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sci-nerd

Did Jesus Exist?

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eight bits

Howdy, PA. Good to see you in the old familiar places.

Are you conversant with the American legal concept offer of proof? There must be some Australian equaivalent. In some proceedings, the advocates are permitted to "testify," that is, to assert what somebody else would testify. If the other side doesn't object (doesn't put the opposing advocate to proof, as it called here), then the "testimony" enters the record as if the actual witness had testified as the advocate described. (If the advocate is put to proof, then the witness is called to testify in the usual way).

You see the point of the practice? That's an efficient way for evidence to be presented, especially about peripheral matters. So let's apply this to one of your hypotheticals,

55 minutes ago, Paranoid Android said:

But if 99.9999% of biologists claim that evolution is a fact, and then a Young Earth Creationist begins to use words like "irreducible complexity"..... yyour only conclusion is that this poor fella is a victim of his own hubris and the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

My opinion about the matter is peripheral. Still, I'd like to know what's plausible in that regard. So, I take the biologist(s) at their word, knowing that they assert these things with an offer of proof. Do I put them to proof? No, not I, because I fully believe that if put to proof, they will deliver the goods. Plus, I know they have been put to proof (think of @Copasetic, for example). Yeah, they have the evidence.

Now, compare the OP and its article. Even in the quoted bit. The author had assumed a version of the historical Jesus hypothesis (strong on Gospel Jesus, in fact). That is, he had accepted the consensus position on Jesus' existence. Then one day apparently he decided to put the consensus to proof. So he looked at the evidence for himself (and there's no controversy about what the evidence is). The author enumerates what he looked at in the article. It's not everything, but it's the major structural core of the HJ case.

It's weak. Now, maybe that's good enough for all but one-in-billion historians. And maybe it has to be good enough because oitherwise there'd be nobody for them to study (although, just in the Gospels-Acts, there're are scads of better attested historical figures: Pontius Pilate, Herod the Great, Herod Antipas, his wife Herodias, John the Baptist, Caiphas, Simon of Samaria, Paul of Tarsus, .. hold Jesus to the same standard as them, why not?.)

But even if the ancient history departments had to fold (which it's perfectly obvious that they don't), what has that to do with the correct answer to the question Did Jesus exist? No kidding, taking seriously the possibility that Jesus didn't exist would be inconvenient for a lot of people. So what? The evidence sucks.

That's not the case for the evidence of an old earth. That's not the case for the evidence pointing to a rich population of ancient historical figures. It is the case for Jesus. and any rational person may attend to the difference among the three hypotheses, and estimate their relative credibility accordingly.

 

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Paranoid Android

  

6 hours ago, Habitat said:

I really don't know whether that % of historians of the period, agrees with the proposition of the historical Jesus, but it certainly suits the agenda of some here, to promote the idea it is a "live" debate that he was a literary  invention.

I haven't really looked into it for a few years, but I literally do not know of a single historian within the field of ancient near east academic study who doubts his existence. Maybe they have become more prevalent in the last two years but they were non-existent when I was a regular on this forum. 

 

6 hours ago, Jodie.Lynne said:

But which Jesus are we discussing? IIRC, there were three or four "Jesuses" (Jesus-I?) running around at the time.

And by "Historical Jesus", do we discount all the alleged miracles? And that whole "only begotten son of God" stuff?

If we are talking about a 1st century Rabbi who tried to teach people to be better towards each other, I accept that. And he is no more divine than Ghandi, Martin Luther King, or John Lennon.

I would never include something that requires faith (miracles, etc) as a matter for the "historical Jesus". But there was a figure who was named Jesus and taught in the 1st Century AD and was crucified and on whom the writings of the Bible were written and inspired the movement known then and now as "Christianity". That's about as close to an historical fact as any 2000 year old figure will ever get.  

 

6 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

Hello Paranandr Oidoid (sorry for messing your name up ;-)

The reason I am almost certain that the bible-Jesus never existed, is not just because of the article, but mainly because of all the gods, myths, legends and savior-figures that predates him, and who - funny enough - each have one or more commonalities they "share" with him, or events in his life. The article just adds to the pile.
It's just too far fetched to believe that all the legends came to life with him. I don't buy it.

As for other historical figures, I agree that we need to turn down the demands a notch, before we dismiss their historical existence. But we should also look at the context of their description. Does it seem like something the writer usually writes? Is it out of the ordinary? Does it resemble forgery? If no alarm bells sound, and it seems typical for the writer, there's no need to doubt it.

I'm not sure what you mean by the commonalities of the saviour-type figures. Are you going the whole Zeitgeist conspiracy about Mithras/Osiris/Dionysus/Krishna/etc/etc/etc being born of a virgin, having 12 disciples, died for the sins of the world and was resurrected 3 days later, etc?  If so, the source material where this information is alleged to have come from is a load of dingoes kidneys (Kersey Graves, Acharya S, wherever it is - the source is rotten). If you are referring to something else then maybe you can clarify your position for me? 

6 hours ago, eight bits said:

Howdy, PA. Good to see you in the old familiar places.

Are you conversant with the American legal concept offer of proof? .........Then one day apparently he decided to put the consensus to proof. So he looked at the evidence for himself (and there's no controversy about what the evidence is)....

 

Hey eighty matey,

I am no legal expert, I don't know if there is an equivalent in Australia (I assume there is). I understand what you are trying to say, though. However, I think this really is where the crux of our differences stem from. You are of the opinion that the evidence provided is not strong enough to ascertain historicity. The historians look at the exact same data and arrive at an alternative opinion, this this is actually overwhelming proof of Jesus' historicity. Now, the biggie - Is this a failure in the evidence itself or a failure in the application of the historical method???? This article (and yourself) contend it is the former, the evidence is not strong enough to warrant a conclusion. I contend that the matter is actually that you are undervaluing the evidence available and thus arriving at erroneous conclusions.

