ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
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04-03-2013, 12:46 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
Wow

"thus Jesus was a real person"

That's one hell of a conclusion from 1, I repeat 1, reference in the Talmud. I am the furthest thing in the world from a Talmud scholar but I have no idea if your reference is (1) refering to the right geography and time, (2) is credible in the sense that other things that are mentioned have been verified, (3) was translated correctly and (4) was written contemporaneously.
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04-03-2013, 01:24 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
(04-03-2013 12:13 PM)ralphellis Wrote:  .
Actually, there is a lot of evidence that Jesus existed as a real person.


Firstly, the circumstantial.
The N.T. is a hopeless record for the 'Jesus Never Existed' brigade. If one were making a text de-novo, one could make a much better fairy story than the NT. Why record that this so-called Prince of Peace ordered his disciples to buy swords (Luk 22:36). That he declared he would bring war to Judaea (Mt 10:34). That he would bring civil war to families (Mk 13:2). Or that he would ask for his enemies to be killed:

Quote:
Jesus said ... Those enemies, who would not acknowledge me as their king, bring them here and kill them in front of me (Lu 19:27)



Secondly, the Talmud mentions Jesus on many occasions. In fact, the Talmud gets very abusive, saying that Jesus was the Criminal of Israel who should have been boiled in semen and shit. The Talmud then goes on to say that Mary Magdalene was a Nazarene priestess, and she was the richest woman in Judaea (the daughter of Simon Boethus). It also says that Mary married Jesus of Gamala, which is another reason for assuming that Jesus of Gamala was the biblical Jesus. And it goes on to say that Mary bought the position of High Priest for Jesus, for the extortionate sum of 75 kilos of silver (the biblical Jesus became High Priest of Jerusalem in Hebrews 7).

References:
Boiled in shit Gittin 55-57
Mary bought the high priesthood Yebamoth 61


There would be no point in the Jewish rabbis getting quite so animated about a fictional Jesus. They only poured forth their bile because in reality Jesus was the leader of the Jewish Revolt, and therefore caused the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem and the exile of all Jews from Jerusalem. This is why they were so upset. And you will note that the other character despised in the same tractate was Titus, the commander (and thence Emperor) who destroyed Jerusalem.

This is why, in the crucifixion scene, the NT says of the compatriot of Jesus:
Jesus Barabbas lay bound with him who had made revolution with him, and had comitted murder in the revolution. (Mr 15:7)

The revolt here was the Jewish Revolt. Yet we know who the leader of the Jewish Revolt was, he was alternately called Jesus of Gamala or Izas of Adiabene - the very same character that the Talmud says married Mary Magdalene.


Thus Jesus was a real person, but the Church doesn't want you to know who he was because the warrior-monarch called Jesus-Izas does not match the pauper-carpenter imagery they have sold as a sob-story. It is far easier to ask for pity for the poor persecuted artisan who was crucified by the horrid Jews/Romans, than to ask for pity for the warrior monarch who launched a bitter war against Rome and lost (and was crucified in the Kidron Valley, and saved by Joseph, as Josephus Flavius narrates in this 'Vita' or 'Life').

Thus the Jesus story was originally a secular history of Judaea, rather than a spiritual intervention by a god. It was Saul (Josephus) who took this story and crafted it into a spiritual fantasy.

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I have no idea whether any of that is true, but even if I assume it is, it's not evidence that Jesus existed. If anything, it's evidence that a fictional character was created using the name of a real person, but that fictional character is not at all the real person the name came from. There may be some very loosely associated facts with that real person, but again, the character would still be complete fiction.

Some of your conclusions are also a stretch. I don't agree that because a better fairy story could have been created, that's circumstantial evidence for the existence of Jesus. First, it all depends on who is writing the story. Second, the story wasn't written down for 60 or 70 years - probably 2 full generations back then - so who would remember anything that was specifically said? All those quotes in the NT from Jesus are likely inaccurate at best and completely made up at worst.

In addition, I don't agree that there would be no point in rabbis getting so animated about a fictional Jesus. By the time the story caught on and many people were believing in it, it may have been believable enough that even they figured someone named Jesus had existed even he wasn't the real Messiah. And they may have been losing some Jews to Christian conversions so, yes, it could have been a big enough deal.

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04-03-2013, 01:46 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
One major flaw in finding any "evidence" of his existence through textual references is simply the commonness of the name. Back then, 25% of all men inthat region were named either Jesus or Joseph. So, to find a quote that claims that Jesus did this, or Jesus did that is comparable to finding out what Bob did yesterday. Bob who?

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04-03-2013, 03:40 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
(04-03-2013 01:46 PM)Jeffasaurus Wrote:  One major flaw in finding any "evidence" of his existence through textual references is simply the commonness of the name. Back then, 25% of all men inthat region were named either Jesus or Joseph. So, to find a quote that claims that Jesus did this, or Jesus did that is comparable to finding out what Bob did yesterday. Bob who?


Common fallacy.

Try searching the Torah for the name Jesus. It does not exist there. They have tried to say that the name was derived from Joshua, but it hardly fits at all.


