A Silence That Screams - (No contemporary historical accounts for "jesus)

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- Todangst (with Rook Hawkins)

"[T]here is not a single contemporary historical mention of Jesus, not by Romans or by Jews, not by believers or by unbelievers, not during his entire lifetime. This does not disprove his existence, but it certainly casts great doubt on the historicity of a man who was supposedly widely known to have made a great impact on the world. Someone should have noticed." - Dan Barker

The Gospel story, with its figure of Jesus of Nazareth, cannot be found before the Gospels. In Christian writings earlier than Mark, including almost all of the New Testament epistles, as well as in many writings from the second century, the object of Christian faith is never spoken of as a human man who had recently lived, taught, performed miracles, suffered and died at the hands of human authorities, or rose from a tomb outside Jerusalem. There is no sign in the epistles of Mary or Joseph, Judas or John the Baptist, no birth story, teaching or appointment of apostles by Jesus, no mention of holy places or sites of Jesus’ career, not even the hill of Calvary or the empty tomb. This silence is so pervasive and so perplexing that attempted explanations for it have proven inadequate. - Earl Doherty, The Jesus Puzzle

It may surprise Christians to learn that there are no contemporary historical documents for 'Jesus, the Christ'. The writings of Paul are not contemporary accounts: they do not appear until years after the purported time of Jesus and they include a concession that Paul never actually met Jesus. The Gospels come much later (as evidenced by the fact that Paul never cites them) and there is good reason that all four of the surviving, accepted Gospels are based on Mark, which in turn is likely to be a form of 'Midrash', not historical documentation: (See: http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_midrash)).

While some apologists attempt to wave this problem away by claiming that "Jesus"would not have been a noteworthy figure, this apologetic tactic contradicts what the Gospels say about Jesus. One cannot hold, at the same time, that the Gospels are true eyewitness accounts of actual events, AND that the Jesus figure in those works would not attract the attention of men like Philo, Pliny or Seneca. It's an absurd contradiction.

Even the relatively sober account of Jesus found in the first gospel, The Gospel of 'Mark', presents us with a Jesus who garnered quite a bit of attention. Consider for example, Mark 2:1-12, where the crowd coming to see Jesus is so great, that a paralytic has to be lowered through the roof of a building Jesus is in, in order for Jesus to see him. Elsewhere Mark tells us that the crowds that Jesus drew were so overflowing that he has to lecture from a boat on the Sea of Galilee. When Jesus travels from Bethany to Jerusalem, throngs of people line the roads to welcome him. Mark also tells us of how Jesus performed miracles before thousands: on two different occasions Jesus feeds thousands through miracles (see for example, Mark 8:1).

In short, 'Mark' gives us a 'Jesus' who is bigger than the Beatles, and I believe the Beatles analogy is a good one: we even have a nice parallel between the story of Jesus' lecture from a ship at Galilee, and the Beatles famous 'rooftop' audition, where they were forced to play an impromptu concert on a rooftop, lest the crowds that would rush to see them cause a riot. In both cases, the crowds had reached, hysterical, historically noteworthy, proportions. Yet, John E. Remsberg, in 'The Christ: A Critical Review and Analysis of the Evidence of His Existence' (The Truth Seeker Company, NY, no date, pp. 24-25) makes the curious observation that no one from this era wrote a single word about the Jesus Hysteria. Remsberg notes: "(While) Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library, (no where)... in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged brief passages in the works of a Jewish author (Josephus), and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ."

There are Christians today who hold that Remsberg has 'been refuted' because many on his list either were not contemporaries, or were 'not the sort who would have been interested in Jesus'. They tell us, straight faced, that writers who were mainly interested in drama, or reporting war stories, wouldn't have bothered to write down anything about a crowd-drawing, miracle-working, godman striding the earth.

Leaving aside this bit of insanity, it is a red herring to respond to this problem by saying "Remsberg has been refuted", for not matter how many problems one may be able to point out concerning his famous list, no matter how many people one removes from the list, there remain people on his list who should have noticed, and their silence is glaring. And we need not even have direct physical evidence of a contemporary account - even just the evidence of a provenance between a later account and an earlier, no longer existent, contemporary source would suffice. Yet nothing exists at all to point to a real Jesus.

Let's take a look at the more notable names on his list, just to get an idea, again, of how glaring this silence is... We can call this list:

"They Would Have Noticed"

Philo (~20 BCE - ~40 CE) was a Hellenized Jew who lived in Alexandria, Egypt. He visited the Temple in Jerusalem, and corresponded with family there. He wrote a great many books on religion and philosophy which survive to this day, and mentioned many of his contemporaries. His main theological contribution was the development of the Logos, the "Word" that opens the Gospel of John. Yet Philo not once mentions Jesus, anybody who could be mistaken for Jesus, or any of the events of the New Testament. His last writings come from 40 CE, only a few years after the end of Pontius Pilate's reign, when he was part of an embassy sent by the Alexandrian Jews to the Roman Emperor Caligula.

Philo 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 personally very interested in the concept of resurrection. 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 supposedly would have rose from the dead. Yet, none of these events are ever mentioned by him.

The following is quoted from: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/philo.html

"Much as Josephus would, a half century later, Philo wrote extensive apologetics on the Jewish religion and commentaries on contemporary politics. About thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words are extant. Philo offers commentary on all the major characters of the Pentateuch and, as we might expect, mentions Moses more than a thousand times.

Yet Philo says not a word about Jesus, Christianity nor any of the events described in the New Testament. In all this work, Philo makes not a single reference to his alleged contemporary "Jesus Christ", the godman who supposedly was perambulating up and down the Levant, exorcising demons, raising the dead and causing earthquake and darkness at his death.


With Philo's close connection to the house of Herod, one might reasonably expect that the miraculous escape from a royal prison of a gang of apostles (Acts 5.18,40), or the second, angel-assisted, flight of Peter, even though chained between soldiers and guarded by four squads of troops (Acts 12.2,7) might have occasioned the odd footnote. But not a murmur. Nothing of Agrippa "vexing certain of the church" or killing "James brother of John" with the sword (Acts 12.1,2). "

It simply makes no sense that Philo would not have recorded something about Jesus, vis-a-vis the Jesus described in the book of Mark. Those who argue that Philo would have merely ignored a crowd drawing, miracle working godman because he could not have conceived of the 'logos' in human form merely beg the question that Philo's position would never change, even in the face of negating evidence!

Philo never reports ever seeing the godman represented in the Gospels. His silence is glaring. And Philo may well have even provided us with a positive rule out for a real Jesus Christ:

"And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God's image, and he who sees Israel."
– Philo, "On the Confusion of Tongues," (146)

Quotation via: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/philo.html

Pliny the Elder (~23 CE - 79 CE) wrote a Natural History that mentions hundreds of people, major and minor; he even writes about the Essenes in Natural History, section V, 15 . Yet nowhere in his works is any mention of the Jesus phenomena described in Mark. The typical apologist response is that Pliny would not have taken interest in a backwater preacher, but given the claims given in the Gospels concerning the purported life of Jesus, it is glaringly obvious that Pliny would have either seen, heard of, or at least investigated events as incredible as those reported in the book of Mark; yet not a word of these putative events is alluded to in his work.

Pliny also provides us with a direct refutation of the Gospel claims of earthquakes and eclipses (i.e. such as those found in Matthew). Pliny collected data on all manner of natural and astronomical phenomena, even those which were legendary - which he himself did not necessarily regard as factual, yet he records no prodigies associated with the beliefs of Christians, such as an earthquake or darkening of the skies at a crucifixion, or any star of Bethlehem.

Seneca the Elder (54 BCE - 39 AD) was a Roman rhetorician and writer and father to the more famous Seneca the Younger. Seneca was the author of a lost historical work, containing the history of Rome from the beginning of the civil wars almost down to his own death. While the work is lost to us, it was published by his son. The latest references in his writings are to the period immediately after the death of Tiberius, probably around the time of his own death in 39 AD.

Seneca the Younger (ca. 4 BCE–AD 65) Seneca was a philosopher and statesman, who wrote both philosophical works and papers on morality. He lived during the purported time of Jesus, in the general area of Jesus, and would have had contact with Roman authorities who in turn would have had contacts with Jesus. More importantly, he was interested in matters of morality and religion very similar to the concerns of later Christians. Yet, he does not take note of any of the miraculous events reported in the gospels.

From: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/seneca.html

The life of Seneca, like that of Philo, was contemporaneous with the "Jesus" of legend. Yet though Seneca wrote extensively on many subjects and people, nothing relating to "Jesus" ever caught his attention, nor does he show any awareness of a "vast multitude" of Christians, supposedly, punished for the fire that ravaged Rome in 64 AD. (See Tacitus for more on this)

The lack of any reference to Jesus Christ or Christians by Seneca was an embarrassment to the early Church fathers. There was a futile attempt to rectify this during the 4th century by a forger familiar with Seneca's letters to his life-long friend Lucilius. What emerged was a correspondence purporting to be friendly exchanges between the eminent Roman philosopher – at the height of his fame and political influence – and an unknown itinerant preacher we now call St Paul.

The catalyst for the fabrications appear to have been remarks by Tertullian, in the early 3rd century. Tertullian, aware that Seneca had articulated sentiments suited to a "great moral teacher" referred to Seneca as "often our own." By the time of Constantius II (337-361), Seneca had been taken captive by the Christians, his fidelity to the cause vouched for by a lively exchange of letters (in Latin!) with the Jewish Christian apostle. Today, no serious scholar accepts these as valid communications between Seneca and Paul, they are universally accepted as fraud.

"The tradition that Gallio sent some of St. Paul's writings to his brother Seneca is utterly absurd; and indeed at this time (A.D. 54), St. Paul had written nothing except the two Epistles to the Thessalonians."
– Rev. F. W. Farrar.

After Philo, Seneca the Younger and Pliny the Elder one of the most damning omissions would be in the works of Josephus and Tacitus.

Josephus (37-100 AD) . Theists may be surprised to see this name on the list, and the inclusion is debatable, but read on.

Josephus was not a contemporary and could not have been a first hand eyewitness of "Jesus", however, as a Jewish historian who focused on Jewish history and religion, he would have been greatly interested in the appearance of the Jewish Messiah. Josephus wrote The Antiquities of the Jews, See his works here: http://reluctant-messenger.com/josephus.htm This is a work that focused on Jewish history from "Adam" to Josephus' time. Yet, while Josephus devotes a good deal of time and space to John the Baptist (Note, the claim that he actually writes about John the Baptist is controversial) and other historical figures mentioned in the Gospels (He gives a detailed account of Pontius Pilate in The Jewish Wars, http://www.inu.net/skeptic/gospels.html) he does not appear to have actually written anything at all concerning the life of Jesus the Christ! This is 'damning' considering that we would expect that the appearance of the Jewish Messiah ought to have dominated a work dedicated to Jewish history.

Furthermore, Josephus was interested both in the concept of resurrection, as well as in the histories of various Jewish sects which a real Jesus would have either 1) been a member of or 2) have had substantial discourse with. How could a man with these experiences, and with these interests, not have dedicated volumes to "Jesus" if there were any reason to believe such a messiah existed?

Josephus writes:

"When I was sixteen years old, I decided to get experience with the various sects that are among us. These are three: as we have said many times, the first, that of the Pharisees, the second that of the Saduccees, the third, that of the Essenes. For I thought that in this way I would choose best, if I carefully examined them all. Therefore, submitting myself to strict training, I passed through the three groups."
(Life, 1.2, 10-11)

Now we have a man with a keen historical interest in Judaism, combing this interest with a wealth of first hand experience concerning the very groups Jesus would have been numbered amongst, who doesn't mention a word about Jesus! Josephus is also known to have recorded the term in office of Joseph, son of Caiaphas, the very same Caiaphas whom the Gospels claim organized the plot to kill Jesus. Yet nothing in his report on Caiaphas alludes to such an event.


For this very reason, the claim that Josephus never mentions a Jesus the Christ was a concern for early Christians. Therefore, it is no surprise that a later interpolation of a reference to Jesus the Christ appears in the Antiquities. The infamous "Testimonium Flavium" appears to have been inserted into the Antiquities about the time of the 4th century. A key proof for this comes from the fact that while early Christians cited Josephus, none of them ever cited the Testimonium, even in situations where they were striving to provide historical proof for Jesus (i.e. in debates with Jewish scholars):

* Justin Martyr (circa C.E. 100-165) never once quoted the passage -- even in the face of charges that Christians had "invented some sort of Christ for themselves" and that they had accepted "a futile rumor" (Dialogue with Trypho 8; circa C.E. 135).
* Clement of Alexandria (ca. 192) - familiar with the works of Josephus
* Tertullian (ca. 193) - familiar with the works of Josephus
* Origen (circa C.E. 185-254), who in his own writings relies extensively upon the works of Josephus, does not mention this passage or any other passage in Josephus that mentions Christ. Not even when he is in dialogue against Celsus' accusations!
* Jerome (circa C.E. 347-420) cites Josephus 90 times, but never once cites the Testimonium.
(citation: Lost and Hostile Gospels, Rev. Sabine Baring-Gould)

Logic itself tells us that had Josephus written the Testimonium, he would have written more than 3 lines concerning the existence of the Jewish Messiah in a book dedicated to Jewish History! You can't mention the Jewish messiah in passing in a book dedicated to a history of Judaism. You might as well write a book called "The Solar System" without mentioning the sun, expect in a footnote on page 474. 

Remsberg writes on this point poignantly:

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

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

It's brevity in fact points to interpolation:

Richard Carrier writes:

"An expert on manuscripts would know the problem here: scrolls have a fixed length. Each book of a work usually had to be no larger than would fit on one scroll, and certainly it was problematic for a copyist to break the pattern and use more scrolls than his source text (it would throw off everything, and make consulting the work a nightmare for any reader). This fact argues in favor of interpolation. If the material came from Josephus, he could have written more about such a topic (surely, since as we now have it, it is a marvelous digression indeed to warrant so slight a coverage), and just ended the whole book sooner, thus creating no problem. But if the material was added by a later editor, there would have been very little space to work with: so the addition had to be short, short enough to prevent the whole book from exceeding a standard scroll's length. (The interpolation was perhaps made by the 4th century Christian librarian Eusebius: see Kirby's "The Testimonium Flavianum&quotEye-wink."
- http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/jesuspuzzle.html#...

Logic also provides us with yet another powerful clue as to the falsity of the Testimonium: Josephus lived and died a Jew, never converting to Christianity. Even a Christian apologist, normally at home with warping logic well past its breaking point, ought to find it difficult to reconcile the claim that Josephus had any substantial evidence of Jesus as the Messiah with the fact that he never converted to Christianity. How could Josephus have good evidence for the existence of a messiah, and yet, at the same time, die a Jew?

There's really only one way to salvage the Testimonium: to use Jeffery J. Lowder's argument that the Testimonium was radically altered by christians, and that the original Josephus passage was a second hand reference to a purely human Jesus who, while worthy of a brief note, did not merit more than a few lines of text, let along consideration as the Jewish Messiah. This would explain why christians did not cite it until it was radically altered: because it was an actual refutation of the gospel claim of Jesus the Christ.

Lowder writes:

"There are many scholars who believe the original text contained an authentic reference to Jesus but was later embellished by Christian copyists. I have italicized the sections widely regarded as interpolations":

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.

