What is the Jesus Mythicist's Position?

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What is the Jesus Mythicist's Position?

The Rational Response Squad is a Jesus-Free™ team. What does this mean? It means we are all Jesus Mythicists. You may ask yourself, what is a Mythicist? (And more importantly, are you one as well?) These are excellent questions and you probably have more, which is what this bulletin is about to cover.

Here is one brief synopsis into what the Jesus Mythicist stance is:

  1. Earl Doherty argues that Christianity began as a mystical-revelatory religion, very different from the "deviant" sect that won the propaganda war to become the eventual "orthodoxy." The latter gained prominence in the 2nd century and achieved total victory by the 4th. According to this theory, the idea of an historical progenitor was not original to the faith even in Paul's day, but evolved over the course of the later 1st century. As Doherty argues, "Jesus Christ" (which means "The Anointed Savior") was originally a heavenly being, whose atoning death took place at the hands of demonic beings in a supernatural realm halfway between heaven and earth, a sublunar sphere where he assumed a fleshly, quasi-human form. This and the rest of the "gospel" was revealed to the first Christians in visions and inspirations and through the discovery of hidden messages in the scriptures. After the confusion of the Jewish War and persistent battles over power in the church, rooted in a confused mass of variant sectarian dogmas, a new cult arose with the belief that Jesus actually came to earth and was crucified by Jews with the complicity of the Roman authorities. To defend itself against sects more closely adhering to the original, mystical faith, the new church engaged in polemics and power politics, and eventually composed or adopted writings (chiefly the canonical Gospels) supporting its views.

    The "scandalous" consequence of Doherty's theory is that Jesus didn't exist. But it cannot be emphasized enough that Doherty's thesis is not "Jesus didn't exist, therefore Christianity started as a mystical-revelatory Jewish sect" but "Christianity started as a mystical-revelatory Jewish sect, therefore Jesus didn't exist." This is significant. Most scholars who argue that Jesus didn't exist (who are called "ahistoricists," because they deny the "historicity" of Jesus, or "mythicists," because they argue Jesus is mythical) have little in the way of reasons beyond a whole complex of arguments from silence. Doherty, in contrast, uses arguments from silence only to support his thesis. He does not base it on such arguments, but rather on positive evidence, especially a slew of very strange facts that his theory accounts for very well but that traditional historicism ignores, or explains poorly. By far most of the criticism or even dismissal of Doherty's work is based on the criticism or dismissal of the Argument from Silence, or his (often supposed) deployment of it. This completely misses the strongest elements of his case: evidence that Christianity did in fact begin as a mystical-revelatory religion.

    (This is Richard Carrier’s overall synopsis of The Jesus Puzzle: Did Christianity Begin with a Mythical Christ? Challenging the Existence of an Historical Jesus, a work by Earl Doherty; Canadian Humanist Publications: Ottawa, Canada; revised edition, 2000)

A simpler summary is that around the turn of the First Century CE, a Hellenized cult formed around Jesus Christ (Greek: Iêsou Christou) who was a spiritual being which brought about the Gnosis (knowledge) of the Logos (The forethought, or first thought) – sometimes referred to as the Monad or “one” (The Secret Book of John) by which was only achieved through Sophia (or wisdom). It is even said that this being was also a rank, achievable just by attaining Gnosis. (Gospel of Thomas)

The confusion of the early centuries of the Common Era (CE) bring on multiple different interpretations of this cult, and from it springs Orthodox Christianity. Over time, and various slander wars, the Orthodox Church wins out and crushes the Gnostic and Mystics movement. They burry or destroy the texts and canonize the books that fit their philosophy. What doesn’t fit originally is made to fit with forgeries and minor altercations of the texts. (Codex Siniaticus, Codex Vaticanus, Codex Alexandrinus, etc…)

This is the Mythicist standpoint. The fact that a spiritual and non-physical Christ became euhemerized into history.

There may be some of you out there who seem to think you have evidence of a historical Jesus’ existence. You feel you have texts, although you’ve probably never read them yourself, that prove Jesus’ existence as a historical person. Of course there’s always a few of you. Let’s look at the evidence quickly (I’ll only include a few in this thread, the rest will be available on this board):

SUETONIUS:

  1. (1) Suetonius wrote in the year 115 CE, so this is FAR from a contemporary account. He doesn't cite or list sources and Christianity would have been decently established by this time.

  2. (2) Surely no one will contend that Christ was inciting riots at Rome 15 years after he was supposedly crucified at Jerusalem. And why would Jews be led by Jesus to begin with? But by citing this you are assuming this is the case.

  3. (3) This passage contains no evidence for the historicity of Jesus, even if we substitute "Christus" for "Chrestus." Christus is merely the Greek-Latin translation of "anointed" and the phrase "at the instigation of Christus" could refer to a group of people just as much as it could have meant one person. This is reminiscent of the name Theophilus mentioned in the beginning of Acts and Luke, (whom the narrator/author of the books are addressing the prose too) which simply means "lover/friend of God." Which can apply to many people instead of one singular person (maybe even a congregation of people).

  4. (4) "Chrestus" was not only a familiar personal name, it was also a name of the Egyptian Serapis or Osiris, who had a large following at Rome, especially among the common people. Hence "Christians" may be either the followers of a man named Chrestus, or of Serapis. Historians know what evil repute the Egyptian people, which consisted mainly of Alexandrian elements, had at Rome. While other foreign cults that had been introduced into Rome enjoyed the utmost toleration, the cult of Serapis and Isis was exposed repeatedly to persecution. The lax morality associated with their worship of the Egyptian gods and the fanaticism of their worshippers repelled the Romans, and excited the suspicion that their cults might be directed against the State.

  5. (5) Vopiscus said, "Those who worship Serapis and the Chrestians,.... They are a turbulent, inflated, lawless body of men." Is it not possible that the reference to Chrestus and the Chrestians has been too hastily applied to Christos and Christians? The "Chrestians," who were detested by the people for their crimes,..., are not Christians at all, but followers of Chrestus, the scum of Egypt, the apaches of Rome, a people on whom Nero could very easily cast the suspicion of having set fire to Rome.

  6. (6) The name in the text is not "Christus" but "Chrestus," which by no means is the usual designation of Jesus. It was a common name, especially among Roman freedman. (Cicero, Epistulae ad Familiares, book 2, letter 8, section 1; "What! Do you suppose that I meant you to send me an account of gladiatorial matches, of postponements of trials, of robberies by Chrestus, and such things as, when I am at Rome, nobody ventures to retail to me?") Hence, the whole passage may have nothing whatever to do with Christianity.

  7. (7) As one source mentioned it, "Thus much we seem to learn from both passages: but the most enlightened men of that age were singularly ill-informed on the stupendous events which had recently occurred in Judea, and we find Suetonius, although he lived at the commencement of the first century of the Christian aera, when the memory of these occurrences was still fresh, and it might be supposed, by that time, widely diffused, transplanting Christ from Jerusalem to Rome, and placing him in the time of Claudius, although the crucifixion took place during the reign of Tiberius." (Suetonius: The Lives of the Twelve Caesars; An English Translation, Alexander Thomson. Philadelphia. Gebbie & Co. 1889.) What is interesting to note here is that if these events had recently just happened (in the Gospels or anything similar) you'd think those who wrote about it would have written about these events and got them down as they remembered them. Apparently this isn't the case.

  8. (8 ) From Suetonius, "He suppressed all foreign religions, and the Egyptian and Jewish rites, obliging those who practiced that kind of superstition, to burn their vestments, and all their sacred utensils. He distributed the Jewish youths, under the pretence of military service, among the provinces noted for an unhealthy climate; and dismissed from the city all the rest of that nation as well as those who were proselytes to that religion, under pain of slavery for life, unless they complied. He also expelled the astrologers; but upon their suing for pardon, and promising to renounce their profession, he revoked his decree." (Lives of the Caesars; Tiberius, 36) What is important to note here is that Tiberius (not just Claudius) also revoked the Jews religious rites and expelled them from Rome. (This is also mentioned in Acts) As this is the case, and upon reading Cicero, it could have easily been in Seutonius' interest to apply the name "Chrestus" to the instigator of the Jewish expulsion. (Read also Josephus, Ant.18:5.)

TACITUS:

  1. (1) It is extremely improbable that a special report found by Tacitus had been sent earlier to Rome and incorporated into the records of the Senate, in regard to the death of a Jewish provincial, Jesus. The execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events conceivable among the movements of Roman history in those decades; it would have completely disappeared beneath the innumerable executions inflicted by Roman provincial authorities. For it to have been kept in any report would have been a most remarkable instance of chance.

  2. (2) The phrase "multitudo ingens" which means "a great number" is opposed to all that we know of the spread of the new faith in Rome at the time. A vast multitude in 64 A.D.? There were not more than a few thousand Christians 200 years later. The idea of so many just 30 years after his supposed death is just a falsehood.

  3. (3) The use of the Christians as "living torches," as Tacitus describes, and all the other atrocities that were committed against them, have little title to credence, and suggest an imagination exalted by reading stories of the later Christian martyrs. Death by fire was not a punishment inflicted at Rome in the time of Nero. It is opposed to the moderate principles on which the accused were then dealt with by the State.

  4. (4) The Roman authorities can have had no reason to inflict special punishment on the new faith. How could the non-initiated Romans know what were the concerns of a comparatively small religious sect, which was connected with Judaism and must have seemed to the impartial observer wholly identical with it.

  5. (5) Suetonius says that Nero showed the utmost indifference, even contempt in regard to religious sects. Even afterwards the Christians were not persecuted for their faith, but for political reasons, for their contempt of the Roman state and emperor, and as disturbers of the unity and peace of the empire. What reason can Nero have had to proceed against the Christians, hardly distinguishable from the Jews, as a new and criminal sect?

  6. (6) It is inconceivable that the followers of Jesus formed a community in the city at that time of sufficient importance to attract public attention and the ill-feeling of the people. It isn't the most popular way to convert and bring people into their religion.

  7. (7) The victims could not have been given to the flames in the gardens of Nero, as Tacitus allegedly said. According to another account by Tacitus these gardens were the refuge of those whose homes had been burned and were full of tents and wooden sheds. Why would he risk burning these by lighting human fires amidst all these shelters?

  8. (8 ) According to Tacitus, Nero was in Antium, not Rome, when the fire occurred.

  9. (9) Three years of the Histories of the Roman Empire and its Provinces are missing from Tacitus. Alarmingly, they are the years 30 – 33 CE, the same three years scholars date Jesus’ ministry, crucifixion and resurrection. There is some scholarly speculation that these years vanished during the early days of Orthodox Christianity, when scribes embarrassingly realized that there was no mention of their savior present in any of them.

