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 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 165
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?Page 5 of 12    (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
By the fourth century, there were various sects of Christianity already--I have been told three major groups represented. According to Lawrence Gardner, 76 of the 80 remaining gospels were burned by the Council of Nicaea (in most cases) because they did not meet with the Council's miraculous views. That is to say, that the remaining 76 gospels do not give a supernatural account. Scholars consider Mark to be the oldest and most accurate of the Books in NT, and it is also the least miraculous.

jesuspolice.com also offers a lot of good information on the historical Jesus, for those looking for info.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 168
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 9:53:36 PM
OP AintMisbehavin asked for secular evidence of Jesus. Logical inference is being used to discount the existence of Jesus. I suppose that logical inference could be used to suggest that he did live, afterall. For example, how can there be so much mention of a man who never lived? It has been mentioned that Jesus had followers by the insurrection of 66 AD, who were then scattered around the eastern part of the empire, spreading the Word, as it were, that it would be after 70 AD that a real need for written information exceeds the demand for eye witness testimony.

As for the living eye witness issue, Jesus' crucifixion probably occured in 36 AD (though Josephus places the date as April 3rd, 33 AD), we can surmise that the oldest of people lived to 100, though this is quite rare, that the youngest of witnesses to remember every fact of the case may be 10 or 12. It seems reasonable that there may have been a few witnesses to the visage of Jesus at least to about 110 AD, and perhaps one or two until 120 AD who might remember the fact.

The letters of Paul are assigned dating around 50 AD, though Paul admits to not ever having seen Jesus himself. He is, nevertheless, alive at the same time. Moreover, Mark is assumed to be of 50-70 AD, and was said to be written before the 66 uprising. Testimonium Josephus postdates this tragedy, of course, but is certainly of the first century. In Tacitus, Nero presumably burns Rome and, "acribes it to those people who were hated for their wicked practices, and called by the vulgar, Christians: these he punished excuisitely. Other accounts are dated first century. However, the question is why someone who had never lived could develop such a following. I.e., how many fictional characters do we have today who are written of in nonfictional accounts?

Even if people of the future were to mistake the original Battlestar Galactica for a serious documentary, no one in our time will ever write of Starbuck or any other figure as a holy savior. In other words, one would have to surmise that so many people wrote about Jesus in that century, even though he never existed. One could imagine a small cabal organizing in the second century to invent some new character for their religion, but why would so many nonbelievers in the first century include footnotes about a man who did not exist? The others they wrote about most certainly did exist.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 169
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 10:28:39 PM


So, fiddler, did you do all this testing regarding Gamaliel? And if you did, what did you find? Or did you just dodge my questions?

For the love of ****....

Some of us work for a living...

How can I dodge your question if I haven't had a bloody chance to answer it yet?!?!

Despite it being an analogy stretched to the absolute breaking point and really offtopic, if it would make you happy, I will analyze him similarly and see what kind of historical footprint I would find. How does that suit you? I will get to it when time permits, if that is copasetic...meanwhile I have just finished a day of teaching so I am slightly less than inclined...I hope that's ok.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 173
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/5/2007 10:57:15 PM

Hey, fiddler. No problem. I just presumed that thorough research of historical characters in order to decide on their veracity and validity was standard practice for you. Do you mean to tell me you've been quoting Gamaliel and you don't even know for sure if he was real? That's bad. :-)


Oh please.

If you want to play juvenile games and build a strawman you can go right ahead, or you can have a serious discussion. I don't even know if you are real. You could be an annoying bot cooked up by a kid at CalTech for all I know.

But chances are you have left a more thorough historical footprint than Jesus and if I did the requisite search I could find it.

Do you actually want to discuss a serious point here or attempt to score a cheap shot off me because I haven't got eidetic memory?

Wow. Good for you.

You win the internets because I can't remember everything I have ever read about Gamaliel

Have a cookie.

Nevercanezzer obviously doesn't mind waiting for me to look it up...what's your hurry?

Now you can either wait until I get around to looking up a more satisfying answer for you or do it yourself...frankly I could care less at this point because from this angle it's starting to look like a timewasting bit of trollery from someone who hasn't got a serious angle to argue and just wants to mess around.



Anyway, any time you want to get to it, it's good. You've already made my point -- that you are selective in your 'tests' for authenticity. No surprise there anyway. It was expected.


