Jesus and Historians

cervello_marcio
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Jesus and Historians

 I read today a theory by some Christians that Jesus was in fact mentioned by some of his historical contemporaries. The list included names such as Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonis, and Thallus. Can anyone lend any credulity to this argument? Or counter it?

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Who the fuck is

Who the fuck is Thallus?

 

-Tacitus: Mentions Christians, and what they believe.

-Suetonius: Mentions a 'Chrestus' and followers of his as being expelled from Rome. There's an ongoing debate about whether that's Jesus, or someone else, as 'Chrestus' from time to time was a pretty common name given to Greek slaves- it meant 'useful,' as I recall.

-Josephus: The general consensus among secular historians is that the 'Testimonium' passage in 'Antiquities' is genuine... but that the important details ('he was the Christ' and all the unusual amount of praise for an apocalpytic cult leader) was added in, probably around the 4th century. Eusebius, church historian and Constantine's biographer, has consistently been considered a candidate for the one who did the interpolation.

However, I will say this: The controversy over the Testimonium has by far been the most heated of debates over NT scholarship of the past 300 years. The other two, besides Thallus (again: the fuck?!?) are regarded as genuine. 

Alice Whealey has written extensively on it, so I'll refer you to her book: "Josephus on Jesus." It's expensive, as it's a scholarly book on the subject, but it's available. The articles she's written on it also are probably available on online journal databases. This is Alice Whealey, after all; one of the leading Biblical scholars of the 20th century.

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I think it's worth

I think it's worth mentioning that there are no contemparary accounts of Jesus. None. Nada. Supposedly the greatest man/god combination to ever walk the Earth, and not a single contemporary account. All those you mentioned come later.

Nice overview:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/silence_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_quotjesus

 


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Even if we conceeded that a

Even if we conceeded that a man named Jesus existed, which I personally am not, but even if, that doesn't constitute magical births, or deaths, spitting in the eye to cure blindness, or magically making zombies come back to life.

We know that George Washington existed, but no one in their right mind would claim that he could magically fart a full sized Lamborghini out of his ass.

 

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Actually there is a lot of

Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.


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chiefbill wrote:Actually

chiefbill wrote:

Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.

Wasn't Jesus a pretty common name?

-Triften


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chiefbill wrote:Actually

chiefbill wrote:
Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.
Do you care to cite the 'many more' accounts of Jesus's proposed existence?  And are you going to give a rational argument for why Christianity can't be 'attacked' on the basis that Jesus isn't real?  Simply asserting that there is more evidence for his existence than of other 'comtemporaries' is not a rational argument.  Further, if a person named Jesus did exist how could it possibly be verified that that person was the same one to whom the miracles performed by the Jesus in biblical accounts were attributed?  If Christianity is supposed to be based on the martyrdom of the earthly incarnation of Yaweh in the form of a virgin woman's son, how is the existence of a mere person named Jesus supposed add any veracity to the biblical accounts? 

I see rather that if a plain man named Jesus were pointed to as being even the basis of the biblical accounts that it would detract so much from Christianity.  The whole premise of the religion is based on miracles.  Plain men don't perform miracles; they are not the sons of wrathful gods;  they are not tempted by the nemesis of a god in the desert and do not die and ascend to a god's holy realm in the sky days later.  To make it very plain, if there is to be a historical Jesus, it really must be the Jesus who performed miracles or else the Bible is simply what so many rightfully believe it to be -a book of fairy tales- and the god of the bible, let alone all those other people mentioned, so much an invented character.  And if that is to be so ...well, let's just say it's best for the survival of your religion if you keep it well out of history, archaeology, paeontology and science altogether. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4


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chiefbill wrote:Actually

chiefbill wrote:
Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more.

Nope. The accounts mentioned are not contemporary, nor do they cite anything contemporary. They do have some validity though. They show that there were christians, hardly a controversial point. The Josephus passage also shows that some early christian had no problems falsifying writings to suit his own purpose. Hardly a controversial point either. Having done research, I suppose you will have no problems elaborating on these 'many more' accounts?

chiefbill wrote:
If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real.

Uhm... why not? Just because you don't like it doesn't mean you can just assert that.

chiefbill wrote:
There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day.

