FathomFFI is a Troll Who Lies A Lot [Trollville]

FathomFFI
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FathomFFI is a Troll Who Lies A Lot [Trollville]

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Far too often apologists and evangelicals bring up Josephus as a source for a historical Jesus. This is a continuing error among scholars, and it is fueled by secular scholars who are either persuaded by pseudo-scientific evaluations of the texts, or for reasons dealing only in their presuppositions, such as those discussed above. The Testimonium Flavium is generally brought up by both apologists and historical Jesus questers more than any other document. Although other supposed mentions of Jesus exist, the subject, so as to not seem as if an Argument from Silence is the only means at which one can attain the position held in this book, will be limited to the Testimonium due to its importance and scope of usage. For this reason, included here in this section is a specific refutation towards the use of this passage, as will be provided ample evidence for its entire dismissal as an interpolation.

Arguments for the interpolation of this passage consist of the following: (1) Problems of textual conformity between manuscripts, (2) peculiar placement in the text, (3) odd use of Josephan language, (4) the use of pro-Christian language, (5) lack of mention specifically in any other earlier Christian source including Justin Martyr and Origen, (6) the earliest attestation we have, that of Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical Histories, he places the Testimonium after Josephus’ account of John the Baptist, and finally (7) Eusebius has an alternate version of the text himself in another work.

The problems of conformity of the manuscripts are a huge deal, although generally not touched upon by dissenters of the Josephan controversy over the Testimonium. The first attestation to this passage is found in the forth century, and even then it seems to not have been set in stone, as Steve Mason[1] cites that Jerome (p. 230) had a different version of the transcript in his Lives of Illustrious Men, and in the 10th century yet an additional manuscript is found in Agapius (ibid.). But it doesn’t stop there, as Michael, the Patriarch of Antioch quotes another variant text in the 12th century. So many alterations exist. Mason asks, “Where did such equivocal versions of Josephus’ account come from?” (p. 231) And not least of all, the fact that there are alternative translations which exist from Robert Eisler[2] and John P. Meier[3] spark additional questions. Why are there no copies of Josephus before Eusebius in the fourth century for scholarship to adequately translate? Perhaps Christians didn’t feel the need to preserve it beforehand, and that should raise additional red flags.

The peculiar placement of the text is additionally odd. Looking at the text from a distance, without really comparing the accounts of the context around the Testimonium, it may seem possible that it fits. It does deal with Pilate, that is for sure, (1.)and certainly it contains accounts of followers of a [u]cult, referred to as a “tribe,”[/u] that Josephus didn’t hold to, much like those of the cult of Isis he discusses a section down. But further examination reveals a troubling reality. After Pilate arrives in Judea, Josephus follows with two incidents; (a) Pilate allows the Roman images into Jerusalem during the night, and (b) Pilate’s use of temple funds to build an aqueduct. Immediately following the Testimonium, (c) Josephus discusses the destruction of the temple of Isis and the crucifixion of Egyptian priests, (d) Jews are expelled from Rome because of Jewish troublemakers, and (e) Pilate destroyed the Samaritan movement and their settlement at Gerizim. Mason states that, “Like a tourist negotiating a bustling, raucous Middle-Eastern market who accidentally walks through the door of a monastery, suffused with light and peace, the reader of Josephus is struck by this sublime portrait.” (p. 227) (2.)Events (a), (b) and (e) involve incidents that look unfavorably upon Pilate, but the Testimonium blames the fiasco of the crucifixion not on Pilate—who seems more like a puppet being played—but on the “denunciation by the leading men among us.”

(3.)Every single event save for the Testimonium in Antiquities 18 is described as some form of outrage or uprising, yet there is no tumultuous event here, no uprising to speak of. Overall, Mason makes the observance that “he is pointing out the follow of Jewish rebels, governors, and troublemakers,” (ibid.) yet in the Testimonium, Josephus speaks highly of Jesus and his followers, a stark contrast to the rest of the context. Finally, Josephus starts the section concerning the Isis temple as “another outrage,” for which George A. Wells[4] and others have argued both events (b) and (c) to have originally been adjacent, leaving the probability for the Testimonium to have been inserted later.[5]


1.) Firstly, the word "tribe" as used by Josephus is consistent with his other usages of that word in his descriptions of the various sects and sub-sects of Judaism, as well as other religions. Since we can reasonably determine that Jesus was a Jew according to all known evidence, and we can also determine from the same said evidence that his earliest followers were also Jews, then the word "tribe" as applied to the Christians by Josephus at that time would more accurately refer to a sub-sect of Judaism.

This would appear to be the more reasonable comprehension as to the intended meaning behind Josephus' use of the word tribe. Since Josephus is seen using this word in relation to his descriptions of the many ancient Hebrew tribes and sub-sects, then the word "cult" would not be an adequate representation of the intended comprehension of Josephus. Therefore, in the interests of scholastic integrity, we must deem the depiction of the Christian sub-sect as a "cult" as being inappropriate.
 
2.) The assertion that the Testimonium blames the fiasco of the crucifixion not on Pilate does nothing to negate the text as clearly showing that it was Pontius Pilate who inflicted the extreme penalty of crucifixion upon Jesus. Since the TF itself speaks very highly of Jesus, epitomizing him as the Christ- a position undoubtedly considered to be the highest honor among any Jew- then it cannot be ignored that the TF clearly shows Pontius Pilate as he who was ultimately responsible for crucifying he who was without doubt the most eagerly anticipated Jewish figure to come along in hundreds of years. If anything, the TF demonizes Pilate more than all other paragraphs mentioning him when examined from the perspective of many of the Jews, for to have the Jewish Messiah being brutally tortured and killed through crucifixion by Pontius Pilate could in no way be seen as anything other than a very unfavorable act.

The focus on these first few paragraphs is upon the acts of Pontius Pilate, with the TF being a most destructive view of the man from the Jewish perspective. The statement of  “the denunciation by the leading men among us" is merely incidental to the depiction of Pontius Pilate's brutality towards the Jews, as the theme of Pilate's brutality and lack of respect for the Jews rings through each and every paragraph clearly. If anything, Josephus as a Jew is showing signs here of a deep rooted disdain for Pontius Pilate, likely due to being a contemporary of Pontius Pilate and/or being given first-hand accounts of the man. With great detail, Josephus illustrates the numerous inflictions Pontius Pilate heaped upon the Jews, with the crucifixion of the Christ in no way to be understood as a diminishment of his inflictions, but rather a terse depiction of the utter insensitivity of the man, Pontius Pilate.

3.) This argument appears to insist that because there does not appear to be any uprising or tumultuous event occurring in the TF in contrast to the other paragraphs, then there is reason to doubt the TF was written in by Josephus. This is a very weak argument since we can find dozens of examples of even serenely peaceful events being sandwiched between paragraphs depicting raging wars throughout Antiquities and The Jewish Wars, far too numerous to mention. This is characteristic of the style of Josephus throughout his works, and by no means offers up any plausible argument that the Testimonium had been oddly inserted.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:

The debate over the language of the Testimonium has been all over the place, to say the least. The hard fact is, however, that the passage reeks of Josephus but in a completely bizarre manner and at the same time seems to resemble normal Christian apologia. 1.)Mason cites several words and phrases which seem Josephan until considered in context;[6] that being “doer (ποιετε&sigmafEye-wink of wonderful deeds,”[7] “they did not cease,” “he was perhaps the Christ (Χριστο&sigmafEye-wink” and “tribe (Φψλ&epsilonEye-wink of the Christians.” The use and language of these words does not fit into the normal Josephan style, and even in the case that they were Josephan in style they would not fit into how Josephus used the terms,[8] they are missing further explanation, or would make little sense to his intended audience; the Greeks and Romans who would be fully unaware of the meaning behind “Christ.” In the same manner, the high regard in which he holds Christ, even in the regard that our earliest attestation, Eusebius, has him being referred to specifically as Christ is downright ridiculous. Not only is the language reflective of a Christian apologist in the forth century, but it doesn’t sound like something a first century pious Jew would write, especially in the context that Josephus was writing in (Jewish apologetics).[/b]


1.) This argument might have some validity to it if we were to examine each and every word throughout the works of Josephus to see if any other words or phrases appear only one or twice. Therefore, in order to prove validity to your argument, then this possibility must be eliminated. Indeed, other fact-finding missions should also be employed in an effort to substantiate your assertion. For example:

a) In regards to the word  “doer (ποιετε&sigmafEye-wink," have you examined all the works of Josephus to see if there was any other similar opportunity for this word to be employed? Or, have you examined the works of Josephus in search of other one-time usages of certain words?
b) In regards to the phrase "they did not cease," have you considered that Josephus also says "nor cease to be happy" only once in Antiquities, in Book 4, Chp 8? Likewise for the phrase of "that his wrath against them might cease" in Book 5 Chp 2, among many other examples.
c) In regards to the usage of "Christ (Χριστο&sigmafEye-wink,” have you considered the limited opportunities that this word has in which it could be employed? Have you also noticed that the alternate word of "Messiah" is not used even once in Antiquities? Since the word "Christ" comes from the Greek, I have not seen any argument as to how this word could confuse the Greeks and Romans, since it is a word which would be understood by them.
d) In regards to "tribe (Φψλ&epsilonEye-wink," this has been previously addressed and demonstrated that it is to be understood as a sect/sub-sect of Judaism. One must not forget that since Jesus was a Jew, then it stands to reason that his original followers were also Jews, and therefore represented the tribe.

To summarize, I must conclude that the argument above has not been validated due to incomplete considerations. In order to assess anything properly, one must begin by stating to him/her self, "I don't know, but I will try to find out." Then, in an effort to unearth the truth, all sides must be examined. We cannot possibly understand that something is a cube if we only look at one of its 6 squares. In the interests of enhancing scholarship, the earnest student will never assert speculation as fact, but instead examine whether or not the speculation finds substantial support, and even then the earnest student will present his view as just that; a view.

