Discourse to the RRS regarding Tacitus

FathomFFI
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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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jcgadfly
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FathomFFI wrote:HisWillness

FathomFFI wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:
What this tells us is that Tacitus had access to Roman historical records for his Annals, and therefore, since he is correcting the historical Roman records from his examination of previous historical Roman records, then the entry regarding Christ is now qualified as having its source from historical Roman records.

Do you see how confusing this is? His source may have been Roman records that he, himself, finds often inaccurate. It's simply the nature of material from the classical period that it is not that reliable. I'm a student of classics, and I love the material we have available, but I can't pretend that it's reliable to the point of considering it fact.

Let's make something clear here.

Yet, with intellectual honesty, you cannot deny that I have indeed supplied credible evidence to support the argument that Tacitus got his information from previous historical Roman records.

To do so, in light of the direct statements of Tacitus, would be very dishonest.

You should be proud. You are the one to ask the question, and the first one to get the answer to a question that has never been answered.

Accept the answer, and welcome yourself to history.

 

You provide credible evidence for the possibility. The problem for me is that your argument for the possibility reads like you mean it as a certainty. I have a problem taking anything that far back in recorded history as a certainty (too many translators).

I apologize that I may have missed your definitive answers in this topic. I was under the impression that you were discussing theories, not certainties. Then you went into the insults and I lost what academic interest I could muster (not an academic in any sense).

What would be really nice is to have the actual Roman records of Jesus' crucifixion, instead of people discussing the possibility that Tacitus had access to them. That would clear up a lot of crap.

"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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FathomFFI wrote:Yet, with

FathomFFI wrote:
Yet, with intellectual honesty, you cannot deny that I have indeed supplied credible evidence to support the argument that Tacitus got his information from previous historical Roman records.

I can, and I have. Tacitus is taken with a grain of salt, and "credible evidence" here is Tacitus' word regarding his own writing. This has nothing to do with honesty.

FathomFFI wrote:
To do so, in light of the direct statements of Tacitus, would be very dishonest.

What's dishonest about saying that Tacitus endorsing his own writing is circular? Where does honesty even enter into that?

FathomFFI wrote:
You should be proud. You are the one to ask the question, and the first one to get the answer to a question that has never been answered.

Accept the answer, and welcome yourself to history.

I'm sorry, I really don't know what you're talking about here. Please be specific; it's difficult to keep track of questions and answers on a forum.

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jcgadfly wrote:What would be

jcgadfly wrote:

What would be really nice is to have the actual Roman records of Jesus' crucifixion, instead of people discussing the possibility that Tacitus had access to them. That would clear up a lot of crap.

O for a muse of fire ...

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HisWillness wrote:FathomFFI

HisWillness wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:
Yet, with intellectual honesty, you cannot deny that I have indeed supplied credible evidence to support the argument that Tacitus got his information from previous historical Roman records.

I can, and I have. Tacitus is taken with a grain of salt, and "credible evidence" here is Tacitus' word regarding his own writing. This has nothing to do with honesty.

 

Then in light of the evidence, you are intellectually dishonest.

That will be all.

Thank you.

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jcgadfly
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FathomFFI wrote:HisWillness

FathomFFI wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:
Yet, with intellectual honesty, you cannot deny that I have indeed supplied credible evidence to support the argument that Tacitus got his information from previous historical Roman records.

I can, and I have. Tacitus is taken with a grain of salt, and "credible evidence" here is Tacitus' word regarding his own writing. This has nothing to do with honesty.

 

Then in light of the evidence, you are intellectually dishonest.

That will be all.

Thank you.

Isn't this walking dangerously close to the line that the theists use concerning the Bible (that it lends credibility to itself)?

Just asking...

"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


FathomFFI
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jcgadfly wrote:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:
Yet, with intellectual honesty, you cannot deny that I have indeed supplied credible evidence to support the argument that Tacitus got his information from previous historical Roman records.

I can, and I have. Tacitus is taken with a grain of salt, and "credible evidence" here is Tacitus' word regarding his own writing. This has nothing to do with honesty.

 

Then in light of the evidence, you are intellectually dishonest.

That will be all.

Thank you.

Isn't this walking dangerously close to the line that the theists use concerning the Bible (that it lends credibility to itself)?

Just asking...

The theists have no evidence.

I do.

And that's the difference.

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Amazingly he glossed right

Amazingly he glossed right over the argument against using Tacitus as a means of him assuming the kerygmatic message.  He continues to assume the case in point without backing it up, rather just asserting it over and over again.  He's hung himself.  I suggest we give him the last word, and leave it at that.  He was clearly not prepared for this discussion.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Amazingly

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Amazingly he glossed right over the argument against using Tacitus as a means of him assuming the kerygmatic message.  He continues to assume the case in point without backing it up, rather just asserting it over and over again.  He's hung himself.  I suggest we give him the last word, and leave it at that.  He was clearly not prepared for this discussion.

Au contraire!

You have not be able to counter a single argument of mine since this discussion began.

You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals.

The answer is right on the very first page, very first paragraph of Annals, and you didn't even know it.

In addition to this, every argument you had for where Tacitus got his information from has been sent down in flames to the point of ridicule. Why? Because you had no tangible evidence.

But I do, and only the intellectual dishonest will attempt to make the Tacitus passage I quoted say something other than what it actually says.

You've been trumped for a 3rd time so far in this debate, Mr Hawkins.

Fathom - 3.

Rook -  0.

PS: I assure you Kirk Cameron will have a big smile on his face this morning.

If you only knew ...

 

 

 

 

 

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jcgadfly
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This stuff goes by too fast

This stuff goes by too fast for me (I'm an old theatre geek with lots of questions)

Still trying to equate:

"You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals."

with

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

Are "historical Roman records" not a specific source?

"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


FathomFFI
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jcgadfly wrote:This stuff

jcgadfly wrote:

This stuff goes by too fast for me (I'm an old theatre geek with lots of questions)

Still trying to equate:

"You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals."

with

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

Are "historical Roman records" not a specific source?

Immediately after I made that last statement in your quote, I got a phone call from someone whom I have been alluding to in this thread. Follow the train of thought from my previous quotes.

Quote:
There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.


Quote:
I never said that the argument for Tacitus getting his info from Roman records was mine. I said a very good argument exists, and it is scholarly.


Quote:
I have a friend who is also proficient at this genre .... and then went on to greater things, far greater.

He has been watching this thread, and he is the "scholar" I alluded to in quote number 2. His argument existed, and he claimed it to be a very good one, but he did not explain it to me until after I had made the last statement in your quote above.

Despite the fact that I pretty much knew what his argument was anyways, out of respect for him I would not publish it without his permission.

 

 

 

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Rook_Hawkins
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Anybody reading this thread

Anybody reading this thread will note that he has provided no evidence for it, save more speculation, which does not constitute evidence.  He has ignored my previous post, which was the only one that discussed kerygma, and then lies about suggesting he did answer it.  I do not have time to deal with people who would rather lie than openly admit to the possibility of being wrong.  He has misused the evidence, misrepresented the evidence, misrepresented Tacitus as a historical source which is grossly naive.  He came into this discussion with preconceived notions with how this discussion was going to go. 

Even though he has shown consistently that we both agree on the nature of the evidence: That is isn't any.  We both agree that Tacitus is untrustworthy because we do not know where he got his information from.  Yet he wants to continually change the subject of this thread, every time he is beaten back he shifts goal posts.  It is a waste of our time. 

He is more then welcome to criticize me to anybody, as long as he is aware that more than half the people who will read these criticisms will disagree with him and find him foolish.  All I ask is to make sure my name is spelled name correctly.

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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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Anybody

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Anybody reading this thread will note that he has provided no evidence for it, save more speculation, which does not constitute evidence.

Wishful thinking, and it won't help you one iota.

The Tacitus quote clearly shows evidence that Tacitus had access to historical Roman records. To deny this amounts to nothing short of intellectual suicide.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
  He has ignored my previous post, which was the only one that discussed kerygma, and then lies about suggesting he did answer it.

Your post regarding kerygma was non sequitur since it does not follow the argument. It was ignored as nothing less than a derogatory comment.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I do not have time to deal with people who would rather lie than openly admit to the possibility of being wrong.

Who says I am not open to the possibility of being wrong? What you are so miserably failing to do is show any tangible evidence that I am. Your assertions do not constitute evidence, and the so-called evidence you have presented thus far has been reduced to ruin.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

  He has misused the evidence, misrepresented the evidence, misrepresented Tacitus as a historical source which is grossly naive.  He came into this discussion with preconceived notions with how this discussion was going to go.

More bluster from you; an obvious red herring to detract from the truth. None of what you said above conatins one iota of truth to it whatsoever.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Even though he has shown consistently that we both agree on the nature of the evidence: That is isn't any.  We both agree that Tacitus is untrustworthy because we do not know where he got his information from.

Would you please produce the quotes where you and I agreed that the nature of the evidence is that there isn't any, and that Tacitus isn't trustworthy?

Would you be so kind as to show the readers precisely where I said any such thing?

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

  Yet he wants to continually change the subject of this thread, every time he is beaten back he shifts goal posts.  It is a waste of our time.

The truth is, I am still on topic, while you preoccupy yourself with avoiding my arguments while taking personal shots at me personally.

You're very transparent.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

He is more then welcome to criticize me to anybody, as long as he is aware that more than half the people who will read these criticisms will disagree with him and find him foolish.  All I ask is to make sure my name is spelled name correctly.

The only people who disagree with me here are those who have paid to support this site. That means that almost all of those who have disagreed with me here are biased.

How's that for the truth?

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entomophila
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citations

Wow. This has been interesting, to say the least.

Now I have a question for all of you who have contributed historical information to this thread. This is not meant as a negative swipe. I know things come across different in text.

Not one of you has mentioned the academic literature. You keep mentioning books. Books are not peer reviewed. I do not understand the heavy weight you place upon them.  Is this normal in the history field? In my field (science) I would get laughed at and NOT published if I relied heavily on books as reference materials.

What do the academics say? If what they have to say is in a book and not in a peer reviewed paper, doesn't that mean that the academic field may not (and probably does not) accept the opinion of the writer(s)? A quick search of the literature in the biblical history field shows that there are plenty of peer reviewed articles.

So, why aren't they used?

 

 

 


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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

This stuff goes by too fast for me (I'm an old theatre geek with lots of questions)

Still trying to equate:

"You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals."

with

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

Are "historical Roman records" not a specific source?

Immediately after I made that last statement in your quote, I got a phone call from someone whom I have been alluding to in this thread. Follow the train of thought from my previous quotes.

Quote:
There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.


Quote:
I never said that the argument for Tacitus getting his info from Roman records was mine. I said a very good argument exists, and it is scholarly.


Quote:
I have a friend who is also proficient at this genre .... and then went on to greater things, far greater.

He has been watching this thread, and he is the "scholar" I alluded to in quote number 2. His argument existed, and he claimed it to be a very good one, but he did not explain it to me until after I had made the last statement in your quote above.

Despite the fact that I pretty much knew what his argument was anyways, out of respect for him I would not publish it without his permission.

 

 

 

OK.

Would naming this scholar be out of bounds also (just in case one wanted to look up stuff he/she has published)?

"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


entomophila
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scholar

Gadfly, have I told you how much I LOVE your avatar?

Yeah, naming a mystery "scholar" doesn't count. I need to see the literature, so cite him or her!

 


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entomophila wrote:What do

entomophila wrote:

What do the academics say? If what they have to say is in a book and not in a peer reviewed paper, doesn't that mean that the academic field may not (and probably does not) accept the opinion of the writer(s)? A quick search of the literature in the biblical history field shows that there are plenty of peer reviewed articles. 

It's not quite the same because the process of science must be more rigorous. When you make a positive statement in science, you're saying something quite definitively that can be tested. In the case of history (and even more with classical history), books and papers make cases for ideas that may find acceptance or not. Support from books or papers are more to show the credibility of the research rather than be an outright endorsement of the thesis (although that does happen). Citing books in that context is often just as valuable as citing papers (which, as you say, would be silly in a scientific context).

Serious controversy, though, would be addressed with papers, sources, and detailed work. This is not serious controversy. This is "my friend has a really good argument about what you're saying". 

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jcgadfly wrote:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

This stuff goes by too fast for me (I'm an old theatre geek with lots of questions)

Still trying to equate:

"You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals."

with

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

Are "historical Roman records" not a specific source?

Immediately after I made that last statement in your quote, I got a phone call from someone whom I have been alluding to in this thread. Follow the train of thought from my previous quotes.

Quote:
There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.


Quote:
I never said that the argument for Tacitus getting his info from Roman records was mine. I said a very good argument exists, and it is scholarly.


Quote:
I have a friend who is also proficient at this genre .... and then went on to greater things, far greater.

He has been watching this thread, and he is the "scholar" I alluded to in quote number 2. His argument existed, and he claimed it to be a very good one, but he did not explain it to me until after I had made the last statement in your quote above.

Despite the fact that I pretty much knew what his argument was anyways, out of respect for him I would not publish it without his permission.

 

 

 

OK.

Would naming this scholar be out of bounds also (just in case one wanted to look up stuff he/she has published)?

Yes, it is out of bounds.

Most scholars' work is copyright, and it is my experience to not repeat any privy information they give to me unless I first get permission.

