Online reading group and book discussion forum
  HOME ENTER FORUMS OUR BOOKS LINKS DONATE ADVERTISE CONTACT  
View unanswered posts | View active topics It is currently Mon Dec 09, 2019 9:17 am





Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next
Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier) 
Author Message
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5832
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2289
Thanked: 2216 times in 1675 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
On the Epistles of Saint Paul – Disproof of the Historical Jesus Hypothesis

This chapter of On the Historicity of Jesus presents powerful compelling proof that Jesus Christ was invented and did not exist. The key reason is that Paul’s epistles, and the other letters in the New Testament, are what we would expect to see if Jesus did not exist, and are not what we would expect to see if Jesus did exist. Analyzed forensically, which means looking at the text as it is rather than as what we imagine based on tradition, the arguments marshalled by Richard Carrier in this chapter present irrefutable evidence proving the mythicist hypothesis that Jesus Christ was invented.

Carrier starts with an example of an ancient letter describing a person, which is roughly what Paul’s 20,000 words are purported to do. A real letter about a person, Pliny’s letter to Tacitus about his father, provides numerous personal facts, answering the curiosity of the reader about what the elder Pliny was like and how he lived and died. Paul does nothing of the sort in his letters about the Son of God. And none of his readers express any curiosity about this surprising omission. Paul fails to provide “even one word on the obvious and burning issues of the facts of Jesus’ life and death” (p512).

Odd. Surely the teachings of Jesus would have helped answer the questions raised by churches in Rome, Corinth and Galatia? Not for Paul. His sources are not eyewitnesses, but scripture. Even where he directly describes Jesus, in 1 Corinthians 15, it is solely the Risen Christ, and his source is only “according to the scriptures”, not according to witnesses.

If you react that surely Paul was talking about Jesus of Nazareth, you are guilty of fallacious reasoning. Apart from the total placelessness of Paul’s Jesus (ie no Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee or Jerusalem), Carrier points out that such a conventional gut reaction involves pernicious bias. As Carrier says on page 514, “consensus is not an intrinsically reliable guide to what is true in history.” Sound method is to ask how likely the available evidence would be against your hypothesis. Traditional belief in Jesus entirely fails to apply this simple test of logic. What would Paul write if Jesus was invented, and what would he write if Jesus was real? This is the cutting question that blows apart all literal faith in Jesus. For applying this method proves that Jesus was not real.

Among Paul’s hundreds of mentions of Jesus, “not one connects Jesus with an earthly life… Paul’s Jesus is only ever in the heavens” (515). No historical details, no memories from those who knew him, even incidentally.

All that takes some contorted rationalizing by traditionalists, for example with the argument that Paul was not interested in the life of Jesus, who supposedly founded Christianity. The lack of interest in Jesus extends to evidence of the debates Paul had, none of which referred back to the authority of Jesus. As Carrier says, all this is just bizarre. But it is readily explained by understanding that the early church viewed Jesus Christ as an imaginary fantasy, revealed only in scripture. Indeed, Paul’s critics in Galatia specifically say they do not trust human testimony, preferring revelation (ie Jesus as pure spirit).

Paul tells the Galatians he received his gospel only by revelation, and “in Romans 15:3-4 Paul even appears to say we have to learn things about Jesus by discovering them in scripture; Paul apparently knew nothing about any community of witnesses [and] even appears to deny any such sources existed in 1 Cor 4.6” (516). “The simplest hypothesis for why Paul never showed any interest in the historical Jesus [is] because there was no historical Jesus” (517).

Apologetic claims that Paul and all the earliest Christians just weren’t interested in anything Jesus did or taught in his life are incredibly lame. Even though Jesus was supposedly God on earth and the founder of their religion. “Desperately illogical” (518) is what Carrier says about that conventional idea, given that the modern church has it both ways. There was supposedly no interest in what Jesus did or taught at a time when “eyewitnesses were supposedly still living, abundant and running the church. That’s weird.” (519)

Understanding this upending of conventional opinion requires “scholars to rethink the sequence of events” (521). The fact is, all traditions of sayings and narratives about Jesus only appear in the record later than Paul, a fact concealed by the church by its strategic placement of the Epistles after the Gospels in the New Testament. As Carrier notes, “the Gospels were in fact fabricated out of the sayings of Paul” (521).

Carrier summarizes his critique of Pauline Christ Historicism in these words: “it is simply not conceivable that the historical Jesus never said or did anything, nor was anything ever said or done to him, that was relevant to resolving any dispute or supporting any teaching raised in these letters” (523). No curiosity, no incidental details, nothing. In a letter all about someone you would naturally expect it to have something about them in it.

So the faithful come up with another excuse. They say Paul did not want to draw attention to the fact that he did not know Jesus in person. To which Carrier makes the withering refutation that “if it was a weakness he would constantly have to address it head on. Because it would constantly be thrown in his face … yet there is no sign in his letters that it was. This is therefore just another made-up excuse, for which we have no evidence, and ample evidence to the contrary… Only if there were no witnesses would revelation be the defining feature of apostolic authority.” (525-6) That role of revelation is exactly what we see in Galatians. Paul’s supposed anxiety about not being a witness is “a modern fiction”.

Next we have the so-called ‘super apostles’ of 2 Cor 11-12. Far from being those with a direct link to Jesus, these are defined by Paul as being better speakers, illustrating that Christianity was all about telling a convincing story, not about evidence. And the range of Jesuses described in this chapter are meaningless if there really was just one Jesus, with accuracy of testimony based on actual knowledge of him.

What all this material amply demonstrates is the obvious fact that our records of the first century have been heavily selected by two thousand years of Christian censorship, burning everything that conflicted with their dogma. And yet, the dogma itself is a naked emperor, with Paul’s Epistles, only referring to an imagined Jesus, never a real one. Analysed forensically, the fugitive traces of the real history are present as the only plausible basis of the actual text we have.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
DB Roy, DWill
Sun Feb 28, 2016 5:26 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Likes the book better than the movie


Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 841
Thanks: 36
Thanked: 470 times in 359 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Not just Paul. Read the Epistle of James. The Jesus Christ in that letter does not appear to have ever walked on earth but was only getting ready to.

In Hebrews, we learn Christ was made high priest upon his death or upon entering heaven. In 5:7-10, we read:

7 In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence. 8 Although he was a son, he learned obedience through what he suffered. 9 And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, 10 being designated by God a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

So while Jesus was in the flesh (and that's about as much of his earthly life as Hebrews covers), he suffered, prayed and was saved from death. We are not told how but it appears he was transported to heaven in some manner. And after he was brought to heaven, he was "made perfect" and "became the source of eternal salvation" because God made him a high priest. And where is this high priest? We are told in 8:1 that Jesus the high priest "is seated at the right hand of of the throne of Majesty of Heaven." And verses 4 and 5 seal the deal:

4 Now if he were on earth, he would not be a priest at all, since there are priests who offer gifts according to the law. 5 They serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things.

