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Does Jesus exist?

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posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 02:07 PM
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Originally posted by dbates
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".


Sorry, I misunderstood what you were saying.

Regarding Thallus, obviously we do not have his works and very little is known of him either. What we have are several third party Christian apologetic sources referencing Thallus starting in the late 2nd century. So Eusebius tells us that Julius Africanus told us that Thallus confirmed the darkness at the time of death of Jesus (as if Thallus would even have been aware of the death of Jesus assuming Thallus hadn't already been dead for over 100 years). Boy, that's convincing. A guy from the 4th century tells us about a guy from the late second century talking about a guy from 1 or 2 hundred years earlier still, and that somehow trumps the lack of any documentation of the darkness by historians whose works we actually have such as Seneca, Pliny, and Josephus?

If not for the references to Thallus showing up in the late 2nd century, Thallus' writings would be uncontroversially placed around 109BCE. Which brings up an interesting possibility... perhaps the Jesus prototype lived 150+ years earlier than commonly thought.

One further point, even if we accept all this at face value, here is what Julius Africanus is said to have said regarding Thallus:


This event followed each of his deeds, and healings of body and soul, and knowledge of hidden things, and his resurrection from the dead, all sufficiently proven to the disciples before us and to his apostles: after the most dreadful darkness fell over the whole world, the rocks were torn apart by an earthquake and much of Judaea and the rest of the land was torn down. Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse of the sun in the third book of his Histories, without reason it seems to me. For....how are we to believe that an eclipse happened when the moon was diametrically opposite the sun?


Notice that no claim is made that Thallus connected an eclipse with the death of Jesus. All we know is that Thallus supposedly wrote about a darkness that he attributed to an eclipse. We have no idea when he wrote it, when it supposedly happened, whether Thallus was referring to a lunar or solar eclipse, or that Thallus had ever even heard of Jesus.

It is Julius Africanus making the connection between the eclipse Thallus wrote about and the death of Jesus. He does not claim that Thallus made that connection. For all we know, Julius Africanus had heard second hand about an eclipse that Thallus wrote about and simply assumed it was the purported darkness at the death of Jesus.

In other words, this provides us with no useful information.




posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 04:58 PM
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My goodness. You people are remarkably well read. I'm gonna go read a good book about that Jesus bloke, and come back with a revelation. Also, just out of curiousity, is James the brother of Jesus? If so, didn't he have a different stance of Christianity from Paul?



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 05:14 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham
Regarding Thallus, obviously we do not have his works and very little is known of him either.
In other words, this provides us with no useful information.

I know, it's all sort of murky when you dive back into history 2,000 years. I just thought it was an interesting possibility so I threw that in the mix. All my sources have a valid opposition, as well as their supporters.

The irony of this whole situation is that the Bible (IMO) is probably an excellent source and very reliable. I say this based on some of the fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament which we know at least some of it (Isaiah for instance) is verifiably authentic back beyond 2,000 years. Yet here we are looking for more proof. Everyone likes to be reassured so I'm not looking down on the author of this thread. Excellent topic in my opinion.



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 05:42 PM
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Originally posted by dbates
The irony of this whole situation is that the Bible (IMO) is probably an excellent source and very reliable. I say this based on some of the fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament which we know at least some of it (Isaiah for instance) is verifiably authentic back beyond 2,000 years.


I stand ready to debunk whichever prophecy you wish to discuss. There simply are no non-trivial prophecies which can be verified to have actually happened that were not caused to happen by those who believed in them. An example is the resurrection of the nation of Israel in 1948, an deliberate act by zionists. If that is the fulfillment of prophecy, then Theodore Herzl is the messiah.

[edit on 13-12-2005 by spamandham]



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 05:46 PM
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Sure, but in another thread (So we don't distract from the topic of this one) I have a couple in mind and I'll post one later if I get the chance. Skepticism is good as long as you have an open mind.



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 05:50 PM
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jesus did exist. or at least some guy named jesus. the biblical jesus, not sure about the existence of that guy. is this supposed to be theological or relating to biblical archaeology?



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 06:22 PM
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Of course Jesus exists. He lives down the block with his wife Juanita, and their lively baby Miguel. If he doesn't exist, then who borrowed my lawnmower? Answer me that smart guys.



posted on Dec, 13 2005 @ 07:06 PM
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Originally posted by Rasobasi420
Of course Jesus exists. He lives down the block with his wife Juanita, and their lively baby Miguel. If he doesn't exist, then who borrowed my lawnmower? Answer me that smart guys.


Not 'Hay-sus'--often nicknamed Chewey...

Yehoshua.

silly!



posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 07:57 AM
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What I've learnt has finally blown my head off.

My head hurts. I'm going to lie down for a bit.



posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by MacDonagh
What I've learnt has finally blown my head off.

My head hurts. I'm going to lie down for a bit.


Don't worry--it gets easier after a couple of times...


After you get the part of 'putting back on of your head' down pat, that is.




posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 11:20 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham

Originally posted by dbates
The irony of this whole situation is that the Bible (IMO) is probably an excellent source and very reliable. I say this based on some of the fulfilled prophecy from the Old Testament which we know at least some of it (Isaiah for instance) is verifiably authentic back beyond 2,000 years.


I stand ready to debunk whichever prophecy you wish to discuss. There simply are no non-trivial prophecies which can be verified to have actually happened that were not caused to happen by those who believed in them. An example is the resurrection of the nation of Israel in 1948, an deliberate act by zionists. If that is the fulfillment of prophecy, then Theodore Herzl is the messiah.


No doubt.

That kind of thing is counterproductive to the cause of those who profess it as
some kind of 'proof.' It is poppycock.

But not for the reasons you probably have in mind...

