Debating the historical Jesus
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13-03-2015, 01:25 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 12:46 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  
(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.

Actually, I was talking to Stevil about the great fires of Rome, and you quoted my response to him. Somewhere, it went from me thinking that we were still talking about the fires of Rome to whatever you were talking about.

Here's the text with all 3 of us involved. Keep in mind that It begins with a discussion of the previous Roman histories Tacitus used: Italics are mine in this discussion with you:

Stevil: The goal post has never been "knowledge of where Tacitus got his information from". You have provided a vague answer as to where Tacitus got his information from, but this does not address the goal of assessing the reliability of the information.

Me: My whole point here was to demonstrate that the claim by many that Tacitus was using Christian sources for his works is completely unsupported, and is actually refuted by the actual evidence within Tacitus' work itself.

(Note: My goal was to only show that Tacitus was using Roman sources, and had nothing to do with the reliability of those sources)

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid748787

Stevil: 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.

(Stevil then claims that the reliability of the Roman sources is weak, which may be him talking about weak in relation to attestation to Christ. However, I wasn't thinking Christ, but still only arguing about him using Roman sources)

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid748806

Me: 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?

(My argument here is questioning why he would doubt the reliability of Roman sources, and not whether or not they are reliable in regards to anything regarding Christ.)

You: I'm sorry but that is just wrong. It's entirely justified to doubt 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 about what some people believe.

(And now you came into it, and it became one big cluster fuck.)

We'll scratch the whole thing and start over. Somewhere in the middle of all that it went from me defending Tacitus as only using Roman historical sources to the reliability of those sources in relation to attestation regarding Christ. I never noticed the mid flight switch, and continued on with what I believed we were still discussing.

Gasp

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13-03-2015, 01:57 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
I split the thread, because the attempt to derail was too obvious.


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And without so much as a mere touch, cut me into little pieces

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13-03-2015, 01:58 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  Actually, I was talking to Stevil about the great fires of Rome, and you quoted my response to him.
It seems to me that in what you quoted Stevil saying:
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.
was clearly in relation to the crucifixion considering that's what he was talking about in the rest of the paragraph you pulled that quote from.
(12-03-2015 07:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  So then, if we were to apply the Historical Method and add to that some common sense we would have to say that the account by Tacitus made 51 years after the alleged event and based on lost Roman documents/accounts of unknown time and unknown author origin suggests that the leader (possibly the founder) of a Jewish sect called "The Way" having a title of Christus may have been severely punished under the rule of Pilot.
There is no mention of crucification. No identity (name, age, place of birth etc) was ascribed to the sect leader. No indication as to the time of year when the punishment was implemented. The details offered could be consistent with the Christian story
but were so vague that they could potentially be applied to multiple people. 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.

If there was a clusterfuck it was not me that caused it. I respond to what you said as if you had responded to what Stevil was actually saying.

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13-03-2015, 02:13 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 08:42 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
If you are focusing on an argument about whether Tacitus used Roman sources or Christian sources then we are talking past each other.

Tacitus said that he used Roman sources and it appears that Tacitus valued his reputation probably used honesty to strengthen his reputation. So let's say that it is most likely that Tacitus used Roman sources.

My issue is with regards to the value of the information in those sources and hence the value of the information in Tacitus' account. Especially with regards to the claims about Christus.

Tacitus' information is second hand and hence is only as reliable as the sources he used. We have no idea how reliable his "Roman" sources were, since they do not exist today. We know nothing about them. All the doubt that we have is with regards to the reliability of Tacitus' sources. If you look at the Historical Method you can see many of the attributes of a source that are sought for in order to evaluate reliability i.e. eye witness account, time between event and documented account...

You ask me where my evidence is.
If you go through the historical method and put ticks in the boxes and highlight the areas of concern regarding the information in Tacitus' unnamed, unavailable sources then you will clearly see the issues and doubts. There will be virtually no ticks and many many highlighted areas of concern.
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13-03-2015, 02:24 PM
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.
Was Tacitus an eye witness? - No
Did Tacitus interview any eye witnesses? - No
Was Tacitus in the general local where the event occurred at the time that the event occurred? - No
Was Tacitus alive at the time the event occurred? - No
Does Tacitus know anyone who was alive when the event occurred? - Probably not
Did Tacitus reference his sources in a way that they could be sought after to validate his account? - No
Are Tacitus sources available today? - No
Has anyone alive today seen the sources that Tacitus used? - No
Do any other documents reference those same sources and present a consistent account? - No
Do we know who wrote the sources that Tacitus used? - No
Do we know if the authors of the sources that Tacitus used where eye witness to the events? - No
Do we know if the authors of the sources that Tacitus used had interviewed any eye witnesses to the events? - No

