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Where did the idea of eternal life in Heaven come from?

Lumpenproletariat

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Are the Jesus healing miracles just copies of earlier pagan legends common in antiquity?

(continued from previous Wall of Text)


If there are sources telling of the earlier pagan miracle healings, why can't anyone quote from them?


But you cannot cite any earlier pagan or Jewish sources narrating any resurrection event or miracle healings which resemble the miracle acts of Jesus. And it's these which are related to the "good news" eternal life claim which appears in the 1st century AD and cannot be explained unless something unusual happened at this time to cause this new belief in the possibility of eternal life.

OMG. If you'd go to ANY doctor in the ancient Middle-East you would expect a miracle healing.

But did actual "miracle" healings reportedly happen? Do we have written accounts reporting such miracle healings? This is not about normal recovery from a cold, etc. It's about instant healings, like healing blindness or leprosy, etc., in seconds, such as we see in the Gospel accounts.

Where are the written accounts reporting such miracle healings (not just that someone "would expect a miracle healing," but that it happened, and the event is reported)?

Also, it's not true that ancient doctors used magic only, because there were many remedies based on scientific beliefs, regardless whether the science was flawed. They believed that natural herbs and other substances contained healing qualities. In these cases it was not "miracle" healing which took place or which they thought took place. Just because they also had religious beliefs does not put these treatments in the "miracle" category, anymore than modern medical treatments are in the "miracle" category simply because someone prays for the patient to recover.


That's why you'd go.

You'd go to get healed. A patient is not demanding ONLY "miracle" healing. Their belief is mixed, trusting the healer, allowing that it's magic, hoping for ANYTHING THAT WORKS, no matter what, including that the healer is smart and knows some tricks that work for whatever reason.


They didn't believe that healing powers was a science.

They didn't believe it was NOT science. And in some cases there was some science, even though it was mostly religious. What the worshipers/patients believed is that the healer had some power or talent to heal them, regardless what the power was. And they were partly right, because there were some who had more talent than others and knew ways to get a good outcome.


They believe it was ALL magic.

No, they just believed the healer had some power to heal, and this is what they wanted, regardless what kind of power it was. They did not rule out that the healer might have had normal knowledge, or rather, special knowledge that was learned, because the healer was a practitioner who became experienced in the art, and having superior talent. In some cases this is "science" rather than "magic" or "miracle" -- patients who recovered did not get upset to learn that actually some "science" also played a part, which sometimes it did.


Why this demand to find sources for something this well attested and well known?

If it's well known, then provide the written accounts of cases where a "miracle" healing actually took place. It's not enough to say that they "would expect" a miracle. Where are the cases of instant healing of leprosy or blindness, etc.? If it is well attested, then you should have some examples in the literature reporting such cases.

Do you mean the case of King Pyrrhus and his magic toe? That's based on one source only, several centuries later. But there are no "well attested" cases of such miracle healings, in sources near the time of the alleged event. Or, if there really are any such cases, you will come up with them. You should mention the Asclepius stories/inscriptions, which might be the best example, but those are largely in the medical science and psychology category, rather than in the "miracle" category. Just because the ancient gods are worshiped and rituals followed doesn't change the fact that there was some science also, in the practice.

You refute yourself if you refuse to cite the particular examples and provide the narrative accounts of the alleged miracle events. Anyone can prove their case by just saying it's "well attested and well known" but not provide the individual examples and quote the original source for them.


Are you truly this ignorant, or do you think that I don't have access to Google?

[unnecessary graphic deleted]

In the meantime, enjoy this picture of a Roman flying penis. Yes, it's a real thing intended to ward off disease... magically.

Then why don't you provide the source or written account reporting a case when this was used to cure a disease, where witnesses saw it used to bring the victim back to health? There are many objects "intended" to do this or that. But where is the evidence, or written accounts reporting that the intended result actually happened?

Why are you so good at providing "documentation" of magic objects, which proves nothing? Where is your source for a "miracle" healing event? Why not take as much trouble to provide an ancient source, written account, reporting an instant healing act by a "doctor" who did "miracle" healings, if Google has many of them and they are "well documented" and "well attested" and "well known"?


Faith healing was all over the ancient world.

No, not healing -- only praying and religious rituals at shrines and temples, where worshipers were hoping for a "miracle" to happen. And in many cases a victim recovered from their ailment, as they generally do anyway, and the god would usually be credited with healing the victim.

But what was not all over the ancient world were actual instant healings, of victims suffering from long-lasting incurable illnesses, and suddenly cured such as we see described in the Gospel accounts. Where are there other ancient accounts of such miracle healings? Why do we see this in one place only and nowhere else?

. . . all over the ancient world. As it is today, in the modern world.

Yes, there are religious rituals and praying, and occasionally a victim recovers from something and believes the praying caused it. Everyone knows this, so virtually none of these are reported in published accounts of it, because everyone knows that recoveries happen anyway, and when the patient does not recover, despite the praying, it's just forgotten. So these religious experiences are not written down or published or recorded as anything noteworthy to report as "good news" people don't already know about as being the norm.

But in the 1st century something different happened -- reported instant healings which were recorded, because it did not fit the usual pattern. If there were other similar cases, where is there some written record of it?


That's as long as I got reading your message. My eyes are straining from all the eye rolling.

All the evidence suggests that all the magical things attributed to Jesus are attributed to him because those are traditional for divine beings and heroes in the pagan tradition.

If they are "traditional" for those divine beings and heroes, where are the accounts reporting some cases, attributing those same "magical things" to them which are attributed to Jesus?


There is NOTHING special or unique about the Jesus miracles.

Then there are also many written accounts of all those other beings and heroes who did similar miracles? Why are you keeping these a secret? Why can't you give one source narrating a miracle healing?

Oh, I know ----- The Catholic Church sent its book-burning squads all around the ancient world confiscating everything written about the non-Jesus miracles going on everywhere. They sent their black helicopters around everywhere to pluck out any other miracle-workers or their disciples and anyone promoting those divine beings and heroes competing with Jesus.

And the Council of Nicaea sent back their own "Terminator" to the 1st century and earlier to wipe out a "Sarah Connor" here and there in order to prevent those miracle-workers from even being born, erasing history using retroactive abortion so they could actually create the Jesus-only-miracle-worker history to be taught to later generations, for thousands of years into the future. They probably even sent a Terminator back 600 years to snuff out those claiming their spleen was healed by King Pyrrhus and his magic toe, and to confiscate any written accounts about these miracles, destroying all (or almost all) the evidence.

You can always prove your case is the truth by arguing that the evidence to prove it was suppressed by the other side somehow, or suppressed even by nature and accidents of history and geography, all conspiring to promote the other side's evidence and suppress only yours.


They're so standard and traditional, that to me, it's pretty obvious that they're added in order to . . .

But, whatever the purpose, why are such miracles added by only these Christ cult(s) and no others? If the Christ cult(s) could see the purpose for adding them, why couldn't any of the others see it also and gain the same benefit of having such miracle legends of their own to promote their crusade?

. . . pretty obvious that they're added in order to jack into earlier preconceptions about divinity to convince pagans of his godly specialness.

But didn't other cults also want their miracle-worker hero to be special? So why wouldn't they do the same? and also jack into the earlier preconceptions, etc.?

Why was it only the Christ-believers who made any effort to record the miracle events? or, only the Christ-believers who got the idea to wipe out all record of the many other miracle-workers who were standard and traditional and just as well-known and believed as the Christ miracle-worker? -- until the Council of Nicaea decided to exterminate all trace of them and rewrote history, artificially creating all the documents we have now, doctoring them to promote this one miracle-worker only and obliterate all trace of the others?

Why did only the Christ cult(s), or the Catholic Church in 325 AD, think up such a scheme to wipe out all trace of its competitors? and find the technology to return 300+ years into the past to confiscate all that earlier evidence, written accounts. None of the other miracle cults were able to think up such a scheme?
 

DrZoidberg

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But did actual "miracle" healings reportedly happen? Do we have written accounts reporting such miracle healings? This is not about normal recovery from a cold, etc. It's about instant healings, like healing blindness or leprosy, etc., in seconds, such as we see in the Gospel accounts.

Where are the written accounts reporting such miracle healings (not just that someone "would expect a miracle healing," but that it happened, and the event is reported)?

To the ancients, any healing was a miracle healing. They didn't have a concept of the body healing naturally. To the ancients any wound healing by itself was evidence of a miracle.

We have loads of texts about this.

Also, it's not true that ancient doctors used magic only, because there were many remedies based on scientific beliefs, regardless whether the science was flawed. They believed that natural herbs and other substances contained healing qualities. In these cases it was not "miracle" healing which took place or which they thought took place. Just because they also had religious beliefs does not put these treatments in the "miracle" category, anymore than modern medical treatments are in the "miracle" category simply because someone prays for the patient to recover.

That's just nonsense. I think you just made this up. Just because there existed a couple of Greeks who hypothesized about a division between the natural and supernatural realm, doesn't mean it was something that was widely accepted. In the Roman world naturalism was a popular belief among the elites. But for people in general out in the provinces, ie Jews... no.

Why this demand to find sources for something this well attested and well known?

If it's well known, then provide the written accounts of cases where a "miracle" healing actually took place. It's not enough to say that they "would expect" a miracle. Where are the cases of instant healing of leprosy or blindness, etc.? If it is well attested, then you should have some examples in the literature reporting such cases.

Do you mean the case of King Pyrrhus and his magic toe? That's based on one source only, several centuries later. But there are no "well attested" cases of such miracle healings, in sources near the time of the alleged event. Or, if there really are any such cases, you will come up with them. You should mention the Asclepius stories/inscriptions, which might be the best example, but those are largely in the medical science and psychology category, rather than in the "miracle" category. Just because the ancient gods are worshiped and rituals followed doesn't change the fact that there was some science also, in the practice.

You refute yourself if you refuse to cite the particular examples and provide the narrative accounts of the alleged miracle events. Anyone can prove their case by just saying it's "well attested and well known" but not provide the individual examples and quote the original source for them.

The Bible has exactly one source... itself. All the various Jesus narratives in the Bible come from Mark. One source. A highly dubious source.

. . . pretty obvious that they're added in order to jack into earlier preconceptions about divinity to convince pagans of his godly specialness.

But didn't other cults also want their miracle-worker hero to be special? So why wouldn't they do the same? and also jack into the earlier preconceptions, etc.?

Yes, exactly. Which is what they did. For example, every European Christian king also performed faith healings on major holidays. A surviving remnant from the pagan world.

Why was it only the Christ-believers who made any effort to record the miracle events? or, only the Christ-believers who got the idea to wipe out all record of the many other miracle-workers who were standard and traditional and just as well-known and believed as the Christ miracle-worker? -- until the Council of Nicaea decided to exterminate all trace of them and rewrote history, artificially creating all the documents we have now, doctoring them to promote this one miracle-worker only and obliterate all trace of the others?

Why did only the Christ cult(s), or the Catholic Church in 325 AD, think up such a scheme to wipe out all trace of its competitors? and find the technology to return 300+ years into the past to confiscate all that earlier evidence, written accounts. None of the other miracle cults were able to think up such a scheme?

Because Jews fetishize the written word. It's their special thing. Pagans... by contrast, were mystery religions. They did NOT write the miracles down. They were supposed to be mysterious. Stuff only shared with those initiated into the same cult. Writing it down risked the information to spread beyond the cult.

Pagan mystery cults didn't want riff raff joining their cult. They were exclusive. You needed to jump through all manner of convoluted hoops to become a member. Christianity, by contrast, wanted all their secrets to be spread as much as possible because they were NOT exclusive. Anyone is welcome. That's why they wrote it all down and shared it with the world. There's no other reason.

Those traces actually exist. Because some Christian converts wrote slanderous texts about what went on in the mystery cults. They are anti-pagan propaganda. But we can infer from those what kinds of things went on.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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Plato in his dialogue Phaedo, several centuries BC, offers four (or three, I can't remember) logical proofs for the immortality of the soul. This would hardly be news to the authors of the New Testament.

But something new happens about 30-50 AD. Paul's ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") is different terminology than Plato's.

It appears Paul is the first to use this term, and then we see it in most other NT writings, while Plato's terminology is hardly ever used.

(I haven't been able to find ζωὴν αἰώνιον anywhere earlier, though maybe it's there somewhere. Those two Greek words exist earlier, separately, but apparently not together as Paul combines them.)

So Paul and the other NT writers are expressing something different, or new.

At the beginning we were asked:
Where did the Christian idea of a soul and its eternal life in Heaven come from?

Shouldn't the answer to this have something to do with Paul's introduction of a new term ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life")? and his persistent reference to the resurrection of Christ? and also his "good news" term (euangelion)?

What is the meaning of "the Christian idea of a soul and its eternal life in Heaven" if it has nothing to do with the very first Christian author to use this term? who may have even invented it?

Another Greek writer of this period, Philo the Alexandrian, used Plato's language expounding on immortality, but did not use the ζωὴν αἰώνιον term. He was contemporary to Jesus and maybe knew nothing about him, and never uses this terminology in his immortality writings. But later the Gospel of John, probably written by an Alexandrian and Hellenist like Philo, uses only the ζωὴν αἰώνιον term, like Paul. Why do only the Christians want to use this new term for "eternal life"?

So it appears that the Christians strongly preferred the ζωὴν αἰώνιον to Plato's language, even though there was familiarity with Greek and gnostic and Hellenistic thinking. Doesn't that suggest something new happening to cause a new interest in "eternal life" among the Christ cult(s) but not others?

Maybe the "Christian idea of a soul" was the same as Plato's, but not its idea of "eternal life in Heaven," which must also be connected to its "good news" idea and its idea that Christ resurrected. Also to the Gospel of John's idea of "eternal life" (also ζωὴν αἰώνιον) which quotes Jesus as saying "I am the resurrection and the life" and other famous words which must have something to do with "the Christian idea of . . . eternal life in Heaven").

Who would know better where "the Christian idea of . . . eternal life in Heaven" came from other than the first Christian writers who apparently invented this "eternal life" word and are quoted by Christians more than anyone else? If the historical Jesus Christ person they speak of had nothing to do with this idea, then what happened during 30-50 AD which caused them to think he did? The only way to answer where this idea came from is to ask what happened at about 50 AD or earlier which caused Paul to think this and then the Christian writers after him.
 
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Lumpenproletariat

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What makes the Bible special, really really special. Is the amount of texts that has survived. . . . etc. . . .

A Catholic bishop in the 1800's took every single existing ancient Inca holy text and burned them. It's all gone. Which sucks for Inca scholars today.

Could we have a clarification what this refers to. If there's no mistake, we need a link or some kind of source.

I plan to respond to this post with another Wall of Text, but first I need an explanation for the above reference to "ancient Inca holy text" being burned.
 

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What makes the Bible special, really really special. Is the amount of texts that has survived. . . . etc. . . .

A Catholic bishop in the 1800's took every single existing ancient Inca holy text and burned them. It's all gone. Which sucks for Inca scholars today.

Could we have a clarification what this refers to. If there's no mistake, we need a link or some kind of source.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_Council_of_Lima

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quipu

I plan to respond to this post with another Wall of Text, but first I need an explanation for the above reference to "ancient Inca holy text" being burned.

You don't need to write walls of text. I am aware that I'm one of the worst offenders. But I think most people prefer reading concise posts.

It should be mentioned that we have Inca carvings in stone, and there's oral history preserved. So we're not completely clueless. But we don't have anything preserved in the Inca's own language and words. This is a shame.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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Did the Church, or those in power, create the historical facts for us, because they needed to control us?

What makes the Bible special, really really special. Is the amount of texts that has survived. This due to the unbroken prominence of Christianity throughout antiquity combined with the monastic scribal system. This is awesome. ANY other surviving religious texts are fragmentary and pathetic in comparison with the Bible. We have been able to reconstruct and map some Babylonian, Zoroastrian, and other Middle-Eastern religious ideas through the Bible. There's no other religious text that comes even close to it.

This sounds like an exaggeration to explain why there is an absence of other "resurrected" messiahs or saviors etc. in the literature, as comparisons to Jesus Christ in 30 AD, and that there were many other Jesus-like miracle-workers who resurrected (in the legends about them), but that the many written accounts of them have all been lost, due to something artificial, accidents of nature, or deliberate destruction by Christians, etc.

All of which can't be ruled out. It's even possible that all our biblical writings were planted by the Catholic Church 100 or 200 years ago, and all the evidence that they are 2000+ years old was just fabricated and established as our present accepted "history" which we know only through the fabricated "documentation" created for the purpose of controlling us. But in that case most of our ancient history has to be thrown out, and our only "knowledge" of history has to be whatever some present overlords dictate to us, and most of us don't really know who these overlords are.

But if we accept the standard facts, available to all researchers and students, based on the ancient documents as evidence (on display in museums, etc.), we have evidence for the unique Jesus miracle-worker event of about 30 AD, and there's no similar evidence for any other reported miracle-worker.


This is awesome, and something I hope Christians today appreciate.

But there's a risk to see the lack of other texts as Christianity being qualitatively different, or special in other regards. The numbers of surviving Bibles is an accident of history.

Maybe. But we have no reason to believe there would not be similar surviving evidence of other reported ancient miracle-workers if they did exist.


A Catholic bishop in the 1800's took every single existing ancient Inca holy text and burned them. It's all gone. Which sucks for Inca scholars today.

This is a god-da ------ beep beep beep beep ----- !!! [language censored -- not suitable].

What does the phrase "every single existing ancient Inca holy text" mean?
Despite the sophistication of many aspects of Incan life, the Inca never developed a writing system. History and literature were memorized as part of an oral tradition.
https://www.cattlv.wnyric.org/cms/lib/NY19000422/Centricity/Domain/13/World_History_POI_Unit_4.pdf (scroll several pages down to p. 461)

The Inca Empire (1438–1533) had its own spoken language, Quechua, which is still spoken by about a third of the Peruvian population. It is believed that the only “written” language of the Inca empire is a system of different knots tied in ropes attached to a longer cord. This system is called quipu or khipu.

No such Inca "text" was "burned" and there are no "Inca scholars" lamenting the burning of any such ancient "text" -- possibly some khipu objects got destroyed, but to interpret this as "every single existing ancient Inca holy text" being burned is in the wackadoodle nutcase category.

To have to resort to a falsehood like this is itself evidence that there are no other reported miracle-workers in any tradition, in the written record, because if there were, you could cite the case, give the evidence, from a credible source reporting those facts. But instead to resort to a blatant falsehood about all the ancient Inca texts being burned shows that there is no serious evidence, and all one can do is fabricate lies about such things out of an obsession and desperate attempt to downplay the one case we do have, from the 1st century, based on written accounts from the time.

Whatever may have been lost in the normal sense that ancient artifacts get destroyed, there is no reason to believe there were ancient Inca miracle-worker legends lost, or similar legends from any other civilizations or cultures. If such legends did exist, and the evidence is not yet known, probably some day the evidence of them will be uncovered. It's reasonable to base our beliefs on the evidence which is known, while having normal doubt, and be ready to change our beliefs based on any new evidence.

Until further evidence is uncovered, the only credible evidence we have of a reported ancient miracle-worker is that of Jesus in Galilee-Judaea at the time Pontius Pilate was Governor of Judaea. Your hate for this evidence or those who believe it does not suffice to negate these facts of history, however much you may be offended by these facts.


Another Catholic bishop in Spain in the 1700's took about half of the then existing ancient Bibles and sold them to a fireworks factory. He thought they were too weird. So these were all the surviving Christian Bibles that conformed the least to then current Catholic doctrine.

We're exceedingly lucky to be in the situation we are with the Bibles. Any political upheaval in Rome could easily have destroyed all those Bibles as well.

Most ancient writings have been lost, maybe 99%. Including Christian writings, mostly due to normal decay of the "paper" etc. and other processes no one could control or made the effort to control.

The "bookburnings" began mostly with the Reformation period, not back in the early church years. There's virtually no evidence of any Christian bookburnings, or burning libraries before 500 or 1000 AD. Most such claims are false, not based on any evidence. There were no decrees, by Constantine or Theodosius I or other emperors to burn any books or libraries. They destroyed pagan temples, not libraries, and in 1 or 2 cases there is speculation whether a library connected to the temple, or books, might have suffered damage. One historian in the 5th century is quoted saying some books were "consigned to the flames" about 100 years earlier. Other than this, there is no written account from the period reporting any bookburnings by Christians.