Christ could not have been a high priest on earth, "he would not be a priest at all..." And what happened then? According to chapter 9:

11 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) 12 he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify[f] for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our[g] conscience from dead works to serve the living God.

So Christ's blood was shed only after he was made high priest in heaven. And the reason is that the blood of bulls and goats only symbolize his blood. Although Hebrews doesn't say how this works, it is because the goat is Aries and the bull is Taurus to symbolize the heavenly sacrifice that remits all sin. But this could never be achieved on earth but only with the true blood of Christ as high priest shed in heaven.

And how could we know any of this actually happened? Who was there to witness and then come back to earth to tell us? Seen that way, it is a silly story. But when we understand that the story is not meant to understood in this fashion, it becomes something far more profound. But it only works if Christ is a celestial hero. Hebrews is clear--none of this could have happened on earth and have any allegorical meaning.



Mon Feb 29, 2016 7:56 pm
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6364
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1850
Thanked: 2037 times in 1542 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
On the Epistles of Saint Paul – Disproof of the Historical Jesus Hypothesis

This chapter of On the Historicity of Jesus presents powerful compelling proof that Jesus Christ was invented and did not exist. The key reason is that Paul’s epistles, and the other letters in the New Testament, are what we would expect to see if Jesus did not exist, and are not what we would expect to see if Jesus did exist. Analyzed forensically, which means looking at the text as it is rather than as what we imagine based on tradition, the arguments marshalled by Richard Carrier in this chapter present irrefutable evidence proving the mythicist hypothesis that Jesus Christ was invented.

"Forensically" sounds pretentious. Reading is reading. The implication that a reading of Paul's letters which does not support the invention of Jesus is a wrong one bound by tradition, is question-begging. I cannot understand your and Carrier's certainty that these letters prove that Paul had in mind only a god who originated in heaven, presumably through Paul himself. A reader sees a great many references to an earthly existence and also likely appreciates the fact that in terms of Paul's theology, putting Jesus on earth is essential to Paul's teaching of transformation, man to god. Moreover, in the still wider context of Jewish belief in a messiah, embedded in scripture, it is necessary that this figure arrive as a man.
Quote:
Carrier starts with an example of an ancient letter describing a person, which is roughly what Paul’s 20,000 words are purported to do. A real letter about a person, Pliny’s letter to Tacitus about his father, provides numerous personal facts, answering the curiosity of the reader about what the elder Pliny was like and how he lived and died. Paul does nothing of the sort in his letters about the Son of God. And none of his readers express any curiosity about this surprising omission. Paul fails to provide “even one word on the obvious and burning issues of the facts of Jesus’ life and death” (p512).

The statement that the epistle genre somehow confines Paul to a prescribed approach to Jesus is very weak. Who has said that these letters purport to tell all about Jesus? That hints at a straw man. He can use the emphasis that suits him, and in this case he emphasizes building up the confidence, discipline, and cohesion of the fledgling churches. That he does not do this by talking about the life of Jesus, or illustrate his preaching with examples from Jesus' own teaching, is interesting, but it is far from enough to conclude that he is inventing Jesus or speaking of someone else's invention of a celestial god. That Paul thinks some person named Jesus existed is actually a low bar for proof, fairly easy to establish. To assert that despite the clear mentions of personhood and the integral part that personhood plays in Paul's theology, Jesus is here exclusively a god in Paul's mind, is setting the bar for proof much higher.
Quote:
Traditional belief in Jesus entirely fails to apply this simple test of logic. What would Paul write if Jesus was invented, and what would he write if Jesus was real? This is the cutting question that blows apart all literal faith in Jesus. For applying this method proves that Jesus was not real.

Carrier's argument is presented as an argument from silence. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of this type of argument, we don't need to discuss them, because Paul is anything but silent on Jesus the man. It would be beyond tedious to list all the signals Paul gives as to his thinking along these lines. Here are a few:
Quote:
1 Thessalonians
Chap. 1--The son whom he raised, Jesus, our protector from the anger to come.
4--For if we believe Jesus died and rose again..."
Galatians
1--to those who were apostles before me
4--So sent his son, born of a woman
5--For I carry the stigmata of Jesus on my body
1 Corinthians
1--But we teach Christ crucified, a stumbling block for the Jews
2--That is, Jesus Christ crucified
If they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory
4--For even Christ, our Paschal lamb, was crucified
11--I received from the Lord this tradition which I handed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf and gave thanks and broke it and said: this is my body....
15--that Christ died for our sins, as in the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose on the third day as in the scriptures, and that he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve. Then he was seen by more than 500 brothers all at once...
but if it is preached that Christ rose from the dead...
2 Corinthians
1--the sufferings of Christ abound for us
4--always carrying the death of Jesus in our bodies so that the life of Jesus may also be made manifest in our bodies
even if we did know Christ in the flesh, we now no longer know him thus
8--for you know the graciousness of our Lord Jesus Christ, and how, when he was rich, he made himself poor so that by his poverty you might become rich
Phillipians
2--but he stripped himself by taking the form of a slave, being born in the likeness of a human being, he humiliated himself and was obedient to the death, death on the cross. Therefore did god exalt him.


The whole "James brother of Jesus" thing isn't even necessary to establish that Paul thinks Jesus lived and died.
Quote:
Among Paul’s hundreds of mentions of Jesus, “not one connects Jesus with an earthly life… Paul’s Jesus is only ever in the heavens” (515). No historical details, no memories from those who knew him, even incidentally.

No, clearly there is earthly existence here, woven in throughout the letters.
Quote:
All that takes some contorted rationalizing by traditionalists, for example with the argument that Paul was not interested in the life of Jesus, who supposedly founded Christianity. The lack of interest in Jesus extends to evidence of the debates Paul had, none of which referred back to the authority of Jesus. As Carrier says, all this is just bizarre. But it is readily explained by understanding that the early church viewed Jesus Christ as an imaginary fantasy, revealed only in scripture. Indeed, Paul’s critics in Galatia specifically say they do not trust human testimony, preferring revelation (ie Jesus as pure spirit).

Again, the manner in which he talks about Jesus as having lived cannot mean that he believed he did not live. There are interesting speculations that can come from the lack of interest that you mention. See, for example, Barrie. A. Wilson's article, "If We Only Had Paul." Paul's obsession with the death and resurrection of Jesus, to the exclusion of most other details about him, tells us that Paul probably was setting up his own religion, separate from the Jerusalem faction. This may or may not be correct, but it's a more responsible use of the information we find lacking in Paul's letters.
Quote:
Paul tells the Galatians he received his gospel only by revelation, and “in Romans 15:3-4 Paul even appears to say we have to learn things about Jesus by discovering them in scripture; Paul apparently knew nothing about any community of witnesses [and] even appears to deny any such sources existed in 1 Cor 4.6” (516). “The simplest hypothesis for why Paul never showed any interest in the historical Jesus [is] because there was no historical Jesus” (517).

