Issues when debating the historical Jesus

gdon
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Issues when debating the historical Jesus

I'd like this topic to discuss issues dealing with historicity, in particular involving evaluating the historical Jesus, a topic of interest for quite a few people on both theist and atheist boards.

Peter Kirby has written an interesting article on Historical Criticism here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_method

While most of the analysis that goes on in popular internet forums is perhaps more "down market", I think that the article can help frame the debate, esp on issues like "Eyewitness Testimony" and "Oral tradition".

Firstly, I'd like to frame the nature of the debate by asking for people's opinions on producing definitions to aid the debate. The primary one IMO is:

1. What do we mean by "Historical Jesus"? If there were an itinerant preacher who was crucified around 30 CE but wasn't called "Jesus", would he be the historical Jesus? IMO, the answer is "yes". For me, an adequate definition for "historical Jesus" is "the person who inspired the birth of Christianity, about whom Paul and the Gospels discussed". Yet I'm aware that even that definition has problems -- what if that person wasn't crucified, or even killed at that time? What if that person was a rebel, or a sorceror, or lived much earlier or much later than the tradition time period? If Paul's Jesus was Jesus of Nun, a contemporary of Moses (I'm still considering a case for this), would that be "the historical Jesus"?

2. What do we mean by "Mythical Jesus"? If the Gospels were inspired by Caesar's life, would "Jesus" best be called "Mythical" or "Fictional" (or even both)? Or does "Mythical" only refer to a belief in a "godman saviour figure" who was believed to have existed yet not on earth?Or perhaps the "William Tell" scenario -- people thought Jesus existed as a person on earth, yet he was only a character in a book?

There is a fair degree of overlap within both categories, and probably even between categories.

I think any discussion will ultimately lead to the evidence itself, which is not a bad thing, and not something I'd like to see avoided, but I would like to see the discussion stay on definitions initially.

My "minimum criteria required" input:

Historical Jesus: the person who inspired Christianity to kick off, and is the person referred to by both Paul and the Gospels. He was killed around the time of Pilate, possibly by crucifixion and possibly for sorcery or insurrection.

Mythical Jesus: a godman/daemon/spirit entity who possibly was thought to have descended from Heaven but never appeared on earth as a person (except in visions)

Fictional Jesus: a person who was thought to have existed at some stage in the past, but never actually did. The belief could have originated out of a character in a book, or as stories that centered on someone who never existed in the first place.

Any comments/disagreements on the definitions?

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


elnathan
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Quote:1. What do we mean by

Quote:

1. What do we mean by "Historical Jesus"? If there were an itinerant preacher who was crucified around 30 CE but wasn't called "Jesus", would he be the historical Jesus?

Whether he was named or simply "called" Jesus is not really important in the question of his actual existence. Whether he was the Mesiah or a lunitic is the more appropriate question don't you think? For instance, Simon, was called Peter, Saul was renamed Paul. There seems to be adaquate references to a person that was referred to as Jesus, that was at the base/basis of the Christian faith. That person was believed to be (rightly or wrongly) the Son of God, by the people that established the Christian Faith.

In my thinking, and according to verifiable documents, Christians were put to horrible deaths in the Roman Coliseum for their beliefs in Christ. It seems that this sort of commitment would take a lot more conviction than some "Gospel" a dozen guys could come up with in some upper room.

That being said...I am going to go with the "Historical Jesus."

[aside: according to the Discovery Channel documentary I saw the other day, Nero was inadvertantly a major contributor to the spread of Christianity in Rome, because the Christians would not deny Christ even in the horrific tortures that were inflicted upon them. Those convictions held by Christians convinced many Romans that there must be something very substantial in their beliefs if they were willing to endure such horrors and not renounce their Christ in order to live.]

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:Whether he

elnathan wrote:
Whether he was named or simply "called" Jesus is not really important in the question of his actual existence. Whether he was the Mesiah or a lunitic is the more appropriate question don't you think?

No, not really.
Even if there was a son of god running around Israel at the time of Jesus' supposed existance, but:
a) his name wasn't Jesus
b) he wasn't crucified
c) or wasn't even killed
d) add whatever incosistencies with the bible you wish

then Christianity is simply wrong. It would be a false religion, and Christians would be worshipping a false god.

Similiarly, if there was a normal guy called Jesus, that lived at the time, that preached exactly what the bible claims Jesus preached, and was crucified for it, but:
a) He performed no miracles (because he was just a normal guy
b) He didn't die for our sins (same as a)

then Christianity is just as wrong. In that case it's nothing more then cult based on an overblown story of one of thousands self-proclaimed messiahs of the day.

So the only question actually worth asking is: did Jesus as described in the bible exist. If he did, we'd have shitload of evidence, but we don't, so he didn't.

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In my thinking, and according to verifiable documents, Christians were put to horrible deaths in the Roman Coliseum for their beliefs in Christ. It seems that this sort of commitment would take a lot more conviction than some "Gospel" a dozen guys could come up with in some upper room.

What?
Yes it takes a lot of conviction, but it doesn't have to be based on anything true. Look at the Muslims (unless you think they are right). They throw their lives away without thinking twice, you could torture them 'till their deaths, I doubt any of them would convert.
They are like Christians of the ancient times.

Today's Christians (most of them, I hope) are like ancient Romans, thinking "Have their lost their minds?! Faith or not, I would never do that", when they hear of another suicide bomber, or whatever.

And by the very same mechanism you described at the end of your post, people are actually converting to Islam, because they think that such conviction must be based on something true.


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I am not real sure where the

I am not real sure where the alphabet came in there with all the dis-qualifiers, but they are obviously more of a personal interjection that have little or no basis--other than a need for personal satisfaction on your part.

For you to say all that, and then imply they are truths and therefore Christianity is false is just messed up. (I think some might prefer the term logical phallacy).

You are aware that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God right?

//This place is littered with scarecrows...Jawdropping!

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:I am not real

elnathan wrote:
I am not real sure where the alphabet came in there with all the dis-qualifiers, but they are obviously more of a personal interjection that have little or no basis

You sir, are absolutely right. They have no basis, and they weren't supposed to have any.
It was a thought experiment for crying out loud. A few "what ifs" to consider nothing more.

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For you to say all that, and then imply they are truths and therefore Christianity is false is just messed up. (I think some might prefer the term logical phallacy).

Where have I said, or implied, that they are truths?
I just wanted to show, that unless you find evidence for Jesus as described in the bible, Christianity is false.
Either because it would be a cult based on a hype, or, in the extremely unlikely event that there was a son of god (but different then the one described in the bible), because it worships a false god.

And if you look at the claims of the bible about what happened in Jesus' lifetime, you'll see there should be tons of evidence. I mean shouldn't we have tons of written sources about a guy that turned water into wine, raised the dead, or about the freaking zombies running around the place around the time of his ressurection?
Or what about those 500 eye-witnesses (at the moment I can't recall what miracle they witnessed), you're telling me they remained silent for the rest of their lives,or that if they weren't silent, no one found it important to right down what they were saying?

There is no evidence for any of the claims of the bible about Jesus Christ, and until someone finds it, everyone that thinks Christianity is false, is justified in doing so.

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You are aware that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God right?

Yes, and?
I said "unless you think Muslims are right", if you do, then pick any other religion, most of them, if not all, have their fanatics.
Now, how does the fact that someone was brainwashed to throw his life away prove that he was right about something?


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Ivan_Ivanov wrote: You sir,

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:

You sir, are absolutely right. They have no basis, and they weren't supposed to have any.
It was a thought experiment for crying out loud. A few "what ifs" to consider nothing more.


I thought so....thanks for clarifying though. At first it was perceived that you to implied you believed those things at first, but realized that was not the intent.
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Where have I said, or implied, that they are truths?
I just wanted to show, that unless you find evidence for Jesus as described in the bible, Christianity is false.

There is plenty of documentation that indicates there was indeed a person that roamed the country side, that many people believed to be the Son of God. How else can we explain such a large following? What could cause so many people came to believe something so outrageous during that day. How/why would the concept of establishing a church, based on the ravings of a lunatic, in order to expand their 'faith' so far as to be known and feared by the Roman's?
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Either because it would be a cult based on a hype, or, in the extremely unlikely event that there was a son of god (but different then the one described in the bible), because it worships a false god.

There is at the least, a third possibility/alternative!

I don't understand how a god could have a son, and then not be considered a god? If God had a Son, then it seems very likely that it would be evidense of a god?

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And if you look at the claims of the bible about what happened in Jesus' lifetime, you'll see there should be tons of evidence.

I am not sure how aware you are of the fear the earliest Christians lived with. That was Saul's/Paul's job for a while. There is very strong evidense to point to a large movement in the early christian chursh. These people believed they were following Christ.
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I mean shouldn't we have tons of written sources about a guy that turned water into wine, raised the dead, or about the freaking zombies running around the place around the time of his ressurection?

We do have written sources! There are not "tons" because not many people wrote back then. There certainly wasn't going to be a printing press for at least a thousand years (not gutenberg's), There certainly isn't a "ton" of any writings from that period. But there is a great volume of writings from those times and the next couple of centuries that document the percecutions they suffered, and adaqate records indicating that it was a large amount of the population believed these things to be true.
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Or what about those 500 eye-witnesses (at the moment I can't recall what miracle they witnessed)

Not sure on this one either. That is the number of people that it is said Jesus appeared to after his death.
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, you're telling me they remained silent for the rest of their lives,or that if they weren't silent, no one found it important to right down what they were saying?

No, I am not telling you that AT ALL! They were NOT silent. They shouted out their belief and were beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for talking about what they believed in. That sort of evidense causes me to think there was something pretty miraculous--not to mention convincing--that this guy had something pretty special going on! While there may be no direct evidense that this guy fed five thousand people (which would be quite a miracle in the first place) with five loaves of bread and two fish, obviously, there was some reason for a large number of people to believe something(s) supernatural happened.
.
Perhaps some people think that Christianity is some great plot conspired by a hand full of men, for the purpose of controlling the world, during the 21st century. But for what purpose? How would they benefit from something that carried on for a couple of thousand years? To deny there was a Christian movement, one would not appear to be very informed of the verifiable documents of the Christian movement in the first and second century. Which by the way, just happens to have occured around the time said "guy" was supposed to have been killed. (hear the, twighlight zone theme?) Smiling
.
This causes me to really think people had good reason to believe that Christ was a real person walking around about thirty years before beginning of what we call BCE (Before the Common Era).
Quote:

I said "unless you think Muslims are right", if you do, then pick any other religion, most of them, if not all, have their fanatics.
Now, how does the fact that someone was brainwashed to throw his life away prove that he was right about something?

I don't think Muslims are right, so I guess your point is moot?
.
Brainwashed is such an over-used term. coerceded maybe, indoctrinatede perhaps. I think we see plenty of evidense that many people are not permenately effected by "religious" teachings. I have no explaination for leaders like David Karesh, but it can be said he was a prophet.
.
How about if we not use the actions of "fanatics" to cloud the subject, or used as evidense against God? Sort of "inadmissible" if you know what I mean? (sorry, I mentally drifted into a court room setting--as if we were trying a legal case)

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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Ivan_Ivanov wrote:Even if

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
Even if there was a son of god running around Israel at the time of Jesus' supposed existance, but:
a) his name wasn't Jesus
b) he wasn't crucified
c) or wasn't even killed
d) add whatever incosistencies with the bible you wish

then Christianity is simply wrong. It would be a false religion, and Christians would be worshipping a false god.

Similiarly, if there was a normal guy called Jesus, that lived at the time, that preached exactly what the bible claims Jesus preached, and was crucified for it, but:
a) He performed no miracles (because he was just a normal guy
b) He didn't die for our sins (same as a)

then Christianity is just as wrong. In that case it's nothing more then cult based on an overblown story of one of thousands self-proclaimed messiahs of the day.


Precisely, which is why the term 'historical jesus' makes no sense. "Jesus" is a reference to the god/man of the gospels, an 'historical jesus' is thererfore an oxymoron. Any man who 'inspired the legend' wouldn't be jesus of the gospels (after Mark), ergo to refer to this historical man as 'jesus' is an attempt at equivocation.

If a very tall man, bull-owning man, capable of felling trees quicker than others were uncovered in history, this would not be "Paul Bunyan'. It would be a man who inspired the legend of Paul Bunyan. There's a difference.

Furthermore, we must consider that Gdon is a christian... so what possible motive could he have to refute his own religion by arguing for a 'historical jesus' - unless he plans a 'bait and switch' at some point? As you point out, an historical jesus refutes the bible.

Quote:

So the only question actually worth asking is: did Jesus as described in the bible exist. If he did, we'd have shitload of evidence, but we don't, so he didn't.

Precisely, and this is the very reason for the ad hoc response of 'historical jesus'... It seeks to remove the need for witnesses by turning jesus from a godman, into a man.

But by doing so, Gdon merely borrows from Peter to pay Paul.... he saves his argument from one type of refutation, only to force it to suffer from another.

Quote:

Quote:
In my thinking, and according to verifiable documents, Christians were put to horrible deaths in the Roman Coliseum for their beliefs in Christ. It seems that this sort of commitment would take a lot more conviction than some "Gospel" a dozen guys could come up with in some upper room.

What?

Yes it takes a lot of conviction, but it doesn't have to be based on anything true. Look at the Muslims (unless you think they are right). They throw their lives away without thinking twice, you could torture them 'till their deaths, I doubt any of them would convert.
They are like Christians of the ancient times.

The same old error - confusing conviction for truthfulness. We could also point to the Branch Davidians, or Jim Jones, or countless other zealots... including the zealots themselves.

Quote:

Today's Christians (most of them, I hope) are like ancient Romans, thinking "Have their lost their minds?! Faith or not, I would never do that", when they hear of another suicide bomber, or whatever.

And by the very same mechanism you described at the end of your post, people are actually converting to Islam, because they think that such conviction must be based on something true.

Precisely. I need to cite what I am going to state next, so take it with a grain of salt, but I do recall some psychological research that demonstrated that there's actually somewhat of a negative relationship between conviction and correctness, after a certain point.....

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elnathan wrote:I You are

elnathan wrote:
I
You are aware that Christians and Muslims believe in the same God right?

