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  #11  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CynthiaCypher View Post
You would think Ehrman's new book would finally settle it.

Bart D. Ehrman: Did Jesus Exist?
No. It will be just another book in the never-ending battle that summarizes one point of view. I have a lot of respect for Ehrman, having read some of his other books, but I don't find him especially illuminating on this issue. Much of his argument is buried in biased rhetoric. For example, take a look at the first sentence from the blog link that you posted. It begins with the ad hominem innuendo that anyone who would deny the historicity of Jesus is essentially equivalent to a holocaust denier or birther:

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In a society in which people still claim the Holocaust did not happen, and in which there are resounding claims that the American president is, in fact, a Muslim born on foreign soil, is it any surprise to learn that the greatest figure in the history of Western civilization, the man on whom the most powerful and influential social, political, economic, cultural and religious institution in the world -- the Christian church -- was built, the man worshipped, literally, by billions of people today -- is it any surprise to hear that Jesus never even existed?
There are wackos on both sides of the argument, but that isn't the point. There are also arguments that ought to be looked at and debated dispassionately. Attacking the character of those who believe one way or the other is not the best way to start out the discussion. I thought that the CNN article cited in the OP was actually pretty good at laying out the basic arguments from both sides. There is no solid evidence that Jesus existed. Everyone admits that much. But there are interesting points to be made on both sides. Calling people on one side of the argument a bunch of kooks does not really help the level of discourse.
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  #12  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:27 PM
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Again, I don't think this is a case of having 'two sides' at all. there is general scholarship, and there is a fringe group with lesser or non existent scholarship which plays on this 'mythical' sensationalism. no scholar denies that there are mythical elements in the gospels, but they don't try to turn it into a best selling spiritual quest for the god-man prototype.
Personally, I think that atheists of all people should see through this.
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  #13  
Old 04-08-2012, 02:46 PM
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There is no solid evidence that Jesus existed.
there is no solid evidence for much of antiquity that is not questioned at all.

what we have as Caladan has pointed out is a small minority of what I find to be uneducated bafoons. They have Price and thast about it and his work I think I can bust.


Quote:
Everyone admits that much.

nope I dont buy it

everyone understands there is plenty of evidence and it could be stronger, but it doesnt need to be solid.

The mythers have even less evidence that sits upon something I would not label as ground, while the historicty of histrorical jesus/HJ is more on the plus side of the equation.

Quote:
But there are interesting points to be made on both sides. Calling people on one side of the argument a bunch of kooks does not really help the level of discourse.

really it does fit "kooks" the shoe is on.


Im involved in the myther forums and I know what many are claiming, they are all weak. Even a few authors are weak. Doherty is off on a weird tangent but his work is still respected. Price uis highly educated amnd has sound work, but provides a weaker case then mainstream scholarships.


the average myther in teh forums trips all over theirselves




This is where I respect Richard Carrier, he is not a myther and he plays 50/50 and rides the middle of the fence, his new book offers a good insight to the proccess of developing historicty. I wont spoil it
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  #14  
Old 04-08-2012, 03:45 PM
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[quote=Copernicus;2878685] It begins with the ad hominem innuendo that anyone who would deny the historicity of Jesus is essentially equivalent to a holocaust denier or birther{/quote] That is not an ad hominem. And I happen to agree with him on that.
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  #15  
Old 04-08-2012, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by outhouse View Post
there is no solid evidence for much of antiquity that is not questioned at all.

what we have as Caladan has pointed out is a small minority of what I find to be uneducated bafoons. They have Price and thast about it and his work I think I can bust.
Again, I find ad hominem attacks like this as useful as ad hominem attacks usually are. They are intended to suppress debate, not resolve it. As for there being no solid evidence for much of antiquity, that depends on how you define "antiquity". There is solid evidence for a lot of what we find in history books. The historicity of Jesus needs to be judged on the merits of the arguments made in its favor.

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nope I dont buy it
Perhaps we have differing opinions on what "solid evidence" means. The evidence for the existence of Jesus is all textual. If solid evidence existed, then this question would not produce the level of controversy that it does. Nobody has trouble proving that the Holocaust occurred or that Obama is an American-born Christian, despite the notoriety of the deniers. The evidence for Jesus is far more difficult to verify.

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everyone understands there is plenty of evidence and it could be stronger, but it doesnt need to be solid.
OK, but you just said that you didn't buy my claim that there was no solid evidence. Now you seem to agree with me.

