Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
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26-06-2015, 03:35 PM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
Only religious shitwits speak in terms of absolute certainty. Rational people are more nuanced.

Quote:The ministers, who preached at these revivals, were in earnest. They were zealous and sincere. They were not philosophers. To them science was the name of a vague dread -- a dangerous enemy. They did not know much, but they believed a great deal.
-- Robert Green Ingersol

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26-06-2015, 03:39 PM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(26-06-2015 02:16 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(26-06-2015 11:23 AM)Tomasia Wrote:  I don't think Carrier is all that confident about his arguments either. I don't think he finds them compelling enough, I remember reading his blog or whatever in which he agreed with the advice of another atheists blogger, who suggested that atheists avoid the ahistoricist arguments, when debating Christianity.

That's because Christianity fails all on it's own for completely separate reasons. They are two separate issues. You have no clue how "confident" he is or isn't. Obviously you've never seen him talk.

I have seen/heard Carrier speak (at a Freethought Festival 3-4 years ago). He does not lack confidence.
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30-06-2015, 09:24 AM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(12-06-2015 11:11 AM)TwoCultSurvivor Wrote:  But again, me = layman. Not qualified to argue either way.

I beg to differ.

You see, even as a layman, as long as you employ solid reasoning in conjunction with all available evidence, your argument can be just as qualified as the most seasoned historian.

Many historians are biased right out the gate. I often see this bias when reviewing their work. Whether they be slanted towards Christianity such as many are, or slanted towards Jesus Mythicism such as Richard Carrier is, their bias is clear and obvious and taints their evaluation.

What it all comes down to is not actually giving a fuck whether Jesus existed or not. This is how I approach the issue, and other historians also. I have no real bone to pick with Christianity, despite the fact that I believe it's a ridiculously untenable system of faith.

The bottom line is what each of us chooses to accept, rationally, as to be the most probable truth based upon all available evidence. It's really that simple.

So yes, your opinion is qualified because you have experienced the effects of religious indoctrination twice, and have used your reasoning to escape it. Your reasoning has compelled you to rightfully question the origins of your previous faith in an effort to understand how it affected you.

And those questions have lead you to more questions, and propelled you onto the stage of rational skepticism so that your evaluation now has enough teeth to take an honest bite out of the shroud of mystery surrounding the issue of Christ so that whatever remains must be the probable truth.

And that's the way I view things.

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30-06-2015, 10:38 AM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
Carrier was not "slanted" to mythicism UNTIL he started examining the so-called evidence.

Now he is convinced that jesus is bullshit.

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30-06-2015, 10:45 AM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
I just saw this video come up from Seths youtube page. Quite in the related field as we can see but I don't know anything about who this Price guy is, I think I just happened to see a couple videos of him in past week, but I didn't watch those, just this one.




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30-06-2015, 10:57 AM
Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
Price is fairly close to a biblical genius. You should look at more of his work. He has written loads of scholarly books positing some very interesting theories. He is considered a fringe scholar by some but makes no qualms mentioning he couldn't give a fuck. He's got two great podcasts, the bible geek and the human bible. If you're fascinated with the bible as it is, not a inspired by any god but just a human book then he is a great place to learn. Smile

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30-06-2015, 04:02 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2015 04:40 PM by Free.)
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(30-06-2015 10:38 AM)Minimalist Wrote:  Carrier was not "slanted" to mythicism UNTIL he started examining the so-called evidence.

Now he is convinced that jesus is bullshit.

My opinion on Carrier is pretty much the same as most other historians. He's an internet sensationalist who takes up the Jesus Mythicism position to attract attention to himself so conspiracy theorists will buy his books.

Richard Carrier has an article in Vigiliae Christianae in volume 68.3 (2014) pp. 264-283.

Carrier claims that the following words from Tacitus' Annals are likely to be a Christian interpolation:

Latin: "auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat,"

English: “The author of this name, Christ, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.”

Carrier has no evidence to prove this, and admits it.

Carrier's main reason for doubting the authenticity of the passage comes from the fact that the original manuscript reading of the name of the group persecuted by Nero is "Chrestiani" (in the manuscript the word appears in an inflected form, Chrestianos). Christianos is a correction made in the manuscript by a later hand.

