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Old 02-22-2001, 06:04 PM   #41
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penatis: 1. Oh, but, you are not impartial. You show this by introducing the word "God." You have yet to demonstrate the existence of this god you are partial toward.

SecWebLurker: LOL, come on penatis. Did I attempt to prove that God exists or did something?

You presume the existence of a god without presenting evidence to support your presumption. How Christian of you!

SecWebLurker: No. I said that God DOING something is not impossible. Of course, that entails that His existence is not impossible. And it certainly isn't in the broadly logical sense. So your implicit statement was unfounded. Does an abiogenesis researcher have to have evidence that life originated from simple abiotic precursors, in a completely naturalistic manner, before he says that it is POSSIBLE that it did? Of course not.

This is a blatantly false analogy. You are comparing science with religion.


penatis: 2. How do you KNOW what any god has done? How do you KNOW a god "miraculously brought about" a virgin birth? I contend you KNOW neither, but BELIEVE both, based on faith, not history.

SecWebLurker: These are all red herrings penatis. I already said I believe the VB, and I never claimed to KNOW that it occured (as in "I can PROVE the VB! Its an undeniable FACT!"). Is my belief based on history? To even answer that begs the question of whether or not the accounts are accurate. I believe the accounts. Its that simple.

I appreciate the fact that you admit to being gullible.

________________________________________

SecWebLurker: More credible according to what background beliefs/presuppositions? The above has no evidence in its favor.

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are born illegitimately, every day?

SecWebLurker: Yeah, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

Yeah, and you have yet to produce one iota of evidence demonstrating the existence of your "God." You presuppose the existence of something that can bring about something else you presuppose to be possible. You have presented nothing to support your presuppostions.

_________________________________________


penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are NEVER born to virgins impregnated by the "Holy Spirit?"

SecWebLurker: No, I'm not actually. And neither are you. The only fact you are aware of is that you've never seen such a thing occur.

This is ludicrous. You actually believe that virgin births happen. Wow!!! What other things do you believe?

SecWebLurker: And as I said above, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

And as I said above, you have not demonstrated that your "God" exists, much less that this imaginary god brought about anything "miraculous."


penatis: Furthermore, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Mary was pregnant BEFORE she married Joseph. These three things convince me that Jesus was conceived the natural way and that he was probably illegitimate. I have human history and science on my side. What do you have?

SecWebLurker: Sorry, human history doesn't make monopolistic metaphysical claims about what CAN AND CANNOT happen, and neither does science. History tells us, very tentatively, what is known to be the case in the past. And science studies how things operate normally. I never said it was unreasonable to believe Mary COULD HAVE been pregnant before marrying Joseph. There's just no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate.

Do you believe that it is possible that Zeus existed in history? Is it possible he exists right now? Do you believe that elephants can, or used to, fly? Is there ANYTHING you do not believe?

penatis: 2. Something known as the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary. Only two writers in the whole world deemed this fact important enough to mention.

SecWebLurker: Err...I don't think there were too many ancient writers present at the event. Ancient writers didn't take much notice of Jesus, period.

penatis: That is precisely my point! He was an ordinary person. Had he been extraordinary, NUMEROUS writers would have been interested in him, not just Christian propagandists.

SecWebLurker: HAHA! And every writer who says something about how extraordinary he was is what? A Christian propagandist! Round and round we go...

You didn't address my point. You pretend to believe the words of two ancient Christian writers who tell of a dream and an angel. There MUST be a reason for your gullibility. What is it?

penatis: For example, why didn't the following writers say SOMETHING about a man who was supposedly born of a virgin impregnated by the "Holy Spirit" and the "savior" of all humankind?

SecWebLurker: Uh, probably because the virgin birth was, for obvious reasons (i.e., it raises the accusation of Jesus being a mamzer), not really something Jesus went around bragging about.

Neither you nor I KNOW what Jesus said or did; however, you pretend to know what he did and his motives for doing so.

SecWebLurker: Nor did Paul. And as far as Jesus being the savior of all mankind, that's something His followers said about Him after having resurrection experiences.

So, you admit that he was not known as the savior of humankind during his lifetime. How unfortunate that the myth got started at all.

SecWebLurker: The exalted self-understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, as evinced by his own words, is in particularly cryptic language, much of it which non-Jewish people wouldn't even grasp (i.e., 'Son of man' sayings).

The gospel narratives certainly present a character that no one understood. Maybe it was his problem that no one understood him.

SecWebLurker: Arguments like these just don't work anyway because within years Jesus' followers were proclaiming these things about him all over the place, and to the extent that it is strange that we don't see Him mentioned by these historians, it is equally strange that we don't see mention of these Christians, whose existence and proclamations no one doubts.

There is much strangeness surrounding Jesus and his early followers.


SecWebLurker: Of course neither are strange, as no historian of the time could have percieved what would come of Christianity and this poor itinerent urban preacher whom they would have seen as a mere magician.

You seem to have ruled out the possiblity that Jesus practiced magic. In point of fact, much of the NT is filled with magic.

SecWebLurker: J.P. Meier, in his amazing work on the "historical Jesus", points out that what is MOST surprising is that we have ANY reference to Jesus at all:

“When we look for statements about Jesus from non canonical writings of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., we are at first disappointed by the lack of references. We have to remember that Jews and pagans of this period, if they were at all aware of a new religious phenomenon on the horizon, would be more aware of the nascent group called Christianity than of its putative founder Jesus. Some of these writers, at least, had direct or indirect contact with Christians; none of them had had contact with the Christ Christians worshiped. This simply reminds us that Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman Empire. The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or referred to him at all in the 1st or early 2nd century."[John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1994)]


This simply demonstrates the ordinariness of Jesus as a man. Had he truly done something extraordinary, he would have aroused the interest of SOME historian. BTW, not everyone considers books by Meier to be "amazing." Do you believe hyperbole somehow enhances your claims?

SecWebLurker: In his book, "The Historical Figure of Jesus", E.P. Sanders (considered one of the greatest american Jesus scholars) writes: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49)

Again, Jesus was just an ordinary human being. BTW, not everyone considers E.P. Sanders to be "one of the greatest American Jesus scholars." More hyperbole.

SecWebLurker: Sanders compares Jesus to Alexander the Great, stating that Alexander "so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus did not change the social, political and economic circumstances in Palestine...the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought."(Ibid. p. 3)

The actual truth is this: Outside the early Christian MSS and later Christian apologists, there is not much written about Jesus.

SecWebLurker: Meier also notes that knowledge of most of what ancient people believed is "simply not accessible to us today by historical research and never will be."(1994, p. 23)

So, not even Christians know who Jesus really was.

SecWebLurker: As far as your big list of historians...I don't have time to address them all in detail, but I think the above covers most of it, and the fact that most of them are so late they wouldn't have access to independent info.

My point is that Jesus was so ordinary that NO HISTORIAN in the list mentioned him. He became EXTRAORDINARY some decades after his death.

Paterculus-His work was published in 30 AD when Jesus was just starting His ministry.

Yes, but Jesus was, according to you, conceived by the "Holy Spirit" around 30 years BEFORE Paterculus published his Historiae Romanae. Would not this extraordinary fact have been of interest to him? Wouldn't Jesus, as the literal son of Yahweh, have possessed super powers? Wouldn't his possession of super powers have created a stir during those 30 years? I contend that this historian didn't mention Jesus BECAUSE he was an ordinary human being.

Martial- All we have are some poems and epigrams. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

Why not?

Persius- LOL, yeah, we've got a few sentences from this guy.

And, your point is what?

Petronius - Gaius Petronius? Don't we only have fragments of a novel from this guy? I suppose he should've slipped Jesus into the "Acknowledgements" section?

Again, your point is what?

Quintillian - We have some books on oratory from this guy. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

Why not?

Quintius Curtius - He wrote a history of Alexander the Great. What does Jesus have to do with this? Nothing.

I contend that he did not write a history of Jesus because Jesus was quite ordinary during his lifetime.

Justus of Tiberius - Er, we don't have his works. You might point out Photius who claims to have read the works of Justus in the 9th century and not to have found reference to Jesus, but since we DON'T have these works, we can't verify this, we can't study the content/context of his works to know whether or not he SHOULD have mentioned Jesus.

Granted.

Statius - More poetry...

And?

Phaedrus - Uh, didn't this guy write fables?

No more so than Matthew and Luke.

Silius Italicus- Jesus didn't fight in the Punic War, why should Silius mention him?

It is true that Silius Italicus wrote of the Punic War, but had Jesus been EXTRAORDINARY, it is very reasonable that this historian would have mentioned him.

________________________________

SecWebLurker: And they give no evidence for this either. Nor are the Talmud or Celsus held to have ANY historical credibility in these claims by anyone. For good reason - they are too far removed.

penatis: There are scholars who think Jesus was illegitimate, based on what outsiders said of Jesus. The NT gives JUST ONE SIDE, the Christian one. Obviously, there were those who did not agree with the propaganda.

SecWebLurker: They think Jesus was illegitimate because they think the virgin birth didn't occur. The "outsiders" they're talkign about are NOT Celsus or the Talmud, penatis.

There are numerous outsiders, SWL, INCLUDING Judeans, many Christians (who did not believe in the virgin birth), and others. Celsus and the Talmud say what many early outsiders thought.

SecWebLurker: These outsiders are in the Gospel of John and they make a statement that IMPLIES that Jesus is illegitimate, but like I said, if this were known to be the case we'd see completely different reactions from the early Gospels and epistles, and there'd be no reason to make up a virgin birth to cover for it.

You seem to be forgetting that the earliest gospel writer DID NOT mention the virgin birth myth. Nor did Paul. I contend the myth developed decades AFTER Jesus died.

penatis: According to R. Joseph Hoffman, "These polemical statements were long-lived and known to Celsus, who comments on the illegitimacy of Jesus and the absurdity of the story of the virgin birth...Undoubtedly, the bulk of this Jewish tradition can be traced back to a period before the formation of the written Gospels." Jesus Outside the Gospels, P. 40.

SecWebLurker: LOL, that is utter garbage.

penatis: You are entitled to your biased opinion.

SecWebLurker: Show me the BULK of the Jewish tradition. Where's it at?

I counter with: Show me the BULK of the Christian tradition. MOST of it ignores the virgin birth myth. How do YOU explain this if it is a historical fact?

SecWebLurker: You can throw the word "bias" around all you want. I'm not afraid of it. I know that its hollow. I say something the skeptic doesn't like and I'm biased. I must be biased.

Baloney! You MUST believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. I DO NOT have to. I contend you have nothing to base your belief on but two narratives. One tells of a dream sequence and the other tells of an angel. I am not gullible. THAT is the reason that I disagree with you.

SecWebLurker: If I wasn't, how could I come to such conclusions? Bias is an elusive substance. Someone's bias isn't anything anyone has access to unless someone is upfront about it themselves. And from that point, we have no way of knowing
whether or not it is the evidence that has led them to the presuppositions they work from, or their bias which led them to that particular presuppositional stance that governs their consideration of the evidence.


I submit that you have no belief in the virgin birth of Heracles for the very same reason I have no belief in the virgin birth of Jesus: THE LITERARY EVIDENCE. (Now, since you seem to believe that ANYTHING is possible, maybe you DO believe Heracles was born of a virgin. I do not.) What kind of bias does one have if he disbelieves ALL virgin birth stories? What kind of bias does one have who believes ONLY ONE and considers ALL the others to be myths? I suggest you take another look at the definition of "bias."

SecWebLurker: So vague accusations of "bias" really don't serve to tell us much of
anything - other than that yet another internet atheist is chanting the
familiar mantras.


And we have yet another internet Christian apologist who is very biased. I will chant; you will be biased. Okay?

SecWebLurker: Hoffman just pointed out another reason why a virgin birth wouldn't have been INVENTED, *ESPECIALLY* by the two gospel authors who are trying harder than any other to establish Davidic descent!

penatis: Paul said that Jesus was "born of the flesh" and was descended from David. It seems no one knows for sure what the circumstances of Jesus conception and birth were.

