much more valid, since we know Pliny and Tacitus communicated.  No evidence exists that Tacitus knew of Josephus' works)

(7) You say a lot and prove nothing, ignore the whole of the evidence, and you appeal to authority without realizing that this association is still contested and debated, and has been for over three hundred years, since the dawn of the enlightenment and critical history.

(Cool You ignore that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations. 

That about sums up every point you've made since the beginning of this discussion. 

 

None of this is a shock, given that our friend came out of the running blocks by citing Tacitus as if it were an independent historical corroboration of "Jesus"

I like what Carrier says about Tacitus:

 

Richard Carrier writes:

"...we are enormously lucky to have Tacitus--only two unrelated Christian monasteries had any interest in preserving his Annals, for example, and neither of them preserved the whole thing, but each less than half of it, and by shear luck alone, they each preserved a different half. And yet we still have large gaps in it. One of those gaps is the removal of the years 29, 30, and 31 (precisely, the latter part of 29, all of 30, and the earlier part of 31), which is probably the deliberate excision of Christian scribes who were embarrassed by the lack of any mention of Jesus or Gospel events in those years (the years Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection were widely believed at the time to have occurred). There is otherwise no known explanation for why those three years were removed. The other large gap is the material between the two halves that neither institution preserved. And yet another is the end of the second half, which scribes also chose not to preserve (or lost through negligent care of the manuscript, etc.)."

 

Tacitus' work refutes a historical jesus, and yet, christians cite him as if citing Tactitus works in their favor!

Ignorance is a great thing - if you don't know what you're talking about, you're free to assert whatever you want, free from the facts that refute you. Is there a theist who cites Tacitus who's actually examined his work?

 

 

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:  (2)

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

 (2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.
Personally, I don’t see much evidence establishing any link between Tacitus’ passage and Pliny’s letter.  You argue:
Quote:
He calls Christianity a “destructive superstition” (exitiabilis superstitio) which is exactly the thing that Pliny calls it in his letter to Trajan.  (Pliny calls it a superstition twice, in one instance he calls it a superstitionem pravam—a depraved superstition—and also a superstitionis istius contagio, or a contagious superstition.  This meets one criterion for reworking or borrowing, specifically in interpretability. 
 Errr, no – not really. Tacitus and Pliny both call Christianity a “superstition” because, technically, that’s what Christianity was from an aristocratic Roman’s perspective.  Cicero defines the difference between a “superstition” and a true religion by arguing that the former is “groundless fear of the gods” while the latter is "pious worship of the gods" (Nat. D. 1.117; 2.72).  Plutarch condemns superstition as being obsessed with the well-being of the individual, arguing that the superstitious man “enjoys no world in common with the rest of mankind”.  This is what made Christianity a superstition in Roman eyes and therefore what also made it a threat to the common good and the wellbeing of the state. And this is why Tacitus and Pliny aren’t alone in calling Christianity a “superstition”.  Suetonius uses the same term (“punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a set of men adhering to a novel and mischievous superstition” Nero, XVI), as does Celsus. So the fact that both Tacitus and Pliny use this term doesn’t necessarily indicate that one influenced the other any more than it does if two people both refer to Scientology as “a cult” or Amway as “a scam”. Check out Dale B. Martin’s Inventing Superstition: From the Hippocratics to the Christians for some good analysis on how Romans like Tacitus used this word.Of course, this is not to say that Tacitus didn’t get his impression of Christianity from Pliny, but the fact that the term had a technical meaning and was applied to Christianity by other writers dilutes the strength of any argument from close verbal correspondence. 
Quote:
(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.
 Arguments from Silence are highly tricky beasts.  And it’s a bit much to expect this guy to address something “laid out elsewhere on this message boards”.  If you want to make this Argument from Silence stick, you should probably make it in detail, using your four criteria. 
Quote:
(5) You will ignore the fact that we are missing the years of Christ's birth by assuming I was suggesting he wrote in years.  Even though you are correct and he didn't cite years, he was discussing periods, and we are missing the period that encompasses those years.  You have not refuted this point.
 What’s to refute? It’s not like there’s any doubt about whether we are missing those parts of Tacitus corpus. 
Quote:
(6) You will attempt to contradict yourself and suggest a link between what Josephus says about crucifixion and assume that means the same thing in Tacitus, although claiming I can't do that (and my link is much more valid, since we know Pliny and Tacitus communicated.  No evidence exists that Tacitus knew of Josephus' works)
 I don’t see him making any claim to a “link” between Josephus and Tacitus.  He simply used some quotes from Josephus, Cicero and Justus Paulus to show that “the extreme penalty” was commonly understood to refer to crucifixion. 
Quote:
You ignore that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations.
 Umm, no – he didn’t ignore that at all. He’s made the very solid counter to the idea that this passage is an interpolation by pointing out that a Christian interpolator would hardly call Christianity “a class hated for their abominations”, a “pernicious superstition”, an “evil”, “sordid and degrading”, and having “hatred of the human race”.  These descriptions have all the hallmarks of authenticity – they are precisely what we’d expect someone like Tacitus to say about a “superstition” (especially the “hatred of the human race” part, which fits with Cicero and Plutarch’s condemnation of superstitious cults).  No medieval monk would have this kind of accurate grasp of how a Roman aristocrat would have seen Christianity – their idea of a subtle interpolation is ramming “He was the Messiah” sideways into a passage of Josephus. Personally, I think Tacitus got his information about Christianity from popular hearsay rather than official records.  But the case you've made for him getting it from Pliny is not strong and the case for later interpolation is, IMO, even weaker. 

 

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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Ebionite wrote:Rook_Hawkins

