Historic proof of Jesus?

#1shaprshot14Posted 5/13/2008 9:22:20 PM
I've always heard people say that the Romans kept tabs of people....Like Jesus for example. I've always used that to tell Atheists Jesus existed...But is there anything else that can be used to prove He was born, He had a ministry, and He died of crucifixion?(Without the Bible of course =D)

And furthermore, can someone elaborate more on the whole Roman paper thing?

Thanks :)
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#2spoon737Posted 5/13/2008 11:24:26 PM
The most often cited extra-biblical reference to Jesus is from Testimonium Flavianum written by Josephus. I'm not sure what other references exist.
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#3Chaos ScadePosted 5/14/2008 5:27:39 AM
And furthermore, can someone elaborate more on the whole Roman paper thing?

http://luelinks.tk/

But, I'll post a couple of extra-biblical sources.

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XVIII).

A lot of that has been deemed to be a forgery, as Josephus, a Jew, would not have referred to Jesus as the Christ, amongst other overly positive remarks.

A more likely version of the passage would go something like this:

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, for he was a doer of wonderful works. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

Even if this passage is a complete forgery (which very few scholars think it is) however, there is still the undisputed reference here:

"But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned" (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XX).

And then one from Tacitus:

"Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular."
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#4woo hoo kittysPosted 5/24/2008 8:26:03 AM
Most of the Josephus quotes were held by the catholic church for centuries, discrediting any kind of validity they may have held. Any other references only refer to "christus" which literally translates to "oil", or more loosely to "anointed one".
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#5Chaos ScadePosted 5/25/2008 6:05:54 AM
Most of the Josephus quotes were held by the catholic church for centuries, discrediting any kind of validity they may have held.

You'll need to explain how that would discredit any kind of validity they may have held. And there is still the second quote from him that I posted that has no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Anyway, your beef is with the majority of Josephan scholars - only a very small minority believe that the Testimonium Flavian is completely forged, though only a few believe it's wholly genuine. But it doesn't need to be completely genuine for us to deduce that Josephus did write part of it, and that he did mention Jesus.

Any other references only refer to "christus" which literally translates to "oil", or more loosely to "anointed one".

Right, and most uses of the word Christus/Christos refer to Messiah - it's the word the Septuagint uses in Daniel 9. And while Tactitus does not mention Jesus by his first name, how many Christs in Judea during the reign of Tiberius were crucified (the ultimate penalty) at the hands of Pilate, who went on to spawn a following of people who took their name from him (I'll give you a hint - Tactitus calls them Christians, and that they were the ones Nero persecuted), and took their message to Rome?

You'd be a fool to deny that this passage refers to Jesus. The only way out of it is to assert that it too is a forgery, and that Tactitus didn't actually write it.

I'll be waiting.
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#6woo hoo kittysPosted 5/25/2008 2:34:10 PM
You'll need to explain how that would discredit any kind of validity they may have held. And there is still the second quote from him that I posted that has no reason to doubt its authenticity.

Most if not all were held by the catholic church, and for centuries the catholic church modified and adapted new texts and doctrines to maintain control and influence over the people and various governments. Any text being held by them for any significant length of time is highly suspect and cannot be used as evidence without a thorough investigation.

Anyway, your beef is with the majority of Josephan scholars - only a very small minority believe that the Testimonium Flavian is completely forged, though only a few believe it's wholly genuine. But it doesn't need to be completely genuine for us to deduce that Josephus did write part of it, and that he did mention Jesus.

Most of Josephus' writings are true. To say these in specific however are proof or "proof enough" is an out and out lie. I can't think of any secular scholar or any secular report that says does anything but discredit the Josephus letters containing Jesus as a fraud.

Right, and most uses of the word Christus/Christos refer to Messiah - it's the word the Septuagint uses in Daniel 9. And while Tactitus does not mention Jesus by his first name, how many Christs in Judea during the reign of Tiberius were crucified (the ultimate penalty) at the hands of Pilate, who went on to spawn a following of people who took their name from him (I'll give you a hint - Tactitus calls them Christians, and that they were the ones Nero persecuted), and took their message to Rome?

To be honest I haven't researched that quote as much.

You'd be a fool to deny that this passage refers to Jesus. The only way out of it is to assert that it too is a forgery, and that Tactitus didn't actually write it.

No, I'm not exactly well versed in his writings but that quote is far from proof of the biblical Jesus. I seriously doubt you are a scholar in this stuff too, so I'd say you're jumping to conclusions.
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#7Chaos ScadePosted 5/26/2008 5:03:05 AM
Most if not all were held by the catholic church, and for centuries the catholic church modified and adapted new texts and doctrines to maintain control and influence over the people and various governments. Any text being held by them for any significant length of time is highly suspect and cannot be used as evidence without a thorough investigation.