Empty rhetoric. I suspect it comes from... *drum roll* having the presupposition that since you already believe in Jesus, there must be evidence! Typical ass-backwards way of approaching history.

chiefbill wrote:
You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.

Finally you said something that isn't completely wrong. You can argue that there was some wannabe pharisee named Jesus that walked around with a posse of illiterate knuckleheads, preaching his head off. Frankly, I don't get why christians even bother with the 'historical Jesus' approach. Even if we grant that there was such a person, that doesn't help them in any way. They'd still have to show that he was the Jesus talked about in the bible, that he was born of a virgin, actually performed miracles, died and was actually resurrected. If they can't show that, then they still base their belief on a fairy tale, historical Jesus or not. Also, what Thomathy said.


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triften wrote:chiefbill

triften wrote:

chiefbill wrote:

Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.

Wasn't Jesus a pretty common name?

-Triften

Indeed it was. Messiah claimants were also a dime a dozen.

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cervello_marcio wrote: I

cervello_marcio wrote:

 I read today a theory by some Christians that Jesus was in fact mentioned by some of his historical contemporaries. The list included names such as Josephus, Tacitus, Suetonis, and Thallus. Can anyone lend any credulity to this argument? Or counter it?

 

A tired old lie repeated by people who've never bother to read a history book.  NONE of the people you cite are contempories, and actual contemporaries fail to record anything about a jesus the christ.

 

I see my article's already been cited, take a look.

 

 

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triften wrote:chiefbill

triften wrote:

chiefbill wrote:

Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.

Wasn't Jesus a pretty common name?

-Triften

It wasn't his name in the first place. Jesus is a Greek/Roman/Latinization, if I remember correctly.

The 'christ' term referred to an 'annointed one'... which is not a name at all.

 

If there were such a person, his name would have been Yeshua Bar Joseph.... 

 

But you'll almost never find a christian who knows that.... they actually think his name was Jesus Christ.

 

 

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crazymonkie wrote:-Josephus:

crazymonkie wrote:

 

-Josephus: The general consensus among secular historians is that the 'Testimonium' passage in 'Antiquities' is genuine... but that the important details ('he was the Christ' and all the unusual amount of praise for an apocalpytic cult leader) was added in, probably around the 4th century. Eusebius, church historian and Constantine's biographer, has consistently been considered a candidate for the one who did the interpolation.

However, I will say this: The controversy over the Testimonium has by far been the most heated of debates over NT scholarship of the past 300 years. The other two, besides Thallus (again: the fuck?!?) are regarded as genuine. 

It should be added that Josephus wasn't even born until 37 AD. Furthermore, he's not the greatest historian of his time, he writes soberly of the existence of Adam, for example, as a real historical figure.

 Next, we don't get Josephus' 'citation' if you will... he doesn't tell us how he knows of this 'jesus"

 

Next, the writer who supposedly only mentions Jesus for 3 sentences, is famed for writing a history of the jews... one would think such a writer would devote more than 3 lines to the messiah, wouldn't you?

Finally, the most damning point of all: Josephus died a Jew. If he had evidence of a christ, why didn't he convert to christianity?

 

 

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On  top of there being no

On  top of there being no contemporaries, NO ONE READ MY LAST POST.

SO THE F WHAT, even if Jesus was a real man. Magic doesn't exist, never has, never will. He was not born of a virgin, if a real person at all. And he did not survive rigor mortis. PERIOD!

This is why I avoid arguing history, it is a distraction away from the fantastic claims in the "Babble".

We know King Tut was a real man, but that doesn't mean that "Ra" the sun god, was real.

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todangst wrote:triften

todangst wrote:

triften wrote:

chiefbill wrote:

Actually there is a lot of evidence for a man named Jesus. From my research the accounts you mention have some validity plus there are many more. If you are going to attack Christianity you can't do it from the basis that Jesus isn't real. There is more evidence for his existence than most political leaders of his day. You can argue that Jesus isn't the son of God, but that is a completely different debate. It would be hard to argue that there was no Jesus at all and still appear to be a true rational person.

Wasn't Jesus a pretty common name?

-Triften

It wasn't his name in the first place. Jesus is a Greek/Roman/Latinization, if I remember correctly.