I quoted the Galatians passage above. It does not make sense to say that Paul is saying Jesus revealed these facts (betrayal, last supper, etc.) to Paul, yet he means that they never happened on earth. Paul mentions "the twelve" in the 1 Corinthians passage.
Quote:
Apologetic claims that Paul and all the earliest Christians just weren’t interested in anything Jesus did or taught in his life are incredibly lame. Even though Jesus was supposedly God on earth and the founder of their religion. “Desperately illogical” (518) is what Carrier says about that conventional idea, given that the modern church has it both ways. There was supposedly no interest in what Jesus did or taught at a time when “eyewitnesses were supposedly still living, abundant and running the church. That’s weird.” (519)

Jesus' death and resurrection, it's pretty clear, were what Paul fastened on to. No, you can't tell that the rest--whatever Paul knew of any "rest"--meant anything to Paul. But the facts are still staring us in the face that he had an idea, indeed needed an idea, of Jesus as having lived. In fact, the case can easily be made that everything that is most important about the Jesus of the Gospels is contained in Paul.

In Paul's mind it wasn't Jesus, anyway, who founded the church. There isn't evidence that he thought in those terms. It was Paul himself who thought he was founding the church.

Is it so weird that someone who was thought of as fulfilling prophecy by dying a sacrificial death would not be discussed in terms of his biography? I don't find it so. It isn't what mattered to Paul. And Paul is obviously setting himself up as "the guy," as far as his children of faith are concerned.
Quote:
Understanding this upending of conventional opinion requires “scholars to rethink the sequence of events” (521). The fact is, all traditions of sayings and narratives about Jesus only appear in the record later than Paul, a fact concealed by the church by its strategic placement of the Epistles after the Gospels in the New Testament. As Carrier notes, “the Gospels were in fact fabricated out of the sayings of Paul” (521).

Impossible--Paul contains no sayings of Jesus that could have been used to fabricate the Gospels. Perhaps he means statements Paul made about Jesus such as betrayal, last supper, crucifixion, rising. So if the writer of Mark got his outline from Paul, where did Paul get what he said about Jesus? Claiming the whole shebang was revealed to him runs into serious problems, which I won't take the time to go into right now.
Quote:
Carrier summarizes his critique of Pauline Christ Historicism in these words: “it is simply not conceivable that the historical Jesus never said or did anything, nor was anything ever said or done to him, that was relevant to resolving any dispute or supporting any teaching raised in these letters” (523). No curiosity, no incidental details, nothing. In a letter all about someone you would naturally expect it to have something about them in it.

Puzzlement, or an argument from incredulity, isn't enough. Paul clearly nevertheless believed that the person had lived. His theology is meaningless without that element, so no wonder.
Quote:
So the faithful come up with another excuse. They say Paul did not want to draw attention to the fact that he did not know Jesus in person. To which Carrier makes the withering refutation that “if it was a weakness he would constantly have to address it head on. Because it would constantly be thrown in his face … yet there is no sign in his letters that it was. This is therefore just another made-up excuse, for which we have no evidence, and ample evidence to the contrary… Only if there were no witnesses would revelation be the defining feature of apostolic authority.” (525-6) That role of revelation is exactly what we see in Galatians. Paul’s supposed anxiety about not being a witness is “a modern fiction”.

Because there is quite enough in the letters to show us that Paul saw Jesus as first having lived, this excuse you say the faithful make is irrelevant.
Quote:
What all this material amply demonstrates is the obvious fact that our records of the first century have been heavily selected by two thousand years of Christian censorship, burning everything that conflicted with their dogma. And yet, the dogma itself is a naked emperor, with Paul’s Epistles, only referring to an imagined Jesus, never a real one. Analysed forensically, the fugitive traces of the real history are present as the only plausible basis of the actual text we have.

How do you figure? Who burned the evidence from the first century, some orthodox power of the period? That would go against what any historian of the religion of the time would tell you about the environment. Or is it the true orthodox church of several centuries later that burned what it had of heretical first-century stuff, eliminating the smoking gun? The gun was found at Nag Hamadi, but not exactly smoking in regard to a historical Jesus having never been thought of until the Gospels were written.

Christ myth theory accepts assumptions of the higher Bible criticism, but then it goes further, beyond the warrant of the evidence. It is true that Jesus Christ is myth; it is also true that there is a progression from initial bare detail about Jesus to fleshing out the biography of this figure, a biography that has little that can be confirmed in history. This process ends in almost a fetishizing of the person of Jesus, for reasons that suited the orthodox church. But in the crucial testimony of Paul, as the earliest Christian theologian, Jesus is not originally God, but man.



Fri Mar 04, 2016 7:01 am
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5832
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2289
Thanked: 2216 times in 1675 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
DWill wrote:
"Forensically" sounds pretentious.
Hi DWill, I really appreciate your explanation of your views on this material, while disagreeing quite diametrically. Carrier shows that the real causality within the New Testament textual evolution is Paul -> Jesus, the opposite of its purported causality of Jesus -> Paul. When reality stands in such stark conflict with the claims, forensic textual analysis against evidence is precisely what is required.

The discipline of forensics within criminal investigation analyses evidence to work out what probably happened. In reading the Bible, that forensic method is exactly what Carrier applies, so your comment implies that we can’t apply evidence to work out what probably happened in the construction of the Jesus Myth. For you to call evidentiary method pretentious is a rhetorical deflection.

The fact is, all the real evidence about Jesus shows the earlier views as reflected in the early Epistles were pure idea, and the historical enfleshment only came later, with the Gospels and late Epistles, as a way to make the idea more convincing and relevant to a broad audience. That is what I mean by saying the real causal direction, in terms of temporal evolution within actual history, is Paul -> Jesus, while the imagined causal direction in church dogma is Jesus -> Paul. The actual evidence supports the historical reality of construction of Jesus, not the church imagination of Jesus as founder. How this disjunction between reality and idea occurred is the basic forensic topic of On the Historicity of Jesus.

Aporia is a word from Plato, indicating a problem that is highly perplexing, well explained at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aporia. The correct method in analyzing an aporetic problem is to apply rigorous evidence and logic to deconstruct how the problem has previously been discussed, and to guard against accidental acceptance of ideas that assume their conclusion. In looking for ‘the site at which the text most obviously undermines its own rhetorical structure, dismantles, or deconstructs itself’ the Jesus story provides ample material for aporia.
DWill wrote:
Reading is reading.
There are many different levels and methods of reading. Reading on face value for artistic and ethical meaning is completely different from skeptical and rigorous reading against the context of external evidence and logic for scientific and historical knowledge.

