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eight bits

Ancient doubts that Jesus existed

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Davros of Skaro

Davros

Doesn't really matter whether Mark is a literary creation or something else. Either way, the story is in there and that was my point.

In Roman times, native plants were regarded not as something evil, but as the gods' gift to humanity, something put here for our enjoyment and healing. Thus, Jesus could introduce his followers to the intoxicating effects of an herb without any aspersions being cast upon them or him.

Personally, I think Mark was written by a person who was fearful that his creation would fall into the hands of the Romans and result in his own crucifixion. To avoid becoming the founder of another religion, he was somewhat vague with many of his references.

Doug

I know. I know. I know.

I posted a couple of times the evidence that the Jewish High Priests had an hallucinogenic plant symbolized on their sacred vestments. Yes the Roman Priests had a special cocktail in their sacramental bowls. Blah blah blah

I believe Mark is not history, but spiritual allegory set in an Earthly setting. The inspiration was derived from the OT with nothing more than human imagination needed.

You believe that Mark has kernals of history with a touch of hallucination inducement externally added.

Here's evidence for my position below. What's your evidence?

Mark 9:2-4

"2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."

Exodus 24:12

"12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."

Exodus 24:15-18

"15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud."

17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights."

Exodus 34:29

"29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him."

Malachi 3:2

"2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:"

Mark 9:9

"9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead."

Daniel 12:4

"4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

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Davros of Skaro

I disagree. Jesus was cursing the plant as a prophetic warning about Jerusalem. It was a literary use of foreshadowing.

You got it! Though I do not see it as an actual event but literary artifice.

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Bluefinger

You got it! Though I do not see it as an actual event but literary artifice.

Mark made at least a couple references to the destruction of the Jewish Nation. Matthew made numerous references. Jerusalem fell in 70 CE and the rebels were defeated around 73 CE. I think Mark was written a year before the war and Matthew was written a year after the war. No doubt, though, the references were in regard to Jerusalem's destruction by the Romans.

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eight bits

Returning to an issue that may have been lost in the hallucinogenic fog:

Ms Mustard

... Additionally, Christianity spread very quickly in a short amount of time in all directions ...

It's not that I don't believe you, I do. Is there a link to some site that I can read up more on this? I want to quickly read more on what you wrote here, without too much time weeding out sites that don't because of what may I have typed in a search engine.

There's very little basis for assessing numbers before 300 CE or so. Most serious estimates fall in the range of 5 million to 10 million adherents by 300 CE. There are currently an estimated 2 billion Christians.

2 billion / 10 million = 200 fold growth in 1700 years

which is a compound growth rate of about 0.3% per year, from 300-2000.

The issue would be early growth rates.

Assuming that there were about 100 followers of Jesus at the time of the Crucifixion (Acts 1 estimates were 120 holed up in hiding just before Penetcost, some of them were family) and that that occurred in 30 CE or so,

10 million / 100 = 100,000 fold growth in 270 years

which is an avreage annual compound growth rate of 4.4% from 30-300 CE.

But assuming that the movement started with 1 person and that the 100 were gathered during about a year of ministry, the growth "rate" is 10,000% for that first year.

On no basis at all, there are estimates of "one million by one hundred." Other estimates place the number of Christians at fewer than ten thousand by 100 CE.

If 10,000: 10,000 / 100 = 100 fold in 70 years

If 1,000,000: 1,000,000 / 100 = 10,000 fold in 70 years

That would be a range of about 7% to 14% average annual growth in the first two generations, 30 CE to 100 CE.

You can decide for yourself whether or not growth rates like these are evidence of the personal intervention of the Creator of All Things.

Edited by eight bits
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Stubbly_Dooright

You can start here:

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com

If you want it summed up? You are probably have to get a Book.

Bart Ehramn (not his historical Jesus Book)

Robert M Price

These two are good starting material.

