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Does Jesus exist?

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posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 01:07 PM
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This is just a simple question. Don't bite my heid off please. I am agonistic for my own reasons. It is just a question, and I do not want to offend anyone. Is there any evidence of his existence or is it all a question of faith so to speak?

DISCUSS!




posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 01:13 PM
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I would say that one who needs proof is one that does not have faith.

The whole point is having faith in Jesus' existence.

Does that make sense?

Peace



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 01:23 PM
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There is indeed I believe concrete evidence of his existence. The Jews, the Romans, and the Muslims all acknowledge his existence. There are many Roman and Jewish documents proving that he did exist. THe Muslims also believe that he was a prophet. Whether was he the son of God or not is a different story.

[edit on 12-12-2005 by Fingon]



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:00 PM
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jesus may have existed at one point, but the true question is about his divinity



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:03 PM
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Originally posted by MacDonagh
Is there any evidence of his existence or is it all a question of faith so to speak?

Well, if jesus didn't exist then who were the apostles talking about? And if they didn't exist then what about the early church fathers who dealt with them? Or the communities set up by them?

There's no real hard evidence that any one particular person from those times actually existed, common people anyway.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:09 PM
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Well someone/something must have made Pontus Pilote fairly agitated to have a group of people write down happenings after some dude on a cross died... and must have agitated a fair amount considering the man commited suicide.. oh and all the apostles that went to death AFTER that dude on the cross died, oh.. and they went to death defending the dead dude on the crosses words and deeds.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 04:33 PM
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shouldn't the title be "was jesus a divine figure"...



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 07:10 PM
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No, that's been addressed (and can still be addressed) on this thread: Who or What is God?



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 10:00 PM
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Originally posted by MacDonagh
Is there any evidence of his existence or is it all a question of faith so to speak?


Of course there is evidence he exists/existed, it just isn't credible.

The earliest writings we have of Jesus Christ are Paul's, and his writings make more sense with Jesus interpreted as a spiritual being represented by astronomical/astrological allegory rather than a lived-on-earth-in-the-flesh human. The NT and post NT christianity are filled with symbolism and esoteric clues that support this interpretation. Paul called Jesus the Word (Logos in greek). But this was not a new concept. It was part of esoteric tradition of the time to search for "revelations" in the scriptures, which were referred to as Logos. Paul makes it clear that it is he, Paul, who is presenting for the first time the Christ Logos/revelation. This would be totally unnecessary and even blasphemous if the revelation had already been made by someone else - such as Jesus or the disciples.

For nonChristians, you really need look no further than the obsession with fish and the Ichthus symbol and note that Christianity came into existence at the dawn of the age of Pisces to realize the entire movement was astrological and mythical in nature. Once you realize that 'jesus' translates as 'god saves', it pretty much seals the interpretation.

That being the case, if there was a historical figure of some kind that was involved in the Jesus story, he was not a big part of the myth. Personally, I suspect the Essene Teacher Of Righteousness (TOR) formed the prototype for Jesus, which certainly explains why Paul seemed to know nothing about the man Jesus even though he started writing just 20 years after the purported crucifixion (the TOR "lived" 150 BCE or so). The question then becomes, was the TOR a historical person or was that yet another myth based on an earlier prototype?

Some claim that King Tut was the prototype for the TOR, for Osiris and other ancient man-god-saviors, and for Jesus, and use the descriptions and relative dimensions of the recovered treasures compared to the description of the Jewish temple treasures to support it. Maybe..., but I'm not convinced.



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 10:54 PM
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I assume you mean proof other than the Bible.



(speaking of Nero) Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with guilt, and punished with the most exquisite tortures, the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also.
- Cornelius Tacitus (Annalas XV, 44 A.D.)





Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away this darkness as an eclipse of the sun-- unreasonably, as it seems to me.
- Julius Africanus citing Thallus' works from A.D. 52


Here Julius was referring to the well know darkness that encompassed the land when Jesus was crucified. He's arguing that the eclipse that Thallus is presenting as an explanation for the darkness could not have occurred since Jesus was crucified at a full moon (Passover) and a solar eclipse would have been impossible.

There are quite a few more evidences but I'll leave you with the most famous one. I'm suprised that no one here has mentioned it yet. I'm speaking of course of the Jewish historian Josephus who was born in 37 A.D.


Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amount us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and the thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.
- Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII)



[edit on 12-12-2005 by dbates]



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 11:43 PM
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Originally posted by dnero6911
Well someone/something must have made Pontus Pilote fairly agitated to have a group of people write down happenings after some dude on a cross died... and must have agitated a fair amount considering the man commited suicide

There are stories about what happens to pilate, one is that he is sent into exile for killing a large number of samaritan pilgrims. Another is that he move to germany, of all places, and there writes a gospel. I recall that in one variation he dies from falling off a cliff (i think), but it isn't actually known how he died.


.. oh and all the apostles that went to death AFTER that dude on the cross died

I think that this is the biggest thing really, if jesus didn't exist, putting aside the divinity matters, then the apostles would've had to not exist either, and indeed the whole known history of the spread of christianity has something of a problem. Perhaps it could've gotten started in one city, and then spread like any other religion, and then had the idea of apostles and them spreading the religion added after wards, or all at once, but that would, to say the least, be odd.


dbates
the persons commonly called Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time, broke out aga

difficult to say what is being said there tho. The author may be repeating the christian story, and also not that he calls the whole thing supperstition, he might as well be saying that christos is supperstition as much as the theology.

Intersting that josephus says 'he was the christ', being a jew he'd've known what that meant, and yet he was a 'collaborator/apologist' for the empire. Raises the question of whether or not josephus was some sort of messianic jew.
Also intersting that, in a sense, that might represent the most common elements of christianity, beyond the questions over gnostic versus revealed religion, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, dualism, etc. THis guy christ dies but rises three days later to his followers.

But again there's a problem of, are they telling a story that they have picked up from somewhere, or are they reporting on an event. Its very difficult to get information about people from those times. Consider pilate, there's only a mention in Josephuses writtings, and another jew, Philo of Alexandria, mentions him. Then its just the gospels and, in 1961, an inscription written by Pilate dedicating a temple to Tiberius. Not much, when you think about it, and thats for a governor of a rather important province at a very important time.

edit to add
and just to clarify, the mere existence of gospels isn't enough. Like I said, since I talked about pilate a bit in this book, there are the Acts of Pilate and also a modern forgery called something like the Gospel of Pilate. The existence of a gospel alone isn't enough to imply the existence of a gospel author. But, again, it would seem that you'd have to say, 'jesus and the apostles never existed' rather than jsut that 'jesus didn't exist'.

[edit on 12-12-2005 by Nygdan]



posted on Dec, 12 2005 @ 11:45 PM
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Originally posted by dbates
I assume you mean proof other than the Bible.

...
(speaking of Nero) ...- Cornelius Tacitus (Annalas XV, 44 A.D.)


You might want to doublecheck when Nero was in power and when Tacitus wrote his Annals (hint, there is no way Tacitus wrote his Annalas in 44 CE considering he wasn't even born yet and Nero was not yet in power).


Originally posted by dbates
- Julius Africanus citing Thallus' works from A.D. 52


You're off by about a hundred years this time (~160 CE), not to mention almost nothing is known of Julius Africanus.


[edit on 12-12-2005 by spamandham]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 12:01 AM
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good catch spamandham. *smacks forehead for not seeing discord in Tacitus @ 44AD *



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 12:25 AM
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Enlightenment exists if you make yourself mad enough to believe it exists.

Unfortunately for me I have bi-polar disorder, but I don't know this yet because I haven't been to the psychiatrist.

I'm going today at 10AM and I haven't slept 'well' in a month.

I don't know if I'm ever going to sleep again, I'm not tired - something is keeping me awake.

Call it truth. Call it manic depression.

Call it 1 Corinthians 13, call it James 4.

Call it anything you want. I honestly don't care.



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 02:28 AM
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Originally posted by dbates
There are quite a few more evidences but I'll leave you with the most famous one. I'm suprised that no one here has mentioned it yet. I'm speaking of course of the Jewish historian Josephus who was born in 37 A.D.


Actually this 'most famous' evidence is widely disputed by scholars--the general consensus seems to be that it was more than likely interpolated by an unnamed christian scribe along the way. Some (not all) of the early christian fathers/historians were not at all reluctant to doctor the written evidence in favor of their burgeoning new theology. Eusebius and Jerome are two proven culprits--and are also the biggest textual supporters of the questionable Testimonium Flavius.

