Register | Sign In


Understanding through Discussion


EvC Forum active members: 58 (9173 total)
4 online now:
Newest Member: Neptune7
Post Volume: Total: 917,567 Year: 4,824/9,624 Month: 172/427 Week: 85/85 Day: 2/20 Hour: 0/1


Thread  Details

Email This Thread
Newer Topic | Older Topic
  
Author Topic:   Did Jesus Exist? by Bart Ehrman
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9272
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 256 of 563 (915498)
02-14-2024 8:43 AM
Reply to: Message 242 by PaulK
02-14-2024 12:19 AM


There only has to be one argument. There is no evidence. Maybe you should find some evidence. Being a dick isn't working for you.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 242 by PaulK, posted 02-14-2024 12:19 AM PaulK has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 270 by PaulK, posted 02-14-2024 12:48 PM Theodoric has not replied

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9272
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 257 of 563 (915499)
02-14-2024 8:47 AM
Reply to: Message 244 by PaulK
02-14-2024 12:31 AM


Present evidence. The gospels are less of evidence for a historical Jesus than the writings of Mark Twain are for Tom Sawyer. At least we know about Mark Twain. We know his real name and we know of his other writings.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 244 by PaulK, posted 02-14-2024 12:31 AM PaulK has not replied

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9272
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 258 of 563 (915500)
02-14-2024 8:48 AM
Reply to: Message 245 by Rahvin
02-14-2024 12:45 AM


That is the evidence for the existence every fictional character.

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 245 by Rahvin, posted 02-14-2024 12:45 AM Rahvin has not replied

  
Theodoric
Member
Posts: 9272
From: Northwest, WI, USA
Joined: 08-15-2005
Member Rating: 2.8


(1)
Message 259 of 563 (915501)
02-14-2024 8:51 AM
Reply to: Message 250 by Phat
02-14-2024 3:29 AM


Re: Preconceived Notions
no because your beliefs have no evidence. Why do you feel people should accept things with absolutely no evidence?

What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. -Christopher Hitchens

Facts don't lie or have an agenda. Facts are just facts

"God did it" is not an argument. It is an excuse for intellectual laziness.

If your viewpoint has merits and facts to back it up why would you have to lie?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 250 by Phat, posted 02-14-2024 3:29 AM Phat has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 271 by Phat, posted 02-14-2024 12:52 PM Theodoric has not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 114 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 260 of 563 (915503)
02-14-2024 10:12 AM
Reply to: Message 229 by Percy
02-13-2024 5:22 PM


For the existence of Jesus as "an obscure religious mystic?" Why would such a person even be necessary?
I'm not sure what you mean by necessary. Christianity has to have come from somewhere and having it's origins in a real person is a highly parsimonious explanation.
If that's who Jesus really was then 95% of the gospels are fiction, and if there never was a Jesus then 100% of the gospels are fiction. That 5% hardly seems worth finagling over.
Well I wouldn't like to put a figure on it, even loosely. Certainly I would not encourage amateurs and laymen to uncritically view the Gospels as reliable history, far from it. Historians though, textual critics and other scholars of antiquity approach their sources with far greater caution and detailed analysis than laymen. "What you call "finagling over the 5%" is what such people do!
I also think that the question of whether one of the most influential individuals of all time existed or not is a bigger deal than just part of that "5%".
Concerning evidence, no one is questioning the existence of the gospels or the NT, but the exact same gospel passages have been interpreted as saying a variety of different things, and you described them as "dodgy evidence."
My problem with this is that lots of evidence from antiquity is "dodgy". It's patchy, fragmentary, only known form much later manuscripts and littered with bias and superstition. Historians are used to this and largely take it in their stride. Laymen tend to be shocked when you say something like "there are no contemporaneous sources", but in reality, that's far from unusual.
Agreeing on what they're evidence of seems challenging.​
Yes, extremely challenging. That's why textual critics get paid those big, big bucks! Seriously though, it's a very challenging field, requiring a greater familiarity with the texts than a lowly internet malcontent such as myself will ever possess. As I said above, a lot of this is above my pay grade.
You argue that the gospel writers would not have introduced fictions like the census if they were just making Jesus up, but Paul's epistles were written long before Luke
Well Paul doesn't mention the Nativity. I would agree that if Jesus was wholly concocted, then it must have been before any of the Gospels were written, if that's what you're getting at. I also think that if it was all concocted, then it must have been before Paul's Epistles as well. His various claims don't make sense unless there was some sort of pre-existing Christian movement.
Separate Christian communities would have had a long time to develop and evolve and create and abandon ideas that later required reconciliation.
I think that's pretty good description of what I'm suggesting. I'm further suggesting that the Nativity story is an example of this. They had a theological problem and came up with a solution. Luke and Matthew (whoever they were) give differing version of the story, but I don't think either of them invented it. They both might have got it from Q or Luke from Matthew, or somewhere else, but to me this seems like a good example of exactly the kind of evolution of ideas that you describe.
Sorry, didn't mean for it to come across that way. I only meant that the Jesus that I believe did not exist is the one from the gospels.
Okay, cool. I still think it's a funny way of putting it. I mean, we don't hear anyone asking "Was there a George Washington who chopped down the cherry tree?". That would be weird phrasing. Semantics I guess.
I don't have any particularly strong opinion about the possibility that Jesus is based upon a real person who didn't live the life described in the gospels. Maybe, maybe not. Why does it matter?
It doesn't. I don't think any question about distant history really matters much. Did king Arthur exist? Or Robin Hood? Probably not. Does it matter? Not in the least. Where was Alexander the Great buried? It would be nice to know, but not knowing won't keep me up at night. It's interesting though and I find this topic interesting. To be fair, it clearly matters a great deal to Christians, but it doesn't matter to me in the same way. The existence or non-existence of Jesus was never a foundation of my atheism in the first place.
I wasn't aware of the Jesus Mythicists.
The idea started in the Nineteenth Century but gradually fell out of favour. It has had a renaissance of sorts in the internet age, but there are almost no professionals who take it seriously today.
Mutate and Survive

