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Source: (consider it) Thread: The historicity of the resurrection
BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
<snip>At best it might be an indication of what the people in the document believed.<snip>

Which is what Barnabas62 (I believe) and I are arguing.

I am then saying, if that is what they believed, what best accounts for it? A myth-making process which strings a variety of stories about different real or imaginary people together and generates a belief that one real person lies behind those stories? A process which leads people to believe that the person at the centre of it died only 30 years ago, and where the process itself has completely disappeared from view. Or alternatively that a person actually existed around whom these stories (true or false) were told?

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Barnabas62
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That's what walks and quacks like a duck ...

Thanks BroJames. You read me right.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:


I am then saying, if that is what they believed, what best accounts for it? A myth-making process which strings a variety of stories about different real or imaginary people together and generates a belief that one real person lies behind those stories? A process which leads people to believe that the person at the centre of it died only 30 years ago, and where the process itself has completely disappeared from view. Or alternatively that a person actually existed around whom these stories (true or false) were told?

That's where the faith comes in. If you don't think that there were other theories floating around 30 years after the events, never mind hundreds of years later when those writings were collected, then I have a bridge to sell you.

The epistles themselves speak of other views of the Christ.

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Sarah G
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
You seem to be thinking that Christianity was unique in believing in a resurrected Gods.

So the answer may be as simple as that the idea came from other religions.

Perhaps I can explain my reasoning this way:

Imagine you are one of Jesus' disciples a couple of weeks after his death. You've grown up with this, this and this as to what the Kingdom of God will be like when it arrives.

It is beyond ludicrous that you would think that Jesus' vicious, humiliating, common criminal death is what the writings are referring to. It's like ordering a pizza, and having a dead badger delivered. In what way is Jesus' bloody corpse the glorious Kingdom of God?

And why would you want to say it? The message of a new Temple, a new King, a true God, a new People would make you a target for the Jewish authorities, Romans, gentiles and all Jewish people. This and this were utterly predictable.

That the Early Church declaring the arrival of the Kingdom of God had its origins in a series of events, (real or imagined,) is supported extensively by multiple sources and multiple forms. Any theory it had its origins in a discussion group on failed Messiahs, or on pagan religions, comes without evidence.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
I don't know and you don't know either. It seems to me that it is entirely debatable as to the age of this document; it is therefore entirely debatable as to exactly what it is talking about; it is therefore entirely debatable as to whether the story that those who wrote the document is the same as the one from the gospels.

This looks to me like a case of 'Is the Earth Flat? Opinions differ.'

I think you can dismiss almost any position using these methods.

quote:
Nobody is denying that the church existed.
Why not? By the criteria that you're using there is no evidence for it.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
This looks to me like a case of 'Is the Earth Flat? Opinions differ.'

I think you can dismiss almost any position using these methods.

No. We can test whether the earth is flat. We can't test whether an event in an ancient document is real or imaginary.

quote:
Why not? By the criteria that you're using there is no evidence for it.
Because there are plenty of writings that showed they existed. Including from those who tried to destroy it.

[ 13. April 2017, 14:33: Message edited by: mr cheesy ]

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
That's where the faith comes in. If you don't think that there were other theories floating around 30 years after the events, never mind hundreds of years later when those writings were collected, then I have a bridge to sell you.

The epistles themselves speak of other views of the Christ.

Do they? Where?
Have you any evidence about the "other theories floating around"? Or any evidence that the date of Galatians is "entirely debatable" (the only debate I can see is precisely when within a c.10-year timeframe the letter was written), or that the text was substantially amended/altered in the following centuries to incorporate the 'officially accepted' view of the resurrection? Because all you seem to be putting on here is "it could've happened", without any real evidence to back that up.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Sarah G:

That the Early Church declaring the arrival of the Kingdom of God had its origins in a series of events, (real or imagined,) is supported extensively by multiple sources and multiple forms. Any theory it had its origins in a discussion group on failed Messiahs, or on pagan religions, comes without evidence.

Yeah, that wasn't at all what I was talking about.

Let's imagine that you meet someone who tells you that something happened 30 years ago. Something that until this point you'd never heard of before.

Now let's imagine that you're not from the cultural group that they're from, you don't actually know whether they're talking about something they experienced first hand or passing on a story they heard from someone else.

Whilst you are mulling over this, you hear a load of other reports which are swilling about which some associate with the events that you've heard about. In time, the contact with the original group becomes distant and there are efforts to write down the story that you know, including what you can remember from the person who told you.

This is how rumour and myth work. They're constantly evolving and gaining bits of extra information, bringing in other stories from elsewhere until it becomes hard to establish what came from where.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
This looks to me like a case of 'Is the Earth Flat? Opinions differ.'

