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.

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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

- Brian Sapient


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

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I posted a page where you could start to check out refutations to your claims, and then you didn't answer it. I posted something to you wqhich you ignored - or skipped over - twice now. You then have the gull to ask Yellow where you can find a page where I have refuted your claims, which I've already stated elsewhere here that there is a full three pages of refutations over at the IG forum and all you have to do is google my name to have those pages pop up. Instead you wish to waste my time by asking me (actually - you asked other people to ask me, which I think is even more dispicable) when I've already made it clear what to do, and made my case a hundred times over.

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Sometimes I don't know why we bother.


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

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adamryan wrote:
If the early Christians (including the 12 apostles), who "created" Christianity, knew that it was all a lie, doesn't it seem a bit illogical to even postulate that all of them (with the exception of one) would gladly lay their life down for a lie that they all made up?

I think that's a bit extreme.


I don't think the Mythicist position is that Christianity was "made up" or that the earliest apostles were "lying", but that they regarded Jesus as having been purely a heavenly being. If the Christianity they promulgated arose out of a belief that a heavenly Jesus appeared to people in visions (e.g. Paul), then they wouldn't have been "dying for a lie" at all, they would have been dying for something they genuinely believed in.

At some stage later, instead of being believed to have died for a mythical Jesus, the stories were changed so that they died for a historical Jesus.

"You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

gdon wrote:
adamryan wrote:
If the early Christians (including the 12 apostles), who "created" Christianity, knew that it was all a lie, doesn't it seem a bit illogical to even postulate that all of them (with the exception of one) would gladly lay their life down for a lie that they all made up?

I think that's a bit extreme.


I don't think the Mythicist position is that Christianity was "made up" or that the earliest apostles were "lying", but that they regarded Jesus as having been purely a heavenly being. If the Christianity they promulgated arose out of a belief that a heavenly Jesus appeared to people in visions (e.g. Paul), then they wouldn't have been "dying for a lie" at all, they would have been dying for something they genuinely believed in.

At some stage later, instead of being believed to have died for a mythical Jesus, the stories were changed so that they died for a historical Jesus.

gdon I'm impressed, you are practically 100% correct. The only change I would make would be that the belief didn't change, or at least, not in a 360' sort of way. More, that in a way, out of oral tradition and misrepresentation of ideas in Pauls epistles and in later accounts of the gospels, a belief in a historical figure developed. Really, this is merely 'euhemerizing? Jesus, something that was very common during the Hellenizing days of Galilee.

Hell, there's even a word for it...

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adamryan wrote:
have you researched this claim at all?

This is the same Graig that, in the middle of a losing debat, decided to bring up how hot his wife was as a counter point? I'm just not impressed by him.

Quote:
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.

But...I have a sleeping historian (one of the most respected, Richard Carrier) on the couch no more then five feet away from me who would disagree with you. And he makes one damning case.

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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

adamryan wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

It isn't just the timelines I have issues with. It's also the lack of content in all the non-Biblical sources. Where there should be a voluminous record we see a few scant mentions and references - none of which support the divinity of Jesus, let alone make a convincing case that there was such a man and that the Bible is his story.


"On the Eve of the Passover, they hanged Yeshu. And an announcer went out in front of him, for forty days saying: 'he is going to be stoned because he practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray. Anyone who knows anything in his favor, let him come and plead in his behalf.' But not having found anything in his favor, they hanged him on the Eve of the Passover."

-Sanhedrin 43a, Babylonian Talmud

This non-Christian source seems to be quite in accordance with the New Testament claims.

  1. It says Yeshu, not Jesus.

    (From Wikipedia: There is some debate over the meaning of "Yeshu." It has been used as an acronym for the Hebrew expression yemach shemo vezichro, meaning "May his name and memory be obliterated", a term used for those guilty of enticing Jews to idolatry and used in place of the real names of individuals guilty of such sins who are deemed not worthy of being remembered in history. Some argue that this has always been its meaning. Indeed the name does not correspond to any known Hebrew root and moreover no other individuals have ever borne this name in Jewish history, while the usage of the expression yemach shemo vezichro and its acronym were widely used in Jewish writings.

    ...In 1554 the Vatican issued a papal bull censoring the Talmud and other Jewish texts, resulting in the removal of references to Yeshu. The primary references to Yeshu are found in uncensored texts of the Babylonian Talmud and the Tosefta. No known manuscript of the Jerusalem Talmud makes mention of the name although one translation (Herford) has added it to Avodah Zarah 2:2 to align it with similar text of Chullin 2:22 in the Tosefta. All later usages of the term Yeshu are derived from these primary references.

    In all cases the references are to individuals who (whether real or not) are associated with acts or behaviour that are seen as leading Jews away from Judaism to minuth (a term usually translated "heresy" or "apostacy").

  2. Even if Yeshu and Jesus were identical words, it was not an unusual name. On the contrary, it appears rather frequently in ancient Jewish literature. Josephus records the following out of 28 high priests in the 107 years from Herod to the destruction of Jerusalem: Jesus, son of Phabet; Jesus, son of Damneus; Jesus, son of Gamaliel; Jesus, son of Sapphias; Jesus son of Thebuthus.

  3. Jesus was crucified, not hanged.
  4. Jesus was not stoned, at least not according to the biblical record.
  5. The New Testament says nothing about a herald going forth for forty days before the execution occurred.
  6. Jesus had no connection with the government. At least nothing within the Gospels would lead one to believe that he lived among royalty or the influential class.
  7. Nowhere in the New Testament was Jesus charged with sorcery or leading Israel astray. The New Testament record tells of three accusations against Jesus:
    1. blasphemy,
    2. claiming to be the Son of God, and
    3. assuming the role of King of the Jews.

    But he was never charged with practicing sorcery nor of leading Israel astray. And none of this above list was punishable by death during the reign of the Roman occupation. Any attempt to apply this part of the Talmud to Jesus is doomed to failure.

I'm being kicked off by Sapient. More tomorrow.

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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

This is Part 1

adamryan wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Quite simply that there is no compelling reason to believe in a historical Jesus, let alone a miracle working one.

Why are the writings of Flavius Josephus, Thallus, Philopon, Tacitus, Emperor Hadrian, Lucian of Samasota, Mara Bar-Serapion, the Babylonian Talmud, and Maimonides not enough to generate a "compelling reason to believe in a historical Jesus, let alone a miracle working one" ?

You are doing little but regurgitating refuted material that other theists continually skirt around as though these people had never been discussed or refuted before by anybody.

On Flavius Josephus, I have two essays from two other people aside rom me on this very website. Follow the following links:

Evidence Against Josephus and the TF (Part I); Peter Kirby

Evidence Against Josephus and the TF (Part II); Mia Faber

Here is an excerpt From The Bible Geek Episode 7 (Fellow Robert Price) about Extra-biblical evidence for jesus.

Here is something I compiled based on the information above and my own investigating:

  1. Flavius Josephus (AD 37?-101?)

    "At this time there was a wise man called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. Many people among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified, and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have reported wonders. And the tribe of the Christians, so named after him, has not disappeared to this day" (Antiquities 20:200)

    1. Many problems abound here. Firstly, this is the Arabic translation of the text. Many consider this a more accurate translation, it does not in anyway change the fact that it is an interpolation. I'm using it to show that even if we ignore that faulty greek translation which is not as accurately translated, this passage STILL does not appear until 300 years later when Eusebius, in the 4th century, cited all the "evidences" of Christianity obtained from Jewish and pagan sources. Eusebius, who admitted to forging multiple works, as well as lying for the sake of his beliefs. Gibbon states "He (Eusebius) has repeated whatever may rebound to the glory, and suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace of his religion" (Chp. 31, Book 12 of Prae Paratio Evangelica).

    2. Which is also verified by Robert Ingersoll, "The great religious historian, Eusebius, ingenuously remarks that in his history he carefully omitted whatever tended to discredit the church, and that he piously magnified all that conduced to her glory." Ibid., Vol. 1, p. 293"

    3. Apparently Eusebius was the first to use it because it didn't exist during the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The passage is not found in the early copies of Josephus. Are we to assume it magically appeared there? Please. If it had been authentic you would have heard more about the passage during the centuries prior when the early chruch fathers were struggling to gather any pagan articles on such a person as Jesus. Instead their silence is deadly to this argument.

    4. The early Christian fathers such as Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen were acquainted with Josephus' works they would have quoted this passage had it existed. Chrysostom often referred to Josephus and it's highly unlikely he would have omitted the paragraph had it been extant. Photius did not quote the text though he had three articles concerning Josephus and even expressly stated that Josephus, being a Jew, had not taken the least notice of Christ.

    5. Neither Justin in his dialogue with Trypho, the Jew, nor Origen against Celsus ever mentioned this passage. Neither Tertullian nor Cyprian ever quoted Josephus as a witness in their controversies with Jews and pagans and Origen expressly stated that Josephus, who had mentioned John the Baptist, did not recognize Jesus as the messiah (Contra Celsum, I, 47). In Origen's own words, Contra Celsus, BOOK I., Chap XLVII :

      I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people[...]

    6. The passage also interrupts the narrative. Immediately before it Josephus tells of a rising of the Jews due to bitter feeling at the conduct of Pilate, and its bloody suppression by the ruling power. The words immediately following the passage are: "Also about this time another misfortune befell the Jews" and we are told of the expulsion of the Jews from Rome by Tiberius on account of the conduct of some of their compatriots. What is the connection between the reference to Jesus and these two narratives? That there must be some connection if Josephus wrote the passage about Jesus goes without saying in view of the character of the writer. Josephus was always careful to have a logical connection between his statements and from a rational standpoint there is no occasion whatever to put the passage about Jesus in the connection in which we find it.

    7. The famous historian Gibbon claims the passage is a forgery. It's so obvious, even the Catholic Encyclopedia states it as a forgery!

    (The following is from a debate)

    1. Remember there are good reasons to suspect the passage by Josephus is another Christian interpolation...it also appeared only in Eusebius' work. Keep in mind, this is the same Eusebius who forged the works as stated above, as he was writing he had more then ample time to edit in this little bit.

    2. The only usually undisputed allusion to Jesus in Josephus is actually only a passing reference in the context of the trial of James. James is identified, not as James son of (whoever) as one would normally expect but as brother of Jesus. While this passage is more likely to be authentic than the one above, it is not without problems. Origen knows and cites this passage, and is unaware of the Testimonium Flavianum above, providing some evidence for its presence in the Antiquities before its Christian reworking. On the other hand, Origen's version contains the unlikely addition in which Josephus also says that it is as punishment for the execution of James that Jerusalem and the temple are destroyed. The possibility suggests itself that even Origen's Josephus has undergone Christian reworking, simply of a different variety, in which, perhaps, the insulting Testimonium has been expunged, and James has been introduced as a pious Jewish hero."

    Who Was James?

    1. James (the one mentioned by Paul as the bishop of Jerusalem) NEVER acknowledged Jesus as his "brother". Jesus NEVER acknowledged James as his "brother". The Gospel of Thomas, one of the gospels rejected by the framers of the Bible, tells us Jesus did not recognise James as his brother. One can see why they didn't consided the GofT to be "inspired by God"!

    2. After the death of Jesus, when the Apostles scattered over the world, James the Lesser (St. James the Lesser/Just) remained behind as Bishop of Jerusalem. History supposedly has two accounts of the death of James the Lesser. According to Josephus, St. James was stoned to death in 62 A.D, but Hegesippus, a second century ecclestiastical historian, claims that James was thrown from the pinnacle of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Pharisees and clubbed to death when the fall didn't kill him. (So just how was he killed? Who do you believe?)

    3. The question is who was James? This is not a cut and dried issue among Christians. Was he a half-brother of Jesus? A cousin?, A "brother in spirit?" Jesus never claimed James as his "brother" nor did James ever claim to be Jesus's brother. So who the hell was "James," Christians don't agree!

    Which James?

    1. There is a dirty little secret that Christians doesn't bother to tell you is that there are various theories about James and the brothers of Jesus, who they were , who their mother was , who their father was , what relation might they have had to the Twelve, and what sense one can make of the multiple persons named "James" in the N.T. In other words, some Christians have hinged their"proof" on a person whose identity and parentage are much disputed! You might say that the Bible's cup"runneth over with Jameses"(60 of them!)

    2. What Christians have neglected to tell us is that there are many different theories exist pertaining to the brother of Jesus. Let's ignore the minor theories and go for the two major theories that dominate the Christian culture........

      1. The eastern view maintains that Mary was a virgin not only at the time of the birth of Jesus, but remained so throughout her entire life. The bottom-line is that Joseph had the 4 alleged brothers with another woman prior to Mary and brought them to the marriage.

      2. The western view is stricter because it claims that BOTH Mary and Joseph remained virgins throughout their entire lives. "These 'brothers' are merely cousins that seem to come onto the scene."

    3. Of course Jesus may also have had half-brothers and half-sisters via Mary and Joseph, the most common assumption among Protestants. The point is that the Bible is NOT clear about the parentage of any siblings.

    Naming the Jameses

    1. Let's keep it simple and concentrate on just 4 of these "Jameses" and use their "common" names to keep them straight. If you explore the literature you will come across the appellations for James:
      1. 1) James the Great
      2. 2) James the Lesser (Little)
      3. 3) Jame the Just
      4. 4) James, son of Alphaeus

    2. Now the plethora of James is just one problem (I've only listed a minimum ) The second one is that the Catholic Church and many Protestant sects don't agree on just "who" the "Jameses" are! Now if you really want to know just how contentious the "James" situation is go here and read more scenarios of how Jesus came by a half-brother (a true blood-brother because Mary is hypothesized to have been married to or inpregnated out of wedlock by a number of different candidates for the father of "James"Eye-wink:

    3. Essays on James the Brother of Jesus

    4. The real truth is that James, the alleged brother of Jesus is a shadowy figure of unknown and highly disputed pedigree (is he a cousin/brother, a step-brother, a true half-brother?). Realize what MacDowell et al have done is attached the historicality of another shadowy, disputed figure (Jesus) to that of an individual whose existence is not certain. He then uses a DISPUTED passage from Josephus as an extra-biblical source to claim that this James (a cousin/brother? or a step-brother, or is he a half-brother?) and Jesus are both true historical figures.
    5. Read the case against the authenticity of the "James" passage

    6. Here is what another historian says about the James passage:
      Josephus on Jesus

    With regard to the mentions by Josephus of John the Baptist. How is this evidence for Jesus? This is evidence for the existence of John the Baptist.

