Discourse to the RRS regarding Tacitus
The quote from Tacitus in question will be found below:
"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:
(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:
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.