Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
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14-02-2015, 11:58 PM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(14-02-2015 11:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Why don't we pause and ask ourselves a question. Who did write the original gospels?

Answer… no one knows. There are all sorts of guesses, And they are all very broad such as "Gentile Christians," "Jewish Christians," "Jews living in Alexandria," and others.

I challenge anyone on this forum to state definitively that they know who wrote the gospels. If you're going to categorically deny that it was the government who wrote them, then you at least have to come up with an alternative more plausible hypothesis.

Here we have Atwill saying that he thinks it was the government, and all these people are shooting him off at the kneecaps and accusing him of being an idiot, yes he's making an assumption that is entirely logical. And... they don't know who wrote the gospels.... So are not able to put forward a plausible alternative hypothesis.

There is no good reason to not have a firm suspicion that the gospels were written by the very people that were very good at writing such things... the government bureaucracy. They had the resources and the money to do it. They had control of much of the literature that was in the empire. Consider how they destroyed all messianic Jewish literature (other than the dead sea scrolls).

I have to disagree with this in that the many objections we have are brushed aside, ignored or rationalized by Atwill just like his hypothesis is brushed aside by scholars. You admit there are holes and areas he doesn't address. That's unacceptable.

This isn't like the Big Bang theory where it's the best model available and has been vetted. We don't need to come up with a better hypothesis to refute his, which isn't foolproof.

My current suspicions about the gospels wouldn't be suspicions if they came from one source, because the inconsistencies and contradictions would easily be remedied since the one person writing them would know what he wrote and would be able to compare them.

Plus, the fact that Atwill says they were predated 40 years and circulated along the road as a way of getting the word out doesn't fly with me. There had to have been thousands of Jews who were alive when this Jesus character would have been alive. If there was no Jesus and these gospels all of sudden are presented to these Jews, are you telling me they all of a sudden develop Alzheimer's or amnesia? They would know there was no Jesus. Plus, if they were so persistent and loyal to Yahweh, why would they acquiesce for a story they have no proof of? Threaten them with sanctions and death and they don't whither, but present them with a story they can't confirm and they become putty in Titus' hands? It's just too out there.

When you talk about religious scholars and clergy not taking this seriously because they are fearful of losing their vocation, that's the kind of shit truthers rattle off and sounds desperate. Like I said before, I would like nothing more than for it to be true, but it is just too much twisting for me to agree with it.

Check out my now-defunct atheism blog. It's just a blog, no ads, no revenue, no gods.
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15-02-2015, 12:17 AM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(14-02-2015 11:01 PM)Free Wrote:  
(14-02-2015 10:41 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  I found one review that makes some good points that refute Atwill's ideas.

http://www.tektonics.org/books/csmessrvw.php

Tom Verenna's critique is just awful, full of ad hominems.

This one is full of logical inconsistencies...

http://endthelie.com/2013/10/12/joseph-a...-debunked/

Richard carrier, who I like and respect, gets a number of things wrong in his critique of Atwill too.

This one is just terrible too... we can discuss why if you're interested...

http://blogs.christianpost.com/dear-ephe...ory-18338/


Here is Robert Price on Atwill.

http://www.robertmprice.mindvendor.com/rev_atwill.htm

Mark ... Atwill is a fucking scam artist trying to make a few bucks on the Jesus issue.

Price writes...
"First, we are to accept a common, if committee, authorship of Matthew, Mark, Luke John, and Josephus’ The Jewish War. The whole idea seems, well, absurd. There is way, way, too much else in any and all of the gospel texts that cannot be dismissed (really, neglected) as mere padding, ballast, which is all it would be if Atwill is right. (“All of Jesus’ ministry was about the coming war with Rome and was designed to establish Jesus as Titus’ forerunner” p. 260.) Are we to dismiss the diverse, systematic, and subtle theological nuances disclosed by Redaction Criticism? Are all the patterns disclosed by Conzelmann, for instance, to be dismissed as optical illusions in order to justify Atwill?"

I think he has a point here. Atwill does not admit that the gospels were interpolated and edited for centuries after they were first written.

As to the subtle theological nuances that Price talks about, I would not know. I personally never noticed. I may be just ignorant, but when I read the gospels I find them incredibly basic, pathetic and ridiculous. If there are "theological nuances" in them they could have been put there by anyone at any time.

Price has a point here…
"Can we imagine that Josephus wrote consciously intending that his audience should meticulously compare his text with that of the gospels, and vice versa, for either to make sense? Atwill grants the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum, which even apologists cannot seem to swallow without trimming away the most obviously Christian gristle. He thinks the only reason scholars have dismissed it as an interpolation is that they think it fails to fit into the context, which, however, it does, according to his esoteric reading."

The testimonium Flavum is so obviously an interpolation he's stretching his credibility by claiming it was actually written by Josephus.

Price writes...
"There are indeed surprising parallels between Josephus and the gospels that traditional exegesis has never been able to deal with adequately, but surely the more natural theory is the old one, that the gospel writers wrote late enough to have borrowed from Josephus and did so."

Ah! Here we have an interesting admission. Price thinks that the original Gospel writers did use Josephus as a source. So forget Atwill for a minute... this is the really interesting thing… that the authors used the official government historian as a primary source. Surely this is some circumstantial evidence that the gospels may have been written by the government.