SecWebLurker: Jesus was born of the flesh. I don't think Paul says he was concieved of the flesh.

Paul is quoted as saying, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Rm 1:3. Literally, Paul says that Jesus was made from the semen of David. Notice he DOES NOT say that Jesus was made from the "Holy Spirit." Only the most desperate can torture the text and force it to mean anything but a natural conception.

SecWebLurker: I do indeed believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

penatis: Why?

SecWebLurker: It makes me feel like a rebel ;-)

I have yet to have a Christian answer this question. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for them.




[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 22, 2001).]
 
Old 02-23-2001, 06:32 AM   #42
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pen:You presume the existence of a god without presenting evidence to support your presumption. How Christian of you!

Sec: Bah! I didn't presume anything. You asserted that a virgin birth was impossible. I said there is nothing inherently IMPOSSIBLE about God bringing about a virgin birth. Nor is there anything IMPOSSIBLE about a God existing. NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL. If you have some argument that demonstrates the IMPOSSIBILITY of either of them, present it...

SecWebLurker: No. I said that God DOING something is not impossible. Of course, that entails that His existence is not impossible. And it certainly isn't in the broadly logical sense. So your implicit statement was unfounded. Does an abiogenesis researcher have to have evidence that life originated from simple abiotic precursors, in a completely naturalistic manner, before he says that it is POSSIBLE that it did? Of course not.

pen:This is a blatantly false analogy. You are comparing science with religion.

Sec: LOL, this is too funny...

penatis: 2. How do you KNOW what any god has done? How do you KNOW a god "miraculously brought about" a virgin birth? I contend you KNOW neither, but BELIEVE both, based on faith, not history.

SecWebLurker: These are all red herrings penatis. I already said I believe the VB, and I never claimed to KNOW that it occured (as in "I can PROVE the VB! Its an undeniable FACT!"). Is my belief based on history? To even answer that begs the question of whether or not the accounts are accurate. I believe the accounts. Its that simple.

pen: I appreciate the fact that you admit to being gullible.

Sec: Your opinion is noted. I made no such admission...

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are born illegitimately, every day?

SecWebLurker: Yeah, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

penatis: Yeah, and you have yet to produce one iota of evidence demonstrating the existence of your "God." You presuppose the existence of something that can bring about something else you presuppose to be possible. You have presented nothing to support your presuppostions.

Sec: I say God is possible in the broadly logical sense, i.e., the existence of a miracle-working God entails no inherent contradictions. If you want to argue against this, go ahead. You claim that a miracle such as a virgin birth is impossible. Please demonstrate this.

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are NEVER born to virgins impregnated by the "Holy Spirit?"

SecWebLurker: No, I'm not actually. And neither are you. The only fact you are aware of is that you've never seen such a thing occur.

pen: This is ludicrous. You actually believe that virgin births happen. Wow!!! What other things do you believe?

Sec: Er, I think I already told you I believe in THE virgin birth of Jesus. Secondly, the point stands. You aren't aware of any "facts" about the non-occurence or impossibility of virgin births, other than that you have not witnessed such things occur. Let's not have any of that "Wow!!!" crap. If you are aware of such facts, let's see them.

SecWebLurker: And as I said above, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

pen: And as I said above, you have not demonstrated that your "God" exists, much less that this imaginary god brought about anything "miraculous."

Sec: That's fine. I don't need evidence FOR the VB to undercut your attempts to render it impossible.

penatis: Furthermore, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Mary was pregnant BEFORE she married Joseph. These three things convince me that Jesus was conceived the natural way and that he was probably illegitimate. I have human history and science on my side. What do you have?

SecWebLurker: Sorry, human history doesn't make monopolistic metaphysical claims about what CAN AND CANNOT happen, and neither does science. History tells us, very tentatively, what is known to be the case in the past. And science studies how things operate normally. I never said it was unreasonable to believe Mary COULD HAVE been pregnant before marrying Joseph. There's just no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate.

pen: Do you believe that it is possible that Zeus existed in history? Is it possible he exists right now? Do you believe that elephants can, or used to, fly? Is there ANYTHING you do not believe?

Sec: I don't believe in any of those things because I have no reason to do so. But I would not state that they are impossible in the broadly logical sense.

penatis: 2. Something known as the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary. Only two writers in the whole world deemed this fact important enough to mention.

SecWebLurker: Err...I don't think there were too many ancient writers present at the event. Ancient writers didn't take much notice of Jesus, period.

penatis: That is precisely my point! He was an ordinary person. Had he been extraordinary, NUMEROUS writers would have been interested in him, not just Christian propagandists.

SecWebLurker: HAHA! And every writer who says something about how extraordinary he was is what? A Christian propagandist! Round and round we go...

pen: You didn't address my point. You pretend to believe the words of two ancient Christian writers who tell of a dream and an angel. There MUST be a reason for your gullibility. What is it?

Sec: The reason is simply that I trust in the accounts. I see no reason for them to fabricate a virgin birth. You certainly haven't presented one. And I see no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate. Furthermore, given that I think there are good reasons for accepting the resurrection, and hence Christ's divinity and status as a prophet, a miraculous birth for such a figure fits the context of His life, death, and resurrection.

penatis: For example, why didn't the following writers say SOMETHING about a man who was supposedly born of a virgin impregnated by the "Holy Spirit" and the "savior" of all humankind?

SecWebLurker: Uh, probably because the virgin birth was, for obvious reasons (i.e., it raises the accusation of Jesus being a mamzer), not really something Jesus went around bragging about.

pen: Neither you nor I KNOW what Jesus said or did; however, you pretend to know what he did and his motives for doing so.

Sec: LOL, I know plenty about what Jesus said and what He did. If you want to deny that we can know any of these things, you can. You can deny that we know anything about any ancient person. I simply don't share that skepticism...

SecWebLurker: Nor did Paul. And as far as Jesus being the savior of all mankind, that's something His followers said about Him after having resurrection experiences.

pen: So, you admit that he was not known as the savior of humankind during his lifetime. <snip stupidity>

Sec: Jesus' mission, during His lifetime, was primarily to Israel.

SecWebLurker: The exalted self-understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, as evinced by his own words, is in particularly cryptic language, much of it which non-Jewish people wouldn't even grasp (i.e., 'Son of man' sayings).

pen: The gospel narratives certainly present a character that no one understood. Maybe it was his problem that no one understood him.

Sec: Maybe it was partially a problem...It seems to be the case often in the Gospel accounts...

SecWebLurker: Arguments like these just don't work anyway because within years Jesus' followers were proclaiming these things about him all over the place, and to the extent that it is strange that we don't see Him mentioned by these historians, it is equally strange that we don't see mention of these Christians, whose existence and proclamations no one doubts.

pen: There is much strangeness surrounding Jesus and his early followers.

Sec: Like what, and so what?

SecWebLurker: Of course neither are strange, as no historian of the time could have percieved what would come of Christianity and this poor itinerent urban preacher whom they would have seen as a mere magician.

pen: You seem to have ruled out the possiblity that Jesus practiced magic. In point of fact, much of the NT is filled with magic.

Sec: Where do I "seem to have" ruled this out? And where's the evidence that Jesus practiced magic? Show me the places in the NT filled with magic.

SecWebLurker: J.P. Meier, in his amazing work on the "historical Jesus", points out that what is MOST surprising is that we have ANY reference to Jesus at all:

“When we look for statements about Jesus from non canonical writings of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., we are at first disappointed by the lack of references. We have to remember that Jews and pagans of this period, if they were at all aware of a new religious phenomenon on the horizon, would be more aware of the nascent group called Christianity than of its putative founder Jesus. Some of these writers, at least, had direct or indirect contact with Christians; none of them had had contact with the Christ Christians worshiped. This simply reminds us that Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman Empire. The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or referred to him at all in the 1st or early 2nd century."[John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1994)]

pen: This simply demonstrates the ordinariness of Jesus as a man. Had he truly done something extraordinary, he would have aroused the interest of SOME historian. BTW, not everyone considers books by Meier to be "amazing." Do you believe hyperbole somehow enhances your claims?

Sec: Have you ever read anything by Meier? And as far as ordinariness, to Romans at that time, stories of a miracle-worker might just have seemed ordinary.

SecWebLurker: In his book, "The Historical Figure of Jesus", E.P. Sanders (considered one of the greatest american Jesus scholars) writes: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49)

pen: Again, Jesus was just an ordinary human being.

Sec: And you know this how?

pen: BTW, not everyone considers E.P. Sanders to be "one of the greatest American Jesus scholars." More hyperbole.

Sec: I don't think I said EVERYONE considers him to be. Read anything by E.P. Sanders ever?

SecWebLurker: Sanders compares Jesus to Alexander the Great, stating that Alexander "so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus did not change the social, political and economic circumstances in Palestine...the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought."(Ibid. p. 3)

pen: The actual truth is this: Outside the early Christian MSS and later Christian apologists, there is not much written about Jesus.

Sec: Who cares? Is there another Galilean preacher from the first century about whom more is written?

SecWebLurker: Meier also notes that knowledge of most of what ancient people believed is "simply not accessible to us today by historical research and never will be."(1994, p. 23)

pen: So, not even Christians know who Jesus really was.

Sec: LOL, how you get that out of the above quote I sure cannot tell.

SecWebLurker: As far as your big list of historians...I don't have time to address them all in detail, but I think the above covers most of it, and the fact that most of them are so late they wouldn't have access to independent info.

pen: My point is that Jesus was so ordinary that NO HISTORIAN in the list mentioned him. He became EXTRAORDINARY some decades after his death.

Sec: Actually Josephus mentions him.

Paterculus-His work was published in 30 AD when Jesus was just starting His ministry.

pen: Yes, but Jesus was, according to you, conceived by the "Holy Spirit" around 30 years BEFORE Paterculus published his Historiae Romanae. Would not this extraordinary fact have been of interest to him?

Sec: This is ignorance. Definitely NOT, AS NO JEW would be going around bragging that their son was concieved by the Holy Spirit prior to their marriage because this would raise the issue of him being a mamzer.

pen: Wouldn't Jesus, as the literal son of Yahweh, have possessed super powers? Wouldn't his possession of super powers have created a stir during those 30 years? I contend that this historian didn't mention Jesus BECAUSE he was an ordinary human being.

Sec: His ministry started at age 30 and we have no evidence of Him performing miracles prior to this, or that He was believed to have done so. So I don't see any reason to believe that He did and hence, should have been noticed.

Martial- All we have are some poems and epigrams. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

pen: Why not?

Sec: Because he's writing poems, not history.

Persius- LOL, yeah, we've got a few sentences from this guy.

pen: And, your point is what?

Sec:...obviously over your head. If all we have is a few sentences from an ancient writer, there's no grounds for assuming that mention of any specific preacher from a backwater province in the Roman Empire should be mentioned in them.

Petronius - Gaius Petronius? Don't we only have fragments of a novel from this guy? I suppose he should've slipped Jesus into the "Acknowledgements" section?

pen: Again, your point is what?

Sec: Same as above...

Quintillian - We have some books on oratory from this guy. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

pen: Why not?

Sec: Because mention of Jesus is not related to his purpose at all. Should we expect to find Jesus mentioned in first century cookbooks too?!

Quintius Curtius - He wrote a history of Alexander the Great. What does Jesus have to do with this? Nothing.

pen: I contend that he did not write a history of Jesus because Jesus was quite ordinary during his lifetime.

Sec: I contend that he is not writing general history, especially about things occuring in Israel, and has no reason to mention Jesus.

Justus of Tiberius - Er, we don't have his works. You might point out Photius who claims to have read the works of Justus in the 9th century and not to have found reference to Jesus, but since we DON'T have these works, we can't verify this, we can't study the content/context of his works to know whether or not he SHOULD have mentioned Jesus.