In the Book of Acts (19:19) there is reported a burning of books on divination. Such books were sometimes burned as dangerous, but this was legitimate, because there were cases of people being injured by misuse of the information contained in them, causing explosions, etc. Other than this, there is no evidence of bookburnings.

There's one mention of the burning of the Library at Antioch, but this was a Christian mob attacking a pagan temple which had a library in it, and this riot was not ordered by the emperor or the Church. But the writer blamed the emperor Jovian, because he might have been there. If the event happened, it was only the temple and its statues which was targeted, not the library or books.

The Library at Alexandria was destroyed mostly during the wars of Julius Caesar in the period of about 47 BC, not during the Christian period. But the Library itself was not the target. No one targeted libraries or books per se for destruction. Rather, these were sometimes collateral damage. The idea that rulers and religionists sent bookburning squads around to destroy dangerous books is 99.9% paranoia (even 100%). Many things of value, including books, scrolls, or manuscripts were destroyed in the wars.

There is speculation that the Qumran dwellers hid their scrolls for fear that they would be destroyed by the Romans. But there's no evidence that the Romans hunted down scrolls to burn. Possibly they did this in the case of Christian books, during the persecutions under Diocletian. But even this is reported only by the Christians, and no other source.

We cannot rewrite history based on what should have happened and should have been recorded and should not have been destroyed. We cannot reconstruct what the real "record" should have been if everything right had happened and there had been no bad guys or accidents or mistakes made which caused the surviving record to be different. We cannot speculate what the true historical record would or should be to come down to us rather than the actual record which has come down. There are some ways to detect errors and omissions etc. based on the existing evidence, by examining it further. When all that is done, as best as can be determined, the evidence so far is that there was a unique reported miracle-worker in Galilee-Judaea in about 30 AD, and there is no evidence yet of any other at other times or places, or other cultures or civilizations.

But there are possibly a few cases of something similar, on a smaller scale. E.g., there is historical evidence that Rasputin the "Mad Monk" had power to cure a child (or give relief to him) from a blood disease, whereas the conventional doctors were powerless to help him. There is limited evidence in history of some cases like this.


So the details of the reporting in the gospels doesn't mean we didn't get similar details in the reporting for other religions.

There's no evidence yet of other reported miracle-workers, and so no reason to believe they existed, despite the sincerity of those religious worshipers and their wish to have a Jesus-like Savior or Messiah figure they could claim in order to validate their faith in some sense. History cannot be based on such religious sentiment, but only on the facts shown by the evidence.


It's not proof of anything.

The abundance of the evidence, 5 sources reporting the Resurrection in the 1st century, is evidence that the event did happen, but not proof.


It's just evidence that Christian monks are good at copying and keeping alive stuff and . . .

Non-Christian monks were also good at that, and other non-Christian copyists who wanted to preserve the writings. Even if some were more motivated than others, there is so much history preserved that there would probably be abundant evidence of other reported miracle-workers if any existed. Probably they did not exist, based on the evidence, which is extensive. Though there will be much more in the future.

A piece of evidence that is being ignored by both believers and non-believers is the Callirhoe romance novel, probably written in the 1st century. Both sides are dishonest in refusing to consider the uncanny connection of this resurrection/crucifixion novel to elements of the Jesus story in the NT.

. . . and the papal library is damn lucky in dodging all the revolutionary bullets flying throughout history.

There's a lot they did not dodge. If the Catholic Church had this imagined power to create the history they wanted, it'd be shocking how different our history would be for the last 2000 years.

It's not the Catholic Church which created the Jesus miracle "legend" of the 1st century. Rather, this reported event is what created the first Christ cult(s) which eventually evolved into the established Church of later centuries, and the later Council of Nicaea was shaped by this 1st-century "legend" which already existed in the earlier documents which the Council had to accept.

And the original 1st-century events of about 30 AD, whatever they were exactly, are probably what led to the Apostle Paul's ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") idea.
 
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DrZoidberg

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This sounds like an exaggeration to explain why there is an absence of other "resurrected" messiahs or saviors etc. in the literature, as comparisons to Jesus Christ in 30 AD, and that there were many other Jesus-like miracle-workers who resurrected (in the legends about them), but that the many written accounts of them have all been lost, due to something artificial, accidents of nature, or deliberate destruction by Christians, etc.

What are you talking about? There isn't an absence of other resurrected divine beings. We have plenty. Which I have already explained, in this very thread. That wasn't the point of my post. I was just gushing about how cool the Bible is.

But if we accept the standard facts, available to all researchers and students, based on the ancient documents as evidence (on display in museums, etc.), we have evidence for the unique Jesus miracle-worker event of about 30 AD, and there's no similar evidence for any other reported miracle-worker.

Totally. Except all the other ones, some of which I have already mentioned in this thread. Your memory is short.

Maybe. But we have no reason to believe there would not be similar surviving evidence of other reported ancient miracle-workers if they did exist.

Which is why it has.

Here's another description of a man's life who made about as many miracles as Jesus. Enjoy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_of_Tours

What does the phrase "every single existing ancient Inca holy text" mean?
Despite the sophistication of many aspects of Incan life, the Inca never developed a writing system. History and literature were memorized as part of an oral tradition.
https://www.cattlv.wnyric.org/cms/lib/NY19000422/Centricity/Domain/13/World_History_POI_Unit_4.pdf (scroll several pages down to p. 461)

The Inca Empire (1438–1533) had its own spoken language, Quechua, which is still spoken by about a third of the Peruvian population. It is believed that the only “written” language of the Inca empire is a system of different knots tied in ropes attached to a longer cord. This system is called quipu or khipu.

No such Inca "text" was "burned" and there are no "Inca scholars" lamenting the burning of any such ancient "text" -- possibly some khipu objects got destroyed, but to interpret this as "every single existing ancient Inca holy text" being burned is in the wackadoodle nutcase category.

The library of Khipus was the sacred library of Cusco. This is where they were kept when the bishop decided to burn them all. We have zero knowledge of what information was kept on those.

To have to resort to a falsehood like this is itself evidence that there are no other reported miracle-workers in any tradition, in the written record, because if there were, you could cite the case, give the evidence, from a credible source reporting those facts. But instead to resort to a blatant falsehood about all the ancient Inca texts being burned shows that there is no serious evidence, and all one can do is fabricate lies about such things out of an obsession and desperate attempt to downplay the one case we do have, from the 1st century, based on written accounts from the time.

You've already been shown a rich tradition of miracle-workers predating Jesus in the Middle-East. I only brought up the khipu tragedy to underline how hard it is to keep sacred texts alive for posterity.

I'm sorry to break it to you Lumpy, but you have no case.

The abundance of the evidence, 5 sources reporting the Resurrection in the 1st century, is evidence that the event did happen, but not proof.

It's one written source. Mark. The rest are based on that one. But then again, the other books might as well be based on an oral tradition. Chinese whispers etc. As far as evidence goes it wouldn't hold up on court.

It's just evidence that Christian monks are good at copying and keeping alive stuff and . . .

Non-Christian monks were also good at that, and other non-Christian copyists who wanted to preserve the writings. Even if some were more motivated than others, there is so much history preserved that there would probably be abundant evidence of other reported miracle-workers if any existed. Probably they did not exist, based on the evidence, which is extensive. Though there will be much more in the future.

Not true. The non-Christian works have survived because they were copied and kept alive by Christian monks. The Christian monks are a pretty unique job description in world history. Christianity and it's monk tradition is a big reason why the Enlightenment happened in Europe, and not anywhere else. In the Roman world writing was something for rich people. Their writing was geared toward entertaining those in power. Monks often kept stuff alive just for the hell of it. Because they were curious about the Pagan world. Ovid's works were copied and kept alive only to show how immoral the pre-Christian Roman and pagan world was. They copied and spread his work more than the Romans ever did.

It's not the Catholic Church which created the Jesus miracle "legend" of the 1st century. Rather, this reported event is what created the first Christ cult(s) which eventually evolved into the established Church of later centuries, and the later Council of Nicaea was shaped by this 1st-century "legend" which already existed in the earlier documents which the Council had to accept.

Sure. But miracles don't really happen. Miracles are by definition a fictional construct. So somebody needed to invent it at some point. You know, like any fictional story.

And the original 1st-century events of about 30 AD, whatever they were exactly, are probably what led to the Apostle Paul's ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") idea.

I don't believe that's how beliefs work. We're only ever converted to something if it's an idea that's been floating about in the back of our heads for a long time. The idea of Eternal Life must have predated Jesus by centuries, or nobody would have been convinced IMHO.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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How good is the evidence? One source only isn't enough.

. . .we have no reason to believe there would not be similar surviving evidence of other reported ancient miracle-workers if they did exist.

Which is why it has.

Here's another description of a man's life who made about as many miracles as Jesus. Enjoy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_of_Tours

But the St. Martin example fails our test for good evidence, or credible evidence. This test requires:

• more than only one source, and

• sources near to the time the alleged miracles happened.

There are many cases of miracle acts reported in only one source. Or reported in sources centuries later than when the alleged events happened.

Virtually all cases of miracle-working saints in the Middle Ages are the latter. For St. Martin there is only one source near the time he lived. The other major source is Gregory of Tours, but he was 200 years later. There were many other saints to whom miracles were attributed, like St. Genevieve and St. Patrick, etc., but by one source only, or sources centuries later. Also, St. Augustine claimed to have witnessed many miracles, mostly of victims who were cured, but he is the only source we have for them.

Of course many Christians uncritically believe ALL the miracle stories, without distinction. But a critical approach requires testing each case, which means extra sources, and sources close to the time of the alleged event.

Possibly in a few cases there is a stronger case, maybe 2 sources. Etc. So we can look at each case individually. If there really is credible evidence in this or that case, then we have to wonder if maybe the reported miracle actually did happen. Possibly there is serious doubt in a few cases, though it seems all of them fail the test. Later Christians had a wish to repeat the ancient Jesus miracles and so probably invented these later copycat stories, because they so much wanted something current rather than only something from the distant past.

So St. Martin fails the test. Do you have another example for which there are at least 2 sources? i.e., 2 separate writings from 2 separate authors, like the Gospel of Matthew was written by a different author than the Gospel of Mark or Luke?

The Book of Acts is another one-source-only example, as a source for the miracles of the apostles in the earliest church period. These also are much less credible examples, based on a single source only.

Another consideration, casting doubt on the credibility, is the phenomenon of copycat miracles, where the story has an obvious resemblance to earlier reported miracles, from an earlier reported case, like Christ became a "model" for later miracle tales. When the example has such extreme resemblance to the earlier tradition, such as the miracles of Peter and Paul in Acts, and also the stories of the saints, which strongly resemble the earlier Jesus miracles, we should be more skeptical that it's a true report and suspect instead that it's only a pious copycat version of the earlier tradition.

We can also be sure that nothing is served by the simplistic impulse to brush ALL miracle claims aside with such thoughtless outbursts as "Aaaaaaaaaaa, people just made up shit!!!"

We have to be willing to look at the facts, rather than let our hate and anger and knee-jerk emotions decide the question.
 

Keith&Co.

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But the St. Martin example fails our test for good evidence, or credible evidence. This test requires:

• more than only one source, and

• sources near to the time the alleged miracles happened.
Lumpy, your 'test' continues to suck.
You count plagiarized accounts as multiple sources, and we can SEE people telling lies about what, for example, TRUMP is doing RIGHT NOW, even about mundane things without miracle elements, so proximity to events is no basis for proving veracity.

You're just spinning your wheels, here.
 

DrZoidberg

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. . .we have no reason to believe there would not be similar surviving evidence of other reported ancient miracle-workers if they did exist.

Which is why it has.

Here's another description of a man's life who made about as many miracles as Jesus. Enjoy.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_of_Tours

But the St. Martin example fails our test for good evidence, or credible evidence. This test requires:

• more than only one source, and

• sources near to the time the alleged miracles happened.

There are many cases of miracle acts reported in only one source. Or reported in sources centuries later than when the alleged events happened.

Virtually all cases of miracle-working saints in the Middle Ages are the latter. For St. Martin there is only one source near the time he lived. The other major source is Gregory of Tours, but he was 200 years later. There were many other saints to whom miracles were attributed, like St. Genevieve and St. Patrick, etc., but by one source only, or sources centuries later. Also, St. Augustine claimed to have witnessed many miracles, mostly of victims who were cured, but he is the only source we have for them.

Of course many Christians uncritically believe ALL the miracle stories, without distinction. But a critical approach requires testing each case, which means extra sources, and sources close to the time of the alleged event.

Possibly in a few cases there is a stronger case, maybe 2 sources. Etc. So we can look at each case individually. If there really is credible evidence in this or that case, then we have to wonder if maybe the reported miracle actually did happen. Possibly there is serious doubt in a few cases, though it seems all of them fail the test. Later Christians had a wish to repeat the ancient Jesus miracles and so probably invented these later copycat stories, because they so much wanted something current rather than only something from the distant past.

So St. Martin fails the test. Do you have another example for which there are at least 2 sources? i.e., 2 separate writings from 2 separate authors, like the Gospel of Matthew was written by a different author than the Gospel of Mark or Luke?

The Book of Acts is another one-source-only example, as a source for the miracles of the apostles in the earliest church period. These also are much less credible examples, based on a single source only.

Another consideration, casting doubt on the credibility, is the phenomenon of copycat miracles, where the story has an obvious resemblance to earlier reported miracles, from an earlier reported case, like Christ became a "model" for later miracle tales. When the example has such extreme resemblance to the earlier tradition, such as the miracles of Peter and Paul in Acts, and also the stories of the saints, which strongly resemble the earlier Jesus miracles, we should be more skeptical that it's a true report and suspect instead that it's only a pious copycat version of the earlier tradition.

We can also be sure that nothing is served by the simplistic impulse to brush ALL miracle claims aside with such thoughtless outbursts as "Aaaaaaaaaaa, people just made up shit!!!"

We have to be willing to look at the facts, rather than let our hate and anger and knee-jerk emotions decide the question.

Cool. So we agree that the miracles in the Bible are also nonsense. Great to reach an agreement.

Both the Bible and the biography of Saint Martin are hagiographyies. Ie, play fast and loose with facts. None of what is in them is remotely trustworthy.

And as I've said before, none of the miracles of Jesus were unique to Jesus. The miracles attributed to him were no doubt attributed to him because they were standard miracles associated with pagan holy men. Just to connect with the pagan tradition. Which is something we expect in hagiographies. It's also wisdom litterature, ie the truth is irrelevant. They're supposed to be inspiring. The authors wouldn't have any problems adding stuff. It wouldn't be considered lying.
 

atrib

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But the St. Martin example fails our test for good evidence, or credible evidence. This test requires:

• more than only one source, and

• sources near to the time the alleged miracles happened.

That is not the criteria by which truth claims are evaluated. Not in science, not in history. Simply repeating this mantra in large font does not make it true. Your test is ridiculous, and is easily demonstrated as unreliable:

If I posted on Twitter that I had flown a distance of 100 miles by flapping my arms, and a hundred people on Twitter repeated the story within the next hour, no rational person would believe the story to be true. Even though there is an eyewitness report supported by a hundred other sources from the time the alleged miracle happened, you would not believe the story. Yet somehow you abandon your natural skepticism when it comes to the story of your preferred god. You are blinded by your bias.


We have to be willing to look at the facts, rather than let our hate and anger and knee-jerk emotions decide the question.

The facts tell us that dead people don't rise up from the grave and fly off into space under their own power. Billions of dead people who have never risen up from the grave or misbehaved in any way testify to this fact. Science tells us that humans don't have the flight control surfaces to fly, or the ability to stay alive in space. Everything we know about our reality tells us that such things are impossible. It would take an immense amount of extremely high quality evidence to overcome our natural and warranted skepticism to such a claim. And you don't have the evidence. All you have is a story from an anonymous source decades removed from the event, someone who was not an eyewitness, and copies of the story in later times by others.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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But why is Jesus the ONLY "Greek demigod" from the 1st century?

The Jesus story is not mystical? Biblical Tales Of The Supernatural and Paranormal, my book soon to be a best seller. Or a TV series.

Jesus in the gospels by any other name is a Greek demigod.

Except that in this case there is a written record about him as a historical person placed into a particular time and geographical location, and dated near to the time that he allegedly lived and performed his superhuman acts, unlike all the pagan demigods for which there is no written record near to the time that they lived, if they lived as real persons.

It makes a significant difference whether the historical/legendary character is known to us from written sources dated near to the time the character allegedly lived.


Apollonius of Tyana demigod competitor to Jesus

But I "lied" above in the title. Maybe there's another 1st-century character who could be called a "Greek demigod" patterned after the pagan legends. This character is sometimes cited as a rival "divine man" competing with Jesus, and virtually contemporary to him.

Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana -- This is available online, both as text and as an audiobook.

He's the closest there is to another 1st-century "messiah" figure or Greek version of a "son of God" sent on some grand cosmic mission. But it's a pathetic comparison if you look at the facts we have. There's only one account of him, written about 220 AD, more than 100 years after any of his reported great deeds. And actually there are only 2 or 3 miracles attributed to him by this very late source, and these are bizarre shocking tales, somewhat in the Twilight Zone category.

It is said that he also "resurrected" from the dead, but actually the 220 AD biography does not say this at all. There is no report of anyone seeing him die, and no report of anyone seeing him alive after he was thought to have died.

But it's possible he had some psychic power, and he got much notoriety after a long career, 60-70 years of traveling and teaching and sharing his wisdom. Probably an interesting character, but hopefully the bizarre tales of a couple weird miracles are not true, because they reflect against his character for the harm that likely resulted.

So, with this being the best possible exception, Jesus is really the only figure from the 1st century who was made into a "Greek demigod"-type figure.

Some true-believer Jesus-debunkers believe that Jesus in the Gospels is a copy plagiarized from the Apollonius of Tyana legend, which is the opposite of the truth, as the Apollonius legend appears about 150 years later than Paul's epistles and the Gospel accounts.


Offspring of a god and a human possessing some but not all the powers of the god.

That interpretation might be called "pagan" or connected to the ancient legends. The earlier and later theologians, including authors of the 1st-century writings, might have borrowed such pagan language or symbols to apply to the Christ historical character they present in their accounts. This gives us no indication whether any of those reported events happened. Presumably they needed to find language to describe the reported superhuman character who was the central figure of their accounts. But there's no way to know where he came from.

It was not from the earlier pagan legends that they derived their Christ figure, where there is no such character which the 1st-century writers could have borrowed. Rather, they borrowed some of the earlier pagan language or symbolism to apply to the new 1st-century person they present in their accounts, but who did not originate from any earlier pagan model character, because there were none who resurrected, according to any earlier pagan myths we know of. No one can cite any such earlier myths and quote the part which said the character died and then resurrected. Claims are made that those stories existed, but despite such claims no such resurrection scene from those stories can be quoted, because there is none.


Dies in the end and goes up on high with god.

All historical figures die in the end, even the normal ones. But this is the only one who got killed and then reportedly came back to life and appeared to large numbers of witnesses, unlike any earlier demigods. There are no other accounts of anyone who resurrected from being dead and reappeared live to witnesses. If you want to name any supposed examples, we can look at each one individually. There is no other credible example for which the source can be quoted. Just because there are some heroes who were martyred and were later honored or eulogized does not mean that they resurrected physically from the dead and reappeared to human witnesses.


The ancient Hebrews were influenced by Babylonian myths and stories.

All the Bible writers were probably influenced by earlier traditions, legends, etc. But there are no earlier legendary characters who lived in history and were killed and buried and then reportedly resurrected back to life and seen alive by many witnesses. But it's true that some of the other content in the NT writings about Jesus were probably influenced by earlier legends.


The gospels undoubtedly influenced by Greek mythology.

Yes. But that's not where they got the stories about the Jesus miracle healings or the death and resurrection. It is impossible to find what earlier source this part of the Gospel accounts was taken from.


It certainly was not Jewish, Jews forbade any image or depiction of god. That would be blasphemous idolatry.

No -- the Gospel writers were influenced by Jewish mythology also. We can find much that they borrowed from various earlier sources. What we cannot find is the source for the healing miracles and the Resurrection.

