Debating the historical Jesus
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14-03-2015, 04:21 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 03:51 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(14-03-2015 03:37 AM)A New Hope Wrote:  Lol EK every time you touch your keyboard your bias shows. Your willing to accept that evolution as your only gospel because of evidence right?


Evolution is not dogma, it is a fact. Thanks for flaunting your ineptitude again, lest we forget your prowess at it.



(14-03-2015 03:37 AM)A New Hope Wrote:  Because its taught in schools and your narrow minded brain cant handle the possibility of anything else.


That looks like a resounding lack of evidence for a competing explanation right there, so you can go fuck yourself.



(14-03-2015 03:37 AM)A New Hope Wrote:  Yet the same schools that teach evolution teach that once upon a time there was a jesus and he died on the cross and now all of a sudden they are idiots who have no idea what they are talking about.


Yes, this is how we establish the validity of a claim! Because everything taught in universities must be true! Since evolution is true and math is true, then everything else must be true as well!


And I'm the small minded biased one? Do you even read what you type before you post? Evidently not.



(14-03-2015 03:37 AM)A New Hope Wrote:  Let me ask you are you in capable of seeing this because to admit that there was a jesus that did die on a cross scares you? Huh?


Scares me? Why would it? The Romans crucified thousands of political insurgents, enemies of the state, and general provocateurs. Why should I be afraid of one supposed apocalyptic preacher? Even if he did exist and was crucified, he evidently was not the divine son of god. On this, all but the most fundamentalist of scholars agree.


So your point is? Oh right, being a belligerent theistic asshole! My bad...



(14-03-2015 03:37 AM)A New Hope Wrote:  What, does admiting that he existed automatically give him super powers? Huh is he going to be able to fly now and shoot rainbow lasers out of his ass if he once lived on the planet?


What would make you think that? I'm just applying the same standards we would apply to any other historical figure, but not making special exceptions because it's Jesus. Without special pleading, the existence of even a historical Jesus is easily doubtable.


Don't like it? Take it up with your god. Maybe if you pray really, really, hard he'll magic the evidence into existence for you!
Yet you feel more qualified than people that have spent years studying ancient scripts and accounts the same people that are the authorities on all kinds of historical figures, and these people are correct until jesus is brought up. The evidence is clearly enough for most scholars if its being taught in SECULAR schools, Jesus clearly passed the checklist for an accepted historical figure. EK please for the sake of humanity think a little please. Also your whole commentary just now was amazing someone needs to stick you in front of a camera and just allow you to say whatever you feel like saying, they can call it EKs comedy hour. Id watch it as long as you promise to throw in some more poor representation of atheists as a whole. This scientific, educated, objective persona they display on tv is a facade you are proof that blind closed mindedness is a human ailment not a christian one. Rolleyes
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14-03-2015, 08:00 AM (This post was last modified: 14-03-2015 10:09 AM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 01:04 AM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(12-03-2015 04:57 PM)Free Wrote:  Bullshit.

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


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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  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:  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.


Let me bring you right back on point here here and just break all this down for you nice and simple, okay?

Listed below is the text that Tacitus sourced for his part on Christ, the Christians, and Pilate. Read it and respond to my Points below it, then read the rest and respond to those Points as well.


"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.
"

Point 1: 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.

Point 2: 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.

Point 3: 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.

Point 4: 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."

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 ...

Point 5: (Note above that Tacitus is checking the Roman registry in 15.74, which is the very same chapter/book where he writes about Christus, Christians, and the high ranking Roman official Pontius 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.

Point 6: (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,

Point 7: 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.

Point 8: 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.

Point 9: As you can see, he wasn't a big fan of using rumours or hearsay in his works, but preferred actual genuine history.

Now let's see if you can demonstrate one iota of intellectual honesty, for once? Is that even fucking possible with you?

Please tell me you are not one of those guys who expects us to go dig up Elvis and ask him if he's really dead?

Drinking Beverage

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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14-03-2015, 08:23 AM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(13-03-2015 09:14 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(13-03-2015 04:45 PM)Free Wrote:  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.

I have no problem with people presenting alternatives provided that those alternatives have at least some evidence to warrant any credibility with them.

When people assert things, speculate, and assume things when they have no evidence to warrant it, then the reason they make those assertions, assumptions, and speculations is devoid of basis.

