Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
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20-04-2012, 09:07 PM (This post was last modified: 20-04-2012 09:51 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
(20-04-2012 06:02 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Well...to my mind, the gospels, if dissected, clearly tell the story of a political insurgent who tried to start a war with Rome, but the Romans killed him first. That story fits with what one would expect from a first century peasant fundamentalist Galilean Jew. "Jesus" says and does many things one would expect from a Jewish freedom fighter, not from the son of god preaching a new religion.
Thanks Mark.
As Mark knows, I agree with him in most respects. My own opinion is that the "freedom fighter" is plausible, but the "radical insurrectionist" is also plausible. The proximate cause for his execution was the "over-turning" of the tables of the money-changers. Today we are used to that episode, and think, "yeah, so what". The fact is the ENTIRE economy of the city (Jerusalem) was built on the "temple economy" .. the fees/stipends for everything associated with the festivals, (which HAD to ritually be paid in Jewish currency)..it's how they, (the WHOLE city), made their living. Jeebus was a threat to that, (and the Pax Romana). No way to over-estimate that. It would be like someone disrupting the Superbowl, or the Oscars, today. There was, (we know from Roman documents), a standing order for the execution of anyone, who broke the Pax Romana, or was a threat to civil order. That was at least a part of why they just got rid of him.
Mark Fulton Wrote:  My belief is that the Roman government, with the aid of Josephus and other Jewish intellectuals, created the gospels as propaganda tools to undermine the political aspirations of militant Jews. They loosely based the story on one of the wannabe messiahs from a few decades earlier, Yeshua (Jesus) from Galilee. This fits perfectly in with the times between the first (66-70 CE) and second (132-5 CE) Jewish wars, during which the government was trying to control pesky Jews.
My classes in tradtional Protestant Biblical Archaeology, (even though I'm from a Catholic family), (Ivy League bias), still rebels against that. My professors all taught the gospels arose as liturgical documents, (NOT at all historical texts), used, and judged by worshiping communities. It's why some were kept, and used, and some were dumped. No one, and I mean NO ONE, NOT ONE person, sat around, "reading gospels". They were 'proclaimed" in communal worship events, mostly to illiterates. People in 2012 simply have no clue about the cultural differences that exist between our "fact" based, educated, worldview, with books, TV radio, satelites, and their "magical", basically locally isolated, worldview. The differences are VAST. We don't see it, because it's right in front of us, yet we insist on reading and seeing ancient texts, with 2012 worldviews. That's ridiculous. But I'm trying to listen to other ideas about that.

Mark Fulton Wrote:  Does it matter whether Yeshua existed or not? Not really....except in the sense that if we can demonstrate from the gospels and from an examination of the history of the times that Jesus was not a Christian and not the son of God, it really helps deconstruct Christianity today...and I believe that is worth doing. That is why my book is titled "Get Over Christianity by Understanding It"
Agree completely. First of all there was no THE son of god. The term was used for many many people. Leaders, prophets, generals, "righteous ones", etc etc. We HEAR it in light of our culture, but it simply did not mean the same thing when they said those words. Jeebus NEVER said he was going to die for any reason. Paul DID appropriate the salvation paradigm, from Greek mystery cults, (I just learned) .. thank you Blood.

Mark is 110 % right about the way to get over Christianity, is to deconstruct it.

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21-04-2012, 12:08 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
(20-04-2012 08:43 PM)Blood Wrote:  
(20-04-2012 06:02 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  It seems to me that Bucky and Blood are both saying almost the same thing, which is...

"Jesus" the historical character, may or may not have existed, but the gospels are mainly evangelical constructs.

Bucky leans towards his likely existence, Blood leans towards him being 100% a creation.

You are both almost batting on the same team, and the differences are open to discussion. Sometimes its difficult to accept an alternative view. I know this for a fact, because I've written a damn book on the subject, and when one has spent years thinking and learning about something, one develops opinions LOL.

I'll throw some more of my 2c worth in. I am more in Bucky's camp ( although Blood makes some very good points) Why?

Well...to my mind, the gospels, if dissected, clearly tell the story of a political insurgent who tried to start a war with Rome, but the Romans killed him first. That story fits with what one would expect from a first century peasant fundamentalist Galilean Jew. "Jesus" says and does many things one would expect from a Jewish freedom fighter, not from the son of god preaching a new religion.

We know John the Baptist existed (John the dipper in Josephus). We know James existed (multiple sources...Josephus(probably), Eseubius, Paul's writings and others), we know Peter existed from Paul's writings. As these people existed, and Jesus mingled with them, this adds gravity to Jesus' existence. It is reasonable to assume John was the leader of the Nazarenes (a fundamentalist Jewish sect, probably a branch of the Essenes), then Jesus, then James.