We can productively read the Bible for social and ethical lessons, accepting the poetry and mythology, and such reading remains entirely valid and useful within theology. The myth of Christ as the mediator between time and eternity remains a powerful and beautiful archetype. That is not the point though of reading to assess historicity, which applies rigorous scientific (yes forensic) standards.

To mix up poetry and science as your ‘reading is reading’ comment does only serves to sow confusion, and to enable those who focus only on the perceived coherence of conventional ideas to intimidate the analysis, denying the validity and even the possibility of scientific reading.
DWill wrote:
The implication that a reading of Paul's letters which does not support the invention of Jesus is a wrong one bound by tradition, is question-begging.
This is highly ironic, since the real begging is done by faith. Question-begging is an old term meaning to fallaciously assume a conclusion. I prefer not to use it since it does not mean what it literally says (ie imply a question) and is therefore confusing and even somewhat archaic. Your application of this term to Carrier means that you think he fallaciously assumes his conclusion that Jesus was not real.

Since you haven’t read his book and instead rely only on partial summaries and your own background information, your assertion that Carrier’s logic is fallacious is weak, and is actually wrong. Carrier does not in fact assume his conclusion that Jesus is myth, but is at pains to be totally fair to traditional views.

Ironically, it is the traditional historicism which does in fact routinely assume the conclusion that Jesus Christ was a historical individual, expressing flabbergastation at any questioning of this assumption, as seen in Ehrman’s derisive bewilderment. It is the church who are guilty of the charge of fallacy that you wrongly project onto Carrier and me.

Further, reading the Bible against a mythicist prism opens a new power of insight about human psychology and politics, about how fervency has created false faith, and yet how a true faith may somehow be concealed amongst the rubble. Historicism is a fallen corrupt dogma, failing to see the message of grace, and instead putting the human motives of the church above the divine motives of understanding the truth. In a story that Jesus himself tells, the parable of separation of the wheat from the entwining weeds at the end of the age should lead us to suspect that in time conventional views will be revealed as false. The Bible here provides the aporetic means for its own deconstruction.
DWill wrote:
I cannot understand your and Carrier's certainty that these letters prove that Paul had in mind only a god who originated in heaven, presumably through Paul himself.
Your phrase “through Paul himself” is not clear to me. The God who originated in heaven according to Abrahamic patriarchal monotheism provides the real order of the cosmos as described throughout scripture, and is not Paul’s invention. The relation between Jesus and Jehovah, interpreted as son and father, has to be among the most complex problems in human thought, having provoked the iota filioque schism between east and west and the vast Arian heresy that saw the son as subordinate to the father.

I suspect the reason you cannot understand Carrier’s certainty on the forensic results of reading Paul is that you have not read what he says.
DWill wrote:
A reader sees a great many references to an earthly existence and also likely appreciates the fact that in terms of Paul's theology, putting Jesus on earth is essential to Paul's teaching of transformation, man to god.
The big irony I see in your comments is that “a reader” is relying on background belief, much of which is contaminated, rather than on a close engagement with Carrier’s analysis. As a result many of the criticisms you level at Carrier actually apply forcefully to the literal historical tradition. The “many references” you cite are actually all empty of content when critically examined, as all are based solely on an imaginary placement of an incarnate saviour on earth, not any actual transmission of knowledge that clearly came from a man called Jesus Christ.

This absence of continuity from Jesus is explained away by the various devices I mentioned in my last comment to which you have responded, but these rationalisations conceal the basic fact that Jesus Christ as founder of Christianity is entirely irrelevant and without influence upon the ideas presented in the Epistles, placing all claims of apostolic blessing from Christ into radical doubt, and establishing a stark aporia against the image of the early church as led by people who personally knew Jesus.
DWill wrote:
Moreover, in the still wider context of Jewish belief in a messiah, embedded in scripture, it is necessary that this figure arrive as a man.
Yes indeed, and as Voltaire said, if God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him. Voltaire’s bon mot applies with far greater force and pertinacity to Jesus Christ, a necessary figure to fulfil Jewish prophecy of the arrival of the messiah. The desire gave birth to the belief.

I have previously analysed this necessity problem against the so-called ontological proof of the existence of God, the fallacious argument that if we can imagine a supreme being, that being’s perfection must be crowned by the greatest perfection, existence. Immanuel Kant acquired the nickname of ‘the all-destroyer’ for pointing out that we can readily imagine things that are not real. Mythicism continues Kant’s project of applying logic to our theories of reality, and through Jung, can analyse the psychological drivers that lead people to the Tinkerbell theology of wishing makes it so.
DWill wrote:
The statement that the epistle genre somehow confines Paul to a prescribed approach to Jesus is very weak. Who has said that these letters purport to tell all about Jesus? That hints at a straw man.
Carrier’s point is not that Paul purports to say all about Jesus, but rather that in a letter about a real person, we should expect at least some incidental giveaway showing that the person is real. But in Paul we find nothing. Everything in Paul, even the few straws that historicists clutch onto as claimed direct references, is perfectly compatible and predictable against the hypothesis that Jesus Christ was invented. Historical movements that are started by a founder generally begin with veneration for what the founder said and did while alive, not after death, as in Paul regarding Jesus. That is why Paul’s message of a purely spiritual Jesus had to be so radically changed in the Gospels and then in Acts, to provide this missing content. Paul’s epistles cry out for enfleshment, but it is a fallacy to read the Gospels back into Paul, albeit a fallacy that sits at the foundation of the mythology of Christendom.
DWill wrote:
He can use the emphasis that suits him, and in this case he emphasizes building up the confidence, discipline, and cohesion of the fledgling churches. That he does not do this by talking about the life of Jesus, or illustrate his preaching with examples from Jesus' own teaching, is interesting, but it is far from enough to conclude that he is inventing Jesus or speaking of someone else's invention of a celestial god.
But as Carrier asks, why then do we not find even a whisper of interest emerging in Paul’s accounts of his various encounters and debates about what Jesus himself may have thought about the various controversies he discussed? This is another startling aporia, a yawning absence that is entirely compatible with invention but not compatible with the existence of Jesus. Convention has it that Paul thought Jesus was the son of God but had no interest in what Jesus thought or did, except with highly stylized ‘according to scripture’ ritual instructions for cultic practice. That is implausible.
DWill wrote:
That Paul thinks some person named Jesus existed is actually a low bar for proof, fairly easy to establish.
But these terms “person” and “existed” are ambiguous in this case, compatible with an imagined spiritual entity, due to the special requirements of this existing person being the son of God who has existed for all eternity. It is too easy to transpose this spiritual existence into the world of history once our lenses are tinted by reading the Gospels. The historical discipline requires excluding material that dates later than Paul from our reading of Paul.
DWill wrote:
To assert that despite the clear mentions of personhood and the integral part that personhood plays in Paul's theology, Jesus is here exclusively a god in Paul's mind, is setting the bar for proof much higher.
You are imagining these ‘clear mentions’. ‘Personhood’ is a specific technical concept in Christology which only emerged centuries after Paul, while drawing on his ideas of pneuma or spirit. Strong’s concordance fails to find ‘person’ or ‘essence’ in Paul’s epistles, while the technical term denoting the personhood of Christ, hypostasis, is used by Paul at 2 Cor 11:17 to mean confident vain boasting.
DWill wrote:
Carrier's argument is presented as an argument from silence. Whatever the strengths and weaknesses of this type of argument, we don't need to discuss them,
The silence of Paul about Jesus is one small astounding piece of the puzzle. The strength of this argument is central, since it is bizarre that if Jesus was real Paul would have such fragmentary and unclear mentions of him.
DWill wrote:
because Paul is anything but silent on Jesus the man.

