Christian response to "The God Who Wasn't There"

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Christian response to "The God Who Wasn't There"

Called "Jesus: Fact or Fiction?" It's in 6 parts, and on GodTube.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 (listed as part 4)

Part 4 (listed as part 5)

Part 5 (listed as part 6, nothing but plea to emotion)

Part 6 (listed as part 3)

Thoughts? I commented on each of the videos, pointing out a few flaws that I saw.


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Quoting the Reader's Digest

Quoting the Reader's Digest as an irrefutable source for the existence of Jesus just blew me away. Does the poor man not know that the Digesgt is a (wait for it) digest of writings from other sources, which sources, or source he was either not aware of or not inclined to name. Why do you suppose that was?
He mentions Josephus as having confirmed that Jesus was in Judea at the time of Pilate. He did. But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross. Then as an afterthought he wrote of that Jesus that he was "said to be the Christ." That is the ringing endorsement of Josephus for the historicity of Jesus.  That's all there was. Now, since Josephus was a historian, and a Jewish one at that, don't you suppose that if this Jesus that he "mentioned" were actually an important figure of the day, Josephus would have given him a little more ink. What he got was what in journalism is called a blurb. That's how important Josephus thought Jesus of Nazareth was. 


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Throw Eusebius into the

Throw Eusebius into the mix.

VOILA!

mythmaking 101 

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I posted a couple of mesages

I posted a couple of mesages about Pliny and Tacitus, but they don't seem to be showing up.

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Largo wrote: Quoting the

Largo wrote:
Quoting the Reader's Digest as an irrefutable source for the existence of Jesus just blew me away. Does the poor man not know that the Digesgt is a (wait for it) digest of writings from other sources, which sources, or source he was either not aware of or not inclined to name. Why do you suppose that was?
He mentions Josephus as having confirmed that Jesus was in Judea at the time of Pilate. He did. But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross. Then as an afterthought he wrote of that Jesus that he was "said to be the Christ." That is the ringing endorsement of Josephus for the historicity of Jesus. That's all there was. Now, since Josephus was a historian, and a Jewish one at that, don't you suppose that if this Jesus that he "mentioned" were actually an important figure of the day, Josephus would have given him a little more ink. What he got was what in journalism is called a blurb. That's how important Josephus thought Jesus of Nazareth was.

Let's not forget that the part that he was "said to be the Christ" was actually forged by Eusebius. As were some other parts about Jesus...including, possibly,the mention of the name Jesus.


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Krehlic wrote: I posted a

Krehlic wrote:
I posted a couple of mesages about Pliny and Tacitus, but they don't seem to be showing up.

They seem to have some problems with posting comments right now...I don't know what's up with it. Try again later? If they don't show up in a few hours. 


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Posted a comment to the

Posted a comment to the first one, it was there for a while then vanished.  With how they censor the vids, I wouldn't be surprised if the comments got the same treatment.

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thingy wrote: Posted a

thingy wrote:
Posted a comment to the first one, it was there for a while then vanished. With how they censor the vids, I wouldn't be surprised if the comments got the same treatment.

It didn't used to be like that...For the longest while, it would refresh, and post your comment. If you were partway through, you'd suddenly restart the video. This is probably an attempt to fix this. They have an auto-censor to handle any bad words, including "class" which renders as cl#*% or something. You do have a comment showing for the second part, thingy.

Incidentally, I got the WEIRDEST response to my comment on the 5th part (labelled "part 6&quotEye-wink. The user seemed to think I was glorifying myself by pointing out that this was 10 minutes of a single logical fallacy (appeal/plea to emotion). If an interesting conversation comes of it, I'll post it.


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When the author of this

When the author of this video's first statement is a logical fallacy (strawman - that the universe is a result of random chance) you know it's going to go downhill from there and it does.

The part about Jesus fullfilling all the prophacies is another major error. One can easily look at the OT and create a new story built around those predictions to make it appear that something wonderful has occured. I think we should go through each of the prophicies listed in the video to show how they are wrong. For Example, the messiah is to be of the Davidic line, yet Jesus's father was not Joseph therefore he is not of this lineage. Adopted heir's are not in line to take control of the thrown. Another example, that he had to be born in Bethlehem. The story in the Gospels about descendents having to go to a town that some ancient ancestor was born in order to pay taxes is just laughable and is historacily incorrect.

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Randalllord wrote: The part

Randalllord wrote:
The part about Jesus fullfilling all the prophacies is another major error. One can easily look at the OT and create a new story built around those predictions to make it appear that something wonderful has occured. I think we should go through each of the prophicies listed in the video to show how they are wrong. For Example, the messiah is to be of the Davidic line, yet Jesus's father was not Joseph therefore he is not of this lineage. Adopted heir's are not in line to take control of the thrown. Another example, that he had to be born in Bethlehem. The story in the Gospels about descendents having to go to a town that some ancient ancestor was born in order to pay taxes is just laughable and is historacily incorrect.

That, and saying Jesus fulfilled prophecies simply begs the question. If I believe Jesus was a myth, why would I accept what the Bible says?


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BenfromCanada wrote:Let's

BenfromCanada wrote:

Let's not forget that the part that he was "said to be the Christ" was actually forged by Eusebius. As were some other parts about Jesus...including, possibly,the mention of the name Jesus.

The killing point was already made above: Josephus was writing a history of the Jewish people, yet while he mentions John the Baptist in some detail, he only writes 3 lines about the Jewish Messiah?

No, that's simply ridiculous. Clearly Josephus had no evidence of a Jesus the Christ, if he did, the story of Jesus would have dominated his writings.

Theists who cite Josephus might actually want to read the work :

http://reluctant-messenger.com/josephus.htm

 

Here's a nice quote that encapsulates the point against the Testimonium:

Remsberg writes:

"Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus' work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly fourty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines."

-- The Christ, by John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.

 

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Randalllord wrote: When

Randalllord wrote:

When the author of this video's first statement is a logical fallacy (strawman - that the universe is a result of random chance) you know it's going to go downhill from there and it does.

The part about Jesus fullfilling all the prophacies is another major error. One can easily look at the OT and create a new story built around those predictions to make it appear that something wonderful has occured. I think we should go through each of the prophicies listed in the video to show how they are wrong. For Example, the messiah is to be of the Davidic line, yet Jesus's father was not Joseph therefore he is not of this lineage. Adopted heir's are not in line to take control of the thrown. Another example, that he had to be born in Bethlehem. The story in the Gospels about descendents having to go to a town that some ancient ancestor was born in order to pay taxes is just laughable and is historacily incorrect.

Sign up and post dsome of those comments! I picked some of the easier ones, and commented on eash video. 


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MrRage said, "That, and

MrRage said, "That, and saying Jesus fulfilled prophecies simply begs the question. If I believe Jesus was a myth, why would I accept what the Bible says?"

 

You wouldn't. My comment was to show that those that have the mistaken notion that the Bible is the perfect inspired word of God is in fact errored. Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies atributed to him. Rather it apperas that someone made up some stories to cram him into a real historical timestream and have Jesus fulfilling prophecies the writer didn't understand. For example Xian's often quote Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son."  This is not a prophecy at all and it is not referring to Jesus, rather it is referring to the mythical stroy of the Isralites being in slavery in Egypt and Moses leading them out.

Another one, Xian's claim is that Jesus was prophecied to be born of a virgin. They quote Isaiah 7:14 "Therefore the Lord will give  you a sign. The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel." There two pboblems with this prophecy:

1. The word virgin is mistranslation of the Hebrew worh "almah" which means "maiden or young woman".

2. No one called Jesus Immanuel. Matt. 1:21, it says, "And she will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins." (See also, Matt. 1:25; Luke 1:31; 2:21).

 

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Ok, I've posted

Ok, I've posted Pliny/Tacitus messages two more times since the first try and still no luck. I would like to criticize the entire series, but I can't even get one message in.

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Krehlic wrote: Ok, I've

Krehlic wrote:
Ok, I've posted Pliny/Tacitus messages two more times since the first try and still no luck. I would like to criticize the entire series, but I can't even get one message in.

Post your criticisms here, I will re-post them. 


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His first real reference to

His first real reference to Islam made a claim that goes against their faith in no small way. Can't get my comment to post on the site to bring it to attention though Sad



EDIT: Complain here and their site works. <shrugs>

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BenfromCanada

BenfromCanada wrote:

Krehlic wrote:
Ok, I've posted Pliny/Tacitus messages two more times since the first try and still no luck. I would like to criticize the entire series, but I can't even get one message in.

