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Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier) 
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
yeah, the hebrews part later in the book was killer, a real hammer blow to historicism.

i'm def. gonna try and get that up at some point it's too awesome not to know, and i can't wait to see a historicist try and refute it.

goddamn space and time always trying to hem me in :-D



Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:55 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
tat tvam asi wrote:
They believed that a celestial being was real. They believed a celestial being came down and then went back up.
I want to focus on this concept of “a being”. When we say that something is “a being” we implicitly or explicitly assume it is a distinct entity. Whether that is the case for the original celestial Christ, or even for God, is something I doubt.

There is a startling cognitive dissonance here, saying that Jesus and God could have been imagined by the ancients as real but not as beings.

We would not say that gravity or beauty is “a being”, even though they are real. The nature of these realities is quite different from distinct entities, let alone entities which have conscious intentions. And yet both gravity and beauty are real, even if their nature is a pattern rather than a being.

My point here is that the Gnostic concepts of the identity and nature of Jesus Christ as cosmic mediator were highly Platonic, grounded in the philosophical view that ideas and patterns are real. When Plato said that beauty is real, like other eternal ideas, he was not saying that beauty is a celestial being, or a finite entity, but rather that conceptual existence is meaningful but is different in kind from material existence. Plato, and the Gnostics who drew from his well, did not in any sense have a spatial concept of heaven, but rather viewed the divine as suffusing the material, although in a way that is generally not seen or understood.

My concern about this basic conceptual framework emerges strongly in regard to Carrier’s introduction of the concept of “outer space” as a way of explaining this alleged celestial being, who allegedly moved spatially from heaven to earth. I think Carrier is introducing some crude modern materialist spatial concepts here that are very different from what the ancients thought.

The theme of motion in texts such as the Ascension of Isaiah here is allegory for a conceptual myth regarding how Jesus Christ was imagined as the mediating point of connection between time and eternity. That is a highly complex idea, but one that needs to be explored to get a handle on how different ancient philosophy was from the modern assumptions that derive from our abundant empirical material knowledge. 'Outer space' reads the ancient concept of heaven through a distorting modern lens that fails to engage with the ancient meaning.

When Jesus Christ is conceptualized as eternal reason, as the pre-existing logos, he is imagined in purely linguistic or spiritual terms as a timeless pattern that persists through time, not as a material entity. So when the NT authors speak of the incarnation, they are not suggestion a material motion from heaven to earth, but rather an idea that at a specific time the universe was in tune with itself. This is an idea strongly reflected in the core idea of Jesus Christ as alpha and omega, understood in fairly simple cosmic terms.

This priority of the concept is a big theme in Plato, for example in his comment in the dialogue The Sophist that there is a basic clash of world view between materialists who cannot imagine that anything non material is real, and idealists who see concepts as what persists through time, and therefore hold that understanding what persists is more real than what does not persist.


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
Deep stuff Robert, this is where language gets tricky, it takes a lot of goodwill and co-operation to get far...

I've thought of it as a kind of depth psychology, kingdom within stuff...the mystery

Universals like symmetry or balance manifest in us, they are def. part of the all, and so are we.

In him we live and move and have our being, in us he lives and moves and has his being... All in all, But this is stretching language beyond it's breaking point...."he" there is def. not a he lol

Here you would be moving to the point where if the other person doesn't know already what you mean then language won't help much.

I notice that literalism strikes in the most unexpected of places

Some people for example seem to think archons are real whereas to me they are metaphors for the earlier dominators of the psyche, fear, lust, greed etc the Titans that can tear you apart, but the higher functions of the mind can be raised to render them harmless...

Once I head out into this sort of area I tend to think language just makes things worse and only a good metaphor can work, and even then it can be iffy

Aarghhh shutting mouth now, no clear line

How wonderful that words are not the be all and end all

How marvellous that the metaphors have a reference in us.

For some reason I am hearing voodoo chile by Hendrix here :-D



Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:29 am
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
We have to remember too that ancient peoples had no scientific language. If an enlightened person back then had a complex thought about reality, he had no way to express it except through metaphor. For example, Father, Son and Holy Ghost could be primal in the sense that when a neutron decays, it forms a proton that has almost all the original mass of the neutron so the proton is the father. An electron will be emitted from the neutron but which is 1800 times smaller than the proton so it represents the son. The excess energy is emitted as a neutrino--a ghostly particle with no rest mass which is tiny even compared to the electron. There are billions, trillions of them passing through you right now, passing through through the planet and yet are tiny they will never make physical contact. If the motion of a neutrino ceases, the neutrino ceases to be. So it represents the Holy Ghost.

