Debating the historical Jesus
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13-03-2015, 10:19 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 11:02 AM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 10:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 09:41 AM)Free Wrote:  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.

And what reason would that be? How is the reason justified? Is it justified by mere assertion? Speculation? Assumptions?

Or is it justified by evidence?

reason

noun

1. a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.:
the reason for declaring war.

2. a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action:
I dare you to give me one good reason for quitting school!

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reason

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13-03-2015, 11:40 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 12:36 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
Listed below is the text regarding Christ and the Christians. Read it completely.

"But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, but as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car.

Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
"

There is absolutely nothing in that text that even hints at a Christian source. In fact, the text describing the punishments of the Christians is something that we cannot find in any Christian source at all.

The text denigrates Christians by stating they were hated by the general population, calls them criminals, says that they were being convicted not for starting the fire, but rather because of their hatred towards mankind.

This text obviously did not come from any Christian source. It says much more than merely mentioning the execution of Christ, as it clearly demonstrates complete and total Roman bias against those Christians.

No Christian would tell Tacitus- or any other Roman historian- that their beliefs were an "abomination," that they were "mischievous superstitions," or that they were guilty of "hatred towards mankind", or that they were "criminals."

I mean seriously, people.

Really?

Laugh out load

And did I tell you that Tacitus was contemporary to this event? Do any of you understand what that means?

Since Tacitus was a contemporary to this event, it means that we have attestation from the AD 60s of the crucifixion of Christ, and it doesn't matter when Tacitus wrote it down.

Tongue

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13-03-2015, 11:56 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.

The evidence provided is insufficient. That's the point you're missing.

Quote:
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.

The point is that you don't know who Tacitus' sources were, and you don't know how reliable they were. You don't know if he was relaying firsthand information or fifth-hand hearsay relaying unverified Christian claims. He doesn't tell you. There is plenty of reason to suspect he was relaying hearsay, certainly enough to reasonably doubt the historicity of what he said.

Sorry you don't see that.

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13-03-2015, 11:59 AM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 12:31 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 11:56 AM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 09:41 AM)Free Wrote:  And in this case, since evidence is provided, to do that you will require evidence to dispute it.

The evidence provided is insufficient. That's the point you're missing.

Insufficient for what, exactly?

Be specific.

Quote: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.

Quote:The point is that you don't know who Tacitus' sources were, and you don't know how reliable they were. You don't know if he was relaying firsthand information or fifth-hand hearsay relaying unverified Christian claims. He doesn't tell you. There is plenty of reason to suspect he was relaying hearsay, certainly enough to reasonably doubt the historicity of what he said.

Sorry you don't see that.

No, that is not my point.

Try again.

Tongue

Here, let me save you the trouble. Here is my point, specifically.

The paragraph regarding Christ and the Christians is told within the chapter regarding what is commonly known as "The Great Fires of Rome." It begins as follows:

[15.38] A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts, worse, however, and more dreadful than any which have ever happened to this city by the violence of fire.

[15.44] Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus,

In 15.38, Tacitus begins his section on the Great Fires of Rome, and literally tells us that he was getting his information from previous authors of Roman history. He tells us that it is uncertain as to whether the fire which broke out was an accident, or if Nero treacherously did it, and explains that the previous authors have given both accounts.

6 paragraphs later, he mentions Christ and the Christians, and tell us that in order to get rid of the report that it was he who started the fire, Nero blamed the Christians.

The whole thing ties in together, since the 1st paragraph tells us that Nero was accused of starting the fire, and then the part regarding the Christians tells us that in order to get rid of the report that Nero was to blame, he accused the Christians of doing it.

And there's the source for Tacitus' retelling of the Great Fires of Rome, which speaks about the Christians and Christ.

Tacitus was referencing previous Roman historical data. This is real. This is tangible. This is evidence.


My point is that all of the evidence indicates that Tacitus was only using Roman source materials for his works. He is actually seen accessing the works of previous Roman historians right in the context of the Great Fires of Rome, which includes the part regarding Christus and the Christians.

There is absolutely no evidence that Tacitus used any sources other than Roman histories.

Dude, THAT is the only point.

All my point demonstrates is that he was using Roman sources.

The following is NOT my point:

Whether or not those previous Roman sources used any Christian sources is another completely different argument.


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13-03-2015, 12:35 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(10-03-2015 11:56 AM)Ocean theRAPIST Wrote:  A couple more.
MY FUCKING EYES!!!!! SO MUCH GOD DAMN YELLOW!!!!!
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13-03-2015, 12:38 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 12:35 PM)A New Hope Wrote:  
(10-03-2015 11:56 AM)Ocean theRAPIST Wrote:  A couple more.
MY FUCKING EYES!!!!! SO MUCH GOD DAMN YELLOW!!!!!

^ Is this some kind of bot?

Please kill it.

Now.

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13-03-2015, 12:40 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 10:19 AM)Free Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 10:11 AM)Chas Wrote:  Nope. All that is required is reason to doubt the evidence.

And what reason would that be? How is the reason justified? Is it justified by mere assertion? Speculation? Assumptions?

