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Did Jesus Actually Exist?

 
 
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 08:57 pm
According to Wikipedia, Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed

BillRM and Merry disagree.

I think they full of sh*t, but so what?

This is a thread to allow them the opportunity to go off on a tangent and not derail another very interesting one.

Have at it.
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Type: Question • Score: 37 • Views: 65,612 • Replies: 2,297

 
glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 09:09 pm
Oh terrific, another opportunity for 'believers' to snicker and ridicule folks who are 'nonbelievers'. And sometimes vice versa, why does anyone care about the belief systems of others?
Lustig Andrei
 
  4  
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 09:19 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
BillRM and Merry disagree.


Where did you get the idea that I disagreed? Nowhere have I ever posted such a claim. On the thread to which you are referring, all I did was point out that you're being selective in your citations and that a closer inspection of the facts would indicate that the statement "virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed" is, at best, an exaggeration.

I personally have no reason at all to doubt the existence of such a historical person. I have much reason to doubt the veracity and reliability of the description of his life and ministry in the Gospels. But that's another matter and not, I gather, what this thread is supposed to be about.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  4  
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 09:22 pm
@glitterbag,
well, we all know that Saul of Tarsus was sent out to **** up the Jesus cult folks in Dqmscus and then he was somehow turned 180 into a Jesus convert and almost all the things we know of "The Christ" are from him.Did he even check in with the remaining apostles of the historical Jesus before he started publishing his "Acts..."? Most scholars think not although Saul (paul) was accompanied by one in later road trips within the Nabataean Kingdom where they tried to present themselves as not too "Jewey"

Does Jesus exist?
SO what, we know that enough of his "legend" to know it was manufactured by one lead guy and a few later writers. You see that the really exotic Gospels (those with all the big miracles) were those written much much after his lifetime.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 09:51 pm
Merry just couldn't resist the urge to have The Last Word in the other thread:

Quote:
I'm not peddling anything, Finn. I didn't bring up the subject of Jesus. Neither did you, in all fairness. I'm simply trying to keep you from posting only one side of the debate; all I'm doing is pointing out that opinion on the subject is not exactly unanimous among serious scholars of the subject and that there is room for disagreement. That's all. But, of course, if you're going to make this an emotional issue rather than intellectual, why, I'llgladly withdraw and hold my peace.


One side of the debate?

Presumably you defend the "other side" of the debate concerning evolution?

The only emotion at play here is yours.
glitterbag
 
  2  
Reply Mon 27 May, 2013 10:25 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
I don't think so, I think your emotions were running high when you posted the Jesus question with a disingenuous aside that this would keep those folks busy for awhile. It's just one more unnecessary "God is the answer/what was the question" fest. Myself......I find it hard to swallow true believers would bother with this sort of provocation. Don't you, Brother Finn?
rosborne979
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 03:53 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Whoever might have existed at that time is undoubtedly so far removed from how modern mythology has painted him that for all intents and purposes the answer is, no, he did not exist.

On the other hand, if you're asking if some poor sap had his tragic life and charitable message usurped and modified for the benefit of Christianity long after he died, then I'm sure that happened at least once if not many times, their true names merged into the mythology and lost forever.
edgarblythe
 
  3  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 04:22 am
I do not believe a Jesus existed, although it is possible the myth was attached to memories of some person of the time. Could be he is a conglomerate of notions of the time more so than an historical person.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  4  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 04:40 am
Questions like this are goofy. I know of no reliable, historical evidence that the boy existed. That doesn't matter. What mattes is that people believe he did, and believe a whole truckload of dubious **** on that basis.
Olivier5
 
  0  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 04:55 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Of course he did exist. We have much less proof of the actual existence of Hillel, Shammai or any of the Jewish sages of this era, yet nobody goes around claiming they did not exist or were the result of some conspiration theory. Plus Favius Josephus seems to have referenced the dude.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 07:23 am
The Josephus passages are considered to be interpolations by the majority of modern, competent scholars.
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 08:47 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

Does Jesus exist?
SO what, we know that enough of his "legend" to know it was manufactured by one lead guy and a few later writers. You see that the really exotic Gospels (those with all the big miracles) were those written much much after his lifetime.



I spent years studying the historical Jesus and eventually resolved that it doesn't matter whether he existed or not. Paul, who is credited with changing the message from the story from Jesus to the story about Jesus, existed. Pauline Christianity, as we know it today, is a far reach from the message being spread by the apostles.

