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Historical Jesus

feverish
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11/4/2009 4:47:47 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
I recently became interested in the subject of whether or not Jesus of Nathareth actually existed as is generally assumed.

Before anyone accuses me of being some kind of conspiracy theorist, I would like to say I am just open to different possibilities and I am not trying to present this as fact.

I know that such a concept could be seen as automatically offensive to Christians but please believe that is not my intention.

Some of my reasons for now believing there is a fair possibility he may not have existed can be found here: http://www.debate.org...

I'm not just fishing for votes here, I'm already well behind and there's not long left, plus I expect posting this will, if anything, lead to more votes for IT rather than myself especially as one of my rounds was incomplete due to extenuating circumstances.

What I would really like is some opinions from NON Christian members who are interested enough to read this lengthy debate or maybe some of the sources I cited and weigh up the evidence (or lack of it) from either side.

Thanks.
regebro
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11/5/2009 6:45:29 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
There is admittedly no solid proof he existed. But there is also, naturally, no solif proof he did not exits (non-existance can't be proven, after all).

So we have to look into likelyhoods. And the question then becomes "who made him up"? And this has already been discussed here, in a discussion about the writings of Josephus.

I will quote myself:

Well, we know for a fact that there was Christians in Rome, and enough of them to be able to lobby to be recognized as a separate religion from Judaism, by AD96. There are also various references to the existence of Christians in Rome during Nero's reign. Famously Nero apparently tried to blame the fire in Rome on Christians. That makes sense as they would have been a new arrival in Rome, and it's easy to blame a bunch of fanatics.

Also, the later the supposed invention of Christ is the more things you need to explain. Like how come there were early Christian groups in Greece and Jerusalem, if the religion was invented in Rome?

Nah, the sect must have started in Judea. The question then comes who started it. And it seems your proposition is that Jesus and the whole sect was completely invented by Paul, and even the other Apostles were his inventions and didn't exist. That makes no sense, as I have explained multiple times.

First of all, Paul clearly is not a leader of this group he supposedly invented. In fact, there are twelve leaders, the Twelve apostles, who decide stuff. He is not one of them. His story involves several conflicts with these guys, and there is no reason for him to invent such a conflict, unless the story end in him being victorious, which it does not. They reach a compromise.

The only reasonable explanation for this is that he did *not* invent these other people. The Christian sect did exist already when he joined them. So he didn't make up Jesus, and he didn't make up the disciples. He joined a sect that already existed and already talked about Jesus.

Then the question is if the Apostles made up Jesus. Did the leader of this sect (probably James) make up Jesus? Well, that would be a bit tricky, because he apparently makes up not only Jesus but that the other apostles followed him for years. How do you do that?

"I know this guy called Jesus and he died and got resurrected!"
"Wow, cool!"
"And you and me were disciples before he got crucified!"
"I was!? Jesus Christ, I had no idea! I must have completely forgotten five years of my life!"

Nope, that doesn't work. James can't have made Jesus up. So that leaves only the possibility that all the disciples and followers of Jesus made Jesus up together, with the one and only purpose of tricking Paul. Aaaand, no. Sorry. It's too stupid.

That leaves only one possibility: That Jesus existed, was a religious leader and was crucified. That is by far the most likely possibility.

There is also exactly nothing that contradicts that. Yes, admittedly not much independent evidence supports it's either, but it is the conclusion you must make purely from the exclusion of all other possibilities.

Yeshua bar Yusuf was most likely a 1st century religious leader of a dogmatic Jewish nazarite sect who argued for stringent adherence to the mosaic laws. Such a sect would have had most of the opinions Jesus had, they would have been appalled at the money changers in the Temple, they would have taken ritual baths, they would have had a leadership of 13 men, one leader and 12 others, etc. Very much of the stories surrounding Jesus fits. The only thing that does not "fit" what we know are the miracles and the resurrection, as we in todays scientific society knows these are impossible. Most of the rest of the stuff works in such a context.
So prove me wrong, then.
regebro
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11/5/2009 11:53:17 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 7:08:22 AM, MistahKurtz wrote:
I prefer Future Jesus.

I like pink Jesus, third to the right.
So prove me wrong, then.
tkubok
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11/5/2009 12:03:32 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 7:08:22 AM, MistahKurtz wrote:
I prefer Future Jesus.

I prefer Raptor Jesus.

Or Cyborg Pirate Ninja Jesus.

http://s5.photobucket.com...