Lowder continues:

"If the original passage contained only the non-italicized text, then it becomes quite easy to explain why the passage was not widely quoted during early Christian history. In its "pure" form, the passage would have only proved that (a purely human) Jesus existed, not that he performed miracles, rose from the dead, etc."

Lowder states that this may explain why no early christian cited the Testimonium: because it did nothing to support the existence of Jesus as Jesus the Christ.

(Lowder's original article: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/mckinsey.html)

The two most plausible explanations for the Testimonium: that it is either entirely or partially a fraud, both create a serious problem for the christian.

If the Testimonium is a complete fiction, it leaves the christian without any historical corroboration from Josephus.

If it is a tampered document, it shows that there is a non contemporary account of Jesus, one who may even meet one of the criteria mentioned in Mark (drawing crowds). But it indicates that Josephus did not consider this Jesus to be anything more than a revered teacher - literally noteworthy - but hardly the wonder worker of the book of Mark, a fact that embarrassed early christians to the point that they 1) ignored the passage for centuries, even while citing Josephus elsewhere and 2) later saw fit to deceptively alter the passage.

It should also be noted that some argue that Antiquities section 20.9 makes an indirect reference to Jesus. This claim is examined here: http://www.atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=38864&sid=eae887916e8679c9...
and also here: http://www.inu.net/skeptic/gospels.html There is good reason to believe that the reference to a "Jesus' here is actually a reference to Jesus, son of Damneus that has been tampered with by later christians, and not an actual reference to 'Jesus, son of Joseph', although Origen does cite this passage as historical evidence for Jesus. And again, the same point remains: the idea that a historian would mention the Messiah in passing while discussing an issue of minor relevance (and not elsewhere) staggers reason itself.

Tacitus (ca. 56 – ca. 117)

Tacitus is remembered first and foremost as Rome's greatest historian. His two surviving works: Annals and The Histories form a near continuous narrative from the death of Augustus in 14 CE to the death of Domitian in 96.

Interestingly, I cannot report on the silence of Tacitus concerning Jesus, because the very years of the purported existence of Jesus 30, 31, are suspiciously missing from his work(!)

Richard Carrier writes:

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

Ironically, Christians often cite Tacitus as historical evidence for Jesus.

This is the passage cited:

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

However, there are serious problems with using this passage as independent corroboration of Jesus:

Jeffery Jay Lowder states:

"There is no good reason to believe that Tacitus conducted independent research concerning the historicity of Jesus. The context of the reference was simply to explain the origin of the term "Christians," which was in turn made in the context of documenting Nero's vices..."

It is not just 'Christ-mythicists' who deny that Tacitus provides independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus; indeed, there are numerous Christian scholars who do the same! For example, France writes, Annals XV.44 "cannot carry alone the weight of the role of 'independent testimony' with which it has often been invested." E.P. Sanders notes, "Roman sources that mention [Jesus] are all dependent on Christian reports." And William Lane Craig states that Tacitus' statement is "no doubt dependent on Christian tradition."
- Jeffery Jay Lowder, "Evidence" for Jesus, Is It Reliable?
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

So it may simply be that Tacitus was relying on oral tradition, and not on any historical research for his reference to Jesus. Tacitus himself tells us about the value of such traditions:

"...everything gets exaggerated is typical for any story" and "all the greatest events are obscure--while some people accept whatever they hear as beyond doubt, others twist the truth into its opposite, and both errors grow over subsequent generations" (Annals 3.44 & 3.19). (Cited via Carrier's article)

As weak as the Tacitus claim is, it remains a possibility that even this weak bit of apparent corroboration is a later interpolation. The problems with this claim are examined here:

http://www.atheistnetwork.com/viewtopic.php?p=38864&sid=eae887916e8679c9...

Some of these problems are summarized by Gordon Stein:

"While we know from the way in which the above is written that Tacitus did not claim to have firsthand knowledge of the origins of Christianity, we can see that he is repeating a story which was then commonly believed, namely that the founder of Christianity, one Christus, had been put to death under Tiberius. There are a number of serious difficulties which must be answered before this passage can be accepted as genuine. There is no other historical proof that Nero persecuted the Christians at all. There certainly were not multitudes of Christians in Rome at that date (circa 60 A.D.). In fact, the term "Christian" was not in common use in the first century. We know Nero was indifferent to various religions in his city, and, since he almost definitely did not start the fire in Rome, he did not need any group to be his scapegoat. Tacitus does not use the name Jesus, and writes as if the reader would know the name Pontius Pilate, two things which show that Tacitus was not working from official records or writing for non-Christian audiences, both of which we would expect him to have done if the passage were genuine.

Perhaps most damning to the authenticity of this passage is the fact that it is present almost word-for-word in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus (died in 403 A.D.), where it is mixed in with obviously false tales. At the same time, it is highly unlikely that Sulpicius could have copied this passage from Tacitus, as none of his contemporaries mention the passage. This means that it was probably not in the Tacitus manuscripts at that date. It is much more likely, then, that copyists working in the Dark Ages from the only existing manuscript of the Chronicle, simply copied the passage from Sulpicius into the manuscript of Tacitus which they were reproducing."
- The Jesus of History: A Reply to Josh McDowell
Gordon Stein, Ph.D. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/jesus.shtml

Supporting Stein's claim is that, as with the Testimonium, there is no provenance for the passage: No early Christian writer uses Tacitus' passage in their apologetics, even when discussing Christian persecution by Nero:

* Tertullian (ca. 155–230)
* Lactantius (ca. 240 - ca. 320)
* Sulpicius Severus (c. 360 – 425)
* Eusebius (ca. 275 – 339)
* Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430)

However, the key point here is that Tacitus did in fact write a thorough history of the purported times of Jesus and his ministry, and while this work is lost to us, Tacitus never makes any cross reference to it during his discussion of christians and Nero nor at any other point in his surviving works.

Plutarch (ca. 46 - 127) again, was not a contemporary, he wrote about the same time as Josephus, about contemporary Roman figures, oracles, prophesies, and moral, religious, and spiritual issues. A figure such as Jesus, whom the Gospels portray as interacting with Roman figures, making prophecies, and giving sermons on novel religious and spiritual issues to throngs of people, would have been of great interest to him. Yet we cannot find even a word about "Jesus" from Plutarch.

Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (ca. 69 - 130)

Suetonius was not a contemporary of the purported time of Jesus. However, since some theists cite Suetonius as independent corroboration of Jesus, I will discuss him here.

Jeffery Jay Lowder writes:

"Suetonius, the Roman historian and biographer formerly known as Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, wrote several works, including his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, which is an account of the lives of the first twelve Roman emperors. In his Life of Claudius, he writes:

As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

Lowder continues:

The claim that 'Chrestus' is a misspelling of 'Christus' "can never be more than a guess, and the fact that Suetonius can elsewhere speak of 'Christians' as members of a new cult (without any reference to Jews) surely makes it rather unlikely that he could make such a mistake
- Jeffery Jay Lowder http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

"Chrestus" means 'The Good" in Greek, while "Christus" means "The Messiah." Actually, Chrestus was not an uncommon name in ancient Rome. Since Jesus was admittedly not in Rome instigating the Jews, we are almost definitely talking about someone other than Jesus here. I should mention that the entire relevant quotation from Suetonius which is involved here reads as follows: "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome." The "he" is Claudius. As just mentioned, not even McDowell claims that Jesus was at Rome in 55 AD, when this incident is alleged to have occurred. It is also difficult to see why Jews would be led by Jesus. That is pretty strong evidence that this passage does not refer to Jesus of Nazareth at all, and so is irrelevant to our discussion of whether Jesus ever lived. We can, however, add the lack of a mention of Jesus in Suetonius to our list of "negative" evidence for the existence of Jesus as an historical person. The reference in Suetonius is Life of the Caesars (Claudius 25:4).

- The Jesus of History: A Reply to Josh McDowell
Gordon Stein, Ph.D. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/jesus.shtml

Justus of Tiberius ( ? - 95 ?) Remsberg states that "Justus was a native of Christ's own country, Galilee. He was a contemporary and rival of Josephus. He wrote a history of Jewish people Kings (who the gospels state Jesus had interactions with) covering the time of Christ's reputed existence. This work perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the 9th century, was acquainted with it said:

'I have read the chronology of Justus of Tiberias ... and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth. He makes not the least mention of the appearance of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did." (– Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, Bibliotheca, Code 33)."

Dio Chrysostom (c. 40–c. 120) was a Greek orator, writer, philosopher and historian of the Roman Empire in the first century. Eighty of his Discourses remain in existence. While Chrysostom was not a contemporary of Jesus' purported time (He was a contemporary of Plutarch, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger) he was both a historian and a person with great interest in moral matters. His philosophy has been considered a moral parallel to that of Paul of Tarsus and indicates that the early Greek Christians drew upon the Cynic and Stoic philosophies when developing their Christian faith. So we again have an early writer who certainly would have had interest in Jesus as Mark or any of the other Gospels, present him.

Epictetus (55-130) Again, the Stoic philosopher Epictetus was not born until sometime after the purported time of Jesus, however, his silence remains noteworthy. A translator of Epictetus, Elizabeth Carter, was baffled that he was not a Christian. “There are so many of the sentiments and expressions of Christianity in it, that one should be strongly tempted to think that Epictetus was acquainted with the New Testament,..” [p. xxii] Well, he was not and never even so much as mentions Christians in passing. He lived in Rome and as a slave to Epaphroditus, a senior member of Nero’s government would have known of the fire and the Christian sacrifice in the aftermath. However, all he has to say about Nero is his persecution of some good men who refused to attend his performances.

They all should have noticed. It appears that none did.

All that is left is to sum things up. The historian Edward Gibbons writes:

"But how shall we excuse the supine inattention of the Pagan and philosophic world, to those evidences which were represented by the hand of Omnipotence, not to their reason, but to their senses? During the age of Christ, of his apostles, and of their first disciples, the doctrine which they preached was confirmed by innumerable prodigies. The lame walked, the blind saw, the sick were healed, the dead were raised, demons were expelled, and the laws of Nature were frequently suspended for the benefit of the church. But the sages of Greece and Rome turned aside from the awful spectacle, and, pursuing the ordinary occupations of life and study, appeared unconscious of any alterations in the moral or physical government of the world. Under the reign of Tiberius, the whole earth, or at least a celebrated province of the Roman empire, was involved in a preternatural darkness of three hours. Even this miraculous event, which ought to have excited the wonder, the curiosity, and the devotion of mankind, passed without notice in an age of science and history. It happened during the lifetime of Seneca and the elder Pliny, who must have experienced the immediate effects, or received the earliest intelligence of the prodigy. Each of these philosophers, in a laborious work, has recorded all the great phenomena of Nature, earthquakes, meteors comets, and eclipses, which his indefatigable curiosity could collect. Both the one and the other have omitted to mention the greatest phenomenon to which the mortal eye has been witness since the creation of the globe" (Rome, Vol. I, pp. 588-590).

Could the most amazing event ever go unnoticed? Only the intellectual dishonest can answer with a "yes".

Addendum:

Let's now consider a person who 'does' 'notice' Jesus:

St. Paul of Tsarus. (10-67)

As Franc Tremblay writes:

"Such a deafening silence on the existence of any other historical figures would be extremely suspicious. In the case of an earth-shaking messiah who raised the dead and fed the multitudes, clearly we should find masses of testimonies and evidence, but we find none. It is clearly an argument for the non-existence of Jesus. But the clinching evidence is that even Christian leaders considered Jesus purely as a mythical figure and did not know anything about his life":

Indeed. And just to demonstrate how sparse in details early writings on Jesus are:

"In the first half century of Christian correspondence, including letters attributed to Paul and other epistles under names like Peter, James and John, the Gospel story cannot be found. When these writers speak of their divine Christ, echoes of Jesus of Nazareth are virtually inaudible, including details of a life and ministry, the circumstances of his death, the attribution of any teachings to him. God himself is often identified as the source of Christian ethics. No one speaks of miracles performed by Jesus, his apocalyptic predictions, his views on any of the great issues of the time. The very fact that he preached in person is never mentioned, his appointment of apostles or his directive to carry the message to the nations of the world is never appealed to. No one looks back to Jesus’ life and ministry as the genesis of the Christian movement, or as the pivot point of salvation history."

- The Jesus Puzzle, by Earl Doherty (Journal of Higher Criticism, Fall 1997)

Ironically, though supposedly in Jerusalem at the right time, he can give no witness to a historical Jesus.
- Jesusneverexisted.com by Kenneth Humprehys,

Then we must consider the basis for the earliest known claims for Jesus are based not on eyewitness accounts, but on a vision:

But the truth is, "after Jesus rose from the dead" our earliest and only eyewitness report says he only spoke "in a revelation" and not in "flesh and blood" (Gal. 1:11-12, 1:15-16). In other words, it was a subjective experience in the mind of the believer that Jesus was speaking to him. We know there are many other causes of such an experience besides an actual spirit of a deceased person contacting us, and have never yet confirmed that any such contact can or ever has happened to anyone.
- Richard Carrier, http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubi...

So tracing back the claim to its earliest trackable origin, we have a claim based on a vision. Not even Paul is an eyewitness!

As Rook Hawkins writes:

(The only Jesus we have is the Jesus of the Gospels) Jesus... is only the Jesus of Francis of Assisi, and Tertullian, and Augustine.... You just cannot locate a historical Jesus in Gospels. Where is he? Is it when Jesus walks on water in Matthew 15:22-33 or after that when Jesus condemns the Pharisees? Perhaps it is when Jesus hands off his cross to Simon in Mark 15:21? Where is he? Without any actual credible, extrabiblical data to attest to Jesus you are only left with two choices. Either Jesus is the Jesus of the Gospels or he fails to exist on any plane other than that of literary invention.

***********************
For those who wish to respond to this Essay :

First, those who wish to question my argument from Silence, please recognize that my argument not only meets all of the requirements, it actually meets the criteria required for a strengthened Argument from Silence:

How to make an Argument from Silence

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

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

It ought to be clear to even the casual reader that the men I have cited meet both criteria.

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

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

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

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

(Important note: this is not to rule out extraordinary claims, a priori.)

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

The argument presented here meets the two additional criteria.

Also see:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/jesuspuzzle.html#...

Carrier writes:
There are two ways to "prove" ahistoricity:

(1) If you can demonstrate that there is both (a) insufficient evidence to believe x and (b) sufficient evidence to disbelieve x, then it is reasonable to disbelieve x. This is the "Argument from Silence."

(2) If you can demonstrate that all the evidence can be far better accounted for by a theory (y) other than historicity (theory x), then it is reasonable to believe y and, consequently, to disbelieve x. This is the "Argument to the Best Explanation."

For more on evidential arguments from silence: http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/outline/silence.html

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


Now, if you still wish to respond, unless you have entirely new points to raise, please save yourself some time and just post "Number 1" or "Number 2 or "Number 3"

1) No one would have noticed, because "Jesus" was a minor figure.

- This response simply ignores my essay. Reread my opening points on the book of Mark, which demonstrate that the Jesus presented in the Gospels cannot be sanely held to be a figure that anyone could ignore, no matter their pre -xistent beliefs.

