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  #101  
Old 11th February 2018, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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toejam said View Post
It depends on the degree of certainty you require to believe something. Personally, I believe lots of things that I haven't absolute "smoking guns" for, yet I evaluate the likelihood of them to be probable. As a simple example, I have no "smoking gun" that the next dice I roll land won't land on a 6, but I believe that it won't.

You've also shown in this thread your willingness to believe something without a "smoking gun" - i.e. your belief that Paul thought Jesus hadn't been here on Earth despite a total lack of attestation from the hand of Paul of him ever saying that.

If Galatians 1:18 is legit, and there are good reasons for thinking that it is, then it's pretty damn close to a "smoking gun". Paul knew Jesus's brother!
The smoking guns for me in this regard are:
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Galatians 1:11:

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
and he again insists in Galatians 1:12

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I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
Nowhere does he say that he got his information anywhere else except via scripture and revelation. Paul doesn't say anything at all about Jesus's biological brother. He could have mentioned in his letters about how he interacted with his family while he was in Jerusalem, perhaps to console his parents or siblings. Now THAT would be a smoking gun!
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  #102  
Old 11th February 2018, 05:56 PM
toejam toejam is online now
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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SEG said:
Hang on! Maybe he CAN help my argument. Sure Marcion of Sinope wrote his version of ten epistles of Paul but he didn’t believe that Jesus was a real man.
Marcion believed Jesus interacted with humans here on Earth, only in the form of some sort of apparition that appeared to be human. In Marcion's view, Jesus was still here in the sense that any Judean onlooker could have approached him and witnessed his crucifixion, etc. This is not the same as your belief that Paul believed Jesus never came to Earth in any sense at all, and whose life, teachings and crucifixion, etc., could only have been witnessed via revelation which was entirely allegorized into the gospel narratives.

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But in Marcion's gospel he never was born, he popped into existence as a fully grown man. You accept that the nativity stories are rubbish, this is only one step further.
Marcion was prominent some 100+years after the historical Jesus and was accused of tampering with the texts. Marcion tried his best to downplay as much of Jesus' Jewishness as he could. We have earlier, more reliable sources - namely the gospels and Paul's epistles.

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Why couldn’t [the Gospel of Mark] have been written "to dispute what Marcion wrote about Jesus being a celestial being? Mark squarely places Jesus on Earth as a living human being.
If by "what Marcion wrote" you're referring to his variant version of the Gospel of Luke, then it's quite simple. It is widely understood that the Gospel of Luke draws heavily from the Gospel of Mark, often quoting it verbatim, and altering details to suit his cause and to clean up some of Mark's sloppy grammar and geographical errors, etc. How could the Gospel of Mark have been written to dispute Marcion's gospel if Marcion's gospel is secondary?

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The above all fall into the ancient docetic idea that Jesus only seemed to come into the world "in the flesh" and in early Jewish beliefs of earthly representations that are mirrored in Heaven. Paul may have mentioned Jesus 143 times, but never in an historical sense.
You are confusing docetism with Carrier's understanding of Paul's beliefs. They are not the same. Docetists believed Jesus was here. Anyone - believer or non-believer - could have seen him, only they didn't realise he was actually some sort of apparition. Carrier's belief is not that Paul was a docetist. Carrier's belief is that Paul thought Jesus wasn't even here in the docetic sense!

Paul does refer to Jesus in historical senses - he refers to his Jessean, Davidic descent, his having been and having come from Israelites like the patriarchs before him, his being born from a woman under the Mosaic law (i.e. Paul believes Jesus was a Jew). Paul refers to Jesus teaching the Eucharist in earthly terms - breaking bread, passing cups, "after supper", etc. Paul places Jesus' crucifixion in Jerusalem and blames Judean Jews for it, and Paul states that Jesus was buried. He NEVER qualifies any of this with "... in outer-space". Paul believed Jesus had been here on Earth.

