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Author Topic: The Historicity of Jesus - The Spread of Christianity in the 1st Century  (Read 4944 times)
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« Reply #25 on: February 09, 2012, 09:33:33 pm »
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my point is that since Jesus was portrayed as someone well known to both the public and to the authorities (both Roman and Jewish), how could such a myth gain acceptance?  After all, would you buy into a story of a man who supposedly was well known yet no one you know had ever heard of him?  Now, such a tell might possibly sell in BFE, but not in Roman ruled towns that were hooked into the goings on.


How do you explain so many buying into the existence of a previously unknown gospel written down on golden plates never shown publicly?  The fact is that it's not at all uncommon historically for religions to grow quickly despite being considered a myth by the vast majority.  The rapid growth of Christianity in general, and the Pauline version of it in particular is but one example of many.

Except that the majority didn't consider the existence of a religious leader named Jesus (Christ) a myth.

And the majority believed in the existence of Joseph Smith as well.  But did the majority in the 1st century AD believe in the miracles attributed to him and his apostles?  No, and that was the point I was making.  And even of those who did believe in the miracles, it is far from from clear that a majority of them believed that they were because he was the literal son of God.

Other than a few kooks who don't deserve to be called scholars, that Jesus existed is not in doubt.  That the doctrines he preached correspond to Pauline Christianity is in doubt.  There are a number of parallels that could be drawn between early Mormonism and early Christianity, tho how valid those parallels are, we can never be certain of, mainly because we have far less historical knowledge of Paul of Tarsus and Jesus of Nazareth than we do of Brigham Young and Joseph Smith, or for that matter of Bahá'u'lláh and Báb to name a third example so that you don't think that the parallels I mention are solely between Mormonism and Christianity.
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« Reply #26 on: February 09, 2012, 09:44:51 pm »
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What Christianity's official position was on a number of major doctrinal points wasn't really "settled" until the 6th century, either (it's only Christianity becoming the official faith of the Roman Empire in the 4th century that really begins the process of making those decisions, though certain heresies like Gnosticism were already in decline by that point).  My favorite example is always Origen, the third century theologian who was a strong proponent that even the obvious metaphorical language should be taken literally.  He saw the passage "There are eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" and...well...became a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.
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« Reply #27 on: February 10, 2012, 10:59:37 am »
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my point is that since Jesus was portrayed as someone well known to both the public and to the authorities (both Roman and Jewish), how could such a myth gain acceptance?  After all, would you buy into a story of a man who supposedly was well known yet no one you know had ever heard of him?  Now, such a tell might possibly sell in BFE, but not in Roman ruled towns that were hooked into the goings on.


How do you explain so many buying into the existence of a previously unknown gospel written down on golden plates never shown publicly?  The fact is that it's not at all uncommon historically for religions to grow quickly despite being considered a myth by the vast majority.  The rapid growth of Christianity in general, and the Pauline version of it in particular is but one example of many.

Dude, this thread isn’t about proving the miracles, rather it is about proving that Jesus’ existence and nature of his death were accepted as fact, not just by Christians, but by two nonChristian groups who were in position to have known better – the Jews and the Romans.

It’s a slippery slope, because if it is admitted that the historical context of the NT is accurate, then one is forced to explain how separate and disconnected groups of believers concocted a singular story that so efficiently and profoundly meshes with the OT, without even the need for the NT to point out, much less explain, 99% of the connections.
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« Reply #28 on: February 10, 2012, 11:13:54 am »
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my point is that since Jesus was portrayed as someone well known to both the public and to the authorities (both Roman and Jewish), how could such a myth gain acceptance?  After all, would you buy into a story of a man who supposedly was well known yet no one you know had ever heard of him?  Now, such a tell might possibly sell in BFE, but not in Roman ruled towns that were hooked into the goings on.


How do you explain so many buying into the existence of a previously unknown gospel written down on golden plates never shown publicly?  The fact is that it's not at all uncommon historically for religions to grow quickly despite being considered a myth by the vast majority.  The rapid growth of Christianity in general, and the Pauline version of it in particular is but one example of many.