Let's compare briefly to the hypothetical Young Earth Creationist I brought up in the last post. It was just a broad post so I didn't go into detail, but there are actually scientists who are Young Earth Creationists too. Not many, but they exist. And these scientists (while nowhere near representing the consensus) will tell you how the data actually supports them (an "offer of proof" to use your American terminology). I'm not an expert in biology, I'm quite comfortable sitting back and accepting "most biologists" accept evolution. An "offer of proof" only helps if you accept that a scientist will bring you the right proof, a Young Earth Creationist will also try to give me their offer of proof. It's now whether I BELIEVE that person or not, frequently the evidence itself will be the same from both sides, just analysed differently! Fundamentally that is the same as an historian, we just (like I said) disagree on the veracity of that evidence. 

Quote

....what has that to do with the correct answer to the question Did Jesus exist? No kidding, taking seriously the possibility that Jesus didn't exist would be inconvenient for a lot of people. So what? The evidence sucks (PA's edit -, in my opinion).

That's not the case for the evidence of an old earth. That's not the case for the evidence pointing to a rich population of ancient historical figures. It is the case for Jesus. and any rational person may attend to the difference among the three hypotheses, and estimate their relative credibility accordingly.

I think we need to make a small edit into your post here (I just added the "in my opinion"). In my opinion the evidence is overwhelmingly supportive of an historical Jesus. And this opinion is held by those who dedicate their lives to studying history so I think it's more accurate to look at the historical evidence and declare  that it's overwhelmingly in support of an historical Jesus. 

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eight bits

Hi, again, PA

Feels like old times (not enirely a bad thing :) ).

Your post hinted at an inconsistency between the non-specialist who accepts the consensus about the age of the earth, and the same non-specialist rejecting the consensus surrounding a historical Jesus. I think I have met my burden of distinguishing the two situations. Disagree with the personal conclusions that follow from the rejection, but it is inncoent of inconsistency.

In my opinion. Yes, a sharp eye you have to notice that I didn't hang an IMO there, even though I'm usually pretty good about that, IMO. There are several reasons, one should suffice. I was really discussing the polar opinion espoused by an entire "side" of the argument, including the one presented in the OP article. Your rebuttal argument hadn't been addressed to me personally; my answer needn't specialize it to me personally, either.

But since we're here. Yes, in my opinion, the evidence sucks. What should follow from that?

One well-regarded approach to normative reasoning about uncertainty counsels that in the absence of persuasive evidence, confidence in the contending hypotheses is apportioned by "first principles" considerations. How plausible is each alternative hypothesis compared with the others, just as a story (so to speak)?

A talkative edgy preacher builds a small following, decides he's ready to take his show to the big city, Jerusalem, flips off a cop while he's there, finds out that that's a capital offense within the city limits. His crew survives him, and think he isn't really dead after all. They get an agent, and now it's their show.

Yes, could be. But the nature of the story and why it's plausible inevitably support some alternative hypotheses, too. It's plausible because we know that there were people back then, plural, whose stories have parts like that. @Piney is impressed with the parallels between the Jesus Passion and the near-passion of Jesus ben Ananas told in Josephus' Jewish Wars. Another piece of the Jesus Passion parallels Philo of Alexandria's Carabas incident (spellings are various in English). And so on.

Clearly, then, the plausibility of the Jesus story as one person also supports the alternative hypothesis that Jesus is a literary composite figure. A reasonable person might find the two alternatives equally plausible, or not (reasonable people will differ in the absence of evidence, and should). But the point is that the estimator needs nobody's permission to conclude that.

And of course those aren't the only two alternatives.

One final point. If you ask historians to justify their consensus, then one thing you hear is that they seek "the best explanation of the evidence, whatever is available." OK. But the best explanation in a field of several alternatives isn't necessarily more likely than not. (e.g., in a field of 4: 40%, 30%, 20% and 10%; 40% wins and also is more likely to be false than true).

The person who wants the specific answer to Did Jesus exist? is playing a different game than any consensus participants who will settle for the best available explanation of a still uncertain matter. There are other things that follow from focusing on one question (as the OP author tries to do), and being required to answer many questions simultaneously (as a historian needs to do professionally), but that's enough for now, I think.

 

 

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third_eye

It puzzles me plenty when it comes to the historical perspectives because it isn't all that apparent what and which name is supposed to be the accurate, is it Esa / Isa Ben yusuf / yosef or is it the titular Messiah / Jesus / Christos / Christ Jesus of which there were plenty... 

~

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sci-nerd
7 hours ago, Paranoid Android said:

I'm not sure what you mean by the commonalities of the saviour-type figures. Are you going the whole Zeitgeist conspiracy about Mithras/Osiris/Dionysus/Krishna/etc/etc/etc being born of a virgin, having 12 disciples, died for the sins of the world and was resurrected 3 days later, etc?  If so, the source material where this information is alleged to have come from is a load of dingoes kidneys (Kersey Graves, Acharya S, wherever it is - the source is rotten). If you are referring to something else then maybe you can clarify your position for me?

So, professor, are they all suffering from Dunning-Kruger? How about yourself? You seem very qualified to dismiss so many people, but are you? :D

What is it that the Jesus-myth is claimed to have said... 

Quote

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Luke 6:41-42

 

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sci-nerd
8 hours ago, Paranoid Android said:

But there was a figure who was named Jesus and taught in the 1st Century AD and was crucified and on whom the writings of the Bible were written and inspired the movement known then and now as "Christianity". That's about as close to an historical fact as any 2000 year old figure will ever get.  

