Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

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This thread is for comments and for split off posts from this thread.

The contest to prove people existed without contemporary evidence was ended when Richard Carrier showed us it was possible. Richard joined us to record 7 shows, and we talked about it in the Jesus mythicism show. Richard agrees that Jesus likely never existed, however lacking contemporary evidence alone isn't enough to make the case. There's much more to it.

As you'll see below the beggining of the split off comments start with a line of discussion looking for oother historical figures that we accept as real but that don't have contemporrary evidence for them, like in the case of Jesus. Richard showed me how there are quite a few people who we accept as true that didn't have contemporary evidence for them. He admits it's extremely hard to find someone that lacks evidence for 40 years after their death like in the case of Jesus, but nevertheless I agreed to put my foot in my mouth if I was shown other historical figures have similar lacking evidence.

The myth of Jesus is not best found through the argument for silence, I never proposed it was, you'll hear the arguments that show how Jesus never existed on our October 6th show. Enjoy!

The contest to find contemporary evidence for Jesus is still on, as the contest has it's own merits, even though there are much better arguments against his existence.

- Brian Sapient


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Re: Five Historical Characters

Celsus wrote:
1. Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar II

2. Confucius

3. Moses

4. Solon

5. Darius II Of Persia

Firstly, I'm curious... are these guesses? I would be interested to know what you think the first known documents are that can verify these historical people, and if they are over 25 years after their death.

I will be contacting Richard Carrier this week to see if these people had contemporary evidence for them, and to see what he thinks about the possibility of anyone taking our money. I am very interested in finding people that fit this (absence of 25+ years) mold, and even if you don't win the money, I'd be thankful for you bringing some of these people to my (and our) attention.

Now, I figured I'd start right at the beginning and have been researching Nebuchadnezzar for a few hours now. Since the burden of proof is on me to give a contemporary piece of evidence, I'm searching hard as I refuse to spout of something ignorant like "Well the question isn't whether he existed, but if he was a King."

This piece of evidence comes up often, however I can't find a date on it (anyone want to help? Do you know Celsus?). It is a clay tablet that sits in the British Museum.

The tablet states:

Quote:
"In the seventh month (of Nebuchadnezzar-599 BC.) in the month Chislev (Nov/Dec) the king of Babylon assembled his army, and after he had invaded the land of Hatti (Syria/Palestine) he laid seige to the city of Judah. On the second day of the month of Adara ( 16th of March) he conquered the city and took the king (Jehoiachin) prisoner. He installed in his place a king (Zedekiah) of his own choice, and after he had received rich tribute, he sent (them) forth to Babylon."

In addition through my research tonight, I've found many references to cuneiform and clay tablets coming from the time and life of King Neb. However I want to be able to provide one, with a picture, and a date, as this is the type of evidence I'm asking for of Jesus. I will mention just one for the time being. It is a tablet known as "VAT 4956."

Here it is:

Translated it discusses celestial events written by astronomers in the day of Nebuchadnezzar II.

Description of the Tablet (considered to be the first recorded observation of the aurira borealis) <-- cool!

Quote:
The Late Babylonian astronomical texts, discovered at the site of Babylon (32.5?N, 44.4?E) more than a century ago, contain what is probably the earliest reliable account of the aurora borealis. A clay tablet recording numerous celestial observations made by the official astronomers during the 37th year of King Nebuchadnezzar II (568/567 BC) describes an unusual "red glow" in the sky at night; the exact date of this observation corresponds to the night of 12/13 March in 567 BC. The most likely interpretation of the phenomenon is an auroral display. This event occurred several centuries before the first clearly identifiable observation of the aurora from elsewhere in the world, namely China in 193 BC. The Babylonian auroral observation is remarkable in the sense that it is one of a series of carefully recorded astronomical observations, for each of which the year, month and day are known precisely. This observation occurred at a time when the geomagnetic (dipole) latitude of Babylon was about 41?N compared with the present value of 27.5?N, suggesting a higher auroral incidence at Babylon in 567 BC than at present.

Here is the English Translation of the tablet. Specifically stating that these observations were made in "year 37 of Nebukadnezar."

And finally to complete the puzzle we have this information on when the above observations were written, and this page positively asserts:

Quote:

VAT 4956

The most important text for our discussion is designated VAT 4956, which is kept in the "Vorderasiatischen Abteilung" in the Berlin Museum. This diary is dated from Nisan 1 of Nebuchadnezzar's 37th regnal year to Nisan 1 of his 38th regnal year, recording observations of the moon and the planets from his entire 37th year. A translation and careful examination of the text was published by P. V. Neugebauer and E. F. Weidner in 1915.

Among the many observations recorded on VAT 4956, there are about thirty which are so exactly described that modern astronomers can easily fix the exact dates when they were made. By doing so they have been able to show that all these observations (of the moon and the five planets) must have been made during the year 568/7 B.C. Remember in the following discussion that astronomical calculations include a zero year between 1 B.C. and 1 A.D., so that this date would be written as -567/6. The diary itself clearly states that the observations were made during Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year, opening with the words: "37th year of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. On Nisan 1 the moon became visible behind the Hyades; visibility lasted for 64m...." It ends with Nisan 1 of the "38th year of Nebuchadnezzar," according to Neugebauer and Weidner.

If Nebuchadnezzar's 37th regnal year was 568/7 B.C., then his first year must have been 604/3 B.C, and his eighteenth, during which he destroyed Jerusalem, 587/6 B.C. This is the same date indicated by Berossus, Ptolemy, royal inscriptions and the business documents.

It would seem the nail is in the coffin on "Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar II" unless of course you can prove that the above two tablets are dated 25 years or more after King Neb died.

It was suggested that we should charge $5 per person to submit entries, and after the last 2 hours of research, I'm thinking that might be a good idea. Sticking out tongue Well at least I learned something. Smiling Celsus, since you need to get 5, I am too beat to look into the others. I'm hoping that as the thread develops, someone else will want to do the research on the others, before I have a chance to get to it. Do you have anything to add about your selections? Do you have something you could link me to that talks about the absence of evidence for the figures you mentioned?

- Brian Sapient


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

Is there even proof Moses really existed as a person? Remember, the Bible doesn't count.


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So I posed the question about 5 other people there's no contemporary sources on to a theist friend of mine and he gave me this answer:

Quote:
Note, there may have been more contemporary writings on these folks, but I'm not aware of any surviving.

1. David ben-Jesse (King David).

2. Boudica / Boadicea (I believe the earliest known writings on her are by that damned Tacitus guy we're not supposed to reference, in about 100 a.d. Sticking out tongue)

3. Leif Eriksson (lived in the late 10th century; documented in the Saga of Eric the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders, both written in the 13th century or so)

4. Pythagoras. Althought the earliest known references to him are by his students, and are believed to be 'contemporary', they're also believed to be biased, as he was the center of a cult of personality. Our primary references on him are 3rd century a.d., I believe.

5. Gautama (later known as "Buddha"Eye-wink. The earliest known writings on him are about 4 centuries later. ;P

Anyone know if he's right or wrong? I sure as hell don't have the time or resources to look it all up, but then again it's not my contest. Laughing out loud

-=Grim=-

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Re: Five Historical Characters

Celsus wrote:
1. Babylonian King Nebuchadrezzar II

2. Confucius

3. Moses

4. Solon

5. Darius II Of Persia

Richard Carrier has written up a little bit on each of the above characters. I am leaving everything intact exactly as he wrote it.

