Debating the historical Jesus
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
12-03-2015, 10:12 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 07:46 PM)Free Wrote:  You have no good reason to doubt the reliability of Tacitus sources. Since you have no evidence whatsoever to warrant doubt, why do you assert it's an issue?
This is a very bizzare comment.
You are asking me why I doubt the reliability of sources that don't exist, where the authors are unknown, the date that the sources were written is unknown, whether the authors were witnesses or had known any witnesses is unknown. The number of sources is unknown. The number of sources that reference an "anointed one" leader of religious sect is unknown.

Really the question should be, why the hell do you assume these "sources" are reliable, when you know nothing about them, other than assume they were written by roman historians.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 3 users Like Stevil's post
12-03-2015, 11:26 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  ... he then explains that this hated class of Christians got their name from Christus, who was gloriously executed by the Romans in Judea.
I know what he said Free, I'm not questioning what Tacitus said. I've read it. My question is, and has been, is the source Tacitus used when talking about Jesus a contemporary of Christ and/or a witness to the crucifixion or is his source recounting 2nd 3rd or whatever hand knowledge, oral stories, or the personal beliefs of believers and how would you or he tell the difference if it's presented as fact, irregardless of it's origin, in his source?

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  The obvious elephant in the room here is that Tacitus tells us that Nero was blaming the Christians for the fire, and Tacitus tells us that he is getting this information about Nero from previous Roman historians.

The story is about Nero, and Tacitus is getting this story about Nero blaming the Christians from previous Roman histories.

Do you seriously think that Tacitus would be getting this story about Nero blaming the Christians from any other source other than a Roman source?
No I do not think that which is why I never once made a claim in anyway like that. In fact I said, I thought clearly if not that's on me, that he absolutely was using Roman histories that the authors he does mention wrote specifically about The Great Fire and thus Nero. I at no point disputed that, so I don't really get your criticism. In fact I never even suggested that his source was NOT Roman.

I'm not gonna call that a strawman as I think it's more likely to just be a misunderstanding but you are attacking a point I've not made nor am I trying to make.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  This doesn't require much brain power to process.
Dude...just ....don't with this shit. Don't drag us down that path again OK. Especially not after failing to grasp my criticism of Tacitus source. Lets keep this civil ok? I haven't even disagreed with your conclusion that a historical Jesus existed.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  Since he's writing Roman history, has been demonstrated as using Roman sources, positively identifies Pontius Pilate by name as the Roman official who executed Christ, do you really think his sources are anything but Roman?
Again I'm not arguing that his sources are not Roman so I really don't get where these questions of Roman this and Roman that keep coming from.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  Read the text. He absolutely denigrates the Christians, and there is no way he would get this denigration from Christians, nor anyone else, except the Romans. I mean just the language used itself is evidence enough that he didn't get this info from any Christian.
I denigrate Mormons and nearly all my information on them comes from Mormons and former Mormons. You can get information on a religious sect from believers without singing their praise. The fact that he dislikes Christians could easily come from his interactions with Christians or the things he has heard about their religious beliefs all of which more then likely insulted his own religious beliefs.

However that is entirely irrelevant. For the sake of argument lets say he never talked to a single Christan, that all his sources were Roman and that hell all his sources were each and everyone of them a Historian, that does not mean that the source Tacitus was using were not themselves using hearsay, christian oral tradition, or non-contemporary testimony.

My issue is not with Tacitus, it's with his sources and the fact we know nothing about them at all including their methodologies.


(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  The best argument demonstrates that he used Roman sources.
Again not an argument I'm making. His sources can all be Roman for all I care that does not mean they are relating a factual account of the crucifixion and not just oral tradition and hearsay.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support the idea that he used any other sources other than Roman.
There is not any evidence that he used a historical source when talking about Christians, just that he read numerous authorship on The Great Fire, and as John P. Meier has pointed out it's likely he was just repeating what was "common knowledge about Christians about the beginning of the 2nd century."
You have shown he used a historical source when dealing with the Great Fire, you have not shown he was using a historical source for the Crucifixion.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  We don't need to break down his history line by line and question every last sentence. That's when desperation to remain doubtful takes over, and makes a mockery of honest skepticism.

