Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
The Crow
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Re: Carrier on Pliny and Tacitus

Post by The Crow » Mon Jul 07, 2014 1:22 pm

ghost wrote:
maryhelena wrote:How on earth does one get a date for a celestial crucifixion?
Like this:

http://www.dailydawdle.com/2011/10/10-e ... s-and.html

Like it..... :lol:

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Kapyong
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Re: Carrier on Acts as Historical Fiction, part1

Post by Kapyong » Mon Jul 07, 2014 2:32 pm

Gday,
pakeha wrote:
Kapyong wrote: [ . . . ] Peter's escape from prison is constructed from Priam's escape from Achilles.9[ . . . ]
The tiniest nit-pick in an admirable work, one which will be shortly on my bookshelf.
I think the incident is Paris' escape from Menelaus, but I could be wrong, not for the first time.
Once again, kudos and gratitude to Kapyong.
Hmm, checking note 9 :
"9. MacDonald. Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?, pp. 137-45 (with pp. 123-36)."

Looking online I immediately see this page :
http://yale.universitypressscholarship. ... chapter-13

Which quotes Dennis R. McDonald's "Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?"
from his section called : "Priam's Escape from Achilles and Its Imitators"

And he says this :
This chapter shows how ancient literature is peppered with stories of gods, heroes, or “divine men” escaping dangerous situations by means of magically opening doors. In fact, in the Acts of the Apostles, one finds three prison escapes: two by Peter and one by Paul. Some scholars have interpreted the empty tomb stories in the gospels as adaptations of the tale-type, and the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles employ the genre repeatedly. Over a dozen other examples appear in ancient texts. According to Acts 12, while Peter slept in prison, an angel woke him and facilitated his escape by opening the prison doors and apparently shedding sleep on the guards. Otto Weinreich, in 1929, published an extensive treatment of ancient escape stories that has dominated the discussion ever since.
So it seems Carrier has cited McDonald correctly.

As to whether it actually comes from an escape of Paris from Menelaus, I couldn't say - I searched online for such as escape but nothing jumped out at me like the above reference did.


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toejam
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by toejam » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:23 pm

Getting through this book slowly but surely. I'm enjoying it. More than I expected, to be honest. Like most books on this topic, I find myself in moments of high agreement and moments of high disagreement, and everything in between. I've just finished up 'Element 22', which is about the supposed "silence" of the years 65-95CE in the literature. Is that period really all that silent? Carrier makes it out to be a total blackhole in this Element. Isn't that roughly speaking the time period where most date the gospels and much of the early post-authentic-Pauline epistles? As I'm sure we're all aware, it's very hard to date stuff like Hebrews, James, Jude, 1 Peter, Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessolonians, Acts and its potential sources etc. I think it's a bit unreasonable to claim a 30yr blackhole when some of that stuff may very well have come from that time. It's a blackhole to us, sure, but that's only because we don't have reliable precision dating methods, only guesstimates. I.e. It doesn't mean we don't have anything from that period -we just don't know if we do! Carrier already acknowledged this problem of dating earlier on in the book. So why now is he suddenly claiming a 30yr blackhole? He seems to be wanting to make something out of nothing here on this point.
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pakeha
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Re: Carrier on Acts as Historical Fiction, part1

Post by pakeha » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:40 pm

Kapyong wrote:Gday,
pakeha wrote:
Kapyong wrote: [ . . . ] Peter's escape from prison is constructed from Priam's escape from Achilles.9[ . . . ]
The tiniest nit-pick in an admirable work, one which will be shortly on my bookshelf.
I think the incident is Paris' escape from Menelaus, but I could be wrong, not for the first time.
Once again, kudos and gratitude to Kapyong.
Hmm, checking note 9 :
"9. MacDonald. Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?, pp. 137-45 (with pp. 123-36)."