From where do we "know" this? Which historian tells us this? Please provide sources.

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Paranoid Android

G'day 8bits, I tried submitting my reply twice but there keeps on being a formatting error with the quoting system. Hopefully third time's a charm :tu: 
Third time was not a charm. Must have changed the coding system in the forum since I was here. Since I don't know how to multi quote you yet, I'll just put your words in bold, ok.

Hi, again, PA

Feels like old times (not enirely a bad thing :) ).

Your post hinted at an inconsistency between the non-specialist who accepts the consensus about the age of the earth, and the same non-specialist rejecting the consensus surrounding a historical Jesus. I think I have met my burden of distinguishing the two situations. Disagree with the personal conclusions that follow from the rejection, but it is inncoent of inconsistency.

A little bit like old times, lol. Anyway, I think I will just have to disagree with the conclusions.

 

In my opinion. Yes, a sharp eye you have to notice that I didn't hang an IMO there, even though I'm usually pretty good about that, IMO. There are several reasons, one should suffice. I was really discussing the polar opinion espoused by an entire "side" of the argument, including the one presented in the OP article. Your rebuttal argument hadn't been addressed to me personally; my answer needn't specialize it to me personally, either.

But since we're here. Yes, in my opinion, the evidence sucks. What should follow from that?

Not sure if you're being snarky there or not. I felt that was necessary because stating "the evidence sucks" makes a value statement, and without an opinion moniker that statement sounds like a blanket statement. I guess in my opinion the evidence does not "suck".

 

One well-regarded approach to normative reasoning about uncertainty counsels that in the absence of persuasive evidence, confidence in the contending hypotheses is apportioned by "first principles" considerations. How plausible is each alternative hypothesis compared with the others, just as a story (so to speak)?

A talkative edgy preacher builds a small following, decides he's ready to take his show to the big city, Jerusalem, flips off a cop while he's there, finds out that that's a capital offense within the city limits. His crew survives him, and think he isn't really dead after all. They get an agent, and now it's their show.

Yes, could be. But the nature of the story and why it's plausible inevitably support some alternative hypotheses, too. It's plausible because we know that there were people back then, plural, whose stories have parts like that. @Piney is impressed with the parallels between the Jesus Passion and the near-passion of Jesus ben Ananas told in Josephus' Jewish Wars. Another piece of the Jesus Passion parallels Philo of Alexandria's Carabas incident (spellings are various in English). And so on.

Clearly, then, the plausibility of the Jesus story as one person also supports the alternative hypothesis that Jesus is a literary composite figure. A reasonable person might find the two alternatives equally plausible, or not (reasonable people will differ in the absence of evidence, and should). But the point is that the estimator needs nobody's permission to conclude that.

And of course those aren't the only two alternatives.

One final point. If you ask historians to justify their consensus, then one thing you hear is that they seek "the best explanation of the evidence, whatever is available." OK. But the best explanation in a field of several alternatives isn't necessarily more likely than not. (e.g., in a field of 4: 40%, 30%, 20% and 10%; 40% wins and also is more likely to be false than true).

That makes sense. I've not thought about it in those terms before, and it's a fair call. I guess then, if you want to cut out the arguments then we can put our dispute into a "best case scenario" and a "worst case scenario" box:

* Best case scenario - People like Dr Bart Ehrman have it correct when he declares "Whatever else you may say, Jesus almost certainly existed" (I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote from his "did Jesus exist" book, but it's been a few years since I've read it myself).
* Worst case scenario -  On the balance of probabilities, even if we have a less than 50-50 chance of being right, it's still by far the most reasonable extrapolation of the evidence. 

I'm happy to take that. Even though I'm still on the same side of the historicity debate as I was back in the day, it doesn't actually affect my world view if Jesus turned out to be an utter fabrication. I'm just arguing because I think the case for an historical Jesus is too overwhelming to ignore. 

 

The person who wants the specific answer to Did Jesus exist? is playing a different game than any consensus participants who will settle for the best available explanation of a still uncertain matter. There are other things that follow from focusing on one question (as the OP author tries to do), and being required to answer many questions simultaneously (as a historian needs to do professionally), but that's enough for now, I think.

That's why these forums exist. But while these people may be "playing a different game" they are still using the same board.

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Debra F. II
8 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

From where do we "know" this? Which historian tells us this? Please provide sources.

I'm pretty sure that the bible is the historical account and the historians are the ones who wrote it and they are the ones who witnessed it, some were people that interviewed others and some were the ones who were followers and disciples.

It's no different than how we get our news today. There wasn't t.v. and radio back then, only pen and paper and actually it is no different then the declaration of independence it's just older and with supernatural accounts that some people refuse to believe who disregard it to be true; I didnt witness the signing of of the declaration, therefore should I discredit the events? 

Would it be correct for us to dscredit the historians and the people who kept a diary during the civil war and even during the 1st world war? : ) ?

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Paranoid Android
8 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

So, professor, are they all suffering from Dunning-Kruger? How about yourself? You seem very qualified to dismiss so many people, but are you? :D

What is it that the Jesus-myth is claimed to have said... 

 

With the Christ-myth conspiracy as stated by Graves/Acharya/et al, I don't think it's a case of the Dunning-Kruger effect at all. I actually think they're intentionally writing false information in order to sell more books. Don't take my word for it, let's look at what Dr Richard Carrier has to say. Not sure if you know Dr Carrier, but he's an atheist and one of the prominent historians that actually do promote the idea that Jesus never existed. As such, I doubt you'll find him to be an unreliable source. In any case, this is what he wrote concerning Kersey Graves' book, "The World's 16 Crucified Saviours" (link). You can read it all yourself, it's not long, but of particular note is his opening statement that most scholars "dismiss Graves as useless". 

