The Jesus in the Gospels Never Existed!

Yep, that's right, although I have not changed my mind about anything. It comes from something that mythicist Steven Carr recently wrote:
There was an actual person behind the Popeye traditions.

So Popeye existed, according to mainstream Biblical historian criteria, as the character of Popeye was based on a real person.

Nobody would seriously doubt that Popeye was based on a real sailor who liked to get into a fight, if they studied history properly.

And , according to mainstream Biblical historical criteria, Sherlock Holmes existed, as the character in the stories was based on a real person.

All you need for somebody to exist is for that person to be based on a real historical person.

This is mainstream history, and mythicists should go to school and learn this.

So Popeye and Sherlock Holmes existed, according to all the criteria of mainstream Biblical history.

Of course, Olive Oyl and Dr. Watson may not have existed, just like Judas and Lazarus may not have existed, but that is simply not relevant to the historically certain facts that Popeye and Sherlock Holmes were based on real historically attested figures.

However, when people say 'Jesus' existed, they really want something more than a historical person behind the story.

They want Jesus to have more of an existence than Popeye or Sherlock Holmes.

So the mere statement that 'Jesus' was based on a real person no more convinces mythicists that Jesus existed than claiming that Popeye was based on a real person is evidence that Popeye existed. Link
This comment is probably the best statement of the problem in so few words I have read. I think it highlights the main issue that deserves further discussion. Let's say there is a human person behind the myths about the Jesus in the Gospels. So what? There are many myths about such a person to be found there, significant ones, primarily that he existed before creation, he was one with the father, fulfilled prophecy with his life, born of a virgin in Bethlehem, had the authority to speak for God, atoned for our sins on the cross, bodily arose from the dead and that he'd come again. With so many myths as these does it make much of a difference if the person pictured in the Gospels is a complete mythical person? At that point who cares? Why then the passion over this issue? Why does it divide atheists and agnostics like it does? Why issue challenges to other atheists/agnostics like to Bart Ehrman, who emphatically denies the mythicist position?

If there was a human being who was the basis for the Jesus figure in the NT, he is dead now.

If there was not a human being who was the basis for the Jesus figure in the NT, so much the worse.

I think that at best the founder of the Jesus cult was an apocalyptic end times prophet, as I argued in a chapter for The Christian Delusion, but even that's a "best case scenario." Historical studies are fraught with so many problems I could be wrong.

So regardless of this one disagreement over a mere historical question, atheists and agnostics who agree that there are many myths about Jesus in the Gospels should likewise agree that the Jesus pictured in the Gospels (and the NT for that matter) is a myth. If we must take it all at face value then such a person described there did not exist.

The Jesus of the Gospels is a myth. Such a person never existed.

Now that's a major agreement between us and it goes against the largest religious group opinion in America, evangelicals. Let us then herald this agreement loudly and clearly.

The Jesus depicted in the Gospels never existed.

78 comments:

Dan DeMura said...

I like the Popeye analogy.

Tyro said...

Interesting comparison, thanks John & Steven.

And if you haven't subscribed yet, there's a good blog devoted to biblical scholarship & historicism/mythicism at http://vridar.wordpress.com/

Dan DeMura said...

Was just reading material from the link to Thom Stark... it brought to mind another point.

Even if we accept a historical Jesus, and accept that some mythology was added to his life story by disciples for flavor... you also have to take into consideration the "re-interpretation" of these stories as they are read out of context from the time and period in which they were originally written.

Thom Stark said...

Right. Thanks for reading, Dan!

First, great post, John. We need more people like you trying to mediate between mythicists and historical Jesus scholars. Your points are correct: it doesn't matter if the end result is the same. So there is no need for such heat over the issue.

And Dan is right. As I argued in my series "Oh My God Man," much of the language that Orthodox Christianity took up as mythical language about Jesus probably was not originally meant that way by Jewish writers. For instance, the language of Jesus' preexistence, as I argue at length, was a common trope applied to anything important in second temple Judaism, from the Messiah, to the Torah, to the Temple, to the bridal gown of Joseph's wife! Those things and other things all existed "before the foundation of the world." As I argue, that language of preexistence is NOT literal, and would not have been taken so by anyone familiar with the literature. Language of preexistence was a way of expressing the belief that things were going according to God's eternal plan. So to say that Jesus existed before the foundation of the world means that God had a plan for the messiah all along, a plan that could not be thwarted.

Of course, if God did have a plan, it seems to have been thwarted.

GearHedEd said...

Another angle on the "Jesus existed before the foundation of the world" and "that God had a plan for the messiah all along" is the obvious problem of why Adam and Eve were set up to fail.

There can be no justification for anything happening in human history before Jesus' arrival from God's point of view, if Jesus was the plan "all along". And the flip side of that is that if Jesus was "planned", then Adam and Eve were pawns without choice or free will.

Oh, yeah, I forgot.

"God works in mysterious ways."

Thom Stark said...

You're right of course, GearHeadEd. The idea of God having had a "plan" all along became popular in the second temple period, when the garden narrative in Gen. 3 took on new meaning as a "fall," whereas before it was probably read as more of a coming of age parable.

LadyAtheist said...

Elvis was a real person, so I'm told. Therefore, he did reappear to his fans for years after his supposed "death" and appearance in toast and potato chips.

James said...

“With so many myths as these does it make much of a difference if the person pictured in the Gospels is a complete mythical person?”

Does it make any difference whether everything Mark and Matthew came up with--the narrative, the parables, the Last Supper, the crucifixion--were not occurrences in the life of real person, one who existed and walked the roads of Galilee, but instead were entirely creations of their imaginations or of others on whom they relied?
Does it make any difference whether about 30 AD, John baptized Jesus or instead Mark made it up--whether it was all it Mark’s head (and perhaps other heads of the time) or actually happened?
Does it make any difference whether Jesus was reputed to heal people, and drew crowds by virtue of this reputation--or instead nothing of the sort ever happened, it’s just that Mark (and maybe others) said that he (or a personage they knew to be fictive) did?
Does it make any difference whether the eloquent words recorded in Matthew 5:1-20, 6 trace back to a man who preached in Galilee circa 30 AD, or instead to some anonymous author who made them up two or three generations later?
Does it make any difference whether Jesus did and said as Paul reports in I Corinthians 11, or that instead he made it up or got if from an unreliable source?
Does it make any difference whether Jesus proclaimed the coming of the Kingdom or instead he never existed or the attribution to him of the proclamation is mistaken?
Does it make any difference whether Jesus entered Jerusalem at Passover, somehow caused a disturbance, and was crucified by Pilate--or that instead these things never happened, somebody made them up?
Does it make any difference whether one can discern that Bart Ehrman in his exchange with Infidel Guy left the mythicist view exposed as no more intellectually supportable than is creationism?

Thom Stark said...

James,

The answer is no. The only thing that makes a difference is whether or not Jesus rose from the dead.

Larian LeQuella said...

James,

I would say that it shouldn't make any difference about all these fables and myths.

Except the douchebags that really believe the fables seem intent on making life miserable for those of us who don't buy into the bullshit...

Vinny said...

Popeye may have been a real person but his predilection for spinach is clearly borrowed from an earlier pagan cult.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Stillfroth with all kinds of problems to deny the obvious, that the Jesus described within the bible actually did live and actually did exist...

Examples: 3rd part testiony to the fact that Jesus was crucified. This is contained within sources unsympathetic to Christianity or even his person...

Example: 3rd party reference to his existence and having followers who believed in such things he said and taught well beyond hs death.

Early second centrury references to the beliefs of those who followed this prophets teaching's "as if he were a God" according to Pliny in AD 110

I mean could go on naming a minimum of 9 sources that clearly reference Jesus as a person all of who's references DO NOT conflict with the biblical references...Are we to assume thee is a Christian/scular conspiracy afoot?

If your "popeye argument" is to have any sort of success it must show that, like we see wth popeye, there is and are clearly established embellishments. The Holmes and Popeye stories all lead back to men who clearly are less than their fictitious characters. References to Jesus don't establish that he was less than the biblical account. Although seclar references don't address much of his works the do address gnerally what happened and what individuals thought regarding what happened and both of those things are consistent with the biblical narratives and thoughts.

So these analogies may appear to have some sort of sigificance, but I don't find them very convincing John.

thishollowearth said...

Jesus was a real person. Only he was a 500 pound shut in with acute acne an a severe facial tick. All the other stuff about him was added on, but he existed.

Morrison said...

John Loftus exists, but the John Loftus described as being a great Chrsitian before his "deoonversion" never existed.

Hendy said...

@Supt:

I'm interested in the things you reference. What I've wondered, though, is where they got their material. I haven't looked into this at present.

If Pliny in 110 is hearing his material from the same group to which belonged the author of Mt, Mk, Lk, and/or Jn... it's not really 3rd party but merely a parroting of some other down-the-oral-tradition-chain source who we still don't know about.

What we certainly don't have is someone who says, "I operate according to the following method when conducting history... Regarding Jesus, I interviewed these named 20 people claiming these things independently and here are their verbatim testimonies... from these and light of my explicitly stated method, here are my conclusions."

From what I've read, all we have are about 2 sentences per reference (Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny and perhaps one more) who give us nothing more than what could have been circulating the land via who knows who.

Paul could have done things a whole lot better by given reference to some sayings of Jesus, his virgin birth, the name of his mother, what he did between either 2 and 12 and the age of 30... and so on.

Anyway, at the end of the day, does 3rd person reference to belief in the resurrection help the case that much? I think you'll find that a lot of references relate to the beliefs of the followers, not to some first hand knowledge of the happenings themselves. I also don't think John was trying to establish that Jesus as a person didn't exist but that Jesus as portrayed in the gospels didn't exist. Either way, the result is the same: Christianity is false.

P.S. Noticed in your profile that you recently took up selling insurance as a "wealth strategist." Pardon me if I'm wrong in wondering if your target constituency is comprised of those in the church you founded?