  10. (10) And lastly, Suetonius doesn't mention this event in his histories.

For more thorough reviews of the evidence, visit THIS LINK and check out my "Examination of the Evidence for a Historical Jesus." You can also check out the Rational Response Squad’s $666 Prize for contemporary evidence of Jesus. Here are the Rules and the Thread where you can list your evidence, and here is the Peanut Gallery to discuss it.

You can also purchase and download a few of the Rational Response Squad shows which deal specifically with the Mythicist position! Or you can visit this link and pruchase them individually!

Here is a free clip and some show information!

Show 22 with Steve Gregg: Christian Intervention: Steve Gregg a Christian Radio Talk show host was referred to us by a Christian who claims Steve is one of the best most rational defenders of his faith out there. Rook and Steve square up for one of our more animated discussions on the Rational Response Squad so far.

Show 22 with Rook Hawkins discussion on the Origins of Christianity: Rook Hawkins Lecture. Rook Hawkins Squad member and Biblical expert presents a short discussion, explaining parts of his dissertation. Rook is on the verge on some important findings that will help prove that Yeshua the Christ didn't exist. Rook has stumbled upon something big in his research

Show 25 with Richard Carrier and Rook Hawkins: Richard Carrier join us again to discuss his dissertation that he is currently writing to receive a Doctorate from Columbia University. As you may well know, Richard has a bachelors and two Masters degrees already! Rook will also further discuss the dissertation we heard in show 22, that he's currently working on.

If you are ALSO a Jesus Mythicist, feel free to ADD THESE BANNERS to your Myspace and Website, show your pride for your Mythicism!

Brought to you by your Friendly Neighborhood Rational Responder, Rook Hawkins.


LifeofApollos
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Jesus real or imagined?

Would you agree that the vast majority of historians believe Jesus Christ existed and was the founder of the religion Christianity?


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Vast majority?  I believe

Vast majority?  I believe that is a gross overstatement. I would say the currently historian community is split - mainly because of misinformation and bias.  50% would say that Christ did definitely live,the other 50% is split in the manner that 25% feel that Christ may have lived, it's hard to say (and in history it's okay to assume the existence of somebody until evidence presents itself that is contradictory), and the other 25% (which I am a part of) feel that the evidence is contradictory for a historical person to have lived, and in fact, found a way in which Christianity could have started without having a historical Christ - and more potent is the evidence for that theory then the theory in which is suggested he lived.

 The problem is, most historians have not come across or have religious bias to this theory and still feel the origional contention (i.e. that Christ existed) is still more probable.  I would state that this fiasco is similar to the idea of Caesar crossing the rubicon.

Most historians are uncertain whether Caesar did cross the rubicon, as Caesar never mentions it directly - but the few scholars who directly researched the claims made by those who say he didn't - find their claims unworthy and instead have found through studying extra-Caesar material, that Caesar in fact would have HAD to cross the Rubicon.  (For example, there was no other bridge to cross an army over other then the Rubicon, the fact that one day he was on one side of the Rubicon and a fgew days later he was on the other -merely 10 miles away from the Rubicon crossing). 

 This is laid out very elequently in Carrier's publication Here:  http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html

PS. Still going to help me out with my resources? Eye-wink

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Do you believe that

Do you believe that Alexander the Great lived? If so why?

Also, What do you make of the fact that the famous Atheist H.G. Wells believed Jesus actually lived?

peace,

Jack

PS:Regarding resources...it's been bought and on its way through Amazon.


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You said, "They burry or

You said, "They burry or destroy the texts..."

Do you have evidence to support this that I can look into?

thanks


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LifeofApollos wrote: Do

LifeofApollos wrote:

Do you believe that Alexander the Great lived? If so why?

 There is a lot of evidence however that supports Alexander the Great.  Contemporaries, and the like, wrote about him, and the Empire he built is undeniable - in fact the Hellenistic age is really just the collapse of Alexander's united Empire and a spawning of multiple Empires in specific jurisdictions over the Mediterrainian upon Alexander's death.   

Not to mention the archaeological evidence.  It's also important to understand things from a Historians perspective.  I stated earlier, and I'll state again, that it is OKAT for a historian to accept the existence of somebody in antiquity with little or no evidence for their existence - it's when we see problems with existening evidence (Like the Gospels and early writers) or when the stories are so incredibly ridiculous that OTHER people in antiquity doubt their nature (like Euhemer) when we start to question.  Carrier, in comparing Arrian with the Gospel Evangelists states the following:

"For a good extreme comparison unrelated to the Rubicon question, compare the explicit methods of Arrian with Luke-Acts: Arrian records the history of Alexander the Great five hundred years after the fact. But he does so by explicitly stating a sound method. Arrian says he ignored all works not written by eyewitnesses, and instead only followed surviving ancient texts by actual eyewitnesses to Alexander's campaign. He names them and discusses their connections to Alexander. He then says that on every point on which they agree, he will simply record what they say, but where they significantly disagree, he will cite both accounts and identify the sources who disagree (and he appears to have followed this method as promised, though not always faithfully).

Now, this is not the best method--modern methods have improved considerably upon Arrian--but this is among the best methods ever employed in antiquity. And it is considerably different than just writing stories five hundred years later. Quite clearly, if Arrian did what he says, he is almost as good as an eyewitness source (in fact, arguably better). But notice how Luke does none of this (nor do any of the other Gospel authors). We have no idea whom Luke used for what information (he doesn't even tell us he used Mark, even though we can prove he did). We also have no idea how he chose whom to trust or whom to include or exclude.[17] Luke is therefore not even in Arrian's league as a critical historian. He fares even worse when compared with Polybius or Thucydides. Nor does he reach the level of lesser historians like Tacitus or Josephus, either--who, though they do not give such clear discussions of their methods, nevertheless often name their sources and explicitly show critical acumen in choosing between conflicting or confusing accounts.

The significance of all this is simple: we know for a fact these historians carried out at least some decent research and critically examined evidence and admitted doubt or conflicting information. We don't trust any ancient historian as much as we'd trust a good modern historian--all ancient historians get things wrong on a variety of points for a variety of reasons (and therefore, by extension, we can be certain Luke did, too). But we do trust ancient historians to the extent that they exhibit the qualities of a trustworthy historian, such as being a critical thinker with an explicit interest in checking claims against documents and eyewitness accounts."

So as I was stating, just having testimony of any kind is generally enough for a Historian to accept certain things about a characters historicity - however when we see problems within the Historical documents, questions start to arise and a Historian gets less and less comfortable with a work being accurate to any degree of the term.

As Ehrman put it, "For critical historians, the sources in the Bible have to be treated like every other source from the past – they need to be examined critically to see if they are reliable or not.  Among other things, this involves seeing how they stack up against other sources from the time – to see, for example, if they are contradicted by these other sources, then the historian needs to have reasons.  It isn’t good enough to say that if something is stated in the Bible it is necessarily accurate.  What if in the retelling of the story the biblical writer changed a historical event for reasons of his own?  But on the other hand – and this is a point I need to stress – if there is a source that is outside the Bible that tells a different story (for example, the Gospel of Mary), that source is not necessarily right either.  All sources need to be evaluated to see which ones are more reliable and which ones less so.” (Ehrman, Truth and Fiction in the DaVinci Code, Pp. xxiii)

What has to be done is that articles are weighed against other existing articles (and if none exist - the article is weighed against itself for inner consistancy).  So do I think Alexander lived?  Yes.  It's apparent to me that I have no reason to doubt the existence of Alexander the Great.  DO I think jesus lived?  No.  Because I have sufficient reason to doubt his existence.

I hope that helps.

Quote:
Also, What do you make of the fact that the famous Atheist H.G. Wells believed Jesus actually lived?

Atheism doesn't give a pre-requisite for Jesus Mythicism.  Most people, including atheists, are misinformed about the evidence, and feel he did exist - I get cases all the time from atheists claiming that Jesus probably was a man or a prophet.  But again, no grounds can be iscussed and no evidence can be presented for this.

H. G. Wells is an excellent author but he was just as misinformed about Jesus as everyone else.  ANd don't forget, we have just really started to get more and more of the Nag Hammadi works published and translated - a feat not yet accomplished in Wells day.

Quote:
You said, "They burry or destroy the texts..."

Do you have evidence to support this that I can look into?

Well jack, this is pretty widely accepted.  In fact the Nag Hammadi codices are evidence of this.  Many scholars (including Ehrman who believes in a historical personality of Christ) feel that the documents were hidden by monks at a church a few kilometers away as the codices were in great condition and date (the binds anyway) to the mid second century - which is evidence to the stress put on the sects of Christianity - mainly Orthodox Christianity - by Heresiologists in the second and third centuries before and after the Council of Nicea (and perhaps some years into the fourth - only to disappear anc come about again in the 9th and tenth centuries to combat a growing Gnostic movement called Catharism).

Quote:
PS:Regarding resources...it's been bought and on its way through Amazon.

I am most grateful.  Just like everyone, you're getting a free copy of my book when it's published. =)

 

(Sources below)

[17] (This is all from Carrier's debate with Holding on the Rubicon Analogy HERE) Holding continues to make excuses for why Luke didn't do any of this, but excuses don't change the fact that he still didn't do them. So, unlike Arrian, we are not in a position to assess the quality or reliability of Luke's sources or methods.

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LifeofApollos
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Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

 There is a lot of evidence however that supports Alexander the Great.  Contemporaries, and the like, wrote about him, and the Empire he built is undeniable - in fact the Hellenistic age is really just the collapse of Alexander's united Empire and a spawning of multiple Empires in specific jurisdictions over the Mediterrainian upon Alexander's death.

What are the earliest writings that we have attesting to the life of Alexander? 

Aren't the early followers of Jesus Christ evidence that Jesus existed?  

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
 I stated earlier, and I'll state again, that it is OKAT for a historian to accept the existence of somebody in antiquity with little or no evidence for their existence -

So we can believe in someone who has little material written about them and the manuscripts we do have are centuries after their life but if there are sources that date only decades after the life of someone that happen to have some conflicts regarding the persons actions, not his existence, then we call into question if he lived?

 I'll post a reply to the rest of your material later.

peace.


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This addresses the second

This addresses the second part of your response.

Carrier says,"If Arrian did what he says, he is almost as good as an eyewitness..."