Richard Carrier wrote:

1. Nebuchadrezzar II is attested in numerous documents (tablets and
inscriptions) created during or within 25 years of his life (at least
one of which written by the man himself--Pritchard, Ancient Near
Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 2nd ed., p. 307), and at
least two literary texts written in his lifetime: the Book of Ezekiel
and the Book of Jeremiah. Ezra was also written during the reign of
Cyrus quite likely within 25 years of the death of Nebuchadrezzar II
and it, too, attests to his existence. For more see Boyd & Boase,
Nebuchadnezzar; and Wiseman, Nebuchadrezzar and Babylon. Thus, this
candidate clearly fails the criteria.

2. Confucius is problematic because we don't know the date of the
Analects, which contains the most thorough attestation, and probably
the earliest. Unlike the Gospels, we have no data that argues for the
Analects being written later than 25 years after his death, though they
could have been, and some scholars think some of the Analects were, but
not with any definite proof. So we don't know. However, the Analects is
rich with abundant and precise details about the life, family and
career of Confucius, far more than we have for Jesus in the Gospels,
and it certainly reads like the personal recollections of a student or
students who knew him personally, so I would be inclined to assume an
early date, within 25 years of his death (the Analects probably
represent the actual crystalization of his circle of students into an
established school, which would have happened during the lifetime of
his leading students still living, though additions and emendations to
the text could have followed). But that is not a strong argument. For
the best case to the contrary, I have seen this:
http://www.preventingtruthdecay.org/evidenceofconfucius.shtml
However, in my experience, English sources on Chinese sources are
often limited and exclude evidence and texts available in Chinese,
which makes Chinese history problematic for our purposes. For example,
there is an official office in China that keeps records establishing
the descendants of Confucius still living--of which there are allegedly
millions. What records do they have access to in determining today the
genuine descendants of Confucius? What records do individual families
have establishing this? We're not likely to find out from anything
written in English. A written family genealogy that purports to have
been faithfully copied since the day of Confucius is not greatly
different from a manuscript today that purports to have been faithfully
copied since antiquity (though exceptional conditions interfere with
the analogy, such as the desire to fabricate a Confucian ancestry, and
the impossibility of confirming a genealogy's authenticity through
stylistic analysis, etc.). Another example, the famous (though barely
known in the West) tomb find that secured the oldest extant manuscript
of the Tao Te Ching (4th century BC), includes treatises written by
Confucius' grandson Zi Si, which may have been written within 25 years
of Confucius' death and might attest to his existence, but again you
probably won't find any discussion or translation of this in English
(to my knowledge only the Tao Te Ching manuscript found there was
translated and published). See
http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/02.22/07-ancientscript.html
This is where cultural context also intervenes: given the huge
importance and attention placed on ancestor cult and establishing
provable family relations among the elite, in ancient China it is
extremely unlikely that someone could ever have gotten away with
claiming to be the grandson of a man who never existed--in fact, there
would be no plausible reason anyone would *want* to claim such a thing,
since it was established family prestige one would want to borrow on,
and a fictional family would not provide that. But this all depends on
what the Zi Si texts actually say, which probably no one knows outside
of China.
So I must conclude that Confucius is an unconfirmable candidate--he
might or might not meet the criteria. We don't know. But, IMO, his case
differs so much from that of Jesus he doesn't make a good analogy
anyway. Not only does he differ in terms of what we do have about him
(its scope and detail being so much greater and more precise), but also
in the cultural circumstances (as noted above, and in my remarks above
about how Chinese history differs substantially from Western history).

3. Moses is of dubious historicity--in fact, I think it is highly
probable there was no such man (see Bible Unearthed for some
discussion; also, I understand David Sperling gives more discussion
specifically on Moses in The Original Torah, but I haven't seen it so I
can't vouch for it). At any rate since his historicity is at least as
questionable as that of Jesus, this certainly doesn't count as a
non-circular counter-example, and surely the contest implies that is
required. Thus, IMO, this candidate fails the criteria.

4. Solon is probably a valid candidate. We have fragments of laws and
poems written by him, but since the criteria must surely require
non-circular evidence, and whether he is actually the author of those
laws and poems is exactly what is hypothetically in question, we should
perhaps exclude those (just as one would have to exclude quotations of
Jesus in the Gospels as attestations of the existence of Jesus, since
such would again be circular evidence). He was included on several
lists of Athenian presidents (archons), always for the same year
(595/594 BC), but we don't have copies of those lists that date within
25 years of that, leaving open the accusation that he was added later.
On the usefulness of those lists, see for example William Bell
Dinsmoor, The Athenian Archon List in the Light of Recent Discoveries
(1939). There are letters attributed to Thales, a contemporary of
Solon, that mention Solon, but their authenticity is very doubtful. So
all things considered, I think Solon should be considered a valid
candidate that meets the criteria of someone believed historical, and
IMO rightly believed historical, but for whom we have no definite
mention during his life or within 25 years of his death.

5. Darius II Of Persia is definitely *not* a candidate. His existence
is attested within a matter of years after his death by someone who
lived at the same time he did and personally knew and served under
Cyrus his son: Xenophon (in both the Anabasis and the Hellenica). We
also have quotations in later authors from another eyewitness and
contemporary, Ctesias. We also have a lot of inscriptions attesting to
the reign of Darius II. So this candidate clearly fails the criteria.

- Brian Sapient


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I really am thankful to nature that there is a Rook Hawkins dedicated to filling two 21" screens in an attempt to convince a poor deluded fool not to copy-paste texts without checking them, especially if they contain cut-out parts.

I, as one, wouldn't have had such a patience.

"The shroud of Turin"... great example... the most controversial artifact in history, and you use it as proof for something ? Great going.

It is past me to understand why someone like Pontius Pilate, a man supposedly invested into his position through Godly merit, would ever write an "apology". Also, the texts this guy has quoted seem to much like the modern "SomeWebSite.com does miracles with your life. If you want to know more, subscribe to our newsletter, "The Acts of SomeWebSite.com" and wonder !"

I'm not disputing that J.C. died on a cross. He was a criminal against Romans, after all. I'm disputing, however, that Herod, receiving such news from Pontius Pilate, would do nothing to kill him before he could speak.

I am also disputing that the fate of J.C. would be left at the mercy of the Jews. J.C. was a criminal against Rome, by all time standards, therefore, why did Pontius Pilate or Herod order his immediate death ?

Coming back to the texts attributed to Pontius Pilate... I've seen a movie once that stated Pontius Pilate didn't write, but had scribes writing for him. He despised the duty of writing, and therefore wouldn't have written any such memories. I'll look for that movie in my collection, but, until I find it, ignore this passage as my own personal reflection.

Quote: ?So any adroit, unscrupulous fellow, who knows the world, has only to get among these simple souls and his fortune is quickly made; he plays with them.? <-- I'm sometimes INCREDIBLY AMAZED at how ancient people saw what most people don't even see today...

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Quote:
If you had bothered to read my thread here about Biblical Contradictions, you'd clearly have seen that the Bile is no more a history book then Moby Dick. I've got a laundry list of historical problems in the Bible, problems that just don't add up with actual historicity. When you can show me where I err in these contradictions, I will take you on your word for it. Until that day however, the Bible remains as invalid and false as any other religious book in extant.

I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.


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Horror812 wrote:

I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.


