The Jesus Timeline Videos

This is pretty good; summing up the results of scholarship:





HT: Common Sense Atheism

3 comments:

Tyro said...

Half-way through the first video, it talks about John the Baptist and I recalled that you'd singled this out as strong support for an historical Jesus, seeming to laugh at the idea that the gospels could be 'thrown out'. Yet this video appears to show even further inconsistencies in the very places that are most important to historicity. Indeed, the conclusion appears to be that the gospels use characters from secular history in a fictitious setting with little regard even rudimentary accuracy. Yes there are real-life characters in the gospels but the more we learn, the less reliable the accounts appear.

Are you agreeing with the argument in the video, that the gospels are fictitious and don't stand up to a cursory examination or are you standing by the claim that the gospels can be used to support historicity?

Anyway, interesting videos.

John W. Loftus said...

Tyro, you mischaracterized my view. You know better than that.

And I link to lots of stuff for consideration and discussion. The only things I agree with 100% are the things I myself write.

Tyro said...

Pardon, I didn't mean to mischaracterize. I plead ignorance rather than malice :)

I'm thinking of your statement: "The disjunctive is that either the NT cannot be trusted at all or Jesus was a failed apocalyptic doomsday prophet. In either case Christianity is falsified. But when given this choice I cannot see for the life of me that the NT cannot be trusted about anything unless independently corroborated. We have plenty of independent corroboration in it of people, events, places and topography, so surely it cannot all be untrustworthy."

Maybe I don't understand the alternatives you're presenting but it appears as if you're saying that the presence of independently-verified characters like John the Baptist should lend credibility to the events we cannot verify.

However, based on many factors including this video it seems clear that though the gospels contain references to real people and events and be set in real-life places and topography, these references are at odds with independent sources so that we should treat the gospels as religiously-inspired fiction until shown otherwise. Like any work of fiction set in "real life", it can tell us about historical mores and customs but is a poor guide to historical events and characters. For instance John the Baptist appears in the gospels but the video persuasively argues that this is a fiction since it doesn't mesh with the other gospel events. It is like JFK's appearance in Forrest Gump, real-life characters doing fictitious things with fictional characters. While we can confirm much of Gump, we'd be led astray to conclude all events were real.