I think you can dismiss almost any position using these methods.

No. We can test whether the earth is flat. We can't test whether an event in an ancient document is real or imaginary.
I can't test it and you can't either, not without using mathematical techniques with which we've been indoctrinated by the Round Earthists. It's all entirely debateable.

More to the point: Barack Obama's place of birth? How would one test that?

quote:
quote:
Why not? By the criteria that you're using there is no evidence for it.
Because there are plenty of writings that showed they existed. Including from those who tried to destroy it.
You've said you don't know the date of those writings and nor does anyone else. You've said that it is therefore entirely debateable what they're talking about: you therefore can't say that they're talking about the same church or indeed anything we'd call a church at all.

And you definitely can't test any of that. (Well, you can carbon date the extant physical copies but that just tells you when the papyrus or parchment or paper was made.)

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Do they? Where?
Have you any evidence about the "other theories floating around"?

How do you understand Galations 1 if it doesn't refer to other gospels? Other understandings of what the story was? What is the point of asserting his credentials in Galations 2 if it wasn't because there were other stories about what happened?

There are of course many other points in the epistles which talk of people preaching alternative gospels and with alternative messages.

quote:
Or any evidence that the date of Galatians is "entirely debatable" (the only debate I can see is precisely when within a c.10-year timeframe the letter was written), or that the text was substantially amended/altered in the following centuries to incorporate the 'officially accepted' view of the resurrection? Because all you seem to be putting on here is "it could've happened", without any real evidence to back that up.
Explain to me exactly what else one can do except come to a view on ancient documents and how they came together? There is no evidence. There is only supposition and faith.

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Boogie

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There were plenty of written alternative gospels before the horse trading that arrived at the present canon.

Some very mythical.

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I can't test it and you can't either, not without using mathematical techniques with which we've been indoctrinated by the Round Earthists. It's all entirely debateable.

More to the point: Barack Obama's place of birth? How would one test that?

Yeah, ok whatever. There is no sense whatsoever that a scientific principle is the same as the historicity of the gospels. That's plain ridiculous.

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:


I am then saying, if that is what they believed, what best accounts for it? A myth-making process which strings a variety of stories about different real or imaginary people together and generates a belief that one real person lies behind those stories? A process which leads people to believe that the person at the centre of it died only 30 years ago, and where the process itself has completely disappeared from view. Or alternatively that a person actually existed around whom these stories (true or false) were told?

That's where the faith comes in. If you don't think that there were other theories floating around 30 years after the events, never mind hundreds of years later when those writings were collected, then I have a bridge to sell you.

The epistles themselves speak of other views of the Christ.

At the moment I am just focussing on the existence of a real individual Jesus of Nazareth. You say there were other theories floating around in AD 60 or thereabouts. Please direct me to the evidence. You say that there were other views of Christ in the epistles. I'm not aware of any view in the Epistles that does not assume that he was alive as a human being in first century Palestine (or alternatively deny that or assert something contrary to that).

If you are aware of alternative views expressed in the Epistles i.e. that he was not a real person who lived in first century Palestine, then please post me to the evidence you are relying on.

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I can't test it and you can't either, not without using mathematical techniques with which we've been indoctrinated by the Round Earthists. It's all entirely debateable.

More to the point: Barack Obama's place of birth? How would one test that?

Yeah, ok whatever. There is no sense whatsoever that a scientific principle is the same as the historicity of the gospels. That's plain ridiculous.
They are clearly in some senses the same. For example, they are statements whose truth or falsity is dependent on states of affairs outside our heads.
It appears to me that your position has contracted an advanced case of false dichotomy. A statement is either as certainly known as the securest scientific fact or else it is a matter of faith that cannot be known one way or another. And there is no sense in which the two kinds of statement are the same and there is no room in between.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

No - it would prove that Jesus existed!
And that it's all a crock.
Not if resurrection is spiritual rather than physical.
Which is meaningless.
Not according to 1 Cor 15

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
At the moment I am just focussing on the existence of a real individual Jesus of Nazareth. You say there were other theories floating around in AD 60 or thereabouts. Please direct me to the evidence. You say that there were other views of Christ in the epistles. I'm not aware of any view in the Epistles that does not assume that he was alive as a human being in first century Palestine (or alternatively deny that or assert something contrary to that).

Show me something from Galatians, since we're talking about it, which talks unambiguously about Jesus Christ being a specific human being.

Show me anything from outwith of the NT which unambiguously and without question talks of Jesus Christ being a person rather than an apparent instigator of a new religious sect.

