Jesus myth
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14-01-2014, 04:13 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(14-01-2014 04:12 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hey EK and minimalist,

Why don't you download from Amazon this recent bestseller, written by a professor of religion.

http://www.amazon.com/Zealot-life-times-...reza+aslan

It's only $5, and it's an easy, really good read.

You will both get a good understanding of the antagonism between jews and the Roman government. It will also give you a good insight into who Jesus may have been.

There's not a word in it about Atwill, yet this book helps put Atwill's ideas into context

PS there's about 30 pages of references
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14-01-2014, 05:04 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Hi Mark, I'm sure you didn't mean it literally, but just to remind you: Jesus wasn't Titus per se, but Jesus was an archetype for Titus in terms of their ministry vs. military campaign, his prophecies were fulfilled by Titus, and Christians have unknowingly worshipped Titus. But as you quite rightly said: Titus was the Son of Man predicted to destroy Jerusalem before Jesus' generation passes away, so the 2nd coming has already occurred.
http://www.caesarsmessiahproven.com/signs.htm

Anyway, as I said, nobody will look at the evidence or use their brains but instead rely on the words of authority figures who say "there are many problems with Joe's book", yet fail to address his evidence of 40+ parallels with 40+ pieces of satire working in a system interactively/intertextually. Most people are Richard Carrier's victims just like the first converts to Christianity, but they don't see that the wool is being pulled over their eyes by somebody suffering from narcissistic personality disorder who is grandiose. Carrier, the high priest of Atheism, has everyone wrapped round his little finger. He's just a social predator.

People blindly believe what they are told by authority figures, be it their parents or an academic with a PHD, without looking at the evidence themselves (non-technical in this case). I find this kind of behaviour most disturbing, so I can't really hang around here much longer in the company of deadheads. Mark, good luck with your book mate! All the best!
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14-01-2014, 05:08 PM (This post was last modified: 14-01-2014 05:25 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus myth
(14-01-2014 04:07 PM)Free Wrote:  
(13-01-2014 02:53 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Please tell me whether you actually read his book, or have you just read what other people have said about him?

I got to about the 100th page and then put it down. It was blatantly obvious to me at that point that Atwill was indeed the crank I previously suspected him of being. I couldn't stand to read any more of this work of fiction.

I could invent a far better "jesus never existed" theory than that crank could ever dream of creating.

Quote:Much as I like and respect Richard Carrier, it's obvious if you read Atwill's blog that Carrier hasn't actually read Atwill's book! It's also very disappointing that Carrier resorts to ad hominems against Atwill. And, what's more, I don't find any of carriers eight points against Atwill convincing for reasons that I've already discussed.

I have read both Atwill and Carrier's blogs and you need to understand that Atwill is merely asserting that Carrier never read the book. The truth of the matter is that Carrier already had Atwill's theory before Atwill published his book because Atwill had previously published the exact same theory in a previous book back in 2001 entitled: The Roman Origin of Christianity.

Atwill's wacked out theories have been around for 13 years now, and the book in question is merely a rehashing of his previous book.The following is from Carrier:

Richard Carrier Wrote:I should also remind everyone that though Atwill is selling this as a new thing (and I’m noticing several people seem to think this just came out), he’s been shilling this stuff for many years now. My conversation with him took place in 2005, and he’d been shilling it for several years by then already: though his signature book was published that year, I found an earlier version called The Roman Origin of Christianity published in 2001, 2nd edition in 2003, subtitle “How the Emperor Titus, the ‘greatest forger in history’, created the Gospels and the character of Jesus as a satire of his military victories in Judea.” So this theory of his has been in the public for twelve years now.

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4664


Quote:I'll admit that Atwill is long winded and a bit repetitive. Some of his arguments are difficult to follow and complicated. Yet I'm yet to hear any really good arguments why the basic thrust of his theory is false. I'm open minded about it.

