Jesus myth
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
27-01-2014, 10:17 AM
RE: Jesus myth
Ad hominem. Nice way to close this out.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 10:36 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2014 10:43 AM by Free.)
RE: Jesus myth
(26-01-2014 11:31 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  1. I don't get it. Where does all this vehement spite against "mythers" originate from? There was another dude (whose name I've forgotten) here on the forum perhaps six months ago who rabbeted on and on against "mythers" (I'd never even heard the word prior to this.) He too persistently made appeals to authority to justify his views.

You act as if appealing to the authorities is somehow some kind of fallacious reasoning. It isn't. It is only fallacious when the authority in question is not an expert on the subject in question, and also when the person who quotes the authorities make a claim that the authorities are infallible.

No one is infallible.

When experts on a subject are consulted and quoted, it lends credibility to an argument. It doesn't prove the argument is true, but only increases the probability that the truth as been approximated. Then, when several experts are all in agreement about a subject, the probability that it is true increases exponentially.

In the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, the consensus is virtually unanimous- with only a handful of opponents- that it is in fact a genuine reference to the crucifixion of Christus aka, Jesus of Nazareth.

Again, it does not prove anything, but only increases the odds significantly that the truth has been approximated.

If we did not place confidence in the experts in various fields of studies, then they would have no support to continue. There is a reason why we trust authorities and experts, and that is because they have the required education and dedication to effectively ply their trade, and enhance our lives with information, new inventions, and a plethora of other "gifts" to the betterment of humankind.

Therefore, if you are going to make a summary judgment on a very large consensus of the world's foremost authorities on a specific subject, the least you could do is demonstrate some kind of solid reasoning and evidence to put their opinions- hundreds of them- all in doubt.

But in the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, it simply has never happened. No one has ever even raised any semblance of a reasonable doubt that demonstrates that this text is not a genuine reference to the execution of Christus, Jesus of Nazareth.

Not ever.

Therefore, you either accept what the experts say, or you don't. And if you don't, then perhaps you should go the hard yards and get an education on that subject to qualify your opinion.

But until then, your opinion holds very little weight in regards to credibility.

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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 10:47 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2014 10:56 AM by TwoCultSurvivor.)
RE: Jesus myth
(27-01-2014 10:36 AM)Free Wrote:  When experts on a subject are consulted and quoted, it lends credibility to an argument. It doesn't prove the argument is true, but only increases the probability that the truth as been approximated. Then, when several experts are all in agreement about a subject, the probability that it is true increases exponentially.

In the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, the consensus is virtually unanimous- with only a handful of opponents- that it is in fact a genuine reference to the crucifixion of Christus aka, Jesus of Nazareth.

Of course it is a genuine reference to the crucifixion of Jesus/Christ. But is it a genuine reference to the historicity of that event, or a genuine reference to the existence of the narrative. The mythicist position is B, and that position is entirely consistent with the evidence we have. I wish we had more, but we don't.

Quote:Again, it does not prove anything, but only increases the odds significantly that the truth has been approximated.

I asked you this before, but I don't think you answered it: why doesn't this prove "anything," and what do you mean by "anything"? I ask this because you are acting as though it DOES prove something, while saying it doesn't. I submit it only proves the existence of the narrative, and without passing judgment on Tacitus, that is insufficient to address the central question.

Quote:If we did not place confidence in the experts in various fields of studies, then they would have no support to continue. There is a reason why we trust authorities and experts, and that is because they have the required education and dedication to effectively ply their trade, and enhance our lives with information, new inventions, and a plethora of other "gifts" to the betterment of humankind.

I have no problem with that, but it's kind of beside the point. You somehow feel confident stating the above while stating at the same time that the line in Tacitus "doesn't prove anything." In order to properly understand your point, I need to know what you mean by "doesn't prove anything."

Quote:Therefore, if you are going to make a summary judgment on a very large consensus of the world's foremost authorities on a specific subject, the least you could do is demonstrate some kind of solid reasoning and evidence to put their opinions- hundreds of them- all in doubt.