To me, the best place to find that message is in the small book of James -- the one Martin Luther said he wished had been omitted from the cannon.
gungasnake
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 09:05 am
If you have to pick a major historical character to claim never existed, the one really good candidate is Charlemagne.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 09:25 am
@Setanta,
Wiki disagrees:

Modern scholarship has almost universally acknowledged the authenticity of the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" [4] and considers it as having the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity.[5][1][2][6][7][8] Almost all modern scholars consider the reference in Book 18, Chapter 5, 2 of the Antiquities to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist to also be authentic.[9][10][11]

Scholarly opinion on the total or partial authenticity of the reference in Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate, a passage usually called the Testimonium Flavianum, varies.[12][13][1] The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus with a reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate which was then subject to Christian interpolation.
Setanta
 
  5  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:01 am
@Olivier5,
"Wiki," as you call it, is free to disagree. Louis Feldman of Yeshiva University, who is widely considered the greatest living scholar on Flavius Josephus has this to say:

Quote:
It's very interesting that there is one other account which, if it is authentic, does deal with the crucifixion. And that is by the Jewish historian Josephus. The question is whether Josephus really wrote it. And I've written about that, and I've come to the conclusion that he couldn't have written it, certainly in the form that we have it, because Origen, the Christian church father, at one point says that Josephus didn't recognize that Jesus was the Christos.


If you don't know who Origen was, i suggest that you educate yourself. The most important collector of christians texts, and in particular the writings of Origen at the end of the third cedntury and the beginning of the fourth century was Pamphilus of Caesarea. He was the friend and mentor of Eusebius of Caesarea, erstwhile Bishop and author of the Nicene creed. He is also known as Eusebius Pamphili because of his well-known devotion to Pamphilus. There is absolutely no mention of these passages in Josephus until Eusebius makes claims about them--i personally suspect that Eusebius is the author of the interpolations. Feldman says that no author mentions these passages until Eusebius. Feldman also notes that Origen's comments of Josephus' attitude toward Jesus only appear in the writings of Eusebius. Finally, Feldman notes that the interpolation which is the so-called Testimonium Flavinium (from Antiquities) breaks the narrative on Pilate, and is written in a first person style that Josephus used nowhere else in his writings

The Cambridge History of Judaism quotes Feldman as follows:

Quote:
“We may remark here on the passage in Josephus which has occasioned by far more comment than any other, the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. XVIII. 63 - 4) concerning Jesus. The passage appears in all our manuscripts; but a considerable number of Christian writers - Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second century, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Orgen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century - who knew Jeosphus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite. In particular, Origen (Contra Celsum 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17), who certainly knew Book 18 of the Antiquities and cites five passages from it, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus as Christ. The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference o it.

The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium is that it says that Jesus was the Christ, whereas Josephus, as a loyal Pharisaic Jew, could hardly have written this. To be sure, there was several claimants to the status of Messiah in this era, and those who followed them were not read out of the Jewish fold; but in view of the fact that Josephus nowhere else uses the word Christos (except in referring to James, the brother of Jesus, Ant. XX.200) and that he repeatedly suppresses the Messianic aspects of the revolt against Rome because of the association of the Messiah with political revolt and independence, it would seem hard to believe that he would openly call Jesus a Messiah and speak of him in awe. The fact that Jerome (De viris illustrious 13) read that ’he was believed to be the Christ (credebatur esse Christus) would suggest that his text differed from ours. Another objection to the authenticity of the passage is that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, which tells of a series of riots. Those, such as Eisler, who regard the passage as interpolated, suggest that the original spoke of the Christian movement as a riot.


I have also read that Feldman did a survey of mondern scholars' texts on Joesephus in which he states that more than 80% of Josephus scholars consider the passages to be in part or entirely interpolations. However, in searching online this morning (and wasting far too much of my time), i have not found a reference which i can link for you, so i won't insist upon it.

Ask yourself how a faithful Pharisee like Josephus could have claimed that your boy Jesus was the messiah, and yet remained a confessional Jew? How could he have believed that an not have converted to christianity?
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:04 am
A bitch fight about Josephus, however, is or little interest to me. As i've already pointed out, of far more importance is that people believed he existed.

I do want to say that i completely agree with JPB's characterization of this religion as Pauline Christianity. It's not the religion of Jesus, it's the religion of Paul.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:06 am
@Setanta,
Actually, based on your quote it is obvious Louis Feldman disagrees with you too:

"he couldn't have written it, certainly in the form that we have it, because Origen, the Christian church father, at one point says that Josephus didn't recognize that Jesus was the Christos."

Which simply means that Josephus did not see Jesus as the Messiah. Josephus mentioned Jesus in passim, as one man crucified by Pilate, not as the Jewish Messiah.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:14 am
@Setanta,
Quote:
A bitch fight about Josephus, however, is or little interest to me. As i've already pointed out, of far more importance is that people believed he existed.


I am not interested in a fight either, but Josephus is one of the most fascinating character I know of so always glad to discuss his life and work.

Quote:
I do want to say that i completely agree with JPB's characterization of this religion as Pauline Christianity. It's not the religion of Jesus, it's the religion of Paul.


Yada yada yada. Pretty banal take on the issue, if you don't mind me saying so. Almost a cliché. Paul spread Christianity beyond the Jewish world, and had to transform it a bit in order to do that, but not that much.
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:20 am
@Olivier5,
You can't resist the sneer, can you? It's little wonder that so few people wish to engage with you.
Olivier5
 
  5  
Reply Tue 28 May, 2013 10:26 am
@Setanta,
LOL. That from the person who wrote: "If you don't know who Origen was, i suggest that you educate yourself."

Pot, kettle, etc.
 

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