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Vatican sued over Jesus' non existence

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posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 01:21 AM
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The Vatican is being sued for
"abusing the public credulity"
because it has preached a
Jesus who never existed,
according to Luigi Casciolli.

An announcement (in English) regarding the case on Il Carnevale :
www.ladysilvia.net...

Your can check the details here :
www.luigicascioli.it...


This is not a new story, but I only heard about it recently.

He really is suing the Vatican, the court case chronology can be found here:
www.luigicascioli.it...

The English on this site is pretty poor (it appears to be a machine translation)

Iasion


[edit on 24-2-2005 by Iasion]




posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 01:26 AM
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As interesting as this is, I don't see how any verdict except not guilty can be reached.

It's based on faith. To prove guilt, they would have to prove the non-existence of Jesus. No easy task.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 02:21 AM
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Since Jesus DID exhist i dont expect this to go that far.


JAK

posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 02:38 AM
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I thought it would actually be impossible to prove a negative like this? And the onus would surely be on the plaintiff to prove their case.

Just sounds like someone's ego has transcended their reasoning.

Jack



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 06:03 PM
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But it's the CHRISTIANS who make the CLAIM.

The church claims Jesus existed -
it's up to them to prove it.

Iasion



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 06:18 PM
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Originally posted by Iasion
But it's the CHRISTIANS who make the CLAIM.

The church claims Jesus existed -
it's up to them to prove it.

Iasion


Actually, it is up to you to believe it. Everyone is free to choose their own faith. This man clearly has a thorn in his side and is lashing out due to his feelings of dispair and spiritual lonliness. You choose. Dont let others choose for you. If you dont believe, then you have no basis for a trial. If you did believe, but now choose not to, well, you have lost your faith. I dont see how anything can come of this but a not guilty verdict.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 06:23 PM
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If they want to make this a class action the count me in!!!!!!




posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 06:25 PM
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Originally posted by Iasion
But it's the CHRISTIANS who make the CLAIM.

The church claims Jesus existed -
it's up to them to prove it.

Iasion


The existence of "Christus", the father of Christianity, was acknowledged by Tacitus. Legally speaking "res ipsa loquitor" or "the facts speak for themself". (i hope i spelled that right) That puts the burden of proof on the opposing side.



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 11:12 PM
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Greetings,


Originally posted by The Vagabond
The existence of "Christus", the father of Christianity, was acknowledged by Tacitus. Legally speaking "res ipsa loquitor" or "the facts speak for themself". (i hope i spelled that right) That puts the burden of proof on the opposing side.


Tacitus?

About 80 years after the alleged events, and a generation after the war,
Tacitus briefly mentions Christian beliefs of the early 2nd century.

Tacitus gives no sources, he gets Pilate's title wrong, and he uses the Christian title for Jesus (not a Roman name form). This is merely repeating what he had heard from Christians of his later times.

But it is not evidence for a historical Jesus.
Merely evidence for 2nd century Christians who believed in Jesus.

And thats the whole point of this argument - all the evidence that is usually cited turns out to be long after the events (Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny, Talmud, Lucian), or suspect passages (Josephus), or uncertain references (Mara's letter), or fake evidence (Thallus, Phlegon), or Christian beliefs about a risen Christ (Paul, Clement), or even Christian believers from over a century later !


There is NO contemporary evidence for a historical Jesus, thats why so many people are starting to realise Jesus was a myth.

I posted a detailed list of early authors, it should be right next to this one, entitled " List of early writers who could have mentioned Jesus "


If you want to see the actual alleged "evidence" for Jesus chronologically - check out my updated version of Remsberg well-known list of authors who fail to mention Jesus :
members.iinet.net.au...


Even more interesting is the table showing which CHRISTIAN writers mention which elements of the Gospel stories, in chronological order :
members.iinet.net.au...

This table is a real eye-opener - check it out.


Of course, most people go along with the idea that Jesus existed, because most other people go along with the idea, because their parents went along with it, because the previous generations believed it etc.. way back to when disagreeing with the church got you BURNED at the STAKE !

It's only recently with greatly improved education and easy access to the documents that the real evidence is widely known, and with the decline of the church, able to be studied and analyzed without fear of being persecuted.

And this increased access to and analysis of the evidence is leading more and more people to realise Jesus was a MYTH.


Those of you who really wanna KNOW, not just prop up old legends and pre-conceptions, can easily check for yourself now, and I encourage free thinkers here to do so.


One great place to start is the modern online masterpiece
Early Christian Writings
www.earlychristianwritings.com...

This amazing site has a complete list of all known writings of the early Christian era - with full texts online for most, and detailed information on each, from modern mainstream scholarship. In the field of NT studies and/or early Christianity, this is THE site.


Another great site is the Fathers of the Church, which includes all later writers :
www.newadvent.org...


And Fordhams great online historical sources:
www.fordham.edu...


Iasion



posted on Feb, 24 2005 @ 11:54 PM
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So we meet again IASION! Well still singing the same Tune I see! What if I told you that it didn't matter if a "Historical Jesus" existed or didn't exist? Christianity is a Faith & Religion. Christians hold the Gospels to be SACRED. The Gospels were Originally written in Koine Greek. The Main Character of the Gospels happens to be one "Iesous Christos"! Until you show me that Christians don't have a Right to believe what we believe I won't take you seriously!

BTW Jews hold the Hebraic Scriptures to be Sacred - are you going to tell me that some of the Characters within didn't really ever Historically Exist (no Proof/Evidence of Existence) therefore the Religion of Judaism is Invalid? No Evidence in that field either - but they still have a Right to have Faith in & Practice their Religion, No? What about the Arabic Koran - did Mohammed exist? Are you starting to catch to drift?

