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Featured Did Christ really exist ?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Neuropteron, Nov 26, 2020.

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  1. Neuropteron

    Neuropteron Active Member

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    Some made the claim that Jesus never existed. Even many antiquities scholars think that the New Testament gospels are mythologized history.

    Answering such skeptics, the respected historian Will Durant said:"That a few simple men should in one generation have invented so powerful and appealing a personality, so lofty an ethic and so inspiring a vision of human brotherhood, would be a miracle far more incredible than any recorded in the Gospel".

    Is it possible that a person who never lived could have affected human history so remarkably?

    The ‘Historians History of the World’ says: "The historical result of Jesus' activities was more momentous, even from a strictly secular standpoint, than the deeds of any other character of history. A new era, recognized by the chief civilizations of the world, dates from his birth." Even calendars today are based on the year that Christ was born.

    Critics however point out that all we know about Jesus is only found in the Bible and that no other records concerning him exist. For instance H.G. Wells wrote:" The old Roman historians ignored Jesus entirely; he left no impress on the historical records of his time. But...is this true?
    No, its not.
    Respected first century historian who wrote about Christ are:
    Cornelius Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Flavius Josephus.

    The New Encyclopedia Britannica writes: "The independent accounts prove that in ancient times even the opponents of Christianity never doubted the historicity of Jesus, which was disputed for the first time and on inadequate grounds at the end of the 18th, during the 19th, and at the beginning of the 20th centuries."

    The Encyclopedia Britannica stated" " Many a modern student have become so preoccupied with conflicting theories about Jesus and the Gospels that they have neglected to study these basic sources (the Gospels) by themselves."

    What is true is that most that we know about Jesus was recorded by his first-century followers. Their reports have been preserved in the Gospels.

    God himself commanded: "Listen to him".
    Why would we want to listen to anyone else ?
     
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  2. Polymath257

    Polymath257 Think & Care
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    Not true. Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny talked about Christians and their beliefs, but saw them as strange and somewhat subject to ridicule. They did NOT write about any historical Jesus. Josephus has a couple of passages then mention Jesus, but scholars see them as being later additions and NOT due to Josephus himself.
     
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  3. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Tacitus, Suetonius, and Pliny also wrote in the early 2nd century, and were not contemporaries of Jesus. Josephus was born about seven years after Jesus died, if the common chronology is accepted, and therefore was also not a contemporary, although his works date to the 1st Century...starting almost 50 years after Jesus' death.
     
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  4. Shadow Wolf

    Shadow Wolf Rival's Wife

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    There was probably someone who inspired the stories, a shaman of sorts who provoked the ire of Rome and was put to death. But he wasn't a messiah or anything of the sort. Had people been returning to life then (as Jesus wasn't the only one) the Romans themselves very likely would have recorded it then.
     
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  5. adrian009

    adrian009 Veteran Member
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    Most scholars of antiquity are in agreement that Jesus existed, particularly that He was an itinerant Jewish preacher, was baptised and crucified. Unfortunately there are no documents from anyone we can reliabily identify as having been an eyewitness to the events recorded in the four Gospels. There isn't agreement as to who wrote the Gospel accounts. It is important to be aware of the limitations of available records if we are serious about establishing facts as opposed to making statements regarding religious belief.
     
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  6. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    I've read a number of books by those arguing he was nothing but a myth...some tough arguments, many of which contradict the idea that Jesus' story was unique in the Roman world.

    Also read a number of books by authors arguing that Jesus really did exist...ranging from the "there was someone, but we know nothing for certain about him" to various flavors "based and x, y or z that we know from the Gospels or other traditions" we can conclude he did a and b." Was he a social reformer? Was he a political revolutionary? Was he a religious revolutionary? There are lots of theories, and the arguments vary in quality.

    All of the existing documents were apparently written decades to centuries after the end of his reputed life, sometimes by people who had no clear idea of the historical or religious situation in Judaea and Gallilee was.
     
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  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    This is true.

    This, however, is not. Rather, it pretends that the consensus regarding the Testimoniaum Flavianum also applies to the Josephus reference in Book 20. So, for example, from Wikipedia: Josephus on Jesus:

    The first and most extensive reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 18, states that Jesus was the Messiah and a wise teacher who was crucified by Pontius Pilate. It is commonly called the Testimonium Flavianum.[1][3][4] Almost all modern scholars reject the authenticity of this passage in its present form, while the majority of scholars nevertheless hold that it contains an authentic nucleus referencing the execution of Jesus by Pilate, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] The exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, however.[11][12]

    Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the second reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 20, Chapter 9, which mentions "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."[13] This reference is considered to be more authentic than the Testimonium.[14][1][15][16][17][18] [19]

    Also, as I've noted in previous posts, Alice Whealey's


    is worth reading.
     
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  8. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    A number? What were the three best?
     
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  9. beenherebeforeagain

    beenherebeforeagain Rogue Animist
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    Seems like maybe as many as about 10; I'll have to go through my kindle and count them up...and refresh myself on which I might have thought were better than the others.
     
