Jesus myth
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26-01-2014, 08:05 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(25-01-2014 10:58 PM)Free Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 10:25 PM)toadaly Wrote:  I can't see how any of this adds weight to the historical Jesus argument, as it is all completely compatible with a mythical Jesus position. I think it would be surprising if we did *not* find this sort of thing, even if Jesus is myth.

Just the mere existence of the Tacitus text is a +1 as evidence to support the existence of Christ as a historical person.

Due to that, some evidence trumps no evidence 100% of the time.

But some evidence is not conclusive. One can honestly doubt the importance of this passage and give it less than +1.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-01-2014, 09:10 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 08:05 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(25-01-2014 10:58 PM)Free Wrote:  Just the mere existence of the Tacitus text is a +1 as evidence to support the existence of Christ as a historical person.

Due to that, some evidence trumps no evidence 100% of the time.

But some evidence is not conclusive. One can honestly doubt the importance of this passage and give it less than +1.

Like I keep repeating myself here, nothing is ever conclusive when it comes to ancient history. The best any historian can ever do is to approximate the truth as closely as possible using the Historical Method which leads it all down to the "Argument To The Best Explanation."

History is not an exact science. It is what it is.

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26-01-2014, 09:23 AM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2014 09:28 AM by Free.)
RE: Jesus myth
(25-01-2014 11:15 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  A single throwaway line in Tacitus is not evidence of anything more than the existence of the Christian narrative.

Taking you to task on this dude, with two simple words.

Prove it.

In fact, show me even one shred of evidence to demonstrate your point. I don't want to hear your opinion, because like everyone knows, opinions are like assholes; everybody has one.

Unless you can provide a single shred of actual evidence to support your claim, then your claim is complete and utter bullshit.

So let's see the evidence. Show me the money.

Drinking Beverage

Quote:And what's funny is, your post gives a number of alternative sources for the story, none of them primary, none of them reliable, but all of them accessible to Tacitus and better candidates as the source of information than a primary record.

And you don't even see it.

The Argument To The Best Explanation- which you obviously fail to understand- demonstrates that of all the listed Roman sources Tacitus used, at least one of them had the information regarding Christus and Pontius Pilate.

And you don't even see it.

You also fail to understand that Tacitus was writing a ROMAN history book, using ROMAN information, with absolutely no evidence, nor indication in any way whatsoever that he used any Christian or Jewish sources whatsoever.

If you understood Tacitus at all- which you clearly don't because it's obvious you've never read Annals- you would know from his statements that he wouldn't be caught dead consulting with Christians or the Jews for a ROMAN history book.

Big Grin

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26-01-2014, 09:59 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 09:10 AM)Free Wrote:  
(26-01-2014 08:05 AM)Chas Wrote:  But some evidence is not conclusive. One can honestly doubt the importance of this passage and give it less than +1.

Like I keep repeating myself here, nothing is ever conclusive when it comes to ancient history. The best any historian can ever do is to approximate the truth as closely as possible using the Historical Method which leads it all down to the "Argument To The Best Explanation."

History is not an exact science. It is what it is.

Yes, and my point still stands. The interpretation and weighting of evidence is subjective.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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26-01-2014, 10:02 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 09:59 AM)Chas Wrote:  
(26-01-2014 09:10 AM)Free Wrote:  Like I keep repeating myself here, nothing is ever conclusive when it comes to ancient history. The best any historian can ever do is to approximate the truth as closely as possible using the Historical Method which leads it all down to the "Argument To The Best Explanation."

History is not an exact science. It is what it is.

Yes, and my point still stands. The interpretation and weighting of evidence is subjective.

It always is, but my argument is the one that stands the test of historiography.

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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26-01-2014, 04:15 PM
RE: Jesus myth
Let me digress for a moment to address a lie you told earlier, which is that Tacitus never mentioned Moses.
http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboar...chap18.htm

Let me know if you need more.

***

The problem with your "argument to the best evidence" is that it doesn't actually argue to the best evidence. Rather, it argues from the predetermined outcome. You're begging the question by assuming not only that Tacitus used sources, a prospect we would probably agree on, but that he used sources that would be considered reliable under today's standards that verified Jesus/Christ (you are drawing a distinction where I am not, confusing the issue for no reason) was executed under Pilate as a historical fact. That is far from certain, your "undoubtedly" comments notwithstanding. The fact is, you use the word "undoubtedly" to confer certainty on matters that are questionable at best, as I intend to show.

So let's stop beating around the bush and get to the point:

The best source on the execution of Jesus Christ would have been a contemporaneous record of the execution, which would have identified Jesus and not Christ. A contemporaneous record, by which I am referring to a primary record, would have been produced at the time of the execution by Pilate and/or those under his employ. It is patently absurd that such records would not have identified the condemned by name, or that they would have referred to the condemned ironically by a title such as Christ rather than by the name Jesus.

There is not one hint of evidence that Tacitus relied on such a source. Period. Any assertion to the contrary is wishful thinking.

(25-01-2014 10:28 PM)Free Wrote:  
Quote:Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified- by standards we would accept today as authoritative- that Jesus was in fact crucified by Pilate?

Again, since the text does not mention the name of Jesus, we then assume your meaning as being Christus. Therefore, I will answer to the question of Christus.

Again, you are confusing matters by drawing a distinction where I draw none. You are also nitpicking and cherry picking, taking a layman's question and parsing words to avoid the whole of what my question entails, and deliberately ignoring that I included the notion of primary sources in my question. "That's another question," you said (I'm paraphrasing. I'll go back later and correct the quote if you wish." It's NOT a different question. It's the same question. But you decided to attack the question that you favored, because of semantic wording. I am not impressed with your approach or the transparent way you avoided key parts of my question.

Quote:First of all, we need to understand what the "standards we would accept today as authoritative" actually entails, and the modern standards today utilize The Historical Method.

It is almost universally acknowledged that of all ancient historians, Tacitus stands alone as the only ancient historian who precisely used the exact same techniques that are currently employed by the modern Historical Method. The standards he employed are as follows:

1. Source Criticism.

a) Higher & Lower Criticism

The sources Tacitus used are as follows:

1. The acta senatus, which are the minutes of the session of the Senate.
2. The acta diurna populi Romani, which are a collection of the acts of the government and news of the court and capital.
3. Collections of emperors' speeches, such as Tiberius and Claudius.
4. Tacitus cites some of his sources directly, including but not limited to, Cluvius Rufus, Fabius Rusticus and Pliny the Elder.
5. Tacitus also uses collections of letters known as the epistolarium.
6. He also took information from exitus illustrium virorum, a collection of historical books written by other historians who were antithetical to the emperors.
7. Inscriptions found on statues, plaques, and other memorabilia.

1. The minutes of the session of the Senate are unlikely to have included the execution records of common criminals in Jerusalem. There is no indication that Tacitus reviewed 85-year-old minutes to verify the execution of Jesus. And it remains absurd to think that if the Senate decided to discuss the execution of Jesus 85 years before Tacitus wrote, that Jesus' name would not have been used. This notion that they had no way to translate the names comes off as an ad hoc explanation of why Tacitus refers to Christ and not Jesus. The Romans took a fucking census. They knew how to transliterate Hebrew names, for fuck's sake. However, it does seem plausible that the Romans would discuss Christ (not by name) as news of the spread of Christianity grew. Such a discussion would be consistent with the mythical view -- the Roman Senate, in discussing the origin of Christianity, would of necessity repeat what Christians said about it. So if this is the source of Tacitus' information, it remains consistent with the mythicist position. Under the standards of the time, Tacitus would have done his due diligence. His concern was not the accuracy of the Christian origin story. It was the existence of the Christian origin story. Nothing more.