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The mythers have even less evidence that sits upon something I would not label as ground, while the historicty of histrorical jesus/HJ is more on the plus side of the equation.
That just restates the opinion of people who believe in historicity. Those who oppose it argue that the evidence on the other side--that the myth/legend could have arisen by syncretism of popular myths or that Paul was the progenitor--is better than that on the side of historicity. For me, the most convincing piece of evidence is Paul's reference to James, the alleged "brother" of Jesus. I don't like Carrier's argument that all Christians called themselves "brothers", but it is conceivable that even his textual "evidence" had no basis in reality. We don't know whether Paul was reporting an accurate memory or a false memory. We don't know a great deal about the context in which he wrote. People today repeat hearsay as if it were fact, so I don't see why we should put such trust in a handful of texts that were written two millennia ago without some reasonable historical corroborating evidence.

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really it does fit "kooks" the shoe is on.
The more you repeat arguments of this sort, the more you give the impression that this kind of thinking is what has convinced you. It doesn't convince me.

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Im involved in the myther forums and I know what many are claiming, they are all weak. Even a few authors are weak. Doherty is off on a weird tangent but his work is still respected. Price uis highly educated amnd has sound work, but provides a weaker case then mainstream scholarships.
Have I disagreed with this? I think that both sides of the argument have a fairly weak case, although the mythers do have a fairly convincing case that much of what was written about Jesus in Christian texts was hokum. Ehrman has been in the forefront of those making that case.

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the average myther in teh forums trips all over theirselves
As do the average anti-mythers. I don't see much profit in this line of ad hominem disparagement. It convinces nobody but the already-convinced.

Quote:
This is where I respect Richard Carrier, he is not a myther and he plays 50/50 and rides the middle of the fence, his new book offers a good insight to the proccess of developing historicty. I wont spoil it
I like Carrier, too, but I thought that he was a myther. That is, he believes that Jesus likely was not a single historical figure. He used to believe in historicity, but Doherty convinced him otherwise. I haven't read his book, though.

Last edited by Copernicus; 04-08-2012 at 03:53 PM..
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  #16  
Old 04-08-2012, 04:00 PM
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Originally Posted by CynthiaCypher View Post
That is not an ad hominem. And I happen to agree with him on that.
Then we have very different ideas of what an ad hominem argument is. The first paragraph in Ehrman's blog likens mythers to Holocaust deniers and birthers. Even if they are the loons that he claims, that is not a reason to reject their arguments. Even child-rapists can sometimes make coherent arguments. Ehrman does have a case to make against the myther arguments, but he wraps it up in too much effort spent disparaging those he disagrees with. By the time you get to the real argument, he has softened you up to disbelieve them. That is a poisoning-the-well form of argument.

Again, if you lead off with an ad hominem argument, then that suggests that you find the character of people you disagree with to be the strongest reason for rejecting their argument. Not a good sign.
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  #17  
Old 04-08-2012, 04:05 PM
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I'm scratching my head as to how Freke (or anybody) could consider a a depiction on a 3rd Century amulet proof against the existence of someone who is supposed to have lived in the first century.

If the amulet were from the 3rd Century BCE, that would be something, but really, any of us could sit down right now and come up with some kind of a depiction of the crucifixion and and write "Bob the tree trimmer having a bad day".
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  #18  
Old 04-08-2012, 04:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
Then we have very different ideas of what an ad hominem argument is. The first paragraph in Ehrman's blog likens mythers to Holocaust deniers and birthers. Even if they are the loons that he claims, that is not a reason to reject their arguments. Even child-rapists can sometimes make coherent arguments. Ehrman does have a case to make against the myther arguments, but he wraps it up in too much effort spent disparaging those he disagrees with. By the time you get to the real argument, he has softened you up to disbelieve them. That is a poisoning-the-well form of argument.

Again, if you lead off with an ad hominem argument, then that suggests that you find the character of people you disagree with to be the strongest reason for rejecting their argument. Not a good sign.
Crossan uses the same argument as Ehrman. The mythers base their beliefs solely on their emotion. They just don't like Christianity so they choose to believe that Jesus doesn't exist despite the evidence.
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  #19  
Old 04-08-2012, 04:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CynthiaCypher View Post
Crossan uses the same argument as Ehrman. The mythers base their beliefs solely on their emotion. They just don't like Christianity so they choose to believe that Jesus doesn't exist despite the evidence.
Quite possibly, both sides have people who base their arguments on emotion. I still think that the only way to judge the debate is to move away from examining the emotional states or characters of people who make the arguments. There are reasonable, intelligent people who find the arguments against historicity to be more reasonable than those in favor of it and vice versa.
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Old 04-08-2012, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
There are reasonable, intelligent people who find the arguments against historicity to be more reasonable than those in favor of it and vice versa.
Name ten serious scholars who do.

And for eveyones amusement I give you this:



Did Jesus Exist? - YouTube

I can hardly wait when Ehrman debates a myther to promote his book. It is going to happen.
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