The majority of authorities in question are biased in favor of the historicist position. This is the very nature of the field in question: the people most interested in this subject are Christians. Among those who are not, a large percentage started out as Christians and never seriously questioned the historicist position. The existence of that bias alone is sufficient to ask for the basis of the overwhelming consensus. So we examine the line itself, what is says, what it doesn't say, what's its context, what does it demonstrate, etc. If the consensus rests on a solid foundation, it should survive this rather simple inquiry. But it doesn't. When challenged, the historicist provides evidence of Tacitus' reputation (not in question), general methods (not in question), use of sources (not in question), reluctance to rely on hearsay (not in question), etc.

The problem is that we also see (and you have conceded) that the standards under which Tacitus operated are not the same as the standards we employ today. So when I ask whether he consulted primary sources, you say "yes" knowing full well that the answer is "no" by today's standards. This undermines the value of that one line for the question of whether he is documenting that the crucifixion actually took place. It in no way undermines the value of that one line on the question of whether the narrative of the crucifixion existed at the time he was writing (which is not in question). That's a reasonable doubt right there.

Quote:But in the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, it simply has never happened. No one has ever even raised any semblance of a reasonable doubt that this text is not a genuine reference to the execution of Christus, Jesus of Nazareth.

Not ever.

You're in denial. There is plenty of reasonable doubt as to the question of whether Tacitus' reference to the execution of Jesus is a genuine reference to the historicity of Jesus/Christ's execution, as opposed to being a genuine reference to the existence of the narrative. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Tacitus did not tell us his source for that particular line. Every response you have given to that question has been speculative and inconclusive. If you truly believe the line in Tacitus "doesn't prove anything," then you HAVE to agree with what I'm saying. Agreeing on that point does NOT mean you have become a mythicist. It only means you recognize that the line in Tacitus is of limited value to the question of whether we're talking about something that actually happened (historicity) or something that people believed had happened (existence of the narrative).
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 10:51 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(27-01-2014 10:47 AM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  
(27-01-2014 10:36 AM)Free Wrote:  When experts on a subject are consulted and quoted, it lends credibility to an argument. It doesn't prove the argument is true, but only increases the probability that the truth as been approximated. Then, when several experts are all in agreement about a subject, the probability that it is true increases exponentially.

In the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, the consensus is virtually unanimous- with only a handful of opponents- that it is in fact a genuine reference to the crucifixion of Christus aka, Jesus of Nazareth.

Of course it is a genuine reference to the crucifixion of Jesus/Christ. But is it a genuine reference to the historicity of that event, or a genuine reference to the existence of the narrative. The mythicist position is B, and that position is entirely consistent with the evidence we have. I wish we had more, but we don't.

Quote:Again, it does not prove anything, but only increases the odds significantly that the truth has been approximated.

I asked you this before, but I don't think you answered it: why doesn't this prove "anything," and what do you mean by "anything"? I ask this because you are acting as though it DOES prove something, while saying it doesn't. I submit it only proves the existence of the narrative, and without passing judgment on Tacitus, that is insufficient to address the central question.

Quote:If we did not place confidence in the experts in various fields of studies, then they would have no support to continue. There is a reason why we trust authorities and experts, and that is because they have the required education and dedication to effectively ply their trade, and enhance our lives with information, new inventions, and a plethora of other "gifts" to the betterment of humankind.

I have no problem with that, but it's kind of beside the point. You somehow feel confident stating the above while stating at the same time that the line in Tacitus "doesn't prove anything." In order to properly understand your point, I need to know what you mean by "doesn't prove anything."

Quote:Therefore, if you are going to make a summary judgment on a very large consensus of the world's foremost authorities on a specific subject, the least you could do is demonstrate some kind of solid reasoning and evidence to put their opinions- hundreds of them- all in doubt.

But in the case of Tacitus' mention of Christus, it simply has never happened. No one has ever even raised any semblance of a reasonable doubt that this text is not a genuine reference to the execution of Christus, Jesus of Nazareth.

Not ever.