I mean, what is the point of asserting such things when you have't even got a reason to assert them? If anyone is going to make claims about alternative possibilities should we not expect some kind of basis for the claim; some kind of evidence?

Don't you think that such claims are baseless when you have no reason to make them?

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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14-03-2015, 01:16 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 08:23 AM)Free Wrote:  Don't you think that such claims are baseless when you have no reason to make them?
Many a story is based on rumour, it's human nature. The question of whether Jesus actually existed has two aspects to it. Either he existed or he did not.
If he existed then perhaps some documented events actually happened. But we can be pretty sure that many of the documented events didn't happen such as the resurrection, or walking on water or turning water to wine, or the virgin birth. These events defy the laws of nature. If they didn't happen the way they were documented then how do we account for them? Rumor based on superstition. People, back in those times would find it easy to believe in stories of supernatural events, hell even these days many people find it easy to believe stories of supernatural events.

So this sets the precedent. It is human nature and a common practice for rumors to spread. The Jesus story is fraught with rumor.
You have even provided "evidence" suggesting that Tacitus was careful not to document heresay and rumor.
Why was Tacitus careful against rumors when he had no evidence to suggest that rumor was at play?

Perhaps because only a fool would wave their hand and discount the possibility of rumor. It makes sense to mitigate real and possible threats. Rumor is a real and possible threat.
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14-03-2015, 01:27 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 01:16 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(14-03-2015 08:23 AM)Free Wrote:  Don't you think that such claims are baseless when you have no reason to make them?
Many a story is based on rumour, it's human nature. The question of whether Jesus actually existed has two aspects to it. Either he existed or he did not.
If he existed then perhaps some documented events actually happened. But we can be pretty sure that many of the documented events didn't happen such as the resurrection, or walking on water or turning water to wine, or the virgin birth. These events defy the laws of nature. If they didn't happen the way they were documented then how do we account for them? Rumor based on superstition. People, back in those times would find it easy to believe in stories of supernatural events, hell even these days many people find it easy to believe stories of supernatural events.

So this sets the precedent. It is human nature and a common practice for rumors to spread. The Jesus story is fraught with rumor.
You have even provided "evidence" suggesting that Tacitus was careful not to document heresay and rumor.
Why was Tacitus careful against rumors when he had no evidence to suggest that rumor was at play?

Perhaps because only a fool would wave their hand and discount the possibility of rumor. It makes sense to mitigate real and possible threats. Rumor is a real and possible threat.

One of the things I have noticed about some people in regards to this Jesus existed/Never existed debate is that they read the Gospels, and then automatically assume all of it is bullshit.

Then, when they see what we see in Tacitus, all they can think about is those gospel accounts and then think of Tacitus as "Too good to be true."

From there, they express doubt to an extreme, and past the normalcy of true scepticism, and into total denialism.

What do you think? Too good to be true?

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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14-03-2015, 01:44 PM (This post was last modified: 14-03-2015 01:52 PM by Stevil.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 01:27 PM)Free Wrote:  One of the things I have noticed about some people in regards to this Jesus existed/Never existed debate is that they read the Gospels, and then automatically assume all of it is bullshit.

Then, when they see what we see in Tacitus, all they can think about is those gospel accounts and then think of Tacitus as "Too good to be true."

From there, they express doubt to an extreme, and past the normalcy of true scepticism, and into total denialism.

What do you think? Too good to be true?
What I see in you is that you assume Tacitus to be infallible, even if the information he is writing about is second, third, forth hand information. I see this as an extreme position, far beyond normacy. I only assume you suspend all skepticism because the message confirms your already held belief. You have already expressed that you like the idea that Jesus existed and was crucified.

I am not doubting Tacitus' honest efforts to convey the truth. I am highlighting that the Tacitus account is weak because it fails on many of the criteria of the Historical Method.

Perhaps a thought would be this:
If Dacitus (a modern person with the same reputation of Tacitus) were to rewrite an account of this, would he take Tacitus account as given fact or would he suspect that it may not be true? Would he look for other accounts by other authors to corroborate the story? Would he consider that Tacitus wasn't an eye witness and hadn't interviewed any eye witnesses? What criteria would Dacitus use in honor of his own reputation?
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14-03-2015, 03:19 PM (This post was last modified: 14-03-2015 03:24 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 01:44 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(14-03-2015 01:27 PM)Free Wrote:  One of the things I have noticed about some people in regards to this Jesus existed/Never existed debate is that they read the Gospels, and then automatically assume all of it is bullshit.

