Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
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01-07-2016, 07:08 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 06:47 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(01-07-2016 06:36 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  The Gospels.

Isn't that obvious?

????

Go back and read post 506. I think you might be embarrassed by your question.

I have read post 506. I see nothing there to be embarrassed about.

What are you getting at?

Quote:PS I have spent 7 years in my spare time studying the origins of Christianity, and I have even written a book on the subject. (https://www.amazon.com/Over-Christianity...1492824313 ). You should at least pay me the respect of reading what I wrote.

I know what your position is, and have read the reviews on your book. But not one of the reviews is from a recognized scholar.

You have an interesting perspective on Paul, but it falls dramatically short on the realistic. You make far too many claims of interpolations with no supporting evidence other than your own opinion.

Your book will do well with conspiracy theorists, but it will not make a dent in the scholarly community.

No offense intended.
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01-07-2016, 07:43 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
GoingUp - Where do you think Celsus and Lucian, born after the death of Jesus and writing their accounts in the 2nd century, got their information?

From Christians, telling stories.

They are NOT independent confirmation of the existence of a historical Jesus. They are confirmation that the Christians talked about Jesus, and other people wrote down what they said (in various versions, some more hostile than others).

"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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01-07-2016, 08:10 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 04:25 PM)RocketSurgeon76

The other sources you reference (as does every apologist), Josephus and Tacitus, are not eyewitness reports, as neither was born at the time. That means they got their information from hearsay accounts, a generation removed. Since we already know the story was being expanded and embellished over time, it's hardly surprising that the version they picked up a generation or two later was the embellished version.[quote' Wrote:  
I do not see how what Tacitus says, or what Josephus says regarding James, the brother of Jesus, as being in any way construed as an embellishment of anything.

Both of the authors were born in the 1st century, as close to contemporaries as can be. The lived virtually during the same period of time as Jesus did.

Tacitus constantly gives his sources throughout his works, so there is no reason to suspect he was merely using hearsay from the population.

Josephus is wring a history of the Jews for the Roman audience, and his 2nd mention of Jesus is not found in any other text, nor known as being of any degree of hearsay.

Quote:Tacitus is often claimed to make a direct reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate, but reading the passage makes it clear that he is merely explaining to his audience exactly what a Christian is, including their belief in an executed savior, since he is describing how they were blamed by Nero for the fires in Rome to distract the people from his political machinations. I have seen several allude to Tacitus' usual practice of noting when he is using non-reliable sources, but it is not necessary for a simple "oh by the way" sentence, such as the infamous reference to Pilate. As you know, the Romans recorded nearly everything, and even if the records had been lost to history, we can still ask the question of whether Tacitus had the records before him as an outside source, rather than working from hearsay.

This is speculation at best.

[quote]Had Tacitus been working from official Roman records of the execution, it is unlikely he would have made the mistake of referring to Pilate as the Procurator of Judea, rather than the Prefect. It may seem like a small error to make, but Prefect is a military governor's designation, while Procurator (the same Latin root from which we get the verb "to procure") was essentially "the official tax collector for the Empire". Procurators were not allowed to rule over Judea until 44 C.E., by official edict. The obvious conclusion is that Tacitus was just repeating the testimony that he was given by the soon-to-be-executed, second-generation Roman Christians of whom he is speaking in the passage, as to what they considered their own identity... including worship of a Roman-executed savior. By the time of Tacitus' life, the governor of Judea was a Procurator, so it's unlikely he'd have thought twice about the error in the face of testimony to that effect, and we see the Christians' error repeated in the words of Tacitus. This would not have been true if he had been reading a document.

This argument fails, and I will demonstrate why.

You claim that Tacitus should have used Prefect instead of Procurator, but he didn't because he was repeating what Christians claimed, that Pilate was entitled as Procurator.

Here's are your problems:

1. There is not one shred of evidence in any ancient Christian document that any early Christian ever regarded Pilate as a Procurator.

It doesn't even exist in the Bible. It's a badly researched assumption. Since there is no evidence whatsoever, it nullifies the assumption that Tacitus used Christian hearsay regarding this passage.