In light of this approach, the claims in the argument above lack evidence for support, and lack investigation into the other more valid considerations. Therefore, the argument is without merit in my opinion.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Silence is golden except when one is trying to prove their God existed, and then one should want to be as loud with information as possible. 1.)Yet early Christians seemed to be loud on everything except the Testimonium, which would have been completely revolutionary in terms of evidence in the early Christian centuries, especially against Trypho, Celsus and Prophyry. Yet strangely the reader of the polemics against these pagans seems to be missing the Testimonium, even though they cite from Josephus over and over again. Mason writes that “Origen expressed his wonder that the Jewish historian ‘did not accept that our Jesus is Christ’,” (p. 229) which is accurate. But there is more troubling information to consider here. That nowhere does Origen ever cite or attempt to cite anything remotely close to the Testimonium is damning. Instead one only sees reference to James, in which Origen seems to have recalled that Josephus referred to Jesus as “the one called Christ.”[9] It is odd that this appears only in Origen and not before. For example, this passage is never brought up by Justin Martyr in his dialog with Trypho. What else is odd is that out of the blue you have Ananus killing James. The apologist would have one believe that he killed James because Jesus was his brother, but what purpose would that have served? Instead, looking at the context another probability possibility itself, and seems to be the more probable.


Aside from the fact that the above is an argument from silence, once again we see that the argument fails to take into account the numerous other considerations. Let us examine those other considerations carefully.

Considering Trypho

The argument asserts that Justin Martyr's Dialog With Trypho had need to address the existence of Jesus, and that using the Testimonium would have benefited Justin. The Trypho argument would undoubtedly use the following quote from Chp 8 to substantiate the claim:

Trypho wrote:
1.)But Christ--if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere--is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elias come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all. 2.)And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing.


The proponents for non-existence extract the quote from the context and use the argument that the quote above has Trypho speaking of Jesus as though Jesus did not exist, and that this should provide Justin with an opportunity to prove the existence of Jesus by presenting the Testimonium Flavium.

However, what the proponents did not consider is that Trypho was an orthodox Jew who did not believe Jesus to be the Christ. Therefore, Trypho is not speaking of Jesus as being the Christ mentioned in the first part of the quote above, but of the Christ being someone other than Jesus. Yet, let us concern ourselves with the 2nd part of the quote.

Proponents for the non-existence of Jesus assert that the 2nd part of the quote above indicates that Trypho is saying that Jesus did not actually exist, but instead was an invention of the Christians. However, Trypho did not say that Jesus the man did not exist, but that a Christ was invented by the Christians. The question that needs to be answered here is this:
 
Was Typho saying that the Christians invented a Christ and named him Jesus?

To answer this question, let us examine the evidence. The following is another quote from Trypho in Chp 67:

Trypho wrote:
Then Trypho objected, "The quotation is not 'Behold a virgin will conceive and bear a Son,' but 'Behold a young woman will conceive and bear a son,' and so forth, as you quoted it. Furthermore, the prophecy as a whole refers to Hezekiah, and it can be shown that the events described in the prophecy were fulfilled in him. [2] Besides, in Greek mythology there is a story of how Perseus was born of Danae, while she was a virgin, when the one whom they call Zeus descended upon her in the form of a golden shower.

You Christians should be ashamed of yourselves, therefore, to repeat the same kind of stories as these men, and you should, on the contrary, acknowledge this Jesus to be a man of mere human origin. If you can prove from the Scriptures that He !is the Christ, confess that He was considered worthy to be chosen as such because of His perfect observance of the Law, but do not dare to speak of miracles, lest you be accused of talking nonsense, like the Greeks."


In the quote above, Trypho criticizes Justin and the Christians of misinterpreting prophecies from the Torah and applying them to Jesus. He also demonstrates how the Greeks had a myth of a child being born from a virgin. Trypho then lashes out at the Christians for assigning such similar tales to Jesus, and insists that instead they should acknowledge this Jesus to be a man of mere human origin. Trypho then challenges the Christians to prove that this Jesus was the Christ from the scriptures, and not according to the nonsense propagated by Greek mythology.

It would not be incorrect to state that if Trypho thought that Jesus did not exist, yet encourages the Christians to acknowledge this Jesus to be a man of mere human origin, that he would be contradicting himself, for it is completely illogical for Trypho to encourage Christians to recognize the human qualities of someone who did not physically exist.
 
Further evidence can be extracted from the quote below:

Trypho wrote:
You place your hope in a crucified man, and still expect to receive favors from God when you disregard His commandments.

In the quote above, in context relating to Jesus, Trypho positively claims that Jesus was crucified, otherwise he would be not accusing the Christians of placing their hope in him. And yet even more ...

Trypho wrote:
When I paused, Trypho objected, "Your quotations from Scripture prove that we must look forward to that glorious and great Messiah who, as the Son of Man, receives the everlasting kingdom from the Ancient of days. But, the one whom you call Christ was without glory and honor to such an extent that he incurred the last curse of God's law, namely, he was crucified."


Again in the quote above we see Trypho positively confirming that Jesus was crucified. There can be no doubt that he believed Jesus to have existed as a human being, otherwise his remarks of someone being crucified who didn't exist would be totally ridiculous.
 
It should be noted that Justin Martyr's Dialogue with Trypho does not concern itself with whether or not Jesus existed. It is a discussion between a Christian (Justin) and a Jew (Trypho) over whether or not Jesus was the promised Christ of the Jews. Trypho postulated that the Christian gospel had embellishments of an actual person named Jesus, and accused the Christians of misinterpreting ancient scripture and borrowing from Greek myths to embellish the life of Jesus in an effort to present him as the promised Christ. Trypho took great offense to the idea that the promised Christ would be crucified, as the following quotes indicate:

Trypho wrote:
But we doubt whether the Christ should be so shamefully crucified, for the Law declares that he who is crucified is to be accursed.

But what we want you to prove to us is that He was to be crucified and be subjected to so disgraceful and shameful a death (which even in the Law is cursed). We find it impossible to think that this could be so."


The entire discussion revolved around Justin making an attempt to qualify Jesus as being the Christ to Trypho. Yet Trypho, although admitting that Jesus was crucified and therefore to have existed, accuses the Christians of creating myths around Jesus insomuch as the claims of the Gospel regarding Jesus were preposterous. Trypho accused the Christians of inventing a Christ; an invention created by embellishing the life of a "man of mere human origin."

Therefore, there would be no cause for the Testimonium Flavium to be used here by Justin Martyr, since his objective was not in proving that Jesus existed, but in only demonstrating to Trypho how Jesus was the Christ.
 
Considering Origen's Contra Celsum

This argument regarding Origen's lack of mention of the Testimonium Flavium must be acknowledged as yet another argument from silence. Yet again, as we did with Trypho, we will examine the facts surrounding the argument and present some counter-points in the interests of approximating the truth.

Once again the argument asserts that Origen had some dire need to use the Testimonium Flavium in his refutation of the previous works of Celsum. The counter-points shown below will show this argument to be demonstrated as false. Once again we must ask an important question:

What was Origen trying to demonstrate with his Contra Celsum work?

Upon reading Origen's Contra Celsum we are struck by the writer's objective as being that which attempts to refute a previous work created by Celsum known as the "True Discourse." Judging by the quotes Origen presents from True Discourse, we can easily determine that Origen is attempting to refute Celsum's statements against the validity of the Christian religion, as well as refute his claims against the religion of the Jews.

What was Origen not trying to demonstrate with his Contra Celsum work?

Again, judging by Origen's personal statements, as well as his quotes of Celsum, Origen was not trying to neither justify the existence of Jesus as a human being, nor that Jesus was crucified. It could be understood by the comments of Celsum that Celsum himself believed that Jesus existed, as the following statement by Celsum indicates:

Celsum wrote:
Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god.


Obviously Celsum had his own view of the life of Jesus, and shows no doubts whatsoever as to the existence of Jesus as being nothing more than a mere human being who was proclaimed to be some kind of god. Therefore, the use of the Testimonium Flavium here would be of no effect in proving the existence of Jesus to Celsum, since a) Celsum was dead, and b) Celsum's True Discourse showed that Celsum believed Jesus existed as an ordinary man.

Also, the Contra Celsum work shows absolutely no indication that Celsum disbelieved that Jesus was crucified, therefore again we have no need of the Testimonium Flavium. In fact, the following quote from Contra Celsum provides evidence that Celsum did indeed have knowledge of the crucifixion of Jesus.

Contra Celsum wrote:
And in addition to the above, this Jew of Celsus afterwards addresses Jesus: "What need, moreover, was there that you, while still an infant, should be conveyed into Egypt? Was it to escape being murdered? But then it was not likely that a God should be afraid of death; and yet an angel came down from heaven, commanding you and your friends to flee, lest ye should be captured and put to death! And was not the great God, who had already sent two angels on your account, able to keep you, His only Son, there in safety?" From these words Celsus seems to think that there was no element of divinity in the human body and soul of Jesus, but that His body was not even such as is described in the fables of Homer; and with a taunt also at the blood of Jesus which was shed upon the cross, he adds that it was not "Ichor, such as flows in the veins of the blessed gods." - Chp LXVI


In the above quote, we see Origen quoting Celsum as Celsum is quoting a Jew. Yet what is important about the above quote is that at the very end, we see Origen stating the Celsum was taunting the death of Jesus on the cross. This is a clear and concise indication that Celsum knew that Jesus had been crucified, therefore we have another reason as to why there was no need to quote the Testimonium Flavium in his Contra Celsum.

Yet, there is still another argument put forth by those who disbelieve in the existence of Jesus. This argument is again put forth in the form of a question:

Why did Origen say that Josephus was not believing in Jesus as the Christ?

This question does indeed offer evidence that Origen indicates that the traditional Testimonium Flavium is not what he was reading in Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, for the traditional reading has Josephus stating clearly that Jesus was the Christ. Yet, the question asked above absolutely begs the need to ask another question:

How could Origen determine that Josephus was not believing in Jesus as the Christ?

Since we have Origen referring to the Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, then it is only reasonable that Origen could determine that Josephus did not believe that Jesus was the Christ from the works of Josephus himself. But where?

Let's begin to answer that by looking at Jerome:

Jerome wrote:
“In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be lawful to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him and the sect of Christians, so named from Him, exists to the present day.”


