Debating the historical Jesus
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13-03-2015, 03:26 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 02:57 PM)Free Wrote:  And why does the text regard Christians and their beliefs as evil, abominations, as having hatred for mankind, mischievous superstitions, and criminals?
Although, I must say, if I were tasked to manipulate records to make a "believable" account for the crucifixion of Christ and make it appear to have been written by Romans it would seem logical to throw a few stabs at Christianity so that people wouldn't think the statement was written by a Christian.

This isn't a great stretch.
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13-03-2015, 03:49 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 04:33 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 03:13 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(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.

But what reason do you have to even consider that the source came from a rumor?

Consider this. Tacitus is writing Roman history. We can see him doing fact checking all through his works. Here are some examples:

Tacitus Accessing the Roman Registries:

[3.3] I do not find in any historian or in the daily register that Antonia, Germanicus's mother ...

[13.31] But we have learnt that it suits the dignity of the Roman people to reserve history for great achievements, and to leave such details to the city's daily register.

[15.74] I find in the registers of the Senate that Cerialis Anicius ...

(Note above that 15.74 is the very same book where he writes about Christus, Christians, and Pilate.)

Tacitus Using Roman Historians:

[1.69] According to Caius Plinius, the historian of the German wars

[1.81] ... so conflicting are the accounts we find not only in historians but in Tiberius' own speeches.

[4.10] In relating the death of Drusus I have followed the narrative of most of the best historians.

(Note above how he recognizes and uses the best historians.)

Tacitus Doing His Own Legwork and Using Historian Consensus:

[4.53] This incident, not mentioned by any historian, I have found in the memoirs of the younger Agrippina,

[13.20] Proposing as I do to follow the consentient testimony of historians,

Those are really just a very small sample of how Tacitus comprised his works. He used the Roman registries, works of other Historians, the scholarly consensus of his peers, and did plenty of leg work of his own.

In addition to all this, Tacitus was obviously a revered historian as attested to by Pliny the Younger, whom Tacitus wrote to requesting information on the death of Pliny's uncle for Tacitus' works:

Pliny the Younger's Response To Tacitus:

"YOUR request that I would send you an account of my uncle’s death, in order to transmit a more exact relation of it to posterity, deserves my acknowledgments; for, if this accident shall be celebrated by your pen, the glory of it, I am well assured, will be rendered forever illustrious."

Obviously, Tacitus was no ordinary historian.

As far as using hearsay and rumours- as though they were some kind of fact- he has this to say:

[4.11] My object in mentioning and refuting this story is, by a conspicuous example, to put down hearsay, and to request all into whose hands my work shall come, not to catch eagerly at wild and improbable rumours in preference to genuine history which has not been perverted into romance.

As you can see, he wasn't a big fan of using rumours or hearsay in his works, but preferred actual genuine history.

Quote:
(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.

No, Tacitus wrote some 45 - 50 years after the event. He was born previous to it.

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13-03-2015, 04:45 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 03:26 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 02:57 PM)Free Wrote:  And why does the text regard Christians and their beliefs as evil, abominations, as having hatred for mankind, mischievous superstitions, and criminals?
Although, I must say, if I were tasked to manipulate records to make a "believable" account for the crucifixion of Christ and make it appear to have been written by Romans it would seem logical to throw a few stabs at Christianity so that people wouldn't think the statement was written by a Christian.

This isn't a great stretch.

Really? Conspiracy theories now?

How deep does this shit need to get?

Laugh out load

But seriously, I have no problems at all living with the probability that the so-called "Messiah" of the Christians got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and I cannot understand why any other atheist would ever have a problem with it either.

In fact, I rather like the idea.

Big Grin

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13-03-2015, 05:32 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 03:26 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  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.

We are never going to conclusively prove that Jesus existed. That has never been my objective.

My entire objective here is, and always has been, the best argument to explain the evidence. Even if the best argument leans towards Jesus possibly existing, it still will never actually prove that he did, in fact, exist.

Nothing ever will prove it.