It isn't down to me to prove a negative, it is down to you to show why these things go beyond faith and are historical proofs.

quote:
If you are aware of alternative views expressed in the Epistles i.e. that he was not a real person who lived in first century Palestine, then please post me to the evidence you are relying on.
Well for a start if you read Galations in isolation, there is nothing specific that says the Christ spoken of was a specific human being.

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Martin60
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Martin60:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Anglican_Brat:
Let me be as frank as possible,

If we found Jesus' bones, then is Christianity dead?

No - it would prove that Jesus existed!
And that it's all a crock.
Not if resurrection is spiritual rather than physical.
Which is meaningless.
Not according to 1 Cor 15
Riiiiiight. Meaningful in the sense of substance, not metaphor or virtual. More real than physical and including it obviously.

[ 13. April 2017, 17:11: Message edited by: Martin60 ]

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BroJames
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Show me something from Galatians, since we're talking about it, which talks unambiguously about Jesus Christ being a specific human being.

<snip>It isn't down to me to prove a negative, it is down to you to show why these things go beyond faith and are historical proofs

In Galatians it states or presumes that Jesus Christ was a human being in Galatians 2.21, Galatians 3.13, and Galatians 4.4. There are other places where Jesus crucifixion is explicitly assumed as the background to the argument.

I am not asking you to prove a negative, I am asking you to justify with evidence, your positive assertion that there were other views around in about AD 60 about Jesus. Other views than that he was a person who had lived, and who had died about 30 years before the date of Galatians.

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Barnabas62
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Within the spectrum of gnostic views, there were some who believed that Jesus was an 'aeon', a divine being who took on human appearance. But those who believed that still believed Jesus was real, even though his exact nature was a mystery.

There is no doubt that there were a variety of very early views trying to answer the question 'who was Jesus?' The general view is not that there was no real person behind these various views, myths about him if you like, but that at this distance, the quest for the historical Jesus can only be partially successful at best. He cannot be disentangled with historical certainty from the various Christs of faith.

What we have are the accounts his life inspired. Nevertheless we can still subject those accounts to critical examination. Galatians, being early, happens to be a document of some historical value from what can be gleaned from its contents. Views may vary on the value of that enterprise.

[ 13. April 2017, 19:14: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Show me something from Galatians, since we're talking about it, which talks unambiguously about Jesus Christ being a specific human being.

Show me anything from outwith of the NT which unambiguously and without question talks of Jesus Christ being a person rather than an apparent instigator of a new religious sect.

On the whole I believe instigators of new religious sects are persons. I think someone who claimed that a religious sect was instigated by someone who wasn't a person would have some explaining to do, for all that it is a negative.
(See also the discussion of Josephus in the link to the atheist historian posted earlier in the thread.)

Asking for an explicit statement that Jesus is a specific human being is special pleading. Mostly we take it as read that names refer to specific human beings except where context suggests it might be otherwise.

quote:
It isn't down to me to prove a negative, it is down to you to show why these things go beyond faith and are historical proofs.
This is an abuse of the principle. It doesn't license unlimited skepticism.
Besides which what standards do you think are reasonable for 'historical proof'? Is most reasonable explanation sufficient? Establishment beyond reasonable doubt? Mathematical standards such that the evidence necessitates the conclusion?

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

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Stejjie
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
quote:
Originally posted by Stejjie:
Do they? Where?
Have you any evidence about the "other theories floating around"?

How do you understand Galations 1 if it doesn't refer to other gospels? Other understandings of what the story was? What is the point of asserting his credentials in Galations 2 if it wasn't because there were other stories about what happened?

There are of course many other points in the epistles which talk of people preaching alternative gospels and with alternative messages.

The goalposts feel like they're shifting all over the place here; but be that as it may, "other gospels" doesn't necessarily equate to "other views of whether Jesus existed as a human being" (which is one of the things I thought we were debating), or other beliefs about the cross/resurrection (which is the other). As I understand it, the main point of argument in Galatians is whether observance of the Jewish Law is necessary for Gentiles coming to Christ: that doesn't necessarily need to say anything about the other issues.

And the existence of other "gospels" doesn't suggest that they were accepted by the main body of believers; I realise you probably won't accept this, but 1 Corinthians 15, especially v3, suggests to me that the death and resurrection of Jesus was a core, perhaps the core teaching of the early church.

quote:
quote:
Or any evidence that the date of Galatians is "entirely debatable" (the only debate I can see is precisely when within a c.10-year timeframe the letter was written), or that the text was substantially amended/altered in the following centuries to incorporate the 'officially accepted' view of the resurrection? Because all you seem to be putting on here is "it could've happened", without any real evidence to back that up.
Explain to me exactly what else one can do except come to a view on ancient documents and how they came together? There is no evidence. There is only supposition and faith.
I'm not an expert on this, I rely on those who have done the work on this; there may well be other Shippies who have more knowledge of this. All I can say is I can't find any evidence among scholars that there's any reason to doubt that Galatians is a genuine 1st century document, that most scholars accept that Paul wrote it (there appears to be some debate about this, but it's not one of the most contested letters) and that the date it was written is somewhere in the mid 40s-late 50s AD.