However, when you realise that royal Babylonian Jews came out of Parthia and settled in Syria, and that one of their sons was called Izas, it all begins to make much more sense. Not entirely sure what Izas or Izates means, but a suggestion is 'angel'. This might be right, because Simon was also derived from 'angel', and the name Simon was also common in this family.

As to the name Jesus. Well just about everywhere you look in the works of Josephus, this name actually is associated with the same family. And often, the same person. (ie. Jesus of Gamala and Jesus Sapphias are obviously the same person.)

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04-03-2013, 04:36 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
(04-03-2013 01:24 PM)Impulse Wrote:  Second, the story wasn't written down for 60 or 70 years - probably 2 full generations back then - so who would remember anything that was specifically said? All those quotes in the NT from Jesus are likely inaccurate at best and completely made up at worst.


A common fallacy, perpetrated by the clergy to explain away the many discrepancies in the NT. They try, time and time again, to imply this was a non-literate era.

The truth is, that we know that the Essenes were scribbling away furiously in this era. Josephus Flavius was also scribbling furiously in this era. And Josephus says that Jesus Justus of Tiberius also wrote a history of 1st century Judaea (this was probably the biblical Jesus, because Justus was a family name, same as James Justus, the brother of Jesus.) Meanwhile the Talmud says that Balaam also wrote a history of 1st century Judaea, and Balaam is a common pseudonym for Jesus in the Talmud (as the talmudic rabbis tell us). Plus much of the Talmud itself was a 1st century document, written by Johannan ben Zakkai, the 1st century creator of modern Judaism.


As you can see, this was a highly literate era and region. It is therefore highly likely that contemporary records of these events were being made at the time, by both Josephus Flavius and by his chief rival Jesus-Izas of Gamala (who was the biblical Jesus). Why would they not be doing so? Why would they not record their view of this highly contentious civil war?

The only great shame is that we no longer have the History of the Kings of Judaea, by Jesus Justus, to refer to. Josephus said it was full of falsehoods and slandered him - and with Josephus being the last man standing after the Jewish Revolt, you can be sure he destroyed all the copies. Likewise the Gospel of Balaam (the biblical Jesus, according to the Talmud), which was also destroyed. What secrets disappeared with these two texts?

So you can perhaps see why people say there is no evidence for these characters - for the only surviving document was written by the quicksilver-quilled and highly duplicitous Josephus Flavius. And for many reasons, Josephus just had to write the life of the real secular Jesus out of the historical record.

But Josephus did not quite succeed, because I have one of the biblical Jesus' coins at home, which portrays him wearing his Crown of Thorns (this was a ceremonial crown, not a circlet of twigs). Yes, he did exist as a real king in control of a small realm (that he was trying to expand by taking over all of Syria, Judaea and thence Rome.) And the foundations of his castle still exists.



Does this change anything? Not really, unfortunately.

The believers will deny that this is their Jesus, even though he had the same names and the same history (being born under the Eastern Star).
In a somewhat similar fashion, the unbelievers will still say it is still all mythology, and so this cannot be the biblical Jesus.


The truth, however unpalatable, appears to be that Jesus was a real person, and he was indeed a revolutionary who tried to become Emperor of Rome. (This is why he was dressed in an Emperor's purple cloak in the crucifixion scene.) But he lost to the Roman army, was crucified, but was taken down from the cross by Josephus Flavius (as Josephus narrates at the end of his book 'Life'). Thus Josephus Flavius gets a starring role in the gospels, as Josephus of Arimathaea.


But as you can probably see, there was no spiritual gloss on the original story. This was a tale of royal ambition, civil war, capitulation and bitter defeat. The gospel authors took this story, added a thick layer of sugar and fairy dust to it, and sold it as a tale of god's work. Why? Because Rome wanted to quell revolutionary Judaism, and it did so by creating a new form of Rome-friendly Judaism. Judaism for Gentiles, or Simple Judaism, or Judaism Lite. This was pure Roman propaganda, but it eventually became a religion, and we call it Christianity.


Not sure if you know, but modern Christianity has nothing to do with the Church of Jesus. Saul (Josephus) set up his own Gentile-friendly form of Judaism, which became the bitter enemy of the Church of Jesus. Thus the gospel story is a history of Jesus, written by his bitter enemy. This revised Sauline (Pauline) account is what Rome promoted and turned into Simple Judaism (Christianity). And they were able to do this, because (Saul) Josephus was the pet Jewish quisling, scholar and yes-man of Emperor Vespasian. Vespasian wanted a Rome friendly form of Judaism, and (Saul) Josephus morphed his new Simple Judaism for Gentiles into exactly what Vespasian wanted.

Which means that Vespasian's Simple Judaic propaganda must have been the most influential and 'successful' propaganda ever devised. But I have used inverted commas there, because the propaganda evolved a life of its own, and took over all of Rome in the name of Catholic Christianity. An entire empire that was eaten by its own propaganda!! Now there is a new one....


