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Did Jesus Really exist?

 
 
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 09:52 am
Over the years many have contested whether Jesus Christ was an actual historical figure. Note the comments of some respected experts on the subject of Jesus as a historical figure.

Michael Grant, a historian and an expert on ancient classical civilization, noted: “If we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus’ existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned.”

Rudolf Bultmann, a professor of New Testament studies, stated: “The doubt as to whether Jesus really existed is unfounded and not worth refutation. No sane person can doubt that Jesus stands as founder behind the historical movement whose first distinct stage is represented by the oldest Palestinian community [of Christians].”

Will Durant, a historian, writer, and philosopher, wrote: “That a few simple men [the Gospel writers] should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospels.”

Albert Einstein, a German-born Jewish physicist, asserted: “I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.” When asked if he viewed Jesus as a historical person, he responded: “Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 09:53 am
Maybe he did but there is no definitive proof he existed.
anthony1312002
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 10:02 am
@edgarblythe,
Thank you for engaging in the discussion. Maybe comments made by ancient historians of the time could help shed some light on things. Let's consider 2 of them, Tacitus and Suetonius.

TACITUS

(c. 56-120 C.E., or Common Era) Tacitus is considered to be one of the greatest of the ancient Roman historians. His Annals deal with the Roman Empire from 14 C.E. to 68 C.E. (Jesus died in 33 C.E.) Tacitus wrote that when a great fire devastated Rome in 64 C.E., Emperor Nero was considered responsible. But Tacitus wrote that Nero accused the Christians in order to “scotch the rumour.” Then Tacitus said: “Christus, the founder of the name [Christian], had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus.”—Annals, XV, 44.

SUETONIUS

(c. 69–a. 122 C.E.) In his Lives of the Caesars, this Roman historian recorded events during the reigns of the first 11 Roman emperors. The section on Claudius refers to turmoil among the Jews in Rome that was likely caused by disputes over Jesus. (Acts 18:2) Suetonius wrote: “Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus [Christus], he [Claudius] expelled them from Rome.” (The Deified Claudius, XXV, 4) Although wrongly accusing Jesus of creating disturbances, Suetonius did not doubt his existence.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 10:45 am
I did not read your examples. I just want to point out that many people have come on this site quoting writings that have been altered in succeeding times. I hope you are checking the veracity of what you quote here and that you consider opposing views.
anthony1312002
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 10:56 am
@edgarblythe,
You are right. Many have quoted articles and other sources without checking their validity. But in this case I have done the due diligence to make sure that what was referenced is accurate and truthful. Some say because I take the time to do this that it's overkill. But I don't think it's overkill but really the course of wisdom to check and then recheck a source before you put it forth as reliable.

Really that's the approach everyone should take. But as you clearly point out, many don't.
0 Replies
 
Miller
 
  -1  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 11:28 am
Quote:
Did Jesus Really exist?


It's a secret...
anthony1312002
 
  2  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 12:12 pm
@Miller,
LOL! You know, that's not far from the truth. Because many choose the easy course of just accepting what they are told instead of doing research they often miss out on finding out what really is true. Thus the truth does become hidden, or secret to them.

But others may ask, why does it matter that we know if Jesus really existed or not? Well, the question of Jesus’ existence matters because his teachings matter. For example, Jesus taught people how to live happy, fulfilling lives. He also promised a time when mankind will live in true peace and security, united under a single world government called “the Kingdom of God.”—Luke 4:43.

The designation “the Kingdom of God” is appropriate because this world government will express God’s sovereignty over the earth. (Revelation 11:15) Jesus made that fact clear when he said in his model prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, . . . let your Kingdom come. Let your will take place . . . on earth.” (Matthew 6:9, 10) What will Kingdom rule mean for mankind? Consider the following:

1: Warfare and civil strife will cease.—Psalm 46:8-11.

2: Wickedness, including greed and corruption, will be gone forever, along with ungodly people.—Psalm 37:10, 11.

3: The Kingdom’s subjects will enjoy meaningful, productive work.—Isaiah 65:21, 22.

4: The earth will fully recover from its present sick state and produce bountiful crops.—Psalm 72:16; Isaiah 11:9.

Yes, understanding that Jesus really existed can matter a great deal.
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Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Sun 28 Aug, 2016 12:51 pm
The reference to Tacitus is to an undoubted interpolation. Even that great liar and fabricator Eusebius never mentioned such a passage, which is astonishing if it had actually existed in the original. Eusebius was born a hundred and fifty years after Tacitus published, and the work was widely known and very popular. One of the crucial tests of interpolation applies here--if you remove the passage, the text still scans properly and has internal coherence. Furthermore, in the first century of the common era, even those whom we call christians did not call themselves christians. Finally, the only disagreement between Tacitus and Seutonius about the so-called great fire (such huge fires were actually common in Rome), was the claim about Nero blaming the christians. Remove the passage believed to be an interpolation, and the disagreement disappears. Seutonius obviously and explicitly despised Nero, and yet he praised him his response to the fire, and the fact that he did not attempt to blame anyone. Christians never mention this discrepancy between Suetonius' account and Tacitus' alleged account--which is unsurprising.

