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Author Topic:   Reconstructing the Historical Jesus
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 151 of 560 (616827)
05-24-2011 1:45 PM


History ≠ Bible
I don't know how anyone could possibly have a serious conversation about these matters with folk who cannot distinguish between 'Jesus of the Bible' and the 'historical Jesus'.

Likewise with anyone who doesn't regard contextual evidence as evidence, or implies that the Romans kept records of the people they executed, and so forth with all the ridiculousness typical of creationists Jesus Mythists.

An historical Jesus is the best explanation of the evidence; if someone thinks there is a better one, present it.


Love your enemies!

Replies to this message:
 Message 152 by Theodoric, posted 05-24-2011 2:41 PM Jon has responded
 Message 155 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 4:30 PM Jon has not yet responded

Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6879
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 152 of 560 (616830)
05-24-2011 2:41 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Jon
05-24-2011 1:45 PM


Re: History ≠ Bible
You are a judgmental SOB when someone disagrees with you arent you.

I don't know how anyone could possibly have a serious conversation about these matters with folk who cannot distinguish between 'Jesus of the Bible' and the 'historical Jesus'.

So the Jesus of the bible is a myth? Based upon a historical Jesus? Why are they different? Show us your evidence and conclusions.

Likewise with anyone who doesn't regard contextual evidence as evidence,

Present the contextual evidence instead of just talking about it. You whole argument that creating a Jesus would be too embarrassing doesnt seem to mesh with your idea of some historical figure. How about presenting your argument instead of jumping all over the place.

or implies that the Romans kept records of the people they executed, and so forth with all the ridiculousness typical of creationists Jesus Mythists.

Who implied this? Your choices of wards shows that you are unwilling to even entertain a view other than your own.
Did you go through this thread as I suggested?
http://www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=1&t=3...
Did you read Kapyong's post?
Message 8
Greetings all,

Regarding evidence for the existance of Jesus - a well-known list of early writers from Remsberg is much bandied about by sceptics.

This list names a large number of early writers who lived about the time of Jesus, but who failed to mention him.

Some of the names on the list do not belong, because they just could not be expected to have mentioned Jesus. The Remsberg list is also without dates and subjects and places, and is unclear in identifying some authors.

So, I have updated and improved this list, taking it up to the mid 2nd century. Some of the writers listed need more details.

How Likely was a mention of Jesus?

The issue is really HOW LIKELY they would be to mention Jesus.

Factors which increase the expectation that Jesus would be mentioned in a work include :
* a large work (i.e. one which has large index of names)
* a work on an issue somehow related to Jesus or the Gospel events,
* a work whose genre tends to frequently mention or allude to many subjects and people,

I have thus classified these writers into broad categories -
* writers who surely SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (5),
* writers who PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (4,3),
* writers who COULD have mentioned Jesus (2,1, or even 0.5),
* writers who WOULDN'T have mentioned Jesus (0)

I have given each writer a WEIGHT out of 5 as indicated.

As well as -
* writers CLAIMED to mention Jesus.

Of course, one writer who didn't mention Jesus means nothing.
But,
when DOZENS of writers from the period in question fail to mention anything about Jesus (or the the Gospel events or actors), this argues against historicity.

The argument is sometimes made that these writers could not possibly have mentioned Jesus - because he was a minor figure and unrelated to the issues at hand.

This assumes that no such writer ever mentions a minor figure in passing, that they never make an aside about other events or figures who are not specially related to the subject.

Of course, this is not true, as the evidence below shows that many of the writers mentioned make many references to many other minor figures and often make excurses about other subjects and events and people.

I have included astronomers on the list who might have mentioned the Star of Bethlehem and/or the darkness at the crucifixion - if they had heard of them. This is a lesser issue then the existence of Jesus, and I have rated such writers as 0.5.

Summary of Results

The results of my current classifications is:

1 writer who surely SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (Philo.)

3 writers who PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (Seneca, Plutarch, Justus.)

31 writers who COULD have mentioned Jesus.

(20 writers who could not be expected to.
6 writers claimed to mention Jesus, but disputed or suspect.)

You can see the results presented chronologically with colour and font size here:
http://members.iinet.net.au/...hristianity/EarlyWriters.html

WRITERS WHO SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

PHILO

Philo Judaeus wrote very many books about Jewish religion and history, in the 30s and 40s, living in Alexandria, and visiting Jerusalem.

