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eternal hell makes no sense in Christianity

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User Info: BraveSoul

BraveSoul
4 weeks ago#111
SSj4Wingzero posted...
dhalsimrocks posted...
Once Mark wrote his gospel and others followed (correcting and redacting) this paved the way for people to begin believing Jesus had really been on Earth.


The problem is Mark is not the earliest New Testament document we have. The earliest New Testament documents written are the letters of the Apostle Paul. Paul's letter to the Galatians came around 50 AD, not even 20 years after Jesus had died, and even in that letter he notes that Jesus was born of a woman, had a brother named James (that Paul says he met), and was crucified. In other words, the view that Jesus was a living, breathing human being was around as early as 20 years after he died. That's an awfully quick turnaround for somebody who wasn't real. The mythicists' theories only hold any water if you believe that the idea of a living Jesus wasn't around until much later, but it was around quite early as we can see in the Apostle Paul's letters.

That and there's a whole lot of "Well, technically this *could* be..." type of arguments that the mythicists like to make, but much of it seems like conjecture when the simplest and most obvious explanation is that there was a real person around whom the New Testament was written, instead of trying to determine that there was some perfect storm of misinterpretations and interpolations that led to the creation of the early church and the recording of Jesus's life and death by two secular anti-Christian scholars whose work is considered authoritative and accurate otherwise.


20 years is "quick"? Not quick enough for people to call BS on it, though. Sounds perfect for a conspiracy, IMO. Especially when you consider that the Common Era started right around when Jesus was supposedly born.
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User Info: dhalsimrocks

dhalsimrocks
4 weeks ago#112
SSj4Wingzero posted...
dhalsimrocks posted...
Once Mark wrote his gospel and others followed (correcting and redacting) this paved the way for people to begin believing Jesus had really been on Earth.


The problem is Mark is not the earliest New Testament document we have. The earliest New Testament documents written are the letters of the Apostle Paul. Paul's letter to the Galatians came around 50 AD, not even 20 years after Jesus had died, and even in that letter he notes that Jesus was born of a woman, had a brother named James (that Paul says he met), and was crucified. In other words, the view that Jesus was a living, breathing human being was around as early as 20 years after he died.

That and there's a whole lot of "Well, technically this *could* be..." type of arguments that the mythicists like to make, but much of it seems like conjecture when the simplest and most obvious explanation is that there was a real person around whom the New Testament was written, instead of trying to determine that there was some perfect storm of misinterpretations and interpolations that led to the creation of the early church

The problem is, there is a lot of evidence that the Pauline corpus has been tampered with. The view that some of Paul's letters are a patchwork of pieces of several letters is mainstream scholarship. Certain passages are considered interpolations by most modern NT scholars, including the historicists. Combined with the fact that our earliest manuscripts evidence for them is pretty late, we really can't know what the original letters looked like. It's not a stretch when there is already evidence of interpolation and redaction.

So things like "born of a woman", which is a really odd comment to make about someone whose Earthly existence is presumably not being questioned, have to be called into question. If Paul really did say that originally, why did he unless there were already people questioning an Earthly Jesus? There are certainly reasons for it to have been an interpolation too, in particular in refutation of Marcionites and Gnostics.

The "James Brother of Jesus" phrase also has an explanation that isn't at all a stretch. It doesn't say "Brother of Jesus", it says "Brother of the Lord", which is used elsewhere in Paul, but as a phrase to mean "fellow Christians". If Mark was aware of Paul's letters when he wrote his gospel (which is thought to be the case as most think Mark was a Paulanist), it's entirely possible that he used that line as inspiration for portraying James as the biological brother of Jesus in his narrative.

And to turn the table around, one has to question Paul's utter lack of any details of Jesus' birth, baptism, ministry, miracles, triumphal entry, trial or execution (other than being crucified, which is also expected on mythicism), even when it would have served as a terrific and even perfect example. Paul's examples all come from the Old Testament. He even says that what he knows of Jesus "comes from no man", but that it was a hidden mystery revealed to him, and that it is "according to the Scriptures". This sounds more like mythicism than someone recounting the life of a well known guy.