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Here’s some scriptcha backatcha:

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Romans 10:14
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
It looks like they hadn't heard of him.
Who do you think the "they" are here? This is not Paul saying that no one ever saw or heard Jesus. Paul explicitly says elsewhere that Christ was once known to people "in the flesh", but now no longer (i.e. they think they know him pneumatically/spiritually). Look at the rest of the passage and note the structural effect he is making. He's using a 'step ladder' effect. Your cherry-picking of the verse misses this effect:

Romans 10:14
1) But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?
2) And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard
3) And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?
4) And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?

If you work your way backwards, the logic structure suggests that category 1 people must be those who had seen/heard but did not believe.

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It’s a pity that he never once said, “born of a woman called Mary”, or refers to the Jesus of Nazareth resplendent in the Gospels. That would have made it crystal clear and be a slam dunk for your arguments.
I'm confident you'd still write it off as an interpolation or allegory even if he did

Look, what he have is pretty compelling. Paul makes lots of references - subtle and explicit - that reflect his belief in Jesus's earthly existence. You just seek to interpret them otherwise, missing the elephant in the room. There's no necessity for Paul to mention Jesus' mother or father by name, or Nazareth given the occasion of his letters. You're simply drilling for something for Paul to be silent about to then claim "Aha! But Paul doesn't say anything about x" as though that somehow equals him thinking that Jesus was never hear on Earth.

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Glad to hear that TJ! I’m not saying that you are one, but you are using the same arguments that they do to prop up their faith.
A good argument is a good argument irrespective of who makes it. An argument doesn't automatically become bad just because fundamentalists use it to prop up their faith.

Last edited by toejam; 11th February 2018 at 06:51 PM.
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  #103  
Old 11th February 2018, 06:40 PM
toejam toejam is online now
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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SEG said:
The smoking guns for me in this regard are:
Quote:
Quote:
Galatians 1:11:

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
In the context of Galatians, I think Paul is talking about his personal revelation to take the message to the Gentiles, and the belief he had come to that Gentiles need not become circumcised - i.e. the issues Paul is most adamantly arguing for in the epistle - not information about Jesus's earthly life. Recall that in the same epistle Paul admits he relayed the gospel he preached to James, Cephas and John "in order to ensure [he] had not run in vain" - i.e. that his new innovation about Gentiles wasn't so far out of step with what was otherwise preached as the gospel of Jesus.

Last edited by toejam; 11th February 2018 at 06:44 PM.
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  #104  
Old 11th February 2018, 11:10 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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toejam said View Post
Marcion believed Jesus interacted with humans here on Earth, only in the form of some sort of apparition that appeared to be human. In Marcion's view, Jesus was still here in the sense that any Judean onlooker could have approached him and witnessed his crucifixion, etc. This is not the same as your belief that Paul believed Jesus never came to Earth in any sense at all, and whose life, teachings and crucifixion, etc., could only have been witnessed via revelation which was entirely allegorized into the gospel narratives.
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Hang on! Maybe he CAN help my argument. Sure Marcion of Sinope wrote his version of ten epistles of Paul but he didn’t believe that Jesus was a real man.
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toejam said View Post
Marcion believed Jesus interacted with humans here on Earth, only in the form of some sort of apparition that appeared to be human. In Marcion's view, Jesus was still here in the sense that any Judean onlooker could have approached him and witnessed his crucifixion, etc. This is not the same as your belief that Paul believed Jesus never came to Earth in any sense at all, and whose life, teachings and crucifixion, etc., could only have been witnessed via revelation which was entirely allegorized into the gospel narratives.
Though it is the same as my belief that Paul never thought of him as being a historical man, and never had a childhood of any kind.

