Rook Hawkins On The Existence of Nazareth

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Rook Hawkins On The Existence of Nazareth

Below is the video. Enjoy


1225Truth
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Rook, I have heard and read

Rook,

I have heard and read compelling arguments on both sides of the Nazareth 1st century CE existence issue. You are right about Frank Zindler. His web article is ephemeral and uncomprehensive almost to the point of scandal.

More specifically, your point about the 2nd century evidence is presumably about the plate in Ceaserea that identifies pious Jews who were displaced to Nazareth from Judea resulting from the Hadrian Diaspora in 135 CE following the Bar Kochba revolt. It should be noted that this artifact was catalogued from a strata much later than the dated information in its content. I agree that the arguments from silence from extra-Xtian sources such as settlement listings have only limited value, but they should be balanced with the remainder of data and evidence, nontheless.

The following information arises from some older postings on the Jesus Mysteries forum from someone who alleges himself to be a credentialed archeologist with advanced degrees. His postings are from messages #22506 & 22507. Providing he is accurate in his claims, his conclusions lead me to a decisive position on this issue.

*********************** http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/22507

Tom, message #22507.........To my knowledge the earliest non-
Christian references to Nazareth occur in the 4th century CE, and its
earliest epigraphic reference is found in an inscription made at
Caesarea after 370CE. Christian references, of course, are of little
weight here, for they do not constitute independent witness and may
represent nothing more than reaffirmation of/within a developing
tradition.
........ while living at Japha, Josephus resided 2000 meters from what eventually
became the center of late Roman Nazareth, yet in his later survey of
the area he makes no mention of the town.
Origen lived within a
day's journey of the future site of Nazareth for many years but was
unable to find such a city, eventually concluding that the Gospel
references to Nazareth should be interpreted figuratively or
mystically.
This indicates strongly to me that in the first
centuries of the Common Era local inhabitants had no idea there was
supposed to be a city called Nazareth in their area, much less that
they actually entertained thoughts of it.
........ There are positive
contexts that demonstrate funerary activity in the precise loci where
the Franciscans allege the 1st century occupation occurred. All of
the proposed 1st century habitation sites are found in an area that
was actively used for interments throughout the period, existing
within a belt of subterranean depressions that has marked the center
of the Nazareth necropolis for thousands of years. These purported
habitations exhibit none of the artifactual features characteristic
of a domestic context, and though a non-contextualized, 1st century
(i.e., typologically datable to ca. 50 CE) lamp neck was found on the
surface near these interments, its orientation and breakage pattern
was consistent with the post-funerary cleansing rituals specified for
such an area by the religious literature of the period. So, rather
than being "silent" on the issue of 1st century CE Nazareth, the data
emit a loud and deafening roar!

 

 

 


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Hey Rook. That was great. I

Hey Rook. That was great. I think you should do this sort of video thing from time to time. Having all the books behind you certainly gives an air of authority on the subject!

Most people won't sit and read the equivalent of an article on a subject like this, but watching it is easy and, with the appropriate speaker, informative. Really makes the viewer (speaking from my personal reaction) feel like they're viewing the very cutting edge of modern discussion on the subject. Keep up the awesome work.

Sage out. 


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Fascinating stuff, but

Fascinating stuff, but there is so much material from so many sources.

 

Rook bills himself as a critical historian, and is mentined along with Robert Price and others.

 

Rook, could you share some of your academic qualifications with us?


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1225Truth, the fact is the

1225Truth, the fact is the argument from Silence and Josephus are not good enough to warrant a belief in it's nonexistence.  As I stated in the video, an argument from silence only works if you have a more probable case to place instead of whatever is being argued against the silence.  So as it stands, Josephus lived near a variety of small towns, or Polis'. which never came up.  However archaeological evidence AT the Nazareth site show that the place existed there up to 200 BCE!  If the town was there, and the town was called something else, and Josephus didn't mention that town, why would he mention it simply because the name was different?  Let's be serious here.

 Josephus fails to talk about any town in that location, yet we KNOW a town was there.  

The same goes for Origen, which by the way - Origen wasfacing direct accusations of the non-historicity of Christ by those such as Tryphro and other Jews and pagans, and he goes on for pages on the historical veracity of Bethlehem.  Yet, the silence on Origen for the historicity of Nazareth seems more probable that the towns existence simply wasn't in dispute.  Nobody had to debate on the historicity of Nazareth, simply because there was no debate.  Why would those opposed to Jesus debate only on the nonexistence of Bethlehem and not on Nazareth had it not existed until the forth century?

Even more so, why is it that we are saying that the only earliest mention of Nazareth is the 4th century?  We still have the Gospel accounts and other accounts in the NT.  Regardless of whether they are allegorical stories about (a) mythical event(s), there are still plenty of mentions of historical places and events (mainly in that of Luke-Acts who draws heavily on Josephus) which cannot be ruled out.  Although this doesn't make the accounts themselves reliable as historical documents (they're obviously not), the information regarding towns and locations are still valid and accurate, at least to the knowledge of the anonymous author.  

So we can accept the existence of Nazareth in the first century based on first and second century reports.  That doesn't in any way validate a historical Jesus or make the Gospels historical naratives, rather it simply means that there are historical frameworks with which are brought up in the allegorical story to give the story specific meaning to the people and the culture of the day.

 The best to you,

 Rook

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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Stauffenberg

Stauffenberg wrote:

Fascinating stuff, but there is so much material from so many sources. 

Rook bills himself as a critical historian, and is mentined along with Robert Price and others.

Rook, could you share some of your academic qualifications with us?

I do not set myself alongside such luminaries as Price, or even as Carrier.  I don't think I'm close to their level of retainment and understanding, or even Carrier's level of skepticism which I do my best to mimic.  However, I do consider myself a historian (as do they).

I do not have any paper credentials, save what I have written down on paper as for my now eight years working and researching on this subject (mainly the Second Temple Period, however I do have a very strong championing of the age of the pre-socratics to the first Council of Nicea).  

The book I'm publishing will be Peer Reviewed, as it will go through four scholars, Richard Carrier and Robert Price among them.  I have Prof. Eric Schumacher of Cheney who is going to look over my dissertation as well, as a Greek studies professor and expert on Heidegger, he is going to check over my positions on the Greeks, Price will focus mainly on my understanding of the hellenistic age, and Carrier will review my theoretical model as a whole - although all will get a full copy, these are the areas they'll most liklely focus on.  I'm also sending it to a Christian author, Yamauchi, who wrote a book on Pre-Christian gnosticism.  My problem with Yamauchi is that he uses too many outdated sources and not any modern day sources.  That to me makes his work in the whole outdated, when you rely mainly on Bultmann, Bousset, and Tillich without comparing to Doherty, Price, Ehrman, Carrier or Mack to name a few who hold to the Mythicist position.  

