[split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
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02-01-2014, 12:14 PM
RE: [split] Ask a Theist! / maklelan and others discuss evidence
Here's more on a mythical Jesus...
from wiki
Quote:The Christ myth theory (also known as the Jesus myth theory or Jesus mythicism) is the proposition that Jesus of Nazareth never existed but was invented by the Christian community.[1] The idea was first put forward in the late 18th century and developed and popularised in the 19th by Bruno Bauer.[2] Bauer's three-fold argument, which set the basis for most subsequent adherents to the theory, was as follows:

The New Testament, especially the gospels and the Pauline epistles, are of no historical value;
The failure of ancient non-Christian writers of the 1st century to mention Jesus shows that he did not exist;
Christianity was syncretistic and mythical in its beginnings.[3]

The idea was revived in the early 20th century by the British rationalist John M. Robertson, in America by William Benjamin Smith, and in Germany by Arthur Drews;[4] contemporary exponents include G. A. Wells, Alvar Ellegård, Thomas L. Brodie, Robert M. Price, Richard Carrier and others with the writings of Wells emerging as the most thorough and sophisticated overview.[5]

Proponents of the Christ myth theory constitute a tiny minority of modern biblical scholarship.[6][7] According to American New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman, "virtually every competent scholar of antiquity" now agrees that Jesus existed.[8] A strong consensus thus favors the historicity of Jesus and stands against the Christ myth theory.[9][10][11][12][13]
Quote:21st Century
Robert M. Price

New Testament scholar Robert Price argues we will never know whether Jesus existed, unless someone discovers his diary or skeleton.[99]

American New Testament scholar Robert M. Price questions the historicity of Jesus in a series of books, including Deconstructing Jesus (2000), The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man (2003), Jesus Is Dead (2007), and The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems (2012), as well as in contributions to The Historical Jesus: Five Views (2009). Price is a fellow of the Jesus Seminar, a group of writers and scholars who study the historicity of Jesus, arguing that the Christian image of Christ is a theological construct into which traces of Jesus of Nazareth have been woven.[100] A former Baptist pastor, Price writes that he was originally an apologist on the historical-Jesus question but became disillusioned with the arguments. As the years went on, he found it increasingly difficult to poke holes in the position that questioned Jesus's existence entirely. Despite this, he still took part in the Eucharist every week for several years, seeing the Christ of faith as all the more important because, he argued, there was probably never any other.[101]

Price believes that Christianity is a historicized synthesis of mainly Egyptian, Jewish, and Greek mythologies.[102] He writes that everyone who espouses the Christ myth theory bases their arguments on three key points:

-There is no mention of a miracle-working Jesus in secular sources.
- The epistles, written earlier than the gospels, provide no evidence of a recent historical Jesus; all that can be taken from the epistles, he argues, is that a Jesus Christ, son of God, lived in a heavenly realm (much as other ancient gods, e.g. Horus), there died as a sacrifice for human sin, was raised by God and enthroned in heaven.
-The Jesus narrative is paralleled in Middle Eastern myths about dying and rising gods; Price names Baal, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and Dumuzi/Tammuz as examples, all of which, he writes, survived into the Hellenistic and Roman periods and thereby influenced early Christianity. Price alleges that Christian apologists have tried to minimize these parallels.[103] He argues that if critical methodology is applied with ruthless consistency, one is left in complete agnosticism regarding Jesus's historicity: "There might have been a historical Jesus, but unless someone discovers his diary or his skeleton, we'll never know."[99]


Price argues that "the varying dates are the residue of various attempts to anchor an originally mythic or legendary Jesus in more or less recent history" citing accounts that have Jesus being crucified under Alexander Jannaeus (83 BCE) or in his 50s by Herod Agrippa I under the rule of Claudius Caesar (41–54 CE).[104][105]

