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Is the New Testament Accurate and Reliable? Archaeology?

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posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 03:30 AM
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Hi Neoamadeus,


Originally posted by NEOAMADEUS
I’m surprised you would even mention Suetonius’ vague citation of “Chrestus” into your discussion of the “historical Jesus” in view of the fact that the Suetonius’ citation, (CLAUDIUS 25.1-5) is clearly a poor (and hopelessly vague) example to use as any kind of solid proof to bolster the existence of “Jesus of Nazareth” from “the ancient sources” as you like to say.


I don't think that I discussed the 'historical Jesus', actually. I was talking about sources for all first century history, not for Jesus and the Christians. Cassius Dio, if I recall correctly, did not mention either.

The passage in Suetonius to which you refer is what I think of as half-evidence. On the one hand, there is nothing here which is definitely Christ. On the other hand, we can document no other person of that name who is causing ructions in the Jewish community in Rome at that period, so inventing one in order to remove the ascription to Jesus violates various principles of scholarship (no unnecessary entities to be invented) and common sense.

That dichotomy can't be resolved without further evidence, in my amateur opinion.

No sensible person doubts that there was indeed such a person as Jesus of Nazareth, tho. Is not every ideological movement founded by a man with a beard on a soapbox saying "follow me"? Some other theory would require some very positive evidence, and there isn't any.



At any rate, the term “Christos” (Heb. Meshiaq, “anointed one”) was a title, not a proper name of any one individual in history


You're right about the origins of the word, but I don't think this next statement is borne out by a look at the ancient literature. Is there any passage in any first century text or later where Christos or Chrestus is used to mean anyone else? (I don't think so, but perhaps someone else knows different).

The only example I can think of is in the Chronicle of Eusebius/Jerome (4th century) where the high priests are called earlier 'christs' (i.e. annointed) in his discussion of Christ. The Chronicle is online here. (Sorry the link is to the index page, not specific).

All the best,

Roger Pearse




posted on Sep, 13 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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Hi Roger:

Briefly, of course, you can see that the Greek LXX denotes Cyrus the Persian as "ho Christos mou" in Isaiah 45:1 (from around BC 540, e.g. Behold, "Cyrus My Christ") , to cite just one small example of the generic use of a non Jesian "Christos" in the canonical OT. In the Hebew scriptures, prophets, priests and kings were all in some way "christs" because all were "annointed by YHWH", so the term is looser than most people realise...

Also if you'll recall, Shimeon bar-Koseva was also called "ho Christos" (i.e. "The Christ/The Messiah") among his many other Daviddic-Messianic pretender titles (e.g. bar-Kokhba, ="son of the Star" = Heb. Kokhav-- see the Messianic verse in Numbers 24:7 ("A Star shall emerge out of Jacob, a Sceptre shall rise from Israel...")

Shimeon "Bar Kokhba" was like "Jesus" a Daviddic Messiah figure who was known as an insurrectionist/armed-seditionist who similarly rioted against authority and preached the restoration of the Daviddic Kingdom in accordance with some kind of sacred timetable (i.e. at the 200th anniversary of Pompey's Invasion of Palestine in BC 63) --you'll recall that he appeared in the 2nd Jewish Revolt (134-137) around AD 134-136, during the100 years following the other Jewish Insurrection led by R. Yehoshua on the hill (which led to his arrest in AD 36 at Passover).

Thus the Iesous in the gospels and the appearance of Shimeon bar-Kokhba are exactly 100 years apart, and each on a 100 year anniversary of the Invasion of Pompey into Jerusalem in BC 63 (which was itself 100 years from the Macabbean Revolt in BC 163).

The timetable BC 163 (Maccabbean liberation of Palestine from Syrian Greeks), BC 63 (Roman invasion of Jerusalem by Pompey), AD 36 (Insurrections of R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean/Jesus and Jesus Bar-Abbas), AD 136 the Insurrection of Shimeon Bar Kokhba---all in 100 year intervals from the time of the Maccabbees when Judaea regained autonomy from foreign domination (at least on paper!)

