Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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12-08-2016, 06:35 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 06:08 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 06:03 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  Great. Assertions without any evidence. No one cares. All we care about is evidence.

I expected you to assert that. And yes, there is evidence.

Big Grin

But you're special and "noteworthy". So you don't have to give it.
Facepalm

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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12-08-2016, 06:44 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 07:49 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 06:02 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 05:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  If you can ask a sensible question using good English grammar I will respond.

I hold little hope that you will read my answer and address the content, however, as you only seem capable of being abusive. I will answer for those genuinely interested in the history.

The question is quite sensible, Mark, and there's nothing wrong with my grammar either.

Your position on Paul's concept of Jesus is that he made it all up in his head. Therefore, when you say that there may have been a Yeshua, you cannot be referring to Paul's concept at all. Hence, you can only be referring to what your concept of Yeshua is.

Therefore, you said the following:

"Still waiting for your evidence that Christianity began with Jesus, and that Peter thought Jesus had risen from the dead."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045018

I then replied with:

"Still waiting for you to get a clue and read the NT, which at one time were all completely separate documents, each attesting via a cohesive chain of evidence to Jesus being the origin of the Christian faith."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045093

To which you responded with:

"None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045571

Since I am obviously speaking of the Jesus of the NT- since I explicitly stated it - which includes Paul's concept, I replied to your stated with this:

"I don't get you. You keep saying that none of the contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, yet assert his contemporaries were Jews.

But your position is that Jesus never existed, so how could he have Jewish contemporaries if he never existed?
"

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045583

To which I am still awaiting an answer.

Basically, since I was speaking of the Jesus of the Gospel records and Paul's concept, you replied to that concept of Jesus with, ""None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

So again ...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

Drinking Beverage

Gosh! You have written a post without being abusive. Well done!

I've read your post three times, and I still can't understand your questions. Perhaps this will help...

"Your position on Paul's concept of Jesus is that he made it all up in his head."

Well...yes and no. I think Paul's Christ was a product of ideas from Jewish scripture, Mithraism and other cults, all merged into one with his imagination. I believe the very few parts of Paul's writing that suggest that Jesus was once a flesh and blood historical character are probably interpolations.

Moving on....

I do think there probably was, once, a flesh and blood historical Yeshua. You keep labelling me for some reason as someone who thinks "Jesus never existed." I wish you would stop doing that, particularly as it is the exact opposite of what I think, and it is not what I want readers on this forum to think I think.

I think that Yeshua was a young Jewish zealot who tried to start a war against Rome. He failed and was crucified. He had a brother named James who Paul met. Neither Yeshua himself, nor James, nor Paul ever thought that Yeshua was the son of God, or that he rose from the dead, or that he needed to save Gentiles from their sins. These features were all unique to Paul's "Christ," who was someone different. Yeshua was a character that had been and gone by the time Paul arrived on the scene in the 50s and 60s. That is why James doesn't mention him and Paul hardly mentions him (and when he does it sounds suspicious.)

It was only after the first Jewish War of 66 to 70 that the gospels were first written and "Jesus" was created. James was dead and Paul was redundant. It is likely that any surviving companions of Jesus were dead from natural causes, or been killed in the war, or captured and taken into slavery. I believe these gospels were written as anti-Jewish propaganda. The authors stole the identity of Yeshua, the political insurgent, and turned him into "Jesus"... a benign, pacifist, peace loving, wannabe Messiah. They made out that the Jews had killed their own Messiah, and that the Romans were the good guys, standing by, somewhat bemused by the fighting between Jewish factions.

I think it was only in the second century that early Christians decided to merge Paul's Christ with the gospel's Jesus, and make them into the same character. This would've been after Marcion introduced Paul's writings to Rome in the 140s, and when Marcionism actually had more adherents than what became catholic Christianity. Acts was written around this time for this very purpose. The problem was that Paul's Christ was a ghost, a spirit, and still is, if you read Paul carefully. Paul's writings constitute quite a large opus of work, and there are only the briefest hints that his Christ was the flesh and blood Jesus. That is why I think those brief hints are interpolations.

It is interesting to hypothesise that Paul's Christ was the Roman government's prewar attempt to undermine Judaism using propaganda, and the gospels were the Roman government's attempt to undermine Judaism after the first Jewish War. The government controlled nearly all the literature of the time. The Jews were a constant thorn in the side of the government bureaucracy... using the military was a last resort... using propaganda was cheaper and easier, yet, as it turned out, totally unsuccessful. The Jews started another war in 132 CE.

