Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
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15-07-2012, 08:05 AM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
So two questions I have are :

1. We know no one sat around reading gospels. (The literacy rate was about 5%). They were rare, probably locked up, and used only for liturgical services. They were, by definition, propaganda, "proclamational faith documents"... (only) the "good news". For a long while, any given community, (which existed in isolation from all the others), probably had only one, or some, (there were many gospels) and certainly not all of the many gospels. So since they never did "concordance" studies, of them, when was the first time they began to see there were discrepancies ? (Who was the first author to talk about discrepancies, that we know about?)

2. Since there were many gospels, and they were only used for worship by "faithful" worshiping communities, at some point the communities had to make a decision to keep one, and throw another out. How was that decision made exactly ? Are there any records of the process, and the criteria used, that are known exactly, and the arguments that went on to keep one, and not another ?

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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15-07-2012, 01:01 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
I find Bart Ehrman to be very credible on historical matters related to the Bible and Jesus. Here's what he has to say about the existence of a historical jesus. (Apology in advance if this was referenced in the prior thread mentioned by HoC).



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15-07-2012, 02:07 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
The big point in every discussion is that if Jesus existed and was the son of god the Jews would have been all over it from day one.
It would have been the absolute talk of the decade.
MASSIVE amounts of writing would be present.
The Jewish religion would have completely transformed and there never would have been a christian faith.

The old gods are dead, let's invent some new ones before something really bad happens.
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15-07-2012, 02:49 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
Holy crap, it's like hearing an 8 year old argue. "I know everyone in the field" etc "No serious historian believes this". He does no attempt to back up any of his claims and keeps saying you have to "Look at the historical evidence" without mentioning what evidence he's refering to. Exept one, the letters themselves. Which is circular logic. The letters prove their own authenticity.
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16-07-2012, 11:46 AM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(15-07-2012 02:07 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The big point in every discussion is that if Jesus existed and was the son of god the Jews would have been all over it from day one.
It would have been the absolute talk of the decade.
MASSIVE amounts of writing would be present.
The Jewish religion would have completely transformed and there never would have been a christian faith.
At the very least, it's reasonable to expect Hebrew/Aramaic pro-Jesus literature surviving from the relevant periods. "Christianity" should have flourished as a Judaic sect for hundreds of years, with lots of polemic against the heretical Gentile Christianity.

Of course, nothing like this occurred. Instead, we are expected to believe that "Jewish Christianity," after the unprecedented deification of a man as the Messiah, disappeared after 70 AD as "Gentile Christianity" first co-opted the movement, then took it over, then kicked the founders out while changing it completely in the process. Nothing from the original movement survived. As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient!"

The most parsimonious explanation is that there never was an authentically Jewish Jesus movement within Judea. It was a syncretizing of ex-converts from Greek mystery cultus with ex-converts from Judaism (God-fearers), located in places like Asia Minor, Alexandria, and Rome (not Judea). It should now be pretty obvious that the whole Jesus gospel legend was invented as an excuse to steal the religion from the Jews by dehumanizing them.
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16-07-2012, 11:57 AM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(15-07-2012 02:49 PM)sillinde Wrote:  Holy crap, it's like hearing an 8 year old argue. "I know everyone in the field" etc "No serious historian believes this". He does no attempt to back up any of his claims and keeps saying you have to "Look at the historical evidence" without mentioning what evidence he's refering to. Exept one, the letters themselves. Which is circular logic. The letters prove their own authenticity.
There's really only two options on the table if you want to be a NT scholar in the USA:

1. It's all divinely inspired God's word and documents real miracles, etc.
2. It's a human enterprise written by religious groups based on oral tradition, folklore, etc., some of which must be historical.

Self-delusion is the main job criteria for both options. This is obvious for #1, but it is no less true for #2. Ehrman et al. buy into the church evangelists' division of the world into "pagans" on one side and "Jews and Christians" on the other, with supposedly no influence between these cultures. He buys into their idea that other religions are "mythology" while Christianity somehow is not. So when he says Jesus's followers invented a "story" about him being resurrected, that's not a myth you see. It's just a "story."
But when Greeks invented a "story" about Dionysus coming back to like, that's a myth.

And so on. Self-delusion.
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16-07-2012, 12:15 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(16-07-2012 11:57 AM)Blood Wrote:  
(15-07-2012 02:49 PM)sillinde Wrote:  Holy crap, it's like hearing an 8 year old argue. "I know everyone in the field" etc "No serious historian believes this". He does no attempt to back up any of his claims and keeps saying you have to "Look at the historical evidence" without mentioning what evidence he's refering to. Exept one, the letters themselves. Which is circular logic. The letters prove their own authenticity.
There's really only two options on the table if you want to be a NT scholar in the USA:

1. It's all divinely inspired God's word and documents real miracles, etc.
2. It's a human enterprise written by religious groups based on oral tradition, folklore, etc., some of which must be historical.