As far as I can tell, there is simply no debate about the authenticity of there having been such a letter written in the 1st century. It's not stated as a "faith position", it's not supposition, it's not even a debate. It's just accepted that somebody, most likely Paul, wrote this. No one who has the knowledge of how these documents came together seems to question the authenticity of Galatians as a 1st century epistle.

This is my whole problem with your argument here; it seems to boil down to "but something else" without any evidence whatsoever that "something else" actually happened. And as BroJames says, no one's asking you to prove a negative: just some evidence either of the fallibility of the dating of the NT texts, of other ideas floating around the early church about the existence or otherwise of Jesus of Nazareth and so on. Otherwise it's just a bunch of "yeah buts" and suppositions without anything to back them up.

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Barnabas62
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In defence of mr cheesy, there are various Christ myth theories, as you can see here.

My biggest problem with the theories is found in this quotation in the article.

quote:
The Pauline epistles are dismissed because, aside from a few passages which may have been interpolations, they contain no references to an earthly Jesus who lived in the flesh.
Wandering back into Galatians for a moment, there is this verse

quote:
4.4 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.
A strange interpolation indeed, if indeed it is one. Since it does not say "born of a virgin", (which you would have thought would be the case in any late interpolation) simply that Jesus was born in the same way as every other human being.

And there is of course this

quote:
3.1 You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified.
That's not an interpolation, it is a reprise on these very well known verses from Chapter 2.

quote:
19 “For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!”
I don't know how the Christ-myth argument (which of necessity must debunk the Pauline letters) gets round content like that. I'm sure they must, somehow, but it looks like an a priori judgment to insist on all such texts being interpolations, rather than relating to the life of a real person.

[ 14. April 2017, 10:58: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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quetzalcoatl
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
Actually, the likely date range of the letter to the Galatians is well-established on historical grounds.

Evidentially its value is that it shows that within the Christian community the basic lines of the account still adhered to by Christians of Jesus death and resurrection were taken for granted within about 30 years of the death of Jesus, indeed, on the evidence of the letter, much earlier than that. It isn't that the letter advances any information about those things, it simply takes them for granted in its argument.

The challenge with this whole issue of whether Jesus existed is that for the very very large majority of professional historians (let alone theologians and biblical scholars) it is simply a non-question, so it's hard to find any making a case either for or against it.

It is also rathe easy to raise airy questions and ideas about what might have happened for which there is no evidence - only speculation "Maybe it happened like this…". Marshalling evidence to counter that sort of thing takes more time than is merited, and more space than is appropriate on a forum like this.

The atheist history blogger Tim O'Neill tackles the idea that Jesus was not a historical person in two parts here and here

Excellent post. Some historians seem to accept historic Jesus, that is, without the miracles. This is partly on the grounds of parsimony - it explains the various texts economically, whereas the various 'myther' theories involve complicated explanations, as to why a purely spiritual being was then humanized in texts.

But I think historians would tend to shrink from the resurrection, and other miracles, not because they are anti-Christian, but because the supernatural cannot be examined via historical method, which is naturalistic. In fact, I think Tim explains this in the articles you cite (used to be an avid reader of his stuff, but he is writing a book at present I think, so pretty quiet on the internet).

This also suggests that notions of probability don't work with the supernatural, since there are no measurable or calculable outcomes.

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Sarah G
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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
Yeah, that wasn't at all what I was talking about.

Let's imagine that you meet someone who tells you that something happened 30 years ago.
....<snip>...
They're constantly evolving and gaining bits of extra information, bringing in other stories from elsewhere until it becomes hard to establish what came from where.

I may have misunderstood your construction of those first 30 years, but there are problems with what I suspect it is:

A discussion group talking about nothing much of significance expands to different parts of the Middle East (Why?). Along the way, someone who knew about Adonis etc managed to persuade all these groups who were in in very different geographical and theological places that the cycle of dying and rising in agriculture could be applied to whatever the groups were about; and that someone originally not important saved humanity by dying and rising.

Despite that dying and rising cults are generally cyclical, not once forever, and that harvesting crops has little to do with dying on a cross, the groups adopted this, still remaining emphatically Jewish, indeed anti- gentile cult. Pagan influences left no other discernible trace.