Often, a scholar with copyright work will allow some of his work to sneak out just so he can test the reaction to it. Since it's copyright, he's protected under the intellectual copyright laws, and since his work is dated (he often mails himself a registered letter with his work inside, and does not open the envelope when it returns to him) on the envelope, it proves he is the originator of the work, as well as the date the work was created; the date being on the registered letter.

So if his work gains favorable review, and someone latter attempts to take credit, all the scholar needs to do is open the registered mail, take out his work, and prove to any judge that he was the creator.

Believe me, this is a very effective way of protecting intellectual property. Put your work in a registered letter and mail it to yourself, but never open the envelope unless you go to court to defend your claim.

Therefore, what you've seen here is part of his copyrighted work, and he is "testing the waters."

 

 

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jcgadfly
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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

This stuff goes by too fast for me (I'm an old theatre geek with lots of questions)

Still trying to equate:

"You asked for any evidence to support the argument that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his passage on the crucifixion of Jesus.

That evidence has been dramatically provided, demonstrating the tunnel vision you have for your objective, since you could not rationalize the very first paragraph in Annals."

with

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

Are "historical Roman records" not a specific source?

Immediately after I made that last statement in your quote, I got a phone call from someone whom I have been alluding to in this thread. Follow the train of thought from my previous quotes.

Quote:
There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.


Quote:
I never said that the argument for Tacitus getting his info from Roman records was mine. I said a very good argument exists, and it is scholarly.


Quote:
I have a friend who is also proficient at this genre .... and then went on to greater things, far greater.

He has been watching this thread, and he is the "scholar" I alluded to in quote number 2. His argument existed, and he claimed it to be a very good one, but he did not explain it to me until after I had made the last statement in your quote above.

Despite the fact that I pretty much knew what his argument was anyways, out of respect for him I would not publish it without his permission.

 

 

 

OK.

Would naming this scholar be out of bounds also (just in case one wanted to look up stuff he/she has published)?

Yes, it is out of bounds.

Most scholars' work is copyright, and it is my experience to not repeat any privy information they give to me unless I first get permission.

Often, a scholar with copyright work will allow some of his work to sneak out just so he can test the reaction to it. Since it's copyright, he's protected under the intellectual copyright laws, and since his work is dated (he often mails himself a registered letter with his work inside, and does not open the envelope when it returns to him) on the envelope, it proves he is the originator of the work, as well as the date the work was created; the date being on the registered letter.

So if his work gains favorable review, and someone latter attempts to take credit, all the scholar needs to do is open the registered mail, take out his work, and prove to any judge that he was the creator.

Believe me, this is a very effective way of protecting intellectual property. Put your work in a registered letter and mail it to yourself, but never open the envelope unless you go to court to defend your claim.

Therefore, what you've seen here is part of his copyrighted work, and he is "testing the waters."

 

 

I see - please feel free to name this scholar when he allows you to give out his name. I'd really like to see if this person has previously published.

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jcgadfly wrote:I see -

jcgadfly wrote:

I see - please feel free to name this scholar when he allows you to give out his name. I'd really like to see if this person has previously published.

I seriously doubt he'd want to be associated with this web forum, or any other for that matter.

Reputation is everything to those guys. I can't even find a post from Richard Dawkins on his own forum.

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HisWillness wrote:Serious

HisWillness wrote:

Serious controversy, though, would be addressed with papers, sources, and detailed work. This is not serious controversy. This is "my friend has a really good argument about what you're saying". 

Considering the blusterous tone on this forum, would it be prudent, or pointless, to engage in all the evidence with your lot?

Bloody hell, lad, given the transgression of civility thus far is indicative of chaos running amuck in the abyss of anarchy.

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Anybody reading this thread will note that he has provided no evidence for it, save more speculation, which does not constitute evidence.

Wishful thinking, and it won't help you one iota.

The Tacitus quote clearly shows evidence that Tacitus had access to historical Roman records. To deny this amounts to nothing short of intellectual suicide.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
  He has ignored my previous post, which was the only one that discussed kerygma, and then lies about suggesting he did answer it.

Your post regarding kerygma was non sequitur since it does not follow the argument. It was ignored as nothing less than a derogatory comment.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

I do not have time to deal with people who would rather lie than openly admit to the possibility of being wrong.

Who says I am not open to the possibility of being wrong? What you are so miserably failing to do is show any tangible evidence that I am. Your assertions do not constitute evidence, and the so-called evidence you have presented thus far has been reduced to ruin.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

  He has misused the evidence, misrepresented the evidence, misrepresented Tacitus as a historical source which is grossly naive.  He came into this discussion with preconceived notions with how this discussion was going to go.

More bluster from you; an obvious red herring to detract from the truth. None of what you said above conatins one iota of truth to it whatsoever.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Even though he has shown consistently that we both agree on the nature of the evidence: That is isn't any.  We both agree that Tacitus is untrustworthy because we do not know where he got his information from.

Would you please produce the quotes where you and I agreed that the nature of the evidence is that there isn't any, and that Tacitus isn't trustworthy?

Would you be so kind as to show the readers precisely where I said any such thing?

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

  Yet he wants to continually change the subject of this thread, every time he is beaten back he shifts goal posts.  It is a waste of our time.

The truth is, I am still on topic, while you preoccupy yourself with avoiding my arguments while taking personal shots at me personally.

You're very transparent.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

He is more then welcome to criticize me to anybody, as long as he is aware that more than half the people who will read these criticisms will disagree with him and find him foolish.  All I ask is to make sure my name is spelled name correctly.

The only people who disagree with me here are those who have paid to support this site. That means that almost all of those who have disagreed with me here are biased.

How's that for the truth?

Aside from the obvious delusions you maintain, I am still waiting for you to present an argument.

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

I see - please feel free to name this scholar when he allows you to give out his name. I'd really like to see if this person has previously published.

I seriously doubt he'd want to be associated with this web forum, or any other for that matter.

Reputation is everything to those guys. I can't even find a post from Richard Dawkins on his own forum.

PM me when you can reveal the name? My curiosity is piqued.

"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."
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FathomFFI wrote:HisWillness

FathomFFI wrote:

HisWillness wrote:

Serious controversy, though, would be addressed with papers, sources, and detailed work. This is not serious controversy. This is "my friend has a really good argument about what you're saying". 

Considering the blusterous tone on this forum, would it be prudent, or pointless, to engage in all the evidence with your lot?

Bloody hell, lad, given the transgression of civility thus far is indicative of chaos running amuck in the abyss of anarchy.

Uh, you're not exactly clean in the "transgression of civility" department. People would just like to know that you're not playing "create a source".

"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."
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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Aside

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Aside from the obvious delusions you maintain, I am still waiting for you to present an argument.

Have you forgotten what my objective was here?

Let me remind you:

FathomFFI wrote:
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

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14034

But instead of welcoming a critique, you got all haughty and obnoxious. And then when I methodically took apart your arguments for Pliny giving Tacitus information about the crucifixion, and your assertion that the word "superstition" amounted to some kind of evidence to support it, well then you just got downright nasty.

So then you refused to discuss your evidence any longer. Instead, you turned towards personal attacks in an effort to throw out red herrings and divert attention away from the fact that you have been disputed thoroughly on all 3 arguments thus far.

Since the evidence of your assertions being refuted is readily available in this thread, any attempt to deny that fact will most certainly continue to damage your credibility further.

Is it so hard to admit that your arguments are flawed? Do you seriously believe that you, at the beginning of your scholarship, could not be incorrect?

Ego is a self consuming monster young man, and pride is its prostitute. Together they'll turn your scholarship into a $2.00 brothel frequented only by those of an undesirable character quality.

Turn off the red light.

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jcgadfly wrote:Uh, you're

jcgadfly wrote:

Uh, you're not exactly clean in the "transgression of civility" department. People would just like to know that you're not playing "create a source".

Believe it or not, I completely agree.

But in regards to "create a source," ask yourself a question:

Why wouldn't I take credit for the argument if it was mine? It's a fantastic argument, so why not take credit?

Think about that.

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Uh, you're not exactly clean in the "transgression of civility" department. People would just like to know that you're not playing "create a source".

Believe it or not, I completely agree.

But in regards to "create a source," ask yourself a question:

Why wouldn't I take credit for the argument if it was mine? It's a fantastic argument, so why not take credit?

Think about that.

Then I look forward to seeing a scholar's name in my inbox when you can reveal it.

"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:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Uh, you're not exactly clean in the "transgression of civility" department. People would just like to know that you're not playing "create a source".

Believe it or not, I completely agree.

But in regards to "create a source," ask yourself a question:

Why wouldn't I take credit for the argument if it was mine? It's a fantastic argument, so why not take credit?

Think about that.

Then I look forward to seeing a scholar's name in my inbox when you can reveal it.

The buggar has been reading this forum but won't sign up. This site will see a pretty decent spike at alexa.com due to those viewing this discussion in the background.

 

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Aside from the obvious delusions you maintain, I am still waiting for you to present an argument.

Have you forgotten what my objective was here?

Let me remind you:

FathomFFI wrote:
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

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/14034

But instead of welcoming a critique, you got all haughty and obnoxious. And then when I methodically took apart your arguments for Pliny giving Tacitus information about the crucifixion, and your assertion that the word "superstition" amounted to some kind of evidence to support it, well then you just got downright nasty.

So then you refused to discuss your evidence any longer. Instead, you turned towards personal attacks in an effort to throw out red herrings and divert attention away from the fact that you have been disputed thoroughly on all 3 arguments thus far.

Since the evidence of your assertions being refuted is readily available in this thread, any attempt to deny that fact will most certainly continue to damage your credibility further.

Is it so hard to admit that your arguments are flawed? Do you seriously believe that you, at the beginning of your scholarship, could not be incorrect?

Ego is a self consuming monster young man, and pride is its prostitute. Together they'll turn your scholarship into a $2.00 brothel frequented only by those of an undesirable character quality.

Turn off the red light.

If your objective was to somehow help my arguments you should pluck out the thorn from your own eye, that is, after you have managed to actually come up with an argument.  You haven't "refuted" anything of mine yet, as we haven't disagreed on anything yet.  To refute something, I would have to be behind it, and no argument you've presented has been against any position I'm behind.  If you really think that my supposition of Pliny as the originator behind Tacitus' message is something I'm behind, you need to go back to reading comprehension 101.  I said from the get-go that I was not sure, that it was just a hypothesis.  You have been pushing your goals back after every post of Will's or mine that shows you have consistently changed what your "goal" is since you started.  You have something like ten different reasons for posting here, and all of them are different, and you claim each one is your "one reason".  Tell me, fool, which one is it that you cling to now?  Fifteen minutes from now? After this post which exposes you again for somebody who only cares about one thing: being dishonest repeatedly to try to catch us off guard.  Because I think that is your real goal, to discredit us in this manner. 

Personally, I think your kind is scum, where you leech off the world because you're not good enough to be anything else.  You've leeched this thread dry.  It's lost all semblance of something decent.  And it wasn't me who did this.  You're blind, def, and dumb to your own inability to recognize your flawed logic.  First you say that Tacitus got his information from a record, but Tacitus does not suggest any such thing in any way.  I posit that it could be just as likely that he got it from Pliny, which shared considerable coincidences.  You then go on some tangent or rant about how I'm so wrong about Pliny and that since we couldn't know where Pliny got his information from, there was no way to determine if it was Pliny (contradicting your first argument). When I made it clear I was not interested in the argument, that whether he did or did not, Tacitus was still untrustworthy and presented you with a monograph to back it up, you went wild again.  This time you were angry at me because I didn't give you a paragraph to read, as if all of scholarship must conform to your incredulous rules, which are also arrogant and selfish, without regard for a persons busy schedule.  Then you go off into another tirade about how we do have evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for Jesus (contradicting your second argument).  You then go on and on about me personally, for a page or so, then finally, Will and I both call you out on your bad logic and you then ignorantly go on about an additional source, which you can't name, and can't quote, and then suggest this is because of some pending copyright bullshit (which is bunk, because scholars have designations for such "in progress" or "pending" monographs and essays they are submitting, if you bothered to read anything outside of message boards you may have picked up on that), once more contradicting yourself on how "scholars do things" (I at least had the courtesy of submitting a book title and an author, I could have submitted more, you just went blank). 

You do not comprehend the ebb and flow of scholarship, or the task of historical research, or the methodologies employed by both scholars and historians, nor do you have the wits to be here in this forum debating this subject with me.  Prove me wrong, submit your argument.  Submit something so you don't look even more foolish than you do now. 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:If your

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

If your objective was to somehow help my arguments you should pluck out the thorn from your own eye, that is, after you have managed to actually come up with an argument.  You haven't "refuted" anything of mine yet, as we haven't disagreed on anything yet.

Can you guess what I'm going to do now? I'm going to compile right here the list of arguments you made, and my arguments against yours, and we'll let the reader decide if what you said in the quote above bears any resemblance to the truth, okay?

 

ARGUMENT #1: Do the words "Extreme Penalty" refer to Crucifixion?

Rook's Assertions:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
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.


FathomFFI's Counter-point:

FathomFFI wrote:
Actually, the words "extreme penalty" literally refer to "crucifixion."