Ebionite wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

 (2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.
Personally, I don’t see much evidence establishing any link between Tacitus’ passage and Pliny’s letter.   You argue:
Quote:
He calls Christianity a “destructive superstition” (exitiabilis superstitio) which is exactly the thing that Pliny calls it in his letter to Trajan.  (Pliny calls it a superstition twice, in one instance he calls it a superstitionem pravam—a depraved superstition—and also a superstitionis istius contagio, or a contagious superstition.  This meets one criterion for reworking or borrowing, specifically in interpretability. 
 Errr, no – not really. Tacitus and Pliny both call Christianity a “superstition” because, technically, that’s what Christianity was from an aristocratic Roman’s perspective.  Cicero defines the difference between a “superstition” and a true religion by arguing that the former is “groundless fear of the gods” while the latter is "pious worship of the gods" (Nat. D. 1.117; 2.72).  Plutarch condemns superstition as being obsessed with the well-being of the individual, arguing that the superstitious man “enjoys no world in common with the rest of mankind”.  This is what made Christianity a superstition in Roman eyes and therefore what also made it a threat to the common good and the wellbeing of the state. And this is why Tacitus and Pliny aren’t alone in calling Christianity a “superstition”.  Suetonius uses the same term (“punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a set of men adhering to a novel and mischievous superstition” Nero, XVI), as does Celsus.
 Suetonius was part of Pliny's staff, and also a good friend, and I already suggested that Suetonius also was informed by Pliny on the matter.  Tacitus was a scrupulous historian (that is, if you can consider an ancient historian scrupulous), I highly doubt he just trusted a Christian on the street with information.  He got it from a source he trusted.  He goes on about his sources, I do not think he would have used a source he felt was spurious.  Especially not from somebody he considered to believe in a monstrous superstition.  As I already stated, he and Pliny were both in Asia during these years, and exchanged letters during this time.  I see no reason why, based on your argument, that this is less likely to have happened. 
Quote:
Of course, this is not to say that Tacitus didn’t get his impression of Christianity from Pliny, but the fact that the term had a technical meaning and was applied to Christianity by other writers dilutes the strength of any argument from close verbal correspondence.
 You misunderstand the point.  I am not just looking at the words but at the whole picture.  When you consider the other parts of my argument, as a cumulative whole, it is more probable that Tacitus got his information from Pliny, another statesmen and not a slave or lower class citizen who made up the Christian populations.  I'm not saying, nor did I ever say, that it was a certainty.  Just that it was more probable then his argument.   On another note, do you constantly feel the need to just butt in and argue against everything I say all the time? 
Quote:
Quote:
(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.
 Arguments from Silence are highly tricky beasts.  And it’s a bit much to expect this guy to address something “laid out elsewhere on this message boards”.  If you want to make this Argument from Silence stick, you should probably make it in detail, using your four criteria.
 The reason why I post things on a message board is so I don't have to repeat myself.  We have a good search option.  Use it. 
Quote:
Quote:
(5) You will ignore the fact that we are missing the years of Christ's birth by assuming I was suggesting he wrote in years.  Even though you are correct and he didn't cite years, he was discussing periods, and we are missing the period that encompasses those years.  You have not refuted this point.
 What’s to refute? It’s not like there’s any doubt about whether we are missing those parts of Tacitus corpus.
 HE didn't seem to know that.  And if he did, he didn't go about the argument the right way.  He instead initiated an ad hoc argument.  Gosh, are you even paying attention here? 
Quote:
Quote:
(6) You will attempt to contradict yourself and suggest a link between what Josephus says about crucifixion and assume that means the same thing in Tacitus, although claiming I can't do that (and my link is much more valid, since we know Pliny and Tacitus communicated.  No evidence exists that Tacitus knew of Josephus' works)
 I don’t see him making any claim to a “link” between Josephus and Tacitus.  He simply used some quotes from Josephus, Cicero and Justus Paulus to show that “the extreme penalty” was commonly understood to refer to crucifixion.
 Noted and accepted. 
Quote:
Quote:
You ignore that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations.
 Umm, no – he didn’t ignore that at all. He’s made the very solid counter to the idea that this passage is an interpolation by pointing out that a Christian interpolator would hardly call Christianity “a class hated for their abominations”, a “pernicious superstition”, an “evil”, “sordid and degrading”, and having “hatred of the human race”.  These descriptions have all the hallmarks of authenticity – they are precisely what we’d expect someone like Tacitus to say about a “superstition” (especially the “hatred of the human race” part, which fits with Cicero and Plutarch’s condemnation of superstitious cults).  No medieval monk would have this kind of accurate grasp of how a Roman aristocrat would have seen Christianity – their idea of a subtle interpolation is ramming “He was the Messiah” sideways into a passage of Josephus.
 His point is that Tacitus got his information from Roman records.  His whole case is that is more probable.  Please read an entire thread before commenting on things. 
Quote:
Personally, I think Tacitus got his information about Christianity from popular hearsay rather than official records.  But the case you've made for him getting it from Pliny is not strong and the case for later interpolation is, IMO, even weaker.
 I'm not arguing for an interpolation!  Please read the whole thread.  I said in the very first response that the passage is probably genuine.  All I did was show that there is still reason for debate on this subject--I do not agree with the position that it was interpolated.  Pay attention.

 

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Older articles...

I am finding this thread to be interesting and informative. I wish I could add something to the conversation, but I what I know about this subject can fit on the head of a pin.

But as a practicing forensic entomologist and a doctoral student, it is not up to me to keep others in the field current with my research and publications, and likewise, it is up to me to keep up with the literature. And, things change. Three years ago, I could not have predicted the assemblage change that has occurred due to an introduced (by accident) species.

I'm fairly certain that students (I'm using the term broadly here!) are allowed to change their minds or revise their positions based upon "new" information in all fields.

Anyway, carry on...great discussion.

 


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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Suetonius

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Suetonius was part of Pliny's staff, and also a good friend, and I already suggested that Suetonius also was informed by Pliny on the matter.  Tacitus was a scrupulous historian (that is, if you can consider an ancient historian scrupulous), I highly doubt he just trusted a Christian on the street with information.
 No arguments with any of that, and Pliny may well have been Tacitus’ (and Suetonius’ ) source.  Or one of them. Or he might not have been his source at all.  And no, I doubt Tacitus was using grubby Christian yokels as his source, but he could still get his information from hearsay without chatting to Christians.  
Quote:
He got it from a source he trusted.  He goes on about his sources, I do not think he would have used a source he felt was spurious. Especially not from somebody he considered to believe in a monstrous superstition. 
 But he doesn’t go on about his source here, which means we’re left with nothing more than speculation about where he got his information from.  It could have been Pliny. It could have been someone else.  It could have been some kind of official record. I’m simply pointing out that the fact he uses the term “superstition” and so does Pliny isn’t a very strong indication that Pliny is his source, since “superstition” is simply a technical term that people of the class and education of a Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius or a Celsus would (and did) use about cults like Christianity. 
Quote:
As I already stated, he and Pliny were both in Asia during these years, and exchanged letters during this time.  I see no reason why, based on your argument, that this is less likely to have happened.
 I didn’t say it was “less likely”, it’s entirely possible.  I’m simply disagreeing with you that it’s more likely on the basis of the use of the term “superstition”. 
Quote:
You misunderstand the point.
 I do? How? 
Quote:
I am not just looking at the words but at the whole picture.  When you consider the other parts of my argument, as a cumulative whole, it is more probable that Tacitus got his information from Pliny, another statesmen and not a slave or lower class citizen who made up the Christian populations.  I'm not saying, nor did I ever say, that it was a certainty.  Just that it was more probable then his argument. 
 I know you aren’t saying it’s a certainty and I’m certainly not saying it’s impossible or unlikely.  But whether you’re “looking at the words” or “the whole picture”, you’re assigning a degree of probability to it that simply isn’t supported by the evidence.  The fact that the two men knew each other and were in roughly the same neck of the Roman woods at the time is interesting, but circumstantial.  And the use of the word “superstition” is too slender a thread on which to hang your assertion of “higher probability”. It’s possible Tacitus got his information about Christianity from Pliny.  That’s all we can say. 
Quote:
On another note, do you constantly feel the need to just butt in and argue against everything I say all the time?
 Eh? This is a discussion forum – that’s what we do here.  
Quote:
HE didn't seem to know that.  And if he did, he didn't go about the argument the right way.  He instead initiated an ad hoc argument.  Gosh, are you even paying attention here?
 Yes, actually, I am. But I’ll leave him to take up this point – he seems pretty capable of doing so to me. 
Quote:
His point is that Tacitus got his information from Roman records.  His whole case is that is more probable.  Please read an entire thread before commenting on things.
 I have read the whole thread – several times actually.  You said he “ignore[s] that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations”.  I pointed out that he didn’t ignore this – he covered this earlier in the thread. 
Quote:
I'm not arguing for an interpolation!
 
 Okay. “Todangst” seems to be though.   
Quote:
Please read the whole thread.
 I have, thanks. 
Quote:
I said in the very first response that the passage is probably genuine.  All I did was show that there is still reason for debate on this subject--I do not agree with the position that it was interpolated.  Pay attention.
 I can assure you I’m paying a great deal of attention, thanks.  Try to tone down the rudeness, there’s no reason we can’t have a civil discussion.  I’ve been entirely polite to you and intend to continue to do so.   I’m sure you have the maturity to do the same. Cheers.