If you look at the source list for any site claiming a Christ-myth conspiracy, the author took their information from this source. The very well-known "Zeitgeist" movie, that primarily quotes an author by the name of Acharya S. Acharya S put out a Christ-conspiracy book, and the primary source quoted in her book is (you guessed it), Kersey Graves. Since then you'll see  a lot of websites use Zeitgeist as a source, but if you follow the paper trail it all trickles back to Kersey Graves and his useless research. 

Moreover, years ago I took the liberty of emailing historians from ancient history departments and asking them for the academic consensus to this. I have those emails somewhere in my inbox, several of them gave me permission to quote them so if you like I can forward that on right now. In particular I recall Dr Peter Brand breaking down my email point by point. I only emailed him about Osiris/Horus/Isis because he's an Egyptologist, I didn't need him to tell me that his area of expertise wouldn't be Bacchus, Dionysus, Krishna, Mithras, or any such. In any case, I lost count of the number of times Dr Brand responded to a point in my email with "this claim is not supported" and "not in any Egyptian tradition". I can quote his full email.  

 

8 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

From where do we "know" this? Which historian tells us this? Please provide sources.

Thallos (circa AD 55) wrote about the darkness coinciding with the crucifixion. Though as a pagan he attributed it to a natural eclipse, not a supernatural event.

Around AD 70 Mara bar Serapion refers to the Jews murdering their "wise king" (though no specific name is given, this is largely seen by historians to refer to Jesus).

Tacitus, Pliny, and Suetonius all write about Jesus or the Christians by the early 2nd Century AD, as does Lucian of Samosata and Celsus before the close of that century.

Josephus makes two references to Jesus, though one is at least partly a forgery (maybe a total forgery).

And that's not even considering the sources used within the New Testament like the sayings gospel, Q, which hails just a short decade or two after Jesus. 

More than that, though, one thing completely missing from ancient discourse is anyone at all who doubted Jesus. In fact, according to the non-Christian publication known as the Encyclopaedia Britannica, "the existence of Jesus was doubted for the first time, and on inadequate ground, in the 18th Century...." (close to a direct quote, keep in mind that it's been years since I've looked this stuff up). 

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onlookerofmayhem
5 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

I'm pretty sure that the bible is the historical account and the historians are the ones who wrote it and they are the ones who witnessed it, some were people that interviewed others and some were the ones who were followers and disciples.

I'm pretty sure you're wrong on almost everything here.

Who wrote the bible? How many different individuals wrote it?

Which disciples wrote which book? And when were they written?

10 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

It's no different than how we get our news today. There wasn't t.v. and radio back then, only pen and paper and actually it is no different then the declaration of independence it's just older and with supernatural accounts that some people refuse to believe who disregard it to be true;

It's completely different. Imagine what the news would be if it was told decades and centuries after the event supposedly happened. 

The supernatural events in the bible can and should be totally disregarded. They are, by all means, impossible to have occured.

Virgin birth. Necromancy. Fish and bread story. Ressurection.  Etc.

14 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

I didnt witness the signing of of the declaration, therefore should I discredit the events?

We literally have many of the original documents associated with the Declaration and the actual document itself. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_history_of_the_United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

You chose a very bad example for comparison. The amount of contemporary evidence is massive compared with that of biblical events surrounding the story of Jesus. 

27 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

Would it be correct for us to dscredit the historians and the people who kept a diary during the civil war and even during the 1st world war? : ) ?

It would depend on what they were recording in their diary. 

Are they claiming anything out of the ordinary? Does the writer claim that somebody used a nuclear weapon in the civil war? Do the dates and events match up with other historical records and archeological data?

It be wrong to discredit anything without scrutinizing and analyzing it first.

 

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Paranoid Android said:

But while these people may be "playing a different game" they are still using the same board.

As do chess players and checkers players. Losing track of which you're playing degrades player performance, however familiar the board looks.

The point in contention is whether the consensus in the field is about the same kind of thing as the concern of the author of the OP article. I suspect one caucus within the consensus is not built about the likely truth of the HJ hypothesis, but only that it is, in the opinion of the estimators, the best explanation which most of the estimators have evaluated.

Apart from those being two distinct issues on their faces, being more likely than not is not the same as being best supported among hypotheses examined, you brought up an interesting example of how much difference that distinction can make.

1 hour ago, Paranoid Android said:

Best case scenario - People like Dr Bart Ehrman have it correct when he declares "Whatever else you may say, Jesus almost certainly existed" (I'm pretty sure that's a direct quote from his "did Jesus exist" book, but it's been a few years since I've read it myself).

I'm unsure whether the almost is in the book or not. In the promotional materials for the book, there was no almost until some interviewers called him on it. He was claiming certainty without the hedge.

Ehrman is also interesting for one version of why he wrote the book (again, from promotional materials). He became aware that there were people who sought to debate people like him on the topic, and then for the first time in his life acknowledged that he didn't know the evidentiary cases for and against HJ, nor did he know anybody else in the  field who did.

That's a stark contrast to "spending his whole life" studying the matter, as you seem to imagine, in the company of others who'd done likewise. He'd spent his whole life up to that point assuming the HJ hypothesis was true, and knew of no colleague who hadn't.

