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Proof That Jesus Of Nazareth Existed?

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


The birth of Christianity caused a lot of problems in the Jewish community. In fact, many of the early Christians WERE Jews. These Jewish Christians caused such a hubbub that they were eventually thrown out of the synagogues. But at no time did the Jews refute the existence or works of Jesus, which I still maintain they could have easily done if the Gospels were false.




posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 03:21 PM
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This is a popular debate topic, and there are strong feelings on both or all sides. Because of orthodox resistance, it was not until the 20th century that recognized scholars had systematically addressed the two fundamental questions. 1) Was Jesus real? 2) Do we have sufficient evidentiary quality materials to know what Jesus was about?

There was one noteworthy effort made in the 1980s. The Jesus Seminar. It lost its impetus for a variety of reasons. Now in 2007, the cause has gained new momentum and is about to begin anew in December, 2007, barely 3 months from now. It is a 5 years long undertaking. It will not publish a final report until at its end in 2012. It will however hold open-to-the public meetings 2 times a year.

It will be made up of 50 scholars who apply to be a part of the Jesus Project. Selected scholars must consent to one prerequisite: That the member accepts that the final decisions remain to be made; That the 2 questions remain OPEN for scholarly study, careful scrutiny, open discussion and finally an honest decision made without a preconceived outcome in either case.


The Jesus Project
R. Joseph Hoffmann, Ph.D.
Chair, Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion

The Jesus Seminar, founded in 1985 by the late Robert Funk of the University of Montana, was famous for its openly defiant stance against the claims of miracles in the Gospels - including the resurrection of Jesus. The use of additional sources, such as Gnostic and apocryphal gospels, to create a fuller picture of the Jesus-tradition and the focus on context as though it provided content were at least innovative.

By the end of their most visible period in 2000, the members had pared the sayings of Jesus down to 18 percent of those attributed to him in the New Testament and pictured him as a wandering teacher of “wisdom” who preached in riddles and parables about a God of love who preferred sinners to the wealthy, comfortable, and wise of the world. Gone was the utterly mistaken eschatological prophet who preached the end of the world and never expected to found a church - much less a seminar - in his name.

What the Seminar had tacitly acknowledged is that over 80 percent of “Jesus” had been fictionalized by the Gospel writers. That is to say that, if we are to judge a man’s life by his sayings, the greater portion of the literary artifacts known as the Gospels is fictional. If we are to judge by actions, then what actions survived historical criticism? Not the virgin birth, or the Transfiguration, or the healing of the sick, or the purely magical feats such as Cana, or the multiplication of loaves and fishes. The Resurrection had quietly been sent to the attic in the nineteenth century. Yet scholars insisted the historical figure was untouched. Only faith could explain this invulnerability to harm.

Previous attempts to rule the question out of court are vestiges of a time when the orthodox Churches controlled the boundaries of permissible inquiry into its sacred books. More directly the question of the historical Jesus as a testable hypothesis, and this Jesus Project is committed to no prior conclusions about the outcome of the inquiry. This is a statement of principles and the Jesus Project intends to stick to them.

The Jesus Project will run for five years, with its first session scheduled for December 2007. It will meet twice a year, and, like its predecessor, the Jesus Seminar, it will hold open meetings. Unlike the Seminar, the Project will not expand membership indefinitely: the Project will be limited to fifty scholars with credentials in biblical studies as well as in the crucial cognate disciplines of ancient history, mythography, archaeology, classical studies, anthropology, and social history.

At the end the Jesus Project will publish its findings. The project is aiming at a probable reconstruction of the events that explain the beginning of Christianity. How a man named Jesus from the province of Galilee whose life served as the basis for the beginning of a movement; or a sequence of events that led to the Jesus story being propagated throughout the Mediterranean. We find both conclusions worthy of contemplation. As we live in the real world of real causes and outcomes only one can be true. Our aim, like Pilate’s (John 18:38), is to find the truth. From www.jesus-project.com/intro.htm


For further reading, see westarinstitute.org....
And see www.slumdance.com/blogs/brian_flemming/archives/002485.htm

[edit on 9/24/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:11 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.


Rubbish.

Firstly -
Many ancient myths were never refuted - e.g. The Golden Ass of Apuleis - therefore. according to YOUR argument, he really DID turn into an ass and meet the Gods.

