Jesus is a myth (short video addressing the basics) with Rook

Anonymous
Posts: 4294964979
Joined: 1969-12-31
User is offlineOffline
Jesus is a myth (short video addressing the basics) with Rook

Rook and Sapient cover the basics of Jesus mythicism


MattShizzle
Posts: 7966
Joined: 2006-03-31
User is offlineOffline
I thought this was great and

I thought this was great and added it for people. FUCK YouTube for deleting this video!


Positive Change
Theist
Positive Change's picture
Posts: 7
Joined: 2007-04-02
User is offlineOffline
Michael Grant states in

Mod Edit: STOP SPAMMING THIS QUOTE ALL OVER MY FORUM!  THIS IS YOUR FIRST WARNING.  SECOND WARNING RESULTS IN A TIME OUT FOR TWO DAYS.  I HAVE REFUTED YOUR QUOTE IN THIS FORUM.


laguna117
laguna117's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-02-05
User is offlineOffline
and that probably why 99%

and that probably why 99% of jews didn't believe in that lol....

 

Christiannity is obviously a mix between paganism and judaism.... there R so many pagan images new to judaism in xtianity... like the cult of the virgin, of the saints, healers,wine  etc...

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


laguna117
laguna117's picture
Posts: 41
Joined: 2007-02-05
User is offlineOffline
For Julius Ceasar there is

For Julius Ceasar there is also a contemporary wall of the senate in Rome's museum with the list of all consuls that shows Julius and Augustus...

For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof,
then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.


sumra
Theist
Posts: 44
Joined: 2006-12-11
User is offlineOffline
Ceasar's Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus

An hour long interview of Joseph Atwill author of the book

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dCNJf83bqjs 


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
My refutation of Joe

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Okay, Rook, I bought a

Okay, Rook, I bought a stack of books on Amazon for you! A lot on your list were damn expensive! I wanted you to get a pretty large package, while still not spending too damn much money. So, what I did was, I went through your list, and the books priority of "high" or "highest", in stock, and less than $50, I bought it. So, you got 14 coming.

 

EDIT:  I just threw in a Silver membership, so I should be getting me a silver bar! 

 


FreeThoughtMake...
Superfan
FreeThoughtMakesMeTingle's picture
Posts: 173
Joined: 2006-08-14
User is offlineOffline
Interesting and while I am

Interesting and while I am close to thinking that Jesus what probably just a man and definitely not a son of a God by a Virgin mom I don't think he's just made up totall.

 

OT (off topic not Old Testament), Rook is kinda cute wooooo lol. 

Quote:
Religion at BEST - is like a lift in your shoe. If you need it for a while, and it makes you walk straight and feel better - fine. But you don't need it forever, or you can become permanently disabled.

---George Carlin---


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Interesting. If the

Interesting.

If the Mythicist premise is based on the claim that Paul never speaks about Jesus as a real, physical person, then there's a problem, in that I count at least three different instances in Paul's writings where he clearly indicates his belief that Jesus was indeed a real, live human being: Galatians 4:1-7, Philippians 2:1, and Romans 1:1-7. There are other instances, but these should suffice.

I also find it strange to argue that the Gospels can't be considered contemporaneous accounts of Jesus' life, while simultaneously using the Pauline epistles as proof that the early Christians considered that Jesus was only a spiritual being. The video doesn't explain this, so hopefully someone here will.

The Saint


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote: then

The_Saint wrote:
then there's a problem, in that I count at least three different instances in Paul's writings where he clearly indicates his belief that Jesus was indeed a real, live human being: Galatians 4:1-7, Philippians 2:1, and Romans 1:1-7.

Well, I'm not an expert, and I think the mythist case is probably correct, but, I acknowledge that to say that Paul NEVER speaks of Jesus as being a physical man is a bit of an exagerration or misleading.  There are a few cases where it at least sounds like he's talking about a man, like "born of woman".  How can Jesus be "born of woman" if he wasn't even a man?

The mythist case is that these few cases are metaphorical.  After all, if Paul was speaking of a man, would it be necessary to point out that he was "born of woman"?  Wouldn't that be obvious? Have you ever heard of anybody else pointing out somebody was "born of woman"? So, what might Paul mean here?   Well, I don't fully understand it myself.  But, I understand it has something to do with the idea of the time that there were multiple levels of the spiritual realm, with entities more closer to human in the lower levels, while more spiritual in the upper levels.  And Christ was (allegedly) a being of an intermediate level to act as an itermediary between humans and God.

Now, I'll accept that sounds "ad hoc", at least to someone that has always understood Jesus to be a human.  And, I'm not 100% convinced that it is correct, I don't know.  But, there are some points in the mythist's favor.  For example, Christians generally interpret the passages where Paul seems to speak of Christ as purely spiritual are either themselves metaphorical, which might also be termed "ad hoc".  For example, when Paul speaks of Jesus as being a "newly revealed mystery", what would he mean by that if he thought Jesus was a human that lived and died?  Did Jesus reveal himself?

 

The_Saint wrote:

I also find it strange to argue that the Gospels can't be considered contemporaneous accounts of Jesus' life, while simultaneously using the Pauline epistles as proof that the early Christians considered that Jesus was only a spiritual being.

Apples to oranges.  The Gospels are not contemporaneous, as everyone, all Christians, agree that the Gospels were written after his death (if he lived at all...)  So, that is by definition not contemporaneous.  But, Paul was obviously contemporaneous with early Christians -- he was an early Christian!  So, what Paul believed seems to be reasonably likely to be consistent with early Christianity.  But, what exactly did Paul believe?

Well, even if you insist that the Paul means a real human being, well, he still coorborates very little of the Gospel stories.  He never mentions the virgin birth, Mary, Joseph.  Never quotes or mentions a parable.  Nothing about being born in a manger.  Though he says that people have seen Jesus after the Resurrection, he never says it was a PHYSICAL appearance.  His own conversion is supposed to be only a vision, and he never says anybody had anything more than he did.

Interestingly, he does a few times mention the "apostles," as in followers of Christ.  But, does not mention "disciples" as in direct students of his.


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:
Well, I'm not an expert, and I think the mythist case is probably correct, but, I acknowledge that to say that Paul NEVER speaks of Jesus as being a physical man is a bit of an exagerration or misleading.


Well, as Mr. Hawkins described the "Mythicist" position, it would seem that even one example of Paul speaking of Jesus as a real, flesh-and-blood person would completely undermine the premise.

Quote:
The mythist case is that these few cases are metaphorical.


But what is this conclusion based upon?  One of the common objections by Atheists to Christians who argue that Scripture contains metaphor is, "how do we know what is meant to be taken literally, and what is meant figuratively"?  If the Mythicist is going to insist that the passages in which Paul speaks of a flesh-and-blood Jesus are metaphorical, on what basis does he base that conclusion?  Claiming these passages are metaphorical doesn't make sense in context.  For example, 1 Corinthians 11:12 says,

"For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God."

Paul is speaking of Humanity, and clearly, we as humans are not metaphorical beings existing on a spiritual plane.  So how does the Mythicist conclude that when Paul says Jesus is "born of a woman", it's metaphorical, but in other cases, it isn't?

Quote:
After all, if Paul was speaking of a man, would it be necessary to point out that he was "born of woman"? Wouldn't that be obvious? Have you ever heard of anybody else pointing out somebody was "born of woman"? So, what might Paul mean here?


The term "born of a woman" is more than a mere descriptor, the phrase has has weight under the Law--it is used to indicate that this person was born into a specific time, place and culture, and has rights under the Law.  It is also not unique to Paul's writings--it occurs throughout the Bible:  Job 15:14, Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28, 1Corinthians 11:12, to name just a few. 

Quote:
Well, I don't fully understand it myself. But, I understand it has something to do with the idea of the time that there were multiple levels of the spiritual realm, with entities more closer to human in the lower levels, while more spiritual in the upper levels. And Christ was (allegedly) a being of an intermediate level to act as an itermediary between humans and God.


It's an interesting thought, but one without merit.  In fact, there are no reliable extra-Biblical historical sources that indicate the early Christians believed anything of the sort.

Quote:
Now, I'll accept that sounds "ad hoc", at least to someone that has always understood Jesus to be a human. And, I'm not 100% convinced that it is correct, I don't know. But, there are some points in the mythist's favor. For example, Christians generally interpret the passages where Paul seems to speak of Christ as purely spiritual are either themselves metaphorical, which might also be termed "ad hoc". For example, when Paul speaks of Jesus as being a "newly revealed mystery", what would he mean by that if he thought Jesus was a human that lived and died? Did Jesus reveal himself?


Primarily because Paul's experience with Jesus was spiritual, and he did reveal himself to Paul in a vision, but that does not mean that Paul believed or taught that Jesus was a purely spiritual being, because he clearly did not.  Paul was also a contemporary with Peter and the other Apostles who did know and live with Jesus, and had frequent contact with them--they would certainly have been aware of Paul's teachings (Peter sends Paul and Barnabas out to be missionaries to the Gentiles), yet there is no record of any other Father of the Church objecting to what Paul believed about Jesus.

Quote:
The Gospels are not contemporaneous, as everyone, all Christians, agree that the Gospels were written after his death (if he lived at all...) So, that is by definition not contemporaneous. But, Paul was obviously contemporaneous with early Christians -- he was an early Christian! So, what Paul believed seems to be reasonably likely to be consistent with early Christianity.


Therein lies the problem.  If Paul believed that Jesus was a spiritual being only, and if Paul is a reliable source of what the early Christians believed, wouldn't the Christian teachings that came later reflect this?  If we accept the Mythicist's position that the Gospel accounts of Jesus' life were written later than Paul, then why do these accounts describe Jesus as a real, flesh-and-blood human being?  It seems to me that the Mythicist has a real problem here regarding continuity--if the early Christians believed that Jesus was a spiritual being only, then it makes no rational sense that all subsequent Christian texts and doctrines substantiate a solid belief in Jesus as a real, physical human being.

Quote:
Well, even if you insist that the Paul means a real human being, well, he still coorborates very little of the Gospel stories. He never mentions the virgin birth, Mary, Joseph. Never quotes or mentions a parable. Nothing about being born in a manger. Though he says that people have seen Jesus after the Resurrection, he never says it was a PHYSICAL appearance. His own conversion is supposed to be only a vision, and he never says anybody had anything more than he did.


There's no reason why Paul would have mentioned these things, because there would be no need to reiterate what they already knew and believed.  Paul's epistles were directed at people who were already Christians, in churches that were experiencing moral and/or doctrinal problems.  One of the problems I see with the Mythicist's position is the presupposition that Paul is the sole definitive authority on Jesus.  It's just not the case.

