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eight bits

Ancient doubts that Jesus existed

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eight bits

DC

You're losing me.

You as much as admit that Plato might not have been real ...

Say what? Where have I "admitted" that the author of The Republic and Alexander's teacher's teacher weren't real?

Yet will not make the same concession to Jesus and the teachings accorded to him?

Show me Jesus' books, and I'll happily oblige. But there are no such books. You've already explained why, so I assume we are in agreement that I am not withholding "the same concession."

Both admitted and concession are unnecessarily loaded terms. It is no admission to acknowledge that I am not omniscient, nor is it a concession to see a book as strong evidence of its author's existence.

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?

Yes, somebody wrote each of those books.

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

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

And your evidence that Jews of the time were less literate than Gentiles of the time is where?

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DieChecker

Say what? Where have I "admitted" that the author of The Republic and Alexander's teacher's teacher weren't real?

You said "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."

Logically, if you had no doubts Plato was real, this wouldn't even be a possibility. The fact that you consider it a possibility means that you aren't 100% sure Plato was real, or that the evidence doesn't automatically lead to that Plato was real. Which is backs up my earlier statement that it takes faith in those ancient writers to believe Plato was real. Belief despite a lack of evidence = faith.

And your evidence that Jews of the time were less literate than Gentiles of the time is where?

https://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/illitera.html

Comparative data show that under Roman rule the Jewish literacy rate improved in the Land of Israel. However, rabbinic sources support evidence that the literacy rate was less than 3%. This literacy rate, a small fraction of the society, though low by modern standards, was not low at all if one takes into account the needs of a traditional society in the past.

https://www.quora.com/What-was-the-level-of-literacy-among-the-people-of-the-Roman-Empire-first-to-third-centuries-AD-If-only-the-wealthy-were-literate-what-was-the-point-of-the-written-propaganda-on-the-ancient-monumentshttp://www.amazon.com/Ancient-Literacy-William-V-Harris/dp/0674033817

It is estimated that the literacy rates of the Greco Roman world averaged from 5 percent to 10 percent, to no more than 20 percent with regional variations.

Do you not know this? Or are you just testing me?

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Stubbly_Dooright

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.

That's interesting. Is this like the bible? (Please forgive me, I don't want to be off the mark here or something)
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Mr Walker

It is often alleged that doubt that Jesus really existed is peculiarly modern. I have never been able to understand why apologists say that, or how it helps their case. Even if it were true that ancients accepted Jesus' existence without complaint, what does it matter when a hard question was first asked?

But is it even true? Very little serious counterapologetics survives from the first four Christian centuries, none of it from the First Century. Except for some brief snide remarks about Christians (e.g. Marcus Aurelius or Galen) and for some letters of Emperor Julian (~ 362 CE), all we have is the Christian reply to the critic, not the unimproved criticism itself.

A survey and assessment of what survives was recently blogged here,

https://uncertaintis...storical-jesus/

Ancient critics aggressively attacked the supposed factual basis of Christianity. Although no surviving work says "Jesus was made up," it sure looks like "Everything you say about Jesus was made up" was actuallly argued.

I have to admit it was a quick read but most of the attacks seem based on critical disbelief about the miraculous aspects of Christ's life, arguing that these aspects disqualify the existence of the man as an historical figure OR about the general principle of how to verify historical events They do NOT do much of anything to attack, or disprove, the existence of a MAN who had followers and preached a version of judaism. .

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eight bits

Mr Walker

OR about the general principle of how to verify historical events

Actually, it was Origen, one-time captain of the J-Team, who conceded that aspect of the problem. Origen also insisted that some Jesus stories hadn't ever been intended as factual narratives.

Of the counterapologists, their main points which survived the flames were:

the mythological or fictive character of BOTH some of the "miracles" and some of the natural fact-claims,

along with the unreliability of all the sources for information about Jesus,

matched by the lack of interest in evidence shown by Christianity's living (~ 180 CE to ~ 370 CE) followers.

They do NOT do much of anything to attack, or disprove, the existence of a MAN who had followers and preached a version of judaism.

No doubt, that is an accurate report of your own personal opinion, based on your "quick read."

DC

Logically, if you had no doubts Plato was real, this wouldn't even be a possibility.

I have already explained my beliefs about Plato, and the evidentiary basis for them. The explanation has been exceedingly lengthy for a thread which isn't about Plato, and positively sumptuous for a red herring, which this is.

What anybody believes about Plato constrains not at all what they believe about Jesus. The cases are distinct, with different evidentiary foundations and whose resolutions are logically and credally independent.

Do you not know this? Or are you just testing me?

I asked for evidence of the comparative literacy, and you give me two methodologically incompatible "estimates."

