Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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25-07-2016, 03:03 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(24-07-2016 03:34 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(24-07-2016 03:23 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  That is quite remarkable if you think about it. Here we have Paul writing volumes and volumes about his Christ, yet only half a line about him meeting Christ's brother. You have to admit there is something very very strange going on here, and therefore the question of interpolation must be admitted.

I see absolutely nothing strange about Jesus having a brother named James. But then again, I see the whole of this from the entirety of all available historical evidence, and not from any preconceived Christian or anti-Christian position.

I mean, what is so strange about a mere man having a brother?

That's how I see it.

Please try to read what I write.

I did not say it was strange that Jesus had a brother.

I said it was remarkable that Paul only (probably) mentioned this once.
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25-07-2016, 03:31 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 06:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(25-07-2016 05:19 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "Gnosticism does not deny..."

You do not understand gnosticism. Do some reading...come back in a month.

What part of Gnosticism do you believe he got wrong? Can you share an alternative perspective of Gnosticism supported by early evidence?

What part of Gnosticism do you believe he got wrong?

He made out all gnostics believed the same thing. This is nonsense. The term is only a modern one. What we now call gnosticism was very diverse, was not necessarily Christian, and there were gnostics well before Christianity.

"Can you share an alternative perspective of Gnosticism supported by early evidence?"

Yes. I already have, but you don't like reading what I write, do you? I once spent a few weeks trying to get my head around Gnosticism, and I put together a spiel that gives some idea of what one of the better known gnostics (Valentinus) actually believed. It is the result of many weeks study, not just a quick search on the Internet. Here it is, again, just for you...


Valentinus (100–160 CE) was the best known and, for a time, the most successful early Christian Gnostic theologian. He was born a Jew, and was educated in Alexandria, at the time an important Christian center. In about 136 CE, just after the second Jewish war, he went to Rome, where he founded his school. He was prominent in the Christian community of Rome between 136 and 160 CE (
Valentinus had no interest in acquiring power or wealth, which I suspect is one reason why he didn’t fit in well with other prominent members of what became the Catholic Church. He may or may not have eventually split from them; there’s evidence he remained a member of the Catholic community until his death in about 160 CE. The Valentinian “school,” continued after him, and elaborated on his ideas. The Catholic Church condemned him as a heretic only many years after he died.

Valentinus professed to have derived some of his ideas from Theodas, a disciple of St. Paul, (and about whom nothing is known) who imparted to him the secret wisdom that Paul had taught privately to his inner circle. It would have had to be a very old Theodas and a very young Valentinus if that were the case. What’s more, I find it hard to imagine Paul withholding any of his arguments from his letters.

Valentinus believed that people didn’t need the intermediary of the church to know God; that they could experience God firsthand if they knew the “secret tradition,” which was another reason why the Catholic hierarchy perceived him as a threat.
He drew many disciples, and his doctrine was the most widely diffused of all the forms of Gnosticism. He produced a variety of writings, but only fragments survive, not enough to reconstruct his system except in broad outline. We know his beliefs mainly from the developed and modified form given them by his disciples.

The Gnostic writings survived only in quotes recorded by their orthodox detractors until 1945, when the cache of writings at Nag Hammadi revealed original Gnostic texts that contain some of Valentinian’s ideas.

Valentinus and Gnosticism

The term “Gnostic” is a convenient one for historians, as it packages some very diverse groups into a neatly labeled whole, yet things weren’t that simplistic. The term means “one who knows,” rather than designating a distinct doctrine.

It’s a common misconception that Gnosticism began during the Christian era, yet people who are now considered to be Gnostics existed thousands of years beforehand. Gnostics were, in fact, very eclectic, as they tried to interpret many religious ideologies and philosophies. The Greek philosopher Pythagorus was a “Gnostic,” as was the Jewish philosopher Philo. Mandaeanism was a form of Gnosticism dating from the 4th century BCE that tried to bridge Judaism with Zoroastrianism, and it was very influential on Christianity.

During the Christian era, “Gnosticism” became more of a monolithic movement associated with Christianity, although the term itself was never used until the modern era.