If I'm wrong on what you're saying, what then is your hypothesis on those first 30 years?

And to repeat: there is no evidence at all for this, and indeed Harrods level evidence against.

So rather than losing touch with the roots of the movement; as Paul writes, at the end of the 1 Cor 15 resurrection list After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living. We know that there was a constant flow between the churches and Jerusalem, dodgy doctrine was challenged, and that it was those who actually witnessed the Jesus events who were in leadership.

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quetzalcoatl's quotation from Galatians above sets out our fundamental dilemma. Either we are living after the resurrection, or we are living in a delusion. We simply can't know either way.

The resurrection is standing here as a shorthand for the experience or series of experiences that turned a group of people of (really) unknown number and makeup from confused, scared disciples gathering behind closed doors out of grief and/or fear, from equally puzzled people having random encounters with a figure they erratically recognise, into apostles able to found and sustain a movement through its early phases of finding its identity, boundaries and teaching.

Otherwise, it's just a collective delusion of that same group of grief-stricken, scared people, who were so totally unable to face reality that they poured all of their energy into an enterprise which took off because of their sheer fanaticism and has been sustained by more or less alternating waves of fanaticism and scepticism ever since.

I simply don't see how we choose between those explanations, other than by faith. I choose to invest my faith in the proposition that the first is true. Others don't.

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Not my quote, bruv.

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Not my quote, bruv.

Oops.

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
quote:
Originally posted by quetzalcoatl:
Not my quote, bruv.

Oops.
Erratum: Barnabas62 provided the quotation in question.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
quetzalcoatl's quotation from Galatians above sets out our fundamental dilemma. Either we are living after the resurrection, or we are living in a delusion. We simply can't know either way.

It's not a new dilemma. Just the old dilemma expressed in the context of a more modern argument.

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ThunderBunk

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
quote:
Originally posted by ThunderBunk:
quetzalcoatl's quotation from Galatians above sets out our fundamental dilemma. Either we are living after the resurrection, or we are living in a delusion. We simply can't know either way.

It's not a new dilemma. Just the old dilemma expressed in the context of a more modern argument.
My point was more that the experiences which define the experience of the resurrection and test its reality are the disciples', not Jesus's.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quetzalcoatl wrote:
quote:
...In fact, I think Tim explains this in the articles you cite (used to be an avid reader of his stuff, but he is writing a book at present I think, so pretty quiet on the internet)...
Not sure I would want to be a retailer of pseudo-historical yarns if I thought he was around!

As a matter of fact, he's still firing on all eight cylinders over on
his newer blog.

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I did have a little preen when I read this by Tim O'Neill.

Particularly this re Galatians 4:4 et al

quote:
So Mythicist theorists then have to tie themselves in knots to "explain" how, in fact, a clear reference to Jesus being "born of a woman" actually means he wasn't born of a woman and how when Paul says Jesus was "according to the flesh, a descendant of King David" this doesn't mean he was a human and the human descendant of a human king.  These contrived arguments are so weak they tend to only convince the already convinced.  It's this kind of contrivance that consigns this thesis to the fringe. 


[ 15. April 2017, 09:16: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
quetzalcoatl wrote:
quote:
...In fact, I think Tim explains this in the articles you cite (used to be an avid reader of his stuff, but he is writing a book at present I think, so pretty quiet on the internet)...
Not sure I would want to be a retailer of pseudo-historical yarns if I thought he was around!

As a matter of fact, he's still firing on all eight cylinders over on
his newer blog.

Cheers. Yes, he is rather scathing, especially about atheists who accept all kind of dross as long as it shafts religion.

I remember a huge thread on another forum, which is still going after 7 years, and is now at 2000 pages, and 40, 000 posts, and Tim started off on that, refuting various mythers, but eventually he got fed up with the sheer idiocy, or more properly, the ahistorical comments. The commonest one was that the gospels could not be accepted as historical evidence, for some mysterious reason.

http://www.rationalskepticism.org/christianity/historical-jesus-t219.html

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quetzalcoatl
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I don't mean that the gospels are historically accurate, but that they can be part of the argument from parsimony, that the simplest explanation of various texts and stories is that Jesus actually existed as a human being, and as a Jewish preacher/healer or whatever. This excludes the miraculous stuff, which historians normally don't touch.

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Barnabas62
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Talk about smiting "hip and thigh"! I read the first few pages of that link and enjoyed Tim's boisterous approach to bullshit. Quite Hellish, by Ship standards.

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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
Talk about smiting "hip and thigh"! I read the first few pages of that link and enjoyed Tim's boisterous approach to bullshit. Quite Hellish, by Ship standards.