Or is it justified by evidence?

reason

noun

1. a basis or cause, as for some belief, action, fact, event, etc.:
the reason for declaring war.

2. a statement presented in justification or explanation of a belief or action:
I dare you to give me one good reason for quitting school!

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/reason

It is justified by reason. We judge some evidence stronger and some weaker; some we discard as unreliable.

Counter-evidence is not required to judge the quality of the presented evidence.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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13-03-2015, 12:46 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  If you are going to quote what I posted to Stevil
Um....I didn't?Huh
I was responding to you quoting me. Stevil, rightly, pointed out that we have no way to know how reliable Tacitus' sources are in regards to this issue of Christ and his death. You said, incorrectly, that he has no reason at all to doubt the reliability of his sources, at which point I said we absolutely do given that they are "anonymous, no longer extant, unfalsifiable accounts to which we have no evidence they are contemporary of the event they claim to detail or a 3, 4, or 16th hand written retelling of an oral story". Then you tried to say that Tacitus was a contemporary.
Both Stevil and I were talking about the sources for the crucifixion, while you seem to still be talking about the sources for the fire.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
Except that what you were quoting from Stevil, which I took exception with, is him explicitly talking about the crucifixion and not the fire. Which is why he talks about Pilate, the crucifixion, and many details around Crucifixion.


Let me just be super clear: I am not doubting that Tacitus was a contemporary of the fire. I'm not doubting that he used previous Roman Historians when writing about the fire. I'm saying he gives no mention of any previous Roman historical writings pertaining to the crucifixion, and even if he did we have no idea who these historians are, what their methodology was, how reliable they are, if they were even contemporaries of Jesus, or if it was hearsay, 3rd 4th or 16th hand information.

My issue is not with the fire, Nero, or the alleged persecution of Christians after, which is an entirely different from the Death of Christ.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  I understand your criticism...
With all respect Free no you don't, which is why you have not touched on it once, why I keep having to repeat it again and again and again, and why you keep arguing from a position I'm not bloody making.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
Except I'm not making that argument in the slightest. I've even gone out of my way like three times to state that I'm perfectly fine, for the sake of argument, saying that his source for the Crucifixion was a Roman Source.
I don't care if his source is Roman, Christian, Persian or bloody Martian. I care if his source is a contemporary of the crucifixion, who the sources source of information is or if it's all hearsay 3rd hand oral tradition. Just because Tacitus gets his information from previous historians does NOT mean that his sources got THEIR information from previous historians.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
While I don't personally care about this as I think it does not matter in the slightest for ascertaining the truth of the crucifixion....you absolutely have not demonstrated that at all. You have shown that he did in fact use Roman sources, you have NOT shown that he used EXCLUSIVELY Roman sources or even that they were exclusively historians. You have not demonstrated the origin of the information he used to declare the crucifixion an actual event. You are making the assumption that because he used Roman Historians and authors for the Fire he HAD to have been using a Roman Historical account of the crucifixion. That dot don't connect.
Again the fact they were roman tells us nothing about the reliability or methodology of any historian when dealing with the crucifixion.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  3. Tacitus is using the citation technique, telling us he is using Roman historical data regarding Nero, Christians, Christ, Pontius Pilate, etc.
No he is not. He says he used previous authorship about the fire and Nero and possibly who Nero blamed. He makes no citation or claim to previous authorship of any account having to deal with the execution of Christ. He speaks in that passage only of "authors have given both accounts" of the fire. Not the fire and an entirely separate event occurring 60+ years earlier in another part of the Empire, to which he was most definitely not, and his source was unlikely to be, alive for.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
I don't care if his sources for the crucifixion were Roman or not at all. The intellectually honest thing is to admit that there is PLENTY of room for doubting the veracity of anonymous, unfalsifiable, sources that no longer exist, can't have their claims tested, who have an unknown methodology. Roman or otherwise.

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
EXCEPT I"M NOT MAKING THIS ARGUMENT!

(13-03-2015 07:06 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
It would be if I was making that argument at all. Don't tell me you understand my criticism then go on to continue making THE SAME arguments against arguments I'm not even making.
The fact that they were Roman sources does not mean they are not anonymous, not unfalsifiable, that they no longer fail to exist, and that their methodologies are not entirely unknown.

Doubt is PERFECTLY reasonable as to the sources veracity.

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13-03-2015, 01:02 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 08:59 AM)Free Wrote:  To warrant your doubt, please provide evidence to support it.

That's not how it works and you know that Free, a person can justify their doubt with counter evidence or by the person pushing the belief not making a compelling case. I don't need to supply any evidence I just need to find your evidence unconvincing and in regards to the crucifixion of Christ being a historical event because of Tacitus a, at best, 3rd+ hand account of ENTIRELY anonymous sources.....I find it entirely unconvincing.
This is the same reason I don't ask you to supply evidence showing a deistic god does NOT exist to justify your doubt that he does.

