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Did Christianity start with a real human Jesus?


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9 hours ago, Itoero said:

If Jesus and his followers were illiterate then no written record could be left behind which implies the gospelwriters made up everything.

Is this an example of your 'logic'? You never heard of oral history, I assume. You know, people telling what they have seen, and then what they have heard. Of course many of the stories get changed during this process, beautified, brought in sync with what people would like to believe, etc.

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

Jesus was not famous at his birth.

Why would a son of a poor handcrafts man, born in a poor hamlet called Nazareth be famous at his birth. Usually only children of VVIP (very VIPs) are famous at birth. 

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

There was no reason for anyone to observe and record anything  until Jesus gained fame/followers.

Yep. So his birth stories are just fantasy. All historians agree with that.

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

The gospels were written in detail decades after Jesus' supposed death.

Mark was written around 70 CE. That is 4 decades. From text analysis, historians determined 'Mark' used other written sources, which per definition must  be older than the his Gospel. Paul reports of Jesus already about 20 years after Jesus' death, but he reports about events that happened only a few years after Jesus' crucifixion.

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

Such detailed stories could only be written by eyewitnesses at the moment or in the days after.

That is only true if the Gospels are exact reports about what happened. But they are not: the Gospels contradict each other and contain historical errors. Really, it is not difficult to write detailed stories. But what of the details is true, and what isn't, has to be found out (of course the contradictions and historical errors fall through). On careful analysis, it turns out that a few details are probably true: which (logically!) means that very probably Jesus existed.

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

There were probably many persons called 'Jesus' at that time, but those stories are made up.

(Corrected this: there were many people called 'Jesus' those days.)

Logic? In the 19th century a lot of people are called 'Karl'. Does that mean Karl Marx did not exist?

9 hours ago, Itoero said:

These are some videos from Dr. Richard Carrier.

Of course you can present Carrier's most important arguments from these videos for us. Or do you really suppose we look at 2.5 hours of video? You probably did not even look at them yourself.

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Suits me. Your expectation of a pat on the back, for the lamest of argument is tiresome. And claiming a consensus for it, as justification is laughable. What it says is, I can't justify it with my own

Eise often backs up his claims with an imaginary consensus. He often claims to know what many/most/all scholars/historians/scientists think. If this is a scienceforum then his comments in this thread

That's a lie. Did you watch his videos?

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Mark was written around 70 CE. That is 4 decades. From text analysis, historians determined 'Mark' used other written sources, which per definition must  be older than the his Gospel. Paul reports of Jesus already about 20 years after Jesus' death, but he reports about events that happened only a few years after Jesus' crucifixion.

Who wrote Mark? 

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Why would a son of a poor handcrafts man, born in a poor hamlet called Nazareth be famous at his birth. Usually only children of VVIP (very VIPs) are famous at birth

Why would someone not famous to be written about at their birth, during the whole of their life, or at their death be famous enough to written about 40yrs later? 

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Is this an example of your 'logic'? You never heard of oral history, I assume

An oral history that is fuzy on dates and doesn't include the location of his burial. I have a fuzy memory but one of the few things I recall well about people I care about are the dates of the life and where their graves are. 

3 hours ago, Eise said:

Of course you can present Carrier's most important arguments from these videos for us. Or do you really suppose we look at 2.5 hours of video? You probably did not even look at them yourself.

It is understandable to complain about being linked a multi hour long video. Shame on Itoero. However in saying Itoero themselves probably didn't not watch it you are again painting others as not have the facts. The implication being you view is superior. That attitude  overrates who you know and is ugly. Historian's do not proclaim Jesus absolutely was a real person. Most scholars conclude he was most likely a real person. No serious scholar claims to know with the certainty you are attempting to insist upon. 

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1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

Who wrote Mark? 

Of course you noticed the quotes around 'Mark'. The first time I referenced the Gospel itself, so that did not need quotes, the second time I referenced the author, and because we do not know who the author was, I used the quotes.

1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

Why would someone not famous to be written about at their birth, during the whole of their life, or at their death be famous enough to written about 40yrs later? 