You are aware that this is a red herring, right?

Muslims claim to believe in the god of abraham, but they also hold that Muhammad's addition to the religion of abraham is the final and correct version, meaning that christians hold to a series of errors that damn them to hell.

So functionally, the religions are not the same, and functionally, dying for "Islam" is dying for a false conviction, to a christian.

Muslims reject that 'jesus' even died on the cross, holding that he was saved and replaced by a doppleganger. They do not accept jesus as the christ, and do not hold that doing so brings salvation. They hold that works matter, and that accepting Allah as god and Muhammad as his last prophet, are what lead to paradise.

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elnathan wrote: There is

elnathan wrote:
There is plenty of documentation that indicates there was indeed a person that roamed the country side, that many people believed to be the Son of God.

No, there is none.

If you disagree, produce some.

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How else can we explain such a large following?

You're begging the question. How do you know what following 'he had' if you haven't even cited writings of that time?

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What could cause so many people came to believe something so outrageous during that day.

Pull up an encyclopedia, look up "Islam"

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And if you look at the claims of the bible about what happened in Jesus' lifetime, you'll see there should be tons of evidence.

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I am not sure how aware you are of the fear the earliest Christians lived with. That was Saul's/Paul's job for a while. There is very strong evidense to point to a large movement in the early christian church.

Then cite it.

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I mean shouldn't we have tons of written sources about a guy that turned water into wine, raised the dead, or about the freaking zombies running around the place around the time of his ressurection?

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We do have written sources!

No, we do not have any.

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There are not "tons" because not many people wrote back then.

Plenty of people wrote back then, but not a word about zombie saints rising from graves. Odd lack of interest, don't you think?

Not a word about your 'jesus'

Disagree? Cite one.

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, you're telling me they remained silent for the rest of their lives,or that if they weren't silent, no one found it important to right down what they were saying?

Quote:

No, I am not telling you that AT ALL! They were NOT silent. They shouted out their belief and were beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and killed for talking about what they believed in.

Well then, if you know this, then you have evidence. Cite it.

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While you may dismiss this

While you may dismiss this (simply one of the first and easiest ones available) as worthless because it contains the word catholic, here it is anyway.
.
http://cr.middlebury.edu/public/russian/Bulgakov/public_html/catholic.html

If those resources are all dismissed off-handedly, then I fail to see your point.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:While you may

elnathan wrote:
While you may dismiss this (simply one of the first and easiest ones available) as worthless because it contains the word catholic, here it is anyway.
.
http://cr.middlebury.edu/public/russian/Bulgakov/public_html/catholic.html

If those resources are all dismissed off-handedly, then I fail to see your point.

Did YOU read any of this?
Most of the sources they give were written well after Jesus' supposed death, and their authors were born generations later as well. As such these sources could not refer to Jesus directly, but only as an object of Christian faith.
In other words, they are not evidence for the existance of Jesus, they are evidence for the existance of Christians.

The only exception to this is Philo, who said nothing about Jesus.

The only source that mentioned Jesus directly was Josephus, and the authenticity of the passages reffering to Jesus has been disputed, as it has been proven they have been tampered with.
So, at the very best, and I mean very very very best, Josephus can give you evidence for a "historical" Jesus, which, as has been mentioned, refutes Christianity.


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Ivan_Ivanov wrote:As such

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
As such these sources could not refer to Jesus directly, but only as an object of Christian faith.
In other words, they are not evidence for the existence of Jesus, they are evidence for the existence of Christians.

I think I see what you are getting at. Unless someone actually knew of a person named Jesus (who professed to be Christ), and wrote about that person during Jesus' lifetime, that document doesn't support a historical Jesus? Which seems to make the following documentation, null and void in that context.

Another Roman writer who shows his acquaintance with Christ and the Christians is Suetonius (A.D. 75-160). It has been noted that Suetonius considered Christ (Chrestus) as a Roman insurgent who stirred up seditions under the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41 54):

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Josephus can give you evidence for a "historical" Jesus, which, as has been mentioned, refutes Christianity.

Whether Christianity was refuted--at least in this source--has little to do with whether the evidence points to the person of Jesus.

I admit I am not a historian--though I enjoy some history. I haven't spent a lot of time (several hours of several days) researching the sources as perhaps I should do. But, it does make me curious as to how much documentation there is for any person in that period of history. Would Herod or Pilate have court records that contained the proceeding of every trial they conducted? If these men created such court records, would they have endured hundreds of years?

What other sources would record the existence of people in the first century that were not historical references. When was Homer born? If he hadn't written the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" would there be any evidence he existed?
(These are rhetorical questions and not meant to be answered directly, nor will I refer to them as oversight in future posts (i.e., "well, you didn't answer my question about Homer)--as I see all too often on some forums.)

Even if we were to find the census records from the time when Joseph and Mary came to Bethlehem, they couldn't be used as proof. If Jesus had a birth certificate, it is highly unlikely it would have endured, and most likely would have been lost within a few years

I don't intend this to be a strawman, or a red herring, either. I simply want to point out, there is/are historical document(s) that indicate Jesus was a historical person. You did concede at least one document supports a historical Jesus. You are correct that there are not many sources to be found that support a historical Jesus. But I don't really see--given the above--how it can be denied that Jesus was a man who actually lived during that time.

Therefore, it seems fairly clear, a historical Jesus does exist. Whether he was the Christ, or a crazy man, seem to be the real question to be addressed.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:I think I see

elnathan wrote:
I think I see what you are getting at. Unless someone actually knew of a person named Jesus (who professed to be Christ), and wrote about that person during Jesus' lifetime, that document doesn't support a historical Jesus?

Yep.

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Whether Christianity was refuted--at least in this source--has little to do with whether the evidence points to the person of Jesus.

It's not only about this source.
Any evidence for a historical Jesus will refute Christianity.

If archeologists 2000 years from now uncover Superman comics and try to find out wheter or not such a man existed, and after lots and lots of digging they'll find a few more comic books, some movies, and finally an article in a newspaper written by a Clark Kent, will that prove Superman existed?
No. It is a well known fact that reporters don't have super powers, so you'd need something more like evidence for the great battles he fought, and all the stuff he'd done for mankind, to prove Superman existed.

All evidence pointing to an ordinary man called Clark Kent will ultimately disprove the existance of Superman.

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Would Herod or Pilate have court records that contained the proceeding of every trial they conducted? If these men created such court records, would they have endured hundreds of years?

Yes, if they were stored in a safe place, they could survive thousands of years. Like, say, the diplomatic correspondence of the pharaoh, from around the year 2000 BCE, found in Tell el Amarna.
You might want to check out this video if you want to find out how archeologists find out about the people and events of ancient times.

That's where I got the information about Tell el Amarna, by the way, I'm not that good with history either Eye-wink

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What other sources would record the existence of people in the first century that were not historical references. When was Homer born? If he hadn't written the "Iliad" and the "Odyssey" would there be any evidence he existed?

Well, actually these are very good questions.The truth is we know very little about Homer. In fact we know so little that it was suggested he never existed and that his works were created by a number of people, and "Homer" was just a made up person to group them all togather... tough I must admit I can't remember where have I heard this claim, and how much truth there is to it.

So you see, it's not just the existance of Jesus that people require evidence for.

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You did concede at least one document supports a historical Jesus.

Woah there!
I said at the very best, and I was generous at that.

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You are correct that there are not many sources to be found that support a historical Jesus.

Even Christians admit that Josephus is the only person that wrote something about Jesus directly.
However he was no contemporary, and it is known for a fact that the passages reffering to Jesus have been tampered with.
So not only there are not many sources, there are good reasons to doubt their authenticity.

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But I don't really see--given the above--how it can be denied that Jesus was a man who actually lived during that time.

Simple. There is no contemporary evidence for his existance.

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Therefore, it seems fairly clear, a historical Jesus does exist. Whether he was the Christ, or a crazy man, seem to be the real question to be addressed.

You see that's the reason I keep rambling about evidence for historical Jesus refuting Christianity. The only reason why Christians even try to argue he existed as a historical person, is to do a bait and switch like you just did.
If Jesus existed as a normal person he couldn't have been the Christ, because if he was, we would have evidence of his miracles, just like we would have evidence for Superman's battles if he existed.


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elnathan wrote:Ivan_Ivanov

elnathan wrote:
Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
As such these sources could not refer to Jesus directly, but only as an object of Christian faith.
In other words, they are not evidence for the existence of Jesus, they are evidence for the existence of Christians.

I think I see what you are getting at. Unless someone actually knew of a person named Jesus (who professed to be Christ), and wrote about that person during Jesus' lifetime, that document doesn't support a historical Jesus? Which seems to make the following documentation, null and void in that context.

Another Roman writer who shows his acquaintance with Christ and the Christians is Suetonius (A.D. 75-160). It has been noted that Suetonius considered Christ (Chrestus) as a Roman insurgent who stirred up seditions under the reign of Claudius (A.D. 41 54):


Chrestus is not a reference to christ. Read Rook's points on this.

There are plenty of people who lived in the time of christ who could have written on him. None did.

And we don't even need original documents... we just need copies, or even references to them.

But we don't even have this.

All of these people could have written on 'jesus christ'. None did.

Caius Suetonius
Josephus
Philo-Judæus
Seneca
Pliny Elder
Arrian
Petronius
Dion Pruseus
Paterculus
Juvenal
Martial
Persius
Plutarch
Pliny Younger
Tacitus
Justus of Tiberius
Apollonius
Quintilian
Lucanus
Epictetus
Hermogones
Silius Italicus
Statius
Ptolemy
Appian
Phlegon
Phædrus
Valerius Maximus
Lucian
Pausanias
Florus Lucius
Quintius Curtius
Aulus Gellius
Valerius Flaccus
Pomponius Mela
Appion of Alexandria
Theon of Smyrna
Justus of Tiberias

Sorry Gdon...

Quote:

All evidence pointing to an ordinary man called Clark Kent will ultimately disprove the existance of Superman.

Bingo. Either there's a jesus the christ, or there isn't. A 'jesus' who isn't 'jesus', isn't jesus.

Only on a theology discussion board would such a statement be required....

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Ivan_Ivanov That's a good

Ivan_Ivanov

That's a good point about Superman. Especially, since he is a known fictional character. Homer, on the other had would have been a more appropriate comparison. But, I guess some would never be convinced no matter the quality or quantity of sources that support the subject.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:But, I guess

elnathan wrote:
But, I guess some would never be convinced no matter the quality or quantity of sources that support the subject.

Yes, some people are like that. Even if you had lots and lots of good evidence, they wouldn't belive you. However, you have none, so your point is moot.


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You can choose to believe

You can choose to believe that the person referred to as Jesus never existed. You can choose to believe that Christianity is based on a concept created by devious men to control the world 2000 years in the future. You can laugh everytime you pass a church on the corner. You can dismiss anyone who holds a belief in God. You can ignore the facts and deny the evidence. But you have not convinced me you are knowledgable of the truth.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:You can

elnathan wrote:
You can choose to believe that the person referred to as Jesus never existed.

Or you can just not believe he existed. You can believe that he's a
myth, just like 10,000 other myths.

Beliefs aren't a choice... The fact that you have to call it a 'choice' seems to imply that it's an emotional decision... which is a rather hollow complaint coming from a theist who takes things on faith.

But what choice do you have, but to create a strawman of rational non belief? You can't afford to deal with the truth: that non belief is a rational decision based on the maxim that beliefs ought to be justified.

Quote:

You can choose to believe that Christianity is based on a concept created by devious men to control the world 2000 years in the future.

Why do you have to argue to strawmen?

Answer: because the real atheist position can't be successfully debated.

Christianity may have formed like any other myth: the myth makers believed what they believed, and thought they were telling a truth.

There's no need for a conspiracy.

The fact that you have to repaint the picture in a false way speaks to the weakness of your position.

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You can laugh everytime you pass a church on the corner.

Such anger in you. I don't believe your myth. That's it. No need to laugh at a church.

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You can dismiss anyone who holds a belief in God.

Again, such hate, such anger. No one is dismissing you. We are just dismissing bad arguments.

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You can ignore the facts and deny the evidence.

There is no evidence. None. Zero.

And you have to ignore that fact.

Just like you have rewrite non belief as if it were a positive claim. Or a matter of intrasigience. Just like you have to rewrite the normal process of mythmaking as a conspiracy.

You have to misrepresent, and rely on strawmen, because you can't deal with the truth.

There's NO contemporary accounts of a jesus. None. If you disagree, present it.

Quote:

But you have not convinced me you are knowledgable of the truth.

You haven't shown that you can correctly represent the basics of the discussion. As for the truth - there's no contemporary accounts of a jesus. None.

Instead, you've launched into character attacks of non believers.

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elnathan wrote:You can

elnathan wrote:
You can choose to believe that the person referred to as Jesus never existed.

No actually I cannot choose to believe anything. I evidence for something persuades me or it doesn't, and I have no choice on the matter. No matter how hard I try I won't be able to choose to belive the Easter Bunny, for instance.

Quote:
You can choose to believe that Christianity is based on a concept created by devious men to control the world 2000 years in the future.

Oh?
So if I don't think that a particular religion is based on facts, this means that I automatically belive they are a result of conspiracy?

So by this logic you must believe that Buddhism, Hinduism, the old Pagan religions of Europe, (optionally Judaism and Islam) are based on a concept created by devious men to control the world X years in the future?

That was lame.

Quote:
You can laugh everytime you pass a church on the corner. You can dismiss anyone who holds a belief in God.

I don't find churches funny and I don't dismiss anyone?
Where did you get this, and what's your point?

Quote:
You can ignore the facts and deny the evidence.

What facts, and what evidence?
You linked to a site, that cited some sources it claimed was evidence. Only one of those would meet the criteria for contemporary historical evidence, if it wasn't a forgery.

So now you try to pretend that I'm dismissing you and ignoring your evidence, so you won't have to actually defend your belief.
Sweet.

Quote:
But you have not convinced me you are knowledgable of the truth.

Who said I was?
I said I have seen any evidence for the existance of Jesus, that;s why I don't believe he existed.
My argument is not based on knowledge of something, but lack of it. That is the default position when you don't have evidence for something - lack of belief.
If you want to show something/someone existed, you have to do the convincing.


