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markdohle

An atheist scholar viewpoint on Jesus

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Davros of Skaro
46 minutes ago, DieChecker said:

Yes... Sure.. People that question things. Evidence is what people believe it is. It can be accepted or rejected based on individual opinions. 

I find that people such as in your video pick their evidence very carefully, and present it equally carefully.

Did you watch the lecture? No, of course not.

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I;m not aware of any significant numbers of people who called themselves Christians who denied that Jesus existed. Is that what you are suggesting?

No. 

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Regardless, I follow the Message of Jesus. I find the teachings to be worthy, and if Jesus was real or not is irrelevant. 

What is the message of Jesus to you?

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In religion one will always have to go by what you believe, rather then what is evidenced.

The pathway to truth.

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I'm assuming you mean Christians not on UM. I've not seen much Evangelizing here, and I believe actually it is against the conditions of usage.

All over the place.

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Actually, if there were no records at all, I'd feel and act the same way. 

There's secular ways for that.

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If Gilgamesh was full of good morals/ethics/answers to social problems of today, I'd be in favor of forming it into a religion.

Passion for slaying the Bull of Heaven.

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You should look into it, to have religious comparisons.

Theism is an addiction. 

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You are welcome. People have been trying to tear down Christianity since Day One, so I don't have fears that you will bring it down. :tu:

It will continue to decline in time. :D

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The love of the Lord and all Christians be with you. 

May the Force be with you.

Here's a debate I haven't checked out yet.

 

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eight bits

DC

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Are you saying that Davros's implied statement that just because the majority of scholars (Religious and Secular) believe Jesus probably was real, is no reason to believe that Jesus was real?

His implied statement? I thought he was blunt about that :) . Regardless, this is a situation where anybody who cares to (for example, that "choir" listening to Carrier) can look into the evidence for themselves. In the feeble, flickering dying-firefly light of that evidence, the scholarly consensus is no reason to believe that Jesus was real.

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Do we discount a majority of experts, because we don't like what they have said?

No, we discount them because they lack the evidence to back up what they're saying. In most other fields nowadays the only way to become an "expert" is to derive your teaching from evidence or logical proof. In Jesus studies, two butchered passages inserted into Josephus, one of them intentionally faked, match the already accepted conclusion. That's good enough.

No, it isn't.

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Using your example of a court case. What if 99 experts were presented and all agreed, but the defense still said... "That proves nothing." Does it actually prove nothing??

In an American court, before the first of those 99 testified, he or she would need to qualify as an expert, and the defense is allowed to present arguments why they aren't experts. If all that any of the "experts" had to offer was based on doctored evidence, then I'm not sure that any of them would be allowed to testify.

That was a point in my hypothetical, the judge isn't supposed to go along with a parade of non-experts, not even the first one. The defense should never be placed in the position of arguing afterwards that that proves nothing.

Edited by eight bits
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DieChecker
18 hours ago, eight bits said:

DC

His implied statement? I thought he was blunt about that :) . Regardless, this is a situation where anybody who cares to (for example, that "choir" listening to Carrier) can look into the evidence for themselves. In the feeble, flickering dying-firefly light of that evidence, the scholarly consensus is no reason to believe that Jesus was real.

I said "implied" because I've been accused of putting words in people's mouths (or fingers) once too often. :)

I understand. But regardless, most experts do agree that Jesus probably existed. I don't know how a super conducting super collider works, but I trust the experts who tell me how it works. We trust experts every day on thousands of things. I don't see how this is different. Sure, there is little evidence, but there is evidence. Unless that evidence is suspect, and I do agree some it is, why would we fall on the side of "not"?

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No, we discount them because they lack the evidence to back up what they're saying. In most other fields nowadays the only way to become an "expert" is to derive your teaching from evidence or logical proof. In Jesus studies, two butchered passages inserted into Josephus, one of them intentionally faked, match the already accepted conclusion. That's good enough.

No, it isn't.

So is that the extent of historical documentation of Jesus? Two passages in Josephus?

Regardless, experts (Secular) do know that there was a lot of holy men running around Judea at the time, and that immediately after a cult of Jews, who called themselves followers of Christ, sprang up. Circumstantial evidence in this is strong. Does this mean Jesus the son of Mary was exactly like he is described in the Bible? No.... But it does mean there is a very good chance a man who started Christianity and claimed to be the Messiah/Christ existed. 

This link purports to add to the two documents you mentioned...

https://www.bethinking.org/jesus/ancient-evidence-for-jesus-from-non-christian-sources

From an atheist historian...

http://strangenotions.com/an-atheist-historian-examines-the-evidence-for-jesus-part-1-of-2/

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Scholars who specialize in the origins of Christianity agree on very little, but they do generally agree that it is most likely that a historical preacher, on whom the Christian figure "Jesus Christ" is based, did exist.  The numbers of professional scholars, out of the many thousands in this and related fields, who don't accept this consensus, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.  Many may be more cautious about using the term "historical fact" about this idea, since as with many things in ancient history it is not quite as certain as that.  But it is generally regarded as the best and most parsimonious explanation of the evidence and therefore the most likely conclusion that can be drawn.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

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Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is more probable than not,[4][5][6][7][nb 1][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4] although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.[nb 5][13][nb 6][15]:168–173 While scholars have criticized Jesus scholarship for religious bias and lack of methodological soundness,[nb 7] with very few exceptions such critics generally do support the historicity of Jesus and reject the Christ myth theory that Jesus never existed.[17][nb 8][19][20][21]

Looks like there is plenty of scholarship to support Jesus probably existed to me....