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But in Marcion's gospel he never was born, he popped into existence as a fully grown man. You accept that the nativity stories are rubbish, this is only one step further.
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toejam said View Post
Marcion was prominent some 100+years after the historical Jesus and was accused of tampering with the texts. Marcion tried his best to downplay as much of Jesus' Jewishness as he could. We have earlier, more reliable sources - namely the gospels and Paul's epistles.
Sure, but Paul writes only of Jesus as a fully grown man, the same as Marcion. Historical people usually have a biology which includes a date of birth, parents and childhood stories.

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Why couldn’t [the Gospel of Mark] have been written "to dispute what Marcion wrote about Jesus being a celestial being? Mark squarely places Jesus on Earth as a living human being.
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toejam said View Post
If by "what Marcion wrote" you're referring to his variant version of the Gospel of Luke, then it's quite simple. It is widely understood that the Gospel of Luke draws heavily from the Gospel of Mark, often quoting it verbatim, and altering details to suit his cause and to clean up some of Mark's sloppy grammar and geographical errors, etc. How could the Gospel of Mark have been written to dispute Marcion's gospel if Marcion's gospel is secondary?
No, I was talking about what Marcion wrote about Jesus being a celestial being.

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The above all fall into the ancient docetic idea that Jesus only seemed to come into the world "in the flesh" and in early Jewish beliefs of earthly representations that are mirrored in Heaven. Paul may have mentioned Jesus 143 times, but never in an historical sense.
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toejam said View Post
You are confusing docetism with Carrier's understanding of Paul's beliefs. They are not the same. Docetists believed Jesus was here. Anyone - believer or non-believer - could have seen him, only they didn't realise he was actually some sort of apparition. Carrier's belief is not that Paul was a docetist. Carrier's belief is that Paul thought Jesus wasn't even here in the docetic sense!
No, am not confusing it with Docetism, I am making the point that many early Christians and ancient Jews believed that Jesus was a celestial being, not an historical person. You cannot escape this as a fact.

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toejam said View Post
Paul does refer to Jesus in historical senses - he refers to his Jessean, Davidic descent, his having been and having come from Israelites like the patriarchs before him, his being born from a woman under the Mosaic law (i.e. Paul believes Jesus was a Jew). Paul refers to Jesus teaching the Eucharist in earthly terms - breaking bread, passing cups, "after supper", etc. Paul places Jesus' crucifixion in Jerusalem and blames Judean Jews for it, and Paul states that Jesus was buried. He NEVER qualifies any of this with "... in outer-space". Paul believed Jesus had been here on Earth.
Nope, sorry you don’t understand that there was a heavenly Jerusalem imagined in Rabbinic Literature and that the ancient Jews thought that everything on Earth was mirrored in Heaven. The Lord’s Supper (NB, not “Last Supper” wasn’t testified, located anywhere or had any witnesses. It was “revealed” to Paul, just like everything else. Lord’s Suppers were also well known in pagan sources, which may have sprung the concept.


Quote:
Here’s some scriptcha backatcha:

Romans 10:14
14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
It looks like they hadn't heard of him.
Quote:
toejam said View Post
Who do you think the "they" are here? This is not Paul saying that no one ever saw or heard Jesus. Paul explicitly says elsewhere that Christ was once known to people "in the flesh", but now no longer (i.e. they think they know him pneumatically/spiritually). Look at the rest of the passage and note the structural effect he is making. He's using a 'step ladder' effect. Your cherry-picking of the verse misses this effect:

Romans 10:14
1) But how are they to call on one in whom they have not believed?
2) And how are they to believe in one of whom they have never heard
3) And how are they to hear without someone to proclaim him?
4) And how are they to proclaim him unless they are sent?

If you work your way backwards, the logic structure suggests that category 1 people must be those who had seen/heard but did not believe.
Ok, fair enough, maybe I was reading that too literally.