 

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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Ebionite wrote:Rook_Hawkins

Ebionite wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Suetonius was part of Pliny's staff, and also a good friend, and I already suggested that Suetonius also was informed by Pliny on the matter.  Tacitus was a scrupulous historian (that is, if you can consider an ancient historian scrupulous), I highly doubt he just trusted a Christian on the street with information.
 No arguments with any of that, and Pliny may well have been Tacitus’ (and Suetonius’ ) source.  Or one of them. Or he might not have been his source at all.  And no, I doubt Tacitus was using grubby Christian yokels as his source, but he could still get his information from hearsay without chatting to Christians.  
Quote:
He got it from a source he trusted.  He goes on about his sources, I do not think he would have used a source he felt was spurious. Especially not from somebody he considered to believe in a monstrous superstition. 
 But he doesn’t go on about his source here, which means we’re left with nothing more than speculation about where he got his information from.  It could have been Pliny. It could have been someone else.  It could have been some kind of official record. I’m simply pointing out that the fact he uses the term “superstition” and so does Pliny isn’t a very strong indication that Pliny is his source, since “superstition” is simply a technical term that people of the class and education of a Tacitus, Pliny, Suetonius or a Celsus would (and did) use about cults like Christianity. 
Quote:
As I already stated, he and Pliny were both in Asia during these years, and exchanged letters during this time.  I see no reason why, based on your argument, that this is less likely to have happened.
 I didn’t say it was “less likely”, it’s entirely possible.  I’m simply disagreeing with you that it’s more likely on the basis of the use of the term “superstition”. 
Quote:
You misunderstand the point.
 I do? How? 
Quote:
I am not just looking at the words but at the whole picture.  When you consider the other parts of my argument, as a cumulative whole, it is more probable that Tacitus got his information from Pliny, another statesmen and not a slave or lower class citizen who made up the Christian populations.  I'm not saying, nor did I ever say, that it was a certainty.  Just that it was more probable then his argument. 
 I know you aren’t saying it’s a certainty and I’m certainly not saying it’s impossible or unlikely.  But whether you’re “looking at the words” or “the whole picture”, you’re assigning a degree of probability to it that simply isn’t supported by the evidence.  The fact that the two men knew each other and were in roughly the same neck of the Roman woods at the time is interesting, but circumstantial.  And the use of the word “superstition” is too slender a thread on which to hang your assertion of “higher probability”. It’s possible Tacitus got his information about Christianity from Pliny.  That’s all we can say. 
Quote:
On another note, do you constantly feel the need to just butt in and argue against everything I say all the time?
 Eh? This is a discussion forum – that’s what we do here.  
Quote:
HE didn't seem to know that.  And if he did, he didn't go about the argument the right way.  He instead initiated an ad hoc argument.  Gosh, are you even paying attention here?
 Yes, actually, I am. But I’ll leave him to take up this point – he seems pretty capable of doing so to me. 
Quote:
His point is that Tacitus got his information from Roman records.  His whole case is that is more probable.  Please read an entire thread before commenting on things.
 I have read the whole thread – several times actually.  You said he “ignore[s] that this script has been copied and translated by Christian monks and comes to us after a long line of Christian interpolations”.  I pointed out that he didn’t ignore this – he covered this earlier in the thread. 
Quote:
I'm not arguing for an interpolation!
 
 Okay. “Todangst” seems to be though.   
Quote:
Please read the whole thread.
 I have, thanks. 
Quote:
I said in the very first response that the passage is probably genuine.  All I did was show that there is still reason for debate on this subject--I do not agree with the position that it was interpolated.  Pay attention.
 I can assure you I’m paying a great deal of attention, thanks.  Try to tone down the rudeness, there’s no reason we can’t have a civil discussion.  I’ve been entirely polite to you and intend to continue to do so.   I’m sure you have the maturity to do the same. Cheers.

 

Ebionite, I'm not being rude, please do not take my blunt responses as rudeness.  I am just rushed for time, and I hate repeating myself.  My problem with you (really, it's more of what annoys me) is that you have this passive state which can drive me crazy.  You sit firmly in the middle, and seem to want to smack everyone down to this middle position. You've done this before, and where sometimes I see it as you genuinely wanting to help, you seem to have the wrong approach to it.

By the way, you're right about coincidental things, but coincidence can be evidence for my point in this case.  You posit that it is not more probable that Tacitus received his information from Pliny, but rather hearsay, but you do not give any helpful inferences about where.  You admit, and I agree, that it would probably not have been from a yokel Christian, however you do not help the conversation, this discussion, by not adding to it.  This is where I feel you are going about this the wrong way.  Fine, I accept your position that we cannot know, but history isn't about certainty ever.  It's about probability and observations.  When you get enough observations that lead to a specific conclusion, if the evidence is in place, you can build a hypothetical model on the evidence. 

At this moment, I fail to see how you have shown with any ability that Pliny being the influence is just as similar as roman documents.  You have not made that case.  And I fail to see you citing any coincidental evidence (along the same lines as the evidence I've given which goes beyond just word exchanges) to show that there is similar evidence present, or even similar coincidences.  So even still, I still have the higher probability, because at the very least, I can present some very interesting "peculiarities" that would lead to a higher "risk" of Pliny discussing these events with Tacitus.  Can you duplicate this evidence to show a high enough "risk" of peculiarities to present the case that Tacitus got his information from Roman Documents?  Or even still, another source?  (Keep in mind, I can prove that Pliny and Tacitus communicated personally in the past, and can prove they were in the same vicinity to each other during the period in which Tacitus was writing and Pliny was persecuting).   

Regards.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:This is

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

This is what you said in this e-mail:

(1) You will not read a book you haven't read, which is entirely pertinent to the discussion, and will continue to accept the historians at face value.


No, that is an inaccurate representation of my views. The actual statement that I made is as follows, and I quote myself:

FathomFFI wrote:


Okay, much was said here, but I ask that you do not ask me to read large volumes as a means of attempting to locate your points.  Therefore, I will address this assertion when you have actually provided quotes from your sources, as opposed to expecting me to purchase these volumes, and then research them to contest or confirm your position.

Put it in a nutshell, Rook, and get your point across clearly.


My position was perfectly clear in the quote above. You failed to even provide a single quote from any of your sources, therefore, before I go and spend money and 25 hours of my time investigating your claim, the minimal courtesy that I would expect from you is a single shred of evidence from your sources in good faith.

It's only professional courtesy. It will be expected of you from any scholar.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.


If you are referring to the Tacitus and Pliny connection, my position on that has been made perfectly clear. You provided a circular argument.

Subject 1: Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

Subject 2: So?

Subject 1: So, it means that Pliny educated Tacitus regarding Christians.

Subject 2: How did you ever arrive at that conclusion?

Subject 1: Because Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

The above is a representation of your argument. This is all you have given to me. If you have any new evidence to add to the above, then youcan work your way out of a circular argument. Fix it, or stay wrong. It's black and white, Rook.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.


If your citeria fails to meet the standard for abductive reasoning, then your criteria is logically flawed. Abductive reasoning is an absolute requirement to validate an argument from silence. Without it, then what evidence do you provide to support your argument? Here is an example of that faulty logic in action:

1. Barack Obama said that some people in the democratic party were criminals.
2. Hillary Clinton, nor any of her associates, never said a word about anyone in the democratic party being criminals.
3. Therefore, no one in the democratic party are criminals.

