Did Jesus even exist?

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posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 12:20 AM
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Greetings all,

Regarding whether Jesus existed, here is an essay I put together :

The Development of the Jesus Myth

The Jesus Myth theory can be seen in terms of the various stages that we see in the Christian record -

Stage one - spiritual Iesous Christos
* INITIALLY PAUL describes Iesous Christos as a purely spiritual being who exists on a higher plane, but who acts inside every human, perhaps somewhat like what we might now call a "soul" (Christ in you, the hope of Glory.) Paul mentions no earthly Jesus of Nazareth, no miracles, no empty tomb, no speeches, no dates, names, places, nor events - merely a few spiritual references. Paul is religious allegory - our soul (the Christos) is pinned (crucified) to the body (the cross) by the passions of the flesh, and raised back to heaven after we die (we live Christ's death, Christ lives our death.) Clement Alex. later discusses these very themes.

Notably Paul, (like all the 1st century writings), show NO mention of a historical Jesus of Nazareth as found in the Gospels - there is no 1st century mention of any of these major elements of the Gospel story -
* Joseph and Mary and Bethlehem and Nazareth,
* the birth stories, the Magi, the Star, the flight to Egypt,
* Herod and the massacre of the infants,
* John the Baptist or the baptism in the Jordan,
* the trial before Pilate (and Herod?),
* the raising of Lazarus or any miracles of Jesus,
* the cleansing of the temple, the trumphal entry,
* the Sermon on the Mount or any teachings by Jesus,
* the passion of Jesus, or the transfiguration,
* Peter the rock and "the keys",
* the denial by Peter, or betrayal by Judas,
* the empty tomb !!
None of those key events or actors are mentioned even once by 1st century Christian writers.

You can see how the early Christians show no knowledge of Gospel stories in overview in my table here:
members.iinet.net.au...


NONE of the Gospel stories are mentioned until the 2nd century, just like there is NO mention of the Gospels. But, from late 2nd century on, we see an enormous explosion in writings by many Christian authors which explain, and exposit and exegise the Gospels - whole libraries of books endlessly quoting and preaching from the Gospel and debating the finiest minutiae of every detail of every incident in Jesus' life.

The argument that these issues were NOT mentioned because they were so well-known does not make sense - these details were even MORE well known in later centuries when we see them repeated endlessly at vast length. Every later writer (who obviously have heard of the Gospel Jesus) quotes and argues from the Gospel stories frequently. The only possible explanation for the total silence of the 1st century Christian writers about the Gospel stories that are the basis for Christianity now, is that they had NEVER HEARD of them.

For example there are MANY occasions in Paul where we WOULD EXPECT Paul to mention the live and teaching when the context is entirely appopriate for a mention of Jesus or his teachings -
* 1 Thess 4:9 - Paul tells Christians to "love one another" WITHOUT a mention of Jesus! Even though Jesus supposedly taught exactly that.
* 2 Cor. 6:1 - Paul talks about the the "day of deliverance" (quoting Isaiah 49:8) without the slightest mention of what Jesus had said on this very important topic!
* Rom. 6:2 - Paul talks of Christian baptism - NO MENTION of the baptism in the Jordan.
* Rom. 133 - Paul encourages Paul to trust the authorities - yet those authorities allegedly just crucified his God!
* 1 Cor. 1:7 - Paul talks of the coming of Christ in the future tense - no hint he had recently been.
* Rom. 6:17 - Paul talks of Christian teaching being "handed on to you" - no mention here of Jesus' teachings.
* Gal 2:14 - Paul talks about the Jewish laws and the Gentiles - no mention of what Jesus had allegedly said on these very subjects.

See Earl Doherty's list of 200 silences in Paul for a detailed analysis of this problem -
jesuspuzzle.humanists.net...
(internal URL, pardon me :-)


The WAR, phase 1
* ~70CE - the Romans get fed up, the Temple is razed to the ground, Jerusalem is largely destroyed, many Jews killed or dispersed.


Stage two - early letters

THEN OTHER LETTERS began to appear (but before the Gospels arise) - these are either anonymous (Hebrews), forged in Paul's name, or forged in the name of characters from Paul's letters. These early letters mostly date from between the wars, and are in the name of characters in Paul's letters - modern scholars consider all of these letters pseudographs (i.e. not written by the person named as author.)

According to modern scholars, the Gospels were written approx. these dates :
* G.Mark : 65-80
* G.Matthew : 80-100
* G.Luke : 80-130
* G.John : 90-120
www.earlychristianwritings.com...
These dates are all deduced from internal evidence (such as references to the destruction of the Temple, relations with the Jews, use of special terms.) What the external evidence shows is a little different - the Gospels do not become clearly known to Christians until early/mid 2nd century.

Some scholars (e.g. Herman Detering) argue that the Gospels should be dated to just after the SECOND part of the war - see the Journal of Higher Criticism (not for newbies, top notch scholarly work here) :
www.depts.drew.edu...

Whatever the actual dates of the Gospels, I will argue from the documentary record and the dates generally agreed by consensus of scholars (if such can be found.)


The WAR, phase 2
* 132-135CE - the Romans call up to 10 legions in to squash the widespread massive rebellion - the rest of Jerusalem is destroyed (some say the whole city was reduced to knee-high rubble), the remaining outposts are wiped out (e.g. Masada), Judea is literally wiped from the map, and mostly from the earth. Only AFTER all this destruction, after one or two cataclysms of war with the Romans, nearly a century after the alleged events - only then do we see the Gospel stories become widely known in the Christian record.


Stage three - the Gospel appears
* the GOSPEL (of Mark) appears, anonymous (while perhaps written shortly after the first war, Christians writers only began to show knowledge of the Gospels in early-mid 2nd century.)

G.Mark is a masterpiece of spiritual literature, synthesizing a grand new version of the heroic son-of-god story so well known to so many cultures through Osiris, Dionysius, Attis, Adonis, Iasius but now cast into a Jewish milieu by melding key elements from the ancient Jewish writings. We know how the religious impulse in humans just loves to find old books to mine for their cherished beliefs - so in those times the Jewish scriptures represented a newly discovered, yet ancient deep and rich spiritual literature to peoples bored with crude Homer and jaded with Rome's silly superstitions. Mark's story was set in the perfect heroic past - not long ago, just before the wars, yet cast in the epic ancient context of the Jewish scriptures. Mark uses the figures mentioned in Paul as the actors in his story - Peter, John, James.

G.Mark is a work of literary genius, it creates entire speeches and characters and events from the whole cloth of the Jewish writings AS WELL as elements of Paul's letters - he merges the classic pagan myth with the suffering servant and messianic figures and the Iesous Christos of Paul to craft a new son-of-god who transcends the older figures by expressing the myth with a new sense of depth, by capturing many of the spiritual issues and themes which were important to seekers of the day.
Furthermore, G.Mark is built from the warp of paganism and the weft of Judaism with clear structures of LITERATURE - we see literary structures called chiasms (called after X in Greek) in the form : ABCDC'B'A', we see the classic challenge and response of pagan works, called chriea, amongst many other examples of structure showing its a work of literature. G.Mark may also echo Homer by episodes in which Jesus mimics the actions of Odysseus but is found to be superior in the climax (see Denis McDonald, The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark.)