Jerome's quote of Josephus above does not show Josephus as one who professes Jesus to be the Christ. In fact, in the quote above we see Josephus merely expressing the views of others who believed that Jesus was the Christ. Therefore, it is not unreasonable to ascertain that Origen's statements regarding Josephus' state of disbelief could come from a similar transcript of the Testimonium above, since the above variant does not show Josephus as expressing any personal belief whatsoever that Jesus was the Christ.

In fact, Jerome's Testimonium- although showing a great deal in common with the traditional extant versions- lends credence to the Arabic variant which states the following:
Arabic Testimonium Flavium wrote:
"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders"


Even in the Arabic variant we see that Josephus was not stating any personal beliefs, but like in the Jerome version Josephus is expressing the views of many others. An argument also exists that the Arabic version is merely paraphrasing a previous copy, and is not actually quoting verbatim from a previous source. Yet, what we have demonstrated so far is that evidence exists which permits a reasonable hypothesis to support Origen's statement as to [i]why
Josephus himself was not showing any sign of belief that Jesus was the Christ.

Yet we are not finished yet, for when we further examine Antiquities of the Jews we noticed that the 2nd passage concerning Jesus states the following:

Josephus wrote:
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James,

 
Once again we see Josephus referring to Jesus as someone who was called the Christ. Here, Josephus is not expressing any personal beliefs, but clearly demonstrating what others referred to Jesus as being; the Christ. This quotation lends even more credence to the possibility that the Jerome and Arabic versions of the Testimonium Flavium were the reasons why Origen made his statement, for in all 3 examples provided so far we do not see Josephus making any positive statement that Jesus was the Christ, but rather he is expressing the views of others.

One thing that must be acknowledged is the question of how Origen could determine that Josephus was not believing that Jesus was the Christ. Since all available evidence shows that Origen was intimately familiar with the Antiquities of the Jews, then the only reasonable conclusion we can arrive at according to the evidence is that Origen made this determination from both passages on Jesus in the Antiquities of the Jews.
 
So what does this prove? Nothing is conclusive, however the evidence indicates that total interpolation is very unlikely given the fact that we have 3 different variants of the  Testimonium Flavium from 3 different sources. This evidence strongly indicates partial interpolation, with the focus resting directly on the differences between the positive claim of "He was the Christ" in traditional manuscripts, verses "He was believed to be the Christ" from records further back in history. The commonalities between the different versions also help to challenge the likelihood of total interpolation, since almost all variants share almost all the following:

1. Jesus was regarded to be the Christ.
2. Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate.
3. Jesus had many followers from the Jews and other peoples.
4. Jesus was a wise man, meaning he was well versed in his school of thought.
5. Jesus' followers did not abandon him after his death.
6. Jesus was regarded as one who fulfilled the prophecies concerning the coming of the Messiah.

All 6 of the commonalities listed above are found in all versions of the Testimonium Flavium. Since we have 3 different variations from 3 different sources, then the evidence strongly indicates that an original paragraph regarding Jesus existed in Antiquities of the Jews in the 18th Book, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3, and that paragraph contained all the commonalities aforementioned.

What this demonstrates is that when using only the commonalities between the variants as evidence, then Origen's comments regarding Josephus' state of disbelief is justified due to Josephus not expressing any personal belief that Jesus was the Christ, but rather the text indicating Josephus only expressing the views of others. If Josephus had not expressed a positive claim that Jesus was the Christ as evidence indicates, then this non-expression justifies Origen's remarks about him when we also consider that Origen undoubtedly regarded Josephus as an orthodox Jew.

Therefore, the view we can take of Origen is that he also was reading a different version of the Testimonium Flavium, otherwise there would be no reference for him elsewhere in Antiquities of the Jews from which he could draw the conclusion that Josephus did not believe Jesus to be the Christ.

To summarize Origen, we have demonstrated that there was no need for him to quote the Testimonium Flavium in his Contra Celsum work, because a) Celsum knew a man named Jesus existed, b) Celsum knew this Jesus had been crucified, and c) the original Testimonium Flavium may not have had Josephus making the positive claim of Jesus being the Christ, as evidenced by the variants. Indeed also, the contents of Contra Celsum do not indicate it was any kind of refutation against any claim of Celsum regarding the non-existence or non-crucifixion of Jesus, but rather a refutation against Celsum's attacks on the religions of Christianity and Judaism.


Considering Porphyry

Of all the arguments from silence, this is by far the largest presented. "Against the Christians" was written by the Roman pagan Porphyry circa 280 and was an educated man's studied attack on Christian theology. An exceedingly powerful and successful work, it and commentaries on it were condemned by the imperial church in 448 and burned. Only remnants which were contained in books that were primarily about other matters have survived until the present. Counter-treatises were written by Eusebius of Caesarea, Apollinaris of Laodicea, Methodius of Olympus, and Macarius of Magnesia, but all these are lost.

Of all the fragments of Porphyry we have examined, we can again conclude that there was simply no reason whatsoever anyone would need the Testimonium Flavium to refute anything said by Porphyry. The fragments indicate that Porphyry, like Trypho and Celsum, knew that Jesus had physically existed and was crucified. His objective was not in doubting the existence and crucifixion of Jesus, but in ridiculing the Christian theology.
 
Therefore, any reason why Porphyry would be presented as an argument against the Testimonium Flavium is a complete mystery, since there is no evidence whatsoever that anyone at any time ever needed the Testimonium Flavium to refute anything he said.

This concludes the critique of using Trypho, Origen, and Porphyry against the Testimonium Flavium.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

The order of Chapter 9 is as follows: (1) Ananus takes the high priesthood away from Josephus by order of Agrippa. (2) Ananus seems to have not been very patient, a member of the sect of the Sadducees, he felt the need to flex his muscles so, (3) while Albinus—the new procurator of Judea sent by Caesar after the death of Festus—was yet enroute, (4) he arrested James and some companions and (5) brought forth accusations against him. (6) He then had them stoned. (7) Citizens who felt James was just and upright sent out for Agrippa while others met Albinus on the road. (Cool Agrippa removed Ananus from the High Priesthood and gave it to Jesus, son of Damneus. James, in the context of the chapter, is said to be “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James.”

There seems to be two possible solutions for this, and both seem adequate in light of the evidence. 1.) First, it seems more accurate that Josephus is here referring to Jesus, son of Damneus. Among our first solution, consider the passage is authentic with absolutely no tampering; even Mason agrees that the use of Christos in this fashion seems more appropriate as it is a nickname rather than a title. (p. 228) Mason suggests that titles were common among first century Jews because of the lack of common names in use. Jesus here is nicknamed “anointed.” Jesus son of Damneus did in fact get selected to be the High Priest, in which he would have been anointed for the position which the scripture commands in Exodus 29:9 and 1 Samuel 10:1, and thus his nickname would apply. This example gives too much credit to the originality of the text, however, and although it certainly is possible that this section of the text could be authentic, it is still doubtful considering the list of early Christians who would have had no problems tampering with it. In the Greek, the text for Antiquities 20.9.1, 200 is as follows (translated here from the Koine):[10]

“When Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the Sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned.”

2)It is odd that this verse is considered to be authentic completely, especially considering the almost nonchalant nature of Josephus’ discussion of James, as if he wasn’t the subject at all. Instead, it seems that Jesus was the subject of this verse specifically, which is why his name is brought up at all. What other reason would Josephus have to discuss Jesus in relation to James? How does Jesus fit into this discussion, especially if he was already dead which oddly enough is never mentioned in the text? Nowhere does Josephus say “Jesus who was called Christ, who had been crucified by Pilate.” Jesus doesn’t even get discussed in past tense in any way; in fact it could be argued that it seems as if Jesus is still alive when James was put on trial. These oddities lead to the position that Jesus son of Damneus is the Jesus who is the brother of James, who is being tried by Ananus.

This is even more anomalous then, that Origen notes that James is to blame for the fall of Jerusalem instead of Jesus, as he writes (emphasis added):

“Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless--being, although against his will, not far from the truth--that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.”

3)It should be obvious to those who would read this that Origen only knew of this passage in Josephus, and perhaps the only reason why he even considered it to be in regards to Jesus was that he had copies of Luke, and also of Paul which he would have read as being the same James. It does not even appear as though Jesus was called “the Christ” in this passage, but rather Origen simply interpreted it at this time to mean Jesus Christ. This should lead to some consideration as to how much Origen really read of the text in Josephus’ Antiquities. He certainly did not know of the Testimonium, as he never refers to it, where it would have been valuable to do so. Moreso the passage here in Antiquities 20 does not seem to mean what many think it does, and probably didn’t receive its final stature until either right before or immediately after Origen, but certainly before Eusebius. This can be witnessed in that Eusebius himself doesn’t seem to have a completed interpolation either, and perhaps even he had received a slightly reworked text before reading it himself.


The arguments above do not appear to be grounded with any degree of credible support. But let us take a look at the first argument by again asking a question:

Q: Could the name of Christ be a legitimate nickname to be applied to Jesus, son of Damneus, based upon his appointment to the High Priest?

Firstly, in an effort to even justify this possibility, we must be able to extrapolate examples from any historical documents whereas any other High Priest had ever been given the title/nickname of Christ. Since no precedent of anyone else ever being referred to as Christ while in the position of High Priest exists, then we do not have any basis of precedent whatsoever for this claim.

Secondly, we do not find any examples of Jesus, son of Damneus, being nicknamed as Christ anywhere else, nor anything which can remotely allude to it.

Thirdly, we find no connection that James was the brother of Jesus, son of Damneus, the High Priest. We find no evidence that the High Priest's brother was about to be stoned.

Finally, this argument completely disintegrates when we read that at the time James was stoned, Jesus, son of Damneus, was not a High Priest. He was not given the High Priesthood until 3 months later when Agrippa took it away from Ananus for his cruelty towards James, and gave it to Jesus, son of Damneus. Therefore, to say that James was the brother of Jesus, son of Damneus, the High Priest at the time of James' stoning is incorrect historically, according to Josephus. Thus, he could not be regarded as a Christ based upon an anointing at that time for the simple fact that he was not a High Priest at that time.

The second argument from the quote of Rook Hawkins appears to be an argument against the authenticity of the passage regarding James. The argument is based upon his observance that the text indicates the following:

a) The text focuses on Jesus, and not James.
b) The mentioning of Jesus is unjustified in the text.
c) Jesus was not discussed in the past tense in any way.