My position on all this is quite simple. With all evidence considered, there is a greater possibility that Jesus existed than there is that he didn't exist. But it doesn't mean that he really did exist.

The arguments that he didn't exist all seem so incredibly impoverished to me. As you can see in this thread, arguments against Tacitus being a genuine and true attestation to the existence of Christ are all assertions, speculation, assumption, and unevidenced conjecture.

Despite the fact that I have demonstrated that Tacitus did use Roman sources for his works, and showing that he was doing it right in the context that presents Christ, Christians, and Pilate, the arguments used against this evidence must by necessity resort to the nit-picking of saying things to the effect of, "Okay, so Tacitus used Roman sources for his works on Christ, but that doesn't mean the sources he used were not rumours that were being spread around."

The problem I have with that argument is that it is merely an assertion, with no basis at all for support. There is no reason and no evidence whatsoever to support such a position. It is completely insufficient as an intellectually honest argument to dispute the evidence.

Those types of arguments demonstrate desperation, and not true skepticism.

The evidence is what it is, and until people will actually read all of Tacitus, and understand him, and get a feel for what it was like in 1st century Rome, they can never appreciate Roman history for the marvel it truly is. It's like anything else we all learn; the best way to learn anything is by doing it.

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13-03-2015, 07:51 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 04:45 PM)Free Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 03:26 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Although, I must say, if I were tasked to manipulate records to make a "believable" account for the crucifixion of Christ and make it appear to have been written by Romans it would seem logical to throw a few stabs at Christianity so that people wouldn't think the statement was written by a Christian.

This isn't a great stretch.

Really? Conspiracy theories now?

How deep does this shit need to get?

Laugh out load

But seriously, I have no problems at all living with the probability that the so-called "Messiah" of the Christians got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and I cannot understand why any other atheist would ever have a problem with it either.

In fact, I rather like the idea.

Big Grin
Lmao so much blind violent hate and I thought religous bigots were the only ones capable of that. Man am I glad to find out its just mankind as a whole. Why is there even a debate about the death penalty Angel Tongue
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13-03-2015, 09:14 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 04:45 PM)Free Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 03:26 PM)Stevil Wrote:  Although, I must say, if I were tasked to manipulate records to make a "believable" account for the crucifixion of Christ and make it appear to have been written by Romans it would seem logical to throw a few stabs at Christianity so that people wouldn't think the statement was written by a Christian.

This isn't a great stretch.

Really? Conspiracy theories now?

How deep does this shit need to get?

Laugh out load

But seriously, I have no problems at all living with the probability that the so-called "Messiah" of the Christians got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and I cannot understand why any other atheist would ever have a problem with it either.

In fact, I rather like the idea.

Big Grin
I have no problems with the leader of The Way having been crucified either. In fact I don't care whether he was or wasn't crucified.
I'm just interested to see what evidence there is for it.

If you have problems with people considering alternatives then it seems you have already made up your mind on what happened and are just looking to confirm what you already believe to be the case. It's called confirmation bias.

Your quotes regarding how Tacitus tried hard to avoid hearsay and rumours in some cases is interesting. I do think I would consider what you have presented as evidence. Although it is weak evidence, it wouldn't hold up in court but it does leave open to people with a low bar a door to this conclusion. I certainly wouldn't be running around saying that the leader of The Way definitely got crucified by the Romans under Pilot.
But there is one piece of second hand (third hand, fourth hand?) evidence suggesting there might be some truth to it. I do think the Historical method highlights that this isn't very reliable though.
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13-03-2015, 09:20 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 05:32 PM)Free Wrote:  The arguments that he didn't exist all seem so incredibly impoverished to me.
What do you expect evidence against existence to be?
Would you think some official would create a certificate of non existence for all the people that didn't exist?


Evidence has to be one way. Evidence must be presented for the existence of someone.
People genuinely challenging the existence of a person must focus on the "evidence for". The evidence for Jesus existence is incredibly weak. To claim he most likely existed is quite a leap of faith.
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13-03-2015, 11:31 PM (This post was last modified: 13-03-2015 11:35 PM by Stein.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 09:20 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 05:32 PM)Free Wrote:  The arguments that he didn't exist all seem so incredibly impoverished to me.
What do you expect evidence against existence to be?
Would you think some official would create a certificate of non existence for all the people that didn't exist?