The 'christ' term referred to an 'annointed one'... which is not a name at all.

 

If there were such a person, his name would have been Yeshua Bar Joseph.... 

 

But you'll almost never find a christian who knows that.... they actually think his name was Jesus Christ.

 

 

Some of them think he was a Christian as well. Of course they can't answer me when I ask "What Christ was he following?".

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Something else to

Something else to consider:

It wasn't until the era of the great church councils (5th/6th centuries) the idea of Jesus being co-equal and existing from the beginning with God (and being God, along with the Holy Spirit) became common doctrine. Unless one agrees with the frankly laughable claims of apostlic descent, argued very early by theologians who were adopted by the official Church of the Eastern Roman Empire (such as Tertullian or Justin Martyr), and which were used just as effectively and probably truthfully by the Gnostics (they were nuts about Thomas and Peter). The idea that a core, 'true' church, corrupted (rather early) by heretics is not really valid, and makes a poor case for something that is clearly (generally) later doctrine being so assiduously presented by Josephus.

However, I do want to state something: I do not consider myself a Jesus Mythicist. I believe it is *possible* that a Jew with a very small following, by the name of Jesus, pissed off the local Roman prelate so badly that he got crucified. Though even that's baffling, considering the tensions between the Jews and Romans, and the court of Herod Antipas at the time.... If someone blasphemed like Jesus supposedly did, he probably would have been stoned, not taken to the Romans for judgment. Though this says nothing about what kind of Jew Jesus would have been. And there still remains the sticky question of the relation of Paul to Jesus. Acts, obviously, cannot be trusted.... but considering that all we have nowadays are potentially heavily redacted documents (even those known as genuine), I doubt we'll ever know what really happened.

 

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 Thanks, this is a lot of

 Thanks, this is a lot of great information that I can really use. Appreciate that.

So no one knows who Thallus is? I haven't heard the name either.

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 All of them made a

 All of them made a reference (or references) to someone who has been interpreted to be Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel(s).  To be really precise, nobody can be sure that all of them were talking about the same person, and none of them were contemporary to the figure in the Gospels.

At best, IF they are all talking about the same figure, it is solid evidence that people who lived decades after Jesus was purported to have lived believed he lived.

 

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There's a good article on

There's a good article on this called A Silence that Screams on freethoughtpedia.  Unforunately that site seems to be having some difficulties at the moment so I don't know if you'll get through.

 

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 The site is up now, thanks

 The site is up now, thanks for the article.


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Thomathy wrote:I see rather

Thomathy wrote:

I see rather that if a plain man named Jesus were pointed to as being even the basis of the biblical accounts that it would detract so much from Christianity.  The whole premise of the religion is based on miracles.  Plain men don't perform miracles; they are not the sons of wrathful gods;  they are not tempted by the nemesis of a god in the desert and do not die and ascend to a god's holy realm in the sky days later.  To make it very plain, if there is to be a historical Jesus, it really must be the Jesus who performed miracles or else the Bible is simply what so many rightfully believe it to be -a book of fairy tales- and the god of the bible, let alone all those other people mentioned, so much an invented character.  And if that is to be so ...well, let's just say it's best for the survival of your religion if you keep it well out of history, archaeology, paeontology and science altogether. Normal 0 false false false MicrosoftInternetExplorer4


Christians seem to take what you said so that they only have to prove that jesus exists and then the rest must be given to be true. That would be nice but  it reduces the burden of proof down to not much. It seems to be the main argument against the 100% mythicist position.


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I agree.  I see it all the

I agree.  I see it all the time and it's not in the least compelling.  I see no point in conceeding to the possible existence of some person on whom the biblical accounts are based if that person was not identical to those accounts.  I would parallel it to the possible existence of some Arthur, King of the Britons on whom the self-same legends are based.  Or to the Buddha, of whom we can be a little more certain existed.  The existence of these characters in the real world does nothing to validate the things attributed to them and would not serve the interest of those who believe in those things.

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Who knows, maybe there was a

Who knows, maybe there was a real man called Beowulf. Does that mean that Grendel and his mother are real? Or that Beowulf really fights a dragon?