Price writes
"What about the Roman-tilting anti-Judaism (maybe anti-Semitism) of the gospels? Again, the old explanations are quite natural and adequate: we are reading the documents of Gentile Christianity which viewed itself as superseding Judaism and Jewish Christianity. Why do their authors seem to kiss the Roman posterior? For apologetical reasons, to avoid persecution. Brandon, Eisler, and others saw that long ago. One need hardly posit that the gospels are cynical Roman (not merely pro-Roman) propaganda a la Reuchlin and Atwill."

I don't buy this for one minute. The Gospel writers were kissing the Roman ass because the Gospel writers were kissing the Roman ass. To suggest that the authors of the gospels were frightened of the Roman world is ridiculous, they were part of the Roman world.

Price writes...
"According to Atwill, “the reader needs to comprehend perhaps the most complex literary satire ever written” (p. 169). But Atwill’s envisioned satire seems so complex as to be incoherent. “Jesus” stands not only for Tiberius but also for a hypothetical Zealot leader named Eleazar, who also appears in the New Testament as Lazarus. Mary Magdalene stands for several different women, “Mary” being, Atwill guesses, a term for any female Jewish rebel or sympathizer. Simon Peter and Peter are not the same, either. The two gospel genealogies, a la Rudolf Steiner, represent two distinct Jesuses. In Atwill’s hands, everything means everything else. And, in the end, you know what that means."

I agree with Price here. Atwill gets unnecessarily complicated at times, and at other times he's overly imaginative. That doesn't mean that the basic thrust of his theory is flawed.
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15-02-2015, 02:18 AM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2015 06:37 AM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(14-02-2015 11:58 PM)WillHopp Wrote:  
(14-02-2015 11:36 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Why don't we pause and ask ourselves a question. Who did write the original gospels?

Answer… no one knows. There are all sorts of guesses, And they are all very broad such as "Gentile Christians," "Jewish Christians," "Jews living in Alexandria," and others.

I challenge anyone on this forum to state definitively that they know who wrote the gospels. If you're going to categorically deny that it was the government who wrote them, then you at least have to come up with an alternative more plausible hypothesis.

Here we have Atwill saying that he thinks it was the government, and all these people are shooting him off at the kneecaps and accusing him of being an idiot, yes he's making an assumption that is entirely logical. And... they don't know who wrote the gospels.... So are not able to put forward a plausible alternative hypothesis.

There is no good reason to not have a firm suspicion that the gospels were written by the very people that were very good at writing such things... the government bureaucracy. They had the resources and the money to do it. They had control of much of the literature that was in the empire. Consider how they destroyed all messianic Jewish literature (other than the dead sea scrolls).

I have to disagree with this in that the many objections we have are brushed aside, ignored or rationalized by Atwill just like his hypothesis is brushed aside by scholars. You admit there are holes and areas he doesn't address. That's unacceptable.

This isn't like the Big Bang theory where it's the best model available and has been vetted. We don't need to come up with a better hypothesis to refute his, which isn't foolproof.

My current suspicions about the gospels wouldn't be suspicions if they came from one source, because the inconsistencies and contradictions would easily be remedied since the one person writing them would know what he wrote and would be able to compare them.

Plus, the fact that Atwill says they were predated 40 years and circulated along the road as a way of getting the word out doesn't fly with me. There had to have been thousands of Jews who were alive when this Jesus character would have been alive. If there was no Jesus and these gospels all of sudden are presented to these Jews, are you telling me they all of a sudden develop Alzheimer's or amnesia? They would know there was no Jesus. Plus, if they were so persistent and loyal to Yahweh, why would they acquiesce for a story they have no proof of? Threaten them with sanctions and death and they don't whither, but present them with a story they can't confirm and they become putty in Titus' hands? It's just too out there.

When you talk about religious scholars and clergy not taking this seriously because they are fearful of losing their vocation, that's the kind of shit truthers rattle off and sounds desperate. Like I said before, I would like nothing more than for it to be true, but it is just too much twisting for me to agree with it.

Re "There had to have been thousands of Jews who were alive when this Jesus character would have been alive. If there was no Jesus and these gospels all of sudden are presented to these Jews, are you telling me they all of a sudden develop Alzheimer's or amnesia? They would know there was no Jesus."

Don't forget we are talking about an era in which there was no mass media and in which most people could not read or write. It wouldn't have mattered whether there was a real Jesus or not. Don't forget the Jewish society had been devastated by the war, particularly in Jerusalem. The few Jews who might have known the real Jesus were in no state to argue.

I happen to think that it is possible that there was a real historical Jesus and that he was a political insurgent who tried to start a war with Rome. Atwill doesn't say much about this but he thinks there could have been a real Jesus too. Come to think of it that disagrees with what some of the other commentators in his own video have said. Atwill acknowledges that it is possible the Jesus character may have been a real individual, who he too thinks was a militaristic zealot. It is not hard to imagine Jewish and Roman intellectuals deciding to use the memory of a political activist crucified under Pontius Pilate roughly forty years earlier as part of a very tall tale. It is a clever ploy to mix a little truth into an account to make it appear more legitimate.