The demonstration above is a perfect example of why an Argument from Silence absolutely requires abductive reasoning. The demonstration above is an example of a fallacy, as it demonstrates an argument from silience which has no basis for support. To put this in the context of this discussion, we'll create a similar example:

1. In the early 2nd century, Tacitus published his Annals with the part about Christ being crucified.
2. Neither Origen, nor anyone else in the 2nd century mentioned the part in Annals about Christ being crucified.
3. Therefore, Tacitus did not publish his Annals with the part about Christ being crucified.

Believe it or not, the argument above is just as ridiculous as the Barrack/Hillary scenario I created. It is a total fallacy when abductive reasoning is not applied. Please note that the demonstrations above are not intended to represent your personal views on Tacitus, but only are being used to represent the views against authenticity of the text by those who use the argument from silence.

I see Ebonite has done a pretty good job of understanding my points, and explaining them to you clearly, for a 2nd time. Therefore, I will address only one more point you made in response to him about me:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
His point is that Tacitus got his information from Roman records.  His whole case is that is more probable.  Please read an entire thread before commenting on things.


That is not an accurate representation of my views. I now defer to my quote regarding what I said, and precisely where I stand:

FathomFFI wrote:
I do not propose that Tacitus got his information from any specific source, because no evidence exists to support any assumption.


Also, you have not addressed the following rebut regarding your claim about Pliny educating Tacitus.

FathomFFI wrote:
You must understand that if you claim Pliny as the one who educated Tacitus, then you are claiming that Tacitus received his information about Christ from a Roman authority. Pliny was the governor of Bithynia-Pontus, and was also very active in the Roman legal system.  He was known for prosecuting at the trials of many provincial governors, as well as presiding over the trials of early Christians and other trouble-makers.

Therefore, you must understand that if you are arguing for Pliny as being the one to educate Tacitus, then you are arguing that Tacitus got his information about the prosecution and execution of Jesus from an expert in Roman law, who would undoubtedly be educated in Roman legal history, which would include any history of the execution of Jesus by Pilate.

Do you now understand the problem with your argument? As you can see, it can be completely used against you, and supported with evidence.


Comments?

Anybody?

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Rook_Hawkins
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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

This is what you said in this e-mail:

(1) You will not read a book you haven't read, which is entirely pertinent to the discussion, and will continue to accept the historians at face value.


No, that is an inaccurate representation of my views. The actual statement that I made is as follows, and I quote myself:

FathomFFI wrote:


Okay, much was said here, but I ask that you do not ask me to read large volumes as a means of attempting to locate your points.  Therefore, I will address this assertion when you have actually provided quotes from your sources, as opposed to expecting me to purchase these volumes, and then research them to contest or confirm your position.

Put it in a nutshell, Rook, and get your point across clearly.

Exactly.  You're being intellectually lazy and will not do your own homework.  We've been here before earlier in this thread.  The whole book is pertinent to the subject we are discussing and your naivety early one; i.e. the poor documentation and representation of past events by ancient historians. 

Quote:
My position was perfectly clear in the quote above. You failed to even provide a single quote from any of your sources, therefore, before I go and spend money and 25 hours of my time investigating your claim, the minimal courtesy that I would expect from you is a single shred of evidence from your sources in good faith.

It's only professional courtesy. It will be expected of you from any scholar.

I would not call myself a scholar.  A historian I am, but a scholar I am not.  I have not had the proper training.  However, as a colleague, perhaps, I would expect you to simply trust my judgment that I've read the book, and recommend it as a good starting location for your continued growth in understanding the difference between ancient historians and ancient history.

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.


If you are referring to the Tacitus and Pliny connection, my position on that has been made perfectly clear. You provided a circular argument.

Subject 1: Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

Subject 2: So?

Subject 1: So, it means that Pliny educated Tacitus regarding Christians.

Subject 2: How did you ever arrive at that conclusion?

Subject 1: Because Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

The above is a representation of your argument.

No it is not.  Here is my argument again:

(1) Pliny and Tacitus were friends.

(2) We have evidence of correspondence.

(3) We have evidence and knowledge of there where-abouts during the years of both of their compositions, Pliny's letters and Tacitus' Annals.

(4) Both were in the same region, near enough for correspondence.

(5) In both cases where Christians are discussed, Pliny and Tacitus use the same language, which is indicative of friends sharing information (we have evidence of this in our every day lives)

(6) Suetonius, another colleague and friend of Pliny's also corresponded.

(7) Suetonius uses the same language.

(Cool We do not have a record of either Suetonius or Tacitus which would indicate that they had a secondary source, i.e. a Roman document.

(9) No following Christian apologists, not even those making up false evidences, presented a Roman document, even against other Christians who were suggesting all sorts of Jesus'.

(10) Between the evidence for correspondence between Pliny and Tacitus, and evidence for a hypothetical Roman record, we have more evidence suggesting possible information swapping between Pliny and Tacitus then we do for a vanishing imperial record.  That does not mean the evidence is great for my conclusions, just that it is more probable, because statistically, my position holds more water.

 

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.


If your citeria fails to meet the standard for abductive reasoning, then your criteria is logically flawed. Abductive reasoning is an absolute requirement to validate an argument from silence.

What are you talking about?  Are you creating your own criteria?

Quote:
FathomFFI wrote:
I do not propose that Tacitus got his information from any specific source, because no evidence exists to support any assumption.


Also, you have not addressed the following rebut regarding your claim about Pliny educating Tacitus.

Don't be silly, your whole position in this thread from the beginning was an attempt to suggest a Roman record.  You may shift goalposts all you want, but that doesn't excuse your earlier mistake.

FathomFFI wrote:
You must understand that if you claim Pliny as the one who educated Tacitus, then you are claiming that Tacitus received his information about Christ from a Roman authority. Pliny was the governor of Bithynia-Pontus, and was also very active in the Roman legal system.  He was known for prosecuting at the trials of many provincial governors, as well as presiding over the trials of early Christians and other trouble-makers.

And he also believed in ghost stories, haunted houses, sages and magic.  All of which would make his positions on anything dubious, especially relating to supposed deities.  His letters are filled with gossip and personal quips.  Tacitus is no different, and often both reflect to us more personality than usefulness.  You cannot seriously assume you have a good argument here.  You are still being naive and taking them at face value.  You are not taking in intent.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


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 Quote:Ebionite, I'm not

 