And that makes sense. His expertise centers on the relationships among extant ancient texts, especially Christian texts like Gospels. Obviously, it is entirely irrelavant to the relationship among texts whether the texts are fiction or based on fact. Here is the earliest known version of Mark. It was made in Alexandria (say). It differs from this other example from Antioch in that it lacks a verb in the first sentence ... and so on and so on. That's the kind of expertise Ehrman had displayed. Worthy matters for scholarship? Absolutely. Anything to do with the historical Jesus hypothesis? Not much.

Test by thought experiment: would Richard Carrier say that the first example text wasn't made in Alexandria, and if he did would his reason have anything to do with whether or not he believes Mark is based on a true story? Would he discover that the Antioch example lacks that initial verb after all, because he believes Mark is an untrue story?

Until he actually looked into the question, Ehrman was no more an expert on whether Jesus lived than Richard Carrier is an expert on the provenance of ancient manuscripts.

1 hour ago, Paranoid Android said:

Worst case scenario -  On the balance of probabilities, even if we have a less than 50-50 chance of being right, it's still by far the most reasonable extrapolation of the evidence. 

I don't know how the phrase extrapolation of the evidence applies to our problem, but that sure doesn't sound like the worst case scenario currently being discussed seriously among people with an interest in the correct answer to the single factual question, and with adequate qualifications in normative reasoning about evidence.

In the absence of a dispute about what the evidence is (as is the case here; you and I are not discussing Zeitgeist), every competent uncertain reasoner has a say. They will differ; that's what the theory predicts, with approval.

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Paranoid Android

 

 

9 hours ago, sci-nerd said:

You seem very qualified to dismiss so many people, but are you? :D

 

23 minutes ago, Paranoid Android said:

 

Moreover, years ago I took the liberty of emailing historians from ancient history departments and asking them for the academic consensus to this. I have those emails somewhere in my inbox.....

 

I decided to go through my old emails after all, Sci-nerd. This is his reply to me, which was basically my initial email with him adding comments to what I'd written (the stuff in red is Dr Brand's replies to my questions). He gave me permission to quote him, so don't worry that I send out personal correspondence to randoms on the net all the time, :rofl: 

Dr Brand,

Hi, I was wondering if you could help me with a question on Ancient Egypt.  In recent times I have been reading about certain parallels between the Egyptian gods Horus and Osiris, and the figure we today call Jesus Christ.  These similarities are often applied to deities in other cultures also, but considering your expertise in Egyptology I thought you would be a good expert to contact about this.  Some of the claims given about Osiris:

OSIRIS:
•       Osiris came to fulfill the law.
              In mythical times Osiris was divine ruler of Egypt before his brother Seth murdered him. As a king he
was a law giver, but that aspect of his role is not emphasized in Egyptian mythology. I think its a great stretch to claiim that "he came to fulfill the law" especially in the Christian context of fulfillment of prophecy. There was no such prophecy in Egypt.


•       Called "KRST," the "Anointed One."
            No, I think this one is not true at all

•       Born of the virgin Isis-Meri (Mary) on December 25th in manger,
                  Osiris' son Horus was born to Isis who is not called "Meri".  HOrus was born in a reed thicket in the delta marshes where Isis was hiding after her brother Seth murdered her husband (and brother) Osiris.

•       His birth announced by a star and attended by three wise men.
                               No, there is nothing about this in Egyptian mythology

•       Earthly father named "Seb" (translates to "Joseph.")
                               Osiris' father was the earth god Geb, this doesn't mean "Joseph".  Geb and his sister/wife Nut were the parents of four gods and goddesses: Osiris, Seth, Isis and Nepthys. They were quadruplets



•       At age 12 he was a child teacher in the Temple and at 30 he was baptized, having disappeared for 18 years.
                                     There is no tradition in Egyptian mythology for this story

•       Osiris was baptized in the river Iarutana -- the river Jordan -- by "Anup the Baptizer”, later beheaded (Anup translates to John).
                                       This is also without basis in Egyptian mythology. "Anup" is probably Anubis the Egyptian god of mummification.  there is no river "Iarutana" in Egypt, just the Nile. The closest thing the Egyptians had to "baptism" was a purification ceremony where priests and kings had water poured over them to purify their bodies before entering the temple. It was not a spiritual baptism, just a cleansing shower so they would be ritually clean to enter the temple.

•        He performed miracles, exorcised demons, raised El-Osiris from the dead.
The goddess Isis was able to reassemble Osiris's dismembered body and getting pregnant off of him after his death. Osiris can also "rise up" after death, but he remains a dead god who reigns over the underworld. This is the closest thing to Christian resurrection in Egyptian mythology, but it is not the same.


•       Walked on water
•       Crucified between two thieves
•       Buried in a tomb from which he arose on the third day, resurrected.
•       Called "The Way, the Truth, the Light," "Messiah," "god's Anointed Son,' the "Son of Man," the "Word made Flesh," the "word of truth."
•       Expected to reign a thousand years.

None of these apply to Osiris, Horus or any aspects of Egyptian Mythology.

Horus is often given a very similar list, except he is often said to have 12 disciples added to his list, as well as said to have raised El-Azarus from the dead (allegedly translated as Lazarus).

In any case, my question is about how much of this can be verified by ancient sources.  I’ve often read these claims, but I rarely get to see the sources used.  Do these sources exist, or are they being “invented” (for lack of a better word) by certain people in order to create sensationalism?

I do think alot of these claims come from invention, whether modern or perhaps from other non-Egyptian ancient or historical people who did not fully understand Egyptian mythology and/or who made interpretations of Egyptian mythology second hand.