Don't you see how Ridiculous you are being?
How can you "Prove" Spirituality?


[edit on 24-2-2005 by Seraphim_Serpente]

[edit on 24-2-2005 by Seraphim_Serpente]



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 01:27 AM
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Iasion... why did King Arthur ever existed if there are no written proofs from "contemporary writers" that he did??? He did because there are some evidence pointing that some king called approximately like that existed, and that there are numerous popular, cultural references to him dating from the dark ages.

What's the relation between King Arthur and Jesus Christ?

It's surely an important thing to evaluate the validity of an historical fact from historical data, but that's even more important to evaluate HOW this data is relevant to prove or infirm that this is fact or just a legend. Almost everyone in the Middle-East 2000 years ago were illeterate, as writing was a skill taught mainly to members of the political and social elite (rabbis, funtionaries, highly-ranked militaries, etc.), how many people, you think, could have been in contact with Jesus, or heard of him enough to publish anything about him in their writings, aside from Jesus's dsiciples? Not much. Of course, all of the non-religious evidence of the existence of Jesus is more or less substantial... coming only from a few lines of text there and there from a few historians of the early dark ages. But then again, how can you DISPROVE the writings of the apostles? I mean, how their writings as witnesses of the life and predication of the Nazarene are less valid than the fact that some other people from the elite back then refused to write anything about it. Did they had a reason to?

There were already all these mouth-to-mouth tales about Jesus in these days.. so how relevant was it to them to write something about it? Did the Roman authority had any reasons to make noise about some agitator by writing and publishing manuscripts about his through the entire empire?No. And if the Jewish establishment was so much against the idea of Jesus being their Messiah, then why would they risk make him more largerly know among their preachers and believers by writing things on him? Both Romans and Jews clerics had better interests into NOT writing about him... even more than discrediting it through writings!

One other point that "Jesus debunkers" seem to forget is that Islam always recognized the existence and techings of Jesus, and recognized a large part of his history and predication, even if it's refuting the divinity of Christ. Assuming that the "lie" of the existence of Jesus the Nazarene would have been entirely created somewhere in the first centuries of the first millenia, then how does such an independant religion, which has developped both geographically and culturally away from the Catholic church would risk to lie to its believers on a prophet (Jesus is only a mortal prophet to them) who's not even at the center of their religion? Muslims never had anything to do with Christianity. Most of the people who were first converted to Islam in the Middle-East and Africa were not Christians, but rather traditional Jews or from some pagan religions, so they were not related whatsoever to catholicism, so there was not any interest into "forcing" the existence of Christ in their beliefs, since Islam rejects the single idea of the messiah!



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 02:53 AM
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Originally posted by Iasion
Tacitus?
About 80 years after the alleged events, and a generation after the war,
Tacitus briefly mentions Christian beliefs of the early 2nd century.


So what you are saying is that somewhere in the 70s AD, somebody just made up the gospels, claiming that these events had transpired about 40 years ago.
There does not appear to have been any debate about the matter though. We have no record of anyone who made the claim that the disciples had invented the story. When Jospehus, Pliny, and Tacitus wrote, they make no mention of any such controversy.
Let's think about it rationally: If i made up a story about something that supposedly happened 40 years ago, would it go so completely uncontested that in another 40 years history would record my lies as facts?

Suppose that right now I began to make politically charged claims about a ficticious character who I claimed had existed and been heavily wronged by the government and church in 1965. Suppose my lies became popular, even to the point that the government decided to start killing my followers. You mean to tell me that nobody would bother to record the details of my lie including the mention that my character was ficticious? Would I go so unchallenged in such a lie that a few decades later, hisotrians would record my lie as fact?
It seems more than a little hard to swallow. I don't understand the need for such a claim either. We are talking about a STORY- a religious tale of no significance other than personal, which is thrust upon nobody and which has thankfully ceased to be widely regarded as anything of extraordinary historical value. How could that be so incredibly threatening to you that it becomes necessary in your mind to make claims which although they can not necessarily be disproven are every bit as unlikely and unsubstantiated as some of the mythological elements of the Christian faith itself?
I believe I've seen this before- it's a common phenomenon on ATS. People go out hell-bent on debunking something just because they think it makes them look super-intellectual. How intellectual can a position really be, no matter how well supported, if it was born form persuit of dogma rather than persuit of truth? Such an "intellectuals" are no better than those psuedo-scholars who incessantly trump up so-called "proof" of whatever religious thesis they began with.



This is merely repeating what he had heard from Christians of his later times.
But it is not evidence for a historical Jesus.
Merely evidence for 2nd century Christians who believed in Jesus.


...And he takes their word for it, without any mention of any controversy or qualification of the statement as being merely a belief.



And thats the whole point of this argument - all the evidence that is usually cited turns out to be long after the events
There is NO contemporary evidence for a historical Jesus, thats why so many people are starting to realise Jesus was a myth.


Better stated there is no PERFECT evidence for a historical Jesus. The existing evidence is not debunked it only fails to meet certain expectations. The position which literally enjoys NO support by evidence is the claim that Jesus was a ficticious character invented by the writers of the gospels.
I believe the fairer statement would be not that people might "realise" that Jesus is a myth so much as "suspect" it. How can something be realized with absolutely no evidence whatsoever? Your entire arguement seems to be summed up as a fallacious claim that absence of evidence can constitute evidence of absence.

You point to the decline of the church and its long reign of dogma and fear combined with the increasing availablity of knowledge to the growing doubts regarding Christ. The catch is that none of the increasingly available information directly contradicts the historocity of Jesus. Another thing to remember is that most people who are leaving or simply not coming into the church never take it upon themselves to research the historical facts surrounding the claims made by the church.
I believe that you invoke a great many people's unrelated decisions as evidence for the popularity of your arguement. The fact that the church has long ruled by fear, hidden facts behind a language barrier, changed doctrine at whim, and been on the wrong side of key events in history has in and of itself been sufficient to keep many people away by demonstrating that perhaps even the chuch itself does not believe in God. The historocity of Jesus seems to be a silly tangent to a much larger question which can be answered far more conclusively.