One can find Jewish and Greek and Roman and Egyptian elements/myths borrowed by the NT writers. Even elements borrowed from conflicting factions, like the zealots and Essenes and rabbis and apocalypticists and gnostics. No one has been able to explain why so many different factions converged on this one historical character as an object for their differing symbols. Something attracted all of them, despite the blatant contradictions between these differing factions.


The image of Jesus with a halo.

One more symbol borrowed from the pagans. We might assume that the real historical Jesus did not have a halo floating with him, around his head, everywhere he went.

The question needing to be answered is: Why did so many symbols get borrowed by the Christ believers and applied to their hero, but not also by believers in the other heroes/messiahs/prophets? What was it about the actual historical Jesus that made him so important that so many, including opposing factions, wanted to make a god out of him? and no others?

Why did all this pagan symbolism get applied to Jesus, and to him alone? If there were other reported miracle-workers someone believed in, why don't we see the same pagan symbolism borrowed for them also, and "gospel" accounts etc. telling the "good news" about them? Surely there were other "messiah" types, or hero-martyrs and Saviors and great rabbis and sages during this period. Why didn't anyone want to make those others into demigods to be uplifted into cosmic and divine status? Why not John the Baptist or James the Just, who arguably were just as popular as Jesus was? and many others?

Who dictated that only the Jesus reported miracle-worker could be deified into a demigod?

(Incidentally, we're not talking about the "gods" Caesar Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, etc. We can easily explain how these vastly powerful tyrants were elevated to god status. We're asking here how a non-powerful non-recognized common person was made into a god, even though there were many other heroes and prophets and wise teachers, etc., who had equal status to him, or even higher recognition and status at that time.)

Whatever caused this convergence onto one person, in history, about 30 AD and in that location, must be what caused the Apostle Paul's ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") idea in his writing around 50 AD.
 

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Except that in this case there is a written record about him as a historical person placed into a particular time and geographical location, and dated near to the time that he allegedly lived and performed his superhuman acts, unlike all the pagan demigods for which there is no written record near to the time that they lived, if they lived as real persons.

It makes a significant difference whether the historical/legendary character is known to us from written sources dated near to the time the character allegedly lived.

You are the purest example of the expression No True Scotsman IMHO.

You have a, (in my opinion) silly list of rules you have decided upon, for no apparent reason, that you decide is true for only Jesus, when they're demonstrably not.

Made even funnier when the reasons Jesus was attributed with all the things he was attributed with, was to emphasize his divinity in the pagan tradition. Ie to emphasize how Jesus was NOT special.

Christianity became big because of an accident of history. The idea of a personal god, a savior and eternal life in an afterlife was sloshing about the Mediterranean, and had been for half a millennia before Jesus. A variety of theological traditions was all pushing in that direction at about the same time. In hindsight, the clues were all over the place that this was the new in thing that was going to displace paganism. Why it became Christianity in particular was due to a series of unlikely events. Or rather, it was the first one of all these similar cults that turned religion on its head and transformed it from an exclusive club where entry was made difficult, to instead making entry as easy as possible, open to everyone and was aggressively evangelizing to get converts. The importance of this cannot be underestimated. It was the first religion in history where slaves and the poor, were actually welcome. When Rome became politically unstable and the poor received no help from the state, no, shit that the poor joined it en masse. These then formed gangs of violent religious fanatics, (the parabalani) with little to lose who attacked non-Christians. This created incentives for anybody with property to convert.

These reasons have NOTHING to do with any alleged miracles Jesus may or may not have performed. Christianity became big for very concrete non-mysterious non-miraculous real-politikal reasons.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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Do we really have the original words of Plato, Herodotus, etc.? Or are their real writings lost forever?

"If the King James Bible was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for me!"


Perhaps the only equivalent treasures to the in the religious text world are the Gilgamesh epic, the Vedas, and the Tao Te Ching; it is not the norm for a religious corpus to survive for thousands of years, and none of them, the Bible included, have done so without severe edits, translations, and redactions over the centuries.

. . . the norm for a religious corpus . . .
What is the difference between "religious" text and NON-religious text? or "religious" corpus and non-religious corpus?

In addition to early "religious" text, we have early history and philosophy text. Also, epic poetry text, unless this goes into the "religious" category, which isn't clear. Do the history and philosophy texts suffer the same edits, translations, and redactions over the centuries as do the "religious" texts? No one seems to make an issue of it, and all the history and philosophy instructions teach the history and philosophy with little concern whether the sources now relied upon might contain edits, translations, and redactions centuries later which would shock the original philosopher or historian who wrote the original text.

Most/all of our Homer and Plato and Plutarch and Tacitus etc. writings today are copies of copies of copies of copies . . . etc.

Should we assume that the edits, translations, and redactions are a special problem for truth-seeking only in regard to the "religious" writings? but not any other writings? Why would that be?

. . . not the norm for a religious corpus to survive for thousands of years, and none of them, the Bible included, have done so without severe . . .
The Dead Sea Scrolls are "religious" writings which have survived for almost 2000 years and are available today the same (of course much of it undecipherable) as back then, not being copies through subsequent centuries. Obviously this is one exception to the above rule. But more importantly, these scrolls contain almost the entire Hebrew Bible as it existed back then, for the occupants of those caves, so its text can be compared to today's Hebrew Bible. And there are some changes, or some "discrepancies" or variant readings at many points. But also some lengthy portions are exactly the same, word-for-word as today's known text. And where there are differences, hardly anyone says the variant readings/changes are "severe" edits or redactions etc.

So there are discrepancies or variant readings etc., but nothing that alters the substance of what was originally wrote by the prophets or teachers or scribes etc. After the scrolls were discovered and became deciphered and translated, 40 or 50 or 60 years ago, the overall response to them was a surprise at how rigidly the texts we have now, having passed through 2000 years, are still essentially the same as what Jews had in those times using those ancient versions preserved in those caves. Most scholars had expected to see far greater discrepancies than what turned out to be the case.

. . . to survive for thousands of years, and none of them, the Bible included, have done so without severe edits, translations, and redactions over the centuries.
For the NT writings, the phrase "over the centuries" has to mean from the 1st century (when the Paul epistles and Gospels were written) to about 400 AD, not a 2000-year period up to today, but a 200-300-year period from the original to the text we rely on today. Our NT text today is based on the earliest manuscripts, mostly before 400 or 300 AD. Of course there are some later versions too, but most Greek New Testaments today rely on the very earliest-known manuscripts. So "over the centuries" means that small 200-300-year gap.

But for those believers who insist on the exact wording of the original inspired writer, guided by the Holy Ghost to write only the exact correct words God dictated for human consumption, it is a lost cause. Those precise words were lost forever when the first copies were made. Most Christians know this, and it's not a problem, but a few still think the King James Version is exactly what the Holy Spirit inspired and that Jesus spoke the exact English words "Verily verily I say unto you . . ." and "Get thee behind me, Satan . . ." etc. But this is now a very tiny percent of Christ-believers.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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Why did all that evidence for Buddhist and Hindu miracles fail to survive?

Did Nestorian Christians seize all those documents and send them to the shredder?


If it hadn't been for Buddhism spreading to the Himalayas we'd have much less of the Buddhist and vedic texts surviving. Early Hindus and Buddhists, most likely, wrote as much as Christians. Yet much less has survived. The Early Taoists wrote on paper and silk! Extremely sensitive materials. Imagine how much of what they wrote which is lost now.

But we have lots of Hindu and Buddhist writings, which have survived, taking into account the unfair disadvantages those cultures suffered from compared to the accidents which allowed Jews and Christians to spread their propaganda so much more.

So it's reasonable to look at what has survived, comparing it to Jewish and Christian writings, and we can figure out much from it. And the pattern is the same as with "miracle" stories in the West, in religion and mythology. The most celebrated miracle claims are connected with ancient miracle-workers -- Krishna, far back in prehistory, and Gautama, about 500 BC. And the miracles they reportedly did don't appear in the written record until centuries later than when the miracle acts are believed to have happened. Just as the miracles of Moses don't appear in writings until 700+ years later than Moses lived, and the miracles of Elijah and Elisha don't appear in the writings until 300 years later they those prophets lived.



Why should we not believe the miracles in the Hindu and Buddhist writings?

It's not simply because ALL miracle claims have to be dismissed despite any evidence.

To just dismiss all miracle claims with the simplistic "Aaaaaaaaa, they just made up shit!" outburst will not do. There are degrees of credibility. There are particular reasons why a certain claim is less credible, and just that it is a miracle claim per se is not enough to totally dismiss it.


How reliable are the sources?

Part of the consideration is to question the sources. Asking WHEN the source is dated, relative to the reported event, is part of the consideration. If you reject this, then you reject all sources for history. To say historians do not ask this is ludicrous. And for the Hindu and Buddhist miracle claims there is no reliable source, as there is in the case of the reported Jesus miracle acts of the 1st century.

This is just a fact of history, or of the written historical record, and you can't erase it with your prejudice or a gut feeling that something must be wrong with the evidence or sources.

Another factor is the number of sources. Only one source is not good enough, even if it is relatively early. Again, you are rejecting all history if you claim historians don't care about the number of sources. Many historical events are more doubtful because there is only one source, whereas if there is much verification from multiple sources then the event becomes fixed into the "virtually certain" category.

Of course for a miracle claim we need more sources than for normal claims, and we need something closer to the actual event, chronologically.

E.g., we accept Plutarch as a source for events 500 or 600 years earlier, but only because those reported events are normal, non-miracle events. For some of his extreme claims about the Spartans, how extremely severe and cold-hearted were some of their practices, we're entitled to be more skeptical. But even there we assume he's mostly reliable.

However, in the case of Plutarch's report about King Pyrrhus and his magic toe which could cure illnesses, especially ailments of the spleen, there's reason to be very skeptical, and hardly anyone believes King Pyrrhus really was able to heal anyone with his magic toe.

BUT, if Plutarch had written this only 50 years later than the time of King Pyrrhus, rather than 400 years later, and if one other historian had reported it also, it would have to be taken more seriously. Even if it still sounds ludicrous, still historians would want some explanation, and they'd wonder if Pyrrhus had been a clever charlatan of some kind, and really performed some ritual that people believed, or pretended to believe.

As much as a "magic toe" sounds comical, at some point of increased verification they'd have to wonder if maybe there really was something to it. One main reason we know such stuff is not credible is that there is no report anywhere of such a thing from any historian reporting such a miracle near to his own time, or only one generation later. One reason such miracles or bizarre events are rejected as ludicrous is the fact that there is no reliable source, such as a report near to the time it allegedly happened. If there were some such reports, they would be taken more seriously.

That it's a "miracle" claim does not automatically rule it out as fiction. Rather, extra evidence is required in such cases, and because there never is such extra evidence, such claims are generally rejected. The "extra evidence" means extra sources rather than only one, and also sources near to when the alleged event happened. When these conditions are met, the reported event cannot be so easily dismissed.

It might still be dismissed, or mostly dismissed, but it becomes less easy to dismiss it as the sources increase in number.

Example: the Emperor Vespasian reportedly performed a miracle, supposedly healing 2 victims from their physical affliction. And there are two sources for this rather than only one.

If there were 5 or 6 accounts, we would have to take this very seriously, and historians would at least puzzle over it. Even the 2 sources does make historians take an extra look at it.

Part of the explanation probably is that there was something which did actually happen, even if it was not really a miracle, i.e., the two alleged victims did exist but really did not recover, or they had not been seriously ill anyway. It's not reasonable to believe two different historians would totally make up the same story. They got this from someone, and the report was serious enough for the historians to believe it, at least partly. They gave it some credibility, even if also doubting it.

But the obvious explanation is that the Emperor Vespasian was the most powerful person in the world, at that time, and also very popular. Millions recognized his power and submitted to it, and they wanted to believe he had supernatural power in addition to his political and military power, in view of his high position and wide reputation and his long career. With such obsession on him, it's possible for rumors to originate in a short time rather than over the usual centuries of time.

So his already wide recognition and power can easily explain how stories could arise during his lifetime to confirm his god-like hero status. No doubt there are a few other such cases, where the hero begins with widespread recognition and status due to his actual great power, maybe partly earned through merit, or otherwise acquired by him.

Nevertheless, that there are two sources rather than only one makes this story more serious, and it's more believable than if there had been only one source. But it can still be dismissed for the further reasons above.

We can assume a great military general like Alexander the Great would have some early legends in circulation even during his lifetime. There could many cases like this.

But where no such explanation is possible, such as the case of Jesus in the Gospels, then it's more difficult to explain how the miracle stories could originate as fictions so early. There are not other examples of it. It might be possible in modern times with the Internet and modern publishing, in which case that would be the explanation without which it cannot be explained.

Whereas it's easy to explain how miracle stories about Krishna and Gautama Buddha could evolve over many centuries. And similarly almost all the ancient miracle legends.

When it's impossible to find a normal explanation, then the possibility that something NOT normal must have happened cannot be ruled out.
 
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Politesse

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What is the difference between "religious" text and NON-religious text? or "religious" corpus and non-religious corpus?

In addition to early "religious" text, we have early history and philosophy text. Also, epic poetry text, unless this goes into the "religious" category, which isn't clear. Do the history and philosophy texts suffer the same edits, translations, and redactions over the centuries as do the "religious" texts?
I feel bad that you wrote this whole long post when my answer to your starting query is "yes, obviously". I doubt you'd find any Platonic scholar who absolutely trusts our surviving manuscripts thereof. I also see "religion" as mostly a modern construct imposed on ancient texts, not a natural property of them. So you are perhaps objecting to the wrong guy.
 

Harry Bosch

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Except that in this case there is a written record about him as a historical person placed into a particular time and geographical location, and dated near to the time that he allegedly lived and performed his superhuman acts, unlike all the pagan demigods for which there is no written record near to the time that they lived, if they lived as real persons.

It makes a significant difference whether the historical/legendary character is known to us from written sources dated near to the time the character allegedly lived.


Apollonius of Tyana demigod competitor to Jesus

But I "lied" above in the title. Maybe there's another 1st-century character who could be called a "Greek demigod" patterned after the pagan legends. This character is sometimes cited as a rival "divine man" competing with Jesus, and virtually contemporary to him.

Philostratus, The Life of Apollonius of Tyana -- This is available online, both as text and as an audiobook.

He's the closest there is to another 1st-century "messiah" figure or Greek version of a "son of God" sent on some grand cosmic mission. But it's a pathetic comparison if you look at the facts we have. There's only one account of him, written about 220 AD, more than 100 years after any of his reported great deeds. And actually there are only 2 or 3 miracles attributed to him by this very late source, and these are bizarre shocking tales, somewhat in the Twilight Zone category.

It is said that he also "resurrected" from the dead, but actually the 220 AD biography does not say this at all. There is no report of anyone seeing him die, and no report of anyone seeing him alive after he was thought to have died.

But it's possible he had some psychic power, and he got much notoriety after a long career, 60-70 years of traveling and teaching and sharing his wisdom. Probably an interesting character, but hopefully the bizarre tales of a couple weird miracles are not true, because they reflect against his character for the harm that likely resulted.

So, with this being the best possible exception, Jesus is really the only figure from the 1st century who was made into a "Greek demigod"-type figure.

Some true-believer Jesus-debunkers believe that Jesus in the Gospels is a copy plagiarized from the Apollonius of Tyana legend, which is the opposite of the truth, as the Apollonius legend appears about 150 years later than Paul's epistles and the Gospel accounts.




That interpretation might be called "pagan" or connected to the ancient legends. The earlier and later theologians, including authors of the 1st-century writings, might have borrowed such pagan language or symbols to apply to the Christ historical character they present in their accounts. This gives us no indication whether any of those reported events happened. Presumably they needed to find language to describe the reported superhuman character who was the central figure of their accounts. But there's no way to know where he came from.

It was not from the earlier pagan legends that they derived their Christ figure, where there is no such character which the 1st-century writers could have borrowed. Rather, they borrowed some of the earlier pagan language or symbolism to apply to the new 1st-century person they present in their accounts, but who did not originate from any earlier pagan model character, because there were none who resurrected, according to any earlier pagan myths we know of. No one can cite any such earlier myths and quote the part which said the character died and then resurrected. Claims are made that those stories existed, but despite such claims no such resurrection scene from those stories can be quoted, because there is none.


Dies in the end and goes up on high with god.

All historical figures die in the end, even the normal ones. But this is the only one who got killed and then reportedly came back to life and appeared to large numbers of witnesses, unlike any earlier demigods. There are no other accounts of anyone who resurrected from being dead and reappeared live to witnesses. If you want to name any supposed examples, we can look at each one individually. There is no other credible example for which the source can be quoted. Just because there are some heroes who were martyred and were later honored or eulogized does not mean that they resurrected physically from the dead and reappeared to human witnesses.


The ancient Hebrews were influenced by Babylonian myths and stories.

All the Bible writers were probably influenced by earlier traditions, legends, etc. But there are no earlier legendary characters who lived in history and were killed and buried and then reportedly resurrected back to life and seen alive by many witnesses. But it's true that some of the other content in the NT writings about Jesus were probably influenced by earlier legends.


The gospels undoubtedly influenced by Greek mythology.

Yes. But that's not where they got the stories about the Jesus miracle healings or the death and resurrection. It is impossible to find what earlier source this part of the Gospel accounts was taken from.


It certainly was not Jewish, Jews forbade any image or depiction of god. That would be blasphemous idolatry.

No -- the Gospel writers were influenced by Jewish mythology also. We can find much that they borrowed from various earlier sources. What we cannot find is the source for the healing miracles and the Resurrection.

One can find Jewish and Greek and Roman and Egyptian elements/myths borrowed by the NT writers. Even elements borrowed from conflicting factions, like the zealots and Essenes and rabbis and apocalypticists and gnostics. No one has been able to explain why so many different factions converged on this one historical character as an object for their differing symbols. Something attracted all of them, despite the blatant contradictions between these differing factions.


The image of Jesus with a halo.

One more symbol borrowed from the pagans. We might assume that the real historical Jesus did not have a halo floating with him, around his head, everywhere he went.

The question needing to be answered is: Why did so many symbols get borrowed by the Christ believers and applied to their hero, but not also by believers in the other heroes/messiahs/prophets? What was it about the actual historical Jesus that made him so important that so many, including opposing factions, wanted to make a god out of him? and no others?

Why did all this pagan symbolism get applied to Jesus, and to him alone? If there were other reported miracle-workers someone believed in, why don't we see the same pagan symbolism borrowed for them also, and "gospel" accounts etc. telling the "good news" about them? Surely there were other "messiah" types, or hero-martyrs and Saviors and great rabbis and sages during this period. Why didn't anyone want to make those others into demigods to be uplifted into cosmic and divine status? Why not John the Baptist or James the Just, who arguably were just as popular as Jesus was? and many others?

Who dictated that only the Jesus reported miracle-worker could be deified into a demigod?

(Incidentally, we're not talking about the "gods" Caesar Augustus, Tiberius, Vespasian, etc. We can easily explain how these vastly powerful tyrants were elevated to god status. We're asking here how a non-powerful non-recognized common person was made into a god, even though there were many other heroes and prophets and wise teachers, etc., who had equal status to him, or even higher recognition and status at that time.)

Whatever caused this convergence onto one person, in history, about 30 AD and in that location, must be what caused the Apostle Paul's ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") idea in his writing around 50 AD.

If there really is an all powerful all knowing god out there, would he really be so stupid that he wouldn't understand the laws of logic? He dosn't understand why eye witness testimony (years after the fact) are so unreliable? He supposedly appeared to a tiny group of people in one little part of the world before the printing press and iphones, and armed them with no positive evidence of him? And we're suppose to believe? If he really is out there, he is the one to blame for the lack of belief in him. Why wouldn't he make himself known?
 

none

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Where did the Christian idea of a soul and it's eternal life in Heaven come from?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven_in_Christianity

It's not from Judaism. Since the soul goes to an end point and stays there is not a Hindu/Eastern idea.

So what do you guys think?