Except that the majority didn't consider the existence of a religious leader named Jesus (Christ) a myth.

And the majority believed in the existence of Joseph Smith as well.  But did the majority in the 1st century AD believe in the miracles attributed to him and his apostles?  No, and that was the point I was making.  And even of those who did believe in the miracles, it is far from from clear that a majority of them believed that they were because he was the literal son of God.

Other than a few kooks who don't deserve to be called scholars, that Jesus existed is not in doubt. 

fine, but let's learn how to walk before we attempt to run - let's just attempt to use this thread to to lay a foundation that Jesus was real and that the NT historical context is correct.
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« Reply #29 on: February 10, 2012, 12:16:26 pm »
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1. Tacitus was born around 56 AD, after the crucifixion would have taken place, so he wasn't an eyewitness. Therefore he had to get his information from other sources after the fact.

2. Annals was not written until about 116 AD. This is AFTER the gospels were in circulation. The singular mention of "Christus" in the account constitutes one sentence with only a brief summary of what happened to Jesus. No source for this information is given.

Roll Eyes Yet he was an expert of Roman history from 14AD to 96AD.  Had access to the official Roman records and to the highest members of Roman government, and he lived in a period of time where he would have had mentors who would have known if Rome had no knowledge of the existence and death of Jesus Christ…and he treated Jesus existence and death as a given

---

Also, it's clear that Tacitus doesn't think much about the importance of this "Christus", otherwise he would have given more information - rather the surrounding passages in question seem to be more about early Christians

You figured this out on your own?

---

But on the subject of Jesus there's no source and no information he couldn't have gotten directly from Christians themselves, so on the subject of the historicity of Jesus the passage is pretty much useless.

Yet, it does prove that Tacitus, who was mentored by those who would have known, and who was unequaled in his day regarding Roman 1st Century history, accepted the reality of Jesus existence and death as a given.

---



Quote
I think your emotions have you in denial, sir.

Yeah, and you're perfectly calm, as indicated by your staunch defense of the historical veracity of a single sentence.

Dibble, you have proven that you are not only focused on Christianity (which is odd because usually people don’t focus on something they don’t believe in), but you have also proven that you are also incapable of being honest on the subject of Christianity: you keep insisting on proof of the invisible (God), yet you can’t even accept recorded history of things that were visible (the life and death of Jesus Christ).

---
So, allow me to summarize this thread:

The nonChristian historical record is EXACTLY as one would expect if the historical account of the NT were true: 

1)   since Jesus was not leading a rebellion, he was simply a footnote to those who didn’t believe in his deity (both Roman and Jew), yet his existence was accepted as fact by Roman and Jewish authorities.

2)   the points of contention regarding Jesus as recorded in the historical record of the NT, match perfectly with Roman and Jewish records.  In fact, the points of contention recorded in the NT are STILL being argued today.

3)   The NT historical geographical record of the spread of Christianity accurately matches the historical records from nonChristian sources.

Thus proving that the NT, even if one doesn’t believe the NT miracles, accurately portrays the existence and death of Jesus, the arguments surrounding those events, and the geographical spread of Christianity.

So, even without examining the supernatural claims of the NT, the NT historical record of the interactions between Jesus, his followers and the rest of the world is spot on and beyond reasonable doubt.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 01:12:30 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
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A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #30 on: February 10, 2012, 12:35:44 pm »
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What Christianity's official position was on a number of major doctrinal points wasn't really "settled" until the 6th century, either (it's only Christianity becoming the official faith of the Roman Empire in the 4th century that really begins the process of making those decisions, though certain heresies like Gnosticism were already in decline by that point).  My favorite example is always Origen, the third century theologian who was a strong proponent that even the obvious metaphorical language should be taken literally.  He saw the passage "There are eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" and...well...became a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

if the NT accurately portrays the existence and death of Jesus, the arguments surrounding those events, and the geographical spread of Christianity...then how can you say the NT doesn't accurately portray Christian doctrine within the early church?