Morrison said...

Do you all really think these lines of argument will excuse you of your responsibility to God?

I have always wondered if that isn't what you are all hoping deep down.

Hendy said...

@Morrison:

Reasonable hypothesis. Find some people who knew him from before and find out if it holds. Pull from:

- people who still like him
- people who don't
- friends
- family
- those who were clergy with him
- his former laity
- anyone he did mission/service work with
- teachers who had him in class
- any pastoral care providers he worked with
- old emails and letters
- Bibles in his house (check for notes)
- His journals

Deal? It's your hypothesis so why don't you gather up some evidence for us all and report back.

I'm eager to read your results in a peer-reviewed journal with an established methodology written up, signed statements by all those interviewed, and audio-recordings of all conversations available upon request.

Can't wait to hear back from you!

Morrison said...

Harvey, the analogies are not only not convincing.

They are false.

But John knows that; he just likes to throw stuff like this into the mix.

Morrison said...

Hendy, why would I need to publish in a peer reviewed journal?

John doesn't.

Would an interview, though, with "Linda" be of any help? LOL!

Morrison said...

Further, John is the one who makes the claim of being such a great Christian.

He should have AREADY provided the information you ask for.

It is up to him to prove the existence of the great Christian John Loftus.

(Phone numbers and addresses where witnessess can be contacted will be sufficient, I do not require that it be published in a peer reviewed journal. LOL!)

I look forward to John posting this information soon.

Hendy said...

@Morrison:

- Re. peer-reviewed journal: I dunno, those interested in relating the results of interest following the testing of a hypothesis usually do this so that others can evaluate their methods, evidence, and interpretation.

If you want to just write us a book, that's fine, too.

- Re. John's effort to back his former Christianity: Ummm, it's in the first parts of WIBA, a published book. You're the one who wants to go further and thus you're the one who needs to do the work.
-----

Now, let's compare John with Jesus:

- Claims:
--- John claims to be a deconverted Christian. We have tons of evidence that these exist. His education matches with that of someone who is a Christian. He has written a book stating he is a Christian. None of these are outlandish claims.
--- Jesus is claimed to do about anything and everything that violates modern day experience except for walk, pray, eat, sit down, and talk. Miracles, raising others from the dead, controlling the weather, using alchemy to help people get drunk, and the like are all outlandish claims.

- Potential validation methods:
--- Anyone he knew John and has read WIBA can come to his publicly available blog (which has been up for like 3 years now, aka well-known) and blow our minds with a debunking via a comment or just start their own "truth-about-the-old-loftus" blog. Probably 80% of those (or more) who knew John pre-deconversion are still alive to be questioned. It would be fantastically easy to build a huge case either for or against John's former Christianity and to have a conspiracy would be a remarkable accomplishment, especially if these individuals are not in communication with each other and scattered around the globe.
--- No one is around to follow up on Jesus and requests to get answers via prayer fail miserably. Those who think they know who he was disagree, those who wrote about him disagree and show signs of elaboration and legend-style writing, and the earliest writer, Paul, gives us literally no facts about his life whatsoever.

I think I'm about done wasting breath on an obviously silly point with you. The point is that you can easily prove your hypothesis if you want to.

To respond critiquing minute details vs. the point is just silly. Peer-reviewed vs. book vs. article vs. blog post... who gives a fuck? John's got a book with what you want if it's from the horses mouth. If you have reason to doubt, go do your own research and make a name for yourself.

Hendy said...

@Morrison:

Oh, yeah. Just get the information from anyone else who knew him. Start with WL Craig. I'm sure he'll be happy to help you out.

Johnny P said...

@Hendy

really good points about independent attestation and sources. this is a hole that craig falls into, often claiming early multiple independent attestation to give jesus claims validity and force. however, since all the gospel writers were bad historians INCLUDING luke/acts (see Carrier in not the impossible faith for excellent work on this matter), and since they were all UNCRITICAL historians, we have NO idea who any of their sources were. none of their claims are remotely verifiable, and they wouldn't have been verifiable at the time of their circulation originally.

pliny, tacitus and josephus would all have had the same original sources. in fact, some of the gospels accounts had so few sources, that the sources MUST originally have been the same person. take the resurrection narratives. we have no accurate account of who was actually there, but mary seems to be the common factor - it was highly likely that the story came from her, which in fact is implied within the gospels themselves. and yet she disappears off the radar.

we know that other historians, such as tacitus, were good with mentioning their sources, and they were still WOEFULLY INACCURATE, so what does this say about the gospel writers, who, by their own admission, were evangelists, and not historians. they also believe their sources without seeking verification themselves.

thus, the whole train of accounting from the original sources leads one to believe that independent attestation isn't a reality, and that the gospel accounts must be deeply questioned before anything like a remote authentication can exist.

people like craig make very forceful conclusions that he treats as fact, but these conclusions are built on shaky assumptions, which themselves are built on exceptionally charitable treatment of sources that would not be afforded to any other religion or ancient text. basically, craig would fail the outsider test for faith.

it is impossible to assert any sort of reliability with regards to the gospels.

Johnny P said...

just to reiterate and emphasise, Carrier's 'Not the Impossible Faith' is an excellent book dealing with historical and verification issues of the gospels (particularly Luke).

Hendy said...

@Johnny P:

Not the Impossible Faith is on my list, for sure! I'm even more excited to read it after seeing another mention it.

Also, I find that a nice analysis of historical sources can be found HERE in a shorter-than-book form. I found it quite intriguing.

Oddly, before finding that I swear that I'd listened to debates in which the participants explicitly said that the evidence for Jesus was as good as that of Caesar crossing the Rubicon. Weird...

Johnny P said...

thanks, i'll check it out. if i got a quid for the number of times the rubicon was trotted out....


(i'd have 17 quid?)

Winston Smith said...

John Loftus did not "deconvert" for intellectual reasons, as he makes clear in WIBA.

However, the question is, did he "deconvert" at all?

He gives names of people he knew, but no way to contact any of these people. Whether they even exist or not I have not been able to determine.

Moreover, John has admitted that he has lied...to his wife, his friends, his congregation.

So how do we know he is telling the truth about his "deconversion"?

And as for "peer review", bad news. WIBA is not "peer reviewed" literature.

"Published" does NOT equal "Peer reviewed" in the acadmeic sense, "Hendy".

John W. Loftus said...

If you received Winston's Smith's lies respond if you want to, but he's been banned so many times here for so many different reasons I can't count the names he's used or the times he's been banned. He is a liar for Jesus, but it's okay since it's for Jesus. It's not worth talking to him at all. His mind is brainwashed and that's all there is to it.

Johnny P said...

@winston

are you an angry man? it seems like it.

Johnny P said...

yes, his comments seem to have disappeared...

Hendy said...

@Winston:

Dude, the point is that the book is not hidden and neither is this blog. Sure, peer-review has to happen on the front end but I made it clear that anything John has to say can be responded to on the post-publishing end as well.

Geez, all I tried to do is show that it's pure ridiculosity to try and assert that because Jesus' actual historical character can't be pieced together from the horrid sources we have from 2000 years ago does not mean that a claim that a person still alive with living 1st hand witnesses cannot be verified to either have been 1) a TrueChristian(TM) before deconversion or 2) not one.

Instead of just letting my levity put a smile on your face with its truth, you critique nitpicking details in my examples!

Critique your own example that should never had been typed out in the first place ;)

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Hendy,

You said:"If Pliny in 110 is hearing his material from the same group to which belonged the author of Mt, Mk, Lk, and/or Jn... it's not really 3rd party but merely a parroting of some other down-the-oral-tradition-chain source who we still don't know about."

This is a good argument and there is much that can be said about Pliny and what he wrote. This issue was undertaken by Boyd and Eddy in The Jesus Legendon pg. 176. They said this regarding the subject:

This source is nevertheless valuable not only because it likely indicates that both Christians and non-Christians assumed Jesus was an historical person at the beginning of the second century, but also because it demonstrates that by this time the Christian movement had become numerous enough in the region of Bithynia to be problematic to its ruler."

You said:"What we certainly don't have is someone who says, "I operate according to the following method when conducting history... Regarding Jesus, I interviewed these named 20 people claiming these things independently and here are their verbatim testimonies... from these and light of my explicitly stated method, here are my conclusions.""

I don't think we find any historical narratives done that way. Look at Tacitus for instance. To say that he was relying on hearsay is different for him than in any other surviving writing that he renders. ie: he is otherwise reliable and it would seem that he sets forth information that he would have had to have received from those who were Christians themselves.

Another issue is the writing of Luke himself. In that gospel which has been shown to be highly accurate both archaeologically and within the narrative itself, we see the writer announcing that he had an excellent knowledge about what had happened and what was believed among the Christians and his whole dialogue in the beginning uses the dialogue of someone who had undertaken the tasks to interview, and amass material that would support his case.

When these issues are considered, the only way one can strip the Jews of their writings is to amalgamate them and their writings with the Greek/Roman culture in which we know clearly that displayed embellishments. ie: Just because the Romans told myth, does not make religious Jews create myths also. The first century Jewish culture was especially religious and especially monotheistic. Remember they had fought a war over meddling with their religion just a short-time before.

You said:"Paul could have done things a whole lot better by given reference to some sayings of Jesus, his virgin birth, the name of his mother, what he did between either 2 and 12 and the age of 30... and so on."

The question here is why would Paul be compelled to do such? I mean the people he wrote knew both he and Jesus. he would have never had to go over all the details that the early Church already knew and further details that were not Slavic in nature. Many of the critics assert this but even if we find Paul doing so it becomes a waste of time and energy and leads to greater suspicion...we would then be right to ask..."How many Jesus's were born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, through the lineage of David etc...why would Paul have to be so specific?"