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Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

Part II

adamryan wrote:
...Thallus, Philopon, Tacitus, Emperor Hadrian, Lucian of Samasota, Mara Bar-Serapion, the Babylonian Talmud, and Maimonides not enough to generate a "compelling reason to believe in a historical Jesus, let alone a miracle working one" ?

  1. Lucian (circa 120-after 180) mentions Jesus

    1. 1. Lucian was NOT a contemporary or eye-witness.
    2. 2. Lucian does NOT mention Jesus OR the cult this man who was crucified in Palestine started.

    Your whole argument for Lucian is bunk. And the fact that it?s only a slight mention, if but two sentences, really doesn?t help your case.

    Quote:
    but Lucian clearly was talking of who the Christians worshipped.

    So it proved the Christians worshipped. Who?s arguing that point? This is irrelevant.

    Quote:
    He was also describing the teachings of Christianity(brothers at the time of conversion) and the conversion involved the denial of Greek gods and living according to His teaching.

    This is as I stated above Lucian?s reference to the Christians reaction to HIS CHARACTER, Peregrines! This is a failure on your part, because you probably just went to some Christian site, copied the butchered text, and pasted it as if that was all Lucian wrote in his entire life. Where in fact these statements you claim are applied to Jesus are actually about a man named Peregrines who, ?for a time in his early life went over to Christianity, practicing it to the point of imprisonment under a very tolerant administration, and after returning to Cynicism became in his old age so enamoured of Indic ideas and precedents that he cremated himself at Olympia, just after the games of A.D. 165, even as Calanus had done at Susa in the presence of Alexander the Great and as Zarmarus had done at Athens, after initiation into the mysteries, in the presence of Augustus.? - H.M. Harmon (Lucian of Samosata : The Passing of Peregrines)

    It should be noted too, that Josephus talks a lot about crucifixion in his works. In the 120 years that passed between Jesus' supposed existence and Lucian, thousands upon thousands were crucified in Palestine. In fact, in just one year, multitudes numbering 500 in one day, sometimes more, were sent to be crucified during the seige in 70 CE.

    "...before they died, and were then crucified before the wall of the city. This miserable procedure made Titus greatly to pity them, while they caught every day five hundred Jews; nay, some days they caught more: yet it did not appear to be safe for him to let those that were taken by force go their way, and to set a guard over so many he saw would be to make such as great deal them useless to him. The main reason why he did not forbid that cruelty was this, that he hoped the Jews might perhaps yield at that sight, out of fear lest they might themselves afterwards be liable to the same cruel treatment. So the soldiers, out of the wrath and hatred they bore the Jews, nailed those they caught, one after one way, and another after another, to the crosses, by way of jest, when their multitude was so great, that room was wanting for the crosses, and crosses wanting for the bodies." (War 5: Chapter 11)

    To claim that the one man who was crucified is your savior is incredulous. So many myth's were flying around the time of Lucian it is impossible really to name them all. So many "saviors" crucified. And since Christ Chrestians and Christians, Alexander the False Prophet and his followers.

    Incidentally...Alexander was claiming to be the son of Zeus (hm) and he was a sage, and an oracle. He preformed miracles that Lucian mocked.

    "As a matter of fact, this trick, to a man like you, and if it is not out of place to say so, like myself also, was obvious and easy to see through, but to those drivelling idiots it was miraculous and almost as good as incredible."

    "Well, as I say, Alexander made predictions and gave oracles, employing great shrewdness in it and combining guesswork with his trickery. He gave responses that were sometimes obscure and am?biguous, sometimes downright unintelligible, for this seemed to him in the oracular manner. Some people he dissuaded or encouraged as seemed best to him at a guess. To others he prescribed medical treatments and diets, knowing, as I said in the beginning, many useful remedies."

    "By now he was even sending men abroad to create rumours in the different nations in regard to the oracle and to say that he made predictions, discovered fugitive slaves, detected thieves and robbers, caused treasures to be dug up, healed the sick, and in some cases had actually raised the dead. " (sound familiar yet?)

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Part III

  1. The Talmud Mentions Jesus

    1. (a) Balaam was slain with a sword, while Jesus died by crucifixion.
    2. (b) The father of Jesus was not named Beor, nor was he a soothsayer.
    3. (c) One would be hard pressed to find biblical support for allegations that Jesus died by stoning, burning, decapitation and strangulation. Incidentally, how could he have died by all four methods? In order to make sense, "and" should have been translated as "or".
    4. (d) If "she" is referring to the mother of Jesus, this passage is saying she was a harlot with many carpenters (plural).
    5. (e) If Jesus is Balaam, then the passage is implying Jesus is bloody and deceitful.
    6. (f) When did Jesus keep a chronicle, especially one relating his age or death?
    7. (g) Jesus was never lame, and certainly not for thirty years.
    8. (h) The names Jesus and Balaam are quite different.
    9. (i) And finally, Jesus was not killed by someone named Phinehas the Robber.
    It doesn't take a great deal of wisdom to see that apologists are stretching interpretation to the limits on these.

    A short little comment found in the footnotes of Sanhedrin 107b says, "In the uncensored editions there follows here, 'and not like R. Joshua b. Perahjah, who repulsed Jesus (the Nazarene) with both hands." The problem with this sentence is that only the Munich manuscript adds (the Nazarene).

    Another footnote in Sanhedrin 107b says, .

    Quote:
    ..When King Jannai slew our Rabbis, R. Joshua b. Perahjah (and Jesus) fled to Alexandria of Egypt. On the resumption of peace, Simeon b. Shetach sent to him.... He arose, went, and found himself in a certain inn, where great honour was shewn him.... He (Jesus) thinking that it was to repel him, went, put up a brick, and worshipped it. 'Repent,' said R. Joshua to him. Jesus replied, 'I have thus learned from thee: He who sins and causes others to sin is not afforded the means of repentance.' And a Master has said, 'Jesus the Nazarene practised magic and led Israel astray.'
    Although hard to realize, this is the more intelligible part of the entire passage. Again, one can see how desperate some apologists are to find something in the Talmud that can substantiate the alleged existence of Jesus of Nazareth. The attraction of "fled to Egypt," an "inn," "Jesus the Nazarene," "led Israel," and "sin/repentance" were more than they could resist. The problems with this are readily apparent.

    1. (a) Jesus was not a rabbi when he fled to Egypt.
    2. (b) The New Testament says nothing about Jesus fleeing to Alexandria, Egypt.
    3. (c) When did Jesus ever worship a brick? The worship of bricks is known in the Hermes cult, and is not Christian.
    4. (d) According to apologetic theology, Jesus neither sinned nor caused others to sin.
    5. (e) Jesus was not a contemporary of King Jannai.
      And
    6. (f) while the Munich, Florence, and Karlsruhe manuscripts and the early printed editions of the Talmud mention Yeshu, only the Munich text adds "the Nazarene."
    That's about as coherent as these passages can be rendered.

    Another passage of equal clarity is found in Abodah Zarah 17a which says,

    Quote:
    I was once walking in the upper-market of Sepphoris when I came across one [of the disciples of Jesus the Nazarene] Jacob of Kefar-Sekaniah by name who said to me.... To which I made no reply. Said he to me: Thus was I taught [by Jesus the Nazarene], 'For the hire of a harlot hath she gathered them and unto the hire of a harlot shall they return.' They came from a place of filth, let them go to a place of filth.
    Again, the power of imagination appears to have been overwhelming.

    1. (a) How does the mere mention of a disciple of Jesus prove that Jesus lived?
    2. (b) The reference to Jesus only occurs in the Munich manuscript.
    3. (c) And nowhere in the Gospels can one find the quote that was attributed to Jesus.

    A final passage from the Mishnah itself, as opposed to the Gemara, is found in Yebamoth 49a, which says,

    Quote:
    "I found a roll of genealogical records in Jerusalem, and therein was written, 'so-and-so is a bastard [having been born] from [a forbidden union with] a married woman,' which confirms the view of R. Joshua."

    Some people actually see Jesus in this. The problems are:

    1. (a) Jesus was born in Bethlehem, not Jerusalem.
    2. (b) Although technically speaking, Jesus was a bastard since his parents were not married, one is hardpressed to understand how apologists would want to use a passage that is so derogatory toward him.
      To skirt this difficulty some writings say, "A certain person was illegitimately born of a married woman." The word "illegitimate" is a euphemism. In addition, "a certain person" could apply to thousands of Middle Eastern people, and Mary was not married.

    In summary, the Talmud has no independent tradition about Jesus; all that it says of him is merely an echo of Christian and Pagan legends, which it reproduces according to the impressions of the second and later centuries. The Talmud has "borrowed" its knowledge of Jesus from the Gospels. When Josephus is excluded from the Jewish witnesses to the historicity of Jesus, there remains only the question of whether or not there may be some other evidence in the other Jewish literature of the time, in the Talmud, for instance. The answer is no.

  • Pliny the Younger mentioned Christ

    Pliny: "I have laid down this rule in dealing with those who were brought before me for being Christians. I asked whether they were Christians; if they confessed, I asked them a second and a third time, threatening them with punishment; if they persevered, I ordered them to be executed.... They assured me that their only crime or error was this, that they were wont to come together on a certain day before it was light, and to sing in turn, among themselves, a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and to bind themselves by an oath--not to do anything that was wicked, that they would commit no theft, robbery, or adultery, nor break their word, nor deny that anything had been entrusted to them when called upon to restore it.... I therefore deemed it the more necessary to extract the truth by torture from two slave women whom they call deaconesses. But I found it was nothing but a bad and excessive superstition.... the sacred rites which had been allowed to lapse (by them--Ed.) are being performed again, and flesh of sacrificed victims is on sale everywhere, though up till recently scarcely anyone could be found to buy it."

    Why anyone would quote this passage is hard to understand:

    1. (1) It proves nothing in regard to the existence of Jesus, but only affirms the existence of Christians.
    2. (2) If the passage is referring to Christians, then it is also saying Christians sold the flesh of their sacrificial victims.
    3. (3) Roman laws accorded religious liberty to all. Before Constantine there was not a single law opposed to freedom of thought.
    4. (4) Trajan was one of the most tolerant of Roman emperors.
    5. (5) Pliny is universally conceded to have been one of the most humane of men. That Pliny would have tortured two women is highly unlikely. The person and character of women in Pagan Rome were held in high esteem.
    6. (6) The letter implies Bithynia had a large Christian population which is improbable at that early date.
    7. (7) The passage implies Trajan was not acquainted with Christian beliefs and customs even though Christians were quite prominent in his capital.
    8. (Cool For Christians to be found in so remote a province as Bithynia before acquiring notoriety in Rome is unlikely.
    9. (9) Pliny says they sing a hymn to Christ as to God which Christians in Pliny's time would consider blasphemous since Jesus was no more than a man to them. His divinity was not established until 325 A.D.
    10. (10) This letter is found in only one ancient copy of Pliny.
    11. (11) The German literati, the most learned, say the epistle is not genuine.
    12. (12) The genuineness of this correspondence of Pliny and Trajan is by no means certain. The tendency of the letters to put the Christians in as favorable a light as possible is too obvious not to excite some suspicion. For these and other reasons the correspondence was declared by experts to be spurious even at the time of its first publication in the 16th century.
    13. (13) The undeniable fact is that some of the first Christians were among the greatest forgers who ever lived. This letter was first quoted by Tertullian and the age immediately preceding him was known for fraudulent writings. Tertullian and Eusebius, the people infavor of the passage's genuineness, were by no means the most reliablesources

    IN REGARDS TO THE LETTERS (Both Pliny's and Trajan's) AUTHENTICITY:

    1. Sherwin-White observes, "Modern scholars have taken no very coherent line about this. Some regard the letters as entirely fictitious, written for the books in which they appear... Others speak of the letters being written up for publication from simpler originals..." (11) With regard to the letters concerning Christians (10.96-97), for S-White "it is hardly necessary to defend the genuine character of these two letters," since the letters were known to Tertullian (691) and "this type of theory, like the notion that Tacitus' account of the Neronian affair is a forgery, raises greater difficulties than it solves..." (692). Keresztes observes that "the genuineness of the correspondence on the Christians, especially that of Pliny's letter, has been questioned, or even completely rejected by many scholars."

    2. Further, assuming the letters to be authentic, there is no agreement among scholars regarding when the various books of letters were compiled, or when they were published, or whether they were published separately, one by one, or in groups, or some separately and some in groups, or all at once. According to S-White, for example, "the evidence points to three or four separate publications: I-II together or separately, III-VI or VII together, VII or VIII-IX together." (52)

    3. The only thing scholars must agree about is that the collection of letters from Pliny's time in Bithynia and Pontus could not have been compiled by Pliny (since he died there), although no one knows who collected and published them, or when (or why).

    4. Wilken writes of Pliny, "No mention is made of Christians in any of his other letters" (Wilken, 16)

    5. According to S-White (80f.), Pliny arrived in Bithynia in September 109 and died sometime between January and September 111. Radice (15) places his mission in Bithynia-Pontus between 111 and 113 (also Wilken). It is generally thought that Pliny spent the first year in Bithynia, and traveled further east to Pontus only after September 110. Pliny's itinerary in Pontus is puzzling: he seems have gone first to Sinope, then east to Amisus, and back- either by sea, or by passing through Sinope again-to Amastris, before returning to Bithynia. His letter to Trajan concerning Christians must have been written sometime between September 110 and January 111 (when he ceased writing letters), and stands between a letter written from Amisus (on the eastern border of Pontus) and another written from Amastris, about 100 miles west of Amisus, on the way back to Bithynia. But we are not told where Pliny was when he wrote the letter.