Edward Gibbon wrote that the Gnostics were distinguished as the most polite, learned, and the wealthiest of the early Christians, and that their principal founders were natives of Syria or Egypt. They blended their faith in Christ with many “sublime but obscure tenets,” which they derived from oriental philosophy and even from the religion of Zoroaster, (628–551 BCE) an ancient Iranian prophet, philosopher and poet, and others. There were many groups of them, all of which can be considered as proto-Christians. Instead of the four Gospels eventually adopted by the church, the Gnostics produced a multitude of histories in which the actions and discourses of Christ and his apostles were discussed.

Valentinus was a deep thinker. Like Marcion, he believed that Yahweh was a “mistake,” and even thought of him as evil. He believed that the supreme God, who had sent Christ, was someone different, and androgynous.

One of the most important differences between Gnosticism and Catholicism was the removal of the intercessor between God and man. Catholics (even today) are told that they need a priest to perform absolution from sin and other functions like baptism, communion, blessings, and burials. Gnostics didn’t. As a result, the priesthood felt threatened because the Gnostics did them out of an income and diminished their importance.

The Valentinians participated in the public life of the Catholic Church, yet also held their meetings separately from them. These meetings were open to all interested parties and served to attract potential converts to the movement. Women held positions of authority within his community. Anybody who came to a meeting was seen as potentially spiritual and was made welcome. Tertullian reported:
“They all have access equally, they all listen equally, they all pray equally—even pagans if they happen to come…They also share the kiss of peace with all who come.” (Prescription Against Heretics, Chapter 41.)

Stephan A. Hoeller, a recognized modern authority on Gnosticism, relates the following insights (adapted by myself without changing their meaning) on Valentinus’ Gnosticism.

Valentinus’ ideas on how things are might be summarized as follows: people from all walks of life recognized that there was something wrong with their lives. Catholic Christians, as well as Jews, recognized that there was a “wrongness” in human existence too, but they accounted for it chiefly in terms of the effects of human sin; that whatever was wrong with the world was the result of human disobedience to the creator. This meant that all evil, discomfort, and terror in their lives and in history were somehow man’s fault. So a theme of “Mea Culpa” ran through this worldview, which permanently affixed an element of guilt to the human psyche. Valentinus, in opposition to this, shifted the blame for wrongness in the world from humanity to divinity. That God the creator could be at fault in anything was tantamount to blasphemy in Catholic eyes. Yet Valentinus didn’t view the creator with the worshipful eyes of the Judeo-Christian believer, but rather saw the creator, along with other divinities, as man’s mythical creations. Consider this quote from the Gospel of Philip (, part of the Nag Hammadi library):
“God created man and man created God. So is it in the world. Men make gods and they worship their creations. It would be fitting for the gods to worship men” (Logion 85: 1–4.)

He believed humans had the potential to resolve the wrongness of their existence by using “Gnosis,” or self-knowledge. He thought that because human minds had lost their self-knowledge, we lived in a world that was lacking in integrity. Knowledge of self was the real resurrection - resurrection from the death of ignorance.

Valentinus would say there was no need for guilt, or for repentance from sin. Nor was there a need for belief in salvation by way of the death of Jesus. We didn’t need to be saved; we needed to be transformed, by Gnosis, the activation of self-knowledge.
The proposition that the human mind lives in a largely self-created world, from whence only Gnosis can rescue it, is common to Buddhism. According to Buddha, the world of apparent reality consists of ignorance and the lack of authentic selfhood.

Valentinus didn’t negate or diminish the importance of Jesus in his teachings, and he claimed to possess a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, but his Jesus never was the character in today’s gospels. Unlike the master/sheep relationship of Christianity, for the Valentinians, Christ was like a brother, a wise teacher who helped them work things out. The great devotion and reverence shown for Jesus is manifest in the Gospel of Truth from Nag Hammadi, ( which in its original form was authored by Valentinus himself. Jesus is indeed a savoir, but the term needs to be understood in the meaning of the original Greek word “soter,” meaning healer, or bestower of health. “Soteria” meant healthiness, deliverance from imperfection, and becoming whole.

