Interesting approach to refuting Jesus as part of the Trinity.

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Interesting approach to refuting Jesus as part of the Trinity.

The article is titled 'John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus'

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/02/27/Jesus.scholar/index.html?hpt=C2

 

This is a quote from the article regarding the 'historical Jesus'.  

"There's good news and bad news from the historical Jesus. The good news: God says Caesar sucks. The bad news: God says Caesar is us."

Quote:

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited "peasant with an attitude" who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.

Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan, one of the world's top scholars on the "historical Jesus," a field in which academics use historical evidence to reconstruct Jesus in his first-century setting.

This approach may have a better chance of getting through people that have some doubt, rather than the mystical Jesus approach, IMHO.

 

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Crossan is an excellent

Crossan is an excellent scholar and ex-priest.  He wrote two major books essential for studying the historical Jesus. One was about the4 historical jesus

 

There are almost as many versions of the historical Jesus as there are seekers of the historical Jesus; a fact Crossan himself is acutely aware of. Crossan's Jesus has been criticised as just another reflection of a liberal theologian's face in the bottom of a deep well, but I contend that in the case of Crossan's historical Jesus, this is an unjust criticism.

Crossan builds his historical Jesus from texts selected on the basis of multiple attestation and stratification. The theory being that texts which are independently used by more than one source, and/or belong to the earliest strata of Christian writings are more likely to bear true witness to the authentic Jesus of history than texts that have been added later for the political or theological purposes of their authors. Crossan uses a triangular focus of historical, literary and social methods applied to both canonical and non-biblical texts to deconstruct the traditional Christ reconstruct a very plausible Jesus of history. The Jesus that Crossan eventually portrays is a Mediteranean peasant Jewish cynic who is seen in the context of the Roman empire rather than simply in the context of early Judaism. He emerges not from the early Christianity of the canon, but from the contemporary society in which he lived.

Jesus' practices, according to Crossan, bear similarities to those of the Greek Cynics. Cynicism was a Greco-Roman form of eschatology that manifested as a practice more than a theory; it was a total lifestyle that dictated the ways of dressing, eating, living and relating to others. GrecoRoman cynicism was centred in the towns, in particular the market places where the cynics would address the crowds. Greek cynics were known to carry with them a knapsack or wallet, symbolising their self -dependent lifestyle, in addition to their cloak and staff.

Jesus, however was not a Greek cynic. It is not even clear whether he knew of Greek cynicism, but he appears to have practised a 'home-grown' Jewish version cynicism. This Jewish cynicism was practised in the villages and rural districts and Jesus specifically instructed his followers not to carry a knapsack or money, thus symbolising their dependency on the commensality of community. Jesus' mission included free healing and common eating. Through it he promoted a religious and economic egalitarianism that subverted the hierarchical and patronal structures of Roman power and Jewish religion.

Crossan shows Jesus' concerns to be those of the underclass of society. In Roman society, sin, sickness and taxation were inextricably linked; excessive taxation left the poor hungy and desperate, but the power structures blamed sinfulness for the people’s plight. It was a vicious circle, because forgiveness for sins was a monopoly of the temple, and temple services meant further taxes. Breaking this monopoly through the forgiveness of sins freely given, Jesus was undermining the religious and political structures of society. Jesus' miracles set his power and authority on a par with, if not superior to, the temple. Like that of the magicians, his personal, individual power was seen as standing against the communal, ritual power of priests and rabbis, and, as such, it challenged the legitimacy of centering spiritual power in the temple. Similarly subversive was Jesus' portrayal of a 'brokerless' kingdom. The Roman empire operated through a brokerage system, whereby society was structured in terms of patrons and clients. Jesus' egalitarian community, with its practice of commensality, makes no allowance for brokerage; patrons and clients are valued equally, again subverting the religious, social and political structures of the time. By never settling, always remaining transient, Jesus avoided being interpreted as yet another broker for God. His teaching was that there should be no mediator between humanity and the divine, nor between humans. Through parables, miracles, healing and eating, individuals were drawn into unmediated physical and spiritual contact with God and with each other.