No, that is completely untrue. Paul makes several cryptic allegorical mentions, none of which give any details whatsoever about the life of Jesus the man, and which are all completely compatible with the idea of a spirit who is present in the world. This imagined spiritual presence was subsequently enlarged into stories about Jesus the man, who has no presence in Paul’s letters.
DWill wrote:

It would be beyond tedious to list all the signals Paul gives as to his thinking along these lines. Here are a few:
1 Thessalonians
Chap. 1--The son whom he raised, Jesus, our protector from the anger to come.

Myth.
DWill wrote:
4--For if we believe Jesus died and rose again..."

Myth.
DWill wrote:
Galatians
1--to those who were apostles before me
that is those who equally received their revelation from scripture, not from any man.
DWill wrote:
4--So sent his son, born of a woman

Note the absence of any place or time or names, such as the Virgin Mary. This is rather like how Hercules was also born of a woman as were many imaginary Gods and demigods. This anthropomorphisation of an eternal spirit is about what Paul in Romans 8:3 calls “God sending his son in the likeness of sinful flesh”, an allegorical symbol not a literal material claim.
DWill wrote:
5--For I carry the stigmata of Jesus on my body
1 Corinthians
1--But we teach Christ crucified, a stumbling block for the Jews
2--That is, Jesus Christ crucified
If they had understood it they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory
4--For even Christ, our Paschal lamb, was crucified

The theology of the cross is a vast and fascinating topic, reaching deep into psychology and politics and theology. The symbolic meaning is that the world is lost in sin and delusion, to such an extent that when perfection appears the response is crucifixion. Saying this murder of grace has really happened is a way to place rhetorical emphasis upon the spiritual ethical message.
DWill wrote:

11--I received from the Lord this tradition which I handed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf and gave thanks and broke it and said: this is my body.... 15--that Christ died for our sins, as in the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose on the third day as in the scriptures, and that he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve. Then he was seen by more than 500 brothers all at once...

This cultic ritual explains the practice of a secret mystery school worshiping an imagined anointed savior, expressing a hope derived from the scriptures, built from the writings of the Hebrew prophets as Paul's only source. Again, as I said in my last comment, if Jesus was real Paul’s authority here would have been ‘as Jesus taught’, not his exclusive use of the Old Testament as his source.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:12 am, edited 3 times in total.



Sun Mar 06, 2016 6:48 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 704 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:

11--I received from the Lord this tradition which I handed on to you: that the Lord Jesus, on the night when he was betrayed, took a loaf and gave thanks and broke it and said: this is my body.... 15--that Christ died for our sins, as in the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he rose on the third day as in the scriptures, and that he was seen by Peter and then by the twelve. Then he was seen by more than 500 brothers all at once...



This cultic ritual explains the practice of a secret mystery school worshiping an imagined anointed savior, expressing a hope derived from the scriptures, built from the writings of the Hebrew prophets as Paul's only source. Again, as I said in my last comment, if Jesus was real Paul’s authority here would have been ‘as Jesus taught’, not his exclusive use of the Old Testament as his source.


Paul's alleged silence on an earthly human Jesus is itself a myth, as Dwill has shown in his examples. This along with the other problems for mythicists of Christ being a descendant of Abraham, Jacob and David. His being born of a woman and under the law and having a brother named James who was a leader in Jerusalem and executed by Ananus the high priest as recorded by Josephus.

Carrier and Doherty have to have a celestial being believed to have been crucified by demons and buried and resurrected in a sub lunar region.

Paul says Jesus' execution,burial and resurrection were in accordance with the scriptures. He doesn't say specifically which scriptures.

Carrier and Doherty need to explain what scriptures Paul could be referring to here. The problem is that the scriptures cited for this in the N.T. are not of a celestial sub lunar being but of the pre-existent God of the Jews becoming incarnate and suffering and dying on earth.

There are many examples. He would be born in Bethlehem. http://biblia.com/bible/niv/Micah5.2

The rulers of the earth would oppose him. http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Ps2

He would be despised and rejected by men,numbered with transgressors and buried in a rich man's grave.
http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Isa53

Many other examples could be given such as the stone laid in Zion rejected by the builders and the prophesied human forerunner of the messiah (John the Baptist) as in Malachi and Isaiah.

The question is then what O.T.scriptures can the mythicists cite for their sub lunar celestial being who never comes to earth,that Paul might have been referring to in his expression "in accordance with the scriptures?"

Carrier's best shot is one tenuous link to a possible allusion by Philo to Zechariah and Joshua the high priest.

He's wrong on a number of counts here. https://lukemeyer101.wordpress.com/2014/11/

The clear earthly aspect of messianic prophecy is yet another serious flaw with Carrier and Doherty's thesis to add to all the others.
Here's a compilation of messianic prophecy/scripture where it's beyond dispute that the messiah was prophesied to come to earth and live,die and rise on earth as a man.
http://godonthe.net/evidence/messiah.htm



Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:28 am
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5832
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2289
Thanked: 2216 times in 1675 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Flann 5 wrote:
Paul's alleged silence on an earthly human Jesus is itself a myth, as Dwill has shown in his examples.
None of those examples refer clearly to an earthly human Jesus with any more credibility than Egyptian references to Horus as the son of Isis and Osiris and fighting up and down the Nile against Set.
Flann 5 wrote:
This along with the other problems for mythicists of Christ being a descendant of Abraham, Jacob and David.
These just mean that the messianic prophecy emerged among the Jews.
Flann 5 wrote:
His being born of a woman and under the law and having a brother named James who was a leader in Jerusalem and executed by Ananus the high priest as recorded by Josephus.
None of that stands up to the slightest real scrutiny, and is fallacious motivated reasoning that seeks to justify tradition.
Flann 5 wrote:
Carrier and Doherty have to have a celestial being believed to have been crucified by demons and buried and resurrected in a sub lunar region.
Ephesians 6:12 http://biblehub.com/interlinear/ephesians/6-12.htm explains that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