(In case it needs saying, I'm not defending the existance of Jesus because I believe in him. I'm defending it because you seem to be having so much fun arguing just to look smart, and I felt it might be fun to join in.)

[edit on 25-2-2005 by The Vagabond]



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 06:44 AM
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Originally posted by Kidfinger
Actually, it is up to you to believe it. Everyone is free to choose their own faith. This man clearly has a thorn in his side and is lashing out due to his feelings of dispair and spiritual lonliness. You choose. Dont let others choose for you.


What a wonderfully level-headed answer. To that I'd like to add....well...nothing. Kid said it all.



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 06:55 PM
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Greetings Seraphim,


What if I told you that it didn't matter if a "Historical Jesus" existed or didn't exist?


Then why are you arguing?



Until you show me that Christians don't have a Right to believe what we believe I won't take you seriously!


You can BELIEVE anything you want to.
If your beliefs make you a better person, more loving, tolerant, forgiving, brotherly - great.

But,
if you pretend your BELIEFS are history, you will be challenged.




BTW Jews hold the Hebraic Scriptures to be Sacred - are you going to tell me that some of the Characters within didn't really ever Historically Exist


According to modern scholars :
* Adam and Eve - myths
* Noah - myth
* Joseph - myth
* Moses - myth
* Joshua - myth
* Solomon, David - probably myths

* Lao Tzu - probably myth
* Zoroaster - probably myth
* Buddha - possibly myth
* Mohamed - probably historical




therefore the Religion of Judaism is Invalid?


What on earth do you mean by "valid religion" ?



No Evidence in that field either - but they still have a Right to have Faith in & Practice their Religion, No?


Of course.
Anyone is free to BELIEVE as they will.
And to practice in private how they wish.



Don't you see how Ridiculous you are being?


Don't you realise how completely you are missing the point?



How can you "Prove" Spirituality?


I am NOT discussing spirituality - but you never seem to grasp this.

I am discussing HISTORY.


Specifically, the HISTORY of Christianity - which shows that Jesus was a myth.


Iasion



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 07:32 PM
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Greetings Echtelion,


why did King Arthur ever existed if there are no written proofs from "contemporary writers" that he did??? He did because there are some evidence pointing that some king called approximately like that existed, and that there are numerous popular, cultural references to him dating from the dark ages.


The King Arthur of the Mallory legends etc. did NOT exist.

There MAY have been a person (or even persons) called Artur on whom some of the stories were based.

But again, the evidence for Arthur is so poor that some scholars DO argue he did not exist.

Have you ever checked the evidence for Arthur, Echtelion?



Almost everyone in the Middle-East 2000 years ago were illeterate,


Yup, many ignorant, and superstitious people - but YOU want to believe legends from this era as if they were history?




There were already all these mouth-to-mouth tales about Jesus in these days


This is merely part of the legends.
But there is no tales about ANYONE who actually MET Jesus !

Paul never met Jesus
G.Mark was written in Rome by someone who knew little about Palestine.
G.Matthew and G.Luke were largely plagiarised from G.Mark
G.John came much later and is even more obviously legendary
The Petrine epistles were not written by Peter.
The Johanine letters were not written by John.
Jude was not written by Jude.
James was not written by James.

According to modern NT scholars,
not ONE of the NT books was written by anyone who knew Jesus.

The early Christian record shows that even Christian writers had never heard of the Gospel stories about Jesus of Nazareth until mid 2nd century - e.g. no Christian writer mentions the EMPTY TOMB until mid 2nd century (nor the trial, nor miracles, Mary or Joseph, the trial erc.)

These "tales" you mention are exactly that - TALES, STORIES, LEGENDS which grew in the telling long after the alleged events, long after wars with the Romans had destroyed the records, the Temple - with even Jerusalem and Judea erased.



And if the Jewish establishment was so much against the idea of Jesus being their Messiah, then why would they risk make him more largerly know among their preachers and believers by writing things on him?


Pardon?
The Jews make no mention of Jesus until CENTURIES after the alleged events.
The vast body of early Rabbinic discussion makes NO contemporary mention of Jesus.
But centuries later we see Jesus apparently (he is not clearly named) rejected as a black magician, and a bastard conceived during menstruation - this is not "making him more largely known" - its responding to external claims in the most NEGATIVE way one could imagine.




Assuming that the "lie" of the existence of Jesus the Nazarene would have been entirely created somewhere in the first centuries of the first millenia,


What is the matter with you apologists?

I never said it was a "lie".
No-one said it was a lie.
The Jesus Myth does NOT claim it was a lie.
But apologists say this over and over as if it proves their point - when all it proves is that you don't understand the issue.

Is Romeo and Juliet a lie?
Is Gone With the Wind a lie?
Is the Odyssey a lie?
Is Harry Potter a lie?
Is the Lord of The Rings a lie?

No.

Does that make these stories true?
Of course not.


So why do you think the Gospels must either be 100% history or a "lie" ?


G.Mark was the first Gospel - it was a marvelous creative inspirational piece of religious LITERATURE.
G.Mark was so influential it insprired DOZENS of copies and rival Gospels.

But NO-WHERE does this originally anonymous Gospel claim it is writing history - its a wonderful story, set in real times and places like Gone WIth The Wind.

