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Jesus

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Dissident Heart

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Jesus

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the New Testament Gateway: Historical Jesus link is an excellent starting point for identifying the leading scholars in the field. Make sure to examine the Books/Articles/Reviews section. The Jesus Seminar provides a collection of scholarly work where the words and deeds of Jesus are decided upon through a painstaking public forum of debate, dialogue and actual voting. Words that come straight from Jesus get a red vote; words that Jesus probably said get a pink vote; words that Jesus didn't say, but contain similar ideas get a gray vote; words that are not Jesus' and are fully the result of later redaction get a black vote. Crucial to the Jesus Seminar is the inclusion of non-canonical text, such as the Gospel of Thomas and others found in Nag Hamadi and historical Gnostic sources. The Seminar is roundly rejected by the more Evangelical and Fundamentalist Christian scholars for a number of reasons: it's historical-critical approach to Scripture; it's allowing of extra-canonical text into the discussion regarding the historical Jesus; and its democratic approach to public voting regarding scholarly conclusions. Finally, the Seminar provides rich, conflicting, and highly engaging array of portraits of what Jesus said and did, few of which add up to the cosmic tyrant that much of Christian orthodoxy has identified as Lord and Savior.Historical Jesus Theories is an excellent assortment of the leading authors and their books on the subject. You'll find a good mix of views from Jesus as Myth, or Revolutionary, or Apocalyptic Prophet, or Jewish Cynic, Sage and Mystic, to Savior. I hope it helps display the rich field of study that makes upthe "Quest for the Historical Jesus", and avoids simplistic reductions in any direction; be they "The Bible is absolutely authoritative and flawless" or its twin "The Bible is total hogwash and nonsense".
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Re: Jesus

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Quote:The Jesus Seminar provides a collection of scholarly work where the words and deeds of Jesus are decided upon through a painstaking public forum of debate, dialogue and actual voting. Words that come straight from Jesus get a red vote; words that Jesus probably said get a pink vote; words that Jesus didn't say, but contain similar ideas get a gray vote; words that are not Jesus' and are fully the result of later redaction get a black vote.So according to the above criteria all honest scholars must vote black for all Jesus quotes. Since there is zero qualified evidence to show that Jesus even really lived, there is absolutely no possible way to establish anything attributed to him as spoken by a real person. There problem solved.Now lets move on to the quotes of Hercules. Which of his quotes were made by the real son of Zeus and which were adlibbed later? Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"Edited by: Frank 013 at: 7/18/07 12:34 pm
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Dissident Heart

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Re: Jesus

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Frank: So according to the above criteria all honest scholars must vote black for all Jesus quotes.Actually, I didn't describe the criteria for how the scholars arrive at red/pink/gray/black designations. By the way, your approach is really the flip side of the fundamentalist demand that all Jesus' words be red...again, the either it's all fact or all fiction is a spurious alternative.Frank: Since there is zero qualified evidence to show that Jesus even really lived, there is absolutely no possible way to establish anything attributed to him as spoken by a real person.Actually, the text is evidence and it does qualify as something above zero qualification...what exactly that something is, is precisely the kind of work that takes place with the Jesus Seminar. Your blanket dismissal would be simply dismissed in serious scholastic settings.
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Quote:DHActually, the text is evidence and it does qualify as something above zero qualification...what exactly that something is, is precisely the kind of work that takes place with the Jesus Seminar. Your blanket dismissal would be simply dismissed in serious scholastic settings.The bible is not a reliable source for determining the historical existence of a person. There are to many fictional characters in the book to make that claim without other supporting evidence. The text is evidence of text, nothing more; one cannot just decide that Jesus existed from a book that is obviously largely fictional without some supporting historical evidence, and there is NONE! There is not a shred of evidence that supports a Jesus claim from the time Jesus was said to have lived. This is odd because many of his alleged deeds would have gotten substantial attention, even his less divine actions like tipping over tables in the most important Jewish temple on the planet during a religious holiday would have been big news in that area, yet we have zero records for this, or any other action he was said to have taken. There are records of other false messiahs being crucified during that time period yet nothing for Jesus, even considering the unique nature of his trial Hmmm... The earliest surviving texts are from "Paul" (Which Paul that was is open to debate) and are dated some 70 years after the alleged death of Jesus. Furthermore Paul never claimed to have met an earthly Jesus. Every other record is well beyond the life expectancy of anyone who could have met the man and counts as nothing more than passing along what someone else told them.The bible suffers from to many errors and clearly made up B.S. to be taken as an authority on anything. (Except maybe an example of bad storytelling) And the bible certainly cannot be used as a historical document.So any honest scholar would dismiss any claim of a historical Jesus without further evidence, and many have. Later Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"Edited by: Frank 013 at: 7/20/07 9:42 am
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Quote:The bible is not a reliable source for determining the historical existence of a person. There are to many fictional characters in the book to make that claim without other supporting evidence.It isn't a book. It's a collection of texts. There may be many fictional characters in certain texts, but you can hardly dismiss Acts of the Apostles based on Job.When it comes down to it, most historians seem to believe that Jesus probably existed. Though perhaps you do not think that most historians are honest scholars? And please note that this is not the same thing as arguing that the events described in the Gospels occurred. There is a general lack of records for everything that happened in Palestine at the time Jesus was supposed to have lived. That might have something to do with the fact that the Romans torched the place later on during the first century.Here's a fairly broad overview of the issues you've raised:www.bede.org.uk/jesusmyth.htmI particularly like the author's section on Hannibal. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
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Re: Jesus

