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Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Frank 013
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Quote:MadI think you're mistaken about Josephus. He wrote most of his histories under Flavian patronage, and the functioned in large part as an apologetics for Jewish rebellion earlier in the century. Jews under Roman rule were no doubt a part of Josephus' intended history, but they were certainly written with Romans in mind.Josephus did ally himself with the Romans, but I think he considered himself first and foremost a Jew. I would need some evidence to suggest that he was altering his writing style and details for a Roman audience before I would accept that claim. Quote:MadVirgin birth isn't really part of the whole prophecy cycle of the Hebrew Canon, for example. You are correct here it is a mistranslation of "young woman" to "virgin". Which is carried over into the Jesus story from the Old Testament translations. Quote:MadIt seems entirely likely to me that the miraculous episodes are a distinct strand from the episodes that present the fulfillment of prophecy, and it doesn't look to me as though the "allegory" theory of Mark adequately accounts for the presence of both.It seems clear enough to me, because I do not think that he is claiming that it does account for both, I think he believes that many of the miracles were added later. I will have to reread that section to be sure but that's what I got from my original reading. Quote:MadThat's about all the time I have now. I'll try to skim through the rest of the article later on.Don't skim!!! You will miss important material, and I do not want to spend my remaining week and a half before my entrance into the academy correcting your misinterpretation of the author's material.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: 7/26/07 2:19 pm
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Re: No, jesus was not real.

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Frank: You would discount a potentially ground breaking new theory because the new idea does not come from one of your "accepted" authors; I also think that you won't read it because you want there to be a Jesus, I do not believe that you are actually neutral on the matter.This should not be read as a defense or critique of either side of this argument
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Re: No, jesus was not real.

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Rose,I think if you read my last post (which it seems that I posted while you were writing your response) that both the web site author (Price) and the person that he gets much of his theory from (Doherty) are both published. Doherty's work is one of the most disguised in the "mythical Jesus" school of thought. But thanks for your input, it is a good reminder. 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: 7/30/07 2:32 pm
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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A couple of books I think worthy of discussion regarding this topic, by scholars in the field, who have weathered the storms of peer review and critical assessment by educated readers, informed audiences, and close, academic scrutiny.The Birth of ChristianityDiscovering What Happened in the Years Immediately After the Execution of Jesus by John Dominic Crossanas well his work on Paul, In Search of PaulHow Jesus's Apostle Opposed Rome's Empire with God's KingdomSomeone who has debated Crossan on many continents and who comes to very different conclusions (but very far removed from the thesis of a non-existing Jesus) is NT Wright the Bishop of Durham, UK. His New Testament and the People Of God and Jesus and the Victory of God are two parts of a five volume series adressing God and the question of Christian origins.Crossan is an ex-priest and Wright a current bishop. Their work includes careful, critical, imaginative and passionate examination of the wide range of scholarship regarding the historical Jesus, Paul and the birth of Christianity. They do not rely upon scholars who simply agree with them; nor do they avoid data that conflicts with their theses. They have published scores of books, scholarly articles, and have been involved in debates, dialogues and discussions with scholars, academics, clergy, and everyday folk from around the globe- many of which have been published and made available through video and acclaimed work on PBS and other outlets.The two have published a particular element of their long-running dialogue/debate in a book titled The Resurrection of Jesus: John Dominic Crossan And N.T. Wright in Dialogue . The book includes the commentary of eight scholars, theologians, philosophers and historians who then dissect the arguments of Wright and Crossan. Again, the entire field of historical arguments are surveyed and the reader is given the dominant theories, their evolution, and the role of Wright and Crossan in contemporary academic and religious settings.