Granted.

Statius - More poetry...

pen: And?

Sec: See above...This is just getting silly...

Phaedrus - Uh, didn't this guy write fables?

pen: No more so than Matthew and Luke.

Sec: Hyuk hyuk hyuk!

Silius Italicus- Jesus didn't fight in the Punic War, why should Silius mention him?

pen: It is true that Silius Italicus wrote of the Punic War, but had Jesus been EXTRAORDINARY, it is very reasonable that this historian would have mentioned him.

Sec: Not in writing about the Punic War he shouldn't.
________________________________

SecWebLurker: And they give no evidence for this either. Nor are the Talmud or Celsus held to have ANY historical credibility in these claims by anyone. For good reason - they are too far removed.

penatis: There are scholars who think Jesus was illegitimate, based on what outsiders said of Jesus. The NT gives JUST ONE SIDE, the Christian one. Obviously, there were those who did not agree with the propaganda.

SecWebLurker: They think Jesus was illegitimate because they think the virgin birth didn't occur. The "outsiders" they're talkign about are NOT Celsus or the Talmud, penatis.

pen: There are numerous outsiders, SWL, INCLUDING Judeans, many Christians (who did not believe in the virgin birth), and others. Celsus and the Talmud say what many early outsiders thought.

Sec: Who cares?!!!!!!!!!! Who cares whether or not they BELIEVED in the virgin birth? They STILL don't provide any EVIDENCE towards Jesus illegitamacy!

SecWebLurker: These outsiders are in the Gospel of John and they make a statement that IMPLIES that Jesus is illegitimate, but like I said, if this were known to be the case we'd see completely different reactions from the early Gospels and epistles, and there'd be no reason to make up a virgin birth to cover for it.

pen: You seem to be forgetting that the earliest gospel writer DID NOT mention the virgin birth myth. Nor did Paul. I contend the myth developed decades AFTER Jesus died.

Sec: Paul's not writing gospels. He's writing letters as correctives to churches he's founded, which would already have historical info. on Jesus. As far as Mark not mentioning the VB, so what? We don't really have any idea how much later Matt or Luke are than Mark. Its all speculation. If Mark is based on notes from Peter's preaching than there's no need for the VB to have come up. Secondly, Mark's motif seems to be that Jesus' nature is only known by demons, God, angels, etc. as the story progresses...He's trying to emphasize the fact that no one at first really understands who or what Jesus truly is...It could work against what he wants to emphasize to have Jesus' real identity revealed by angels to family members...

penatis: According to R. Joseph Hoffman, "These polemical statements were long-lived and known to Celsus, who comments on the illegitimacy of Jesus and the absurdity of the story of the virgin birth...Undoubtedly, the bulk of this Jewish tradition can be traced back to a period before the formation of the written Gospels." Jesus Outside the Gospels, P. 40.

SecWebLurker: LOL, that is utter garbage.

penatis: You are entitled to your biased opinion.

SecWebLurker: Show me the BULK of the Jewish tradition. Where's it at?

pen: I counter with: Show me the BULK of the Christian tradition. MOST of it ignores the virgin birth myth. How do YOU explain this if it is a historical fact?

Sec: Already did. That's not a counter at all. Its just sidestepping my question. I asked for the evidence in the BULK of Jewish tradition saying Jesus was illegitimate. Where is it? Nowhere. Your source is wrong.

SecWebLurker: You can throw the word "bias" around all you want. I'm not afraid of it. I know that its hollow. I say something the skeptic doesn't like and I'm biased. I must be biased.

pen: Baloney! You MUST believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. I DO NOT have to.

Sec: Actually I don't have to believe that at all. There are plenty of Christians who don't. I could easilly just see it as later legend and still be a Christian in the manner of John Crossan, Dennis MacDonald, or any of the other 1000s of liberal scholars who do so.

<snip more of the "I contend..." stuff>

SecWebLurker: If I wasn't, how could I come to such conclusions? Bias is an elusive substance. Someone's bias isn't anything anyone has access to unless someone is upfront about it themselves. And from that point, we have no way of knowing
whether or not it is the evidence that has led them to the presuppositions they work from, or their bias which led them to that particular presuppositional stance that governs their consideration of the evidence.

pen: I submit that you have no belief in the virgin birth of Heracles for the very same reason I have no belief in the virgin birth of Jesus: THE LITERARY EVIDENCE.

Sec: Show me a document that says Heracles was born of a virgin, that PREDATES the time of Jesus.

pen: What kind of bias does one have if he disbelieves ALL virgin birth stories? What kind of bias does one have who believes ONLY ONE and considers ALL the others to be myths? I suggest you take another look at the definition of "bias."

Sec: You have an anti-supernatural bias. I don't...I don't see any scholars or historians saying we can know ANYTHING about the historical heracles, or that there ever was such a person, so I dont' see any reason to accept any 'facts' about his life.

SecWebLurker: So vague accusations of "bias" really don't serve to tell us much of
anything - other than that yet another internet atheist is chanting the
familiar mantras.


SecWebLurker: Hoffman just pointed out another reason why a virgin birth wouldn't have been INVENTED, *ESPECIALLY* by the two gospel authors who are trying harder than any other to establish Davidic descent!

penatis: Paul said that Jesus was "born of the flesh" and was descended from David. It seems no one knows for sure what the circumstances of Jesus conception and birth were.

SecWebLurker: Jesus was born of the flesh. I don't think Paul says he was concieved of the flesh.

pen: Paul is quoted as saying, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Rm 1:3. Literally, Paul says that Jesus was made from the semen of David. Notice he DOES NOT say that Jesus was made from the "Holy Spirit." Only the most desperate can torture the text and force it to mean anything but a natural conception.

Sec: And Paul has no less than SIX different usages for flesh (sarx) in his letters. It can denote anything from a state of sinful rebellion against the creator, to the mere state of being part of humanity. Luke,who we KNOW believes in the VB, in Acts 2:30, writes: "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."

SecWebLurker: I do indeed believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

penatis: Why?

SecWebLurker: It makes me feel like a rebel ;-)

pen: I have yet to have a Christian answer this question. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for them.

Sec: Not in the least. I've already answered it.

SecWebLurker



[This message has been edited by SecWebLurker (edited February 23, 2001).]
 
Old 02-25-2001, 07:58 AM   #43
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by SecWebLurker:
[b]pen:You presume the existence of a god without presenting evidence to support your presumption. How Christian of you!

Sec: Bah! I didn't presume anything. You asserted that a virgin birth was impossible. I said there is nothing inherently IMPOSSIBLE about God bringing about a virgin birth. Nor is there anything IMPOSSIBLE about a God existing. NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL. If you have some argument that demonstrates the IMPOSSIBILITY of either of them, present it...

I agree that "NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL."

SecWebLurker: No. I said that God DOING something is not impossible. Of course, that entails that His existence is not impossible. And it certainly isn't in the broadly logical sense. So your implicit statement was unfounded. Does an abiogenesis researcher have to have evidence that life originated from simple abiotic precursors, in a completely naturalistic manner, before he says that it is POSSIBLE that it did? Of course not.

pen:This is a blatantly false analogy. You are comparing science with religion.

Sec: LOL, this is too funny...

It is only "funny" to someone who places his faith in dreams and angels.

penatis: 2. How do you KNOW what any god has done? How do you KNOW a god "miraculously brought about" a virgin birth? I contend you KNOW neither, but BELIEVE both, based on faith, not history.

SecWebLurker: These are all red herrings penatis. I already said I believe the VB, and I never claimed to KNOW that it occured (as in "I can PROVE the VB! Its an undeniable FACT!"). Is my belief based on history? To even answer that begs the question of whether or not the accounts are accurate. I believe the accounts. Its that simple.

pen: I appreciate the fact that you admit to being gullible.

Sec: Your opinion is noted. I made no such admission...

You said you believe the accounts. That demonstrates gulliblility.

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are born illegitimately, every day?

SecWebLurker: Yeah, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

penatis: Yeah, and you have yet to produce one iota of evidence demonstrating the existence of your "God." You presuppose the existence of something that can bring about something else you presuppose to be possible. You have presented nothing to support your presuppostions.

Sec: I say God is possible in the broadly logical sense, i.e., the existence of a miracle-working God entails no inherent contradictions. If you want to argue against this, go ahead. You claim that a miracle such as a virgin birth is impossible. Please demonstrate this.

1. It is also logically possible that there are no gods; therefore, why believe in them?
2. Until someone demonstrates that virgin births ARE possible, I will continue to maintain they are not possible.


penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are NEVER born to virgins impregnated by the "Holy Spirit?"

SecWebLurker: No, I'm not actually. And neither are you. The only fact you are aware of is that you've never seen such a thing occur.

pen: This is ludicrous. You actually believe that virgin births happen. Wow!!! What other things do you believe?

Sec: Er, I think I already told you I believe in THE virgin birth of Jesus.

WOW!! How come?

SebWebLurker: Secondly, the point stands. You aren't aware of any "facts" about the non-occurence or impossibility of virgin births, other than that you have not witnessed such things occur.

NO ONE IS AWARE OF THE OCCURENCE OF VIRGIN BIRTHS. If you are aware of something no one else is aware of, then present evidence.

SecWebLurker: Let's not have any of that "Wow!!!" crap.

WOW!! What hostility!

SecWebLurker: If you are aware of such facts, let's see them.

Well, we could go to the local hospitals and verify for ourselves just how many virgin births occur daily. BTW, it is YOU who claims that virgin births occur, not me. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you, not me.

SecWebLurker: And as I said above, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

pen: And as I said above, you have not demonstrated that your "God" exists, much less that this imaginary god brought about anything "miraculous."

Sec: That's fine. I don't need evidence FOR the VB to undercut your attempts to render it impossible.

Logically, yes you do. Virgin births, like fairies, remain nonexistent until someone demonstrates their existence.

penatis: Furthermore, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Mary was pregnant BEFORE she married Joseph. These three things convince me that Jesus was conceived the natural way and that he was probably illegitimate. I have human history and science on my side. What do you have?

SecWebLurker: Sorry, human history doesn't make monopolistic metaphysical claims about what CAN AND CANNOT happen, and neither does science. History tells us, very tentatively, what is known to be the case in the past. And science studies how things operate normally. I never said it was unreasonable to believe Mary COULD HAVE been pregnant before marrying Joseph. There's just no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate.

pen: Do you believe that it is possible that Zeus existed in history? Is it possible he exists right now? Do you believe that elephants can, or used to, fly? Is there ANYTHING you do not believe?

Sec: I don't believe in any of those things because I have no reason to do so. But I would not state that they are impossible in the broadly logical sense.

I don't think Yahweh exists for the same reason you don't believe in Zeus.

penatis: 2. Something known as the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary. Only two writers in the whole world deemed this fact important enough to mention.

SecWebLurker: Err...I don't think there were too many ancient writers present at the event. Ancient writers didn't take much notice of Jesus, period.

penatis: That is precisely my point! He was an ordinary person. Had he been extraordinary, NUMEROUS writers would have been interested in him, not just Christian propagandists.

SecWebLurker: HAHA! And every writer who says something about how extraordinary he was is what? A Christian propagandist! Round and round we go...

pen: You didn't address my point. You pretend to believe the words of two ancient Christian writers who tell of a dream and an angel. There MUST be a reason for your gullibility. What is it?

Sec: The reason is simply that I trust in the accounts. I see no reason for them to fabricate a virgin birth.

Have you ever considered the possibility that the writers wished to prove that Jesus was the SON of Yahweh? That is a very good reason to have created the fabulous virgin birth stories.


SecWebLurker: You certainly haven't presented one. And I see no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate. Furthermore, given that I think there are good reasons for accepting the resurrection, and hence Christ's divinity and status as a prophet, a miraculous birth for such a figure fits the context of His life, death, and resurrection.

