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Truth behind The Bible

139 posts in this topic

Many, most, depends on who you hang out with. Around me, most is true.

Interesting that you speak on behalf of all humans on the Earth, most who have never even seen a Bible.

You can repeat that as many times as you like, Prophet Walker, but it's not true. Archeologists have desperately tried to find evidence to support the stories in the Bible but the evidence they have found strongly suggests that Canaan was nothing like it was described in the Torah.

Repeat assertion, speaking for all of humanity again.

Then you should have no difficulty pointing me to archeological evidence of the Exodus, the 40 years in the desert, Joshua's conquests, the reigns Saul and of the many other kings in the books of Kings and Samuel, the temple and reign of Solomon and the Israeli alliance with Egypt creating a Middle East superpower, and the reign of King David.

The preponderance of evidence supports that these are nothing more than legends, perhaps based on real people or real events which were embellished far beyond what actually happened. We do know that the Jews were one of several cultures who lived in Canaan but they didn't have any regional power during this time and they certainly didn't have the massive armies as described in the Bible. The only time there was a Jewish state was a brief time during the Hasmonean period before the Romans conquered them in 63 BC.

Over half the worlds population are either christian or muslim. But one does not have to have read a book to accept its contents as basically true. Non religious and atheist people make up, together, less than 12 % of the total world population today. Until very recent times while few believed the literal truth of the bible epsecially its creation story, very few academics disputed its historicity. Th t is because it has been confirmed through over a hundred years of archaeology hence i stick by my claim that a majority of humans accept the bible as basically an historical document, like a diary or a letter or a newspaper cutting

And more recent arcahaealogy and historical investigations continue to confirm it. Like all prehistory, no one can verify every word but it can be sketched out from evidences available.The real cities of troy and asia minor have been rediscovered as have many of those in the middle east

For example historians have now plotted the voyage of jason and the argonauts, using real topographical features compared with those in the story. It is now considered an historical rahter than a mythological story But probably it is based on a variety of voyages and ongoing trade, and has additional bits added in to spice it up. The bible is like that. All the time more discoveries prove the old stories, places, and people to have been real. I dont know one case which has been disproved or proven to be untrue.

It is not a history, but it is historically accurate in its descriptions of people placess cities rulers and many of the events albeit seen through the eyes of the writers..The jewish people prided them selves on an historical perspective and it was very important in genealogical terms. Thus they wrote history as they saw and understood it, and as accurately as they could.

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The evidence that Jesus even existed hangs by the slimmest of threads. There is no record of anyone ever saying they met him, saw him, talked to him, etc. Not even St. Paul who lived in Jerusalem at the same time, ever spoke of him before the "vision" on the road. But Papias said he heard John the Apostle speak and Irenaeus makes the same claim for Origen. Papias also says he talked to the daughters of Philip. So we have a little evidence that two of the Apostles were real. And if Apostles were real, we presume there was a leader. And that presumption is the whole case for a "historical" Jesus.

Doug

There is a bit more to it than that. Local people were following christ and seting up shrines to him which later in history were made into major christian shrines. Within a decade or two of his death, ie 50 AD there were historically known christian churches around the area. In the same time frame christians were becoming a nuisance in rome and that is publicly recorded. A religion does not spring up in a local area, among people who could easilty deny the existence of its main character if that character never lived there. Rather, the growth of the religion from a central location outwards, tends to verify its beginnngs with one teacher.

Paul was persecuting existing "christian jews" before his own conversion, meaning they were in existence quite soon after christs death date

PAul met christ's brother and at least one of his direct apostles, unless you also begin to debate the historicity of paul and his writings.. There is absolutely no cause to doubt the existence of a human person we know as christ, who was very much as described in the gospels and who was a preacher teacher and healer.. At least one of the gospels was almost certainly written by an eyewitness to some of the events in them, and certainly within the potential lifetime of such witness.

Doubt only begins because of the unique and incredible claims about him, which is an entirely different question.

Edited by Mr Walker

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There is a bit more to it than that. Local people were following christ and seting up shrines to him which later in history were made into major christian shrines. Within a decade or two of his death, ie 50 AD there were historically known christian churches around the area. In the same time frame christians were becoming a nuisance in rome and that is publicly recorded. A religion does not spring up in a local area, among people who could easilty deny the existence of its main character if that character never lived there. Rather, the growth of the religion from a central location outwards, tends to verify its beginnngs with one teacher.