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Perhaps I did some

Perhaps I did some unwarranted projecting there. Perhaps I should have used the word "one" rather than "you." If you do not hold those concepts--conspiracy, churches are funny--I apologize for implying you do. My bad!

My reference to choice of belief was intended on something more substantial than the Easter Bunny. I was thinking more along the lines of something like, whether planets were formed quickly or slowly; whether global warming is caused by man or nature; the mechanism behind high gas prices. Those things where you/one is presented with contradicting evidence and must choose which "resources" to accept and which to reject. Those decisions are much more subjective and one must make a choice.

I do understand the intuitive aspect of those choices however. I understand that some just make more sense than othes instinctively, and we are naturally or seemingly pulled in one direction or another by that which makes more "sense" to us.

The evidence I was referring to was that of a more personal nature. I understand that individual beliefs is circumstantial evidence--at best. Eye-witness accounts hold a great deal of merit in our modern courts--though it has been proven to actually be very subjective, and often contradictary. It seems difficult for me to disregard the evidence that Chrisitanity was based on a Christ that walked the earth (irregardless whether it happened two thousand years ago) based on the Christian movement we see today.

I have encountered such arguments as these before, and have yet to see a winner declared by the opposition (other than themselves of course). Perhaps this debate goes on among other religions also, and would probably have similar outcomes. It would be interesting to observe a debate on whether Mohammad was a historic person between Muslims and athiests.

I guess the irony of this subject is that in attempting to disprove a historic Jesus, it can be done simply by ignoring, or claiming fraud regarding, any source that was not written, and preserved, during the lifetime of that Jesus. Especially considering that going in to the debate, it is known that every apostle--save one--was killed, the pharisees methodically imprisioned, tortured, and killed as many followers as they could find. And for two centuries continued to torture and kill thousands of people who claimed--or were suspected--to subscribe to his teachings. Part of that methodology would have included destroying any written evidence that such person existed--similar to what happened in Nazi Germany in the 30's and 40's with the book burnings.

For the athiest, it is pretty much a one sided argument, and a win/win debate. I mean, how can you loose? Smiling

added: I know "irregardless" is a non-standard word, but it just seemed to be useful there.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:Perhaps I did

elnathan wrote:
Perhaps I did some unwarranted projecting there.

Nice of you to concede that. In my opinion, in these exchanges, theists tend to project, and atheists tend to idealize (things like science, etc.)

Quote:

Perhaps I should have used the word "one" rather than "you." If you do not hold those concepts--conspiracy, churches are funny--I apologize for implying you do. My bad!

What atheist on this board holds that christianity was a conspiracy?

Quote:

My reference to choice of belief was intended on something more substantial than the Easter Bunny. I was thinking more along the lines of something like, whether planets were formed quickly or slowly; whether global warming is caused by man or nature; the mechanism behind high gas prices. Those things where you/one is presented with contradicting evidence and must choose which "resources" to accept and which to reject. Those decisions are much more subjective and one must make a choice.

People don't choose their beliefs.

Quote:

The evidence I was referring to was that of a more personal nature.

That's not evidence.

Quote:

I understand that individual beliefs is circumstantial evidence--at best.

Belief is not proof of anything.

Quote:

Eye-witness accounts hold a great deal of merit in our modern courts--though it has been proven to actually be very subjective, and often contradictary. It seems difficult for me to disregard the evidence that Chrisitanity was based on a Christ that walked the earth

There is no evidence of a christ. None.

Quote:

I guess the irony of this subject is that in attempting to disprove a historic Jesus,

There is NO such thing as a burden of disproof. No one has to disprove a historical jesus.

There is no evidence of jesus the christ.

Ergo, as per the maxim of justifying your beliefs, non belief is the rational course of action.

Quote:

it can be done simply by ignoring, or claiming fraud regarding, any source that was not written, and preserved, during the lifetime of that Jesus.

There are NO contemporary reports. None. Zero. What part of this confuses you?

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todangst said: "There are NO

todangst said: "There are NO contemporary reports. None. Zero. What part of this confuses you?

Josephus was a contemporary, his writings were of that time. That is ONE! not none, not zero! These are now being discounted because of a possibility of being tampered with. I am confused why you do not see that. I am also confused why you harp on this premise, and disregard the later references that clearly indicate that Jesus was a person that caused a great deal of strife for the Hebrew and Roman population.

This debate seems pretentious. It seems that it can be compared to the pretense of having a new trial for O.J. Simpson, but only allowing eye-witness testimony. It's a ploy, a pharse, and I am surprised anyone actually takes it so seriously.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:todangst

elnathan wrote:
todangst said: "There are NO contemporary reports. None. Zero. What part of this confuses you?

Josephus was a contemporary,

No, he was not. You need to examine this matter more carefully.

Josephus (c. A.D. 37 – c. 100),

He was not born until 37 AD, which is past the standard time period given for the putative life of jesus.

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his writings were of that time.

No. He wrote after the putative time of jesus.

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That is ONE!

Nope.

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not none, not zero!

Yes none, yes zero. None. Zip. Nada. Zilch. The total is zero, and zero is the total. None. Blank. Null. Empty set.

Quote:
These are now being discounted because of a possibility of being tampered with.

No, they are discounted because the following reasons:

1) Josephus is not an eyewitness account or a contemporary. He was born in 37 AD.

2) Josephus does not give any detailed account of 'jesus' anywhere in his writings. There is merely the brief testimonium, which, even if true, is only a second hand account (at best) and not a first hand, eyewitness account.! Some christians tend to pass over this fact, treating the testimonium as if it were a first hand account.

3) The testimonium, for the most part isn't considered a legitimate writing of Josephus anyway.

4) The testimonium is self refuting. Josephus was writing a history of the jews. The single most important element of the history of the jews would be the messiah. If Josephus felt he has actual information concerning the jew's messiah, he would have had to rewrite his entire history of the jews. The story of 'jesus' would have dominated the historical account.

Instead, we get NOTHING. The man writing the history of the jews doesn't mention the fact that he has historical documention of jewish messiah. Doesn't that arouse your suspicions?

5) Josephus died a Jew. Think that one over.

Quote:

I am confused why you do not see that.

Of course you are, because you didn't even bother to check out what year Josephus was born. If you did, you'd have your answer.

Quote:

I am also confused why you harp on this premise,

If there are NO contemporary accounts of jesus, then what did later writers call upon? Hearsay. Legends. Myths.

A game of teleophone tag, through history, with no idea of how far back the legend goes, where it really started, and what, if anything about it, is 'true' in a historical sense, at all.

Quote:

and disregard the later references that clearly indicate that Jesus was a person that caused a great deal of strife for the Hebrew and Roman population.

I don't disregard anything. I show there's nothing to disregard in the first place.

Quote:
This debate seems pretentious. It seems that it can be compared to the pretense of having a new trial for O.J. Simpson, but only allowing eye-witness testimony. It's a ploy, a pharse, and I am surprised anyone actually takes it so seriously.

I'll say it again for clarity: without ANY evidence of ANY contemporary accounts, there's NOTHING for any future writer to call upon, other than hearsay.

It's not a ploy, or a farce. It's a fact. NO contemporary accounts. No evidence of any contemporary accounts.

If there were, you'd crow about it. There isn't, so you have to write it off as insignificant.

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I thought you were the one

I thought you were the one writing things off as insignificant. I really don't need anything "crow" about. Interesting that you imply I would take an attitude similar to your's!

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todangst, are you saying

todangst,
are you saying that for any historian's reports to be accurate they had to have been an eye-witness, or at least a contemporary during the events? If so, there must not be much you can believe by historians! Not only do they report the present, but the past. Therefore, historians are not always contemporaries of the events they write. For you to assume that Josephus and Tacitus are not reliable sources for a jewish man named Jesus existing is completely unwarranted. Are they also unreliable when reporting the history of the Jewish people and their wars? (Maybe so, since they didn't exist during the time of Abraham or Moses).

Keep in mind these men were not Christians, they were Jewish or Roman. Do you honestly think they would've written about Jesus if he never existed? To suggest such a thing is to insult their professions as historians. If there had've been any doubt as to whether or not Jesus truly existed, these men would have at least depicted it as possible fiction. Yet, there is absolutely no implication of any such doubt.

Tacitus, Annals 15.44: "Hence to suppress the rumor, [Ceasar Nero] falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius."

Josephus, Antiquities 18.3.3: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man... a doer of wonderful works... And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him did not forsake him... And the tribe of Christians, named after him, are not extinct at this day."

Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1: "[Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of juges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."

One can doubt if Jesus was God or not, but to doubt his existence as a man is far-fetched. The Jewish people themselves, those that reject him as the Messiah, and Arabs alike, agree that he existed.

As for there being no detailed accounts of Jesus in their writings, that is pretty easy to answer. To historians of the day, Jesus was not important. He never engaged in politics, he wasn't a revolutionary, he never wrote any philosophical Greek works, and he never travelled outside of Palestine (except for when he was in Egypt as a child). Instead, Jesus was a poor man, living as a marginal jew. His own race considered him and those like him to be "low class." He also died as a criminal. He was just another "false messiah" of the time! Aside from some testamonies that he rose from the grave, there seemed to be no real reason to mention him.

And as a side note - just a thought: Can any validity be credited to the Bible for its agreement with history? The same characters, events, wars, kings, ceasars and nations mentioned in the Bible are proven to be correct by history. The Bible even predicted the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by Nero. You do believe that Nero, Peter and Paul (whom he put to death), Pilate, and Kind David (just to name a few), really did exist, don't you?


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Todangst will likely comment

Todangst will likely comment better than can, but Josephus is a bad source:
1) There were arguments about the earthly existence of Jesus in early xiandom, and people on both sides quoted authors when possible. Though the "History of the Jews" existed during this period, the Testimonium Flavinuim was NOT quoted by those arguing for an earthly Jesus like Origen. Gee, I wonder why? Because it wasn't WRITTEN yet. It was an insertion by a later xian, possibly Eusebius, in whose writings we see the passage for the first time (324 CE).

There are issues with Tacitus and the other Josephus bits, too, though less widely agreed upon. Search wiki to get the gist of the arguments.

I'm personally not concerned whether he existed; if he was one of many no-name traveling preachers of the time, that's no skin off my nose, and it's certainly possible that such a man would leave no trace. But if this guy really went around doing miracles for multitudes, seen by 500 after rising from the dead, (which caused earthquakes & zombie walking), and NOBODY bothered to write any of that down? Come on.

Historians are not eyewitnesses to history. But they base their understanding of it on the writings of those who WERE. We have a TON of this stuff from past presidents, kings, etc. - and even from the era of Jesus' supposed existence. So why nothing of Jesus, especially since of all the documents written over the millennia, xian ones were most carefully preserved?

That the bible's truth is independent of its mention of extant people & places is lost on xians ASTOUNDS me. TONS of fictional works set their story among existing places & people, even when they make NO pretense to truth. If someone WANTED to claim truth, they'd CERTAINLY do this. The Bible only predicted the temple destruction IF it was written beforehand. THAT is unproven. I could "predict" the 9/11 disaster and claim I had written it in 1999. Prove me wrong. Better yet - wait 2000 years and THEN prove me wrong.


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adamgrant

adamgrant wrote:
todangst,

are you saying that for any historian's reports to be accurate they had to have been an eye-witness, or at least a contemporary during the events?


No, you're misreading the conversation. We are talking about whether or not there are ANY contemporary accounts for 'jesus the christ'.

A historian himself need not be a contemporary, but in order for a historian's report to be reliable, it must call upon contemporary accounts from someone down the line, or from artifacts.

So the historian need not be present, but he must be able to have access to accounts of someone who WAS present, OR he must turn to artifacts, etc. In the case of 'jesus' there are NO such people given to us by history. NONE.

Also note: It is important to note here that historical claims are ordinary claims. No one doubts that kings and countries existed. So when a historian makes an inference from artifacts, or later historical events, he does so based on ordinary grounds. So please make sure not to conflate an ordinary historical account with an extraordinary supernatural claim, such as a claim for a 'christ'

Quote:

Therefore, historians are not always contemporaries of the events they write.

O RLY?!

No kidding. But in order to report on the past, they must rely on reports from that era, or from artifacts. So they must rely on something from that era. That's the actual point being made here: that there isn't anyone who history records as a contemporary to 'jesus' who wrote on 'jesus'

Quote:

For you to assume that Josephus and Tacitus are not reliable sources for a jewish man named Jesus existing is completely unwarranted.

Your claim here is based on your erroneous reading of the situation. I've not ruled them out as reliable sources, instead I've explained that Josephus and Tacitus are NOT contemporary accounts. So they cannot be first hand sources by definition.

So your claim itself is 'unwarranted'

Quote:
Are they also unreliable when reporting the history of the Jewish people and their wars?

You don't seem able to follow the point just given to you. If Josephus actually believed that jesus was the messiah, if Josephus actually had evidence that this was the case, then why didn't he convert to christianity? Why didn't he rewrite his jewish history by reporting the return of the messiah? Why wasn't the story of jesus the christ the centerpiece of his works?!

Citing Josephus is therefore self refuting for this reason. At best, Josephus can only be transmitting information that he himself did not believe... he could only report hearsay.... OR again, we would expect to read today about Josephus the christian, and his works would FOCUS on jesus.

Quote:

Keep in mind these men were not Christians,

Keep in mind how self refuting that is. You want to hold that they had reliable evidence that jesus was the christ, but at the same time, they lived lives that clearly reject such a claim.

Quote:

Do you honestly think they would've written about Jesus if he never existed?

Your assumption that they actually wrote about 'jesus' in the first place is in error.

Quote:

To suggest such a thing is to insult their professions as historians. If there had've been any doubt as to whether or not Jesus truly existed, these men would have at least depicted it as possible fiction. Yet, there is absolutely no implication of any such doubt.

Nonsense. You don't seem to grasp that they didn't write on jesus.

Quote:

Tacitus, Annals 15.44: "Hence to suppress the rumor, [Ceasar Nero] falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius."

'Chrestus' is not a reference to jesus the christ. Please read Rook's refutatoin of this spurious claim.

Quote:

Josephus, Antiquities 18.3.3: "Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man... a doer of wonderful works... And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him did not forsake him... And the tribe of Christians, named after him, are not extinct at this day."