No, the virgin birth myth fits perfectly well with the resurrection myth. One fabulous story is no better or worse than another. If Jesus lived on this earth, and I think he did, he was an ordinary human being. Just read the anonymous narrative attributed to Mark.


penatis: For example, why didn't the following writers say SOMETHING about a man who was supposedly born of a virgin impregnated by the "Holy Spirit" and the "savior" of all humankind?

SecWebLurker: Uh, probably because the virgin birth was, for obvious reasons (i.e., it raises the accusation of Jesus being a mamzer), not really something Jesus went around bragging about.

pen: Neither you nor I KNOW what Jesus said or did; however, you pretend to know what he did and his motives for doing so.

Sec: LOL, I know plenty about what Jesus said and what He did.

Oh, really. I submit that you nothing of the kind. ALL you can possibly KNOW is what is contained in ancient Greek MSS. The picture these MSS paint is one of an enigma. YOU are remonved from this enigma by almost two thousand years, and yet, you say you "know plenty." That's baloney.

SecWebLurker: If you want to deny that we can know any of these things, you can. You can deny that we know anything about any ancient person. I simply don't share that skepticism...

There are limits to what we can KNOW about any historical personage. That is not "skepticism." That is common sense.

SecWebLurker: Nor did Paul. And as far as Jesus being the savior of all mankind, that's something His followers said about Him after having resurrection experiences.

pen: So, you admit that he was not known as the savior of humankind during his lifetime.

SecWebLurker: <snip stupidity>

If you wish to snip what you consider "stupidity," then that is your prerogative. But if you do so, be aware that I could very well "snip" much of your posting.

Sec: Jesus' mission, during His lifetime, was primarily to Israel.

I submit that Jesus spoke entirely to his fellow Judeans.

SecWebLurker: The exalted self-understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, as evinced by his own words, is in particularly cryptic language, much of it which non-Jewish people wouldn't even grasp (i.e., 'Son of man' sayings).

pen: The gospel narratives certainly present a character that no one understood. Maybe it was his problem that no one understood him.

Sec: Maybe it was partially a problem...It seems to be the case often in the Gospel accounts...

SecWebLurker: Arguments like these just don't work anyway because within years Jesus' followers were proclaiming these things about him all over the place, and to the extent that it is strange that we don't see Him mentioned by these historians, it is equally strange that we don't see mention of these Christians, whose existence and proclamations no one doubts.

pen: There is much strangeness surrounding Jesus and his early followers.

Sec: Like what, and so what?

Jesus was:

a) Considered insane by his own family.
b) Difficult for almost everyone to deal with.
c) Untrustworthy. His own family did not believe him.
d) Superstitious.
e) Angry much of the time.
f) Sometimes hateful to his own family and disciples.
g) Generally disruptive.
h) Arrogant.
i) Disliked by his fellow Judeans.


SecWebLurker: Of course neither are strange, as no historian of the time could have percieved what would come of Christianity and this poor itinerent urban preacher whom they would have seen as a mere magician.

pen: You seem to have ruled out the possiblity that Jesus practiced magic. In point of fact, much of the NT is filled with magic.

Sec: Where do I "seem to have" ruled this out? And where's the evidence that Jesus practiced magic? Show me the places in the NT filled with magic.

1. You used the phrase "they would have seen as a mere magician." I took this to mean that they "only thought" he was a magician. (Maybe you agree with me and think Jesus practiced magic. If so, then great!)

2. I could give scores of instances of magic, as practiced by Jesus, his disciples, Paul, Peter, etc. Let me know if you want that extensive list.


SecWebLurker: J.P. Meier, in his amazing work on the "historical Jesus", points out that what is MOST surprising is that we have ANY reference to Jesus at all:

“When we look for statements about Jesus from non canonical writings of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., we are at first disappointed by the lack of references. We have to remember that Jews and pagans of this period, if they were at all aware of a new religious phenomenon on the horizon, would be more aware of the nascent group called Christianity than of its putative founder Jesus. Some of these writers, at least, had direct or indirect contact with Christians; none of them had had contact with the Christ Christians worshiped. This simply reminds us that Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman Empire. The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or referred to him at all in the 1st or early 2nd century."[John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1994)]

pen: This simply demonstrates the ordinariness of Jesus as a man. Had he truly done something extraordinary, he would have aroused the interest of SOME historian. BTW, not everyone considers books by Meier to be "amazing." Do you believe hyperbole somehow enhances your claims?

Sec: Have you ever read anything by Meier?

Yes, I have. It should be noted that Meier is a Catholic priest with an agenda. He IS NOT a disinterested ancient historian.

SecWebLurker: And as far as ordinariness, to Romans at that time, stories of a miracle-worker might just have seemed ordinary.

Yes, especially if that person had been considered an ordinary magician.

SecWebLurker: In his book, "The Historical Figure of Jesus", E.P. Sanders (considered one of the greatest american Jesus scholars) writes: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49)

pen: Again, Jesus was just an ordinary human being.

Sec: And you know this how?

I think this based on all available evidence. 1. He was ignored by virtually every contemporary historian. 2. The narrative attributed to Mark depicts a human being who practiced what many would call magic. 3. Paul said he was born naturally.

pen: BTW, not everyone considers E.P. Sanders to be "one of the greatest American Jesus scholars." More hyperbole.

Sec: I don't think I said EVERYONE considers him to be. Read anything by E.P. Sanders ever?

1. You used the prhase "considered one of the greatest American Jesus scholars." WHO considers him to be one of the greatest?
2. Yes, I have read E.P. Sanders' The Historical Figure of Jesus. I agree with most of his conclusions; however, I have never heard anyone say that he is one of the greatest American Jesus scholars--that is, until you said it.


SecWebLurker: Sanders compares Jesus to Alexander the Great, stating that Alexander "so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus did not change the social, political and economic circumstances in Palestine...the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought."(Ibid. p. 3)

pen: The actual truth is this: Outside the early Christian MSS and later Christian apologists, there is not much written about Jesus.

Sec: Who cares? Is there another Galilean preacher from the first century about whom more is written?

No. And your point is?


SecWebLurker: Meier also notes that knowledge of most of what ancient people believed is "simply not accessible to us today by historical research and never will be."(1994, p. 23)

pen: So, not even Christians know who Jesus really was.

Sec: LOL, how you get that out of the above quote I sure cannot tell.

All you have is Christian propaganda.


SecWebLurker: As far as your big list of historians...I don't have time to address them all in detail, but I think the above covers most of it, and the fact that most of them are so late they wouldn't have access to independent info.

pen: My point is that Jesus was so ordinary that NO HISTORIAN in the list mentioned him. He became EXTRAORDINARY some decades after his death.

Sec: Actually Josephus mentions him.

I didn't include Josephus on the list. BTW, the Jesus allusion in Josephus is disputed.

Paterculus-His work was published in 30 AD when Jesus was just starting His ministry.

pen: Yes, but Jesus was, according to you, conceived by the "Holy Spirit" around 30 years BEFORE Paterculus published his Historiae Romanae. Would not this extraordinary fact have been of interest to him?

Sec: This is ignorance. Definitely NOT, AS NO JEW would be going around bragging that their son was concieved by the Holy Spirit prior to their marriage because this would raise the issue of him being a mamzer.

You have repeatedly stated that "there is no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate." Now, you say that some would have considered him a bastard if the TRUTH got out. Strange.


pen: Wouldn't Jesus, as the literal son of Yahweh, have possessed super powers? Wouldn't his possession of super powers have created a stir during those 30 years? I contend that this historian didn't mention Jesus BECAUSE he was an ordinary human being.

Sec: His ministry started at age 30 and we have no evidence of Him performing miracles prior to this, or that He was believed to have done so. So I don't see any reason to believe that He did and hence, should have been noticed.

1. No one knows at what age Jesus started preaching, so don't presume the age of 30 to be fact.
2. WHY didn't he do "signs and wonders" BEFORE he started preaching, if he was in fact the literal son of Yahweh? Strange.

Persius- LOL, yeah, we've got a few sentences from this guy.

pen: And, your point is what?

Sec:...obviously over your head. {snip, stupidity}

Petronius - Gaius Petronius? Don't we only have fragments of a novel from this guy? I suppose he should've slipped Jesus into the "Acknowledgements" section?

pen: Again, your point is what?

Sec: {snip, stupidity}

Quintillian - We have some books on oratory from this guy. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

pen: Why not?

Sec: Because mention of Jesus is not related to his purpose at all. Should we expect to find Jesus mentioned in first century cookbooks too?!

Why not? He could cook up some mean magic.

Quintius Curtius - He wrote a history of Alexander the Great. What does Jesus have to do with this? Nothing.

pen: I contend that he did not write a history of Jesus because Jesus was quite ordinary during his lifetime.

Sec: I contend that he is not writing general history, especially about things occuring in Israel, and has no reason to mention Jesus.

He wrote of an outstanding person. Why not Jesus?


Phaedrus - Uh, didn't this guy write fables?

pen: No more so than Matthew and Luke.

Sec: Hyuk hyuk hyuk!

Is this supposed to be an intelligent comment?

Silius Italicus- Jesus didn't fight in the Punic War, why should Silius mention him?

pen: It is true that Silius Italicus wrote of the Punic War, but had Jesus been EXTRAORDINARY, it is very reasonable that this historian would have mentioned him.

Sec: Not in writing about the Punic War he shouldn't.

Why not?
________________________________

SecWebLurker: And they give no evidence for this either. Nor are the Talmud or Celsus held to have ANY historical credibility in these claims by anyone. For good reason - they are too far removed.

penatis: There are scholars who think Jesus was illegitimate, based on what outsiders said of Jesus. The NT gives JUST ONE SIDE, the Christian one. Obviously, there were those who did not agree with the propaganda.

SecWebLurker: They think Jesus was illegitimate because they think the virgin birth didn't occur. The "outsiders" they're talkign about are NOT Celsus or the Talmud, penatis.

pen: There are numerous outsiders, SWL, INCLUDING Judeans, many Christians (who did not believe in the virgin birth), and others. Celsus and the Talmud say what many early outsiders thought.

Sec: Who cares?!!!!!!!!!! Who cares whether or not they BELIEVED in the virgin birth? They STILL don't provide any EVIDENCE towards Jesus illegitamacy!

Well, historians care. They believed that Jesus was a "mamzer" for SOME reason. And it certainly is REASONABLE.

SecWebLurker: These outsiders are in the Gospel of John and they make a statement that IMPLIES that Jesus is illegitimate, but like I said, if this were known to be the case we'd see completely different reactions from the early Gospels and epistles, and there'd be no reason to make up a virgin birth to cover for it.

pen: You seem to be forgetting that the earliest gospel writer DID NOT mention the virgin birth myth. Nor did Paul. I contend the myth developed decades AFTER Jesus died.

Sec: Paul's not writing gospels. He's writing letters as correctives to churches he's founded, which would already have historical info. on Jesus.

How do you KNOW what the members of the early churches OUTSIDE of Palestine would have known about Jesus? You have no EVIDENCE demonstrating what was known or not known to them.

SecWebLurker: As far as Mark not mentioning the VB, so what? We don't really have any idea how much later Matt or Luke are than Mark. Its all speculation.

Pretending, for the sake of argument, that Jesus was the product of the "Holy Spirit," it is inconceivable that a person who knew of it would not mention it. Again, I submit that the writer either did not know of it or did not believe it. Furthermore, he did not even mention a father.

SecWebLurker: If Mark is based on notes from Peter's preaching than there's no need for the VB to have come up.

FACT: No one knows who wrote the narrative attributed to a person named "Mark." Also, no one knows when or where the orginal (if there was an original of the complete text) was written. I am aware of NO critical scholar who thinks that the writer got his information directly from any person, or notes of a person, who knew Jesus. (Based on the NT, Peter was an illiterate Galilean fisherman, not a writer.)