Anyways, onto the subject at hand.

Regebro said quite alot, which is mostly accurate. But let me just add.

Just because Jesus Existed and was crucified, does not mean he was resurrected, walked on water, turned water to wine, and raised the dead. Infact, all the evidence seem to point to the fact that Jesus was a normal man, who walked around preaching peace like a rabbi preacher of sorts. There is little to no doubt that a person named Jesus existed. There is much doubt to the point of impossibilities that Jesus of the bible did not. You were tricked by the debate term "Jesus of History". History has little to say about Jesus, and since it is history, the Jesus of History probably did exist. But the Jesus of the bible certainly did not.

Let me also note that when Tacitus wrote on Nero blaming the great fire to Christians, there is an interesting discrepancy here. The original word used was "Chrestianos", whereas someone later came and changed the word by erasing the "e" and replacing it with a "i", thus changing the meaning of the word as well. As the word stands, "Chrestianos" means the useful, or the good. In other words, Tacitus might just be saying that Nero blamed a useful scapegoat, as Nero himself was the perpetrator of the fire, which is a popular theory amongst a few historians.
regebro
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11/5/2009 3:04:51 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 12:03:32 PM, tkubok wrote:
Let me also note that when Tacitus wrote on Nero blaming the great fire to Christians, there is an interesting discrepancy here. The original word used was "Chrestianos", whereas someone later came and changed the word by erasing the "e" and replacing it with a "i", thus changing the meaning of the word as well. As the word stands, "Chrestianos" means the useful, or the good. In other words, Tacitus might just be saying that Nero blamed a useful scapegoat, as Nero himself was the perpetrator of the fire, which is a popular theory amongst a few historians.

1. Spelling was optional in all texts up to the 18th century. It's not possible to make any conclusion from such a small difference. Jesus Chrestos (The Good) was a common name for Jesus in early Christianity, and calling christians chrestians is not unheard of in early texts, afaik.

2. Tacitus texts are specific about that it is a group, that was generally disliked that is blamed and punished.
So prove me wrong, then.
I-am-a-panda
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11/5/2009 3:11:06 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
What people are ignoring is the fact there were multipel messiahs at the time milking the minds of Jewish people looking for a messiah.

For example, Appolonius of Tyana: http://en.wikipedia.org...

Apparently a contemporary of Jesus, he claims a similar story to himhttp://www.livius.org....

Furthermore here's a long list of known Messiah claimant http://en.wikipedia.org...

There were probably many more at the time that were unrecorded.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
tkubok
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11/5/2009 3:33:58 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 3:04:51 PM, regebro wrote:
1. Spelling was optional in all texts up to the 18th century. It's not possible to make any conclusion from such a small difference. Jesus Chrestos (The Good) was a common name for Jesus in early Christianity, and calling christians chrestians is not unheard of in early texts, afaik.

2. Tacitus texts are specific about that it is a group, that was generally disliked that is blamed and punished.

1. the reason why this is significant is not because of the spelling discrepancy, but because someone decided that it was important enough to change the meaning. Which leads to two conclusions. Either Tacitus was having second thoughts about how to spell Chrestianos, which is unlikely, or someone believed that this could be detrminental to the christian doctrine and chose to change it.

2. I never said that the group did not exist.
feverish
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11/5/2009 4:20:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
Thanks for the responses guys.

There is indeed no solid evidence on either side but to ask "who made him up" misses the point somewhat.

The hypotheses is that the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul (the non-pseudoepigrapha) were describing a symbolic Christ and a heavenly crucifixion, also that the first gospel (Mark) was written as allegorical fiction.

Exactly when this story might have begun to be portrayed as a real life event is unclear but it is clear that vastly different interpretations of Christ, including the idea that he was a spirit not a man continued to exist even when the Catholic Church were specifying the New Testament canon and establishing the doctrine of the trinity.

The 12 apostles or disciples make most sense as an allegory of the 12 tribes of Israel. Paul doesn't refer to "the twelve" and calls himself an apostle.

Tkubok, I agree with everything you said except the part about: "There is little to no doubt that a person named Jesus existed."

There is indeed doubt. It is held and expressed by many.

For more arguments for and against check out the debate.

Thanks.
tkubok
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11/6/2009 6:15:22 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 4:20:11 PM, feverish wrote:
Thanks for the responses guys.

There is indeed no solid evidence on either side but to ask "who made him up" misses the point somewhat.