See Michael Turton's magnum opus on G.Mark for details about these literary structures :
users2.ev1.net...

G.Mark is a great work of literature - but note that it is not at all clear what the intended GENRE of the document really was in the unknown author's mind. This is still a matter of considerable debate.


Stage four - OTHER Gospels appear,
the 2nd century battle for Spiritual vs Literal Jesus


After G.Mark other Gospels appeared - many (dozens) and varied - some later become our accepted four, some are gnostic works, and some are of even other types and quality and authorship. Some are accepted as genuine before before later rejected for doctrinal reasons (e.g. the Gospel of Peter.) Some counts of how many Gospels were produced in the early period run as high as 50.

During the formative period we see two totallly opposite poles of belief appear -
1 - the early gnostic and/or esoteric camp - who argue Iesous Christos was a spiritual being, or a phantom, or something not physical and historical (Paul and Paul2, Basilides, Valentinus etc.)
vs
2 - the later literalist who argue that Jesus was "truly" crucified under Pontius Pilate etc. as a historical event - starting with the suspect letters of "Ignatius" probably around the time of Papias.

Fierce battles of dogma raged between the two camps over the 2nd century, critics disagreeing with even the core elements of the Christian stories :
* 2 John, Polycarp, mention Christians who did not accept Jesus Christ came "in the flesh",
* 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 spritual being,
* the docetae argue Jesus was an illusion,
* Barnabas denies Christ was "son of David",

We also see a very odd case - church father Minucius Felix explicitly claims Christians do NOT worship a man crucified, ridiculing the whole thing along with the idea that gods could become men. This appears to be a Christian who has heard of the Gospels stories and is EXPLICTLY DENYING they are Christian beliefs. A church father explicitly denying the Gospel stories !
His writing is as clear as mud to a blind man with his eyes closed at midnight during an eclipse, probably why it escaped the church censors :
Felix : "he who explains their ceremonies by reference to a man punished by extreme suffering for his wickedness, and to the deadly wood of the cross, appropriates fitting altars for reprobate and wicked men ... when you attribute to our religion the worship of a criminal and his cross you wander far from the truth", and also: "Men who have died cannot become gods, because a god cannot die; nor can men who are born (become gods) ... Why, I pray, are gods not born today, if such have ever been born?"


We also see examples of 2nd century Christian writers who discuss Christian beliefs at length but conspicuously FAIL to mention Jesus -
* Mathetes to Diognetus - responded to 'close and careful inquiries' and preaches in Neo-Platonic tones of the Logos, his Son, but no time, place, or identity for this incarnation are provided. The name Jesus never appears.
* Tatian wrote Address to the Greeks - Esoteric Christianity at its finest - neither Christ nor Jesus not Son is mentioned anywhere - the Logos is the emphasis. In Ch.21, Tatian compared Christianity with pagan mythology and wrote: "Compare you own stories with our narratives. Take a look at your own records and accept us merely on the grounds that we too tell stories".
* Athenagoras of Athens wrote a detailed esoteric Christian treatise On The Resurrection Of The Dead arguing that resurrection is possible (in a non-fleshly body), but without once mentioning the resurrection of Jesus, or even using the words Jesus or Christ ! He also composed In Defense of the Christians - no Jesus nor Christ is mentioned, but the Logos is directly equated with the Son of God.
* Theophilus (of Antioch) wrote To Autolycus which does NOT mention Christ, nor Jesus.

Such examples are clear and present evidence of 2nd century Christians who do NOT believe the Gospel stories are part of their beliefs, either because they think them new and spurious, or perhaps because they had not even heard the Gospels yet.


Stage five - Literalists win the battle

By late 2nd century the battle is all over bar the shouting -
* the Gospels are chosen and named,
* the hierarchy is formed, the literal Gospel Jesus is dogma,
* the Gnostic and esoteric writers are consigned to the flames,
* the shouting continues for a couple of centuries - Irenaeus, Tertullian, Origen, Jerome, Eusebius, Augustine...



The clear pattern to be seen from this chronology is that the original Jesus was a spiritual figure, and the historical Jesus was a later belief that developed after the war(s), when everybody was dead and Jerusalem was in ashes.

The evidence of the 2nd century batttles of dogma emphasizes this - even then there were sceptics and critics who denied that Jesus and his actions were physical and historical.



Iasion
Quentin David Jones




posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 12:23 AM
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Greetings all,

Following on the subject of Jesis existence, a well-known list of early writers from Remsberg is much bandied about by sceptics.

This list names a large number of early writers who lived about the time of Jesus, but who failed to mention him.

Some of the names on the list do not belong, because they just could not be expected to have mentioned Jesus. The Remsberg list is also without dates and subjects and places, and is unclear in identifying some authors.

So, I have updated and improved this list, taking it up to the mid 2nd century. Some of the writers listed need more details.



How Likely was a mention of Jesus?

The issue is really HOW LIKELY they would be to mention Jesus.

Factors which increase the expectation that Jesus would be mentioned in a work include :
* a large work (i.e. one which has large index of names)
* a work on an issue somehow related to Jesus or the Gospel events,
* a work whose genre tends to frequently mention or allude to many subjects and people,


I have thus classified these writers into broad categories -
* writers who surely SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (5),
* writers who PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (4,3),
* writers who COULD have mentioned Jesus (2,1, or even 0.5),
* writers who WOULDN'T have mentioned Jesus (0)

I have given each writer a WEIGHT out of 5 as indicated.

As well as -
* writers CLAIMED to mention Jesus.



Of course, one writer who didn't mention Jesus means nothing.
But,
when DOZENS of writers from the period in question fail to mention anything about Jesus (or the the Gospel events or actors), this argues against historicity.


The argument is sometimes made that these writers could not possibly have mentioned Jesus - because he was a minor figure and unrelated to the issues at hand.

This assumes that no such writer ever mentions a minor figure in passing, that they never make an aside about other events or figures who are not specially related to the subject.

Of course, this is not true, as the evidence below shows that many of the writers mentioned make many references to many other minor figures and often make excurses about other subjects and events and people.


I have included astronomers on the list who might have mentioned the Star of Bethlehem and/or the darkness at the crucifixion - if they had heard of them. This is a lesser issue then the existence of Jesus, and I have rated such writers as 0.5.



Summary of Results

The results of my current classifications is:

1 writer who surely SHOULD have mentioned Jesus (Philo.)

3 writers who PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus
(Seneca, Plutarch, Justus.)

31 writers who COULD have mentioned Jesus.


(20 writers who could not be expected to.
6 writers claimed to mention Jesus, but disputed or suspect.)



You can see the results presented chronologically with colour and font size here:
members.iinet.net.au...


WRITERS WHO SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

PHILO

Philo Judaeus wrote very many books about Jewish religion and history, in the 30s and 40s, living in Alexandria, and visiting Jerusalem.

Philo was contemporary with Jesus and Paul,
Philo visited Jerusalem and had family there,
he developed the concept of the Logos and the holy spirit,
he was considered a Christian by some later Christians,
he wrote a great deal about related times and peoples and issues.

If Jesus had existed, Philo would almost certainly have written about him and his teachings.

Rating: SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 5



WRITERS WHO PROBABLY SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

SENECA

Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote many philosophic (Stoic) and satirical books and letters (and Tragedies) in Rome.