This placement of Christian effort as against “kosmokratoras”, the cosmic powers, helps to illustrate the opinion that for original Christianity the visible heavens provided a model and context for what occurs on earth, as Jesus put it in the Lord’s Prayer ‘on earth as in heaven’. The chi rho cross illustrates the specific astronomy of the original genetic theory of the cosmic Jesus, but we must begin with milk rather than bread.
Flann 5 wrote:
Paul says Jesus' execution, burial and resurrection were in accordance with the scriptures. He doesn't say specifically which scriptures.
”In accordance with” is a mistranslation of the Greek term “kata”, which means “according to”. Flann’s definition does not appear in Strong’s Concordance http://biblehub.com/greek/2596.htm. This slight difference of meaning is absolutely essential to Paul’s intent: as Carrier proves, Paul systematically explains that his source is the scriptures (kata = according to), and everything he knows about Jesus comes by revelation from reading the prophets, and never from any eyewitnesses who would provide evidence that actual events under Pilate and Caiaphas occurred to fulfill the scriptural prophecies (in accordance with). It is all imagination, never memory. “
Flann 5 wrote:
the scriptures cited for this in the N.T. are not of a celestial sub lunar being but of the pre-existent God of the Jews becoming incarnate and suffering and dying on earth.
As I have explained before, and as Flann persists in ignoring, this use of sublunar refers to the earth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublunary_sphere states “The sublunary sphere is a concept in Aristotelian physics derived from Greek astronomy. It is the region of the geocentric cosmos below the Moon, consisting of the four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire. The sublunary sphere was the realm of changing nature.” Flann’s simple failure to understand the basic astronomy that the ancients thought the earth was under the moon illustrates the difficulty of sensible conversation on such topics when even basic definitions must be repeated.
Flann 5 wrote:
There are many examples. He would be born in Bethlehem. http://biblia.com/bible/niv/Micah5.2
Well perhaps one might have expected Bethlehem to appear in Paul or Mark then, rather than only being introduced into the Jesus story by the later writings of Matthew and Luke. Paul’s failure to remark on this astounding alleged realized prophecy illustrates that the prophets were the blueprint for the fictional manufacture of the Jesus Myth, and later claims that this fiction is fact are false.
Flann 5 wrote:
The rulers of the earth would oppose him. http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Ps2
And yet as I mentioned above Ephesians places this opposition into heaven, not as a matter of flesh and blood.
Flann 5 wrote:
He would be despised and rejected by men,numbered with transgressors and buried in a rich man's grave.
http://biblia.com/bible/esv/Isa53
This glorious celebrated vision of the suffering servant from Isaiah 53 is a crucial image of the transformative nature of messianic identity, as a general principle regarding the theology of grace and corruption. It means that the fallen world is dominated by corruption and is blind to grace, so when a man of pure grace appears he will be invisible to the world, but will provide the means of the world’s salvation. Paul only refers to this image obliquely as far as I can recall, for example with the kenotic theology of Philippians 2 where Christ empties himself of all but grace. Paul certainly does not mention the grave myth, which is a Gospel adumbration with Joseph of Arimathea as the rich man.
Flann 5 wrote:

Many other examples could be given such as the stone laid in Zion rejected by the builders and the prophesied human forerunner of the messiah (John the Baptist) as in Malachi and Isaiah.
All these simply illustrate that the Jewish people were traumatized by conflict and their central texts held out the hope of a Davidic king to save them from suffering. The fervency of this hope naturally evolved and mutated to address emerging political interests, with the traction found in the false claim that it had actually occurred then leading to systematic forgetting and revision of history. Plausible deniability was a key objective for the Gospels, including placing Jesus long enough ago in the past as to exclude all witnesses, and explaining the revision to a kingdom not of this world to explain why the king had not achieved the hoped for victory over Rome.
Flann 5 wrote:

The question is then what O.T.scriptures can the mythicists cite for their sub lunar celestial being who never comes to earth, that Paul might have been referring to in his expression "in accordance with the scriptures?"
Again, Paul never says ‘in accordance with’, but rather ‘according to’ which is completely different in meaning. The prophetic vision of Daniel and Malachi’s vision of the “sun of righteousness risen with healing in his wings”, as well as the pervasive cosmic imagery in Ezekiel all illustrate the original cosmic intent.
Flann 5 wrote:
The clear earthly aspect of messianic prophecy is yet another serious flaw with Carrier and Doherty's thesis to add to all the others.
You really should not use the word “clear” as a rhetorical emphatic device when the material is anything but clear. The intense murkiness of the sources, reflected in the complete absence of any non canonical Christian writings from the first century, shows that our extant sources are a tiny fraction of the real historical process, and are entirely selected to support one specific political dogma, the material existence of a spiritual being.


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Sun Mar 06, 2016 3:08 pm
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Likes the book better than the movie


Joined: Mar 2015
Posts: 841
Thanks: 36
Thanked: 470 times in 359 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Strong's Concordance
kata: down, against, according to
Original Word: κατά
Part of Speech: Preposition
Transliteration: kata
Phonetic Spelling: (kat-ah')
Short Definition: down from, against, according to, throughout, during
http://biblehub.com/greek/2596.htm

Definition
down from, through out
according to, toward, along
http://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons ... /kata.html

Word Origin
from Greek kata-, from kata. In compound words borrowed from Greek, kata- means: down ( catabolism), away, off ( catalectic), against ( category), according to ( catholic), and thoroughly ( catalogue)
http://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictio ... glish/kata

Not that any of this matters to Flan. He'll be right back at it with the same fallacious garbage as though this discussion never happened.



Sun Mar 06, 2016 4:21 pm
Profile Email
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 704 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
This along with the other problems for mythicists of Christ being a descendant of Abraham, Jacob and David.


These just mean that the messianic prophecy emerged among the Jews.


No it doesn't. Paul says in Romans that Jesus was a descendant of Abraham and Jacob as Paul himself was also. And Paul was a real human descendant of theirs. Are you kidding?

Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
His being born of a woman and under the law and having a brother named James who was a leader in Jerusalem and executed by Ananus the high priest as recorded by Josephus.


None of that stands up to the slightest real scrutiny, and is fallacious motivated reasoning that seeks to justify tradition.


Says who,Richard Carrier and Bob Price? Not new testament scholars and historians who disagree with you emphatically and unanimously on this.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
Paul says Jesus' execution, burial and resurrection were in accordance with the scriptures. He doesn't say specifically which scriptures.