Evidence has to be one way. Evidence must be presented for the existence of someone.
People genuinely challenging the existence of a person must focus on the "evidence for". The evidence for Jesus existence is incredibly weak. To claim he most likely existed is quite a leap of faith.
To claim he more likely did not exist remains a longer stretch than to claim he more likely did exist -- given the more plausible scenario that emerges from the slim data we have. That is Free's point.

I wonder if anyone here who's trying to be "objective", but still feverishly maintaining he never existed even as a normal human being, will ever answer the simple question "What does the available data indicate is the MORE LIKELY scenario?" And NO, I'm not asking for an answer with some sort of proof -- nothing like that is possible for about 50% of ancient history -- Get real! -- I'm asking for an honest reply as to which scenario seems the MORE LIKELY given the slim data we have.

The seven authentic Paulines* do indeed make several references to Jesus as a real person, including direct references to areas where too many mythicists claim complete silence: parentage**, life events***, ministry****, apostles***** and betrayal******.

Mythicists also conflate the miracle man of the later textual layers in the New Testament with the human rabbi found in its earliest textual layers -- and also in Tacitus and in Josephus's "Antiquities", Chapter XX. Mythicists evidently need an elementary primer on where the most up-to-date textual scholarship stands today among the professional peer-vetted academic researchers. That's not hard to find out. Go to any academic library, or go to the web sites of any secular institutions of higher learning.

Philological, stylistic, linguistic and stylometric******* analysis has yielded a high degree of likelihood (certainty is not found in the modern analysis of ancient history, since such up-to-date historiography deals responsibly in degrees of likelihood instead) that the earliest textual layer is comprised of the seven authentic Paulines, the Gospel of Mark********, the parallel sayings in Matthew/Luke -- and -- maybe -- the Gospel of Thomas (although serious scholars are split on that). This textual layer not only shows distinct earmarks of oral transmission, but is the layer on which the consensus of modern professional scholarship bases its historical Jesus model: a normal human being born of a Jewish family, who was baptized by John the Baptist, who taught by sayings and parables, with the occasional folk healing, as an itinerant rabbi, and who was executed outside Jerusalem by the Roman occupation under Tiberius. Putting all that aside, magic accounts of the virgin birth, or most of the miracles*********, or the physical post-resurrection appearances, etc., all show later stylistic earmarks and don't appear to come from the same early textual layers at all.

It is the latter layers, though, that Jesus mythicists, in their ignorance of the latest analysis, typically latch on to show that "Jesus never existed". Well, duh. The magic man who turns water into wine, or is born of a virgin(!), etc., etc., probably never existed, yeah. And that has diddly-squat to do with the itinerant rabbi who was a vulnerable human being and got nailed up by the Romans and is studied in greater depth by serious secular researchers today. Such a social outcast would naturally show up in relatively few accounts. That's no surprise. And if he started a following, it's completely typical of such a figure that we might find more material on him from his followers than from non-apologetic writers. Still, there are a few non-apologetic references to this guy, and they in fact confirm the powerless human rabbi found in the earliest textual layering deduced by modern textual analysis. So that's why Jesus is so obscure. Again, duh.

The miracle claims made for Jesus in the later textual layers are extravagant, yes, and their probable a-historicity are indeed confirmed by the paucity of any such claims in the non-apologetic materials. But there's nothing extravagant or out of the ordinary in a mundane human troublemaker who was nailed up by a militaristic occupation. Nor are such mundane details missing in the non-apologetics. Different strands of modern historical inquiry all converge on the likelihood of such a mundane figure. They also put any kind of miracle worker in considerable doubt.

What does all that data suggest is the MORE LIKELY less implausible scenario? Don't fixate on this document or that document. Assess the documentary field as a whole. That's what the professionals do. Duh.

Be honest.

For once.