Seneca wrote a great deal on many subjects and mentioned many people. He was a Stoic, a school of thought considered sympathetic to Christian teachings.

In fact,
early Christians seemed to have expected him to discuss Christianity - they FORGED letters between him and Paul.

How else to explain these forgeries, except as Christian responses to a surprising VOID in Seneca's writings?

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 4


PLUTARCH

Plutarch of Chaeronea wrote many works on history and philosophy in Rome and Boetia in about 90-120 CE.

Plutarch wrote about influential Roman figures, including some contemporary to Jesus,
Plutarch wrote on Oracles (prophesies),
Plutarch wrote on moral issues,
Plutarch wrote on spiritual and religious issues.

Plutarch's writings also include a fascinating piece known as the "Vision of Aridaeus", a spiritual journey, or out of body experience, or religious fantasy -
members.iinet.net.au...

If Plutarch knew of Jesus or the Gospel events, it is highly likely he would have mentioned them.

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus or his teachings, but did not.
Weight: 4



JUSTUS

Justus of Tiberias wrote a History of Jewish Kings in Galilee in late 1st century.

Photius read Justus in the 8th century and noted that he did not mention anything: "He (Justus of Tiberias) makes not one mention of Jesus, of what happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did."

It is surprising that a contemporary writer from the very region of Jesus' alleged acts did not mention him.

Rating: PROBABLY SHOULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 3



WRITERS WHO COULD HAVE MENTIONED JESUS


DAMIS

Damis wrote most of what we know about Apollonius of Tyana. He was a philospher and mystic exactly contemporary with Jesus and who was rather similar to Jesus - enough for some authors to argue they were one and the same person.

If Damis/Apollonius had known of Jesus, he could have easily have been mentioned as a competitor. A story in which Apollonius bested Jesus in debate would not be un-expected.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



APOLLONIUS

See Damis.




PLINY THE ELDER

Gaius Plinius Secundus wrote a large Natural History in Rome c.80CE

Pliny wrote a great deal - his Natural History mentions HUNDREDS of people, major & minor - writers, leaders, poets, artists - often with as much reason as mentioning Jesus. (Of course like many other writers he talks about astronomy too, but never mentions the Star of Bethlehem or the darkness.)

It is not at all un-reasoble for this prolific writer to have mentioned Jesus or the Gospels events.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



JUVENAL

Decimus Junius Juvenalis wrote sixteen satires in Rome in early 2nd century.

Lucian the Roman satirist DID ridicule Christians (as gullible, easily lead fools) in mid 2nd century. By the later time of Lucian, Christianity obviously was known to the wider Roman community. Whereas Juvenal wrote at a time when Christianity had only just started to rate a few tiny mentions (Pliny the Younger, Tacitus.)

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



MARTIAL

Marcus Valerius Martialus wrote satires in Rome in late 1st century.

Martial wrote a large body of poems about all sorts of things. He mentions many people, places, stories and issues - major and minor, within and without Rome, such as :
* Stoic suffering of discomfort and death,
* virgin's blood,
* Roman funerary practices,
* the way accused men look in court,
* Roman soldiers mocking their leaders,
* anointing the body with oil,
* Molorchus the good shepherd,
* Tutilius a minor rhetorician, Nestor the wise,
* the (ugly) Temple of Jupiter,

This shows Martial mentions or alludes to many and varied people and issues.

He could easily have mentioned Jesus (or the Gospel events).

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



PETRONIUS

Petronius Arbiter wrote a large novel (a bawdy drama) the "Satyricon" c.60CE.

Petronius mentions all sorts of people and events in this large work, including :
** a CRUCIFIXION !
** a scene where guards are posted to stop a corpse being stolen,
** a tomb scene of someone mistaking a person for a supernatural vision,
* gods such as Bacchus and Ceres,
* writers such as Sophocles and Euripides and Epicurus,
* books such as the Iliad,
* Romans such as Cato and Pompey,
* people such as Hannibal, and the Governor of Ephesus,
* female charioteers, slaves, merchants, Arabs, lawyers
* baths, shipwrecks, meals...

This large work, cover MANY topics, including a CRUCIFIXION, and it was written just as Peter and Paul had come to Rome, allegedly. It could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



PAUSANIAS

Pausanias wrote the massive Guide to Greece in mid 2nd century.

Pausanias' work is vast and the index covers over 70 pages of small print, I estimate a couple of THOUSAND names are mentioned. He mentions a large number of minor figues from within and without Greece.

He even mentions a Jewish prophetess - a figure so minor she is essentially unknown: "Then later than Demo there was a prophetic woman reared among the Jews beyond Palestine; her name was Sabbe." Phokis, Book X, 12, [5]

Pausanias also mentions the Jewish rebellion under Hadrian.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



EPICTETUS

Epictetus is known for several books of Stoic religious and philosophic discourses in the early 2nd century. One of his disciples was Arrian, and thanks to him much of Epictetus' works are extant.

Epictetus DID apparently mention "the Galileans", which could be a reference to :
* the early Christians,
or
* the revolt under Judas the Galilean in early 1st century.

Either way, this shows quite clearly that Epictetus could refer to a figure such as Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



AELIUS ARISTIDES

Aelius Aristides the Greek Orator spoke and wrote a History of Rome and other subjects - he seems to refer to the Christians as "impious men from Palestine" (Orations 46.2)

If he could mention people from Palestine, he could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



FRONTO

Marcus Cornelius Fronto of Rome wrote several letters in mid 2nd century.

According to Minucius Felix, he scandalised rites practiced by Roman Christians - so he could easily have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD easily have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 2



PERSIUS

Aulus Persius Flaccus wrote six fairly long satires in Rome in the mid 1st century, of a rather philosophic nature.

The argument that no Roman satirist could be expected to mention Jesus, is proven wrong by the case of a Roman satirist who DID mention Jesus (but only as echoes of later Christian beliefs.)

Persius wrote a reasonably large body of work that mentions many people and issues.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



DIO CHRYSOSTOM

Dio Chrysostom (Cocceianus Dio) wrote many works and gave many speeches in various Roman and Greek centres in late 1st century, of which 80 survive e.g. the Euboicus.

Dio wrote a large number of works in the late 1st century - he certainly could have mentioned Jesus, if he knew of him.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



AULUS GELLIUS

Aulus Gellius wrote Attic Nights (Nights in Athens), a large compendium of many topics and which mentioned many people.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



LUCIUS APULEIUS

Lucius Apuleius wrote the Metamorphoses (the Golden Ass or Transformations of Lucius) and many other spiritual, historical, and philosophic works - several survive.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



MARCUS AURELIUS

Marcus Aelius Aurelius Antoninus wrote the Stoic Meditations in mid 2nd century - he (apparently) refers once to the Christians in XI, 3.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



MUSONIUS RUFUS

C. Musonius Rufus wrote on Stoic philosophy in Rome in mid 1st century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



HIEROCLES

Hierocles of Alexandria wrote on Stoic philosophy in late 1st century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



MAXIMUS of TYRE

Cassius Maximus Tyrius, a Greek NeoPlatonic philosopher, wrote many works in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 1



ARRIAN

Arrian wrote a History of Alexander c.120CE.