What I'm saying is that a historicist may have more to explain for the lack of evidence of Jesus in the Pauline corpus as a mythicist does to explain the few details that may be there.

And this doesn't have anything to do with my being an atheist (other than perhaps a greater willingness to consider it). I don't need Jesus to be mythical to be an atheist. I just think the hypothesis makes more sense of the evidence.

I also doubt there's any evidence either of us could present to the other that we haven't seen.
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User Info: dhalsimrocks

dhalsimrocks
4 weeks ago#113
SSj4Wingzero posted...
Tacitus is the main one, and his is very clearly not an interpolation. Josephus has a bunch of passages, one of which appears to be an interpolation, whereas the other two are generally regarded by scholars as authentic. So we have two sources which independently attest to the existence of a man

I don't think it's clear that it's not an interpolation, or at least part of it. In particular, the line about being crucified by Pontius Pilate isn't attested until the mid-fourth century. There are Christian writers before then who would have *loved* to have a nugget that good. The entire event in Tacitus (Nero blaming Christians for a fire) also doesn't seem to be known even among earlier Christians who were writing specifically about Neronian persecution.

There's more, but we're just talking past each other I think.

And I think you have it backwards. If it were about anybody other than Jesus, this evidence would clearly be enough. Nobody runs around saying that Socrates didn't exist even though we have basically the same amount of evidence for him.

Really? I have always been under the impression that people like Homer, Romulus, Socrates and King Arthur actually do have a significant number of scholars who doubt their existence. Some more than others, I'm sure. I think more would say Socrates existed than Arthur.
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User Info: SSj4Wingzero

SSj4Wingzero
4 weeks ago#114
dhalsimrocks posted...
What I'm saying is that a historicist may have more to explain for the lack of evidence of Jesus in the Pauline corpus as a mythicist does to explain the few details that may be there.


That reeks of expecting the unreasonable. He was, after all, not really a remarkable person in life, which is why nobody wrote that much about him. But we have multiple sources (which have not yet been definitively discredited) ascertaining that there was somebody like him.

dhalsimrocks posted...
I don't think it's clear that it's not an interpolation, or at least part of it. In particular, the line about being crucified by Pontius Pilate isn't attested until the mid-fourth century. There are Christian writers before then who would have *loved* to have a nugget that good. The entire event in Tacitus (Nero blaming Christians for a fire) also doesn't seem to be known even among earlier Christians who were writing specifically about Neronian persecution.


Are there earlier manuscripts of Tacitus which lack that passage? If not, then it's just a bunch of guesswork, seeing as how the tone fits exactly what a patriotic Roman like Tacitus would write about Christians and the text appears authentic. That's why it's universally regarded as such.

dhalsimrocks posted...
Really? I have always been under the impression that people like Homer, Romulus, Socrates and King Arthur actually do have a significant number of scholars who doubt their existence. Some more than others, I'm sure. I think more would say Socrates existed than Arthur.


The general consensus which appears with those guys is that they most likely did exist in some way, shape, or form, as either a person or an amalgamation of persons, and that stories evolved around them as a result. For example, historians might not know exactly who "Homer" is, but *somebody* (or some people) wrote down those texts and transcribed them, and those people are Homer. The details of Romulus's life might be scant, but *someone* founded Rome, right? That person is Romulus. Plato might be the only source we have about Socrates, but *someone* taught Plato how to write, correct? That person is Socrates.

King Arthur is a tough one because some ancient Briton records do record him as an individual, but they say very little about him. It's certainly possible that he did in fact exist, but if he did, we know so little about him that his existence is practically irrelevant. That's probably what most historians say about Jesus - since some authoritative historical records mention him, he probably existed, but that's pretty much the extent that can be said about his life. In historical studies, it's not uncommon for circumstantial evidence to be accepted as fact because that's *really* all we have.
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User Info: dhalsimrocks

dhalsimrocks
3 weeks ago#115
I spent some time reading articles on Tacitus, particularly those with regard to his reliability. I was sure to read articles and papers from differing opinions, both secular and Christian, Christ historicists, and best of all, those who weren't discussing the topic of Jesus at all, but on the reliability of other aspects of his writing. I avoided any article written by a Christ mythicist.

