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Proof That Jesus Of Nazareth Existed?

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posted on Sep, 22 2007 @ 07:23 PM
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holy moly! There may have been an historical figure that we commonly know as the Christian Jesus but, this "Jesus of Nazareth" title is merely an misinterpretation/mistranslation. The Christian Jesus wasn't from a town called Nazoreth - he is believed to be, at least at one time, a follower of a sect referred to as Nazorene, Nazor, Nazorean, etc. though there is little evidence that this is a completely accurate characterization as the Jesus in question (whose name was never really "Jesus" to begin with) also associated with other sects such as the Essenes.

If you had to pick some placename thing like this to hang on the guy, Jesus the was Galilean would be far more accurate. And, by the way, pretty much everybody was "jewish" in those days but there were many, many flavors and the folks from was Galilee didn't particularly get along with those from Judah. I put the quotes around "jewish" simply to emphasize that there wasn't really such a concept as "Jew" in the early first century. Just like in modern Christianity, the Catholics and the Baptists and the Lutherans and the Epicopalians, etc. all think that they have it right and the others are doing it wrong but we call them all "christians". Sunnis and Shiites don't seem to get along so well, either and we call them both Muslims.

read back through a multitude of other threads here and/or read some other NT scholars

if you want to discuss the historical references, a good place to begin is to stop referring to "Jesus of Nazareth". ;-)




posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 09:47 AM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


Mr A/D
I had “learned” at the feet of my elders that the term “Nazarene” as designating a definable group or even just a theory or a school of philosophy was called AFTER Jesus. Named for. So that would put Jesus as the FIRST Nazarene. As that would put the group POST Jesus, then he would not have really been a member. Like naming a club or any organization after a person long deceased. The John Birch Society comes first to my mind. There is an exclusive organization called The Cincinatius Club in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Note: one “n” in the old Roman’s name).

I recall there are references in the Holy Writ to people who did not cut their hair as first reported about the OT’s Sampson, and perhaps by John the Baptist, but I’m operating on what may be a defective memory in those areas. I’ve said a lot to say this: I would not put too much on “Nazarene” as a way to designate which Jesus out of 1000s we are speaking about. I do fully agree with your suggestion that it would be more accurate to label him as Jesus of Galilee. He was spoken of that way at least one time in the Holy Writ, but it was in a disparaging context.

How do we deal with the fact “Jesus” was a Greek way to say the Aramaic Joshua? I suppose it is safe to ignore as there is no gain to one name over the other as long as everyone agrees it is the same person.

Whereas I have personally matured past that point when I need a ‘Father God’ image in my life and I am fully satisfied with current scientific explanations for the natural order surrounding all of us, I nevertheless try to keep abreast of contemporary religiosity because as you know, such people as our president have urged a cultural or religion based War on Terror. Like it or not, I’m called on to make political judgments that have a (overly) large religious content. I guess that proves the adage, “The more things change the more they stay the same.”

Hallelujah!



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 10:52 AM
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Interesting. Nothing I've ever heard or read suggests that Jesus founded or began the sect of the Nazors. Most of my reading suggests that Jesus visited with and studied with groups such as the Nazors and the Essenes but didn't actual join as a card-carrying member of any of them.

The more politically powerful folks of Judah did seem to look down their noses at the Galileans as the less sophisticated because that region was generally poorer and less educated. In fact, I have read that a term of derision used to describe Jesus was "the Samaritan" which would have had some historical/geographical accuracy and that was a poor and "backward" region in the eyes of the Judeans and particularly the Pharisees.

Historo-political analysis seems to favor the concept that the closer one was allied with the occupying Romans, the more wealthy and powerful. However, the oppression of the even the most benign of the pagan Roman occupiers was one of the unifying forces among the more militant of the local Palestinians (this whole area was Palestine at that time). These were the folks to whom Jesus appealed as they were at the confluence of a) being certain that they were living in the "end times" according to the prophecies and b) certain that the Messiah was due to arrive very soon. Add to that the phenomena of the appearance of John the Baptist whom was held by many to be the return of Elijah (some have theorized that Jesus himself believed this to be true). The time was absolutely right for the Messiah to come and Jesus seemed to fit that bill for a great many.

