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'Did Jesus Exist?' A Historian Makes His Case


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#46    highdesert50

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:24 PM

The further one moves from the light, the dimmer it appears. We are two thousand years from that light and questioning the source. Certainly there is ample evidence, e.g. I recall the works of Josephus as a reasonably well regarded historian of that era. But, if one insists upon this type of recurrent questioning, why not exact more rigor and subsequent validity using more modern analytical techniques that look at the mass of information, particularly that which is closer to the source, rather than the speculative works of a few timely authors.


#47    Anthropus

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 02:51 PM

We do not need to refer to the New Testament (Gospel)writing nor we need to read the book of Bart Ehrman to convince uorselves that Christ exsisted, preaced and He was
cruchefix. All we have to read is the Roman history written by Romans who were colonising Palestina where the Consul Pilate had to decide about Christ destiny according to the Lex Romana which state that a person should be judged according to his citizen status and Christ was not a Roman citizen therefore Pilatus under the pressure of the Jewish colonial community had to accept crocefixion for a man that the crime he did was a blasfemy for the locals. Still for Pilate and the Romans Christ did nothing wrong since they were pagan.


#48    Leonardo

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 03:52 PM

View Postand then, on 10 April 2012 - 09:54 PM, said:

I'm unfamiliar with Mr Ehrman's body of work but these statements of his place him in a group that the Bible foretells will have "a form of godliness, while denying the power thereof".  I'm not criticizing him for his viewpoint, simply explaining my own.  
As to denying global devastation preceding His return, I can deny the sky is blue if I choose to.  Doesn't make the sky green or purple though.  If Ehrman is expecting Christ to return then he must think humanity is going to sort out our issues without catastrophic violence occurring prior to that return.  I applaud him for his optimism.

And you would be quite correct in doing so, on many levels.

First, there is no 'sky' as a division between the atmosphere and space. The 'sky' is the atmosphere, which obviously surrounds us at ground level and from which we can tell is not 'blue'.

Second, the colour we see in the sky is not a reflection of light such as we might see from a blue flower, or the blue in a painting. It is just that the wavelength of light corresponding to the colour blue is the most energetic of all visible wavelength's, and so makes up the greatest proportion of that light which makes it through the thickness of Earth's atmosphere. As we usually reference things by colour according to the light they reflect, and the light we see from above is not reflected, the sky cannot be blue.

How does this have any relevance to the OP?

Because different groups of people use the term 'Jesus' to refer to different things, just as different groups of people might have different definitions of "sky" or "the sky is blue".

Christians see in the Jesus of the bible, the incarnation of God in human form - and they are quite entitled to see that. It does not follow that Christians have to view the bible as an historically accurate work to arrive at this conclusion. That many Christians do view the bible as (at least in part) historically accurate is quite irrelevant to their belief in God, though they perhaps do not realise that. Blame the various Christian church authorities for that if you will, as it is more a political leveraging of the biblical narratives than it is a theological one.

I agree with eb's assessment that there is no dichotomy at work here, but add that there is no requirement to have the Christian belief (or any belief, for that matter) dependent on an historically accurate rendition of events - just as there is no requirement for "the sky is blue" to accurately reflect any science behind that observed phenomenon.

Edited by Leonardo, 11 April 2012 - 03:54 PM.

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#49    danbell06

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 05:48 PM

View PostMJNYC, on 11 April 2012 - 02:05 PM, said:



Ahh there it is. Case closed. A manuscript claimed he exist, so he must have.  :rolleyes:

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#50    Paranoid Android

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 07:22 PM

View Post1Ophelia, on 11 April 2012 - 01:28 PM, said:

That video was one of the lesser interesting ones produced by 'Athiest Experience', though mind you, they are all relatively intereseting. I do agree, not much is learnt from the side of the Christian, perhaps he should spend more time practising how to articulate him self better rather than practising Christianity =)

Thankyou, for your welcoming =)
Indeed.  There is a proverb in the Bible stating that the first person who speaks sounds right, until someone comes in to cross-examine them.  The video reminded me of that.  The atheist in the video was well-spoken and put their views there for us all to see, and they sounded good.  But we only heard one side.  Someone with a different world view (such as myself) sees it differently, and therefore presents a different (not necessarily inferior) position.  It reminds me of a book on comparative religions that I first bought when I converted to Christ.  It was heavily biased towards Christianity, stating what a particular world view believed, and then pointing out why it was wrong and insufficient to explain life.  We only got one side of the discussion.  I pretty much tossed that book in the garbage and found a much better book to outline how different beliefs work (not really topical, but I recommend John Dickson's "Spectator's Guide to World Religions" as an unbiased source into the different beliefs that are out there, if anyone's interested).  

And glad you could be here.  I just noticed your profile says your from right here in Aussie-land.  I'm out in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, maybe different to where you're from (wherever that is), but it's always good to have a fellow Aussie on the forums.  Catch you around :)

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#51    Imaginarynumber1

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 08:56 PM

View PostMJNYC, on 11 April 2012 - 02:05 PM, said:


Again, this text comes after the Q source and Mark. There is no way to know if Josephus knew about Jesus or just read these gospels which were in existence by this point.