Free - would you consider this lack of knowledge as unimportant regarding assessing the reliability of the information contained in Tacitus' account?
If you think it is unimportant then please explain why the Historical Method tries to assess these things when giving guidance as to reliability assessment?
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13-03-2015, 02:30 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 01:58 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  It seems to me that in what you quoted Stevil saying:
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.
was clearly in relation to the crucifixion considering that's what he was talking about in the rest of the paragraph you pulled that quote from.
I did state "side note". The fire was the main topic of the Tacitus paragraph, the mention of Christus was the side note.
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13-03-2015, 02:46 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 01:58 PM)WhiskeyDebates Wrote:  [quote='Free' pid='749138' dateline='1426274753']
If there was a clusterfuck it was not me that caused it. I respond to what you said as if you had responded to what Stevil was actually saying.

No, it wasn't you, it was the situation.

The mindset I was using in my response to Stevil was all about Tacitus sources being reliable as being Roman sources, and not as being reliable as sources attesting to Christ.

If you noticed, I never even alluded to Christ.

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13-03-2015, 02:57 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 02:13 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 08:42 AM)Free Wrote:  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.
If you are focusing on an argument about whether Tacitus used Roman sources or Christian sources then we are talking past each other.

Tacitus said that he used Roman sources and it appears that Tacitus valued his reputation probably used honesty to strengthen his reputation. So let's say that it is most likely that Tacitus used Roman sources.

Bingo! Now we are on the same page. That's all my point was.

Quote:My issue is with regards to the value of the information in those sources and hence the value of the information in Tacitus' account. Especially with regards to the claims about Christus.

I understand that. However, do you have any reason to suspect that the sources he was using contained any kind of Christian "taint" on them?

Quote:Tacitus' information is second hand and hence is only as reliable as the sources he used. We have no idea how reliable his "Roman" sources were, since they do not exist today. We know nothing about them. All the doubt that we have is with regards to the reliability of Tacitus' sources. If you look at the Historical Method you can see many of the attributes of a source that are sought for in order to evaluate reliability i.e. eye witness account, time between event and documented account...

Agreed, we have no idea how reliable those sources actually were. But consider reading the text in its entirety and it will make you think twice about whether or not his sources had any kind of Christian taint on them.

You see, dispite your suspicion, there does not appear to be any kind of evidence of any kind of Christian taint on what Tacitus said in regards to the Christians, or Christ.

My feeling is that if he had gotten any info from Christians sources, or if any Roman historian he was using had gotten it from Christian sources, then why do we not see the name of Jesus in the text?

And why does the text regard Christians and their beliefs as evil, abominations, as having hatred for mankind, mischievous superstitions, and criminals?

The text is so denigrating of Christians that I cannot see any possibility that any Christian would ever have related any of that information to a Roman.

Do you?

Quote:You ask me where my evidence is.
If you go through the historical method and put ticks in the boxes and highlight the areas of concern regarding the information in Tacitus' unnamed, unavailable sources then you will clearly see the issues and doubts. There will be virtually no ticks and many many highlighted areas of concern.

By the same token, you can tick the box that says his sources were Roman sources, and get a positive result. Not only that, Tacitus was also a contemporary of Nero, and the Great Fires of Rome incident.

That all amounts to credibility.

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13-03-2015, 03:13 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 02:57 PM)Free Wrote:  I understand that. However, do you have any reason to suspect that the sources he was using contained any kind of Christian "taint" on them?
It's obvious that Christians didn't oversee the writing of the piece.
It's not obvious whether the original source of the crucifixion of the leader of The Way under Pilot was sourced from fact or assumed to be true via rumor.

On an aside, it's not clear to me that the leader of The Way was Jesus.

(13-03-2015 02:57 PM)Free Wrote:  By the same token, you can tick the box that says his sources were Roman sources, and get a positive result. Not only that, Tacitus was also a contemporary of Nero, and the Great Fires of Rome incident.

That all amounts to credibility.
Credibility for what?
What does contemporary mean exactly?
If a person lived 50 years after an event that doesn't give them credibility with regards to having knowledge of the event.
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13-03-2015, 03:26 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
Free, that amounts to credibility that he knew what he was talking about regarding who Nero blamed for the fires of Rome. It does not follow from there that what he learned about those scapegoats was true. Only that it was reported at the time. Accept it for what it's worth. It does not prove Jesus actually existed any more than my knowledge of Joseph Smith and the Golden Plates proves the Golden Plates existed.

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