Translation: "I just can't accept that I got thoroughly SPANKED by Rook, so I'll use a totally unimportant objection (grammar) to refute him, despite being intellectually outclassed on every point".

Nice, and typical christian intellectual dishonesty.

Why not use Rook's goofy hairstyle as a refutation next time? It would make as much sense. Eye-wink


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jester700 wrote:
Horror812 wrote:

I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.


Translation: "I just can't accept that I got thoroughly SPANKED by Rook, so I'll use a totally unimportant objection (grammar) to refute him, despite being intellectually outclassed on every point".

Nice, and typical christian intellectual dishonesty.

Why not use Rook's goofy hairstyle as a refutation next time? It would make as much sense. Eye-wink

Couldn't have said it better myself.

"Character is higher than intellect... A great soul will be strong to live, as well as to think."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson


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Horror812 wrote:
Quote:
If you had bothered to read my thread here about Biblical Contradictions, you'd clearly have seen that the Bile is no more a history book then Moby Dick. I've got a laundry list of historical problems in the Bible, problems that just don't add up with actual historicity. When you can show me where I err in these contradictions, I will take you on your word for it. Until that day however, the Bible remains as invalid and false as any other religious book in extant.

I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.

Juxtapositioned up against someone using the thoroughly ridiculed Shroud of Turin as evidence for Jesus, I thought his grammar looked awfully damn good. Guess Rook should watch his step around you, the Grammar Response Squad. :roll: Oh and those evidences that arose from 150 years after Jesus died... those were good too! :roll:

(Sapient: looking for grammar errors... awww shit, who cares!)

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Horror812 wrote:
I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.

Did you just give us permission to ignore you?

Before you get on your grammar high horse you should make sure your own posting will not make you a hypocrite.

'We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.' - Richard Dawkins
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Uh... how does grammar negate or make a stance as far as evidence goes? If I typed:

"Too plus two ekwals foor."

... how would 2 + 2 =/= 4? Proofreading usually isn't a luxury when you're ranting or raving. It does look like you're just looking for any old way to ignore the fact that your side of the argument got bashed.

-=Grim=-

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Horror812 wrote:
I'm sorry, but I can't allow myself to believe something someone who doesn't use correct grammar while trying to make a point or disprove something says.

Also, explain to me how your thread on "Biblical Contradictions" overrides Archaeological discoveries.

Um, perhaps you weren't paying attention, but it's archaeological discoveries which disprove the Bible and make for the contradictions. If you want me to spell it out for you:

Archaeological Evidence AND Contemporary, VERIFIED HISTORICAL accounts CONTRADICT the Bible. Hense the Bible = Garbage. Get it now?

Rigor_OMortis wrote:
I really am thankful to nature that there is a Rook Hawkins dedicated to filling two 21" screens in an attempt to convince a poor deluded fool not to copy-paste texts without checking them, especially if they contain cut-out parts.

I, as one, wouldn't have had such a patience.

I am always questing for knowledge, and such things affront me luxuries such as these. You are welcome. Laughing out loud

Rigor_OMortis wrote:
I'm not disputing that J.C. died on a cross. He was a criminal against Romans, after all.... J.C. was a criminal against Rome, by all time standards, therefore, why did Pontius Pilate or Herod order his immediate death ?

Under what evidence do you base this claim? I appreciate what you are saying, but you are stating two things without any supportable evidence:

  1. Jesus lived at some point
  2. That somehow he was a criminal if he did, indeed, live

These claims are not only unsubstantiatied, but also feed to the ignorance we are trying to stamp out. Under what contemporary account would you place Jesus Christ and under which law did he break to become a criminal that warranted death? Keep in mind that the Roman courts ruled the day, as Galilee had been conquered in 63 BCE under Pompey, and since that time the Jewish courts would not have had a say in who was sentenced to death or not. Blaspheming their YHWH was not punishable by death and certainly not by crucifixion.

So I ask, which evidence do you bring to the table to back up these claims?

Quote:
Coming back to the texts attributed to Pontius Pilate... I've seen a movie once that stated Pontius Pilate didn't write, but had scribes writing for him. He despised the duty of writing, and therefore wouldn't have written any such memories. I'll look for that movie in my collection, but, until I find it, ignore this passage as my own personal reflection.

Even if this were the case, Horror812 still can not bring about any extant originals to prove to us Pilate actually said or wrote anything! In fact, all he has done is brought us bias hearsay from somebody who said the following:

    And when we say also that the Word, who is the first-birth of God, was produced without sexual union, and that He, Jesus Christ, our Teacher, was crucified and died, and rose again, and ascended into heaven, we propound nothing different from what you believe regarding those whom you esteem sons of Jupiter. For you know how many sons your esteemed writers ascribed to Jupiter: Mercury, the interpreting word and teacher of all; AEsculapius, who, though he was a great physician, was struck by a thunderbolt, and so ascended to heaven; and Bacchus too, after he had been torn limb from limb; and Hercules, when he had committed himself to the flames to escape his toils; and the sons of Leda, and Dioscuri; and Perseus, son of Danae; and Bellerophon, who, though sprung from mortals, rose to heaven on the horse Pegasus. For what shall I say of Ariadne, and those who, like her, have been declared to be set among the stars? And what of the emperors who die among yourselves, whom you deem worthy of deification, and in whose behalf you produce some one who swears he has seen the burning Caesar rise to heaven from the funeral pyre? And what kind of deeds are recorded of each of these reputed sons of Jupiter, it is needless to tell to those who already know. This only shall be said, that they are written for the advantage and encouragement of youthful scholars; for all reckon it an honourable thing to imitate the gods. But far be such a thought concerning the gods from every well-conditioned soul, as to believe that Jupiter himself, the governor and creator of all things, was both a parricide and the son of a parricide, and that being overcome by the love of base and shameful pleasures, he came in to Ganymede and those many women whom he had violated and that his sons did like actions. But, as we said above, wicked devils perpetrated these things. (First Apology, Chapter XXI; Analogies To The History of Christ)

Claiming that this Justin Martyr, who here admits to knowing that Christ was falsified from earlier Greek myths and later says that - sure they are similar but the Devil did it - that this man has any sort of real authority on Pilat who lived and died a hundred years earlier is a proposterous claim at best.

jester700 wrote:
Nice, and typical christian intellectual dishonesty.

Why not use Rook's goofy hairstyle as a refutation next time? It would make as much sense.

You know, movie stars would kill to have my hair. Eye-wink

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Rook_Hawkins wrote:

You know, movie stars would kill to have my hair. Eye-wink

Brother, as a thirtysomething who started losing his hair in college, *I* would kill to have your hair... Cool


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I didn't see anything that limited me to 5, so here's my list:

Thales

Laozi (author of the Tao Te Ching)

Imhotep

Herodotus

Homer (author of the Iliad, not the Simpson)

Zeno of Elea

Pythagoras (somebody mentioned him but he was already in my head)

Rabbi Akiva

Gautama Buddha (again, somebody mentioned him, but was in my head)

Ojin, the 15th Emperor of Japan (The first one in the traditional line thought historical)

Saul (AKA Paul) of Tarsus

Qin Shi Huang (First emperor of Qin)


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List of Significant Historical Figures

Here are some more:

John the Baptist.

Judas the Galilean.

Simon Magus.

Mattathias Maccabee; Judas Maccabee; Simon Maccabee; and, Jonathan Maccabee.