The "problem" is that nobody believed that the Messiah was going to be "G-d in the flesh" - they expected a great leader and teacher that would help them to overthrow the Romans, convince the population to repent and be ready and worthy for the Kingdom of G-d on earth as prophesied.

My personal belief, based on my studies is that Jesus accepted his role as the Messiah as defined in the prophesies but would have completely rejected the current view of Chrisitianity of his deification as blasphemous in the extreme.



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 11:14 AM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


Al Davison holy moly! There may have been an historical figure that we commonly know as the Christian Jesus but, this "Jesus of Nazareth" title is merely an misinterpretation/mistranslation. The Christian Jesus wasn't from a town called Nazareth - he is believed to be, at least at one time, a follower of a sect referred to as Nazarene, Nazor, Nazorean, etc. though there is little evidence that this is a completely accurate characterization as the Jesus in question (whose name was never really "Jesus" to begin with) also associated with other sects such as the Essenes.

I got my serious intro into religion in large part from Albert Schweitzer, the famous early 20th century medical doctor and missionary to Africa. Schweitzer, a German born in France, obtained his Doctor of Theology degree (he was already an MD) with a dissertation later published with the title “Quest of the Historical Jesus.” It’s still around in the used book stores. It was the Germans in what came to be called the “School of Historical Criticism” who first studied the Bible as an ancient book. For what it is or was and not for what it says which is an entirely different approach at least in its motivation if not its goals.

The fundamental problem secularists have is that while some of the Holy Writ is worthy, most of it is not. (See the Jefferson Bible). Neither Martin Luther (1517) nor his successors ever held any part of the Holy Bible to be suspect. They fully embraced 2 Timothy 3:16. Most of us grew up with the KJV or Authorized Version (1609), “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness . . “ The KJV owes much to an earlier translation, the Tyndale Bible of 1533 and others printed in English in the same time frame. (All dates from Wikipedia).

Was this quixotic phrase written as an explicit endorsement either of just the second book of Timothy, or all of the writings of St. Paul, or was it meant by the writer of 2 Timothy to be an implicit endorsement of the entire collection of the 56 books making the Protestant Bible? Surely this application of the phrase is open to honest debate. cf. Rev 22.18b-19 for applicability of proscriptions. The Bible (canon) did not come along until the 4th centtury. Far better though to get well past 2Tim3:16 than to have to belabor it every time you open the Holy Book. The point is to remove the imprimatur of GOD from all the writings found between the covers of a KJV bible.

What many writers I have read believe is a more accurate translation is found in the American Standard Version: “Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness.”

The KEY is “Every scripture inspired . . “ allows for debate over which is indeed INSPIRED and which are not. Cf. with the traditional KJV rendering “All scripture is given by inspiration . . “ which admittedly would allow for arguing what is “scripture” but that is a hard argument to make.

Even the Catholic approved translation, the Douay-Rheims Bible, could be read as the ASV above: “All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice . . “

To illustrate another point about the Holy Scriptures, I especially like to recite the story of the demons and the pigs. Starting at Mark 5:10 and repeated in Luke 8:31. KJV. At a place not identified in the story nor ever located by others, but which is on the “shore” of the Sea of Galilee, Jesus and others were on their way to a city. They encountered a man possessed of demons named Legion. At his request, Jesus expelled - exorcized - the demons. Apparently of necessity, Jesus then put the demons into a herd of pigs - 2,000 - and they then ran head-long over a cliff falling into the Sea and drowned. End of demons. I take the position that neither the writer nor the (intended) readers took the story to be a literally true account of a real event.

Here’s why. It’s a given that pigs can’t swim. Any pig in water over its head will drown. OTOH, it is very difficult to keep a herd of pigs numbering 2,000. Hungry pigs will eat anything, including each other. It would take a lot of men a lot of work to feed that many pigs in one place. That is both impractical and inconsistent with pigs and Jewish persons. In fact, that demons were put into pigs and not into sheep or goats is pure Jewish thinking. There is only one thing worse than a demon to a first century Jew and that was a pig.

The number 2,000 is apocryphal. It is symbolic. It is an accepted form of exaggeration, that is to say, “a large but unspecified number” such as when numbering a crowd. Supporters see more than detractors. Lastly, why did Jesus need a 2 step exorcism for Legion? What message is being conveyed to the intended readers? I don’t pretend to know the answers but I can see that it is FOOLISHNESS for people in 2007 to take this story literally.

