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Historical Jesus

Jarhyn

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I am sorry, there are numerous corroborating reports on Babe Ruth. There is nothing mythical.

You will have to prove otherwise.
Did you even read the post. Just... Go back, and take five minutes and quote the exact line where you think I'm calling Babe Ruth mythical. Please. Be my guest.

Show the application of the concept to them as a person.

I dare say you won't find it.
 

steve_bank

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You are too easy to manipulate.

You callaim here is amyth that Ruth missed pitches on purpose. Prove it is a myth.
 

steve_bank

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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?
This is all hand waving.

There is no evidence to support the supernatural in the gospels including the resurrection. That s what it al comes down to.

Whether JtheB or Jesus existed is irrelevant. Without the resurrection there is no Christianity. A few lines in an ancient text that clams a dead person was seen alive.
 

Jarhyn

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You are too easy to manipulate.

You callaim here is amyth that Ruth missed pitches on purpose. Prove it is a myth.
Come on. Read the exact text and quote it. It's really easy, just hilight it and click "reply".

I pointed to the fact that any such claim that someone ONLY missed ON PURPOSE, a ridiculous claim for any baseball player, is clearly myth: it's an untrue thing, a fabrication, said about a person (which is itself agnostic to the existence of the person ).
 

Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812

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The miracles performed by Jesus are exactly what was expected from a deity/divine being in Greco-Roman culture.
And yet there are no other historical persons (or virtually none) in that culture, or the Jewish culture, over many centuries (1000 years or so), who are described as having performed miracle acts such as we see Jesus described in the several 1st-century written accounts. If there are any written accounts of it, they are possibly a tiny few from about 100 AD (or 80/90 AD) AND LATER. Virtually nothing earlier, and therefore no context of miracle traditions leading up to Jesus in the 1st century.

Are there any exceptions to this broad generalization? Virtually none. But we'll look at anything which is proposed.

The rare case of Elijah/Elisha has to be noted, and also the earlier Moses legend originating probably before 1000 BC in the obscure past. These are really odd cases in the Jewish tradition otherwise almost devoid of miracles or miracle-workers. We might consider these as rare exceptions which make the rule. I.e., the rule that there are no historical persons in the ancient Jewish or Greco-Roman culture who are depicted in the literature as doing miracle acts, such as we see the historical Jesus doing.

In the Greco-Roman culture there are some miracle heroes in the literature, but all of them (or virtually all) are very ancient legends originating way back in obscurity, before 1000 BC, and nowhere near the time when they appear in literature. These are not historical persons who can be identified to a particular time and place in history (other than the distant past -- "once upon a time").

So there are virtually no historical persons in the literature described as performing miracle acts, throughout the culture into which Jesus appears at some point near 30 AD. With rare exceptions, the miracle legends are only of non-historical heroes and deities, similar to our Santa Claus, for whom there is no literature placing them at a particular time in history (except that they are ancient). But like Santa Claus, there may have once been a non-miracle character in history who was unusual in ways that made him popular and gave birth to the later miracle character, i.e., an original real person who became a legend and object of folklore evolving into a miracle myth over many centuries.

All the miracle deities/heroes of the popular culture, up to the time of Jesus, were in this miracle-myth category rather than the category of real historical persons, such as Jesus in the 1st century.

The miracles Jesus performs in the NT are found throughout Greco-Roman and ancient Near Eastern culture.
No they are not. They're almost entirely absent as anything reported as events in the literature and as acts performed by historical persons. We'll look at the reported miracle healings at the Asclepius temple, which are the closest to an exception. These reported miracle healings were a very small percent of all the testimonies to Asclepius found in the famous inscriptions.

A common way to portray someone as divine or special was to have them do miraculous things.
No it was not common. I.e., not as portraying some human historical person as divine or special. Of course there were some great deeds by someone like Alexander the Great and others, but some of these were real acts they did, and others are obvious exaggerations building on the earlier reported deeds which really happened. There are virtually no examples of "miraculous" acts by human miracle-workers, in any of the written record of ancient history.

There are miracle ideas added to some powerful military heroes, generals, emperors, especially magic birth stories. But these are not miracle acts. A magic birth legend claiming God impregnated the hero's mother cannot be taken seriously as an act performed by that hero figure. A "miracle" act means a human performing a superhuman deed which was witnessed by other humans, onlookers. There were real heroes like Alexander about whom later storytellers might add magic birth stories. That is not a "miracle" act performed by the miracle-worker.

Miracles such as healing the blind, raising the dead, turning water into wine, calming storms, etc. aren't unique to Jesus.
And yet no examples of it can be cited. Of course you can name Apollo or Zeus, but these are not historical persons which can be identified to a particular time or place in history. We need examples offered in order to take these claims seriously. We need written accounts you can quote, where the historical person is described doing the act, in public, witnessed by observers. If these reports are not "unique to Jesus," then who are some other ancient hero figures who are reported to have done these acts? Let's have quotes from the ancient written record telling us similar acts performed by someone in history.

It isn't that we have no such quotes at all. In fact, to show what we really have, I'll reproduce my revised listing, or ranking, of ancient miracle cults/miracle workers, ranked according to their "batting average" which is only an estimate of how they compare to each other. Though there obviously are no precise calculations of this, the following is good conjecture based on the real facts, or the evidence we have, from the written record of the periods in question:

.000 - 1.000 "batting average" ranking and name of miracle cult/miracle worker

.950 -------------------- Jesus Christ 30-33 AD
.300 -------------------- Asclepius Cult 400-300 BC (or -100+ AD)
.300 -------------------- Delphic Oracle
.280 -------------------- Edgar Cayce 20th century
.250 -------------------- St. Francis of Assisi
.240 -------------------- Nostradamus
.230 -------------------- Prophets Elijah/Elisha (9th century BC)
.220 -------------------- Sai Baba 20th century
.210 -------------------- Rasputin, Russian Revolution "Mad Monk"
.190 -------------------- St. Genevieve 5th century
.160 -------------------- Apollonius of Tyana* 1st century AD
.150 -------------------- Joseph Smith 19th century
.130 -------------------- Serapis, Egyptian god
.120 -------------------- Isis, Egyptian goddess


*No reported miracles until about 220 AD


So if one claims there are others who did similar miracle acts to those Jesus reportedly did in the 1st century, let's have examples of it for a change, based on actual quotes from the record (which typically are not provided), and let's place them on this list, according to what evidence there is in each case.


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Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812

(continued from previous Wall of Text)


Miracles of the Jewish prophets?

Minus Moses and Elijah and Elisha, there were virtually none.

You're all familiar with the miracles that the Jewish prophets were said to perform (such as Elijah and Elisha raising people from the dead) so . . .

"such as" usually means there were others and these ones mentioned here are only part of the many others who did the same. But the truth is that Elijah and Elisha are the ONLY ones who reportedly did miracles like raising a dead person. In fact these are really the only 2 Jewish miracle-workers, or you could add Moses to the list = 3. (Sampson had extra strength, but is that really a "miracle"?) There are virtually no others, despite the common misperception that the Jewish tradition is filled with miracles. Actually they are the exception, especially miracle-working humans. Most of the "miracles" described are done directly by a non-human, Yahweh, while the human hero looks on passively.

. . . so I'll mostly focus on miracle stories outside of the bible.

In my opinion, not only is Jesus being portrayed as the fulfillment of (and greater than) the Hebrew prophets that came before him, he's also being portrayed as greater than other Greco-Roman deities and divine beings.

So this is about a plan, a promotionalism or marketing strategy, to create a Super Divine Being who would excel all the previous divine beings.

Assuming the Gospel writers were involved in such a project, you have to explain why there's only one such superhero created by someone doing this. I.e., why was there only one plan like this to create such a Super Divine Being? Why were these planners, and only these, wanting a superhero to be greater than all the earlier heroes or deities? Why was there only one such conspiracy to create a superhero who would excel all the others? Were there no other hero cults than this one?

There was nothing unique about the early Jesus followers that they should have some special talent to create a new miracle-worker fad. Why didn't any other cult also create a Super-Divine Being greater than all the previous Greco-Roman deities and divine beings? Why did those wanting such a stronger Divine Being all converge on one person only, the Jesus figure from Galilee? Why was he the only candidate available to serve this role for the planners wanting to create a new and better divine being?

What caused all the poets, all the religionists, all the prophets, all the historians, all the clerics, all the scholars, etc. to come together in one conclave to create this one-only Messiah above all the others? with the intended result that this one-only SuperMessiah would stand apart, separate, above all the others who would pale in comparison?

BUT, there's one other flaw in this theory of a plan to create a Super-Messiah to excel all the others previously: The fact is that there are many earlier miracle legends of Divine Acts superior to those of Jesus.

Obviously the Creation of the world by Elohim, or creation of man by Prometheus -- these were greater deeds than any Jesus miracle. Why wasn't Jesus portrayed doing a creation act, if the point was for him to be greater than the earlier divine beings? Why didn't they depict Jesus as casting lightning bolts or causing the waters to separate, or dividing continents, or creating new rivers, or placing new stars or other heavenly bodies into place, like the Greco-Roman gods and others reportedly had done?

Also, what about the power of Apollo to slaughter the Achaeans by sending a plague into their camp? or the spectacular miracles of Elijah bringing down fire from the sky, to put the prophets of Baal to flight, and also to devour 50 soldiers in one fantastic slaughter (II Kings 1:9-12)? In this story there were two separate miracles of bringing down fire from the sky to consume 50 soldiers at once = 100 total victims slaughtered in one good day's work. Now, if the purpose of the Gospel writers was to create a hero greater than those earlier, why didn't they have Jesus slaughter 500 victims in one fell swoop, or 1000, to prove he was greater than Elijah who slaughtered only 100? Why did the divine-man storytellers neglect to give powers like this to Jesus, if he was supposed to be greater than all the earlier divine beings? So you can't really claim Jesus was "portrayed as greater than" the Jewish and pagan heroes who did macho miracles that make Jesus look like a girlyman by comparison.


Miraculous healings and raising people from the dead:

According to 4Q521 during the time of the messiah, God will heal the blind, heal the wounded, and revive the dead. Jesus' followers took these miracles and applied them to Jesus.
Perhaps. The Qumran beliefs (or some of them) may have been known to some of the Gospel writers. But they were known to many others also. Why were these miracles applied only to Jesus? Or, why didn't storytellers apply them to anyone else, but only to this obscure rabbi from Galilee who was a nobody? Why not to John the Baptizer? or to James the Just? What is it that made Jesus the only one to do such miracles and no one else? Why not other popular Prophets or Teachers or righteous Martyrs who were just as respected as Jesus (or even more respected)?

https://pages.uncc.edu/james-tabor/...d-sea-scrolls/the-signs-of-the-messiah-4q521/

[the hea]vens and the earth will listen to His Messiah, and none therein will stray from the commandments of the holy ones.
Seekers of the Lord, strengthen yourselves in His service!
All you hopeful in (your) heart, will you not find the Lord in this?
For the Lord will consider the pious (hasidim) and call the righteous by name.
Over the poor His spirit will hover and will renew the faithful with His power.
And He will glorify the pious on the throne of the eternal Kingdom.
He who liberates the captives, restores sight to the blind, straightens the b[ent]
And f[or] ever I will cleav[ve to the h]opeful and in His mercy . . .
And the fr[uit . . .] will not be delayed for anyone.
And the Lord will accomplish glorious things which have never been as [He . . .]
For He will heal the wounded, and revive the dead and bring good news to the poor
. . .He will lead the uprooted and knowledge . . . and smoke

This Dead Sea Scrolls text illustrates that there were Jews who believed a coming Messiah would either perform miracle acts himself, directly, or at least would be accompanied by such miracles done by Yahweh. It's not certain that "The Messiah" was supposed to be a miracle-worker -- even this Dead Sea Scroll text doesn't quite say so explicitly. However, this messiah thinking clearly did exist among some Jews, which explains why some of them thought Jesus must be "The Messiah" if he did in fact perform miracle acts like healing the blind and lepers and raising the dead. Whereas if he did not perform any such acts, then there is no explanation why anyone thought he was special and would claim he was Messiah or Savior or Son of God or Son of Man, etc.