I note that whilst he is absolutely scathing about those who are talking about the Jesus Myth, you might want to hold on before giggling like a schoolgirl as he lays into them.
First he says
quote:
Anyone who knows me, has read my stuff online or has simply just read this far in this article will know that I hold the idea that there was no historical Jesus in low regard, but I am more than happy to accept that it is at least possible - to use Fitzgerald's language, it at least "could" be true. I just find it very unlikely.
From his other blogs we see that his main reason for dismissing the Christ myth is a lack of evidence. Which is interesting, given that the opposite argument is also that there is a lack of evidence.

He also says:

quote:
Many Christian apologists vastly overstate the number of ancient non-Christian writers who attest to the existence of Jesus. This is partly because they are not simply showing that a mere Jewish preacher existed, but are arguing for the existence of the "Jesus Christ" of Christian doctrine: a supposedly supernatural figure who allegedly performed amazing public miracles in front of audiences of thousands of witnesses. It could certainly be argued that such a wondrous figure would have been noticed outside of Galilee and Judea and so should have been widely noted as well. So Christian apologists often cite a long list of writers who mention Jesus, usually including Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Lucian, Thallus and several others. But of these only Tacitus and Josephus actually mention Jesus as a historical person - the others are all simply references to early Christianity, some of which mention the "Christ" that was the focus of its worship.
OK, so this guy believes it is a slam-dunk that Jesus Christ existed and that he was crucified. But that's not a particularly big deal given that he dismisses almost everything else said about him in the New Testament. He says - in as many words - that the stuff attributed to Jesus Christ are made up.

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
<snip>From his other blogs we see that his main reason for dismissing the Christ myth is a lack of evidence. Which is interesting, given that the opposite argument is also that there is a lack of evidence.

<snip>But that's not a particularly big deal given that he dismisses almost everything else said about him in the New Testament. He says - in as many words - that the stuff attributed to Jesus Christ are made up.

I'm not quite sure what you are saying in the second sentence here (which I have italicised). There certainly is less evidence for the existence of a historical person called Jesus the Christ than some Christian apologists have suggests, but enough to make the idea that no such historical person existed unlikely.

I expect he does believe that much of the stuff attributed to Jesus in the New Testament is made up - he is after all a signed-up atheist, but can you give me a link to where he says that "in as many words".

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mr cheesy
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quote:
Originally posted by BroJames:
I'm not quite sure what you are saying in the second sentence here (which I have italicised). There certainly is less evidence for the existence of a historical person called Jesus the Christ than some Christian apologists have suggests, but enough to make the idea that no such historical person existed unlikely.

He says there would be written evidence of some "cosmic Christ" that he says the mythicists posit instead of a human person. One of the reasons they have for rejecting that there was a person is the lack of written evidence, or even of written evidence that has been lost. I'm just commenting that this seems to cut both ways in this argument.

quote:
I expect he does believe that much of the stuff attributed to Jesus in the New Testament is made up - he is after all a signed-up atheist, but can you give me a link to where he says that "in as many words".
Nope, I can't be bothered - read his blog for yourself.

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Barnabas62
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He thinks Bart Ehrman has the best take on the historic Jesus i.e. that he was an apocalyptic prophet. Here's a quote from the rational sceptic website (p4)

quote:
A Jesus who was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet who predicted the immanent end of the world and was clearly wrong doesn't fit anyones' prejudices. Yet it fits the evidence perfectly.

This seems to be who and what he was

That's the theme of this book by Ehrman.

It's not a new take on Jesus. Albert Schweitzer was teaching that at the turn of the 20th Century.

[ 15. April 2017, 17:57: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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mousethief

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Intersectionality.

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Barnabas62
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For BroJames, from p7 of the sceptic website, here is another quote which gives some insight into what Tim O'Neill accepts and doesn't accept about the words and life of Jesus.

quote:
Question to Tim:
My question is this, how much of his life as written in the sources do you, personally, believe to be true? What parts are real and what parts are mythology, according to what you've read, learned and personally believe?

Answer by Tim
I've answered this many times. The things in the story which don't fit Messianic expectations are the bits most likely to be historical: (i) his origin in Nazareth, (ii) his baptism by John, (iii) his crucifixion. There are other things which are also likely to be historical, especially his apocalyptic teaching, because it fits the context of his times better than it fits the ideas and context of the early Christian movement.



