Author Topic: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??  (Read 948 times)

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« on: October 04, 2017, 11:15:17 AM »
Richard Carrier published a book a couple of years ago titled: On the Historicity of Jesus (Why we Might Have Reason for Doubt).  I read it when it was published and found it fascinating.  However, it is a long book (almost 700 pages) and very heavily footnoted--which I like.  Early on he established what is factually known about Christianity and Jesus broken down into units or elements of data.  There are 48 elements and each one is a statement of fact or knowledge that has been established and accepted as fact.  These may be disputed, but he indicates only by the most fanatical, but is generally accepted as established among most scholars.  So, I thought I'd list all these elements, one at a time and see if anyone has feedback about these elements. 

So, without much surprise, I'll start the listing with Element 1:

The earliest form of Christianity definitely known to us originated as a Jewish sect in the region of Syria-Palestine in the early first century CE.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #1 on: October 04, 2017, 11:28:30 AM »
Richard Carrier published a book a couple of years ago titled: On the Historicity of Jesus (Why we Might Have Reason for Doubt).  I read it when it was published and found it fascinating.  However, it is a long book (almost 700 pages) and very heavily footnoted--which I like.  Early on he established what is factually known about Christianity and Jesus broken down into units or elements of data.  There are 48 elements and each one is a statement of fact or knowledge that has been established and accepted as fact.  These may be disputed, but he indicates only by the most fanatical, but is generally accepted as established among most scholars.  So, I thought I'd list all these elements, one at a time and see if anyone has feedback about these elements. 

So, without much surprise, I'll start the listing with Element 1:

I am already satisfied from decades of reading that there was no such historical Jesus as the bibles describe.  Sort of like the multiple characters who were combined to be Robin Hood or King Arthur..

The earliest form of Christianity definitely known to us originated as a Jewish sect in the region of Syria-Palestine in the early first century CE.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2017, 11:36:40 AM »
Cavebear, I came to that belief somewhat later in life than you did.  For most of my life I regarded jesus as a man to whom legend and myth had become attached.   
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2017, 11:43:22 AM »
I sort of had it in mind to list these one a day.  But some are so short that I will move on more quickly than that.

Element 2:
When Christianity began. Judaism was highly sectarian and diverse.  There was no 'normative' set of Jewish beliefs, but a countless array of different Jewish belief systems vying for popularity.  We know of at least ten competing sects, possibly possibly more than 30 and there could have easily been more.  .......................... No argument, therefore, can proceed from an assumption of any universally normative Judaism.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2017, 11:48:36 AM »
Cavebear, I came to that belief somewhat later in life than you did.  For most of my life I regarded jesus as a man to whom legend and myth had become attached.

I read the bible as a child, like I read the family encyclopedia and the dictionaries.  I caught on to the "Jesus as Santa Clause for adults" pretty quick.  But I was never sure.  I can only guess my age, but I think it was about 12, and decided that religious claims made no sense.  My parents never admitted their uncertainty and I had to get through the religious nonsense on my own. 

In retrospect, I understand that my parents were being carefully neutral.  And had they chosen a "side" I might be a very different person.  But my questioning of religion as "illogical" helped me through all my years after.  I made up my own mind.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2017, 11:50:50 AM »
I sort of had it in mind to list these one a day.  But some are so short that I will move on more quickly than that.

Element 2:
When Christianity began. Judaism was highly sectarian and diverse.  There was no 'normative' set of Jewish beliefs, but a countless array of different Jewish belief systems vying for popularity.  We know of at least ten competing sects, possibly possibly more than 30 and there could have easily been more.  .......................... No argument, therefore, can proceed from an assumption of any universally normative Judaism.

I knew there were many jewish sects, but not so many.  Please continue.  And thank you for this.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Online Mike Cl (OP)

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #6 on: October 04, 2017, 11:58:38 AM »
I knew there were many jewish sects, but not so many.  Please continue.  And thank you for this.
I will list all 48; the only consideration will be the pacing.  Some are short (like the first 2) and others are quite long.  But finish, I will.
Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able?
Then he is not omnipotent,
Is he able but not willing?
Then whence cometh evil?
Is he neither able or willing?
Then why call him god?

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2017, 12:41:07 PM »
Richard Carrier published a book a couple of years ago titled: On the Historicity of Jesus (Why we Might Have Reason for Doubt).  I read it when it was published and found it fascinating.  However, it is a long book (almost 700 pages) and very heavily footnoted--which I like.  Early on he established what is factually known about Christianity and Jesus broken down into units or elements of data.  There are 48 elements and each one is a statement of fact or knowledge that has been established and accepted as fact.  These may be disputed, but he indicates only by the most fanatical, but is generally accepted as established among most scholars.  So, I thought I'd list all these elements, one at a time and see if anyone has feedback about these elements. 

So, without much surprise, I'll start the listing with Element 1:

The earliest form of Christianity definitely known to us originated as a Jewish sect in the region of Syria-Palestine in the early first century CE.

Correct.  Begging the question.  But it wasn't Christianity as we know it, that happened in 325 CE in Nicea, under Constantine.  All Christianity before that, is mis-named as such.  Rome had a great oppressive politics and propaganda machine.  Constantine made up shit, and erased evidence.  His clergy were government employees, who did his bidding.  The Christian Bible was canonized by priests acting as political agents of the State ... over the next 100 years.  It is a fact, but irrelevant, that Armenia and Ethiopia established State churches around the same time.  There were some Gentile Christian groups that escaped State control, in Persia, where they were oppressed by the Sassanids because they were suspected as a Fifth Column.  But the making of Zoroastrianism into a State church in Sassanid Persia, preceded all this by about 75 years, so the others had a prototype to imitate.  Constantine replaced one State church (paganism) with another, for his own political goals as head of the Roman Mafia.  There was no separation of Church and State ever ... once the Church got going, until relatively recently.  There still isn't in Germany, GB etc.  Gentile Christians (135 CE forward) were only free because they were a criminal sedition against the Roman State church (paganism).