In Luke 1:2 we are told, "...just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us..." Luke is clear that he was given direct information from the 'eyewitnesses and ministers' themselves and as such why should we not consider this writing evidence that Jesus existed?
We have four accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, all of which agree that Jesus lived, why is this not sufficient evidence that Jesus was real?
Despite slight variations of the Gospel accounts we see that they are all included in the Canon. If indeed the church wanted to destroy writings and documents they most certainly could have destroyed all Gospel accounts except one...but of course we don't see such a thing at all. Instead we see that the early church specifically included all four accounts, with full knowledge of the variations, so as to avoid false teachings that may have arisen as a result of relying solely on one account.
These writings (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), unlike those of Arran which were 500 years after the life of Alexander the Great, were in circulation by the late 1st century which is only several decades after the life of Jesus.
Simply because the writers, that give an account of the life of Jesus, did not go to the lengths that Arrian did in presenting the history of Alexander the Great, does not make them any less accurate in their assertion that Jesus most certainly lived.

You make an argument from silence implying because we don't know if indeed Matthew, Mark, and John were the actual disciples themselves and because they don't reference other material, that somehow we should completely discount the fact that they all agree that Jesus most certainly existed. Can you explain?

What writings do we have that date from the 1-3rd centuries that argue Jesus never lived?

peace 


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Thanks for posting this

Thanks for posting this Rook.  I was pretty unclear on all of what the Jesus Mythicist's believed.  You're really starting to get me more interested in this stuff.  I"ll be reading more.  Oh, and definately interested in your book

The Enlightenment wounded the beast, but the killing blow has yet to land...


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Quote:What are the

Quote:
What are the earliest writings that we have attesting to the life of Alexander?

I don't think you are understanding the point in all this Life. Are you reading?

Arrian included the names of his sources such as the memoirs by Ptolemy, one of Alexander's generals, and the writings of Aristobulos, a man who went with Alexander and worked closely with him. Arrian also used the works of Nearchus, who was Alexander's life-long friend. Due to the increasing Anti-Alexander stories being tossed around by members of Alexander's broken Empire, mainly by Cassander in Macedonia (who had usurped the throne and had had Alexander's mother, wife, and son murdered), both Ptolemy and Aristobulos wrote independantly of each other and tried to clear Alexander's name and reputation. It is unfortunately that these sources have been lost to us. But the fact that he can name his sources, and in fact compare them as he does, leaves no doubt to any historian that these works once existed.

And to be fair, the existing works of Alexander's life (four of them) list dubious sources and are in fact written about 350 years after his death. Most scholars are aware of the dubious nature of these but do consider much of the information accurate.

We also know of the character of Arrian not only from his works but from contemporaries, in that he was unoriginal and relied too much on other extant writings which made his work drab and boring, and often times tedious to read. Historians accept this as more evidence to suggest that he was indeed being honest with his sources, and the manner in which he wrote is evidence for an accurate telling.[1]

Quote:
Aren't the early followers of Jesus Christ evidence that Jesus existed?

No, please consider what I have written above in the first post to explain why followers do not prove a followee.

Quote:

Quote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:
I stated earlier, and I'll state again, that it is OKAT for a historian to accept the existence of somebody in antiquity with little or no evidence for their existence -

So we can believe in someone who has little material written about them and the manuscripts we do have are centuries after their life but if there are sources that date only decades after the life of someone that happen to have some conflicts regarding the persons actions, not his existence, then we call into question if he lived?

You don't understand this do you?

Okay, It was okay to assume the quality of Jesus' historicity if:

    • A.) The Gospel Writers name their sources
    • B.) Were contemporaries of Christ
    • C.) Didn't have any of the miracles in them
    • D.) If we has contemporary accounts of Jesus at all (we don't)
    • E.) If the existing 'historical' evidence (i.e. Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius, et al) wasn't dubious and for the most part interpolations by later Christians.
    • F.) If HUNDREDS of other documents hadn't been written about him during the second and third centuries all giving conflicting accounts, all suggesting Jesus was something the other didn't suggest, and all attributing quotes to Jesus that contradict each other.
    • G.) If it didn't take so long for the four evangelists Gospels to be named - and collected.
    • H.) If the Evangelists has stated their real names, instead of waiting for Iraeneus to come along and name then.
    • I.) If an Ecumenical Countil didn't have to vote on which ones they thought told the true story of Christ - while ignoring some works which existed much earler then the Evangelist Gospels.
    • J.) If Paul were more alert as per the historicity of Christ (right now Paul seems to have no knowledge of a historical Jesus, rather he seems to not ever once mention ANYTHING that happened during the lifetime of Jesus - not the miracles, or Jesus coming into Jerusalem, not the wedding at Canan, not the resurrection of Lazarus, not the healing of leppers or the casting out of demons, not of Judas or the Sanhedrin, not of Pilate or Herod, NOTHING - save the crucifixion and resurrection, and he never places these events anywhere on earth - not at Galgotha, not at Jerusalem, not by the Romans or Jews). And Paul is the earliest person to write about Jesus - and he is the ONLY gap-filler which spans about 60 years! Paul only wrote about ten years.[2]
    • K.) If the Apostolic Fathers had relied on documents instead of Oral Tradition (which is what they claimed to have believed)[3]
    • L.) If the teachings and veiws of Christians weren't so obscure in the second century.

All of these problems cast doubt upon a historical Christ. We don't have any of these problems with Alexander. Unlike Alexander, the antagonists are named, and we know what happened during his entire life - all of the stories accounted for in Arrian can be RECONSTRUCTED with archaeological finds and data. Cities were NAMED for Alexander all over his Empire, most of them were Greek Polis' which limited rights of the civilians. Alexander's general, mentioned above (Ptolemis) stationed his fleet in Alexandria (which before Alexander conquered the area was an Egyptian settlement known as "Rhakotis&quotEye-wink, and we do not doubt any of this. There are Greek coins, as well, dating to the lifetime of Alexander which picture him on them - a full bust and yet we have NONE of this for the existence of Jesus.[4]

LifeofApollos wrote:
This addresses the second part of your response.

Carrier says,"If Arrian did what he says, he is almost as good as an eyewitness..."

In Luke 1:2 we are told, "...just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us..." Luke is clear that he was given direct information from the 'eyewitnesses and ministers' themselves and as such why should we not consider this writing evidence that Jesus existed?

1.) Luke doesn't state he got his information FROM eyewitnesses, just that there WERE Eyewitnesses.

2.) Luke doesn't cite his sources or name the eyewitnesses, which makes his claim here dubious. He could have been talking about Paul, for all we know, and Paul wasn't an eyewitess to the Life of Christ.

This makes Luke dubious. Not to mention the obviously false information in his works which cast doubt on his "history", for example, the following are historical problems in the work of Luke: [5]

  • Luke 23:33
    • If Jesus has been tried, convicted and Executed by the Jews, he would have been stoned to death, not crucified. The Jews did not use Crucifixion, nor was Blasphemy (as it claims in Luke to be the reason for his trial) condemnable by death.
  • Luke 3:36-38
    • Luke lists Jesus' anscestors, the first ten of which are known via archaeology to have been Babylonian Kings.
  • Luke 23:12
    • Herod and Pilate never became friends. According to Josephus they hated each other to the day of Pilates recall. Herod was continually plotting to unite Judea and Galilee which was part of Herod's fathers Kingdom, and which his father promised him.
  • Luke 2:7
    • At this time, "inns" were unknown to the Jews.
  • Luke 2:46
    • Not until Gamaliel was a Child allowed to sit in the presence of Rabbis.
  • Luke 2:1-2
    • No contemporary of this period states anything about a census being taken of the whole Roman World.
    • According to the KJV, "all the world should be taxed; Augustus never issued a general decree, nor did he attempt a uniform assessment. Taxes were done privince by province.
    • Cyrenius (quirinius) did make a census in Palestine, but it took place TEN YEARS after the death of Herod, instead of during his reign like Luke claims.
    • If Jesus was born during the reign of Herod, as Matthew 2:1 says, Joseph, whether a resident of Judea or of Galilee, could not have been taxed by Augustus since neither province was then a part of Syria. Both provinces belonged to Herod's Kingdom and Herod's subjects were not taxed by the Romans.
    • Cyrenius did not become governor until nearly ten years after the death of Herod and Jesus would have been born in the time of Herod.
  • Luke 3:1-2
    • How could John have gotten the word of God during the reign of Lysanias in Abilene when Lysanias had been dead for thirty-four years when Jesus, a supposed contemporary of John, was born? Lysanias was put to death at the instigation of Cleopatra sixty years before Jesus' ministry began (Josephus, Antiquities B. 15:4:1)?
    • At the time mentioned by Luke, the territory of Abila or Abilene was no longer a tetrarchy.
    • Two men never held the office of High Priest jointly. Josephus says Gratus, who ruled before Pilate (15-26 CE) deprived Annas of the High Priesthood and appointed Ishmael who was followed by Caiaphas (Antiquities B. 18:2:2). There never was more then one High Priest at a time. It would have been the same as having two Legitamate Popes.

My favorite part is when Luke goes and heals a man's ear back on after Peter cuts it off. Something that most certainly didn't really happen, but in which the Author felt was necessary to add in.

These are but a few of what I could list given more time. The internal inconsistancy is even worse then the historical inconsistancy. And this is true for ALL the Gospels. And when you comapre them all with each other, the results are more then enough to invalidate the Gospels as historical narratives.

Further, Luke wrote after the fall of Jerusalem, and probably based a lot of his work on Josephus (although he of course altered a few things, which makes him more dubious). For example, the similarities between Luke and Josphus as astounding. Carrier did the work for me.

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We have four accounts, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, all of which agree that Jesus lived, why is this not sufficient evidence that Jesus was real?

No, because the same problems that applied to Luke above apply to the other three Evangelists. On top of that, they are all conflicting, and for the most part, Matthew and Luke (the other Synoptics) copied from Mark. We know this also through internal criticism. This is what Historians do - we analyze the data present to determine if the material is dubious or suspect, and if it is we determine how and how badly it is. The Gospels fail at every turn to be historical narratives. They simply AREN'T historical narratives. [6]

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Despite slight variations of the Gospel accounts we see that they are all included in the Canon.

That was decided upon by an Ecumenical Council in 325 CE.

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If indeed the church wanted to destroy writings and documents they most certainly could have destroyed all Gospel accounts except one...but of course we don't see such a thing at all.