You need to read what the critics are actually saying to understand what the problem with his theory actually is. There are so many problems with it that it makes the theory itself appear to be a total work of fiction because no right-minded person with sufficient knowledge on the subject can possibly take it seriously.

Atwill seems to be someone who is desperately trying to seek out attention from world scholars, and also someone who is so desperate to disprove the existence of Jesus that he will go to any crazy lengths to do so.

Quote:I would love to discuss his theory with anyone who has actually read his book.

Good luck trying to find anybody who will actually sit there and read that book in its entirety, seriously.

Hi Free, I've taken on board what you've said. I'm glad that you at least made the effort to read Atwill's book.

I knew he had written an earlier one. In fact he's also revised Caesar's Messiah, as when I downloaded it recently on this new computer I noticed that it had been upgraded. It doesn't bother me that he's written a few versions. We all develop our ideas as time goes by.

Permit me to quickly summarise my opinion. I cannot be sure whether Atwill is correct or not. All I can say about his theory is that I find his arguments very
convincing. For me, the guts of the issue is that Rome invented the Gospels to undermine the Jews. Whether Titus is Jesus is interesting, but is not the essential point. For me the essential point is that the gospels are almost entirely fabricated and are anti-Jewish propaganda. Atwill gives one good way in which it might have happened. Here is how I word it in my book.

"This theory complements the hypothesis that Paul’s Christianity originated as part of a government plot. Paul probably wrote well before the Flavians, yet there’s a good reason why similar propaganda about a Christ could have started earlier, in Paul’s day; Rome was trying (unsuccessfully, as it turned out) to prevent a war with the Jews. Atwill will be writing another book that helps explain Paul’s role in the scheme.
There is, however, in my opinion, what seems to be a few minor problems with the theory. Atwill has proposed the four Gospels were originally written under Titus’ direction, yet it’s a fact that no first century source ever specifically mentions the existence of any of the four Gospels, (see http://www.harrington-sites.com/f5.htm) at least as they’re now named. There are some explanations that render Atwill’s theory still plausible; the original Jesus story, first written in the 70’s, might never have been popular until much later. Or, mentions of first century Gospels were later destroyed. Or, the basic framework of the Jesus biography(ies) were all that was written at first, and it (or they) were untitled. Or, the current author’s names were never attached to them until much later.

Atwill states that the four Gospels were written together. Yet it’s well established that Mark was written first. It seems unlikely that the government would invent four separate accounts, although it’s possible, and Atwill puts forward some reasons why (which are complex, but can be read in his book.)

The theory to some degree undermines all the painstaking work and alternative theories of numerous historians, including linguists familiar with the Greek. I think it needs to be remembered that the Gospels were edited and interpolated for at least a couple of hundred years after they were first written, so all such endeavors are bound to come to different conclusions. To what degree any number of authors with different ethnicities, education and writing styles altered the Gospels is a subject requiring much guesswork.

If Josephus had a hand in the Gospels’ stories, why didn’t he mention a (fictional or non fictional) Jesus in his own writings? I think Josephus’ works were serious attempts to document history, written for the educated upper classes, people who could read and afford to buy books. The Gospels were a different kettle of fish. They were written as propaganda, to be read out to the hoi polloi. Josephus would have been aware of, and maybe even had a hand in, the Gospels’ composition, but wouldn’t have wanted his genuine histories confused with the tongue in cheek satire of the Gospels. I think he would have been embarrassed to have his name associated with the Gospels’ rather childish miracle stories. What’s more, he didn’t want the parallels between the Gospels and his histories to be too obvious. If he did know of an historical Yeshua, he may have avoided mentioning him, because the account may have clashed with the Gospels. Or, he wrote an historical report about Yeshua that was removed by Christians.