Then, when they see what we see in Tacitus, all they can think about is those gospel accounts and then think of Tacitus as "Too good to be true."

From there, they express doubt to an extreme, and past the normalcy of true scepticism, and into total denialism.

What do you think? Too good to be true?
What I see in you is that you assume Tacitus to be infallible, even if the information he is writing about is second, third, forth hand information. I see this as an extreme position, far beyond normacy. I only assume you suspend all skepticism because the message confirms your already held belief. You have already expressed that you like the idea that Jesus existed and was crucified.

I am not doubting Tacitus' honest efforts to convey the truth. I am highlighting that the Tacitus account is weak because it fails on many of the criteria of the Historical Method.

Perhaps a thought would be this:
If Dacitus (a modern person with the same reputation of Tacitus) were to rewrite an account of this, would he take Tacitus account as given fact or would he suspect that it may not be true? Would he look for other accounts by other authors to corroborate the story? Would he consider that Tacitus wasn't an eye witness and hadn't interviewed any eye witnesses? What criteria would Dacitus use in honor of his own reputation?

It is obvious you are only speaking of Tacitus' mention of Christus in all this, but it is much more than that.

As I outlined in a previous post above with several Points, Tacitus as a historian actually employed the modern standards of the Historical Method, and he did so brilliantly for a historian who existed long before the Historical Method was ever devised.

If you were to read his works in its entirety, with the Historical Method in mind, you will notice that it is non stop in his employment of the technique. Let me show you what he says in the very first paragraph of his Annals:

Tacitus Annals Book 1, Paragraph 1

The histories of Tiberius, Caius, Claudius, and Nero, while they were in power, were falsified through terror, and after their death were written under the irritation of a recent hatred. Hence my purpose is to relate a few facts about Augustus - more particularly his last acts, then the reign of Tiberius, and all which follows, without either bitterness or partiality, from any motives to which I am far removed.

Interesting isn't it? He prefaces his work by stating that the histories of some of the previous Caesars were falsified either through terrorization, or because the writers hated those Caesars.

He then states that his purpose was to give us the facts about those Caesars, a clear indication that his intent was to correct history by removing the falseness, and setting the historical record straight.

After that, he is seen accessing the Roman registries, the personal writings of historical figures, utilizing the consensus of the best previous historians, contacting living relatives of historical figures such as he did with Pliny the Younger, and back checking and fact checking his entire works.

That is what the Historical Method is all about. We can look at Tacitus' ancient work with the exact same credulity of any modern historian's work.

Tacitus was that good.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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14-03-2015, 03:55 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 03:19 PM)Free Wrote:  That is what the Historical Method is all about. We can look at Tacitus' ancient work with the exact same credulity of any modern historian's work.

Tacitus was that good.
When we assess a modern historian's work do we bother to review the source references that they provide or do we just assume (based on their reputation) that there is no value in going to the source?
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14-03-2015, 05:57 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 03:55 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(14-03-2015 03:19 PM)Free Wrote:  That is what the Historical Method is all about. We can look at Tacitus' ancient work with the exact same credulity of any modern historian's work.

Tacitus was that good.
When we assess a modern historian's work do we bother to review the source references that they provide or do we just assume (based on their reputation) that there is no value in going to the source?

Yes, we do review them. Many historians use Tacitus' works to determine Roman history.

You see, the previous historians who wrote about Nero, Great Fires of Rome, Christ et al, were living at the same time as Tacitus. So he either knew them personally, or knew who they were. In addition, Tacitus lived through the period of great fires of Rome.

You need to understand that Tacitus is a source- and arguably the greatest source- for ancient Roman history regarding the 12 Caesars.

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14-03-2015, 10:10 PM (This post was last modified: 15-03-2015 02:04 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Let me bring you right back on point here here and just break all this down for you nice and simple, okay?


You mean you're finally going to get to the fucking point instead of just punting afield again?



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Listed below is the text that Tacitus sourced for his part on Christ, the Christians, and Pilate. Read it and respond to my Points below it, then read the rest and respond to those Points as well.