I hope this makes my ideas a little clearer for you.

Now to understand your question, sorry, but you need to rephrase it into one or two sentences. You keep saying I think Jesus never existed, whereas I have always said that he probably did, so...?????? Try not to be abusive...it is far more pleasant.
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12-08-2016, 07:14 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 07:52 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 06:02 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 05:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  If you can ask a sensible question using good English grammar I will respond.

I hold little hope that you will read my answer and address the content, however, as you only seem capable of being abusive. I will answer for those genuinely interested in the history.

The question is quite sensible, Mark, and there's nothing wrong with my grammar either.

Your position on Paul's concept of Jesus is that he made it all up in his head. Therefore, when you say that there may have been a Yeshua, you cannot be referring to Paul's concept at all. Hence, you can only be referring to what your concept of Yeshua is.

Therefore, you said the following:

"Still waiting for your evidence that Christianity began with Jesus, and that Peter thought Jesus had risen from the dead."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045018

I then replied with:

"Still waiting for you to get a clue and read the NT, which at one time were all completely separate documents, each attesting via a cohesive chain of evidence to Jesus being the origin of the Christian faith."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045093

To which you responded with:

"None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045571

Since I am obviously speaking of the Jesus of the NT- since I explicitly stated it - which includes Paul's concept, I replied to your statement with this:

"I don't get you. You keep saying that none of the contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, yet assert his contemporaries were Jews.

But your position is that Jesus never existed, so how could he have Jewish contemporaries if he never existed?
"

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045583

To which I am still awaiting an answer.

Basically, since I was speaking of the Jesus of the Gospel records and Paul's concept, you replied to that concept of Jesus with, ""None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

So again ...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

Drinking Beverage

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

I've just had another attempt to try to understand your question. If I leave out the "whom you claim never existed" bit we end up with this question...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus...as if my position was directed towards your version of Yeshua"

The answer to that is quite simple. I am interested in the truth, the historical truth, not the content of the gospels per se. The gospel's "version of Yeshua" is not historical...I am proposing a more realistic alternative.

My position is that Yeshua, who probably existed, was a fundamentalist Jew, and so were all his compatriots. They were not, I repeat, not, Christians. To me this is important. It should be important to all Christians too.

If it is not important to you then we have nothing to discuss, and I suggest you go back to church. If you just want to discuss the meaning of the gospels or Paul's writing, and not the real history, you are on the wrong forum. Go study hermeneutics, although why anyone would bother to put themselves through that mental masturbation is beyond me.

Has the penny dropped for you yet?
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12-08-2016, 08:01 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 07:14 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 06:02 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  The question is quite sensible, Mark, and there's nothing wrong with my grammar either.

Your position on Paul's concept of Jesus is that he made it all up in his head. Therefore, when you say that there may have been a Yeshua, you cannot be referring to Paul's concept at all. Hence, you can only be referring to what your concept of Yeshua is.

Therefore, you said the following:

"Still waiting for your evidence that Christianity began with Jesus, and that Peter thought Jesus had risen from the dead."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045018

I then replied with:

"Still waiting for you to get a clue and read the NT, which at one time were all completely separate documents, each attesting via a cohesive chain of evidence to Jesus being the origin of the Christian faith."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045093

To which you responded with:

"None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045571

Since I am obviously speaking of the Jesus of the NT- since I explicitly stated it - which includes Paul's concept, I replied to your statement with this:

"I don't get you. You keep saying that none of the contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, yet assert his contemporaries were Jews.

But your position is that Jesus never existed, so how could he have Jewish contemporaries if he never existed?
"

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...pid1045583

To which I am still awaiting an answer.

Basically, since I was speaking of the Jesus of the Gospel records and Paul's concept, you replied to that concept of Jesus with, ""None of the original contemporaries of Jesus were Christians, they were Jews."

So again ...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

Drinking Beverage

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

I've just had another attempt to try to understand your question. If I leave out the "whom you claim never existed" bit we end up with this question...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus...as if my position was directed towards your version of Yeshua"

The answer to that is quite simple. I am interested in the truth, the historical truth, not the content of the gospels per se. The gospel's "version of Yeshua" is not historical...I am proposing a more realistic alternative.

