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Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book 
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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
Robert,

Fine.

How about the evidence being requested?
Source(s) please?
Let's see what any undergraduate would know.
Every time hard evidence is asked for, a narrative has been given.

Let's start with the evidence that points to the existence of these ancient mystery cults. That would be a good start


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Last edited by ant on Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Apr 17, 2012 1:27 am
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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
In the source ant gave, Ehrman makes a careless error in misquoting Doherty about the variety of ancient practice. Ehrman then lambasts Doherty about Erhman's own misrepresentation, ending up with egg on his face.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Roman_mysteries says "The popularity of mystery cults flourished in Late Antiquity."


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
ant wrote:
evolutionary biology does not make much use of empirically testable laws because it can't, quite frankly. Laws involve highly complex interactions with other laws.
1) Scientific explanations involve laws.
2) Biology does not make frequent use of empirically testable laws
Conclusion: Biology is an incomplete science.
Biology mostly explains in a historical manner. It falls short of explaining in a law governed manner. Because of the complexities involved and the laws that govern them (most of which are not capable of being replicated), biology relies heavily on narrative explanations. A narrative is different than a theory. Chew on that one a while.
Note: I am not attempting to create a case for Adam and Eve.
For the law basis of evolution see for example http://www.rattlesnake.com/notions/evolution.html which states
Darwin's Five Laws are:
1.Evolution as such
2.Common descent
3.Multiplication of species
4.Gradualism
5.Natural selection
Quote:
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Saint Mark conducted his psychological operations warfare against the Roman Empire by writing his gospel. Seeing that military methods were futile, Mark sought to subvert the moral legitimacy of Rome by destroying its divine mandate, using the fictional story of Jesus to build popular opposition to the right of the empire to rule
.
Cite the evidence for the above narrative, please. What manuscripts, archeological discoveries, etc, etc, add substance to that claim? It sounds too much like a mythical narrative. Your poetic style about the Christ myth is backed with little to no evidence, Robert.

I stated in the post that my basis for these comments is in my reading of Paul and Mark. You are welcome to disagree, but it would be more constructive to focus on the logic of why you disagree in detail, rather than sweeping gainsaying. As to why the Synoptic Gospels are subversive towards Rome, they all attack the 'desolating abomination' in the temple, in apparent direct reference to the Roman Conquest (Luke paraphrases as 'Jerusalem surrounded by Armies'). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abominatio ... on#Gospels states that the reference to Rome was the view of Church Father St. John Chrysostom, 4th century Archbishop of Constantinople.

There is much analysis of the theology of the cross, especially in liberation theology, that explains the Christian exaltation of Rome's political torture weapon as a subversive strategy.

There is no evidence for Jesus, whereas his invention is highly plausible, and indeed the only explanation for all the impossible deeds and mythic dialogue. My comments were aimed at explaining how the Christ Myth could have evolved, including the carnalization phase between Paul and Mark.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
Robert Tulip wrote:
In the source ant gave, Ehrman makes a careless error in misquoting Doherty about the variety of ancient practice. Ehrman then lambasts Doherty about Erhman's own misrepresentation, ending up with egg on his face.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greco-Roman_mysteries says "The popularity of mystery cults flourished in Late Antiquity."



Quote:
Due to the secret nature of the cult, and because the mystery religions of Late Antiquity were persecuted by the Christian Roman Empire from the 4th century (i.e. Theodosius I closed the Eleusinian Mysteries by decree in AD 392), the details of these religious practices are unknown to scholarship, although there are educated guesses as to their general content.


That proves the point that nothing is known.
The mystery cult angle is guess work. If you have a BA in HIstory, I guess it's safe to call it "educated guess work"

Lovely


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Last edited by ant on Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.



Tue Apr 17, 2012 8:53 am
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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
The Christian thugs burnt and destroyed and murdered all evidence of their origins in the mystery cults. What was their motive? Only to conceal their tracks regarding their invention of the lovely historical Jesus, in order to bolster the secular power of the church and eliminate their rivals. As Big Brother said in 1984, who controls the present controls the past, who controls the past controls the future.

Or maybe... Jesus was born of a virgin, ascended to heaven, walked on water, turned water into wine, rose from the dead, healed by miraculous touch, was raised in Nazareth (a town that did not exist), descended to hell where he baptized Adam and Abraham so they could go to heaven, told his disciples "The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables" ...