Remarkably, his (Paul's) teachings are totally consistent with that of Jesus and any perceived discrepancies such as that of faith and works are only apparent and when they are examined certainly can be reconciled.

see 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

2

Hendy,

You said:"Paul could have done things a whole lot better by given reference to some sayings of Jesus, his virgin birth, the name of his mother, what he did between either 2 and 12 and the age of 30... and so on."

The question here is why would Paul be compelled to do such? I mean the people he wrote knew both he and Jesus. he would have never had to go over all the details that the early Church already knew and further details that were not Slavic in nature. Many of the critics assert this but even if we find Paul doing so it becomes a waste of time and energy and leads to greater suspicion...we would then be right to ask..."How many Jesus's were born of a virgin, in Bethlehem, through the lineage of David etc...why would Paul have to be so specific?"

Remarkably, his (Paul's) teachings are totally consistent with that of Jesus and any perceived discrepancies such as that of faith and works are only apparent and when they are examined certainly can be reconciled.

"I also don't think John was trying to establish that Jesus as a person didn't exist but that Jesus as portrayed in the gospels didn't exist."

John believes that Jesus was a failed doomsday prophet of his time. If that is the case, he would not have been honored nor received by any Jew and any conversions of religious Jews and skeptics such as Paul and James are hopeless...so I understand John's desire to make Jesus different than the gospel accounts, but his case too, in my opinion, is unsupportable.

You asked P.S. Noticed in your profile that you recently took up selling insurance as a "wealth strategist." Pardon me if I'm wrong in wondering if your target constituency is comprised of those in the church you founded?

Well, does a home builder build homes for people who are dead? No he builds homes for living people who need housing. If those people are on his block that's an incidental benefit of his business isn't it? My clients are everyplace and no I don't target market my church...I provide services to those who need it. Now I don't provide services to individuals who are morally opposed to what I feel are positive and good societal values...I don't do strip-club owners, bar owners, drug sellers or pimps, although I will help their clients in so much as I can.

Hope that addresses your questions.

BTW, if you are leaving a job and need help transferring a retirement plan, I'll be glad to help. I've got an excellent product and company that people have been using to move financial assets to safety. All I need is a minimum of $10,000 or $5,000 qualified funds...Let me know-LOL!!!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Sorry for the overlap, I'm having a problem posting and maintaining teh page for some reason.

Hendy said...

@Supt Harvey:

- I see your point about Pliny, but we're still treading water in my opinion. The point of this post, or at least my read on it, is that if all we can establish is that people thought he was historical and many people were already following him... we haven't done much. John states this much. The post doesn't strike me as primarily targeting whether he existed but whether he aligns with all the gospels say about him (miracle worker, sayings, deeds, travels, resurrection, appearances, etc.).

- I'll continue to look into things like Luke's accuracy. My understanding was that right after his prologue stating his diligence with historical facts he put Jesus' birth during Quirinius which would be far too late and that most choose Matthew (during Herod < 4 BC) instead. I could be wrong. Sure, this isn't saying anything about the majority or entirety, but it's weird to say, "Check out me getting my facts straight by sorting through all of these stories" and then immediately make an easily avoided blunder.

- Regarding Paul, I guess I still find it weird that in not one of his letters does he use Jesus' actual words as teaching tools. If Paul who was evangelizing Christians for the first time didn't need to use them, why did the gospel writers? It's not like the people Paul was writing to all already knew Jesus intimately, did they? If I approached you and said that Barack Obama supported pro-life policies and this surprised you (it should), wouldn't you want to see a quote or something? This is how I see Paul: he's preaching in the name of someone and conveying apparently what that person stood for, but giving no references whatsoever. Call me weird, but I find that... weird. I think you'd have assume that everyone knew the entire content of all of the gospels almost verbatim to hold that Paul wouldn't have benefited from relaying anything of Jesus' life to them.

- Thanks for satisfying my curiosity about the new business.

Johnny P said...

@Winston

were the gospels peer reviewed? were the sources named? no and no.

@Harvey

a few issues with your points.

I don't think we find any historical narratives done that way.

actually, early historians did name sources. take herodotus, for example. notoriously inaccurate, he still names sources, and exhibits skepticism over certain sources. as carrier points out: "In Herodotus’ Histories he mentions sources or methods: e.g. 2.123; 1.5, 4.195; names sources: e.g. 1.20-21, 2.29, 4.14, 4.29, 5.86-87, 6.53-54, 8.55, 8.65; gives different accounts: e.g. 1.3-5, 2.20-27, 5.86-87, 6.53-54, 7.148-152; expresses skepticism: e.g. 2.45, 3.16, 4.25, 4.31, 4.42, 4.95-96, 4.105, 5.86, 7.152."

so HISTORIANS did it. but the gospel writers were NOT historians.

Another issue is the writing of Luke himself. In that gospel which has been shown to be highly accurate both archaeologically and within the narrative itself

another classic apologist tactic which is simply wrong. luke is an accurate historian on certain issues but he is not a critical historian in any way. he never seeks verification of facts, or names sources, or many other things expected of historians. but then he is an evangelist, not a historian.

he is accurate in the same way conan doyle was with sherlock holmes. he sets it in a historical setting: truthful and accurate. but fiction.

none of the claims of the actual jesus narrative, in both luke and acts, are verifiable. not to us, but more importantly, not to the contemporary readers. and this is the key. those being evangelised to were not able to verify the facts, nor would have had the desire to (see carrier again for this).

as for I mean the people he wrote knew both he and Jesus. you are way off here. his letters were sent to embryonic churches and converts in far off lands who certainly never met jesus. and neither had he.

Ryan Anderson said...

I think one important take away from Pliny's letter to Trajan is that Pliny didn't exactly know what to do with the Christians he had in custody. Rome apparently did not have a consistent, Empire wide policy at that point. Hence Pliny's letter...

Given Pliny’s questions to Trajan, it’s probable that somewhere in the Empire, Christians were put to death regardless if they recanted or not.

This undermines the worn out apologetic that’s “eyewitnesses” would never have allowed themselves to be martyred for a lie. Perhaps they had no choice in their martyrdom.

Johnny P said...

@Hendy

great points about Paul. it is a weak apologetic argument, in my opinion, that claims that even mentioning events or miracles in jesus' life would have been out of place in his letters. i find it incoherent.

paul is talking to new churches. effectively evangelising. it's all about christ, and yet not to mention or remind or even teach some of the churches some of the amazing things that jesus did begs the question of whether he did them at all, and whether they were written into his biography ex post facto.

the amount of obsequious praise of jesus in the epistles, it is amazing that he doesn't refer to any gospel material other than cryptically to the resurrection.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P, & Hendy,

Thanks for the responses. So far as Luke's accuracy, to which Johnny P agrees, all one has to do is be familiar with Sir WIlliam Ramsay who was no run of the mill archaeologist but one of the best in history and specifically dealt with Quirinus and the census that has been the bain of critics as the facts he discovered undermine many of the critical arguments still found on this site.

Now, you render the "critical nature" of his writing and I don't know what to make of that...If someone is accurate and has been proven to be so, and since their narrative is not history, but yet factual, the other criteria (critical) seems to me to be a phantom and adds no or minimal value to the conversation.

Paul's letters weren't written to evangelize the churches, they were written to strengthen the churches that already existed whether he founded them or not. If these people were already Christians they had already accepted the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as Paul affirms in his epistles when dealing with what it took to be saved.

I don't see how Paul could write expecting to convert people who had never heard about Christ etc...who would he write to? What would be the address??? We already see how he was received in the synagogues and these were not synagogues...so that point is kinda easy to refute.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P & Hendy,

so far as Paul and Jesus is concerned, this has got to be about one of the most refuted and lame arguments in existence...Paul expresses a great deal about the the life and the words of Jesus not to mention the Judaism behind it all.

Professor J. P. Meier also deals extensively with this whole subject in his series "A Marginal Jew" which is one of the best series of works that I've found to truly get an accurate contextualization of the historical Jesus.

Johnny P said...

Harvey

if you're talking about the lapis tiburtinus, and the work ramsay did on that, it has been roundly and soundly rubbished by modern scholars (basically he made up an unfounded hypothesis), as good as ramsay was in his day, his archaeology has been greatly reassessed since then. see http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/quirinius.html to assess the ramsay / quirinius stuff. it's a non-starter.

the quirinius thing is of great interest to me, and the birth narratives are probably the easiest things in the bible to debunk. don't get me started!

you mention luke again, but i do not think he is an accurate historian per se. the only things we know he can be accurate on are the periphery setting details. the actual meat of his work is contested.

If these people were already Christians they had already accepted the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus

this is not true, since he writes to actually set the record straight on some issues. i never said they had never heard of jesus, i said they had never met him. they lived in different countries after all.

ok, tell me what events in the gospels about jesus that paul actually talks about, if you think it is that easy to refute.

as gauvin said many years ago " If Paul really wrote them, they were written by a man who lived in Jerusalem when Christ is supposed to have been teaching there. Now, if the facts of the life of Christ were known in the first century of Christianity, Paul was one of the men who should have known them fully. Yet Paul acknowledges that he never saw Jesus; and his Epistles prove that he knew nothing about his life, his works, or his teachings.

In all the Epistles of Paul, there is not one word about Christ's virgin birth. The apostle is absolutely ignorant of the marvellous manner in which Jesus is said to have come into the world. For this silence, there can be only one honest explanation--the story of the virgin birth had not yet been invented when Paul wrote. A large portion of the Gospels is devoted to accounts of the miracles Christ is said to have wrought. But you will look in vain through the thirteen Epistles of Paul for the slightest hint that Christ ever performed any miracles. Is it conceivable that Paul was acquainted with the miracles of Christ--that he knew that Christ had cleansed the leprous, cast out devils that could talk, restored sight to the blind and speech to the dumb, and even raised the dead--is it conceivable that Paul was aware of these wonderful things and yet failed to write a single line about them? Again, the only solution is that the accounts of the miracles wrought by Jesus had not yet been invented when Paul's Epistles were written."

