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  #61  
Old 5th February 2018, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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toejam said View Post
Sorry, I've misunderstood your question. I'm not saying I think the Virgin Birth narrative is the most historical thing about Jesus. Far from it. Of those four, I think the apocalyptic discourses scattered throughout the synoptic gospels are likely the closest reflections of the historical Jesus.
So is it No. 2 his ministry where you find the most historical accounts? His birth story is clearly fiction, so I'm glad you didn't chose that one. There is a 10 year contradiction on when he was born for a start. Apocalyptic discourses? Which ones do you think are the most historical? Could you cite them thanks? I'm takng it for granted that you dismiss all the miracle working stories and Sermon on the Mount BS.

I would love to see those "kernels" or "nuggets" of historical events that others point to, I have never found them.
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Old 5th February 2018, 10:36 PM
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^The first and the last.
The last one, crucifixion was wildly fictional too, with no trace of anything historical. Here's what I posted in another earlier thread:

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Barabbas (Son of The Father) had the first name of "Jesus" and was apparently notorious for being a robber, insurrectionist and a murderer. Strangely, there are no details of anything of these events outside of the gospels, and nothing of his life previously or since is known anywhere.


See:
https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bar...iblical-figure
Quote:
Barabbas, in the New Testament, a prisoner or criminal mentioned in all four gospels who was chosen by the crowd, over Jesus Christ, to be released by Pontius Pilate in a customary pardon before the feast of Passover.
In Matthew 27:16, Barabbas was called a “notorious prisoner.” In Mark 15:7, Luke 23:19, and John 18:40, Barabbas was “among the rebels in prison, who had committed murder in the insurrection,” a revolutionary against the occupying Roman forces.
The name Barabbas appears nowhere else in the New Testament, nor do any of the gospels give any information about his previous or subsequent life.
So one Jesus (Son of The Father), who was about as evil as you could get was released into the wild, while the other Jesus (Son of The Father) who was innocent became a sacrificial lamb. This seems to be an allegory of;

Quote:
Leviticus 16 King James Version (KJV)

16 And the Lord spake unto Moses after the death of the two sons of Aaron, when they offered before the Lord, and died;

2 And the Lord said unto Moses, Speak unto Aaron thy brother, that he come not at all times into the holy place within the vail before the mercy seat, which is upon the ark; that he die not: for I will appear in the cloud upon the mercy seat.

3 Thus shall Aaron come into the holy place: with a young bullock for a sin offering, and a ram for a burnt offering.

4 He shall put on the holy linen coat, and he shall have the linen breeches upon his flesh, and shall be girded with a linen girdle, and with the linen mitre shall he be attired: these are holy garments; therefore shall he wash his flesh in water, and so put them on.

5 And he shall take of the congregation of the children of Israel two kids of the goats for a sin offering, and one ram for a burnt offering.

6 And Aaron shall offer his bullock of the sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself, and for his house.

7 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.

8 And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat.

9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.

10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
and similar to the Yom Kippur Day of Atonement. So I ask, "What happened to Barabbas?" Did he go on with his reactionary, murdering ways? Maybe he was a Neville Nobody too, but why would he be known as notorious if that was the case? Surely he would be even more notorious after beating death so controversially and released?

Does anyone know of any prevailing Passover custom in Jerusalem that allowed or required Pilate or anyone else in power to commute one prisoner's death sentence over another by popular acclaim? I'm pretty sure there was no such tradition, but I don't know for sure.
The two thieves on either side of him were symbolic as well. It's about telling stories to be mysterious and special to the masses, not a recording of historical events.
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  #63  
Old 5th February 2018, 11:11 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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So Paul doesn't really speak of Jesus having a mother or a father or brothers or sisters does he? He doesn't tell of Jesus being in town with his bros or sitting down by the fireside with his dad. He does talk of being "born of a woman" and uses other strange language when talking of his beloved Jesus.
Paul tells us that Jesus came from a woman - without qualification that this woman was in outer-space. Carrier himself acknowledges that the word Paul uses can be used to refer to a standard birth.