In a previous posting Itoero implied that an author should have been a the place of Jesus' birth in order to reliably report about it. (You see, you need context to understand a text...)

1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

An oral history that is fuzy on dates and doesn't include the location of his burial. I have a fuzy memory but one of the few things I recall well about people I care about are the dates of the life and where their graves are. 

I do not even remember when my mother died (but I still remember what we did with her ashes...) . And Jerusalem was destroyed at 70 CE. And surely nearly none of Jesus' followers were still alive. Further, for your argument to be valid you must assume psychological traits of Jesus' followers in turbulent times. You should let the documents together speak for themselves. I agree with you, there is not much reliable information in the sources of the new testament (contradictions between the sources, stories that fit too well in a theological agenda, events described that we know did not happen, authors we do not know, etc.) But a few events probably really happened (see my four points. It is really not much what is left after the historians' analysis). Which makes Jesus' existence very probable (no, don't bring that false argument again...).

1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

However in saying Itoero themselves probably didn't not watch it you are again painting others as not have the facts.

That is a wrong interpretation. I know Itoero a bit. He often posts links that I am pretty sure of he either does not really understand, or, as in this case, hasn't taken the time to really look into. He uses links mostly to give an argument of authority. 

1 hour ago, Ten oz said:

Historian's do not proclaim Jesus absolutely was a real person. Most scholars conclude he was most likely a real person. No serious scholar claims to know with the certainty you are attempting to insist upon. 

Obviously you forgot my 85/15. I am not 100% sure either. But I stick to my starting question: what is the most rational explanation of the existent sources we have, their contents, their language and appearance, and their fitting in the rest we know about ancient Palestine.

You see, that is exactly what the mythicists do: they know that if they really want to make a point they must come with an alternative to the generally accepted historians' view, but also based on sources we have.

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Eight years ago I was fully convinced that there was a real Jesus at the root of the Christian religion. I just had a look at the Talpiot Tomb thread on another site, and I was arguing from a conviction that there was a real Jesus person, and that the Talpiot Tomb probably was his final resting place. 

I was going on the fairly natural assumption that it's not very likely to invent a Jesus out of nothing. And that the apostle Paul's epistles were a recent enough record to be a reliable guide. What's changed my mind is actually reading a good lump of Paul's epistles, rather than relying on what other people said about them. And becoming aware of the sheer mass of invention that was happening in the early centuries, and of finding out the dates of the physical bits of paper that the gospels and epistles are based on. I'd fallen for the bullshit dating of gospels which are routinely quoted, of around the years seventy to ninety for some of them. It's hardly ever mentioned that these are just guesses, and that the earliest bits of them that actually exist are hundreds of years more recent. 

On the subject of "would they just invent a Jesus out of thin air?" I would say that that's not how it happens. It's like a fire, it starts with a tiny insignificant spark, and most of them just get extinguished, but one in a thousand sets off a chain of additions to the story, that ends up as a fully fledged myth that people will follow. But in any case, ten years later, I'm happy to say, "yes, it's perfectly possible that they would invent a new Jesus to match an old story". 

It's hard to imagine the thinking 2,000 years ago, but the more you read, the more you get a picture of it. It's shaking off the 21st century attitudes which is most difficult.

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27 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I'd fallen for the bullshit dating of gospels which are routinely quoted, of around the years seventy to ninety for some of them. It's hardly ever mentioned that these are just guesses, and that the earliest bits of them that actually exist are hundreds of years more recent. 

Right, are good well educated guess is still just a guess. 

27 minutes ago, mistermack said:

On the subject of "would they just invent a Jesus out of thin air?"

Why one would or wouldn't do something seems like a superfluous question to me. Things with extremely low likelihoods of happening happen everyday.  

27 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It's hard to imagine the thinking 2,000 years ago, but the more you read, the more you get a picture of it. It's shaking off the 21st century attitudes which is most difficult.

It is hard to know what one was thinking and unknown authorship of the Gospels only complicates matters. Who says something matters to the context of what's being said. Without knowing who wrote the Gospels one builds  their narrative about the Gospels on assumptions. 