Which is more likely? Jesus was a parable, pure and simple.

The cults of Eleusis and Mithras were extremely widespread, and have attested evidence of the sacred meal, which bears more than a passing resemblance to the Last Supper. That was Doherty's point, which Ehrman (and ant) use for a straw man.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eleusinian_Mysteries says "Of all the mysteries celebrated in ancient times, these were held to be the ones of greatest importance. It is acknowledged that their basis was an old agrarian cult which probably goes back to the Mycenean period (c.1600-1100 BC) ... It was a major festival during the Hellenic era, and later spread to Rome."

Some of Doherty's writing on the mystery cults is at http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/supp13B.htm


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
ant wrote:

Quote:
It's preposterous to believe that science could ever explain everything. For one thing, we are very limited beings with limited sensory capability and limited imaginations. It's preposterous to think that we could know everything


Agreed

Quote:
But what other avenues besides science can we, as limited beings, use to pursue knowledge?


To think that science is the only avenue to obtain knowledge is to engage in "scientism."


So I'll ask again, what besides science can we, as limited beings, use to pursue knowledge? You can respond in the new thread I just created.

ant wrote:
This may be a bit related: What is your opinion of the below quote from Einstein:

Quote:
"The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant.

We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift."


Einstein is probably talking about imagination and intuition as part of the creative process. I completely agree with him that imagination is essential to our pursuit of knowledge.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
Robert Tulip wrote:
Mark's effort to subvert Roman identity was partly successful, leading to the collapse of paganism, but also partly unsuccessful, in that Rome successfully assimilated the Christian moral attack, recognising its own psychological guilt for imperial murder by making the cross the symbol of redemption and conscience. This imperial guilt was then deflected onto the Jews, who were stigmatised as Christ killers so that western civilization could claim an unrepentant clear conscience about its destructive and oppressive behavior.

A simple question about the end point of your sequence: roughly in what year would this imperial guilt have been deflected onto the Jews? As an imperium, Rome didn't adopt Christianity until quite late, did it, yet the scapegoating of the Jews exists in the earliest Gospel, perhaps around 70 CE.

Quote:
Jesus and John made the point that you cannot be forgiven if you do not understand your sin and feel sorry about it. While people fail to understand the sinful nature and history of the construction of the Christ myth, they live under condemnation. As Jesus put it, the truth will set you free.

Do I read you correctly here? Are you indeed saying that the construction of the Christ myth (if it was in fact constructed by a few people, as you imply) was sinful?


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
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The Christian thugs burnt and destroyed and murdered all evidence of their origins in the mystery cults. What was their motive? Only to conceal their tracks regarding their invention of the lovely historical Jesus, in order to bolster the secular power of the church and eliminate their rivals. As Big Brother said in 1984, who controls the present controls the past, who controls the past controls the future.


You simply will not, or can not (that's my bet) provide any real evidence for these fantastic narratives you place your faith in, Robert. Your source here is "Big Brother"? Seriously? You expect some of us to take off our skeptical hats for these tales of arson, vandalism, murder, etc, etc by secret cults that were so secret the members hardly knew who was a member, what the extent of their influence was, how their treacherous deeds were carried out, but now we know with certainty, despite not having a shred of hard evidence to hang our hats on?

Quote:
"The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables"


This is a convenient translation to back your mythicist angle up. But you are willing to totally dismiss scripture that states unambiguously Jesus was a man of flesh, who was crucified here on earth. Scripture that is against the mythicist angle were inserted to build the Christ Myth! !

Is this really your definition of historical scholarship?


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
ant wrote:
tales of arson, vandalism, murder, etc, ... despite not having a shred of hard evidence to hang our hats on?
Now now ant, you should read more carefully, or not wilfully misrepresent me. I did not cite Orwell as a source on the Bible, just that he explains their methods quite well, modelling Big Brother on the Pope.