The Valentinians believed that all wrongness in the world has one common root: ignorance. We’re ignorant of the authentic values of life, and substitute inauthentic ones for them. These inauthentic values are either physical or of the mind. We believe that we need things (such as money, symbols of power, prestige or physical pleasures) in order to be happy or whole. Similarly, we fall in love with the ideas and abstractions of our minds. The rigidities and the hardness of our lives is due to our attachment to things and concepts. The Gnostics called the sickness of materialism “hyleticism,” (worship of matter) while the sickness of abstract intellectualism and moralizing was known as “psychism,” (worship of the mind/emotional soul.)

Jesus, the soter, the healer-savior, the spiritual maker of wholeness, could exorcise the sicknesses of hyleticism and psychism by bringing knowledge of the “pneuma” (spirit.) They could not say what “pneuma” was, but could indicate what it did. It brought a flexibility and courage to life, so that the soul ceased to be fascinated and confined by material things and ideas and could address itself to life. The obsessive state of material and mental attachments was replaced by spiritual freedom; the inauthentic values of the former were made to give way to more authentic ones.

I thank Stephan A. Hoeller for providing the above insights into Gnosticism.

Wow! The above takes some effort to understand and appreciate, but the ideas expressed are real and powerful. It’s refreshing to realize that nearly 2000 years ago there were people whose thinking was this deep. There are clever minds at work here. These ideas have a very non-Jewish flavor to them. I find it difficult to imagine a Jewish peasant from Galilee such as Jesus entertaining them.

Some decades after Valentinus’ death, Irenaeus began his massive work “Adversus Haereses,” with a highly colored and negative view of Valentinus and his teachings that occupies most of the book.

The Gnostic philosophy was popular, but they were labeled and suppressed as heretics by a Catholic Church more interested in the pursuit of power than in personal profundities. It’s a pity that Valentinus’ Jesus was forced out of circulation. Imagine Christian society today if a Gnostic Jesus story had won the propaganda battle. The focus would be on self-discovery and the acceptance of alternative views! There are good websites and numerous books on Gnosticism for anyone interested (
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25-07-2016, 03:39 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 03:03 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(24-07-2016 03:34 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  I see absolutely nothing strange about Jesus having a brother named James. But then again, I see the whole of this from the entirety of all available historical evidence, and not from any preconceived Christian or anti-Christian position.

I mean, what is so strange about a mere man having a brother?

That's how I see it.

Please try to read what I write.

I did not say it was strange that Jesus had a brother.

I said it was remarkable that Paul only (probably) mentioned this once.

What is strange is that James' epistle says nothing about the resurrection. If your brother was the only human ever to rise from the dead, would you not mention it ?

Jebus had more brothers, BTW :
Jude started his epistle by saying he was "a slave of Jesus Christ, but a brother of James" (Jas 1:1; Jude 1)

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25-07-2016, 04:03 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 06:26 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  
(24-07-2016 02:58 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "Mark Fulton's position is that the early Christians had a severe schism with a supposed Nazarene sect, which Jesus was a part of. And these Christians edited half verses in the Gospels that had "the the Nazarene" in it, so that Jesus's association with that sect could be erased.

And how did they do that? By changing those verses to make it about a town called Nazareth that didn't come to exist till about the forth century, a town founded and inhabited by the same sect these later Christians were trying to dissociate themselves with."[/i]

You have sort of half got what I think. This is what I write in my book...

The Nazarenes
Yeshua was a Nazarene, as stated in the bible: Acts referred to
“Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (Acts 2:22, 3:6, 4:10, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9, NJB.) Most Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was, after all, what Matthew claimed, (Matt. 2:23) but Nazareth the place was probably not the real origin of the term. On (almost) every occasion that Jesus was referred to as being “of Nazareth,” the real meaning is “the Nazarene” ( is a Nazarene.htm.) As mentioned, Nazareth the village probably didn’t exist in Yeshua’s time. ( Calling him Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The bible made it clear the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect, when in the book of Acts, Paul is accused of being a Nazarene.

“The plain truth is that we find this man a perfect pest; he stirs up trouble among Jews the world over, and is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.” (Acts 24:5, NJB.) An important religious sect would not have been named after an obscure Galilean village."

Now, for some reason, you jumped on the idea that I said Nazarene the place was interpolated into the gospels at a later date. While I accept that is a possibility, as we don't have any copies of the original versions of gospels, I have never promoted this idea... it was simply your interpretation of what I wrote. I think the gospels originally had Nazareth in them, and it was there as a ploy to distract from the term the Nazarene.