In other words:  If the NT was written by imposters who weren’t representative of early church doctrine, then how did they get the history of the early church correct?
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

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« Reply #31 on: February 10, 2012, 12:43:41 pm »
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I'd like to hear nonbelievers thoughts on this...

since it is a historical fact (verified independently outside of the bible) that Christianity had spread throughout the Roman empire by 60AD, to the extent that, both in geography and in number, it was recognizable to the authorities. (In fact, the book of Acts not only describes in accurate detail the geography, places, names of the 1st Century Mediterranean world, it also accurately describes the breath of Christianity up to 60AD.)...
The Roman Empire was a wee bit bigger that what's mentioned there.
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...So, based on the rapid spread of Christianity as recorded in history (in both biblical and nonbiblical sources), both in Judea and throughout the Roman empire…is there any reasonable argument against the existence of a man named Jesus, and that that “(from Wiki...)Jesus was a Jew who was regarded as a teacher and healer, that he was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on the orders of the Roman Prefect of Judaea, Pontius Pilate, on the charge of sedition against the Roman Empire”?
No.
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« Reply #32 on: February 10, 2012, 01:05:14 pm »
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Quote from: You mught be a fundamentalist atheist if
You reject what Cornelius Tacitus wrote about Jesus, dismissing it as "too late", but you readily accept what he wrote about Tiberius and Augustus.
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« Reply #33 on: February 10, 2012, 01:16:15 pm »
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What Christianity's official position was on a number of major doctrinal points wasn't really "settled" until the 6th century, either (it's only Christianity becoming the official faith of the Roman Empire in the 4th century that really begins the process of making those decisions, though certain heresies like Gnosticism were already in decline by that point).  My favorite example is always Origen, the third century theologian who was a strong proponent that even the obvious metaphorical language should be taken literally.  He saw the passage "There are eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" and...well...became a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

if the NT accurately portrays the existence and death of Jesus, the arguments surrounding those events, and the geographical spread of Christianity...then how can you say the NT doesn't accurately portray Christian doctrine within the early church?

In other words:  If the NT was written by imposters who weren’t representative of early church doctrine, then how did they get the history of the early church correct?


The idea is that the NT was written by people who were representative of the strand of early church doctrine that won out at the later councils and such (hence why its writings became, well, the NT), not that they were imposters.
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« Reply #34 on: February 10, 2012, 02:01:55 pm »
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Dibble,

On the Prefect/Procurator question, let’s examine corroboration between the sources.

We have 5 sources that state Pilate was governing Judea at the time of Christ’s death – The NT, Josephus, Tacitus, Philo, and the Inscription (the one calling Pilate Prefect of Judea)….so, on this point, all 5 are in agreement.

From the array of writings of Josephus and Tacitus and Philo, they used both terms (Prefect/Procurator) many times, so these 3 men knew the difference between the terms and were more than capable of using the terms correctly….also, from their writings, it is beyond question that the 3 used official Roman records in their research and described many governors of Judea…so there is no reason to conclude either one used Christian sources in their description of Pilate as procurator.  Any claim that they did is simply laughable.

So, of the 5 sources, 1 calls Pilate a Prefect, and the other 4 call him a Procurator.  It’s the inscription that is the old man out, that is what you are holding up as the standard while the rejection the 4 other sources.  And I can guarantee you that if the NT was the odd man out and you had corroboration between 4 other nonNT sources, you’d be screaming that the NT was in error.

Also, Josephus uses the word “propraetor”,  showing that he as in depth knowledge of Romon titles.  In fact, Tacitus even uses the word “propraetor” in his writings (Annals Book 6: “on the death of Flaccus Pomponius, propraetor of Syria”), showing that he had knowledge of the distinctive terms used by Augustus when he set up rule over Judea prior to the birth of Christ, as described by Dio Cassius.

Once Flaccus Pomponius died, there was a span of 6 years of Pilate rule in Judea without a Syrian legate in place (Emperor Tiberius appointed a replacement to Pomponius, Aelius Lamia, but Tiberius kept Lamia in Rome)

The fact that Dio Cassius/Tacitus/Josephus/Philo all demonstrate deep knowledge of Roman structure, terms, and lingo…shows that they were all familiar with the source of official Roman records.  Also, it is highly unlikely that Tacitus, whose diligence is not questioned in the fact that he has been proven to have accurately described the titles of hundreds of other Roman officials, including the propraetorship of the Syria, wouldn’t know Pilate’s title.