”In accordance with” is a mistranslation of the Greek term “kata”, which means “according to”. Flann’s definition does not appear in Strong’s Concordance http://biblehub.com/greek/2596.htm. This slight difference of meaning is absolutely essential to Paul’s intent: as Carrier proves, Paul systematically explains that his source is the scriptures (kata = according to), and everything he knows about Jesus comes by revelation from reading the prophets, and never from any eyewitnesses who would provide evidence that actual events under Pilate and Caiaphas occurred to fulfill the scriptural prophecies (in accordance with). It is all imagination, never memory. “


So Paul says Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures and that he was buried according to the scriptures.

My question is what scriptures? And my point was the the O.T. messianic prophecies describe a messiah who lives on earth is despised and rejected by men and opposed by the kings and rulers of the earth etc.
What O.T. scriptures describe crucifixion by demons in the lower heavens as per Carrier and Doherty and burial up there?

What O.T. scriptures does Paul see Christ's death and burial in? Cite them.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
the scriptures cited for this in the N.T. are not of a celestial sub lunar being but of the pre-existent God of the Jews becoming incarnate and suffering and dying on earth.


As I have explained before, and as Flann persists in ignoring, this use of sublunar refers to the earth. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sublunary_sphere states “The sublunary sphere is a concept in Aristotelian physics derived from Greek astronomy. It is the region of the geocentric cosmos below the Moon, consisting of the four classical elements: earth, water, air, and fire. The sublunary sphere was the realm of changing nature.” Flann’s simple failure to understand the basic astronomy that the ancients thought the earth was under the moon illustrates the difficulty of sensible conversation on such topics when even basic definitions must be repeated.



Are you saying this sub lunar region is on earth then? Fine,then Paul is saying Christ was crucified and buried on earth. No problem.Of course the mythicists can't have an actual crucifixion on earth never mind Tacitus,Josephus and the N.T. references plainly stating this.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
There are many examples. He would be born in Bethlehem. http://biblia.com/bible/niv/Micah5.2


Well perhaps one might have expected Bethlehem to appear in Paul or Mark then, rather than only being introduced into the Jesus story by the later writings of Matthew and Luke. Paul’s failure to remark on this astounding alleged realized prophecy illustrates that the prophets were the blueprint for the fictional manufacture of the Jesus Myth, and later claims that this fiction is fact are false.


Of course you ignore oral tradition,Luke's reference to several other accounts before his and the fact that Peter,James and the apostles preached the gospel before Paul.
Oh I forgot, they're those twelve signs of the zodiac with wives who Paul visited in Jerusalem.

Robert Tulip wrote:
Flann 5 wrote:
The clear earthly aspect of messianic prophecy is yet another serious flaw with Carrier and Doherty's thesis to add to all the others.


You really should not use the word “clear” as a rhetorical emphatic device when the material is anything but clear.


I disagree. The prophetic passages I cited are very clear that the messiah would live, suffer,die and be buried on earth and be resurrected.

DB Roy wrote:
Not that any of this matters to Flan. He'll be right back at it with the same fallacious garbage as though this discussion never happened.

So what scriptures was Paul referring to D.B.?

I'll leave you guys to your invincible faith in mythicism and astrotheology.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:08 pm
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6364
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1850
Thanked: 2037 times in 1542 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
DWill wrote:
"Forensically" sounds pretentious.
Hi DWill, I really appreciate your explanation of your views on this material, while disagreeing quite diametrically. Carrier shows that the real causality within the New Testament textual evolution is Paul -> Jesus, the opposite of its purported causality of Jesus -> Paul. When reality stands in such stark conflict with the claims, forensic textual analysis against evidence is precisely what is required.

I'd better ask this right off, Robert, to be sure I understand your position before going further. I had thought your claim was that Jesus was understood in these early days as pure spirit or celestial deity, not just by Paul but by others as well. The deity arose, but in this spirit form, not as any one person's invention. You seem to be saying here that everything starts with Paul.



Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:49 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Gold Contributor

Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 5832
Location: Canberra
Thanks: 2289
Thanked: 2216 times in 1675 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Australia (au)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
DWill wrote:
I had thought your claim was that Jesus was understood in these early days as pure spirit or celestial deity, not just by Paul but by others as well. The deity arose, but in this spirit form, not as any one person's invention. You seem to be saying here that everything starts with Paul.


Good catch. I meant in terms of the information we now have, in which the earliest commentary about Jesus is from Paul. However, I believe Paul must have been writing for a fairly extensive secret mystery Gnostic community who formed the idea with and before him of the incarnation of the prophesied messiah. Paul's epistles reflect the public face of that community, in a form that would prove acceptable to the church in combination with the Gospels and other NT canon. The original community also must have had a much more extensive religious vision, based on Jewish myth and other sources, which was partly lost and partly formed the basis for the Gospels, the apocalypse and the apocrypha.

Jesus Christ clearly was not invented by Paul alone, since Paul expresses continuity with a spiritual tradition going back to the prophets. The title Christ Jesus literally means 'Anointed Saviour', so any discussion of an incarnate anointed saviour is by definition discussion of Jesus Christ. As well, we have the range of other influences on the evolving tradition, especially the logos theology of Philo of Alexandria, which contains a proto-Christianity shortly before Paul, but again with no knowledge of life and deeds of Jesus.

We are dealing with a problem ex pede Herculem, from the foot - Hercules. From Pythagoras, this is about how we postulate a whole reality based on fragmentary evidence. Paul is only a fragment of what must have been a very rich intellectual tradition of which almost nothing beside remains. "Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away."


_________________
http://rtulip.net


Last edited by Robert Tulip on Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:19 am, edited 1 time in total.



The following user would like to thank Robert Tulip for this post:
DWill
Mon Mar 07, 2016 1:13 am
Profile Email WWW
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 704 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
I came across a very recent debate between Bart Ehrman and Michael Bird on Ehrman's book "How Jesus became God".

It's on youtube and two hours long having been recorded on separate days of one hour debates.

I haven't watched it yet myself but it might be of interest to some following this thread and general subject. Incidentally Ehrman is expected to debate Robert Price on the historicity of Jesus later this year.

I was surprised to learn that Bart's asking price to do this planned debate with Bob Price is thirteen thousand dollars. He's donating it to charity but that sum has to be raised first before he debates.

Anyway here's the link to Ehrman vs Bird. www.youtube.com/watch?v=RtkeNuCwinc



Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:32 pm
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6364
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1850
Thanked: 2037 times in 1542 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
Good catch. I meant in terms of the information we now have, in which the earliest commentary about Jesus is from Paul. However, I believe Paul must have been writing for a fairly extensive secret mystery Gnostic community who formed the idea with and before him of the incarnation of the prophesied messiah. Paul's epistles reflect the public face of that community, in a form that would prove acceptable to the church in combination with the Gospels and other NT canon. The original community also must have had a much more extensive religious vision, based on Jewish myth and other sources, which was partly lost and partly formed the basis for the Gospels, the apocalypse and the apocrypha.

