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Did Jesus exist?

Discussion in 'Scriptural Debates' started by Youtellme, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. Youtellme

    Youtellme Active Member

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    You are right, it doesn't say that, but thanks for offering your answer. However,
    all I would say, and this goes for some of the other points mentioned by others, and that it, could it be that the writers of the Koran or other writers knew of the
    person/character of Jesus and just wrote about him, much in the way someone may know of Santa Claus and write about him, but that doesn't prove he was real.
     
  2. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    isnt santa clause based on saint nick... someone who did exist?
     
  3. Youtellme

    Youtellme Active Member

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    Ok, Dracula. Ah...darn it...The Grinch then.
     
  4. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    One could argue that for any number of people though. I could say the same thing about Caesar. Not really a good argument in the long run.
     
  5. Iti oj

    Iti oj Global warming is real and we need to act
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    Soo while everything said and know may be false usualy at the start was a real person... it could be a meld of several people over several years etc
     
  6. michaelsherlock

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    That is not the whole story with regards to the "Jesus" references in Josephus' 'Antiquities of the Jews'.

    Firstly, we need some context.

    The name Jesus is a Greek rendering of the Hebrew Yeshua, Yeshu, Joshua. Josephus meanitons 20 different people by the name of Jesus in the work cited above.

    Some of those people included; Jesus the son of Sapphias, Jesus the son of Gamala, Jesus the son of Phabet, Jesus the son of Sie, Jesus the son of Fabus, Jesus the son of Thias, Jesus the son of Gamaliel, Jesus the son of Damneus, Jesus the brother of Onias, Jesus the brother of John, Jesus the Galilean, who was a great military commander and many others.

    Now that we have established this context the next thing to be aware of is the fact that Josephus was born and died an Orthodox Jew, and Jews do not believe the Messiah has arrived yet, this is one of the central tenants of the Jewish religion. Many historians have noted that Josephus considered himself a continuer of the Orthodox Jewish Pharasaic tradition and if you read his Antiquities and his Jewish Wars, you will see for your self that he would never refer to anyone as being the Messiah/Christ. Yet in the primary passage Christians use to support an historical Jesus from Josephus' Antiquities of the Jew, he refers to Jesus as the Messiah. This is odd! Further, if you analyze the order of passages surrounding the interpolation, you notice that the order of passages does not make sense. The paragraph preceding the Christ reference talks about Pilates violent suppression of a Jewish rebellion, the passage following the Christ passage, starts by saying; " Another sad calamity befel the Jews" So this order of passages makes it seem that Josephus was saying that the advent of the Jewish Messiah was a sad calamity, when just prior he allegedly spoke of Jesus as being a wonderful doer of wonerful deeds. If we subtract the interpolated verse, the "sad calamity" becomes the violent suppression of the Jews by Pilate. This makes much more sense. There are also stylistic anomalies, the silence of early church fathers, who had all referred to Josephus' work, yet made no mention of the 'Testamonium Favium,' and the early Church Father Origin, specifically said, that Josephus did not believe Jesus was the Christ.

    In the words of the famous Christian Bishop Warburton;

    "If a Jew owned the truth of Christianity, he must needs embrace it. We, therefore, certainly conclude that the paragraph where Josephus, who was as much a Jew as the religion of Moses could make him, is made to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ, in terms as strong as words could do it, is a rank forgery, and a very stupid one, too"

    And in the words of the renowned Rev. S. Baring Gould:

    "This passage is first quoted by Eusebius (fl. A.D. 315) in two places (Hist. Eccl., lib. i, c. xi; Demonst. Evang., lib. iii); but it was unknown to Justin Martyr (fl. A.D. 140), Clement of Alexandria (fl. A.D. 192), Tertullian (fl. A.D. 193), and Origen (fl. A.D. 230). Such a testimony would certainly have been produced by Justin in his apology or in his controversy with Trypho the Jew, had it existed in the copies of Josephus at his time. The
    silence of Origen is still more significant. Celsus, in his book against Christianity, introduces a Jew. Origen attacks the argument of Celsus and his Jew. He could not have failed to quote the words of Josephus, whose writings he knew, had the passage existed in the genuine text. He, indeed, distinctly affirms that Josephus did not believe in Christ (Contr. Cels. i)."
    There are many more issues with regards to the Josephus reference(s) yet most serious scholars have dismissed this reference, due to its obvious fraudulent nature.

     
  7. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    Josephus was a Pharisee, not an Orthodox Jew.

    Few scholars actually dismiss the entire passage. Most acknowledge that that there are later interpolations. However, they also acknowledge that Josephus did write something about Jesus. I wrote an in depth argument for it here: http://www.religiousforums.com/forum/general-religious-debates/107541-josephus-jesus.html


    And even if we ignore the longer passage, there is still a shorter passage, calling Jesus the brother of James, which is nearly universally accepted.
     
  8. angellous_evangellous

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    This is a brilliant point. But I don't think that he was a Pharisee (he also claimed to be a Sadducee and an Essene).