Richard Carrier writes:

One could say that Jesus was an insignificant, illiterate, itinerant preacher with a tiny following, who went wholly unnoticed by any literate person in Judaea. However, this would not bode well for anyone who wished to maintain he was God, or did any of the more amazing things attributed to him. It is very implausible, for instance, that a biography would be written for the obscure itinerant philosopher Demonax in his own lifetime (by Lucian), yet God Incarnate, or a Great Miracle Worker who riled up all Judaea with talk, should inspire nothing like it until decades after his death. And though several historians wrote on Judaean affairs in the early 1st century (not just Josephus and Tacitus, but several others no longer extant), none apparently mentioned Jesus (see the Secular Web library on Historicity). Certainly, had anyone done so, the passages would probably have been lovingly preserved by 2nd century Christians, or else inspired angry rebuttals.

For instance, the attacks of Celsus, Hierocles, and Porphyry, though destroyed by Christians and thus no longer extant (another example of the peculiar problem of Christian history discussed above), nevertheless remain attested in the defenses written by Origen, Eusebius, and Macerius Magnes. But no earlier attacks are attested. There is no mention of Christians in Plutarch's attack On Superstition, nor a rebuttal to any attack on Christianity in Seneca's lost work On Superstition (which ruthlessly attacked pagans and Jews, as attested in book 10 of Augustine's City of God), so it seems evident Christians got no mention even there, in a text against alien cults, by a man who would have witnessed the Neronian persecution of 64 A.D. (alternatively, the fact that this is the only work of Seneca's not to be preserved, despite the fact that Christians must surely have been keen to preserve an anti-pagan text by a renowned pagan, might mean it contained some damning anti-Christian material and was suppressed, though Augustine clearly had access to the work and says nothing about such content). All of this suggests a troubling dichotomy for believers: either Jesus was a nobody (and therefore not even special, much less the Son of God) or he did not exist.
- Richard Carrier, http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/jesuspuzzle.html#...

2) "The people I listed wouldn't care about writing about a god striding the earth in earthly form, attracting throngs of people and working miracles... because they preferred to focus on other things... like philosophy."

Response: Sure, and people dealing with philosophy, the meaning of life, matters of the true nature of existence, would not be interested in a godman striding the earth, working miracles, offering redemption, because such things have nothing to do with the meaning of life...

Please think your argument through. It relies on circular logic when the very conclusion of such an argument is being ruled out in the first place: Had they encountered such a being, it's unlikely that they would have carried on writing about other matters in the first place. The fact that they did focus on other matters works against you, not for you.

3) We would never expect disinterested parties, or outright 'enemies' of Christianity to record it, since it would not serve their purposes.

First, we would expect to hear criticisms and attacks from enemies.

But more importantly, this is circular logic. If the book of Mark, a book that reports epoch shattering events, is a historical account, then how could there be so many disinterested third parties and outright enemies of Christianity in the first place? It is simply begging the question to assume that doubters would remain doubters, even in the face of overwhelming evidence as per the claims of the book of Mark. It is simply backwards logic to argue that doubters would simply remain doubters: the more parsimonious explanation is that these amazing events didn't occur in the first place. This better explains the silence.

As Richard Carrier writes:

"Of course, if the evidence were really so clear, there would not be many enemies in the first place: many leading, literate Jews would have converted, many more than just Paul, and all would have left us letters and documents about their experiences and reasons. But that would fall under the category of eyewitness testimony, of which we have none, except Paul, who of course never testifies to ever meeting Jesus in the flesh, to seeing the empty grave, or to seeing the actual corpse of Jesus rising and talking. In fact, Paul never really says anyone saw these things.

Instead, my category of hostile attestation is distinct from this, for if even those who don't like it or don't believe it nevertheless report it, even if only to denounce or deny it or explain it away, that is itself stronger evidence than we now have. For example, if we had what Matthew claims the Jews were saying in Matthew 28:11-15 from a first-century Jewish writer, that would be hostile attestation.[11] Certainly many Jews would have an interest in publishing such lies or explanations, if in fact Christians were making such claims then, and there really were enough Christians making these claims for anyone to care. Instead, the complete absence of any Jewish texts attacking Christianity in the first century is astonishing--unless Christianity was a socially microscopic cult making unverifiably subjective claims of revelations from God that no one could falsify. Otherwise, ancient authors were not beneath writing tracts slandering other people, and later pagan authors had no scruple against attacking the Christians. So why did no one attack the Christians earlier? There are problems here, surely."

- From "The Rubicon Analogy"

4) "Remsberg was refuted a long time ago."

This essay corrects the flaws in his argument. However, while many have pointed out flaws in Remsberg's original list, his main point still stands: it's ridiculous to claim that a historian or a philosopher wouldn't be interested in mentioning that he saw a god man working miracles. In addition, those who questioned the original list by pointing to authors of questionable merit, critics rarely, if ever bothered to concede the existence of early authors whose works are lost to us, but would have been available to second century Christians.



See also:

The Jesus Puzzle: http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/home.htm
by Earl Doherty

Jesus Never Existed: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/
by Kenneth Humphreys

Did Jesus Exist?: http://www.atheists.org/christianity/didjesusexist.html
by Frank Zindler

The works of Richard Carrier: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/

The works of Robert Price: http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/

The works of G. A. Wells: http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/g_a_wells/index.html

http://www.bibleorigins.net/ http://www.christianorigins.com/

And a rare, well reasoned counter position:

Jeffery Jay Lowder
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/jeff_lowder/jury/chap5.html

Other points to consider:

Imagine the existence of letters by Caiaphas or "Joseph of Arimathea" or "Peter" or Pontius Pilate. A reference from any of these figures would present us with strong evidence for at least a historical Jesus. While it shouldn't surprise us that most historical documents are lost to us, shouldn't it at least arouse our suspicions that no letters exist from any of these men?

"If we had an actual papyrus carbon-dated to the first century containing a letter by Pilate or Peter documenting or detailing any of the key facts surrounding the resurrection claim, that would be physical evidence. If we had an inscription commissioned by Joseph of Arimathea attesting to the fact that he found his tomb empty and that Jesus then appeared to his disciples, that would be physical evidence. If we had a coin issued by Agrippa just a few years later declaring faith in Christ, that would be physical evidence. If the empty tomb acquired miraculous powers as a result of so momentous a miracle there, or if the angels never left but remained there to converse with all who sought to know the truth, so that either fact could be physically confirmed today--so that we could go there now and see these miracles or angels for ourselves--that would be physical evidence.

And

"On the Resurrection, however, no eyewitness wrote anything--not Jesus, not Peter, not Mary, not any of the Twelve, nor any of the Seventy, nor any of the Five Hundred. All we have is Paul, who saw nothing but a "revelation," and who mentions no other kind of experience or evidence being reported by anyone. On the Resurrection, no neutral or hostile witness or contemporary wrote anything--not Joseph, not Caiaphas, not Gamaliel, not Agrippa, not Pilate, not Lysias, not Sergius, not anyone alive at the time, whether Jewish, Greek, or Roman. On the Resurrection, no critical historian documents a single detail, or even the claim itself, until centuries later, and then only by Christian apologists who can only cite the New Testament as their source (and occasionally bogus documents like the letter sent by Jesus to Abgar that Eusebius tries to pass off as authentic). On the Resurrection, no physical evidence of any kind was produced--no coins, no inscriptions, no documentary papyri, no perpetual miracles. And everything that followed in history was caused by the belief in that resurrection, not the resurrection itself--and we know an actual resurrection is not the only possible cause of a belief in a resurrection.
- Richard Carrier, The Rubicon Analogy.
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubi...

When you add up all of the following facts, the case for the existence of Jesus as an historical person becomes rather remote: 1) there are no proven, legitimate references to the existence of Jesus in any contemporary source outside of the New Testament (which is really not a contemporary source, as it was written from 30 to 70 years after Jesus supposedly died), 2) There is no evidence that the town of Nazareth, from which Jesus' mother supposedly came, ever existed at the time he was supposedly living there, 3) the existence of Jesus is not necessary to explain the origin or growth of Christianity (were the Hindu gods real'?), 4) the New Testament accounts do not provide a real "biography" for Jesus until you look at the Gospels. The earlier Pauline epistles imply only that he was a god, and 5) the biblical accounts of the trial and death of Jesus are logically self-contradictory and legally impossible. Jesus could not have been executed under either Roman or Jewish law for what he did. Whatever you call what he did, it was not a capital offense under either system. Rather, it looks like someone is trying to make Old Testament prophecies of the death of the Messiah come true by fabricating a scenario which simply doesn't make sense legally.

- The Jesus of History: A Reply to Josh McDowell
Gordon Stein, Ph.D. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/gordon_stein/jesus.shtml

Topher's picture

todangst wrote: Topher

todangst wrote:
Topher wrote:


I generally hold the view that Paul created the Jesus myth, which was then orally passed around for some decades and in the process becoming embellished and splintering into divergent versions. This is supported but the fact that there were hundreds of Christian sects during early Christianity (Epiphanius details many). This leads to the now orthodox version, the gnostic versions and so on. Then, Marcion creates the first ‘canon’ and this forces the early church fathers to create the now orthodox canon.

So I think that it did start with a single, but vague spiritual myth that then splinters, but then is returned to a single, but now embellished doctrine.

But we already have competing myths from the beginning:

The writings of Philo provide for a possible seed for Jesus stories. Read more about Philo and be stunned about how much of his works became "christianity"

The Quelle (Q) sayings need only be attributed to 'one wise man' for them to represent a second Jesus.

Then we have Paul.

 

Interesting. I'll look into Philo.

I was always under the assumption that the 'Jesus story' started (i.e. was invented) with the writings of Paul and that it was after this that we got the competing versions.

While Paul may have taken from earlier writings, 'Jesus' didn't 'exist' in scripture prior to Pauls writings, right?

 

What sort of competing myths did we have before Paul.

 

Thanks 

"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring" -- Carl Sagan

Alockslee's picture

The God Who Wasn't There

Brian Flemming's video did an excellent job on covering the historical Jesus and raises a number of questions that haven't been properly addressed by those who follow Fundamental/Evangelical beliefs.

He points out many comparisons between other deities prior to and contemporary to the time period allocated to what is written about in the four gospels.

Has anyone here found a detailed response to this video?  

 

TFR 

 

 

Http://lehermitage.informe.com

Stupidity will never want for examples as long as Fundamentalists and Evangelicals exist!

Susan's picture

There are a couple out

There are a couple out there.  Just Google "The God Who Wasn't There" and you should be able to find them if you really want to read them.

In my opinion, none were at all impressive and none are worth the time it takes to Google them.

 

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.

Wow!

Goodness!  That's a lot.  Wish I had more time to read, but Ph.D. prep work + full-time job = little time.

Anyway, I skimmed over everything and I've at least bookmarked the page.  I'll want to work my way through it as i find the time.  My primary concern (and one which could most certainly proceed out the fact that I didn't read closely) is that many of your sources come from internet sites and do not appear to come from published works, most especially in peer-reviewed journals, etc.  Of Course the works of Josephus, etc are public domain, so I'm primarily interested in the writers you cite (though it wouldn't hurt to list the primary sources as well).  Anyone can write anything on the internet and sound like an expert.  Putting your work up for your peers to pick apart is quite another.  The fact that they may disagree doesn't disprove the argument.  It merely offers the other side.  Sure, an article can be ripped apart by 100 other scholars only to be proven later, but if it's never published in the first place, there's not much reason to take it seriously.  Your essay sounds intriguing, compelling and certainly worth publishing.  Perhaps you might consider it. 

 

In the meantime could you be so kind as to provide a bibliography?  But please don't bother if all you have are internet sources.  If that's the case, the biggest problem with your article would be that it's simply not well-researched.  But if so (like I said, I did not read closely) I will certainly be more inclined to read it closely in the future Smiling

 

 

Again, if what I've said above shows my lack of familiarity with the essay, please say so and I'll comb through it (and my apologise).  A Works Cited or Bibliography would be helpful regardless.  Some prefer not to read a person's interpretation of an author, but the author him/herself.

Rook_Hawkins's picture

Xian Rin...For a more

Xian Rin...

For a more extensive look at this, check out my blog articles on this site

There are more than enough published works listed there in endnotes to take away whatever little time you have left.

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

todangst's picture

Xian Rinpoche

Xian Rinpoche wrote:

Goodness!  That's a lot.  Wish I had more time to read, but Ph.D. prep work + full-time job = little time.


 

Tsk tsk! No excuse! My dissertation defense is on April 28th.

Quote:

Anyway, I skimmed over everything and I've at least bookmarked the page.  I'll want to work my way through it as i find the time.  My primary concern (and one which could most certainly proceed out the fact that I didn't read closely) is that many of your sources come from internet sites and do not appear to come from published works, most especially in peer-reviewed journals, etc. 

While the source-work comes from the net, the work is some cases published work by respected historians, like Richard Carrier.

And you can always take a look at Rook's work, for even more peer-reviewed citations.  In short, my paper isn't the typical "let's scrounge up some crap from the net"....

Quote:

Of Course the works of Josephus, etc are public domain, so I'm primarily interested in the writers you cite (though it wouldn't hurt to list the primary sources as well). 

Good point, but my paper is merely an essay, not a research document. For that, you'd be better off going to one of my sources: rook hawkins.

 

Quote:

Anyone can write anything on the internet and sound like an expert.  Putting your work up for your peers to pick apart is quite another. 

Again, while I cite sources found on the net, the writers I cite, like carrier, etc., are published authors.  So your criticism really doesn't apply.

 

Quote:

Your essay sounds intriguing, compelling and certainly worth publishing.  Perhaps you might consider it. 

 

It's just a review of some things I've read. I wouldn't even think of publishing it. I don't even consider it noteworthy.

 

Quote:

In the meantime could you be so kind as to provide a bibliography?  But please don't bother if all you have are internet sources.  If that's the case, the biggest problem with your article would be that it's simply not well-researched.  

 

You are making the assumption that taking something off the net necessarilly implies citining anonymous sources.  On the contrary, I cite sources like Josephus and Richard Carrier, etc.  You also seem to believe that I am writing a scholarly article for publication, when in fact it's a learned layman's assessment of a situation.

 

 

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

Books on atheism.

libertarianbob01's picture

Thank to todangst for A Silence That Screams

Greetings and Best Wishes to All

 

Regarding Tacitus Annals 15:44 passage, it is now known that it is a redactional forgery.

 

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html#chrestos

 

11th century monk corrects Tacitus: "Goodies" to read "Christians"!

Ultraviolet photo of a critical word from the earliest known extant manuscript of Tacitus (second Medicean, Laurentian library, Italy).

The photograph reveals that the word purportedly used by Tacitus in Annals 15.44, chrestianos ("the good&quotEye-wink, has been overwritten as christianos ("the Christians&quotEye-wink by a later hand, a deceit which explains the excessive space between the letters and the exaggerated "dot" (dash) above the new "i". The entire "torched Christians" passage of Tacitus is not only fake, it has been repeatedly "worked over" by fraudsters to improve its value as evidence for the Jesus myth.

The truth may be that there was an original gnostic cult following a personified virtue, "Jesus Chrestos" (Jesus the Good). Consequently, they were called Chrestians, an appellation which seems to have attached itself at an early date to the sectarians of the "heretic" Marcion. Support for this possibility comes from the earliest known "Christian" inscription, found in the 19th century on a Marcionite church at Deir Ali, three miles south of Damascus. Dated to 318-9, the inscription reads "The meeting-house of the Marcionists, in the village of Lebaba, of the Lord and Saviour Jesus the Good", using the word Chrestos, not Christos.