2. You have provided no reason to assume that such a record would include an official government account of executions in Jerusalem 85 years before Tacitus wrote.

3. No evidence that these speeches discussed the execution of Jesus/Christ. Possible. But not probable.

4. His use of any of those sources would be considered second hand by today's standards.

5. You tell us nothing of these letters, their authors, or their credibility. And I mean, WOW, if he relied on slews of letters like this, then he had slews of potential sources of the Christian origin story that would not necessarily pass a current standard of reliability!

6. Collections of other histories would be great. But you can't name them, nor can you identify what they said about Jesus. The notion that these histories contained historically verifiable references to the execution of Jesus/Christ is wishful thinking. I'm not saying they didn't. I'm saying that you cannot assert that they did. We just don't know, and that's my point, not yours.

7. Inscriptions are irrelevant to our discussion.

So what have you done here? You have provided us with, at best, the possibility that Tacitus relied on something we would agree by today's standards is reliable. And with that, you have given us a ton of potential sources to the Christian origin story that would not pass today's standards of reliability: "letters" written by who knows who discussing who knows what, Senate records that would have been more interested in what Christians were claiming about their origin than whether that claim was actually true, speeches by the emperors?!?!?!

Drive a truck through the holes you left open in that logic.

Quote:Due to Tacitus’ strong motivation to consistently name his sources, he has passed all 7 qualifiers of the test of the first part of the Historical Method known as Higher & Lower Criticism.

You're equivocating. I agree that he did pass all 7 qualifiers, but not to substantiate that one line. And here you're employing an inductive fallacy. That is, you are assuming that because his work overall is reliable, that every sentence in his work is equally reliable. But that's not true.

Case in point: I am a journalist. I can tell you that when I write an article, I conduct interviews with primary sources, I look up documents, I attend meetings and events so that the accounts I give are firsthand whenever possible, etc. You can say overall that I am a trustworthy reporter.

But then you read my work and come across a particular sentence that is not properly sourced or attributed. You may decide to take my word for it based on my overall record, but you are perfectly entitled to challenge it based on what I left out of my article, AND THE BURDEN WOULD BE MINE TO DOCUMENT MY CLAIM. I do not get to say "well, here are my methods overall, so you should trust this one line." That would get me fired right quick. I have to say, "here is my source of information on this line; sorry I left it out. I didn't think it was a big deal." Or I would have to say, "You know what, I trusted information or generalizations that turned out in hindsight to be less reliable than I considered."

We don't get to do that with Tacitus, of course, given that he's dead. But that does not entitle us to presume the historical accuracy of this particular sentence. The best you can say is "it's plausible," but it's no more plausible than the alternatives that are consistent with the mythicist position.

Quote:B. Procedures for contradictory sources:

1. If the sources all agree about an event, historians can consider the event proved.
2. However, majority does not rule; even if most sources relate events in one way, that version will not prevail unless it passes the test of critical textual analysis.
3. The source whose account can be confirmed by reference to outside authorities in some of its parts can be trusted in its entirety if it is impossible similarly to confirm the entire text.
4. When two sources disagree on a particular point, the historian will prefer the source with most "authority"—that is the source created by the expert or by the eyewitness.
5. Eyewitnesses are, in general, to be preferred especially in circumstances where the ordinary observer could have accurately reported what transpired and, more specifically, when they deal with facts known by most contemporaries.
6. If two independently created sources agree on a matter, the reliability of each is measurably enhanced.
7. When two sources disagree and there is no other means of evaluation, then historians take the source which seems to accord best with common sense.

Tacitus is observed as utilizing most, if not all, the procedures for contradictory sources.

That's splendid. It's also irrelevant. We are not talking about conflicting sources when it comes to this one throwaway line about the origin story of Christianity. We're talking about Tacitus' unnamed source, and we cannot draw conclusions about that source because, as demonstrated above, we have no idea what that source was. We cannot assume it was an official primary record when Tacitus doesn't claim it was and he had other sources at his disposal that he would have considered "primary" at the time but we today would not.

Quote:He explicitly states this in the very first paragraph of Annals with his statement that many of the histories of the Caesars had been falsified, and also says as such or similar in various other places.
Yes, but he says nothing about his sources on the history of Christianity, nor does he pretend for even a moment to be providing us with a documented history of the origin of the Christian cult beyond a throwaway line. This is the part you keep ignoring. Historicists act like Tacitus carefully investigated this line before daring to set pen to paper, yet the line itself betrays no such concern. He was writing about Nero blaming Christians for the fire. That was his subject matter. The origin of Christianity was incidental, and it seems beyond unlikely that he would stop what he's doing to hunt down Pilate's diary to make sure that, yes, he really did execute someone whose name escapes him but who referred to himself as some kind of Christ.

Quote:c) Core principles for determining reliability.

The following core principles of source criticism were formulated by two Scandinavian historians, Olden-Jørgensen (1998) and Thurén (1997)

1. Human sources may be relics such as a fingerprint; or narratives such as a statement or a letter. Relics are more credible sources than narratives.
2. Since any given source may be forged or corrupted, strong indications of the originality of the source increase its reliability.
3. The closer a source is to the event which it purports to describe, the more one can trust it to give an accurate historical description of what actually happened.
4. An eyewitness is more reliable than testimony at second hand, which is more reliable than hearsay at further remove, and so on.
5. If a number of independent sources contain the same message, the credibility of the message is strongly increased.
6. The tendency of a source is its motivation for providing some kind of bias. Tendencies should be minimized or supplemented with opposite motivations.
7. If it can be demonstrated that the witness or source has no direct interest in creating bias then the credibility of the message is increased.

Tacitus is observed as utilizing 6 of the 7 core principals listed above. Where he fails is on number 6, as his bias is often evident in his works.

1. Relics are irrelevant to this discussion.
2. We don't know his sources, so we cannot weigh their credibility, which bolsters my point and detracts from yours.
3. Tacitus writes more than 80 years after the crucifixion. Not inherently reliable on that basis, unless his sources were good. We don't know his source for that single line because he doesn't tell us, and you are NOT justified in assuming his source for that one line is the same as the source for the information that was the main subject of his report. Sorry, you just don't get to do that.
4. You haven't made a firm case that the source of the one line in question is anything other than hearsay (by today's standards).
5. We do not know of any independent sources about the life of Christ. This discussion would be moot if we did. Mark is an apologetic, the other gospels are derived from Mark, and the non-canonical gospels are so mythical that they are not worth discussing as history.
6/7. not relevant to this discussion.

Quote:Since Tacitus shows such tact at using all of the above, and there is no evidence that he used hearsay to support either the Oral Tradition or Indirect Witness sections of the Historical method (which are at the low end of the method scale anyways)...
There you go shifting the burden of proof again. It's not that there's no evidence he used hearsay. It's that there's no evidence he used primary sources. Get it? Hearsay is as much a possibility as a primary source. In fact, hearsay is MORE of a possibility than a primary source, because we KNOW there was hearsay flying around at the time, but we have no evidence whatsoever that there were any primary sources!

Quote: then there can be no doubt that Tacitus’ work easily qualifies as utilizing the modern standards of modern historians, which is the Historical Method.

There is PLENTY of doubt! You just have to look at this sentence as critically as you would look at the book of Exodus or the first chapter of Matthew!

