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Old 05-21-2001, 07:15 PM   #21
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Hi Michael,

Bede asked:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And who are all these scholars who don't believe Jesus existed? I'd like to know.</font>
You responded:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Scholars of myth and comparative religion. Take Campbell, for instance, with an interview here covering this very topic:

http://www.whidbey.com/parrott/toms.htm</font>
Can you give me a direct quote from Joseph Campbell to the effect that "Jesus did not exist"?

Thanks.

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Old 05-21-2001, 07:29 PM   #22
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Mike,

I speed read the Campell interview. I saw where he referred to the Virgin Birth and the Flood as myths, but I did not see where he stated that Jesus did not exist.

Pinpoint reference or quote would be appreciated.

[This message has been edited by Layman (edited May 21, 2001).]
 
Old 05-21-2001, 07:36 PM   #23
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I hope these links work!

Layman says: QUOTE: &lt;B&gt;N.T. Wright, a leading British scholar, often mentions that mythicism and radical New Testament criticism is most common in the United States. Europe finds it rather laughable. Wright's proposed explanation is that religious fundamentalism in the U.S. has spawned a reactionary, criticial fundamentalism just as unsupported by history.&lt;/b&gt; END QUOTE

I had never heard of N.T. Wright. I looked him up in a search engine. From what I see, he is indeed a noted British scholar, as described here:

“Wright is Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey and was formerly dean of Lichfield Cathedral. He taught New Testament studies for twenty years at Cambridge, McGill and Oxford Universities. Wright's full-scale work Jesus and the Victory of God is widely regarded as one of the most significant studies in the contemporary "Third Quest" of the historical Jesus. It follows The New Testament and the People of God as the second volume in his projected six-volume series entitled Christian Origins and the Question of God. Among his many other published works are The Original Jesus, What Saint Paul Really Said and The Climax of the Covenant. He is also coauthor with Marcus Borg of The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (1998).”
htp://www.gospelcom.net/cgi-ivpress/author.pl/author_id=1069

I also found an article of Wright’s online that describes his critique of the Jesus Seminar. In this article he proposes his own historical methodology for recreating a historical figure of Jesus. I am snipping quotes from out of context. The source is here: http://www.catholic.net/rcc/Periodic...06/wright.html

“I propose seven steps to lead us forward in our quest. First, we must integrate the things we do with the Gospels and allow them mutually to inform one another.
Second, at the personal level, each one of us must integrate our thinking and our praying. This will be deeply challenging. At the beginning of the book that Marcus Borg and I wrote together, we set ourselves the task of addressing the quest: How do we know about Jesus? I began by stating that we know about Jesus in two ways—history and faith.... I want to have the best of both worlds, because it is God’s world, it is one world, and it is our world. We have to integrate history and faith.
More particularly, and third in terms of my suggestions, we must integrate the story of Jesus’ ministry with His death and resurrection...Once you make that move, breathtaking though it is, it has the force of a huge, historical screen—suddenly, the whole picture makes sense.
Theology in History
Fourth, we have the task of integrating history and theology; that is, of bringing together what we say about our historical research and what we say about God. If you take the historical picture of a Jesus who is announcing the crisis coming on Israel and the world, there is a straight line to Christian atonement theology...There is a straight line from there to the highest incarnational Christology you could ever possibly want: Jesus is divine and human. It is earth-shattering.
The fifth step is to integrate all of that with our proclamation to the world. We have to retell the story of Jesus in drama, music, and poetry within “post-postmodernity,” which is where we’re moving toward quickly. Hurling dogmas at people’s heads will not do. Actually, it never really did. We can only tell the story by using story, symbol, and all the means available to us. There is wonderful talent out there, not just to do theology in an abstract sense but to live it profoundly. We must integrate all those tasks and pray for the grace to take this extraordinary, many-layered story, which as historians we can get our hands on better and better, and make it live for the world...” END OF QUOTE

May I be excused for saying I prefer my history perhaps a little on the drier side?

 
Old 05-21-2001, 09:41 PM   #24
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Layman --

We've been over these points. John is not independent and even if it were, it means nothing. The gospels are myth, and no "history" can be recovered from them. By the time Acts was written (the actual date is irrelevant to me) the myth was already going full-blown. Some writers seem to regard Acts as literary creation with only some truth as a skeleton. Again with Acts we face the problem of determining what, in this mixture of rhetorical technique, literary creation, deliberate mythologizing and probable fact, we should regard as history.