In gMark Jesus heals a blind man with spit and heals a man with a disfigured hand. These miracles were performed by the Roman emperor Vespasian. The author of Mark just takes these miracles from Vespasian and applies them to Jesus.
Or more likely Roman storytellers took them from Mark (or from Mark's source in the 60s AD or earlier) and applied them to Vespasian. Or they took the earlier Jesus miracle and applied it to Vespasian and added the "spit" symbol, and then later Mark took the "spit" symbol from the new Vespasian story and added it to his blind man and the deaf man stories.

In any case, the miracle stories of Jesus were in place long before the Vespasian story, which does not appear until after 100 AD in the 2 Latin accounts, though there could have been a real event in 69-70 AD from which the story emerged, just as the Jesus reported miracle acts in the Gospel accounts probably emerged from much earlier reports than Mark.


Josephus and Tacitus actually claimed that the Jewish messianic prophecies were fulfilled by Vespasian. (Josephus, Wars 6.312-13; Tacitus, Hist. 5.13.1-2)
No they didn't claim any such thing. It doesn't say that in either of the above references. Neither quote above is about "Jewish messianic prophecies" being fulfilled. Of course Vespasian was a great conqueror who got credit for his achievements and paid proper respect to the gods, and who was mythologized to divine status like many other military heroes. But no one said he fulfilled Jewish messianic prophecies.



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Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812

(continued from previous Wall of Text)


Were "miracles" borrowed from pagan deities
and attributed to Vespasian and Jesus and others?


The Gospel to the Romans: the setting and rhetoric of Mark's Gospel (Brill, 2003), Brian J. Incigneri:

In addition, some scenes [in the Gospel accounts] may have been designed to counter the propaganda about Vespasian’s supposed powers.
The reverse is far more plausible: The Jesus miracle stories were circulating long before the Vespasian story. What is arguable is that Mark around 70 AD borrowed the "spit" theme from the Vespasian story. But the healing miracles of Jesus and the Resurrection story were already circulating long before this and likely inspired the Vespasian story. (There are two miracle healings reported in the Q document source for Mt and Lk -- Mt. 8:5-13 and Mt. 12:22. This source is considered earlier than Mark.) Prior to Vespasian no Roman emperor was credited with performing a healing miracle. Why only at this later time did Romans first begin wanting their emperor to perform miracle healings?

It's easy to explain how the Vespasian hero figure was mythologized into a miracle legend, as he was a popular celebrity of the period, revered widely across many nations inside and outside the Empire, probably the most powerful and most popular hero of that time, anywhere, worshiped by millions of Romans. While in contrast it's impossible to explain how Jesus, who had no power, could be mythologized into a popular miracle legend during this period, when he was an unknown, especially how we could have a written record reporting him doing these acts repeatedly on page after page, in 4 separate sources. While for Vespasian we have only 2 sources for this one reported miracle event.

According to Josephus, Vespasian considered that “divine providence had assisted him to grasp the empire” ( JW 4.622), and the propaganda echoed his belief. Tacitus reports that, while Vespasian was in Alexandria in 69 on the way back to Rome, he restored a blind man’s sight using spittle, and healed another man’s withered hand;
This was a prescribed healing cult ritual, Serapis being one of many ancient healing deities, such as was performed commonly among ancient worshipers, in many cultures, honoring god (or the gods) and praying to them for miracles like healing, and sometimes crediting the god(s) if the victim recovered. We have such miracle claims of healing in all cultures, including today, as religious people do their rituals and praying and chanting; and when the prayers go unanswered everyone forgets it, but if the victim recovers the credit goes to the god(s) they had prayed to.

So the ancient ritual procedure and the Serapis deity were already recognized by these worshipers who sought out Vespasian to serve this role, to confirm their religious tradition. His vast popularity and celebrity status and hero image can easily explain how this story, though probably fiction, might be well received by the public and get high approval ratings.


these were seen as signs of “a certain favour of Providence towards him” (Histories 4.81). Suetonius and Dio repeat these stories, . . . showing how well known these miracles became, no doubt encouraged by Vespasian himself and by his supporters (Suetonius, Vespasian 7; Dio, History 66.8.1)...
There are only 2 legitimate sources (Suetonius and Tacitus) for this reported miracle event, not 3. Dio's History dates to about 150 years later, which is too long after the fact to serve as evidence for a miracle claim. The alleged Vespasian miracle, not appearing in the literature until after 100 AD, is clearly part of the explosion of new miracle stories in the literature, maybe the first example, beginning near the end of the 1st century after the outburst of miracle claims in the Gospel accounts, for which there is no explanation or precedent. I.e., the Vespasian story is easily explained as part of a recognizable pattern of new miracle stories at that time, whereas the Jesus miracle stories are unexplainable and happen contrary to the pattern of the period (30 AD and earlier) when there is a conspicuous absence of such stories in the literature.
. . .

Vespasian's healing powers were said to come from the god Sarapis who was already known for miraculous healings. It was common to appropriate miraculous aspects from deities and apply them to other divine beings which is what the authors of the NT are doing to Jesus.
No that's not what they're doing.

That "It was common to appropriate miraculous aspects" and apply them to others is false in two ways:

1) In the case of the NT portrayal of Jesus, the authors cite no ancient deity as the origin of his healing power, from which to "appropriate" a miracle, though this is what Tacitus and Suetonius report and what the worshipers of Serapis did who petitioned Vespasian to do the healing ritual for them. In the case of the Jesus healing miracles, by contrast, there is no connection to any standard religious rituals or earlier healing deities or previous miracle legend/tradition of the existing culture. (The connection of Jesus to the Jewish "Messiah" symbolism was very awkward, because the Messiah was supposed to be a conqueror figure, not someone who would end up tortured and crucified and humiliated by those in power.) In virtually all the reported miracle episodes of Jesus there is no mention of ancient Jewish religious symbolism or beliefs or healing ritual.

2) It's not true that "it was common to appropriate miraculous" healings from deities and apply them to "divine beings" like Vespasian or other humans. Just because this was done in the singular case of Vespasian does not mean it was COMMON -- it was not. Let us have some examples of this from the ancient literature. It's typical to not give the examples, and just say "it was common" for such miracles to be attributed to "divine beings" (humans becoming gods) etc. No it was not "common" to apply miracles to any historical persons.

If it's true that "it was common to apply miraculous healings" to such persons, there should be more than only this one Vespasian example. In fact this is the only example of a reported miracle act over many centuries, even over 1000 years, where a miracle is attributed to a historical person -- in the written record, regardless which divine man it was attributed to -- the truth is that it was extremely rare, not "common" at all. Cite the text in the ancient literature telling of any other such reported miracle act, appropriated from the ancient gods and attributed to a human historical character.

It was NOT "common" even if you might dig out one odd example somewhere.

Actually, if you search hard enough over such a long stretch of centuries, you might come up with 1 or 2 cases, showing that "it was common" is false, even if there's a rare exception. (One case the debunkers avoid mentioning is that of King Pyrrhus and his legendary magic toe, mentioned only by Plutarch after 100 AD -- they avoid this because "magic toe" sounds like a joke and they don't want to sound ridiculous -- except for that, they would probably cite this silly example as evidence that "It was common to appropriate miraculous aspects from deities and apply them to other divine beings . . ." Virtually every case of a miracle-worker in the written record appears later than 100 AD, earlier than which there are virtually no examples of human miracle-workers to whom the miraculous aspects were applied from Serapis or other deities. But after this time it's Christ who becomes the one from whom such miracles are "appropriated" and attributed to the new crop of reputed miracle-workers -- i.e., proceeding on into the Middle Ages.

It is amazing how Jesus-debunker mythicists (e.g. Robert Price) offer pagan parallels to Jesus, and yet when you check into the facts of each case, it turns out that the source of each is dated later than 100 AD. Don't take my word for it. Listen to this debunker give his examples of all the pagan miracle legends which provide the context for the Jesus miracle-worker of 30 AD:



These later sources are quoted telling about some 1st-century (or earlier) miracle-worker, and yet never is there any earlier source, but only the much later source offered. Why do they misrepresent their source, pretending it's about events prior to Jesus and leading up to him, when their source is always later, after our 1st-century sources for the Jesus acts? You must question these claims yourself (even when they come from Bart Ehrman who is usually reliable) without trusting the debunker-guru to be truthful about the pagan-parallel miracle-workers who are said to provide the context for the Jesus miracle-worker of 30 AD. Ehrman even called Apollonius of Tyana a "literary antecedent" to Jesus, a gross falsehood because this Apollonius came later than Jesus and the only reference to a miracle by him is from a source later than 200 AD. There were no such earlier miracle-workers or references to them anywhere showing a context for explaining the appearance of the Jesus miracle-worker in the 1st century.

What really happens is a new wave of miracle stories beginning near 100 (90) AD, increasing into a flood of these as we proceed into the Middle Ages, where we find the real age of miracles (mostly copycat stories going back to the historical Jesus). It is really dishonest to claim that miracle legends were proper to the ancient world which passed these on to later history. The opposite is the case: Miracle-worker claims (legends of humans in history doing miracle acts) were extremely rare in the pre-Christian ancient world, but originate mainly from the latter 1st century AD. Something new happened in the 1st century AD to change this pattern, changing the earlier non-miracle culture into one where miracle beliefs became prominent and miracle legends began to originate and evolve on a new scale far beyond anything previous.

i.e.

ANCIENT WORLD (before 50 AD) = period of much LESS miracle belief & miracle-workers

to

MIDDLE AGES AND LATER = period of much MORE miracle belief & miracle-workers.

with the transition point being around 80 or 90 or 100 AD.

Anyone can easily check the facts and see this obvious pattern. Which includes a virtual absence of miracle claims in the period of about 200 (300) BC to 50 AD, showing an obvious decline or gap in miracle claims leading into the 1st century AD. Something must have happened in the early 1st century, around 20-50 AD, which radically reversed this pattern of decline, changing the culture so that suddenly in the subsequent literature we have an unexplained avalanche of new miracle beliefs and claims about miracle-workers.

Before this transition there were healing rituals (not reports of miracles) in the culture, for the various deities, and prescriptions to be followed by priests or worshipers, in hopes of producing the desired outcome. (And that pattern continues on into modern times.) But there were no reported cases (or virtually none) of a miracle actually taking place performed by a historical human miracle-worker -- reported in a source near the time it happened rather than only centuries later in the writings of poets. (I.e., Ovid and others wrote only of ancient miracle heroes, not of any recent miracle-workers or miracle cults popping up near his time.)

(There is a change in the pattern into modern times, in contrast to the ancient world (or before 1000 AD). Things have changed by now, past the Middle Ages and into modern times, as publishing has vastly expanded and the modern media has given us a totally new culture with millions (billions) of new miracle claims beyond anything imaginable 1000 or 2000 years ago.)

The pre-Christian "miracle" element which stands out the most would be the reported religious healings at the Asclepius temple, attributed to the ancient Asclepius deity. But these are not attributed to any "divine beings" like Vespasian or other human hero characters acquiring divine status. At the Asclepius temples there were rituals followed, usually performed by a priest, not by any "divine being" hero figure. Or sometimes the patient alone spent the night at the temple and the following day reported some kind of recovery from sickness, having nothing to do with any "divine being" human hero figure doing a miracle act. There was no human Asclepius figure present, just as there is no human Jesus present at Christian healing miracles in modern times.


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Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812

(continued from previous Wall of Text)

virgin births, resurrections, etc.

The Apis bull (who had a virgin birth which I showed in my last post) was combined with . . .
What is the significance of virgin births, or magical birth stories? Miracle pregnancies are not miracle acts by someone, such as the Gospel accounts report Jesus miracle acts happening in public and witnessed by onlookers and therefore having significance as possible evidence of a real event. Why the obsession on the virgin-birth miracles? These are not what the Jesus miracle acts are about. Why does it matter whether the mother of Jesus had sex?

And yet the Jesus virgin-birth story is further evidence that Jesus did the reported miracle acts -- a kind of psychological evidence:

How does one become virgin-born? Consider who the reported virgin-born heroes were -- Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Caesar Augustus, and others. All famous powerful figures who became worshiped as gods because of their great accomplishments or at least their vast power over millions of subjects. This is why they became worshiped as virgin-born divine beings. Name a nobody in history who became a virgin-born myth figure -- someone not a famous or powerful celebrity in his time, or at least widely recognized as distinguished and popular over a long remarkable career.