I hope that clears this up for you once and for all.

As far as Nazareth not existing is concerned, neither you or your mate have provided a single written reference from prior to about 140 CE confirming the existence of Nazareth, nor have you explained why no Christian ever visited Nazareth the place prior to the early fourth century. You can rabbit on for as long as you like about your shitty archaeological evidence and how you think this part of your gospels a true narrative of history, but the fact remains you're basing your ideas on extremely shaky grounds.

Well if Nazareth was referred as a place in the original Gospels, please explain to me how the writers would have know of the town of Nazareth, since as you suggested it didn't come into existence till the fourth century?

Secondly your claim that they used nazareth as a hometown, to downplay Jesus as "The Nazarene", doesn't make any sense, judging that all four Gospels also refer to Jesus as the "The Nazarene", on numerous occasions. Secondly you suggested that the town of Nazareth, derived it's name by being occupied by members of this sect. How does it make any sense for someone trying to dissociate Jesus from "the Nazarene" sect, to then go and associated him with a town occupied by this sect, and named after them?

You seem to believe it's more likely that the town derived it's name from the sect, rather than sect deriving it's name from Jesus's hometown.

I'm not even gonna yet bother to have you lay out the supposed disparity between the views of let's say the writer of Mark, and your supposed Nazarene sect, and require you to site the first century sources in support of what their views were. I'll let you off the hook for that for the time being, and leave it all about your suggestions about Nazareth.

"Well if Nazareth was referred as a place in the original Gospels, please explain to me how the writers would have know of the town of Nazareth..."

They made it up. You could do that in the first century. Facts were not easily checked back then.

"Secondly your claim that they used nazareth as a hometown, to downplay Jesus as "The Nazarene", doesn't make any sense, judging that all four Gospels also refer to Jesus as the "The Nazarene", on numerous occasions."

Why not? Your point has not been made clear.

Secondly you suggested that the town of Nazareth, derived it's name by being occupied by members of this sect.

I never wrote this. Once again, you are making stuff up. The Nazarenes never lived in Nazareth. They were centred in Jerusalem, and later spread North.
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25-07-2016, 05:33 PM (This post was last modified: 25-07-2016 05:36 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  So ... we have all these numerous archeologists all conspiring to intentionally misrepresent their data in an effort to increase tourism to Nazareth?


The only thing I am alleging intentionally misrepresented the data was the article-writer who put out the story that dominates the web, and about which we have primarily been speaking. I have not seen the definitive conclusions to which you keep alluding, in the works of "numerous" archaeologists.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  So you believe - without a shred of evidence- that the Jews sent a company of priests to some obscure virtually unheard of town, and this company of priests and their families would be a significant number as to increase the population enough to warrant the construction of a synagogue?

It's a "company of priests and their families", now? Neat. I thought it was one family name, which *might* have represented a group but most likely represented a single family-- perhaps a few brothers. And no, I think that a tiny but growing town that was expanding rapidly as a result of migrant influx due to the displacements common in a massive war would require some priests to be sent out, especially in the wake of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Do you even understand that a synagogue could be very small, and in fact the oldest known synagogue seated only about 70 people? The Wadi Qelt Synagogue has been dated to the 1st century BCE, and it only seated about 70 people.

What you are asking me to believe - with no evidence for support- is that in AD 70, Nazareth was too small for a synagogue, and that it required a literal horde of Jewish priests and family members to populate the town and build a synagogue.

Now it's a horde!? Laugh out load

Yeah, I understand that a very small town could support a priest. That's pretty much my premise, here.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  You fail to understand Jewish culture. Priests do not build a synagogue for themselves. There must be enough people there to qualify a synagogue, and the reality is that there is no set amount of people needed to qualify the presence of a synagogue.

Okay... I didn't think there was some set number, but what does that have to do with Luke's claims of "multitudes" and a temple in which Jesus could argue against numerous priests about Isaiah (note the importance of which book: this is the main one that the early Christians used to draw the majority of their Messiah prophecies, often crudely, as I keep pointing out) and amaze them? That size does not in any way fit the details of early Nazareth being teased out by archaeology.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  So where did you, or anybody else for that matter, get this crazy idea that in order for a community to have a synagogue that it had to be some kind of bustling metropolis of some sort?