The bottom line is that there are some superficial similarities between the mythology of Isis, Osiris and Horus and some aspects of the Christian tradition. Isis gave birth to Horus in secret and she and the baby were worshiped in a manner similar to the virgin and child. Osiris was killed and did resurrect, but in the afterlife, not on earth. But there is not prophecy, crucifixion, or other specifically Christian motifs in the Egyptian. The cult of Isis and baby Horus may indeed have influenced later Christians, especially in Egypt and contributed to the Virgin and Child tradition in early Christianity. Maybee, but we dont know that for sure and it might be just a coincidence. When one religion influences another, as often happens, it can be hard to know exactly when and how or how much these traditions changed hands. Its especially true of a religious tradition like Egyptian mythology which has been dead for 2000 years.

I hope this helps you.

best wishes

PEter Brand

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Paranoid Android
18 minutes ago, eight bits said:

He'd spent his whole life up to that point assuming the HJ hypothesis was true, and knew of no colleague who hadn't.

Well he's not alone. The people closest to the events assumed the HJ hypothesis was true too (can find plenty of critics of Christianity in the early years but none of them questioned the existence of its founder). 

 

 

20 minutes ago, eight bits said:

don't know how the phrase extrapolation of the evidence applies to our problem, but that sure doesn't sound like the worst case scenario currently being discussed seriously among people with an interest in the correct answer to the single factual question, and with adequate qualifications in normative reasoning about evidence.

In a hypothetical 40/30/20/10 option of 4 it would show that the most likely answer is still more likely to be false than true. I simply agreed with you on that logic, but took it a step further. Worst case scenario - there's more of a chance of it being false than being true, but any other alternative is even less likely to be true. That's all I was getting at :)

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sci-nerd

@Paranoid Android I don't think we can dismiss all aspects of the Christ myth based on Egyptology and the ancient gods of Egypt. I've never claimed, or heard anyone claim, that Christ should be a one-to-one copy of Horus, or any other Egyptian god. There might be people who claim that, but I've been fortunate enough to miss them in my investigations.
It is a large variety of gods and legends we're talking about, from Greece, through the Middle East, to Egypt. And it's only aspects, or details, we're talking about. Not a full ripoff of any kind.

When the winter solstice celebrations are over, and I have more time on my hand, I'm planning to revisit my former investigations, and then I can counter argue better. Your historical sources are also flawed, and not nearly as obvious as you make them out to be, but we'll have that discussion in the new year.

Merry solstice :tu:

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Paranoid Android
2 minutes ago, sci-nerd said:

@Paranoid Android I don't think we can dismiss all aspects of the Christ myth based on Egyptology and the ancient gods of Egypt. I've never claimed, or heard anyone claim, that Christ should be a one-to-one copy of Horus, or any other Egyptian god. There might be people who claim that, but I've been fortunate enough to miss them in my investigations.

Which is why I asked the clarifying question - are we talking about a full on Zeitgeist movie conspiracy, or something less extreme (and if so, I was hoping for clarification)? I look forward to hearing your points in greater detail when you get back from holiday. If we've been at crossed purposes then I apologise. 

 

2 minutes ago, sci-nerd said:

When the winter solstice celebrations are over, and I have more time on my hand, I'm planning to revisit my former investigations, and then I can counter argue better. Your historical sources are also flawed, and not nearly as obvious as you make them out to be, but we'll have that discussion in the new year.

I understand you feel the sources are flawed. I've seen the arguments plenty of times. But we'll chat about that another time.

 

2 minutes ago, sci-nerd said:

Merry solstice :tu:

Merry Christmas :santa: 

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eight bits
8 hours ago, Paranoid Android said:

Well he's not alone. The people closest to the events assumed the HJ hypothesis was true too (can find plenty of critics of Christianity in the early years but none of them questioned the existence of its founder). 

Ain't so. The followers of Simon of Samaria believed that Jesus' Passion was a performance piece by Simon himself. That is, the Simonians taught that there was no historical Jesus.

https://uncertaintist.wordpress.com/2016/08/01/an-ancient-teaching-that-jesus-didnt-exist/

Interestingly, although most of our sources for Simon and his followers are patristic, it is Biblical that at least some contemporaries of Jesus thought that Jesus was a "Samaritan with a demon" (if not Simon, then, somebody else with the same chief attributes). Jesus is accused of this in John 8:48.

Another problem is your statement that somebody "can find plenty of critics of Christianity in the early years." No we can't. Although there are informal expressions of hostility against Christians from throughout the Second Century (that is, two to five generations after the purported events), the earliest scholarly critic whose arguments were preserved is Celsus, dated to perhaps 170 CE. His work was preserved because Origen wrote what appears to be a page-by-page refutation of the work.

"Jesus did not exist" is a fact claim, not an argument. Whether Celsus believed Jesus existed, and with what confidence, he doesn't say (or to be precise, he doesn't make an argument involving the fact claim that moved Origen to rebuttal). Regardless of those beliefs, Celsus cannot say of his own knowledge whether or not Jesus existed, and so there's no surprise that he doesn't say.

He does, however, tell us what his rhetorical strategy is in the portion of the book that is in his own voice (there is another part where he examines Jewish-Christian debates). He seeks to refute Christianity using only its own literature. So, yes, he assumed the HJ hypothesis, but arguendo, for the narrow purpose at hand.

We may conclude that "Jesus didn't exist" wasn't a typical feature of the Christian literature circulating in the Second Century. Could be, eh? We may make no inference about the personal beliefs of any counterapologist at the time. Nor, given the lateness of our first glimpse of actual systematic counterapology, would those personal beliefs be evidence one way or the other for the topic question here in this thread.

8 hours ago, Paranoid Android said:

Worst case scenario - there's more of a chance of it being false than being true, but any other alternative is even less likely to be true. That's all I was getting at :)

That's not how it works. Let's say the 40% was a typical contemporary HJ scenario: There was a Jewish preacher baptized by John and crucified by Pilate, who was survived by personal acquaintances who were the earliest apostles.