Paul tells us that Jesus came from the line of King David, and elsewhere, David's father Jesse - without qualification that he meant in the outer-space or from cosmic sperm. Paul tells that Jesus was an Israelite, like the Israelite patriarchs before him - without qualification that he means in the outer-space sense.

I have given you plenty of examples of how Paul uses the phrase "according to the flesh" to refer to 'earthly' figures. Paul considered Abraham his ancestor "according to the flesh". Paul refers to his fellow Jews as his "kindred/people according to the flesh". Paul says that Jesus was once known "according to the flesh" but is now no longer.

Paul tells us that he met with Jesus's brother James and is elsewhere aware of a distinct group within the Christian community known of as "the Lord's brothers". It is interesting to note that he does not include Cephas or "other apostles" in this group of brothers. Paul is obviously talking about Jesus's actual brothers.

All these references come only from the genuine Pauline epistles. Paul evidently believed Jesus had been here on Earth, as a Jew. Carrier has duped you into thinking these verses are stranger than they are. He has to because he knows that his outer-space theory is the biggest missing elephant from the room of Paul's epistles. Carrier has to "manufacture" it somehow...

Changing the goal posts to talk about how Acts presents Paul adds nothing. Yep. Acts is full of bogus, contradictory, allegorical, propagandistic stories about Paul - AND YET - Paul actually existed. The same is probably true for Jesus. Yes, the gospels are full of bogus, contradictory, allegorical, propagandistic stories about Jesus. But that does not mean that there wasn't a historical Jesus. Indeed, if we understand Acts as early Christian propaganda that nonetheless at least gives us some very broad outline of Paul, then the same is likely true for the Gospels to Jesus.

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Apocalyptic discourses? Which ones do you think are the most historical?
These verses found in the synoptic gospels I believe are the closest we get to the original teachings of Jesus. Jesus, I suspect, believed that Yahweh was soon to cataclysmically intervene. He was wrong, obviously. Which is what makes these verses stand out.

Mark 8:38
"Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

Mark 13:24
“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place."

Q (Luke 17:24 / Matthew 24:27)
"For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. But first he must endure much suffering and be rejected by this generation. Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulphur from heaven and destroyed all of them, it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed."

M (Matthew 13:40)
"Just as the weeds are collected and burned up with fire, so will it be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all evildoers, and they will throw them into the furnace of fire, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let anyone with ears listen!"

L (Luke 21:34)
"Be on guard so that your hearts are not weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of this life, and that day does not catch you unexpectedly, like a trap. For it will come upon all who live on the face of the whole earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man."
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  #64  
Old 6th February 2018, 01:00 AM
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Paul tells us that Jesus came from a woman - without qualification that this woman was in outer-space. Carrier himself acknowledges that the word Paul uses can be used to refer to a standard birth.
I think you may be hung up about the outer-space reference, Carrier uses it flippantly to describe the celestial Jesus described in the Ascension of Isaiah text. Why describe a living person as "born of a woman"? Isn't a given that we are all "born of a woman"?

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Paul tells us that Jesus came from the line of King David, and elsewhere, David's father Jesse - without qualification that he meant in the outer-space or from cosmic sperm. Paul tells that Jesus was an Israelite, like the Israelite patriarchs before him - without qualification that he means in the outer-space sense.
Hold on! Wasn't Jesus's biological father supposed to be Joseph? As in not God? Christians try to wriggle out of this by saying that it comes from Mary's family tree, which is just piffle! The Jews NEVER used the mother's family tree, they didn't count women as being important enough. Talking about women, Jesus's unnamed, uncounted sisters didn't hit the history books either, did they?

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I have given you plenty of examples of how Paul uses the phrase "according to the flesh" to refer to 'earthly' figures. Paul considered Abraham his ancestor "according to the flesh". Paul refers to his fellow Jews as his "kindred/people according to the flesh". Paul says that Jesus was once known "according to the flesh" but is now no longer.