Post your criticisms here, I will re-post them.

 

Sorry, didn't check back after my last post.

In my posts I just said that...

Neither Pliny nor Tacitus were witnesses or even lived at the same time as Jesus would have. Both only mentioned the beliefs of the Christians they were documenting (including Pontius Pilate’s role) and do not refer to any historical figure named Jesus outside of that strict context. The Romans executed thousands of people by means of crucifixion (many of whom claimed to be messiahs) and kept horrible records. It would be absurd to suggest that either Tacitus or Pliny took up the painful task of searching through irrelevant execution records from over eighty years earlier. I mean, it’s not like they could just call up the archives in Jerusalem and have them fax a copy of a person’s records that had been dead for the better part of a century.
And as for Josephus; his mentions of Jesus are pure and obvious fabrications. I’m not going to go into the details about it, because that would just take too long. But the bottom line is that this video offers NO evidence for an historical Jesus. In comparison, this “overwhelming evidence” is just as “overwhelming” as the evidence for Bigfoot.
Also, how does the fact that the later books of the New Testament talk about Christians being persecuted suggest an historical Jesus? Yes, Christians were persecuted, and those books were written while that was going on. But if persecution legitimizes beliefs, then I think every religion has been proven true at some point in time, especially after Constantine arrived on the scene.

 

I think that’s the 4th time I’ve rewritten that. You’d think I would have learned to save my work after the first or second time the site wouldn’t accept it. I separated it in two to three parts when posting it before. It should be posted on the second video.

 

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Largo wrote:Quoting the

Largo wrote:
Quoting the Reader's Digest as an irrefutable source for the existence of Jesus just blew me away. Does the poor man not know that the Digesgt is a (wait for it) digest of writings from other sources, which sources, or source he was either not aware of or not inclined to name. Why do you suppose that was?

 He mentions Josephus as having confirmed that Jesus was in Judea at the time of Pilate. He did. But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross. Then as an afterthought he wrote of that Jesus that he was "said to be the Christ." That is the ringing endorsement of Josephus for the historicity of Jesus.  That's all there was. Now, since Josephus was a historian, and a Jewish one at that, don't you suppose that if this Jesus that he "mentioned" were actually an important figure of the day, Josephus would have given him a little more ink. What he got was what in journalism is called a blurb. That's how important Josephus thought Jesus of Nazareth was. 

Largo,

Josephus didn't believe Jesus was Messiah, so why would we expect anything more than whats in his Testimonium?

Your line of reasoning seems to be that since Josephus writes very little about Jesus, that somehow nullifies the validity of its historicity; this is just demonstrably false. A historical reference need not be book-length to be legitimate.

And as for your oft-regurgitated,

"But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross."

To assume that Josephus is speaking of any other man than the historical Jesus is clearly a projection from your own a priori bias to try to discredit the source.

The likelihood that another man named Jesus was a "teacher" who "wrought surprising feats", "won over many Jews and many of the Greeks", was tried under Pilate and, "upon hearing him accused" by the Jews, had Jesus "crucified", and post-humously was venerated by a "tribe of Christians, so called after him." seems, at the very least, unlikely.

 

 

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adamryan wrote:Largo

adamryan wrote:

Largo wrote:
Quoting the Reader's Digest as an irrefutable source for the existence of Jesus just blew me away. Does the poor man not know that the Digesgt is a (wait for it) digest of writings from other sources, which sources, or source he was either not aware of or not inclined to name. Why do you suppose that was?

 He mentions Josephus as having confirmed that Jesus was in Judea at the time of Pilate. He did. But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross. Then as an afterthought he wrote of that Jesus that he was "said to be the Christ." That is the ringing endorsement of Josephus for the historicity of Jesus.  That's all there was. Now, since Josephus was a historian, and a Jewish one at that, don't you suppose that if this Jesus that he "mentioned" were actually an important figure of the day, Josephus would have given him a little more ink. What he got was what in journalism is called a blurb. That's how important Josephus thought Jesus of Nazareth was. 

Largo,

Josephus didn't believe Jesus was Messiah, so why would we expect anything more than whats in his Testimonium?

Your line of reasoning seems to be that since Josephus writes very little about Jesus, that somehow nullifies the validity of its historicity; this is just demonstrably false. A historical reference need not be book-length to be legitimate.

And as for your oft-regurgitated,

"But he wrote of several individuals named Jesus (not an uncommon name), one of whom was executed on a cross."

To assume that Josephus is speaking of any other man than the historical Jesus is clearly a projection from your own a priori bias to try to discredit the source.

The likelihood that another man named Jesus was a "teacher" who "wrought surprising feats", "won over many Jews and many of the Greeks", was tried under Pilate and, "upon hearing him accused" by the Jews, had Jesus "crucified", and post-humously was venerated by a "tribe of Christians, so called after him." seems, at the very least, unlikely.

 

 

-adamryan

So you believe the interpolation/forgery in the TF is original? Shame scholars don't back you up.Why would someone who, as you say, didn't believe Jesus was Messiah even add that people made the claim. People claiming to be the Messiah was a common occupation.

Jesus was a common name and the Romans loved their crucifixions. That a Jesus was crucified by the Romans doesn't make that person the son of God described in the Gospels. It just makes him some poor bastard on a cross.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
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todangst wrote:Remsberg

todangst wrote:

Remsberg writes:

"Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus' work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly fourty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines."

-- The Christ, by John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.

 

Remsberg makes the mistake of thinking that Josephus thought Jesus was Messiah, then. Josephus clearly didn't believe this.

" 'He was the messiah.' Only a Christian would have said this. Not only this, but it seems that Josephus did not even believe the Messiah would be Jewish. Remarkably enough, he seems to have thought that his patron, the Roman general Vespasian, was the messiah.  (e.g., see Jewish War 6.5.4) "

-The Jesus Legend: A Case for The Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Gospels, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A Boyd, Baker Academic, 2007 page 191

 

 

-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:todangst

adamryan wrote:

todangst wrote:

Remsberg writes:

"Its brevity disproves its authenticity. Josephus' work is voluminous and exhaustive. It comprises twenty books. Whole pages are devoted to petty robbers and obscure seditious leaders. Nearly fourty chapters are devoted to the life of a single king. Yet this remarkable being, the greatest product of his race, a being of whom the prophets foretold ten thousand wonderful things, a being greater than any earthly king, is dismissed with a dozen lines."

-- The Christ, by John E. Remsburg, reprinted by Prometheus Books, New York, 1994, pages 171-3.

 

Remsberg makes the mistake of thinking that Josephus thought Jesus was Messiah, then. Josephus clearly didn't believe this.

" 'He was the messiah.' Only a Christian would have said this. Not only this, but it seems that Josephus did not even believe the Messiah would be Jewish. Remarkably enough, he seems to have thought that his patron, the Roman general Vespasian, was the messiah.  (e.g., see Jewish War 6.5.4) "

-The Jesus Legend: A Case for The Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Gospels, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A Boyd, Baker Academic, 2007 page 191

 

 

-adamryan

 

 

Shows how easily history (something that is supposed to be striaghtforward) can be screwed with. The Gospels were never meant to be taken as history so the writers could build their Messiah by reading some hero myths, mixong them with Paul's stuff and backtracking through Scripture to lend the story validity.

Was there a Jesus? There were probably hundreds?

Was there a Jesus who claimed to be Messiah? Probably quite a few.

Was there a Jesus who claimed to be Messiah and was crucified for sedition by the Romans? Probably a good number of those also.

Was there an actual son of God? Most likely not.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:So you

jcgadfly wrote:

So you believe the interpolation/forgery in the TF is original? Shame scholars don't back you up.Why would someone who, as you say, didn't believe Jesus was Messiah even add that people made the claim. People claiming to be the Messiah was a common occupation.


1) I never argued that the TF is completely original. I won't argue too much against the interpolation argument. It seems legitimate. However, to completely throw it out (as people like Rook like to do) seems a bit extreme.

Consider:

"Assessing the Authenticity of the Testomonium

On the basis of these considerations, we, along with most other scholars, take it as settled that the Testimonium is at least partly the product of Christian interpolation. But this does not mean that the entire passage is forged. To the contrary, there are a number of rather compelling arguments that, taken together, suggest we can reconstruct what Josephus originally wrote about Jesus in this passage.

The James Passage Supports the Testimonium

The Testimonium occurs before the James passage in Antiquities. The probable authenticity of the mention of Jesus in the James passage (see above) suggests at the very least that Josephus previously mentioned Jesus in the Testimonium. Josephus refers to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ" as a way of specifying who James is. But this seems to presuppose that Josephus had informed his readers previously in the text about this particular Jesus.

