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Did Jesus Actually Exist?

 
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 08:28 am
You see? You yourself used "conspiracy." I called Jesus a religious process. I won't argue conspiracy, because I don't see it that way.
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:04 am
@farmerman,
Quote:
Its now been an undisputed fact that Josephus phucked up a lot of his writing. Like he NEVER was at Masada. He wrote about it second handedly. SO why are his musings on a Christ any more credible.

That is a baseless rejection of the entire of a respected scholar and PROTAGONIST of the 1st Jewish war, and based on what? A few WEBSITES ? You must be joking.

One can find faults in Josephus of course. His numbers are always inflated (length of the fortifications in Jerusalem, numbers of combatants...) and he is opinionated, biased against the zealots with a passion, etc. He has been vilified because of that, presented as a turncoat, but anyone who reads the Jewish War can understand why. The zealots were madmen. Josephus totally exonerate Titus from any guilt in the temple fire, which he says the defending zealots started. That is perhaps where the most significant doubt about the veracity of his account remains.

But he has also a lot of qualities. Beyond the rich and generally accurate info he provides us with, he fills a cultural gap between two worlds. He wrote in Greek and for a pagan audience about a topic the Greeks and Romans didn't know much about: the Jews, from a Jewish perspective. He is very didactic, very clear in his exposition. He is a brilliant writer and a gifted political analyst.

A great historian, who committed the crime of understanding before the zealots that Rome was a power to reckon with, to live with, not a power you want to fight till the last man. He describes the nationalist and mystical folly of his own nation, marching towards its end... He has a pro-Roman view, without a doubt. He writes in Rome for Roman readers, including his master Titus... That's why he came to be hated in some circles. The very same people who nowadays visit Masada in a state of zionist fever.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:07 am
@farmerman,
You're being grossly unfair to Josephus.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:12 am
@farmerman,
You're the last man standing... :-)

Let's try and see if we can approach this scientifically. What are your criteria to establish the historicity of any character?
Frank Apisa
 
  0  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:15 am
Can't help but think of a newspaper in Puerto Rico printing an item that says, "Jose, the brother of Jesus, died last Wednesday"...and anyone in Puerto Rico understanding who died!
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:16 am
@Olivier5,
If you could prove Jimmy Carter or Leonardo da Vinci didn't or doesn't exist, how does that make evidence for a Jesus? You would still be left with the same old zilch.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:18 am
@edgarblythe,
A 'process', like what process? Can you try and be a bit more specific?
Olivier5
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:31 am
@edgarblythe,
I am just trying to see if the JC deniers can operate based on a rational, universal set of criteria for establishing these things (historicity of dudes), or whether their criteria are tailor made for baby Jesus... The latter would indicate an ideological bias.
glitterbag
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:31 am
@Frank Apisa,
Frank Apisa wrote:

glitterbag wrote:

Never met the man myself, but if I ever do I'll take picture. But first I will demand to see his badge, his union card and a photo ID. Then I will watch to make sure he doesn't vote anyplace where he is not registered. You can't be too vigilant.


He don't need no stinkin' badge.


Wasn't that from Hombre, with Paul Newman? Seems I remember Eli Wallach screeching words to that effect.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:32 am
@Olivier5,
A notion grows and believers expand upon it through generations. Not trying to fool anyone, because they simply accept it on faith.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:43 am
@Olivier5,
If there is no physical evidence and no contemporary recollection of a person, he may not have existed. If there was no writing at the time, oral tradition may be flawed or made up. Which makes physical evidence important. Scholars can help, but are sometimes wrong, possibly biased. Seems each case would have to be considered on an individual basis.
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:44 am
@glitterbag,
Treasure of Sierra Madre
0 Replies
 
Frank Apisa
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:46 am
@glitterbag,
glitterbag wrote:

Frank Apisa wrote:

glitterbag wrote:

Never met the man myself, but if I ever do I'll take picture. But first I will demand to see his badge, his union card and a photo ID. Then I will watch to make sure he doesn't vote anyplace where he is not registered. You can't be too vigilant.


He don't need no stinkin' badge.


Wasn't that from Hombre, with Paul Newman? Seems I remember Eli Wallach screeching words to that effect.


I theenk it was from Treasure of Sierra Madre...spoken by Mexican actor Alfonso Bedoya.
0 Replies
 
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 09:55 am
@edgarblythe,
You mean like any legend grows over time. That is evidently the case for Jesus. But the question we are dealing with then becomes: was there a real man at the onset if the legend?... I argue that we're not just dealing with one legend: there are dozens of independent accounts of these people, Jesus, James (including a letter from James in the NT), and Peter too. Including non christian accounts.

You can't explain this proliferation of gospels and anti-gospels, letters and 'acts', theses (few) mentions in near-contemporary historical books, this litany of legends and even these insults, all this massive and sudden literary production cannot be explained without a real person being the cause or trigger of it all.