Paul tells us that he met with Jesus's brother James and is elsewhere aware of a distinct group within the Christian community known of as "the Lord's brothers". It is interesting to note that he does not include Cephas or "other apostles" in this group of brothers. Paul is obviously talking about Jesus's actual brothers.
In the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, Paul calls Timothy "our brother", and addressing Philemon as "fellow labourer" and "brother." Onesimus, a slave that had departed from his master Philemon, was returning with this epistle wherein Paul asked Philemon to receive him as a "brother beloved."

Are you saying that they are his actual brothers or cultic ones? There is never a distinction made, so how can you tell which is which?

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All these references come only from the genuine Pauline epistles. Paul evidently believed Jesus had been here on Earth, as a Jew.
A red flag has just arrived here. Why was there a need to write 6 bullshit epistles?

If he believed that he was on Earth, then why didn't he want to learn more about his teachings from the disciples/apostles? Why didn't he ever call them disciples?

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Carrier has duped you into thinking these verses are stranger than they are. He has to because he knows that his outer-space theory is the biggest missing elephant from the room of Paul's epistles. Carrier has to "manufacture" it somehow...
You keep saying that, but you are pre-supposing that Jesus existed and had a life on Earth that was recorded in the Bible. There is nothing there that reads that he was a real person. Look, if there was a document found from an itinerant business person to his boss that commented on Jesus walking through Jerusalem with his brothers and parents, I would be utterly convinced. There is nothing close to that and there should be documents like that. Unless he was so bloody obscure that he only had a dozen or less followers. If that was so, how did he get the religion off to a kick start?

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Changing the goal posts to talk about how Acts presents Paul adds nothing. Yep. Acts is full of bogus, contradictory, allegorical, propagandistic stories about Paul - AND YET - Paul actually existed.
How do you know that? His biography isn't crash hot either. How do you know that for certain?

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The same is probably true for Jesus. Yes, the gospels are full of bogus, contradictory, allegorical, propagandistic stories about Jesus. But that does not mean that there wasn't a historical Jesus. Indeed, if we understand Acts as early Christian propaganda that nonetheless at least gives us some very broad outline of Paul, then the same is likely true for the Gospels to Jesus.
What is a lot more likely is that the epistles and gospels were malarkey. Most of what was written in those times were fictional Christian propaganda accounts.

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These verses found in the synoptic gospels I believe are the closest we get to the original teachings of Jesus. Jesus, I suspect, believed that Yahweh was soon to cataclysmically intervene. He was wrong, obviously. Which is what makes these verses stand out.
Don't you think it is strange that Jesus just popped up out of nowhere, spruiking these wondrous teachings? All the bullshit made up about his nativity, then no-one hears of him until he is in his 30's apart from that BS account of him in the temple at 12, lost from his parents for 3 days! All of a sudden he gets the wisdom of Solomon and spruiks like a pro, just like a team of educated Greek theologians would put together?

The Sermon on The Mount was an example of how they would have put something together like that and recorded it as an account in the gospels.
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Old 6th February 2018, 07:10 AM
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A red flag has just arrived here. Why was there a need to write 6 bullshit epistles?
The Epistles start out as functions of governance from the leaders of the cult. There may have been more than one authority figure authorised to write Epistles. There may have been rival leaders. There are indications of an early disagreement between factions over the role of jewish ritual in Christianity. Later the Epistles become sacred texts rather than administrative documents. In both cases, the authorship of the Epistle can enhance its power, so to falsely attribute its authorship to a revered figure (in particular, the figure who appears to have triumphed in the factional battles) can be a useful tool. Likewise, inserting bits of compelling folklore can also increase the saleability of the texts. This explains the mixture of myth and apparent (probable?) history in the bible.

