quote: Perhaps you would like to explain why we should assume "made up" as a default.
Because there no other source besides the bible to be found about this jezus character, that's why.
Because the only "evidence" people can come up with is essentially a circular argument, that's why.
quote:Why would they make that up ?
Maybe they truelly believed it. There are plenty of examples of people who believe the most inconvenient things that were essentially just a product of their imagination.
There's even no reason to think that the people who made it up did so purposefully.
The psychiatric wards are filled with people who are convinced to be the target of a worldwide conspiracy. This is very inconvenient for them and it completely disrupts their lives. But they have no evidence for it. They made it up.
I'm not suggesting that the first christians were psychotic or whatever... Only pointing out that this would really really NOT be without precedent.
The "i can't imagine why they would make it up" argument is not a good reason to simply accept the claims are truthfull. In fact, it's a fallacy.
Not to mention that if that is the standard to accept claims, you'ld be required to accept every single religion out there.
Why was Islam made up? Or Hinduism? Scientology? Mormonism? Mormons believe Jezus came to America. Why would they make that up?
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.
You're moving the goalposts. You said "no other sources" without restricting it to contemporary sources
I'm not moving anything. I consider it a given that sources used as evidence for historical things are to be contemporary and independent.
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
But that's exactly the issue at hand. You do NOT have a "single" source. You have NO sources (that are contemporary and independent). You only have baseless claims and anecdotal stuff that is written down at best decades after the facts and for the most part, more then a century after the fact - and written by people that are clearly biased towards the topic as well... They weren't writing down what they knew... they were writing down what they believed.
It would be no different from Tom Cruise writing a book on Xenu, the galactic emperor.
If you can't come up with at least a plausible reason that is a weakness in your explanation
That's not what I said, now is it? I was talking about a SPECIFIC reason. I can give you hundreds of plausible reasons. It's not like no human has ever made up a fictional character. Or are you saying that people NEVER do that?
But you are clearly strongly prejudiced against the idea that there was a historical Jesus.
No, I'm not. In fact, I couldn't care less. But when you want an accurate and intellectually honest depiction of history, you need to let the data speak. And there is no data whatsoever on a historical jezus. There is only data on a supernatural one: biblical mythology.
I couldn't care less if there was or wasn't a historical jezus. Point me to a legit source and I'll happily accept it. Until then... why should I?
The very fact that you refuse to admit that the evidence exists
People keep repeating that there is evidence, but fail to deliver it. The bible is NOT evidence. The bible is NOT contemporary or independent. Tacitus and Josephus are NOT contemporary AND they are only repeating what christians told them. That's not corroborating, that's merely repeating claims.
There is NO evidence of a historical jezus whatsoever. Or at the very least: if there is, I haven't seen it.
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
I said Hercules, not Zeus. Maybe you should look harder into greek mythology. And Troy? Troy is a place. The bible mentions Jeruzalem. Marvel comics mention New York. So bloody what?
All you are showing is an inability to evaluate sources, and making a number of questionable judgements
Care to elaborate on that?
I have given my reasons why I don't consider the bible to be valid evidence of...the biblical claims.
They are not contemporary and they most certainly aren't independent. And it seems to be circular as well.
If your argument is that the bible's very existance (regardless of content) is evidence (or a hint of evidence) that the person of the new testament actually existed, since it had to be based on something,... Then it seems to me that the same can be said about Frodo and Lord of the Rings or Hercules and greek mythology.
You are free to explain where I am in error instead of just saying that I am. In fact, I would prefer it.
The Bible is not a single document. It is a collection of works by multiple authors
You seem to think I wasn't aware of that. I guess I'll just repeat myself: none of these are contemporary or independent.
The earliest one was written down decades after the facts, in a time where average life expectancy was about 35. It's really unlikely that these people new the historic christ and lived to tell about it 60 years later. And off course, most of these books were written down more then a century later.
I don't see how I can trust these sources. Not to mention that these sources in fact ARE the claims we are discussing here.