But anyway, there you have it. 

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I've been put off as of

I've been put off as of late with the growing amount of attention that both Frank Zinder and Rene Salm have been receiving from various atheist circles on the existence of Nazareth. Both Zindler and Rene are proponents of a rather inane case, i.e. that Nazareth never existed in the first century, and was instead a fringe necropolis that was later named Nazareth by Christians. Here is one work in question by Zindler: http://www.americanatheist.org/win96-7/T2/ozjesus.html

Aside from the fact that both Salm and Zindler are both mythicists, and although I myself am a mythicist, I do not support them or their conclusions on the issue of Nazareth. I find it hard to believe that two respectable persons would ever stoop to such amateurish arguments and rather fallacious scholarship. I have a hard time understanding why such drivel comes from such intellects.

It's not so much that what they're proposing is impossible. They might very well be correct, and Nazareth may have never existed. In scholarship on the subject of history, there is very little in terms of antiquity that we can be completely certain on, so their chances aren't as bad as one would think. My problem is more that their arguments for the case they are making are simply juvenile. There are huge gaps of false information, other times they state a case that could just as easily hurt them as much as it may seem to help them (like the etymology of Nazareth). More importantly however, is the lack of respect for the genre of history, and the methodologies employed to determine the veracity of a claim--especially in relation to Salm and Zindler, and how they go about challenging authorities.

Here is an e-mail exchange I've had with Frank Zindler via the kind care of Dr. Price who has acted as a bit of a mediator between us. Examine Zindler's positions carefully because we're going to look at them closely in just a moment. The e-mails have been blotted out, out of respect for both additional parties involved.

This is the initial e-mail I received from Dr. Price:

Rook,
My friend and colleague Frank Zindler tells me he heard that you referred to him on the air as a "fraud" because his acceptance of the work of Rene Salm
indicating that Nazareth was uninhabited in Jesus' ostensible time-frame. Frank was not offended but was mighty surprised. May I ask what you had in mind?
Thanks.
Bob


This is my return e-mail to Dr. Price:

Hey Bob, I apologize in advance for the length of the letter.

I don't recall calling Frank Zindler a fraud as much as I called his conclusions to be based on fraudulent arguments and poor reasoning. If I did call him a fraud, it was hyperbole, and I apologize, and if that is the case, I’ll send him my apologies, although I still lack a lot of respect for him. Perhaps the better word would have been that his argument was simply amateurish. I suppose it was a harsh thing to say, but understand that I'm generally very skeptical about things that go against archaeological data. I would be the same way if somebody tried to tell me the author of Luke didn't use Josephus as a source when very clearly the case is made (and well supported) that he certainly did.

I read Zindler's article on the secular web on the non-existence of Nazareth, and I find it troubling that he didn't consult any of the authorities. Where was the ODoCC, or Eerdman's Dictionary of the Bible? Where was the article published in The Archaeological Encyclopedia of the Holy Land? I was further surprised to see that he claims erroneously that there are no mentions of Nazareth prior to the forth century? But he neglects the 2nd/3rd century inscription which puts Nazareth on the map as one of the priestly polis' where the Sanhedrin flocked to after the fall of Jerusalem in 70. He also ignores the city’s remains confirmed by archaeology - there certainly WAS a settlement there up to the second century BCE, and his conjecture that the town existed but was renamed later it amateurish. Why would Jews rename their home town after a legend about a false messiah?

According to several sources on the matter outside the standard consensus in the authorities, mainly Excavations in Nazareth, (vol. 1, 1969), and Excavations and Surveys in Israel, the evidence against Zindler is stacked. More evidence at the site (which was excavated in recent times by two skeptical Germans, Pfann and Voss – not monks but archaeologists) shows that there were in fact permanent buildings there at the time at least dating to the 1st century CE; a remain of a wall was excavated which was believed to belong to the synagogue talked of in Luke, which would have been altered later. There is also evidence of this is the discovery of the calcite column bases which were found at another structure – moved from a different location.

The bases are similar to those found at other locations in synagogues and roman structures of the time (those which existed prior to the mid-late first century - second century onward which were then made of marble). Zindler also ignores the probability of mud-thatch houses and structures which were common. Of this, one can’t really be certain what other permanent buildings existed as there is actually relatively little of Nazareth that has been excavated to begin with (per Excavations and Surveys in Israel). So we really can’t say what wasn’t there since we only have a little of the site to go on.

There is simply no good reason to ignore the archaeology and assume that since two sources (Josephus and Origen) don’t name the town explicitly this justifies the tactic to ignore the evidence we do have (The Gospels, even if second century documents. Would still undermine Zinder’s claims), this is simply in my opinion somebody who is looking for holes and seeks to work out their own conclusions into the evidence. To me that isn’t the nature of a modern historian. Perhaps one would claim I’m romanticizing historians or I’m also being naive, but it is my understanding that one should be as skeptical as possible concerning anything which contradicts an established consensus while remaining open-minded enough to accept the arguments if they stand on their own. But this is one case where an argument from silence is simply not good enough to assume the non-existence of the town.

Consider: The town had existed there, and had been there for two centuries prior to when Christ is said to have lived (if he in fact did exist). We may have no record from Josephus on Nazareth, but we also have no record of any town being at that spot from him either. If we had a mention in Josephus which stated a town of a different name at the Nazareth site, I might concede, but the fact that no reference to that town at all by Josephus is just more evidence of the area’s lack of interest to Josephus – it was only a small village of less than 500 people in which Josephus ignored scores of towns of similar size. Nazareth just wasn’t that big on the chart of importance to him. Origen (who omits a great deal more towns then Josephus) went to great lengths to prove the place existed where John baptized. Yet it seems odd he would then go about ignoring the glaring problem of the non-existence of Nazareth. Why would he go about looking for ways to prove the place where John baptized but ignore the non-existence of Jesus’ birth? That makes no sense. This is more or less an apparatus of language. Rather, the absence of an established convention for transliterating Hebrew or Aramaic into Greek. Zindler is making a mountain out of a molehill.

As for his argument that there is no mention of Nazareth in the Old Testament, why are we even talking about this? The town is only dated to the mid-Hellenistic period (where I’ve suggested resources which show the town was established as early as 200 BCE), so why would there be any mention of it in the Tanakh? That again is a rather incredulous argument to make. Also, what exactly was the cultural implication of Mark? He is obsessed with the idea of community, also of lack of worldly possessions, as is evident from his rich man encounter.