If it is a true story, then why do not Christian psychiatrists keep pigs in their office?

[edit on 9/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 12:36 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 



posted by Al Davison
My reading suggests that Jesus visited with and studied with groups such as the Nazors and the Essenes but didn't actual join as a card-carrying member of any of them.

The oppression of the even the most benign of the pagan Roman occupiers was one of the unifying forces among the more militant of the local Palestinians (this whole area was Palestine at that time).


I don’t mean to be “cute” but I thought the name was changed from Judea after the Romans suppressed the Bar Kokhba Revolt. Political boundary wise, it may well have been that ALL the later British Mandate was under the Roman appointed rulers. My objection is setting apart the population living around Jerusalem with a name currently in use that carries a lot of baggage and adds nothing to the story of Jesus. IMO.

All of 2007's Palestinians are Arabs living in old Palestine in my judgment. I don’t know if Semitic people of the region were divided along any line in the First Century CE that would parallel today’s division between Arabs and Jewish persons. DNA will not help make a division. Culture and history will. And post 7th century CE, religion too.


The time was absolutely right for the Messiah to come and Jesus seemed to fit that bill for a great many. My personal belief, based on my studies is that Jesus accepted his role as the Messiah as defined in the prophesies but would have completely rejected the current view of Christianity of his deification as blasphemous in the extreme.


I rely a great deal on the Simon bar Kokhba Revolt (132-135 CE) to demonstrate that au contraire the people in Jesus’ time did not think he was the military Messiah - Joshua reborn - of the OT or the later spiritual Messiah of the Christian NT. Whatever Christianity was, is or became happened AFTER 135 CE. Yes, it would have been 4-5 generations from 30 CE to 132 CE, but that was a time of oral tradition and history. Any good stories merely 100 years old would have been known to all the people of 132 CE. They had no good story to re-tell. Jesus was just one more rebel who got caught.

[edit on 9/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 12:42 PM
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hmmm...made me think...Don White - thank you.

Perhaps all the writings that are inspired by G-d consist of parables and symbolism. I don't want to say "coded messages" because that might be interpreted incorrectly as me saying that we have to break some mystical code and I doubt that is the case.

It's just that a more studied person could probably make a good case that the parts of the Bible that were truly inspired by G-d should never be taken literally but rather they are metaphorical/allegorical by design.

I think I could embrace that idea but I need to give it more thought...

Could we infer then that nothing in the Bible should ever be taken literally? No, I don't think that would be true because there are a few things that are verifiable but, those may not be the parts that were inspired by G-d. History doesn't have to be inspired to be accurate. BTW - I'm not one that picks apart the Bible looking for historically inaccurate bits. I consider the histories in the Bible to be as accurate as most newspaper accounts - which is to say that a lot of it is basically true but there are parts that are unreliable. Of course, some parts of both the OT and NT are simply the written record of oral histories so the recorded version may be true to the oral version but that does not make it reliable from the standpoint of historical record - just an accurate re-telling of an old story.


Thanks, again, for giving me something more to think about!



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 01:09 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


My short reply is this. By all means the people to whom the NT (and OT) were written understood and “believed” what was said to them in their own context. Nuance. Metaphor. Allegory. Even similes. In that era, writing was far too expensive to be used for irrelevant matters. Or mere proselytizing. I think Timothy was Paul’s secretary? I feel sure Paul could read and write Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek. Not all perfectly, because the purpose of language is to communicate which includes more than the spoken or written word. This is why I agree it is next to impossible to know what Jesus said, let alone what he meant.

Jesus spoke in Aramaic, a Semitic tongue. What he said was not recorded for a generation or two. Then it was written in Greek, the lingua franca of the Mediterranean basin, but which is NOT the same root tongue as Aramaic. Greek by then had 26 letters and was nuanced differently than Aramaic. The books then got translated into English and Elizabethan at that! It is likely we could barely communicate with a person who spoke that today. Or “unlikely” as you prefer.

So, the accolade of CERTAINTY surely is not deserved by the Holy Writ in today’s context.

