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 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 129
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?Page 4 of 12    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)

This is why a computer salesman is NOT QUALIFIED to determine that the references to Jesus or Christians in ancient documents are relevant or irrelevant. He doesn't understand the time, the people, the setting, etc.

I don't have to refute every one of Mr. Humphrey's silly arguments because they are so easily swept away as to be nonsensical. Mr. Humphrey even claims the heros of Judaism never existed--men like King David. He throws the baby out with the bathwater.


On the contrary his arguments which you apparently have missed the more important subtlety of have shown that despite any lack of formal training he has grasped the heart of the problem you seemed to have missed and you still have to tackle the arguments whether you like the man or not.

Sorry to break it to you.

You may wish to find another thread to participate in.

The actual burden of proof is also upon proving the very use of and existence of the term Christian and at what point in history the Christian movement first became noticed. The documents he cites by Tacitus are believed to be altered specifically because of the term Christian.

Believers may wish that the term was in use as early as Christian mythology paints it, but the burden of proof is upon them to provide data that suggests it and as the classical texts show when examined in modern translations, the term Christian does not show up in secular writing in the period of the early 1st century and not until later into the 100's. What the Christian believer believes about the heroic origins of their faith and what actual history records are two different things...I am only interested in the latter.

The Tacitus quote specifically was wrong on a variety of other levels as I mentioned - obvious levels that marked it as a fraud.

But again, this "computer salesmen's" words are echoed by many other biblical scholars who do not believe in the literal historicity of Jesus. The fact that you have this bone in your teeth because of this one prominent example is rather silly...this man's arguments simply present in capsule form what are common arguments regarding Jesus historicity or lack thereof as held by many other serious scholars. Why you think you suddenly need a list of names to add credence to it is mind boggling.

I suggest you go look it up yourself.

Meantime you still haven't dealt with the problems presented by it...I suspect you will not do so however and as far as I am concerned I am done discussing this with you because the horse is dead and it's bones are ready for flour.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 135
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 11/30/2007 7:27:16 PM


Though we have so little evidence that Jesus lived of which the evidence that is had is barely considered even circumstantial evidence at best, the fact that such a story even exists of such a man and is believed by people of so many nations for more than 1500 accountable years is proof within itself that the story/myth is probably more true then more false.


Or proof that a you can fool some of the people all of the time.
 FrogO_Oeyes
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 136
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 11/30/2007 7:41:45 PM

The single fact that no story of another human whether real or myth has existed as long as this one has [/quote
Solomon. Nebuchadnezar, Siddhartha Gautama [Buddha], Sun Tzu, Confucius...

All were real, all have been known longer than Christ, and several have proven more "popular" than Christ. And those were just off the top of my head.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 138
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 1:17:31 AM
Everyone has their own interpretation and views on the Bible--what is means and why some passages (like the creation) are so short while others are long or vague. The Book seems intent on making itself not be a topic for argument, stating outright that the words it contains should not be argued literally

In Genesis, God tells Adam not to eat the fruit of one tree, for on that day, you will surely die. Of course, he does not die in the sense of physical death, but he and Eve realize that they are naked, and are driven from this paradise for disobeying God. Adam goes on to live another 930 years.

Satan (the adversary) takes on a very different role in the Bible than he does in the church (organized religion). God uses Satan on more than one occasion as a kind of messenger, and seems in some passages to be playing Devil's Advocate, to use a pun. In fact, Satan is not the Lucifer of Genesis, who is cast out of heaven for leading a rebellion against God. An estimated 36,000 translational errors (mostly very minor) have coupled with long standing assumptions and centuries of manipulation. From Abraham to Jesus Christ, we are given an abridged version of events--as the Bible itself attests.

There are volumes of evidence supporting the existence of Jesus, as I've mentioned in earlier posts. The purpose of the Good Book is not give us something to win debates, but something we turn on ourselves like flashlight into the soul.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 139
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 1:37:43 AM
I think it a dangerous mistake to implicate Christianity itself in the attrocities committed by men who claim to be its adherents. The Roman Catholic Church was not only an institution of man, but as many Protestants have maintained (and countless former catholics), its leaders have repeatedly acted contrary to the Bible, serving personal interests only. The RCC was literally a continuation of the powerfurl secret societies and mystery societies of ancient times. Wealthy, powerful pagan temples simply had the name Jesus stamped onto them, and little of the Man's teachings ever make their way into the RCC.

Remove Christian names, holidays, and symbols, and you still have corruption, enslavement, and murder--in any century. Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and most of the mass murderers of the 20th century were atheists. These three alone killed over 50 million people. Pol Pot killed 2 million Cambodians, Sadam, 300,000. Saudi Arabia's al-Saud regime has killed more than 300,000. In 1915, the Turks killed 1.5 million Armenians. Where are the practicing Christians. Evil men can do horrible things in God's name, but the Bible warns against this, also, even condemning this evil.
 badge3939
Joined: 8/10/2007
Msg: 140
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 7:25:18 AM

Definition: Abbreviation for 'Before Christ', used in the Gregorian Calendar to refer to the era before the birth of Jesus Christ, the central Christian figure. While the use of B.C. is believed to originate with the Bede in the eight century, it only became popular in the modern era.

Modern historical research suggests the current A.D. date is actually wrong, as Jesus was born 4-7 years earlier than the year 1 date the Gregorian Calendar works from. However, in the modern age the actual meaning of A.D. is widely forgotten or misunderstood and the term simply signifies a different era from B.C.


About.com European Histroy.
 fitman2005
Joined: 8/18/2005
Msg: 141
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 9:21:31 AM
I would like to make one correction here. Hitler was Christain.


~and I would also like to make a correction-- he was called a 'Christian' by some. He certainly didn't meet any of the Bible definitions for such. And this is still up for debate on another thread.


Those passages are often used by Christains to justify commiting such crimes.