As a flesh-and-blood, "historical" Jesus gradually eclipsed the allegorical Jesus so, too, did "goodness" get eclipsed by "Messiahship". Justin, in his First Apology (4), about thirty years after the death of Tacitus, plays on the similarity in sound of the two words Χριστὸς (Christ) and χρηστὸς (good, excellent) to argue for the wholesome, commendable character of Jesus followers.


http://chrestianos.jesuspusslet.se/

Implicit with belief through faith is that the proposition at hand is unable to stand on its own merits.

libertarianbob01's picture

Poster ILOVECHRIST

Poster ILOVECHRIST mentioned Josephus' Antiquities 20:9

Doherty shows Antiquities 20:9 is either an interpolation or about Jesus son of Damneus

http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp16.htm

And Poster ILOVECHRIST made an fallacious Argumentum ad verecundiam (http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/mathew/logic.html#authority)

by claiming

“the above passage has been accepted by most all scholars secular and christian as authentic"

He also arrogantly claimed "I'll Defend God. Don't Test Me. You'll Lose"

But Poster ILOVECHRIST's god is impossible as is demonstrated by the following syllogism I composed based on Ayn Rand's writings.

1. To believe that a theistic creator deity exists, the believer must imagine their deity was in some timeless fashion akin to "before" existence alone in a timeless, non-spatial, void, without matter, energy, location, dimensions, fields, concepts, knowledge, symbols, perceptions, physical natural law, logic, or referents. And that it then wished existence to instantiate.

2. Consciousness is an axiomatic irreducible primary process that at the most common denominative rung on the ladder of complexity consists of awareness of existence.

3. Consciousness of consciousness necessarily requires primary consciousness to first obtain as awareness of existence.

4. Prior to existence there could not have been anything to be aware of.

5. Without anything to be aware of, there could not have been any awareness.

6. Without awareness there could not have been any consciousness.

7. From 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 there could not have been a primordial consciousness prior to existence.

8. Creator gods are defined as primordial consciousness.

9. From 7 and 8 Creator gods cannot exist.


arrogantly

 

Implicit with belief through faith is that the proposition at hand is unable to stand on its own merits.

todangst wrote:[....]Ah yes,

todangst wrote:
[....]

Ah yes, another mythicist who doesn't have a clue as to the total picture he's going against. 

Todangst I'm hoping we can have a one on one debate, I took Hawkins on sometime ago, confronting his delusional assumptions, but he bowed out early, perhaps you could take up where he left off? You seem semi competent enough, and I've always enjoyed a good bout with a semi-informed mythicist. 

Would you like to go at it with me? 

libertarianbob01's picture

Rook_Hawkings wrote > "The

Rook_Hawkings wrote > "The passage in Ant. 18 seems more like a purposeful interpolation before Eusebius (although it could just as well be likely Eusebius forged it himself)"

Ken Olson published a paper in CBQ [K. A. Olson, “Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61.2 (1999) 305-322].

posted at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/message/4869 and at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/1126

Wherein he domonstrates that Eusebius is the probable author of the Testimonium Flavianum. In the following text Ken Olson shows that Eusebius of Caesarea is the actual author of the TF,  To read the link, one has to join the Jesusmysteries Yahoo group.
********************************************************************************************

What follows is a post I originally sent to Crosstalk on 7/28/00 (#4869). My
apologies to those who've already seen it, but it seemed to be pertinent to the
present discussion on JesusMysteries.

Ken

kaolson@...

INTRODUCTION
I am going to argue here that the _Testimonium Flavianum_, the passage about
Jesus found in all of our surviving manuscripts of Josephus' _Antiquities of the
Jews_ (18.63-64) is in fact the work of Eusebius of Caesarea. Josephus either
said nothing about Jesus at this point in his text, or what he said is so
completely overwritten by Eusebius that no authentic Josephan substratum of the
_Testimonium_ can be recovered. As it is the nearly unanimous verdict of modern
scholarship that the _Testimonium_ is at least partially a Christian
interpolation, I do not intend to waste time establishing that fact. Instead, I
will examine the argument most commonly made in favor of the partial
authenticity of the _Testimonium_, (i.e., that it contains Josephan language and
non-Christian content) and try to show that the data are better explained on the
theory that Eusebius is the author of the entire text.

LANGUAGE


The claim that the _Testimonium_ is written in Josephus' style is difficult to
analyze. What is Josephus' style? Thackeray based his claim largely on a single
characteristically Josephan phrase (Thackeray, 141-42). Using Rengstorf's
concordance of Josephus, Meier did a comparison between the vocabulary of the
_Testimonium_ and that of Josephus on the one hand and the NT on the other. He
found that, with the single exception of the word CRISTIANWN, every word found
in the _Testimonium_ is also found in Josephus, while the same cannot be said
with regard to the NT. Meier himself gives several caveats about his method: the
works of Josephus are a much larger corpus than the NT and what he shows is that
if a Christian author wrote the _Testimonium_, then that author is not taking
his vocabulary solely from the NT (Meier, 80-83, n. 41).

While no concordance of Eusebius works is available (and I do not claim to have
read all of Eusebius' works), it is possible to say that every word in the
_Testimonium_ is also found elsewhere in Eusebius. On the level of basic
vocabulary, it is difficult to say whether the _Testimonium_ is more likely to
be from Josephus or Eusebius. A comparison of groups of words used together,
such as a noun or verb with its modifiers, showed that there are three such
groups found in the _Testimonium_ that are not paralleled elsewhere in Josephus
but are found in Eusebius, and two such groups found elsewhere in Josephus but
not (so far as I can tell) in Eusebius. The Eusebian phrases are: PARADOXWN
ERGWN POIHTHS, EIS ETI TE NUN, and TWN CRISTIANWN... TO FULON. The Josephan
phrases are: hHDONHi DECOMENWN and PRWTWN ANDRWN (when used in the sense of
"leaders&quotEye-wink. Clearly, the hapax legomena alone will not decide who is/are the
author(s) of this passage, but any theory on the origin of the _Testimonium_
must be able to explain them all coherently.

EUSEBIUS' APOLOGETIC WORKS

Eusebius quotes the _Testimonium_ in three of his works: the _Demonstratio
Evangelica_, the _Historia Ecclesiastica_, and the _Theophany_. His purpose in
quoting it in each case is to use Josephus as a witness to Jesus' good character
in order to refute Jewish and pagan accusations against Jesus. In particular,
Eusebius is concerned to refute the charge that Jesus was a GOHS, a term that
can be translated as "charlatan" or "wizard" or "deceiver." Eusebius also
answered this charge in his _Adversus Hieroclem_, which was written earlier than
any of the three works previously mentioned. The _Demonstratio_ and the
_Historia_ are difficult to date, particularly since modern scholarship holds
that the latter was published in four editions. Most scholars consider the
_Demonstratio_ to be the earlier work. It is likely that Eusebius worked on both
texts simultaneously, but I take the reading of the _Testimonium_ in the
_Demonstratio_ to be the earlier of the two. The _Theophany_ was one of
Eusebius' latest works and has come down to us only in Syriac.

ADVERSUS HIEROCLEM

In the _Adversus Hieroclem_, the earliest of the works under consideration,
Eusebius is concerned to refute the unfavorable comparison that Hierocles made
between Jesus and Apollonius of Tyana in his _Lover of Truth_. Hierocles' work
does not survive, but from what Eusebius says of it, Hierocles major source
appears to have been Flavius Philostratus' _Life of Apollonius_.

According to Mendelson's analysis, Philostratus placed Apollonius in a category
of intermediate beings between gods and men, and terms him a "sage" (SOFOS) or
DAIMWN (Mendelson, 512). Eusebius rejects these categories. He tells us,

I . used to regard the man of Tyana having been, humanly speaking, a kind of
sage [SOFON TINA], and I am still freely disposed to adhere to this opinion. Not
so if anyone ventures. to overleap the bounds of humanity and transcend
philosophy, and while repelling the charge of wizardry [GOHTEIAN] bind it in act
rather than in name upon the man, using the mask of Pythagorean discipline to
disguise what he really was. For in that case his reputation for us as a
philosopher will be gone. and we shall detect in him a sophist in the truest
sense. and a wizard [GOHS], if there ever was one, instead of a philosopher.
(A.H. 5).

Mendelson observes that:

In Eusebius estimation, Apollonius was a good, but ordinary, man. Apollonius'
followers have mistakenly raised him above his true terrestrial station. As
Eusebius asserts, "Apollonius was not fit to be classed, I will not say among
philosophers, but even among men of integrity and good sense." (AH 4). For
Eusebius the status of Apollonius amounts to a simple disjunction, "whether we
ought to rank him among divine and philosophic men or among wizards." Since only
one man, Jesus, can correspond to the first category, Eusebius is forced to
conclude that Apollonius belongs to the class of "wizards and falsely wise men"
(GOHTON KAI YEUDOSOFON, AH 38). [Mendelson, 519].

Thus we can distinguish three categories in Eusebius' thought: the divine man,
which includes Jesus alone; the wise man (SOFOS), which includes prophets and
philosophers, and the wizard (GOHS) or false man. Eusebius says he would be
willing to accept that Apollonius is a SOFOS, unless one insists on crediting
the stories about him which claim he has a divine nature, in which case Eusebius
concludes he must be a GOHS.

DEMONSTRATIO EVANGELICA

At the end of chapter four and the beginning of chapter five of the third book
of the _Demonstratio Evangelica_, Eusebius promises to refute those who the
either deny that Jesus worked any miracles at all or that, if he did, it was by
wizardry (GOHTIXA) and deception (D.E. 109). Near the end of chapter five,
Eusebius produces the _Testimonium_, which encapsulates the arguments he has
made in the chapter, or elsewhere in the book, and attributes them to Josephus.
As it appears in the _Demonstratio_, the _Testimonium_ reads:

GINETAI DE KAT' EKEINON TON CRONON IHSOUS, SOFOS ANHR, EIGE ANDRA AUTON LEGEI
XRH. HN GAR PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS, DIDASKALOS ANQRWPWN TALHQH SEBOMENWN, KAI
POLLOUS MEN IOUDAIKOU, POLLOUS DE KAI hHLLHNIKOU EPHGAGETO. hO CRISTOS hOUTOS
HN, KAI AUTON ENDEIXEI TON PAR' hHMIN ARCONTWN STAURWi EPITETIMHKOTOS PILATOU,
OUK EPAUSANTO hOI TO PRWTON AGAPHSANTES. EFANE GAR AUTOIS TRITHN hHMERAN PALIN
ZWN, TWN THEIWN PROFHTWN TAUTA TE KAI ALLA MYRIA PERI AUTOU EIRHKOTWN. hOQEN
EISETI NUN APO TOUDE TWN CRISTIANWN OUK EPELIPE TO FULON.


About this time arose Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one should call him a man,
for he was a maker of miraculous works, a teacher of men who revere the truth,
and he won over many of the Jewish and even many of the Greek [nation]. He was
the Christ; and although Pilate, upon an accusation from our rulers, condemned
him to the cross, nevertheless those who had loved him earlier did not stop, for
he appeared to them alive again on the third day, the divine prophets having
foretold these and also myriads of other wonders about him. From that time to
this the nation of Christians has not failed. (D.E. 124).

In what follows, I will examine the _Testimonium_ line by line and attempt to
show how the entire passage fits Eusebius' apologetic strategy.

"About this time arose Jesus, a wise man;" as we have seen, the "wise man" is
for Eusebius the opposite of the GOHS, "wizard" or "deceiver." In _Adversus
Hieroclem_ Eusebius argued that if he had to accept the supernatural feats
attributed to Apollonius, he must regard him as a GOHS rather than a wise man
(A.H. 5); here he has Josephus call Jesus a "wise man" and thus, implicitly, not
a GOHS.

"if indeed one should call him a man, for he was a maker of miraculous works;"
most modern scholars consider the first part of this quotation a Christian
interpolation because it presupposes Jesus' superhuman nature. For Eusebius,
both Hebrew prophets and Greek philosophers can be wise men or sages. Even
Porphyry, the critic of Christianity, is an ANHR SOFOS (D.E. 105). Jesus himself
is "the prince of philosophers and the teacher of holy men" (D.E. 127). Unlike
other wise men, however, Jesus alone has a divine or superhuman nature. The term
PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS is markedly Eusebian. POIHTHS never occurs in Josephus
in the sense of "maker" rather than "poet," and the only time Josephus combines
forms of PARADOXOS and POIHW it is in the sense of "acting contrary to custom"
(A.J. 12.87) rather than "making miracles." Combining forms of PARADOXOS and
POIHW in the sense of "miracle-making" is exceedingly common in Eusebius, but he
seems to reserve the three words PARADOXOS, POIHW, and ERGON, used together, to
describe Jesus (D.E. 114-115, 123, 125, H.E. 1.2.23)

"a teacher of men who revere the truth;" Eusebius wants to show that Jesus'
disciples, like their master, were not deceivers. They were men who revere the
truth.

"and he won over many of the Jewish and even many of the Greek [nation]." It is
sometimes argued that a Christian author would have known that Jesus did not
attract many gentile followers during his ministry, but this is contradicted by
Eusebius' testimony. Elsewhere he reports of Jesus that "by teaching and
miracles He revealed the powers of His Godhead to all equally whether Greeks or
Jews" (D.E. 400). The paired opposition of Jews and Greeks is especially common
in the first two books of the _Demonstratio_, where Eusebius claims,
"Christianity is neither a form of Hellenism nor a form of Judaism" (D.E. 11).
It is, in fact, the re-establishment of the religion of the patriarchs, who
worshipped the one God but did not have the restrictions of the Mosaic law, and
thus was "that third form of religion midway between Judaism and Hellenism"
(D.E.: Ferrar 8, Migne 25a). The MEN. DE construction used in the _Testimonium_
situates the "nation" founded by Jesus nicely between the two other religions.

"He was the Christ;" few or no modern scholars accept that this is Josephan as
it stands. This is almost universally admitted to be an interpolation by a
Christian writer, although it is not necessarily Eusebian.

"and although Pilate, upon an accusation from our rulers, condemned him to the
cross, nevertheless those who had loved him earlier did not stop;" following a
suggestion in Meier, I have translated the genitive absolute as a concessive,
rather than a temporal, clause (Meier, 78, n. 35). Meier does not go on to
explain why the author of this passage should choose to highlight Jesus'
followers in the main clause and relegate Jesus' crucifixion to a subordinate
position. The mention of the crucifixion in this sentence establishes under what
conditions Jesus' followers did not abandon him. This is Eusebius' central
argument in D.E. 3.5. Eusebius' opponents were not denying that Jesus was
crucified by the Roman and Jewish authorities; this was probably a main part of
their argument that Jesus was a GOHS. Eusebius, however, cleverly inverts this
argument. If Jesus had been a deceiver, and his followers had been deceivers,
would not self-interest have compelled them to abandon his teachings after they
had witnessed the manner of his death at the hands of the authorities? The fact
that they did not abandon Jesus after witnessing the punishments he had brought
upon himself can only mean that the disciples had recognized some greater than
normal virtue in their teacher. This argument is developed at great length in
D.E. 3.5, but I shall quote only a part of it here, "Perhaps you will say that
the rest were wizards no less than their guide. Yes - but surely they had all
seen the end of their teacher, and the death to which He came. Why then after
seeing his miserable end did they stand their ground?" (D.E. 111).