Philo was contemporary with Jesus and Paul,
Philo visited Jerusalem and had family there,
he developed the concept of the Logos and the holy spirit,
he was considered a Christian by some later Christians,
he wrote a great deal about related times and peoples and issues.

If Jesus had existed, Philo would almost certainly have written about him and his teachings.

Rating: SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 5

WRITERS WHO PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

SENECA

Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote many philosophic (Stoic) and satirical books and letters (and Tragedies) in Rome.

Seneca wrote a great deal on many subjects and mentioned many people. He was a Stoic, a school of thought considered sympathetic to Christian teachings.

In fact,
early Christians seemed to have expected him to discuss Christianity - they FORGED letters between him and Paul.

How else to explain these forgeries, except as Christian responses to a surprising VOID in Seneca's writings?

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 4

PLUTARCH

Plutarch of Chaeronea wrote many works on history and philosophy in Rome and Boetia in about 90-120 CE.

Plutarch wrote about influential Roman figures, including some contemporary to Jesus,
Plutarch wrote on Oracles (prophesies),
Plutarch wrote on moral issues,
Plutarch wrote on spiritual and religious issues.

Plutarch's writings also include a fascinating piece known as the "Vision of Aridaeus", a spiritual journey, or out of body experience, or religious fantasy -
http://members.iinet.net.au/...istianity/PlutarchVision.html

If Plutarch knew of Jesus or the Gospel events, it is highly likely he would have mentioned them.

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 4

JUSTUS

Justus of Tiberias wrote a History of Jewish Kings in Galilee in late 1st century.

Photius read Justus in the 8th century and noted that he did not mention anything: "He (Justus of Tiberias) makes not one mention of Jesus, of what happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did."

It is surprising that a contemporary writer from the very region of Jesus' alleged acts did not mention him.

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 3

WRITERS WHO COULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

DAMIS

Damis wrote most of what we know about Apollonius of Tyana. He was a philospher and mystic exactly contemporary with Jesus and who was rather similar to Jesus - enough for some authors to argue they were one and the same person.

If Damis/Apollonius had known of Jesus, he could have easily have been mentioned as a competitor. A story in which Apollonius bested Jesus in debate would not be un-expected.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

APOLLONIUS

See Damis.

PLINY THE ELDER

Gaius Plinius Secundus wrote a large Natural History in Rome c.80CE

Pliny wrote a great deal - his Natural History mentions HUNDREDS of people, major & minor - writers, leaders, poets, artists - often with as much reason as mentioning Jesus. (Of course like many other writers he talks about astronomy too, but never mentions the Star of Bethlehem or the darkness.)

It is not at all un-reasoble for this prolific writer to have mentioned Jesus or the Gospels events.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

JUVENAL

Decimus Junius Juvenalis wrote sixteen satires in Rome in early 2nd century.

Lucian the Roman satirist DID ridicule Christians (as gullible, easily lead fools) in mid 2nd century. By the later time of Lucian, Christianity obviously was known to the wider Roman community. Whereas Juvenal wrote at a time when Christianity had only just started to rate a few tiny mentions (Pliny the Younger, Tacitus.)

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

MARTIAL

Marcus Valerius Martialus wrote satires in Rome in late 1st century.

Martial wrote a large body of poems about all sorts of things. He mentions many people, places, stories and issues - major and minor, within and without Rome, such as :
* Stoic suffering of discomfort and death,
* virgin's blood,
* Roman funerary practices,
* the way accused men look in court,
* Roman soldiers mocking their leaders,
* anointing the body with oil,
* Molorchus the good shepherd,
* Tutilius a minor rhetorician, Nestor the wise,
* the (ugly) Temple of Jupiter,

This shows Martial mentions or alludes to many and varied people and issues.

He could easily have mentioned Jesus (or the Gospel events).

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

PETRONIUS

Petronius Arbiter wrote a large novel (a bawdy drama) the "Satyricon" c.60CE.

Petronius mentions all sorts of people and events in this large work, including :
** a CRUCIFIXION !
** a scene where guards are posted to stop a corpse being stolen,
** a tomb scene of someone mistaking a person for a supernatural vision,
* gods such as Bacchus and Ceres,
* writers such as Sophocles and Euripides and Epicurus,
* books such as the Iliad,
* Romans such as Cato and Pompey,
* people such as Hannibal, and the Governor of Ephesus,
* female charioteers, slaves, merchants, Arabs, lawyers
* baths, shipwrecks, meals...