The church couldn't do that - as you seem to think what was decided was decided upon by one man. It didn't work that way. The Ecumenical Council was called because tehre existed at the time of Constantine Hundreds (if not thousands) of sects of Christianity. Although half were considered Heretical and Gnostic, the other half was undecided on the nature of Jesus' Divinity or as "adoptionists" believed - that Jesus was a man, adopted by God as his son at his Baptism - but that he was just a man - but who God rewarded by raising him from the dead and who has seated him at his right hand to judge the end times.

The Christian community was so torn over the idea of how one should look at the divinity of Christ, and at how he should be veiwed all together, that these hundreds of sects fought at times and shed blood over who was right and who was wrong. [7] So Constantine, at the dispute between Arius and Orthodoxy, called the Council of Nicea to determine once and for all the doctrine the church - united - would follow.

According to Eusebius [8], there were 200-250 Bishops which attended the Council, and vote after vote was taken as per which documents would be included into the New Testament, as up until this time, the New testament did not exist and every sect was using certain books to understand Christ's divinity and his teachings. Out of the hundreds of manuscripts which we KNOW existed - this is not disputable - up until the 1940's- 1950's (1947 mainly), the only Gospels which existed were the four within the NT.

When the Nag Hammadi codexes were discovered in 1947, they were the most significant find known to Archaeology. [9] The Nag Hammadi works contained several Gospels and many more smaller works like Apocolypses and Works, and Acts and even a very mutilated work of Plato's Republic written in Coptic. Most of the works dated to before the middle of the Second Century [10] and put a completely NEW light on Jesus.

And the sad thing is, there are still dozens more works which we know about which are still missing and probably will never be found. For the most part, the finding of the Nag Hammadi codices was serendipitous.

All the church would really have to do to destroy a work is simply not copy it again, and the work would disappear. It was really that easy [11] as this was how writings were preserved (the printing press wasn't around at this time, and wouldn't be for centuries to come). The Gospels in the NT were those which had been selected by Orthodox Christian church fathers like Iraenius and Origin and Justin Martyr. They were the most popular at this time because most Christians at this point who were part of the Orthodoxy BELIEVED in Christ as a historical person.

However that was not always the case. [12]

Quote:
These writings (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), unlike those of Arran which were 500 years after the life of Alexander the Great, were in circulation by the late 1st century which is only several decades after the life of Jesus.

Don't make claims that are inaccurate and over-state your position. Only three Gospels were written by the end of the first century - Mark, Matthew and Luke. The later two were written at the very end of the Century, as expressed earlier, Luke especially, wrote after 93 CE as this is when Josephus finished Antiquities of the Jews. Mark was written after or around the time of the fall of Jerusalem, and Matthew written between 75 CE and 80 CE, using Mark and another source like Gos. Thomas. Joyhn wrote long after the turn of the era, probably closer to the second decade of the Second Century (120 CE) and his work is VERY Gnostic. In fact there was some dispute at Nicea concerning the addition of this Gospel.[13]

These documents weren't circulated quickly, and were probably copied by hundreds of Christians by the time of Nicea. In fact Gostics also claimed some of the Gospels as their own, for example Marcion claimed Luke, and even wrote a version of Luke that was widely circulated in the Second Century among his followers and even Orthodox Christians[14], it's completely incredible that anybody can think the Gospels we have are close representations of what was written by the original Evangelists, and we don't HAVE copies of the Evangelists. In fact, nobody has ever seen or read the Autographa - even Gleason Archer admits this.[15]

What we have today has been tampered with even MORE after Nicea, in fact the Codex Vaticanus and Codex Siniaticus have tons of flaws between them, and they are only a century appart in age - and then there is Alexandrinus which is even worse. Who verses are cut out and sometimes half a chapter is imput into the Gospels, for example the ending of Mark, 1 John where the Trinity is discussed, parts of the Septuagint have been tampered with like that of Isaiah where it speaks of "virgin" births.[16]

These are more reasons why Historians can't just accept the Gospels as historical accounts. There have been too much tampering over the hundreds of years of their existence, and they came about too late. Note how Early First Century church fathers like Papias and Clement and Paul never quote anything from the Gospels and never cite anything from the words of Christ discussed in the Gospels? This continues even into the Second Century, which speaks volumes of what exactly the Early Church Fathers believed - because they didn't even seem to KNOW of the Canonical Gospels existence.[17]

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Simply because the writers, that give an account of the life of Jesus, did not go to the lengths that Arrian did in presenting the history of Alexander the Great, does not make them any less accurate in their assertion that Jesus most certainly lived.

You are correct, and if it were just that alone, I'd probably still be a Christian - much less doubt the existence of Christ. But it isn't JUST that alone. It's hundreds of other things that pile up. I've stated my case and backed up my statements with authoritative manuscripts and works. I hope you understand that I am studied in this and I have done my homework. I'm not just going on a whim here and stating, "Christ didn't exist!", no, I'm doing my research and doing my homework, and have determined that it is near impossible for a Christ to have existed historically.

Quote:
What writings do we have that date from the 1-3rd centuries that argue Jesus never lived?

Now you're being too picky. But to be more upfront with you, every early Gnostic work deemed Heretical by the church (Keep in mind, to the Gnostic, the Orthodoxy was Heretical to them - and there was no official position of any one unified church at this time - so neither can claim authority over the other - it's just that Orthodoxy won out after cases of slander wars and Inquisitions against the Gnostics that they have authority today) all show Christ in the light of Spiritual Revealer - more of less, he wasn't human, but more of a spiritual being which was the son of God, by which we attain spiritual enlightenment (or Gnosis) in which we can achieve salvation and after death go back to the substance of the spiritual God Logos, or manod.

Many people, during the first and second century believed this - including Paul which I shall prove in my Thesis, and what has been proven already by Carrier and Price. And in the second and Third Centuries the Christians were under fire by lots of the world most Elite thinkers - Pliny called Christianity a "monsterous superstition", Lucian mocked Christians for following an invisible savior which never existed, Trypho told Justin Martyr that the Christians had "invented a Christ" for themselves, Celsus criticized the church so badly that his works were destroyed and the only peices we have left are from Origin's Contra Celsum (or Against Celsus), in which he adamently denied the Virgin birth and existence of Christ - in fact compared Christ to Greek Gods such as Danea and Zethus, Minos, Amphion, and Agenia. Prophryr's "Against the Christians" is quite hallowing to your case as well.

CONCLUSION

I admire your zeal, and I thank you for your questions, but the case has been laid out before you and it is undeniable. If we were to look at how weel Historians documented History in the Ancient World, we would see SO MUCH MORE if in fact the Gospels were histories. They aren't. They're stories - narratives. For example, Tacitus was goodly enough to include in his works that Vesuvius 'eruption in which Pliny the Younger was an eyewitness to - and in which he had lost his uncle. In so many ways does Tacitus' report of Vesuvius mix with correct Archaeological data, and Pliny's own report to Tacitus, we cannot deny that what Tacitus has stated is what has happened. We have both Pliny and Tacitus' works on Vesuvius, and both make a perfect harmony with History.

With the Gospels we don't have this. We have internal contradictions, historical fallacies, chronological problems (lots of those especially between the Gospels when put side by side), there are unnamed sources, and in fact the authors themselves are not named - save by people generations after they were written, and what was originally written has gone the way of the Dinosaur, and has since been changed, altered, and forged to fit the whims of the church which won out at Nicea. Votes were taken and books were slected giving us the Bible we have today. And the Age of Agressive Forgeries proceeded Nicea to make sure what we have today isn't what they had in the Second Century. Every OUNCE of data in the Gospels is suspect and dubius, making it about as much a historical account as Moby Dick.

This is what the true nature of the Bible and Gospels are. This is what the true nature of Jesus is - mythology at it's finest. I hope you understand now. I hope I've been clearer this time, and I hope you really read what I've written. Because I respect you, you ask questions. You don't assert.

(Sources)

[1] Michael Grant, Greek and Roman Historians: Information and Misinformation, Pp. 104

[2] Paul's dissorientation towards the events of Christ's life are not new to the world. MANY people in antiquity knew of this as well, which is why both the Gnostics and Anti-Gnostics claimed Paul as their own. (Although the Gnostics definitely has more of a right.) Most thorough scholars today like Carrier, Price, and Kirby admit to this, in fact Carrier writes a very interesting pros on Paul and how he veiwed the Resurrection as spiritual in his "Spiritual Body of Christ" chapter in The Empty Tomb. Also see H.G. Wells "The Rise of Christianity" in The Outline of History, Pp. 453-455. Concerning Paul's authorship and lifespan consult the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church and Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible.

[3] The Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoot; The Apostolic Fathers I & II, Loeb Classical Library.

[4] Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Avraham Negev; Archeological Commentary on the Bible, Gonzalo Baez-Camargo.

[5] Biblical Errancy: A Reference Guide, C. Dennis McKinsey

[6] What is a Gospel?, Talbert

[7] Truth and Fiction in The DaVinci Code, Bart Ehrman

[8] Ecclessiastical Histories I & II, Eusebius, Loeb Classical Library

[9] The Nag Hammadi Library, Robinson; The Gnostic Bible, Barnstone and Meyer; The Gnostic Gospels, Elaine Pagals.

[10] Truth and Fiction in The DaVinci Code, Bart Ehrman

[11] Truth and Fiction in The DaVinci Code and The New testament, Bart Ehrman; The Canon of the New Testament: Its Origin, Development, and Significance, Metzger

[12] The Nag Hammadi Library, Robinson; The Empty Tomb, Price; Kyrios Christos, Wilhelm Bousset; Pre-Christian Gnosticism, Yamauchi

[13] The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church; Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible; What is a Gospel, Talbert; Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land, Negev

[14] Against Marcion, Tertullian; The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church

[15] "...we must deal with the very real problem of the complete disappearance of the autographa (the original writings-ed) themselves... it is technically true that there are no extant inerrant originals." (p. 27). "it may be true that we no longer possess any perfect copy of the inerrant original manuscripts of the Bible." (p. 28). (Gleason Archer, The Encyclopedia of Biblical Difficulties)

[16] The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament, Bart Ehrman

[17] Apostolic Fathers, Lightfoor; The Apostolic Fathers I & II, Loeb Classical Library; Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Chruch

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LifeofApollos
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How do you reconcile using

How do you reconcile using Michael Grant's material to support your belief Jesus was a myth when Michael Grant said in his book Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels.

“But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned”

Even Bart Ehrman, whom you also cite, believed Jesus was a 'first-century Jewish apocalypticist.' Meaning he believed Jesus lived.