The Nazarenes of the late first century still thought highly of their hero Yeshua, and they were significant players in the events prior to the first Jewish war, so the Gospels could also have been deliberately written to undermine their story about Yeshua. It is possible that the Gospels’ original authors used details about Yeshua sourced from the Gospel of the Nazarenes, and deliberately turned the story of a brave wannabe Messiah into a pro-Roman pacifist. If this happened, Titus turned Yeshua into Jesus, and Jesus was really Titus.

Re "When you talk about religious scholars and clergy not taking this seriously because they are fearful of losing their vocation, that's the kind of shit truthers rattle off and sounds desperate."

I don't think what I am saying is "shit." People who make a living out of peddling woo are bound to automatically disregard anything that contradicts that woo.
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15-02-2015, 10:19 AM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
But I'm not saying there was a real Jesus. What I'm saying is, these contemporary Jews would have scoffed at these gospels upon hearing them if Jesus was made up by Titus. They lived there, they were around when these miracles and stories would have happened. But since, according to Atwill, these gospels and Jesus were a fabrication, these Jews, upon hearing there was a savior who performed miracles right under their noses, would not have believed that. These were people who swore by oral tradition and its accuracy. No amount of war or devastation makes them forget the past.

As for my "shit" statement, I just meant it's a huge brush stroke you're painting there without any real evidence. Are there any instances where religions accepted facts that contradict the bible, such as the Catholics accepting evolution, which they do?

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15-02-2015, 12:14 PM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
Quote:b) Should we ignore Tacitus who shows us that Nero was persecuting the Christians a decade before the AD 70s?

Yes.

http://carrington-arts.com/cliff/Nero.htm

Quote:According to Tacitus, alone, Nero blamed the Christians for the fire in Rome. Annals, XV. This passage is not referred to in any other pagan, nor Christian writings until 400 CE. The Fantastic details of the sufferings of the Christians - dressed in animal hides and torn apart by dogs, crucified, and used as human torches - fits the pornographic masochistic obsession of the early Church. The sordid details of flesh torn and blood copiously shed is repulsive to the modern mind. For some reason the early Church wallowed in graphic descriptions of virgins violated and gored to death by bulls, old men crucified suffering horrific tortures and not to mention the over-fed lions of the Colosseum.

And, when an inkling of the passage appears in the early 5th century it is in the writing of Sulpicius Severus who does not cite Tacitus as a source and does not include all the alleged biographical details of Christus.

http://www.textexcavation.com/tacitustestimonium.html

Quote:In the meantime, the number of the Christians being now very large, it happened that Rome was destroyed by fire while Nero was stationed at Antium. But the opinion of all cast the odium of causing the fire upon the emperor, and the emperor was believed in this way to have sought for the glory of building a new city. And in fact, Nero could not by any means that he tried escape from the charge that the fire had been caused by his orders. He therefore turned the accusation against the Christians, and the most cruel tortures were accordingly inflicted upon the innocent. Nay, even new kinds of death were invented, so that, being covered in the skins of wild beasts, they perished by being devoured by dogs, while many were crucified or slain by fire, and not a few were set apart for this purpose, that, when the day came to a close, they should be consumed to serve for light during the night. It was in this way that cruelty first began to be manifested against the Christians. Afterward, too, their religion was prohibited by laws which were given, and by edicts openly set forth it was proclaimed unlawful to be a Christian. At that time Paul and Peter were condemned to capital punishment, of whom the one was beheaded with a sword, while Peter suffered crucifixion.

No Christos. No Pilate. No Tiberius. Further, when examined under ultraviolet light the sole manuscript of Tacitus shows that the word was "Chrestianos" (follower of Chrestus) not Christianos (follower of Christ) and was edited by some unknown xtian scribe who probably thought he was correcting the spelling.

A second reason to dismiss the hyperbole of Tacitus is the "multitude of xtians" bullshit. There are no xtian catacombs in first century Rome. There are jewish catacombs. That "multitude" would have had to be buried somewhere!

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15-02-2015, 01:11 PM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(14-02-2015 11:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(14-02-2015 10:59 PM)Free Wrote:  Here's just one very obvious example:

Atwill claims that Christianity was created in the late 70s. So here's your "b, c & d."

b) Should we ignore Tacitus who shows us that Nero was persecuting the Christians a decade before the AD 70s?

c) It's virtually unanimous that most if not all of the letters attributed to Paul were written as far back as the AD 50s.

d) Atwill claims that Gospels and Josephus were created by the Flavians, while ignoring the fact that there is no Roman history of this, no Jewish history of this, no Christian history of this, and nobody in antiquity ever mentions this at all.

Ok, thanks for replying.

As to your point B and C… no one knows if the comments made by Tacitus in the early second century were genuine or not.

No one has ever even adequately disputed it. People say lots of things, and bring many questions about it, but every last argument against it utterly fails to bring a single stitch of evidence to dispute authenticity.

I have seen all the arguments, and all miserably fail. No one- not Carrier, Price, or any proponent for Mythicism- has ever brought a single stitch of evidence to dispute Tacitus.

