Jesus Christ Was A Real Person, Though Saul's Writings And The Gospels Are Mostly Mythical.
First Round Acceptance Only!
Best Of Luck!
Thank you for opertunity. . .
I accept. . .
Thanks to NathanDuclos for accepting this Debate:
Firstly: Con could take one of two paths, so I need to prepare for both as the Con position could Deny Jesus Christ altogether and thus make my Debate Statement/Title incorrect or Con could debate that The Gospels were Factual.
So I need to cover both possibilities in this round.
The Existence of Jesus Christ the person.
There is confirmation that Jesus existed from sources external to the Bible, even some of those had been contaminated by interpolation from Christians bent on trying to assert the Myth/Legend of Jesus Christ as truth.
Historians: Tacitus Cornelius and Josephus Flavius gave mention of Jesus as a man, none of these cited any miracles produced by Jesus so they cannot be used to support the Mythical Legends of Jesus found in the Gospels.
Here is a Christian Source that highlights these Historian's accounts of Jesus but goes beyond what the actual evidence can support. They claim such evidence asserts the miracles as correct, yet neither Historian ever did that, they only confirmed the existence of the Man, Jesus, and his brother, James, but they cannot be used to support a single miracle of Jesus Christ. So the source is making fallacious assumptions about their evidence.
Yet both Tacitus and Josephus had never met Jesus, so this is a feather in Con's cap if he decides to deny the existence of Jesus, as they could have been writing from Hearsay, in that they were only conveying the legend that was passed on to them, and in fact all sources of Jesus Christ, including the Biblical sources were never written by any person who had met Jesus Christ in the flesh.
Though considering that there appears to have been a Brother (James) to Jesus, I can only make a rational assumption that he did indeed exist and that Saul and the Gospels were not totally lies, as the person they made up their lies about did exist, though what they claimed for Jesus in the way of events and deeds, such as miracles and the resurrection, were entirely Mythical.
The Mythical/Legendary Jesus:
The earliest accounts of Jesus were from Saul, written over 20 years after his Death, yet even Saul did not have the miracles added later in the Gospels.
Saul had never even met Jesus in the flesh, as he told the followers of Jesus that he had met Jesus in a vision, temporary blindness.
It is very likely that Saul (a very clever deceiver, scam artist) deliberately created the vision to get accepted by the followers of Jesus and ended up with Peter (Simon) in their inner sector and became a major influence on Christianity.
Some historians think that Saul essentially took over Christianity from Jesus and much of the doctrines of the Catholics and Protestants were created by Saul (Paul) not Jesus.
One of my late ex Theologian friends used to call Christianity, Saulianity.
As he believed most Christianity is based on the Deceptions of Saul.
The Gospels arrived over 30 years after the Death of Jesus Christ.
So if there were any surviving disciples of Jesus, they would be in their mid to late 60s in an era where 45 was above the average life expectancy of humans.
If you made it to 50 you were considered as ancient, since Noah's age or in lunar years over 600, Methuselah was only 78, but considered the oldest living person in the Bible.
Medical knowledge hadn't improved much since the time of Abraham.
So it is very likely that there were no surviving apostles of Jesus to contribute to the Bible, except maybe some who knew Jesus as a child.
Thus all the accounts in the Gospels were either from Hearsay by Rote or produced/fabricated by the Gospel writers themselves.
Since the accounts of Jesus's life differ markedly in all the Gospels.
I will go into detail on these differences in my next statement.
Though trust me, if you read and jot down the life of Jesus from each of the 4 Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You will end up with 4 different people named Jesus.
They cannot agree on:
Though I will leave this with the highly acclaimed New Testament scholar, Bart Ehrman stating pretty much what I have just been stating, yet he is far more Authoritative than myself as he has spent many more years studying and has qualifications in such studies that few people have attained.
An interview with Bart Ehrman on his book "How Jesus Became God".
Notice: I haven't read this book, but I can assume it is pretty much along the same lines as this debate, except from Bart's far greater knowledge of the evidence and history.
Thanks again for going Con Nathan,
Over to you!
