The Best Case for Jesus

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Bernard Muller
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:00 pm

to Sheshbazzar,
How YOU arrived at YOUR previously stated personal belief Zacchaeus the tax collector didn't exist.
What methodology did YOU employ to arrive at such a conclusion or belief?
If you have a valid and rational methodology for identifying and separating fictional persons from historical ones it would be a valuable contribution to scholars of history everywhere.
How many times are you going to ask me the same question and pretend I did not answer it already?
And my methodology is implied in my reply.

Your methodology is: because there were wealthy tax collectors in these days, Zacchaeus' existence was likely.
Why don't you extend your methodology to Peter and brothers James & John, declared in the gospels as fishermen in the sea of Galilee, when we know there were fishermen in that lake?
But whether or not the author of 'Mark', (which almost all critical scholars agree, was not the 'apostle Mark' of the story) was well known as the writer of 'The Gospel which is According to Mark' to his friends and neighbors is irrelevant to the fact that the text of Mark's gospel is a 'prophecy fulfillment' theologically contrived religious fiction cult propaganda production.
Its a story that has moved countless hundreds of millions of hearers and readers to tears, So yes I'd say that constitutes a pretty gripping story. Over 6 billion copies sold, countless numbers of religious books based on that gripping story, thousands of plays, and hundreds of movies.
First some of your numbers are grossly exaggerated ("thousands of plays, and hundreds of movies").
The success of the Christian religion has nothing to do with the gospel of Mark.
The gospels were semi-officially acknowledged not before the end of the second century. And the gospel of Mark was quickly supplanted by other gospels.
Christian beliefs, doctrine and above all the hope the Kingdom will come, and soon, and benefit the Christian elects, is what propelled Christianity forward.
Paul did not need a gospel Jesus in order to greatly expand the range of Christian communities.
Furthermore all the way to the end of the 2nd century and even beyond, many Christian writers and apologists made scant use of the gospels, some even ignoring them completely.
Out of these billions of people now, including me, how many do you expect would have a 'history' and reason for 'existing' consisting of little more than a succession of scenes 'fulfilling' hundreds of ancient Bible prophecies?
No gospel systematically say that all of Jesus' deeds or status was to fulfill prophecies.
gMatthew is the most into that, but gMark has little of it.

These (specifically) fulfillment of prophecies is in:
Mat 2:23 And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazorean."
The prophecies here are only pertaining on Nazareth and Nazarene.
Mat 26:56 "But all this has taken place, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled." Then all the disciples forsook him and fled."
That seems only pertaining to Jesus' arrest.

Furthermore the claims that Jesus' attributes were according to the scriptures does not mean the writers admitted they tailored Jesus' stories according to the OT (which would be foolish & self-defeating, not what the authors wanted to be believed having done) but rather in order to have their Jesus & his attributes having been prophesied and, above all, not coming out of the blue, totally unexpected.
Evidence for that: either the verse(s) of the prophetic writing is/are not mentioned, the OT reference is far from being obvious &/or existing (as for Mat 2:23 & 26:56), or the OT passages quoted (some resulting from cut & paste) by the authors do not fit as applied to their counterparts in Jesus' story.
Furthermore, some of these prophecies used are clearly attributed to somebody else in the OT and not even prophecies.

In other words, the gospel authors "forced" the fulfillment of prophecies in Jesus' story. And not the Jesus' story was derived from the prophetic writings.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

Bernard Muller
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:16 pm

to Sheshbazzar,
That the mention of Zacchaeus the tax collector from Jericho is only to be found in Luke is your only reason for believing that there was never any tax collector from Jericho named Zacchaeus?
Is that all?
No, it's not all. I mentioned three other arguments.
Zacchaeus the tax collector didn't perform any unbelievable miracles, or 'fulfill prophecies'.
A pretty lame excuse, for your unbelief in what may well prove to have been an actual person, if I may say so.
So that's it: if someone "didn't perform any unbelievable miracles, or 'fulfill prophecies'", that means he existed.
But if someone else is said to have performed any unbelievable miracles, or 'fulfill prophecies', he could not have existed. You are obviously not considering these unbelievable miracles, or 'fulfill prophecies' could have been added to that figure by writers. According to you, Alexander the Great did not exist.
That you have chosen that position does serve to make me a bit more confident that the crypt or sarcophagus of Zacchaeus the rich tax collector from Jericho will be located.
Good luck.