Maybe 30% is a Doherty-Carrier "Celestial Jesus" scenario of comparable specificity to the above. Maybe 20% is a Samaritan religion which Jewish activists "Judaized," and then Paul "Gentilized." 10% can be none of the above.

The affirmative answer to Did Jesus exist? is a disjunctive hypothesis, comprising the 40% somewhat specific hypothesis plus maybe some portion of the non-specific 10%; let's be generous and say 9 out of ten. 49%. The negative answer to the question then totes up to 51%. The no's have it.

It is simply a fact that the more specific the hypothesis

- the greater its "explanatory power" if it's true

- the less likely it is to be true so long as there are seriously possible alternatives

"Best explanation" and "plausibility" are not simply distinct qualities, they are antagonistic.

 

 

Edited by eight bits
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Rlyeh
11 hours ago, Debra F. II said:

I'm pretty sure that the bible is the historical account and the historians are the ones who wrote it and they are the ones who witnessed it, some were people that interviewed others and some were the ones who were followers and disciples.

How much of the Bible is historical?  And historians wrote it?  That's a new one.

 

11 hours ago, Debra F. II said:

It's no different than how we get our news today. There wasn't t.v. and radio back then, only pen and paper and actually it is no different then the declaration of independence it's just older and with supernatural accounts that some people refuse to believe who disregard it to be true; I didnt witness the signing of of the declaration, therefore should I discredit the events? 

Would it be correct for us to dscredit the historians and the people who kept a diary during the civil war and even during the 1st world war? : ) ?

You know the Gospels were authored anonymously decades after the alleged events?

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SoWhatNow

In response to the OP, I can't say if he existed because I wasn't there, but he is definitely a life giving spirit now: Deviding forums like this 2000 years later and exposing the hearts of the contributors; saving those that are willing to deny their flesh and its lusts for proof and embracing the freedom of spirit from this corruption.

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eight bits

A few more thoughts on "best explanation" versus "plausible enough for confident acceptance."

There always is at least one best explanation. That is the bedrock reason why, in scholarship, "you can't replace something with nothing." Even if the best explanation were known to be false, it will survive until a better explanation is crafted. That experiment has been done. Phlogiston, the very poster child of failed hypotheses, while extinguished as an explanation of combustion, nevertheless survived for a few decades beyond, because there was no other satisfactory explanation of acid-base reactions.

Thus, something like the OP article which shows how pathetic the evidence is for a single historical Jesus is irrelevant to scholarship based on best explanation. There was no historical Jesus? So what?

For one thing, "the evidence for hypothesis H sucks" doesn't imply "hypothesis H is false." But suppose the OP article were that strong, that it showed HJ to be false. Really so what?

Yes, really. Because even if it is false, it may be "approximately" correct. OK, maybe there were several Jesus-like teachers, or it was really John the Baptist or Judean admirers of Simon the Samaritan who formed the original "church." Whatever. Some historical figure(s) who constellated some admirers is "close enough" to HJ for the hypothesis to be approximately true.

What happens then in scholarship, when a false hypothesis is approximately true? Well, there's another experiment that has been done. Newton's laws of motion are false, but to excellent precision, they are approximately correct in many, many practical situations. Even as I type this, they are widely used in their original and uncorrected form by people who know for a fact they are false (some of whom could make the corrections and many others who can't).

Nowadays, the best known contender for an alternative best explanation to the HJ hypothesis is the Doherty-Carrier celestial Jesus.  Doherty was putting it together at just about the same time as the OP article was written.

On the one hand, CJ is something rather than nothing. But it has some rough sledding ahead, and not entirely because the Jesus Studies guild is so much worse than any other academic "silo" field. There are a lot of other places where not invented here is a prohibitive barrier even to serous consideration, never mind acceptance.

By the same standard of suction under which the evidence for HJ sucks, the evidence for CJ sucks, too. There is a historical blackout just where we need light to understand Christian origins, say the generation from 30 through 60 CE.

The only light we have on the movement that early is Paul's business correspondence, and almost the only light we have on the timely surroundings in Palestine is Josephus. To all appearances, Josephus didn't take much notice of the movement at the time it was supposedly flourishing all around him (there's nothing about Jesus or "his brother" James in Josephus' earlier book on the war, and only the briefest mentions - if those are not entirely pious fakes - almost two decades later in his second book).

Even if the light were better, a celestial Jesus who does miracles in answer to prayers wouldn't be so different from a Gospel Jesus who does miracles in answer to requests. If it's difficult to replace something with nothing, it's also probably difficult to replace one hypothesis with a close approximation to it.

355/113 is an objectively closer approximation to pi than 22/7, easy to remember (think 113355 - it's almost a meme), and hardly more work, but 22/7 is the iconic approximation.

What has all but killed the usefulness of both approximations is the electronic calculator - a unformly better approximation than either fraction, offering as many digits' precision as I care to buy, no need to remember anything, and no work by me at all.

Is Celestial Jesus that much better than the Historical Jesus hypothesis it approximates, as much better as electronic calculators are than (say) slide rules or the manual use of 22/7? Personally, I don't think so.

To close on a bright note, one accomplishment would be to break the complacent certainty of the Jesus Studies guild, for them to acknowledge the rational uncertainty of their best explanation. Not persuade them to deny HJ, but just acknowledge its uncertainty, the serious possibility that the best explanation isn't all that good.

Even that much is going to be tricky, because so many guild members drop to their knees weekly before a pair of sticks that supposedly refers to a real historical event. Do not insult anybody's intelligence by arguing that that makes no difference in how the median guild member views the HJ hypothesis. Spare me the occasional Jewish or atheist scholar who also works in the guild shop and who professes agreement with the consensus that prevails there.