Thank you for the chance to debate this. I believe in that truth is important and debating (which is also fun) and hope that this will be education, not only for me and you but the readers as well. I originally wrote a huge rebuttal to your argument and it fell short. I couldn`t figure out where it was weak, before I realized the mistake you and I both made; The burden of Proof. You as PRO have the BOP and so far you have not presented anything factual to support a historical figure called Jesus. In fact the individual who you reference is intellectually dishonest and factually in error in much of his work. And instead of providing an argument for jesus, your trying to rebut my arguments rather than present your own, which is the position of PRO.
The statement by you that "I can deny jesus altogether" is a shifting of BoP. It not that I'm denying a jesus. You have yet to show compelling proof that he exists or existed. By implying I deny something says that there is something to deny (linguistically and by logic). It is up to you to prove that he exists. I can deny your proof, which I will do. I can point out that its not valid, which I will do. But to start off a debate with rebuttal is a mincing of positions.
Saul of Tarsus
Your claim that Saul wrote his letters is completely false and factually wrong in every way possible. The first mention of jesus is Flavious, not Saul. The vast majority of Saul`s work, written under the influence of early Christianity was written well after Saul`s death and not by him. Non-biased members of academia do not consider it a legitimate source. Even a basic search shows the entire authorship was discounted when it first presented. Proof of jesus based on stories of stories of stories of stories of what people may have believed does not only not count as proof is not proof.
A critical study of Ehrman or A Debate.org book report
While normally a books report is not a debate, I will address his videos and his arguments as best as I can, though many others already have. Not only are his claims not factually founded, he misquotes his sources, takes them out of context, exaggerates in a form of intellectual dishonest that would make a politician blush. He is generally dismissed as a crank in professional circles. The fact he sell book is well known, however he does not engage in debates or address`s critics, living in his preferred information bubble that `you must disprove jesus`not prove it.
While short on words, as he presents more false arguments and intellectual dishonest that I can address in a single post, I will address 2 of his arguments.
I cannot claim authorship of this critic of his work and too many to source it. To sum up his most popular argument is "every story has a basis of truth or some truth behind it, especially if popular or influened history' and as a follow up `until the mountain of evidence points that its not possible. Erhmans argument for a real Jesus could be used for a real Hercules, as well as Zeus and a real Olympia. Which he also acknowledge would be fair intellectually, but dismisses them spiritually.
Additionally he points to a massive amount of authorities that support his position. He spends a lot of time referencing other authors who all agree the validity of jesus. This massive amount of authorities must have some validity. However all his arguments are based on the same idea, 3 individual’s referring to jesus. 1000 people referring to 3 sources, does not increases the validity of the 3 sources drawing the same erroneous conclusions do not an argument make.
We can start with Flavious who was the only person within the 1st 100 years that is sited as mentioning jesus as a credible source and from the time of jesus (give or take 75 to 125 years). A critical study shows nothing that would support a historical jesus (or more accurately the specific jesus you still have to prove existed) .
Where Ehrman (another other believers) point out Flavious mentions "james the brother of jesus" they fail to mention that he mentions jesus in other passages as it’s a common name, and in nowhere does it point to the jesus that they assume, beyond a coincident of name.
In addition referring to Jesus Christ in another passage, it has been thoroughly discounted by non-biased professional in the field of biblical study and many within it. Why would a non-believer refer to a jewish rebel rouser (and he doesn’t he refers to his followers), as a true messiah. That’s like a muslim deferring to the popes biblical authority and religious title as authentic from the position of a defender of mohmadd during the crusades. Again non-biased scholars who want the truth do not take the statement as position there was a jesus, but a fraud committed by individuals later in history.
2nd round conclusion
Your claim is unsubstantiated and your argument is fallacious. You are attempting to disprove my rebuttals, rather than prove your statement. Do you have actual evidence that support your claim? If not then you believe it not because its true, but you want it to be true. I prefer to believe in a thing because its true regardless of what I want.
Sorry for the bluntness, but thank you for the debate so far. I had to do a little research for this and alot of reading and I thank you for expanding my knowledge and look forward to your next post.
Thank you Nathan for your insights and research!
Though Saul definitely wrote on Jesus long before Josephus, as the writings of Josephus on Jesus were written in mid 90sCE or around 60 years after the death of Jesus.