So you see why there was so much controversy about consubstantiality and what not. They were three in one but were sterile and unproductive. With the decay of the primal neutron, the first atom and element--hydrogen--was formed. This is the same thing that we see with Adam and Eve. Adam is the neutron and Eve came from his side as the electron and Adam was transformed into the proton, i.e. his eyes were opened, with the first matter came the first stirrings of consciousness which is inherent in matter (more precisely, it IS matter). In this decay of the neutron was created the Great Duality. The neutron was neutral, dead. But the proton was positive and the electron negative and between these two opposite poles came light and dark, male and female, anode and cathode, good and evil, microscopic and macroscopic, etc.

The Filioque Controversy is a lot of silliness. The original statement was that the Spirit proceeded from the Father. This is true--the neutrino proceeds from the neutron-turned-proton--but religious arseholes used the Filioque to say that the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son. It does not but rather BOTH proceed from the Father.

But how were these great poets of old, these giants, these great men of renown (Genesis 6:4) to make this knowledge known to people who had not the capacity or language to understand it? They wrote it down as creation literature or told it in an oral tradition in metaphor and allegory. As it was passed down, it was changed and corrupted by those who lost its meaning.

When we get to today, fools think it is a literal account and science scoffs at it when, in fact, it IS science--ancient science. It is but a dead husk today but it can be revitalized. But the problems arise because language is limited and culturally bound. Myth was an attempt to free language from this constraint. But only those who understood it could decipher it. It's not elitism, it's just the way it is.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tTOR6Oz3j1k



Last edited by DB Roy on Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
:explode: :toast: :explode:

awesome stuff, it certainly makes a welcome change to

"do you know Jesus as your personal lord and saviour" :lol:



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Thu Jan 14, 2016 8:46 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
DB Roy wrote:
We have to remember too that ancient peoples had no scientific language. If an enlightened person back then had a complex thought about reality, he had no way to express it except through metaphor. For example, Father, Son and Holy Ghost could be primal in the sense that when a neutron decays, it forms a proton that has almost all the original mass of the neutron so the proton is the father. An electron will be emitted from the neutron but which is 1800 times smaller than the proton so it represents the son. The excess energy is emitted as a neutrino--a ghostly particle with no rest mass which is tiny even compared to the electron. There are billions, trillions of them passing through you right now, passing through through the planet and yet are tiny they will never make physical contact. If the motion of a neutrino ceases, the neutrino ceases to be. So it represents the Holy Ghost.

So you see why there was so much controversy about consubstantiality and what not. They were three in one but were sterile and unproductive. With the decay of the primal neutron, the first atom and element--hydrogen--was formed. This is the same thing that we see with Adam and Eve. Adam is the neutron and Eve came from his side as the electron and Adam was transformed into the proton, i.e. his eyes were opened, with the first matter came the first stirrings of consciousness which is inherent in matter (more precisely, it IS matter). In this decay of the neutron was created the Great Duality. The neutron was neutral, dead. But the proton was positive and the electron negative and between these two opposite poles came light and dark, male and female, anode and cathode, good and evil, microscopic and macroscopic, etc.

The Filioque Controversy is a lot of silliness. The original statement was that the Spirit proceeded from the Father. This is true--the neutrino proceeds from the neutron-turned-proton--but religious arseholes used the Filioque to say that the Spirit proceeds from the Father AND the Son. It does not but rather BOTH proceed from the Father.

But how were these great poets of old, these giants, these great men of renown (Genesis 6:4) to make this knowledge known to people who had not the capacity or language to understand it? They wrote it down as creation literature or told it in an oral tradition in metaphor and allegory. As it was passed down, it was changed and corrupted by those who lost its meaning.

When we get to today, fools think it is a literal account and science scoffs at it when, in fact, it IS science--ancient science. It is but a dead husk today but it can be revitalized. But the problems arise because language is limited and culturally bound. Myth was an attempt to free language from this constraint. But only those who understood it could decipher it. It's not elitism, it's just the way it is.