Secondly -
The Gospels were unknown until early-mid 2nd century (e.g. Papias, Justin), by that time :
* Rome had had two wars with the Jews
* the Temple had been completely destroyed
* Jerusalem was razed to knee-high
* Most of the Jews were killed
* the few remaing Jews were dispersed
* Judea was erased from the map

There were no Jews left there, and only few left living in other parts. There were NO Jews left to refutre it at all.

Thirdly -
When the Jews finally DID start hearing about Jesus, here is what they said about him :

* he was a bastard son of Roman soldeir Pantera
* he was conceived during menstruation
* he learned black magic in Egypt
* he worshipped a brick-bat

Does that sound like accepting Jesus, or rejecting him?
They just never realised he was a myth.


Iasion



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:16 PM
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Originally posted by Steff
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.


Justin has a Jew Trypho saying this (from c.130) :

"But Christ —if He has indeed been born, and exists anywhere—is unknown, and does not even know Himself, and has no power until Elias come to anoint Him, and make Him manifest to all. And you, having accepted a groundless report, invent a Christ for yourselves, and for his sake are inconsiderately perishing."

Numerous other writers (even Christians) denied Jesus ever came in the flesh.

Several 2nd century Christian writers describe Christian beliefs at length in detail and NEVER mention Jesus !


Iasion



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:22 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
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.


Christianity - yes.

The Gospel stories of Jesus - no.

No-one refuted the early Christians because they were preaching spiritual mumbo-jumbo. The early Christians don't preach the Gospel stories about Jesus.

The Gospels do not become known until 2nd century, (even to Christians), so they can hardly have been refuted before then.

But,
when the Gospels DO come to prominance in mid 2nd century, we do sceptics rejecting their claims :

* we see Christians denying Jesus ever came in the flesh
* we see pagans claiming the Gospels are FICTION based on MYTH (Celsus)
* we see 2nd C. Christian writers explaing Christianity WITHOUT any Jesus (Theophilus, Athenagoras, Diognetus.)
* we even see a 2nd C. Christian writer explicitly DENY they worship a crucified man (Minucis Felix)


Iasion



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:25 PM
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reply to post by Iasion
 


OK...the vast majority of Jews were killed in the Little Apocalypse...you can prove this how? Furthermore, what does whether or not ancient myths were refuted have to do with anything? The Jews had no reason to refute those...they didn't criticize Judaism. Finally, what do very confused reports in the Talmud that may or may not have anything to do with Jesus (see link below) that were written 500 or more years after Christ's death prove?

www.angelfire.com...



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:26 PM
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reply to post by Iasion
 


So where are the Jews in all of this once the highly problematic Gospels come out? All I see is the writings of pagans and heterodox Christians.



posted on Sep, 24 2007 @ 06:28 PM
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reply to post by Iasion
 


A straw man (Trypho) invented by a heterodox Christian doesn't prove anything.



posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 05:16 PM
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reply to post by uberarcanist
 


uberarcanist (1) OK...the vast majority of Jews were killed in the Little Apocalypse...you can prove this how? (2) Furthermore, what does whether or not ancient myths were refuted have to do with anything? The Jews had no reason to refute those...they didn't criticize Judaism. (3) Finally, what do very confused reports in the Talmud that may or may not have anything to do with Jesus (see link below) that were written 500 or more years after Christ's death prove?

1) From studies done surrounding the 1947 UN Security Council debate over creating a Jewish homeland, it seems that what had become the League of Nations Palestine Mandate to Great Britain, had always been occupied by Jewish persons, even just after 70 AD and again after 135 AD. Ancient population estimates are more guesstimates than even estimates. It was not true that ALL the Jews were dispersed from Judea in 70 AD. In fact, Jewish people already lived around the Mediterranean Basin at least since the time of Alexander the Great. 4th century, BC.

2) Well, even if not literally true, it can be assumed there is some factual basis in the story that St. Paul was out arresting Jewish people and bringing them back to Jerusalem for trial. I have always questioned that story. Why would the Romans grant the Jewish High Priest the power of arrest? Not ethnic cleansing so much as thematic cleaning. But since all those stories were first oral then written later, the re-telling may not follow the correct time line. Or maybe like today, people just enjoy a good story.