I find it exceptionally suspicious of those who claim this particular passage regarding Christ and the Christians to be not genuine, yet have no problem accepting that the rest of this massive book to be genuine.

This unwarranted suspicion reeks of ulterior motives, demonstrating extreme bias all in the name of militant atheism.

Quote:I think there was talk of a Christ long before the gospels were written. I agree with you that Paul wrote before the gospels and before the Flavians and before the first Jewish War. People assume Paul was writing about Jesus but that is one really big assumption.

We've been down this road before, Mark. The assumption about an assumption here is all yours. You, and others like you, are trying to create a Christ Myth theory that falls a great distance short of reality. Paul's letters demonstrate ad nausium that he knows Jesus was a human being, was regarded as Christ, and was crucified.

Your Christ Myth theory is absolutely untenable.


Quote:Paul was writing about a Christ. I strongly suspect that Paul's Christ and Jesus were only merged together early in the second century. In the past I have rabbeted on about this ad nauseam on this forum. So there is little doubt that a type of Christianity did exist before the gospels were written, but it was one that knew nothing of Jesus (who was created in the gospels).

You have stated this before, but didn't provide any evidence at all to support this hypothesis. You cannot use your other hypothesis regarding your idea of Paul's Christ to support this hypothesis when neither hypothesis can be demonstrated as tenable. That's like stacking one unproven claim upon another, but at the end of the day, nothing has been demonstrated to be true.

Quote:What I have just written above would make sense of the fact that outside the gospels there is no first century Biblical author that talks about the miracles or the sayings or the life of Jesus. All they talk about is a crucified and resurrected Christ as per Paul.

See, you are speaking of the embellishment of a historical figure in regards to Jesus. Of course it doesn't work when you look at it from that perspective. But when we look at Jesus as but a mere man who got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and who's followers then went out and fabricated a bunch of bullshit about him, your entire position looks silly from a strictly historical perspective.

Quote:As to point D, it was never a common knowledge. It was meant to be a secret. The deception wouldn't have worked if it was common knowledge.

And you somehow think that everybody in ancient history- Romans, Jews, Christians, et al, could all be left in the dark about this supposed conspiracy?

Aside from the fact that there is not a single stitch of evidence whatsoever to support this laughable conspiracy theory, to expect an entire civilization to have absolutely no record of anything about this is stretching it to crazy proportions.

Quote:Yes it is guesswork on Atwill's part. Yet it is an educated guess with a lot of circumstantial evidence. Consider the following. No one knows for sure who originally wrote the fucking gospels. All the evangelical types and all the historians are all guessing. Atwill is just another historian having a good guess. So he is no more "wacky" than all the others.

No, he doesn't even have circumstantial evidence. He makes it up. He reads into it and pulls out of it something so implausible as to not be tenable.

Just because he can demonstrate a 1% possibility to something by no means makes it plausible or tenable.

It makes it ridiculous.

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15-02-2015, 01:36 PM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2015 01:40 PM by Free.)
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(15-02-2015 12:14 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote:b) Should we ignore Tacitus who shows us that Nero was persecuting the Christians a decade before the AD 70s?

Yes.

http://carrington-arts.com/cliff/Nero.htm

No. Carrington is a fucking joke. No one takes him seriously.



Quote:According to Tacitus, alone, Nero blamed the Christians for the fire in Rome. Annals, XV. This passage is not referred to in any other pagan, nor Christian writings until 400 CE. The Fantastic details of the sufferings of the Christians - dressed in animal hides and torn apart by dogs, crucified, and used as human torches - fits the pornographic masochistic obsession of the early Church. The sordid details of flesh torn and blood copiously shed is repulsive to the modern mind. For some reason the early Church wallowed in graphic descriptions of virgins violated and gored to death by bulls, old men crucified suffering horrific tortures and not to mention the over-fed lions of the Colosseum.

This one shoots himself in the foot. First he says "Tacitus alone," then shows other historical records existed some 275 years later.

Not only that, the author utterly fails to cite his sources for this hypothesis. He proposes a hypothesis, contradicts himself, and then makes a bunch of shit up regarding the Christian church.

Fucking retarded.

Quote:And, when an inkling of the passage appears in the early 5th century it is in the writing of Sulpicius Severus who does not cite Tacitus as a source and does not include all the alleged biographical details of Christus.

http://www.textexcavation.com/tacitustestimonium.html

That's because Tacitus was not the source. It has nothing to do with anything Tacitus wrote. It describes the impending destruction of the temple, and how destroying the temple could destroy the Jewish and Christian religions.

It is simply yet another source to advance historicity.



Quote: Further, when examined under ultraviolet light the sole manuscript of Tacitus shows that the word was "Chrestianos" (follower of Chrestus) not Christianos (follower of Christ) and was edited by some unknown xtian scribe who probably thought he was correcting the spelling.

And this has to mean that there was a nefarious purpose to this rather than a spelling correction? Why does it need to be something diabolical?

Obviously, since we have the word "Christus" in the same text, the spelling correction from "Chestianos" to "Christianos" is a natural correction. After all, it would be quite fucking silly to think that Chrestians got their name from "Christus" as the text so clearly states, especially if the Chestianos belonged to some other sect.