"for he appeared to them alive again on the third day, the divine prophets
having foretold these and also myriads of other wonders about him." Nearly all
modern scholars consider this a Christian interpolation. It is typical of
Eusebius' apologetic arguments, especially in the first two books of the
_Demonstratio_, which are primarily directed at Jesus' Jewish critics. As Norris
observes, "[Eusebius] follows both Justin and Origen in suggesting that ancient
prophecy, specifically Jewish prophecy, had indicated who Jesus would be and
what he would do. His miracles are not to be set aside as based on magic but are
to be accepted as predicted by the prophets" (Norris, 526).

"From that time to now the nation of Christians has not failed." In Adversus
Hieroclem, Eusebius asks that those who consider Apollonius "a divine being and
superior to a philosopher, in a word as one superhuman in his nature" to point
out any of his effects that have lasted "to this day" (EISETI NUN; A.H. 7).
Jesus according to Eusebius, has left such effects (EISETI KAI NUN; A.H. 4 x2).
The word "Christians" is not found anywhere in Josephus, but "nation (FULON) of
Christians" is found in Eusebius (H.E. 3.33.2, 3.33.3). In the first book of the
_Demonstratio_, Eusebius argues that the Christians are the "nation" promised to
Abraham (D.E.: Ferrar 10, Migne 25c). He uses the terms FULON, EQNOS, and LAOS,
pretty much interchangeably, to describe Christianity.

The _Testimonium_, then, corroborates many of the points Eusebius made in the
first three books of the _Demonstratio Evangelica_. Norris observes that when
Eusebius found the _Testimonium_, "it surely would have appeared too good to be
true - as indeed it was" (Norris, 533). I will go farther than Norris and say
that the _Testimonium_ follows Eusebius' line of argument in the _Demonstratio_
so closely that it is not only very unlikely that it could have been written by
Josephus, but it is unlikely it could have been written by any other Christian,
or even by Eusebius for another work. There is nothing in the language or
content of the _Testimonium_, as it appears in the _Demonstratio Evangelica_,
that suggests it is anything other than a completely Eusebian composition.

HISTORIA ECCLESIASTICA

Eusebius cites the _Testimonium_ again in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_, in order
to refute the pagan _Acts of Pilate_ (H.E. 11.9). As it appears in the
_Historia_, the _Testimonium_ reads:

GINETAI DE KATA TOUTON TON CRONON IHSOUS, SOFOS ANHR, EI GE ANDRA AUTON LEGEI
XRH. HN GAR PARADOXWN ERGWN POIHTHS, DIDASKALOS ANQRWPWN TWN hHDONHi TALHQH
DECOMENWN, KAI POLLOUS MEN TWN IOUDAIWN, POLLOUS DE KAI APO TOU hHLLHNIKOU
EPHGAGETO. hO CRISTOS hOUTOS HN, KAI AUTON ENDEIXEI TON PRWTWN ANDRWN PAR' hHMIN
STAURWi EPITETIMHKOTOS PILATOU, OUK EPAUSANTO hOI TO PRWTON AGAPHSANTES. EFANE
GAR AUTOIS TRITHN ECWN hHMERAN PALIN ZWN, TWN THEIWN PROFHTWN TAUTA TE KAI ALLA
MYRIA PERI AUTOU QAUMASIA EIRHKOTWN. EIS ETI TE NUN TWN CRISTIANWN APO TOUDE
WNOMASMENON OUK EPELIPE TO FULON.

I will comment on a few of the differences between the two versions of the
_Testimonium_.

hHDONHi DECOMENWN, "receive with pleasure," replaces SEBOMENWN, "revere" (or
"revering&quotEye-wink, and PRWTWN ANDRWN, "first men," replaces ARCONTWN, "rulers." Both
hHDONHi DECOMENWN and PRWTWN ANDRWN are phrases found in Josephus for which I
have been unable to find other parallels in Eusebius' writings. Are they signs
of an authentic Josephan substratum lying beneath our present _Testimonium_?

I do not think so. For the reasons given above, it would be difficult to argue
that our version of the _Testimonium_ does not show Eusebian influence. Further,
the Eusebian version of the passage was originally composed for the
_Demonstratio_, not the _Historia_. The _Demonstratio_ is the earlier text, and
the _Testimonium_ is an encapsulation of arguments found in it that receive
relatively little attention in the _Historia_. In particular, the main argument
of D.E. 3.5, that the disciples continued affection for Jesus after his death is
proof of his and their good character, is missing from the _Historia_. This
means that Eusebius added the two Josephan phrases to his own version of the
_Testimonium_. But if Eusebius is capable of isolating these two phrases in
Josephus and adding them to his work, there is no special reason to believe he
took them from a passage about Jesus. The phrases themselves have no necessary
connection with Jesus and could have been taken from elsewhere in Josephus
writings ( e.g., hHDONHi DECASQAI from A.J. 18.59). These two phrases are not a
sufficient basis on which to infer an authentic Josephan version of the
_Testimonium_.

"Still to this time the nation of Christians, named for him, has not failed."
The first phrase, EIS ETI TE NUN, occurs nowhere in Josephus, but is found
elsewhere in Eusebius (H.E. 2.1.7). EIS ETI NUN is a very common phrase in the
_Historia Ecclesiastica_. The observation that the Christians take their name
from Christ is fairly commonplace (D.E. 80, 131, H.E. 1.3.9-10), occurring also
in Tacitus (Annals 44). In its present context, however, it suits Eusebius'
argument well, "Then, moreover, let him who supports the contention opposed to
mine, inform me if any enchanter (TIS TWN. GOHTWN) that ever existed has ever
taken into his head to institute a new nation (NEOU EQNOUS) called after his own
name?" (D.E. 131).

CONCLUSION

The agreements between the version of the _Testimonium_ found in _Antiquities_
18 and that found in the _Historia Ecclesiastica_ against the version found in
the _Demonstratio Evangelica_ show that it was the _Historia's_ version that
Christian scribes interpolated into our texts of Josephus. They accepted on
Eusebius' authority that the _Antiquities_ ought to contain such a text and
"corrected" their texts according to the reading found in the _Historia
Ecclesiastica_. The version of the _Testimonium_ found in our texts of the
_Antiquities_ is the Eusebian version, and, if there ever was a Josephan
version, that fact remains to be demonstrated.

(Ancient works are cited according to their modern editors. All translations are
taken from the English texts listed here, with the exception of my translations
of the _Testimonium_)

Attridge, Harold W. and Gohei Hata, eds., _Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism_
(Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1992).

Coneybeare, F. C, ed. and trans., _Philostratus The Life of Apollonius of Tyana
and the Treatise of Eusebius Against Hierocles_ (2 vols.; LCL; London:
Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1912. Reprinted 1969). The second volume
contains Greek-English text of Adversus Hieroclem (a.k.a. Contra Hieroclem).

Feldman, Louis H., ed. and trans. _Josephus_, vol. 10: Jewish Antiquities
XVIII-XX (LCL; London: Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1965). Greek and
English texts.

Ferrar, William John, ed. and trans. _Proof of the Gospel_ (2 vols.; London:
S.P.C.K., New York: MacMillan, 1920. Reprinted 2 vols. In 1; Grand Rapids:
Baker, 1981). English translation of the _Demonstratio Evangelica_.

Lake, Kirsop, and J. Oulton, eds and trans., _Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical
History_ (2 vols.; LCL; London: Heinemann; Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 1926, 1932).
Greek-English text.

Meier, John P., _A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus_ (2 vols.; AB
Reference Library; New York: Doubleday, 1991) 1. 56-88.

Mendelson, Alan, "Eusebius and the Posthumous Career of Apollonius of Tyana," in
Attridge and Hata, _Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism_, 510-22.

Migne, J. P., _Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca_, vol. 22 (Paris,
1857). Contains Greek text of the Demonstratio Evangelica.

Norris, Frederick W., "Eusebius on Jesus as Deceiver and Sorcerer," in Attridge
and Hata, _Eusebius, Christianity and Judaism_, 523-40.

Rengstorf, Karl H., _A Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus_ (4 vols.;
Leiden: Brill, 1973-1983).

Thackeray, Henry St. John, _Josephus: the Man and the Historian_ (New York:
Jewish Institute of Religion, 1929).

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
 

Implicit with belief through faith is that the proposition at hand is unable to stand on its own merits.

libertarianbob01's picture

The Patrician on May 21,

The Patrician on May 21, 2007 - 3:58pm. wrote:

"Remember, I am not arguing for the existence of Jesus as the Messiah, merely Jesus as the man."

What man? What is here meant? Define Jesus.

Implicit with belief through faith is that the proposition at hand is unable to stand on its own merits.

HisWillness's picture

manofmanynames wrote:Ah yes,

manofmanynames wrote:

Ah yes, another mythicist who doesn't have a clue as to the total picture he's going against. 

What "total picture"? Is the history of the era itself too petty and annoying for you?

manofmanynames wrote:
Todangst I'm hoping we can have a one on one debate, I took Hawkins on sometime ago, confronting his delusional assumptions, but he bowed out early, perhaps you could take up where he left off? You seem semi competent enough, and I've always enjoyed a good bout with a semi-informed mythicist. 

Are you saying you don't think it's weird that Philo doesn't mention Jesus?

Saint Will: no gyration without funkstification.
fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence

Jesus is the Christ

One day we all will die and when each of you stand before Jesus the Holy Christ the Son of Almighty God, remember my  words for then you will see for yourself that Jesus is the Holy Christ He is the eternal Savior and without Him each of you will fall into eternal damnation ! Seek Jesus or burn in the eternal fire ,

I know Jesus is the Holy Christ He saved me from Hell and all he has saved knows this absolute Truth

Jesus is the Holy Christ!

Brian S.'s picture

Inconsistencies

 The glaring and obvious inconsistency in this entire thread lies in it's stubborn refusal to recognize the writings of the New Testament as historical evidence for the historicity of Christ.  The New Testament Gospels and Epistles have a far, far greater preponderance of evidence than the writings and histories of every other source cited in this thread combined.  For example:

1) The New Testament has over 24,000 partial or complete manuscripts in existence, some of them dated accurately to within 60 years of the events that they refer to.  To the layman, a period of 60 years may seem like a lot, but one gains perspective when given the fact that Homer's Iliad (considered to be the second-best preserved ancient writing) has only 643 remaining manuscripts. Of these 643 manuscripts, the Venetus A manuscript comes the closest to the consensus of when the work was written (about the 8th century BC) at the 10th century AD.  That's over 1,000 years from the time of authorship to the oldest existing manuscript!  And athiest textual critics argue that the New Testament Gospels aren't accurate with a gap of 60 years and over 24,000 manuscripts?  Wow.  Bias, anyone?

2) If you burned all 24,000 manuscripts of New Testament works, you could accurately recreate all but 11 verses using the over 80,000 manuscripts in existence of church fathers quoting the New Testament.  Can this be said of ANY other work of antiquity?

3) Ignoring the New Testament as historical evidence for the life and biography of Jesus is a case of fallacious reasoning that goes something like this:  Because the New Testament contains accounts of supernatural events, it cannot be an accurate history.  This is the logical fallacy of begging the question (circular reasoning).  The arguer accepts as a precondition that supernatural events cannot exist and then argues that because of this, a history containing supernatural events can't be accurate.  So if the question is, "Did Jesus exist, and was he God?", then this person would answer, "No.  God/supernatural events can't occur, therefore Jesus (if he existed) couldn't be God."  You assume the falsity of the question in answering the question.

4) I would recommend the book, "Can We Trust the Gospels?" by Dr. Mark Roberts for further evidence on this topic.  He makes a well-researched defense of the historicity of the Gospels using facts generally accepted even among secular textual critics.  

I would also ask you to honestly answer these question:  How in the world do you explain the absolute explosion of a tiny religion founded in the midst of a pluralistic and hostile culture?  How do you explain how 12 men went from complete cowards to men who would rather die and be tortured than renounce their claim that Jesus, who was murdered for claiming to be God emphatically and repeatedly, rose from death and met with them physically? How do you explain the hundreds of specific prophecies fulfilled by Jesus (Isaiah wrote Isaiah 52-53 700 years before the life of Christ, predicting his crucifixion before that method of execution had been invented)?  

Please consider these things with a rational honesty that favors truth over comfortable lies.

-brian 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

BobSpence's picture

Brian S.,the historicity of

Brian S.,

the historicity of the New testament was NOT rejected by the author of this thread mainly on the grounds that it contained supernatural accounts.

It was rejected, as per the title of this thread, based on the total absence of any accounts of the core events dating from the purported lifetime of Jesus or for many years after his death.

You are either being deliberately obtuse in not addressing the main argument, or suffer severe lack of reading comprehension.

Any arguments based on supernatural ideas are totally un-verifiable, and tend to ignore the virtually infinite number of 'possible' explanations for any mysterious event, once you are prepared to allow violations of any natural principles.

If you have to resort to the 'supernatural', you cannot claim any certainty whatever about your proposed version of events.

You must be aware that there is much good argument that there are actually no unambiguously 'full-filled' prophecies. But that is not directly relevant to this thread.

You are the one clinging to comfortable lies, AKA 'faith'.

Stephen Hawking has now stated that 'God' is unnecessary to explain origins, from the perspective of current science, ie actual knowledge.

If there is a God, the overwhelming evidence, from the OT especially, and from history, and from the state of the world, is that is It is NOT well-disposed toward us, it It cares at all.

Your religious beliefs are built on sand and wishful-thinking.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Brian S.'s picture

BobSpence1

 Bobspence1,

First off, I would like to apologize for any part of my objection that was unclear.  I would also like to note that you committed the logical fallacies of:

A: abusive ad hominem- "You are either being deliberately obtuse in not addressing the main argument, or suffer severe lack of reading comprehension."

B: begging the question (circular reasoning)- "Any arguments based on supernatural ideas are totally un-verifiable, and tend to ignore the virtually infinite number of 'possible' explanations for any mysterious event, once you are prepared to allow violations of any natural principles."  This one may need some explaining.  Your answer assumes the claim that the supernatural cannot be an explanation for a historical event in answering the question of whether the supernatural can be an explanation of a historical event. 

C: subjectivism- "If you have to resort to the 'supernatural', you cannot claim any certainty whatever about your proposed version of events." (you have given no actual evidence in support of your claim)
 

Anyways, I'll address your objections as best I can.

My entire original objection was in fact addressing the claim that there is a "total absence of any accounts of the core events dating from the purported lifetime of Jesus or for many years after his death."  My point was that, in failing to include the accounts given in the gospels and the epistles, the author is essentially just enjoying an exercise in confirmation bias.  His claim is tantamount to arguing that Socrates didn't exist by excluding all of the writings of Plato and anyone else who had eyewitness interaction with him in your research.  My point was that the New Testament manuscripts are historically reliable. I showed this by citing extensive manuscript evidence that is unsurpassed in the entire field of textual criticism.

Further, Stephen Hawking far oversteps the bounds of knowledge with his claim that God is unnecessary to explain origins. I'll put in in standard form:

P1: Either the physical world is eternal, or it is finite.

