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Author Topic:   Reconstructing the Historical Jesus
crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 436 of 560 (620778)
06-20-2011 3:55 PM
Reply to: Message 433 by Modulous
06-20-2011 3:42 PM


Re: absolute claims rebutted.
Unless you propose that I was tentative at all other times, but somehow became certain for a single post?

Nothing in your posts seems very tenative; it seems like you're arriving at certainties based on evidence you admit is sketchy.

You don't seem willing to admit any likelihood at all that there was no such person as Jesus. Am I wrong about that, and that is something you could admit? That the possibility that Jesus was entirely fictional is at least a reasonable possibility?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 433 by Modulous, posted 06-20-2011 3:42 PM Modulous has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 439 by Modulous, posted 06-20-2011 5:39 PM crashfrog has responded

PaulK
Member
Posts: 15395
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 437 of 560 (620780)
06-20-2011 4:17 PM
Reply to: Message 429 by crashfrog
06-20-2011 3:32 PM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
quote:

That doesn't mean anything. Luke could simply be based on Matthew, or the reverse. Mark may simply have not wanted to write those things down.

Obviously you got ahead of yourself again, since I dealt with the possibility that Luke copied from Matthew. And the copying - both from Mark and that proposed to be from 'Q' - is exact enough to indicate copying from a written document (at least that is the argument), so "Mark didn't write it down" doesn't help - because somebody did.

quote:

Incomplete plagarization doesn't prove that no plagarism took place

The argument is not just that Luke misses parts of Matthew out. The argument is that Luke actively disagrees with Matthew - even in the placement of the alleged Q material.

quote:

No, your Q source is the fabrication. You've given me no reason to believe that it even exists, or that it ever contained anything that would lend support to your position. It's hardly a fabrication to point out that you're putting forth an argument that relies on an inaccessible source for support.

In fact I have pointed to the evidence that it exists, and I have NOT attempted to claim that it says "whatever need it to state" as you slanderously suggested. In fact I cannot, since I cannot claim it says anything that is not in both Luke and Matthew and not in Mark !
That's because I am constrained by the evidence.

quote:

To put forth an argument based on evidence you can't present?

And yet another fabrication For someone who claims to be constrained by the evidence, you are awfully free with your imaginings.

quote:

No, it addresses inconvenient evidence

Then it must mention both Tacitus and Josephus.

quote:

But you did claim that I did

If you bother to read the quote it starts with the word "If". And let us note that since you jumped into the conversation to defend that very statement along those lines it is hardly unreasonable of me to suggest that you might agree with it.

quote:

But I never claimed that there were no extra-Biblical references to Jesus, and the material you quote to substantiate your accusation was said by Panda, not by me.

In fact it was ScientificBob who said it. You just jumped in to defend it. Apparently you feel that it is wrong of me to suggest that you might agree with it on that basis.

quote:

There's an abundance in the text to suggest that.

But you can't point to anything beyond your assumption that Tacitus could not have believed it. Where does Tacitus qualify his statement ?

quote:

It's as clear as day. By way of comparison here's the Netflix summary for Star Wars IV

Complete with actors names for the characters...

quote:

Now, taken at face value, you'd have to conclude that somebody at Netflix was a space traveler with knowledge of other galaxies! There's nothing in this text that literally indicates that Star Wars is a work of fiction, and that there was no such person ever as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker, or that the Death Star isn't a real thing

Agreed. So the evidence that it IS referring to fiction must come from outside the text. Now we know that Star Wars is fiction and that the writers of that report knew that. But we don't KNOW that Jesus was fictional, or that Tacitus knew it. So you implicitly admit that I am right in saying that your conclusion does not come from the text and your claim of a parallel relies on assuming your conclusion.

quote:

Similarly, because we know that Tacitus didn't make or indicate any effort to determine the "truth" of the religious beliefs he describes, we know that he's not referring to anything but what's true within the religious context of Christianity.

In other words you ASSUME that Tacitus made no effort to determine the truth. Others claim that he would have. In fact you don't know and neither do they. So we still have a possible reference.

quote:

And what's your evidence for this view?

We know that copyists made marginal notes, and we know copyists make mistakes of that sort. This is enough to show the possibility, which is all that I claim.

quote:

And what's your evidence for this view?