When we examine all the text itself, we can see that the focus is not on James, and certainly not at all on Jesus Christ. The text immediately previous to the mentioning of James and Jesus Christ, as well as immediately after, indicates that the focus is squarely on Ananus, and illustrates his abuse of his powers as High Priest. The mentioning of Jesus, who was called Christ, was merely to distinguish the person of James by associating him to Jesus, who was called Christ. Indeed, this mentioning of Jesus here indicates a previous mention of Jesus in Antiquities, since it singles him out as the Jesus who was called the Christ, and the only other mention of any other Jesus being called the Christ is in the Testimonium Flavium. The assertion that Jesus was not discussed in the past tense is eliminated by the use of the words "was called," indicative of the past tense. Any other variations of translations also indicate words exhibiting the past tense.

The third argument that can be gleaned from Rook_Hawkins' quote above is that he feels it is obvious that Origen's knowledge of Antiquities did not extend to anything more than the paragraph concerning James. If this argument were true, then it provides another reason why Origen did not mention the Testimonium Flavium. However, this argument can rendered as false by simply examining Origen's statements regarding Antiquities of tyhe Jews.

Josephus wrote:
For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. - CC XLVII


Josephus wrote:
For any one who chooses may read what Florins Josephus has recorded in his two books, On the Antiquity, of the Jews, where he brings together a great collection of writers, who bear witness to the antiquity of the Jewish people. - CC XVI


Both the quotes above demonstrate that not only was Origen familiar with other books and chapters of Antiquities, but he also knew how Josephus compiled the book by his statement of "he brings together a great collection of writer, and he also knew that the writers Josephus assembled were those who "who bear witness to the antiquity of the Jewish people." Thus, it is has been demonstrated that the arguments against Origen's knowledge of Antiquities is false.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Consider that, while returning to the list concerning the Testimonium, Eusebius’ understanding of the text is exactly the next subject to be discussed. For Eusebius quotes the Testimonium as if he didn’t know where it fit. He suggests for example that the passage of Jesus is found after the passage of John the Baptist, which is erroneous to the manuscripts we have today. Mason writes that “even at Eusebius’ time the form of the Testimonium was not yet fixed…in fact...[it] remained fluid.” (p. 230) Not only does it seem to be fluid, but Eusebius seems to have an alternate reading of the text—or perhaps he is altering it even more himself—in Demonstratio Evangelica 3:5 below:

"And Jesus arises at that time, a wise man, if it is befitting to call him a man. For he was a doer of no common works, a teacher of men who reverence truth. And he gathered many of the Jewish and many of the Greek race. This was Christus; and when Pilate (c) condemned him to the Cross on the information of our rulers, his first followers did not cease to revere him. For he appeared to them the third day alive again, the divine prophets having foretold this, and very many other things about him. And from that time to this the tribe of the Christians has not failed."

This is a very damning case for Eusebius and his Testimonium. What is worse is that all seven of these problems, with the addition of the James passage, make Josephus’ testimony hard to take seriously. The Testimonium appears completely nonexistent prior to the forth century, and even then we don’t have any manuscript evidence until after the tenth century.


Actually what we see above is yet another reason to understand why the Testimonium Flavium to have existed originally in Antiquities of the Jews, since in Eusebius' reading we once again see all the commonalities present in all the other variants. This once again supports partial interpolation, with the main rift between scholars as being whether or not Josephus did, or did not, make a positive claim that Jesus was the Christ. Personally, I support more of a redaction than any insertion of new text into the Testimonium Flavium for if the text originally read as He was perhaps the Christ then the mere removal of the word "perhaps gives us the positive claim. Even after that, all the other commonalities still remain intact.

To me, it would seem far more likely for a Christian interpolator to remove doubt as to whether or not Jesus was the Christ by simply removing any word which supported doubt. To a Christian there would be no doubt that Jesus was the Christ, and therefore any word to suggest doubt would be erased, including such words as "perhaps," or "believed to be." To me, this is far more plausible than any great interpolation of the text, and certainly greatly more plausible than total interpolation, which finds little support among world scholars.

The reading by Eusebius is not much different than the reading of Jerome, except for the positive statement, as we see below:

Jerome wrote:
“In this same time was Jesus, a wise man, if indeed it be lawful to call him man. For he was a worker of wonderful miracles, and a teacher of those who freely receive the truth. He had very many adherents also, both of the Jews and of the Gentiles, and was believed to be Christ, and when through the envy of our chief men Pilate had crucified him, nevertheless those who had loved him at first continued to the end, for he appeared to them the third day alive. Many things, both these and other wonderful things are in the songs of the prophets who prophesied concerning him and the sect of Christians, so named from Him, exists to the present day.”


If we were to play the role of a police detective who is investigating a crime, and we had 4 witness such as a) the extant Testimonium Flavium, b) the Jerome reading of the Testimonium Flavium, c) the Eusebius reading of the Testimonium Flavium, and d) the Arabic reading of the Testimonium Flavium, then in an effort to learn the truth of the matter the first thing we would look for is what the consistencies are from the 4 available witnesses. After examining the testimony of all those witnesses, and applying what else we know from the 2nd mention of Jesus in Antiquities, we could compile a Testimonium Flavium that no one could complain about, as so:

Me wrote:
About this time also came Jesus, a wise man indeed, if it is not unlawful to regard him as a man, for he did some astonishing works and was a teacher to those who had a high regard for truth. He had a multitude of followers from both the Jews and the Greeks, and when the envy of our chief men among us ensued, they pressured  Pilate to put him to the cross. Yet, his followers did not cease to revere him, for reports stated that he appeared to them alive three days later as the prophets had foretold along with many other things, and this sect of Christians, so named from him, exist to this day.


One point needs to be made in regards to Jesus and how the early Jews viewed him. Most of those who have something against the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavium are usually recorded as saying that the Testimonium Flavium  appears to be too "Christian" to have been written by Josephus, a Jew. A valid argument against that claim is that all the earliest followers of Jesus were Jews, just like Josephus. Jesus had followers who believed in him, and there were also many people who did not believe in him at all. But what must be considered here is the "grey area." It is entirely possible for many of the Jews to have liked Jesus and his teachings, yet would not fully commit themselves to the Christian belief that Jesus was the Christ, due to their fear of the high ranking Jews, or simply because that was as far as they would allow themselves to believe. They could say, "Jesus did some amazing things, and was a very good man, but I don't think he was the Christ."

But consider Josephus' position. At the time of his writing of Antiquities, he was enjoying the protection of Rome, and was distant from any Jewish retribution due to anything he would say. Therefore, he could easily express that he was impressed with this Jesus, yet still show doubts as to whether or not he believed the claim that Jesus was the Christ. Even today, we as a people listen to the claims of many others, and although we can agree with much of what they say or do, we do not always agree with them on everything. Things are not always so black and white, because the grey area exists today, just as it did in eras gone by.

Therefore, it is my position that it is entirely plausible that although Josephus was doubting Jesus to be the Christ, he was could be very impressed with the teachings of Jesus, as well as other reports concerning him. And he could be that way without ever being a committed Christian. He could be that way as a Jew, since it was originally Jews who proclaimed Jesus to be the Christ; Jews just like Josephus, who comes from the "grey area."

With that being said, the part of playing the police detective reveals that a level of consistency exists among all readings of the Testimonium Flavium which enables the detective to conclude that what was actually said by Josephus would not be too far from what I have postulated, and would be the best approximation of the truth of the matter. In any court of law, if the police detective were to present his evidence demonstrating such a high level of consistency among four witnesses, then this evidence would be damning indeed to those who hold to total interpolation, for the evidence simply does not support it. On the contrary, the evidence supports the consistencies.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

 And all the manuscript data we do have conflict with each other in ways you shouldn’t expect to find, especially among the same people! Admitting these problems as well as the fact that many, albeit not near a consensus, in the scholarly community have suggested the complete removal of the Testimonium, Mason suggests that a complete interpolation seems unlikely. It is hard to believe that somebody can truly feel this is the case after looking over the evidence, and one has to wonder if there are any additional motivations in wanting the text to be authenticated. However, suffice from ever gaining that knowledge one can only hope that Mason can provide some sort of sound evidence for his claims. He does put forth a few reasons why such a complete interpolation would not seem likely. (1) He claims that Christian copyists were “quite conservative in transmitting texts.” (p. 232) His evidence for this point is that (a) there seems to be no other suspicious tampering in Josephus and that, (b) no evidence exists in Philo which would also have been helpful to their cause. Mason states, “But in the case of Philo and Josephus…one is hard pressed to find a single example of serious scribal altercation.” (ibid.)


I don't believe that Mr. Mason's presence will be required here, although I know from correspondence that he has viewed this critique of yours. He simply does not have the time to take out of his busy schedule to respond to critiques like this, since they are so numerous all over the internet. His interests are in dealing with his lectures and adverse criticisms in real life, and cannot possibly dedicate the time required to discuss such things online.

Therefore, I have taken it upon myself to critique your position, and make it quite clear that Mr. Mason has not endorsed anything I have said here. My views are not a reflection of the views of Mr. Mason, and are entirely my own. However, it would not be criminal of me to say that I do enjoy the views of Mr. Mason, and that I also share many of them. He is respected as one of the world's leading authorities on Flavius Josephus, and I would defer to his scholarship gracefully.

Hence, the evidence that you require by Mr. Mason will not be forthcoming I fear, and I kindly ask that you consider the arguments I have presented.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
But Mason’s claims here are dubious, and full of pseudo truths. For starters, his final claim that one is hardpressed to locate any “serious” scribal altercations is hard to take seriously, as he is discussions a very serious scribal altercation in his very paragraph! Indeed, the whole reason why Christian scribes were conservative is because to interpolate more would be to cause additional problems. In fact, it is probably the reason why textual critics did not find more than just one paragraph, as had the interpolators used any additional space it would have made copying the rest of the manuscript much more difficult, and perhaps they would have even run out of room. This is why when we see interpolations they are minimal, and not extensive. For example, we do not see the Gospel narratives fully embedded in Josephus precisely because such a thing would be difficult for an interpolator to accomplish while still recalling the other two full books he would have to copy.