My position is that Yeshua, who probably existed, was a fundamentalist Jew, and so were all his compatriots. They were not, I repeat, not, Christians. To me this is important. It should be important to all Christians too.

If it is not important to you then we have nothing to discuss, and I suggest you go back to church. If you just want to discuss the meaning of the gospels or Paul's writing, and not the real history, you are on the wrong forum. Go study hermeneutics, although why anyone would bother to put themselves through that mental masturbation is beyond me.

Has the penny dropped for you yet?

Now here's the big question:

What sources do you use to determine that your concept of Yeshua possibly existed?

Name those sources please.

Consider
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12-08-2016, 08:33 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 08:39 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 08:01 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 07:14 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  "How can you respond to my position on Jesus- whom you claim never existed- as if my position was directed towards your version of 'Yeshua'"?

I've just had another attempt to try to understand your question. If I leave out the "whom you claim never existed" bit we end up with this question...

"How can you respond to my position on Jesus...as if my position was directed towards your version of Yeshua"

The answer to that is quite simple. I am interested in the truth, the historical truth, not the content of the gospels per se. The gospel's "version of Yeshua" is not historical...I am proposing a more realistic alternative.

My position is that Yeshua, who probably existed, was a fundamentalist Jew, and so were all his compatriots. They were not, I repeat, not, Christians. To me this is important. It should be important to all Christians too.

If it is not important to you then we have nothing to discuss, and I suggest you go back to church. If you just want to discuss the meaning of the gospels or Paul's writing, and not the real history, you are on the wrong forum. Go study hermeneutics, although why anyone would bother to put themselves through that mental masturbation is beyond me.

Has the penny dropped for you yet?

Now here's the big question:

What sources do you use to determine that your concept of Yeshua possibly existed?

Name those sources please.

Consider

I believe that a Yeshua probably existed. My sources are

The church fathers.

The existence of John the baptist from Josephus.

The existence of James, from Josephus and the church fathers, and to a lesser extent, his possible letter in the bible.

The gospels, with some serious reservations.

The existence of the Nazarenes/ Essenes, from numerous ancient and modern writers such as Philo, Josephus and the church fathers.

"My concept" of Yeshua, by which I suspect you mean my idea that he was a fundamentalist Jewish zealot, is an hypothesis derived from many years of studying "his" life and times, which includes reading the gospels with a critical eye. I know about first century Gallilee, I know a fair bit about the Roman government, and I'm very aware of how they used propaganda. I cannot answer a question like this adequately in one post. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.
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12-08-2016, 08:47 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 08:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 08:01 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  Now here's the big question:

What sources do you use to determine that your concept of Yeshua possibly existed?

Name those sources please.

Consider

I believe that a Yeshua probably existed. My sources are

The church fathers.

The existence of John the baptist from Josephus.

The existence of James, from Josephus and the church fathers, and to a lesser extent, his possible letter in the bible.

The gospels, with some serious reservations.

The existence of the Nazarenes/ Essenes, from numerous ancient and modern writers such as Philo, Josephus and the church fathers.

"My concept" of Yeshua, by which I suspect you mean my idea that he was a fundamentalist Jewish zealot, is an hypothesis derived from many years of studying "his" life and times, which includes reading the gospels with a critical eye. I know about first century Gallilee, I know a fair bit about the Roman government, and I'm very aware of how they used propaganda. I cannot answer a question like this adequately in one post. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.

So now you are willing to admit that you are using many of the same Christian and other historical sources as I use to determine historicity.

So here you have your concept of Yeshua whom you previously claimed as one who "probably" existed in which you are using the exact same sources as I use to determine that my concept of a historical Jesus- who's life was embellished by his followers- probably existed.

So my question is this:

How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I need an honest answer to this, and I hope you really give it some thought because this is a very big question.
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12-08-2016, 09:49 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 11:47 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 08:47 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 08:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I believe that a Yeshua probably existed. My sources are

The church fathers.

The existence of John the baptist from Josephus.

The existence of James, from Josephus and the church fathers, and to a lesser extent, his possible letter in the bible.

The gospels, with some serious reservations.

The existence of the Nazarenes/ Essenes, from numerous ancient and modern writers such as Philo, Josephus and the church fathers.

"My concept" of Yeshua, by which I suspect you mean my idea that he was a fundamentalist Jewish zealot, is an hypothesis derived from many years of studying "his" life and times, which includes reading the gospels with a critical eye. I know about first century Gallilee, I know a fair bit about the Roman government, and I'm very aware of how they used propaganda. I cannot answer a question like this adequately in one post. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.