Quote:Since Tacitus easily passes the test of modern scholarship,

In general, yes. In regards to this one line, no! You have not established that. You have not even come close. You are presuming, and presumptuousness has no place in this discussion.

Quote:what it all comes down to after that from our modern perspective is Historical Reasoning, which entails:

Argument to the best explanation:

1. The statement, together with other statements already held to be true, must imply yet other statements describing present, observable data. (We will henceforth call the first statement 'the hypothesis', and the statements describing observable data, 'observation statements'.)

Ok.

Quote:2. The hypothesis must be of greater explanatory scope than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must imply a greater variety of observation statements.
And the hypothesis that he relied on something that we today would consider reliable has LESS explanatory scope than the mythicist position, which entails hearsay to which Tacitus had access and that he would have considered reliable.

Quote:3. The hypothesis must be of greater explanatory power than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must make the observation statements it implies more probable than any other.
But yours does not.

Quote:4. The hypothesis must be more plausible than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must be implied to some degree by a greater variety of accepted truths than any other, and be implied more strongly than any other; and its probable negation must be implied by fewer beliefs, and implied less strongly than any other.
"Accepted truths" seems like a backdoor way of appealing to authority. The negation to your hypothesis requires fewer assumptions than your hypothesis. Your hypothesis is implies less strongly than the alternative.

Quote:5. The hypothesis must be less ad hoc than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, it must include fewer new suppositions about the past which are not already implied to some extent by existing beliefs.

Your hypothesis is MORE ad hoc than the alternative.

Quote:6. It must be disconfirmed by fewer accepted beliefs than any other incompatible hypothesis about the same subject; that is, when conjoined with accepted truths it must imply fewer observation statements and other statements which are believed to be false.

Again, there's a backdoor appeal to the majority. The "accepted beliefs" are the very beliefs in question, so let's dispense with the question begging, shall we?

Quote:7. It must exceed other incompatible hypotheses about the same subject by so much, in characteristics 2 to 6, that there is little chance of an incompatible hypothesis, after further investigation, soon exceeding it in these respects.

But your hypothesis fails this test.

Quote:So the final reasoning is as such, with your question- with Jesus changed to Christus- preceding it:

Quote:Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified- by standards we would accept today as authoritative- that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?

Q: Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?

A: Undoubtedly yes, as the Source Criticism part of the Historical Method clearly demonstrates it.
Bullshit.

Quote:Q: Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?

A: Undoubtedly yes, as the Source Criticism part of the Historical Method clearly demonstrates it.
Bullshit.

Quote:Q: What argument is to the best explanation?

A: Since the Source Criticism clearly demonstrates that Tacitus utilized the same standards in his scholarship as what is used in modern scholarship; only used Roman primary and secondary sources; shows no evidence of using hearsay; shows no evidence of using non-Roman sources, then the argument to the best explanation clearly favors that Tacitus got his information regarding the execution of Christus by Pontius Pilate as originating only from Roman sources.

Therefore, the answer is yes.
Bullshit.
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26-01-2014, 04:18 PM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2014 08:07 PM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 10:02 AM)Free Wrote:  
(26-01-2014 09:59 AM)Chas Wrote:  Yes, and my point still stands. The interpretation and weighting of evidence is subjective.

It always is, but my argument is the one that stands the test of historiography.

But it doesn't. You gloss over too much, make too many unsupported assumptions and your inductive reasoning is faulty. If you remove question begging and faulty inductive reasoning from your argument, you are left with nothing but appeal to authority.

If you're saying the sentence passes the test of historiography, the only thing I can say in response is that the test of historiography is inadequate to the task at hand (which is not a criticism: Newton was inadequate to the task of explaining relativity theory. It does fine for a huge body of science. Likewise, when it comes to history, Tacitus in general may be all that and a bag of chips. But when it comes to the historical value of that one line, he's all but useless).
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26-01-2014, 10:35 PM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2014 10:42 PM by Free.)
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 04:15 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Let me digress for a moment to address a lie you told earlier, which is that Tacitus never mentioned Moses.
http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboar...chap18.htm

Let me know if you need more.


Okay so you found it in Histories, but not in the book we are talking about, which is Annals. And you decided to call me a “liar” instead of quoting where I said I could be wrong, as the following post indicates:

Quote:I said before, he never mentions Moses at all. If I am mistaken, please point out where.

Also, you should be aware … Moses was not a Jew. In fact, he was a Hebrew. Judaism did not exist at the purported time of Moses.

And it should be noted that Tacitus' version of Moses bears very little resemblance to the Hebrew Moses. In fact, his version of Moses is more comparable to what we know to be in the Bibliotheca Historica


Quote:The problem with your "argument to the best evidence" is that it doesn't actually argue to the best evidence.

Yes it does. Since your arguments provide no evidence at all, and my arguments demonstrate a great degree of supporting evidence, then the argument to the best explanation falls with me.

I mean … how the fuck do you ever expect to win an argument when you have no support at all for your argument?


Quote:Rather, it argues from the predetermined outcome. You're begging the question by assuming not only that Tacitus used sources, a prospect we would probably agree on, but that he used sources that would be considered reliable under today's standards that verified Jesus/Christ (you are drawing a distinction where I am not, confusing the issue for no reason) was executed under Pilate as a historical fact. That is far from certain, your "undoubtedly" comments notwithstanding. The fact is, you use the word "undoubtedly" to confer certainty on matters that are questionable at best, as I intend to show.

The word “Undoubtedly” was used to absolutely confirm the two points I made;

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?
2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?


The answers to those two above questions is absolutely “undoubtedly.” The internal evidence clearly shows Tacitus used the same authoritative standards we would use today, and there IS evidence that he independently verified that Christus was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and THAT evidence is the simple fact that Tacitus used the same authoritative standards we accept today. Because # 1 was verified via textual analysis, then # 2 is qualified.

Unless of course you failed to understand this elementary reasoning?

Undoubtedly.

Quote:The best source on the execution of Jesus Christ would have been a contemporaneous record of the execution, which would have identified Jesus and not Christ. A contemporaneous record, by which I am referring to a primary record, would have been produced at the time of the execution by Pilate and/or those under his employ. It is patently absurd that such records would not have identified the condemned by name, or that they would have referred to the condemned ironically by a title such as Christ rather than by the name Jesus.

And your evidence to support the existence of such records is where? Are you making yet another unsupported and ill informed assertion?

You are making plenty of assumptions here. Firstly, there is no evidence that the Romans kept any "official" records at all of the executions of individual non-Roman persons in Judea, ever. Not a single shred of such evidence exists in any of the available Roman sources from that period.

Quote:There is not one hint of evidence that Tacitus relied on such a source. Period. Any assertion to the contrary is wishful thinking.

Yeah, that’s fine. Especially since there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Romans kept any such "official government" records of the sort.

You wasted your time on this, and mine.

Quote:Again, you are confusing matters by drawing a distinction where I draw none. You are also nitpicking and cherry picking, taking a layman's question and parsing words to avoid the whole of what my question entails, and deliberately ignoring that I included the notion of primary sources in my question. "That's another question," you said (I'm paraphrasing. I'll go back later and correct the quote if you wish." It's NOT a different question. It's the same question. But you decided to attack the question that you favored, because of semantic wording. I am not impressed with your approach or the transparent way you avoided key parts of my question.

And I am not amused with your incompetence at understanding that you merely asked the same question twice, and there was no need to post both questions when one would be suffice.

But hey, if you think they are different questions, then why the fuck does my response cover both of them when I was supposedly only answering to one?