Quote:
Ebionite, I'm not being rude, please do not take my blunt responses as rudeness.  I am just rushed for time, and I hate repeating myself.
 I’m glad you aren’t trying to be rude.   
Quote:
My problem with you (really, it's more of what annoys me) is that you have this passive state which can drive me crazy.  You sit firmly in the middle, and seem to want to smack everyone down to this middle position. You've done this before, and where sometimes I see it as you genuinely wanting to help, you seem to have the wrong approach to it.
 This “passive state” and “middle position” of mine that you find so “annoying” is basic, academic judicious caution.  You seem to have a tendency to overstate your position.  And it seems to be because you’re trying to be a scholar but you write more like a polemicist. A scholar always errs on the side of caution when we can’t state something for certain.  A scholar indicates what might be possible but doesn’t assign probability to an idea unless there are genuine,solid grounds to do so.  And a scholar never asserts their opinion is “a fact” or that those who support their position represent “scholarship” which those who don’t support it do not.  I’ve come across you doing all these things.  So that “passive state” is simply the degree of careful and judicious reserve that a scholar tries to maintain, given the highly fragmentary and uncertain nature of a lot of the evidence we’re dealing with here. 
Quote:
By the way, you're right about coincidental things, but coincidence can be evidence for my point in this case.  You posit that it is not more probable that Tacitus received his information from Pliny, but rather hearsay, but you do not give any helpful inferences about where.
 No. And how could I?  We simply don’t know. Could it be Pliny? Maybe. Or someone else? Or an official record? Absolutely, it could be any of these. Which one? I can’t answer because, as I’ve said several times now, we don’t and can’t know. And FathomFFI is saying exactly the same as I am: “I do not propose that Tacitus got his information from any specific source, because no evidence exists to support any assumption.” This is exactly right.  The fact that Tacitus and Pliny were friends and that they both use the term “superstition” to describe Christianity doesn’t constitute evidence that can support an attribution of probability that Pliny was his source of information about Jesus etc.  It’s no more substantial than the fact that Tacitus had access to the archived acta senata and acta diurnal. If, however, Tacitus had written: Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus as we know from letters of the time … ” Then we’d have some real evidence of what Tacitus’ source was and the debate would be able to turn to who wrote these letters and how Tacitus got access to them (from the archives of the acta senata, for example, which included letters from provincial rulers).  But without that kind of evidence, we simply can’t try to assign probability to any of the possible alternatives.To pick the Pliny alternative and try to pretend this is somehow “more likely” in the absence of any evidence of that nature makes no sense.  There’s nothing to make that possibility more likely than the idea that he found a letter from Pilate to the Senate in the archives. 
Quote:
You admit, and I agree, that it would probably not have been from a yokel Christian, however you do not help the conversation, this discussion, by not adding to it.  This is where I feel you are going about this the wrong way.
 I’m adding to it by pointing out that we can’t assign a degree of probability to any of the alternatives. That’s what FathomFFI is saying as well.  
Quote:
Fine, I accept your position that we cannot know, but history isn't about certainty ever.  It's about probability and observations.  When you get enough observations that lead to a specific conclusion, if the evidence is in place, you can build a hypothetical model on the evidence. 
 Yes, but we simply don’t have any evidence of the kind that would allow us to assign probability to any of these alternatives.  The Pliny idea is possible. So is the idea that he found a letter in the archives.  Hell, he could even have met an elderly Josephus at a dinner party for all we know.  All these things are possible. But we don’t have enough evidence to work with to do more than acknowledge their possibility, note that we can’t know and move on. 
Quote:
At this moment, I fail to see how you have shown with any ability that Pliny being the influence is just as similar as roman documents.  You have not made that case.
 It’s “just as similar” in that he could have found a document, since it’s most likely he had access to the appropriate archives and he refers to letters and other documents that he’s consulted in other places in his work.   Does this mean this is what he did here? Who knows. The circumstantial basis for this idea (ie he had access to archives etc) is about as solid as the circumstantial basis for the Pliny idea (ie he was friends with Pliny).  But neither is solid enough to assign any judgment of probability.   
Quote:
And I fail to see you citing any coincidental evidence (along the same lines as the evidence I've given which goes beyond just word exchanges) to show that there is similar evidence present, or even similar coincidences.
 Circumstantial evidence. See above. 
Quote:
So even still, I still have the higher probability, because at the very least, I can present some very interesting "peculiarities" that would lead to a higher "risk" of Pliny discussing these events with Tacitus.  Can you duplicate this evidence to show a high enough "risk" of peculiarities to present the case that Tacitus got his information from Roman Documents?
 Sure – he had access to archived documents, used them to check facts and could have done so here.  Or he could have discussed this matter with Pliny. Or he could have been highly uninterested in the whole matter, since its something he only mentioned in passing anyway, and simply picked up the origin of this “Christus” by hearsay.  In the absence of any indication from him as to how he got this information, that’s about all we can say. 
Quote:
Or even still, another source?  (Keep in mind, I can prove that Pliny and Tacitus communicated personally in the past, and can prove they were in the same vicinity to each other during the period in which Tacitus was writing and Pliny was persecuting).
 So? I can “prove” Tacitus consulted letters and other documents deposited in the acta senatus as well.  Does that mean he did this time? Who knows. Ditto for his association with Pliny. 

 

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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I have been following this

I have been following this thread with some interest. Amongst the various claims and counter-claims there is that of official Roman Archives. May I ask of Rook, FathomFFI & Ebionite

1. Is there any evidence of these archives?

2. Why would they have recorded Pontius Pilate as a procurator when the designation at that time was prefect?

3. How do you account for the 'pause' which Tacitus records in this 'infection'. That is "the cult" existing prior to Jesus supposed ministry?

4. Breaking out again in Rome - 64CE. How many Christians? Data estimated from Stark 'The Rise of Christianity' would place about 100 Christians in Rome at that time - a generous estimate!

Possiblities, probabilities, bayesians ...

I take a skeptical approach, but I am not sure whether that is correct!


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improbable wrote:1. Is there

improbable wrote:

1. Is there any evidence of these archives?

Quite a bit.  The acta diurna (also called the diurna, acta publica, acta urbana or acta populi) were daily bulletins or gazettes that were displayed in the Forum each day - a practice dating to early Republican times.  They included notices of the births and deaths in prominent families, lists of court cases, decrees and news of foreign wars.  Copies were read aloud and circulated to the provinces and other copies were deposited in the magistrates' record offices and larger public libraries.  The acta senatus (or commentarii senatus or acta patrum) was a separate bulletin of the acts of the Senate, new laws decreed, reports from the provinces and embassies from foreign countries etc.  It only started being published systematically after the first consulship of Julius Caesar and, like the diurna, was also archived.  Access to the archives of this material was restricted, but could be obtained through the Urban Prefect.  As a senator, Tacitus would have been allowed access and he refers to material that would have been preserved in the archived collections of the diurna and acta senatus in several places.

Quote:
2. Why would they have recorded Pontius Pilate as a procurator when the designation at that time was prefect?

Josephus does the same (Antiquities XVIII.3.1).  Some have taken this to mean that Tacitus used Josephus' account of Jesus' execution as his source here, though it's also possible that the use of the two terms was not as precise in their meaning they seem.

Quote:
3. How do you account for the 'pause' which Tacitus records in this 'infection'. That is "the cult" existing prior to Jesus supposed ministry?

The most obvious interpretation of that is whatever Tacitus' source/s was/were, they made it clear to him that Jesus had a following in his lifetime and that this dwindled after he died and then spread again after recovering from the setback of his death.

Quote:
4. Breaking out again in Rome - 64CE. How many Christians? Data estimated from Stark 'The Rise of Christianity' would place about 100 Christians in Rome at that time - a generous estimate!

A hopeful estimate, given that we have absolutely no way of making such an estimation, beyond saying that their numbers in Rome this early are likely to be small, though not non-existent.

"Any fool can make history, but it takes a genius to write it."
Oscar Wilde


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Well said.

Well said.


FathomFFI
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Rook_Hawkins wrote:FathomFFI

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

This is what you said in this e-mail:

(1) You will not read a book you haven't read, which is entirely pertinent to the discussion, and will continue to accept the historians at face value.

No, that is an inaccurate representation of my views. The actual statement that I made is as follows, and I quote myself:

FathomFFI wrote:

Okay, much was said here, but I ask that you do not ask me to read large volumes as a means of attempting to locate your points.  Therefore, I will address this assertion when you have actually provided quotes from your sources, as opposed to expecting me to purchase these volumes, and then research them to contest or confirm your position.

Put it in a nutshell, Rook, and get your point across clearly.