Are you familiar with the work of Laird Scranton and his introductory book, "Hidden Meanings: a study on the founding symbols of civilization?"

This side topic becomes a lengthy and mysterious topic of it's own. Perhaps worthy of its own discussion just for the fun of it...


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
count me in :-D



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
tat tvam asi wrote:
Are you familiar with the work of Laird Scranton and his introductory book, "Hidden Meanings: a study on the founding symbols of civilization?"


Admittedly, no, I am not. I'll have to look it up.

Quote:
This side topic becomes a lengthy and mysterious topic of it's own. Perhaps worthy of its own discussion just for the fun of it...


Start one up, I'll be there.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
I finished the book so now I'm going back through a second time.

I can paraphrase the intro humourously.

Basically Carrier says

I pompously dismissed mythicism for no good reason then I actually read Doherty and realised he was right :lol:

But I give Richard full points for doing what no apologist will ever do, he changed his mind when he actually got around to reading.

Bravo.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
I am halfway through and continue to find the book brilliant, easy to read and fascinating. Carrier must be the most devout atheist in the world. There would be few Christians with his astounding depth and breadth of learning about Christianity, let alone his passion for truth and his ability to analyse data logically. He has a mind like a steel trap, able to marshal information and present some difficult ideas in a clear and accessible way. Although there are issues in philosophy and cosmology where I don't think that Carrier gets to the root of the case for mythicism, this book defines the agenda for serious scholarly debate on Christian origins.


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
I just received the book in the mails and have been reading the opening chapter. He points out that fictional stories whose purpose is unification stand the greatest chance of being taken as true. Carrier compares Jesus to King Arthur. No one today believes King Arthur existed but they did in the past. His story was told in order to bring about a unified England. Those who believe in the unification believe in the story. To doubt one was to doubt the other. Carrier goes onto discuss Moses and Daniel the same way. The same scholars who believe Jesus was historical reject the idea that Moses was even though Moses performed miracles and his birth caused a slaughter of innocents. You doubt one for the same reason you doubt the other.

The purpose of the Jesus story, is, once again unification. it gave all Christians someone to rally behind and gave to him all moral authority. For them to conclude he didn't exist after investing all that emotion is unlikely.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
DB Roy wrote:
The purpose of the Jesus story, is, once again unification. it gave all Christians someone to rally behind


Yes, Jesus was a military weapon, like Arthur. That is corrupt, but that is the church.


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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
DB Roy wrote:
I just received the book in the mails and have been reading the opening chapter. He points out that fictional stories whose purpose is unification stand the greatest chance of being taken as true. Carrier compares Jesus to King Arthur. No one today believes King Arthur existed but they did in the past. His story was told in order to bring about a unified England. Those who believe in the unification believe in the story. To doubt one was to doubt the other. Carrier goes onto discuss Moses and Daniel the same way. The same scholars who believe Jesus was historical reject the idea that Moses was even though Moses performed miracles and his birth caused a slaughter of innocents. You doubt one for the same reason you doubt the other.

The purpose of the Jesus story, is, once again unification. it gave all Christians someone to rally behind and gave to him all moral authority. For them to conclude he didn't exist after investing all that emotion is unlikely.

Sure, whatever stories or myths the culture selects have the purpose of unifying, and not just in a nationalistic sense. The Church was no different, but it was able to realize a reach and control that hadn't been seen before but also was not its doing alone, was part of a larger trend crucially involving the expansion of commerce and means of communication.

Arthur, though perhaps not even based on a real military hero, was conceived of as a real person for centuries. This has significance in terms of British culture and its subsequent history.

The Jesus historicity question has two main parts: the historical veracity of the Gospel accounts, and the means by which the beliefs reflected in those accounts arose. I don't think that scholars today assume the Bible is historically accurate regarding the life and acts of Jesus. They are properly agnostic on the matter. They do assume that belief in the existence of a man got things started, though they have trouble determining just how. This is where the accepted from-Jesus-to-Christ thesis comes from. Mythicists appear to see this as being as orthodox as the view that is called fundamentalist.



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Post Re: Ch. 1: The Problem (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
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