Quote:1. The minutes of the session of the Senate are unlikely to have included the execution records of common criminals in Jerusalem. There is no indication that Tacitus reviewed 85-year-old minutes to verify the execution of Jesus. And it remains absurd to think that if the Senate decided to discuss the execution of Jesus 85 years before Tacitus wrote, that Jesus' name would not have been used.

Another assumption? Really? Okay, let’s see what evidence this assumption is based on.

0000000

Well damn. I see that once again you have provided not one stitch of evidence to support this assumption.

Argument dismissed.

Quote:This notion that they had no way to translate the names comes off as an ad hoc explanation of why Tacitus refers to Christ and not Jesus. The Romans took a fucking census. They knew how to transliterate Hebrew names, for fuck's sake. However, it does seem plausible that the Romans would discuss Christ (not by name) as news of the spread of Christianity grew. Such a discussion would be consistent with the mythical view -- the Roman Senate, in discussing the origin of Christianity, would of necessity repeat what Christians said about it. So if this is the source of Tacitus' information, it remains consistent with the mythicist position. Under the standards of the time, Tacitus would have done his due diligence. His concern was not the accuracy of the Christian origin story. It was the existence of the Christian origin story. Nothing more.

So here we have Tacitus telling us how one of the Roman Empires high officials by the name of Pontius Pilate executed someone called Christus, and you somehow think he wouldn’t verify the facts? He’s writing history which includes the actions of a high ranking Roman official, and you somehow think he got his story about what Pontius Pilate did from the Christians or the Jews?

I see you have now swung to defending the mythicist position, which I could see coming right from the beginning. Your lack of ability to effectively reason, and lack of education on this subject was a dead giveaway, and atypical of that tribe of idiots.

Quote:2. You have provided no reason to assume that such a record would include an official government account of executions in Jerusalem 85 years before Tacitus wrote.

On the contrary I did, and provided a hint at the actual physical evidence. But since you failed to investigate the sources that Tacitus used, and which I listed, then I will post the actual evidence later on.

Quote:3. No evidence that these speeches discussed the execution of Jesus/Christ. Possible. But not probable.

No evidence they didn’t, ether. You are arguing from silence here. And again, this was not about evidence regarding the execution of Christus, but of qualifying Tacitus' scholarship.

Quote:4. His use of any of those sources would be considered second hand by today's standards.

You mean “secondary sources,” and that is not in dispute.

Quote:5. You tell us nothing of these letters, their authors, or their credibility. And I mean, WOW, if he relied on slews of letters like this, then he had slews of potential sources of the Christian origin story that would not necessarily pass a current standard of reliability!

Please stay tuned …

Quote:6. Collections of other histories would be great. But you can't name them, nor can you identify what they said about Jesus. The notion that these histories contained historically verifiable references to the execution of Jesus/Christ is wishful thinking. I'm not saying they didn't. I'm saying that you cannot assert that they did. We just don't know, and that's my point, not yours.

Well, like I keep saying, if you had read Annals you would have seen that Tacitus names many of them. But … you did not read Annals, so how would you know?

Quote:7. Inscriptions are irrelevant to our discussion.

Except for the one that identified Pontius Pilate as the governor of Judea.

Quote:So what have you done here? You have provided us with, at best, the possibility that Tacitus relied on something we would agree by today's standards is reliable. And with that, you have given us a ton of potential sources to the Christian origin story that would not pass today's standards of reliability: "letters" written by who knows who discussing who knows what, Senate records that would have been more interested in what Christians were claiming about their origin than whether that claim was actually true, speeches by the emperors?!?!?!

What has been done here is to answer to the following two questions:

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?

2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?

Undoubtedly.



Quote:Drive a truck through the holes you left open in that logic.

And I just shoved that same truck up your ass.

Quote:You're equivocating. I agree that he did pass all 7 qualifiers, but not to substantiate that one line. And here you're employing an inductive fallacy. That is, you are assuming that because his work overall is reliable, that every sentence in his work is equally reliable. But that's not true.

Since you agree that he passed all 7 qualifiers, then how the fuck can there be any answer other than, Undoubtedly?

No one is saying that every sentence Tacitus wrote is completely reliable, for that was never my point. My point, once again, was to quite simply answer the two questions you posed, and they were answered with supporting evidence.

The point was to provide information to answer the same two questions in bold print above, and those questions were both answered.

Undoubtedly.

Quote:Case in point: I am a journalist. I can tell you that when I write an article, I conduct interviews with primary sources, I look up documents, I attend meetings and events so that the accounts I give are firsthand whenever possible, etc. You can say overall that I am a trustworthy reporter.

But then you read my work and come across a particular sentence that is not properly sourced or attributed. You may decide to take my word for it based on my overall record, but you are perfectly entitled to challenge it based on what I left out of my article, AND THE BURDEN WOULD BE MINE TO DOCUMENT MY CLAIM. I do not get to say "well, here are my methods overall, so you should trust this one line." That would get me fired right quick. I have to say, "here is my source of information on this line; sorry I left it out. I didn't think it was a big deal." Or I would have to say, "You know what, I trusted information or generalizations that turned out in hindsight to be less reliable than I considered."

We don't get to do that with Tacitus, of course, given that he's dead. But that does not entitle us to presume the historical accuracy of this particular sentence. The best you can say is "it's plausible," but it's no more plausible than the alternatives that are consistent with the mythicist position.

Are you insane? How the fuck can you even possibly attempt to draw a comparison between a modern journalist- who can immediately make corrections to his work- to an ancient history book that is now etched in stone? This is a classic case of a fucking mythicist making yet another false analogy!

Don’t even try that fucking bullshit around here. People here are far too intelligent for it.

Quote:
Quote:B. Procedures for contradictory sources:

1. If the sources all agree about an event, historians can consider the event proved.
2. However, majority does not rule; even if most sources relate events in one way, that version will not prevail unless it passes the test of critical textual analysis.
3. The source whose account can be confirmed by reference to outside authorities in some of its parts can be trusted in its entirety if it is impossible similarly to confirm the entire text.
4. When two sources disagree on a particular point, the historian will prefer the source with most "authority"—that is the source created by the expert or by the eyewitness.
5. Eyewitnesses are, in general, to be preferred especially in circumstances where the ordinary observer could have accurately reported what transpired and, more specifically, when they deal with facts known by most contemporaries.
6. If two independently created sources agree on a matter, the reliability of each is measurably enhanced.
7. When two sources disagree and there is no other means of evaluation, then historians take the source which seems to accord best with common sense.

Tacitus is observed as utilizing most, if not all, the procedures for contradictory sources.

That's splendid. It's also irrelevant.

It’s relevant because the textual criticism demonstrates that Tacitus cross-references his information whenever contradictory sources arise. This demonstrates once again how well Tacitus adheres to the same scholastic integrity modern scholars use today.

Yeah, it’s relevant.

Quote:
Quote:He explicitly states this in the very first paragraph of Annals with his statement that many of the histories of the Caesars had been falsified, and also says as such or similar in various other places.
Yes, but he says nothing about his sources on the history of Christianity, nor does he pretend for even a moment to be providing us with a documented history of the origin of the Christian cult beyond a throwaway line.

Do you think we can all just cherry-pick parts out of every history book and say, "where is the source for that," when the writer of the book clearly demonstrates what his sources were on the whole?

Where does it end? With every paragraph? With every sentence? With every word?

So, you are contesting JUST the part that mentions Christus & Pilate with your crazy reasoning, when if we applied your crazy reasoning to every single paragraph in any history book we could effectively eliminate history off the face of the earth.

Does that sound about right? Sure, let's use your so-called "skepticism" and get rid of history all together, okay?