Jesus is supposed to be appealing to the meek, the weak, the poor, the desolate, the sinners, the lower class of society. That was what Mark was intending for his audience. This was on the basis that Jesus was meant to be considered as the new Moses and the new Odysseus – in that Jesus fulfilled all the rights of the Temple. In other words, everything the Temple was, so to was Jesus. To Mark, the temple was corruption and as such the best way to remove the power from the temple was to dissolve it from the ground up, which is what Mark seems to do with Jesus.

So if Mark’s target audience was the lower class, the poor, why would he have Jesus be from an elite society or group from a larger city or town? Wouldn’t you want that feel of backwater nature? You want the honest, blue-collar worker if you will (which is why he uses the profession of carpenter – similar also to that of Odysseus so he kills two birds with one stone here), one that people can relate to. “Here, this guy ca\me for you! He was one of you!” What better way is shown to express this very concept than to have the people of Jesus’ hometown expel him! It’s a fundamental expression of what you shouldn’t do – because he can help you – he’s one of you! The point is that Jesus isn’t like the priests who are corrupt and allow foreign tyrants to raid the Temple and steal from it. I think you get what I’m trying to say.

I could go on about the problems and inadequacies of Zindler’s work, but my time is pressed. Like you, I have so many books to read and prepare notes on for my book. So understand my frustration when I come across an article like this, which is read by potentially thousands of people, who will all walk away from it thinking this is good scholarship. It’s certainly not. And guys like me have to do the legwork to correct the layman on juvenile issues which should never even come up in a scholarly discussion to begin with. To me this is no different then Dan Brown and the sort of pseudo-history he uses. This is not the work of somebody who has done their research, but more somebody wanting to make large leaps and claim conspiracy. So, I apologize, Doc. I do not want to insult Frank, nor do I want to start a conflict. Frank is probably a great guy, and perhaps he has published better works then the one he has on Nazareth. But in this area I think it is even more important to be critical of the material you support, and the resources that back it. I just don't feel that Zindler is portraying the standards of scholarship one would expect to see if we were to look for critical evaluations of works on the Second Temple priod and beyond.

I like you, and I greatly admire your work Doc. I may disagree with some (albeit very few) of your conclusions at times (I’m still very hesitant to accept the thinking of and surrounding Thomas Whittaker – I just don’t see a reason to ignore the probable validity of Paul in the first century, but that could change if given a better argument), but I respect that you can remain as open to possibilities as you do and you always at least have a compelling argument that you can tell has developed off of well-read research. However I have not seen an adequate argument presented by Zindler in that regard, certainly not his article on the non-existence of Nazareth.

So that was motivations for using the “f” word – mainly from frustration of having to correct the dozens of mythicists who come into my room and my message board using the fallacious arguments of Salm and Zindler on the issue of Nazareth. It’s downright embarrassing for me to have to correct mistakes of somebody I feel should know better - especially since I don't even rate myself on the level they're at. I am certainly no scholar. But I guess James Randy said it best – “Just because you have a degree, doesn’t mean you’re smart. It just means you should be.”

Please receive this letter in the manner in which it was intended. If you feel that any of my information presented here is fallacious or inaccurate, I'm open to hearing it.

The best, Rook

This is the reply I received, via Price, from Zindler:

 

Rook,

 

Frank speaks!

 

Bob

 



**************************************

Attached Message
From: Zindler, Frank, R. <---------------->
To: Bob Price <-------------->
Cc: Zindler, Frank R. <---------->; rsalm <-------------->; -----------------
Subject: RE: Rook speeks
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 14:46:28 -0400

Bob,

Many thanks for forwarding Rook’s comments. I am relieved to see he has no argument that cannot be answered easily and straightforwardly. I am shocked that he would take me to task for ignoring secondary sources derived from the primary source (Bagatti) that I indicated was so badly done. How would he suppose the encyclopedias got anything new beyond what exists in the few primary sources? It is shocking further that he has not read Rene Salm’s work, because Rene answers absolutely every point made – and in exhaustive detail. The Pfann and Voss stuff doesn’t appear in Rene’s first 5 fascicles, but he is well aware of their “work.”

As I mentioned, I have been unable to post anything on Rook’s website for reasons that are unclear. Is there an e-mail address to which I and Rene could send replies to his criticisms?

Frank

This was my most recent reply to Frank Zindler and Dr. Price:
Bob; Frank,

Thanks for forwarding on Frank's note. So basically he has no direct refutation of any point I brought up? I read his article and I have yet to see any sort of response to the problems I put forth. He states, "I am relieved to see he has no argument that cannot be answered easily and straightforwardly." Okay, so where are his straightforward and easily given replies? This is typical of somebody who knows they’re in a spot but cops out. I hear it from theists all the time who come on my radio show. “Your objections are easy to answer…but I won’t tell you why.” If it’s so easy to answer, why haven’t I been thoroughly trounced? Where are these simple, short and straightforward replies? Instead I get a lot of hoo-haa about reading Salm’s book. How long could it possibly take to put me in my place, if all he has to do is be easy and straightforward with me?

I also see comments on perhaps some minor issues, like that of where the secondary sources picked up their information from, but why does he not give any clear cut replies to the problems of using Josephus and Origen—the obvious thing here is that Josephus says Galilee contained 240 settlements, but names fewer than half. Ergo we must realize that the probability that he would not name Nazareth is greater than 50% even if Nazareth existed.

What of the other evidence Frank refuses to acknowledge? The archaeological evidence of permanent buildings reused in other structures which originally Frank stated that wasn't possible; he (Frank) argues that the necropolis rules out possible inhabitance! The hill, however, covers forty acres whereas the town itself occupied an area 300 feet square and no more. There was plenty of distance between the occupancy and the tombs. And the distance did not have to be great anyway. According to Mishnah, Ohalot 16.2j-n, only eighty feet was required (Frank erroneously claims 200 feet).

Does he have replies or doesn’t he? If Salm has the answers and wishes to reinterpret the archaeological findings, what peer reviewed archeology journal has he published in? I didn’t see his book on any scholarly press journals nor did I see any University Press publication by Salm. If Salm didn’t publish in a journal, how can I take him seriously? He has thus bypassed the means required to submit a claim into scholarship to generate a consensus. By skipping that process, it makes me suspicious of the information in the book. This is why I originally had no interest in reading Salm’s book because frankly I had concerns about it just from looking it up when I first heard about all the hype.