Chrestus, the Instigator (as referenced by Suetonius).

Apollonius.

Edited to add: Clement of Rome.


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Ok, Rook was supposed to clarify allowable entries two days ago, but he just recently got engaged and is in lala land. My apologies on his behalf.

I shouldn't have assumed people would realize figures of the bible are not allowed. The bible itself is in question, and figures in which most of what we know comes from the bible are not viable submissions. Clarifications and information on it's way, from Rook, soon.

- Brian Sapient


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

Sapient wrote:
Ok, Rook was supposed to clarify allowable entries two days ago, but he just recently got engaged and is in lala land. My apologies on his behalf.

I shouldn't have assumed people would realize figures of the bible are not allowed. The bible itself is in question, and figures in which most of what we know comes from the bible are not viable submissions. Clarifications and information on it's way, from Rook, soon.

What does this mean?

That if a figure -- such as Judas the Galilean or John the Baptist or Simon Magus -- is mentioned in the Bible he does not exist even if he is mentioned by other sources?

And since I am a Protestant, I presume that the Maccabees still are contenders, since they are not in my Bible? Of course, this creates the odd "historical" criteria that the Maccabees do not exist if you are a Catholic but they do exist if you are a Protestant.


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Layman wrote:

What does this mean?

Just as stated. If they are a character of the bible, they are not admissable in this game.

Quote:
That if a figure -- such as Judas the Galilean or John the Baptist or Simon Magus -- is mentioned in the Bible he does not exist even if he is mentioned by other sources?

I never said that, nor is that the idea. I don't doubt many historical biblical figures exist, however for ease of description the only way to wittle it down is to not allow biblical submissions. My apologies this wasn't made clear it was our intention to clarify two nights ago, I'll poke Rook with a stick for you when I see him (and twice for me). :smt064

Quote:
And since I am a Protestant, I presume that the Maccabees still are contenders, since they are not in my Bible? Of course, this creates the odd "historical" criteria that the Maccabees do not exist if you are a Catholic but they do exist if you are a Protestant.

That's odd, I didn't know that. Interesting, how the bible is so very different with each translation. But back on the point, for purposes of the test, please stay away from biblical figures, in anyones bible.

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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

jyo wrote:
I didn't see anything that limited me to 5, so here's my list:

For purposes of learning from this, there is nothing to limit you to five, however if you'd like to be considered for the reward you must choose five.

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Sapient wrote:

I never said that, nor is that the idea. I don't doubt many historical biblical figures exist, however for ease of description the only way to wittle it down is to not allow biblical submissions. My apologies this wasn't made clear it was our intention to clarify two nights ago, I'll poke Rook with a stick for you when I see him (and twice for me).

Is the purpose to "wittle it down" to make sure your bias is served or to really look at what we are likely to find in the historical record? Frankly, this criteria is ridiculous. John the Baptist, the Maccabees, and Judas the Galilean are well established irrespective of any mention by the Bible.

I don't care about the $100, but you are rigging the contest to serve your own bias and agenda. If you admit these guys really existed and admit that there are no writings until 25 years after their death, then why aren't they instructive historical examples?

And I think you misunderstand about 1 and 2 Maccabees. No one disputes their existence and value as historical sources about the Maccabean Revolt (which established the Hasmonean Dyansty). It is just that Catholics decided to count them as scripture and Protestants did not.

Edited to Add: And you must realize that by doing this you are eliminating what are potentially the most instructive candidates. I saw that you were dismissing Confucias in part because the culture was different. Well, by elminating anyone mentioned by any Bible you are eliminating many of the most comparable examples available.


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

Layman wrote:

Is the purpose to "wittle it down" to make sure your bias is served or to really look at what we are likely to find in the historical record?

My bias is to reality. I am interested in the historical record, however for purposes of money, biblical references are not allowed. You're gonna want me to say this again though, aren't you?

Quote:
Frankly, this criteria is ridiculous.

Then don't participate.

Quote:
John the Baptist, the Maccabees, and Judas the Galilean are well established irrespective of any mention by the Bible.

This is really Rooks department so I can't comment. Ancient history isn't my specialty, however should you choose to provide extrabiblical proof of the above mentioned figures, and show me how they have no contemporary references, I'd be extremely interested in that information. We can break this thread off for that discussion.

Quote:
I don't care about the $100, but you are rigging the contest to serve your own bias and agenda.

Ok, fine. No, $100 for you. As for the rigging the contest, that's kind of the point. All contests are rigged to fit the contest writers criteria, this isn't to say there can be no winner. We started this contest in a quest to learn about historical figures who share the same lack of evidence that Jesus does. You can call it bias and agenda, all you want... that is the agenda. Restated, the agenda is: learn if other figures that WE (notice WE meaning RRS) would accept as real historical figures, don't have evidence about their life within 25 years of their death. It should be noted that Richard Carrier has basically won the prize, and already showed us that there are examples that we are looking for, over 5 of them. At this point this game is simply easy pickens for those who want to adhere to the criteria we are setting forward, which is exactly why Rook was SUPPOSED to revise and clarify the second prize.

I must be honest, when we first set this up, we didn't think we'd get a single entry on the second prize. We've asked countless times on message boards in the past and never get any accurate response. I also find it interesting nobody has submitted contemporary evidence of Jesus.

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I thought the purpose of the contest was to make a point, not just to avoid giving out any money. If you disqualify known examples of historical figures who existed but for whom there are no writings within 25 years of their lives only to avoid paying out money (and, I guess, because you don't like anyone mentioned by the Bible even if his existence is otherwise established) then what we have learned is that the results of your contest are not likely to tell us anything about the historical record.

So, yeah, I admit you guys can rig the contest in any way you want (though the timing of modifications would be questionable). But you guys have to admit -- which I guess you just did -- that the contest no longer has any real meaning as to the historical record.


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Layman wrote:
I thought the purpose of the contest was to make a point, not just to avoid giving out any money.

It was to solidify a point and/or teach me something. Had I known as Richard Carrier claims (a famous historian who doesn't believe the biblical Jesus existed) that there are quite a few examples of characters that we believe existed but have no contemporary evidence, I wouldn't have come up with phase 2 of the contest.

Quote:
If you disqualify known examples of historical figures who existed but for whom there are no writings within 25 years of their lives only to avoid paying out money

Stop that. We're not discounting the bible only to avoid paying out money, we're discounting the bible because you can't trust anything in it.

Quote:
(and, I guess, because you don't like anyone mentioned by the Bible even if his existence is otherwise established)

I just asked you to establish their existence, rather than reiterate your innacurate point a second time.

Quote:
then what we have learned is that the results of your contest are not likely to tell us anything about the historical record.

The historical record is the historical record irregardless of anything that comes out of this contest. I however have learned that some people are believed by most historians to have existed even without contemporary proof, irregardless of how many times you make your bullshit claim.

Quote:
So, yeah, I admit you guys can rig the contest in any way you want (though the timing of modifications would be questionable).

Got a question ask it... as you can see I'm an open book.

1. We never thought we'd get an entry on prize 2 due to past experience
2. I erred on the side of not too many disclaimers, so that the contest was readable, and didn't look bulky when I first started
3. Richard Carrier helped rewrite the rules on day 1 in which Rook was supposed to have posted already. (sorry, he let me down)

Quote:
But you guys have to admit -- which I guess you just did -- that the contest no longer has any real meaning as to the historical record.