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14 hours ago, mistermack said:

It's hardly ever mentioned that these are just guesses, and that the earliest bits of them that actually exist are hundreds of years more recent. 

It would be nice if you mentioned the arguments why the sources of the New Testament are dated by the historians between 65-125 CE, and why they are wrong. You are right, there is some guesswork in it (for each gospel the historian always give a time range, not just a year). And the earliest original physical snippet is dated 125-175 CE, interesting a snippet of the gospel of John, the latest written. 

14 hours ago, mistermack said:

It's like a fire, it starts with a tiny insignificant spark, and most of them just get extinguished, but one in a thousand sets off a chain of additions to the story, that ends up as a fully fledged myth that people will follow.

Still, historians try to make the best possible explanation for 'the fire'. Mythicists do too, in their way. It is the popping up of different sources in the same period, and the way they agree and disagree with each other, and with what we know of early Palestinian history from other sources,  what we know about beliefs before Jesus and after him, that convince historians about the dates of the events described. This might be a good start how historian come to their estimates.

14 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Right, are good well educated guess is still just a guess. 

A good well educated guess is still much better than 'just' a guess. The word 'just' is often misused as a rhetorical instrument. I personally have an 'alarm clock' on the word 'just'.

14 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Without knowing who wrote the Gospels one builds  their narrative about the Gospels on assumptions. 

Every historian agrees with you that we do not know who wrote the gospels. But that does not make (contextual) analysis impossible. Why do you think that? Some events are historical (e.g. existence of Herod and Pilate), others contradict known history (e.g. the census in Luke), and with a naturalist mind, every miracle story, including the resurrection, must be excluded. But that does not mean that one cannot distillate  e.g. the authors' intentions, and e.g the question why they bent their stories in such interesting and different ways (e.g. birth story of Jesus in Matthew and Luke).

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17 minutes ago, Eise said:

A good well educated guess is still much better than 'just' a guess. The word 'just' is often misused as a rhetorical instrument. I personally have an 'alarm clock' on the word 'just'.

The more guesses one makes the least likely it is that all the guesses being made will be true. That is simply how odds work. In the case of the historicity of Jesus too many guesses are stack on top of other guesses. I do not care how educated one is on a subject every guess will not be correct. I have a 50/50 chance of predicting a single coin flip but only a 25% chance of predict 2 coin flips and the odds drop by half with each additional flip. The odds of start with a guess, makes other guess based on that initial guess, and ending with the correct outcome are low.

If our car is parked in our spot at home I can guess  my wife is home. Then based on the time of day and with my understand of my wife's routines and I guess what she is doing in our home. Based on what I guess she is doing I can also make a guess about how she might be dressed. And with that information With all that info I can concluded whether or not she'd want to go out to eat or just stay in. All of my guesses would be very high quality. I have lived with my wife for 15yrs. I am an expert at her habits and schedule. That said all my guess rely on each other to be correct. My guess about what my wife is doing in our home can only be true if she is in fact home.

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On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, Eise said:

Is this an example of your 'logic'? You never heard of oral history, I assume. You know, people telling what they have seen, and then what they have heard. Of course many of the stories get changed during this process, beautified, brought in sync with what people would like to believe, etc.

The idea that Jesus and his followers were illiterate is a nonsensical idea.

-Jews were on average a lot more literate then other people in that time. So the chance Jesus and his followers were illiterate is very small.

-If they were illiterate then why didn't they look for literate people to help them?  This means that during the oral transmission, the gospelwriters were the first ones that could write? How ridiculous is this...

-If the gospelwriters based them on orally transmitted stories, Then why do you think they didn't glue many  random stories together, invented many more stories and  made 'Jesus' the main character.  How can you know the stories are from the actions of one person?

On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, Eise said:

Why would a son of a poor handcrafts man, born in a poor hamlet called Nazareth be famous at his birth. Usually only children of VVIP (very VIPs) are famous at birth.

I'm just stating nothing from his birth/childhood can be known since there was no reason to keep any record. It's impossible to know he was born in Nazareth.