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#52    Jor-el

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:16 PM

View PostHuttonEtAl, on 11 April 2012 - 12:36 AM, said:

Did they discribe him as white? My wife's uncle (big time conspiricy theorist) talks about a letter like the one you mention that claims Jesus is white. I find it kind of humorous...

I remember a few years ago I answered this question with this picture...

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#53    Jor-el

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 09:23 PM

I did a quick read through the thread, but I found it lacking on one item, the fact that the Gospels give a coherent and reliable account of Jesus life insofar as they produce legitimate chronological and historical data that confirms with known facts.

Yes you can doubt the validity of the miraculous and the supernatural events related therin, but that alone doesn't exclude the historicity of the documents themselves.

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#54    Artaxerxes

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:07 PM

The answer is obvious.  Jesus was a little Jewish rabbi that had a very deep and profound near death experience. He came back from the dead talking about "The Kingdom of Heaven".  Hence all the stories in the New Testament starting with "and the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto".... No one at that time had ever seen someone crucified on the cross and lived to talk about it.  The New Testament is a highly embellished and out of sequence near death experience story and Christianity at it's very heart is simply a near death experience religion.   If you read the New Testament it has a very holographic flavor just like near death experiences do.  Reaping what you sow, being judged the way you judge others, everyone getting paid the same thing, the prodigal son, are all very similar to the Life Review in NDEs.


#55    Artaxerxes

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Posted 11 April 2012 - 11:12 PM

When Jesus prayed to God in the garden that his followers might experience the oneness and connectedness that he had experienced that is a parallel to what many NDE'ers say they felt.  Jesus wanted his followers to experience the Love he felt on the other side on this side.  Jesus vision for "the church" (his followers) was that they live their lives similar to what he had experienced in Heaven.   The Church was supposed to be a respite from this world.   A respite from the duality and separation that we experience in this life.  A little piece of heaven on Earth.  "on earth as it is in heaven."  Christianity at it's very heart is a near death experience religion and the New Testament is simply a highly embellished and out of sequence near death experience story.  Steven while he was being stoned had a death bed vision and Paul the apostle also experienced some kind of NDE-like experience.

Edited by Artaxerxes, 11 April 2012 - 11:13 PM.


#56    DieChecker

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:45 AM

People can say there was no Jesus who was the Christian Christ, but it is very easy to believe that he was real. The 4 synoptic Gospels are generally agreed to have beeen written down in one form or another in the first century AD. So they would have easily been written by people that actually knew Jesus, or by those who were the direct (1st generation) students of the various Apostles. This is equivalent to someone today writting down what they learned from L Ron Hubbard about Scientology, or from one of Hubbards first followers. That is to say, very, very close to the source, and thus very easily believed to be from the source indicated (Jesus).

Clearly by the end of the 1st century there were pockets of Christian "cultists" all over the near east, and the "rules" and documents were so well recorded that it seems to me that it would have been a gigantic effort to fake so much for so slow an effect.

I think Josephus had the right of it. If Josephus wrote something about a General Nosepikinous taking over some outpost in Romania, it would be a lot less challenged then this record is. It is only the impact of the recording that makes people challenge it. If Jesus was real, and he really taught what is ascribed to him, then the Atheist position is very threatened by that. As now they are disbelieving in a real persons/teacher, and not a mythic figure such as Heracles or Abraham.

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#57    Alienated Being

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Posted 12 April 2012 - 12:53 AM

I believe that people  named Jesus existed in that purported era, however, with regards to the biblical and Christian portrayal of Jesus; the evidence to support all of the mysticism surrounding him is heavily outweighed by the evidence (or lack thereof) that doesn't. In my opinion, I believe that it was some nutter who claimed to have magical properties, and was crucified as a result of it.

Edited by Alienated Being, 12 April 2012 - 12:54 AM.


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Posted 13 April 2012 - 01:36 AM

View PostJor-el, on 11 April 2012 - 09:16 PM, said:

I remember a few years ago I answered this question with this picture...

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looks like you got a picture of my uncle billy. whats the point?

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#59    Talking Fairys

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 05:57 AM

The problem with the question of if Jesus exists is that the true answer will never come out. Every time one side makes a valid point there are others that can point out the flaws in the theory. I've read the Bible and have always had trouble with the new testament since it completly conflicts with the old testament. While God was fire and death, Jesus was love and forgiveness. Jesus is a wonderful example of how we should treat each other but does that make him a real man? Even true die hard Christians have to admit that there are holes in the Bible that can cause the confusion especially in a world that has become so negative.


#60    Mr Walker

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Posted 13 April 2012 - 12:06 PM

The spread of christianity, the writings and establishment of churches, the roman repsonses to the christian movement (originally seen as a new jewish movement)  All began within 10 years of jesus death, and gained momentum across quite a wide part of the known world within   another decade or two. Well before the gospels were actually writen down, there was a large number of christians worshiping christ and following his teachings (which were either wriiten down in forms which have since been lost or were passed on orally at first) and a widespread network of christian churcghes for which records existed long afterwards. There was evn a meeting of church leaders to establish  church leadership and possibly some doctrinal issues,about 30 years after christ's death. These things do not evolve from a non existent pereon within such a short space of time. They are a human response to a real preacher and teacher, located in the geographical area from which the teachings spread, and where the first churches were established.

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With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

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