I am not doubting that there were Christians from early times. Nor do I doubt that something gave rise to the legend. All I am saying is that there is a dearth of evidence. I would like to see the archeological reports on those shrines if you know where to find them. Also, references in historical writings would be very helpful in establishing dates.

Paul was persecuting existing "christian jews" before his own conversion, meaning they were in existence quite soon after christs death date

PAul met christ's brother and at least one of his direct apostles, unless you also begin to debate the historicity of paul and his writings.. There is absolutely no cause to doubt the existence of a human person we know as christ, who was very much as described in the gospels and who was a preacher teacher and healer.. At least one of the gospels was almost certainly written by an eyewitness to some of the events in them, and certainly within the potential lifetime of such witness.

The gospels are not reliable sources. Matthew and Mark were most-likely written during the Bar Kochba Rebellion, about 100 years after Jesus. Luke contains a reference to "most excellent Felix." The only Roman official we know of named Felix was appointed Prefect of Egypt in 151 AD. Luke is addressed to "most excellent Theophilus," the Patriarch of Antioch from about 169 to 183 AD. Historians argue about whether it was Theophilus or Irenaeus who first reported the Book of John by name (about 180 AD). The Book of Acts likewise makes reference to Theophilus.

Linguists tell us that Luke and Acts were written by the same author - I see no reason to doubt that. Acts is, basically, a sequel to Luke.

As for Paul: I didn't mean to imply that I believe the biblical description is accurate. "Paul" could well be Apolonius of Tyana. Certainly there are an embarassing number of similarities in the two men. How would you go about establishing that "Paul" was not a legend based on Apolonius?

In short, there is a 150-year gap between the death of Jesus and a solid reference to the gospels. While John, Philip and Jesus most-likely were real people, we cannot truthfully say that we know anything more about them than that.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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The gospels are not reliable sources. Matthew and Mark were most-likely written during the Bar Kochba Rebellion, about 100 years after Jesus. Luke contains a reference to "most excellent Felix." The only Roman official we know of named Felix was appointed Prefect of Egypt in 151 AD. Luke is addressed to "most excellent Theophilus," the Patriarch of Antioch from about 169 to 183 AD. Historians argue about whether it was Theophilus or Irenaeus who first reported the Book of John by name (about 180 AD). The Book of Acts likewise makes reference to Theophilus.

Linguists tell us that Luke and Acts were written by the same author - I see no reason to doubt that. Acts is, basically, a sequel to Luke.

Your guesstimates do not match the current historical consensus. While I understand that almost anything in Ancient History can be debated from several points of view, it seems that most historians who study this believe Mark t have been written circa 70 AD, Matthew and Luke circa 80 AD (Luke possibly later even still), and John between 90-125 AD. And by "most" historians I don't mean only the Christian ones. Some of the Christian apologists would have you believe that Mark was completed before 65 AD, and John possibly as early as 80 AD. Some have even tried arguing Matthew to have been written in 48 AD (I don't recall where I read that, though the rest of the dates I used are found all over the web, but THIS SITE has been of particular use to me over the past couple of years).

I don't know how historians begin to date texts, not being an historian myself, but for the most part if the historians universally accept the canonical gospels between 70-125 AD (Mark being the earliest, John the latest - with the hypothetical missing Q document dated to around 50 AD) then I'm going to stick with the scholarly consensus rather than the extreme scepticism of the fringe historical community.

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Your guesstimates do not match the current historical consensus. While I understand that almost anything in Ancient History can be debated from several points of view, it seems that most historians who study this believe Mark t have been written circa 70 AD, Matthew and Luke circa 80 AD (Luke possibly later even still), and John between 90-125 AD. And by "most" historians I don't mean only the Christian ones. Some of the Christian apologists would have you believe that Mark was completed before 65 AD, and John possibly as early as 80 AD. Some have even tried arguing Matthew to have been written in 48 AD (I don't recall where I read that, though the rest of the dates I used are found all over the web, but THIS SITE has been of particular use to me over the past couple of years).

I don't know how historians begin to date texts, not being an historian myself, but for the most part if the historians universally accept the canonical gospels between 70-125 AD (Mark being the earliest, John the latest - with the hypothetical missing Q document dated to around 50 AD) then I'm going to stick with the scholarly consensus rather than the extreme scepticism of the fringe historical community.

Appreciate the solid link provided :tu:

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Your guesstimates do not match the current historical consensus.

