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eight bits

Did Paul report meeting Jesus' brother?

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eight bits

Advocates of Jesus being purely a fictional and mythological character ("mythticists") and those who insist that Jesus was a flesh-and-blood human being ("historicists") often fight about things that are, well, obscure.

Quote

I could see your point if that particple was aorist subjunctive, but seriously, indicative imperfect? That's a stretch.

There is, however, a small patch of bedrock to the historicist position. Paul wrote that he met "the brother of the Lord," and that he knew of others.

Yeah, those could be interpolations (like everything else more than a few centuries old) and yeah, it is an odd way to say "Jesus' brother" (odd being the way Paul liked to say many things). Nevertheless, unless new evidence surfaces that the phrase really is faked or really means something else, then the historicist position has a secure foundation in evidence, not faith, not "consensus," not arguments from incredulity, authority, popularity, ...

... No, black letters on papyrus, almost old enough to clinch the deal (meh, only 100-200 years later) and now read at face value. One of the faces, anyway.

That's not good for the mythicist position, but how bad is it? Here's a recent look at the problem:

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2019/02/18/brothers-pauls-and-james/

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sci-nerd

The J-man is most likely a historical person, even I - a hardcore atheist - can see that, but that does not make him divine.

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Liquid Gardens
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In Galatians and 1 Corinthians Paul uses the word brother or sister fifty times. In every one of those other forty-eight uses, the word designates a non-familial relationship, a co-religionist or a distinguished kind of co-religionist.

Interesting stuff.  The above seems to me to kinda gut this 'brother' reference though, it seems to be more along the lines of Paul met even more apostle-likes/followers of Jesus. I guess it can't hurt the historical position as you note, but doesn't seem to move the needle much, since to me it is the possibility of a literal familial relationship that increases the evidence quotient more significantly.

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third_eye

"brethren"

I seem to remember that I was told one time a long time ago that though meeting James in the flesh is highly improbable, due to security reasons, very few outside the inner circles had access to him, the numerous  letters of correspondence attributed to Paul might contain enough to show that though never met, Paul may have known James intimately that way. The problem is, James as the brother and leader back in Jerusalem was heavily denied , expunged and excised from all known documents of the day after JC was promoted to divine incarnate

I gave up on this muddled patch of History a long time ago, to tell the truth.

~

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Piney
1 hour ago, third_eye said:

I gave up on this muddled patch of History a long time ago, to tell the truth.

I am still under the opinion that JC was the combined persona of Jesus Ben Ananias and Jesus Ben Sirach. Although record of a crucifixion could of been expunged placing the blame on the Jews rather than the Romans. Most Gospels were written for a Roman audience in a effort to convert them. 

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Ellapennella
3 minutes ago, Piney said:

I am still under the opinion that JC was the combined persona of Jesus Ben Ananias and Jesus Ben Sirach. Although record of a crucifixion could of been expunged placing the blame on the Jews rather than the Romans. Most Gospels were written for a Roman audience in a effort to convert them. 

Why did Rome need to make a conversion, weren't they happy with their pagan gods? 

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Ellapennella
1 hour ago, third_eye said:

"brethren"

I seem to remember that I was told one time a long time ago that though meeting James in the flesh is highly improbable, due to security reasons, very few outside the inner circles had access to him, the numerous  letters of correspondence attributed to Paul might contain enough to show that though never met, Paul may have known James intimately that way. The problem is, James as the brother and leader back in Jerusalem was heavily denied , expunged and excised from all known documents of the day after JC was promoted to divine incarnate

I gave up on this muddled patch of History a long time ago, to tell the truth.

~

I don't believe you  ever read the bible. 

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Piney
7 minutes ago, Ellapennella said:

Why did Rome need to make a conversion, weren't they happy with their pagan gods? 

 Christians were pushing it hard to gather converts.

6 minutes ago, Ellapennella said:

I don't believe you  ever read the bible. 

