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Still Waters

'Did Jesus Exist?' A Historian Makes His Case

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Keosen

Well there is Josephus, Pliny, Suetonius, and Tacitus. Granted some of those are a little after his life but still very close.

Cool, happy reading

The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled: http://www.truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm

Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius:No Proof of Jesus: http://www.truthbeknown.com/pliny.htm

Why don't you also accept Zeus,Odin or Osiris there are countless books and writings about them and from writers that actually were alive while claiming that this gods existed.

There is a thin line separating myth from reality, all ancient religions are now considered myths like Christianism will be just a myth in let's say 2000 years from now

Edited by Keosen

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Mr Walker

Cool, happy reading

The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled: http://www.truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm

Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius:No Proof of Jesus: http://www.truthbeknown.com/pliny.htm

Why don't you also accept Zeus,Odin or Osiris there are countless books and writings about them and from writers that actually were alive while claiming that this gods existed.

There is a thin line separating myth from reality, all ancient religions are now considered myths like Christianism will be just a myth in let's say 2000 years from now

Thats not true. Even today few serious academic historians dispute the existence of christ as basically outlined in the bible. That is because of the historical, contextual and very near contemporary evidences for his existence. History has never required the levels of empirical proof that, say, science does, because history would be unworkable as a discipline if that was required.

History puts things tgether more like a jigsaw, and while the "jesus jigsaw" may be missing a few piesces enough exist to be able to "get the picture" Some natural skeptics keep an open mind. A few work to dismiss the historicity of christ because that is the simplest way to also dismiss hs divinity. However, while the nature, and possible "divinity", of jesus remains very open and arguable , in historical terms his existence does not. Most academic moderndr historians do not accept, either, that sort of conspiracy theory about christ being constructed fromm previous gods Human spirituality and particualarly religious theology, has an understood evolutionary history just like all aspects of human sociology A person as christ is described would be seen in a certain theological perspective by the people of his era, and the succeding centuries, because of the time and place of his existence, not because of some constructed conspiracy. For example christ could not have been born in england (or any other place) of the same time and had the same historical contextual power. That was only possible because of the nature of judaism both historically and theologically on the world stage at that time. If christ had been born elsewhere, then the form and content of christianity would have been very differnt, from the beginning, and would have evolved very differently as it went on.

The historical existence of the man, jesus, will probably always be accepted by academic historians, for the same reasons he is accepted today. I did 3 years of university history in a secular, state/govt, university and no history professor or other academic ever disputed the existence of christ as a man.

Edited by Mr Walker

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eight bits
Even today few serious academic historians dispute the existence of christ as basically outlined in the bible.
The historical existence of the man, jesus, will probably always be accepted by academic historians, for the same reasons he is accepted today. I did 3 years of university history in a secular, state/govt, university and no history professor or other academic ever disputed the existence of christ as a man.

Whether Jesus existed is a historical question. Whether someone was commissioned in the First Century by God to fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people, that is, whether there was a Christ, is not a historical question.

There are no serious academic historians who address the existence of the Christ while on duty. Like anyone else, what they do on Sundays (respectively, on Fridays or Saturdays) is their own affair, and reflects a personal opinion, not a professional one.

Keosen pitched a softball,

Why don't you also accept Zeus,Odin or Osiris there are countless books and writings about them and from writers that actually were alive while claiming that this gods existed.

There is no problem distinguishing Jesus from mythological characters. The undisputed historical person, Paul, reported having a vision of a man whose life overlapped his own. Yes or no, did the other man ever really exist?

If yes, then it becomes a simple matter to puzzle out what else you believe about that man, and on what evidence and arguments. Paul makes arguments for the Christhood of the man Jesus. This is incomparable with mythological storytelling, where no such arguments appear.

Once an argument is made, one rational person may be persuaded by it while another is not. Keosen's demand that "similar cases should be trated similarly" is defeated by the obvious complementary heuristic, "different cases should be treated according to their differences."

The shallowness and superficiality of Keosen's objection is not, however, an invitation for you to fudge the difference between Jesus and the Christ. What your professors were confident about was the existence of a "patient zero" in Christianity, distinct from Paul, and not that this patient zero really was the Christ, something about which they have no special competence anyway.