2. The Gospel records portray Pilate as a governor. When applied to governors, this term procurator, otherwise used for financial officers, connotes no difference whatsoever in rank or function from the title known as "prefect."

3. At the time Tacitus wrote his works, all governors of Judea had held the title of Procurator since Ad 41, for some 70+ years. Since Pilate had been the "Governor" of Judea, Tacitus would only assume him to have held the actual title of Procurator since that was indeed the title for governors of Judea at Tacitus' time.


It is most likely that the Pilate Stone was placed the moment Pilate became Prefect of Judea. However, the titles of Prefect or Procurator make absolutely no difference to the context depicting the execution of Christ by Pontius Pilate, and the claim of Tacitus using Christian hearsay due to his use of procurator is completely un-evidenced, with no traction whatsoever.

Quote:As nearly every scholar now admits, the Josephus passage that refers to the execution of Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum, is heavily interpolated, and the "historical" elements may even have been added almost entirely out of whole cloth by Eusebius, a bishop working two centuries later, who had openly admitted he considered pious fraud, or "lying for Jesus" (as we call it), to be acceptable practice. That Jesus was mentioned, minus the interpolations, was previously detailed by Bishop Origen, when he complained that Josephus seems not to have noticed the special nature of Jesus.

Interpolation is indeed possible, but no evidence to support Eusebius as the one who did it. This crazy theory finds no support whatsoever, other than opinions from conspiracy theorists.

Quote:I conclude that it is more likely than not that there was a real apocalyptic preacher named Yeshua, whose followers considered him an "annointed one" (a Teacher of Righteousness), and who was executed for sedition, forcing them to do theological somersaults in order to keep believing what they did. Under these high-stress circumstances, it's hardly surprising that we see the rise of the magical Jesus tales in the religion that would become Christianity. The problem is that once we reject the magical elements of the story, there becomes zero reason to care about the existence of a random apocalyptic preacher in Judea in the opening years of the first century. It is only the culture of Christianity, always expanding and adding new bits (the most recent seems to be their decision that God hates abortions, for some reason), that makes it even remotely relevant.

Agreed!

Quote:May I recommend this neutral article (by Christian authors) on the ways in which the story is demonstrably embellished, and how we know that it was?

The Strange Ending of the Gospel of Mark, and Why It Makes All the Difference
http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily...ifference/

Already read that, but thanks.

Good post.

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01-07-2016, 08:16 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2016 08:20 PM by GoingUp.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 07:43 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  GoingUp - Where do you think Celsus and Lucian, born after the death of Jesus and writing their accounts in the 2nd century, got their information?

From Christians, telling stories.

Perhaps, and perhaps not. The one thing they DON'T do is make any kind of a claim that Jesus didn't exist at all, and in fact they and others poke fun at Christians for not recognizing this same Jesus as a mere man.

Quote:They are NOT independent confirmation of the existence of a historical Jesus. They are confirmation that the Christians talked about Jesus, and other people wrote down what they said (in various versions, some more hostile than others).

They are non-Christian resources attesting to the existence of Jesus as a mere human being who was crucified for sedition.

They add to the one commonality we find in numerous other texts, that Jesus existed as a man, and was crucified.
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01-07-2016, 09:00 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2016 09:07 PM by RocketSurgeon76.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 08:10 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  I do not see how what Tacitus says, or what Josephus says regarding James, the brother of Jesus, as being in any way construed as an embellishment of anything.

Both of the authors were born in the 1st century, as close to contemporaries as can be. The lived virtually during the same period of time as Jesus did.

Tacitus constantly gives his sources throughout his works, so there is no reason to suspect he was merely using hearsay from the population.

Josephus is wring a history of the Jews for the Roman audience, and his 2nd mention of Jesus is not found in any other text, nor known as being of any degree of hearsay.