I realize this. There have been so many wild guesses and poorly-researched articles written that none can be trusted. One must look up the references to see that they actually say what the authors claim. One must have both evidence and a line of reasoning concerning that evidence. Without both, the author has nothing to contribute.

I am trying to determine what the evidence says; not what this or that "authority" says. The evidence for Matthew and Mark having been written about 132-135 AD is pretty solid (The "abomination in a high place" is a reference to the Temple of Jupiter on Temple Mount built by the Roman Tenth Legion in 131 and the boar's-head statue that was their symbol. The story of the 2000 pigs all but names the Tenth Legion in a day when sedition was a capital crime, punishable by crucifxion or worse.). The evidence for Luke and John in 160 to 180 is less so (We can't be certain that there wasn't some other person named "Felix" or "Theophilus" around to write about and/or to, but enough of these references would make the date highly probable.).

Another part of the problem is the gospels, themselves. We have to rely on references to events that may have occurred at other times than those claimed, or may be later redactions. The gospels we have may be (ARE in at least one case) contaminated by later copyists and redactors. The problem with determining what actually happened is mostly later writers who thought they knew what actually happened.

I used are found all over the web, but THIS SITE has been of particular use to me over the past couple of years.

Early Christian Writings is an excellent site. They have the best available translatsions (often several) for many ancient works. Also, they only present the writings and metadata. They do not offer interpretations which saves one from having to wade through pages of irrelevant babble.

I don't know how historians begin to date texts,

I am using a technique called cross-dating. Basically, you find a reference to an event or person in several different writings and match them up. This, of course, means you have to use historical, often non-Christian, writings to provide the cross-dates. Details like who was Emperor, governor, king... did this or that building exist, etc. become very important. Also what is not mentioned is often important: no mention of a particular battle probably means the battle hadn't happened yet. Conversely, mention of the destruction of the Temple dates the piece to after 70 AD when the Temple was destroyed. Get enough dates from different sources, then just line them up. There's really no mystery to how its done.

if the historians universally accept the canonical gospels between 70-125 AD (Mark being the earliest, John the latest

Historians are by no means universal in this opinion. I found an article in "The Journal of Higher Criticism" that laid out the case for the 132-135 dates.

- with the hypothetical missing Q document dated to around 50 AD)

The Q document is a logical disaster. It is a doctrine, not even a hypothesis. The Book of Matthew is much longer than the Book of Mark. You can find almost all, maybe all, the details mentioned by Mark in Matthew. Logically, Mark used Matthew as a source. But if you want Mark to be written first, you have to have a source for Mark to obtain his "facts" from. The solution: assume another document. So without any evidence to support the idea, the Q document was invented.

We know there were other documents around at the time - we even have some fragments and quotations from them. But a document that fills in the details missing in Mark so that Matthew can copy them has nothing to support it.

then I'm going to stick with the scholarly consensus rather than the extreme scepticism of the fringe historical community.

You should be very careful that the "scholarly opinion" you're sticking with has been rigorously tested (Much of it hasn't.).

I don't expect you or anybody else to accept my opinions from what I have written here - you shouldn't. That would be bad scholarship. By the same token, I won't accept yours, at least not until I can check them. To provide my observations and reasoning would take hundreds of pages - literally. I hope to write this all up someday, but that looks to be long way away at the moment. In the meantime, maybe one of us will come up with an idea worth pursuing.

Doug

Edited by Doug1o29

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Over half the worlds population are either christian or muslim.

And you honestly believe that none of these Christians or Muslims have any doubts about the historical accuracy of the BIble and Quran?

Th t is because it has been confirmed through over a hundred years of archaeology hence i stick by my claim that a majority of humans accept the bible as basically an historical document, like a diary or a letter or a newspaper cutting

You are misinformed. As I said before there is an organization that has done nothing but search for evidence of King David. They've found next to nothing. They've searched for Solomon's temple. They haven't found it. They've searched for the Kingdom of Israel as described in the Bible. They've found a collection of cities in Canaan and only a few proved to be Jewish cities (the rest had pig bones in their dumps).

And as I said before, Solomon's alliance with Egypt would have been in recorded Egyptian history. It's not because it's completely fabricated.

And more recent arcahaealogy and historical investigations continue to confirm it. Like all prehistory, no one can verify every word but it can be sketched out from evidences available.The real cities of troy and asia minor have been rediscovered as have many of those in the middle east

Which "recent arcahaealogy [sic] and historical investigations" are you referring to?

