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Josephus,Tacitus, and Pliny The Younger: Evidence for Jesus?

 
 
jhort
 
Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 11:46 pm
What are people's main concerns regarding these non-Biblical accounts of Jesus?
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Type: Discussion • Score: 0 • Views: 2,139 • Replies: 13
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jhort
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Apr, 2012 11:53 pm
@jhort,
Maybe this should have been posted as a question but I am hoping that it becomes more of a discussion than anything.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 03:57 am
The Flavius Josephus and Tacitus passages are unoubtedly interpolations (additions to copies of text after the fact), for a variety of reasons which you, or anyone else, can find online. Neither the Tacitus nor Pliny passages are evidence for your boy Jesus, just that such a cult existed. Most important, however, is that even could these be considered evidence for the historicity of Jesus, they would not be evidence that any of the stories of scripture are true.
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 04:57 am
@jhort,
The historicity of Jesus is an interesting question. There are second-hand accounts but no direct evidence.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:02 am
An article I read yesterday asserts that Paul knew Jesus' brother and also Peter the disciple. Does anybody have information to confirm or refute this?
edit:
I know this still is second hand evidence, but it is the best I know of, if it is true.
wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:04 am
@edgarblythe,
The term for "brother" in Hebrew also means cousin.
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edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:23 am
I read this yesterday
http://www.npr.org/2012/04/01/149462376/did-jesus-exist-a-historian-makes-his-case?sc=fb&cc=fp

Mythicists' arguments are fairly plausible, Ehrman says. According to them, Jesus was never mentioned in any Roman sources and there is no archeological evidence that Jesus ever existed. Even Christian sources are problematic – the Gospels come long after Jesus' death, written by people who never saw the man.

"Most importantly," he explains, "these mythicists point out that there are Pagan gods who were said to die and rise again and so the idea is that Jesus was made up as a Jewish god who died and rose again."

In his book, Ehrman marshals all of the evidence proving the existence of Jesus, including the writings of the apostle Paul.

"Paul knew Jesus' brother, James, and he knew his closest disciple, Peter, and he tells us that he did," Ehrman says. "If Jesus didn't exist, you would think his brother would know about it, so I think Paul is probably pretty good evidence that Jesus at least existed," he says.
#
This article does not offer any more strong evidence than that. I have long been of the opinion that no real Jesus ever walked the Earth, but I am ready to be proved wrong, if evidence can be found.
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Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:37 am
@jhort,
James the Brother of Jesus is a good book, and very informative... Josephus begins very scornful and sceptical, but may have actually ended as a Christian... He did not make a very good Jew anyway...
There is really too much evidence to deny Jesus, and about no evidence to suggest his divinity...
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wandeljw
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 09:13 am
Some historians feel that Jesus was able to attract a following in first century Jerusalem because of the variety of religious and philosophical trends at the time. Jesus was able to combine differing influences into an attractive philosophy. He combined Hebrew scripture, Platonic philosophy, and teachings from eastern religions.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 01:15 pm
@wandeljw,
wandeljw wrote:

Some historians feel that Jesus was able to attract a following in first century Jerusalem because of the variety of religious and philosophical trends at the time. Jesus was able to combine differing influences into an attractive philosophy. He combined Hebrew scripture, Platonic philosophy, and teachings from eastern religions.
This may be true, but just as today, the failure of the traditional form spawns a variety of belief, much of it radical and uncompromising...

What sort of attractive philosophy are you refering to??? If I were serious about religion I would be a Muslim; but if I were serious about my soul, I would be a Christian after the model of Jesus though there is absolutely nothing attractive about it except the wine and dine with the publicans...In fact, I care practically nothing about either simply because to care is too much work... Even learning about the subject takes a lot of time for what you get out of it...Christianity is just a whole lot of something about nothing, and it is a capitalists dream pot... The idea of social sacrifice, and of a deferal of payday until long after the labor is done is one guaranteed to bring tears to the eyes of even them most stone hearted business man...