 

On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, Eise said:

Yep. So his birth stories are just fantasy. All historians agree with that.

It's impossible to know what 'all historians' think, so don't make those silly assumptions.

 

On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, Eise said:

Mark was written around 70 CE. That is 4 decades. From text analysis, historians determined 'Mark' used other written sources, which per definition must  be older than the his Gospel. Paul reports of Jesus already about 20 years after Jesus' death, but he reports about events that happened only a few years after Jesus' crucifixion.

Which historians?

And why do you think Jesus got crucified?  Because gospelwriters say he did?

On ‎12‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 8:32 AM, Eise said:

t is only true if the Gospels are exact reports about what happened. But they are not: the Gospels contradict each other and contain historical errors. Really, it is not difficult to write detailed stories. But what of the details is true, and what isn't, has to be found out (of course the contradictions and historical errors fall through). On careful analysis, it turns out that a few details are probably true: which (logically!) means that very probably Jesus existed.

Why do you have so much faith in the Gospelwriters? The reason to believe in Jesus existence rests entirely on their shoulders.

 

 

If it's too long, then watch only half of it.

 

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50 minutes ago, Itoero said:

It's impossible to know what 'all historians' think, so don't make those silly assumptions.

Eise has already dismissed scholars like Robert Price and Richard Carrier who do not contend Jesus must have been real as being angry. Eise's position is exaggerated in my opinion. There is obvious debate among scholars over these issues. 

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7 hours ago, Eise said:

It would be nice if you mentioned the arguments why the sources of the New Testament are dated by the historians between 65-125 CE, and why they are wrong.

What is wrong, is the inference that these sources are the only sources. I'm sure that there were sources around those dates, but there's no way of knowing what happened in the interval between them being penned, and what we have now becoming finalised. 

The original gospels are no more. What we have are copies of later documents,  that might or might not be similar to what was originally written. And when it only takes one word to completely change the meaning of a piece, it's totally misleading to claim that the gospels that we have now date from the late first century. They might, they might not. And they are somebody's preferred selection anyway, not an original collection. 

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20 hours ago, Itoero said:

-Jews were on average a lot more literate then other people in that time. So the chance Jesus and his followers were illiterate is very small.

Source that even peasants and fishers in Galilee were literate? In fact all scholars agree upon the fact that illiteracy was widely spread in the Roman Empire, and even more in its outskirts, like Galilee, and even more still in the rural areas.

20 hours ago, Itoero said:

If they were illiterate then why didn't they look for literate people to help them? 

It is much more probable that a literate became a Christian, and decided to write things down, to avoid that they would be forgotten.

20 hours ago, Itoero said:

How can you know the stories are from the actions of one person?

Because the overall plot is the same, and the gospels are already mentioned in letters of very early Christian around 100 CE.

20 hours ago, Itoero said:

I'm just stating nothing from his birth/childhood can be known since there was no reason to keep any record. It's impossible to know he was born in Nazareth.

No. In nearly every source Jesus is called 'Jesus of Nazareth'. Secondly Mark and Luke have birth stories that are irreconcilable. But they have one thing in common: Jesus was born in Bethlehem, but grew up in Nazareth (look up the differences between Mark and Luke about Jesus' birth: they have really nothing else in common). There is a very clear theological reason for this: in the old testament it was predicted that the messiah would be born in Bethlehem. So the most logical explanation is that they had to sweep a painful fact under the carpet: that Jesus was in fact born in Nazareth. If the gospels were just fantasy, they could just have Jesus be born in Bethlehem, and he would have become 'Jesus of Bethlehem'.

20 hours ago, Itoero said:

It's impossible to know what 'all historians' think, so don't make those silly assumptions.

Not as impossible as you think. Ehrman was not criticised by any academic scholars in the field. Only by fundamentalist Christians and by mythicists, who are not connected to any scholarly academy:

Quote

The Christ myth theory is the is "the view that the person known as Jesus of Nazareth had no historical existence."In modern scholarship, the Christ myth theory is a fringe theory and finds virtually no support from scholars.

 

From here. See also here.