Interestingly Shimeon "Bar Kokhba" also held the title of Messianic Nasi (or Nazir, the "Branch" i.e. of David.) We see the term bandied about in the dead sea scroll corpus, which is full of Messianic hope (especially in texts copied between BC 60 and AD 68, e.g. 4Q521 etc.).

The term "Nazir" was apparently the same Messianic title applied to Iesous and used disparagingly in the 4th gospel in a speech placed into the mouth of Pilate when taunting R. Yehoshua in the passion narrative scene of addressing the mob at Passover

see John 19:5 Behold the Man ! (the phrase was apparently linked to Zechariah 6:9ff ref: the re-building of the Temple and the restoration of the Daviddic monarchy/kingdom--in breach of Lex Maiestatis which carried the death penalty under Tiberius' watchful eye)

see: Zechariah 6:9

“BEHOLD THE MAN whose name is The Branch (ha Nazir) : he shall grow up away fromn his place; but he shall build the temple of YHWH; yea, he alone shall build the temple of YHWH; and he shall bear the Glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and there shall be a priest also upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (6:12-13).

(and the Messianic title Nasi/Nazir (=branch of David) also seems to have been incorporated into the TITULUS on the Cross, e.g. This is Iesous the Nazir, the King of the Judaeans)

Thus the title "Nazir" was applied both to Iesous in the gospels and Shimeon bar Kokhba in the 2nd Jewish Revolt against Rome, both called Christs and both associated with armed rebellion against the Roman maiestatis (100 years apart!) , for which cause they were put to death by Rome.

Interestingly Matthew's Gospel (Matt 27:16, Caesarian family of MSS) uses "Iesous bar-Abbas" (Jesus son of the Father) as another Messianic insurrectionist arrested for riotous armed sedition against Rome in AD 36 at the same time as R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galileabn ("Bar Abbas was arrested for sedition and rapine DURING THE INSURRECTION" as Mark 15:7 states) who likewise, as the gospels state, caused something close to a riotous act in the temple (the socalled Temple Tantrum, where whips and chords seem to have been used to knock over tables and interrupt sacrifices during a Feast) probably around the time of the feast of Tabernacles (the general time of year for the Coronation of Daviddic kings).

This is just to show that R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean ("Jesus" and the problematic description "of Nazareth" by later writers) was not alone or unique in the titles associated with him by his Messianic followers (e.g. Christos, Nazir, etc.) and his messianic proclamation of a restored Jewish Kingdom, (yet another "Good News" movement which placed he and his followers in direct conflict with Rome), and this Chrestos of Suetonius could have refered to a variety of riotous/insurrectionist acts of any Daviddic pretender with a Messianic message c. AD 49/50 in the city of Rome, which resulted in the Jews (or Messianic minded Jewish-Christians who to a Roman were essentially the same thing) being expelled from the city under Claudius.



posted on Sep, 14 2005 @ 02:35 AM
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Originally posted by NEOAMADEUS
Briefly, of course, you can see that the Greek LXX ...


The existence of the word, tho, does not indicate use in the literature of the first century in Rome to indicate a definite person.



Also if you'll recall, Shimeon bar-Koseva was also called "ho Christos"


I know this gets said, but I don't know what the source for this statement is. Any idea?



This is just to show that R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean ... was not alone or unique in the titles associated with him by his Messianic followers ..., and this Chrestos of Suetonius could have refered to a variety of riotous/insurrectionist acts of any Daviddic pretender with a Messianic message c. AD 49/50 in the city of Rome


I don't think this follows from the evidence above, tho. There is no concrete evidence of anyone else being denoted by this name in literature, as far as I know, and your notes did not identify one.

No doubt it is true that various people in the final stages of the Jewish state claimed messianic status -- although documenting this is another thing --; but is this really relevant to a mention in a Roman text? Who else did the Romans called 'Christus'?

It's a very narrow point, but a critical one, I think.