This large work, cover MANY topics, including a CRUCIFIXION, and it was written just as Peter and Paul had come to Rome, allegedly. It could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

PAUSANIAS

Pausanias wrote the massive Guide to Greece in mid 2nd century.

Pausanias' work is vast and the index covers over 70 pages of small print, I estimate a couple of THOUSAND names are mentioned. He mentions a large number of minor figues from within and without Greece.

He even mentions a Jewish prophetess - a figure so minor she is essentially unknown: "Then later than Demo there was a prophetic woman reared among the Jews beyond Palestine; her name was Sabbe." Phokis, Book X, 12, [5]

Pausanias also mentions the Jewish rebellion under Hadrian.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

EPICTETUS

Epictetus is known for several books of Stoic religious and philosophic discourses in the early 2nd century. One of his disciples was Arrian, and thanks to him much of Epictetus' works are extant.

Epictetus DID apparently mention "the Galileans", which could be a reference to :
* the early Christians,
or
* the revolt under Judas the Galilean in early 1st century.

Either way, this shows quite clearly that Epictetus could refer to a figure such as Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

AELIUS ARISTIDES

Aelius Aristides the Greek Orator spoke and wrote a History of Rome and other subjects - he seems to refer to the Christians as "impious men from Palestine" (Orations 46.2)

If he could mention people from Palestine, he could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

FRONTO

Marcus Cornelius Fronto of Rome wrote several letters in mid 2nd century.

According to Minucius Felix, he scandalised rites practiced by Roman Christians - so he could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2

PERSIUS

Aulus Persius Flaccus wrote six fairly long satires in Rome in the mid 1st century, of a rather philosophic nature.

The argument that no Roman satirist could be expected to mention Jesus, is proven wrong by the case of a Roman satirist who DID mention Jesus (but only as echoes of later Christian beliefs.)

Persius wrote a reasonably large body of work that mentions many people and issues.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

DIO CHRYSOSTOM

Dio Chrysostom (Cocceianus Dio) wrote many works and gave many speeches in various Roman and Greek centres in late 1st century, of which 80 survive e.g. the Euboicus.

Dio wrote a large number of works in the late 1st century - he certainly could have mentioned Jesus, if he knew of him.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

AULUS GELLIUS

Aulus Gellius wrote Attic Nights (Nights in Athens), a large compendium of many topics and which mentioned many people.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

LUCIUS APULEIUS

Lucius Apuleius wrote the Metamorphoses (the Golden Ass or Transformations of Lucius) and many other spiritual, historical, and philosophic works - several survive.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

MARCUS AURELIUS

Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus wrote the Stoic Meditations in mid 2nd century - he (apparently) refers once to the Christians in XI, 3.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

MUSONIUS RUFUS

C. Musonius Rufus wrote on Stoic philosophy in Rome in mid 1st century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

HIEROCLES

Hierocles of Alexandria wrote on Stoic philosophy in late 1st century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

MAXIMUS of TYRE

Cassius Maximus Tyrius, a Greek NeoPlatonic philosopher, wrote many works in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1

ARRIAN

Arrian wrote a History of Alexander c.120CE.

The subject is not related, but Arrian wrote a very large work which mentioned HUNDREDS of people, some not from Alexander's time.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

APPIAN

Appian wrote a large Roman History (from the Gracchi to Caesar) in mid 2nd century.

It's not particularly likely that this specific writer would mention Jesus.
But,
he wrote a LARGE work which mentions HUNDREDS of people.
Appian does mention some issues of HIS day (mid 2nd century), e.g. a decision by Hadrian.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

THEON of SMYRNA

Theon of Smyrna wrote on astronomy/philosophy in early 2nd century.

Theon wrote about philosophy. If Jesus and his teachings were known, it is entirely plausible for to mention them.

Theon also wrote about astronomy.
If he had heard about the Star of Bethlehem or the Darkness (as an event, or from the Gospels) he could easily have mentioned it.

Apologists frequently cite Phlegon and Thallus, astronomers who mentioned eclipses (but NOT Jesus or the Gospel events, that is merely later Christian wishful thinking) as evidence for Jesus.

An astronomer could easily be expected to mention those incidents, especially when apologists claim other astronomers of the period did exactly that.

