Contemporary evidence?

Topher
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Contemporary evidence?

Many people/Christians argue that no historian requires contemporary evidence for something historical. What's the historical method say about this?


 

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 I just asked the

 I just asked the historical method, and she called me a moron. Also something about "speculation". She's drunk. I'll have to ask her later.

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Quote: I just asked the

Quote:
I just asked the historical method, and she called me a moron. Also something about "speculation". She's drunk. I'll have to ask her later.

Right.

I'm going to have to put you in time out.  Either that, or we're going to have to put a breathalyser on your keyboard.

 

(As an aside, do you have any idea how many different spellings I tried for breathalyser before the little red line under the word went away?  I'm still not convinced it's correct.)

 

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Most persons and events in

Most persons and events in antiquity do not come from written contemporary attestation, however they are often validated by archaeology and supporting cumulative evidence deriving from anthropology and socio-cultural studies, and often after years of analyzing the evidence. 

In many cases, especially when suggested events and persons contain large traces of mythical or legendary instances, the miraculous events are immediately discounted and the process of examining the data begins.  Often the Argument from Silence will be reviewed to see if the criteria would meet to make a successful stance of silence.  The criteria are:

According to Gilbert Garraghan (A Guide to Historical Method, 1946, p. 149)

"To be valid, the argument from silence must fulfill two conditions: the writer[s] whose silence is invoked would certainly have known about it; [and] knowing it, he would under the circumstances certainly have made mention of it. When these two conditions are fulfilled, the argument from silence proves its point with moral certainty."

In addition, the historian Richard Carrier suggests two additional criteria to strengthen an argument from silence:

1) Whether or not it is common for men to create similar myths.

It is prima facie true that this is the case. History is replete not only with 'god' claims, but with claims for messiah status.

2) The claim is of an extraordinary nature, it violates what we already know of nature.

(Important note: this is not to rule out extraordinary claims, a priori.)

The miracle claims in the Gospel of Mark, for example, violate what we know of nature.

In this instance, because Silence is such a powerful case, especially when reviewed with all the additional cumulative evidence, historicity looks extremely weak. 

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Extrodinary claims require

Extrodinary claims require extrodinary evidence.

 

The "fact" that Jesus performed all these miracles, rose from the dead, and caused such a blasphemy in Jeruselum, all of which contradict know evidence by contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, not only contradicts the laws of physics AND gravity?

 

Aside the superstition of the supernatural, the very idea that a man named Jesus lived, performed all those "miricles", caused such an uproar withy Jewish leaders AND had such a public life NOONE wrote anything down????

 

To add salt to the wound the ONLY two sources from 1st and 2nd century were Christian forgery's. Only lies require lies - John Armstrong.

 

The Gospels contradict each other, Mathew is full of lies and the NT fails hardcore on basic historical attrcites that not even Josephus wrote down (despite detailing Herod's reign in detail)

 

I want irrefutable proof Jesus existed, because all I'm given is weight to suppot the Mythical Christ hypothesis. All experiments tested.

 

-Davo


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 Another major historical

 Another major historical figure of which there is a lot of debate is Socrates.

 

There is sufficient evidence to suggest that he was in fact a real person convicted of the crimes that Plato claims.  But Plato is the best source of information we have on the man.  A quick analysis of Plato reveals a Socrates character that evolved with Plato's writing (changing massively around Symposium - Republic into what is believed to be a character named Socrates that represents Plato as a youth).  The writings considered to be the most accurate are his early accounts.  His first three stories (generally believed) are the Crito, Euthyphro, and The Apology.  His death occurs in Crito, a death by drinking hemlock.  According to Plato, Socrates drank the hemlock and drifted into an eternal slumber.  In reality, a person who drinks hemlocks last few minutes on this earth is a far noisier and violent affair.

 

The only other contemporary source didn't care for Socrates and painted an image of the man as an idiotic baffoon.  Several centuries later, Diogenese Laertes (if memory serves), said that Socrates was only really interested in indoctrinating the youths of Athens. 

 

Uh.  maybe that was a lot of off-topic information..  but I think it's interesting..

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-Davo wrote:Extrodinary

-Davo wrote:

Extrodinary claims require extrodinary evidence.

ECREE is subjective rhetoric devoid of value.

 

-Davo wrote:
The "fact" that Jesus performed all these miracles, rose from the dead, and caused such a blasphemy in Jeruselum, all of which contradict know evidence by contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, not only contradicts the laws of physics AND gravity?

ehh, not really. Science has yet to rule on the issue of God. this does not equate to evidence against God's existence or the possibility of Miracles.

