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Author Topic:   Reconstructing the Historical Jesus
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 166 of 560 (617171)
05-26-2011 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 164 by caffeine
05-26-2011 10:09 AM


Re: Execution records
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 Jesus Malverde we have three major motion pictures and an entire Mexican state that venerates him as a saint, with no apparent consciousness that he's an entirely fictional character.

With John Frum, we have a vast and widespread religion of veneration that spans several South Pacific islands that not only lack telecommunications but upon which illiteracy is widespread. The religion went from non-existent to the dominant faith of those regions in the space of a decade.

Jesus Christ wouldn't be the only time that widespread veneration of a fictional character has occurred. I've just given you two examples that occurred in the twentieth century. Is it so impossible to imagine it happening in the first? It seems profoundly obvious that, in fact, it did - and that it would have been much easier to do so.

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.

When "historical Jesus" proponents actually get around to describing who Jesus Christ actually was, they invariably produce an individual who wasn't named either Jesus or Christ. And the reason I say "wasn't executed by Romans" is because he doesn't seem to have been executed by Romans, just like Jesus Malverde wasn't actually ever shot/hanged by Federales.

I mean, it may turn out to be the case that a man who was either a railroad employee or construction worker, who may or may not have been involved with drugs or banditry, maybe was shot or maybe was hanged by Mexican Federales. That encompasses a wide variety of potential individuals, after all. But it would be a category error to refer to such a person as the "historical Jesus Malverde."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 164 by caffeine, posted 05-26-2011 10:09 AM caffeine has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 170 by Modulous, posted 05-26-2011 1:04 PM crashfrog has responded
 Message 171 by PaulK, posted 05-26-2011 1:15 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 167 of 560 (617172)
05-26-2011 12:08 PM
Reply to: Message 165 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 11:48 AM


Crash's Caricatures - 50¢ a Print
... yet there's no mention at all about Judea's most famous trial?

Probably because it wasn't at all famous or unique.

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

You are caricaturing the arguments for an historical Jesus. Why don't you actually bother reading what people are posting before going off on your ridiculous rants?

No one has argued for miracles.
No one has argued for a carpenter.
No one has argued for a revolt.
No one has argued for a resurrection.

And so the list goes on of things that have nothing to do with your opponents' positions but that you seem incapable of separating from your objections. Your all-or-nothing nonsense is completely unrelated to the arguments of an historical Jesus.

The principle of parsimony says that we must not needlessly multiply entities, and the mythical Jesus notion has one less entity - to wit, Jesus.

No, it doesn't. Because to preserve the mythical Jesus notion, one must invent a whole slew of extra crap to explain the things that a single entity—historical Jesus—can explain easily.

Interestingly, despite the fact that such a slew exists, you've not once attempted to present it. Thus, all you have done is deny one of the explanations and failed to present an alternative.

So once again, we all await your explanation; we're all excited to set it on the table and examine it to see if it really is better than the historical Jesus explanation. All you have to do is present it.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 165 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 11:48 AM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 168 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 12:15 PM Jon has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 168 of 560 (617173)
05-26-2011 12:15 PM
Reply to: Message 167 by Jon
05-26-2011 12:08 PM


Re: Crash's Caricatures - 50¢ a Print
Probably because it wasn't at all famous or unique.

Really? Not famous? Then what on Earth is Pontius Pilate even remembered for? His amazing omelette?

No one has argued for miracles.
No one has argued for a carpenter.
No one has argued for a revolt.
No one has argued for a resurrection.

So, then, by definition nobody is arguing for the existence of a historical Jesus.

In point of fact, however, people do argue for miracles, for carpenter, for the revolt that never happened, for the impossible resurrection. You may even have met some of these individuals; they're called "Christians." They have a delightful little cult, maybe you should look into it.

Your all-or-nothing nonsense is completely unrelated to the arguments of an historical Jesus.

And what are those arguments, Jon? So far I've seen nothing but people's personal incredulity that you could base a religion on a fictional person and have it become popular in under 50 years, despite the fact that I've now given modern examples of that precise thing happening precisely as it did in the first century - twice in living memory!

