There is much evidence from the bible itself that the biblical Jesus is a composite of at least two and probably several such self proclaimed profits of that time. The (minimal) two prophets would have come from Nazareth and Bethlehem. The birth story doesn't, by itself, make any sense. The only reason the Romans would have called for a census is for the purpose of taxation. The taxes they imposed were a hearth tax and taxes on crops and businesses. They would only be interested in where people lived and worked, not where they were born. The journey of Mary and Joseph and the nativity scene is obviously a literary device to conjoin two distinct preachers (possibly both named Yeshua) into one savior. The mythologizing process often borrows (or creates) good stories from other heroes to aggrandize the subject of the myth. This practice is still prevalent today.
There are two [different] nativity stories in the Bible. They serve two distinct purposes.
Particularly specious is Ehrman's contention that a crucified Jesus would be unpalatable to potential converts. The existence today of over one billion christians proves that false.
:laugh: The messiah was supposed to be a king. The messiah was supposed to ﬁght a battle to free the Jews from their oppressors. The messiah was supposed to usher in the kingdom of God. Jesus was just a teacher and a rebel who was executed as a political criminal of the Empire. So, can you imagine how some Jews might take offence when you run around proclaiming that he was the messiah?
The existence today of over one billion christians proves that false.
Mostly non-Jews, who had no idea what a messiah was supposed to be.
And religions, myths, and epic biographies are replete with gods and heros torn apart, cut to pieces, or otherwise spindled, stapled, or mutilated.
Again, he was supposed to be the messiah; Jews following him around at the time believed he was the great king descendant of David. If they were going to make up anything, the last thing they would make up would be his execution by the one force that he was ultimately supposed to destroy.
Besides, the crucifixion is essential for the main selling point of the story: the salvation and redemption in the end. Shit happens, but then god will wash you off (if you believe and support the church.)
:laugh: That was all made up after, by people who could not accept that the man they had followed as king was not much of a king afterall. There was nothing that would have made Jews expect Jesus (if he were the messiah) to be executed. When he was executed, some folks said "nope, just another in a long line of false claimants"; others said "there must be an explanation". The earliest Christian writings show that they had not made it up before hand; they say nothing about dying for sins.
Are there any other examples of nails being used by the Romans for crucifixion?
An ossuary bearing the name "Yehochanan" contained the full skeleton of a man crucified in the first century and buried with a bent crucifixion nail through his heel bone. It is the only physical evidence of crucifixion ever discovered.
In considering the Origin of Species, it is quite conceivable that a naturalist... might come to the conclusion that each species had not been independently created, but had descended, like varieties, from other species. - Charles Darwin On the Origin of Species _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
En el mundo hay multitud de idiomas, y cada uno tiene su propio significado. - I Corintios 14:10 _ _ _ _ _ _ _ ____ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
A devout people with its back to the wall can be pushed deeper and deeper into hardening religious nativism, in the end even preferring national suicide to religious compromise. - Colin Wells Sailing from Byzantium
In fact, if Christianity was constructed with a mind to attract converts, it wouldn't be a stretch to imagine that it was the Gentiles at whom the new faith was aimed, anyway. Look at Paul's emphasis on converting Gentiles.
Yep. It would be easier to convince people who had no idea what a messiah was than to convince people who knew damn-well that the messiah was not supposed to be executed by the enemy.
Anyway, although Christianity probably started out as a Jewish cult, the first Christians were probably exemplified by Paul: a throroughly Hellenized Jewish community in Syria with rather tenuous links to the orthodoxy centered at the temple in Jerusalem.
Not only the average citizen of Asia Minor and Greece- where Paul mostly preached- wouldn't feel alienated by the crucifixion, they would feel comfortably reminded of the Prometheus myth (semi-divine benefactor crucified to cliff-face as punishment for his generosity towards mankind)
The earliest Christian writings make no mention of Jesus being executed for the sake of all mankind. The theology only crops up as Paul tries, tirelessly, to explain away the questions and problems of the various Christian communities to which he is writing.
Paul appears to be unaware of the actual life and works of Jesus himself.
I don't think he made it up as he went along, like you imply, but rather that this was his interpretation/reaction to the death of the alleged messiah.
But Paul didn't become a Christian till well after Jesus was executed. Not all Paul's letters present the same notion of Jesus.
When the messiah had so obviously failed in his physical role, Paul assigned him a a new, spiritual role in which he could succeed.
But Paul didn't become a Christian till well after Jesus was executed. Tell me, which of Paul's ﬁrst writings do you see as being evidence that Jesus' death was believed to be an "atonement sacriﬁce"?
I think you may mean that the concept of Jesus as an atonement sacrifice, the way Paul presents it, is alien to Jewish theology and also doesn't really feature in the only canonical account we have of Jesus's life, i.e. the synoptic gospels.