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It’s a pity that he never once said, “born of a woman called Mary”, or refers to the Jesus of Nazareth resplendent in the Gospels. That would have made it crystal clear and be a slam dunk for your arguments.
Quote:
toejam said View Post
I'm confident you'd still write it off as an interpolation or allegory even if he did

Look, what he have is pretty compelling. Paul makes lots of references - subtle and explicit - that reflect his belief in Jesus's earthly existence. You just seek to interpret them otherwise, missing the elephant in the room. There's no necessity for Paul to mention Jesus' mother or father by name, or Nazareth given the occasion of his letters. You're simply drilling for something for Paul to be silent about to then claim "Aha! But Paul doesn't say anything about x" as though that somehow equals him thinking that Jesus was never hear on Earth.
It may be compelling to you, but I find it inconceivable that Paul never mentioned Jesus’s ministry, the virgin birth, the feeding of 5000, turning water into wine, the sermon on the mount, the raising of Lazarus, or any parables. Unless all that wasn't invented yet.

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Glad to hear that TJ! I’m not saying that you are one, but you are using the same arguments that they do to prop up their faith.
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toejam said View Post
A good argument is a good argument irrespective of who makes it. An argument doesn't automatically become bad just because fundamentalists use it to prop up their faith.
No, but it becomes bad when there is no or little evidence to back up bald assertions
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The smoking guns for me in this regard are:

Galatians 1:11:

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.
Quote:
toejam said View Post
In the context of Galatians, I think Paul is talking about his personal revelation to take the message to the Gentiles, and the belief he had come to that Gentiles need not become circumcised - i.e. the issues Paul is most adamantly arguing for in the epistle - not information about Jesus's earthly life. Recall that in the same epistle Paul admits he relayed the gospel he preached to James, Cephas and John "in order to ensure [he] had not run in vain" - i.e. that his new innovation about Gentiles wasn't so far out of step with what was otherwise preached as the gospel of Jesus.
It looks pretty straight forward to me that he received information not from humans but from revelation. The biggest news that he missed was the supposed virgin birth. Now how did THAT happen?
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  #105  
Old 11th February 2018, 11:42 PM
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Noting of course that she doesn’t think Jesus was a myth.
But do you think that Moses and the Patriarchs were mythical?
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  #106  
Old 12th February 2018, 08:48 AM
toejam toejam is online now
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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SEG said:
it is the same as my belief that Paul never thought of him as being a historical man, and never had a childhood of any kind.
You're stretching it. Docetists believed Jesus was earthy-historical. Anyone could have seen him. He interacted in real space-time with other people, etc. To me this is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus was exclusively celestial and never came to Earth in any form. That is not what Paul believed.

Quote:
Paul writes only of Jesus as a fully grown man, the same as Marcion. Historical people usually have a biology which includes a date of birth, parents and childhood stories.
Paul does not "only" speak of Jesus as a fully grown man. Paul refers to his Jessean and Davidic biological ancestry (i.e. "according to the flesh"), his having come from, and having been an Israelite like the patriarchs before him. Paul speaks of Jesus being born of a woman under the Jewish law. Paul never says that Jesus had no childhood. Given the occasion of his letters, there's really no necessity for Paul to mention the date of Jesus' birth, the specific name of his parents or any childhood stories. If the Galatians were arguing about whether the boy Jesus preferred Pokemon or Ninja Turtles you might have a point! But it's simply not on the agenda.

You seemingly have no problem believing that Paul existed despite that in his epistles and Acts we don't have any key information about his parents or his day of birth. No childhood stories about Paul either! Indeed, Paul seems to just "pop into existence" at around the age of 30. Holy moly! This fits your criteria for thinking that Paul must only have been thought of as an exclusively celestial being too! I'm pointing out your inconsistency. We don't need this information to be able to establish that the earliest Christians thought Paul was a real person. And the same is true for distinguishing Paul's beliefs about an 'earthy' Jesus.

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I am making the point that many early Christians and ancient Jews believed that Jesus was a celestial being, not an historical person. You cannot escape this as a fact.
Again, I think you're stretching it. Marcion believed Jesus was earthy-historical. Anyone could have seen Marcion's Jesus. He interacted in real space-time with other people, etc. To me this is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus was exclusively celestial and never came to Earth in any form.