Quote:
Interestingly, he does a few times mention the "apostles," as in followers of Christ. But, does not mention "disciples" as in direct students of his.


Paul seems to use the terms "apostle" and "disciple" interchangeably, since it is clear that many of the people he terms "apostle" are in fact disciples of the 12, or of himself.

The Saint


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote:

The_Saint wrote:

Well, as Mr. Hawkins described the "Mythicist" position, it would seem that even one example of Paul speaking of Jesus as a real, flesh-and-blood person would completely undermine the premise.

Well, if indeed it is Paul speaking of Jesus as a literal human, and it is genuine (not an interpolation) I would tend to agree. As I said, I'm not an expert on the subject. And I'm not "dogmatic" on either, meaning I'm not completely convinced of the mythist case.

Quote:
If the Mythicist is going to insist that the passages in which Paul speaks of a flesh-and-blood Jesus are metaphorical, on what basis does he base that conclusion?

I believe it is based on "prepoderance of evidence". Meaning that I don't think one can be certain. But, I believe that the idea is that if he was speaking of a real human, there would be more references to things he did.


Quote:
he term "born of a woman" is more than a mere descriptor, the phrase has has weight under the Law--it is used to indicate that this person was born into a specific time, place and culture, and has rights under the Law. It is also not unique to Paul's writings--it occurs throughout the Bible: Job 15:14, Matthew 11:11, Luke 7:28, 1Corinthians 11:12, to name just a few.

Okay, fair enough.

Quote:
t's an interesting thought, but one without merit. In fact, there are no reliable extra-Biblical historical sources that indicate the early Christians believed anything of the sort.

Again, I'm not an expert. Richard Carrier, however, who is a Roman history expert, says that the idea of multiple spiritual planes was a common belief of the time. I don't know his sources. You might could look up his commentary on Earl Doherty's _The Jesus Puzzle_, as he agrees with at least this part of Doherty's argument.


Quote:
Primarily because Paul's experience with Jesus was spiritual, and he did reveal himself to Paul in a vision, but that does not mean that Paul believed or taught that Jesus was a purely spiritual being, because he clearly did not.

Well, you didn't answer my question: "when Paul speaks of Jesus as being a "newly revealed mystery", what would he mean by that if he thought Jesus was a human that lived and died? Didn't Jesus reveal himself?"

Secondly, whether or not Paul believed that Jesus had been a man, it is still a true statement that he never indicates any physical appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection.

Quote:
yet there is no record of any other Father of the Church objecting to what Paul believed about Jesus.

We don't have any clear indication of what factions existed in the first century. The oldest Christian artificat comes from the year 125, a few verses of John. Do you know what the second oldest Chrsitian-related artifact is? Dated from 150 is a significant portion of a non-connonical Gospel that is very different from the connonical ones. The idea that all the "heretical" Gospels are "very late" is false. (At least according to Bart Ehrman, my source on this.)

Quote:
herein lies the problem. If Paul believed that Jesus was a spiritual being only, and if Paul is a reliable source of what the early Christians believed, wouldn't the Christian teachings that came later reflect this?

This would seem reasonable -- if you assume the Gospels were ORIGINALLY intended as being true. There is some evidence that the Gospels, at least the earliest one or two, were intended to be an allegorical story, that over time got misinterpreted into being real.

Quote:
There's no reason why Paul would have mentioned these things, because there would be no need to reiterate what they already knew and believed.

Well, first, consider how often Christian preachers TODAY reiterate parts of the Gospel stories that everybody knows. Using the scripture to support the position of the preachers sermon is quite common, even natural and expected. It would be just as natural and expected of Paul, particularly when he is talking on subjects that Jesus (allegedly) spoke on. Wouldn't you expect Paul to say, "well, remember what Jesus said, ..."?

Second, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE RECEIVERS OF HIS LETTERS ALREADY BELIEVED AND KNEW! He was writing BEFORE the Gospels were already written! So we have NO IDEA what (if any) of the Gospel themes were already believed. You might say that even if we don't, Paul would know what they knew.  But how?  How could he think he knew what everyone had been exposed to, given that the Gospels hadn't even been written yet?

And, even after they were written, different groups used differet Gospels, so the idea of their being "one Christian belief" in the beginning is without merit.  And surely Paul would know that and therefore would have extra need to utilize the teachings of Jesus that he knew and believed to be genuine.  So the idea that "Paul didn't feel the need to reiterate what everybody already knew" is just without merit.


Quote:
Paul seems to use the terms "apostle" and "disciple" interchangeably, since it is clear that many of the people he terms "apostle" are in fact disciples of the 12, or of himself.

Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but, I thought he ONLY used "apostle" and NOT "disciple".

 


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith wrote: I

caseagainstfaith wrote:
I believe it is based on "prepoderance of evidence". Meaning that I don't think one can be certain. But, I believe that the idea is that if he was speaking of a real human, there would be more references to things he did.


I guess I just don't see that as a problem, or as credible evidence that Paul believed that Jesus existed only on a "spiritual plane". 

Quote:
Again, I'm not an expert. Richard Carrier, however, who is a Roman history expert, says that the idea of multiple spiritual planes was a common belief of the time. I don't know his sources. You might could look up his commentary on Earl Doherty's _The Jesus Puzzle_, as he agrees with at least this part of Doherty's argument.


As I understand it, Richard Carrier is only one of a small handful of historians who think that Jesus was a total invention. Though a qualified historian and scholar, he is in the extreme minority of those who hold that Jesus never existed--the preponderance of scholars agree that Jesus was a real, historical figure (though not necessarily that he was who Christians claim he was).  While the notion of multiple spiritual planes might have been a common belief among the Romans, it was not a belief of the Jews, and there's no evidence that the first Christians (who were Jews) believed in such things.   

Quote:
Well, you didn't answer my question: "when Paul speaks of Jesus as being a "newly revealed mystery", what would he mean by that if he thought Jesus was a human that lived and died? Didn't Jesus reveal himself?"


I am unfamiliar with any passage of Paul's writings in which he states that Jesus is a "newly revealed mystery".  Can you cite the verse?

Quote:
Secondly, whether or not Paul believed that Jesus had been a man, it is still a true statement that he never indicates any physical appearances of Jesus after the Resurrection.


1 Corinthians 15:1-11.

Quote:
We don't have any clear indication of what factions existed in the first century. The oldest Christian artificat comes from the year 125, a few verses of John. Do you know what the second oldest Chrsitian-related artifact is? Dated from 150 is a significant portion of a non-connonical Gospel that is very different from the connonical ones. The idea that all the "heretical" Gospels are "very late" is false. (At least according to Bart Ehrman, my source on this.)


Actually, The Epistle of Pope Clement I, one of the oldest Christian texts universally recognized by scholars as authentic, dates to about 98 A.D. The Didache,  a text quoted by Origen, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, dates even earlier, between 49-79 A.D.  Fragments of what may be the Gospel of Mark were found in cave 7 of the Qum'ran complex, a cave known to have been sealed sometime around 50 A.D., calling into question the late dates given by skeptics for the Gospels.  Furthermore, by the end of the 2nd century, the four Gospels, called the Tetramorph by Irenaeus, were already universally accepted as canonical by the Church--by this point, any non-canonical "gospels" of this period had already been by-and-large rejected as the result of the numerous heresies that had plagued the early Church.

Quote:
This would seem reasonable -- if you assume the Gospels were ORIGINALLY intended as being true. There is some evidence that the Gospels, at least the earliest one or two, were intended to be an allegorical story, that over time got misinterpreted into being real.


Can you give references for this evidence?

Quote:
Well, first, consider how often Christian preachers TODAY reiterate parts of the Gospel stories that everybody knows. Using the scripture to support the position of the preachers sermon is quite common, even natural and expected. It would be just as natural and expected of Paul, particularly when he is talking on subjects that Jesus (allegedly) spoke on. Wouldn't you expect Paul to say, "well, remember what Jesus said, ..."?


That's a valid point, however, Paul was writing to specific churches experiencing specific doctrinal and/or moral issues.  That he doesn't speak about specific aspects of Jesus' life and ministry is not proof that these were later inventions--it's only proof that Paul didn't talk about them.  As I stated earlier, Paul is not the sole authority on Christianity or Jesus.

Quote:
Second, WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE RECEIVERS OF HIS LETTERS ALREADY BELIEVED AND KNEW! He was writing BEFORE the Gospels were already written! So we have NO IDEA what (if any) of the Gospel themes were already believed. You might say that even if we don't, Paul would know what they knew. But how? How could he think he knew what everyone had been exposed to, given that the Gospels hadn't even been written yet?


Well, we don't know that any of the Gospel's had not been written yet, we only know that we don't have any extant manuscripts dating before Paul's letters.  Secondly, even if none of the Gospel's had been written prior to Paul, this does not prove that the knowledge contained in the Gospels was not already known to Christians.  It's entirely probable that these stories would have been largely transmitted orally, given the widespread illiteracy of the day;  Paul even indicates that Christians learned the faith through oral tradition in his own writings:

"He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter." 2 Thess. 2:13-15

The first chapter of the Gospel of Luke states that he is setting about to write an account of the things they (Christians) have already been taught:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-5

Oral tradition was a large part of the Jewish faith, as well as the early Church--it is not unreasonable to believe that the Gospels were transmitted orally before they were committed to writing.

Quote:
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but, I thought he ONLY used "apostle" and NOT "disciple".


Sorry about that--I realize that I was not making my point very clear.  I meant to say that Paul uses the term "apostle" very loosely, to describe both disciples and the original 12 Apostles.  Not sure though what this is supposed to indicate.


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
All of your objections are

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Quote: As I understand it,

Quote:

As I understand it, Richard Carrier is only one of a small handful of historians who think that Jesus was a total invention. Though a qualified historian and scholar, he is in the extreme minority of those who hold that Jesus never existed--the preponderance of scholars agree that Jesus was a real, historical figure (though not necessarily that he was who Christians claim he was).

I agree that the mythist position is a minority opinion.  I do not hold to it "dogmatically", I acknowledge that I don't have enough history background to actually rigerously investigate the evidence.  That said, whenever I hear someone defend his historicity, the evidence they offer generally seems weak to me.  There is no contemporary reference to Jesus. 

Quote:

While the notion of multiple spiritual planes might have been a common belief among the Romans, it was not a belief of the Jews, and there's no evidence that the first Christians (who were Jews) believed in such things.