The subject is not related, but Arrian wrote a very large work which mentioned HUNDREDS of people, some not from Alexander's time.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



APPIAN

Appian wrote a large Roman History (from the Gracchi to Caesar) in mid 2nd century.

It's not particularly likely that this specific writer would mention Jesus.
But,
he wrote a LARGE work which mentions HUNDREDS of people.
Appian does mention some issues of HIS day (mid 2nd century), e.g. a decision by Hadrian.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



THEON of SMYRNA

Theon of Smyrna wrote on astronomy/philosophy in early 2nd century.

Theon wrote about philosophy. If Jesus and his teachings were known, it is entirely plausible for to mention them.

Theon also wrote about astronomy.
If he had heard about the Star of Bethlehem or the Darkness (as an event, or from the Gospels) he could easily have mentioned it.

Apologists frequently cite Phlegon and Thallus, astronomers who mentioned eclipses (but NOT Jesus or the Gospel events, that is merely later Christian wishful thinking) as evidence for Jesus.

An astronomer could easily be expected to mention those incidents, especially when apologists claim other astronomers of the period did exactly that.

The silence of early astronomers about the Star of Bethlehem or the crucifixion darkness argues these "events" were unknown until later.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



QUINTILIAN

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, wrote the "Education of an Orator" in Rome in late 1st century.

One of the things Jesus was allegedly noted for was his PUBLIC SPEECHES - e.g. the Sermon on the Mount, which supposedly drew and influenced large crowds.

If Quintilian had heard of Jesus or the Gospels events, he could have mentioned the allegedly famous speeches of Jesus.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



LUCIUS ANNAEUS FLORUS

Lucius Annaeus Florus wrote an Epitome of Roman History.

Although not directly on subject, Florus wrote a large work which mentions many names. He could have mentioned Jesus if he had known of him.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



LUCAN

Marcus Annaeus Lucanus wrote the Pharsalia (Civil War) in Rome in mid 1st century.

In his large poem, the Pharsalia, he mentions some events from later times, and he covers many different issues and people in passing.
He:
* mentions an event from 56CE,
* refers to places as far afield as Sicily and Kent,
* refered to Stoic religious beliefs about the end of the world,
* refers to many books and myths and persons and events not part of the main story.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



STATIUS

Publius Papinius Statius wrote numerous minor and epic poems (e.g. Ode to Sleep and the Thebaid) in Rome in late 1st century.

Statius wrote many works on several subjects, he could have mentioned Jesus.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



HERO of ALEXANDRIA

Hero(n) of Alexandria wrote many technical works, including astronomy.

If he had known of the Gospel stories about Jesus, he could have mentioned them.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



GEMINUS

Geminus wrote on mathematics astronomy in Greece.

If he had known of the Gospel stories about Jesus, he could have mentioned them.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



ALBINUS

Albinus taught on (neo-)Platonism in early 2nd century, a little survives.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



ARISTOCLES

Aristocles of Messene wrote On Philosophy, early 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



APOLLODORUS

Apollodorus compiled a large Mythology in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



HEPHAESTION

Hephaestion of Alexandria wrote many works in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



SEXTUS EMPIRICUS

Sextus Empiricus wrote Outlines of Scepticism in mid 2nd century.

Rating: COULD possibly have mentioned Jesus, but did not.
Weight: 0.5



WRITERS CLAIMED TO MENTION JESUS

JOSEPHUS

Much has been said about Josephus, but not here.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but may not have.



TACITUS

Cornelius Tacitus wrote a celebrated passage about Jesus roughly 80 years or so after the alleged events - but he seems to be reporting Christian beliefs of his later times, not using earlier documents: he uses the incorrect title 'procurator' - the term used in Tacitus' time, not Pilate's; he fails to name the executed man (Roman records could not possibly have called him 'Christ '); and he accepts the recent advent of the Christians, when Rome was known to allow only ancient cults and religions.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but probably late hearsay.



NUMENIUS

In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name"

Numenius does not mention Jesus, just a story that was later attributed to him.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but probably late hearsay.



SUETONIUS

Gaius SUETONIUS Tranquillus wrote a histories/biographies of Roman Caesars c.120CE.

He mentions a "Chrestus" (a common slave name meaning "Useful") who caused disturbance in Rome in 49CE.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.



PHLEGON

Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius, and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by much later George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon said anything about Gospel events - just evidence for later Christians believing his statements about an eclipse (there WAS an eclipse in this period) was really about the Gospel darkness.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.



THALLUS

Thallus perhaps wrote in early 2nd century or somewhat earlier (his works are lost, there is no evidence he wrote in the 1st century, in fact there is some evidence he wrote around 109 BCE, and some authors refer to him for events before the Trojan War!) - 9th century George Syncellus quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse". There is no evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events, as there was an eclipse in 29, the subject in question. Furthermore the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is likely a mis-reading.

Rating: CLAIMED to mention Jesus, but did not.




WRITERS WHO COULD NOT BE EXPECTED TO HAVE MENTIONED JESUS

Dion Prusaeus
Paterculus
Ptolemy
Valerius Maximus
Pomponius Mela
Quintus Curtus Rufus
Lucius Junius Moderatus Columella
Favorinus
Phaedrus
Babrius
Silius Italicus
Marcus Manilius
Cleomedes
Dioscorides
Sextus Julius Frontinus
Nicomachus of Gerasa
Menelaus of Alexandria
Menodotus of Nicomedia
Tiberius Claudius Herodes Atticus
Valerius Flaccus



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 12:25 AM
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Greetings again,


Apologists frequently cite various ancient authors as evidence for Jesus' existence.

However, this evidence has serious issues, with all of it being late, suspect, or irrelevent, as follows -



JOSEPHUS (c.96CE)

The famous Testamonium Flavianum is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems :
* the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the Jew Josephus (who refused to call anyone "messiah"),
* The T.F. comes in several versions of various ages,
* The T.F. was not mentioned by Origen when he reviewed Josephus - Origen even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was not present in that earlier era.
* The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent from some manuscripts as late as 8th century.
* (The other tiny passage in Josephus is probably a later interpolation.)

An analysis of Josephus can be found here:
www.humanists.net...


In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt form of a lost original.)


But,
its COULD be actual evidence for Jesus. late, corrupt, but just POSSIBLY real historical evidence.

Such is the weakness of the evidence that this suspect passage is considered some of the best "evidence" for a historical Jesus of Nazareth.



TACITUS (c.112CE)

Roughly 80 years after the alleged events Tacitus allegedly wrote a (now) famous passage about "Christ" - this passage has several problems however:
* Tacitus uses the term "procurator", used in his later times, but not correct for the actual period, when "prefect" was used.
* Tacitus names the person as "Christ", when Roman records could not possibly have used this name (it would have been "Jesus, son of Joseph" or similar.)
* Tacitus accepts the recent advent of Christianity, which was against Roman practice (to only allow ancient and accepted cults and religions.)
* (No-one refers to this passage for a millenium, even early Christians who actively sought such passages.)


Thus, even if the Tacitus passage is not a later interpolation,
it is not evidence of a historical Jesus based on earlier Roman records,
but
merely a few details which Tacitus gathered from Christian stories circulating in his time (c.f. Pliny.)



PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)

About 80 years after the alleged events, (and over 40 years after the war) Pliny refered to Christians who worshipped a "Christ" as a god, but there is no reference to a historical Jesus or Gospel events.