WOW! Your ignorant! He's more knowledgeable and well read on the subject than most Christians. Especially the half educated and half read American ones. 

Edited by Piney
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third_eye
1 hour ago, Ellapennella said:

I don't believe you  ever read the bible. 

I don't believe you even know the Bible like any educated good Christian should

:yes:

~

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Dark_Grey
1 hour ago, Piney said:

I am still under the opinion that JC was the combined persona of Jesus Ben Ananias and Jesus Ben Sirach. Although record of a crucifixion could of been expunged placing the blame on the Jews rather than the Romans. Most Gospels were written for a Roman audience in a effort to convert them. 

A lot of people don't know there was more than one Jesus. A lot of dirty, smelly hippies came out of the woodwork to claim the position of "Jewish Messiah". The Jesus we all know and love lucked out by having Paul (formerly Saul,) spread his message. Had it not been for Paul, I wonder if Christianity would have spread like it did.

It's an interesting story - Saul is walking on the road to Damascus and suddenly is blinded by the spirit of Jesus revealing himself years after his death. How did Paul know what Jesus looked like? Let's not get caught up in silly details. Saul was so moved by...whatever he saw that he changed his name and began spreading the word of a dirty smelly hippie who lead a cult following a long time ago. When you take yourself outside of the Bible and look at it those same events from a third party perspective, it really changes the weight of the stories.

Edit to add--

For those that don't know, Paul/Saul was both a Jew and a Roman citizen. In the early days, he persecuted the dirty hippie followers of Jesus for being morons. After his experience on the road, where he literally "saw the light", he went on to start several Christian Churches. A changed man. His Roman influence greatly helped him spread Christianity which is why he is considered to be a crucial figure in the early days of the faith.

Edited by Dark_Grey
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Ellapennella
29 minutes ago, third_eye said:

I don't believe you even know the Bible like any educated good Christian should

:yes:

~

I don't say I know everything , but I know Yeshua.

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Ellapennella
2 hours ago, Piney said:

 Christians were pushing it hard to gather converts.

 

You said that Most Gospels were written for a Roman audience in a effort to convert them. All I asked you was why, when they were fine with their pagan gods. 

So you're assuming or guessing that Christians were pushing the gospel hard, can you share where in the bible you get that information about , that's where you should find it from, in the bible. You're talking about it so I hope you could show where you are seeing it from the bible that way. 

Quote

WOW! Your ignorant! He's more knowledgeable and well read on the subject than most Christians. Especially the half educated and half read American ones. 

I don't believe he read the bible. He's never discussed it as if he knows what he's talking about when it pertains to it.

Eta

I don't mean that in a rude way. 

Edited by Ellapennella
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Ellapennella
1 hour ago, Dark_Grey said:

A lot of people don't know there was more than one Jesus. A lot of dirty, smelly hippies came out of the woodwork to claim the position of "Jewish Messiah". The Jesus we all know and love lucked out by having Paul (formerly Saul,) spread his message. Had it not been for Paul, I wonder if Christianity would have spread like it did.

It's an interesting story - Saul is walking on the road to Damascus and suddenly is blinded by the spirit of Jesus revealing himself years after his death. How did Paul know what Jesus looked like? Let's not get caught up in silly details. Saul was so moved by...whatever he saw that he changed his name and began spreading the word of a dirty smelly hippie who lead a cult following a long time ago. When you take yourself outside of the Bible and look at it those same events from a third party perspective, it really changes the weight of the stories.

Edit to add--

For those that don't know, Paul/Saul was both a Jew and a Roman citizen. In the early days, he persecuted the dirty hippie followers of Jesus for being morons. After his experience on the road, where he literally "saw the light", he went on to start several Christian Churches. A changed man. His Roman influence greatly helped him spread Christianity which is why he is considered to be a crucial figure in the early days of the faith.

 Why are you calling the people dirty? 

eta

and morons?

eta

and hippies?