Hendy said...

@Harvey:

- Second comment first. I just don't have time to read that whole article right now, but even my initial skim seems mainly to focus on the gospels and not Paul. What I did see of Paul just seemed to be excerpts with bolded "kingdom of god" instances which are supposed to show that Paul was preaching Jesus' words?

I want verbatim words, references to his most famous parables, his antitheses or anything from the sermon on the mount or plain, and especially references to his miracles. Jesus preached for 1-3 years yet Paul focuses only on the death phenomenon which happened in days.

Surely reference to his years of ministry are needed to actually instruct others about the content of that message?

- Regarding Ramsay... it seems that the only real issue he had and resolved stated in the movie was Quirinius and it was solved by some piece of evidence indicating that he was governor twice. Carrier on Quirinius seems to disagree.

While I dislike the "x's word vs. y's word" ordeal... it does seem that the issue is not unanimously agreed upon. Check Wiki's last paragraph on the current historical stance and follow the sources if you'd like. It seems that modern historians think Luke goofed?

- Interesting point about the Epistles being aimed at already established churches. That's a good point. I guess I have the Paul pictured in some of the Acts stories in my head.

Let's continue on this track, anyway, though. Even though Paul is writing to existing communities, you have to admit that there's at least some justification in thinking that they weren't highly understanding of what he wanted them to get. He references milk-feeding them since they're not ready for spiritual food and tries to lay out some elaborate connections between Adam and Jesus and being heirs of Abraham's promise with being united in Christ. This seems like the kind of thing that would benefit from some direct quotes from the savior.

Or simply examine our current practice. We're extremely familiar with the general concept of Jesus, yet (being of Catholic background) the gospel is read every single Sunday. OT and an epistle (usually, or other non-gospel NT book) are also read from.

Why continue reading the words of Jesus to us? Aren't today's priests doing exactly what Paul was doing back then? Strengthening their flocks? You're a preacher -- do you use Jesus' words or just say things unfounded. I'm sure you typically look for some reference to what Jesus preached when you proclaim various things, right?

When divorce comes up these days, one of the first passages grabbed is Jesus' statement that an exception was made for Moses' time due to hardness of heart and thus it was not his will that any divorce. Couldn't some of Paul's writings to the Corinthians about marriage or, say, Eph 5 have benefited from similar quotes to substantiate the message?

Anyway, probably not intensely important. I guess it's just one of those things where I find it odd that none of his letters show he could quote the entire reason and source for Christianity but those who follow it don't find it surprising at all!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

You said:"Yet Paul acknowledges that he never saw Jesus; and his Epistles prove that he knew nothing about his life, his works, or his teachings."

Just the opposite conclusion of the scriptural evidence I left in the links. Read, there are over 2,000 allusions and references within Paul's writings that are totally consistent with what Jesus taught. What do you claim? Coincidence? Hardly...It simply can't be written off from one that claims to be preaching and teaching in his name...How do you sound when asserting that there si something else necessary to make the link...that's an atrocity of reasoning. The articles states:

"Alfred Resch, the German author who early in this century found 1,158 Pauline allusions to Jesus (this is in slightly over 2,000 verses of Pauline writings!)."

There are all kinds of categories for the material he cits all with consistency.

The critic irrationally implies that every verse has to be linked by expression to the founder of the verse and this is a ridiculous requirement. Paul as an apostle had authority to set the church in order under the leadership of a Jesus that he proclaimed was crucified and resurrected, (where did he get that from if he didn't see or know HIM?), and was alive not only spiritually but physically pointing to an empty tomb as a proof of his current existence.

Richard Carrier is another Jesus myth theorist so any of his work regarding an historical Jesus is only a smokescreen and he's absolutely absurd and creative regarding his Quiniris anti-apologetic. There are much better and more accurate and well reasoned explanations to the census and surrounding issues.

Johnny P said...

Hendy and Harvey

great point hendy about the fact that christianity constantly goes on about events and sayings of jesus. something i have said in other arguments i have had on this issue. if someone was writing now about anything to do with christianity to a church community you would absolutely expect concrete referral to jesus in 7-13 letters. even more so in the early establishment days.

as for luke /acts, all people like geisler claim are "As a result, Ramsay discovered that Luke was a first-rate historian. In Luke's references to 32 countries, to 44 cities, and 9 islands, there were no errors. This being the case, Luke's prior narration of Christ's death and resurrection (which are integral parts of his Gospel) should be accepted as authentic as well".

notice he says that because he got setting details right, we should accept the rest. that is like saying because the setting of london in sherlock holmes were accurate, holmes himself was historically accurate.

the double ruling of quirinius, as i am aware, is no longer taken seriously. it is taken from the spurious ramsay hypothesis that has absolutely no historical backing. a shot in the dark that has lots of evidence against it, and none supporting it. at all.According to the Anchor Bible (p.403), the beginning of the Tivoli inscription (Dessau, ILS sect. 918) is lost, and therefore the name of the person honored are lost. There is no evidence it refers to Quirinius, and it has often been ascribed to others.

The Tivoli inscription has nevertheless been cited to support the view that a second legateship for Quirinius would have been possible. This is actually a mistranslation; properly, it should say that the person, being a legate of Augustus for the second time, "he received Syria and Phoenicia." That is, the person performed public service twice, and the last time, he was legate to Syria (Anchor Bible, p. 403).

It is unheard of that a proconsul would become a legate of the emperor twice in the same province (see J. G. C. Anderson, _Cambridge Ancient History_ 10 [1934] 878; R. Syme, "Titulus Tiburtinus," 590)"

as lowder says: "

Johnny P said...

harvey

all your claims of paul = jesus are exactly what you accuse - smokescreens. allusions. there are no concrete mentions of anything jesus did. as gauvin and hendy said.

as for your accusations of carrier, unless you have read all his work, which i hope you have, you can't really sau that of him. he is a far better historian than any apologist i know. primarily because he is a trained one, and they aren't.

as for your opinions of the census shannanigans, you are simply off the mark.

paul tobin: (on the special pleading for the double rule)

"the inscription found by ramsay merely mentioned that quirinius was honoured for his role in achieving a military victory.it was ramsay who guessed that quirinius' reward for his role was an earlier appointment prior to 6 CE, as governor of syria. nothing in the inscription even suggests this. it is not surprising that most historians are of the opinion that the inscription does not provide any evidence to support the assertion that quirinius was governor of syria earlier than 6 CE."

from jospehus we know most of the roman governors of syria around that time.

there are simply no gaps. the possible gap that quirinius needs to fill has now been filled by marcus titius as we know he ruled abou then, there are no other gaps, and a 3 year rule is standard.

paul tobin:
"quirinius' career is relatively well documented in our primary sources. tacitus ... suetonius ... strabo ... and josephus all mention aspects of his career. from these accounts we know that he was born sometime before 50 bce and that he died in 22 ce. we know that he was consul of rome by 12 bce. he was in asia minor between 12 and 6 bce, where he fought the war against the hasmonadenses. he was governor of pamphylia-galatia between 6 to 1bce. and he was serving as the advisor to gaius caesar for several years before 4 ce. josephus mentioned quirinius several times when he becamse governor in 6 ce... so we read of quirinius' career spanning 20 years from 12 bce o 6ce, yet not once was he ever mentioned as taking over governorship of syria at any time during the reign of herod.

the conclusion is inescapable - quirinius could not have been the governor of syria twice."


moreover, there could not have been a census in syria prior to 6 ce as judea was only a CLIENT KINGDOM, and they never had censuses. ever. moreover, herod was very obedient to rome, and taxation censuses would not have been warranted under his rule.

GearHedEd said...

Harvey said,

"...Paul's letters weren't written to evangelize the churches, they were written to strengthen the churches that already existed whether he founded them or not. If these people were already Christians they had already accepted the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus as Paul affirms in his epistles when dealing with what it took to be saved."

Does it strike anyone else here as very odd that within less than 30 years there were many scattered Christian communities THAT WERE ALL WORSHIPPING INCORRECTLY ACCORDING TO PAUL AND NEEDED THE CORRECTIVE ACTION OF HIS EPISTLES?

Doesn't this say a great deal about the story not being "fixed" yet?

Johnny P said...

i don't know about not being fixed...half of it wasn't even written yet. (...invented?)