21 hours ago, Itoero said:

And why do you think Jesus got crucified?  Because gospelwriters say he did?

Partially, yes. But also because Paul mentions it (before the gospels were written), and Josephus and Tacitus (and both put that event in the same time, under Pilate), and a few other, vaguer sources.

21 hours ago, Itoero said:

Why do you have so much faith in the Gospelwriters?

I haven't. Not more than any respected scholar. There are too many discrepancies between them.  

21 hours ago, Itoero said:

The reason to believe in Jesus existence rests entirely on their shoulders.

No, see above.

18 hours ago, mistermack said:

What is wrong, is the inference that these sources are the only sources. I'm sure that there were sources around those dates, but there's no way of knowing what happened in the interval between them being penned, and what we have now becoming finalised. 

The original gospels are no more. What we have are copies of later documents,  that might or might not be similar to what was originally written. And when it only takes one word to completely change the meaning of a piece, it's totally misleading to claim that the gospels that we have now date from the late first century. They might, they might not. And they are somebody's preferred selection anyway, not an original collection. 

In fact you are saying that the historical-critical method is not easy. That is true. But it is not impossible. But therefore you have to see how it works. And then you can criticise these methods, or how they are applied wrongly in the case of Jesus. What the heck, it is the job of historians for nearly every document to be aware of the biases of the text, and distillate the real events described by the document. 

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3 hours ago, Eise said:

Not as impossible as you think. Ehrman was not criticised by any academic scholars in the field. Only by fundamentalist Christians and by mythicists, who are not connected to any scholarly academy:

You realizes that "mythicists" is a name Bart Ehrman invented specifically for the academics which disagree with him right? You are posting broadly about what historians do and don't believe yet your whole argument is actually centered around the work of a lone individual. You say academics have not criticized Bart Ehrman, just mythicists, yet Richard Carrier has a doctorate in ancient history and specializes in antiquity.

Quote

 

The Christ myth theory (also known as the Jesus myth theory, Jesus mythicism, or Jesus ahistoricity theory)[1] is "the view that the person known as Jesus of Nazareth had no historical existence."[2] Alternatively, in terms given by Bart Ehrman as per his criticism of mythicism,[3] "the historical Jesus did not exist. Or if he did, he had virtually nothing to do with the founding of Christianity."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christ_myth_theory

 

 

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17 hours ago, Ten oz said:

You realizes that "mythicists" is a name Bart Ehrman invented specifically for the academics which disagree with him right?

No. Source? I hope it is not the quote of Wikipedia in your post. If that is the case then you are misreading it.

17 hours ago, Ten oz said:

You say academics have not criticized Bart Ehrman, just mythicists, yet Richard Carrier has a doctorate in ancient history and specializes in antiquity.

That is not what I said, but I could have said it clearer. This is what I meant: no mythicist has an appointment on any University, as researcher or teacher in the area of early Christian history.

Richard Carrier has a degree in ancient history, but does no research or is teaching at any university (not even in ancient history):

Quote

Richard Cevantis Carrier (born December 1, 1969) is an American historian, atheist activist, author, public speaker and blogger.

BTW, did you read the complete Wikipedia article you referenced yesterday? From there:

Quote

The Christ myth theory is a fringe theory, supported by few tenured or emeritus specialists in biblical criticism or cognate disciplines. It deviates from the mainstream historical view, which is that while the gospels include many legendary elements, these are religious elaborations added to the accounts of a historical Jesus who was crucified in the 1st-century Roman province of Judea.

Further, yesterday I scanned through an old blog entry of Carrier, and I am very strongly reminded of articles of Relativity cranks, moon landing deniers, birthers, truthers, climate deniers... He is just one step away of believing that Academia suppresses the truth.

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21 hours ago, Eise said:

In fact you are saying that the historical-critical method is not easy. That is true. But it is not impossible.

It's not impossible, if you're willing to look at what evidence you have, and take a guess at what happened. So long as you make it clear that you're guessing.

22 hours ago, Eise said:

What the heck, it is the job of historians for nearly every document to be aware of the biases of the text, and distillate the real events described by the document. 