The (somewhat famous) low estimate for the Jews resident in Palestine relies heavily on a disputable interpretation of a rabbinical passage which was not a measurement. The author does not address the error tolerance of the estimate. The author does not discuss Jews of the Diaspora, whom Jesus reportedly taught when they visited Jerusalem, and who might have especially benefitted from a note or two. Regardless, the Diaspora was comparable in size with Palestinian Jews, maybe larger, and plausibly mostly cosmopolitan (that is, far more likely to be literate).

http://www.pbs.org/w...t/diaspora.html

Your link for the Gentiles was "page not found." That limits my ability to comment on its methodology or comparability with the other estimate.

Edited by eight bits
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Davros of Skaro

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

Mark has Jesus trump Moses, but let's agree to disagree.

I have other things to do.

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Mr Walker

Mr Walker

Actually, it was Origen, one-time captain of the J-Team, who conceded that aspect of the problem. Origen also insisted that some Jesus stories hadn't ever been intended as factual narratives.

Of the counterapologists, their main points which survived the flames were:

the mythological or fictive character of BOTH some of the "miracles" and some of the natural fact-claims,

along with the unreliability of all the sources for information about Jesus,

matched by the lack of interest in evidence shown by Christianity's living (~ 180 CE to ~ 370 CE) followers.

No doubt, that is an accurate report of your own personal opinion, based on your "quick read."

.

Actually i did a more careful read and it is spelled out numerous times in the article, by various early and modern critics, as one of the main concepts OF the article. .

ie that the historicity, or reality, of jesus's actual existence as a preacher /teacher is made less credible by the tall tales told about him.

it is one thing entirely to dismiss the mythology surrounding Christ, but a different thing altogether, to dismiss the existence of an historical christ, just because a mythology grew up around him, promoted by his followers and those who were promoting ealry Christianity.

That would be like people in the future saying that I could never have existed because the "tall tales" surrounding my life, and recorded on UM., were clearly impossible, and thus I also must have been a construction,. a vehicle put together to promote those tales.

Edited by Mr Walker

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eight bits

Mr Walker

it is one thing entirely to dismiss the mythology surrounding Christ, but a different thing altogether, to dismiss the existence of an historical christ, just because a mythology grew up around him, promoted by his followers and those who were promoting ealry Christianity.

Hitchens' razor is entirely reasonable. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

However, anybody who dismissed the stories, we simply wouldn't hear from. That's what to dismiss means. Our sample is limited to those who didn't dismiss the Christian stories, but rebutted them instead.

That would be like people in the future saying that I could never have existed because the "tall tales" surrounding my life, and recorded on UM., were clearly impossible, and thus I also must have been a construction,. a vehicle put together to promote those tales.

No. Somebody logs in under your username. There is reasonable textual evidence that it is probably mostly one person, and some support for at least a few homely biographical facts about that person. There is no corresponding evidence for Jesus. There are only stories about him. That's a different problem.

Edited by eight bits
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Hawkins

It makes sense to me. Those whos own religions and beliefs are threatened will often turn to denial of the validity of their opponents teachings.

Plus, like is always said, there isn't any real proof Jesus ever did live here on Earth. It's almost like someone would have had to have cleaned up any records, so Jesus would have to be believed on Faith alone.

What's the evidence of the existence of your own grand grandpa?

If you have the evidence (show us), then you can start to look for the same evidence for the existence of Jesus.

People tend to criticize without actually understanding the nature of what history itself is.

Edited by Hawkins

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Stubbly_Dooright

Hawkins:

What's the evidence of the existence of your own grand grandpa?

If you have the evidence (show us), then you can start to look for the same evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Is it the same evidence? Is it the same context?

I often reflect on the longevity of what people believe and rituals they practice for thousands of years. Is it just like what has come to be from the various sightings of Elvis, Jim Morrison, Tupac Shukur (to name a few ) today? And that is something that sprang from a few accounts of what they thought were sightings of the known dead inviduals.

People tend to criticize without actually understanding the nature of what history itself is.

And what is exactly the 'nature of history'?

We can conceptualize it in the simple definition of it. From:

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/history?s=t

a continuous, systematic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronological account; chronicle:

How is it that people are criticizing it? Is that done in this thread? What examples of it?

Is it being done in these forums? Everywhere?

Are we thinking of the frame of mind of this:

From this site: http://www.history.ac.uk/ihr/Focus/Whatishistory/munslow6.html

How do historians, at least in the anglophone West, make history? By that I mean what consequences flow from the fact that all the events and processes in 'the past', are 'turned' by the historian into that narrative we call history?
Are we to come to a conclusion of how it's told by the account of the historian, or by the historic fact itself? Frankly, I would think if we need to have fact from history, let's just stick to what is told by the account in history, and not how the historian recounts it.

(frankly, that sometimes shows me a difference of a history book to a historic fiction book. One is history of fact, the other uses what has taken from history and retold it to their own point of view, thus making it a fiction )

I think history is still simple history, and it's something that everyone can simple understand as history. Not by how it's told, if told a different way.