 

-Davo wrote:
Aside the superstition of the supernatural, the very idea that a man named Jesus lived, performed all those "miricles", caused such an uproar withy Jewish leaders AND had such a public life NOONE wrote anything down????

that of course is unprovable. of the writers of the classical era, very few have surviving works. The only historian we have for 1st century Palestine is Flavius Josephus 

ever hear of Justus of Tiberias? prolific historian, none of his works survive.

put simply, we cannot know whether "no one" wrote about Jesus' life.

-Davo wrote:
To add salt to the wound the ONLY two sources from 1st and 2nd century were Christian forgery's. Only lies require lies - John Armstrong.

I would suggest you read Eddy and Boyd's discussion of this (you may notice me referring you guys to these 2 gentlemen a lot, the reason is because no scholar in modern times has devoted as much discussion to the Jesus myth as these 2) matter, but Christopher Price has provided a strong case for the authentic core of Josephan material here: www.bede.org.uk/josephus.htm 

 

-Davo wrote:
The Gospels contradict each other, Mathew is full of lies and the NT fails hardcore on basic historical attrcites that not even Josephus wrote down (despite detailing Herod's reign in detail)

 oh please, the whole Gospels as midrash canard? Jews of this period regularly interpreted OT passages in such a manner. The fact that these were "fulfilled" so awkwardly actually supports Matthew's credibility

-Davo wrote:
I want irrefutable proof Jesus existed,

I want irrefutable proof that I am not a brain stimulated by electrodes in a vat of chemicals.

-Davo wrote:
because all I'm given is weight to suppot the Mythical Christ hypothesis. All experiments tested.

 

-Davo

um, wow. does the RRS ever try to combat ignorance on the atheist side of the spectrum?

"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias


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to answer the OP's question,

to answer the OP's question, no, historical evidence does not need to be contemporaneous. if you say otherwise, lots of ancient history goes out the window.

"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias


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mig_killer2 wrote:-Davo

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
The "fact" that Jesus performed all these miracles, rose from the dead, and caused such a blasphemy in Jeruselum, all of which contradict know evidence by contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, not only contradicts the laws of physics AND gravity?

ehh, not really. Science has yet to rule on the issue of God. this does not equate to evidence against God's existence or the possibility of Miracles.

Science has yet to rule on hobgoblins, invisible pink unicorns, Thor, Isis etc too.  Does that mean we should positively support those things as real and true in the meantime, or should we wait until there's actually positive evidence for them before we positively support them?  The burden of proof is and should always be on the one making the positive claim, not the other way around as you seem to want. 

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
Aside the superstition of the supernatural, the very idea that a man named Jesus lived, performed all those "miricles", caused such an uproar withy Jewish leaders AND had such a public life NOONE wrote anything down????

that of course is unprovable. of the writers of the classical era, very few have surviving works. The only historian we have for 1st century Palestine is Flavius Josephus 

ever hear of Justus of Tiberias? prolific historian, none of his works survive.

put simply, we cannot know whether "no one" wrote about Jesus' life.

Once again you're taking lack of evidence to mean we should positively support.  Should we support the actual existance of Robin Hood, Achilis, Hercules etc in the meantime, or should we wait until there's actually positive evidence for them before we positively support them?  The burden of proof is and should always be on the one making the positive claim, not the other way around as you seem to want.

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
To add salt to the wound the ONLY two sources from 1st and 2nd century were Christian forgery's. Only lies require lies - John Armstrong.

I would suggest you read Eddy and Boyd's discussion of this (you may notice me referring you guys to these 2 gentlemen a lot, the reason is because no scholar in modern times has devoted as much discussion to the Jesus myth as these 2) matter, but Christopher Price has provided a strong case for the authentic core of Josephan material here: www.bede.org.uk/josephus.htm

Hmm, nice collection of lies and special pleading there. 

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
The Gospels contradict each other, Mathew is full of lies and the NT fails hardcore on basic historical attrcites that not even Josephus wrote down (despite detailing Herod's reign in detail)

 oh please, the whole Gospels as midrash canard? Jews of this period regularly interpreted OT passages in such a manner. The fact that these were "fulfilled" so awkwardly actually supports Matthew's credibility

It's a terrible hit/miss rate for those that were fulfilled and those that weren't, and even those that were "fulfilled" many a time are one HECK of a stretch.

