Debating the historical Jesus
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11-03-2015, 03:00 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 01:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 07:18 AM)Free Wrote:  What some people don't seem to realize is that there appears to be a large amount of evidence for the existence of Jesus as a historical person, for the simple reason that the most consistent element to support his existence is that he was crucified by the Romans.
It's a fact that Romans crucified people.

I don't however accept that Jesus was crucified is a fact.

Just because multiple people wrote that Jesus was crucified doesn't mean that it is true.

The story of Jesus was verbal at one time. All people who heard the story and wrote about it remembered the crucification bit.

There were no witnesses, no interviews with witnesses, no documents recording the event.

It still would not matter if there were "witnesses". You can go to Vegas and Penn and Teller saw a women in half, but they really did not saw the woman in half.

Even if a man named Jesus was recorded by the Romans at the time as being executed on a cross, it would still mean a mere man died and would have stayed dead. No one comes back to life after they die.

I agree that everything written about the alleged character was way after the fact. The evidence outside the bible during the alleged time the bible claims, simply is not there. That says to me there was no Jesus, but they would not be a son/god or magic man in any case.

It is obvious by proxy that Christianity even started, that there was a person or a group of people who didn't like the old Hebrew ways and wanted to rush that messiah in during their time. So they created a new cult. What did not happen regardless is that a man came back from the dead after all the blood drained out of their body and after rigor mortis.

"Jesus" was a common name and so was dying on a cross. It makes more sense that the splinter Jews simply created a motif underdog story and sold it.

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11-03-2015, 03:14 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 01:03 PM)Stevil Wrote:  It's a fact that Romans crucified people.

I don't however accept that Jesus was crucified is a fact.

Just because multiple people wrote that Jesus was crucified doesn't mean that it is true.

The story of Jesus was verbal at one time. All people who heard the story and wrote about it remembered the crucification bit.

There were no witnesses, no interviews with witnesses, no documents recording the event.

I keep saying to people that nothing in ancient history is conclusive.
Fine, understood.

(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  What it all comes down to is ...

The best argument to explain the available evidence.
It seems with this approach you arent open to the option of "unknown". It seems you have the urge to pick something even if it is the least bad of a bad bunch.

(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  The Mythicist position doesn't explain anything at all. It has absolutely no evidence to work with at all. None. Nada. Ziltch. All it ever does is attempt to cast doubt on the available evidence via opinion only.
Rather than call it the Mythicist approach, lets reword it as the skeptics approach. This position is merely asking for compelling evidence to be presented, it is a position that is unwilling to pick a bad explanation even when there are no decent explanations on offer.

(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  The Historicity argument has tons of tangible evidence to work with.
That is what the skeptic is disputing.
You are asserting that there is evidence. You made a statement that there are many accounts all stating that Jesus was crucified.

My counter is to ask what those claims were based on?
I point out that none of the authors of those claims were witnesses to the event. None of them cited their sources of the information supporting their claims.

In my opinion, until we can get a reasonable explanation as to how these authors came about their information we cannot claim any legitimacy as per their claims (even if one aspect of their claims are the same as what other authors are saying)

For example, almost all authors of vampire stories claim that vampires are repelled by garlic. This is not evidence of anything. It does not go towards substantiating whether vampires are repelled by garlic or not. We first need to establish where the authors got their information from? Have they observed vampire behavior in the presence of garlic?
Have they interviewed witnesses to these events.

Do you understand my skepticism here?
Until I give any credence to stories written by authors, I want to be given an explanation as to how the authors came about this knowledge.

(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  And that's the big difference between the two positions. One is holding all the cards, while the other doesn't have a pot to piss in.
Actually the big difference between the two position is that one has the burden of proof and the other doesn't.
The skeptic is merely asking "Where is the evidence?"
It is unacceptable to merely point to vampire stories and say "see, the authors agree, Vampires are repelled by garlic".
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11-03-2015, 05:25 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2015 05:32 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 02:48 PM)EvolutionKills Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  No, prove "the later are indeed Gospels built upon the earlier ones."


Development and composition

John Riches states that, "Many scholars doubt that the Gospels were written by eye-witnesses as their attributions seem to suggest: there is too much evidence of reworking oral traditions and of straight borrowing from other Gospels to make this likely." For example, the vast majority of material in Mark is also present in either Luke or Matthew or both, suggesting that Mark was a source for Matthew and Luke.

The four canonical gospels "were probably all written by the end of the first century". But they did not yet at that time have a consistent narrative. "In 170 Tatian sought to find a solution by composing a single narrative out of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, with some additional oral material."