All the best,

Roger Pearse



posted on Sep, 15 2005 @ 09:20 AM
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Hi Roger:

Ref: my statement:

NEOAMADEUS: "Also if you’ll recall, Shimeon bar Koseva was also called “ho Christos”…”

ROGER PEARSE: "I know this gets said, but I don't know what the source for this statement is. Any idea? "

NEOAMADEUS:

[cf: Matt 24:5

"For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the "Christ" and shall deceive the Many..."

cf: Matt 24:24

"For there shall arise in that day many false "Christs", and false prophets, which shall show forth great signs and wonders in order that they may lead astray the Many and attempt to deceive the Elect Ones ["as if that were possible"].

see also Luke 17:23 etc.

Actually, we might be splitting hairs here, but to answer your question, I was thinking of Shimeon Bar-Kokhba who was regarded as "Ho Christos (=Basileios ho Christos, "King Messiah", or Melekh-Meshiach) by none other than the great Rabbi Akiva (c. AD 55 to c. AD 135-- R. Akiva and many of his leading his followers spoke/wrote Greek as well as Hebrew-Aramaic like most of the generation following Rabban Gamaliel, see Sotah 49b in the BabTalmud) a cause for which he gave his life-- as you know he was killed during the 2nd Failed Jewish Messianic Revolt against Rome.

But R. Akiva's positive identification of Bar Kokhba with "King Messiah" (after witnessing the ballast miracle) was widely criticised by many of his contemporary Jews, many of whom were getting tired of so many Christs appearing and failing to overthrow the Romans and promising to introduce the restored Daviddic Kingdom of God..."in the last days..."

(see: Lamentations Rabba for a taste of this identification with a non-Jesian Messiah-Christ in the BabTalmud)

Akiva’s post Jewish Failed 1st Revolt generation era Jews (i.e. roughly around the time of Suetonius writing about "Chrestus" in c. AD 120) were certainly conversant with the title “Christos” in Greek---which for most of them meant “King Messiah” (i.e. a political figure) who was some day going to appear and “really overthrow” the Roman yoke, this time once and for all---curiously the messianic hope did not die after AD 66-72 but again reared its ugly head c. 134-136 AD on the 200th anniversary of Pompey’s Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem in BC 63.

As we have seen, Jews living in the Diaspora (i.e. outside Palestine) since the time of Alexander the Great (c. 331 BC) in fact began to lose their desire to communicate in Hebrew/Aramaic in everyday speech and certainly by 250 BC began to adopt koine Greek (the lingua franca of the larger Hellenistic world) as their main language--which was one of the main reasons for the emergence of the Greek Septuaginta LXX translation of the Torah and other Hebrew writings being produced (BC 250 to BC 100) ---i.e. for weekly use in Greek speaking Jewish synagogues throughout the Roman empire so that the Diaspora Jews could listen to their scriptures being read in the diaspora synagogues--since they could no longer understand the texts in Hebrew.

I suppose we could also mention Philo of Alexandria, a contemporary Greek speaking diaspora Jew of the time of the Suetonius’ “Chrestus-riot” in Rome (AD 49/50) and the expulsion of the Jews immediately afterwards, as does Saul of Tarsus in Cilicia (another contemporary of the "Chrestus Riot") whose writings are of course preserved in koine Greek in the NTl---both of these “Diaspora Jews” referring to a future "Messiah" figure of Israel in Greek terms, e.g. “Ho Christos” or "Basileius ho Christos," King Messiah etc.).

Also a good deal of the Dead sea scroll correspondence (especially the Bar Kokhba correspondence written during the 2nd Revolt) was written in Greek (i.e. fragments of the later non Qumran-caves type material) such as those found at Wadi Muraba'at etc where the term "Christos" (=Christ) was used (as with the LXX) for "Meshiach/Messiah"...

R. Yehudah HaNasi, (R. “Rabbi Judah the Prince”) another “royal” Daviddic leader active under the post 2nd Revolt Roman occupation around AD 170, having been born according to legend on the day that R. Akiva died during the 2nd Revolt was also fluent in Greek which helped him communicate with the Roman authorities.