Well, that's a rich source of materials there. Thanks ;):tu:

Davros

In Roman times, native plants were regarded not as something evil, but as the gods' gift to humanity, something put here for our enjoyment and healing. Thus, Jesus could introduce his followers to the intoxicating effects of an herb without any aspersions being cast upon them or him.

It's interesting how somethings are looked upon and then gets brushed aside even though there might be some helpful things that it can do.
Personally, I think Mark was written by a person who was fearful that his creation would fall into the hands of the Romans and result in his own crucifixion. To avoid becoming the founder of another religion, he was somewhat vague with many of his references.

Doug

I have heard of situations like this.

Understanding literary genre and how to interpret the Bible as literature is an even bigger deal.

In what way?

If it's just to be interpreted, then well, yeah, I think it would be a big deal. I think it would all boil down to what was the form, style, and type of language there was when it was written. ( English major and degree here. )

Returning to an issue that may have been lost in the hallucinogenic fog:

Ms Mustard

There's very little basis for assessing numbers before 300 CE or so. Most serious estimates fall in the range of 5 million to 10 million adherents by 300 CE. There are currently an estimated 2 billion Christians.

2 billion / 10 million = 200 fold growth in 1700 years

which is a compound growth rate of about 0.3% per year, from 300-2000.

The issue would be early growth rates.

Assuming that there were about 100 followers of Jesus at the time of the Crucifixion (Acts 1 estimates were 120 holed up in hiding just before Penetcost, some of them were family) and that that occurred in 30 CE or so,

10 million / 100 = 100,000 fold growth in 270 years

which is an avreage annual compound growth rate of 4.4% from 30-300 CE.

But assuming that the movement started with 1 person and that the 100 were gathered during about a year of ministry, the growth "rate" is 10,000% for that first year.

On no basis at all, there are estimates of "one million by one hundred." Other estimates place the number of Christians at fewer than ten thousand by 100 CE.

If 10,000: 10,000 / 100 = 100 fold in 70 years

If 1,000,000: 1,000,000 / 100 = 10,000 fold in 70 years

That would be a range of about 7% to 14% average annual growth in the first two generations, 30 CE to 100 CE.

You can decide for yourself whether or not growth rates like these are evidence of the personal intervention of the Creator of All Things.

My husband was just asking a question recently, about when exactly the belief system of just one god came into being. And it was not to discuss the amount of time of Christianity. I was making note to him, Christianity being around for 2016 years, right? ;)

But, I couldn't answer him and told him I would research it. When and where exactly did the religion of worshipping one god came around? ( this was asked right after a preview of the movie "Gods of Egypt"

He didn't think Egypt worshipped more than one god, or didn't have the mythology that Greece had. IN which I told him, of course they did, along with Roman. IN which, he always thought Italy, thinking of Roman, were always Catholic, in which the term Roman Catholic.

So, in the amount of what that spread, where and when, I am going for the 'jury still out' on it. I will do my own research and see where I come up with.

But, thank you 8bits for the tidbits here. :yes:

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eight bits

Ms Mustard

Sorry I misunderstood your question. Maybe somewhere in all this is the answer you seek:

Egypt went through a brief spell of apparent monolatry (worship one god, regardless of how many gods there are) under Akhenaten. He died about 1334 BCE (so 3,350 years ago). Otherwise, Egypt was polytheist until the Christians and later the Muslims took over.

Quite a few of the IndoEuropean pagans had the idea that all gods were reflections or emanations from some one ultimate Godhead. That would be a form of henotheism. I wouldn't know how to put a date on that.

The Jews were officially monotheist since at least the return from the Babylonian exile, 539 BCE (2,555 years ago). Before that, it's very difficult to distinguish based on archeology and literary remains among monolatry, henotheism, monotheism or just plain having your own ethnic patron god. Angels look a lot like gods, the "Holy Spirit" actually was promoted to godhood by the Christians.

