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Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier) 
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 Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)



Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:48 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
Here Carrier sets out to determine what should count as evidence. He decides only writings that can be dated back to 120 or earlier or any source recording info from that date or earlier. The reason is that this information would be more reliable--closer to the time that Christ supposedly lived and less likely to be contaminated with later Christian dogma and historical revisionism. These include seven of Paul's epistles (1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon), 1 Peter, the three Johns, James and Hebrews could be useful although not good primary documents to lean on. The Gospels, of course, have to be studied as does Acts because these are the only surviving earliest documents that describe a historical Jesus and the events following his death. Carrier accepts 1 Clement as possibly coming out of the 60s instead of the 80s or 90s of traditional biblical scholarship and so merits analysis.

Carrier points out that these NT writings are the only writings that treat Jesus as if he really existed. By the second century, the documents are written by people who believed it unquestioningly and so aren't good material for our purposes. He states that after 90 "[t]here is no other source, document or artifact that independently corroborates the historical reality of Jesus." They all rest depend upon the gospels or other Christian literature rather than other firsthand sources. By the 90s, no one who would have followed Jesus would have been alive--these people would have been in their 80s at the very least and few people back then lived that long. Most would have been in their 90s and few people today live that long. So by the time these extrabiblical sources were written, the authors were were not receiving firsthand knowledge.

Moreover, evidence contrary to what a certain sect believed about Jesus would have been purged by that sect. For example, if Paul wrote a letter explicitly stating that Jesus did not exist as literally historical, sects that viewed Jesus as historical would have been purged it. While we can't be certain how often this happened, we can be certain that such documents would have been purged far more often than any that asserted the historicity of Jesus. Just something to keep in mind.



Last edited by DB Roy on Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Fri Sep 16, 2016 4:23 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
DB Roy wrote:
He decides only writings that can be dated back to 120 or earlier or any source recording info from that date or earlier. The reason is that this information would be more reliable--closer to the time that Christ supposedly lived and less likely to be contaminated with later Christian dogma and historical revisionism.


I've been over all this stuff before D.B. Both Josephus and Tacitus were in excellent positions to access official Roman records. You can't rule Tacitus out because of being second century. That's not how historians do history.

DB Roy wrote:
These include seven of Paul's epistles (1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Romans, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians and Philemon), 1 Peter, the three Johns, James and Hebrews could be useful although not good primary documents to lean on.


You're welcome to follow Carrier's brand of exegesis on Romans,Galatians and Hebrews if you want to.

It's quite clear though that Paul describes Christ's ancestry precisely as he does his own descent from the Hebrew patriarchs, where he says Christ is likewise a descendant of theirs. In Galatians he says Jesus was born of a woman and under the law.

Where was this woman,up in the sub-lunar realm? And what Jewish laws was he under up there? Keeping the Sabbath and dietary laws and not coveting his neighbour's (whoever they were) donkey and goods?
Oh, and the last supper took place up there too I suppose. Was James his brother invited?

Hebrews speaks of his coming from the tribe of Judah and suffering outside the gate. How was he a human descendant of Judah in that sub-lunar zone? Or Abraham for that matter.

DB Roy wrote:
The Gospels, of course, have to be studied as does Acts because these are the only surviving earliest documents that describe a historical Jesus and the events following his death. Carrier accepts 1 Clement as possibly coming out of the 60s instead of the 80s or 90s of traditional biblical scholarship and so merits analysis.


Sure and Carrier says the gospels are "myths" but Acts a continuation from the gospel by Luke the same author, is "historical fiction" complete with a "chaste romance" between Paul and Lydia.

Mark he says was modeled on Homer and Richard has his own wondrous brand of allegorizing people and events in Mark's gospel.

DB Roy wrote:
Moreover, evidence contrary to what a certain sect believed about Jesus would have been purged by that sect. For example, if Paul wrote a letter explicitly stating that Jesus did not exist as literally historical, sects that viewed Jesus as historical would have been purged it.

DB Roy wrote:
While we can't be certain how often this happened, we can be certain that such documents would have been purged far more often than any that asserted the historicity of Jesus. Just something to keep in mind.


