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A question which has always intrigued me


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Aidanbuk: Your speculation, which I bolded, is on point.  According to Jehovah's inspired word, the Judeo-Christian Bible, God is eternal.  In other words, he has no beginning and no end.  Notice

Except that Jesus didn't do any of those things and evidence of an actual Jesus is not validated by ideas... 

That link lists about 10 different sentences from various parts of the bible, so that brings us up to about 1.75 pages.   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scribe#Judaism https://scottman

Just now, Moontanman said:

So the Jewish people being persecuted and eve murdered by the millions is a matter of perspective? I've been following that thread, it showed no evidence.. 

You're entitled to your opinion but that's not evidence.

Nelson Mandela was a man/person that had a good idea in a time of strife, that alleviated the suffering of his people; why is it such a stretch that someone else, in similar conditions, couldn't have the same idea? Or that it's not predictable?

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17 hours ago, beecee said:

The whole text from beginning to end rests on nothing more than mythical nonsense, unscientific at best, and a total lack of evidence at worst.

Science isn't needed to validate biblical principles found elsewhere in scripture that when applied to one's life produce all the personal evidence needed to sustain their faith.

 

18 hours ago, beecee said:

OK, but my point stands. It has SFA to do with anything that even looks like validating any creation myth.

Your point has nothing to do with the issue being addressed which is how the process of scribal transmission mitigated copying errors over a 1000+ year period.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, namely 1QIsa, is strong evidence that speaks to the reliability of that process.

15 hours ago, Moontanman said:

Is there any chance that there are any citations from people who not have vested interest in the fairy tales being true! 

If you bothered to read the content in the links provided, you would've seen that they're not only objective, but provided everything you needed for a counter argument.  But it's clear you're not interested in a discussion on the issue.

 

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2 hours ago, dimreepr said:

You can't say both...

Saying someone may never have existed is IMO logically consistent with saying that a specific action was not executed by them. 

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7 hours ago, Eise said:

Nobody is saying that the Dead Sea Scrolls contain stories about Jesus. They simply don't. Nobody here did suggest that they do. But what they show is that some Jewish sects believed that soon a Messiah would come, to reinstall the rule of God, and end the suffering of the people of Israel. And interesting enough, this is exactly what John the Baptist and Jesus were preaching. So for the history of early Christianity this is a valuable background. We have new evidence that such ideas already existed in Jesus' days. (The Dead Sea scrolls are dated from 385 BCE to 82 CE).

OK, so they [the dead sea scrolls] simply add to the mythical beliefs of ignorant ancient man, that soon a Savior would come? Evidence that such ideas existed in those days, is not evidence of anything more then speculation. 

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18 hours ago, DirtyChai said:

Science isn't needed to validate biblical principles found elsewhere in scripture that when applied to one's life produce all the personal evidence needed to sustain their faith.

Accepting that the obscure text, written by obscure individuals in the bible, is only evidence of gullibility or personal insecurities.

Quote

Your point has nothing to do with the issue being addressed which is how the process of scribal transmission mitigated copying errors over a 1000+ year period.
The Dead Sea Scrolls, namely 1QIsa, is strong evidence that speaks to the reliability of that process.

As I said previously, it is only evidence that people in that era, due to lack of science, believed hear say that in time some mythical Saviour would walk amongst them.

 

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5 hours ago, beecee said:

As I said previously, it is only evidence that people in that era, due to lack of science, believed hear say that in time some mythical Saviour would walk amongst them.

I would take this a step further and say it is only evidence that those involved in authoring the documents (anonymous) believed it sought to make others believe that a savior would walk amongst them. 

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On 9/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Moontanman said:

Except that Jesus didn't do any of those things and evidence of an actual Jesus is not validated by ideas... 

No, of course not. But you must see it in the context of the discussions between academic historians and mythicists. The difference between Ten oz, Mistermack, and you on one side, and mythicists on the other side, is that the mythicists try to give a another theory to explain the origins of Christianity. They see at least one should have a better theory than the standard historical view on Jesus' existence. They at least study the sources and the relevant (according to them) historical contexts. 

And in this context, one of the arguments of many mythicists is that the idea of a dying and resurrecting messiah is a recurring theme in the classical world, and fits in the ideas existing under Jews sects in those days. However, there is no single source that supports this idea. The texts found in the Dead Sea scrolls talk about a messiah as a man of power, freeing the Jews of their suppressors, and reinstating Israel as the people of God. And interesting enough, this is exactly what Jesus taught according to the early Gospels. So the appearance of Jesus with his message nicely fits into the historical context.