"Virtually the same" is not the "was in the same time period". I was born in 1976, and thus anything I claim about the Civil Rights Movement would be hearsay, acquired from other sources which I cannot independently substantiate, only corroborate with other sources. The best we could do would be to check my sources for accuracy/agreement. Likewise, any information those writers received was from secondhand sources (Edit: meaning verbal accounts, not documentation). That makes it hearsay.

hear·say
ˈhirˌsā/
noun
1. information received from other people that one cannot adequately substantiate; rumor.

2.the report of another person's words by a witness, usually disallowed as evidence in a court of law.


(01-07-2016 08:10 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:Tacitus is often claimed to make a direct reference to the execution of Jesus by Pilate, but reading the passage makes it clear that he is merely explaining to his audience exactly what a Christian is, including their belief in an executed savior, since he is describing how they were blamed by Nero for the fires in Rome to distract the people from his political machinations. I have seen several allude to Tacitus' usual practice of noting when he is using non-reliable sources, but it is not necessary for a simple "oh by the way" sentence, such as the infamous reference to Pilate. As you know, the Romans recorded nearly everything, and even if the records had been lost to history, we can still ask the question of whether Tacitus had the records before him as an outside source, rather than working from hearsay.

This is speculation at best.

Speculation, yes, but not "at best". I'll get to that in a moment.

(01-07-2016 08:10 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:Had Tacitus been working from official Roman records of the execution, it is unlikely he would have made the mistake of referring to Pilate as the Procurator of Judea, rather than the Prefect. It may seem like a small error to make, but Prefect is a military governor's designation, while Procurator (the same Latin root from which we get the verb "to procure") was essentially "the official tax collector for the Empire". Procurators were not allowed to rule over Judea until 44 C.E., by official edict. The obvious conclusion is that Tacitus was just repeating the testimony that he was given by the soon-to-be-executed, second-generation Roman Christians of whom he is speaking in the passage, as to what they considered their own identity... including worship of a Roman-executed savior. By the time of Tacitus' life, the governor of Judea was a Procurator, so it's unlikely he'd have thought twice about the error in the face of testimony to that effect, and we see the Christians' error repeated in the words of Tacitus. This would not have been true if he had been reading a document.

This argument fails, and I will demonstrate why.

You claim that Tacitus should have used Prefect instead of Procurator, but he didn't because he was repeating what Christians claimed, that Pilate was entitled as Procurator.

Here's are your problems:

1. There is not one shred of evidence in any ancient Christian document that any early Christian ever regarded Pilate as a Procurator.

It doesn't even exist in the Bible. It's a badly researched assumption. Since there is no evidence whatsoever, it nullifies the assumption that Tacitus used Christian hearsay regarding this passage.

2. The Gospel records portray Pilate as a governor. When applied to governors, this term procurator, otherwise used for financial officers, connotes no difference whatsoever in rank or function from the title known as "prefect."

3. At the time Tacitus wrote his works, all governors of Judea had held the title of Procurator since Ad 41, for some 70+ years. Since Pilate had been the "Governor" of Judea, Tacitus would only assume him to have held the actual title of Procurator since that was indeed the title for governors of Judea at Tacitus' time.


It is most likely that the Pilate Stone was placed the moment Pilate became Prefect of Judea. However, the titles of Prefect or Procurator make absolutely no difference to the context depicting the execution of Christ by Pontius Pilate, and the claim of Tacitus using Christian hearsay due to his use of procurator is completely un-evidenced, with no traction whatsoever.

Nice dodge.

The question I was asking, and which you apparently missed, is whether Tacitus might have been working from official Roman documents written at the time of the alleged execution of Jesus, rather than working from secondhand sources (testimony). You're quite right-- Tacitus would not have had a reason to quibble about whether the "governor" of Judea, as the Christians and Josephus called him, was titled a Prefect or a Procurator... but any documents written at the time, from which one might allege Tacitus to be reading and thus reporting the event, would have gotten it correct, as it was not yet legal for a Procurator to be governor of Judea. This nullifies any claims that Tacitus had direct evidence of these events.