Cross out distillate, and replace it with "guess at" and I'd be with you on that. But as I've said numerous times, I don't think historians are taking into account enough, the willingness of people to lie and invent and twist stories, to make them say what they would LIKE them to say, in the field of religion.

I don't think you can do religious history in the same way as you do political history. The willingness to lie and invent is on a different scale.

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On 9/15/2018 at 1:25 PM, mistermack said:

It's not impossible, if you're willing to look at what evidence you have, and take a guess at what happened. So long as you make it clear that you're guessing.

Well, at least that is a small difference with Ten Oz, who said 'just guessing'. But in my opinion, it still doesn't do right to what historians do.  As a historian, one should make the best possible guess, based on the all the sources we have: of the historical development of the stories told (in Mark Jesus has a clear apocalyptic message (is in the authentic Pauline epistles), in John much less), consistency with other reported events (e.g. the destruction of Jerusalem, the existence of Pilate and Herod, the languages used in the sources (e.g. the gospels are in Greek, why not in Aramaic or Hebrew?) etc. And on the topic of 'Did Jesus exist?' the 'guess' is nearly unanimous. Just reading Bible books, and see the incredible biases of the authors does really not suffice to critcise historians.

On 9/15/2018 at 1:25 PM, mistermack said:

I don't think historians are taking into account enough, the willingness of people to lie and invent and twist stories, to make them say what they would LIKE them to say, in the field of religion.

What you are saying amounts to that you know better how historians should do their job, than the historian themselves. That is called hubris. I say it once again: one of the main tasks of historians is to account for the biases of their sources. If you think they are not aware that sources can 'lie and invent and twist stories', then you have a very poor impression of what historians do.

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12 hours ago, Eise said:

What you are saying amounts to that you know better how historians should do their job, than the historian themselves.

Religious historians, like religious writers in antiquity, need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt, for the same reasons. They favour what they WANT to be true. To lump them in with other historians is a bit like giving intelligent design equal billing with proper science. 

That doesn't mean that their arguments can be ignored. But it does mean that I don't think that their opinions should be given the sort of weight that you give them. 

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11 hours ago, mistermack said:

Religious historians, like religious writers in antiquity, need to be taken with a huge pinch of salt, for the same reasons. They favour what they WANT to be true. To lump them in with other historians is a bit like giving intelligent design equal billing with proper science. 

That is a huge assumption, that all early-Christianity historians are religious.

Maybe this is an interesting thread at Reddit: Lifelong atheist with a PhD in New Testament and Early Christianity.

11 hours ago, mistermack said:

That doesn't mean that their arguments can be ignored. But it does mean that I don't think that their opinions should be given the sort of weight that you give them. 

But it seems to me that you are ignoring them. E.g. you never showed us that you did what Ehrman calls 'parallel reading': put e.g. 4 the gospels in 4 columns, and compare the way they tell the same stories, see what one gospel is omitting or adding compared to the others, and that against the most probable timeline. What you did is 'serial reading', e.g read the Pauline epistles, and then of course you just read a highly religious tractate. Same with the gospels. 

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12 hours ago, Eise said:

That is a huge assumption, that all early-Christianity historians are religious.

It's there in response you your equally huge assumption, that the majority view among religious historians is somehow significant. 

Perhaps we should both drop the huge assumptions. 

There's an inbuilt problem with addressing the question of whether the Jesus was an actual man or not, if you're a professional historian. And that is the book-buying public. You are cutting yourself off from a lot of sales, if you argue for an out-and-out no. I'm not particularly keen on Richard Carrier, but I have to admire his stance. It would have been a lot easier to go for the easy money, or stay on the fence. Maybe there's a market there for his stance though, smaller but more exclusive. 

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10 hours ago, mistermack said:

It's there in response you your equally huge assumption, that the majority view among religious historians is somehow significant. 

Well, that is not unusual in science. Apply the same principle to climate research, or evolution biologists... All believers in climate change and evolution.

The question in such cases is: what comes first, the facts or ideology? Or, the facts or my gut feeling? To suppose that reading the Pauline epistles makes you an expert on the history of early Christianity is a bit of a stretch.