Actually I did that in this post, not the previous one. The historical record will not be affected by this contest. Does this contest reflect actual history... of course, to claim otherwise is idiotic.

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Quote:
Stop that. We're not discounting the bible only to avoid paying out money, we're discounting the bible because you can't trust anything in it.

I'll stop when you quit changing the rules. First you said that biblical figures were excluded because the Bible was not trustworthy. Then you said that of course biblical figures may exist, but that you wanted to wittle it down so they weren't allowable even if otherwise confirmed. Now you are back to claiming that they are excluded because the Bible is not trustworthy.

Don't blame me for your shifts.

Quote:
(I just asked you to establish their existence, rather than reiterate your innacurate point a second time.

No, you said you'd start a separate thread unrelated to the contest to discuss biblical figures who are attested elsewhere.

And you will have to excuse me for thinking that someone who was running a historical contest of this sort and presumes to know something about the evidence for Jesus would know that John the Baptist, Judas the Galilean, and the Maccabees are all attested by Josephus. Do you really need chapter and verse?

Quote:

The historical record is the historical record irregardless of anything that comes out of this contest. I however have learned that some people are believed by most historians to have existed even without contemporary proof, irregardless of how many times you make your bullshit claim.

Which BS claim is that? It's my point that many, not just "some," people are believed by most historians to have existed even without contemporary proof. Jesus included for that matter, as most historians believe he existed.

Quote:

1. We never thought we'd get an entry on prize 2 due to past experience
2. I erred on the side of not too many disclaimers, so that the contest was readable, and didn't look bulky when I first started
3. Richard Carrier helped rewrite the rules on day 1 in which Rook was supposed to have posted already. (sorry, he let me down)

You made and offer and people responded. You changed the rules after they responded. Such rule changes should not apply to anyone who responded before the modifications were posted. But like I said, I don't care about $100 so count me out.


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So should Gone With the Wind be taken as evidence that Scarlett O'Hara really existed? Or Moby Dick that Captain Ahab really existed? :roll:

Hey, look at all the science fiction books out there! That proves aliens are real! Laughing out loud

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Layman wrote:
Quote:
Stop that. We're not discounting the bible only to avoid paying out money, we're discounting the bible because you can't trust anything in it.

I'll stop when you quit changing the rules.

So, basically you don't mind lying as long as I am not doing something completely within my rights. Thanks for that insight into how you're brain operates.

Quote:
First you said that biblical figures were excluded because the Bible was not trustworthy. Then you said that of course biblical figures may exist, but that you wanted to wittle it down so they weren't allowable even if otherwise confirmed.

Neither of those statements contradict each other, even if you want to try and make the weak connection.

Quote:

No, you said you'd start a separate thread unrelated to the contest to discuss biblical figures who are attested elsewhere.

And now, you got your seperate thread. So go ahead, start proving the existence of afforementioned bible characters without the bible.

Quote:

Which BS claim is that?

1. Rules are only clarified to avoid paying out money.
2. We are only interested in our bias, and not the truth.

Quote:
It's my point that many, not just "some," people are believed by most historians to have existed even without contemporary proof.

I must concede this point, although I've now conceeded it three times, due to your need to get in the last word and reiterate your bullshit.

Quote:
Jesus included for that matter, as most historians believe he existed.

This is where we differ. The historian who I trust on the issue Richard Carrier, the one who recently showed me how we do have historical figures we accept as true without good contemporary evidence is also one of those notable historians who doesn't believe Jesus existed.

Quote:

You made and offer and people responded. You changed the rules after they responded.

No we didn't. We explained rules that should've gone without saying. We aren't looking for historical people from the bible. Our initial rules were concise and brief so as not to bog down the forum. What I should've done, was ask that no further entries be given until we clarified rules for prize 2. You were notified that clarification for prize 2 were underway before you submitted your response (same goes for Jyo). I figured whoever submitted entries would understand the clarifiications were coming, and wouldn't whine like little kids if their entry didn't adhere to the clarification. I am now changing that, and not allowing entries for #2 until rules can be clarified.

Quote:
Such rule changes should not apply to anyone who responded before the modifications were posted.

They don't. However you knew clarifications were coming and so did Jyo, BEFORE you posted.

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Sapient wrote:
jyo wrote:
I didn't see anything that limited me to 5, so here's my list:

For purposes of learning from this, there is nothing to limit you to five, however if you'd like to be considered for the reward you must choose five.

Very well.

1. Thales

2. Laozi (author of the Tao Te Ching)

3. Homer (author of the Iliad)

4. Zeno of Elea (he of paradoxical fame)

5. Herodotus


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jyo wrote:

3. Homer (author of the Iliad)

Homers authorship of the Iliad is evidence he existed that arose from his lifetime. Swap him out with someone, at this point, I like where you are in this test.

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lets see: I want to play?

can I play Sapient?

brother I love you in Christ Jesus.. I love everyone on this forum for we were all made by God through Christ Jesus the Word of God

Dead sea Scrolls

Ebla Tablets

Ludlul Bel Nemeqi

Mari Tablets

Nuzi Tablets

"God didn't send us a doctrine to learn, or a religion to live, or a philosophy to debate. He sent us a brother to love, a madman to trust, a servant to serve, and a mystery to embrace." ~Steven James, STORY


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JesusSaves wrote:
lets see: I want to play?

can I play Sapient?

brother I love you in Christ Jesus.. I love everyone on this forum for we were all made by God through Christ Jesus the Word of God

Dead sea Scrolls

Ebla Tablets

Ludlul Bel Nemeqi

Mari Tablets

Nuzi Tablets

What the hell are you talking about?!

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Sapient wrote:
jyo wrote:

3. Homer (author of the Iliad)

Homers authorship of the Iliad is evidence he existed that arose from his lifetime. Swap him out with someone, at this point, I like where you are in this test.

As far as I know, the Iliad isn't signed (not that I've read it all) and authorship (along with the existence of Homer himself) is questionable. Similar to how "legend" has it that Laozi wrote the Tao Te Ching, even though it's not signed and the name Laozi may well just be a title ascribed to the author(s) hundreds of years later.

If there's no contemporary comments on Laozi or Homer having written the works ascribed to them (or the existence of said persons), and no signatures or self-reference within the works themselves, how would we know how the authors came to be thought of as such? It may be that there was a man Homer who wrote the Odyssey but the Iliad was written by somebody else and later ascribed to the wrong author. If authorship can't be proven by your own criteria regarding proof of Jesus, then how can that tenuous relation serve as sufficient proof of existence (which then circularly proves authorship)?

I also find it odd that you raise this objection to Homer and yet you didn't mention Laozi or Herodotus. However, if you insist, I'll simply substitute him with Buddha. Applying your restriction consistently, I arrive at:

1. Thales

2. Zeno of Elea

3. Gautama Buddha

4. Ojin, the 15th Emperor of Japan (The first one in the traditional line thought historical)

5. Qin Shi Huang (First emperor of Qin/China; questionable historicity, but at least he's not supposed to have authored any extant texts)

You may find the last two of questionable renown, but I think the proportion of easterners who'd recognize them is comparable to the proportion of westerners who'd recognize the name of Thales or Zeno (or even Homer without the surname Simpson). If you have a problem with me using Buddha since he was previously mentioned, then substitute him with Imhotep.

P.S. Does that mean you accept the books of the Bible attributed to Paul of Tarsus and the apostles John and Peter to be proof of their existence?