SecWebLurker: Secondly, Mark's motif seems to be that Jesus' nature is only known by demons, God, angels, etc. as the story progresses...He's trying to emphasize the fact that no one at first really understands who or what Jesus truly is...It could work against what he wants to emphasize to have Jesus' real identity revealed by angels to family members...

I suppose you have EVIDENCE to support your speculation about the writer's motives.

penatis: According to R. Joseph Hoffman, "These polemical statements were long-lived and known to Celsus, who comments on the illegitimacy of Jesus and the absurdity of the story of the virgin birth...Undoubtedly, the bulk of this Jewish tradition can be traced back to a period before the formation of the written Gospels." Jesus Outside the Gospels, P. 40.

SecWebLurker: LOL, that is utter garbage.

penatis: You are entitled to your biased opinion.

SecWebLurker: Show me the BULK of the Jewish tradition. Where's it at?

pen: I counter with: Show me the BULK of the Christian tradition. MOST of it ignores the virgin birth myth. How do YOU explain this if it is a historical fact?

Sec: Already did.

Matthew and Luke? They tell of a dream and an angel visiting Mary. WOW!!

SecWebLurker: That's not a counter at all. Its just sidestepping my question. I asked for the evidence in the BULK of Jewish tradition saying Jesus was illegitimate. Where is it? Nowhere. Your source is wrong.

My source makes sense. Yours does not.

SecWebLurker: You can throw the word "bias" around all you want. I'm not afraid of it. I know that its hollow. I say something the skeptic doesn't like and I'm biased. I must be biased.

pen: Baloney! You MUST believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. I DO NOT have to.

Sec: Actually I don't have to believe that at all. {snip, more of that biased stuff}

More to come. I have to go eat...


 
Old 02-25-2001, 11:48 AM   #44
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continued...

pen: I submit that you have no belief in the virgin birth of Heracles for the very same reason I have no belief in the virgin birth of Jesus: THE LITERARY EVIDENCE.

Sec: Show me a document that says Heracles was born of a virgin, that PREDATES the time of Jesus.

This is a curious request. Let's see:

"[After a squabble over some stolen cattle and the death of a man named Electryon, the following takes place:] Amphitryon, accompanied by Alcmene, fled to Thebes, where King Creon purified him and gave his sister Perimede in marriage to Electryon's only surviving son...But the pious Alcmene would not lie with Amphitryon until he had avenged the death of her eight brothers... [Here, Amphitryon gets together an army.] Then, aided by Athenian, Phocian, Argive, and Locrian contingents, Amphitryon overcame the Teleboans and Taphians, and bestowed their islands on his allies...
"Meanwhile, Zeus, taking advantage of Amphitryon's absence, impersonated him and, assuring Alcmene that her brothers were now avenged-since Amphitryon and indeed gained the required victory that very morning-lay with her all one night, to which he gave the length of three...Alcmene, wholly deceived, listened delightedly to Zeus's account of the crushing defeat inflicted on Pterelaus...and sported innocently with her supposed husband for the whole thirty-six hours. On the next day, when Amphitryon returned, eloquent of victory and of his passion for her, Alcmene did not welcome him to the marriage couch so raptuously as he had hoped. 'We never slept a wink last night,' she complained. 'And surely you do not expect me to listen twice to the story of your exploits?' Amphitryon, unable to understand these remarks, consulted the seer Teiresias, who told him that he had been cuckolded by Zeus; and thereafter he never dared sleep with Alcmene again, for fear of incurring divine jealousy." Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Vol II,, pp. 85-86.

Graves cites the following sources for the mythical account of Heracles' birth: Apollodorus; Tzetzes; Hesiod; Hyginus; Pindar; and Lucian.

Also, please read the following by Diodorus Siculus: "Alkmene was taken by Zeus, through a deceit, and she bore Herakles. Thus, the root of the family tree, through both his parents, is said to go back to the greatest of the Gods (Zeus), in the way we have shown. The excellent begotten in Herakles is not only in his great acts, but was known before his birth. When Zeus lay with Alkmene, he tripled the length of the night, and, in the increased length of time spent in begetting the child, he foreshadowed the exceptional power of the child who was to be begotten. All in all, this union was not done because of erotic desire, as with other women, but more for the purpose of creating the child." Library of History 4.9.1-10, as quoted in Documents for the Study of the Gospels, P. 135. Diodorus Siculus was a GREEK historian who lived in the first century BEFORE the common era.

pen: What kind of bias does one have if he disbelieves ALL virgin birth stories? What kind of bias does one have who believes ONLY ONE and considers ALL the others to be myths? I suggest you take another look at the definition of "bias."

Sec: You have an anti-supernatural bias. I don't.

What is that?

SecWebLurker: I don't see any scholars or historians saying we can know ANYTHING about the historical heracles, or that there ever was such a person, so I dont' see any reason to accept any 'facts' about his life.

So, with respect to the supernatural, you are hyper-skeptical when it deals with anything outside of the Bible. This shows your extreme bias. BTW, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, "Its [Herakles] probable meaning, 'glorious gift of Hera,' shows that he cannot have been originally a god, for no Greek god ever has a name compounded of that of another deity. Behind this very complicated mythology there is probably concealed a real man, perhaps a chieftain-vassal of the kingdom of
Argos." This makes more sense to me than much of the NT.

I have to go again. I just got a phone call.

More later...

[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 25, 2001).]
 
Old 02-25-2001, 02:46 PM   #45
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penatis: Paul said that Jesus was "born of the flesh" and was descended from David. It seems no one knows for sure what the circumstances of Jesus conception and birth were.

SecWebLurker: Jesus was born of the flesh. I don't think Paul says he was concieved of the flesh.

pen: Paul is quoted as saying, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Rm 1:3. Literally, Paul says that Jesus was made from the semen of David. Notice he DOES NOT say that Jesus was made from the "Holy Spirit." Only the most desperate can torture the text and force it to mean anything but a natural conception.

Sec: And Paul has no less than SIX different usages for flesh (sarx) in his letters. It can denote anything from a state of sinful rebellion against the creator, to the mere state of being part of humanity.

For some reason, you ignored what I wrote. Leaving off the words "according to the flesh," we still have "Jesus...was made of the seed [semen] of David." Clearly, Paul meant that Jesus was "part of humanity." You cannot possibly believe that Paul meant Jesus was in "a state of sinful rebellion against the creator," can you? I think that would be most silly.

SecWebLurker: Luke,who we KNOW believes in the VB, in Acts 2:30, writes: "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."

We do not KNOW with a high degree of certainty what the writer believed. Tradition says that the writer of Luke wrote Acts. That is all. We do not KNOW for sure that the virgin birth story was part of the original. (Surely, you are aware of the fact that no extant MS of the NT, telling of the visit of Gabriel to Mary, dates before the fourth century CE.) The virgin birth story could easily have been interpolated into the narrative at a late date.

Furthermore, since Acts was written long after Paul's letter to the Romans, it is irrelevant.

SecWebLurker: I do indeed believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

penatis: Why?

SecWebLurker: It makes me feel like a rebel ;-)

pen: I have yet to have a Christian answer this question. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for them.

Sec: Not in the least. I've already answered it.

Again, no answer. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for Christians.



[This message has been edited by penatis (edited February 25, 2001).]
 
Old 02-25-2001, 11:49 PM   #46
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I am not aware that one type of miracle is present in the bible: the generation/regeneration of missing limbs.

Is anyone aware of an example of the generation of a limb not present at birth or the regeneration of a lost limb?
 
Old 02-26-2001, 04:17 AM   #47
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Two comments about this subject.

1. I disagree that there was a conflict between the early church and Jewish authorities. This idea reflects the circumstances between the two at the time the Gospels were written. There is evidence within the NT that the early church operated its mission out of Jerusalem in relative peace. The authors of the Gospels used the traditions and sayings about Jesus mainly against the Pharisees because they were the leaders of the Jewish religion after 70AD. The only conflicts within the early church were the conflicts between different Christian churches (denominations, if you will) around the empire.

2. It seems odd that Jesus was a miracle worker and yet he couldn't perform miracles in his hometown. This seems to imply that Jesus has no control over his miracle working but that it is controlled by the faith response of the individual requesting the miracle. This seems to conflict with other miracles of Jesus. For example, in the boat during the bad storm, the disciples had no faith that they would be saved even though Jesus was right there in the boat with them. Yet Jesus miraculously calms the storm and then even castigates the disciples for having little faith. How was he able to perform this miracle if the disciples had little or no faith?

I think it is more likely that this story is meant to convey the importance of faith for believers. Mark's Gospel continually stresses the importance of faith in the life of the believer. However, it is worth noting that Jesus was not completely powerless, according to the text which states that he was able to cure a few sick people. I think this story is more of an explanation of the plain fact that Jesus was rejected as a prophet in his hometown and even by his own kin. It also has the statement by Jesus that a prophet has no honor in his hometown and among his kin.
 
Old 03-01-2001, 07:36 AM   #48
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Sec: Bah! I didn't presume anything. You asserted that a virgin birth was impossible. I said there is nothing inherently IMPOSSIBLE about God bringing about a virgin birth. Nor is there anything IMPOSSIBLE about a God existing. NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL. If you have some argument that demonstrates the IMPOSSIBILITY of either of them, present it...

penat:I agree that "NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL."

SecWeb: Nor does anything YOU have to say entail that either of these things are impossible.

SecWebLurker: No. I said that God DOING something is not impossible. Of course, that entails that His existence is not impossible. And it certainly isn't in the broadly logical sense. So your implicit statement was unfounded. Does an abiogenesis researcher have to have evidence that life originated from simple abiotic precursors, in a completely naturalistic manner, before he says that it is POSSIBLE that it did? Of course not.

pen:This is a blatantly false analogy. You are comparing science with religion.

Sec: LOL, this is too funny...

penat: It is only "funny" to someone who places his faith in dreams and angels.

SecWeb: Listen man, if you can't see that a lack of evidence FOR something does not entail that it is IMPOSSIBLE, then you've got problems.

penatis: 2. How do you KNOW what any god has done? How do you KNOW a god "miraculously brought about" a virgin birth? I contend you KNOW neither, but BELIEVE both, based on faith, not history.

SecWebLurker: These are all red herrings penatis. I already said I believe the VB, and I never claimed to KNOW that it occured (as in "I can PROVE the VB! Its an undeniable FACT!"). Is my belief based on history? To even answer that begs the question of whether or not the accounts are accurate. I believe the accounts. Its that simple.

pen: I appreciate the fact that you admit to being gullible.

Sec: Your opinion is noted. I made no such admission...

penat: You said you believe the accounts. That demonstrates gulliblility.

SecWeb: Maybe to you it does. I don't have any particular respect for your reasoning thus far, so I'm not particularly concerned with your opinions on mine. No offense...

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are born illegitimately, every day?

SecWebLurker: Yeah, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

penatis: Yeah, and you have yet to produce one iota of evidence demonstrating the existence of your "God." You presuppose the existence of something that can bring about something else you presuppose to be possible. You have presented nothing to support your presuppostions.

Sec: I say God is possible in the broadly logical sense, i.e., the existence of a miracle-working God entails no inherent contradictions. If you want to argue against this, go ahead. You claim that a miracle such as a virgin birth is impossible. Please demonstrate this.

penat: 1. It is also logically possible that there are no gods; therefore, why believe in them?

SecWeb: The fact that it is logically possible that something does not exist in no way compells belief in its non-existence. For instance, it is logically possible
that the world and people you see around you do not actually exist, but are merely simulations that arise as a result of certain experiments being performed on your brain, which happens to be in a vat in an alien laboratory. This in no way makes it unreasonable to believe in the existence of the outside world and people.

penat: 2. Until someone demonstrates that virgin births ARE possible, I will continue to maintain they are not possible.

SecWeb: Go ahead. I don't care. You have no argument that demonstrates that they are impossible. Your only argument is that you have not seen one. You can type all year, proclaiming your faith in the impossibility of virgin births.

penatis: Are you aware of the FACT that children are NEVER born to virgins impregnated by the "Holy Spirit?"