The fact that it is - in my opinion - the best explanation of the Gospel stories that I can find. It certainly does a lot to explain the Gospel stories.

quote:

Not at all. Why would they join a religion they knew was fake?

They couldn't JOIN Christianity at all, since it didn't exist as a religion before they started it ! And obviously they would know what THEY did !

quote:

It's the same way that L. Ron Hubbard started Scientology but wasn't a convert to it. He knew it was fake! And what would be his interest in somehow preserving the "original" origin of Scientology given that the "original" origin would convince people not to join the religion?

Of course there is one significant flaw in that comparison. You claim that there ISN'T an equivalent of L. Ron Hubbard for early Christianity. Not so similar after all, then.

quote:

Even Superman has his weaknesses. It's as easily explained by good storytelling as real history.

That's just handwaving, the same as you tried to use "bad storytelling" to try to explain away story elements contrary to the Gospel authors' agendas. Without looking at the examples, you can't tell.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 429 by crashfrog, posted 06-20-2011 3:32 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 463 by crashfrog, posted 06-21-2011 2:25 PM PaulK has responded

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 15395
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 438 of 560 (620782)
06-20-2011 4:36 PM
Reply to: Message 435 by crashfrog
06-20-2011 3:54 PM


Re: If not Jesus, then who ?
quote:

This is also a false claim.

Because actually linking to the proof doesn't make it true...

quote:

Well, gosh, maybe it has something to do with the fact that they started a religion that venerated the fictional character Jesus Christ instead of one that venerated themselves. If they had set themselves up as the sole and unique prophet of the religion - as L. Ron Hubbard did - the surely we would know exactly who they are.

Obviously not, since they would still have been as prominent to the outside community as the historical Jesus, and thus as likely to be mentioned.

quote:

But the person who actually started the Jedi religious movement - the movement of people who literally claim "Jediism" as their religion, venerate a "Force", and subscribe to a set of ethics based on the goodness of acting with reflection, forethought, and out of peace vs. the badness of acting rashly out of anger or fear - is unknown to history, even though it only happened ten years ago.

Unless there is an actual organised Jedi movement, this is not a parallel.

quote:

I'm sorry, Paul, but I've done this over and over. Your continued contention that I've somehow failed to do so is your greatest lie in this thread, and violates the forum guidelines:

But it is a fact, not a lie. Your only claim to parsimony is based on vagueness. You don't even attempt to offer a comparably detailed explanation for the evidence that could fairly be compared. And because you explain less, parsimony doesn't enter into it.

And with all your slanders and misrepresentations you are in no position to complain about the forum rules.

quote:

Enough, Paul. There's no reason to persist in your dishonesty. You know my position, and I know you know my position, and my argument that it's the more parsimonious one has been sufficiently convincing. The proof of it is that you've presented no rebuttal but to pretend I've never made the argument. Frankly, I'm disgusted.

It's convinced YOU. It's only convinced me that you don't understand the proper application of parsimony. As I have pointed out in my rebuttals.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 435 by crashfrog, posted 06-20-2011 3:54 PM crashfrog has not yet responded

  
Modulous
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 439 of 560 (620784)
06-20-2011 5:39 PM
Reply to: Message 436 by crashfrog
06-20-2011 3:55 PM


Re: absolute claims rebutted.
Nothing in your posts seems very tenative; it seems like you're arriving at certainties based on evidence you admit is sketchy.

If saying 'it is not conclusive', 'our conclusions remain tentative', 'There is no evidence that necessarily demonstrates Jesus' existence' and other such language is insufficient to persuade you that I have regularly stressed the tentativity of the conclusions and it has somehow led you to the belief that it seems I am 'arriving at certainties' allow me to correct your misapprehension (however it was caused).

The inference that Jesus existed is based on weak evidence, and the conclusion is tentative.

You don't seem willing to admit any likelihood at all that there was no such person as Jesus. Am I wrong about that, and that is something you could admit?

Again, your projection of certainty onto me is unwarranted. Of course Jesus could have been completely made up. I'm perfectly willing to entertain that there are plenty of historical characters that could have been wholly or mostly invented. Indeed, I'd stress that historical evidence is fraught with difficulties because they are often human reports and humans are capable of lying or being deluded.

That the possibility that Jesus was entirely fictional is at least a reasonable possibility?