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In an American court, before the first of those 99 testified, he or she would need to qualify as an expert, and the defense is allowed to present arguments why they aren't experts. If all that any of the "experts" had to offer was based on doctored evidence, then I'm not sure that any of them would be allowed to testify.

That was a point in my hypothetical, the judge isn't supposed to go along with a parade of non-experts, not even the first one. The defense should never be placed in the position of arguing afterwards that that proves nothing.

But, assuming that the 99 experts are all the experts, as my position includes all historic scholars, does that still hold true? You seem to be saying that there can't be experts about Jesus, or even that there can't be historic scholars in general. My point didn't include only Bible Christian scholars, but a majority of ALL historic scholars who are experts in the time period.

 

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DieChecker
22 hours ago, davros of skaro said:

Did you watch the lecture? No, of course not.

Why would I watch it? Is there any new argument given? Would you watch a Creationist video if I posted it, or would you assume you know basically what it is going to say?

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What is the message of Jesus to you?

To love your neighbor as yourself. To tell this to others and demonstrate by living that way yourself.

People who live by "Rules" are just modern day Pharisees.

There are only a few hard rules... Jesus is the Son of God, and He died for our salvation and rose again. That's basically it...

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The pathway to truth.

Truth varies by culture, religion and by individual. Evidence isn't always truth.

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Theism is an addiction. 

And being gay is a mental condition? Both are as correct, if either is... Both depend on what Truth is to an individual.

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It will continue to decline in time. :D

It has to... According to Revelation it will almost die out completely. :devil:

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May the Force be with you.

I love Star Wars. I have every movie and can quote most of the lines, and know the backgrounds of most of the characters/ships/droids.... :tu:

Edited by DieChecker

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eight bits

DC

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I don't know how a super conducting super collider works, but I trust the experts who tell me how it works.

SCSC experts' expertise adds nothing to the reliability of their claims. On the contrary, it is the reliability of their claims that earns them recognition as experts.

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So is that the extent of historical documentation of Jesus? Two passages in Josephus?

It is from non-Christian sources confidently dated to the First Century. Some people profess to be satisfied with even less (Paul's calling James by the phrase "brother of the Lord")..

The other items on your link's list have been discussed in many other threads. Your other link is the topic of this thread; I've already read it, thanks.

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But, assuming that the 99 experts are all the experts, as my position includes all historic scholars, does that still hold true?

Yes, each of them still has to qualify before they may testify as experts (= offer a personal opinion, beyond what they have personally seen, heard, etc.).

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You seem to be saying that there can't be experts about Jesus, or even that there can't be historic scholars in general.

There certainly are historians, and there are legal cases where historians could be offered as expert witnesses. So, I don't see what problem you're getting at.

As to "can't" in the context of Jesus-existence expertise, I don't know whether or not there is any undoctored evidence still to be found. If there is, then there can be experts on Jesus' existence as such; if not, then not.

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DieChecker
20 hours ago, eight bits said:

DC

SCSC experts' expertise adds nothing to the reliability of their claims. On the contrary, it is the reliability of their claims that earns them recognition as experts.

It is from non-Christian sources confidently dated to the First Century. Some people profess to be satisfied with even less (Paul's calling James by the phrase "brother of the Lord")..

The other items on your link's list have been discussed in many other threads. Your other link is the topic of this thread; I've already read it, thanks.

Yes, each of them still has to qualify before they may testify as experts (= offer a personal opinion, beyond what they have personally seen, heard, etc.).

There certainly are historians, and there are legal cases where historians could be offered as expert witnesses. So, I don't see what problem you're getting at.

As to "can't" in the context of Jesus-existence expertise, I don't know whether or not there is any undoctored evidence still to be found. If there is, then there can be experts on Jesus' existence as such; if not, then not.

I understand your argument regarding experts... But it seems like just... An argument.

What it seems you are saying is that anyone who believes Jesus was real can't be an expert, because there's very little evidence. So therefore belief in the one excludes the other. There can not be "real' experts on Jesus, because there is not enough to be expert on?

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psyche101
29 minutes ago, DieChecker said:

I understand your argument regarding experts... But it seems like just... An argument.

What it seems you are saying is that anyone who believes Jesus was real can't be an expert, because there's very little evidence. So therefore belief in the one excludes the other. There can not be "real' experts on Jesus, because there is not enough to be expert on?

Isn't that exactly the case here? How can one be an expert in hopes and dreams? How does one derive fact from that?

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Stubbly_Dooright
On 6/19/2017 at 5:25 AM, eight bits said:
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Do we discount a majority of experts, because we don't like what they have said?

No, we discount them because they lack the evidence to back up what they're saying. In most other fields nowadays the only way to become an "expert" is to derive your teaching from evidence or logical proof. In Jesus studies, two butchered passages inserted into Josephus, one of them intentionally faked, match the already accepted conclusion. That's good enough.

No, it isn't.

 

On 6/20/2017 at 0:02 AM, DieChecker said:

So is that the extent of historical documentation of Jesus? Two passages in Josephus?

Regardless, experts (Secular) do know that there was a lot of holy men running around Judea at the time, and that immediately after a cult of Jews, who called themselves followers of Christ, sprang up. Circumstantial evidence in this is strong. Does this mean Jesus the son of Mary was exactly like he is described in the Bible? No.... But it does mean there is a very good chance a man who started Christianity and claimed to be the Messiah/Christ existed. 