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Quote:Though perhaps you do not think that most historians are honest scholars? I think that like most people scholars make leaps of faith. Quote:And please note that this is not the same thing as arguing that the events described in the Gospels occurred. Correct, but my point is that you can't know what actually happened or who was actually involved without some additional evidence. But in the case of Jesus it is commonly done.Quote:There is a general lack of records for everything that happened in Palestine at the time Jesus was supposed to have lived. That might have something to do with the fact that the Romans torched the place later on during the first century.That's a common excuse and that's all it is. It does not matter why there is no other evidence it only matters that there is none; because without it any further evidence any claims or theories are purely speculation.Of course I will admit that it is possible that Jesus had thousands of followers but none bothered to record their experiences with him. It is also possible that every single record of the man was erased from history, and it is possible that he never existed at all, which is the most likely?It is possible that the entire chronicles and first hand writings of Hercules burned up in Alexandria but we do not jump to the conclusion of his existence based off of that chance. No matter how many reasonable excuses are made for the absence of evidence, they are just excuses there is no way of knowing how realistic each is. When people are inspired they do all sorts of things to record their mood, they write journals, they paint, they draw, they carve statues, sculpt, and sing songs... among others. Yet the story of Jesus still only manages to surface in the historical records a full generation after his alleged death and then suddenly it is commonplace.That is truely amazing. Of course all of those excuses fail to take into account the similarities of the Jesus story to other earlier myths. The virgin birth, the divine baby hunted by an evil ruler, the 3 magi, the 12 apostles all have been done before the Jesus story. Even the name Jesus Christ translates into "the christened sun" in the old Latin and Egyptian languages.There is of course much more material that supports the Jesus as a myth theory but I think a one page post is enough for now.Later Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"
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Re: Jesus

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Niall,After reading the site information you linked to I was astounded by how asinine the writer was.He says things like "Jesus made a very small splash while he was alive" how would he know this? The only record of Jesus' existence (the biblical writings) differs considerably from the authors account and there is no other record to refer to. It is true that if Jesus did exist he would have had to have slipped under the radar of all of the major authorities of the time, but to assume he did is simply speculation.His Hannibal theory is equally absurd, he is leaving out hordes of physical evidence from battle sites that not only date correctly to the time period but coincide in location with the transcribed roman records.No such evidence exists for Jesus. The author also (conveniently) leaves out the non roman historians of the area who would have had an interest in the exploits of Jesus and who we have surviving records for.The author goes on to attempt to refute the pagan origins of Christianity. He does this by saying that the similarities are from a very broad sampling.This is actually true, what the author leaves out is that all of these religions were brought back to Rome long before Christianity came along and the authors of the biblical text had access to them as did all the people of the provinces of Rome. He also fails to mention that the bulk of the copied religious story elements are from a small sampling of the more popular religions of the time. And that the other similarities are probably due to the fact that Christianity, like the Persian and Gallic religions were all influenced by the Greeks who spread their religious ideas throughout those areas long before the Romans conquered them. Josephus... I am surprised how often this guy is still brought up. He was born too late to be a credible witness to a Jesus person, besides anything in the Josephus writings was likely forged or altered by a man named Eusebius who served as an ecclesiastical church historian and bishop. The first mention of Jesus by Josephus came from Eusebius. None of the earlier church fathers mention Josephus' Jesus. The author does try to explain this but he leaves out some important information. In Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, he writes, "We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity." (Vol. 8, chapter 2). In his Praeparatio Evangelica, he includes a chapter titled, "How it may be Lawful and Fitting to use Falsehood as a Medicine, and for the Benefit of those who Want to be Deceived" (book 12, chapter 32).But even if the work of Josephus was not changed or forged the information could have only been told to him by others and is not considered reliable. FYI Josephus wrote about Hercules as well, should we suddenly start believing in the son of Zeus and his exploits? And even though Origen mentions a Jesus in the works of Josephus (which is very different from the Eusebius version) it does not change the fact that Josephus' information is all second hand (at best) and is not reliable. So in short the author is attempting to make his point by leaving out important information and misrepresenting the facts he does give.Later Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"Edited by: Frank 013 at: 7/21/07 8:20 pm
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Re: Jesus