Of course. I'm not committed one way or another on the issue. I don't care if Jesus existed. It seems to me that the consensus by relevant experts is that there is sufficient grounds to believe there was a historical Jesus and I'm happy to roll with that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 436 by crashfrog, posted 06-20-2011 3:55 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 459 by crashfrog, posted 06-21-2011 1:49 PM Modulous has acknowledged this reply

Kapyong
Member (Idle past 1702 days)
Posts: 344
Joined: 05-22-2003


Message 440 of 560 (620785)
06-20-2011 6:00 PM
Reply to: Message 419 by Thugpreacha
06-20-2011 2:21 PM


Re: Whats in it for them?
Gday,

Phat writes:

Writing took a lot of time back then. It was not as quick and easy as it is now.

So what?
Do you think therefore that means writers only wrote the truth?

Phat writes:

Why would the authors go to so much trouble to create and support a myth? Whats in it for them?

Why were the Greek myths created?
Why did the Hindu scriptures get written?
Why did Shakespeare write?
etc.

Phat writes:

They were to a man persecuted...

No they weren't.
There are LEGENDS that SOME writers were persecuted.
NO evidence though.

Phat writes:

i see no examples of an author or supposed author benefitting personally from spreading the story.

Who benefitted from the Greek myths?
Or Hindu scriptures?
Hmmm?

So therefore they are true? according to your argument?

K.

Edited by Kapyong, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 441 of 560 (620786)
06-20-2011 6:02 PM
Reply to: Message 426 by crashfrog
06-20-2011 3:09 PM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
Because more people have been good teachers than have been the focus of a major world religion. Ergo it's less extraordinary to be a good teacher than it is to be the focus of a major world religion.

Something is the focal point for a major world religion. The question is, is the notion that it was an individual extraordinary? How many major world religions have a founder that was invented versus how many major world religions have historical founders about which mythos and magic has been woven. I'm sure, if we looked we'd find a lot of historical founding humans and maybe some undetermined ones that might have no individual founder.

Not at all. But there is something extraordinary about a specific person becoming the focus of a major world religion, when so many religions - most of them, by far - have fictional people as their focus.

Maybe we could compare.

Christianity - under dispute in this thread
Islam - Mohammed, consensus is he is a historical figure.
Buddhusm - Siddhartha Gautama, believed to be historical
Hinduism - no claimed founder
Judaism - claimed founder, the consensus of which is thought to be a fictional construct.

Any others?

Well, ok. Now we're getting somewhere! Given, though, that both Mark and John are serial fabricators with no regard for the truth when lying serves the interest of their faith, why should they be given more credibility than a 7-year-old talking about Santa Claus?

Because if they were going to fabricate a messiah, it probably wouldn't have been someone that failed so miserably and all the other explanations this thread has detailed. See Grizz's post for more.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 426 by crashfrog, posted 06-20-2011 3:09 PM crashfrog has responded

Replies to this message:
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Modulous
Member (Idle past 364 days)
Posts: 7789
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005


Message 442 of 560 (620787)
06-20-2011 7:04 PM
Reply to: Message 419 by Thugpreacha
06-20-2011 2:21 PM


Re: Whats in it for them?
i see no examples of an author or supposed author benefitting personally from spreading the story.

The initial stories of Jesus were probably told orally, for the very same reason you highlighted. As we know from empirical evidence, even true stories grow in the telling. The story could have grown considerably in the decades before it reached the status of being worthy for someone of letters to commit it to parchment.

When we look at the character of Moses, he seems very much like he was created to serve a narrative purpose in the origins of the Jewish people. This isn't quite so with Jesus, whose life doesn't quite serve the purposes it might otherwise (why not have him die of old age, or ascending bodily to heaven for example (as some later groups have attempted to say)) - but the miracles and so forth obviously serve as a means of convincing others of his importance. If you believed the Jesus story when you heard it, you might embellish a story from 'Jesus fed homeless people some bread' all the way to 5,000 with hardly any bread through a series of 'Telephone' like story rehashings. The benefit is that your listener will be more interested, making you appear to be a holder of precious information - which seems to be a natural social drive.