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Mr Walker
name='eight bits' timestamp='1334997135' post='4272220']

Whether Jesus existed is a historical question. Whether someone was commissioned in the First Century by God to fulfill the Messianic expectations of the Jewish people, that is, whether there was a Christ, is not a historical question.

There are no serious academic historians who address the existence of the Christ while on duty. Like anyone else, what they do on Sundays (respectively, on Fridays or Saturdays) is their own affair, and reflects a personal opinion, not a professional one.

I had hoped I made this clear. I wouldn't have had a clue about the academics religious leanings or otherwise. That never came up. But jesus was considered an historical figure in a wider context of the historical fabric of his time. For the same reasons tha tmany other such figures were/are so cnsidered.

This view was and, as far as I can ascertain, still is the most widely held view amng academic historians and in history books written by such historians.

The historians never considered the lack of contemporary records as significant. Few historical figures had such records; but the contextual, relational, and other evidences put christ firmly in the historical field (As a person.) His mythology divinity and actual nature never arose/arise in mainstrean history> It is really only quite recently that any sigificant debate has ever arisen on this issue.

I apprecaite the problems with wikipedia but this quote form it basically confirms my own experince in this area.

Although a few scholars have questioned the existence of Jesus as an actual historical figure,[4] some scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe his existence, but not the supernatural claims associated with him, can be established using documentary and other evidence.[5] Most contemporary scholars agree that Jesus was a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire.[6]

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Tiggs

The undisputed historical person, Paul, reported having a vision of a man whose life overlapped his own.

Several mythicist's dispute Paul's Historicity, too.

Edited by Tiggs

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Tiggs

Richard Carrier's fairly brutal review of Bart's book.

A representative sample:

The Baptism Blunder: Ehrman says "we don't have a single description in any source of any kind of baptism in the mystery religions" (p. 28). That is outright false, and one of the most appallingly incompetent statements in this book. Apuleius gives us a first person account of baptism in Isis cult, which he describes as a symbolic death and resurrection for the recipient, exactly as Paul describes Christian baptism in the NT (see Not the Impossible Faith, p. 376; and e.g. Romans 6:4), a fact that surely undermines Ehrman's entire argument and makes the mythicist case look significantly stronger. So this is certainly important for him to know (and yet he would know it, if he actually read my work, which as we've seen, he did not), and crucial for the reader to know. Evidence of baptism in Osiris cult (and that it granted eternal life) exists in pre-Christian papyri, and several other sources: see Brook Pearson, Corresponding Sense: Paul, Dialectic, and Gadamer (Brill 2001), pp. 206-18, 312-29.

We also know that something like baptism into eternal life was a feature of the cult of Bacchus-Dionysus, and we know this not only because Plato mentions it (Plato, Republic 364e-365a, where we're told of Orphic libations "for the remission of sins" that secure one a better place in the afterlife), but also from actual pre-Christian inscriptions (that's right, words actually carved in stone). See examples in Hans Conzelmann, 1 Corinthians (Fortress 1975), pp. 275-76, n. 116. Both sources (Plato and inscriptions) also confirm the Bacchic belief that one could be baptized on behalf of someone who had already died and thus gain them a better position in the afterlife. It cannot be a coincidence that exactly the same thing, baptism for the dead, is attested as a Christian rite in Paul (1 Corinthians 15:29). We have hints of baptismal rituals in other cults (Tertullian, for example, in On Baptism 5, describes numerous pagan rituals of baptism for the remission of sins, clearly understanding it to be a common practice everywhere known). Sure, in many of these cases the baptism was part of a larger ritual (perhaps involving prayer or incense), but Christian baptisms were not free of their own ritual accoutrements, so those hardly matter to the point.

This also undermines Ehrman's claim that there is no evidence that the death of Osiris (or any other god) "brought atonement for sin" (p. 26). We know Egyptian afterlife belief made the physical weight of sin a factor in deciding one's placement in the afterlife, and that (as just shown above) baptism into the death and resurrection of Osiris washes away those sins and thus lightens the soul to obtain the best place in heaven. It is hard to imagine how this does not entail that the death and resurrection of Osiris somehow procured salvation through remission of sins (and clearly a similar belief had developed in Bacchic and other cults). One could perhaps get nitpicky as to what might be the exact theology of the process, but whatever the differences, the similarity remains: the death and resurrection of Osiris was clearly believed to make it possible for those ritually sharing in that death and resurrection through baptism to have their sins remitted. That belief predates Christianity. Ehrman is simply wrong to say otherwise. And the evidence for this is clear, indisputable, and mainstream. Which means his book is useless if you want to know the facts of this matter. Or any matter, apparently.