On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 229 by Percy, posted 02-13-2024 5:22 PM Percy has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 275 by Percy, posted 02-14-2024 1:12 PM Granny Magda has replied

  
Tangle
Member
Posts: 9530
From: UK
Joined: 10-07-2011
Member Rating: 4.9


(1)
Message 261 of 563 (915505)
02-14-2024 11:03 AM
Reply to: Message 254 by ICANT
02-14-2024 7:51 AM


ICANT writes:
Yes, and if I did I couldn't read it as it was written in Latin
I can't see how your personal inability to read latin is relevant. We have plenty of people who can read latin.
Are you telling me that a man that was writing the History of the Roman Empire who was in a government position equal to our senators was going around talking to people the government was killing because they would not worship the Roman Gods. I really don't think they would even let him know they were a follower of Christ as they would have ended up dead.
I'm telling you that if it was him at all - and not some Christian scribe in the 900 years where the manuscripts are missing - he wrote down what someone told him. HE IS NOT A PRIME SOURCE.
Being a Historian and a government official why would he need hearsay information when he would have had total access to the official government documents?

He was writing 80 years after the supposed events, what documents do you think he had?
When would Christians have had access to these Annals?

EVIDENCE that such happened please.
The evidence is from the textual analysis of the document.

Being a Historian and a government official why would he need hearsay information when he would have had total access to the official government documents?
Where does he reference any official documents?

Je suis Charlie. Je suis Ahmed. Je suis Juif. Je suis Parisien. I am Mancunian. I am Brum. I am London. Olen Suomi Soy Barcelona. I am Ukraine.

"Science adjusts it's views based on what's observed.
Faith is the denial of observation so that Belief can be preserved."
- Tim Minchin, in his beat poem, Storm.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 254 by ICANT, posted 02-14-2024 7:51 AM ICANT has not replied

  
Taq
Member
Posts: 10155
Joined: 03-06-2009
Member Rating: 4.8


Message 262 of 563 (915508)
02-14-2024 12:16 PM
Reply to: Message 245 by Rahvin
02-14-2024 12:45 AM


Rahvin writes:
But a man living in that region during Roman occupation forming a messianic cult following that expressed ideals that overlap with ideals already known in the region, who perhaps became too much of a disruption and was executed by the Romans...that doesn't sound like it would take much evidence to be plausible.
That's how I view it as well. For me, the existence of Jesus is really a minor question which I am more than happy to agree to just for the sake of argument. The real questions surround the supernatural claims made by the New Testament authors.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 245 by Rahvin, posted 02-14-2024 12:45 AM Rahvin has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 265 by Phat, posted 02-14-2024 12:38 PM Taq has replied
 Message 266 by Granny Magda, posted 02-14-2024 12:43 PM Taq has not replied
 Message 267 by AZPaul3, posted 02-14-2024 12:44 PM Taq has not replied

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18388
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 263 of 563 (915510)
02-14-2024 12:31 PM
Reply to: Message 253 by Percy
02-14-2024 7:15 AM