Legend has it that Abraham was the first worshipper in what became the Jewish-Christian-Islamic monotheisms. These folks thinks he's real

http://www.mfa.gov.il/mfa/aboutisrael/history/pages/history-%20biblical%20times.aspx

Their estimate would put him several centuries before Akhenaten. (I seriously doubt Abraham existed, but who knows?)

Christianity dates from sometime in the (assumed historical) adulthood of Jesus when he gathered followers. That would be sometime around 30 CE. If one variety of Christ-myth panned out (Paul and contemporaries made the whole thing up), that would move the date later to maybe the 40's. If the other variety of Christ-myth panned out (Paul started a Gentile-friendly wing of a longstanding Jewish cult), then that could have begun decades or centuries earlier.

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Doug1029

I posted a couple of times the evidence that the Jewish High Priests had an hallucinogenic plant symbolized on their sacred vestments. Yes the Roman Priests had a special cocktail in their sacramental bowls.

I missed that one. As a biologist of sorts, I'd be interested in learning what those plants were and how they were prepared.

Ancient texts usually treat references to medicinal plants either favorably, or matter-of-factly. My grandmother was a "white witch" who practiced herbal medicine. It's amazing what she knew about what plants to use for which ailment and how to prepare them. She liked to go on long walks in the woods and took her collecting kit with her. When she found something she wanted, she brought home a sample and planted it in the woods behind her house. That place is a treasure-trove of medicinal plants.

I believe Mark is not history, but spiritual allegory set in an Earthly setting. The inspiration was derived from the OT with nothing more than human imagination needed.

You believe that Mark has kernals of history with a touch of hallucination inducement externally added.

Even spiritual allegory accidently gets a detail right once in awhile, hence, those kernels of truth.

Here's evidence for my position below. What's your evidence?

Mark 9:2-4

"2 And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them.

3 And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them.

4 And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus."

Seems we're using the same evidence.

Exodus 24:12

"12 And the Lord said unto Moses, Come up to me into the mount, and be there: and I will give thee tables of stone, and a law, and commandments which I have written; that thou mayest teach them."

Exodus 24:15-18

"15 And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount.

16 And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud."

17 And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel.

18 And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the mount forty days and forty nights."

Exodus 34:29

"29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses' hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him."

I think that mountain was Gebel Ghorabi. There are three mountains that form parts of a single massif: Serabit al Khadim , Gebel Ghorabi and Gebel Saniya. Their names in Hebrew are: "Rephidim," "Mount Horeb" and "Mount Sinai." "Serabit al Khadim" = "Pillars of the Slaves." "Rephidim" = "Place of Pillars." "Sinai" is the Judaized name of the god Sin. On the northwest spur of Gebel Ghorabi is a temple to Hathor. After 3500 years, some pillars still stand, the only place with pillars in the western Sinai. One of Hathor's titles in Egyptian was "hrt ib," meaning "She who is in the land of Djadja (Sinai)." The Egyptian "t" is almost silent. One need only soften the "t" a little more and one has "Horeb." Gebel Ghorabi/Mount Horeb is about 4 miles from Serabit al Khadim/Rephidim. In another 3 miles one could reach Gebel Saniya/Mount Sinai without ever leaving the massif. SO: Moses went up a mountain with a Temple to Hathor on it and came down carrying the Ten Commandments. I think there are at least a few kernels of truth in that story.

Malachi 3:2

"2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap:"

Sounds like allegory to me.

Mark 9:9

"9 And as they came down from the mountain, he charged them that they should tell no man what things they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the dead."

Whether that's allegory depends on whether one believes it.

Daniel 12:4

"4 But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased."

Again, sounds like allegory.

But we were talking about the Book of Mark. So how do these quotes bear on the Book of Mark being allegorical? That being said, I have no problem with Mark being allegory - even allegories can get it right sometimes.