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. In fact, the crucifixion was put at the top of what is known as the 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 argument # 1 above, you have been graced with a lesson on the ranking of crucifixion as the supreme penalty, as well as learned to NOT to take any words for granted in those ancient texts. Misunderstanding the meaning behind one single word can make the difference between right and wrong comprehension. There's absolutely nothing wrong with admitting you've learned something, Rook. I do it every day, and if you ask any scholar, every one with a good reputation will always consider him/herself a "student."

ARGUMENT # 2: DID PLINY EDUCATE TACITUS REGARDING THE CRUCIFIXION OF CHRIST?

Rook's Assertions:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
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.

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.

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.


FathomFFI's Counter-point:

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.

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.


You argument above indicated that you favoured Pliny as providing hearsay to Tacitus in regards to the crucifixion of Christ. My counterpoint demonstrated that if Tacitus used Pliny for his source, then the probability is that Pliny would have supplied Tacitus with an official record of the crucifixion of Christ due to Pliny being an expert at practicing Roman law, as well as being a high ranking Roman authority. Since Pliny's letters to Tacitus clearly show Pliny having such a high regard for Tacitus' work insomuch that he accurately predicted the work would become immortal, it would appear to be very improbable that if Pliny supplied any info to Tacitus that the info would be mere cheap hearsay.

Therefore, I took your argument and demonstrated how it can be turned against you, and provided textual evidence to support my position that if Pliny educated Tacitus, then instead of educating him with mere hearsay, he would have educated him with official Roman records. Yet, your argument was demonstrated as being circular, and was without any support at all. Just because Pliny knew and corresponded with Tacitus by no means demonstrates any evidence that Pliny educated him with hearsay in regards to the crucifixion of Christ. In fact, it is non sequitur. It simply does not follow due to no evidence being presented.

It is rather clear that despite that neither argument above can be proven to be the truth in regards to where Tacitus got his info from, your argument has been demonstrated as being very weak with no support, while mine has been demonstrated to have a far higher degree of probability than yours if Pliny had indeed educated Tacitus.


ARGUMENT # 3:Does the mutual use of the word "superstition" indicate Pliny educated Tacitus?


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
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.

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?

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.


Ebionite's Counter-point:

Ebionite wrote:
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.


FathomFFI's Counter-point:

FathomFFI wrote:
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
.

Your assertion about how the mutual use of the word "supertstion" somehow strengthens your case that Tacitus received education from Tacitus concerning the crucifixion of Christ has not only been thrown into serious doubt by Ebionite above, but also conclusively refuted by textual evidence not only from Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius, but also a plethora of other ancient authors as well. In light of the evidence against your assertions, we can conclude that the use of the word "superstition" by Tacitus is in fact not a viable argument whatsoever to support any evidence that Tacitus was educated by Pliny.

The Argument regarding if Tacitus used Roman records for his sources:

Quote:

FathomFFI wrote:
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?

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.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Why are we all taking this guy seriously again?  Seriously he has not yet proven that Tacitus was using roman records.  That makes two things we're waiting on him for - evidence and for him to leave, both of which he said he'd do.  The guy is a liar and that is that.


FathomFFI wrote:
Would you be so kind as to direct me to the quote of myself where I said that I would "prove that Tacitus was using Roman records"?


FathomFFI wrote:
Follow this simple train of thought so that you can understand what I'm saying.

1. There is no certainty as to where Tacitus got his information from.

2. There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.

My position is that there is no conclusive evidence about where Tacitus got his information from, but the argument that he got it from Roman records is a far better argument than what you've presented.

Simple enough?


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
He has not presented any argument for this position yet.  He is just trying to shift the evidence around because the very thing he was arguing against me for has blown up in his face.  He wants Tacitus to be an argument for historicity, but it can't be.  So the attempts to suggest that he has more evidence for a position, but he doesn't  so he then suggests he has a better argument, but he still has not presented any arguments.  He is trying to take Tacitus at face value ignorantly.  Then he claims I am attacking him when I say he is shifting goal posts (Not an attack). What a pussy.  (That is an attack)  Grow some thicker skin, and get with the program.


FathomFFI states his case:

FathomFF wrote:
But, do you really believe Tacitus did not cite his source?

At the beginning of Annals, we read this note from Tacitus:

Tacitus wrote:


But the several revolutions in the ancient free state of Rome and all her happy or disastrous events, are already recorded by writers of signal renown. Nor even in the reign of Augustus were there wanting authors of distinction and genius to have composed his story; till by the prevailing spirit of fear, flattery, and abasement they were checked.

As to the succeeding Princes, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero; the dread of their tyranny, whilst they yet reigned, falsified their history; and after their fall, the fresh detestation of their cruelties inflamed their Historians.

Hence my own design of recounting briefly certain incidents in the reign of Augustus, chiefly towards his latter end, and of entering afterwards more fully into that of Tiberius and the other three; unbiassed as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.


As clearly evidenced by Tacitus above, he was concerned with correcting the inaccuracies former Roman historians made due to being under the dread of tyranny which forced them to falsify Roman historical records.

What this tells us is that Tacitus had access to Roman historical records for his Annals, and therefore, since he is correcting the historical Roman records from his examination of previous historical Roman records, then the entry regarding Christ is now qualified as having its source from historical Roman records.

Therefore, my good people, you have asked for evidence of where Tacitus got his information regarding Christ from.

I have delivered it. He received his information from previous Roman historical records, as is dramatically evidenced above.


Insofar, neither you nor anyone else here has so much as made a dent in the argument above. Logic dictates the following about Tacitus:

a) Tacitus could not know that some of the previous historical Roman records were falsified unless he had read them. Also, since he was a contemporary of Nero, he would also be an eyewitness to the events of the day, and be supplying first-hand accounts of much of the history.

b) Pliny sent a letter to Tacitus raving that Tacitus' work would be "immortal." This level of respect from Pliny towards Tacitus' integrity and credibility cannot be ignored.

c) Since Tacitus was writing about Roman history of a time before he was born, and since we know that he must have read some records of some falsified history, then we can determine that Tacitus must have used previous historical Roman records for his work, otherwise he wouldn't have know anything about the history of Rome before his birth.

d) Therefore, since we can logically establish that Tacitus used historical Roman records for his work on Annals, and since the work is a work detailing Roman history as opposed to Christian history, then we can logically conclude that Tacitus' account of the crucifixion of Christ comes directly from historical Roman records.

Therefore, not only have I supplied textual evidence suggesting from where Tacitus got his information from in regards to the crucifixion of Christ, but have provided solid abductive reasoning to support it.

Does it "prove" that Tacitus used Roman records for the crucifixion of Christ? Some would say it would, some would say it doesn't, but that's not the point. The point is the argument itself is solid, and by far a greater argument than your own, since your arguments have all been cast into serious doubt and/or refuted, while those that I an Ebionite presented haven't even been disputed whatsoever.

So there you are Rook. Your claims that you haven't provided any argument to refute, or that you haven't been refuted at all, has been conclusively proven to not represent the truth about what has actually been going on in this thread.

This review has been presented in the interests of the truth, and in the interests of the readers.

Thank you.

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Forgive me if I'm rehashing

Forgive me if I'm rehashing old ground here but I really don't see the connection between Tacitus, et al. writings about a Christus being crucified and the Gospel's claim that this Christus was Jesus of Nazareth. I think the closest I've seen is "Christus, commonly accepted as Jesus"

Is it possible that the Gospel writers saw something in a Roman report of a Christus (Messiah claimant) being crucified or even saw a crucifixion of a messiah figure and adapted the incident into their work?

Or are you even trying to make that claim here?

"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."
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jcgadfly wrote:Forgive me if

jcgadfly wrote:
Forgive me if I'm rehashing old ground here but I really don't see the connection between Tacitus, et al. writings about a Christus being crucified and the Gospel's claim that this Christus was Jesus of Nazareth. I think the closest I've seen is "Christus, commonly accepted as Jesus" Is it possible that the Gospel writers saw something in a Roman report of a Christus (Messiah claimant) being crucified or even saw a crucifixion of a messiah figure and adapted the incident into their work? Or are you even trying to make that claim here?

Let me show you what is wrong with your argument above:

"... and the Gospel's claim that this Chritsus was Jesus of Nazareth"

How can the Gospel, written before Tacitus, make any claim that Tacitus' account refers to Jesus of Nazareth?

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Forgive me if I'm rehashing old ground here but I really don't see the connection between Tacitus, et al. writings about a Christus being crucified and the Gospel's claim that this Christus was Jesus of Nazareth. I think the closest I've seen is "Christus, commonly accepted as Jesus" Is it possible that the Gospel writers saw something in a Roman report of a Christus (Messiah claimant) being crucified or even saw a crucifixion of a messiah figure and adapted the incident into their work? Or are you even trying to make that claim here?

Let me show you what is wrong with your argument above:

"... and the Gospel's claim that this Chritsus was Jesus of Nazareth"

How can the Gospel, written before Tacitus, make any claim that Tacitus' account refers to Jesus of Nazareth?

That's why I'm asking - I'm trying to figure out:

1. if it's you making the connection between Christus and Jesus of Nazareth
2. if Tacitus himself was drawing the connection between the Gospel's Jesus and Christus
3. the church fathers using Tacitus and Roman records to support their fiction

Thank you.

"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:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Forgive me if I'm rehashing old ground here but I really don't see the connection between Tacitus, et al. writings about a Christus being crucified and the Gospel's claim that this Christus was Jesus of Nazareth. I think the closest I've seen is "Christus, commonly accepted as Jesus" Is it possible that the Gospel writers saw something in a Roman report of a Christus (Messiah claimant) being crucified or even saw a crucifixion of a messiah figure and adapted the incident into their work? Or are you even trying to make that claim here?

Let me show you what is wrong with your argument above:

"... and the Gospel's claim that this Chritsus was Jesus of Nazareth"

How can the Gospel, written before Tacitus, make any claim that Tacitus' account refers to Jesus of Nazareth?

That's why I'm asking - I'm trying to figure out: 1. if it's you making the connection between Christus and Jesus of Nazareth 2. if Tacitus himself was drawing the connection between the Gospel's Jesus and Christus 3. the church fathers using Tacitus and Roman records to support their fiction Thank you.

It is me making a connection between Tacitus' record and the historical Jesus who was called Christ, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Rook's assertion is that this Jesus, who was called Christ, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate, did not exist at all.

 

 

 

 

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Forgive me if I'm rehashing old ground here but I really don't see the connection between Tacitus, et al. writings about a Christus being crucified and the Gospel's claim that this Christus was Jesus of Nazareth. I think the closest I've seen is "Christus, commonly accepted as Jesus" Is it possible that the Gospel writers saw something in a Roman report of a Christus (Messiah claimant) being crucified or even saw a crucifixion of a messiah figure and adapted the incident into their work? Or are you even trying to make that claim here?

Let me show you what is wrong with your argument above:

"... and the Gospel's claim that this Chritsus was Jesus of Nazareth"

How can the Gospel, written before Tacitus, make any claim that Tacitus' account refers to Jesus of Nazareth?

That's why I'm asking - I'm trying to figure out: 1. if it's you making the connection between Christus and Jesus of Nazareth 2. if Tacitus himself was drawing the connection between the Gospel's Jesus and Christus 3. the church fathers using Tacitus and Roman records to support their fiction Thank you.

It is me making a connection between Tacitus' record and the historical Jesus who was called Christ, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Rook's assertion is that this Jesus, who was called Christ, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate, did not exist at all.

 

 

 

 

Ok. Forgive again as I don't recall seeing an answer to this.

How do you come to this conclusion from Tacitus when he doesn't make it himself?

What makes Tacitus' Christus Jesus of Nazareth instead of some other claimant of Messiahship? Claimants to the title of Messiah abounded in Israel

"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:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

That's why I'm asking - I'm trying to figure out: 1. if it's you making the connection between Christus and Jesus of Nazareth 2. if Tacitus himself was drawing the connection between the Gospel's Jesus and Christus 3. the church fathers using Tacitus and Roman records to support their fiction Thank you.

It is me making a connection between Tacitus' record and the historical Jesus who was called Christ, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Rook's assertion is that this Jesus, who was called Christ, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate, did not exist at all. 

Ok. Forgive again as I don't recall seeing an answer to this. How do you come to this conclusion from Tacitus when he doesn't make it himself? What makes Tacitus' Christus Jesus of Nazareth instead of some other claimant of Messiahship? Claimants to the title of Messiah abounded in Israel

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him.

 

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:
jcgadfly wrote:

That's why I'm asking - I'm trying to figure out: 1. if it's you making the connection between Christus and Jesus of Nazareth 2. if Tacitus himself was drawing the connection between the Gospel's Jesus and Christus 3. the church fathers using Tacitus and Roman records to support their fiction Thank you.

It is me making a connection between Tacitus' record and the historical Jesus who was called Christ, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

Rook's assertion is that this Jesus, who was called Christ, who was crucified by Pontius Pilate, did not exist at all. 

Ok. Forgive again as I don't recall seeing an answer to this. How do you come to this conclusion from Tacitus when he doesn't make it himself? What makes Tacitus' Christus Jesus of Nazareth instead of some other claimant of Messiahship? Claimants to the title of Messiah abounded in Israel

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him.

 

Doesn't that work off the assumption that Jesus of Nazareth was the only one called "Christus"?