Because to preserve the mythical Jesus notion, one must invent a whole slew of extra crap to explain the things that a single entity—historical Jesus—can explain easily.

Like what?

Obviously you don't give even a single example, because this claim is false. It;s the historical Jesus position that requires something extra - a historical Jesus. Nothing "extra" happens in the mythical Jesus history.

Interestingly, despite the fact that such a slew exists, you've not once attempted to present it.

Which proves that there's no such "slew."


This message is a reply to:
 Message 167 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 12:08 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 169 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 12:50 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 169 of 560 (617176)
05-26-2011 12:50 PM
Reply to: Message 168 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 12:15 PM


Re: Crash's Caricatures - 50¢ a Print
Jon writes:

No one has argued for miracles.
No one has argued for a carpenter.
No one has argued for a revolt.
No one has argued for a resurrection.

So, then, by definition nobody is arguing for the existence of a historical Jesus.

None of those things are defining characteristics of an historical Jesus. This only shows how little informed you are of the issues at hand.

In point of fact, however, people do argue for miracles, for carpenter, for the revolt that never happened, for the impossible resurrection.

Okay. Find those people; address your arguments at them. As for me, nothing you've stated is relevant to my position. If you want to continue debating my position I suggest you actually bother addressing it.

So far I've seen nothing but people's personal incredulity that you could base a religion on a fictional person and have it become popular in under 50 years, despite the fact that I've now given modern examples of that precise thing happening precisely as it did in the first century - twice in living memory!

That has not been my argument—anywhere.

Obviously you don't give even a single example, because this claim is false.

I did give an example. I'll give it again:

quote:
Jon in Message 142:

The best evidence, but not by far the only, is that Jesus was a failure. Not only is the reconstructed historical Jesus a failure, but even the gospel character himself.

As the messiah, which his followers claimed him to be, he was supposed to:

· Build an army.
· Be a king.
· Drive out the Romans.
· Reestablish Jewish rule in Palestine.

Instead he:

· Had a following of twelve peasant fishermen.
· Was a pauper.
· Was executed by the Romans without raising so much as a fist.
· Sat in his grave and rotted as the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in 70 a.d.

His failure was such an embarrassment to anyone who knew anything about the Messianic hopes, expectations, and prophecies that the majority of the new converts came in not as Jews, like Jesus himself, but as Gentiles who knew nothing about Judaism or the actual beliefs regarding the Messiah—people who could be duped and never know it.

Now, when we study history, we cannot go back in time to figure out what happened for sure. So far, no reasonable scholar proposes that Jesus existed with 100% certainty. Instead, we must look at the explanations available us and judge them in terms of probability and in terms of explanatory power.

When we judge the Jesus Myth theory against the Historical Jesus theory, we can only reasonably conclude that the Historical Jesus scenario is far more probable than the Jesus Myth scenario. 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.


This complete 180° turn in Messianic thinking needs an explanation once you throw out an historical Jesus. You haven't offered one.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 168 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 12:15 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 172 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 1:54 PM Jon has responded

Modulous
Member (Idle past 444 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 170 of 560 (617177)
05-26-2011 1:04 PM
Reply to: Message 166 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 12:08 PM


Re: Execution records
When "historical Jesus" proponents actually get around to describing who Jesus Christ actually was, they invariably produce an individual who wasn't named either Jesus or Christ.

Christ is a title, so it's no wonder nobody thinks there was a guy in the middle east with a surname like that. 'Surnames', such as they are in that area are more likely to point to a birthplace or a father's name such as 'of Nazareth' or 'son of Joseph'

Jesus is the modern form, but the bible explains that in Hebrew it means God delivers. Which fits closer with what we would call Joshua. When we transliterate a Latinisation of Hellenisation of a Hebrew name - we'd expect some changes, that's just as the Romans and the Greeks rolled: they change names to their local culture.