3) I would put more reliance on the Talmud than anything ever in the hands of Christians. It’s not that Jews don’t lie, it is that Christians do.



posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 05:46 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
OK...the vast majority of Jews were killed in the Little Apocalypse...you can prove this how?


History tells us many Jews were killed.
I did not say "vast majority". You did.


Originally posted by uberarcanist
Furthermore, what does whether or not ancient myths were refuted have to do with anything?


Pardon?
That was YOUR argument !
Have you forgotten your own words?

YOU claimed that it was true because it was not refuted.
I pointed out many other religious claims and stories were not refuted - thus proving your claim false.

Now you just pretend YOUR story is true,
and all others are myths and legends,
as if that proves it - how silly.

But you can't cite any historical evidence to support your claims.
And,
you run away from your claim that not being refuted makes religious claims true.

Your argument is worthless.



Originally posted by uberarcanist
Finally, what do very confused reports in the Talmud that may or may not have anything to do with Jesus (see link below) that were written 500 or more years after Christ's death prove?


So funny.
Apologist love to cite the Talmud as almost contemporary evidence for Jesus.

But when I point out what the Taalmud REALLY said about Jesus, suddenly it's all centuries later and useless.

What this shows is that when the Jews FINALLY heard about Jesus - long long after his alleged life - they rejected him and everything he stood for.


Iasion



posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 05:50 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
A straw man (Trypho) invented


Why did Justin record a Jew claiming Jesus did not exist?

There can only be one reason -
Jews WERE claiming Jesus did not exist,



Originally posted by uberarcanist
by a heterodox Christian doesn't prove anything.


Justin Martyr a heretic?
Are you insane?

Not only do you blindly reject anyone who disagrees with your faith - you reject any CHRISTIAN writer who disgrees with you as a heretic !

As if YOU get to claim who is a heretic !
Are you the Pope ?


Iasion



posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 06:58 PM
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reply to post by Iasion
 


Fine, let's say for the sake of argument that Trypho did exist. Let's even say that JM is an orthodox Christian (even though there are quite a few theologians who have their disagreements with him, see the theology section of his wikipedia article) What is Trypho quoted as saying? "But Christ —if He has indeed been born..." All this means is that Trypho is skeptical whether or not the MESSIAH has come, this has nothing to do with the historicity of Jesus. Trypho could potentially believe that Jesus had been born but was not the Messiah.

Let's move to the Little Apocalypse. Although there were a lot of casualties from Roman reprisals, this was by no means as destructive as you'd have us believe.

"Historian Shmuel Katz writes that even after the disaster of the revolt: 'Jewish life remained active and productive. Banished from Jerusalem, it now centred on Galilee. Refugees returned; Jews who had been sold into slavery were redeemed. In the centuries after Bar Kochba and Hadrian, some of the most significant creations of the Jewish spirit were produced in Palestine. It was there that the Mishnah was completed and the Jerusalem Talmud was compiled, and the bulk of the community farmed the land.'"

en.wikipedia.org...-term_consequences_and_historic_importance

So if Galilee was largely spared from the Roman onslaught, and according to the Gospels, Galilee was the epicenter of Jesus' ministry, shouldn't the post-Kokhba Jews be in a prime position to refute the Gospels, if in fact they were untrue?

[edit on 25-9-2007 by uberarcanist]



posted on Sep, 25 2007 @ 11:05 PM
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If I don't protest that Harry Potter and all his stories are untrue does that mean that they are?

This is the same argument that many haters of all Muslims use - if all Muslims don't make a huge outcry denouncing the tiny percentage that are the radical extremists then, obviously, they must agree and sympathize with them. Rubbish in the extreme!

If you think something is so patently absurd that it's not worth even considering then you aren't going to spend your days and nights railing against it.

Do people who don't believe in UFOs have marches and write letters to the editor and wear t-shirts proclaiming that UFOs don't exist?



posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 11:13 AM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


Al Davison Do people who don't believe in UFOs have marches and write letters to the editor and wear t-shirts proclaiming that UFOs don't exist?

In Re UFOs. In April, 1954, I had the good fortune to have a first hand experience in the hunt for UFOs. A young Air Force type working at Hunter AFB, Savannah, I was reassigned to Loring AFB, Limestone, ME. Through some typo in the personnel office over my AFSC - Air Force Specialty Code - my job classification, I got instead travel orders to McGhee-Tyson AFB near Knoxville,TN. To Detachment D, 15th AISS. Air Intelligence Service Squadron, Brooks AFB, TX. Staffed by 10 men. Well, 9 men and one officer. As soon as I reported in, it became apparent I was at the wrong place.