According to Linda Woodhead,

Christian gospels are also propaganda. They tell their readers (or hearers) that Jesus was something special, and they expect them to respond accordingly. No neutral stance is possible in relation to a gospel. Depending on your response, its message will turn out either to be good news for you – or bad.

The gospel passages themselves can be unclear, and some of the messages within are "straightforwardly ambiguous" and intended to be "metaphorical" or "poetic".

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel#Development_and_composition

But does this actually prove it?

You'll see what I am actually getting at later.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  Nice try to dodge, but can't let you do that. I gotta be me.

Again, you are using the opinions from scholars who claim the existing gospels were created from earlier ones; the same scholars who say Jesus existed.

Once again, you can accept some premises for reasons X and still reject other premises for reasons Y, even if both premises are accepted by other people. For's fuck's sake dude...

Get ready for it, and hold that thought ...

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  More dodging.

You trust the very same scholars who say that the existing gospels came from earlier gospels, yet do not trust those same scholars when they say Jesus existed.

Rather hypocritical IMO.
No, it's evaluating reasons and evidence a la carte, piece by piece. Nothing says that agreeing with other people's opinions is an 'all or nothing' affair. Well, no one except you it seems

Now here's the punchline for all your statements above.

You said that you can agree with the scholars on some things, but not on other things. Fair enough.

However, because the NT states that Jesus was crucified ad nausium, and because we find this crucifixion ad nausium in non canonical texts and histories, and it's virtually unanimous among scholars that Jesus existed and was crucified, then how can we not be "evaluating reasons and evidence a la carte, piece by piece?"

It's more than just the scholars dude, it's all about the textual evidence from numerous sources. It's all about a chain of evidence beginning with the Gospel records, to the contemporary Paul and rest of the NT (AD 40 - 85), Clement (AD 90), Josephus (AD 93), Tacitus (AD 111) Polycarp (AD 130), Justin Martyr (AD 150) and on and on.

The exact same thing is constantly corroborated over and over with numerous cultures, including the Romans, Greeks, Jews, Christians, and Pagans. We see it from believers and non believers alike, so why do you have this problem accepting this argument?

When you have this much evidence displayed on a time-line from the time of Jesus to more than 100 years later from numerous diverse sources, the argument for historicity completely and utterly destroys the argument for Mythicism, hands down.

Does it conclusively prove that Jesus existed and was crucified? Absolutely not, but what it does is conclusively prove and demonstrate that the evidence for the argument for historicity is absolutely damning to the mythicist position.

And that's life, and that's history. You don't have to like it, and it won't make one iota of difference whether you like it or not. Nothing is going to change the chain of evidence.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  Denialism.

All this stands completely an unequivocally refuted by the collective of intelligence of world scholars.

Sorry dude, you do not get to make the rules on what constitutes evidence. The world will look at you like a fool.

Try skepticism. Also, do you have anything better than an Appeal to Authority?

Say's the one who appeals to the very same authorities to "accept some premises for reasons X and still reject other premises for reasons Y."

Wink

But this is a tired and outdated response. Appeal to authority is not a logical fallacy. It is only a fallacy when the authority is not actually an authority in the field in question.

Appeal to authorities does not conclusively prove anything either, but rather it provides a greater degree of credibility to the position held. It's merely something more to add to the evidence.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  Aside from the Gospels, Paul's letters offer evidence of a 1st century contemporary of Jesus attesting to the crucifixion of Jesus.
Notice however, that in comparison to the Gospels, the accounts in the Epistles (at least the mostly agreed upon authentic ones of Saul of Tarsis) are by and far the vaguest when it comes to any details about the supposed life of a living and breathing physical Jesus.

That may be true, but it is a non sequitur. The focus here is on the crucifixion of Jesus, which Paul states ad nausium.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  Clement was also likely a contemporary and wrote in the 1st century. Although Josephus' estimated birth year is listed as AD 37, the textual evidence in his works indicates he was most likely a very young contemporary of Jesus.

"...the textual evidence in his works indicates he was most likely a very young contemporary of Jesus." - Citation needed. You cannot have an estimated birth years after the death of Jesus, as established by mainstream consensus, while simultaneously arguing that they are wrong and he was a "young contemporary of Jesus".

There's actually no consensus on the birth date of Josephus. The reality is no one knows. They say circa AD 37, but until you read his works and understand that he was a General in the Jewish military in the late AD 60s early AD70s, it certainly gives one pause to doubt his age.