If it's looked upon as this:

The study of the past has never been static. The practice of history has witnessed many shifts and turns in the way it is thought and undertaken. Since the 1960s, for example, the discipline of history has experienced a 'social science turn', a 'cliometric' or 'statistics turn', a 'women's history turn', a 'cultural history turn' and so on. These are not novelties that have not come and gone. Each has remained a significant way for historians to reflect upon and write about change over time. But, in all this one thing has apparently not altered. This is the epistemology of history. In spite of this rich variety of methodological developments or shifts and turns of interest, the foundational way historians 'know' things about the past' has been unchallenged. Despite the use of statistics, the new themes (society, women, gender, culture) and the application of fresh concepts and theories, there remain two steady points in the historian's cosmos: empiricism and rational analysis. As the product of the European eighteenth-century Enlightenment the empirical-analytical model has become the epistemology for undertaking the study of the past.

Then I think really, it's something that goes through updates, because of latest findings or evidences as we are speaking of in this thread.

So, I wonder at this:

In other words, it extends the remit of history to include the historian's pre-narrative assumptions and how we translate those assumptions figuratively as we construct our strategies of narrative explanation. Postmodern historians thus ask many fresh questions. Are facts best thought of as events under a description? Is all data ultimately textual and, if so, what are its implications? Should history be written primarily according to literary rules and, if so, what are they? What is the significant difference between literary and figurative speech in history and how does it create historical meaning? How do we distinguish the historical referent of a discourse and its constructed, i.e., its ideological, meaning? Can history ever exist beyond discourse? "And the very big question, is history what happened, or what historians tell us happened?" All these have to be addressed when we do history, to ignore them is to do only half the job.

To me, it should all boil down to 'what happened' and not to what a historian says what happened.

I wonder, is this what you mean, by how nature is looked at? I see you are not alone, if that is the case. But, the thing is, history is history, in a simple case. It's what is told by evidences... various accounts and other means.

When looked at in various ways, if it's not because of more accounts or updates, then it's a matter of opinion of what is thought of the historic facts.

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Hawkins

Hawkins: Is it the same evidence? Is it the same context?

I often reflect on the longevity of what people believe and rituals they practice for thousands of years. Is it just like what has come to be from the various sightings of Elvis, Jim Morrison, Tupac Shukur (to name a few ) today? And that is something that sprang from a few accounts of what they thought were sightings of the known dead inviduals.

You miss the point. You need to first understand what history itself is. History is a matter of human witnessing. You've got no evidence of the existence of your grand grandpa because he was not famous enough for anyone to write anything about him. So the first point is, you need to be famous enough in history for another human (or a group of them) to write down something about him. The second point is, even when someone chose to write down about a famous person, how lasting will the human writings be. Take a look at this planet earth. There are thousands of kingdoms/nations ever existed since humans can write. How many of them we can still keep the first hand writings in ancient scrolls for the part of their history older than 2000 years? The answer, it's virtually none.

That's the point. And that's the nature of what history is. Without first understand this, your criticizing is completely meaningless because you've set an unrealistic standard which is never true in reality then apply it to the case of Jesus and Christianity.

Edited by Hawkins
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Doug1029

Mark has Jesus trump Moses, but let's agree to disagree.

I have other things to do.

I think Moses was at least four different people. He was a composite. Jesus was probably a composite, too. Both harken back to people who definitely or probably lived, but because in each case there are more than one candidate, the story has to be a conflation. So does it matter who trumps who, as long as Trump doesn't get elected.

Doug

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Liquid Gardens

You miss the point. You need to first understand what history itself is. History is a matter of human witnessing. You've got no evidence of the existence of your grand grandpa because he was not famous enough for anyone to write anything about him.

Since every person on earth required a great-grandpa in order to eventually be born, that is evidence that I and everyone else have one (actually, more like 4 assuming no cross-family commingling).

That's the point. And that's the nature of what history is. Without first understand this, your criticizing is completely meaningless because you've set an unrealistic standard which is never true in reality then apply it to the case of Jesus and Christianity.

What unrealistic standard is never true in reality? What is the realistic standard? I agree with you that it is unrealistic to think we're going to have much in the way of evidence for many people in the past, but it seems then to be realistic we should doubt their existence, that seems a logical consequence of not having evidence.

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Stubbly_Dooright

You miss the point. You need to first understand what history itself is. History is a matter of human witnessing.