-and again, those would be pseudo-Christians right? That's what I believe. Christ didn't go around ordering His followers to chop away at people...but the righteousness in Christ as well as the God of the Bible, does have a wrath and views a life much differently than we do. This is also portrayed in excerpts from scripture such as the clearing of the temple, the book of Revelation, or when God almost kills Moses...(things to ponder). It displeased the God of the Bible to have king David build His temple. What kind of Being is this exactly? And why did Christ have to die first in order to receive His glorification? Something is more at work here than meets the human eye of understanding. I am trying to grasp this now and come to terms with the whys and why nots. There appear to be some very interesting keys to this enigmatic Being.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 145
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 8:32:15 PM


Christ didn't go around ordering His followers to chop away at people


"But now, whoever has a money belt is to take it along, likewise also a bag, and whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36 NASB)

For what are they supposed to use the swords? Toothpicks?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 146
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 8:36:03 PM


I think it's truly offensive for Christians to say that Hitler was not Christan.


Who are they to judge his sincerity? How do they know what was in his heart? Christians will often admit (even brag) that they fall short of a sinless life, but who doubts that they are True Christians?
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 147
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/1/2007 8:43:43 PM
As for Hitler being a Christian, he was, in fact, a member of the infamous Thule society. According to numerous authors (names escape me), Hitler, leading Nazi's, and members of the SS were also secretly involved with the occult. Many prominent business people, judges, police chiefs, lawyers, etc... in the US and UK have also been involved with the occult, despite many professing to be practicing Christians.

I have read about, but cannot specifically cite, numerous Roman records which drove Constantine to search for physical evidence of Christ. This may be a good searching point. Another would be Lawrence Gardner. He does not profess to be a leading expert in the historical Jesus, but his books frequently reference useful tidbits from other books. Gardner does not believe that the historical Jesus actually died on the cross, but survived the torture, then recovered in his tomb. There are plenty of controversies, but there are also lots of books that can cite written evidence of Jesus. I know of no conclusive physical evidence.

One more point, though. I those days, man would be kind of "born again" at age twelve. This represented his first passage into the responsibilities of manhood. At 24, he would be accepted again, this time as a full man. Couples from a dynastic line (like Mary and Joseph) would marry in order to bear a child. If the woman conceived, they would then have a permanent marriage. If she could not conceive, then the man would have to annul the marriage in order to find a woman who was fertile. Some believe that this is the source of controversy over the immaculate conception, that Joseph "knew her not."
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 148
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/3/2007 8:51:11 PM
In answer to the OP, I have found a section of Flavius Josephus' "Antiquities of the Jews." He is believed to be the sole surviving soldier of a Roman siege against a Jewish holdout in 70 AD. I'll spare the reader the whole story, but Josephus was no follower of Jesus the Christ. Book XVIII, Section III, part 3.

"Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it was 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 principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross [AD 33, April 3], those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive the
third day, [April 5] 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."

And Tacitus' account of Nero's persecution of Christians:
"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. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

In Wikipedia's account of Pilate and other procurators:
"Roman magistrates had wide discretion in executing their tasks, and some readers question whether Pilate would have been so captive to the demands of the crowd (Miller, 49–50). (And see, Nettervile, "Jesus, etc pp. 22-23)[6] Summarily executing someone to calm the situation would, however, have been a tool a Roman governor could have used, and Pilate's reputation for cruelty and violence in secular accounts of the era makes it quite plausible he would have had no hesitation in using this tool."

All told, there were over 100 gospels (literally, good news) committed to print by the end of the first century, 80 of which survived to the Council of Nicea, 325 AD. Although 76 were burned, two new ones were found in 1947 outside of Nag Hammadi, Egypt. Some of the scrolls found there were burned, since their significance was unknown. Still, the authenticity seems valid, and clarifies some apparent contradictions in the New Testament. For example, Joseph of Arimathea is a position, rather than a single individual, explaining why a man of 120 years was able to start a family at such an advanced age. He was, in fact, just one in a line of men holding that position.

Roman records testify that Augustus Caeser had, in fact, ordered a census in 7 BC, forcing Mary and Joseph (wise man, a kind of Rabbi) to return to Bethlehem. One author, Lawrence Gardner, noted some mention that Jesus survived his crucifixion, migrating to Kashmir to continue his teachings. In fact, there is a tomb there dedicated to Jesus the Christ dated 59 AD. Jesus would have been 66.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 149
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/3/2007 9:59:43 PM
Here is a good site covering info on the historical Jesus, i.e., secular accounts
http://www.issuesetc.org/resource/archives/maier3.htm

{The existence of Nazareth in Jesus’ day had been doubted by critics—until its name showed up in a first-century synagogue inscription at Caesarea. Augustus’ census edicts (in connection with the Nativity) are borne out by an inscription at Ankara, Turkey, his famous Res Gestae ("Things Accomplished"), in which the Roman emperor proudly claims to have taken a census three times. That husbands had to register their families for the Roman census was mandated in census papyri discovered in Egypt.

{That Herod the Great ruled at the time Jesus was born is demonstrated by the numerous excavations of his massive public works in the Holy Lane, including the great Temple in Jerusalem. That his son Herod Antipas ruled Galilee is shown in similar digs at Sepphoris and Tiberias. Coins from these and the other Herodian rulers are a commonplace in coin collections.

{As for Jesus’ public ministry, the remains of the foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where He taught still exist below the present ruins of the fourth-century synagogue there. The remains of Peter’s house at Capernaum, later converted into an octagonal Christian sanctuary, have been uncovered. The hull of a first-century boat that plied the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Jesus’ time was discovered in 1986, giving us new information on how Jesus could sleep through a storm during the famous episode of the Stilling of the Tempest (Mark 4:35ff.).}

Also, "Cornelius Tacitus, Gaius Suetonius [Lives of the Caesars], and Pliny the Younger." Of the same author, "Jesus also shows up in the Jewish Rabinic tradition, which uses His correct name to boot (Yeshua). First of all, we have the arrest notice, which [Dr. Paul] Maier said is authenticated. It uses the future tense, says Christ was "to be stoned" — the way the Jews would have executed him if they were running things, etc." And, "A bulldozer south of Jerusalem uncovered a crypt that contained 12 ossuaries. 20 BC - AD 70 was the only time period the Jews used this burial method. One of them was ornate — and on the other side, it said it was Joseph of Arimathea." Recall that Joseph of Arimathea is a position, rather than a single individual, according to the Dead Sea Scrolls.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 150
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/3/2007 10:29:00 PM
There's only 8 pages to this thread, you may want to read them.