Edited by Tiggs

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and then

As I've read through this thread I've been kept wondering why is this subject even worthy of discussion? And what, ultimately is to be gained by proving or disproving the existence of Jesus? I can't escape the notion, fair or not, that these "mythicists" are interested in "debunking" the lynchpin of faith for about a billion souls on the planet. To what purpose? It's masked as a purely academic exercise but if it is wrapped in enough "research" by enough scholars then it takes on the aura of acceptability and might lead to many doubting the faith before even giving it a fair chance in their lives. The effect of that is to leave them more intelligent and less at peace. I'm not advocating ignorance, just pondering the need to intentionally remove the hope of so many when they might have nothing else to turn to. Mythicism seems a singularly odd discipline to devote one's life and energy to.

Ultimately belief in the person or Godhood of Jesus can just as easily be left to faith. In fact, the Bible tells us that this is exactly how He wants us to come to Him. Unless the Bible itself is a myth :PJohn 20:29:Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

I find it interesting that He answered our query a couple thousand years ago.

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eight bits

Tiggs

Most mythicist's dispute Paul's Historicity, too.

That may be. What historians have for Paul is autobiographical writing, plausible for its ostensible time and place, and written with the evident intention of being taken as truthful. Somebody wrote Galatians. He called himself Paul.

That doesn't ensure that Paul existed. It does ensure that a rational person could believe it, and disregard the contrary as not a serious possibility.

I understand what is at stake for the harder mythicists (harder than, say, Carrier, who cites Paul with apparent ease of mind in your link). Paul thinks the man he encountered in a vision was somebody who once lived during Paul's lifetime. That places Jesus in a different literary category from Zeus, Odin and Osiris.

How nice for the harder mythicists, then, if Paul himself didn't exist. Good luck in showing that. In the meantime, Jesus stands different in kind from Zeus, Odin and Osiris. None of them has a Paul, or even the serious possibility of one.

It's easy for the godly to overplay that hand, and that's why I wrote to Mr Walker about conflating Jesus, a possibly historical person, with the Christ, an opinion Paul held about Jesus, which opinion's verification or refutation isn't a historical matter.

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Jor-el

As I've read through this thread I've been kept wondering why is this subject even worthy of discussion? And what, ultimately is to be gained by proving or disproving the existence of Jesus? I can't escape the notion, fair or not, that these "mythicists" are interested in "debunking" the lynchpin of faith for about a billion souls on the planet. To what purpose? It's masked as a purely academic exercise but if it is wrapped in enough "research" by enough scholars then it takes on the aura of acceptability and might lead to many doubting the faith before even giving it a fair chance in their lives. The effect of that is to leave them more intelligent and less at peace. I'm not advocating ignorance, just pondering the need to intentionally remove the hope of so many when they might have nothing else to turn to. Mythicism seems a singularly odd discipline to devote one's life and energy to.

Ultimately belief in the person or Godhood of Jesus can just as easily be left to faith. In fact, the Bible tells us that this is exactly how He wants us to come to Him. Unless the Bible itself is a myth :PJohn 20:29:Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

I find it interesting that He answered our query a couple thousand years ago.

Actually in most cases they all have ulterior motives for "debunking" the christian view. If one researches their personal lives, we find many of them invloved in the occult and those that are not invloved are involved in other philosophies that have absolutely no interest in a strong christianity.

There are a few exceptions to this rule, but they are far and few between.

Bart Ehrmans situation is unique, he is being blasted left, right and center by both his fellow "historians" and the christian community... that alone makes him an interesting read.

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SikFly

What some historians overlook is the fact that Jesus was not the first nor last of any jew who was ever considered a messiah. There were about 8 other known so called Messiah's before him. Assuming he existed of course. His story is the one that prevailed obviously. Around the world, all throughout history, there has been many men with a variety of similar tales, deeds and legendary feats. Yet few if any put them into any religion or worship. If he existed, his story is very much similar to others who have been put on a pedastal...part fact, part exaggeration and part legend.