Cordially Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

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neilgodfrey
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Feb 01, 2015 12:47 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Leucius Charinus wrote:The Albert Schweitzer effect. The Jesus found often resembles the Jesus being looked for.
Actually, that was someone else's characterization .....
George Tyrrell, Christianity at the Cross-Roads, 1910
Of this state of things Loisy was not slow
to take advantage in L'evangile et L'eglise
directed against the Liberal Protestantism of
Harnack's Wesen des Christentums. The Christ
that Harnack sees, looking back through nine-
teen centuries of Catholic darkness, is only the
reflection of a Liberal Protestant face, seen at
the bottom of a deep well
. Applying Newman's
notion of development to a broader and deeper
problem than Newman's, Loisy contends that the
" idea " of Christ, in its substance and character,
is identical with that of Catholic Christianity
and opposed at nearly all points to that of Liberal
Protestantism.
Interestingly, James C. Hanges comments on this, in Christ, the Image of the Church, p.6:
And it is true, that in posing this question,
one never wanders far from George Tyrrell's now famous description of
the fundamental problem with the answer to Jesus' question offered by
historical Jesus research; the portrait of Jesus discerned by the historian
is simply the murky reflection of the researcher's own face. Honest
scholars recognize the truth of Tyrrell's caution, but, in my view, the
fact that our images of Jesus are always reflections of ourselves is not a
problem to be overcome but an inescapable sociological fact, one that is
crucial to the formation and identification of earliest Christianity.
vridar.org Musings on biblical studies, politics, religion, ethics, human nature, tidbits from science

Sheshbazzar
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Sheshbazzar » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:47 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:No gospel systematically say that all of Jesus' deeds or status was to fulfill prophecies.
gMatthew is the most into that, but gMark has little of it.
1. "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God;
2. As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee.
3. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. ....

With a beginning like that, 'Mark' has already in the first three verses established that his tale is based on what he found "written in the prophets", After that intro there really remains no need to provide much in the way of direct quotations. 'Mark' therefore thereafter mostly just relates his narative and allows the reader to make any connections.
Mark evidently expected his readers either to be quite familiar with the Scriptures, or to be moved by his story to 'search the Scriptures' and seek out the fulfillment connections. Mark's literary method, apart that bold introduction, is very sublime.
_And if the 'short' Mark is the original, he leaves it a 'cliff hanger' allowing his readers to draw their own conclusions as to what had became of the missing Jesus.
IMV 'Mark' is quite the gifted story teller, a prototype as it were of a Gordie Lachance

Matthew on the other hand, appears to lack any confidence that his intended audience will know any of these Scriptures, or ever bother to search through the texts of the Jews, so goes to ridiculous lengths with his 'quoting', with little concern for maintaining context or accuracy, apparently assuming that the ignorant readers will never know the difference when he fudges 'quotations'. Matt's the 'Vern' that would like to 'improve' upon Gordie's compact little tale.

'John' is the 'Teddy Duchamp' of the gospelers, with whom enough of the story is never enough, stuffing it with enough needless additional straw to choke a heard of elephants.

You are welcome to whatever 'personal' beliefs about these texts, and about the 'life' of Jesus, or of Zacchaeus, or whomever, that 'personally' yanks your crank.
Every Jesus 'historicist' here seems to be hell bent upon the inventing of their own unique persuasion. Its no skin off of my ass, as I don't have to believe any of it.