There are a lot of things that have come to pass which were written of in the bible. I don't mind sticking my own proverbial neck out in discussing them...however I do not seek to prove anything to a professed skeptic such as yourself--it is not possible. The ironic thing is that many things in the bible are fulfilled on an individual level (and not what you'd think) and/or are still hidden from the eyes of the masses.

It is through my own experiences that I came to realize the bible is reliable truth (not as a history book but as a guide book)--I never have had any doubt it was valuable, in some form or another--but I never looked at it from the same perspective as most people. Its value as personal instruction is not subject to its historical viability, IMO. That is something that religions must bank on, so for me irrelevant.

But the relevance to real life and actual present human circumstances is profound...

But the blinders we wear come in so many varieties that many of us are even blind to the blinders. And so I've been typing this post toward what probably will prove itself to literally be a waste of time, energy, and bandwidth; the good part is, at least today is no different than any other day.



posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 01:23 PM
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The question that MacDonaugh asked is "does Jesus exist?" All responses so far seem to have been dealing with a different question, namely, "DID Jesus exist?"

As to that, while there's no hard evidence that he existed, it's much easier to explain the origin and spread of Christianity if we assume the real existence of a human founder than if we don't, and that should be enough to justify it as a working assumption at least.

But the question asked is rather different. It is: Does Jesus exist NOW?

As with all matters of divinity and spiritual experience, there is not and never can be evidence of Jesus' current existence. Nor do I agree that it is a matter of "faith," if by faith one means blind belief without proof. Rather, the very concept of "proof" implies that the subject matter is something external, something in the objective world, something that can (in theory at least) be looked at, measured, and verified. But all spiritual experience is within, subjective, and although it changes the nature of the entire external and perceived universe, in itself it is not external or perceived. Thus -- there can be no evidence, and the presence or absence of evidence is irrelevant to the question. It is something each person must experience for himself or herself.

In that sense, for many Christians, Jesus definitely does exist. The real question for our Scottish friend is whether Jesus exists or not for him. And that is something no one else can answer.

We should also not necessarily confuse the Jesus who exists today and the one who (probably) lived in the early days of the Roman Imperium.

"I am the God who was a man, and died, and rose again. That is the history my worshipers have made for me.

"Is it true history? For me it is, though whether it is true for the man who once bore my name cannot be known. Nor does it matter, really. Either Jesus of Nazareth, the man, never was, or he lived and died and is no more, or in his rising he was transformed into Me, and is no more. Regardless, the history that my worshipers have made is true for Me: I am the God who was a man, and died, and rose again."

From The Apology of Christ, by Skyoucher



posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by queenannie38
I don't mind sticking my own proverbial neck out in discussing them...however I do not seek to prove anything to a professed skeptic such as yourself--it is not possible.


I'm not sure why you think I can not be convinced of anything. Being skeptical does not mean I hold no positions, it merely means that my standards are proportional to the importance or the degree of a given claim.

To say that it is not possible to prove it to me is the same as saying there is no credible argument really.



posted on Dec, 14 2005 @ 07:59 PM
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anything that is true can be proven through some sort of logical argument or the presentation of evidence to support the claim.



posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 10:00 AM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
anything that is true can be proven through some sort of logical argument or the presentation of evidence to support the claim.


Oh, really? Well, then, let's see you prove to me that you, as a subjective entity with an experienced inner life, exist.



posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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now you're getting into solipism, and that's not what we're discussing here. stop bringing up straw men, and give me some passages from documents written in the time of the supposed life of jesus that mention him.



posted on Dec, 15 2005 @ 02:30 PM
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Originally posted by madnessinmysoul
now you're getting into solipism, and that's not what we're discussing here. stop bringing up straw men, and give me some passages from documents written in the time of the supposed life of jesus that mention him.


It's not a straw man. As I pointed out in my first post on this thread, the OP asked, not "DID Jesus exist," but "DOES Jesus exist." He wasn't talking about Jesus the historical figure, but about Jesus the God worshiped by Christians. (Christians would of course say the two are one, but they aren't necessarily.)

So we're actually talking the old proof-of-God thingy here, not a historical question. And for that, what I said is perfectly relevant, because God, like the subjective self, is experienced each within for himself or herself, and is not amenable to objective proof of any kind. Nor is such proof necessary, nor is its absence relevant.

For the historical question of Jesus' reality as a man, that of course is not the case. But even so, your statement that anything true is provable is not accurate. For example, at the alleged time of Jesus, there were, living in Rome, Roman citizens with names that never made it into the history books. That such men existed is certainly true, yet of their existence there is no direct evidence whatever. Similarly, while there is no direct evidence of Jesus' historical existence as a man (known to me anyway), there is indirect and circumstantial evidence provided by the existence of Christianity as a religion, which is harder to explain if there was no Jesus.

Now that is not to say that the historical Jesus, the man, bears much resemblance to the Jesus worshiped by Christians as a God. In fact, there's pretty good reason to believe otherwise. An exploration of pre-Constantine Christianity reveals a sharp divergence between two groups, the Jewish Christians who celebrated in Aramaic and were formed from the actual followers of Jesus during his life, and the Pauline Christians who arose from the ministry of Paul of Tarsus, worshiped in Greek, and had many ideas about Jesus that were not shared by the Jewish Christians. Pauline Christianity became the dominant line. A version of it was legitimized by Constantine and became the new Roman state religion, being consolidated into what I call the Imperial Church (which survives today in two branches, the Roman Catholic and Orthodox Churches).

But whoever and whatever Jesus was, absent direct evidence we may reasonably apply Occam's Razor and determine that explaining Christianity's existence requires more assumptions without Jesus than with him. For historical purposes (history being far from an exact science), that's enough to go on.



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