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

Since we like to quote, let's at least quote accurate information:

"Both Josephus and Luke mention the later census which was made by Quirinius on the deposition of Archelaus, together with the insurrection of Judas which accompanied it. But while Josephus does not mention the Herodian census-although there may be some intimation of it in Ant, XVI, ix, 3; XVII, ii, 4; compare Sanclemente, De vulg. aerae emend., 438; Ramsay, Was Christ Born at Beth.1, 178 - Luke carefully distinguishes the two, characterizing the census at the time of Jesus' birth as "first," i.e. first in a series of enrollments connected either with Quirinius or with the imperial policy inaugurated by the decree of Augustus. The Greek-Roman writers of the time do not mention this decree and later writers (Cassiodor, Isidor and Suidas) cannot be relied upon with certainty as independent witnesses (Zumpt, Geburtsjahr, 148). Yet the geographical work of Agrippa and the preparation of a breviarium totius imperil by Augustus (Tac. Ann. i0.11; Suet. Aug. 28 and 101; Dio Cassius liii0.3; lvi0.33; compare Mommsen, Staatsrecht, II, 1025, note 3), together with the interest of the emperor in the organization and finances of the empire and the attention which he gave to the provinces (Marquardt, Rom. Staatsverwaltung, II, 211; compare 217), are indirectly corroborative of Luke's statement. Augustus himself conducted a census in Italy in 726/28, 746/8, 767/14 (Mommsen, Res Ges., 34) and in Gaul in 727/27 (Dio Cassius liii.22, 5; Livy Epit. cxxxiv) and had a census taken in other provinces (Pauly-Wissowa, Realencyc., under the word "Census," 1918; Marquardt, op. cit., II, 213). For Egypt there is evidence of a regular p eriodic census every 14 years extending back to 773/20 (Ramsay, op. cit., 131 if; Grenfell and Hunt, Oxy. Papyri, II, 207; Wilcken, Griech. Ostraka, I, 444) and it is not improbable that this procedure was introduced by Augustus (Schurer, op. cit., I, 515). The inference from Egyptian to similar conditions in other provinces must indeed be made cautiously (Wilcken, op. cit., 449; Marquardt, op. cit., 441); yet in Syria the regular tributum capitis seems to imply some such preliminary work (Dig, 1. 15, 3; Appian, Syriac., 50; Marquardt, op. cit., II, 200, note 2; Pauly-Wissowa, op. cit., 1921; Ramsay, op. cit., 154). The time of the decree is stated only in general terms by Luke, and it may have been as early as 727/27 (Zumpt, op. cit., 159; Marquardt, op. cit., II, 212) or later in 746-8 (Huschke, Census, 34; Ramsay, op. cit., 158), its execution in different provinces and subject kingdoms being carried out at different times. Hence, Luke dates the census in the kingdom of Herod specifically by connecting it with the administrative functions of Quirinius in Syria. But as P. Quintilius Varus was the legate of Syria just before and after the death of Herod from 748/6-750/4 (Ant., XVII, v, 2; XVII, ix., 3; XVII, x, 1 and 9; XVII, xi, 1; Tac. Hist. v0.9; and coins in Eckhel, Doctr. num. vet., III, 275) and his predecessor Was C. Sentius Saturninus from 745/9-748/6 (Ant; XVI, ix, 1; x, 8; xi, 3; XVII, i, 1; ii, 1; iii, 2), there seems to be no place for Quirinius during the closing years of Herod's reign.

see pt. 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Pt. 2

Johnny P,

"Tertullian indeed speaks of Saturninus as legate at the time of Jesus' birth (Adv. Marc., iv.9). The interpretation of Luke's statement as indicating a date for the census before Quirinius was legate (Wieseler, Chron. Syn., 116; Lagrange, Revue Biblique, 1911, 80) is inadmissible. It is possible that the connection of the census with Quirinius may be due to his having brought to completion what was begun by one of his predecessors; or Quirinius may have been commissioned especially by the emperor as "legatus ad census accipiendos" to conduct a census in Syria and this commission may have been connected temporally with his campaign against the Homonadenses in Cilicia (Tac. Ann. iii0.48; compare Noris, Cenotaph. Pis., 320; Sanclemente, op. cit., 426 passim; Ramsay, op. cit., 238).
It has also been suggested by Bour (L'Inscription de Quirinius, 48) that Quirinius may have been an imperial procurator specially charged with authority in the matter of the Herodian census. The titulus Tiburtinus (CIL, XIV, 3613; Dessau, Inscr. Latin Sel., 918)-if rightly assigned to him-and there seems to be no sufficient reason for questioning the conclusiveness of Mommsen's defense of this attribution (compare Liebenam, Verwaltungsgesch., 365)-proves that he was twice legate of Syria, and the titulus Venetus (CIL, III, 6687; Dessau, op. cit., 2683) gives evidence of a census conducted by him in Syria. His administration is dated by Ramsay (op. cit., 243) in 747/7; by Mommsen in the end of 750/4 or the beginning of 751/3 (op. cit., 172). Zahn (Neue kirch. Zeitschr., 1893, IV, 633), followed by Spitta (Zeitschr.ff. d. neutest. Wiss., 1906, VII, 293), rejects the historicity of the later census connected by Josephus with the deposition of Archelaus, basing his view on internal grounds, and assigns the Lucan census to a time shortly after the death of Herod. This view however is rendered improbable by the evidence upon which the birth of Jesus is assigned to a time before the death of Herod (Matthew 2:1 Luke 1:5; Luke 2:1 f); by the differentiation of the census in Luke 2:1 and Acts 5:37; by the definite connection of the census in Josephus with Syria and the territory of Archelaus (compare also the tit. Venet.); and by the general imperial policy in the formation of a new province (Marquardt, op. cit., II, 213). Moreover there seems to be no adequate ground for identifying the Sabinus of Josephus with Quirinius as urged by Weber, who regards the two accounts (Ant., XVII, viii, 1 and XVII, iv, 5; XVIII, i, 2; ii, 1) as due to the separation by Josephus of parallel accounts of the same events in his sources (Zeitschr.ff. d. neutest. Wiss., 1909, X, 307)-the census of Sabinus-Quirinius being assigned to 4 B.C., just after the death of Herod the Great. The synchronism of the second census of Quirinius with the periodic year of the Egyptian census is probably only a coincidence, for it was occasioned by the deposition of Archelaus; but its extension to Syria may be indicative of its connection with the imperial policy inaugurated by Augustus (Tac. Ann. vi0.41; Ramsay, op. cit., 161)


EVIDNCE not conjecture...evidence!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

Not only are you wrong about Quinirus's census you're wrong about this one too..."they never had censuses. ever"

The did and the EVIDENCE speaks for itself. Too uch radical scholarship is bad for the brain and everyone that partakes of it.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

J P Holdinh has more of a summary of many of Carrier's bad arguments regarding this subjecty and how they are refuted HERE.

From that article we get a more detailed and technical analysis of the wording both HERE and HERE.

If this subject isn't taken seriously, I don't know what is and there are more historians and linguists than just Carrier. The truth of the matter doesn't favor radical scholarship. It certainly isn't settled in the favor of the radicals especially Carrier, quite the opposite is true.

Johnny P said...

harvey

my goodness, where to start. firstly, i did not say censuses never happened. read it back. they never had censuses in 'CLIENT KINGDOMS' which it was under herod's rule. this is very different, and is historical fact in roman history.

secondly, your first post backs up my point entirely. quirinius and herod did not overlap.

hence there seems to be no place for Quirinius during the closing years of Herod's reign.

now read back your second part. it is entirely 'may have been's and 'has been suggested' by christians. serious historians don't entertain the idea of these situations.

the rest of part 2 is badly written appeals to authority and indirect quotes, mostly outdated, that essentially amount to it being the first of many such administrative procedures. well, yeah. judea was no longer a client kingdom after herod. it would not have had a census during his reign, since it was not a fully endowed part of the roman empire, but a client kingdom.

you've got to realise as well that mos tof the archaeology is pre-albright here, and most of his work is now being reassessed!

most of that second part is also irrelevant to the dating, but trying to establish regular censuses from thereafter. thereafter is irrelevant, we are trying to establish the census, and it COULD NOT have happened in the time of census. nothing you have said changes that. we know when quirinius ruled. we know when herod died. we know that a census could not happen under herod, and that it is claimed by several sources that it happened under quirinius. you cannot use the works of Sanclemente, Mommsen, and Ramsay who are 18th/19th century scholars whose work has been overturned on the lapis tiburtinus. and yet you are still appealing to them and this!!

really, nothing to even remotely challenge the thesis that luke got it wrong, or that matthew got it wrong.
1) jesus was not born in time of herod (likely for mosaic influence wanted by matthew)
2) jesus was not born in 6ce at time of census
3) he was not born concurrant with either

Johnny P said...

harvey

oh dear me, you are appealing to holding. he is possibly the worst apologist on earth. he is so bnad that most mainline christian apologists stay well clear of him. he is not only rude, but has no grasp of history, never checks any of his sources, misquotes his sources, claims consensus facts as not being true if they disagree with his conclusion with no evidence for disagreeing so on ans so forth. carrier's entire 'not the impossible faith' book is written to debunk everything holding has said. he DESTROYS him. it is embarassing.

on holding's nonsense of the rubicon, see here *just on this holding is hilariously bad and inept, his assumptions and claims make me want to cry): http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html


eg "holding claims (to the horrified astonishment of all historians of Rome!) that it is "questionable" whether Cicero was Caesar's enemy. Doesn't Holding even think to check these things? Holding often does this: asserts what every historian knows is completely false, makes claims exactly the opposite of what we learn even in the most introductory courses on the subject, and then poor sods like me have to do the legwork to prove him wrong. It is as if he insists the grass on my lawn is not green, so that I actually have to take the absurd step of bringing in witnesses to testify that my grass is in fact green."

even on theology web which i sometimes read which is affiliated with him, THEY slag him off!

so please don't appeal to him, use some decent work by decent apologists.

carrier is NOT a radical in this field. he is a highly trained roman and greek historian. this is his bag, he knows his onions. he has a phd in it. holding does not know his arse from his elbow. you'll see that from NTIF (and by reading holding critically) in which carrier exposes holding as a charlatan and a fraud.

Johnny P said...

harvey

oh dear me, you are appealing to holding. he is possibly the worst apologist on earth. he is so bnad that most mainline christian apologists stay well clear of him. he is not only rude, but has no grasp of history, never checks any of his sources, misquotes his sources, claims consensus facts as not being true if they disagree with his conclusion with no evidence for disagreeing so on ans so forth. carrier's entire 'not the impossible faith' book is written to debunk everything holding has said. he DESTROYS him. it is embarassing.

on holding's nonsense of the rubicon, see here *just on this holding is hilariously bad and inept, his assumptions and claims make me want to cry): http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html


eg "holding claims (to the horrified astonishment of all historians of Rome!) that it is "questionable" whether Cicero was Caesar's enemy. Doesn't Holding even think to check these things? Holding often does this: asserts what every historian knows is completely false, makes claims exactly the opposite of what we learn even in the most introductory courses on the subject, and then poor sods like me have to do the legwork to prove him wrong. It is as if he insists the grass on my lawn is not green, so that I actually have to take the absurd step of bringing in witnesses to testify that my grass is in fact green."

even on theology web which i sometimes read which is affiliated with him, THEY slag him off!

so please don't appeal to him, use some decent work by decent apologists.

carrier is NOT a radical in this field. he is a highly trained roman and greek historian. this is his bag, he knows his onions. he has a phd in it. holding does not know his arse from his elbow. you'll see that from NTIF (and by reading holding critically) in which carrier exposes holding as a charlatan and a fraud.