Sheshbazzar

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toejam
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by toejam » Sun Feb 01, 2015 1:55 pm

Sheshbazzar wrote:There is no way that 'Paul's' claim (whichever of the many 'Paul's' it was that had a hand in the production of the 'Pauline' epistles) can validly be credited with 33% probability.
Seriously? You really think it's below 33.3% ? Is it really that implausible that Paul did know James and spoke of him in Galatians regardless of the rest of the details of the meeting? Less than 33.3%? Your bias is there for all to see.
Josephus wrote about several 'Jesus's'. The tiny portions of his work that are allegedly (according to Christian claims) about 'Jesus of Nazareth' are extremely suspicious, in light of Josephus's normal working method of providing vivid and detailed accounts of even notable minor personages among the Jews.
Same thing. You really think Josephus' reference to James is below 33.3% for being authentic ? Is it really that implausible that it does go back to Josephus? The fact that it only refers to Jesus as "the one called Christ" is surprising if it was interpolated by a Christian, as opposed to having him flat out call him "the Christ" in the TF.

I think your confidence in the inauthenticity of these passages is not called for and exposes your bias.
The flaw in the methodology is in the unsupportable assumption of these being valid unbiased and accurate reports.
Nope. If I was making this assumption, then my percentages would be 100%. I have considered potential problems and reflected them in my percentages. You seem to be making the assumption that they're not authentic, assumptions that have yet to have been demonstrated with certainty. Until then, I think 33.3% authentic is being very lenient - against the current scholarly consensus on both claims that would put them higher.
Credibility is not to be assumed
Credibility has not been assumed. The low percentages take into account potential incredibility. You seem to be wanting to assume incredibility.
If you are going to succumb that piss-poor of a methodology, you may as well assign a 50% probability that 500 brethren saw Jesus Christ levitate into the clouds.
You really think the claim that a historical crucified cult leader from whom Christianity emerged who had a brother called James is as implausible as a miracle claim?
Christian type apologetics be damned.
And like most mythicists (not all I should say), it's clear that you're still in anti-theist mode. I think your anger against Christianity is clouding your judgement. As an atheist myself, I'm no fan of Christianity either. But the mistake is to think that any argument that favors some historical foundation is "Christian apologetics".
My study list: https://www.facebook.com/notes/scott-bignell/judeo-christian-origins-bibliography/851830651507208

Sheshbazzar
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Sheshbazzar » Sun Feb 01, 2015 2:05 pm

Bernard Muller wrote: First some of your numbers are grossly exaggerated ("thousands of plays, and hundreds of movies").
Hardly. I wasn't referring only to Broadway Theater and Movie 'Box Office Hits' but to those countless thousands of gospel based reenactments that are performed before church audiences. (used to be standard seasonal fodder in school auditoriums also, ... I am an old fart and attended a good many such in the old one room schoolhouses. )

Sheshbazzar

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Peter Kirby
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:02 pm

Hi Neil,

Thank you for your searching criticism. It is appreciated.

At the moment I don't have much time to type. I think you've got a good point going. It's foolish to put the gospels 'alongside Tacitus' as bona fide historical sources without at least first doing the necessary source criticism, a task too often neglected in the case of the gospels by the eager Jesus questers.

So perhaps this use of the gospels as 'prima facie' evidence must currently be struck.

However, Tacitus' Annals do not present any very serious qualms either in terms of there provenance/authorship or intended genre. It is a 'historical source' from antiquity much like any other used by modern historians.

So perhaps at least that part of the arguments regarding prima facie evidence still stands?