Atwill doesn’t explain the proliferation of dozens of now apocryphal gospels in the second century, or the success of Marcion and the Gnostics, but the reality is that any commentary about this, from anyone, is to a large degree guesswork. I’ll have a guess and say that these versions of Christianity also originated from the government for the same reason, but were pre Flavian and therefore pre-Gospel (although Marcion himself did use a version of Luke, but Marcion only appeared in the 140’s.) These cults were very much more influenced by Paul.

Atwill doesn’t mention the Nazarenes, who I think are an essential part of the Jesus story, although that doesn’t detract from the main theme of his theory.
Some Christians are under the impression Domitian (emperor from 81-96 CE) persecuted Christians. The evidence for this is very weak, and I don’t think it happened (http://bibleworld.com/domper.pdf).

There are many reputable scholars who don’t buy into Atwill’s theory. His ideas turn the whole ballgame of New Testament scholarship around 180°, and I suspect that treads on a few toes. It’s disappointing that some commentators resort to ad hominem attacks against him. Even if he’s wrong, he’s an honest, informed commentator who has given us all something to think about. There will always be differing opinions about the details, yet I think that the essential premise of his hypothesis, which is that the government created the gospels to undermine messianic Judaism, has a lot of merit.
I haven’t done justice to all of Atwill’s evidence, so I strongly encourage those interested to read his book and watch him talk on youtube. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g40Eck6gW7U, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zlj5-iwKueQ, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uN9ATGqLNo8).

Where does this leave my theory that there existed an historical Yeshua who tried to start a war with Rome? Atwill acknowledges that it’s possible the Jesus character may also be very loosely based on a real individual, who he too thinks was a militaristic zealot. It’s 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’s 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, so the Gospels could have been deliberately written to undermine their story about him. It’s possible that the Gospels’ original authors used details about Yeshua sourced from the gospel of the Nazarenes, (http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/go...eans.html) and deliberately turned the story of a brave wannabe messiah into a pro-Roman pacifist.

If the government created the Gospels, they would have also employed presbyters to promote the new religion. This would explain how Christianity appeared in many different parts of the empire toward the end of the first century. I admit I have no specific evidence to support this idea, but the reality is that no one knows how or why Christianity spread in the first century. I can’t imagine an implausible pro-Roman story about a crucified Galilean, who was really the son of the Jewish God, gaining a momentum of its own without financial support. Those Christian apologists who claim it was only because Christian teaching was so pure and attractive have a too simplistic understanding.

The propaganda never worked, as there were numerous small Jewish uprisings in the early second century that culminated in the 2nd Jewish war of 132-6 CE. This massive conflict, which for the Jews was the equivalent of World War 2, decimated the Judean infrastructure. The concept of a Jewish state was definitively crushed. Christianity became redundant, and I suspect the government no longer subsidized it, but by this time the new religion had taken on a life of its own in various forms. I suspect Christian churches became self-funding and self-promoting. The fact that the faith started out as propaganda was never public knowledge, and by the time the mid second century came around there were multiple versions of Christianity all with their own idiosyncratic ideas. No one remembered, and no documentation was kept, about why the whole show was created in the first place. Over the next two centuries the government occasionally persecuted Christians. The reasons for that is a topic for another book, but it was never because of Christian beliefs per se. Rome was always tolerant of other (than the Imperial cult) religions, but not if their practitioners caused trouble. It wasn’t until the fourth century that the Constantine’s government once again actively patronized them, for a similar reason – to control people’s behavior.

The truth about the origin of Christianity makes a fascinating discussion. All historians have their own opinions, and make educated guesses, because reliable specifics are so lacking. We’ll probably never definitively know the whole story, unless startling facts are one day discovered in the bowels of the Vatican (which I can’t imagine them ever letting happen) or somewhere else.