Luke. That Gospel's descriptions indicate a town that is clearly more significant in Christian legend than what we find in the actual record.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  All it takes is 1 solitary Jew to have a synagogue. Nazareth was obviously large enough to warrant the sending of a delegation of Jewish priests. It obviously preexisted CE 70.

Do you have evidence that this group is a large group, as opposed to a single priestly family... such as a set of brothers? I would imagine that they sent just as many priests to the area as was required to serve the influx of people coming into the Galilee:

Following the Temple's destruction at the end of the First Jewish Revolt and the displacement to the Galilee of the bulk of the remaining Jewish population in Judea at the end of the Bar Kochva Revolt, Jewish tradition in the Talmud and poems from the period records that the descendants of each priestly watch established a separate residential seat in towns and villages of the Galilee, and maintained this residential pattern for at least several centuries in anticipation of the reconstruction of the Temple and reinstitution of the cycle of priestly courses. Specifically, this Kohanic settlement region stretched from the Beit Netofa Valley, through the Nazareth region to Arbel and the vicinity of Tiberias.

This is part of why they can't tell if the "priestly courses" fragment describes an assignment in 70 CE or at the end of the revolt in 135 CE (I've been giving you the benefit of the doubt at 70 CE up to this point, on the "why not?" but I think I no longer shall), since even Christian groups admit the later date is the more probable:

"It is clear that these three fragments are part of a synagogue inscription that listed the twenty-four priestly courses and their Galilean settlements (after the fall of Jerusalem [A.D. 70], or, more probably, after the fall of Beth-Ther [A.D. 135])."

They go on to admit the absolute silence of the other sources on the existence of Nazareth during the years Jesus was there, but argue that the presence of tombs of the type used by Jews between 150 BCE and 150 CE means it must have been a Jewish town in the time of Jesus... again, playing fast-and-loose with the dating range. They also note the pottery and other stuff that you (and they) hang a hat upon, for this argument, but even in their description of the timing, they admit there's a wide range to the period under discussion:

In the silos some of the pottery found dates as far back as the Iron II (900- 539 B.C.) period. Other pottery found dates back to the Hellenistic (332-63 B.C.), Roman (63 B.C.-A.D. 324), and Byzantine (A.D. 324-640) periods.

Note the date ranges on that material. "Roman" pottery starts in 63 BCE but goes as far forward as 324, and does not provide direct evidence that the settlement was there at the early date of that range. As for their claim of Hellenistic-period pottery, it's simply not the case. There is one, repeat one fragment of pottery from the Hellenistic period that was found (the neck-piece of a jar), according to the archaeologist who uncovered that evidence, a Catholic priest named Bagatti. Even Bagatti does not claim that there are Hellenistic structures in that dig, despite a number of secondary writers claiming that he did. You keep asserting these things as if they are certain, as if they are the consensus, when they are not.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:Mark is believed to have been written in Rome or southern Syria. Matthew is believed to have been written in Antioch, Syria. Luke is also acknowledged that it was not written in Palestine, although there's more doubt about its location... some suggest Rome or other large cities, partly due to the literacy level of its author and the type of Koine Greek being employed. If you have some reputable scholar who claims the Synoptic Gospels were written in Judea, I'm all ears.

Still, you are assuming the authors knew nothing about Nazareth, and provide no evidence for this at all.

I am stating that the authors, who were not local, made statements about the legend of what occurred in Nazareth that demonstrate that they don't know what they're talking about. That's not the same thing as "knew nothing about Nazareth". When I point out that what they claim and what turns up in the digs don't seem to agree, I am providing evidence of this.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  No, it doesn't. All it tells us in regards to Nazareth- in the context of this discussion- is that it existed in the 1st century, as it portrays Jesus in the 1st century and relates him to Nazareth.

Are we seriously back to this "in the 1st century" bullshit, again?

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  I used the word "basically" to imply that your position is that Nazareth was a virtually desolate place, and these priests would increase the population significantly enough to warrant building a synagogue.