I'm sorely temped to tell you to fuck off in light of your repeated ignoring of my points in my previous responses.



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  "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.
"


Okay. Your point?



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Point 1: 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.


That's not the point you incredulous fucktard. Once again, if you want to claim that this is a corroborative source, then you need to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that he wasn't just getting his information from Christians, who they themselves got their information from the Gospels. There is nothing in that text as to give positive indication beyond a reasonable doubt in favor of a non-Christian source.

So the Christians were unpopular and had been scapegoated by Nero for the burning of Rome. What about any of that proves that Tacitus got his claims about Jesus from sources other than already believing Christians? He doesn't explicitly state where or who his sources were, and it is very probable that his information was sourced from Christians (assuming, of course, that this passage is entirely authentic and without later Christian interpolations).


So in conclusion, not compelling. Next point?



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Point 2: 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.


Which could very well have been the popular Roman sentiment at the time. Still does not show that Tacitus got the Christian origin story form a source other than already believing Christians, or people who were themselves just quoting established Christian beliefs (which came from the already exiting Gospels which still predate Tacitus).


So once again, does not in any way establish a non-Christian source beyond a reasonable doubt; thus it is still not compelling. Next point?



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Point 3: 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.


It obviously does no such thing. Really Free? This is why you cannot reason yourself out of a wet paper bag. What part of the piece showing an unfavorable bias against Christianity precludes getting the story about their belief from them? Who better to ask than the believers? Once again, there is still nothing here that precludes the Christians as being the source for his information. Whether directly from a Christian believer, or indirectly from the stories of those who had been accused trying to defend themselves.


There is nothing in that passage to indicate positively, beyond a reasonable doubt, that his source was entirely independent from Christians and the Gospels. Still not compelling. Next point?



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Point 4: 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."


The Christians could tell Tacitus their beliefs, then Tacitus could add his own color commentary, or add the color commentary of Nero or that was common in Rome at the time. Since when does one need approval of the one being criticized to be a critic? This point is an absolute non sequitur Free.


I really hope you have better than this to go on, because this has been nothing more than a pathetic lack of sound reasoning thus far; entirely uncompelling.



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  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 ...

Point 5: (Note above that Tacitus is checking the Roman registry in 15.74, which is the very same chapter/book where he writes about Christus, Christians, and the high ranking Roman official Pontius 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.

Point 6: (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,

Point 7: 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.

Point 8: 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.

Point 9: As you can see, he wasn't a big fan of using rumours or hearsay in his works, but preferred actual genuine history.


Once again, assuming there are no later Christian interpolations (which is a generous concession), you are still just assuming that since he did fact checking at other times that he did fact checking here. Except that it's not evident that he did any fact checking for the bit you initially quoted about Jesus, and that's the piece who's validity is in doubt! The piece which needs to be independently verified still lacks the evidence needed to be independently verified. His other works or section of his work might be more historically sound, but that does little to shore up the shortcomings of the article in question. Once again, if you where to apply your skepticism uniformly and use sound reasoning, you'd have already noticed this. What you have so far is special pleading. Congratulations, that is not a compelling argument.



(14-03-2015 08:00 AM)Free Wrote:  Now let's see if you can demonstrate one iota of intellectual honesty, for once? Is that even fucking possible with you?

Please tell me you are not one of those guys who expects us to go dig up Elvis and ask him if he's really dead?

Drinking Beverage


No, I expect that whenever I ask for evidence to establish the independence of a source, that I'm note given bullshit non sequiturs and special pleading. You have utterly failed to do so.

Nothing you have brought up has come remotely close to showing beyond a reasonable doubt that Tacitus' source was not derivative from either already believing Christians or their Gospel stories. In light of your inability to establish their independence, to then positively claim that they are corroborative would be logically fallacious and intellectually dishonest.

Sorry Free, but assumptions does not an argument or evidence make.


In conclusion, I'm still not convinced (beyond a reasonable doubt) that his sources where definitely not Christians or the Gospels. Therefore this mention cannot be used as corroborative, because it's source (and it's possibility at having been interpolated) is in doubt. It really is that simple. To be counted as corroborative, independence must be established beyond a reasonable doubt, and there is still plenty of reason to doubt.

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