He even encouraged the few remaining Jewish families still resident in the Galilee after the two humiliatingly failed coup attempts (1st failed Revolt=AD 66-72 and the 2nd Failed Revolt =AD 134-136) that no longer spoke Hebrew or Aramaic should consider Greek as the official language of the country…

So the term "Christos" seems to have ben a widely understood Messianic concept among 1st and 2nd century AD Jews especially in the Diaspora---and one which would have understood by Jewish Messianic groups rioting in Rome as well.

So we are certainly not surprised to hear that Greek terms such as "Christos" or "Chrestos" etc. were being bandied about in connexion with Diaspora Messianic Jews even in Rome...

Since Suetonius (writing in c. 120 AD---some 80 years after the event being described) stated that (presumably Greek speaking) Jews were rioting in Rome c. AD 49/50 at the instigation of “Chrestus”---the question of the day is... whether (in fact) he meant “Christos”, the Greek for “Messiah” ---or not.

But it does seem (from the context in the Latin text) that he is assuming that this "Chrestus" figure, whoever he meant, was STILL LIVING AND BREATHING during the time of Claudius, and able to lead riots among the Jews in Rome ("at the instigation of Chrestus") and not necesarily referring to a specific dead/failed Daviddic Messiah figure of the past (e.g. R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean aka, "Jesus of Nazareth" who was executed by crucifixion as a seditionist in c. AD 36 during the reign of Tiberius some 15 years earlier.).

It all goes back to the frequent use of "Christos" as a generic title for the Messiah figure in antiquity which could be applied to more than one person---and not a specific proper name of a single exact individual, especially in the 1st & 2nd centuries AD during the Roman occpation of Judaea (especially outside of the more narrowly focussed Jesian church circles)----which is news to most modern "Christians" today who have a tendency to regard the term "Christ" as ALWAYS referring to a single historical individual (R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean, c. BC 12 to c. AD 36, aka "Jesus")...

There are many other examples of non Jesian Messiah/Christ figures in antiquity , but these should be enough to get the point across that Suetonius' "Chrestus" does not necessarily mean what we mean today by "Jesus" ....

Clear as mud?





[edit on 15-9-2005 by NEOAMADEUS]



posted on Jul, 7 2007 @ 07:51 PM
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I have been doing some reading and now understand better that even though the New Testament predates the Koran by 600+ years, it can be shown to be supported better than the Koran can by manuscriptual evidence. This is a fascinating subject and the more one looks into it, the more we can understand today's predicament.

One big one,,

The Koran says that Christians believe in 3 gods, the Father, the Son, and the 'Mother'. This was a Gnostic belief and I do believe that Muhammad got most of his information about Christianity from a Gnostic perspective.

He didn't even understand the concept of the Trinity. If the Koran was passed to him from Gabriel, then surely Gabriel knew right?




Paul Meets Muhammad: A Christian-Muslim Debate on the Resurrection

From the reviews,


Although the material will be freshest for readers who are not familiar with the evidence for the resurrection, for those who are Licona takes an unusual approach that presents much of this material in a fresh way. Typically, Muslims point to perceived flaws in the gospel accounts to bolster their case against the resurrection. In this debate, however, Licona chose to base the strength of the Christian argument on evidence outside the gospels. Rather than appearing to sidestep potential problem areas, "Paul" seeks to show that the Christian position is not dependent upon the gospel accounts and stands as firm without them. It is an interesting approach that changes the debate from many perspectives and is well worth reading.


This was a truly great book and in it Paul does not use the Gospels or the New Testament to make his argument. One things also is the book does give the Islamic perspective a great showing. It was fair to both. What a great read it was! I highly recommend it.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 01:23 AM
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Originally posted by slank
.
Let's suppose that everything reported in the Bible, miracles and all, are true accounts.

That still doesn't necessarily mean that either the ancient or modern interpretations of what it meant are true.

When someone tells me They and they alone have the correct understanding/interpretation of all the biblical events and what they mean, as opposed to the 300 other current strains of interpretation all of which are mutually hostile, I don't believe them.
.


I like what slank had to say.

These are my feelings when dealing with both Religion and Science. Especially when I see Evolutionists dueling it out with Creationists.

The truth is, I am a Christian. But, that, by no means, means that I think I know the answers, or I have figured anything out.