 

Generally Agreed Christian Interpolations

Once three obviously Christian elements are identified and removed from the Testimonium, the rest of the passage reads quite like something a first-century Jewisg historian would write about Jesus. The three elements generally identified as showing clear signs of Christian interpolation are: 1) the allusion to Jesus' divinity

2) the confession that Jesus was the Messiah; and

3) the acknowledgment that Jesus rose from the dead on the "third day" in accordance with the Old Testament prophecy. If we remove these statements from the text, we arrive at the following:


About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standard among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."1

There is nothing in this passage that a Jewish historian could not have said about Jesus. Acknowledging that Jesus was a "wise man" and a doer of "surprising feats" would have been no problem for Josephus. As almost all contemporary scholars agree, Jesus was known as a teacher and miracle-worker in the ancient world. Josephus is merely noting what likely would have been commonly known about Jesus of Nazareth in first-century Palestine. Also, there is little ground for thinking that the term "tribe" had to come from a Christian interpolator. Eusebius uses this term to describe Christians, but aside from this one instance, there is no known instance of Christians using this term as self-designation."

-The Jesus Legend, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A Boyd, p. 193  Baker Academic, 2007


A Galilean peasant being crucified under Roman authority because he upset the religious authorities seems like enough of a reason for Josephus to mention him.

And so your question really doesn't do anything. You can ask "Why would he?" and I can ask "Why wouldn't he?". It doesn't get anywhere. All I can guess is that maybe he thought a miracle-working peasant who was murdered for religious teaching was enough of a reason to mention him.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

Jesus was a common name and the Romans loved their crucifixions. That a Jesus was crucified by the Romans doesn't make that person the son of God described in the Gospels. It just makes him some poor bastard on a cross.

 

Right, but you're ignoring the whole having a tribe afterwards that posthumously venerated their leader and called themselves "Christians". Cite me an instance where this has elsewhere happened and maybe you'll be onto something.

 

 

 

-adamryan

 

 

 

1. This seems to be the most common reconstruction. See. J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times and Teaching, trans. H. Danby (New York: Macmillan, 1943), 55-56; Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:61

 

"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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jcgadfly wrote:Shows how

jcgadfly wrote:

Shows how easily history (something that is supposed to be striaghtforward) can be screwed with. The Gospels were never meant to be taken as history so the writers could build their Messiah by reading some hero myths, mixong them with Paul's stuff and backtracking through Scripture to lend the story validity.

 

This is just a lack of research on your part. No serious scholar considers the gospels to be the genre of myth. Do your research. Most modern scholars place them in the category of historical biography.

It is only the few radical scholars (who usually have a presupposition of naturalism) like those in the Jesus Seminar that would argue such a weak case. And even then, you have to remain skeptical of their conclusions if they openly admit that their a priori biases skew their analysis of the historical evidence.

 


jcgadfly wrote:

Was there a Jesus? There were probably hundreds?

Was there a Jesus who claimed to be Messiah? Probably quite a few.

Was there a Jesus who claimed to be Messiah and was crucified for sedition by the Romans? Probably a good number of those also.

Was there an actual son of God? Most likely not.

 

Argument from Silence? That's the best you're advancing here?

 

 

-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:jcgadfly

adamryan wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

So you believe the interpolation/forgery in the TF is original? Shame scholars don't back you up.Why would someone who, as you say, didn't believe Jesus was Messiah even add that people made the claim. People claiming to be the Messiah was a common occupation.


1) I never argued that the TF is completely original. I won't argue too much against the interpolation argument. It seems legitimate. However, to completely throw it out (as people like Rook like to do) seems a bit extreme.

Consider:

"Assessing the Authenticity of the Testomonium

On the basis of these considerations, we, along with most other scholars, take it as settled that the Testimonium is at least partly the product of Christian interpolation. But this does not mean that the entire passage is forged. To the contrary, there are a number of rather compelling arguments that, taken together, suggest we can reconstruct what Josephus originally wrote about Jesus in this passage.

The James Passage Supports the Testimonium

The Testimonium occurs before the James passage in Antiquities. The probable authenticity of the mention of Jesus in the James passage (see above) suggests at the very least that Josephus previously mentioned Jesus in the Testimonium. Josephus refers to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ" as a way of specifying who James is. But this seems to presuppose that Josephus had informed his readers previously in the text about this particular Jesus.

 

Generally Agreed Christian Interpolations

Once three obviously Christian elements are identified and removed from the Testimonium, the rest of the passage reads quite like something a first-century Jewisg historian would write about Jesus. The three elements generally identified as showing clear signs of Christian interpolation are: 1) the allusion to Jesus' divinity

2) the confession that Jesus was the Messiah; and

3) the acknowledgment that Jesus rose from the dead on the "third day" in accordance with the Old Testament prophecy. If we remove these statements from the text, we arrive at the following:


About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standard among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."1

There is nothing in this passage that a Jewish historian could not have said about Jesus. Acknowledging that Jesus was a "wise man" and a doer of "surprising feats" would have been no problem for Josephus. As almost all contemporary scholars agree, Jesus was known as a teacher and miracle-worker in the ancient world. Josephus is merely noting what likely would have been commonly known about Jesus of Nazareth in first-century Palestine. Also, there is little ground for thinking that the term "tribe" had to come from a Christian interpolator. Eusebius uses this term to describe Christians, but aside from this one instance, there is no known instance of Christians using this term as self-designation."

-The Jesus Legend, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A Boyd, p. 193  Baker Academic, 2007

 

A Galilean peasant being crucified under Roman authority because he upset the religious authorities seems like enough of a reason for Josephus to mention him.

And so your question really doesn't do anything. You can ask "Why would he?" and I can ask "Why wouldn't he?". It doesn't get anywhere. All I can guess is that maybe he thought a miracle-working peasant who was murdered for religious teaching was enough of a reason to mention him.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

Jesus was a common name and the Romans loved their crucifixions. That a Jesus was crucified by the Romans doesn't make that person the son of God described in the Gospels. It just makes him some poor bastard on a cross.

 

Right, but you're ignoring the whole having a tribe afterwards that posthumously venerated their leader and called themselves "Christians". Cite me an instance where this has elsewhere happened and maybe you'll be onto something.

 

 

 

-adamryan

 

 

 

1. This seems to be the most common reconstruction. See. J. Klausner, Jesus of Nazareth: His Life, Times and Teaching, trans. H. Danby (New York: Macmillan, 1943), 55-56; Meier, Marginal Jew, 1:61

 

Funny how the Bible doesn't take the "tribe venerating their leader" view. It does take the "creators of a religion deciding on a name" view. they named the religion after the Greek word for "anointed one". No mention of Jesus at all.

Acts 11:26 (New International Version)

and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

No one was called Christian until long after the Christ of the Gospels supposedly died. For me that lends more credence to a religion being built from stories than a real Jesus son of Yahweh.

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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By the way, I love how

By the way, I love how people who argue against the validity of the gospels essentially are saying that the original disciples were all in on this giant conspiracy theory to make Jesus a historical person.
 

They take no time to research the social milieu Christianity arose from, and so they seem to anachronistically attribute modern social concepts to first century Palestine, all the while claiming that "the evidence isn't there."

Study more. You'll find weird things that seem to lend credence to the historical Jesus; like, oh I don't know, a group of staunch monotheistic Jews preaching and being martyred for a faith that seemed to teach something abhorrent to their original Judaic faith (things like Jesus being a divine man, that his death was a sacrifice for all humanity's sin, that Jesus had resurrected before the day of Judgment; all of these stand in stark contrast to the Jewish teachings of Jesus' day, yet the skeptic, atheist simply ignores these?)
 

But nonetheless, JCgadfly, you tenaciously say,


"The Gospels were never meant to be taken as history so the writers could build their Messiah by reading some hero myths, mixong them with Paul's stuff and backtracking through Scripture to lend the story validity."

 

I suppose if you truly want to ignore things and cling to a socially awkward conspiracy theory, there isn't really anything anyone can do.

 

 

-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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jcgadfly wrote:Funny how the

jcgadfly wrote:

Funny how the Bible doesn't take the "tribe venerating their leader" view. It does take the "creators of a religion deciding on a name" view. they named the religion after the Greek word for "anointed one". No mention of Jesus at all.

Acts 11:26 (New International Version)

and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

No one was called Christian until long after the Christ of the Gospels supposedly died. For me that lends more credence to a religion being built from stories than a real Jesus son of Yahweh.