It's just not necessary.
1.) I'm not breaking down his history line by line and questioning every last sentence. Almost the entirety of my pressence here has been about his sources how reliable are they, who are they, and are they relating the death of Jesus as a fact or hearsay.
2.) That's an opinion and your welcome to it. i find it pointless to express cause I can easily say the resistance to do a proper investigation of Tacitus' sources and their validity, in relation to Christ, is when desperation to remain a believer takes over and makes a mockery of "honest skepticism".
I'm not interested in your opinion, no offense intended, on what is and is not worth investigating, and honestly I'm not interested in my own opinion on that matter. I'm interested in what is, and is not, substantiated concerning Tacitus' sources and their methodologies. If your not interested in that conversation no problem at all, I am but that's just me.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  In order for these assertions and speculation to be valid, you must demonstrate the possibility by finding examples of his doing anything similar to this any where else.
I'm not accusing him of doing anything. He could easily be quoting from Roman historians who wrote down oral traditions and hearsay and presented them as fact and he would not even know it.
The fact that his sources are unknown, anonymous, unfalsifiable in their claims, and no longer exist means that I doubt the veracity of their claims and am perfectly justified in doing so.

(12-03-2015 09:02 PM)Free Wrote:  So therefore, to qualify the possibility, evidence please.
(This is rhetorical; don't go looking, there isn't any evidence.)
You don't even understand what my criticism is. You have not provided any compelling evidence that Tacitus source for the crucifixion was a.) a witness to the event b.) even alive when it happened C.) is not reporting hearsay and oral tradition of Christians.

Your evidence for the veracity of Tacitus claims for the Crucifixion of Christ is an unfalsifiable, anonymous, and entirely unknown source which no longer exists if it exists at all and is not just Tacitus reiterating common knowledge at the time of his writing.
Tacitus has made a claim and you have no idea what evidence, or lack there of, he used to arrive at that claim.

It's no compelling and I continue to think that doubting Tacitus as a source for the crucifixion is more the justified.

When valour preys on reason, it eats the sword it fights with.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes WhiskeyDebates's post
12-03-2015, 11:44 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 07:46 PM)Free Wrote:  The "extreme penalty" mentioned by Tacitus refers directly to crucifixion. Crucifixion was the most extreme penalty in 1st Century Roman law.

The Roman statesman Cicero called it "the most cruel and disgusting penalty" (Verrem 2:5.165) and "the most extreme penalty" (Verrem 2:5.168).

This is commonly known among historians. Investigate further at your leisure.
OK, sure.

(12-03-2015 07:46 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote: No identity (name, age, place of birth etc) was ascribed to the sect leader.

It's not subscribed to 99% of anyone else mentioned either. You have no case here.

Sure, now find multiple people whom were called Christ and whom the Christians got their name from. Go ahead, I'll cheer you on. Smile
Who knows who it was that the Christian's got their name from? Possibly a mythical character.

The term Christus was a title, not a name. As you know it means "anointed".
http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08374x.htm
"According to the Old Law, priests (Exodus 29:29; Leviticus 4:3), kings (1 Samuel 10:1; 24:7), and prophets (Isaiah 61:1) were supposed to be anointed for their respective offices"

"It is not surprising, therefore, that for centuries the Jews had referred to their expected Deliverer as "the Anointed"

Given the above, it's not surprising if a few religious nuts go around calling themselves the anointed one. Just as today we have many people calling themselves the second coming of Jesus.

To get validation of identity we need names, age, dob etc. Titles are of little help if we don't have something to reference that against. i.e. given a date range we can work out who was the Queen of England or the Catholic Pope. But god only knows who the anointed one was and if their was one or many people calling themselves that.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-03-2015, 07:06 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 08:02 AM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 09:56 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 09:06 PM)Free Wrote:  Ummm since Tacitus is writing within say 50 years of the event, Tacitis himself was a contemporary of the event.

Just saying ...

Consider
Tacitus was not alive during the alleged life and death of Jesus having been born long after his supposed death, and writing about the event even longer still. He is not a first hand account of the crucifixion so I hardly consider him a contemporary of Jesus. We have no idea if his source for the validity of the crucifixion was a contemporary of Jesus while he was allegedly alive or died to the point he can give accurate testimony about the event or if Tacitus' source is recording hearsay, claims by people of faith, or a 3, 4, or 16th written retelling of an oral story.

If you are going to quote what I posted to Stevil, I think the least you could do is to understand what it is you are quoting so that you do not accidentally misrepresent my position. Here's the quote:

Quote:
Quote: The reliability of this information which was presented, as a side note, is rather weak despite the reputation of the author (Tacitus) as a reputed Roman historian because the reliability of his source/s cannot be determined.