A thread from a while back links to some of the sorry evidence of Christian destruction of paganism.
origins-of-christian-bigotry-t7836.html

It is quite easy to find abundant evidence of this sort on the internet, more so when we get to the Crusades and later persecution of free thinkers. Were you not aware that the pagan cults were destroyed by Christianity?
Quote:
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"The knowledge of the secrets of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. This is why I speak to them in parables"
This is a convenient translation to back your mythicist angle up. But you are willing to totally dismiss scripture that states unambiguously Jesus was a man of flesh, who was crucified here on earth. Scripture that is against the mythicist angle were inserted to build the Christ Myth! ! Is this really your definition of historical scholarship?

Yes, I dismiss positive Bible claims about a real Jesus, because they are not backed by any contemporary evidence, and are completely illogical against a forensic assessment. Nothing from the first century mentions Jesus or Christianity, but there is abundant other written material from the first century. It is a yawning gap. If Jesus was real it is surprising to say the least that he left no trace at the time, and nothing about his physical life until generations later. The evidence indicates the most plausible scenario is pure invention.

We have as much hard evidence for Don Quixote as we do for Jesus Christ, none. So it is reasonable to examine the Bible to see how well it coheres with the hypothesis that Jesus was invented. The answer is that it does, a lot, for example in the statement at issue here, where Jesus explains that his teachings to outsiders are parables. (Not sure why you call it a 'translation'?)

One of the big "secrets of heaven" is that Jesus was invented.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
DWill wrote:
Robert Tulip wrote:
Mark's effort to subvert Roman identity was partly successful, leading to the collapse of paganism, but also partly unsuccessful, in that Rome successfully assimilated the Christian moral attack, recognising its own psychological guilt for imperial murder by making the cross the symbol of redemption and conscience. This imperial guilt was then deflected onto the Jews, who were stigmatised as Christ killers so that western civilization could claim an unrepentant clear conscience about its destructive and oppressive behavior.

A simple question about the end point of your sequence: roughly in what year would this imperial guilt have been deflected onto the Jews? As an imperium, Rome didn't adopt Christianity until quite late, did it, yet the scapegoating of the Jews exists in the earliest Gospel, perhaps around 70 CE.
This is a really good question, but I don’t think it is simple. Apologies that this post is a bit long, I have just used it to set out some observations. Where I say ‘Jesus says’ I am just referring to the fictional character.

Rome had plenty to be guilty about – as Paul said, all have sinned, and there is plenty of evidence that pagan practices were specifically viewed as wrong in the eyes of Christ. But Christianity teaches that believers are forgiven and will go to heaven, based for example on John 3:16. This is a good way to deflect a guilty conscience. It means that where believers should feel guilty they don’t because they have internalised a simple formula to justify themselves ‘whosoever believeth shall have eternal life’.

By the time Christianity became the Roman state religion in the fourth century, there was strong feeling against Jewish intransigent refusal to believe that Jesus was the Christ. It was possible for the ruling classes to morally justify their own oppressive actions, but they had to psychologically project their own evil onto another scapegoat, the Jews.

Looking at the evolution of Christian attitudes towards Judaism, we see a gradual separation and hardening. There is certainly Roman imperial guilt, given that the cross was originally a symbol of imperial condemnation, and it was converted into a symbol of salvation. (Incidentally the crucifix did not appear in art for 400 years.) Roman feeling of guilt must have involved a transformation of attitudes about crucifying people, alongside a sense of remorse that their political torture weapon murdered the Lord of Glory.

Before Constantine, the Empire did not feel guilty about disposing of Jesus, as it considered that the mandate of heaven lay with their pagan pantheon headed by Jupiter, and Jesus was just a contemptible rebel. Once Christ was accepted as imperial God, the question became who was primarily at fault for killing him. The Revelation definitely blamed Rome, Paul is strongly anti-racist, and the Gospels are ambiguous, indicating Jesus was killed by Roman troops at the instigation of 'the Jews'.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antisemiti ... _Testament is a good source.

Paul, generally considered the earliest Christian source, emphasises the need for Christianity to be non-racist, saying “in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek”. Paul can be read as presenting Christianity as a version of Judaism that is acceptable to non-Jews.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Epis ... thenticity explains that a notorious anti-Semitic text in 1 Thessalonians 2:13-16 is so dramatically incompatible with the rest of Paul’s teachings and so anachronistic that it cannot be regarded as authentic.