I’m relying specifically on the established authorities for this. If Salm is challenging those authorities, I have an issue with taking his claims seriously if he doesn’t go through the process (peer review) of challenging those authorities. If everyone published like Salm, we should thus skip the whole scientific methodologies of history and resort back to the conjectural and often fallacious speculation applied by historians of a few generations ago, such as that of John A.T. Robinson or William Foxwell Albright. There is a reason why modern scholarship does not make it a habit to cite historians from 50+ years ago, the claims they have made have been for the most part challenged or refuted by modern historians today and through archaeological evidence that has been uncovered. This is the world in which historians live in, and one Salm should respect. I don’t see that when I look at his book on Amazon.

I wrote to Richard Carrier on Salm’s book a few months back when I first considered it, and I expressed to him the same concerns I am expressing here. This was part of his reply (used with permission):

“He might be right, but no one can honestly believe he is until he follows proper scientific procedure and submits his claims to peer review in the archaeological community, then debates with that community, then generates consensus within that community. That's the procedure. Anyone who bypasses that entire process is simply not taking scientific method seriously, and that is sufficient grounds for distrust….And as a scientific historian, I expect him to do science: subject his claims to review and debate among experts through the proper channels and seek to build consensus, instead of railing against it from the sidelines. Only hacks, amateurs, or quacks do the latter.”

And:

“It especially disturbs me that not only has he avoided journals, but he won't even publish through an academic press. I checked WorldCat and no books exist there by René Salm. So I checked his book's publisher, Kevalin Press, in WorldCat and no books by such a press exist anywhere in any major library in the world. So I went to the Kevalin website directly, and all it was is a vanity page for René Salm--with no bio or list of qualifications. Ironically, he uses my copyright tag on his online materials ("Copying is freely permitted, provided credit is given to the author and no material herein is sold for profit&quotEye-wink, proving he has not only read some of my essays all the way to the bottom, but he also decided to copy my copyright, which is kind of amusing. He also wrote an article on an unrelated subject where he identifies himself as "René Salm, a writer who lives in Eugene [Oregon], has been a spiritual quester, mental health worker, music composer, and piano teacher." Now he is printing and selling his own books "refuting" armies of qualified archaeologists. This sends up all kinds of red flags. And if he doesn't agree that these are usually big red flags that warrant extreme skepticism, then he's a nut.”

This I’m inclined to agree with. If Salm has published recently, please direct me to his work. I’m writing a book, and it is going to be reviewed – I am a man who sticks to my guns, especially when it comes to science. I don’t know what exactly Frank’s problem is with dealing with the issues I brought up, and I know I’m not the first one to express these problems. He claims that Salm has discussed my issues in his book ‘at length.’ I don’t believe him. But if he can show me where they are located in Salm’s book, where he adequately addresses my concerns and understands that I will cross-check his claim to the fullest extent, I would request he withdraw his claims on the Silence from Josephus and Origen as tongue-in-cheek, and revises his claims.

It is as far as I’m concerned the only argument he has on the non-existence of Nazareth – copious arguments from silence which really aren’t arguments from silence as much as they are ignorance of the methods of Josephus and Josephus scholarship. If the town at the site of Nazareth now has been renamed as he claims, where are the official records of the name change? What was it called before it was Nazareth, and where is THAT town mentioned in Josephus? If it isn’t mentioned in Josephus anyway, that is an argument against his silence, because now the silence is against his claim – as an argument from silence is ONLY valid when additional reasons can be brought up to explain why the silence exists, that is such as conflicting accounts of the town in authorities.

Example: We have such contradictions in our sources on Jesus (Gospels vs. Paul vs. Pseudepigrapha vs. early church fathers like Clement vs. later Christians vs. Gnostics, etc…), which is why the silence of Jesus’ existence works to show there is a large chance he never existed at all. Additionally we have alternate reasons to explain why each of those contradictions contradict in the first place (like the fact that there were thousands of sects of Christians by the second century who would have redacted older texts and also written their own based on their own motivations, with their own opinions on who and what Christ was). None of this is available for Salm and Frank’s argument from silence.

Like I said, if Frank thinks he has the ability to easily refute my claims, let it be done so I can stand corrected. I’m not averse to being proven wrong, that is the nature of the game, and being critical and open-minded. However, I would expect the same sort of dedication to history from those who claim to be its strongest supporters, like Frank and Salm. If they cannot adequately answer my problems, I suggest they correct their arguments to reflect modern historical methodologies. They can assert a case, sure – but I don’t want them claiming it as fact until we get a scholarly consensus going – what is that again, about 95%? So until 95% of scholarship agrees with Franks claims, I think it should be presented a bit more humbly and less definitively, especially when we don’t have conflicting accounts, bad argument from silences, arguments from ignorance from Salm and Frank, and when we have adequate representation of the claims made by both Frank and Salm that can refute the points raised in this dialog.

I look forward to Frank’s reply.

Best regards, Rook Hawkins


Before anything, I want to thank Dr. Price for being so impartial during this dialog. I understand his need to be and the reason why he chooses to be so, and that is respectable. That aside, my letters address many of the issues with Zindler's arguments, however what is left are some very curious points of interest.

The first peculiar incident is the fact that Zindler claims he cannot post on my website for some reason. This is sort of odd because if Zindler had visited my website, he'd have noted the various means to contact me. There is not only a contact form that goes directly to my g-mail account, but also access to my various Instant Messenger programs. Aside from that, I have quite an extensive Message Board layout on "my" site (the emphasis is that it isn't just my site, it's a site for the whole radio show, which is at www.rationalresponders.com). I even have two forums which pertain directly to me: Biblical Errancy and The Jesus Mythicist Campaign. I even have a thread on this very subject in the JMC forum where I discuss my issues with Zindler and Salm.

All of these are accessible to anybody with a membership to the RRS website, which is free to register for, and is practically instantaneous. And it's not that Zindler doesn't know of the site, he's obviously visited the site because he had to hear my conversation on Nazareth, and he contacted Dr. Price concerning it, so it's curious that he didn't think to actually create an account and post on the message boards. Especially since many of these threads are available from the home page, it makes me wonder as to the real motivations of Zindler to really engage in conversation about this subject.

Another curious oddity that appears in the letter in that Zindler really feels that an Argument from Silence (AFS) is a good case against somethings historicity, all the while showing his ignorance of how one applies an Argument from Silence to a case. I brushed on this briefly in my e-mails above, but I really want to explain this better, especially now since so many non-mythicists and mythicists alike think that mythicism is solely based on an AFS, of which it is not. It is also my job to correct the misunderstandings of mythicism, and this is a big deal.

So let's start with exactly what an AFS is and how it is generally applied. According to Gilbert Garraghan (A Guide to Historical Method, 1946, p. 149)

To be valid, the argument from silence must fulfill two conditions: the writer[s] whose silence is invoked in proof of the non-reality of an alleged fact, would certainly have known about it had it been a fact; [and] knowing it, he would under the circumstances certainly have made mention of it. When these two conditions are fulfilled, the argument from silence proves its point with moral certainty.