    6. We do not know, therefore, where the letter was written, nor do we know whether the problem Pliny encountered arose in Amisus, Amastris, or somewhere else. "The city where the trouble first arose cannot be determined" (S-White, 693; cf. Wilken, 15). Wilken tells us (15) that Pliny no doubt assumed "that Trajan would know where he was." But how would Trajan have known this? And even if he knew where the letter was written from, how would he have known in what city the problem arose? - which might not be unimportant, since Amisus was a self-governing city with significant freedom to determine its own way of life (Wilken, 14). In any case, it is strange that, particularly in a letter of such length and detail, dealing with such an important subject (as he emphasizes in his letter), Pliny makes no mention of where the trouble arose.

    7. Nor does Pliny explain how the trouble arose. The nature of the actual charges brought against the Christians is obscure.

    8. Wilken:
      1. Keresztes states:
        1. The utter silence of Pliny in the details of the reasoning behind the execution, the actual laws broken, the orders in which they were sentenced and the utter failure by him to explain the reasoning behind the disturbances speak to it being written by a hand other then Pliny, and most likely written by Tertullian or somebody prior to him.

        2. The fact that nowhere else in his entire collection of 121 letters do we see a single mention of Christians is defeating to the non-forgery case. It's only seen in this one letter, and the letter itself appears only, it seems, for the Christians when they needed it and not before.
      1. Thallus Circa AD 52, eclipse of the sun

        1. 1. Be aware that we don't have Thallus' writings, only comments from Julius Africanus in the 3rd Century CE. The earliest manuscript of Africanus' work was done by George Syncellus in the 9th Century CE.
        2. 2. Julius goes on to criticise him for saying this because a solar eclipse is impossible during a full moon. Even Bede (a Christian apologist) notes this is impossible because an eclipse can't take place during a full moon. For more on the dynamics of solar eclipses go HERE. However there was an eclipse in November of 29 CE, which may have been the one that Thallus referred to. Note the date of the only recorded solar eclipse occurred 4 years PRIOR to the date Christians give for the death of Jesus.
          Both [url=http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/jacoby.html ]F.Jacoby[/url] and R.T.France note that this does NOT in any way prove Thallus mentioned Jesus at all - it seems that it was Julius, nearly 2 centuries after Thallus alleged wrote about it, who made the connection.
        3. 3. The supposed identification of Thallus depends entirely on a misreading of Josephus, which even the author F.F.Bruce admits is "doubtful. Dr. R.T.Frances (a conservative Christian) also rejects this dating of Thallus.
        4. 4. Josephus mentions .. "allos Samareus genos" which has to be amended to read "Thallos" to support this identification. All Josephus mentions is that "Thallos" loaned money to Agrippa. This is very non-specific because even if Josephus had said "Thallos", there is no way to be sure that this is in fact the historian Thallus because during that time Thallos was a common name (the "which Thallus? problem"Eye-wink

        Remember that we are looking for historians who mention Jesus to confirm that a historical personage existed BUT:

        1. Thallus (even if we had any of his work which no longer exists) does NOT mention Jesus, only that a "darkness occurred).
          1. Also remember that Julius who supposedly mentions Thallus' report characterizes it as a solar eclipse which could not have possibly occurred on the date in question because of full moon.
          2. The only documented solar elipse even close in both time and place to the time/place of Jesus' death occurred in November 24, 29 CE, a date PRIOR to the time given by Christians (33 CE)

          Thallus provides no evidence of anything about Jesus.

      2. Tacitus (A.D. c.55-A.D. c.117, Roman historian) mentions "christus" who is Jesus

        Tacitus: "But neither the aid of man, nor the liberality of the prince, nor the propitiations of the gods succeeded in destroying the belief that the fire had been purposely lit. In order to put an end to this rumor, therefore, Nero laid the blame on and visited with severe punishment those men, hateful for their crimes, whom the people called Christians. He from whom the name was derived, Christus, was put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. But the pernicious superstition, checked for a moment, broke out again, not only in Judea, the native land of the monstrosity, but also in Rome, to which all conceivable horrors and abominations flow from every side, and find supporters. First, therefore, those were arrested who openly confessed; then, on their information, a great number, who were not so much convicted of the fire as of hatred of the human race. Ridicule was passed on them as they died; so that, clothed in skins of beasts, they were torn to pieces by dogs, or crucified, or committed to the flames, and when the sun had gone down they were burned to light up the night. Nero had lent his garden for this spectacle, and gave games in the Circus, mixing with the people in the dress of a charioteer or standing in the chariot. Hence there was a strong sympathy for them, though they might have been guilty enough to deserve the severest punishment, on the ground that they were sacrificed, not to the general good, but to the cruelty of one man." (Annals XV, 44)

        It would be utterly ridiculous to use this, but still, some do.

        1. (1) It is extremely improbable that a special report found by Tacitus had been sent earlier to Rome and incorporated into the records of the Senate, in regard to the death of a Jewish provincial, Jesus. The execution of a Nazareth carpenter would have been one of the most insignificant events conceivable among the movements of Roman history in those decades; it would have completely disappeared beneath the innumerable executions inflicted by Roman provincial authorities. For it to have been kept in any report would have been a most remarkable instance of chance.
        2. (2) The phrase "multitudo ingens" which means "a great number" is opposed to all that we know of the spread of the new faith in Rome at the time. A vast multitude in 64 A.D.? There were not more than a few thousand Christians 200 years later. The idea of so many just 30 years after his supposed death is just a falsehood.
        3. (3) The use of the Christians as "living torches," as Tacitus describes, and all the other atrocities that were committed against them, have little title to credence, and suggest an imagination exalted by reading stories of the later Christian martyrs. Death by fire was not a punishment inflicted at Rome in the time of Nero. It is opposed to the moderate principles on which the accused were then dealt with by the State.
        4. (4) The Roman authorities can have had no reason to inflict special punishment on the new faith. How could the non-initiated Romans know what were the concerns of a comparatively small religious sect, which was connected with Judaism and must have seemed to the impartial observer wholly identical with it.
        5. (5) Suetonius says that Nero showed the utmost indifference, even contempt in regard to religious sects. Even afterwards the Christians were not persecuted for their faith, but for political reasons, for their contempt of the Roman state and emperor, and as disturbers of the unity and peace of the empire. What reason can Nero have had to proceed against the Christians, hardly distinguishable from the Jews, as a new and criminal sect?
        6. (6) It is inconceivable that the followers of Jesus formed a community in the city at that time of sufficient importance to attract public attention and the ill-feeling of the people. It isn't the most popular way to convert and bring people into their religion.
        7. (7) The victims could not have been given to the flames in the gardens of Nero, as Tacitus allegedly said. According to another account by Tacitus these gardens were the refuge of those whose homes had been burned and were full of tents and wooden sheds. Why would he risk burning these by lighting human fires amidst all these shelters?
        8. (Cool According to Tacitus, Nero was in Antium, not Rome, when the fire occurred.
        9. (9) The blood-curdling story about the frightful orgies of Nero reads like some Christian romance of the Dark Ages and not like Tacitus. Suetonius, while mercilessly condemning the reign of Nero, says that in his public entertainments Nero took particular care that no lives should be sacrificed, "not even those of condemned criminals."
        10. (10) It is highly unlikely that he mingled with the crowd and feasted his eyes on the ghastly spectacle. Tacitus tells us in his life of Agricola that Nero had crimes committed, but kept his own eyes off them.
        11. (11) Some authorities allege that the passage in Tacitus could not have been interpolated because his style of writing could not have been copied. But this argument is without merit since there is no "inimitable" style for the clever forger, and the more unususal, distinctive, and peculiar a style is, like that of Tacitus, the easier it is to imitate. Moreover, as far as the historicity of Jesus is concerned we are, perhaps, interested only in one sentence of the passage and that has nothing distinctively Tacitan about it.
        12. (12) Tacitus is assumed to have written this about 117 A.D., about 80 years after the death of Jesus, when Christianity was already an organized religion with a settled tradition. The gospels, or at least 3 of them, are supposed to have been in existence. Hence Tacitus might have derived his information about Jesus, if not directly from the gospels, indirectly from them by means of oral tradition. This is the view of Dupuis, who wrote: "Tacitus says what the legend said." In 117 A.D. Tacitus could only know about Christ by what reached him from Christian or intermediate circles. He merely reproduced rumors.
        13. (13) In no other part of his writings did Tacitus make the least allusion to "Christ" or "Christians." Christus was a very common name, as was Jesus, in fact Jospehus lists about 20 in the time Jesus was supposedly said to have existed.
        14. (14) Tacitus is also made to say that the Christians took their denomination from Christ which could apply to any of the so-called Christs who were put to death in Judea, including Christ Jesus.
        15. (15) The worshippers of the Sun-god Serapis were also called "Christians." Serapis or Osiris had a large following at Rome especially among the common people.
        16. (18) The expression "Christians" which Tacitus applies to the followers of Jesus, was by no means common in the time of Nero. Not a single Greek or Roman writer of the first century mentions the name. The Christians who called themselves Jessaeans, Nazoraeans, the Elect, the Saints, the Faithful, etc. were universally regarded as Jews. They observed the Mosaic law and the people could not distinguish them from the other Jews. The Greek word Christus (the anointed) for Messiah, and the derivative word, Christian, first came into use under Trajan in the time of Tacitus. Even then, however, the word Christus could not mean Jesus of Nazareth. All the Jews without exception looked forward to a Christus or Messiah. It is, therefore, not clear how the fact of being a "Christian" could, in the time of Nero or of Tacitus, distinguish the followers of Jesus from other believers in a Christus or Messiah. Not one of the gospels applies the name Christians to the followers of Jesus. It is never used in the New Testament as a description of themselves by the believers in Jesus.
        17. (19) Most scholars admit that the works of Tacitus have not been preserved with any degree of fidelity.
        18. (20) This passage which could have served Christian writers better than any other writing of Tacitus, is not quoted by any of the Christian Fathers. It is not quoted by Tertullian, though he often quoted the works of Tacitus. Tertullian's arguments called for the use of this passage with so loud a voice that his omission of it, if it had really existed, amounted to a violent improbability.
        19. (21) Eusebius in the 4th century cited all the evidence of Christianity obtained from Jewish and pagan sources but makes no mention of Tacitus.
        20. (22) This passage is not quoted by Clement of Alexandria who at the beginning of the 3rd century set himself entirely to the work of adducing and bringing together all the admissions and recognitions which pagan authors had made of the existence of Christ Jesus or Christians before his time.
        21. (23) Origen in his controversy with Celsus would undoubtedly have used it had it existed.
        22. (24) There is no vestige or trace of this passage anywhere in the world before the 15th century. Its use as part of the evidences of the Christian religion is absolutely modern. Although no reference whatever is made to it by any writer or historian, monkish or otherwise, before the 15th century (1468 A.D.), after that time it is quoted or referred to in an endless list of works including by your supposed historian.
        23. (25) The fidelity of the passage rests entirely upon the fidelity of one individual (first published in a copy of the annals of Tacitus in the year 1468 by Johannes de Spire of Venice who took his imprint of it from a single manuscript) who would have every opportunity and inducement to insert such an interpolation.
        24. (26) In all the Roman records there was to be found no evidence that Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate. If genuine, such a sentence would be the most important evidence in pagan literature. How could it have been overlooked for 1360 years?
        25. (27) And lastly, the style of the passage is not consistent with the usually mild and classic language of Tacitus
        1. Suetonius talks about Jesus

          Suetonius: "Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he (the emperor, Claudius) expelled them from Rome" (The Life of Claudius, Sec. 25.4).

          1. (1) The name in the text is not "Christus" but "Chrestus," which by no means is the usualdesignation of Jesus. It was a common name, especially among Roman freedman. Hence, the whole passage may have nothing whatever to do with Christianity.
          2. (2) Surely no one will contend that Christ was inciting riots at Rome 15 years after he was supposedly crucified at Jerusalem. And why would Jews be led by Jesus to begin with? (As you aptly stated)
          3. (3) This passage contains no evidence for the historicity of Jesus, even if we substitute "Christus" for "Chrestus." Christus is merely the Greek-Latin translation of messiah and the phrase "at the instigation of Christus" could refer to the Messiah generally, and not at all necessarily to the particular messiah, Jesus, as an historical figure.
          4. (4) "Chrestus" was not only a familiar personal name, it was also a name ofthe Egyptian Serapis or Osiris, who had a large following at Rome, especially among the common people. Hence "Christians" may be either the followers of a man named Chrestus, or of Serapis. Historians know what evil repute the Egyptian people, which consisted mainly of Alexandrian elements, had at Rome. While other foreign cults that had been introduced into Rome enjoyed the utmost toleration, the cult of Serapis and Isis was exposed repeatedly to persecution. The lax morality associated with their worship of the Egyptian gods and the fanaticism of their worshippers repelled the Romans, and excited the suspicion that their cults might be directed against the State.
          5. (5) Vopiscus said, "Those who worship Serapis and the Chrestians,.... They are a turbulent, inflated, lawless body of men." Is it not possible that the reference to Chrestus and the Chrestians has been too hastily applied to Christus and Christians? The "Chrestians," who were detested by the people for their crimes,..., are not Christians at all, but followers of Chrestus, the scum of Egypt, the apaches of Rome, a people on whom Nero could very easily cast the suspicion of having set fire to Rome.