Reasoning as well as I am able, I am sure that Mr. Mason's idea of what is "serious" verses your own idea would be markedly different. Also, I find it most remarkable that your claims above demonstrate adherence to minor partial interpolation, with you also illustrating why partial interpolation would serve the interpolators interests far more than total interpolation. With your own statements, you build a case against yourself.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Bart Ehrman[11] shows how this is impossible due to scroll length. Papyrus scrolls—basically glued-together sections of papyrus sheets—seldom measured longer than 35 feet in length due to convenience. Thus, authors, and later those copyists who would transmit the texts onto fresh scrolls later—would generally separate long works into “books,” each accommodating one scroll. Josephus’ Antiquities was made up of 20 such books, so the scribal interpolator would need to be conservative in order to avoid running out of space. This is perhaps why textual critics see small interpolations in the Gospels, such as 1 John 5:7, and not whole sections of text, at least not until much later when the cost of codifying made it cheaper to transmit texts.

Indeed, it seems that when Christians started using Codices[12] as opposed to scrolls, it would have become much easier to interpolate a selection of text. It would have cost significantly less than interpolating a scroll—Ehrman[13] recounts that in terms of value one would save up to 44% by having something copied in Codex form as opposed to Scrolls—and even more so when the Christian copyists started using parchment sheets instead of papyrus leaves. Such a change from papyrus to parchment made copying texts onto both sides of a sheet much easier to accomplish than using the sheets of papyri, in which the direction of the fibers made transmission difficult and annoying.

This would explain then why we don’t really see an interpolation until after Eusebius, after Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Not only was the use of Codices more popular as is discussed by Eusebius concerning the fifty copies of the scripture to be Codified by the order of Constantine, but the fact that there were now whole groups of professional scribes focused on transmitting texts just for Christians, something that probably was state sanctioned if Constantine were commanding it. Prior to this time, it would probably still have been too expensive for the Christian to pay for a copyist to transmit the texts in this great a number, and additionally we know many of the early Christians were slaves, criminals, women and their children,[14] who would probably not have had the means at interpolating any specific passages themselves.

That aside, the notion that Christian scribes were always conservative is truly bunk. Especially when one considers the Old Russian copies of Josephus’ Wars of the Jews, where there seem to be several interpolated passages attesting to Jesus. In refutation of Mason’s claim that “Christian copyists were quite conservative,” George A. Wells[15] writes, “This seems to overlook the considerable interpolations…in the Old Russian translation of The Jewish War, and there are extensive Christian interpolations in other Jewish writings of the period, now known as the OT Pseudepigrapha.” (p. 51-52) For a complete viewing of these manuscripts, Frank Zindler has an informative article on the Old Russian manuscripts in his work The Jesus the Jews Never Knew (2003), p. 60-71.


It is widely accepted that Josephus published his Antiquities Collection in 93CE in Rome. It is without doubt that publication comes with distribution and recognition.

When the Romans "published" a book, they went to a place where dozens or hundreds of literate slaves would create copies one at a time with pens. Both the citizens and conquered slaves were well educated. Greek slaves worked as scribes, translators, and teachers. Romans loved to read. Great libraries existed adjacent to the public baths. Patrons could read in leisure or borrow great works of science and literature. 

There was a thriving publishing industry. Manuscript sellers were in the market place for those who wanted to own personal copies. First editions of one thousand copies were commissioned and best sellers sold over one hundred thousand copies in the arcade book stalls. But, each copy had to be hand copied with pen and ink. 

The earliest Roman literary works were copied on Egyptian papyrus. In the first century, dried animal skin, called parchment, was used as a substrate. A short document on a folded sheet was a two fold or diploma. A longer work of literature was sold as a scroll or volumen (wound up). The writing was done in two narrow columnae per page. Punctuation and spacing did not exist. These innovations were introduced by printers centuries later.

Therefore, considering that Josephus' book would undoubtedly be in wide circulation like any other book, it is a wonder indeed how with such a broad audience we do not find a single historical record contesting the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavium.

The silence is deafening.

[quote-Rook_Hawkins]In the end it must be concluded that there is not a single reason to accept any part of the Testimonium, indeed any reference to Jesus in Josephus should be looked at skeptically and avoided as any use for evidence of a historical Jesus. To accept the Testimonium is to cherry pick the translation, the text variant and the church father one likes the best, and nothing more. This is not the means to attaining honest research and certainly should not be considered good scholarship.


I implore you to reconsider your position, for the position of the vast majority of the world's foremost scholars do not find agreement with you.

Best regards.


 


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Cool, FathomFFI is back,

Cool, FathomFFI is back, round 2. Was the bible Jesus one special dude???   Yeah, I'd  would like to know.  What about that Buddha too  ???  Let's just remember it doesn't  change what we are.  i god, as you .....     Go history seekers .....


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Cool,

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Cool, FathomFFI is back, round 2. Was the bible Jesus one special dude???   Yeah, I'd  would like to know.  What about that Buddha too  ???  Let's just remember it doesn't  change what we are.  i god, as you .....     Go history seekers .....

Hopefully Round 2 will approach a greater level of respect and scholarship than the other one did. No one needs to digress into a level immaturity befitting even that of a 6 year old.

The biblical Jesus is an embellishment of a historical figure, with rhetoric wrapped around the historical Jesus and many of his teachings. It was not the Gospel writers intention to lie about Jesus because the Gospel writers earnestly believed the rhetoric.

Buddha was just cool.

Everyone is a god.

 

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Yeah the Jesus is

Yeah the Jesus is "something" , and Buddha is way cool.  We over here are all really fucking drunk, and digging all  this  history stuff.   Really, thanks man .....    


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Yeah

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Yeah the Jesus is "something" , and Buddha is way cool.  We over here are all really fucking drunk, and digging all  this  history stuff.   Really, thanks man .....    

Jesus was an ordinary man with an extraordinary philosophy which the Christians tried to hide by explaining it differently than Jesus intended in their doctrine, and also by swallowing Paul's idea of what Jesus was talking about.

Basically, all Jesus was trying to say was this:

Jesus wrote:
Mat 22:37 - 40:   Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.


And the second is one like the first; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Jesus' philosophy was basically that if people simply learned to love each other, then we could do no wrong to each other. For if you think about it, if you trully loved someone, and everyone else equally, would you lie to them? Would you steal from them? Would you commit adultery on them? Would you become a false witness against them?

Not if you truly loved everyone the way Jesus thought we should. There would be no crime in the world at all.

And that's how simple his philosophy actually was. Everything could be accomplished for mankind by us simply loving each other. We wouldn't need any religion, any law, or any rules, because true love for each other would make all the law, religions, and rules to be pointless and useless.

Imagine no religion?

 


 

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Yes YES , and YES , this

Yes YES , and YES , this wonderful ancient message !


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I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:Yes

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Yes YES , and YES , this wonderful ancient message !

That is why I seek to establish the historicity of Jesus, because if we can establish that he was an actual normal person, and then reveal what he actually taught by using his very own words, then the religion of Christianity will have to face the truth about itself.

All religions are made up of stupid doctrines, and intentional embellishments of their prophets. Take Muhammad, for example, the prophet of Islam. No one denies he ever existed, but yet the Muslims believe that Muhammad flew to Heaven on a horse. They believe he split the moon in two.

Since Muhammad stands as a perfect example of someone who actually lived, and who's life was embellished by his followers, then how small is the step we must take to understand that the same thing happened to Jesus?

Religions suck. They suck because they lie. But don't blame people like Jesus for what religion does.

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well i will say jesus based on his actionstowards peoplewas good

FathomFFI wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Yes YES , and YES , this wonderful ancient message !

That is why I seek to establish the historicity of Jesus, because if we can establish that he was an actual normal person, and then reveal what he actually taught by using his very own words, then the religion of Christianity will have to face the truth about itself.

All religions are made up of stupid doctrines, and intentional embellishments of their prophets. Take Muhammad, for example, the prophet of Islam. No one denies he ever existed, but yet the Muslims believe that Muhammad flew to Heaven on a horse. They believe he split the moon in two.

Since Muhammad stands as a perfect example of someone who actually lived, and who's life was embellished by his followers, then how small is the step we must take to understand that the same thing happened to Jesus?

Religions suck. They suck because they lie. But don't blame people like Jesus for what religion does.

But that is not to say i believe everyone telling me either i accept the gift and get a reward for basically nothing or i decline and go to hell! but Jesus from what i read in the bible did not act like he was better then everyone else. he would hang out and try to help the people in need but i am not sure on the rest like Josephus writings but i will say that i am sure no matter what happened in Jeruselm and if Jesus was claiming he was son of God  Rome would of ignored it because Rome main goal was to make Rome more powerful and just assign a governern to areas that were trouble spots like judea that is why it had a govern and basically letting the jewish population govern itself and until c.e.69 that policiy was working uif my professor taught me right.

i would say Jesus existed as a human and might of died now i dont know about the whole idea of him dying and resurrection but even if and big if happened to die and resurrect i know i would be hard to use scienctific methodogly for testing. but history could of been tampered with and always hard to trust old things. but jesus in the bible based on actions sort of didnt follow status quo and could be learned from his actions alongside just like Buddha life and Socrates who had good principles that would make this world a better place. the best leader in india i ran across was probably King Ashoka and the laws he set up around 250 b.c.e. but i dont agree with all things attribute to him or Ramayala on being devine because that is the fastest way for the person in charge to enact their will and have no opposition if you have the group believe then you have the main battle won in controlling. and best example look at United States and current President who is using Fear as a controling agent to control the United States population to do what he wants done but this is my opinion on this subject im not bout to say jesus was any other then a normal human being just like anyone else  and i agree on the Muhammud is accept as being real so i see his point and i agee Jesus existed as a human but highly unlikely that he was anywhere near a son of god or any other claim of godhood.

as for religion i think it is more used as a means to control people along with greed and the neverending human thirst to have power over a group of people in to doing its bidding!

well thats my opinion on this post not tring to make anyone mad just sharing what i know and formed opinion on and i could be wrong and if i am wrong then i am sorry!


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Ahh Shucks, where's the

Ahh Shucks, where's the debate?  I really enjoyed the last one, despite the flames.