Maybe like the famous atheist H.G. Wells, Michael Grant and Bart Ehrman don't know their stuff.

peace


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Rook,Couldn't Jesus have

Rook,

Couldn't Jesus have been an historical figure and still be a myth?

myth 

n. 1. a. A traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society: the myth of Eros and Psyche; a creation myth.b. Such stories considered as a group: the realm of myth.2. A popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal: a star whose fame turned her into a myth; the pioneer myth of suburbia.3. A fiction or half-truth, especially one that forms part of an ideology.4. A fictitious story, person, or thing: "German artillery superiority on the Western Front was a myth" Leon Wolff.

 

 

It seems to me that whether or not Jesus was actually a real historical person is irrelevant to whether or not he was a myth.

We know that the first writings of the New Testament were writings attributed to Paul, around 49-50 CE. We also know from the letters that Paul was persecuting Jews who were "Christians". It seems to me likely that, being within 2 decades of the life of the so-called Jesus, that there must have been someone these Jews thought was the Christ. Maybe they even knew his name. But I agree that everything that has been passed down regarding this person is myth. The issue has been clouded to the point it is impossible to know anything about the person and if he actually existed or not.


Rook_Hawkins
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LifeofApollos wrote: How

LifeofApollos wrote:
How do you reconcile using Michael Grant's material to support your belief Jesus was a myth when Michael Grant said in his book Jesus: An Historian’s Review of the Gospels. 

“But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned”

First sir, if you'd have read my long pros, you would have noted I did not use Grant to prove my conclusion that Jesus was a myth, but rather I used Grant to show how one conducts a historical investigation, mainly into earlier historians.  The consequence of this process, indirectly, is how I arrived at my conclusion. 

Second, Grant is absolutely correct in his analysis, in fact I agree with him.  No modern historian (myself included) can take ANY historical account as factual to the degree that we can look at, say for example, anything from the seventeenth century onward.  There are a great deal of Pagan personages in which we accept as historical for reasons that include things that are not present in Jesus' case - for example the miracle attribute. 

 It is easy to accept the idea that Strato of Lampsacus lived, as nobody who writes of him claimed that he healed the sick or rose from the dead.  He was also considered one of the greatest scientists in antiquities, he wrote dozens of works as quoted by other authorities but he was an atheist, and not one of his writings survived.  All that we have today is a handful of quotes that have made it through from other writers.  But he is regarded as historical because we have no reason to doubt his authenticity - his claims are normal and not supernatural.  Would you consider Hercules a real person?  What about Sisyphus?  Or what about Oedipus?  Probably not.  And most historians hold the same veiwpoint - that these characters are probably dubious creations or evolutions of earlier mythical creations.  Jesus is no exception to this rule. 

Third, it is the degree in which I was discussing above in which the Gospel accounts are rendered dubious and suspicious. 

Quote:
Even Bart Ehrman, whom you also cite, believed Jesus was a 'first-century Jewish apocalypticist.' Meaning he believed Jesus lived.

Again, I was not citing Ehrman as evidence for the non-existence of Jesus, rather I cited him as evidence in the destruction or burial of manuscripts.  Please read what I write so I don't have to go to the absurd level of correcting you.  You've wasted a good deal of my time retyping what I had already stated in detail above.  It would have only taken you two minutes to read but instead it has taken me twenty minutes to type up a response.

 

Quote:
Maybe like the famous atheist H.G. Wells, Michael Grant and Bart Ehrman don't know their stuff. 

Now where do you get a strawman like that?  The problem is not so much that they do not know their stuff, but as stated in my previous post, which you really need to read (or reread) is that H.G. Wells wrote before the 1950's, in fact he died one year prior to the Nag Hammadi codices being uncovered!  He, like that of Bultmann and Rousset did not have the knowledge we possess today on the Gnostics.  So for him, it was more probable that Jesus existed then it was that he didn't. 

Today we have jumped leaps and bounds beyond what Wells knew, not only about the church but about historical criticism.As for Ehrman and Grant, I am not faulting them for believing in Jesus' historicity.  I am not going to overstate my position like you have - I know there are many scholars out there who have accepted the idea of Jesus' historicity.  However I believe this is because of two factors:

1.) Bias (the most obvious) - the world is made up of 75% of Christians - they are the majority.  And in the United States it is the same amount - roughly 75%.  It stands to reason that most scholars are going to have Christian backgrounds and have a desire for Christ to be real.  That doesn't mean he was.

2.) Misinformation.  This is difficult, as there is a lot of misinformation about Mythicism.  Most scholars think of Mythicists like that of Atwill who wrote the book Caesar's Messiah, which is a disgrace in my opinion to every Mythicist out there. There are Mythicists who are not honest enough to fact check and they - like you do at times and a lot of people - overstate their position to an absurd degree.  It is because of this that Mythicism has not rooted itself firmly in the scholarly position.

Also, consider this; if your main focus is not on the historicity of a specific character, details are easily missed or not even considered.  Ehrman has spent a lot of time on textual analysis, but not so much concerned is he about the historicity of Jesus.  To him it’s not important, and I would venture to say the same thing about Grant.  To Grant, his interests lies in the historians of antiquities, not so much the ideas of the Christ mythos, so pointing them out to me as evidence for the existence of Christ is really an irrelevant ploy.  It takes a LOT of methodical research on not just the New Testament to discover the lies in the epistemology we’re all taught when we’re growing up from Christian families.  I’ve been studying the myth of Jesus for seven years, I guarantee you that is a lot more time spent then Ehrman and Grant combined on the specific subject of the historicity claims concerning Jesus. 

Further, there is, at this point, a shift taking place among that very community towards Mythicism mainly in the past few months with the support of Doherty, Carrier, Price and GA Wells, and a few others.  There are more and more Peer submitted essays going through reviews and publications concerning Mythicism and it is turning heads.  That isn't to say it's swaying people, but there is a shift.

I beseech you, that before you reply again, to read what I wrote earlier and understand where I am coming from.  It took me three HOURS today to type up that reply because I thought you wanted a well-considered, well written report on exactly why I feel the way I do concerning Mythicism - I didn't write it so you would skim over it and make conclusions based on assumptions.  Thank you. 

Quote:
Rook, Couldn't Jesus have been an historical figure and still be a myth?

Based on what evidence? 

Quote:
It seems to me that whether or not Jesus was actually a real historical person is irrelevant to whether or not he was a myth.

Quite the contrary.  What happens when Christians find out their beloved savior didn't really get crucified, die, and rise from the dead?  I bet you it will be more of an impact than if they discovered that he was simply a man.

Quote:
We know that the first writings of the New Testament were writings attributed to Paul, around 49-50 CE. We also know from the letters that Paul was persecuting Jews who were "Christians". It seems to me likely that, being within 2 decades of the life of the so-called Jesus, that there must have been someone these Jews thought was the Christ.

Based on what evidence?  This doesn't say anything to me.  There were 30+ sects of Jews around the time of the first century - we know most of these.  Richard Carrier lists them in his "Spiritual Body" chapter in The Empty Tomb:

  • (1)  Pharisees
  • (2)  Sadducees
  • (3)  Scribes
  • (4)  Hemerobaptists
  • (5)  Nasaraeans
  • (6)  Ossaeans
  • (7)  Herodians
  • (Cool  Therapeutae
  • (9)   Bana’im
  • (10) Hypsistarians
  • (11)  Maghariya
  • (12)   Masbotheans
  • (13)  Galilaeans
  • (14) Qumran
  • (15)  Samaritans (Four Sects)
    • (a)    Essenes
    • (b)   Dosithaens
    • (c)    Sebuaeans
    • (d)   Gorothenes
Paul was a member of the Pharisees, a group of Hellenized Jews who believed in the literal resurrection of the body, but also in Hellenistic-Babylonian astrology.  What Carrier shows in his Spiritual Body chapter is that Paul's idea of the resurrection was not the same as the Pharisees he once was part of.  For example, Carrier states:

"The vast diversity o Jewish ideology establishes the possibility, but the existence of a two-body doctrine can be demonstrated specifically. First, we know the concept of a purely spiritual 'salvation' (the soul lives forever in paradise, or sometimes hell, without a body) was held by many Jews in the time of Christ.  This is proven directly by Jubilees 23-25 and a redaction in 1 Enoch (92-105), as well as other Jewish apocrypha.  Even the Pharisees conceived of souls separable from the body that wait for the body to decay, then go to heaven or hell, even raise complaints with angels about where they ended up, or hold conversations with the living, all before the general Resurrection ever happens.  It is a very small step to go from that to an idea of the departed soul becoming or being clothed in an entirely new body.  And we have indications of just such a view in two prominent Jewish writers: Philo and Josephus." (Pp. 113)

"From the Rabbinical material we have ample evidence of how at least one sect of the Pharisees dealt with those who doubted the resurrection (of the body before Christ – Ed). There are three general types of attack that keep recurring in the sources, requiring an answer: those that challenge the claim that the resurrection can be deduced from scripture, those that challenge whether God can even accomplish such a thing, and those that challenge the idea of the resurrection with the question about what form it will take. The first kind of argument is answered with copious citations and exegesis of biblical passages.  The second is answered with analogies from observed facts.  And the third is answered with a clever harmonizing of details in resurrection doctrine.  The first type of argument is the most frequent.  The second type is exemplified by a passage in the Talmud: “An emperor said to Rabban Gamaliel: ‘You maintain that the dead will revive, but they turn to dust, and can dust come to life?” The rabbis answer him with analogies involving claymolding and glassmaking, then the spontaneous generation of moles and snails, then with an argument that the soul and body must be reunited so they can be judged together. In every case, the challenge can only be answered by proving resurrection possible with logical argument and evidence from the natural and human world.” (Pp. 114 )

In regards to Paul on this idea, Carrier states the following, "We have established (over the previous several pages – Ed) that Paul did not hold to the resurrection doctrine of a Rabbinical Pharisee, but something substantially different, in some respects, exactly the opposite.  This should not be surprising, since upon conversion Paul came to regard the trappings of the Pharisees as “mere rubbish” (skybala or skubala - Phil. 3:8 ).  Unlike the Pharisee, Paul explains, a Christian “trusts not in the flesh” (ouk en sarki pepoithotes or ouk en sarki pepoiqoteV). The true circumcision, for instance, is spiritual no physical.” (Pp. 118 )