Quote:A second reason to dismiss the hyperbole of Tacitus is the "multitude of xtians" bullshit. There are no xtian catacombs in first century Rome. There are jewish catacombs. That "multitude" would have had to be buried somewhere!

Christians and Jews in the 1st century were virtually indistinguishable. The first Christians were all Jews, for fuck sakes.

Where the fuck does this bullshit come from?

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15-02-2015, 03:39 PM
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(15-02-2015 01:11 PM)Free Wrote:  
(14-02-2015 11:13 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Ok, thanks for replying.

As to your point B and C… no one knows if the comments made by Tacitus in the early second century were genuine or not.

No one has ever even adequately disputed it. People say lots of things, and bring many questions about it, but every last argument against it utterly fails to bring a single stitch of evidence to dispute authenticity.

I have seen all the arguments, and all miserably fail. No one- not Carrier, Price, or any proponent for Mythicism- has ever brought a single stitch of evidence to dispute Tacitus.

I find it exceptionally suspicious of those who claim this particular passage regarding Christ and the Christians to be not genuine, yet have no problem accepting that the rest of this massive book to be genuine.

This unwarranted suspicion reeks of ulterior motives, demonstrating extreme bias all in the name of militant atheism.

Quote:I think there was talk of a Christ long before the gospels were written. I agree with you that Paul wrote before the gospels and before the Flavians and before the first Jewish War. People assume Paul was writing about Jesus but that is one really big assumption.

We've been down this road before, Mark. The assumption about an assumption here is all yours. You, and others like you, are trying to create a Christ Myth theory that falls a great distance short of reality. Paul's letters demonstrate ad nausium that he knows Jesus was a human being, was regarded as Christ, and was crucified.

Your Christ Myth theory is absolutely untenable.


Quote:Paul was writing about a Christ. I strongly suspect that Paul's Christ and Jesus were only merged together early in the second century. In the past I have rabbeted on about this ad nauseam on this forum. So there is little doubt that a type of Christianity did exist before the gospels were written, but it was one that knew nothing of Jesus (who was created in the gospels).

You have stated this before, but didn't provide any evidence at all to support this hypothesis. You cannot use your other hypothesis regarding your idea of Paul's Christ to support this hypothesis when neither hypothesis can be demonstrated as tenable. That's like stacking one unproven claim upon another, but at the end of the day, nothing has been demonstrated to be true.

Quote:What I have just written above would make sense of the fact that outside the gospels there is no first century Biblical author that talks about the miracles or the sayings or the life of Jesus. All they talk about is a crucified and resurrected Christ as per Paul.

See, you are speaking of the embellishment of a historical figure in regards to Jesus. Of course it doesn't work when you look at it from that perspective. But when we look at Jesus as but a mere man who got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and who's followers then went out and fabricated a bunch of bullshit about him, your entire position looks silly from a strictly historical perspective.

Quote:As to point D, it was never a common knowledge. It was meant to be a secret. The deception wouldn't have worked if it was common knowledge.

And you somehow think that everybody in ancient history- Romans, Jews, Christians, et al, could all be left in the dark about this supposed conspiracy?

Aside from the fact that there is not a single stitch of evidence whatsoever to support this laughable conspiracy theory, to expect an entire civilization to have absolutely no record of anything about this is stretching it to crazy proportions.

Quote:Yes it is guesswork on Atwill's part. Yet it is an educated guess with a lot of circumstantial evidence. Consider the following. No one knows for sure who originally wrote the fucking gospels. All the evangelical types and all the historians are all guessing. Atwill is just another historian having a good guess. So he is no more "wacky" than all the others.

No, he doesn't even have circumstantial evidence. He makes it up. He reads into it and pulls out of it something so implausible as to not be tenable.

Just because he can demonstrate a 1% possibility to something by no means makes it plausible or tenable.

It makes it ridiculous.

Re "You have stated this before, but didn't provide any evidence at all to support this hypothesis."

The following is some of the evidence that Paul's Christ was not Jesus. I will provide more if you're interested.

Paul Knew Almost Nothing of Jesus
“Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ…Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known…Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.”
(Will Durant)

Most Christians incorrectly assume Paul was restating Jesus’ teachings. Yet Paul never claimed he was inspired or influenced by Jesus or Jesus’ disciples. Paul held his messages came from God and were about his Christ. They were not from the Jesus in the Gospels, who was someone else.

Paul’s Christ was not the wise teacher full of parables and anecdotes the modern reader knows from the Gospels. Amazingly, today’s Gospel reader seems to know more about “Jesus” than Paul did!

Paul wrote,
“Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now” (2 Cor. 5:16, NJB.)

What an extraordinary statement! It only begins to make sense if we realize that Paul was only interested in the idea of a resurrected spirit, his Christ figurehead. A “once human” Jesus, someone with a personality and ideas, was never a topic Paul was comfortable discussing.

Someone passing himself off as Paul wrote that “Christ” was a mystery, one that he had a particularly good understanding of:
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4, KJV,) and
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Col. 4:3, KJV.)

Paul did not give a fig tree about the details of Jesus’ life, family, miracles or Jesus’ teachings. The only facts about Christ that mattered to Paul were that a Christ was crucified and resurrected. Paul rambled on and on about the supposed significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, not about the details of Jesus’ life.