Anyhow, I don't remember story Jesus saying an "afterlife",  but more of a poetic explanation to understanding the "eternal" that we are, as everything is "ONE" with the cosmos.   He said this is the kingdom of god / heaven NOW, as always, as eternal ..... "death" is not to be feared. "Unnecessary suffering" is another related issue.

Doesn't "love the enemy" mean debate them, to be diplomats? "I have not come to bring Peace" (meaning no appeasement of dogma and wrong thinking also called the devil) ,  BUT the "Sword" of debate, to divide truth from hypocrisy, and therefore WAR (stealing and murder) nevermore. SIMPLE ..... ain't it ???

Just for the record, how does one get the Asshat thing removed? Sure some people definitely deserve it, but is that really the case here? My concern is for the integrity of RRS,  my favorite chat web sight. The world is watching,  the court is in session ....

BTW, to new readers, Fathom claims to be an atheist (and so am I). And hey, so is the cosmos, as half world calls the universe (GOD - GAWED) , no beginning nor creator implied. Invented religious god(s) is often silly and dangerous wrong thinking. Appreciation and awe of nature is a wonderful thing, and so we find references to gods and souls in folklore and myth that is beautiful, such as in the native American Indian stories. The many gods of nature. The sun, the water, the trees, the animals etc. 

Be wise, trust your common sense said a Buddha, and added, be nice to yourselves, which of course means be nice to others. Make your justified anger helpful .....

 


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Fathom has been given a time

Fathom has been given a time out.  He will be able to return in a week when I will lift the ban.  The reasons for this ban include trolling, harassing a moderator in PM, and asking to be banned (he should be perma-banned for this, but we'll assume that Fathom was overreacting to getting his ass handed to him in another thread).  The lies, dishonesty, and intellectual laziness that Fathom has shown on this forum were enough for some mods to outright request his complete removal.  However, because he is good for a laugh, and often times makes himself look like an idiot while digging his own hole, he can be given a second chance.  Let's hope he doesn't squander it like he did the first time around.

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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Thanks for the explanation

Thanks for the explanation Rook. It is important that all sincere debaters are welcome, dumb or wise. It's a learning experience for everyone. Go RRS


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Enough is enough,

Enough is enough, Rook.

You've shot yourself in the foot with this action. Worse still, your foot was in your mouth when you did it.

You must be aware that FathomFFI represents several historians in the field of Biblical History. A group who have done the hard yards, who have access to promary sources, who have made this field their life.

In other words, if you are in any way serious about your book, FathomFFI represents an invaluable resource to you - and one which was formerly unavailable to you. You had the opportunity to hone your ideas and to test your hypotheses against the data. Put it this way: how much would you give to spend a few hours in the company of distinguished and respected historiansdiscussing the issues you raise? It would be an invaluable opportunity to be better appraised of the arguments against your position and you would be better equipped to deal with them in your book.

As it is, you are in a bad position. You have failed to respond to genuine and scholarly critiques, and you have descried the level of scolarship of professionals in the field. You must be aware of the increased traffic that followed FathomFFI. A lot of people - including a lot of academics - have seen this performance.

If you leave the situation as it stands your book - indeed your whole position - will be a laughing stock.

I cannot urge you strongly enough to retreat your position. Unban FathomFFI; apologise for the abusive terms used against him; deal with the arguments about Josephus.

You mqy clairm that you qre too busy to deal with them, that you have a book to write. The point is that this stuf is not time-wasting. It must be dealt with before publishing and it will ensure a more refined argument on your part. It is exactly the type of thing that you should be doing.

It's not too late to rescue something from this debacle. The benefits to you of pursuing this dialogue are incalculable. Engage with Fathom, test your steel against his and exploit his knowledge and resources.

Perhaps in time people will pass off your moderator actions as a temporary blip - a hissy fit. That can only happen if you reverse them and apologise.

In the meantime, be aware that the threads have been saved. If things remain as they stand the threads will not make pleasant reading when your book is published and will critically undermine your methods.

 

 

 

 

 


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Nialler wrote:You must be

Nialler wrote:
You must be aware that FathomFFI represents several historians in the field of Biblical History. A group who have done the hard yards, who have access to promary sources, who have made this field their life.

The primary sources available are very limited and very well known, so there's no loss there.

Nialler wrote:
In other words, if you are in any way serious about your book, FathomFFI represents an invaluable resource to you - and one which was formerly unavailable to you.

Not true in the least. All the objections he raised were wrote, tired, and lacking in any real substance. I'd love to see a real objection, personally. It would be great to see someone come up with an objection that counters the (frankly very compelling) thesis of Jesus as a strictly literary character in the style of Jewish legend.

Consider this one: there may have been an actual Jesus who was elevated to legendary status after being a particularly talented rabbi, and was thus portrayed in the Jewish literary style. Any reasonable person could consider that, and argue from that point. The only problem is that the material still points to a Jewish literary style that - like any other literary style - contains its own assumptions and tropes, with this one pointing to a legendary (and not necessarily real) main character.

Nialler wrote:
You had the opportunity to hone your ideas and to test your hypotheses against the data.

"Data" is a huge exaggeration. What we have here are "scraps" of history to piece together.

Nialler wrote:
You must be aware of the increased traffic that followed FathomFFI. A lot of people - including a lot of academics - have seen this performance.

You seem as strangely paranoid as Fathom. He kept mentioning media being contacted and others watching and such. While there may be an increase in interest, let's not pretend that everyone and their dog are clamouring to discuss the historicity of Jesus.

Nialler wrote:
If you leave the situation as it stands your book - indeed your whole position - will be a laughing stock.

"Controversial" is what his position will be, which will most likely help to sell copies of the book. The Davinci Code is a laughing stock, but seems to have done quite well. Rook's arguments are a bit more substantive.

Nialler wrote:
I cannot urge you strongly enough to retreat your position. Unban FathomFFI; apologise for the abusive terms used against him; deal with the arguments about Josephus.

There's really no serious argument for considering Josephus strong evidence for a historical Jesus. The literary thesis remains more solid.

Nialler wrote:
In the meantime, be aware that the threads have been saved. If things remain as they stand the threads will not make pleasant reading when your book is published and will critically undermine your methods.

You'll note that they've been saved by the RRS. You'll also note that if this was a serious discussion between academics, it would take place in person, by email, or by phone. An internet forum has its own culture and ambiance, and literate people are aware of that. If it was Fathom's intent to seriously discuss the material at great length, serious discussion would be had, not some logical dancing, followed by wrote apologetics, and finally ridiculous assertions. That's not "scholarly", that's embarassing.

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HisWillness wrote:Nialler

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
You must be aware that FathomFFI represents several historians in the field of Biblical History. A group who have done the hard yards, who have access to promary sources, who have made this field their life.

The primary sources available are very limited and very well known, so there's no loss there.

As Chesterton said: "The trouble with a stick is that it points both ways". The ubiquity of the sources that you mean also means that they have been analysed bya generations of scholars who have devoted their lives in the field. If you are speaking of Josephus it is hard to believe that sucg a volume of interpretation and analysis can be overturned. Thus we are left with more arcane sources, which is really the only way that new interpretations can be offered.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
In other words, if you are in any way serious about your book, FathomFFI represents an invaluable resource to you - and one which was formerly unavailable to you.

Not true in the least. All the objections he raised were wrote, tired, and lacking in any real substance. I'd love to see a real objection, personally. It would be great to see someone come up with an objection that counters the (frankly very compelling) thesis of Jesus as a strictly literary character in the style of Jewish legend.

I presume that you mean "rote". Unfortunately, repetition often appears that way, and when you are speaking of accepted interpretations of the texts involved, then you will hear the same things repeated many times. Rather than "rote", this repetition by diverse scholars is a sign of the strength and the defendability of the interpretations.
HisWillness wrote:

Consider this one: there may have been an actual Jesus who was elevated to legendary status after being a particularly talented rabbi, and was thus portrayed in the Jewish literary style. Any reasonable person could consider that, and argue from that point. The only problem is that the material still points to a Jewish literary style that - like any other literary style - contains its own assumptions and tropes, with this one pointing to a legendary (and not necessarily real) main character.

That's no more than an assertion. To defend it requires that the points in the OP be conclusively countered.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
You had the opportunity to hone your ideas and to test your hypotheses against the data.

"Data" is a huge exaggeration. What we have here are "scraps" of history to piece together.

Data is still data - even when there is not a large amount of it.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
You must be aware of the increased traffic that followed FathomFFI. A lot of people - including a lot of academics - have seen this performance.

You seem as strangely paranoid as Fathom. He kept mentioning media being contacted and others watching and such. While there may be an increase in interest, let's not pretend that everyone and their dog are clamouring to discuss the historicity of Jesus.

I'm not being paranoid here. I have factual evidence that there was a rise in traffic to this site which was a result of Fathom's questions to Rook in the Tacitus thread. I know because there were a lot of people working on them in the background. Real academics network, you know, and have been looking at how the topic developed.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
If you leave the situation as it stands your book - indeed your whole position - will be a laughing stock.

"Controversial" is what his position will be, which will most likely help to sell copies of the book. The Davinci Code is a laughing stock, but seems to have done quite well. Rook's arguments are a bit more substantive.

The Da Vinci Code is far worse than a laughing stock, but it is fiction and doesn't claim to be anything but. Rook's book - in his words a book  which "will change the world" is, of course, bound to be controversial. It is, indeed, a great topic for consideration, and a strong case that Jesus never existed would be a truly interestiing read. If it flies in the face of accepted scolarship, and if it ignores sources which contradict it, it will fall lat and Rook will look very foolish. In this context it must be repeated that he recently changed his position in the light of a fact of which he wasn't aware but which was freely known in the historian community. I refer to his mistake about Eusebius. Had that made it to his book he could have kissed goodbye to any pretentions to being considered a historian.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
I cannot urge you strongly enough to retreat your position. Unban FathomFFI; apologise for the abusive terms used against him; deal with the arguments about Josephus.

There's really no serious argument for considering Josephus strong evidence for a historical Jesus. The literary thesis remains more solid.

This remains to be demonstrated.
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
In the meantime, be aware that the threads have been saved. If things remain as they stand the threads will not make pleasant reading when your book is published and will critically undermine your methods.

You'll note that they've been saved by the RRS.