Most importantly, G.Mark shows CLEAR and PRESENT SIGNs of EXACTLY how it was created.
G.Mark was crafted from episodes in the Jewish scriptures - the story of Jesus is created from stories in the Tanakh, e.g. from the Elijah/Elisha cycle and the Psalms.
You can check this out at this superb site:
users2.ev1.net...


But,
AFTER the 2 wars with the Romans, a CENTURY after the events in the story, after the Temple has been destroyed, after Jerusalem has been razed to the ground, after the Jews have been dispersed, after Judea has been erased from the map - only THEN did people start believing the Gospel was history.



One other point that "Jesus debunkers" seem to forget is that Islam always recognized the existence and techings of Jesus,


False.
This is not forgotten - it's just not relevant.
Religious beliefs from many CENTURIES later are not proof of anything - except later religious beliefs.



Iasion



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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Originally posted by quango
As interesting as this is, I don't see how any verdict except not guilty can be reached.

It's based on faith. To prove guilt, they would have to prove the non-existence of Jesus. No easy task.



Erm, wth is that kind of logic your using??
In a court of law, you have to prove the existence of things, not the other way around. Religion and Faith have no place or value in a court of law(except for the rediculous swearing on the bible bullocks)
The vatican would have to prove that Jesus did exist, if it can't be proven they are preaching a false religion, in other words they would be defined as a cult.

I don't know if any court is going to touch this though. The judge that takes the case will have to make a ruling on it based on evidence and facts and well, there isn't any and if there ever was, its long gone, decayed, weak evidence like writings or so deeply archived, the vatican can't even find it anymore or the vatican just won't make the billion items, relics and so on they have stashed and burried deep in their archives public.



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 07:54 PM
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I do not see how it would be possible to prove he existed or not in a fair court, hearsay, especially hearsay when the hearsay authors cannot even be proven is not admissable testimony.

It would be better to sue on the grounds of having distorted the teachings and claiming they alone have been granted divine status of his teachings and gospel.

In either case, should this be taken seriously, I welcome the public disclosure the suit will bring about. The more public some of these church documents become, the more educated the public.

[edit on 2/25/05 by SomewhereinBetween]



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 08:24 PM
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Greetings The Vagabond,


So what you are saying is that somewhere in the 70s AD, somebody just made up the gospels, claiming that these events had transpired about 40 years ago.


No. No. And No.
I claimed no such things.

The evidence shows that -
* sometime 70-100 or so G.Mark was written
* as spiritual literature (not a "lie", not history)
* there is NO CLAIM in the Gospels that "these events transpired 40 years ago"


It is not clear when the Gospels were actually written.

But what IS CLEARer is when the Gospel stories became known to Christians.

Consider the early Christian writings which show NO KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel events:
* Paul (50s)
* Colossians (70s?)
* James (80s)
* 1 John (80s?)
* 2 Thess. (90s)
* Eph. (90s)
* 1 Peter (90s)
* Rev. (90s)
* 1 Clement (90s)
* Jude (100s)
* Didakhe (c.100)
* Pastorals (110s?)
* 2,3 John (120s?)

Then we have the first scant mentions of Gospel like elements with e.g. Barnabas and Ignatius in early 2nd century.

Then we have the first mentions of Gospel-like documents with Papias c.130

Then we have the first quotes of Gospel like material with Justin in c.150 (Gospels still un-named.)

Finally the four Gospels are named with Irenaeus in c.185


The fact that the Gospel events were not known even to CHRISTIAN writers until about a CENTURY after the alleged events (after 2 wars and several generations, after the Temple and the whole of Jerusalem had been destroyed) shows they were legendary, not historical.



We have no record of anyone who made the claim that the disciples had invented the story. When Jospehus, Pliny, and Tacitus wrote, they make no mention of any such controversy.


False.
There ARE specific claims the Gospel were invented, but of course Christian apologists are rarely aware of these facts.


Early refutations of Christianity

The words and phrases used by early writers to refer to Christians and Christianity include :
"fables" "lie" "myths" "superstition" "empty rumour"
"alter the originals over and over" "invented"
"base and ignorant creed making fishermen"
"blasphemy" "spurious" "counterfeit" "contradicts"
"refuted because they disagree"

This is not the sign of a new truth being accepted - it is obviously the EXACT OPPOSITE - a wacky new cult, initially mostly ignored, sometimes ridiculed and rejected with dismissive comments.


Pagan responses to Christianity

Initially, the new cult is largely ignored, but ridiculed by a few writers -
* Tacitus - "a class hated for their abominations", "a most mischievous superstition"
* Pliny - "this mad sect"
* Lucian - "misguided creatures"

Later on, when Christianity and the Gospels first rose to prominence, they DID receive detailed rebuttals.

Celsus specifically attacked the Gospels as "fiction" based on myths, and he claimed the Gospels were changed over and over to deflect criticism. Hoffman's reconstruction has quotes such as these :
"Clearly the Christians have used...myths... in fabricating the story of Jesus' birth...It is clear to me that the writings of the Christians are a lie and that your fables are not well-enough constructed to conceal this monstrous fiction"


Celsus' attack was so damaging to the church, that they attempted to erase it from history, we only have quotes of it because of angry Christians who answered his critique.

This is not the sign of external agreement on Christian claims - it is demonstrably the exact opposite - a specific attack that the Gospels were FICTION, an attack so damaging the church tried to burn every copy of it.


A few generations later, as the church is consolidating its power, a pagan historian Porphyry wrote another critique of Christian beliefs "Against the Christians", including such criticism such as :

"The evangelists were fiction writers-- not observers or eyewitnesses to the life of Jesus. Each of the four contradicts the other in writing his account of the events of his suffering and crucifixion"

"Anyone will recognize that the [gospels] are really fairy tales if he takes the time to read further into this nonsense of a story..."