Could it be from Egyptian religion? I know that in Old Kingdom only the Pharao could enter into the realm of the gods. Over time this was democratized so that nobles could make it (Middle Kingdom) and then everybody (New Kingdom). Around the time of Jesus the ancient Egyptian idea of the afterlife sounds suspiciously similar to what became Christianity. Is that the source? I know that

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_Egyptian_conception_of_the_soul

I know that the cult of Isis was huge in the Roman empire, peaking a bit before Jesus came around. The cult of Isis is pretty much identical to Christianity, except that it was exclusive and not open to any convert. But otherwise exactly the same. But in spite of it's name, the cult of Isis has more in common with Greek religion than Egyptian. And Greeks did not believe in an afterlife like heaven, nor the soul.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mysteries_of_Isis

But it is interesting that early Christianity's conception of the afterlife is that your physical body will be resurected and will walk the Earth again. That too sounds quite Egyptian. It's not a neat fit though?

But then again, it could also have been from Zoroastrianism. Where angels and Satan came from. So we know there was a heavy influence of Zoroastrianism on Christianity.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zoroastrianism

What do you guys think? Am I completely off here? Do we know where it came from, and it was somewhere completely different?

Old men of the village who were disfigured, trotted out the ideas they had for hours and ate grass.
They had experience that meant something to their progeny even if it wasn't reciprocal.
They were human and had capitol and that was enough.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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The Resurrection of Jesus is not poetry, but a reported historical event based on evidence.

Unlike Osiris and other pagan deities, who did not reportedly resurrect, and for whom we have almost no evidence, i.e., written accounts such as we have for the historical Jesus.


What are the earlier pagan legends of someone resurrecting or doing miracles?
Osiris. Well documented Greek myth.
Yes, the Egyptian who was killed and did NOT come back to life but was succeeded by his son. There are two problems you must address in claiming this is a "documented" story of someone who resurrected: 1) Where exactly is the "resurrection" in the story? and 2) for documenting it as an alleged fact of history (as the Jesus resurrection as an event is documented by written accounts near to the time it allegedly happened), when did the Osiris event reportedly happen in history and when is it reported in the source which documents it? i.e., when is the source dated?

You have to show in the source a claim that this person died and then came back to life to live on as before, seen by witnesses or in some way confirmed. And the source saying this has to be dated reasonably close to when the alleged resurrection event took place. Neither of these is the case for Osiris, who might have been a real person, but for whom we have no sources anywhere near the time that he lived, if he lived.

What are you talking about? The Biblical story of Jesus didn't actually happen.

Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. That's not the point. The point is that the written account exists saying that it happened, as an historical event, that Jesus was crucified and resurrected, around 30 AD. But there is no such written account saying any such thing about Osiris. There is something written about Osiris, saying certain things happened, that he was killed, etc., but not that he came back to life after he was killed.

Whether it actually happened is not the point. The point is that there are written accounts saying certain events happened. You can claim there are accounts about Osiris being killed, but not that he came back to life, seen alive by witnesses, as they had seen him earlier before he was killed. The question is not whether it happened, but whether there are written accounts saying it happened.


The Biblical story of Jesus didn't actually happen. It's not a documentary report. It's a made up myth.

You can disbelieve it, as you can disbelieve any written account about what happened in the past, but the written account saying it happened does exist. Whereas no such written account exists saying that Osiris resurrected back to life after he was killed.


The story of Jesus is a fantasy exactly like the story of Osiris. And was kept alive and spread through similar means. They're extremely similar.

There are similarities and differences. One difference is that the sources for the Jesus story are dated 20-70 years after his death, while the sources for Osiris are at least 500 years later than he lived (if he lived, which he might have -- we don't know). Another difference is that the Jesus story reports him coming back to life, after he was killed, being seen alive by many witnesses, while no such story says something similar about Osiris. At best the Osiris story says only that his body pieces were put back together so that his wife could somehow be impregnated by him, or get his semen into her so that she could spawn their son Horus. That's a miracle claim, but not a claim that he resurrected from the dead. Osiris did not rise up and live again.

Rather, some say Osiris lived on in the form of his son Horus. But that's not what "resurrection" means, and the early accounts of Osiris never used a "resurrection" word to describe what happened.

Of course you can say there are similarities. There are also similarities of Osiris to Hitler or Napoleon or Paul Bunyan or Ted Williams, etc. But there is no "resurrection" of Osiris in the ancient legend. I.e., it does not say he came back to life after being killed.

Let's take the story as seriously and literally as possible -- it still says nothing about a resurrection back to life, but only about his wife getting impregnated from his seed somehow. It's possible that semen could be extracted from a dead person, before all the sperm have died, and then injected into the female to impregnate her. All the story says is that somehow she got impregnated from his seed, not that he was alive. He had been cut into a thousand pieces or so, meaning he was probably dead, but it's possible some individual sperm were still alive and could come from him to impregnate her. If you say he probably had to still be alive, still he did not rise up to live again, but stayed "dead" and gave up the ghost. That's not "resurrection" -- literally it means to rise up, which Osiris did not do. But also it means to live again, as before, which Osiris did not do.

So stop telling the lie that Osiris "resurrected" in the legend. That word "resurrection" has been added in later centuries by Christianized scholars taking the NT language and retroactively transporting it back to apply it to the ancient Egyptian legend which originally had no resurrection scene in it. Where is that word "resurrection" or equivalent to be found in the original Egyptian legend? If it's there, why can't you find it?

If "resurrection" is really in the original legend, then go back to that original legend, in the original sources, and find that text, and quote it here. Quote the text where it says Osiris rose up and lived again. If you fail to do that, you are admitting that this modern interpretation of Osiris -- that he "resurrected" -- is a phony attempt to do a copycat version of the Christ "resurrection" and pretend that Osiris did it also. It's just a crybaby ME-TOO "our god can do anything your god can do" whining by someone who can't stand it that their favorite god is inferior or even non-existent (or rather, by a modern-day debunker who feels sorry for the ancient inferior deity who is entitled to have equal status and so should be granted an equal share of miracles, because it's only fair to make all the pagan gods equal to the Christian god). Whereas the Christ resurrection is an attested event in history for which there is evidence, in the written record, like all other known historical facts.


What sets them apart is what virtues they're trying to signal, since they're products of different ages.

No, what sets them apart is that the Christ resurrection is based on facts or on evidence from the written historical record, like other facts of history, while the Osiris "resurrection" is not. Pretending that the facts and the evidence do not matter is ipso facto wrong. You have to stop insisting that the verifiable facts/evidence doesn't matter.


But fundamentally, and in every other way, it's the same kind of story.

You can arbitrarily classify a "story" into this or that "kind" according to your subjective feelings about what's important in it and what's not. But the Christ "resurrection" is not the same as the Osiris so-called "resurrection" -- these are not the same, and phony attempts by modern pseudo-scholars to equate the two are dishonest and a debasement of their profession.

If they were honest, they would simply say that the Christ resurrection claim is unique, not to be found in the earlier legends, or in the culture of the 1st century, and they would simply say they don't believe it really happened and they don't know where the belief came from. That would be the honest and respectable approach, and they could still maintain their skepticism and disbelief. And in fact many historians do take this approach and do not equate the Osiris myth with the Jesus resurrection.

Why are so many of them unable to choose this honest route, instead of the route of lies and dishonest rewriting of history?


The Osiris story also contains the element of Cain and Abel. Still... the Jesus story has Judas. A betrayer in the midst, included to add some drama to the story.

But there's much in the Judas story which is ambiguous. If the point of including it was only to add drama, it would have been done without causing more confusion. There's no school of thought agreeing with another on how the Judas story fits in. There are a million theories and interpretations of Judas. A made-up story to add drama would be consistent and easy for everyone to interpret as the storyteller intended.

. . . add some drama to the story. It's all the same.

Like Brutus was added to the Caesar assassination story, to add some drama. It's all made up, all the same. Toss in Joe Friday, Daniel Boone, Robin Hood, Barack Obama, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Jack the Ripper, etc. Good guys, bad guys, drama --- all jolly good fellows. (Did I leave anyone out?)


The rest of your post is just special pleading.

Like my next point, that there's no reported Osiris "resurrection" in the original sources for that legend? How is that "special pleading"? How is it a fallacy to say that the source for a certain legend does not have something in it? Why can't you simply dig out the ancient text for this story and point out the part of it which says Osiris "resurrected"? or returned to life and lived on? instead of just tossing around rhetoric like "special pleading" etc., which only proves that you can repeat back some jargon you learned somewhere.


And the sources we do have about this do not say that Osiris resurrected -- i.e., there is no actual "resurrection" event in the legend. The word "resurrection" is used only by later Christianized scholars giving their interpretation of the Osiris story, not by the original source telling us the event. These modern scholars use the NT word "resurrection" and apply it to Osiris, as having some similarity to the Christ resurrection, in their mind. But the story they take from the source does not say Osiris came back to life, but only that he spawned a son who lived on, just as any offspring lives on, which is not what "resurrection" means. If "resurrection" did mean that, then all humans have resurrected who left behind any offspring, which is obviously not what "resurrection" means.

Osiris is resurrected every morning. Just like the mummies in Egyptian tombs. Each morning they travel to the Field of Reeds and then Each night they come back to the tomb.

That's not called "resurrection" in the original legend. You're artificially injecting the "resurrection" into something which did not originally have it. The "resurrection" in the Gospel accounts is a rising back to life of someone who had been killed, not a trip made somewhere every day and then returning. To claim it means something travels every day and returns is the same as saying that virtually everyone is "resurrected" every day -- every worker who leaves home to work and returns, or every student who leaves to attend school and then returns. 90% of humans have "resurrected" by that meaning of "resurrection" -- which obviously is not what the NT writers meant by "resurrection."

If all you want to do is mesmerize yourself and others with poetry, then just admit that everything you're saying is just poetry, and has nothing to do with history or Christianity or what happened in the past.

and pretty corny poetry at that:

Osiris resurrecting is also the rich and fertile black silt which is left behind after the Nile is flooded once a year.

How inspiring -- You could put it to music.

This is why Osiris is depicted has having black skin. And then he dies again.

translation: There is no "resurrection" in the story of Osiris, in the original sources, such as there is a resurrection narrative about Jesus in the Gospels. All the rhetoric about the Osiris "resurrection" is only poetry, making no claim about any "resurrection" event in history, such as we're told in the Paul epistles and in the Gospel accounts.

Interpreting it as poetry and then extracting whatever meaning you want from it does not put a "resurrection" event into the story. The word "resurrection" is not in the original story, nor is there any description of Osiris doing something which is the same as rising up from being dead. You can always claim anything is in a written account of something by making it poetic and then interpreting it to say whatever you want to put into it according to your subjective feelings.


The original source of the Jesus story, as well as the Osiris story, is somebody making it up. The witnesses are also made up. It's all made up.

You can claim that about any fact of history which you want not to have happened. There is no fact of history you couldn't erase by saying "it's all made up" -- all the witnesses, evidence, written accounts.

This is just a way of expressing your rage against the resurrection event reported in the Gospel accounts, which you hope did not happen, or think should not have happened if it did happen, because you think it's wrong for such an event to happen.

This must be the explanation when you have nothing more to offer than "Aaaaaaaaa, people just made up shit!"


(this Wall of Text to be continued)
 
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Harry Bosch

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Unlike Osiris and other pagan deities, who did not reportedly resurrect, and for whom we have almost no evidence, i.e., written accounts such as we have for the historical Jesus.


What are you talking about? The Biblical story of Jesus didn't actually happen.

Maybe it did, or maybe it didn't. That's not the point. The point is that the written account exists saying that it happened, as an historical event, that Jesus was crucified and resurrected, around 30 AD. But there is no such written account saying any such thing about Osiris. There is something written about Osiris, saying certain things happened, that he was killed, etc., but not that he came back to life after he was killed.

Whether it actually happened is not the point. The point is that there are written accounts saying certain events happened. You can claim there are accounts about Osiris being killed, but not that he came back to life, seen alive by witnesses, as they had seen him earlier before he was killed. The question is not whether it happened, but whether there are written accounts saying it happened.


The Biblical story of Jesus didn't actually happen. It's not a documentary report. It's a made up myth.

You can disbelieve it, as you can disbelieve any written account about what happened in the past, but the written account saying it happened does exist. Whereas no such written account exists saying that Osiris resurrected back to life after he was killed.


The story of Jesus is a fantasy exactly like the story of Osiris. And was kept alive and spread through similar means. They're extremely similar.

There are similarities and differences. One difference is that the sources for the Jesus story are dated 20-70 years after his death, while the sources for Osiris are at least 500 years later than he lived (if he lived, which he might have -- we don't know). Another difference is that the Jesus story reports him coming back to life, after he was killed, being seen alive by many witnesses, while no such story says something similar about Osiris. At best the Osiris story says only that his body pieces were put back together so that his wife could somehow be impregnated by him, or get his semen into her so that she could spawn their son Horus. That's a miracle claim, but not a claim that he resurrected from the dead. Osiris did not rise up and live again.

Rather, some say Osiris lived on in the form of his son Horus. But that's not what "resurrection" means, and the early accounts of Osiris never used a "resurrection" word to describe what happened.

Of course you can say there are similarities. There are also similarities of Osiris to Hitler or Napoleon or Paul Bunyan or Ted Williams, etc. But there is no "resurrection" of Osiris in the ancient legend. I.e., it does not say he came back to life after being killed.

Let's take the story as seriously and literally as possible -- it still says nothing about a resurrection back to life, but only about his wife getting impregnated from his seed somehow. It's possible that semen could be extracted from a dead person, before all the sperm have died, and then injected into the female to impregnate her. All the story says is that somehow she got impregnated from his seed, not that he was alive. He had been cut into a thousand pieces or so, meaning he was probably dead, but it's possible some individual sperm were still alive and could come from him to impregnate her. If you say he probably had to still be alive, still he did not rise up to live again, but stayed "dead" and gave up the ghost. That's not "resurrection" -- literally it means to rise up, which Osiris did not do. But also it means to live again, as before, which Osiris did not do.

So stop telling the lie that Osiris "resurrected" in the legend. That word "resurrection" has been added in later centuries by Christianized scholars taking the NT language and retroactively transporting it back to apply it to the ancient Egyptian legend which originally had no resurrection scene in it. Where is that word "resurrection" or equivalent to be found in the original Egyptian legend? If it's there, why can't you find it?

If "resurrection" is really in the original legend, then go back to that original legend, in the original sources, and find that text, and quote it here. Quote the text where it says Osiris rose up and lived again. If you fail to do that, you are admitting that this modern interpretation of Osiris -- that he "resurrected" -- is a phony attempt to do a copycat version of the Christ "resurrection" and pretend that Osiris did it also. It's just a crybaby ME-TOO "our god can do anything your god can do" whining by someone who can't stand it that their favorite god is inferior or even non-existent (or rather, by a modern-day debunker who feels sorry for the ancient inferior deity who is entitled to have equal status and so should be granted an equal share of miracles, because it's only fair to make all the pagan gods equal to the Christian god). Whereas the Christ resurrection is an attested event in history for which there is evidence, in the written record, like all other known historical facts.


What sets them apart is what virtues they're trying to signal, since they're products of different ages.

No, what sets them apart is that the Christ resurrection is based on facts or on evidence from the written historical record, like other facts of history, while the Osiris "resurrection" is not. Pretending that the facts and the evidence do not matter is ipso facto wrong. You have to stop insisting that the verifiable facts/evidence doesn't matter.


But fundamentally, and in every other way, it's the same kind of story.

You can arbitrarily classify a "story" into this or that "kind" according to your subjective feelings about what's important in it and what's not. But the Christ "resurrection" is not the same as the Osiris so-called "resurrection" -- these are not the same, and phony attempts by modern pseudo-scholars to equate the two are dishonest and a debasement of their profession.

If they were honest, they would simply say that the Christ resurrection claim is unique, not to be found in the earlier legends, or in the culture of the 1st century, and they would simply say they don't believe it really happened and they don't know where the belief came from. That would be the honest and respectable approach, and they could still maintain their skepticism and disbelief. And in fact many historians do take this approach and do not equate the Osiris myth with the Jesus resurrection.

Why are so many of them unable to choose this honest route, instead of the route of lies and dishonest rewriting of history?


The Osiris story also contains the element of Cain and Abel. Still... the Jesus story has Judas. A betrayer in the midst, included to add some drama to the story.

But there's much in the Judas story which is ambiguous. If the point of including it was only to add drama, it would have been done without causing more confusion. There's no school of thought agreeing with another on how the Judas story fits in. There are a million theories and interpretations of Judas. A made-up story to add drama would be consistent and easy for everyone to interpret as the storyteller intended.

. . . add some drama to the story. It's all the same.

Like Brutus was added to the Caesar assassination story, to add some drama. It's all made up, all the same. Toss in Joe Friday, Daniel Boone, Robin Hood, Barack Obama, John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Jack the Ripper, etc. Good guys, bad guys, drama --- all jolly good fellows. (Did I leave anyone out?)


The rest of your post is just special pleading.

Like my next point, that there's no reported Osiris "resurrection" in the original sources for that legend? How is that "special pleading"? How is it a fallacy to say that the source for a certain legend does not have something in it? Why can't you simply dig out the ancient text for this story and point out the part of it which says Osiris "resurrected"? or returned to life and lived on? instead of just tossing around rhetoric like "special pleading" etc., which only proves that you can repeat back some jargon you learned somewhere.


And the sources we do have about this do not say that Osiris resurrected -- i.e., there is no actual "resurrection" event in the legend. The word "resurrection" is used only by later Christianized scholars giving their interpretation of the Osiris story, not by the original source telling us the event. These modern scholars use the NT word "resurrection" and apply it to Osiris, as having some similarity to the Christ resurrection, in their mind. But the story they take from the source does not say Osiris came back to life, but only that he spawned a son who lived on, just as any offspring lives on, which is not what "resurrection" means. If "resurrection" did mean that, then all humans have resurrected who left behind any offspring, which is obviously not what "resurrection" means.

Osiris is resurrected every morning. Just like the mummies in Egyptian tombs. Each morning they travel to the Field of Reeds and then Each night they come back to the tomb.

That's not called "resurrection" in the original legend. You're artificially injecting the "resurrection" into something which did not originally have it. The "resurrection" in the Gospel accounts is a rising back to life of someone who had been killed, not a trip made somewhere every day and then returning. To claim it means something travels every day and returns is the same as saying that virtually everyone is "resurrected" every day -- every worker who leaves home to work and returns, or every student who leaves to attend school and then returns. 90% of humans have "resurrected" by that meaning of "resurrection" -- which obviously is not what the NT writers meant by "resurrection."

If all you want to do is mesmerize yourself and others with poetry, then just admit that everything you're saying is just poetry, and has nothing to do with history or Christianity or what happened in the past.

and pretty corny poetry at that:

Osiris resurrecting is also the rich and fertile black silt which is left behind after the Nile is flooded once a year.

How inspiring -- You could put it to music.

This is why Osiris is depicted has having black skin. And then he dies again.

translation: There is no "resurrection" in the story of Osiris, in the original sources, such as there is a resurrection narrative about Jesus in the Gospels. All the rhetoric about the Osiris "resurrection" is only poetry, making no claim about any "resurrection" event in history, such as we're told in the Paul epistles and in the Gospel accounts.

Interpreting it as poetry and then extracting whatever meaning you want from it does not put a "resurrection" event into the story. The word "resurrection" is not in the original story, nor is there any description of Osiris doing something which is the same as rising up from being dead. You can always claim anything is in a written account of something by making it poetic and then interpreting it to say whatever you want to put into it according to your subjective feelings.


The original source of the Jesus story, as well as the Osiris story, is somebody making it up. The witnesses are also made up. It's all made up.

You can claim that about any fact of history which you want not to have happened. There is no fact of history you couldn't erase by saying "it's all made up" -- all the witnesses, evidence, written accounts.

This is just a way of expressing your rage against the resurrection event reported in the Gospel accounts, which you hope did not happen, or think should not have happened if it did happen, because you think it's wrong for such an event to happen.

This must be the explanation when you have nothing more to offer than "Aaaaaaaaa, people just made up shit!"


(this Wall of Text to be continued)

I for one am not trying to "express my rage" against the resurrection. I'm just saying that I'm unimpressed. A person writing down the story from an eyewitness 30 years after the witness viewed the event isn't very convincing to me. Why hasn't God given you better evidence to counter heathens like me?
 

none

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Didn't historical Jesus build the pyramids?
 

funinspace

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(this Wall of Text...)