So you have to ask: Why did anyone assign a virgin-birth tale to Jesus? This cannot be explained unless he did something which made him stand out as important, like all the other virgin-born heroes. And yet no one can say what he did that distinguished him from anyone else. Or rather, they can't identify anything important he did unless it was the miracle healing acts and the Resurrection. If he really did these miracle acts, this explains why someone wanted to put him into the "virgin-born" category. Except for this, there is no explanation why he was considered so important to have been virgin-born.

No one ever gives an answer to this. Everyone just assumes that the Jesus person must have been very important -- that's a given -- so a religion somehow formed with its superstitions and beliefs to be debunked and believers to be ridiculed, etc. -- and yet no one ever backs up to the beginning of it and asks the simple question: What made Jesus so important that anyone wanted to worship him, form a religion about him, assign him a virgin-birth, and so on? This question is always met with crickets only, and no serious attempt at an answer. All other important persons in history can be explained as to what makes them important. But not in this case. In this case, the obvious answer right there in the historical evidence -- that he demonstrated miracle power in acts he performed -- is politically incorrect, and so the debunkers have to change the subject or sneak away in silence whenever this question comes up.


Where and when did it reportedly happen?
according to the written record of the time?

. . . was combined with Osiris (a savior deity that experiences and conquers death) to create Sarapis.
There is no written account reporting a historical human person Osiris conquering death or doing other miracles. There might have been a historical figure Osiris, also Isis, Horus, etc., but no written accounts about them resurrecting back to life or conquering death, such as we have 1st-century accounts reporting the death and resurrection of the historical person Jesus at around 30 AD. Just because there's poetry about Osiris written 500 or 1000 years later doesn't mean there's any written record of the event, like there is for known historical events, like Jesus in the 1st century.

Interestingly, Sarapis also became combined with Asclepius (who was known for miraculous healings) . . .
He was? Not as a person in history reported in the written record of the time he lived, such as we have a written record of the Jesus miracle healings in 1st-century writings.

The only evidence of "miraculous healings" by Asclepius are a few exceptional reports in inscriptions at the Asclepius temple 1000+ years later than the historical Asclepius lived (if he lived as a real person). So he is known for miraculous healings only in the sense that Christ today and other healers in religious tradition are known for healings which worshipers attribute to them from their personal religious experience rather than objective evidence reported in written accounts describing the event. Asclepius was an established recognized healing god worshiped at the temples, just as most cultures have some healing-god tradition, including religious centers to gather at and do ceremonies with praying and rituals, often performed by their priesthood institution.

Are these gods (Serapis, Asclepius, etc., or even Christ today in religious events) really "known for miraculous healings"? It's more accurate to say they're known for their religious rituals and praying and worshiping their god(s), and whenever a worshiper recovers from an illness, their god is given credit for making it happen. Actual "miraculous healings" or reported miracles are very rare, and even nonexistent, and the claims often originate from fabrication or deception of some kind. (There might be rare cases of a real cure which is unexplainable -- one case out of 100 or 1000 etc., baffling to medical experts.)

What about the Asclepius testimonials? You could say Asclepius was known for miracles just as St. Nicholas today is "known" for his miracles -- and the original St. Nicholas was a real historical person, as also the original Asclepius might have been a real person who became mythologized. The evidence that a worshiper got cured is similar to the evidence that Santa was observed crossing the sky with his reindeer on Christmas Eve -- those reports exist. But there is no serious evidence of these observed miracles today, nor any credible evidence about the original historical figure, if he existed.

But it's the inscriptions at the Asclepius temple which can be considered as real evidence of something witnessed (mostly in the 4th century BC), though unrelated to the original historical figure centuries earlier. Actually the famous inscriptions are mostly of NON-miracle acts, normal treatments of patients, like in a hospital. But prior to 300 BC there are a few spectacular miracle claims among the inscriptions, and these are serious evidence because they date near to the time the event(s) allegedly happened, and if the described event really happened, it defies our known science and is in the "miracle" category (but are a tiny percent of all the inscriptions).

These Asclepius miracle testimonials might be considered an exception to the rule that there were no reported miracle acts, through this historical period. But however seriously these are taken, as possible miracle recoveries of patients, they are basically in the same category as those of any other time, even today, of worshipers praying to the ancient healer deity and doing the traditional religious healing rituals prescribed in their ancient teaching authorities. Could a real "miracle" have happened which is not explained by science? It might be argued that such praying or other religious acts may have had a beneficial effect for a patient in some exceptional cases. Or instead the miracle cures might be hoaxes, or something imagined or hallucinated by the worshiper reporting it. Like some modern cases, it isn't possible to investigate enough to prove what really happened. But these doubtful cases, maybe baffling to the experts, are only a tiny percent of all the claimed "miracle" healings.

Historically there have been reported miracle recoveries which are unexplained and are attributed to Christ or God or gods. Even if 99% of these claims are fiction, the worshipers are still driven to continue believing, probably by 2 factors: 1) the 1-in-100 case where a real miracle seems to have happened, and 2) the ancient tradition of a miracle deity or miracle-worker in past history, who is believed to have once performed such miracles. Is there at least some evidence in a few cases? In the case of Christ we do have the evidence from the time reporting the acts which were performed and seen by witnesses. But generally there is no such evidence within the miracle traditions, no evidence from history, from the written record of the time, reporting the miracles as historical events. Maybe there have been a few genuine miracle events, but there's no way to know. There are plenty of unexplained events where something baffling happened.

. . . and Dionysus (who was known for wine miracles).
There actually is no written account describing a wine miracle by Dionysus, other than tales or poetry many centuries later than he lived, if he lived. Even though the Jesus wine miracle is silly and unimportant, still it's about a particular person in history, at a particular time and place, which the Dionysus stories are not.

Except for Jesus at this wedding party in Galilee, there aren't really any reported water-to-wine miracles in literature about historical events, no wine miracles attributed to an historical person, or "divine being" human character such as Dionysus/Bacchus, though there are many websites quoting poetry about Dionysus and his wine miracles (i.e., eulogizing the ancient god, honoring the religious tradition of him). It's interesting that these sites usually begin with Jesus in the Bible, turning water into wine, as the lead-in to Dionysus the wine-god. Except for this Jesus water-to-wine miracle, almost no one would know of Dionysus the wine-god. This character is not reported as a historical person identified to a particular time and place in history, in written accounts near the time, telling of the divine character and his wine miracles.

Where did Dionysus do this? When? Who was present? When was the account written? These basic questions need to be answered if we're to take seriously claims about "divine being" humans doing these acts while being mythologized into a god. This is not an historical person, in the stories, but a figure like Santa Claus, who is presented in order to liven things up and make people happy.

Perhaps the Jesus wine story is fiction. And yet we're at least told when and where it happened, who was present. And we know our written account of it dates to some time around 90-100 AD, about 60 years after the reported event. So it's about real people at a real place, at a marriage party in Galilee, around 30 AD, reported in the written record like most other ancient history events (or alleged events), but unlike the events of Bacchus/Dionysus or Zeus or Apollo and Hercules, etc. which are not identified to a particular place and time in history. Why can't we have at least this much information about the supposed Dionysus wine miracle events? Why don't we have the information about when and where this person lived in history and did his famous acts?

Obviously there are fictional elements added to the original Jesus person of history, at least in the later "gospels" about him which date to the 2nd and 3rd centuries. So in ALL the accounts reporting events as history, we can examine them to separate the fact from fiction, and we must rule out the poetry 1000 years later as any source for something dubious. We can't be sure exactly when the fictions first appeared, just as we can't be certain exactly when the original St. Nicholas began to be transformed into something miraculous. But we have the original person, in the written record, putting him into his time and place in history. Just because something fictional appears later does not erase the original historical person, anymore than later tales about Babe Ruth erase the original popular hero in history.

So if there was an original Bacchus, or Dionysus, miracle wine hero, let's have the written record about him, telling of his time and place in history and what he really did. Just as we have the written record of Jesus, in the 1st century, telling us what he did. And the evidence is that he did the miracle healing acts, and that he resurrected after he was killed -- reported in writings of the time, not centuries later. If he did not do those reported acts, then there is no explanation what he really did that caused anyone to think he was important. And if also a fiction wine miracle got added to the story, that does not negate the original person who must have done something important.

We know enough of St. Nicholas to know what made him special, as a real historical person, and which eventually led to the later miracle legend -- likewise Alexander the Great and many other persons of note who later became mythologized. Just as we know what made those characters important enough to be mythologized, why can't we also know what made Jesus important enough to be mythologized? There seems to be some rule forbidding us to ask this question. We have the written record of the time which gives the answer.

And we can conjecture that the real Bacchus/Dionysus -- the historical person (if he did exist) -- was likely a popular party-goer, and maybe in the wine business, giving away lots of free wine (but probably also making a hefty profit selling it), and promoting wine as his obsession, and showing up many times, at gatherings, with wine for all, to promote his product. Obviously loved widely for his generosity and contribution to celebration and good cheer -- he was a legend in his own time (possibly a real historical human) who later evolved into a miracle legend similar to our Santa Claus. But it's only speculation if we have no written accounts from his time, like we do have current written accounts about Jesus in the 1st century, and likewise about other historical figures who were important for reasons we can determine.

In the case of Bacchus/Dionysus it's false to say
It was common to appropriate miraculous aspects from deities and apply them to other divine beings.
This is false because It was not common at all to do this. Nothing about Dionysus, e.g., was appropriated or applied to others. Even if you claim this was applied to Jesus, in John's Gospel, what was COMMON about this? Where's another example of this trait of Bacchus/Dionysus being applied to "other divine beings" or humans being made into gods? Why is Jesus the ONLY example of this that can be offered?

Or, what's another example of ANY divine trait being appropriated and applied to a human? If a later entity or human has a similar trait to an earlier one, does that mean the later one really did not have that trait but that this was simply appropriated from the earlier one and then applied to the later one?

So, for example, Mickey Mantle really did not hit home runs himself, but rather, it was Babe Ruth who did this (or is reputed to have done it), and then this trait of hitting home runs was only appropriated from Babe Ruth and applied to Mickey Mantle? Or, how about the later Charlemagne being similar to the earlier Julius Caesar, both of whom won battles, we're told -- are we to assume that Charlemagne did not really win battles, but only that this trait of winning battles was appropriated from the earlier Julius Caesar and then applied to Charlemagne?

How does that make any less sense than saying the Jesus Christ miracles were only appropriated from the earlier Dionysus or the earlier Serapis or the earlier Elijah and then applied to the later Jesus Christ? So by that logic anything claimed to have happened later but resembling something earlier did not really happen at all but is only a fictional product of the earlier happening. And so without the earlier one coming first, from which to borrow the "miracle" trait or event, the later historical character or event could not have happened? How much of history would we have to toss out if we applied this rule to all historical events and characters? maybe half? i.e., it must not have really happened because it resembles an earlier reported event or character?



(this Wall of Text to be continued)
 
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bilby

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812
Why?

That member was here for two weeks, a month ago. They last logged on on August 5th; In their two weeks of "active" membership, they posted a grand total of three times.

Nobody is reading what you are writing here.

The horse is dead. It's been dead for a month. It's time to put the whip down.
 

TomC

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Whereas if he did not perform any such acts, then there is no explanation why anyone thought he was special and would claim he was Messiah or Savior or Son of God or Son of Man, etc.

The explanation is right there in your sentence. Messiah.

The modern version of Messiah didn't exist then. The Christian version of the concept is heavily Hellenistic. Demi-God, miracle worker, Resurrected, member of a trinitarian pantheon. That's not what Messiah meant to people then.

Back then, a Messiah was a Jewish warrior who would save God's Chosen People from foreign oppression. At the time, that was the Romans. It was also a capital crime, by Roman law. The prescribed punishment was crucifixion, to send a message to anyone else who would try to take on Roman power. Which is what Jesus was sentenced to.