From Wikipedia: "Josephus' Antiquities of the Jews, written around 93–94 AD"
Whereas Saul's writings on Jesus arrived only 20 years after the death of Jesus Christ.
From that same source: Not all of Josephus's writings are Authentic, Historians and Biblical scholars agree that some of his writings were interpolated (altered) by later Christians to make them more convincingg.
"Scholarly opinion on the total or partial authenticity of the reference in Book 18, Chapter 3, 3 of the Antiquities, a passage that states that Jesus the Messiah was a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate, usually called the Testimonium Flavianum, varies. The general scholarly view is that while the Testimonium Flavianum is most likely not authentic in its entirety, it is broadly agreed upon that it originally consisted of an authentic nucleus, which was then subject to Christian interpolation or forgery  by fourth-century apologistEusebius or by others. Although the exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, there is broad consensus as to what the original text of the Testimonium by Josephus would have looked like.
Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the reference in Book 20, Chapter 9, 1 of the Antiquities to "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" and considers it as having the highest level of authenticity among the references of Josephus to Christianity. However, critics point out that Josephus wrote about a number of people who went by the name Jesus, Yeshua or Joshua, and also speculate that Josephus may have considered James a fraternal brother rather than a sibling.
Almost all modern scholars consider the reference in Book 18, Chapter 5, 2 of the Antiquities to the imprisonment and death of John the Baptist also to be authentic."
"James - 50 A.D.First Thessalonians - 52-53.Second Thessalonians - 52-53.Galatians - 55.First Corinthians - 57.Second Corinthians - 57.Romans - 57-58.Philippians - 62-63.Colossians - 62-63.Philemon - 62-63.Ephesians - 62-63.Luke - 63.Acts - 64.First Timothy - 65.Titus - 65.Second Timothy - 66.Mark - 66.Matthew - 67.Hebrews - 67.First Peter - 67-68.Second Peter - 68.Jude - 68.Apocalypse - 68.John - c. 85.Epistles of John - 90-95."
So you can easily see that the writings of Josephus arrived around the same time as the Epistles of John which had absolutely no input from any of the Apostles, since they were all long dead.
So Josephus gained all his knowledge from Hearsay and Legend.
Some scholars argue that the Epistles of James came before Saul's though this has been disputed as they appear to have been fraudulent, as the language used is unlikely to be that of a disciple of Jesus in that era. So they appear to have been added later. So much of the Bible is like this, interpolations added afterwards to make it appear more authentic, such as the interpolations in Josephus's writings.
Christian apologists are so fond of forgery, though it appears that this is the only tool they have to assert that Jesus was authentic and in my books, if they have to be fraudulent to make their hero appear real, this lends credence to the case that Jesus may not have existed after all.
Here is a taste of this argument concerning the epistles of James:
"1. The cultured language of James is not that of a simple Palestinian. Sevenster's evidence that the Greek language was much used in Palestine at that time and could be learned does not prove that a Jew whose mother tongue was Aramaic could normally write in literary Greek. Most of those who defend the thesis that James was written by the Lord's brother must assume that it achieved its linguistic form through the help of a Hellenistic Jew, but there is no evidence in the text that the assistance of a secretary gave shape to the present linguistic state of the document, and even if this were the case the question would still remain completely unanswered which part of the whole comes from the real author and which part from the "secretary."
So far, I've also shown that Ehrman is correct as well.
As both Ehrman and Jewish Clerics agree that Messiahs were common at the time of Jesus, practically a Messiah in every Jewish village, as Messiah only means anointed one, or somebody who has had their head anointed with oil into the service of God by a Rabbi.
Jews do not accept Jesus as the messiah because:
But first, some background: What exactly is the Messiah?
The word "Messiah" is an English rendering of the Hebrew word Mashiach, which means "anointed." It usually refers to a person initiated into God's service by being anointed with oil. (Exodus 29:7, 1-Kings 1:39, 2-Kings 9:3)Source: http://www.aish.com...