        1. MY CONCLUSION

          Many people will assert to no end the people that are listed are all that is needed to prove the existence of Jesus. In fact, like GO, many hold on for dear life to the very people who have been shown time and time again to be false witnesses.

          NONE are contemporary accounts, all are at least second or third hand accounts, MOST are more. None depict Jesus as the man mentioned in the Bible.

          The most damning evidence against Jesus is not what WAS said, but what WASN'T said. No contemporary source ever wrote or mentioned Jesus.

          Justus of Tiberius was a native of Christ's own country, Galilee. He wrote a history covering the time of Christ's reputed existence. This work perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the 9th century, was acquainted with it and said, "He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did." (Photius, Bibliotheca, Code 33).

          Further in later Codices, Photius had to add in bits of information into Antiquities, since both he and Origen were stoutly against Eusebius' tampering with the documentation. He does not add in the Jesus passage from Testimonium, and in fact makes an effort to state that his mentions of Jesus are interjections just so the reader knows of the time frame from which Josephus speaks and that he is discussing.

          Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre occurred. He was there when Christ made his triumphal entry in Jerusalem. He was there when the Crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead took place--when Christ himself rose from the dead. Yet, these events were not mentioned by him.

          Under the reign of Tiberius the whole earth, or at least a celebrated province of the Roman empire, was allegedly involved in a preternatural darkness of three hours. Yet, Seneca and Pliny the Elder, who recorded all the great earthquakes, meteors, comets, and elipses they could find and who lived during the period of Jesus, failed to mention the event.

          Paul shows absolutely no knowledge of Jesus of Nazareth or the Gospel events. G.A. Wells notes : "These letters have no allusion to the parents of Jesus, let alone to the virgin birth. They never refer to a place of birth (for example, by calling him 'of Nazareth'). They give no indication of the time or place of his earthly existence. They do not refer to his trial before a Roman official, nor to Jerusalem as the place of execution. They mention neither John the Baptist, nor Judas, nor Peter's denial of his master. (They do, of course, mention Peter, but do not imply that he, any more than Paul himself, had known Jesus while he had been alive.) These letters also fail to mention any miracles Jesus is supposed to have worked, a particularly striking omission, since, according to the gospels, he worked so many... Another striking feature of Paul's letters is that one could never gather from them that Jesus had been an ethical teacher... on only one occasion does he appeal to the authority of Jesus to support an ethical teaching which the gospels also represent Jesus as having delivered. "

          As Dennis McKinsey, author of The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy, wrote once, "Many writers, such as Renan, have attempted to write his biography but failed, failed because no materials for such a work exist. If Jesus was an historical person, how is it that not only does the Talmud never mention him but Paul's Epistles do not tell a single special fact about the life of Jesus? Read the other Epistles of the NT. Nowhere in any of the early Christian documents do we find even the slenderest reference to the mere man Jesus, the historical personality as such, from which we might infer that the author had a close acquaintance with him. His life, as described in the gospels, seems to have been entirely unknown to the authors. His speeches and sayings are hardly ever quoted and where this is done, as in the Epistle of James or the Book of Acts, they are not quoted as sayings of Jesus."

          And lastly, Christians contend all of the following pre-Christian sun-gods are mythological: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, and Horus. Yet, all: (1) allegedly had gods for fathers and virgins for mothers; (2) had their births announced by stars and celestial music; (3) were born on the 25th of December (Solstice); (4) had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants; (5) met with violent deaths; and (6) rose from the dead.

          In the end, any reasonable person has to look at the evidence against Jesus, in fact, in light of him, and see that he could not possibly have existed. No contemporary evidence, no mention of him except in forgeries so obvious only those ignorant to the facts will use them as some sort of evidence, and what is there is lacking anything substantial, only blind assertions, rationalizations and outstretched hands grasping for straws; can even barely twist them to mean Jesus.

          As Celsus stated, "I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts)." (62).

          "The men who fabricated this geneaology [of Jesus] were insistent on on the point that Jesus was descended from the first man and from the king of the Jews [David]. The poor carpenter's wife seems not to have known she had such a distinguished bunch of ancestors." (64).

          "What an absurdity! Clearly the christians have used the myths of Danae and the Melanippe, or of the Auge and the Antiope in fabricating the story of Jesus' virgin birth." (57).

          "After all, the old myths of the greeks that attribute a divine birth to Perseus, Amphion, Aeacus and Minos are equally good evidence of their wondrous works on behalf of mankind- and are certainly no less lacking in plausibility than the stories of your followers." (59).

          And lastly, one of my favorites: "One ought first to follow reason as a guide before accepting any belief, since anyone who believes without testing a doctrine is certain to be deceived." (54).

          Indeed...and here we witness the most deceptive...as the only evidence he can bring up is mentioned ONLY in Eusebius' work, and as Gibbon states, "In this general view of the persecution which was first authorised by the edicts of Diocletian, I have purposely refrained from describing the particular sufferings and deaths of the Christian martyrs. It would have been an easy task. From the history of Eusebius, from the declamations of Lactantius, to collect a long series of horrid and disgusting pictures ...[snip] But I cannot determine what I ought to transcribe, till I am satisfied how much I ought to believe. The gravest of the ecclesiastical historians, Eusebius himself, indirectly confesses that he has related whatever might redound to the glory, and that he has suppressed all that could tend to the disgrace, of religion. (178) Such an acknowledgement will naturally excite a suspicion that a writer who has so openly violated one of the fundamental laws of history has not paid a very strict regard to the observance of the other; and the suspicion will derive additional credit from the character of Eusebius, which was less tinctured with credulity, and more practised in the arts of courts, than that of almost any of his contemporaries. [etc]." (Gibbon, Edward, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Encyclopedia Britannica reprint, 1990, ISBN 0-85229-531-6. Volume I, chapter 16, p.232.)

          On Josephus, we have the following:

          1. Justin Martyr (circa C.E. 100-165) but never once quoted this passage -- even in the face of charges that Christians had "invented some sort of Christ for themselves" and that they had accepted "a futile rumor" (Dialogue with Trypho 8; circa C.E. 135).
          2. Origen (circa C.E. 185-254), who in his own writings relies extensively upon the works of Josephus, does not mention this passage or any other passage in Josephus that mentions Christ. Not even when he is in dialogue against Celsus' accusations!
          3. Jerome (circa C.E. 347-420) cites Josephus 90 times, but never once cites the Testimonium.

          Since Eusebius, everybody quotes the Josephus passage as though it were actual, but before, not one church father or scribe or even a monk mentions this passage in ANY form, not even those who used Josephus' works frequently! It smells of something...rotten in Denmark.

          And after 2,000 years, with all the research and field time, no evidence physical or otherwise can be brought up to effectively prove the existence of Jesus. Not even a slipper, or a cup...only a forged passage, a few references to Chrestians and Christians in later centuries, and the Bible which has enough holes to make a back door screen jealous.

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


    gdon
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    Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

    Rook, there is some good stuff there, but also some bad information and analysis. You've been refuted on the bad stuff elsewhere (just google it) so what I'll do is look at two people you use for references, who are both atheists and well-known writers on historicity claims.

    There are quite a few secular scholars who believe there is enough evidence to conclude that there was a historical Jesus. They know a lot more on the topic than you and I, so their conclusions should perhaps be taken seriously. Are they making rational claims? If they are irrational, why not interview them?

    Peter Kirby:

    Most scholars believe there is a genuine core to the TF, and that the second reference is genuine. Peter Kirby, Internet Infidel co-founder and atheist (you call him "Richard Kirby" above) says that (my emphasis):

    "I am presently persuaded to regard the shorter reference as authentic... It shows that Josephus accepted the historicity of Jesus. Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact. It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact."

    Jeffrey Jay Lowder:

    I agree that Lucian is too late to establish Christ's historicity (we have Josephus for that), though the reference is useful for determining what was thought about Jesus by that time. But it beggers the imagination that you can conclude that "This is a SPECIAL PLEADING argument by Christians, we are too ASSUME he is talking about Jesus". Heh? Lucian, writing around 160 CE, writes about Christians who "worship a crucified sage", and you really think there is doubt about whom he is talking about??? What percentage do you put on the chance that this is NOT Jesus Christ Lucian is talking about?

    Even more incredibly, you go on to say that Jeffrey Jay Lowder himself "is is an APOLOGIST [NOT an atheist]. He also believes in the historicity of Christ".

    Lowder is a well-known atheist and writer who has written MANY articles on historical criticism and counter-Apologetics. He spent 5 years building the Secular Web, and was the Internet Infidels President for a number of years. I can only assume that, because he believes that the evidence points to a historical Christ, you assumed that he was a Christian apologist.

    Now, both Lowder and Kirby are atheists. They both know more than you and I on this topic. I suggest that if they have come to the conclusion that the evidence points to a historical Jesus, then their conclusions should be considered. And these are the kinds of analysts that you and your show are missing. There are lots of secular scholars who also think that there was a historical Jesus. I'd love to see you debate them. I think they would tear you apart, personally. But I would like to see the results.

    A couple of other points:

    You wrote:

    "No contemporary source ever wrote or mentioned Jesus". But do you now agree that it is possible to conclude (however tentatively) someone's historicity without contemporary sources? (I just want this confirmed after the recent contest on that subject)

    Lastly, you wrote:

    "Christians contend all of the following pre-Christian sun-gods are mythological: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, and Horus. Yet, all: (1) allegedly had gods for fathers and virgins for mothers; (2) had their births announced by stars and celestial music; (3) were born on the 25th of December (Solstice); (4) had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants; (5) met with violent deaths; and (6) rose from the dead."

    As far as I know, this is the kind of bogus information that gets spread around the net. Can I have your evidence for claims about those gods, please? How many match those 6 points?

    "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


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    gdon
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    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    There are quite a few secular scholars who believe there is enough evidence to conclude that there was a historical Jesus. They know a lot more on the topic than you and I, so their conclusions should perhaps be taken seriously. Are they making rational claims? If they are irrational, why not interview them?

    Here's the thing. I do not debate the fact that there e secular scholars and scholars in general who feel a historical Jesus existed. The reason this is however, is because a even my friend Richard Carrier stated, most scholars just accept each others statements. This is usually the case, as its easier to accept something a scholar says and assume that conclusion to be solid.


    But these are secular scholars making these claims. Is it possible to assert the historicity of Jesus as a rational claim? If you regard either Kirby and Lowder's reasons as being irrational, why not interview them on your show?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    However, it's a bias because not ony are most conclusions old and outdated but it takes a while for new theories to circulate and be checked thoroughly. Mythicism is currently coming out of the underground into mainstream scholarhip for the first time, and scholars for the most part have yet to turn a serious eye towards it.

    Mythicism has been around for about 200 years, and goes through popularity phases every now and then. The peak was probably around 100 years ago. Mythicism has been dying for a long time, though Doherty has seen a brief revival in the last 10 years or so. Whether this is a fad or not remains to be seen.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    There are still a few however, whom do feel that the mythicist position s the correct one. Robert Price and Richard Carrier are just two to name a few.

    Can you name any other, who have published on the subject in peer-reviewed publications? Seriously. Doherty published in Price's secular journal, and nobody responded to it AFAIK.

    Who are the other scholars? Acharya S and Tom Harpur?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Even still, this is an appeal to authority on your part, and you're adding in a little bit of appeal to population (in this case, applied to a group of people - scholars).

    Yep. "Appeal to authority" isn't necessarily invalid. Secular scholars support a tentative historical Jesus. No problems with questioning Christians on this -- they SHOULD be questioned -- but this is not a "Christian vs secularism" claim.

    Currently there are more secular scholars supporting a historical Jesus than not. Why not start interviewing them on your program?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    His whole speculation here is based on some conclusion about the 20.9.1 passag being authentic. Here is what Carrier stats on this subject... In this I agree with through my own studies, so I strongly feel that Kirby is incorrect in his analysis here.

    Well, why not get Peter Kirby and interview him on your program? Get Richard Carrier as well to question him -- wouldn't that make for a great program?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    Even more incredibly, you go on to say that Jeffrey Jay Lowder himself "is is an APOLOGIST [NOT an atheist]. He also believes in the historicity of Christ".

    Lowder is a well-known atheist and writer who has written MANY articles on historical criticism and counter-Apologetics. He spent 5 years building the Secular Web, and was the Internet Infidels President for a number of years. I can only assume that, because he believes that the evidence points to a historical Christ, you assumed that he was a Christian apologist.

    This is a mistake which I apologize for. This mistake was made several years ago when I initially gathered up my sources and wrote this out. When I copied it last night, I tried to (in my best focused state) correct things I made mistakes in earlier but I missed some. Thanks for pointing that out, it will be corrected immediately.


    My point is that, not only is Lowder a well known atheist writer on counter-apologetics, he has written on historical criticism. Earlier you wrote on secular scholars following others' conclusions. Lowder may be wrong, but he isn't just following someone else. Read one of his articles on historical criticism. Why not invite him on your program to ask him how he comes to his conclusions? Here is what he says here when looking at framing questions dealing with historicity (my emphasis):

    "Although a discussion of the New Testament evidence is beyond the scope of this paper, I think that the New Testament does provide prima facie evidence for the historicity of Jesus. It is clear, then, that if we are going to apply to the New Testament "the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material," we should not require independent confirmation of the New Testament's claim that Jesus existed."

    Why not have him on your show and interview him on the subject?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Aside from my slip here...there really is no point in this non-sequitor save trying to discredit me

    I don't give two twigs with trying to discrediting you. Someone being wrong doesn't mean they are discredited. I've been wrong heaps of times. I've learned more from being wrong than from being right.

    Personally as far as I'm concerned, you are as loony as any fundy. But unlike most fundies, I DO see you trying to investigate these things, which is to your credit. Talking to Carrier is a good start.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    You wrote:

    "No contemporary source ever wrote or mentioned Jesus". But do you now agree that it is possible to conclude (however tentatively) someone's historicity without contemporary sources? (I just want this confirmed after the recent contest on that subject)

    I agree that to some degree historicity can be established without contemporary accounts, but my reason for this is notbecuase I feel historicity can difinitively be established by speculated. I feel, however, that figures who have a supernatural role in history require some evidence as to their existence.