So,
Pliny is not evidence for a historical Jesus of Nazareth,
just evidence for 2nd century Christians who worshipped a Christ.


SUETONIUS (c.115CE)

Roughly 80-90 years after the alleged Gospel events, Suetonius refers to a "Chrestus" who stirred the Jews to trouble in Rome during Claudius' time, but:
* this "Chrestus" is a Greek name (from "good") and is also a mystic name for an initiate, it is not the same as "Christos"
* this Chrestus was apparently active in Rome, Jesus never was,
* Jesus was never said to have lead the Jews in Rome into trouble during Claudius' time.

So, this passage is unlikely to refer to Jesus of Nazareth at all - I am surprised that this obviously un-related passage is cited so often.



CLEMENT (late 1st)

Clement was a prominant early church father, but :
* he does NOT mention a historical Jesus,
* NOR any mention of the Gospels or their events,
* merely a couple of SAYINGS attributed to Jesus
(along with many specific references to OT scripture and Paul.)

So,
Clement is no evidence for a historical Jesus, indeed seems to know nothing about Jesus or the Gospel events.


PHLEGON (c.140)

Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius, and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon said anything about Gospel events.

So,
Phlegon is NO evidence for Jesus at all - merely Christian wishful thinking.


THALLUS date unknown

We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote,
there are NONE of Thallus works extant.
What we DO have is a 9th century reference by George Syncellus who quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, who, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion, wrote: "Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse".
But,
there is NO evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events at all, as there WAS an eclipse in 29. This suggests he merely refered to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians interpreted his comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is a mis-reading.)

Richard Carrier the historian has a good page on Thallus:
www.infidels.org...

So,
Thallus is NO evidence for Jesus at all - merely Christian wishful thinking.



IGNATIUS (107CE? 130-170CE?)

The letters of Ignatius are traditionally dated to c.107, yet:
* it is not clear if he really existed, his story is suspicious,
* his letters are notoriously corrupt and in 2 versions,
* it is probable that his letters were later forgeries,
* he mentions only a tiny few items about Jesus.

So,
Ignatius MAY be a 2nd century reference to a few details about Jesus, but the date is not certain (130s or 170s are possiblities.)



QUADRATUS (c.125CE)

Quadratus apparently wrote an Apology to Hadrian (117-138), but:
* we have none of his works,
* it is not certain when he wrote,
* all we have is 1 sentence quoted centuries later.

So,
Quadratus is uncertain evidence from about a century later.



VALENTINUS (c.140CE)

In mid 2nd century the GNOSTIC Valentinus almost became Bishop of Rome, but:
* he was several generations after the alleged events,
* he wrote of an esoteric, Gnostic Jesus and Christ,
* he mentioned no historical details about Jesus.

So,
Valentinus is no evidence for a historical Jesus.


JUSTIN MARTYR (c.150CE)


Justin wrote in mid 2nd century, but :
* he is several generations after the alleged events,
* he quotes "memoirs of the apostles" ("called Gospels")
* these memoirs are NOT yet named for the evangelists,
* these memoirs are DIFFERENT to our modern Gospels,

So,
Justin quotes un-named proto-Gospels,
but
provides no actual evidence for a historical Jesus.


POLYCARP (c.155CE)

Polycarp wrote in mid 2nd century, but :
* he is several generations after the alleged events,
* he gives many sayings of Jesus (some of which do NOT match the Gospels),
* he does NOT name any evangelist or Gospel.

So,
Polycarp knew sayings of Jesus,
but
provides no actual evidence for a historical Jesus.



LUCIAN (c.170CE)

Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised Christians, but :
* this was several generations later,
* Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name.

So,
Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus.



TALMUD (3rd C. and later)

There are some possible references in the Talmud, but:
* these references are from 3rd century or later, and seem to be (unfriendly) Jewish responses to Christian claims.
* the references are variant and quite different to the Gospel stories (e.g. one story has "Jesus" born about 100BC.)

So,
the Talmud contains later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories,
but
the Talmud contains NO evidence for a historical Jesus.



MARA BAR SERAPION 3rd century? later?

A fragment which says -
"... What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King?",
in the context of ancient leaders like Socrates.

It is NOT at all clear who this is referring too, but there is no evidence it is Jesus.



GALEN

Late 2nd century, Galen makes a few references to Christians, and briefly to Christ.

This is far too late to be evidence.



NUMENIUS

In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius "quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus--without, however, mentioning His name"

This not any evidnce for Jesus, its 3rd century wishful thinking.



SUMMARY

So, whilst that list of alleged citations to a historical Jesus may have looked impressive to those who didn't know the details, in fact they turned out to be very weak indeed - to summarise :

* an interpolated or forged passage (JOSEPHUS)

* a first century Christian father who mentions NOTHING about a historical Jesus or the Gospel events, merely some sayings (CLEMENT)

* a 2nd century passage, at best a late reference to Christian beliefs (TACITUS)

* a 2nd century reference to Christians beliefs, not Jesus (PLINY)

* a reference to someone else entirely (SUETONIUS)

* a made-up reference (THALLUS)

* a few tiny details in a suspect, probably forged, 2nd century corpus from (at least) 75 years after the alleged events (IGNATIUS)

* a writer of uncertain date from whom we have a SINGLE SENTENCE cited centuries later (QUADRATUS)

* a mid 2nd century Gnostic view about an esoteric Jesus (VALENTINUS)

* a mid 2nd century work which quotes un-named proto-Gospels called "memoirs of the apostles" (JUSTIN)

* a mid 2nd century writer who merely knew some sayings of Jesus (POLYCARP)

* a late 2nd century reference to Christians, not Jesus (LUCIAN)

* some 3rd century Jewish polemic (TALMUD)



None of these references are contemporary, most of them contain no reference to a historical Jesus anyway - and the few that do are all suspect or far too late.

Such is the "evidence" for Jesus.


Iasion



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 01:07 AM
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it's not a question of did jesus the man exist, but did jesus the modern myth exist.

thanks,
drfunk



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 01:51 AM
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Originally posted by drfunk
it's not a question of did jesus the man exist, but did jesus the modern myth exist.

thanks, drfunk


Careful, Dr. Funk! You're going to cause Iasion to burst a blood vessel or worse!


What I find truly interesting is how threatened skeptics and dogmatics are by a "historical model" of Yeshua (Jesus). Talk about an Alien Jesus and both laugh. Talk about a Gnostic Jesus and they both laugh - though for different reasons. Talk about a Fictional Jesus and the dogmatics go ballistic, while the skeptics smile with confidence. Talk about the Church's Jesus and the skeptics go ballistic, while the dogmatics smile with confidence.

However.... Talk about a "historical" or a "Jewish" Jesus and every Tom, Dick and Hairy one of them have a bloody hissy fit and begin to
forth all the venom, rhetoric and bromide they can muster in support of their respective beliefs/opinions!

Even Jewish scholars, with very few exceptions, who accept a historical (Jewish) Jesus only do so in order to marginalize him as just another Jew or to write him off as "something for the Gentiles." And Christian scholars, with very few exceptions, who accept a historical (Jewish) Jesus only do so in order to validate their belief that he was/is THE MESSIAH, which they use to bolster their Replacement Theology and/or to justify evangelizing the Jews, etc., etc., etc.