This leads me to believe that His real importance, during His life, was violent anti-Roman activities. That's His real ministry. But as time went on it became increasingly clear that He wasn't a Jewish Messiah. So His followers started adding pagan bits to His Legend.

This made The Legend of the Christ attractive to people outside Judea. Which is why Christianity survived and grew while the Romans continued to grind God's Chosen People into the dirt. Because the blend of Judaism and paganism could mean almost anything to anyone.

Tom
 

Lumpenproletariat

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---- "Just the facts, ma'am, just the facts."
response to TomC, Sept 4 2022 #910

Why is there ONLY ONE Christ and not many?


Whereas if he did not perform any such [miracle] acts, then there is no explanation why anyone thought he was special and would claim he was Messiah or Savior or Son of God or Son of Man, etc.

TomC: The explanation is right there in your sentence. Messiah.

The modern version of Messiah didn't exist then.

You're at best 50% right. There were other versions of Messiah then (including "messiah" = miracle-worker), and there are many versions today. There's no such thing as "The modern version" because there are many modern versions and there were many versions in the 1st century AD and BC. The "Messiah" idea was just as confusing and contradictory in those times as it is today. And clearly there was not one consistent exactly-the-same Messiah idea held by all Jews. Also, there was anticipation of more than only one messiah among most Jews, while the new Christian idea was that there was only one -- THE Messiah.

So yes, there was ambiguity about the meaning of "Messiah" and no single standard meaning for all Jews. But this does not explain why Jesus was made into a resurrected messianic Savior Son-of-God figure. What did he do that explains how these labels got attached to him? and ONLY him? i.e., by several new Christ cults popping up? and written accounts appearing and circulating?


The Christian version of the concept is heavily Hellenistic.
But many Jews were also adopting Hellenistic ideas, even re-interpreting the ancient Torah teachings. Jews were becoming more divided, as some were becoming Hellenized and others becoming anti-Hellenistic. As also they were divided about the Romans, some becoming more anti-Roman as others were becoming pro-Roman. And some were becoming more anti-Establishment and others pro-Establishment, and also the dissident factions becoming more divided, with some turning more militant against the Romans and the Jerusalem Establishment while others were turning more isolationist. All these different sentiments led to differing "Messiah" ideas.

But this confusion about the "Messiah" term doesn't explain why anyone thought this one Jesus person was special and would claim he (and only he) was Messiah or Savior or Son of God or Son of Man, etc. It must be that in his 1 or 2 years short career he did something that caused many to call him (but no one else) these labels and begin worshiping him as a god. What did he do which brought this response from so many and even prompted writers to record it, unlike they did for any other "Messiah"-types who recruited disciples and preached to large gatherings but were ignored by writers who report history.

E.g., why didn't some crusaders also think John the Baptizer was special and claim he was "Messiah" or "Savior" etc., and make him into a miracle-working martyred Son of God? Saying the term "Messiah" was ambiguous doesn't answer this.

Demi-God, miracle worker, Resurrected, . . .
This was part of what some Jews meant by "Messiah" -- and at least it did not contradict their understanding. The "Messiah" term did get attached to him. So the question is: Why did this label get attached to him and to no one else?

. . . member of a trinitarian pantheon.
There was no "trinity" yet, in this period, up to about 200 AD or so. Long before any "trinity" idea these labels became attached to this Jesus person, but not to others.

That's not what Messiah meant to people then.
For some Jews it included miracle-worker and resurrection ideas, and did not conflict with those ideas. The main problem for Jews accepting Jesus was the crucifixion, which contradicted their understanding of "Messiah" -- but otherwise nothing disqualified him from having the "Messiah" label. And among at least some dissident Jews there was a messianic expectation of miracle power:

thingsweneverdid: According to 4Q521 during the time of the messiah, God will heal the blind, heal the wounded, and revive the dead. Jesus' followers took these miracles and applied them to Jesus.
https://jewishromanworldjesus.com/?page_id=227 gives the above Dead Sea Scrolls quote about healing the blind, etc.

So the Jewish "Messiah" anticipation did partly include these ideas of a miracle-worker, at least for some of these Qumran Jews.

And the obscurity or confusion about the "Messiah" jargon doesn't explain why Jesus was declared "Messiah" and "Savior" etc., but no one else was. Different Jews had different ideas about the meaning of the "Messiah" label. Even if some other label had been used, it doesn't answer the question: Why was Jesus made into something special, into a deified and resurrected miracle-worker, and yet no one else was? Were there not others who also did the same things Jesus did? preaching to large crowds? preaching the coming Kingdom of God? getting martyred for standing against the Establishment?

E.g., why wasn't James the Just also made into a martyred Savior and Son of God and resurrected Messiah? regardless what these different labels meant to this or that religious faction? What made Jesus any more special than James the Just or John the Baptizer or dozens of other popular preachers? Some of these others had a larger following than Jesus did.


Back then, a Messiah was a Jewish warrior who would save God's Chosen People from foreign oppression. At the time, that was the Romans.
But some Jews were pro-Roman (as an expediency) and regarded Rome as not especially oppressive. Probably only a minority of Jews favored doing war against Rome. And some of the earlier empires had been more oppressive than the Romans. So not all Jews saw a "Messiah" as an imminent deliverer from Roman oppression at this time.


It was also a capital crime, by Roman law. The prescribed punishment was crucifixion, to send a message to anyone else who would try to take on Roman power. Which is what Jesus was sentenced to.

This leads me to believe that His real importance, during His life, was violent anti-Roman activities. That's His real ministry.
But there were hundreds others who were the same and were more violent than he was, some of them martyred as heroes. Why weren't they also elevated to Son-of-God status and Messiah status as resurrected saviors? Why don't we have "Four Gospels" about any of them? How were they less important than Jesus? Why were they totally ignored while Jesus was exalted to even higher than "Messiah" status?


But as time went on it became increasingly clear that He wasn't a Jewish Messiah.
The same as all the other would-be Messiahs. It became clear that the others also were not Jewish Messiahs. But that didn't turn them into resurrected Saviors by default. The norm for Jewish "Messiahs" after being eliminated was for them to be forgotten, not later be resurrected into a miracle-working god. So, what was different about this Jesus-from-Galilee "Messiah" to distinguish him from the many other "Messiahs" who did the same as he did and failed to be the conqueror that was expected?


So His followers started adding pagan bits to His Legend.
Adding "pagan bits" to someone never resulted in him becoming worshiped as a resurrected Savior. There's no evidence that Jews or Romans or Greeks ever were impressed by "pagan bits" added to a "messiah" rabbi/guru by his followers. There's no example of any rebel or dissident teacher or trouble-maker gaining miracle-working Messiah-Savior status because their followers added "pagan bits" to him. There's no case of such a Legend becoming popular and getting recorded in writing and being published, in multiple accounts, because his followers added "pagan bits" to him.

The followers of a popular dissident figure might try to do something to promote the "Legend" of their hero, but if that hero figure himself had not done anything special to distinguish himself from all the other heroes and prophets and would-be messiahs, nothing his followers might add from paganism or anything else could transform him into a miracle-working god who gets recognized as different than all the others, and publicized in written accounts of the time.

There were probably a million charlatans, or their followers, who made claims to have done what the pagan gods or heroes did, but all the evidence is that they were rejected by the masses, because there was no belief in recent miracle-workers popping up here or there whose followers claimed he did some "pagan" miracle. The only miracle beliefs held by people were the ancient myths about the traditional gods, not about any recent upstart miracle-worker human promoted by his followers as being a miracle-worker, or as raising the dead, etc., such as the Gospel accounts describe Jesus. We have no explanation how Jesus acquired this status which no one else acquired.


This made The Legend of the Christ attractive to people outside Judea.
But why not also The Legend of John the Baptizer or The Legend of James the Just? Why couldn't the same "pagan" miracles be added to these and others? Why was only this one "Legend of the Christ" (the Jesus of Galilee Christ) made attractive to people outside Judea because "pagan bits" were added? In fact, why are there not several different "Legends" of the Christ, as many other popular rabbis or prophets should also have been raised to Messiah status and turned into miracle-working saviors to make them attractive? What made this Jesus from Galilee into the only "Christ" to become attractive to gentiles? What is it that promoted him to "Messiah" and "Savior" status, but no one else?


Which is why Christianity survived and grew while the Romans continued to grind God's Chosen People into the dirt.
But why is the Christianity which survived -- or rather, Christianities plural -- centered only on this one person whose legend was made attractive to gentiles, when there were probably dozens of other rabbis and prophets and hero martyrs who did the same things this particular Jesus person did? We should see several of these Christs emerging, all having the same attractiveness to Gentiles as the Galilean Jesus person who did nothing special to distinguish himself from dozens or even hundreds of other popular rabbis and prophets and heroes, each with their special "Legend" made attractive because of the "pagan bits" added to it by their followers.


Because the blend of Judaism and paganism could mean almost anything to anyone.
Exactly, meaning that all Gentiles needing a Messiah could have whatever Christ they want because there could be MANY such Messiahs or Christs to choose from, each designed for the differing needs of different Christ-seeking Gentiles, who were not monolithic but a widely diverse collection of God-seekers from differing cultures and nations and ethnicities -- but all could be accommodated by having several Gentile Christs served up to them, to millions of them, who could then choose from among all the many different Christs being offered, to serve everyone's needs.

So, Why ONLY ONE Christ rather than many? Why didn't several "Christs" emerge with each being a separate Christ person, claimed as unique by its particular group of followers? I.e., several Christ cults with each having its own Christ person? So, why not also a James Christ, a John Christ, a Simon Christ, a Joseph Christ, a Philip Christ, a Judas Christ, a Matthew Christ, etc.? And in addition to the Galilean Christ there should be a Judean Christ and a Samaritan Christ and an Alexandrian Christ and a Syrian Christ, and several others, to cater to all the different geographical centers -- we should have many, because there were so many fine rabbis and prophets just as special and worthy as this Jesus person who could fill this role just as easily as he could.

No one can name what he did special that gives him any more status than the many other popular rabbi-prophet messiahs running around at the time. (Unless it's true that he did the miracle acts, including the Resurrection -- then we can identify what he did that was special.)

The DIVERSITY here is huge, the needs vast, among all the different ones wanting a Christ to believe in. There is no way to explain how there was ONLY ONE Christ and never a hint of possibly 2 or 3 or 4. Instead of the one-only, we should be seeing RIVAL CHRISTS in this picture somewhere, several of them, competing for the Christ-seekers, and many of these Christs -- not only one -- should find a market for their product.

What did this one Christ do that was unique that forced all the Christ-seekers to turn to him alone, and not to any others who were just as logical to be chosen as he was?

The only way we could have this one, and this one only to the exclusion of all others, is if this one did something totally unique, distinct from all the others, so that all the Christ-seekers chose this one only, drawn to him to the exclusion of all the others, because of something conspicuous he did that all the others did not do.
 
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T.G.G. Moogly

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So the gospel protagonist is actually the anti-messiah. He and christianity made the jewish situation worse. The messiah would have to be some modern bloke because Israel is a free, strong nation today.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812


(continued from previous Wall of Text)


Is our search for truth a

search for MOTIFS and POETRY

or a search for the facts
, e.g., the historical facts, or evidence from the written record?


Within the deity Sarapis we have all these motifs that are later associated with Jesus.
("motifs" = virgin births, conquering death, healing miracles, etc.)

What does "within the deity Sarapis" mean? Where or when were these "motifs" connected to Serapis? They occur only in legends many centuries later -- even 2000+ years later than Serapis existed, if he ever existed. Even if it's possible he was a real person who later evolved into a myth tradition, this kind of "miracle" event is not in the same category as a miracle reportedly performed by a real person in history. There's no mention of any Serapis person in history doing anything. The only mention is of Serapis worshipers 2000+ years later performing rituals or praying to Serapis, and a few of these experienced something they claim was a miracle. So such "miracles" are not "within" any Serapis historical character, but are only within the later worshiper performing a ritual to an ancient religious deity called Serapis.

To put Jesus into this same category is to toss our known ancient history into the trash heap, because the written record means nothing -- at least half our ancient knowledge is out the window if it goes in the same category as Serapis about whom there is virtually no historical record. The 1st-century record tells us that Jesus existed near 30 AD, reporting his miracle acts during 20-70 years after he lived. What possible connection can this have to a Serapis we know nothing about until 2000 years later than his time?