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you don’t understand that there was a heavenly Jerusalem imagined in Rabbinic Literature and that the ancient Jews thought that everything on Earth was mirrored in Heaven.
No, I do understand this. If everything on Earth was mirrored in Heaven, then the same is true in reverse. "As above, so below", as the ancient saying went. If this is the case, then the supposed heavenly crucifixion had an earthy reflection. Many ancients, influenced by Plato, believed that what we experience was a mere shadow of the higher dimensional reality.

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The Lord’s Supper (NB, not “Last Supper” wasn’t testified, located anywhere or had any witnesses. It was “revealed” to Paul, just like everything else. Lord’s Suppers were also well known in pagan sources, which may have sprung the concept.
Whatever Paul's source for what he says about the Last Supper, he still presents it as earthy-historical. Paul thought that on a specific night after supper, Jesus broke bread, passed it around, verbally taught a new mantra, drank from a cup, passed it around, etc. Paul doesn't say that this only happened in the heavens. Paul believed Jesus had been here on Earth.

Paul's language here, "received from [teacher x] that which I handed on..." was a common way of saying one was passing on tradition that ultimately stemmed from teacher x. While it is true that the word for "received" here ("παρέλαβον") can sometimes be used to refer to a revelation (as it can in English), it is not necessary, nor the normal referent. Note that Paul does not say here that he got this from a "revelation" ("ἀποκαλύψεως"), as he does, for example, in Galatians 1:12.

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It may be compelling to you, but I find it inconceivable that Paul never mentioned Jesus’s ministry, the virgin birth, the feeding of 5000, turning water into wine, the sermon on the mount, the raising of Lazarus, or any parables. Unless all that wasn't invented yet.
Again, these kind of responses are an attempt to widen the goal posts. We're talking about whether Paul thought Jesus had been here on Earth. There are compelling reasons for thinking so.

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it becomes bad when there is no or little evidence to back up bald assertions
I've provided evidence for every thing I've said. You just prefer to interpret the 'earthy' verses in Paul in 'non-earthy' ways. So when Paul says that Jesus was an Israelite and a descendant of Jesse and David, for you Paul must have meant something else. When Paul says that Jesus was once known to them "according to the flesh, but now no longer", for you Paul must have meant something else. When Paul specifically identifies someone as "the brother of the Lord" in a way that grammatically and contextually distinguishes this person from others who should also have been "brethren", then Paul must have meant something else than Paul simply identifying Jesus's brother. When Paul makes references to Jesus's death by way of crucifixion happening in Zion/Judea, with Judean Jews to blame, this must be interpolation (without attestative support) or only talking about the 'heavenly' Jerusalem, despite that Paul doesn't say so, and dismissing that 'heavenly' events were often understood to have 'earthy' reflections.

Last edited by toejam; 12th February 2018 at 08:53 AM.
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  #107  
Old 12th February 2018, 04:07 PM
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But do you think that Moses and the Patriarchs were mythical?
Unlike the historical Jesus, I really know nothing about historicity in the OT. But on face value, I’d accept what Francesca Stavrakopoulou says as an expert in her field.
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  #108  
Old 12th February 2018, 04:27 PM
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Unlike the historical Jesus, I really know nothing about historicity in the OT. But on face value, I’d accept what Francesca Stavrakopoulou says as an expert in her field.
Good answer Stu, its generally accepted even by some of the better educated Christians now that they are mythical characters. That certainly wasn't the case about 20 years ago! If you made a case back then that they were mythical, people would look at you like you were crazy or laugh in your face.