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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DH,Thanks for the info.I might consider the book "The Birth of Christianity" but the author is a member of the Jesus seminar and like I said before those guys don't consider the question of weather Jesus was a mythical character, they assume that he was real and proceed from there. But they do seem to break all of the other molds from that point on and that to me is still worth taking a look at. 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: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Frank just to point out that while the likes of Doherty may be published, as far as I know, the authors you're referring to have not been published by a reputable publisher. Canadian Humanist Publications? How many serious scholars have their work published by Canadian Humanist Publications? To be honest Frank, from what I've read, there are very few experts in the area who bother considering the Jesus myth hypothesis seriously because they regard it as refuted. This isn't a new theory. It's well over a century old. And experts in the area just aren't really bothered anymore.Here's a quote from Michael Grant, an atheist historian:Quote: This sceptical way of thinking reached its culmination in the argument that Jesus as a human being never existed at all and is a myth.... But above all, if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. Certainly, there are all those discrepancies between one Gospel and another. But we do not deny that an event ever took place just because some pagan historians such as, for example, Livy and Polybius, happen to have described it in differing terms.... To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has 'again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serous scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus' or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary. A few more relevant quotes from experts in the field here:bede.org.uk/price1.htm Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Frank: I think if you read my last post (which it seems that I posted while you were writing your response)... You're right, I didn't see your last post before I posted, or I would have probably avoided this altogether. But now that I'm in it...Frank: ...that both the web site author (Price) and the person that he gets much of his theory from (Doherty) are both published.Price, as in R.G. Price, is self-published. Again I don't mean for that to state that his work is worthless, it just means that it hasn't been held to any kind of peer review. I wouldn't fault someone for deciding not to invest a lot of time and money in reading it. As for Robert M. Price, who R.G. Price includes in his Bibliography, his work seems more thorough. Interestingly, he is also listed as a member of the Jesus Seminar, though, as far as I can tell, he asserts that Jesus did not exist.
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Quote:NiallCanadian Humanist Publications? How many serious scholars have their work published by Canadian Humanist Publications?I have no idea, but that is hardly the point, besides he does live in Canada. I suspect that he had to go that route because of the unpopularity of the subject matter.The point is that the work has been circulated through the intellectual community and has been shown to be widely confirmed by the evidence at hand. Quote:NiallTo be honest Frank, from what I've read, there are very few experts in the area who bother considering the Jesus myth hypothesis seriously because they regard it as refuted. This isn't a new theory. It's well over a century old. And experts in the area just aren't really bothered anymore.Actually the theory seems to be more like 2,000 years old with many of the early churches believing that Jesus was a mythological/spiritual being that was never historical in the first place, and the theory is picking up steam once again.Some of these authors actually address the question of why this issue strengthens and wanes over time. And the more I find out about the "historians" in this field the more it seems to be dominated by religious believers. Which looking back makes sense, who else has the desire to become a biblical historian? Quote:NiallA few more relevant quotes from experts in the field here:In another thread on this topic I submitted something like 20 quotes from historians that said that Jesus could not be found anywhere in history; the quotes ranged from modern atheist scholars to religious leaders looking for evidence to confirm their beliefs.I pulled those quotes from a list of more than 200. If you want we can throw quotes back and forth at each other until I leave for the Corrections academy, but I doubt that that would get us anywhere. Quote:RoseAs for Robert M. Price, who R.G. Price includes in his Bibliography, his work seems more thorough. Interestingly, he is also listed as a member of the Jesus Seminar, though, as far as I can tell, he asserts that Jesus did not exist.That is correct, but as Niall will be quick to point out his view is the minority in that group and the question of Jesus' historical nature does not seem to be the focus of that forum. 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: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Niall,Here is a short list of those quotes that I told you about.It's only 10 pages worth, but it is a good starting point.I bolded some of my favoritesEnjoy!When the Church mythologists established their system, they collected all the writings they could find and managed them as they pleased. It is a matter altogether of uncertainty to us whether such of the writings as now appear under the name of the Old and New Testaments are in the same state in which those collectors say they found them, or whether they added, altered, abridged or dressed them up.-Thomas Paine (The Age of Reason) The world has been for a long time engaged in writing lives of Jesus... The library of such books has grown since then. But when we come to examine them, one startling fact confronts us: all of these books relate to a personage concerning whom there does not exist a single scrap of contemporary information -- not one! By accepted tradition he was born in the reign of Augustus, the great literary age of the nation of which he was a subject. In the Augustan age historians flourished; poets, orators, critics and travelers abounded. Yet not one mentions the name of Jesus Christ, much less any incident in his life. -Moncure D. Conway [1832 - 1907] (Modern Thought) It is only in comparatively modern times that the possibility was considered that Jesus does not belong to history at all.