Did the Gospel writers use Serapis as their source, attributing to Jesus these "motifs" found in Serapis? There's no indication of these "motifs" being attributed to anyone else -- how would they come to be attributed to Jesus only, and to no one else? In the case of Vespasian, the story is that he performed the ancient Serapis rituals for 2 worshipers who begged him to do this for them, just as many others with priestly powers did similar rituals to many worshipers. The two written accounts of this Vespasian priestly act do not say clearly that the "miracle" actually succeeded and the two were healed, though they say it ambiguously, leaving that impression. So, giving it the benefit of the doubt, the reported event can be put into the "miracle act" category (i.e., hypothetical "miracle" event).

But except for this dubious example, there's no case of this "motif" of Serapis being connected to any other "divine man" human historical figure, or "associated with" any other human. We have to ask: Why is this "motif" of a miracle healing "associated with" only Jesus and one famous celebrity who was the most powerful person in the world at that time -- but to no other particular human historical figure? or, only to ancient deities or heroes of mythology from 1000 or 2000 years earlier? for whom there is no written historical record of it near their time?

The best you could do at placing Jesus and Serapis in the same category for comparison is to say the latter also was believed to have been real in history, and the only difference is that we have no evidence about a Serapis historical person such as we evidence about the historical Jesus.

So, anyone equating Serapis to Jesus is following the premise that
historical facts don't matter and are to be disregarded when we seek the truth.

This is what you're saying when you say
Within the deity Sarapis we have all these motifs that are later associated with Jesus.
This cannot be said unless you disregard the facts of history and turn truth-seeking into a musing over "motifs" and poetry.

This turns out to be the premise for all arguments that Jesus did no miracle acts, whereas the argument that he did perform the miracle healings and resurrected from death is based on the facts of history, or on the historical evidence reporting what happened. Authors who theorize that these miracle acts did not happen are relying on a rejection of the evidence from history, on the premise that such evidence is not a part of the search for truth.

To say a mythological figure did something for which there is no record, or reported only in poetry 1000 or 2000 years later, is totally different than saying a historical person did it, for whom there is a written record 20-70 years later, in multiple accounts reporting the acts, similar to most other historical events of those times, reported in written accounts a few decades later. To equate the mythological figure with the historical person, or explain one as derived from the other, is to condemn history and facts as irrelevant to truth-seeking.

I.e., the record of Jesus doing these acts is part of the written historical record of those times, reporting recent events, describing events seen by some witnesses, passed around in oral reports for several years before finally being recorded in written accounts -- i.e., the norm for historical events we know from the time, known from the sources. Whereas the miracles of Serapis are known only from accounts 1000 or 2000 years later than Serapis lived, if he even was a real person.

We have various "motifs" in hundreds/thousands of ancient characters, divine or human, poetic or fictional or historical, and these are shared among the different characters, real or fictional, some obviously earlier than others, living in different times and places. So, what is the point in saying that this one "motif" appears somewhere else, in some ancient legendary figure, like millions of "motifs" appear everywhere, in hundreds of different times or different cultures or different settings, real and fictional? What is proved by putting a label like "motif" on this?


Jesus vs. Serapis = historical facts vs. "motifs" and poetry

So, what is the significance of saying we have over here in Serapis "these motifs that are later associated with" Jesus or someone over there -- What is the point? Jesus was in a boat a few times, and 1500 years later Columbus was in a boat -- so then this boat "motif" tells us that Columbus really never was in a boat? In Homer we have some battles being fought, and then later we have Julius Caesar fighting some battles -- what does this battles "motif" mean? that battles fought centuries later did not really happen but were only a "motif" lifted out from Homer's stories? Even if Serapis was real in 3000 BC and reportedly did a miracle, how does that nullify what Jesus did 3000 years later? anymore than the battles of Achilles nullify those of Caesar also fighting battles 1000+ years later?

In the case of Jesus we have at least 4 (5) sources, written accounts of the time, saying he performed healing miracles, giving narrative accounts of these, and that he resurrected back to life after having been killed. What is important is the evidence, not just ancient traditions or beliefs or "motifs" being practiced in an ancient religious cult for which there is no written record from the time of the reported events. It's not important to just have "these motifs" expressed in some poetry or ancient religious incantations. Where are the written accounts, dating from near the actual events reported, which tell us of the deeds of Serapis or Osiris or Zeus or Asclepius or Hercules or Prometheus, or Bacchus, etc.? The same "motif" could exist before, even a million times here or there. Its existence elsewhere does not confirm or refute anything about something similar existing at some other time or place.

later copycat stories: It's true that in a few cases a later story can be recognized as a copycat version of an earlier story -- these can be identified because of similarities which could not be a coincidence, and the later story must have been created by using the earlier one to copy from. It's clear the Vespasian reported miracle was borrowed from the Serapis myth, because the Vespasian story names this ancient deity as the source of the belief. But no Jesus miracle has any such connection to the ancient Serapis deity. So how is his reported act connected to Serapis?

Or a more obvious copycat example is that of Apollonius of Tyana raising a dead child back to life, which is a copycat version of Luke 7:11-17 written 100+ years earlier. Some miracles in the Book of Acts might also be copycat versions of the earlier Jesus miracle acts. These cases are obvious. None of the Jesus healing miracles can be identified as copycat versions of any earlier reported miracles, from earlier Jewish or pagan examples (e.g. Serapis). Except for such copycat examples, there's nothing undermining the credibility of a later reported case just because of a very superficial resemblance to something earlier. Like Columbus in a boat having a resemblance to Jesus in a boat centuries earlier.

That there are "motifs" in literature, poetry, religious chants, etc. is beside the point. What matters is what happened according to that writer or that written account, saying a character did this or that. What does the account say happened, and how is it related to what Jesus might have done? The only response to this is the impulsive outburst that Historical facts don't matter! -- only the symbolism and religious feelings are important. Is the Gospel account only copying some earlier poetry rather than presenting Jesus events? just presenting symbols and "motifs" for us to muse on? When it names historical figures like Herod Antipas and John the Baptist and Pontius Pilate, are these only "motifs" for us to fantasize on and be fascinated with, for the poetic vibes they send into us? Is that what all the ancient writings are? How do you know ALL the ancient history isn't just symbols and "motifs" to entertain us? or indoctrinate us into what's wholesome for us to believe?

Where are the FACTS about Serapis and the others? the evidence that separates fact from fiction about what they really did? where? when? reported when? You don't answer this by just quoting modern debunker-crusader gurus whose mission in life is to prove that Jesus could not have done any miracles, or who, instead of quoting text from the ancient account of what happened, only give us symbols from poetry.

Just because modern universities hire professors whose job description is to debunk the Jesus miracle stories regardless of the evidence, doesn't mean that those miracle acts, reported in the written record of the time (like all other historical events), did not really happen. How do you know the university isn't mistaken in its mission to distort the 1st-century evidence in order to debunk a belief they think is unwholesome for society? What ever happened to the facts and the science, regardless of someone's prejudice about what ought to have happened or what is wholesome for people to believe? Whatever happened to the facts only and "Let the chips fall where they may!"?

Why can't the modern debunker-expert produce evidence instead of only jargon for debunking the 1st-century evidence we have? Where is his evidence that the culture leading up to Jesus was a miracle-loving culture that produced miracle-worker myths? Why doesn't he name those reported miracle-workers and the real sources for them -- usually 100 or 200 or 300 years later? (shhhhh, don't tell anyone -- it's a secret. We're not supposed to ask for the date of the source.) Why doesn't he show any expertise other than a talent to mesmerize himself (and his disciples) into imagining that what evidently happened in the 1st century did not really happen?

Why can't the facts and the science and the evidence be the guiding principle rather than the dogmatic ideological doctrine decreeing that miracle events are not supposed to happen and therefore could not have happened? All the evidence is that these miracle acts did happen in the early 1st century, while the only counter-evidence is the dogmatic insistence that "miracle" events can't ever happen, regardless of the evidence, regardless of the historical facts.



(this Wall of Text to be continued)
 
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bilby

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812
You are talking to ranting voluminously and incessantly at someone who isn't here.

That could, charitably, be thought an amusing error on your part; But you have been told that they're not here, and you are still talking to them. That's starting to get into 'canvas pyjamas with the sleeves that tie behind your back' territory.
 

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812
Why?

That member was here for two weeks, a month ago. They last logged on on August 5th; In their two weeks of "active" membership, they posted a grand total of three times.

Nobody is reading what you are writing here.

The horse is dead. It's been dead for a month. It's time to put the whip down.
Why do you find it important to tell other IIDB posters to stop posting?

Like it or not, Lumpy's posts are very on topic in this thread. Your's should be TOU violations, although I doubt that the staff agree.
Tom
 

atrib

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812
Why?

That member was here for two weeks, a month ago. They last logged on on August 5th; In their two weeks of "active" membership, they posted a grand total of three times.

Nobody is reading what you are writing here.

The horse is dead. It's been dead for a month. It's time to put the whip down.
Why do you find it important to tell other IIDB posters to stop posting?

Like it or not, Lumpy's posts are very on topic in this thread. Your's should be TOU violations, although I doubt that the staff agree.
Tom
I think he's telling lumpy that the poster he is talking to is no longer with us. That lumpy is talking to himself. wouldn't that concern you?

Meanwhile, there are many other on-topic posts by other posters that lumpy will not touch with a 10 foot pole.
 

atrib

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Like it or not, Lumpy's posts are very on topic in this thread.

Not really. Have you read any of his posts? It is one endless rant and one endless argument from ignorance. He won't respond to any rebuttals, but continues posting walls of text repeating the same debunked crap. He is not having a conversation, he is preaching. He has been doing this for years.
 
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TomC

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Why can't the modern debunker-expert produce evidence instead of only jargon for debunking the 1st-century evidence we have?

To what 1st century evidence are you referring? I don't know about any.

The nearest thing I know about is modern people (4th century and later) claiming that some documents are from the 1st century.

But the "evidence" is weak, unsubstantiated, and full of implausible claims that should have independent documentation if the claims were true.

From the "Slaughter of the Innocents" to the solar eclipse/earthquake event the day before Passover ~30AD, there's lots of claims in the Gospels that were huge. Things that the people of the day would remember, if only in ancient Jewish lore. Whether or not anybody connected the Slaughter of the Innocents to Jesus, they'd remember it.

But nobody did. There is no 1st century evidence supporting Jesus's existence, much less the miracles. There's much later stuff claiming to be about 1st century events, but that's completely different.

On the other hand,
If the Legend of Jesus was created later and far away it would be easy to add such claims because the audience had no way to "fact check" anything. They simply couldn't know.
Tom
 

atrib

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That lumpy is talking to himself.
I've responded to him and he's responded.
I will take your word for it. He almost never responds to anything I post that rebuts his claims. And when he does actually quote something I said, he doesn't addresses the rebuttal. His behavior is nothing more than preaching.


wouldn't that concern you?

Your barely veiled insult is typical of the ideologues that dominate IIDB.
Tom
Why is it an insult to point out that Lumpy seems to be talking to himself again, and that he does this frequently? In this case he is responding to a new member who has three posts and hasn't been around for two months. Pointing this out to Lumpy would be doing him a favor, if he were not actually aware that he was talking to an empty room.
 

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Revised ranking of reputed miracle-workers

If there are "Jesus Parallels," this listing is the way to understand their significance. Claims are made that there have been other miracle-workers (so therefore Jesus is not unique), and what that means is that there are other cases for which there is some evidence, and depending on the evidence we can rate them according to how high is the likelihood that they performed some unusual or superhuman acts. Or, how many such acts did they do, or how do they compare to the other such reputed cases.

This is mostly subjective, as to the precision or accuracy, because of the lack of information. But there is some information, or facts about the individual cases, and so it's possible to do a reasonable estimate of each case and rank them, based on objective criteria. Anyone else can do their own listing. Reasons can be given for the following rankings, based on the evidence and doing good estimates.