Frantic teletype messages back and forth promised NEW travel orders in the mail. But you can’t just lay around in the military. I was sent along with another EM - enlisted man - by the technical sergeant (E6) NCOIC - non-commissioned officer in charge - on an interview of a UFO report received from a small town farm family on the TN and NC line.

He and I drove his car there. We stopped at a small grocery for directions to our destination. We learned the 2 people had a good reputation locally for truthfulness. We duly noted that on our blank forms. We arrived at the small 4 room farm house, a man 50-ish and his wife of equal age, welcomed us.

By prior arrangement, I took the woman to the porch and interviewed her while the lead man interviewed the man at the kitchen table over a cup of coffee. 30 minutes later, there being nothing to photograph, we were heading back to Marysville, the town nearest to McGhee-Tyson. We had 4 pages of completed forms from the interviews. We tried to get the “witnesses” to write their own accounts but as the Lieutenant predicted, most people don’t mind telling you their story but only a few want to write it. When we returned to the WW2 temporary building housing Detachment D, the forms were logged in, indexed and the completed paperwork put into a large envelope already addressed to the HQ at San Antonio, TX. We knew what the postman did not know, it was going to Project Bluebook!

I had been instructed - a 30 minute intro into the job by the First Lieutenant - to ask and ask again before marking the forms, but not to answer their questions. We were told to always to be courteous. Oh, the people reported seeing 2 or 3 moving lights near the ground in a field 400 feet behind their house the night before. Their stories were consistent. Neither of them had any idea what caused the lights. For them, it was a singular event. As interviewers we were not asked on the forms if we believed the report. We were asked if we believed the interviewees. We did. A couple days later my new orders arrived and I departed for Maine.

[edit on 9/26/2007 by donwhite]



posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 02:11 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


But all of those things have no impact on those who didn't believe in them, with the exception of Muslims, and every Muslim I've ever met strongly condemned extremism. But yet we do NOT find ANY serious attempt by Jews even hundreds of years after Jesus' death to refute the Gospels, although Christianity has always had a huge impact on Judaism.

It just doesn't add up.

[edit on 26-9-2007 by uberarcanist]



posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 04:01 PM
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in what way did/has Chrisitanity had a "huge impact" on Judaism?

I can't think of a single one. I think that's how most Jews, today, view Christianity. It's not like they are competitors in the market (at least from the POV of the Jews) because Jews do not attempt to convert anyone to Judaism.

So, how so? I'm not being purely argumentative here - I really have no idea what anyone would see as some "huge impact" - or even a small impact.

It doesn't matter to me if you believe in Satan or Santa - I have my beliefs and I don't try to convince you that you are wrong or that I am right or that you should believe what I believe.

My wife of 27 years is Jewish so I've been around a lot of Jews for a very long time and I've never heard anything that would suggest that they care what Christians believe one way or another. The only exception is when Christians try to impose their faith on one of them and even that's not anything more than just an annoyance.

I think your argument falls apart on your basic premise. The point I was trying to make earlier - you don't protest what you don't really care about and what doesn't "impact" you one way or another. It's a non-issue.



posted on Sep, 26 2007 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


Hm. Ever heard of pogroms? Ever heard of the Christian-Jewish split following the council of Jamnia? Ever heard of the boost Zionists have gotten from ultraconservative evangelicals?

The list goes on and on.



posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 09:27 PM
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ahhh....sure, now I remember! It's when Christians hunt down and kill the Jews throughout history that makes the "huge impact". My bad.

Silly me, I thought we were talking about theology or religious beliefs or something cerebral so, somehow, violence just slipped my mind.

Remind me again what a particular group should do when they need to protest that another religious group is killing them in wholesale slaughter. Print bumperstickers?

Jamnia was nothing much more than saying "look, if you guys want to believe that this Jesus guy was the Messiah then, fine, but that's not what Jews believe so maybe you ought to go have your own religion and leave the real Jews alone". It was actually quite sensible and no blood was shed....maybe the difference between the Jews and the Christians that the Jews didn't kill them - the just told them that they couldn't come back to the Synagogue. So, was it a split? No, not exactly since a "split" seems to imply two fairly even portions and the "Jesus was the Messiah" crowd was definitely a small minority in this case since most of the Jesus-ers had already gone off on their own.