"Jews do not believe that Jesus was the mashiach. Assuming that he existed, and assuming that the Christian scriptures are accurate in describing him (both matters that are debatable), he simply did not fulfill the mission of the mashiach as it is described in the biblical passages cited above. Jesus did not do any of the things that the scriptures said the messiah would do."
So, Jewish Historians cannot consider Jesus as fulfilling the Prophecies as was expected of their National Leader, new King of Israel, and there were many messiahs like Jesus dotting the Judaic region. The lineage of Jesus proposed after his death was another deception from Apologists. Who was Jesus's actual father, well, most likely a Roman Soldier, but certainly not an heir to the Throne of Israel. Joseph's heir would have been his first true son (blood son) which was James, as stepsons only get to be heirs if there are no blood sons to take the position, so if Joseph was heir to King David, then James would be next in line after Joseph. Mary's lineage does not count in Judaism, as only the Husband is considered as ruler of the house and can produce heirs to his inheritance.
Again we have Christian apologists trying to put Jesus onto a false pedestal.
These apologists likely wrote the Gospels to convince others that Jesus was divine, thus Luke proclaiming Jesus as Son Of David. No Disciples were alive at the time of the writing of Luke, (63CE) and he did not get this from the previously writings of Saul who would have mentioned such a lineage if one existed, so the author of Luke made this lie up from his own head.
So: So far I have established that Saul is still known by the majority of Historians including Bart Ehrman as the first written record of the existence of Jesus Christ.
Thus part of my BOP.
And that Jesus was not the Messiah that the Jews were waiting for in the Old Testament/Torah prophecies.
Another Mark on my BOP commitment.
Historically, if there were no Contemporary accounts from Eye Witnesses of the life of Jesus Christ, we cannot take Hearsay accounts as Absolute Fact as even rote learning has Errors.
Rote recollections are never accurate for historical events, as events happen only once and rote relies on memory from repetition. Thus such things as What Jesus said as his last words, who was at his tomb, if he even had a tomb.
Most probably he was tossed into a mass grave along with the other criminals he was executed with or left on the cross to rot away, as an example to others, which was common Roman practice at the time.
Such things that relied on inaccurate rote recollections are inaccurate if they only occurred once, the only accurate knowledge passed on historically by rote are traditions, where learners are given the same story, repeated over and over until they remember every word.
Thus the Sermon on the Mount of Jesus Christ, would be entirely inaccurate as it only occurred once, and likely the teachings were altered and added by the Gospel Author(s) 30+ years later, when most rote recall would be errant.
"Threlfall and Frobisher (1999: 65) point out, ‘rote learning does not in the long term achieve the desired aim of accuracy of recall and response’."
"The system is widely practiced in schools across India, Pakistan, China, Singapore, Japan, Romania and Greece. In the United Nations Arab human development report for 2004 the (Arabic) researchers claim that rote learning is a major contributing factor to the lack of progress in science and research & development in the Arab countries."
As can be seen, rote learning is great for learning language and things that can be repeated and remembered easily, but for once off events and individual, subtle concepts, it fails completely. Thus nothing in the Gospels regarding events, such as the Sermon on the Mount and The Resurrection or Ascension can be regarded as Factual.
Because they were passed on by rote, they get altered with every passing like the Telephone Game or as we used to call it Chinese Whispers.
That is all I have time for.
So Thanks Nathan, the ball is now in your court!
Thank you for the debate in a formal setting and I did watch the video you suggested not on our subject and can totally agree with you about playing a guitar. As to the subject, I have done this a few time face to face, and it is indeed challenging putting thought to paper (or web) and I appreciate the opportunity. Your response covers a large swath of things and it would take a lot more than our current word count to address them all in depth and in detail. I will try to do my best most of what you said, or the more important parts. I will also address a response to Ehrman in the comments section and be more specific.
I have to address your arguments out of turn, just for the sake of clarity, from Bible Studies, Ehrman, and lastly to Saul. Thank you for showing me how to insert a video. I'm not sure if it will work (I tried elsewhere and epically failed) so I also included the link to the videos and webpages.
As to the debate . . .