Regretfully, I have experience of posts which were revised by moderators after they were posted. These threads were quite deliberately saved to prevent aendment.
HisWillness wrote:
You'll also note that if this was a serious discussion between academics, it would take place in person, by email, or by phone. An internet forum has its own culture and ambiance, and literate people are aware of that. If it was Fathom's intent to seriously discuss the material at great length, serious discussion would be had, not some logical dancing, followed by wrote apologetics, and finally ridiculous assertions. That's not "scholarly", that's embarassing.
That would certainly be the preferred means of communication, but Rook's claims need to be dealt with in situ. Any analysis of his claims must appear in the same place as he made them in order to allow for at least some degree of balance.

 

You seem to wish to defend Rook's view of Josephus. A good starting point would be to address the issues raised in the OP.


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Quote:Regretfully, I have

Quote:
Regretfully, I have experience of posts which were revised by moderators after they were posted. These threads were quite deliberately saved to prevent aendment.

This is a put up or shut up issue, Nialler.  RRS does not alter posts without notating them and explaining the alterations.  Furthermore, we only alter posts for potential legal reasons or for violations of the TOS, which are very liberal, and are designed to promote debate.

The thread you posted that was altered was not altered, it was deleted.  That deletion caused such a furor among the mods that our head tech guy spent most of two days digging through archives to find it again and repost it in its original form.  I was among those who raised hell when it was deleted, primarily because the deletion made it look as if I had arbitrarily blocked your account, when in fact, I had given you multiple fair warnings that you were breaking forum rules.

You are here posting because RRS realized that your post was deleted by mistake, and we have every intention of giving you every benefit of the doubt.  Keep your posts to debate, and keep your character assassinations to yourself, and everything will be fine.

 

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

Quote:
Regretfully, I have experience of posts which were revised by moderators after they were posted. These threads were quite deliberately saved to prevent aendment.

This is a put up or shut up issue, Nialler.  RRS does not alter posts without notating them and explaining the alterations.  Furthermore, we only alter posts for potential legal reasons or for violations of the TOS, which are very liberal, and are designed to promote debate.

The thread you posted that was altered was not altered, it was deleted.  That deletion caused such a furor among the mods that our head tech guy spent most of two days digging through archives to find it again and repost it in its original form.  I was among those who raised hell when it was deleted, primarily because the deletion made it look as if I had arbitrarily blocked your account, when in fact, I had given you multiple fair warnings that you were breaking forum rules.

You are here posting because RRS realized that your post was deleted by mistake, and we have every intention of giving you every benefit of the doubt.  Keep your posts to debate, and keep your character assassinations to yourself, and everything will be fine.

 

 

Interesting. I never once claimed that a thread of mine had been deleted. Never once.

So know I know that a thread was deleted and was restored before I noticed.

I sincerely thank you for your intervention in having it restored and for the efforts of your techie.

However, I have extreme difficulty with your comment that you had given me "multiple fair warnings". I will request that you link me to those warnings as I am entirely unaware of them and I would hate to have people think that I ignored them. Please show me those warnings.

And yes; two of my posts were edited without any accompanying narrative. Perhaps if you have logging of moderation action you'll find the edits. You will see that the posts do not have a note as to why they were edited; they simply appear to be words posted by me.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing where I was warned by you.

I greatly appreciate your efforts in restoring my thread.

 


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Quote:And yes; two of my

Quote:

And yes; two of my posts were edited without any accompanying narrative. Perhaps if you have logging of moderation action you'll find the edits. You will see that the posts do not have a note as to why they were edited; they simply appear to be words posted by me.

In the meantime, I look forward to seeing where I was warned by you.

The thread that was deleted is here:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/13613

As I said, the original was reposted without edits.  However, many of the responses were not restored, including two by me warning you about troll status.  Because you weren't around anymore, our continued search for the entire thread was kept in the moderators forum.  Though we did not restore them to the thread, they were eventually recovered.  You may peruse them in their original form here:

Thread moved.
Submitted by Nialler on April 17, 2008 - 9:53am.

Nialler wrote:


http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/13564

The above thread was opened in the appropriate forum and was moved to Trollville.

The OP asks a couple of extremely simple questions.

Moving the thread seems excessive to say the least. What is the rationale for such a move?



Dunno?


Submitted by HeyZeusCreaseToe on April 17, 2008 - 10:10am.


HeyZeusCreaseToe wrote:

Maybe it was your perceived trolling on the cult thread, who knows?

I think Rook read your thread, because he did make a blog entry about his book.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/book_status_41608




I was most certainly not


Submitted by Nialler on April 17, 2008 - 11:32am.


Nialler wrote:

I was most certainly not trolling in that thread and I defy anyone to show where I was.

The fact that Rook has answered one of the questions I asked shows that my questions were valid. To immediately throw a thread into Trollville while simultaneously answering one of the questions asked in it smacks to me of irrationality.




I don't know who moved your


Submitted by Hambydammit on April 17, 2008 - 11:52am.


Hambydammit wrote:

I don't know who moved your thread, but my best guess is they figured you for a troll because you seem to have the same agenda as other trolls.  Everything you've talked about so far seems to center around the standard attacks on our credibility.

Here's the thing.  We're here to end theism.  If you don't like our methods, that's fine.  If you don't think theism is a mind disease, that's fine.  If you don't want to buy Rook's book, don't.  (He's still working on it.  It's going to be a long process because it's intensely detailed.  It hasn't been rejected from peer review.)

In the meantime, do you have anything you want to talk about that doesn't seem bent on making us look bad?  'Cause we're not going to waste time dickering over things like that.  If you like us, fine.  If you don't, fine.

In my judgement, you're on the verge of troll status.  If you'd like to be nice and at least pretend to be friends for a while, I'll consider whether or not you get the Troll-o-matic curse.





Hambydammit wrote:I don't


Submitted by Nialler on April 17, 2008 - 12:20pm.


Nialler wrote:


Hambydammit wrote:


I don't know who moved your thread, but my best guess is they figured you for a troll because you seem to have the same agenda as other trolls.
Ahah. So it's shoot first, ask questions later. Nice attitude.Hambydammit wrote:
Everything you've talked about so far seems to center around the standard attacks on our credibility.
The credibility of RRS is a very valid subject and one which it is appropriate to raise, and it's one which the core RRS members need to be aware of. I'm not the only one to ask questions, and the response is indicative of a group who is not prepared to address real questions - questions which will be asked by many other people.Hambydammit wrote:


Here's the thing.  We're here to end theism.
A foolish aim, and one which you will never possibly achieve. Theism is far too deeply-rooted in society at this stage.Hambydammit wrote:
  If you don't like our methods, that's fine.
I'm well aware of criticism of your methods, but you will notice that I haven't tackled those. It's not your strategy that I object to, it's your tactics.Hambydammit wrote:
If you don't think theism is a mind disease, that's fine.
Of course it isn't a mind disease; to claim so is a lie. Kelly herself has admitted that it's merely a meme which she wants to spread. The problem is that spreading a lie like this makes ellow atheists look bad, and it undermines completely your own integrity and by association the integrity of other atheists.Hambydammit wrote:
If you don't want to buy Rook's book, don't.  (He's still working on it.  It's going to be a long process because it's intensely detailed.  It hasn't been rejected from peer review.)
It hasn't been rejected because it hasn't been submitted.Hambydammit wrote:


In the meantime, do you have anything you want to talk about that doesn't seem bent on making us look bad?
My topics are raised with the specific intent of showing where there could be some reinement of tactics which could lead to an improvement in how you are percceived.Hambydammit wrote:
  'Cause we're not going to waste time dickering over things like that.  If you like us, fine.  If you don't, fine.
One thing that you comfortably do as a group is to take on criticism and not be seen to shoot the messenger in quite such a reflexive manner.

In my judgement, you're on the verge of troll status.  If you'd like to be nice and at least pretend to be friends for a while, I'll consider whether or not you get the Troll-o-matic curse.



Ok.  I know where you stand


Submitted by Hambydammit on April 17, 2008 - 12:22pm.


Hambydammit wrote:

Ok.  I know where you stand now.

 

FWIW, I seem to recall warning you in another thread against trolling, but to be honest, I don't feel like searching for it.  If I didn't then I'm comfortable with your troll status from the above thread as it stands, and you have my apologies for my faulty memory.

 

Regarding activity logs, we did search through the logs after you brought your accusation, and there was no activity on your thread other than the deletion, which was done through a general access mod account. 

If you can provide screenshots of the threads before and after alteration, we will see if we can figure out what happened.  Barring such evidence, the logs indicate that your posts were not edited by any of the mod staff.  That leaves you as the only person who could have done it, so the options are that you're mistaken, or that you did it and didn't remember, or you're lying.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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There is no evidence in what

There is no evidence in what you have quoted of "multiple fair warnings"; in fact there are no warnings at all. I have modded at various forums in my time. A warning is a warning and is marked clearly as such.

I repeat that I have not been warned. The nearest to any warning appears to be posts which were deleted. How the hell am I supposed to read those?

I think that you may have been in error here.

Regarding edited posts; there is no way to prove that they have been edited; or at least no way that I can prove so. I could easily post, take a screen capture, then edit it myself before an "edited by" subscript is imposed by whatever time-limits are set by the software. In other words, I could easily make it appear that my posts had been edited and any evidence that I could bring to show that could be easily dismissed. The only evidence lies in the logs

 

I am not lying on this issue: two of my posts were edited. The only proof lies in the logs which are beyond my reach.  I urge you to check further.

 

ETA: The posts zhere not in the thread that you reference.


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Nialler wrote:If you are

Nialler wrote:
If you are speaking of Josephus it is hard to believe that sucg a volume of interpretation and analysis can be overturned.

But it wouldn't be "overturned". Josephus is just as dubious in terms of evidence as Tacitus or Herodotus. I thought everyone who was an academic was on board with the idea that you're speculating until you have a fair amount of evidence.

Besides, there was great debate about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. Are we to throw out such a volume of interpretation? Yes. Yes we are.

Nialler wrote:
I presume that you mean "rote".

Yes, I meant "rote". Would you like me to point out your spelling errors in the future? You spelled "such" "sucg" above. Isn't this fun?