I'm sitting here looking at all this insanity and wondering if there isn't another "model" that makes better sense -- even if it doesn't led us all to hug each other and sing Kumbaya. Sorry, Iasion. Didn't mean to steal your thunder.

[edit on 14-6-2005 by smadewell]



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 11:48 AM
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I think there is both truth and falshood in what we know as Christ today. Jesus' life is very similar to the Osiris myth who supposedly lived a few hundred years before Christ. Evidence shows that Christ and Osiris were merged because of the pagan practices of the Roman empire at that time. I think the REAL Christ was a teacher and it is his words that we should adhere to. Another thing the church does is say that Christ died for our sins and now when we sin, we simply ask for forgivness and his blood washes our sins away. Funny thing is, Jesus never said that. What he taught, is that our sins are forgiven if we can get to a point of "go and sin no more." He was a teacher. If he did do the things that are mentioned in the bible, he would have been written about a LOT!!!! Others around that time were mentioned that did far less than what the testaments talk about.

It is sad that we cannot count on each other for truth with so many lies. I thnik Christ did exist, but NOT the way the pictures show in Sunday school. Rabbi = teacher. I also believe that there were other 'Christs' and that we ourselves can become Christs. I think that was his lesson. However, we should all keep an open mind.

[edit on 14-6-2005 by godservant]



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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Originally posted by godservant
I think there is both truth and falsehood in what we know as Christ today.... I think the REAL Christ was a teacher and it is his words that we should adhere to. Another thing the church does is say that Christ died for our sins and now when we sin, we simply ask for forgiveness and his blood washes our sins away. Funny thing is, Jesus never said that. What he taught, is that our sins are forgiven if we can get to a point of "go and sin no more." He was a teacher. If he did do the things that are mentioned in the bible, he would have been written about a LOT!!!! Others around that time were mentioned that did far less than what the testaments talk about.

And others (before, during and after that time) did just about the same thing - as far as miracles and healings (et al) are concerned. Problem is ... no one bothers to dig into the relevant literature to find out about them and even when they do ... they don't take 'em seriously. Otherwise.... I totally agree with what I've quoted from you above.



Originally posted by godservantIt is sad that we cannot count on each other for truth with so many lies. I think Christ did exist, but NOT the way the pictures show in Sunday school. Rabbi = teacher. I also believe that there were other 'Christs' and that we ourselves can become Christs. I think that was his lesson. However, we should all keep an open mind.

Well, yes, Rav means "master, teacher, etc." Rabbi means "My Teacher, etc." Yeshua is frequently called Lord, which would be Mar Yeshua (in his toungue) and means basically, "Revered Teacher" in an honorific since and not G-D Himself. If by "Christs" you mean "Anointed Ones" and by that "Sons/Daughters of G-d", with all the abilities and responsibilities that go along with serving as an insurment/conduit for the Divine to be manifest, then ... yes ... I agree. Semantics aside - I know, I'm such a pill when it comes to phraseology - I think you've pretty much got a handle on it.



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 06:40 PM
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Originally posted by Iasion
Greetings all,

Regarding whether Jesus existed, here is an essay I put together :

The Development of the Jesus Myth

The Jesus Myth theory can be seen in terms of the various stages that we see in the Christian record -

Stage one - spiritual Iesous Christos
* INITIALLY PAUL describes Iesous Christos as a purely spiritual being who exists on a higher plane, but who acts inside every human, perhaps somewhat like what we might now call a "soul" (Christ in you, the hope of Glory.) Paul mentions no earthly Jesus of Nazareth, no miracles, no empty tomb, no speeches, no dates, names, places, nor events - merely a few spiritual references. Paul is religious allegory - our soul (the Christos) is pinned (crucified) to the body (the cross) by the passions of the flesh, and raised back to heaven after we die (we live Christ's death, Christ lives our death.) Clement Alex. later discusses these very themes.


Good post and well written. You state that Paul mentions no earthly Jesus and all of his references to Christ are allegorical.

Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was a Jew who persecuted Christians. He received Christ as his Savior after the crucifixion. We have no indication if he knew Jesus while He was alive.

There were many letters written to different churches. Paul usually started each saying that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. He also stated many times that these were the teachings of Christ and not Paul. He also uses God and Jesus interchangeably to promote the divinity of Christ.

We know that he knew Peter. It appears to me that the teachers' priority was to teach the Word of Christ and not His history. That came about at a later time. Of the four Gospels, only two were written by the original disciples. This tells me that the history of Christ was well known.

So I understand that you are saying that all of the many references Paul gives to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are only allegorical. How did you come to this understanding?



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 08:53 PM
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Originally posted by Iasion
For example there are MANY occasions in Paul where we WOULD EXPECT Paul to mention the live and teaching when the context is entirely appopriate for a mention of Jesus or his teachings -
* 1 Thess 4:9 - Paul tells Christians to "love one another" WITHOUT a mention of Jesus! Even though Jesus supposedly taught exactly that.


But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.


He is writing a letter to the church on how to please God. He begins by saying in verse 1: Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more. So Jesus is mentioned in the beginning of the letter.


* 2 Cor. 6:1 - Paul talks about the the "day of deliverance" (quoting Isaiah 49:8) without the slightest mention of what Jesus had said on this very important topic!


We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. 2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

Chapter six is a continuation of chapter 5. In chapter 5 Paul is speaking on appearing before the judgment seat of God. He continues in the importance of living a just life. In the last two verses we see that Paul has spoken of being ambassadors for Christ. In Chapter six, then he states that the sacrifice of Christ is the salvation of which Isaiah prophesized.


* Rom. 6:2 - Paul talks of Christian baptism - NO MENTION of the baptism in the Jordan.


1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:

Paul is explaining that baptism is symbolic of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. We are not being baptized because Christ was baptized. There is no need to mention the baptism in the Jordan.



* Rom. 133 - Paul encourages Paul to trust the authorities - yet those authorities allegedly just crucified his God!


1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:


Paul is saying all power is given by God. Even Jesus said: Mark 12:17 – And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.



* 1 Cor. 1:7 - Paul talks of the coming of Christ in the future tense - no hint he had recently been.


6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

The testimony of Christ is His death, burial and resurrection.



* Rom. 6:17 - Paul talks of Christian teaching being "handed on to you" - no mention here of Jesus' teachings.


9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. 10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. 11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. 15 What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. 16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? 17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.

The doctrin Paul is speaking of is the death, burial and ressurection of Christ. It is the grace of God that gives you eternal salvation. Without it, you are condemmed to eternal damnation under the law. This is the gospel (good news) that Jesus spoke of when he told His disciples: Mark 16:15 - And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

When quoting scripture, many people take the individual verse on face value. The Bible is not a collection of verses. The Bible has to be taken as a whole. If one studies the Bible, and understands it as a whole, then seemingly inconsistencies make sense.



posted on Jun, 14 2005 @ 10:16 PM
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Well, I believe Jesus the man and the son of God did and does exist. But that is a faith, a belief that is up to individuals to follow or not. There are some things that you just feel in your heart and you don't need any proof. There are other things that we do need to know why, how, when etc and for each of us, our quest for knowledge will lead us down different roads. I think when it comes to religion in general that many spend so much time trying to prove or disprove rather than just experience your faith. If you choose not to believe in God or you follow different religions that are not Christian then fine, just follow your heart and see where it leads you. Sometimes it is fun to just experience life and its surprises vs trying to analyze them all the time. Thank you.



posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 12:29 AM
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Greetings,


So Jesus is mentioned in the beginning of the letter.