Doug

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Doug1029

I disagree. Jesus was cursing the plant as a prophetic warning about Jerusalem. It was a literary use of foreshadowing.

I don't understand. Could you post the reference and explain how you got that interpretation?

Doug

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Stubbly_Dooright

Ms Mustard

Sorry I misunderstood your question. Maybe somewhere in all this is the answer you seek:

Egypt went through a brief spell of apparent monolatry (worship one god, regardless of how many gods there are) under Akhenaten. He died about 1334 BCE (so 3,350 years ago). Otherwise, Egypt was polytheist until the Christians and later the Muslims took over.

Quite a few of the IndoEuropean pagans had the idea that all gods were reflections or emanations from some one ultimate Godhead. That would be a form of henotheism. I wouldn't know how to put a date on that.

The Jews were officially monotheist since at least the return from the Babylonian exile, 539 BCE (2,555 years ago). Before that, it's very difficult to distinguish based on archeology and literary remains among monolatry, henotheism, monotheism or just plain having your own ethnic patron god. Angels look a lot like gods, the "Holy Spirit" actually was promoted to godhood by the Christians.

Legend has it that Abraham was the first worshipper in what became the Jewish-Christian-Islamic monotheisms. These folks thinks he's real

http://www.mfa.gov.i...ical times.aspx

Their estimate would put him several centuries before Akhenaten. (I seriously doubt Abraham existed, but who knows?)

Christianity dates from sometime in the (assumed historical) adulthood of Jesus when he gathered followers. That would be sometime around 30 CE. If one variety of Christ-myth panned out (Paul and contemporaries made the whole thing up), that would move the date later to maybe the 40's. If the other variety of Christ-myth panned out (Paul started a Gentile-friendly wing of a longstanding Jewish cult), then that could have begun decades or centuries earlier.

Thanks for this 8bits. :tu: You answered me very well. :D:yes:

I also bookmarked that site you linked, and it will help me answer the questions my hubby had.

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Bluefinger

I don't understand. Could you post the reference and explain how you got that interpretation?

Doug

A good place to look would be Matthew 21.

In that chapter, Jesus heads to Jerusalem and rides in on a donkey. This is His first public declaration to being the promised Messiah. Him riding on a donkey would be unmistakable, as it was foretold by Zechariah (I believe) that the Messiah would come in on a donkey. When Jesus came into the temple, he started flipping tables and whipping the money changers. This was His first public act of reform. The chief priests and teachers of the law were p***ed because the blind and lame (the ceremonial unclean that were forbidden from entering the temple) entered the temple and Jesus healed them. After this, Jesus left the city and went to Bethany.

Here, the author switches focus from a literal set of events to a figurative event. Hungry, Jesus goes to a fig tree and finds no fruit on it, just leaves. He then curses it. This is not an act of indignation against the tree. This is a prophecy against the Jewish Nation in the first century. The book of Matthew makes many, many references to the destruction of Jerusalem. Most of them are hidden in parables and prophecies, a few are literally stated.

After Jesus curses the fig tree, He heads back into Jerusalem. The setting is not a coincidence. Jesus is headed toward the cross. From the moment He reenters the temple, the religious authorities begin questioning Jesus' authority (Matthew 21:21-27). After this dialogue, Jesus begins addressing the chief priests and elders using parables. In the first two parables, Jesus uses symbolism of a vineyard, with fruit being the emphasis. Fruit, in this case, is righteous deeds. The Parable of the Two Sons ends with Jesus telling them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him (Mt. 21:21-21 NIV)."

The Parable of the Tenants ends with Jesus telling the Jewish religious authorities, "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on the this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed (Mt. 21:43-44 NIV)." The next verse shows the chief priests and Pharisees understanding that Jesus was talking about them.

In Matthew 22:1-14's Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem by God and the slaying of those that killed Jesus' followers, using symbols of course. From this point on, even into Matthew 23, Jesus engages in arguments with the religious leaders. Matthew 23 shows Jesus condemning the religious leaders, even to the point of saying that the temple would be left desolate (Mt. 23:38).