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Jesus made no splash. He walked on water.Why did I just say that? It might be the Bacardi speaking....I mean typing.
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Quote: He says things like ?Jesus made a very small splash while he was alive? how would he know this? The only record of Jesus? existence (the biblical writings) differs considerably from the authors account and there is no other record to refer to. Well I imagine that the author is basing his view on the accounts of the various gospels. Nothing particularly amazing ever occurred in public. Jesus had a short career and seems to have spent a lot of that time dealing with the dregs of society. He died what was considered a humiliating death. Quote:His Hannibal theory is equally absurd, he is leaving out hordes of physical evidence from battle sites that not only date correctly to the time period but coincide in location with the transcribed roman records. These records only prove that battles happened, not that Hannibal existed. Consider the fact that Hannibal made a much greater splash than Jesus during his lifetime. Even after attacking Rome with a herd of elephants, we don't have contemporary records to indicate that he existed.The point here is not that Hannibal did not exist, but that sometimes, historians have to work with what they have. Your standards are unrealistic. The fact is that the earliest references to Jesus indicate that even non-Christians who would have lived during the time ( or who would have known people who would have been Jesus' contemporaries) did not question his existence. Josephus was born slightly after Jesus was supposed to have lived. While I was not around for 1982, I'd feel confident that if I were writing a local history, I'd have enough knowledge of the time to not refer to a man some claimed did not exist without commenting on the matter. As for the author leaving out information, well to be fair, it's a blog entry and he provides a bibliography which goes into far greater detail on the relevant matters. Quote:FYI Josephus wrote about Hercules as well, should we suddenly start believing in the son of Zeus and his exploits? Hardly a proper comparison.For one thing, we should not confuse the question of Hercules with the question of whether or not some accounts of his life are accurate. It's also important to point out that there is a difference between commenting on a matter supposed to have happened during your lifetime and something that was supposed to have happened over a thousands years before you were born.
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Quote:Well I imagine that the author is basing his view on the accounts of the various gospels. Nothing particularly amazing ever occurred in public.So the author accepts the writings of the gospels that happened of a relatively uneventful nature but does not accept the more fantastic elements like the hordes of people climbing over one another just to get a look at Jesus or the table tipping episode in the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.Again, how does he separate the wheat from the chaff with absolutely no corroborating evidence?He obviously believes some of it to be fictional because it can't all be real... but it all can be fictional... and we would have exactly the same amount of evidence for it if it was a fictional story. Odd the way that works... no? Quote:These records only prove that battles happened, not that Hannibal existed. Maybe so, but when combined with the other evidence there is at least support for those records, for Jesus there is still NOTHING.Quote:The point here is not that Hannibal did not exist, but that sometimes, historians have to work with what they have. Your standards are unrealistic.These are not my standards; they are the standards that every historical figure is held to... except Jesus. All other historical figures must have some link to evidence from the time that they lived, sometimes it is not much, but there must be some trace of the person's real life. The author's account of Hannibal is ridiculous because of what would be required to make up an enemy like him, just to show their prowess. Even his motivation is bad; Hannibal embarrassed the Roman armies for years before he was finally defeated, and it was decades before Carthage was ultimately destroyed. There were too many different record keepers and people in charge for a conspiracy of that nature to be realistic. Whole cities and survivors would need to be silenced and then they would have to litter fake battlefields with relics for future generations to dig up. The point is even though some of the material is not contemporary to Hannibal's life time it points to material that is. Which makes the original material that much more reliable. But the biblical account of Jesus does not point us to any contemporary evidence. In Jesus' case there is still Nothing. Quote:Josephus was born slightly after Jesus was supposed to have lived. While I was not around for 1982, I'd feel confident that if I were writing a local history, I'd have enough knowledge of the time to not refer to a man some claimed did not exist without commenting on the matter. How would he have determined if someone did not exist back then? Josephus did mention that he did not believe that this man, that he never had seen or met was not the messiah, but he had no reason to question his actual existence?There were many actual false messiahs wandering around, he did not need to meet all of them to believe that they were out there and I do not believe that there were people denying Jesus' existence, for the same reason Josephus wouldn't be expected to, but they did deny his divinity. Quote:As for the author leaving out information, well to be fair, it's a blog entry and he provides a bibliography which goes into far greater detail on the relevant matters. Ok, so he is just trying to dupe his casual readers then. Quote:Hardly a proper comparison. It is nearly the exact same thing, even the stories are similar. Born of the union between a god and a human woman, did great deeds died horribly and ascended to heaven. And there is the same amount of evidence for both as well, second hand accounts only. (some of the ones for Hercules were done by Plato not so very long after Hercules was said to have lived) and only fantastic tales of their deeds exist. There is no realistic version of the Jesus character to refer to, there is no description of Jesus anywhere in the biblical text, there are no carpentry relics or artifacts, no personal writings, no followers were inspired enough to even describe what Jesus looked like. All of this points to a mythical character. For the record I do not care one way or the other if there was a guy named Jesus wandering around back then. His actual existence says nothing about his alleged divinity. But with one single, rather faulty, fantastic, late written, and altered account of the man and zero corroborating evidence; I would say his historical existence is light years from being proven. And for someone to claim that they can accurately determine what he actually said as opposed to what might have been made up is preposterous.Later Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a wellpreserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out,shouting..."Holy Crap...what a ride!"Edited by: Frank 013 at: 7/21/07 8:29 pm
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