If my God does exist, I can't imagine ANY of us having a clear understanding of how He thinks, what He has done, or why. That is why FAITH is so important. Our religions are just guides.

Then we have our Science. To actually believe that we have THE answers to so many big questions is just CRAZY! We are infants in the scheme of things. Only just introduced to the sciences in the last 5,000 years.

Views of Science and Religion are ALWAYS changing! It's best to just observe the Guides and enjoy the Rides.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 10:07 AM
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i'd like to say this: the new testament isn't accurate or reliable because the first four books contradict each other on certain points. that's fairly obvious. jesus has 4 sets of last words, the blame for who kills him shifts around from romans to jews and back, and parts of certain books are blatantly plageurized from the others.

any collection of books that has 3 ways that one man dies isn't very reliable... especially when you think of how much they've been changed around, read misquoting jesus for more info on that.

speaking of jesus, they still can't verify his existence with a contemporary account... but they can verify the existence of appolonius, another man that claimed to be the jewish messiah.



posted on Jul, 8 2007 @ 10:27 AM
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Ah you haven't read the book. It confronts that exact argument, especially about the differences between the 4 Gospels. It is not the contradiction that you want to believe and actually makes sense.



posted on Jul, 9 2007 @ 06:32 AM
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I would just like to say that the proof of the existence of Jericho as a fortified, occupied city at the time of Joshua is far from conclusive. In fact, it seems that:


According to Kathleen Kenyon, this city was destroyed (along with many others in the country) when the Egyptians established control in Canaan after driving out the Hyksos -- an event usually dated to 1550 BC, long before the time of Joshua. She finds no city at Jericho again until the 11th century, well after the time of Joshua.


In 1990 Bryant G. Wood took another look at her findings and concluded that he had found evidence that the site was occupied right through the Late Bronze Age (Joshua was supposed to have attacked Jericho sometime around 1200BC) and Iron Age.

His arguments are refuted pretty convincingly here:
www.netours.com...
Please read the article before commenting.



posted on Jul, 11 2007 @ 03:27 AM
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Well it would seem what and who you want to believe....

JERICHO Part IV - The Archaeology

JERICHO Part V - The Archaeology (b)

JERICHO Part VI - The Update

But you will not read it.....



posted on Jul, 11 2007 @ 09:36 AM
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Originally posted by edsinger
Ah you haven't read the book. It confronts that exact argument, especially about the differences between the 4 Gospels. It is not the contradiction that you want to believe and actually makes sense.


i've read the bible, if the book needs an external source, written over 1000 years later, to support it... maybe it ain't so holy after all.

now, let's see... i've read the bible, you probably haven't even touched a copy of a book written in support of atheism. you've probably never read a book critical of the bible either.

so tell me, how does it make sense that jesus had 4 seperate sets of last words?

[edit on 7/11/07 by madnessinmysoul]



posted on Jul, 11 2007 @ 04:46 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
i've read the bible, if the book needs an external source, written over 1000 years later, to support it... maybe it ain't so holy after all.


Not at all, its not an external source no more than a commentary would be.



Originally posted by madnessinmysoulnow, let's see... i've read the bible, you probably haven't even touched a copy of a book written in support of atheism. you've probably never read a book critical of the bible either.


Well not as many as you for sure but why need I, I have this place to get all the dirt I need. Plus I attended a secular university, and I never backed down even while in a SETI & Anthropology class over 20 years ago!



Originally posted by madnessinmysoulso tell me, how does it make sense that jesus had 4 seperate sets of last words?



What? Your kidding right? You really think that is how it was supposed to end up? Why have 4 then? It is the story that was being told 20-50 years after the Resurrection, sometimes I really wonder about the Christian haters and their logic, of their motivation I have no doubt. Even the Biblical Archaeological Review wouldn't suggest something like that and I think it is secular for the most part.

