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Old 10th February 2018, 01:06 PM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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the problem I have with the content of the Bible is that it is mainly fictional and allegory, very little history.
And yet you're happy to use 'the Bible' to support your belief that Paul thought Jesus was only ever a space-being, crucified in outer-space, whom never came to Earth. Talk about a double standard!

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If Paul thought that Jesus had human parents he would have mentioned them, yet he doesn’t ever mention Joseph or even Mary.
If Paul thought Jesus had a human father, that does not mean we must expect him to say so. That's simply an unfair expectation given the occasion of his letters. But Paul does say that Jesus came from a woman - without qualification that he's talking about a space-woman. The following part of that verse - "[having come / born] under the law" only strengthens the argument that he's talking about a human woman. Paul is saying that Jesus was a born under the Mosaic law. Paul thinks Jesus was a Jew.

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Being a Jew is being used guess how? Allegorically. Carrier states, “In Galatians 3:29, where he declares that “if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” Meaning, even non-Jews become born “of the seed of Abraham” at baptism. In other words, Paul is saying we come from the seed of Abraham allegorically, not literally; spiritually, not biologically.”
In the verses and paragraphs surrounding 3:29, Paul is trying his darndest to justify how it is that gentiles - who were not part of the family tree of Israel "according to the flesh" - can nevertheless be grafted onto it. For Paul, they are grafted on by faith in Jesus. But for Paul this is as a result of Jesus having done his Earthly work. Paul is making the point that BECAUSE Jesus was a Jew "under the law", he was able to "redeem those under the law" (i.e. Jews) and in doing so, he opened up the door for gentiles to become welcomed into the family of Israel. Their adoption is attained by faith. This is NOT Paul saying that Jesus himself was only ever a space-Jew spoken of in Earthly language "allegorically". For Paul, Jesus very much was a Jew "according to the flesh".

Paul: "But when the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, in order to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as children"

To read this as Paul saying that Jesus was manufactured by Davidic space-sperm placed in the belly of a space-woman is ridiculous.

Paul: "They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah"

It's right there. Paul understood Jesus to have been an Israelite. The glory, the covenants, the law, etc., were given to the Israelites. And from them came the patriarchs, and from them came Jesus. Sheesh. It's so bloomin' obvious that Paul thinks Jesus was here on Earth! Carrier has you fooled, I'm sorry to say.

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Paul doesn’t ever state that Jesus got crucified in Jerusalem. Look, if Paul specifically said, Jesus did such and such in an earthly location, and nominated a historical event that lined up with any of the gospel stories, you would have an argument
Paul: "the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was taken away, took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, 'This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.' In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, 'This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.' For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes."

Jesus is described as breaking bread, giving thanks, passing cups, etc., on the night he was taken away, specifically during and after supper. This lines up with gospel stories of an Earthly Jesus. It is NOT Paul saying that Jesus initiated this ritual from outer-space, breaking space-bread, or passing space-cups, during and after a space-supper!

Similarly, Paul locates Jesus's death in Jerusalem, and the mode of his death as crucifixion.

Paul: "For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea, for you suffered the same things from your own compatriots as they did from the Jews, who killed both the Lord Jesus and the prophets"

Paul: "[Unconvinced Jews] have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, 'See, I am laying in Zion [i.e. Jerusalem] a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame'."

Paul: "We proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles"

Carrier strains hard to remove these passages with "possible" alternate interpretations, but he doesn't achieve his goal that all of them probably fall in his favor. It's not even clear that any of them do.

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So you can scrub the fictitious birth narratives and nothing except the above lunacy from the Bible on his youth. There is no other extra biblical evidence either.
Yes, those birth narratives are bogus. But continually shooting them down doesn't show that there wasn't a historical Jesus. As I've already said, ascribing fictitious miraculous conception/birth shenanigan stories to cult leaders was a common form of propaganda. They are told of Alexander the Great and the Caesars too. It does not follow that there was no Alexander the Great or Roman Caesars. And so nor does it for a historical Jesus.

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Bart Ehrman In his latest book titled, Jesus Interrupted writes:

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The Gospel of Mark indicates that it was in the last week of his life that Jesus “cleansed the Temple” by overturning the tables of the money changers and saying, “This is to be a house of prayer…but you have made it a den of thieves” (Mark 11), whereas according to John this happened at the very beginning of Jesus’ ministry (John 2). Some readers have thought that Jesus must have cleansed the temple twice, once at the beginning of his ministry and once at the end. But that would mean that neither Mark nor John tells the ‘true’ story, since in both accounts he cleanses the temple only once. Moreover, is this reconciliation of the two accounts historically plausible? If Jesus made a disruption in the temple at the beginning of his ministry, why wasn’t he arrested by the authorities then?
Firstly, Jesus, Interrupted is not Ehrman's latest book. Secondly, this is all pretty light-weight and irrelevant. I'm not suggesting that the gospel accounts of Jesus's storming of the temple are completely reliable, reconcilable, or without legendary development. Of course they aren't infallible! But this is the case with stories told about other historical figures of the time. It does not make it probable that there was no historical Jesus.

I note also that you've given up on trying to show why my reading of Galatians 1:19 isn't the most reasonable explanation. Paul describes having met James "the" brother of the Lord.

"Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου"
"James the brother of the Lord"


the τὸν in there is not to be overlooked. It is a singular definite article - "the". Paul claims to have met "the" brother of Jesus, distinguished from "other apostles" and "Cephas".

Last edited by toejam; 10th February 2018 at 01:12 PM.
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