    Well, why not get on some secular scholars on your show who believe that that evidence is there?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    Lastly, you wrote:

    "Christians contend all of the following pre-Christian sun-gods are mythological: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, and Horus. Yet, all: (1) allegedly had gods for fathers and virgins for mothers; (2) had their births announced by stars and celestial music; (3) were born on the 25th of December (Solstice); (4) had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants; (5) met with violent deaths; and (6) rose from the dead."

    As far as I know, this is the kind of bogus information that gets spread around the net. Can I have your evidence for claims about those gods, please? How many match those 6 points?

    Read this:

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

    An this:

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


    Neither of those links show that they had "all" those 6 elements. How about the claim "(4) Had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants"? Who was the tyrant trying to kill Osiris, Mithras or Prometheus, for example?

    "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


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    gdon wrote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    There are quite a few secular scholars who believe there is enough evidence to conclude that there was a historical Jesus. They know a lot more on the topic than you and I, so their conclusions should perhaps be taken seriously. Are they making rational claims? If they are irrational, why not interview them?

    Here's the thing. I do not debate the fact that there e secular scholars and scholars in general who feel a historical Jesus existed. The reason this is however, is because a even my friend Richard Carrier stated, most scholars just accept each others statements. This is usually the case, as its easier to accept something a scholar says and assume that conclusion to be solid.


    But these are secular scholars making these claims.

    I'm aware... I'm pretty sure tht is exactly what I said. What does repeating this fact prove? That the secular community is split on the issue? Well d'uh. Eye-wink

    Quote:
    Is it possible to assert the historicity of Jesus as a rational claim? If you regard either Kirby and Lowder's reasons as being irrational, why not interview them on your show?

    I see no reason why that won't eventually happen.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    However, it's a bias because not ony are most conclusions old and outdated but it takes a while for new theories to circulate and be checked thoroughly. Mythicism is currently coming out of the underground into mainstream scholarhip for the first time, and scholars for the most part have yet to turn a serious eye towards it.

    Mythicism has been around for about 200 years, and goes through popularity phases every now and then. The peak was probably around 100 years ago. Mythicism has been dying for a long time, though Doherty has seen a brief revival in the last 10 years or so. Whether this is a fad or not remains to be seen.

    Mythicism hasn't been around as much as you claim here. It is a fairly more popular thing now then it ever has been. It's only been around about 50 years as something that is really starting to be taken seriously. Previous appeals to pop. have really made it difficult to grab an audience for the mythicist position.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    There are still a few however, whom do feel that the mythicist position s the correct one. Robert Price and Richard Carrier are just two to name a few.

    Can you name any other, who have published on the subject in peer-reviewed publications? Seriously. Doherty published in Price's secular journal, and nobody responded to it AFAIK.

    Who are the other scholars? Acharya S and Tom Harpur?

    Dude, this is really irrelevant and inconsequential to the message. You can't keep focusing on these trivial details when there is so much more important parts of my argument that have more sustance and can hurt my case more if you were to prove me wrong.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Even still, this is an appeal to authority on your part, and you're adding in a little bit of appeal to population (in this case, applied to a group of people - scholars).

    Yep. "Appeal to authority" isn't necessarily invalid. Secular scholars support a tentative historical Jesus. No problems with questioning Christians on this -- they SHOULD be questioned -- but this is not a "Christian vs secularism" claim.

    You're right. It's a historical vs. mythical claim. One that has to be looked at but has not been looked at nearly as seriously as you would have us think. Had scholars given the mythicist position more merit earlier on, I doubt you would be able to ascribe so many scholars that adhere to historicity.

    Even still, this is still a minute point on your part, and clearly irrelevant. Whether 9/10 scholars feel one way or another does not change the course of the facts.

    Quote:
    Currently there are more secular scholars supporting a historical Jesus than not. Why not start interviewing them on your program?

    I promise you that will eventually happen. I'm not the only host on the show and as such guests have to be determined as a whole. And it's not that these scholars don't have open invitations.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    His whole speculation here is based on some conclusion about the 20.9.1 passag being authentic. Here is what Carrier stats on this subject... In this I agree with through my own studies, so I strongly feel that Kirby is incorrect in his analysis here.

    Well, why not get Peter Kirby and interview him on your program? Get Richard Carrier as well to question him -- wouldn't that make for a great program?

    Perhaps, that could be true.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    Even more incredibly, you go on to say that Jeffrey Jay Lowder himself "is is an APOLOGIST [NOT an atheist]. He also believes in the historicity of Christ".

    Lowder is a well-known atheist and writer who has written MANY articles on historical criticism and counter-Apologetics. He spent 5 years building the Secular Web, and was the Internet Infidels President for a number of years. I can only assume that, because he believes that the evidence points to a historical Christ, you assumed that he was a Christian apologist.

    This is a mistake which I apologize for. This mistake was made several years ago when I initially gathered up my sources and wrote this out. When I copied it last night, I tried to (in my best focused state) correct things I made mistakes in earlier but I missed some. Thanks for pointing that out, it will be corrected immediately.

    My point is that, not only is Lowder a well known atheist writer on counter-apologetics, he has written on historical criticism. Earlier you wrote on secular scholars following others' conclusions. Lowder may be wrong, but he isn't just following someone else. Read one of his articles on historical criticism. Why not invite him on your program to ask him how he comes to his conclusions? Here is what he says here when looking at framing questions dealing with historicity (my emphasis):

    "Although a discussion of the New Testament evidence is beyond the scope of this paper, I think that the New Testament does provide prima facie evidence for the historicity of Jesus. It is clear, then, that if we are going to apply to the New Testament "the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material," we should not require independent confirmation of the New Testament's claim that Jesus existed."

    Why not have him on your show and interview him on the subject?

    Do I really have to repeat myself again? Really, gdon, just say something once, would you?

    Yes, any time this can be arranged.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Aside from my slip here...there really is no point in this non-sequitor save trying to discredit me

    I don't give two twigs with trying to discrediting you. Someone being wrong doesn't mean they are discredited. I've been wrong heaps of times. I've learned more from being wrong than from being right.

    I agree.

    Quote:
    Personally as far as I'm concerned, you are as loony as any fundy. But unlike most fundies, I DO see you trying to investigate these things, which is to your credit. Talking to Carrier is a good start.

    I'm going to get cocky here. Ready for it?

    :roll:

    Okay, this coming from the world championship ad-hoc user?

    Anyway, thank you for the follow-up compliment.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    Lastly, you wrote:

    "Christians contend all of the following pre-Christian sun-gods are mythological: Hercules, Osiris, Bacchus, Mithra, Hermes, Prometheus, Perseus, and Horus. Yet, all: (1) allegedly had gods for fathers and virgins for mothers; (2) had their births announced by stars and celestial music; (3) were born on the 25th of December (Solstice); (4) had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants; (5) met with violent deaths; and (6) rose from the dead."

    As far as I know, this is the kind of bogus information that gets spread around the net. Can I have your evidence for claims about those gods, please? How many match those 6 points?

    Read this:

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

    An this:

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


    Neither of those links show that they had "all" those 6 elements. How about the claim "(4) Had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants"? Who was the tyrant trying to kill Osiris, Mithras or Prometheus, for example?

    I'll tell you what, I'll discuss this with Carrier tomorrow when we record our "Mythicism" show together.

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


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    Peanut Gallery: Jesus history/contemporary proofs contest

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    Is it possible to assert the historicity of Jesus as a rational claim? If you regard either Kirby and Lowder's reasons as being irrational, why not interview them on your show?

    I see no reason why that won't eventually happen.

    That's good. I'll look forward to that. It would be nice to hear you debating secular scholars on the topic.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    Mythicism has been around for about 200 years, and goes through popularity phases every now and then. The peak was probably around 100 years ago. Mythicism has been dying for a long time, though Doherty has seen a brief revival in the last 10 years or so. Whether this is a fad or not remains to be seen.

    Mythicism hasn't been around as much as you claim here. It is a fairly more popular thing now then it ever has been. It's only been around about 50 years as something that is really starting to be taken seriously. Previous appeals to pop. have really made it difficult to grab an audience for the mythicist position.


    Mythicism has been around since at least 1790s, from the time of Count Volney and Dupuis. You yourself quote Dupuis above. Weren't you aware he published in the 1790s?

    Mythicism was taken seriously to some extent around 100 years ago, and then pretty much dismissed as pseudoscience (pseudohistory perhaps may describe it better). It hasn't been taken seriously at all in the last 50 years that I've heard about, hence my questions about scholars publishing in peer-reviewed journals. (I should point out that it isn't "mythicism" per se that I mean, but the mythicist theories that have been presented to date).

    Is it possible that, like any pet fringe "theory" like ID, alien contactees, etc, you have over-estimated how much credibility the topic has among secular scholars? Fringe theorists all seem to believe that somehow "the mainstream scholarly community know, but are too scared to address the facts". Is that what you believe also? (Apologies if the question is uncomfortable).

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    There are still a few however, whom do feel that the mythicist position s the correct one. Robert Price and Richard Carrier are just two to name a few.

    Can you name any other, who have published on the subject in peer-reviewed publications? Seriously. Doherty published in Price's secular journal, and nobody responded to it AFAIK.

    Who are the other scholars? Acharya S and Tom Harpur?

    Dude, this is really irrelevant and inconsequential to the message. You can't keep focusing on these trivial details when there is so much more important parts of my argument that have more sustance and can hurt my case more if you were to prove me wrong.


    Claims that there are other scholars in the field who support mythicism is inconsequential??? Are you kidding? I'd like to hear about them and read their work if possible. Please tell me who they are, so I can look at their work. They have to be scholars in that field, though. Creationists are notorious for using scientists in non-related fields to back up their claims.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    Secular scholars support a tentative historical Jesus. No problems with questioning Christians on this -- they SHOULD be questioned -- but this is not a "Christian vs secularism" claim.

    You're right. It's a historical vs. mythical claim. One that has to be looked at but has not been looked at nearly as seriously as you would have us think. Had scholars given the mythicist position more merit earlier on, I doubt you would be able to ascribe so many scholars that adhere to historicity.

    Even still, this is still a minute point on your part, and clearly irrelevant. Whether 9/10 scholars feel one way or another does not change the course of the facts.


    Creationists would say the same thing, Rook. Being on the side of 9 out of 10 scholars is perhaps the better place to be, IMHO. It doesn't make them right of course. I'd be interested in you informing, say, Kirby or Lowder where and how you think they are wrong. Why not write a rebuttal to Lowder's article or Kirby's article? I'll see about passing it on if you like.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    gdon wrote:
    My point is that, not only is Lowder a well known atheist writer on counter-apologetics, he has written on historical criticism. Earlier you wrote on secular scholars following others' conclusions. Lowder may be wrong, but he isn't just following someone else. Read one of his articles on historical criticism. Why not invite him on your program to ask him how he comes to his conclusions? Here is what he says here when looking at framing questions dealing with historicity (my emphasis):

    "Although a discussion of the New Testament evidence is beyond the scope of this paper, I think that the New Testament does provide prima facie evidence for the historicity of Jesus. It is clear, then, that if we are going to apply to the New Testament "the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material," we should not require independent confirmation of the New Testament's claim that Jesus existed."

    Why not have him on your show and interview him on the subject?

    Do I really have to repeat myself again? Really, gdon, just say something once, would you?


    In this case my point is more "address his argument" than "have him on the show". Sorry for the confusion.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    Anyway, thank you for the follow-up compliment.

    You're welcome. As I say, talking to Carrier is a good start. He is a mythicist but I have no problem with him -- he references his material and writes like the scholar he is.

    I think you could be the same, if you didn't keep using bombastic statements like your "no thieves were crucified never ever" statement. You overstate your case way too often, I suspect to try to introduce doubt in your debating opponent. But to anyone knowledgeable on the topic, you sound like a damn fool.

    Some examples:

      Your comment that "Jesus was crucified, not hanged". But the NT says he was hanged also. (Claim that as a contradiction if you like. Smiling )
      Your comment "Nowhere in the New Testament was Jesus charged with sorcery" as part of your evidence against the Talmud "mentioning Christ". I agree that the Talmud probably doesn't mention Christ, btw, but Jesus was called a sorceror later (see Celsus), and even in the NT the Pharisees charged Jesus with being able to perform miracles through Satan.
      Your comment "The plea is that we accept that Lucian is talking about Jesus of Nazareth, but clearly it isn?t certain". It's about as certain as it can be.
      Your comment "Roman laws accorded religious liberty to all. Before Constantine there was not a single law opposed to freedom of thought." There was Christianity itself -- is that in doubt in your mind? Also Druidism and some Bacchic rites, which were banned at one stage
      Your comment "The worshippers of the Sun-god Serapis were also called "Christians." " Heh? Isn't that from a satire? What is the evidence for that?
      Your comment about how those gods had "all" 6 elements.

    Quite a few more as well. Lowder covers some of the same ground here in his "How Not to Argue Against the Historicity and Resurrection of Jesus" article, which I recommend.

    As I said, you overstate your case way too often, even when you don't need to. I hope that you ask Carrier to review your work above for his comment.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:
    GDon wrote:
    Neither of those links show that they had "all" those 6 elements. How about the claim "(4) Had tyrants trying to kill them when they were infants"? Who was the tyrant trying to kill Osiris, Mithras or Prometheus, for example?

    I'll tell you what, I'll discuss this with Carrier tomorrow when we record our "Mythicism" show together.


    Thank you. I suspect Carrier will recommend you revising your list. Let me know what he says.