For Jesus and his followers the kingdom, or better, the reign of God, had indeed arrived when those around him sat at an open table and joined in the subversion of all hierarchies: political, social, religious and even cultural. This Jesus gave little reflection on the important questions as seen by religious authorities. He had scant regard for advancing or safeguarding tradition; instead he transgressed the boundaries and radicalised the teachings, forcing new questions to be asked and new perspectives to be taken.

Was Crossan's Jesus of history divine? Crossan would answer 'Yes' providing divinity is understood as relational and interactive, not as objective and essential. Jesus is divine in that, through him, many caught sight of the transcendent.

Crossan's Jesus is a compelling figure that cannot be lightly dismissed. But like the canonical Jesus who comes to divide (Matthew 10:34ff), Crossan's Jesus, if heard, is set to divide the Christian community. For what does a hierarchical, patriarchal church do when its Head is shown to denounce hierarchies of all kinds? How can a church respond when the One it deems the divine mediator, is seen to reject the need for mediation? How does a church that prides itself on tradition and spends much of its energy and resources advancing that tradition and patrolling the boundaries less heretics transgress them, follow a Mediterranean peasant Jewish Cynic?

 

His other book is a massive research on the socio-economic period of jesus's arena.  His approach is a good historical-critical method.

The Historical Jesus: The Life of a Mediterranean Jewish Peasant, 1991

The Birth of Christianity: Discovering What Happened Immediately after the Execution of Jesus (1998).

 

I read them both and depend on them as resources.

 

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 I haven't read anything

 I haven't read anything about him, short of this article, I think his approach would have more success then the popular atheist approach Smiling.  I don't agree with him or believe that Jesus was a real historical figure ( or at least that there's credible evidence for that to be the case ).

 

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Ktulu wrote: I haven't read

Ktulu wrote:

 I haven't read anything about him, short of this article, I think his approach would have more success then the popular atheist approach Smiling.  I don't agree with him or believe that Jesus was a real historical figure ( or at least that there's credible evidence for that to be the case ).

 

I think if you look at some of my textual arguments with some theists posted elsewhere you'll see I do. I think he was simply a contemporary of Hanina ben Dosa and Honi the Circle Drawer. They acted similarly. there were other messianic pretenders.  I think that legends and stories attached to a Cynic" teacher" as Crossan calls him and the myths grew. Once Paul cast those stories into Hellenistic Mystery religion you got an early version of the Christ believers proclaim.  It took another century for the trinitarian argument to come to a boil. The early writers tried very hard to disassociate Jesus from his period of being John the Baptist's follower. They recast an eschotology into something Christological.

 

 

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Interesting posts, TG.

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

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 Well, I find that I have

 

Well, I find that I have kind of a love/hate thing going on with the mythicist position. Many of the threads on the subject are very well thought out but at the same time, they are not really providing evidence against an historical jesus so much as informing us of the lack of evidence for the dude having existed.

 

I tend to think that he probably did not exist as a single individual. More likely, many stories of many people were combined into a single narrative. Some of those people may well have walked the earth right around the time.

 

If you think about this, it should be obvious that Caesar, Pilate and Herod were real existing people. There is plenty of contemporary evidence of them and what they did. The thing is that there is no contemporary evidence for some of the things that are attributed to them. Heck, we found Herod's grave back in the late 70's. How real could a biblical figure be if we actually have his bones in a museum somewhere?

 

Against that, what about the slaughter of the innocents? Surely that would have to be documented in the ancient sources. Well, it isn't. No mention in Suetonius or either of the Pliny sources. So that is at least doubtful. In fact, I question whether it would have been allowed by Pilate had word reached him. Sure, the Romans were known to be rather brutal when it occurred to them but even they had rules for where the line must be drawn. If Herod tried to pass that edict (even if the actual record no longer exists), it would have played a role in the local economy, which matter would have been of concern to Pilate.