Well, again, at least according to Carrier, borrowing from other religions was very common in Rome, where there were multitudes of religions.   But, I'll try to go reread what Carrier said on this sometime this evening. 

Quote:
I am unfamiliar with any passage of Paul's writings in which he states that Jesus is a "newly revealed mystery". Can you cite the verse?

 I'll try to look it up this evening.

Quote:
Corinthians 15:1-11.

Never says those were physical appearances.  As you know, the appearance to Paul himself was spiritual, and he doesn't say any of those other appearances were any different.

 

Quote:
Actually, The Epistle of Pope Clement I, one of the oldest Christian texts universally recognized by scholars as authentic, dates to about 98 A.D.

 We actually have manuscripts of that, that date to 98 AD?

 

Quote:
Fragments of what may be the Gospel of Mark were found in cave 7 of the Qum'ran complex, a cave known to have been sealed sometime around 50 A.D., calling into question the late dates given by skeptics for the Gospels.

"What may be"?  Why is there doubt?  Anyway, I haven't heard of this, so, I'd like some more information. 

 

Quote:
Furthermore, by the end of the 2nd century, the four Gospels, called the Tetramorph by Irenaeus, were already universally accepted as canonical by the Church--

As far as I knew, we don't know for sure what Irenaeus was speaking of.  But, I'm interested to know more. 

 

Quote:
by this point, any non-canonical "gospels" of this period had already been by-and-large rejected as the result of the numerous heresies that had plagued the early Church.

Even if true, what does that tell us?  Your admission of "numerous heresies" is an admission that there were lots of disputed accounts.  One set of accounts got accepted.  How does that make it more right?  If a different set got accepted, what you now call genuine would be the "heretical" ones. 

Quote:
Can you give references for this evidence?

 

I believe it is in Todangst's article about the Gospels as midrash.  But, I'll look at it some more this evening. 

 

Quote:
That's a valid point, however, Paul was writing to specific churches experiencing specific doctrinal and/or moral issues.

How better to speak of these issues but by quoting what Jesus said on these issues? 

Quote:
That he doesn't speak about specific aspects of Jesus' life and ministry is not proof that these were later inventions--it's only proof that Paul didn't talk about them.

I didn't offer it as "proof", I don't believe we can "prove" what was in Paul's mind.  I can only offer what seems most likley given the evidence.  And what seems to me most likely is that Paul would have utilized Jesus teachings if he knew of them. 

 

Quote:
Well, we don't know that any of the Gospel's had not been written yet, we only know that we don't have any extant manuscripts dating before Paul's letters.

As far as I know, I thought even most Chrisitan authorities date Paul's epistles prior to the Gospels. 

Quote:
Secondly, even if none of the Gospel's had been written prior to Paul, this does not prove that the knowledge contained in the Gospels was not already known to Christians.

Given the "heretical" Gospels, and given the contradictions and ommissions between the connonical Gospels, I don't find it plausible that Paul would have thought he knew what specific teachings that his audience already knew.  And even if he thought he did, that he wouldn't utilize them to back up his points! 

 

Quote:
It's entirely probable that these stories would have been largely transmitted orally, given the widespread illiteracy of the day;

You do realize you just claimed that the accuracy of the Gospels was maintained orally by illiterate people.  If I offered you something today about WWII that was heretofore unwritten, but passed orally among illiterate people, would you be anxious to accept it as "gospel"?  And please, don't give me the "oral society" argument... 

 

Quote:

The first chapter of the Gospel of Luke states that he is setting about to write an account of the things they (Christians) have already been taught:

"Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught." Luke 1:1-5

Notice a few things here:

1.  He admits he was not an eyewitness.

2.  He claims the information was "handed down" from eyewitnesses, but doesn't say through whom, who he interviewed, what methods he used to distinguish fact from fiction.  And, given you admission that there were "heretical" gospels, shows that there was more than one idea of what happened.  But Luke doesn't tell us how he determined which were true and which were false.

3.  The Gospels do contradict each other, so that is sufficient to know that there are at least some errors.  How can you be sure there aren't other errors that aren't as obvious?

 

Quote:

Sorry about that--I realize that I was not making my point very clear. I meant to say that Paul uses the term "apostle" very loosely, to describe both disciples and the original 12 Apostles.

In other words, I'm correct, right?  That he never specifically indicates there were any desciples, any direct students of Jesus, right? 

 


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith wrote: I

caseagainstfaith wrote:
I agree that the mythist position is a minority opinion. I do not hold to it "dogmatically", I acknowledge that I don't have enough history background to actually rigerously investigate the evidence. That said, whenever I hear someone defend his historicity, the evidence they offer generally seems weak to me. There is no contemporary reference to Jesus.


I think we've already been over this ground. Paul has to be considered contemporaneous, if the Mythicist is going to use Paul as proof that the early Christians believed that Jesus existed only as a spiritual being. But since Paul acknowledges Jesus' existence as a real, flesh-and-blood human being in several of his letters, the premise of the Mythicist falls apart, unless they can prove that Paul's acknowledgment of Jesus' physicality is somehow "metaphorical". But this would seem to be as arbitrary as the claim of the Christian who argues that certain passages of Scripture are metaphorical, while others are literal, begging the question, on what authority does the Mythicist argue that the references of Paul to a physical Jesus are metaphorical, and not literal?

Quote:
Well, again, at least according to Carrier, borrowing from other religions was very common in Rome, where there were multitudes of religions. But, I'll try to go reread what Carrier said on this sometime this evening.


Again, this might have been common in Rome, but Christianity does not find its origins in Rome, or with Paul.

Quote:
Never says those were physical appearances. As you know, the appearance to Paul himself was spiritual, and he doesn't say any of those other appearances were any different.


Again--Paul is not the sole authority on Christian belief--you have to look at the over-all context of Christian theology, thought and tradition. Paul acknowledges that Jesus appeared first to the 12, then to hundreds of others; this same story is told in the Gospels, which do state that it was a physical appearance. Since Paul wasn't around with the 12 when the appearances occurred, we must assume that he learned about it from someone else--but if we maintain the Mythicist position that Paul and the early Christians believed that Jesus existed only as a spiritual being, then the Gospels that followed after Paul should have reflected that, and omitted any reference to a physical appearance of Jesus to the multitudes, but they didn't. So there's a fundamental disconnect between the Mythicist's claims, and what the early Christians actually believed about Jesus.

Quote:
We actually have manuscripts of that, that date to 98 AD?


As far as I am aware, yes. However, even if the only extant copies were centuries older, it does not mean that the text is not accurate--after all, no one doubts the veracity or authorship of "The Gallic Wars", despite the fact that the earliest extant copy was written in 900 A.D.--about 1,000 after Julius Caesar.

Quote:
"What may be"? Why is there doubt? Anyway, I haven't heard of this, so, I'd like some more information.


There is some dispute about the possible translation of the fragment found (it's only a handful of letters in Greek). One unique translation makes it unquestionably from the Gospel of Mark, while other translations eliminate this possibility. Without more fragments, it may be impossible to definitively tell. For more information, do a search on Qum'ran cave 7 fragments.

Quote:
As far as I knew, we don't know for sure what Irenaeus was speaking of. But, I'm interested to know more.


From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

"Irenæus, in his work "Against Heresies" (A.D. 182-88), testifies to the existence of a Tetramorph, or Quadriform Gospel, given by the Word and unified by one Spirit; to repudiate this Gospel or any part of it, as did the Alogi and Marcionites, was to sin against revelation and the Spirit of God. The saintly Doctor of Lyons explicitly states the names of the four Elements of this Gospel, and repeatedly cites all the Evangelists in a manner parallel to his citations from the Old Testament. From the testimony of St. Irenæus alone there can be no reasonable doubt that the Canon of the Gospel was inalterably fixed in the Catholic Church by the last quarter of the second century. Proofs might be multiplied that our canonical Gospels were then universally recognized in the Church, to the exclusion of any pretended Evangels. The magisterial statement of Irenæus may be corroborated by the very ancient catalogue known as the Muratorian Canon, and St. Hippolytus, representing Roman tradition; by Tertullian in Africa, by Clement in Alexandria; the works of the Gnostic Valentinus, and the Syrian Tatian's Diatessaron, a blending together of the Evangelists' writings, presuppose the authority enjoyed by the fourfold Gospel towards the middle of the second century. To this period or a little earlier belongs the pseduo-Clementine epistle in which we find, for the first time after II Peter, iii, 16, the word Scripture applied to a New Testament book. But it is needless in the present article to array the full force of these and other witnesses, since even rationalistic scholars like Harnack admit the canonicity of the quadriform Gospel between the years 140-175."

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03274a.htm

Quote:
Even if true, what does that tell us? Your admission of "numerous heresies" is an admission that there were lots of disputed accounts. One set of accounts got accepted. How does that make it more right? If a different set got accepted, what you now call genuine would be the "heretical" ones.


Except that there can be seen a consistent theology concerning the nature of Jesus existing from the beginning of Christianity. Though various heresies crept up in the Christian community from time to time, these heresies were always additions or alterations to what was already accepted; in order for the Mythicist to prove that the early Christians believed that Jesus was only spiritual, they'll have to show definitively when the change in theology and doctrine occurred.

Quote:
You do realize you just claimed that the accuracy of the Gospels was maintained orally by illiterate people. If I offered you something today about WWII that was heretofore unwritten, but passed orally among illiterate people, would you be anxious to accept it as "gospel"? And please, don't give me the "oral society" argument...


First, I never said anything about the "accuracy" of the Gospels, only that these stories were transmitted to the faithful orally before being committed to writing. Secondly, are you arguing that Hebrew culture and society did not have a tradition of transmitting their teachings orally?

http://www.aish.com/literacy/concepts/The_Oral_Tradition.asp

Lastly, Paul's own writings attest to this fact of oral tradition when he reminds his readers to "stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter," as does the Gospel of Luke, when the author asserts that he sought to record everything that had already been passed on orally.

Quote:
Notice a few things here:

1. He admits he was not an eyewitness.


I never claimed he was an eyewitness, and the context of the paragraph proves that he was not. This does not mean that his testimony is not accurate.

Quote:
2. He claims the information was "handed down" from eyewitnesses, but doesn't say through whom, who he interviewed, what methods he used to distinguish fact from fiction. And, given you admission that there were "heretical" gospels, shows that there was more than one idea of what happened. But Luke doesn't tell us how he determined which were true and which were false.


