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Historical Jesus

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,
 

rousseau

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For a start you could look at this 400 post thread on the topic. Or just do a thread title search for jesus and see 40 other tangentially related topics.

And IIRC I made a thread on the topic a few years ago on Free Ratio that should be archived, and which spanned for over a thousand posts.

Or we could do this:

I_Can_Typing.gif
 

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For a start you could look at this 400 post thread on the topic. Or just do a thread title search for jesus and see 40 other tangentially related topics.

And IIRC I made a thread on the topic a few years ago on Free Ratio that should be archived, and which spanned for over a thousand posts.

Or we could do this:

I_Can_Typing.gif

Complaints are not evidence
 

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The only explanation I've heard that makes me think a historical Jesus might have existed is the Criterion of Embarrassment. Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist kind of makes Jesus look less than godlike. Being hung or nailed to a tree is also usually the fate of the most worthless people according to Jewish tradition, so it's less likely to be made up. But it does seem a bit odd that none of the Roman historians mentioned this guy during his lifetime if he was supposedly performing miracles all over the place. If the story of Jesus is supposed to be the most important message from God that mankind ever received, you would hope God would make the story a little more different than all the other myths we have created.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Well you have to remember that is how Romans killed people in those days, not just Jesus but the very same day quite a few more people were nailed to the cross and of course continued to happen. Jesus was just a name that the religious founders picked - they could have picked any name - tom, dick or harry - just pick a name, weave a nice story around him, push some miracles that supposedly happened and now you have a religion

All religions have these markers

What is needed are believers who fall for this Ponzi-scheme - zero evidence of any such miracles or virgin births or stars zooming in the sky - and that is why they stress belief so much - "only if you believe, he will reward you" and for those pesky people like yourself and myself who ask pesky questions, here come the threats of hell

I have increasingly come to embrace the word - Brainwashing - that is the only way how i can explain why millions of bright, educated people refuse to ask questions. The fear of death and greed for the easy good life overcoming all intelligence it seems
 

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To save you a thousand pages of reading, the HJ argument basically boils down to that there's some scant evidence that maybe there was some guy who vaguely resembled the guy from the stories. Is pretty thin, though.

It's enough of a tenuous thread to cling to if you're a believer and you want to pretend that there's validation for you beliefs because you know deep down that faith doesn't actually cut it, but if you have no emotional investment in the story then it's kind of dumb to put any credence in what's out there.
 

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I think the book of Mark was written only decades after the claimed events. So it seems that something happened in relation to some charismatic rabbi going by the name of Yeshua Ben Yosef, and from there the myth of the 'godman' grew.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!
 

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The only explanation I've heard that makes me think a historical Jesus might have existed is the Criterion of Embarrassment. Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist kind of makes Jesus look less than godlike. Being hung or nailed to a tree is also usually the fate of the most worthless people according to Jewish tradition, so it's less likely to be made up. But it does seem a bit odd that none of the Roman historians mentioned this guy during his lifetime if he was supposedly performing miracles all over the place. If the story of Jesus is supposed to be the most important message from God that mankind ever received, you would hope God would make the story a little more different than all the other myths we have created.

ApostateAbe, who I believe still hangs around here, was an avid proponent of the criterion of embarrassment. I never bought it because the very things touted in this model are just as easily explained (and better, IMO) by the possibility that these stories developed over time and over large areas. GMark is an adoptionist narrative of the Jesus myth, opening with the baptism which marks the point at which Yahweh "adopted" Jesus as his son, saying "You are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." There is no reason to believe at that particular juncture in the development of the Jesus myth that people believed him to be immaculate. That sort of thinking could easily have come later.

There may have been an historical person around whom the legends developed or there may not have been. The evidence we have right now is inconclusive either way.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

The gospels are not independent accounts. They are embroidered versions of some older text.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

Well if you discount the untold amount of money, power and fame that can manifestly be traced back to the fabrication of this myth then maybe you have a point. If your argument is that the originator(s) of this myth could not envisioned the impact thereof you're still stuck with the fact that such myths are generated on a nearly hourly basis by people all the time. Only a very few make the big time, but the process never stops. Might as well ask what possible gain Joseph Smith thought he would get from inventing Moroni and the golden plates. Or what possible benefit Marshall Applewhite would get from inventing a dumbass story about the Hale-Bopp comet, or L Ron Hubbard's invention of Xenu's genocide.