For example historians have now plotted the voyage of jason and the argonauts, using real topographical features compared with those in the story. It is now considered an historical rahter than a mythological story

So if Jason and Argonauts is true... then the BIble must be true too? That's your most persuasive argument?

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So if Jason and Argonauts is true... then the BIble must be true too? That's your most persuasive argument?

Careful there. Turns out that many parts of the Argosy are true. It's a set of sailing directions for the Aegean.

By the same token, parts of the Bible are true. The question is: which parts?

Doug

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One thing's for certain. Whether if you believe in the bible or not, It seems to have some attraction to people

like bugs to light because it's got everyone talking about it.

Yep there's something about it....

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I grant that I have a problem with the more-fundamentalist style of Christianity. I used to be one, but became disillusioned with the hypocrisy and the total lack of objective support for what they were saying.

Amen.

There are many generous, tolerant and loving Christians out there, just the same as there are many generous, tolerant and loving Muslims, Jews, etc. I know some. I even work for a fundamentalist Baptist who is one of the finest people I know. But unfortunately, you are all being painted by the same brush.

How do Christians show the world that they are not the evil monsters they appear to be?

First, drop the arrogance. A church is just another club, no more deserving of special legal status than any other. Get rid of the tax-exempt status on church property. The churches want fire, police, water and other publicly financed services, but don't want to pay for them. Keeping that privelege just tells the rest of the world that Christians think they are better than others.

Same thing with Federal income taxes. In the land where church and state are separate, the IRS judges who is a church and who isn't. If tax-exempt status is not to be accorded to evryone, then somebody has to do this. The solution is to abolish the special category for church income. Allow truly non-profit organizations to keep their non-profit status, provided they meet the other requirements.

How would you, as a Christian, feel about paying for services used by atheists? Why, then, do you want atheists to pay for the services you use?

Commit to a life of service. Make the world better. Building a church is just building a monument to yourselves. Use that money to feed the hungry and house the homeless. Instead of sitting in church, go plant trees, or serve in a soup kitchen or plant a garden. Do God's work. Don't just talk about it - do it.

If Christians spent as much time helping others as they spent trying to convert them, the world would all be Christian and the Kingdom of God would be near at hand.

Doug

I agree but would hope there could be a way to determine what percent was going to charity work as charity shouldnt be taxed. I believe this was the purpose initially its just unfortinate ppl make a business out of it.

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I agree but would hope there could be a way to determine what percent was going to charity work as charity shouldnt be taxed. I believe this was the purpose initially its just unfortinate ppl make a business out of it.

That's what non-profit status is for.

Doug

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Careful there. Turns out that many parts of the Argosy are true. It's a set of sailing directions for the Aegean.

That doesn't make for much of a story!

By the same token, parts of the Bible are true. The question is: which parts?

The ones we have evidence for. All evidence points that Canaan was not dominated by a powerful Jewish nation during the period that the Bible describes and that's the basis for most of the Old Testament stories.

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That doesn't make for much of a story!

If you want people to remember it, you have to "improve" it a little.

The ones we have evidence for. All evidence points that Canaan was not dominated by a powerful Jewish nation during the period that the Bible describes and that's the basis for most of the Old Testament stories.

People turn their great men into gods. Most of the Egyptian gods started out as human beings whose stories kept getting bigger and better with the telling. King David and Solomon apparently weren't great enough to get turned into gods, but they were on their way. They might make it, yet.

I expect that when we finally figure it out, we'll find they either they were composites of real people, or they started as real people whose stories got "improved" a little with time.

If the definition of divinity is immortality, as it is with many of the Greek gods, then through their stories, David and Solomon are gods already.

Doug

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People turn their great men into gods. Most of the Egyptian gods started out as human beings whose stories kept getting bigger and better with the telling. King David and Solomon apparently weren't great enough to get turned into gods, but they were on their way.

Actually they're more like Greek tragedies. Solomon had a downfall that showed him to be more human than god. David showed very god-like tendencies like having a guy killed after he knocked up his wife.

I expect that when we finally figure it out, we'll find they either they were composites of real people, or they started as real people whose stories got "improved" a little with time.