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    I was banned from Macrumors Forum, Politics and Religion for annoucing this:

    "You have been banned for the following reason:
    Trolling with inflamatory religious threads and continued after one was closed

    Date the ban will be lifted: 08-16-2006, 11:00 AM"

    I simply quoted the $666.00 challenge and that was that. <joking>I guess Rational Responders is inflamatory and disrespectful.</joking>

    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=223253


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    I was one of the first mofos

    I was one of the first mofos to reply to this thread and I'm still waiting for even a bone to be thrown this way as far as an answer. Smiling

    I'm not too broken up though, since it wasn't my answer, but rather a reply I got when I posted the challenge on MySpace. They didn't want to bother joining a forum, so I posted their replies.

    -=Grim=-

    No Nyarlathotep, Know Peace.
    Know Nyarlathotep, No Peace.

    No Nyarlathotep, Know Peace.
    Know Nyarlathotep, No Peace.


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    Rook_Hawkins

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    Understand, my line of work is not the same thing as that of a theologist.

    Theologian; not theologist.

    A theologist would be practically anyone who contemplates God; theologians are the people who you are contrasting here.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    My research is much more meticulous in areas where theology can be lax.

    Euphemized insult. Very ad-hom of you, Rook.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    For example, on establishing historicity, I need to continually research and study various contemporary and post-contemporary accounts of peoples, places and events. I have to at times be knowledgeable of greek and hebrew and coptic, etc....

    Rook, I mean no degradation here, but for some reason or another, I sincerely doubt that you are personally dealing with the translation, interpretation, and reiteration of ancient texts and their languages. Just from what I've gathered about you so far, personally, it seems highly unlikely.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    A theologian can simply claim something as dogmatic via the works they ascribe, where as a historian would need to verify the facts within the works they are claiming to ascribe too.

    Again, another acrid, yet euphemized, insult. There's no need to belittle the opposition, Rook; if your point is true, then that's what will be made obvious in the end. There's no need for attacking the credibility, diligence, and level of scrutiny that biblical scholars employ in their "line of work".

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    Therefore when I have to continually make the same comments over and over again I get annoyed, especially because I'm so easy to look up.

    Understood. And I apologize for my lack of timeliness in responding to what you've written.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    But I am usually so busy working on essays and writing papers on the subject I specialize, I do not have time to frequent the boards as much as I would like (and as much as I should), so you may not have known that information. Even still, please try to find the answers to the questions you ask me in advance, it really does save me time when I need to be spending it on proving a thesis.

    Will do. Thanks for the polite-mannered suggestion.

    adamryan wrote:

    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.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    I know of him, yes. I'm not a fan of the field of apologetics. In the end, apologists merely admit to the shortcomings of their beliefs (hense the term) and do a pretty poor job of proving anything. They claim a lot but prove very little.

    You're "not a fan"? That's it?

    Rook, you basically just said, "I don't like it.", and then puerilely made an unfounded insult.

    For some reason, I have this awkward feeling that if I were questioned whether or not I knew the writings of some atheist philosopher, and I responded in the same manner you did, you people would zealously excommunicate my theist posterior from this forum.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    The Gospels cannot really be dated, nor are the real authors known. Their names were assigned early, but not early enough for us to be confident they were accurately known. It is based on speculation that Mark was the first, written between 60 and 70 A.D., Matthew second, between 70 and 80 A.D., Luke (and Acts) third, between 80 and 90 A.D., and John last, between 90 and 100 A.D. Scholars advance various other dates for each work, and the total range of possible dates runs from the 50's to the early 100's, but all dates are conjectural.

    Is it possible that the writings of the NT (not all of them, perhaps) were penned early (which explains the overall basic congruity of the gospels; it was easy to recall the events), the original autographs became non-extant (continous handling of, normal "wear-and-tear", etc ), the "earliest copies" that we now have have become the basis for our conclusions in dating their content, and any conclusions we formulate using these documents to attach dates and create timelines are contaminated by uncertainity from the very beginning of our analysis?

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    It is supposed that the Gospels did not exist before 58 simply because neither Paul nor any other epistle writer mentions or quotes them, and this is a reasonable argument as far as things go. On the other hand, Mark is presumed earlier, and the others later, because Mark is simpler, and at least Matthew and Luke appear to borrow material from him.

    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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    adamryan wrote:Rook_Hawkins

    adamryan wrote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    Understand, my line of work is not the same thing as that of a theologist.

    Theologian; not theologist.

    A theologist would be practically anyone who contemplates God; theologians are the people who you are contrasting here.

    That may be so, but it doesn't change the difference here. I'm a historian and don't deal with the philosophical nature of things.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    My research is much more meticulous in areas where theology can be lax.

    Euphemized insult. Very ad-hom of you, Rook.

    Wow, don't take me the wrong way, Adam. In no way that was directly attacking you or theology in general.

    My position is this: Theology doesn't deal in facts it deals in speculation. A prima facto example would be that almost every single apologist out there has some degree in Theology, yet only a mere handful have some sort of grasp of history and what it means for something to be classified as historical. This is simply fact. Gleason Archer, McDowell and Stuart, Strobel, Comfort, not a grasp of what it means for something to be historical.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    For example, on establishing historicity, I need to continually research and study various contemporary and post-contemporary accounts of peoples, places and events. I have to at times be knowledgeable of greek and hebrew and coptic, etc....

    Rook, I mean no degradation here, but for some reason or another, I sincerely doubt that you are personally dealing with the translation, interpretation, and reiteration of ancient texts and their languages. Just from what I've gathered about you so far, personally, it seems highly unlikely.

    Don't ever call me on ad-homs, again, Adam. As this was a lot more confrontational then anything I've said to you. Have you even heard my dissertation shows with Carrier?! I am CONSTANTLY researching the Greek, Greek Lexicons and Hebrew transcripts. That doesn't mean that I am at all fluent in the Greek or Hebrew, I have the LSJ for that, and Richard Carrier and my cousin Eric Schumacher (Professor of Ancient Philosophy) helps me out when I'm in a bind or when the LSJ fails to yeild me any conclusive results. Either way, my quest is the same as yours: The search for the truth. My search has taken me on a path which may be different from yours, but in the end our goal should be equal.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    A theologian can simply claim something as dogmatic via the works they ascribe, where as a historian would need to verify the facts within the works they are claiming to ascribe too.

    Again, another acrid, yet euphemized, insult. There's no need to belittle the opposition, Rook; if your point is true, then that's what will be made obvious in the end. There's no need for attacking the credibility, diligence, and level of scrutiny that biblical scholars employ in their "line of work".

    Who's attacking anybody? The very idea of the facts is exactly what we're trying to establish here! If I give you a historical account of Justin Martyr who not only agnknowledges the fact that the Jesus myth resembles earlier Pagan and Greek myths, and that the Jesus myth philosophy mimics those of the Orphics and of the philosophers of the Greeks - and not only does Justin admit this but he clearly writes out the other similarities of which that have existed before the first century even started! That is fact! A theologian would merely point out the same thing Justin did: That the Devil confiscated these other Gods and Philosophies to deter people from the path of righteousness! Indeed, many HAVE used that argument. Theology plays no roll in determining facts, the roll Theology plays is how to twist the facts to better represent the Theology they are most bias towards. In other words, Theologians are nothing more then apologists with a better grasp of the dogma then your typical Theologist.

    The facts don't play into this point.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    Therefore when I have to continually make the same comments over and over again I get annoyed, especially because I'm so easy to look up.

    Understood. And I apologize for my lack of timeliness in responding to what you've written.

    Apology accepted.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    But I am usually so busy working on essays and writing papers on the subject I specialize, I do not have time to frequent the boards as much as I would like (and as much as I should), so you may not have known that information. Even still, please try to find the answers to the questions you ask me in advance, it really does save me time when I need to be spending it on proving a thesis.

    Will do. Thanks for the polite-mannered suggestion.

    The very least I can do for being a crude ass earlier.

    Quote:
    adamryan wrote:

    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.

    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    I know of him, yes. I'm not a fan of the field of apologetics. In the end, apologists merely admit to the shortcomings of their beliefs (hense the term) and do a pretty poor job of proving anything. They claim a lot but prove very little.

    You're "not a fan"? That's it?

    Rook, you basically just said, "I don't like it.", and then puerilely made an unfounded insult.

    Let me put it like this...when a man such as Graig brings up how much hotter his wife is then his opponents in a debate, I lose a lot of respect...especially since it was such an off-the-wall comment and completely unenessecary. I've read his debates, and am disgusted with them quite frankly. Does that make my reasons a bit more clear and refined?

    Quote:
    For some reason, I have this awkward feeling that if I were questioned whether or not I knew the writings of some atheist philosopher, and I responded in the same manner you did, you people would zealously excommunicate my theist posterior from this forum.

    Absolutely not true. I would hope you'd be able to back it up with something, but your opinion alone is never going to get you expelled from this forum. We have a lot more tolerance then that. Eye-wink

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    The Gospels cannot really be dated, nor are the real authors known. Their names were assigned early, but not early enough for us to be confident they were accurately known. It is based on speculation that Mark was the first, written between 60 and 70 A.D., Matthew second, between 70 and 80 A.D., Luke (and Acts) third, between 80 and 90 A.D., and John last, between 90 and 100 A.D. Scholars advance various other dates for each work, and the total range of possible dates runs from the 50's to the early 100's, but all dates are conjectural.

    Is it possible that the writings of the NT (not all of them, perhaps) were penned early (which explains the overall basic congruity of the gospels; it was easy to recall the events),

    But that's just it, if the man Jesus had lived during the time of the first century, there would have been a lot more writings of his existence. See my argument from silence in this topic. Especially since the average life span of a human being in the Roman Empire at the time of the first century was a mere 40 years old, and that is ONLY if a person survivde past the age of 20, as persecutions, war, religious sacrifices, and corruption were often seen to end your life before you ever got past your 20th birthday. (Sources in my Silence discussion)

    Quote:
    the original autographs became non-extant (continous handling of, normal "wear-and-tear", etc ), the "earliest copies" that we now have have become the basis for our conclusions in dating their content, and any conclusions we formulate using these documents to attach dates and create timelines are contaminated by uncertainity from the very beginning of our analysis?

    The auograohs are speculation at best. Even Christian apolgetics agree, which is damn sad for this case your making here. Allow me to show you:

    Archer himself admits the original writings no longer exist:

    1. "...we must deal with the very real problem of the complete disappearance of the autographa (the original writings-ed) themselves... it is technically true that there are no extant inerrant originals." (p. 27).

    2. "it may be true that we no longer possess any perfect copy of the inerrant original manuscripts of the Bible." (p. 28).

    Having said this, Archer then makes a statement bordering on the absurd.

    1. "So also, we must cherish the inerrant originals of Holy Scripture as free from all mistakes of any kind, even though we have never actually seen them." (p. 29).

    Imagine the nonsense of this! We are told, How does he know the original itself is flawless? The originals themselves could very well contradict each other.

    Of course this is neither here nor there, but the statements above paint a clea rpicture for how poor the argument is that the origionals MIGHT have been something or COULD have been written when...the fact is it's all speculative. Since the argument from silence in this case is so damning, even Carrier agrees (Please listen ot purchase the Jesus Mythicism show with Carrier and myself for further details on this), there is really no way to date them earlier then the fall of the Temple.

    If the Gospels has existed before this date, Paul would have SURELY known about them and used them to prove that his Jesus existed especially to the Romans, as he even went to Jersusalem just three years after his conversion and met up with Peter...yet nothing in Paul's epistles shows any signs that Peter knew of anything in the Gospels, and Paul certainly doesn't. And these weren't the only epistles to be written in the first century without knowledge of the Gospels or a historical Jesus.

    Clement knows nothing, names none, cites nothing, and is almost just as oblivious as Paul is.

    Hebrews has not a word of the Gospels and this is an early epistle (although not from Paul).

    No real mention in Josephus, Philo, or Pliny the Elder. No mention of any of the events in the Talmud, nothing in any of the Sethian writings...

    And if Mark had been written in 70 CE, it would have easily been passed around quick enough to the churches, as of that time there would have been enough patrons to the church to have an ample audience and more scribes to copy things. More literate members...Matthew and Luke could ahve obtained copies and themselves scribbled down their versions best they could, albeit their copies were not the origionals either.

    It would best explain the boom of knowledge of the Gospels in the middle-late second century and the small amount of actually physical manuscripts and papyrus we have from that period as well...and also the it explains the complete LACK of said manuscripts prior to the turn of the century. As the only physical manuscript evidence for the Gospels we have is a small slither of a verse from what we assume to be the Gospel of John, dated between 125-150 CE.

    Quote:
    Rook_Hawkins wrote:

    It is supposed that the Gospels did not exist before 58 simply because neither Paul nor any other epistle writer mentions or quotes them, and this is a reasonable argument as far as things go. On the other hand, Mark is presumed earlier, and the others later, because Mark is simpler, and at least Matthew and Luke appear to borrow material from him.

    Interesting.

    Indeed. Take care Adam.

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    First answer to the $666 question

    Josephus the Romano-Jewish historian reported him, and was his contemporary.


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    RichardB8633 wrote:Josephus

    RichardB8633 wrote:
    Josephus the Romano-Jewish historian reported him, and was his contemporary.

    I assume you joined because you saw the bulletin on MySpace as you've only been a member for a few hours. However, I am confused. Did you actually read the MySpace bulletin?

    If you did, then surely you must have seen this.

    From the RRS MySpace Bulletin concerning the contest:

    Quote:
    What doesn't count as "CONTEMPORARY" evidence? Lucian, The Talmud, Pliny the Younger, Thallus, Flavius Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius. Those are the most common proofs, none of which were written while Jesus was alive.

    "If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name at a Swiss Bank."-Woody Allen

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    Horror812 wrote:There are

    Horror812 wrote:
    There are physical items that have been purported to support the existence corresponding to Jesus. "The Shroud of Turin" is surrounded by controversy and is the single most studied artifact in human history.