Please read the various refutations of the testimonium available anywhere.

Quote:

Josephus, Antiquities 20.9.1: "[Ananus] assembled the Sanhedrin of juges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."

Please read rook's refutation of this passage.

Please also do me a favor and respond to the five points given on josephus above which demonstrate how self refuting it is to expect that josephus could have had any real information about 'jesus the christ'

Quote:

As for there being no detailed accounts of Jesus in their writings, that is pretty easy to answer. To historians of the day, Jesus was not important.

Here's your problem: the gospels report that jesus was a miracle worker, that he raised people from the dead, and that saints rose from graves upon his resurrection. How anyone could ignore zombie saints walking through the city square escapes me...

Now, of course, you could say that all of this is embellishment. But then you're stuck in an ad hoc dilema... if you take away all that is noteworthy about 'jesus' then how do you justify what you keep of the story?

Claiming that jesus was historically insignificant, but still real, is simply begging the question. You're using the fact that the world is silent on such a person to hold that he was not important, but then, on what grounds do you hold that he existed at all?

Quote:

And as a side note - just a thought: Can any validity be credited to the Bible for its agreement with history?

If there is outside corroboration, sure.

Quote:

The Bible even predicted the destruction of the Temple in 70 AD by Nero.

Sigh. Here's a more parsimonious explanation that seems to have passed you by: The gospels accounts of the fall of the temple were written after the fall of the temple. No prediction.

If you disagree, ask yourself this: why would the fall of the temple be important to you in the year 2006? What possible reason would you even have to know about this?

The only reason such an event was recorded was because it was important to the people of that time.

One final word:
Seriously, you need to read Rook's points on the 1000 times refuted arguments you've given.

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jester700 wrote:Todangst

jester700 wrote:
Todangst will likely comment better than can, but Josephus is a bad source:

1) There were arguments about the earthly existence of Jesus in early xiandom, and people on both sides quoted authors when possible. Though the "History of the Jews" existed during this period, the Testimonium Flavinuim was NOT quoted by those arguing for an earthly Jesus like Origen. Gee, I wonder why?

BINGO. Because the testimonium did not exist. If it did, we'd see it quoted over and over at that time. Instead, we get NOTHING.

Quote:

Because it wasn't WRITTEN yet. It was an insertion by a later xian, possibly Eusebius, in whose writings we see the passage for the first time (324 CE).

Yes. And it's a clumsy, self refuting passage anyway, because for Josephus to actually believe it, and then NOTt go on to change his Jewish history, would be like the Moon exploding during the makign of Cosmos, and Carl Sagan not bothering to metion it during his discussion of the solar system!

It's simply ridiculous. Only someone who basically knows nothing about this situation could argue pro-testimonium.

Here's a nice encapsulation from wiki:

However, most scholars view the Testimonium Flavianum as dubious - not only does the text read more continuously without it, but despite Josephus being a life long Jew, who portrayed Vespasian as the Messiah (Vespasian was Josephus' patron), the Testimonium Flavianum has Josephus state that Jesus was the Christ, foretold by the prophets, and a worker of wonders.

Most christians who cite the testimonium know nothing about josephus...

Quote:

There are issues with Tacitus and the other Josephus bits, too, though less widely agreed upon. Search wiki to get the gist of the arguments.

Rook deals with both issues. It's a common mistake to confuse chrestus for jesus the christ, and the other Josephus passage is not actually a refernce to james, the brother of jesus... Rook's argument explains what the passage is really about.

There are other good sources available as well. Again, even wiki:

This paragraph is generally accepted as authentic by scholars, although there is debate as to whether the words who was called Christ were in the original passage, or were a later interpolation.The following quotation from the Antiquities is considered authentic by the majority of scholars.[6] Even most scholars who hold that the Testimonium is inauthentic regard the xx 9.1. reference as original to Josephus. Unlike the Testimonium, the xx 9.1. reference was mentioned in several places by Origen. A small minority, including Zindler, challenge the passage in its entirety, noting contradictions in both the characterization of Ananus and the chronology of his tenure between the passages in the Antiquities and the Jewish Wars.

The heart of the debate is over whether the "Jesus" in question is the same person as the main character of the Christian Bible or, as the passage states at the end, merely "the son of Damneus" (which would make the James whom Ananus had executed the son of Damneus, as well.) Some assert that the paragraph discusses two different people named "Jesus." Others assert that Jesus the brother of James and Jesus the son of Damneus are the same person, and see King Agrippa's action as a particularly pointed snub of Ananus (by making the new high priest be the brother of the man Ananus had wrongfully executed). Those who hold to the latter view note that, if one assumes that "who was called Christ" is a later interpolation by a Christian scribe, the reference to Christ may well have replaced "the son of Damneus" at that location in the original text.

If one makes such an assumption, additional problems with the text as it stands are resolved. First, it would have been quite unusual, bordering upon unheard-of, to identify a man as somebody's brother rather than as his father's son. On the other hand, introducing men as brothers and identifying their father at the same time would have been pro forma.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimonium_Flavianum#Reference_to_Jesus_as_brother_of_James

Quote:

I'm personally not concerned whether he existed; if he was one of many no-name traveling preachers of the time, that's no skin off my nose, and it's certainly possible that such a man would leave no trace. But if this guy really went around doing miracles for multitudes, seen by 500 after rising from the dead, (which caused earthquakes & zombie walking), and NOBODY bothered to write any of that down? Come on.

Precisely. The theist has a choice: either a 'historical jesus' which is really not jesus at all, or the jesus of his gospels. Such a jesus would be noticed by the entire world.. yet, no one noticed at all.

Very odd.

Quote:

Historians are not eyewitnesses to history. But they base their understanding of it on the writings of those who WERE.

Right. A very simple point, isn't it?

Quote:

We have a TON of this stuff from past presidents, kings, etc. - and even from the era of Jesus' supposed existence. So why nothing of Jesus, especially since of all the documents written over the millennia, xian ones were most carefully preserved?

Bingo.

Quote:

That the bible's truth is independent of its mention of extant people & places is lost on xians ASTOUNDS me. TONS of fictional works set their story among existing places & people, even when they make NO pretense to truth. If someone WANTED to claim truth, they'd CERTAINLY do this. The Bible only predicted the temple destruction IF it was written beforehand. THAT is unproven. I could "predict" the 9/11 disaster and claim I had written it in 1999. Prove me wrong. Better yet - wait 2000 years and THEN prove me wrong.

Very well said.

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

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adamgrant
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todangst wrote:No, you're

todangst wrote:
No, you're misreading the conversation. We are talking about whether or not there are ANY contemporary accounts for 'jesus the christ'.

If i misread the conversation or misunderstood in anyway, I apologize.

Quote:

O RLY?!

No kidding. But in order to report on the past, they must rely on reports from that era, or from artifacts. So they must rely on something from that era. That's the actual point being made here: that there isn't anyone who history records as a contemporary to 'jesus' who wrote on 'jesus'

Right, and if we're going to discount the Gospel's as historical, you may be onto something. So then, did the writers just make up a silly story for no reason? Or are ALL of the characters in the Bible fictional? And if so, who wrote the book, and why would he do such a thing? Or if the Gospel writers did exist, why would they risk their lives and die for a man that they knew never existed?!?! it surely would not have profited them much.

Quote:

You don't seem able to follow the point just given to you. If Josephus actually believed that jesus was the messiah, if Josephus actually had evidence that this was the case, then why didn't he convert to christianity? Why didn't he rewrite his jewish history by reporting the return of the messiah? Why wasn't the story of jesus the christ the centerpiece of his works?!

Citing Josephus is therefore self refuting for this reason. At best, Josephus can only be transmitting information that he himself did not believe... he could only report hearsay.... OR again, we would expect to read today about Josephus the christian, and his works would FOCUS on jesus.

Wow. You sure do like putting words into someone's mouth! When did i ever say Josephus was a Christian? In fact, did I not specifically say he wasn't? Where did I say that Josephus had proof that Jesus was the Messiah? I didn't. I said that Josephus records that a man named Jesus did certainly exist. The statement, "He was the Messiah" does not necessarily imply personal belief. It appears to me that he is giving a historical account of the man Jesus and what the Christians believed about him. I admit there are some questionable things about the validity of that text, however, most scholars still agree that most of them are genuine. You are trying to prove to me that parts of Josephus' writings are not genuine, yet you do not even have enough evidence to be convincing!

You are basically self-refuting yourself. You are saying that if Josephus was a Christian then he would've written TONS about Jesus. But yet, you wanna say that a Christian added those references later. If a Christian copyist had the liberty to do such a thing, wouldn't he have added alot more? Wouldn't he have gone great lengths to "FOCUS on Jesus'"?! It just doesn't add up. Even if parts of 18.3.3 were an addition, a Christian certainly couldn't have written 20.9.1. No Christian would refer to Jesus as 'the so-called Christ'. It makes no claims of Jesus' divinity, nor gives him any importance. This is obviously part of the original text.

Quote:

Keep in mind how self refuting that is. You want to hold that they had reliable evidence that jesus was the christ, but at the same time, they lived lives that clearly reject such a claim.

Again, you must not be getting the point I already explained to you. No one is claiming that Josephus was a Christian!! Where do you get that from?!?!

Quote:

Please read the various refutations of the testimonium available anywhere.

I have read many of them. Like I've said before, they are interesting and do raise some good points. However, they do not present enough evidence to settle the debate.

Quote:

Here's your problem: the gospels report that jesus was a miracle worker, that he raised people from the dead, and that saints rose from graves upon his resurrection. How anyone could ignore zombie saints walking through the city square escapes me...

Yes, Christ did miracles, people were raised from the dead, etc. But, your assumption that this would've given him world-wide fame is false. If you know anything about the time of the Roman Empire, and in that time of Jewish history, people always used tricks to claim divinity. The bible talks about "false signs, false wonders... and false messiahs." Casear's were known for it!!! They set themselves up as gods. People were very superstitous. The majority of the jewish people rejected him, and cared nothing for him. Rome just thought he was a lunatic. He did not appear to be anything important. The Bible even talks about this, guys. The Jews thought their Messiah would lead a revolt against Rome, but Jesus never did that, so therefore, he was no Messiah. They did not get what they expected. They even accused him of using satanic powers to perfom his miracles. The fame of Christ that we are now familiar with is from the apostles going out and preaching and discipling all nations. Not from Jesus the Superstar that walked the earth as an aspiring celebrity!

Quote:

Sigh. Here's a more parsimonious explanation that seems to have passed you by: The gospels accounts of the fall of the temple were written after the fall of the temple. No prediction.

If you disagree, ask yourself this: why would the fall of the temple be important to you in the year 2006? What possible reason would you even have to know about this?

The only reason such an event was recorded was because it was important to the people of that time.

Excuse me? Sure, maybe the gospels were written after the temple fell, but i wasn't just talking about the Gospels, sir. If you've ever read Paul's letters they give internal evidence of being written around AD 51-53, and Revelation in AD 65 or 66. I do not hold to the late-date view. I believe that most of Revelation has already been fulfilled and that it was for the 7 churches it was addressed to. You don't have to talk to me about original audience context, i rely on that persistently to properly interpret the bible. Hence, I believe the events in Revelation were relevant to the original audience.


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Was there a Jesus? Of course

Was there a Jesus? Of course there was a Jesus – many!

The archetypal Jewish hero was Joshua (the successor of Moses) otherwise known as Yeshua ben Nun (‘Jesus of the fish’). Since the name Jesus (Yeshua or Yeshu in Hebrew, Ioshu in Greek, source of the English spelling) originally was a title (meaning ‘saviour’, derived from ‘Yahweh Saves’) probably every band in the Jewish resistance had its own hero figure sporting this moniker, among others.

Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different Yeshuas/Jesii, about half of them contemporaries of the supposed Christ! In his Antiquities, of the twenty-eight high priests who held office from the reign of Herod the Great to the fall of the Temple, no fewer than four bore the name Jesus: Jesus ben Phiabi, Jesus ben Sec, Jesus ben Damneus and Jesus ben Gamaliel. Even Saint Paul makes reference to a rival magician, preaching ‘another Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11,4). The surfeit of early Jesuses includes:

(see article for list)

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm


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Wow...first there is the

Wow...first there is the claim there is NO JESUS, now there are four?


elnathan
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gdon wrote: My "minimum

gdon wrote:

My "minimum criteria required" input:

Historical Jesus: the person who inspired Christianity to kick off, and is the person referred to by both Paul and the Gospels. He was killed around the time of Pilate, possibly by crucifixion and possibly for sorcery or insurrection.

Mythical Jesus: a godman/daemon/spirit entity who possibly was thought to have descended from Heaven but never appeared on earth as a person (except in visions)

Fictional Jesus: a person who was thought to have existed at some stage in the past, but never actually did. The belief could have originated out of a character in a book, or as stories that centered on someone who never existed in the first place.

Any comments/disagreements on the definitions?


I would like to address these issues again.

I don't put much stock in a "fictional" Jesus, for several reasons. Perhaps, this is a good time to redress rule number one. The rise of the Christian faith simply does not support that idea. There was a significant "event" going on, and I can't fathom that could cause the explosion of Christianity that it did, simply based on a fictious character in written texts. The sort of reaction it caused among the people can not be explained by the suggestion that a story and legend could be spread so effectively that people were willing to die for it, based on anything other than eyewitness events?

Whether there is documentation of eyewitness testimony, or direct knowledge and encounters with "Jesus", there is plenty of historical evidense that indicates there were hundreds of thousands of people who were willing to be burned alive, tortured, and public exicuted with horendous methods, seem pretty convincing that they believed the person we recognized as Jesus was most certainly historical.

Quote:

1. What do we mean by "Historical Jesus"? If there were an itinerant preacher who was crucified around 30 CE but wasn't called "Jesus", would he be the historical Jesus? IMO, the answer is "yes".

I loosely agree! Smiling

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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Ivan_Ivanov wrote:elnathan

Ivan_Ivanov wrote:
elnathan wrote:
While you may dismiss this (simply one of the first and easiest ones available) as worthless because it contains the word catholic, here it is anyway.
.
http://cr.middlebury.edu/public/russian/Bulgakov/public_html/catholic.html

If those resources are all dismissed off-handedly, then I fail to see your point.