To become a General is usually reserved for those of greater age. Josephus would have been in his late 20s and early 30s when the revolt broke out if he was born in Ad 37. It's barely possible, and highly unlikely that he made it to the rank of General in his 20s or early 30s.

The evidence is all textual. No one actually discusses this, so there are no citations available.

Quote:Clement of Alexandria? Or Clement of Rome? Because the previous was born around 150 CE, and the later was a Pope during the end of the first century. Neither would have been themselves eye witnesses, and even the chances of Clement of Rome possibly making contact with a supposed eyewitness (assuming the Crucifixion happened in 33AD) would be slim to none.

Clement of Rome died near the end of the 1st century, at AD 98 - 99. Tertullian, born a few decades later, says that Clement knew the apostle Peter, and was consecrated by him. The Liber Pontificalis (Book of Popes) lists Clement at 3rd or 4th behind Peter as the Bishop of Rome, and was known to be a leading member in that church before he became the Bishop.

This means he knew Peter, and knew Paul also. Paul listed a Clement as one who was with him in Php 4:3, but it is not conclusive if this is the same Clement with Paul.

Seeing the Clement died near the end of the 1st century, and considering all other evidence, we can rest assured that the argument that he knew the apostle Peter is solid, and also he was almost certainly a contemporary of Jesus given the date of his death indicating he would need to be only about 65 years old to not be a contemporary.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  History is always written "after the fact." You are employing the Presentism Fallacy of equating how modern history is chronicled when compared to how ancient history was chronicled.

Uh no, I was actually pointing out that's exactly what you are doing, if you're going to attempt to argue that the Gospels are reliable sources of historical information rather than the propagandist faith literature that they apparently are.

You are not understanding presentism here, that's clear to me. Read it again.

They are reliable sources for historical information on the crucifixion of Jesus since all of them can be corroborated with external non biblical sources. That is about the only thing in the gospels that has any degree of factual historical validity, aside from them demonstrating belief systems.

Most scholars also think the baptism of Jesus is a historical event, but I for the life of me cannot understand why.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 12:14 PM)Free Wrote:  The bottom line is that Jesus, who was called Christ, and who is the focus of the Christian religion, was executed by Pontius Pilate circa AD33.

And that is history.
A history with no independent corroboration that can be established outside of later Christian source. It is a flimsy history indeed.

And here is that denialism again. Such a nasty bad habit.
Big Grin

Your problem is you think you can just toss out the entire NT. Sorry, but that is not acceptable to anyone in this field. You don't eliminate evidence just because you don't like it.

Quote:
Quote:
Quote:The fact of the matter is, Josephus fails to provide evidence that they are not.

Dude, stay focused. We are talking about Tacitus mentioning Christians here, not Josephus. Your entire response is now irrelevant.

Nope. Tacitius also cannot be established as independent from the Gospels, seeing as he came 20 years after Josephus, who just happens to suffer from the same problem.

Neither can be counted as independent corroboration of the Gospels, simple as that.

Dude, do you even understand what is happening here? Let me show you:

I said the following:

Quote:2. Tacitus has him crucified.

You then replied to that with this:

Quote:And considering when it was written (20 years after Josephus), his sources were Christians, and their sources were the Gospels; and once again, the Gospels are not reliable as they are decades (if not centuries) after the supposed events and not written by eye witnesses. It is not corroborative evidence.

I replied to that with this:

Quote:Can you prove his sources were Christians? Have you considered the fact that Tacitus was writing Roman history and not Christian history? Why would a Roman who was writing Roman history go to the hated Jewish sect of Christians and write their history instead of Roman history?

Since he mentions Pilate- a Roman- don't you think it would destroy his credibility by using a high ranking Roman official if the event regarding Pilate never actually happened?

We were talking about Tacitus, and you stated that Tacitus got his source regarding Christ from the Christians. I then asked you to prove that his sources were from the Christians, and you then replied to that with the following:

Quote:The fact of the matter is, Josephus fails to provide evidence that they are not. You cannot just assume that they are independent corroborations, especially given that the existence of the Gospels predate the mention in Josephus by decades (and their appearance in his work by centuries). Josephus cannot be used as an independent corroboration of the Gospels, because it is very probable that his source of information (assuming it's not a forgery, something which is disputed) were Christians, who they themselves would have gotten their information from the Gospels.