Consider Galatians:
“Then god who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have just written is the literal truth” (Gal. 1:15–20, NJB.)

After God “called” Paul, Paul more or less snubbed Yeshua’s family and supporters by shooting off to Arabia for three years. If Paul had thought Yeshua was the Son of God, surely he would have jolted to Jerusalem to meet James, Jesus’ brother, and Peter and Mary, two of Jesus’ close associates. Should not Paul have been anxious to meet the other Mary, Yeshua’s mum, the mother of God? Yet Paul very obviously was not. Something more important enticed him to Arabia. Three years later, Paul visited Jerusalem again, and there is definitely something very odd about the way Paul casually downplays the fact that he met James, Yeshua’s brother and Cephas, who was one of Yeshua’s disciples.

In all his writings Paul did not express any pleasure or awe in associating with Yeshua’s family or followers. Nor did Paul ever document what they had to say about Jesus. This is strong circumstantial evidence that Yeshua never was Paul’s Christ.

The Gospel stories are sadly short of genuine historical facts about Jesus, as they were written by no one is sure whom, by people who had no known connection to Yeshua. Things could have been different. Paul, who was educated and literate, could have saved much of the painstaking guesswork of historians over the last three hundred years (Jesus’ historicity has only been seriously studied in this time) by jotting down some facts about Jesus as related by Yeshua’s family and disciples. Paul should have outshone the Gospels and made them redundant. He did not. Instead, Paul wrote about things he thought were important: his own Christ, and his own ethics.

This was not a deliberate omission on Paul’s part; he was obviously totally unaware that people in the future might care to know about Yeshua. Interestingly, the author of the epistle of James, who may have been Jesus’ brother, also neglected to document a single fact about Jesus in his letter. Neither Paul nor James knew Jesus was going to become a hero-figure - because the Gospels had not been written yet, so Jesus’ status as a legendary character had not yet been created.

Who then, was Paul’s Christ? It was someone who Paul thought had existed in heaven since the beginning of time, yet revealed to the world via Paul’s own peculiar interpretation of Jewish Scripture. In the Gentile world of the time there was competition from many dying and rising gods such as Mithras. Those gods often did not have a mortal life that was remembered, just like Paul’s Christ. It was only the myth of them dying and rising again that gave them significance, just like Paul’s Christ. Paul’s Christ, real identity uncertain, appears to have been a Judaic myth invented to compete with these other cults.

The idea that Paul’s Christ would one day be equated with Yeshua was probably never on Paul’s radar.

It is true that “Paul” mentions “Jesus” many times, yet “Jesus” may have been edited into Paul’s writings, where he had written only “Christ.” I cannot prove this happened, yet it is a distinct possibility given that there was a culture that encouraged “pious fraud” amongst Christians in the second, third and fourth centuries. Or, it could be that Paul was using the (very common) name to represent a spirit, not a person. The author of 1 Tim 6; 13 wrote that Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus, yet this was not written by Paul, but by someone writing many years later in his name. “Paul” does talk about what Christ allegedly said on the night he was betrayed, in the first letter to the Corinthians, but this whole passage is unique in that regard and therefore it too is suspiciously “unPauline.”

Most Christians who become aware of Paul’s lack of commentary on Jesus are perplexed, and with good reason. The almost complete absence of descriptions of Jesus in Paul’s writing undermines the account about Jesus’ activities in the Gospels. If Yeshua had been an inspiring, miracle working individual, someone with real feelings, empathy for his fellows, and charisma, who preached wise anecdotes that had so impressed his disciples and the crowds, Paul would have documented it, and he did not.

Outside of Jewish scripture Paul only ever acknowledged one source of wisdom—himself.

Just who Paul thought his Christ was is a difficult concept to grasp, and maybe it is not worth spending too much time on. It is worth remembering that the sources of Paul’s ideas are obscure; that Paul’s writings have been tampered with, and that original meaning is often lost in translations. Further complications are introduced by realizing that the Jesus stories we know so well only finished being cobbled together in the fourth century, and that Paul had never read them.
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15-02-2015, 03:58 PM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2015 04:16 PM by Free.)
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
(15-02-2015 03:39 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(15-02-2015 01:11 PM)Free Wrote:  No one has ever even adequately disputed it. People say lots of things, and bring many questions about it, but every last argument against it utterly fails to bring a single stitch of evidence to dispute authenticity.

I have seen all the arguments, and all miserably fail. No one- not Carrier, Price, or any proponent for Mythicism- has ever brought a single stitch of evidence to dispute Tacitus.

I find it exceptionally suspicious of those who claim this particular passage regarding Christ and the Christians to be not genuine, yet have no problem accepting that the rest of this massive book to be genuine.

This unwarranted suspicion reeks of ulterior motives, demonstrating extreme bias all in the name of militant atheism.


We've been down this road before, Mark. The assumption about an assumption here is all yours. You, and others like you, are trying to create a Christ Myth theory that falls a great distance short of reality. Paul's letters demonstrate ad nausium that he knows Jesus was a human being, was regarded as Christ, and was crucified.

Your Christ Myth theory is absolutely untenable.