Is it only? I was wondering if you were missing the point of what history was. To me, history is simple. I don't believe it's construed in many ways, because of how it is looked upon as. I believe it's how it's looked at , well it's results in portraying the truth, by what is done to present it. I don't think it's just done by human witnessing. I'm glad you clarified it. Here's the thing, why is it thought of people confusing it?
You've got no evidence of the existence of your grand grandpa because he was not famous enough for anyone to write anything about him. So the first point is, you need to be famous enough in history for another human (or a group of them) to write down something about him. The second point is, even when someone chose to write down about a famous person, how lasting will the human writings be. Take a look at this planet earth. There are thousands of kingdoms/nations ever existed since humans can write. How many of them we can still keep the first hand writings in ancient scrolls for the part of their history older than 2000 years? The answer, it's virtually none.
Again, I think you are missing the point. History, I still see as simple. I do not think it matters if one is famous or not. If my grand great grandfather did something enough to be written down by a few, it's still part of history, and all of it is still history. It is also a part of something that could be linked to something else. Isn't that how history gets told, through varying degrees of accounts even by those who weren't famous, but somehow their life may have tied into someone else's.

And no matter how many accounts there are, they are still part of history. And it's more of whether humans can write it. History is in the cave paintings. History is in the houses and castles and such built then, but are still standing today. ( I don't think anyone can not understand this )

That's the point. And that's the nature of what history is. Without first understand this, your criticizing is completely meaningless because you've set an unrealistic standard which is never true in reality then apply it to the case of Jesus and Christianity.

I still don't understand how you can make it more than what it is. I'm not criticizing it, I'm trying to understand how you are seeing more into it, than what it is. I'm not setting an unrealistic standard, I'm seeing it for what it is, accounts of what happened in the past. And of course, that is something that is comparing like apples to oranges, when you bring up Jesus and Christianity. You are talking about religion, because it's in history due to those who practiced it. Not because everything they are has evidences to believe it as fact.

I researched it and find the particular sites, because I'm wondering how is it you think history is misunderstood. I asked myself, is this felt by others elsewhere? I happened to find a site that had discussed something similar, but again, it's talking about something that not what I think history is actually should be presented.

I think it should be remembered, that history is non-fiction.

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Mr Walker

Mr Walker

Hitchens' razor is entirely reasonable. What can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.

However, anybody who dismissed the stories, we simply wouldn't hear from. That's what to dismiss means. Our sample is limited to those who didn't dismiss the Christian stories, but rebutted them instead.

No. Somebody logs in under your username. There is reasonable textual evidence that it is probably mostly one person, and some support for at least a few homely biographical facts about that person. There is no corresponding evidence for Jesus. There are only stories about him. That's a different problem.

No in the future there may only be second hand references to me to base understanding or belief upon.

Are you assuming there was no evidence for christ's existence in the first century AD ? I can understand dismissing stories of miracles because people had no personal evidences of them, but it is different to dismiss the existence of any human being simply because you have no evidences of him, and tall stories have arisen around his life We KNOW human beings exist and preach and teach. ANd indeed there WERE many evidences of his existence, even if only via the accounts and influences of his life

it is FAR more likley logical and rational that a person existed around whom myths and legends grew, than that a legend was created from a non existent person who was written into history as a deliberate ploy to establish a new religion and that this religion was then believed and accepted by people who were alive at the time and should have seen though any such construction of a false identity You might think me credulous but i find that sort of conspiracy theory totally incredulous .Also it doesn't fit the historical facts found in the first century AD. Christians were recognised and recorded as followers of a jewish preacher teacher. during the first half century after his death, and then from that time onward. AT first they were accounted a sect of the jews, and then, after about 50 years, they were reclassified as Christians. in Roman records.

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psyche101

I have been told that this link is basically correct, but embellishes claims to an extent.

Would anyone care to point out what is embellished or flawed? This seems a quite reasonable argument to to how Jesus came into existence as the religious figure he is recognised as today.

LINK - A Surfeit of Jesuses! – But No "Jesus of Nazareth"

Was there a Jesus? Of course there was a Jesus – many!

The archetypal Jewish hero was Joshua (the successor of Moses) otherwise known as Yehoshua (Yeshua) bin Nun (‘Jesus of the fish’). Since the name Jesus (Yeshua or Yeshu in Hebrew, Iesous in Greek, source of the English spelling) originally was a title (meaning ‘saviour’, derived from ‘Yahweh Saves’) probably every band in the Jewish resistance had its own hero figure sporting this moniker, among others.

Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different Yeshuas/Jesii, about half of them contemporaries of the supposed Christ! In his Antiquities, of the twenty-eight high priests who held office from the reign of Herod the Great to the fall of the Temple, no fewer than four bore the name Jesus: Jesus ben Phiabi, Jesus ben Sec, Jesus ben Damneus and Jesus ben Gamaliel. Even Saint Paul makes reference to a rival magician, preaching ‘another Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11,4). The surfeit of early Jesuses includes:

Jesus ben Sirach. This Jesus was reputedly the author of the Book of Sirach (aka 'Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach'), part of Old Testament Apocrypha. Ben Sirach, writing in Greek about 180 BC, brought together Jewish 'wisdom' and Homeric-style heroes.

Jesus ben Pandira. A wonder-worker during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 BC), one of the most ruthless of the Maccabean kings. Imprudently, this Jesus launched into a career of end-time prophecy and agitation which upset the king. He met his own premature end-time by being hung on a tree – and on the eve of a Passover. Scholars have speculated this Jesus founded the Essene sect.

