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Proof that Jesus lived?

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Bangbang, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Sure ...
    The works of Josephus provide crucial information about the First Jewish-Roman War. They are also important literary source for understanding the context of the Dead Sea Scrolls and post-Second Temple Judaism. Josephan scholarship in the 19th and early 20th century became focused on Josephus' relationship to the sect of the Pharisees. He was consistently portrayed as a member of the sect and viewed as a villanous traitor to his own nation - a view which became known in Josephan studies as the classical conception. In the mid 20th century, this view was challenged by a new generation of scholars who fomulated the modern conception of Josephus, still considering him a Pharisee but restoring his reputation in part as patriot and a historian of some standing. Recent scholarship since 1990 has sought to move scholarly perceptions forward by demonstrating that Josephus was not a Pharisee but an orthodox Aristocrat-Priest who became part of the Temple establishment as a matter of deference and not willing association (Cf. Steve Mason, Todd Beall, and Ernst Gerlach).

    - Wikipedia

    In sum, then, the Pharisees are not of great interest to Josephus in his thirty volumes of writing. Certainly they do not have the central place of the priestly aristocracy, which is inextricably linked with the admirable Judean constitution throughout all his works. There is no evidence that he identified with the Pharisees in any way. On the contrary, in his world of values they appear on the wrong side entirely. They are for him popular teachers who have the confidence of the masses. But this is no recommendation. He is an unabashed elitist, who thinks that the hereditary priestly aristocracy are the ones properly charged with teaching and caring for the masses. As for many ancient writers, for Josephus the masses are a rudderless, impetuous mob that can be easily led by whoever makes the most convincing appeal to them. Josephus wishes that the aristocrats were always successful in managing their populace, but he willingly concedes that both in the context of war and otherwise, this has not always been the case.

    Although he is quite willing to acknowledge the Pharisees’ place within Judean culture as a “philosophical school,” the only preference Josephus exhibits among these groups is for the Essenes: their philosophy, disciplined way of life, and actual behavior in Judean history all earn his compliments—consistently. His glowing description of them in War 2.119-61 closely matches his portrait of general Judean values in Apion 2.146-96. Whenever the Pharisees, by contrast, appear as actors in the narrative, it is almost invariably to wield their influence for self-serving and socially disruptive ends. Josephus expresses a nearly consistent antipathy for all popular leaders or demagogues. John the Baptist [Ant. 18.111-14] is a curious exception, possibly because of his early death and Josephus’s desire to expose the sordid Herodian marriages involved. Whereas other such leaders come and go in the narrative, however, the Pharisees receive more of his venom because they have persevered as a group of popular leaders from Hasmonean times to his own.

    Once we abandon any connection between Josephus and the Pharisees, a number of benefits follow. Most importantly, we can read him with a new curiosity and openness, without the blinkers provided by a presumed religious or philosophical affiliation. We no longer need to say, when we read his accounts of afterlife and judgment, for example, that he must really mean something else (bodily resurrection), which he has Hellenized. When he talks about the “ancestral traditions” of the Judeans, we can now see that these are quite parallel to the ancestral traditions of other cultures and have nothing to do with the special “traditions of the fathers” recognized by the Pharisees only. In general, we find in Josephus a statesman very much like other statesmen of the Greek-speaking eastern Mediterranean, wrestling with the same sorts of questions in the same sort of language, trying to find a place for his people in a perilous world subject to Roman domination.

    It is perhaps natural to ask: If Josephus was not (and did not claim to be) a Pharisee, then what was he? To which group did he belong? To answer such a question we need first, however, to reject the old and invalid assumption that all ancient Judeans belonged to one of the three schools mentioned by Josephus. This assumption was the basis for much scholarly nonsense in the past—for example, identifying texts as Pharisaic or anti-Pharisaic, Sadducean, or even Essene (in the case of the Dead Sea Scrolls) because of certain statements in them viewed more less in isolation. This assumption presumably lay behind Thackeray’s rendering of Life 9, cited above: whereas Josephus speaks of the three schools “among us” (par’ hemin) Thackeray wrote of the sects into which “our nation is divided.” Since the work of Morton Smith and especially Jacob Neusner from the 1950s onward, we have come to realize that ancient Judean culture offered many sorts of “school” affiliation, whether with the dominant parties or with individual teachers (e.g., Bannus, John the Baptist, Jesus, Theudas), and also non-affiliation. There is no reason to assume that all or most Judeans, especially those of the aristocratic élite, had a particular school affiliation.