Price points out "(w)hat one Jesus reconstruction leaves aside, the next one takes up and makes its cornerstone. Jesus simply wears too many hats in the Gospels—exorcist, healer, king, prophet, sage, rabbi, demigod, and so on. The Jesus Christ of the New Testament is a composite figure (...) The historical Jesus (if there was one) might well have been a messianic king, or a progressive Pharisee, or a Galilean shaman, or a magus, or a Hellenistic sage. But he cannot very well have been all of them at the same time."[106]

Later on Price states "I am not trying to say that there was a single origin of the Christian savior Jesus Christ, and that origin is pure myth; rather, I am saying that there may indeed have been such a myth, and that if so, it eventually flowed together with other Jesus images, some one of which may have been based on a historical Jesus the Nazorean."[107]

Price acknowledges that he stands against the majority view of scholars, but cautions against attempting to settle the issue by appeal to the majority.[108]
Thomas Brodie

In 2012, biblical scholar Thomas L. Brodie, former director of the Dominican Biblical Institute, published a book, Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery. In it, he argued that the gospels are essentially a rewriting of the stories of Elijah and Elisha when viewed as a unified account in the Books of Kings, leading to the conclusion that Jesus is mythical.[109] Brodie's argument builds on his previous work, in which he stated that rather than being separate and fragmented, the stories of Elijah and Elisha are united and that 1 Kings 16:29–2 Kings 13:25 is a natural extension of 1 Kings 17–2 Kings 8 which have a coherence not generally observed by other biblical scholars.[110] Brodie then views the Elijah–Elisha story as the underlying model for the gospel narratives.[110]

Brodie draws his conclusions from two branches of literary studies: "First, researchers were recognizing that many biblical texts are rewritings or transformations of older texts that still exist, thus giving a clearer sense of where the biblical texts came from; and second, studies in the ancient art of composition clarified the biblical texts' unity and purpose, that is to say, where biblical texts were headed." [111]
Other contemporary writers
Richard Dawkins, the former professor for the public understanding of science at Oxford University, writes that a serious case can be made that Jesus never existed and it should be more widely discussed, but his own opinion is that Jesus probably existed.[112]

Canadian writer Earl Doherty (B.A. in Ancient History and Classical Languages) argues in The Jesus Puzzle (2005) and Jesus: Neither God nor Man—The Case for a Mythical Jesus (2009) that Jesus originated as a myth derived from Middle Platonism with some influence from Jewish mysticism, and that belief in a historical Jesus emerged only among Christian communities in the 2nd century. He writes that none of the major apologists before the year 180, except for Justin and Aristides of Athens, included an account of a historical Jesus in their defenses of Christianity. Instead the early Christian writers describe a Christian movement grounded in Platonic philosophy and Hellenistic Judaism, preaching the worship of a monotheistic Jewish god and what he calls a "logos-type Son". Doherty argues that Theophilus of Antioch (c. 163–182), Athenagoras of Athens (c. 133–190), Tatian the Assyrian (c. 120–180), and Marcus Minucius Felix (writing around 150–270) offer no indication that they believed in a historical figure crucified and resurrected, and that the name Jesus does not appear in any of them.[113]

Rene Salm wrote a controversial book The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus which attempts to show that archaeologically the town of Nazareth came into existence after the time that Jesus should have been living there.[114] In his book, he makes 3 key assertions in his case against the existence of Nazareth during Jesus' time: A. The material finds reveal the following: (1) the lack of demonstrable material evidence from ca. 700 BCE to ca. 100 CE; (2) the 25 CE + dating of the earliest oil lamps at Nazareth; (3) the 50 CE + dating of all the post-Iron Age tombs at Nazareth, which are of the kokh type;[115]

D. M. Murdock (also a B.A. in Classics), under the pen name "Acharya S", revives the early 19th century theories of Godfrey Higgins and Robert Taylor, and maintains that the canonical gospels represent a middle to late 2nd century creation utilizing Old Testament "prophetic" scriptures as a blueprint, in combination with a collage of other, older Pagan and Jewish concepts, and that Christianity was thereby fabricated in order to compete with the other popular religions of the time. Her views have been challenged by other mythicists such as Richard Carrier.