The only problem was that the messiah was not supposed to be crucified, certainly not by the Romans, who were the oppressors! So Paul reinterpreted the 'messianic message': Jesus was resurrected by God! (Of course we do not know if Jesus corpse somehow did disappear from its grave. We do not even know if he was buried, because the Romans mostly let hang their victims, as odious example.) For Paul, the resurrection was the first sign that God's reign on earth had started. So Paul had to bend the idea of what the messiah was, which means that he (and his fellow Jewish Christians), had to explain away an unwelcome fact: that who they expected to be the messiah (the powerful saviour of the Jews, sent by God), was in fact executed by oppressors. But such an idea is simply not found under the Jews of that time. So there is no continuity from the ideas before Jesus' existence and the interpretation of the first followers of Jesus. Therefore nobody would have come up with such an idea: a crucified messiah. So this very probably really happened.

On 9/8/2018 at 4:42 PM, Moontanman said:

This did not happen...

No. It were just ideas in which certain Jewish sects believed. What has the fact that this did not happen to do with the idea that Jesus really existed?

On 9/8/2018 at 5:19 PM, DirtyChai said:

If you bothered to read the content in the links provided, you would've seen that they're not only objective, but provided everything you needed for a counter argument.  But it's clear you're not interested in a discussion on the issue.

I am afraid I have to agree with DirtyChai. Your oneliners ('Citation please'), and your absence of reactions on DirtyChai's answers show this pretty clearly. You already showed that you use other arguments that are plainly, factually, wrong:

On 8/4/2018 at 3:28 PM, Moontanman said:

No the gospels were written many years, in some cases centuries after the supposed life of christ by anonymous authors and we have no originals  and no copies from further back than around 1000 years ago. 

If you are not interested (same for beecee), then just let it be. If you are not prepared to dive into the arguments of the historians, why then argue with them? You both behave as some of the Catholics did with Galilei: refuse to look through the telescope. Do not consider the historians' arguments. They must be wrong anyway, so it is not worth to know these arguments.

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49 minutes ago, Eise said:

The only problem was that the messiah was not supposed to be crucified, certainly not by the Romans, who were the oppressors! So Paul reinterpreted the 'messianic message': Jesus was resurrected by God! (Of course we do not know if Jesus corpse somehow did disappear from its grave. We do not even know if he was buried, because the Romans mostly let hang their victims, as odious example.) For Paul, the resurrection was the first sign that God's reign on earth had started. So Paul had to bend the idea of what the messiah was, which means that he (and his fellow Jewish Christians), had to explain away an unwelcome fact: that who they expected to be the messiah (the powerful saviour of the Jews, sent by God), was in fact executed by oppressors. But such an idea is simply not found under the Jews of that time. So there is no continuity from the ideas before Jesus' existence and the interpretation of the first followers of Jesus. Therefore nobody would have come up with such an idea: a crucified messiah. So this very probably really happened.

How do you know what Paul's motives, intentions, beliefs, and thoughts overall were? As for what "nobody would have com up with", history is full of things which were "come up with" for the first time. By your criterion language itself shouldn't exist because it required invention without precedence. 

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6 hours ago, Eise said:

No, of course not. But you must see it in the context of the discussions between academic historians and mythicists. The difference between Ten oz, Mistermack, and you on one side, and mythicists on the other side, is that the mythicists try to give a another theory to explain the origins of Christianity. They see at least one should have a better theory than the standard historical view on Jesus' existence. They at least study the sources and the relevant (according to them) historical contexts.

Neither side has any evidence.

 

6 hours ago, Eise said:

 

 

And in this context, one of the arguments of many mythicists is that the idea of a dying and resurrecting messiah is a recurring theme in the classical world, and fits in the ideas existing under Jews sects in those days. However, there is no single source that supports this idea. The texts found in the Dead Sea scrolls talk about a messiah as a man of power, freeing the Jews of their suppressors, and reinstating Israel as the people of God. And interesting enough, this is exactly what Jesus taught according to the early Gospels. So the appearance of Jesus with his message nicely fits into the historical context.

Nothing but made up stories, the mormons can claim the same things.

 

6 hours ago, Eise said:

The only problem was that the messiah was not supposed to be crucified, certainly not by the Romans, who were the oppressors! So Paul reinterpreted the 'messianic message': Jesus was resurrected by God! (Of course we do not know if Jesus corpse somehow did disappear from its grave. We do not even know if he was buried, because the Romans mostly let hang their victims, as odious example.) For Paul, the resurrection was the first sign that God's reign on earth had started. So Paul had to bend the idea of what the messiah was, which means that he (and his fellow Jewish Christians), had to explain away an unwelcome fact: that who they expected to be the messiah (the powerful saviour of the Jews, sent by God), was in fact executed by oppressors. But such an idea is simply not found under the Jews of that time. So there is no continuity from the ideas before Jesus' existence and the interpretation of the first followers of Jesus. Therefore nobody would have come up with such an idea: a crucified messiah. So this very probably really happened.