And again, “Paul would have known everything pertinent to believing Christ’s resurrection really happened: he attests to speaking with God directly, knows the primary witnesses, and attests to having spoken with them and to having visited them in Jerusalem.  It seems improbable Paul himself would remain a convert without checking any of the evidence – for if we are to suppose this, then we can hold no trust in anything Paul affirms.  It is therefore peculiar that Paul only provides two kinds of evidence in support of Christ’s resurrection: scripture and various epiphanies like his own roadside vision.  On the hypothesis that Jesus rose in the same body that died (and proved this by submitting that body to handling by disciples and eating fish, and by the very words of Jesus himself), such an approach makes little sense.  Too many unanswered questions arise.How could the Corinthians have any doubt about the kind of body Jesus rose in, when they would have had such specific accounts of it?  And why would Paul never once appeal to those accounts in making his case?  It cannot be that the Corinthians were doubting Christ’s resurrection, since Paul makes it clear that denial of his resurrection is the unforeseen consequence of their doubts, and therefore not one of the things they are actually doubting.  Therefore, doubts over the metaphysical minutiae of Christ’s resurrection could not have led to doubting the resurrection of everyone else….But though Paul insists on there being no difference, he never cites any testimony, of Jesus or those who saw him raised, as to the nature of his resurrected body.  This is the first puzzle.The second puzzle is:  How was Paul’s elaborate answer supposed to end the dispute?  If the problem were merely one of identifying how we are like Christ and thus will be raised in the same way, then that is what Paul would have argued.  But he doesn’t.  Instead, he discourses on metaphysical minutiae, clearly aimed at resolving some misunderstanding about the nature of the resurrected body in general.  Why?  On the same-body hypothesis this doesn’t make much sense.  The response for Paul in that case would be to list the eye-witness evidence pertaining to the nature of Christ’s raised body and then directly eliminate whatever ‘difference’ between us and him the Corinthians were stumbling over.  So why does Paul respond in an entirely difference way?  Why does he never mention the material witness, or the particular stumbling block tripping up the Corinthians?  Why does he never resort to any of the Pharisaic descriptions of continuity between the dead and the raised body, which answered the very same worry for them?  More puzzling questions.” (Pp. 120-21)

“In contrast, consider how later Christians defended the resurrection against doubters (who included both pagans and Christians).  Their approach is quite the opposite of Paul’s.  First of all, their thesis is exactly what we would expect from someone who believed the flesh would be raised: as Justin succinctly puts it, “the resurrection is a resurrection of the flesh which died.”  So why wouldn’t Paul ever say anything like that?  There is no logical explanation—other than the obvious: Paul didn’t say it because he didn’t believe it.  Likewise the arguments they (the later Christians) deploy are exactly what we would expect from someone who believed the flesh would be raised.  Just like the Pharisees, they recognize and address the problem of wounds and blemishes.  Just like the Pharisees, they prove their point using analogies, especially the very same analogy (claymolding), but many others besides, which illustrate continuity and reassembly. Just like the Pharisees they insist that the body and the soul must be reunited to be judged together, and to restore the “whole man.”  Indeed, as Athenagoras puts it, “it is absolutely necessary” that soul and body be restored together, “for it is impossible” for the same man to rise otherwise.  If it is impossible, if it is absolutely necessary, how could Paul have failed to say so?  Why doesn’t he berate the Corinthians for believing that the soul can be saved without a body?  Why, indeed, does he never even mention a soul?  Why does Paul show no interest whatever in the problem of wounds or deformities?  How is it that Paul never resorts to obvious analogies like claymolding or shipbuilding (like Christians following Paul in the century to come did – Ed)?  It simply makes no sense.  Unless Paul believed something fundamentally different from what these later Christians did.” (Pp. 123)

I cite these to show that Paul did not believe that Christ literally lived – but rather he believed in a dual-body or two-body doctrine taught by the Essene sect of Jews (Josephus, Wars 2:8:11, 154-5). 

In fact there is a lot Paul believed in that later Christians called Heresy – especially the Gnostic ideas of Christ as a spiritual personality and not as a historical one.  I make this case elsewhere, feel free to search the forums for such evidences.  =)

Quote:
Maybe they even knew his name. But I agree that everything that has been passed down regarding this person is myth. The issue has been clouded to the point it is impossible to know anything about the person and if he actually existed or not.

It’s really quite easy to see whether there is plausible reason to doubt or not to doubt the existence of a historical Jesus.  What do the sources closest to Jesus’ supposed life say about him?  And compare these to what later sources say.  The most damning evidence against Jesus’ historicity is Paul, who wrote the earliest, and merely a few decades after Christ supposed lived. 

I hope this has been informative. 

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For some fucking reason the

For some damned reason the text isn't formatting correctly.  I apologize.  Please murk your way through it.

EDIT: Fixed!  Woot!

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Rook_Hawkins wrote: For

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
For some damned reason the text isn't formatting correctly.  I apologize.  Please murk your way through it.

Rook, when you make a list, make sure that you don't type the 8 and the parantheses together. Otherwise the list looks like this:

7)

Cool

9)

You know? Put a space between 8 and the parentheses. Like this:

7)

8 )

9)

Ya feel me? Smiling


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Thanks!

Thanks! Cool


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What codices from the Nag

What codices from the Nag Hammadi do you believe would have convinced H.G. Wells that Jesus never existed?

 


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LifeofApollos wrote: What

LifeofApollos wrote:

What codices from the Nag Hammadi do you believe would have convinced H.G. Wells that Jesus never existed?

What makes you think they're specific ones?  Perhaps that is the problem - you are maybe under the impression that there are somehow statements that suggest literally the non-existence of Jesus?  I promise you there is nothing that says "Jesus wasn't historical" in any particular manuscript in existence - at least none written in the Nag Hammadi library.

What is necessary for understanding the complexity of the Jesus issue is fitting the Nag Hammadi texts in the context of not only the chronological history of the canonized new testament works, but also into the period in which they were written.  The Nag Hammadi are important strictly because it shows us that Christian thought of the period wasn't so cut and dry, and certainly wasn't orthodox.  specially at the very beginning, when you'd expect to see such an orthodox stand - what you have is the complete opposite.  It's almost like orthodoxy sprouted out of gnosticism, not the other way around.

The Nag Hammadi manuscripts are good because of this.  It's irrational to deduce, as so many bias people do - that gnosticism and mysticism spured from orthodoxy - as during the turn of the era, if there were evidence for a historical Christ, one would think that would be when it was at it's high point!  Yet at this time, nobody ever cites any evidence for a historical Christ, even against all odds, in the face of flat out accusations of lying!  They never cite eyewitness testimony, never talk of the miraculous endeavors he did, the raising of Lazarus, etc...

The earliest works we have, especially that in the Nag Hammadi, never place Christ on Earth - very similar to Paul.  And what happens?  Come the third century, all of a sudden we have shift in how people are handling the story of Christ.  Indeed it has completely changed over the past 170 years or so, and as shown by Carrier above, had this been something that everyone had known from the beginning, we'd see more of it.  But we don't.

For example, the Gos. Thomas is probably one of the earliest "gospels" we have, although it contains no actual narrative to follow, the sayings are pretty Gnostic, and speak volumes as to how people veiwed Christ in the first century and during the time of Paul.

Thomas 24, "His Disciples said to him, 'Show us the place where you are since it is necessary for us to seek it.' He said to them, "Whoever has ears let him hear.  There is light within a man of light, and he lights up the whole world.  If he does not shine, he is darkness.' "

This here alone, is one I can quote of many that would really prove my point, but this is so much a keystone to Thomas.  To the writer of Thomas, Jesus is not a real being, but rather a revealer of knowledge who came to his students in a vision or euphoric state.  His students seek to find him, to gain the gnosis which will bring them away from their dead state of being, their intoxicated form of flesh, which to the Gnostic was a prison.  The Light Jesus is speaking of is that of Sophia, who according to Gnostic creation myths, is the 'mother' (in a certain manner of understanding) of the evil or tragic Demiurge who really created the world.  Sophia is the offsping via thought of the monad or Logos (the presencer - the being which is all reason and all things that can be brought into existence).  When the Demiurge was spawned - basically - he trapped Sophia on this world which he created, and within the righteous sophia is stored.  To release sophia (this is the salvation) and our trapped souls (part of Sophia) we must attain the secret knowledge (gnosis) from the revealer - who to the Christian Gnostics was Christ Jesus (literally the "Annointed Savior" - funny how that works out).  All of these thoughts are worked out in just this verse alone, but continue through the Gospels (even the Canonized versions possess some Gnostic thoughts - especially that of ther allegorical Mark and John).

This is the importance of the Nag Hammadi, to explain why certain doctrines exist and how they came to be.  And why they are so prevailent in everything we read. 

The best to you,

 

Rook

 

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shayne26

shayne26 wrote:


Rook, Couldn't Jesus have been an historical figure and still be a myth?


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Based on what evidence?




I wasn't trying to make a claim I was merely asking a question. Do you think it is possible for a historical Jesus to have existed, but still have ended up a myth?

shayne26 wrote:
It seems to me that whether or not Jesus was actually a real historical person is irrelevant to whether or not he was a myth.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Quite the contrary. What happens when Christians find out their beloved savior didn't really get crucified, die, and rise from the dead? I bet you it will be more of an impact than if they discovered that he was simply a man.




I was trying to make the point that a real person can become myth. I was trying to leave the Christian perspective out of the conversation. For sure, their Jesus never existed.



shayne26 wrote:
We know that the first writings of the New Testament were writings attributed to Paul, around 49-50 CE. We also know from the letters that Paul was persecuting Jews who were "Christians". It seems to me likely that, being within 2 decades of the life of the so-called Jesus, that there must have been someone these Jews thought was the Christ.


Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Based on what evidence? This doesn't say anything to me. There were 30+ sects of Jews around the time of the first century - we know most of these. Richard Carrier lists them in his "Spiritual Body" chapter in The Empty Tomb:...


I was trying to say that Paul indeed claimed to persecute Christians. He must have referred to some group that existed prior to the statement. The group he was referring to was also the group he joined. Therefore there must have been Christians that existed within two decades of the execution. It seems more likely that there was a real person that sparked the legends. Besides, whether or not Paul believed there was a real Jesus is not relevant.

I know, where is my evidence. If I am right that Jesus was likely a poor apocalyptic teacher/philosopher from the backwoods in Judea who was able to gather a small following (maybe similar to David Koresh). That this teacher was only influential to the poor peasants who accepted his message of hope, that the end was near and the kingdom of God was soon to come. How much evidence would you expect to have survived? The people who joined his little cult were peasants, who could not read and write. If there was a Jesus it is likely he couldn't as well. The only evidence would have been the word of mouth that passed for a few decades to Paul and the fact that there were remnants of his followers still around.

I don't claim to know much about myths, but I would wager a guess that few myths (myths by your definition) are successful when started that close to the event. If you have any instances feel free to share.