There are two reasons I figure that there is a human underneath all this Founder myth. First, Q and the sayings tradition. It's not convincing, but it is evidence. It's not strong because the sayings are not original, and could easily, as Doherty argues, belong to a communal tradition. This is certainly true of many Founder Figures -- Confucious, according to tradition, believed that he was merely a transmitter of ideas, and not an originator. I'm sure you can agree that not all the things attributed to Jesus were actually said by him.

The second reason is simple probability: many Founder myths (but certainly not all) do indeed have a figure somewhere underneath them. This is an even weaker argument, I realize.

After all, I accept that Confucious was a real person, although the details of his life are also buried under layers of myth. As one scholar noted: we have plenty of traditions about Confucious, the trick is to chose which ones contain truth. We face the same problem with Jesus (or St. Patrick or King Arthur, or Shaka, or Buddha, or Shi Huang Ti....).

Mythicists see the gospel fables completely differently than NT Wright et al. Look how complex Campbell's view of it is. Do you think someone who starts out with "faith" like Wright as part of his scholarly pose is going to get anywhere worth going? Why do you think they need "faith?" "I take it for granted Jesus existed," Wright says. The question of Jesus' existence, a legitimate one for scholarly rumination, never occurs. Since Wright has pre-supposed Jesus' life on earth, he's not really worth taking seriously as a scholar on that point, is he?

There are two reasons Wright relies on "faith": first, honest research into the gospels is dangerous, who knows what one might find out, so "faith" insulates one from certain conclusions.

Second, because if you are going to do "historical research" on the gospels, you have to start with the presupposition that there is history down there. But there is no way to know that for sure. The NT contains no history of Jesus; it is all myth. That, deep down, why Meier's criteria will never work, because they presuppose that there is history in the gospels to be recovered, but there probably isn't any.

So which "consensus of what scholars" should I accept? Conservative Catholic scholars who oppose the Jesus Seminar and view the historical quests as impossible and illegitimate? Mythologists for whom the question of Jesus' existence is a minor matter hidden by layers of myth? Oriental scholars who regard Jesus as a demonic figure? Sociologists of religion who view the whole process differently than all of the above? The claims made on this and other threads that "all scholars" agree on this are simply laughable. Even all conservative Xtian scholars do not agree on whether a historical Jesus can be recovered from the gospels, which leaves open the question of whether he even existed at all.

"...for it is not possible to posit a stable understanding of "fact" and "fiction" over cultures and centuries. Ancients distinguished between the two, but not always as we should, nor uniformly among themselves." R. Pervo.

Michael
 
Old 05-21-2001, 11:33 PM   #25
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Layman:
I saw where [Campbell] referred to the Virgin Birth and the Flood as myths, but I did not see where he stated that Jesus did not exist. . .
</font>
This seems pretty close:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">My favorite definition of religion is "a misinterpretation of mythology." And the misinterpretation consists precisely in attributing historical references to symbols which properly are spiritual in their reference.</font>
Now do you have a cite for your statement from Mr. Wright?
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Old 05-22-2001, 03:25 AM   #26
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No, Toto, there is nothing in that reference that says that Jesus was not historical.

Michael (turtonm, whatever), can we please see evidence that Joseph Campbell believes that there was no historical Jesus?

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Old 05-22-2001, 07:57 AM   #27
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Layman --

We've been over these points. John is not independent and even if it were, it means nothing. The gospels are myth, and no "history" can be recovered from them. By the time Acts was written (the actual date is irrelevant to me) the myth was already going full-blown. Some writers seem to regard Acts as literary creation with only some truth as a skeleton. Again with Acts we face the problem of determining what, in this mixture of rhetorical technique, literary creation, deliberate mythologizing and probable fact, we should regard as history.

There are two reasons I figure that there is a human underneath all this Founder myth. First, Q and the sayings tradition. It's not convincing, but it is evidence. It's not strong because the sayings are not original, and could easily, as Doherty argues, belong to a communal tradition. This is certainly true of many Founder Figures -- Confucious, according to tradition, believed that he was merely a transmitter of ideas, and not an originator. I'm sure you can agree that not all the things attributed to Jesus were actually said by him.