Did YOU read any of this?
Most of the sources they give were written well after Jesus' supposed death, and their authors were born generations later as well. As such these sources could not refer to Jesus directly, but only as an object of Christian faith.
In other words, they are not evidence for the existance of Jesus, they are evidence for the existance of Christians.

The only exception to this is Philo, who said nothing about Jesus.

The only source that mentioned Jesus directly was Josephus, and the authenticity of the passages reffering to Jesus has been disputed, as it has been proven they have been tampered with.
So, at the very best, and I mean very very very best, Josephus can give you evidence for a "historical" Jesus, which, as has been mentioned, refutes Christianity.

Josephus was born around 37 CE, so obviously any mention of this so called "historical jesus" is automatically hearsay.


gdon
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elnathan wrote:I don't put

elnathan wrote:
I don't put much stock in a "fictional" Jesus, for several reasons. Perhaps, this is a good time to redress rule number one. The rise of the Christian faith simply does not support that idea. There was a significant "event" going on, and I can't fathom that could cause the explosion of Christianity that it did, simply based on a fictious character in written texts. The sort of reaction it caused among the people can not be explained by the suggestion that a story and legend could be spread so effectively that people were willing to die for it, based on anything other than eyewitness events?

I've never understood this objection. People only had to believe there was a historical Jesus. It doesn't matter whether there were or not. If they were mistaken on this, then they could have very well "died for a lie".

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


gdon
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adamgrant wrote:You are

adamgrant wrote:
You are basically self-refuting yourself. You are saying that if Josephus was a Christian then he would've written TONS about Jesus. But yet, you wanna say that a Christian added those references later. If a Christian copyist had the liberty to do such a thing, wouldn't he have added alot more? Wouldn't he have gone great lengths to "FOCUS on Jesus'"?! It just doesn't add up.

Yes, that's a good point.

adamgrant wrote:
Even if parts of 18.3.3 were an addition, a Christian certainly couldn't have written 20.9.1. No Christian would refer to Jesus as 'the so-called Christ'. It makes no claims of Jesus' divinity, nor gives him any importance. This is obviously part of the original text.

According to Peter Kirby, most secular scholars believe that there is a core to the TF that is genuine to Josephus. I've been encouraging the RRS to interview secular scholars who are historicists, that would make for an interesting interview.

adamgrant wrote:
If you've ever read Paul's letters they give internal evidence of being written around AD 51-53, and Revelation in AD 65 or 66.

What is the evidence that Paul wrote around 51-53 CE?

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


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elnathan wrote:I thought you

elnathan wrote:
I thought you were the one writing things off as insignificant.

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

Quote:

I really don't need anything "crow" about.

Sure you do. You were just going off about how there was a contemporary account... now that you have been refuted you suddenly have stopped crowing.

Quote:

Interesting that you imply I would take an attitude similar to your's!

You were the one with that attitude, until I demonstrated that your claim was in error.

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

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adamgrant wrote:todangst

adamgrant wrote:
todangst wrote:
No, you're misreading the conversation. We are talking about whether or not there are ANY contemporary accounts for 'jesus the christ'.

If i misread the conversation or misunderstood in anyway, I apologize.

I accept your apology, and await your next one for this post!

Previously you came away with the false conclusion that I was insisting that all historians must be eyewitnesses, when in fact I stated that all historians must rely on reliable sources. I do hope you now concede that your own conclusion was in error.

Now, unfortunately, your next post is dedicated to another erroneous conclusion: that I am insisting that you've claimed that josephus was a christian. I never did such a thing.

Seriously, sincerely... honestly... I ask you to not post lenghty responses to me in the future... instead, I ask you to ask questions for clarification, because I've now devoted two posts to doing little more than clarify what I feel are obvious points.

Quote:

O RLY?!

No kidding. But in order to report on the past, they must rely on reports from that era, or from artifacts. So they must rely on something from that era. That's the actual point being made here: that there isn't anyone who history records as a contemporary to 'jesus' who wrote on 'jesus'

Quote:

Right, and if we're going to discount the Gospel's as historical, you may be onto something.

This is the one point you gathered correctly. The point before you is that there are no contemporary accounts of 'jesus', where simple logic demands that there be a multitude of accounts. That's all.

Quote:

So then, did the writers just make up a silly story for no reason?

Silly story? They held a belief in a messiah - a savior, just like many people do today, just like you do. And like so many other people through history, they thought that they lived in a troubled time - and troubled times are times when people hope for a messiah. So the gospel writers likely created a 'midrash' of Old testament stories to match their hopes. They used their belief to guide them through the OT for stories that fit the story they wanted to tell. This is a process that eveyr religion undergoes.... The Jews did it. The Muslims did it. The christians did it. You are forced to agree that every OTHER religion in fact does this..... so you are forced to concede that you are special pleading for christianity.

Quote:

Or if the Gospel writers did exist, why would they risk their lives and die for a man that they knew never existed?!?!

So many problems here for you, that I have to break it down:

A) assuming they did actually 'die' for their beliefs,

1) you're assuming a false dichotom: either 1) they had personal knowledge of a 'jesus' or 2) that their story was a complete fabrication. This is a false dichotomy. Every person involved in the creation of the gospels may well believed that 'jesus' existed, even as they had no direct knowledge of any such 'being'. After all, you believe in jesus, don't you? Yet you have no actual knowledge direct knowledge of such a 'being'. So would you die for your belief? Perhaps you would. If so, there's your answer. Haven't you heard those stories about christians in modern times who died for their beliefs? What 'evidence' did they have? They only had their hope, their belief, but they died for it.

So the gospel writers could have believed that they were doing the best they could to tell the story of jesus that they already believed in... just like you do... a story of a 'real being' that existed - but for which they had no direct knowledge. Given their belief, they could have felt that relying on Old testament stories as the basis for their writings was the best they could do. They could have used their hope to guide their use of the Old testament stories... there's no need for a 'lie' only a hope, only a belief....

2) You're assuming that the only 'belief' that they could die for was a real personal knowledge of a 'jesus' when in fact they could have died for a belief just like yours - one based on a hope first and foremost... again, a christian could die tomorrow for his belief.... without any actual knowledge of a 'jesus'... so the fact that your surprised that the gospel writers could do the same is just amazing.. Muslims die for their beliefs. Branch Davidians died for their beliefs.... Jim Jones' followers died for their beliefs... need I go on?

Devotion to a belief is not a sign of its truth.

B) Now let's remove the assumption that these men died for their beliefs:

1) You can't even name any of these writers, nor can you give me any details of their lives, so how can you insist that you know they died for their belief?

Quote:

You don't seem able to follow the point just given to you. If Josephus actually believed that jesus was the messiah, if Josephus actually had evidence that this was the case, then why didn't he convert to christianity? Why didn't he rewrite his jewish history by reporting the return of the messiah? Why wasn't the story of jesus the christ the centerpiece of his works?!

Citing Josephus is therefore self refuting for this reason. At best, Josephus can only be transmitting information that he himself did not believe... he could only report hearsay.... OR again, we would expect to read today about Josephus the christian, and his works would FOCUS on jesus.

Quote:

Wow. You sure do like putting words into someone's mouth!

Wow... you sure do like misreading my posts! You're putting words in my mouth! How ironic!

Quote:

When did i ever say Josephus was a Christian?

Where did I ever say that you said that? Go on. Look through my post.... we'll work this out together... go and see... nowhere do I say that. Go look. Keep reading and rereading... you won't find me saying that.

So it would seem that YOU are the one putting words in other's mouths.

You need to slow down and read more carefully.

Here is what is really going on: I am asking you questions about logical ramifications. I am not assuming your position, I am stating that IF josephus had reliable knowledge of a savior, then we would expect a few things about josephus and his writings.

Quote:

In fact, did I not specifically say he wasn't?

You need to slow down and read more carefully, most of my posts to you are corrections of your misreadings.

I will again repeat the point, so you can read it correctly.

You don't seem able to follow the point just given to you. If Josephus actually believed that jesus was the messiah, if Josephus actually had evidence that this was the case, then why didn't he convert to christianity?

******Read this again and again until you see that I AM ASKING YOU A QUESTION HERE, NOT STATING THAT YOU CALLED JOSEPHUS A CHRISTIAN.

Do you get it now?

Here's another question for you, from my last post:

Why didn't he rewrite his jewish history by reporting the return of the messiah? Why wasn't the story of jesus the christ the centerpiece of his works?!

*****AGAIN, THESE ARE QUESTIONS ABOUT LOGICAL RAMIFICAITONS, NOT STATEMENTS ABOUT WHAT YOU HAVE SAID.

And again:

Citing Josephus is therefore self refuting for this reason. At best, Josephus can only be transmitting information that he himself did not believe... he could only report hearsay.... OR again, we would expect to read today about Josephus the christian, and his works would FOCUS on jesus.

Quote:

Where did I say that Josephus had proof that Jesus was the Messiah? I didn't.

WHERE DID I SAY THAT YOU SAID THAT?

AGAIN: I didn't say you did. I asked you a question.

PLEASE. READ. MORE. CAREFULLY. AND. ASK. QUESTIONS.

Quote:

You are basically self-refuting yourself. You are saying that if Josephus was a Christian then he would've written TONS about Jesus.

No, I have not said that. Please read more carefully:

I am saying that if josephus had a valid reason to believe that 'jesus' was the messiah, if he had evidence, eyewitness testimony that jesus was in fact the jewish savior, then it naturally follows that he would have shown AN AMAZING AMOUNT OF INTERST IN THE FACT THAT THE SAVIOR HAD RETURNED.

AND, if he actually believed that GOD HAD SENT A MESSIAH, A SAVIOR, then he would naturally enough accept this savior as the christ, right?

It follows naturally.

Now, imagine that you're josephus... and the following is true:

1) YOU KNOW FOR A FACT THAT THE SAVIOR SPOKEN ABOUT IN JEWISH RELIGION HAS COME TO EARTH

2) YOU ARE A HISTORIAN WITH A PARTICULAR INTEREST IN JEWS

3) YOU ARE LIKELY TO EXPRESS SOME INTEREST, CONSIDERING THAT THIS IS THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT EVENT POSSIBLE FOR THE JEWS.

So, do you think it follows now?

Here, maybe this will help:

Imagine you are news reporter.

And you get the following 2 news stories:

1) A TIME MACHINE HAS BEEN INVENTED THAT ALLOWS YOU TO TRAVEL TO ANY TIME YOU LIKE, IT ALSO CURES CANCER, VALIDATES PARKING, INCREASES PENIS SIZE AND ALLOWS YOU TO TALK TO ELVIS.

2) Some mundane, trivial event, of no long lasting importance.

Now, here are the question:

1) Which do you pick to put on page 1?
2) If you decide to choose story 1, would you only devote 1-2 lines to story 1? Or perhaps a tad bit more?

Here's a tip:

The story of god sending a savior to earth would be a bigger story than story 1.

Quote:

But yet, you wanna say that a Christian added those references later. If a Christian copyist had the liberty to do such a thing, wouldn't he have added alot more?

No. Here's why: How could he do so, without rewriting a work by josephus that was already well known?! At best, all they could do was insert things.... there was no way that they could pull off a complete rewrite.

Yet, if Josephus wrote a history of the jews... if HE HAD EVIDENCE OF THE JEWISH MESSIAH - THIS WOULD HAVE DOMINATED HIS WRITING ON THE JEWS! It would have been the key point of the entire history.

Quote:

Keep in mind how self refuting that is. You want to hold that they had reliable evidence that jesus was the christ, but at the same time, they lived lives that clearly reject such a claim.

Quote:

Again, you must not be getting the point I already explained to you. No one is claiming that Josephus was a Christian!!

Again, I've not said that you have, so you're the one having trouble with the points here.

The point I am making to you is if Josephus had a good reason to believe in jesus as the christ, then he would have accepted jesus as the christ. I am pointing out a logical ramification.

Quote:

Here's your problem: the gospels report that jesus was a miracle worker, that he raised people from the dead, and that saints rose from graves upon his resurrection. How anyone could ignore zombie saints walking through the city square escapes me...

Quote:

Yes, Christ did miracles, people were raised from the dead, etc.

And yet how can you make such a claim, given that such events would have gone noted by any person capable of writing? We would expect miracles to have been noticed by someone....

Quote:

But, your assumption that this would've given him world-wide fame is false.

No, it's the other way around. If ZOMBIE SAINTS RISE FROM GRAVES AND RETURN TO THEIR OLD LIVES, SOMEONE WOULD PROBABLY NOTICE.

Quote:

If you know anything about the time of the Roman Empire, and in that time of Jewish history, people always used tricks to claim divinity.

You're refuting yourself here. If what you say is true, and it is, then it would then follow, logically, rationally, that you'd have to toss aside any claims for jesus too... right?

Odd that you missed that.

Here's another point you missed... the miracle claims in the bible are not the sort that a person can fake... you can't raise saints from the dead, and have them return to their homes and partake of their lives again.

All you can do is deny that such things happened... you have to write them off, in a complete ad hoc fashion... as literary devices....

But once you do that, you're already in deep trouble....

Quote:

Sigh. Here's a more parsimonious explanation that seems to have passed you by: The gospels accounts of the fall of the temple were written after the fall of the temple. No prediction.

If you disagree, ask yourself this: why would the fall of the temple be important to you in the year 2006? What possible reason would you even have to know about this?

The only reason such an event was recorded was because it was important to the people of that time.

Quote:

Excuse me? Sure, maybe the gospels were written after the temple fell, but i wasn't just talking about the Gospels, sir.

The point before you is that it ought to be very, very odd for you, a christian living in 2006, to find out that the gospels, supposedly written for you, seem to focus a great deal of concern for events that happened 1900 years ago.. events with no concern for you today. Events with NO relevance at all for you or anyone else.

So why do we have such stories? Simple: When people tell stories about saviors, about prophecies, they are worried for themselves. No one tells stories for people for 2000 years from now.

Quote:

If you've ever read Paul's letters they give internal evidence of being written around AD 51-53, and Revelation in AD 65 or 66. I do not hold to the late-date view. I believe that most of Revelation has already been fulfilled and that it was for the 7 churches it was addressed to. You don't have to talk to me about original audience context, i rely on that persistently to properly interpret the bible.