I felt the same way as you about the historical Jesus a few years ago now, until I started reading some books and listening to the debates.
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Old 13th February 2018, 12:17 AM
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You're stretching it. Docetists believed Jesus was earthy-historical. Anyone could have seen him. He interacted in real space-time with other people, etc. To me this is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus was exclusively celestial and never came to Earth in any form. That is not what Paul believed.
From Wiki: Docetism is broadly defined as any teaching that claims that Jesus' body was either absent or illusory

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Paul writes only of Jesus as a fully grown man, the same as Marcion. Historical people usually have a biology which includes a date of birth, parents and childhood stories.
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toejam said View Post
Paul does not "only" speak of Jesus as a fully grown man. Paul refers to his Jessean and Davidic biological ancestry (i.e. "according to the flesh"), his having come from, and having been an Israelite like the patriarchs before him. Paul speaks of Jesus being born of a woman under the Jewish law. Paul never says that Jesus had no childhood. Given the occasion of his letters, there's really no necessity for Paul to mention the date of Jesus' birth, the specific name of his parents or any childhood stories. If the Galatians were arguing about whether the boy Jesus preferred Pokemon or Ninja Turtles you might have a point! But it's simply not on the agenda.

You seemingly have no problem believing that Paul existed despite that in his epistles and Acts we don't have any key information about his parents or his day of birth. No childhood stories about Paul either! Indeed, Paul seems to just "pop into existence" at around the age of 30. Holy moly! This fits your criteria for thinking that Paul must only have been thought of as an exclusively celestial being too! I'm pointing out your inconsistency. We don't need this information to be able to establish that the earliest Christians thought Paul was a real person. And the same is true for distinguishing Paul's beliefs about an 'earthy' Jesus.
I meant that Paul never wrote about him having a regular life and biology, i.e. no birthplace, no childhood and no parents. I feel the same way about Paul and other Bible characters like Mary, Joseph, all the disciples, Joseph of Arimathea etc.

Btw, the earliest Christian texts such as the Didache don’t mention Paul. He also doesn’t get a mention in any of the canonical gospels. I don’t treat the Bible as a history book, more like a literary work of mainly fictional characters created for the purpose of theology and evangelism. So should you, unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary?


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I am making the point that many early Christians and ancient Jews believed that Jesus was a celestial being, not an historical person. You cannot escape this as a fact.
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toejam said View Post
Again, I think you're stretching it. Marcion believed Jesus was earthy-historical. Anyone could have seen Marcion's Jesus. He interacted in real space-time with other people, etc. To me this is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus was exclusively celestial and never came to Earth in any form.
Oh come on TJ! Some historians say that Marcion’s was the first gospel (preceding the 4 canonical gospels) mentioned by the Church Fathers who thought that their Christ was a flesh covered angel. The Jews had their own Jesus angel 100 years before the supposed birth of JC. Exactly when do you think that Jesus of Nazareth came to Earth as a newborn?

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you don’t understand that there was a heavenly Jerusalem imagined in Rabbinic Literature and that the ancient Jews thought that everything on Earth was mirrored in Heaven.
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toejam said View Post
No, I do understand this. If everything on Earth was mirrored in Heaven, then the same is true in reverse. "As above, so below", as the ancient saying went. If this is the case, then the supposed heavenly crucifixion had an earthy reflection. Many ancients, influenced by Plato, believed that what we experience was a mere shadow of the higher dimensional reality.
I don’t that it makes it so in reverse. Does this mean that there was also a historic angelic battle going on sometime on the Earth? To the best of my knowledge they believed that all earthly “things” like castles and mountains all were mirrored. Even Adam was supposed to be buried in heavenly soil with Eve, according to the Apocalypse of Moses

Quote:
The Lord’s Supper (NB, not “Last Supper” wasn’t testified, located anywhere or had any witnesses. It was “revealed” to Paul, just like everything else. Lord’s Suppers were also well known in pagan sources, which may have sprung the concept.
Quote:
toejam said View Post
Whatever Paul's source for what he says about the Last Supper, he still presents it as earthy-historical. Paul thought that on a specific night after supper, Jesus broke bread, passed it around, verbally taught a new mantra, drank from a cup, passed it around, etc. Paul doesn't say that this only happened in the heavens. Paul believed Jesus had been here on Earth.