Also, there is a mountain of evidence to prove that Roman officials could maintain multiple titles – they did not have to go by a single title – some Syrian “propraetors” also carried the title of “legate” and “governors”...Pilate could have easily been both a prefect and a procurator, or he could have been a prefect or a time and a procurator for another span of time.

So, in regard to the Pilate’s title, we are left with corroboration between the NT and 3 other highly regarded sources.  To claim that these other sources relied on the NT for their knowledge of Pilate is laughable in light of their body of work.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 02:10:31 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
Swing low, sweet chariot. Comin' for to carry me home.
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« Reply #35 on: February 10, 2012, 02:51:26 pm »
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What Christianity's official position was on a number of major doctrinal points wasn't really "settled" until the 6th century, either (it's only Christianity becoming the official faith of the Roman Empire in the 4th century that really begins the process of making those decisions, though certain heresies like Gnosticism were already in decline by that point).  My favorite example is always Origen, the third century theologian who was a strong proponent that even the obvious metaphorical language should be taken literally.  He saw the passage "There are eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" and...well...became a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

if the NT accurately portrays the existence and death of Jesus, the arguments surrounding those events, and the geographical spread of Christianity...then how can you say the NT doesn't accurately portray Christian doctrine within the early church?

In other words:  If the NT was written by imposters who weren’t representative of early church doctrine, then how did they get the history of the early church correct?


The idea is that the NT was written by people who were representative of the strand of early church doctrine that won out at the later councils and such (hence why its writings became, well, the NT), not that they were imposters.

True, even in the history recorded within the NT, there were doctrinal fires that had to be put out in almost every congregation – in fact, most the epistles were written for this very purpose.

But, given the fact most books of the NT can be proven to have been in widespread use by the early 2nd Century, and given the fact of the historical accuracy of the NT we’ve been discussing in this thread, there is no reasonable argument for the NT not representing the viewpoints of the original movers and shakers of the early church…and there is no evidence that the authors of the NT performed a coup upon some supposed “original” Christians.
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #36 on: February 10, 2012, 03:05:58 pm »
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1. Tacitus was born around 56 AD, after the crucifixion would have taken place, so he wasn't an eyewitness. Therefore he had to get his information from other sources after the fact.

2. Annals was not written until about 116 AD. This is AFTER the gospels were in circulation. The singular mention of "Christus" in the account constitutes one sentence with only a brief summary of what happened to Jesus. No source for this information is given.

Roll Eyes Yet he was an expert of Roman history from 14AD to 96AD.  Had access to the official Roman records and to the highest members of Roman government, and he lived in a period of time where he would have had mentors who would have known if Rome had no knowledge of the existence and death of Jesus Christ…and he treated Jesus existence and death as a given

1. Being an expert does not mean his work would be flawless and beyond reproach, which you admitted earlier in the thread. And yet you are insisting I treat it like it is.
2. The relevant question is whether or not he just accepted the account given by Christians or if he did actual research on the existence of Jesus.

Quote
Also, it's clear that Tacitus doesn't think much about the importance of this "Christus", otherwise he would have given more information - rather the surrounding passages in question seem to be more about early Christians

You figured this out on your own?

Weren't you going to mind your manners?

Anyways, I pointed it out because it's relevant to context - if he didn't think much about the "Christus" person why would he put any research into it? He's basically just saying "They worship some guy who got crucified". It's a rather mundane claim at that point, and he may have just accepted it at face value because it was mundane and not of interest for him to verify. Can you with intellectual honesty say there's no reasonable doubt here?

Quote
Dibble, you have proven that you are not only focused on Christianity (which is odd because usually people don’t focus on something they don’t believe in), but you have also proven that you are also incapable of being honest on the subject of Christianity: you keep insisting on proof of the invisible (God), yet you can’t even accept recorded history of things that were visible (the life and death of Jesus Christ).