On some of this point, I agree with Carrier. The manuscript does indeed indicate that the original spelling was Chrestians.

Carrier argues that "it would be strange for Tacitus to explain the origin of the title Chrestiani by deriving it from a guy named Christus." On the surface, this seems like a reasonable assumption. However, when we read the whole of that portion of the text, we see this (Note that I have replaced Christians with the original Chrestians):

Tacitus: "Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace."

It was the Greco-Roman population that had named them Chrestians, which was either a misunderstanding of the proper Christians moniker, or an intentional mockery of them. Either way, Tacitus was detailing what they were referred to by the Greco-Roman population with the proper spelling of Chrestians as used by the Greco-Romans. He then used the proper Christus to illustrate from where the Chrestians got their name from.

It is of historical record that the Christians were indeed referred to as Chrestians by the Greco-Romans. Here are just a few of those records:

Justin Martyr - 100-165 CE - Apology 1, ch. 4:

"By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil, apart from the actions implied in the name; and indeed, so far at least as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are Chrestians. But as we do not think it just to beg to be acquitted on account of the name, if we be convicted as evil-doers, so, on the other hand, if we be found to have committed no offense, either in the matter of thus naming ourselves, or of our conduct as citizens, it is your part very earnestly to guard against incurring just punishment, by unjustly punishing those who are not convicted."

Clement 150-211 CE - Stromata IV:

"Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestians, as those who are cared for by the true king are kingly. For as the wise are wise by their wisdom, and those observant of law are so by the law; so also those who belong to Christ the King are kings, and those that are Christ’s Christians."

Tertullian - 160-224 CE Apology Ch.III:

"Now then, if this hatred is directed against the name, what is the guilt attaching to names? What accusation can be brought against words, except that a certain pronunciation of a name sounds barbarous, or is unlucky or abusive or obscene? But 'Christian,' as far as its etymology goes, is derived from 'anointing.' And even when it is incorrectly pronounced by you 'Chrestian'- for not even is your acquaintance with the name accurate, it is formed from 'sweetness' or 'kindness.' In innocent men, therefore, even an innocent name is hated."

Lactantius - 240-320 CE Divine Institutes, Book IV Ch. VII:

"...for Christ is not a proper name, but a title of power and dominion; for by this the Jews were accustomed to call their kings. But the meaning of this name must be set forth, on account of the error of the ignorant, who by the change of a letter are accustomed to call Him Chrestus. The Jews had before been directed to compose a sacred oil, with which those who were called to the priesthood or to the kingdom might be anointed. And as now the robe of purple is a sign of the assumption of royal dignity among the Romans, so with them the anointing with the holy oil conferred the title and power of king. But since the ancient Greeks used the word χρίεσθαι to express the art of anointing, which they now express by ἀλείφεσθαι, as the verse of Homer shows, “But the attendants washed, and anointed them with oil;” on this account we call Him Christ, that is, the Anointed, who in Hebrew is called the Messias. Hence in some Greek writings, which are badly translated from the Hebrew, the word eleimmenos is found written, from the word aleiphesthai, anointing. But, however, by either name a king is signified."

Therefore, Carrier's reasons to suspect interpolation do not appear reasonable considering the available evidence clearly indicates the contrary. The historical evidence demonstrates that in the Roman Empire during 1st & 2nd century, the names of Chrestians & Christians referred to the exact same group who followed Christ.

And, to point directly at the elephant in the room in regards to Tacitus, he explicitly tells us that the Chrestians got their name from Christ.

Not "Chrestus."


This is how history is determined, and it is never determined by starting out with bias or ulterior motives. You do not use selective reading to come to a reasonable conclusion, otherwise you will never come to a reasonable conclusion.

Nothing will ever prove the existence of Jesus called Christ. The only thing that can ever be proven is that the argument for historicity is demonstrably superior than the argument for mythicism.

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30-06-2015, 06:59 PM (This post was last modified: 30-06-2015 08:17 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(30-06-2015 04:02 PM)Free Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 10:38 AM)Minimalist Wrote:  Carrier was not "slanted" to mythicism UNTIL he started examining the so-called evidence.

Now he is convinced that jesus is bullshit.

My opinion on Carrier is pretty much the same as most other historians. He's an internet sensationalist who takes up the Jesus Mythicism position to attract attention to himself so conspiracy theorists will buy his books.