Christus is merely a title, not a name. Wouldn't the Romans have used Christus to denote any Messiah claimant they crucified?

"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."
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jcgadfly wrote:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

 

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him.

 

Doesn't that work off the assumption that Jesus of Nazareth was the only one called "Christus"? Christus is merely a title, not a name. Wouldn't the Romans have used Christus to denote any Messiah claimant they crucified?

No it does not. The fact that Christians were named after this particular Christ negates that assumption, since there is no documented history of Christians being named after any other Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since your question suggests that another Christ existed whom the Christians were called after, then you are obligated to demonstrate with historical evidence that another Christ existed in whom the name "Christians" got its name from, and also that that Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate also.

All available evidence indicates that Christians were named after a man named Jesus, who was called Christ, and executed by Pontius Pilate.

 

 

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jcgadfly
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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

 

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him.

 

Doesn't that work off the assumption that Jesus of Nazareth was the only one called "Christus"? Christus is merely a title, not a name. Wouldn't the Romans have used Christus to denote any Messiah claimant they crucified?

No it does not. The fact that Christians were named after this particular Christ negates that assumption, since there is no documented history of Christians being named after any other Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since your question suggests that another Christ existed whom the Christians were called after, then you are obligated to demonstrate with historical evidence that another Christ existed in whom the name "Christians" got its name from, and also that that Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate also.

All available evidence indicates that Christians were named after a man named Jesus, who was called Christ, and executed by Pontius Pilate.

 

 

As I'm not taking the position but exploring possibilities - I'm not obligated to demonstrate a thing.

Are you saying that:

1. because Tacitus saw a Christus mentioned in Roman records
(that he had access to)
2. and other historical documents (which Tacitus also probably had access to) mentioned Christians
3. and the Gospels (which Tacitus probably also had access to) forge a connection to Jesus of Nazareth and call him the Christ (based on their understanding of Paul's teachings which preexisted the Gospels)

your (and perhaps your unnamed scholar's) conclusion is that the only person tha could have fit this description was Jesus of Nazareth as found in the Gospels?

Doesn't that set you up to go the rest of the way and say that there is historical evidence for this Jesus Christ being the Son of Yahweh as the theists assert? If not, why not?

"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."
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jcgadfly wrote:FathomFFI

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:
 

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him. 

Doesn't that work off the assumption that Jesus of Nazareth was the only one called "Christus"? Christus is merely a title, not a name. Wouldn't the Romans have used Christus to denote any Messiah claimant they crucified?

No it does not. The fact that Christians were named after this particular Christ negates that assumption, since there is no documented history of Christians being named after any other Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since your question suggests that another Christ existed whom the Christians were called after, then you are obligated to demonstrate with historical evidence that another Christ existed in whom the name "Christians" got its name from, and also that that Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate also.

All available evidence indicates that Christians were named after a man named Jesus, who was called Christ, and executed by Pontius Pilate. 

As I'm not taking the position but exploring possibilities - I'm not obligated to demonstrate a thing.

Since you've suggested that another person other than Jesus who was named Christ existed, then your suggestion should be accompanied by supporting evidence, otherwise the suggestion is without merit and therefore unwarranted. What this means is, I could simply reply with the following question:

Q: What evidence or argument do you have that could suggest someone else other than Jesus was the Christus whom is depicted by Tacitus as being the Christus whom Christians got their name from, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate?

Therefore, instead of me qualifying your assumption, I dispute its validity and worthiness.

jcgadfly wrote:
Are you saying that: 1. because Tacitus saw a Christus mentioned in Roman records (that he had access to) 2. and other historical documents (which Tacitus also probably had access to) mentioned Christians 3. and the Gospels (which Tacitus probably also had access to) forge a connection to Jesus of Nazareth and call him the Christ (based on their understanding of Paul's teachings which preexisted the Gospels) your (and perhaps your unnamed scholar's) conclusion is that the only person tha could have fit this description was Jesus of Nazareth as found in the Gospels? Doesn't that set you up to go the rest of the way and say that there is historical evidence for this Jesus Christ being the Son of Yahweh as the theists assert? If not, why not?

No, all I am saying is that the evidence suggests that Tacitus got his information from official historical Roman records. There is no evidence that Tacitus got his information from a Gospel or from anywhere else.

The connection to Jesus is made by combining the information from Tacitus with the undisputed 2nd record of Josephus, which named Jesus as he who was called the Christ.

These two records of the historical existence of Jesus known as Christ have never been refuted by anyone in the scholarly world. Only the wanna-be scholars and zealots make any attempt to refute their authenticity, and all have failed dramatically.

 


 

 

 

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
FathomFFI wrote:
 

The conclusion is arrived at by analyzing the other text within the Tacitus passage. It says clearly that the name "Christians" come from one who was called Christ, and who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since Christians are mentioned in other ancient historical documents, we can conclude that Jesus Christ physically existed, and the religion of Christianity finds its core with him. 

Doesn't that work off the assumption that Jesus of Nazareth was the only one called "Christus"? Christus is merely a title, not a name. Wouldn't the Romans have used Christus to denote any Messiah claimant they crucified?

No it does not. The fact that Christians were named after this particular Christ negates that assumption, since there is no documented history of Christians being named after any other Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate.

Since your question suggests that another Christ existed whom the Christians were called after, then you are obligated to demonstrate with historical evidence that another Christ existed in whom the name "Christians" got its name from, and also that that Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate also.

All available evidence indicates that Christians were named after a man named Jesus, who was called Christ, and executed by Pontius Pilate. 

As I'm not taking the position but exploring possibilities - I'm not obligated to demonstrate a thing.

Since you've suggested that another person other than Jesus who was named Christ existed, then your suggestion should be accompanied by supporting evidence, otherwise the suggestion is without merit and therefore unwarranted. What this means is, I could simply reply with the following question:

Q: What evidence or argument do you have that could suggest someone else other than Jesus was the Christus whom is depicted by Tacitus as being the Christus whom Christians got their name from, and who was crucified by Pontius Pilate?

Therefore, instead of me qualifying your assumption, I dispute its validity and worthiness.

jcgadfly wrote:
Are you saying that: 1. because Tacitus saw a Christus mentioned in Roman records (that he had access to) 2. and other historical documents (which Tacitus also probably had access to) mentioned Christians 3. and the Gospels (which Tacitus probably also had access to) forge a connection to Jesus of Nazareth and call him the Christ (based on their understanding of Paul's teachings which preexisted the Gospels) your (and perhaps your unnamed scholar's) conclusion is that the only person tha could have fit this description was Jesus of Nazareth as found in the Gospels? Doesn't that set you up to go the rest of the way and say that there is historical evidence for this Jesus Christ being the Son of Yahweh as the theists assert? If not, why not?

No, all I am saying is that the evidence suggests that Tacitus got his information from official historical Roman records. There is no evidence that Tacitus got his information from a Gospel or from anywhere else.

The connection to Jesus is made by combining the information from Tacitus with the undisputed 2nd record of Josephus, which named Jesus as he who was called the Christ.

These two records of the historical existence of Jesus known as Christ have never been refuted by anyone in the scholarly world. Only the wanna-be scholars and zealots make any attempt to refute their authenticity, and all have failed dramatically.

 


 

 

 

1. Asking questions about your position does not mean that I neccesarily oppose it. Just trying to solidfy it in my head.
If I ask what an unknown light switch does, does that mean I oppose electricity?

2. Isn't the Josephus statement that you cite commonly accepted as an interpolation? Or is that another passage?

"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."
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jcgadfly wrote: 1. Asking

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Asking questions about your position does not mean that I neccesarily oppose it. Just trying to solidfy it in my head. If I ask what an unknown light switch does, does that mean I oppose electricity?

The assumption was suggesting an opposing explanation.

jcgadfly wrote:

2. Isn't the Josephus statement that you cite commonly accepted as an interpolation? Or is that another passage?

There are 2 statements made by Josephus in regards to Jesus being called the Christ. The first one is known as the "Testimonium Flavium," and is debated as to being an interpolation. The 2nd statement made by Josephus names Jesus as he who was called the Christ, and has never been seriously contested.

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FathomFFI wrote:jcgadfly

FathomFFI wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
1. Asking questions about your position does not mean that I neccesarily oppose it. Just trying to solidfy it in my head. If I ask what an unknown light switch does, does that mean I oppose electricity?

The assumption was suggesting an opposing explanation.

jcgadfly wrote:

2. Isn't the Josephus statement that you cite commonly accepted as an interpolation? Or is that another passage?

There are 2 statements made by Josephus in regards to Jesus being called the Christ. The first one is known as the "Testimonium Flavium," and is debated as to being an interpolation. The 2nd statement made by Josephus names Jesus as he who was called the Christ, and has never been seriously contested.

Thanks for the information.

So if I ask (in the light switch analogy) if the switch turns on the table lamp or the ceiling fixture I'm still opposing electricity because I think that it's possible that the switch could turn on either one?

"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."
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Fathom,The first half of

Fathom,

The first half of your argument is worthless and an attempt to make you seem smarter than you really are.  I already said over and over that it was just a way to show the unknowable in Tacitus.  When you start speculating, it is easy yo make connections and assume causation, which you do over and over again. 

I read through your position below and will respond for each section.  I was pleased to see you did not offer any critique that has not elsewhere been dismantled by scholars. 

In your third argument (So dubbed, The Argument regarding if Tacitus used Roman records for his sources which I will shorten to Argument for Roman Records, or ARR) you cite the opening of Tacitus' Annals as a reference to show Tacitus explained his methods, although he does not suggest where he got his information. 

I will requote what you posted:

But the several revolutions in the ancient free state of Rome and all her happy or disastrous events, are already recorded by writers of signal renown. Nor even in the reign of Augustus were there wanting authors of distinction and genius to have composed his story; till by the prevailing spirit of fear, flattery, and abasement they were checked.

As to the succeeding Princes, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero; the dread of their tyranny, whilst they yet reigned, falsified their history; and after their fall, the fresh detestation of their cruelties inflamed their Historians.

Hence my own design of recounting briefly certain incidents in the reign of Augustus, chiefly towards his latter end, and of entering afterwards more fully into that of Tiberius and the other three; unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.

I will note that you did not cite this reference.  Just because something is in the very beginning does not mean you do not have to cite sources.  The key phrase here is, “Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus--more particularly his last acts, then the reign of Tiberius, and all which follows, without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.” Which I assume you take to mean that Tacitus was cautious.  You write, “as clearly evidenced by Tacitus above, he was concerned with correcting the inaccuracies former Roman historians made due to being under the dread of tyranny which forced them to falsify Roman historical records..” (Your emphasis)

The problem is, however, that does not mean he was successful, nor does that prove Tacitus was not inflicting his own biases even if he suggests he doesn’t from the start.  Many historians in antiquity lay claims to the same things.  In the opening of Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, he writes:

“Those who undertake to write histories, do not, I perceive, take that trouble on one and the same account, but for many reasons, and those such as are very different one from another. For some of them apply themselves to this part of learning to show their skill in composition, and that they may therein acquire a reputation for speaking finely: others of them there are, who write histories in order to gratify those that happen to be concerned in them, and on that account have spared no pains, but rather gone beyond their own abilities in the performance: but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven to write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity; nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the great importance of the facts themselves with which they have been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history, I must profess the two last were my own reasons also; for since I was myself interested in that war which we Jews had with the Romans, and knew myself its particular actions, and what conclusion it had, I was forced to give the history of it, because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in their writings.”

And in his Against Apion (1.9.47-52):

“As for myself, I have composed a true history of that whole war, and of all the particulars that occurred therein, as having been concerned in all its transactions; for I acted as general of those among us that are named Galileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition. I was then seized on by the Romans, and became a captive. Vespasian also and Titus had me kept under a guard, and forced me to attend them continually. At the first I was put into bonds, but was set at liberty afterward, and sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the siege of Jerusalem; during which time there was nothing done which escaped my knowledge; for what happened in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; and what informations the deserters brought [out of the city], I was the only man that understood them. Afterward I got leisure at Rome; and when all my materials were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed the history of those transactions. And I was so well assured of the truth of what I related, that I first of all appealed to those that had the supreme command in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for me, for to them I presented those books first of all, and after them to many of the Romans who had been in the war. I also sold them to many of our own men who understood the Greek philosophy; among whom were Julius Archelaus, Herod [king of Chalcis], a person of great gravity, and king Agrippa himself, a person that deserved the greatest admiration. Now all these men bore their testimony to me, that I had the strictest regard to truth; who yet would not have dissembled the matter, nor been silent, if I, out of ignorance, or out of favor to any side, either had given false colors to actions, or omitted any of them.”

You would be wise to note that Josephus suggests a very similar thing that Tacitus does.  But Josephus is known for fabricating information, creating whole engagements which never happened, moved famous rulers from one location to another, and this is a man who was adopted by the Emperor, who claims to have had his information reviewed by top officials, and received testimony from witnesses.  He was in Rome when he wrote his histories, and had access to Roman records as well.  But that did not stop him from altering facts even though he suggests he never would, and only deems to write the true accounts of the Jewish culture.  Hold on to this thought for just a moment.