Here are some things that I found.

-Nearly every article that concluded Tacitus was reliable enough to be taken on his word, was written by a Christian author, citing other Christian authors and Jesus scholars.

-There were a few Christian authors who felt it was shaky ground to rely on Tacitus as definitive proof of Jesus' historicity

-A fair number of secular Jesus historicists (those who think Jesus was a real guy) preferred not to include Tacitus as good evidence for historicity

-The overwhelming majority of articles by historians not interested in the Jesus topic, but in Tacitus himself, questioned his reliability and suggested that while he wrote many things he earnestly believed to be true and that he used other sources when he could, that his sources were not always reliable. He apparently wasn't always using government records, particularly since many of the records he would have needed for certain periods had burned in the major fires.

-While some secular Christ historicists claim the possibility of the Jesus passage being an interpolation, most seem to be of the opinion that Tacitus actually wrote it, but that it can't be shown to be independent attestation, that there's no evidence that it was based on government records or that there is even any corroborating evidence for parts of the passage (the fire itself being the one part that certainly occurred).

To put it simply, I don't think Tacitus is as reliable as Christians want him to be. And it seems like that's where you and I differ on this whole topic. I guess I'm a lot more skeptical of ancient historians.
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User Info: SSj4Wingzero

SSj4Wingzero
3 weeks ago#116
The problem is - we have nothing else to go by

Pretty much all we know about the first century AD in Rome is based off of the writings of 3 sources - Tacitus, who is the most reliable, Cassius Dio, who is less reliable, and Suetonius, whose work basically reads like a gossip column

So we don't have much to go by, but what little we have to go by hints that he was a real person.
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the final bahamut 3 weeks ago#117
SSj4Wingzero posted...

Tacitus is the main one, and his is very clearly not an interpolation. Josephus has a bunch of passages, one of which appears to be an interpolation, whereas the other two are generally regarded by scholars as authentic.


Both tacitus and josephus basically just go "there are Christians who are people who believe in some dude named Jesus who was crucified" which, a) isn't really firm evidence of anything and b) doesn't discount mystics. In fact all the stuff Josephus fails to report (like his hated enemy no. 1 culling first børns or the literal dead rising from the grave) are a lot more damning.
But in the end: We don't have evidence for most historical figures because that's not how things worked at the time. It also kind of doesn't matter, so most historians don't really care.

ManLink4321 posted...

To quote tfb; "There's obvious trollbaiting, and there's....f*** if I know."


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User Info: SSj4Wingzero

SSj4Wingzero
3 weeks ago#118
Tacitus doesn't actually say that Christians believe that

He flat-out states that Christians are named after Christ who was executed by Pontius Pilate

I mean, I'm not some sort of Latin expert, but most of the English text reads that way, and you'd have to grasp at straws to think it means anything else
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User Info: Dagorha

Dagorha
3 weeks ago#119
Why are you keeping a log of things I say?


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User Info: Thelema

Thelema
3 weeks ago#120
SSj4Wingzero posted...
And I think you have it backwards. If it were about anybody other than Jesus, this evidence would clearly be enough. Nobody runs around saying that Socrates didn't exist even though we have basically the same amount of evidence for him.


There are a number of historians who doubt that Muhammad existed.

There is some doubt over whether Socrates existed. In the case of Socrates it really doesn't matter since his ideas and philosophy work whether Socrates was a real person or a non de plume.

There is doubt of whether Shakespeare existed (or wrote his plays). Some think Shakespeare was a non de plume and Francis Bacon was the author.

But again, it doesn't matter as everyone can enjoy the works whether or not Shakespeare was real.

But a corporeal Christ is fundamental to the Christian narrative and its implications demand extra scrutiny.
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