Let's also not forget that for 500 years of Christian history, not one church father or writer mentions the Josephus passage, even though they quote him extensively elsewhere, like in regards to John the Baptist. It's not seen in the historical record until Eusebius of Caesarea, who is widely believed to have been the one responsible for the interpolation (especially considering that he inherited his copy of Josephus from Origen, who lamented Josephus not mentioning Jesus in his own writings!).


You cannot establish Josephus' writings as being independent from the Gospels, therefore it is useless for corroborating the Gospels.

Do you understand that we were talking about Tacitus, and then suddenly you had a brain fart by thinking we were talking about Josephus?

It happens, but fuck man ... it renders everything you are saying as completely non sequitur, and I haven't a fucking clue what you are going on about.

Start over. I'll wait.

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11-03-2015, 06:58 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2015 07:03 PM by Free.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
Quote:
(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  What it all comes down to is ...

The best argument to explain the available evidence.
It seems with this approach you arent open to the option of "unknown". It seems you have the urge to pick something even if it is the least bad of a bad bunch.

Firstly, you need to identify what you determine to be unknown to qualify this assertion. Also, I don't just "pick something," I evaluate the evidence on a whole.

It is the mythicists who do the cherry picking, not the historicists.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  The Mythicist position doesn't explain anything at all. It has absolutely no evidence to work with at all. None. Nada. Ziltch. All it ever does is attempt to cast doubt on the available evidence via opinion only.
Rather than call it the Mythicist approach, lets reword it as the skeptics approach. This position is merely asking for compelling evidence to be presented, it is a position that is unwilling to pick a bad explanation even when there are no decent explanations on offer.

Yes, that is the nature of true scepticism, for sure. However, most who call themselves sceptics in this field are actually denialists. They make unreasonable demands for evidence that exceeds the requirements to determine probable history.

You give them evidence, then they raise the bar. Even when you meet their new raised bar requirement, they then move the goal posts. It is my extensive (and I do mean VERY extensive) experience with these kinds of "sceptics" that they do not meet the definition of sceptic, but rather are denialists who are exceptionally intellectually dishonest.

The problem with these types of people is that they haven't a clue that they are using denialism; they actually believe they are sceptics.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  The Historicity argument has tons of tangible evidence to work with.
That is what the skeptic is disputing. You are asserting that there is evidence. You made a statement that there are many accounts all stating that Jesus was crucified.

My counter is to ask what those claims were based on?

Literally dozens and dozens of canonical and non canonical texts, including non Christian sources.

Quote:I point out that none of the authors of those claims were witnesses to the event. None of them cited their sources of the information supporting their claims.

But this is absolutely normal in ancient history. Tacitus never met most of the Caesars, yet he wrote their history. Likewise for Josephus and and many other ancient historians.

Should we then go through their works and start saying something to the effect of "Well, Tacitus mentions this guy named Justin 10 times, but nobody else does. I guess we can conclude that Justin never existed?"

Who does that? Do you? Nobody does that. Why? Because it's fucking stupid. There is no good reason to suspect that Justin didn't exist, is there?

Now imagine this for a moment.

Let's say Christianity didn't survive the 1st century, and today there was no Christian religion. Then, somebody discovers Tacitus Annals and Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, and reads in there that a fellow named Jesus who was called Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

So here we have two mentions of this Jesus called Christ who was crucified from two different sources. Do you think we would conclude that this Jesus didn't exist? Could we then not say again ...

"Who does that? Do you? Nobody does that. Why? Because it's fucking stupid. There is no good reason to suspect that Jesus didn't exist, is there?"

Same shit, different guy.

Quote:In my opinion, until we can get a reasonable explanation as to how these authors came about their information we cannot claim any legitimacy as per their claims (even if one aspect of their claims are the same as what other authors are saying)

The explanation is simple. Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate. There are so many ancient texts attesting to this event- including Roman history- that it seems ridiculous to deny this evidence.

The existence and/or crucifixion of Jesus is attested by Christian contemporaries (Paul), Roman history (Tacitus), Jewish History (Josephus), Greek philosophers (Celsum), and dozens of canonical and non canonical texts.

Not one good sceptical argument has ever been made against this plethora of evidence. Oh, there are arguments, but none are good.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 01:25 PM)Free Wrote:  And that's the big difference between the two positions. One is holding all the cards, while the other doesn't have a pot to piss in.
Actually the big difference between the two position is that one has the burden of proof and the other doesn't.
The skeptic is merely asking "Where is the evidence?"

The evidence has all been provided. The so-called sceptics posit exceptionally poor arguments against it.

And that is why the argument for historicity is far better than non historicity. It all comes down to the best argument.