[edit on 11-7-2007 by edsinger]



posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 07:29 AM
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edsinger, your entire reason to seek out validity of the bible is messed up. you have a conclusion and are trying to get evidence to support it.
hypothesis, evidence, conclusion.
you subvert this process with your "quest for the truth"
were i to provide you with evidence that the bible was 100% inaccurate you'd ignore it because of your FAITH. you're not here to find the truth, you're here to selectively choose evidence to support your beliefs. i'm here to just find out what's true.

you've said it yourself, you've already concluded that the bible is the word of god.



posted on Jul, 12 2007 @ 07:37 AM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul


you've said it yourself, you've already concluded that the bible is the word of god.


Couldn't disagree with that statement, but the thing is the more I research it, the stronger my faith gets. I am an engineer by trade, I am paid to examine and think.

What bothers me is all those that look for answers and do not even consider nonsecular evidence, and they don't for the same reasons I feel the way I do. You want to disprove God in your own mind to justify your 'non-belief in your Creator'. ALL HUMANS KNOW, they just choose to justify their denial in other ways. I am convinced of that.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 12:33 AM
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Uhmmm... back to the topic.

If you look at the tablet, you see that it doesn't actually say much. It turns out that it's a receipt for a payment in gold to a temple from someone mentioned in the Bible.

That hardly "proves" the Bible, but it does confirm (as we've known all along) that there are people and places mentioned in the Bible that are real. No one disputes the existance of Herod, for instance.

So (as someone pointed out) the story title is AWFULLY misleading... or the writer is strongly Christian and has had recent encounters with nonchristians and believes this object will prove the Bible and force them to join his particularl branch of Christianity.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 06:21 AM
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question: why did joseph have to go to bethleham for a ROMAN census? even according to jewish law that would have made no sense...

and ed, have you ever looked into herod and his year of death versus the time period in which he's depicted in the bible? just look into it, they don't quite match up...

my point is that you're being incredibly selective about the evidence you're looking at. the way you see it, the bible is more and more accurate the more you look into it... but just look into it the right way and the bible is fairly historically inaccurate. sure, it may contain a few real people and real places, but that doesn't speak anything to the events that occur according to the way the bible portrays it ...

just look at the exodus, jews weren't even monotheistic until after they were exposed to the religon of egypt when they fled... the one centered around the first monotheistic deity, aten.... but that's the OT, not the NT

[edit on 7/13/07 by madnessinmysoul]



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 07:53 AM
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Look I agree that the title was a bit misleading, but the fact remains that this 2000 year plus old book that many say is nothing but fable was again showed to be an accurate historical book.

The issue is, if only the historical portions are used to form opinions and accepted as being faithfully transmitted, and the spiritual portions are left out, then basically its cherry picking.

Its either accurate or its not.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 08:09 AM
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Originally posted by edsinger

One of the most important Romans historians is Tacitus. In 115 A.D. he recorded Nero's persecution of the Christians, in the process of which he wrote the following:

Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, . . . but even in Rome.[3]





*clears throat*

Christ is NOT a name. It is a title. There are many Christs in history. Jesus Christ is a prophet named in the King James Bible. Get your stuff together guys. I'm sick of reading baloney... (Yes I misspelled that on purpose)



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 08:26 AM
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Originally posted by phoenixhasrisin
i iguess at this point it would be prudent to ask you if you seperate the sun (jesus) from the father (god)


Great slip in this sentence. Can anyone see it?
Check out this video. Lots of information regarding Jesus as an allegorical reference to worship of the Sun.


Google Video Link


There is also a great thread discussing it. I have to say that some of the things in this video require some research, as I think he includes some details that are misconstrued. BUT, it is compelling nonetheless.



posted on Jul, 13 2007 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by edsinger
Look I agree that the title was a bit misleading, but the fact remains that this 2000 year plus old book that many say is nothing but fable was again showed to be an accurate historical book.


no, it's shown to have A historical accuracy. that doesn't mean it's historically accurate. the adventures of huck finn is historically accurate, but that doesn't mean huck finn helped a slave named jim escape.



The issue is, if only the historical portions are used to form opinions and accepted as being faithfully transmitted, and the spiritual portions are left out, then basically its cherry picking.

Its either accurate or its not.


that's moronic. the book was written by dozens of people.

no book is either accurate or not, things IN a book are either accurate or not, but not the whole thing. you're creating a false scenario here.




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