 

 

So the name of the group discredits the historical validity of what they were preaching? Are you serious?

1) Acts 11:26 says they were first called "Christians" in Antioch, and that's it. It's the only verse in the entire New Testament that mentions this. It says nothing about a date, though, other than that Barnabas and Paul stayed with the church for a year. For you to try and squeeze an awkward point of this passage shows just how weak your case seems to be.

2) The name "Christian" itself doesn't discredit anything, unless you can date the time they were called it in Antioch.

 

 

-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:By the way, I

adamryan wrote:

By the way, I love how people who argue against the validity of the gospels essentially are saying that the original disciples were all in on this giant conspiracy theory to make Jesus a historical person.
 

They take no time to research the social milieu Christianity arose from, and so they seem to anachronistically attribute modern social concepts to first century Palestine, all the while claiming that "the evidence isn't there."

Study more. You'll find weird things that seem to lend credence to the historical Jesus; like, oh I don't know, a group of staunch monotheistic Jews preaching and being martyred for a faith that seemed to teach something abhorrent to their original Judaic faith (things like Jesus being a divine man, that his death was a sacrifice for all humanity's sin, that Jesus had resurrected before the day of Judgment; all of these stand in stark contrast to the Jewish teachings of Jesus' day, yet the skeptic, atheist simply ignores these?)
 

But nonetheless, JCgadfly, you tenaciously say,


"The Gospels were never meant to be taken as history so the writers could build their Messiah by reading some hero myths, mixong them with Paul's stuff and backtracking through Scripture to lend the story validity."

 

I suppose if you truly want to ignore things and cling to a socially awkward conspiracy theory, there isn't really anything anyone can do.

 

 

-adamryan

The Gospels were not historical documents - don't you read your Bible?

John 20:31
But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Where did they say it was history? The Gospels were written to persuade, not as a chronicle.

As for the conspiracy  -there was no more conspiracy here than in the creation of any other mythology. Some one started it, others embellished it. I give Paul more credit for creating Christianity than any of the gospel writers. No conspiracy - just one guy.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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adamryan wrote:jcgadfly

adamryan wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Funny how the Bible doesn't take the "tribe venerating their leader" view. It does take the "creators of a religion deciding on a name" view. they named the religion after the Greek word for "anointed one". No mention of Jesus at all.

Acts 11:26 (New International Version)

and when he found him, he brought him to Antioch. So for a whole year Barnabas and Saul met with the church and taught great numbers of people. The disciples were called Christians first at Antioch.

No one was called Christian until long after the Christ of the Gospels supposedly died. For me that lends more credence to a religion being built from stories than a real Jesus son of Yahweh.

 

 

So the name of the group discredits the historical validity of what they were preaching? Are you serious?

1) Acts 11:26 says they were first called "Christians" in Antioch, and that's it. It's the only verse in the entire New Testament that mentions this. It says nothing about a date, though, other than that Barnabas and Paul stayed with the church for a year. For you to try and squeeze an awkward point of this passage shows just how weak your case seems to be.

2) The name "Christian" itself doesn't discredit anything, unless you can date the time they were called it in Antioch.

 

 

-adamryan 

 

The only historical fact is that they preached it. There is no historical validity to Jesus of Nazareth being the son of God. 

Unless, of course, you believe in all the other mytholgies as well. There were sons of God all over the place in those.

Note that I have no grief with a historical Jesus - just with making him God.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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I've enjoyed this discussion

I've enjoyed this discussion this morning so far, but I have to get dressed and get ready for class now. I'll pick this up later on today. Hopefully I'll be able to hear the RRS show tonight, too.

 

-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:I've enjoyed

adamryan wrote:

I've enjoyed this discussion this morning so far, but I have to get dressed and get ready for class now. I'll pick this up later on today. Hopefully I'll be able to hear the RRS show tonight, too.

 

-adamryan

Take care

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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adamryan wrote:By the way, I

adamryan wrote:

By the way, I love how people who argue against the validity of the gospels essentially are saying that the original disciples were all in on this giant conspiracy theory to make Jesus a historical person.

I haven't seen any reason to believe that the disciples were anything more than characters in the gospels.  I don't accuse a character rescued by Superman within a Superman comic of conspiring to make us believe in Superman.

Quote:
This is just a lack of research on your part. No serious scholar considers the gospels to be the genre of myth. Do your research. Most modern scholars place them in the category of historical biography.
Will you please name a secular scholar who believes that the gospels are historical biographies?

"I've yet to witness circumstance successfully manipulated through the babbling of ritualistic nonsense to an imaginary deity." -- me (josh)

If god can do anything, can he make a hot dog so big even he can't eat all of it?


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hazindu wrote:I haven't seen

hazindu wrote:

I haven't seen any reason to believe that the disciples were anything more than characters in the gospels.  I don't accuse a character rescued by Superman within a Superman comic of conspiring to make us believe in Superman.

Categorical mistake. The Superman comics aren't published as history, they never claim to be writing about historical events and they are written clearly with the intention of being fictional entertainment.

The gospels were written with different purposes, so yours is a false analogy.

hazindu wrote:
Will you please name a secular scholar who believes that the gospels are historical biographies?

I'm sorry, I meant "ancient biography", not "historical biography". Haha, I'm an idiot, "historical biography" is tautologous!

And yes, sure: A.N. Sherwin-White and Colin Hemer.

From what I've read (and come across via online debates), they both seem to commend the synoptic author, Luke, for his ability to be an incredibly accurate historian.

Here's a short quote from Sherwin-White:

"For Acts the confirmation of historicity is overwhelming. Any attempts to reject its basic historicity even in matters of detail must now appear absurd."

Sherwin-White, Roman Society p. 189


To quote William Lane Craig (who is not a secular scholar but is more versed in secular scholarly work than I am),

"When it comes to the gospels, Bishop Spong variously classifies these, sometimes as mythology (as he did tonight), sometimes as Midrash, sometimes as legend, sometimes as theology and so on. The problem is these are all distinct literary types, different from one another. But Dr. Spong, rather like that fellow in the Florida orange juice commercial just throws everything into the blender at once and comes up with a sort of literary mash, and this isn't apt to be very helpful, I think, in our literary understanding of the gospels."

"Let me share with you, then, the thinking of contemporary scholarship concerning the literary type of the gospels. Contemporary scholars have come to realize that the gospels' literary type is not mythology, or Midrash, but rather it is "ancient biography", like Plutarch's famous Lives of the Illustrious Greeks and Romans."

"According to Craig Keener in his recent commentary on the gospel of John, and I quote,

'The gospels present themselves as true accounts of Jesus' ministry. All four gospels fit the genre of ancient biography, the Life of a prominent person. Jewish-Christian readers would have been most familiar with literary works concerning primary characters in terms of Hellenistic Lives, or ancient biographies.' "

"He concludes,

'Arguments concerning the biographical character of the gospels have thus come full circle. The gospels, long viewed as biographies until the 20th century, now again are widely viewed as biographies.' "

"Moreover, Keener notes ancient biographies were a form of historical writing. He says biographies were 'essentially historical works', thus the gospels would have an essentially historical function. So a correct analysis of the gospels' literary type shows they are meant to be an account of what actually happened."

"Moreover, Keener notes two factors undergirding the reliability of these biographies:

First, how close the gospel sources are to the events that they narrate, and secondly the gospels' care in handing down the information in their sources. He concludes on the basis of these two factors that the gospels should be placed in the most reliable of ancient biographies."

"So the bottom line, then, is that the gospels are not mythology, or Midrash, rather they are ancient biography; and pretty reliable ones at that."

 

-William Lane Craig,
The Great Resurrection Debate March 20, 2005 (a video debate with Bishop John Shelby Spong, on the Resurrection of Jesus): 41:25-43:59

[i have a copy of this debate. if you'd like to view it, let me know and I'll send you it. =]

 

And I might as well just throw this in as well, since we're on the subject.:

William Ramsay,

"Luke is a historian of the first rank...This author should be placed along with the very greatest of historians."

 

-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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Hey Hazindu, sorry it took

Hey Hazindu, sorry it took me so long to reply buddy.

I just had a close friend of mine move out of state to Arizona today, so I spent pretty much all day yesterday getting in as much time as I could with him, so I hope you don't mind the tardiness of the reply.

 

-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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testimony is not reliable unless its verified

adamryan

The default position for all oral or written testimony is that it is not reliable - that it is either fiction or forgery.

