Apparently you can't do polls on here.... but

Do any of you think that Jesus actually existed? What do category do you fall into?

A. Believed he existed, claims are false

B. Believed he existed, claims are exaggerated

C. Don't believe he existed

D. Believe he existed, claims are true (sorry had to leave the idiot category open)

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Confucius was fictional too, didn't stop the Chinese from giving him a religion.
This is one of my favorite examples of ancient wise words; but, Siduri was a fictional character.

"Lasher, my Lasher, avenge me now!"

One of my favorite quotes, only the witches who said it were based on real people. We know because Anne Rice alludes to other, corroborated historical events in her books, so she can't possibly have made up any other part of it, such as the names of the protagonists.
I think the real Bob was Robert Jones from Boulder. Can you prove that Bob was not Robert?

Of course I can, because it says so in my holy text. My holy text says it's true, so it has to be true. And although we're capable of either misrepresenting or completely rewriting ideology and supernatural deeds, we are incapable of getting the name of the city wrong.

Some half-century from now, we'll finally get our first passing mention by a couple of historians who might or might not be using our sacred texts as references, because these days, a lot of stock is put into sacred texts.
"There were a ton of wannabe Messiahs at the time, many being mentioned somewhere by historians alive at that exact time period. Jesus receives no mention at all."

And which other Messiahs were mentioned by "historians alive at that exact time period"?
If you're going to make an argument from silence, then you have to demonstrate that we can't expect such silence if Jesus existed.Can you do that, yes or no?
Simon of Peraea. A slave of Herod who rebelled but was killed by the Romans. The Jews who believed in him named him their king. He's said to be the messiah mentioned in Gabriel's Revelation.

Athronges. A shepherd. He led a retaliation against the Romans.

Those are a couple from exactly when Jesus was supposed to be around. There are plenty more from a broader range. Those two are from 3 and 4 BCE. If you would like more information, please feel free to look it up.
Both interesting cases. A couple of things about them though.

1. Both were known solely from Josephus, one of the sources that Matt has been using for Jesus as a historical figure. In fact, both preceded Jesus and were killed before the debated historical Jesus was two and possibly before he was born. In other words, there is a greater time lag between them and Josephus and Jesus and Josephus. There are also fewer sources, though there may be some archeological evidence for Simon.

2. What they indicate is a context for Jesus. There was apocalyptic fervor following the Roman occupation. Insurrection failed, though there were still advocates (Simon the Zealot). Put into that context, Jesus teaching of some End Time makes sense. It also makes his message very time- and location-specific, hardly universal.

3. Why accept them as historical figures but not someone with more evidence?
Hi Kiru,

Well yes, and? You're making my exact point for me: they are both mentioned in Flavius Josephus but (to my knowledge) not anywhere else. I was asking for Messiahs attested to by "historians alive at that exact time period", since that was the requirement you set up. You asserted that Jesus failed this - for you important - test because he's only mentioned by Josephus and Tacitus, but now you mention two other Messianic figures and it turns out that the evidence for their existence comes from Josephus too.

In other words, you adopted a double standard when comparing Messiah's.
What you need to do, if your argument from silence is going to have any value, is show us Jewish Messianic figures alive in Jesus' time who are attested by contemporary historians (or alternatively, contemporary historians who we can expect to have mentioned Jesus). What you will quickly find, however, is that such a thing does not exist, meaning it's unrealistic to expect contemporary references to one particular Messianic claimant.

Take care,

Matt

EDIT: and of course Danny beat me to it again ;)
I don't feel the passion for such research the way I used to. A decade ago I could read and analyze verse after verse from any culture's scriptures. I once read everything I could find on the Sumerian writings. If my memory serves me wrong, then I am sorry. If I am correct, hopefully I can come across the information again. If I do, I'll let you know. I used to write everything down.
"There is no difference in the so called historical jesus and the biblical jesus, only Matt VDB thinks otherwise..............oops and maybe one or two followers."

And the majority of New Testament scholars, religious or otherwise. For good reason: there are clear and obvious ways a historical character could lie at the basis of the biblical Jesus.
Perhaps you'd have more fun making fart noises and drawing penises on bibles.
You seem to lack the conviction and cognitive ability to present your opinions and ideas or back them up under scrutiny without acting like a spoiled child. You're no better than any close minded creationist that believes the world is 6 thousand years old. Perhaps you'd like to have an intelligent discussion with people who disagree with you, I'd recommend practicing in the mirror before you try it again.
Um, Yeah JstN. The admins have asked us all to play nicer in the sandbox.

And I seriously don't get where you thing Matt VDB is saying there's "no difference" between HJ and BJ. I see him making huge distinctions between the two.

Where he and I and some others diverge is on whether or not HJ's existence is merely a most-likely or a proof-beyond-reasonable doubt, and whether or not we can therefore look for HJ in the canon bible and expect to distinguish him from biblical authors, from other preachers and from storytellers passing down the Jesus tradition.

But as much as Matt and I have butted heads, I gotta say ... dude. No idea where you're getting what you're getting.
Thanks Jo <3
I agree.

...I have to lie down now...

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