You think the arrival of priests is what I'm claiming increased the population? Then you haven't paid attention to a word I've said.

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Yes that is what, by necessity, is implied. Since we have no record of this event whatsoever in which any Christians seized upon the opportunity to interpolate the gospel records to include Nazareth in relation to Jesus of Nazareth/Nazarene, and we know it had to happen before CE 140 because we see Justin mentioning it in the Gospels to Trypho, then that means that there should be a record of this interpolation from at least 1 of the persons who did it, or from someone whp knows that it was done.

Since we see Nazareth in relation to Jesus in all 4 Gospels and in Acts, it would mean that the 4 Gospels and Acts that we currently have were all interpolated sometime after AD 70 and before CE 140 to include Nazareth. Yet, we know according to church fathers that there were several Christian churches in existence at the time.

What this means is that any and all of the numerous Gospels in any of these churches would have had to have been interpolated to include the Nazareth stuff, and since no one person could accomplish that feat, it means that it would require numerous people to conspire to do it.

Yet, we have no evidence for this at all despite the numerous people that would need to be involved.

Dude, this is fucked. Royally.

Wow. It sure is. I'd hate to argue that case! Do you know anyone who does?

(25-07-2016 02:44 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  And if you saying the gospel writers wrote Nazareth into the gospels to make Jesus the Nazarene harmonize with them, then you still have at least 3 different writers conspiring here because Acts mentions it also.

Well, other than the fact that Luke and Acts are generally considered to be penned by the same author...

But I am saying that the term "the Nazarene" was easily modified, and that even in the written form it's of variable interpretation. But I am claiming that, in the almost 40 years that passed between the execution of Jesus and the writing of the first gospel, the story changed. There's no need to "interpolate" what has already entered the story, by the time you finally write it down. They had good reason to make such a shift, and were doubtless aware of the existence of this town by the time they started writing. Even so, both Jesus and Paul are called "Nazarenes" in several of the stories, and we don't see Nazareth mentioned as a place except where it's necessary to tell a tale of his preaching of Isaiah in his hometown, to demonstrate that he's cast out from among his own people for "Preaching The Truth™ They Didn't Want to Hear". (Nazar also has the connotation of being "set apart", along with holy and princely... are any of those themes you've heard mentioned along with the titles Christians attribute to Jesus?)

You do understand why I keep mentioning the motivations of the authors, who were trying to establish Old Testament connections that supposedly prophesied the coming of the Messiah, and make it fit their Jesus, right?

You speak of conspiracies... I speak of confluences of people with similar motivations, acting in what they believe is an honest interest in the truth but turns out to be counter to facts. This phenomenon is found in nearly ever cult ever examined, and I can't imagine anyone who isn't Christian trying to suggest that the early Christian cult was any different in this regard.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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25-07-2016, 05:57 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 03:00 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(24-07-2016 04:49 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  The problem that me, the scholars, and the educated layman have is that the argument against has a common theme:

1. An argument from silence.
2. Denial that the available evidence is in fact evidence at all.
3. Completely implausible and wholly unsupported conspiracy theories.

a) The argument from silence doesn't provide any positive evidence whatsoever to support the argument. The lack of positive evidence is what qualifies it as a fallacious argument.

b) The argument that there is no archeological or historical evidence has been demonstrated as false, and that is not according to my mere opinion, but it's the opinion of all qualified experts who are all well trained in the subject. This is a consensus of professionals, and not merely a couple guys bickering on the internet.

c) The very notion that early Christians somehow conspired to create the town of Nazareth sometime after the 1st century in some effort to make it harmonious with the gospel record is not only completely lacking evidence for support, but is so incredibly implausible as to warrant ridicule.

d) The idea that Nazareth didn't exist in the 1st century can be traced as originating from a couple people such as Ken Humphrey's and Rene Salm- both of whom have absolutely no qualifications in any relevant field- and further investigation into their character reveals that they harbor extremist views against the religion of Christianity. This totally demonstrates excessive bias which is unsuitable to warrant credibility.

The absolute truth may never be known, but the absolute truth about virtually anything may never be known. But what we don't do is deny evidence when it certainly does exist, and contest a consensus of experts when we are not qualified, especially when we don't have a pot to piss in as a means of contesting them.