You have stated this before, but didn't provide any evidence at all to support this hypothesis. You cannot use your other hypothesis regarding your idea of Paul's Christ to support this hypothesis when neither hypothesis can be demonstrated as tenable. That's like stacking one unproven claim upon another, but at the end of the day, nothing has been demonstrated to be true.


See, you are speaking of the embellishment of a historical figure in regards to Jesus. Of course it doesn't work when you look at it from that perspective. But when we look at Jesus as but a mere man who got his ass handed to him by the Romans, and who's followers then went out and fabricated a bunch of bullshit about him, your entire position looks silly from a strictly historical perspective.


And you somehow think that everybody in ancient history- Romans, Jews, Christians, et al, could all be left in the dark about this supposed conspiracy?

Aside from the fact that there is not a single stitch of evidence whatsoever to support this laughable conspiracy theory, to expect an entire civilization to have absolutely no record of anything about this is stretching it to crazy proportions.


No, he doesn't even have circumstantial evidence. He makes it up. He reads into it and pulls out of it something so implausible as to not be tenable.

Just because he can demonstrate a 1% possibility to something by no means makes it plausible or tenable.

It makes it ridiculous.

Re "You have stated this before, but didn't provide any evidence at all to support this hypothesis."

The following is some of the evidence that Paul's Christ was not Jesus. I will provide more if you're interested.

Paul Knew Almost Nothing of Jesus
“Paul created a theology of which none but the vaguest warrants can be found in the words of Christ…Through these interpretations Paul could neglect the actual life and sayings of Jesus, which he had not directly known…Paul replaced conduct with creed as the test of virtue. It was a tragic change.”

This does absolutely nothing to dispute that Paul knew that Jesus was a human being.


Quote:Most Christians incorrectly assume Paul was restating Jesus’ teachings. Yet Paul never claimed he was inspired or influenced by Jesus or Jesus’ disciples. Paul held his messages came from God and were about his Christ. They were not from the Jesus in the Gospels, who was someone else.

Again, this in no way disputes that Paul knew that Jesus was a human being.

Quote:Paul’s Christ was not the wise teacher full of parables and anecdotes the modern reader knows from the Gospels. Amazingly, today’s Gospel reader seems to know more about “Jesus” than Paul did!

And again, does not dispute the fact that Paul's based his theology squarely on the back of Jesus of Nazareth.

Quote:Paul wrote,
“Even if we did once know Christ in the flesh, that is not how we know him now” (2 Cor. 5:16, NJB.)

What an extraordinary statement! It only begins to make sense if we realize that Paul was only interested in the idea of a resurrected spirit, his Christ figurehead. A “once human” Jesus, someone with a personality and ideas, was never a topic Paul was comfortable discussing.

And again, still nothing here to dispute the fact that Paul based his entire theology squarely on the back of Jesus of Nazarerth.

Quote:Someone passing himself off as Paul wrote that “Christ” was a mystery, one that he had a particularly good understanding of:
“Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ” (Eph. 3:4, KJV,) and
“Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds” (Col. 4:3, KJV.)

Paul did not give a fig tree about the details of Jesus’ life, family, miracles or Jesus’ teachings. The only facts about Christ that mattered to Paul were that a Christ was crucified and resurrected. Paul rambled on and on about the supposed significance of Christ’s death and resurrection, not about the details of Jesus’ life.

And again, still nothing here to dispute the fact that Paul based his entire theology squarely on the back of Jesus of Nazarerth.


Quote:Consider Galatians:
“Then god who had specially chosen me while I was still in my mother’s womb, called me through his grace and chose to reveal his son in me, so that I might preach the Good News about him to the pagans. I did not stop to discuss this with any human being nor did I go up to Jerusalem to see those who were already apostles before me, but I went off to Arabia at once and later went straight back from there to Damascus. Even when after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and stayed with him for fifteen days, I did not see any of the other apostles; I only saw James, the brother of the Lord, and I swear before God that what I have just written is the literal truth” (Gal. 1:15–20, NJB.)

After God “called” Paul, Paul more or less snubbed Yeshua’s family and supporters by shooting off to Arabia for three years. If Paul had thought Yeshua was the Son of God, surely he would have jolted to Jerusalem to meet James, Jesus’ brother, and Peter and Mary, two of Jesus’ close associates. Should not Paul have been anxious to meet the other Mary, Yeshua’s mum, the mother of God? Yet Paul very obviously was not. Something more important enticed him to Arabia. Three years later, Paul visited Jerusalem again, and there is definitely something very odd about the way Paul casually downplays the fact that he met James, Yeshua’s brother and Cephas, who was one of Yeshua’s disciples.

In all his writings Paul did not express any pleasure or awe in associating with Yeshua’s family or followers. Nor did Paul ever document what they had to say about Jesus. This is strong circumstantial evidence that Yeshua never was Paul’s Christ.

The Gospel stories are sadly short of genuine historical facts about Jesus, as they were written by no one is sure whom, by people who had no known connection to Yeshua. Things could have been different. Paul, who was educated and literate, could have saved much of the painstaking guesswork of historians over the last three hundred years (Jesus’ historicity has only been seriously studied in this time) by jotting down some facts about Jesus as related by Yeshua’s family and disciples. Paul should have outshone the Gospels and made them redundant. He did not. Instead, Paul wrote about things he thought were important: his own Christ, and his own ethics.