I don't need to provide evidence to justify my doubt I merely need to recognize that you have provided any evidence what so ever that Tacitus source for the crucifixion (which I maintain he never claims to have in the passage you gave) is reliable, a first hand account, a contemporary, or in anyway demonstrated to be beyond hearsay, conjecture, or a written account of what was already considered common knowledge at the time of Tacitus writing. Just because he used Roman sources does not mean those sources were reliable. I can find lots of examples of roman authorship in the field of history that are demonstrably incorrect. Sometimes intentionally so.

Thus my doubt of their veracity is reasonable. The prosecution has failed to make it's case and thus reasonable doubt is intellectually sound.

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13-03-2015, 01:12 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 11:40 AM)Free Wrote:  Listed below is the text regarding Christ and the Christians. Read it completely.

"But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order.

Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular.

Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, but as of hatred against mankind.

Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired.

Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car.

Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.
"

There is absolutely nothing in that text that even hints at a Christian source. In fact, the text describing the punishments of the Christians is something that we cannot find in any Christian source at all.

The text denigrates Christians by stating they were hated by the general population, calls them criminals, says that they were being convicted not for starting the fire, but rather because of their hatred towards mankind.

This text obviously did not come from any Christian source. It says much more than merely mentioning the execution of Christ, as it clearly demonstrates complete and total Roman bias against those Christians.

No Christian would tell Tacitus- or any other Roman historian- that their beliefs were an "abomination," that they were "mischievous superstitions," or that they were guilty of "hatred towards mankind", or that they were "criminals."

I mean seriously, people.

Really?

Laugh out load

And did I tell you that Tacitus was contemporary to this event? Do any of you understand what that means?

Since Tacitus was a contemporary to this event, it means that we have attestation from the AD 60s of the crucifixion of Christ, and it doesn't matter when Tacitus wrote it down.

Tongue

This is the first time I have ever read any of this. I went to do a search on the subject and Wiki echoes what you are arguing for
The Roman historian and senator Tacitus referred to Christ, his execution by Pontius Pilate and the existence of early Christians in Rome in one page of his final work, Annals (written ca. AD 116), book 15, chapter 44.[1]

The context of the passage is the six-day Great Fire of Rome that burned much of the city in AD 64 during the reign of Roman Emperor Nero.[2] The passage is one of the earliest non-Christian references to the origins of Christianity, the execution of Christ described in the Canonical gospels, and the presence and persecution of Christians in 1st-century Rome.[3][4]

Christian scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.[5][6][7] Eddy and Boyd state that it is now "firmly established" that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.[8] However, Richard Carrier has suggested that the 'Christ, the author of this name, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius' line is a Christian interpolation.[9][10]

Historian Ronald Mellor has stated that the Annals is "Tacitus's crowning achievement" which represents the "pinnacle of Roman historical writing".[11] Scholars view it as establishing three separate facts about Rome around AD 60: (i) that there were a sizable number of Christians in Rome at the time, (ii) that it was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome, and (iii) that at the time pagans made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Roman Judea.[12][13] These facts however are so narrowly established (see Other Roman Sources below) that they are subject to much scrutiny, like reports of Pilate’s rank or the spelling of key words or Tacitus’ actual sources. - Bolding mine

I was going to ask if Tacitus’ Annals survived but then found this:

"No original manuscripts of the Annals exist and the surviving copies of Tacitus' works derive from two principal manuscripts, known as the Medicean manuscripts, written in Latin, which are held in the Laurentian Library in Florence, Italy.[15] It is the second Medicean manuscript, 11th century and from the Benedictine abbey at Monte Cassino, which is the oldest surviving copy of the passage describing Christians.[16] Scholars generally agree that these copies were written at Monte Cassino and the end of the document refers to Abbas Raynaldus cu... who was most probably one of the two abbots of that name at the abbey during that period.[16]”

As you argue scholars agree with you:

"Most modern scholars consider the passage to be authentic.[42][43] William L. Portier has stated that the consistency in the references by Tacitus, Josephus and the letters to Emperor Trajan by Pliny the Younger reaffirm the validity of all three accounts.[43] Scholars generally consider Tacitus’s reference to be of historical value as an independent Roman source about early Christianity that is in unison with other historical records.[5][6][7][43]” - Bolding mine.

Apparently it is Carrier who has tried to undermine the Roman source but refuted by Meier:

"However in 2014 an article by Richard Carrier detailing the reasons to suspect the "Their founder, one Christ, had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius" part in the passage is a Christian interpolation was published in Vigiliae Christianae[9] some of which are highlighted in Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus where he also presents reasons that even if it is totally genuine there are reasons to suspect Tacitus is merely repeating a story told by the Christians themselves.[52] Carrier also notes that there is a strange gap in the Annals of Tacitus for the period of middle 29 to middle 31: "That the cut is so precise and covers precisely those two is too improbable to posit as a chance coincidence." with Carrier citing Robert Drews suggesting that the period was cut because it provided no information regarding Jesus.[53]
Suggestions that the whole of Annals may have been a forgery have also been generally rejected by scholars.[54]
John P. Meier states that there is no historical or archaeological evidence to support the argument that a scribe may have introduced the passage into the text.[55]”

The whole entry is worth reading.

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