My belief is that the Roman government, with the aid of Josephus and other Jewish intellectuals, created the gospels as propaganda tools to undermine the political aspirations of militant Jews. They loosely based the story on one of the wannabe messiahs from a few decades earlier, Yeshua (Jesus) from Galilee. This fits perfectly in with the times between the first (66-70 CE) and second (132-5 CE) Jewish wars, during which the government was trying to control pesky Jews.

The gospels were added to and edited for at least 200 years after they were first written, thereby incorporating lots of attractive ideas from other cults (for e.g. virgin birth, rising from the dead)

Does it matter whether Yeshua existed or not? Not really....except in the sense that if we can demonstrate from the gospels and from an examination of the history of the times that Jesus was not a Christian and not the son of God, it really helps deconstruct Christianity today...and I believe that is worth doing. That is why my book is titled "Get Over Christianity by Understanding It"

Am I definitely right about this? No. No one knows for sure. But "my" story is a hell of a lot more plausible than one about a son of god who preached passivity, was a Christian (a yet to be invented religion in Jesus' time), who sacrificed himself for your sins and then rose from the dead.
Like I said, I don't think this is an either/or question. All we can do is assess the texts and make hypothetical arguments. My main point is that the mythical Jesus hypothesis shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I think it was a very real possibility. But excellent arguments are made the other way. There is a huge range of possibilities here, and none of them may be right. We're basically chasing rainbows and smoke rings.

The worst years of the Roman persecution of Christianity came well after the Jewish wars. By that time Christianity was entirely non-Jewish. So what was the purpose of throwing Christians to the lions? The Romans had served their supposed reason for writing the NT.
Really...we all (non Christians) agree "he" is largely mythical. Bucky and I think there are a few kernels of historical truth in the gospels, and you agree there might be too, so the 3 of us are pretty much on the same playing field. I don't discount the idea he could be 100% mythical either.

Re the throwing of Christians to the lions...a few points...and I'm happy to be corrected here as I'm not really well acquainted with the facts about this
- the extent of the persecution has been exaggerated by modern Christians
-if Nero in 66 CE persecuted any religious figures as a scapegoat for the fire, it wasn't Christians, but Nazarenes, who were Jewish
- it happened only intermittently and in isolated parts of the empire...only on odd occasions was the persecution state policy
-when Christians were persecuted it wasn't because they were Christians as such, but because they obstinately refused to worship the state god
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21-04-2012, 01:35 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
Yeah, there were a lot of self proclaimed messias and there were also a lot of other 'deitIes' and 'demigods' in other and earlier religions since then.
No historian back then ever wrote anything on the figure we now call Jesus or the events around him.

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21-04-2012, 04:07 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
But how did all the story's from the bible suddenly become known to everybody and later to become the religion of Rome and later after that, 2 billion peoples religion?
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21-04-2012, 07:24 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
(21-04-2012 04:07 AM)Magoo Wrote:  But how did all the story's from the bible suddenly become known to everybody and later to become the religion of Rome and later after that, 2 billion peoples religion?


Suddenly ? ... suddenly ? Nothing happened "suddenly"... which step in the chain of events are you suggesting was "sudden" ?

The historical chain of events is well known. You're gonna have to do your own homework. Tongue

There is no "2 billion people's religion". There are 32,000 sects of Christianity, AND every single one of the "2 billion people", has their own take on things. 99.999 % of people on Earth also thought the worls was flat. They were all wrong. What are you trying to say ? (That's the Argumentum ad Populum).

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21-04-2012, 08:56 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
There almost certainly was some deluded rabbi or itinerant preacher type that the myth is based on. Verification from non-biblical sources is problematic.

" Generally speaking, the errors in religion are dangerous; those in philosophy only ridiculous."
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21-04-2012, 08:59 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
If your referring to a living man who was a fairly known preacher of his times, It's possible.

If your referring to the biblical Jesus, No, That is a fairy tale
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21-04-2012, 09:20 AM (This post was last modified: 21-04-2012 09:43 AM by Blood.)
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
(21-04-2012 12:08 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(20-04-2012 08:43 PM)Blood Wrote:  Like I said, I don't think this is an either/or question. All we can do is assess the texts and make hypothetical arguments. My main point is that the mythical Jesus hypothesis shouldn't be dismissed out of hand. I think it was a very real possibility. But excellent arguments are made the other way. There is a huge range of possibilities here, and none of them may be right. We're basically chasing rainbows and smoke rings.

The worst years of the Roman persecution of Christianity came well after the Jewish wars. By that time Christianity was entirely non-Jewish. So what was the purpose of throwing Christians to the lions? The Romans had served their supposed reason for writing the NT.
Really...we all (non Christians) agree "he" is largely mythical. Bucky and I think there are a few kernels of historical truth in the gospels, and you agree there might be too, so the 3 of us are pretty much on the same playing field. I don't discount the idea he could be 100% mythical either.