Revelation was widely read as principally directed against Rome as the new Babylon, and against Nero as the Beast, a line that moved into modern anti-imperialist rhetoric such as Bob Marley’s condemnation of the USA as Babylon.

The Gospels, if we accept their early versions as being written in the years after the Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, are ambiguous about Judaism. In the Gospel of John, Jesus says “Salvation is from the Jews” (:4:22), but then John tells us “the Jews sought to kill him” (7:1), and continually speaks of ‘the Jews’, 71 times, casting them in a bad light for their failure to believe in Jesus.

On the one hand, Jesus says he came to fulfil the law of Moses and the prophecies of the Old Testament, and very many of the Gospel motifs are based on Jewish traditional texts. But on the other hand, Jesus follows in the tradition of the prophets in attacking prevailing Jewish practice. Just as Amos and Isaiah and Jeremiah suggested that failure to follow their own religion would lead to destruction of Israel, Jesus condemns the Pharisees for hypocrisy.

The crucifixion is blamed on the collaboration between the Jewish authorities and the Roman occupiers, with the high priests saying that if they let Jesus continue then the Romans will destroy the temple. The handing over of Jesus is compatible with the view that the Romans were the real evil power, while the Jews were simply doing what they had to do in order to prevent the emergence of a political subversive.

Jesus says he brings a new covenant, replacing Moses’ teaching on ‘eye for an eye’ with ‘love your enemies’. This is ambiguous. Replacing the law contradicts the line ‘not a jot or tittle of the law will pass away’. Also, loving enemies is incompatible with racism.

The blood guilt line from Matthew 27:25, ‘may his blood be on us and on our children’ has been a principal justification used for anti-Semitism. My view though, is that this line was not directed against Judaism in its entirety by any means, but rather against those collaborators with Rome who were allowed by Pilate into the temple for the trial. There is no indication, for example, that the Jews who accompanied Jesus into Jerusalem on his triumphant entry on Palm Sunday would have at all been the same people who mocked him before Pilate.
Quote:
Quote:
Jesus and John made the point that you cannot be forgiven if you do not understand your sin and feel sorry about it. While people fail to understand the sinful nature and history of the construction of the Christ myth, they live under condemnation. As Jesus put it, the truth will set you free.

Do I read you correctly here? Are you indeed saying that the construction of the Christ myth (if it was in fact constructed by a few people, as you imply) was sinful?

I regard it as sinful, because I view evidence as the core of ethics. Believing things that lack evidence is morally culpable.

The construction of the Christ myth was the basis of the collapse of classical civilization. Believing a pack of rubbish that conflicted with all reason and evidence led to an oppressive dogmatic culture in which free critical enquiry was banned and a clique of liars and frauds took power. Yes, that is sinful.

Looking at it today, people who believe adamantly in the historical Jesus tend to deny scientific reality, ignoring evidence about the likely consequences of their actions. Those who believe absurdities permit atrocities. Yes, that is sinful.

Allegorically, we might say if we live in a house that municipal authorities have condemned, and we ignore the evidence the engineer has explained, we also live under condemnation.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
Well it was a long answer, but it doesn't answer my question of why the blaming of the Jews, if it was a Roman invention, is present in the first Gospel about 300 years before Rome and Christianity merged. If we assume, reasonably I think, that Mark did not make the story out of whole cloth, but used strands of popular narrative and maybe unknown written sources, the scapegoating of the Jews must be present in Israel even earlier.

It seems obvious that the Jews would bear plenty of hatred toward the Romans. That fact doesn't mean that the Gospels don't say what they do say regarding the Romans. The Romans are let off the hook. Pilate is weak and vacillating; the Romans do the politic thing in giving the Jews what they wanted. What did it matter to Rome, anyway, if one more fanatic Jew was sacrificed? The political reality in Israel at the time of the writing of Mark doesn't matter to the story except as it is reflected in the story.

The more likely scenario? The Jews are assigned responsibility for Jesus' death out of an internecine struggle that took place between the Jewish establishment and the forming Christian sect.

If "evidence is the core of ethics," Robert, why do you single out Christianity for condemnation? Why do you not also condemn basically any religious belief, including myth?