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jyo wrote:

As far as I know, the Iliad isn't signed (not that I've read it all) and authorship (along with the existence of Homer himself) is questionable. Similar to how "legend" has it that Laozi wrote the Tao Te Ching, even though it's not signed and the name Laozi may well just be a title ascribed to the author(s) hundreds of years later.

If there's no contemporary comments on Laozi or Homer having written the works ascribed to them (or the existence of said persons), and no signatures or self-reference within the works themselves, how would we know how the authors came to be thought of as such?

People also claim that William Shakespeare was just a pen name for someone else, however they readily accept a person existed attributing his/her works to Shakespeare, or else the writings wouldn't exist. I feel the same way on Homer. If Homer is not real, then you can't submit him as a historical figure whom we readily accept exists. Or else we're comparing two people who we don't think existed.

Quote:
It may be that there was a man Homer who wrote the Odyssey but the Iliad was written by somebody else and later ascribed to the wrong author. If authorship can't be proven by your own criteria regarding proof of Jesus, then how can that tenuous relation serve as sufficient proof of existence (which then circularly proves authorship)?

What books did Jesus write? I'm unaware of them.

Quote:
I also find it odd that you raise this objection to Homer and yet you didn't mention Laozi or Herodotus.

I didn't know those characters at first glance, and I'm trying to reduce my workload. I did notice that upon looking him up, Laozis' historical existence is still debated, and therefore not a very good candidate to submit.

Quote:
However, if you insist, I'll simply substitute him with Buddha. Applying your restriction consistently, I arrive at:

I really appreciate you working with us, here. It's respectable.

Quote:

4. Ojin, the 15th Emperor of Japan (The first one in the traditional line thought historical)

I'm entering some family time here, and didn't want to leave you without an answer. I'll ask Richard Carrier (and Rook) for their thoughts on all the entries, in this final submission, however I'll comment on this one.

I think we'd have to accept Ojins' tomb of proof within 25 years of his existence. However, this is if we accept he existed. Does it seem odd to you that some historians have him living 110 years? Which, by the way would've given them plenty of time to complete that lavish tomb before his death which apparently took about 4 years to build.

Sattelite image of tomb.

Quote:
P.S. Does that mean you accept the books of the Bible attributed to Paul of Tarsus and the apostles John and Peter to be proof of their existence?

My bullshit detector beeps so profusely when I'm near the bible that I doubt every single word in it, moreso than I doubt anyone or anything else in the world. I'm more inclined to believe Paul existed than John and Peter. However this again, is really Rooks category... I'm into philosophy, I hate history. Sticking out tongue

Aside from that, I'm very impressed with your answers. Do you have a background in history?

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King Alfred the Great
i believe he was only writtian about a couple of 100 years after his death

King Arthur
As in the person who won the battle of badon no record of him exsists untill the late 500's


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King Arthur is not known to be real.


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Sapient wrote:

My bullshit detector beeps so profusely when I'm near the bible...

Laughing out loud
:smt023


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King Arthur is debatable the modern image we have of the whole sword in the stone thing is known to be false but i was talking about was the saxon leader who won the battle of Badon his exsistance is more mysteryious it appears like there was a great leader who is never really mentioned by name in all these reports on battle such as the battle of Badon.

anyway i was not really confident on it Alfred the Great is the by far better one.


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Long absence, sorry for the lack of response to Rook's challenge. I feel obliged to respond.

Rook_Hawkins wrote:
Rigor_OMortis wrote:
I really am thankful to nature that there is a Rook Hawkins dedicated to filling two 21" screens in an attempt to convince a poor deluded fool not to copy-paste texts without checking them, especially if they contain cut-out parts.

I, as one, wouldn't have had such a patience.

I am always questing for knowledge, and such things affront me luxuries such as these. You are welcome. Laughing out loud

Rigor_OMortis wrote:
I'm not disputing that J.C. died on a cross. He was a criminal against Romans, after all.... J.C. was a criminal against Rome, by all time standards, therefore, why did Pontius Pilate or Herod order his immediate death ?

Under what evidence do you base this claim? I appreciate what you are saying, but you are stating two things without any supportable evidence:

  1. Jesus lived at some point
  2. That somehow he was a criminal if he did, indeed, live


I'm not claiming that Jesus Christ lived. I'm "not disputing" it, which to my lower English level means something like "To me it's perfectly possible for a Jesus guy to have actually been a real person". That he was in no way a miracle-maker or such s*it, that's a totally different matter.
Rook_Hawkins wrote:

These claims are not only unsubstantiatied, but also feed to the ignorance we are trying to stamp out. Under what contemporary account would you place Jesus Christ and under which law did he break to become a criminal that warranted death? Keep in mind that the Roman courts ruled the day, as Galilee had been conquered in 63 BCE under Pompey, and since that time the Jewish courts would not have had a say in who was sentenced to death or not. Blaspheming their YHWH was not punishable by death and certainly not by crucifixion.

So I ask, which evidence do you bring to the table to back up these claims?


I have to be excused here for one typing mistake... I must have let out a "not"... a phrase should sound like "why did Pontius Pilate or Herod NOT order his immediate death".

We have 2 points of view here: the Roman and the Hebrew point of view. From what history I know, it was the duty of the Governor to try and stop any unrest in its earliest phases and to severely punish those who start something like that. From this point of view, only considering religion (Romans being polytheists), stating that all humans are equal, and that the Roman Emperor, supposedly the step-son of Jupiter himself, was at the same level as the lowest slave was certainly something. This, being a kind of blasphemy, would not go punished if it were not for the effect it apparently had (we know that Hadrianus once got really sick and tired of the Hebrew riots and sent a Roman legion to finish the problem... and it did...). The hypotheses that this was actually the case seems to be the most plausible if we are to take the biblical history of J.C. to be true in its main points, but "enriched" by the other point of view, that of the Jews, in which J.C. was actually a national hero by having the courage to step up to the Romans. Logically, his story would be banned in the early years, thus not being repeated very often in writing, and that would account for the 40 years "missing" period, which I consider to be much more than that. The story would also get mythical proportions, "borrowed" in a fairy-tale manner from the neighbouring mythical heroes. To sum up: a fairy-tale about a real person.

This all is IF we consider the JC story from the Bible to actually represent a real man (which is not yet proven, and I for one don't think it will ever be). Until further notice, I post a disclaimer of "possible fiction" on this post.

Please return to the main idea.

MattShizzle wrote:
Hey, look at all the science fiction books out there! That proves aliens are real!

Hey ! when I was a child I had a book about the Boogeyman... It thus proves that the nights I spent behing the fridge's compressor with the kitchen knife in my hand, jumping at any little sound I heard... Boogeymen must be real !

And then what about Santa? Who's in for a visit at his North Pole toy factory? And I've always fancied having a pint with Rudolf.

Inquisition - "The flames are all long gone, but the pain lingers on..."
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All the world's major religions, Hinduism, Christianity, Judaism and Islam, came out of the very same region on the Middle and Near East after the cataclysm of perhaps 7,000 years ago. These religions were designed to imprison the mind and engulf the emotions with fear and guilt. They were usually based on some 'savior-god' figure like Jesus or Mohammed and only by believing in them and following their dictates can we find 'God' and be saved. That is precisely what the Babylonian priests said about Nimrod when the blueprint for control-by-religion was being moulded in Babylon.