The story of the child Jesus in the temple is like a spillover from The Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Now THAT'S bullshit!
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  #66  
Old 6th February 2018, 07:29 AM
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I think you may be hung up about the outer-space reference, Carrier uses it flippantly to describe the celestial Jesus described in the Ascension of Isaiah text. Why describe a living person as "born of a woman"? Isn't a given that we are all "born of a woman"?
Paul believed Jesus was God's son. In the context of Galatians, Paul's reference, "born of a woman, born under the law", is his way of saying that Jesus was God's son who came here as a human and as a Jew. And as such, in Paul's logic, Jesus was able to redeem those "under the law" - i.e. other human Jews. And once that had been accomplished, the doors were open for gentiles to join the Israel-Yahweh 'family'. This is Paul's thinking and the driving thought behind his mission. You and I don't have to buy everything about what Paul believed about Jesus, but it's clear enough that he's talking about someone whom he believes had been here on Earth as a Jew. Paul does not say, as we might expect under Carrier's thesis, that Jesus was "manufactured in in the heavens through a woman angel".

I will continue to press you on the "outer-space" stuff because it's the biggest missing elephant from the room of Paul's epistles. It should be there if Paul believed it.

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In the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, Paul calls Timothy "our brother", and addressing Philemon as "fellow labourer" and "brother." Onesimus, a slave that had departed from his master Philemon, was returning with this epistle wherein Paul asked Philemon to receive him as a "brother beloved."

Are you saying that they are his actual brothers or cultic ones? There is never a distinction made, so how can you tell which is which?
Paul's use of "brother" in Philemon is more obviously the "brethren" sense. The difference between this usage and the usage in Galatians 1:19 & 1 Corinthians 9:5 is that in the latter the "brothers" are singled out as distinct from other Christians whom, under your view, should also be considered part of the "Christian brethren"...

"Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother" (Gal 1:19)

Note how "Cephas" and "any other apostle" are not included as "the Lord's brothers" here. The "brother" here is a singular and is being used in a way to distinguish which James he is talking about. If he were just any old "Christian brethren" James, then Paul would more likely have said "a brother in Christ" or "one of our brothers". But that's not what Paul does. Paul singles this James out as "the Lord's brother". Later in the letter, it is clear that there is some tension between "James the Lord's brother" and Paul. This James has some weight behind him. This James sent men to check up on Paul and Paul wasn't happy about it. The simplest explanation is that this James is Jesus's brother.

"Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" (1 Cor 9:5)

Again, note how "other apostles" and "Cephas" are distinguished from a distinct group known of as the "brothers of the Lord". Why aren't "Cephas" and "other apostles" counted in this group? If Paul was using the term as you believe he was, he should have said: "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as with of our brothers in Christ?". But that's not what Paul says.

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A red flag has just arrived here. Why was there a need to write 6 bullshit epistles?
Irrelevant to the point about distinguishing what Paul believed about Jesus.

I've run out of time for now and will have to get to your other points later.

Last edited by toejam; 6th February 2018 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 6th February 2018, 09:08 AM
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Paul believed Jesus was God's son. In the context of Galatians, Paul's reference, "born of a woman, born under the law", is his way of saying that Jesus was God's son who came here as a human and as a Jew. And as such, in Paul's logic, Jesus was able to redeem those "under the law" - i.e. other human Jews. And once that had been accomplished, the doors were open for gentiles to join the Israel-Yahweh 'family'. This is Paul's thinking and the driving thought behind his mission. You and I don't have to buy everything about what Paul believed about Jesus, but it's clear enough that he's talking about someone whom he believes had been here on Earth as a Jew. Paul does not say, as we might expect under Carrier's thesis, that Jesus was "manufactured in in the heavens through a woman angel".

I will continue to press you on the "outer-space" stuff because it's the biggest missing elephant from the room of Paul's epistles. It should be there if Paul believed it.
I think it is more likely that he mentions "borne of a woman because of all the Gnostic cults that were around at the same time. I think that there were over 80 other cults that worshiped a celestial messiah at the same time of Jesus. If Jesus was the real deal, how could others promote stuff like this? There were also other Jewish Christian cults like the Ebionites and the Nazarenes claiming to be the true word about Jesus. How could they also exist if he was the real McCoy? Besides, this is the real elephant in the room. Paul explicitly says in Galatians:

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Galatians 1:10 I now seeking the approval of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. 11For I certify to you, brothers, that the gospel I preached is not devised by man. 12I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
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Paul's use of "brother" in Philemon is more obviously the "brethren" sense. The difference between this usage and the usage in Galatians 1:19 & 1 Corinthians 9:5 is that in the latter the "brothers" are singled out as distinct from other Christians whom, under your view, should also be considered part of the "Christian brethren"...