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11-03-2015, 08:13 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:Rather than call it the Mythicist approach, lets reword it as the skeptics approach. This position is merely asking for compelling evidence to be presented, it is a position that is unwilling to pick a bad explanation even when there are no decent explanations on offer.

Yes, that is the nature of true scepticism, for sure. However, most who call themselves sceptics in this field are actually denialists. They make unreasonable demands for evidence that exceeds the requirements to determine probable history.
Depends on your classification of reasonable vs unreasonable.
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  You give them evidence, then they raise the bar. Even when you meet their new raised bar requirement, they then move the goal posts. It is my extensive (and I do mean VERY extensive) experience with these kinds of "sceptics" that they do not meet the definition of sceptic, but rather are denialists who are exceptionally intellectually dishonest.
Yes, I guess it depends on where each person puts the bar.
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  The problem with these types of people is that they haven't a clue that they are using denialism; they actually believe they are sceptics.
Just because one person's bar is higher than yours that doesn't make them objectively a denialist.
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:That is what the skeptic is disputing. You are asserting that there is evidence. You made a statement that there are many accounts all stating that Jesus was crucified.

My counter is to ask what those claims were based on?

Literally dozens and dozens of canonical and non canonical texts, including non Christian sources.
I understand that there are documents that state that Jesus was crucified, but the act of "writing something down on a peice of paper" doesn't make a claim true. These authors, whom did the writing, from where did they get the information that they write about? Where they eye witnesses? Did they interview eye witnesses?
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:I point out that none of the authors of those claims were witnesses to the event. None of them cited their sources of the information supporting their claims.

But this is absolutely normal in ancient history.
So what if it is normal or not. It puts much doubt as to the validity of the claims.
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Tacitus never met most of the Caesars, yet he wrote their history. Likewise for Josephus and and many other ancient historians.
This is beside the point isn't it? We are talking about the alleged evidence for Jesus existence.
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Should we then go through their works and start saying something to the effect of "Well, Tacitus mentions this guy named Justin 10 times, but nobody else does. I guess we can conclude that Justin never existed?"
We should highlight the level of our evidence.
If there are no eye witness reports and no interviews of eye witnesses then what is our evidence?
If someone has written a document telling a story of an event, then how did this author come to the knowledge of the event?
If we refer back to the "Historical Method" that you provided me a link to, we see the following:
"The closer a source is to the event which it purports to describe, the more one can trust it to give an accurate historical description of what actually happened."
"He writes, "In cases where he uses secondary witnesses, however, he does not rely upon them fully. On the contrary, he asks: (1) On whose primary testimony does the secondary witness base his statements? (2) Did the secondary witness accurately report the primary testimony as a whole? (3) If not, in what details did he accurately report the primary testimony? "
This is what I am asking. From where did the authors get the "knowledge" of Jesus crucifiction?
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Let's say Christianity didn't survive the 1st century, and today there was no Christian religion. Then, somebody discovers Tacitus Annals and Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, and reads in there that a fellow named Jesus who was called Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

So here we have two mentions of this Jesus called Christ who was crucified from two different sources. Do you think we would conclude that this Jesus didn't exist?
I would find out that neither Tactus nor Josephus knew Jesus, neither were witness to this crucifiction event. I would have many doubts regarding these two claims.
Sure I'd wonder why these two fellows have been talking about a character called "Jesus" but then I'd find out that there was a fellow by the psudo name of "Paul" who had been actively promoting a new religion based on a magical Jesus.

(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  "Who does that? Do you? Nobody does that. Why? Because it's fucking stupid. There is no good reason to suspect that Jesus didn't exist, is there?"
There are many people throughout history who have started up and promoted a religion based on various gods and sons of gods. It's quite common.

(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:In my opinion, until we can get a reasonable explanation as to how these authors came about their information we cannot claim any legitimacy as per their claims (even if one aspect of their claims are the same as what other authors are saying)

The explanation is simple. Jesus was crucified by Pontius Pilate. There are so many ancient texts attesting to this event- including Roman history- that it seems ridiculous to deny this evidence.
There are no eye witness accounts, no accounts by people who have interviewed eye witnesses. Stories popped up decades later. It's quite ridiculous to think that decades later people would have remembered such details and that for maraculous events people would have waited decades to write about them. Why do people who write about Jesus talk about him being Lord and Saviour and a miracle worker? Are these people objective? Are they writing about a fantasy?
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  The existence and/or crucifixion of Jesus is attested by Christian contemporaries (Paul), Roman history (Tacitus), Jewish History (Josephus), Greek philosophers (Celsum), and dozens of canonical and non canonical texts.
Paul never met Jesus, Tacitus wasn't alive when Jesus allegidly lived. Celsum? Did he know Jesus? When did Celsum live?
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Not one good sceptical argument has ever been made against this plethora of evidence. Oh, there are arguments, but none are good.
The sceptical argument is that there is no evidence.
Your assertion is that there is evidence.
You consider stories written by people decades later who never knew the subject, weren't around at the time as evidence. Well I guess you have a very low bar.