Anyone who contests a consensus of experts while they have no evidence or solid reasoning to contest them absolutely deserves ridicule. If you are going to claim that Nazareth didn't exist in the 1st century, or even claim that it POSSIBLY didn't exist, then you are required to provide evidence to support that position.

If you cannot provide any, then it is mere unsupported assertion, and nothing more.

"The argument from silence doesn't provide any positive evidence whatsoever to support the argument."

Well I think a man named Mr Ford built a spaceship that went to Mars in 1920. You have no evidence that he didn't...the argument from silence doesn't provide any positive evidence whatsoever to support the argument.

And there's exactly the same amount of evidence for your position on Nazareth as there is for Mr. Ford building a spaceship that went to Mars in 1920.

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25-07-2016, 05:59 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 03:31 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(25-07-2016 06:09 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  What part of Gnosticism do you believe he got wrong? Can you share an alternative perspective of Gnosticism supported by early evidence?

What part of Gnosticism do you believe he got wrong?

He made out all gnostics believed the same thing.

Ummm ... no?

I spoke of the Gnosticism in relation to the context of Christianity.

As if that wasn't obvious ...
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25-07-2016, 06:27 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
Rocket, Mark, Going and guys need to get a room. Tongue

Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors.... on Donald J. Trump:

He is deformed, crooked, old, and sere,
Ill-fac’d, worse bodied, shapeless every where;
Vicious, ungentle, foolish, blunt, unkind,
Stigmatical in making, worse in mind.
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25-07-2016, 06:50 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(25-07-2016 10:30 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  What. The. Fuck!? How dare you accuse me of antisemitism because I would treat their interests as the same as any other group with financial-backer motivations? Anyone who has worked in science knows that no matter what your conclusions are, you should be careful to shade your phrasing in a way that makes your financial backers happy, or at least doesn't piss them off.

No, no, I never accused you of anti-semitism, I’m just saying it makes sense that Jewish archaeologist, working for the Jewish government would lie about what they discovered during the dig, because you know they’re Jews, and everybody knows Jews love money more than others, That’s just common knowledge, just like the Jewish banking conspiracy.

Quote:disagree with nothing she has said here... what I do reject is the interpretations that have been added to what she's actually saying. "At the time of Jesus" does not mean she has pinned it down to definitively being there at the beginning of the first century CE. You'll note that she references "the few written sources there are" to even place Nazareth there at all, and we know that she's referring to the "priestly course" document to place it there at 70 CE.

Do you read your own quotes, she doesn’t use the written sources to date her findings, she uses the written sources for scale and early placement of it, because if you didn’t know only a fraction of the area has been subject to an archeological dig of this sort, because the region is currently occupied.

Quote:and we know that she's referring to the "priestly course" document to place it there at 70 CE.

No, she doesn’t reference the “priestly course” document to date her finding. The line of reasoning your suggesting here doesn’t even follow. She may be referencing that, and perhaps other sources to suggest the possible size of the overall area, and placement, not age.

Quote:You see it all the time in popular reporting on discoveries of hominid fossils: "HUMAN ANCESTOR FOUND!", when the scientists actually have not said that they've demonstrated it's ancestral to our specific line.

Yes often times popular magazines, tend to exaggerate the discoveries by scientist. But in this case, we’re not talking about second hand accounts of the dig, but from the very scientist , or this case the archaeologist who directed the dig.

Quote:I think Nazareth did exist at the time of the writers of the Gospels. I don't think it was there, or there in a size remotely significant enough for the events to occur, in the stories the Gospel writers claim for the town, prior to their time-of-writing. If you'll look at the article I posed above on the etymology of Nazir, you'll see how this conflation can easily happen.

Ah okay, so you believe Nazareth did exist at that time, what evidence leads you to that conclusion? Because Mark claims it didn’t, and you’ve been borrowing his arguments quite heavily, yet all this time you hold that it did exist.