"Then after three years I did go up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. But I did not see any other apostle except James the Lord’s brother" (Gal 1:19)

Note how "Cephas" and "any other apostle" are not included as "the Lord's brothers" here. The "brother" here is a singular and is being used in a way to distinguish which James he is talking about. If he were just any old "Christian brethren" James, then Paul would more likely have said "a brother in Christ" or "one of our brothers". But that's not what Paul does. Paul singles this James out as "the Lord's brother". Later in the letter, it is clear that there is some tension between "James the Lord's brother" and Paul. This James has some weight behind him. This James sent men to check up on Paul and Paul wasn't happy about it. The simplest explanation is that this James is Jesus's brother.

"Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?" (1 Cor 9:5)

Again, note how "other apostles" and "Cephas" are distinguished from a distinct group known of as the "brothers of the Lord". Why aren't "Cephas" and "other apostles" counted in this group? If Paul was using the term as you believe he was, he should have said: "Do we not have the right to be accompanied by a believing wife, as with of our brothers in Christ?". But that's not what Paul says.
There are no smoking guns here, there is nothing tying biographical information to any historical event or location. It would be a whole lot different if we had something like Paul interviewing his Lord's bro about what Jesus was like as a younger man and a kid, other asking about his mother and father. Jesus was supposed to be a carpenter, do you think that what he made would have been kept and treasured? There is nothing left as evidence. He supposedly had great wisdom, but couldn't write? Again there is nothing left if he did. No one remembered where he was buried. With all the hundreds of books written about the empty tomb and how important it was regarding the resurrection events, no-one knows for certain where it is.

According to Wiki there are 6 tombs of Jesus, including one in Japan.

Paul had 15 days to work stuff like this this out apparently and track down the other disciples/apostles to tell them what he had revealed to him. Where the fuck were they? If there truly was anything historical to be said about Jesus, this was the place to put it IMO.

There is zip. Just like the non-existent evidence of Nazareth, this leads us to a Jesus of Nowhere.

Quote:
I've run out of time for now and will have to get to your other points later.
Cool, take your time mate. There are people on this forum that have probably rightly pointed out that this discussion goes nowhere. There is another forum where the topic went on for years with literally thousands of posts. They say that there are more important things to discuss, and ya know, they are probably right. But I don't care. This place is a forum and we have just as much right to discuss this as much as any other topic.

There are others here that believe Jesus is just as bunk as the Christian God.

Both "sides" agree (I think) that there is not enough evidence either way to say whether he existed or not, but I think that it is a very worthwhile topic.

Outside of this forum I have an online blogger friend that is much more qualified than I, that I have just asked to do a guest post here on the topic. I'll let you know when he responds.
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Old 6th February 2018, 09:43 AM
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The Epistles start out as functions of governance from the leaders of the cult. There may have been more than one authority figure authorised to write Epistles. There may have been rival leaders. There are indications of an early disagreement between factions over the role of jewish ritual in Christianity. Later the Epistles become sacred texts rather than administrative documents. In both cases, the authorship of the Epistle can enhance its power, so to falsely attribute its authorship to a revered figure (in particular, the figure who appears to have triumphed in the factional battles) can be a useful tool. Likewise, inserting bits of compelling folklore can also increase the saleability of the texts. This explains the mixture of myth and apparent (probable?) history in the bible.

The story of the child Jesus in the temple is like a spillover from The Infancy Gospel of Thomas. Now THAT'S bullshit!
Thanks for that Stylofone, I know that someone had to write the Epistles and it looks like the 6 "authentic" ones all had a Pauline style. I get that and the politics/evangelism behind them. With all the muddying of the waters, it makes it hard to work out what these "kernels" are. I feel the same about the Testimonium Flavianum passage.