Why is this necessary? You are erroneously applying modern rules of scholarship to an ancient document. Furthermore, the context of the opening paragraph clearly shows that Luke's intent for writing it is to lend further credence to what has already been handed on orally. Luke's intent is to record for posterity what he and other Christians had already learned about Christ, not to provide a detailed bibliography to satisfy the needs of skeptics 2,000 years into the future.

Quote:
3. The Gospels do contradict each other, so that is sufficient to know that there are at least some errors. How can you be sure there aren't other errors that aren't as obvious?


I agree that the Gospels are contradictory on some details. This is only a problem if one ignores all poetic and literary devices, author intent, intended audience, and even human error, and take them as absolute literal history as handed down from heaven by God himself. Most Christian scholars don't do this, and none of the Gospels are in contradiction with one another on the nature of Christ, the meaning and message of his ministry, his death and resurrection. If one Gospel says that they came to the tomb in the morning, and one says that they came to the tomb at night, does this seeming contradiction mean that there was no tomb?

Quote:
In other words, I'm correct, right? That he never specifically indicates there were any desciples, any direct students of Jesus, right?


No, Paul uses the word "apostle" in a generic sense for anyone who is a follower of Christ's teachings, but distinguishes between these and "the Twelve", i.e., the direct students of Jesus.


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Follow-up:

Follow-up:

 

On the "newly revealed mystery", what I found so far isn't exactly what I thought I remembered, but this may be it. Ephesians 3:1-6

 

As far as the Gospel stories possibly being initially allegorical stories:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060427175532/users2.ev1.net/~turton/GMark/GMark_index.html

That article is referenced in Todangst's article:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash

As far as Carrier supporting Doherty, I didn't find exactly what I was looking for, at least at the moment. Carrier's review generally complements Doherty's book, but, I don't think this article discusses the muliple spiritual levels:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/jesuspuzzle.html

If I recall, some other critic of Doherty made the same claim as you, that there was no idea of multiple spiritual plains. And Carrier wrote a short rebuttal, supporting Doherty on that point. At least that is how I remember it, but I haven't found this rebuttal as yet. I'll look some more for it.

 


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote:

The_Saint wrote:
I think we've already been over this ground. Paul has to be considered contemporaneous, if the Mythicist is going to use Paul as proof that the early Christians believed that Jesus existed only as a spiritual being. But since Paul acknowledges Jesus' existence as a real, flesh-and-blood human being in several of his letters, the premise of the Mythicist falls apart, unless they can prove that Paul's acknowledgment of Jesus' physicality is somehow "metaphorical". But this would seem to be as arbitrary as the claim of the Christian who argues that certain passages of Scripture are metaphorical, while others are literal, begging the question, on what authority does the Mythicist argue that the references of Paul to a physical Jesus are metaphorical, and not literal?


I've already conceeded that there are some scriptures that at least sound like he's talking about a physical man, and I'm really not that versed in interpretation to defend the opposite. You might read Rook's article that he linked above.

Quote:

Again, this might have been common in Rome, but Christianity does not find its origins in Rome, or with Paul.

Nazareth was in Rome, no?

Quote:
Again--Paul is not the sole authority on Christian belief--you have to look at the over-all context of Christian theology, thought and tradition. Paul acknowledges that Jesus appeared first to the 12, then to hundreds of others; this same story is told in the Gospels, which do state that it was a physical appearance.

You are reading into Paul what it says in the Gospels, which *could* be true, but, isn't directly supported by what is is specifically said by Paul. Paul never says they were physical appearances. And if they were different from the appearance to himself, you'd think he'd point that out. Also, while the Gospels do record some physical appearances, I don't remember them specifically mentioning some appearance to "500".

Quote:
but if we maintain the Mythicist position that Paul and the early Christians believed that Jesus existed only as a spiritual being, then the Gospels that followed after Paul should have reflected that, and omitted any reference to a physical appearance of Jesus to the multitudes, but they didn't.

Actually, the earliest Gospel, Mark, originally ended with NO APPEARANCES. But, at some later date, someone added to Mark some appearances. This in itself should be sufficient proof to conclude the physical appearances were legendary additions. This also proves that people were willing to alter the stories. Some people try to claim that people wouldn't lie because they'd be afraid to be killed. Well, changes to the text prove this false.

Quote:
s far as I am aware, yes. However, even if the only extant copies were centuries older, it does not mean that the text is not accurate--after all, no one doubts the veracity or authorship of "The Gallic Wars", despite the fact that the earliest extant copy was written in 900 A.D.--about 1,000 after Julius Caesar.

Well, there are a lot of reasons why its not a valid comparision. For one, there may well be specific items in the existent copies that have had alterations, and we don't know it. And that is why historians try to use multiple independant sources to verify each SPECIFIC fact. They don't treat works as monolyths, that are assmed completely factual if some facts check out. You might want to read my article on historical methods:

http://www.caseagainstfaith.com/articles/historicalmethods.htm

Another reason why it isn't a valid comparision is the differences in how secular works are preserved verses religious works. That may sound like a bias against religious works, but it is simply fact that religious works are produced and distributed by different motivations and methods. See Bart Ehrman's _Misquoting Jesus_. He says that for one, the very earliest Christians didn't see the gospels as "GOSPEL", or scripture. Meaning that from their perspective, the gospels were intended as teaching tools and if they thought a change here or there could improve things, they didn't see any reason not to. Then there were different factions that were altering the texts on purpose to strengthen their case.

But in the case of Ceasar's writings, once the man was dead, there weren't people fighting over what exactly he said or meant on page 202, and burning copies that said something else. That means there is less reason to suspect corruption. But, each fact should still be verified if at all possible. Any fact in Ceasar's writings not verified elsewhere would be deemed of lower reliablility than the facts that are verified elsewhere.

In regards to the Qum'ran cave 7 and to "Irenæus, in his work "Against Heresies", I'll have to do some more reading and get back to you later.

Quote:
Except that there can be seen a consistent theology concerning the nature of Jesus existing from the beginning of Christianity.

Again, we don't know that. We have very little information on what happened in the first century. But we do know that at least in later years, factions fought and killed each other, burned "heretical" works, etc. The side that won is of course going to say the others were minor, and all that rot. If the Sunnis had quickly wiped out the Shiites, or vise-versa, the winners would say the loosers were some minor heretics that were dealt with early. And would claim that Sunni-ism or Shiitism was "consistent all along".

Quote:
Though various heresies crept up in the Christian community from time to time, these heresies were always additions or alterations to what was already accepted;

Actually, that's not true. You might read Bart Ehrman's _Lost Christianities_. (And, of course, _Misquoting Jesus_)

Quote:
in order for the Mythicist to prove that the early Christians believed that Jesus was only spiritual, they'll have to show definitively when the change in theology and doctrine occurred.

Again, I don't think we can offer "proof", only offer it as "best explanation.


Quote:
First, I never said anything about the "accuracy" of the Gospels,

Of course you were, unless you are willing to admit you have no idea how accurate the Gospels are.

Quote:
Secondly, are you arguing that Hebrew culture and society did not have a tradition of transmitting their teachings orally?

http://www.aish.com/literacy/concepts/The_Oral_Tradition.asp

No, I'm saying that isn't a reliable method of maintaining accuracy. The following article by Carrier discusses the problems with oral tradition, and such problems were known even at the time:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html


Quote:

I never claimed he was an eyewitness, and the context of the paragraph proves that he was not. This does not mean that his testimony is not accurate.

It doesn't "prove" it is inaccurate, but, historical reliablity depends on eyewitness accounts if at all possible, physical evidence even better. Again refer to my historical methods paper, and again to Carrier's article linked above.

Quote:
Why is this necessary? You are erroneously applying modern rules of scholarship to an ancient document.

Well, first off, "modern rules of scholarship" weren't invented for the hell of it, they were invented because of problems that arise when you don't follow them. Secondly, as it turns out, real historians of the time, while not being up to "modern standards", were far better than you have been lead to believe by Christian propaganda trying to get you to buy into the Gospels as being "reliable". Again, refer to Carrier's paper, where he compares real historians of the time, and the Gospels.

Here's another paper by Carrier that discusses historical methods in more detail:

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/improbable/disproof.html

Quote:
Furthermore, the context of the opening paragraph clearly shows that Luke's intent for writing it is to lend further credence to what has already been handed on orally.

In other words, he had an agenda.


Quote:

I agree that the Gospels are contradictory on some details. This is only a problem if one ignores all poetic and literary devices, author intent, intended audience, and even human error, and take them as absolute literal history as handed down from heaven by God himself.

Well, indeed, many Christians argue for inerrancy, and that the Gospels were written "by the hand of God". If you allow for human error, what do you know isn't an error?

Quote:
No, Paul uses the word "apostle" in a generic sense for anyone who is a follower of Christ's teachings, but distinguishes between these and "the Twelve", i.e., the direct students of Jesus.

In other words, I'm correct, Paul never indicates that "the Twelve" were direct students of Jesus. Now, the fact that they are given a label of "the Twelve" would indicate that they have some special signficance. But, not specifically that they were direct students.


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Well,  I think it's pretty

Well,  I think it's pretty clear that this discussion is beginning to descend into tedious nit-picking of each other's arguments, so I'd rather just call it quits before it gets out of hand.  Suffice it to say that I can't convince you, and you can't convince me, and leave it at that.  


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote:

The_Saint wrote:

Well, I think it's pretty clear that this discussion is beginning to descend into tedious nit-picking of each other's arguments, so I'd rather just call it quits before it gets out of hand. Suffice it to say that I can't convince you, and you can't convince me, and leave it at that.

I figured it was about time for you to bail. If you were to actually read the articles I linked to, you'd find that you haven't the slightest idea about historical methods, and to maintain your position you need to remain ignorant than to actually learn a little about it. Yeah, that may be an ad hominem, but, I'm a bit annoyed that I went to the trouble to find good articles for you, and you'll just blow them off. Not that I'm surprised, it happens all the time. Its just still annoying. Thank you for wasting my time. Theists really piss me the fuck off.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint

The_Saint wrote:
caseagainstfaith wrote:
I agree that the mythist position is a minority opinion. I do not hold to it "dogmatically", I acknowledge that I don't have enough history background to actually rigerously investigate the evidence. That said, whenever I hear someone defend his historicity, the evidence they offer generally seems weak to me. There is no contemporary reference to Jesus.