 

On 6/20/2017 at 3:22 AM, eight bits said:
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You seem to be saying that there can't be experts about Jesus, or even that there can't be historic scholars in general.

There certainly are historians, and there are legal cases where historians could be offered as expert witnesses. So, I don't see what problem you're getting at.

As to "can't" in the context of Jesus-existence expertise, I don't know whether or not there is any undoctored evidence still to be found. If there is, then there can be experts on Jesus' existence as such; if not, then not.

 

15 hours ago, DieChecker said:

I understand your argument regarding experts... But it seems like just... An argument.

What it seems you are saying is that anyone who believes Jesus was real can't be an expert, because there's very little evidence. So therefore belief in the one excludes the other. There can not be "real' experts on Jesus, because there is not enough to be expert on?

I am not sure, to really contribute to this thread, because overall, I would be, 'well, I believe in a sense the man existed, because there seems to be two thousand years of religions, books, and situations regarding him.'. I would then further that with, 'I like to think of him as existing as a really wonderful guide and teacher at least (no miracles and such) and that at least he was a kind and giving individual. I don't know, if that would lend water to this thread. 

But, something struck me here, particular between 8bits and DieChecker. The point of view of experts and if they are viable experts due to the reality of what they are an expert of. In fact, I'm pausing here to find the words or questions I want to say. So, to just say or ask it, can there really be experts of things that have no evidence and are a myth? I know, in various areas, Ghosts, UFO, and various other things that there are experts at, get laughed at. Even those who consider themselves, (and some others do too) experts in Alternative medicine and such. (Well, that is real, so I digress............) Anyways, I wonder at this. Are they experts, if what they are an expert of is more myth and less real? 

But, there seems to be those in professions that work, research, and seemly find evidence or such to record and show. So, something has got to be there to show it's real. What if it's the experts who find a way to make it real from myth? And that the myth comes from something that has some essence of reality. 

Would it make a difference to have a different look at experts of Jesus and such, considering there is possibly a case Jesus did exist. And I'm saying this, because something had to be there for someone wanting to study it further. Right? 

 

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eight bits
2 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

So, to just say or ask it, can there really be experts of things that have no evidence and are a myth?

It's one step trickier: we don't know that Jesus is only a character in a myth. That's how bad the evidence is, and that's how minimal a real historical Jesus would have had to have been during his life, in order to have so completely avoided leaving any undeniable trace of himself.

 

2 hours ago, Stubbly_Dooright said:

Would it make a difference to have a different look at experts of Jesus and such, considering there is possibly a case Jesus did exist. And I'm saying this, because something had to be there for someone wanting to study it further. Right? 

Yes, there is a church that sprang up and sponsored the creation, recording and transmission of stories about the character of Jesus. There is evidence that some form of that church has existed since at least the late 80's (Pliny the Younger in 112 or 113 reports questioning somebody who had been a Christian 25 years before). Personally, I'm comfortable that Paul very probably wrote some letters in the 50's, which refer to him being active in the 40's, maybe even the late 30's. I'm also comfortable that the Gospels were written starting sometime after Paul and finishing not long after Pliny wrote about Christians he'd questionned, maybe even a little before.

Realistically, the existing Christian churches can trace themselves back as institutions with solid documentation into the Second Century. There is a gap between the evidence for well-organized churches from, say, the 130's onward and the evidence for earlier looser churches that Paul says he planted.

it's not a provably "unbroken chain" of witnesses from Jesus' first listeners to the church down the street, but it is a fairly sustained cloud of smoke with ancient roots. The consensus conclusion is that the smoke began with an actual ancient fire, so to speak, howvever small and short-lived the flame must have been. And a fire that so far as we know went unreported by anybody for about 30 years, and unremarked upon by a non-believer for about 60 years.

Now, it is perfectly fine to be an expert in what is known about the earliest Christian churches, because that's based on actual evidence. But if you were such an expert, then you'd know that direct evidence of Christian activity simply doesn't reach Jesus' lifetime (assuming he had one). You can only extrapolate back before what you have evidence for. Extrapolate = comment on something that exceeds the scope of one's expertise.

 

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Liquid Gardens
1 hour ago, eight bits said:

It's one step trickier: we don't know that Jesus is only a character in a myth. That's how bad the evidence is, and that's how minimal a real historical Jesus would have had to have been during his life, in order to have so completely avoided leaving any undeniable trace of himself.

I may have asked this before, but are any of the apostles better attested historically?  Quite a few I think supposedly met the same end as Jesus (albeit some were upside down), but I seem to recall that at least one of them supposedly lived a fairly long life and thus seems like has a better chance of having more corroboration for their existence.  I realize that people like Pilate and Herod and maybe Caiphas are, but there's grass and mountains in Middle Earth too for that matter.

I'd assume the answer is likely no, just because I don't seem to recall the rather short list of evidence/notes concerning a historical Jesus including the fact that we know some of the apostles mentioned did exist.

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eight bits

LG

Attested apostles

Paul mentions meeting and arguing with Peter-Cephas ("Rocky" in Greek and Aramaic, so presumably one person), also a James and John (plus the James he called the "brother of the Lord," possibly the same James). Galatians 1 and 2 is where Paul describes his meeting with those men.

Paul doesn't say anywhere that these people (or anybody else) ever met a natural Jesus. However, as soon as "biographical" gospels come along, all those people are characters in the gospel story. Paul also mentions a "Twelve" among the witnesses to the risen Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15:5, and that group gets fleshed out as Jesus' inner circle in the bio-gospels.