    Joh 19:40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews.

    Joh 20:5 He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus' head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. (NRSV)

    The Shroud of Turin is a single object, thus contradicting the verses in The Book of John which state that the body of Jesus was wrapped in "linen wrappings" (plural) along with a single cloth for his head.


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    Don't take me seriously, I'm

    Don't take me seriously, I'm just Joshin' ya.


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    RichardB8633 wrote: I don't

    RichardB8633 wrote:
    I don't understand what the big deal is, who's to say there wasn't a living flesh and blood man named Jesus living way back when that was a rabbi, whom might have had some revolutionary insights? It's not like he actually said he was THE son of God (at least not in a particular line I know of). .

    Such a person would have nothing to do with the 'jesus' of the gospels.... it's possible that a person like that helped inspire the story, but saying "some really nice rabbi existed, ergo there's evidence for jesus' would be akin to saying "there was once this really tall lumberjack, ergo Paul Bunyan existed"

    Evidence of a purely human 'jesus' would actually refute the gospels...

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    In discussing the fact that

    In discussing the fact that a historian might accept the existence of a figure for which there is no evidence of any contemporary accounts, we must remember that we are comparing an ordinary claim with an extraordinary claim.

    The gospels don't make an ordinary claim. They hold that a man/god strode the earth for years, creating miracles, etc. The book of Matthew even speaks of zombie-saints rising from graves.

    Ergo it's not just that there is a contemporary silence concerning 'jesus' that strikes us as bizarre... it is that we should expect an outrcy from anyone in the area, able to write...we ought to expect the event to have a dominating influence any form of song, poetry, history that does exist from that era.

    For it not to show up as a constant theme in the works of any historian or poet of that time, is akin to the idea of the Moon disapearing in 1979 without Carl Sagan bothering to mention it in Cosmos in 1980.

    Of course, those arguing for a 'jesus-lite' - a mere man that inspired a legend, can argue that the more miraculous claims for 'jesus'. like those in the book of 'matthew' are merely literary license, gone amuck. The problem with this argument is that it is entirely ad hoc - whatever would necessarily demand that the world take note of, is removed from the record as 'poetic exaggeration'....

    This leaves us with a process akin to peeling back layers of an onion to get to the 'real onion' ... it's utterly arbitrary where you stop....

    Anyone who takes the gospels seriously, particularly Matthew and John, has a serious problem before them: there's no rational way to conclude that the written word from that time wouldn't have been dominated by talk of the miracles, the zombie saints, etc.... no matter the author's particular normal range of interests....

    Take a look at how the theme of 9/11 dominates our media. Now, instead of some buildings being knocked down, imagine that newcameras captured zombie saints rising from graves on that day instead.....

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    gdon wrote:Rook, there is

    gdon wrote:
    Rook, there is some good stuff there, but also some bad information and analysis. You've been refuted on the bad stuff elsewhere (just google it) so what I'll do is look at two people you use for references, who are both atheists and well-known writers on historicity claims.

    There are quite a few secular scholars who believe there is enough evidence to conclude that there was a historical Jesus. They know a lot more on the topic than you and I, so their conclusions should perhaps be taken seriously. Are they making rational claims? If they are irrational, why not interview them?

    Peter Kirby:

    Most scholars believe there is a genuine core to the TF, and that the second reference is genuine. Peter Kirby, Internet Infidel co-founder and atheist (you call him "Richard Kirby" above) says that (my emphasis):

    "I am presently persuaded to regard the shorter reference as authentic... It shows that Josephus accepted the historicity of Jesus. Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact. It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact."

    If so, why didn't "jesus the messiah" dominate his discussion of Jewish history? Seems he didn't have anything to go on.. nothing that led him to believe that there was any actual messiah... this seems to a pretty damning disproof more than anything else.... of a gospel jesus.

    Quote:

    Jeffrey Jay Lowder:

    I agree that Lucian is too late to establish Christ's historicity (we have Josephus for that),

    See the slight problem above.

    Quote:

    Now, both Lowder and Kirby are atheists. They both know more than you and I on this topic.

    Then give one of their great arguments, rather than just assert.

    You wrote this to Rook:

    Quote:
    Personally as far as I'm concerned, you are as loony as any fundy.

    People in glass houses... stones... sure you get the idea....

    You continue here:

    Quote:
    But unlike most fundies, I DO see you trying to investigate these things, which is to your credit. Talking to Carrier is a good start.

    So he's just like a fundy, except he's completely unlike a fundy in that he critically examines his own beliefs!

    So he's a fundy, except that he isn't.

    Funny stuff.

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    Gdon once again pwned by

    Gdon once again pwned by Todangst. I'm hiring you on as my official debunker of gdon. Expect payment in the mail. What's gdon worth exactly? A nickle? Four cents?

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    Jesus existed?

    I don't understand what the big deal is, who's to say there wasn't a living flesh and blood man named Jesus living way back when that was a rabbi, whom might have had some revolutionary insights? It's not like he actually said he was THE son of God (at least not in a particular line I know of).

    We know he's not what people make him to be, but how would you know he wasn't at least a man?

    You're demanding proof that he exists which is commendable, you deserve a pat on the back, but your premise that he doesn't exist is a leap of faith in itself. The belief in the nonexistance of God is a leap of faith in itself too in case you didn't realize...

    But anyway there were parables written from the perspectives of his friends, friends I'm not even certain thought of him as a supernatural god in their own lifetimes as later Constantinian pictures would depict...

    Couldn't you consider that a teacher named Jesus did live in some roughly outlined life as found in the judeo-christian bible, but that much of the supernatural stuff people percieve about him was embellished from the more factual in later centuries? Seems reasonable to me...


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    Why would you be confused?

    Why would you be confused? I just figured we've both safely assumed that I didn't read the whole thing.

    It sounds pretty unreasonable of you, if I may say so.


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    This thread is only for

    This thread is only for posts entering the contest, and one post for a debunking (some minor exceptions will be granted). If there is a $666 prize this thread will be opened up to all posts concerning the evidence received, which of course would be one of the most important historical discoveries of our time.

    All other posts are either deleted or moved here, to the discussion thread.

    - Brian Sapient


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    "Jesus the Messiah" wouldn't

    "Jesus the Messiah" wouldn't have dominated Jewish history because there were many proclaimed "messiahs" who were often militaristic and led more than several of the revolts the Judeans had against Roman Imperialism. These revolts happened perhaps every hundred years or so and none of those messiahs have any place in Jewish history.

    I think Jesus was some sort of minor rallying figure of many during these times, many figures of which were refered to as "messiahs" in there short spans. I'm pretty sure the ones who weren't killed in battle were crusified just Roman capitol punishment to non-citizens prescribed.

    Consistently the Romans slaughtered the Jews in these revolts and leveled Jerusalem repeatedly. Relatingly "the Temple" that Jesus paid homage in stood in his own time, but was leveled within the century.

    A few hundred years later the Jews who liked Jesus in particular were distinguished as Christians right about the time of Paul. Later Christians became the "Unity in Victory" rather than the "Unity in Peace" type as soon as Constantine "the Great" got his hands in it and made it the state religion of Rome. It was used to take control of "the world."

    Sure the hocus pocus stuff in the legend of Jesus isn't empirically real, but perhaps the complete negation of this figure ever existing is overkill. It's too intolerable for even the fringe Christians to accept. I've more success with other strategies it's seemed.

    I think the deification of Jesus should be played down, but the complete denial of Jesus seems completely ineffective on these people to me, though maybe at times it can be a rallying for the rest of us...


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    Quote:Consistently the

    Quote:
    Consistently the Romans slaughtered the Jews in these revolts and leveled Jerusalem repeatedly. Relatingly "the Temple" that Jesus paid homage in stood in his own time, but was leveled within the century.

    Yet the roman empire did this to Gaul, Germania, and even Greece. Was Judea special in that it received a harsher government? I ask because we have literally tons of verifiable information, artifacts, personal accounts, and hard tangible evidence concerning the rest of the roman empire during this rise of christianity. We have chronological timelines that cross reference each other. Yet nothing concerning an actual man named jesus christ, only hearsay. Everything else has been debunked not disregarded.

    Whatever happened to 'seek and ye shall find'? lol.

    Quote:
    A few hundred years later the Jews who liked Jesus in particular were distinguished as Christians right about the time of Paul.

    Wow. That's a hell of a timeline there, Dick.

    Quote:
    I've more success with other strategies it's seemed.

    I think the deification of Jesus should be played down, but the complete denial of Jesus seems completely ineffective on these people to me, though maybe at times it can be a rallying for the rest of us...

    Some people want the truth, not just what 'works'. For some people, it means examining every scrap of text in the world.

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    Actually the Romans treated

    Actually the Romans treated Judea differently in the way the allowed Jews to observe their religious holidays and rituals. Jews were exempt from military service for instance because military service was filled with pagan ritual the Jews especially didn't want part in.

    Yes, a rough timeline because the evolution of religions is rough and sloppy and very unprecise, and is never precise and stagnant as it appears to our short term perspectives. It took something LIKE hundreds of years for Christianity to become it's own religion apart from Judaism. Everything Jesus did was pretty Jewish.

    The truth is a man named Jesus probably did live, as quite a flesh and blood human man with hopes and fears like the rest of us.


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    I'm confused in that I can't

    I'm confused in that I can't understand what objection you would have to finding proof, as outlined and defined.

    If indeed this man really existed then there would be tons of something first hand because he was allegedly so influential.

    Yet there is still none. It slaps the metaphorical face of logic to believe anything without evidence. It goes one step further when some people affect mine and base their entire existence upon words that they can't verify as actually coming from the mouth of the supposed son of their god.

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    Skeptical scholars

    Skeptical scholars overwhelmingly believe that Paul was a contemporary of Jesus.

    Paul refers to Jesus's teaching:

    I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself (Romans 14:14 )

    Paul placed Jesus in Jerusalem:

    So all Israel will be saved, as it is written: "The Deliverer will come out of Zion, and He will turn away ungodilness from Jacob; for this is My covenant with then, when I take away their sins."(Romans 11:26)

    Paul refers to Jesus as being Jewish:

    Born of a woman, born under the law (Gal 4:4)

    Paul placed Jesus as someone living at a particular time in the past, listing Jesus as living after earlier people who were considered historical (list compiled by Ben Smith):

    1. Jesus must have lived after Adam, since Paul calls him the latter Adam (1 Corinthians 15.22, 45).

    2. Jesus must have lived after Abraham, since Paul calls him the seed (descendant) of Abraham (Galatians 3.16).

    3. Jesus must have lived after Moses, since Paul says that he was the end of the law of Moses (Romans 10.4-5).

    4. Jesus must have lived after David, since Paul calls him the seed (descendant) of David (Romans 1.4).

    Evidence that Paul regarded Jesus as having lived recently, within living memory, as an older contemporary:

    1. Paul believes he is living in the end times (1 Corinthians 10.11), that he himself (1 Thessalonians 4.15; 1 Corinthians 15.51) or at least his converts (1 Thessalonians 5.23; 2 Corinthians 4.14) might well live to see the parousia. Paul also believes that the resurrection of Jesus was not just an ordinary resuscitation of the kind Elijah or Elisha supposedly wrought; it was the first instance of the general resurrection from the dead at the end of the age (1 Corinthians 15.13, 20-28). When, then, does Paul think Jesus rose from the dead? If, for Paul, he rose from the dead at some point in the indeterminate past, then we must explain either (A) why Paul thought the general resurrection had begun (with Jesus) well before the end times or (B) why Paul regarded the end times as a span of time stretching from the misty past all the way to the present. If, however, Paul regarded the resurrection of Jesus as a recent phenomenon, all is explained. The resurrection of Jesus was the beginning of the general resurrection and thus the ultimate sign that the end times were underway.

    2. Paul expects that he might see the general resurrection in his own lifetime (1 Corinthians 15.51). He also calls Jesus the firstfruits of that resurrection. Since the firstfruits of the harvest precede the main harvest itself by only a short time, the very metaphor works better with a short time between the resurrection of Jesus and the resurrection of the rest of the dead, implying that the resurrection of Jesus was recent for Paul.

    3. There is, for Paul, no generation gap between the death of Jesus and the resurrection of Jesus (1 Corinthians 15.4). Furthermore, there is no generation gap between the recipients of the resurrection appearances and Paul himself; he is personally acquainted with the first recipient of a resurrection appearance (1 Corinthians 15.5; Galatians 1.18). Is there a gap between the resurrection and the first appearance? The flow of 1 Corinthians 15.3-8 would certainly not suggest one; however, I believe we can go further.

    Paul claims that Jesus was the end of the law for those who have faith (Romans 10.4), that he was raised from the dead in order to justify humans (Romans 4.25), and that this justification comes by faith (Romans 5.1) in Jesus (Romans 3.22). Paul also claims that no one can have faith unless he first hears the gospel from a preacher (Romans 10.14) who is sent (Romans 10.15). Finally, Paul acknowledges that it was at the present time (Romans 3.26) that God showed forth his justice apart from the law (Romans 3.21), and that the sent ones, the apostles, were to come last of all (1 Corinthians 4.9); he also implies that the resurrection appearances were the occasion of the sending out of apostles (1 Corinthians 9.1; 15.7, 9; Galatians 1.15-16). If we presume that, for Paul, Jesus was raised in the distant past but only recently revealed to the apostles, we must take pains to account for this gap; why, for Paul, did Jesus die in order to end the law and justify humans but then wait indefinitely before making this justification available to humans? If, however, we presume that, for Paul, Jesus was raised recently, shortly before appearing to all the apostles, all is explained. That was the right time (Romans 5.6).

    4. Paul writes that God sent forth his son to redeem those under the law in the fullness of time (Galatians 4.4). It is easier to suppose that, for Paul, the fullness of time had some direct correspondence to the end of the ages (1 Corinthians 10.11) than to imagine that the fullness of time came, Jesus died, and then everybody had to wait another long expanse of time for the death to actually apply to humanity.