I think we've already been over this ground. Paul has to be considered contemporaneous, if the Mythicist is going to use Paul as proof that the early Christians believed that Jesus existed only as a spiritual being. But since Paul acknowledges Jesus' existence as a real, flesh-and-blood human being in several of his letters, the premise of the Mythicist falls apart, unless they can prove that Paul's acknowledgment of Jesus' physicality is somehow "metaphorical". 

Paul concedes that he never met Jesus, and that his sole 'evidence' comes from a vision. Not sure how a vision provides evidence of flesh and blood!

Furthemore, there's nothing contained within Paul's writing that appears to indicate that he has even second hand knowledge of the life and times of "Yeshua Bar Joseph".

As for the concept of Jesus as metaphorical, take a look at the works of Rook. 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


todangst
atheistRational VIP!
todangst's picture
Posts: 2811
Joined: 2006-03-10
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:
The_Saint wrote:

Well, I think it's pretty clear that this discussion is beginning to descend into tedious nit-picking of each other's arguments, so I'd rather just call it quits before it gets out of hand. Suffice it to say that I can't convince you, and you can't convince me, and leave it at that.

I figured it was about time for you to bail. If you were to actually read the articles I linked to, you'd find that you haven't the slightest idea about historical methods, and to maintain your position you need to remain ignorant than to actually learn a little about it. Yeah, that may be an ad hominem, but, I'm a bit annoyed that I went to the trouble to find good articles for you, and you'll just blow them off. Not that I'm surprised, it happens all the time.

Right. Once they do that, they concede that they have no credibility. They are here to foster their own dogma.

I've actually read into both sides more deeply than most theists, and I have to concede that in doing so I've come to entertain the testimonium as a possible partial fraud (rather than total fraud), andin that case, an actual second hand reference to a human (not gospel) jesus (well, third hand reference). I'd say this is the one difficulty to the mythicist position (although its far more damaging to the christian case, as it reveals christianity to just be one big mistake!)

Oh, and I found this entertaining:

Quote:
You are erroneously applying modern rules of scholarship to an ancient document.

By applying ancient historiographical standards created by the ancients themselves to other ancient works, we're applying modern rules of scholarship?

I don't even think he's spending a second to look at your argument....  He treats your case like something that must be rushed through in order to get to his own responses....

 

 

Those who know the good, do the good. - Socrates

Books on atheism.


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith wrote: I

caseagainstfaith wrote:
I figured it was about time for you to bail.


Think what you will.  I simply see reason to continue what you must realize is a discussion that ends as all such discussions do, with the same ground being chewed over and over, until insults begin being thrown back and forth.  Personally, I would rather avoid such unpleasantness--after all, you cannot seriously believe that I could convince you of my position, or that you could convince me of yours?

Quote:
If you were to actually read the articles I linked to, you'd find that you haven't the slightest idea about historical methods, and to maintain your position you need to remain ignorant than to actually learn a little about it.


And you surmise this because I made no comment about the links you provided?  Aside from the pointlessness of further discussion, I made no comment because the links you provided are not relevant to my argument, for a couple of reasons:

1.) The links you provided are to Richard Carrier's rebuttal of J. P. Holding's position on the Resurrection, which is irrelevant--my contention with the Mythicist position is the claim that Jesus never existed as historical figure, not whether the Resurrection occurred as described in the Gospels.  I do not contend that the Gospels and Pauline writings are proof of the divine nature of Jesus, only that they are reliable insofar as they provide sufficient proof that Paul believed that Jesus was a real human being.

2.) As far as his critique of historical methods, I see no reason to comment, since I by and large agree with what Carrier has to say.  I never claimed Luke was infallible history, though even Carrier admits that Luke was a "better than average historian" for his day.  That Luke never cites his sources is not really relevant either, because none of the books of the New Testament were written to convince skeptics and non-believers of the veracity of Christian claims;  Paul wrote to communities that were already Christians, and even Luke, in the opening paragraph of the Gospel, dedicates his narrative to Theophilus, who was also already a Christian. 

Quote:
Yeah, that may be an ad hominem, but, I'm a bit annoyed that I went to the trouble to find good articles for you, and you'll just blow them off.


Give me a break.  I Googled "Richard Carrier/Historical Methods", and the first hit takes me directly to the infidels.org page from which you found your links.  Don't pretend you walked two miles to the local library.

Quote:
Not that I'm surprised, it happens all the time. Its just still annoying. Thank you for wasting my time. Theists really piss me the fuck off.


I'm sorry you feel put out, but  no one placed a gun at your head and made you engage in this discussion.  I made the points I wanted to make, just as you made yours--I felt no reason to continue a discussion that would only have us talking past one another anyway.

The Saint


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote:

The_Saint wrote:
after all, you cannot seriously believe that I could convince you of my position, or that you could convince me of yours?

Why not? It happens on a somewhat regular basis (though not regular enough) that a theist who is certain they could never deconvert hangs out in an atheist forum, and to their surprise, is then deconverted. Go check out Mr. C, for example, on AtheistForums.

And, atheists do, from time to time, convert to theism. Though I'm reasonably certain that if there was a theistic argument that  would make sense to me, I'd have heard it by now. But I don't absolutely rule it out. True, I mostly rule it out, but not absolutely.

Quote:
The links you provided are to Richard Carrier's rebuttal of J. P. Holding's position on the Resurrection, which is irrelevant


I perhaps should have pointed out the specific points I was most interested in having you read. The Carrier articles, while written as a rebuttal to Holding, have lots of good information on historical methods, which you specifically raised when you make the claim that I was trying to use "modern standards" when that is a clearly false claim.

Quote:
As far as his critique of historical methods, I see no reason to comment, since I by and large agree with what Carrier has to say.

In that case, instead of saying nothing, you should have conceeded your previous error on your eroneous claim about my applying "modern standards".

Quote:
That Luke never cites his sources is not really relevant either, because none of the books of the New Testament were written to convince skeptics and non-believers of the veracity of Christian claims;

Well, that's good, because they are clearly inadequate to convince non-believers. But, theists tend to claim that they are somehow miraculous and SHOULD convince non-believers. That, and, well, if they aren't supposed to convince non-believers, and they clearly are not not viable for doing so, then what exactly IS supposed to convine non-believers?

Quote:
Give me a break. I Googled "Richard Carrier/Historical Methods", and the first hit takes me directly to the infidels.org page from which you found your links. Don't pretend you walked two miles to the local library.

Believe it or not, I had a couple of other possible articles in mind, and re-read them to determine which I thought was best reference for the topic at hand. So, no, I didn't walk to the library, but I did spend about 2 hours reading and writing my response. Though I concede it wasn't a total loss of time, I did enjoy rereading them. Still, I wouldn't have done so if I wasn't trying to fnd the best sources I knew of for the topic at hand.

 


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Oh, one more

Oh, one more point...

The_Saint wrote:
I do not contend that the Gospels and Pauline writings are proof of the divine nature of Jesus, only that they are reliable insofar as they provide sufficient proof that Paul believed that Jesus was a real human being.

I've already conceeded multiple times that I'm not really the one to argue that point, read Rook's articles if you want more. I've already acknowledged that there are at least a few places that to me sound like he's speaking of a real human.

But I've also shown why, to me at least, your explanation of why Paul mentions so little about the events of the Gospels doesn't hold water. There is no good reason for him to know what his audience knew, even if they were Christians. It is known that even after the Gospels were written, different groups relied upon different ones, including some groups using ones that became deemed "heretical". So how could he have known what his audience knew? And even if he thought he did, that he wouldn't rely upon it to back up his points just like preachers do today. He even contradicts Jesus, specifically on the rules of divorce! So, for me, this means that even if Paul knew of some human Jesus, what exactly he knew of this human Jesus is extremely vague, vague enough that I don't really think those few passages you speak of are sufficient counter-evidence.

That said, as I've said all along, I'm not "dogmatic" about the mythist position. I'm not completely opposed to the possibility that those few passages you speak of could be in reference to a human Jesus. I'm just saying that the vagueness is sufficient for me to not be convinced. But in answer to your question as to whether it could be possible for you to convince me of your position, at least on this point, I believe it is absolutely possible -- it is absolutely possible that if you give me a good argument I could be convinced of a historical Jesus of some sort.


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
caseagainstfaith

caseagainstfaith wrote:
I've already conceeded multiple times that I'm not really the one to argue that point, read Rook's articles if you want more. I've already acknowledged that there are at least a few places that to me sound like he's speaking of a real human.


I have read them, and I remain skeptical of their objectivity. If the only scholars cited are those who have a clear bias against the existence of an historical Jesus, and an agenda to propagate this bias, can the conclusions ever be taken seriously as objective?

Quote:
But I've also shown why, to me at least, your explanation of why Paul mentions so little about the events of the Gospels doesn't hold water. There is no good reason for him to know what his audience knew, even if they were Christians.


No good reason? Before Paul's conversion he was an ardent persecutor of Christians, and as such would have had at least a passing familiarity with what Christians believed. Since Christianity predates Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that even before his own conversion, Paul would have known the rudiments of Christian belief. That he doesn't make clear use of quotes from Jesus proves nothing beyond the probability that he did not require them to make his point (which he didn't).

Quote:
It is known that even after the Gospels were written, different groups relied upon different ones, including some groups using ones that became deemed "heretical". So how could he have known what his audience knew? And even if he thought he did, that he wouldn't rely upon it to back up his points just like preachers do today. He even contradicts Jesus, specifically on the rules of divorce! So, for me, this means that even if Paul knew of some human Jesus, what exactly he knew of this human Jesus is extremely vague, vague enough that I don't really think those few passages you speak of are sufficient counter-evidence.


I'm not sure how vague "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" is, but it only matters that he knew that Jesus was a real human being. If he did, and if he taught this, then the Mythicist position does not stand:

• Paul states that Jesus was "Descended from David according to the flesh"; Jewish prophecy stated that the Messiah would be a king from the line of David, and that he would save the people of Israel--not a spiritual king, but a real person. Paul's reference to this prophecy clearly indicates that he believed that Jesus was this king, descended from David "according to the flesh".

• Paul states that, "God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Paul asserts that Jesus was "born of woman, born under the law", to redeem those who were also "under the law", that is, Jews. Paul clearly indicates here that Jesus was a Jew, born under the law as all Jews are, and thus, flesh-and-blood.

• Paul states that, "They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ." Here Paul states that the Christ is of the same race as the Israelites, "according to the flesh".

Quote:
That said, as I've said all along, I'm not "dogmatic" about the mythist position. I'm not completely opposed to the possibility that those few passages you speak of could be in reference to a human Jesus. I'm just saying that the vagueness is sufficient for me to not be convinced. But in answer to your question as to whether it could be possible for you to convince me of your position, at least on this point, I believe it is absolutely possible -- it is absolutely possible that if you give me a good argument I could be convinced of a historical Jesus of some sort.