Jesus ben Ananias. Beginning in 62AD, this Jesus had caused disquiet in Jerusalem with a non-stop doom-laden mantra of ‘Woe to the city’. He prophesied rather vaguely:

"A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against the whole people."

– Josephus, Wars 6.3.

Arrested and flogged by the Romans, Jesus ben Ananias was released as nothing more dangerous than a mad man. He died during the siege of Jerusalem from a rock hurled by a Roman catapult.

Jesus ben Saphat. In the insurrection of 68AD that wrought havoc in Galilee, this Jesus had led the rebels in Tiberias ("the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people" – Josephus, Life 12.66). When the city was about to fall to Vespasian’s legionaries he fled north to Tarichea on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus ben Gamala. During 68/69 AD this Jesus was a leader of the ‘peace party’ in the civil war wrecking Judaea. From the walls of Jerusalem he had remonstrated with the besieging Idumeans (led by ‘James and John, sons of Susa’). It did him no good. When the Idumeans breached the walls he was put to death and his body thrown to the dogs and carrion birds.

Jesus ben Thebuth. A priest who, in the final capitulation of the upper city in 69AD, saved his own skin by surrendering the treasures of the Temple, which included two holy candlesticks, goblets of pure gold, sacred curtains and robes of the high priests. The booty figured prominently in the Triumph held for Vespasian and his son Titus.

But was there a crucified Jesus?

Certainly. Jesus ben Stada was a Judean agitator who gave the Romans a headache in the early years of the second century. He met his end in the town of Lydda (twenty five miles from Jerusalem) at the hands of a Roman crucifixion crew. And given the scale that Roman retribution could reach – at the height of the siege of Jerusalem the Romans were crucifying upwards of five hundred captives a day before the city walls – dead heroes called Jesus would (quite literally) have been thick on the ground. Not one merits a full-stop in the great universal history.

But then with so many Jesuses could there not have been a Jesus of Nazareth?

The problem for this notion is that absolutely nothing at all corroborates the sacred biography and yet this 'greatest story' is peppered with numerous anachronisms, contradictions and absurdities. For example, at the time that Joseph and the pregnant Mary are said to have gone off to Bethlehem for a supposed Roman census, Galilee (unlike Judaea) was not a Roman province and therefore ma and pa would have had no reason to make the journey. Even if Galilee had been imperial territory, history knows of no ‘universal census’ ordered by Augustus (nor any other emperor) – and Roman taxes were based on property ownership not on a head count. Then again, we now know that Nazareth did not exist before the second century.

It is mentioned not at all in the Old Testament nor by Josephus, who waged war across the length and breadth of Galilee (a territory about the size of Greater London) and yet Josephus records the names of dozens of other towns. In fact most of the ‘Jesus-action’ takes place in towns of equally doubtful provenance, in hamlets so small only partisan Christians know of their existence (yet well attested pagan cities, with extant ruins, failed to make the Jesus itinerary).

What should alert us to wholesale fakery here is that practically all the events of Jesus’s supposed life appear in the lives of mythical figures of far more ancient origin. Whether we speak of miraculous birth, prodigious youth, miracles or wondrous healings – all such 'signs' had been ascribed to other gods, centuries before any Jewish holy man strolled about. Jesus’s supposed utterances and wisdom statements are equally common place, being variously drawn from Jewish scripture, neo-Platonic philosophy or commentaries made by Stoic and Cynic sages.

Where Did They Get Their Ideas From?

The 'Lord's Prayer'? – No, just re-hashed Jewish litany

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DieChecker

DC

I have already explained my beliefs about Plato, and the evidentiary basis for them. The explanation has been exceedingly lengthy for a thread which isn't about Plato, and positively sumptuous for a red herring, which this is.

What anybody believes about Plato constrains not at all what they believe about Jesus. The cases are distinct, with different evidentiary foundations and whose resolutions are logically and credally independent.

I asked for evidence of the comparative literacy, and you give me two methodologically incompatible "estimates."

The (somewhat famous) low estimate for the Jews resident in Palestine relies heavily on a disputable interpretation of a rabbinical passage which was not a measurement. The author does not address the error tolerance of the estimate. The author does not discuss Jews of the Diaspora, whom Jesus reportedly taught when they visited Jerusalem, and who might have especially benefitted from a note or two. Regardless, the Diaspora was comparable in size with Palestinian Jews, maybe larger, and plausibly mostly cosmopolitan (that is, far more likely to be literate).

http://www.pbs.org/w...t/diaspora.html

Your link for the Gentiles was "page not found." That limits my ability to comment on its methodology or comparability with the other estimate.

Wow! You asked me to show that the Greeks were more literate then the Hebrews, and I did so. But, apparently you would like me to build a time machine, and let you use it yourself, and then even after witnessing the truth yourself, you'd still accuse me of sending you to a parallel universe or some such.