The check in the mail was Paul's great contribution to the world of Christian humor; and when he made Christianity palatable to the rich, he secured for it its success...
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JPB
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 01:45 pm
@wandeljw,
It's very likely that Jesus was illiterate and totally unfamiliar with Greek philosophy. Paul, being from Tarsus, was much more likely than a peasant carpenter from the Galilee to know Greek culture and philosophy.
InfraBlue
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 04:25 pm
@edgarblythe,
edgarblythe wrote:

An article I read yesterday asserts that Paul knew Jesus' brother and also Peter the disciple. Does anybody have information to confirm or refute this?
edit:
I know this still is second hand evidence, but it is the best I know of, if it is true.

In regard to Paul having known Peter (Cephas), in Galatians 2 he boasts that he confronted Paul for not eating with Gentiles. The first major schism of the Christian church was between Paul who exempted the Gentiles from circumcision as a requirement of Christianity, and Paul who more conservatively wanted to preserve that aspect of the Jewish religion in regard to Christianity.
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:56 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

It's very likely that Jesus was illiterate and totally unfamiliar with Greek philosophy. Paul, being from Tarsus, was much more likely than a peasant carpenter from the Galilee to know Greek culture and philosophy.
IN part true... Paul was very Greek, in his rhetoric, and use of metaphores... Jesus was hardly illiterate... The Gospels have him writing, but recognizing the temporal quality of all forms by writing in the dust... It is totally unlikely that Jesus was not himself influenced by the Greeks since Alexander had taken the place, and the Jews had fought hard to restore the temple... Just as with these forums, Jesus with his apostles could not help but be a capsule for all the existing knowledge of their world -where Greek philosophy had had a great influence...

That Jesus denied all of these form does not mean he was unaware of them... Just as with Plato, notions of justice were brought up and dismissed... He never said that justice was not required of man to man, or that there was a just excuse for denying our human obligations... It is when he compares God to the owner of a vinyard hiring journeymen that the whole notion of justice goes out the window... Clearly the workers have a sense of it; but in comparing the actions of God in relation with man, God does not always, and perhaps never gives to people what they deserve on this earth...

He was untieing the notion so common among Jews and Protestants of a tangible justification... What did he say of the rich man giving an offering to the sound of blowing shoffas: He has already got his reward... What God gives to all he give impartially, to this one wealth and another ability, etc... What he gives with extreme partiality is the sense of obligation that all the good gifts of God are for the benefit of all humanity... It is in the denial of this sense of obligation that we sin, and take our reward out of our curse...

He knew, and his parables reveal that his society was tearing its guts out over wealth, and yet the priestly class, through its laws and powers had amassed emense wealth and a part of that can be seen in the Roman Colloseum, which was a huge building project built with only a part of the wealth of one Judean city... And yet those people were squabbling over wages, and suing each other for their tunics... It is amazing as spectacle...
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Fido
 
  2  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 08:09 am
@InfraBlue,
InfraBlue wrote:

edgarblythe wrote:

An article I read yesterday asserts that Paul knew Jesus' brother and also Peter the disciple. Does anybody have information to confirm or refute this?
edit:
I know this still is second hand evidence, but it is the best I know of, if it is true.

In regard to Paul having known Peter (Cephas), in Galatians 2 he boasts that he confronted Paul for not eating with Gentiles. The first major schism of the Christian church was between Paul who exempted the Gentiles from circumcision as a requirement of Christianity, and Paul who more conservatively wanted to preserve that aspect of the Jewish religion in regard to Christianity.
If I were ever to write a book, it would be to tie Paul to the Crucefixion of Jesus, The bribing and murder of Judas, the persecution of Christians, and naturally to his conversion and ministry, but then, to the murder of James for interfering with that ministry... I think he was false to all that Jesus stood for, but it was unlikely anyone would know anything about Jesus without Paul, who really spun Jesus into an acceptible notion for the Roman public...Jesus was a revolutionary and he tore down all the old forms and he died the death of a revolutionary...Paul resurrected Jesus in a new form, a form he never tried to assume for himself as the demigod bringing hope of eternal life... Paul never challenged anything essential to Roman society, and even appealed to Caesar, as was his right as a citizen... He was one of them; both Greek and Roman...
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