This premise hasn't changed since 1946, but this is not the only way to make an AFS. Richard Carrier states, "an AfS can be deployed that is relatively weaker to the extent that either condition is less certain. That is, it may only be "somewhat certain" that the relevant authors knew x and would mention it, and in this case the AfS only produces a less than "somewhat certain" conclusion. In general, based on the hypothesized entity itself, and in conjunction with everything we know on abundant, reliable evidence, should we expect to have evidence of that entity? If the answer is yes, and yet no such evidence appears, then an AfS is strong. If the answer is no, then it is weak. "

In this regard, Carrier suggests two additional criteria to strengthen a weak AFS. "First," he states, "is the hypothesized entity the sort of thing, based on long experience with other examples of the same kind, that is easily arrived at by the human imagination even when not real?" If it is such a thing, and the answer is yes, thus says Carrier "an AfS gains strength." If we arrive at the conclusion that the answer is no, then the AFS actually loses strength.

We can see this more clearly in history then not. For example, an AFS would hold if we knew that people imagined lots of crazy things in antiquity, like flying horses and giants, and wrote books concerning things. We can establish that beings such as Satyrs don't exist, and didn't exist in antiquity, because it is a common thing to imagine creatures of all shapes and sizes without them being real. So the fact that we have no scientific or historical data on Satyrs, we can conclude that an AFS is actually made stronger to a degree in which we're pretty certain that Satyr's don't exist.

However, when we have an example of say Caesar crossing the Rubicon, we have decidedly more reason to accept it because what we DO know of the events coincide with the probability that Caesar did cross the Rubicon, and it certainly isn't a stretch of the imagination to affirm it. It is also accurate to say that it is not of the imagination normally that people would make up an event such as the crossing of the Rubicon, such a thing is not common in the imagination. People do not sit around daydreaming of crossing bridges all day, rather we would expect people to imagine various creatures and animals and adventures around those. So here, the AFS in Caesar's Civil War loses strength, and helps us define a positive crossing event, rather then a negative event.

The second criteria is thus; "does the hypothesized entity entail or include properties that we know on abundant, reliable evidence cannot or do not exist? If yes, then an AfS gains strength. If no, then it doesn't." Carrier clarifies that such an answer would not necessarily rule out said claims, but rather "it only strengthens a preexisting doubt." Such an entity would be things like miracles, or perhaps a being or creature which is logically impossible (like a God-Human). He admits that "Enough evidence can indeed confirm the seemingly impossible and prove it possible" however this is not one of those cases where we have enough evidence to truly do just that.

Applying these criteria, the question is whether or not Zindler has a good enough argument from silence. I've already addressed in my letters why he does not, as he does not meet all criteria. In fact he fails two of the most crucial right off the bat. (1) Would Josephus have sufficient desire to write about Nazareth? Obviously he wouldn't, nothing took place there! (2) Are towns easy to create in the imagination and fiction? Yes, there is evidence of allegorical villages and cities that are created specifically for the story, but are those cases equal to the evidence of that proposed in the AFS on Nazareth? No. In the stories we see of other mythical places, we have not found archaeological sites, or archaeological evidence to verify the town via inscriptions and buildings. So (2), although it is possible to make up a town, would fail the Nazareth AFS automatically because comparatively, when other examples of AFS mythical locations are examined, no archaeological evidence can support them (as they are fictional).

So already the AFS is weak, and with the addition of archaeological evidence to support the Nazareth site, the AFS for Nazareth practically dissolves.

But what else can we conclude from other AFS cases which fail? Carrier helps us understand how Historians view and examine cases of little to no evidence, which otherwise would fall into the same sort of AFS that is proposed by Zindler and Salm, where logically it makes sense to ignore any AFS that would be presented. The idea is that we must examine how ancient evidence works, and how Historians understand ancient evidence:

One must ask, should there be any written evidence of somebody (or something) in antiquity, that is contemporaneous?

Carrier aptly states that we can expect this from ""well-documented periods--e.g. almost anything after 1500 AD." He relates antiquity to a "meat grinder" as "more than 99% of all documents produced (journals, records, letters, archives, libraries, receipts, etc.) have been destroyed, even relative to the documents produced since 1500, and over 90% of all literary texts that were in circulation throughout antiquity, at least up to around 200 AD, have also been lost." He also concludes that the reason why we don't have certain texts is not based on random chance, but rather purposefully not copying specific texts. This is made clear in Bart Ehrman's book, Truth and Fiction in the DaVinci Code, where Ehrman explains that the only means to make copies was to have a scribe sit down and spend hours transcribing the document from one papyri to another. If, Ehrman states, a person of authority would want a text to vanish he simply had to not copy it, he wouldn't even need to destroy it, but simply allow all existing copies to be worn out by use. With no new copies of the text to pass around the existing texts would eventually become lost.

 

Carrier cites Tacitus as an example. He states:

"...we are enormously lucky to have Tacitus--only two unrelated Christian monasteries had any interest in preserving his Annals, for example, and neither of them preserved the whole thing, but each less than half of it, and by shear luck alone, they each preserved a different half. And yet we still have large gaps in it. One of those gaps is the removal of the years 29, 30, and 31 (precisely, the latter part of 29, all of 30, and the earlier part of 31), which is probably the deliberate excision of Christian scribes who were embarrassed by the lack of any mention of Jesus or Gospel events in those years (the years Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection were widely believed at the time to have occurred). There is otherwise no known explanation for why those three years were removed. The other large gap is the material between the two halves that neither institution preserved. And yet another is the end of the second half, which scribes also chose not to preserve (or lost through negligent care of the manuscript, etc.)."

This story is not uncommon, instead it is rather the maxim instead of the exception. When we look at Carrier's meat-grinder analogy, we can understand that between the wars, famine, poor life expectancy, redactions, and thousands of years of scribes who had no interest in preserving historical information that was outside of their faith, it is painfully obvious that it would be difficult to expect contemporary accounts of ANY famous figure or event. Carrier concurs, "In fact, who knows how many famous people were never preserved in the surviving record at all--we don't talk about them, because we don't know they existed, because nothing that mentioned them was preserved."

Other additional examples include Musonius Rufus and Strato of Lampascus, both who were widely regarded as the second greatest wise man in history next to Socrates and the greatest scientist who ever lived, respectively. Yet practically nothing is known about them, save in passing reference.