Quote:This is the part you keep ignoring. Historicists act like Tacitus carefully investigated this line before daring to set pen to paper, yet the line itself betrays no such concern. He was writing about Nero blaming Christians for the fire. That was his subject matter. The origin of Christianity was incidental, and it seems beyond unlikely that he would stop what he's doing to hunt down Pilate's diary to make sure that, yes, he really did execute someone whose name escapes him but who referred to himself as some kind of Christ.

More assumptions, and no evidence to even support the reasoning.

More atypical mythicist bullshit.

Quote:
Quote:1. Relics are irrelevant to this discussion.
2. We don't know his sources, so we cannot weigh their credibility, which bolsters my point and detracts from yours.
3. Tacitus writes more than 80 years after the crucifixion. Not inherently reliable on that basis, unless his sources were good. We don't know his source for that single line because he doesn't tell us, and you are NOT justified in assuming his source for that one line is the same as the source for the information that was the main subject of his report. Sorry, you just don't get to do that.
4. You haven't made a firm case that the source of the one line in question is anything other than hearsay (by today's standards).
5. We do not know of any independent sources about the life of Christ. This discussion would be moot if we did. Mark is an apologetic, the other gospels are derived from Mark, and the non-canonical gospels are so mythical that they are not worth discussing as history.
6/7. not relevant to this discussion.

[quote]Since Tacitus shows such tact at using all of the above, and there is no evidence that he used hearsay to support either the Oral Tradition or Indirect Witness sections of the Historical method (which are at the low end of the method scale anyways)...

There you go shifting the burden of proof again. It's not that there's no evidence he used hearsay. It's that there's no evidence he used primary sources. Get it?

Again you continue to fail to understand that we are still talking about Tacitus about the two questions you posed:

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?

2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?


You keep wrongfully accusing me of “shifting the burden of proof” when I am not even asking a question. I am quite simply demonstrating staying on point, while you continue to evade the point.

Quote: Hearsay is as much a possibility as a primary source. In fact, hearsay is MORE of a possibility than a primary source, because we KNOW there was hearsay flying around at the time, but we have no evidence whatsoever that there were any primary sources!

And you continue to ignore the fact that already I listed ALL of the primary and secondary sources Tacitus used, so how the fuck can you even suggest that there was no evidence of primary sources?

Yep, mythicism is written all over you.

Quote:
Quote: then there can be no doubt that Tacitus’ work easily qualifies as utilizing the modern standards of modern historians, which is the Historical Method.

There is PLENTY of doubt! You just have to look at this sentence as critically as you would look at the book of Exodus or the first chapter of Matthew!

Still cherry-picking one sentence without looking at the big picture, huh? Once again, atypical mythicist bullshit. Lack of reasoning capabilities, and incapable of putting a coherent argument together.

Quote:
Quote:Since Tacitus easily passes the test of modern scholarship,

In general, yes.

“In general”, that’s all that is required. Welcome to Ancient History 101.

Quote:In regards to this one line, no! You have not established that. You have not even come close. You are presuming, and presumptuousness has no place in this discussion.

Cherry-picking one line. Your bias is clear. Let me demonstrate.

Condering that you have already agreed that Tacitus easily passes the test of modern scholarship, then if the line named Christus was worded as "Braken," and Christians were named as "Brakenites," would you even question it? Or would you accept it as probable without a second thought?

That’s the difference between you and a skilled and disinterested historian. We do not view “Christus or Christians” through the lens of religion, atheism, or any belief or non-belief system at all. It wouldn’t make the slightest difference to us whether it was Christus or the Man In The Moon.

But it does to you. So ask yourself, “Why?”

Since all I can see as far as your other responses was “bullshit,” I think we can agree that the rest of what you said was, in fact, “bullshit.”

Now … about that “physical evidence” I was talking about earlier …

Let’s talk about Pliny the Younger.

Who Was He?

Quote:Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – ca. 112), better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him. They were both witnesses to the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD.

Pliny wrote hundreds of letters, many of which still survive, that are regarded as a historical source for the time period. Some are addressed to reigning emperors or to notables such as the historian Tacitus. Pliny served as an imperial magistrate under Trajan (reigned 98–117), and his letters to Trajan provide one of the only records we have of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors

Pliny was considered an honest and moderate man, consistent in his pursuit of suspected Christian members according to Roman law. He rose through a series of Imperial civil and military offices, the cursus honorum. He was a friend of the historian Tacitus and employed the biographer Suetonius in his staff. Pliny also came into contact with other well-known men of the period, including the philosophers Artemidorus and Euphrates during his time in Syria

What Did He Do?

Quote:Career summary

c. 81 One of the presiding judges in the centumviral court (decemvir litibus iudicandis)
c. 81 Tribunus militum (staff officer) of Legio III Gallica in Syria, probably for six months
80s Officer of the noble order of knights (sevir equitum Romanorum)
Later 80s Entered the Senate
88 or 89 Quaestor attached to the Emperor's staff (quaestor imperatoris)
91 Tribune of the People (tribunus plebis)
93 Praetor
94–96 Prefect of the military treasury (praefectus aerarii militaris)
98–100 Prefect of the treasury of Saturn (praefectus aerari Saturni)
100 Consul with Cornutus Tertullus
103 Propraetor of Bithynia
103–104 Publicly elected Augur
104–106 Superintendent for the banks of the Tiber (curator alvei Tiberis)
104–107 Three times a member of Trajan's judicial council.
110 The imperial governor (legatus Augusti) of Bithynia et Pontus province

Pliny was obviously a very important man. He was an Imperial Governor and was 3 times a member of Emperor Trajan’s judicial council.

Impressive. Here we have a man who had the inside line on law and order, and who helped create the laws of Rome. He was a very trusted man by Emperor Tajan, and what’s more, he was also a very good friend of Tacitus.

So what does Pliny have to say about any of this? The following is a letter that Pliny sent to Emporer Trajan:

Quote: IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them.

Whether, therefore, any difference is usually made with respect to ages, or no distinction is to be observed between the young and the adult; whether repentance entitles them to a pardon; or if a man has been once a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; whether the very profession of Christianity, unattended with any criminal act, or only the crimes themselves inherent in the profession are punishable; on all these points I am in great doubt.

In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threatened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction.

There were others also brought before me possessed with the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens, I directed them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred.

An anonymous information was laid before me containing a charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into any of these compliances:

I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge them. Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first confessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest owned indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago) renounced that error.

They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, uttering imprecations at the same time against the name of Christ. They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal.

From this custom, however, they desisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I forbade the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate' in their religious rites: but all I could discover was evidence of an absurd and extravagant superstition. I deemed it expedient, therefore, to adjourn all further proceedings, in order to consult you. For it appears to be a matter highly deserving your consideration, more especially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of these prosecutions, which have already extended, and are still likely to extend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and even of both sexes.

In fact, this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection among the neighbouring villages and country. Nevertheless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress. The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred rites, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for the victims, which till lately found very few purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture what numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted to those who shall repent of their error.

The dating of this letter is about AD 100, some 12 – 14 years before Tacitus wrote Annals.

This is the English version, but guess what it says for “Christ” in the latin version? That’s right, it says “Christus.” Pliny clearly says that the Christians were worshipping Christus as if he was some kind of divine person. The point here is that we now have two examples from Roman records of this Christus, and how he was referred to by the Romans as Christus, with no mention of the name of Jesus.