Frank Apisa
 
  2  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 10:15 am
@Olivier5,
Olivier5 wrote:

You mean like any legend grows over time. That is evidently the case for Jesus. But the question we are dealing with then becomes: was there a real man at the onset if the legend?... I argue that we're not just dealing with one legend: there are dozens of independent accounts of these people, Jesus, James (including a letter from James in the NT), and Peter too. Including non christian accounts.

You can't explain this proliferation of gospels and anti-gospels, letters and 'acts', theses (few) mentions in near-contemporary historical books, this litany of legends and even these insults, all this massive and sudden literary production cannot be explained without a real person being the cause or trigger of it all.


Well actually you could, Olivier.

But I think your point is well taken.

I am persuaded there was a single individual who recognized the need for a departure from the vengeful, barbaric dictates of what would become "The Old Testament"...and who preached in that direction.

I have no reason to suppose he was not named Jesus.
Olivier5
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 10:42 am
@edgarblythe,
Quote:
If there was no writing at the time, oral tradition may be flawed or made up. Which makes physical evidence important.

But there IS at least one letter attributed to James the Just, the brother of Jesus, in the NT. While it is only signed "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", it was attributed to James the Just by Origen, whose authority on these matters suffers no dispute... ;-)

This letter is exactly what you would expect from a Jewish Christian like James, head of the Jerusalem church. It's addressed to "the twelve tribes scattered abroad", and written in a stern tone without a trace of paulinian adulation for James' big bro. After the reference to "Lord JC", James relentlessly mentions God, not Jesus, as the focus of a good christian's prayers.

The epistle of James is in the canon but embarrasses the catholic church, because they don't recognize James as the true brother of JC. It would contradict Marie's eternal virginity. That's why few people know about it.


22  But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves.23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his [x]natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, [y]he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but [z]an effectual doer, this man will beblessed in [aa]what he does.

26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not [ab]bridle his tongue but deceives his ownheart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained [ac]by the world.


0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 11:50 am
The letter was not quoted on a text from Jesus' lifetime was it?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 03:10 pm
Many scholars consider the epistle to be written in the late 1st or early 2nd centuries. Among the reasons for this are:[11]
the author introduces himself merely as "a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ", without invoking any special family relationship to Jesus.
the cultured Greek language of the Epistle, it is contended, could not have been written by a Jerusalemite Jew. Some scholars argue for a primitive version of the letter composed by James and then later polished by another writer.[12]
the epistle was only gradually accepted into the canon of the New Testament.
Some see parallels between James and 1 Peter, 1 Clement, and the Shepherd of Hermas and take this to reflect the socio-economic situation Christians were dealing with in the late 1st or early 2nd century. It thus could have been written anywhere in the Empire where Christians spoke Greek. There are some scholars who argued for Syria
Finn dAbuzz
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 03:51 pm
There exists a certain position, expressed in this thread, that without absolute proof, or at least a lot more proof than is available, it is unreasonable to conclude that a carpenter/rabbi/insurgent named Jesus actually existed.

The so-called "Christ Myth Theory," also referred to the "Jesus Myth Theory," is not uniformly expressed by all of the scholars who are said to have been or currently are it's proponents. While some argue that Jesus is an entirely fictional character, others acknowledge that it is likely that an actual Jesus existed. Even one of the most respected among them, G.A. Wells acknowledges the possibility that the gospels are based on a historical figure.

Most of these scholars focus on the "Christ Myth" as opposed to making hardcore arguments in favor of the "Jesus Myth." This, of course, is a far less controversial proposition, and may lead to rejection by Christians, but not many, if any, historians.

As for any bias of historians, most, if not all, of the proponents of the "Christ Myth Theory" were or are self-described atheists, can be reasonably described as atheists based on their writings, or are proponents of philosophical or political viewpoints that are heavily based upon or influenced by Humanism.

Contrast this with the diversity of philosophical and political views found among scholars who reject the assertion that Jesus never existed. I. Howard Marshall is an Evangelical Methodist, Bart D. Ehrman is an agnostic,
Gerd Ludeman considers himself a "non-theist," Marcus Borg, a "progressive Christian," and Michael Martin is an atheist. These are only a few examples of the wide range of beliefs held by scholars who share the belief that Jesus was a historical figure.

This is not to contend that scholarly proponents of the Jesus Myth Theory are largely motivated by bias, but it is to contend that the opponents are not, and if circumstantial evidence suggests bias is a significant factor in the conclusions drawn by either group (so that people are concluding what they want to believe), it certainly would seem to point to the former.

That there is not a single scrap of evidence that Jesus the historical figure actually existed is a popular contention on atheist websites, as is the theory that scholars who reject this contention are motivated by a bias formed by their religious beliefs. It's pretty clear that those who hold this theory haven't bothered to look into the backgrounds of those they accuse of bias.




0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Sat 12 Jul, 2014 04:24 pm
They can assert all they like. They have no real evidence.
0 Replies
 
 

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