As far as the historical Jesus goes, I used to care, but have grown past that after I did my own research circa 1997.  We can't see thru the evidence because of the deep weeds of propaganda.  There is only history as entertainment, not as fact.

BTW - this kind of analysis is common to the Jesus Seminar and John Dominic Crossan ... who was part of the Jesus Seminar, but independent of it.  Even Crossan isn't skeptical enough, because he is still a Christian.  John Shelby Spong is another Jesus Seminar type ... and he comes closer, because he recognizes the Jewish aspect.  Orthodox Rabbis don't because they reject everything Gentile as non-kosher, including even Jewish Christians.  Just another failed messiah, if historical, or just another fake messiah, if ahistorical.
שלום

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2017, 12:43:00 PM »
Cavebear, I came to that belief somewhat later in life than you did.  For most of my life I regarded jesus as a man to whom legend and myth had become attached.

That is a common Unitarian-Universalist POV ... not even Protestant.  But still religious.  I initially assumed that too, until I completed my own research.  Basically, the Jesus Seminar, Crossan, et al were trying to establish a non-orthodox view of a historical Jesus ... for me they failed, they demonstrated that Jesus was mythical.
שלום

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2017, 12:49:15 PM »
Cavebear, I came to that belief somewhat later in life than you did.  For most of my life I regarded jesus as a man to whom legend and myth had become attached.

Correct again.  But after three Jewish-Roman wars, there were only two winners by 200 CE ... a slowly forming rabbinic Jewish sect, and a slowly forming gentile Christian sect.  They were still disunited.  That ends with political power.  Judaism both in Roman territory and in Persian territory, has to become normative to be licit under Roman or Persian law (order is required, thus uniformity).  Similarly that is what happened in Roman territory, Armenian territory and Ethiopian territory for the Christians.  Christians only remained freely associating and diverse, under non-State conditions (Nubia, Persia and India).  Bible Judaism itself (around 500 BCE), only became normative, because the Persian Empire made it so, when it sent quislings from Babylon to Jerusalem (see Ezra), under the first Zionism.  That is where most of the Jewish Bible comes from ... normative under that political domination.  Of course this was anachronistic after Alexander and Caesar.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 12:51:42 PM by Baruch »
שלום

Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2017, 01:02:19 PM »
Correct again.  But after three Jewish-Roman wars, there were only two winners by 200 CE ... a slowly forming rabbinic Jewish sect, and a slowly forming gentile Christian sect.  They were still disunited.  That ends with political power.  Judaism both in Roman territory and in Persian territory, has to become normative to be licit under Roman or Persian law (order is required, thus uniformity).  Similarly that is what happened in Roman territory, Armenian territory and Ethiopian territory for the Christians.  Christians only remained freely associating and diverse, under non-State conditions (Nubia, Persia and India).  Bible Judaism itself (around 500 BCE), only became normative, because the Persian Empire made it so, when it sent quislings from Babylon to Jerusalem (see Ezra), under the first Zionism.  That is where most of the Jewish Bible comes from ... normative under that political domination.  Of course this was anachronistic after Alexander and Caesar.

The jewish texts are really only a record of the change from nomadic life to a farming life ages before.  All the old testament rules were merely shamanic recordings of how people made sensible rules to manage the transition.

Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2017, 01:04:13 PM »
The jewish texts are really only a record of the change from nomadic life to a farming life ages before.  All the old testament rules were merely shamanic recordings of how people made sensible rules to manage the transition.

Yes ... but you are looking down from 30,000 feet.  You do see the forest.  But you don't have to bother with the trees unless you want to.  Stuff from 1000-3000 years ago ... is really old news, and mostly fake anyway.

Where we differ is ... you admire modern people and despise ancient people.  I don't admire people at all (I try not to despise them all).  But anthropologically, the ancient people are less annoying, because I have to live with the modern people, but not with the ancient people.  There are many ways of being human, both in space and time.  All are part of anthropology.  If I had to live in New Guinea, I would probably tire of it pretty quickly too.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2017, 01:07:29 PM by Baruch »
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Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2017, 01:07:21 PM »
Yes ... but you are looking down from 30,000 feet.  You do see the forest.  But you don't have to bother with the trees unless you want to.  Stuff from 1000-3000 years ago ... is really old news, and mostly fake anyway.

Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance.  Americans think 200 years is a long time.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950

Offline Baruch

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2017, 01:08:59 PM »
Europeans think 200 miles is a long distance.  Americans think 200 years is a long time.

Shh ... don't tell the Europeans or the Americans.  They both think they are superior to the other.  To really get into it, you have to think in terms of 1000s of miles and 1000s of years.  And prior to writing, the people of old can't tell us much, unfortunately.
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Online Cavebear

Re: Jesus--Fact or Fiction??
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2017, 01:19:14 PM »
Shh ... don't tell the Europeans or the Americans.  They both think they are superior to the other.  To really get into it, you have to think in terms of 1000s of miles and 1000s of years.  And prior to writing, the people of old can't tell us much, unfortunately.

History is relentless.  Someday, the US will go the way of the Persians, the Greeks, the Romans, the French and the Brits. 

But not THIS century...  Ask the Germans and the Japanese.
Atheist born, atheist bred.  And when I die, atheist dead!  b 1950