The hypotheses is that the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul (the non-pseudoepigrapha) were describing a symbolic Christ and a heavenly crucifixion, also that the first gospel (Mark) was written as allegorical fiction.

Exactly when this story might have begun to be portrayed as a real life event is unclear but it is clear that vastly different interpretations of Christ, including the idea that he was a spirit not a man continued to exist even when the Catholic Church were specifying the New Testament canon and establishing the doctrine of the trinity.

The 12 apostles or disciples make most sense as an allegory of the 12 tribes of Israel. Paul doesn't refer to "the twelve" and calls himself an apostle.

Tkubok, I agree with everything you said except the part about: "There is little to no doubt that a person named Jesus existed."

There is indeed doubt. It is held and expressed by many.

For more arguments for and against check out the debate.

Thanks.

Im a man of peace, so i have no problem when a christian claims that clearly a Jesus must have existed throughout history. My only objection is to what he did, and who he claimed to be, and not that he existed.

This is the problem with Jesus. With most other characters, the words, the claims they make fall and stand on their own. It doesnt matter whether or not Caesar was the one who said such and such, if its wrong, its wrong, and if its right, its right. But with Jesus, or any other holy figure, the words are tied to the person in question. It holds so much water because it came from Jesus. If Jesus was a simple man and not the son of God/God himself, his words are pretty much useless. Therefore, what is important isnt that Jesus existed, but that he was who he claimed to be.

And thats why i take the position that i have no problem agreeing that a Jesus could and may have existed. But what he did is certainly not up for debate.
regebro
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11/6/2009 9:02:34 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 3:33:58 PM, tkubok wrote:
1. the reason why this is significant is not because of the spelling discrepancy, but because someone decided that it was important enough to change the meaning.

No, that's backwards. He didn't change the meaning, he changed the spelling of a words who's meaning was clear, but where the common spelling had changed.

The claim that the spelling with e does *not* mean Christian is not correct. It was a common way to spell the word, and several of the early copies of the bible we have actually spell the world with e. It apparently became less common in most languages, I assume also Latin later. That's probably why it was changed. Somebody thought "Eh, that's not the way to spell it", and fixed the bug.

Just to add to the discussion: Guess what the French word for Christian is? Yup, you got it: Chrétien.

Which leads to two conclusions. Either Tacitus was having second thoughts about how to spell Chrestianos

It sounds like you think the changing is a changing of the original manuscript. It's not. It's 11th century copy. The other early copies we have retain the e.

which is unlikely, or someone believed that this could be detrminental to the christian doctrine and chose to change it.

I have no idea how you reach any of these conclusions.

2. I never said that the group did not exist.

You claimed it said that he blamed it on "a useful group". That's not what it says. It says he blamed it on "a group called X" where X is a word that is similar to a word that means useful. That's a BIG difference. It completely invalidates the interpretation that Tacitus meant to say that Nero blamed it on some useful scapegoats. He didn't. He blamed it on a group called Chrestianos. That is, for a fact, a common early name for Christians. The interpretation that he meant somebody else is highly unlikely.
So prove me wrong, then.
regebro
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11/6/2009 10:13:12 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/5/2009 4:20:11 PM, feverish wrote:
The hypotheses is that the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul (the non-pseudoepigrapha) were describing a symbolic Christ and a heavenly crucifixion

That's a new theory to me. What kind of support is there for that claim?

also that the first gospel (Mark) was written as allegorical fiction.

They are all allegorical fiction, with the possible exception of Luke, which seems to, together with Acts, try to make a description of the events without making too many religious points on the way. The others seem to be written to make a religious point. Maybe the religious points are there in Luke too, just more subtle. :)

Exactly when this story might have begun to be portrayed as a real life event is unclear but it is clear that vastly different interpretations of Christ, including the idea that he was a spirit not a man continued to exist even when the Catholic Church were specifying the New Testament canon and establishing the doctrine of the trinity.

Yes...? And the longer Christianity goes on the more wildly differing are the interpretations and ideas. You must remember that you now are talking about a period of 300 years from the Crucifixion to the first council of Nicea, which was the first attempt to create a consensus in Christianity.

That's the period from 1709 to today. It's not a short time to acquire different ideas of Jesus. Just look at how New Age as a religious movement has exploded and diversified since, well, the 60's.

It can not be concluded just because the various religious interpretations of Christianity after 300 years, that Jesus did not exist. It's simply a complete non sequitur.