Johnny P said...

for more accurate opinions on holding:

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/tsrmag/024jph.html

http://www.discord.org/~lippard/turkeldishonesty.html

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/theism/christianity/apologetics.html#turkel

http://the-anointed-one.com/exposed.html

Johnny P said...

harvey

oh dear me, you are appealing to holding. he is possibly the worst apologist on earth. he is so bnad that most mainline christian apologists stay well clear of him. he is not only rude, but has no grasp of history, never checks any of his sources, misquotes his sources, claims consensus facts as not being true if they disagree with his conclusion with no evidence for disagreeing so on ans so forth. carrier's entire 'not the impossible faith' book is written to debunk everything holding has said. he DESTROYS him. it is embarassing.

on holding's nonsense of the rubicon, see here *just on this holding is hilariously bad and inept, his assumptions and claims make me want to cry): http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/resurrection/rubicon.html


eg "holding claims (to the horrified astonishment of all historians of Rome!) that it is "questionable" whether Cicero was Caesar's enemy. Doesn't Holding even think to check these things? Holding often does this: asserts what every historian knows is completely false, makes claims exactly the opposite of what we learn even in the most introductory courses on the subject, and then poor sods like me have to do the legwork to prove him wrong. It is as if he insists the grass on my lawn is not green, so that I actually have to take the absurd step of bringing in witnesses to testify that my grass is in fact green."

even on theology web which i sometimes read which is affiliated with him, THEY slag him off!

so please don't appeal to him, use some decent work by decent apologists.

carrier is NOT a radical in this field. he is a highly trained roman and greek historian. this is his bag, he knows his onions. he has a phd in it. holding does not know his ar5e from his elbow. you'll see that from NTIF (and by reading holding critically) in which carrier exposes holding as a charlatan and a fraud.

Mark Plus said...

Whatever happened to Lazarus, any way? We never hear from him again after his resurrection, even though he could have showed up later as a witness in Jesus' defense before Pontius Pilate, saying something like, "You better not mess with this guy. He raised me from the dead, so no telling what else he can do!"

So, assuming that a historical Lazarus existed and that Jesus raised him from the dead, that leaves two possibilities:

Either Lazarus died later, like everyone else, which makes his resurrection seem kind of pointless.

Or else in the year 2010 CE a deathless Lazarus still wanders the earth like a character from Highlander.

Johnny P said...

mark plus

the problem with lazarus is that he contradicts himself. or put better, luke has lazarus as a parabolic character - fictional - to illustrate that Jesus / God should not have to raise someone from the dead to prove his power. And yet John disagrees with this and turns him into a jesus miracle to prove the power of jesus. the christological theology in john means that he is at loggerheads with luke over the use of miracles.

a parable becomes 'real' and the event is 'reverse' - ie lazarus actually gets raised, whereas he doesn't in luke.

basically, another example of how the gospels do not agree, and how lazarus is a fictional character used to represent John's christology.

he ain't wandering the streets of chipping norton, if that's what you were wondering.

eternian said...

"The Jesus of the Gospels Never Existed!"

Well because you shouted so with the force of your feelings magical spaz hyper infantile retard!!!!

Look at that John Retard, I shouted louder and was more forceful and insulting, that must make me righter, dur. What a stupid idiot. Grow up insane flamer troll retard.

Stop being a Satan-worshiping moron. The Bible, UNLIKE YOU, is backed by logic evidence within and outside of it: http://20questions.tk

Stop being an ignorant moron and dwelling on your feelings all day like a self centered stubborn narcissist who can't stand to learn and think but only wants to babble away like a stupid six year old. Grow up idiot and learn self control. Obey God, who said:

DO, NOT, LIE, not "Make infantile hypocritical comparisons between cartoon characters and noodle gods YOU INVENTED IDIOT and pretend that you aren't the absurd morons who believe in the absurd and that Christians are despite you being so massively absurd and deluded that you actually think you saw a giant explosion BILLIONS of years ago, and without having evidence for that or the explosion, let alone everything you claim happened after it, contrary to Genesis."

Stupid fool, which is easier to believe: the evidence from 6,500 years ago, OR BILLIONS WITHOUT EVIDENCE YOU IDIOT AND JUST YOUR FANCY "WELL I FEEL" "WELL SCIENTISTS SAID", WHAT SCIENTISTS YOU IDIOT? YOU MEAN THE ONES DELUDED LIKE YOU WHO CAN'T COME UP WITH EVIDENCE OTHER THAN ANTI-GOD PROPAGANDA HEADLINES THAT DON'T MATCH THE STORY, WHERE THE STORY SAYS, "MORE RESEARCH NEEDED" OR "LOOKS HOPEFUL" AS OPPOSED TO THE HEADLINE WHICH SAID, "MORE EVIDENCE DISCOVERED"? FOOLS: YOU BELIEVE IN POPEYE, YOU DWELL ON COMIC BOOK CHARACTERS AND SPEND MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO FANCY ON THEM IN SILLY VIOLENT BOOKS AND MOVIES, SHALLOW STUPIDITY, LIKE LITTLE KIDS TOO LAZY TO DO ANY USEFUL WORK. GROW, UP INFANTILE HYPOCRITES.

Johnny P said...

@ eternian

that's the worst post i have ever seen, anywhere. unintelligent ranting of an immature person that couldn't string a logical argument together if he / she tried.

grow up and come back when you have something mature and structured to say.

live by the mantra 'what would jesus do?', because he certainly wouldn't sit at his computer and shout that sort of sub-5-year-old drivel.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

Thanks again for the respose but I simply can't fathom your position regarding the census.

You quote 2 people, Richard Carrier and Paul Tobin. Yu calim that their resource is supeior to the over 10 to 15 I name. you offer o proof for your position other han saying, they said it and I believe it. That'snot really a good way to do it but what the heck...

Look, I offer yet another, that even goes into further depth tht blows your hypothesis away...HERE Once again, here is an excerpt,

"Perhaps Josephus provides a clue to help straighten out the mystery. The historian mentioned that actually there were “governors” (plural) in Syria during the rule of Saturninus. 1 While during the earlier governorships of Titius and Quintilius Varus, Josephus spoke of a “governor” (singular), 2 but during the administration of Saturninus why does he mention the plural “governors”?...How many governors were there at this time? Josephus mentions the names of Saturninus and Volumnius. Were these the only men to whom Josephus was referring? Or, could Quirinius be considered as well? This is the very time Luke in his Gospel places the administration of a census by Quirinius. Since it is clear that Saturninus was the regular governor, it must be held that the rule of Quirinius was of a different and special nature. Such special status could well accord with the other types of commands that Quirinius held as attested in the historical records."

Here's another:

"This indication of Justin may have significance to our question concerning Quirinius. The Cambridge Ancient History, vol, X, p. 216, has an interesting comment on the role of a Roman procurator. “Each province had its equestrian procurator who in the eyes of the provincials was almost as important as the governor himself.” 8 These procurators were appointed by the Emperor quite independently of the legatus (governor), and the relations between the two were frequently none too friendly. The fact that Justin said that Quirinius was a procurator while conducting the “census” gives much weight to the belief that a resident governor also ruled Syria at the same time."

And more o clarify what type of enrollment or census it was since your sources make no ype of distincion:

"It should be remembered that back in 27 B.C.E. Augustus was given complete and absolute allegiance by the Senate and people of Rome. Would there not have been a renewal of their loyalty to Augustus in the Jubilee year? If so, we could well have a reference to an Empire-wide registration of loyalty to the emperor. Josephus mentioned that Augustus demanded an oath of allegiance about twelve or fifteen months before the death of Herod. This event would fit nicely with a decree going out from Augustus in 3 B.C.E. that all were to give an oath of allegiance to him at some designated time during the year. Obviously, the recording of oaths (where people ascribed their names) was a type of registration. That is what Luke said the census was. It was an enrollment of people."

See 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

2

Johnny P,

Finally thre's this:"The truth is, the “oath” mentioned by Josephus and the “census” of Luke are no doubt one and the same. All fits perfectly if the registration was ordered by Augustus in the summer of 3 B.C.E. to be completed by autumn of 2 B.C.E. during the year in which he was acclaimed the Pater Patriae. We will see that this was the first time that Augustus ever ordered all in the Empire to show such loyalty.

When the universal registration mentioned by Luke is dated to 3 B.C.E., a flood of light comes on the scene showing several Roman references to it. Since Luke said it was Augustus who gave the decree for an Empire-wide registration, perhaps we should let Augustus tell us with his personal statement about a political accounting of peoples that involved the whole Empire. It took place in 3 B.C.E. just when Luke said a registration occurred and when Josephus shows the Jews gave their oath to Augustus. This was the first time the emperor had the whole Roman Empire award him the title Pater Patriae (Father of the Country). We have a record from Augustus that an Empire-wide registration took place in 3 B.C.E."


Now, I have provided scholarship on this issue and yet you say all my sources are outdated. How about the FACT that your soures are just simply WRONG. Carrier can be wrong on this issue like many others and Tobin certainly is nooe I wouldn't hang my hat on in any manner...

Now, the smoke-screen about Holding is uncalled for. He's an excellent scholar and I'm sure get's tired of anti-Chist advocates just making stuff up when they are cornered or appeling to scholars sympathetic to their positions as if they are somehow more credible than anyone else who can read...I understand him and agree with him that the ignorance of denial is horribe and unfruitful. We may disagree but taking the word of 2 fringe sceptics and claiming that the sun rises in their theory is ridiculous.