(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  The evidence has all been provided. The so-called sceptics posit exceptionally poor arguments against it.
You haven't referenced anything that I would consider evidence.
As I have said, many people have written about vampires being repelled by garlic, I don't take this to mean that Vampires existed in history.
Many people have written about King Arthur and Merlin and dragons, but hat does not mean that they ever existed.
I'm not sure how you think the "evidence" for Jesus is stronger than the evidence for Vampires, Arthur, Merlin, dragons...
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11-03-2015, 08:26 PM (This post was last modified: 11-03-2015 08:56 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 07:18 AM)Free Wrote:  1. All four Gospels have him crucified.
2. Tacitus has him crucified.
3. Since the majority of scholars think that Josephus was altered and not completely interpolated, it shows him crucified.
4. The letters in the NT show him being killed.
5. Many non canonical texts show him being killed.

I disagree. There are many good reasons to doubt. Carrier pointed out that the structure of the gospels is the same as the structure of ancient myths. That alone is very suspicious. The four gospels are really based on one, (Q), so there are not 4 independent "accounts". Tacitus "heard" about it, and was not on site. Philo probably WAS there, and said nothing. The "letters" in the NT are propaganda among people who already believed. Josephus' intent was to demonstrate that Vespasian was the messiah, and I've never seen a poll of scholars that show what an objective majority think. It's not at all "cut and dried". There are many good reasons to doubt the whole ball of wax, not the least being that the "timing is off" The theme of "love your neighbor as yourself" reflects more a generation or two later in Hebrew thought, AFTER the destruction of the temple, when the rabbis were trying to simplify the many old legalisms for the diaspora. There is nothing certain one way or the other. But there are many good reasons to question the whole business. For example in the beginning of Acts Peter's speeches reflect a much later more developed theology, than could have been in place a few months after a supposed Christ. If they could lie about that, then why could they not just make up the entire thing. All the memes ("dying and rising gods", rising in 3 days from the dead) are shared by other messiah figures.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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11-03-2015, 09:22 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 08:13 PM)Stevil Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Yes, that is the nature of true scepticism, for sure. However, most who call themselves sceptics in this field are actually denialists. They make unreasonable demands for evidence that exceeds the requirements to determine probable history.
Depends on your classification of reasonable vs unreasonable.

When their demands for evidence far exceeds what is normally accepted to determine the existence of other historical figures, it is considered unreasonable. It is then that I begin to question the motives of this sceptic, and almost always he is a denialist with an agenda. Here is what they typically do:

1. When a very good argument on something is presented, they completely ignore it and don't even acknowledge you said anything.

2. When evidence is provided, they try to hand wave it away by saying it's not evidence. For example, I have used Tacitus, and they will often say, "It offers no proof of anything." Excuse me? But it's evidence, so yeah, it offers proof.

3. Everything has been interpolated. Anything that demonstrates historicity has been interpolated, but they offer absolutely no evidence to support interpolation.

4. They claim that historicists are using logical fallacies, when no logical fallacies exist.

5. They constantly use logical fallacies themselves because they have no choice but to resort to unsupported arguments from silence, since they have no evidence to work with.

6. Even when evidence is provided, they then raise the bar requesting greater evidence. When that is met, they move the goal posts. It's one clusterfuck after another with them.

7. Most do not have a fucking clue about history or how it is determined. They don't even care about history at all, because they are so focused on their agenda that history doesn't actually matter.

These types of people are not sceptics. This is intellectual dishonesty at its finest.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  The problem with these types of people is that they haven't a clue that they are using denialism; they actually believe they are sceptics.
Just because one person's bar is higher than yours that doesn't make them objectively a denialist.

It's not a matter of where my bar is, because the bar is with the Historical Method, not with me.

I once tested one of them on another thread, on another topic. Guess what? 9/11 was an inside job; JFK was shot by numerous gunman, chem trails are real, etc.

They swallowed conspiracy theories whole with almost no evidence to support them, but when it comes to Jesus and actual evidence, it's hand waved away.