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My information is, that

My information is, that Jesus was born in year -24 and thus lived in somewhat earlier time than the historians are looking at. But I don't know how well documented is the year -24 and later, I can't verify that information. I just mention it, in case somebody knows.

triften wrote:

Wasn't Jesus a pretty common name?

-Triften

Yes, Jushu or Jeshu (ben Pandira) was a very common name there.


Btw, I have a sad news for you guys. It seems, that the Turin shroud was not proven to be fake. I know, the carbon dating was like on the 13th century. The shroud was patched. And the scientists accidentally took a cloth sample from a patch, which contained cotton. So the carbon dating was pretty accurate, just not for the original cloth. And why nobody repeats the test? In 2002 the box with the Turin shroud was sprayed by some insecticide, which contaminated the cloth, so it's not possible to be dated through the carbon method anymore. I guess we will never know for sure, unless there are any other dating methods.

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 Version:1.0

 

cervello_marcio wrote:
So no one knows who Thallus is? I haven't heard the name either.

 

Thallus was trivial to google up. Assuming that he even existed, he was an historian at the tail end of the first century, so again, not a likely eyewitness. Add to that that non of his work survives in direct form but he was cited by some of the apologetic authors who came later.

 

He is associated with a report of a solar eclipse on the weekend of Passover that some have identified with the darkness following the death of god jr. in the synoptic gospels. From what I gather, this is odd due to the timing of Passover being tied to a full moon and it thus being impossible for a solar eclipse to have occurred.

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Luminon wrote:Btw, I have a

Luminon wrote:
Btw, I have a sad news for you guys. It seems, that the Turin shroud was not proven to be fake. I know, the carbon dating was like on the 13th century. The shroud was patched. And the scientists accidentally took a cloth sample from a patch, which contained cotton. So the carbon dating was pretty accurate, just not for the original cloth. And why nobody repeats the test? In 2002 the box with the Turin shroud was sprayed by some insecticide, which contaminated the cloth, so it's not possible to be dated through the carbon method anymore. I guess we will never know for sure, unless there are any other dating methods.

Well, first of all, we'll never be able to know for sure any more, considering the 2002 restoration probably removed a lot of useful evidence.

Second- who gives a flying fuck about the shroud anyway?

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Quote:Btw, I have a sad news

Quote:

Btw, I have a sad news for you guys. It seems, that the Turin shroud was not proven to be fake. I know, the carbon dating was like on the 13th century. The shroud was patched. And the scientists accidentally took a cloth sample from a patch, which contained cotton. So the carbon dating was pretty accurate, just not for the original cloth.

 

Bullshit.

 

The patches were 16th century, and proven so by carbon dating. The linen of the "shroud" was 13th/14th century, and proven so by carbon dating.

 

The restoration in 2002 has removed the possibility of investigating "points of comparison" within the fabric and has corrupted to a huge extent examination of organic residue. It has not eliminated the possibility of further carbon dating. Nor has it hindered  to any large degree possible examination in the future of pigment-impregnated fabric. Permission for both of these types of test has been emphatically denied by the owner, the Bishop of Turin.

 

Quote from Steven D. Schafersman, who in 1998 researched the methodology employed in carbon dating the shroud by three "blind" laboratories. What he said, in light of Luminon's bullshit above, has proven not just to be accurate but prophetic with regard to the disdain for truth shared by adherents to crapology:

 

"Contrary to pro-authenticity advocates, the linen samples were not deceptively switched, not taken from the wrong part of the Shroud material, not improperly cleaned and prepared, did not have a bioplastic coating, were not contaminated by modern bacteria and fungi that were not removed, the carbon-14 content of the cloth was not altered by the fire of 1532, the final results were not deliberately falsified by a conspiracy of anti-religious scientists, and so forth. As has been pointed out by others, modern material of approximately twice the mass as the Shroud samples would have to be added to the samples to bring authentic first-century linen up to radiocarbon dates of the fourteenth-century, and this would have been just too obvious to go unnoticed by so many independent investigators. Once again, the ad hoc excuses, criticisms, and counter-arguments of the radiocarbon dating by Shroud enthusiasts were put forward to preserve appearances at any cost, a classic characteristic of pseudoscience."

 

 

 

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