[ 15. April 2017, 18:31: Message edited by: Barnabas62 ]

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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quote:
Originally posted by Barnabas62:
He thinks Bart Ehrman has the best take on the historic Jesus i.e. that he was an apocalyptic prophet. Here's a quote from the rational sceptic website (p4)

quote:
A Jesus who was an apocalyptic Jewish prophet who predicted the immanent end of the world and was clearly wrong doesn't fit anyones' prejudices. Yet it fits the evidence perfectly.

This seems to be who and what he was

That's the theme of this book by Ehrman.

It's not a new take on Jesus. Albert Schweitzer was teaching that at the turn of the 20th Century.

Yes, I picked that up too. I haven't read Ehrman's book, so take the following comments bearing that in mind. But isn't there a problem with that formulation?

That seems to be the popular understanding of the word apocalypse (as in "Zombie Apocalypse"). But that's not what it means - an apocalypse is an unveiling or revealing, most usually as a written exposition though I guess it could equally be spoken. It is not an event in time.

So Jesus was undoubtedly a Jewish prophet. And judging by passages such as the Olivet discourse, he certainly used apocalyptic language. So I am comfortable with the term "Apocalyptic Jewish Prophet". But to say that he predicted the imminent end of the world and was wrong makes no sense.

The only way it makes sense is if you disregard the whole purpose of the genre (which does what it says on the tin) and take it literally. If you do that, you immediately land in new trouble, which is that Jews did not believe in the coming of the end of the world, but in the imminence of the age to come (ha-olam haba). That is entirely what the coming of the messiah, the anointed one, the Christ was all about. Indeed we still proclaim it ourselves in the words the Gloria Patri ("...world without end - or literally "unto the age of ages"). Not "unto the end of the world". So problems all round with that one.

[ 15. April 2017, 18:42: Message edited by: Honest Ron Bacardi ]

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
The only way it makes sense is if you disregard the whole purpose of the genre (which does what it says on the tin) and take it literally. If you do that, you immediately land in new trouble, which is that Jews did not believe in the coming of the end of the world, but in the imminence of the age to come (ha-olam haba). That is entirely what the coming of the messiah, the anointed one, the Christ was all about.

I believe that's N T Wright's take on the matter. I find it persuasive, but I doubt it's the universal opinion in the academy: I should suppose the older Schweitzer view still has traction.

O'Neill's view seems to be based largely on the double-discontinuity line of reason. I gather that has come under criticism. But as a way of establishing a minimal content it seems to me sound.

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Barnabas62
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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:

O'Neill's view seems to be based largely on the double-discontinuity line of reason. I gather that has come under criticism. But as a way of establishing a minimal content it seems to me sound.

I think I understand double discontinuity but would be grateful for an explanation.

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Honest Ron Bacardi
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Double discontinuity - a criterion formulated by Ernst Kaesemann to determine the authenticity of Jesus' reported sayings. If what he is reported to have said represents a discontinuity from what contemporary Judaism taught and what the early church taught, then it scores as "likely authentic".

I can see how it appealed in the first place, but I think it is problematic if used to determine understanding of content. Its application requires us to have an understanding of meaning before we can apply the criterion. The problem here is that right from the start we have flagged up an issue as to genre and meaning. Get that wrong and the application of the criterion becomes meaningless.

(I think the scholarly objection is along other lines - more that it presupposes that there actually was a discontinuity between teachings within 1st C Judaism which was far from monolithic, Jesus' teachings, and the very early church. The first and third of these have been very active areas of research in the twentieth century, and the general complaint is that as more is known about them, the more the "Real Jesus" seems to recede - by this criterion at least.)

Dafyd - I take it this is what you meant, but correct me if I misunderstand you. I agree that the legacy of Schweitzer is probably in view here.

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
From his other blogs we see that his main reason for dismissing the Christ myth is a lack of evidence. Which is interesting, given that the opposite argument is also that there is a lack of evidence.

quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:
He says there would be written evidence of some "cosmic Christ" that he says the mythicists posit instead of a human person. One of the reasons they have for rejecting that there was a person is the lack of written evidence, or even of written evidence that has been lost. I'm just commenting that this seems to cut both ways in this argument.

No, it doesn't. Arguments from silence can be made effectively, but they need to be argued properly. The attempt by the Mythicists to do so fail. They claim "There are no contemporary references to Jesus. There should be if he existed. So he didn't exist." The flaw in this argument lies in its second premise. There "should" be? This claim needs to be supported by the evidence, but it isn't. Why "should" we expect contemporary references to Jesus? We don't have contemporary references for about 90% of ancient figures. And we have none at all for any of the other early first century Jewish preachers, prophets or Messianic claimants we know about - like Jesus, they are all only attested by later mentions. So there is no reason there "should" be references to a Jewish preacher at all. Therefore the argument fails.