Exactly.  You're being intellectually lazy and will not do your own homework.  We've been here before earlier in this thread.  The whole book is pertinent to the subject we are discussing and your naivety early one; i.e. the poor documentation and representation of past events by ancient historians.

That is quite simply not the truth. For you to expect anyone to go and spend their money and a great deal of time on purchasing a book with hundreds of pages, and then research that book in an effort to pinpoint some shred of a point you are trying to make is unreasonable, unprofessional, and unscholarly.

No one does that Rook. Nobody. Period.

All you have to do is extract from your book the point you wish to make and post it here. Since you already have the book, and since it's your claim, then it's you who needs to provide the evidence to support it. I don't need to go looking for anything. Could you imagine a plaintiff in a court of law making a statement and then telling the defendant that if he wants to verify the statement that he needs to go find the evidence himself? What do you think the judge would say?

That's exactly what you are doing here. You claim to have evidence, yet won't provide it, and instead you tell me to go find it for myself. You should be aware that any reasonable person will see straight through your argument here and dismiss it instantly.

It's like this, Rook; either you put up the evidence, or I can justify a claim that don't have any evidence, and therefore, you've conceeded the point.

It really is that simple. That's exactly the way it works. The burden of proof is on you, because you are claiming evidence in which you are failing to present. Giving references to a book is not evidence. All you are claiming is that a book exists, and that alone is not evidence by any stretch.

Quote:
My position was perfectly clear in the quote above. You failed to even provide a single quote from any of your sources, therefore, before I go and spend money and 25 hours of my time investigating your claim, the minimal courtesy that I would expect from you is a single shred of evidence from your sources in good faith.

It's only professional courtesy. It will be expected of you from any scholar.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I would not call myself a scholar.  A historian I am, but a scholar I am not.  I have not had the proper training.  However, as a colleague, perhaps, I would expect you to simply trust my judgment that I've read the book, and recommend it as a good starting location for your continued growth in understanding the difference between ancient historians and ancient history.

Historians can be just as much a scholar as anyone else, Rook. All I am asking you to do is retrieve from your notes from that book is some examples of their reasoning to support your position. You could do this in just a few minutes, whereas it could take me days, if not weeks. It's not like I have a library across the street, or a bookstore that carries that book.

Try to be more reasonable. That's all I am asking.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(2) You will ignore all important evidences and criteria at establishing a link between two sources of evidence.

If you are referring to the Tacitus and Pliny connection, my position on that has been made perfectly clear. You provided a circular argument.

Subject 1: Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

Subject 2: So?

Subject 1: So, it means that Pliny educated Tacitus regarding Christians.

Subject 2: How did you ever arrive at that conclusion?

Subject 1: Because Tacitus and Pliny were friends.

The above is a representation of your argument.

No it is not.  Here is my argument again:

(1) Pliny and Tacitus were friends.

(2) We have evidence of correspondence.

(3) We have evidence and knowledge of there where-abouts during the years of both of their compositions, Pliny's letters and Tacitus' Annals.

(4) Both were in the same region, near enough for correspondence.

(5) In both cases where Christians are discussed, Pliny and Tacitus use the same language, which is indicative of friends sharing information (we have evidence of this in our every day lives)

(6) Suetonius, another colleague and friend of Pliny's also corresponded.

(7) Suetonius uses the same language.

(Cool We do not have a record of either Suetonius or Tacitus which would indicate that they had a secondary source, i.e. a Roman document.

(9) No following Christian apologists, not even those making up false evidences, presented a Roman document, even against other Christians who were suggesting all sorts of Jesus'.

(10) Between the evidence for correspondence between Pliny and Tacitus, and evidence for a hypothetical Roman record, we have more evidence suggesting possible information swapping between Pliny and Tacitus then we do for a vanishing imperial record.  That does not mean the evidence is great for my conclusions, just that it is more probable, because statistically, my position holds more water.

Okay, so you basically are claiming a possibility. Let me show you what I see in your position, and please accept it as a friendly critique.

a) # 8 & 9 are arguments from silence with no abductive reasoning and are therefore dismissed.
b) # 4 is added to # 3 because it is essentially saying the same thing.

So now let's put your position into a nutshell for simplification:

1. Pliny and Tacitus were friends who lived in the same general area.
2. Pliny, Tacitus, and Suetonius corresponded with one another.
3. Pliny, Tacitus, and Suetonius used language which appeared to be unique between them, particularity the word "superstition," in regards to Christianity.
4. Based on the information in # 1, 2, & 3, it is more probable that Tacitus got his education regarding Christ and the Christians from Pliny.

From what I can see above, you are stating that the word "superstition" appears to be a word unique to the description of Christianity, and therefore because Pliny and Suetonius used that word, then there is some possibility that Tacitus recieved information from Pliny regarding Christians and Christ.

Although I can recognize a possibility, it would be irresponsible if I didn't state that the argument is very weak. You see Rook, it doesn't matter if there are no better explanations, because it would make no difference in the fact that your argument is still weak. Let me show you some other evidence:

Tacitus on the Semnone religion: "The whole of their superstition ..."
Tacitus on the Alcis religion: "No images, indeed, or vestiges of foreign superstition, appear in their worship ..."
Tacitus on the: "...and as the symbol of their superstition..."
Tacitus on the Gaul religion: "The sacred rites and superstitions ..."

Rook, those 4 references are from the first few paragraphs of The Germany and the Agricola of Tacitus. There are literally dozens more referrences by Tacitus in which he uses the word "superstition" is used when describing other religions aside from Christianity. But let us continue ...

Pliny on Regulus from a letter to ARRIANUS: "...all this excessive superstition was really due..."
Pliny to CANINIUS: "It is a fact that Octavius Avitus, deputy governor of the province, actuated by an absurd piece of superstition..."

From The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars by Suetonius:

"He was never deterred from any enterprise, nor retarded in the prosecution of it, by superstition..." (LIX}
"He suppressed all foreign religions, and the Egyptian  and Jewish rites, obliging those who practised that kind of superstition," (XXXVI.}

Rook, I can go on and on with far more evidence demonstrating that the word "superstition" was used by those 3 men in their descriptions of all religions other than Christianity which were contrary to their own. This conclusively proves that the word "superstition" was not unique in their description of Christianity, but was a normal word each of them used to describe all religions contrary to their own. To take this one step further, let us examine the works of other notables during that period who also used the word "superstition."

From Flavius Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews:

"Nay, Agatharchides of Cnidus, who wrote the acts of Alexander's successors, reproaches us with superstition, as if we, by it, had lost our liberty" (Book XII, Chp 1.)
"There is a nation called the nation of the Jews, who inhabit a city strong and great, named Jerusalem. These men took no care, but let it come into the hands of Ptolemy, as not willing to take arms, and thereby they submitted to be under a hard master, by reason of their unseasonable superstition." (Book XII, Chp 1.)
"I have at my tribunal set these Jews, who are citizens of Rome, and follow the Jewish religious rites, and yet live at Ephesus, free from going into the army, on account of the superstition they are under." (Book XIV Chp 10)

It goes on and on Rook, there's far more. Here is more ...

"began to pass his time a slave to every form of superstition, important and trifling," - Roman History, Books I-III from Titus Livius, BC 59 - AD 17.
"Marius was either a sincere believer in the absurd superstitions and..." - [183] LXIII. Conspiracy of Catiline and The Jurgurthine War, Author: Sallust, AD 86 - ?

The list is almost endless, and pointless to continue if my case hasn't been made to you already. The evidence clearly indicates that the language and word of superstition which you are basing your position on is by no means unique whatsoever in referrence to Christianity, Christ, or Christians. The evidence clearly demonstrates that the language was common among the Roman culture and languages of the time, as well as the people involved.