Just goes to show you can't please everyone all the time.

You can accept that the Hebrews were orally based, or not. You can decide to be ignorant, or not. You can decide to be reasonable, or not.

It does seem in this thread, and others, you just want to argue for the sake of arguing. And that is fine, I do it myself.

Edited by DieChecker

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DieChecker

I have been told that this link is basically correct, but embellishes claims to an extent.

Would anyone care to point out what is embellished or flawed? This seems a quite reasonable argument to to how Jesus came into existence as the religious figure he is recognised as today.

LINK - A Surfeit of Jesuses! – But No "Jesus of Nazareth"

Was there a Jesus? Of course there was a Jesus – many!

......

Very interesting Psyche! :tu:

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psyche101

Very interesting Psyche! :tu:

I thought so, it seems a very sound theory, I would love if people could poke holes in it to explore them :tu:

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eight bits

Mr Walker

No in the future there may only be second hand references to me to base understanding or belief upon.

I don't know the future. Depending on what survived about you, it could well be that rational people of the future will doubt your existence, maybe severely.

If they should ever reject your existence altogether, then they will have erred. They will not, however, have been irrational to doubt if all that survives are anonymous tales about your wise words and mighty deeds, especially if those tales include examples. Like the Gospels.

Are you assuming there was no evidence for christ's existence in the first century AD ?

No. I don't know what the state of the evidence was in the First Christian Century. That's part of the problem.

it is FAR more likley logical and rational that a person existed around whom myths and legends grew, than that a legend was created ...

That's a false dichotomy. A "conspiracy" is not the only, nor even the leading alternative to embellished reality.

DC

Wow! You asked me to show that the Greeks were more literate then the Hebrews, and I did so.

Unfortunately, half your presentation was "page not found." More unfortunately, the page that was found excluded about half the Jews then living, and those excluded were those more likely to be literate... etc.

In the larger picture, the fact remains that for whatever reason there is no book whose author would serve as the historical Jesus, as compared to the situation for the author of The Republic. The two cases are thus different, which exhausts the relevance of the second case to the topic of the thread. With it goes the entire barrel of Platonic red herring that has found its way into our pages.

On a personal note, alleging bad faith on the part of somebody whom you've failed to convince doesn't improve your case.

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Stubbly_Dooright

I have been told that this link is basically correct, but embellishes claims to an extent.

Would anyone care to point out what is embellished or flawed? This seems a quite reasonable argument to to how Jesus came into existence as the religious figure he is recognised as today.

LINK - A Surfeit of Jesuses! – But No "Jesus of Nazareth"

Was there a Jesus? Of course there was a Jesus – many!

The archetypal Jewish hero was Joshua (the successor of Moses) otherwise known as Yehoshua (Yeshua) bin Nun (‘Jesus of the fish’). Since the name Jesus (Yeshua or Yeshu in Hebrew, Iesous in Greek, source of the English spelling) originally was a title (meaning ‘saviour’, derived from ‘Yahweh Saves’) probably every band in the Jewish resistance had its own hero figure sporting this moniker, among others.

Josephus, the first century Jewish historian mentions no fewer than nineteen different Yeshuas/Jesii, about half of them contemporaries of the supposed Christ! In his Antiquities, of the twenty-eight high priests who held office from the reign of Herod the Great to the fall of the Temple, no fewer than four bore the name Jesus: Jesus ben Phiabi, Jesus ben Sec, Jesus ben Damneus and Jesus ben Gamaliel. Even Saint Paul makes reference to a rival magician, preaching ‘another Jesus’ (2 Corinthians 11,4). The surfeit of early Jesuses includes:

Jesus ben Sirach. This Jesus was reputedly the author of the Book of Sirach (aka 'Ecclesiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus the Son of Sirach'), part of Old Testament Apocrypha. Ben Sirach, writing in Greek about 180 BC, brought together Jewish 'wisdom' and Homeric-style heroes.

Jesus ben Pandira. A wonder-worker during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus (106-79 BC), one of the most ruthless of the Maccabean kings. Imprudently, this Jesus launched into a career of end-time prophecy and agitation which upset the king. He met his own premature end-time by being hung on a tree – and on the eve of a Passover. Scholars have speculated this Jesus founded the Essene sect.

Jesus ben Ananias. Beginning in 62AD, this Jesus had caused disquiet in Jerusalem with a non-stop doom-laden mantra of ‘Woe to the city’. He prophesied rather vaguely:

"A voice from the east, a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the holy house, a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides, and a voice against the whole people."

– Josephus, Wars 6.3.

Arrested and flogged by the Romans, Jesus ben Ananias was released as nothing more dangerous than a mad man. He died during the siege of Jerusalem from a rock hurled by a Roman catapult.