I think while we may be unsure of the exact details about the authorship of the Gospels, or of Paul’s motivations, or of whether an historical Jesus ever existed, the origin of the whole Christian saga reeks of political propaganda. Christians today who choose to believe the Vatican’s (ie Rome’s) version of events should be asking themselves if they’ve been conned."
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14-01-2014, 08:18 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(14-01-2014 05:04 PM)gilius2k14 Wrote:  Hi Mark, I'm sure you didn't mean it literally, but just to remind you: Jesus wasn't Titus per se, but Jesus was an archetype for Titus in terms of their ministry vs. military campaign, his prophecies were fulfilled by Titus, and Christians have unknowingly worshipped Titus. But as you quite rightly said: Titus was the Son of Man predicted to destroy Jerusalem before Jesus' generation passes away, so the 2nd coming has already occurred.
http://www.caesarsmessiahproven.com/signs.htm

Anyway, as I said, nobody will look at the evidence or use their brains but instead rely on the words of authority figures who say "there are many problems with Joe's book", yet fail to address his evidence of 40+ parallels with 40+ pieces of satire working in a system interactively/intertextually. Most people are Richard Carrier's victims just like the first converts to Christianity, but they don't see that the wool is being pulled over their eyes by somebody suffering from narcissistic personality disorder who is grandiose. Carrier, the high priest of Atheism, has everyone wrapped round his little finger. He's just a social predator.

People blindly believe what they are told by authority figures, be it their parents or an academic with a PHD, without looking at the evidence themselves (non-technical in this case). I find this kind of behaviour most disturbing, so I can't really hang around here much longer in the company of deadheads. Mark, good luck with your book mate! All the best!

Thanks for the link....it is excellent.

I hope you can hang around on the forum.
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14-01-2014, 08:35 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(14-01-2014 04:05 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(14-01-2014 01:46 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Generally, not true. The Romans usually incorporated local gods into the system and with the growth of the Imperial Cult simply had worshiping and sacrificing to the emperors added. Roman toleration of other religions was well established and it was not the Jews' god that they went after but the Jews themselves for rebelling.

I find Atwill's theory preposterous mainly because it was not necessary. The Jews had been crushed. Utterly. There were far more pressing problems in the Roman world than the fucking Jews, such as the Batavian revolt and a financial crisis brought on by the Civil War of the Year of the Four Emperors.

Besides, 40 years later when Pliny the Younger runs across a xtian group in Bithynia-Pontus they bear no resemblance to what later developed in jesus freakdom.

Atwill seems to inflate the Jews importance far beyond what it was at the time.

In the first four centuries CE, there was a huge trade network from Europe all the way to China. Goods were not the only commodities traded; philosophies, traditions and manuscripts were shared amongst the world’s people. Rome absorbed the gods of the provinces it conquered. By the end of the first century, there were so many foreign gods that almost every day of the year celebrated some divinity. Roman citizens were encouraged to give offerings to these gods to maintain the “Pax Deorum” (the peace of the gods.) These cults, including Christianity, vied with their contemporaries for supremacy, and borrowed ideas from each other. Gods who became men, sons of gods, births to virgin mothers on or near the 25th of December, baptisms, miracles, healings, deaths due to hanging on trees or crucifixion, risings from the dead, and belief being the basis for salvation, were all traditional themes. (http://freetruth.50webs.org/B1a.htm).

Yes. No argument on this point.

Atheism is NOT a Religion. It's A Personal Relationship With Reality!
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14-01-2014, 08:48 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Quote:You will both get a good understanding of the antagonism between jews and the Roman government. It will also give you a good insight into who Jesus may have been.

I don't think I need Aslan's help on that. Sending an entire army to burn the country to the ground is a pretty good indication. But Aslan is trying to pull the Ehrman card. Both agree that "jesus" was not a miracle working godboy so each wants to reduce him to something which they can intellectualize.

Jesus is a character in a story. In that story he does miracles and pretends to be the son of god. Yes, the story is absurd. But trying to say "we'll throw this out and this out and this out an then we can get to the truth" is a bullshit argument.

It's like saying that you can read Gone With The Wind and show that Scarlett O'Hara was a field hand not the owner of Tara. So what? It's a story.