The silence of early astronomers about the Star of Bethlehem or the crucifixion darkness argues these "events" were unknown until later.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

QUINTILIAN

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, wrote the "Education of an Orator" in Rome in late 1st century.

One of the things Jesus was allegedly noted for was his PUBLIC SPEECHES - e.g. the Sermon on the Mount, which supposedly drew and influenced large crowds.

If Quintilian had heard of Jesus or the Gospels events, he could have mentioned the allegedly famous speeches of Jesus.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

LUCIUS ANNAEUS FLORUS

Lucius Annaeus Florus wrote an Epitome of Roman History.

Although not directly on subject, Florus wrote a large work which mentions many names. He could have mentioned Jesus if he had known of him.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

LUCAN

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus wrote the Pharsalia (Civil War) in Rome in mid 1st century.

In his large poem, the Pharsalia, he mentions some events from later times, and he covers many different issues and people in passing.
He:
* mentions an event from 56CE,
* refers to places as far afield as Sicily and Kent,
* refered to Stoic religious beliefs about the end of the world,
* refers to many books and myths and persons and events not part of the main story.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

STATIUS

Publius Papinius Statius wrote numerous minor and epic poems (e.g. Ode to Sleep and the Thebaid) in Rome in late 1st century.

Statius wrote many works on several subjects, he could have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

HERO of ALEXANDRIA

Hero(n) of Alexandria wrote many technical works, including astronomy.

If he had known of the Gospel stories about Jesus, he could have mentioned them.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

GEMINUS

Geminus wrote on mathematics astronomy in Greece.

If he had known of the Gospel stories about Jesus, he could have mentioned them.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

ALBINUS

Albinus taught on (neo-)Platonism in early 2nd century, a little survives.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

ARISTOCLES

Aristocles of Messene wrote On Philosophy, early 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

APOLLODORUS

Apollodorus compiled a large Mythology in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

HEPHAESTION

Hephaestion of Alexandria wrote many works in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

SEXTUS EMPIRICUS

Sextus Empiricus wrote Outlines of Scepticism in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5

WRITERS CLAIMED TO MENTION JESUS

JOSEPHUS

Much has been said about Josephus, but not here.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but may not have.

TACITUS

Cornelius Tacitus wrote a celebrated passage about Jesus roughly 80 years or so after the alleged events - but he seems to be reporting Christian beliefs of his later times, not using earlier documents: he uses the incorrect title 'procurator' - the term used in Tacitus' time, not Pilate's; he fails to name the executed man (Roman records could not possibly have called him 'Christ '); and he accepts the recent advent of the Christians, when Rome was known to allow only ancient cults and religions.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but probably late hearsay.

NUMENIUS

In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name"

Numenius does not mention Jesus, just a story that was later attributed to him.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but probably late hearsay.

SUETONIUS

Gaius SUETONIUS Tranquillus wrote a histories/biographies of Roman Caesars c.120CE.

He mentions a "Chrestus" (a common slave name meaning "Useful") who caused disturbance in Rome in 49CE.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.

PHLEGON

Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius, and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by much later George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon said anything about Gospel events - just evidence for later Christians believing his statements about an eclipse (there WAS an eclipse in this period) was really about the Gospel darkness.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.

THALLUS

Thallus perhaps wrote in early 2nd century or somewhat earlier (his works are lost, there is no evidence he wrote in the 1st century, in fact there is some evidence he wrote around 109 BCE, and some authors refer to him for events before the Trojan War!) - 9th century George Syncellus quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse". There is no evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events, as there was an eclipse in 29, the subject in question. Furthermore the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is likely a mis-reading.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.

WRITERS WHO COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

Dion Prusaeus
Paterculus
Ptolemy
Valerius Maximus
Pomponius Mela
Quintus Curtus Rufus
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella
Favorinus
Phaedrus
Babrius
Silius Italicus
Marcus Manilius
Cleomedes
Dioscorides
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Nicomachus of Gerasa
Menelaus of Alexandria
Menodotus of Nicomedia
Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus
Valerius Flaccus

This is much more than missing execution records.

An historical Jesus is the best explanation of the evidence;

Why? Because it fits your sensibilities?


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 1:45 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 153 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 2:59 PM Theodoric has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 153 of 560 (616831)
05-24-2011 2:59 PM
Reply to: Message 152 by Theodoric
05-24-2011 2:41 PM


Re: History ≠ Bible
Present the contextual evidence instead of just talking about it.