If that were not true, then you would have to believe all kinds of crazy stuff such as the writings of L. Ron Hubbard and the Mormon scriptures. For example, do you believe that I have a translation of a letter in my drawer written by Jesus in which he describes in detail the sacred rituals of his homosexual sadomasochist sex and drug cult without some evidence that its reliable.

The proponent of testimony whether oral or written has to establish its reliability by presenting evidence of its reliability.

There is no evidence that any writings in the NT are reliable.

The scripture of the NT is not anymore special or unique then the scripture and oral stories of thousands of religions, and you do not believe them.

You simply have to be a hypocrite to apply a double standard to believe the scripture of the NT and not believe all the scripture and oral stories of thousands of other religions.

when you say "faith" I think "evil lies"
when you say "god" I think "santa clause"


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Don't mind me. Just quietly

Don't mind me. Just quietly reading along here. I did have a question about one comment, though.

 

adamryan wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Jesus was a common name and the Romans loved their crucifixions. That a Jesus was crucified by the Romans doesn't make that person the son of God described in the Gospels. It just makes him some poor bastard on a cross.

 

Right, but you're ignoring the whole having a tribe afterwards that posthumously venerated their leader and called themselves "Christians". Cite me an instance where this has elsewhere happened and maybe you'll be onto something.

 

 

I only wonder if such a tribe actually does lend any significant weight to the proposition that Jesus was the messiah. If we're all in agreement about the cards laid by JCgadfly, then the fact that this particular Jesus, this particular messiah, this particular crucified man had a posthumous following doesn't seem so impressive. The probability of any ONE such Jesus ending up with this following does seem rather low, but the probability of ANY such Jesus ending up with this following doesn't seem quite so unlikely. What's to convince me that this particular Jesus wasn't merely the one that was lucky enough to "catch on"? What I suppose I mean is that it doesn't seem that it would necessarily matter if it didn't happen elsewhere, because that it did happen only seems to attest to the popularity of the IDEA that this Jesus was the messiah and not so much to the FACT that he was the messiah. You know?

 

And now I will return to the shadows whence I came.

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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patcleaver wrote:adamryanThe

patcleaver wrote:


adamryan

The default position for all oral or written testimony is that it is not reliable - that it is either fiction or forgery.


 PatCleaver,

Your opinion does not reflect the consensus of modern scholarship and seems, in my honest opinion, plainly absurd.

1) Your allegation that "all oral or written testimony" is "not reliable" appears to be something you wrote without thinking about what it is you're trying to say exactly. Neither oral or written testimony is reliable? Really? By default? Just like that? Well what other kind of testimony is there? Sign language? Blinking your eyes in Morse code? Telepathy?

You should look into reconsidering your position on this one.

2) Historians, contrary to what you may want to believe, actually do give testimonies or histories the benefit of the doubt, in regards to their historicity. For historians to accuse everyone, everywhere, of everything (lying, conspiring, deceitfulness) gets nothing done, tells us nothing about anything and seems rather like childish paranoia. In dealing with historical texts, the texts are generally innocent until proven guilty.



"A False Dichotomy

"Our second preliminary observation is that the naturalistic use of the principle of analogy to rule out miracles is predicated on the postulation of a radical dichotomy between the worldview of ancient people and the modern, Western worldview. We are told that the reason people in the past could believe in a claim to experience miracles, while modern Western people supposedly cannot, is because, unlike us, ancient people were 'naive and mythologically minded.' Ancient people supposedly had little to no awareness of the laws of nature, no sense of critical history, and thus could not clearly separate fact from fiction. Their world was so different from ours, Harvey suggests, that the gulf between us- as is concerns the question of the supernatural- is too vast to cross with any analogy rooted in contemporary experience."

"Unfortunately for this perspective, there is mounting evidence that this alleged dichotomy between the worldview of ancient people and the worldview of modern Western people is itself a piece of modern mythology. For all their differences from the modern Western world, ancient people- as well as primordial groups today- were not nearly as uniformly 'naive and mythologically minded' as many modern scholars have tended to assume. Two points may be made in this regard." 50

"First, it should be acknowledged that the pervasive Western academic assumption that non-literate or semi-literate cultures could not clearly distinguish myth from history was never based on solid empirical evidence." [emphasis mine]

"It is, in fact, largely an unwarranted Western, academic assumption. ...Recent orality studies have demonstrated that orally dominant cultures (cultures in which reading plays little to no role) were and are quite often intentional in keeping fictional aspects of oral tradition distinct from nonfictional elements when it comes to certain genres."

"Moreover, it is now undeniable that orally dominant cultures- such as first century Palestinian culture- can be remarkably competent in passing on historical remembrances over extended periods of time without substantial alteration of the essential content. Indeed, as remarkable as it sounds, some specialists in the field of orality studies are now arguing that, in at least certain respects, these non-literate cultures can be at least as competent in reporting on the essential aspects of the past as contemporary, literate historians."51

"It is thus becoming increasingly evident that the common Western academic assumption that ancient, orally dominant cultures were not interested in actual history and/or were incapable of keeping factual historical remembrances distinct from myth is itself a grand myth propagated by modern Western scholars who were simply ignoring the facts."

-The Jesus Legend: A Case For The Historical Reliability of The Synoptic Gospels, Historical Method and The Jesus Tradition- Miracles and Method, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A Boyd [Baker Academic, 2007], p. 64-65

patcleaver wrote:

If that were not true, then you would have to believe all kinds of crazy stuff such as the writings of L. Ron Hubbard and the Mormon scriptures.


Not at all.

1) L. Ron Hubbard's sci-fi Scientology writings aren't of the same literary genre as the Gospels.

2) The Mormon "scriptures" are unquestionably false. The Book of Mormon has been given the benefit of the doubt and it was innocent before it was proven guilty. We gave it a chance.

Through giving it the benefit of the doubt we learned that the history the book details is fabricated, the genetics of the alleged tribes in the book have shown to be without merit, and the book contains embarrassing red flags which show it to be false (anachronisms, misquotations, typos in the original copies, etc).

The book has been proven guilty beyond all reasonable doubt.

(This is partly the reason why, in my opinion, you'll never hear of a theological heavyweight in the philosophy or apologetic circles coming from the LSD cult. It is because it is analogous to putting Steve Urkel up against Chuck Liddell. Sure it may be funny to watch, and you may even kind of feel bad for the guy, but the end result won't surprise you.)

Anyways, my point is to show that both of your analogies fail to sustain your thesis.
 

patcleaver wrote:

For example, do you believe that I have a translation of a letter in my drawer written by Jesus in which he describes in detail the sacred rituals of his homosexual sadomasochist sex and drug cult without some evidence that its reliable.

No. But I don't discredit that because it's absurd, I discredit it because no early documented source supports the claims you've just made. The fact that it's absurd happens to just be a coincidence.


patcleaver wrote:

The proponent of testimony whether oral or written has to establish its reliability by presenting evidence of its reliability. There is no evidence that any writings in the NT are reliable.


Actually, quite the opposite is true. The NT presents us with just as much convincing "evidence" as would any ancient testimony that we consider to be reliable, so before I elaborate on this and run the risk of not covering what you're getting at here, would you mind narrowing down this allegation you're making for me?

Are you dismissing their testimonies on a historical basis (maybe it is the dates of the testimonies that you question?) or does your argument question the content of the testimony, namely miracles?

patcleaver wrote:

The scripture of the NT is not anymore special or unique then the scripture and oral stories of thousands of religions, and you do not believe them.


Right. But you're either being dishonest or are unaware of why I discredit them as being reliable.

I'll give you an example. Let's consider Apollonius of Tyana for a moment. I choose him for this illustration because he's been attributed to a few things which are similar to Jesus: performing miracles, appearing after his death, claiming to be a god.

First, quite unlike the history of the Jesus tradition, the account we have of Apollonius of Tyana comes from only one source, Philostratus' Life of Apollonius. While this alone doesn't discredit his claim to legitimacy, it does weaken the case some. Historians don't generally like to work with only one late account to establish a person/event's historicity, they like to work with numerous early sources, and preferably ones that are eyewitness accounts. Unfortunately for Apollonius, however, Philostratus' account is neither early nor an eyewitness account, but rather was composed over a century after his death.

The case gets worse though when you consider that, secondly, Philostratus was a trained rhetorician and sophist who was purposely commissioned by the empress Julia Domra to write a laudatory biography of Apollonius. Not so, with the authors of the Gospels however, who "were writing in a hostile environment in which they knew they could be prosecuted for their faith."1  Contrast this to the Gospel authors who hadn't any clear financial/political impetus, and you'll start to see why the claims attributed to Apollonius are likely to be more untrue than his earlier Jewish counterpart, Jesus of Nazareth.