I for one am not trying to "express my rage" against the resurrection. I'm just saying that I'm unimpressed. A person writing down the story from an eyewitness 30 years after the witness viewed the event isn't very convincing to me. Why hasn't God given you better evidence to counter heathens like me?
LOL...You read that enough to find that comical nugget, wow.

Anywho, I guess Lumpy has rage against Yahweh as he denies Noah's floody, the Exodus, probably Joshua's day when the earth stood still, and the 6,000 year human history...at least per Lumpy logic.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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The Resurrection of Jesus is not poetry, but a reported historical event based on evidence.

(continued from previous Wall of Text)



There most likely was a real Jesus and he most likely had disciples. [OK so far] But the chances that anything in the Biblical story even remotely resembles anything in the Bible is slim. [whoops!]

Were you President G. W. Bush's speech writer? (the one who did so many gaffs ("Zoids"))

We can believe the NT accounts generally, for determining what happened, despite the usual problems of distortion, bias, discrepancies to be encountered in any ancient writings, etc.

The evidence is that the Resurrection did happen (unless you start out with the dogmatic premise that any miracle claim is ipso facto disproved, regardless of the evidence). But there are other elements in the accounts which are dubious or unlikely, maybe in the fiction category, in view of the evidence. We can reasonably guess which part is fact and which part fiction. Determining the historical facts is largely guesswork, even for the normal mainline facts of history we all accept.

But of course if you start out with the premise that the Resurrection (or any miracle claim) must be false a priori, regardless of any evidence, then of course you've proved it's false, as you can always prove any argument by defining it as proved without needing any evidence or reasoning other than just the basic premise that it has to be inherently true by definition.


It's not like this hasn't been studied.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus#Consensual_knowledge_about_Jesus

If it wasn't the fact that so many people today are Christian we'd treat the Jesus story on par with the Osiris story.

No, not if we're guided by the wisdom of your above link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus#Consensual_knowledge_about_Jesus about the search for the Historical Jesus. Following its advice we'd have to conclude that we know almost nothing about Osiris (though he might have been an early ruler who was killed by a political rival), whereas we know vastly more about the historical Jesus. So we would not treat these on par, because we have real historical sources for Jesus in the 1st century, whereas we have no sources for Osiris near to his time, if he was historical.

So if you say we must treat them "on par" with each other, you are rejecting everything we're told in your above citation about the Historical Jesus. That site says we should consider the evidence, and nowhere does it say to disregard the written accounts as having no value as evidence, as you're saying the Gospel accounts must be disregarded as evidence.


Orpheus, the son of a God, comes out of the underworld.

Yes, but the story does not say that he died. Resurrection means the person first dies, or is killed, and then is brought back to life. Just visiting another realm or dimension or alternate universe of some kind does not mean the visitor first died. The Orpheus story does not say he first died before visiting the underworld.

Yes, it does. It's a metaphor.

That's the point -- it's only a metaphor, meaning it says whatever you want it to say. Nothing in the story says he first died, other than you twisting it to mean that, because it's only poetry which you can twist into meaning anything you want.

By saying it's a metaphor you're agreeing that the story does not say Orpheus first died before visiting the underworld, as the Gospels say Jesus was literally first killed and buried before he rose back to life. You admit there's no such "resurrection" of Orpheus when you say the story is a metaphor. There's no "resurrection" word or idea in the story of Orpheus prior to Christianity. You can't find any reference to "resurrection" in the ancient Orpheus story. This was added to the story later by Christianized scholars, to an original story which never mentioned "resurrection" or rising back to life after being dead, such as we find in the 1st-century Jesus account saying he "resurrected" and returned back to life after having died. This is the first such case reported in all the literature.

If I'm wrong, you can find the word "resurrection" in the ancient Orpheus story or words saying he died and rose again alive. If you don't produce that text and quote it where it says Orpheus "resurrected" or rose back to life after being dead, then you're admitting there is no resurrection in the Orpheus story.


It's a metaphor. You know... like the Biblical story of Jesus is.
But Bart Ehrman says it's (probably) NOT a metaphor. Rather, the stories were intended to be taken literally:
What we do know is how readers always read these stories. And in almost every instance that we have any record of, readers read the stories as being literal descriptions of what happened. Now, did the authors mean for them to take it that way, and that they were mistaken? I don't know, but the fact that every early reader seems to have read these things as literally suggests to me that it was the literal mindset that was widespread in antiquity, and so probably the authors meant these to be taken literally as well.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNIyyoRPbLM&t=1029s

So, no, it's probably not metaphor but is intended to be taken literally.


Also well documented.

No, "well documented" has to mean more than just hundreds of poets 1000 years later retelling the tale, even assuming sufficient agreement among them. To be "documented" means there are written accounts of it near the time of the reported event. We need something less than 100 or 200 years later which reports it. Preferably only 50 years, but maybe 100 or 200 -- no one has established the rule for exactly how long this time-span should be between the actual event (when it allegedly happened) and the date when it's reported to us in the source. But shorter is better, and many centuries gets to be too long.

For normal events we can trust an author 100 or 200 or even 300 years later, as long as it's not contradicted by other sources. However, for miracle claims, or anything "supernatural" etc., we need extra evidence, such as extra sources, more than one, plus also a reasonable proximity of the report, chronologically, to the event being reported.

We have no such source for Orpheus. The written record for the Christ event of 30 AD, to "document" it, dates from about 50-100 AD -- 5 sources reporting the Resurrection, and 4 of them reporting the healing miracles. That is "well documented" -- but poets 1000 years later retelling a popular legend with no source within 500 or 1000 years of the event is not "well documented."

They're all religious myths. The point is to engage the audience with a dramatic narrative and give moral teachings. They're not supposed to give an accurate report on what actually happened.

Yes they are -- that's part of what they give (though not necessarily accurate in every detail). But there's more than this, and reporting facts accurately was not the main point. The picture presented in the story is intended to be the literal truth, not a metaphor. Just because there is also moral teaching and some symbolism or poetry, etc., does not mean the stories are not intended as literally true, telling real events to readers.

There is a MIXTURE in these stories, combining literal truth -- actual events -- along with some symbolism and moral teachings and poetry, etc. That there is the symbolism etc. does not negate the literal truth as also an essential component.


You can trust all of these authors to the same degree. You can trust that they made up all the details.

No they did not. Even if they made up SOME details, still they also are reporting the facts of what really happened. It's fundamental to recognize that the Gospel accounts are a mixture of fact and fiction, like virtually all the ancient writings. And maybe these Jesus stories even contain a higher percentage of fiction, on average, than most other literature. But still they're intended as literal fact, or reporting real events, even though there's also some fiction.

A good example of this is Mark's story of the beheading of John the Baptist. We know that Mark's overall story is correct that Herod Antipas had John arrested and beheaded, because this is verified in Josephus. But the additional story of the party where the girl danced before Herod and requested the head of John the Baptist "on a platter" is probably fiction, added by Mark, whether he or someone else made it up. It's not true that "they made up all the details." Rather, it's true that there's a mixture of fact and fiction (some is made up), and we can generally determine this and distinguish one from the other.


The only truth is the core message of the story.

No, there are many layers of "truth" and many different interpretations of what is "true" and what is not. And the literal truth of the events, as historical, is part of the truth contained. And no one can judge that this or that particular "truth" is the only truth that matters and that the others do not. You can pick and choose from it whatever "truth" you think matters, but you can't dictate to others what the "only truth" is in the story presented.


In Jesus case, he was a humble and wise man who sacrificed himself for humanity and took upon himself all their sins because he's such a great guy, and we should be grateful. Not true necessarily in that it happened. But true in the sense that it's in the tradition of the stories we tell about them.

You can interpret it subjectively that way if you wish, and no one can disprove your interpretation. But don't pretend that this is the "only truth" in those accounts. There are other interpretations just as legitimate as yours, maybe contrary to yours, and also the interpretation of it as reporting actual events, literally, as Bart Ehrman says was intended, and you cannot erase those actual events, whatever they were, or erase them from the written accounts about them or downgrade them to some inferior status. You can question the accuracy of this or that reported event, but you can't erase the actual historical events, whatever they were, or rewrite the accounts to somehow erase the part you don't like.


There's so many sources I wonder how lazy you are?

Lazy enough to want those sources to be reasonably close to the actual event, like maybe within 100 or 200 years. What good are the "so many sources" if they're no closer than 500 or 1000 years later? Hundreds of sources 1000+ years later is not "well documented" -- we have millions of legends repeated over and over in multiple sources centuries later. The later storytellers are not "sources" for the actual event, as evidence for it, near the time when it happened, if it happened. We're entitled to be "lazy" and demand something closer to the actual event.

You're pretending the Bible is something it isn't.

The Paul epistles and Gospel accounts are 1st-century writings, which are preserved today in manuscripts kept in museums. I'm not pretending this. You cannot dictate to everyone else what these writings really are or are not, other than just acknowledging the scientific facts, that the manuscripts exist and are from the 1st century, and they're about events that happened at around 30 AD.

From there everyone derives their own interpretation, differing on what part to believe or disbelieve. Some believe it all, 100%, saying it's entirely infallible, like Muslims believe about the Koran, while others condemn it all with their "Aaaaaaaa, they just made up shit!" outbursts.

It's reasonable to separate these writings into the fiction vs. fact parts and guess what part is credible, for determining what happened, and what is not credible. This is not "pretending," but is legitimate truth-seeking.


I know there's a tradition within fundamentalist Christianity to do this. But it was always silly.

Some parts are silly and others are not. It's not silly to seek for the truth of what actually happened, in history. It's not silly to believe events did happen, based on the written record, and to use documents which have survived in order to figure out what happened, or make a good guess. And it's not silly to believe something unusual happened, even "miraculous," if there is evidence, or a written record reporting it, and little or no evidence refuting it. These writings contain reports of the miracles and the Resurrection, which are evidence, and there is no 1st-century evidence contradicting these reports, except regarding minor details about it. There's nothing "silly" about any of this. Rather, one can reasonably believe it, while another can reasonably disbelieve it because the evidence falls short of what they require in order to believe.


We knew it was silly when Martin Luther started it.

Martin Luther was right about some things and wrong about others.


It's a like a guy buying a cheap Versace t-shirt on a beach in Pataya and convinced it's authentic Versace. You can have as much faith as you like in that it's a genuine Versace, and to other people in the same "authentic" Versace t-shirt club you can convince each other they're all authentic.

I'll take a dozen.


But to ANYONE else you'll always come across as a bunch of deluded clowns.

Uh -- cancel that order.



(this Wall of Text to be continued)
 

DrZoidberg

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Ok Lumpy. I'm bored with this now. Your entire position is absurd. I admire your tenacity. But you have one massive blind spot.

I'm now attending a management course. Yesterday we talked about things about ourselves we are ignorant of, but which everyone else knows. I thought about you
 

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I was curious if Lumy was bleating on about his purported 4-5 sources, so I had ran a CTRL-f on the page, and bumped into this conflation...
It's not like this hasn't been studied.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histor...ge_about_Jesus

If it wasn't the fact that so many people today are Christian we'd treat the Jesus story on par with the Osiris story.

No, not if we're guided by the wisdom of your above link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_Jesus#Consensual_knowledge_about_Jesus about the search for the Historical Jesus. Following its advice we'd have to conclude that we know almost nothing about Osiris (though he might have been an early ruler who was killed by a political rival), whereas we know vastly more about the historical Jesus. So we would not treat these on par, because we have real historical sources for Jesus in the 1st century, whereas we have no sources for Osiris near to his time, if he was historical.

So if you say we must treat them "on par" with each other, you are rejecting everything we're told in your above citation about the Historical Jesus. That site says we should consider the evidence, and nowhere does it say to disregard the written accounts as having no value as evidence, as you're saying the Gospel accounts must be disregarded as evidence.
The link that you find so informative, talks of the execution (aka crucifixion) of Jesus being historical. It makes no claim of historicity regarding his purported resurrection. The argument is partly made due to the historical references of Josephus and Tacitus to his execution, in addition to the Biblical claims. And this has little bearing to the Miracle Max that you bleat on about...

As lots of people were executing in Roman days, this is not part of the point Dr. Z was making when comparing to Osiris.

(this short commentary may not continue)
 

atrib

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We can believe the NT accounts generally, for determining what happened, despite the usual problems of distortion, bias, discrepancies to be encountered in any ancient writings, etc.

The evidence is that the Resurrection did happen (unless you start out with the dogmatic premise that any miracle claim is ipso facto disproved, regardless of the evidence). But there are other elements in the accounts which are dubious or unlikely, maybe in the fiction category, in view of the evidence. We can reasonably guess which part is fact and which part fiction. Determining the historical facts is largely guesswork, even for the normal mainline facts of history we all accept.

But of course if you start out with the premise that the Resurrection (or any miracle claim) must be false a priori, regardless of any evidence, then of course you've proved it's false, as you can always prove any argument by defining it as proved without needing any evidence or reasoning other than just the basic premise that it has to be inherently true by definition.

You are arguing a strawman. We don't summarily dismiss any claims. We evaluate claims based on our experience with how reality behaves and then assign probabilities or levels of confidence to each claim. For claims that are deemed sufficiently important, we can conduct formal probability analyses using Bayes Theorem to assess the credibility of the claim.

In the case of the alleged resurrection, we know that corpses don't come back to life and fly off into space. There is no verifiable evidence of such an event ever occurring in the recorded history of our species, and the sciences of biology and aerodynamics tell us that such an event is not possible. And there exists a large number of explanations for the existence of the story that do not require the intervention of any supernatural actors. Therefore it is far more likely that the claims originated from naturalistic sources - the traditions of story telling and myth making that were common at the time, and remain common to the present day. Reasonable people don't need to do any formal analysis to conclude that the resurrection claim is likely not factual.

Some historians have conducted Bayesian analysis to assess the credibility of the resurrection claim, and one such analysis is described in Dr. Richard Carrier's book Proving History. You should read it if you are so inclined, but I'm guessing you won't.
 

Lumpenproletariat

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The Resurrection of Jesus is not poetry, but a reported historical event based on evidence.

(continued from previous Wall of Text)



The Orpheus story can be found in Ovid's Metamorphosis, one of the most famous books in world history.

But Ovid relied only on an ancient legend, not on any reports near to his time from someone close to the event, if it happened.

The Jesus myth is a modern legend.

You could also say our accounts of Charlemagne or of Alexander the Great are modern legends. But for these we rely on written accounts from the time when they lived, unlike Osiris and Orpheus for whom we have no written sources from the time when they lived.

It's more correct to say Jesus is a 1st-century legend rather than "modern," to separate him from modern legends like Davy Crockett or Babe Ruth, etc.


Both are legends.

Of course there are "legend" elements which creep into a story that stands out, so there can be "legend" or fiction elements there along with the fact. Just as our Alexander and Charlemagne "legends" contain some fiction along with the fact.

And we needn't absolutely rule out all facts from the Osiris story, but the written accounts are too far removed from the time of Osiris for us to establish anything for sure. But it's reasonable to believe he was a real person, as many legendary heroes and gods were, originally, and then the later fictions got added.

So "legend" doesn't mean fiction per se, or total fiction -- what it means is that there's probably a mixture of fact and fiction, like the legends of Charlemagne and Alexander the Great and Napoleon and Confucius and Socrates etc. etc. Even St. Nicholas was a real person in history. So all these and Jesus can be called "legends" even though they were also real persons.


Trump often talked about how many people told him of how great he was. He said it to increase credibility. But was it? The Bible is the same deal. It's a narrative story telling tool. It's a writerly object. It's not lying. It's just effective story telling. In Trump's case it was absolutely lying. But you know what mean.
Whatever. Keep working on it.


The Osiris myth is literally carved in stone in many ancient Egyptian tombs.

But not tombs from 3100 BC near to the time of Osiris, if he was a real person, which is possible. The sources we have are sufficient to establish maybe that he lived, and maybe he spawned a son Horus. There's nothing to establish how he died or if anything unusual happened, such as his being raised back to life after being killed. It's reasonable to believe he might have been killed, in a power struggle.

I'd say chances that Osiris is based on a real person is slim. He's literally the black earth left behind after the Nile recedes. I have a hard time understanding how a real person can, over time, get warped into something like that.

It's easier explained that way than any other.

After a famous person becomes a widespread legend, over many generations or centuries, poets and mystics can turn him into almost anything. How did St. Nicholas get warped into a magic elf flying around the whole planet, drawn across the sky by reindeer, and visiting every single home? Anything imaginable can get into the legend eventually, after many centuries.

But not a resurrection story in only 20-70 years or so. That cannot be invented and attributed to someone who is of no status and virtually unknown and unrecognized during his life and who gets crucified as a troublemaker. It's more likely that the reported miracle event really happened, rather than that such a person could "get warped into something like that" and published in multiple accounts copied and circulated and believed by thousands.


But for miracle claims, such as him having sex after his body had been sliced and diced into a hundred pieces and then put back together -- we don't have any serious sources for an event like that. For bizarre miracle claims we need more than one source, and these must come from a time point near to when the alleged event happened, like less than 50 or 100 or 200 years.

We have zero credible sources for Jesus' resurrection.

But that's just your premise, or automatic rejection of the sources based only on your prejudgment that there can be no credible source for any such thing. What we have are sources, just as we have for other historical events, but in this case they're automatically disqualified because they report something which automatically puts them in the "not credible" category. You've defined the set of "credible sources for the Jesus resurrection" as empty, regardless of any facts indicating otherwise, so that by definition there can be no "credible sources" for it.

Setting aside the prejudice, the objective truth agreed by all the experts is that there are at least 5 1st-century sources for the Resurrection. And there is nothing flawed about these sources, except that they report miracles and have a bias, like virtually all our ancient history sources have a bias and contain both fact and fiction.


We only have the Bible.

More correctly, our sources are at least 5 1st-century documents at a time when there was no such thing as "the Bible." What you call "the Bible" did not exist until the 4th century, when earlier writings were combined into one "canon" of writings. But when the events happened and were recorded, the 1st century, there was no "the Bible" but many different writings, 5 of which report that the Resurrection happened. And there is no 1st-century source contradicting this.


But nice that you agree that the evidence for Jesus' miracles need more evidence than what we've got.

No, 5 sources are more than necessary, but one can always wish for more. Some ancient history facts have more evidence than this, but most have less. The Resurrection of Jesus is verified by more evidence than most of our ancient history facts. However, for alleged miracle events we need more than what's required for normal events.


All we have is the word in one, fantastical, book.

No, we have 5 sources, or written accounts, which were later brought together into "the Bible." This collection of writings contains "fantastical" elements, along with normal content, being a mixture of many different writings from different prophets and others claiming to have some truth to tell. And it contains fact and fiction and philosophy and religion and poetry etc., and literal truth along with symbolism, etc.


Which I agree is pretty weak.

All the ancient sources for history are weak. If we could somehow see an accurate replay of all the history, to test the sources we've relied on, we'd find much of our history knowledge to be "weak" and flawed (all of it less than 100% reliable). But we still rely on the evidence we have, reading the sources critically, to figure out what happened. If we could not get the truth from these "weak" sources, then we'd have no history, and no history books or history teaching/learning.


The earliest Osiris sources are 500-600 years later than the alleged event.

What? What alleged event are you talking about?

Egyptians believed it really happened, centuries in the past -- "past" = 2500 BC or earlier, because the first traces of the legend occur around that time. So it had to be earlier than 2500 BC. The best guess is that it's prior to the earliest official records around 3000 or so.


In Egyptian mythology Osiris isn't placed in a specific time period. He's just placed in the distant past.

Yes, by Egyptians near 2500 or later, so that "past" has to be before 2500. That is placing him into a general time period. He did not live in 1500 or 1000 BC etc. The only reasonable place for him has to be before 3000 BC.


A bit like the Garden of Paradise in the Old Testament is placed far in the North East. It's somewhere far far away. Like the Galaxy where Star Wars is set. These are all hallmarks of legend.

Then ALL our far-away and distant history is "legend" -- Middle Ages, Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians, Chinese, Neanderthals, prehistory, evolution -- all "legend" or having these "hallmarks of legend." Which is correct if you mean it's a mixture of fact and fiction. The Bible writings do contain both fact and fiction. The Jesus Resurrection is probably historical fact, because we have 5 sources reporting it in 20-70 years from when it allegedly happened.