After reviewing further the example of Edgar Cayce, I decided I had over-rated him and so moved his name farther down the list. So here's my revised list:

.000 - 1.000 "batting average" ranking and name of miracle cult/miracle worker

.950 -------------------- Jesus Christ 30-33 AD
.300 -------------------- Asclepius Cult 400-300 BC (or -100+ AD)
.300 -------------------- Delphic Oracle
.250 -------------------- St. Francis of Assisi
.240 -------------------- Nostradamus
.230 -------------------- Prophets Elijah/Elisha (9th century BC)
.220 -------------------- Sai Baba 20th century
.210 -------------------- Rasputin, Russian Revolution "Mad Monk"
.190 -------------------- St. Genevieve 5th century
.170 -------------------- Edgar Cayce 20th century
.160 -------------------- Apollonius of Tyana* 1st century AD
.150 -------------------- Joseph Smith 19th century
.130 -------------------- Serapis, Egyptian god
.120 -------------------- Isis, Egyptian goddess


*No reported miracles until about 220 AD

Edgar Cayce became popular for some reason, and it seemed necessary to explain it as a result of his success rate, at prescribing remedies which worked. But it looks like the number of actual successful outcomes is not so high.

There are two possible explanations for his popularity even if his real success rate was modest: He may have succeeded in some cases because he had some medical knowledge, from natural health publications, to use for prescribing good remedies; plus also there was something about his peculiar style or methods which made him conspicuous, his unusual practice of psychic readings which brought him favorable publicity, over many years, and so he was able to "catch on" in ways that other practitioners did not.

Nothing like this could explain the reputation of Jesus to do cures, because there were no medical or health information sources available at that time. Also, Jesus had only 1 or 2 years to establish his reputation, which means he had virtually no reputation such as a typical psychic healer celebrity might establish over years of favorable publicity.


Of course many more names of reputed miracle-workers can be added to the above listing.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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continued response to thingsweneverdid, Aug 2 2022, #812


(continued from previous Wall of Text)


thingsweneverdid: As already mentioned,
Asclepius was also known for miraculous healings.

Mark 8-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary (Yale University Press, 2009), Joel Marcus:

The blind man's cryptic words about walking trees recall other passages from the history of religions, though it is difficult to know what to make of some of the parallels. Taylor (371), for example, cites the "striking Hellenistic parallel" of an inscription in which a blind man is healed by a vision of the healing god Asclepius going over his eyes with his fingers, and his first post-healing sight is of the trees in the Temple (Dittenberger, Sylloge 3.1168).
If there's any legitimate point here, about Mark, it might be that the author actually was familiar with this Asclepius inscription and decided to borrow the "trees" idea. It's a stretch, but even so it does not undermine the basic credibility of Mark. Any writer might notice an item from a previous story and make use of it for symbolic value. Nothing about this undermines the credibility of Mark's report of a blind man being cured.

But an important difference between the Mark story and the Asclepius inscription is that in the latter, the victim healed is a worshiper of Asclepius who is performing the prescribed ritual at the temple of Asclepius, as thousands of other Asclepius worshipers had been doing for generations, with some of them claiming they got cured by this popular ancient deity worshiped by millions, according to the ancient practice of religious devotees claiming the god they worshiped had done a miracle for them. Like Christians today ascribe their personal miracle experience to the ancient Jesus. But in contrast to this, the Mark story is about a blind man brought to an existing person right there who is said to have healing power, not at a religious ceremony or temple location where an ancient miracle god is worshiped; and there is no ritual procedure the victim performs or done by the ordained priests of the established religious cult performing the ancient rites.

This distinction tells us which story is more likely a true event. It was common for religious devotees to falsely ascribe miracles to the deity they worshiped, especially at the temples where they went precisely to have the healing ritual done to them because they were already believers and disciples of the ancient deity they would claim had healed them. Whereas it was virtually unknown for people to report being healed by someone they didn't know or who was not part of the priesthood they recognized and not practicing the ritual procedure of their ancient popular miracle god.

The Jesus healing acts are this latter kind, where the healer is a real physical person right there rather than an invisible ancient deity or a deity seen only in dreams as the victim to be healed sleeps overnight in the temple. The disciple who already worships the ancient deity is very likely to claim a miracle was done by the deity even if nothing unusual really happened. A popular religious tradition is generally upheld by the general population, going along with the widely-accepted legends and customs widely known within the culture, and prayers are offered to the god and everyone pretends that the prayers are answered, which is the politically-correct thing to do. Not unlike our culture pretends to believe the Santa Claus story because it's politically correct and socially accepted.

But it was totally uncommon for an upstart miracle-worker, real physical human, to appear in person, with no established credentials or recognized ordination, and reportedly perform healing to victims and cure them outside the standard accepted traditional practices. All charlatans presuming to perform such miracles were rejected in the ancient pagan and Jewish culture, rejected by the commoners as well as the upper classes, and there are no written accounts reporting any such miracle-workers, other than a few reported cases of charlatans, described as charlatans in a few written accounts from the period.

The reported case of Jesus appearing from nowhere and doing such acts is totally unique, having no resemblance to anything else in all the ancient literature prior to about 50-100 AD. These Jesus miracle healing claims appear as a totally unique phenomenon in the 1st century, with no explanation what led up to them in that culture to which such miracle claims were totally unfamiliar. Whereas the Asclepius stories were typical, maybe the leading example, of the worship of ancient healing gods which were widely popular in the culture.

If there's only one source reporting a miracle-worker it's not strong evidence. But when we have 4 different sources reporting the same miracle-worker, some of which overlap in reporting the same incident, we have strong evidence that the event(s) really did happen, regardless if a later author borrows a particular word or symbol from something earlier.

We have to allow that the Mark author was familiar with some of the Greek literature, as some scholars maintain. So possibly his accounts could have elements in them which were borrowed from that literature. This doesn't undermine the general credibility, but only about the particular details which might have been borrowed.


Faith in Jesus and Paul A Comparison with Special Reference to 'faith that Can Remove Mountains' and 'your Faith Has Healed/saved You' (Mohr Siebeck, 2002), Maureen W. Yeung:

Serapis was probably introduced to Palestine by soldiers from Eygpt who served in the Roman armies. Later Serapis grew in importance, absorbed the other gods like Zeus, Hades, Osiris, Dionysus and Asclepius until he finally became "le centre du développement du syncrétisme". The rising importance of Serapis accounts for the great number of Serapis coins from Jerusalem (Aelia Capitolina)... A remarkable example of syncretism can be found in the instance of Aristides, a devout Greek worshipper of Asclepius in the second century A.D. Aristides worshipped not only Asclepius, but also Isis, Serapis, Zeus and other gods (e.g., The Sacred Tales 3.45-48). It should be noted that Aristides saw an intimate relationship among these gods. Furthermore, he worshipped Isis and Serapis as well as Asclepius as saviour-healers. Not only did Asclepius heal him (passim), but also Serapis (e.g., The Sacred Tales 3.47).
This is further indication that it's only worshipers who get healed by the pagan gods, or reportedly healed. Whenever they recover from an illness, they automatically attribute the recovery to their pagan healing god(s). Even if we misinterpret this Aristides case as a miracle healing claim, which is not indicated, the explanation is that this literature source dates to around 150 AD and so falls into the period of the new explosion of miracle stories beginning about 90-100 AD (after the Jesus miracle stories were circulating), showing that Aristides is one of those writers influenced by the new wave of miracle beliefs which started in the 1st century and probably also inspired the Vespasian story. Which again raises the question: What happened in the early 1st century to cause this unexpected surprise onslaught of new miracle stories, totally contradicting the obvious trend away from this during this period leading up to 30-50 AD? Before this time there were no reported miracle events in the writings. I.e., no pattern of miracle claims which provides a context for the sudden appearance of the Jesus miracle-worker in about 30 AD.

These gods offered salvation to him... Thus, in view of the syncretistic character of Palestinian paganism, it is necessary to take other related gods into consideration when we assess the influence of Asclepius in first-century Palestine.
Whatever the influence, there are no reported Asclepius miracles during this period, but only normal treatments or therapies and healing rituals. Even if there was some activity of this cult at the time, in Palestine, there were no Asclepius miracle claims until the cult experiences a revival beginning about 100 AD.

(A Diodorus of Sicily quote, coming up in a later continuation of this Wall of Text, confirms that there were no Asclepius miracles being reported during this period (after 200 BC), because, according to Diodorus, "the Greeks" have no evidence for the miracles of their gods, while they offer only legends from the past, unlike the goddess Isis who performs current miracles in the time of Diodorus (according to Diodorus).)


We do not as yet possess indisputable evidence that the Asclepius cult was firmly entrenched in Palestine during Jesus' time or that Jesus himself had knowledge of Asclepius. Nevertheless, the ample archaeological evidence, both geographically and chronologically, points to the probable existence of Asclepius' worship in first-century Palestine.
Yes there was "worship" -- as always. But there are no reported Asclepius miracle healings in this period.

The numerous finds on both the east and the west shores of the Sea of Galilee and at Jerusalem, both before and after Jesus, indicate that the worship of Asclepius as saviour-healer was not only contemporaneous to but also coexisting with the worship of Jesus as saviour-healer.
Of course there was "worship" of this ancient healing deity, as there was of many others, throughout all historical periods and places. But what evidence is there of actual healing miracles taking place and being reported in the record? None. There's a difference between mere worship of popular miracle gods and actual reports of miracle healings taking place.

There are no miracle healings reported in the Asclepius inscriptions during this time. They are all back before 300 BC (or maybe 280 or so), followed by the long gap until about 100 AD at which point they resume suddenly, for reasons no one has explained. There are many cases of worship, praying to the gods, healing rituals, etc., in the record -- these are common for ALL periods and places, not only 1st-century Palestine -- but there are no reports of actual miracle healings. There are the usual cases of someone having a normal recovery from an illness and this being attributed to the healing god, just like today, like all times in history, as people pray to their gods. But the instant healing narratives, contrary to the known medical science, are mostly absent, or totally absent during this period -- about 300 BC to 100 AD. (But prior to about 300 BC we see a few reported cases, some of them strange or bizarre, in the Asclepius inscriptions.)

For the Asclepius cult there are a few of these reported actual healing miracles happening, all before 300 BC or after 100 AD. And otherwise there are virtually none in the ancient accounts. The Jesus miracle acts of about 30 AD are the only exception, where suddenly we have 20-30 of these reported cases, on many pages of the Gospel accounts.

And from the Hebrew scriptures you might add the three Elijah/Elisha healing miracles, but these are less credible because they are from one source only, II Kings, which is dated about 300 years later than the reported event(s). By contrast the Asclepius inscriptions have some credibility because they are dated close to the reported event, setting them apart from other ancient miracle legends which appear in literature many centuries later than the event reportedly happened. These are not reports in the literature, but inscriptions on the Temple walls.


Although it is difficult to assess how receptive the Jews were to the Asclepius cult, it is reasonable to assume that the Jews were exposed to the influence of the Asclepius mentality. The use of the title 'saviour' in the sense of healer for God in some Hellenistic-Jewish healing texts exemplifies perhaps the contact between the Greek and Jewish healing developments in the first-century A.D. It is also possible that syncretism between Asclepius and Yahweh worship had already occurred in Palestine in view of such syncretism in Spain in the second century...
What is significant is not the terminology ("savior" etc.), but the described events, or healing acts, or reports of miracle healings in the written accounts from the time. And there are none. All we have evidence for is the religious activity, some "influence of Asclepius mentality" and worship, etc. Just that there was religious activity taking place is irrelevant. Of course there was much worship and religion and superstition. There's always religion and praying and rituals, at any time and place.

What's different and noteworthy during this period is the sudden appearance of the Jesus miracle acts reported in the 1st-century written accounts, for which no one can give an explanation, and which are totally out of character for the period.