You're in denial. There is plenty of reasonable doubt as to the question of whether Tacitus' reference to the execution of Jesus is a genuine reference to the historicity of Jesus/Christ's execution, as opposed to being a genuine reference to the existence of the narrative. Unfortunately, for whatever reason, Tacitus did not tell us his source for that particular line. Every response you have given to that question has been speculative and inconclusive. If you truly believe the line in Tacitus "doesn't prove anything," then you HAVE to agree with what I'm saying. Agreeing on that point does NOT mean you have become a mythicist. It only means you recognize that the line in Tacitus is of limited value to the question of whether we're talking about something that actually happened (historicity) or something that people believed had happened (existence of the narrative).

I'm replying to Mark. You've already been dealt with. Your 15 minutes are over.

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.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 11:18 AM
RE: Jesus myth
I wanted to refer to something that was posted in another discussion because I think it is applicable here.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid329113

Quote:I would say the position you're promoting is not built on solid methodological grounds...

...

2 - The need to produce firm and groundbreaking conclusions. Scholarship is governed by a number of methodological boundaries that are intended to help theories stay within logical and evidentiary boundaries. They help us to be more secure in our conclusions, but they also limit what we can say from the evidence.

My point in this discussion is that we are limited in what we can say from the evidence in Tacitus, to a far greater degree than any historicist will admit.

As long as we don't know the source of Tacitus' one line, we cannot conclude that he has independently verified that the crucifixion took place. If the source of Tacitus' one line is any of the sources claimed by Free, then we cannot conclude that Tacitus has independently verified the crucifixion took place. That's a crucial point. Every single source identified by Free in his previous posts is consistent with the mythicist position. Find me one that's not. Find me a source you cited that would NOT exist if Jesus was a mere mythical figure. That's where the burden lies.

If Jesus was a mere mythical figure, but worshiped as a God by the time Pliny was writing, then a narrative about his life would have arisen by the time Pliny wrote. So far, the evidence is consistent with the mythicist position.

If Jesus were a mere mythical figure, every single reference cited by Free would still exist. Every one.

If Jesus were a mythical figure, a primary record of his execution would NOT exist. There would be no order condemning him to death, no record of his burial place, no contemporary record of his life. And sure enough, none of these records exists.

That's why Tacitus' one line is so fascinating, and why it deserves to be examined differently than the lines surrounding it. Tacitus gives us the best indication that such a record (a primary record of Jesus' execution) may have existed at one time but has since been lost to history. Unfortunately, Tacitus does not give us enough reason to conclude that he really was relying on such a record (here, and only here, the distinction between Jesus and Christ becomes relevant -- not because of what Tacitus should have written/cited, but because of what we would have been able to conclude if he had written/cited it).

It is unfortunate, but we are forced to recognize that we are limited in what we can conclude from the line in Tacitus.

Quote:Most academic discussion deals more with weighing probabilities rather than making definitive and absolute claims. On many, many occasions, however, the conclusions that hobbyists and pseudo-scholars are looking for--the really big and groundbreaking ones that obliterate this and that tradition or consensus view--lie on the other side of that limit. For those without rigorous training, those limits are almost always invisible (although the limits are glaring when it comes to the arguments of opponents), and the conclusions seem well within grasp. This leads almost invariably to fallacious and specious reasoning and speculation.

Indeed. And this works both ways. If I were to argue that Tacitus proves Jesus/Christ didn't exist in history, I would be speaking beyond the scope of what his line says. The line in Tacitus limits my ability to draw that conclusion. It also limits my ability to draw the opposite conclusion. The fact is, the line in Tacitus neatly fits both theories: the historicists', because it refers to the crucifixion of Jesus, and the mythicicsts, because it does so in a way consistent with the existence of a mere narrative. And as Free has already conceded, Tacitus would have been more satisfied with what he considered to be a primary source than we would be with that same source. This is not a criticism of Tacitus. It's a recognition that he used a different standard and that we are limited in our ability to draw a conclusion based on the standard he actually did apply. Again, not "presentism." Just common sense.