Richard Carrier has an article in Vigiliae Christianae in volume 68.3 (2014) pp. 264-283.

Carrier claims that the following words from Tacitus' Annals are likely to be a Christian interpolation:

Latin: "auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat,"

English: “The author of this name, Christ, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.”

Carrier has no evidence to prove this, and admits it.

Carrier's main reason for doubting the authenticity of the passage comes from the fact that the original manuscript reading of the name of the group persecuted by Nero is "Chrestiani" (in the manuscript the word appears in an inflected form, Chrestianos). Christianos is a correction made in the manuscript by a later hand.

On some of this point, I agree with Carrier. The manuscript does indeed indicate that the original spelling was Chrestians.

Carrier argues that "it would be strange for Tacitus to explain the origin of the title Chrestiani by deriving it from a guy named Christus." On the surface, this seems like a reasonable assumption. However, when we read the whole of that portion of the text, we see this (Note that I have replaced Christians with the original Chrestians):

Tacitus: "Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace."

It was the Greco-Roman population that had named them Chrestians, which was either a misunderstanding of the proper Christians moniker, or an intentional mockery of them. Either way, Tacitus was detailing what they were referred to by the Greco-Roman population with the proper spelling of Chrestians as used by the Greco-Romans. He then used the proper Christus to illustrate from where the Chrestians got their name from.

It is of historical record that the Christians were indeed referred to as Chrestians by the Greco-Romans. Here are just a few of those records:

Justin Martyr - 100-165 CE - Apology 1, ch. 4:

"By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil, apart from the actions implied in the name; and indeed, so far at least as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are Chrestians. But as we do not think it just to beg to be acquitted on account of the name, if we be convicted as evil-doers, so, on the other hand, if we be found to have committed no offense, either in the matter of thus naming ourselves, or of our conduct as citizens, it is your part very earnestly to guard against incurring just punishment, by unjustly punishing those who are not convicted."

Clement 150-211 CE - Stromata IV:

"Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestians, as those who are cared for by the true king are kingly. For as the wise are wise by their wisdom, and those observant of law are so by the law; so also those who belong to Christ the King are kings, and those that are Christ’s Christians."

Tertullian - 160-224 CE Apology Ch.III:

"Now then, if this hatred is directed against the name, what is the guilt attaching to names? What accusation can be brought against words, except that a certain pronunciation of a name sounds barbarous, or is unlucky or abusive or obscene? But 'Christian,' as far as its etymology goes, is derived from 'anointing.' And even when it is incorrectly pronounced by you 'Chrestian'- for not even is your acquaintance with the name accurate, it is formed from 'sweetness' or 'kindness.' In innocent men, therefore, even an innocent name is hated."

Lactantius - 240-320 CE Divine Institutes, Book IV Ch. VII:

"...for Christ is not a proper name, but a title of power and dominion; for by this the Jews were accustomed to call their kings. But the meaning of this name must be set forth, on account of the error of the ignorant, who by the change of a letter are accustomed to call Him Chrestus. The Jews had before been directed to compose a sacred oil, with which those who were called to the priesthood or to the kingdom might be anointed. And as now the robe of purple is a sign of the assumption of royal dignity among the Romans, so with them the anointing with the holy oil conferred the title and power of king. But since the ancient Greeks used the word χρίεσθαι to express the art of anointing, which they now express by ἀλείφεσθαι, as the verse of Homer shows, “But the attendants washed, and anointed them with oil;” on this account we call Him Christ, that is, the Anointed, who in Hebrew is called the Messias. Hence in some Greek writings, which are badly translated from the Hebrew, the word eleimmenos is found written, from the word aleiphesthai, anointing. But, however, by either name a king is signified."

Therefore, Carrier's reasons to suspect interpolation do not appear reasonable considering the available evidence clearly indicates the contrary. The historical evidence demonstrates that in the Roman Empire during 1st & 2nd century, the names of Chrestians & Christians referred to the exact same group who followed Christ.

And, to point directly at the elephant in the room in regards to Tacitus, he explicitly tells us that the Chrestians got their name from Christ.

Not "Chrestus."


This is how history is determined, and it is never determined by starting out with bias or ulterior motives. You do not use selective reading to come to a reasonable conclusion, otherwise you will never come to a reasonable conclusion.