I have presented case against your assertions, and my case is backed with direct and conclusive evidence in such a way that each piece of my evidence supports all the other pieces. I now challenge you to refute my case.

I strongly suspect you will not even try.

What you've just seen is precisely how scholars evaluate and investigate claims and evidence. They look for consistency, research authenticity, formulate a position, and then present their case for review.

That's how it's done, Rook. Reading numerous books and increasing your knowledge about history will only take you so far. At the end of the day, all your education can be brought to nothing unless you understand how to use it effectively, without bias, and with total intellectual honesty. You will never approach credulity until you recognize arguments from both sides of the polemic, and evaluate all evidence with absolutely no bias either way.

That's the truth.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
(3) You will ignore the relevancy of a Argument from Silence even though it meets all four criteria as laid out elsewhere on this message boards.

If your citeria fails to meet the standard for abductive reasoning, then your criteria is logically flawed. Abductive reasoning is an absolute requirement to validate an argument from silence.

What are you talking about?  Are you creating your own criteria?

No Rook, it is commonly known. Arguments from silence are notorius for a lack of credulity in scholarship. This is why an argument from silence only works when you can provide solid evidence to support it. An argument from silence is at an extreme disadvantage right out the gate, therefore, in order to give it any validity at all, you must show just cause, and that is done through abductive reasoning.

If you do not do at least that, your arguments are dismissed, and rapidly. An argument from silence is precisely what it implies: "nothing has been said," therefore, where is the argument? If nothing has been said, there is no real argument, unless you provide evidence for abductive reasoning.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
FathomFFI wrote:
I do not propose that Tacitus got his information from any specific source, because no evidence exists to support any assumption.

Also, you have not addressed the following rebut regarding your claim about Pliny educating Tacitus.

Don't be silly, your whole position in this thread from the beginning was an attempt to suggest a Roman record.  You may shift goalposts all you want, but that doesn't excuse your earlier mistake.

I am not being silly, and what is obvious is that you are avoiding my statement. My position is still what I caimed, that there is no evidence to make any assumptions. My comments on the Roman records was merely to show you that since you are making unsubstantiated assertions, then anyone else can do the same thing.

But at the end of the day, everybody's hands are empty.

FathomFFI wrote:
You must understand that if you claim Pliny as the one who educated Tacitus, then you are claiming that Tacitus received his information about Christ from a Roman authority. Pliny was the governor of Bithynia-Pontus, and was also very active in the Roman legal system.  He was known for prosecuting at the trials of many provincial governors, as well as presiding over the trials of early Christians and other trouble-makers.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

And he also believed in ghost stories, haunted houses, sages and magic.  All of which would make his positions on anything dubious, especially relating to supposed deities.  His letters are filled with gossip and personal quips.  Tacitus is no different, and often both reflect to us more personality than usefulness.  You cannot seriously assume you have a good argument here.  You are still being naive and taking them at face value.  You are not taking in intent.

Attempting to dismiss my argument without addressing the evidence involved is easily exposed as nothing less than an avoidance of it. Do not do that, for anyone can see that you will not even touch the evidence involved. Also, your argument against it above can be used against your own position, since the same charactors are all involved.

Stop shooting yourself in the foot, and get back to the table of reason.

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Why has this damned

Why has this damned informative discussion degenerated into an "I'm a better scholar than you are" piss festival?

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:Why has this

jcgadfly wrote:

Why has this damned informative discussion degenerated into an "I'm a better scholar than you are" piss festival?

It tends to get that way when a lack of respect, lack of courtesy, and demeaning comments are directed towards me. It is a defense mechanism.

All I ask is to be treated with respect, and I shall return such in kind.

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FathomFFI, I will admit up

FathomFFI, I will admit up front I did not read your last post.  I am not going to, but before you get angry at me, or claim I'm ignoring evidence, please read on.

I will continue to disagree with you on your position here that you have presented evidence that we are unclear as to where Tacitus got his source information.  However, I agree with you on more than you are giving me credit for, and are pressing these issues beyond all reason.  We don't know. You're right.  But I will not change my mind on probability here because your evidence is just not convincing, and sometimes I find it downright irrelevant. 

But I don't have the time to focus on this.  So, for the time being, we can agree that Tacitus is a useless source for a historical Jesus, because we just don't know where he got his information from, based on your own arguments we're clueless.  We can hypothesis but really we don't know, and Tacitus has largely been ruled out as a source for a historical Jesus by scholars, historians, and those in between.

The hypothesis drawn on Pliny's involvement with Tacitus' information is just that, a hypothesis. I obviously do not have a working model.  However, I feel it is adequate to assume this link, even though it is speculative.  No alternative has been presented that I find remotely satisfactory for me to change my mind.  The closest hypothesis I would consider as a replacement is hearsay.  But nobody has proposed where that hearsay came from. 

Suffice to say that we can all agree that one cannot use Tacitus for a source, and we can move on from here.  I have been taking too much time away from other matters to constantly defend a position I have already stated is hypothetical and in no ways definite.  I do not like defending these types of positions, because the gray area is too great. 

I would still like you to stay around and keep posting, I still respect you as it were.  But now I wish to put this matter to rest.  Perhaps in a few years, I'll be able to write a book encompassing the probabilities and possibilities of where the Jesus references came from.  But now is not that book, and I simply do not consider them all that threatening to my theory (with a working model) for my current book. 

As it were, though, I disagree with you that scholars do not suggest reading material without quoting from it.  I wonder how many monographs you read, and if they influence your perspective of scholarship.  In my communications with dozens of scholars and historians, the time we have is limited, even in personal e-mails.  When we recommend books, we recommend the whole thing.  We do not spend the time away from the dozens of other projects we have to do, just to look up and send a quote out of context to another scholar.  We just don't have the time. 

And the book I recommended to you is small, about 200 pages, and $15 on Amazon.  The whole book is on topic and pertinent, not one small quote or a paragraph, or a page, but the whole thing deals with the relevancy of ancient historians.  Do not consider me unkind because you are too lazy to go to a library, which does carry books by Grant, and read through it in an hours time.  (I still believe books are worth buying and owning, but if you are really that strapped for cash, understandably in todays economy, I didn't recommend an expensive book)

Now, if we are done kicking each other in the ass, lets move on.

Regards.

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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

FathomFFI, I will admit up front I did not read your last post.  I am not going to, but before you get angry at me, or claim I'm ignoring evidence, please read on.

I will continue to disagree with you on your position here that you have presented evidence that we are unclear as to where Tacitus got his source information.  However, I agree with you on more than you are giving me credit for, and are pressing these issues beyond all reason.  We don't know. You're right.  But I will not change my mind on probability here because your evidence is just not convincing, and sometimes I find it downright irrelevant. 

But I don't have the time to focus on this.  So, for the time being, we can agree that Tacitus is a useless source for a historical Jesus, because we just don't know where he got his information from, based on your own arguments we're clueless.  We can hypothesis but really we don't know, and Tacitus has largely been ruled out as a source for a historical Jesus by scholars, historians, and those in between.

The hypothesis drawn on Pliny's involvement with Tacitus' information is just that, a hypothesis. I obviously do not have a working model.  However, I feel it is adequate to assume this link, even though it is speculative.  No alternative has been presented that I find remotely satisfactory for me to change my mind.  The closest hypothesis I would consider as a replacement is hearsay.  But nobody has proposed where that hearsay came from. 