Last time I checked, Gamaliel wasn't making the claim to be a miracle working son of the one and only creator of the universe who died and rose from the dead on the third day and has become the focus of a religion that preaches (or has until very recently)exclusivity of truth. He was just a rabbi who, for purposes of your argument, may have lived 2000 years ago and died shortly after.

A little less pressure...a far less strain on credibility...and yeah, I freely admit it that sort of thing tends to make me a little less worried about making claims for authenticity because no laws of physics are being bent. I also tend to worry about claims for the reality of Superman and the Easterbunny...but Batman a little less...except there is no such place as Gotham City, otherwise that might be a close one.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 174
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 12:37:46 AM

Hi, madfiddler. We once chatted about Gamaliel, a respected Jewish leader. What actual proof -- outside of Jewish influenced material and potentially pious frauds -- is there that this man actually existed? I'm curious as to whether you apply the same stringent standards to those you agree with or want to exist as you do regarding Jesus Christ. It would seem fair that you do. I'm curious if that's a fact.


So back to the original question.

It's pretty easy to see this is just a troll. And it's also off-topic. I'll answer it anyway...to be fair.

I don't have any particular reason to suspect the early rabbis of "pious fraud" because they are not setting up Rabban Gamaliel as the only begotten son of God, on whom rests the salvation of the earth, and damnation to those who don't believe...so we can dismiss that bit of cuteness on your part.

Outside of his mention in the Gospels and Jewish writings, there is no historical footprint beyond Jewish tradition to seemingly support his existence....

WELL at least I thought there wasn't. But unlike Jesus, Gamaliel was a very observant Jew who married and was fruitful and multiplied...and his son did...and so did his son...and so on and so on, and so on...up until Gamaliel VI who was executed by the Eastern Roman Emperor Theodosius II...by this point they had begun to be mentioned in documents.

So I guess you have an option to imagine that if you go back far enough some of them just sprang out from behind a cabbage leaf, or you can take them at their word when they said their dad was Rabbi so-and-so.

Not a huge historical footprint...but still bigger than Jesus.

And again the strain of credulity is not being made because of the claims to divinity...
Having seen the Gamaliel-challenge used on several apologist sites, I have noticed on all that they neglect to take into account the prodigious and direct offspring that go well into the 400's C.E. and figure in several historical documents and events. Big footprint.

So if you ask "is there any specific evidence for Gamaliel?" the answer is, no, not outside the Bible or Jewish writings...however, I would point out to you that due to his prodigious offspring that each led the Nasi in turn until halfway into the 5th century CE and do show up in documentary evidence of the Eastern Empire, that unless you are willing to dismiss the existence of his entire family and their claims to a family tree - which seems patently absurd to me - then your question is kinda pointless...and suspicious.

I consider it asked and answered. Moving along then...

Keep in mind, I have never said that I disbelieve that there was a real person somewhere at the heart of the story of Jesus. I just do not believe in the Jesus of the Gospels. The topic of this thread is, however What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?

Is there any historical footprint at all that is credible?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 176
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 9:06:36 AM


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'd be interested to see this. Is this the Arabic version of Josephus by any chance? This version doesn't appear until the 10th century so it's of dubious value in establishing the Testimonium Flavium being written by Josephus.

The "second" mention of Jesus by Josephus is interesting. Some have claimed that this is a forgery, but I'm not convinced. If you read the sentence that immediately follows this passage it becomes quite clear that this Jesus, called Christ, the brother of James has nothing to do with the Biblical Jesus. In this story a a rabbi named James is stoned to death for his teachings. Many considered this to be an unlawful stoning. As a result the High Priest is removed from office and replaced by James' brother Jesus. Their father's name was Damneus. Jesus, son of Damneus, was made High Priest which entails being anointed with oil. This was done for all kings and high priests. Thus Jesus, son of Damneus, was called Christ, which is Greek for anointed one. Thus there's no reason to suspect forgery because the passage isn't even about Jesus of Nazareth.



You and I can never know that the physician Jesus ever lived at all.


We're not investigating the claim that a physician named Jesus existed. I'm sure there were lots of them. The claim we're investigating is whether Jesus, the incarnation of god, was born of a virgin, taught throughout Judah, performed miracles that would have caught the eye of any historian in the region, started a riot in the Temple, became a hated enemy of the ruling Jewish priests, was unjustly crucified by Rome, rose 3 days later from the dead, and shortly thereafter 500 zombies invaded Jerusalem. That this person didn't exist can be as securely established as the claim that gravity exists.



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.