You have no good reason to doubt the reliability of Tacitus sources. Since you have no evidence whatsoever to warrant doubt, why do you assert it's an issue?

The "event" I was speaking about with Stevil is the Great Fires of Rome in the AD 60s, and Tacitus was a contemporary of that event.

Now the rest of what you said is totally non sequitur.

Quote:You seem to have missed what my criticism was, no offense intended: I'm not debating that he used Roman sources, I'm saying we have ZERO way of knowing if what his sources say (even if they are Roman) is based on fact, evidence, and an actual event or just hearsay and stories because they are anonymous, unfalsifiable, and no longer exist.

I understand your criticism, but none of that detracts from the point I have made. Here, clearly, is the point in detail:

1. Skeptics, Denialist, Mythicists etc, have always tried to make the claim that the mention of Christ and the Christians within the text of Tacitus' works got there as a result of Tacitus getting his information directly from the Christians as opposed to Roman sources.

2. My entire point here was to ONLY demonstrate that the evidence within and around the relevant content itself clearly indicates that Tacitus was only using Roman sources. That task has been accomplished.

3. Tacitus is using the citation technique, telling us he is using Roman historical data regarding Nero, Christians, Christ, Pontius Pilate, etc.

4. There is absolutely no indication within the text, or within the entire Annals, that Tacitus was using anything OTHER than Roman data sources.

5. Now, since ALL the evidence points to Roman sources, and NO evidence to support any other sources, the intellectually honest thing to do here to acknowledge what the most likely truth is to all this.

Will it be conclusive? Nothing ever is in ancient history, but we do not determine what history is based upon unfounded speculation and unevidenced assertion. History is determined by the evidence, and the best argument to explain that evidence. It is never determined by speculation and assertion.

Therefore, to suggest that it is "possible" that Tacitus' sources could be anything other than Roman sources, the very possibility you speak of must be qualified with evidence. If you cannot provide evidence to support the possibility, then the possibility does not exist.

So what evidence can you, or anyone else, provide to support the possibility that Tacitus was using anything other than Roman sources?

And I think you will agree that that is a very fair question.

Having problems with your computer? Visit our Free Tech Support thread for help!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes Free's post
13-03-2015, 08:42 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 10:12 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 07:46 PM)Free Wrote:  You have no good reason to doubt the reliability of Tacitus sources. Since you have no evidence whatsoever to warrant doubt, why do you assert it's an issue?
This is a very bizzare comment.

No you do not have any evidence whatsoever to warrant doubt. If you think you do, then present actual, physical, tangible, observable, EVIDENCE.


Quote:You are asking me why I doubt the reliability of sources that don't exist,

This completely misrepresents the truth right there. If the sources did not exist, then how the fuck does Tacitus refer to them? They existed during his time, and he evidenced that clearly.

Now that is evidence.


Quote: where the authors are unknown, the date that the sources were written is unknown, whether the authors were witnesses or had known any witnesses is unknown. The number of sources is unknown. The number of sources that reference an "anointed one" leader of religious sect is unknown.

Really the question should be, why the hell do you assume these "sources" are reliable, when you know nothing about them, other than assume they were written by roman historians.

NONE of this, in any way whatsoever, negates the reality that Tacitus was using previous Roman sources for his works.

All your speculation about who wrote them, when, why, etc, cannot change the fact one iota that Tacitus was using Roman sources, and that all the evidence available demonstrates that quite clearly.

And THAT is my entire point.

Oh you can speculate all you want, but speculation does absolutely nothing to negate the facts.

Drinking Beverage

Having problems with your computer? Visit our Free Tech Support thread for help!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-03-2015, 08:59 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 11:26 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  It's no compelling and I continue to think that doubting Tacitus as a source for the crucifixion is more the justified.

To warrant your doubt, please provide evidence to support it.

You see, anybody can claim doubt. Anybody can say this or that is possible. But the reality is, to justify doubt or other possibilities, there must be some evidence to justify it.

It is so easy for people to say, "anything is possible," but most people do not even understand what "possible" actually means.

Is it possible that in whole numbers 1 + 1 will ever equal 5?
Is it possible that when counting numbers 1 ... 2... 3... that you will ever count the last number?