And the reason I say "wasn't executed by Romans" is because he doesn't seem to have been executed by Romans

I've never checked, would you be able to point me to a list of all criminals executed by the Romans in that area in say, 32AD?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 12:08 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 173 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 1:56 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15640
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 171 of 560 (617179)
05-26-2011 1:15 PM
Reply to: Message 166 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 12:08 PM


Re: Execution records
quote:

When "historical Jesus" proponents actually get around to describing who Jesus Christ actually was, they invariably produce an individual who wasn't named either Jesus or Christ. And the reason I say "wasn't executed by Romans" is because he doesn't seem to have been executed by Romans, just like Jesus Malverde wasn't actually ever shot/hanged by Federales.

Going through these, presumably when you say that he wasn't named "Jesus" you mean that hiss name was Jewish ("Yeshua" or "Yehoshua") which was transliterated into Greek as "Jesus". Or to put it another way, proponents of a historical Jesus understand that "Jesus" is a transliteration of a common Hebrew name.

As Modulous points out "Christ" is a title, and in this case it is a translation into Greek of the Hebrew word, transliterated into English as Messiah. Again another point which simply states that proponents of a historical Jesus seem to have a better understanding of the relevant material than you do.

And if you have an argument against the crucifixion that amounts to more than "the official Roman records of crucifixions in Judaea were lost therefore the Romans didn't crucify anybody in Judaea" I'd like to see it.

Crash, do you think that you could stop giving Jon ammunition by making obviously bad arguments like this ?

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 166 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 12:08 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 174 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 2:04 PM PaulK has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 172 of 560 (617182)
05-26-2011 1:54 PM
Reply to: Message 169 by Jon
05-26-2011 12:50 PM


Re: Crash's Caricatures - 50¢ a Print
None of those things are defining characteristics of an historical Jesus.

They're defining characteristics of Jesus, much in the way the "real James Bond" would have to be someone who liked his martinis shaken, not stirred; was promiscuous; worked for the British Secret Service; got into car chases and shootouts; and had a bunch of goofy spy gadgets that looked like regular items but were actually lasers or guns or climbing hooks or what-have-you. Just pointing out that there was an American ornithologist named James Bond, whose Birds of the West Indies was a permanent feature in Ian Fleming's Jamacian home, is insufficient to establish a "historic James Bond."

Otherwise you're in the "Santa Claus is real, but his name is actually Lou" territory.

If you want to continue debating my position I suggest you actually bother addressing it.

Ok, then present it.

This complete 180° turn in Messianic thinking needs an explanation once you throw out an historical Jesus.

I don't see how this can possibly be explained by a "historic Jesus" if the historic Jesus you propose - as you continually insist - was not the Jewish messiah. So the historic Jesus adds nothing that explains this "180 turn in Messianic thinking." It's as problematic for your position as for mine, which is to say - not especially problematic, but not supportive to either position.

Probably what happened is that the stories about this "new Messiah" found a receptive audience, because it provided something - hope, maybe, people love hope - that the traditional messianic beliefs lacked. But that hardly requires that the stories have any base in reality.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 169 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 12:50 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 175 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 2:18 PM crashfrog has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 173 of 560 (617183)
05-26-2011 1:56 PM
Reply to: Message 170 by Modulous
05-26-2011 1:04 PM


Re: Execution records
Which fits closer with what we would call Joshua.

Ok, but now we're into "Santa Claus is real, but his name is actually Lou."

I've never checked, would you be able to point me to a list of all criminals executed by the Romans in that area in say, 32AD?

No, you misunderstand the burden of proof. What's the evidence that the Romans executed someone named "Joshua" for leading a Jewish revolt? Not that they could have without us knowing about it, but that they did?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 170 by Modulous, posted 05-26-2011 1:04 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 174 of 560 (617184)
05-26-2011 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 171 by PaulK
05-26-2011 1:15 PM


Re: Execution records
Or to put it another way, proponents of a historical Jesus understand that "Jesus" is a transliteration of a common Hebrew name.

If it was a transliteration of a common Hebrew name, then why aren't there Greek Hebrews named "Jesus"?

And again, what's the evidence that we're actually talking about the person that's the basis for the Jesus myths?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 171 by PaulK, posted 05-26-2011 1:15 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 176 by PaulK, posted 05-26-2011 2:24 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 175 of 560 (617187)
05-26-2011 2:18 PM
Reply to: Message 172 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 1:54 PM


Fail on All Accounts
None of those things are defining characteristics of an historical Jesus.