  10. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    There is little reason to think the early Christians were any less delusional than their modern day counterparts on the matter.

    One reason is the bible itself. The written record has no original in existence. It could all be a fraud for all we know.

    Another is the early Christians were rarely documented in roman archeological record as being anything significant past the mythology of the day.
     
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  11. YoursTrue

    YoursTrue "We know gravity by happenstance."

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    You might want to think about this:
    "Some editions of the Talmud are missing some of the references, which were removed either by Christian censors starting in the 13th century,[18] or by Jews themselves due to fear of reprisals, or some were possibly lost by negligence or accident.[19] However, most modern editions published since the early 20th century have restored most of the references.[citation needed]" (Jesus in the Talmud, wikipedia)
    Sooo, if concerned persons remove portions of documents, and it obviously isn't only the Talmud, (take email servers, for instance, by politicians and others) why would someone think they never existed, or may not have been changed?
     
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  12. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    That is the objection I have against a mythical Jesus. It requires a conspiracy theory less believable than his real existence.
    I think of the Jesus character as legendary, i.e. based on one or more real people, exaggerated into the Jesus of the gospels.
     
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  13. YoursTrue

    YoursTrue "We know gravity by happenstance."

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    I agree with your first statement. We must weigh the evidence. Jesus performed miracles, not that many, but enough to make him astounding. And there were miracles said to have been performed by others before him. Again, not that many but enough for me to think it was not legend.
     
  14. Heyo

    Heyo Well-Known Member

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    Magic, for me, is a clear sign that a story is a fairy tale or at least vastly exaggerated.
     
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  15. Sunstone

    Sunstone De Diablo Del Fora
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    This reminds me of the controversy in Mark Twain's day over whether Shakespeare was an individual or a pseudonym. Twain quipped, "Either Shakespeare wrote Hamlet or someone else by the same name." Or something along those lines. Either Jesus existed or someone else by the same name.
     
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  16. YoursTrue

    YoursTrue "We know gravity by happenstance."

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    It depends on what the circumstances are.
     
  17. IndigoChild5559

    IndigoChild5559 Loving God and my neighbor as myself.

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    We know from numerous historical original source documents that the Apostles existed, and started the churches. It seems to me that this would not have happened if Jesus were to be completely fictitious. Now, does that mean that the gospel accounts are accurate? No, we can't conclude that -- they were written decades later. But I think it is fair to say that a historical Jesus existed, and that we can perhaps pull him out of the soup of later editing in of Christian doctrine and Greek mythology, to get to know him a little bit as a nice Jewish man who taught Torah, engaged in debates on Jewish law as was the custom of the time, and who aspired to be the messiah but failed.
     
  18. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Great. Thanks.
     
  19. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Legend conflates, but I think it far more likely that the Jesus of the bible was a single person.
     
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  20. blü 2

    blü 2 Well-Known Member
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    A case along those lines is not very hard to make.

    There is no contemporary mention of him, which at the very least makes the gospel claims as to his importance in his own lifetime greatly exaggerated.

    Neither Paul nor any of the gospel authors ever met an historical Jesus.

    The first time we meet Jesus in history is in the letters of Paul. They give an earthly biography of Jesus that would fit in a couple of lines.

    The only extension of that is by the author of Mark, whose biography is arguably formed by selecting passages from the Tanakh, deeming them to be messianic prophecies, and moving his Jesus through them. That biography is rewritten by the respective authors of Matthew, Luke and John, each adding and subtracting as seemed best to him.

    Mark's Jesus is an ordinary Jew until he's baptized and God adopts him as [his] son, as [he] had earlier adopted David (Psalm 2:7). The Jesuses of the authors of Matthew and Luke are the product of divine insemination of a virgin. The Jesuses of Paul and the author of John pre-existed in heaven with God, came to earth apparently by normal birth into the Jewish community, since both are said to be descended from David (as is Paul's, but not Mark's).

    And much more.

    But there's no clincher either way. Paul's "James the brother of the Lord" is ambiguous but the best there is, for instance. Yet there may have been someone who gave rise to the original story, and perhaps something of that person has survived in the stories ─ or perhaps not.
    The gods of any nation never lived, but oversaw the rise and fall of Sumer, Egypt, Babylon, Harappa, Greece, Rome, Persia and much more.
    More accurately, the organizers of the churches of Jesus that emerged successful from the early debates turned it into a religion that was spread, and thanks to Constantine was put in a position to influence Roman and Byzantine emperors and outmuscle the pagan religions. Jesus' remarkable success is in no small part due to his followers' use of him as a god of kings, a god of war, an instrument of supervision and conformity.
    That there were Christians is not in doubt, and that's what the earliest historical references are about.
    That's simply untrue. One of the reasons we know it's untrue is because the early bishops of the Christian church quoted their critics in order to refute them, thus giving the criticisms a survival they may not otherwise have had.
    It's certainly true that many Christians today (and not a few here) have very little idea of what the bible actually says.
    Really? You think that actually happened in history?

    Or did some human say it?
     
    #20 blü 2, Nov 27, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 27, 2020
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