How was that established?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 177
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 9:31:48 AM


So, fiddler, did you do all this testing regarding Gamaliel? And if you did, what did you find? Or did you just dodge my questions?


Gamaliel seems to be at least partly mythological. His biographical details have unusual parallels with Moses. For example they both reportedly lived 120 years. On the flip side he had offspring so there's a good chance he actually existed.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 178
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 11:24:53 AM


For example, how can there be so much mention of a man who never lived?


Do you similarly believe that Zeus, Hercules, Osirus, Horus, Mithra, and thousands of other (demi)gods existed?



It has been mentioned that Jesus had followers by the insurrection of 66 AD, who were then scattered around the eastern part of the empire, spreading the Word, as it were, that it would be after 70 AD that a real need for written information exceeds the demand for eye witness testimony.


I'm not sure that Jesus had these followers. What evidence do you have for them?



The letters of Paul are assigned dating around 50 AD, though Paul admits to not ever having seen Jesus himself. He is, nevertheless, alive at the same time.


Then what good is his testimony if he's never seen Jesus?

The oldest epistle, 1 Thess, has been dated to about 51 or 52 AD. It's directed to a group of former pagans (as evidenced by 1 Thess 1:9). Our earliest record of Christians are that they were former pagans from Macedonia! Paul never writes any epistles to the Jerusalem church. Paul mentions almost nothing about the life of Jesus. I'm beginning to suspect that the Jesus of Paul had nothing to do with Jesus of Nazareth. ather, it was Luke who tried to link the two together.



Moreover, Mark is assumed to be of 50-70 AD, and was said to be written before the 66 uprising.


Mark is likely post 70 AD. He has Jesus making a prophecy about the destruction of the Temple. The faithful will no doubt see that as Jesus fortelling the future. IMO, it's more likely that Mark was written after 70 AD and that this prophecy was created after the fact. The "Little Apocalypse" of Mk 13 sounds like the aftermath of the First Jewish Revolt.



Testimonium Josephus postdates this tragedy, of course, but is certainly of the first century.


The Testimonium Flavium is a 4th century forgery. This was discussed in detail earlier in the thread.



In Tacitus, Nero presumably burns Rome and, "acribes it to those people who were hated for their wicked practices, and called by the vulgar, Christians: these he punished excuisitely.


This backs up what Seutonius says. There were a group of rebels in Rome and Judea who called themselves Christians because they were followers of a man named Chretus. Chrestus is a Greek name meaning "the good". For Seutonius, this Chrestus was alive in 54 AD when he caused the riots in Rome. Jesus in Rome in 54 AD? Is that some new Christian belief?



how many fictional characters do we have today who are written of in nonfictional accounts?


Neither Tacitus nor Setonius mention anyone named Jesus. Josephus mentions several people named Jesus, none of whom fit the description of Jesus of Nazareth.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 180
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 9:45:57 PM


I looked at Josephus, and found his account mostly hearsay derived from the gospels, rather than independent material. This is partly because of the timing of his writing, but also because of the probability that Josephus would have been familiar with the gospel writings.


This would actually be better explained by someone in the 4th century interpolating a comment into Josephus based on the account in Luke. Other Luke-Josephus parallels can be explained by Luke's use of Josephus.



Worth noting is that the title Christus is used, rather than Jesus, and Tacitus has the wrong rank for Pontius Pilate, but not too bad for that many years later. The main thing that sways my judgment is that I would think it was unlikely that Tacitus would have encountered a gospel account previously to his writing his history, and so I assume this is an independent account.


Well it's unclear that this has anything to do with Jesus. There were many people executed by Pilate, and 1st century Christians didn't call themselves Christians. Let me ask you this, if Tacitus didn't get his information from a gospel, where did he get his information from? Is it possible that he got it from Christians?
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 181
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/6/2007 9:53:17 PM


See my post #211, then pull your Bible off of your bookshelf and look at Acts 22:3 and 5:34.

I'm afraid he was not quite mythological. You've managed to pick some of the best documented figures in history. (Actually there were two of them)


I know he's mentioned in Acts. All in all the evidence for him is rather skimpy. Like I said, he apparently had kids so he's probably real. Moses, on the other hand, is fictional. There's no evidence he existed, and lots of evidence that the exodus is a complete fiction. The evidence has Judaism arising out of the Canaanites, not invading and slaughtering the Canaanites. With no invasion of Judah, no evidence of any wandering in the desert for 40 years, no evidence of a mass escape of Jews from Egypt, no evidence for Jewish slaves in Egypt, and not a word about Moses in Egyptian records, I don't see how Moses is one of the best documented people in history. Moses is as real as Jesus and the Easter Bunny.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 184
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/7/2007 6:30:50 PM


Sorry, that won't do. That's just sour grapes. What was asked for was non-Jewish evidence. The New Testament certainly qualifies. If you want to include Jewish evidence on Gamaliel the Talmud is full of his writings. He was so respected in his era that he is even mentioned in "Recognitions of Clement I", lxv, lxvi.