They're defining characteristics of Jesus

No they aren't, and no critical scholars who support the historic Jesus hypothesis think that they are, nor do I. If this is all you've got, then you've got nothing.

Jon writes:

If you want to continue debating my position I suggest you actually bother addressing it.

Ok, then present it.

I have—three times now at least.

I don't see how this can possibly be explained by a "historic Jesus" if the historic Jesus you propose - as you continually insist - was not the Jewish messiah.

He doesn't have to be the Jewish Messiah; he only has to be believed to be the Jewish Messiah in his lifetime. And there were a lot of people in first century Palestine who fit that bill.

was not the Jewish messiah.

There is no Jewish messiah: never has been, likely never will be. If this is all you've got, then you've got nothing.

So the historic Jesus adds nothing that explains this "180 turn in Messianic thinking."

Yes, it does. A real man who people thought was the Messiah but got executed leads to explanation of 'Ahhh... now we see, the Messiah was supposed to get executed all along!'.

Your Jesus Myth hypothesis doesn't explain it; an historical Jesus does.

... it provided something - hope, maybe, people love hope - that the traditional messianic beliefs lacked.

The traditional messianic beliefs were all about hope. Whatever are you talking about?

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 172 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 1:54 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 177 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 2:40 PM Jon has responded

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15640
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 176 of 560 (617190)
05-26-2011 2:24 PM
Reply to: Message 174 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 2:04 PM


Re: Execution records
quote:

If it was a transliteration of a common Hebrew name, then why aren't there Greek Hebrews named "Jesus"?

How do you know that there aren't ? And if it isn't a Greek transliteration of a Hebrew name then why did Josephus use it as the name of other Jews ? (e.g. Jesus son of Damneus, made High Priest in Antiquities 20.9 - one of several)

quote:

And again, what's the evidence that we're actually talking about the person that's the basis for the Jesus myths?

In fact none of my points depend on that. Jesus is a Greek transliteration of a common Jewish name, whether there was a historical Jesus or not. Christ is a Greek translation of Messiah whether there was a historical Jesus or not. The records of Roman executions in Judaea for the period are lost - and therefore claiming that the lack of such a record means that there was no crucifixion is a claim that there were no crucifixions in Judaea at that time, whether there was a historical Jesus or not.

Crash, your arguments are ignorant and irrational whether your conclusion happens to be correct or not. You can - and should - do better.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 174 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 2:04 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 179 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 3:16 PM PaulK has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 177 of 560 (617194)
05-26-2011 2:40 PM
Reply to: Message 175 by Jon
05-26-2011 2:18 PM


Re: Fail on All Accounts
No they aren't, and no critical scholars who support the historic Jesus hypothesis think that they are, nor do I.

So, then, you don't actually believe in a real live Jesus, you believe in a "Santa Claus named Lou" type of Jesus. You think that the existence of an American ornithologist means that James Bond wasn't a fictional character.

Right? Explain to me the difference between your position and the position of the "historic James Bond" I've just outlined.

He doesn't have to be the Jewish Messiah; he only has to be believed to be the Jewish Messiah in his lifetime.

Well, he hardly has to exist for people to just believe he's the Jewish Messiah, right? If they believe he's the Jewish Messiah even though he's not, it's hardly any more trouble for them to believe he's a real person even though he's not. I mean, if you already accept that the vast majority of his crucial characteristics are fictions, why is it so hard to accept that an additional, minor characteristic - his actual existence - might be fictional as well?

Seems much more parsimonious to me. I fail to see why this is the line you have to draw where you say "here, no further."

Your Jesus Myth hypothesis doesn't explain it; an historical Jesus does.

No, it does explain it - it explains it just the same as yours. Under the mythical Jesus, the same bunch of first century people say to themselves

quote:
'Ahhh... now we see, the Messiah was supposed to get executed all along!