Looking online I immediately see this page :
http://yale.universitypressscholarship. ... chapter-13

Which quotes Dennis R. McDonald's "Does the New Testament Imitate Homer?"
from his section called : "Priam's Escape from Achilles and Its Imitators"

And he says this :
This chapter shows how ancient literature is peppered with stories of gods, heroes, or “divine men” escaping dangerous situations by means of magically opening doors. In fact, in the Acts of the Apostles, one finds three prison escapes: two by Peter and one by Paul. Some scholars have interpreted the empty tomb stories in the gospels as adaptations of the tale-type, and the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles employ the genre repeatedly. Over a dozen other examples appear in ancient texts. According to Acts 12, while Peter slept in prison, an angel woke him and facilitated his escape by opening the prison doors and apparently shedding sleep on the guards. Otto Weinreich, in 1929, published an extensive treatment of ancient escape stories that has dominated the discussion ever since.
So it seems Carrier has cited McDonald correctly.

As to whether it actually comes from an escape of Paris from Menelaus, I couldn't say - I searched online for such as escape but nothing jumped out at me like the above reference did.


Kapyong
Thanks for tracing Carrier's reference, Kapyong.
The error is apparently McDonald's, then and Carrier assumed his example wasaccurate.

Here's the pertinent section of the Iliad of the fight between Paris and Menelaus:
Then Menelaus drew his silver-studded sword and drove it crashing down upon the helmet of Paris. But in four pieces was the sword shattered, and fell from the hand of Menelaus.

'Surely art thou the most cruel of all the gods, Zeus!' angrily he cried. 'My spear is cast in vain, and my sword shattered, and my vengeance is still to come!'

So saying, he leapt upon Paris. By the crest on his helmet he seized him, and, swinging him round, he dragged him towards the Greek host. The embroidered strap beneath the helmet of Paris strangled him, and so he would have shamefully died, had not Aphrodite marked his plight. Swiftly did she burst the leather strap, and the helmet was left empty in the grasp of Menelaus.

Casting the empty helmet, with a swing, to his comrades, Menelaus sprang back, ready, with another spear, to slay his enemy.

But Aphrodite snatched Paris up, and in thick mist she hid him, and bore him away to his own home.
Like a wild beast Menelaus strode through the host, searching [38] for him. But no Trojan would have hidden him, for with a bitter hatred did the men of Troy hate Paris, most beautiful of mortal men.
http://www.mainlesson.com/display.php?a ... 08660403c1


I could find no mention in the Iliad of any circumstance where Priam escapes from Achilles, unless you count this:
...As he said this, Achilles took the old man’s wrist
on his right hand, in case his heart was fearful. 830
So by that house on the porch they lay down to sleep,
Priam and his herald, both men of wisdom.
Achilles slept in a corner of his well-built hut,
with lovely Briseis stretched out there beside him.

Meanwhile, other gods and warrior charioteers,
all conquered by sweet sleep, slept the whole night through.
But slumber did not grip the Helper Hermes,
as he considered in his heart what he might do
to guide king Priam from the ships in secret, [680]
without the strong guard at the gate observing. 840
So standing above Priam’s head, he said to him:

“Old man, you’re not expecting any harm,
as you sleep like this among your enemies,
since Achilles spared your life. Your dear son
is ransomed for that huge amount you paid.
But if Agamemnon, son of Atreus,
or all Achaeans learn that you are here,
those sons you’ve left behind will have to pay
a ransom three times greater for your life.”

Hermes spoke. At his words, the old man grew afraid. 850
He woke up the herald. Hermes harnessed mules and horses, [690]
then guided them himself quickly through the camp,
attracting no attention. But when they reached the ford
across the swirling river Xanthus, immortal Zeus’ child,
Hermes left them and returned to high Olympus.

As Dawn spread her yellow robes over all the earth,
the two men drove their horses inside the city,
weeping and groaning. The mules pulled in the corpse.
No one noticed them, no man, no well-dressed woman,
except Cassandra, a girl as beautiful 860
as golden Aphrodite. She’d climbed up Pergamus. [700]
She saw her father standing in his chariot,
together with his herald, the town crier.
In the mule cart she saw the corpse lying on the bier.
With a scream, Cassandra cried out to all the city:

“See, men and women of Troy, come and see—
look on Hector, if, while he was still alive,
you would rejoice when he came back from war,
for he was a great joy to all our city
and its people.”