What’s more we can see how Pliny informed the Emperor of the capital punishment inflicted upon some of those Christians. He mentions of no record keeping of those punishments whatsoever. He simply just executed Christians like we would slaughter hogs down at the local meat processing plant. Isn't that correct? Or ..

Could this be an official Roman record of how Christians were executed whereas no other kinds of records were written? They just simply killed them, and that was that.

Pliny the Younger was an avid writer, and much of his many writings are available online. He was a very good friend and fan of Tacitus, and they exchanged many letters which are also available online.

Pliny had even more access to crucial Roman records than Tacitus did, since he was on the judicial council, was a Governor, and was intimately familiar with Trajan, evidenced by his many letters.

Did Tacitus’ sources regarding Christus originate from Pliny the Younger? Possibly, since both can be seen referring to Christus by the same name, but that’s not even the point.

The point is we have yet another official Roman record straight from the office of the Emperor Trajan which details the name of Christus … exactly like Tacitus referred to him.This demonstrates that the name of Christus was known among the Romans as being the person who was responsible for the Christian cult.

But hey, I know “mythers” well enough to expect that you will intentionally hand-wave this evidence away as if it means nothing. But the reality is, no matter what you say or do, this is yet another +1 to the equation, and when added to the +1 from Tacitus, the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.

+3.

Undoubtedly

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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26-01-2014, 10:51 PM
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 10:35 PM)Free Wrote:  The dating of this letter is about AD 100, some 12 – 14 years before Tacitus wrote Annals.

This is the English version, but guess what it says for “Christ” in the latin version? That’s right, it says “Christus.” Pliny clearly says that the Christians were worshipping Christus as if he was some kind of divine person. The point here is that we now have two examples from Roman records of this Christus, and how he was referred to by the Romans as Christus, with no mention of the name of Jesus.

But the discussion is evidence of Jesus, not just evidences of Christians. We can just quote teh entire blurb, because there's not much to it:

Pliny the Younger Wrote:They were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food of an ordinary and innocent kind.

Few doubt the existence of Christians in the early 2nd century, and this letter only confirms their existence. Why doesn't 'as to a god' add a +1 to mythicism?

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26-01-2014, 10:56 PM (This post was last modified: 26-01-2014 11:09 PM by Mark Fulton.)
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 10:35 PM)Free Wrote:  
(26-01-2014 04:15 PM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  Let me digress for a moment to address a lie you told earlier, which is that Tacitus never mentioned Moses.
http://www.ourcivilisation.com/smartboar...chap18.htm

Let me know if you need more.


Okay so you found it in Histories, but not in the book we are talking about, which is Annals. And you decided to call me a “liar” instead of quoting where I said I could be wrong, as the following post indicates:

Quote:I said before, he never mentions Moses at all. If I am mistaken, please point out where.

Also, you should be aware … Moses was not a Jew. In fact, he was a Hebrew. Judaism did not exist at the purported time of Moses.

And it should be noted that Tacitus' version of Moses bears very little resemblance to the Hebrew Moses. In fact, his version of Moses is more comparable to what we know to be in the Bibliotheca Historica


Quote:The problem with your "argument to the best evidence" is that it doesn't actually argue to the best evidence.

Yes it does. Since your arguments provide no evidence at all, and my arguments demonstrate a great degree of supporting evidence, then the argument to the best explanation falls with me.

I mean … how the fuck do you ever expect to win an argument when you have no support at all for your argument?


Quote:Rather, it argues from the predetermined outcome. You're begging the question by assuming not only that Tacitus used sources, a prospect we would probably agree on, but that he used sources that would be considered reliable under today's standards that verified Jesus/Christ (you are drawing a distinction where I am not, confusing the issue for no reason) was executed under Pilate as a historical fact. That is far from certain, your "undoubtedly" comments notwithstanding. The fact is, you use the word "undoubtedly" to confer certainty on matters that are questionable at best, as I intend to show.

The word “Undoubtedly” was used to absolutely confirm the two points I made;

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?
2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?


The answers to those two above questions is absolutely “undoubtedly.” The internal evidence clearly shows Tacitus used the same authoritative standards we would use today, and there IS evidence that he independently verified that Christus was crucified by Pontius Pilate, and THAT evidence is the simple fact that Tacitus used the same authoritative standards we accept today. Because # 1 was verified via textual analysis, then # 2 is qualified.

Unless of course you failed to understand this elementary reasoning?

Undoubtedly.

Quote:The best source on the execution of Jesus Christ would have been a contemporaneous record of the execution, which would have identified Jesus and not Christ. A contemporaneous record, by which I am referring to a primary record, would have been produced at the time of the execution by Pilate and/or those under his employ. It is patently absurd that such records would not have identified the condemned by name, or that they would have referred to the condemned ironically by a title such as Christ rather than by the name Jesus.

And your evidence to support the existence of such records is where? Are you making yet another unsupported and ill informed assertion?

You are making plenty of assumptions here. Firstly, there is no evidence that the Romans kept any "official" records at all of the executions of individual non-Roman persons in Judea, ever. Not a single shred of such evidence exists in any of the available Roman sources from that period.

Quote:There is not one hint of evidence that Tacitus relied on such a source. Period. Any assertion to the contrary is wishful thinking.

Yeah, that’s fine. Especially since there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that the Romans kept any such "official government" records of the sort.

You wasted your time on this, and mine.

Quote:Again, you are confusing matters by drawing a distinction where I draw none. You are also nitpicking and cherry picking, taking a layman's question and parsing words to avoid the whole of what my question entails, and deliberately ignoring that I included the notion of primary sources in my question. "That's another question," you said (I'm paraphrasing. I'll go back later and correct the quote if you wish." It's NOT a different question. It's the same question. But you decided to attack the question that you favored, because of semantic wording. I am not impressed with your approach or the transparent way you avoided key parts of my question.

And I am not amused with your incompetence at understanding that you merely asked the same question twice, and there was no need to post both questions when one would be suffice.

But hey, if you think they are different questions, then why the fuck does my response cover both of them when I was supposedly only answering to one?

Quote:1. The minutes of the session of the Senate are unlikely to have included the execution records of common criminals in Jerusalem. There is no indication that Tacitus reviewed 85-year-old minutes to verify the execution of Jesus. And it remains absurd to think that if the Senate decided to discuss the execution of Jesus 85 years before Tacitus wrote, that Jesus' name would not have been used.

Another assumption? Really? Okay, let’s see what evidence this assumption is based on.

0000000

Well damn. I see that once again you have provided not one stitch of evidence to support this assumption.

Argument dismissed.

Quote:This notion that they had no way to translate the names comes off as an ad hoc explanation of why Tacitus refers to Christ and not Jesus. The Romans took a fucking census. They knew how to transliterate Hebrew names, for fuck's sake. However, it does seem plausible that the Romans would discuss Christ (not by name) as news of the spread of Christianity grew. Such a discussion would be consistent with the mythical view -- the Roman Senate, in discussing the origin of Christianity, would of necessity repeat what Christians said about it. So if this is the source of Tacitus' information, it remains consistent with the mythicist position. Under the standards of the time, Tacitus would have done his due diligence. His concern was not the accuracy of the Christian origin story. It was the existence of the Christian origin story. Nothing more.

So here we have Tacitus telling us how one of the Roman Empires high officials by the name of Pontius Pilate executed someone called Christus, and you somehow think he wouldn’t verify the facts? He’s writing history which includes the actions of a high ranking Roman official, and you somehow think he got his story about what Pontius Pilate did from the Christians or the Jews?