(Brought to you by Android while killing time in a Dodge... )
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

Bernard Muller
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:09 pm

to Sheshbazzar,
With a beginning like that 'Mark' has already in the first three verses established that his tale is based on what he found "written in the prophets". After that intro there really remains no need to provide much in the way of direct quotations. 'Mark' therefore thereafter mostly just relates his narrative and allows the reader to make any connections.
"As it is written in Isaiah the prophet," is only relative to John the Baptist's preaching, not the whole gospel.
Furthermore ""Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, who shall prepare thy way;
the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight--"
is a cut & paste combination of Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 (where the Lord id God himself, not Christ).
That shows that "Mark" had to manipulate some OT scriptures in order to make them fit the advent of John the Baptist and his preaching.
That means John's story is first and then the prophetic justifications come second. If it was the opposite, John's preaching would be according to one OT passage, with no cut & paste.
Mark evidently expected his readers either to be quite familiar with the Scriptures, or to be moved by his story to 'search the Scriptures' and seek out the fulfillment connections.
I do not think so. And certainly "Mark" did not want his readers/listeners to search the Scriptures where they would find his dishonest cut & paste (with Lord= Jesus not God) job at the beginning of his gospel.
Furthermore, searching the scriptures could only be done by literate people, with plenty of time. It was also very cumbersome in these days. Few would do it if any.
And in view of the many liberties the early Christian writers took on the Scriptures (including using them out-of-context), it is safe to say those were not expecting to be checked on their quotations.
IMV 'Mark' is quite the gifted story teller, a prototype as it were of a Gordie Lachance
That's an opinion I do not share. Many said "Mark" was a bad writer. Many parts of his gospel are badly composed, creating many doubts in the mind of readers/listeners. "Matthew" & "Luke" tried to fix that.

I let you with your opinions about the other gospels and Zacchaeus.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

Sheshbazzar
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by Sheshbazzar » Sun Feb 01, 2015 3:23 pm

toejam wrote:
Sheshbazzar wrote:There is no way that 'Paul's' claim (whichever of the many 'Paul's' it was that had a hand in the production of the 'Pauline' epistles) can validly be credited with 33% probability.
Seriously? You really think it's below 33.3% ? Is it really that implausible that Paul did know James and spoke of him in Galatians regardless of the rest of the details of the meeting? Less than 33.3%? Your bias is there for all to see.

Seriously toejam. You accept and believe the claims that 'Paul' makes regarding James (and others) in these texts. I do not.
I do not trust that most of 'Paul's' words even came from Paul.
That you so uncritically accept and believe the 'words of Paul' you found in your Bible shows your own bias.
Josephus wrote about several 'Jesus's'. The tiny portions of his work that are allegedly (according to Christian claims) about 'Jesus of Nazareth' are extremely suspicious, in light of Josephus's normal working method of providing vivid and detailed accounts of even notable minor personages among the Jews.
Same thing. You really think Josephus' reference to James is below 33.3% for being authentic ? Is it really that implausible that it does go back to Josephus? The fact that it only refers to Jesus as "the one called Christ" is surprising if it was interpolated by a Christian, as opposed to having him flat out call him "the Christ" in the TF.


The interpolation "he was the Christ" effectively attempts to turn Josephus into a Christian; He believes in Jesus, and he believes that Jesus is the 'Christ.'
Strange then, that after making that wonderful little 'Christian faith confession', he goes on writing extensively and never again mentions Jesus Christ or his new found faith in Jesus the Christ.
I expect Josephus mentioned 'James' (actually 'Y'acob' ). and if he spoke of a 'Jesus', it was not the fictional 'Jesus of Nazareth', but rather an 'anointed' priest of the Aaronic Temple priesthood, of which there were a great many.
I think your confidence in the inauthenticity of these passages is not called for and exposes your bias.
I think your confidence in the authenticity of these passages is not called for and exposes your bias. :D
The flaw in the methodology is in the unsupportable assumption of these being valid unbiased and accurate reports.
Nope. If I was making this assumption, then my percentages would be 100%. I have considered potential problems and reflected them in my percentages. You seem to be making the assumption that they're not authentic, assumptions that have yet to have been demonstrated with certainty. Until then, I think 33.3% authentic is being very lenient - against the current scholarly consensus on both claims that would put them higher.
Credibility is not to be assumed
Credibility has not been assumed. The low percentages take into account potential incredibility. You seem to be wanting to assume incredibility.
and with your bias you seem to want to assume credibility....of course limiting it to whatever tiny bits of the texts it is that you wish to 'cherry pick'.
If you are going to succumb that piss-poor of a methodology, you may as well assign a 50% probability that 500 brethren saw Jesus Christ levitate into the clouds.
You really think the claim that a historical crucified cult leader from whom Christianity emerged who had a brother called James is as implausible as a miracle claim?