Hello?

In 4:2 Paul mentions Jesus in passing

In 4:9 Paul attributes "Love Thy Neighbour" to GOD - not Jesus.

My claim is that
Paul does NOT attribute the saying to Jesus.

What we see in the NT is :
* he does not mention Jesus in 4:9 at all.
* earlier Paul does mention Jesus in passing - not to attribute any saying.

You lifted one tiny phrase from my work and pretended I claimed :
"Paul does not mention Jesus"

When what I actually claimed was :
"Paul does not (attribute the saying to, let alone) mention Jesus"

Do you really not grasp this?

Do you really argue that Paul DOES attribute "love the neighbour" to Jesus?


Iasion


[edit on 15-6-2005 by Iasion]



posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 02:39 AM
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Greetings darkelf,

Thanks for your kind words :-)


Paul (Saul of Tarsus) was a Jew who persecuted Christians. He received Christ as his Savior after the crucifixion. We have no indication if he knew Jesus while He was alive.


I don't agree.
We know quite clearly that Paul never knew Jesus when he was alive.

Jesus aegedly died in about 33CE.
Paul didn't get involved until years later.



There were many letters written to different churches.


Indeed there were.

But the 1st century letters show no knowldege of the Gospels or a historical Jesus.

Then in early 2nd century we see a few themes appear.

In early-mid 2nd century the Gospels arise.

Most of the 2nd century is filled with arguing whether Jesus was really a physical being.

Some Christians didn't even believe in a Jesus at all.

Indeed one Christian writer specifically claims that Christians did NOT believe in a crucifixion or an incarnation of God at all - Minucius Felix.

But finally in late 2nd century the literalists win the battle and destroy their oponents books, and many of the oponents as well.




Paul usually started each saying that he was a servant of Jesus Christ. He also stated many times that these were the teachings of Christ and not Paul. He also uses God and Jesus interchangeably to promote the divinity of Christ.


So?
Many a Jew might call themselves a servant of Jahveh - does that prove Jahveh existed?

The uses of God and Jesus interchaneably proves my point - Paul sees Jesus as a divine being, who lives with God in the higher worlds. All of Paul's descriptions of Jesus are in spiritual and religious terms - to Paul, Jesus is a spiritual being who is contacted in visions.

No-where in Paul's writing do we catch any glimpse of a HISTORICAL Jesus 0
* no dates,
* no places,
* no names - no Mary or Joseph or Herod or Pilate etc..

NOT the slightest hint of an actual historical person, even when we expect it.

Seriously mate,
I ask that you READ Earl Doherty's site, and then we can discuss these issues, ok?

smadewell gave up after the TITLE of the FIRST section - what a laugh :-)

Can you do better?

Is anyone here even prepared to TRY and read Earl Doherty's site and attempt a rebuttal?
www.jesuspuzzle.org...

Anyone?




We know that he knew Peter.


How?
What evidence for Peter's existence can you adduce?



It appears to me that the teachers' priority was to teach the Word of Christ and not His history.


You are merely restating the issue.
The problem is WHY?
Why does he ignore any mention of a historical founder when preaching the new religion?
They preach on and on about a spiritual being - the Risen Christ.
They totally fail to mention, even when expected, any historical Jesus of Nazareth.



That came about at a later time.


Yes it did.
One of the clear signs of a legend - it GROWS over time, without there being any historical core.



Of the four Gospels, only two were written by the original disciples.


Modern Scholars largely agree that NONE of the NT documents were written by anyone who met any Jesus.

If YOU claim two were, then produce your evidence.

But please -
no lists of believer's opinions.

I mean evidence from the ancient sources.




This tells me that the history of Christ was well known.


So?
The story of the Trojan War is well known.
Harry Potter is well known.
Lord of the Rings is well known.

What do you think tghis has to do with being true?



So I understand that you are saying that all of the many references Paul gives to the death, burial and resurrection of Christ are only allegorical. How did you come to this understanding?


No, not allegorical.

Spiritual.
Happening on a higher plane.

Because thats what he says - he talks about higher planes and higher beings and all sort of spiritual and religious mumbo jumbo.

Explain to me why YOU think Paul's references are to anything historical?

I mean, from what Paul SAYS,
not what later believers say he MEANS.

There is
no dates,
no places,
no names
nothing solid or historical at ALL.


Iasion



posted on Jun, 15 2005 @ 09:46 PM
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Greetings,

Readers may be interested in this essay by Diogenes the Cynic from Internet Infidels.

The Gospels are not eyewitness accounts

by Diogenes the Cynic (from Internet Infidels)
www.iidb.org...


Only two of the canonical Gospels, Matthew and John, are alleged by tradition to have been written by eywitnesses but I'm going to address Mark and Luke as well because I feel like wrecking those authorship traditions just to be thorough.


First of all, I should say that none of the four canonical Gospels names its own author, none of them claim to be eywitness accounts or even to have spoken to eyewitness of Jesus. All are written in the third person and none of the authors tell us anything about themselves. All of the traditional ascriptions of authorship come from 2nd century tradition.


G.Mark

The first gospel written is Mark. Mark is not by tradition an eyewitness account but 2nd century tradition casts him as a secretary of the Apostle Peter who haphazardly wrote down everything Peter said in no particular order.

The basis for this tradition stems from a single claim by Papias who said (c. 130 CE) that he got the information from John the Presbyter (not to be confused with John the Apostle). That's it. That's the entire case for Mark as a secretary of Peter.

Now let's examine the credibility of this claim.

First, Mark does not say that he knew Peter, talked to Peter, ever met Peter or got any information from any eyewitness.

Secondly, the author is extremely hostile to Peter. Mark is a decidedly Pauline, anti-Jewish and anti-Petrine diatribe. Mark is very hostile to the apostles in general and to Peter in particular. He takes every opportunity to depict the apostles as being dense and not getting Jesus' true message (reflecting the tension between Pauline communities and the Jerusalem cult in the last half of the first century). More to the point (and this is important) Mark does not give Peter any redemption after his betrayal. Mark does not grant Peter and appearance from Jesus. Mark's Peter denies Jesus, runs away and that's it. Now why would a Petrine memoir not include a Petrine witness of the resurrection? Wouldn't that be the most important part? How does it make any sense to exclude it?

Thirdly, the book is quote obviously a literary construction and is manifestly not a transcription of oral anecdotes. The literary structure of Mark, both in its chiastic forms and its use of the Hebrew Bible as a allusory template or "hypertext" preclude the possibility of transcribed oral tradition. GMark is a carefully constructed literary work.

It should also be mentioned that Mark is a Greek composition which shows no signs of translation from Aramaic, the language of Peter and the language he would have dictated his memoirs in.

Fourth, Mark makes a number of errors regarding Palestininan geography and Jewish laws and customs which show that his information could not have been collected from a Palestinian Jew. Mark's passion, in particular, is so riddled with factual. historical and legal inaccuracies that it cannot be historical and cannot have come from an eyewitness. (I will address the specific errors in the section devoted to that subject)

Fifth, the book could not have been written during the lifetime of Peter. Mark knows about the destruction of the Temple which means that Peter was dead (at least by Christian tradition) when the book was written.