    Counterpoints:

    "Paul doesn't give any historical details about Jesus"

    Actually, Paul gives few historical details about anything. This is fairly standard, and can be seen in the first few centuries, among both pagan and Christian writings. Historicists like Tertullian wrote letters without any historical details about Jesus. But, as noted above, Paul doesn't appear to place Jesus in a "timeless past", in fact he appears to place Jesus in a recent past.

    "Paul doesn't refer to Gospel sayings or events"

    The problem with this objection is that few scholars believe that all the events in the Gospels are historical. The objector would need to clarify which events or sayings in the Gospels actually happened first.

    "You can't reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into." -- Author unknown


    darth_josh
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    I consider your post a form

    I consider your post a form of 'trolling' since time and time again people have been told that the bible is not evidence for the existence of jesus.

    In my opinion, it shows a complete disregard of the thread rules and a lack of consideration for ALL of the people involved.

    Have a nice day.

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    Sapient
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    darth_josh wrote:I consider

    darth_josh wrote:
    I consider your post a form of 'trolling' since time and time again people have been told that the bible is not evidence for the existence of jesus.

    In my opinion, it shows a complete disregard of the thread rules and a lack of consideration for ALL of the people involved.

    Have a nice day.

    Not to mention it was initially posted in the other thread as historical contemporary evidence of Jesus. I had to move it.

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    gdon
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    darth_josh wrote:I consider

    darth_josh wrote:
    I consider your post a form of 'trolling' since time and time again people have been told that the bible is not evidence for the existence of jesus.

    In my opinion, it shows a complete disregard of the thread rules and a lack of consideration for ALL of the people involved.


    My apologies.

    In that case, can I ask the moderators to delete my post, please?

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    todangst
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    gdon wrote:Skeptical

    gdon wrote:
    Skeptical scholars overwhelmingly believe that Paul was a contemporary of Jesus.

    Then you should provide names. Anonymous citation doesn't allow us to critically examine your claim.

    You need to tell us who meets the criteria of 'skeptical scholars', how many there are in your estimation, and then, show what the term 'overwhelmingly' means in relation to your statement. Does an overwhelming percentage believe? What makes for an overwhelmin percentage?

    Then you need to explain whether you only consider those interested in christianity.....

    You should also realize that even if we were to take this as true, he does not provide an historical report on 'jesus' anyway. Paul concedes his 'contact' was through a vision. Paul does not write as an eyewitness. He does not give a historical report, nor does he reference work of eyewitnesses.

    Quote:

    Paul refers to Jesus's teaching:

    But what matters here is what specifics does he give, via eyewitness report. Do his comments require a real jesus that he's observed?

    Quote:

    Paul refers to Jesus as being Jewish:

    Um... yeah, and this requires eyewitnessing how?

    You see, all your points are red herrings..... Paul makes these claims, but they are just definitional to the concept of jesus.... they don't require eyewitnessing.... and they aren't 'proof' of contemporary testimony.

    Quote:

    Paul placed Jesus as someone living at a particular time in the past, listing Jesus as living after earlier people who were considered historical (list compiled by Ben Smith):

    1. Jesus must have lived after Adam, since Paul calls him the latter Adam (1 Corinthians 15.22, 45).

    Um...a person said to come from the line of david would have lived after adam, right? I think you're just padding your posts here..... there's nothing here that speaks to a need to live a contemporary to garner this 'knowledge'... this is all just definitional to the concept of 'jesus'.

    Quote:

    4. Jesus must have lived after David, since Paul calls him the seed (descendant) of David (Romans 1.4).

    Which of course, he can't be.... seeing as he's a demigod. Anyway, again this is 'definitional' to the concept of jesus

    Quote:

    Evidence that Paul regarded Jesus as having lived recently, within living memory, as an older contemporary:

    1. Paul believes he is living in the end times

    Every christian believes this, eschatology, parousia is part of the religion. Every generation of humanity has people who believe end times are coming. It's a egocentrism of humanity.... "I'm too important to pass without the world going along with me..." - every generation, deep down, thinks it is special...hence we get this narcissism about living in end times.

    Quote:

    2. Paul expects that he might see the general resurrection in his own lifetime

    Again, every christian believes this.... that's a key component of the religion... in fact, that's pretty much one of the points of holding to it... that you're living in some special time, and that 'jesus' is just around the corner.

    Try to find a time in history where people didn't think that endtimes were upon them.

    Quote:
    4. Paul writes that God sent forth his son to redeem those under the law in the fullness of time (Galatians 4.4).

    And how he would he know that 'god' did this? Again, this has nothing to do with demonstrating a contemporary writing about a historical person, this is all just definitional to 'christianity'

    Quote:

    Counterpoints:

    "Paul doesn't give any historical details about Jesus"

    Actually, Paul gives few historical details about anything.

    How does that help your case? It just furthers the point that theres a lack concern about actual historicity in his works.... in fact, one might say that a historical jesus would have gotten in the way of what Paul wanted to say.

    Paul's 'historicity' for jesus pretty much begins and ends in a vision.

    Quote:

    "Paul doesn't refer to Gospel sayings or events"

    The problem with this objection is that few scholars believe that all the events in the Gospels are historical.

    I have no problem agreeing with your anonymous scholars here.

    But this doesn't help you either.... if the gospels really existed in some form during Paul's time, then he'd at least have heard of them, and some of the key elements of the gospels would have bled through his writings at the very least.... it's just too incredible to hold that Paul concerned himself an historical jesus to any real degree, and yet ignored the gospels in whatever form they would have existed.

    Basically, your post contains a bunch of elements that do not require any observation at all... they are concepts definitional to christianity. To demonsrate that someone is an actual contemporary, actually writing about a real person, you'd need to give a report that speaks as an eyewitness, that can be corrobated as having an origin in the "time of jesus'...

    ** edit: feel free to move my post too.

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    Sapient
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    gdon wrote: In that case,

    gdon wrote:

    In that case, can I ask the moderators to delete my post, please?

    It's ok, it can remain in the peanut gallery.

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    RichardB8633
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    darth_josh wrote:I'm

    darth_josh wrote:
    I'm confused in that I can't understand what objection you would have to finding proof, as outlined and defined.

    If indeed this man really existed then there would be tons of something first hand because he was allegedly so influential.

    Yet there is still none. It slaps the metaphorical face of logic to believe anything without evidence. It goes one step further when some people affect mine and base their entire existence upon words that they can't verify as actually coming from the mouth of the supposed son of their god.

    Yeah yeah yeah, well show me proof he didn't exist.

    Jesus was of utmost insignificance back then, with the exception of to his little cult. Don't put all your faith in logic me boy, it's more useful than literal interpretation of the myths but it isn't everything. Logic is inherently fragmentary from a quantum or a nondual perspective.


    todangst
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    RichardB8633

    RichardB8633 wrote:
    darth_josh wrote:
    I'm confused in that I can't understand what objection you would have to finding proof, as outlined and defined.

    If indeed this man really existed then there would be tons of something first hand because he was allegedly so influential.

    Yet there is still none. It slaps the metaphorical face of logic to believe anything without evidence. It goes one step further when some people affect mine and base their entire existence upon words that they can't verify as actually coming from the mouth of the supposed son of their god.

    Yeah yeah yeah, well show me proof he didn't exist.

    Are you serious? There's no such thing as a burden of disproof.

    Quote:
    Jesus was of utmost insignificance back then, with the exception of to his little cult.

    This makes no sense. Any jesus who fits the gospel accounts would be a miracle worker, hardly insignificant.

    Any insignificant jesus would not be the jesus of the gospels in the first place.

    Quote:
    Don't put all your faith in logic me boy, it's more useful than literal interpretation of the myths but it isn't everything. Logic is inherently fragmentary from a quantum or a nondual perspective.

    Logic is inherently fragmentary? From a nondual perspective?

    You're misusing quantum theory - your statement makes no sense.

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    todangst wrote: Are you

    todangst wrote:

    Are you serious? There's no such thing as a burden of disproof.

    No but there is burden in your claim-- that he didn't exist at least as a man. It's the most unextraordinary claim that he probably did exist as a sort of ordinary man.

    Quote:

    This makes no sense. Any jesus who fits the gospel accounts would be a miracle worker, hardly insignificant.

    Any insignificant jesus would not be the jesus of the gospels in the first place.

    I'm as concerned about what the gospels say as I am with what Aesop's Fabels or old Saved by the Bell episodes have to say.

    Quote:

    Logic is inherently fragmentary? From a nondual perspective?

    You're misusing quantum theory - your statement makes no sense.

    Here's the great postmodern discovery that led to quantum physics and relativity, also known as the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle, as Ken Wilber describes it:

    By 1900, science was convinced that it had nearly reached the end of the Quest for Reality. As a matter of fact, physicists were leaving the field, for as one put it, there was nothing left to do but calculate the next decimal point-- every phenomenon in the physical universe had been neatly descibed in the strictly deterministic terms of cause and effect. In one sense, it was still the old Judaeo-Christian world of a politcal assembly of finite chunks and bits of matter governed by absolute (i.e., measurable) law-- the only item missing was the Monarch Himself, who was looked upon by most scientists as the Great Watchmaker-- that Big Mechanic who initially wound the universe up and then, struck by an unexpected case of laziness, sat back to watch it unwind. Yet scientists were now convinced that they had, through objective measurement and verification, discovered the universal and absolute laws of the Monarch. Every Phenomenon in nature could be rduced to small lumps of matter and these in turn were ridgedly defined by Newtonian mechanics.

    .......... he goes on some more interesting turns, then...

    Exactly here was the problem. To measure anything requires some sort of tool or instrument, yet the electron weighs so little that any conceivable device, even one as "light" as a photon, would cause the electron to change position in the very act of trying to measure it! This was not a technical problem but, so to speak, a problem sewn into the very fabric of the universe. These physicists had reached the annihilating edge, and the ssumption that had brought them there, the assumption that the observer was seperate from the event, the assumption that one could dualistically tinker with the universe without affecting it, was found untenable. In some mysterious fashion, the subject and the object were intimately united, and the myriad of theories that had assumed otherwise were now in shambles. As the physicist Eddington exclaimed:

    Something unknown is doing we don't know what--that is what our theory amounts to. It does not sound a particularly illuminating theory. I have read something like it elsewhere--

    The slithy toves
    Did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

    AND THUS YOU HAVE THE CONCLUSIONS OF THE CLASSICAL AND PURELY DUALISTIC APPROACHES

    Read the Spectrum of Consciousness by Ken Wilber for more of that stuff..

    Do you see what I mean about "objective" logic?


    Sapient
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    RichardB8633 wrote:todangst

    RichardB8633 wrote:
    todangst wrote:

    Are you serious? There's no such thing as a burden of disproof.

    No but there is burden in your claim-- that he didn't exist at least as a man.

    Oy vay. Until he's proven to exist, the default position is he didn't.

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    RichardB8633
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    Sapient wrote:RichardB8633

    Sapient wrote:
    RichardB8633 wrote:
    todangst wrote:

    Are you serious? There's no such thing as a burden of disproof.

    No but there is burden in your claim-- that he didn't exist at least as a man.

    Oy vay. Until he's proven to exist, the default position is he didn't.

    I disagree, seems that the default position is that he did exist, though all the mythology he inspired probably didn't. Even Jews don't argue that he probably existed as a man, and Muslims certainly believe he did because Mohommad praised Jesus in the Quran as being a profit in the tradition of Abraham and the others.

    It seems most likely to me that he was a real living man, so the real extraordinary claim is that the whole Jesus story came out of a vacuum without any minimum historical grounds. You would have to say the whole thing was a hoax from day one.

    Really I think the writers of the gospels were inspired by the orally passed down parables that were first told by the friends of this man of legend. I think originally when they told these stories he was just a guy they missed a lot, whom they often imagined was still with them. This is common to humans whom loose close ones.

    That's about it, nothing much more to say about that.


    RichardB8633
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    "I am more sure that Yahweh

    "I am more sure that Yahweh doesn't exist, than I am of the fact that I do exist." - me

    How can you be sure of something more than that you exist?

    Decartes said "I think therefor I am" and proved that he existed, or at least that thought or mind or something was going on...

    How can the precise status of the god abstraction be known more certain than that THOUGHT is occuring?

    It seems all abstractions are collapsable into the concrete NOW, where time and space are mere judgemental afterthoughts as if there is such a thing.


    darth_josh
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    Quote:I disagree, seems that

    Quote:
    I disagree, seems that the default position is that he did exist, though all the mythology he inspired probably didn't. Even Jews don't argue that he probably existed as a man, and Muslims certainly believe he did because Mohommad praised Jesus in the Quran as being a profit in the tradition of Abraham and the others.

    'seems, argue, probably, believe'
    Do you see the problem with those words? None of those words have 100% fact which is the definition of absolute proof.

    Quote:
    It seems most likely to me that he was a real living man, so the real extraordinary claim is that the whole Jesus story came out of a vacuum without any minimum historical grounds.

    'seems, most likely, minimum historical grounds'
    It's great that's enough for you to believe in jesus. Why can't you accept that more is needed for others? Why must you persist in this delusion and bring others with you through 'faith'? I will need to know your motivations for continuing this argumentative approach to the thread topic.

    Quote:
    You would have to say the whole thing was a hoax from day one.

    If you could clarify 'day one'? The hypothesis that it was a hoax fabricated prior to 'day one' is fast approaching theory status.

    Quote:
    Really I think the writers of the gospels were inspired by the orally passed down parables that were first told by the friends of this man of legend. I think originally when they told these stories he was just a guy they missed a lot, whom they often imagined was still with them. This is common to humans whom loose close ones.

    Prove your hypotheses, don't have faith in your opinions. That's my opinion.

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