Bible Studies in BS
The first thing I will address is your use of bible studies referring to sources of dates. The only thing I agree with bible study groups is there first two letters are BS. Pouring over a book looking for interpretation because it’s about as clear as a brick wall, trying to interpret what contradictory stories tell are about as qualified to offer an opinion as a brain surgeon who had to declare bankruptcy for financial advice. You have individuals studying complex books, with limited understanding looking for kernels of truth from a book that has more face lifts then a Hollywood starlet. This is the same methodology conspiracy theorist use to validate the view of JFK assassination and that the Moon Landing was a hoax. In addition most individual have no idea how the bible actually came into beginning, the books that were chosen or who started it.
The two links point to Ehrman (your authority not mine), wrote misquoting jesus, where the central point Misquoting Jesus is that 7 major rewrites and 4 different languages, 2 purges and no original text, means the fictional book of the bible is not reliable for telling dates, times and events. In many cases they re-wrote history or changed important facts, especially about Jesus, dates, times and historical facts. So studying the bible to look for the truth is about as likely as saying the same as Spiderman comics, they fall into the same category. As are the dates, times and many of the specific claims, so saying that the bible referencing certain times as first hand events are not proof, and Ehrman goes into it in detail.
As soon as it comes to acknowledge jesus as a fact rather then fiction, he (ehrman) stops being an academic looking for truth, but a theist looking for faith. While he has a degree’s in textual analysis of the bible and well known for the various changes in the bible (I re-read Misquoting Jesus which is amazing) his logic, reason and pursuit of truth and stops when it comes to where the evidence points to there was no jesus. That is the greatest fraud he commits and which many individuals comment on.
I will explain in a better way; Ehrman is a great academic when it comes to interpreting the bible, except when it comes to the proving there is a Jesus. Rather than looking at the evidence and seeing where it goes, he claims something and looks for evidence that points to it. Often through a mental pretzel and irrational thinking. He is fully aware of the arguments for a jesus, but doesn't apply the same standards he applies elsewhere. He still has a belief despite of the evidence, not because of it.
Again, if you believe in Jesus as a real person based off Ehrman you must accept that there is a real Thor, Hercules & Spiderman based on the same logic.
"It's natural to assume that an expert in a very specialized field is also an expert in general. That's a mistaken assumption, however. Dr. Ehrman's work has been invaluable to me as a check to my particular prejudices, but I would not take any of it without critical examination. His style of writing in his popular books allows him to move very subtly from his considered opinions on the history of the text to his less reliable opinions on the consequences of that history. This unfortunate tactic prevents me from wholeheartedly recommending Bart Ehrman's books." link below
If fact, people in the field of study include Richard Carrier, Steven Law to name a few, and non-believers Matt Dillenhunty, Russell Glasser and Martin Wagner are all atheist, are fans of his work and cite it in their own debates and arguments, except for when he goes of his academic reservation concerning jesus. His other books do not have any such critics and are highly praised as he operates with honesty and academia integrity. Its only here, trying to prove a jesus, does he encounter the opposition he does.
My argument against Saul.
I thought you would originally mention Saul in 1st round, rather than make an appeal to a non-authority. Your standard assumption of Paul as a legitimate proof is not valid or reasonable. .
1)Saul letters are not original, they are copies of copies of copies, of which several have been added and tampered with. Your saying we have to accept them as a kernel of truth of a real jesus based on bad recorded history. I will say this is not only faulty logic, but horrible to do so as lowering the standard of proof. .
That would be like some today saying, ‘batman came in to my room, shot my mother and fled out the window.’ It doesn’t mean the police are going to start looking for Bruce Wayne. Spider man has met the president in a comic book and saves his life, the comic’s reference real places and events, and you don’t believe Spiderman exists? Because the miracles are made up, and fictionalize, it’s not a hard stretch to make a person fictionalize as well.
The bible has fantasy stories and a few reasonable ones. This does not mean that the reasonable ones are more plausible then the crazy ones because they are more reasonable. In fact it would lead one to dismiss all of the comments.
2)Even if we give you that the letters from Saul are accurate, your still left with the problem of what the letters say. Saul does not get his information 1st hand or 2nd hand, but from god. The letters you referenced refer to being authentic states SAUL gets his information divine revelation and scriptural prophecy or in modern terms he dreamed it up, or dropped the equivalent of spiritual acid. While his followers may believe him, and you may as well, I require more proof that "god told me" and thus it was true.