This website doesn't cite any bibliographical sources at all.

The references in Tacitus, Suetonius and Pliny are pretty easily dismissed as pious frauds and have pretty much been so in this thread already with substantial reference in case you haven't noticed - respectfully, you aren't bringing anything new to the table here.

Moreover the Tacitus account is factually incorrect. The name was Chrestus, not Christus. The names are in no way equivalent. In any case earlier posts give ample reason to believe these to be insertions made no earlier than the 5th century CE, most likely by Bishop Eusebius or Sulpicious Severus in the case of Suetonius. No serious secular scholar regards the Josephus quote as anything other than a pious fraud.




{The existence of Nazareth in Jesus’ day had been doubted by critics—until its name showed up in a first-century synagogue inscription at Caesarea. Augustus’ census edicts (in connection with the Nativity) are borne out by an inscription at Ankara, Turkey, his famous Res Gestae ("Things Accomplished"), in which the Roman emperor proudly claims to have taken a census three times. That husbands had to register their families for the Roman census was mandated in census papyri discovered in Egypt.


About that...http://www.atheists.org/christianity/ozjesus.html Frank R. Zindler responds...




Nazareth is not mentioned even once in the entire Old Testament, nor do any ancient historians or geographers mention it before the beginning of the fourth century. The Talmud, although it names 63 Galilean towns, knows nothing of Nazareth. Josephus, who wrote extensively about Galilee (a region roughly the size of Rhode Island) and conducted military operations back and forth across the tiny territory in the last half of the first century, mentions Nazareth not even once -- although he does mention by name 45 other cities and villages of Galilee. This is even more telling when one discovers that Josephus does mention Japha, a village which is just over a mile from present-day Nazareth! Josephus tells us that he was occupied there for some time. Today, Japha can be considered a suburb of Nazareth, but in Josephus' day, I'll wager, the people of Japha buried their dead in the tombs of the unnamed necropolis that now underlies the modern city called Nazareth.

Although the new testament tells us very little about our mythical municipality, it does tell us enough to allow us to conclude that present day Nazareth couldn't be the Biblical city referred to, say, the the fourth chapter of the Gospel of Luke. In that chapter we find a story about Jesus coming back in his "home town" about taking a turn teaching in the synagogue. (Keep in mind that no synagogue ruins datable to the first century have ever been found at the present site.) According to Luke's tale, Jesus' teaching riled everyone up because of its supposed blasphemy, and the natives were going to execute him for that awful crime. Instead of stoning him, the required penalty for blasphemy, verses 28-30 tell us the legally and culturally implausible story that "At these words, the whole congregation were infuriated. They leapt up, threw him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which it was built, meaning to hurl him over the edge. But we walked straight through them all, and went away."

Although this is an obvious fairy tale, it does tell us that wherever Nazareth was located, it was on a hill and that the hill had a cliff high enough that a man falling off it would be killed. The town now called Nazareth, however, until just recently never occupied the top of a hill. Rather for a thousand years or more it has occupied a valley floor and the lower half of the hillside that bounds it on the northwest. Excavations of the top of the Nazarene hill show that it has never had buildings on its top before the twentieth century. Worse yet, there is no cliff which can be identified with the "brow of the hill" from which the Jews sought to cast Jesus down to his death.

Like the White Queen whom Alice met in Through the Looking Glass, Christian pilgrims have always been able to believe six or more mutually contradictory, impossible propositions every morning before breakfast. Unlike the White Queen, however, the Christians have been able to maintain such belief after breakfast as well. Thus, since there is no place suitable for dwarf-tossing let alone messiah-chucking on the hill at present-day Nazareth, entrepreneurial priests, monks, and native guides have staked out other places to show gullible tourists as the place where the Jews tried to jettison Jesus -- while still maintaining the city itself as Nazareth.

Although Jebel el-Qafzeh, a small mountain 2.5 km SE of Nazareth, is believed by the Greek Orthodox to be the site of the attempted deicide, another mountain, several catapult throws west of Qafzeh is believed by the Roman Catholics to be the exact spot. Some people probably believe that both sites are correct, although for some centuries, there has been a tendency to reconcile the contradiction by invention of a new, improved mythology. It seems that Luke was a bit vague and imprecise when he claimed that Jesus walked right through the crowd of Jews and thus escaped precipitation to the ranks of flattened fauna. What really happened, it was discovered, is that Jesus jumped into the air to evade the mob. It is a pity that this took place before the broad jump became a part of the Olympic games, since this jump of Jesus was a doozie. You see, he jumped all the way from Qafzeh, the mountain in the east, onto the mountain several catapult-throws away in the west. Thus, we have the Mount of the Lord's Launching and the Mount of the Lord's Landing.

I'm not making this up, you know. We have written records to prove it. In 1336 Sir John Maudeville checked out the site where Jesus landed after jumping from the crowd. "and soone after he was founden at the fote of an other Mountayne therby where yet the prynte of his holy stappes are sene" -- Maundeville's very words. (Of course, these fossil footprints are at the foot of the mountain rather than on the top. But only a hopeless skeptic would think this a discrepancy.)

Even before Maudeville, in 1283 Burchard of Mt. Sion, a German Dominican (and thus especially trustworthy), certified that "Lord's Leap -- the place where they tried to deject Jesus -- but [where] he slipped out of their hands and suddenly found himself an arrow's shot away on the flank of a mountain across the way -- where this is pointed out, there you can see the imprinted outline of his body and his clothes." As far as I can tell, it's not too far a hike for pilgrims between the footprints and the body print up the hill!