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Read my last post to

Read my last post to LifeofApollo, I think you'll understand where I'm coming from.  =)  And if that doesn't change your mind, surely my thesis will. 

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Looking forward to it.

Looking forward to it. Dazzle me.


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LifeofApollos wrote: Would

LifeofApollos wrote:
Would you agree that the vast majority of historians believe Jesus Christ existed and was the founder of the religion Christianity?

 

All that ought to matter is why they hold to that belief.  

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LifeofApollos wrote:What

LifeofApollos wrote:

What are the earliest writings that we have attesting to the life of Alexander?

Alexander's teacher was Aristotle.

Aristotle writes about Alexander: 

http://www.livius.org/aj-al/alexander/alexander_t04.html

 

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shayne26

shayne26 wrote:

Rook,

Couldn't Jesus have been an historical figure and still be a myth?

As it happens, I subscribe to this theory primarily due to the political climate of rebellion at the time Jesus is alleged to have walked, and a mythology was fabrcated around an actual rebel for the purpose of governing the region.

I feel that it is by NO accident that a guy identified as a Zealot was named as an Apostle. When read as a book on political intrigues, the New Testament takes on the tone of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar.

 

I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible. {Michael Bakunin 1814-1876}


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Ummm...Rook? You might

Ummm...Rook? You might consider the possibility that Paul is also mythologized into a Hellenic Jew, given that he enjoys greater status as a holy man among the Gnostics who borrowed heavily from Mithraism, ancient Egyptian religion (see also the Apocalypse of Paul, I think from the Nag Hammadi codexes), and the Book of Enoch (missing from current Christian Bibles of Western versions).

Gnostics have claimed that Rome falsified much of what he wrote, and yet there remains traces of his Gnostic background contained in the New Testament, such as his reference to a "third heaven", etc.

Paul refered to his hometown of Tarsus as "no mean city", and indeed, as a full citizen of Rome with full rights as a full citizen, he's more likely to have been a memeber of a family that was formerly Mithraic ruling class before the Pontus confederation was conquered by Rome circa mid-80's BCE.  Like other conquered ruling families, their state religion AND their royalty were co opted by Rome as suzerains.

I shall continue to be an impossible person as long as those who are now possible remain possible. {Michael Bakunin 1814-1876}


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Nice essay Rook. I always

Nice essay Rook. I always figured it was irrelevent whether JC really existed or not, cos the zombie superman thing was so obviously a put-on, regardless of whether the legend was based on a real person or not. but it's nice to finally have some factual ammunition to support my real life x-ist trolling! 

 -Thanks for that-


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A simpler summary is that

A simpler summary is that around the turn of the First Century CE, a Hellenized cult formed around Jesus Christ (Greek: Iêsou Christou) who was a spiritual being which brought about the Gnosis (knowledge) of the Logos (The forethought, or first thought) – sometimes referred to as the Monad or “one” (The Secret Book of John) by which was only achieved through Sophia (or wisdom). It is even said that this being was also a rank, achievable just by attaining Gnosis. (Gospel of Thomas)

I am not sure what you meant by this rook. what are you saying about the gospel of Thomas.

because if you are trying to use the gospel of Thomas in any way to help your case it is not worth your time. I do realize that this book was written by Jesus brother but it still comes down the way that Jesus told Thomas about all of his ideas. In each case that Jesus spoke to Thomas and said somethings controversial it was always one on one. Jesus never spoke and of these ideas to any one else or in front of any one else.


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Rook, I was wondering if you

Rook, I was wondering if you have any comment on the new James Cameron doc.  I never really put to much thought into the life of Jesus.  You are my first introduction to the Mythicist stance, which I find very, very interesting.  I always just assumed that Jesus was really a man.  He was raised from birth to believe he was the son of God (which would make anyone crazy).  He was a revolutionary leader to a miserable and ignorant people.  And the stories of Mithra, ect. were attributed to Jesus by Christians after his death.  Have you looked into this new evidence?

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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First it's not new.  The

First it's not new.  The tomb has been discovered for over 30 years, and the ossuary boxes have been translated for over 15-20.  There was even a movie made about it many years ago.  All Cameron is doing is remaking  a film and corrupting the evidence.

 I take Carrier's stance on this in that this is akin to Aliens building the Pyramids and Exodus Decoded (Another History Channel or Discover Channel movie which also sucked and that historically failed).  He is resting his points on false premises like that of the Mary coffin which is complete fiction (the story of the Mary Magdallene).  

Everything about this hoax is disgusting.  Where now people like myself, Carrier, Price and others have to do the leg work to prove how fale such claims are.  Even the guy who discovered the damn tomb and found the coffins is calling Cameron a fraud and he would know more then anybody being the guy who had the things in his possesion for thirty years!  And with good reason - how would you like it if you spent three decades on an archaeological find and one day out of nowhere movie producers come in and say "Oh yeah, we'll take over from here, but we're rewriting your research to fit our unscholarly research."

 Cameron is a joke.  

 

 

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Like I said, I never really

Like I said, I never really looked into the life of Jesus in great detail and I take your word on most of the historical research.  But it seems to me that all Cameron is saying is that this tomb contains the translated names of Jesus, son of Joseph, Mary, Mary Magdallene, Matthew, and Judas, son of Jesus.  Very common names during the time, but very interesting if the translations are correct, to say the least.  And that DNA tests showed that Jesus and Mary M. were not blood relatives.  Very worthy of more study.  My question to you is, in your opinion, what evidence could prove that this is the royal Christian family.  If DNA later shows that Jesus is the son of Mary, and Judas is the son of Jesus and Mary M., would that be substantial enough to at least rethink the Mythicist position?  

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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Sure, however that is not

Sure, however that is not the case.  He's essentially making up the second Mary, and the tomb does not say "Jesus son of Joseph" it says "Jesua" which is rather odd.  Because that is not in any way "Jesus" or "Yeshua" or any transliteration. 

 Also, since when would Jesus have a son, and why would they name him Judas after the one who supposedly had Jesus killed?  And why no discussion of the body and it's condition?  No broken bones, scaring, no marks of crucifixion?  Seems rather odd to me.

 Even if the DNA evidence was concluded the way you claim it, it would not, in any way prove this is the Jesus on which was based the NT. It would be utter special pleading and speculation to do so.  

On top of this, the cast and crew and producers (NOT archaeologists!!) are making the claim - this has not been peer reviewed or gone through any scholarly publication.  That makes it automatically suspicious.  On top of that, they (the creators of the flick) came up with "new ways" to dtermine evidence, which is more or less a way to make forcefully the evidence FIT their conclusions instead of doing it the correct way which is changing the opinions to fit the evidence.  And Cameron is ALREADY known to be dishonest and use pseudo-scholarship to make a quick buck or raise ratings (Exodus Decoded!)

This is a scam, a ay to get money and ratings boosts.  That is ALL this is.  Every couple of years people make shit up about Jesus or the Bible trying to somehow prove Jesus lived or the Bible is historically accurate.  Get to know the difference between hoax and real history - because history does not work the way Hollywood does, and certainly it does not work the way James Cameron would hope it did - and thankfully so!

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Trust me, I put much more

Trust me, I put much more stock in your opinion than Cameron's.  And connecting THIS Jesus to THE Jesus is, I agree, a hugh stretch based on this evidence alone.

Cameron claims that the bodies were relocated (reburied) in 1980, without a comprehensive forensic study.  

Just to comment on Judas though.  Doesn't the Gospel of Judas claim that he was instructed by Jesus to betray him?

A daughter of hope and fear, religion explains to Ignorance the nature of the unknowable. -Ambrose Bierce


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Rook_Hawkins wrote: Vast

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Vast majority? I believe that is a gross overstatement. I would say the currently historian community is split - mainly because of misinformation and bias. 50% would say that Christ did definitely live,the other 50% is split in the manner that 25% feel that Christ may have lived, it's hard to say (and in history it's okay to assume the existence of somebody until evidence presents itself that is contradictory), and the other 25% (which I am a part of) feel that the evidence is contradictory for a historical person to have lived, and in fact, found a way in which Christianity could have started without having a historical Christ - and more potent is the evidence for that theory then the theory in which is suggested he lived.

If I'm correct you have told others that 45% of scholars don't believe that Jesus ever lived. But maybe i'm wrong

http://www.christiancourier.com/articles/read/the_historicity_of_jesus_christ

To question the historicity of Jesus is like exactly like questioning  the historicity of Alexander. 

http://www.search.com/reference/Historical_Jesus

 

^ "The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." - Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 16.

 

http://larrycorrell.brinkster.net/TheologicalDictionary/references.aspx?theword=historicity%20of%20Jesus

 

How many times does this idea of Jesus never being born have to be refuted. Scholars have refuted this over and over. You don't have to a Christian but you need to be reasonable. The only people who do not believe in the historicity of Jesus are those that do not want to look at the facts.  

 

 

This is the same dumbass who was banned before. Somebody IP ban again.


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Mr. Shizzle

Mr. Shizzle wrote:
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Vast majority? I believe that is a gross overstatement. I would say the currently historian community is split - mainly because of misinformation and bias. 50% would say that Christ did definitely live,the other 50% is split in the manner that 25% feel that Christ may have lived, it's hard to say (and in history it's okay to assume the existence of somebody until evidence presents itself that is contradictory), and the other 25% (which I am a part of) feel that the evidence is contradictory for a historical person to have lived, and in fact, found a way in which Christianity could have started without having a historical Christ - and more potent is the evidence for that theory then the theory in which is suggested he lived.

If I'm correct you have told others that 45% of scholars don't believe that Jesus ever lived. But maybe i'm wrong

You are wrong. He stated that they reject the 100% historical claim, i.e. they don't accept the gospels as 'gospel truth'

 

 

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Mr. Shizzle

Mr. Shizzle wrote:

 

To question the historicity of Jesus is like exactly like questioning the historicity of Alexander.

False, for at least 2 reasons.

1) We have provenace for Alexander

2) Alexander claims are naturalistic claims.

 

 

Quote:

How many times does this idea of Jesus never being born have to be refuted.

Once. It has not been accomplished so far.

1) There are no contemporary accounts for jesus.

2) The gospels, which begin with mark, (matthew is an expansion on mark, and an admitted non eyewitness, luke is based on mark and josephus, and again, even sites like CARM concede that he's not an eyewitness) are based on midrash, not eyewitness accounts.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash

3) The silence of those who would have been his contemporaries destroys any claims for provenance for jesus.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_silence_that_screams

 

Please stop ignoring the facts of the matter.