Death traditions

All information about the deaths of that crew come from assorted "Acts" and other tales of the apostles involved. The canonical Acts has one apostolic death, James (the former disciple). Although not canonical, the Acts of Peter have been very influential on Christian tradition, and that's where you'll find the upside-down crucifixion of Peter.

Long life tradition

The long-lived apostle (traditionally) is John. The basis for that is the Gospel of John and the (confused) traditions where a character in that Gospel is misidentified as its author. IMO, the "internal evidence" allows a reasonable inference from John that the death of a "last man standing" from among the reputed disciples plausibly happened sometime around the turn into the Second Century.

A possible Christianity that wasn't fixated on death

Intriguingly, John also seems to hint at a parallel non-misogynistic, non "death cult" apostolic tradition. The "Beloved Disciple" character seems to have derived some of his authority from his association with the reputed mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is also a major player in John. None of those three (John, Mother or Magdalene) has a violent death traditon. (Another apostle, Thomas, who is relatively prominent in John, may not have acquired a martyrdom tradition before the Fourth Century.)

One of the more interesting "mythicist" hypotheses (IMO) is that Mary was the "mother" of Jesus in the sense of being a prophetess who had the original visions of him. Of course, I don't know what really happened, but here's a pointer to that set of ideas:

http://splaurie.com/

If nothing else, work like this reminds us that the evidence isn't sparse only because there never was much; it's also sparse because whatever there was has been tampered with. If the key consensus inference is "there must have been a fire to account for all this smoke," then one charismatic woman channeling a radically "live and let live" (what a concept, eh?) celestial figure would have been a sufficient flame.

Edited by eight bits
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DieChecker
On 6/20/2017 at 9:10 PM, psyche101 said:

Isn't that exactly the case here? How can one be an expert in hopes and dreams? How does one derive fact from that?

Because those hopes and dreams originated from someone. And like 8-bits said, people were writing about it just a decade or less after Jesus died. If one can't directly be an expert on the person of Jesus, then one Can be an expert on the environment Jesus would have lived in. And such people Also say that Jesus being a person is the most likely option.

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Stubbly_Dooright
14 hours ago, eight bits said:

It's one step trickier: we don't know that Jesus is only a character in a myth. That's how bad the evidence is, and that's how minimal a real historical Jesus would have had to have been during his life, in order to have so completely avoided leaving any undeniable trace of himself.

:hmm:  Makes me wonder how you look at UFO and ghost 'experts'. ;)  :tu:  :devil:   Oh, I understand, that it's tricky. Even with how I see the individual that lived 2000 years ago names Jesus, who I consider was probably a real man. And even that is with varying evidences, I may have come across my life. And that is considering if he existed at all. 

And yes, it does seem to me, one can't really find actual multiple evidences after all this time. As someone who loves historical fiction, especially royalty historical fiction, I know that it's tricky for the authors despite they are writing fiction. I feel they still have to do the research for their subjects. And even then, and I got this reading the point of view of one book and it's author reasoning on what they wrote. That they sometimes have to take what they know, and make an educated guess and go from there. And of course, there is still the reminder, that it's a historical fiction. My point is, with the lack of what we have today, the records are not that great, and it seems understandable we wouldn't have as much evidence of something  two thousand years ago, compared to two hundred years ago, to twenty years ago, to two. Sorry, to go against my thought on this and other's, but lack of evidence doesn't mean they didn't exist. (but, yeah, that doesn't squat in they actually living either. :yes:  :blush:  ) 

I think, that is what makes someone that should be accorded the title of a particular expert, because they make it their profession to find out and they solely used that career and time to search. More than likely, they have more evidence or thought, than someone who deals with stocks. (Yeah, that was kind of snarky, sorry.) 

I'm just thinking, what would someone be, if they aren't experts on something that has so little evidence, but they have a field in it anyways? 

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Yes, there is a church that sprang up and sponsored the creation, recording and transmission of stories about the character of Jesus. There is evidence that some form of that church has existed since at least the late 80's (Pliny the Younger in 112 or 113 reports questioning somebody who had been a Christian 25 years before). Personally, I'm comfortable that Paul very probably wrote some letters in the 50's, which refer to him being active in the 40's, maybe even the late 30's. I'm also comfortable that the Gospels were written starting sometime after Paul and finishing not long after Pliny wrote about Christians he'd questionned, maybe even a little before.

Realistically, the existing Christian churches can trace themselves back as institutions with solid documentation into the Second Century. There is a gap between the evidence for well-organized churches from, say, the 130's onward and the evidence for earlier looser churches that Paul says he planted.

Now, I find that an intriguing answer. And thought.... :D   Someone who has been an expert or someone who has researched things that were and is, part of something that has little evidence, but the brick and mortar themselves were real, so it's understandable there. Well, yeah, I guess I would agree with that. And that is interesting, that some churches did keep better records for that time. 

But since, the churches were erected for a particular reason, that reason is something of research, right? Would someone with a degree in a particular religious study or from a university whose main goal is the study of religion, are they considered just as respected as someone with a degree from a secular university. I ask this, because I remember reading an article from someone (or blog or opinion based article) who considered some well known religious figure today as not an individual with a doctorate, because it came from a religious university. I sometimes wonder at that myself. I use to work for McDonald's, and believe it or not there is a Hamburger University.  I thought someone was joking about that, and when I found out it was real, I speculated on it's actuality within other universities. 