I do have to talk to you about original audience context, because you've missed a very big point: 'original audience context' is the actual motivation for the work. You are missing the forest for the trees - original audience context is the only actual context in mind for the writers... everything else is just your projections of your own needs onto writings never intended for you or anyone else alive today.

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

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gdon wrote:adamgrant

gdon wrote:
adamgrant wrote:
You are basically self-refuting yourself. You are saying that if Josephus was a Christian then he would've written TONS about Jesus. But yet, you wanna say that a Christian added those references later. If a Christian copyist had the liberty to do such a thing, wouldn't he have added alot more? Wouldn't he have gone great lengths to "FOCUS on Jesus'"?! It just doesn't add up.

Yes, that's a good point.

Not if you think it through. First, it would require rewriting of Josephus entire work.... a work already known and existent in various copies.

Next, it would require that a christian move past mere 'pious lying' and on to outright fraud and deception. I think that most christians employing the 'pious lie' were not outright liars... because I believe that they believed in jesus the christ. Those who burned the 'wrong book's most likely felt they were 'protecting the truth'. Those who made changes in works that were otherwise considered 'not sacriligious' very likely felt that they were 'correcting errors' or even 'clarifying matters' by making whatever changes they made.

They believed what they believed just as scientologists and christians and Cargo Cult believers believe what they believe.... they weren't out to commit fraud, just "set things straight' given their belief....

If you believe that 2+2=5, and you see a book that claims 2+2=4, and you see that otherwise, the book is userful, you'll 'correct the error'....

adamgrant wrote:
Even if parts of 18.3.3 were an addition, a Christian certainly couldn't have written 20.9.1. No Christian would refer to Jesus as 'the so-called Christ'. It makes no claims of Jesus' divinity, nor gives him any importance. This is obviously part of the original text.

Quote:

According to Peter Kirby, most secular scholars believe that there is a core to the TF that is genuine to Josephus.

1) Even if it is as Kirby and your anonymous 'scholars' say, a partial TF demands that josephus had no clear evidence of a messiah.... He can only be reporting hearsay. Again, the TF is self refuting unless josephus himself does not take the claim seriously.

If he takes the claim seriously, then you have to answer as to why he didn't write his history of the jews with jesus as the dominate theme. You have to explain why he believes jesus was the messiah, yet fails to convert to christianity!

Josephus an't actually have a valid reason to believe that there is a savior, and yet ignore this totally while writing about the history of the jews. It's very simple logic.

2) While there are some who support the TF, there are very good reasons to reject it totally:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Testimonium_Flavianum

Just as there are good reasons to rule out the passage from antiquities....

The reality is that there should be a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour, yet there are none.

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todangst

todangst wrote:
Quote:

According to Peter Kirby, most secular scholars believe that there is a core to the TF that is genuine to Josephus.

1) Even if it is as Kirby and your anonymous 'scholars' say, a partial TF demands that josephus had no clear evidence of a messiah.... He can only be reporting hearsay. Again, the TF is self refuting unless josephus himself does not take the claim seriously.


Yes, Josephus didn't take claims of messiahship seriously --that is the consensus. Josephus had heard of Jesus, and that some people claimed that Jesus was the Messiah, though he didn't believe this himself. That is what secular scholars overwhelmingly believe. (I'll start a new thread on what secular scholars believe so we can discuss separately. If you have evidence to the contrary I'll be interested to see it)

todangst wrote:
The reality is that there should be a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour, yet there are none.

I can think of many counter examples:

1. People who were regarded as miracle workers and sorcerors of whom we have few references, like Apollonius, Oni the Circle-drawer, sorcerors listed in the Talmud, etc,.

2. Catastrophic natural events which left physical evidence behind, but no written records. For example Mt Vesuvius, which erupted in 79 CE, virtually in the middle of the Roman Empire, killing thousands and leaving tens of thousands homeless, but we only have one written reference.

3. Even with Jesus, we see in the stories in the Gospels, and the criticisms of pagans like Celsus, etc, that even people who believed that Jesus performed miracles, still regarded him as a common sorceror instead of the Messiah. Thus, they weren't impressed enough to convert.

Can you expand on why you think that there should have been a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour, esp if they believed that the person was a sorceror rather than a saviour?

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


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gdon wrote:todangst

gdon wrote:
todangst wrote:
Quote:

According to Peter Kirby, most secular scholars believe that there is a core to the TF that is genuine to Josephus.

1) Even if it is as Kirby and your anonymous 'scholars' say, a partial TF demands that josephus had no clear evidence of a messiah.... He can only be reporting hearsay. Again, the TF is self refuting unless josephus himself does not take the claim seriously.


Yes, Josephus didn't take claims of messiahship seriously --that is the consensus.

It is simple logic. If he took the claim seriously, then one would expect that it would have had shocking reverberations in his work.

He could have only heard it as a rumor. Hearsay. A myth. Something that he himself did not believe. Seeing as no one denies that a jesus myth existed in the first century, we can put the Josephus 'claim' to rest.

Quote:

Josephus had heard of Jesus,

You assume too much here....What we can logically infer, if the testimonium is in any way an actual writing of Josephus, is that he had heard a story of a jesus.

Quote:

and that some people claimed that Jesus was the Messiah,

Or, more parsimoniously, that he had heard of claims for a jesus as a messiah.

Quote:

though he didn't believe this himself.

Precisely. So he's reporting a rumor, something without any evidence to substantiate it.

So you can't even claim that there was an 'actual jesus' ... all you can say is IF the testimonium is really a writing of Josephus, then he had heard rumors of a story of a jesus who was a 'savior' or 'messiah'

Quote:

That is what secular scholars overwhelmingly believe.

overwhelming = rhetoric.

What matters is why one believes what they believe. There are good reason to reject the testimonium. What matters to me is which case is stronger.

todangst wrote:
The reality is that there should be a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour, yet there
are none.

Quote:

I can think of many counter examples:

1. People who were regarded as miracle workers and sorcerors of whom we have few references, like Apollonius, Oni the Circle-drawer, sorcerors listed in the Talmud, etc,.

Here's the problem for this claim:

This counter example requires that the 'jesus miracles' be nothing more than parlor tricks.

Presumably you'd agree that these 'miracles' were lightly regarded historically because there was no clear evidence of any miracle. Whereas the claims in the gospels involve astonishing events... people being fed miraculous food, the sun standing still, people being resurrected, saints rising from their graves to recover their homes....

So you can't equate the two claims. Either you have to reject the gospel claims of miracles, or you have some real splainin' to do, Lucy, as to why no one bothered to take note of zombie saints.

Quote:

2. Catastrophic natural events which left physical evidence behind, but no written records. For example Mt Vesuvius, which erupted in 79 CE, virtually in the middle of the Roman Empire, killing thousands and leaving tens of thousands homeless, but we only have one written reference.

One surviving, reliable written reference - from Pliny the Younger, which is infinitely more than we have for your jesus. And Pliny reports that others such as his own uncle, Pliny the elder, were there with him. So we have good reasons to believe that there were many more eyewitnesses, including Pliny the elder, who may very well have died because of inhaling sulphuric acid from the eruption!

Remember - we are not just talking about surviving written references, but the existence of any contermpoary accounts.... accounts by others concerning the existence of contemporary accounts is fine. And we do have such accounts, which is surprising considering that most of the eyewitnesses ended up covered in layers of molten lava or choking to death on poisonous hot ash.

As for Mt Vesuvius being 'virtually in the middle of Roman Empirie' this is somewhat accurate geographically, but misleading in the sense that you used the phrase - i.e. it is a red herring. Yes, it was in the 'middle' of Rome, but it's not as if this means that the event would have been captured on the Roman News at 11. First of all, those cities nearby enough to see the smoke and ash were likely destroyed by fire and poison. Those farther away were not privy to any direct evidence of the event, nor directly effected by the eruption. It's not like Pliny the Younger could turn on his radio, or get into his helicopter to view the effects. They had to sail towards the event, and even then, they needed the resources to do so.

You act as if it being 'virtually in the middle of the Roman empire" means that it couldn't be ignored... but in reality, it could well be ignored, and would be ignored, as just one more eruption to be ignored, as long as it didn't present a direct threat to other cities. Eruptions and earthquakes were not uncommon events....

The reality is that we have plenty of information concering reports of eruptions from that area from that era. In fact, we know that the Romans had even become quite blase' about eruptions, given their frequent occurence. Yet we know a great deal about the event, even including the precise year of it's occurence

But for your jesus, who was a far greater miracle than a mere volcanic eruption, we have NO contemporary data.

Seriously, think this one over. I don't see how you can equate this with a miracle worker raising saints from graves, unless the zombies ate the living and killed off all the witnesses.

Quote:

3. Even with Jesus, we see in the stories in the Gospels, and the criticisms of pagans like Celsus, etc, that even people who believed that Jesus performed miracles, still regarded him as a common sorceror instead of the Messiah.

This sounds like a good bit of storytelling then.

Quote:

Can you expand on why you think that there should have been a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour,

I trust that if you reread your own statement a few times, the obviousness of it will eventually come to mind.

If not, read my last post.

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todangst wrote:So you can't

todangst wrote:
So you can't even claim that there was an 'actual jesus' ... all you can say is IF the testimonium is really a writing of Josephus, then he had heard rumors of a story of a jesus who was a 'savior' or 'messiah'

I think it is more than that. Josephus hearing a story about Jesus at such an early point in history is a good indication of what people believed at that time. Of course, it isn't 100% verification, but the most parsimonious explanation of why Josephus heard that story was simply because that is what people believed. That places a belief in a historical Jesus very early indeed. As Peter Kirby says, "Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact. It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact."

The vast majority of modern scholars accept that Josephus refers to Jesus. I've read that Jewish and leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman claims that this "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars. I'd be interested in hearing evidence to the contrary, though. What is your estimation on the acceptance by secular scholars on this?

todangst wrote:
The reality is that there should be a preponderence of writings on a miracle working saviour, yet there are none.
Quote:

I can think of many counter examples:

1. People who were regarded as miracle workers and sorcerors of whom we have few references, like Apollonius, Oni the Circle-drawer, sorcerors listed in the Talmud, etc,.

Here's the problem for this claim:

This counter example requires that the 'jesus miracles' be nothing more than parlor tricks.


I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one, and approaching it from the view of secular scholarship, not a fundy theist/atheist view. I don't really care whether Jesus actually performed miracles or not, so I'll leave you to argue this question to anyone wanting to defend a Gospel Jesus.

However, looking at the reporting on people who were believed to have performed miracles at that time, Richard Carrier has written a good article here:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/kooks.html

Lots of people were thought to have performed miracles of various descriptions, yet (1) were believed to have been historical nonetheless, (2) had very little written about them.

todangst wrote:
The reality is that we have plenty of information concering reports of eruptions from that area from that era. In fact, we know that the Romans had even become quite blase' about eruptions, given their frequent occurence.

Really? AFAIK, that was the first eruption in that region in hundreds of years. It's slightly off-topic, I know, but what you wrote sounds interesting. I'm fascinated by the impact that catastrophic events would have had on the minds of the people of that time, so have looked for evidence of such, but didn't find anything. What were the other eruptions in that area in the previous 500 years or so, such that the Romans had become used to them?

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


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It is unbelievable that an

It is unbelievable that an individual denoted as the son of a god, walked on water, cast demons out as the story goes, brought dead people back to life, turned water into wine, was nailed to a board, killed, and came back to life and floated into the sky, was not considered very important.

Why wasn’t the spot where the crucifixion occurred marked for posterity?
Why wasn’t the place where the body was placed marked?
Why wasn’t the spot where jesus supposedly rose marked?
Not one piece of cloth that he wore, no sandals, not a single lock of hair, the boat he crossed the river in, no cup or bowl he ate from, or any other eating utensils, not even the nails that supposedly went through his hands and feet, not even a splinter of the cross he was supposedly nailed to was preserved.
Why wouldn’t the son of a god know how to at least write? Was it that no one preserved anything because people didn’t care?
Was it that no one preserved anything because people were not appreciative? Especially the apostles, his mother Mary, Joseph, the people he brought back from the dead, and those he cured of diseases, and the man who’s eye sight he restored?
Did they all just simply say, “Hey thanks” and went on their merry way? Or did they even say thanks? Didn’t any of the witnesses even talk about what they saw?
This is one of the most amazingly strange things about this story of jesus. It is as if he never existed.
How do xians explain this?
How do all the archeologists and anthropologists explain this?

todangst mentioned all the writers that lived in the area at the time that should have heard of jesus, none of whom wrote anything about any jesus like character, but surely there were artisans in the area at that time also and yet there are no carvings, sculptures, or paintings either.

It's obvious the NT jesus never existed.

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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AiiA wrote:It is

AiiA wrote:
It is unbelievable that an individual denoted as the son of a god, walked on water, cast demons out as the story goes, brought dead people back to life, turned water into wine, was nailed to a board, killed, and came back to life and floated into the sky, was not considered very important.

I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one, and approaching it from the view of secular scholarship. I'll leave the above to those atheists and theists who are only interested in the Gospel Jesus.

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


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todangst wrote:

todangst wrote:

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

There are several contemporary accounts, you just write them off as invalid because they are in the New Testament.
Quote:

Quote:

I really don't need anything "crow" about.

Sure you do. You were just going off about how there was a contemporary account... now that you have been refuted you suddenly have stopped crowing.

I was never crowing in the first place--unless you consider that you yourself was crowing.

The accounts weren't refuted--except to YOUR satisfaction--they were just discounted. You are arguing points way off topic anyway, and making up your own rules to the contemporary "Jesus Game" so many people seem to like to play. If you are going to make up your own rules as you go along, then there is not much point in playing.

There are few contemporary “scholars” that would deny the historicity of “Jesus the Nazarene.” There is plenty of evidence to support the historical validity of that person. You seem to prefer to take the stance of the 18th and 19th century “scholars.”

Quote:

Quote:

Interesting that you imply I would take an attitude similar to your's!

You were the one with that attitude, until I demonstrated that your claim was in error.