I did. You failed to address it; the only evidence you seem ready to accept are written records about Jesus produced by unbiased parties during his life time. We don't have that. But no serious researcher so limits his pool of evidence.

So the Jesus of the bible is a myth? Based upon a historical Jesus? Why are they different? Show us your evidence and conclusions.

If you cannot see how a poor, powerless Jew executed as a state criminal is different from an incarnated god who ascended into heaven after being raised from the dead, then there is little hope that a discussion with you will bear any fruit whatsoever.

Jon writes:

An historical Jesus is the best explanation of the evidence;

Why? Because it fits your sensibilities?

Jon also said...

quote:
Jon in Message 151:

... if someone thinks there is a better one, present it.


Do you have anything to present? Anything at all?

If you cannot present a better explanation, then there's no reason to take you seriously.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 152 by Theodoric, posted 05-24-2011 2:41 PM Theodoric has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 154 by Theodoric, posted 05-24-2011 3:51 PM Jon has not yet responded

Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6879
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 154 of 560 (616834)
05-24-2011 3:51 PM
Reply to: Message 153 by Jon
05-24-2011 2:59 PM


Re: History ≠ Bible
Present the contextual evidence instead of just talking about it.

I did.


Evidently we have vastly different ideas of what contextual evidence is. Because all you have presented is some stuff about Jesus being a failure. This is not contextual evidence. This is just some attempt to grasp at anything. I do not see how you can present that as evidence. The bible is better evidence and it is no evidence at all.
If you cannot see how a poor, powerless Jew executed as a state criminal is different from an incarnated god who ascended into heaven after being raised from the dead, then there is little hope that a discussion with you will bear any fruit whatsoever.

You have not shown anything for us to how the first is related to the second. As I asked before is this about the whole idea of "the "historical Jesus" wasn't named Jesus, didn't do miracles, wasn't the king of the Jews, wasn't crucified by the Romans, and didn't rise from the dead"?

Do you have anything to present? Anything at all?

Do you want me to provide evidence there wasn't Jesus Christ? You do realize that that is not possible don't you. You want a better explanation for the evidence? Yet you have supplied no evidence just some hypothesis that Jesus was too much of a failure and embarrassment to not be historical?
Did you read my post about mystery religions? Did you bother looking into them at all?

Since you seem to be too lazy or too scared to investigate alternatives I will lead you to it.

Edited by Theodoric, : No reason given.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 153 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 2:59 PM Jon has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 155 of 560 (616839)
05-24-2011 4:30 PM
Reply to: Message 151 by Jon
05-24-2011 1:45 PM


Re: History ≠ Bible
I don't know how anyone could possibly have a serious conversation about these matters with folk who cannot distinguish between 'Jesus of the Bible' and the 'historical Jesus'.

There is no Jesus except "Jesus of the Bible" because there's no other source of information about the supposed life of Jesus.

Right? Is there some other source of Jesus-stuff I'm overlooking?

Likewise with anyone who doesn't regard contextual evidence as evidence

I regard contextual evidence as evidence. What contextual evidence do you have?

implies that the Romans kept records of the people they executed

But the Romans did keep execution records. The Romans were the pre-eminent record-keeping civilization of the age.

Jon, how do you think you would be able to rule an empire that stretched from Britain to the Middle East without substantial record-keeping? Implying that the Romans didn't keep records is what is ridiculous.

An historical Jesus is the best explanation of the evidence; if someone thinks there is a better one, present it.

Consider it presented: there was no such thing as Jesus.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 151 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 1:45 PM Jon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 162 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2011 4:47 AM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 156 of 560 (616841)
05-24-2011 4:46 PM


Better than Best
An historical Jesus who was an itinerant preacher north of Jerusalem who gained a following of people who thought he was the Messiah but was executed by Roman officials is the best explanation for the evidence.

As scientists, we can accept this tentative explanation until someone can provide a better explanation.

Till then, we've got what we've got.


Love your enemies!

Replies to this message:
 Message 157 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 4:49 PM Jon has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 157 of 560 (616842)
05-24-2011 4:49 PM
Reply to: Message 156 by Jon
05-24-2011 4:46 PM


Re: Better than Best
An historical Jesus who was an itinerant preacher north of Jerusalem who gained a following of people who thought he was the Messiah but was executed by Roman officials is the best explanation for the evidence.

Jon -

What evidence?