 

On the other hand, did some insane wandering preacher dude rip through the temple and overturn tables before he was arrested? That could conceivably have escaped the notice of contemporary historical sources, especially if it was more common than a single incident. Look at what we have as protests today. Are some things so depressingly common that they merit little notice?

 

Then too, who can say with any authority what really happened a couple hundred years ago? The early church fathers were writing about stuff that they obviously could not have had first hand knowledge of. All that they had to work with were stories that had been handed down over time.

 

Really, George Washington was a real dude who did real things. However, his life story is filled with things that did not happen. He did not cut down a cherry tree. He did not throw a silver dollar across a mighty river.

 

He did do a number of things that are not pushed in American schools (and I suspect that the international crowd has even less reason to be aware of the details of his life). He specialized in killing sleeping enemy troops. The battle of Trenton being the one example that does get play in US schools, although the fact that the Hessians were asleep at the time tends to get glossed over. He did claim a victory in the battle of the Gowanus marsh despite the fact that he was routed there and only built a fake camp in Jamaica plain to cover the fact that he evacuated his troops in the middle of the night (also known as running away).

 

If we are so unsure of the details of the only American general to hold six star rank, why assume that we know far more about some dude who lived 18 centuries earlier?

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

It is not that the biblical narratives are accurate it is the reason that they are not that allows some historical results by the historical-critcal methods of redaktion geschichte, form and source geschichte.  For example the texts try hard to over come the idea that Jesus was a follower of John the baptist, and was baptized for the remission of his sins.  This was a scandal for the church. The writers  rework this problem by changing around pronouns of alleged prophecies to attempt tp make John the baptist as fore runner of jesus, who who was to proclaim him. But the text from the Old Testament does not say that at all. There is another example where Jesus is called the son of Mary by the hometown crowds. This implies that he had no legitimate father. Otherwise even if his father was dead that would have referred to himas the son of his father not mother. It is more explained by a historical Cynic character that was typical of that period and had leanings toward end of the world eschatology like many messianic pretenders of that period. Infact you find a group of Jewish Christians at the end of the first century that did not believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he was divine or the son of God in a divine sense. They believed that he was ta human messiah and would return with the general resurrection when all would be raised. This fits very well well with a simple teacher on whom Paul's myths were later attached. The church reworked all through the writings an attempt to overcome that Jesus was mistaken about the end of the world being soon.... In fact the church keeps using that word soon. Jesus meant in his lifetime. When he was killed it looks like the followers who were Jewish kept waiting for the End and incorporated some of the ideas of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Ther was a rift between Paul and jesus's original follwers that he writes about. It was worse than he portrayed it. The Jewish Christians (original followers were not even called Christians) It seems that Peter and James taught the same as this sect (observance of the Jewish laws).  It is Paul that is the creator of Christianity and the whole myth that was later attached to a human character. This is the typical historical Jesus hypothesis. The Christ figure of Christianty is completely mythic but attached to and initiated by a Galilean who did not follwer Pharisaic practices very well and taught a Cynic ethic based upon the end of the world.

Now if you go the entire mythic route with the analysis there is presently no explanation that accounts for a Greek demi-god Christ of Paul's coming from a very human albeit sensationalized Jewish miracle worker/magician.  There were a lot in that period as well.. In fact Paul's Christ is completely made up from contemporary myths  But there is also a group of a few hundred thousand that seem to have remained the followers of the John the Baptist figure and consider him Messiah even to this day in Palestine. They were strong competitors in the 30's through 70's CE with the Christians.  They are many more features of this type of playing down by the New Testament writers that is more easily explained as reflecting the problems the church had with its historical source, Jesus of Nazareth. The virgin birth stories are heavily an attempt to gloss over the idea that Jesus was born in Nazareth when the Messiah was supposed to come from Bethlehem.  Scholars therefore think that the historical Jesus was not born in Bethlehem but Nazareth with the church trying to fit him to the Jewish belief that the Messiah would come from the house of King David, Bethlehem.  Matthew has Mary and Joseph's hometown as Bethlehem with Jesus born there and moving to Nazareth later.  Luke has Mary and Joseph from Nazareth going to a census in Bethlehem where she delivers. To made up stories to deal with something that was bothering the church about (facts??). The early Q tradition reflects a completely human teacher of Cynic wisdom. And so that is why many historians posit a historical person. And conclude that it is mostly mythological.