1. My 'focus' on Christianity is due to the fact that I live in a majority Christian country and it happens to be Christians I have the most interactions with. If my goal is to convince a religious person that their religion isn't based on rational thinking or facts I'm not going to discuss some other religion. What would be the point of that? If you were a Muslim I'd talk about Islam with you, but you happen to be a Christian so it's blatantly obvious that I'd talk about Christianity with you.

2. As you damn well know not all recorded history is accurate, and if we're looking at something that doesn't sound like a reliable source on the subject in question I'm not going to accept it as reliable. It's the same standard of evidence I use elsewhere.

3. Given your long, long follow up on the minor issue of the prefect/procurator issue I think it should be obvious to everyone here that you are heavily emotionally invested in your beliefs - if you don't think it ever clouds your judgment you're deluding yourself.



Quote from: You mught be a fundamentalist atheist if
You reject what Cornelius Tacitus wrote about Jesus, dismissing it as "too late", but you readily accept what he wrote about Tiberius and Augustus.


I do hope you're being facetious.
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« Reply #37 on: February 10, 2012, 03:14:58 pm »
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What Christianity's official position was on a number of major doctrinal points wasn't really "settled" until the 6th century, either (it's only Christianity becoming the official faith of the Roman Empire in the 4th century that really begins the process of making those decisions, though certain heresies like Gnosticism were already in decline by that point).  My favorite example is always Origen, the third century theologian who was a strong proponent that even the obvious metaphorical language should be taken literally.  He saw the passage "There are eunuchs who became eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven" and...well...became a eunuch for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven.

if the NT accurately portrays the existence and death of Jesus, the arguments surrounding those events, and the geographical spread of Christianity...then how can you say the NT doesn't accurately portray Christian doctrine within the early church?

In other words:  If the NT was written by imposters who weren’t representative of early church doctrine, then how did they get the history of the early church correct?


The idea is that the NT was written by people who were representative of the strand of early church doctrine that won out at the later councils and such (hence why its writings became, well, the NT), not that they were imposters.

True, even in the history recorded within the NT, there were doctrinal fires that had to be put out in almost every congregation – in fact, most the epistles were written for this very purpose.

But, given the fact most books of the NT can be proven to have been in widespread use by the early 2nd Century, and given the fact of the historical accuracy of the NT we’ve been discussing in this thread, there is no reasonable argument for the NT not representing the viewpoints of the original movers and shakers of the early church…and there is no evidence that the authors of the NT performed a coup upon some supposed “original” Christians.


Well, no. I'm not saying that, and I doubt that's what Mikado is saying either; but in terms of practice and to a certain extent doctrine, there certainly were some features of the early church that you and I would have a difficult time intuitively recognizing.

Dibble, almost nobody seriously involved in Biblical scholarship or Roman history doubts or proceeds from a position of doubt on the historicity of Jesus as a person any more, if they ever did, no matter how devoutly secular they may be.
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 03:17:18 pm by Nathan »Logged

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« Reply #38 on: February 10, 2012, 03:27:37 pm »
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Dibble, almost nobody seriously involved in Biblical scholarship or Roman history doubts or proceeds from a position of doubt on the historicity of Jesus as a person any more, if they ever did, no matter how devoutly secular they may be.

Please remember that my original post said that I think someone the stories in the Bible are based on did likely exist - we're just sketchy on the exact details of that person's life because all writing on the subject comes well after his death.

My point on arguing over Tacitus's passage is that it's just not a reliable source for the reasons I've pointed out because jmfcst tried to pull it out like it's some kind of useful weapon to bludgeon me into submission.
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« Reply #39 on: February 10, 2012, 03:29:11 pm »
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Dibble,

the body of work of Cassius/Tacitus/Josephus/Philo/NT is 100k times greater than the single stone inscription referring to Pilate as a Prefect...yet somehow you believe that inscription is somehow more accurate.

Also, that stone inscription your banking so much of your Prefect argument on, was found inscribed on the bottom of a seat within a theater in Caesarea that was built by decree of Herod the Great...that fact that it was used as the flipside of a stone supporting someone's butt could very well mean it was written in error, discarded, then later used in the maintenance of the theater due to usefulness of the value of the stone it was written upon.