"Another section in the gospel deserves comment, for it is likewise devoid Of sense and full of implausibility; I mean that absurd story about Jesus sending his apostles across the sea ahead of him after a banquet, then walking across to them 'at the fourth watch of the night'...Those who know the region well tell us that, in fact, there is no 'sea' in the locality but only a tiny lake which springs from a river that flows through the hills of Galilee near Tiberias... Mark seems to be stretching a point to extremities when he writes that Jesus-- after nine hours had passed-- decided in the tenth to walk across to his disciples who had been floating about on the pond for the duration... It is fables like this one that we judge the gospel to be a cleverly woven curtain, each thread of which requires careful scrutiny"


Then, just as Christianity had come to be the state religion, the Roman emperor Julian rejected the faith and wrote his own refutation of Christianity, "Against the Galileans", including comments such as :
".. why do you worship this spurious son of his whom has never been recognised as his own", and "You however, I know not why, foist on him a counterfeit son".

Note this telling criticism of Julian, the educated Roman emperor :
"But if you can show me that one of these men is mentioned by the well-known writers of that time - the events happened in the reign of Tiberius or Claudius - then you may consider that I speak falsely on all matters"

Here we see Julian explicitly state that Jesus is UNKNOWN TO HISTORY.




Jewish responses to Christianity

The Jewish response is just what we would expect of a wacky new cult - initially they ignore it. But late in the 1st century, as more Jews leave for Christianity, the Jews formally BAN the Christians from their synagogues and curse them as "minim". And lets not forget the Gospels arose sometime after the war, the Jews had a LOT more to worry about than refuting some a new cult.

Later, of course, when Christianity is rising to power, and the Jews have recovered from the Roman destructions, they DO try to discredit Jesus with all sorts of horrible stories being told -
* Jesus is a bastard (a mamzer) born from Mary's adultery with a Roman soldier,
* Jesus is a child conceived in the "time of separation" (during menstruation),
* Jesus was a evil magician who tried to lead people astray,

This is not the sign of the Jews unable to refute Christianity - on the contrary - it's the sign of a new cult which is at first ignored, then ridiculed and attacked when it starts to become a threat.



Variant Christian views

In the formative period of Christianity, the 2nd century, we see all sorts of disagreement about specific Christian claims :

The epistles of John mention other Christians who do not believe in a son of God, and attack Christians who do not believe Jesus came in the flesh.

The epistle of Polycarp also describes those who do not accept that Jesus came in the flesh.

Consider the astonishing case of Minucius Felix - he explicitly rejected the worship of a man on a cross as a Christian belief, he explicitly denied that God could become man. That's a 2nd century church father who explicitly rejected the incarnation and the crucifixion - 2 central beliefs of Christians.

Many other disagreements are expressed in the 2nd century :
* Timothy warning against the fables of genealogies,
* Marcion denied Jesus was born of Mary,
* gnostics such as Basilides and Bardesanes claimed Jesus was a phantom or spiritual being,
* the docetae argue Jesus was an illusion,
* Barnabas denies Christ was "son of David",
* forged letters warning about forgeries and "other christs"

In short - the 2nd century is full of refutations and rebuttals as the varying Christian sub-sects argued about what was "really true" about Jesus.


And we have a specific clue as to when the Gospel arose :

Aristides, in mid 2nd century, described a singular, un-named Gospel that had "been preached for a short time". This is an important clue - a church father who mentions "the Gospel, as it is called" - showing that it is merely called "the Gospel", no name, and singular. Furthermore he explicitly says it had only been preached for a "short time", perhaps a few years - evidence for when the Gospel became known in Christian circles.
www.earlychristianwritings.com...




Better stated there is no PERFECT evidence for a historical Jesus.


No.
You are dodging the FACTS.
No-one expects "perfect" evidence.
It is absolutelty true that there is no contemporary evidence for Jesus - you produced none because there is none.

My main argument is about the Chronology -
* there is NO CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE for Jesus
* there is NO external mention of Jesus until almost a century after the alleged events
* there is NO CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel stories until about a century after the alleged events


The Jesus legend grew over a century,
with even some CHRISTIANS NOT BELIEVING in Jesus as late as mid 2nd century.



The catch is that none of the increasingly available information directly contradicts the historocity of Jesus.


On the contrary, I have produced some of the evidence which directly contradicts it. You seemed to be unaware of this evidence (Celsus, Porphyry, Julian, Aristides, Minucius e.g.)

It appears you have not studied modern NT scholarship - scholars are increasingly seeing Jesus as originally a spiritual being, only later mistaken as historical (e.g. Earl Doherty, Richard Carrier, Robert Price)


Iasion



posted on Feb, 25 2005 @ 11:22 PM
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There you go with "Fact" & "Evidence" again Iasion! You claim to be a Historian - do you know the Exact History of every Human Event on this Planet? Do you have "Proof" & "Evidence" to back up every claim of Fact? As you know Propaganda has been around for a long time! History certainly shows that Wars are waged all the time & that it is the Victors who Write the so-called "History Books" - according to their Liking - not necessarily Historical Truth or Accuracy!

It is YOU that are talking about "Valid Religion" & Applying "Proof" & “Evidence” to Religion. I am saying that this is Impossible based on the Nature of Religion!

The Problem that I have is with the Tone of your Argument (continuing from another thread - those who don't know what I am talking about look here -> www.abovetopsecret.com... )! You seem to be Implying that since Jesus is a Myth (according to yourself) that the Religion of Christianity is Invalid - I am sorry but I find this Insulting.

In addition, far from being un-Prejudiced - I believe both your View & your Sources are tainted with Extreme Anti-Christian Bias!