Third, the prominence of numerous historical problems within Philostratus' Life cast a heavy shadow of doubt and unreliability over the account in historian circles. The Life of Apollonius is laden with historical anachronisms so much to the point that that H.C. Kee writes that "what Philostratus reports tells us a great deal about the author and his time- that is, at the turn of the third century- but provides no unassailable evidence about Apollonius and his epoch."2   Apollonius can conclusively (it seems) therefore be thought to be less likely a candidate for first century miracle worker than Jesus of Nazareth, who, for all intents and purposes, was attested by not only early, but also eyewitness accounts which later were used as source material for what we now call the Gospels.

Not to mention, a majority of NT scholars (including Moreland, Habermas and Wright) articulate the notion that Apollonius of Tyana was "a post-Christian invention where" he was "deliberately constructed to compete with early Christianity."3

 

patcleaver wrote:

You simply have to be a hypocrite to apply a double standard to believe the scripture of the NT and not believe all the scripture and oral stories of thousands of other religions.


I agree. I guess it's a good thing I'm not doing that. =]

 

 
-adamryan
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. The Jesus Legend: The Case For The Historical Reliability of The Synoptic Jesus Tradition, "Historical Method, One Among Many Legends?" pg 152

2. H.C. Kee, Miracle in The Early Christian World: A Study in Sociohistorical Method (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983)

3. Is There Evidence For The Resurrection?, A debate between William Lane Craig and Bart Ehrman 1:54:00- 1:54:08


50. For critical discussions on both sides of the issue, see R. Dorson, "Introduction: Folklore and Traditional History", in Folklore and Traditional History, ed. R. Dorson (The Hague and Paris: Mouton 173); P. Pender- Cudlip, "Oral Traditions and Anthropological Analysis: Some Contemporary Myths", Azania 7, (1972): 12; J. Miller, "Introduction: Listening for The African Past", in The African Past Speaks: Essays on Oral Tradition and History, ed J.C. Miller (Hamden, CT: Archon, 1980), 1-59; R.G. Willis, On Historical Reconstruction from Oral Traditional Sources: A Structionalist Approach (Chicago: Northwestern University Pressm 1976), 2-16; A. Kaivola-Bregenhoj, "Varying Folklore", in Thick Corpus, Organic Variation and Texuality in Oral Tradition, ed L. Honko (Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2000), 101l W.E. Leuchtenburg et al., "A Panel of Historians Discuss Oral History", in The Second National Colloquium on Oral History, at Arden House, Harriman, New York, November 18-21, 1967, ed. L.M. Starr (New York: Oral History Association, 1968), 1-20.
 
51. For example, J. Handoo criticizes the "palace paradigm" associated with modern, Western, literate historiography as less reliable in significant respects than oral history ("People Are Still Hungry for Kings: Folklore and Oral History", in Dynamics of Tradition: Perspectives on Oral Poetry and Folk Belief, ed. L. Tarkka [Helsinki: Finnish Literature Society, 2003], 70). Social anthropologist E. Tonking writes: "Oral history is not intrinsically more or less likely to be accurate than a written document" (Narrating Our Pasts: The Social Construction of Oral History [New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992], 113).

 

"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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Archeopteryx wrote:I only

Archeopteryx wrote:

I only wonder if such a tribe actually

does

lend any significant weight to the proposition that Jesus was the messiah. If we're all in agreement about the cards laid by JCgadfly, then the fact that this particular Jesus, this particular messiah, this particular crucified man had a posthumous following doesn't seem so impressive. The probability of any ONE such Jesus ending up with this following does seem rather low, but the probability of ANY such Jesus ending up with this following doesn't seem quite so unlikely. What's to convince me that this particular Jesus wasn't merely the one that was lucky enough to "catch on"? What I suppose I mean is that it doesn't seem that it would necessarily matter if it didn't happen elsewhere, because that it did happen only seems to attest to the

popularity

of the IDEA that this Jesus was the messiah and not so much to the FACT that he was the messiah. You know?

 

And now I will return to the shadows whence I came.

 

Great question, Archie. Eye-wink

 

I love questions about this. I've just recently begun to study this subject and a great website I've found has been from Mike Brown, PhD, www.realmessiah.com.  I highly suggest you check it out and watch some of his short videos.

He is a Jewish scholar who teaches elaborately how Jesus of Nazareth was and is the prophesied Moshiach. I can't rattle off the top of my head the things this man can, but I hope to one day be able to.

But yes, I think if you openly consider the points made by scholars like Dr. Brown, accepting Jesus as messiah isn't a very illogical thing to do at all.

In my opinion, however, your first musing of whether or not the existence of a tribe of people could lend credence to messiahship of a religious teacher is a loud resonating, "Nope!"

Just recently (he died in 1994 in Brooklyn, NY), Rabbi Svi Sabbati was thought to be Messiah by many modern Jews.
Interestingly enough, when faced with threat of death, he recanted his Judaism and embraced the Islamic faith.

So much for fulfilling our suffering servant motif, eh?

 

 

-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:Archeopteryx

adamryan wrote:

Archeopteryx wrote:

I only wonder if such a tribe actually

does

lend any significant weight to the proposition that Jesus was the messiah. If we're all in agreement about the cards laid by JCgadfly, then the fact that this particular Jesus, this particular messiah, this particular crucified man had a posthumous following doesn't seem so impressive. The probability of any ONE such Jesus ending up with this following does seem rather low, but the probability of ANY such Jesus ending up with this following doesn't seem quite so unlikely. What's to convince me that this particular Jesus wasn't merely the one that was lucky enough to "catch on"? What I suppose I mean is that it doesn't seem that it would necessarily matter if it didn't happen elsewhere, because that it did happen only seems to attest to the

popularity

of the IDEA that this Jesus was the messiah and not so much to the FACT that he was the messiah. You know?

 

And now I will return to the shadows whence I came.

 

Great question, Archie. Eye-wink

 

I love questions about this. I've just recently begun to study this subject and a great website I've found has been from Mike Brown, PhD, www.realmessiah.com.  I highly suggest you check it out and watch some of his short videos.

He is a Jewish scholar who teaches elaborately how Jesus of Nazareth was and is the prophesied Moshiach. I can't rattle off the top of my head the things this man can, but I hope to one day be able to.

But yes, I think if you openly consider the points made by scholars like Dr. Brown, accepting Jesus as messiah isn't a very illogical thing to do at all.

In my opinion, however, your first musing of whether or not the existence of a tribe of people could lend credence to messiahship of a religious teacher is a loud resonating, "Nope!"

Just recently (he died in 1994 in Brooklyn, NY), Rabbi Svi Sabbati was thought to be Messiah by many modern Jews.
Interestingly enough, when faced with threat of death, he recanted his Judaism and embraced the Islamic faith.

So much for fulfilling our suffering servant motif, eh?

 

 

-adamryan

My problem is not with a Jesus being Messiah. It's with Jesus of Nazareth being the son of God. "Messiah/Moshiach" and "son of Yahweh" are two radically different things.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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jcgadfly wrote:My problem is

jcgadfly wrote:

My problem is not with a Jesus being Messiah. It's with Jesus of Nazareth being the son of God. "Messiah/Moshiach" and "son of Yahweh" are two radically different things.


Fair enough. Do you think its something that you'll never change your mind on, or are you open to it?

 

-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:jcgadfly

adamryan wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

My problem is not with a Jesus being Messiah. It's with Jesus of Nazareth being the son of God. "Messiah/Moshiach" and "son of Yahweh" are two radically different things.


Fair enough. Do you think its something that you'll never change your mind on, or are you open to it?

 

-adamryan

 

That's a loaded question.  You presume that it's possible for a person to be born of a virgin and perform various miracles; that evidence of such things is merely forthcoming.  Of course, if the evidence presents itself any rational person would yield to it.  The thing is that evidence of such things is not forthcoming and the possibility of such things is incontrovertibly contradicted by everything we currently know.  Unless, of course, your Jesus, son of god, did not commit the actions attested to him in the gospels, which wouldn't be a very good case for the existence of the character at all.

 

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Thomathy wrote:That's a

Thomathy wrote:

That's a loaded question.  You presume that it's possible for a person to be born of a virgin and perform various miracles; that evidence of such things is merely forthcoming.  Of course, if the evidence presents itself any rational person would yield to it.