I need to ask if you mean "incarnation," since what you've been saying is exactly the opposite, that Paul or Paul and his cohorts were referencing a celestial deity at all times, with the many mentions of an earthly Jesus only seeming to be that, actually still placing Jesus in the celestial realm.

If we look at the seven letters that are considered as Paul's own work, rather than those perhaps written in his name (less gentle word: forged), we don't see much opportunity for this writing you speak of as directed toward a Gnostic community. Apart from what you call the public face of the letters, there is very little left, quantitatively. They are directed at the practical matters of church-building; even when he does expound theology it is usually for the purpose of resolving the issue that consumed him: why gentiles should be admitted without having to follow Jewish law. I think it is a mistake to even call the letters public, since if you were insisting that Paul's silence on the life of Jesus is telling partly because in an epistle one expects to see personal details about the subject broached, you would also expect them to be addressed to a particular closed audience, as letters are, which is in fact the case with his letters. He is writing only to those fledgling churches, not to another audience or the world at large. Gnostics surely did later seize on aspects of Paul, something that at first came as a surprise to Elaine Pagels. But they were riffing on parts of Paul rather than characterizing his ministry. i also think that that would not have greatly pleased Paul, because Gnostic-like attitudes about advanced knowledge had a bad effect, in Paul's eyes, on the cohesion of the church.

Quote:
Jesus Christ clearly was not invented by Paul alone, since Paul expresses continuity with a spiritual tradition going back to the prophets. The title Christ Jesus literally means 'Anointed Saviour', so any discussion of an incarnate anointed saviour is by definition discussion of Jesus Christ. As well, we have the range of other influences on the evolving tradition, especially the logos theology of Philo of Alexandria, which contains a proto-Christianity shortly before Paul, but again with no knowledge of life and deeds of Jesus.

My point about the spiritual tradition going back to the prophets is that the issue of it would naturally be a human messiah, rather than an invention of a new god--very un-Jewish. Here we have the continuity between scripture and the the evolution of Jesus Christ, with the incipient Christian groups proposing that the man Jesus was either divine or was in the end made divine. This was a violent jolt to Jewish thought and accounts for the hostility of Jews toward Jewish Christians.

Quote:
We are dealing with a problem ex pede Herculem, from the foot - Hercules. From Pythagoras, this is about how we postulate a whole reality based on fragmentary evidence. Paul is only a fragment of what must have been a very rich intellectual tradition of which almost nothing beside remains. "Round the decay of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare, the lone and level sands stretch far away."

I don't see the situation as quite so Ozymandias-like, but there is hardly any doubt that if we had even a fraction of the total written documents that must have existed at the time, documents relating not just to religion but to all areas of daily life, we could say with more certainty how things were.



Mon Mar 07, 2016 9:56 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 704 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
Robert Tulip wrote:
Jesus Christ clearly was not invented by Paul alone, since Paul expresses continuity with a spiritual tradition going back to the prophets. The title Christ Jesus literally means 'Anointed Saviour', so any discussion of an incarnate anointed saviour is by definition discussion of Jesus Christ.


It's a standard claim by mythicists that Jesus was "invented" by Paul, and Robert says others also.There are many problems with this view. It invariably is based on strained and frankly bad interpretation of Paul's letters.

Here's a critical review of a chapter of a book making these Jesus "invented" by Paul claims. The review is helpful in highlighting the problems with mythicist interpretations of Paul's letters.The mythicists need to follow their interpretations of Paul to their logical conclusions.

The standard riposte that the supernatural and resurrection are more improbable than mythicist theories, on philosophical naturalism,doesn't justify the assertion that Paul is saying something different to what he obviously is saying.Or that he believed in some sort of non historical celestial being.

http://diglotting.com/2012/10/06/review ... r-part-ii/



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
DWill
Wed Mar 09, 2016 8:37 am
Profile Email
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
BookTalk.org Hall of Fame

Platinum Contributor

Joined: Jan 2008
Posts: 6364
Location: Luray, Virginia
Thanks: 1850
Thanked: 2037 times in 1542 posts
Gender: Male
Country: United States (us)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
For my part, I wish that mythicists would become more mainstream so that the price of their books would come down. Carrier's is $31.50; this one is $72! I agree that reading "James the brother of the Lord" to mean "one of the select group" is tortured. In the context there seems no reason to think anything other than biological brother.



The following user would like to thank DWill for this post:
Flann 5
Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:29 pm
Profile
User avatar
Years of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membershipYears of membership
Nutty for Books


Joined: Jul 2013
Posts: 1581
Location: Dublin
Thanks: 832
Thanked: 704 times in 604 posts
Gender: Male
Country: Ireland (ie)

Post Re: Ch.11 Epistles (On the Historicity of Jesus - Carrier)
DWill wrote:
For my part, I wish that mythicists would become more mainstream so that the price of their books would come down. Carrier's is $31.50; this one is $72! I agree that reading "James the brother of the Lord" to mean "one of the select group" is tortured. In the context there seems no reason to think anything other than biological brother.


Some of these book prices must be mythical rather than historical, Dwill!



The following user would like to thank Flann 5 for this post:
DWill
Thu Mar 10, 2016 7:55 am
Profile Email
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 19 posts ] • Topic evaluate: Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.Evaluations: 0, 0.00 on the average.  Go to page 1, 2  Next



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:



Site Resources 
HELPFUL INFO:
Forum Rules & Tips
Frequently Asked Questions
BBCode Explained
Author Interview Transcripts
Be a Book Discussion Leader!

IDEAS FOR WHAT TO READ:
Bestsellers
Book Awards
• Book Reviews
• Online Books
• Team Picks
Newspaper Book Sections

WHERE TO BUY BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

BEHIND THE BOOKS:
• Great resource pages are coming!

PROMOTE YOUR BOOK!
Advertise on BookTalk.org
How To Promote Your Book





BookTalk.org is a thriving book discussion forum, online reading group or book club. We read and talk about both fiction and non-fiction books as a community. Our forums are open to anyone in the world. While discussing books is our passion we also have active forums for talking about poetry, short stories, writing and authors. Our general discussion forum section includes forums for discussing science, religion, philosophy, politics, history, current events, arts, entertainment and more. We hope you join us!


Navigation 
MAIN NAVIGATION

HOMEFORUMSOUR BOOKSAUTHOR INTERVIEWSADVERTISELINKSFAQDONATETERMS OF USEPRIVACY POLICYSITEMAP

OTHER PAGES WORTH EXPLORING
Banned Book ListOnline Reading GroupTop 10 Atheism Books

Copyright © BookTalk.org 2002-2019. All rights reserved.
Display Pagerank