I tried to look at your argument in an Objective manner - but I admit that I am a Christian so this is hard for me. "CHRIST" was indeed viewed as a "Spiritual Being" & still is to Modern Christians! I do however believe that it is quite possible that Jesus was an actual Historical Person - although he would not have been called "Jesus" - more like "Yehshuah". After all "The Jesus Legend Grew", I would say for Over Two Thousand Years - it still is! He must have been a great Man indeed!

Quote: "Buddha - possibly myth"

I hate to break it to you but there was at-least one Historical Buddha (actually referred to as the Historical Buddha). His name was Siddhartha Gotama - he was an Indian Prince - so much for Scholarship!


[edit on 25-2-2005 by Seraphim_Serpente]

[edit on 25-2-2005 by Seraphim_Serpente]

[edit on 25-2-2005 by Seraphim_Serpente]



posted on Feb, 26 2005 @ 02:07 AM
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Greetings again Iason, and I'll commend you on your research and skilled debate before I take exception to your conclusions. I'm looking forward to seeing you around me more often.
I'll also offer a quick disclaimer that because this is not a subject I am particularly passionate about, and therefore although I have taken the time to do just a little research and present what I believe is a reasonable arguement, I will not even be attempting to match you for volume of sources. I hope you'll be as tollerant of my limited scholarship in this area as I would be of yours if we engaged on an issue which I had done extensive reading on.
So with the formalities out of the way, gentleman go to your corners and come out swinging. *DING*



Originally posted by Iasion
The evidence shows that -
* sometime 70-100 or so G.Mark was written
* as spiritual literature (not a "lie", not history)
* there is NO CLAIM in the Gospels that "these events transpired 40 years ago"


No explicit claim that they happened about 40 years ago, although the naming of officials including the chief priests that yeah certainly would have bracketed the event into a certain timeframe, would it not?

The intent of the gospels as "spiritual literature" is never expressed in any way that I am aware of. There is no disclaimer that these are but illustrations. The gospels speak of supposedly historical events in a matter of fact way, and would in fact be a tremendous lie if they proved false.


But what IS CLEARer is when the Gospel stories became known to Christians.


Consider the early Christian writings which show NO KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel events:
* Paul (50s)
* Colossians (70s?)
* James (80s)
* 1 John (80s?)
* 2 Thess. (90s)
* Eph. (90s)
* 1 Peter (90s)
* Rev. (90s)
* 1 Clement (90s)
* Jude (100s)
* Didakhe (c.100)
* Pastorals (110s?)
* 2,3 John (120s?)


I am not familiar with the extra-cannonical works you mention, but the cannonical epistles you mention do not retell the gospel in its entirety because that is not their purpose. Those are letters between believers and seem to indicate that there was indeed a group of people organized around some belief relating to Jesus. If the dates are as you say then clearly there was a church by the 80s AD.


Then we have the first scant mentions of Gospel like elements with e.g. Barnabas and Ignatius in early 2nd century. Then we have the first mentions of Gospel-like documents with Papias c.130

You have already directly contradicted this above with your dating of Mark between 70-100 AD. Your attempts to push the gospels nearly into the mid second century (and thus do the same with the formation of a church) are now contradicting the evidence offered by Jospehus (Jewish Antiquities, 94 AD, and before you contest it you should know there is an un-doctored Arab version which omits all praise) and Tacitus (Annals cease with the evens of 66AD and can not post-date Tactius' death in 117AD.)

How can late first century historical documents take note of a religion that you say didn't really grow or recieve its core teachings until the early to mid second century? I am inclined to believe it's because Mark predates both of those histories, as do several epistles you mentioned which do refer to Jesus heavily.



The fact that the Gospel events were not known even to CHRISTIAN writers until about a CENTURY after the alleged events (after 2 wars and several generations, after the Temple and the whole of Jerusalem had been destroyed) shows they were legendary, not historical.

Again you are forgetting your own admission of the dating of Mark, and you are assuming that simply because nobody has repeated an entire gospel verbatim that they had no knowledge, which is ridiculous. Do you believe that the early church was gathered around a completely hollow name to which no history was ascribed, because we have it on good authority that there was a church AT LEAST in the 80s and 90s AD.





There ARE specific claims the Gospel were invented, but of course Christian apologists are rarely aware of these facts.

Early refutations of Christianity

The words and phrases used by early writers to refer to Christians and Christianity include :
"fables" "lie" "myths" "superstition" "empty rumour"
"alter the originals over and over" "invented"

This is not the sign of a new truth being accepted - it is obviously the EXACT OPPOSITE - a wacky new cult, initially mostly ignored, sometimes ridiculed and rejected with dismissive comments.


Red herring, now we're talking about the truth of the gospels when the subject was simply the historical existence of a person named Jesus upon whom a religion was based. The very people who call Chrisitianity every type of false and negative thing also acknowledge one who called himself Christus as the founder of the order.

Now here's the funny part, because I'm an honest person and I'm not here just to press dogma. Although the sources you name do not explicitly refer to any controversy over the existence of Jesus, 2 John 1:7 does acknowledge that at that time there were so-called false teaching claiming that Jesus had not come in the flesh. Therefore, I have to surrender that particular point, although I believe your interpretation of the histories to be flawed and that in all likelihood the historicty of Christ was generally accepted towards the end of the first century. There was a controversy, but apparently one in which the historians favored the Christian side, that their founder had indeed lived.

I've skipped a few quots on responses to Christianity because they only demonstrate that people didn't like or agree with Christianity. They come from people who spoke of Jesus as a real person and made no mention of any controversy on that particular fact. In light of 2 John 1:7 I can't argue that those historians were necessarily right. The presence of a controversy within the church puts the issue of Christs existence in question. If the historians are to be referred to as evidence however, they serve the Christian arguement because they seem to believe that Jesus lived, and do not seem to consider the arguement over his existence to be noteworthy.