As scientists, we can accept this tentative explanation until someone can provide a better explanation.

The better explanation is that there is no such thing as Jesus. This explains not only all the evidence you're thinking of, but all the negative evidence as well as the conspicuous lack of evidence.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 156 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 4:46 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 158 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 5:54 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 158 of 560 (616848)
05-24-2011 5:54 PM
Reply to: Message 157 by crashfrog
05-24-2011 4:49 PM


Re: Better than Best
What evidence?

I already mentioned some of it:

quote:
Jon in Message 142:

This is for the reasons that I gave above that no Jew (the earliest followers of the Jesus movement) would come up with a 'messiah' that looked like Jesus. Instead, all the messianic beliefs regarding Jesus appear as ad hoc, face-saving excuses consistent with the existence of an actual man whose little posse though him to be the Messiah and then scrambled like eggs in a skillet to explain away the fact that he was actually a failure—majorly.


You can read more about this here:

quote:
Wikipedia on Jewish Understanding of the Messiah:

Maimonides describes the identity of the Messiah in the following terms:

"And if a king shall arise from among the House of David, studying Torah and occupied with commandments like his father David, according to the written and oral Torah, and he will impel all of Israel to follow it and to strengthen breaches in its observance, and will fight Hashem's [God's] wars, this one is to be treated as if he were the anointed one.
If he succeeded and built the Holy Temple in its proper place and gathered the dispersed ones of Israel together, this is indeed the anointed one for certain, and he will mend the entire world to worship the Lord together, as it is stated: "For then I shall turn for the nations a clear tongue, so that they will all procalim the Name of the Lord, and to worship Him with a united resolve (Zephaniah 3:9)."

Wikipedia on Christian Understanding of the Messiah:

In Christian theology, the Christ/Messiah serves a number of roles which are proclaimed in the Nicene Creeds of 325 and 381 A.D.:

  • He suffers and dies to make atonement before God for the sins of all humanity, because His justice requires that sins be punished, according to Penal substitution theology.

As far as we know, prior to the early first century a.d. no one held the Christian views of the Messiah. The revolutionary redefinition of the Messiah can easily be explained by the existence of a man thought to be the Messiah in the traditional sense who then failed on that account but was instead executed by the Romans.

For now this is all I'll have to say on the matter. If someone bothers presenting a better explanation for these observations than the Historical Jesus hypothesis, then perhaps I'll address their points.

Until then...

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 157 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 4:49 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 159 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 6:12 PM Jon has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 159 of 560 (616852)
05-24-2011 6:12 PM
Reply to: Message 158 by Jon
05-24-2011 5:54 PM


Re: Better than Best
This is for the reasons that I gave above that no Jew (the earliest followers of the Jesus movement) would come up with a 'messiah' that looked like Jesus

That's an opinion about Jews, that's not evidence for a historical Jesus.

As far as we know, prior to the early first century a.d. no one held the Christian views of the Messiah.

It's hardly significant that nobody was a Christian prior to the existence stories about Christ. Again, that's not any sort of evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus - the nonexistence of Jesus explains a lack of Christian Messianic views prior to the first century just as well, don't you think?

For now this is all I'll have to say on the matter.

I'd prefer it if your next reply contained some evidence. Do you think you could oblige me?

. If someone bothers presenting a better explanation for these observations than the Historical Jesus hypothesis

Here's a better explanation for these observations plus the other observations you've not been able to explain: there was no such person as Jesus.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 158 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 5:54 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 160 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 7:48 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 160 of 560 (616869)
05-24-2011 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 159 by crashfrog
05-24-2011 6:12 PM


Re: Better than Best
... there was no such person as Jesus.

This isn't an explanation; this is just a denial of an explanation with no effort whatsoever on your part to replace it with a better explanation.

Until you come up with another explanation, an historical Jesus isn't just the best one we've got, it's the only one we've got.

Like I said...

quote:
Jon in Message 158:

If someone bothers presenting a better explanation for these observations than the Historical Jesus hypothesis, then perhaps I'll address their points.


Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 159 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 6:12 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 161 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 8:00 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 161 of 560 (616872)
05-24-2011 8:00 PM
Reply to: Message 160 by Jon
05-24-2011 7:48 PM


Re: Better than Best
This isn't an explanation; this is just a denial of an explanation with no effort whatsoever on your part to replace it with a better explanation.

It's absolutely an explanation. How is it not an explanation?