No, not everything is "possible." To qualify something as being possible, it must meet the standards of the definition of possible.

pos·si·ble:

"able to be done; within the power or capacity of someone or something."

https://www.google.ca/search?q=possible&...2&ie=UTF-8

In order for you to justify doubt or a possibility, you are required to demonstrate that it is able to be done; that there is some evidence to support it.

Until that is accomplished, all doubt, speculation, and arguments are absolutely pointless and unwarranted.

There is also a distinct difference between what is possible and what is plausible. When something is possible, it does not mean that it is plausible. When something is plausible, it takes what is possible and approaches reasonable doubt.

There is absolutely no evidence to warrant reasonable doubt on the Tacitus issue. This is intellectual honesty at work here, and it needs to be acknowledged.

Having problems with your computer? Visit our Free Tech Support thread for help!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-03-2015, 09:29 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 08:59 AM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 11:26 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  It's no compelling and I continue to think that doubting Tacitus as a source for the crucifixion is more the justified.

To warrant your doubt, please provide evidence to support it.

You see, anybody can claim doubt. Anybody can say this or that is possible. But the reality is, to justify doubt or other possibilities, there must be some evidence to justify it.

That is not true. To justify doubt, you need to establish that the evidence in favor of whatever it is you're arguing is insufficient. For example, I do not need evidence that there's no Loch Ness Monster to assert it. All I have to do is show that the evidence in favor of the Loch Ness Monster's existence is insufficient, which it is.

In the present case, the evidence in favor of Tacitus using firsthand sources for his comments about Christus is insufficient. That's it. It's not complicated.

Quote:It is so easy for people to say, "anything is possible," but most people do not even understand what "possible" actually means.

Well, yes, it's POSSIBLE he used sources that were reliably relating things that actually happened. It's also possible those sources were passing on hearsay. Both propositions are highly probable. Therefore, the Tacitus reference is insufficient as proof that what he wrote actually happened (but it is proof that the story had already been concocted by then, whether fact-based or not).

Quote:In order for you to justify doubt or a possibility, you are required to demonstrate that it is able to be done; that there is some evidence to support it.

Right. And it works both ways. Is it possible that the story Tacitus relayed was hearsay? Yes. Is it possible it was fact based? Yes. Both are possible. Tacitus therefore proves neither position.

Quote:Until that is accomplished, all doubt, speculation, and arguments are absolutely pointless and unwarranted.

There is also a distinct difference between what is possible and what is plausible. When something is possible, it does not mean that it is plausible. When something is plausible, it takes what is possible and approaches reasonable doubt.

There is absolutely no evidence to warrant reasonable doubt on the Tacitus issue. This is intellectual honesty at work here, and it needs to be acknowledged.

You don't necessarily need evidence for reasonable doubt. To argue reasonable doubt, you are allowed to look at three things.
1. The evidence.
2. The lack of evidence.
3. Conflicts in the evidence.

When it comes to the historicity of Jesus, lack of evidence and conflicts in the evidence provide PLENTY of reason for doubt. Note: Reason for doubt is NOT "proof he didn't exist." It's just that: Reasonable doubt.

I believe it's most likely that the Jesus story arose out of an actual historical preacher who raised enough ire to get himself executed. But do I believe that beyond a reasonable doubt? Not even close.

Religion is proof that invisible men can obscure your vision.
Visit my blog
Follow me on Twitter @TwoCultSurvivor
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TwoCultSurvivor's post
13-03-2015, 09:38 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 06:33 PM)Stein Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 06:07 PM)Free Wrote:  I connect that dots by demonstrating that Tacitus used Roman historical sources for his retelling of the Great Fires of Rome, which has the part regarding Christ and the Christians within that particular body of text.

As has been previously demonstrated, Tacitus used Roman historical accounts for his works just before the part about Christus and the Christians, and I will demonstrate again that he was still using the works of previous writers in the paragraph immediately after the one mentioning Christ and the Christians which was Chapter 15:44.

Note the bold and underlined print below:

[15.45] "Meanwhile Italy was thoroughly exhausted by contributions of money, the provinces were ruined, as also the allied nations and the free states, as they were called. Even the gods fell victims to the plunder; for the temples in Rome were despoiled and the gold carried off, which, for a triumph or a vow, the Roman people in every age had consecrated in their prosperity or their alarm.