Actually what was asked was non-Jewish influenced evidence. Acts was Jewish influenced. The Talmud, as I understand it, wasn't written down until the 3rd or 4th century. I've never heard of this "Recognitions of Clement I" so I can't comment on that.



As to Moses, I'd have the same difficulty as a Christian finding historical evidence for Jesus. My best guess, and it is a guess, is that it has something to do with the Hyksos.


I thought so too when I first heard about them, but apparently the timing is off.
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 186
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/8/2007 4:39:36 PM


Oh, come now! Acts is the New Testament. If that isn't Christian and not Jewish, I don't know what is.


Well he did say Jewish influenced. Acts certainly is Jewish influenced, even though it is a Christian document. Parts of it were taken right from the writings of Josephus.



In simple terms, there are a lot of legendary figures in religion. It turns out that Gamaliel was not only a real person, but very well known. He was not only a prominent Rabbi, but a Doctor of Law. His Gamaliel Principle is a known legal principle.


I think you might misunderstand. I'm not denying that he existed. I am saying that he's been mythologized. This is similar to my position on Paul. Jesus, however, I view as pure fiction.
 maxxoccupancy
Joined: 2/5/2007
Msg: 187
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/11/2007 8:46:50 AM
I think it impossible to separate Jewish from Christian, at least in the first century. Christianity was widely viewed by all as a Jewish sect--and perhaps not even a religious sect. What we think of as Christian is due to Pauline influence. Jesus did preach to Greeks, but Paul insisted that gentiles did not need to be converted to Judeism first, a minority view at the time.

As for the OP issue, I liken Jesus to Nathan Hale. Here is a man who lived 200 years ago. Very little was written about him at the time, and most writings from the 18th century probably will not survive another thousand years. Perhaps some modern high school students will have a few documents about Hale, and maybe some will insist that he survived the hangman's noose, somehow. Others may credit him with the glorious ride of Paul Revere, who did not actually ride that far as far as a lesser known associate, but met just a few people in each town who he knew could stir up resistance from that town.

Think of how much has been lost in two centuries. Nevertheless, the fact that these two individuals existed is not in dispute. It seems unlikely that we would have so much material written on these two in the 21st century if neither had existed.

"Nathan Hale was presumed to be another name for Nathaniel Hawthorne, and was responsible for the Destiny Manifesto."
--from a history textbook dated 4007 AD
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 190
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/11/2007 11:28:19 PM


While what Jesus taught was indeed "powerful, wise, and often very relevant", most of it was already within mainstream Judaism.


This is one of the reasons that the whole story of Jesus is fishy. His teachings were not radical and would not have raised the ire of the Pharisees and Sadducces. They certainly wouldn't have violated Jewish laws to get him killed.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 191
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/12/2007 1:33:39 AM


"What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?"

This is unimportant.

"What evidence do we need that the historical Jesus lived, if he has had the effect he obviously has had, regardless of his actual existence?"

That makes more sense.

Regardless of who, what, or even whether he was, he had an effect that cannot be ignored, as even ignoring it requires that we acknowledge the concept before we decide to negate it.

What "Jesus" had to say was powerful, wise, and often very relevant. I take it with a grain of salt, but then again salt is always good for you, otherwise the water just goes in one hole and out the other, anatomically speaking. (See how these sayings reflect on truth?)


Well it all depends. If you are interested in spirituality, healing, and goodwill to your fellow man, it really doesn't matter who said the message, so long as someone said it.

If you are however, interested in the history and development of world religions, what shaped world events in a certain way, what other faiths may have had an effect on Christianity or vice-versa, the evolution of its cosmology as it relates to others, etc. then any historical evidence becomes of paramount importance as you try to find the man, if any within the myth.