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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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« Reply #40 on: February 10, 2012, 03:35:16 pm »
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Dibble, almost nobody seriously involved in Biblical scholarship or Roman history doubts or proceeds from a position of doubt on the historicity of Jesus as a person any more, if they ever did, no matter how devoutly secular they may be.

Please remember that my original post said that I think someone the stories in the Bible are based on did likely exist - we're just sketchy on the exact details of that person's life because all writing on the subject comes well after his death.

All right. The NT has attributes of an unfolding text anyway. You have to do some historical digging to understand a lot of what's going on in it (which jmfcst is pretty good at, even though I disagree with many of the theological conclusions that he draws from this). It's silly to claim otherwise.
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« Reply #41 on: February 10, 2012, 03:38:55 pm »
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Dibble,

the body of work of Cassius/Tacitus/Josephus/Philo/NT is 100k times greater than the single stone inscription referring to Pilate as a Prefect...yet somehow you believe that inscription is somehow more accurate.

Also, that stone inscription your banking so much of your Prefect argument on, was found inscribed on the bottom of a seat within a theater in Caesarea that was built by decree of Herod the Great...that fact that it was used as the flipside of a stone supporting someone's butt could very well mean it was written in error, discarded, then later used in the maintenance of the theater due to usefulness of the value of the stone it was written upon.

Did I not just call this a minor issue? And yet here you are, focused intently on it. Again, you delude yourself if you think you aren't emotionally invested.
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« Reply #42 on: February 10, 2012, 04:20:19 pm »
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Well, no. I'm not saying that, and I doubt that's what Mikado is saying either; but in terms of practice and to a certain extent doctrine, there certainly were some features of the early church that you and I would have a difficult time intuitively recognizing.

This is a topic for another thread and is more an argument for not buying into tradition, but I will address it here:

1)   Go through the NT and make a list of doctrines taught within the NT.
2)   Go through the NT and make a list of the doctrinal fires being put out.
3)   Now take List 1 and List 2 and see if there are parallels to each item on both lists to the teachings within the OT.

Fact:  If everything on List 1 & 2 has a parallel within the OT, then there is no evidence the early church taught anything in contradiction to the OT.

Heck, this fact is taken as a given within the NT:

Acts 17:11 “They examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”

Acts 24:14 “I believe everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets,”

Rom 3:21 “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.”

---

Now, compare the scope of List 1 (what was taught) to the scope of List 2 (what was corrected) and you'll notice that the congregations screwed up just about everything the Apostles taught.

If this is the case, then why do you say, “there certainly were some features of the early church that you and I would have a difficult time intuitively recognizing”?

---

Look at it this way – if the epistles are proof that the early congregations screwed up every doctrine taught by the Apostles, even simple concepts like the resurrection of the dead, what makes you think there is some doctrine of some complicated ritual that didn’t have to be corrected?

See, that’s why the letters that make up the books of the NT were intended to be circular (which is why they survived), because the congregations were all screwing up and the lessons of the screw ups of each congregation were applicable to every congregation, because the problems being addressed were universal in nature because the Gospel in itself is universal.

But, some denominations claim that there were original teachings beyond the simple teachings stated in the NT, teachings which all the congregations kept and didn’t screw up, which were passed down through tradition…and this claim serves as the justification of many complicated rituals based on tradition rather than on scripture.

So, the next time someone tells you, “xyz is what the apostles taught and it has survived through tradition”, respond with, “Then why doesn’t the NT have an example of a church screwing up xyz, because the epistles of the NT show them screwing up everything else?”
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« Reply #43 on: February 10, 2012, 04:27:21 pm »
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I understand what you're saying, but that wasn't really the point I was making, which was historical rather than doctrinal; as you said, this is really something for another thread. I'd be interested in that thread, but for now let's get back to the subject at hand.
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« Reply #44 on: February 10, 2012, 05:09:15 pm »
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Did I not just call this a minor issue? And yet here you are, focused intently on it. Again, you delude yourself if you think you aren't emotionally invested.