So, in a sense, if one can laugh at a ghost paranormal professional but what if they are researching about a house that is reported to be haunted, and yet it's not about the house, which is real? 

It just makes me wonder at how something is looked at for their respected field even if the field is lack of evidence. 

I'm familiar with Pliny the younger, but based on his accounts of Pompeii and it's destruction from a volcano.  That has now been rediscovered as a place of scientific study, but before than could Pliny's accounts be respected then? 

14 hours ago, eight bits said:

a provably "unbroken chain" of witnesses from Jesus' first listeners to the church down the street, but it is a fairly sustained cloud of smoke with ancient roots. The consensus conclusion is that the smoke began with an actual ancient fire, so to speak, howvever small and short-lived the flame must have been. And a fire that so far as we know went unreported by anybody for about 30 years, and unremarked upon by a non-believer for about 60 years.

Now, it is perfectly fine to be an expert in what is known about the earliest Christian churches, because that's based on actual evidence. But if you were such an expert, then you'd know that direct evidence of Christian activity simply doesn't reach Jesus' lifetime (assuming he had one). You can only extrapolate back before what you have evidence for. Extrapolate = comment on something that exceeds the scope of one's expertise.

Yeah, I see them on CNN from time to time. :D  :devil:   I probably :rolleyes: with some of them at certain times. ;) 

I see your point. I guess the grapevine can go pretty far, and being an expert using the grapevine may have it's disadvantages. *shrugs* 

But still, when hard work usually gets something, it's something right? When does it get to the point, when someone's goal becomes empty for someone to give up? What would someone be called who studies and wants to dig up on something that is only hearsay. Mythbusters  seemed to me to be very popular at the time. And Josh Gates , and his shows, for all of his lack actually finding what he sets out to find in his latest show, I have come to learn new things about each topic along the way. I think that's something. :tu: 

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Stubbly_Dooright
6 hours ago, eight bits said:

A possible Christianity that wasn't fixated on death

Intriguingly, John also seems to hint at a parallel non-misogynistic, non "death cult" apostolic tradition. The "Beloved Disciple" character seems to have derived some of his authority from his association with the reputed mother of Jesus. Mary Magdalene is also a major player in John. None of those three (John, Mother or Magdalene) has a violent death traditon. (Another apostle, Thomas, who is relatively prominent in John, may not have acquired a martyrdom tradition before the Fourth Century.)

One of the more interesting "mythicist" hypotheses (IMO) is that Mary was the "mother" of Jesus in the sense of being a prophetess who had the original visions of him. Of course, I don't know what really happened, but here's a pointer to that set of ideas:

Sign me up!!!!!  

Just kidding. Although, when I read this, it reminded me of working at another bookstore years ago in Jersey, where one of my co-workers mentioned that I might enjoy a particular fiction, (al bait, historical and such), where it talks about the more respect to female individuals and their risen outlook in Christianity, before some form of rising of something else. Of course, it's understandable I didn't know this, being raised secular myself, but I do find that interesting. 

 

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eight bits

Stubbly

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but lack of evidence doesn't mean they didn't exist.

That reminds me of Bertrand Russell's remark,

"Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, ..."

https://users.drew.edu/jlenz/whynot.html

That's what lack of evidence forecloses - the ability to know anything about the historical Jesus (including, finally, whether or not he really existed).

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Would someone with a degree in a particular religious study or from a university whose main goal is the study of religion, are they considered just as respected as someone with a degree from a secular university.

I gather that the academics themselves distinguish between "professional training" of ministers, etc. and "scholarly study" of religions and religious issues. I don't know whether that helps answer your question.

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That has now been rediscovered as a place of scientific study, but before than could Pliny's accounts be respected then?  

Yes, for centuries it was thought he exaggerated, to honor his uncle who died commanding a naval rescue and research mission. That accusation ended with the modern scientific observation of Krakatoa (If I recall correctly) erupting in just the way Pliny described. I like that story..

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What would someone be called who studies and wants to dig up on something that is only hearsay.

I suppose, a speculator. If somebody did manage to hunt down some evidence (or recognize the importance of something already discovered, but overlooked), then what an amazing thing that would be, for them and for us. Either way, I'd love to have the question settled, or at least more settled than it is now.

But what are the odds of that, this long afterwards, after the known evidence has been fiddled with? That's what makes somebody a speculator, right? Taking a long shot at a big pay-off.

Quote

... where it talks about the more respect to female individuals and their risen outlook in Christianity, before some form of rising of something else.

I think that may really have happened. There's a curious document, hard to date but written somewhere betwen 80CE to 140 CE it seems. It's a letter from the Church of Rome to the Church of Corinth. We only have the Roman side of the correspondence, so it's not completely certain what the problem is. Corinth is resisting something Rome wants to impose on it, and it's got something to do with the role of women in the church (and possibly other things as well).

The letter is usually called "First Clement" for short (there's a tradition that Clement was the bishop of Rome when the letter was written, but nobody knows and the letter itself doesn't say). It's intriguing to think we might have a "snapshot" of the moment when the fate of Christian women took a hard turn for the worse.

We also know that some heretical groups retained women as officials for at least a few more centuries. We know it because Fourth Century orthodox churchmen complained about it :) .

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Stubbly_Dooright
On 6/22/2017 at 8:14 PM, eight bits said:

Stubbly

Quote

but lack of evidence doesn't mean they didn't exist.