I'm just not sure what sort of argument would convince you, if you believe that the clear references of Paul to Jesus as a human being are "vague". As I repeatedly stated, Paul is not the sole authority on Jesus Christ, and to rely on him to the exclusion of all other Christian thought is irresponsible scholarship, in my opinion, but perhaps I simply lack the skills to present a convincing argument.


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint

The_Saint wrote:
caseagainstfaith wrote:
I've already conceeded multiple times that I'm not really the one to argue that point, read Rook's articles if you want more. I've already acknowledged that there are at least a few places that to me sound like he's speaking of a real human.


I have read them, and I remain skeptical of their objectivity. If the only scholars cited are those who have a clear bias against the existence of an historical Jesus,

Why would you say there is a bias against a historical Jesus? Just because a conclusion is drawn doesn't make it bias.

Quote:
and an agenda to propagate this bias, can the conclusions ever be taken seriously as objective?

This is where I have to seriously question your emotional stake in this argument. You are projecting here your insecurities onto others. Modern historians care little about the theological impact of history on modern society, only the relavance of the theology of the day - that is the only bias a modern historian has, to uncover the theological impact of the times. You can't do that if you rely on bias, you have to be skeptical of everything.

Quote:
Quote:
There is no good reason for him to know what his audience knew, even if they were Christians.


No good reason? Before Paul's conversion he was an ardent persecutor of Christians, and as such would have had at least a passing familiarity with what Christians believed.

I agree with this.

Quote:
Since Christianity predates Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that even before his own conversion, Paul would have known the rudiments of Christian belief.

This is accurate.

Quote:
That he doesn't make clear use of quotes from Jesus proves nothing beyond the probability that he did not require them to make his point (which he didn't).

This is far less accurate. What is the nature of 1 Corinthians? What is the purpose of the letter? It was to explain to the Corinthians the correct (or at least, Paul's understanding of it) doctrine of Jesus resurrection. It's not that the Corinthians were unaware of the resurrection doctrine, quite the contrary, but Paul is vehemntly scolding them. This is peculiar in two ways.

The first is that Paul expresses the nature of the resurrection in terms of spiritual over physical. He feels the flesh is corruptable and believes in the same sort of resurrection concept as proposed by other Hellenistic jews like Philo and Josephus (see article I posted above). This is known as the Dual Body Doctrine, which is laid out in the works of Richard Carrier and N.T. Wright (who is a Christian).

The second is that if he had known of quotes specifically from Christ, or had knowledge of his existence from the Apostles he'd met like James or Peter, why did he not cite them in regards to his scolding the Corinthians? It is embarrassing on the part of the historicist that not once does paul say anything of value in any manner. He doesn't cite Peter or James, not any of the other 500 as witnesses to an earthly ministry. Yet he certainly would have in regards to this doctrine if paul was aware of the Gospels, and had they actually existed in any form, even oral tradition. Especially against the charge that people were confusing him WITH Christ, even AS the Christ.

Third, the fact that he was being confused as Christ is surprising and also peculiar, had Jesus actually lived merely a few years earlier, (1) WHY are people confusing Paul with him, and (2) why doesn't Paul cite any historical framework foir Christs death like, "Remember that Christ was crucified by Pilate?" or "Remember how he had been before the trial in Jerusalem?" - Paul doesn't NEED quotes from jesus as long as it can be determined that paul has some knowledge of an earthly ministry, which is not obvious at all from the text, in fact it's quite the opposite.

Forth, Paul also uses mystical and mysterous language in his epistles. He calls Christians telete, or the perfected in 1 Corinthians 2:6, which is what those of the Orphic Mysteries and the Eleusian Mysteries refered to each other as. He also calls it "the mysteries" of Christ, as well as using heavy gnostic analogies. Such is not the way a historicist would expect Paul to ask if indeed Paul had believed Christ had an earthly ministry.

I lay out many more cases in an upcoming video on Paul. I've also laid out a good case in a show on Mythicism we did. You can check out the show here by purchasing the show package. I suggest the Carrier batch, which is where it can be found.

Quote:
'm not sure how vague "But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons" is,

It's vague. We'll see in a minute just why.

Quote:
but it only matters that he knew that Jesus was a real human being. If he did, and if he taught this, then the Mythicist position does not stand:

• Paul states that Jesus was "Descended from David according to the flesh"; Jewish prophecy stated that the Messiah would be a king from the line of David, and that he would save the people of Israel--not a spiritual king, but a real person. Paul's reference to this prophecy clearly indicates that he believed that Jesus was this king, descended from David "according to the flesh".



• Paul states that, "God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons." Paul asserts that Jesus was "born of woman, born under the law", to redeem those who were also "under the law", that is, Jews. Paul clearly indicates here that Jesus was a Jew, born under the law as all Jews are, and thus, flesh-and-blood.

• Paul states that, "They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ." Here Paul states that the Christ is of the same race as the Israelites, "according to the flesh".

Here is a brief list of why this is flawed and why this passage is vague and makes no sense historically. A greater case for this can be found in my book coming out at the end of the year.

 

  • a) In the Greek, γενομενον can mean “generate” or “make,” not necessarily referring to a birth. In fact, the word used most often to signify the actual births of somebody are variants such as gennhtoς or genoς which signify “birth, those that are born” and “born, stock, offspring” respectively. Such words would have been better suited to explain a biological birth. Instead it is the root genomai which is “to generate,” “become of” or “come into being” as in Genesis 1 where god creates light. Such words resonate as impractical to use had Paul literally meant the birth of Christ on a natural plain. Instead the Mythicist position makes more sense here. (LSJ, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

  • b) “It’s an allegory. He’s very explicit about this with the mother in Galatians 4, where he (Paul - Ed) says…Jesus was born of a mother then he immediately goes on to talk about these two women that are merely allegorical women and that we’re children of these women. (Galatians 4:21-31 - Ed) We, the Christians and the Jews are children of these women in a metaphorical sense not a biological sense. …Of course all of this comes from scripture so they’re reinterpreting scripture. It said the messiah had to be of the seed of David of course God can make any celestial being out of any seed he wanted, because he’s God, basically. I think that is what he’s referring too. It’s a metaphorical concept. …It’s interesting though that Paul only talks in this sort of formalistic very unspecific term ‘from the seed of David,’ he never says ‘born to the womb of Mary,’ for example. He doesn’t give any specific details of when he was born, he says ‘son of the seed of David’ but he never says ‘son of Joseph,’ he never names the father of Jesus. It’s always this formulaic sort of scriptural phrase that doesn’t actually have any reference to the father of Jesus. I mean, David wasn’t the father of Jesus unless in a sort of spiritual metaphorical sense that’s exactly what God did, was took a seed from David and made this Jesus figure, which of course would not have happened on earth. So the point being is there are two ways to interpret that and you could interpret that in a historicists sense, you could interpret it in a Mythicist sense, but when you analyze all the evidence, the historicist sense starts to look less believable.” (Richard Carrier, The Rational Response Squad Radio Show, Show 25)

  • c) “The Christian response is ‘well legally he was (Joseph’s son - Ed) but the problem is, Paul doesn’t say ‘legally’ he says ‘from the seed of David.’ So he means some semen supposed exited a Davidic ancestor and entered a womb and impregnated a woman unless of course you interpret it metaphorically.” (Richard Carrier, The Rational Response Squad Radio Show, Show 25)

  • d) Adoption through the spirit is important to Paul, and he talks a lot about the flesh being adopted by the spirit in Christ Jesus to be saved. Examples include Romans 8:14-17, 23, 9:4, Galatians 4:5.



Quote:
I'm just not sure what sort of argument would convince you, if you believe that the clear references of Paul to Jesus as a human being are "vague". As I repeatedly stated, Paul is not the sole authority on Jesus Christ, and to rely on him to the exclusion of all other Christian thought is irresponsible scholarship, in my opinion, but perhaps I simply lack the skills to present a convincing argument.

 

A convincing argument isn't really the issue here. It's whether or not the historicist case is more probable then the mythicist position. The case for the historicist relies too heavily on special pleasding and outdated scholarship. Modern historians are moving away - far away - from old theological historians of the last 300 years, instead in the last 50 have focused more on the science of History and determined after many new archaeological dig cites, and the vast amount of new papyri we've come across along with many additional pseudepigrapha and apocrypha, that the chances of these events (the Gospel accounts) being historical are near none. Instead, scholarship has moved towards trying to understand the reflexive social and cultural environments in which such stories arose.

Scholarship has more now started to see the mythological and allegorical intentions of the original Markan tradition, and the later adaptations and evolution of that theology, not as one singual christianity, but as a circuit or parallel course to the Pauline tradition, which was established by the time the author of mark would have written. All one has to do is READ the four Gospels top see how the story started by the markan author developed and expanded as a legend over the four - ending with Luke-Acts.

You're are correct that Paul isn't the only authority on Christ in the first century, we must also look to Clement, who again knows of only oral tradition and no real earthly church of Christ. It's peculiar indeed.

My advice is to wait until my book comes out, or do some serious studying of your own. I can give you a complete bibliography if you'd like.

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server, which houses Celebrity Atheists. Books by Rook Hawkins (Thomas Verenna)


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
Rook_Hawkins

Rook_Hawkins wrote:

Quote:
But I've also shown why, to me at least, your explanation of why Paul mentions so little about the events of the Gospels doesn't hold water.

No you have not. You've not presented a single decent case for this.

 Hey, Rook, that quote in your response to The Saint was a quote of him quoting me.  Were you addressing me in that part of your response?  Its okay if you're saying I'm mistaken on my point, you know better than I.  But, I was just trying to clarify what point you were making.

 


Rook_Hawkins
RRS CO-FOUNDER
Rook_Hawkins's picture
Posts: 1322
Joined: 2006-02-11
User is offlineOffline
Oops, I guess the quote

Oops, I guess the quote function got screwy - that was supposed to be quoting Saint.


caseagainstfaith
Silver Member
caseagainstfaith's picture
Posts: 202
Joined: 2006-09-10
User is offlineOffline
The_Saint wrote:

The_Saint wrote:

I have read them, and I remain skeptical of their objectivity. If the only scholars cited are those who have a clear bias against the existence of an historical Jesus, and an agenda to propagate this bias, can the conclusions ever be taken seriously as objective?