Citation please. Twice told tales hold no weight. 

6 hours ago, Eise said:

No. It were just ideas in which certain Jewish sects believed. What has the fact that this did not happen to do with the idea that Jesus really existed?

Simply fairy tales.

6 hours ago, Eise said:

I am afraid I have to agree with DirtyChai. Your oneliners ('Citation please'), and your absence of reactions on DirtyChai's answers show this pretty clearly. You already showed that you use other arguments that are plainly, factually, wrong:

Elaborate please.

 

6 hours ago, Eise said:

If you are not interested (same for beecee), then just let it be. If you are not prepared to dive into the arguments of the historians, why then argue with them? You both behave as some of the Catholics did with Galilei: refuse to look through the telescope. Do not consider the historians' arguments. They must be wrong anyway, so it is not worth to know these arguments.

As long as religion doesn't try to control our civilization I have no problem with it but we all know that is the very thing they are commanded to do by their imaginary friend....

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I have no interest in reacting on one-liners, that partially show that you do not even follow the track of the discussion, and show that you are not interested in the matter at all. And no, I will not elaborate. Read some serious authors about the matter.

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9 hours ago, Eise said:

I have no interest in reacting on one-liners, that partially show that you do not even follow the track of the discussion, and show that you are not interested in the matter at all. And no, I will not elaborate. Read some serious authors about the matter.

I have read serious authors and my one liners as you claim are legitimate questions that need no elaboration and I think you are failing to adhere to the rules of the forum...  

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30 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

I have read serious authors

As have I, just not those mentioned in this thread, what's your point? 

34 minutes ago, Moontanman said:

and my one liners as you claim are legitimate questions that need no elaboration

You're going to have to elaborate because, WTF

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4 hours ago, dimreepr said:

As have I, just not those mentioned in this thread, what's your point? 

You're going to have to elaborate because, WTF

I understand why you and Eise are exasperated by Moontanman's response. Moontanman appears to be disregarding cited scholarly work. However that work, while extensive and done by people respected in field, are just philosophical positions of opinion. They are not proof on anything. What I am getting from Moontanman's posts is that they will not accept philosophical opinions as citations of fact. 

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10 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Moontanman appears to be disregarding cited scholarly work.

Not appears. He does. As you do (but you at least you argue also with your own voice).

You both do not seem to recognise that the scientific method for different sciences simply cannot be the same. E.g. functional explanations have nothing to do in physics ('what is the purpose of the weak interaction?'). However in biology functional descriptions are normal ('what is the purpose of the stripes of a tiger?' 'What is the purpose of the kidneys?'). A pure causal explanation (which we only have partially and very general at the same time (e.g. mutations)) does not suffice. 

To understand history, old sources (documents and artifacts) are the only thing we have. The task of the historian is to cut through all the biases (of ancient sources), recognise the gaps and contradictions, and come up with the most probable reconstruction of what really happened. Still, history is an empirical science: the explanations must fit to the historical sources. Same way as evolution is an empirical science: evolutionary explanations must be consistent with the 'sources', i.e. fossile founds. But in both cases we of course have no repeatable experiments. 

So if your critique on the historicity is only based on the methodological hammer that historical science cannot be modeled after physics, then we have to discuss other things. So if you do not accept that science is a discipline in itself, with its own methods, then we are ready here. If you do accept that history, especially ancient history, must use its own methods, then we can discuss: we can discuss the methods themselves, or if they are applied correctly. But for the latter, you must have some knowledge of the sources, of the arguments of the historians, etc. Again, against a Relativity skeptic who shows he has no knowledge of Relativity at all, it is impossible to discuss. I feel the same way with you too. 

10 hours ago, Ten oz said:

However that work, while extensive and done by people respected in field, are just philosophical positions of opinion

Definitely no. Because we find gaps and contradictions in historical sources, there is (a limited) freedom of interpretation. But that does not make history philosophy. In history we must find the most probable explanation of our sources. (And I also protest against the idea that philosophical viewpoints are just opinions. They are not empirical science, that's right. But they must be well argued, and consistent with what we find in science and daily life. 'Time dilatation does not exist' is an opinion: it is a meaningful sentence, and there are (many?) people that believe it. But we know based on experiments and theories that this opinion is wrong.)