SecWebLurker: No, I'm not actually. And neither are you. The only fact you are aware of is that you've never seen such a thing occur.

pen: This is ludicrous. You actually believe that virgin births happen. Wow!!! What other things do you believe?

Sec: Er, I think I already told you I believe in THE virgin birth of Jesus.

penat: WOW!! How come?

SecWeb: I already told you 'How come'.

SebWebLurker: Secondly, the point stands. You aren't aware of any "facts" about the non-occurence or impossibility of virgin births, other than that you have not witnessed such things occur.

penat: NO ONE IS AWARE OF THE OCCURENCE OF VIRGIN BIRTHS. If you are aware of something no one else is aware of, then present evidence.

SecWeb: I'm not trying to convince you of the Virgin birth. I'm arguing against your claim that its impossible. You have not shown anything that necessitates its impossibility so your claim is unfounded.

SecWebLurker: Let's not have any of that "Wow!!!" crap.

penat: WOW!! What hostility!

SecWeb: Its not hostility. You need to grow up a bit and stop the with the drama.

SecWebLurker: If you are aware of such facts, let's see them.

penat: Well, we could go to the local hospitals and verify for ourselves just how many virgin births occur daily. BTW, it is YOU who claims that virgin births occur, not me. Therefore, the burden of proof is on you, not me.

SecWeb: LOL, I'm NOT ARGUING that virgin births happen every day or OFTEN, or even more than once throughout all of recorded history, so going to the hospital to verify that helps your case not one bit. As far as the "burden of proof", you made the positive truth-claim that virgin births are IMPOSSIBLE. Since you don't have any data to back that up, and all your data consists of is "Er-Duh, I ain't ne'er seen one", your claim is on the same evidential level as "The Virgin Birth is a FACT!".

SecWebLurker: And as I said above, this says nothing against God bringing about Jesus' birth miraculously.

pen: And as I said above, you have not demonstrated that your "God" exists, much less that this imaginary god brought about anything "miraculous."

Sec: That's fine. I don't need evidence FOR the VB to undercut your attempts to render it impossible.

penat: Logically, yes you do. Virgin births, like fairies, remain nonexistent until someone demonstrates their existence.

SecWeb: No, genius. Things don't begin to exist the moment someone finds PROOF that they exist. Atoms existed before we discovered them. Other planets in the universe existed before we discovered them.

penatis: Furthermore, it is perfectly reasonable to think that Mary was pregnant BEFORE she married Joseph. These three things convince me that Jesus was conceived the natural way and that he was probably illegitimate. I have human history and science on my side. What do you have?

SecWebLurker: Sorry, human history doesn't make monopolistic metaphysical claims about what CAN AND CANNOT happen, and neither does science. History tells us, very tentatively, what is known to be the case in the past. And science studies how things operate normally. I never said it was unreasonable to believe Mary COULD HAVE been pregnant before marrying Joseph. There's just no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate.

pen: Do you believe that it is possible that Zeus existed in history? Is it possible he exists right now? Do you believe that elephants can, or used to, fly? Is there ANYTHING you do not believe?

Sec: I don't believe in any of those things because I have no reason to do so. But I would not state that they are impossible in the broadly logical sense.

penat: I don't think Yahweh exists for the same reason you don't believe in Zeus.

SecWeb: That's fine. I don't mind at all.

penatis: 2. Something known as the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary. Only two writers in the whole world deemed this fact important enough to mention.

SecWebLurker: Err...I don't think there were too many ancient writers present at the event. Ancient writers didn't take much notice of Jesus, period.

penatis: That is precisely my point! He was an ordinary person. Had he been extraordinary, NUMEROUS writers would have been interested in him, not just Christian propagandists.

SecWebLurker: HAHA! And every writer who says something about how extraordinary he was is what? A Christian propagandist! Round and round we go...

pen: You didn't address my point. You pretend to believe the words of two ancient Christian writers who tell of a dream and an angel. There MUST be a reason for your gullibility. What is it?

Sec: The reason is simply that I trust in the accounts. I see no reason for them to fabricate a virgin birth.

penat: Have you ever considered the possibility that the writers wished to prove that Jesus was the SON of Yahweh? That is a very good reason to have created the fabulous virgin birth stories.

SecWeb: Not only have I considered it, I've already told you why I think that's unlikely.

SecWebLurker: You certainly haven't presented one. And I see no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate. Furthermore, given that I think there are good reasons for accepting the resurrection, and hence Christ's divinity and status as a prophet, a miraculous birth for such a figure fits the context of His life, death, and resurrection.

penat: No, the virgin birth myth fits perfectly well with the resurrection myth. One fabulous story is no better or worse than another. If Jesus lived on this earth, and I think he did, he was an ordinary human being. Just read the anonymous narrative attributed to Mark.

SecWeb: I just don't agree. I believe Jesus rose from the dead, and was God incarnate. I'm a Christian, and you're not. We already know each other's opinions on these issues. If you have fun telling me I'm "gullible" for believing in them, then by all means, continue to do so. I don't agree and your opinion of my beliefs is not particularly important to me. When you start claiming that things are impossible, without any evidence that they are, other than "I ain't ne'er seen one", that's where you need to be told that your claims are on no better grounds than the assertion of the truth of what you're denying.

penatis: For example, why didn't the following writers say SOMETHING about a man who was supposedly born of a virgin impregnated by the "Holy Spirit" and the "savior" of all humankind?

SecWebLurker: Uh, probably because the virgin birth was, for obvious reasons (i.e., it raises the accusation of Jesus being a mamzer), not really something Jesus went around bragging about.

pen: Neither you nor I KNOW what Jesus said or did; however, you pretend to know what he did and his motives for doing so.

Sec: LOL, I know plenty about what Jesus said and what He did.

penat: Oh, really. I submit that you nothing of the kind. ALL you can possibly KNOW is what is contained in ancient Greek MSS. The picture these MSS paint is one of an enigma. YOU are remonved from this enigma by almost two thousand years, and yet, you say you "know plenty." That's baloney.

SecWeb: Well, I guess all of the scholars studying the historical Jesus are full of balogney then. If you want to believe that, go ahead. I'll stick with Sanders, Vermes, Meier, etc.. We can know more about the thought of Jesus than we can about almost any first century Galilean.

SecWebLurker: If you want to deny that we can know any of these things, you can. You can deny that we know anything about any ancient person. I simply don't share that skepticism...

penat: There are limits to what we can KNOW about any historical personage. That is not "skepticism." That is common sense.

SecWeb: Er, there are limits to what we can know about ANYTHING. I don't think I denied that there were *limits*.

SecWebLurker: Nor did Paul. And as far as Jesus being the savior of all mankind, that's something His followers said about Him after having resurrection experiences.

pen: So, you admit that he was not known as the savior of humankind during his lifetime.

SecWebLurker: <snip stupidity>

penat: If you wish to snip what you consider "stupidity," then that is your prerogative. But if you do so, be aware that I could very well "snip" much of your posting.

SecWeb: LOL, your opinion is noted. [I'd probably snip every one of your posts off the board....hahahah ;-)]

Sec: Jesus' mission, during His lifetime, was primarily to Israel.

penat:I submit that Jesus spoke entirely to his fellow Judeans.

SecWeb: "I SUBMIT...I submit...I submit...I submiiieerrrrrrrrrr....[low battery]."

So what? I submit that I like salads!

SecWebLurker: The exalted self-understanding of Jesus in the Gospels, as evinced by his own words, is in particularly cryptic language, much of it which non-Jewish people wouldn't even grasp (i.e., 'Son of man' sayings).

pen: The gospel narratives certainly present a character that no one understood. Maybe it was his problem that no one understood him.

Sec: Maybe it was partially a problem...It seems to be the case often in the Gospel accounts...

SecWebLurker: Arguments like these just don't work anyway because within years Jesus' followers were proclaiming these things about him all over the place, and to the extent that it is strange that we don't see Him mentioned by these historians, it is equally strange that we don't see mention of these Christians, whose existence and proclamations no one doubts.

pen: There is much strangeness surrounding Jesus and his early followers.

Sec: Like what, and so what?

penat: Jesus was:

a) Considered insane by his own family.

SecWeb: Hahhahaha! Was he really? Because of one or two instances recorded where they are unsure of His behavior, and he is said to be "beside Himself"? LOL, haven't you ever had someone in your family say "Are you crazy?" I certainly have. Are you seriously "submitting" that Jesus entire family thought he was permanently mentally ill?

penat: b) Difficult for almost everyone to deal with.

SecWeb: So what? I'm that way too...

penat: c) Untrustworthy. His own family did not believe him.

SecWeb: Oh, look at how you try to twist the evidence. They did not believe in Him, AT FIRST, because He was making strong claims and doing things that challenged traditional views. This doesn't equal "untrustWORTHY".

penat: d) Superstitious.

SecWeb: Of course, belief in a metaphysical realm of angels and demons and a God who created all of existence is seen as 'strange' to the modern 'freethinker', but it is ridiculously anachronistic to suppose that this was 'strange' in first century Israel.

penat: e) Angry much of the time.

SecWeb: LOL, want to show me how you conclude that he was angry "much" of the time? Do you just mean to say "Jesus got angry once in a while"? If so, woooooah! That's strange.

penat: f) Sometimes hateful to his own family and disciples.

SecWeb: Show me where Jesus is hateful.

penat: g) Generally disruptive.

SecWeb: In a much better way than other first-century messianic claiments.

penat: h) Arrogant.

SecWeb: Where?

penat: i) Disliked by his fellow Judeans.

SecWeb: And liked by others, just like any member of any group with specific religious opinions that contrast with those of another group.

And after all this, you still didn't answer my second question -- So WHAT? What does any of that matter? HOw is it relevant to this discussion?

SecWebLurker: Of course neither are strange, as no historian of the time could have percieved what would come of Christianity and this poor itinerent urban preacher whom they would have seen as a mere magician.

pen: You seem to have ruled out the possiblity that Jesus practiced magic. In point of fact, much of the NT is filled with magic.

Sec: Where do I "seem to have" ruled this out? And where's the evidence that Jesus practiced magic? Show me the places in the NT filled with magic.

penat: 1. You used the phrase "they would have seen as a mere magician." I took this to mean that they "only thought" he was a magician. (Maybe you agree with me and think Jesus practiced magic. If so, then great!)

SecWeb: You took it wrong. And I'd have to know what you mean by "magic" to know whether or not I agree with you.

penat: 2. I could give scores of instances of magic, as practiced by Jesus, his disciples, Paul, Peter, etc. Let me know if you want that extensive list.

SecWeb: First define "magic", if you merely mean "miracle", then I don't see any reason to disagree.

SecWebLurker: J.P. Meier, in his amazing work on the "historical Jesus", points out that what is MOST surprising is that we have ANY reference to Jesus at all:

“When we look for statements about Jesus from non canonical writings of the 1st or 2nd century A.D., we are at first disappointed by the lack of references. We have to remember that Jews and pagans of this period, if they were at all aware of a new religious phenomenon on the horizon, would be more aware of the nascent group called Christianity than of its putative founder Jesus. Some of these writers, at least, had direct or indirect contact with Christians; none of them had had contact with the Christ Christians worshiped. This simply reminds us that Jesus was a marginal Jew leading a marginal movement in a marginal province of a vast Roman Empire. The wonder is that any learned Jew or pagan would have known or referred to him at all in the 1st or early 2nd century."[John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (New York: Doubleday, 1994)]

pen: This simply demonstrates the ordinariness of Jesus as a man. Had he truly done something extraordinary, he would have aroused the interest of SOME historian. BTW, not everyone considers books by Meier to be "amazing." Do you believe hyperbole somehow enhances your claims?