Nothing will ever prove the existence of Jesus called Christ. The only thing that can ever be proven is that the argument for historicity is demonstrably superior than the argument for mythicism.

But "Christ" is not a name, but a title. It appears Tacitus doesn't get what he's talking about.
As Ehrman has pointed out in many places, there was no "Christianity". There were many Christianities. Tacitus obvious had no first-hand knowledge. He was repeating what he had heard. We don't know how or where he got his information. You didn't really explain why any of you specific references SPECIFICALLY supports your case. You say your evidence makes Carrier's position "unreasonable" but you don't specifically say how.

If some Jews (or a Pauline camp) had set out to assemble the memes of the day and create a "Christ" from nothing, NOTHING your sources say would necessarily be or have said anything different.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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30-06-2015, 07:05 PM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(30-06-2015 06:59 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  But "Christ" is not a name, but a title. It appears Tacitus doesn't get what he's talking about.


Tacitus never mentioned Christ. Not once.

NOTE: Member, Tomasia uses this site to slander other individuals. He then later proclaims it a joke, but not in public.
I will call him a liar and a dog here and now.
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30-06-2015, 07:40 PM
RE: Richard Carrier On the Historicity of Jesus
(30-06-2015 06:59 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(30-06-2015 04:02 PM)Free Wrote:  My opinion on Carrier is pretty much the same as most other historians. He's an internet sensationalist who takes up the Jesus Mythicism position to attract attention to himself so conspiracy theorists will buy his books.

Richard Carrier has an article in Vigiliae Christianae in volume 68.3 (2014) pp. 264-283.

Carrier claims that the following words from Tacitus' Annals are likely to be a Christian interpolation:

Latin: "auctor nominis eius Christus Tiberio imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat,"

English: “The author of this name, Christ, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius.”

Carrier has no evidence to prove this, and admits it.

Carrier's main reason for doubting the authenticity of the passage comes from the fact that the original manuscript reading of the name of the group persecuted by Nero is "Chrestiani" (in the manuscript the word appears in an inflected form, Chrestianos). Christianos is a correction made in the manuscript by a later hand.

On some of this point, I agree with Carrier. The manuscript does indeed indicate that the original spelling was Chrestians.

Carrier argues that "it would be strange for Tacitus to explain the origin of the title Chrestiani by deriving it from a guy named Christus." On the surface, this seems like a reasonable assumption. However, when we read the whole of that portion of the text, we see this (Note that I have replaced Christians with the original Chrestians):

Tacitus: "Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Chrestians by the populace."

It was the Greco-Roman population that had named them Chrestians, which was either a misunderstanding of the proper Christians moniker, or an intentional mockery of them. Either way, Tacitus was detailing what they were referred to by the Greco-Roman population with the proper spelling of Chrestians as used by the Greco-Romans. He then used the proper Christus to illustrate from where the Chrestians got their name from.

It is of historical record that the Christians were indeed referred to as Chrestians by the Greco-Romans. Here are just a few of those records:

Justin Martyr - 100-165 CE - Apology 1, ch. 4:

"By the mere application of a name, nothing is decided, either good or evil, apart from the actions implied in the name; and indeed, so far at least as one may judge from the name we are accused of, we are Chrestians. But as we do not think it just to beg to be acquitted on account of the name, if we be convicted as evil-doers, so, on the other hand, if we be found to have committed no offense, either in the matter of thus naming ourselves, or of our conduct as citizens, it is your part very earnestly to guard against incurring just punishment, by unjustly punishing those who are not convicted."

Clement 150-211 CE - Stromata IV:

"Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestians, as those who are cared for by the true king are kingly. For as the wise are wise by their wisdom, and those observant of law are so by the law; so also those who belong to Christ the King are kings, and those that are Christ’s Christians."

Tertullian - 160-224 CE Apology Ch.III:

"Now then, if this hatred is directed against the name, what is the guilt attaching to names? What accusation can be brought against words, except that a certain pronunciation of a name sounds barbarous, or is unlucky or abusive or obscene? But 'Christian,' as far as its etymology goes, is derived from 'anointing.' And even when it is incorrectly pronounced by you 'Chrestian'- for not even is your acquaintance with the name accurate, it is formed from 'sweetness' or 'kindness.' In innocent men, therefore, even an innocent name is hated."