These claims would necessarily have to be substantiated with extra-biblical sources. Just because a book (yes, yes, collection of books) makes mention of a person doesn't mean that that person existed.
I fail to see how I could ever treat the historic claims of biblical texts as anything other then hearsay and anecdotes if they aren't substantiated with independent and perferebly contemporary material.
A document does not have to be written during the events it describes to be accepted as evidence
Accepted as evidence of the events it claims happens? See, how is this not circular? How can a document claiming event X happened ever be evidence that event X happened? It's true because it says so?
We do not have to take an all-or-nothing approach
I beg the differ. Your argument seems to be that there probably was a historical jezus because the new testament had to be based on something. If you make up a rule like that, it should apply to all similar circumstances. But we know very well that people make up fictional characters all the time. Without anybody to base them on. And in the rare cases where these super-hero's or super-villains ARE based on a real person, they are so unlike eachother that any "real existance" of that character is simply trivial.
How can you hope to convince anyone if you can't be bothered to even do basic research ?
I'm not necessarily trying to convince anybody. I'm just giving you my view on things and trying to understand yours.
This is true in case of the Lord of the Rings analogy. Eventhough I didn't mean the Frodo comment in that way, but I'll blame myself for not being clear in what I meant there.
However, Hercules was not considered or claimed to be fictional. Xenu, the intergalactic emperor, is not considered or claimed to be fictional.
The thing is, people writing things saying 'X person existed and did this' is the only evidence for most figures in ancient history. If they ruled an empire, or wrote a bunch of books, then we might have more (but not always). Demanding stricter evidence leads us to conclude that most historical figures from the time probably didn't exist, which is a bit silly.
I can agree to that, and I can imagine enough examples from ancient greek philosophers. And I admit that I demand stricter evidence of the jezus claims.
The reason being that jezus is the central subject of a religion with a whole bunch of supernatural baggage.
Suppose we have 2 ancient greek texts who each claim a person existed. One text says that the person in question was a poët and lists a few of his contributions. The other says that the person in question is a son of god who personally destroyed a wicked city with his firey breath and preached peace.
I don't know about you, but when I look at such things, I lend more credence to the historicity of the first claim rather then the second. The extra baggage just puts a whole shadow on the entire thing. I'ld require more evidence of the latter to make it on par with the first.
That's my point... The people who wrote these books were religious people who believed that jezus was a messiah and son of god. Because of this, I feel that their message is tainted with bias.
Personally, and to be blunt, I don't give a rat's ass if it's based on a real person or not. To me, it doesn't change anything at all. I just don't consider a religious text to be demonstrative of anything at all if the religious text is all there is.
A good biblical example would be Pontius Pilate. I accept his historicity. For the simple reason that we have extra-biblical references of this person.
Do we have a clear historitcal setting for them, or are they placed in a vague and undefined distant past. Is there evidence that we would expect to have been left by such a figure? Do they fit their time and place? Are there aspects of the story which we wouldn't expect to be made up?
The existence of a character like Jesus can only be framed in such tentative terms, and this is the sort of thing which needs to be discussed to decide whether existence or non-existence is more likely.
This seems reasonable. But I'm not sure if I agree. Looking at the questions you ask... it seems to me that almost any fictional story that plays out in the "now" and isn't marked as fictional would, according to those parameters, be indistinguishable from a real one.
I mean, it's also very reasonable to assume that the one who writes a story about jezus would write it in such a manner that it would fit the timeframe he was placed in, no?
Also, if we are being honest about this, if we would ask your questions in context of the actual biblical texts, then the answer is clearly: no, it's NOT likely that he existed.
Because virgin births, miracles, resurections etc never happen. Don't forget that in order to discuss the historical jezus, christians are allready trown quite a huge bone by leaving out all the supernatural stuff in an effort to make the stories sound even remotely possible...
So I don't consider it very unreasonable to demand stricter evidence then for claims where you don't need to ignore 70% of the content of the claim in order to make it even discussable.