Later on, when Christianity and the Gospels first rose to prominence, they DID receive detailed rebuttals.
(quote removed for brevity by Vagabond)

Celsus' attack was so damaging to the church, that they attempted to erase it from history, we only have quotes of it because of angry Christians who answered his critique.


Detailed rebuttals of which we have no details because we only know of them from the quotes offered by Christian responses, correct? Nothing in the quote you have given offers any material challenge to the existence of a person named Jesus, but simply claims with no support whatsoever that the religion is "clearly" based on lies. It seems highly unlikely that one who wrote much later that the historians who watched Christianity arise would have any actual evidence which was not available to the earlier historians. By the time Celsus wrote there could be no living witnesses, you haven't given the date but I'm guessing not even second hand accounts. If there were noteworthy evidence against the very existence of Jesus it would most likely have been evident in the late first century and early second. In that timeframe, the only work which seems to be remotely aware of the controversy over Jesus' existence is the writer of 2John, and apparently the controversy was too small and short lived to have attracted the attention of anybody else.



This is not the sign of external agreement on Christian claims - it is demonstrably the exact opposite - a specific attack that the Gospels were FICTION, an attack so damaging the church tried to burn every copy of it.

One more time, with feeling: I haven't practiced Christianity in YEARS, I don't care to defend the gospels, I don't know if what they say is true or not, I'm only arguing that a person called Jesus or Chistus founded Christianity. I'm arguing this because I do not believe that religion is a threat to anybody in today's more open and intellectual society and therefore there is no reason to press unproveable attacks on any religion simply for the sake of debunking it. If the church were still horrifyingly powerful and killing herretics it would be another story, then it might be worthwhile to try and discredit religions. Thankfully we're past that and past the need for these endless and mostly empty arguements.



A few generations later, as the church is consolidating its power, a pagan historian Porphyry wrote another critique of Christian beliefs "Against the Christians", including such criticism such as :


The first two quotes you offer are completely unfounded, making no mention of specific contradictions. Again you trot out some writer from decades if not centuries later than other sources which makes nonspecific allegations with very little if any evidence.

Your third quote seems to make assumptions on the story of Mark 6:45-52 in order to make it seem foolish. No time is given for the departure of the disciples, no time is given for Jesus' stay at the shore. All we know for sure is that Jesus caught up to them at some point around 3AM. Additionally, Porphyry chooses to indicate a small pond North of Tiberias (I know its north because I have a map of the area) as opposed to Tiberias itself also known as the Sea of Galilee, even though the destination (Bethsaida) is a mere 2 miles from the Sea of Galilee. Porphyry has tried to direct us away from the actual scene of the events to make an already very unlikely story appear even less likely. This epitomizes the problem with the rabid anti-religionists. Somebody claims that a man walked on water, and they say "why did it take so long for the disciples to cross the lake?". Do you know how I would refute Mark 6:45? I'd say "are you friggin nuts, it says a guy walked on water!". Nothing about this little tangent has anything to do with the historicity of Jesus though. It's nothing but an absurd and misguided arguement against something that we already agree probably never was done by the historical character called Jesus.



Here we see Julian explicitly state that Jesus is UNKNOWN TO HISTORY.

Just to make sure we're on the same page, you do acknowledge that just because the emperor says it doesn't make it so, correct? His assertion is just as fallacious as it was when you asserted it, he gets no special privlidges from me just because he was Rome's head of state.
I suppose you would agree that there were other "messiah" figures both before and after Jesus, correct? And I can only assume that they are hardly mentioned if at all by Roman writers of the time, since as I understand it the Romans didn't exactly have their finger on the pulse of Jewish religion and politics at the time. Correct me if I'm wrong of course, but there were so-called messiahs who didn't merit mention at the time in the works of a handful of historians. When the importance of their followers became clear, historians acknowledged the existence of Jesus as a person (and the founder of a religion based on lies) and met with no noteworthy dispute on the fact of Jesus existence. The ignorance of historians who had yet to see the political impact of the religion founded by Jesus does not constitute a contradiction to those a generation later who recorded the events in light of the significance it was proving to have (if only as a scape-goat religion).



lets not forget the Gospels arose sometime after the war, the Jews had a LOT more to worry about than refuting some a new cult.

As a result they did not refute it and therefore it would seem to be a moot point. Who cares why they didn't refute it?


Later, of course, when Christianity is rising to power, and the Jews have recovered from the Roman destructions, they DO try to discredit Jesus with all sorts of horrible stories being told -
* Jesus is a bastard (a mamzer) born from Mary's adultery with a Roman soldier,
* Jesus is a child conceived in the "time of separation" (during menstruation),
* Jesus was a evil magician who tried to lead people astray,

This is not the sign of the Jews unable to refute Christianity - on the contrary - it's the sign of a new cult which is at first ignored, then ridiculed and attacked when it starts to become a threat.

That the new cult became a threat and merited ridicule and attack does not run contrary to the inability of Jews to refute it. Do you argue that the Jews were in fact able to refute Christianity but decided not to? The Jews, who had every reason to know if Jesus had existed or not (afterall he had made a scene in their temple and been tried by their Sanhedrin just a generation or two ago) never claimed that Jesus didn't exist. Their disbelief in his story does not contradict their belief in his existence.




In the formative period of Christianity, the 2nd century, we see all sorts of disagreement about specific Christian claims :

The epistles of John mention other Christians who do not believe in a son of God, and attack Christians who do not believe Jesus came in the flesh.


Good job, above I was under the impression you had missed this. As I have said, this does in fact put the issue "in play" but by no means resolves it. We don't know which side was wrong, but we know that neither Jews nor Historians ever saw this controversy as a legitimate angle to attack Jesus because they never used it.