If all written accounts of events happening a long time ago, or somewhere thousands of miles from here, are to be dismissed as "legend" and "fiction" which we should not believe, then all our ancient historical record is out the window, not just the Jesus Resurrection.


The Jesus myth in the Bible was never intended by its authors to be an accurate account.

It was at least partly, if not 100% intended as accurate.

There are inaccuracies, probably, as in any ancient written accounts (and even most modern accounts). In some cases maybe an author included something inaccurate and even knew it was inaccurate. Also there could be something subconscious going on, where the author only half believed it, realizing there was also a fiction element.

You're just asserting that based on nothing.

"asserting what"? I'm mostly agreeing that there were inaccuracies in ancient and modern writings. I'm trying to make sense of the above thoughtless claim that nothing in the Bible was intended to be an accurate account, when it's obvious that there is both accurate as well as inaccurate content in the Bible writings, just as in all the ancient writings.


There's a funny text written by Cicero where he complains about how earlier historiographers played fast and loose with facts and then proceed to list his rules for writing good history. Which to modern historians comes across as a total joke because today we'd call his rules fast and loose with facts as well.

Same as the Bible writings. There is both fact and fiction, and we can distinguish these by making good guesses, which is how history is determined, by doing good guesswork in separating fact from fiction.


Since there was so many copying errors when ancient texts were written, they treated histories differently, and they accepted that . . .

How do you know there were copying errors? We can't know that without believing much of what the writings tell us, about the events, when they happened, and even that they were recorded and that copies were made. So we believe much of the written record that has come down, despite problems like copying errors. And the historical facts about Jesus are based on the written record from the 1st century, like all our facts of ancient history come from the ancient writings copied and containing copying errors and dated near the time of the events.

It has been proved many times that the discrepancies or contradictions or difficulties due to copying errors have not substantially altered the main content reported in the accounts. When there's general agreement in the accounts, or events confirmed and not contradicted by other accounts, it's better evidence than if there's no such confirmation, regardless of other discrepancies. The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls and comparison of its texts to mss. already known earlier demonstrates how the text remains constant down through the centuries despite the much copying and recopying.

. . . they treated histories differently, and they accepted that they would have added made up things. It was the tradition of retelling stories of the time.

In that sense it was the same as today. We all pick and choose what to believe, and we know not to believe anything 100%.


Everybody assumed they were being lied to, and had to, in their own heads, adjust for this and read it critically. A way of reading, they would have taken for granted, but which we in the modern post-science world don't.

Keep working on it.


But it's wrong to say that ALL the "miraculous" elements were known by the author to be inaccurate or fiction. Rather, there may be some of that mixed in, but still the accounts are intended mostly to be taken as accurate, and mostly believed by the authors, just as Josephus and Herodotus and Cicero believed what they were saying and yet still mixed propaganda into their writings or speeches, including exaggerations or distortions in order to strengthen the case they were making. There could be some conscious and some subconscious elements they included which were inaccurate and not totally honest.

That does not disqualify the accounts as reliable sources for the reported events, and for all the sources we must apply the rule that for "miracle" claims or anything very unusual we must have stronger evidence, such as extra sources, and these reasonably close in time to the actual reported events.

The Jesus miracle acts, including the Resurrection, are a case of "miracle" claims where we do have the necessary extra sources close in time to when the events happened, unlike 99% of miracle claims in all the various legends and sources. And especially for the ancient history events we usually are lacking sufficient sources near to when the event happened to be able to make the "miracle" claims credible.

What about miracles don't you understand? You are aware that no miracle has ever happened in all of history? No?

Not necessarily. There are many reported "miracles" which were never explained. We don't know that none of them really happened. Even if most did not really happen, it's possible some did -- they cannot all be put into the same "miracle" category and dismissed as fiction. There are plenty which were investigated and could not be disproved, where something unusual happened which could not be explained.

The word "miracle" is used for convenience, but to determine the truth it's necessary to investigate each case of something highly unusual, regardless what it's called, and not get hung up on the "miracle" word by proclaiming that "no miracle" can ever happen, or "all miracles" are this or that. There are some people who claim to witness "miracles" every day. So in order to get serious, we must forget the "miracle" word per se and investigate each individual case of something highly unusual being reported.

Unusual cases of someone who performs acts which normal humans cannot do are in the "miracle" category, depending on how "miracle" is defined. A savant who performs acts normally impossible for humans is in the "miracle" category -- like solving complex math problems in seconds which a math expert requires several minutes to solve, or a child playing complex music on a keyboard which a professional musician cannot play or which requires 20 years to learn to perform if it's possible to perform it at all. So some "miracles" are real phenomena which are verified, and others are more doubtful or unlikely or impossible, depending on the facts or evidence, and in many cases not enough facts are known, so there's disagreement and doubt, and people can reasonably believe one way or the other.


In the Musical Jesus Christ Superstar there's a line where Judas says something like, "why did you come in an age before mass communication?" Implying that if he'd come today then he could have proven he was the son of God and we wouldn't have to deal with the debate about him. He wouldn't have had to be crucified.

But maybe the debate is good for us. We can't start out with the premise that not debating and not getting crucified is a fundamental prerequisite for everything that can happen. It's better to just look at the evidence we have and try to figure out what happened rather than speculate on what should have happened instead, or whether a debate should not have happened, or whether someone should not have had to be crucified. That it's wrong to have a debate cannot be the rationale for determining what happened. You can't reason that the earth must really be flat because proving it was round was a debate which should not have been necessary, or that Rome could not have really existed because no society could exist where anything like crucifixions would happen.


The Jesus myth in the Bible was never intended by its authors to be an accurate account. That's not the kind of book it is. It's not a "report".

But it contains "reports" along with other elements to tell us what happened while also promoting the authors' beliefs or worldview. A written account does not have to be neatly classified as something excluding the "report" element. There probably is no such thing as "the kind of book" that is "report" only. The most respected ancient historian, Thucydides, did more than just give a "report" of the facts, but also included propaganda and psychology and historical philosophy/theory. Likewise the Bible writings also included "reports" along with the teaching matter and are reliable sources for the "report" or factual part, despite also containing inaccuracies, as virtually all the ancient writings did. ALL the ancient writings have to be read skeptically, even Thucydides, and not taken automatically as accurate in all the "reporting" they do.

No, it doesn't. It's a classic ancient story about a virtuous man doing virtuous things that we're supposed to admire. That's ALL the Bible is. It's a story.

You could say that about any history book having content you don't like, or that reports events you think should not have happened. It's said that Thucydides dismissed Herodotus as only a storyteller.

Instead of thoughtlessly dismissing "the Bible" as a story, it's more accurate to see "the Bible" as a collection of many writings which tell many stories and contain a mixture of fact and fiction, like all the ancient writings. Some of the stories are true and others are fiction, as has to be the case for any collection of writings so large, even a mainline history book.

The accounts of his miracle acts and the Resurrection are "reports" of what he did, like reports in history books. But they are more than that also, like most of the history accounts are usually more than just "reports" but are also propaganda and symbolism and even poetry. Even if the Bible contains more of the symbolism and propaganda than is typical, still it contains the reports of facts or events also, and these are credible sources for the historical events. The problem of establishing what really happened is the same as with all the other ancient literature, including the mainline histories, and other writings. No ancient writing or category of writing can be dismissed as invalid for determining the historical facts, however much you hate it or find something offensive or repulsive about it. Who can really read "the Bible" critically without finding something repulsive in it? And yet there's historical fact contained in it also, along with the fiction and superstition etc.


The Gospels include some NEGATIVE "reports" about Jesus.

And the Gospel accounts do contain some "report" element which has nothing to do with teaching religion and even gives a negative side which is unfavorable to the image of Jesus as divine and perfect.

One example of this is the story of the rejection at Nazareth (Mark 6:1-6) where we're told that Jesus was "not able to perform any mighty deed there," which would not be included in the Gospel accounts if their sole purpose was to promote Jesus as a divine miracle-worker and omit any inconvenient facts. Whatever this rejection at Nazareth event was, it shows that these writers were willing to include reports reflecting something negative about Jesus.

Another negative element is related in Mark 3:21
When his family heard it, they went out to restrain him, for people were saying, "He has gone out of his mind."
This is negative enough to not be something the Gospel writer would provide if it is inspirational only, and limited to positive "myth" telling. Rather, it is something in Mark's source, which has more of a negative tone than positive, toward Jesus, and Mark provides it not in order to promote his portrayal of Jesus, but simply as a "report" from his source which he feels obligated to include.

Another negative element is the story of the demoniac being cured and the demons being sent into a herd of swine (Mark 5:1-20). This story cannot be easily understood as "inspirational" with all the negative imagery in it, of the local ranchers losing their herd and requesting that Jesus get the hell out of their district. If the author is creating only positive "myths" about Jesus, why doesn't he add something for Jesus to do to compensate those ranchers, like maybe performing some miracle for them? The demoniac he healed was not Jewish or somehow special that he alone was worthy to be helped. Mark could easily have added a miracle to benefit the local population and dazzle them with the power of Jesus, as happens in many of the reported miracle episodes. But instead this story leaves us with a bitter outcome where a very large group of locals, who did nothing wrong, end up hating Jesus, for good reason, because he caused much costly damage to their interests.

Plus also the demoniac stories generally have a bizarre unpleasantness about them which would not be included in stories created only to inspire the readers and strengthen their faith with heartwarming myths. The Gospel of John excludes the exorcism stories entirely as something distasteful and of little use in promoting the author's lofty visions of Christ the Cosmic Logos and Word of God Incarnate, whose dignity ought not be tarnished with scenes of him duking it out with demons and ousting them into a herd of swine.

So there is an element of neutral "report" stories in the Gospels which aims only at giving us the cold facts, even something negative, without needing to promote an inspirational or religious or positive teaching. Most effort to derive a positive inspirational message from it is just subjective interpretation. The writings are a combination of the "myth" or religious and inspirational element along with this "report" only element which includes some non-inspiring negativity and which is also an essential component of the writings.

Every author in history have tried to make their fictional characters believable and relatable. It makes for a more engaging story.

Yes, but many or most also include the "report" element which can make the story more confusing and less believable and relatable. And the above examples from the Gospels give a negative view of Jesus, or more negative than positive, and less relatable and less engaging. But they were included as "report" material which the author felt obliged to include, showing that this was an essential part of the writing, even if there's also some fiction.

So retelling past events is part of their purpose, so they try to give a true presentation of this. In addition to this they also want it to be entertaining or edifying or inspiring etc. to the reader, so they add whatever is necessary to accomplish that, so the end result account is not 100% honest. Yet it's still partly or mostly accurate, and readers 1000 or 2000 years later have to try to figure it out. Which we can do with some success, and in the future there will be better methods devised for uncovering the truth from the past. None of the ancient writings can be totally dismissed -- we must rely on all of them to figure out what happened.


I've read every book by Bart Ehrman. He believes Jesus was a real person and really was the leader of the movement that became Christianity. But he also believes that real Jesus was nothing like Jesus in the Bible.

No -- he was partly like the Jesus in the Bible, but also partly different -- "nothing like" is incorrect.

We know Jesus was not exactly as he's described in the NT, with its conflicting reports. But we have to rely on these writings to figure out what he really said or did. It matters what the facts are. Despite the discrepancies on many points, all the sources say he resurrected back to life after having been killed. It's because Paul believed this that he introduced his "eternal life" idea. (Ehrman says Paul was driven by his conviction that Jesus resurrected, and that the Jesus Resurrection belief preceded Paul -- i.e., Paul did not invent this.)

The only reason to reject the Resurrection event is that it conflicts with the premise that "miracles" of any kind cannot ever happen, regardless of the evidence. Except for this premise imposed a priori, the evidence is that this event did actually happen.
 

DrZoidberg

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I've read every book by Bart Ehrman. He believes Jesus was a real person and really was the leader of the movement that became Christianity. But he also believes that real Jesus was nothing like Jesus in the Bible.

No -- he was partly like the Jesus in the Bible, but also partly different -- "nothing like" is incorrect.

We know Jesus was not exactly as he's described in the NT, with its conflicting reports. But we have to rely on these writings to figure out what he really said or did. It matters what the facts are. Despite the discrepancies on many points, all the sources say he resurrected back to life after having been killed. It's because Paul believed this that he introduced his "eternal life" idea. (Ehrman says Paul was driven by his conviction that Jesus resurrected, and that the Jesus Resurrection belief preceded Paul -- i.e., Paul did not invent this.)

.

That's not why Bart thinks that the real Jesus was different. Its based on what we know of ancient Jewish society.

It was hierarchical to an extreme degree. If Jesus was the son of a carpenter he wouldn't been able to have the theological discussions he had. At a minimum he would have to read and write and have been schooled in theology. That puts him in the extreme top of Jewish society.

The lowest rank possible in order to have been openly questioning Jewish doctrine like he was, and be listened to, is rabbi. That's why Ehrman hypothesises that Jesus was a rabbi.

Its not based on anything other than what we know of Jewish society. Not on any evidence of Jesus specifically. It's also possible that Jesus was a nobleman, who at some point relinquished his wealth to become a carpenter and then he insisted people stopped referring to him with his title.

We know there were conflicts between the local nobles and the imported puppet nobles Rome had brought in. For example Herod.

We also know that these imported nobles engaged in extreme tax farming, to a degree, where everyone rich, by definition, were part of the exploitative system sucking dry the country. Taxation levels were at that time in Judea at unsustainable levels. And almost all of it was syphoned off to Rome to Caesar, (in order for him to bribe his way into ending the Roman Republic and become emperor).

This is most likely what "it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" is about.

Rankwise Jesus would have had to be situated somewhere where he had an insight into how the tax system operated and understood who was being enriched how.

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's"

This is most likely a reference to the acknowledgement that there's no way to stop Caesars tax. But they can stop Jewish nobles adding extra tax and skimming off the top. If taxation is already at unsustainable levels, Jews adding extra tax burdens was seen as a betrayal to the Jewish people.

It was also something Jesus would be able to say legally. Since there was a death penalty on criticising Caesars tax.

If Jewish nobles were seen as inherently suspicious its perfectly understandable if a prominent person who we're supposed to emulate has their back story edited to add virtue.

All this makes it unlikely Jesus was the son of a carpenter.

And since we know what type of book the Bible is we know we can't take anything on face value
 

Lumpenproletariat

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What is wrong with separating historical fact from fiction?

introducing: the MHORC


FYI...you are dealing with Lumpy [hereafter "L."] and his Mythological Hero Official Requirements Checklist (MHORC), with its set of random puzzle piece requirements.

Here's what the "Requirements Checklist" means, to use a concrete example:

The legendary hero St. Nicholas did exist, and we have enough evidence about him to believe that he was generous and gave lots of gifts to children. This much is confirmed by applying the "requirements" of this "checklist."

But for MIRACLE claims, e.g. in the case of a legendary hero, the "requirement" is that we need more than only one source, and we need these sources to be dated near to the time the hero allegedly did the miracle(s) -- not centuries later. We have miracle claims about St. Nicholas, but only from sources centuries later, not near his time in history, so these miracle claims are set aside as unlikely. But that he gave lots of gifts to children is not a miracle claim, so the requirements are easier for establishing this as likely -- so we just need some ancient source saying it, which we have, so it's believable.

By contrast, we have many miracle stories from St. Augustine who claimed to have witnessed these miracles personally, so the source is near the time the alleged miracles happened. But St. Augustine is the ONLY source for them, which fails the test requiring more than only one source. Doesn't it make sense to require at least 2 sources?

So the "requirements checklist" gives criteria for judging whether some unusual claim is credible or should be dismissed as fiction. The more unusual the claim is, the more strict are the requirements, e.g. maybe at least 3 sources needed. The premise of the "checklist" is that unusual claims can be put to a kind of test for credibility rather than be summarily dismissed as fiction without regard for any evidence. Rather, the "checklist" assumes that evidence matters, even in the case of unusual claims made, whereas rejecting the "requirements checklist" means that ALL unusual claims must be dismissed as fiction, regardless of any evidence, because if the claim is unusual, it is automatically false or fiction, no matter what the evidence might be.

That's what the "Requirements Checklist" is essentially, and what rejection of such a "checklist" means.

We apply the "checklist" to all the ancient heroes, or to anyone who stands out as unusual, who is said to have done some amazing or mighty deed, especially something superhuman or miraculous. Must we automatically reject any such claim as fiction, regardless of any evidence that it might have really happened? Don't unusual events sometimes happen? Aren't there cases of some great deeds which were done in unusual cases? What is there in science or logic which says there can never be any great deed or unusual act performed by anyone, ever?

There are documented cases of savants who perform acts which normal humans cannot perform, and some other cases where there is enough evidence to allow some credibility even though the claim involves something very unusual or even "miraculous" according to some reports of it. And there have been some heroic or mighty deeds performed, such as Alexander the Great single-handedly killing dozens of enemy soldiers in one battle.

For the "miraculous" category are there any documented cases at all? In modern history there is the case of Rasputin "the Mad Monk" who apparently was able to cure a sick child, according to all the evidence from the period of the Russian Revolution. This evidence, that he apparently had some power to heal at least that one child, has not been refuted.

So the "checklist" is used in those cases where there's doubt, because the evidence could be more than the minimum required to make the claim credible. To insist that there can be no such "Requirements checklist" is to say that no unusual acts can ever happen, or no unusual event can ever happen, even if there's evidence that it did happen. So instead of this a priori exclusion of all such claims, the "Requirements Checklist" (MHORC) says there are criteria for checking any particular case to see if there's legitimate evidence, similarly as for normal historical events, asking how strong the evidence is, and where the evidence is unusually strong, even stronger than for normal events, then there's a credibility threshold beyond which the particular claim becomes credible, rather than something to be automatically rejected with the
"aaaaaaaaaaa they just made up shit!"(ATJMUS) outburst.

So whenever you come across miracle claims or other unusual claims which are hard to believe, you can respond to it with either the MHORC inquiry into the facts or evidence, or with ATJMUS outburst. So you can choose the reasoning and questioning and fact-checking approach (MHORC), or the dogmatic outburst approach (ATJMUS).

. . . with its set of random puzzle piece requirements.

These are not "random" requirements. "Random" would mean that the requirements are chosen arbitrarily, or are chosen not out of need to separate fact from fiction but only out of momentary whim or spontaneous response to something unrelated to determining the truth and distinguishing between the relevant vs. irrelevant facts/evidence. "Random" requirements could be anything which pops up in one's mind, arbitrarily, to use for that moment as criteria, and could just as easily be replaced by anything else which might pop up into one's mind, with no special criteria recognized as standard for all cases, such as evidence permitted in a court case, or evidence for identifying phenomena observed in a scientific experiment.

For historical facts it is standard to consider what are the written sources from the time of the alleged event -- that's not a "random" requirement. And more sources is better than fewer or only one.

And here's another "requirement" or standard for judging the credibility: If there's a reported unusual event ("miracle"?), it matters if there is a normal explanation for it, or if no normal explanation can be determined. As the normal explanation becomes more difficult, then the possibility that the event really happened becomes more credible and is more difficult to rule out.

E.g., if there's a reported miracle done by Alexander the Great or other popular hero celebrity, even in an early source, it's much easier to explain (as fiction) than a similar reported miracle done by Jesus Christ (reported in our 1st-century sources). We can easily explain as fiction a "miracle" claim about a famous powerful military hero recognized across many nations by millions of subjects whose lives are impacted by that famous powerful celebrity. But we cannot easily explain a similar reported miracle attributed to someone of no power and unknown during his life outside his limited region and whose public career was only 1-3 years. So the reported miracle of Jesus has more credibility because it is so much more difficult to explain as fiction.

This also is not a "random" requirement or condition to use in judging the credibility of the "miracle" claim. It's reasonable to ask if there is an easy way to explain the miracle claim as fiction; and if there is such an easy explanation, then that is more likely the explanation; whereas if there is no such easy explanation, then the unusual claim being made becomes more credible, despite being so unusual or having "miracle" content in it.

So the "requirements" of the MHORC are not "random" but are reasonable criteria for judging between fact and fiction when unusual events or "miracles" are claimed. And also there is the possibility of partial truth combined with fiction in the claim being made, in which case it's appropriate to determine which part of the claim is true and which part fiction, by applying the MHORC test. And in fact this test is applied by historians and others seeking the truth, whatever it's called or even if there's no name for it.