Reality Trumps Fantasy. Pun Intended
Percy writes:
But those arguing both for and against a real person behind the Jesus myth are light years away from those who believe we should accept Jesus as Lord and Savior because everything in the gospels is true.
I would assert (as a believer) that the gospels are true *because* I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Keep in mind that a majority of Christians have acknowledged Jesus as Lord and Savior but far fewer have accepted it as fact from the depths of their soul. Critics would argue that I simply bought into a story. I would argue that I had an encounter with Jesus. Not the Pastor. Not the school board Christians. Not politics. And much to your collective points, not because of objective evidence. The only evidence that I had and have is internal, personal, and very much subjective.
A minority of "Christians" are light years away from the majority.
IMHO a majority of todays Christians are driven by attitudes and behaviors. A minority is driven by belief. (Not YouTube videos, in this case! )
Percy writes:
As a matter of history I can't help but be curious about whether there was a real person behind the Jesus myth. I wish there were evidence one way or the other, but as far as I can tell there isn't. I'll listen to arguments that this or that is evidence of something about the real Jesus, but I've listened to these arguments for a long time and found nothing convincing.
More to the point, you have found no one convincing. Hence your search continues.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 253 by Percy, posted 02-14-2024 7:15 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 114 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(2)
Message 264 of 563 (915511)
02-14-2024 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 228 by Theodoric
02-13-2024 5:20 PM


I think there's a few problems with this.
Roughly 80 years after the alleged events Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ"
Well yes, history is usually written after it happens. That's how time works. It would be nice if it had been written closer to the events, but it wasn't. That doesn't make it worthless and I don't think that a gap of 80 years is particularly exceptional for an ancient source.
Tacitus uses the term "procurator", used in his later times, but not correct for the actual period, when "prefect" was used.
So for starters, you haven't provided a source for this. Also, I did a bit of digging and found the term to be in use before Tacitus' time and after. Notably Suetonius uses it and he was writing at about the same time. Also, is this supposed to be a problem just for this passage? Because Tacitus uses the word "procurator" multiple times in Annals, in English translation at least. Is this supposed to be a substantial enough objection to throw out the whole of Tacitus? Given that he is one of our most valuable sources on 1st Century Rome I think that's a bit of an overreaction.
Tacitus names the person as "Christ", when Roman records could not possibly have used this name (it would have been "Jesus, son of Joseph" or similar.)
These aren't "records". The Annals aren't part of some official record or something, they are histories, so I don't really know what you mean by that. Tacitus most certainly used official records as sources, but that doesn't mean that he had to follow their naming conventions. I also just don't buy this generally. If early Christians commonly referred to Jesus as "Christ" or "Christus" or "Chrestus", then I see no reason why Tacitus would not have done the same. Tacitus may not even have known the given name of this "Christ". It is clear from the context that he is using "Christ" to show the derivation of the term "Christian", which makes sense. You cite no backing for this claim. Overall, I am sceptical.
Tacitus accepts the recent advent of Christianity, which was against Roman practice (to only allow ancient and accepted cults and religions.)
What do you mean he accepts it? He's not accepting anything, just reporting events. Far from being accepting, it is clear from the passage that Tacitus despises Christians and Christianity;
quote:
Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.
Tacitus, Annals 15:44, bolding mine
That doesn't come across as accepting to me. That comes across as extremely hostile. He clearly regards Christians as dangerous wackaloons, which... yeah that checks out. Clearly this is a man who knows Christianity well!
No-one refers to this passage for a millenium, even early Christians who actively sought such passages.
This is the worst argument you bring. The reason no-one cited Tacitus is because no-one had access to Tacitus. We're damn lucky we have as much of Tacitus as we do. He wrote around thirty books of which we have about half. Annals 11-16 survived through a single manuscript. We think of Tacitus as a big deal, but that's presentism; he was not well known in the latter part of the first millennium. The Wikipedia article on Tacitean Studies reads;
quote:
His popularity waned with time: his unfavorable portrayals of the early emperors could not have earned him favor with Rome's increasingly autocratic rulers, and his obvious contempt for Judaism and Christianity (both troublesome foreign cults in the eyes of a 1st-century Roman aristocrat) made him unpopular among the early Church Fathers.[5] The 3rd-century writer Tertullian, for example, blames him (incorrectly—see history of anti-Semitism) for originating the story that the Jews worshipped a donkey's head in the Holy of Holies and calls him "ille mendaciorum loquacissimus", 'the most loquacious of liars'.
Doesn't sound like a source that Christians would be queuing up to read and cite. The article continues;
quote:
By the 5th century only a few authors seem aware of him
and;
quote:
After Jordanes, Tacitus disappeared from literature for the better part of two centuries, and only four certain references appear until 1360.
and;
quote:
It was not until Giovanni Boccaccio brought the manuscript of the Annals 11-16 and the Histories out of Monte Cassino to Florence, in the 1360s or 1370s, that Tacitus began to regain some of his old literary importance.
So the reason Christians didn't quote Tacitus is simply because they didn't have it. You cannot make an argument from silence in such circumstances, it's nonsensical.
Thus, even if the Tacitus passage is not a later interpolation,
If you can name a single non-mythicist scholar who regards this passage as an interpolation, I would be very surprised.
details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories circulating in his time
But there are no "Christian stories" in there. There's nothing beyond Christ being executed. There's no resurrection, no miracles, nothing that would suggest a Christian input. Not that Tacitus would have taken such stories seriously, but he might have enjoyed mocking them. They're not there though. Indeed, he makes no attempt to describe the beliefs or practices of Christians beyond dismissive scorn. I don't think these accounts came to Tacitus directly from Christians.
In general, I'm not convinced by anything here that the Tacitus passage is fraudulent or particularly problematic. I can see how it's extremely inconvenient for mythicists though.
Mutate and Survive