Many other disagreements are expressed in the 2nd century :
* Timothy warning against the fables of genealogies,
* Marcion denied Jesus was born of Mary,

With good reason. For one there was a phenomenon borrowed from Judaism whereby people were glorifying themselves with fake geneologies which tied them to various characters, perhaps even Jesus. Additionally, the geneology attributed to Jesus would have made him nobility to the Hebrews, would it not? His geneology was supposedly traced all the way back through King David to Abraham. This doesn't discredit Jesus existence though, only the phenomenon of attributing noble geneologies to anybody and everybody who wanted one.


* gnostics such as Basilides and Bardesanes claimed Jesus was a phantom or spiritual being,
* the docetae argue Jesus was an illusion,

Which would necessarily mean that they believed somebody called Jesus did appear and interact with his followers though. Whatever kind of being he was, they are making the case for an existence rather than a ficticious character.


* forged letters warning about forgeries and "other christs"

Because there were a lot of people pretending to be the Messiah in that timeframe, and Jesus was probably just another one of them. Again this actually reinforces that there was a Jesus, no matter how much harm it does to the gospel accounts.


In short - the 2nd century is full of refutations and rebuttals as the varying Christian sub-sects argued about what was "really true" about Jesus.

All with the overwhelming agreement that somebody or something named Jesus did in fact found the religion. Amazing that all of these people who rivaled and probably hated one another would agree on anything, isn't it?





Better stated there is no PERFECT evidence for a historical Jesus.

No.
You are dodging the FACTS.
No-one expects "perfect" evidence.
It is absolutelty true that there is no contemporary evidence for Jesus - you produced none because there is none.


What we do have however is a vast collection of first and second hand accounts from the a few decades after his death which should have been soundly refuted if he had not in fact existed. That one little word "contemporary" is all you have to disqualify the consensus between a multitude of otherwise contradictory sources that there was in fact a historical character named Jesus. In a civil court, based on the preponderance of the evidence, this case is open and shut in favor of Jesus because the opposing side has nothing but unfounded opinions from generations after the fact.

If the case which spawed this thread were in a criminal court for whatever reason (presumably charging the church with fraud) then the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and again they have no proof of Fraud.

This ridiculous lawsuit against the church can go nowhere because the arguement over Jesus existence is a stalemate at best, but there is plenty of testimony to the fact that a person or entity named Jesus once existed and absolutely no surviving testimony or evidence claiming that he did not exist.



My main argument is about the Chronology -
* there is NO CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE for Jesus

A semantical point at best, phrased in a way that hides the fact that there is no contemporary evidence of any kind, but that in reasonable proximity to the events there is a wealth of testimony which seems entirely one-sided on the point that a character named Jesus did in fact exist, regardless of whatever other controversy there may be.


* there is NO external mention of Jesus until almost a century after the alleged events

More like 50-60 years, and keep in mind that we didn't have the internet back then. For a set of obscure (and likely heavily mis-reported) events to become widely known, widely recorded, and historically improtant enough to merit mention would take time. By the end of the first century we know that there was enough of a church to merit mention by two well known historians, which indicates that the belief had been spreading for a time prior to that.


* there is NO CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE of the Gospel stories until about a century after the alleged events

Except of course for the Gospel of Mark itself written between more like 40-60 years afterward and a growing religion somehow founded upon the existence of Jesus as evidence by the epistles, and the historical ackowledgement that there was enough doctrine in Christianity as of Nero's reign that people were allowing themselves to be martyred for it.
I have no problem offering the possibility that the gospels have been doctored, may not have initially been very popular, may be full of lies and have little if any basis on the teachings of Jesus. Your points raise very little question though as to the topic which you have raised, which is the historocity of Jesus.



The catch is that none of the increasingly available information directly contradicts the historocity of Jesus.

On the contrary, I have produced some of the evidence which directly contradicts it. You seemed to be unaware of this evidence (Celsus, Porphyry, Julian, Aristides, Minucius e.g.)

Once agian, just to make sure the message gets across, these later attacks on the gospel stories DO NOT contradict the existence of Jesus himself, nor do they have much authority to do so considering that to do so would fly in the face of all that has been written and gone unchallenged by earlier historians. You insist on contemporary evidence yet the evidence you bring is much further from contemporary than the abundant testimony that Jesus did in fact exist.


It appears you have not studied modern NT scholarship - scholars are increasingly seeing Jesus as originally a spiritual being, only later mistaken as historical (e.g. Earl Doherty, Richard Carrier, Robert Price)

I am not familiar with nodern NT scholarship in the least. I don't even read the book itself unless I'm referencing it for discussion on ATS. What I can tell you with a high degree of confidence is that my point stands that the decline of the church has far less to do with any growing realization of Christ as a myth than it has to do with a rejection of the church and its deeds. Go engage any person on the street in a discussion on the matter and see if they know the first thing about the evidence for or against the existence of Jesus as a historical person.

As for the opinions of the academic community, I have neither read their work not heard any quotes from them to my knowledge so I can make no comment. What I can say is that if your arguements are based on their work, they are merely drawing the conclusion they desire to draw, because for whatever reason rejecting the content of the gospels is simply not enough for them. I do not find it suprising in the least, because it seems that "intellectuals" (and those who wish they were) have a desire to emulate past intellectuals who have taken a stand against the horrors of the church- unfortunately the church is lame and dying shadow of its former self and these would-be herretics are accomplishing little more than providing for their own entertainment.


Anyway, it's been fun and I appreciate your very well reseached arguements, but I strongly disagree with both the points you make and the percieved motives of those who first advanced such ideas. Sorry I haven't got a Way Above vote to give you for your effort, but I'm fresh out for this month.






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