The 12 apostles or disciples make most sense as an allegory of the 12 tribes of Israel.

No, it doesn't. It's known from other sources that Jewish religious groupings has a structure of a leadership of thirteen people, in this cases Jesus + 12 apostles.

Paul doesn't refer to "the twelve" and calls himself an apostle.

It is very possible that the association of the term Apostle and the twelve who was in the leadership is due to a later misunderstanding.

There is indeed doubt. It is held and expressed by many.

Yes, but there is little or no rational doubt.

For more arguments for and against check out the debate.

We have. There aren't really many arguments against that hold up to scrutiny.
So prove me wrong, then.
feverish
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11/9/2009 11:52:17 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/6/2009 10:13:12 AM, regebro wrote:
At 11/5/2009 4:20:11 PM, feverish wrote:
The hypotheses is that the earliest Christian writings, the epistles of Paul (the non-pseudoepigrapha) were describing a symbolic Christ and a heavenly crucifixion

That's a new theory to me. What kind of support is there for that claim?

For more arguments for and against check out the debate.

We have. There aren't really many arguments against that hold up to scrutiny.

There seems to be some discrepency here, if you had read the debate properly then this would not be a new theory to you.

There is indeed doubt. It is held and expressed by many.

Yes, but there is little or no rational doubt.

Agreement with Regebro on everything is not a pre-condition of rationality. There is some (yes, you're right only a little but still some) rational doubt.

Thanks for responding anyway.
regebro
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11/9/2009 1:14:11 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/9/2009 11:52:17 AM, feverish wrote:
Thanks for responding anyway.

Too bad you didn't. But that's of course up to you.

It's funny how people when they run out of argument always claim that the reason they run out of argument is my debating style, or, like you, claim that I claim you have to agree with me to be rational, when that is preposterous and could not be more wrong.
So prove me wrong, then.
regebro
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11/9/2009 1:22:30 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/9/2009 11:52:17 AM, feverish wrote:
There seems to be some discrepency here, if you had read the debate properly then this would not be a new theory to you.

You are partly right, you do claim a couple of time that is would "make more sense". You do however not support that claim either with any reasoning nor with any links, which is probably why I didn't notice it on my first quick-read through.

However, the theory is still new to me, as you don't actually propose any such theory in the debate, you just say, and I quote

"Most of these simply make much more sense in the context of a purely spiritual Christ and a symbolic heavenly crucifixion as do Paul's letters on the whole."

and

"There are though plenty of passages in Paul's epistles that make far more sense when considered in the context of a purely symbolic Christ, as I have demonstrated."

Which you have not. You just stated it. You did not demonstrate any such thing, and I do not see how you can draw such a conclusion.

The case here is clearly that you have been proven wrong, and as a result get angry, and therefore react with a personal attack on me.

Time for a signature change, I think.
So prove me wrong, then.
feverish
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11/9/2009 3:10:48 PM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/9/2009 1:22:30 PM, regebro wrote:
At 11/9/2009 11:52:17 AM, feverish wrote:
There seems to be some discrepency here, if you had read the debate properly then this would not be a new theory to you.

You are partly right,

Thanks.

you do claim a couple of time that is would "make more sense". You do however not support that claim either with any reasoning nor with any links, which is probably why I didn't notice it on my first quick-read through.

However, the theory is still new to me, as you don't actually propose any such theory in the debate, you just say, and I quote

"Most of these simply make much more sense in the context of a purely spiritual Christ and a symbolic heavenly crucifixion as do Paul's letters on the whole."

and

"There are though plenty of passages in Paul's epistles that make far more sense when considered in the context of a purely symbolic Christ, as I have demonstrated."

Which you have not. You just stated it. You did not demonstrate any such thing, and I do not see how you can draw such a conclusion.

I said a whole lot more than that, mostly towards the end of rounds 2 & 3. I would be happy to copypaste it for you or you could look again.

If you are actually interested in learning about this hypothesis, this is a decent place to start, I was directed to it by another site user and it goes into a lot more depth than my debate. http://rationalrevolution.net...

The case here is clearly that you have been proven wrong, and as a result get angry, and therefore react with a personal attack on me.

I don't see how I can be proved wrong when I'm presenting a possibility that I am unconvinced about but whatever you say.

I'm sorry if you think I attacked you personally, I wasn't aware of doing so and it certainly wasn't my intention.