My argument from silence regarding the lack of any references to a mythic/celestial Jesus form of proto-Christianity, on the other hand, is solid. We have an extensive early patristic that contains references to a wide variety of rival variant forms of Christianity that it condemns as "heresies". These works mention a range of such variants and sometimes even talk about ones that are long since vanished, just in case they arise again. Nowhere in this corpus is there so much as a hint about a form of Christianity that taught Jesus had never existed on earth at all and was purely celestial. We also have a corpus of Christian apologetic responses to Jewish and pagan critics. These critics are depicted as marshalling a range of problems or issues with Christian ideas and claims. Yet nowhere in this corpus is there any sign that these critics were aware of a variant form of Christianity that didn't even believe Jesus existed on earth. This is despite the fact noting this variant would be a useful argument against Christian claims, especially for Jewish critics like Justin Martyr's "Trypho". So we should find at least some mention or even hint about this supposed mythic/celestial Jesus form of proto-Christianity, especially since it would have a good claim to being the original form of the faith and so be a particular threat to developing orthodoxy. But we get absolute silence from the sources.

Mythicists have to resort to weak tactics to "explain" this silence. Either they twist the text of Justin Martyr's Dialogue VIII to try to pretend Trypho is alluding to an invented Jesus. Or they invoke the old fall back of the conspiracy theorist - "they destroyed all the evidence which supports my theory!" - out of desperation. Then they wonder why no-one takes their junk thesis seriously.

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TimONeill
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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Yes, I picked that up too. I haven't read Ehrman's book, so take the following comments bearing that in mind. But isn't there a problem with that formulation?

That seems to be the popular understanding of the word apocalypse (as in "Zombie Apocalypse"). But that's not what it means - an apocalypse is an unveiling or revealing, most usually as a written exposition though I guess it could equally be spoken. It is not an event in time.

"Apocalyptic" refers to the genre of prophetic works in which the nature of the coming event in time is "revealed" or "uncovered" for the seer. What was said to be coming, however, WAS to be an event in time.

quote:
So Jesus was undoubtedly a Jewish prophet. And judging by passages such as the Olivet discourse, he certainly used apocalyptic language. So I am comfortable with the term "Apocalyptic Jewish Prophet". But to say that he predicted the imminent end of the world and was wrong makes no sense.
That is exactly what he is depicted as predicting. Though it was more "the end of the world as we know it", followed by its renewal, with Yahweh reasserting his direct rule over it through his Messiah.

quote:
The only way it makes sense is if you disregard the whole purpose of the genre (which does what it says on the tin) and take it literally. If you do that, you immediately land in new trouble, which is that Jews did not believe in the coming of the end of the world, but in the imminence of the age to come (ha-olam haba).
Wrong. Many Jews believed in both - one following the other. This is the consistent message in the mouth of Jesus in the synoptics. Some of the language used to describe the coming apocalyptic renewal is not to be taken literally but that this apocalypse was not going to be happy fun times is absolutely part of what was in the tin.

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quote:
Originally posted by Honest Ron Bacardi:
Dafyd - I take it this is what you meant, but correct me if I misunderstand you. I agree that the legacy of Schweitzer is probably in view here.

I think that's what you meant. I can see that it has somewhat less application if you don't consider 'Judaism' or 'Christianity' as monolithic entities.

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we remain, thanks to original sin, much in love with talking about, rather than with, one another. Rowan Williams

Posts: 9923 | From: Edinburgh | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged
TimONeill
Apprentice
# 17746

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quote:
Originally posted by Dafyd:
I believe that's N T Wright's take on the matter. I find it persuasive

I don't. I find it tendentious.

quote:
but I doubt it's the universal opinion in the academy: I should suppose the older Schweitzer view still has traction.
It has more than "traction". It's very much the majority view of almost all of the non-Christian scholars in the field and a number of the liberal Christian ones as well (e.g. James F. McGrath and Dale C. Allison).

quote:
O'Neill's view seems to be based largely on the double-discontinuity line of reason.
No, it isn't. Jesus' apocalyptic theology is not out of step with contemporary Jewish theology but very much part of a branch of it. But we see a drift away from it in the later New Testament texts as (i) the expectations of a imminent arrival of the apocalypse are disappointed and (ii) the Jesus sect drifts from its Jewish roots and becomes a Gentile saviour cult.

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Tim O'Neill

History for Atheists - New Atheists Getting History Wrong

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BroJames
Shipmate
# 9636

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I was just composing a reply to mr cheesy, and re-checking his post when I saw Tim O'Neill had joined the thread. Welcome back to your second visit to the ship Tim.
Posts: 3153 | From: UK | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged



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