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04-03-2013, 05:54 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
i tend to think that the guy in the storybook is based on a real guy. i dont think this guy raised the dead or walked on water. i dont think that because im not 6. i think that there is no history surrounding this guy because who would record things about an unimportant rabbi who had 12 followers or perhaps less. im sure there was lots of guys walking around at that time preaching bullshit . but no, there is no historical evidence for a guy that is actually the son of god who could do magic.
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04-03-2013, 06:51 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
As far as I can gather from Bart D Ehrman, the only evidence we have are textual references. According those texts we could say there was a guy named Jesus who did some things. Which became embellished with time.

At the same time I don't really like this type of textual evidence because it stands on the idea the more something or somebody was referenced the more likely it is to be true.

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04-03-2013, 06:59 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
Now with other digs like the one for Ashoka, not only do you have many textual references, you also have physical evidence to back up the claims of the texts.

With out physical evidence I don't think you can say somebody existed.

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04-03-2013, 07:31 PM (This post was last modified: 04-03-2013 08:02 PM by Starcrash.)
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
(04-03-2013 12:13 PM)ralphellis Wrote:  Actually, there is a lot of evidence that Jesus existed as a real person.


Firstly, the circumstantial.
The N.T. is a hopeless record for the 'Jesus Never Existed' brigade. If one were making a text de-novo, one could make a much better fairy story than the NT. Why record that this so-called Prince of Peace ordered his disciples to buy swords (Luk 22:36). That he declared he would bring war to Judaea (Mt 10:34). That he would bring civil war to families (Mk 13:2). Or that he would ask for his enemies to be killed:

Quote:
Jesus said ... Those enemies, who would not acknowledge me as their king, bring them here and kill them in front of me (Lu 19:27)

Actually, Bart Ehrman provides a plausible explanation for this. If you look at the Jesus of the New Testament as an apocalyptic prophet who believed that "a new kingdom" would be brought about on Earth within his lifetime, then it's possible that he was arming them to take over a country that did not yet exist. But that explanation is only needed for the Luke 22 reference (which I had forgotten, but it makes sense when considering that Peter was armed and chopped off the ear of Caipphas with a sword) because your other references here are quote-mined.

The Luke 19 reference, for example, appears to be part of a parable about "a certain nobleman" who demanded that his servants make him money while he's gone, and that line from verse 27 is what the nobleman says to finish the parable. Jesus, in this context as simply a story-teller who had not yet amassed an army or entered Jerusalem, did not have the authority to demand anyone's death.

In Matthew 10:34, this passage is said shortly after verse 28 in which Jesus' threat is explicitly not one of threatening mortality or war but threatening Hell. He's saying here that he's not promising happy things but rather awful things, and he bookends this speech with verses 38 and 39 in which he says that he expected martyrdom (and not in battle, but rather through "taking up his cross", or in other words, suffering punishment for his sake).

Finally, Mark 13:2 is meant to be a prophecy, because when this passage was added it was after the city had been taken apart. Christians thought it would make the passage more authentic. In any case, he certainly doesn't say here that he will be the one to dismantle the city, and there's a mention in verse 8 of this chapter about coming wars which Jesus describes as "the beginning of sorrows".

Additionally, there are several examples of Jesus contradicting these declarations of war with declarations of bringing peace. For example, Ephesians 2:14-18, Romans 5:1, Luke 2:13-14, and most importantly John 14:27 (in fact, all of John 14). Contradicting itself is just something the bible does, and it does it well. It's very easy to draw support for any conclusion you wish to draw about Christianity by quote mining the bible, because there's typically support for each view and its opposite.

(04-03-2013 12:13 PM)ralphellis Wrote:  Secondly, the Talmud mentions Jesus on many occasions.

I don't have access to the Talmud, but I have heard other credible historians say that mentions of "Jesus" are about different guys who just happened to share the same name (and their reasons for it not being the same Jesus are because of when these guys were said to have lived, hundreds of years before and after the alleged lifetime of Jesus of Nazareth). I'm going to take a wild guess here and assume that you think a Jesus of a different name here is meant to be the same Jesus Christ, as you did when referencing Josephus' works.

Edit: Upon reading answers to responses above, I see that this is indeed the case -- Iziz is meant to be Jesus. Are you sure that you aren't reverse-engineering this story, or perhaps begging the question? After all, everything you know about the "Jesus" that you believe parallels Iziz comes from sources that you don't find reliable (such as the New Testament, and I totally agree with you there). From what I've read so far, I have no problem in believing that Iziz lived or did the things attributed to him, but I don't see any reason to think that his religious cult is Christianity.

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04-03-2013, 08:04 PM
RE: ANY contemporary evidence for Jesus ?
(04-03-2013 06:59 PM)fstratzero Wrote:  Now with other digs like the one for Ashoka, not only do you have many textual references, you also have physical evidence to back up the claims of the texts.

With out physical evidence I don't think you can say somebody existed.

If that were true, we wouldn't be able to claim the existence of nearly every historical character. Christopher Hitchens' favorite example was Plato who not only left behind no physical existence but left no historical reference either (except his writings, which could indeed have been written under a pen name).

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