It only fails to be an explanation if you take the existence of a historical Jesus as a given, as you do. But that's simply a result of your complete refusal to consider the proposition that the basis of Christianity may be false.

Until you come up with another explanation, an historical Jesus isn't just the best one we've got, it's the only one we've got.

No, we have a second, more likely explanation: there was no such thing as Jesus.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 160 by Jon, posted 05-24-2011 7:48 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

caffeine
Member
Posts: 1728
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 5.7


(1)
Message 162 of 560 (617138)
05-26-2011 4:47 AM
Reply to: Message 155 by crashfrog
05-24-2011 4:30 PM


Execution records
crashfrog writes:

But the Romans did keep execution records. The Romans were the pre-eminent record-keeping civilization of the age.

Jon, how do you think you would be able to rule an empire that stretched from Britain to the Middle East without substantial record-keeping? Implying that the Romans didn't keep records is what is ridiculous.

For this to be relevant, though, there have to be some surviving records of executions in first century Judaea. As far as I can find out, there are no surviving official records of any sort. So of course Jesus' isn't among them.

ABE: I started writing a completely different post, but having thought a bit have reconsidered.

'Jesus didn't exist' isn't really an explanation, it's a conclusion. The idea is to explain who or what it was the early Christians were talking about, and whether a mythical character makes more sense than a historical figure. Most agree that Judaea at the time was a hotbed of messianic activity, with regular revolts against Roman rule by various zealots and would-be Messiahs. For many of the these (eg. Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Judas of Galilee, Theudas) there is no evidence outside of Josephus, and for the later ones the Acts of the Apostles. None of the other writers knocking about in the first century whose works have come down to us bothered to mention any of them. This doesn't really lead us to conclude that none of them existed though, just that one more 'Messiah' rebel in Judaea clearly wasn't of that much significance.

The same applies to Jesus - he only became somebody of wider significance long after his death, after the message of his cult had appealed to all manner of gentiles and become a widespread religion. It seems more parsimonious to assume a real executed Jewish rebel, from a time and place in which executed Jewish rebels were commonplace, than it does to suppose a mythical character later redacted into a real man.

Now, this isn't to offer any support for the specific stories of the Gospels, as many are clearly inventions from various sources. But before you start protesting that we're back to 'a Jesus who didn't do this and that', the thread isn't called 'Is Chrisitanity True', but 'Reconstructing the Historical Jesus'. Obviously I don't believe in the myths about Jesus, not being Christian, but it's an interested topic what, if anything, these myths are originally based on.

Edited by caffeine, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 155 by crashfrog, posted 05-24-2011 4:30 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 163 by Theodoric, posted 05-26-2011 8:56 AM caffeine has responded
 Message 165 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 11:48 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6879
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 163 of 560 (617152)
05-26-2011 8:56 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by caffeine
05-26-2011 4:47 AM


Re: Execution records
For many of the these (eg. Simon of Peraea, Athronges, Judas of Galilee, Theudas) there is no evidence outside of Josephus, and for the later ones the Acts of the Apostles. None of the other writers knocking about in the first century whose works have come down to us bothered to mention any of them. This doesn't really lead us to conclude that none of them existed though, just that one more 'Messiah' rebel in Judaea clearly wasn't of that much significance.

So the historical Jesus was as much historical as Robin Hood and William Tell?

How can we equate any of these 'messiah' rebels with Jesus of the Bible, if nothing in the bible actually happened? The "historical Jesus" wasn't named Jesus, didn't do miracles, wasn't the king of the Jews, wasn't crucified by the Romans, and didn't rise from the dead? That would make him not Jesus wouldn't it.


Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2011 4:47 AM caffeine has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 164 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2011 10:09 AM Theodoric has not yet responded

caffeine
Member
Posts: 1728
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 5.7


Message 164 of 560 (617157)
05-26-2011 10:09 AM
Reply to: Message 163 by Theodoric
05-26-2011 8:56 AM


Re: Execution records
Theodoric writes:

So the historical Jesus was as much historical as Robin Hood and William Tell?

How can we equate any of these 'messiah' rebels with Jesus of the Bible, if nothing in the bible actually happened? The "historical Jesus" wasn't named Jesus, didn't do miracles, wasn't the king of the Jews, wasn't crucified by the Romans, and didn't rise from the dead? That would make him not Jesus wouldn't it.