Self-delusion is the main job criteria for both options. This is obvious for #1, but it is no less true for #2. Ehrman et al. buy into the church evangelists' division of the world into "pagans" on one side and "Jews and Christians" on the other, with supposedly no influence between these cultures. He buys into their idea that other religions are "mythology" while Christianity somehow is not. So when he says Jesus's followers invented a "story" about him being resurrected, that's not a myth you see. It's just a "story."
But when Greeks invented a "story" about Dionysus coming back to like, that's a myth.

And so on. Self-delusion.
I think that's a gross mischaracterization of Ehrman. He is not a Christian; he was, but he isn't.

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16-07-2012, 12:27 PM (This post was last modified: 16-07-2012 08:44 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(16-07-2012 11:46 AM)Blood Wrote:  
(15-07-2012 02:07 PM)Thomas Wrote:  The big point in every discussion is that if Jesus existed and was the son of god the Jews would have been all over it from day one.
It would have been the absolute talk of the decade.
MASSIVE amounts of writing would be present.
The Jewish religion would have completely transformed and there never would have been a christian faith.
At the very least, it's reasonable to expect Hebrew/Aramaic pro-Jesus literature surviving from the relevant periods. "Christianity" should have flourished as a Judaic sect for hundreds of years, with lots of polemic against the heretical Gentile Christianity.

Of course, nothing like this occurred. Instead, we are expected to believe that "Jewish Christianity," after the unprecedented deification of a man as the Messiah, disappeared after 70 AD as "Gentile Christianity" first co-opted the movement, then took it over, then kicked the founders out while changing it completely in the process. Nothing from the original movement survived. As the Church Lady would say, "How convenient!"

The most parsimonious explanation is that there never was an authentically Jewish Jesus movement within Judea. It was a syncretizing of ex-converts from Greek mystery cultus with ex-converts from Judaism (God-fearers), located in places like Asia Minor, Alexandria, and Rome (not Judea). It should now be pretty obvious that the whole Jesus gospel legend was invented as an excuse to steal the religion from the Jews by dehumanizing them.
I disagree. Why would there have to be "literature". What "literature" is there about the many other "sons" of god, who were accorded that title ? There were many. It presupposes his importance. He was NOT unique. By the time the cult gets underway, there is literature from the 50's.
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/index.html
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/surfeit.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Messiah_claimants

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Those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music - Friedrich Nietzsche
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16-07-2012, 09:45 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(15-07-2012 02:49 PM)sillinde Wrote:  Holy crap, it's like hearing an 8 year old argue. "I know everyone in the field" etc "No serious historian believes this". He does no attempt to back up any of his claims and keeps saying you have to "Look at the historical evidence" without mentioning what evidence he's refering to. Exept one, the letters themselves. Which is circular logic. The letters prove their own authenticity.
Bart Ehrman is an "expert historian", which means that when he speaks about what historians think, he knows what he's talking about. He also does cite sources, but not in that clip.

I've heard his evidence for the historical Jesus, and it's perfectly reasonable... it's just that we really can't know. Hell, we don't always know whether modern sources are legit (except I think you can pretty much rule them out as legitimate when they show up on FOX News *wink* *wink*). There are criteria for deciding whether something ancient is worth believing, but they're not perfect.

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16-07-2012, 10:08 PM
RE: Evidence Against A Historical Jesus
(16-07-2012 12:15 PM)Chas Wrote:  
(16-07-2012 11:57 AM)Blood Wrote:  There's really only two options on the table if you want to be a NT scholar in the USA:

1. It's all divinely inspired God's word and documents real miracles, etc.
2. It's a human enterprise written by religious groups based on oral tradition, folklore, etc., some of which must be historical.

Self-delusion is the main job criteria for both options. This is obvious for #1, but it is no less true for #2. Ehrman et al. buy into the church evangelists' division of the world into "pagans" on one side and "Jews and Christians" on the other, with supposedly no influence between these cultures. He buys into their idea that other religions are "mythology" while Christianity somehow is not. So when he says Jesus's followers invented a "story" about him being resurrected, that's not a myth you see. It's just a "story."
But when Greeks invented a "story" about Dionysus coming back to like, that's a myth.

And so on. Self-delusion.
I think that's a gross mischaracterization of Ehrman. He is not a Christian; he was, but he isn't.
Believing that Jesus was a human being who left a positive message is a thoroughly mainstream Christian viewpoint, and even though Ehrman identifies as an agnostic, his perspective on the historical Jesus is virtually the same as non-supernaturalist Christians.

Ehrman still argues very much like a Christian, in that while he recognizes that the gospels stories were not written by historians, he has no choice but to rely on them as historical in broad outline. His perspective is still shaped by church orthodoxy, i.e. there were no "pagans" in the first century. There were hundreds of different, competing religions that interacted with and influenced each other.
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