-J.M. Robertson (Pagan Christs) Whether considered as the God made human, or as man made divine, this character never existed as a person.-Gerald Massey, Egyptologist and historical scholar (Gerald Massey's Lectures: Gnostic and Historic Christianity, 1900) Many people-- then and now-- have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as "letters of Paul." Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen "Pauline" letters now included in the New Testament. collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus-- letters written in a style different from Paul's and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul's own letters. About the authorship of Ephesias, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the "deutero-Pauline"-- literally, secondarily Pauline-- letters."-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (Adam, Eve, and the Serpent) We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels) Some hoped to penetrate the various accounts and to discover the "historical Jesus". . . and that sorting out "authentic" material in the gospels was virtually impossible in the absence of independent evidence."-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University We can recreate dimensions of the world in which he lived, but outside of the Christian scriptures, we cannot locate him historically within that world.-Gerald A. Larue (The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read) The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong.-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?) Far from being an intimate of an intimate of Jesus, Mark wrote at the forth remove from Jesus.-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?) Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?) All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.-Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36) The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.-Bishop John Shelby Spong Many modern Biblical archaeologists now believe that the village of Nazareth did not exist at the time of the birth and early life of Jesus. There is simply no evidence for it.-Alan Albert Snow (The Book Your Church Doesn't Want You To Read) But even if it could be proved that John's Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who "John" was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations-- are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person.-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament) It was not until the third century that Jesus' cross of execution became a common symbol of the Christian faith.-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament) What one believes and what one can demonstrate historically are usually two different things.-Robert J. Miller, Bible scholar, (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p. 9) When it comes to the historical question about the Gospels, I adopt a mediating position-- that is, these are religious records, close to the sources, but they are not in accordance with modern historiographic requirements or professional standards.-David Noel Freedman, Bible scholar and general editor of the Anchor Bible series (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p.34)It is said that the last recourse of the Bible apologist is to fall back upon allegory. After all, when confronted with the many hundreds of biblical problems, allegory permits one to interpret anything however one might please.-Gene Kasmar, Minnesota Atheists Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them.-Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College (Bible Review, June 1994) A generation after Jesus' death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large number of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.-Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College (Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 37) James Dunn says that the Sermon on the Mount, mentioned only by Matthew, "is in fact not historical."How historical can the Gospels be? Are Murphy-O-Conner's speculations concerning Jesus' baptism by John simply wrong-headed? How can we really know if the baptism, or any other event written about in the Gospels, is historical?-Daniel P. Sullivan (Bible Review, June 1996, Vol. XII, Number 3, p. 5) David Friedrich Strauss (The Life of Jesus, 1836), had argued that the Gospels could not be read as straightforward accounts of what Jesus actually did and said; rather, the evangelists and later redactors and commentators, influenced by their religious beliefs, had made use of myths and legends that rendered the gospel narratives, and traditional accounts of Jesus' life, unreliable as sources of historical information.-Bible Review, October 1996, Vol. XII, Number 5, p. 39 The Gospel authors were Jews writing within the midrashic tradition and intended their stories to be read as interpretive narratives, not historical accounts.-Bishop Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "Who Wrote the Bible," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars-- from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Once written, many experts believe, the Gospels were redacted, or edited, repeatedly as they were copied and circulated among church elders during the last first and early second centuries.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) The tradition attributing the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is first noted by Irenaeus in A.D. 180. It is a tradition based largely on what some view as the writer's reference to himself as "the beloved disciple" and "the disciple whom Jesus loved." Current objection to John's authorship are based largely on modern textural analyses that strongly suggest the fourth Gospel was the work of several hands, probably followers of an elderly teacher in Asia Minor named John who claimed as a young man to have been a disciple of Jesus.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Some scholars say so many revisions occurred in the 100 years following Jesus' death that no one can be absolutely sure of the accuracy or authenticity of the Gospels, especially of the words the authors attributed to Jesus himself.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Three letters that Paul allegedly wrote to his friends and former co-workers Timothy and Titus are now widely disputed as having come from Paul's hand.