Not really what I am trying to say at all, no. By the way, when did John get dropped from the canon? :confused:
It's just some evidence that Paul -though aware of the existence and main life-events of Jesus- mythified and spiritualised him.
There's not much to suggest that, in Paul's original theology, he cared much at all about the life of Jesus. I'm not sure what point you're trying to prove though—still. What exactly is this evidence supposed to show?
I think you'll have to start providing some references in support of all your claims.
Paul's ideas about the atonement sacrifice and the need for faith in Jesus's redemptive sacrifice are pretty consistent throughout his letter, IMO.
Your opinion's wrong.
Start with Rom 4:25, 5:8-10, Eph 5:2, 2 Cor 5:21, 1 Cor. 5:7, and we'll take it from there.
Or better yet, let's actually start with his ﬁrst writings... and then take it from there.
Paul obviously had a need to regard Jesus as something special and when he couldn't justify this need on the traditional, Jewish messianic view of Jesus he evolved it, spiritualized it and mythified it.
Likely 'spiritualised' and 'mythiﬁed' before Paul was converted.
Ehrman's contention that a crucified Jesus would be unpalatable to potential converts is ludicrous.
Nah... I think his contention is rather well-founded.
Third, the crucifixion part of the cult may have originated in Syria, quite far from the center of orthodox Judaism, and found its greatest following among the Gentiles.
Cruciﬁxion is what the Romans did to rebels—political criminals. Gentiles know this. If trying to get Gentiles to follow a particular religious leader, mentioning that he was executed as a political criminal of the Empire is crazy.
"Hey, let's say he was cruciﬁed" isn't a conclusion anyone would come to if they were trying to get converts—Jewish or Gentile—when there had never been a cruciﬁxion. There are so many ways to embellish the death of a religious leader; execution as political criminal is so unlikely to be one of them.
I think you are too set in the modern Christian theology of there being some 'higher reason' for the death of Jesus. You need to imagine yourself as a follower of Jesus. Like any person, he died. Now, trying to get converts, what ferry-tale will you tell them about this Son of God?
Second, no one claims that this cult ever attracted a lot of Jews.
No one's claiming this cult ever attracted a lot of Gentiles, either.
The story of the resurrection and, perhaps, of the crucifixion itself, maybe even the very existence of the Messiah Jesus, probably formed without the conscious will of the people involved.
We've been placing some, perhaps undue, weight on the nature of conversion. One thing that I think we should also be reminded of is that the Jesus' followers were originally Jews. They had a preconceived idea as to what the Messiah was supposed to be, which was a king born from the line of David that was to overthrow the oppressors of the Jews (Roman Empire at the time), and usher in the kingdom of God.
If that is your belief as to what a messiah is, then what would cause you to switch it all around, so abruptly, so suddenly, so that now a messiah is a king born from the line of David [an ordinary man that must ﬁrst be executed by the enemies of the Jews before being resurrected and taken up into heaven in order to return later] to overthrow the oppressors of the Jews (Roman Empire at the time), and usher in the kingdom of God?
Something happened to cause these folks to change their deﬁnition of messiah. Looking at those deﬁnitions, what would you suppose it to have been?
so..you're suggesting that an audience immersed in greek culture would find the story about a divine man who's crucified as a result of his desire to benefit mankind with a unique gift, somehow unappealing ?!
Read what I post, please, it will beneﬁt you.
EARLY CHRISTIANS DID NOT EXPLAIN JESUS' CRUCIFIXION AS BEING A SACRIFICE/DESIRE TO BENEFIT ALL MANKIND
Also; Paul was only ONE of the Christians out there. There's evidence in his writing that the main core of Christians—direct followers of Jesus—likely thought he was nuts, and even moreso, probably thought he was completely wrong in most everything he said.
There would have been others who developed beliefs similar to Paul, but there were some who did not. Some thought that his death was merely in order that he could be resurrected, thus demonstrating to have high standing with God. So, not all Christians agreed on the same meaning for the cruciﬁxion, but they ALL agreed that it happened.
If it were the reasons that had begotten the story, then you would expect different groups to form different stories. Some might say, "the Messiah was supposed to die for sins"... "oh, let's say he did die... by cruciﬁxion." Or, "the Messiah was supposed to ﬁght off the Romans..." "let's say he died in a struggle as a martyr"... etc.
Instead, we see them with the same story, which likely indicates that it was different groups ﬁnding different meaning for the same story.
For the large body of Christian converts later on, it may have been easier for people such as them to understand Jesus in those terms: the man who sacriﬁced himself for all humanity as opposed to the king who didn't end up being much of a king. Especially, since it wasn't obvious that he actually was coming back from heaven any time soon.
By the way: did you not want to look at Paul's ﬁrst letters then?