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todangst wrote: You are

todangst wrote:

You are wrong. He stated that they reject the 100% historical claim, i.e. they don't accept the gospels as 'gospel truth'

So you agree that a majority of Scholars say that the man Jesus lived.  

todangst wrote:

Mr. Shizzle wrote:

 

To question the historicity of Jesus is like exactly like questioning the historicity of Alexander.

False, for at least 2 reasons.

1) We have provenace for Alexander

2) Alexander claims are naturalistic claims.

 

You have the Bible, if you look at the first site I put on the last post they put multiple contemporaries that wrote about Jesus. You don't have to believe the virgin birth to believe that Jesus lived. 

 

 

todangst wrote:

Quote:

How many times does this idea of Jesus never being born have to be refuted.

Once. It has not been accomplished so far.

1) There are no contemporary accounts for jesus.

2) The gospels, which begin with mark, (matthew is an expansion on mark, and an admitted non eyewitness, luke is based on mark and josephus, and again, even sites like CARM concede that he's not an eyewitness) are based on midrash, not eyewitness accounts.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash

But what about the Gospel of John. What about The letters of Peter who was a witness, book of James. Plus Paul believed that Jesus lived. Matthew Mark and Luke met  people who saw Jesus. They worshiped Jesus. Your argument makes no since. They didn't see Jesus but they knew he lived.  

3) The silence of those who would have been his contemporaries destroys any claims for provenance for jesus.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_silence_that_screams

 

Please stop ignoring the facts of the matter.

no ignoring, Who was silent. Look at those sites.  

This is the same dumbass who was banned before. Somebody IP ban again.


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Mr. Shizzle

Mr. Shizzle wrote:

So you agree that a majority of Scholars say that the man Jesus lived.

Sure. Rook doesn't deny that either.

But what matters if their grounds for holding to such a belief.

 

todangst wrote:

Mr. Shizzle wrote:

 

To question the historicity of Jesus is like exactly like questioning the historicity of Alexander.

False, for at least 2 reasons.

1) We have provenace for Alexander

2) Alexander claims are naturalistic claims.

Quote:

You have the Bible,

I deal with the various problems with the bible in my links below.

I'll link them again, seeing as you ignored them:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_silence_that_screams

This proves that there are no eyewitness accounts, even though there should have been. 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_anonymous_works_and_none_are_eyewitness_accounts 

This proves that the gospels are anonymous. 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash 

 This proves that the book of mark, the first gospel on which both matthew and luke depended upon, is midrash of the OT and not an eyewitness account of anything.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/tacitus_lucian_and_josephus

 

This is a new essay I am compiling to refute claims for historical corroboration for jesus. 

 

Quote:

if you look at the first site I put on the last post they put multiple contemporaries that wrote about Jesus.

No, there are no contemporary accounts for jesus, and if you're posting the same hold "josephus, tacitus' arguments, you need to realize, once and for all that

1) they are not contemporaries!

2) their claims citing these people have been refuted, ad nauseum.

Here are rook's lengthy refutations of each of these claims:

http://www.atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=38862&sid=c0d3cb2c4ea30da8a8641964cd8ea922#38862

 

todangst wrote:

Quote:

How many times does this idea of Jesus never being born have to be refuted.

Once. It has not been accomplished so far.

1) There are no contemporary accounts for jesus.

2) The gospels, which begin with mark, (matthew is an expansion on mark, and an admitted non eyewitness, luke is based on mark and josephus, and again, even sites like CARM concede that he's not an eyewitness) are based on midrash, not eyewitness accounts.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash

Quote:

But what about the Gospel of John.

The book of John is a second century document... it comes after all the other gospels, it's anonymous (just like the others). I didn't even bother to mention it because it's so clearly a second century document that I figured even you would concede that.

Quote:

What about The letters of Peter who was a witness, book of James.

No, these are not eyewitness accounts again. Again, the book of james is an anonymous work.

Quote:

Plus Paul believed that Jesus lived.

So? Paul admits that his evidence is a 'vision'.

What matters is his evidence, and even he admits he doesn't have any... just a vision.

Quote:

Matthew Mark and Luke met people who saw Jesus.

No.

Did you even read what I linked for you?

 

Quote:

3) The silence of those who would have been his contemporaries destroys any claims for provenance for jesus.

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_silence_that_screams

 

Please stop ignoring the facts of the matter.

Quote:

no ignoring, Who was silent. Look at those sites.

Yes, you are clearly ignoring what I posted. Read my links.

And again, your citations have already been refuted here, over and over... we've seen them all before. We already have stock replies, because we've already refuted these claims.

Please read them. Please note  that every one of your claims is already refuted in them.

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Mr. Shizzle wrote: ^ "The

Mr. Shizzle wrote:

^ "The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." - Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2000), p. 16.

 

How many times does this idea of Jesus never being born have to be refuted. Scholars have refuted this over and over. You don't have to a Christian but you need to be reasonable. The only people who do not believe in the historicity of Jesus are those that do not want to look at the facts.

I looked this guy Van Voorst up, here's his webpage:

http://www.westernsem.edu/Brix?pageID=15139

Surprise surprise, he's all about this 'Theological seminary', where they teach you how to be a good little sheep in the christian faith. He's also a preacher. I can't believe people claim guys like Van Voorst to be an authority on anything but sequential brainwashing. How much more biased can you possibly get than a preacher? At the same time, atheists get accused of having a bias. An example is your own words "The only people who do not believe in the historicity of Jesus are those that do not want to look at the facts." Fucking hypocrites.

 


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LifeofApollos wrote: Would

LifeofApollos wrote:
Would you agree that the vast majority of historians believe Jesus Christ existed and was the founder of the religion Christianity?

Just what historians are you referring to?  Certainly none that lived during the alleged life time of the biblical Jesus.   

I am an atheist because I do not believe in any Gods or anything related to the imaginary subjective supernatural realm that does not exist outside the mind. -- NotSaved


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Michael Grant states in

Michael Grant states in Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels that "Judaism was a milieu to which doctrines of the deaths and rebirths of mythical gods seemed so entirely foreign that the emergence of such a fabrication from its midst is very hard to credit."


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   Off-topic, nonsensical


 

 Off-topic, nonsensical post. Cannot delete because it carries replies to thread topic.

Post to the thread topic or other post. Tangential trolling sucks.


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Jesus - myth, Paul - real

What is the primary reason that Paul is viewed as a real, historical man, but not Jesus?  Is it because of an absence of texts claiming a direct authorship of Jesus?


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anwealde wrote: What is the

anwealde wrote:
What is the primary reason that Paul is viewed as a real, historical man, but not Jesus?

Two key reasons off the top of my head: 

1) We have seven epistles that can be traced to one author.  

2) Claims for the existence of Paul are naturalistic claims.

Quote:
 

Is it because of an absence of texts claiming a direct authorship of Jesus?

Worse than that, there are no contemporary accounts of jesus at all. 

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In the field of history it

In the field of history it is acceptable to assume the historicity of a character unless a large range of evidence (especially if it's many little things that collectively add up to a big case) is presented against it. There is absolutely no reason to doubt Paul's authorship or question his existence, and why this is so different is that Paul makes no claim to the supernatural (i.e. claiming to be God or the son of God, he never attests to performing miracles or raising from the dead, etc...). If Paul had attested to doing some of the supernatural things that Jesus had done, we would have to question ther veracity of Paul.

 

 

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Thanks   I wonder though

Thanks

 

I wonder though if Paul was talking about himself when he described knowing a man who went to heaven and when he mentioned visions and revelations (assuming Paul authored that particular letter.)  Did Paul ever reference in his letters the vision that the Acts wrote about his conversion?


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I can see that.  Jesus

I can see that.  Jesus didn't just claim to talk to God, but to be God's Son, and sent from heaven, etc.  I see an issue though, because I could question Paul's truthfulness when he strongly implies he has seen Jesus himself.  Also, doesn't Paul mention going to heaven and seeing visions in one of the letters to the Corinthians?  To me it seems like the primary difference between Jesus and people like James, Paul, Luke, etc is in the direct claim of authorship, as there aren't any major texts supposedly written by Jesus directly.

Also, Paul mentions talking to Peter in one of the letters (maybe the authorship of that letter is disputed, I don't know) attributed to Paul.  He also mentions other people who would have been contemporaries of Jesus (James, John, Barnabas) - that same John was probably the one who also professed seeing Jesus in the gospel of John and maybe even 1 John.  I don't understand why if the major historians of the day didn't mention Jesus, that Paul and other early followers of Jesus seemed so convinced in their writings of the magnitude of his importance, if not at least his existence


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Also, I found a quote in 2

Also, I found a quote in 2 Corinthians where Paul claims he worked the signs of an apostle to the church, which he describes as wonders and mighty deeds.  He doesn't claim to walk on water or multiply food for thousands, but I think if Paul wrote 2 Corinthians, then he claimed to have spiritual connections similar to Jesus.  he also claimed in romans that Jesus lived his life through Paul which would also help explain any claims Paul might have made for having done miracles himself.

 I find Paul nearly as hard to believe in as Jesus from a naturalist point of view, but I am no historian either.  It seems like authorship of texts would be a greater difference between claims for existence of the two men (to me)


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Scholars agree Jesus lived

All historians today agree Jesus lived. Those who attack the historicity of Christ, are not abreast in this field of research. Jon Crossan is a liberal Jesus historian, and even he admits Jesus lived. He is considered by the liberals to be the greatest Jesus historian in the world. Gary Habermas has written a good book called "The Historical Jesus." It debunks all the silly claims by those pseudo-scholars and atheists who attack the historicity of Christ. This link also has good material:

(Mod Edit: DSO NOT LINK TO WEBSITES OUTSIDE OF THE RRS - POST THE MATERIAL HERE - DON'T LINK TO OTHER SITES.  First warning.)


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Albert, I don't want to

Albert,

I don't want to sound mean, but I think it's virtually impossible that you have read the material posted in this thread before posting your own assertions. Since, at the time of this post, you have only been a member of the site for 27 minutes. 

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 Nook stated: There is a

 Nook stated: There is a lot of evidence however that supports Alexander the Great.  Contemporaries, and the like, wrote about him, and the Empire he built is undeniable -

 

My Response: That's all hearsay and tertiary evidence. The first biography written on Alexander wasn't untill 400 years after his death by Plutarch. It always amazes me how "Jesus mythers" create such super high standards and criteria for Jesus' validity, but they swallow stories like Alexander the Great whole with virtually no standards at all.

God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen


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 Why are atheists allowed

 Why are atheists allowed to post links, but we cannot?