It's just that, unbeknowst to them, the guy they're talking about is no more real than John Frum or Jesus Malverde. How would they know? The execution happened way the hell over in Calvary, and last they heard, people were getting crucified there all the goddamn time. Seems perfectly reasonable to them that some dude named Jesus could have been killed there. Hey, didn't that buddy of Omar the Tentmaker say he'd just been there and heard something about some guy getting crucified? Sure, sure! Must be true.

It's the easiest thing in the world to convince someone that a story is true when it supposedly happened somewhere none of your audience has ever been. People didn't get around too much in those days, so they had to rely on word of mouth, and as anybody who's ever started a rumor knows, it's the easiest thing in the world to inject utter fabrications into the word-of-mouth data stream.

Whatever are you talking about?

Well, look. Clearly the Jesus stories offered something people wanted. You've already agreed that it wasn't the truth - you've been explicit that the "historic Jesus" wasn't crucified, wasn't martyred, didn't lead an actual rebellion, didn't rise from the grave, etc - so the myths must have been attractive in some way.

You have to agree with that, otherwise "historic Jesus" doesn't explain the rise of Christianity, either.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 175 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 2:18 PM Jon has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 178 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 3:00 PM crashfrog has responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 178 of 560 (617200)
05-26-2011 3:00 PM
Reply to: Message 177 by crashfrog
05-26-2011 2:40 PM


'F' is for Fail... and for Frog
Crash, go and do some research on the concept of the Jewish Messiah. Understand what such a person was supposed to be and what they were supposed to do.

Go and learn something about how historians perform their work: the criteria they use in evaluating claims, the sorts of things they try to explain, the system of valuation they use to rank explanations, etc.

you've been explicit that the "historic Jesus" wasn't crucified

Stop, Crash. Just stop. I never once said that. Never. Once.

If all you can do is misrepresent me and fail miserably to present a real argument, then you've got nothing. I dare say you've exemplified my statements in the Mythology and Belief of Anti-Theism thread.

You sure seem to fit the bill.

Jon


Love your enemies!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 177 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 2:40 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 180 by crashfrog, posted 05-26-2011 3:19 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 179 of 560 (617204)
05-26-2011 3:16 PM
Reply to: Message 176 by PaulK
05-26-2011 2:24 PM


Re: Execution records
Crash, your arguments are ignorant and irrational whether your conclusion happens to be correct or not.

I don't get the sense that you're examining my arguments, because your posts have nothing to do with them.

What's the evidence for the historic existence of Jesus? That's my only argument. Do you have any, or not? You've presented several examples of guys whose names are "Jesus". Well, fine - are any of them the historic Jesus?

The existence of the ornithologist James Bond - for whom there is much evidence he actually existed, unlike the figure worshiped by Christians - doesn't prove that "Moonraker" was a documentary. There's nothing irrational about saying that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 176 by PaulK, posted 05-26-2011 2:24 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 181 by PaulK, posted 05-26-2011 3:32 PM crashfrog has responded

crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 180 of 560 (617205)
05-26-2011 3:19 PM
Reply to: Message 178 by Jon
05-26-2011 3:00 PM


Re: 'F' is for Fail... and for Frog
Crash, go and do some research on the concept of the Jewish Messiah. Understand what such a person was supposed to be and what they were supposed to do.

Why bother, since you and I both agree that no person alive or dead was the Jewish Messiah or did what they were supposed to do?

Jewish Messiahs are a red herring, since we've both agreed that the putative qualities of the Jewish Messiah weren't met by any person living or dead. So it's irrelevant.

Go and learn something about how historians perform their work: the criteria they use in evaluating claims, the sorts of things they try to explain, the system of valuation they use to rank explanations, etc.

Oh, I see. So your argument is that you can't present the evidence for the historic Jesus; I have to go talk to someone else, instead. Well, the quest continues.

You sure seem to fit the bill.

You've not once even attempted to grapple with my argument, and it's actually you who fits the bill I described in your thread. You're another person with the strange mental lacuna I described: you're insistent, adamant even, that there's all this evidence for the existence of the "historic Jesus", but you're not able to present even a single example of it.

Amazing. And you think I'm the fundamentalist.

Edited by crashfrog, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 178 by Jon, posted 05-26-2011 3:00 PM Jon has acknowledged this reply

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