Quote:But yes, the writers did use Nazareth to establish why Jesus was called a Nazarene, as part of their "he is the fulfillment of The Prophecies" myth-building

You mean “writer” not writers. Only Matthew attempts to suggest that Jesus’s hometown was a part of a fulfillment of prophecies. Judging that no one other than Matthew makes this connection, and an actual messianic prophecy doesn’t exist for this, it’s fairly clear, that Matthew attempted to read Jesus’s hometown back into scripture, rather than the other way around. In fact Jesus being from Nazareth, required Matthew to jump through a few loops to place his birth in Bethlehem, to align with actual prophecies.

And as far as I remember there’s only one event, not events describing Nazareth, and that’s Luke’s story about about some folks attempting to throw Jesus off a cliff there, and the only other description being John referring to it as inconsequential place.

Quote:Is it likely that the sect derived its name from a town? Hrm, consider...

It it likely that the sect derived its name from the hometown of it’s founder? Yes. Far more likelier than you suggestions. All four Gospels indicates Jesus was from Nazareth, all four of them refer to him as “The Nazarene”. It goes without saying here, that they were calling Jesus “the Nazarene” based on his hometown.

Your suggestion that there was some schism between the Nazarenes and the writers, and this is turn led the writers to try and turn references of “the Nazarene” to Jesus being from a town that didn’t exist at the time called Nazareth, is non-sense. You won’t even be able to outline a disparity between their views, and lets say Mark;s gospel. The schism and the suggestion that the writers of the gospels were attempting to downplay Jesus’s association with “the Nazarenes” doesn’t exist. The fact that the writers freely go between Nazareth as Jesus’s hometown, and Jesus the “Nazarene” make it even more bogus.

[quote]The Greek New Testament uses "Nazarene" six times (Mark, Luke), while "Nazorean" is used 13 times (Matthew, Mark in some manuscripts, Luke, John, Acts). In the Book of Acts, "Nazorean" is used to refer to a follower of Jesus, i.e. a Christian, rather than an inhabitant of a town.[quote]

Just like the book of Acts referred to a man as “The Egyptian”. Jesus was from Nazareth, and was often referred to as “The Nazarene”, as indicated in all four Gospel accounts. Some of Jesus’s earlier followers were known, or referred to themselves as “The Nazarenes”, not because they themselves were from Nazareth, but because their founder was.

I also haven’t gotten a clear answer from you, that if Nazareth as the hometown of Jesus was original to the Gospels, which dates to the 1st century, and Nazareth didn’t come into existence till some time later, how did the writers know about it? Did they invent a non-existing town, for the sole purpose of downplaying Jesus’s supposed connection to “The Nazarene” sect, and got in so way over their head, that later christians named a town Nazareth, to throw off suspicion. Not to mention the Israeli Archaeologist group, funded by the Israeli government, is covering this up, for the sake of preserving their thriving tourism industry.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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25-07-2016, 07:16 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
So on the one hand I'm "borrowing" Mark's arguments, as if a disciple of his or something... and then you ask me why I'm not making the same exact arguments he's making? Is that the question? Get the fuck out of here with that!

And we're back to this "first century" bullshit, again. I've said repeatedly that I think it was there by the time the Gospel writers were writing their stories down. It may well have been there before the war against the Romans... it may even have been the actual hometown of Jesus... but there's no actual evidence to support this, and the Gospels don't work as evidence for this because they get so many (fairly major, in my opinion) elements about Nazareth wrong, which indicates to me that they knew of the place but didn't know much about it.

I have repeatedly said that I do not think the Christians themselves invented the town. I think they used it for their own purposes. That is the last time I am going to mention it.

Next one of you who uses the phrase "first century", in a context that indicates anything other than acknowledgement that I also think it was there in the second half of the first century, gets ignored from that point forward.

Same goes for the next one of you who claims I'm saying that the Christians invented the town.

Finally, FUCK YOU for repeating that antisemitic bullshit, asserting even for an instant that I think Jews are inherently different from any other people on the planet. Israel gets much of its support from the United States, largely because of the Evangelical Christians here who buy into that stuff. Without our continuing support, their chances of being "driven into the sea" (as some of the Muslims put it) go up quite a bit. That's in addition to the lure of simple tourism. They have a vested interest in promoting things that connect them to the stories of the Bible, period. I consider them no more greedy or self-interested than any other people on this planet, and I am certain I would behave the same way, were I in their political shoes.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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