At Cassandra’s shout, 870
no man or woman was left unaffected.
There in the city all were overcome with grief
beyond anyone’s control. Close to the gates,
they met Priam bringing home the body.
https://records.viu.ca/~johnstoi/homer/iliad24.htm

In any case, I agree that the NT authors copied and adapted stories from Homer.

theomise
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by theomise » Tue Jul 08, 2014 12:29 am

pakeha - I think MacDonald is referring to that second passage (from Iliad 24) - viz., Hermes putting the guards to sleep.

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pakeha
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by pakeha » Tue Jul 08, 2014 2:33 am

theomise wrote:pakeha - I think MacDonald is referring to that second passage (from Iliad 24) - viz., Hermes putting the guards to sleep.
Of course! What a fool I am!

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toejam
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by toejam » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:11 pm

Carrier, p.193
Element 37 (regarding beliefs about supernatural powers and princes, demons, etc. in heavenly realms during the time of Paul):
"We have seen enough evidence that Paul does in fact mean supernatural powers and princes when he speaks thereof, inhabiting and traversing the firmament, and all later Christian interpreters understood him to mean that. It was clearly a fundamental component of Christian teaching in all documents post-dating Paul. And from the preponderance of evidence here, we should conclude it was certainly a fundamental component of the Christian teaching in Paul - and therefore in the original Christian church as a whole, as he clearly felt it required no defense or explanation in his correspondence."

Oh, the irony!! :-) Isn't this the same explanation historicisits use when up against those who say that Paul doesn't say much about the historical Jesus? I'm enjoying this book. About 1/3 of the way now. But I couldn't help but have a little chuckle at this line.
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by theomise » Tue Jul 08, 2014 8:42 pm

toejam wrote:Carrier, p.193
Element 37 (regarding beliefs about supernatural powers and princes, demons, etc. in heavenly realms during the time of Paul):
"We have seen enough evidence that Paul does in fact mean supernatural powers and princes when he speaks thereof, inhabiting and traversing the firmament, and all later Christian interpreters understood him to mean that. It was clearly a fundamental component of Christian teaching in all documents post-dating Paul. And from the preponderance of evidence here, we should conclude it was certainly a fundamental component of the Christian teaching in Paul - and therefore in the original Christian church as a whole, as he clearly felt it required no defense or explanation in his correspondence."

Oh, the irony!! :-) Isn't this the same explanation historicisits use when up against those who say that Paul doesn't say much about the historical Jesus? I'm enjoying this book. About 1/3 of the way now. But I couldn't help but have a little chuckle at this line.
Not quite... Paul repeatedly mentions the 'archons' (AKA "the rulers of this world") and associated gnostic concepts, but he never mentions such (allegedly recent and prominent) historical figures as: Pontius Pilate, Herod, Caiaphas, anyone from Galilee, anyone born in Bethlehem, anyone doing anything at the Mount of Olives, etc.

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toejam
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by toejam » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:04 pm

^But why should he? There are enough earthly Jesus references scattered here and there in his letters to pick up the implication. There's no reason for Paul to dive into Jesus' earthly biographical details about Pilate etc. if the basic gospel story was already known in his churches. And like Carrier says here, it's OK to use later sources to read back into Paul what he probably believed. But we're not allowed to use the earliest gospel traditions that reflect an earthly Jesus? Why not?
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Re: Does anyone have On the Historicity of Jesus yet?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:15 pm

toejam wrote:^But why should he? There are enough earthly Jesus references scattered here and there in his letters to pick up the implication. There's no reason for Paul to dive into Jesus' earthly biographical details about Pilate etc. if the basic gospel story was already known in his churches. And like Carrier says here, it's OK to use later sources to read back into Paul what he probably believed. But we're not allowed to use the earliest gospel traditions that reflect an earthly Jesus? Why not?
On the one hand we read mainstream scholars conceding how odd it is that Paul has so few references to the Jesus of Galilee and then attempting to suggest reasons to account for this oddity. That's when they are addressing sympathetic readers, students, believers, etc. But when the same point is raised by critics of historicity they then turn to the other hand and say that there are abundant references to Jesus of Galilee -- oodles of them. No problem.

So it is a quandary to be explained on the one hand and no quandary at all on the other -- just depends who the audience is.
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