I don't care about the characters. I care about the history. The main problem with the history is that the Kingdom of Israel as described in the Bible never existed. The descriptions of unstoppable conquests by gigantic armies turning Israel into a Middle East superpower are not true and are probably embellishments of smaller conflicts. The Hebrews were just another culture in conflict with others in Canaan and trying to maintain their own identity. They were easily conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. I believe the stories in the Old Testament was intended to give Jews a past they could be proud of, an explanation for why their people no longer had a nation of their own, and a reason to continue to exist as a separate people during the Diaspora.

If the definition of divinity is immortality, as it is with many of the Greek gods, then through their stories, David and Solomon are gods already.

Fortunately that isn't the definition of a god!

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Actually they're more like Greek tragedies. Solomon had a downfall that showed him to be more human than god. David showed very god-like tendencies like having a guy killed after he knocked up his wife.

Many of those ancient gods were pretty bloodthirsty. You have to look no farther than Genesis for evidence.

I don't care about the characters. I care about the history. The main problem with the history is that the Kingdom of Israel as described in the Bible never existed. The descriptions of unstoppable conquests by gigantic armies turning Israel into a Middle East superpower are not true and are probably embellishments of smaller conflicts. The Hebrews were just another culture in conflict with others in Canaan and trying to maintain their own identity. They were easily conquered by the Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians. I believe the stories in the Old Testament was intended to give Jews a past they could be proud of, an explanation for why their people no longer had a nation of their own, and a reason to continue to exist as a separate people during the Diaspora.

Probably a lot of truth in what you're saying, but I'm trying to track the legends.

Fortunately that isn't the definition of a god!

That may be, but is there any other characteristic that distinguishes "gods" from men? Gods are immortal; men are not. As far as I can tell, that's the difference. Jesus is a god only if he can defeat death. If he really died on the cross, then he was just a man. Without the resurrection, Christinaity is nothing.

Doug

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I am not doubting that there were Christians from early times. Nor do I doubt that something gave rise to the legend. All I am saying is that there is a dearth of evidence. I would like to see the archeological reports on those shrines if you know where to find them. Also, references in historical writings would be very helpful in establishing dates.

The gospels are not reliable sources. Matthew and Mark were most-likely written during the Bar Kochba Rebellion, about 100 years after Jesus. Luke contains a reference to "most excellent Felix." The only Roman official we know of named Felix was appointed Prefect of Egypt in 151 AD. Luke is addressed to "most excellent Theophilus," the Patriarch of Antioch from about 169 to 183 AD. Historians argue about whether it was Theophilus or Irenaeus who first reported the Book of John by name (about 180 AD). The Book of Acts likewise makes reference to Theophilus.

Linguists tell us that Luke and Acts were written by the same author - I see no reason to doubt that. Acts is, basically, a sequel to Luke.

As for Paul: I didn't mean to imply that I believe the biblical description is accurate. "Paul" could well be Apolonius of Tyana. Certainly there are an embarassing number of similarities in the two men. How would you go about establishing that "Paul" was not a legend based on Apolonius?

In short, there is a 150-year gap between the death of Jesus and a solid reference to the gospels. While John, Philip and Jesus most-likely were real people, we cannot truthfully say that we know anything more about them than that.

Doug

PA has really answered as well as I could. But prehistory is often more about a study of sociology society and archeaololgy than scientific facts. The sociology and the timelines involved, show that a man fairly consistently known as jesus started a new cult of preaching teaching and healing, and was followed by many locals. After his death, rather than dying out, this cult grew rapidly both in numbers and in area. Within two decades of his death it had established churches and was known in rome as anew jewish variant. There is NO discontinuity in the linear time line between these events and the established writings of the gospels, as PA points out. The gospels as we read them are only the existing end product of both oral tradition and earlier written versions.Those versions do not remain but there are some historical references to them.

Paul wasnt a legend his historical existence is established via a number of contemporary historical documents. it requires denial and a sort of conspiracy theorist's mind to believe otherwise. Normally, in such cases of oral history leading into a written version, what is told is what is mostly true. The power of christ and christianity inherently creates opposition to the basic story, but if this was say, spartacus, no one would deny his historicity, because to do so costs nothing..

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PA has really answered as well as I could. But prehistory is often more about a study of sociology society and archeaololgy than scientific facts. The sociology and the timelines involved, show that a man fairly consistently known as jesus started a new cult of preaching teaching and healing, and was followed by many locals. After his death, rather than dying out, this cult grew rapidly both in numbers and in area. Within two decades of his death it had established churches and was known in rome as anew jewish variant. There is NO discontinuity in the linear time line between these events and the established writings of the gospels, as PA points out. The gospels as we read them are only the existing end product of both oral tradition and earlier written versions.Those versions do not remain but there are some historical references to them.