So now you are willing to admit that you are using many of the same Christian and other historical sources as I use to determine historicity.

So here you have your concept of Yeshua whom you previously claimed as one who "probably" existed in which you are using the exact same sources as I use to determine that my concept of a historical Jesus- who's life was embellished by his followers- probably existed.

So my question is this:

How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I need an honest answer to this, and I hope you really give it some thought because this is a very big question.


How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I'm not sure what your concept of Jesus is.

I know you have written...

"Jewish followers of Christ included the Nazarene"


by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. The Nazarenes were never Christians in any sense of the word. I don't think they would've ever referred to Yeshua as "Christ."

"The title of Christian was the evolution of faith in Christ as it traversed from Jew to Gentile."


I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"...it was a title applied to Gentile followers of Christ, and not to Jewish followers of Christ."

Now you are on the money. The people who wrote about Christ may have tried to entice Jews into their belief system, but it never worked. The whole spiel was only ever swallowed by Gentiles.

So...perhaps you had better explain what your concept of Jesus is, as I suspect you and I have serious disagreements on who the real person ( why don't we call him Yeshua?) really was.
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12-08-2016, 10:10 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
I would add to the above that it was enticing to the Gentiles, but also to "lapsed" Jews and half-Jews in territories outside of Judea as a result of the diaspora, particularly in Roman-conquered Greece, Anatolia (Turkey), and Egypt because of the elements of paganism from their religions, and the blend of Greek philosophical outlook with the old-style Hebrew one... thus all the prattling on about Jesus and/or the Christ being "according to the prophecies" from the Old Testament.

Christianity would employ some of those same tactics a few centuries later, when trying to convert the pagan Brit, Norse, and Germanic tribes... it's why we have Halloween, etc.

Paul was himself a blend of Pharisee (Jew) and Roman citizen, living in the blended society of Anatolia. He no doubt felt a pressing need to reconcile his Judaic Law upbringing with the unsavory--to him--pressures of the Greek outlook on things, including homosexuality.

And Mark, the one point on which I will disagree with you in the above is that what is found in the book of James and in the bits of the Gospels that were harmonious enough to constitute the "Q Document" of sayings that Jesus did not teach kindness toward others (pacifism)... but it's equally clear that he was a pro-Judean bigot, even if he advocated for treating other peoples as Neighbors.

"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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12-08-2016, 10:16 PM (This post was last modified: 12-08-2016 10:25 PM by GoingUp.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 09:49 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 08:47 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  So now you are willing to admit that you are using many of the same Christian and other historical sources as I use to determine historicity.

So here you have your concept of Yeshua whom you previously claimed as one who "probably" existed in which you are using the exact same sources as I use to determine that my concept of a historical Jesus- who's life was embellished by his followers- probably existed.

So my question is this:

How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I need an honest answer to this, and I hope you really give it some thought because this is a very big question.


How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I'm not sure what your concept of Jesus is.

I know you have written...

"Jewish followers of Christ included the Nazarene"

by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. The Nazarenes were never Christians in any sense of the word. I don't think they would've ever referred to Yeshua as "Christ."

"The title of Christian was the evolution of faith in Christ as it traversed from Jew to Gentile."

I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"...it was a title applied to Gentile followers of Christ, and not to Jewish followers of Christ."

Now you are on the money. The people who wrote about Christ may have tried to entice Jews into their belief system, but it never worked. The whole spiel was only ever swallowed by Gentiles.

So...perhaps you had better explain what your concept of Jesus is, as I suspect you and I have serious disagreements on who the real person ( why don't we call him Yeshua?) really was.

My entire point here was to demonstrate to you that because you are using the exact same sources as I use, then the distinction between your basic concept of Yeshua and the historical view of Jesus is virtually non existent.

However, the problem with your position is that you really don't know anything about your concept of Yeshua outside the common sources we both use. To establish historicity with your concept as being "probable" you are required to use exactly the same sources that historians use to establish their historicity of Jesus.

Now let's take this a step further. I quote you twice below:

"I can't agree with you here either. The Jews never had "faith in Christ"

"by which I presume you meant "the Nazarenes." I have to disagree with you there. "
"

I will reply to this with a quote from James:

Jas 1:1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes in the Dispersion, greeting:

Jas_2:1 My brothers, do not have the faith of our Lord Christ, the Lord of glory, with respecter of faces.