P2: All things that are finite must have an initial cause.

P3: The physical world is finite.

Therefore:  The physical world had an initial cause.

I predict objections to the 3rd premise.  My answer would be that there is enormous evidence that the Universe is finite, including the rapid expansion of the universe as evidenced by the fact that virtually all galaxies measured by modern astronomy are moving away from us. This implies that the Universe started expanding at a finite point in time.  There are no known mechanisms by which this expansion could be one phase of a cyclical expansion/retraction. Having established that the Universe must have had an initial cause, let's look at what that cause could be:

P1: The physical world had an initial cause.

P2: The initial cause of the physical world must exist independently from that which is physical.

Therefore: The initial cause of the physical world was a supernatural cause.

Supernatural simply meaning, "existing outside of the natural world".

Let's look again at your claim that: "If you have to resort to the 'supernatural', you cannot claim any certainty whatever about your proposed version of events."

I'm curious as to how you justify this claim.  If a historical document such as Luke's gospel tells me that he's writing to inform the reader of the events that actually happened as told to him by eyewitnesses, and then goes on to say that people actually saw Jesus crucified, stabbed through the side and killed, and then that this man was seen alive by hundreds of people, then it seems as if he's claiming that something supernatural occurred.  How then can I not claim with any certainty that it happened?  This account was in circulation and preached to thousands upon thousands of people who were alive at the time that all of this happened.  If Jesus were actually dead, they would have dug him up and paraded his body through the streets.  Instead, people believed by the thousands.  Many were killed for their faith.  A man who was the modern day equivalent of a terrorist became a Christian and preached Christ risen until they cut off his head  3 miles outside of Rome. 

My point is that you can have certainty in a claim that is supernatural if there is extensive eyewitness evidence given by men who died horrible deaths rather than renounce their claims.

In response to your comment that there "are actually no unambiguously 'full-filled' prophecies.":

I actually listed one prophecy that is both unambiguous and fulfilled by the life of Christ (Isaiah 52-53), but you apparently didn't check that out.  The manuscript evidence conclusively dates this prophecy to at least before Christ's life, and actually puts it with confidence at about 700 BC.  That is 700 years before the life of Christ and, as I mentioned, before crucifixion was even invented.  This is again the logical fallacy of subjectivism.  Rather than than giving a reason that this is either not specific or not authentic, you simply declare that there are, "actually no unambiguously 'full-filled' prophecies." 

Thanks for engaging in conversation with me.

-Brian S.




 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

BobSpence's picture

Haven't time for a detailed

 

Haven't time for a detailed rebuttal, but can you give me the actual verse that describes crucifixion.

The closest I can see is

Quote:

Isaiah 53:5:

But he was pierced for our transgressions, 

   he was crushed for our iniquities; 

He was pierced, but not crushed.

Quote:

Isaiah 53:9:

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, 

   and with the rich in his death, 

though he had done no violence, 

   nor was any deceit in his mouth.

That also seems inconsistent with

Quote:

59 Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth.

60 He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the entrance as he left.

( NIV 2010 ).

Doesn't seem much of a prophecy to me, sorry.

'Pierced' is all. Since spears were around then, hardly a remarkable 'prophecy'.

If that is one of your best examples, you have proven my point.

Oh, and I made no Ad Hominems. 

Insults, maybe, but they were because I saw deep flaws in your argument.

An 'Ad Hominem' would be if i called you a fool and used that assertion as part of my reason for rejecting your argument.

 

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Brian S.'s picture

Prophecy

 I have enjoyed our conversation and hope that you have as well, even if we have deep-seated disagreements.

The specific prophecies concerning the Messiah that Jesus fulfilled in Isaiah 52-53 are one of literally several hundred that Jesus fulfilled.  Isaiah is often called "the fifth gospel" due to the many incredible prophecies about Jesus it contains.  I apologize for not being more specific in my quotation and exegesis. Here are the relevant sections from this prophecy:

Isaiah 52:14-15- "Just as there were many who were appalled at him his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness--so he will sprinkle many nations, and kings will shut their mouths because of him."

     -This section refers to the vicious flagellation that Jesus was subject to.  Roman flagellation often completely removed the flesh of the victim's back, thighs, buttocks, arms, and even face.  Jesus was savagely beaten to the point of not being recognizable (Matthew 27:26, Mark 15:15, John 14... all of these call it scourging).  By this shedding of blood, Jesus sprinkled many nations.  He is exalted historically and rightly above kings and rulers.

Isaiah 53:4-6- "Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.  But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all." 

     -This passage refers to some of the many claims that Jesus made regarding what his suffering and murder would accomplish.  Jesus prophesied his own death and resurrection (Matthew 20:17-19).  He preached that His death and resurrection would accomplish the just punishment for the sin that each of us brings to the world.  This is the theological concept of penal substitutionary atonement.  

 

Isaiah 53:7-9- "He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgement he was taken away.  Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

     -This is a particularly specific and rich prophecy.  This basically says that the Messiah will be unjustly punished for crimes he didn't commit, and he wouldn't say anything in his own defense.  His death will be totally unjust and nobody will say anything in his defense. He will be killed (cut off from the land of the living) and this will happen with wicked people (Jesus was crucified between two thieves per Matthew 27:38).  He was buried in a rich man's tomb, something that he couldn't have prearranged to fulfill the prophecy as it was donated to him post-mortem (Matthew 27:57-61).

Also, here's the prophecy in Psalms regarding crucifixion.  I got my reference wrong... oops!  The funny thing is that it's even older than Isaiah.  Psalm 22 was written 1,020 years before Jesus' crucifixion. Here's the relevant part: Psalm 22:16- "Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me; they pierce my hands and my feet."

 

     -This prophecy is amazing in that it is obviously not about David, who wrote it.  He is definitely intending this to be a Messianic prophecy.  Once again, it refers to a method of torture (being pierced through the hands and feet) that wasn't invented for another 800 years or so.  This whole chapter contains many specific prophecies about Jesus Christ, including:

-His clothes would be divided among the soldiers who crucify him by casting lots (Psalm 22:18 fulfilled in Matthew 27:35, Luke 23:34, Mark 15:24, and John 19:23-24) 

-He would be thirsty (Psalm 22:15 fulfilled in John 19:28)

-His bones would not be broken (John 22:17 fulfilled in John 19:31-36)

The prophecy also predicts his exact words spoken on the cross and the response of the verbally abusive crowd.  This is a prophecy recording the exact words a man would say over 1,000 years before he spoke them.  It tells how he would die very specifically.  

To answer your objections to my charges of logical fallacies, I would say that you haven't disagreed on your use of subjectivism and begging the question, and that you admit to using an abusive ad hominem even by the definition you give it in your response.  

One last interesting and very specific prophecy I'll leave you with.  In Micah 5:2, it says that the Messiah will come from what is a essentially a little hick town in Nazareth: Bethlehem.  This is yet another example of a prophecy shattering the whole "Jesus purposely manipulated his life to fulfill the Messianic prophecies" bit.  Oh really?  He manipulated where he would be born?  And did he also tell Judas how much to betray him for (30 pieces of silver as prophesied in Zechariah 11:12-14)? And did he ask the Roman executioners very nicely if they would pretty please not break any of his bones and instead just pierce his side with a spear?  Come on now.

-Brian S.

 

 

 

  

 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

cj's picture

Brian S

I don't claim to be a biblical scholar and arguing bible verses just bores me.  So I'll cut directly to my point.

Good historical research has more than one source.  And the sources must be from more than one area.  For example, how do we know the United States won the Revolutionary War?  After all, there are no living eye witnesses.

We have primary sources - pamphlets, newspapers, letters, official communications, trade and tax statements, etc.  And we have primary sources from more than one area.  Documents from England, France, the colonies that became the US and the colonies that became Canada and elsewhere.

We have secondary sources - in the US, we do not have a parliament, we have a congress.  And we don't sing "God Save the Queen" before the national cricket matches.  And so on.

For the bible - we have the bible.  No other country corroborates the events in the bible.  For example, in Egypt, taxes were computed by the depth of the spring flooding of the Nile river.  If the river flooded this deep, and the farm is located this distance from the river, the farmer should be able to grow this much crop and therefore, owes this much tax for the year.  To be collected after harvest.  Guess what - the tax records continue on year after year - no gaps signifying that the entire valley was ever under water.  No world wide flood happened in Egypt.

Most other countries hardly mention the people then known as Canaanites.  As for Jesus, no other source mentions him, either.  You would think the Romans would make contemporary mention of miracles by some Jewish guy.  Nope.  Funny, the contemporary Jewish historian doesn't mention him either.  He mentions 4 other "Messiahs", but none are named Jesus or Christ, and none perform miracles.  You would think.........

Thousands of scraps of the bible - so?  They are mostly copies of copies.  And it is obvious that this is the case.  And they are still only one source - the written stories and legends of a bunch of bronze/iron age goat herders and olive farmers.  From a small poor land in what is now called the Middle East.  

As for prophecy, the passages in the bible are no more comprehensible than the prophecies of Nostradamus.  I don't believe him, either.  You can make either set of prophecies to mean anything you want it to mean.  That is the point of making prophecy vague, you know.  The verses that have been quoted could mean just about anything and be about anyone.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

BobSpence's picture

Psalm 22 is not proclaimed

Psalm 22 is not proclaimed as a prophecy, it is simply an example of people searching back through the OT for passages that can be interpreted as matching significant future events.

Crucifixion is not mentioned. 'Piercing' of the hands and feet of someone surrounded by dogs could easily refer to dog bites, and certainly is not a concept that was anything remarkable.

The gambling over clothing is interesting, as likely a 'meme' that travelled forward and got included  in the later narrative.

Each of the gospels has Christ saying different things.

Micah 5:2 refers to "Bethlehem Ephratah" which refers to the clan of Bethlehem, not the township of Bethlehem, and one who was the son of Caleb's second wife, Ephrathah. It refers to one of that clan who was supposed to defeat the Assyrians.

That is a very clear example of gratuitous misreading to turn it into a 'prophecy'.

So what you claim as your "last interesting and very specific prophecy" is in fact one of the most easily disproved so-called prophecies of the Messiah in the Bible.

That's enough for now. You have yet to come up with a clear, unambiguous prophecy. Sorry. That last one from Micah shows you have no idea what you are talking about when you claim all these 'extraordinary' prophecies.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Brian S.'s picture

Textual Hypocrisy

 I'll begin by responding to this statement: "Thousands of scraps of the bible - so?  They are mostly copies of copies.  And it is obvious that this is the case.  And they are still only one source - the written stories and legends of a bunch of bronze/iron age goat herders and olive farmers.  From a small poor land in what is now called the Middle East."

This is simply intellectually dishonest and hypocritical interpretation of the ancient collective works of the Bible.  First, they are not written "stories" or "lessons" or "moral myths".  If they were, they wouldn't include the hundreds of passages that make the nation of Israel look... well, rather obtuse and stubborn.  They wouldn't include histories of their Kings committing adultery with a married man and having the woman's husband murdered to cover it up (David).  It is also dishonest to treat the New Testament as a single source. It's not.  It is a collection of several distinct sources.  In my response to BobSpence1 I'll explain this point more fully. 

Also in regards to this statement, while they are copies of copies, sources like the Dead Sea scrolls show the incredible accuracy with which the Old Testament scriptures were preserved over centuries and across cultures.  These scribes had incredible reverence and respect for the texts they were copying from.  They believed them to be the Word of God.  They weren't sloppy.  As for the New Testament letters and Gospels, these can be traced closer to the original events than any other document of antiquity, period.  Those "thousands of scraps" are not a "so" kind of thing.  They are better evidence for the historicity of the life of Jesus and the early church than we have for the works of: Homer, Plato, Socrates, Hereclitus, Alexander the Great... combined.  I don't see a lot of claims that we don't know much about these people!

Further, saying that no other country or history corroborates the historicity of the Bible is just false.  Archaeology, for one, confirms many, many Biblical events.  In fact, many archaeological sites have been found using the Old Testament as a model (Jericho, Ur, etc.). 

As for your claim that "The verses that have been quoted could mean just about anything and be about anyone."... That's true, as long as everyone was pierced in their hands and feet, beaten to the point of physical disfigurement,  born in Bethlehem (I'll explain why this is a city and not a person or clan in my next response), had their clothes divided among soldiers by the casting of lots, betrayed for 30 pieces of silver in a temple (and further that the betrayer would throw the money to the part of the temple reserved for the potter), surrounded by dogs (a cultural term at the time of the Psalm 22 prophecy that is not literally about canines, but worthless men, or losers), buried in a rich man's tomb after being killed with the wicked, and killed for crimes that he didn't commit.  Oh, and everyone would have to have committed no sin of word, thought, or deed.  I'm sorry, but your definition of anyone and anything must be very different from mine.


 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

Brian S.'s picture

Further Response

 I'm noticing a trend.  I give several (4-5) arguments, and you pick the most hotly debated/debatable one and construct an argument against this one.  There will always be points that can be debated in a conversation about events that happened 2,000 and 3,000 years ago.  You quickly abandoned your "Stephen Hawking has proven that God is unnecessary to explain origins" claim.  I think you were right to do this, as that is an extremely unscientific claim.  I could provide a list of 100+ Doctorate level scholars who vehemently disagree with that statement in fields ranging from mathematics to astrophysics to biology and beyond.  

Anyways, I hope you don't mind that I don't agree with your statement: "That's enough for now".  

Psalm 22 is clearly intended to be a prophetic writing, and here's why.  We have extensive histories of David in the earlier Biblical works of the prophets (Samuel, especially).  The entire rundown of Psalm 22 did not happen to David.  Nobody ever cast lots for his clothing or pierced his hands and feet.  Only those looking for reasons not to accept this as a Messianic prophecy reject it.  

Also, I think that you misunderstand the cultural definition of "dogs" in this passage.  It doesn't refer to literal canines, but is a derogatory term denoting "worthless men", or "losers".  This can be seen by the context of dogs given in verse 20 of Psalm 22.  It is a cry for deliverance from the sword  from the "power of the dog".  Dogs don't wield swords, but Roman soldiers did.  The piercing of the hands and feet is the most widely accepted rendering of this text from the Dead Sea scrolls and the Greek translation of the Hebrew documents by Tertullian. 

The passage also predicts the words spoken by Christ on the cross, the dividing of his garments by the casting of lots, and many other specific events, none of which happened to David.  This was intended to be a prophecy.

Micah 5:2 is not referring to a clan, but the township of Bethlehem.  NOWHERE in the Old Testament does the Hebrew compound word beginning with Beth refer to a person.  In the context of the passage, it is referring to the founders of several cities.  The common criticism that this is about a clan is the result of poor textual exegesis.  Clans were identified with their land inheritance, thus the reference to the clans.  Also, in 1 Chronicles 2:54, the term Bethlehem is parallel with Atroth Beth Joab, the name of a city.  Both the context and a proper understanding of Hebrew strongly suggest that Bethlehem here is referring to the township and not a clan.  As to your assertion that "it refers to one of that clan who was supposed to defeat the Assyrians.", this is again terrible exegesis of the passage.  Verse 2 ends with the statement that the one who will come will be, "one who is to be ruler of Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days."  This isn't referring to a person, but God, or the Ancient of Days.

 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

I think it's much simpler.