I could provide more examples, but the context of the passage about Jesus cursing the fig tree is clear enough. If you read the chapter as literature, with a motif uniting all the stories in the narrative, the motif becomes clear: Jerusalem's leadership in the first century will reject its Messiah to its own peril while those whom they neglected will be cared for by Jesus in God's kingdom.

This same narrative, minus the parables, can be found in Mark chapter 11.

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XenoFish

So no one's found a body yet. That's a good reason to doubt.

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DieChecker

Like the Romans that sacked Christian churches and burned Christian writings during the systematic persecutions of Decian/Valerian and Diocletian in the mid-third and early fourth centuries?

Additionally, as I often point out, the lack of references could be in, large part, due to the Jewish-Roman Wars. The first of which happened only 30 years after Jesus was supposed to have died, in 66 AD. In 70 AD Jerusalem was basically sacked, and the Temple thrown down. I would assume most libraries of the time also would have been sacked, and possibly burned down.

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DieChecker

So no one's found a body yet. That's a good reason to doubt.

Of the tens of billions of people who have lived no Earth, how many bodies have we found?

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DieChecker

No. Somebody wrote the works of Plato (which are also half of what we have about Socrates). That I don't know his or her name is a different issue; I know that an author of Plato's works existed. I also have evidence bearing favorably on whether the works are singly authored, about when they were written, etc..

I have evidence that none of the works in which Jesus is discussed or quoted-in-translation are his works. For what product of Jesus, then, do I know there was some maker other than the authors of the New Testament?

All that doesn't change the fact that we don't have physical evidence of Plato.

Would it really make a difference if say the Book of Mark, was actually the Book of Jesus, and was supposedly written by him? Would that change anyone's mind?

No, there isn't any more actual evidence of Plato then of Jesus.

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DieChecker

Confucius among many other things wrote about the "Golden Rule" and he has a grave.

http://www.findagrav...gr&GRid=8152277

There's contemporary accounts of Mohammed (pbuh) by his enemies, and he has a grave.

http://www.findagrav...gr&GRid=8215419

Krishna is a Hindu deity. ;)

Buddha is problematic because information about him is from tradition developed centuries later after his supposed death.

After reading a bit, I have to agree on Confucius. It seems the records do go all the way back. I'd put forward an argument of it he is really in that cemetery, but only digging up the whole cemetery could confirm or deny such a argument.

On Muhammad, I'd not be so sure. He died in 632 AD, and the tomb was built up in the 1270s. So there's 600+ years there to allow for invention and the multiplication of myth and rumor. I read up on this a little and I haven't seen where anyone has confirmed he's in there.

Plato and Xenophon were students of Socrates that wrote about him. Aristophanes made a satirical play of Socrates that lead to his arrest and death. Jesus has no such contemporary accounts.

The earliest Christian writings is from Paul two decades after Jesus's supposed death as per the later Gospels. Paul writes about a celestial being. The first Gospel written at least four decades after Jesus's supposed death is wildly allegorical. The later Gospels copy from and expand on it.

What about Josephus? That was 1st century.

http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm

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Doug1029

A good place to look would be Matthew 21.

In that chapter, Jesus heads to Jerusalem and rides in on a donkey. This is His first public declaration to being the promised Messiah. Him riding on a donkey would be unmistakable, as it was foretold by Zechariah (I believe) that the Messiah would come in on a donkey. When Jesus came into the temple, he started flipping tables and whipping the money changers. This was His first public act of reform. The chief priests and teachers of the law were p***ed because the blind and lame (the ceremonial unclean that were forbidden from entering the temple) entered the temple and Jesus healed them. After this, Jesus left the city and went to Bethany.