Here is a tolerable summary from a few years ago about the basics of L. Theology apologetics, as it doesn't really fit within normative conservative Christian theology.

Yes it does. Traditional Christian teaching is that Jesus was crucified at about 30 AD, and the written sources of the 1st century are recognized by them and are treated as evidence that this event happened, including the Resurrection, and also the miracle acts he did. This evidence is commonly cited for their belief that the Resurrection is a real historical event. Many of them accept the modern critical dating of the writings, as 50-100 AD, with the first Gospel being Mark written around 70 AD. But some conservative theologians date the Gospels earlier, because they recognize the stronger credibility of the written accounts if they are closer to the actual event of about 30 AD. So they adhere to the MHORC test by trying to put the evidence closer to the events, thus making the evidence stronger.

So conservative Christian theology does harmonize well with the MHORC apologetics of evidence and historical fact vs. fiction. However, conservative theology also includes other events which don't fit well with this, such as the virgin birth and the Bethlehem story, which MHORC puts in the improbable category. So MHORC differs from "normative conservative Christian theology" on some points, while agreeing on the reported miracle acts of Jesus, especially the Resurrection as a physical event which happened.


He also makes a lot of hay about 4-5 sources for his Miracle Max, but then conveniently ignores the Two Source Hypothesis.

No, that hypothesis agrees with the fact that there are 4 (5) sources. Our main sources for the historical Jesus are the 4 Gospels and the epistles of Paul. These are 5 sources, not only 2 or 3. Nothing from any scholars or from the "Two Source Hypothesis" says that the Gospels are less than 4 sources.

All the Two Source Hypothesis says is that 2 of the 4 sources, Matthew and Luke, quote from Mark and from the hypothetical Q document, which then are 2 sources used by Mt and Lk. But that doesn't mean that these 3 are not 3 separate sources. Rather, if there really is a Q document, then that makes one additional source for the historical Jesus, and so we have 5 (6) sources for the miracles of Jesus. Contrary to some popular misconception, the Q document does include reference to the miracles of Jesus (unless you define Q as a sayings document only, in which case it's only a tautology to say it excludes miracles). So if this document is included as another source, then we have 5 (6) sources for the miracles of Jesus, making the evidence a little stronger.

However, Q is only hypothetical, so it is not included as a source we have, even if it might have existed back then, as many or most ancient documents of that time did not survive to our time. And it's better to rely on "sources" we have today which originated from that time.


He also ignores his own criteria when he states 4-5 sources for his Miracle Max, as Paul never met Jesus, . . .

This seems to assume falsely that a real "source" must be a writer who knew personally the historical character he's writing about. Which is hardly the case for any of our ancient history, which comes mostly from writers 50-100 years later than the reported events and who never met the actual person(s) they wrote about. As exceptions we have a tiny amount of autobiographical sources, and a very few cases of a writer who knew the historical figure in question, such as Plato knew Socrates. Those are the rare exception. Most of the historians and other writers were not contemporary to the historical characters they wrote about. It was typical for them to write about events that happened 100+ years earlier, long after the historical character was dead. So that the writer "never met" the historical character does not disqualify the writer as a legitimate source.

But further, Paul was a contemporary to Jesus and so knew those times, around 30 AD, which is a closer connection of the writer to the actual events than we have for most of our ancient history record.

. . . and the GoJ doesn't really repeat the required miracle healings of the synoptics gospels (but for 1 or 2 of them).

Not the exact same miracle healing events, but similar ones, making John a 4th source for this along with the Synoptics.

The healing miracles in John are legitimate evidence, along with the Resurrection, being similar to those in the Synoptic Gospels. The discrepancies are problematic only for determining the particular details of what happened, but not the general fact of Jesus demonstrating superhuman power. This makes 4 1st-century sources reporting miracle healings by Jesus, and 5 reporting the Resurrection. Certain miracles reported in one source only, like the resurrection of Lazarus, or like the rising of the dead bodies out of graves (Mt 27:52-53) at the moment Jesus died, are less credible, being from one source only. However, the raising of Lazarus is credible because it resembles different but similar examples from the other gospel accounts, whereas the rising of the dead bodies in Matthew is less credible because it's too incompatible with the other accounts. John's story of the water changed into wine also is less credible because there's nothing else resembling it in the other accounts.

Where John conflicts with the other accounts, it's less credible, being later, and also being only one source vs. three. This is another area where MHORC may conflict with "normative conservative Christian theology" which tries to totally harmonize all 4 Gospels even though there are obvious discrepancies. MHORC puts priority on the facts of what happened, based on the evidence, without the need to make all the accounts harmonize and to uphold the doctrine of scriptural infallibility.

That a few miracles might be fictions added later is easily explained, but only if Christ's reputation as a miracle-worker had been already well-established, to which then later stories might be added as embellishments. But without his earlier reputation established first, as a miracle healer, there is no explanation how fiction miracles got added.


L. is really a rather eccentric version of a Christian...He has in the past pretty much thrown out much/most of the OT, along with other parts of the NT. Back in 2018, he even suggested that his Miracle Max healer could have been the son of Quetzalcoatl, if the timing was right or sum such noise...

No, he might have been given that title if he had made his appearance in the land of the Aztecs. Titles like "Son of God" or "Messiah" or "Son of David" etc. are just reflections of the culture where he was. Had he been in a different culture, they would have given him a title fitting that culture's traditions instead of the Jewish traditions of the culture where he was located, in Galilee-Judea.

Mormons claim he appeared in the Western Hemisphere also. Whether such a claim is true or not doesn't change what happened in Galilee-Judea in about 30 AD. But we can hypothesize what title he might have been given had his location in the world been a different place. Meaning that we should not become obsessed with such titles. What matters are the facts of what happened, not the religious terminology or symbols which the culture attached to him.


A minor reminder of L. and his mysterious/hidden MHORC (his MHORC is much like the paisley sofa in the Hitchhikers Guide, where one . . .

What's mysterious or hidden about a requirement that an unusual historical event should be attested to by more than only one source? or that the source(s) should be dated somewhere near to when the event allegedly happened?

That's most of the MHORC, plus also 1 or 2 other common sense standards. Like the rule that if there's a normal explanation, as in the case of Alexander the Great or other famous powerful hero figure, then that explanation is more likely than the claim that the "miracle" event really happened. So, if there's a normal explanation like we see hundreds of times in history, that normal explanation is more credible than simply that the "miracle" event actually did happen. Whereas if there is no normal explanation as seen in some other cases, then it becomes more likely that the "miracle" event actually did happen, or at least something like it actually happened.

What is "mysterious" or "hidden" about such a straightforward analysis to apply in cases of miracle claims, or claims of anything highly unusual? Why instead must we always say that a claim of something unusual has to be rejected, no matter what, without any analysis like the MHORC which applies certain rules for testing the claims and checking the facts? Why is fact-checking ridiculed as something "mysterious" and "hidden"?

. . . paisley sofa in the Hitchhikers Guide, where one can't see . . .

Where is this going?

. . . where one can't see it if one tries to look straight at it): Yeah, L. also requires his idea of a viable god to be some sort of miracle max healer. And it has to be possible that the people being healed and the witnesses were not followers of said cult at the time, notwithstanding that Joseph Smith still fits this narrative no matter how much L. disassembled.

"disassembled"?

It is significant if the only ones reportedly healed by the miracle-worker were his disciples. This makes the miracle claim less credible, because his disciples are already mesmerized by his charisma and easily believe anything he says, and easily confirm his miracle power even if nothing unusual happened.

If you look up all the Joseph Smith reported miracle healings, which actually are very few, in every case the one healed was a disciple of Joseph Smith and a Christian who worshiped Joseph Smith as a Christ prophet, before the miracle healing was performed. This same pattern holds for almost all miracle healing stories, in all the literature. This was true for the reported healing by the Emperor Vespasian, where the ones seeking him were worshipers of Serapis the healing deity, and also loyal fans of Vespasian who they believed had power to heal them if he would perform the traditional Serapis ritual, which he did for them. This is also what the Asclepius miracles were, performed by Asclepius priests only on disciples who already worshiped Asclepius and went to the Asclepius temple to have the prescribed rituals performed on them.

In all conventional cases of reported healers, the miracle ritual is performed in the name of the ancient healing deity and according to the prescribed ritual procedure. But the Jesus miracles in the Gospel accounts are not done according to any ritual tradition or in the name of any ancient healing deity. In a couple cases the term "the Lord" is used in the account, but no deity or ancient healing legend is invoked by Jesus when he performs the healing act, and the one healed is not a disciple of his, unlike virtually all reported healings in the other miracle legends. The pattern of an ancient religious healing tradition or ritual is part of the explanation why those people believed in their healing deity and would credit their religious tradition in cases where a victim did recover from an illness.


Of course, from the NT no one can really know about the people who purportedly witnessed these events as any outside details are lost in the dust bin of time;

Of course we don't have absolute 100% certainty about this or any other historical event(s), with all details totally provided. But we have evidence, the written accounts reporting it, and we have to go by the evidence that we have. You can provide any other evidence you think is relevant. It's reasonable to believe whatever is told in the evidence we do have and which is not contradicted by other evidence.

The NT accounts of this describe people who were healed by Jesus, and they were not disciples of his or worshipers at a temple like the Asclepius worshipers were. Nothing shows them as already being his disciples as the few accounts of Joseph Smith miracles identify the ones healed as already being his disciples. All we have is these written accounts, and this is what they say. We have no other evidence than these accounts, which it's reasonable to accept as long as it's all the evidence we have, just as with any other reported events. That we don't have 100% of all the details doesn't mean we should not believe what evidence we do have.

but L. insists it is so.

No one insists that you must believe the evidence we have. We have this evidence, these written accounts from the 1st century. If there's any other evidence, nothing prevents you from digging it out and quoting it here. It's reasonable to believe these accounts, or any others dated near the time of the reported events, as long as they are not contradicted by other evidence, which they are not. Or at least no one has presented any other evidence contradicting these 1st-century accounts. What's wrong with insisting that it's OK to believe the evidence we have and which is not contradicted by any other evidence?


But L. never explained why a god needs to be a miracle max.

L. never said "a god needs to be a miracle max."

But if someone shows up who performs instant healing, like instantly curing leprosy and blindness and other afflictions, even raising the dead back to life, and then gets killed but rises back to life after that and is seen alive by witnesses, that's good news, isn't it? If those things really happened it explains where the term "good news" (euangelion) came from. Whereas if it did not happen, no one can explain why this term suddenly became important from about 50 AD and after -- this and the new term ζωὴν αἰώνιον and the offer of eternal life which is prominent in Paul and in the Gospel of John. It is significant that this "eternal life" theme is so prominent in these two sources, and yet they are very far apart as literature. When two different sources converge on the same idea, it indicates that something was actually there which neither of them invented.

It's reasonable to ask where the term ζωὴν αἰώνιον ("eternal life") came from, and also the term εὐαγγέλιον ("good news"). These both appear prominently in the Christian writings, beginning about 50 AD, before which neither term was prominent. Why?

This is a legitimate question, and the best answer, explaining both these terms, is that something happened prior to 50 AD which caused Paul and others to believe Christ had resurrected, which made eternal life now possible, and they thought this was good news which should be told to others. There could be other explanations also, but so far no one has offered any.


It's all in his Mythical Hero Official Requirements Checklist (MHORC)...

Yes, based on the evidence from the 1st-century written accounts reporting what happened. Unlike pagan and other miracle legends for which there is no evidence from written accounts dated near the time when their miracle events reportedly happened.



Nothing in this wiki page contradicts the MHORC. Nothing in it denies that there are 4 (5) sources for the miracles of Jesus. Nothing in it says that the 4 Gospels are less than 4 in number. Nothing in it denies that Matthew and Mark and Luke are 3 sources, regardless that Mt and Lk quote from Mk. Nothing in it says that Mt and Lk are any less credible as sources just because they quote from Mk.


Says the religion famous for burning books.

That Catholics and Protestants sometimes burnt books after 1400 AD is not relevant to what happened in 30 AD. The only clear documented case of Christians burning books before 500 AD is that of Acts 19:19 where some Christian converts in Ephesus burned their books on divination. Divination books were sometimes burned for good reason because they were dangerous, sometimes causing explosion accidents which killed people. There's no evidence that "the Church" or Christian "Establishment" or Empire of Constantine and Theodosius destroyed books, but only that they destroyed pagan temples, and in those attacks it's possible some books could have been lost along with the statues and other pagan objects targeted for destruction, like the Library of Alexandria was destroyed, but not targeted, in the wars of Julius Caesar in 48 BC ( https://ehistory.osu.edu/articles/burning-library-alexandria ).


Though L. really isn't so much a Christian, as he is sort of a deist who is enthralled by Jesus as the mono miracle max god.

What's wrong with being "enthralled" by the evidence which says something good happened? If we had evidence of some other historical person doing such acts of power, it wouldn't be wrong to be "enthralled" by that person either. But we don't have any other cases of this, for which there is evidence. No one is giving any other examples and citing the evidence and quoting the text which reports it, such as there are many such texts quoted which narrate the Jesus miracle acts.


L. even said that he could have been the son of Quetzalcoatl...

No, he could have been called that if he had appeared in Mesoamerica rather than in Galilee-Judea. Had he instead visited the region of the Aztecs or Mayans, and had he performed the same acts of power, and if then he got killed but then rose back to life, then in that culture he might have been given the title "Son of Quetzalcoatl" rather than "Son of God."

The point is that it's not the name or title that matters, but the facts, or the events, i.e., the deeds that he performed, and this is what made him important.

And the fact that he was given these titles -- "Son of God" and "Son of Man" and "Messiah" and "the Logos" and "Lamb of God" etc. -- all during a period less than 100 years, indicates that he must have done something very important and unique (or at least people believed he did), to distinguish him from all the other hundreds or thousands of gurus and prophets and rebels and revolutionaries and charismatics etc., over many centuries, more famous in their time than Jesus was in 30 AD, and who never received such recognition.
 

Marvin Edwards

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In a New Testament class, we learned that the Pharisees believed in life after death, but that the Sadducees did not. I guess that's why they were sad, you see?

Personally, I believe in death after life.
 

Politesse

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In a New Testament class, we learned that the Pharisees believed in life after death, but that the Sadducees did not. I guess that's why they were sad, you see?

Personally, I believe in death after life.
They believed in an earthly resurection on the prophesied Day of the Lord, not a different life on a supernatural plane of existence.
 

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I know I'm a bit off topic but after some of the Trump supporters went to Dallas expecting to see JFK Jr. return from the dead or something like that, it helped me understand that is's easy for a lot of people to believe that it's possible to come back to life after you're dead. I think that equates with the concept of an after life. It also helps explain the Jesus resurrection myth.

I will admit that I became bored by this discussion because the history of religion doesn't interest me, other than in a superficial way. Over the course of my life, living in the Bible Belt, and having been raised by evangelicals in the northeast and after literally watching people die, while a few told me they were going home to be with Jesus, etc., it's my belief that the concept of the after life was made up because it's very hard for most humans to accept their mortality. We want to believe that we will see our family, friends and even dead pets again. We want to believe that there is some essential purpose in our crazy random lives. I don't see any evidence for that. Plus, if you really give it serious thought, the idea of living forever in some weird place, primarily to worship a god, doesn't sound like a pleasant experience to me. That was the version of the afterlife that I was taught to believe during my childhood.

I just spoke to my very confused, 96 year old mother, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease in a nursing home. Like others who I've cared for with this disease, it's both tragic and interesting to watch the person deteriorate as the brain shuts down, to the point where it's no longer able to signal the body to swallow. That's how it usually ends. Now, how in the world, can anyone literally believe that some magical force or god is going to do something with this meat body that remains, and create some spiritual body, whatever the hell that is supposed to mean! It's just a poetic way of denying death, regardless of where it first originated, regardless of how popular it has been. Some people need it to survive the only life they have to live.

PWI.
 

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Jesus is the only reported ancient miracle-worker for whom there is evidence.

I hope I did not already post this response from earlier -- probably not. But if I did, here it is again, with some revision.


DrZoidberg;936704 said:
To the ancients, any healing was a miracle healing.

That's just semantics, playing with the "miracle" word.

There were no reported instant healings, such as we see in the Gospel accounts. No reported healers who were approached to heal blindness and leprosy etc. and who healed these conditions instantaneously. It's true that there were priests and sages and others who performed rituals, but there are no accounts of instant healings.

You are wrong to insinuate that all the ancients were idiots who knew no difference between a superhuman healing act, such as an instant healing like we see in the Gospel accounts, and a normal everyday religious ritual which did not produce an instant cure. It's not true that the ancients were inferior mindless bumpkins who could not appreciate an act which instantly put an end to a physical affliction which a victim had suffered for many years.


They didn't have a concept of the body healing naturally.

Yes they did. Except that maybe they thought NOTHING happened "naturally" in their worldview.

But even some modern religionists have that same belief that all is done by divine control, and yet all moderns do know that the body can heal naturally, without treatment. And the ancients also knew this, in practice, regardless of religious superstition. Also, they did not have the English word "natural" or "naturally" -- but they were not inferior creatures who had no concept of "natural" healing, or the body recovering without being treated by a healer.


To the ancients any wound healing by itself was evidence of a miracle.

Playing semantics with the word "miracle" proves nothing. The question is whether the instant healings we see in the Gospel accounts did or did not really happen. If they did happen, the ancients who witnessed it or heard about it would care and think that it mattered. Regardless of our modern theories about their superstitions or what they believed or how their thinking was inferior to ours or about their inability to distinguish between treatment vs. natural healing without treatment.

It's true that the English word "miracle" was not used by the ancients.


We have loads of texts about this.

We have no text saying they could not appreciate something unique about instant healings such as the Jesus miracle healing acts described in the Gospel accounts. There are no ancient texts describing other such healing acts or indicating that the Jesus acts were the same as other healing acts being performed by someone. What we see in the texts are religious rituals, performed by priests of an ancient cult -- like religious practices of all cultures, even today, where worshipers who recover from an illness attribute it to the gods or to their praying, etc.

(Possible exception to this might be 3 reported healing miracles by Elijah and Elisha, dating back to 500-600 BC and reporting events 2 or 3 centuries earlier. These are very dissimilar to the Jesus healing miracles. These are the closest to any reported healing miracle acts prior to Jesus in the 1st century, so it's clear that such stories were extremely untypical of either the pagan or Jewish ancient traditions.)

Such standard religious ritual is at least 90% of the Asclepius healings in the inscriptions at the temples. The few reported Asclepius healings which are in the supernatural/miracle category (superhuman or instant healings) fall into two groups timewise: one group before 200-300 BC and the other from after 100 AD when miracle claims suddenly increased. So there were no "miracles" of Asclepius during this gap of 300-400 years. But there also was no Asclepius person at all (whether the legendary healer might have earlier existed), but only the priests at the temples of Asclepius performing the ancient rituals, 90% of which are clearly in the non-miracle category, while the few bizarre claims of an instant recovery are a tiny percent of the total reported healing claims and are confined to the two periods above.


Also, it's not true that ancient doctors used magic only, because there were many remedies based on scientific beliefs, regardless whether the science was flawed. They believed that natural herbs and other substances contained healing qualities. In these cases it was not "miracle" healing which took place or which they thought took place. Just because they also had religious beliefs does not put these treatments in the "miracle" category, anymore than modern medical treatments are in the "miracle" category simply because someone prays for the patient to recover.

That's just nonsense. I think you just made this up.

There are hundreds of websites on ancient medical cures, which are easily found by just searching "ancient cures" or "ancient remedies" etc.

Here's one of many dozens which pop up: https://www.mdlinx.com/article/ancient-medicines-and-procedures-still-used-today/lfc-4453

This one lists aspirin, sutures, cataract surgery, morphine, and Tracheostomy as medical treatments from ancient times which are still used today. And there were hundreds of others.

And the vast majority of Asclepius "miracle" healings were really treatments, where the patient was given some herbs or performed some act with bits of bones or insects or vegetable matter or animal parts or chemicals or spices, sometimes cooking them. There were hundreds of procedures, some of which were believed by the practitioners/priests to have healing power, whether the patient believed it or not. In the case of the Asclepius rituals, of course, it was always taught that the ancient healing god was the real source of the healing, even if the priest believed it was a real medical treatment which worked.