Your answer is not so much a solution as it is a response.  You’re not answering the right questions in this matter.  You have changed the question from “Does Tacitus cite records?” to “Is Tacitus trying to be unbias with his presentation of history?”.   This is a major problem when your point is that you feel Tacitus was using Roman records.  Tacitus only states that he was trying to be void of his emotions, not that he was going to fact check everything he said.  So automatically your position is flawed, as you are suggesting an answer which does not fit the proper question being asked. 

However, I will continue to play your game, and assume that Tacitus was trying to be studious and vigorously sought out records for everything he wrote in his Annals.  This is your position, I assume, or you wouldn’t be suggesting that this line, at the opening of his representation, having only to do with his discussion of the Emperors as he specifies (not minor facts and situations) validated your position.  If that is so, we must assume that Tacitus felt the same way about staying partial in all his works, specifically that of his The History since we do not have fully his material.  If he didn’t, that would automatically discredit all his works, as often we see that historians claim one thing while doing another in antiquity, and often times are not as truthful as they are political.  So we shall assume through this discussion that Tacitus is equally studious and attentive to details in all his works.    

So we must now determine if he is actually as studious as he suggests.  In his, The History, Tacitus writes a discourse on the origins of the Jews.  He writes (The History, 5.2-5); I apologize for the length:

2. Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighbouring tribe, the Idæi, came to be called Judæi by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus and Judas, discharged itself into the neighbouring countries. Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbours to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name.

3. Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease, which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris, seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods. The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupor of grief, till one of the exiles, Moyses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man, forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery. They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however, distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moyses followed them, and, guided by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and in which they founded a city and a temple.

4. Moyses, wishing to secure for the future his authority over the nation, gave them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that is practised by other men. Things sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden. In their holy place they have consecrated an image of the animal by whose guidance they found deliverance from their long and thirsty wanderings. They slay the ram, seemingly in derision of Hammon, and they sacrifice the ox, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis. They abstain from swine's flesh, in consideration of what they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable. By their frequent fasts they still bear witness to the long hunger of former days, and the Jewish bread, made without leaven, is retained as a memorial of their hurried seizure of corn. We are told that the rest of the seventh day was adopted, because this day brought with it a termination of their toils; after a while the charm of indolence beguiled them into giving up the seventh year also to inaction. But others say that it is an observance in honour of Saturn, either from the primitive elements of their faith having been transmitted from the Idæi, who are said to have shared the flight of that God, and to have founded the race, or from the circumstance that of the seven stars which rule the destinies of men Saturn moves in the highest orbit and with the mightiest power, and that many of the heavenly bodies complete their revolutions and courses in multiples of seven.

5. This worship, however introduced, is upheld by its antiquity; all their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren. Still they provide for the increase of their numbers. It is a crime among them to kill any newly-born infant. They hold that the souls of all who perish in battle or by the hands of the executioner are immortal. Hence a passion for propagating their race and a contempt for death. They are wont to bury rather than to burn their dead, following in this the Egyptian custom; they bestow the same care on the dead, and they hold the same belief about the lower world. Quite different is their faith about things divine. The Egyptians worship many animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely mental conceptions of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations of God in human shape out of perishable materials. They believe that Being to be supreme and eternal, neither capable of representation, nor of decay. They therefore do not allow any images to stand in their cities, much less in their temples. This flattery is not paid to their kings, nor this honour to our Emperors. From the fact, however, that their priests used to chant to the music of flutes and cymbals, and to wear garlands of ivy, and that a golden vine was found in the temple, some have thought that they worshipped Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean.

I would note that Tacitus is discussing the origins of many things that were discussed in great detail in antiquity.  Now let us review your conclusions.  Remember, your argument rests onf the hope that Tacitus is not negligent but useful and reliable as a historian.  These questions will help us determine how reliable Tacitus is, and how well he uses his information, even where he might have gotten it from.

(1) Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?  No.  Tacitus deliberately ignores the Jewish texts, the Exodus story in particular, which he would have had access to.  He calls the Jewish worship “at once perverse and disgusting” and that they “owe their strength to their very badness”.  This sort of contempt is similar to what Tacitus says about the Jews and Christians in his Annals, where he calls Judaea “the first source of the evil” and that the Christians are a part of all that is “hideous and shameful” which finds its way to Rome (Annals 15.44).  Where your quote is only in regards to Tacitus’ nature to be impartial towards the Emperors (and nothing else), he is obviously not impartial, and once more I bring up what you suggest he is with his account of Jesus, although he only makes this position in regards to his analysis of the Emperors, “unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.” He is certainly not without resentment and personal passions in his discussion of Jews, nor of the Christians.

(2) Is Tacitus citing his sources?  No.  In this text, Tacitus does not tell us where he is getting his information about the Jews.  He generally writes that “Some say” (insedisse memorant) or this information is shared by “many” (plerique).  He does not recount documents. 

(3) Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?  The answer is rumor.  Tacitus often inflects rumor instead of fact.  For example, on his discussion about Moses, he refers to him as “Moyses” (similar to the incorrect designation of Christ to Christus)  and then goes on to recite popular gossip about Jewish history and origins, particularly the ailment of the Jews, leprosy in this case, which caused the Egyptians to cast them out of Egypt.  It is a common rumor meant to depict the Jews as a sickly and diseased exiles rather than triumphant or nomadic peoples.  This is a common retelling of a rumor, which is shared by Pompeius Trogus (recounted by Justin, Philippic History 36.2.11-13), Lysimachus (preserved by Josephus, Against Apion 1.304-311), Diodorus Siculus (preserved by Photius, Bibliotheca, Diod. Sic. 34.1), and Apion (recounted by Josephus, Against Apion 2.2-3, cf. 2.2.10-12, 2.2.15-16), that the Jews were kicked out of Egypt due to some disease, generally considered to be leprosy.  He recounts their hatred towards other people, much in the same manner that Diodorus does. (ibid.)  In another instance, he writes of the origin of the name, and where they came from, also rumors and gossip which came from speculation, mainly in an attempt to historicize the legends and folklores of Jewish culture from both Egyptian and Jewish communities for a gentile community.    

(4) Does Question (3) indicate that Tacitus used accurate and appropriate sources?  No.  Although Tacitus did use sources, many times his sources are dubious and specious.  If we admit, as Ebionite suggests, that Tacitus used the acta diurna which would be very possible, he would still be recounting rumor and gossip.  Often times the acta diurna were reflective of the politics, the current emperor and his views, and propaganda.  Indeed, Tacitus is more then aware of this, as he writes that even historians were to be held accountable for this, although he is accountable as well.  The sources he might have used for the passage above would not bode well for him in this discussion, as many are themselves a product of their own devices, and care less about the correct transmission of history and more about how that history is received.  Tacitus has proven to be no different.

(5) Can more examples be given in Tacitus?  Yes.  Although Tacitus is less political than his contemporaries and predecessors, he is not separated from them.  The evidence above is just one example of many that could be given.

Quote:
I have delivered it. He received his information from previous Roman historical records, as is dramatically evidenced above.

So you evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for the passage including Jesus is that Tacitus said he would be unbias in passages about emperors.  And you really wonder why I have continually suggested that you have not yet presented an argument for this position?  Really? 

The whole premise of your argument is flawed.  You need three factors to be unquestionably true: (1) Tacitus was reliable, (2) he is reliable because he used reliable sources, (3) he used reliable sources all the time.  Since neither of these three factors is true, and all three stand upon each other, Tacitus cannot be considered reliable. 

In the end Tacitus cannot be considered “evidence” for anything, and must be taken with a pillar of salt.  It cannot be assumed in any way that Tacitus was using Roman records for Jesus.  He does not suggest it in his reference to Christ (a kerygmatic name by the way, he does not once name of a person ‘Jesus’ in reference to Christians; this further implicates Tacitus as reciting rumor unless you’re suggesting that Jesus’ name was historically Christus). 

I suppose we shall continue to wait for your argument, then? 

Quote:
Thank you.

You’re welcome.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:Your

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Your answer is not so much a solution as it is a response.  You’re not answering the right questions in this matter.  You have changed the question from “Does Tacitus cite records?” to “Is Tacitus trying to be unbias with his presentation of history?”.   This is a major problem when your point is that you feel Tacitus was using Roman records.  Tacitus only states that he was trying to be void of his emotions, not that he was going to fact check everything he said.  So automatically your position is flawed, as you are suggesting an answer which does not fit the proper question being asked.


Completely untrue.

The argument presented directly deals with whether or not Tacitus used historical Roman records for his sources. I have presented no argument of the nature of  “Is Tacitus trying to be unbiased with his presentation of history," as you are attempting to assert. My argument has not switched one iota, and remains the same. I will not allow you to mislead anyone into believing that I have switched the argument to anything else, when it is blatantly obvious that it is YOU who are attempting to switch the argument in an effort to confuse the reader.

This argument is about whether or not Tacitus used Roman records for his sources, and nothing else.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Remember, your argument rests onf the hope that Tacitus is not negligent but useful and reliable as a historian.


Nice try in attempting to mislead people as to what my argument is. Again, my argument is about whether or not Tacitus used Roman records for his sources, and nothing else.

You're making a very big mistake if you are underestimating my savvy, I assure you. This post will stand on its own as a complete refutation of your attempt to switch this argument into something it is not.

My next post will deal with the rest of what you said, and will be properly presented as YOUR argument, and not mine.

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If that is not your argument

If that is not your argument then you have none, not that you had one originally.  But we'll see.  You're changing your argument again.  You're original argument was that Tacitus used Roman records in regards to the passage on Christ.  Now it is "Again, my argument is about whether or not Tacitus used Roman records for his sources, and nothing else." 

The truth is, you do not even know what your point is.  You switch it up so much.  Do not force me to go back to the beginning of this thread and embarrass you.

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Argument that Tacitus used

 

Argument that Tacitus used Roman records to record Jesus’ death:

 

Quote:
“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?”

 

Quote:
“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.”

 

Quote:
“There is a solid argument better than yours to suggest that Tacitus most likely got his information from Roman records.”

 

Quote:
As clearly evidenced by Tacitus above, he was concerned with correcting the inaccuracies former Roman historians made due to being under the dread of tyranny which forced them to falsify Roman historical records.

What this tells us is that Tacitus had access to Roman historical records for his Annals, and therefore, since he is correcting the historical Roman records from his examination of previous historical Roman records, then the entry regarding Christ is now qualified as having its source from historical Roman records.

Therefore, my good people, you have asked for evidence of where Tacitus got his information regarding Christ from.

I have delivered it. He received his information from previous Roman historical records, as is dramatically evidenced above.

 

Quote:
Just because you believe Tacitus does not cite his source does not place his record in suspicion. As a respected historian, Tacitus is recording history in the same manner history has been recorded by thousands of individuals. Even today when we open our history books we see historical depictions of people and events, yet the history book does not always reveal a source for the information.

The one fact about Tacitus is that his Annals was a record of Roman history, not a record of the history of Christianity or Christ. He was reporting on events which occurred in the history of the Roman empire, with the passage regarding Christ being merely incidental to his description of Nero's punishment towards the Christians.

But, do you really believe Tacitus did not cite his source?

 

Argument that no evidence exists to support where Tacitus got his information:

 

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

 

Quote:
“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.”

 

Quote:
“my position is we do not know with any certainty.”

 

Quote:
“There is no certainty as to where Tacitus got his information from.”

 

Quote:
“I never said that the argument for Tacitus getting his info from Roman records was mine. I said a very good argument exists, and it is scholarly.”

 

Quote:
“So did Tacitus get his info from Pliny? Did he get it from the streets? Did he get it from Roman records? Hell, I don't know.”

 

 

Other weird claims made in this thread:

 

Quote:
“But what I do know with reasonable certainty is that around AD 112, we have a record of man whom is almost universally recognized as Jesus Christ being crucified by Pontius Pilate….All the speculation and theories will never change that fact. By its existence alone, the record of Tacitus is evidence to support the existence of a historical Jesus, and no amount of speculation will ever change that.”

 

Quote:
My statement did not say anything about making him real. Please read the words below clearly, and you'll see my meaning:

FathomFFI: "the record of Tacitus is evidence to support the existence of a historical Jesus"

Quote:
The Tacitus text is part of a collective of evidence used to support the existence of Jesus. Alone, it is weak, but as part of a collective, it strengthens the collective, and therefore strengthens the argument.

Quote:
It really depends on what the Romans believed, and obviously they did not believe Jesus to actually be the Messiah as far as their religion was concerned. This leads us to theorize that the reason they called him Christus was purely to identify him as to what he was referred to as being by the Christians.

As far as the reasons for Jesus being killed by the Romans, all we can really say is that Pontius Pilate was blackmailed into doing it by the leaders of the Jewish Sanhedrin who threatened to revolt if Pilate refused. This is a consistency in Gospel records, as well as other texts.

Quote:
In regards to the blackmail carrying any weight with Pilate, we can see that the resolve of the Jews did indeed influence Pilate, as evidenced by Josephus. In Book 18, Chapter 3, Verse 1, we read how the Jews would rather accept death than allow Pilate to profane Jerusalem with images of Caesar. The resolve of the Jews to rather die than accept the images convinced Pilate to remove the images.

Quote:
There is no certainty of anything, however the content of the Tacitus text works seamlessly with the Gospel record of Jesus Christ being crucified by Pontius Pilate. This is a consistency which allows us to reasonably approximate the truth in regards to the text.