To summarize, the canonical Gospel of Mark is an anonymous book written outside of Palestine in a Gentile language to a Gentile audience sometime during or after the Jewish-Roman War. The author is hostile to Jews and to the apostles. He does not know Jewish laws or customs. He does not know the geography of Palestine. He does not like Peter. He never makes any claim to have known Peter or to have ever been to Palestine.

In 130 CE some guy said he heard from another guy that the author was a secretary of Peter's.


G.Matthew

Let's move on to Matthew. The Gospel of Matthew, by tradition, is attributed to the apostle of that name. Like Mark, this authorship tradition stems from Papias (it was also claimed by Irenaeus but he was probably parroting Papias). Papias clamed that, "Matthew composed the sayings [of Jesus] in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could." In Adv. Haer. 3.1.1.

If such a Logia ever existed, it is not Canonical Matthew. GMatt is not a sayings gospel for one thing and was not written in Hebrew for another. Furthermore, GMatt is largely dependent on Mark and (most probably)another written sayings tradition (in Greek, not Hebrew) called Q. Matt's dependence on Mark also puts its date somewhere around 80 CE (if not later) which is pushing the envelope for the plausibility of the author being a contemporary of Jesus. It's not impossible, of course, but this is an era when people generally didn't live much past forty or fifty years of age.

The bigger obstacle for apostolic authorship is that fact that Matthew copies so extensively from secondary sources. An eyewitness should not be expected to copy verbatim from a non-eyewitness.

There is also the fact that GMatt contains some of the more demonstrable fictions and signs of OT cannibalism but more on those aspects in their proper sections.

It also bears repeating that the author Matthew never claims to have been an apostle or a witness, never states his name and never claims to have known any other witnesses.

To sum up for Matthew:

Papias claims that an apostle named Matthew compiled a sayings Gospel in Hebrew.

The Canonical Gospel of Matthew is written in literary Greek and is not a sayings gospel. The author never claims to have been an apostle or an eyewitness. It relies heavily on secondary Greek sources as well as the Septuagint. Once again, an eyewitness would not rely on the accounts of non-witnesses to recount events that he had supposedly seen for himself. It was written at least 50 years after the alleged crucifixion. The author includes demonstrable fictions which can clearly be shown to have been derived from the Septuagint.

Papias' Logia, if it existed, has never been found.



G.Luke

The traditional author of Luke-Acts is supposedly a physician and travelling companion of Paul named Luke. Neither Luke nor Paul is a witness of Jesus even by tradition so I suppose I could stop right there but I think I'll take the time to point out that even the tradition which does exist is dubious. First of all, the author of Luke-Acts never claims to have known Paul. The earliest known claim for this tradition comes from Irenaeus in the late 2nd century who probably based his conclusion on the "we passages" from Acts as well as a stray mention of someone named Luke in Philemon (the name turns up in a couple of the non-authentic Pauline letters as well but the authentic corpus onle mentions the name once in passing).

There is no reason whatever to suppose that the Luke mentioned by Paul has aything to do with either GLuke or Acts.

The "we" passages in Acts are those passages during which the narrative voice changes from third person to first person plural. This is the source of the supposition that the author of Luke-Acts was a companion of Paul's but Vernon Robbins has shown that this was merely a Greek literary device for describing sea voyages.

Furthermore, Luke knew Josephus, which puts that gospel into the mid 90's CE at a bare minimum and probably later. This means that Paul had been dead 30 years before Luke-Acts was written. It is highly unlikely, then, that the book was written by a companion of Paul and there is absolutely no reason to connect the "Luke" who is so casually mentioned by Paul in one letter to the composition of Luke-Acts.

Furthermore, Luke is dependent on both Mark and Q which (contrary to some Christian folklore) means that Luke had no access to first hand accounts from other witneses.

There are also historical inaccuracies in Luke as well as contradictions with other Gospels which I will get to in time.

So, to sum up Luke, it is an anonymous gospel whose author makes no claim to first hand knowledge and no claim to knowledge even of Paul. It was written more than a half century after the crucifixion, is dependent on secondary sources and contains numerous historical errors and contradictions with the other gospels.

The fable of a physician named Luke who travelled with Paul comes from a claim made 150 years after the crucifixion and is corroborated by nothing in the text itself.


G.John

By tradition, the GJohn is written by the apostle of that name and is also identified as the mysterious "Beloved Disciple" mentioned within the text. This tradition, like Luke, stems from a late 2nd century claim by Irenaeus (who is known to have confused John the Apostle with another John, called 'the Presbyter" and may have been doing so again).

As with the other canonical Gospels, the author of GJohn does not identify himself or claim to be a witness (The seeming self-identification in 21:24 is a later redaction to the book, not part of the orginal manuscript and did not name the author "John" in any case. It is also not really a first person singular assertion, ("I wrote this") but a first person plural avowel that "we know" these were the words of a disciple (without naming the disciple).

Looking at the text of GJohn, we can see that any claim to the book as an eyewitness account does not hold water. First of all there is the very late date (c. 100 CE if not later) which puts it at the absolute edge of any plausible lifespan for a contemporary of Jesus. It also shows a heavy Hellenistic influence, both in its literary style and its theology. How does an illiterate Palestinian fisherman suddenly become proficient in stylized literary Greek and become aware of Alexandrian Jewish-Greek concepts like the Logos?

GJohn is also arguably the most anti-Jewish work. It goes beyond being just a polemic against the Pharisees or the priests and becomes a full on indictment of all Jewish people. Kind of weird since the author (like Jesus) was allegedly a Jew.

GJohn contains some of the longest, most otherwordly and most implausible speeches for Jesus. The length of the discourses in itself mitigates against their historicity simply by virtue of the implausibilty of those speeches surviving verbatim for 70 or more years in the memory of this fisherman (and nowhere else. These discourses are found nowhere else in early Christian literature). They do not have the short and sweet anecdotal quality of the Q pericopes which are easy to remember and transmit through oral tradition.

GJohn also shows layered authorship. It is not the contiguous work of a single author but the result of multiple redactions by multiple hands.

What is really the nail in the coffin, though, is that GJohn anachronistically retrojects the expulsion of Christians from Jewish synagogues (an event which occurred c. 85-95 CE) to within the life of Jesus. An eyewitness could not have made this mistake.

To sum up for John, it is an early 2nd century book which is heavily Hellenistic in its language and theology. It is markedly anti-Jewish, it contains speeches for Jesus which are not only incompatible with the character of Jesus as he is presented in the synoptics (not to mention that it simply strains all credulity that a 1st century Jewish audience would tolerate a guy claiming he was God) but simply cannot be credibly defended as authentic transcriptions of speeches remembered verbatim for 70 years by an illiterate Palestinian fisherman (and by nobody else) and then translated into Greek by that same fisherman. It contains contradictions with the synoptics which I will get to in time. It shows muliple hands of authorship and it contains an anachronism so glaring that it is a fatal blow to any consideration of eyewitness testimony.

Its traditional authorship stems from a single unreliable claim by Irenaeus (a guy who couldn't keep his "Johns" straight) around 180 CE.

[end essay]

Iasion






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