The second reason is simple probability: many Founder myths (but certainly not all) do indeed have a figure somewhere underneath them. This is an even weaker argument, I realize.

After all, I accept that Confucious was a real person, although the details of his life are also buried under layers of myth. As one scholar noted: we have plenty of traditions about Confucious, the trick is to chose which ones contain truth. We face the same problem with Jesus (or St. Patrick or King Arthur, or Shaka, or Buddha, or Shi Huang Ti....).

Mythicists see the gospel fables completely differently than NT Wright et al. Look how complex Campbell's view of it is. Do you think someone who starts out with "faith" like Wright as part of his scholarly pose is going to get anywhere worth going? Why do you think they need "faith?" "I take it for granted Jesus existed," Wright says. The question of Jesus' existence, a legitimate one for scholarly rumination, never occurs. Since Wright has pre-supposed Jesus' life on earth, he's not really worth taking seriously as a scholar on that point, is he?

There are two reasons Wright relies on "faith": first, honest research into the gospels is dangerous, who knows what one might find out, so "faith" insulates one from certain conclusions.

Second, because if you are going to do "historical research" on the gospels, you have to start with the presupposition that there is history down there. But there is no way to know that for sure. The NT contains no history of Jesus; it is all myth. That, deep down, why Meier's criteria will never work, because they presuppose that there is history in the gospels to be recovered, but there probably isn't any.

So which "consensus of what scholars" should I accept? Conservative Catholic scholars who oppose the Jesus Seminar and view the historical quests as impossible and illegitimate? Mythologists for whom the question of Jesus' existence is a minor matter hidden by layers of myth? Oriental scholars who regard Jesus as a demonic figure? Sociologists of religion who view the whole process differently than all of the above? The claims made on this and other threads that "all scholars" agree on this are simply laughable. Even all conservative Xtian scholars do not agree on whether a historical Jesus can be recovered from the gospels, which leaves open the question of whether he even existed at all.

"...for it is not possible to posit a stable understanding of "fact" and "fiction" over cultures and centuries. Ancients distinguished between the two, but not always as we should, nor uniformly among themselves." R. Pervo.

Michael
</font>
I know we've been over these points. But you are wrong about them. You have done no literary examination or discussion of John at all. The only reason you believe that John relies on Mark is because there are a couple of similar stories, which is exactly what we would expect from an independent source about the same man. Even if it could be shown that John did rely on Mark for a couple of his stories, the majority of his Gospel would still be independent.

Q is not just a sayings Gospel. It has two miracle narratives and a discussion of John the Baptist and his relationship to Jesus. We've been over this but you seem to ignore this fact.

You completely ignore "L" which is another independent sources which contains sayings and narrative about a human Jesus.

Josephus provides independent confirmation as well.

M.

Paul.

Hebrews.

Do you really buy Doherty's theory? If you do, just say so. If you don't you are still dealing with references to the human Jesus in Paul and Hebrews.

Since that selective quote taken out of context is all you have read of Wright, I'd suggest getting a better grasp of him before claiming to understand his historical method. Moreover, it is irrelevant. He is a leading New Testament scholar. His knowledge of the field of New Testament studies is much, much broader than yours could ever hope to be. He, much more than you, is in a better position to describe the trends of Continental and American scholarship. That was all I was referring to him for. His "faith" is irrelevant to that understanding.
 
Old 05-22-2001, 07:59 AM   #28
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:
Now do you have a cite for your statement from Mr. Wright?</font>
Toto, your quote doesn't even come close to proving that Cambell thinks there was no human Jesus. Try again.

You truly want a cite from Professor Wright? I can get it for you, but my guess is you only want it to be spiteful. Do you really doubt he characterizes American and Continental scholarship as I have represented? On what basis do you so doubt?
 
Old 05-22-2001, 08:22 AM   #29
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Layman:
You are misreading his statement. He does not claim to be speaking for a continent, he is characterizing the state of New Testament scholarship as one who is very familiar with both Continental and American scholarship.