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
I want irrefutable proof Jesus existed,

I want irrefutable proof that I am not a brain stimulated by electrodes in a vat of chemicals.

A third time choosing something with no evidence over something with plenty.  You really do like passing the burden of proof.

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
because all I'm given is weight to suppot the Mythical Christ hypothesis. All experiments tested.

um, wow. does the RRS ever try to combat ignorance on the atheist side of the spectrum?

All the time.  Just do a search on zeitgeist threads or any from Luminon. 

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I felt obligated to respond

I felt obligated to respond when this load of absurdity just exploded in my face.

thingy wrote:

mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
The "fact" that Jesus performed all these miracles, rose from the dead, and caused such a blasphemy in Jeruselum, all of which contradict know evidence by contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, not only contradicts the laws of physics AND gravity?

ehh, not really. Science has yet to rule on the issue of God. this does not equate to evidence against God's existence or the possibility of Miracles.

Science has yet to rule on hobgoblins, invisible pink unicorns, Thor, Isis etc too.  Does that mean we should positively support those things as real and true in the meantime, or should we wait until there's actually positive evidence for them before we positively support them?  The burden of proof is and should always be on the one making the positive claim, not the other way around as you seem to want. 

The point of contention is not "miracles are real" but that "miracles are so improbable that history cannot prove them". Secondly, you have yet to respond to the point that I made which was, briefly summarized, that science has not and cannot contradict these miraculous reports as they are the result of a supernatural agent.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
Aside the superstition of the supernatural, the very idea that a man named Jesus lived, performed all those "miricles", caused such an uproar withy Jewish leaders AND had such a public life NOONE wrote anything down????

that of course is unprovable. of the writers of the classical era, very few have surviving works. The only historian we have for 1st century Palestine is Flavius Josephus 

ever hear of Justus of Tiberias? prolific historian, none of his works survive.

put simply, we cannot know whether "no one" wrote about Jesus' life.

Once again you're taking lack of evidence to mean we should positively support. 

I actually was saying that the lack of evidence prevents us from making positive claims such as "Not a single piece of writing from any contemporaries of Jesus mentions Jesus".

thingy wrote:
Should we support the actual existance of Robin Hood, Achilis, Hercules etc in the meantime, or should we wait until there's actually positive evidence for them before we positively support them?  The burden of proof is and should always be on the one making the positive claim, not the other way around as you seem to want.

well for one these are known to be mythical characters, the same does not reign true with Jesus. Secondly, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospels are by and large unreliable" ARE positive claims.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
To add salt to the wound the ONLY two sources from 1st and 2nd century were Christian forgery's. Only lies require lies - John Armstrong.

I would suggest you read Eddy and Boyd's discussion of this (you may notice me referring you guys to these 2 gentlemen a lot, the reason is because no scholar in modern times has devoted as much discussion to the Jesus myth as these 2) matter, but Christopher Price has provided a strong case for the authentic core of Josephan material here: www.bede.org.uk/josephus.htm

Hmm, nice collection of lies and special pleading there. 

this is really a standard atheist argument I encounter. Name a random fallacy and never once specify where the theist commited that fallacy. you sir a a textbook example of an Internet Atheist.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
The Gospels contradict each other, Mathew is full of lies and the NT fails hardcore on basic historical attrcites that not even Josephus wrote down (despite detailing Herod's reign in detail)

 oh please, the whole Gospels as midrash canard? Jews of this period regularly interpreted OT passages in such a manner. The fact that these were "fulfilled" so awkwardly actually supports Matthew's credibility

It's a terrible hit/miss rate for those that were fulfilled and those that weren't, and even those that were "fulfilled" many a time are one HECK of a stretch.

I see you completely dodged my point. very well then. you can read it again, it's still there, I don't think the RRS is censoring their boards yet.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
I want irrefutable proof Jesus existed,

I want irrefutable proof that I am not a brain stimulated by electrodes in a vat of chemicals.

A third time choosing something with no evidence over something with plenty.  You really do like passing the burden of proof.

*facepalm* you completely missed my point. Davo wanted "irrefutable proof". I was merely pointing out that there is no such thing as irrefutable proof outside of mathematics. secondly, as noted above, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospel portrait of Jesus is unreliable" ARE positive claims.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
-Davo wrote:
because all I'm given is weight to suppot the Mythical Christ hypothesis. All experiments tested.

um, wow. does the RRS ever try to combat ignorance on the atheist side of the spectrum?