Now before you think "interpolation," consider the following:

Saint Hegesippus circa CE 150 is quoted as saying:

"They came, therefore, in a body to James, and said: "We entreat thee, restrain the people: for they have gone astray in their opinions about Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all who have come hither for the day of the passover, concerning Jesus. For we all listen to thy persuasion; since we, as well as all the people, bear thee testimony that thou art just, and showest partiality to none. Do thou, therefore, persuade the people not to entertain erroneous opinions concerning Jesus: for all the people, and we also, listen to thy persuasion. Take thy stand, then, upon the summit of the temple, that from that elevated spot thou mayest be clearly seen, and thy words may be plainly audible to all the people. For, in order to attend the passover, all the tribes have congregated hither, and some of the Gentiles also."[75]

To the scribes' and Pharisees' dismay, James boldly testified that "Christ himself sitteth in heaven, at the right hand of the Great Power, and shall come on the clouds of heaven". The scribes and pharisees then said to themselves, "We have not done well in procuring this testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, that they may be afraid, and not believe him."

Accordingly, the scribes and Pharisees

... threw down the just man... [and] began to stone him: for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned, and kneeled down, and said: "I beseech thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do."

And, while they were there, stoning him to death, one of the priests, the sons of Rechab, the son of Rechabim, to whom testimony is borne by Jeremiah the prophet, began to cry aloud, saying: “Cease, what do ye? The just man is praying for us." But one among them, one of the fullers, took the staff with which he was accustomed to wring out the garments he dyed, and hurled it at the head of the just man.

And so he suffered martyrdom; and they buried him on the spot, and the pillar erected to his memory still remains, close by the temple. This man was a true witness to both Jews and Greeks that Jesus is the Christ.
— Fragments from the Acts of the Church; Concerning the Martyrdom of James, the Brother of the Lord, from Book 5.[75]"


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James,_brother_of_Jesus

All available historical sources indicate that James did consider his brother Jesus to be the Messiah/Christ.

What are your thoughts on this?
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12-08-2016, 10:30 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(12-08-2016 08:47 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(12-08-2016 08:33 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I believe that a Yeshua probably existed. My sources are

The church fathers.

The existence of John the baptist from Josephus.

The existence of James, from Josephus and the church fathers, and to a lesser extent, his possible letter in the bible.

The gospels, with some serious reservations.

The existence of the Nazarenes/ Essenes, from numerous ancient and modern writers such as Philo, Josephus and the church fathers.

"My concept" of Yeshua, by which I suspect you mean my idea that he was a fundamentalist Jewish zealot, is an hypothesis derived from many years of studying "his" life and times, which includes reading the gospels with a critical eye. I know about first century Gallilee, I know a fair bit about the Roman government, and I'm very aware of how they used propaganda. I cannot answer a question like this adequately in one post. If you have specific questions I'll be happy to answer.

So now you are willing to admit that you are using many of the same Christian and other historical sources as I use to determine historicity.

So here you have your concept of Yeshua whom you previously claimed as one who "probably" existed in which you are using the exact same sources as I use to determine that my concept of a historical Jesus- who's life was embellished by his followers- probably existed.

So my question is this:

How can you use the same sources to claim your Yeshua probably existed without considering as equally plausible that my concept of Jesus probably existed?


I need an honest answer to this, and I hope you really give it some thought because this is a very big question.

"I use to determine that my concept of a historical Jesus- who's life was embellished by his followers- probably existed."

Here we have a serious disagreement. I don't think there is one iota of good evidence that any of Yeshua's "followers" wrote down anything Yeshua said or did. There is talk of a "gospel of the Nazarenes," parts of which possibly made it into "Matthew" but no one is sure about this. There is the hypothetical "Q" document, which cannot be linked to an historical Yeshua. There are some supposed sayings of Jesus from Nag Hammadi, and all we can say about them is that they are old. The gospels were written by we don't know whom, and were edited and interpolated for centuries afterwards.

You claim his "life was embellished by his followers" but there is no good evidence for this.

Now...admittedly... I have used the gospels to get some facts about Jesus.... and I don't know for sure who wrote the gospels either. We all need to some degree to rely on some of the facts from the gospels. Yet to claim that the gospels contain embellished facts about Jesus as told by his original followers is drawing a very long bow indeed.
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