Jesus ben Saphat. In the insurrection of 68AD that wrought havoc in Galilee, this Jesus had led the rebels in Tiberias ("the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people" – Josephus, Life 12.66). When the city was about to fall to Vespasian’s legionaries he fled north to Tarichea on the Sea of Galilee.

Jesus ben Gamala. During 68/69 AD this Jesus was a leader of the ‘peace party’ in the civil war wrecking Judaea. From the walls of Jerusalem he had remonstrated with the besieging Idumeans (led by ‘James and John, sons of Susa’). It did him no good. When the Idumeans breached the walls he was put to death and his body thrown to the dogs and carrion birds.

Jesus ben Thebuth. A priest who, in the final capitulation of the upper city in 69AD, saved his own skin by surrendering the treasures of the Temple, which included two holy candlesticks, goblets of pure gold, sacred curtains and robes of the high priests. The booty figured prominently in the Triumph held for Vespasian and his son Titus.

But was there a crucified Jesus?

Certainly. Jesus ben Stada was a Judean agitator who gave the Romans a headache in the early years of the second century. He met his end in the town of Lydda (twenty five miles from Jerusalem) at the hands of a Roman crucifixion crew. And given the scale that Roman retribution could reach – at the height of the siege of Jerusalem the Romans were crucifying upwards of five hundred captives a day before the city walls – dead heroes called Jesus would (quite literally) have been thick on the ground. Not one merits a full-stop in the great universal history.

But then with so many Jesuses could there not have been a Jesus of Nazareth?

The problem for this notion is that absolutely nothing at all corroborates the sacred biography and yet this 'greatest story' is peppered with numerous anachronisms, contradictions and absurdities. For example, at the time that Joseph and the pregnant Mary are said to have gone off to Bethlehem for a supposed Roman census, Galilee (unlike Judaea) was not a Roman province and therefore ma and pa would have had no reason to make the journey. Even if Galilee had been imperial territory, history knows of no ‘universal census’ ordered by Augustus (nor any other emperor) – and Roman taxes were based on property ownership not on a head count. Then again, we now know that Nazareth did not exist before the second century.

It is mentioned not at all in the Old Testament nor by Josephus, who waged war across the length and breadth of Galilee (a territory about the size of Greater London) and yet Josephus records the names of dozens of other towns. In fact most of the ‘Jesus-action’ takes place in towns of equally doubtful provenance, in hamlets so small only partisan Christians know of their existence (yet well attested pagan cities, with extant ruins, failed to make the Jesus itinerary).

What should alert us to wholesale fakery here is that practically all the events of Jesus’s supposed life appear in the lives of mythical figures of far more ancient origin. Whether we speak of miraculous birth, prodigious youth, miracles or wondrous healings – all such 'signs' had been ascribed to other gods, centuries before any Jewish holy man strolled about. Jesus’s supposed utterances and wisdom statements are equally common place, being variously drawn from Jewish scripture, neo-Platonic philosophy or commentaries made by Stoic and Cynic sages.

Where Did They Get Their Ideas From?

The 'Lord's Prayer'? – No, just re-hashed Jewish litany

Whoa! Good find!!! I wonder if a couple of these guys, or all of them, were pretty much garbled together and then something was born from that. *shrugs* Just my musings here! *looks sheepish*
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eight bits

Ms Mustard

Whoa! Good find!!! I wonder if a couple of these guys, or all of them, were pretty much garbled together and then something was born from that. *shrugs* Just my musings here! *looks sheepish*

Actually, that's a very respectable hypothesis. One version of it is surpisingly (IMO) overlooked.

B.A. Robinson is the chief writer at the well-respected "religious tolerance" site, a go-to source for rapid reliable comparative religion information. He took a whack at the historical Jesus question, and made the following observation based on "Q" (which is defined to be pretty much the sayings attributed to Jesus in both Matthew and Luke but which are not also found in Mark).

... there were many Jewish teachers wandering in Galilee during the interval 20 to 30 CE...

The beliefs of two or three of these Galilean teachers were subsequently merged and recorded in the early gospels that explained the life of a single individual: Yeshua of Nazareth ...

One was an itinerant Greek cynic philosopher ...

A second was a apocalyptic teacher who preached about the imminent end of the world ...

There might even have been a third teacher who was a follower of Hillel...

Between about 40 CE and 100 CE, when the Gospel of Q, the three synoptic canonic Gospels, and the Gospel of Thomas were first written, the teachings of these multiple teachers were merged and attributed to a single individual: Yeshua of Nazareth. The rest is history.

http://www.religious...g/chr_jcno1.htm

While this is not my own favorite theory, I think it is a great example of how reasonable a specific theory of a "constructed" Jesus can be, how much of the evidence it accounts for, and how undogmatic its proposer can be.

It is also interesting to speculate what some ancient person might think, who (hypothetically) knew for a fact that Jesus had been constructed that way. I think that if that person liked the sayings in "Q" or Thomas (there is considerable overlap), then he or she may well have joined the movement, maybe especially the Jewish wing of it. It is not obvious that the literal existence of Jesus would be as important to such a person back then as it is to a modern Bible-relying Protestant today.