I think it's much simpler. the reason the "messianic prophecies" fit the Jesus of the gospels so well is this - the writers of the Gospels worked backwards.

These were Pauline converts who believed in Paul's view that Jesus is a God so they went back through the prophecies and wrote their works to make Jesus fit the prophecies that he likely had nothing to do with. 

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

Lee2216's picture

Evidence is not the problem

 Great info Brian! Unfortunately the problem is not the evidence in hand but a change of the heart. Who can change a heart but the holy spirit of God? 

The person without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the holy spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14

First of all, saying that there are no non-biblical accounts of the resurrection doesn't invalidate the resurrection. The gospels were written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses before the death of the apostles. There were plenty of people around (non-believers) who could have contested the post-resurrection appearances if in fact they were fallacious. If it were a hoax all the non-believers had to do was show the body. The gospels are historically reliable documents plain and simple.

Second, it is not accurate to say that there are no extra-biblical accounts. There are other historians who have written about this. The problem however is that most of them aren't contemporaneous. This tends to invalidate the reliability of these extra-biblical accounts according to the skeptics. But if the extra-biblical accounts are not valid because they were written after the fact by non-eyewitnesses, then that indirectly supports the gospel accounts even more so it doesn't invalidate them.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

BobSpence's picture

Brian S. wrote: I'm

Brian S. wrote:

 I'm noticing a trend.  I give several (4-5) arguments, and you pick the most hotly debated/debatable one and construct an argument against this one.  There will always be points that can be debated in a conversation about events that happened 2,000 and 3,000 years ago.  You quickly abandoned your "Stephen Hawking has proven that God is unnecessary to explain origins" claim.  I think you were right to do this, as that is an extremely unscientific claim.  I could provide a list of 100+ Doctorate level scholars who vehemently disagree with that statement in fields ranging from mathematics to astrophysics to biology and beyond.  

Anyways, I hope you don't mind that I don't agree with your statement: "That's enough for now".  

Psalm 22 is clearly intended to be a prophetic writing, and here's why.  We have extensive histories of David in the earlier Biblical works of the prophets (Samuel, especially).  The entire rundown of Psalm 22 did not happen to David.  Nobody ever cast lots for his clothing or pierced his hands and feet.  Only those looking for reasons not to accept this as a Messianic prophecy reject it.  

Also, I think that you misunderstand the cultural definition of "dogs" in this passage.  It doesn't refer to literal canines, but is a derogatory term denoting "worthless men", or "losers".  This can be seen by the context of dogs given in verse 20 of Psalm 22.  It is a cry for deliverance from the sword  from the "power of the dog".  Dogs don't wield swords, but Roman soldiers did.  The piercing of the hands and feet is the most widely accepted rendering of this text from the Dead Sea scrolls and the Greek translation of the Hebrew documents by Tertullian. 

The passage also predicts the words spoken by Christ on the cross, the dividing of his garments by the casting of lots, and many other specific events, none of which happened to David.  This was intended to be a prophecy.

Micah 5:2 is not referring to a clan, but the township of Bethlehem.  NOWHERE in the Old Testament does the Hebrew compound word beginning with Beth refer to a person.  In the context of the passage, it is referring to the founders of several cities.  The common criticism that this is about a clan is the result of poor textual exegesis.  Clans were identified with their land inheritance, thus the reference to the clans.  Also, in 1 Chronicles 2:54, the term Bethlehem is parallel with Atroth Beth Joab, the name of a city.  Both the context and a proper understanding of Hebrew strongly suggest that Bethlehem here is referring to the township and not a clan.  As to your assertion that "it refers to one of that clan who was supposed to defeat the Assyrians.", this is again terrible exegesis of the passage.  Verse 2 ends with the statement that the one who will come will be, "one who is to be ruler of Israel, whose origin is from old, from ancient days."  This isn't referring to a person, but God, or the Ancient of Days.

 

I did not abandon my reference to the FACT that Stephen Hawking made that statement, it just is not relevant to debating the prophecy claims which seemed your most significant attempt to justify the Bible as more than just recording the ideas of a people back in a more primitive time and place.

My statement of "that's enough for now" was purely in reference to my needing to get onto other tasks, nothing else. I was not claiming to have said enough to address all your claims. I just tried to address the ones which seemed most deserving of my attention, in the time available to me.

As to Psalm 22, apart from the draw lots for clothing, it does not match well to the reported events at the crucifixion. And definitely does not reference the key fact of an actual crucifixion. If it had said something about the nature of the piercing, that would have helped. 

From Micah:6:

Quote:

He will deliver us from the Assyrians 

   when they invade our land 

   and march across our borders.

So you have to go through the usual twists and turns to deny that the subject of the "Prophecy" was something which happened back at time, nothing to do with events way in the future.

The details of what went on at the supposed crucifixion are highly conjectural, having been written down long after the event. If the writers were aware of any claimed prophecies of the event, they would probably have incorporated those in the narrative, not dishonestly, but in the absence of any more detailed information, no doubt assumed that those prophesied events had 'almost certainly' happened.

Since Christ was never a "ruler of Israel", there is a problem there.

In reference to Isaiah, it never said anything about Christ being crucified between thieves, it said "He was assigned a grave with the wicked". IOW he would be buried among thieves perhaps, which I don't think actually happened.

Not at all convincing, sorry.

A more convincing prophecy would be one which clearly described specific events, ideally with some reasonably well defined time period, which were verifiable independently of the Bible. Do you have any?

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Lee2216 wrote: Great info

Lee2216 wrote:

 Great info Brian! Unfortunately the problem is not the evidence in hand but a change of the heart. Who can change a heart but the holy spirit of God? 

The person without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the holy spirit. 1 Corinthians 2:14

First of all, saying that there are no non-biblical accounts of the resurrection doesn't invalidate the resurrection. The gospels were written by eyewitnesses or under the direction of eyewitnesses before the death of the apostles. There were plenty of people around (non-believers) who could have contested the post-resurrection appearances if in fact they were fallacious. If it were a hoax all the non-believers had to do was show the body. The gospels are historically reliable documents plain and simple.

Second, it is not accurate to say that there are no extra-biblical accounts. There are other historians who have written about this. The problem however is that most of them aren't contemporaneous. This tends to invalidate the reliability of these extra-biblical accounts according to the skeptics. But if the extra-biblical accounts are not valid because they were written after the fact by non-eyewitnesses, then that indirectly supports the gospel accounts even more so it doesn't invalidate them.

In other words, the first thing that I need to do in order to believe in your God is to shut down my thinking process and succumb to my easily swayed emotions.

Thank you for being honest enough to admit it. 

Now for the historians - writing about Christians is not the same as writing about Christ (any of them). One can't show the body of a fictional character. Just because I can't dig up Ebenezer Scrooge doesn't mean Dickens wrote history. 

 

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

Brian S.'s picture

Unsubstantiated claims.

 Psalm 22 did, in fact, give information as to the nature of the piercing.  It said the piercing would be of the hands and feet.  I don't know what other relevant information can be given as to the "nature" of the piercing.  Piercing of the hands and feet is not exactly a common and arbitrary injury.

Isaiah says that he would be assigned a grave with the wicked, referring to him being killed with them.  It then says that he was buried with the rich, which he was (Joseph of Arimathea).  

The notion that Paul was the inventor of the Christian faith is absurd in light of the fact that he didn't place himself in a headship over the church, even in his own writings.  People inventing religions put themselves in authority over them (Muhammad, David Karesh, Joseph Smith, etc.).  Paul didn't do this.  Paul always mentions Peter first, as Peter was the head elder of the early church.  Naming someone first in a list of people is a sign of headship.  Peter preached the sermon at Pentecost.  Peter was also the unanimous source of doctrinal authority in the early church, because he was part of the inner 3 within Jesus' circle of 12 disciples (along with James and John).  Further, it is widely accepted among even secular textual critics that Matthew, Mark (probably along with Peter), Luke, and John wrote accounts of the life of Jesus years before Paul even became a convert to the Christian faith.  

Seriously, do all of you get together and come up with the craziest conspiracy theories you possibly can?  The preponderance of evidence solidly places the four gospels and the epistles as authorities on Jesus life and ministry.  If you want to know something about a person who lived long ago, it's probably wise to look at things written by people who walked with him or interviewed eyewitnesses.  Matthew was a disciple of Jesus, Mark interviewed Peter (who walked with Jesus), John walked with Jesus (and made himself look like a total coward in his account, further evidence that he was being honest), Luke interviewed the disciples, James and Jude were Jesus' brothers (how many of you would worship your brother as God without good reason?), Paul was a terrorist who imprisoned Christians before his supernatural encounter with Jesus led him to plant more churches and write more epistles than any other apostle!  You are all willing to accept the scant existing writings of Plato as evidence of the life of Socrates.  It is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest to discount the New Testament writings simply because you don't like what they say.

And Lee2216, you're right about 1 Corinthians 2:14.  My friend, a church planter here in UT, had a conversation centered around this truth just last night.

 

BobSpence1, I respect your willingness to continue to talk with me.  I hope that you understand that I don't just do this to argue, but to give a defense for my faith.  I don't want people who follow this forum to simply believe in a straw man and a caricature of the Christian faith.  I don't have to put my head in the sand to believe that:

A) The New Testament is a collection of historically accurate documents, well supported by internal consistency and history.

B) Jesus was a historical person who was born in Bethlehem and raised in the surrounding area.

C) Jesus called 12 disciples into a 3 year ministry with Him, ultimately ending in his unjust betrayal and murder on a Roman cross.

D) Jesus fulfilled hundreds of specific prophecies given from Genesis 3:15 and through the Old Testament.

E) Jesus was ultimately killed for repeatedly and emphatically claiming to be the only God, I AM.

F) Jesus resurrected on the third day in the grave, as recorded in the historical documents of the New Testament by men and women who saw Him murdered and then alive.

G) A group of scared, demoralized men ranging from tax collectors to fishermen became fiery preachers and church planters after seeing a man they loved and followed killed and resurrected.  There is no other reasonable explanation for their unwillingness to recant even after torture and ultimately execution.

H) The reason for the historically verifiable explosion of Christianity from a pluralistic, relativistic culture 2,000 years ago is explained in the New Testament accounts of Jesus.

In 2 Peter 1:16, a man who walked with Jesus and ultimately was crucified upside down for his faith says "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." He says it all.  No, the early church was not the result of cleverly devised conspiracies.  It was the result of the historical Jesus and his supernatural ministry. These guys were confronted and assaulted for their entire lives by false accounts of Jesus, false doctrines, and false gospels.  They confidently held their ground to the death because they knew what they had seen.  They saw Jesus alive.

-Brian S.

 

"The Great God Science. It has failed us, because it was never meant to be a god, but only a few true scientists understand that." -Madeleine L'Engle

Brian S. wrote: Psalm 22

Brian S. wrote:

 Psalm 22 did, in fact, give information as to the nature of the piercing.  It said the piercing would be of the hands and feet.  I don't know what other relevant information can be given as to the "nature" of the piercing.  Piercing of the hands and feet is not exactly a common and arbitrary injury.

Isaiah says that he would be assigned a grave with the wicked, referring to him being killed with them.  It then says that he was buried with the rich, which he was (Joseph of Arimathea).  

The notion that Paul was the inventor of the Christian faith is absurd in light of the fact that he didn't place himself in a headship over the church, even in his own writings.  People inventing religions put themselves in authority over them (Muhammad, David Karesh, Joseph Smith, etc.).  Paul didn't do this.  Paul always mentions Peter first, as Peter was the head elder of the early church.  Naming someone first in a list of people is a sign of headship.  Peter preached the sermon at Pentecost.  Peter was also the unanimous source of doctrinal authority in the early church, because he was part of the inner 3 within Jesus' circle of 12 disciples (along with James and John).  Further, it is widely accepted among even secular textual critics that Matthew, Mark (probably along with Peter), Luke, and John wrote accounts of the life of Jesus years before Paul even became a convert to the Christian faith.  

Seriously, do all of you get together and come up with the craziest conspiracy theories you possibly can?  The preponderance of evidence solidly places the four gospels and the epistles as authorities on Jesus life and ministry.  If you want to know something about a person who lived long ago, it's probably wise to look at things written by people who walked with him or interviewed eyewitnesses.  Matthew was a disciple of Jesus, Mark interviewed Peter (who walked with Jesus), John walked with Jesus (and made himself look like a total coward in his account, further evidence that he was being honest), Luke interviewed the disciples, James and Jude were Jesus' brothers (how many of you would worship your brother as God without good reason?), Paul was a terrorist who imprisoned Christians before his supernatural encounter with Jesus led him to plant more churches and write more epistles than any other apostle!  You are all willing to accept the scant existing writings of Plato as evidence of the life of Socrates.  It is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest to discount the New Testament writings simply because you don't like what they say.

And Lee2216, you're right about 1 Corinthians 2:14.  My friend, a church planter here in UT, had a conversation centered around this truth just last night.

 

BobSpence1, I respect your willingness to continue to talk with me.  I hope that you understand that I don't just do this to argue, but to give a defense for my faith.  I don't want people who follow this forum to simply believe in a straw man and a caricature of the Christian faith.  I don't have to put my head in the sand to believe that:

A) The New Testament is a collection of historically accurate documents, well supported by internal consistency and history.

B) Jesus was a historical person who was born in Bethlehem and raised in the surrounding area.

C) Jesus called 12 disciples into a 3 year ministry with Him, ultimately ending in his unjust betrayal and murder on a Roman cross.

D) Jesus fulfilled hundreds of specific prophecies given from Genesis 3:15 and through the Old Testament.

E) Jesus was ultimately killed for repeatedly and emphatically claiming to be the only God, I AM.

F) Jesus resurrected on the third day in the grave, as recorded in the historical documents of the New Testament by men and women who saw Him murdered and then alive.

G) A group of scared, demoralized men ranging from tax collectors to fishermen became fiery preachers and church planters after seeing a man they loved and followed killed and resurrected.  There is no other reasonable explanation for their unwillingness to recant even after torture and ultimately execution.

H) The reason for the historically verifiable explosion of Christianity from a pluralistic, relativistic culture 2,000 years ago is explained in the New Testament accounts of Jesus.

In 2 Peter 1:16, a man who walked with Jesus and ultimately was crucified upside down for his faith says "For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty." He says it all.  No, the early church was not the result of cleverly devised conspiracies.  It was the result of the historical Jesus and his supernatural ministry. These guys were confronted and assaulted for their entire lives by false accounts of Jesus, false doctrines, and false gospels.  They confidently held their ground to the death because they knew what they had seen.  They saw Jesus alive.

-Brian S.

 

Hi Brian,

1. Yes, piercing is not an an arbitrary injury but nails aren't the only things that can pierce flesh. Get a dog bite? Those are piercing wounds. Get stabbed? another piercing wound.

2. The burial "prophecies you mention can also be a case of good research - the gospel writers went back through the Prophets to make sure Jesus fit the description (despite the original meaning)

3. It's hard for me to take you guys seriously when you say that the person who wrote the bulk of the source material for your religion didn't place himself at its head. Paul placed himself as the only source of understanding for Christianity - the Gospels weren't written without Paul's work in front of the authors (Pauline converts all).

4. Peter was named the head of the "church" in the story that Paul's converts wrote because Paul needed to use Peter's name to lend support to his new religion. The Jesus movement (what Paul calls the Jerusalem "church&quotEye-wink was run by James and others of Jesus' blood relatives. 