For somebody making loaded claims, you don't back up much of what you say. Okay, the Church held most copies of the Antiquities, but what reason do you have to suppose the entire thing is completely forged?

http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

And like I said - ALL copies of the Antiquities we have contain the James passage. But you have to play the "THEY MODIFIED IT! WAAAH WAAH!" card again.

I can't think of any secular scholar or any secular report that says does anything but discredit the Josephus letters containing Jesus as a fraud.

From the site I provided you with:

"Notably, the consensus for partial authenticity is held by scholars from diverse perspectives. Liberal commentators such as Robert Funk, J. Dominic Crossan, and A.N. Wilson, accept a substantial part of the TF as originally Josephan. So do Jewish scholars, such as Geza Vermes, Louis H. Feldman, and Paul Winter and secular scholars such as E.P. Sanders and Paula Fredrikson. Even Jeff Lowder, co-founder of the Secular Web, recognizes the merits of the partial authenticity theory. (Lowder, Josh McDowell's Evidence for Jesus: Is it Reliable? 2000). Paula Fredrikson sums up the state of the question among scholars: "Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by Christian scribes." (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, page 249)."

To be honest I haven't researched that quote as much.

It shows.

No, I'm not exactly well versed in his writings but that quote is far from proof of the biblical Jesus.

It doesn't prove that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true - that is a discussion for another day. But it's evidence for the actual life of a Christ from Judea who lived during the reign of Tiberius and was crucified by Pilate, and gave his name to his followers - the Christians.

So like I said, the only way out of it is to deny this as a forgery as well.

I seriously doubt you are a scholar in this stuff too, so I'd say you're jumping to conclusions.

So what? Doesn't that mean that we're just on a even footing as far as our credentials go?
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#8woo hoo kittysPosted 5/26/2008 9:58:49 PM
For somebody making loaded claims, you don't back up much of what you say. Okay, the Church held most copies of the Antiquities, but what reason do you have to suppose the entire thing is completely forged?

http://www.bede.org.uk/Josephus.htm

And like I said - ALL copies of the Antiquities we have contain the James passage. But you have to play the "THEY MODIFIED IT! WAAAH WAAH!" card again.


"As for the first point, the only somewhat reliable, secular evidence we have for the life of Jesus comes from two very brief passages in the works of Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian. And Josephus was a prolific writer - he frequently wrote several pages on the trial and execution of individual common thieves, but on Jesus, he is silent except for two paragraphs, one of which is a known interpolation, and the other is highly suspect. Other references to Jesus in secular writings are ambiguous at best, or known to be later interpolations, or both." - The Bible and Christianity -- The Historical Origins

From the site I provided you with:

"Notably, the consensus for partial authenticity is held by scholars from diverse perspectives. Liberal commentators such as Robert Funk, J. Dominic Crossan, and A.N. Wilson, accept a substantial part of the TF as originally Josephan. So do Jewish scholars, such as Geza Vermes, Louis H. Feldman, and Paul Winter and secular scholars such as E.P. Sanders and Paula Fredrikson. Even Jeff Lowder, co-founder of the Secular Web, recognizes the merits of the partial authenticity theory. (Lowder, Josh McDowell's Evidence for Jesus: Is it Reliable? 2000). Paula Fredrikson sums up the state of the question among scholars: "Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by Christian scribes." (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, page 249)."


I can pull websites that support my stance too, as shown above. However, even if certain parts are inserted, there are so few parts that even MENTION Jesus that any addition would be significant.

It shows.

Later in the post:

So what? Doesn't that mean that we're just on a even footing as far as our credentials go?

Nice ad hominem argument.

It doesn't prove that everything the Bible says about Jesus is true - that is a discussion for another day. But it's evidence for the actual life of a Christ from Judea who lived during the reign of Tiberius and was crucified by Pilate, and gave his name to his followers - the Christians.

So like I said, the only way out of it is to deny this as a forgery as well.


"This caution is made necessary by the fact that during this era, it was not considered wrong to write your own material and ascribe it to someone else, someone you consider your philosophical mentor, in whose name and style you are writing. Indeed, not only was this a common practice, but it was actually a skill taught in the schools of the day."

So yes I'm saying it could be forged, but that's beside the point. The main issue is whether or not the quote is proof and I feel even if it was real that it couldn't be used as stand alone proof.

So what? Doesn't that mean that we're just on a even footing as far as our credentials go?