We don't have to know everything about how a story was originated to recognize that a story about a magic Jew who cured neurological disorders with a touch, performed alchemy, defied the laws of gravity and magically turned morsels of food into feasts for thousands is probably fiction. Rewrites of the same story appearing decades later, especially ones that include demonstrably false additional details, do nothing to corroborate the original tale.

In spite of this there still could have been an original itinerant cult leader name Jesus who provided the original nucleus around which these mendacities were attached. But even if such a person existed the story is still manifestly fictional as a whole. This person didn't walk on water, levitate off the ground to disappear into the sky or cure lifelong paralytics with a mere touch. These sorts of fantastic things constitute most of the earliest version of this story we have (GMark).
 

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In spite of this there still could have been an original itinerant cult leader name Jesus who provided the original nucleus around which these mendacities were attached. But even if such a person existed the story is still manifestly fictional as a whole. This person didn't walk on water, levitate off the ground to disappear into the sky or cure lifelong paralytics with a mere touch. These sorts of fantastic things constitute most of the earliest version of this story we have (GMark).
Oh yeah...but the Kingdom of Colchis and the golden fleece are real ;)



Now where did I leave my Dodonian stem....
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

No. Socrates had fellow philosophers who came both immediately before and after him and there is a well documented and undisputed body of historical knowledge about him. His ideas helped found etcetera etcetera.

We also know that while many works of art depicting Socrates as muscular he-man are inaccurate, we do know that in reality he was considered rather ugly and even had an ugly wife. We know of other factual figures he interacted with.

It's just not an apt comparison.

As to Jesus, like someone else said, there was probably some guy that people liked who went against the Jewish power structure and got obliterated for it. From there, the legend grew. It's similar to the Roswell incident in that myths don't develop overnight. Some event or series of events occurred--some Thing happens. Then, after a period of incubation, when the real story has faded and fantastical things begin to cling like lint, a myth emerges. Then you get things like Jesus and UFO conspiracies.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

How do you know that gain was the motivation?

The author of gMark, usually considered the first, created a blockbuster. But we know nothing about that author or his motives.

Socrates we know of through contemporaneous accounts. There are none for Jesus, advantage mythicists.
 

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How do you know that gain was the motivation?
A while back, someone sent me an email of a letter put out by the cops in Jacksonville. Someone was attaching HIV-infected needles to pumps at gas stations. It's hard to identify a way that profit could have motivated someone to perform such an act.

Then someone else sent me an email showing that the title of the person allegedly writing that letter did not exist in Jacksonville. It's hard to identify a way the author of the hoax could have been motivated by profit.

certainly, profit was not the motivation for the people who forward me such emails or link me to Snopes pages.
 

Horatio Parker

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How do you know that gain was the motivation?
A while back, someone sent me an email of a letter put out by the cops in Jacksonville. Someone was attaching HIV-infected needles to pumps at gas stations. It's hard to identify a way that profit could have motivated someone to perform such an act.

Then someone else sent me an email showing that the title of the person allegedly writing that letter did not exist in Jacksonville. It's hard to identify a way the author of the hoax could have been motivated by profit.

certainly, profit was not the motivation for the people who forward me such emails or link me to Snopes pages.

I think a situation like that of gMark allows anyone to project whatever motives they wish onto the author.
 

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Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

The gospels are not independent accounts. They are embroidered versions of some older text.
'Q', yes. They are so different in style that they are clearly be different people however.

- - - Updated - - -

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

How do you know that gain was the motivation?

The author of gMark, usually considered the first, created a blockbuster. But we know nothing about that author or his motives.

Socrates we know of through contemporaneous accounts. There are none for Jesus, advantage mythicists.

How much was Mark paid? We know Socrates from Plato, and Xenophon's picture is hugely different. We have no independent evidence.
 

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Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

How do you know that gain was the motivation?

The author of gMark, usually considered the first, created a blockbuster. But we know nothing about that author or his motives.

Socrates we know of through contemporaneous accounts. There are none for Jesus, advantage mythicists.

How much was Mark paid?
Mark who? The author of the Gospel of Mark is pretty much unknown. Whoever it was could have been part of a cult group and getting housed and fed while spinning his story onto papyrus. And/or maybe Paul was cutting him in on the fame factor. We know that very few people like to feel they are important after all....

How much was Joseph Smith paid?
 

Horatio Parker

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How much was Mark paid? We know Socrates from Plato, and Xenophon's picture is hugely different. We have no independent evidence.

Nothing about the author of gMark is known.

Our information about Socrates may conflict, but the point is, he existed.
 