Apparently not, since most atheists discredit the testimony of the Gospels for no good reason at all. What other "evidence" could there be of someone being born of a virgin, other than testimony? That isn't a repeatable event. You can't demonstrate it scientifically. It's something you consider via testimony. For the atheist to just simply rule out the testimony seems for them to just play out their a priori bias against it.

 

 

Thomathy wrote:

The thing is that evidence of such things is not forthcoming and the possibility of such things is incontrovertibly contradicted by everything we currently know.

Not true at all. We have reliable testimony.
And contradicted by everything we currently know? Like what?

 

Thomathy wrote:

Unless, of course, your Jesus, son of god, did not commit the actions attested to him in the gospels, which wouldn't be a very good case for the existence of the character at all.

I think the Gospels convey reliable testimony, and that Jesus was born of a virgin.

 

 

 

-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:Apparently

adamryan wrote:
Apparently not, since most atheists discredit the testimony of the Gospels for no good reason at all.
And those with good reason?  It's interesting of you to say that, though, considering the literature that exists which directly contradicts your stance that the testimony is credible.  Which hardly matters because testimony is not scientific evidence.
Quote:
What other "evidence" could there be of someone being born of a virgin, other than testimony? That isn't a repeatable event. You can't demonstrate it scientifically. It's something you consider via testimony. For the atheist to just simply rule out the testimony seems for them to just play out their a priori bias against it.
I"m sorry, you'll have to first prove that the bible contains any credible testimony.  And then, it's still not wholly reasonable to accept the virgin birth, the miraculous powers, the rising from death and ascension into a supernatural realm of a person alledged to be the son of a god.  And don't accuse me of moving goal posts to include the rest of the things attributed to this character, for even if we accept the existence of a man called Jesus, born of a virgin, if the rest doesn't hold, I'm afraid you've failed to prove the existence of the biblical character and that would seem to be antithetical to the a priori search for the existence of someone based on 'testimony' which is not verifiably accurate.

It's certainly an odd case of projection to be accused of an a priori bias against the existence of a character from a book when you baldy assert the existence of such a character and then seek to find supposed evidence for him.  It's an easy game of tennis when you have no net isn't it?  And isn't it wonderful to shift the burden of proof so?

 

adamryan wrote:
Thomathy wrote:

The thing is that evidence of such things is not forthcoming and the possibility of such things is incontrovertibly contradicted by everything we currently know.
And contradicted by everything we currently know? Like what?
I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by your question.  Humans cannot be conceived of virgins.  Unless you propose to have an explanation of the biological mechanisms involved in a human being formed by a single haploid cell?  Of course, since you assert that the event is not repeatable and that it can't be tested scientifically, I suppose I'll just have to take the word of an ancient collection of (at best) midrash 'testimony'.

I suppose I should have been more specific.  I had written more, but scraped it for expediency.  You see, the virgin birth is considered a miracle.  Mircales defy everything currently understood about the nature of reality.  In reality, the virgin birth isn't possible.

Quote:
I think the Gospels convey reliable testimony, and that Jesus was born of a virgin.
I'm sure you do think so, but there is no reason to presume that the bible conveys reliable testimony and unless you are able to present a good argument that the bible does contain reliable testimony, then I'm afriad what you think will have to remain a belief based in faith.

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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adamryan wrote:Thomathy

adamryan wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

That's a loaded question.  You presume that it's possible for a person to be born of a virgin and perform various miracles; that evidence of such things is merely forthcoming.  Of course, if the evidence presents itself any rational person would yield to it.

Apparently not, since most atheists discredit the testimony of the Gospels for no good reason at all. What other "evidence" could there be of someone being born of a virgin, other than testimony? That isn't a repeatable event. You can't demonstrate it scientifically. It's something you consider via testimony. For the atheist to just simply rule out the testimony seems for them to just play out their a priori bias against it.

 

 

Thomathy wrote:

The thing is that evidence of such things is not forthcoming and the possibility of such things is incontrovertibly contradicted by everything we currently know.

Not true at all. We have reliable testimony.
And contradicted by everything we currently know? Like what?

 

Thomathy wrote:

Unless, of course, your Jesus, son of god, did not commit the actions attested to him in the gospels, which wouldn't be a very good case for the existence of the character at all.

I think the Gospels convey reliable testimony, and that Jesus was born of a virgin.

 

 

 

-adamryan

You don't think that the fact that the gospels were written 40 years after Jesus supposedly walked and 15-20 years after Paul wrote all or almost all of his stuff (giving them something else to work from) isn't a good reason to discredit their testimony? Interesting. Do you believe plagiarists write original works because they took the time and effort to cut and paste? 

You might have had me if they were eyewitness accounts and there weren't so many virgin birth myths that were old when the writers were young.

 

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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Randalllord wrote:Jesus did

Randalllord wrote:

Jesus did not fulfill the prophecies atributed to him. Rather it apperas that someone made up some stories to cram him into a real historical timestream and have Jesus fulfilling prophecies the writer didn't understand. For example Xian's often quote Hosea 11:1 When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son."  This is not a prophecy at all and it is not referring to Jesus, rather it is referring to the mythical stroy of the Isralites being in slavery in Egypt and Moses leading them out.

 

Do your research. Hosea 11:1 is a prophecy. Messianic prophecies aren't clear-cut citations where the author of OT books is writing normally and then all-of-the-sudden stops and prefaces the next few passages with, "Ok, now this is a prophecy regarding Moschiach" and then writes the passage, and then distinguishes the end of the messianic passage right back into the common theme of the text. That's not how it's done.

If you'd actually study it (and not just think that by reading it in the English NIV version once over you've completely understand and have the best biblical hermenutic), i suggest you check out Mike Brown, Phd's website, www.realmessiah.com

He's a Jewish scholar who has been studying the NT and OT prophecies, the Messianic texts longer than most of us have been alive, and he can elaborately lay out the meaning of texts (whether in original Hebrew or Greek; he seems to have a lot of both the OT and NT committed to memory in English, Greek and Hebrew); his conclusive research proves that Jesus is Messiah.

 

 

-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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jcgadfly wrote:You might

jcgadfly wrote:
You might have had me if they were eyewitness accounts and there weren't so many virgin birth myths that were old when the writers were young.
It's interesting, also, that we're to take this particular virgin birth as an event verified to have happened, but to dismiss those others.  Or can those also be true based on the written accounts of their occurrence?

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


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jcgadfly wrote:You don't

jcgadfly wrote:

You don't think that the fact that the gospels were written 40 years after Jesus supposedly walked and 15-20 years after Paul wrote all or almost all of his stuff (giving them something else to work from) isn't a good reason to discredit their testimony? Interesting.

No.

1) It can be argued that Mark writes his gospel much earlier than 40 years after Jesus dies.

2) Even if, for the sake of argument, the gospels were written 20+ years later, this is still relatively very early, compared to the datings of other ancient writings.

Buttress this with the fact that most of the people were likely still alive when these were written (and thus could serve as verifying witnesses) and the picture starts to shift more favorably toward the reliability of the Gospels.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

You might have had me if they were eyewitness accounts and there weren't so many virgin birth myths that were old when the writers were young.

1) Luke's gospel is sourced from very early eyewitness testimony. He opens his gospel right from the beginning explaining that.

2) These myths you're referring to post-date Christianity. Nice try, though.

 

 

-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:2) These

adamryan wrote:
2) These myths you're referring to post-date Christianity. Nice try, though.
Pardon?  Virgin birth myths that postdate Christianity?  Certainly, there are some, but you're aware of the many that predate Christianity, right?  Right?

 

BigUniverse wrote,

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Thomathy wrote:And those

Thomathy wrote:

And those with good reason?  It's interesting of you to say that, though, considering the literature that exists which directly contradicts your stance that the testimony is credible.  Which hardly matters because testimony is not scientific evidence.

Are you even thinking about what it is you're writing? How can you have scientific evidence of a historical event that isn't repeatable? How can you prove scientifically that Caesar crossed the Rubicon? You can't. Because history isn't something proven with science. I can't prove scientifically that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. All I can do is consider any testimony given for the even. 

And I am still waiting for these oft-referred-to-yet-never-cited "literature" you're talking about that discredit their testimony.

 

Thomathy wrote:

I"m sorry, you'll have to first prove that the bible contains any credible testimony.  And then, it's still not wholly reasonable to accept the virgin birth, the miraculous powers, the rising from death and ascension into a supernatural realm of a person alledged to be the son of a god.

What books have you read on this subject, Thomathy?  I don't have time/space to lay out what has been written on this subject, and it'd be much easier if you just actually did some reading on your own instead of getting it secondhand from me.