While the other Seutonius passage is suggestive, as with Tacitus (if his passage is not in fact an interpolation) and the letters between Pliny and tne emperor Trajan--it does not say that any such person as Jesus existed, they are passages merely suggestive of the existence of such a cult.

Grant is one of the most tendentious and unreliable modern historians of classic history that i have ever had the misfortune to read. Will Durant i don't have any objections to as an historian, other than that he was trained as a philosopher, i just don't agree with him. I have nothing to say about a professor of "new testament studies" who poses as an historian. I also don't consult the writings of physicists to learn about history.

I am not saying that some religious fanatic named Yeshua did not exist 2000 years ago, but as has been pointed out, we don't have any reliable contemporary evidence. Of course, it doesn't matter if he did or didn't, because so many people have believed he did. The major problem is that christians, as is the case here, attempt to suggest that if he did, then everything written about him by loyal cultists is true. That is preposterous, no matter whom one is discussing. The gross historical errors and fairy tales in the so-called new testament, as well as internal contradictions ought to give any honest scholar pause--but billions of people have "drunk the koolaid," and they don't question what they're told, and they don't question the so-called "scripture."

None of this would matter either, if it were not for the thousands of years of evidence that religious fanatics will always attempt to shove their beliefs down the throats of others, and impose their values on others.

Loud-mouthed, ignorant and pushy christisans disgust me. This quote from the author of the thread: ". . . the easy course of just accepting what they are told instead of doing research they often miss out on finding out what really is true."--is a case of truer words never having been spoken. However, it very accurately describes the author of this thread, who apparently knows next to nothing about classical history.
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High Strangeness
 
  0  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2016 12:37 pm
The 5 million population of old Israel plus the Roman garrison saw Jesus strutting his stuff for 3 long years, that's a lot of eyeballs..Smile
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2016 12:55 pm
@High Strangeness,
And you read some eye witness description where?
High Strangeness
 
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Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2016 01:35 pm
@edgarblythe,
Well for a start gospel-writers Matthew and John were actual disciples..Smile
And consider this:- after Jesus's execution, NOT A SINGLE PERSON ever came forward to say "Nah it never happened!", that's because they knew they'd make themselves look silly because there were too many eyewitnesses who attended Jesus's gigs over the years and saw him strutting his stuff..Smile
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2016 01:49 pm
Scholars do not agree that Matthew was an eyewitness, nor is the identity of "John" as gospel writer and the putative disciple is not agreed upon. Christianity is so easy for those who have drunk the koolaid because, when i doubt, they just make sh*t up.
0 Replies
 
High Strangeness
 
  0  
Reply Thu 1 Sep, 2016 01:52 pm
But why on earth would anybody decide to invent Jesus and Christianity and get themselves thrown to the lions?
What was in it for them?
anthony1312002
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 10:30 am
@High Strangeness,
Your question is most noteworthy as it helps to bring to light the authenticity of historical accounts regarding the existence of Jesus as a real person. Even enemies of Christianity never disputed his existence. With the evidence being so abundant from non religious sources and even opponents that he did exist, it makes it really unnecessary to debate it.

This makes considering what he had to say at Matthew 5:5 of key interest: "Happy are the mild tempered, for they shall inherit the earth."

Just how is he going to accomplish this and what can it mean for all of us? Now that is worth really diving into.
edgarblythe
 
  4  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 10:44 am
The Jesus as we know him - the Jesus of Christianity - definitely did not exist. It is possible that there was no historical Jesus at all. No historians of the first century mention Jesus, despite there being authors who write (at length) about Jewish concerns. There are no Roman records that mention Jesus1. Not only all that, but, there are no Christian eye-witnesses of Jesus. All of the Gospels are anonymous and written by friends-of-friends, and none are written in the first person; also, Paul (who authored 13 of the 27 books of the NT) never met Jesus, except in a vision2. They're also written in very competent Greek (the language of later converts), rather than in Hebrew (the language of the original converts, excepting Paul). Early Christians didn't know when Jesus was born (his birthdate wasn't decided for hundreds of years, in 354CE)3 and didn't know where he was buried. People have doubted his existence since the very first century, and, despite the popularity of Christianity, there is a modern resurgence of people who disbelieve in the very existence of Jesus today. The biggest problem facing such unbelievers is accounting for early Christianity. But there are multiple theories as to how Christianity may have arisen without a historical saviour. For example, it is quite possible, given the similarities of Jesus to previous saviour religions and pagan stories about god-men, that the entire story of Jesus is a rewrite, with Jewish undertones, of Roman and pagan myths that were current at the beginning of the first century4, 5, 6.