You're making appeals to authority without having any.
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#9Chaos ScadePosted 5/27/2008 12:46:56 AM
"As for the first point, the only somewhat reliable, secular evidence we have for the life of Jesus comes from two very brief passages in the works of Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian. And Josephus was a prolific writer - he frequently wrote several pages on the trial and execution of individual common thieves, but on Jesus, he is silent except for two paragraphs, one of which is a known interpolation, and the other is highly suspect. Other references to Jesus in secular writings are ambiguous at best, or known to be later interpolations, or both." - The Bible and Christianity -- The Historical Origins

First off, I see no indication of what Bidstrup's credentials are (and for the record, in the future, post your links when you quote from them - http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm). If you don't have the training in the relevant field, your sources should. The two works he cites are Karen Armstrong and Burton Mack - quite a small number for such a large essay. It's worth noting that, as far as I know, neither Armstrong nor Mack buy into the Christ-myth (though Mack does not believe the New Testament is a reliable record for the events of Jesus' life). But even so, the extract you pasted is sourceless. Even though Price, in the article I posted, cited a number of scholars across the board in favour of partial authenticity.

I can pull websites that support my stance too, as shown above. However, even if certain parts are inserted, there are so few parts that even MENTION Jesus that any addition would be significant.

The freaking passage is about Jesus! Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you telling me that it's possible that the passage is only forged in the most part, but doesn't mention Jesus at all?

Nice ad hominem argument.

Uh, what? I don't see an ad hominem in there. Would you like to clarify, in case I've misunderstood you and end up shooting myself in the foot?

"This caution is made necessary by the fact that during this era, it was not considered wrong to write your own material and ascribe it to someone else, someone you consider your philosophical mentor, in whose name and style you are writing. Indeed, not only was this a common practice, but it was actually a skill taught in the schools of the day."

What, and just stuck it into the middle of someone else's manuscript? That part of your website is dealing from letters of the New Testament written in their entirety under another person's name, such as a Pauline Christian writing and signing one of the epistles as Paul - not bits added in to already existing works. That would still be forgery and fraud.

So yes I'm saying it could be forged, but that's beside the point.

Yeah, it could be, but you haven't provided any reason so far as to why Tacitus' passage would be forged.

This is sort of how your logic is going:

1. There's no evidence for the existence of Jesus.
2. Tactius mentions him.
3. It's probably a forgery.
Therefore, there's no evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Mmhmm...

You're making appeals to authority without having any.

What appeals to authority may these be, hmm?
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#10woo hoo kittysPosted 5/27/2008 2:33:03 AM
First off, I see no indication of what Bidstrup's credentials are (and for the record, in the future, post your links when you quote from them - http://www.bidstrup.com/bible.htm). If you don't have the training in the relevant field, your sources should. The two works he cites are Karen Armstrong and Burton Mack - quite a small number for such a large essay. It's worth noting that, as far as I know, neither Armstrong nor Mack buy into the Christ-myth (though Mack does not believe the New Testament is a reliable record for the events of Jesus' life). But even so, the extract you pasted is sourceless. Even though Price, in the article I posted, cited a number of scholars across the board in favour of partial authenticity.

The only true counter to this would be for me to go out and find an archive of sources that believe the entire thing is fabricated. I don't know if such a thing exists and I wouldn't know their credibility, so to save myself the effort I'm just gonna concede on this one.

The freaking passage is about Jesus! Correct me if I'm wrong, but are you telling me that it's possible that the passage is only forged in the most part, but doesn't mention Jesus at all?

I'm saying you keep mentioning it as "partly authentic". The references are rather small and deliberate, I'd like to know what parts they feel are authentic and what parts are forged as even minor details can paint a different picture.

Uh, what? I don't see an ad hominem in there. Would you like to clarify, in case I've misunderstood you and end up shooting myself in the foot?

I admitted ignorance, rather than moving right along you thought it'd be funny to claim my argument is arrogance, then in the same post say we were supposedly on equal footing.

What, and just stuck it into the middle of someone else's manuscript? That part of your website is dealing from letters of the New Testament written in their entirety under another person's name, such as a Pauline Christian writing and signing one of the epistles as Paul - not bits added in to already existing works. That would still be forgery and fraud.

Perhaps I took it out of context, I thought the principle could still apply to that quote.

Yeah, it could be, but you haven't provided any reason so far as to why Tacitus' passage would be forged.

As I said before, I do not know the history of it well enough to argue it. I was just refuting the logic of citing such a quote as hard evidence.

This is sort of how your logic is going:

1. There's no evidence for the existence of Jesus.
2. Tactius mentions him.
3. It's probably a forgery.
Therefore, there's no evidence for the existence of Jesus.

Mmhmm...


1: There's no hard evidence for the existence of Jesus
2: Tactius briefly references someone that fits Jesus' biblical description.
3: It has the possibility of being a forgery, and isn't direct in it's reference.
Therefore, there's no hard evidence for the existence of Jesus.

http://i3.photobucket.com/albums/y79/woohookittys/54g.jpg

What appeals to authority may these be, hmm?

Mostly to yourself. You come off like I must be some kind of moron to dare challenge you on this subject.
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