(this Wall of Text to be continued)
 

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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?
I assume your question is actually asking who would have sought to gain by making up Jesus. It's not unusual for people to make up figures for some reasons we may not know. For example, Joseph Smith made up the angel Moroni, as I'm sure you will agree (unless you're Mormon, of course). What gain was Joseph Smith seeking when he made up Moroni? Although we might not know the answer to that question, it's obvious that Moroni is a fictional character. Therefore, any difficulties we may have answering the question why anybody would make up Jesus lends little to the case for his historicity.
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.
So since the Gospels are less contradictory than the accounts of Socrates, we should conclude that Jesus existed? Logically, any problems with the historical Socrates in no way makes Jesus any more probably historical. The historical problems associated with Jesus are every bit as troubling.
American conspiracy theories are way out of hand!
I don't see how doubting that Jesus existed is a conspiracy theory. Even if it is a conspiracy theory, it is a fact that sometimes people do conspire and conspire to hoodwink people with claims of the supernatural.
 

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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.
That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?
Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist kind of makes Jesus look less than godlike.
Sure, if you ignore the part about God's voice booming out of the sky praising Jesus as God's son.
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.
Like any culture, Jewish society valued its heroes and martyrs. So if one of them "died for the cause," they were hardly considered to be worthless. Also, you ignore the context of the crucifixion: The story goes on to have Jesus raised from the dead. Such post-tragedy climactic events are common motifs in works of fiction.
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.
Some real-Jesus apologists argue that Jesus was a "small-time preacher" to explain away the fact that historians of his day never said anything about him. So to save the historicity of Jesus, they contradict the main sources of of information they have for him: the Gospels.
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.
I suppose Jesus is just another failed God from the world of religion. Why think he was any more than that?
 

steve_bank

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Mesmer in the 18th century used magnets as a prop. When someone reported have a seizure it spread, and others sted reporying having seizures.

Today it ks called the placebo effect.

Jesus is the ultmate placebo.



In 1774, Mesmer produced an "artificial tide" in a patient, Francisca Österlin, who suffered from hysteria, by having her swallow a preparation containing iron and then attaching magnets to various parts of her body. She reported feeling streams of a mysterious fluid running through her body and was relieved of her symptoms for several hours. Mesmer did not believe that the magnets had achieved the cure on their own. He felt that he had contributed animal magnetism, which had accumulated in his work, to her. He soon stopped using magnets as a part of his treatment.


Procedure​

Mesmer treated patients both individually and in groups. With individuals he would sit in front of his patient with his knees touching the patient's knees, pressing the patient's thumbs in his hands, looking fixedly into the patient's eyes. Mesmer made "passes", moving his hands from patients' shoulders down along their arms. He then pressed his fingers on the patient's hypochondrium region (the area below the diaphragm), sometimes holding his hands there for hours. Many patients felt peculiar sensations or had convulsions that were regarded as crises and supposed to bring about the cure. Mesmer would often conclude his treatments by playing some music on a glass harmonica.[12]

By 1780 Mesmer had more patients than he could treat individually and he established a collective treatment known as the "baquet." An English doctor who observed Mesmer described the treatment as follows:

In the middle of the room is placed a vessel of about a foot and a half high which is called here a "baquet". It is so large that twenty people can easily sit round it; near the edge of the lid which covers it, there are holes pierced corresponding to the number of persons who are to surround it; into these holes are introduced iron rods, bent at right angles outwards, and of different heights, so as to answer to the part of the body to which they are to be applied. Besides these rods, there is a rope which communicates between the baquet and one of the patients, and from him is carried to another, and so on the whole round. The most sensible effects are produced on the approach of Mesmer, who is said to convey the fluid by certain motions of his hands or eyes, without touching the person. I have talked with several who have witnessed these effects, who have convulsions occasioned and removed by a movement of the hand...


In 1784, without Mesmer requesting it, King Louis XVI appointed four members of the Faculty of Medicine as commissioners to investigate animal magnetism as practiced by d'Eslon. At the request of these commissioners, the king appointed five additional commissioners from the Royal Academy of Sciences. These included the chemist Antoine Lavoisier, the doctor Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, the astronomer Jean Sylvain Bailly, and the American ambassador Benjamin Franklin.[13]

The commission conducted a series of experiments aimed not at determining whether Mesmer's treatment worked, but whether he had discovered a new physical fluid. The commission concluded that there was no evidence for such a fluid. Whatever benefit the treatment produced was attributed to "imagination". One of the commissioners, the botanist Antoine Laurent de Jussieu took exception to the official reports. He wrote a dissenting opinion that declared Mesmer's theory credible and worthy of further investigation.

The commission did not examine Mesmer, but investigated the practice of d'Eslon. In doing so using blind trials in their investigation, the commission learned that Mesmerism only seemed to work when the subject was aware of it. The commission termed it as "Imagination," but their findings are considered the first observation of the placebo effect.[14]

Mesmer was driven into exile soon after the investigations on animal magnetism although his influential student, Armand-Marie-Jacques de Chastenet, Marquis de Puységur (1751–1825), continued to have many followers until his death.[15] Mesmer continued to practice in Frauenfeld, Switzerland, for a number of years and died in 1815 in Meersburg.[16]

Abbé Faria, an Indo-Portuguese monk in Paris and a contemporary of Mesmer, claimed that "nothing comes from the magnetizer; everything comes from the subject and takes place in his imagination, i.e. autosuggestion generated from within the mind."
 

TomC

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That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?

I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed. It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.

The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?

This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.

There really was an historical Jesus. Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away. If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
Tom
 

bilby

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That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?

I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed. It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.

The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?

This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.

There really was an historical Jesus. Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away. If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
Tom
Yeah. The CoE is a very simple bit of logic:

"Our beliefs are so embarrassingly dumb that nobody would be stupid enough to make them up".

Of course, this bold claim founders on the observable fact that there's no limit to human stupidity.
 

TomC

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That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?

I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed. It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.

The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?

This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.

There really was an historical Jesus. Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away. If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
Tom
Yeah. The CoE is a very simple bit of logic:

"Our beliefs are so embarrassingly dumb that nobody would be stupid enough to make them up".

Of course, this bold claim founders on the observable fact that there's no limit to human stupidity.
Nope.

It's "There's a bunch of stuff in the story that wouldn't be invented if the goal were inventing a Divine Superpower."

Solid evidence that inventing a fictional character is not what was going on at the time. Jesus was a real person and the stuff people knew about Him needed to be spun.

I find the most plausible explanation for the results is that Jesus existed, but didn't much resemble the Christ of mythology. That's why I'm a "historical" believer, not a literalist or a mythicalist.
Tom
 

bilby

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That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?

I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed. It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.

The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?

This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.

There really was an historical Jesus. Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away. If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
Tom
Yeah. The CoE is a very simple bit of logic:

"Our beliefs are so embarrassingly dumb that nobody would be stupid enough to make them up".

Of course, this bold claim founders on the observable fact that there's no limit to human stupidity.
Nope.

It's "There's a bunch of stuff in the story that wouldn't be invented if the goal were inventing a Divine Superpower."

Solid evidence that inventing a fictional character is not what was going on at the time. Jesus was a real person and the stuff people knew about Him needed to be spun.

I find the most plausible explanation for the results is that Jesus existed, but didn't much resemble the Christ of mythology. That's why I'm a "historical" believer, not a literalist or a mythicalist.
Tom
Whoever thought the goal of making this shit up was "the creation of a divine superpower"?

The goal was (and remains) getting people to do what we want, rather than what they would want, if left to their own devices.

As the "we" hasn't remained consistent, nor have the stories.

Jesus was no more teal than any other fictional hero. All of them are based on real people (usually more than one real person), but that's no basis for claims that they were real. Superman is based on real people too. The important elements of the story are those that are purely fictional - nobody leaps tall buildings, or returns from death.

The folks who invented Superman weren't trying to create an alien with incredible strength, speed and endurance; They were telling a story designed to manipulate people into agreement with their vision of what it meant to be American.

The folks who invented Jesus were likewise trying to manipulate people into agreement with their vision of what it means to be Christian. Whether that's giving your starving neighbour a loaf, freeing slaves from bondage, burning witches, or slaughtering Muslims, or whatever other agendas they've had over the course of a couple of millennia.
 

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Whoever thought the goal of making this shit up was "the creation of a divine superpower"?
The generic term is "mythicist".

People who think that Jesus is myth. That the reason that Christianity and the Bible exist is the creation and promotion of a divine superpower.

That's who.

Doesn't seem much more plausible to me than Jesus literalism. A bit more, but not all that much. Both look like people with agendas striking a pose.
Tom
 

bilby

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Whoever thought the goal of making this shit up was "the creation of a divine superpower"?
The generic term is "mythicist".

People who think that Jesus is myth. That the reason that Christianity and the Bible exist is the creation and promotion of a divine superpower.

That's who.

Doesn't seem much more plausible to me than Jesus literalism. A bit more, but not all that much. Both look like people with agendas striking a pose.
Tom
That doesn't appear to be a response to my actual post, but rather a knee jerk rant on the least significant sentence, in which I asked a rhetorical question about your clearly false assertion regarding the purpose of mythological narrative.

I am aware that religious people of all descriptions look like people with agendas striking a pose; Indeed, that's the main thrust of my post.

Am I to take it that you are agreeing with me, but struggling to do so coherently?
 

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The goal was (and remains) getting people to do what we want, rather than what they would want, if left to their own devices.

I don't think so.

Christianity existed for centuries before the Roman Elite took over.

They invented the Creed. They weaponized Christianity. They got rid of Jesus and made it about a pagan demigod, Christ, and got on with the usual empire stuff.

Later, they "canonized" the old stories that supported their new religion. Left all the real stuff about Jesus to rot away in oblivion. They didn't even have to have a book burning. Everything about Jesus that didn't support the New Christianity became somewhere between "unimportant" and "heretical". Rotted away before the end of the 5th century.

That's when what you call Christianity came to be. Yeah, it was 1500 years ago. But Jesus would have been horrified by finding out that His ideology had been taken over by the people He fought so hard against. Jesus would have hated Christianity as you know it, too bad He isn't involved anymore.
Tom
 

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The goal was (and remains) getting people to do what we want, rather than what they would want, if left to their own devices.

I don't think so.

Christianity existed for centuries before the Roman Elite took over.

They invented the Creed. They weaponized Christianity. They got rid of Jesus and made it about a pagan demigod, Christ, and got on with the usual empire stuff.

Later, they "canonized" the old stories that supported their new religion. Left all the real stuff about Jesus to rot away in oblivion. They didn't even have to have a book burning. Everything about Jesus that didn't support the New Christianity became somewhere between "unimportant" and "heretical". Rotted away before the end of the 5th century.

That's when what you call Christianity came to be. Yeah, it was 1500 years ago. But Jesus would have been horrified by finding out that His ideology had been taken over by the people He fought so hard against. Jesus would have hated Christianity as you know it, too bad He isn't involved anymore.
Tom
Nah, the folks in charge change, but the goal never does.

Even if we accept ad argumentum that Jesus existed, and that he would have hated modern Christianity, it would still remain true that the founders of 'original christianity' (Jesus and his disciples) had the goal of getting people to do what Jesus wanted, rather than just doing what they themselves wanted.

Religion is ONLY about trying to influence the behaviour of other people.

Even if there actually was a god or gods, religion would remain an attempt to get people to do what the gods want, rather than do as they please.

As there aren't any gods, it's just people manipulating people. Which is no better (nor worse), morally.

Positing a god as an attempt to justify totalitarianism is a neat trick; After all, a perfectly benevolent dictatorship would be a great place to live, it it could exist. But ultimately it's still being told what to do by an authority, so it cannot be perfectly benevolent. Gods cannot be the source of morality, it's logically impossible.
 

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Even if we accept ad argumentum that Jesus existed, and that he would have hated modern Christianity, it would still remain true that the founders of 'original christianity' (Jesus and his disciples) had the goal of getting people to do what Jesus wanted, rather than just doing what they themselves wanted.
What makes you think you know what Jesus and His disciple's goal was?
What makes you think that they are the founders of Christianity, as we know it?

You keep making point blank assertions without providing any evidence that you have the first clue about what you're talking about.
Tom
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Christianity existed for centuries before the Roman Elite took over.