Rook's response seemed to discount bias. But I will agree with you, slightly. I believe everybody is biased, and that includes me and Rook. But it also includes you and your Christian sources! If you are going to dismiss Rook's arguments out of hand for possible bias, then you should dismiss your Christian sources, including, well, Paul and the Gospel authors! Rather, the better approach would be to consider our bias, but still evaluate the arguments themselves rather than just nay-say them.

The_Saint wrote:
No good reason? Before Paul's conversion he was an ardent persecutor of Christians, and as such would have had at least a passing familiarity with what Christians believed. Since Christianity predates Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that even before his own conversion, Paul would have known the rudiments of Christian belief.

You are straw-manning my argument! I'm not saying Paul didn't have a clue about Christian belief. I'm saying there was not "ONE" Christian belief! There were different factions, and different groups with different Gospels (if they had any at all) and different interpretations of those teachings. Given that the faith was new, Paul could not reasonably have thought that his audience all heard the same teachings he did. And even if he did think so, that he wouldn't use them to support his particular understanding of them! See Rook's response for good examples of places that Paul likely would have used Jesus' teachings if he knew of them!

The_Saint wrote:
'm just not sure what sort of argument would convince you, if you believe that the clear references of Paul to Jesus as a human being are "vague".

Though I'm not sufficiently versed in interpreting Paul, as I've said, I'm not capable of producing the kinds of arguments Rook provided. But, his arguments are sufficient to me to conclude that the references are indeed "vague".

Now, it is of course your right to disagree, but you haven't given a counter argument, all you've done is nay-say.

But as to "what sort of argument" would convince me of your position, well, go back to Carrier's articles. He gave an example of what if we had a written statement from Pontius Pilate about Jesus' trial and crucifixion? Of course its not your fault we don't have that. But, it is still a true statement that we don't but if we did that would be good evidence of a historical Jesus.

Alternatively, you could perhaps give good counter-arguments to Rook's arguments, instead of just nay-saying them. Show me you are better at interpreting Paul than Rook is. (Ha! But theoretically...) So that's the kinds of arguments that you could theoretically produce to convince me of your position.


The_Saint
Theist
The_Saint's picture
Posts: 78
Joined: 2007-05-11
User is offlineOffline
Rook_Hawkins wrote: What is

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
What is the nature of 1 Corinthians? What is the purpose of the letter? It was to explain to the Corinthians the correct (or at least, Paul's understanding of it) doctrine of Jesus resurrection. It's not that the Corinthians were unaware of the resurrection doctrine, quite the contrary, but Paul is vehemntly scolding them. This is peculiar in two ways.

The first is that Paul expresses the nature of the resurrection in terms of spiritual over physical. He feels the flesh is corruptable and believes in the same sort of resurrection concept as proposed by other Hellenistic jews like Philo and Josephus (see article I posted above). This is known as the Dual Body Doctrine, which is laid out in the works of Richard Carrier and N.T. Wright (who is a Christian).


I don't see how you come to the conclusion that Paul expresses the nature of the Resurrection in terms of spiritual over physical, given that his reasons for chastising the Christians at Corinth is precisely because they deny the resurrection of the body. Paul states that if there is no "resurrection of the dead (nekros), then Christ has not been raised (egeiro)"--in the Greek, nekros describes death for both persons and things, while egeiro can mean to be "restored from a dead or damaged state"--if Paul understood Jesus to be only a spiritual being, why does he use language that denotes the restoration of a physical corpse from a dead state?

Quote:
The second is that if he had known of quotes specifically from Christ, or had knowledge of his existence from the Apostles he'd met like James or Peter, why did he not cite them in regards to his scolding the Corinthians? It is embarrassing on the part of the historicist that not once does paul say anything of value in any manner. He doesn't cite Peter or James, not any of the other 500 as witnesses to an earthly ministry. Yet he certainly would have in regards to this doctrine if paul was aware of the Gospels, and had they actually existed in any form, even oral tradition. Especially against the charge that people were confusing him WITH Christ, even AS the Christ.


I just don't see this as a problem. Nothing Paul states contradicts Christian doctrine about the nature of the Resurrection.

Quote:
Third, the fact that he was being confused as Christ is surprising and also peculiar, had Jesus actually lived merely a few years earlier, (1) WHY are people confusing Paul with him, and (2) why doesn't Paul cite any historical framework foir Christs death like, "Remember that Christ was crucified by Pilate?" or "Remember how he had been before the trial in Jerusalem?" - Paul doesn't NEED quotes from jesus as long as it can be determined that paul has some knowledge of an earthly ministry, which is not obvious at all from the text, in fact it's quite the opposite.


First, I think you misunderstand the context of 1 Corinthians 1:10--Paul is not being "confused for Christ" by the people of Corinth, rather, there are divisions among the Christians there over who their spiritual leader should be--no different than what exists in many Christian churches today when congregations become divided over which minister they will follow. Second, your argument that Paul doesn't cite any historical framework for Jesus' death is rather conspiratorial; Paul is chastising the people of Corinth for their division over the nature of the Resurrection, not the historical logistics of the act, so no "historical framework" is necessary here. That he doesn't mention Pilate does not mean that he or the people of Corinth were not already aware of these facts.

Quote:
Forth, Paul also uses mystical and mysterous language in his epistles. He calls Christians telete, or the perfected in 1 Corinthians 2:6, which is what those of the Orphic Mysteries and the Eleusian Mysteries refered to each other as. He also calls it "the mysteries" of Christ, as well as using heavy gnostic analogies. Such is not the way a historicist would expect Paul to ask if indeed Paul had believed Christ had an earthly ministry.


Why? The nature of God is a mystery, as is the power by which Christ is resurrected--context is always important, and the "mysterious language" that Paul employs is always in the context of God's plan of salvation through the death and resurrection of Jesus, not about the existence of Jesus as a man.

Side note: my Greek is a little rusty, but I don't think telete means "perfected"--I think you mean teleios, which more accurately means "mature".

Quote:
a) In the Greek, γενομενον can mean “generate” or “make,” not necessarily referring to a birth. In fact, the word used most often to signify the actual births of somebody are variants such as gennhtoς or genoς which signify “birth, those that are born” and “born, stock, offspring” respectively. Such words would have been better suited to explain a biological birth. Instead it is the root genomai which is “to generate,” “become of” or “come into being” as in Genesis 1 where god creates light. Such words resonate as impractical to use had Paul literally meant the birth of Christ on a natural plain. Instead the Mythicist position makes more sense here.


It may be that there are more specific variants, but ginomai, used by Paul in these passages, can be used to denote actual birth. This is supported in context with other references to Jesus' human nature made by Paul, such as 1 Corinthians 15:20:

"But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead has also come through a man; for as all die in Adam, so all will be made alive in Christ."

In the Greek, Paul uses the very specific word anthropos, which is used exclusively to denote human beings, to describe how the resurrection of the dead will be accomplished: through a man (anthropos).

If Paul did not believe that Jesus was a human being, why then does he use the specific Greek for human being to describe Jesus? Why not use pneumatikos, if Paul believed that Jesus was only a spirit being?

In Ephesians 2:13-14, Paul says, "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood (haima) of Christ. For he is our peace; in his flesh (sarx) he has made both groups into one and has broken down the dividing wall, that is, the hostility between us." In the Greek, sarx denotes literally the soft tissue of animals--if Jesus was only a spirit being, how can his flesh do anything? Do spirits have flesh and blood?

In Hebrews 2:14-17, Paul says, "Since, therefore, the children share flesh (sarx) and blood (haima), he himself likewise shared (metecho) the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people." Paul clearly states that Jesus had to become like us "in every respect", by sharing in the flesh and blood of humanity.

While the Greek might have more specific terms to denote an actual birth, the Mythicist position doesn't make sense in context with the many other references by Paul of Jesus' human nature--you cannot reasonably claim that every single reference to Jesus' humanity is "metaphorical".

Quote:
b) “It’s an allegory. He’s very explicit about this with the mother in Galatians 4, where he (Paul - Ed) says…Jesus was born of a mother then he immediately goes on to talk about these two women that are merely allegorical women and that we’re children of these women. (Galatians 4:21


You need to check your references again. The allegory does not immediately follow the passage in which Paul states that Jesus was "born of woman"--this occurs in Galatians 4:4. The allegory does not come in until 4:21, and the the subject is the two children of Abraham--one by Haggar, the other by Sarah, and the context is that those who rely solely upon the Law instead of faith in God's promises will be excluded from the inheritance of eternal life.

Quote:
We, the Christians and the Jews are children of these women in a metaphorical sense not a biological sense. …Of course all of this comes from scripture so they’re reinterpreting scripture. It said the messiah had to be of the seed of David of course God can make any celestial being out of any seed he wanted, because he’s God, basically. I think that is what he’s referring too. It’s a metaphorical concept. …It’s interesting though that Paul only talks in this sort of formalistic very unspecific term ‘from the seed of David,’ he never says ‘born to the womb of Mary,’ for example. He doesn’t give any specific details of when he was born, he says ‘son of the seed of David’ but he never says ‘son of Joseph,’ he never names the father of Jesus. It’s always this formulaic sort of scriptural phrase that doesn’t actually have any reference to the father of Jesus. I mean, David wasn’t the father of Jesus unless in a sort of spiritual metaphorical sense that’s exactly what God did, was took a seed from David and made this Jesus figure, which of course would not have happened on earth. So the point being is there are two ways to interpret that and you could interpret that in a historicists sense, you could interpret it in a Mythicist sense, but when you analyze all the evidence, the historicist sense starts to look less believable.”


I'm not sure I quite understand where Carrier is coming from here. First, there is no phrase "from the seed of David" in any translation that I have, only 'descended from David'--it might be splitting hairs, but it brings me to my next point: Carrier seems to not understand the importance of genealogy in Hebrew culture--Jesus need not be literally conceived by David to be "descended from David according to the flesh"--he only needed to be linked to the line of David through one or more of his parents.

Quote:
c) “The Christian response is ‘well legally he was (Joseph’s son - Ed) but the problem is, Paul doesn’t say ‘legally’ he says ‘from the seed of David.’ So he means some semen supposed exited a Davidic ancestor and entered a womb and impregnated a woman unless of course you interpret it metaphorically.” (Richard Carrier, The Rational Response Squad Radio Show, Show 25)


Christian tradition holds that Mary was also of the line of David, and according to Levirate law (Numbers 36:6-12) an only daughter had to marry within her own family in order secure the right of inheritance. The Greek text of Luke 3:23, "on (os enomizeto ouios Ioseph) tou Heli" links Jesus through Mary's lineage, not Joseph's; Mary was the daughter of Jacob, and Joseph was the son of Jacob's brother Heli, making Joseph and Mary first cousins, and therefore both of the house of David.