I never said I wasn't emotionally invested, after all it is my religion.  But I am not the one being accused of being a hack - most posters, religious or otherwise, find your rejection of Tacitus' acknowledgement of Jesus' existence and death to be completely absurd.

And most of them understand that the early and rapid spread of Christianity across such a vast area saturated with Roman rule and Jewish synagogues,  would have been impossible if Jesus’ existence, rejection by the Jews, and death at the hands of the Romans wasn’t accepted as a given by both Romans and Jews, because both the Romans and Jews had networks to communicate the events in Judea across the Roman world and across the Jewish synagogues.

The fact that both the Roman rule and Jewish synagogues acknowledged Jesus’ existence and death provided the Apostles with someone to argue with, which created a scene that drew in many more passersby’s and thus helped spread the gospel.  If both the Roman and Jews had simply said, “Hey, we have no idea what they’re babbling about”, then there wouldn’t have been much of an argument to draw attention to.

But the fact that his existence and death was recognized by both Rome and Jews, meant that both were pulled into the argument – which is EXACTLY what you see taking place in the book of Acts time and time again.

---

Look at it this way – if you didn’t acknowledge the existence of the bible, would you even be spending time discussing it with me?  You would quickly lose interest and leave me to argue with myself.

So, the mere fact that Jesus’ life and death were acknowledged as a given, meant that the claims about him were of great interest to many people. 


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« Reply #45 on: February 10, 2012, 05:35:23 pm »
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I understand what you're saying, but that wasn't really the point I was making, which was historical rather than doctrinal;

true, but the scope of the NT, both in doctrinal agreement and geography, is strong evidence that it was written by the bigwigs of early Christianity.

If the NT just represented a small cross-section of Christianity and not the main vein, then it could hardly have such a huge historical scope.
 
« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 06:08:26 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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« Reply #46 on: February 10, 2012, 05:53:41 pm »
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@Dibble,

Continuing the “accepted as a given” theme, but this time in relation to Paul…the fact that Paul was a known member of the Pharisees, made him a good candidate to spread the gospel, because no matter where he went, the synagogues were eager to confront him.  The fact that Paul was a known entity meant he had a huge target painted on his back.  And being a target greatly helped in spreading the Gospel, because when you’re a target, you attract attention, which causes a scene, which causes crowds of onlookers to gather, which provides an audience to hear your message.

« Last Edit: February 10, 2012, 06:07:50 pm by consigliere jmfcst »Logged

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« Reply #47 on: February 10, 2012, 06:36:02 pm »
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Did I not just call this a minor issue? And yet here you are, focused intently on it. Again, you delude yourself if you think you aren't emotionally invested.

I never said I wasn't emotionally invested, after all it is my religion.  But I am not the one being accused of being a hack - most posters, religious or otherwise, find your rejection of Tacitus' acknowledgement of Jesus' existence and death to be completely absurd.

1. "Most posters"? Where did you get this data from? I see you and maybe one poster who may or may not have been being facetious. There's maybe Nathan, but he seemed to be more objecting to the notion that I was proposing Jesus didn't exist at all. (which I wasn't) On the other hand belgiansocialist warns you not to use Tacitus as a primary witness. So you've got no basis for claiming that most of the other people on this forum support you on the matter - if you want some real data about that then make a poll or something. If you'd like I can go ahead and do it for you.

2. There are real scholars who express the same doubts:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus#Tacitus

Quote
There is disagreement about what this passage proves, since Tacitus does not reveal the source of his information.[56]

    The pejorative description of the suppression of Christianity (calling it a superstition, for instance) is not likely based on any statements Christians themselves may have made to Tacitus.
    Tacitus is known to have drawn on many earlier historical works now lost to us in the Annals, and he may have used official sources from a Roman archive in this case; however, if Tacitus had been copying from an official source, some scholars would expect him to have labeled Pilate correctly as a prefect rather than a procurator.[57]

Biblical scholar Bart D. Ehrman wrote: "Tacitus's report confirms what we know from other sources, that Jesus was executed by order of the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, sometime during Tiberius's reign."[58] Indeed, Charles Guignebert argued that "So long as there is that possibility [that Tacitus is merely echoing what Christians themselves were saying], the passage remains quite worthless".[59] R. T. France (An anglican cleric in addition to being a scholar, addition mine) concludes that the Tacitus passage is at best just Tacitus repeating what he has heard through Christians.[60][61]

Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz conclude that Tacitus gives us a description of widespread prejudices about Christianity and a few precise details about "Christus" and Christianity (the source of which remains unclear): Christus was a Jew and a criminal whom Pontius Pilate had executed. He authored a new religious movement that began in Judea and was called Christianity which was widespread around the city of Rome during Nero's reign.[62]


What I really don't understand here is why you are griping so much about me not accepting this one sentence as being reliable when I do think that there likely was a real person that the Jesus character in the gospels were based on. Why exactly are you so obsessed over this one sentence? It's as if your entire belief system hinges on this one sentence being a reliable source of information.


@Dibble,

Continuing the “accepted as a given” theme, but this time in relation to Paul…the fact that Paul was a known member of the Pharisees, made him a good candidate to spread the gospel, because no matter where he went, the synagogues were eager to confront him.  The fact that Paul was a known entity meant he had a huge target painted on his back.  And being a target greatly helped in spreading the Gospel, because when you’re a target, you attract attention, which causes a scene, which causes crowds of onlookers to gather, which provides an audience to hear your message.

I'm sorry, but... what? You start with saying that it's about something being accepted as a given, and then you talk about Paul being a target- I'm not making the connection here, and I don't see how you're connecting the two. It seems you wrote this rather in a hurry (saw the incomplete bit you edited out) so maybe you didn't notice that this might not be a complete thought in text form. Care to elaborate?
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« Reply #48 on: February 10, 2012, 06:54:25 pm »
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The NT has attributes of an unfolding text anyway. You have to do some historical digging to understand a lot of what's going on in it (which jmfcst is pretty good at, even though I disagree with many of the theological conclusions that he draws from this). It's silly to claim otherwise.

Sorry if I am putting words into your mouth, but I don't agree with that statement in regard to some areas - I don't believe one has to have in depth knowledge of history to understand the NT, at least not doctrinally.   You might have to have some knowledge of geography to follow the geographical setting of the story, and you might have to understand terms like “legion” and “Centurion” to understand what is being described…but such knowledge is not needed for doctrinal purposes.  

The doctrines of the NT are meant to be universal, both in time and place…therefore understanding the setting and context of many of the books of the NT is irrelevant.  In fact, many of the books of the NT don’t include such information.

My wife’s old cult used to claim, “such and such passages can’t mean Paul was saying Christians are free from Moses’ dietary law, because all the churches of the NT followed Moses’ dietary law.”

It is very easy to nullify what the scripture says by assuming a context not given in scripture

Again, sorry if I am reading into your statement, I’m just very sensitive to claims that external knowledge is needed to understand the bible.
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I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
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Coming for to carry me home.

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« Reply #49 on: February 10, 2012, 07:25:25 pm »
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What I really don't understand here is why you are griping so much about me not accepting this one sentence as being reliable when I do think that there likely was a real person that the Jesus character in the gospels were based on. Why exactly are you so obsessed over this one sentence? It's as if your entire belief system hinges on this one sentence being a reliable source of information.

2 possibilities, you pick which is more likely:

Possibility Number 1)  jmfcst’s entire belief in Christianity, something he was been debating for 10 years on this forum, has all hinged on Tactius’ statement.  Which is why even the testimony of his conversion in Oct 92 is full of references to Tactius.

Possibility Number 2)  jmfcst has been arguing with a purposely blind idiot who is too afraid to admit the obvious
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Do not fight with one another over my banning.  I've enjoyed the time I have spent with all of you, but the time really has come for me to leave.  It is what I want.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9Y_GLT4_9I

I looked over Jordan, and what did I see?
Coming for to carry me home,
A band of angels coming after me,
Coming for to carry me home.

Swing low, sweet chariot,
Coming for to carry me home.
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