How can anyone implicitly trust texts that have been doctored? I'm actually surprised that the Gospel of Peter didn't make it into the Bible. It had much of the same narrative as the other gospels and even had Gnostic leaning with the talking cross and giant angels.

Maybe it was a little too loony?
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Old 6th February 2018, 12:51 PM
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SEG said View Post
Hahahar! Oh the irony!

Pun intended.

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Short answer - it's not.

For you maybe, but I said atheists, not SEG . The discussion generates much heat and not a little flaming, but little light.

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Yeah but you have different levels of evidence of absence ...

Um, you may have skipped over where I explicitly made that point myself.


But that said:



Quote:
Gilbert J. Garraghan writes on pages 149 of A Guide to Historical Method:

I can, and generally do, skip these discussions and indeed I haven't read much if anything of this thread. A quick glance suggests the usual suspects.

But, aside from annoyance at fellow atheists fighting over a non-issue, it also bugs me as a pedant that this discussion is frequently prosecuted without much regard to historical method, or standard views on epistemology generally.


Take in particular the point on absence of primary texts, or texts being changed. That's the norm in pre-modern history. There are plenty of figures for which we have no primary sources and the secondary sources have been variously glossed, amended, or made up. But we don't say the figures they are based on are fictional. But when it comes to Jesus, this seems to go out the window.








No


Paul mentions practically nothing about Jesus's biography and should have if Jesus existed. Sure he may have elsewhere and those writings may have been lost, but wouldn't someone have made a copy of them somewhere?

If you find this stuff boring, just place me on ignore. I'll cope [/QUOTE]
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Old 6th February 2018, 04:34 PM
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Pun intended.

For you maybe, but I said atheists, not SEG . The discussion generates much heat and not a little flaming, but little light.
It hasn't got there yet, as far as I can see we are having an interesting discussion. I quite like toejam (the new member, not my affliction). I don't think he gets rattled easily either and hopefully some light will be shed on both sides.


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Um, you may have skipped over where I explicitly made that point myself.
Um, you only sort of made the same point. You said "Absence of evidence after a thorough search is evidence of absence of a sort" I expanded on that and gave a citation from an expert on evidence using the historical method to back up my point.


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I can, and generally do, skip these discussions and indeed I haven't read much if anything of this thread. A quick glance suggests the usual suspects.

But, aside from annoyance at fellow atheists fighting over a non-issue, it also bugs me as a pedant that this discussion is frequently prosecuted without much regard to historical method, or standard views on epistemology generally.
Ok, I welcome any constructive criticisms on those points of order. Have we gone awry anywhere yet?

Quote:
Take in particular the point on absence of primary texts, or texts being changed. That's the norm in pre-modern history. There are plenty of figures for which we have no primary sources and the secondary sources have been variously glossed, amended, or made up. But we don't say the figures they are based on are fictional. But when it comes to Jesus, this seems to go out the window.
That may be because he DOES resemble a fictional character in a book that is almost entirely about fiction! Have a look at Lord Raglan's 22 point myth-ritualist Hero archetype

1. Mother is a royal virgin
2. Father is a king
3. Father often a near relative to mother
4. Unusual conception
5. Hero reputed to be son of god
6. Attempt to kill hero as an infant, often by father or maternal grandfather
7. Hero spirited away as a child
8. Reared by foster parents in a far country
9. No details of childhood
10. Returns or goes to future kingdom
11. Is victor over king, giant, dragon or wild beast
12. Marries a princess (often daughter of predecessor)
13. Becomes king
14. For a time he reigns uneventfully
15. He prescribes laws
16. Later loses favor with gods or his subjects
17. Driven from throne and city
18. Meets with mysterious death
19. Often at the top of a hill
20. His children, if any, do not succeed him
21. His body is not buried
22. Has one or more holy sepulchers or tombs

I would go with Jeebus having a conservative 13 of the above traits. I know it doesn't necessarily prove anything, but he sure looks fictional to me.
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