I wasn't aware of his actual statment but only how you characterized some statements he is supposed to have made.

You said:

"N.T. Wright, a leading British scholar, often mentions that mythicism and radical New Testament criticism is most common in the United States. Europe finds it rather laughable. "

"Europe" finds it laughable? Is this your exaggeration or his? How can such a statement be supported?

How often does he say this and upon what evidence is it based?

Appeals to authority in and of themselves are not strong arguments.

Turtonm, who has yet to demonstrate a familiarity with even American N.T. scholarship, asserts that: "[t]he vast majority of scholars across most disciplines (myth, history, comparative religion...) and from most countries would not regard Jesus as the son of god, and would probably agree that even his existence has not been conclusively proven."

Funny how you don't find that statement unsupported or out of bounds.


Not funny at all. I simply didn't see much problem with it. It is your contention that the majority of scholars across all those disciplines world-wide do believe the Jesus was the son of a God? Granted Christiantiy has a large membership (some 2 billion if you count all sects), but even so, that leaves 4 billion people that don't believe Jesus was the son of a God. Sounds like a reasonable statement to me. And as far as Jesus' existence being "conclusively" proven, I don't see a problem there either. Its very difficult if not impossible to get conclusive proof for ancient history.
 
Old 05-22-2001, 08:37 AM   #30
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[quote]<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by madmax2976:
Quote:
Originally posted by Layman:
You are misreading his statement. He does not claim to be speaking for a continent, he is characterizing the state of New Testament scholarship as one who is very familiar with both Continental and American scholarship.

I wasn't aware of his actual statment but only how you characterized some statements he is supposed to have made.

You said:

"N.T. Wright, a leading British scholar, often mentions that mythicism and radical New Testament criticism is most common in the United States. Europe finds it rather laughable. "

"Europe" finds it laughable? Is this your exaggeration or his? How can such a statement be supported?

How often does he say this and upon what evidence is it based?

Appeals to authority in and of themselves are not strong arguments.

Turtonm, who has yet to demonstrate a familiarity with even American N.T. scholarship, asserts that: "[t]he vast majority of scholars across most disciplines (myth, history, comparative religion...) and from most countries would not regard Jesus as the son of god, and would probably agree that even his existence has not been conclusively proven."

Funny how you don't find that statement unsupported or out of bounds.


Not funny at all. I simply didn't see much problem with it. It is your contention that the majority of scholars across all those disciplines world-wide do believe the Jesus was the son of a God? Granted Christiantiy has a large membership (some 2 billion if you count all sects), but even so, that leaves 4 billion people that don't believe Jesus was the son of a God. Sounds like a reasonable statement to me. And as far as Jesus' existence being "conclusively" proven, I don't see a problem there either. Its very difficult if not impossible to get conclusive proof for ancient history.
Quote:
</font>
I thought you were one of the more fair-minded skeptics. I'll have to revise that opinion.

I nowhere said that the majority of scholars, in the United States or elsewhere, accepted that Jesus was the Son of God. The fact that you would suggest that I said that is just an outright lie. And I certainly wasn't talking about "billions" of people. Just how would they be relevant to a discussion of what European and American scholars believe?

I hate having to repeat myself, but since you are lying about what I said, I guess I'll have to:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> At least he is a scholar. Turtonm, who has yet to demonstrate a familiarity with even American N.T. scholarship, asserts that:
"[t]he vast majority of scholars across most disciplines (myth, history, comparative religion...) and from most countries would not regard Jesus as the son of god, and would probably agree that even his existence has not been conclusively proven. </font>
He didn't just say that most of the world doesn't believe that Jesus was the Son of God (and I certainly never claimed that most of the world believes that Jesus was the Son of God). But you knew that didn't you? I can't see how you missed it since I included the same quote in the post you responded to. Are you intentionally distorting what he said to make it look more palatable, more reasonable, less in need of some evidentiary support?

So we are left with a double standard. I refer to a respected, leading New Testament scholar immersed in New Testament studies from Europe and America. But somehow that is arragont of Prof. Wright to characterize the scholarship with which he is so intimately familiar.

But Mike can come along and make bold claims about the majority of scholars from all countries having some level of doubt about the existence of Jesus and that's okay because you agree with him.
 
 

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