I believe there is adequate evidence to establish that there were Christians around since at least the 60s (Remember Nero and the fire? 64AD) and probably before. I also believe that legends don't just jump up out of nowhere; something has to get them started. That would be enough to conclude that there well could have been someone equivalent to Jesus, even though there isn't enough evidence to call him "historical." I know that there were other writings from before the time of our modern gospels. For example, Clement of Rome in about 96 AD wrote about the woman who poured oil on Jesus' head - Clement said head, not feet. He didn't get that detail from our modern gospels. So where did he get it? Somebody earlier person wrote it down. There are other writings, too, purportedly by "Mark." The Gospel of Thomas may well be the book Papias referred to as a collection of sayings by someone named "Mark." The problem is that with all the different Marks around, nobody really knows who the real authors were and when they wrote what.

The first step is to establish when our modern gospels were written, then trace their sources to establish what got added to the story and what might have been part of the "original." I am trying to determine as nearly as possible, what actually happened. I very much doubt that I will be able to establish it as history, but hopefully, I can shed some light on it.

While there may be no discontinuity between the early Christians and the writing of the gospels, there are, nonetheless, lots of gaps when nobody wrote anything down. And then there are things that did get written down, but don't fit the Christian tradition.

Paul wasnt a legend his historical existence is established via a number of contemporary historical documents. it requires denial and a sort of conspiracy theorist's mind to believe otherwise. Normally, in such cases of oral history leading into a written version, what is told is what is mostly true. The power of christ and christianity inherently creates opposition to the basic story, but if this was say, spartacus, no one would deny his historicity, because to do so costs nothing..

You mention some contemporary historical documents. What are they? How were their dates established?

The search for truth requires careful research. One cannot take the conspiracy theorist's word for anything, but neither can anyone take the Christians' word for anything. Neither is deliberately lying, but both are good at deceiving themselves (and others). Everything must be supported by evidence and reasoning. What cannot be supported that way amounts to little more than speculation - it may be true, but then again, it may not be.

I agree that when I finish, if I ever do, I'm likely to find that a lot of what is in the modern gospels was in earlier versions. But parts are almost-certainly later additions. What I would like to know is which is which and what does that say about the evolution of the stories. A woman poured oil on Jesus - but the various sources disagree on the details. Clement's version is older, thus, more likely to be accurate, but oil on his HEAD?

No matter what else you can say about the gospels there remains that embarassing (for Christians) 150-year gap between Jesus' death and the first mention of the gospels in the historical record. So what fills that gap?

Doug

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Elaine Pagels

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''food contamination crisis hits church''

-communion wafers contain 0% christ-

.

film at eleven.

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I believe there is adequate evidence to establish that there were Christians around since at least the 60s (Remember Nero and the fire? 64AD) and probably before. I also believe that legends don't just jump up out of nowhere; something has to get them started. That would be enough to conclude that there well could have been someone equivalent to Jesus, even though there isn't enough evidence to call him "historical." I know that there were other writings from before the time of our modern gospels. For example, Clement of Rome in about 96 AD wrote about the woman who poured oil on Jesus' head - Clement said head, not feet. He didn't get that detail from our modern gospels. So where did he get it? Somebody earlier person wrote it down. There are other writings, too, purportedly by "Mark." The Gospel of Thomas may well be the book Papias referred to as a collection of sayings by someone named "Mark." The problem is that with all the different Marks around, nobody really knows who the real authors were and when they wrote what.

The first step is to establish when our modern gospels were written, then trace their sources to establish what got added to the story and what might have been part of the "original." I am trying to determine as nearly as possible, what actually happened. I very much doubt that I will be able to establish it as history, but hopefully, I can shed some light on it.

While there may be no discontinuity between the early Christians and the writing of the gospels, there are, nonetheless, lots of gaps when nobody wrote anything down. And then there are things that did get written down, but don't fit the Christian tradition.

You mention some contemporary historical documents. What are they? How were their dates established?

The search for truth requires careful research. One cannot take the conspiracy theorist's word for anything, but neither can anyone take the Christians' word for anything. Neither is deliberately lying, but both are good at deceiving themselves (and others). Everything must be supported by evidence and reasoning. What cannot be supported that way amounts to little more than speculation - it may be true, but then again, it may not be.