 

 

Edited by eight bits
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onlookerofmayhem

Hey @Debra F. II

Still waiting on your response(s).

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Debra F. II
On 12/18/2019 at 7:30 PM, onlookerofmayhem said:

I'm pretty sure you're wrong on almost everything here.

Who wrote the bible? How many different individuals wrote it?

Which disciples wrote which book? And when were they written?

It's completely different. Imagine what the news would be if it was told decades and centuries after the event supposedly happened. 

The supernatural events in the bible can and should be totally disregarded. They are, by all means, impossible to have occured.

Virgin birth. Necromancy. Fish and bread story. Ressurection.  Etc.

We literally have many of the original documents associated with the Declaration and the actual document itself. 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physical_history_of_the_United_States_Declaration_of_Independence

You chose a very bad example for comparison. The amount of contemporary evidence is massive compared with that of biblical events surrounding the story of Jesus. 

It would depend on what they were recording in their diary. 

Are they claiming anything out of the ordinary? Does the writer claim that somebody used a nuclear weapon in the civil war? Do the dates and events match up with other historical records and archeological data?

It be wrong to discredit anything without scrutinizing and analyzing it first.

 

Waiting on my response, well thanks, not real sure why but...    lol...

Honestly hadn't planned to respond, just watching from a far.... 

There are clearly more nonbelievers here than believers. And trying to explain the reasons of why I answered in the manner I did is pointless.

The post "Did Jesus Exsist"  and the topic of it, I responded to with my answer from what I believe, there's nothing more to it.

Trying to explain why I used the example I did is also pointless. But if you and I were to agree on the same religion, then you would understand my answer....

At this point I am praying for you and the rest of the non believers. 

Peace be with you & may your hearts find God, God willing.♡

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Jodie.Lynne

Wow. The olde "you can't possibly understand my religion unless you totally embrace it and believe it" argument.

The belter response would have been "I believe what I believe because it pleases me", rather than assume the holier than thou position you have voiced.

Edited by Jodie.Lynne
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onlookerofmayhem
1 minute ago, Debra F. II said:

Waiting on my response, well thanks, not real sure why but...    lol...

Well, this is a discussion forum. You posted. I responded. Next step is you respond back.

2 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

Honestly hadn't planned to respond, just watching from a far....

So you just post a bunch of nonsense and when it's questioned, you don't want to respond? That's odd.

4 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

There are clearly more nonbelievers here than believers. And trying to explain the reasons of why I answered in the manner I did is pointless.

So what? Is it pointless because nothing in your post was correct?

The bible is not a history book and it was not written by historians. Your post was riddled with inaccuracies.

8 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

The post "Did Jesus Exsist"  and the topic of it, I responded to with my answer from what I believe, there's nothing more to it.

You pretty much answered that you believe he did exist because the bible says he did. That's a pretty lame reason.

9 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

Trying to explain why I used the example I did is also pointless. But if you and I were to agree on the same religion, then you would understand my answer.

Why? Do you not have a decent reason you chose to equate the Declaration of Independence with the bible in regards to the historical accuracy?

I don't follow any religion. If you can't explain your answer, that's fine. Don't put the blame on me that I don't understand because I'm not the same religion as you.

13 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

At this point I am praying for you and the rest of the non believers. 

Why bother? I don't remember asking for prayers...

15 minutes ago, Debra F. II said:

Peace be with you & may your hearts find God, God willing.

Thanks. But I don't need god. 

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Debra F. II
43 minutes ago, onlookerofmayhem said:

Well, this is a discussion forum. You posted. I responded. Next step is you respond back.

So you just post a bunch of nonsense and when it's questioned, you don't want to respond? That's odd.

So what? Is it pointless because nothing in your post was correct?

The bible is not a history book and it was not written by historians. Your post was riddled with inaccuracies.

You pretty much answered that you believe he did exist because the bible says he did. That's a pretty lame reason.

Why? Do you not have a decent reason you chose to equate the Declaration of Independence with the bible in regards to the historical accuracy?

I don't follow any religion. If you can't explain your answer, that's fine. Don't put the blame on me that I don't understand because I'm not the same religion as you.

Why bother? I don't remember asking for prayers...

Thanks. But I don't need god. 

Your responses that come from your heart, make me sad and concerned...

1/2 of my family are atheist, with my dad being the biggest and i still love everyone of them, including him.

And you are right this is a discussion forum, not a whipping post or a place to cut others down at and not a place to take anger and bitterness out on others that you cant relate to and who you disagree with.

It may be nonsense and inaccurate to you but it makes sense to me 100%.

I am refuseing to play into the negitivity by not responding and i do have that right. It's not because I cant answer you and give you my opinion; it is because I'd rather you be civil to me than make nasty, cut down comments.

I did not blame anyone for anything! If you dont understand my views or beliefs that's fine, this isnt the first time I've been around someone who doesnt have the same beliefs that I do; maybe some day you will, maybe you never will, I really dont care what you think, I care what God thinks! 

I'm sure I'm not the only one praying for you even if you didnt ask and dont want them.

I am sorry you feel that you don't need God, that is your choice. You are the only one that will be burnt  by your flames of bitterness and anger.

It doesn't mean that I wont discuss future topics with you. 

And saying prayers for someone is no bother to me, I pray for a lot of people who dont know I do, no body needs to ask me to, I just do because that is who I am... and I hear your pain and I feel for you and I want you to find peace, love, hope and joy. I was there once and questioned but haven't needed to for years now and it feels great!

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