Quote:
With all available evidence, we can use Occam's Razor and remove all the rhetoric and end up with a consistency that around AD 33, Pontius Pilate crucified a man known as Jesus the Christ.

Your position has shifted in three ways.  First you assert the possibility of Roman records being used by Tacitus in the Jesus passage. Second, when exposed you withdraw and say that we can't know, and that it is speculation.  The third argument is that Tacitus is reliable even if we do not know, and therefore is evidence of a historical Jesus killed by Pontius Pilate.  It is circular.  You are using kerygma to prove kerygma to prove kerygma, and you are using assumption to prove assumption.  IN other words, you are doing what Dan Brown has done in the Da Vinci code.  "A and B might be related, so lets suppose they are because this reason seems similar, etc....  And B and C might be related, so I'll use the supposition I came up with for A and B to conclude C.  So A and C could be related." 

Even worse is that you assume Tacitus is evidence for a historical Jesus.  In suggesting this, continually, you assert the accuracy of Tacitus, and by doing so, the accuracy of Tacitus' sources.  This is just silly.   You're assuming the case in point, without knowledge of all the evidence (which you claim to have reviewed) and come into this discussion without it.  You have contradicted yourself over and over, and continue to adjust your argument per criticism.  This is what is so frustrating about you.  You can't comprehend what "reliable" means, and how it has been used by your detractors in this thread.  Please get with the program.

 

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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:


Fathom,

The first half of your argument is worthless and an attempt to make you seem smarter than you really are.  I already said over and over that it was just a way to show the unknowable in Tacitus.  When you start speculating, it is easy yo make connections and assume causation, which you do over and over again.


If it was so worthless, then why are you wasting such valuable time attempting to write a manifesto against it?

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I read through your position below and will respond for each section.  I was pleased to see you did not offer any critique that has not elsewhere been dismantled by scholars.


And you shall see how I utterly dismantle your "scholars" arguments again.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
In your third argument (So dubbed, The Argument regarding if Tacitus used Roman records for his sources which I will shorten to Argument for Roman Records, or ARR) you cite the opening of Tacitus' Annals as a reference to show Tacitus explained his methods, although he does not suggest where he got his information.

I will requote what you posted:

“But the several revolutions in the ancient free state of Rome and all her happy or disastrous events, are already recorded by writers of signal renown. Nor even in the reign of Augustus were there wanting authors of distinction and genius to have composed his story; till by the prevailing spirit of fear, flattery, and abasement they were checked.

As to the succeeding Princes, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero; the dread of their tyranny, whilst they yet reigned, falsified their history; and after their fall, the fresh detestation of their cruelties inflamed their Historians.

Hence my own design of recounting briefly certain incidents in the reign of Augustus, chiefly towards his latter end, and of entering afterwards more fully into that of Tiberius and the other three; unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.

I will note that you did not cite this reference.  Just because something is in the very beginning does not mean you do not have to cite sources.  The key phrase here is, “Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus--more particularly his last acts, then the reign of Tiberius, and all which follows, without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.” Which I assume you take to mean that Tacitus was cautious.  You write, “as clearly evidenced by Tacitus above, he was concerned with correcting the inaccuracies former Roman historians made due to being under the dread of tyranny which forced them to falsify Roman historical records..” (Your emphasis)

The problem is, however, that does not mean he was successful, nor does that prove Tacitus was not inflicting his own biases even if he suggests he doesn’t from the start.  Many historians in antiquity lay claims to the same things.  In the opening of Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, he writes:

“Those who undertake to write histories, do not, I perceive, take that trouble on one and the same account, but for many reasons, and those such as are very different one from another. For some of them apply themselves to this part of learning to show their skill in composition, and that they may therein acquire a reputation for speaking finely: others of them there are, who write histories in order to gratify those that happen to be concerned in them, and on that account have spared no pains, but rather gone beyond their own abilities in the performance: but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven to write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity; nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the great importance of the facts themselves with which they have been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history, I must profess the two last were my own reasons also; for since I was myself interested in that war which we Jews had with the Romans, and knew myself its particular actions, and what conclusion it had, I was forced to give the history of it, because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in their writings.”

And in his Against Apion (1.9.47-52):

“As for myself, I have composed a true history of that whole war, and of all the particulars that occurred therein, as having been concerned in all its transactions; for I acted as general of those among us that are named Galileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition. I was then seized on by the Romans, and became a captive. Vespasian also and Titus had me kept under a guard, and forced me to attend them continually. At the first I was put into bonds, but was set at liberty afterward, and sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the siege of Jerusalem; during which time there was nothing done which escaped my knowledge; for what happened in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; and what informations the deserters brought [out of the city], I was the only man that understood them. Afterward I got leisure at Rome; and when all my materials were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed the history of those transactions. And I was so well assured of the truth of what I related, that I first of all appealed to those that had the supreme command in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for me, for to them I presented those books first of all, and after them to many of the Romans who had been in the war. I also sold them to many of our own men who understood the Greek philosophy; among whom were Julius Archelaus, Herod [king of Chalcis], a person of great gravity, and king Agrippa himself, a person that deserved the greatest admiration. Now all these men bore their testimony to me, that I had the strictest regard to truth; who yet would not have dissembled the matter, nor been silent, if I, out of ignorance, or out of favor to any side, either had given false colors to actions, or omitted any of them.”

You would be wise to note that Josephus suggests a very similar thing that Tacitus does.  But Josephus is known for fabricating information, creating whole engagements which never happened, moved famous rulers from one location to another, and this is a man who was adopted by the Emperor, who claims to have had his information reviewed by top officials, and received testimony from witnesses.  He was in Rome when he wrote his histories, and had access to Roman records as well.  But that did not stop him from altering facts even though he suggests he never would, and only deems to write the true accounts of the Jewish culture.  Hold on to this thought for just a moment.

Your answer is not so much a solution as it is a response.  You’re not answering the right questions in this matter.  You have changed the question from “Does Tacitus cite records?” to “Is Tacitus trying to be unbias with his presentation of history?”.   This is a major problem when your point is that you feel Tacitus was using Roman records.  Tacitus only states that he was trying to be void of his emotions, not that he was going to fact check everything he said.  So automatically your position is flawed, as you are suggesting an answer which does not fit the proper question being asked.

However, I will continue to play your game, and assume that Tacitus was trying to be studious and vigorously sought out records for everything he wrote in his Annals.  This is your position, I assume, or you wouldn’t be suggesting that this line, at the opening of his representation, having only to do with his discussion of the Emperors as he specifies (not minor facts and situations) validated your position.  If that is so, we must assume that Tacitus felt the same way about staying partial in all his works, specifically that of his The History since we do not have fully his material.  If he didn’t, that would automatically discredit all his works, as often we see that historians claim one thing while doing another in antiquity, and often times are not as truthful as they are political.  So we shall assume through this discussion that Tacitus is equally studious and attentive to details in all his works.   

So we must now determine if he is actually as studious as he suggests.  In his, The History, Tacitus writes a discourse on the origins of the Jews.  He writes (The History, 5.2-5); I apologize for the length:

2. Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighbouring tribe, the Idæi, came to be called Judæi by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus and Judas, discharged itself into the neighbouring countries. Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbours to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name.

3. Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease, which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris, seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods. The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupor of grief, till one of the exiles, Moyses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man, forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery. They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however, distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moyses followed them, and, guided by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and in which they founded a city and a temple.

4. Moyses, wishing to secure for the future his authority over the nation, gave them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that is practised by other men. Things sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden. In their holy place they have consecrated an image of the animal by whose guidance they found deliverance from their long and thirsty wanderings. They slay the ram, seemingly in derision of Hammon, and they sacrifice the ox, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis. They abstain from swine's flesh, in consideration of what they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable. By their frequent fasts they still bear witness to the long hunger of former days, and the Jewish bread, made without leaven, is retained as a memorial of their hurried seizure of corn. We are told that the rest of the seventh day was adopted, because this day brought with it a termination of their toils; after a while the charm of indolence beguiled them into giving up the seventh year also to inaction. But others say that it is an observance in honour of Saturn, either from the primitive elements of their faith having been transmitted from the Idæi, who are said to have shared the flight of that God, and to have founded the race, or from the circumstance that of the seven stars which rule the destinies of men Saturn moves in the highest orbit and with the mightiest power, and that many of the heavenly bodies complete their revolutions and courses in multiples of seven.

5. This worship, however introduced, is upheld by its antiquity; all their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren. Still they provide for the increase of their numbers. It is a crime among them to kill any newly-born infant. They hold that the souls of all who perish in battle or by the hands of the executioner are immortal. Hence a passion for propagating their race and a contempt for death. They are wont to bury rather than to burn their dead, following in this the Egyptian custom; they bestow the same care on the dead, and they hold the same belief about the lower world. Quite different is their faith about things divine. The Egyptians worship many animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely mental conceptions of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations of God in human shape out of perishable materials. They believe that Being to be supreme and eternal, neither capable of representation, nor of decay. They therefore do not allow any images to stand in their cities, much less in their temples. This flattery is not paid to their kings, nor this honour to our Emperors. From the fact, however, that their priests used to chant to the music of flutes and cymbals, and to wear garlands of ivy, and that a golden vine was found in the temple, some have thought that they worshipped Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean.

I would note that Tacitus is discussing the origins of many things that were discussed in great detail in antiquity.  Now let us review your conclusions.  Remember, your argument rests onf the hope that Tacitus is not negligent but useful and reliable as a historian.  These questions will help us determine how reliable Tacitus is, and how well he uses his information, even where he might have gotten it from.

(1) Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?  No.  Tacitus deliberately ignores the Jewish texts, the Exodus story in particular, which he would have had access to.  He calls the Jewish worship “at once perverse and disgusting” and that they “owe their strength to their very badness”.  This sort of contempt is similar to what Tacitus says about the Jews and Christians in his Annals, where he calls Judaea “the first source of the evil” and that the Christians are a part of all that is “hideous and shameful” which finds its way to Rome (Annals 15.44).  Where your quote is only in regards to Tacitus’ nature to be impartial towards the Emperors (and nothing else), he is obviously not impartial, and once more I bring up what you suggest he is with his account of Jesus, although he only makes this position in regards to his analysis of the Emperors, “unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.” He is certainly not without resentment and personal passions in his discussion of Jews, nor of the Christians.

(2) Is Tacitus citing his sources?  No.  In this text, Tacitus does not tell us where he is getting his information about the Jews.  He generally writes that “Some say” (insedisse memorant) or this information is shared by “many” (plerique).  He does not recount documents.

(3) Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?  The answer is rumor.  Tacitus often inflects rumor instead of fact.  For example, on his discussion about Moses, he refers to him as “Moyses” (similar to the incorrect designation of Christ to Christus)  and then goes on to recite popular gossip about Jewish history and origins, particularly the ailment of the Jews, leprosy in this case, which caused the Egyptians to cast them out of Egypt.  It is a common rumor meant to depict the Jews as a sickly and diseased exiles rather than triumphant or nomadic peoples.  This is a common retelling of a rumor, which is shared by Pompeius Trogus (recounted by Justin, Philippic History 36.2.11-13), Lysimachus (preserved by Josephus, Against Apion 1.304-311), Diodorus Siculus (preserved by Photius, Bibliotheca, Diod. Sic. 34.1), and Apion (recounted by Josephus, Against Apion 2.2-3, cf. 2.2.10-12, 2.2.15-16), that the Jews were kicked out of Egypt due to some disease, generally considered to be leprosy.  He recounts their hatred towards other people, much in the same manner that Diodorus does. (ibid.)  In another instance, he writes of the origin of the name, and where they came from, also rumors and gossip which came from speculation, mainly in an attempt to historicize the legends and folklores of Jewish culture from both Egyptian and Jewish communities for a gentile community.   

(4) Does Question (3) indicate that Tacitus used accurate and appropriate sources?  No.  Although Tacitus did use sources, many times his sources are dubious and specious.  If we admit, as Ebionite suggests, that Tacitus used the acta diurna which would be very possible, he would still be recounting rumor and gossip.  Often times the acta diurna were reflective of the politics, the current emperor and his views, and propaganda.  Indeed, Tacitus is more then aware of this, as he writes that even historians were to be held accountable for this, although he is accountable as well.  The sources he might have used for the passage above would not bode well for him in this discussion, as many are themselves a product of their own devices, and care less about the correct transmission of history and more about how that history is received.  Tacitus has proven to be no different.

(5) Can more examples be given in Tacitus?  Yes.  Although Tacitus is less political than his contemporaries and predecessors, he is not separated from them.  The evidence above is just one example of many that could be given.

Quote:
I have delivered it. He received his information from previous Roman historical records, as is dramatically evidenced above.


So you evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for the passage including Jesus is that Tacitus said he would be unbias in passages about emperors.  And you really wonder why I have continually suggested that you have not yet presented an argument for this position?  Really?

The whole premise of your argument is flawed.  You need three factors to be unquestionably true: (1) Tacitus was reliable, (2) he is reliable because he used reliable sources, (3) he used reliable sources all the time.  Since neither of these three factors is true, and all three stand upon each other, Tacitus cannot be considered reliable.