I'd like to reassure you that I'm not remotely angry. In fact I'm quite calm most of the time.
regebro
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11/10/2009 2:57:39 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/9/2009 3:10:48 PM, feverish wrote:
I said a whole lot more than that, mostly towards the end of rounds 2 & 3. I would be happy to copypaste it for you or you could look again.

I can't see anything you say that is relevant or supportive of that theory.

If you are actually interested in learning about this hypothesis, this is a decent place to start, I was directed to it by another site user and it goes into a lot more depth than my debate. http://rationalrevolution.net...

Oh no, not RG Price again. What is it with him?

OK. Some comments on that text:

"Here Paul seems to be talking about the coming of a future "Deliverer", but he makes no mention at all of Jesus here. If Jesus had just been here then why is Paul talking about old scriptures instead of Jesus Christ, who had just been here?"

I'm sorry, that comment is ignorant. I know I'm prone to express myself in ways that others find harsh, but there is no better or nicer word for it. This RG Price guy refers to Romans 11:26, where Paul quotes Isaiah 59:20. He quotes Isaiah to refer back to show that the coming of Jesus was prophesied, and to lend support and credibility to his claims. RG Price pretends not to understand this, which I have a hard time believing.

"Here Paul says that they are expecting a Savior from heaven, which is Jesus. He doesn't say that they are expecting him to come back, or anything like that, but that they are expecting a Savior from heaven."

Yes. Christians have always, from Paul and onwards, expected Jesus to step down from heaven, and initiate the apocalypse and then usher in a 1000 years of heaven on earth.

", then why does Paul ask here if Jews cannot be blamed for not believing in Christ because they haven't heard about him?"

Paul is in that passage clearly referring to the Greek, not the Jews.

"Here Paul is calling Jesus Christ, "and him crucified," a mystery of God."

No he doesn't.

"Here Paul claims that he is telling these people a "mystery", but why would this be a mystery if Jesus Christ had just been on earth a few years earlier to bring this very message to people"

RG Price obviously doesn't know what the word "mystery" means. "Mystery" does not mean "secret".

"and that the mystery of Christ has, "been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit." It would not be said that Jesus was revealed to his apostles by the Spirit if he had just recently been on earth as a walking, talking, human being."

It does not say that Jesus was revealed, it said that the *mystery* of Jesus was revealed. And it doesn't pay Apostles, it says Apostles and Prophets.

And it just goes on and on like that. Most of what RG Price says about Pauls writings are simply wrong, which you can see by just readong the Paulin quote above RG Price's comments. If it's not factually incorrect, it does not support the claim that Jesus wouldn't have existed. Often it's both factually incorrect and unsupportive of the theory.

If this was a good introduction to the theory, then the theory doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Sorry.
So prove me wrong, then.
feverish
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11/10/2009 7:03:44 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/10/2009 2:57:39 AM, regebro wrote:

If this was a good introduction to the theory, then the theory doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Sorry.

No need to apologise, thanks for your opinions.
banker
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11/11/2009 4:05:15 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Great debate
the most important source for muslim Arabs:

"And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd'.".

- Qur'an 17:104 -

Any sincere muslim must recognize the Land they call "Palestine" as the Jewish Homeland, according to the book considered by muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah's ultimate revelation.

Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable
banker
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11/12/2009 4:12:37 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
Interesting to note that some say jesus is in kashmire grave
the most important source for muslim Arabs:

"And thereafter We [Allah] said to the Children of Israel: 'Dwell securely in the Promised Land. And when the last warning will come to pass, we will gather you together in a mingled crowd'.".

- Qur'an 17:104 -

Any sincere muslim must recognize the Land they call "Palestine" as the Jewish Homeland, according to the book considered by muslims to be the most sacred word and Allah's ultimate revelation.

Ibn Khaldun, one of the most creditable
Volkov
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11/13/2009 9:34:17 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
At 11/13/2009 9:00:51 AM, theLwerd wrote:
On a completely random note, regebro's account is no longer active o.O

That's a shame. He was a good, if tad arrogant, addition to the site.
Danielle
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11/13/2009 9:40:03 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I've noticed that a lot of accounts have been closed. A buncha fakes recently, I suppose. Dunno what happened to regebro though.
President of DDO
feverish
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11/13/2009 10:16:17 AM
Posted: 7 years ago
I think if he'd been banned it would say "account has been closed".

"No longer active" suggests he's closed it himself. I think that's what Poejoe and Tatarize's accounts said during their hiatuses (word? hiati?)

Maybe he'll be back.