 

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More interesting stuff, TG.

 

Thanks for laying that out. What do you think of the contention that Paul remained a Jew?

 

 

 

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 Thank you for the insight

 Thank you for the insight TG Smiling


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Thanks for laying that out. What do you think of the contention that Paul remained a Jew?

 

 

 

Judaism was far more varied than assumed. In Elephantine there was a Jewish Temple where they worshipped Wisdom as God's mistress along with Yahweh.  The Essenes that wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls were off the chart.  You had the Samaratans. Paul in sense believed that he was improving Judaism. He seems to had a lot of exposure to the philosophies of that period. I have a friend who was working on a theory that Paul was trying to make his way to Spain to meet with Seneca.


 

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Ktulu wrote: Thank you for

Ktulu wrote:

 Thank you for the insight TG Smiling

Sorry I went on and on. My degree was in Theology with a focus on the historical Jesus.  There's really very little to be said about him other than there seems to be this ripple from a local celebrity that went national.


 

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?


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ymalmsteen887

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?

He may never have referred to himself as the Christ ( a Greek concept).  There are tons of verses in which the church puts the words in Jesus's mouth in their stories.

 

 

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TGBaker wrote:ymalmsteen887

TGBaker wrote:

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?

He may never have referred to himself as the Christ ( a Greek concept).  There are tons of verses in which the church puts the words in Jesus's mouth in their stories.

 

 

No I meant where atheiextr said that paul refered to himself as christ.


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ymalmsteen887 wrote:TGBaker

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Like Ktulu, I have an aversion to an historical jesus and don't feel the biblical narratives unsupported by historians of the time can be seen as sources that are without bias in an application of the literary historical method. I tend to think the references in Josephus are contrived - probably by Eusebius - and that Tacitus references early Christians rather than an historical christ. Whether Tacitus' reference is an addition is unclear. The oldest version of Annals is in the Vatican and the version it was copied from is thought to have come from Fulda Abbey - not exactly encouraging. 

I know most scholars feel there was an actual jesus based on the NT - its greater age and the number of copies that exist. There's no doubt jesus mythcists like Doherty are given short shrift by theological historians. But I still struggle with it. I'm not even sure Paul was talking about an actual jesus when he preached. His jesus seems to be entirely spiritual and at one point he refers to himself as christ.

Nevertheless, I'll have to read Crossan. It sounds an interesting book at a number of levels. This is an interesting topic to a lot of former christians.

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?

He may never have referred to himself as the Christ ( a Greek concept).  There are tons of verses in which the church puts the words in Jesus's mouth in their stories.

 

 

No I meant where atheiextr said that paul refered to himself as christ.

He did not.


 

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TGBaker wrote:He did

TGBaker wrote:

He did not.


 

 

Do you think you can check out the intention of the gospel writers thread and look at one of my questions about a rebutal to a christian?


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ymalmsteen887 wrote:TGBaker

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

TGBaker wrote:

He did not.


 

 

Do you think you can check out the intention of the gospel writers thread and look at one of my questions about a rebutal to a christian?

Sure where is it?


 

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I'm wrong about that

 

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?

 

A misreading of 1st Corinthians 1:12 formented by confirmation bias.

Soz.

 

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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

ymalmsteen887 wrote:

Curious, what verse does he refer to himself as christ?

