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Old 12-23-2001, 01:03 AM   #41
Toto
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CowboyX:

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There are any number of sources outside the canonical new testament both extra-canonical Xian or Gnostic Xian works and in Pagan or Jewish works. None of these comes anywhere near proving the historicity of the NT, but it seems sufficiently established to conclude that Xianity had a real human founder.

The early church fathers in the beginning of the 2nd cnetury are absolutely preoccupied with anything from Jesus' original followers to give authority to there position. This presupposes that Jesus had such followers and thus implicitly that Jesus was a real person.
What are these sources you refer to? Can you conclude anything about the human founder of Christianity? Can you show that he was crucified? Or are you identifying Jesus with the Essene Teacher of Righteousness?

And it is clear that the early church founders in the second century were preoccupied with establishing their authority by tracing it to Jesus' disciples. But how can you use this to prove that there were disciples, or that there was a Jesus? They could have invented the entire history just as a way of establishing their authority.

You seem sling a lot of mud at Doherty with no substantive criticisms of his work. It's clear he is not a professional Biblical scholar, but his work should be judged on its own merit. Robert Price seems to take him seriously.

I do not want to get into another long discussion about Doherty's thesis now. I would like to see what Richard Carrier comes up with first.
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Old 12-23-2001, 04:04 AM   #42
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Even a Xian scholar with a good academic background and published peer reviewed articles who nonetheless published a thesis in the popular press would just as quickly dismissed especially if his theory contravenes the currently established one. Consider as an example Biochemist Dr. Micahel Behe and his "irreducible complexity" thesis in support of intelligent design creationsim.

Oh please. Behe's book was trashed not because it was in the popular press, but because it was bad. Even by its own standards, it was a failure, since several paths for Behe's irreducibly complex structures were demonstrated in the literature long before he published.

Despite Doherty's feeble background and lack of support in the scholarly community and despite having no published articles in peer reviewed journals, his thesis could still be right, but it is wildly divergent from existing theory and relies heavily on his own post-hoc reasoning. There are any number of sources outside the canonical new testament both extra-canonical Xian or Gnostic Xian works and in Pagan or Jewish works. None of these comes anywhere near proving the historicity of the NT, but it seems sufficiently established to conclude that Xianity had a real human founder.

CowboyX, EVERYONE, including Doherty, agrees that Christianity had a real human founder. The issue is WHO the founder(s) were, and where the idea came from. I assume you don't hold the position that non-humans founded Christianity!

The early church fathers in the beginning of the 2nd cnetury are absolutely preoccupied with anything from Jesus' original followers to give authority to there position. This presupposes that Jesus had such followers and thus implicitly that Jesus was a real person.

Alternatively, it presupposes that the Church had a heavy political investment in demonstrating a particular background for Jesus, and a strong incentive to make up stories. Consider that the famous "Keys to the Kingdom" in Mt 16:18 is an interpolation, as is 1 John 5:7, the only trinity statement. Several of the extant letters of "Paul" are later forgeries. As are, traditionally, the letters of Jude, James and Peter. You're talking of a faction well known for its penchant to make up stories and alter documents, a habit already well-developed by the middle of the second century when the first complaints start to surface. Also, your argument applies only to the proto-orthodox faction of Christianity, and cannot be made of most flavors of gnostics.

excerpt them here I'd be happy to address them within the reasonable constraints of both my interest and time.

I see. You call him a kook and a nutjob, but we have to do the defense. I'll put up some of the more interesting claims from Earl D's website (haven't read the book) after the beginning of January, when we get settled in Taiwan.

...is an extraoridnary claim to say he did not exist and so requires extraordinary evidence. Evidence which, owing to Jesus relative obscurity initially, is significantly lacking either for or against.

What a fabulous contradiction. One one hand you want to argue that the evidence is ambiguous and supports either position; but at the same time you want to argue that it is extraordinary to claim Jesus never existed. And then you accuse people who embrace the latter position of intellectual dishonesty. Right.

For that matter, Doherty accepts the possibility of a figure underneath the legends, he just thinks, like you and I, that the NT writings contain almost no true information about that figure. He argues that Paul knew nothing about the Jesus that the later NT writings refer to. There is little controversial in that mere statement; scholars from across the spectrum complain of the lack of reference to Jesus' life in Paul.

Doherty's innovation, and most controversial position is that Paul did not think of Jesus as a real person who had lived and died in real time, but that the events of Jesus' life were played out in the spirit realm, and that Paul did not believe Jesus was a real person.

So which position are you taking -- that Doherty is a nutjob for going one step further than all the other mythicists? Or that the whole position that Jesus is a myth, embraced by many scholars, is wrong?

I think it is intellectually dishonest for nontheists to than embrace Doherty so readily.

Opinions are like noses....

Michael

[ December 23, 2001: Message edited by: turtonm ]</p>
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Old 12-23-2001, 04:37 AM   #43
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Doherty openly states his credentials here --

<a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/499" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/499</a>

His website --

<a href="http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus.html" target="_blank">http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus.html</a>

S.
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Old 12-23-2001, 10:38 AM   #44
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Quote:
Originally posted by Sturgeon:
<strong>Doherty openly states his credentials here --

<a href="http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/499" target="_blank">http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/message/499</a>

His website --

<a href="http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus.html" target="_blank">http://www.magi.com/~oblio/jesus.html</a>

S.</strong>

For those not on the JM list, here is what is being referenced:

(Doherty is responding to a critic)

Quote:
My degree is in ancient history and classical languages. My Greek is good. (Now Jack, I would assume that, having read *anything* of my site, you might at least allow me a fair knowledge of Greek.) My Latin has gotten rusty (since I rarely need to use it). My Hebrew (almost entirely self-taught) is basic and could use some sprucing up. My Syriac is very basic, and now very rusty. My Coptic and Aramaic is all but non-existent. Make of that what you will, but again, let's not prejudge anyone by formal credentials. If any of the arguments I put forward show a critical deficiency in any of the above, that's another matter, but that would have to be demonstrated and is to be distinguished simply from your *assumption* or claim that it has critically affected the arguments. Rather, let's be sure that we are addressing the arguments themselves.
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Old 12-23-2001, 07:07 PM   #45
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Quote:
Originally posted by DennisM:

---
I think there is a misunderstanding in this thread, and that is that the myth position is not "Jesus never existed" so much as it is "the Jesus we have is entirely a creature of myth."
----
<strong>
If that is the mythicist position, it is one with which I am in accord. I've frequently seen the position stated as Jesus never existed; if I misunderstood the position, I apologize. The latter position I have little respect for; the former position is quite sensible.

</strong>
I am not sure what the difference is between "Jesus never existed" and "the character of Jesus is based on myth" - but presumably there was someone (named Ralph, perhaps?) who played a key role in founding Chistianity, but we don't know much about him.

Peter Kirby has a useful summary of different theories of the historic Jesus <a href="http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/theories.html" target="_blank">here</a>. It appears that there is no real scholarly consensus about the historic Jesus.

Doherty's theory is that Paul did not believe in a historic Jesus, but in a Platonic mystical savior entity. The Christian religion solidified as an amalgam of Paul's thought and that of the Q community, with its wisdom saying. So there were actual people involved, but not a person who was crucified under Pilate.

[ December 23, 2001: Message edited by: Toto ]</p>
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