So I've offered both late and current sholarship in support of my position and a host of references accross the spectrum of time that goes right back to support Sir William Ramsay, who was an atheist like you, but cetainly one, unlike either of us, who was both able and capable of examining teh FACTS for himself and arriving at a conclusion that is suppotd by the MODERN evidence be it litrary or archaeological.

So this chapter we may agree to disagree, but to say that any current evidence favors your position is a leap of FAITH rooted in unfounded specualation.

Thee is NOTHIING to undermine my original statement and Ramsay's finding tha Luke was "first rate" in the job that he did. But to each his own my friend.

Later!!!!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Once again, please excuse my many spelling errors. My keyboard is not allowing certain leters consistently and that's a problem.

Thanks.

Johnny P said...

Harvery
thanks for all your w2ork there. i have to go out in a few minutes, after which i will reply in full. two points in the meantime though:

1)i cannot excuse the opinion that holding is an excellent scholar. not even many christians think that. he is exactly the opposite of that. his methodology is shocking, his conclusions spurious, and his knowledge of ancient civilisations wanting.

2) everyone that you keep quoting is not a historical source. they are christian sources trying to shoehorn something in, or with little or no knowledge of ANE procedures, trying to spuriously harmonise 2 things desperately. Go read Raymond Brown, one of the best Christian scholars around (because his methodology was excellent). his conclusions? luke got it wrong. compare christian scholars who rate brown - loads, eg Craig. Does Craig EVER mention Holding? no way.

as has been said:
"While Turkel writes articles that often drip with sarcasm and ad hominems, he nonetheless can compose material that to the uniformed sound logically solid and well researched. Turkel owns a Master’s degree in Library Science and a Bachelor’s in English Literature. He knows how to write and he knows how to pepper his articles with a lot of biased references and annotate his work with a long bibliography. To counter this illusion of scholarly work, the articles compiled here expose his otherwise weak apologetics and/or ill manners."

more in a while.

Johnny P said...

Harvey

Ok, so you cannot fathom my approach. However, my approach is the consensus approach of mainstream historians. Yours, on the other hand, is a handful of different approaches from evangelicals who employ special pleading because they NEED their theories to be right. So, if any is difficult to fathom, it is your approach, not least because you have given a number of different theories, all of which are mutually exclusive! Which means, by anyone’s reckoning (including yours), most of your theories must be wrong, for one of them to be right.

Furthermore, let us look at context. You see, it is not just the date that Luke has wrong, but the census itself and what type of census it was. The census as Luke describes it is completely logistically, economically and commonsensically unjustifiable. As well as being totally historically incoherent. Taken together with the dating issue, we can see that Luke is employing the census and changing it to suit his own ends. The date is actually the smallest issue of Luke’s census. The other issues create an even greater case.

But before I get onto that, let us look at the date again.

The main problem with your theories are that if Jesus was born in the reign of Herod and then fled to Egypt, then he would have been born around 2 years before Herod’s death, which pushes it further back to 6BCE.

Now let’s look at the history of Quirinius. Most of your theories don’t take into account what we DO know that Quirinius was doing before he became Governor of Judea. “Publius Sulpicius Quirinius was a career military officer whom Augustus put in charge of a string of troubled provinces. His victories over pirates as governor of Crete & Cyrene (14 BCE) earned him appointment as consul of Rome (12 BCE). Then as governor of Galatia (6-2 BCE), he led a successful campaign against rebellious mountaineers, for which he was given a triumphal procession in Rome
(2 BCE). His trip to Syria (2 CE) as tutor of the emperor's grandson, Gaius [Caligula], led to his appointment as imperial legate for that region when Archelaus was deposed (6 CE).”

So being the governor of an area of Turkey at the time gives a dampener to some of the theories. Then being at war. Then being free to be a tutor. And so on. The key to history is making sure ALL the facts add up.

As for the suggestion that the census was for an oath – well, that’s nuts. Luke’s own words clearly indicate a census, as do all other extra-biblical info, esp. Josephus.

Johnny P said...

Part 2


Let’s see another entry in a biography of Quirinius: “Legate of Syria in AD 6, he supervised the assessment of Judaea when that territory was annexed after the deposition of Archelaus (Joseph. AJ 17. 1 ff., cf. ILS 2683=EJ 231 (tr. D. Braund, From Augustus to Nero, no. 446); also Acts 5: 37, which mentions the insurrection of Judas the Galilaean ‘in the days of the taxing’). In order to reconcile and explain Luke 2: 1 and establish a date for the Nativity before the death of Herod the Great (i.e. before 4 BC), various attempts have been made to discover an earlier governorship of Syria by Quirinius, and, by implication, an earlier census in Judaea. The acephalous (= top missing) elogium from Tibur (ILS 918=EJ 199; tr. D. Braund, no. 362) sometimes attributed to Quirinius more probably honours Piso (above), and in any case could not prove two governorships of Syria.”

Your suggestions about the alternate history of Quirinius are nothing more than speculations that actually have no historical value of agreement outside of evangelical circles. Your belief that my theory is speculation is clearly untrue, and is backed up by the specualive language shown by all your theories, and the fact that you will find NONE of them in history books, outside of evangelical circles.

Cheers

Johnny

Johnny P said...

and as for using Tertullian as source:

1)he was a christian theologian

2)he used luke and josephus as his sources

3)he knows quirinius was not governor at the time of the census, and so is supposing his own apologetic

4)as one christian site states "The words of Tertullian do not confirm or establish a specific date for the census."

4)you have a huge problem with trying to make luke's referral to the census as an earlier one as per tertullian, because luke in acts further associates the census with the much later revolt of Theudas, which is DEFINITELY the census of 6 ce. again, your sources are not harmonising across the theories. by saying one theory is correct, you are throwing out another, or disconfirming accuracy in other biblical texts!!! you are trying to have your cake and eat it!!!

laters!

GearHedEd said...

"Or else in the year 2010 CE a deathless Lazarus still wanders the earth like a character from Highlander."

Maybe he's "Teh Wandering Jew" we've heard so much about?

Matt 16:28

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

OK you said:"However, my approach is the consensus approach of mainstream historians."

I don't thnk you can take Richard Carrier and Paul Tobin...the ONLY two that you've referenced (and n unnamed source that you quote) and say that they are "mainstream historians" or that their words represent a "consencus"...That's sheer and utter fantasy and really quite funny.

You said:"Yours, on the other hand, is a handful of different approaches from evangelicals who employ special pleading because they NEED their theories to be right."

I think it's right because it is right and the possbilitiy that I've set forth is more plausable and historically accurate than your denial.

In addtion, in fact, part of what you have said, has been proven to be flat wrong. Remind you of what you asserted? "moreover, there could not have been a census in syria prior to 6 ce as judea was only a CLIENT KINGDOM, and they never had censuses. ever."August 16, 2010 6:24 PM

I have proven based on EVIDENCE that asserion is and was INCORRECT. I will restate this:""The truth is, the “oath” mentioned by Josephus and the “census” of Luke are no doubt one and the same. All fits perfectly if the registration was ordered by Augustus in the summer of 3 B.C.E. to be completed by autumn of 2 B.C.E. during the year in which he was acclaimed the Pater Patriae. We will see that this was the first time that Augustus ever ordered all in the Empire to show such loyalty"

What the literary evidence solves is the the common problem with language and your critical interpretation that a census means payment of taxes. NONE of the evidence, however supports your "it didn't happen" thesis.

So far as Tertullin, you said:"1)he was a christian theologian"

So, what does that have to do with it? All you've presented is 2 radical atheist presentations, only one of which can claimed to be any type of expert ( I suppose)...Soare we to discount your sources by your criteia? If so, the debate has long been over.

You said:"2)he used luke and josephus as his sources"

I'm sure he did, becaus he understood how to do historical resarch unlike your radical atheist and liberal sources.In addition those sources provide the best evidence to understand the narrative and they are close t the eents themselves and are otherwise rliable in the information they provide which is a treasretove for historical study...well, except when raical's are the one's doing the study and the evidence opposes their position.

You said:"3)he knows quirinius was not governor at the time of the census, and so is supposing his own apologetic"

The evidence has been set forth that there were dual legit's at the time as affirmedby the language in the texts themselves. You deny this because you don't care and your radical soures are sloppy and this information does not suit their disagrement.

You said:"4)as one christian site states "The words of Tertullian do not confirm or establish a specific date for the census."

But notice in that none of his writing disconfirm any proposed dates now do they? ie: If the writings don't establish a date, then they cerainly dont's say that the date I hold and that Christianity holds to in general is wrong now does it? So this is a moot point and your argument and disagreemen simply is what it is... a disagreement.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnny P,

You stated:"The census as Luke describes it is completely logistically, economically and commonsensically unjustifiable."

I think that's the information that has been confirmed. The type of census of taxation is your "assumption" and not based on the language of the the text, Further, stating that "This census first took place under Quirinius" NKJV, indicates that the type of census was done under Quirinius's (dua) rule because of Augustus's decree.

What I give is not contradictory ccounts. What I give is layerd context. Quirnirus's order was in effect and he was a co-legit and this effected even the "client kingdom" of Judah.

You said regading Luke:"The other issues create an even greater case."

Ya right, smoke screens are what they are...-LOL!

I follow your time line and you end up stating that:"So being the governor of an area of Turkey at the time gives a dampener to some of the theories. Then being at war. Then being free to be a tutor. And so on. The key to history is making sure ALL the facts add up."

I got you and the historical and life time line is somehing that I'll look at. So your disageement isn't in vain (totally-LOL)

So far a oath and wringing in the people, you have a hard time with that concept. Most Chrsitians don't because we already know that these people had a god comlex, they didn't want to be uprooted. So why wouldn't Herod want to know who was in his kingdom? Especially in light of prophcy and religious expectaion.

see 2

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

2 (again)

Johnny P,

You simply say:"As for the suggestion that the census was for an oath – well, that’s nuts. Luke’s own words clearly indicate a census, as do all other extra-biblical info, esp. Josephus."