Otherwise, I guess we really wouldn't be talking about it now, would we? The applicability of Jesus' message has many other threads ongoing...but this one is specifically for historical evidence, so , here I suppose is the only place where actually, Yes, it is important. It is in fact the central question of the thread.
 chrylann
Joined: 12/8/2007
Msg: 193
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/18/2007 6:23:06 PM
Because God said so. That is part of being a Christian, faith. Believing without seeing.
 themadfiddler
Joined: 10/16/2006
Msg: 194
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/18/2007 8:11:21 PM


Because God said so. That is part of being a Christian, faith. Believing without seeing.


And in case for some startling reason you couldn't read the post right above your own which very patiently and politely phrased it...your post is also off-topic. This thread is not about belief. It is about evidence. Feel free to read the preceeding pages to see what has or has not been discussed to see if you can add something new to the debate...more off-topic preaching, or commentary about belief or faith will simply be reported to the mods for immediate deletion as it is not germane to the topic of this thread...there are plenty of other threads to discuss issues of belief and faith.

Thanks.
 zotbwj
Joined: 1/15/2007
Msg: 196
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/20/2007 7:26:21 PM
The Qur'an has many references of Isa (Jesus(pbuh)) with in it
 zotbwj
Joined: 1/15/2007
Msg: 197
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/20/2007 7:28:42 PM
It wasn't the Romans who did it Nergal, it was certain Jewish leaders. But at the same time it wasn't Jesus(pbuh)
 FrogO_Oeyes
Joined: 8/21/2005
Msg: 198
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History
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/20/2007 7:42:37 PM
The Q'uran, however, is not an independant source. It is partially derived from the Bible, and was written hundreds of years later. Therefore, it cannot provide any valid evidence.
 dkaul
Joined: 3/15/2007
Msg: 200
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/20/2007 11:58:13 PM
Dear Nergal
Crucifixion is exactly the way Romans executed people at that time. (See the historian Josephus) The Romans were experts in creating excruciating ways to torture.

What Bible archaeologists get paid for their work would not attract many people. They do their work out of interest. Most people who try to work from a Christian perspective are not very popular and get a lot of negative press. Dave
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 202
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/21/2007 8:00:19 AM


I'm also suspicious that the fact that it supposedly took place at the time of the Passover was another attempt to fit in with Jewsih and pagan traditions.


There are lots of things to be suspicious about. John and the Synoptics don't even agree on when he was crucified (either the day or time of day). But there's an even bigger problem. Jesus supposedly entered Jerusalem and people threw palm leaves on the ground. This was supposed to be shortly before Passover. But why would everyone have palm leaves the week before Passover. It's the wrong holiday for them! Palm leaves were used for the Feast of Tabernacles which occurs in the fall, whereas Passover is in the spring. Why would the Jewish people be stocking up on dead palm leaves?

Clearly the authors of the gospels are making up stories. The triumphant entry into Jerusalem was invented to fulfill a prophecy by Zechariah, IIRC (Matthew's account is amusing because he was working with a mistraslation or misunderstanding and has Jesus riding two animals). However, they needed to have Jesus crucified on Passover because he was supposed to represent the sacrificial lamb that releases men from bondage (bondage of sin that is).
 dkaul
Joined: 3/15/2007
Msg: 205
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 12/21/2007 2:20:50 PM
To Tuppenhapenny
I concur with you response to starpoet. The carpenters tool issue is.........? well...out there!
The thing about the fish if I might add was that when Christians would meet someone during persecution they would draw one side of the fish and if the other person drew the second side they would both know that they were believers. Dave
 CountIbli
Joined: 6/1/2005
Msg: 210
What evidence do we have that the historical Jesus lived?
Posted: 2/22/2008 7:53:55 AM


I believe he did, though. Apparently the bible goes out of its way to thread a lot of needles regarding his birthplace. It seems like, were he fictional, that aspect of the story would be a lot tidier.


The authors apparently couldn't decide between Nazareth and Bethlehem. The Bethlehem location was chosen to fulfill what the author (Luke IIRC) thought was a prediction regarding the Messiah's birthplace. There is no such prediction but the confusion arose over a mistranslation. Therefore the author makes up an implausible story about having to travel to Bethlehem for a census (that's not how censuses were taken because that defeats the point of a census). That would seem to point to Nazareth, except in the first century Nazareth was a necropolis and Jews were forbidden by law from living there. The confusion probably arose because Jesus was originally meant to be a Nazarite (someone dedicated to god, like Samson was). Eventually a Christian community sprung up in Nazareth in the second century and so Nazarite got misinterpreted as someone from Nazareth, which then made its way into redactions of the gospels.

I don't think that a Jesus ever existed. If he did the gospels would have been tidier with regards to his birth place.
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