In the 2000s, a number of books and films associated with the New Atheism movement questioned whether Jesus existed. The films included the American documentaries Religulous and The God Who Wasn't There, and the books included The God Delusion (2006) by Dawkins; God:The Failed Hypothesis (2007) by the American physicist Victor Stenger; and God Is Not Great (2007) by British writer Christopher Hitchens. Dawkins, citing G. A. Wells, sees the gospels as rehashed versions of the Hebrew Bible, and writes that it is probable Jesus existed, but that a serious argument can be mounted against it, though not a widely supported one.[112] Victor Stenger's position is that the gospel writers borrowed from several Middle Eastern cults.[116] Hitchens argues that there is little or no evidence for the life of Jesus, unlike for the prophet Muhammad.[117] Using the modern John Frum cargo cult as an example Dawkins states:-

Unlike the cult of Jesus, the origins of which are not reliably attested, we can see the whole course of events laid out before our eyes (and even here, as we shall see, some details are now lost). It is fascinating to guess that the cult of Christianity almost certainly began in very much the same way, and spread initially at the same high speed. (...) John Frum, if he existed at all, did so within living memory. Yet, even for so recent a possibility, it is not certain whether he lived at all.[118]

In 2012, Bart D. Ehrman published Did Jesus Exist? defending the thesis that Jesus of Nazareth existed in contrast to the mythicist theory that Jesus is an entirely mythical or fictitious being woven whole-cloth out of legendary material. He also writes that "most common epithet" of Jesus, "Christ", sounds similar to the name of Indian God, "Krishna".[119] He further suggested that Christians did not create Jesus, but invented the idea that the messiah had to be crucified.[120]

Christ Myth Theory authors Richard Carrier, Rene Salm, D. M. Murdock, Earl Doherty, Robert M. Price, Frank Zindler and David Fitzgerald, wrote a response to Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? in the 2013 book Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth: An Evaluation of Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? [121]

In 2013, as part of the Copenhagen International Seminar series, Thomas L. Thompson and Thomas S. Verenna edited a collection of essays titled Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus. Contributors include Jim West, Roland Boer, Lester L. Grabbe, Niels Peter Lemche, Emanuel Pfoh, Mogens Müller, James G. Crossley, Ingrid Hjelm, Joshua Sabih, and Robert M. Price. Of these, some argue for the historicity of Jesus (e.g., Grabbe and Müller), others argue for the non-historicity of Jesus (e.g., Noll and Price), and some do not try to make an argument one way or the other (e.g., Thompson and Verenna). Thomas Bolin of St. Norbert College comments that the volume is "an important milestone in the debate concerning mythicism in New Testament scholarship."[122]

Quote:122^"Is This Not the Carpenter?: The Question of the Historicity of the Figure of Jesus". amazon.com. Retrieved December 29, 2013.
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02-01-2014, 12:24 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:04 PM)Chas Wrote:  How about some evidence to support those assertions? Drinking Beverage

Which assertions? The claims about the psychology of religion, or my claims that he appeals to such conceptualizations of science in his posts? If the former, I'm happy to post a helpful bibliography. If the latter, I don't really want to go open up all those tabs again and search through his posts again for his usage of the word "science," but if he comes here and insists that he never conceptualizes of science in such ways, I'll make the sacrifice. Having been around this block many times before, though, if I do go through all that effort, I am skeptical that you or he are going to directly engage the issue. It doesn't seem that this crowd is aware of these kinds of concerns or particularly prepared to address them.

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02-01-2014, 12:35 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Science is a method for gaining consistent results and explanations for those results. It relies on a few assumptions (such as there is a manifest universe and it is testable) but for the most part has proven to be rather trustworthy as it self corrects as new information replaces older faultier models.