 

Edited by Ellapennella
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Dark_Grey
47 minutes ago, Ellapennella said:

 Why are you calling the people dirty? 

eta

and morons?

eta

and hippies?

That's the type of crowd Jesus would have initially drawn. The Bible doesn't shy away from this. Jesus regularly hung around who? Sinners, prostitutes, lower working class types. They were part of the dredges of society but they were seeking higher esoteric meaning in their lives and so they bought in to Jesus' message and began to follow him. They were likely dirty people with progressive mindsets - "dirty hippies". I'm being loose with those terms. I meant to call them "morons" from the perspective of Saul and most others who lived at that time. People would likely have looked at Jesus and his gang the way we look a the Moonies or some other small cult.

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Dark_Grey

This podcast with Sam Harris and Bart Erhman fundamentally changed the way I think about Christianity. I had never heard the history of it explained so thoroughly and with such context. Very interesting stuff. Erhman is a Bible scholar and former Christian.

Quote

Bart D. Ehrman is the author or editor of more than thirty books, including the New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus and How Jesus Became God. Ehrman is a professor of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and a leading authority on the New Testament and the history of early Christianity. He has been featured in Time, The New Yorker, and The Washington Post, and has appeared on NBC, CNN, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The History Channel, National Geographic, BBC, major NPR shows, and other top print and broadcast media outlets. His most recent book is The Triumph of Christianity.

You can listen to the full 2 hours here or find the podcast in any podcast app. Most of what I said in this thread is drawn from Mr. Erhman

 

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South Alabam

Mark 3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

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eight bits

Thanks to all who've posted so far. Let me chime in on a few points:

6 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

The J-man is most likely a historical person, even I - a hardcore atheist - can see that, but that does not make him divine.

Most likely, OK. I'm 3:2 favoring historicity myself. If I may ask, for you, it's most likely by how much? 10:1? 2:1? 51:49?

And you raise a good point, while the issue in the thread is about religion, especially the historical claims made by the mainstream Christian and Muslim religions, it isn't about atheism or theism. Within Christianity, it's just the core historical claims, the ones also taught in Islam. Whether the Jesus of Nazareth figure was divine or not (or in Islam, a major prophet) can only be a matter of faith, IMO - you believe it or you don't, and there's not much more to say about divinity or divine commission as a prophet.

6 hours ago, Liquid Gardens said:

The above seems to me to kinda gut this 'brother' reference though, it seems to be more along the lines of Paul met even more apostle-likes/followers of Jesus. I guess it can't hurt the historical position as you note, but doesn't seem to move the needle much, since to me it is the possibility of a literal familial relationship that increases the evidence quotient more significantly.

Well, guess what? I think it's figurative :) What keeps that from ending the story is that one of Paul's figures for his own co-workers is the brother of me, sometimes shortened to just the brother (definite article in original). That makes it hard to eliminate the brothers of the Lord being those whom we post-Gospel folks call "the disciples." If so, that's a face-to-face relationship with a living Jesus, and just as much a problem for mythicists as some kind of literal kin.

6 hours ago, third_eye said:

I gave up on this muddled patch of History a long time ago, to tell the truth.

It's addictive.

4 hours ago, Piney said:

I am still under the opinion that JC was the combined persona of Jesus Ben Ananias and Jesus Ben Sirach.

The problem is that there's also the "tar baby historical Jesus." Something like: there was a real guy but his ghost was so much more interesting than he ever was that there were no official stories about his mere life, maybe some gossip, but he wasn't even very interesting that way.

Along comes Mark and he assembles a character from lots of bits and pieces - your guys, Philo's Carabbas, Elijah and Elisha, David of course, some others from the Jewish Bible, John the Baptist (used twice: once for the historical character of John worked into a supporting role in the story, and then recycled as "parallels" between John's and Jesus' stories), what are now called "writing prompts" mined from Paul's letters, and finally, what the various apostles apparently did for a living: wander around, preach, work "signs and wonders," etc.