Here's the thing though, all the gospels clearly portray Jesus as a real human historical person and if you think that this is not what Luke is saying in his introduction,I give up on even trying to convince you.

Of course conspiracy theory is central to mythicism. All allegations of conspiratorial editing founder on the simple reality of copying and diffusion of the gospels and letters throughout the churches far and wide.

No centralized control of transmission was possible. Conspiracy theorists must show from the various streams of transmission such co-ordinated conspiratorial altering of the texts.

Not even the textual critic Ehrman, who is no fundie, would give the time of day to that notion.

For a sample of Richard Carrier's interpretation of the texts and allegorizing of the gospels see his opening statement and the rebuttal sections of this debate he had with Wm. Lane Craig.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akd6qzFYzX8



Last edited by Flann 5 on Fri Sep 16, 2016 7:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Sep 16, 2016 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
Flann 5 wrote:
I've been over all this stuff before D.B. Both Josephus and Tacitus were in excellent positions to access official Roman records. You can't rule Tacitus out because of being second century. That's not how historians do history.


Yes, we have been over this stuff before. TOO MANY TIMES!! So I did something very nice--I have listed for you a thread that explains ONCE AGAIN how Josephus and Tacitus are unreliable sources for this historic Jesus. I am NOT going to explain again here because this has been done to death and yet here you are again bringing up the same crap that was long ago rebutted and for which you wrote not a word to call into question--until now. So here it is:

the-case-against-the-historic-jesus-christ-t19779.html

And if you have issues with it, list them in that thread, please--where you should have done so LONG AGO!

DB Roy wrote:

You're welcome to follow Carrier's brand of exegesis on Romans,Galatians and Hebrews if you want to.

It's quite clear though that Paul describes Christ's ancestry precisely as he does his own descent from the Hebrew patriarchs, where he says Christ is likewise a descendant of theirs. In Galatians he says Jesus was born of a woman and under the law.

Where was this woman,up in the sub-lunar realm? And what Jewish laws was he under up there? Keeping the Sabbath and dietary laws and not coveting his neighbour's (whoever they were) donkey and goods?
Oh, and the last supper took place up there too I suppose. Was James his brother invited?

Hebrews speaks of his coming from the tribe of Judah and suffering outside the gate. How was he a human descendant of Judah in that sub-lunar zone? Or Abraham for that matter.


Wouldn't it be a lot easier to talk about what Carrier says about these books when we actually get to that part?? You're trying to rebut something you have admitted numerous times now that you have not read. So how do you know what he has to say??? Wait until we get around to discussing it THEN you can offer a rebuttal. Gee, I'd think your mind was already made up or something.

DB Roy wrote:
Sure and Carrier says the gospels are "myths" but Acts a continuation from the gospel by Luke the same author, is "historical fiction" complete with a "chaste romance" between Paul and Lydia.

Mark he says was modeled on Homer and Richard has his own wondrous brand of allegorizing people and events in Mark's gospel.


For crying out loud, he's only talking about the evidence we are going to discuss and why he chose those particular writings and you're already flying off the handle. You shouldn't be responding to this at all because nothing has said about those books yet. If you have an issue with his choice of evidence or with his method of choosing them, that's fine, but you're already trying to rebut a discussion that hasn't been presented to you yet.

Wait until we get around to this stuff BEFORE you respond to it because you don't what it is since you have not read the book which is why this discussion exists. Geesh.



Fri Sep 16, 2016 9:17 pm
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Post Re: Ch. 7: Primary Sources (On the Historicity of Jesus by Richard Carrier)
DB Roy wrote:

Flann 5 wrote:
I've been over all this stuff before D.B. Both Josephus and Tacitus were in excellent positions to access official Roman records. You can't rule Tacitus out because of being second century. That's not how historians do history.