Suffice to say that we can all agree that one cannot use Tacitus for a source, and we can move on from here.  I have been taking too much time away from other matters to constantly defend a position I have already stated is hypothetical and in no ways definite.  I do not like defending these types of positions, because the gray area is too great. 

I would still like you to stay around and keep posting, I still respect you as it were.  But now I wish to put this matter to rest.  Perhaps in a few years, I'll be able to write a book encompassing the probabilities and possibilities of where the Jesus references came from.  But now is not that book, and I simply do not consider them all that threatening to my theory (with a working model) for my current book. 

As it were, though, I disagree with you that scholars do not suggest reading material without quoting from it.  I wonder how many monographs you read, and if they influence your perspective of scholarship.  In my communications with dozens of scholars and historians, the time we have is limited, even in personal e-mails.  When we recommend books, we recommend the whole thing.  We do not spend the time away from the dozens of other projects we have to do, just to look up and send a quote out of context to another scholar.  We just don't have the time. 

And the book I recommended to you is small, about 200 pages, and $15 on Amazon.  The whole book is on topic and pertinent, not one small quote or a paragraph, or a page, but the whole thing deals with the relevancy of ancient historians.  Do not consider me unkind because you are too lazy to go to a library, which does carry books by Grant, and read through it in an hours time.  (I still believe books are worth buying and owning, but if you are really that strapped for cash, understandably in todays economy, I didn't recommend an expensive book)

Now, if we are done kicking each other in the ass, lets move on.

Regards.

It's perfectly fine if you wish to dismiss all arguments against your position, for it is certainly your perogative. Clearly there is nothing I can say to you that will shake you enough to even create a shred of doubt. Therefore, I will ignore your position on Tacitus completely, and no, I do not agree as you assumed that Tacitus cannot be used as a record for a historical Jesus, or that he can be ruled out by scholars. In fact, it is precisely the opposite.

 

Perhaps the problem you are having is that you haven't actually seen a good solid argument for where Tacitus got his information from in regards to the execution of Christ by Pontius Pilate. But would it even make a shred of difference to you? Are you so set in your ways that you cannot even possibly entertain the idea that a solid argument with solid evidence exists in which it can be demonstrated that Tacitus got his information from Roman records?

Would it matter to you at all?

 

 

 

 

 

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So wait, you're shifting

So wait, you're shifting goal posts again?  I thought your argument was that we don't know where Tacitus got his information from?  If that is your argument, he is useless as a source.  Make up your mind, already.  Stop shifting goal posts.  If Tacitus got his information from Imperial records, prove it.  Otherwise we can dismiss Tacitus as evidence.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:So wait,

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

So wait, you're shifting goal posts again?  I thought your argument was that we don't know where Tacitus got his information from?  If that is your argument, he is useless as a source.  Make up your mind, already.  Stop shifting goal posts.  If Tacitus got his information from Imperial records, prove it.  Otherwise we can dismiss Tacitus as evidence.

No, not shifting goal posts, because my position is we do not know with any certainty.

What I am saying is that an argument exists which can demonstrate- with a far higher probability than your position- that Tacitus got his information from Roman records as opposed to mere hearsay.

It totally trumps your argument on credibility. In fact, this argument is so good that your argument will not even approach credulity compared to it. 

 

 

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

So wait, you're shifting goal posts again?  I thought your argument was that we don't know where Tacitus got his information from?  If that is your argument, he is useless as a source.  Make up your mind, already.  Stop shifting goal posts.  If Tacitus got his information from Imperial records, prove it.  Otherwise we can dismiss Tacitus as evidence.

No, not shifting goal posts, because my position is we do not know with any certainty.

What I am saying is that an argument exists which can demonstrate- with a far higher probability than your position- that Tacitus got his information from Roman records as opposed to mere hearsay.

It totally trumps your argument on credibility. In fact, this argument is so good that your argument will not even approach credulity compared to it. 

There you go, shifting goal posts again.  You want to have your cake and eat it too. 

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

So wait, you're shifting goal posts again?  I thought your argument was that we don't know where Tacitus got his information from?  If that is your argument, he is useless as a source.  Make up your mind, already.  Stop shifting goal posts.  If Tacitus got his information from Imperial records, prove it.  Otherwise we can dismiss Tacitus as evidence.

No, not shifting goal posts, because my position is we do not know with any certainty.

What I am saying is that an argument exists which can demonstrate- with a far higher probability than your position- that Tacitus got his information from Roman records as opposed to mere hearsay.

It totally trumps your argument on credibility. In fact, this argument is so good that your argument will not even approach credulity compared to it. 

 

 

Have I missed something? If you have an argument that Tacitus got his information from Roman records, I haven't seen it. I've seen an assertion but no argument.

If you've provided this in an earlier post, please point me to it before this becomes a thread of mephibo-length.

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FathomFFI wrote:1. Upon

FathomFFI wrote:

1. Upon reading the passage I find no evidence that he was essentially repeating gossip. There is no evidence in the context to support this assertion.

Really? So he cited his sources? Let's check:

Tacitus wrote:
In order to put an end to this rumor, therefore, Nero laid the blame on and visited with severe punishment those men, hateful for their crimes, whom the people called Christians. He from whom the name was derived, Christus, was put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.

Huh. No sources. Guess he didn't have any. Thus, gossip.

FathomFFI wrote:
2. There is no evidence of Christian interpolation whatsoever.

I'm sorry, I mistook this for a reasonable conversation. Latin was generally copied by Christian scribes, and the likelyhood of error or revisionism is extremely high, especially in passages that don't match the normal tone of the writer. It's pretty normal to err on the side of doubt with manuscripts like that. It's not unusual at all to be sceptical of such material.

FathomFFI wrote:
Firstly, your two points above contradict each other. Was Tacitus repeating gossip, or was it a Christian interpolation? Which one is the supposed fact that you speak of?

You're really getting yourself into a lather about nothing. Tacitus was repeating gossip, and there's a high degree of probability that there was some insertion in his writings. The fact remains that Tacitus didn't cite his sources, which makes what he said as good as passing on gossip.

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jcgadfly wrote:Have I missed

jcgadfly wrote:

Have I missed something? If you have an argument that Tacitus got his information from Roman records, I haven't seen it. I've seen an assertion but no argument.

I missed it, too. Is there actually mention of Pontius Pilate somewhere in a Roman record? That would be great to see. Anything corroborating would do, actually.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:FathomFFI

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

So wait, you're shifting goal posts again?  I thought your argument was that we don't know where Tacitus got his information from?  If that is your argument, he is useless as a source.  Make up your mind, already.  Stop shifting goal posts.  If Tacitus got his information from Imperial records, prove it.  Otherwise we can dismiss Tacitus as evidence.

No, not shifting goal posts, because my position is we do not know with any certainty.

What I am saying is that an argument exists which can demonstrate- with a far higher probability than your position- that Tacitus got his information from Roman records as opposed to mere hearsay.

It totally trumps your argument on credibility. In fact, this argument is so good that your argument will not even approach credulity compared to it. 

There you go, shifting goal posts again.  You want to have your cake and eat it too. 

It's becoming obvious that you are far more interested in attacking me personally than paying one iota to anything I say.

Is there any point in furthering a discussion with you? Let me know now so that no more time will be wasted on personal attacks, and I can move away from this place and carry on a discussion with other people whom are more interested in the discussion than in me personally.

I'll await your reply. Just say the word, and I'm gone, because I have no use for personal attacks when the discussion should be scholarly.

 

 

 

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