Paul's language here, "received from [teacher x] that which I handed on..." was a common way of saying one was passing on tradition that ultimately stemmed from teacher x. While it is true that the word for "received" here ("παρέλαβον") can sometimes be used to refer to a revelation (as it can in English), it is not necessary, nor the normal referent. Note that Paul does not say here that he got this from a "revelation" ("ἀποκαλύψεως"), as he does, for example, in Galatians 1:12.
So whereabouts on Earth was it, approximate date and who else besides Jesus was there? If you could give that sort of information, that would cement it in history. Otherwise is remains as a fuzzy, unattested fiction.

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It may be compelling to you, but I find it inconceivable that Paul never mentioned Jesus’s ministry, the virgin birth, the feeding of 5000, turning water into wine, the sermon on the mount, the raising of Lazarus, or any parables. Unless all that wasn't invented yet.
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toejam said View Post
Again, these kind of responses are an attempt to widen the goal posts. We're talking about whether Paul thought Jesus had been here on Earth. There are compelling reasons for thinking so.
Your view of compelling is definitely different than mine.

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it becomes bad when there is no or little evidence to back up bald assertions
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toejam said View Post
I've provided evidence for every thing I've said.
Correct, but it is just flimsy evidence relying on bad history IMO. Paul if he ever existed, is a very bad historian if you are treating his writings as evidence of an historical Jesus. Carrier gives this definition of a bad historian taken from this video:



at around the 25 minute mark;

Quote:
A bad historian will never mention what his sources are, or how they know what they know.

A bad historian will report the incredible as if it were ordinary, showing no doubt and expecting no skepticism from his readers

A bad historian will never mention alternative accounts of the same event, even when they know that one exists.

A bad historian will be caught making things up a lot.
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toejam said View Post
You just prefer to interpret the 'earthy' verses in Paul in 'non-earthy' ways. So when Paul says that Jesus was an Israelite and a descendant of Jesse and David, for you Paul must have meant something else. When Paul says that Jesus was once known to them "according to the flesh, but now no longer", for you Paul must have meant something else.

When Paul specifically identifies someone as "the brother of the Lord" in a way that grammatically and contextually distinguishes this person from others who should also have been "brethren", then Paul must have meant something else than Paul simply identifying Jesus's brother. When Paul makes references to Jesus's death by way of crucifixion happening in Zion/Judea, with Judean Jews to blame, this must be interpolation (without attestative support) or only talking about the 'heavenly' Jerusalem, despite that Paul doesn't say so, and dismissing that 'heavenly' events were often understood to have 'earthy' reflections.
We’ve gone over all of the above, and Carrier explains all of it away very logically in great detail in his books and blogs. He does say that this is the very best evidence for a historical Jesus, even though it is pretty poor.

In summary, Yes, Jesus was an Israelite as a heavenly angel.

He can’t be a descendant of David/Jesse as they were in his supposed mother’s lineage, which doesn’t count.

According to the flesh = Allegorical

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The actual phrase used, kata sarka, is indeed odd if it is supposed to emphasize an earthly sojourn. The preposition kata with the accusative literally means “down” or “down to” and often implies motion, usually over or through its object, which would literally read “down through flesh” or “down to flesh” or even “towards flesh.” But outside the context of motion, it frequently means “at” or “in the region of,” and this is how Doherty reads it. It can also mean “in accordance with” in reference to fitness or conformity, and in this sense kata sarka can mean “by flesh,” “for flesh,” “concerning flesh,” “in conformity with flesh,” and the like, meanings that don’t relate to the location or origin of the flesh. Presumably this is what biblical translators have in mind with “according to the flesh,” but I find it hard to understand what Paul would have meant to emphasize with this, other than what Doherty already has in mind. For example, the word kata can also have a comparative meaning, “corresponding with, after the fashion of,” in other words “like flesh.” And it has other meanings not relevant here. But the most common, relevant meanings of kata with the accusative do at least fit Doherty’s theory that Jesus descended to and took on “the likeness of flesh” (Romans 8:3), in which case kata sarka would mean “in the realm of flesh.”Nevertheless, though kata sarka does not entail that Jesus walked the earth, it is still compatible with such an idea. But many other strange details noted by Doherty are used to argue otherwise, and I think he makes a good case for his reading, based on far more than this.
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The brother of the Lord doesn’t distinguish from a biological brother
See Carrier's logical explanation;