And again you are suggesting that historians about early Christianity are religious. But you will find the same viewpoints are held by atheist or agnostic historians of early Christianity (see e.g. the reddit link I provided).

10 hours ago, mistermack said:

You are cutting yourself off from a lot of sales, if you argue for an out-and-out no.

Do you really think that the market for 'Jesus-deniers' is so small?

However, there is a difference: where Ehrman writes popularising books about the topic (Footnotes in Ehrman's books:"For details, see ..."), the mythicists try to argue about every detail. They must, if they want to be taken seriously. This explains e.g. part of the criticism of Carrier on Ehrman's Did Jesus exist: there is nothing new in it. But of course there is nothing new in it! Ehrman just wrote a few books for the general public, presenting the majority view under historians of early Christianity. You surely do not want to read his academic text books.

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There you go again with your "majority view". It's meaningless. And it's very often self perpetuating. After all, who is teaching the new crop of historians? People who hold the "majority view". It's a bit like the Christian religion itself. It's self replicating down the ages. 

And climate research IS a good example of a self perpetuating consensus. Nobody in their right mind would go into climate research, if they didn't already believe in MMGW. They would just be signing up to a lifetime of being shunned, and unemployable. Unless they were prepared to keep their mouth shut and live a lie. Climate research is now for believers only, and that's pretty close to bible history too. It's nice to see one or two dissenters, but they need to be pretty special people to make a go of it.

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On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

Source that even peasants and fishers in Galilee were literate? In fact all scholars agree upon the fact that illiteracy was widely spread in the Roman Empire, and even more in its outskirts, like Galilee, and even more still in the rural areas.

Why do you think they were peasants and fishers?

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

It is much more probable that a literate became a Christian, and decided to write things down, to avoid that they would be forgotten.

So then there was scripture about Jesus, yet the Gospels were written at least 4 decades later This also goes in against your idea that they were illiterate.

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

Because the overall plot is the same, and the gospels are already mentioned in letters of very early Christian around 100 CE.

Those letters don't mean anything.  The Gospels are probably based on the first Gospel, it's very normal they have a likewise plot.

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

No. In nearly every source Jesus is called 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

Which source? Did Paul mention Nazareth?

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

Not as impossible as you think. Ehrman was not criticised by any academic scholars in the field. Only by fundamentalist Christians and by mythicists, who are not connected to any scholarly academy:

How do you know this :" Ehrman was not criticised by any academic scholars in the field. Only by fundamentalist Christians " ?

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

Partially, yes. But also because Paul mentions it (before the gospels were written), and Josephus and Tacitus (and both put that event in the same time, under Pilate), and a few other, vaguer sources.

If the gospels used scripture of Paul...

 

On ‎14‎/‎09‎/‎2018 at 3:19 PM, Eise said:

o, see above.

Why do you think Gospelwriters did not use Paul's scripture?

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10 hours ago, mistermack said:

There you go again with your "majority view". It's meaningless. And it's very often self perpetuating.

My point is that your criticism on historians of early Christianity applies to every science (and political party, and religious organisation, etc...). It is too general to be a critique on early Christianity historians in particular. So a critique on early Christianity historians must be more specific than that. And there is no other way than to know what their methods are, and how they apply them. Of course, you can only get a global overview if you do not want to become an early Christianity historian yourself. That is what popular science books are for. (And newspapers, and magazines.) Sure, I only read some of the popularising books of Ehrman (I also have one German book, to be used at Universities, about Jesus. The chapters that concern the existence of Jesus bring about the same arguments as Ehrman. But it is a tiresome read, I can assure you.) But the impression I get from it, is that early Christianity historians do their job pretty well, and that their conclusion that, based on the limited material we have, the most rational explanation of the history of early Christianity is that an apocalyptic preacher, Jesus, on which our sources are based, really lived.

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It's clearly possible for an equally informed historian to look at the same evidence and come to the opposite conclusion. Which is Ten Oz's point.  That the evidence is crap. While I've seen people give the opposite view to people like Carrier, I haven't seen his facts negated, or his arguments thoroughly rebutted.