The aricle said this:

"Luke tells us that the reason why both Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem was because he was reckoned as belonging to the house of David. While everyone else went “into his own city” (Luke 2:3) no doubt in their own local neighborhoods, those of royal Judaic lineage because of political implications had to register in Bethlehem. This requirement would allow Herod to know who all claimants were in Judaea to the royal throne of David. He was anxious to know who all these people were (in order to keep them subjected to thorough non-political functions) so that his own dynasty would survive. This was especially important at this time in history because there was then a great deal of messianic expectation among the Jews.

Registering David’s descendants in Bethlehem, the city of David, would have been a ploy not only to get all the people to attend for prestige purposes but for Herod to find out who they were. Since Augustus had ordered that an oath of allegiance be given to him, Herod simply included himself and the legitimacy of his kingdom within the same oath. And since females among the Jews could give Davidic heirship to descendants, Herod included the women as well. This would have given him a complete record of all such claimants to the throne. This could well be why Mary was expected to accompany Joseph"


What did Josephus say?

This is what he stated:“There was moreover a certain sect of Jews who valued themselves highly for their exact knowledge of the law; and talking much of their contact with God, were greatly in favor with the women of Herod’s court. They are called Pharisees. They are men who had it in their power to control kings; extremely subtle, and ready to attempt any thing against those whom they did not like. When therefore the whole Jewish nation took an OATH to be faithful to Caesar, and [to] the interests of the king, these men, to the number of above six thousand, refused to swear."~Josephus, Antiquities XVII.41–45

Now where did that come from? Looks like the radicals left that out because it didn't suit their needs.

Now, what? Is this literary evidence nonessential to our purpose too? I'm sure it is IF you wan to obfuscate truth further.

Johnny P said...

Harvey

good to chat! What i can say to most of your points is better said by carrier: (1) Finegan's response to the first conundrum is that Quirinius was actually prefect or procurator of Syria in 2 B.C. (§ 522), not an actual governor. But that is definitely impossible: those were offices held only by knights (men of the equestrian class), never by senators, much less senators of the most prestigious consular rank, and Quirinius had been of consular rank since 12 B.C. This mistake is similar to that made by those who want Quirinius to have been a co-governor. It just isn't possible or logical, and of course has no evidence of any kind in support of it.

(2) Finegan's response to the second conundrum is that Luke was referring to some sort of other 'counting' by Herod the Great. This could not be a census (see above). So Finegan argues it was when "the people of Rome" proclaimed Augustus Pater Patriae, "Father of his Country" (§ 525), but Finegan has badly erred here: this is a reference to a vote by Roman citizens, which would have nothing whatever to do with Judaeans. By confusing a vote with an oath-taking, Finegan conjures the false claim that Luke is referring to the registration of oaths of loyalty. Of course, this is already shot down by the fact that Herod was not alive in 2 B.C., as we've seen. And we have no record of such an oath in Judaea in that year or any year near it, despite the fact that Josephus usually records them: the last such oaths commanded by Herod were in 20 B.C.[17.4] and in 8 or 7 B.C.[17.5] Worse, this thesis is inherently implausible: Luke does not use the vocabulary of oath-swearing, nor does he describe such a process. For example, Joseph would not travel to Bethlehem if all he had to do was swear an oath of allegiance--that had to be done where he lived.[17.6]"

The problem you STILL have with your oath of allegiance (we only KNOW that people in Paphligonia underwent the allegiance) is that it puts Jesus born in 3bce. This is still 3 years out with herod, and 3 years out THE OTHER WAY with Luke’s own dating of Jesus based on John the Baptist (works out some 2-3ce). It just gets you into more mess!

incidentally, the historians i have used are Ok, I have used HISTORIANS such as Carrier, Tobin, Brown, Doig, Levick, Bickerman, Borg, Lendering, several of whom are Christians.

Now, when I get a chance later, I will comment on some of the issues with Joseph going from Galilee to Bethlehem to do an oath, and taking his 9 month pregnant fiancee on a donkey etc etc. all of this is nonsense. going that distance to do an oath is even more incredulous than for a census/ as carrier says, the vocabulary used by luke is of a census, NOT of an oath (in the original language). more issues!

Laters!

Johnny P said...

Harvey


these are the things that you have to stretch to accept:


1) Mary and then Joseph are visited by god to anounce the birth of their son, the messiah (not much of a stretch if you believe in the supernatural)

2) joseph has to go to bethlehem to attend a census. this requires him to go to his ancestral home. no census has ever required this. one in egypt required migrant workers to return home, which is understandable, but not to an ancestral home. (STRETCH)

3) to get there, joseph will have to take 3 weeks off work (STRETCH)

4) he will also have to feed and house himself, mary and most probably a donkey for that time with no income. holidays didn't exist. (STRETCH)

5) bethlehem was not in the same tax area as nazareth, so requirement for himto travel there would be incoherent (STRETCH)

6) at the time, judea was a client kingdom. no client kingdom was ever recoded as needing a roman census. this simply NEVER happened. why would it happen here? (BIG STRETCH)

7) Quirinius, legate of judea took the reins in 6CE. Herod died in 4BCE. There is at least a 10 year difference in dates between luke and matthew, and no correlation of these two ruling simultaneously (MASSIVE STRETCH)

8) Matthew had joseph as already living in bethlehem (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bethlehem#Roman_and_Byzantine_periods) and this contradicts luke as having them living in nazareth and travelling to bethlehem (STRETCH)

9) Joseph, a supposedly loving husband, makes his wife travel (on cart / donkey back) for 80 miles whilst heavily pregnant. this is both cruel, and would have almost certainly resulted in miscarriage. elizabeth, who had been visited too, lived a few miles away and would have been a much better place for mary to stay. (STRETCH)

10) women were not required to attend censuses (STRETCH, given her pregnancy)

11) it explicitly says that joseph attended bethlehem census because he was in the line of david, mentioned in luke as being 42 generations past. this is an arbitrary requiremeent (totally unevidenced) requiring a man to return to his home 42 generations past. why 42, not 34, 16 etc? “Under no circumstances could the reason for Joseph’s journey be, as Luke says, that he was ‘of the house and lineage of David,’ because that was of no interest to the Romans in this context.” [Uta Ranke-Heinemann, Putting Away Childish Things, (p.10)]. (STRETCH)

12) getting either the whole nation (or even less, if bizarrely argued) to return to a 42 generation past census contradicts all knowledge of censuses, and would have been logistically and economically impossible. (BIG STRETCH)

13) the generations of matthew and luke do not cohere, and directly contradict jesus' grandfather (STRETCH)

Johnny P said...

Harvey



14) the magi followed a star going counter-directionally in the sky for what must have been months. in a highly astrolonomically literate period, there is no other written etc evidence for this very long incredible miracle. (STRETCH)

15) the magi are only elswhere used as a word in daniel. matthew seems to copy daniel in many aspects. is this pulling on daniel as a literary technique? also, it seems, in conjunction with the shepherds, a technique to show jesus' appeal to the rich and influential as well as the poor and lowly. (smaller STRETCH)

16) these rich and influential people, and the shepherds, despite knowing they have met god incarnate, are never heard from again. no cult, no movement, no writing, nothing. (STRETCH)

17) there is no extra-biblical evidence of herod massacring baby, despite 2 historians noting his atrocities. (STRETCH)

18) luke and matthew directly contradict where joseph goes after birth. one has egypt, chased by herod, for 2 years. the other has them going to see simeon in a temple and then returning to nazareth. (STRETCH)

19) it seems like, by hook or by crook, there are devices afoot to get jesus to be born in bethlehem to gulfill prophecies. (smaller STRETCH)

20) miraculous birth narrative fits perfectly in line with other mythological birth stories. (smaller STRETCH)

21) despite all these miracles, jesus' family (including, most probably his mother) do not believe jesus is messiah in his life. (STRETCH)

22) herod would have been incredibly unlikely, at the age of late 70s as he was, to have given 2 hoots about a baby boy who would have come of age clearly after he had died. no threat at all to go to all that rigmarole (good point made by r. stovold). (STRETCH)

23) census takers more commonly travelled TO the land-owners, not the other way around (STRETCH)

24) jesus is called everywhere 'Jesus of Nazareth' and not jesus of bethlehem, which would have been correct. (smaller STRETCH)

25) the star was lifted from Numbers 24:17 as a refernce from authority of the OT (smaller STRETCH)

26) vigin birth (STRETCH)

27) problem of how the male genome is selected to allow him to be fully human (STRETCH)

if your answers are continuously 'maybe' and 'this could have happened' and 'there is a possibility', then you are convincing yourself with weak arguments. which is fine on the odd occasion. but for over 20 points makes mockery of reason. i think the nativity narratives are hugely important and if they are false, shed so much doubt on eeverything else as to allow the NT to start crumbling

cheers!

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Good one Johnny P, I'll get atchya tomorrow, but I'll only stick to the topic (try to) as you throw so much nonsense (for a lackof a better word) on the wall that it would be impossble to thoroughly go through in this thread.

Anyway, on the topic, I think we got something cookin'.

Robert Bumbalough said...

It is a curious irony debunking Christianity's supercilious silliness that if someone argues that a real person was foundational to the myths of the Christ of faith but that that person was not the Christ of faith exactly as depicted in the NTGs, then they argue Christianity is a false religion.

District Supt. Harvey Burnett said...

Johnn P,

Forgive my absence my friend, I want to continue this convo and promised to do so last week. I will. I've got more than a few additional things I'm balancing here, but I'll get back in a minute...especially in regards to Finnegan and hsiassessment since he's the latest one that you referenced.

Later.