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So it’s just as likely, if not more so, that Paul means he met only the apostle Peter and only one other Judean Christian, a certain ‘brother James’. By calling him a brother of the Lord instead of an apostle, Paul is thus distinguishing this James from any apostles of the same name—just as we saw he used ‘brothers of the Lord’ to distinguish regular Christians from apostles in 1 Cor. 9.5. Indeed, this would explain his rare use of the complete phrase in only those two places: he otherwise uses the truncated ‘brother’ of his fellow Christians; yet every time he specifically distinguishes apostles from non-apostolic Christians he uses the full title for a member of the Christian congregation, ‘brother of the Lord’. This would be especially necessary to distinguish in such contexts ‘brothers of the apostles’ (which would include kin who were not believers) from ‘brothers of the Lord’, which also explains why he doesn’t truncate the phrase in precisely those two places.
I here cite Trudinger’s peer reviewed article demonstrating that the grammatical construction Paul uses in Gal. 1:19 is comparative. In other words, “Other than the apostles I saw no one, except James the Lord’s brother.” Thus, the construction Paul is using says James is not an Apostle. And both Trudinger and Hans Dieter Betz (who wrote the Fortress Press commentary on Galatians) cite a number of peer reviewed experts who concur (OHJ, p. 590, n. 100). There were of course Jameses who were Apostles. So Paul chose this construction to make clear he didn’t mean one of them (or a biological brother of Cephas, for that matter). He meant a regular “Brother of the Lord,” an ordinary non-apostolic Christian. But a Christian all the same—which was important for Paul to mention, since he had to list every Christian he met on that visit, lest he be accused of concealing his contacts with anyone who knew the gospel at that time.
Ironically, in his attempt to answer Trudinger, George Howard, the only person to answer Trudinger in the peer reviewed literature (OHJ, p. 590, n. 101), observed that the examples Trudinger referenced still involve “a comparison between persons or objects of the same class of things,” such as new friends and old friends belonging to the general class of friends, and indestructible elements and destructible elements belonging to the general class of elements. But that actually means Cephas and James belong to the same class (Brothers of the Lord, since Jesus is “the firstborn of many brethren…”), which entails the distinction is between Apostolic and non-Apostolic Brothers of the Lord, just as Trudinger’s examples show a contrast being made between destructible and indestructible elements and old and new friends. Howard’s objection thus actually confirms the very reading I’m pointing to. It thus does not in fact argue against Trudinger at all—who would agree both Cephas and this James belonged to the same class of things: Christians. Howard’s only other objection was to suggest Paul could have said James was not an Apostle by an even more convoluted sentence; when Occam’s Razor entails the reverse, that Paul would have said such a thing, had he intended to say such a thing, in a much simpler way, not a more complex one—after all, it would be far easier to just say “I met two apostles.” Exactly as Trudinger observes. (I discuss in OHJ several other simpler ways of saying the same thing than Howard suggests.)

Last edited by SEG; 13th February 2018 at 12:19 AM.
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Old 13th February 2018, 12:28 AM
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SEG SEG is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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toejam said View Post
You're stretching it.
Allow me to stretch it a bit more TJ. See if you can second guess me as to how JC earned his nom de plume, Jesus of Nazareth? Trust me, it's got nothing to do with a physical location named "Nazareth". Any clues?
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