Nialler wrote:
Unfortunately, repetition often appears that way, and when you are speaking of accepted interpretations of the texts involved, then you will hear the same things repeated many times. Rather than "rote", this repetition by diverse scholars is a sign of the strength and the defendability of the interpretations.

Uh-huh. Or a consensus on something that happens to be wrong. There are surely enough examples of when the majority opinion has been wrong that I don't need to list any here.

Nialler wrote:
I'm not being paranoid here. I have factual evidence that there was a rise in traffic to this site which was a result of Fathom's questions to Rook in the Tacitus thread. I know because there were a lot of people working on them in the background. Real academics network, you know, and have been looking at how the topic developed.

K. So who are these academics? See, it seems paranoid when you don't say "my friend Bob" or something like that. You say "real academics", which would make any of my friends who work as professors blush.

Nialler wrote:
In this context it must be repeated that he recently changed his position in the light of a fact of which he wasn't aware but which was freely known in the historian community. I refer to his mistake about Eusebius. Had that made it to his book he could have kissed goodbye to any pretentions to being considered a historian.

We've been over Rook's credentials to death. Just stop. He's writing a book. If he makes an error, he can change his mind. You figure one error will destroy all his hope of having anyone read the book? Having an author change his mind just means he's learning, not that he could never be taken seriously. You're making this so dramatic.

Nialler wrote:
You seem to wish to defend Rook's view of Josephus. A good starting point would be to address the issues raised in the OP.

No thanks. It's not even a decent refutation of Rook's position, so I'm not interested.

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HisWillness wrote:Nialler

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
If you are speaking of Josephus it is hard to believe that sucg a volume of interpretation and analysis can be overturned.

But it wouldn't be "overturned". Josephus is just as dubious in terms of evidence as Tacitus or Herodotus. I thought everyone who was an academic was on board with the idea that you're speculating until you have a fair amount of evidence.

Besides, there was great debate about how many angels could fit on the head of a pin. Are we to throw out such a volume of interpretation? Yes. Yes we are.

Please deal with the consensus of academic opinion of the works of Josephus. His limitations are clearly writ and are clearly encompassed in the academic view of his work.

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
I presume that you mean "rote".

Yes, I meant "rote". Would you like me to point out your spelling errors in the future? You spelled "such" "sucg" above. Isn't this fun?

There's a big difference between a typo and what you did in spelling the word incorrectly twice, but I agree that this was a minor quibble and an apology is offered for that.

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
Unfortunately, repetition often appears that way, and when you are speaking of accepted interpretations of the texts involved, then you will hear the same things repeated many times. Rather than "rote", this repetition by diverse scholars is a sign of the strength and the defendability of the interpretations.

Uh-huh. Or a consensus on something that happens to be wrong. There are surely enough examples of when the majority opinion has been wrong that I don't need to list any here.

The examples of majority opinion being in error are indeed legion. As you say, you don't need to list them. What you may need to consider, however, is the burden which was taken on by those who overturned such opinion.  We can write treatises on Copernicus, on Galileo, on Einstein, hell, on Newton, who himself broke some rules in laying down laws. We can speak of Le Maitre, of the Curies and of many others who broke down down barriers to prove their points. But the point about all of these is that they had vasts amounts of data and experimental results, observations and replicable experiments. They were able to erect an almost impregnable wall around their findings.

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
I'm not being paranoid here. I have factual evidence that there was a rise in traffic to this site which was a result of Fathom's questions to Rook in the Tacitus thread. I know because there were a lot of people working on them in the background. Real academics network, you know, and have been looking at how the topic developed.

K. So who are these academics? See, it seems paranoid when you don't say "my friend Bob" or something like that. You say "real academics", which would make any of my friends who work as professors blush.

I won't name names, but some names have been slipped elsewhere on the 'net. People have been looking at the "debate".
HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
In this context it must be repeated that he recently changed his position in the light of a fact of which he wasn't aware but which was freely known in the historian community. I refer to his mistake about Eusebius. Had that made it to his book he could have kissed goodbye to any pretentions to being considered a historian.

We've been over Rook's credentials to death. Just stop. He's writing a book. If he makes an error, he can change his mind. You figure one error will destroy all his hope of having anyone read the book? Having an author change his mind just means he's learning, not that he could never be taken seriously. You're making this so dramatic.

I'm perfectly comfortable with Rook changing his position. Lots of scholars do. The point is that they tend to do so when *new* evidence comes in. In Rook's case, it wasn't new evidence; it was very old evidence and was something of which he should have been well aware. It was evidence which was freely available. That is the problem.

I'll let you in on a secret here: 8 years of my life were spent studyin in humanities and when I see Rook calling Ovid or Homer  "historians" or "documentarians" as he has, then I despair of his understanding. As regards he expertise in classical texts, I am perfectly happy to go head-to-head with him and a random piece of Latin or Greek. First to translate the piece on sight wins bragging rights.

HisWillness wrote:

Nialler wrote:
You seem to wish to defend Rook's view of Josephus. A good starting point would be to address the issues raised in the OP.

No thanks. It's not even a decent refutation of Rook's position, so I'm not interested.

Assertion again. No rebuttal there.


Hambydammit
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Did you read what I wrote? 

Did you read what I wrote?  Let me quote myself:

hambydammit wrote:
As I said, the original was reposted without edits.  However, many of the responses were not restored, including two by me warning you about troll status.  Because you weren't around anymore, our continued search for the entire thread was kept in the moderators forum.  Though we did not restore them to the thread, they were eventually recovered.  You may peruse them in their original form here:

That's why I reposted the original comments -- WITH YOUR RESPONSES TO ME -- which prove that you saw them.

In any case, here's the bottom line.  You're here because we screwed up and deleted one of your threads.  Because we try to err on the side of leniency, you are still here posting.  In my opinion, you are a troll, but I am willing to be proven wrong.  Please enjoy our forums, and feel free to document your posts in any way that does not violate law or the T.O.S.  We do not, and we will not, alter your posts.

If you abide by the rules of the forum and the TOS, which are quite lenient, you will be afforded every courtesy.  If you insist on frequent character assassination, potential libel, or other prohibited behaviors, we will ban you.

Clear enough?

In any case, it's the end of the discussion.  My word is final on this matter.  You are here provisionally, and will remain so long as you play nice.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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FathomFFI wrote:I AM GOD AS

FathomFFI wrote:

I AM GOD AS YOU wrote:

Yeah the Jesus is "something" , and Buddha is way cool.  We over here are all really fucking drunk, and digging all  this  history stuff.   Really, thanks man .....    

Jesus was an ordinary man with an extraordinary philosophy which the Christians tried to hide by explaining it differently than Jesus intended in their doctrine, and also by swallowing Paul's idea of what Jesus was talking about.

Basically, all Jesus was trying to say was this:

Jesus wrote:
Mat 22:37 - 40:   Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment.


And the second is one like the first; "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.

Jesus' philosophy was basically that if people simply learned to love each other, then we could do no wrong to each other. For if you think about it, if you trully loved someone, and everyone else equally, would you lie to them? Would you steal from them? Would you commit adultery on them? Would you become a false witness against them?

Not if you truly loved everyone the way Jesus thought we should. There would be no crime in the world at all.

And that's how simple his philosophy actually was. Everything could be accomplished for mankind by us simply loving each other. We wouldn't need any religion, any law, or any rules, because true love for each other would make all the law, religions, and rules to be pointless and useless.

Imagine no religion?

 


 

Didn't others have that philosophy before Jesus? The multiple incarnations of the golden rule that existedbefore the Bible was thought up, for example.

It is extraordinary - I'm just not sure how it's unique.

"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


I AM GOD AS YOU
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I agree jcgadfly, and thanks

I agree jcgadfly, and thanks for all your cool posting.

[Rant on, again...]

It makes no personal philosophical difference to me if any major historical icon of religion existed. WE EXIST !  The same basic simple fundamental, messages are there, tho they vary in style of presentation. Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tse of Taoism. Muhammad too I suppose. Basically, Love is the law. All is ONE, and connected. All the dogmatic religious attachments to simple wisdom are destructive.

I doubt we can ever reasonably "prove" the non-existence of Jesus, especially to the religious junkies. We are stuck for now with a "sick" public "Jesus and God" interpretation. My aim, as many others, is to re-teach Jesus "philosophy", and a "god concept", that is 100% atheist, as I say all is one, all is gawed, no beginning/ending, no creator, no dogma, no master, etc. And I even add Jesus was a jewish atheistic "Buddha". To say "I am god" is an atheist expression, and so my pen name and style. (Yeah it is confusing to many .... darn it, and my haphazard writing) 

I am an "Atheist for Jesus" preacher/ranter because "my philosphical" Jesus is so wrongly taught by the religious idol worshipers, liars, and hypocrites. It's saddening and maddening. It's EVIL quackery.

The simple fact that Jesus is so varied and super exaggerated in the NT, is all one should need to understand the stupidity of religion dogma. Add the recently found Dead Dea scrolls and the Nag Hammadi writings and the "Jesus" is further varied.

Religion, and atheistic preaching/comedy/ranting is a recent hobby and interest of mine, as is my PC and trying to communicate in print. I didn't fully realize how dangerous and destructive todays religious zealots are until a few years ago. I am freaked out today! Geezzz, such idiots they can be. Yeah Jesus, heal "(love) the enemy" .... all the "religious".


 

 


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FathomFFI is now off his

FathomFFI is now off his timeout and has been reinstated.  He is welcome to come back, pending he follows the rules this time around.

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FathomFFI
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Rook_Hawkins wrote:FathomFFI

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

FathomFFI is now off his timeout and has been reinstated.  He is welcome to come back, pending he follows the rules this time around.

TeamFFI, including FathomFFI, are not interested in further dialog with the RRS, since you have demonstrated a lack of personal integrity and honesty in your assessment of our character, and you in fact lied about the reasons why you banned FathomFFI in the first place.

We now ask for a permanent ban, as it is our way of saying that this forum isn't worthy of scholarly debate, nor worthy of ever being recognized as a place for any scholars to refer to.

Good day.

 

 

 

 

Permanently banned


Sapient
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FathomFFI wrote:We now ask

FathomFFI wrote:

We now ask for a permanent ban

"We" have obliged your last request here. 

 

 

- Brian Sapient


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