Just look at Matthew's attempts to make Jesus to be comparable with other prophets like Moses with the killing of the children, the sojourn in Egypt etc. Whether this was Matthew's purpose or whoever Matthew heard the ideas from, since it isn't even mentioned in other accounts we can surely discard it as agenda-based mythos rather than as historical.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 419 by Thugpreacha, posted 06-20-2011 2:21 PM Thugpreacha has not yet responded

Jon
Inactive Member


Message 443 of 560 (620798)
06-21-2011 12:34 AM


Ehrman's New Book
Just a relevant heads up; Bart Ehrman's book addressing the matter of the historical Jesus has been planned for this November.

Did Jesus Exist?

It's only planned as an eBook; but should be a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the topic.

Jon


Love your enemies!

ScientificBob
Member (Idle past 2523 days)
Posts: 48
From: Antwerp, Belgium
Joined: 03-29-2011


Message 444 of 560 (620815)
06-21-2011 6:03 AM
Reply to: Message 309 by GDR
06-17-2011 11:17 AM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
The books of the bible aren't contemporary or independent.

And Jezus is spelled with a "z" in Belgium.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 309 by GDR, posted 06-17-2011 11:17 AM GDR has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 450 by GDR, posted 06-21-2011 10:25 AM ScientificBob has responded

  
ScientificBob
Member (Idle past 2523 days)
Posts: 48
From: Antwerp, Belgium
Joined: 03-29-2011


Message 445 of 560 (620817)
06-21-2011 6:16 AM
Reply to: Message 333 by PaulK
06-17-2011 5:29 PM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
The first misses the point that the Bible is a collection of works, fails to deal with the possible references in Josephus and Tacitus and would not be a rational argument even if it were entirely correct.

None of the things you mentioned are contemporary.

And not rational? How is that not rational? Independent contemporary sources are practically a standard in the historical sciences.

That isn't a reason to make things up

What makes you think you can find out the actual reason why it was made up?
What was the reason that Zeus was made up? People make up stuff all the time for all kinds of reasons. And a lot of times, they honestly believe what they have made up as well.

What's wrong with evaluating the evidence rather than taking a dogmatic hard line right from the start - as you are doing. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence - ordinary ones don't.

I don't feel like I'm doing that.
Sure, I can accept that there was some guy, who was perhaps called jesus, around which a whole bunch of bullocks was made up. The thing is that I see no reason to. The fact of the matter is that this character only shows up in his own mythology.

Now, if the text had a bunch if excuses about how Jesus didn't really mean what he said, you might have something interesting. But even then it WOULD still qualify as an extraordinary claim, so you still wouldn't have a good parallel to the crucifixion argument.

Agreed. I see that I blurred the line in my post between the supernatural and the historical jesus a bit too much.

I agree with your general sentiment that "less" evidence would be required for a historical jesus as that would not be such an extra-ordinary claim.

However, I see an equal amount of evidence for both: nothing.
I cannot consider the bible evidence for the historical jesus anymore then I can see greek mythology as evidence for a historical Hercules.

Edited by ScientificBob, : No reason given.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 333 by PaulK, posted 06-17-2011 5:29 PM PaulK has responded

Replies to this message:
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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15395
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 446 of 560 (620821)
06-21-2011 7:54 AM
Reply to: Message 445 by ScientificBob
06-21-2011 6:16 AM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
quote:

None of the things you mentioned are contemporary.

You're moving the goalposts. You said "no other sources" without restricting it to contemporary sources.

quote:

And not rational? How is that not rational? Independent contemporary sources are practically a standard in the historical sciences.

They are desirable, certainly. However it is not rational to assume that a single source is false just because we have no others addressing the topic.

quote:

What makes you think you can find out the actual reason why it was made up?

If you can't come up with at least a plausible reason that is a weakness in your explanation. And we are looking for the best explanation.

quote:

I don't feel like I'm doing that.
Sure, I can accept that there was some guy, who was perhaps called jesus, around which a whole bunch of bullocks was made up. The thing is that I see no reason to. The fact of the matter is that this character only shows up in his own mythology.

But you are clearly strongly prejudiced against the idea that there was a historical Jesus. The very fact that you refuse to admit that the evidence exists is proof of that.

quote:

However, I see an equal amount of evidence for both: nothing.
I cannot consider the bible evidence for the historical jesus anymore then I can see greek mythology as evidence for a historical Hercules.