5. The preponderance of apologetics may claim the gospels and epistles as authoritative of Jesus. Unfortunately, the preponderance of history and the passage of time stands against you. How can you claim the epistles as authoritative when Paul never met who he was writing about and would have offended him if he had?

6. Paul was a wannabe Pharisee who didn't have the intellectual chops to do it for real. He joined the Sadducee high priest's (something no Pharisee would do) police force to perform an illegal invasion into Syria. Christianity was Paul's way of getting back at the Pharisees who considered themselves keepers of Judaism. As for the writings of Plato as evidence of Socrates, we know that Plato was a student of Socrates and was alive at the same time (so was more likely to hear his master's words). The Gospel writers wrote 40 years or more after their subject had passed away and two decades after Paul wrote all of his work. So, yes Plato's work is taken more seriously because history backs it up.

7. Oh joy! The "You disagree with the Bible because you hate Jesus/want to sin/hate accountability/don't like what it says" argument. Why is that argument always brought up as a counter when non-believers bring up the Bible's lack of consistency, incompatibility with history and self-contradiction? You guys afraid to look at your beliefs. As Plato wrote, Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living". As the Christian life seems to thrive under the lack of examination (aka faith), it seems to be about as not worth living as any life can get. I guess that's what happens when the only good things you have are supposed to only happen after you die.

8. I'll give you what I gave Lee then - let's see if you're any better at discussing it.

I wrote:

In other words, the first thing that I need to do in order to believe in your God is to shut down my thinking process and succumb to my easily swayed emotions.

Thank you for being honest enough to admit it. 

Now for the historians - writing about Christians is not the same as writing about Christ (any of them). One can't show the body of a fictional character. Just because I can't dig up Ebenezer Scrooge doesn't mean Dickens wrote history.

I'll let Bob dissect the lettered points since you aimed them at him.

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

cj's picture

Brian S. wrote: Psalm 22

Brian S. wrote:

 Psalm 22 did, in fact, give information as to the nature of the piercing.  It said the piercing would be of the hands and feet.  I don't know what other relevant information can be given as to the "nature" of the piercing.  Piercing of the hands and feet is not exactly a common and arbitrary injury.

 

It was common enough that the only body they have yet found that was definitely crucified, had wounds consistent with being nailed through the forearms.

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

The rest of your post is just rationalization for your need to have an invisible friend.  Some people actually grow out of that need long before they approach adulthood.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:I think it's

jcgadfly wrote:
I think it's much simpler. the reason the "messianic prophecies" fit the Jesus of the gospels so well is this - the writers of the Gospels worked backwards.

These were Pauline converts who believed in Paul's view that Jesus is a God so they went back through the prophecies and wrote their works to make Jesus fit the prophecies that he likely had nothing to do with. 

This is just pure nonsense! Read Psalm 22:12-18! This is a detailed description of the crucifixion written 1000 years before Jesus was born. Crucifixion hadn't even been invented yet. Do some research on Peter Stoner! He used the science of probability to rule out prophecies happening by coincidence. The odds of one man fulfilling 8 prophecies is

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
I think it's much simpler. the reason the "messianic prophecies" fit the Jesus of the gospels so well is this - the writers of the Gospels worked backwards.

These were Pauline converts who believed in Paul's view that Jesus is a God so they went back through the prophecies and wrote their works to make Jesus fit the prophecies that he likely had nothing to do with. 

This is just pure nonsense! Read Psalm 22:12-18! This is a detailed description of the crucifixion written 1000 years before Jesus was born. Crucifixion hadn't even been invented yet. Do some research on Peter Stoner! He used the science of probability to rule out prophecies happening by coincidence. The odds of one man fulfilling 8 prophecies is

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

Only if you redefine terms to make it fit what you want it to fit.

As I posted after this post you chose to respond to - other kinds of piercing wounds exist. Not all "they pierced my hands and feet" equate to "they nailed me to a cross."

You are doing what the gospel writers did. - you have a God that has to die a particularly nasty death and resurrect. You know that crucifixion is a nasty death so that's what he dies and comes back from.

The odds of Jesus fulfilling all these "prophecies" are 1:1 because they fudged the data and rigged the game. what the gospel writers did is called conclusion-first research and it appears to be a well-used skill among amateur Christian apologists.

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

cj's picture

Lee2216 wrote:This is just

Lee2216 wrote:

This is just pure nonsense! Read Psalm 22:12-18! This is a detailed description of the crucifixion written 1000 years before Jesus was born. Crucifixion hadn't even been invented yet. Do some research on Peter Stoner! He used the science of probability to rule out prophecies happening by coincidence. The odds of one man fulfilling 8 prophecies is

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

 

From the wiki article I quoted from earlier:

"Crucifixion was in use particularly among the Seleucids, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD."

When do you believe the Psalms were written?

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.

Lee2216's picture

cj wrote:Lee2216 wrote:This

cj wrote:

Lee2216 wrote:

This is just pure nonsense! Read Psalm 22:12-18! This is a detailed description of the crucifixion written 1000 years before Jesus was born. Crucifixion hadn't even been invented yet. Do some research on Peter Stoner! He used the science of probability to rule out prophecies happening by coincidence. The odds of one man fulfilling 8 prophecies is

1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.

 

From the wiki article I quoted from earlier:

"Crucifixion was in use particularly among the Seleucids, Carthaginians, and Romans from about the 6th century BC to the 4th century AD."

When do you believe the Psalms were written?

The Psalms were written over a period of 500 years or so. Psalm 22 was written by King David who lived approximately 1040 BC - 970 BC.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee,It's interesting how you

Lee,

It's interesting how you can be so certain when these guys aren't.

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/intro.htm

especially when your source (Thiele) is both old and dubious

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

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:Lee,It's

jcgadfly wrote:

Lee,

It's interesting how you can be so certain when these guys aren't.

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/intro.htm

especially when your source (Thiele) is both old and dubious

First of all, I don't know who these guys are since know one is credited with writing the article. The other problem I have is that your reference is from a Catholic website. Roman Catholicism is an apostate religion and is not Christian. There is nothing wrong with my source. Thiele had a PhD in biblical archaeology and his book is regarded as a definitive work on the chronology of Hebrew kings.

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Lee,

It's interesting how you can be so certain when these guys aren't.

http://www.usccb.org/nab/bible/psalms/intro.htm

especially when your source (Thiele) is both old and dubious

First of all, I don't know who these guys are since know one is credited with writing the article. The other problem I have is that your reference is from a Catholic website. Roman Catholicism is an apostate religion and is not Christian. There is nothing wrong with my source. Thiele had a PhD in biblical archaeology and his book is regarded as a definitive work on the chronology of Hebrew kings.

You mean besides it being 60 years old and not in agreement with scholarly consensus (because of unfounded assertions and circularity), there's nothing wrong with your source?

I always find it interesting when one sect of Christianity accuses another sect of being apostate. If you were actually following the teachings of Jesus, you'd be a Pharisaic Jew. That must be why your following Paul the pagan - you don't have to work so hard.

 

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

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:That must be

jcgadfly wrote:
That must be why your following Paul the pagan - you don't have to work so hard.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

BobSpence's picture

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
That must be why your following Paul the pagan - you don't have to work so hard.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

Which is pure unfounded assertion, based on nothing but wishful-thinking and fantasy based on myth.

Quote:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Which is an excellent example of the utter illogical nature of Xian belief as expressed in the Bible.

"Invisible" qualities  which can be "clearly seen", based on what you have been told is supposed to be there. IOW, we know you can't actually see it, but if you accept our word for it, you can imagine it. What a load of bull crap.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Atheistextremist's picture

Boy I hate it when

 

They quote the fucking bible.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
That must be why your following Paul the pagan - you don't have to work so hard.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9

My point exactly. You can treat other people like dung and do whatever reprehensible things you desire (as often as you desire) but as long as you ask forgiveness and believe really, really hard "grace" keeps you safe.

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

Lee2216's picture

BobSpence1 wrote:Which is

BobSpence1 wrote:
Which is pure unfounded assertion, based on nothing but wishful-thinking and fantasy based on myth.

That's just your assertion! Your doing the exact same thing your accusing the Christian of doing. You can't get rid of the word of God no matter how hard you try!

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

 

 

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:My point

jcgadfly wrote:
My point exactly. You can treat other people like dung and do whatever reprehensible things you desire (as often as you desire) but as long as you ask forgiveness and believe really, really hard "grace" keeps you safe.

I guess you've never heard of the ten commandments. That's not exactly a license to just do whatever you want. 

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer. Romans 6:1-2

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

BobSpence's picture

Lee2216 wrote:BobSpence1

Lee2216 wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:
Which is pure unfounded assertion, based on nothing but wishful-thinking and fantasy based on myth.

That's just your assertion! Your doing the exact same thing your accusing the Christian of doing. You can't get rid of the word of God no matter how hard you try!

Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. Matthew 24:35

And you can't justify asserting that there is a God and that the Bible is 'his' word, no matter how many times you repeat your empty crap - you ARE making pure assertions, in the absence of positive objective evidence.

In the absence of such evidence, my assertion is the more reasonable.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, although in the case of a supposed omni-present entity, it IS.

And the entire history of the world is evidence that any such being is NOT 'good', and either not competent, or positively a jerk.

Keep shouting from the pile of sand your world-view is built on, Lee, you are actually making yourself and your beliefs a laughing stock. And the tide may be coming in....

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
My point exactly. You can treat other people like dung and do whatever reprehensible things you desire (as often as you desire) but as long as you ask forgiveness and believe really, really hard "grace" keeps you safe.

I guess you've never heard of the ten commandments. That's not exactly a license to just do whatever you want. 

What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means! We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer. Romans 6:1-2

Indeed I have heard of the 10 commandments. The concepts behind them were old when the Hebrews were young.  Did you know that Paul abrogated the need for them for the follower of his religion in Romans 4:15? "Where there is no law,there is no transgression". Can you break laws that don't apply to you?

I always wondered why Paul contradicted himself in Romans 6. Can you help? I mean, it's really foolish to talk about the concept of sin that you abolished with an earlier stroke of your pen.

The ten commandments aren't a license to do whatever you want. Fortunately for followers of Paul's mystery cult, forgiveness and grace are. Do you guys even have to repent and make restitution anymore?

 

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

Lee2216's picture

BobSpence1 wrote:And you

BobSpence1 wrote:
And you can't justify asserting that there is a God and that the Bible is 'his' word, no matter how many times you repeat your empty crap - you ARE making pure assertions, in the absence of positive objective evidence.

In the absence of such evidence, my assertion is the more reasonable.

Absence of evidence is not necessarily evidence of absence, although in the case of a supposed omni-present entity, it IS.

And the entire history of the world is evidence that any such being is NOT 'good', and either not competent, or positively a jerk.

Keep shouting from the pile of sand your world-view is built on, Lee, you are actually making yourself and your beliefs a laughing stock. And the tide may be coming in....

You have plenty of evidence but you choose to object it because of foolish pride and arrogance. If my world-view is built on sand then explain to me why Christianity is still strong and is growing everyday worldwide? The resurrection as all the evidence anyone needs.

Bob, you don't do your cause much good by being so hateful. If God doesn't exist, there should be no need for you to attack Him personally. Your willingness to fight with an invisible enemy only helps prove there is some supernatural being causing your irritation. You can't hope to erase the existence of God by making Him your enemy. If someone is your foe, he must exist.

The problem with your movement is that it is nothing but an empty shell. If religion is the result of ignorance, atheists should be doing their best to educate people. You have given me not one shred of evidence that there is no God so evidence points heavily in my favor.

 

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:Indeed I have

jcgadfly wrote:
Indeed I have heard of the 10 commandments. The concepts behind them were old when the Hebrews were young.  Did you know that Paul abrogated the need for them for the follower of his religion in Romans 4:15? "Where there is no law,there is no transgression". Can you break laws that don't apply to you?

I always wondered why Paul contradicted himself in Romans 6. Can you help? I mean, it's really foolish to talk about the concept of sin that you abolished with an earlier stroke of your pen.

The ten commandments aren't a license to do whatever you want. Fortunately for followers of Paul's mystery cult, forgiveness and grace are. Do you guys even have to repent and make restitution anymore?

Paul did not abolish the law! Your taking the scripture out of context as usual!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee, there's so much

Lee, there's so much evidence for God but for some reason he hides it even from his followers? I mean, if you know what this evidence is, surely you can articulate it, can't you? Is Romans 1:20 your cop out because you really don't know either?

Bob? Hateful? You mean because he shows you that the world is a hostile place and not made by an all-loving God? The Bible atests that your God is not all loving (though I doubt you've ever read that part). Case in point:

"God is love" - I John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Cor 13:4

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" Exodus 20:4-5

So...which God are you worshipping again?

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

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:
Indeed I have heard of the 10 commandments. The concepts behind them were old when the Hebrews were young.  Did you know that Paul abrogated the need for them for the follower of his religion in Romans 4:15? "Where there is no law,there is no transgression". Can you break laws that don't apply to you?

I always wondered why Paul contradicted himself in Romans 6. Can you help? I mean, it's really foolish to talk about the concept of sin that you abolished with an earlier stroke of your pen.

The ten commandments aren't a license to do whatever you want. Fortunately for followers of Paul's mystery cult, forgiveness and grace are. Do you guys even have to repent and make restitution anymore?

Paul did not abolish the law! Your taking the scripture out of context as usual!

Show me where - I dare you. I don't mean where you add context that's not in the verse. Show me where I'm taking it out of context from the context that is already there.

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

Lee2216's picture

jcgadfly wrote:Lee, there's

jcgadfly wrote:

Lee, there's so much evidence for God but for some reason he hides it even from his followers? I mean, if you know what this evidence is, surely you can articulate it, can't you? Is Romans 1:20 your cop out because you really don't know either?

Bob? Hateful? You mean because he shows you that the world is a hostile place and not made by an all-loving God? The Bible atests that your God is not all loving (though I doubt you've ever read that part). Case in point:

"God is love" - I John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Cor 13:4

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" Exodus 20:4-5

So...which God are you worshipping again?

The world is a hostile place because people do terrible things. That's called sin!! Put the blame where it belongs! The blame is on humanity not God. Evidence = resurrection!!!

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Romans 1:20

Lee2216 wrote:jcgadfly

Lee2216 wrote:

jcgadfly wrote:

Lee, there's so much evidence for God but for some reason he hides it even from his followers? I mean, if you know what this evidence is, surely you can articulate it, can't you? Is Romans 1:20 your cop out because you really don't know either?

Bob? Hateful? You mean because he shows you that the world is a hostile place and not made by an all-loving God? The Bible atests that your God is not all loving (though I doubt you've ever read that part). Case in point:

"God is love" - I John 4:8

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud." 1 Cor 13:4

"Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.

 Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me" Exodus 20:4-5

So...which God are you worshipping again?

The world is a hostile place because people do terrible things. That's called sin!! Put the blame where it belongs! The blame is on humanity not God. Evidence = resurrection!!!

Resurrection is a common motif in mythology. Do you worship all the gods that have resurrection stories?

It sure is a good thing you don't have to worry about sin then, huh? Thanks to your cult leader Paul it no longer exists for you. That means you don't really need to ask for forgiveness either - why do you guys do that?

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