Here, the author switches focus from a literal set of events to a figurative event. Hungry, Jesus goes to a fig tree and finds no fruit on it, just leaves. He then curses it. This is not an act of indignation against the tree. This is a prophecy against the Jewish Nation in the first century. The book of Matthew makes many, many references to the destruction of Jerusalem. Most of them are hidden in parables and prophecies, a few are literally stated.

After Jesus curses the fig tree, He heads back into Jerusalem. The setting is not a coincidence. Jesus is headed toward the cross. From the moment He reenters the temple, the religious authorities begin questioning Jesus' authority (Matthew 21:21-27). After this dialogue, Jesus begins addressing the chief priests and elders using parables. In the first two parables, Jesus uses symbolism of a vineyard, with fruit being the emphasis. Fruit, in this case, is righteous deeds. The Parable of the Two Sons ends with Jesus telling them, "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him (Mt. 21:21-21 NIV)."

The Parable of the Tenants ends with Jesus telling the Jewish religious authorities, "Therefore I tell you that the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people who will produce its fruit. Anyone who falls on the this stone will be broken to pieces; anyone on whom it falls will be crushed (Mt. 21:43-44 NIV)." The next verse shows the chief priests and Pharisees understanding that Jesus was talking about them.

In Matthew 22:1-14's Parable of the Wedding Banquet, Jesus foretells the destruction of Jerusalem by God and the slaying of those that killed Jesus' followers, using symbols of course. From this point on, even into Matthew 23, Jesus engages in arguments with the religious leaders. Matthew 23 shows Jesus condemning the religious leaders, even to the point of saying that the temple would be left desolate (Mt. 23:38).

I could provide more examples, but the context of the passage about Jesus cursing the fig tree is clear enough. If you read the chapter as literature, with a motif uniting all the stories in the narrative, the motif becomes clear: Jerusalem's leadership in the first century will reject its Messiah to its own peril while those whom they neglected will be cared for by Jesus in God's kingdom.

This same narrative, minus the parables, can be found in Mark chapter 11.

In the first place, we were talking about an unknown plant that apparently causes hallucinations. That's in Mark 5. You didn't even address the issue.

And in the second place, beginning with Jesus' ride into Jerusalem until his death on the cross, the entire story fits the form of a Roman play. So I'd say that one should definitely take the story as literature. But not history.

Doug

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Bluefinger

In the first place, we were talking about an unknown plant that apparently causes hallucinations. That's in Mark 5. You didn't even address the issue.

Nope. My first reply was to davros, who commented on withering the Fig tree for not producing fruit, which happened in Mark 11, and Matthew 21 respectively.

And in the second place, beginning with Jesus' ride into Jerusalem until his death on the cross, the entire story fits the form of a Roman play. So I'd say that one should definitely take the story as literature. But not history.

Doug

I don't often take polemic positions. It robs discussions of much fruitfulness. I think it was both. The author took literal church tradition about Jesus (history) and placed those events in select places within a story (literature) to communicate relevant information centralized around a message to the biblical audience.

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Bluefinger

It's not that I don't believe you, I do. Is there a link to some site that I can read up more on this? I want to quickly read more on what you wrote here, without too much time weeding out sites that don't because of what may I have typed in a search engine.

Colossians 1:4-6 shows Paul saying that the Gospel had spread to everywhere in the world. Acts details the spread of the gospel to the ends of the earth. The church fathers wrote from their respective churches far from Jerusalem.

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eight bits

Blue

Colossians 1:4-6

... isn't confidently attributed to Paul. There is also translation-interpretation difficulty. What I read is a claim that the gospel that was presented to the Colossians was the same as has been presented everywhere else, and that that gospel, Paul's, is attracting adherents. We know from other letters, however, letters more confidently attributed to Paul, that Paul complained that there were several gospels to be found, even in places he had personally visited.

It is fairly clear that there were widely scattered pockets of Christians, especially in cities along the busy trade routes, by 60 CE. That much should be easy for you to establish, more than that might be much harder to show. A figurative comment that may be saying something else won't cut it.