All the time.  Just do a search on zeitgeist threads or any from Luminon. 

well at least they try some of the time.

"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias


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mig_killer2 wrote:I felt

mig_killer2 wrote:
I felt obligated to respond when this load of absurdity just exploded in my face.

I see you've started prefacing a lot of your posts with this.  Maturity at its finest.

mig_killer2 wrote:
The point of contention is not "miracles are real" but that "miracles are so improbable that history cannot prove them". Secondly, you have yet to respond to the point that I made which was, briefly summarized, that science has not and cannot contradict these miraculous reports as they are the result of a supernatural agent.

You are still passing the burdon of proof.  You are still asking for science to contradict them rather than (as it should be) for the person making the claims they actually happened to prove that they actually did.

mig_killer2 wrote:
I actually was saying that the lack of evidence prevents us from making positive claims such as "Not a single piece of writing from any contemporaries of Jesus mentions Jesus".

And you are using this lack of evidence in a positive way.

mig_killer2 wrote:
well for one these are known to be mythical characters, the same does not reign true with Jesus. Secondly, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospels are by and large unreliable" ARE positive claims.

What makes them "known mythical characters" exactly?  Did you know that at one time all the characters I mentioned were believed to be true?  It was only upon further research and a distinct lack of evidence that it was concluded they were mythical.  The same lack of evidence that those without gospel coloured glasses see when it comes to jesus.  If a lack of evidence is enough to classify them as fiction, why other than special pleading is it not good enough for jesus?

mig_killer2 wrote:
this is really a standard atheist argument I encounter. Name a random fallacy and never once specify where the theist commited that fallacy. you sir a a textbook example of an Internet Atheist.

Would you prefer I find an article with contradictory points and just link to that instead?  I am responding to your points, not someone elses.  Cite that as evidence if you wish, but it will only be your points based upon that evidence I respond to.

mig_killer2 wrote:
I see you completely dodged my point. very well then. you can read it again, it's still there, I don't think the RRS is censoring their boards yet.

I did actually respond to your point, I was saying it was not so much an awkwardness that adds to the proof but more like a very poor and pathetic attempt at creating links which fails on many levels. 

mig_killer2 wrote:
*facepalm* you completely missed my point. Davo wanted "irrefutable proof". I was merely pointing out that there is no such thing as irrefutable proof outside of mathematics. secondly, as noted above, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospel portrait of Jesus is unreliable" ARE positive claims.

But there is still proof beyond reasonable doubt, and you are constantly expressing yourself as though it is better to give credence to that which has no proof over that which has a lot.

mig_killer2 wrote:
well at least they try some of the time.

One final little bit of apparent trolling you just had to slip in, much like that line you're starting your posts off with.  If you are here for a discussion I would suggest dropping those otherwise people are going to take you less and less seriously and ever more like a troll.  Please note that this isn't an accusation, just an observation and a recommendation.

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mig_killer2
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thingy wrote:mig_killer2

thingy wrote:

mig_killer2 wrote:
I felt obligated to respond when this load of absurdity just exploded in my face.

I see you've started prefacing a lot of your posts with this.  Maturity at its finest.

I really have no other means to express just how incredulous and absurd I find your (as in everyone) arguments

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
The point of contention is not "miracles are real" but that "miracles are so improbable that history cannot prove them". Secondly, you have yet to respond to the point that I made which was, briefly summarized, that science has not and cannot contradict these miraculous reports as they are the result of a supernatural agent.

You are still passing the burdon of proof.  You are still asking for science to contradict them rather than (as it should be) for the person making the claims they actually happened to prove that they actually did.

My arguments for the resurrection can be saved for another day. however, this is not contradicted by science, and that was my point, and you still have yet to address that specific point.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
I actually was saying that the lack of evidence prevents us from making positive claims such as "Not a single piece of writing from any contemporaries of Jesus mentions Jesus".

And you are using this lack of evidence in a positive way.

How am I using it in a positive way? is expressing skepticism towards a positive claim in of itself a positive claim?

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
well for one these are known to be mythical characters, the same does not reign true with Jesus. Secondly, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospels are by and large unreliable" ARE positive claims.

What makes them "known mythical characters" exactly? 

the complete lack of any historical evidence whatsoever despite the fact that we should find such evidence is a good starting point.

thingy wrote:
Did you know that at one time all the characters I mentioned were believed to be true?