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14-01-2014, 08:54 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Quote:and I don't think minimalist has read it either,

No, but I did suffer through an hour long discussion (at the prodding of a friend) that he produced on his hypothesis, (I refuse to call it a theory) and was appalled by his conclusions. Life is too short to waste.

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14-01-2014, 09:10 PM (This post was last modified: 14-01-2014 09:31 PM by Free.)
RE: Jesus myth
Quote:The truth about the origin of Christianity makes a fascinating discussion. All historians have their own opinions, and make educated guesses, because reliable specifics are so lacking. We’ll probably never definitively know the whole story, unless startling facts are one day discovered in the bowels of the Vatican (which I can’t imagine them ever letting happen) or somewhere else.

The fact of the matter is that not much can ever be conclusively determined when it comes to ancient history. As I have said many times, the best anyone can do is to approximate the truth using all available resources.

In regards to this issue of Jesus, I have seen mythicists such as Carrier, Doherty etc make attempts to justify their positions, but at the end of the day none of them can trump what is most probable, that a man named Jesus who was called Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate in the early 1st century.

It's not a matter of what is possible because we can say anything is possible, but rather it's a matter of what is most probable. All available evidence clearly demonstrates that the most probable answer to this question of existence is that somebody named Jesus, who was called Christ, was executed by Pontius Pilate circa AD 33, and from that man's existence we have some embellished histories regarding him and his followers. These histories are a mixture of truths, half-truths, out-right lies, and utter stupidity.

From a logical perspective, we can assert with reasonable certainty that there was no fucking miracle worker raising people from the dead, healing the blind, walking on water, or raising himself from the dead.

On the contrary, there was simply just a man who had such a compelling and controversial religious philosophy that it created a problem for the Jewish Sanhedrin, who then blackmailed Pilate to crucify him. From there, his followers- and the followers of his followers- heaped tale upon tale about this nut job known as Jesus of Nazareth.

There's no mystery to this. There's no jumping through hoops to understand this. We don't need crazy fucking elaborate theories that bend logic and reasoning into an unidentifiable monstrosity all in the name of this ... this ... "Jesus Fucking Christ."

All in all, it probably is what it probably is.

And I can live with that.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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15-01-2014, 06:02 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Quote:but at the end of the day none of them can trump what is most probable, that a man named Jesus who was called Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate in the early 1st century.


I don't know why that is so "probable?" Because later xtians wrote a story? We have writers like Philo who was happily writing exactly at the time that jesus was allegedly traipsing around the landscape yet.... not a word. We have Pliny the Elder writing about every half-assed myth he could find but again...not a word.

One needs to watch the 'special pleading' with jesus stories. They are not more 'believable' because they are about jesus.

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15-01-2014, 06:57 PM (This post was last modified: 15-01-2014 07:18 PM by Free.)
RE: Jesus myth
(15-01-2014 06:02 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  
Quote:but at the end of the day none of them can trump what is most probable, that a man named Jesus who was called Christ was executed by Pontius Pilate in the early 1st century.


I don't know why that is so "probable?" Because later xtians wrote a story? We have writers like Philo who was happily writing exactly at the time that jesus was allegedly traipsing around the landscape yet.... not a word. We have Pliny the Elder writing about every half-assed myth he could find but again...not a word.

One needs to watch the 'special pleading' with jesus stories. They are not more 'believable' because they are about jesus.

I can understand what you are saying, but I chose to use logic and reasoning more effectively than what you are doing because your argument is meaningless due to it being a bonafide argument from silence where no abductive reasoning is applied.

For an example of supplying abductive reasoning, explain why Philo or Pliny would write about Jesus?

You see, you need to qualify your argument from silence or else it is 100% meaningless. You provide no evidence, therefore trying to argue with empty hands is a big fucking waste of time.

How can anyone become an atheist when we are all born with no beliefs in the first place? We are atheists because we were born this way.
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