If you can't see the difference between the Gospels and the Greek myths, you aren't looking very hard. And even the Greek myths contain some truth, Troy proves that.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 445 by ScientificBob, posted 06-21-2011 6:16 AM ScientificBob has responded

Replies to this message:
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Theodoric
Member
Posts: 6583
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 4.2


Message 447 of 560 (620824)
06-21-2011 9:07 AM
Reply to: Message 302 by Jon
06-17-2011 10:48 AM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
'Messiahs' were common; almost all of them ended their lives executed by the Romans.

Common? How many are in the historical record?

Great posts from everyone on the subject.

Non-Topic personal stuff follows

Been away for a week and might not be able to post much till next week.
Fishing last week and my mother passed away on Friday. In NC till end of week dealing with all that goes along with that.


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

This message is a reply to:
 Message 302 by Jon, posted 06-17-2011 10:48 AM Jon has not yet responded

  
caffeine
Member
Posts: 1699
From: Prague, Czech Republic
Joined: 10-22-2008
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 448 of 560 (620825)
06-21-2011 9:24 AM
Reply to: Message 441 by Modulous
06-20-2011 6:02 PM


The founders of the world's religions
Maybe we could compare.

Christianity - under dispute in this thread
Islam - Mohammed, consensus is he is a historical figure.
Buddhusm - Siddhartha Gautama, believed to be historical
Hinduism - no claimed founder
Judaism - claimed founder, the consensus of which is thought to be a fictional construct.

Any others?

I wrote the following whilst going through the mass of posts that seem to appear on this thread every night. As a brief aside, maybe there would be less accusations of lying and idiocy being thrown around if more time was spent thinking and less posting.

Religions' founders (the religions are taken from Wikipedia's list of largest religions by number of adherents)

Christianity - Currently up for dispute
Islam - Mohammed is generally accepted as historical
Hinduism - origins lost to the mists of time -no idea
Buddhism - The Buddha is generally considered a historical figure
Taosim - Dao is generally considered a historical figure
Confucianism - Confucius is generally considered a historical figure
Shintoism - no known real or mythical founder - a religion that grew out of tribal myths
Sikhism - founded by Nanek Dev Ji - certainly historical
Judaism - another ancient one, but if we're counting Moses as the founder then probably mythical
Jainism - controversial. The founder is often argued to be Parshavanatha, whose historicity is disputed. Jains themselves claim an earlier founder, who is almost certainly mythical.
Baha'ism - Founded by the Bab - indisputably historical
Cao Dai - The founders are certainly historical figures
Chendoism - founded by Choe Je-u, a historical figure
Tenrikyo - founded by a real Japanese woman, Oyasama
Wicca - no real founder, but it's popularisers were certainly real people
Church of World Messianity - Founded by a real guy called Mokichi Okada
Seicho-no-le - founded by a real guy called Dr. Tanaguchi
Rastafarianism - founded by a real guy, Marcus Mosaiah Garvey, and claiming that another real guy - Haile Selassie, is God.

Real, historical people far outnumber mythical ones. The only ones we really have with mythical founders are the truly ancient ones, and it's possible these we only consider mythical since so much time has passed that the stories that have grown up around them have less connection to reality.


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 15395
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 3.3


Message 449 of 560 (620828)
06-21-2011 10:07 AM
Reply to: Message 448 by caffeine
06-21-2011 9:24 AM


Re: The founders of the world's religions
I'd correct you on Daoism, the historicity of Laozi is questionable.
And I think that Gerald Gardner can be called the founder of modern Wicca.

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 Message 448 by caffeine, posted 06-21-2011 9:24 AM caffeine has responded

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GDR
Member
Posts: 4961
From: Sidney, BC, Canada
Joined: 05-22-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 450 of 560 (620830)
06-21-2011 10:25 AM
Reply to: Message 444 by ScientificBob
06-21-2011 6:03 AM


Re: Christianity without Jesus
ScientificBob writes:

The books of the bible aren't contemporary or independent.

I didn't claim that they were contemporary and it makes sense that they wouldn't be independent. It would be followers that would be interested in recording something that would be maintained. Why would non-followers be bothered. It wasn't like they had local media back then.

ScientificBob writes:

And Jezus is spelled with a "z" in Belgium.

Thanks for the explanantion. I had no idea.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 444 by ScientificBob, posted 06-21-2011 6:03 AM ScientificBob has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 453 by ScientificBob, posted 06-21-2011 10:38 AM GDR has responded

  
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