 

Thomathy wrote:

And don't accuse me of moving goal posts to include the rest of the things attributed to this character, for even if we accept the existence of a man called Jesus, born of a virgin, if the rest doesn't hold, I'm afraid you've failed to prove the existence of the biblical character and that would seem to be antithetical to the a priori search for the existence of someone based on 'testimony' which is not verifiably accurate.

I love this. It's a point that makes no point. Awesome.

 

 

Thomathy wrote:

It's certainly an odd case of projection to be accused of an a priori bias against the existence of a character from a book when you baldy assert the existence of such a character and then seek to find supposed evidence for him.  It's an easy game of tennis when you have no net isn't it?  And isn't it wonderful to shift the burden of proof so?

 Historians don't work by discrediting a source before it's even considered. That's not how this works. Yet that is exactly what you're wanting to do. And instead of citing reasons why you think it's a discredited source, you merely assume it. This is poor philosophy at its worst.

 

Thomathy wrote:

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by your question.  Humans cannot be conceived of virgins.  Unless you propose to have an explanation of the biological mechanisms involved in a human being formed by a single haploid cell?  Of course, since you assert that the event is not repeatable and that it can't be tested scientifically, I suppose I'll just have to take the word of an ancient collection of (at best) midrash 'testimony'.

The Gospels aren't midrash. Read a book. Any book.
No, I take that back: read any book written by a serious scholar. This oft-cited mistake is starting to just get irritating.

here, i'll even list a few for you:
 

-The Jesus Legend, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and G.A. Boyd
-Jesus Under Fire, edit by Michael J Wilkins and J.P. Moreland
- Reasonable Faith, by William Lane Craig

"Humans cannot be conceived of virgins.  Unless you propose to have an explanation of the biological mechanisms involved in a human being formed by a single haploid cell?"

No one argues that humans cannot naturally be born of virgins. The point is that Jesus' birth was not natural, but supernatural. Why is it that a child can see this but someone as allegedly intelligent as you can not?

 

Thomathy wrote:

I suppose I should have been more specific.  I had written more, but scraped it for expediency.  You see, the virgin birth is considered a miracle.  Mircales defy everything currently understood about the nature of reality.  In reality, the virgin birth isn't possible.

Now we're getting somewhere. You discredit the Gospels because they contain Miracles. You're finally coming around to admitting it.

 

 

 

Thomathy wrote:

I'm sure you do think so, but there is no reason to presume that the bible conveys reliable testimony and unless you are able to present a good argument that the bible does contain reliable testimony, then I'm afriad what you think will have to remain a belief based in faith.

I have to get ready for class right now. I'll continue this later tonight.

 

 

-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:jcgadfly

adamryan wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

You don't think that the fact that the gospels were written 40 years after Jesus supposedly walked and 15-20 years after Paul wrote all or almost all of his stuff (giving them something else to work from) isn't a good reason to discredit their testimony? Interesting.

No.

1) It can be argued that Mark writes his gospel much earlier than 40 years after Jesus dies.

2) Even if, for the sake of argument, the gospels were written 20+ years later, this is still relatively very early, compared to the datings of other ancient writings.

Buttress this with the fact that most of the people were likely still alive when these were written (and thus could serve as verifying witnesses) and the picture starts to shift more favorably toward the reliability of the Gospels.

 

jcgadfly wrote:

You might have had me if they were eyewitness accounts and there weren't so many virgin birth myths that were old when the writers were young.

1) Luke's gospel is sourced from very early eyewitness testimony. He opens his gospel right from the beginning explaining that.

2) These myths you're referring to post-date Christianity. Nice try, though.

 

 

-adamryan

1. One can argue that about Mark but current research goes against it.

2. Not arguing for its place in history. I'm arguing for vast opportunities for the gospel writers to research the Jesus ,son of God character. Two decades is still a lot of time to bactrack through scripture to validate a character.

3. What is your basis that the people involved in the stories were still alive?

4. Luke cribbed from Mark. Research shows this. I should forget all that and take Luke's say so? You wouldn't do that for any other source of information - why give Christianity a pass?

5. And you know which myths I'm referring to how? Hint - not Greek or Roman.

 Edit: I just notice how you complain about us not looking at history and then you give books by apologists as examples of "what we should read". Irony is beautiful at times.

"I do this real moron thing, and it's called thinking. And apparently I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions."
— George Carlin


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adamryan wrote:Thomathy

adamryan wrote:

Thomathy wrote:

And those with good reason?  It's interesting of you to say that, though, considering the literature that exists which directly contradicts your stance that the testimony is credible.  Which hardly matters because testimony is not scientific evidence.

Are you even thinking about what it is you're writing? How can you have scientific evidence of a historical event that isn't repeatable? How can you prove scientifically that Caesar crossed the Rubicon? You can't. Because history isn't something proven with science. I can't prove scientifically that Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus. All I can do is consider any testimony given for the even. 

And I am still waiting for these oft-referred-to-yet-never-cited "literature" you're talking about that discredit their testimony.

Can you read?  Read my next paragraph in the cited post.  I realize it's not scientific and that there's not going to be any such evidence.  Considering the 'testimony' is of a virgin birth, it can only be unreliable.  Virgin births don't happen.  Can you prove that they do?  I mean, the account is of an extraordinary (read: impossible) event.  It would take more than ancient testimony to be convincing.  Even presently, should a virgin birth be said to have occurred, I would find no compelling reason to believe so until it was verified to have actually happened.  That is reasonable.

Oh, I'm sorry you're not aware of the literature.  You do come across as being somewhat educated on the subject, if not only enthusiastic about it.

Quote:
Historians don't work by discrediting a source before it's even considered. That's not how this works. Yet that is exactly what you're wanting to do. And instead of citing reasons why you think it's a discredited source, you merely assume it. This is poor philosophy at its worst.
You mean it's poor history, right?  I'm aware of historical methodology.  The reasons the source is unreliable have been listed here already.  And I have no intention of getting into a discussion about who knows more, who's read more or who can cite more sources.  That won't get us very far at all.

Quote:
The Gospels aren't midrash. Read a book. Any book.
Any book?
Quote:
No, I take that back: read any book written by a serious scholar.
Any book written by a serious scholar?  I've read many such books.  Presumably you mean on the subject at hand?

Quote:
This oft-cited mistake is starting to just get irritating.

here, i'll even list a few for you:
 

-The Jesus Legend, by Paul Rhodes Eddy and G.A. Boyd
-Jesus Under Fire, edit by Michael J Wilkins and J.P. Moreland
- Reasonable Faith, by William Lane Craig

What a nice list.

Quote:
No one argues that humans cannot naturally be born of virgins. The point is that Jesus' birth was not natural, but supernatural. Why is it that a child can see this but someone as allegedly intelligent as you can not?
You're going to have to be very specific with your definition here.  I understand that you don't believe the birth was natural, but what does that leave?  Certainly a child should be able to see that supernatural is a nonsense word (not that I'm comparing you to a child, or belittling your intelligence.  I would never level such insults at you).  Can you coherently define 'supernatural' thus that it's not incoherent/meaningless?  Then, can you point me to the supernatural so that I can study it (I want to make lots of money, you see and if you know what the supernatural is you can point me to it!)?

Now, I've never alleged that I'm intelligent.  Though, you could consider it a given that I have some intelligence.  I am, after all, replying to you.  Oh, you could run far with that one.  Will you be insulting me again, then?

Quote:
Now we're getting somewhere. You discredit the Gospels because they contain Miracles. You're finally coming around to admitting it.
Umm... was I that obvious?  At least, that's a part of it.  I do wonder if there's a problem with not taking seriously an account of events that are not within the realm of possibility?  Yes, it's odd, isn't it, that I wouldn't trust writting that contained events that aren't only impossible, as far as it's known, but that can't be tested for veracity?[sarcasm]It must seem extremely closed minded of me.  I mustn't have enough faith.[/sarcasm]

BigUniverse wrote,

"Well the things that happen less often are more likely to be the result of the supper natural. A thing like loosing my keys in the morning is not likely supper natural, but finding a thousand dollars or meeting a celebrity might be."


patcleaver
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IS WRITTEN TESTIMONY PRESUMED TRUE?

adamryan

My written testimony is that:

I have good evidence and know for a fact that the gospels are fiction.

I have good evidence to believe that Paul was not written about Jesus of Nazareth.

Do you really presume that written testimony is true or were you being dishonest?

when you say "faith" I think "evil lies"
when you say "god" I think "santa clause"