    Indeed, in the larger Greco-Roman world with which Josephus so consistently compares his own culture, it would have been remarkable to find a public leader expressing devotion to one single philosophical school. As we have seen, it was considered praiseworthy for a man to learn something of all the major philosophies, to have a philosophical perspective that would serve him well in handling the vicissitudes of life. He should know a basic philosophical vocabulary and try to live as philosophers recommended, which is to say simply, with dignity, fearlessly, and without need of luxury or favor. Josephus illustrates this model when he parades his youthful philosophical preparation. But ongoing devotion to one school smacked of fanaticism and would therefore be deeply suspect in a mature man who was active in public life. True to form, Josephus presents himself as just such a man, the embodiment of his people, free from any zealous devotion to one school.

    - Flavius Josephus and the Pharisees

    He's wrong.
     
  2. darkwaldo

    darkwaldo Member

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    Does it really matter if you can prove Jesus's exsistence? I would be more concerned about whether or not he preformed the miracles written in the bible or, proof that the sermons he preached weren't lies.
     
  3. michel

    michel Administrator Emeritus
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    That's not the point; the title of this thread is Proof that Jesus Lives ? (not whether or not it matters);)
     
  4. JerryL

    JerryL Well-Known Member

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    And we get the same sources we always see:

    Tactius, who did not witness the events and who did not live in the region the events would have occured writes about two generations after the end of the alledged events about the beliefs of Christians. He cites no source, and the only source he alludes to is the belief of Christians themselves. I agree that there were Christians by the second century CE and that they believed in Jesus.

    You cite no comment on Jesus at all, only a comment on Christians (which I agree exist). You further assert that there may have been witnesses to an event 80 years earlier, that they may have lived in the region and that Pliny may have consulted them. Given the average lifespan at the time, I find the likelyhood of a 100+ year-old man who witnessed Jesus lying around unlikely.

    It's interesting that you cite a source that conflicts with your accounting. According to the Gospels, Jesus was crucified (though Psalms says he was hung). You cite a source saying he was stoned then hung.

    What makes you feel this source (40-170 years later) is even refering to the same Yeshua? (BTW, it's not "can be translated", "Jesus" is the English version of the Latin version of the Greek version of the Hebrew name)

    Again mentions the existance of Christians, whom I agree existed. The question is Jesus, not Christians.
     
  5. Bangbang

    Bangbang Active Member

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    Thankyou Todd. This is what I was looking for. I should have just asked for historical accounts rather than proof.:banghead3
     
  6. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    "The Talmud" writes the Jewish Scholar Joseph Klausner, "speaks of hanging in place of crucifixion, sine this horrible Roman form of death was only known to Jewish scholars from Roman trials, and not from the Jewish legal system. Even Paul the Apostle (Gal 3: 13) expounds the passage "for a curse of God is that which is hanged" (Deut 21:23) as applicable to Jesus."
     
  7. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  8. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    Therefore.....'hanging' on a cross is synonymous with crucifixion.
     
  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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  10. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    I am referring to your post about hanging contradicting crucifixion. It doesn't contradict....it's just different wording used to describe the same thing.....what's the dilemma? What more do you want to know?
     
  11. Smoke

    Smoke Done here.

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    But this doesn't sound like an account of Jesus to me:
    It is taught: On the eve of Passover they hung Yeshu and the crier went forth for forty days beforehand declaring that "[Yeshu] is going to be stoned for practicing witchcraft, for enticing and leading Israel astray. Anyone who knows something to clear him should come forth and exonerate him." But no one had anything exonerating for him and they hung him on the eve of Passover.

    Ulla said: Would one think that we should look for exonerating evidence for him? He was an enticer and G-d said (Deuteronomy 13:9) "Show him no pity or compassion, and do not shield him."

    Yeshu was different because he was close to the government.





     
  12. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    The passage I quote is from Joseph Klausner and his book "Jesus of Nazareth". I am assuming since the man had a Ph.D he more than likely knew more than most on this forum about Talmud writings. I trust his words.

    "He earned his Ph.D. in Germany and wrote a book about Jesus of Nazareth, which was considered so informative by Herbert Danby, an Anglican priest, that he translated the work from Hebrew into English so that English scholars might avail themselves of the information contained within this book."

    "Klausner always insisted that Jesus was best understood as an unconventional Jew and Israelite. "

    Joseph Klausner (1874-1958)

    [​IMG] Professor Joseph Gedaliah Klausner was a scholar. Born in Lithuania, he came to Palestine in 1919 where he was a professor of Hebrew literature and history at the Hebrew University. He published volumes of historical works. Klausner was a candidate for president in 1949.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Klausner
     
  13. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Really? Do you really trust Klausner's words on Jesus and Christianity?
     