(01-07-2016 08:10 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
Quote:As nearly every scholar now admits, the Josephus passage that refers to the execution of Jesus, the Testimonium Flavianum, is heavily interpolated, and the "historical" elements may even have been added almost entirely out of whole cloth by Eusebius, a bishop working two centuries later, who had openly admitted he considered pious fraud, or "lying for Jesus" (as we call it), to be acceptable practice. That Jesus was mentioned, minus the interpolations, was previously detailed by Bishop Origen, when he complained that Josephus seems not to have noticed the special nature of Jesus.

Interpolation is indeed possible, but no evidence to support Eusebius as the one who did it. This crazy theory finds no support whatsoever, other than opinions from conspiracy theorists.

What? The fact that the earliest reference we have to the work of Josephus on the subject, from Origen, explicitly stating that Josephus did not consider Jesus to be the Messiah, mentioning the James passage in Book 20 but completely failing to even mention the "stronger" passage in book 18 of Antiquities, shows that it is an interpolation, even if none of the other problems with the TF were there. Almost every scholar today acknowledges that most or at least some of the TF is a forgery. Since the first quotation of Josephus we have that includes the passage was from a bishop who admitted to pious fraud as a morally acceptable thing to do, it seems rather logical to conclude that he is the most likely suspect for this action, particularly given his ties to and resources from the recently-Christianized Roman government.

And while the James passage is generally considered genuine, it nevertheless remains the case that Josephus could not have gotten his information from being personally present to interview first-hand witnesses or have had access to some sort of official records of the events described. At best, he is recounting a legend, a legend we know was rapidly growing and expanding at the time of his writing.

As I said, I think these early references are enough to support belief in the existence of a Teacher of Wisdom (an Anointed One) and his collection of Sayings, which formed the kernel from which the Gospels and many other writings would be shaped, and from which assortment the Canon was assembled. But they are not solid evidence, from an Historian's point of view, but only a basis for inference.

People who pretend it is more are not being honest.

"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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01-07-2016, 09:32 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 07:08 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(01-07-2016 06:47 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ????

Go back and read post 506. I think you might be embarrassed by your question.

I have read post 506. I see nothing there to be embarrassed about.

What are you getting at?

Quote:PS I have spent 7 years in my spare time studying the origins of Christianity, and I have even written a book on the subject. (https://www.amazon.com/Over-Christianity...1492824313 ). You should at least pay me the respect of reading what I wrote.

I know what your position is, and have read the reviews on your book. But not one of the reviews is from a recognized scholar.

You have an interesting perspective on Paul, but it falls dramatically short on the realistic. You make far too many claims of interpolations with no supporting evidence other than your own opinion.

Your book will do well with conspiracy theorists, but it will not make a dent in the scholarly community.

No offense intended.

"I have read post 506. I see nothing there to be embarrassed about.

What are you getting at?
"

Jeebus! You are either dim witted or too lazy to understand what is there in black and white. I'll spell it out for you...again...

there is no evidence the authors of the gospels were "followers of Jesus." You, for some unexplained reason, think they were.

The "followers of Jesus" (if he existed) were fundamentalist anti gentile Jews, the Nazarenes, an Essenian sect. They were opposed to the gentile world.

If you disagree with this, say so, and say why.

I can't make it any clearer than this.

And...I don't think you know even a tiny fraction of what I think about Paul. Have you read my debate (if one could call it that) with a character called Q...it's in the section of this forum called "the boxing ring." (http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...-Charlatan ). Please read that...then offer your opinion on my writings about Paul.Big Grin
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01-07-2016, 09:55 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 07:08 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(01-07-2016 06:47 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  ????

Go back and read post 506. I think you might be embarrassed by your question.

I have read post 506. I see nothing there to be embarrassed about.

What are you getting at?

Quote:PS I have spent 7 years in my spare time studying the origins of Christianity, and I have even written a book on the subject. (https://www.amazon.com/Over-Christianity...1492824313 ). You should at least pay me the respect of reading what I wrote.

I know what your position is, and have read the reviews on your book. But not one of the reviews is from a recognized scholar.