I'm sure that the Mythicist's argument is quite complex and detailed, and covers all the bases on a wide range of Scriptural issues. To me, however, it reads rather like a conspiracy theory. I'm only really interested in whether Paul ever speaks of Jesus as a real, physical human being, and it's pretty clear to me from the Greek that he does on several occasions. But I'm no historian, so I really don't have much of a dog in this hunt; If you're convinced that Jesus was a myth, that's certainly your prerogative. I just don't agree with it.

The Saint


Apotheon
Theist
Apotheon's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: 2007-06-29
User is offlineOffline
 Rook, I'll debate you in

 Rook, I'll debate you in this thread. You've avoided me in other threads. You can run but you can't hide. Jesus did exist, and you don't know what you're talking about.

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


Piper2000ca
Piper2000ca's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2006-12-27
User is offlineOffline
Apotheon wrote: Rook, I'll

Apotheon wrote:
Rook, I'll debate you in this thread. You've avoided me in other threads. You can run but you can't hide. Jesus did exist, and you don't know what you're talking about.

 Ok, let's hear your evidence for the existence of Jesus.


Apotheon
Theist
Apotheon's picture
Posts: 209
Joined: 2007-06-29
User is offlineOffline
 Sure, but I will first ask

 Sure, but I will first ask you the same question I asked Rook in chat, to which he never answered. what would you consider evidence?

The more I study nature, the more I stand amazed at the work of the Creator -- Louis Pasteur


Piper2000ca
Piper2000ca's picture
Posts: 138
Joined: 2006-12-27
User is offlineOffline
Apotheon wrote: Sure, but

Apotheon wrote:
Sure, but I will first ask you the same question I asked Rook in chat, to which he never answered. what would you consider evidence?

Of course.


pongo
Posts: 1
Joined: 2007-07-22
User is offlineOffline
 Quote:You are reading

 

Quote:
You are reading into Paul what it says in the Gospels, which *could* be true, but, isn't directly supported by what is is specifically said by Paul. Paul never says they were physical appearances. And if they were different from the appearance to himself, you'd think he'd point that out. Also, while the Gospels do record some physical appearances, I don't remember them specifically mentioning some appearance to "500".

 I'm sorry to say that Paul was not aware that an atheistic audience 1950 years later would require for him to specify that they were appearances of Christ in the flesh, where as his "last of all me" was a heavenly vision akin to John's in Revelation. To point out the ridiculousness of this argument, how could anyone know that Christ showed himself to 500 people at one time? Was everyone gathered at some point so they can magically receive this vision? Or was it an "objective heavenly vision" the kind Paul had which he says the others around him did not see (Acts 9:7), nor understand what was said to Paul (Acts 22:9), so how was it known that Christ showed himself to 500 people at one time? This points to an event that happened in front of everyone that was known to have happened so. Furthermore, Paul goes on to persuade the Greeks that this resurrection is possible, who believed in a resurrection of the spirit the kind you and fellow mythicists purport Paul is proclaiming, so why would he be trying to convince them of something they already believed in?

Quote:
Actually, the earliest Gospel, Mark, originally ended with NO APPEARANCES. But, at some later date, someone added to Mark some appearances. This in itself should be sufficient proof to conclude the physical appearances were legendary additions. This also proves that people were willing to alter the stories. Some people try to claim that people wouldn't lie because they'd be afraid to be killed. Well, changes to the text prove this false.

The addition to Mark is 16:9-16:20, and there is a Resurrection account from 16:1-16:8. Mark is after Matthew and Luke, as internal evidence in the book of Acts points to a date around 62 AD, whereas Luke was written slightly before then, and Luke is dependent on Matthew, which would make Matthew in the 50's at latest, but that is a different topic. The addition itself was not as dangerous as starting a new religion, though Irenaeus would certainly disagree as he says that the forgerer, if it was the person he suspected that did it, "would have a lot of trouble with the Lord."

 

Quote:

But in the case of Ceasar's writings, once the man was dead, there weren't people fighting over what exactly he said or meant on page 202, and burning copies that said something else. That means there is less reason to suspect corruption. But, each fact should still be verified if at all possible. Any fact in Ceasar's writings not verified elsewhere would be deemed of lower reliablility than the facts that are verified elsewhere.

 Comparing the accuracy and abundance of a Roman despot with that of an ancient Mediterranean then unknown person is really not a valid comparison, though I guess the person who originated the argument is at fault.

Quote:
Again, we don't know that. We have very little information on what happened in the first century.
 

We do have Paul's writings, 7 or 8 (if you count Colossians) epistles written from 50-60. There is only one verse that expressly says the phrase "Jesus is God" unambiguously (Philippians 2:6), but I've heard that it is an interpolation, although it's in the Vulgate (405 AD), so the only arguments that are really in doubt is the Virgin Birth, the Empty Tomb, etc. Paul omits the later for the same reason that none of the gospels herald it as ultimate proof of Christ's Resurrection: the rumor was started that His body was stolen, so how does an empty tomb prove anything when all someone had to say was, "It was stolen." Paul's lack of mention of an empty tomb as evidence is irrelevant, though he does mention it (1 Corinthians 15:4) which has led at least one somebody to try and pull off the earliest creed as a later interpolations.

Quote:
But we do know that at least in later years, factions fought and killed each other, burned "heretical" works, etc. The side that won is of course going to say the others were minor, and all that rot. If the Sunnis had quickly wiped out the Shiites, or vise-versa, the winners would say the loosers were some minor heretics that were dealt with early. And would claim that Sunni-ism or Shiitism was "consistent all along".

 I think somebody has been watching "Kingdom of Heaven" a little too many times. Factions did not fight and "kill each other, burned 'heretical' works." The way factions fought each other was through forgeries. After all if the Apostles supported your doctrine, the other sides would either have to concede or be heretics for sure against the real Christ. Forgery started around 80 and continued well into the 4th century (Gospel of Philip, etc) and probably beyond as far as I know. There was no burning of books. They were simply ignored, as all other literature at the time. The burning came later, the two main examples being the Spanish burning of the Mayan codices (for which de Landa later apologized), and Hitler's burning of books. The heretics were well known who they were. It was people who had no record of their beliefs existing at the time that it was supposed to for it to be valid. As early as 130 (Papias or Pappias as it was commonly spelled) there was access to Apostolic tradition, so to not know who didn't have origins prior to 85-90 AD (ahem Ebionites, etc), is like claiming in 1930 it was not known who fought in the Civil War (disregarding documents). Witnesses born in the 40's who knew what was going on in the 60's and beyond certainly would enlighten folks like Ignatius and Polycarp. But even more certain is the lack of dispute with any of these folks between Paul. The only sect of Christianity that existed in the 1st century (late 1st century) was the Ebionites who were basically Jewish Christians. There is only one letter directed primarily at Jews (Hebrews), which isn't even Pauline as tradition maintains. The Jewish problems Paul encounters in Acts and throughout his epistles are only in regards to his proclamation of Jesus as the Messiah, something which the Ebionites admitted. There were false teachers, as early as the 50's who did not teach anything radically different from Christianity, but that "the resurrection had already happened," or problems such as no physical resurrection as Paul deals with in 1 Corinthians 15, meaning that Christianity was one and the same for all Christians up until the period of c.80 AD when the sects started to emerge.

The "number of gospels" is a misleading concept. The word gospel means "good news." It doesn't mean "an account of Christ's life." The earliest gospel that we know of directly is the one in 1 Corinthians 15:2-4. But, to put it bluntly canonical and non-canonical alike, there were about 22 gospels, though most are mid 2nd century and beyond. Although of the non-canonical ones there are none that are authentic (i.e. Gospel of Judas was not written by Judas Iscariot), there are some that contain very primitive material (Gospel of Thomas, Oxyrhychus 840 and 1240 fragments), which are sayings of Christ, not narrative, do not in any way contradict Mark-John because most authenticate the sayings in them! And these gospels are further proof that there was a historical Jesus.

Quote:
Well, first off, "modern rules of scholarship" weren't invented for the hell of it, they were invented because of problems that arise when you don't follow them. Secondly, as it turns out, real historians of the time, while not being up to "modern standards", were far better than you have been lead to believe by Christian propaganda trying to get you to buy into the Gospels as being "reliable". Again, refer to Carrier's paper, where he compares real historians of the time, and the Gospels.

Carrier himself says that the strictest of all the historians, Thucydides, admits that he had to go on guesswork as to what was actually said from that testimony in the link. Regardless of that, it's one thing to be an eyewitness, and another to interview ones. Luke seems to be the only one that falls in the latter category, although he says that he made sure the credible was separated. I guess the argument for oral tradition stems from the previous post which in my opinion is a reference to JP Holding's views on the Synoptic Problem. Needless to say, there are better conservative solutions to the Synoptic Problem than the gospels being entirely oral tradition, the Matthean priority with its numerous problems being sadly one of them.

Quote:
In regards to the Qum'ran cave 7 and to "Irenæus, in his work "Against Heresies", I'll have to do some more reading and get back to you later.

The 7Q5 fragment that is allegedly Mark from 50 AD along with all the others has been relatively debunked. Firstly, the only completely distinguishable word in that particular fragment is kai which means "and" plus the study showed that there wasn't enough room for the phrase "moored the boat" or something. Hershel Shanks in his "Mystery and Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls" has specific references to the articles (the book is a great read as well, and a good introduction to the DSS).

Quote:
 

Quote:
Quote:
I figured it was about time for you to bail. If you were to actually read the articles I linked to, you'd find that you haven't the slightest idea about historical methods, and to maintain your position you need to remain ignorant than to actually learn a little about it. Yeah, that may be an ad hominem, but, I'm a bit annoyed that I went to the trouble to find good articles for you, and you'll just blow them off. Not that I'm surprised, it happens all the time.

Right. Once they do that, they concede that they have no credibility. They are here to foster their own dogma.

 The reason that he probably doesn't want to respond is that there's no point refuting the same points over and over again.

 

Quote:
Why not? It happens on a somewhat regular basis (though not regular enough) that a theist who is certain they could never deconvert hangs out in an atheist forum, and to their surprise, is then deconverted. Go check out Mr. C, for example, on AtheistForums.

Apparently the elusive Mr_C from AtheistForums was an atheist from his first post. If he's another Dan Barker, forget it.

Sic transit, gloria mundi