    Hence:

    http://www.livius.org/jo-jz/josephus/josephus.htm
    I think we should say that Josephus was a philosopher and a Hellenized Jew.

    I don't mean to split hairs. It's just that saying Josephus was a Pharisee is a big deal to me.
     
    #28 angellous_evangellous, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 2, 2012
  9. michaelsherlock

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    I agree that the other passage outside of the Testimonium Flavium; the "Jesus the brother of James" does not appear to be a forgery, however the line tagged onto the end of it "Who was the christ," almost certainly was. A reference to Jesus the brother of James, or a John the brother of Tom, in no way proves the historical Jesus of the Gospels, let alone that he was the son of God. In the words of biblical Archaeologist Eric Cline:

    "Archaeology has not yet been able to shed any direct light on the birth, life, or death of Jesus. That is to say, there is not yet any archaeological evidence for the historical Jesus—or any of the apostles for that matter….However, the failure of biblical archaeologists and pseudo-archaeologists to provide confirmatory evidence of the life of Jesus and the apostles has not been for lack of trying"

    Further, there are no records of Jesus the son of Mary and Joseph outside of the religious scriptures, which are not very reliable as they are tainted by the motivation to persuade and convince people to beleive in and convert to, their religion, one religion out of thousands, a thousand to one shot of being true, if you like!

    It all comes down to belief and faith and these two things are not proof of anything, but the existence of belief and faith alone!
     
  10. angellous_evangellous

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    And it never will. That's why it's a moot point that is completely irrelevant.

    And with history, you don't need "direct light." Most of the time all we have is "indirect light" - especially with a poor person like Jesus who became significant long after their death. As such, the historical Jesus will always be a reconstruction from fragmentary evidence limited by amateurish stupidity and historical imagination. So some people won't be convinced that Jesus existed because they have a higher standard of proof than the subject can withstand. It's of course equally stupid to just accept anything as evidence.
     
  11. Super Universe

    Super Universe Defender of God

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    There were many books written about Jesus, only those that were deemed to have value to the church were included in the official bible.

    Essentially the new Catholic religion did not like some of the idea's that Jesus had proposed so it tried to suppress them. One of those idea's was that women were equal to men, another was that each individual could make a connection to God on their own, still another was that God did not desire you to perform any ritual.

    How was the church going to exist and get money from the people if it's own text's said that it was irrelevant to finding God?

    EDIT: Oh, and lest I forget the Mormon Bible describes Him as well as the Urantia Book.
     
    #31 Super Universe, Feb 2, 2012
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2012
  12. Dirty Penguin

    Dirty Penguin Master Of Ceremony

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    :biglaugh:
     
  13. michaelsherlock

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    And with history, you don't need "direct light." Most of the time all we have is "indirect light" - especially with a poor person like Jesus who became significant long after their death. As such, the historical Jesus will always be a reconstruction from fragmentary evidence limited by amateurish stupidity and historical imagination. So some people won't be convinced that Jesus existed because they have a higher standard of proof than the subject can withstand. It's of course equally stupid to just accept anything as evidence.[/quote]


    You make sense! However, regarding Jesus being not well known, the scriptures seem to contradict this!


    The accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry given in the Christian Gospels say that he was very popular and drew crowds of thousands.  Consider for example, Mark 2:1-12, where the crowd coming to see Jesus is so great that a paralytic person has to be lowered through the roof of a building just to see Jesus. Or when Jesus travels from Bethany to Jerusalem and crowds of people line the roads to welcome him. Further, most Christians would be familiar with tales such as, Jesus feeding the crowd of 5000 people with 2 fish and 5 loaves of bread (Mark 6:39-44) and later feeding a crowd of 4000 (Mark 8:1-9), or King Herod gathering all the scribes and priests of Bethlehem together to ask where Jesus would be born (Matthew 2:4). Add to these thousands of witness, the masses of Jews who were reported to have attended his crucifixion in order to mock him (Matthew 27). Finally, add to all of this Gospel testimony, the fact that his ministry spanned from 1 to 3 years, depending on which tradition you believe. In that time, whether it was one or three years, he would have met and touched more lives than the four official Gospels could have reported. There is little doubt that the authors of the Gospels were claiming that Jesus was well known in the region in which he lived.



    Your thoughts!
     
  14. bigbadgirl

    bigbadgirl Active Member

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    Why would you want proof outside of the Bible for Jesus, then quote it to make your point?
     
  15. angellous_evangellous

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    :facepalm:
     
  16. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    Good point. :yes:
     
  17. Katzpur

    Katzpur Not your average Mormon

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    Just to clarify, Mormons use the King James Version of the Bible. Maybe you were thinking of The Book of Mormon.
     
  18. angellous_evangellous

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    I thought it was an excellent point.:D
     
  19. fallingblood

    fallingblood Agnostic Theist

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    Point taken. And very informative article. I've read a little about Josephus, and always thought his Essene experience was a little weird.
     
  20. Quagmire

    Quagmire Imaginary talking monkey
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    Me too but I wanted to check with you first. :D
     
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