You have an interesting perspective on Paul, but it falls dramatically short on the realistic. You make far too many claims of interpolations with no supporting evidence other than your own opinion.

Your book will do well with conspiracy theorists, but it will not make a dent in the scholarly community.

No offense intended.

"I know what your position is,"


No you don't. You think you do. You have not read my book (I can't blame you for that), but it is amazing that you claim to know what I think.

You haven't answered my question about the Nazarenes.

I have made one claim about interpolations into Paul, and I have admitted it is my opinion, and I have reasons for that opinion, which you don't appear to be interested in, as you haven't taken the conversation any further.

What is more, you have failed to explain your agenda, despite me asking for an explanation. You claim Jesus was no magic man, and that you are not a Christian, yet at the same time you use very colourful language against people who think Jesus was a myth. I don't understand your (?emotional) connection with this Jesus. Why are you here, defending his historicity, if "he" means zilch to you?
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01-07-2016, 09:59 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 11:28 AM)GoingUp Wrote:  
(01-07-2016 11:26 AM)Chas Wrote:  No, they are not equally probable. That is a fallacy.

I did not say they were equally probable. There is a difference in validity and probability.

You said "Therefore, all are equally valid until proven otherwise."

Equally valid implies equally probable. If you don't mean that, then don't use the word 'equally'.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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01-07-2016, 10:13 PM
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
GoingUp has made valid points.

There is a reason that the Apocrypha was not included in the final edition of the bible.

It is common knowledge that since the formation of the bible, Christians have been very fond of cherry picking what they want to believe, even from the very book that was constructed for the maximum belief effect.

In fact, since modern theists are so fond of cherry picking, it speaks more volumes to them not being real Christians.
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01-07-2016, 10:15 PM (This post was last modified: 01-07-2016 10:49 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Contemporary Accounts of Jesus
(01-07-2016 05:27 PM)GoingUp Wrote:  I am projecting nothing from this century into that century. Nothing whatsoever.

Your accusation is false, and amounts to nothing more than an attempt to detract from the point, which you still have not addressed.

You're just a damn liar.
YOU said witchcraft was a superstition.
The people of the time of Salem DID NOT consider witchcraft a superstition.
They took it seriously enough to put people to death. You are doing precisely what you deny, and EVERYONE here can see it. Everyone.

So yeah. You are committing the Historian's Fallacy, (also called Presentism), and you're too stupid or dishonest to admit it.

Quote:It doesn't matter in the slightest if there's better evidence or not, because the two cannot be fairly compared.

False analogy.

You STILL don't get it. The EVENTS are not similar. No one questions that. It went WAY over your fool head. It's the WITNESSES that are being compared, not the event. You can't be that stupid. You need to make a distinction without a difference, as the WITNESSES are a threat to you little fake world.

Quote:More lying judgmental Church Lady presumptuous crap. You have no clue what I think about religion. You fools always go to that garbage, about how atheists "hate religion".

Quote:I have read your posts on this forum before I signed up.
I got you pegged correctly.

LOL -- you don't know me from Adam. You do your little knee-jerk schtick about angry atheists. You're the one who is "pegged". A presuppositionalist self-righteous Church Lady.

Quote:He can be as serious as he wants, but he will never be taken seriously by the scholarly community.

He doesn't even get mentioned.

Like you know anything. Unfortunately for you, gramps, Carrier and Ehrman had a well know disagreement. But thanks for demonstrating you are totally out of touch about what is/has been argued. You're in the 19th Century. First Cause, indeed. LOLOL
You are so fucking out of touch you didn't even know his name. He's sold more books than you ever will. All you can do is your nonsense they did 75 years ago about "First Cause". LMAO.

The fact is the Salem Witch events and the Jesus events were totally similar. Both about religion and deeply held religious ideas and convictions.
The ONLY reason there is any writing AT ALL about Jesus, (is NOT about the man), but by believers about it meant for them as a RELIGIOUS experience.
Your lame, dishonest, disingenuous attempt to make the writing about Jesus into writings "just about a man", is totally bogus, and you know it, and so does anyone reading your crap.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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