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Wed Apr 18, 2012 7:22 pm
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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
DWill wrote:
Well it was a long answer, but it doesn't answer my question of why the blaming of the Jews, if it was a Roman invention, is present in the first Gospel about 300 years before Rome and Christianity merged.
I didn't say blaming the Jews was a Roman invention. The New Testament metaphysically blames all of humanity for killing Christ. JS Bach has a famous chorale, Herzliebster Jesu, with the line ‘I crucified thee’. The Bible presents the responsibility as joint. The Jewish leaders and their acolytes bayed for blood, but they did it to suck up to the Romans as a signal of imperial loyalty, and then the Romans carried out the execution using their unique method reserved for punishing and warning against sedition. The deflection was the gradual Christian emergence of the idea that Jews are Christ-killers, effectively contrasting good Christians with evil Jews. Instead of the Gospel view that all are to blame, the empire propaganda said only the Jews are to blame.
Quote:
If we assume, reasonably I think, that Mark did not make the story out of whole cloth, but used strands of popular narrative and maybe unknown written sources, the scapegoating of the Jews must be present in Israel even earlier.
Yes, it is in the Jewish prophets, as Jesus notes when he despairs over Jerusalem for killing the prophets. The Jews were thought to have a unique relationship with God, but one that they did not live up to. This failure to fulfil a divine mandate can readily be seen as a statement that Jews were no better than the rest of humanity, but in anti-Semitism it evolved into the idea that Jews are actually much worse than others. The psychological point of scapegoating is to assert that ‘normal’ Gentiles are good and blameless because everything bad can be attributed to the scapegoat, whose punishment serves to redeem the rest. It is a psychological method of ignoring and denying one’s own failings and guilt by displacing it onto a third party.
Quote:
It seems obvious that the Jews would bear plenty of hatred toward the Romans. That fact doesn't mean that the Gospels don't say what they do say regarding the Romans. The Romans are let off the hook. Pilate is weak and vacillating; the Romans do the politic thing in giving the Jews what they wanted. What did it matter to Rome, anyway, if one more fanatic Jew was sacrificed? The political reality in Israel at the time of the writing of Mark doesn't matter to the story except as it is reflected in the story.
To say the Gospels let the Romans off the hook is just your own interpretation, which does not accord with the text. As I mentioned before, Mark speaks of the ‘desolating sacrilege’ which refers to the Roman desecration of the Jewish temple, condemning them as evil and godless. The Gospels present the responsibility for murdering Christ as joint, for example describing the profane soldiers who gamble for Christ’s clothes and bash him. The soldiers represented the empire, not the Jews. Pilate is not weak, he represents the power of Empire, and he simply applies a shrewd method to achieve his objective with plausible deniability, a tool much used over the history of diplomacy.
Quote:
The more likely scenario? The Jews are assigned responsibility for Jesus' death out of an internecine struggle that took place between the Jewish establishment and the forming Christian sect.
Debatable. There is a surface story of disappointment that the Jews failed to recognize the Messiah, but this covers a deeper understanding that the Servant King model of salvation was basically incomprehensible, and that Jesus presented a message ‘not of this world’ that could never have achieved immediate political power in the ancient context. This complex vision was gradually simplified as those in power wished to blame the powerless Jews for everything bad. Christianity targeted all old religion, pagan and Jewish, through its message that Christ was the only way to truth and life. As Christendom abandoned and condemned paganism, this message of ‘Christ alone’ became a means to attack anyone who had the integrity to hold their own spiritual identity. Ancient Jews knew full well that the Jesus story was invented, which is why they did not go along with it, but this knowledge was violently suppressed.
Quote:
If "evidence is the core of ethics," Robert, why do you single out Christianity for condemnation? Why do you not also condemn basically any religious belief, including myth?

It is not Christianity as such that I am condemning, it is the specific orthodox claim of truth for farcical superstitions. Respect for the Jesus story should no more be diminished by recognition that it was totally invented than by recognition that it contains numerous impossible elements such as virgin birth and miracles. Christianity can only regain respect and integrity in a scientific age if it abandons its status as an evidence free zone.