  14. JerryL

    JerryL Well-Known Member

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    I take it you don't know what an "appeal to authority" falacy is?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Albert_Wells

    George Albert Wells, an Emeritus Professor of German at Birkbeck College, likely also knows his stuff and he argues that there is no Historical Jesus.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Freke

    Timothy Freke has an honours degree in philosophy and is an internationally respected authority on world mysticism. His previous books include The Jesus Mysteries, which was a top 10 best-seller in the UK and USA, an Amazon.com 'surprise bestseller', and a 'Book of the Year' in The Daily Telegraph. His book Jesus and the Lost Goddess was cited by Dan Brown as an inspiration for The Da Vinci Code. He has often been featured in the media around the world. Recently he was interviewed for the History Channel documentary Beyond The Da Vinci Code and has been the focus of 'Modern Mystics' on the BBC World Service and 'Beyond Belief' on BBC Radio 4.

    He asserts that Jesus did not really exist, but was instead a syncretic re-interpretation of the fundamental pagan "godman" by the Gnostics, who were the original sect of Christianity as a consequence. Freke and Grandy, therefore, offer their own argument in support of the Jesus-Myth theory. Orthodox Christianity, according to them, was not the predecessor to Gnosticism, as conventional wisdom states, but a later outgrowth that rewrote history in order to make literal Christianity appear to predate the Gnostics.

    Shall we start the battling scholars now?
     
  15. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    You forgot to include this quote from Wikipedia about Wells:

    In his last works, Wells has somewhat moderated his views, allowing for the possibility that certain elements of the Gospel traditions might be based on a historical figure from the first-century Palestine. However, Wells insists that this line of first-century traditions is separate from the sacrificial Christ myth of Paul's epistles and other early documents, and that these two traditions have different origins. Wells concludes that the reconstruction of this historical figure from the extant literature would be a hopeless task. Wells claim of a mythical Jesus has received no support and for the most part little attention from historians and theologians.


    And....he was no professor of Hebrew Studies or History. Klausner therefore is more qualified in my mind.
     
  16. linwood

    linwood Well-Known Member

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    Buttercup this "Battle of the Scholars is really a dead end.

    For every scholar you post another just as qualified can be found to rebut him.
    In the end, none of them are really "proof" the Jesus lived or didn`t live.
     
  17. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    Well then, why would anyone accept anyone else's answer about anything on this forum? Do you not take the word of scholars?

    I am merely addressing a question about "hanging" as opposed to crucifixion. What would be a sufficient answer then? And where would the reference or 'proof' of that answer lie?
     
  18. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    And, I think we should define what anyone on this thread considers historical documents as proof of Jesus having lived....this is my recommendation:

    [font=Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif]Procedure for Testing a Document's Validity
    In his book, Introduction in Research in English Literary History, C. Sanders sets forth three tests of reliability employed in general historiography and literary criticism.{1} These tests are:

    1. Bibliographical (i.e., the textual tradition from the original document to the copies and manuscripts of that document we possess today)

    2. Internal evidence (what the document claims for itself)

    3. External evidence (how the document squares or aligns itself with facts, dates, persons from its own contemporary world).
    [/font]
     
  19. Quiddity

    Quiddity UndertheInfluenceofGiants

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    I think it would be wise you don't push either way. The concensus seems unclear to me.

    Along with subject material on the origins of Christianity ideas are raised from works by authors such as Paula Fredriksen, G.A. Wells, Earl Doherty, John D. Crossan, Robert Price, Gerd Ludemann, Elaine Pagels, Stevan Davies, Dennis MacDonald, Darrell Doughty, Timothy Freke Peter Gandy, Burton Mack, Alvar Ellegard, John P. Meier, Hermann Detering, Robert Eisenman, Alan Segal, Hyam Maccoby, et al.

    In the course of our examination we have found that most sceptics accept that there is the clear possibility that an itinerant preacher with the common name, Yeshua, may have existed, but that eponymous person shared few of the many and varied characteristics and acts which were later accumulated into the gospels. Rather than simply assert or deny whether the word 'Historical' applies using a variety of possible definitions which suit various proponents' stances, our endeavours are therefore centred on the sources which made up the Gospel Jesus and how they were accreted into that complex combination of several characters represented in the canonical gospels under the name: Jesus.


    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/
     
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  20. Buttercup

    Buttercup Veteran Member

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    Shall we just end the thread then? Why broach the subject in the first place? Aren't we here to debate?

    Why discuss MOST of the topics on this forum? Are we only interested in opinion?
     
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