DieChecker

All that doesn't change the fact that we don't have physical evidence of Plato.

OK, you and I disagree on the quality of evidence for Plato. If it turned out that I am wrong to believe that Plato lived, then how does that furnish support for Jesus having lived?

Would it really make a difference if say the Book of Mark, was actually the Book of Jesus, and was supposedly written by him? Would that change anyone's mind?

The Republic does wonders for my estimate of Plato's historicity. I can't speak for anybody else, but for me a book of writings would be important evidence for somebody whose secular claim to fame is that he wanted to communicate something important to a wide audience.

Xeno

So no one's found a body yet. That's a good reason to doubt.

I suppose that's a joke, but the issue is serious. Before I would bother to doubt some aspect of a story, I'd first need to find the story interesting. Right now, as we live and breathe, there are real-life godmen in India promising all sorts of benefits to their adherents. I don't go looking for the bodies of their gurus in India. I am uninterested in the tales. I dismiss them, which is different from doubting them.

What's interesting in Paul's story was that if I did what Paul said, then I'd never die and would soon learn to fly. The rest is Jewish inside baseball, and I am goy. So, I don't know that I would ever have reached the question of whether Paul's Jesus actually lived. Whether that guy lived or not, what Paul says will happen won't happen. It wasn't happening for his buyers. Who'd care who Paul's guru was?

There is a current film, Risen, which imagines a prompt investigation in Palestine of the disappearance of Jesus' corpse by a Roman military detective and his sidekick. Something like that, if it had happened, might have gone somewhere. But Paul rather avoided Palestine, and most who signed with him had no chance to check. Within a few years of Paul's death, Jerusalem was sacked. After that, you wouldn't find any physical evidence of Jesus if he had been the Donald Trump of his time and place.

Or, in the alternative, you'd find what Helena, the Emperor's mom, found when she visited there in the Fourth Century with money and an armed escort: her choice of empty tombs, birthplaces, crosses, ... whatever she wanted.

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DieChecker

DieChecker

OK, you and I disagree on the quality of evidence for Plato. If it turned out that I am wrong to believe that Plato lived, then how does that furnish support for Jesus having lived?

It does not provide proof/support. My initial intent was that both are believed to have been real based on the Faith of the various written records. You have faith that Plato existed, because you trust the few historians of the time that say he existed. And I have faith that Jesus existed, because I believe that the oral traditions written down later were based on a real person.

The Republic does wonders for my estimate of Plato's historicity. I can't speak for anybody else, but for me a book of writings would be important evidence for somebody whose secular claim to fame is that he wanted to communicate something important to a wide audience.

Jesus lived in a oral culture. His target audience wasn't the rich literate people, but the illiterate masses. Take that as an excuse if you like, but it is true. He tried to work with the Pharisee level of Jews, but they were too law bound to even begin to trust him. Jesus taught by teaching.

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eight bits

DC

You have faith that Plato existed, because you trust the few historians of the time that say he existed.

It goes without sayng that I do not have "faith" that what I infer from prioristic deliberation and evidentiary reasoning may be nearly correct. Faith is a claim to a third way of knowing contingency, or it is nothing at all.

The worst that can happen, the farthest off from the ground truth I can plausibly be, is that Alexander's teacher's teacher didn't write The Republic. OK, he whom I thought to be one guy turns out to be two guys. So what?

Jesus lived in a oral culture. His target audience wasn't the rich literate people, but the illiterate masses.

I thought Jesus' target audience was all of humanity, for all time until he returns.

In any event, the Gospels depict the illiterate masses as accurately knowing when Jesus is quoting scripture. How does that work? Lucky guesses? However they learned the scripture, they could profit equally from any other book.

Paul seems to have found some use for written messages; "within a few years of Jesus' death," as we are so often reminded. Who were his "target audience"? Who was Mark's? Luke was written for one single named Christian client. How many clients would Jesus have needed to justify his writing a book?