That reminds me of Bertrand Russell's remark,

"Historically it is quite doubtful whether Christ ever existed at all, and if He did we do not know anything about Him, ..."

https://users.drew.edu/jlenz/whynot.html

That's what lack of evidence forecloses - the ability to know anything about the historical Jesus (including, finally, whether or not he really existed).

:hmm:   

I want to be clear, I'm not being dead set in this, but just it's a great way of reflecting on it, and wonder myself, should they be called experts or not. 

But what you said, makes me thing, what about those who are SciFi fans, who seem to be experts in the futuristic (made up) ships and other technology. Even being a Trekkie, I get a bit :blink: with those who have complete knowledge in how the starship Enterprise works. (I'm just into the characterization) Kind of like the kids in 'Galaxy Quest', that Tim Allen's character kept pushing aside in the first part of the movie. (we wont discuss how their knowledge became helpful, because the ship became real. ;) ) 

On 6/22/2017 at 8:14 PM, eight bits said:
Quote

Would someone with a degree in a particular religious study or from a university whose main goal is the study of religion, are they considered just as respected as someone with a degree from a secular university.

I gather that the academics themselves distinguish between "professional training" of ministers, etc. and "scholarly study" of religions and religious issues. I don't know whether that helps answer your question.

:hmm:  I don't know, maybe. But, it does show me the difference now, in the subjects that one would consider helpful. ;) 

It's thinking of someone with a degree from Harvard, Yale, or Uconn, as oppose to some well known Christian universities. 

On 6/22/2017 at 8:14 PM, eight bits said:
Quote

That has now been rediscovered as a place of scientific study, but before than could Pliny's accounts be respected then?  

Yes, for centuries it was thought he exaggerated, to honor his uncle who died commanding a naval rescue and research mission. That accusation ended with the modern scientific observation of Krakatoa (If I recall correctly) erupting in just the way Pliny described. I like that story..

Oh that's right, I think I read he was there too. It's just, well, if I was in that time, would I take him seriously for his accounts? I'm just thinking how well are their accounts are true and how close to the incident they were. 

On 6/22/2017 at 8:14 PM, eight bits said:
Quote

What would someone be called who studies and wants to dig up on something that is only hearsay.

I suppose, a speculator. If somebody did manage to hunt down some evidence (or recognize the importance of something already discovered, but overlooked), then what an amazing thing that would be, for them and for us. Either way, I'd love to have the question settled, or at least more settled than it is now.

But what are the odds of that, this long afterwards, after the known evidence has been fiddled with? That's what makes somebody a speculator, right? Taking a long shot at a big pay-off.

A speculator, :hmm:  Interesting. 

And, I guess that would fit, considering your point of known being fiddled with. Well that question got answer, thank you. 

On 6/22/2017 at 8:14 PM, eight bits said:
Quote

... where it talks about the more respect to female individuals and their risen outlook in Christianity, before some form of rising of something else.

I think that may really have happened. There's a curious document, hard to date but written somewhere betwen 80CE to 140 CE it seems. It's a letter from the Church of Rome to the Church of Corinth. We only have the Roman side of the correspondence, so it's not completely certain what the problem is. Corinth is resisting something Rome wants to impose on it, and it's got something to do with the role of women in the church (and possibly other things as well).

The letter is usually called "First Clement" for short (there's a tradition that Clement was the bishop of Rome when the letter was written, but nobody knows and the letter itself doesn't say). It's intriguing to think we might have a "snapshot" of the moment when the fate of Christian women took a hard turn for the worse.

We also know that some heretical groups retained women as officials for at least a few more centuries. We know it because Fourth Century orthodox churchmen complained about it :) .

Ah, so there's more information or records to show that. Thank you. I remember hearing about it, and of course, being a bit peeved. And I am familiar of history being rewritten, because of women's parts, (and others) being hard to digest for some ( :rolleyes: ) and rewrote it to fit their worldview. 

Well, for me now, (and your post I find very helpful) there's so much confusion or complications in knowing the truth before the advancement of technology. (actually technology can be a problem, since it's also something that can be messed with for some's agenda in rewriting the 'truth') and wonder now, what is historic truth and what is not. 

I think of the various titles of some historians and archaeologists and others who study lifelong in a subject from the past and unsure subjects, is considered respected. Yet those with their own titles (and some school training) in things like UFO's and ghosts, tend to get not so respected. I often wonder, when does it get respected. 

So, to go back to my thinking, is or question, are there those who 'expert' in the subject of Jesus Christ considered not so seriously? 

It still makes me wonder of whether it's respect or maybe a waste to study something that you can't wholly study. *shrugs*

 

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eight bits

Stubbly

You could say that Higgs was an expert in Higgs bosons, before their real existence was verified. Conversely, Ptolemy was an expert in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, before that model was found to have issues.

But neither of them was an expert in whether or not what they were an expert in really existed. That was decided by evidence.

Now add one more ingredient: suppose unlike elementary particles and astronomical bodies, there was no real possibility of new evidence (unless some speculator got lucky). So you'd have an area of expertise that not only is hypothetical, but there's no prospect of it ever becoming non-hypothetical (and no prospect of it being refuted, either).

I think that is a difficulty, and I think it applies to "experts" in the historical Jesus.

Quote

I'm just thinking how well are their accounts are true and how close to the incident they were.

Pliny's account could hardly have been better: he watched all the action from just across the bay of Naples, live, as it happened, and in person. He was also prevented from getting involved in any way that might have given him less opportunity to watch. He was a great Latin prose stylist - he could describe what he saw effectively. What he said he saw, that was the problem, and for him to be believed, other people would need to see the same thing (and to get the word out).