Sec: Have you ever read anything by Meier?

penat: Yes, I have. It should be noted that Meier is a Catholic priest with an agenda. He IS NOT a disinterested ancient historian.

SecWeb: There is no such thing as an unbiased person. Its a myth. Everyone comes to the table with background beliefs about the world.

SecWebLurker: And as far as ordinariness, to Romans at that time, stories of a miracle-worker might just have seemed ordinary.

penat: Yes, especially if that person had been considered an ordinary magician.

SecWeb: Exactly, and this is the category Jesus would have been put in by Romans. So you answered your own question.

SecWebLurker: In his book, "The Historical Figure of Jesus", E.P. Sanders (considered one of the greatest american Jesus scholars) writes: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49)

pen: Again, Jesus was just an ordinary human being.

Sec: And you know this how?

penat: I think this based on all available evidence. 1. He was ignored by virtually every contemporary historian.

SecWeb: Which says nothing towards your case...

penat: 2. The narrative attributed to Mark depicts a human being who practiced what many would call magic. 3. Paul said he was born naturally.

SecWeb: Again, what exactly IS 'magic' in your usage? And I agree that he was born naturally, just not concieved naturally.

pen: BTW, not everyone considers E.P. Sanders to be "one of the greatest American Jesus scholars." More hyperbole.

Sec: I don't think I said EVERYONE considers him to be.

penat: 1. You used the prhase "considered one of the greatest American Jesus scholars."

SecWeb: Yeah, and does that mean EVERYONE? No, it doesn't.

penat: WHO considers him to be one of the greatest?

Sec Web: Here's one:

Dr. Mark Goodacre, (Department of Theology, University of Birmingham): "E. P. Sanders is the greatest living New Testament scholar. Not only has he ushered in a revolution in the study of Paul, but also he has changed the course of Jesus research, partly because he pays proper attention to questions of method and partly because he reads Jewish sources carefully and sympathetically and worthy of study in their own right, and not simply as 'New Testament background'."[http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre/treasure.htm]

penat: Yes, I have read E.P. Sanders' The Historical Figure of Jesus. I agree with most of his conclusions; however, I have never heard anyone say that he is one of the greatest American Jesus scholars--that is, until you said it.

SecWeb: Well, now you have.

SecWebLurker: Sanders compares Jesus to Alexander the Great, stating that Alexander "so greatly altered the political situation in a large part of the world that the main outline of his public life is very well known indeed. Jesus did not change the social, political and economic circumstances in Palestine...the superiority of evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought."(Ibid. p. 3)

pen: The actual truth is this: Outside the early Christian MSS and later Christian apologists, there is not much written about Jesus.

SecWeb: Who cares though? There's a ton written about him, period.

Sec: Who cares? Is there another Galilean preacher from the first century about whom more is written?

penat: No. And your point is?

SecWeb: We have tons of writing on Jesus and his thoughts and actions.

SecWebLurker: Meier also notes that knowledge of most of what ancient people believed is "simply not accessible to us today by historical research and never will be."(1994, p. 23)

pen: So, not even Christians know who Jesus really was.

Sec: LOL, how you get that out of the above quote I sure cannot tell.

penat: All you have is Christian propaganda.

SecWeb: All you spout is atheist propaganda.

SecWebLurker: As far as your big list of historians...I don't have time to address them all in detail, but I think the above covers most of it, and the fact that most of them are so late they wouldn't have access to independent info.

pen: My point is that Jesus was so ordinary that NO HISTORIAN in the list mentioned him. He became EXTRAORDINARY some decades after his death.

Sec: Actually Josephus mentions him.

penat: I didn't include Josephus on the list. BTW, the Jesus allusion in Josephus is disputed.

SecWeb: Actually there is one UNDISPUTED reference in Josephus, and another, that gives us a lot of info., and it too is accepted by the majority of scholars, barring certain interpolations.

Paterculus-His work was published in 30 AD when Jesus was just starting His ministry.

pen: Yes, but Jesus was, according to you, conceived by the "Holy Spirit" around 30 years BEFORE Paterculus published his Historiae Romanae. Would not this extraordinary fact have been of interest to him?

Sec: This is ignorance. Definitely NOT, AS NO JEW would be going around bragging that their son was concieved by the Holy Spirit prior to their marriage because this would raise the issue of him being a mamzer.

penat: You have repeatedly stated that "there is no evidence that Jesus was illegitimate." Now, you say that some would have considered him a bastard if the TRUTH got out. Strange.

SecWeb: Not strange at all. The unsubstantiated rhetoric of others is not evidence for illegitimacy.

pen: Wouldn't Jesus, as the literal son of Yahweh, have possessed super powers? Wouldn't his possession of super powers have created a stir during those 30 years? I contend that this historian didn't mention Jesus BECAUSE he was an ordinary human being.

Sec: His ministry started at age 30 and we have no evidence of Him performing miracles prior to this, or that He was believed to have done so. So I don't see any reason to believe that He did and hence, should have been noticed.

penat: 1. No one knows at what age Jesus started preaching, so don't presume the age of 30 to be fact.

SecWeb: 30 is a rough estimate. Regardless, we have no evidence of Him performing miracles prior to the baptism by John the B.

penat: 2. WHY didn't he do "signs and wonders" BEFORE he started preaching, if he was in fact the literal son of Yahweh? Strange.

SecWeb: Er, probably because in Judaism he wouldn't have been taken too seriously until He was at least past the age of accountability.

Persius- LOL, yeah, we've got a few sentences from this guy.

pen: And, your point is what?

Sec:...obviously over your head. {snip, stupidity}

Petronius - Gaius Petronius? Don't we only have fragments of a novel from this guy? I suppose he should've slipped Jesus into the "Acknowledgements" section?

pen: Again, your point is what?

Sec: Obviously still over your head.

Quintillian - We have some books on oratory from this guy. Why should he mention Jesus in them?

pen: Why not?

Sec: Because mention of Jesus is not related to his purpose at all. Should we expect to find Jesus mentioned in first century cookbooks too?!

penat: Why not? He could cook up some mean magic.

SecWeb: Har har.

Quintius Curtius - He wrote a history of Alexander the Great. What does Jesus have to do with this? Nothing.

pen: I contend that he did not write a history of Jesus because Jesus was quite ordinary during his lifetime.

Sec: I contend that he is not writing general history, especially about things occuring in Israel, and has no reason to mention Jesus.

penat: He wrote of an outstanding person. Why not Jesus?

SecWeb: Are you that brainless? No Roman historian would see a crucified man as an outstanding person.

Phaedrus - Uh, didn't this guy write fables?

pen: No more so than Matthew and Luke.

Sec: Hyuk hyuk hyuk!

penat: Is this supposed to be an intelligent comment?

SecWeb: Are you *capable* of an intelligent comment?

Silius Italicus- Jesus didn't fight in the Punic War, why should Silius mention him?

pen: It is true that Silius Italicus wrote of the Punic War, but had Jesus been EXTRAORDINARY, it is very reasonable that this historian would have mentioned him.

Sec: Not in writing about the Punic War he shouldn't.

penat: Why not?

SecWeb: Because Jesus wasn't in the Punic War, Einstein.
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SecWebLurker: And they give no evidence for this either. Nor are the Talmud or Celsus held to have ANY historical credibility in these claims by anyone. For good reason - they are too far removed.

penatis: There are scholars who think Jesus was illegitimate, based on what outsiders said of Jesus. The NT gives JUST ONE SIDE, the Christian one. Obviously, there were those who did not agree with the propaganda.

SecWebLurker: They think Jesus was illegitimate because they think the virgin birth didn't occur. The "outsiders" they're talkign about are NOT Celsus or the Talmud, penatis.

pen: There are numerous outsiders, SWL, INCLUDING Judeans, many Christians (who did not believe in the virgin birth), and others. Celsus and the Talmud say what many early outsiders thought.

Sec: Who cares?!!!!!!!!!! Who cares whether or not they BELIEVED in the virgin birth? They STILL don't provide any EVIDENCE towards Jesus illegitamacy!

penat: Well, historians care. They believed that Jesus was a "mamzer" for SOME reason. And it certainly is REASONABLE.

SecWeb: I don't care what historians believe. Plenty of historians believe Jesus was the Son of God and rose from the dead, AND that He was born of a virgin. I care what historians can provide evidence for when they are making HISTORICAL claims. Show me these historians evidence that Jesus was illegitimate.

SecWebLurker: These outsiders are in the Gospel of John and they make a statement that IMPLIES that Jesus is illegitimate, but like I said, if this were known to be the case we'd see completely different reactions from the early Gospels and epistles, and there'd be no reason to make up a virgin birth to cover for it.

pen: You seem to be forgetting that the earliest gospel writer DID NOT mention the virgin birth myth. Nor did Paul. I contend the myth developed decades AFTER Jesus died.

Sec: Paul's not writing gospels. He's writing letters as correctives to churches he's founded, which would already have historical info. on Jesus.

penat: How do you KNOW what the members of the early churches OUTSIDE of Palestine would have known about Jesus? You have no EVIDENCE demonstrating what was known or not known to them.

SecWeb: Actually Paul himself writes unto them presupposing not only that they are already saved by the Gospel, but that things he is telling them were often already preached unto them.

SecWebLurker: As far as Mark not mentioning the VB, so what? We don't really have any idea how much later Matt or Luke are than Mark. Its all speculation.

penat: Pretending, for the sake of argument, that Jesus was the product of the "Holy Spirit," it is inconceivable that a person who knew of it would not mention it. Again, I submit that the writer either did not know of it or did not believe it. Furthermore, he did not even mention a father.

SecWeb: And Mark not mentioning the father means that Jesus had no father? Not at all...I've already given several reasons why Mark might not mention the VB...He's not required to mention anything. All you have are arguments from silence

SecWebLurker: If Mark is based on notes from Peter's preaching than there's no need for the VB to have come up.

FACT: No one knows who wrote the narrative attributed to a person named "Mark." Also, no one knows when or where the orginal (if there was an original of the complete text) was written.

SecWeb: I think there's good evidence for Mark having written the Gospel, based on Peter's preaching. See: http://www.tektonics.org/tekton_02_02_02.html

penat: I am aware of NO critical scholar who thinks that the writer got his information directly from any person, or notes of a person, who knew Jesus. (Based on the NT, Peter was an illiterate Galilean fisherman, not a writer.)

SecWeb: Then that just shows how unaware you are. Try Craig Blomberg, Martin Hengel, Robert Gundry, R.T. France, F.F. Bruce, D. Guthrie, I.H. Marshall, John Wenham, etc. As far as Peter being illiterate, 1. we don't know that 2. its irrelevant...I didn't say Peter wrote anything...

SecWebLurker: Secondly, Mark's motif seems to be that Jesus' nature is only known by demons, God, angels, etc. as the story progresses...He's trying to emphasize the fact that no one at first really understands who or what Jesus truly is...It could work against what he wants to emphasize to have Jesus' real identity revealed by angels to family members...

penat: I suppose you have EVIDENCE to support your speculation about the writer's motives.

SecWeb: Ever hear of the "messianic secret" motif in Mark, big guy??? If not, go hit the library...

penatis: According to R. Joseph Hoffman, "These polemical statements were long-lived and known to Celsus, who comments on the illegitimacy of Jesus and the absurdity of the story of the virgin birth...Undoubtedly, the bulk of this Jewish tradition can be traced back to a period before the formation of the written Gospels." Jesus Outside the Gospels, P. 40.

SecWebLurker: LOL, that is utter garbage.

penatis: You are entitled to your biased opinion.

SecWebLurker: Show me the BULK of the Jewish tradition. Where's it at?

pen: I counter with: Show me the BULK of the Christian tradition. MOST of it ignores the virgin birth myth. How do YOU explain this if it is a historical fact?

Sec: Already did.

penat: Matthew and Luke? They tell of a dream and an angel visiting Mary. WOW!!

SecWeb: You aren't coherent enough to stick with the line of argument...Read what was said again and try to figure out why your response is silly.