 

A misreading of 1st Corinthians 1:12 formented by confirmation bias.

Soz.

 

AIn't no big thing>


 

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Ktulu wrote:The article is

Ktulu wrote:

The article is titled 'John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus'

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/02/27/Jesus.scholar/index.html?hpt=C2

 

This is a quote from the article regarding the 'historical Jesus'.  

"There's good news and bad news from the historical Jesus. The good news: God says Caesar sucks. The bad news: God says Caesar is us."

Quote:

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited "peasant with an attitude" who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.

Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan, one of the world's top scholars on the "historical Jesus," a field in which academics use historical evidence to reconstruct Jesus in his first-century setting.

This approach may have a better chance of getting through people that have some doubt, rather than the mystical Jesus approach, IMHO.

 

 

 

It certainly would have a better chance of getting through. However I wonder is the aim to disseminate the truth or simply to win converts?

Cogito, ergo sum: I perceive, thus I do sums.


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DoubleS wrote:Ktulu

DoubleS wrote:

Ktulu wrote:

The article is titled 'John Dominic Crossan's 'blasphemous' portrait of Jesus'

http://www.cnn.com/2011/LIVING/02/27/Jesus.scholar/index.html?hpt=C2

 

This is a quote from the article regarding the 'historical Jesus'.  

"There's good news and bad news from the historical Jesus. The good news: God says Caesar sucks. The bad news: God says Caesar is us."

Quote:

Crossan says Jesus was an exploited "peasant with an attitude" who didn't perform many miracles, physically rise from the dead or die as punishment for humanity's sins.

Jesus was extraordinary because of how he lived, not died, says Crossan, one of the world's top scholars on the "historical Jesus," a field in which academics use historical evidence to reconstruct Jesus in his first-century setting.

This approach may have a better chance of getting through people that have some doubt, rather than the mystical Jesus approach, IMHO.

 

 

 

It certainly would have a better chance of getting through. However I wonder is the aim to disseminate the truth or simply to win converts?

My educational background is the Greek of the New Testament, its formation and the historical Jesus.  Historical researchers in this field generally see jesus as a wondering Cynic teacher spouting out words of wisdom and folk philosophy. It does seem to be the core of what developed into Christianity. Jesus was a human who came from Galilee. Galilee was the only area in Palestine that was forcefully converted to Judaism.  Even so only 50% of the population was Jewish. Rabbi hannina ben Doas and Honi the Circle Drawer were very similar characters to Jesus. ben Dosa called god Abba like Jesus ( meaning Daddy instead of a reverential , father).  He spoke openly with women as Jeusus did. The reason that historians posit these as historical is because they are contrary to the believing Jewish or Christian movement. You can see evidence that the church triied to cover up the fact that Jesus was baptized as others to get rid of sin. Historical Jesus research is a discipline to explain the sociological development of what became Christianity ... what historical kernel was the catalyst for all the mythic construction.  It is commonly understood that the bible is mythic in seminaries and theological  schools like Princeton, Yale, Stanford, Emory, Vanderbuilt. The bridge from school to church is teach it as truth and avoid the lack of factual basis. So statements are demythologized and taken into a philosophical meaning rather than a grounded factual historical meaning. Virgin birth does not really mean a women had a child and was a virgin. It becomes a story to honor jesus as both god and man.  So you have pure historical work. Then the theologians that try to make it still meaningful and then the preachers to present it as literal.  When I was in seminary my mentor (Hendrikus Boers)  who wrote Who Was Jesus? was a marxist atheist from South Africa. He would point to people like Jurgen Moltmann (theologian) as a fraud that needed to be exposed. Then there is the whole moderate movement that tries to salvage some christianity out of the historical/critical conclusions. Crossan was on the Jesus Seminar team. He knows Jesus was simply a person who got into trouble and was removed from being an irritation.  The people who cared about where Jeus was buried did not know where he was buried. The people who did know where he was buried ( communal grave) did not care.


 

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