Throughout Asia and Achaia not only votive gifts, but the images of deities were seized, Acratus and Secundus Carinas having been sent into those provinces. The first was a freedman ready for any wickedness; the latter, as far as speech went, was thoroughly trained in Greek learning, but he had not imbued his heart with sound principles. Seneca, it was said, to avert from himself the obloquy of sacrilege, begged for the seclusion of a remote rural retreat, and, when it was refused, feigning ill health, as though he had a nervous ailment, would not quit his chamber.

According to some writers, poison was prepared for him at Nero's command by his own freedman, whose name was Cleonicus. This Seneca avoided through the freedman's disclosure, or his own apprehension, while he used to support life on the very simple diet of wild fruits, with water from a running stream when thirst prompted."


As you can see, Tacitus can be demonstrated as using Roman historical sources for his work both within the context of the section describing the fires, Christ, and the Christians, and then immediately after in the very next paragraph.

Therefore, with him detailing his sources within the context, and all around it, we have no good reason to assume that he was not using Roman historical sources for the insignificant part concerning the Christians and Christ.

I can understand how many will view this from a Jesus existed/Jesus didn't exist perspective, but that is not how this should be viewed. In all intellectual honesty, it should be viewed from strictly a Roman perspective in which we have an ancient Roman historian merely going about his business writing Roman history, and using Roman sources to accomplish this.

After all, Tacitus wasn't writing Christian history here. Also, my point here is not to demonstrate that this conclusively proves anything, but rather only to strengthen the argument that Tacitus, being a Roman, would of course used Roman sources for his Roman history book.

To me, with all Jesus existed/never existed contentions aside, from a strictly historical perspective, all I see here is Roman history.

I'm very grateful for detailed explications of this kind. Thank you!

Speaking strictly as a layman myself, I do have some nodding acquaintance with most of the details for -- and the online arguments concerning -- non-canonical cites like Antiqs. XX (the James/Ananus reference) [ca. 90], Tacitus [ca. 110], etc. But I admit to being quite ignorant on the Clement cite [ca. 90] and would be grateful if Free might give the details on that or refer me to a previous posting here where someone else -- or Free? -- already has done that.

Again, thanks,

Stein

Hi Stein, and welcome to the discussion.

Clement of Rome was a 1st century contemporary of the apostles, and likely of Jesus as well, considering his death was sometime near the end of the 1st century.

It is unknown if he ever actually met Jesus, but as history and tradition teaches us, it would appear he was in Rome during Peter's stint as Bishop. Paul also mentions a Clement in his works, but we cannot say for sure if this is the same Clement.

Regardless, Clement's letter to the Corinthians is a 1st century document attesting to the existence of Paul, Peter, and Jesus. Since he died before the end of the 1st century, what we have here is likely a contemporary source to support the existence of Jesus.

This letter is cited within 50 years of his death, so there is no good reason to doubt anything about this document.

Having problems with your computer? Visit our Free Tech Support thread for help!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-03-2015, 09:41 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 09:49 AM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 09:29 AM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 08:59 AM)Free Wrote:  To warrant your doubt, please provide evidence to support it.

You see, anybody can claim doubt. Anybody can say this or that is possible. But the reality is, to justify doubt or other possibilities, there must be some evidence to justify it.

That is not true. To justify doubt, you need to establish that the evidence in favor of whatever it is you're arguing is insufficient. For example, I do not need evidence that there's no Loch Ness Monster to assert it. All I have to do is show that the evidence in favor of the Loch Ness Monster's existence is insufficient, which it is.

And in this case, since evidence is provided, to do that you will require evidence to dispute it.

Quote:In the present case, the evidence in favor of Tacitus using firsthand sources for his comments about Christus is insufficient. That's it. It's not complicated.

But THAT is not the point here. And THAT is where everyone in this discussion does not understand my point, or is intentionally ignoring it in favor of digression.

Go back and read my posts. Let me know when you understand my point, because nothing you are saying here address it one iota.

If you have done that, NOW tell me what my point actually is, and THEN we can continue.

Having problems with your computer? Visit our Free Tech Support thread for help!
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
13-03-2015, 10:11 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 09:41 AM)Free Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 09:29 AM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  That is not true. To justify doubt, you need to establish that the evidence in favor of whatever it is you're arguing is insufficient. For example, I do not need evidence that there's no Loch Ness Monster to assert it. All I have to do is show that the evidence in favor of the Loch Ness Monster's existence is insufficient, which it is.

And in this case, since evidence is provided, to do that you will require evidence to dispute it.

Nope. All that is required is reason to doubt the evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
[Image: flagstiny%206.gif]
Visit this user's website Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: