No smilies, no avatars, no flashing gifs. Just discuss the issues of the day, from last night's telly via football to science or philosophy.
Started by mingmong on Oct 23, 2021 2:58:13 PM
The Historical Jesus

Did such a person exist? Was he a serious religious leader in his own life-time or just a fringe figure, retrospectively magnified by the success of his cult?

Was he the same Jesus mentioned by the likes of Josephus and Tacitus? What is the historical authority of the Gospels? Can these be verified by non-biblical sources?

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

Previous
|
Next
|
Top
|
Bottom
Atticus - 23 Oct 2021 15:01:47 (#1 of 107)

I vaguely remember a Tony Robinson documentary covering this. Can't recall the substance beyond that there did appear to be someone causing quite a bit of grief for the Roman and Jewish authorities for a brief period.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 15:14:46 (#2 of 107)

The "primary" written source about Jesus is supposedly by Josephus, held by the vatican but there is serious doubt as to its authenticity as the language is said to be of a later Latin than that spoken during his lifetime.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 15:47:29 (#3 of 107)

What I find strange is that the tales of Jesus, like those of the Greek and Norse gods were handed down by word of mouth over many generations before they were written down. Yet we dismiss the Greek and Norse gods as not being real, yet accept the story of Jesus as being true. Why? What substantial evidence is there of his existence?

Delighted_User - 23 Oct 2021 15:53:14 (#4 of 107)

Josephus wrote in Greek, not Latin.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 15:55:19 (#5 of 107)

Yes but the article held by the vatican is reputed to be in Latin, probably a translation of his works on behalf of the church

brooklyn - 23 Oct 2021 16:05:43 (#6 of 107)

<< ... were handed down by word of mouth over many generations before they were written down.>>

not really. some of the epistles, especially the Pauline ones, are considered to be from the '50s, just 20 years after the traditional date of the death of Jesus. the rest of the books of the new testament were written in the first century as well. Paul concedes that he never met Jesus, but the other writers did.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dating_the_Bible#Tab
le_IV:_New_Testament


it would be odd if so many people decided to invent someone. why would they? and, notably, most scholars consider one of the two references by Josephus and that of Tacitus to be genuine.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 16:08:15 (#7 of 107)

it would be odd if so many people decided to invent someone. why would they?



Because that is what they did, embellish the stories to make them more fantastical, hero and god like.

brooklyn - 23 Oct 2021 16:09:49 (#8 of 107)

true, and I certainly don't take the narratives as, um, gospel. but the simple existence of Jesus is a different matter.

barkis - 23 Oct 2021 16:11:51 (#9 of 107)

The idenity of the evangelists is unknown, none of them claims to have known Jesus.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 16:14:09 (#10 of 107)

Do we believe in the ancient Greek gods, the Norse gods? What about King Arthur, Sir Lancelot and Camelot?

widenation - 23 Oct 2021 16:14:42 (#11 of 107)

Tom Schimmels: [pointing to a makeshift crucifix] This is definitely a sign of voodoo.

Mark Borchardt: Why is it a sign of voodoo?

Tom Schimmels: It's an unnatural cross, Mark!

Mark Borchardt: What, you think when Jesus was hanging there, he thought it was natural?

© American Movie 1999

brooklyn - 23 Oct 2021 16:28:21 (#12 of 107)

<<The idenity of the evangelists is unknown, none of them claims to have known Jesus.>>

you're right about Luke. John is supposed to be John the Apostle, and tradition (if not most scholars) holds that Matthew is Matthew the Apostle. Mark is thought to be a disciple, among those sent by Jesus to Judea to preach the gospel. he was also said to have been present when Jesus supposedly reappeared after the crucifixion.

in any event, all of them (like Paul, and maybe with the exception of Luke) knew people who are part of the biblical narrative with Jesus.

bailliegillies - 23 Oct 2021 16:28:40 (#13 of 107)

but the simple existence of Jesus is a different matter.



Is it, can you prove it?