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Who, in the Roman Empire, could possibly have gained from making him up? Read the two different accounts of Socrates (who undoubtedly existed), then go back to the NT - they are far less consistent than the Gospels, which are manifestly by different people. American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!

If the logic of your argument were sound, then no one would invent religions ever.

So if you truly believe that your argument is valid, then you must conclude that all religions are true. Since the Bible claims to represent the one and only true religion, then if the logic of your argument is good, then the Bible must be false.

But thankfully for you, your argument is just an appeal to consequence fallacy.

Who benefits? Lots of people benefit.

The leaders of the resulting religion gain wealth and political influence. The state gains a new mechanism for controlling the masses. The fact that the Roman empire made Christianity the official state religion proves that powerful Romans considered Christianity to be a useful political control mechanism.

It's the same exact benefits for creating any religion.

Look, any piece of historical evidence has to meet certain criteria in order to be accepted by historians. The evidence we have for Socrates meets this criteria. The Bible would be rejected if it failed even one of those historical criteria, but the Bible actually manages to fail every single one of those criteria, and there are no corroborating contemporaneous sources validating anything in the Bible other than the names of places and peoples. If that is your standard for historical evidence, then all historical fiction is true.

Why do a majority of the relevant scholars think the character of Jesus in the New Testament is at least in part based on a real person? That conclusion is based purely on circumstantial evidence, and it is worth looking at.

For instance, the census of Quirinius did not happen. Not only did it not happen, but there has never been a census that forced families to move back to the birthplace of the head of household. So the Bible is clearly lying about the census of Quirinius. However, it's the obvious reason for the lie that provides circumstantial evidence for Jesus. That lie is in the New Testament in order to shoehorn Jesus into "fulfilling" some prophecy.

If Jesus were entirely fictional, then why not change the story to have him be born in that city in the first place? Why tell an elaborate lie in order to claim Jesus "comes from" a particular town like that? While there are many possible explanations for this, the simplest explanation is that the story started with a real person who was not born in the correct town to fulfill the prophecy, and that later authors of the Bible lied in order to claim that Jesus fulfilled the prophecy.

That particular lie in the New Testament simply makes more sense if you assume the character of Jesus was in part based on a real person.

Obviously, the character of Jesus is also based on a large number of fictional characters, but we don't need to go into that, do we? If at least one of the inspirations for that character was real, then we can't say that Jesus was entirely mythical.
 

Tom Sawyer

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Obviously, the character of Jesus is also based on a large number of fictional characters, but we don't need to go into that, do we? If at least one of the inspirations for that character was real, then we can't say that Jesus was entirely mythical.

Well, I don't know about that. For instance, apparently the inspiration of Rambo was based on real life war heroes who had trouble adjusting to society afterwards. The fact that real people were the inspiration for the development of the character doesn't mean that the character himself is not an entirely fictional creation. Scarlett O'Hara is likely a good representation of what women in the South at her time were like because the characteristics of those women were used when writing her but that doesn't somehow make her anything less than an entirely fictional creation.

There comes a point at which "based on real events" becomes completely unrelated to the events which were the original inspiration for the story. When you get to that point, you can't then say that it's still not entirely a fictional story just because you based it on something that's real but then went ahead and changed everything when writing the story.
 

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It is my understanding the gospels were written after thesolonians
 

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Was there ever such a person as Saul of Tarsus?
Perhaps he was an invented character as well.

I'm starting to wonder if the disciples like James, Simon, Phillip, Bartholemew - all of them - weren't just figments of the imagination in the mind of whoever invented the entire story.
 

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To me the Jesus myth falls into a category of writing that is "Mythology posing as history." There's a lot of it. When it comes to GMark and trying to say something like "What parts are likely to be historical and what parts are likely to be fictional?" I just really have a hard time finding much that isn't heavily pushed into the fiction realm.

Jesus may have been baptized by John, but it's unlikely that this event was immediately followed by a booming voice from the sky giving him the endorsement of the big guy. Then he goes off to the desert to have this one-on-one with Satan.

The book goes on to chronicle this series of anecdotes from this person's life, but many of them are simply situational opportunities for him to perform miracles. He goes to a town but the main event is he performs an exorcism. He's in a boat but the main event is he calms a storm. He's out trying to get some peace and quiet but vast throngs of people are following him and he has the opportunity to perform a miracle by feeding all of them on a few morsels. He goes to another town and raises a girl from the dead. He goes to another town and heals a blind man. There's lots of meat but it's all wrapped around this skeleton of mythology.