 

Richard Carrier concludes:

"Thus, "you'd expect people who actually lived during that person's life to tell the story" may be true, but "you'd expect such writings to have been preserved up to today" is not true. And that's the crux of the issue. And this is just for people of considerable fame. When it comes to minor religious nut cases, for example, who hardly bleeped on any educated writer's radar, even the first expectation is unwarranted. You might expect documentation to be produced, e.g. census records or tax receipts or court documents, but even then, you have no reason to expect any of that documentation to have survived, even in quotation, precisely because we know that rarely happened for *anyone* in antiquity, even the most famous, much less the unfamous. For example, name the leaders of the Qumran community from 100 B.C. to 60 A.D. I doubt you can name even one of them--and we actually have the extremely unusual luck of having found some of their original library. Who founded the Egyptian Therapeutae community that Philo speaks of? Surely these founding figures were as famous as Alexander of Abonuteichos, but it is shear luck that Lucian stumbled across him and decided to write about him--what if Lucian didn't stumble across him, or did but didn't think him important enough to write about, or did, and nothing Lucian wrote about him was preserved? How many other founders of novel religious movements did Lucian and his parallels not stumble across, or not write about, or write what was not preserved? How well do we know the founders of the Gnostic sects? How late do our sources start on them? What about even the orthodox bishops (i.e Popes) in Rome between Paul and Clement? Our earliest even mention of them I believe is Eusebius, quoting sources mid-2nd century. In fact, [try - ed] naming the five least-attested Popes between 60 and 300 AD. There certainly had to have been Popes continuously in that period, so there can be no doubt as to their historicity, even if sources like Eusebius got their names wrong....Who held the Imperial Epicurean Chair at Athens between 140 and 230 A.D.? Think about that one. The Emperor of All Rome established a paid position as a professor of Epicurean philosophy at Athens--arguably one of the most prestigious offices anyone could hold in the Western world. Anyone occupying such a position could not possibly be regarded as *not* a famous person. So who were they? I would be surprised if you could name even one of these men, much less all of them, and yet the office continued to be funded and appointed for almost a hundred years, if not two hundred. And even if you are lucky enough to find one of their names in some source somewhere, how likely is it that that source will have been written within 25 years of that professor's death? I think this should put your problem in perspective."

This is very important to the discussion because the point carrier is making, if it isn't clear yet, is that an AFS is not sufficient in establishing somethings historicity alone. It can only supplement an existing argument, or can be supported is all four criteria are met, but is still a very weak position because of the situation in antiquity at the time. Ergo, it is actually acceptable for a historian to assume the existence of something even if there is a weak AFS. So how do you make an effective AFS?

 

An AFS is only as good as it's counter argument, and then still the counter argument must be well supported. I bring back the case of Christ. There is sufficient reason to doubt Christ's existence, as not only does Christ pass the criteria for having a legitimate AFS, but there are alternative reasons for understanding Christ as a spiritual being over a historical man. Those reasons are laid out effectively in my letter back to Zindler, but also in my JMC forum.

Nazareth, however, fails the criteria for establishing a legitimate case of an AFS as was shown earlier. We also know that archaeological data supports the towns existence, we have no adequate reason to doubt the towns existence in the First Century (unless you want a relatively lazy mythicist argument), and we have First and Second Century attestation to Nazareth.

There are some scholars who would date the entire New Testament in the Second Century (of which I am not a supporter), even still, if we placed Mark in early 100-110, Matthew and John shortly after, and Luke-Acts as an Anti-Marcionite work (I agree with) and the Pauline Corpus sometime between 120-150 CE (Only the non-Pauline Epistles would I date this late, and only a few), we would still have reason to trust the accuracy of the Nazareth claim, especially in light of all the heavy opposition in the Second Century and later by the Romans and Greeks. But it's rather odd that in light of this, nobody thought to criticize the non-existent birthplace of Nazareth! Celsus condemns the idea of Bethlehem, but never once discusses the problems of Nazareth? And what was that "small country town" he talks about, where his mother spun for a living? (Celsus; J. Hoffman, Celsus: On The True Doctrine, p. 57)

If one wants to suggest that the documents and manuscripts were destroyed or hidden by the church, where are the rebuttals to those arguments? Why would you not go for the jugular when condemning the Christians? Why would you purposefully ignore the glaring problem of Nazareth not existing? Now this is really an AFS that should be looking into. If the claim is correct, that Zindler and Salm are making, and such a fact is true, the accounts of jesus in the Gospels would have circulated and been around long enough by the time of Celsus to have perpetuated the scandal of the non-existence of Nazareth, yet such things are nowhere to be seen in any of the early church fathers. But certainly the manuscript evidence would suggest Nazareth as Jesus' residence. So where is the controversy? Where are the letters we'd expect to see from early apologists like Justin Martyr or Origen, Tertullian, etc...?

If we had such information, one could use the AFS on Nazareth and supplement with the controversy in later centuries to prove that such complaints were being raised at the time. We could say, with some affirmation, that the early church fathers were aware of the problem of establishing the historicity, and as well we'd have enemy attestation (from the Greeks and Romans) to supplement the argument even further. Yet we have nothing of the sort. One could say that tehre is fact an AFS against Salm and Zindler's AFS. And this is where the frustration really comes into play.

So how does one adequately determine which AFS is correct? Well this is something Zindler and Salm didn't seem to consider - you take all the appropriate information and weigh it against a probability theorem like Bayes, add in all the evidence, and work out the equation to determine which has the better chance of being more or less probable. In doing so you either validate or invalidate the authorities, and determine then if the evidence is sufficient enough to warrant an AFS against Nazareth's existence, and if the additional evidence is strong enough to support the AFS under scrutiny.

This was either never done, or done but so poorly evaluated that it would fail peer review. I'm not willing to make any definitive claims as to which one is more likely, because I don't know Zindler and Salm personally to make that sort of judgment, so I am just going to give them both the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn't know any better, and not that they were purposefully trying to pull wool over the eyes of their readers. Thus, if the case is ignorance, why are they claiming to have uncovered the truth behind Nazareth, and why is it that they haven't tried peer review? Such questions puzzle me. Especially when I'm told by Salm that I need to pick up his book in order to adequately understand the evidence. But if I'm already finding flaws in the arguments, what makes him think that I won't find more as I go through it?

So what is left from here? Any critical historian who is honest and worth anything will tell you that they change their opinions to fit the evidence. If the evidence sways against something they've been arguing for, as tough a nail as it is to bite, one has to alter and follow suit. I've revised a lot of claims I've made in the past and this, ironically enough, is one of them. I don't necessarily fault Zindler for feeling so strongly on this subject, as I was in his shoes about three years ago before I was handed a thesis on the evidence for Nazareth's existence. I unfortunately do not have that paper anymore, but many of the reasons I'm against the ahistoricists perspective on Nazareth is because of the reasons I left that position.