In the end Tacitus cannot be considered “evidence” for anything, and must be taken with a pillar of salt.  It cannot be assumed in any way that Tacitus was using Roman records for Jesus.  He does not suggest it in his reference to Christ (a kerygmatic name by the way, he does not once name of a person ‘Jesus’ in reference to Christians; this further implicates Tacitus as reciting rumor unless you’re suggesting that Jesus’ name was historically Christus).

I suppose we shall continue to wait for your argument, then?


Let's begin by once again correcting an assertion from you which finds no basis in truth whatsoever:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
So you evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for the passage including Jesus is that Tacitus said he would be unbias in passages about emperors.  And you really wonder why I have continually suggested that you have not yet presented an argument for this position?  Really?


You are attempting to misrepresent what my argument was. Would you be so kind as to show where I presented any detailed argument for Tacitus being unbiased? Will you please quote this argument, with a link directly to the quote?

Let's see how you do ...

Now, let's look at your other assertions ...

Your argument appears to be a challenge to Tacitus on several fronts listed below:

a) Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?
b) Is Tacitus citing his sources?.
c)  Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?

Now, one by one, let's take a peek ...
 

1.  Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?

Should Tacitus accept a Jewish religious text which contradicts his own religion as being the truth? Since he was not Jewish, and the text is a religious document, can you explain to me why Tacitus should accept it as being the truth? To do so would validate the Jewish religion, and invalidate his own.

Tacitus was a polytheist, opposed to monotheism. Since we have already discussed and displayed textual evidence that Tacitus and other Roman authors regarded other religions, including Judaism, as a "superstition," do you really believe that the Roman empire would submit a "superstitious" record from the Jewish Torah into the historical Roman archives, and tell the whole world, "This is the truth?"

As far as the Romans would be concerned, their history of the Jews as they understood it would be the correct history, while the Jewish version from their religious book would be regarded in great distain as a pitiful superstition. You are dealing with the Roman empire here, who heralded loudly to all "It's our way, or the highway."

Therefore, as far as Tacitus was concerned, he was offering Roman history as opposed to Jewish history. Again, you have failed to make the connection that Tacitus was re-wrorking Roman history as per how the Romans recorded it, and not how the Jews or anyone else recorded it. Therefore, the only bias Tacitus could possibly have was that he was writing things from a Roman perspective, from Roman history, for the benefit of the Romans.

This shows you the truth behind the phrase, "history is written by the victors,." and the Romans reigned supreme.

Trusting that will suffice?


2. Is Tacitus citing his sources?

You will be surprised to learn that by your own investigation into Histories, that you have unknowingly revealed that Tacitus actually does reveal his sources. Let me show you what you missed. I will post the beginning line of paragraph 3:

3. Most writers, however, agree ...

Do you see what I see? Do you see the word "writers?" And do you see the words "Most writers?" What does this tell you, Rook? This tells you that Tacitus was using existing historical records to re-count Roman history. So yes, Tacitus provides evidence conclusively that his sources included previously written historical records.

Oh my ... I love how you strengthen my argument. I was saving this one for later, but what the hell ... now is as good a time as any.

Hmmm?
 

3)  Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?

His information can be conclusively demonstrated to be indicative of a Roman recounting history according to the Romans, and whether or not we believe it was a fact or a rumor is not relevant. What is relevant is what the Romans believed, and not what anyone else believed.

What you would consider as rumor and gossip would be considered as fact according to the Romans in their time. The mistake you are making is in not placing yourself back in history to 2000 years ago, and putting yourself in Roman shoes. You are examining things from your own perspective, 2000 years later, instead of attempting to understand the Roman perspective 2000 year ago.

Until you have walked a mile in the Roman's shoes, you will not understand the Roman perspective.

Good day, Mr Hawkins.

 

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:If that

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

If that is not your argument then you have none, not that you had one originally.  But we'll see.  You're changing your argument again.  You're original argument was that Tacitus used Roman records in regards to the passage on Christ.  Now it is "Again, my argument is about whether or not Tacitus used Roman records for his sources, and nothing else." 

The truth is, you do not even know what your point is.  You switch it up so much.  Do not force me to go back to the beginning of this thread and embarrass you.

Things get really desperate when you need to resort to semantics, forcing your opponent into a needless explanation.

In fact, it is so needless to the educated reader that I will not even explain it. I trust they are certainly intelligent enough to see through your scheme.

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: Your

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Your position has shifted in three ways.  First you assert the possibility of Roman records being used by Tacitus in the Jesus passage. Second, when exposed you withdraw and say that we can't know, and that it is speculation.  The third argument is that Tacitus is reliable even if we do not know, and therefore is evidence of a historical Jesus killed by Pontius Pilate.  It is circular.  You are using kerygma to prove kerygma to prove kerygma, and you are using assumption to prove assumption.  IN other words, you are doing what Dan Brown has done in the Da Vinci code.  "A and B might be related, so lets suppose they are because this reason seems similar, etc....  And B and C might be related, so I'll use the supposition I came up with for A and B to conclude C.  So A and C could be related." 

Even worse is that you assume Tacitus is evidence for a historical Jesus.  In suggesting this, continually, you assert the accuracy of Tacitus, and by doing so, the accuracy of Tacitus' sources.  This is just silly.   You're assuming the case in point, without knowledge of all the evidence (which you claim to have reviewed) and come into this discussion without it.  You have contradicted yourself over and over, and continue to adjust your argument per criticism.  This is what is so frustrating about you.  You can't comprehend what "reliable" means, and how it has been used by your detractors in this thread.  Please get with the program.

 

Desperation run amuck.

 

Dismissed, since you obviously did not read what I have discussed with others in this thread.

 

Regards.

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FathomFFI wrote:Rook_Hawkins

FathomFFI wrote:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:


Fathom,

The first half of your argument is worthless and an attempt to make you seem smarter than you really are.  I already said over and over that it was just a way to show the unknowable in Tacitus.  When you start speculating, it is easy yo make connections and assume causation, which you do over and over again.


If it was so worthless, then why are you wasting such valuable time attempting to write a manifesto against it?

 

I didn't address it.  You'll note I addressed the second half of your post.  Are you paying attention?

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I read through your position below and will respond for each section.  I was pleased to see you did not offer any critique that has not elsewhere been dismantled by scholars.


And you shall see how I utterly dismantle your "scholars" arguments again.

Why are you being so childish?  Where does "scholars arguments" come into play?

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
In your third argument (So dubbed, The Argument regarding if Tacitus used Roman records for his sources which I will shorten to Argument for Roman Records, or ARR) you cite the opening of Tacitus' Annals as a reference to show Tacitus explained his methods, although he does not suggest where he got his information.

I will requote what you posted:

“But the several revolutions in the ancient free state of Rome and all her happy or disastrous events, are already recorded by writers of signal renown. Nor even in the reign of Augustus were there wanting authors of distinction and genius to have composed his story; till by the prevailing spirit of fear, flattery, and abasement they were checked.

As to the succeeding Princes, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero; the dread of their tyranny, whilst they yet reigned, falsified their history; and after their fall, the fresh detestation of their cruelties inflamed their Historians.

Hence my own design of recounting briefly certain incidents in the reign of Augustus, chiefly towards his latter end, and of entering afterwards more fully into that of Tiberius and the other three; unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.

I will note that you did not cite this reference.  Just because something is in the very beginning does not mean you do not have to cite sources.  The key phrase here is, “Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus--more particularly his last acts, then the reign of Tiberius, and all which follows, without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.” Which I assume you take to mean that Tacitus was cautious.  You write, “as clearly evidenced by Tacitus above, he was concerned with correcting the inaccuracies former Roman historians made due to being under the dread of tyranny which forced them to falsify Roman historical records..” (Your emphasis)

The problem is, however, that does not mean he was successful, nor does that prove Tacitus was not inflicting his own biases even if he suggests he doesn’t from the start.  Many historians in antiquity lay claims to the same things.  In the opening of Josephus’ Antiquities of the Jews, he writes:

“Those who undertake to write histories, do not, I perceive, take that trouble on one and the same account, but for many reasons, and those such as are very different one from another. For some of them apply themselves to this part of learning to show their skill in composition, and that they may therein acquire a reputation for speaking finely: others of them there are, who write histories in order to gratify those that happen to be concerned in them, and on that account have spared no pains, but rather gone beyond their own abilities in the performance: but others there are, who, of necessity and by force, are driven to write history, because they are concerned in the facts, and so cannot excuse themselves from committing them to writing, for the advantage of posterity; nay, there are not a few who are induced to draw their historical facts out of darkness into light, and to produce them for the benefit of the public, on account of the great importance of the facts themselves with which they have been concerned. Now of these several reasons for writing history, I must profess the two last were my own reasons also; for since I was myself interested in that war which we Jews had with the Romans, and knew myself its particular actions, and what conclusion it had, I was forced to give the history of it, because I saw that others perverted the truth of those actions in their writings.”

And in his Against Apion (1.9.47-52):

“As for myself, I have composed a true history of that whole war, and of all the particulars that occurred therein, as having been concerned in all its transactions; for I acted as general of those among us that are named Galileans, as long as it was possible for us to make any opposition. I was then seized on by the Romans, and became a captive. Vespasian also and Titus had me kept under a guard, and forced me to attend them continually. At the first I was put into bonds, but was set at liberty afterward, and sent to accompany Titus when he came from Alexandria to the siege of Jerusalem; during which time there was nothing done which escaped my knowledge; for what happened in the Roman camp I saw, and wrote down carefully; and what informations the deserters brought [out of the city], I was the only man that understood them. Afterward I got leisure at Rome; and when all my materials were prepared for that work, I made use of some persons to assist me in learning the Greek tongue, and by these means I composed the history of those transactions. And I was so well assured of the truth of what I related, that I first of all appealed to those that had the supreme command in that war, Vespasian and Titus, as witnesses for me, for to them I presented those books first of all, and after them to many of the Romans who had been in the war. I also sold them to many of our own men who understood the Greek philosophy; among whom were Julius Archelaus, Herod [king of Chalcis], a person of great gravity, and king Agrippa himself, a person that deserved the greatest admiration. Now all these men bore their testimony to me, that I had the strictest regard to truth; who yet would not have dissembled the matter, nor been silent, if I, out of ignorance, or out of favor to any side, either had given false colors to actions, or omitted any of them.”

You would be wise to note that Josephus suggests a very similar thing that Tacitus does.  But Josephus is known for fabricating information, creating whole engagements which never happened, moved famous rulers from one location to another, and this is a man who was adopted by the Emperor, who claims to have had his information reviewed by top officials, and received testimony from witnesses.  He was in Rome when he wrote his histories, and had access to Roman records as well.  But that did not stop him from altering facts even though he suggests he never would, and only deems to write the true accounts of the Jewish culture.  Hold on to this thought for just a moment.

Your answer is not so much a solution as it is a response.  You’re not answering the right questions in this matter.  You have changed the question from “Does Tacitus cite records?” to “Is Tacitus trying to be unbias with his presentation of history?”.   This is a major problem when your point is that you feel Tacitus was using Roman records.  Tacitus only states that he was trying to be void of his emotions, not that he was going to fact check everything he said.  So automatically your position is flawed, as you are suggesting an answer which does not fit the proper question being asked.

However, I will continue to play your game, and assume that Tacitus was trying to be studious and vigorously sought out records for everything he wrote in his Annals.  This is your position, I assume, or you wouldn’t be suggesting that this line, at the opening of his representation, having only to do with his discussion of the Emperors as he specifies (not minor facts and situations) validated your position.  If that is so, we must assume that Tacitus felt the same way about staying partial in all his works, specifically that of his The History since we do not have fully his material.  If he didn’t, that would automatically discredit all his works, as often we see that historians claim one thing while doing another in antiquity, and often times are not as truthful as they are political.  So we shall assume through this discussion that Tacitus is equally studious and attentive to details in all his works.   

So we must now determine if he is actually as studious as he suggests.  In his, The History, Tacitus writes a discourse on the origins of the Jews.  He writes (The History, 5.2-5); I apologize for the length:

2. Some say that the Jews were fugitives from the island of Crete, who settled on the nearest coast of Africa about the time when Saturn was driven from his throne by the power of Jupiter. Evidence of this is sought in the name. There is a famous mountain in Crete called Ida; the neighbouring tribe, the Idæi, came to be called Judæi by a barbarous lengthening of the national name. Others assert that in the reign of Isis the overflowing population of Egypt, led by Hierosolymus and Judas, discharged itself into the neighbouring countries. Many, again, say that they were a race of Ethiopian origin, who in the time of king Cepheus were driven by fear and hatred of their neighbours to seek a new dwelling-place. Others describe them as an Assyrian horde who, not having sufficient territory, took possession of part of Egypt, and founded cities of their own in what is called the Hebrew country, lying on the borders of Syria. Others, again, assign a very distinguished origin to the Jews, alleging that they were the Solymi, a nation celebrated in the poems of Homer, who called the city which they founded Hierosolyma after their own name.