Stein

======================

* First Thessalonians (ca. 51 AD)
Philippians (ca. 52–54 AD)
Philemon (ca. 52–54 AD)
First Corinthians (ca. 53–54 AD)
Galatians (ca. 55 AD)
Second Corinthians (ca. 55–56 AD)
Romans (ca. 55–58 AD)

** Galatians 4:4
born of a woman, born under law
Romans 1:3
who as to his human nature was a descendant of David
Galatians 1:19
I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother.
1 Corinthians 9:5
Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?

*** Phillipians 2:7
but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
8 And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!
1 Corinthians 2:8
None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1 Thessalonians 2:15
who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.
1 Corinthians 15:3
that he was buried

**** 1 Corinthians 7:10
To the married I give this command (not I, but the Lord): A wife must not separate from her husband.
1 Corinthians 9:14
In the same way, the Lord has commanded that those who preach the gospel should receive their living from the gospel.

***** Galatians 1:18
Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days.
1 Corinthians 9:5
Don't we have the right to take a believing wife along with us, as do the other apostles and the Lord's brothers and Cephas?

****** 1 Corinthians 11:23
The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread,
24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."
25
In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the
new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in
remembrance of me."

******* the sort of analysis that outed Joe Klein as the author of a politics book some years back

******** The Gospel of Mark is in several versions: the most reliable are the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus mss.

********* Most of the miracles are in the later layers, but a handful are in the earlier ones, and those earlier ones are exclusively healings, suggesting that Jesus the human rabbi was actually a pretty good healer whose prowess simply got exaggerated
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14-03-2015, 12:59 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 11:31 PM)Stein Wrote:  I wonder if anyone here who's trying to be "objective", but still feverishly maintaining he never existed even as a normal human being, will ever answer the simple question "What does the available data indicate is the MORE LIKELY scenario?"
There isn't much data to go on.

The Tacitus paragraph is written 51 years after the event and is based on lost references. We cannot determine the legitimacy of those lost references.

The Pauline epistles are written by a guy who also never met Jesus. From where does he get his information? Why does he refer to Jesus as LORD? Didn't Paul have a mental episode on the road to Damascus then disappear for a decade or so? Isn't it more likely that Paul is an unreliable source of knowledge?

I would say that given the data it is undetermined whether a Jesus actually existed and undetermined which events can be ascribed to Jesus.
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14-03-2015, 01:04 AM (This post was last modified: 14-03-2015 03:34 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Yes, because proving Jesus did not exist is the exact same as doubting he existed.

Bullshit.

Doubting he existed proves absolutely nothing. Just because someone has doubt in no way implies they have proof.

Quote:For fuck's sake dude, this is why you cannot reason yourself out of a wet paper bag. You're so caught up on fighting a strawman, you can't fucking think straight

You say this after you claim that proving Jesus did not exist is the exact same thing as doubting he existed?

Seriously?


Sarcasm you jackass, it was pointing out how black and white your arguments have been. Next time I'll be sure to add the eye-roll emoticon to make it explicitly clear. Rolleyes

You're the one trying to place anyone who doubts claims of historicity into the 'positive claim that Jesus did not exist' camp, as opposed to seeing belief as a gradient that changes based on the evidence. Neither the historicity nor the non-historicity arguments are conclusive, but between the two and given the current state of the evidence, I think that non-historicity makes a better argument.

Notice however, that's not the same as claiming I positively believe that Jesus did not exist, so stop trying to cram me into a box.



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  The authors of the Gospels are not reliable, and given the evidence that they built upon one another, they are the furthest thing from being corroborative; they are derivative works, not independent sources. All other non-canonical mentions of it are from far later sources, which even assuming they're were not later Christians interpolations, could have just as easily just been recounting what Christians at the time claimed; information they themselves got from the their Gospels, which are not reliable sources.
This is all assertion, theorizing, and assumption. Although some may be true, not all can be demonstrated to be true.

It can be easily demonstrated that ancient religious historical figures have indeed had their lives embellished to mythological proportions. Therefore, just because the lives of ancient religious leaders have been embellished by their followers it by no means suggests that the person who's life was embellished did not exist.