There were many cases where practitioners believed they had a natural healing procedure, using substances of one kind or another, and they kept the formula secret, because they believed it really worked and didn't want other competing "doctors" to steal it from them. So they let the patients believe it was magic or divine power that produced the cure (when a recovery took place).

That a tiny percent of bizarre "miracle" reports are also found is easily explained as embellishment on the more factual claims of normal recoveries -- the vast majority of the reported cases -- or typical examples of praying for the sick and those that recovered attributing it to the healing god's power.


Just because there existed a couple of Greeks who hypothesized about a division between the natural and supernatural realm, doesn't mean it was something that was widely accepted.

Throughout many cultures the remedies were practiced, many nations, "civilized" and "primitive" and everything in between. It was "widely accepted" that treatments worked, performed by practitioners who had the knowledge or talent or divine gift or whatever power it was -- people believed it and went to them just as we go to doctors today. And these practitioners had many different approaches, and of course religion was never excluded, and patients were encouraged to pray and so on. Very much the same as today, except that it's more scientifically advanced today, and religion is less important in today's practices.


In the Roman world naturalism was a popular belief among the elites. But for people in general out in the provinces, ie Jews... no.

No, naturalism was known and practiced everywhere, and accepted by the commoners also, with their superstitions added to it.

All the societies had their practitioners who used various remedies which were based partly on knowledge of biology and chemistry etc., even if most of them also appealed to religion. Some of the knowledge was scientific rather than religious, and some of it was partly legitimate, having some medical benefit. And also there was heavy reliance on psychology, because the patient's frame of mind was also a factor, and the practitioners knew how to make the patient feel good, think positive thoughts, which could either aid the healing process or at least make the patient imagine that healing was taking place.

This was partly real science, along with natural talent of the practitioner to make the patient feel good. And to this the pure superstition is added as a further component, often maybe the strongest component among the less educated. The practitioner used all means of any kind which would produce more patients and more profit. It is false to say there was zero legitimate medical practice or science, even if it was a small percent in many cases.


Why this demand to find sources for something this well attested and well known?

If it's well known, then provide the written accounts of cases where a "miracle" healing actually took place. It's not enough to say that they "would expect" a miracle. Where are the cases of instant healing of leprosy or blindness, etc.? If it is well attested, then you should have some examples in the literature reporting such cases.

Do you mean the case of King Pyrrhus and his magic toe? That's based on one source only, several centuries later. But there are no "well attested" cases of such miracle healings, in sources near the time of the alleged event. Or, if there really are any such cases, you will come up with them. You should mention the Asclepius stories/inscriptions, which might be the best example, but those are largely in the medical science and psychology category, rather than in the "miracle" category. Just because the ancient gods are worshiped and rituals followed doesn't change the fact that there was some science also, in the practice.

You refute yourself if you refuse to cite the particular examples and provide the narrative accounts of the alleged miracle events. Anyone can prove their case by just saying it's "well attested and well known" but not provide the individual examples and quote the original source for them.

The Bible has exactly one source... itself.

There was no such thing as "the Bible" in the 1st century. The NT is a collection of almost all the 1st-century writings which mention Jesus, so almost all the sources are in that collection. Those are from separate authors, and thus separate sources, each one having separate sources we don't know about.

You do not change multiple sources into "one source" by putting them all into one collection and calling that collection "the Bible" or "exactly one source." This collection is not like the Koran which all comes from one author or speaker. "The Bible" is/are several different writings from different persons who did not collaborate. None of them had any idea that a "Church" propped up by the Emperor 2 or 3 centuries later would combine their writing along with several others into "the Bible" or holy book or compendium of Christian teachings.


All the various Jesus narratives in the Bible come from Mark.

No they don't. That's only one of the earlier sources, or the earliest source we know of which others quoted from. It's definite that they used other sources also which are lost. All the other Gospels individually contain narratives not from Mark. Even some which contradict Mark.


One source. A highly dubious source.

All sources are dubious. All our ancient history comes to us from dubious sources. All the sources are a mixture of fact and fiction, for all our ancient history. If we can't rely on "dubious" sources, then all our ancient history record has to be thrown out the window and you can throw away all those history books and anything you learned in school.


. . . pretty obvious that they're added in order to jack into earlier preconceptions about divinity to convince pagans of his godly specialness.

But didn't other cults also want their miracle-worker hero to be special? So why wouldn't they do the same? and also jack into the earlier preconceptions, etc.?

Yes, exactly. Which is what they did. For example, every European Christian king also performed faith healings on major holidays.

No, not healings, but ritual healing ceremonies.

Just as religious worshipers pray every day and even do some ritual practices, hoping for a miracle. And when they recover from an illness they say it was the gods or God or Christ who healed them. That is not what the Jesus miracle healings in the NT were. If that's all they were, there's no explanation why they were recorded in writing, because everyone knew they were just rituals only which produce no result, like all the other prayings and chantings and ritual performings which produced no result and were not recorded. Everyone knew that there were normal recoveries anyway and that these were always attributed by worshipers to the healing deity. But that's not what the Jesus healing acts were. They were non-normal instant healings which were something new, and thus they were reported or circulated first as oral reports and later recorded in written accounts.


A surviving remnant from the pagan world.

What is not a remnant from paganism are the recorded Jesus instant healings in the Gospel accounts. If these were a remnant from paganism we would see not only earlier such healings in the pagan literature, but also other reported cases of instant healings in the 1st century, or from 100 BC to 100 AD, because there would be other cults also, such as a John the Baptist cult, and others which would have borrowed such healing stories from the pagan world just as the Christian writers did. If this were a remnant from paganism, then we'd see other new cults, both Jewish and pagan, during this period, which would have recorded similar miracle claims.

If the reported instant healings by Jesus were borrowed from paganism, we'd see other messiah figures as well, not just this one -- we'd see other saviors or Sons of God, other gurus or prophets or sages also recorded as performing similar healing acts, healing lepers and others instantly. What worked for the Christ cult(s) would have worked just as well for other messiah cults and crusades which numbered easily in the hundreds throughout the pagan and Jewish culture of this time, all competing with each other and doing anything necessary to recruit new followers.


Why was it only the Christ-believers who made any effort to record the miracle events? or, only the Christ-believers who got the idea to wipe out all record of the many other miracle-workers who were standard and traditional and just as well-known and believed as the Christ miracle-worker? -- until the Council of Nicaea decided to exterminate all trace of them and rewrote history, artificially creating all the documents we have now, doctoring them to promote this one miracle-worker only and obliterate all trace of the others?

Why did only the Christ cult(s), or the Catholic Church in 325 AD, think up such a scheme to wipe out all trace of its competitors? and find the technology to return 300+ years into the past to confiscate all that earlier evidence, written accounts. None of the other miracle cults were able to think up such a scheme?

Because Jews fetishize the written word. It's their special thing. Pagans... by contrast, were mystery religions. They did NOT write the miracles down.

They wrote down many things -- why not also any reported miracle acts? Not all pagans were "mystery" religions -- the vast majority were not. The term "mystery" religions is a modern term, not used by the ancients. The pagans, Greeks and Romans, wrote down everything they thought was important, just like the Jews did. There's no reason why we would not have any written accounts of instant healings or miracle healings if there were reports of such events or significant belief in them.


They were supposed to be mysterious. Stuff only shared with those initiated into the same cult. Writing it down risked the information to spread beyond the cult.

Most pagans were not members of so-called "mystery" religions, but practiced the ancient customs of Osiris and Apollo and Serapis and other deities recognized as healing gods. They report no instant healing messiah or savior who held healing rallies of any kind, or who arrived in town and then attracted crowds of sick who were seeking their healing power. All we have are reports of temple worshipers who went there for the traditional healing rituals. Nothing was kept mysterious among the millions of those common worshipers or among the educated writers who reported the practices.


Pagan mystery cults didn't want riff raff joining their cult. They were exclusive. You needed to jump through all manner of convoluted hoops to become a member.

There is no evidence that the pagan "mystery cults" had any special healing prophet who performed instant healings, or made any claims about such miracles, or that such things were kept secret. You can't argue that something must have happened because it's kept secret, which proved that it must have happened. Just because there are secrets or mysteries does not prove that there must have been instant healing claims which were covered up because of the secrecy.

And this mystery or secret element was not typical of the ancient pagan religions. If there were any such instant healing prophet or sage supposedly doing such miracle acts, we should see some report of it in writings, because there was no general practice of suppressing such a thing.

And even if there was some pagan "mystery" or secrecy activity to avoid publishing something, this is not true of the Qumran community, which also was exclusive and did no evangelizing. And yet, they published voluminously, with huge quantities of scrolls, disclosing their practices and advertising all they believed in, especially their condemnation of the "Sons of Darkness" and the mainline Jews. And among all their writings there is no mention of any healing prophet or savior who performed miracle cures or instant healings such as those of Jesus reported in the Gospels. But they fully reported their religious healing rituals like all the other religious traditions, with no secrecy.

This Qumran cult resembled the "mystery" religions in their exclusiveness and claim to be righteous and uniquely favored by Divine Power, and they published everything they believed in, with no secrecy, and yet they report no divine Messiah figure performing any miracle cures or instant healings.

If there were any such reported miracle-worker, somewhere, we'd see some indication of it somewhere in the vast amount of published pagan and Jewish literature. Why there is such an absence of miracle claims in written reports cannot be explained by some shortage of this literature.


Christianity, by contrast, wanted all their secrets to be spread as much as possible because they were NOT exclusive. Anyone is welcome. That's why they wrote it all down and shared it with the world. There's no other reason.

It's plausible to say that here, at this time and place, there arose a new idea of INclusivity vs. EXclusivity, and of spreading the "secrets" everywhere, to all, to save the whole world, all nations, races, tribes. But where did this new idea come from (assuming it really was new, which is not certain)? If we assume it slowly evolved as a result of new patterns of human interaction, new intermingling of different tribes and cultures, then the process was gradual enough that it should occur in many places and among many different people. So, why should all this new openness, or NON-exclusivity, get totally focused on one person only, one Jesus of Galilee person, who is seized upon as the central figure and gets credited with doing miracle acts and being a special Son of God Savior, who alone is reported as the link to God, and there is no one else who also gets credited with such status?

I.e., why not John the Baptist, James the Just, or many other acknowledged Teachers or Prophets or Sages? Why not the famous Rabbi Hillel, who was more widely recognized as a Jewish Teacher than Jesus, at that time? We have no evidence that Jesus was the most popular religious hero figure prior to 50 AD or so. There were many others likely more recognized than he was in the earlier period. It's only after 100 or 200 AD that the Jesus name and reputation became more widespread than these and many others.

If the absence of reported miracle-workers is due to this new INclusivity factor, wanting to convert ALL people instead of being limited to a secret elite membership, why were there no other hero figures who also became the divine Messiah figure performing miracles and rising from the dead? Why did there have to be only one such person designated for this special status, to the exclusion of all others? Why would all the new Inclusivists come together and rally around this one Messiah person only? There were plenty of others who qualified for this status. Why only this one?

Just because all the Inclusivists had a similar idea in common does not mean they would all settle automatically on only one Messiah figure to play this role.

And there were many conflicts among the first Christians. These were not all a united group. They were split from the very beginning into many different factions. Why should all these factions come together and choose one person, this Galilean Jesus person, as their savior Messiah, when there were dozens of candidates for this role? Where's the evidence that Jesus was special above all the others, if it's not the miracle acts which he alone reportedly did?

The most logical explanation is that he is the only one who actually did have such a reputation, and this must be because he actually did miracle acts which no one else did. If he did not do these acts, but gained this recognition because someone "made up" stories about him, this leaves unexplained why there were not others also -- other prophets or teachers etc. -- about whom someone would "make up" such stories to make them into similar miracle heroes or gods.


Those traces actually exist. Because some Christian converts wrote slanderous texts about what went on in the mystery cults. They are anti-pagan propaganda. But we can infer from those what kinds of things went on.

There are no texts reporting any miracle acts by pagan Prophets or Teachers or Sages or Messiah figures. We cannot infer that anyone reportedly did miracle acts.

Of course here or there it's possible a small band of nutcase followers worshiped a guru -- we don't know. You can suppose anything you want. Perhaps a charismatic demagogue could attract a dozen followers and convince them that he could do miracles. However, the "mystery" religions are not in this category.

The only miracle stories taken seriously -- outside a local nutcase cult -- are those attributed to the ancient deities -- Apollo, Prometheus, Serapis, Hercules, Asclepius, etc. -- not to recent historical persons, or instant Messiahs or upstart gurus who gained a following. (The case of Jesus in about 30 AD is the sole exception.) There are a few references to charlatans, identified as such by the writers. Josephus in the 1st century mentions 2 or 3 such charlatans, and in the 2nd century there is some report of charlatans. Nothing reports any of these actually performing miracle acts -- all we have are reports dismissing them as fraudulent. While in the case of Jesus we have the opposite: All the evidence -- the written accounts of the time -- reports that he did perform miracle acts, including the Resurrection, and no accounts contradict this. Regardless of some discrepancies on other points, every source we have confirms this event. When all the different sources confirm an event, and none contradicts it, that is good evidence, despite your prejudice or knee-jerk impulse telling you otherwise.

To conclude that Jesus did not do the miracle acts, one must explain why such reports are attributed to him only and not to dozens of other supposed Messiahs or Saviors or Revered Teachers. Otherwise, the evidence leads only to the conclusion that he did perform these acts, especially the Resurrection, and otherwise we cannot explain the evidence. So that's the best guess, and otherwise we have no explanation for the existing evidence.
 
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Harry Bosch

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That's just semantics, playing with the "miracle" word.

There were no reported instant healings, such as we see in the Gospel accounts. No reported healers who were approached to heal blindness and leprosy etc. and who healed these conditions instantaneously. It's true that there were priests and sages and others who performed rituals, but there are no accounts of instant healings.

You are wrong to insinuate that all the ancients were idiots who knew no difference between a superhuman healing act, such as an instant healing like we see in the Gospel accounts, and a normal everyday religious ritual which did not produce an instant cure. It's not true that the ancients were inferior mindless bumpkins who could not appreciate an act which instantly put an end to a physical affliction which a victim had suffered for many years.
Dude: you always have the longest posts! I just want to focus on your first two paragraphs as I'm still a little hung over! First off, I wouldn't describe the biblical stories as "accounts" or historical description of an event. The biblical stories were oral sermons handed down over a few generations that were eventually written down by memory. The earliest accounts were written down about 40 years after the original sermon. This type of an "account" would not stand up in a court of law.

Secondly, it's not those ancients were idiots! People are fooled very single day. We are extremely gullible. People fall for scams and baloney every single day. Just google Q and/or Mike Lindall! Or google magicians and street performers. I watched a street performance where a magician convinced a crowd that there were three large chickens in a small inch by inch backpack. Happens all the time. Look at all the current cultists who convinced their followers that they were gods (Jim Jones, David Koresh). Heresy is the lowest form of evidence because we are so gullible and prone to believing in the ridiculous.
 

DrZoidberg

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This topic came up at Christmas leading to quite a discussion. I have quite a brainy group of close friends, so it was an interesting discussion. One guys theory was so good, it needs to be repeated. I can't say that I am fully convinced, but it's a solid argument.

Here is goes:

Stupid people have in all ages all the time always believed in an eternal life after death in an afterlife. Either it's the eternal cycle of reincarnation or the body/soul travelling to some blessed place. My friend argued that this is the default setting for humans and needs no education or training to believe.

In the pagan ancient religious texts these theories are somewhat skimmed over, because there's no point writing stuff all dumb people believe anyway. These texts are philosophy snobs writing for other philosophy snobs. They don't care what idiots think anyway. Paganism is fundamentally exclusive mystery cults not targeted to a wider audience.

While sacred texts intended to be disseminated to a wider audience, do include these ideas, because they have to. Otherwise there's just no way to convince stupid people to join.

The source of the belief is simply that immature people aren't willing to face the reality of their inevitable demise and will grasp at any idea, no matter how idiotic to allow them to believe they will live forever. Nietzsche famously argued that this delusion also applies to smart people. Everybody is fundamentally emotionally deluded about eternal life. We might rationally understand that we won't live forever. But our emotional brain is retarded, and can't function if it understands that there's ultimately no point to any of it.

One thing his theory has going for it is that it solves the problem of explaining where this theory comes from. Instead it shifts the question around. How did we realize that we won't live forever. Which is an infinitely easier problem to solve, because these ideas were all written down by great philosophers. It also helps explain the abundance of the variants of eternal life theories that seemingly sprung up from nowhere without the need of any great mind to first pen them.
 

Rhea

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You need to believe in the Christian God first before we start talking Christian Doctrine. Otherwise, what's the point?


Well, now, that seems like the most bass ackwards approach possible.

How do you get a thoughtful and thinking person to believe in an idea before describing the nature of the idea?

Nevertheless,
the question was: “where did the idea come from?”
You answered, “from this text”
I pointed out that you needed to proviide a page number from the text to support your claim. This should be trivially easy for you, snce you know your text and you know what part of the text introduces the idea of heaven. Just name the chapter. So simple.
 

Ephesians

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You need to believe in the Christian God first before we start talking Christian Doctrine. Otherwise, what's the point?


Well, now, that seems like the most bass ackwards approach possible.

How do you get a thoughtful and thinking person to believe in an idea before describing the nature of the idea?

Nevertheless,
the question was: “where did the idea come from?”
You answered, “from this text”
I pointed out that you needed to proviide a page number from the text to support your claim. This should be trivially easy for you, snce you know your text and you know what part of the text introduces the idea of heaven. Just name the chapter. So simple.
You don't even believe in God, let alone a Christian God. Yet, you want me to argue with you about where Christians got the idea of a soul? Lolwut? It would be simple for me. It'd be simple for you too... you have Google. But what's the point? I'm more interested in why you hold the irrational position called atheism.
 

Rhea

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You don't even believe in God, let alone a Christian God. Yet, you want me to argue with you about where Christians got the idea of a soul? Lolwut?
Are you unaware that you are the one who decided to come to this forum and to this thread? I did not knock on your door and demand an explanation. You knocked on mine. Are you unaware of this?

It would be simple for me. It'd be simple for you too... you have Google.
Perhaps you don’t understand the point of these discussion fora. To exchange ideas and discuss what different people think about different things. To ask, “what does this mean to you?”


But what's the point? I'm more interested in why you hold the irrational position called atheism.
Aaah, you have arrived at the reason why I did not google it. Well done.

The point, of course, is that the point of this thread is to ask,

“Where did the idea of eternal life in Heaven come from?”​

It’s right there in the title. Had you forgotten?

You are welcome to start a thread of your own, if you like, and entitle it
“why you hold the irrational position called atheism.”
Indeed, that is how the forum works. Welcome aboard.
 

Ephesians

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Perhaps you don’t understand the point of these discussion fora.

You don't understand how to spell embarrassing. How... embarrassing. *tips fidora*

What I don't understand is somebody who doesn't even believe in God, let alone the Christian God, asking where do Christians get the idea of the soul from. Or asking where do Christians get the idea of heaven or eternal life from. Seems kinda weird.

The point, of course, is that the point of this thread is to ask,
“Where did the idea of eternal life in Heaven come from?”

Actually, if you read the original post (evidently you didn't), then you'd know that the question is "Where did the Christian idea of a soul and it's eternal life in Heaven come from?" Boom, you got owned again. How does it feel?
 

Keith&Co.

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I'm here...

What I don't understand is somebody who doesn't even believe in God, let alone the Christian God, asking where do Christians get the idea of the soul from.
We also ask, sometimes, about how The Force works. Or werewolves. Or why only Earth vessels seem to run into accidental time travel anomalies in Trek.
Why do you feel that we can only be interested in things we believe to be facts? That we cannot examine ideas within a ficton?
 

atrib

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I'm more interested in why you hold the irrational position called atheism.
I'm an atheist because I have seen no evidence that would convince me that god exists. My position is rational regardless of whether gods actually exist, and it will continue to be rational until evidence is provided that would convince me. I have no idea why the fuck you, or anyone else would believe in gods given this conspicuous lack of evidence, but that is not the topic of this thread. If you want to discuss the evidence for a god, or make your case for atheism being irrational, start your own thread instead of crapping on threads that are not intended to discuss this topic. We don't go to your home and crap on everything, and we expect the same courtesy when you come to visit our home.
 
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