The mentality of these kinds of people is a total fucking mystery.

Quote:
Quote:Literally dozens and dozens of canonical and non canonical texts, including non Christian sources.
I understand that there are documents that state that Jesus was crucified, but the act of "writing something down on a peice of paper" doesn't make a claim true.

No, but it cannot be dismissed as evidence to the affirmative. That's my point here. Sure, it does not conclusively prove anything, but it is still positive evidence to support historicity.

Quote:These authors, whom did the writing, from where did they get the information that they write about? Where they eye witnesses? Did they interview eye witnesses?

From various sources, written and verbal. You ask if they interviewed eyewitnesses ... what do you think this is, the 5 O'clock news?

This is ancient history.

Quote:
Quote:But this is absolutely normal in ancient history.
So what if it is normal or not. It puts much doubt as to the validity of the claims.

No it does not. You are employing modern perspectives and trying to interject them into an ancient culture.

However, Tacitus, for example, names his sources so many times I lost count. Even the part known as the Great Fires of Rome- which contains the section on Christ and the Christians- begins with Tacitus clearly stating that he was using previous historical authors as his source material.

Sceptics and mythicists constantly say, "Tacitus doesn't name his source," and when I make it quite clear that he does, they then ignore it and move the goal posts.

In reality, Tacitus actually rivals modern historians in how well he researched his works, and how he constantly cites his sources. He was one of a kind in ancient history.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Tacitus never met most of the Caesars, yet he wrote their history. Likewise for Josephus and and many other ancient historians.
This is beside the point isn't it? We are talking about the alleged evidence for Jesus existence.

Nope its on point, since it addresses your question of, "I point out that none of the authors of those claims were witnesses to the event."

Quote:
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Should we then go through their works and start saying something to the effect of "Well, Tacitus mentions this guy named Justin 10 times, but nobody else does. I guess we can conclude that Justin never existed?"

This is what I am asking. From where did the authors get the "knowledge" of Jesus crucifiction?

Like I said, previous records, written and oral. That's how things worked in an ancient culture. It's perfectly normal, and it cannot be compared to how we do things today.

Quote:
(11-03-2015 06:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Let's say Christianity didn't survive the 1st century, and today there was no Christian religion. Then, somebody discovers Tacitus Annals and Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, and reads in there that a fellow named Jesus who was called Christ was crucified by Pontius Pilate.

So here we have two mentions of this Jesus called Christ who was crucified from two different sources. Do you think we would conclude that this Jesus didn't exist?
I would find out that neither Tactus nor Josephus knew Jesus, neither were witness to this crucifiction event.

Why would you do that? Would you do that to all other historical figures mentioned in ancient history? When you studied ancient history, and read of some of those ancient characters, did a thought go through your mind about them never existing?

Or did you simply accept that they did exist without even thinking about it? If so, why?

You see, you would have no good reason to think other historical figures with minimal mention never existed, so you wouldn't even think about it. You would just accept they did because, well, history teaches you they did.

Sure, if you really wanted to think they didn't exist, you could go through the steps required to provide doubt. But who actually does that?

Nobody.

So in my hypothetical Jesus scenario, why would you feel compelled to do it?

Be honest with yourself, because that is far more important than being honest with me or anyone else. Just think about it.

Anyways, there's a hockey game on TV and I am a hard-core fanatic. I'll come back tomorrow.

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11-03-2015, 09:49 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 08:26 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(11-03-2015 07:18 AM)Free Wrote:  1. All four Gospels have him crucified.
2. Tacitus has him crucified.
3. Since the majority of scholars think that Josephus was altered and not completely interpolated, it shows him crucified.
4. The letters in the NT show him being killed.
5. Many non canonical texts show him being killed.

Carrier pointed out that the structure of the gospels is the same as the structure of ancient myths.

That's his opinion, but does he actually provide any other ancient texts to demonstrate the comparison?

Quote:The four gospels are really based on one, (Q), so there are not 4 independent "accounts".

The synoptic maybe, because Q is hypothetical. John is not among them.

Quote:Tacitus "heard" about it, and was not on site.

This implies oral. That is not true. Tacitus read it in previous Roman historical accounts. Read my post to Stevil for reference.

Quote:Philo probably WAS there, and said nothing.

He was in Egypt.

Quote:The "letters" in the NT are propaganda among people who already believed.

That's an assertion that doesn't demonstrate anything to dispute what they said.