3)However my second point above is not even needed, as the letters do not refer to a physical Jesus at all but to show the lack of knowledge of the content and context. The jesus Saul refers to does not exist on the material plane. Jesus is a spiritual figure and has no physical place, time or existence; the original letters refer to a mythic figure similar to the gods who walk unseen like those in the Iliad. Again as neither one of us is experts I will pull out my other video here and defer to someone who has actually studied and wrote about the subject and came to the conclusion that the BOP of a real jesus has not been met. His theory has a number supporters that are experts in the field whom the presenter list. He also goes into and the presenter listed authors who are in the field who study the exact issue and have all drawn the conclusion, there is no worthy evidence to support a real jesus.
Conclusion (for this round)
Again, the argument is not for me to disprove something, like god doesn't exist or fairies are not real or Jesus does exists. That’s not how logic, debates or discovering the truth works. It’s up to people who assert something to provide proof, like is there a god, fairies are real and a historic Jesus existed. So far you offered an authority that is outside of his area of expertise that uses invalid methods, an argument from silence, conspiracy and ignorance and started with a rebuttal rather the proffering proof, which was is shifting the bop.
If jesus is real, a historic individual, where is the proof? Proof that would apply to any other field of study. Where is the evidence that stands up against basic logically and factually sound? Where is the consensus from nonbiased research? (There is, just on my side) More importantly, why is it such a simple question requires a mental pretzel to proff up its claims, that your own authority would never use in any other area of inquiry. I have to accept things based on evidence. I’m still waiting for evidence that would be accepted in any other field of study. Thank you and I appreciate you time, and the video is long and informative, but in dueling authorities, well worth the time.
Thanks Nathan for making me work harder than I had hoped to here.
Just when things get busy, I'm expected to do more research.
This has essentially become an argument of whether we agree with the Historical Evidence for Jesus Christ.
Or whether we side with Bart Ehrman or Richard Carrier.
Bart has also taken some shots at Richard Carrier, in that Carrier is completely disregarding the writers of the accounts of Jesus and dismissing them as mythical or Euhemisms.
In other words Carrier is painting Jesus Christ as a construction from previous mythical characters and stating that Saul, and the Gospel writers are either entirely dishonest or deluded into believing that Jesus existed.
I tend to side with Bart in that Saul may have actually met James and others associated personally with a person named Jesus, though his surname was not Christ, as Christ simply means “Anointed One”, so there may have been hundreds of people named Jesus who were anointed before Saul started writing his letters.
Some of them may have had a brother named James.
Though as Bart Ehrman has stated many times that there are extremely few highly qualified historians who would agree with the Non-Existence of Jesus Christ.
So far I've been searching historical accounts of Jesus and found no qualified historians accepting the arguments for non-existence of Jesus Christ other than Richard Carrier.
Carrier is the only highly qualified Jesus mythicist I'm aware of at the moment.
This does not necessarily mean Richard Carrier is wrong, in fact Bart Ehrman may be wrong in assuming that Saul and the Christian writers had some genuine knowledge of a real person named Jesus who had been anointed and executed by Jews for claiming to be Son of God.
Ehrman and other historians may be erring on the side of caution, as it is better to assume honesty from ancient writers than to assume they are all delusional cranks as Carrier is asserting.
I may be able to dazzle the reader with color, but this is just me experimenting.
Though I'm the first one to admit that as far as having enough evidence for the Existence of Jesus the Christ, to convince a Judge in a Court of Law that Jesus actually lived it may get thrown out of court, since all evidence for Jesus is entirely Hearsay and Circumstantial.
Yet, I like Ehrman, err on the side of consensus that there very likely was a man named Jesus who was anointed (became a Christ) who preached Buddhist/Confucian/Eastern philosophy that upset the Jewish hierarchy and had him executed.
Even many Christians as in the following debate (it is lengthy and I apologise for this) between the Christian apologist Dr. Douglas Jacoby and Richard Carrier.
I agree with some of Jacoby's argument.
Yet, I disagree with his assertions that Jesus is Son of God.