Quote:The overriding drive in this speculation is usually the ostensible need to find theories that incorporate the most pieces of evidence, or make everything fit, but in reality certain pieces of evidence are always prioritized, with others manipulated to be made to fit within the model. Priority is given to evidence that supports presuppositions and biases. Mythicists, for instance, insist that Jesus didn't exist in any sense, but there's really no evidence that such is the case.

Nor would there be. There would just be no evidence that he DID exist. And what does it say that some of the best evidence we have dates to the early second century?

Quote: There is certainly evidence that the New Testament's portrayal is thoroughly rhetorical and propagandist, but to suggest that no historical figure whatsoever lies at the root of the tradition reaches well, well beyond the evidence.

I actually agree with that.

I won't quote the rest, but I invite you or the person who posted it to weigh in if you should so choose.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes TwoCultSurvivor's post
27-01-2014, 11:19 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(27-01-2014 10:51 AM)Free Wrote:  I'm replying to Mark. You've already been dealt with. Your 15 minutes are over.

That's fine. You don't have to answer me. I know it's because you can't.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 11:27 AM (This post was last modified: 27-01-2014 12:23 PM by anonymous66.)
RE: Jesus myth
Long thread...
Has anyone mentioned the fact that Richard Carrier has written a peer reviewed article showing that the reference to Christ in Tacitus is an interpolation, and is slated to appear in the academic journal Vigiliae Christianae later this year?

You can actually read the article now... It's just been released in his new book , Hitler Homer Bible Christ: The Historical Papers of Richard Carrier 1995-2013 now available in print and kindle. It was just announced on his blog on the 21st.
Quote:Richard Carrier, Ph.D., philosopher, historian, blogger, has published a number of papers in the field of ancient history and biblical studies. He has also written several books and chapters on diverse subjects, and has been blogging and speaking since 2006. He is known the world over for all the above. But here, together for the first time, are all of Dr. Carrier’s peer reviewed academic journal articles in history through the year 2013, collected with his best magazine articles, research papers and blog posts on the same subjects. Many have been uniquely revised for this publication. Others are inaccessible except through libraries or paywalls. Twenty chapters include his seminal papers on the scandal of Hitler’s Table Talk, the Jerry Vardaman microletter farce, and the testimonies to Christ in Josephus, Tacitus, and Thallus, as well as Carrier’s journalistic foray into ancient pyramid quackery, his work on the historical & textual errancy of the bible, and more.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
27-01-2014, 11:36 AM
RE: Jesus myth
Thanks for posting that.

I am proceeding on the assumption that the line in Tacitus is genuine and not an interpolation. I have skimmed some of the arguments for interpolation and I have formed no opinion on those arguments. However, it is my position that even if the comment IS genuine, it provides no evidence for the existence of Jesus/Christ that is inconsistent with the mythicist position.

Obviously, if it IS an interpolation, the whole discussion of its value is moot.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-01-2014, 11:24 AM
RE: Jesus myth
One theory is that Josephus elevated Jesus of Gamala into the Jesus Christ figure because Jesus of Gamala was a close friend of his and he, Josephus had him taken down from a cross. That is a historical "Jesus" who was a priest, a Jewish leader and was crucified. He didn't perform miracles and wasn't a god gut there is no reason that this could not have been the historical figure behind the New Testament Jesus.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
28-01-2014, 11:37 AM
RE: Jesus myth
(28-01-2014 11:24 AM)Deltabravo Wrote:  One theory is that Josephus elevated Jesus of Gamala into the Jesus Christ figure because Jesus of Gamala was a close friend of his and he, Josephus had him taken down from a cross. That is a historical "Jesus" who was a priest, a Jewish leader and was crucified. He didn't perform miracles and wasn't a god gut there is no reason that this could not have been the historical figure behind the New Testament Jesus.

I'm not sure I would call this a 'theory'. It's more like speculation, or hypothesis at best.

Softly, softly, catchee monkey.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
[+] 1 user Likes toadaly's post
Post Reply
Forum Jump: