Paul and the case for mythicism
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04-11-2014, 02:39 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 02:36 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  
(03-11-2014 02:04 PM)unfogged Wrote:  I've been reading about the mythicist view of Jesus recently and would appreciate any feedback on my understanding of where Paul fits into the picture. The chronology I have is:

- Paul (as Saul) was critical of Christians in the 30's; the extent of his 'persecution' of Christians is not well defined but he knew of them and, at the very least, spoke out against their beliefs
- sometime around the year 40 he had his Damascus road experience and converted
- for the next 14 years he developed and preached his version of Christianity based on his revelation and his reading of older scriptures but in all that time he didn't go to Jerusalem to meet with any of the apostles there, or with anybody who had known the historical Jesus
- when he did meet with Cephas and James they basically agreed to disagree on whether or not Christians had to follow the Jewish laws
- his known writings start around the year 50, before he met with the 'Pillars' in Jerusalem and continuing afterwards

I had always considered Paul's writings about the existence of Christian sects in the late 30's to be an indication that there was probably a historical figure at the core of the myth. Now that I really think about it however, Paul's actions don't make a lot of sense to me. I would expect him to want to talk immediately with people still living in Jerusalem who actually knew Jesus in the flesh. The idea that he put that off for more than a decade makes more sense if he didn't know about a historical figure and was taking his personal revelation to be just as valid as any understanding he'd get from somebody else. I'd also expect the opinion of the 'Pillars' to carry more weight than it apparently did if they could reliably claim to have known the actual man.

If I have the general facts straight then I'd say Paul's writings and actions lend weight to the mythicist view and are hard to align with a historical Jesus. Opinions?

I just received and started reading a book that does a full peer reviewed and substantiated analysis of this, I highly recommend it, it is a great read, and deeply cited book thus far...

Carrier, Richard. On the historicity of jesus: why we might have reason to doubt, Sheffield England, Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014. Print.

What a coincidence. I'm just wrapping up a podcast with Richard Carrier as the guest discussing the existence of Jesus. Many probably already listened to it, but I thought it was quite enlightening.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...rd-Carrier
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04-11-2014, 03:24 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
Quote:Marcion would have had to be a writer of Shakespearean talent to create the character of Paul.


Again, Mark, no. We have no idea what the original "pauline" epistles said. All we have is what emerged on the other side of the tunnel, if you will. There could have been many hands re-writing "paul" to make it fit with the winning doctrine which could go a long way to explaining the apparent psychological problems you point out.

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04-11-2014, 03:50 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 02:36 PM)goodwithoutgod Wrote:  I just received and started reading a book that does a full peer reviewed and substantiated analysis of this, I highly recommend it, it is a great read, and deeply cited book thus far...

Carrier, Richard. On the historicity of jesus: why we might have reason to doubt, Sheffield England, Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2014. Print.

I finished it a few weeks ago and have since been looking at other resources. I need to go back and read Carrier's book again; there's a huge amount of detail there and my first read was a fairly quick pass to pick up the main points.

I started this thread just to see if the general timeline I had for Paul matches what is generally accepted; before I started Carrier's book I had thought Paul's revelation was dated closer to the year 50 and that he had consulted with others in Jerusalem from the start. The revised timeline has pushed me much further into the mythicist camp but I'm still learning.

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04-11-2014, 11:31 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
Quote:I started this thread just to see if the general timeline I had for Paul matches what is generally accepted

Are you at all interested in actual history? This "paul" fellow is supposedly tied to Corinth, a Greek city on the isthmus of the same name. Xtians insist he was writing to xtian churches there in the middle of the first century. What do we know about "Corinth?"

We know that in 146 BC a Roman Army under the consul Lucius Mummius took the city and leveled it. 146 BC was a big year for that sort of behavior from the Romans, they had done the same thing to Carthage.

The city lay abandoned for 102 years until 44 BC when Gaius Julius Caesar decided to found a colony there. He also rejuvenated Carthage. Ever practical those Romans. The sites were simply too valuable to leave vacant.

How much Caesar got done is open to speculation. He was killed in March of 44 BC and civil war broke out. A large part of that war was fought in Greece which cannot have augured well for the start of a brand, spanking new, Corinth. Nonetheless, eventually Octavian won and the Pax Romana broke out...but about 20 years had been lost.

So we have a Roman colony, not a Greek city, starting from scratch finally getting rolling around 25 BC. We are asked to believe...with the only evidence being the bullshit in the bible...that a mere 75 years later Corinth was a going concern with populations of jews and xtians.

Well. It seems unlikely. Excavations have shown that Corinth was such a glowing success by 70 AD that the newly installed Emperor Vespasian felt compelled to "re-found" the colony.

http://corinth.sas.upenn.edu/vesp.html

Quote:Colonia Iulia Flavia Augusta Corinthiensis, AD 70s (Reign of Vespasian)

Physical vestiges both within the urban center of Corinth and in the surrounding rural area attest to a second Roman land division that may historically be equated with Colonia Iulia Flavia Augusta Corinthiensis, a refoundation at the time of Vespasian.

Quote:The city as planned for in the Caesarian colony appears to have been reduced by about 40 percent. One implication of this contraction is that the population of the original Roman colony never became as large as originally anticipated.

Rather than being a glowing success Vespasian found a colony on the brink of apparent failure. He took steps to remedy the problem. Nonetheless, a mere 20 years after "paul" was allegedly there we find that someone needs to pump Corinth up so that it doesn't vanish from history. Not looking good for old "paul."

Add to this the record of the Greek geographer Pausanias c 135 (during Hadrian's reign.) Pausanias, in spite of being fascinated with various shrines and temples has nothing whatsoever to say about xtians....or even any jews. The jews are by far the more compelling absence as they were in the midst of the bar Kohkba revolt in Palestine and most certainly would have been on the top of everyone's shitlist. Archaeological work has found much later evidence of "jewish" synagogues but stuff from the 4th and 5th centuries does nothing to help the 'paul' story.

2 Corinthians 11 32-33 states:

Quote:32 In Damascus the governor under Aretas the king kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desirous to apprehend me: 33 and through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands.

2 Cor. is one of the epistles which is always considered "authentic." Yet it describes a historical situation which existed between 84-64 BC when the city of Damascus was ruled by King Aretas III of Nabatea. Jesus-freak bullshit strives to attribute this story to Aretas IV who died in 40 AD but there is no indication that once the Romans gained control of Damascus that they gave it up to anyone.

The J-F's would rather slam their balls in a car door than admit that the Aretas in question was the only one who ruled Damascus and they have an even bigger problem: If this letter is "authentic" it would have had to be written to a population in Corinth at a time when Corinth did not exist....not to mention that it would have predated any so-called "jesus" by 100 years. Perhaps the letter was "re-addressed" by later editors?

Unsurprisingly, they simply choose to ignore the evidence.

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05-11-2014, 08:01 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 11:31 PM)Minimalist Wrote:  Are you at all interested in actual history?

Yes, of course. As I said earlier, I was under the impression that Paul was pretty universally accepted as a historical figure. I knew there were some questionable claims (e.g. writing letters from prison and being allowed to visit congregations while under guard) but that the major framework of the story was accepted.

I'm now looking at this in two ways: (1) assuming Paul did exist, what is the best understanding of the story and how does it impact on the question of the historicity of Jesus and the development of Christian theology and (2) what is the evidence that Paul may be fictional and how does that impact the same things.

What you've done is opened up yet another rabbit hole in trying to understand how this nonsense all got off the ground! Weeping

I kid. I really do appreciate the information. Bowing

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05-11-2014, 08:11 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(04-11-2014 02:27 PM)Plan 9 from OS Wrote:  Yes it does. What I find interesting is that you'll be chastised by a typical fundie/evangelical if you say faith + works; however, people assume that you do not have real faith if you do not perform good works. Case in point is the OSAS (once saved, always saved) Christians who state that if you pray the "sinner's prayer", you will be saved forever if you prayed it sincerely and meant it from the heart. I believe their theology is that you demonstrate your faith by praying the sinners prayer sincerely. Then...you are assured salvation no matter what you do. However...I've read that it's quite possible to have not really prayed the sinner's prayer with "real sincerity" if you proceed to live a life that shows no real demonstrations of charity or wholesome living - what I would call good works. So in the end, you can fake yourself out and think you are saved; however, you may not be really saved if you don't do the things that a saved person should be doing.

Yeah, I've learned in talking with several fundies that it's basically a shell game of terminology. Now, I don't know all of the supporting verses for why they believe what they believe, but I'm going to take my cues from the Trinity and assume that their finely-crafted talking points are to satisfy some contradictions within the texts. It wouldn't be the first time.

I used to always assume "works" meant "deeds". As in, you can't get to heaven by good deeds. Apparently, "works" means something else, because they absolutely do believe that your deeds will get you into heaven or into hell; otherwise, they wouldn't pitch such a fit about repentance, baptism, communion, or homosexuality. I found this out talking to one fundie when they finally said that the actions I was talking about "weren't works". I still have no actual working definition on what a "work" is. Contextually, it appears to be an action you take to get into heaven without grace. Maybe.

As far as I can tell, their stated position is: You need the grace of Jesus to get into heaven, and you cannot get in by actions on your part, except for all of those actions that you have to take to get into heaven. We'll call those first actions "works" and the second actions "repentance", to keep ourselves from looking too stupid.
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05-11-2014, 08:46 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
(05-11-2014 08:11 AM)RobbyPants Wrote:  
(04-11-2014 02:27 PM)Plan 9 from OS Wrote:  Yes it does. What I find interesting is that you'll be chastised by a typical fundie/evangelical if you say faith + works; however, people assume that you do not have real faith if you do not perform good works. Case in point is the OSAS (once saved, always saved) Christians who state that if you pray the "sinner's prayer", you will be saved forever if you prayed it sincerely and meant it from the heart. I believe their theology is that you demonstrate your faith by praying the sinners prayer sincerely. Then...you are assured salvation no matter what you do. However...I've read that it's quite possible to have not really prayed the sinner's prayer with "real sincerity" if you proceed to live a life that shows no real demonstrations of charity or wholesome living - what I would call good works. So in the end, you can fake yourself out and think you are saved; however, you may not be really saved if you don't do the things that a saved person should be doing.

Yeah, I've learned in talking with several fundies that it's basically a shell game of terminology. Now, I don't know all of the supporting verses for why they believe what they believe, but I'm going to take my cues from the Trinity and assume that their finely-crafted talking points are to satisfy some contradictions within the texts. It wouldn't be the first time.

I used to always assume "works" meant "deeds". As in, you can't get to heaven by good deeds. Apparently, "works" means something else, because they absolutely do believe that your deeds will get you into heaven or into hell; otherwise, they wouldn't pitch such a fit about repentance, baptism, communion, or homosexuality. I found this out talking to one fundie when they finally said that the actions I was talking about "weren't works". I still have no actual working definition on what a "work" is. Contextually, it appears to be an action you take to get into heaven without grace. Maybe.

As far as I can tell, their stated position is: You need the grace of Jesus to get into heaven, and you cannot get in by actions on your part, except for all of those actions that you have to take to get into heaven. We'll call those first actions "works" and the second actions "repentance", to keep ourselves from looking too stupid.

If you are interested, check out Paul's letter to the Romans - Chapters 3 thru 5. A good link is the American RCC bible. I linked to the introduction because it gives a good synopsis of the book. http://www.usccb.org/bible/scripture.cfm?bk=Romans&ch= About 2000 years ago, Paul was writing to Greeks, hellenized jews and gentiles that sympathized with Judaism. So "works" in that context was the following of the Jewish religion and following the 3000 plus dietary, purification and other Jewish laws that made you a good Jew. It seems like the letters of Paul and the other NT writers were adapted to today. I've seen a few crazy people today who will tell you that giving to the poor, running soup kitchens and other acts of charity are nice but not needed. So long as you have faith, you're good no matter how selfish you are. I do believe that a number of evangelicals/fundies are backtracking on that because IMHO they were roundly ridiculed by this stupid stance. Now, they have a "faith + works" view, but the works have "nothing" to do with it. The best description I've seen from my POV in Christianity (RCC) is that you are nothing without grace. If you have faith, then you will have grace and it's grace that makes it possible for you to demonstrate your faith by doing good in the community (works). If you do not do good deeds, then your faith is a sham. I believe the fundies are morphing into this position IMHO.
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05-11-2014, 08:55 AM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/paul.htm

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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05-11-2014, 01:53 PM
RE: Paul and the case for mythicism
I usually avoid JNE, Buck. Xtians want to see evidence from sites like "Isuckedjesuscock.com." They think they are less "biased!"

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