"Historical Jesus" discussions would be very different if we had just one document like that letter from Pliny describing Jesus doing anything.

Quote

So, to go back to my thinking, is or question, are there those who 'expert' in the subject of Jesus Christ considered not so seriously?

They do respect one another, and there are aspects of the problem that are traditionally 'scholarly.' It's challenging to authenticate an early document, for example. I respect that a lot.

Edited by eight bits
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Stubbly_Dooright
5 hours ago, eight bits said:

Stubbly

You could say that Higgs was an expert in Higgs bosons, before their real existence was verified. Conversely, Ptolemy was an expert in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, before that model was found to have issues.

But neither of them was an expert in whether or not what they were an expert in really existed. That was decided by evidence.

Got it. Makes sense to me. ;)  :tu: 

Quote

Now add one more ingredient: suppose unlike elementary particles and astronomical bodies, there was no real possibility of new evidence (unless some speculator got lucky). So you'd have an area of expertise that not only is hypothetical, but there's no prospect of it ever becoming non-hypothetical (and no prospect of it being refuted, either).

I think that is a difficulty, and I think it applies to "experts" in the historical Jesus.

Ah, I see. And well, I see how you would come to see this. Now, this makes me wonder how things being researched for evidence, could be broken down and what would come from that and if they would come people who would be called experts or not. 

5 hours ago, eight bits said:
Quote

I'm just thinking how well are their accounts are true and how close to the incident they were.

Pliny's account could hardly have been better: he watched all the action from just across the bay of Naples, live, as it happened, and in person. He was also prevented from getting involved in any way that might have given him less opportunity to watch. He was a great Latin prose stylist - he could describe what he saw effectively. What he said he saw, that was the problem, and for him to be believed, other people would need to see the same thing (and to get the word out).

I thought I read about where he was and wondered how close his accounts were. So, I wondered, even if it was just me, how believable he could be. I remember watching something lately, about Pompeii, and there is still the question of any, if a lot of the city's populace, did get away and where. If Pliny didn't know, ................ that makes me doubtful, and I see your point. 

Quote

"Historical Jesus" discussions would be very different if we had just one document like that letter from Pliny describing Jesus doing anything.

Ok, I see what you mean. 

5 hours ago, eight bits said:
Quote

So, to go back to my thinking, is or question, are there those who 'expert' in the subject of Jesus Christ considered not so seriously?

They do respect one another, and there are aspects of the problem that are traditionally 'scholarly.' It's challenging to authenticate an early document, for example. I respect that a lot.

Ah, I got you. I respect your posts and your info, and this brings a different look at them, coming from you. So, in my reflection of those who are experts in this, Well, if it's a goal of finding evidence, more so on the subject itself, well I guess someone would be an expert in that. 

Well, I learned a lot in how you see information coming from those who work in the field. :) 

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DieChecker
9 hours ago, eight bits said:

Stubbly

You could say that Higgs was an expert in Higgs bosons, before their real existence was verified. Conversely, Ptolemy was an expert in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, before that model was found to have issues.

But neither of them was an expert in whether or not what they were an expert in really existed. That was decided by evidence.

Now add one more ingredient: suppose unlike elementary particles and astronomical bodies, there was no real possibility of new evidence (unless some speculator got lucky). So you'd have an area of expertise that not only is hypothetical, but there's no prospect of it ever becoming non-hypothetical (and no prospect of it being refuted, either).

I think that is a difficulty, and I think it applies to "experts" in the historical Jesus.

But my original statement was not about experts in Jesus, but experts in History, of whom a majority are of the opinion Jesus probably existed. 

Going off that era's, and the location's, known history, and the historical evidence regarding Christianity immediately after Jesus's life. The most logical deduction is that there was a teacher, and he did claim to be the Christ, and probably went by the name of Jesus.

On another subject I follow... Bigfoot... I've been told that due to research of the surrounding environment, as well as small samples, the number of bears can be determined with a high degree of accuracy. This "known" number of bears supposed prevents Bigfoot from having a food supply, but regardless... the existence of something can be deduced from the surrounding data. Surrounding data strongly suggests Jesus (or someone very much like him) did exist and teach, and most experts on the history of the era agree. That seems to me to be an excellent reason to think the same thing.

Edited by DieChecker
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eight bits
7 hours ago, DieChecker said:

But my original statement was not about experts in Jesus, but experts in History, of whom a majority are of the opinion Jesus probably existed. 

Show me the evidence for that, and we can discuss it. I don't doubt it, in the sense that a majority of people think Jesus existed (based on most people being Christian or Muslim). But unless I knew what specific group other than "experts in Jesus" had looked into the question in some professional historical way, I see no reason why I would form a different opinion about their consensus than about the consensus of the people I've already discussed.

7 hours ago, DieChecker said:

The most logical deduction is that there was a teacher, and he did claim to be the Christ, and probably went by the name of Jesus.

Logical? Why? We have a very well attested teacher, Paul, who has the wit to position himself as somebody continuing in the tradition of somebody else who's conveniently unavailable for comment just now. Compare Joseph Smith in modern times. Smith taught not on his own authority, but based on what Moroni - a dead man come back to Earth in supernatural form - laid out for him. Paul claims that Jesus is Christ - we have nothing from Jesus himself about that (or about anything else for that matter).

7 hours ago, DieChecker said:

Surrounding data strongly suggests Jesus (or someone very much like him) did exist and teach, and most experts on the history of the era agree.