Keep 'em coming if you like...

[edit on 27-9-2007 by Al Davison]



posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 11:01 PM
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reply to post by Al Davison
 


Your implication that Jews and Christians merely had an amicable split and that was that is not only grossly contradicted by the Bible, which records numerous examples of Christian persecution by Jews, but it is also completely flying in the face of how Jewish sects have historically gotten along, which is very poorly (see my link on Samaritans below). If the Gospels were as fallible as you imply, you can be assured that the mainstream Jews would lord their inaccuracy over the very heterodox (by Jewish standards) Christians.

P.S.

I do not endorse the pogroms and find them to be a loathsome corruption of Christianity.

en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Sep, 27 2007 @ 11:32 PM
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Originally posted by uberarcanist
reply to post by Al Davison
 


Your implication that Jews and Christians merely had an amicable split and that was that is not only grossly contradicted by the Bible, which records numerous examples of Christian persecution by Jews, but it is also completely flying in the face of how Jewish sects have historically gotten along, which is very poorly (see my link on Samaritans below). If the Gospels were as fallible as you imply, you can be assured that the mainstream Jews would lord their inaccuracy over the very heterodox (by Jewish standards) Christians.

P.S.

I do not endorse the pogroms and find them to be a loathsome corruption of Christianity.

en.wikipedia.org...


Alrighty, let's see if I can remember to hit all your points on which we disagree.
- Where in the Bible (whose Bible? which version?) is there a mention of Jamnia? I'm not saying it's not there - just that I've only read about Jamnia in history books and even those don't always agree. (Wikipedia may be a good place to start but it's certainly not all you need to know about anything if you're serious.)

- without spending too much time looking back to see if my posts were on this thread or another, I think you'll see that I've never accused the Jews of getting along well with each other throughout history. Even today, there are Orthodox, Reform, Hassidics, Conservatives, Reconstruction, and more in the USA alone! I'm sure there are many more and they do not agree with each other and always play nice (though I Know of no serious violence between them other than the occaisional spitting incidents by the Hassids - they can be rather beligerent so I'm told.)

- Christian persecution of Jews? You may be thinking of the Romans and some of the Sanhedrin that got in bed with the Romans (those priests actually were killed by a lot of the angry Jewish commoners later on - that is one example of Jew-on-Jew violence). Theese guys were just plain corrupt and they paid for it. Widespread Jewish persecution of Christians wasn't really about Christians - it was directed towards Gentiles and it wasn't religious in nature. Do you have some specifics in mind that you'd like me to address?

- I'm not going to repeat all I've said before on this topic of "the Jews would have refuted the Gospels if they weren't true". One more time: the Jews paid no attention to the Gospels as they were of no consequence to them. The Jews were not seeking dominion over the Christians. You're talking about a place and period of history during which the Christians were so small, so scattered, so inconsequential that they didn't matter to the Jewish population in any way. What Gospels, any way? There weren't any "Gospels" as you know them until Nicea. Or, I should say, there were hundreds of gospels and most of them didn't agree with each other substantially. They were more like "leaflets" than books. Even in oral form, only the other Christians would have heard them. Once again, this is all about nothing.
(Side note: are you aware that there were many, many Christian sects and early "gospels" that did not mention Jesus at all? Many that did not believe that this Messiah had ever really lived as a person? Many that considered the idea of the crucifixion to be the most blasphemous thing that they had every heard said about their Messiah and HATED the symbol of the cross as a mockery and a grotesque insult? Just how much Christian history do you really know?)

- Finally, I'm quite sure that you do not endorse violence like pograms! I would never think you did! You may find some comfort in knowing that the pograms and other such mass violence against Jews was practically never about religious differences. It was "racial" - they would not have used quotes around the term in those days. The oppressors were jealous and suspicious and, in too many cases, just so greedy that they saw financially successful Jews as an easy target against which they could incite a mob and then come in and take all their property.

So, anyway, we're having a good discussion but I must contend that the basis of your argument that the Jews were required to refute Christianity unless they believed it was true is still very, very far from being satisfactorily demonstrated.

Thanks!



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