Your response is nonsensical. I don't believe there ever was any such "historical crucified cult leader from whom Christianity emerged", so there is no way the non-existent storybook 'Christ Jesus' character of the Christian religion ever had a living human brother.
'James' (Y'acob) of Jerusalem existed and was once a living breathing human, Torah observant Jew.
James was no relative of the Christ cults fictional NT "Jesus of Nazareth".
Christian type apologetics be damned.
And like most mythicists (not all I should say), it's clear that you're still in anti-theist mode.
Of course I'm in an anti-theist mode. And I'll stay there.
If I don't believe in theist horse shit why in the fuck would I ever be 'IN the theist mode'???
Are you nuts? or just plain stupid?
I think your anger against Christianity is clouding your judgement.
And I think your Bible based beliefs are clouding your judgment, and making you post dumb-ass statements. So we are even. :D
As an atheist myself, I'm no fan of Christianity either. But the mistake is to think that any argument that favors some historical foundation is "Christian apologetics".
No. not any argument, Some arguments for a historical foundation to the NT are quite reasonable and do raise some good points.

Unfortunately your: "Paul says this right here in my Bible,... and I believe it because Paul says this right here in my Bible", form of argument is not reasonable nor logically acceptable.
It is the identical same 'circular argument' method employed in the most base and ignorant form of Christian apologetics.

It is perhaps difficult to get through your noggin, that not every atheist believes every claim that 'Paul' makes.
That something is written about 'James' in 'Paul', is no slam-dunk indication that what is there written is any fact.

Not ever atheist believes that Josephus was anywhere referring to 'Jesus of Nazareth'.

Sheshbazzar

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MrMacSon
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Re: The Best Case for Jesus

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:05 pm

toejam wrote:
Sheshbazzar wrote:There is no way that 'Paul's' claim (whichever of the many 'Paul's' it was that had a hand in the production of the 'Pauline' epistles) can validly be credited with 33% probability.
Seriously? You really think it's below 33.3% ? Is it really that implausible that Paul did know James and spoke of him in Galatians regardless of the rest of the details of the meeting? ...
"Christianity in its origin was nothing else than a Jewish-Messianic movement [with Peter as its central character] ... the figure of Jesus had never existed, but represented a symbolization and personification of thoughts that could only make full headway in the second century.

A Gnostic-Messianic community
[with 'Paul' as its literary representative] later appeared alongside the Jewish-Christian messianic community.

In the period between 70 and 135 CE the two groups opposed one another with bitter animosity.

"Only in the middle of the second century did they achieve a reconciliation, in which the gnostic community had Paul as its representative, and the Jewish-Christian community had Peter. The result of this process of reconciliation was the formation of the Roman Catholic Church. ... the letters of Paul are all inauthentic and represent the product of the newly-believing, gnostic-messianic community
."

AD Loman
Quaestiones Paulinae. Prolegomena. 1881 (?) Necessity of a revision of the foundations of our knowledge of the original Paulinism,
............ ... Theologische Zeitschrift
[Theological Magazine].
In 1882. Quaestiones Paulinae. Research into the authenticity of the letter to the Galatians, 1 st chapter, The external evidence, ib.
In 1882. Quaestiones Paulinae. Continued. The external evidence etc.. ib.
In 1882. Quaestiones Paulinae. Defense and clarification, ib.
In 1883. Quaestiones Paulinae. Second and final sequel of the first chapter, ib.
ie. Paul is a literary character.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Feb 01, 2015 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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