Believing in Robin Hood or Thor or Zeus simply is not as incredulous as claiming "Jesus, the figure around whom the New Testament revolves, walked the earth", and to assert such is absurd and ridiculous (and you deserve whatever ridicule you get for putting on such a spectacular display of lunacy) in fact, I would argue that the negation of that statement is vastly more incredulous.

thingy wrote:
It was only upon further research and a distinct lack of evidence that it was concluded they were mythical. 

no actually it was the influence of Christian missionaries, not "further research".

thingy wrote:
The same lack of evidence that those without gospel coloured glasses see when it comes to jesus. 

You may want to read the work of the following scholars if you seriously think that there is no evidence for the Historical Jesus:

Gary Habermas

Michael Licona

William Craig

Craig Blomberg

N.T. Wright

Richard Bauckham

Paul Rhodes Eddy

Gregory Boyd

The evidence for the historical Jesus is compelling to say the least.

thingy wrote:
If a lack of evidence is enough to classify them as fiction, why other than special pleading is it not good enough for jesus?

Those figures you mentioned were not confirmed as fictitious by "research" but merely by intuition. However, the lack of evidence supports the non-existence of an entity if and only if we should expect to find evidence. However, no such evidence should be found if Jesus were a historical figure. as John Meier notes in his landmark series on the Historical Jesus (I read about this from other scholars, so I do not claim to have personally read his work) A Marginal Jew, Jesus was a marginal jew in a marginal province of a vast Roman Empire. add the fact that there were many other people claiming to be the messiah (although none of them believed that their messiahship was linked with a death and resurrection), and many other people were purported to do miraclese (Hanina Ben Dosa, Honi the circle drawer)

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
this is really a standard atheist argument I encounter. Name a random fallacy and never once specify where the theist commited that fallacy. you sir a a textbook example of an Internet Atheist.

Would you prefer I find an article with contradictory points and just link to that instead? 

just posting a rebuttal of your own would suffice.

thingy wrote:
I am responding to your points, not someone elses.  Cite that as evidence if you wish, but it will only be your points based upon that evidence I respond to.

I actually provided these points. if you wish to sway me (and I'm not so sure that's the case with anyone on these forums), then you will have to make a satisfactory rebuttal to my argument, otherwise you will never sway me in the least.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
I see you completely dodged my point. very well then. you can read it again, it's still there, I don't think the RRS is censoring their boards yet.

I did actually respond to your point, I was saying it was not so much an awkwardness that adds to the proof but more like a very poor and pathetic attempt at creating links which fails on many levels. 

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
*facepalm* you completely missed my point. Davo wanted "irrefutable proof". I was merely pointing out that there is no such thing as irrefutable proof outside of mathematics. secondly, as noted above, the claim "Jesus did not exist" and "The Gospel portrait of Jesus is unreliable" ARE positive claims.

But there is still proof beyond reasonable doubt, and you are constantly expressing yourself as though it is better to give credence to that which has no proof over that which has a lot.

no actually you never once responded to my point that there is no such thing as "irrefutable proof" outside of mathematics. secondly, the canard about "beyond reasonable doubt" is subjective and useless. what is reasonable for me may be unreasonable for you. lastly, if you wish to say that Jesus never existed, then you shoulder the burden of proof because "Jesus never existed" IS a positive claim.

thingy wrote:
mig_killer2 wrote:
well at least they try some of the time.

One final little bit of apparent trolling you just had to slip in, much like that line you're starting your posts off with.  If you are here for a discussion I would suggest dropping those otherwise people are going to take you less and less seriously and ever more like a troll.  Please note that this isn't an accusation, just an observation and a recommendation.

I'm sorry, but I find it very...difficult to take anyone on these boards seriously (and a lot of theists are no exceptions).

"If you can make any religion of the world look ridiculous, chances are you haven't understood it"-Ravi Zacharias


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Topher wrote:Many

Topher wrote:

Many people/Christians argue that no historian requires contemporary evidence for something historical. What's the historical method say about this?


 

 

This is a common misreading of the requirement of contemporary accounts. They need not exist in the present, but there must be evidence that they existed at one time.


The key issue is PROVENANCE. We need to know that there is a link from what remains, to what is lost.

 

Of course, this issue deals with extraordinary claims - which we define as any claims that require us to overturn current evidence.  To argue, for example, that Caesar was an African, we'd need to overturn all that we have already which supports the claim that he was caucasian. That would take quite a bit....

 

 

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