The New Testament remains a powerful ethical source as long as it is read as allegory, not history. When a myth is exposed as false its adherents should see logic and evidence and accept that they were deluded. The story of Jesus remains a powerful archetype for the imaginative ideal of human redemption, with its heroic vindication of speaking truth to power. The story of Jesus is about what a Messiah would have done if he had actually existed. The contemptible fantasy, which Bart Ehrman advances in Did Jesus Exist?, is the insistence that this worthy fictional vision is historically accurate, despite the complete absence of evidence for it outside the novellas of the Gospels.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
I'm dissaponted in where this has lead too

The mythicist tactics are

Use scripture when convienient. Throw out when inconvenient
Examine similarities between dying/rising gods of vegetation and Christ
Throw out completely the differences (Which are abundant)
Speak of treachery, secret cabals, and plots that "prove" without an ounce off evidence, some scripture was inserted to create a myth
When asked for ancient sources to corroborate claims, provide links to websites by bloggers who support the mythicist angle.

This is all by and large creative narrative.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
ant wrote:
I'm dissaponted in where this has lead too
You might try a spell checker ant. Three (or four) mistakes in an eight word sentence is good going.

I’m not sure what you expected in starting this thread. If you thought that Ehrman would convince anyone then perhaps you should read some of the withering criticism about his incompetence and shoddy argument that he has copped on various other boards.
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The mythicist tactics are - Use scripture when convienient. Throw out when inconvenient
It is not about convenience it is about coherence. The fact is there is no corroborating evidence outside scripture, so we have to start with a hypothesis of how the gospels were produced. The alternatives are that (a) Jesus was the historical founder of Christianity or (b) he was not. If we say Jesus was the founder, we immediately find numerous examples of incoherence, not just with the rank impossibilities, but with basic facts of geography and credibility. It is not credible that Paul obtained his ideas from a historical Jesus when he never says so or gives evidence of doing so. But the contrary view, that Jesus was invented, coheres with everything except the bare assertion in the Gospels that they describe historic events. Cervantes does as much in Don Quixote.
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Examine similarities between dying/rising gods of vegetation and Christ
You were the one who introduced Ehrman’s risible error about Osiris, which demonstrates his clumsy lack of knowledge of this topic. This is an important question because it shows the continuity between the Christian myth and earlier similar symbols. Easter is the end of winter and the beginning of spring, matching to the traditional celebration of the turn of the seasons, presenting an obvious ritual basis for the story of the cross (winter) and resurrection (spring). You should read more before making dubious implications that such correlations do not have any content. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dying_god is a good start.
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Throw out completely the differences (Which are abundant)
Now you are warming up. Where has anyone in this thread suggested anyone should ignore differences between Jesus and his templates? Of course there are differences. Jesus was intended as a historical synthesis of many different sources, with the primary aim of being believable. The sources had to be concealed and amended to make it believable. In some cases the similarity is obvious, such as the temptation in the wilderness modelled on the battle between Horus and Set, or Lazarus modelled on Osiris, but there are very many more similarities that draw on or show familiarity with the old stories even where they are changed. Gerald Massey produced a long list of them. The apologist tactic of emphasising differences and ignoring similarities is unscholarly.
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Speak of treachery, secret cabals, and plots that "prove" without an ounce off evidence, some scripture was inserted to create a myth
Your imagination is wonderfully fertile ant. Apart from the non sequitur between your hushed depiction and the evidence of interpolation, you seem not to have studied this topic well. A good place to start might be Ehrman’s earlier book on Christian fraud, or Wheless.
Many apologists enjoy attributing statements to mythicists that they have not made. This is a good example.
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When asked for ancient sources to corroborate claims, provide links to websites by bloggers who support the mythicist angle.
Implying what? That mythicists are untrustworthy because they are mythicists? That is a basic ad hominem fallacy. You imply that we should restrict our sources to those who reject evidence on the basis of preconceived faith. This further illustrates the basic lack of scholarly dignity in the historicist camp when it comes to dispassionate study of evidence.
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This is all by and large creative narrative.
I’m sure you would have welcomed some fawning endorsement of Ehrman’s hack job, as Robert Price described it. But really, Ehrman has accidentally done a good service to the debate, bringing it to a wide public audience such as CNN, and exposing how the academy has slipped into inquisitorial methods in its groupthink failure to engage with the historical evidence about the production of the Gospels. Various people have said these topics should be debated in accessible public forums. The scathing assessments of Ehrman’s book are likely to help bring this material to a much wider audience.