We have already noted that the town today called Nazareth does not fit the place implied in Luke's gospel. Moreover, archaeological excavations at present-day Nazareth -- even though carried out by Franciscan monks and priests who must always be aware of the tourist significance of the real estate owned by their order -- have failed to show the remains of a single building credibly datable to the first century B.C.E. or the first century C.E. The oldest buildings found seem to date from the last half of the third century, and there is no information to indicate what the inhabitants of those buildings called their village.

To be sure, the Franciscans have pointed to crockery, coins, and other artifacts excavated from beneath the various shrines at Nazareth as proof that the place was inhabited during the first centuries B.C.E. and C.E. But all these items are compatible with the idea that they were associated with burials, and most items are dated vaguely (deliberately, in my opinion) as from "the Roman period" -- to conjure up images of Pontius Pilate and the first century, even though the Roman period lasted into the fourth century C.E., and even I accept the possibility that the site was settled as early as the end of the second century.

Before the second or third century C.E. -- going back to the Middle Bronze Age -- the site now occupied by Nazareth was a necropolis, a city of the dead. The hillside underlying part of the present city is riddled with tombs and natural caves which for over a thousand years were used for burials. Since Jewish law prohibited cemeteries from being in the midst of inhabited sites, we can be quite sure that there was no Jewish city at the present site in the days when a supposedly Jewish Jesus is supposed to have been running loose there.

Despite these facts, a visitor to today's Nazareth can be treated to a visit to the room in which the Virgin Mary "received" the angel Gabriel. (Now though the perch upon which he roosted is still there, the window through which he flew was blocked up by 1666.) Both the kitchen in which she cooked the meals for the family and Joseph's carpentry workshop are displayed. The room in which Jesus lived after his return from Egypt can also be visited, as well as the places where the Blessed Virgin was born -- there are, of course, several of them, not counting her birthplace file miles away in Sepphoris or her birthplace in Jerusalem. The peculiar thing about all these sacred spots, however, is that they are all in grottoes or caves. My old German Lutheran pastor never told me that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph were troglodytes! Perhaps a branch of the Flintstone family! Another peculiar fact about these sites is that they are all within a few yards of cave-tombs, or were themselves used as cave-tombs at one time or another, or both. Since Jewish law prohibits habitation within 150-200 feet of a grave or tomb, we must conclude that the "good Jewish family" into which Christ was born were perpetually in a state of ritual uncleanliness!

That the holy family were cave people is only fitting, however, when we note that Jebel el-Qafzeh, the "Mount of the Lord's Launching," is less than two miles away from the Christ cave. A cave at Qafzeh has yielded a series of Neanderthal-like skeletons dating to the Ice Age, 100,000 years ago. So the Flintstone connection might not be too wide of the mark after all!

To sum up the archaeological evidence from so-called Nazareth, no remains of actual buildings datable to the turn of the era have ever been uncovered, despite the immense amount of excavating and building that have taken place there during the last century. What have been found, in mind-boggling plenty, are cave tombs and grave sites. Until the site was settled some time after the expulsion of the Jews from Jerusalem in 135 C.E., our would-be holy city was a burial ground, a veritable city of the dead, or necropolis. In the first century, the major town of Japha was only a little over a mile away, and it is likely that its inhabitants found the natural caverns and grottoes of the Nazareth hill an ideal place to bury their dead.

Given, then, that the place now called Nazareth cannot be the biblical site, is there any other place for which tradition from very early times could nominate for the honor of being the childhood home of Jesus? Given the seemingly inexhaustible capacity of religious entrepreneurs to multiply sacred sites and holy relics, it is startling to discover that there really aren't any other candidates.

In this regard, it is extremely interesting that the church father Origen, who lived from 182? to 254? C.E. gave no indication of knowing where Nazareth was, even though he lived in Caesarea, a seaport town just thirty miles from present-day Nazareth! Mind you, it is not that Origen had no opportunity to mention the city. In fact he mentions it a number of times in his attempts to reconcile the contradictory accounts of the gospel stories impacting on the passage just quoted above from Luke1. Curiously, Origen doesn't quite know whether the town should be called Nazareth or Nazara. If there actually had been such a town close-by, when Origen was writing, he could simply have walked over to it and asked the inhabitants how they spelled the name of their town. But it seems clear that Origen didn't think there was such a town at all. To save the gospels from their many mutual contradictions, he had to propose a "mystical" method of interpreting them, and argued that they could not be interpreted literally. Almost certainly, to Origen the geography of the gospels -- including the supposed town of Nazareth -- was just as mystical and insubstantial as the events of the gospels. The first supposed solid reference to Nazareth as a geographical reality is given by the church father Eusebius, also of Caesarea, who wrote during the first decades of the fourth century. His Onomasticon, a geographical listing and description of all the holy places mentioned in the Bible, is often cited as proof of the Existence of a city called Nazareth at the present location at the end of the third century. A careful study of the Greek text of Eusebius' brief and confused mention of Nazareth leads one to conclude that he had never been there himself (even though like Origen he lived only thirty miles away) and was not at all sure just where the place was. Nazareth might as well have been in Mongolia, for all the first-hand information we get from Eusebius!

Name-Calling

If there never was a place called Nazareth in the first century, how did the name get into the Bible? We have already noted that the name is unknown in any of the epistles, those of Paul being the oldest parts of the New Testament. The city is named only in the gospels and the book of Acts. The oldest of the gospels is that attributed to a certain Mark, even though the authors of its various components are utterly known. Mark, unlike the later gospels, mentions Nazareth only once; in chapter 1, verse 9, which tells us that "Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee." It is of more than a little interest to learn that scholars suspect this verse to be a later addition just like the last twelve verses of the gospel. If this is true -- and I am quite certain that it is 2 -- this leaves the oldest gospel without any knowledge of a place called Nazareth. 3 Once Nazareth found its way into the gospel of Mark, it grew in importance in the later gospels. One might say that for Jesus to make a mark in the world, it was necessary to make a word in Mark!

The way in which the name Nazareth came into existence is intimately related to the process by which Jesus obtained his biography, and so we must digress from pseudogeography to pseudobiography.

Before Jesus could be given a biography, he had to receive a name. Actually, he received several names, but all of his names were really titles. Thus the name Jesus of Nazareth originally was not a name at all, but rather a title meaning (The) Savior, (The) Branch. In Hebrew this would have been Yeshua Netser. The word Yeshua means 'savior,' and Netser means 'sprout,' 'shoot,' or 'branch' -- a reference to Isaiah 11:1, which was thought to predict a messiah (lit., 'anointed one') of the line of Jesse (King David's father): "And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots..." (You've all heard by now of the Branch Davidians! They take their name from the same idea.)

While this reference to a branch from Jesse will doubtless seem obscure to modern Atheists, it would not have been obscure to ancient Jews such as those who composed the Dead Sea Scrolls (and wrote a commentary on Isaiah 11:1); nor would it have been obscure to the early Christians. According to the church father Epiphanius, who was born on Cyprus in 367 C.E. and wrote a treatise against "heretics," the Christians originally were called Jessaeans, precisely because of the messianic tie to Jesse. 4

Although for speakers of Hebrew and its close cousin Aramaic the meaning and prophetic significance of the title The Savior, The Branch would have been clear, after it had been wrestled into greek as Iosous Nazoraios or Iesous Nazarenos, its titular significance must soon have been forgotten. The Iosous part came to be a simple name (Iesus in Latin) of the Tom,**** or Harry sort. The Nazoraios part, however, was misperceived as being derived from the name of a place -- the imaginary village of Nazareth -- much as the word Parisian can be derived from Paris.

And so, Yeshua Netser came to be Jesus of Nazareth -- a name thought to contain information about a person's place of origin.

As we have already seen, at the turn of the era, there was no place called Nazareth, and we do not know when the place now called by that name became so identified. As far as I can tell, the place presently called Nazareth received its name from an imaginative Branch Jessaean some time at the end of the second or early third century. At the turn of the era, however, Nazareth was as mythical as the Mary, Joseph, and Jesus family that was supposed to have lived there.

So Jesus never walked in Nazareth. And Jesus never walked in Hoboken or Hamtramck. And he probably never walked on 42nd street in Manhattan. But what about Capernaum, Bethany, or Bethphage? And wasn't he betrayed in Gethsemane and crucified on Calvary? and didn't he have a girlfriend who came from Magdala, and didn't he compete with a guy who baptized people at a place called AEnon? If he didn't walk in Nazareth, where, if anyplace, did Jesus walk?



After that one might read the article "Nazareth: The Town That Theology Built" here
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html

I notice another "historical" city in your references...




{As for Jesus’ public ministry, the remains of the foundation of the synagogue at Capernaum where He taught still exist below the present ruins of the fourth-century synagogue there. The remains of Peter’s house at Capernaum, later converted into an octagonal Christian sanctuary, have been uncovered. The hull of a first-century boat that plied the waters of the Sea of Galilee in Jesus’ time was discovered in 1986, giving us new information on how Jesus could sleep through a storm during the famous episode of the Stilling of the Tempest (Mark 4:35ff.).}


About that one... Frank R. Zindler responds:
http://www.atheists.org/christianity/ozjesus.html



Since Capernaum is supposed to have been the site of Jesus' second home, the home of St. Peter, and the site of some of the most impressive miracles, we need to take a look at the evidence for Capernaum.

At first glance, Capernaum differs from Nazareth by virtue of the fact that it is said to be mentioned by Josephus, both in his Life (72:403) and in his Jewish War (III:8:519). But the sites mentioned in Josephus' Life and Jewish War are two different places, and neither is the equivalent of the Capernaum of the gospels.

The Jewish War passage describes a spring, not a town, name Kapharnoum or Kapharnaoun and tells about the odd fish that lives in the spring. Josephus says that Kapharnaoun has been imaged to be a branch of the Nile! If this were the Capernaum of the gospels, JC and St. Peter would have been walking on the water all the time -- and sleeping on it as well.

The passage in Josephus' Life mentions a town called Kepharnokon, not Kapharnoum, and it is only a blinding bias induced by Christian ganglion-washing that makes almost all scholars suppose that Josephus is talking about the biblical town. But Kepharnokon clearly is not Capernaum, and Capernaum, like Nazareth, is unknown outside the gospels before the end of the first century.

The most common meaning given to the name Capernaum as it appears in the gospels is City of Nahum, although whether it refers to the prophet Nahum or some other Nahum is not agreed. Origen, like nearly everyone else up to the present, derived the second part of the name from the same root as that for the name Nahum, but arrived at 'place of consolation' as the meaning of Capernaum. It is important to note that Origen understood clearly that the name Capernaum -- as other sacred names -- had a symbolic meaning that befitted the stories in which it was embedded.

While most scholars are correct in tracing Capernaum to the root from which Nahum derives, I think they have all missed the crucial nuance in the root's meaning which caused the evangelists to choose it as the symbolic name of the place where their nascent cult's most important progress should occur. When we see how this Hebrew word was translated into Greek in several ancient versions of the Old Testament, we find that it could be translated as Paraclete, or Comforter. It is this possible link to the Paraclete, I believe, that reveals the symbolic intent of the New Testament writers when they created Capernaum. As 'the village of the Paraclete', Capernaum would focus the idea that the Holy Spirit was guiding the early church, as well as the idea that the early church (as symbolized by the Jesus character) was fulfilling the role of intercessor or advocate.

Capernaum is mentioned sixteen times in the gospels and nowhere else in the New Testament. Despite the importance of Capernaum during the alleged ministry of Jesus, the Apostles seem not to have returned to the place, if one may judge from the silence of Acts. Certainly this is curious. One would suppose that organizational ties would have required at least some of them to return to maintain the enterprise. Of course, if Capernaum were merely symbolic, and not a geographic entity, and if the apostles also were symbols rather than people, this peculiar circumstance is easily understood.

Exhaustive analysis of all occurrences of the name Capernaum with regard to the geography and topographic setting produces no convincing picture of a specific site. Not one of the evangelists could have directed a tour to the place. In the oldest gospel materials, even the location of Capernaum in Galilee is not certain. Capernaum could be located anywhere around the Sea of Galilee. Both Mark and John indicate that the city is located not too far from a shore of the Sea of Galilee, and it contains a synagogue. That's it.

The lack of any clear indication of where we should look to find the ruins of Capernaum, combined with the fact that there is no site anywhere that has a tradition unbroken from even the second century of having been called Capernaum, indicates that all the archaeological ballyhoo about "discoveries at Capernaum" is of no importance. When they dig up the sign reading "The Capernaum Chamber of Commerce Welcomes You," we will reconsider the claims.

That a site so important in the birth of Christianity should have been lost to knowledge for several centuries immediately after its moment of glory is rather astonishing and requires an explanation from those who suppose Capernaum to have been historical. The silence of Origen concerning its location and physical features must be explained also. For Origen lived at Caesarea, only 45 miles from the site modern maps call Capernaum, and he traveled widely and frequently and records that "We have visited the places to learn by inquiry of the footsteps of Jesus and of his disciples and of the prophets." Despite extended discussion of the chronological and geographic contradictions concerning Capernaum in the gospels, never does he even hint that he actually knows where the place is to be found. Capernaum's unknown physical location clearly is a major factor in Origen's argument that the gospels and the gospel place names must be interpreted mystically, not historically.

With the absence of a continuous Capernaum tradition connected to any site, nowadays only one site is considered a candidate for the gospel village; Telhum, 2.5 miles SW of where the Jordan flows into the Sea of Galilee. Indeed, Israeli maps call the place Kfar-Nachum (the Hebrew equivalent of Capernaum), and both Catholic and Israeli tourist agencies are absolutely delighted.

The Telhum site has never contained a spring, however. This rules it out as the site of the place mentioned in Josephus' Jewish War, (the place which in some Greek manuscripts is spelled exactly the same way as the Capernaum of the gospels) but not the place mentioned in the Life (the place called Kepharnokon instead of Capernaum). Nor could it be the site mentioned in Mt 4:13, which requires Capernaum to be both in Zebulon and Naphtali! While Telhum may be within the ancient territory of Naphtali, it most assuredly is not in Zebulon. Just possibly, the Franciscans have found the place mentioned in Life (the place called Kepharnokon instead of Capernaum). If so, it would rule out the place as the site of the gospel Capernaum.

The fact that the site is owned and operated by religious organizations -- organizations that have a vested interest in the results of archaeological investigations -- does not allow one to read excavation reports from 'Capernaum' without healthy doses of skepticism. Indeed, the reports generated by these motivated parties must be scrutinized the way one deals with the works of fundamentalist "creation scientists." The Israeli archaeologists Baruch Sapir and Dov Neeman 5 have given a revealing critique of the type of 'science' that has been done at the Telhum site -- beginning with attempts to relate the remains of a synagogue found there to the synagogue in which Jesus is alleged to have taught. Their criticism deals with the work of Dr. Gaudence Orfali, a Christian excavator whose digs up to 1926 perhaps made it forever impossible to recover the archaeological truth concerning the Telhum site:


Dr. G. Orfali... Concentrated on an altogether different research method, characterized by its singleness of purpose and inspired by the Franciscan Fathers, whose sole aim was to rediscover the synagogue of Kfar-Nachum. ... Their one and only goal was to unearth the edifice which, according to the Gospels, was the earthly scene and backdrop for the greater part of Christ's Galilean ministry. ... their aim was to prove ... that the synagogue they excavated was the building, built on the very place and in the proper historical setting.
... both the dig and the very thorough report on it as published by Dr. Orfali ... lost the impartial and unbiased power of scientific analysis, both of finds and results. ...

Therefore the report does not contain even the slightest hint at an effort to establish stratification through modern methods... Instead of relying on actual archaeological evidence, Dr. Orfali chose for his report a much simpler method: he either ignored completely or suppressed anything discovered on the site that was considered irrelevant to the main purpose of the dig or liable to disprove the underlying theory of the building date. ... Orfali thereby withheld information which might have changed the preconceived official theory and carefully avoided any statements contradicting the accepted date of the building.


Sapir and Neeman also tell how more than 2000 coins found in the Capernaum dig were hidden away and suppressed for over 40 years, apparently because they did not accord with Orfali's expectations.
Although finding the remains of a first-century synagogue is a prerequisite for establishing any site as a candidate for the biblical Capernaum, no one except for some Franciscans any longer thinks that the limestone synagogue ruins shown to tourists at 'Capernaum' date to the first century. However, the Franciscan Virgilio Corbo, claims to have found the remains of an earlier synagogue, the basalt walls of which lie almost exactly aligned beneath the limestone walls of the synagogue now on the surface. 6 The implication, of course, is that Corbo has uncovered the remains of the first century synagogue. But Corbo has not proved that the basalt "walls" he found immediately under the limestone walls belonged to a separate building, let alone a synagogue. It is most probable that the basalt "walls" are merely the massive footings for the limestone walls.

Thus, the presence of a synagogue dating to the first century at Telhum remains to be proved. We must remind ourselves that hundreds of synagogues existed in Palestine during the first century, and successful demonstration of the existence at Telhum of a synagogue from that time is necessary, but not sufficient, to identify the site as Capernaum. No inscriptional remains capable of showing what the place was called have ever been found.

The most outrageous claim made by the Franciscan excavators of Telhum is that they have found the actual house of St. Peter beneath the ruins of the fifth-century octagonal church. 7 They claim that the remains they found of a plastered room with Christian graffiti, some perhaps pertaining to St. Peter, shows the site was venerated from the first century on. Non-Franciscan authorities, however, do not believe the evidence shows Christian activity before the fourth century. Certainly, by that time, we may expect that enterprising tour-guides had learned that they could get money from credulous Christian pilgrims by showing them the places where St. Peter's mother-in-law slept when she had a fever, where Jesus stood when he handed her the aspirin, where St. Peter tied up his boat, and where Jesus had his picnic with the five thousand. But there is no reason to suppose Franciscans at Kfar-Nachum own the remains of St. Peter's House than to suppose that reliquaries in Switzerland contain splinters of the True Cross.

How wary must we be with regard to work done by the Franciscans at Telhum? In 1964, in an unsuccessful effort to beautify the spot for the visit of Pope Paul VI, a resident monk decided to make it look as though St. Peter's basilica was really there, so the octagonal structure was somehow done up to resemble a basilical apse. The Israeli Department of Antiquities put a stop to that


I believe a call of "shenanigans" is more than warranted here.

I call shenanigans. Grab your brooms, people.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 151
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/3/2007 11:35:52 PM
And, of course, the Koran, which has more references to Jesus than the New Testament has. He is referred to there as the prophet Aesop. It can, at least, be accepted as more reliable from an archaeologist's standpoint than Paul's various letters, since he claims to have seen Jesus only in visions.

There is also a hypothetical "Q Document" thought to be a partial source for both Matthew and Luke. Fragments have been found of earlier gospels, "the Unknown Berlin Gospel, the Oxyrhynchus Gospels, the Egerton Gospel, the Fayyum Fragment, the Dialogue of the Saviour, the Gospel of the Ebionites, the Gospel of the Hebrews, and the Gospel of the Nazarenes."

Other Biblical figures, such as James the Just, are referenced in Roman texts, and the actual bones of Jesus' prosector were found recently. In effect, archaeological evidence, maps, and secular or nonbiblical texts are available to support the existence of a man named Jesus.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 152
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/3/2007 11:54:40 PM


And, of course, the Koran, which has more references to Jesus than the New Testament has. He is referred to there as the prophet Aesop. It can, at least, be accepted as more reliable from an archaeologist's standpoint than Paul's various letters, since he claims to have seen Jesus only in visions.


Again, respectfully, how can heresay from 6+ centuries after the fact be considered reliable evidence of the existence of Jesus? From an archaeological standpoint it is actually less valid as it is not even within living memory of someone who might have seen someone who might have seen Jesus.



Other Biblical figures, such as James the Just, are referenced in Roman texts


Source?



and the actual bones of Jesus' prosector were found recently.


I assume you are referring to Caiaphas

The Gospel account names an historical famous person who did actually exist and now we have found his remains...this, while somewhat remarkable, is about as remarkable as finding mention of the name of Pilate somewhere. It does not follow logically that because you have proof for the one that you have proven the existence of the other. You still lack that evidence.



In effect, archaeological evidence, maps, and secular or nonbiblical texts are available to support the existence of a man named Jesus.


Find some that isn't fraudulent or highly questionable. That would be a good start...so far you haven't brought anything new up that hasn't been dismissed over the last eight pages.
 maxxoccupancy
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/4/2007 2:08:59 AM
From a Christian website, another useful page
http://www.allaboutthejourney.org/suetonius.htm

Neither of the quotes are flattering, but both are useful. The first refers to a wise king of the Jews from a Syrian philospher, the second a note from a 2nd century Greek philosopher.

The OP is asking for extra-biblical evidence of Jesus, of which there is plenty. Fanatical Bible deniers are no more rational than psycho-Christians, and one must be wary, in any case, of analysis offered by highly emotional readers.

The old "tampered" version of Flavius Josephus states virtually the same as the older version, and I would think it unlikely that all of Josephus' writings were complete fabrications, or that his original two references to Jesus are cleverly retrofit into his books.

I have never asserted that the town of Nazereth ever existed prior to 100 AD. Jesus/Joshua is born in Bethlehem. Jesus of Nazereth is more accurately translated as Nazerene (sect), according to Lawrence Gardner. Omigosh, you've got like twenti-some paragraphs on Nazereth, which didn't even exist in the first century. I never suggested any such thing, and mentioned somewhere that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. I'm just including secular references to the historical Jesus, and I have been through the entire thread.
 maxxoccupancy
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/4/2007 2:18:37 AM
Feel free to dismiss every piece of evidence, but that is not the scientific method. The Age of Reason was born out of a recognized need to question previous assumptions and allegations. Our court system was born out of this thinking, as was the modern study of science. To advance into any controversy with preconceived notions is a waste of time. An artifact is just an artifact. It is a mistake to read too much into anything. I just examine each piece of evidence as a standalone.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 155
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/4/2007 9:16:55 AM


The OP is asking for extra-biblical evidence of Jesus, of which there is plenty. Fanatical Bible deniers are no more rational than psycho-Christians, and one must be wary, in any case, of analysis offered by highly emotional readers.


In what court or scientific publication is hearsay considered evidence?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 156
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/4/2007 9:40:31 AM


Neither of the quotes are flattering, but both are useful. The first refers to a wise king of the Jews from a Syrian philospher, the second a note from a 2nd century Greek philosopher.


Seutonius has already been discussed earlier in this thread. If you have something to add to that then please do.

So let's see about this Syrian philosopher:


Mara Bar-Serapion, a stoic philosopher from Syria, wrote this letter to his son from prison sometime after 70 AD:

What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from their executing their wise king? It was just after that that their kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: The Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise king die for good; he lived on in the teaching which he had given. 3

This letter refers to Jesus as being the "wise king."


Was this Syrian referring to Jesus? There's no reason to think so. When was their kingdom abolished? Certainly not the first century AD since there was no Jewish kingdom then. The last Jewish king was Herod the Great. Herod was replaced by tetrarchs. However, he was no executed. After 4 BC there was no Jewish kingdom. Jesus never was a king so this Syrian couldn't have been talking about Jesus. Furthermore, the Jews did not execute Jesus, the Romans did (assuming he even existed). By no means does Jesus fit the description of this wise king, except wishful thinking.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 157
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/4/2007 9:43:15 AM


Feel free to dismiss every piece of evidence, but that is not the scientific method.