Quote:Josephus' intent was to demonstrate that Vespasian was the messiah, and I've never seen a poll of scholars that show what an objective majority think. It's not at all "cut and dried". There are many good reasons to doubt the whole ball of wax, not the least being that the "timing is off" The theme of "love your neighbor as yourself" reflects more a generation or two later in Hebrew thought, AFTER the destruction of the temple, when the rabbis were trying to simplify the many old legalisms for the diaspora. There is nothing certain one way or the other. But there are many good reasons to question the whole business. For example in the beginning of Acts Peter's speeches reflect a much later more developed theology, than could have been in place a few months after a supposed Christ. If they could lie about that, then why could they not just make up the entire thing. All the memes ("dying and rising gods", rising in 3 days from the dead) are shared by other messiah figures.

That's all well and good, but it really doesn't prove anything with this Jesus dude.

Anyways, back tomorrow.

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11-03-2015, 10:37 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  2. When evidence is provided, they try to hand wave it away by saying it's not evidence. For example, I have used Tacitus, and they will often say, "It offers no proof of anything." Excuse me? But it's evidence, so yeah, it offers proof.
Depends what you classify as evidence. An eye witness report is evidence. A statement from a non eye witness, a person who never knew any eye witnessess and wasn't alive at the time hardly counts as evidence of an event. He's writting about something he knows nothing about. If he used references then those references might be considered evidence. Is it possible for us to see his references?
(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  It's not a matter of where my bar is, because the bar is with the Historical Method, not with me.
Looking at the Historical Method as per the link you provided it appears to me that the "evidence" for Jesus existence fails:
No eye witnesses
No secondary people that interviewed eye witnesses
Supernatural claims etc

(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:I understand that there are documents that state that Jesus was crucified, but the act of "writing something down on a peice of paper" doesn't make a claim true.

No, but it cannot be dismissed as evidence to the affirmative. That's my point here. Sure, it does not conclusively prove anything, but it is still positive evidence to support historicity.
It can be dismissed, especially because it is known that the author was not an eye witness, or someone with reliable information, in many cases the author wasn't even alive at the time of the alleged event.
(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:These authors, whom did the writing, from where did they get the information that they write about? Where they eye witnesses? Did they interview eye witnesses?

From various sources, written and verbal. You ask if they interviewed eyewitnesses ... what do you think this is, the 5 O'clock news?
I'm trying to find out how come you trust their accounts? Saying "From various sources, written and verbal" is vague isn't it. What sources exactly? Can we see them? Were these people best friends with Jesus or his mum? How is the author specially positioned to have such knowledge? Are these not questions you ask? Are you not interested in how these authors know about what they are writting about? At what point do you decide to stop asking questions and just assume these authors are making claims of fact?

(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  However, Tacitus, for example, names his sources so many times I lost count. Even the part known as the Great Fires of Rome- which contains the section on Christ and the Christians- begins with Tacitus clearly stating that he was using previous historical authors as his source material.
OK cool, I'll look into this.


(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:This is beside the point isn't it? We are talking about the alleged evidence for Jesus existence.

Nope its on point, since it addresses your question of, "I point out that none of the authors of those claims were witnesses to the event."
If you were trying to convince me of the existence of another historical figure, I would ask the same questions. Where is the evidence, how can we trust that evidence?

(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:I would find out that neither Tactus nor Josephus knew Jesus, neither were witness to this crucifiction event.

Why would you do that? Would you do that to all other historical figures mentioned in ancient history? When you studied ancient history, and read of some of those ancient characters, did a thought go through your mind about them never existing?
Sure. I think we ought to apply skepticism to all these claims.

(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  You see, you would have no good reason to think other historical figures with minimal mention never existed, so you wouldn't even think about it. You would just accept they did because, well, history teaches you they did.
The Jesus claims in particular come with supernatural claims and heaps of priase and stuff e.g. LORD. It casts much doubt on the stories.
(11-03-2015 09:22 PM)Free Wrote:  So in my hypothetical Jesus scenario, why would you feel compelled to do it?
This is an atheist forum, the topic of this thread is the historical Jesus.
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11-03-2015, 11:52 PM
RE: Debating the historical Jesus
(11-03-2015 03:00 PM)Brian37 Wrote:  Even if a man named Jesus was recorded by the Romans at the time as being executed on a cross, it would still mean a mere man died and would have stayed dead.
Yes, from the atheist perspective it does not matter if there was a Jesus or not.
We have no incentive to choose one over the other.

I just find it quite interesting to hear the meme that scolars and historians by and large think that Jesus existed.

It raises the question, what are they basing this off? Why do they think Jesus actually existed?
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