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Post Re: Did Jesus Exist - Bart Ehrman's new book
Robert Tulip wrote:
didn't say blaming the Jews was a Roman invention. The New Testament metaphysically blames all of humanity for killing Christ. JS Bach has a famous chorale, Herzliebster Jesu, with the line ‘I crucified thee’. The Bible presents the responsibility as joint. The Jewish leaders and their acolytes bayed for blood, but they did it to suck up to the Romans as a signal of imperial loyalty, and then the Romans carried out the execution using their unique method reserved for punishing and warning against sedition. The deflection was the gradual Christian emergence of the idea that Jews are Christ-killers, effectively contrasting good Christians with evil Jews. Instead of the Gospel view that all are to blame, the empire propaganda said only the Jews are to blame.

Whenever we have a clear causation in history, we shouldn't obscure it as you are doing. This is a less complicated than you are making it. Each of the Gospels assigns specific blame for Jesus' death to the Jews. There is no other authority needed to explain why Christians hated Jews and persecuted them for centuries. It's in the Bible, so it had to be true.
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Yes, it is in the Jewish prophets, as Jesus notes when he despairs over Jerusalem for killing the prophets. The Jews were thought to have a unique relationship with God, but one that they did not live up to. This failure to fulfil a divine mandate can readily be seen as a statement that Jews were no better than the rest of humanity, but in anti-Semitism it evolved into the idea that Jews are actually much worse than others. The psychological point of scapegoating is to assert that ‘normal’ Gentiles are good and blameless because everything bad can be attributed to the scapegoat, whose punishment serves to redeem the rest. It is a psychological method of ignoring and denying one’s own failings and guilt by displacing it onto a third party.

In religious war, all is fair. There would have been a clear strategic reason for a group called the Jews to have been produced as the enemy necessary to any war.
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To say the Gospels let the Romans off the hook is just your own interpretation, which does not accord with the text. As I mentioned before, Mark speaks of the ‘desolating sacrilege’ which refers to the Roman desecration of the Jewish temple, condemning them as evil and godless. The Gospels present the responsibility for murdering Christ as joint, for example describing the profane soldiers who gamble for Christ’s clothes and bash him. The soldiers represented the empire, not the Jews. Pilate is not weak, he represents the power of Empire, and he simply applies a shrewd method to achieve his objective with plausible deniability, a tool much used over the history of diplomacy.

Again, why do the words of the Gospel inspire implacable hatred toward the Jews, if i am interpreting them my own way? I think it's very likely that in any supposed historical scenario like that in the Gospels, the Romans would in fact have been the actuators of the death of Jesus. So to make them virtual bystanders in the story indicates a revisionist purpose on the part of the writers.
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It is not Christianity as such that I am condemning, it is the specific orthodox claim of truth for farcical superstitions. Respect for the Jesus story should no more be diminished by recognition that it was totally invented than by recognition that it contains numerous impossible elements such as virgin birth and miracles. Christianity can only regain respect and integrity in a scientific age if it abandons its status as an evidence free zone.

The point is that you don't need to look far outside of Christianity to find farcical superstitions aplenty. And Christianity is actually low on the scale of superstitions.
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The New Testament remains a powerful ethical source as long as it is read as allegory, not history. When a myth is exposed as false its adherents should see logic and evidence and accept that they were deluded. The story of Jesus remains a powerful archetype for the imaginative ideal of human redemption, with its heroic vindication of speaking truth to power. The story of Jesus is about what a Messiah would have done if he had actually existed. The contemptible fantasy, which Bart Ehrman advances in Did Jesus Exist?, is the insistence that this worthy fictional vision is historically accurate, despite the complete absence of evidence for it outside the novellas of the Gospels.
[/quote][/quote]
Unlike you, I'm not extremely keen on the ethical value of these stories. They are examples of of worthy religious thought in the world-wide mix, but I'd never think of putting them at the top by themselves. I also think that to base a religion's credibility on the claim that certain things merely happened is silly. What is the value of things that merely happened, even if they really did? I can't see that as a high aim of a religion at all. So I agree with you partly. I don't agree that claiming historical basis is such a cardinal sin in itself, vis-a-vis the drawbacks we can cite for all the other kinds of religion.


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Last edited by DWill on Thu Apr 19, 2012 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.



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