That is an ad populum fallacy and a Tautological argument from Ignorance.
All the claims for the Son of God, I agree with Carrier there.
There is no actual evidence for any of the Miracles of Jesus Christ, and that is a Fact.
There is only evidence that Jesus at best, was a delusional prophet who did nothing that any ordinary man couldn't achieve.
Thanks again Nathan, for an interesting debate.
I'll hand the stage back to you.
I had to dig out stuff I hadn’t looked at for a long time as well, and polish off some arguments. I assumed the letters from saul had some validity, and didn’t ever read them till this debate and assumed it was hearsay not a spiritual magical mystery tour. Additionally, I got to test out logic and put it into practice. Also out of the last few debates, you have been the most polite and respectful opponent, on the field and in the comments.
As to the debate . . .
After reading your response, I’m not sure if you agree with me, but sort of not, or whether you think legally there is not a leg to stand on. However I will answer some of the more obvious mistakes in logic and proof.
You state - This has essentially become an argument of whether we agree with the Historical Evidence for Jesus Christ. Or whether we side with Bart Ehrman or Richard Carrier.
Rebuttal– This comes down to if your claim is true or not. We do not have shared BOP.
In addition, Bart Ehrman may understand textual critics and the changes the bible had over the early centuries, and it be his chosen field, however in looking for Jesus, he is no longer an academic doing research, but a theist looking for a jesus figure to substantiate his faith. Richard Carrier is an expert and authority in the field of the original jesus stories. This is not a case of dueling authorities, it’s a case of your authority (Ehrman) stepping outside of his choosen field, apply standards that do he himself would not accept and still finding a real jesus, vs my authority who looks to the evidence and points out quite clearly that not only is there no evidence of a real jesus but it was a common reinvention of the time.
As for additional supporters
Christopher Hitchens (1949–2011) - God is not Great - there is "little or no evidence for the life of Jesus," arguing "the gospels are most certainly not literal truth," and while he concedes there may be a Jew by the name of jesus who may be a rabbi or preacher, the jesus of the bible would have nothing to do with the actual jesus the bible portrays and it would intellectually dishonest to draw that conclusion.
Tom Harpur – 1929 –The Pagn Christ. The book covers how second or third century churched created the fictional impression of a literal historical jesus and rewrote history to suite there aims, though book burning forgery and violence.
Robert M. Price – 1954 - Deconstructing Jesus (2000), The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man (2003), Jesus Is Dead (2007), and The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems (2012), Though Price has returned to the church, an not longer supports a mythic view, he still supports the idea that it’s a blending of various traditions and that academically he acknowledges that he stands against the majority of scholars that there was a jesus even though there is no actually proof to support his position, similar to that of Ehrman and it’s a question of faith not fact that he supports to this end. (The Historical Jesus: Five Views 2009)
Thomas Brodie (1954) – PHD pontifical university of St Thomas Aquinas, he is an expert in Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament as well as an expert in history during the various early stages of the bibles history. He was fired from his position for positing that there was no jesus in any physical sense. The bulk of his study is available and so far, none of his work has been discredited or shown to be false, he was still fired for looking at the evidence and where it lead.
Earl Dohery (?) – The Jesus Puzzle (2005) Jesus: Neither God nor Man (2009). Similar to the video link I used in the previous post, he goes into detail how up until the 200AD there is no physical accounts in any writing of a historical jesus, it’s based on a philosophical idea based around Jewish mysticism and philosophy. In the Jesus puzzle he clearly lays out he case that not a single Christian points to a physical jesus until after the 2nd century as a real person but as an angelic archetype and ideal.
Strauss (1808-1975) the life of jesus critically examined, Higgins (1772-1883) An enquiry into the origins of languages, nations and religions, Kersey grave (1883) the worlds sixteen crucified saviors, Gerald Massey (1828 and 1907) The Natural Genesis. During the late 1700’s the genesis of authors and intellectual led Mythicize (or mysticism) to the forefront of society. Many of the founding fathers were Deists and believed god did not interact with the world or provide any supernatural influence. The Deist ideals of a separation from the biblical and supernatural from reality was a core threat of diests and went into the sperateion of church and state that was part of the constitution of the USA.