Perhaps you misunderstood my usage of “attitude.” My claim is not in error—except by your “rules.” I don’t have the “attitude” you imply. I harbor no anger or hurt feelings here. If you read that into my response, perhaps it is your attitude that is out of perspective?

Quote:

Every person involved in the creation of the gospels may well believed that 'jesus' existed, even as they had no direct knowledge of any such 'being'.

The people who “created” the Gospels did have direct knowledge…that’s one of the reasons they wrote them.
Quote:

After all, you believe in [J]esus, don't you? Yet you have no actual knowledge direct knowledge of such a 'being'.

While I can’t speak for adamgrant, for you to assume there is no “direct knowledge” of a living Jesus, implies you don’t understand the implication of the resurrections of the Son of God. If He rose from the dead and is still alive today, then He can deal with people directly, and there is little need for historical proof.
Quote:

So would you die for your belief? Perhaps you would. If so, there's your answer. Haven't you heard those stories about [C]hristians in modern times who died for their beliefs? What 'evidence' did they have? They only had their hope, their belief, but they died for it.

People die for much less. People are dieing everyday for their country. Perhaps they don’t intend to, but they have agreed to put themselves in harms way to support the freedom we in America enjoy. Perhaps that is mere foolishness. Perhaps it is stupidity or ignorance on their part. Perhaps they believe in something that is not there. So perhaps it is not so far fetched to claim that the early Christians died for a belief that (as todangst claims) had no real basis.

But the people we are talking about (the early {first and second century}Christians), merely had to bow down to a Roman God, and denounce their belief in Jesus the Nazarene and that He was the Christ. If that concept was simply based on hearsay, they must have heard it from some pretty convincing story tellers.

Quote:

This is the one point you gathered correctly. The point before you is that there are no contemporary accounts of 'jesus', where simple logic demands that there be a multitude of accounts. That's all.

I have to wonder how sound your understanding of those contemporaries is here. We have at least four contemporary accounts of the “historic” Jesus in the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now there were many, many other people by those same names—not to mention many of those names were changed--but these are the four that are most recognized as having direct contact with the man we are referring to here. You obviously seem to over look the fact that the people Jesus was concerned about, and dealt with on a daily basis, were not the most educated of the time.

It is highly unlikely that many of these people would have known how to write at all. Yet you seem to demand that they would have recorded their experiences with logic. I fail to see the logic that would compel someone to learn to write about such events for posterity’s sake. And let’s not forget, these people didn’t expect ‘time’ to get past that first century in the first place. Where is the need to record such events for a people that were not expected to even be born.? In comparison to the personal experiences of these people, and the traditions of verbal history, there would be little or no incentive for such record.

Quote:

I am stating that IF josephus had reliable knowledge of a savior, then we would expect a few things about josephus and his writings.

This is real irony. If Josephus had become a Christian, you would have discounted his work (even more blatantly, and) much like you do that of the authors of the Gospels.

You (todangst) seem to prefer to argue about the argument, rather than the topic. You claim a hollow victory in your refutations and false claims. You obviously ignore the evidence that is right in front of you, and detract and derail the topic. I too am guilty of the same thing, I admit. It is interesting how you demand apologies for the same offenses you project, yet offer none yourself. Tsk, tisk.

--------------------------------------

AiiA wrote:
It is unbelievable that an individual denoted as the son of a god, walked on water, cast demons out as the story goes, brought dead people back to life, turned water into wine, was nailed to a board, killed, and came back to life and floated into the sky, was not considered very important.

Yes…it certainly would be unbelievable. I guess that’s why He is still so important today?

Your questions that follow are interesting in that you aren’t aware of the answers. While I am inclined to take them on a line by line basis, I am not sure that it would be of any help. But I would like to take some of them, and point out a few things that you seem to have over looked by way of more questions.

Are there any marked graves that remain from the first century?
No one saw Jesus rise so how could that spot be marked?
How many people keep dead men’s clothes, much less enshrine them?
(Do you not know about the Roman soldiers casting lots for Jesus' clothes?
Have you not heard of the "Shroud of Turan?")
How many wooden boats remain from the fist century?
Have you heard of the “Quest for the Holy Grail?”
(Jesus and the Apostles had little or no possessions of their own. The famous “Cup of Christ” would have been provided by the person that loaned them the “upper room” for the “Last Supper.” Taking the “cup” or any of the utensils Jesus used would have been stealing. There are at least three churches that claim to possess this cup.)
Why would any these things be important if the person were not dead?
Have you heard of the “Knights Templar” and their excavation of Jerusalem?
(The Knights Templar are said to have taken the remnants of the “cross” with them. If any artifacts of Jesus actually remain, they certainly would be highly guarded or hidden by collectors. And it is not likely that those people fleeing for their lives would have returned to the upper room and asked for that cup Jesus used. It is not likely that they would have thought of its value for posterity. During the times following Jesus crusifixtion, such items would have had little or no real value, and the disciples had more than enough to remember their Jesus by, and would not have held much regard for such icons.)
If someone had those objects, do you think they would have been talked about openly?
If they had those artifacts, do you think they would have been safe in the hands of common people? (How likely is it that they would have been stolen?)
Do you not realize that people are still talking about this Jesus?
Do you not realize that Christians thank God for sending His Son on a daily basis?
What is an “xian?”
Are you not interested in modern archeology and anthropology?
How have you missed all the finds made by these people in the 20th century that support the validity of the “man?”

Why would writers of the time, write about a person that caused so much trouble for the Romans (who were the majority of the writers then, and the rest were Jews) and was rejected by his own people (the Jews)?
Any carvings, sculptures or paintings that existed at the time would certainly have been destroyed—as was/is common when the ruling government is trying to eradicate any reference to an enemy of the state. When an enemy is conquered one of the fist things they do is deface and destroy any symbol of that enemy.

Quote:
It's obvious the NT [J]esus never existed.

This is the most blatant and ironic oversight. It is very clear to me and millions of others that Jesus most certainly exists. The debate over whether He was the Son of God is still open, but your claim seems to put you in a very small circle of people who either ignore or deny the evidence.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


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elnathan wrote:todangst

elnathan wrote:
todangst wrote:

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

There are several contemporary accounts, you just write them off as invalid because they are in the New Testament.

Name one, and give the date and source. As Gdon will tell you NOTHING from the New Testament was written during the supposed life of Christ.

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elnathan wrote: todangst

elnathan wrote:
todangst wrote:

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

There are several contemporary accounts,

Whoa really? What are they? It’s odd you did not list them here! It is pertinent to this discussion.

elnathan wrote:
Quote:
It's obvious the NT [J]esus never existed.

This is the most blatant and ironic oversight. It is very clear to me and millions of others that Jesus most certainly exists. The debate over whether He was the Son of God is still open, but your claim seems to put you in a very small circle of people who either ignore or deny the evidence.

Millions of people believed the earth was flat and they were wrong. The truth is not determined by the number of people that believe it, the truth is determined by evidence.
And what is this evidence?
Or are you simply a blatant liar?

People who think there is something they refer to as god don't ask enough questions.


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todangst wrote: So you can't

todangst wrote:

So you can't even claim that there was an 'actual jesus' ... all you can say is IF the testimonium is really a writing of Josephus, then he had heard rumors of a story of a jesus who was a 'savior' or 'messiah'

gdon wrote:

I think it is more than that. Josephus hearing a story about Jesus at such an early point in history is a good indication of what people believed at that time.

Even assuming the testimonium to be true, this is not not proof of any actual jesus, but instead that there was a belief in a jesus. And again, you've already agreed to this, seeing as you yourself recognize that Josephus himself did not accept the claim!

So an actual, unbiased, sober reading of the testimonium gives us this:

1) It's not likely to be true - it's either been created wholecloth, or tampered with greatly. The best reason for believing this is Origen's failure to cite it in 240! If it had existed then, he would have cited

2) Even if it is an actual writing of josephus, it's not evidence of any jesus, but that some believed in a jesus.

Quote:

Of course, it isn't 100% verification,

It's zero percent verification. Even if the testimonium is true, it proves nothing about any actual jesus the christ. It is merely a statement holding that there are those who believed that such a person existed. Again, josephus himself gives us no evidence for such a person, only evidence of those who believed in such a person, and again, only if the Testimonium is true!

Quote:

but the most parsimonious explanation of why Josephus heard that story was simply because that is what people believed.

Yes. What they BELIEVED. Which does not require an actual jesus. Just that some people believed in a jesus.... even if the testimonium is true, it's only a statement regarding the belief of anonymous people. And again, the fact that Origen never mentions it is a killing disproof of its veracity.

Quote:
That places a belief in a historical Jesus very early indeed.

No, it does not do this at all, in any way at all. Even if the testimonium is true, all it does is demonstrate that there were people who believed in a jesus the christ prior to the time of Josephus. No one doubts that such a belief existed at that time.

Quote:

As Peter Kirby says, "Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact.

And the fact here is, given that the testimonium is true, that it demonstrates the existence of people who believed that there was a person named jesus, the christ. That's it.

If we accept the testimonium, we have to accept that Josephus himself didn't believe in it. Nor did he provide any evidence for an actual jesus. He merely reported, IF the testimonium is even his word, that there were people who did believe in such a being.

So you're overstating the facts.

Quote:

It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact."

But you are overstating just what 'history' it establishes. If the testimonium is true, all it shows is that it can be accepted as history that there were people who BELIEVED in a jesus as a christ prior to the time of Josephus. Not even a mythicist denies this.

Quote:

The vast majority of modern scholars accept that Josephus refers to Jesus.

More rhetoric. I'm not really all that surprised that christians accept it. What matters is their reason for accepting or rejecting the testimonium.

Quote:

I've read that Jewish and leading Josephus scholar Louis H. Feldman claims that this "has been almost universally acknowledged" by scholars.

More rhetoric from you. What matters is the argument, not the numbers.

Quote:

I'd be interested in hearing evidence to the contrary, though.

If this were true, you'd research the matter.

It doesn't take much to look into the work of Origen.

Wiki also tells us this:

The testimonium fails a standard test for authenticity, in that it contains vocabulary not otherwise used by Josephus, according to the Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus, edited by K. H. Rengstorff, 2002.

gdon wrote:

I'm trying to frame the argument in terms of a historical Jesus, not a Gospel one,

First of all, there is no such thing. If 'jesus' is not gospel jesus, then he's not 'jesus' at all. You're equivocating here, and rather dishonestly, considering that you are a christian who accepts jesus as the christ.

If you find a normal human who inspired a myth, then you've refuted the existence of 'jesus' altogether because 'jesus' refers to a christ.

Quote:
I don't really care whether Jesus actually performed miracles or not,

Then your jesus ceases to be jesus! You can't have a jesus who isn't jesus and call him jesus....... either you find someone who fulfills the basic tenents of the gospels, or you refute the gospel claim.

If you are searching for paul bunyan, and you find a tall lumberjack who inspired the legend, you haven't found Paul. You've refuted the existence of Bunyan.

Quote:

Lots of people were thought to have performed miracles of various descriptions, yet (1) were believed to have been historical nonetheless, (2) had very little written about them.

Fallacy of equivocation. You are equating 'miracles' of charlatans with raising zombie saints from graves. You can't possibly, rationally, sanely compare the sun standing still to a parlor trick.

Seeing as I've made this point numerous times, I do hope that I won't have to repeat it yet again.

You equivocate a 'historical jesus' for jesus of the gospels and you equivocate on 'miralces' when the gospel miracles are epoch making events. Please stop that.

todangst wrote:

The reality is that we have plenty of information concering reports of eruptions from that area from that era. In fact, we know that the Romans had even become quite blase' about eruptions, given their frequent occurence.

Quote:

Really? AFAIK, that was the first eruption in that region in hundreds of years.

Sorry. I should have said 'tremor's as per earthquake tremors that often precede volcanic action.

Quote:
It's slightly off-topic, I know, but what you wrote sounds interesting.

I find it interesting too... but you need to reevaluate my claim as per my correction.

Quote:

I'm fascinated by the impact that catastrophic events would have had on the minds of the people of that time, so have looked for evidence of such, but didn't find anything.

Really? Even wiki covers the concept:

The 79 eruption was preceded by a powerful earthquake seventeen years beforehand on 5 February 62[8], which caused widespread destruction around the Bay of Naples, and particularly to Pompeii. Some of the damage had still not been repaired when the volcano erupted [9]. However, this may have been a tectonic event rather than one associated with the re-awakening of the volcano[10].

Another smaller earthquake took place in 64; it was recorded by Suetonius in his biography of Nero[11], in De Vita Caesarum, and by Tacitus in Book XV of Annales[12] because it took place whilst Nero was in Naples performing for the first time in a public theatre. Suetonius recorded that the emperor continued singing through the earthquake until he had finished his song, whilst Tacitus wrote that the theatre collapsed shortly after being evacuated.

The Romans grew used to minor earth tremors in the region; the writer Pliny the Younger writing that they "were not particularly alarming because they are frequent in Campania

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vesuvius

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What were the other eruptions in that area in the previous 500 years or so, such that the Romans had become used to them?

correction: Tremors, earthquakes. Read above.

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todangst
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aiia wrote:It is

aiia wrote:
It is unbelievable that an individual denoted as the son of a god, walked on water, cast demons out as the story goes, brought dead people back to life, turned water into wine, was nailed to a board, killed, and came back to life and floated into the sky, was not considered very important.

Of course it's unbelievable. It's even unbelievable to see this being debated. It's unbelievable that a person could even ask 'why is this so unbelievable'. It's a testament to a person's ability to delude one's self in order to cling to a belief...

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Why wasn’t the spot where the crucifixion occurred marked for posterity?

And why isn't the cave venerated?

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Why wasn’t the place where the body was placed marked?
Why wasn’t the spot where jesus supposedly rose marked?
Not one piece of cloth that he wore, no sandals, not a single lock of hair, the boat he crossed the river in, no cup or bowl he ate from, or any other eating utensils, not even the nails that supposedly went through his hands and feet, not even a splinter of the cross he was supposedly nailed to was preserved.

All of these things that would have been venerated by anyone who had witnessed a miracle worker. I mean, come on, people save hair clipping from rock stars!

Here's another thing we would have to see:

Why aren't the sons and daughters of the supposed 'apostles' famed through history?