On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 228 by Theodoric, posted 02-13-2024 5:20 PM Theodoric has not replied

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18388
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 265 of 563 (915512)
02-14-2024 12:38 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Taq
02-14-2024 12:16 PM


Is "Supernatural" possible and if so, convincing?
Taq writes:
The real questions surround the supernatural claims made by the New Testament authors.
I would agree. And we won't find objective answers.
What we *will* find are numerous arguments both for and against a supernatural Jesus (or *any Jesus*) for that matter which are highly emotional and driven by a need to be right.
There is no objective evidence. If that's all that one needs to be convinced, that explains why many of you are already convinced.(or *not* convinced). Bart Ehrman is no more important to me than Peter Zeihan was to Theodoric. Neither is Carrier.
Being a mythicist pays well on the lecture circuit.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by Taq, posted 02-14-2024 12:16 PM Taq has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 274 by Taq, posted 02-14-2024 1:04 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied

  
Granny Magda
Member (Idle past 114 days)
Posts: 2462
From: UK
Joined: 11-12-2007


(1)
Message 266 of 563 (915513)
02-14-2024 12:43 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Taq
02-14-2024 12:16 PM


Hi Taq,
I think that's a sensible approach.
I think there is rhetorical value in granting the existence of a historical Jesus whether you believe it or not, at least in conversation with Christians. If you suggest that Jesus was wholly fictional they're going to get defensive. They're going to tell you, correctly, that most scholars regard mythicism as bunk, they're going to think you're an idiot and they're going to stop listening. It is perhaps more productive to grant the existence of Jesus and focus on critiquing the more outlandish elements of the story.
Mutate and Survive

On two occasions I have been asked, – "Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?" ... I am not able rightly to apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question. - Charles Babbage

This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by Taq, posted 02-14-2024 12:16 PM Taq has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 269 by Phat, posted 02-14-2024 12:47 PM Granny Magda has replied

  
AZPaul3
Member
Posts: 8593
From: Phoenix
Joined: 11-06-2006
Member Rating: 4.5


Message 267 of 563 (915514)
02-14-2024 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 262 by Taq
02-14-2024 12:16 PM


The real questions surround the supernatural claims made by the New Testament authors.
Oooo, can 'o worms.
What questions surround the supernatural claims made by the New Testament authors?

Stop Tzar Vladimir the Condemned!

This message is a reply to:
 Message 262 by Taq, posted 02-14-2024 12:16 PM Taq has not replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 272 by Phat, posted 02-14-2024 1:01 PM AZPaul3 has not replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


Message 268 of 563 (915515)
02-14-2024 12:44 PM
Reply to: Message 252 by Percy
02-14-2024 6:06 AM


quote:
Yes, I guess you've told us all we need to know about yourself
Just for the record AZPaul agrees with my original point. Message 236 Maybe you should tell him off for not waiting for you to weigh in.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 252 by Percy, posted 02-14-2024 6:06 AM Percy has seen this message but not replied

  
Phat
Member
Posts: 18388
From: Denver,Colorado USA
Joined: 12-30-2003


Message 269 of 563 (915516)
02-14-2024 12:47 PM
Reply to: Message 266 by Granny Magda
02-14-2024 12:43 PM


Motive, Means & Opportunity
A lot depends on their motives and your motives. Perhaps a good question to rhetorically ask is"Why Is This Argument Important In The Grand Scheme Of Things?"

This message is a reply to:
 Message 266 by Granny Magda, posted 02-14-2024 12:43 PM Granny Magda has replied

Replies to this message:
 Message 278 by Granny Magda, posted 02-14-2024 1:58 PM Phat has seen this message but not replied

  
PaulK
Member
Posts: 17838
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 4.1


(2)
Message 270 of 563 (915517)
02-14-2024 12:48 PM
Reply to: Message 256 by Theodoric
02-14-2024 8:43 AM


quote:
There only has to be one argument. There is no evidence.
And that is a falsehood. Christianity exists. We have the writings of Paul. We have the Gospels. They are not as good evidence as we would like but they are evidence.

This message is a reply to:
 Message 256 by Theodoric, posted 02-14-2024 8:43 AM Theodoric has not replied

  
Newer Topic | Older Topic
Jump to:


Copyright 2001-2023 by EvC Forum, All Rights Reserved

™ Version 4.2
Innovative software from Qwixotic © 2024