I see you have now swung to defending the mythicist position, which I could see coming right from the beginning. Your lack of ability to effectively reason, and lack of education on this subject was a dead giveaway, and atypical of that tribe of idiots.

Quote:2. You have provided no reason to assume that such a record would include an official government account of executions in Jerusalem 85 years before Tacitus wrote.

On the contrary I did, and provided a hint at the actual physical evidence. But since you failed to investigate the sources that Tacitus used, and which I listed, then I will post the actual evidence later on.

Quote:3. No evidence that these speeches discussed the execution of Jesus/Christ. Possible. But not probable.

No evidence they didn’t, ether. You are arguing from silence here. And again, this was not about evidence regarding the execution of Christus, but of qualifying Tacitus' scholarship.

Quote:4. His use of any of those sources would be considered second hand by today's standards.

You mean “secondary sources,” and that is not in dispute.

Quote:5. You tell us nothing of these letters, their authors, or their credibility. And I mean, WOW, if he relied on slews of letters like this, then he had slews of potential sources of the Christian origin story that would not necessarily pass a current standard of reliability!

Please stay tuned …

Quote:6. Collections of other histories would be great. But you can't name them, nor can you identify what they said about Jesus. The notion that these histories contained historically verifiable references to the execution of Jesus/Christ is wishful thinking. I'm not saying they didn't. I'm saying that you cannot assert that they did. We just don't know, and that's my point, not yours.

Well, like I keep saying, if you had read Annals you would have seen that Tacitus names many of them. But … you did not read Annals, so how would you know?

Quote:7. Inscriptions are irrelevant to our discussion.

Except for the one that identified Pontius Pilate as the governor of Judea.

Quote:So what have you done here? You have provided us with, at best, the possibility that Tacitus relied on something we would agree by today's standards is reliable. And with that, you have given us a ton of potential sources to the Christian origin story that would not pass today's standards of reliability: "letters" written by who knows who discussing who knows what, Senate records that would have been more interested in what Christians were claiming about their origin than whether that claim was actually true, speeches by the emperors?!?!?!

What has been done here is to answer to the following two questions:

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?

2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?

Undoubtedly.



Quote:Drive a truck through the holes you left open in that logic.

And I just shoved that same truck up your ass.

Quote:You're equivocating. I agree that he did pass all 7 qualifiers, but not to substantiate that one line. And here you're employing an inductive fallacy. That is, you are assuming that because his work overall is reliable, that every sentence in his work is equally reliable. But that's not true.

Since you agree that he passed all 7 qualifiers, then how the fuck can there be any answer other than, Undoubtedly?

No one is saying that every sentence Tacitus wrote is completely reliable, for that was never my point. My point, once again, was to quite simply answer the two questions you posed, and they were answered with supporting evidence.

The point was to provide information to answer the same two questions in bold print above, and those questions were both answered.

Undoubtedly.

Quote:Case in point: I am a journalist. I can tell you that when I write an article, I conduct interviews with primary sources, I look up documents, I attend meetings and events so that the accounts I give are firsthand whenever possible, etc. You can say overall that I am a trustworthy reporter.

But then you read my work and come across a particular sentence that is not properly sourced or attributed. You may decide to take my word for it based on my overall record, but you are perfectly entitled to challenge it based on what I left out of my article, AND THE BURDEN WOULD BE MINE TO DOCUMENT MY CLAIM. I do not get to say "well, here are my methods overall, so you should trust this one line." That would get me fired right quick. I have to say, "here is my source of information on this line; sorry I left it out. I didn't think it was a big deal." Or I would have to say, "You know what, I trusted information or generalizations that turned out in hindsight to be less reliable than I considered."

We don't get to do that with Tacitus, of course, given that he's dead. But that does not entitle us to presume the historical accuracy of this particular sentence. The best you can say is "it's plausible," but it's no more plausible than the alternatives that are consistent with the mythicist position.

Are you insane? How the fuck can you even possibly attempt to draw a comparison between a modern journalist- who can immediately make corrections to his work- to an ancient history book that is now etched in stone? This is a classic case of a fucking mythicist making yet another false analogy!

Don’t even try that fucking bullshit around here. People here are far too intelligent for it.

Quote:

That's splendid. It's also irrelevant.

It’s relevant because the textual criticism demonstrates that Tacitus cross-references his information whenever contradictory sources arise. This demonstrates once again how well Tacitus adheres to the same scholastic integrity modern scholars use today.

Yeah, it’s relevant.

Quote:Yes, but he says nothing about his sources on the history of Christianity, nor does he pretend for even a moment to be providing us with a documented history of the origin of the Christian cult beyond a throwaway line.

Do you think we can all just cherry-pick parts out of every history book and say, "where is the source for that," when the writer of the book clearly demonstrates what his sources were on the whole?

Where does it end? With every paragraph? With every sentence? With every word?

So, you are contesting JUST the part that mentions Christus & Pilate with your crazy reasoning, when if we applied your crazy reasoning to every single paragraph in any history book we could effectively eliminate history off the face of the earth.

Does that sound about right? Sure, let's use your so-called "skepticism" and get rid of history all together, okay?


Quote:This is the part you keep ignoring. Historicists act like Tacitus carefully investigated this line before daring to set pen to paper, yet the line itself betrays no such concern. He was writing about Nero blaming Christians for the fire. That was his subject matter. The origin of Christianity was incidental, and it seems beyond unlikely that he would stop what he's doing to hunt down Pilate's diary to make sure that, yes, he really did execute someone whose name escapes him but who referred to himself as some kind of Christ.

More assumptions, and no evidence to even support the reasoning.

More atypical mythicist bullshit.

Quote:There you go shifting the burden of proof again. It's not that there's no evidence he used hearsay. It's that there's no evidence he used primary sources. Get it?

Again you continue to fail to understand that we are still talking about Tacitus about the two questions you posed:

1. Did Tacitus use the authoritative standards we accept today in his scholarship?

2. Is there evidence that Tacitus independently verified … that Christus was in fact crucified by Pilate?


You keep wrongfully accusing me of “shifting the burden of proof” when I am not even asking a question. I am quite simply demonstrating staying on point, while you continue to evade the point.

Quote: Hearsay is as much a possibility as a primary source. In fact, hearsay is MORE of a possibility than a primary source, because we KNOW there was hearsay flying around at the time, but we have no evidence whatsoever that there were any primary sources!

And you continue to ignore the fact that already I listed ALL of the primary and secondary sources Tacitus used, so how the fuck can you even suggest that there was no evidence of primary sources?

Yep, mythicism is written all over you.

Quote:There is PLENTY of doubt! You just have to look at this sentence as critically as you would look at the book of Exodus or the first chapter of Matthew!

Still cherry-picking one sentence without looking at the big picture, huh? Once again, atypical mythicist bullshit. Lack of reasoning capabilities, and incapable of putting a coherent argument together.

Quote:In general, yes.

“In general”, that’s all that is required. Welcome to Ancient History 101.

Quote:In regards to this one line, no! You have not established that. You have not even come close. You are presuming, and presumptuousness has no place in this discussion.

Cherry-picking one line. Your bias is clear. Let me demonstrate.

Condering that you have already agreed that Tacitus easily passes the test of modern scholarship, then if the line named Christus was worded as "Braken," and Christians were named as "Brakenites," would you even question it? Or would you accept it as probable without a second thought?

That’s the difference between you and a skilled and disinterested historian. We do not view “Christus or Christians” through the lens of religion, atheism, or any belief or non-belief system at all. It wouldn’t make the slightest difference to us whether it was Christus or the Man In The Moon.