Again, while an argument from popularity or appeal to authority is not valid, unless that argument is from an authority on the subject and there is a general consensus.
You state - I tend to side with Bart in that Saul may have actually met James and others associated personally with a person named Jesus, though his surname was not Christ, as Christ simply means “Anointed One”, s
My Rebuttal is simple. SAUL says very clearly and several times ( in the letters you say are as close to the oringal as possible) his jesus story was revealed to him not by others associated with a person named jesus or even 2nd hand, but as a direct revelation from GOD. Your argument is invalid regardles of how many time you repeate it. Sauls says its divin revelations that not only told him of jesus but his reason to write the letters.
You State - Though as Bart Ehrman has stated many times that there are extremely few highly qualified historians who would agree with the Non-Existence of Jesus Christ.
My Rebuttal– Bart Ehrman does not recognizes any authority or argument that does not point to a real living breathing jesus. There are many individuals who are recognized authorities in the field and they have answered Ehrman on many of the fallacy in his writing about jesus. I’ve already posted Richard Carrier, and add to it Rene Salam, DM Murdock, Earl Doherty, who comment on Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? Many of them revere his work in other area's just not in this area as is intellectually dishonest. They are all more qualified for the simple fact that they look at the evidence to draw a conclusion, rather then draw a conclusion and make the evidence fit it.
You state - Carrier is the only highly qualified Jesus mythicist I'm aware of at the moment.
My Rebuttal – Google.
You State - Ehrman and other historians may be erring on the side of caution, as it is better to assume honesty from ancient writers than to assume they are all delusional cranks as Carrier is asserting.
My Rebuttal – I will point to your authority Ehrman in his actual field of study and his book misquoting jesus. He clearly points out that the 2nd and 3rd Century church re-wrote many aspect to give them more authority and put the bible and its teaching in line with their beliefs. As the church became more poplar in rome and then the official state religion slaver, sauls second letters were modified to reflect roman law and philosophy, hence the change of attitude on slavery. Not all people are delusional, some are greed, backstabing power hungry jerks who lie to get ahead.
A court of law, debate and science are different. By referring to the law, you forgo the ability to discover truth and dilute your argument. A man can be guilty of a crime but not enough evidence is there to charge him with the crime. It seems to me that your implying that you have lost the argument, but not because it isn’t true, but you have made a bad argument. This is not true. You are smart, eloquent and from all your past debates, more than handing a debate. In this case your argument of a real jesus does not stand on the merit of the individual presenting the claim, but the claim itself and the proof offered. Your position is pre-supisitional, and you have presented a number of arguments that are just plain false.
You state - There is no actual evidence for any of the Miracles of Jesus Christ, and that is a Fact.. There is only evidence that Jesus at best, was a delusional prophet who did nothing that any ordinary man couldn't achieve.
I state- There is no actual (good) evidence for Jesus Christ, and that is a Fact.
The duelling authorities are really hard to actually get to debate. However I will point out the people who love Ehrman`s other books are his main critics in this one that point to a real JESUS, because of his lack of intellectual honest, purposefully insincere interpretations, his many err and mistakes and the conclusion he draws. Nor is it a debate between two actual authorities, Ehrman is not an authority in this matter, and those who stand that there is not jesus in this field fall overwhelmingly on the `there is no Jesus’ side.
Let me say, if there was any good evidence for even a charleton or prophet named Jesus it would be simple like `Saul wrote –a guy wandered into town told me of a zombie named Jesus who did some miracles.` but instead you have `Saul wrote – So I had a vision from God about a Zombie named Jesus.` I take saul at his word, it was a reveled truth not a 2nd hand story from a traveler who may have met jesus. Either Im right and it’s a spiritual acid trip, or Im wrong and at worst re-writing history, either way its not evidence to support a real jesus.
In the end all you have is a claim with no facts to support it and an authority outside of his field of expertise. I wish I had a better quote to finish this with. I wish I had a better ending, but like jesus its just not there.
Thank you for the fun I truely enjoyed it. I am so sorry this responce is written a little sloppy but it was rushed. Also in comments if you want to debate something again, I'm totally down as you have been the most respect opponent. . .