I agree. I'm not anti-science in any sense of the word.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I have done as you say from time to time but then I don't claim to be without flaws.

It's not a flaw. It's how our brains work. It's how they've worked since before we began to walk erect, and it's not something humanity will change any time before this planet is engulfed by the sun. This is one of my concerns with the practice of naively mocking and denigrating cognitive processes that are as natural to the human condition as birth and death.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Right now I tend to accept that most of what is taught is probably true but some future discoveries might fundamentally change what we know about the universe and how it works.

I feel the same way, although the biggest difference between the two of us is that I would be less dogmatic about the possibility that anything can exist outside of the scope of scientific inquiry.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I don't know if there will ever be a grand unified theory of everything but I would not bet against it.

The holographic principle certainly got a boost from a couple recent papers. That's certainly encouraging.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I also know there are some things which have not been yet explained or the explanations are vague and uncertain but I know the worst explanation for anything is to proclaim it to be unknowable or "Magic". How did the universe form before the big bang? Will we ever find that out? Who can say, but given that we have discovered so much of the universe I tend to be optimistic about future discoveries.

I think the area I have added the most anthropomorphism to the universe is in explaining Evolutionary Theory. I sometimes assign agency to something that I know has none for ease of explanation. Our brains have evolved in such a way as to see cause and effect, and we tend to err on the side of caution since it is evolutionarily beneficial to assume that the tall grass moving is a lion and not the breeze. Most of the time however it is the breeze, so to me that explains why we see Cosmic Guidance where there is none. We did not evolve to fly to the moon we evolved to not be eaten by lions and hyenas, the fact that we can send a robot to Mars is nearly unbelievable when put into this context. So yes I do tend to put some faith in science and technology (terms I sometimes use interchangeably) because it has shown real world results. Millions of prayers could not save Europe from the Black Death but we have a cure for it now, thanks to a method for testing ideas and technology derived from said method.

I am largely in agreement with your comments. Obviously we differ on the value of religion in the world, but I would suggest that, broadly speaking, there's more overlap between science and religion (some would argue one is a form of the other) than the type of people who frequent this type of message board are willing to acknowledge. I am not here to be an apologist, but to try to promote a bit more understanding. I appreciate your candor. You've shown you're a bigger person than I assumed, and I apologize if you've felt prejudged.

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02-01-2014, 12:39 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:14 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Here's more on a mythical Jesus...

I'm well aware of the field, and Verenna and West are colleagues of mine. This Wiki article doesn't really assuage my concerns, though.

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02-01-2014, 12:46 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:39 PM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 12:14 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  Here's more on a mythical Jesus...

I'm well aware of the field, and Verenna and West are colleagues of mine. This Wiki article doesn't really assuage my concerns, though.

What concerns are those? I honestly lost track.
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02-01-2014, 12:49 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:35 PM)maklelan Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Science is a method for gaining consistent results and explanations for those results. It relies on a few assumptions (such as there is a manifest universe and it is testable) but for the most part has proven to be rather trustworthy as it self corrects as new information replaces older faultier models.

I agree. I'm not anti-science in any sense of the word.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I have done as you say from time to time but then I don't claim to be without flaws.

It's not a flaw. It's how our brains work. It's how they've worked since before we began to walk erect, and it's not something humanity will change any time before this planet is engulfed by the sun. This is one of my concerns with the practice of naively mocking and denigrating cognitive processes that are as natural to the human condition as birth and death.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Right now I tend to accept that most of what is taught is probably true but some future discoveries might fundamentally change what we know about the universe and how it works.

I feel the same way, although the biggest difference between the two of us is that I would be less dogmatic about the possibility that anything can exist outside of the scope of scientific inquiry.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I don't know if there will ever be a grand unified theory of everything but I would not bet against it.

The holographic principle certainly got a boost from a couple recent papers. That's certainly encouraging.