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17 hours ago, Moontanman said:

I have read serious authors and my one liners as you claim are legitimate questions that need no elaboration and I think you are failing to adhere to the rules of the forum...  

I do not believe that being tired of a discussion is against the rules.

Bringing false arguments (1), do not accept reactions from persons who obviously know more (2), or do not follow the chain of an argument (3) is neither, but it is tiresome, and sometimes rude.

Examples of (1):

On 8/4/2018 at 3:28 PM, Moontanman said:

No the gospels were written many years, in some cases centuries after the supposed life of christ by anonymous authors and we have no originals  and no copies from further back than around 1000 years ago. 

(...)

Yes the romans kept extremely accurate records and interestingly enough none of them recorded anything about jesus or any of the events in his life.

Example of (2):

On 9/6/2018 at 10:23 PM, DirtyChai said:

We know that scribal transmission of Hebrew scriptures was a rather meticulous undertaking.

- Each column had to have between 48 and 60 lines.
- Each word had to be verbalized before copying it.
- Every paragraph, word and letter had to be counted.
- The middle paragraph, middle word and middle letter of every page had to correspond to  the manuscript being copied.
- If any letters touched each other it was voided.
- if more than 2 pages needed any minor corrections then the manuscript had to be rewritten.

The reliability of this process was validated by the Dead Sea Scrolls that had  a 95% word for word accuracy rate when compared to Masoretic manuscripts written a thousand years later.

On 9/6/2018 at 10:32 PM, Moontanman said:

Citation please

On 9/6/2018 at 10:23 PM, DirtyChai said:

The reliability of this process was validated by the Dead Sea Scrolls that had  a 95% word for word accuracy rate when compared to Masoretic manuscripts written a thousand years later.

 

On 9/6/2018 at 10:32 PM, Moontanman said:

Citation please

Example of (3):

On 9/6/2018 at 10:23 PM, DirtyChai said:

Correct, Jesus is believed to be God incarnate, but apart from that, one could also  believe that God is an invisible omnipresent force, given the text.

 

On 9/6/2018 at 10:32 PM, Moontanman said:

Jesus never said that... 

DirtyChai did not imply that Jesus said that.

On 9/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Moontanman said:

Except that Jesus didn't do any of those things and evidence of an actual Jesus is not validated by ideas... 

Nobody implied this.

On 9/8/2018 at 2:45 PM, Eise said:

But what they show is that some Jewish sects believed that soon a Messiah would come, to reinstall the rule of God, and end the suffering of the people of Israel.

 

On 9/8/2018 at 4:25 PM, Moontanman said:

Except that Jesus didn't do any of those things and evidence of an actual Jesus is not validated by ideas... 

On 9/8/2018 at 4:42 PM, Moontanman said:

This did not happen...

Again, this is totally irrelevant. What I said is about the historical background, nothing else. It is a historical fact that in a time that Jesus lived (supposed to live) and before such ideas existed. We have originals of those days.

On 9/9/2018 at 6:05 PM, Eise said:

No. It were just ideas in which certain Jewish sects believed. What has the fact that this did not happen to do with the idea that Jesus really existed?

 

On 9/10/2018 at 12:52 AM, Moontanman said:

Simply fairy tales.

Again, the relevance of that is zero: The point I made was only that such ideas existed in those days, and we have proof of that. Of course, I am also convinced that these are fairy tales. But the point is that Jesus spread a very similar message, therefore this fits in the historical context. And that is not proof that Jesus existed, but it is a point in the discussions with mythicists: it practically rules out some of their competing explanations.

 

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3 hours ago, Eise said:

You both do not seem to recognise that the scientific method for different sciences simply cannot be the same. E.g. functional explanations have nothing to do in physics ('what is the purpose of the weak interaction?'). However in biology functional descriptions are normal ('what is the purpose of the stripes of a tiger?' 'What is the purpose of the kidneys?'). A pure causal explanation (which we only have partially and very general at the same time (e.g. mutations)) does not suffice. 

You and I seem to philosophically view what is known vs unknown differently. "The purpose of stripes of a Tiger" isn't something I consider known. I  don't think the word "purpose" even fits well into a scientific explanation in relation to what's known about striped cats. We can pinpoint the genes responsible, trace the the relationship of bigcats with and without stripes, examine diets, average lifespan, regional distribution, and etc. We can list all the camouflaging benefits and etc. However evolution is a nonlinear process. Over 99% of every species which has ever lived has died. Many different factors contribute to survival and which individual ones will or won't be best in combination isn't predictable. Every striped cat's stripping pattern is unique. Perhaps it was that ease in identifying between each other  and not the camouflaging which most impacted reproduction and in turn their evolution. We don't know. So despite the understanding various benefits and biology of stripes I wouldn't say the that "purpose" of stripes is known. Many benefits are known and those benefits probably helped accomplish X,Y, Z throughout evolution but I would leave it at that. 