To understand the true background to religions, we need to appreciate the basis of all ancient religion going back to the Phoenicians, the Babylonians and beyond. It was the Sun. They understood it true power as an amazing generator of electromagnetic energy which is affecting our lives and behaviour every second of every day. The Sun contains 99% of the mass of this solar system. Just think about that. The Sun IS the solar system and when it changes, we change.

The invented character of Jesus was a Sun god, symbolic of God's 'Sun'...The Light of the World.

Jesus was symbolically crucified at Easter because this is the spring equinox when the Sun (Jesus) enters the astrological sign of Aries, the Ram or... the lamb.

It is at Easter, the equinox, that Jesus (the Sun) triumphs over darkness - the time of year when there is more light than darkness every day.

The Christian religious day is ... SUNday. Christian churches are built east-west with the alter to the east. This means that the congregation face east - the direction of the rising Sun, Horus.

The story about Jesus turning water into wine is a symbolic story (the Wedding at Cana), this was not a real wedding but symbolism for the Sun's warmth and the Earth's water which grow the grapes to make wine.

Mora than 40 writers are known to have chronicled the events of these lands during the alleged time of Jesus, but they don't mention him. A guy who did all the things that he was supposed to have done and no-one records it? Philo lived throughout the supposed life of Jesus and wrote a history of the Judeans which covered the whole of this period. He even lived in or near Jerusalem when Jesus was said to have been born and Herod was supposed to have killed the children, yet he doesn't record any of this. He was there when Jesus is said to have made his triumphant arrival in Jerusalem and when he was crucified and rose from the dead on the third day. What does Philo say about these fantastic events? NOTHING. Not one sentence, not one syllable.

None of this is mentioned in any Roman record or in the contemporary accounts of the writers of Greece and Alexandria who were familiar with what happened there. WHY??? Because it DIDN'T happen.


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I don't know about 40 writers, that's pushing it a little. Remsburg published a lit, but Remsburg included writers in which he presented a few which were not contemporaries. And many of those writers (in fact, most of them) were not present in Galilee (Some were never there).

However the argument from silence is still accute when we know early Christians who were desperately trying to defend their beliefs, under onslaught from such critical minds as Celsus and Trypho, could not bring about ANY historical writings of Jesus. Not one document even in their time that could prove Jesus lived. And most of these early Christians were familiar with Philo and Josephus. If any extant historical manuscript on the life and sayings of Jesus existed, surely they would have used them. But they didn't.

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Please explain how something that's scrupulously written after someone has died is any different than what would be if it were written during the lifetime of that person.

The New Testament contains proclamations of people who saw and conversed with Jesus of Nazareth; why does the fact that they were written after His crucifixion nullify their validity?

What your challenge asks for sounds like the only sort of evidence that will be accepted would be a sort of "lecture notes" testimony; that is, a documentation that was composed while Jesus was teaching (or maybe after the disciples had long left, for example, a mountainside teaching given by Christ [Matthew 5])

Given that the majority of society back then was illiterate, to assume that any "lecture notes" testimonies would even exist seems fatuous in itself.

It's almost as if you'll look for any (and every) reason to dismiss anything that might remotely suggest that the teachings and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth are valid.

Correct me if I'm wrong (i'm pretty sure I'm not on this one; Mark 16:15 confirms my affirmation), but the reason the writers of the New Testament wrote down what they did was because people who had witnessed what had happened (the events recorded in the New Testament) wanted word to spread about it.

In fact, that's pretty much Luke's entire reason for writing down his gospel; he was writing because many had undertaken to write up accounts of the things that had been believed amongst the new Christians, and just as those who were eyewitnesses had handed down their testimonies to Luke and people alike, their corroborating affirmatives were investigated from the very beginning to the end, so that in the end, Luke was able to write, with certainity, a "recap" of what had actually happened, so that he, Theophilus, and all other people alike were able to know with verity that the things they were believing were actually true. (everything i just wrote was a re-wording of how Luke begins his gospel. see: Luke 1:1-4)

So what you're asking for are written documents that corroborate the events stated in already four prime testimonies, during a time when the majority of society was illiterate.

I'm hysterical; your challenge seems more rigged than Hovind's $250,000.00 "evidence for evolution" gimmick.

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


Rook_Hawkins
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adamryan wrote:
Please explain how something that's scrupulously written after someone has died is any different than what would be if it were written during the lifetime of that person.

The New Testament contains proclamations of people who saw and conversed with Jesus of Nazareth; why does the fact that they were written after His crucifixion nullify their validity?

What your challenge asks for sounds like the only sort of evidence that will be accepted would be a sort of "lecture notes" testimony; that is, a documentation that was composed while Jesus was teaching (or maybe after the disciples had long left, for example, a mountainside teaching given by Christ [Matthew 5])

Given that the majority of society back then was illiterate, to assume that any "lecture notes" testimonies would even exist seems fatuous in itself.

It's almost as if you'll look for any (and every) reason to dismiss anything that might remotely suggest that the teachings and sayings of Jesus of Nazareth are valid.

Correct me if I'm wrong (i'm pretty sure I'm not on this one; Mark 16:15 confirms my affirmation), but the reason the writers of the New Testament wrote down what they did was because people who had witnessed what had happened (the events recorded in the New Testament) wanted word to spread about it.

In fact, that's pretty much Luke's entire reason for writing down his gospel; he was writing because many had undertaken to write up accounts of the things that had been believed amongst the new Christians, and just as those who were eyewitnesses had handed down their testimonies to Luke and people alike, their corroborating affirmatives were investigated from the very beginning to the end, so that in the end, Luke was able to write, with certainity, a "recap" of what had actually happened, so that he, Theophilus, and all other people alike were able to know with verity that the things they were believing were actually true. (everything i just wrote was a re-wording of how Luke begins his gospel. see: Luke 1:1-4)

So what you're asking for are written documents that corroborate the events stated in already four prime testimonies, during a time when the majority of society was illiterate.

I'm hysterical; your challenge seems more rigged than Hovind's $250,000.00 "evidence for evolution" gimmick.

You're actually very wrong. Not one person who lived during Jesus' supposed life would have existed to write the Gospels. Mark (the earliest Gospel and the one Matthew and Luke took from) was written almost 30 years at his death, and that is pushing the conservative dating envelope.

Here is something from another thread in this forum which you can read if you'd like, however this point will be the nail in the coffin for your whole case.

Rook Hawkins in another thread wrote:
...thank you for your patients, I appreciate you taking the time to start the topic. I haven't forgotten about you, merely been pre-occupied recently. But enough of that, let's get to the meat which I'm sure you want to do.

I can't tell what your argument is against my statement, Philosophos. There is a strong silence against the Bibles prior to the second century...you admit it by stating nobody wrote about them before the second century. Unless you are stating that not many people wrote...period...before the second century which would still make my case, although quite untrue as we have a number of writings from the first century mainly from Gnostics who refer to Christ as a spiritual revealer of the Gnosis...a second Adam. You recall some of our dialog with gdon on IG's board about this a year ago? I recall you arguing that very point with me.

The point is lack of evidence prior to the second century, mainly mid-second centur, is enough to vindicate any earlier date then the very hind end of the first century for the writing of the synoptic Gospels. Clement wasn't even written until the hind end...if not LATER then that. (Some place Clement as late as 120 CE) And not even Clement knows of any particular Gospels, save what he has heard from Oral Tradition, in fact it is written by many early second century Christians that their knowledge of Christ is through oral tradition and what they've heard from others.