The small camp of scholars who hold that the Testimonium (in the version you have quoted--there are several to pick from) is authentic are professed christian scholars who value it solely for what it seems to present as proof for their theology.



Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amount us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and the thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.
- Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII)


To look at it objectively, myself, I really can't credit that passage as truly written by Josephus. I have read Josephus, both Antiquities and The Wars of the Jews, and have researched what I could about Flavius Josephus, himself. The arguments against this evidence being reliable are far more sound than those that say it is trustworthy:

Josephus was born into a priestly line, namely the Hasmoneans, and also professed to be a Pharisee. He somehow was drafted to the position of Commander of the Jewish revolutionary forces in Galilee--despite his lack of inclination toward such things--and after somehow surviving a suicide pact with some of his men when hiding from the Roman General Vespasian in defeat, he ingratiated himself to Vespasian, and later his son, Titus--whose troops brought about the destruction of the temple in 70AD. Josephus was sponsored by Vespasian and lived a life of ease in Rome--and his writings of the Wars of the Jews are somewhat tainted because of this. He was considered a traitor in the seige of 70AD by his people, so also his writing is somewhat geared toward justifying his actions as well as stroking the ego of his benefactors.

Because of his personal history, a few glaring red flags can be seen in this passage of 'evidence' for Christ. First of all, to give such a glowing description of Christ is not only contrary to his background as a Jewish priest and Pharisee, it is also wouldn't be a wise addition to his manuscripts written under the wing of the Roman Legion. Secondly, it is just plain out of character--in every other account he writes concerning any sort of would-be messiah he has absolutely nothing good to say, at all. Origen also wrote twice statements that indicated that Josephus had no belief in Jesus being the Christ--I can't remember where this was written, but it seems to give the indication that not only did Josephus have no belief in Jesus, he also had little or no interest in the direction of Jesus at all. Being a priest and therefore conversant with the scriptures, he certainly wouldn't have said that the 'divine prophets' foretold of a resurrection after 3 days--they did not. Also, as a Pharisee, his beliefs would have surely tended toward reincarnation rather than physical resurrection. Josephus's interest in anything messianic was centered solely upon Vespasian--whom he declared met all the messianic criterion. Any sort of messiah that would receive capital punishment was certainly not a healthy interest for Josephus, especially in a documented fashion.
There are numerous other things, too, that I won't go into...

Josephus did, however, write about both John the Baptist and make a brief mention of James's execution as a dissident in his telling of how Ananus lost the High Priesthood:


Anitiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, 1
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent.


This passage is, for the most part, not criticized as later christian embellishments, because of several sound points similar to the type that discredit the passage in the Testimonium.

The references to John the Baptist can be found in Book 18, chapter 5 of the same work.



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 07:29 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
You might want to doublecheck when Nero was in power and when Tacitus wrote his Annals

*Rodeny Dangerfield voice* Rough crowd, rough crowd.
You're right. I must have confused the date on this one because that can't be right. I have to quite reading large books late at night. Apparently this was written after A.D. 68 but before A.D. 120 when Cornelius Tacitus died.



Originally posted by spamandham

Originally posted by dbates
- Julius Africanus citing Thallus' works from A.D. 52


You're off by about a hundred years this time (~160 CE), not to mention almost nothing is known of Julius Africanus.


Yes, Julius Africanus was from the second century, but he's citing Thallus who wrote this at about A.D. 52 thus I quoted him as "citing Thallus' works from A.D. 52". As far as saying almost nothing is know of him, that's not entirely correct. We don't have volumes of information on him, but no one disputes his existance or writings as being inaccurate. (That I know of)
Julius Africanus - Catholic Encyclopedia



[edit on 13-12-2005 by dbates]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 07:47 AM
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Originally posted by queenannie38


Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure.
- Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII)


To look at it objectively, myself, I really can't credit that passage as truly written by Josephus.


I have the book right here and that passage is in it.(Antiquities, Book 18, Ch. 3) I suppose your' suggesting that this passage was added in by someone else.

[edit on 13-12-2005 by dbates]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 09:55 AM
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I have the book, too. And it doesn't have that passage in it. Obviously not from the same publisher/source as you do....