[edit on 9/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 02:15 PM
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well said!

that's what makes it amusing (to me) to see Christians debate the exact meanings of scriptures when they focus in on only one or two words - completely ignoring that it's quite possible than NONE of the words are accurate. There hare too many examples to list but, one of the more prominent is the arguments over which version os the Ten Commandments is the "official" version. It's quite likely that both writers began with the same source but came up with different translations.

anyway, back on topic...I need to go look again at some reference books because I don't trust my memory all that well but I *think* Palestine was generally referred to as having a northern and a southern region and I think one was usually referred to as Galilee and the other as Judah. Please correct me if I'm wrong there.

BTW - the geopolitical boundaries of Palestine, as well as the makeup of it's populatoin have changed a lot in the last 2,000 years - they may change again in the next 5-20 years. ;-)



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 08:11 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


I’ve read that a rabbi once counted 614 commandments in the Hebrew Bible - our OT. Most of us have heard of the Ten Commandments and even of Judge Roy Moore. The rabbi also said almost all the other 604 commands relate to the selection and preparation of food and the manner of worship.

I’m impressed in particular about one important provision of the US Constitution that is directly attributable to the Pentateuch. Deuteronomy 17:6 ”At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; [but] at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death. And repeated at Deu 19:15 “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

The US Con. at Article III, Section 3. “Treason against the United States . . No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.”

There are underlying meanings in the Biblical requirement for “witnesses.” There must be a forum, a place where the witness delivers his testimony. There must be judges or a jury or both to decide the weight of the testimony, to learn the facts, and to be able to decide the outcome of the trial.

It is not clear whether there were juries or not. Reference is made to the people going to the city gate to carry out the sentence. Perhaps those were the people who heard the trial? Public execution was not a sport or entertainment, but it was a ritual performed by the people for a very real purpose. It unites the people as well as purifies them. It is to be done solemnly, not jovially.

Not meaning to be vulgar, but assume that adultery was as common then as now. There would be very few stonings for adultery. Why? Because of the 2 or 3 witness requirement. Adultery is a private sin. Other provisions of ancient Hebrew law such as restitution for wrongs committed is equal to our damage awards in tort law. Hebrew law enforced contracts as well as provided for protecting borrowers from lenders. What has changed?

Apparently the ancient people attributed more thinking capacity to a “dumb” ox than we do. Exodus 21:28 “If an ox gore a man or a woman, that they die: then the ox shall be surely stoned, and his flesh shall not be eaten; but the owner of the ox shall be quit.” Theives Beware! Exodus 22:2 “If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he die, there shall no blood be shed for him.” Here’s the reason I’ve posted this. See Exodus 22:9 “For all manner of trespass . . whom the judges shall condemn, he shall pay double unto his neighbor.” A lawful society with many rules for good conduct.

Let me close on a lighter note? There was little or no juvenile delinquency in the ancient Hebrew villages. See Exodus 21:15 "And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death." And 21:17 "And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death."

See skepticsannotatedbible.com/ex/21.html

[edit on 9/23/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 09:45 PM
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reply to post by donwhite
 


you know, if the bible is such a contributing factor to law... why are only about 3 commandments a crime (one would only be a crime on the witness stand or in the media)?

and what does any of that have to do with whether or not jesus of nazareth existed?



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 09:47 PM
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The Jews of the time could have easily refuted the Gospels if the events depicted were distortions or outright fabrications. The utter lack of such a refutation speaks volumes in favor of the veracity of the Gospels.



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 09:57 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
The Jews of the time could have easily refuted the Gospels if the events depicted were distortions or outright fabrications. The utter lack of such a refutation speaks volumes in favor of the veracity of the Gospels.


no it doesn't. the gospels weren't widely distributed until well after they were written, and thus well after the events had passed from memory.

they were even written well after the events had happened. mark, the oldest of the canonical gospels was written no earlier than 50 CE, over 2 decades after the events happened.

you're creating a false situation here, as if the jewish population had reason or proper access to refute the books written by what was, at the time, a lunatic fringe sect of judaism. christianity didn't gain any significant prominence until long after the gospels were written, and the gospels weren't in wide circulation until well after christianity was a majority religion.

remember, this wasn't a time when they had printing, these things had to be hand copied, so there weren't that many of them passing about.



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


The early Christians leveled very serious accusations against Judaism, and philosophical/religious discussions of the day were widespread, so information traveled at a decent pace, despite the fact that books could not be duplicated quickly. I find it hard to believe that Jews would neither of known about Christianity or cared at least by the middle of the second century.