I believe there may well have been someone the stories were based on, like many of our legends and myths but how much of it is based on fact, 1%, 5%, or even 10%, the rest added as the story travelled from mouth to mouth, village to village until it became another story all together. Just look how Hollywood has remade the story of the American west, the cowboys and indians, the sheriffs and gunfighters and that was all done in a few short years after the events.

brooklyn - 23 Oct 2021 16:30:35 (#14 of 107)

<<can you prove it?>>

ony with reference to the sources above. I can readily tell that this doesn't satisfy you. and that's not crazy.

Arjuna - 23 Oct 2021 16:44:33 (#15 of 107)

It is better evidence than exists for Norse Gods

Unless you count marvel movies

Oldbathrobe1 - 23 Oct 2021 16:50:11 (#16 of 107)

The "primary" written source about Jesus is supposedly by Josephus, held by the vatican but there is serious doubt as to its authenticity as the language is said to be of a later Latin than that spoken during his lifetime.





In the Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus is attempting to explain the history of the Jews to gentiles, and makes passing mention of Jesus in a 20- volume work. He tries to make Abraham more congenial by saying he taught science to the Egyptians, and claims Moses wrote in hexameters. Essentially, this is a work saying that the Jews are not nobodies, they have a history and significant figures. It's probable he drew on a number of sources and came across a potted biography of Jesus somewhere, and wrote it in. It would be perfectly normal to do so.

There's an original vdrsion mentioned by Origen, and then a version which was 'enhanced' by Eusebius to suggest Jesus was miraculous and the messiah.

Josephus mentions Jesus as a purely non-divine human (since Origen says that Josephus didn't accept Jesus as the Messiah). The interpolations appear in Eusebius and afterward. Even the catholic encyclopedia admits that the original text was added to. Without the Eusebius additions, it says no more than

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man. He was one of those who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. And the tribe of Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."

So Josephus seems to have heard a rumour about a man who was a rabbi, did surprising things and got followers who still exist even after he was executed.

Oldbathrobe1 - 23 Oct 2021 16:54:29 (#17 of 107)

I believe there may well have been someone the stories were based on, like many of our legends and myths but how much of it is based on fact, 1%, 5%, or even 10%, the rest added as the story travelled from mouth to mouth, village to village until it became another story all together.



There is clear evidence that Moses never existed and the exodus never happened. During that period the Egyptian Empire was strong, confident and ruled the area of Canaan securely. The archaeology of Judea in that period shows local nomads settling to work metal and the pottery records are unbroken. There was no conquest by Joshua. Therefore, Moses' appearance at the transfiguration is fiction.

We have records of how a Roman census was held from Egypt- nobody was required to trek across the country to their 'ancestral place'. The purpose of a census is to enable the government to make plans and estimate tax revenues. Such a census would be expensive, disruptive and clearly useless. It is blatant fiction, designed to give Jesus some tenuous connection to Bethlehem and connected prophecies.

Several of Jesus' alleged miracles were, in fact, common story tropes of the day. The Emperor Vespasian was said to have healed a blind man with his spit. Apollonius of Tyana negotiated with a demon to leave a possessed person and go into a statue, just as Jesus was supposed to have sent demons into pigs. Both Apollonius and Jesus were said to have raised a girl at her funeral, both saying she was not dead but sleeping.

The consistent reaction of the apostles and women to Jesus' post- resurrection appearances is to fail to recognise him. Even those who accepted (at Emmaus) this man was Jesus continue to say he had a different physical form. And clearly this was no miraculous form- they chatted with this man for an extended time and invited him to dinner without thinking he was anything but another traveller on the road. Mary Magdalene saw him and assumed he was a gardener.

It is entirely probable that a Galilean rabbi was crucified under Tiberius and Pilate, but none of the rest of the story is remotely credible.

Lawlsie - 23 Oct 2021 17:07:42 (#18 of 107)

Thanks for starting the thread Ming. I shall lurk and read it but not post. I am here to learn.

barkis - 23 Oct 2021 17:17:05 (#19 of 107)

#12

"Tradition", "is thought" is not evidence. There is no reason to think that any of the evangelists were disciples or knew anyone who knew Jesus.

mingmong - 23 Oct 2021 17:29:41 (#20 of 107)

I am here to learn.

Me too.

Previous
|
Next
|
Top
|
Bottom
Check Subscriptions
|
Home » History