But it does to you. So ask yourself, “Why?”

Since all I can see as far as your other responses was “bullshit,” I think we can agree that the rest of what you said was, in fact, “bullshit.”

Now … about that “physical evidence” I was talking about earlier …

Let’s talk about Pliny the Younger.

Who Was He?

Quote:Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus, born Gaius Caecilius or Gaius Caecilius Cilo (61 – ca. 112), better known as Pliny the Younger, was a lawyer, author, and magistrate of Ancient Rome. Pliny's uncle, Pliny the Elder, helped raise and educate him. They were both witnesses to the eruption of Vesuvius on August 24, 79 AD.

Pliny wrote hundreds of letters, many of which still survive, that are regarded as a historical source for the time period. Some are addressed to reigning emperors or to notables such as the historian Tacitus. Pliny served as an imperial magistrate under Trajan (reigned 98–117), and his letters to Trajan provide one of the only records we have of the relationship between the imperial office and provincial governors

Pliny was considered an honest and moderate man, consistent in his pursuit of suspected Christian members according to Roman law. He rose through a series of Imperial civil and military offices, the cursus honorum. He was a friend of the historian Tacitus and employed the biographer Suetonius in his staff. Pliny also came into contact with other well-known men of the period, including the philosophers Artemidorus and Euphrates during his time in Syria

What Did He Do?

Quote:Career summary

c. 81 One of the presiding judges in the centumviral court (decemvir litibus iudicandis)
c. 81 Tribunus militum (staff officer) of Legio III Gallica in Syria, probably for six months
80s Officer of the noble order of knights (sevir equitum Romanorum)
Later 80s Entered the Senate
88 or 89 Quaestor attached to the Emperor's staff (quaestor imperatoris)
91 Tribune of the People (tribunus plebis)
93 Praetor
94–96 Prefect of the military treasury (praefectus aerarii militaris)
98–100 Prefect of the treasury of Saturn (praefectus aerari Saturni)
100 Consul with Cornutus Tertullus
103 Propraetor of Bithynia
103–104 Publicly elected Augur
104–106 Superintendent for the banks of the Tiber (curator alvei Tiberis)
104–107 Three times a member of Trajan's judicial council.
110 The imperial governor (legatus Augusti) of Bithynia et Pontus province

Pliny was obviously a very important man. He was an Imperial Governor and was 3 times a member of Emperor Trajan’s judicial council.

Impressive. Here we have a man who had the inside line on law and order, and who helped create the laws of Rome. He was a very trusted man by Emperor Tajan, and what’s more, he was also a very good friend of Tacitus.

So what does Pliny have to say about any of this? The following is a letter that Pliny sent to Emporer Trajan:

Quote: IT is my invariable rule, Sir, to refer to you in all matters where I feel doubtful; for who is more capable of removing my scruples, or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials concerning those who profess Christianity, I am unacquainted not only with the nature of their crimes, or the measure of their punishment, but how far it is proper to enter into an examination concerning them.

Whether, therefore, any difference is usually made with respect to ages, or no distinction is to be observed between the young and the adult; whether repentance entitles them to a pardon; or if a man has been once a Christian, it avails nothing to desist from his error; whether the very profession of Christianity, unattended with any criminal act, or only the crimes themselves inherent in the profession are punishable; on all these points I am in great doubt.

In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have been brought before me as Christians is this: I asked them whether they were Christians; if they admitted it, I repeated the question twice, and threatened them with punishment; if they persisted, I ordered them to be at once punished: for I was persuaded, whatever the nature of their opinions might be, a contumacious and inflexible obstinacy certainly deserved correction.

There were others also brought before me possessed with the same infatuation, but being Roman citizens, I directed them to be sent to Rome. But this crime spreading (as is usually the case) while it was actually under prosecution, several instances of the same nature occurred.

An anonymous information was laid before me containing a charge against several persons, who upon examination denied they were Christians, or had ever been so. They repeated after me an invocation to the gods, and offered religious rites with wine and incense before your statue (which for that purpose I had ordered to be brought, together with those of the gods), and even reviled the name of Christ: whereas there is no forcing, it is said, those who are really Christians into any of these compliances:

I thought it proper, therefore, to discharge them. Some among those who were accused by a witness in person at first confessed themselves Christians, but immediately after denied it; the rest owned indeed that they had been of that number formerly, but had now (some above three, others more, and a few above twenty years ago) renounced that error.

They all worshipped your statue and the images of the gods, uttering imprecations at the same time against the name of Christ. They affirmed the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they met on a stated day before it was light, and addressed a form of prayer to Christ, as to a divinity, binding themselves by a solemn oath, not for the purposes of any wicked design, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble, to eat in common a harmless meal.

From this custom, however, they desisted after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your commands, I forbade the meeting of any assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it so much the more necessary to endeavor to extort the real truth, by putting two female slaves to the torture, who were said to officiate' in their religious rites: but all I could discover was evidence of an absurd and extravagant superstition. I deemed it expedient, therefore, to adjourn all further proceedings, in order to consult you. For it appears to be a matter highly deserving your consideration, more especially as great numbers must be involved in the danger of these prosecutions, which have already extended, and are still likely to extend, to persons of all ranks and ages, and even of both sexes.

In fact, this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread its infection among the neighbouring villages and country. Nevertheless, it still seems possible to restrain its progress. The temples, at least, which were once almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred rites, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for the victims, which till lately found very few purchasers. From all this it is easy to conjecture what numbers might be reclaimed if a general pardon were granted to those who shall repent of their error.

The dating of this letter is about AD 100, some 12 – 14 years before Tacitus wrote Annals.

This is the English version, but guess what it says for “Christ” in the latin version? That’s right, it says “Christus.” Pliny clearly says that the Christians were worshipping Christus as if he was some kind of divine person. The point here is that we now have two examples from Roman records of this Christus, and how he was referred to by the Romans as Christus, with no mention of the name of Jesus.

What’s more we can see how Pliny informed the Emperor of the capital punishment inflicted upon some of those Christians. He mentions of no record keeping of those punishments whatsoever. He simply just executed Christians like we would slaughter hogs down at the local meat processing plant. Isn't that correct? Or ..

Could this be an official Roman record of how Christians were executed whereas no other kinds of records were written? They just simply killed them, and that was that.

Pliny the Younger was an avid writer, and much of his many writings are available online. He was a very good friend and fan of Tacitus, and they exchanged many letters which are also available online.

Pliny had even more access to crucial Roman records than Tacitus did, since he was on the judicial council, was a Governor, and was intimately familiar with Trajan, evidenced by his many letters.

Did Tacitus’ sources regarding Christus originate from Pliny the Younger? Possibly, since both can be seen referring to Christus by the same name, but that’s not even the point.

The point is we have yet another official Roman record straight from the office of the Emperor Trajan which details the name of Christus … exactly like Tacitus referred to him.This demonstrates that the name of Christus was known among the Romans as being the person who was responsible for the Christian cult.

But hey, I know “mythers” well enough to expect that you will intentionally hand-wave this evidence away as if it means nothing. But the reality is, no matter what you say or do, this is yet another +1 to the equation, and when added to the +1 from Tacitus, the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts.

+3.

Undoubtedly

Free, you write

"This is a classic case of a fucking mythicist making yet another false analogy!"

"I see you have now swung to defending the mythicist position, which I could see coming right from the beginning. Your lack of ability to effectively reason, and lack of education on this subject was a dead giveaway, and atypical of that tribe of idiots."

You're making your lack of objectivity obvious here. Why all the hostility against mythicists?
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