So to summarize, we have a story that includes about 4-6 things that *might* have happened:

  • Baptism by John
  • Calling the disciples
  • Various sermons / teachings / confrontations with Jewish leaders
  • Rides into Jerusalem on a borrowed mule, makes a scene, gets his ass Jimmy Hoffa'd.

Pretty much everything else in this story is fantasy and myth. Or vanishingly unlikely as his period of fame that somehow managed to avoid getting preserved in any way in the historical record.

Personally I think there was a historical person behind all this, and that this person had the charisma to generate a cult following. When he got disappeared his followers lived in denial and believed he'd be back some day. This belief evolved into the still-being-preached warning that he's "coming soon." Paul capitalized on the zealousness of the cult and helped move it into the next level by creating a set of scriptures to solidify it. The "gospels" came later and were drawn from a much more complete Jesus picture than the skeleton one presented in the Pauline epistles.

That's my opinion. Ought to be your'n
 

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It really starts to eat away at ones faith when one realizes that (probably) every single character in the entire bible must have never existed.

Jesus' genealogy leading up to the Gospel must be all invented characters as well - necessary for the plot development. No historical Joseph and Mary. No historical ancestors. No real expectation of a real Messiah in real life.
:rolleyesa:
 

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Personally I think there was a historical person behind all this, and that this person had the charisma to generate a cult following. When he got disappeared his followers lived in denial and believed he'd be back some day. This belief evolved into the still-being-preached warning that he's "coming soon." Paul capitalized on the zealousness of the cult and helped move it into the next level by creating a set of scriptures to solidify it. The "gospels" came later and were drawn from a much more complete Jesus picture than the skeleton one presented in the Pauline epistles.
Yep. I also kind of find it similar to the Joseph Smith and Brigham Young pair of charmers that we have much more information on.
 

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It really starts to eat away at ones faith when one realizes that (probably) every single character in the entire bible must have never existed.
I don't think 'realize' is the proper verb, here.
I mean, the whole point of historical fiction is to use as much real history as possible, so the fictional accounts are very likely leavened with the names of real people. If nothing else, it makes a nice window dressing for the fictional accounts. And people who know just enough to recognize a city or a king's name would be more likely to buy the rest of the story as that much close to plausible.

Jesus' genealogy leading up to the Gospel must be all invented characters as well
Oh, surely not. After all, there was a prophecy that needed to be fulfilled. So a list of kings from David to the general time of Jesus would be crucial to 'selling' the story.

After all, it doesn't have to be ALL OR NOTHING. Pilate can certainly be historical, and NEVER have delivered any of the dialogue attributed to him in The Books without really adding + or - to the question of Jesus' historicity.
 

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I am quite prepared to accept that Jesus existed. He was a man with a beard who was a bit odd. There are people like that today. But as for all magic tricks? Nah.

I blame Constantine the Great (!)
 

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Who benefits? Lots of people benefit.
The leaders of the resulting religion gain wealth and political influence.

Yeah, right.

View attachment 7199
I'm going with the status quo of the time didn't like being accused of murder
Eventually the religion helped people acquire wealth and power that weren't the status quo
And changing the topic of the discussion won't help you, changing the topic is not evidence of historical Jesus
 

Atheos

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Who benefits? Lots of people benefit.
The leaders of the resulting religion gain wealth and political influence.

Yeah, right.

View attachment 7199

I'll see your artist conception of possible persecution of Christians by tossing them into the Colosseum to be fed to lions and raise you an actual photograph of the very real Vatican.

Vatican_rome_and_saint_peters_night_view.jpg


The fact that some Christians may have been persecuted (and I do not dispute that some were) has absolutely no bearing on whether or not other people benefited from the creation and propagation of this belief.

And has already been pointed out more than once in this thread, people do not have to benefit from myths to make them up.
 

atrib

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Who benefits? Lots of people benefit.
The leaders of the resulting religion gain wealth and political influence.

Yeah, right.

View attachment 7199

No, people like this guy:

pope-benedict-xvi-shutterstock-featured-w740x493.jpg

The odds that the Jesus person described in the Bible actually existed and did all the things that are commonly attributed to him are vanishingly small. There may have been an actual person whom the Jesus myth is based on, but we can be certain beyond any reasonable doubt that even if this were the case, Jesus did not possess supernatural powers or the ability to rise up from the dead and fly through space out of the known universe.
 

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You think 1st century Christians were aiming for the Vatican trappings of office circa AD 2016?
That's a pretty amazing insight into how Rome was going to change.
 