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 11:30 PM
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I dont think many people ever doubted his existence as a historical figure.......More likely, "some" people are doubtful wheter the storys are indeed true.



posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 11:47 PM
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I found this site that's the authority on Christianity as far as I'm concerned.

www.bandoli.no

I'm not sure if it's been given a look over here yet or not. Regardless the source everyone should do their own research to confirm what somebody already has. Even as non-believers we should be diligent in our research and maintain respect for others who disagree even when it's based on faith. Like a lot of Athiests or Agnostic people, they'll come around in time.



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 07:12 AM
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reply to post by DeadFlagBlues
 


www.bandoli.no

OK, I looked at this site. Apparently written in 2003 by a Norwegian person. Some of the English is a bit incorrect so he needs to have an American-English speaker to do some editing. That doesn’t reduce the value of what he says. It would just make it look “more" precise. I generally share his outlook but in my private life I tend to be far less strident. My family is Catholic; we have a truce - no one speaks of religion.

In the 1980s I was hopeful that religion would pass away in my lifetime. But it has enjoyed another strong recurrence. It looks good for another century. It ultimately will pass away because it really offers no advantage over situation ethics. In fact religion is much inferior.

Humankind knows so much more today than those ancient writers knew it seems impossible to find otherwise rational people who attribute so much authority to them. I think some archaeologist say religion began - at least artifacts indicate that - around 70,000 years ago. That was BEFORE the development of spoken languages. That around 30,000 years ago. Hmm? Old ways die hard.



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 07:35 AM
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reply to post by uberarcanist
 


and modern cults level some very serious accusations at modern mainstream religions, we don't see them getting up in arms or even knowing about many of these cults. that was what christianity was, a cult. it wasn't considered a credible threat to judaism until it became a state religion, then it became a credible threat to jews as well as their religion



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 07:47 AM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


I do not jest, I am serious when I assert Emperor Constantine is the FOUNDER of what we know today as “Christianity.” Way ahead of St. Paul. I put “Christianity” in quote marks became I am also fairly certain that today’s verison is not the only version that existed in the early 4th century CE.

Contrary to popular theology Constantine was not CONVERTED to Christianity. Like many people of his time, he practiced several religions. He merely wanted to ADD Christianity to his repertoire of religions. Even then “one size did not fit all.” We also know for a fact that it was Emperor Constantine that called the FIRST church council. “Council” merely being a gathering of luminaries. I’m not counting the meeting in Jerusalem between James, Peter and Paul. I think Mary Magdalene was involved in that meeting, too.

Likewise it was Emperor Constantine who gave us the compilation of the books we call the Holy Bible. After the Nicean meeting, Constantine again called on some - not all - of the area’s bishops to select out the most valuable books - widest acceptance - to include in a giant work he was planning. The church leaders - NOT church fathers as if they were the progenitors of something - met in Byzantium, not in Rome or Alexandra. Rome was in sharp decline by the 4th century.

After the bishops had chosen 25 or 26 or 27 books out of maybe 200 considered - none of the church congregations had ALL the books - each had one or two or three books - the bishops were ordered to destroy the remaining unselected books. That did not mean that all copies of those books were to be destroyed, but merely that Constantine was through with his project and had no further use for the other books.

Constantine had scribes make 50 bound volumes including the Greek language Jewish Septuagint - our O.T. - which “made” the newer books the NEW testament and put one copy in each of the 50 churches he authorized for Byzantium later renamed Constantinople. None of those books survive. We do not KNOW what books they contained nor in what order. It is not ceratin if any of the 50 contained the Book of Revelations of Jesus Christ, now #27 in the NT. It seems to have been added after the selection process ended. That’s how I see it.



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 12:02 PM
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reply to post by madnessinmysoul
 


But Christians *DO* go on the warpath against cults critical of their religion...the amount of books written by Christians against cults could fill libraries.



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 02:13 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
But Christians *DO* go on the warpath against cults critical of their religion...the amount of books written by Christians against cults could fill libraries.


yea, the jews were cool like that. so long as the jews were left alone they left the beliefs of others alone... well, not during that whole era when the "conquered" canaan (quotes because it was more of a systematic ethnic cleansing than a military conquest)

christianity does what it does because it is a religion that seeks to convert, judaism doesn't. that's the fundamental difference. both are religions of exclusion, but the christians actively seek those left out by their religion.



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