Edited by SikFly

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Tiggs

How nice for the harder mythicists, then, if Paul himself didn't exist.

The exact opposite, as it happens.

As you've already pointed out by noting the existence of Carrier - The non-existence of Paul is unnecessary to create a coherent argument that Christ is Mythic.

So - it's actually unnecessary lifting work. Not a nicety.

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Tiggs

Actually in most cases they all have ulterior motives for "debunking" the christian view. If one researches their personal lives, we find many of them invloved in the occult and those that are not invloved are involved in other philosophies that have absolutely no interest in a strong christianity.

Yes, Jor-el.

The reason that no contemporary historical evidence for Jesus exists is because I'm possessed by Demons. Obviously.

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The Silver Thong

As I've read through this thread I've been kept wondering why is this subject even worthy of discussion? And what, ultimately is to be gained by proving or disproving the existence of Jesus? I can't escape the notion, fair or not, that these "mythicists" are interested in "debunking" the lynchpin of faith for about a billion souls on the planet.

It`s about the truth and the grip such a man made concoction has on people. The truth shall set you free so I have heard. One is not free when they are lied to from craddle to grave for just obtaining numbers.

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barnsey

ALL CLAIMS OF JESUS DERIVE FROM HEARSAY ACCOUNTS

No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts. All claims about Jesus derive from writings of other people. There occurs no contemporary Roman record that shows Pontius Pilate executing a man named Jesus. Devastating to historians, there occurs not a single contemporary writing that mentions Jesus. All documents about Jesus came well after the life of the alleged Jesus from either: unknown authors, people who had never met an earthly Jesus, or from fraudulent, mythical or allegorical writings.

Hearsay means information derived from other people rather than on a witness' own knowledge.

Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay does not provide good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it.

If you do not understand this, imagine yourself confronted with a charge for a crime which you know you did not commit. You feel confident that no one can prove guilt because you know that there exists no evidence whatsoever for the charge against you. Now imagine that you stand present in a court of law that allows hearsay as evidence. When the prosecution presents its case, everyone who takes the stand against you claims that you committed the crime, not as a witness themselves, but solely because they claim other people said so. None of these other people, mind you, ever show up in court, nor can anyone find them.

Edited by barnsey

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Paranoid Android

ALL CLAIMS OF JESUS DERIVE FROM HEARSAY ACCOUNTS

No one has the slightest physical evidence to support a historical Jesus; no artifacts, dwelling, works of carpentry, or self-written manuscripts.

Just curious, but stepping back 2000 years, how many people living during that time could be said to adhere to the criteria you require for Jesus? I think if you are honest you will find that 99.99% of all ancient people fail your criteria. So I'm not really sure what you're trying to prove by saying we have no artefacts attributed to Jesus, or works of carpentry (what, did he sign all his works with "J.C" just to make sure we all knew who he was).... Only a small elite can be directly traced through the historical records. Even those who allegedly wrote things themselves have no original documents to prove it was them.

Just saying,

~ PA

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Jor-el

I really think we should drop History classes in school and Universities... after all we are talking mainly of mythical characters, of which proof of existence does not exist except through the accounts of 3rd parties, many of whom were not even present or born centuries later...

I'm just being fair, if we apply it to the case of a mythical character such as Jesus Christ, then we should also apply it other mythical characters, like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, or even Napolean Bonaparte. After all I wasn't there and my doubting Thomas eyes need to see for myself if those accounts are true beyound a shadow of a doubt...

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eight bits

Tiggs

The exact opposite, as it happens.

Hmm? The issue before us at the point I first posted was Keosen's claim that Jesus was indistinguishable from Zeus Odin or Osiris, about whom "there are countless books and writings... from writers that actually were alive while claiming that this gods existed."

Mr Walker responded, and so did I. Keosen presented no example of anybody who had ever claimed that Zeus, Odin or Osiris actually existed. Neither Mr Walker nor I addresed that problem with Keosen's post.

Fair rebuttal to Keosen is that the writing about Jesus is different in kind than the writing about the gods, and includes a named author who actually lived. For Jesus, that would be Paul. Some people also like 1 Peter, but that is hardly a slam-dunk, and I don't share their enthusiasm.

So, if there is no Paul, then two of Keosen's points would stand proven, instead of the smoking wreckage that we have instead.