Of course, a talented guy like Mark wouldn't need the tar baby. I guess it all comes down to how did Paul's reputed pillars, Peter, James and John get together in the first place? Was it a guy, and if so, was that guy somebody other than, say, John the Baptist?

57 minutes ago, South Alabam said:

Mark 3:35  For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

So there it is. Was there a real-life Jesus who said something like this, thereby inspiring his followers to call each other brother and sister, or did Mark find a bunch of hippies (lol) calling each other brother and sister, and Mark used that as a "writing prompt" and made up a dramatic scene to explain the practice (drama= Jesus' biological family isn't being allowed in to see him, and if they did get in, they're going to put a straightjacket on him 'cause they think he's "beside himself.")?

Also, thanks to @Dark_Grey for the Ehrman-Harris link.

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sci-nerd
23 minutes ago, eight bits said:

Most likely, OK. I'm 3:2 favoring historicity myself. If I may ask, for you, it's most likely by how much? 10:1? 2:1? 51:49?

And you raise a good point, while the issue in the thread is about religion, especially the historical claims made by the mainstream Christian and Muslim religions, it isn't about atheism or theism. Within Christianity, it's just the core historical claims, the ones also taught in Islam. Whether the Jesus of Nazareth figure was divine or not (or in Islam, a major prophet) can only be a matter of faith, IMO - you believe it or you don't, and there's not much more to say about divinity or divine commission as a prophet.

The only non-christian sources we got are Josephus and Tacitus. They never met him, but were somewhat contemporary. They heard rumors and met believers.
Common sense says that smoke rarely comes without a fire, so I'd say that it's 60-40 favoring historical.

Edited by sci-nerd
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Will Due

 

 

If Jesus really is the Son of God, who can perform miracles, and if we need to possess the record of his life and what he did, don't you think he could provide it? Or put another way, don't you think he would provide it? I dunno, it makes sense to me.

 

 

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third_eye
9 hours ago, Ellapennella said:

I don't say I know everything , but I know Yeshua.

Then it is best not to be indifferent to what you may yet to know of Yeshua / Esa / Isa / YSH / CR

There is much the bible will yet reveal and unveil

~

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Habitat
6 hours ago, Will Due said:

 

 

If Jesus really is the Son of God, who can perform miracles, and if we need to possess the record of his life and what he did, don't you think he could provide it? Or put another way, don't you think he would provide it? I dunno, it makes sense to me.

 

 

What does this mean ? 

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Habitat
7 hours ago, eight bits said:

It's addictive.

Really ? Perhaps for the adherents, that is understandable, but you are not one, you say.

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eight bits
10 hours ago, Will Due said:

If Jesus really is the Son of God, who can perform miracles, and if we need to possess the record of his life and what he did, don't you think he could provide it? Or put another way, don't you think he would provide it? I dunno, it makes sense to me.

I'm unsure where you're going with this, because we have no such record. If you turn around and say the UB is that record, then I'd amend my first sentence here to say we had no such record for 1900 years or so. Apparently, we didn't need it.

And that makes sense to me :)

 

3 hours ago, Habitat said:

Really ? Perhaps for the adherents, that is understandable, but you are not one, you say.

A good historical puzzle is what's addictive, IMO. For the adherents, the puzzle is plausibly "good" for reasons peculiar to them. For the rest of us, though, there's just enough "evidence" to tantalize, and nowhere near enough to settle the matter, but plenty of loose ends to pick at and maybe even get somewhere with on some of them. Plus, I really like the place and time. It's a minority taste. BUT Jesus is a topic from that time and place that a lot of people are willing to discuss. Yes!

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Ellapennella
7 hours ago, third_eye said:

Then it is best not to be indifferent to what you may yet to know of Yeshua / Esa / Isa / YSH / CR

 

~

Likewise,.

Quote

There is much the bible will yet reveal and unveil

Have you read the bible ?

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third_eye
19 minutes ago, Ellapennella said:

Have you read the bible ?

Which version ?

~

 

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