They invented the Creed. They weaponized Christianity. They got rid of Jesus and made it about a pagan demigod, Christ, and got on with the usual empire stuff.
When approximately are you asserting that this happened? If we say the NT gospels occurred late first, early second century, when did the Jesus religion become weaponized?
 

bilby

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Even if we accept ad argumentum that Jesus existed, and that he would have hated modern Christianity, it would still remain true that the founders of 'original christianity' (Jesus and his disciples) had the goal of getting people to do what Jesus wanted, rather than just doing what they themselves wanted.
What makes you think you know what Jesus and His disciple's goal was?
The goal of all social movements is to modify other people's behaviour.
What makes you think that they are the founders of Christianity, as we know it?
I explicitly said that I wasn't talking about Christianity as we know it. But if Jesus existed, he was by definition the founder of Christianity. And that assumption was explicit in my post.
You keep making point blank assertions without providing any evidence that you have the first clue about what you're talking about.
Tom
You keep responding to my posts without providing any evidence that you actually read them first.
 

Unknown Soldier

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That criterion has become a bit of an embarrassment to whoever came up with it. It suffers from numerous difficulties not the least of which is our inability to know who was ever really ashamed of Jesus and his story. If his followers were embarrassed by some aspects of his life, then why would they have reported any of that?

I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed.
If they weren't ashamed, then where did the embarrassment come from? According to my dictionary, embarrassment and shame are synonyms.
It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.
I'm left wondering how anybody can know what people might not make up. In any case, people have made up stories that involve a god enduring some shameful circumstance. For example,
In Greek mythology Cronus was the son of Uranus (Heaven) and Gaea (Earth), being the youngest of the 12 Titans. On the advice of his mother he castrated his father with a harpē, thus separating Heaven from Earth.
If you accept the criterion of embarrassment, then you must accept this story as historical. Nobody would fabricate such shame, now would they?
The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?
Actually, whether Jesus existed or not, then it seems odd that his writers would include his baptism by John if it was troubling for them. They could have just omitted the story if it went against their goal. Of course, they didn't omit the story, so they obviously had some reason to include that story. A very plausible explanation is that the early Christians aimed to have their sect take precedence over that of John the Baptists' sect by stuffing words of praise for Jesus into the mouth of John the Baptist, and doing so did not requre a real Jesus.
This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.
How is that more likely to be true than the early Christians fabricating a Jesus who like any God of that time had magical powers? Those "supernatural details" had been applied to many pagan gods long before the time that Christianity emerged.
There really was an historical Jesus.
So you say.
Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away.
Why not there and then? Legends can be created overnight.
If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
How plausible is the trial of Jesus? Do you believe Pilate tolerated a Jewish mob outside of his residence harassing him?

Anyway, here's my story: Last night I was abducted by ETs. I was so frightened, that I wet my pants. Applying the criterion of embarrassment, this story is likely to be true. I would never make up such a shameful experience.
 

Learner

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If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
How plausible is the trial of Jesus? Do you believe Pilate tolerated a Jewish mob outside of his residence harassing him?

Anyway, here's my story: Last night I was abducted by ETs. I was so frightened, that I wet my pants. Applying the criterion of embarrassment, this story is likely to be true. I would never make up such a shameful experience.
Unfortunately Unknown Soldier.... It's a pity your story lacks the criterion of multiple attestation, like Joseph Smith, Mohammed, and Harry Potter's story. The four Gospels (even without Paul's writings) seems to be an advantage, rather than being problematic, apparently when people try to compare the differences between them, so that they could base some arguments on (leaving out the things in common).

Two or more witnesses, is of major importance, highly emphasized in the bible...that's the difference between the bible and the other stories!
 
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atrib

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Two or more witnesses, is of major importance, highly emphasized in the bible...that's the difference between the bible and the other stories!
Who are these witnesses you are talking about? Which act was witnessed and by who, and where is their testimony recorded? You do know that the Gospel authors were not contemporaries of the alleged Jesus or any of his alleged actions, right? Right?

The Jesus miracle stories would not be considered reliable even if we had the sworn testimony of a dozen named witnesses, each of whom could be placed in history as contemporaries, and even if we could believe that the witnesses were absolutely convinced they had witnessed miracles. That is because humans can lie, they can be fooled, or they can be mistaken. Have you ever been to a magic show? Hundreds of people watching a skilled magician would swear that his beautiful assistant had been cut into two halves by a saw, and that the magician had magically teleported across the room. Would that mean that it is possible for a woman to be cut in half and still survive, or that humans can travel through space and barriers defying physics? Of course not.

The Gospels don't have any witness testimony, they just have stories that were propagated around campfires and spread by word of mouth. Is it reasonable to believe that such stories that defy the laws of physics are credible? Of course not. Only a fool or an extremely gullible person would believe such stories. Which are you, the fool or the gullible person?
 

steve_bank

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If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
How plausible is the trial of Jesus? Do you believe Pilate tolerated a Jewish mob outside of his residence harassing him?

Anyway, here's my story: Last night I was abducted by ETs. I was so frightened, that I wet my pants. Applying the criterion of embarrassment, this story is likely to be true. I would never make up such a shameful experience.
Unfortunately Unknown Soldier.... It's a pity your story lacks the criterion of multiple attestation, like Joseph Smith, Mohammed, and Harry Potter's story. The four Gospels (even without Paul's writings) seems to be an advantage, rather than being problematic, apparently when people try to compare the differences between them, so that they could base some arguments on (leaving out the things in common).

Two or more witnesses, is of major importance, highly emphasized in the bible...that's the difference between the bible and the other stories!
Do you believe Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and delivers toys to kids in a flying sleigh pulled by reindeer?

If not, why not?

Would you believe it 2000 years from now based on a few scant wrings from today?
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
How plausible is the trial of Jesus? Do you believe Pilate tolerated a Jewish mob outside of his residence harassing him?

Anyway, here's my story: Last night I was abducted by ETs. I was so frightened, that I wet my pants. Applying the criterion of embarrassment, this story is likely to be true. I would never make up such a shameful experience.
Unfortunately Unknown Soldier.... It's a pity your story lacks the criterion of multiple attestation, like Joseph Smith, Mohammed, and Harry Potter's story. The four Gospels (even without Paul's writings) seems to be an advantage, rather than being problematic, apparently when people try to compare the differences between them, so that they could base some arguments on (leaving out the things in common).

Two or more witnesses, is of major importance, highly emphasized in the bible...that's the difference between the bible and the other stories!
Maybe his particular story does but not the subject generally. Generally speaking a lot of people believe in this nonsense. The reasons they believe it certainly and obviously doesn't include a scientific appreciation of how vast is the distance between stars and the logistics involved in interstellar travel which if achieved involves arriving at an inhabited world to probe someone's anus. The claim certainly is mysterious and involves cosmic amounts of woo to sell the story to the uninformed and uneducated.

How many astrophysicists would believe his story? How many Scientists with degrees from reputable institutions? No doubt there are a few and we could gather them all up for purposes of multiple attestation. 25% of americans believe the moon landings were a hoax. That's a lot of multiple attestation so apparently they were a hoax.
 

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I have to agree...there's lots of non-miraculous elements in the Gospels that strain credulity. Jesus' illegal arrest, Pilate's concern about crucified victims being visible during a Jewish holiday, Jesus' circuitous route around Palestine, etc.

My leanings toward mythicism stem not from the gospels but from the epistles. If there really was an historical Jesus, why didn't the epistle writers quote him profusely? Why not point back to his miracles or teachings, especially when making arguments they would have supported? Why were the villains of the gospels not mentioned as examples? Why did the epistle writers only predict Jesus coming to earth, but never coming again, or returning?

But I could be wrong.
 

steve_bank

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To me the gospels are clearly a conflation of multiple events and people.

A synthesis of multiple oral stories.

I read the Oxford commentary on the bible. It points out errors.

One I remember is a gospel reference to a building architecture that was out of place.

My example of how the Christian tales evolved is Dracula. The inspiration for the character may have been Vlad The Impaller, a bloody brutal leader with the family Dracul meaning dragon. The original book led to an evolution of vampire stories up through today.

I grew up watching the old movies. I watched the original Bella Lugosi version last night, it is Halloween on TV. After Lugosi it was Christopher lee.

The Dark Shadows TV soap opera about a vampire.

Then the more modern ultra violent Blade movies.

It is not hard to see how the Christian myths evolved especially with high illiteracy and communication by gosip. People were already preconditioned to superstition, gods, and the supernatural.
 

atrib

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I think you're missing the point to the CoE. It's not that His followers were ashamed. It's that the stories aren't what someone would make up, if they were inventing a Divine Superpower entirely.
How could you possibly know that? We don't even know how the Jesus stories came about.

The JtB baptism is an example. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put that in the story? If Jesus were a real person, who had a relationship with JtB and all His followers knew that, adding the voice of God part makes sense. If Jesus were entirely fictional, why put it in at all? Or why not pose Jesus as teacher of JtB?

This is the point to CoE. There's a ton of supernatural details that look like later folks explaining stuff that people knew happened.
Or, as is vastly more probable, the stories are mythologies created by ignorant, superstitious humans who didn't know any better.

There really was an historical Jesus. Christ is a legend/myth that developed later and far away. If you leave out the implausibly miraculous parts the rest of the story is both plausible and inspirational.
You have no way to know that with any degree of confidence.
 

atrib

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Solid evidence that inventing a fictional character is not what was going on at the time. Jesus was a real person and the stuff people knew about Him needed to be spun.
Yeah. And Superman was a real person that people knew about, and they spun the supernatural stories about him to make him more appealing to stupid people. Thats how I know that Superman was a historical person.

I find the most plausible explanation for the results is that Jesus existed, but didn't much resemble the Christ of mythology. That's why I'm a "historical" believer, not a literalist or a mythicalist.
You have no data to assess the plausibility of any such explanation. None.

But Jesus would have been horrified by finding out that His ideology had been taken over by the people He fought so hard against. Jesus would have hated Christianity as you know it, too bad He isn't involved anymore.
yeah, because you have Jesus' secret home movies and know all about his life.

You keep making point blank assertions without providing any evidence that you have the first clue about what you're talking about.
Irony much? The only one making blank assertions around here is you.
 

T.G.G. Moogly

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Yeah. And Superman was a real person that people knew about, and they spun the supernatural stories about him to make him more appealing to stupid people. Thats how I know that Superman was a historical person.
No one is religiously attached to Superman. We should be, he did a lot of good. GJ is just Superman from 2000 years ago recorded doing fabulous things that were fabulous at the time. Lots of bad things happen to Superman in the stories about him from today. By much of apologetics that can only mean that the Superman tales are about a real Superman. Why else then include these humiliating details?

Religion is tribal loyalty and its deeply emotional. Some folks cannot escape that because they're just not wired that way.
 

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Anyway, here's my story: Last night I was abducted by ETs. I was so frightened, that I wet my pants. Applying the criterion of embarrassment, this story is likely to be true. I would never make up such a shameful experience.
Unfortunately Unknown Soldier....
Fortunately, you've given up trying to use the criterion of embarrassment to establish history. I'm glad you understand that I discredited it as a way to sift fact from fiction.
It's a pity your story lacks the criterion of multiple attestation...
So if more than on person writes about something, then it's got to be true? ETs enjoy vast attestation, so you must think that at least the ET part of my story is historical.
...like Joseph Smith, Mohammed, and Harry Potter's story.
Hmmm. Then you believe all those stories?
The four Gospels (even without Paul's writings) seems to be an advantage, rather than being problematic, apparently when people try to compare the differences between them, so that they could base some arguments on (leaving out the things in common).
I don't know what you're talking about here.
Two or more witnesses, is of major importance, highly emphasized in the bible...that's the difference between the bible and the other stories!
But Joseph Smith had witnesses to testify to his golden tablets, and unlike the Gospel writers, we know who those witnesses are.

There's just no good evidence or reason to support the historicity of Jesus.
 

Unknown Soldier

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My leanings toward mythicism stem not from the gospels but from the epistles. If there really was an historical Jesus, why didn't the epistle writers quote him profusely? Why not point back to his miracles or teachings, especially when making arguments they would have supported? Why were the villains of the gospels not mentioned as examples? Why did the epistle writers only predict Jesus coming to earth, but never coming again, or returning?
When I was a Christian, I saw the epistles as speaking of the Jesus-returned-to-heaven. I didn't dare speculate that the epistle writers were writing of a heaven-only Jesus whose being contradicted the earthly Jesus of the gospels.
But I could be wrong.
You can just as easily be right!
 

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