For whose benefit did Pilate incribe a titulus explaining why Jesus was being crucified? For whose benefit did Pilate incribe "The Pilate Stone," searchable?

That dog won't hunt, DC.

Edited by eight bits
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XenoFish

I suppose that's a joke, but the issue is serious. Before I would bother to doubt some aspect of a story, I'd first need to find the story interesting. Right now, as we live and breathe, there are real-life godmen in India promising all sorts of benefits to their adherents. I don't go looking for the bodies of their gurus in India. I am uninterested in the tales. I dismiss them, which is different from doubting them.

I don't care either way. When your left with only the words of men that have been rewritten countless times. You're playing a ye olde game of telephone. People adding what they want into the story until the original is long gone.

My comment as a sarcastic joke.

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Stubbly_Dooright

Jesus lived in a oral culture. His target audience wasn't the rich literate people, but the illiterate masses. Take that as an excuse if you like, but it is true. He tried to work with the Pharisee level of Jews, but they were too law bound to even begin to trust him. Jesus taught by teaching.

Just my own food for thought here, but one would think, among the illiterate masses, there were a few here and there that were literate and would have probably written down the experiences. Edited by TheMustardLady
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DieChecker

Just my own food for thought here, but one would think, among the illiterate masses, there were a few here and there that were literate and would have probably written down the experiences.

Very likely there were. But like Bluefinger pointed out, and myself to a degree, much happened immediately afterward which could very likely have destroyed those writings.

We also have the Epistles... the letters sent to the various churches. However those don't count because they are religious in nature, and therefore, according to "historians" to be ignored.

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DieChecker

It goes without sayng that I do not have "faith" that what I infer from prioristic deliberation and evidentiary reasoning may be nearly correct. Faith is a claim to a third way of knowing contingency, or it is nothing at all.

The worst that can happen, the farthest off from the ground truth I can plausibly be, is that Alexander's teacher's teacher didn't write The Republic. OK, he whom I thought to be one guy turns out to be two guys. So what?

So what?

You as much as admit that Plato might not have been real, and that regardless you would regard his works as actual history. Yet will not make the same concession to Jesus and the teachings accorded to him? If not Jesus then do you consider Mathew, Mark and Luke to have been possibly real people, as they are presumed to be the sources of the respective Gospels?

I thought Jesus' target audience was all of humanity, for all time until he returns.

I do believe Jesus' target audience were the Jews only. It wasn't until he was sure he'd be dying soon, that he made it the mission of the Apostles to go out to everyone else.

In any event, the Gospels depict the illiterate masses as accurately knowing when Jesus is quoting scripture. How does that work? Lucky guesses? However they learned the scripture, they could profit equally from any other book.

Oral traditions. Even you and I probably have a hundred or more songs from the radio/MTV/Internet memorized. The people memorized the scriptures, as taught to them orally in the Synagogue. Only the priests and teachers usually handled the scrolls. (If I remember right).

Paul seems to have found some use for written messages; "within a few years of Jesus' death," as we are so often reminded. Who were his "target audience"? Who was Mark's? Luke was written for one single named Christian client. How many clients would Jesus have needed to justify his writing a book?

Jesus targeted a society (The Jews) who followed an oral tradition.

Paul targeted a society (The Greeks and Romans) who followed a written tradition.

For whose benefit did Pilate incribe a titulus explaining why Jesus was being crucified? For whose benefit did Pilate incribe "The Pilate Stone," searchable?

That dog won't hunt, DC.

Since the Jews DIDN'T get all torn up about it. (They went crazy when Jesus said he was God's son. Yet did not so much as speak up when Jesus was labeled as King of the Jews?) I suspect it was written in Latin and that few, if any of the Jews actually read it. I suspect the Roman legionaries however read it, though it was not for them.

Edited by DieChecker

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