Re the throwing of Christians to the lions...a few points...and I'm happy to be corrected here as I'm not really well acquainted with the facts about this
- the extent of the persecution has been exaggerated by modern Christians
-if Nero in 66 CE persecuted any religious figures as a scapegoat for the fire, it wasn't Christians, but Nazarenes, who were Jewish
- it happened only intermittently and in isolated parts of the empire...only on odd occasions was the persecution state policy
-when Christians were persecuted it wasn't because they were Christians as such, but because they obstinately refused to worship the state god
On the Nero thing, that is possible, but our source, Tacitus, specifically says "Chrestians." He does not say "Nazarenes."

The severity and brutality of the Diocletianic Persecutions is, AFAIK, well documented.


So again there would have been no need for any of this if the gospels were written by members of the Roman hierarchy to undermine Jewish messianism in Palestine. The Jewish Wars were ancient history by the time of Diocletian.
(21-04-2012 08:56 AM)KidCharlemagne1962 Wrote:  There almost certainly was some deluded rabbi or itinerant preacher type that the myth is based on. Verification from non-biblical sources is problematic.
It's important to recognize that mythology/folklore develops in many different ways.

The best known model is: real person/event becomes tradition, and tradition becomes exaggerated with retelling over time, to the point where the real person/event is buried underneath the accumulated distortions. Voila! You have a myth.

But another model, which also happens, is: mythical person/event becomes tradition, tradition demystifies this entity over time, and eventually the mythical person/event becomes accepted as historical. Voila! You have "history."

#1 is the most common model for explanations of myths so it's perfectly logical that it would be the model used to reconstruct (or deconstruct) the historic Jesus.

#2 (Robin Hood, Prince Hamlet, Ned Ludd, Coriolanus, John Henry, many ancient gods) is ruled out as irrelevant to Jesus. Why? Because, we are constantly told, no one would have invented a crucified Messiah.

This is basically an argument from ignorance. "I can't think of a plausible reason why someone would invent a crucified Messiah, so therefore Jesus has to be historical." And yet the Pauline Epistles constantly glorify the image of Christ crucified. It is the centerpiece of the preacher's entire theology. There is no embarrassment or shame about the Messiah being crucified like a common criminal -- quite the contrary. The idea being that the Messiah was a savior figure who had to be sacrificed (like a Paschal lamb) in order to overcome death for the sins of mankind.

It seems to me, going by the letters, that they had strong reasons to invent and historicize a crucified Messiah. It served the interests of a minor sect trying to wrest control of the scriptures and monotheism away from the Jews.
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21-04-2012, 10:14 AM
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
The thing about Jesus is, it's nothing new.
It was a myth told times before.

Eygpt. Horus (Osiris upon death). Born to the virgin Isis. His birth was accompanied by a star in the east and his birth was adorned by 3 kings. Horus has 12 disciples. He was betrayed and crucified. He was dead for three days before he was resurrected on the third day.
Greece. Attis. Born to a virgin mother on 25th of December. Crucified. Resurrected on the third day of being dead.
India. Krishna. Was born to the virgin Devaki. His birth was signaled by a star in the east, he live and formed miracles with his disciples.Upon his death he was also resurrected.
Greece agin. Dionysus, also knows as "the alpha and omega". Born of a virgin mother on the 25th of December. Formed miracles and upon his death was resurrected upon the third the day.
Persia. Mithra. Born of a virgin mother on the 25th of December. Upon death was resurrected on the third day.

Here is some more, Chrishna of Hindosatn, Budha Sakia of India, Salivahana of Bermuda, Zulies, Zhula, Thor the son of Odin and the list goes on and on.

My point is, Jesus, the guy whose story didn't show up until like 150AD (seriously, how do you keep something like "the son of god" untold for over 100 years????), is exactly that, a story. Every other religion (or almost) had the same story, just a few hundred or thousand years before Jesus.

So do I think Jesus was a real dude? Nope. I do not.

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21-04-2012, 10:26 AM (This post was last modified: 21-04-2012 10:29 AM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Educate me. Was there a Jesus?
(21-04-2012 09:20 AM)Blood Wrote:  So again there would have been no need for any of this if the gospels were written by members of the Roman hierarchy to undermine Jewish messianism in Palestine.

Am trying to see how that would work. Is there evidence any of the gospels, were written that way ? If so, what is it ? Which ones were written by the Romans, and when ? They are all vastly different, stylistically, so vastly different groups of "Romans" would have had to be the editors/authors. Are you saying Thomas, Peter, Judas, Mary Magdalen's gospels were also written by the Romans ? What would be the point of writing something, if the principle people they address, (each different, and well known), can't read, or at the very least, would have no access to the documenmt, in general . Who was "reading" them ? They weren't just laying around at the local library.

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