SecWebLurker: That's not a counter at all. Its just sidestepping my question. I asked for the evidence in the BULK of Jewish tradition saying Jesus was illegitimate. Where is it? Nowhere. Your source is wrong.

penat: My source makes sense. Yours does not.

SecWeb: Your source is bunk (which is what we'd expect from a guy who writes forewards for trash by GA Wells)...No evidence whatsoever is presented for his position...

SecWebLurker: You can throw the word "bias" around all you want. I'm not afraid of it. I know that its hollow. I say something the skeptic doesn't like and I'm biased. I must be biased.

pen: Baloney! You MUST believe that Jesus was born of a virgin. I DO NOT have to.

Sec: Actually I don't have to believe that at all. {snip, more of that biased stuff}

More to come. I have to go eat...

continued...
pen: I submit that you have no belief in the virgin birth of Heracles for the very same reason I have no belief in the virgin birth of Jesus: THE LITERARY EVIDENCE.

Sec: Show me a document that says Heracles was born of a virgin, that PREDATES the time of Jesus.

penat: This is a curious request. Let's see:

"[After a squabble over some stolen cattle and the death of a man named Electryon, the following takes place:] Amphitryon, accompanied by Alcmene, fled to Thebes, where King Creon purified him and gave his sister Perimede in marriage to Electryon's only surviving son...But the pious Alcmene would not lie with Amphitryon until he had avenged the death of her eight brothers... [Here, Amphitryon gets together an army.] Then, aided by Athenian, Phocian, Argive, and Locrian contingents, Amphitryon overcame the Teleboans and Taphians, and bestowed their islands on his allies...
"Meanwhile, Zeus, taking advantage of Amphitryon's absence, impersonated him and, assuring Alcmene that her brothers were now avenged-since Amphitryon and indeed gained the required victory that very morning-lay with her all one night, to which he gave the length of three...Alcmene, wholly deceived, listened delightedly to Zeus's account of the crushing defeat inflicted on Pterelaus...and sported innocently with her supposed husband for the whole thirty-six hours. On the next day, when Amphitryon returned, eloquent of victory and of his passion for her, Alcmene did not welcome him to the marriage couch so raptuously as he had hoped. 'We never slept a wink last night,' she complained. 'And surely you do not expect me to listen twice to the story of your exploits?' Amphitryon, unable to understand these remarks, consulted the seer Teiresias, who told him that he had been cuckolded by Zeus; and thereafter he never dared sleep with Alcmene again, for fear of incurring divine jealousy." Robert Graves, The Greek Myths, Vol II,, pp. 85-86.

Graves cites the following sources for the mythical account of Heracles' birth: Apollodorus; Tzetzes; Hesiod; Hyginus; Pindar; and Lucian.

Also, please read the following by Diodorus Siculus: "Alkmene was taken by Zeus, through a deceit, and she bore Herakles. Thus, the root of the family tree, through both his parents, is said to go back to the greatest of the Gods (Zeus), in the way we have shown. The excellent begotten in Herakles is not only in his great acts, but was known before his birth. When Zeus lay with Alkmene, he tripled the length of the night, and, in the increased length of time spent in begetting the child, he foreshadowed the exceptional power of the child who was to be begotten. All in all, this union was not done because of erotic desire, as with other women, but more for the purpose of creating the child." Library of History 4.9.1-10, as quoted in Documents for the Study of the Gospels, P. 135. Diodorus Siculus was a GREEK historian who lived in the first century BEFORE the common era.

SecWeb: And of course, as I have already discussed, these are not virgin births at all. These are instances of a god having SEX with a mortal. And actually, I DON'T necessarilly deny that they stem from some actual occurence. See Genesis 6 for instance.

pen: What kind of bias does one have if he disbelieves ALL virgin birth stories? What kind of bias does one have who believes ONLY ONE and considers ALL the others to be myths? I suggest you take another look at the definition of "bias."

Sec: You have an anti-supernatural bias. I don't.

penat: What is that?

SecWeb: Figure it out.

SecWebLurker: I don't see any scholars or historians saying we can know ANYTHING about the historical heracles, or that there ever was such a person, so I dont' see any reason to accept any 'facts' about his life.

penat: So, with respect to the supernatural, you are hyper-skeptical when it deals with anything outside of the Bible. This shows your extreme bias.

SecWeb: Incorrect, I've had experiences w/what I see as the supernatural completely outside and unrelated to anything in the Bible, and completely outside of a Christian context.

SecWeb: BTW, according to Encyclopedia Britannica, "Its [Herakles] probable meaning, 'glorious gift of Hera,' shows that he cannot have been originally a god, for no Greek god ever has a name compounded of that of another deity. Behind this very complicated mythology there is probably concealed a real man, perhaps a chieftain-vassal of the kingdom of
Argos." This makes more sense to me than much of the NT.

SecWeb: I don't care what makes sense to you really. But as far as Hercules being a real person, when was he born, and when do we first see him mentioned by a historian? Also, point me to one scholarly work on the historical Hercules please - what he said and what he did.

penatis: Paul said that Jesus was "born of the flesh" and was descended from David. It seems no one knows for sure what the circumstances of Jesus conception and birth were.

SecWebLurker: Jesus was born of the flesh. I don't think Paul says he was concieved of the flesh.

pen: Paul is quoted as saying, "Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh." Rm 1:3. Literally, Paul says that Jesus was made from the semen of David. Notice he DOES NOT say that Jesus was made from the "Holy Spirit." Only the most desperate can torture the text and force it to mean anything but a natural conception.

Sec: And Paul has no less than SIX different usages for flesh (sarx) in his letters. It can denote anything from a state of sinful rebellion against the creator, to the mere state of being part of humanity.

penat: For some reason, you ignored what I wrote. Leaving off the words "according to the flesh," we still have "Jesus...was made of the seed [semen] of David."

SecWeb: Which obviously ISN'T literal. Does Paul mean to say David impregnated Mary? No.

penat: Clearly, Paul meant that Jesus was "part of humanity." You cannot possibly believe that Paul meant Jesus was in "a state of sinful rebellion against the creator," can you? I think that would be most silly.

SecWeb: Obviously I was simply stating the fact that there is a wide range of usage of 'sarx' in Paul.

SecWebLurker: Luke, who we KNOW believes in the VB, in Acts 2:30, writes: "Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."

penat: We do not KNOW with a high degree of certainty what the writer believed. Tradition says that the writer of Luke wrote Acts. That is all. We do not KNOW for sure that the virgin birth story was part of the original. (Surely, you are aware of the fact that no extant MS of the NT, telling of the visit of Gabriel to Mary, dates before the fourth century CE.) The virgin birth story could easily have been interpolated into the narrative at a late date.

SecWeb: Show me some evidence that it was. What scholar believes that? The virgin birth itself is in the oldest manuscripts of Luke.

penat: Furthermore, since Acts was written long after Paul's letter to the Romans, it is irrelevant.

SecWeb: No, its not irrelevant at all, as it shows that usage of "according to the flesh" was not necessarilly in contradiction to a virgin birth. It simply means that Jesus was born as a human.

SecWebLurker: I do indeed believe in the virgin birth of Jesus.

penatis: Why?

SecWebLurker: It makes me feel like a rebel ;-)

pen: I have yet to have a Christian answer this question. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for them.

Sec: Not in the least. I've already answered it.

penat: Again, no answer. Perhaps the answer is too embarrassing even for Christians.

SecWeb: I've answered it several times.

SecWebLurker

[This message has been edited by SecWebLurker (edited March 01, 2001).]
 
Old 03-01-2001, 09:26 AM   #49
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Freedom Man:
Two comments about this subject.

1. I disagree that there was a conflict between the early church and Jewish authorities. This idea reflects the circumstances between the two at the time the Gospels were written. There is evidence within the NT that the early church operated its mission out of Jerusalem in relative peace. The authors of the Gospels used the traditions and sayings about Jesus mainly against the Pharisees because they were the leaders of the Jewish religion after 70AD. The only conflicts within the early church were the conflicts between different Christian churches (denominations, if you will) around the empire.
</font>
Thank you for the above comment. However, you are wrong. Paul's Letters, Acts, Hebrews, and Josephus all provide us evidence indicating that there were conflicts between Jewish authorities and the early Church. Paul himself, in agreement with Acts, admits to having persecuted Christians when he was a Jewish authority. Acts records the deaths of James (the disciple) and Stephen at the hands of some Jews. It also records the scourging of Peter and John by the Jewish authorities. Hebrews indicates conflicts between Jewish Christians and their fellow Jews. And Josephus records James's (the brother of Jesus) death at the hands of the Jewish authorities in the mid-60s.

The notion the gospel authors manufactured conflicts with the Pharisees because they were Christianity's chief rival after the destruction of the temple overlooks a couple of points.

First, the argument that the gospels only portray Jesus at conflict with the Pharisees is an overrepresentation. The Gospels do lay much of the blame for the death of Jesus at the hands of the Sadducees, who largely controlled the Sanhedrin. I believe this is consistent with history. The only time that we would expect Jesus to come into conflict with the Sadducees is when he was active in Jerusalem.

Second, it is unlikely that Jesus would come into conflict with the Essenes or the Zealots. The Essenes where largely separatists, rather than reformers. Moreover, there is some indication that Jesus, and even early Christians and Essenes were on good terms with each other. As for the zealots, information regarding the level and focus of their activities is sketchy. But they were largely a political, rather than a religious group.

Third, we do have indications that Pharisees, although most influential in Jerusalem, often travelled to other Jewish communities to deal with revolutionary segments of Jerusalem. Paul is the most obvious example of this. Another example "Among the mentions of Pharisees in this period (apart from those in the gospels) there are four occasions when they are sent, with higher authority, from Jerusalem on missions ot the north, to sort out trouble in Galilee or further afield." N.T. Wright, The New Testament and the Victory of God, at 196.

Fourth, Mark records much of the conflict between Jesus and the Pharisees. He writes no later than 70 CE, before or just after the ending of Second Temple Judaism. Thus, he writes before the Pharisees became the predominant Jewish sect.

Fifth, given their focus on ancillary Jewish laws, and Jesus' apparent rejection of many of those laws, he would likely appear to be a genuine opponenent of their sects focus.
 
Old 03-01-2001, 10:24 AM   #50
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by SecWebLurker:
Sec: Bah! I didn't presume anything. You asserted that a virgin birth was impossible. I said there is nothing inherently IMPOSSIBLE about God bringing about a virgin birth. Nor is there anything IMPOSSIBLE about a God existing. NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL. If you have some argument that demonstrates the IMPOSSIBILITY of either of them, present it...

penat:I agree that "NONE OF THIS entails however that either of these things are ACTUAL."

SecWeb: Nor does anything YOU have to say entail that either of these things are impossible.[/b]

Again, you haven't shown that they are possible. Until that time, they are impossible.

SecWebLurker: No. I said that God DOING something is not impossible. Of course, that entails that His existence is not impossible. And it certainly isn't in the broadly logical sense. So your implicit statement was unfounded. Does an abiogenesis researcher have to have evidence that life originated from simple abiotic precursors, in a completely naturalistic manner, before he says that it is POSSIBLE that it did? Of course not.

pen:This is a blatantly false analogy. You are comparing science with religion.

Sec: LOL, this is too funny...

penat: It is only "funny" to someone who places his faith in dreams and angels.

SecWeb: Listen man, if you can't see that a lack of evidence FOR something does not entail that it is IMPOSSIBLE, then you've got problems.

Again, it is impossible until it is demonstrated that it is possible. All you have are two contradictory stories: one about a dream and another about an angel. If that is enough to make you a BELIEVER in the virgin birth myth, then great. It is NOT enough for me. Also, the virgin birth story of Heracles predates the the virgin birth story of Jesus, so you cannot rule out borrowing on the part of the Greek-speaking Christian propagandists.

 
 

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