That is part of my point in this--there is more than just one version/edition of Antiquities of the Jews available in book form--and we have no verifiable authentic source to compare and qualify one or the other. But that is not a new discovery for me; and the idea that Josephus's work, in that particular section, was a later addition is not my own--although, like I said, it is not without merit, has been proposed and investigated by actual scholars who collect, compile, and analyze these types of evidences (of which I am an only an amateur wannabe but yet I believe investigation is the better part of valor, or is that integrity...) I find no reasonable objection to their conclusions--writing style comparisons within Josephus's own works, alone, points to some inconsistencies that just can't be overlooked. We have too much of his body of work to dismiss such isolated anomalies that are not found elsewhere in his writings.

I would that Josephus' work were one I could support as 'solid' and 'tested for authenticity.' It would be a very neat and unmovable stone in the wall of proof that Jesus did exist. I believe that He did, always have. But I don't see how credibility is enhanced by questionable supporting references. It is damaging, overall, to the whole picture, if I say I believe Josephus wrote about Jesus in such a way that supports my belief Jesus did live and walk on this earth...

I personally wouldn't think to suggest someone else so willingly embellished the literary works of another...to me, that is both criminal and absurd. Makes plagarism seem like a misdemeanor, IMHO. But that doesn't mean my view is unilaterally shared by the rest of mankind. And so I must question when discrepancies arise, unless I'm willing to be a victim of my own unwillingness to trust that which I trust in. I have some solid and life-long convictions that I can't talk myself out of...and even in the face of not finding proof that my convictions are valid in the eyes and opinions of others, I still prefer to use logic and reason and my own fairly proven ability to discern valid human history from questionable artifices created by the needs of others who came before me who perhaps needed some sort of method to convince themselves of what I can't deny (inside.)

The thing is, despite not avoiding or correcting the definite lack of circumstantial evidence for Christ's life, my conviction remains. Because although I haven't found solid proof for my conviction being a 'valid' one, I have also never encountered anything that revealed it to be something impossible. So I prefer to be as objective as possible, for my own benefit as well as perhaps someone else's.

Josephus's works are qualifiable ancient--and cannot be proven, in any case at all, to even be his own, without absolute certainty. The same goes for anything that old, handed down through various factions over the centuries--we have no notarized or otherwise authoritative stamp of legitimacy to help us in pinpointing authorship of something whose proposed author has been dead so long they can't even be proved to have lived, at all.

Someone was alive 2000 years ago and someone wrote about those times. The rest is a shot in the dark, from any angle. Logic and analysis provide a small bit of 'infra-red' assistance in that dark.

This is how I ultimately perceive such an issue: If Jesus existed (and I personally believe He did) and if he did truly believe and uphold his stance as the bringer and witness of God-given truth (which I also personally feel he did and was) then am I serving the same cause by blindly accepting any sort of seemingly documented proof of same, even if it is perhaps not of the same quality of 'truth' and is quite possibly blatant 'fiction?'

I can do nothing against the truth--but I can still be working against it (and my own self) if I don't hold truth sacred. Truth and facts are not the same animal, in my perspective. I believe Jesus, in truth, lived (and still does.) However, the facts don't seem to support the idea that Josephus is a source of verification for this.

[edit on 12/13/2005 by queenannie38]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 10:19 AM
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Interesting that your version doesn't have that text in it. The version I have says "Complete and Unabridged". Perhaps yours had some trimming done to it. A fun read if you enjoy this kind of research is Josh McDowell's "Evidence That Demands A Verdict." This book is both highly cirticised and highly praised. Either way it's a good starting point and if nothing else he has compiled a good list of references for you to explore.

EDIT: I see that this portion of Antiquities is pretty disputed. I agree that the paragraph known as "Testimonium Flavium" is disputable. Explains why it doesn't appear in every version.

[edit on 13-12-2005 by dbates]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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Here are some on-line references on the topic of the 'Testimonium Flavius'--certainly they do not preclude individual googling and what-not--I just wanted to provide an example of the kinds of sources that I find to be more useful in a objective manner, as opposed to favorable yet subjective:

More Evasions and Misrepresentations
(not primarily about Josephus, but still a good tidbit down in the seventh paragraph.

Jewish Views on Jesus

About Flavius Josephus in general.

Ancient History Sourcebook--always a wealth of textual documentation, from Fordham University.



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