(02-01-2014 12:12 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I also know there are some things which have not been yet explained or the explanations are vague and uncertain but I know the worst explanation for anything is to proclaim it to be unknowable or "Magic". How did the universe form before the big bang? Will we ever find that out? Who can say, but given that we have discovered so much of the universe I tend to be optimistic about future discoveries.

I think the area I have added the most anthropomorphism to the universe is in explaining Evolutionary Theory. I sometimes assign agency to something that I know has none for ease of explanation. Our brains have evolved in such a way as to see cause and effect, and we tend to err on the side of caution since it is evolutionarily beneficial to assume that the tall grass moving is a lion and not the breeze. Most of the time however it is the breeze, so to me that explains why we see Cosmic Guidance where there is none. We did not evolve to fly to the moon we evolved to not be eaten by lions and hyenas, the fact that we can send a robot to Mars is nearly unbelievable when put into this context. So yes I do tend to put some faith in science and technology (terms I sometimes use interchangeably) because it has shown real world results. Millions of prayers could not save Europe from the Black Death but we have a cure for it now, thanks to a method for testing ideas and technology derived from said method.

I am largely in agreement with your comments. Obviously we differ on the value of religion in the world, but I would suggest that, broadly speaking, there's more overlap between science and religion (some would argue one is a form of the other) than the type of people who frequent this type of message board are willing to acknowledge. I am not here to be an apologist, but to try to promote a bit more understanding. I appreciate your candor. You've shown you're a bigger person than I assumed, and I apologize if you've felt prejudged.

To be fair I was more flippant to you than you probably deserved and you are correct about the convicted conman statement. Joseph Smith Jr. was convicted of a misdemeanor crime that covers a large swath of undesirables from conmen to vagrants (their terms not mine). If anything stating it how I did actually weakens my case since even if Smith was a well respected member of the community his tale is so far out of the realm of credible so as to not stand up to scrutiny. I have read the book of Mormon and between the huge amounts of things stated that are impossible to have happened knowing what we know of genetics and archeology and the simple fact that it reads like an 18th century man is trying to sound like he is speaking 16th century english, it comes off as an obvious fraud. The fact that to this day the LDS church acts like a well financed cult tends to confirm my suspicions.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense
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02-01-2014, 12:53 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 12:46 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  
(02-01-2014 12:39 PM)maklelan Wrote:  I'm well aware of the field, and Verenna and West are colleagues of mine. This Wiki article doesn't really assuage my concerns, though.

What concerns are those? I honestly lost track.

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02-01-2014, 01:00 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
Maklelan,
You appear to be quite knowledgable, but that is just it, I get the "appearance" from a quick read of your posts. You however do not offer up much of this understanding that you wish to provide in these forums. The elloquent use of intellectual word salad tossed about at other posters do nothing for my understanding behind the "what" and "why" of your views.

IMO - you do come across as a bit pompus and seem to think everyone else should be a schooled theologin or shut up. It does not take a scholar to desire some evidence or valid explanations supporting any supernatural ideology.

Please give this community something to help us understand, rather than responding to posts with your sophisticated dialouge. And please avoid the word "rhetoric" as you seem to be obsessed with this word, and like to here yourself talk - this coming from the King of rehtoric.

“Truth does not demand belief. Scientists do not join hands every Sunday, singing, yes, gravity is real! I will have faith! I will be strong! I believe in my heart that what goes up, up, up, must come down, down, down. Amen! If they did, we would think they were pretty insecure about it.”
— Dan Barker —
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02-01-2014, 01:15 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
(02-01-2014 08:17 AM)maklelan Wrote:  First, it is simply not true that gods are "nowadays, without exception" gods of the gaps, and to suggest otherwise is, again, to take fundamentalistic religions as metonyms for all religion.
There is not even one provided piece of positive evidence for any god.
Gods are generally deemed to be supernatural thus unobservable. Thus any "evidence" always falls into the GOTG.
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02-01-2014, 01:18 PM
RE: [split] maklelan and others discuss evidence
Another poopyhead heard from... Dodgy

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