The fact that you are reduced to arguing for the consensus, instead of demolishing the "negative" view with facts shows just how weak the factual basis for the real Jesus. There might have been one, there might not. Given the way that the story was "managed" in the early church, anything's possible. 

I saw a documentary on Mary Magdalene the other day, and one historian even made the argument that the early church was started around HER, and she was written out, and replace with a man, because the people who had got control no longer wanted a religion based around a woman. 

While it's a stretch, it's not an impossible stretch, because we just don't know. The past is too murky when it comes to religion.

Here in Britain, we have the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table. With complicated stories about his birth and his love life etc.  Nobody knows if it had a real man at the root. And that's from only 1300 odd years ago. About the time that Allah was yakking a load of rot to Mohammed. If someone had given Arthur a god sidekick, instead of a magician, the world might now be a different place. 

 

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15 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It's clearly possible for an equally informed historian to look at the same evidence and come to the opposite conclusion.

That very much depends on the quality of the arguments. So you should compare their arguments.

32 minutes ago, mistermack said:

Given the way that the story was "managed" in the early church, anything's possible. 

Historians do know a lot of how the 'story was managed'. They know about the Christian believes that were marked later as heresy by orthodox Christianity. That helps in interpreting older sources.

35 minutes ago, mistermack said:

I saw a documentary on Mary Magdalene the other day, and one historian even made the argument that the early church was started around HER, and she was written out, and replace with a man, because the people who had got control no longer wanted a religion based around a woman. 

Inspired by Dan Brown? :rolleyes:

The truth is, of course, that the religious message from Paul greatly differs from that of Jesus himself, according to the Synoptic gospels. The short form of Jesus' message: be prepared for the imminent coming of the Kingdom of God here on earth by keeping to the Law (the Jewish laws of course), and live a highly moral live. Those who do can enter the Kingdom, those who don't will be expelled. Short form of  Paul: you explicitly should not follow the Law of the Jews, but believe that Jesus the Messiah has come, died, and was resurrected: then you can enter the coming Kingdom of God.

So in my opinion, the bomb you can lay under modern Christendom is showing this discrepancy in the accepted, 'inspired' books  of the bible, is much stronger than trying to convince it that Jesus never existed. As a bonmot says: modern Christendom is the religion of Paul about Jesus; Jesus himself taught one of the apocalyptic versions of the Jewish religion. So Christendom should be called Pauldom.

56 minutes ago, mistermack said:

While it's a stretch, it's not an impossible stretch, because we just don't know. The past is too murky when it comes to religion.

If we really did not know, then why do you think it is a stretch? Why would the accepted reconstruction, as Ehrman presents, of some of the aspects of Jesus' real life not be the interpretation with the least of stretch?

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5 hours ago, mistermack said:

I saw a documentary on Mary Magdalene the other day, and one historian even made the argument that the early church was started around HER, and she was written out, and replace with a man, because the people who had got control no longer wanted a religion based around a woman. 

While it's a stretch, it's not an impossible stretch, because we just don't know.

We know there are nearly 6000 Greek manuscripts of the new testament not counting the nearly 20,000 manuscripts in other languages.  The basic content is believed to have  been originally penned from the late 1st to early 2nd century with the earliest preserved manuscripts dating back to the early 2nd century.

We know the Gnostic gospel of Mary has 3 manuscripts, one is Coptic and the other two are Greek.  The basic content is believed to have been originally penned in the 2nd century with the two preserved Greek manuscripts dating back to the third century, while the larger Coptic manuscript dates back to the late fourth to early 5th century.

So while it's a stretch, it's practically an impossible one.

The Davinci code sold nearly 80 million copies and was turned into a movie that grossed nearly $758 million at the box office alone, while the passion of the Christ grossed $611 million. That same idea has been illustrated in many documentaries across multiple cable TV stations like Discovery, Nat Geo and The History Channel to name a few.  So I find it hard to buy into your idea that writing content bringing christian views into question is "cutting yourself off from a lot of sales," as if it's preventing scholars from being objective.

 

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