It's something a bit more oblique than an "exact" opposite, then. Keosen's mythicism is harder than, say, Carrier's, and no claim is made that what demolishes the shallow and superficial dents more academically respectable, but correspondingly more modest positions.

As you've already pointed out by noting the existence of Carrier - The non-existence of Paul is unnecessary to create a coherent argument that Christ is Mythic.

There was nothing in my post that suggested that Carrier would be disappointed if Paul didn't exist. There was also nothing there about the non-existence of Paul being necessary to hold the belief that Jesus is mythic. Who, if anyone, is the Christ isn't a historian's question.

On another matter, from barnsey

Courts of law do not generally allow hearsay as testimony, and nor does honest modern scholarship. Hearsay does not provide good evidence, and therefore, we should dismiss it.

You didn't mention where you're posting from. Certainly not the United States if that's the law where you live. And definitely not an American military base or naval vessel, which have their own courts of law, whose hearsay rule is fairly summarized as "tell me more."

If you do not understand this, imagine yourself confronted with a charge for a crime which you know you did not commit.

Why imagine it? Googlebing jailhouse snitch. American people have gone to prison on hearsay, and it is nearly certain that some Americans have been executed by reliance on it.

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The Silver Thong

I really think we should drop History classes in school and Universities... after all we are talking mainly of mythical characters, of which proof of existence does not exist except through the accounts of 3rd parties, many of whom were not even present or born centuries later...

I'm just being fair, if we apply it to the case of a mythical character such as Jesus Christ, then we should also apply it other mythical characters, like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, or even Napolean Bonaparte. After all I wasn't there and my doubting Thomas eyes need to see for myself if those accounts are true beyound a shadow of a doubt...

The difference is that nothing was written about Jesus till 90 years after his death. Romans are well known for there record keeping.

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Jor-el

The difference is that nothing was written about Jesus till 90 years after his death. Romans are well known for there record keeping.

Record keeping? Please, what we have can be listed as fable!!!

You have a number of fictional stories that you take to be truth when there is nothing to back them up!!!

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The Silver Thong

Record keeping? Please, what we have can be listed as fable!!!

You have a number of fictional stories that you take to be truth when there is nothing to back them up!!!

Fiction is not truth and you are right some of what I think of as history such as Zeus is both fact and fiction if you look at it that way.

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Jor-el

Fiction is not truth and you are right some of what I think of as history such as Zeus is both fact and fiction if you look at it that way.

Oh what about Zeus is fact, or about Jupiter since its him under Roman guise...

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Mr Walker

Yes, Jor-el.

The reason that no contemporary historical evidence for Jesus exists is because I'm possessed by Demons. Obviously.

Given the definition of contemporary or contemporaneous, any legitimate writings of Paul are contemporary historical evidences, as Paul fits the basic definition of the word.

con·tem·po·rar·y/kənˈtempəˌrerē/Adjective: Living or occurring at the same time.

Noun: A person or thing living or existing at the same time as another.

http://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=navclient&aq=f&oq=contemporary+definition&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLG_enAU309AU309&q=contemporary+definition&gs_upl=0l0l0l4782lllllllllll0&aqi=g5

Such evidences do not, in historical terms, necessarily come from the period when one person was alive, but from times where authors and evidences overlap a person's life.

For example, I could legitimately write a contemporary historical account (or a very biased opinion) about people I know who have now been dead for 50 years. In 1000 years time that would still be considered a contemporary account. It accuracy would be open to the normal qualifications of any source.

Edited by Mr Walker

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Jor-el

Yes, Jor-el.

The reason that no contemporary historical evidence for Jesus exists is because I'm possessed by Demons. Obviously.

Where are you when you consider the 8 veils of Slavery?

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The Silver Thong

Oh what about Zeus is fact, or about Jupiter since its him under Roman guise...

The fact that most would see Zeus as a myth because Zeus is a historical figure aka myth based on writtings. Or should we just take all writtings such as Harry Potter and indoctrinate and force people to believe in wizards. Jupiter is a gassy planet not a god.

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Jor-el

The fact that most would see Zeus as a myth because Zeus is a historical figure aka myth based on writtings. Or should we just take all writtings such as Harry Potter and indoctrinate and force people to believe in wizards. Jupiter is a gassy planet not a god.

Actually it's being done, as we speak, thousand of kids are looking with renewed interest into the occult.

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