Paul himself states that he did not recieve knowledge of Christ from any man or from any man, but through his vision. He speaks of this in Galations. And we both used to agree (I still feel this position is 99% true) that Paul was a Gnostic who did not even concieve the idea of a historical personality as a Jesus. In fact he seems oblivious to the idea of such a personality which was supposed to have lived merely 20-30 years prior.

He would not have met anybody who was yet alive during the supposed life of Christ, as in Rome the average life span of a person was not more then 20-30 years old. Only if they survived the rough and rugged life as a youth would they perhaps reach the age of 40. At thirty-two as it would be had he actually existed, Jesus would have been an old man.

http://moses.creighton.edu/malina/ntstudy/ntcourse/slide14.html wrote:
5. Life expectancy in the city of Rome in the first century B.C. was about 20 years at birth. If the perilous years of infancy were survived, it rose to near 40, one-half our present expectations.

You can also check out the statistics HERE from the University of Texas. There are some nice graphs here.

Richard Carrier states this in regards to the life expectancy of people in the first century:

Richard Carrier wrote:

Average lifespan for someone who survived into their teens was just short of 50 (if you lived to 20 you could expect to live to 48), but that is *average*. Many people would live less, many more. Roughly 10% of the population would be over 50 at any given time, which roughly translates into a 10% chance any given person would live longer than 50.

So say for example there were 120 Christians at Christ's death, as Acts claims, then on average 12 would live past 50. Only about 4% would live past 60 (so about 5 of any 120 people selected at random) and only 1% would live past 70 (so about 1 person out of any 120 people selected at random). Virtually none would live past 80 (at any rate, there is no reason to expect that any actually did). So if Jesus died in 33 AD, and if those 120 were a perfect demographic cross-section of ages, about 20% would be younger than 20, for 24 persons. So of those 24, on average only 2 or 3 would live into the 60's AD, and only 1 would live into the 70's AD. None would have any good chance of living beyond that.

This assumes random selection, however--introduce persecution (from Jews and Romans) and war (which could entail both murder and starvation as well as enslavement and sale to regions outside the empire) and the odds of survival drop considerably, and since those 120 (even if we assume there were as many to begin with) were subjected to both (persecution and war) by the end of 70 AD, expected survival rates for that 120 would be substantially less than for any other 120 people chosen at random from the whole Roman empire in the same period. However, one might argue that a "new" sect might disproportionately contain young members, so the number under 20 at Christ's supposed death would be higher than 24 out of 120, but since we also have reason to doubt there were as many as a total of 120 to begin with, both factors might balance out. At any rate, these are both unknowns, so we are better off sticking with the universal averages--even though the role of persecution and war is not an unknown, all things considered, we are safe to assume that the survival rate for Christians would not have significantly exceeded any other group.

For more on this and my sources, see THIS LINK.

All of this goes against the idea that somebody wrote an account prior to Paul, and that Paul himself knew of nobody who was - or rather would have been - present at the time of Jesus' existence.

Without revealing any more about my dissertation (which deals some into this subject - and you can always wait until it is published or when part of my explanation airs on FTM - which you can subscribe to and get early on) there is no way a historical personality of Christ existed more then perhaps 3-5 years prior to the fall of the temple in 70 CE. I would argue that the idea of a historical personality wouldn't exist until the very turn of the century because even in Clement there are still many esoteric themes which preside over the writings. The Gnostics were still very engrained in society and popular up until the turn of the third century.

Anyway, hope that helps you understand my point about dating the Gospels. This doesn't even include the amount of internal evidence present within them to date them later then the fall of Jerusealm.

This also proves that without a doubt, nobody who wrote a single thing in the NT ever saw or witnessed Christ's alleged physical existence, which lends credence to the mythicist case. So again, you are just plain wrong on this issue.

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Rook, have you read any of the debates involving theologian Dr. William Lane Craig?

I'm sure you have, since you're an expert in this field.

Well, in Craig's most recent debate with Dr. Bart Ehrman (a fellow of the Jesus Seminar), he (Craig) can be quoted in in saying,

"We have four biographies of Jesus, by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, which have been collected into the New Testament, along with various letters of the apostle Paul. Now the burial account is part of Mark's source material for the story of Jesus' suffering and death. This is a very early source which is probably based on eyewitness testimony and which the commentator Rudolf Pesch dates to within seven years of the crucifixion. Moreover, Paul also cites an extremely early source for Jesus' burial by Joseph is also found in the sources behind Matthew and Luke and the Gospel of John, not to mention the extra-biblical Gospel of Peter. Thus we have the remarkable number of at least five independent sources for Jesus' burial, some of which are extraordinarily early."

-Dr. W.L. Craig [Debate w/Dr. Ehrman. March 28, 2006. College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachussets]

have you researched this claim at all?

I happened to just have read this debate "by chance" recently, and when you made claims that the earliest date for the Markan account is 30 years after Christ's crucifixion, I instantly remembered this dialogue from Craig.

interesting.

-adamryan

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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Quote:

I must be honest, when we first set this up, we didn't think we'd get a single entry on the second prize. We've asked countless times on message boards in the past and never get any accurate response. I also find it interesting nobody has submitted contemporary evidence of Jesus.

Interesting; i would have thought that Jesus counted as a biblical figure.

=]

"There is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pointless indifference. We are machines for propagating DNA. It is every living object's sole reason for being."- Richard Dawkins


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Jesus didn't submit any evidence of himself either, adamryan. Unless you're going to me they've just discovered his personal diary or something like that.

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i asked this question at the unchained radio forum

is there any extra-biblical sources that help prove Jesus's existence?

and here is the best answer that i got, and here is the link to that thread if yall are interested

http://www.unchainedradio.com/nuke/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=736

this post is from "Vytautas"

From: http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/jesusexisthub.html

We now turn to mimi-essays on the non-Christian sources for the life and existence of Jesus. For each of these references, we will ask these questions, as applicable:

Is this a genuine reference, or are there doubts about its veracity? Does it really refer to Jesus?

Is this historian/writer a reliable source? Is there good reason to trust what they say?

What objections have been registered against this citataion?

What do we learn about Jesus and or Christianity from this historian/writer?

We conclude that we find three levels of source material:

Highly reliable sources: There are two of these: Tacitus and Josephus.

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/tacitus.html

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/josephus.html

Moderately reliable sources: We find three: Thallus, Pliny, and Lucian. For the matter of Thallus, please see also our link in our essay to Glenn Miller's essay on that subject, linked in our essay. (We will look at some objections to the Thallus cite.)

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/thallus.html

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/pliny.html

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/lucian.html

Marginally reliable or unreliable sources: Three are in this class: Suetonius, the letter of Mara Bar-Serapion, and the Talmud.

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/suey.html

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/serapion.html

http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/talmud.html


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You have to register to read the "Unchained radio" one. Sad


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MattShizzle wrote:
You have to register to read the "Unchained radio" one. Sad

oh really? hmmm, i know its free to register, would you like me to make you a phony account and give you the name and password?


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Gene's got me on an IP wide ban for having the audacity to question believers in his forums :twisted:

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Guess he doesn't want people hearing from the other side there! Laughing out loud


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adamryan wrote:
Well, in Craig's most recent debate with Dr. Bart Ehrman (a fellow of the Jesus Seminar),

No he's not.