All you've presented is hearsay, ambiguous references, and pious frauds. This is not evidence acceptable by the scientific method.
 maxxoccupancy
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 1:17:49 AM
Claiming that evidence is flimsy, limited, out of date, probably wrong, or written by madmen does not mean that it is not evidence. OP asked for evidence, and this is what there is. The footprints of Bigfoot don't really prove anything, but their existence is a fact. That is to say, that there are impressions in the earth, that they are big, and they are in the shape of a foot. Based on thousands of sightings, strands of hair, Indian accounts, shaky video, DNA tests, etc., I would guess a 50% chance that Sasquatch actually lives somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.

When we perform logical analysis, we find that nearly all of the sightings reported are in the forests of the Pacific Northwest. While Elvis sightings (which I would dismiss as fanciful thinking) a reported from all over, suggesting that fanhood probably contributes something to these sightings. Logically, we may deduce that there is a greater likely of Sasquatch wandering the Cascades (50%) than there is of Elvis wandering convenience stores and swapmeets (10%).

Elvis sightings are evidence, though not sufficient to convince me that the King still lives. Bigfoots sightings are evidence, though the other facts brought forward are more convincing to me. Logically, we can develop a feel for who really lived. Anyone denying that Elvis EVER lived will have a hard time making a case outside of this rather unscientific forum. Secular evidence of the existence of a physician/carpenter/scholar named Jesus seems sufficient in my mind to give, perhaps, a 90% likelihood that this man really lived at one time. This seems bolstered by majority decision, and most reports note that the number of biblical scholars dismissing the existence of Jesus to be "a very small minority."

To me, claims that sources presented are "pious frauds" or "fiction" seem supported only by poor logic and, in some part, an irrational desire to imagine that Jesus did not exist before all of the facts have even been examined.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 159
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 11:54:22 AM

To me, claims that sources presented are "pious frauds" or "fiction" seem supported only by poor logic and, in some part, an irrational desire to imagine that Jesus did not exist before all of the facts have even been examined.


It's called close examination of evidence. Try it.

If you ever bothered to pursue some of these sources in depth you would find out how highly debatable they are.

If a source or event that is of sufficient note does not appear or is not quoted by other writers of the period, it is very likely to be fraudulent...that is the first sign. If in the case of Christian writers, if a writing is not broadly mentioned or used in an apologist writing or quoted when it surely would have been - for instance the omission of the Testimonium Flavianum in Origen Contra Celsum - you can be reasonably assured that it was a later insertion. And if even Josephus who was a contemporary of Nero did not mention the Christians being used to light the streets of Rome as human torches that Suetonius mentions in his Lives of the Caesars...well you can be pretty sure such a notable event is also bullshit. Ordinarily the argument from silence is not convincing...HOWEVER, when it is used to show something is missing that you know should be there or that you have all expectation of being there and it isn't, it is perfectly viable.

Respectfully I don't think you have done your homework on this one. There is no need to "imagine" anything about Jesus, rationally or irrationally. One needs to let the data speak for itself. I am personally not moved one way or the other and can only state I am relatively convinced that the character as described in the Gospel narrative could not have and did not exist...mostly because I am convinced that character is a construct of a solar god-myth and is part of a mystery religion. If there was a real person at the root of the stories, much of what we know about them has been lost to time as far as I am concerned.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 161
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 3:47:44 PM
Of course I do.

What historical footprint did someone actually leave? Did other contemporaneous writers mention clear and unambiguous references about the person? Is there any unambiguous archaeology to suggest the person was there? I apply those standards across the board. I do not have a personal axe to grind against any specific religion or faith...unless that faith attempts to claim A) exclusivity of truth or B) misleads people into claims of factual evidence when there is none there or in fact there is evidence to the contrary.

Simply put I have a very sensitive baloney detector. There was a yard sale back at Carl Sagan's place before he passed on.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 163
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 5:09:36 PM


Claiming that evidence is flimsy, limited, out of date, probably wrong, or written by madmen does not mean that it is not evidence. OP asked for evidence, and this is what there is.


Even if we assume all the quotes that you have from Josephus, Tacitus, Seutonius, the Gospels, etc. are genuine they are not evidence. Why? Because they are all hearsay and hearsay is not evidence. No court and no scientific journal accepts hearsay as evidence.
 maxxoccupancy
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What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 5:37:02 PM
Dr. Paul Meier was told by another scholar about an earlier edition of Flavius Josephus testimony. I did find text online of the earlier publication. It turns out that the tampering attempts to shift the blame from Pilate to Jewish leaders. I'll post the older statement if I can find it again. Josephus seems to feel that Jesus' younger brother James is more important to write about, though there is a second brief mention of him in that part of the book.

I am not attempting to prove anything, only to examine the facts. Any fact can be subject to scrutiny or ridicule, absolute rejection of a Sasquatch footprint is not a rational mode. You and I can never know that the physician Jesus ever lived at all. All we have are some scattered references by scholars from the first two centuries who don't seem to think much of Jesus. Unfortunately for us, this is was we would expect if such a man really lived. The fact that important testimony was kept orally, rather than in written form, is lost on our generation. Until the last couple of centuries, written testimony was virtually worthless without the author present to verify it, something we are without. To state that something wasn't actually written down until a witness was on his deathbed--or that colleagues came together after his death to compile his testimony--does not render something invalid.

Nothing short of the physical appearance of Sasquatch or Savior will ever prove the existence of either, unless one can claim to know the other. While I have met many credible people who claim to have seen aliens and UFO's, I cannot conclude that aliens even exist. If they do exist, that may be as much evidence as we can get out of them. Attempting to prove that the entire savior story is a fraud with an invented main character would be just as difficult. My point being, that proving either statement may never happen. We can only examine facts. Logically, it just seems unlikely that so many writers prior to Nicea would bother to pen so many statements about a man who never lived. Even if half of this is fraudulent, incorrect, or missinterpretation, (even if they are refering to other Jesus's mentioned by Josephus,) I have a hard time believing that the man's whole existence was made up, when we can be relatively sure that he had so many followers before the 66 uprising.

Alter theories to suit facts, rather than facts to suit theories.
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