The Gospels can be seen as such; the embellishment of the life of a historical person. Since we see within these records the embarrassment of the crucifixion of the hero of Christianity, and also see this same theme of the crucifixion being retold by non canonical and non Christian sources, it demonstrates a real and very plausible truth to the crucifixion of Jesus.


By this thinking, Anubis, Mythras, and Romulus also really existed. We have stories about how they underwent their own passion narratives, and through their suffering attained power over death. We also have examples of other supernatural beings and deities being euhemerized, placed on earth as supposedly real living and breathing people (stories of Jupiter and Saturn being ancient mortal Kings).

Judge against theses standards, those of beings at the center of contemporary religious traditions, is it really so unthinkable to be doubtful of vague non-eyewitness accounts of believers and decades older hearsay?



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  If the scholarly consensus, made up of mostly Christian scholars with a vested interest in maintaining Jesus' historicity (because most of the money and job opportunities are funded by fellow Christians), is really built upon such a feeble house of cards? You're damn right I'm skeptical about the whole fucking endeavor.
Being skeptical because of what Christian scholars do is no good excuse to throw the baby out with the bath water. This right here demonstrates your extreme bias, and most certainly explains to me what your agenda here actually is.

We can dislike things until we are blue in the face, but all this dislike will never get to the actual truth.


I have the bias, but the field of Christians scholars with a vested interest in maintaining the historicity of Jesus does not? You're actually going to argue that with a straight face?

Excuse me while I stand her in bemused shock at your inanity.



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Of which, none of them are independently verifiable.
That's where you and other denialists go seriously and intentionally wrong. You absolutely refuse to see the elephant in the room, which is the fact that all these independent sources verify each other.


Uh, no, they do not. Because, once again, if you're going to claim that they are corroborative, it's dependent on you to show that they're not derived from the same sources. Copies of a single source do not get you multiple sources, just multiple copies. Derivative, not corroborative.

Can you show beyond a reasonable doubt that they are not just getting their information from Christian believers and the Gospels themselves? If you cannot, then I am well within reason to doubt their authenticity and reject their use as corroborative evidence. Keep in mind that this is the same standard we would use for Romulus or Dionysus.



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Everything that came after the Gospels were written is suspect because none of these later sources can be verified to have gotten their information from a source other than the Gospels themselves.
Not true. Josephus' second mention of Jesus and James, and Tacitus both demonstrate non Christian sources.


Put up or shut up. What is the evidence that shows beyond a reasonable doubt, that they are not just quoting Christians and the Gospels? Because unless you can establish their independence beyond a reasonable doubt, then it is reasonable to doubt their information comes from sources other than Christians and their Gospels; both of which predate the mentions in Josephus and Tacitus (lets also not forget that the Josephus passage is most likely a Christian interpolation that doesn't appear in the historical record until the 5th century).



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Once fucking again, does copying a source get you two independent sources? Does copying it, and letting pass through a half-dozen different hands that all re-write it a little bit differently, count as a separate inexpedient source? No, on both counts.
As discussed with Bucky, the synoptics are likely a product of Q, but John is something completely different. Therefore, you can combine the synoptics if you want, and you will still have 2 almost completely different Gospel records attesting to the crucifixion of Jesus.


And the Gospels also disagree. So they all mention the crucifixion. So what? Do they match in the details? No. Do they fundamentally disagree on many other points? Yes.

Was this historical Jesus mainly in Galilee as per the synoptics, or in Judea as per John?

Was his ministry 1 years (synoptics) or 2 (John)?

Was Mary Magdalene at the events?

Who were his disciples?


Citing the synoptics and John for the historicity of the crucifixion is about as useful as citing Herakles and the Argonautica for the existence of Hercules or his 7 labors.



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  You keep assuming that the later mentions are independent, and as such can be counted as corroborative evidence. I don't assume they are independent (because you cannot assume, you have to show they are independent), because it cannot be established that they got their information from a source other than the Gospels themselves.
Again, Josephus and Tacitus.