But that's just it. I was honest enough to alter my stance and follow the authorities on the evidence that was presented. Where is the change in Salm and Zindler? I am not the first person to express my dissatisfaction of the arguments they both presented, mainly that of Salm. I know they've been asked similar questions before. What bothers me is that when I'm asked silly questions I have replies I can take from my notes and post to the individual which support my case. Where was Zindler's notes? Where were the evidences against my claims?

All of this is more peculiar.

I consider Zindler's article and Salm's book on par with that of Joe Atwill's book, Caesar's Messiah. It's the same sort of poor scholarship and ridiculous misuse of the evidence. Both present extreme theories with little regard for the authorities. Both make claims that are really unbacked by scholarship. Both, to my knowledge, never went through peer review. Both have been confronted by scholars and both refuse to revise their arguments based on those criticisms that cannot be countered.

As I said - they could be right, and for all my logic Nazareth my never have existed afterall, but the same goes for Zindler and Salm. Even worse is that scholarship is against them in almost every regard, even archaeologically the evidence is stacked in opposition. And it's not because their position is an impossibility, but simply because there is no good reason to accept their position based on probability. Bluntly, the only conclusion one can draw from the evidence is that Nazareth existed.

Does this fact change the mythicist position? Certainly not. Nazareth could have easily existed and there would be no reason for Jesus to. The one does not make or break the other - both are entirely seperate historical experiments that should be examined both together and separately, but the existence of one does not negate or prove the other. That's like saying that the existence of troy validates the existence of Titans. Both are not mutually exclusive claims and should not be considered that way.

I hope this blog post has been enjoyable and interesting, and I hope Zindler and Salm are reading this, and know that all I want is honest scholarship. The mythicist position suffers enough scrutiny from people who should know better, adding onto it like a conspiracy theory is only hurting those of us who are honest and critical in our understanding of the position and how to use modern methodologies to adequately defend it.

The best to you.

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 Rook, if I understand

 Rook, if I understand correctly, you do accept the existence of Nazareth. That's good. As you continue your studies, you will also find many more facts which corroberate the historial Jesus.

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AL500 wrote: Rook, if I

AL500 wrote:
Rook, if I understand correctly, you do accept the existence of Nazareth. That's good. As you continue your studies, you will also find many more facts which corroberate the historial Jesus.

Actually, there are no contemporary historical accounts of Jesus. As Rook continues his studies, the case for an actual jesus grows weaker, not stronger.

You mistake Rook's acceptance of the existence of Nazareth as a 'step' towards verifying a real Jesus, but in fact, this matter is a side issue of little importance.

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False dichotomy - "god" cannot even be refered to as an existent, it's a broken concept.   

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todangst wrote: AL500

todangst wrote:

AL500 wrote:
Rook, if I understand correctly, you do accept the existence of Nazareth. That's good. As you continue your studies, you will also find many more facts which corroberate the historial Jesus.

Actually, there are no contemporary historical accounts of Jesus. As Rook continues his studies, the case for an actual jesus grows weaker, not stronger.

MY RESPONSE: The apostles were contemporaries, and they gave us four gospels and twenty three epistles. And assuming that because he didn't exist because there is no contemporary writings about him, is to argue from silence. There's no contemporary writings of alot of ancient persons; especially marginal Jews who Romans and historians would not be interested in, since many alleged "wonder workers" were wondering around at that time. To the Romans, Jesus was just another one, a nobody.

You mistake Rook's acceptance of the existence of Nazareth as a 'step' towards verifying a real Jesus, but in fact, this matter is a side issue of little importance.

MY RESPONSE: I think its monumental, since the "Jesus myther" people once championed the argument that there was no evidence of Nazareth.

Quote:
God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen

False dichotomy - "god" cannot even be refered to as an existent, it's a broken concept.   

MY RESPONSE: If God does not exist, than your statement above has no validity.

God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen


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AL500 wrote: todangst

AL500 wrote:
todangst wrote:

Actually, there are no contemporary historical accounts of Jesus. As Rook continues his studies, the case for an actual jesus grows weaker, not stronger.

 

MY RESPONSE: The apostles were contemporaries,

Really? Prove they existed. Prove they wrote about "Jesus".

You can't.

Quote:

and they gave us four gospels

This is false. The gospels are anonymous:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_anonymous_works_and_none_are_eyewitness_accounts

 

No one knows who really wrote them. Your claim goes against modern scholarship.

Quote:
. And assuming that because he didn't exist because there is no contemporary writings about him, is to argue from silence.

Right. But an argument from silence is a valid argument if the silence is inexplicable. And it is, given the claims in the gospels concerning Jesus.

 

How to make an Argument from Silence

According to Gilbert Garraghan (A Guide to Historical Method, 1946, p. 149)

To be valid, the argument from silence must fulfill two conditions: the writer[s] whose silence is invoked would certainly have known about it; [and] knowing it, he would under the circumstances certainly have made mention of it. When these two conditions are fulfilled, the argument from silence proves its point with moral certainty.

In addition, the historian Richard Carrier suggests two additional criteria to strengthen an argument from silence:

1) Whether or not it is common for men to create similar myths.

It is prima facie true that this is the case. History is replete not only with 'god' claims, but with claims for messiah status.

2) The claim is of an extraordinary nature, it violates what we already know of nature.

The miracle claims in the gospels violate what we know of nature.

For more, read this:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/a_silence_that_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_for_jesus

 

Quote:

There's no contemporary writings of alot of ancient persons;

So? Claims for other ancient people are ordinary claims. Not extraordinary claims. The claims for the existence of jesus are extraodinary, the idea that they would not be well noted is insane.

Quote:

To the Romans, Jesus was just another one, a nobody.

You must explain how a miracle working, crowd drawing man who comes back from the dead is a nobody. I'm intrigued.

You can't both hold to the claims of the gospels as true AND also hold that Jesus was not noteworthy.

todangst wrote:

You mistake Rook's acceptance of the existence of Nazareth as a 'step' towards verifying a real Jesus, but in fact, this matter is a side issue of little importance.

Quote:

MY RESPONSE: I think its monumental, since the "Jesus myther" people once championed the argument that there was no evidence of Nazareth.

It's actually of no real importance at all, the fact that other Jesus mythers held to it is moot.

 

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God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen

todangst wrote:

False dichotomy - "god" cannot even be refered to as an existent, it's a broken concept.

Quote:

MY RESPONSE: If God does not exist, than your statement above has no validity.

I'd call that more of naked assertion than a proper response.

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No one knows who really

No one knows who really wrote them. Your claim goes against modern scholarship.

 

MY RESPONSE: That statement is patently false. And your position on the non-historicity of Christ goes against modern scholarship. I'm not going to argue on the NT in this thread.