Yes, we have been over this stuff before. TOO MANY TIMES!! So I did something very nice--I have listed for you a thread that explains ONCE AGAIN how Josephus and Tacitus are unreliable sources for this historic Jesus. I am NOT going to explain again here because this has been done to death and yet here you are again bringing up the same crap that was long ago rebutted and for which you wrote not a word to call into question--until now. So here it is:

the-case-against-the-historic-jesus-christ-t19779.html


First of all people can look at this thread you have provided and judge for themselves. This is the thread where you D.B. Roy 'explain' how Josephus and Tacitus are not reliable. Unfortunately for you, actual trained specialist scholars and historians on Josephus and Tacitus don't agree with you or Richard Carrier.

DB Roy wrote:
And if you have issues with it, list them in that thread, please--where you should have done so LONG AGO!

It's quite clear that you just ignored a detailed response I did provide on that thread on the scholarly views on Josephus.

I'll humour you on this, and show the response I provided on that thread again here.
http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

And this, on one of Carrier's articles on Josephus. https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-cri ... n-Josephus

And again D.B., name a single specialist scholar on Josephus who agrees with Carrier's so called analysis? You can of course produce your own peer reviewed scholarly article on Josephus and put it up for review.
When you do I might take you seriously.

www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/peopl ... sus-exist/


DB Roy wrote:
Wouldn't it be a lot easier to talk about what Carrier says about these books when we actually get to that part?? You're trying to rebut something you have admitted numerous times now that you have not read. So how do you know what he has to say??? Wait until we get around to discussing it THEN you can offer a rebuttal. Gee, I'd think your mind was already made up or something.

I know what Carrier's views are having watched hours of his online talks on this subject. I'm not deaf. I provided numerous links providing rebuttals and critiques of his work on that thread,with my own criticisms.


DB Roy wrote:
DB Roy wrote:
Sure and Carrier says the gospels are "myths" but Acts a continuation from the gospel by Luke the same author, is "historical fiction" complete with a "chaste romance" between Paul and Lydia.

Mark he says was modeled on Homer and Richard has his own wondrous brand of allegorizing people and events in Mark's gospel.




For crying out loud, he's only talking about the evidence we are going to discuss and why he chose those particular writings and you're already flying off the handle. You shouldn't be responding to this at all because nothing has said about those books yet. If you have an issue with his choice of evidence or with his method of choosing them, that's fine, but you're already trying to rebut a discussion that hasn't been presented to you yet.


Again you forget,I already addressed his thesis on that thread. I don't have to wait for some point in his book to critique his thesis.
In reality he has a theory which he imposes on the gospels,Paul's letters and other biblical texts.

Alleged hallucinations of a sub-lunar Jesus,pagan copycat assertions,a theory that the gospel of Mark is deliberately constructed myth emulating Homer,and Greek mystery religions.

This theory drags him into absurd assertions,bad exegesis,and error piled upon error in trying to mix and match imagined parallels from the O.T., Greek myth and mystery religions.

I don't fault him on all points. Sometimes he recognizes there is typology in the O.T. but goes over the top with it. Jesus pointed to as the lamb of God by John the Baptist,is clearly a typological description.

Christianity teaches the providential control by God of all things, even a sparrow falling to the ground. Carrier's naturalism rejects this so he sees events that may be typological as too coincidental to be real history,and posits literary construction

Mark Goodacre charitably referred to his imaginative leaps. Carrier goes way overboard with this and jumbles it with pagan myth and mystery religion which ends in a nonsense reading of Mark.

He's right though to recognize the messianic prophecy of a suffering messiah in the O.T. unlike some other skeptics, but he just construes this as Paul and the apostles creating Christ out of hallucinations and these texts.

He can't accept that an historical Christ actually died in fulfillment of these prophecies.

In the debate with Wm. Lane Craig some examples of how this works in practice were shown.

On that other thread, I provided a link to a book where his ideas and methodology in this are critiqued in some detail.

The writers are quite harsh rhetorically, but the criticisms of his theories and works are undoubtedly accurate and correct most if not all the time.

See chapters 5 and 9 if interested. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetic ... ertide.pdf

The agnostic N.T.scholar Bart Ehrman described Carrier's book as "a mass of errors." His theory imposes on the gospels a category error on genre,and the resultant methodology, unfortunately but inevitably produces these bizarre and absurd results.



Last edited by Flann 5 on Sat Sep 17, 2016 1:24 pm, edited 4 times in total.



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