This was not a deliberate omission on Paul’s part; he was obviously totally unaware that people in the future might care to know about Yeshua. Interestingly, the author of the epistle of James, who may have been Jesus’ brother, also neglected to document a single fact about Jesus in his letter. Neither Paul nor James knew Jesus was going to become a hero-figure - because the Gospels had not been written yet, so Jesus’ status as a legendary character had not yet been created.

Who then, was Paul’s Christ? It was someone who Paul thought had existed in heaven since the beginning of time, yet revealed to the world via Paul’s own peculiar interpretation of Jewish Scripture. In the Gentile world of the time there was competition from many dying and rising gods such as Mithras. Those gods often did not have a mortal life that was remembered, just like Paul’s Christ. It was only the myth of them dying and rising again that gave them significance, just like Paul’s Christ. Paul’s Christ, real identity uncertain, appears to have been a Judaic myth invented to compete with these other cults.

The idea that Paul’s Christ would one day be equated with Yeshua was probably never on Paul’s radar.

It is true that “Paul” mentions “Jesus” many times, yet “Jesus” may have been edited into Paul’s writings, where he had written only “Christ.” I cannot prove this happened, yet it is a distinct possibility given that there was a culture that encouraged “pious fraud” amongst Christians in the second, third and fourth centuries. Or, it could be that Paul was using the (very common) name to represent a spirit, not a person. The author of 1 Tim 6; 13 wrote that Pontius Pilate crucified Jesus, yet this was not written by Paul, but by someone writing many years later in his name. “Paul” does talk about what Christ allegedly said on the night he was betrayed, in the first letter to the Corinthians, but this whole passage is unique in that regard and therefore it too is suspiciously “unPauline.”

Most Christians who become aware of Paul’s lack of commentary on Jesus are perplexed, and with good reason. The almost complete absence of descriptions of Jesus in Paul’s writing undermines the account about Jesus’ activities in the Gospels. If Yeshua had been an inspiring, miracle working individual, someone with real feelings, empathy for his fellows, and charisma, who preached wise anecdotes that had so impressed his disciples and the crowds, Paul would have documented it, and he did not.

Outside of Jewish scripture Paul only ever acknowledged one source of wisdom—himself.

Just who Paul thought his Christ was is a difficult concept to grasp, and maybe it is not worth spending too much time on. It is worth remembering that the sources of Paul’s ideas are obscure; that Paul’s writings have been tampered with, and that original meaning is often lost in translations. Further complications are introduced by realizing that the Jesus stories we know so well only finished being cobbled together in the fourth century, and that Paul had never read them.

Nothing you have said above does anything at all to dispute the fact that Paul based his theology on Jesus of Nazareth.

Mark, you need to understand the difference between a hypothesis, and actual history. You have a hypothesis that completely fails to acknowledge the history that surrounds this Jesus of Nazareth. Just because Paul viewed Christ from his own theological perspective in no way whatsoever does anything at all to contest the evidence within his own letters- the same letters you are using for this hypothesis- that Paul knew that Jesus was a human being who had been crucified.

I mean like, here's just a few things that utterly tear your hypothesis to bits:

Quote:Rom_1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, a called apostle, separated to the gospel of God

Rom_1:6 among whom you also are the called-out ones of Jesus Christ:

Rom_1:7 to all those who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the 3 quotes above, Paul clearly identified Jesus as being the Christ.

Quote:1Co_1:23 but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block, and to the Greeks foolishness.

1Co_2:2 For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

And in the quote above, he shows that this very same man, Jesus called Christ, was crucified.

Quote:Rom_5:15 but the free gift shall not be also like the offense. For if by the offense of the one many died, much more the grace of God, and the gift in grace; which is of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abounded to many.

Rom_1:3 about His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord, who was made of the seed of David according to the flesh,

And here we have Paul clearly describing his Jesus Christ as being a fleshly man.

Hence, there is no other logical conclusion other than that Paul's Christ was based upon an actual man named Jesus, who was crucified.

Occam's Razor rules here.

How the fuck can you intellectually honestly ignore this?

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15-02-2015, 04:39 PM (This post was last modified: 15-02-2015 04:43 PM by Minimalist.)
RE: Full version of Joseph Atwill's Documentary
Quote:No. Carrington is a fucking joke. No one takes him seriously.

Really? Then where are all the listings of ancient writers who did quote that passage in Tacitus? I haven't seen them.

You know, just because some fuckhead with a theology degree wants to believe something does not make it true. They believe in a lot of silly shit.

I have spot checked Carrington's claims and he's right. Ancient writers...xtian or Greco-Roman...know nothing of this 'Nero persecuted the xtians for the fire' bullshit.
And Tacitus probably wrote "chrestians" anyway.


Quote:The first Christians were all Jews, for fuck sakes.

Yeah we've all heard the stories that the jesus freaks tell. I'm asking for the evidence and all I ever get is shit like you are spouting. "Everybody knows." "Scholars say." "Tradition records." It's always the same old shit. Atwill is not convincing....but at least his shit is different.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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