Hi, I am the grandson of Peter, personal friend of god.

Hi, my great grand uncle used to know god.

Why don't we have a history replete with stories about the decendents of the apostles?!

Christians are able to just gloss over these things, because they usually don't bother to investigate the other side of the issue... Logical ramifications KILL the jesus claim. They kill it.

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Why wouldn’t the son of a god know how to at least write?

Even more: Why would a loving god even rely on such a contrivance as a physical appearance that could be doubted?!

You'll not see a christian even try to deal with that.

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Was it that no one preserved anything because people didn’t care?

As if the person didn't even exist....

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Was it that no one preserved anything because people were not appreciative? Especially the apostles, his mother Mary, Joseph, the people he brought back from the dead, and those he cured of diseases, and the man who’s eye sight he restored?

You'd think that it would influence someone to take note.

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Did they all just simply say, “Hey thanks” and went on their merry way? Or did they even say thanks? Didn’t any of the witnesses even talk about what they saw?

This is one of the most amazingly strange things about this story of jesus. It is as if he never existed.

Yes, interesting isn't it....

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How do xians explain this?
How do all the archeologists and anthropologists explain this?

todangst mentioned all the writers that lived in the area at the time that should have heard of jesus, none of whom wrote anything about any jesus like character, but surely there were artisans in the area at that time also and yet there are no carvings, sculptures, or paintings either.

PRECISELY.

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elnathan wrote:todangst

elnathan wrote:
todangst wrote:

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

There are several contemporary accounts,

No, there are none. Zero. Zip. Again, if you disagree, cite one that can stand up to skeptical scrutiney. So far, every attempt you've made has failed. In fact, every claim you've given wasn't even by a person who would have lived in the putative time of jesus!

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you just write them off as invalid because they are in the New Testament.

Can you please stop repeating this lie? I don't write off anything. You keep insisting that, but you can't demonstrate it. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

And can you at least take note how I can just repeat what I already said to you, to refute you?

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I really don't need anything "crow" about.

Sure you do. You were just going off about how there was a contemporary account... now that you have been refuted you suddenly have stopped crowing.

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I was never crowing in the first place

Sure you were. You went on and on about how you had a contemporary account. I refuted you. Now you need to distance yourself from your behavior.

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The accounts weren't refuted

Yes, they were. It was demonstrated that the people you cited didn't even live at the putative time of jesus! The challenge was for a contemporary. Citing a person who wasn't even born until after the supposed time of jesus clearly does not meet that challenge.

Furthemore, the claims you cited had other flaws as well... none of them are legitimate accounts of a jesus the christ.

So your claims failed doubly.

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they were just discounted.

Why must you continue to repeat this blatant lie?

Why?!

I refuted your claims, by showing the problems in your claims. They were not even contemporary accounts! The 'chrestus' account is not even for 'jesus' nor is it a contemporary!

I refuted your claims, by pointing out the flaws in them. This is not discounting. It is refuting.

You are just trying to discount my refutations.. so you're the one trying to just ignore things here.

If you have an argument that I've 'ignored' then give it. See how long it takes me to respond. Go on.

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If you are going to make up your own rules as you go along, then there is not much point in playing.

Now you accuse me of making up rules? Can you please just stop this sort of nonsense?

Pointing out that a person you hold to be a contemporary is NOT a contemporary is NOT making up rules!

I also showed that your claims had other flaws as well!

So please stop this. I showed that your citations were not even contemporary accounts!

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There are few contemporary “scholars” that would deny the historicity of “Jesus the Nazarene.” There is plenty of evidence to support the historical validity of that person.

Then cite one.

Just one.

One.

ONE.

ONE. Just one. ONE. Oh one, one, one....

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Perhaps you misunderstood my usage of “attitude.” My claim is not in error—except by your “rules.”

Please stop this. I am not creating any rules. I have pointed out why your contemporary accounts are not contemporary accounts... that's not 'making up a rule'... In order for an account to be contemporary, it must be from a person who lived in that time. That's what the word contemporary means.

So I am not making up any rules.

So please, please, please stop this.

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While I can’t speak for adamgrant, for you to assume there is no “direct knowledge” of a living Jesus, implies you don’t understand the implication of the resurrections of the Son of God.

No, it's the other way around... it shows that you can't follow the implications. If such a thing occured, some contemporary would have noticed, and we'd have evidence.

You tend to get these things backwards.

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So would you die for your belief? Perhaps you would. If so, there's your answer. Haven't you heard those stories about christians in modern times who died for their beliefs? What 'evidence' did they have? They only had their hope, their belief, but they died for it.

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People die for much less.

Precisely. Thank you. This time, you are on the mark.

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But the people we are talking about (the early {first and second century}Christians), merely had to bow down to a Roman God, and denounce their belief in Jesus the Nazarene and that He was the Christ.

So? This does not require any actual evidence of a jesus... only a strong belief and a desire to hold to it. A muslim could die for allah and does die for allah every day. Religious fanaticism does not point to the veracity of a belief.

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This is the one point you gathered correctly. The point before you is that there are no contemporary accounts of 'jesus', where simple logic demands that there be a multitude of accounts. That's all.

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I have to wonder how sound your understanding of those contemporaries is here.

If you actually knew anything about them, you'd have realized all the problems with them.

You don't have any actual reason to question the soundness of my claims. Just an emotional need to write off whatever I say, no matter how sound it actually is.

You can't name ONE contemporary account. And that's that.

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We have at least four contemporary accounts of the “historic” Jesus in the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Come on. These are not contemporary accounts. Even you know that the works are anonymous. Even you know that they were written decades after the suppposed time of jesus, and several of the gospels even concede that they are not eyewitness accounts!

You clearly have not investigated this situation, and your constant mistakes testify to this.

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Now there were many, many other people by those same names—not to mention many of those names were changed--but these are the four that are most recognized as having direct contact with the man we are referring to here.

Everyone who has studied the gospels recognizes that they were produced decades after the supposed time of jesus, the sole disagreement is just how long afterwards. You don't seem to know that some of the gospel writers themselves discount themselves as eyewitnesses... I believe Luke rules himself out as a witness, and matthew's words in the final chapters of matthew ( I think 24 and 26) also do much to rule him out as well, as they speak of the recorded events as occuring 'long ago' ...i .e. 'even unto this day.

John's own accounts rule him out as an actual eyewitness..... unless you think a human could have witnessed all that appears in John!

Finally, it should also be clear that the gospels are midrash of the OT. Look into the topic.

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You obviously seem to overlook the fact that the people Jesus was concerned about, and dealt with on a daily basis, were not the most educated of the time.

You obviously overlook the fact that this damns your case.... pun intented. Why wouldn't intellectuals be interested in god's son walking the earth, raising the dead, and stopping the sun in its tracks Why are only the credulous taken in by the story?

Why doesn't anyone capable of writing or creating art record something of this jesus?

Your sole response must be: because he wasn't important enough... and this response is self refuting... because there's no way for a miracle working godman to not be of any significance....

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It is highly unlikely that many of these people would have known how to write at all.

Yet we do have plenty of people who lived in that area, in that time, who did know how to write, and who did write, who don't record a word about jesus. THAT'S the actual issue before you. Stop ignoring the actual issue.

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Yet you seem to demand that they would have recorded their experiences with logic.

I am saying that logic demands that people record an epoch making event like a miracle performing god striding the earth like a man.

I demand that a person like Philo, who lived at that time, who could write, and who did write on religious matters, take notice of saints rising from graves.

Philo was born before the beginning of the Christian era and lived until long after the reputed death of Christ. He wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre (which also has no independent corroboration) supposedly occurred. He was there when Christ supposedly would have made his triumphal entry in Jerusalem. He was there when the Crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead would have taken place--when Christ himself supposeldy would have rose from the dead. Yet, these events were not mentioned by him.

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I fail to see the logic that would compel someone to learn to write about such events for posterity’s sake.

Then you've not studied logic. People record events that affect them. This is why we have history in the first place. There were plenty of people who lived at that time, in that region, who could write, and who DID write... yet not one of them bothers to RECORD THE FACT THAT GOD'S SON WALKED ON EARTH.

The fact that it has to be pointed out to you that this is amazing is just embarrassing.

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And let’s not forget, these people didn’t expect ‘time’ to get past that first century in the first place.

And how do we know that?

Because they wrote about it.

So this point refutes you in two ways that just went over your head.

1) They wrote about it, even as you argue that they wouldn't!

2) The fact that the world went on for another 1900 years refutes their religious claims.... yet you still hold to their falsified religion.

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Where is the need to record such events for a people that were not expected to even be born.?

Again, they were writing to those who lived then. The very fact that you know of their writings proves that such writings were made, despite your bizarre claim that they wouldn't be!

You're refuting yourself here.

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I am stating that IF josephus had reliable knowledge of a savior, then we would expect a few things about josephus and his writings.

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This is real irony. If Josephus had become a Christian, you would have discounted his work (even more blatantly, and) much like you do that of the authors of the Gospels.

Wrong. There is no irony here on my part, as I am not given to relying on ad hominem attacks. The irony is on your part... your inability to see that the fact that josephus was NOT a christian is proof that he did not entertain the claim seriously, if at all!

If josephus converted and wrote volumes on jesus, citing evidence, then it would be a very strong case for your side, one that couldn't be ruled out, just through an ad hominem circumstantial fallacy.

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You (todangst) seem to prefer to argue about the argument, rather than the topic.

You don't seem able to properly assess a situation.

I asked you for a contemporary account.

You claimed you'd give one

I demonstrated that your accounts were not contemporary.

That deals with the topic.

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You claim a hollow victory in your refutations and false claims.

I proved your claims were not contemporaries, that's not a hollow victory.

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You obviously ignore the evidence that is right in front of you, and detract and derail the topic.

I have not ignored anything - I've demonstrated the problems in your claims. If you think I've ignored something, then present it.

And watch how long it takes for me to respond.

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I too am guilty of the same thing, I admit.

I have not ignored anything. Glad you can admit that you have.

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It is interesting how you demand apologies for the same offenses you project,

I haven't ignored anything you've argued, so please stop running from your own problems by projecting them onto me.

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yet offer none yourself.

Because I've not commited the infraction in the first place.

I'm not in the mood to deal with anymore of your lying. Please just stop it.

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elnathan
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Sapient wrote:elnathan

Sapient wrote:
elnathan wrote:
todangst wrote:

|ncorrect. I am not writing off anything. I am telling you that there's nothing to write off in the first place, as there are no contemporary accounts for "jesus'

There are several contemporary accounts, you just write them off as invalid because they are in the New Testament.

Name one, and give the date and source. As Gdon will tell you NOTHING from the New Testament was written during the supposed life of Christ.


So what? Because they were written after Christ was crusified? Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all were there with Jesus, and wrote about those times. It is only during "modern" times that history is written by contemporaries. If it is written during the time of the subject it is a "current event" not history!

What difference does it make if they were written after He was killed by the Jews. He is still alive so all are contemporary accounts!

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers


elnathan
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Quote:Quote: There are few

Quote:
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There are few contemporary “scholars” that would deny the historicity of “Jesus the Nazarene.” There is plenty of evidence to support the historical validity of that person.

Then cite one.
Thomas Paine
Just one. Otto Betz
One. Markus Bokmuehl
ONE. Norman Anderson
ONE. F.F. Bruce
Just one. John P. Meir
ONE. Gary Habermas
Oh one, Howard Clark Kee
one, Encyclopedia Britannica
one....Trajan, Macrobius, Hadrian, Antonius Pius, Marcus Arelius, Juvenal, Sneca, Hierocles, Corneius Tacitus, Lucian of Samosata, Suetonius, Pliny the Younter, Thallus, Phelegon, Mara Bar-Serapion.

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We have at least four contemporary accounts of the “historic” Jesus in the Gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Come on. These are not contemporary accounts. Even you know that the works are anonymous. Even you know that they were written decades after the suppposed time of jesus, and several of the gospels even concede that they are not eyewitness accounts!

What? Are you kidding me. Where do you ever get these were “anonymous” writers?

By making “your own rules” I mean that first you disallow any references from the Bible—the most logical place for Jesus’ contemporaries. Then you make a rule that they must be written during the time when Jesus was a live, not just the person who walked with Jesus. And then claim that if they do not meet those criteria, they are not worthy of admissible evidence.

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I fail to see the logic that would compel someone to learn to write about such events for posterity’s sake.


Then you've not studied logic. People record events that affect them. This is why we have history in the first place. There were plenty of people who lived at that time, in that region, who could write, and who DID write... yet not one of them bothers to RECORD THE FACT THAT GOD'S SON WALKED ON EARTH.

Come on, you are not even trying here! Whether I have studied logic or not, does not prevent me from being logical. Those “plenty of people” you claim to have lived were not the sort that would hang out with the common people. The ones that hung out in the Temple’s that knew how to write, would have been scorned or stoned for supporting the idea that Jesus was the Christ. Do you know anything about the history of the people who lived during those times? Do you really fail to see the logical fallacy of such claims?

Last one!

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Wrong. There is no irony here on my part, as I am not given to relying on ad hominem attacks. The irony is on your part... your inability to see that the fact that josephus was NOT a christian is proof that he did not entertain the claim seriously, if at all!

No it is not! If Josephus had become a Christian he would have been refuted right along with those that wrote the Gospels—which you don’t even acknowledge. Josephus would have just been another Christian Lunitic--to you and many others. So what if he thought Jesus was the Son of God or not? He is used a resource to merely point out that Jesus did exist. And now you want to argue that. Please quite flip-flopping.

Oh yeah…the topic, doesn’t say squat about contemporaries. It is NOT part of the topic. That’s why I claim YOU make up the rules, as it is not a rule of the original topic as posted by gdom. Please stop saying you don't!

Please make you next post/response a good one. Cause you are unable to stay on track, and can’t stick to the topic, and go off on personal tangents.

You have asked me several times to please stop. Okay, I will. Please return the favor and PLEASE, just leave me alone from now on. I do not have the time or the inclination to try and get you back on track. And you arguments are flimsy at best, and ridiculous at worst.

In intellectual matters you can think things out, but in spiritual matters you will only think yourself into further wandering thoughts and more confusion. --Oswald Chambers