Once fucking again, you have failed to establish that either did not quote Christians quoting the Gospels. You have the burden of proof here, you are the one claiming that they are both independent and corroborative, so stop dodging it.

You cannot assume they are independent becuase they came long after both the supposed events, and the Gosples themselves. Since you cannot use later sources quoting the Gospels to verify the Gospels, it's up to you to come up with verification that your sources are independent.

As of yet, you have utterly failed to do so. Until you do, it is more than reasonable to dismiss Josephus and Tacitus, even if we are to assume they're not later Christian interpolations (which once again, both are in dispute).



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 02:53 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  Do you now, finally, understand just how shaky the foundation of your arguments are?
The ground I stand on is solid, but you do not seem to understand the problems with your position, or the position of undeserved skepticism.

Firstly, you assume that all non Gospel mentions of the crucifixion of Jesus must, by necessity have come from the Gospel records. Here's the problem:


NO, NO, NO, NO, NO!

[Image: 3mLydMU.png]

I AM NOT ASSUMING THEY WERE SOURCED FROM THE GOSPELS!

HOWEVER, UNLIKE YOU, I AM NOT ASSUMING THEY ARE INDEPENDENT FROM THE GOSPELS!

UNTIL YOU CAN ESTABLISH THEY ARE INDEPENDENT BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, THEN THEY CANNOT BE COUNTED AS CORROBORATIVE!




(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  We have the Apostle Paul who quoted virtually nothing from the gospels stating ad nausium that Jesus was crucified.

He doesn't quote a single Gospel verse at all regarding the crucifixion, and most people, including Mythicists, agree that Paul knew virtually nothing about the gospels.

So how can you say that all the evidence points back to the Gospels when Paul never quotes them, and doesn't show any sign of them even existing?


The authentic letters of Paul predate the Gospels, and they are the sparsest in regards to any specifics in the life of someone who supposedly really existed. They do not mention Jesus' birth or his family, just the nebulous parts about how he was crucified for our sins. No mention of the time or place when Jesus was crucified, or by whom, just that it happened.

Independent corroboration would be mention of Jesus' crucifixion from the letter of a non-believer who witnessed the supposed trail and execution, or a Roman record of those executed by Pontius Pilate during his time in Judea.



(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  The Apostle Paul demonstrates a non Gospel source for the crucifixion of Jesus.

Didn't think of that one, did you?

Drinking Beverage

Back later ...


No, I had. But if you think that's compelling evidence, you're more credulous than I gave you credit for.

But really, your pleading is pretty pathetic. You're so fixated on the crucifixation, this one single point of reference, and you're tying your whole argument to it.

Guess what? All of the stories mentioning Thor make note of the Mjölnir. So surely, there really existed at the very least a hammer with that name wielded by a man at the center of the legends, right? And doubting the existence of a historical Thor or Mjölnir is just being a denialist, right? Rolleyes



When it's all said and done, you are assuming that your sources are independent and corroborative; I am merely disputing that, and with good reasons. You think it's reasonable to build your arguments upon this, while I'm questioning your very foundation. You say I'm a denalist, I say you're not applying the same level of skepticism across the board and you've failed to substantiate your claims that your sources are independent.

Want me to agree with you? Present evidence that your sources are both independent and corroborative. Show beyond a reasonable doubt that they got their information form something other than Christians believers and their Gospels. Until you can do that, it is more than reasonable to doubt your 'independent' sources and dismiss them as being far more likely derivative than corroborative. That's all you have to do, is establish their independence beyond a reasonable doubt. Do that, and I'd agree with you. I've asked for this repeatedly, and yet the best you've come back with is just citing the sources over and over again and complaining how I'm being too skeptical (when all I'm doing is applying the same skepticism uniformly). So either you have the evidence, and as of yet have refused to share it. Or you don't, and you're simply unable to establish their independence, and your case is just as fragile as I've suspected; and I am left with no compelling reason to change my opinion.


Give me a reason to change my opinion. Establish their independence beyond a reasonable doubt if you can.


And no, yelling 'consensus' over and over again is not compelling.

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