3 hours ago, Eise said:

To understand history, old sources (documents and artifacts) are the only thing we have. The task of the historian is to cut through all the biases (of ancient sources), recognise the gaps and contradictions, and come up with the most probable reconstruction of what really happened. Still, history is an empirical science: the explanations must fit to the historical sources. Same way as evolution is an empirical science: evolutionary explanations must be consistent with the 'sources', i.e. fossile founds. But in both cases we of course have no repeatable experiments. 

The definition of empirical is: "Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic", here.

Historians are very well studied. Their work provides very meaningful insights into our past. Much of what they conclude can be highly accurate. However when contemporary evidence in any form (writings, art work, tombs, etc) is not available to verify something Historians can only speculate. The historicity of Jesus is not something empirically known. Not only isn't it empirically known but the issue isn't universally agreed upon by historians. Even among historians who agree Jesus existed there are differences in the basis of that conclusion. 

4 hours ago, Eise said:

So if your critique on the historicity is only based on the methodological hammer that historical science cannot be modeled after physics, then we have to discuss other things. So if you do not accept that science is a discipline in itself, with its own methods, then we are ready here. If you do accept that history, especially ancient history, must use its own methods, then we can discuss: we can discuss the methods themselves, or if they are applied correctly. But for the latter, you must have some knowledge of the sources, of the arguments of the historians, etc. Again, against a Relativity skeptic who shows he has no knowledge of Relativity at all, it is impossible to discuss. I feel the same way with you too. 

 I understand Bart Ehrman's work. I simply do not believe it proves anything. If the corner stone of a Prosecutor's evidence centers around an unreliable witness that Prosecutor has no case. All the "evidence" for Jesus centers around the Gospels. It is the Gospel which provided context for all other bits of information used. Without the Gospel what difference does it make that Pontious Pilate existed? The Historicity of Jesus centers around the Gospel and the Gospel are literary works of mostly unknown origin, contradict themselves, include things known not to be true, and are meant as Religious text and not a record of history. The corner stone of evidence is an unreliable witness. It is that simply for me. 

 

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On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

The definition of empirical is: "Based on, concerned with, or verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic",

Yes. I made one 'or' bold. Document sources belong to observation. 

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

Not only isn't it empirically known but the issue isn't universally agreed upon by historians. Even among historians who agree Jesus existed there are differences in the basis of that conclusion. 

Do find a University teacher or researcher at a university on the topic of New Testament history, that embraces some form of mythicism. Yes, there are differences on some topics, but Jesus' existence is none.

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

I understand Bart Ehrman's work.

But you do not argue directly against his arguments.

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

I simply do not believe it proves anything.

The best explanation of the sources would be the one to take, no? I know, that is not 'proof' in the same sense as with natural sciences, and surely also not as good as a lot of more recent historical events.

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

If the corner stone of a Prosecutor's evidence centers around an unreliable witness that Prosecutor has no case.

Of course. In a court case I would not convict somebody based on 85/15. But taken together a few unreliable witnesses, the way they give their part of the stories might reveal more than either one on its own.

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

It is the Gospel which provided context for all other bits of information used.

First, it are gospels. Historians recognise at least 5 different sources behind the 4 gospels, then there are the authentic 7 letters of Paul (call that one source), Josephus, Tacitus, and a few others. Anyone on its own would not suffice. But the parallels and contradictions lead the historians in a clear direction.

On 9/11/2018 at 1:57 PM, Ten oz said:

The Historicity of Jesus centers around the Gospels and the Gospels are literary works of mostly unknown origin, contradict themselves, include things known not to be true, and are meant as Religious text and not a record of history.

Nearly true. If all the gospels would tell exactly the same story, the situation would be much more difficult: then it could be the religious fantasy of one author. But they don't: they differ on many points, agree on others (which does not mean that where they agree it must be true! Historians are a bit better than that). Analysing these differences and agreements,  and many more aspects of them, lead to the conclusion that Jesus' very probably existed.

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This argument is essentially the god of the gaps argument, with the roles reversed; the evidence leads to a reasonable conclusion, only for the believer to find a different gap that the shoehorn fits.

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