More
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/christianity_nojesus.html
High Strangeness
 
  0  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 12:26 pm
@anthony1312002,
quoted Jesus-- "Happy are the mild tempered, for they shall inherit the earth."
Just how is he going to accomplish this and what can it mean for all of us? Now that is worth really diving into"

--------------------------------------------------------

One interpretation of "mild-tempered" I like is that it means (in modern language), cool or kool..Smile
In fact a Major Theme of Christianity is to be kool at all times, that's why most Christians are kool, calm, goodnatured and unflappable because they know this material life on earth is not to be taken seriously..Smile

"For we look at things unseen rather than the seen,for the seen are temporary,but the unseen are eternal" (2 Cor 4:18)
"Don't conform to the pattern of this world" (Rom 12:2)
"As a soldier of Christ, please only God and not the world" (2 Tim 2:3/4)
"Don't love the world or the things in it,otherwise the love of God is not in you" (1 John 2:15-17)
"Set your mind on things above,not on things on the earth" (Col 3:2)
"You were bought at a price, don't serve men" (1 Cor 7:23)
"A friend of the world is the enemy of God" (James 4:4)
"You were dead when you followed the ways of the world" (Eph 2:1/2)
"You died with Christ from this world, so don't keep submitting to its rules" (Col 2:20)
"Become a fool by the worlds standards in order to become wise, for the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God's sight." (1 Corinthians 3:18/19 )
Jesus said:- "Whatever is valued by men is detestable to God" (Luke 16:15)
Jesus said:- "The world hates you because you're not of the world" (John 15:19)
Jesus said:- "In this world you'll have trouble,but cheer up, I've beaten the world!" (John 16:33)




High Strangeness
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 12:36 pm
@edgarblythe,
said- "The Jesus as we know him - the Jesus of Christianity - definitely did not exist.."
---------------------------------------------------

Arch-atheist Richard Dawkins says in this video that Jesus DID exist, so who shall we believe, him or you?..Wink

https://youtu.be/dhflPR-ck0M
anthony1312002
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 12:44 pm
@High Strangeness,
Very good. And these are in fact the things Jesus said we, as his disciples, should make known to everyone when he gave us this command at Matthew 28:19, 20: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations, ....... 20 teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.

Making known what Jesus will accomplish by means of the Kingdom can give hope to those who at the moment have no hope for a bright future.

You know, incidentally, when making his statement at Matthew 5:5 about the meek inheriting the earth, scholars relate that Jesus was referencing what is stated at Psalm 37:9-11 and vs 29 as it relates to God's purpose for the earth.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  3  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 12:48 pm
@High Strangeness,
High Strangeness wrote:
But why on earth would anybody decide to invent Jesus and Christianity and get themselves thrown to the lions?
What was in it for them?


This is what i mean about making sh*t up. No one was "throwing christians to the lions" for religious reasons. All Roman citizens were required to pay lip-service to the civic religion, so they would go down to the market and buy a chicken and take it over to the temple. The Romans practiced haruspicy, divinations with bird entrails. They'd get credit for following the civic religion, and the priests would have chicken soup--on a good day, they'd have roast chicken.

But Jews and christians would get all huffy and refuse, so their neighbors, not wishing to attract the negative attention of the authorities, would go round to see them, and if they still acted hard-headed, they might get beaten up and occasionally even killed. The letters between Pliny and the emperor Trajan make it clear that they were making problems for people who would otherwise have left them alone. Trajan's policy was basically a "don't ask, don't tell" policy. Pliny was to punish flagrant public defiance, but not to hunt them down. "Throwing them to the lions" is just the kind of bullsh*t that christians love, the aura of martyrdom; as long, of course, as they themselves don't have to suffer.

The first official "persecution" of christians was in the reign of Septimius Severus, from 193 to 211. And then they were rounded up not because they were christians, but because they had backed Severus' enemies. Christians never have been able to keep their noses out of politics.

People wanted to be christians because the religions as peddled originally promised pie in the sky by and by when you die, in a world which was very hard for most people. Of course, church leaders got to tell everyone what to do, and that's always been a popular pastime.

If christians didn't make sh*t up, they'd have nothing to talk about.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Sep, 2016 12:58 pm
@High Strangeness,
Dawkins is not the final authority. You don't likely believe much else that he says. Why cherry pick?
0 Replies
 
 

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