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@Atheos
You think 1st century Christians were aiming for the Vatican trappings of office circa AD 2016?
That's a pretty amazing insight into how Rome was going to change.

No, and if you'd actually listen to what people say and respond to that rather than post what you think you heard you'd know that.

Besides, consider the implications of your implied argument: Did Joseph Smith foresee burning to death in a jail cell as a direct result of his invention (Mormonism)? Is it possible that he had other incentives and things didn't go the way he had hoped? The same inventors of Christianity who wouldn't have known about the Vatican are the same ones who wouldn't have known that ~50 years hence some of their followers would be persecuted in Rome. Your argument implies that if some folks didn't benefit then nobody benefited. It's a really poor argument.
 

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I’m pretty confident that Jesus and his merry bunch are at least as real as Jason, Aeson, and Medea. I’ll bet that the whole Jesus death/resurrection narrative is about as real as the Golden Fleece that Jason was after. I’d say the backdrop for the Bible has a similar track record for reality as the description of the Colchis Kingdom, Lemnos, the Dodoni holy speaking oak, the Colchis dragon, Sirens, Troy, et.al. I will say that the NT backdrop is probably far more accurate than the Jason and the Golden Fleece fable backdrop. However, the OT backdrop is hardly any more real, other than it containing more names of people and places that existed.

Jason probably was a person. The kingdom of Colchis did exist. The Island of Lemnos is there. Yet, for some crazy reason I don’t think I’ll fall for the Siren song…
 

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@Atheos
You think 1st century Christians were aiming for the Vatican trappings of office circa AD 2016?
That's a pretty amazing insight into how Rome was going to change.

No, and if you'd actually listen to what people say and respond to that rather than post what you think you heard you'd know that.

You posted in image of the Vatican as an example of why people in 1st Century Palestine were supposedlywilling to lie about God and risk torture/death. How on earth could they anticipate that in their own lifetime?

...The same inventors of Christianity who wouldn't have known about the Vatican are the same ones who wouldn't have known that ~50 years hence some of their followers would be persecuted in Rome.

The text clearly shows that Jesus' followers were persecuted right from the beginning. There was no 50 year gap.
I assume you have read the text? I assume we both have the same set of evidence?

...Your argument implies that if some folks didn't benefit then nobody benefited. It's a really poor argument.

No. My argument is that people who didn't benefit had nothing to gain from deliberately asserting things they (supposedly) knew were false. And it is those people whose evidence is being challenged - not your late-comers or folks who reside in the Vatican.
 

Keith&Co.

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No, and if you'd actually listen to what people say and respond to that rather than post what you think you heard you'd know that.

You posted in image of the Vatican as an example of why people in 1st Century Palestine were supposedlywilling to lie about God and risk torture/death. How on earth could they anticipate that in their own lifetime?
Would they have had to know about The Vatican specifically? You can't see a link between a religious center of power in the modern world and religious centers of power in their world? The religion of Rome THEN, and the power it held, being maybe an inspiration for greed in others to try to capitalize on and seize such power?
This is not something you can perceive?
 

Cheerful Charlie

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So what is the evidence to support the claim there was a Historical Jesus?
I'm not aware of any and don't think there is any so this should not take long. ...
Bring it,

Long ago here there was quite a bit of argle-bargle on this issue, That sub-forum got shut down. It all moved to:

http://earlywritings.com

I haven't been there for awhile. You might be better served going there to start with.
 

Horatio Parker

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John? John who? Another invented character?

Since John the Baptist and his misadventures are mentioned in Josephus Flavius, it's unlikely he was a total invention.

Some think that John the Baptist was included in the gospels in such a way as to convince his followers to join Christianity. In short, he was coopted.
 

Lion IRC

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Where did Flavius get his information about this mythical Baptist dude?
 

Lion IRC

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Perhaps you misunderstood my question.

Where did Flavius get his information?
Surely he didn't invent John the Baptist.
 

Tom Sawyer

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Perhaps you misunderstood my question.

Where did Flavius get his information?
Surely he didn't invent John the Baptist.

Maybe he was a popular or well known person whom the authors wanted to include in their story. Sort of like how Captain America punched out Hitler or Spider-Man got a high five from Obama.
 

Lion IRC

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*sigh*

How did Flavius first come to believe there was a historical John the Baptist? Did he rely on second-hand testimony? Hearsay? Independent, unbiased sources? Anonymous manuscripts?
 
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