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psyche101

Whoa! Good find!!! I wonder if a couple of these guys, or all of them, were pretty much garbled together and then something was born from that. *shrugs* Just my musings here! *looks sheepish*

Seems plausible to me, some say it is embellished but I am not well versed enough in that period of history to say.

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DieChecker

DC

Unfortunately, half your presentation was "page not found." More unfortunately, the page that was found excluded about half the Jews then living, and those excluded were those more likely to be literate... etc.

Here you go... Here are some more links then....

https://researchist....n-ancient-rome/

According to Watson, Rome managed to boost its literacy rate to 10%. The Athenians, a couple of centuries earlier, could boast only half as many literate citizens. “Probably,” Watson suggests, “tens of thousands of people could read in Rome, where there was, for the first time, such a thing as a literate culture” (ibid., 209). This culture was not just made up of lawyers and poets. Readers could be found everywhere, as evidenced by Trajan’s column, but also by more mundane reading matter such as domestic letters in Vinolanda, graffiti on the walls of Pompeji or treatises about farming, accounting or letter-writing. Such literature reflected Roman society’s concern for utilitas — usefulness. To Romans, reading was useful, and Watson quotes Echion from the Satyricon, who said habet haec res panem — this [reading, that is] has bread in it. Utilitas was so ingrained in Rome’s culture of reading that it even extended to such a seemingly otiose genre as poetry: good poetry, the poet Horace declared, ought to be both “dulce” (sweet) and “utile” (useful).
In the larger picture, the fact remains that for whatever reason there is no book whose author would serve as the historical Jesus, as compared to the situation for the author of The Republic. The two cases are thus different, which exhausts the relevance of the second case to the topic of the thread. With it goes the entire barrel of Platonic red herring that has found its way into our pages.

On a personal note, alleging bad faith on the part of somebody whom you've failed to convince doesn't improve your case.

Alleging bad faith isn't bad if the person who it is alleged against doesn't inform the person as to their inability to review the person's references.

I made a claim that the Jews of the 1st century were not very literate, and I resourced that opinion. I said the Romans were more literate and I referenced that opinion.

If anyone is acting in bad faith, it is you who demands links, but offers only opinion in return. Show me where the Jews were literate, and my reference is wrong. Show me where the Romans were less literate and I am wrong.

As far as Plato you can play with nuances all day, but the fact is Plato and Jesus could both have been real, and both could have been creations. And to believe in either requires a suspension of disbelief. You can play that one is greater then the other, but my point is that the suspension of disbelief for both is there.

EDIT:

I think one of the links was broken. Here is another one.

https://faculty.biu.ac.il/~barilm/articles/publications/publications0030.html

Comparative data show that under Roman rule the Jewish literacy rate improved in the Land of Israel. However, rabbinic sources support evidence that the literacy rate was less than 3%. This literacy rate, a small fraction of the society, though low by modern standards, was not low at all if one takes into account the needs of a traditional society in the past.
Edited by DieChecker

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eight bits

DC

Thanks for the link. As I've said, the methodological flaws and wrong reference population of the Jewish homeland-only estimate preclude its use for the comparison to which you would apply it. (The Israeli link always worked fine, and the work is well-known.)

As I have also said before, regardless of why Jesus didn't write a book or letter, he didn't or else it doesn't survive. In contrast, somebody wrote The Republic. Therefore, Jesus is differently situated than Plato.

Neither is certain to have existed, both could have existed, at least one of them very probably did, I reckon. My opinions about neither involve "faith." This digression has nothing to do with whether or not ancient people doubted Jesus' existence, which is the topic of the thread.

If anyone is acting in bad faith, it is you ...

If you have some problem with my posts, then report them.

Further thoughts about the Robinson "Jesus was two or three men" hypothesis

It is important to many modern Christians that Jesus literally existed as one single man. Ancient religious thinking could have been much different and less literal minded than modern habits.

An example of the frame-of-mind I am trying to explain is found in the charming 1993 film, Little Buddha.

The main plot is the search for the reincarnation of a deceased monk. The expectation is that he has returned as some one single child. In the end, there are three finalists, three very different children.

SPOILER ALERT (rest of post)

The realization dawns that if the monk has come back (something which the judges assume to be true), then he has come back as all three children, simultaneously.

The state of mind which could accept a single personage animating three distinct people would be a state of mind that could know Robinson's construct of Jesus was true, and still accept this Jesus' two or three source personalities as the single Messiah, Savior or whatever their religion thought the Christ was supposed to be.

I think that that state of mind was accessible in ancient times. Most Protestants would faint dead away to imagine their Jesus like that, just as Richard Dawkins would collapse in laughter. The modern opponents think much alike, because they are modern thinkers.

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