Paul's a lot like Jesus. One of the popular takes on Mark is that this first narrative Gospel "encodes" Paul's missionary journeys. I am not a big fan of that theory, but "very much like" the Gospel Jesus? Yes, Paul is. Even working just from the letters, sometimes I think Paul is saying that God was premature to give the Messiah gig to Jesus, when Paul was available and would have done it all so much better.

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Stubbly_Dooright
7 hours ago, DieChecker said:
16 hours ago, eight bits said:

Stubbly

You could say that Higgs was an expert in Higgs bosons, before their real existence was verified. Conversely, Ptolemy was an expert in the Ptolemaic model of the solar system, before that model was found to have issues.

But neither of them was an expert in whether or not what they were an expert in really existed. That was decided by evidence.

Now add one more ingredient: suppose unlike elementary particles and astronomical bodies, there was no real possibility of new evidence (unless some speculator got lucky). So you'd have an area of expertise that not only is hypothetical, but there's no prospect of it ever becoming non-hypothetical (and no prospect of it being refuted, either).

I think that is a difficulty, and I think it applies to "experts" in the historical Jesus.

But my original statement was not about experts in Jesus, but experts in History, of whom a majority are of the opinion Jesus probably existed. 

Going off that era's, and the location's, known history, and the historical evidence regarding Christianity immediately after Jesus's life. The most logical deduction is that there was a teacher, and he did claim to be the Christ, and probably went by the name of Jesus.

So, I feel it's still tricky in who is being considered an expert in something that one hundred percent cannot be proved. Which makes me wonder, there would be experts in something, if it's shown itself. But what about things that become professional assumptions, and felt worthy of study? Even if it's been around for eons? 

Would this be an 'on the fence' type of thing, because it's something that has been around for eons, (the subject) but still not evidently proven? 

But, I'm thinking, the man was more than likely existing, ( the way I see it) and hasn't this been something that others in history in the same sense of maybe existing there were experts in. (man, I hope I'm making sense) 

Quote

On another subject I follow... Bigfoot... I've been told that due to research of the surrounding environment, as well as small samples, the number of bears can be determined with a high degree of accuracy. This "known" number of bears supposed prevents Bigfoot from having a food supply, but regardless... the existence of something can be deduced from the surrounding data. Surrounding data strongly suggests Jesus (or someone very much like him) did exist and teach, and most experts on the history of the era agree. That seems to me to be an excellent reason to think the same thing.

Humorously, I should say, it could be true, but it's just an ex-boyfriend of mine. :wacko: 

Seriously, I find that interesting. How the data can deduce it. I would somewhat agree. :yes: 

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DieChecker
On 6/19/2017 at 9:02 PM, DieChecker said:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus

Looks like there is plenty of scholarship to support Jesus probably existed to me....

I did already post this wiki link which said...

Quote

Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians, applying the standard criteria of historical investigation, find that the historicity of Jesus is more probable than not,[4][5][6][7][nb 1][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4] although they differ about the beliefs and teachings of Jesus as well as the accuracy of the details of his life that have been described in the gospels.[nb 5][13][nb 6][15]:168–173 While scholars have criticized Jesus scholarship for religious bias and lack of methodological soundness,[nb 7] with very few exceptions such critics generally do support the historicity of Jesus and reject the Christ myth theory that Jesus never existed.[17][nb 8][19][20][21]

If the wiki page is wrong... Please go log on and edit it to be correct. It appears that the greater majority of scholars agree that the majority of scholars agree that Jesus probably was real.

I suppose it may hinge on what individual scholars consider evidence? You (8-bits) may not consider something evidence which others definitely do.

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eight bits

DC

Quote

Virtually all New Testament scholars and Near East historians

How does "New Testament Scholars" expand the population beyond those whom we  have already discussed, "Jesus experts?" What proportion of "NTS and NEH" are the already discussed NTS? That is, what is the upper bound on how much adding "Near Eastern historians" expands the population beyond those whom we have already discussed?

If we're looking at predominantly the same population, then we aren't going to change the outcome.

Edited by eight bits
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DieChecker
12 hours ago, eight bits said:

DC

How does "New Testament Scholars" expand the population beyond those whom we  have already discussed, "Jesus experts?" What proportion of "NTS and NEH" are the already discussed NTS? That is, what is the upper bound on how much adding "Near Eastern historians" expands the population beyond those whom we have already discussed?

If we're looking at predominantly the same population, then we aren't going to change the outcome.

OK, so when I have time, I'll go look up the 7 or 8 references that wikipedia uses to support that claim. Then I will come back and report if it was only Religious scholars, or History scholars who think Jesus probably was real. Though, I suspect, even if I found a mountain of quotes, you will still dispute the finding.... because you don't want it to be true??

Edited by DieChecker

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psyche101
On 2017-6-22 at 9:16 PM, DieChecker said:

Because those hopes and dreams originated from someone. And like 8-bits said, people were writing about it just a decade or less after Jesus died. If one can't directly be an expert on the person of Jesus, then one Can be an expert on the environment Jesus would have lived in. And such people Also say that Jesus being a person is the most likely option.

But are they not still simply hopes and dreams? Even today with cameras and Millions of witnesses not to mention people outright claiming responsibility we still see opposing viewpoints on the bleeding obvious such as 911. What we have is a mindset, and one to be expected in harder times. Even today the most impoverished places on earth are the most religious, and I can only put that down to having nothing else to fall back on. I just do not see how hopes and dreams in any way validate themselves. 

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