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) The Epistle of James is a practical book, light on theology and full of advice on ethical behavior. Even so, its place in the Bible has been challenged repeatedly over the years. It is generally believed to have been written near the end of the first century to Jewish Christians. . . but scholars are unable conclusively to identify the writer.Five men named James appear in the New Testament: the brother of Jesus, the son of Zebedee, the son of Alphaeus, "James the younger" and the father of the Apostle Jude.Little is known of the last three, and since the son of Zebedee was martyred in A.D. 44, tradition has leaned toward the brother of Jesus. However, the writer never claims to be Jesus' brother. And scholars find the language too erudite for a simple Palestinian. This letter is also disputed on theological grounds. Martin Luther called it "an epistle of straw" that did not belong in the Bible because it seemed to contradict Paul's teachings that salvation comes by faith as a "gift of God"-- not by good works.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) The origins of the three letters of John are also far from certain.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Christian tradition has held that the Apostle Peter wrote the first [letter], probably in Rome shortly before his martyrdom about A.D. 65. However, some modern scholars cite the epistle's cultivated language and its references to persecutions that did not occur until the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) as evidence that it was actually written by Peter's disciples sometime later.Second Peter has suffered even harsher scrutiny. Many scholars consider it the latest of all New Testament books, written around A.D. 125. The letter was never mentioned in second-century writings and was excluded from some church canons into the fifth century. "This letter cannot have been written by Peter," wrote Werner Kummel, a Heidelberg University scholar, in his highly regarded Introduction to the New Testament.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) The letter of Jude also is considered too late to have been written by the attested author-- "the brother of James" and, thus, of Jesus. The letter, believed written early in the second century.-Jeffery L. Sheler, "The catholic papers," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality.-Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Quran, and Science) The bottom line is we really don't know for sure who wrote the Gospels.-Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in "The Four Gospels," (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990) Most scholars have come to acknowledge, was done not by the Apostles but by their anonymous followers (or their followers' followers). Each presented a somewhat different picture of Jesus' life. The earliest appeared to have been written some 40 years after his Crucifixion.-David Van Biema, "The Gospel Truth?" (Time, April 8, 1996) So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that "we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus."-Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg, the foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926 The Synoptic Gospels employ techniques that we today associate with fiction.-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43) Josephus says that he himself witnessed a certain Eleazar casting out demons by a method of exorcism that had been given to Solomon by God himself-- while Vespasian watched! In the same work, Josephus tells the story of a rainmaker, Onias (14.2.1).-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43) For Mark's gospel to work, for instance, you must believe that Isaiah 40:3 (quoted, in a slightly distorted form, in Mark 1:2-3) correctly predicted that a stranger named John would come out of the desert to prepare the way for Jesus. It will then come as something of a surprise to learn in the first chapter of Luke that John is a near relative, well known to Jesus' family.-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43) The narrative conventions and world outlook of the gospel prohibit our using it as a historical record of that year.-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 54) Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.-C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy) The gospels are very peculiar types of literature. They're not biographies.-Paula Fredriksen, Professor and historian of early Christianity, Boston University (in the PBS documentary, From Jesus to Christ, aired in 199 The gospels are not eyewitness accounts-Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School We are led to conclude that, in Paul's past, there was no historical Jesus. Rather, the activities of the Son about which God's gospel in scripture told, as interpreted by Paul, had taken place in the spiritual realm and were accessible only through revelation.-Earl Doherty, "The Jesus Puzzle," p.83 Before the Gospels were adopted as history, no record exists that he was ever in the city of Jerusalem at all-- or anywhere else on earth.-Earl Doherty, "The Jesus Puzzle," p.141 Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn't one any more. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern remythologizings of Jesus. Every "historical Jesus" is a Christ of faith, of somebody's faith. So the "historical Jesus" of modern scholarship is no less a fiction.-Robert M. Price, "Jesus: Fact or Fiction, A Dialogue With Dr. Robert Price and Rev. John Rankin," Opening Statement It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last."-Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute (Deconstructing Jesus, p. 260)Even though it is clear through reading these quotes that many of the writers believe in a historical Jesus what they all seem to agree on is that he has not been found in any historical context. 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: 7/30/07 11:05 pm
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Re: Why do people believe that Jesus was a real person?

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Frank, as you have pointed out, a lot of people you've quoted actually believe that Jesus existed.I mean seriously, Mathew, Mark, Luke and John might not have written their gospels? Stop the presses!As for the older works you've cited, like I said, the debate was settled over 100 years ago really, around the time the people you're quoting proposed their theories. I really don't care what somebody from Minessota Atheists thinks about anything, and that pretty much leaves you're two favourites.G2G. Full of Porn*http://plainofpillars.blogspot.com
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