Lactantius - 240-320 CE Divine Institutes, Book IV Ch. VII:

"...for Christ is not a proper name, but a title of power and dominion; for by this the Jews were accustomed to call their kings. But the meaning of this name must be set forth, on account of the error of the ignorant, who by the change of a letter are accustomed to call Him Chrestus. The Jews had before been directed to compose a sacred oil, with which those who were called to the priesthood or to the kingdom might be anointed. And as now the robe of purple is a sign of the assumption of royal dignity among the Romans, so with them the anointing with the holy oil conferred the title and power of king. But since the ancient Greeks used the word χρίεσθαι to express the art of anointing, which they now express by ἀλείφεσθαι, as the verse of Homer shows, “But the attendants washed, and anointed them with oil;” on this account we call Him Christ, that is, the Anointed, who in Hebrew is called the Messias. Hence in some Greek writings, which are badly translated from the Hebrew, the word eleimmenos is found written, from the word aleiphesthai, anointing. But, however, by either name a king is signified."

Therefore, Carrier's reasons to suspect interpolation do not appear reasonable considering the available evidence clearly indicates the contrary. The historical evidence demonstrates that in the Roman Empire during 1st & 2nd century, the names of Chrestians & Christians referred to the exact same group who followed Christ.

And, to point directly at the elephant in the room in regards to Tacitus, he explicitly tells us that the Chrestians got their name from Christ.

Not "Chrestus."


This is how history is determined, and it is never determined by starting out with bias or ulterior motives. You do not use selective reading to come to a reasonable conclusion, otherwise you will never come to a reasonable conclusion.

Nothing will ever prove the existence of Jesus called Christ. The only thing that can ever be proven is that the argument for historicity is demonstrably superior than the argument for mythicism.

But "Christ" is not a name, but a title. It appears Tacitus doen't get what he's talking about.

To us, here in this time period, we recognize Christ as a title. However, can we speak for those of antiquity?

Imagine the Greco-Romans of the 1st and 2nd century. They learn of these "Chrestians" as a people who follow the teaching of someone called "Christus." They are not thinking about a title, but rather a person.

After all, Tacitus did not say that a "title" was crucified, which you will agree would be ridiculous. He spoke of the execution of a person known as Christ.


Quote:As Ehrman has pointed out in many places, there way no "Christianity". There were many Christianities. Tacitus obvious had no fist-hand knowledge. He was repeating what he had heard. We don't know how or where he got his information. You didn't really explain why any of you specific references SPECIFICALLY supports your case. You say your evidence makes Carrier's position "unreasonable" but you don't specifically say how.

I find this argument wanting.

1. Since Tacitus was a Roman historian writing Roman history ...

2. ... and is recording some history of high ranking Roman officials such Pontius Pilate and Casear Tiberias ...

3. ...and tells us right at the beginning of his history of the Great Fires of Rome (15:38) which includes Chrestians and Christus that he is using the works of previous writers ...

4 ... and is again seen accessing previous historical records in the very next paragraph following Chrestians/Christ/Pilate/Caesar in 15:45.

Therefore, Tacitus tells us twice within a span of 7 paragraphs- which includes the Chrestians/Christ account- that he is accessing the works of previously written Roman histories, and you and others think it's reasonable to say that we cannot know where he got his information from?

Do you think that a Roman historian, biased towards the Roman culture, would somehow think it would be necessary to add a specific footnote to the Chrestian/Christ line of text telling you specifically where he got that specific information when he already told you just previous to it, and immediately after it, that he was accessing previously written Roman histories for his information?

This is evidence: Tacitus got his information from previously written Roman historical accounts, and says so twice within the context. It is completely unreasonable to expect a 1st/2nd century historian to assign footnotes and citations to a single line of text in anticipation of what we may think some 2000 years later.

For anyone to expect such a ridiculous thing, we may as well throw out all ancient historical books as having no value all because citations were not added to each and every last line of text written within them.

Sorry, but history doesn't work the way you want it to. It is what it is, and that's all ya get.

And what we get from Tacitus, from beginning to end, is actually quite remarkable with, or without, the Chrestians and Christ.

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