I agree that when I finish, if I ever do, I'm likely to find that a lot of what is in the modern gospels was in earlier versions. But parts are almost-certainly later additions. What I would like to know is which is which and what does that say about the evolution of the stories. A woman poured oil on Jesus - but the various sources disagree on the details. Clement's version is older, thus, more likely to be accurate, but oil on his HEAD?

No matter what else you can say about the gospels there remains that embarassing (for Christians) 150-year gap between Jesus' death and the first mention of the gospels in the historical record. So what fills that gap?

Doug

sorry this is from wiki but i was just reading the article.

Sources outside of the New Testament that mention Paul include:

Like PA I do not accept that the gospels were written as late as 180 AD. My understanding based on current scholarship is that some of them in their existing form, were written as early as 70-80 AD. They were also written earlier but those are now gone. Also later additions and alterations were made. But this is true of all things. Compare a modern history of world war 11, with ones written immediately after the event, or a chinese history of that war with a japanese one.

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sorry this is from wiki but i was just reading the article.

Sources outside of the New Testament that mention Paul include:

Like PA I do not accept that the gospels were written as late as 180 AD. My understanding based on current scholarship is that some of them in their existing form, were written as early as 70-80 AD. They were also written earlier but those are now gone. Also later additions and alterations were made. But this is true of all things. Compare a modern history of world war 11, with ones written immediately after the event, or a chinese history of that war with a japanese one.

Thanks. Those would all seem to be good references. I must have missed Clement's reference to Paul. I'll have to go back and read it again.

There is some reason to doubt the validity of Ignatius of Antioch. The objections are:

1. He was supposedly a patriarch, but there are no historical references to him before the ostensible date of his letters. He has no provenance.

2. He is supposed to be a prisoner on his way to Rome to be killed in the arena. BUT: guards are expensive. Why send him to Rome when you could kill him right there in Antioch with a lot less trouble and expense? The guards allow him to take a month-long side trip to visit other Christians. Wish all guards were that considerate.

These details make the whole story seem rather improbable.

I have not finished reading Origen and Polycarp. Origen supposedly said he was a student of John (That from Irenaeus.). But I haven't found where Origen himself said it. I suspect it's in his writings somewhere, but so far, no luck. Irenaeus was a good scholar and his reasoning was sound, as long as he was using a reliable source.

Polycarp was martyrred in 155 AD, about the time Justin was writing his Apology. Apolonius was born in about 15AD and died about 100AD. Apolonius could have been the prototype for Paul without creating a time conflict with either Clement or Polycarp.

A big question about Paul is how he could have been in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus' trial and death and still not have written a first-hand account. It's a glaring omission in the record. No such claim is made for Apolonius.

180 would seem awful late for any of the four gospels. Theophilus of Antioch died in 180 AD. Luke was addressed to Theophilus. That doesn't leave much time to write a gospel and none at all to write Acts. I think we'll need to select an earlier date for them.

The "authenicated" letters of Paul are probably older than the gospels. They would seem to be a more-reliable source.

Doug

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That may be, but is there any other characteristic that distinguishes "gods" from men? Gods are immortal; men are not. As far as I can tell, that's the difference. Jesus is a god only if he can defeat death. If he really died on the cross, then he was just a man.

If we all go to heaven when we die, does that mean we're all gods?

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If we all go to heaven when we die, does that mean we're all gods?

We are each gods already. Everyone of us exists within god, and god exists within each one of us. Once one realises this, the empowerment of god becomes available. Heaven also exists with us right here and now, because all extermal experience is so "interpreted" by our minds that it forms our reality. ie a person living in a samll isolated cell can see it as imprisonment and deprivation, or a retreat and tranquility with potential for meditation.. How we interpret our extermal realities is what creates the feeling that we exist in heaven or in hell.

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We are each gods already. Everyone of us exists within god, and god exists within each one of us. Once one realises this, the empowerment of god becomes available. Heaven also exists with us right here and now, because all extermal experience is so "interpreted" by our minds that it forms our reality. ie a person living in a samll isolated cell can see it as imprisonment and deprivation, or a retreat and tranquility with potential for meditation.. How we interpret our extermal realities is what creates the feeling that we exist in heaven or in hell.

i think that pretty much describes the way I see it, I think. That you for that, a nice concise description.

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We all have "Buddha nature."

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