I wasn't suggesting to equate any of these rebels with Jesus. I was pointing out that Jewish rebels were a common thing in first-century Palestine, and none of them seem to have been mentioned by people like Philo, Seneca or Plutarch - so the fact that they didn't mention Jesus either isn't really relevant to the question of his historicity.

Jesus is much better supported historically that either Robin Hood or William Tell.

For Jesus, we have the Epistles and Gospels of the early Christian communities, many composed within a century of his death, which certainly profess to be about a real historical figure. For Robin Hood we have no idea when his death is supposed to be. The earliest mentions of him are in court documents which use the term 'Robin Hood' as a general pejorative for criminal types - the earliest mentions of him in any detail are much later, in stories presented as fiction. I know less about William Tell, but it seems the first documentary evidence of him was written about a century and a half after he was supposedly knocking about.

I'm not sure why you include 'wasn't named Jesus' and 'wasn't executed by the Romans' in your list of things that the historical Jesus wasn't. If there was a historical Jesus, then he probably was named Jesus and probably was executed by the Romans - as happened to the other would-be Messiahs of the time. As for the rest, is the historical Buddha not Buddha if he didn't do miracles, didn't really acheive enlightenment under a pipa tree, and didn't proclaim his own birth beneath a rain of heavenly water?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 163 by Theodoric, posted 05-26-2011 8:56 AM Theodoric has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 166 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 12:08 PM caffeine has not yet responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 165 of 560 (617168)
05-26-2011 11:48 AM
Reply to: Message 162 by caffeine
05-26-2011 4:47 AM


Re: Execution records
For this to be relevant, though, there have to be some surviving records of executions in first century Judaea.

There are all manner of Roman records from Judea, including a substantial amount of information about Pontius Pilate - yet there's no mention at all about Judea's most famous trial?

Absurd.

The idea is to explain who or what it was the early Christians were talking about, and whether a mythical character makes more sense than a historical figure.

If Jesus didn't actually exist then "mythical character" is what has to make the most sense - it doesn't make any sense at all for people to be talking about a "historical figure" who didn't actually exist. That's true by definition.

Of course, there's relative degrees of "didn't exist." James Bond is a fictional British Secret agent, but we know that spies exist, and we know that Ian Fleming got the name from American ornithologist James Bond (who returned the favor by naming a bird after Ian Fleming.) We know that the character was inspired by real British secret agents and war heroes, including Prince Bernhard (who enjoyed his martinis shaken, not stirred), Patrick Dazel-job (Fleming's partner in a top secret intelligence unit), Biffy Dunderdale (known for his sartorial excellence and his armored Rolls-Royce), and so on.

But even so it would be a category error of the highest degree to say that "there is evidence for the existence of James Bond." No, there's not. There's no such thing as "James Bond" and there's no such thing as Jesus, and to assert that the "historical Jesus" was a guy named Jesus who was only half-Jewish, wasn't considered the Messiah, didn't lead a Jewish revolt, wasn't a carpenter, didn't perform miracles, wasn't executed by the Romans, and didn't rise from the dead three days later is as absurd as saying "there's a real Santa Claus, but he doesn't make toys, doesn't have any reindeer, can't fly around the world in a single night, lives in New Jersey, and his name is actually Lou."

The same applies to Jesus - he only became somebody of wider significance long after his death, after the message of his cult had appealed to all manner of gentiles and become a widespread religion.

Ok, but what's the evidence for that view?

It seems more parsimonious to assume a real executed Jewish rebel, from a time and place in which executed Jewish rebels were commonplace, than it does to suppose a mythical character later redacted into a real man.

Why? The principle of parsimony says that we must not needlessly multiply entities, and the mythical Jesus notion has one less entity - to wit, Jesus. So just for parsimony's sake the precise opposite is true - it's much more parsimonious to assert that Jesus was a fictional character inflated in importance and significance as the stories inspired a religious movement among the oppressed. How would that be any different than John Frum or Jesus Malverde? And pay particular attention to how quickly John Frum and Jesus Malverde cults became widespread - in both cases, about two decades, both in cultures where stories continue to spread mostly by word of mouth.

That's more than enough time for the Jesus cult to have spread in significance and area and started a full-fledged religion in time for the earliest Bible writings to reference a widespread church. Indeed, religious spread faster when they're not tied down to a real individual!


This message is a reply to:
 Message 162 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2011 4:47 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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