3. Most writers, however, agree in stating that once a disease, which horribly disfigured the body, broke out over Egypt; that king Bocchoris, seeking a remedy, consulted the oracle of Hammon, and was bidden to cleanse his realm, and to convey into some foreign land this race detested by the gods. The people, who had been collected after diligent search, finding themselves left in a desert, sat for the most part in a stupor of grief, till one of the exiles, Moyses by name, warned them not to look for any relief from God or man, forsaken as they were of both, but to trust to themselves, taking for their heaven-sent leader that man who should first help them to be quit of their present misery. They agreed, and in utter ignorance began to advance at random. Nothing, however, distressed them so much as the scarcity of water, and they had sunk ready to perish in all directions over the plain, when a herd of wild asses was seen to retire from their pasture to a rock shaded by trees. Moyses followed them, and, guided by the appearance of a grassy spot, discovered an abundant spring of water. This furnished relief. After a continuous journey for six days, on the seventh they possessed themselves of a country, from which they expelled the inhabitants, and in which they founded a city and a temple.

4. Moyses, wishing to secure for the future his authority over the nation, gave them a novel form of worship, opposed to all that is practised by other men. Things sacred with us, with them have no sanctity, while they allow what with us is forbidden. In their holy place they have consecrated an image of the animal by whose guidance they found deliverance from their long and thirsty wanderings. They slay the ram, seemingly in derision of Hammon, and they sacrifice the ox, because the Egyptians worship it as Apis. They abstain from swine's flesh, in consideration of what they suffered when they were infected by the leprosy to which this animal is liable. By their frequent fasts they still bear witness to the long hunger of former days, and the Jewish bread, made without leaven, is retained as a memorial of their hurried seizure of corn. We are told that the rest of the seventh day was adopted, because this day brought with it a termination of their toils; after a while the charm of indolence beguiled them into giving up the seventh year also to inaction. But others say that it is an observance in honour of Saturn, either from the primitive elements of their faith having been transmitted from the Idæi, who are said to have shared the flight of that God, and to have founded the race, or from the circumstance that of the seven stars which rule the destinies of men Saturn moves in the highest orbit and with the mightiest power, and that many of the heavenly bodies complete their revolutions and courses in multiples of seven.

5. This worship, however introduced, is upheld by its antiquity; all their other customs, which are at once perverse and disgusting, owe their strength to their very badness. The most degraded out of other races, scorning their national beliefs, brought to them their contributions and presents. This augmented the wealth of the Jews, as also did the fact, that among themselves they are inflexibly honest and ever ready to shew compassion, though they regard the rest of mankind with all the hatred of enemies. They sit apart at meals, they sleep apart, and though, as a nation, they are singularly prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; among themselves nothing is unlawful. Circumcision was adopted by them as a mark of difference from other men. Those who come over to their religion adopt the practice, and have this lesson first instilled into them, to despise all gods, to disown their country, and set at nought parents, children, and brethren. Still they provide for the increase of their numbers. It is a crime among them to kill any newly-born infant. They hold that the souls of all who perish in battle or by the hands of the executioner are immortal. Hence a passion for propagating their race and a contempt for death. They are wont to bury rather than to burn their dead, following in this the Egyptian custom; they bestow the same care on the dead, and they hold the same belief about the lower world. Quite different is their faith about things divine. The Egyptians worship many animals and images of monstrous form; the Jews have purely mental conceptions of Deity, as one in essence. They call those profane who make representations of God in human shape out of perishable materials. They believe that Being to be supreme and eternal, neither capable of representation, nor of decay. They therefore do not allow any images to stand in their cities, much less in their temples. This flattery is not paid to their kings, nor this honour to our Emperors. From the fact, however, that their priests used to chant to the music of flutes and cymbals, and to wear garlands of ivy, and that a golden vine was found in the temple, some have thought that they worshipped Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, though their institutions do not by any means harmonize with the theory; for Liber established a festive and cheerful worship, while the Jewish religion is tasteless and mean.

I would note that Tacitus is discussing the origins of many things that were discussed in great detail in antiquity.  Now let us review your conclusions.  Remember, your argument rests onf the hope that Tacitus is not negligent but useful and reliable as a historian.  These questions will help us determine how reliable Tacitus is, and how well he uses his information, even where he might have gotten it from.

(1) Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?  No.  Tacitus deliberately ignores the Jewish texts, the Exodus story in particular, which he would have had access to.  He calls the Jewish worship “at once perverse and disgusting” and that they “owe their strength to their very badness”.  This sort of contempt is similar to what Tacitus says about the Jews and Christians in his Annals, where he calls Judaea “the first source of the evil” and that the Christians are a part of all that is “hideous and shameful” which finds its way to Rome (Annals 15.44).  Where your quote is only in regards to Tacitus’ nature to be impartial towards the Emperors (and nothing else), he is obviously not impartial, and once more I bring up what you suggest he is with his account of Jesus, although he only makes this position in regards to his analysis of the Emperors, “unbiased as I am in this undertaking by any resentment, or any affection; all the influences of these personal passions being far from me.” He is certainly not without resentment and personal passions in his discussion of Jews, nor of the Christians.

(2) Is Tacitus citing his sources?  No.  In this text, Tacitus does not tell us where he is getting his information about the Jews.  He generally writes that “Some say” (insedisse memorant) or this information is shared by “many” (plerique).  He does not recount documents.

(3) Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?  The answer is rumor.  Tacitus often inflects rumor instead of fact.  For example, on his discussion about Moses, he refers to him as “Moyses” (similar to the incorrect designation of Christ to Christus)  and then goes on to recite popular gossip about Jewish history and origins, particularly the ailment of the Jews, leprosy in this case, which caused the Egyptians to cast them out of Egypt.  It is a common rumor meant to depict the Jews as a sickly and diseased exiles rather than triumphant or nomadic peoples.  This is a common retelling of a rumor, which is shared by Pompeius Trogus (recounted by Justin, Philippic History 36.2.11-13), Lysimachus (preserved by Josephus, Against Apion 1.304-311), Diodorus Siculus (preserved by Photius, Bibliotheca, Diod. Sic. 34.1), and Apion (recounted by Josephus, Against Apion 2.2-3, cf. 2.2.10-12, 2.2.15-16), that the Jews were kicked out of Egypt due to some disease, generally considered to be leprosy.  He recounts their hatred towards other people, much in the same manner that Diodorus does. (ibid.)  In another instance, he writes of the origin of the name, and where they came from, also rumors and gossip which came from speculation, mainly in an attempt to historicize the legends and folklores of Jewish culture from both Egyptian and Jewish communities for a gentile community.   

(4) Does Question (3) indicate that Tacitus used accurate and appropriate sources?  No.  Although Tacitus did use sources, many times his sources are dubious and specious.  If we admit, as Ebionite suggests, that Tacitus used the acta diurna which would be very possible, he would still be recounting rumor and gossip.  Often times the acta diurna were reflective of the politics, the current emperor and his views, and propaganda.  Indeed, Tacitus is more then aware of this, as he writes that even historians were to be held accountable for this, although he is accountable as well.  The sources he might have used for the passage above would not bode well for him in this discussion, as many are themselves a product of their own devices, and care less about the correct transmission of history and more about how that history is received.  Tacitus has proven to be no different.

(5) Can more examples be given in Tacitus?  Yes.  Although Tacitus is less political than his contemporaries and predecessors, he is not separated from them.  The evidence above is just one example of many that could be given.

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I have delivered it. He received his information from previous Roman historical records, as is dramatically evidenced above.


So you evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for the passage including Jesus is that Tacitus said he would be unbias in passages about emperors.  And you really wonder why I have continually suggested that you have not yet presented an argument for this position?  Really?

The whole premise of your argument is flawed.  You need three factors to be unquestionably true: (1) Tacitus was reliable, (2) he is reliable because he used reliable sources, (3) he used reliable sources all the time.  Since neither of these three factors is true, and all three stand upon each other, Tacitus cannot be considered reliable.

In the end Tacitus cannot be considered “evidence” for anything, and must be taken with a pillar of salt.  It cannot be assumed in any way that Tacitus was using Roman records for Jesus.  He does not suggest it in his reference to Christ (a kerygmatic name by the way, he does not once name of a person ‘Jesus’ in reference to Christians; this further implicates Tacitus as reciting rumor unless you’re suggesting that Jesus’ name was historically Christus).

I suppose we shall continue to wait for your argument, then?


Let's begin by once again correcting an assertion from you which finds no basis in truth whatsoever:

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
So you evidence that Tacitus used Roman documents for the passage including Jesus is that Tacitus said he would be unbias in passages about emperors.  And you really wonder why I have continually suggested that you have not yet presented an argument for this position?  Really?


You are attempting to misrepresent what my argument was. Would you be so kind as to show where I presented any detailed argument for Tacitus being unbiased?

Are you reading my rebuttal?  Where did I say you said Tacitus was being unbias?  Tacitus is saying that!  The very fact that you aren't saying that is precisely my point!  You quotes a text snippet from Tacitus which does not fit your argument!  Wake the fuck up dude.  Seriously.

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Let's see how you do ...

Now, let's look at your other assertions ...

Your argument appears to be a challenge to Tacitus on several fronts listed below:

a) Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?
b) Is Tacitus citing his sources?.
c)  Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?

Now, one by one, let's take a peek ...
 

1.  Is Tacitus openly being unbias and impartial in this segment?

Should Tacitus accept a Jewish religious text which contradicts his own religion as being the truth? Since he was not Jewish, and the text is a religious document, can you explain to me why Tacitus should accept it as being the truth? To do so would validate the Jewish religion, and invalidate his own.

Where did I suggest that was even necessary?  My argument was not that he should accept anything, but rather if he is being partial and unbias.  He doesn't even present the case for it at all.  He doesn't explain a single iota of a line from the Torah, which did exist and was circulating in Greek at this time.  If he were being partial and unbias, he would have suggesting that "well the Jews believe", at the very least.  He doesn't come close. 

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Tacitus was a polytheist, opposed to monotheism.

I'm an atheist, but when I write a paper up I include theistic positions I do not agree with at times, and often include monographs or articles written by scholars I disagree with.  That is part of being impartial and unbias.  The ability to review the evidence, or in Tacitus' case, present the evidence. 

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Since we have already discussed and displayed textual evidence that Tacitus and other Roman authors regarded other religions, including Judaism, as a "superstition," do you really believe that the Roman empire would submit a "superstitious" record from the Jewish Torah into the historical Roman archives, and tell the whole world, "This is the truth?"

Of course I don't  That is why Tacitus is bias and partial.  Not the latter. 

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As far as the Romans would be concerned, their history of the Jews as they understood it would be the correct history,

Irrelevant.  We're not talking about "Romans" but "a Roman" who you are using as a source of reliability to suggest, ignorantly, represents evidence for a historical Jesus.  Please, pretty please, stop pulling the wool over everyones eyes.

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while the Jewish version from their religious book would be regarded in great distain as a pitiful superstition. You are dealing with the Roman empire here, who heralded loudly to all "It's our way, or the highway."

The very reason why Tacitus is not a reliable source.  This is precisely my point.  He wasn't writing history as much as he was writing what he wanted to write.

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Therefore, as far as Tacitus was concerned, he was offering Roman history as opposed to Jewish history.

That isn't what impartial historians do.  They must first examine why the other history is flawed, and express it in an argument.  Tacitus does not do this.  At the very least, Tacitus could have done what Arrian had done, which is take two conflicting sources, and compare them, and offer no related commentary, and leave it up to the reader to decide which is more plausible.  Tacitus gives only "one side" which is not impartiality.  Stop adjusting the subject of your original position.  You're grasping at straws to try to prove Tacitus' reliability.

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Again, you have failed to make the connection that Tacitus was re-wrorking Roman history as per how the Romans recorded it, and not how the Jews or anyone else recorded it. Therefore, the only bias Tacitus could possibly have was that he was writing things from a Roman perspective, from Roman history, for the benefit of the Romans.

So he isn't reliable.  Thank you.

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This shows you the truth behind the phrase, "history is written by the victors,." and the Romans reigned supreme.

When will your naivety end?

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2. Is Tacitus citing his sources?

You will be surprised to learn that by your own investigation into Histories, that you have unknowingly revealed that Tacitus actually does reveal his sources. Let me show you what you missed. I will post the beginning line of paragraph 3:

3. Most writers, however, agree ...

Oh yes, he completely reveals who these inconspicuous authors are... *eye roll*

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Oh my ... I love how you strengthen my argument. I was saving this one for later, but what the hell ... now is as good a time as any.

Once more you show your reliance on ignorance to make your case.  How does anonymous authors reveal sources?  Now you've completely gone nutter on me.

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3)  Is his information indicative of fact or of rumor?

His information can be conclusively demonstrated to be indicative of a Roman recounting history according to the Romans, and whether or not we believe it was a fact or a rumor is not relevant.

It isn't a matter of belief.  It is rumor.  We know it is rumor, because other writers have included this rumor in their own discussions of Jewish history, which are not related to fact. 

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What is relevant is what the Romans believed, and not what anyone else believed.

You keep saying "Romans" and generalizing the whole of everything.  Obviously not all Romans believed this, or there wouldn't have been "God-fearers", or rather, Gentile Jews who followed the teachings of the Jews, but kept their pagan gods and were not circumcised.  We are only talking about one Roman here, and whether or not he is recounting fact or fiction.  Nothing more.  Whether he believed the rumors is only relevant in that if he did, it would only further discredit him as a reliable source.

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Good day, Mr Hawkins.
 

You too.  Maybe next time you can present a case that doesn't basically discredit your whole position?

Regards.

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