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AL500 wrote: No one knows

AL500 wrote:

No one knows who really wrote them. Your claim goes against modern scholarship.

 

MY RESPONSE: That statement is patently false.

 Really? Then my claim ought to be easy to refute.  So, where's YOUR citation for this?

 

Again, here's mine:

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_anonymous_works_and_none_are_eyewitness_accounts

 

Quote:
 

And your position on the non-historicity of Christ goes against modern scholarship.

Right.  Which is why I better present good arguments for my claim, seeing as it goes contra majority opinion.

Which is what I do.

So, now, where's your argument, contra majority opinion, for the authorship of the gospels? 

 

 

Quote:

I'm not going to argue on the NT in this thread.

I think you mean to say that you can't back up your claim concerning the authorship of the gospels, so you're gonna head for the hills. Good idea.

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YOU STATED: Really? Then my

YOU STATED: Really? Then my claim ought to be easy to refute.  So, where's YOUR citation for this?MY RESPONSE: A.T. Robinson's book "Redating the New Testament" is one source. He argues that all the books of the NT were written before AD 50. You may also look here:http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/dating_nt.php

YOU STATED: Right.  Which is why I better present good arguments for my claim, seeing as it goes contra majority opinion.

Which is what I do.

So, now, where's your argument, contra majority opinion, for the authorship of the gospels? 

 

MY RESPONSE: See above. And thanks for admitting that the majority of scholars do not believe in the "Jesus myth" hypothesis.

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AL500 wrote: Quote: No

AL500 wrote:
Quote:

No one knows who really wrote them. Your claim goes against modern scholarship.

 

MY RESPONSE: That statement is patently false. And your position on the non-historicity of Christ goes against modern scholarship. I'm not going to argue on the NT in this thread.

 

hey AL500, actually your claim is false.  Please refer to the SBLSymS 28, "Redescribing Christian Origins."  Please also read any publication from the Journal of Higher Criticism. 

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AL500 wrote: YOU STATED:

AL500 wrote:
YOU STATED: Really? Then my claim ought to be easy to refute. So, where's YOUR citation for this?MY RESPONSE: A.T. Robinson's book "Redating the New Testament" is one source. He argues that all the books of the NT were written before AD 50. You may also look here:http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/dating_nt.php

 

YOU STATED: Right. Which is why I better present good arguments for my claim, seeing as it goes contra majority opinion.

Which is what I do.

So, now, where's your argument, contra majority opinion, for the authorship of the gospels?

 

MY RESPONSE: See above. And thanks for admitting that the majority of scholars do not believe in the "Jesus myth" hypothesis.

 

Actually these sources are very outdated.  I saw John A.T. Robinson, William Albright, modern historians have refuted these dated sources.  These are, for the most part, over thirty years old. 

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 Hi Rook, this is leading

 Hi Rook, this is leading to "my scholars Vs your scholars" argument. I said before that I did not want to debate the NT here. So I'll leave it at that.

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 You have to understand

 You have to understand that there are two schools of theology at work: liberals and conservatives. The liberals have their arguments and claim they have refuted the conservatives. The conservatives claim the same thing. I believe that if you study both sides of the issue, you will see that the liberal arguments do not hold up. There is a huge body of contemporary scholarship that does not agree with the liberal camp.

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AL500 wrote: Hi Rook, this

AL500 wrote:
Hi Rook, this is leading to "my scholars Vs your scholars" argument. 

No. He's pointing out the problems in your scholarship, whereas you're just naysaying his because they disagree with you.

There's a difference. 

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AL500 wrote:YOU STATED:

AL500 wrote:
YOU STATED: Really? Then my claim ought to be easy to refute. So, where's YOUR citation for this?MY RESPONSE: A.T. Robinson's book "Redating the New Testament" is one source. He argues that all the books of the NT were written before AD 50. You may also look here:http://www.christiancadre.org/topics/dating_nt.php
  I'm aware of such arguments. Are you aware of the problems with them?  Why doesnt' Paul cite the Gospels?  Why don't the Gospels show up as cited references in 1 Clement?  
Quote:
So, now, where's your argument, contra majority opinion, for the authorship of the gospels?  MY RESPONSE: See above.
 

That's not an argument, it's a citation. And I've already laid out fatal problems for it above.

Quote:
And thanks for admitting that the majority of scholars do not believe in the "Jesus myth" hypothesis.

I have no problem conceding the obvious... I do hope that you will learn to do likewise in the future.

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AL500 wrote: You have to

AL500 wrote:
You have to understand that there are two schools of theology at work: liberals and conservatives. The liberals have their arguments and claim they have refuted the conservatives. The conservatives claim the same thing. I believe that if you study both sides of the issue, you will see that the liberal arguments do not hold up. There is a huge body of contemporary scholarship that does not agree with the liberal camp.

All of that is moot. At the most, it only speaks to the biases on each side.

What matters is the arguments. 

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

Books on atheism.


AL500
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 When I speak of the Jesus

 When I speak of the Jesus myth hypothesis, I am referring to those individuals who deny the historicity of Christ. Most scholars, and historians today believe Jesus existed. Do you agree? As for your question why Paul did not mention the Gospels, why should he? He was writing to the churches who already had the faith. He didn't need to prove anything to them.  Your arguing from silence yet again! And this is not the logical aspect of silence. Paul never stated that Jesus was potty-trained. Can it therefore be concluded that he wasn't? He does however speak of several points relevant to the historical Jesus. Paul mentions the fact that he got aquainted with Peter and the Lord's brother --Gal. 1:18; 2:1-2.

Jesus was born in human fashion, as a Jew, and had a ministry to the Jews --Gal.4:4.

Jesus was referred to as the Son of God --1Cor.1:9.

Jesus descended from King David -- Rom.1:3.

Jesus prayed to God using the term "abba" - Gal.4"6.

Jesus forbad divorce -- 1Cor.7:9.

Paul said Jesus taught about the end times -- 1Thess. 4:15.

Paul refers to Peter as "Cephas" (rock), the name Jesus gave to him -- 1Cor.3:22.

Jesus had a brother named James - Gal.1:9.

Jesus died by crucifiction -- 2Cor.13:4 et al.

Jesus was physically burried -- 1Cor.15:14.

Shall I continue? All of this information corroberates the Gospels.

As for Clement, he does speak of Peter and Paul also. Don't tell me you deny their existence also. Their tombs are located in the Vatican.

God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen


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 I have nothing further to

 I have nothing further to say on this thread. You may carry any counter-arguments onto the Historical Jesus 2 thread.

God exists or nothing exists --- Greg Bahnsen