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Old 05-28-2001, 09:12 AM   #1
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Post Kiosk: "History's Troubling Silence about Jesus"

Some of its comments may be familiar; the argument is that if Jesus Christ was such a big celebrity and miracle worker as the Gospels describe him as being, why wasn't he better-known? As Richard Carrier notes, compare the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar -- it's much higher in quality.

Which is the sort of argument that Earl Doherty would make, though I don't recall him saying much about this lack of outside evidence; he mainly focuses on internal evidence such as epistles vs. Gospels.
 
Old 05-28-2001, 10:33 AM   #2
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lpetrich: Some of its comments may be familiar; the argument is that if Jesus Christ was such a big celebrity and miracle worker as the Gospels describe him as being, why wasn't he better-known?

SWL: We really aren't in a position to know how well-known Jesus was amongst the common people, but assuming he wasn't too widely known, miracle-workers in ancient times were no rarity as Carrier points out in his "Kooks..Quacks" "article".

lpetrich: As Richard Carrier notes, compare the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar -- it's much higher in quality.

SWL: And the evidence for JFK is much higher in quality than that for Caesar. Who cares?

SecWebLurker

 
Old 05-28-2001, 08:42 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by lpetrich:
Some of its comments may be familiar; the argument is that if Jesus Christ was such a big celebrity and miracle worker as the Gospels describe him as being, why wasn't he better-known? As Richard Carrier notes, compare the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar -- it's much higher in quality.

Which is the sort of argument that Earl Doherty would make, though I don't recall him saying much about this lack of outside evidence; he mainly focuses on internal evidence such as epistles vs. Gospels.
</font>
The evidence for Jesus is stong. That's why no serious histoiran doubts his existence. The problem is the sketpic sets to work trying to remove the evidence, which is absurd because one could do the same with ancient world evidence for anyone. And to say 'why is there no evidence?' after refusing to accept any of the evidence is silly.

Why are there no alternate versions of the baisc Jesus story?
 
Old 05-28-2001, 08:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
SWL: And the evidence for JFK is much higher in quality than that for Caesar. Who cares?

[/B]</font>
The reason people care is that, very frequently, Christians like to make claims like "the resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history" or that "we have mountains of evidence" for the historical Jesus, and other hogwash like that. The clear inference that frequently accompanies such claims is that the resurrection is an event that certainly occurred (thus validating certain desired beliefs).

The trouble is that the entire historical argument is based on a double standard -- that the quality of the evidence for Jesus is as strong as for other historic figures. It's not even close. In fact, the historians I've read who've written about Jesus are very clear on this point: Jesus existed, but what we can claim about him is very limited, especially compared to other historic figures of the times (such as Caesar).

In other words, believe what you want. But to claim that historical research justifies that belief in providing evidence that the claimed supernatural events really happened -- in light of the fact that historians routinely discount supernatural claims of other ancient figures -- is simply wrong.

 
Old 05-28-2001, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by DennisMcD:
[b] The reason people care is that, very frequently, Christians like to make claims like "the resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history" or that "we have mountains of evidence" for the historical Jesus, and other hogwash like that.</font>
Meta =&gt; that's a straw man argument, I don't think anyone has said that on this board recently, so to say "o this is why we say this, because Christains always say this," is just another way of saying "I don't have enough respect for you as a person to even answer the arguments that you actually do make."


The clear inference that frequently accompanies such claims is that the resurrection is an event that certainly occurred (thus validating certain desired beliefs).

The trouble is that the entire historical argument is based on a double standard -- that the quality of the evidence for Jesus is as strong as for other historic figures. It's not even close.

Meta =&gt;that's just a selecitve and self satisfied argument. And it's a double standard. If you applied the same bs critieria for excuding the evidence that most skeptics do than you could exclude the evidence and rule out anyone's existence. The evidence that a guy named Jesus existed is strong enough, and stronger than most evidence for most people we know of in the ancient world. True there are some figures we have stronger evidence for, but almost none that we have more written about by those who cliam to have known them.

In fact, the historians I've read who've written about Jesus are very clear on this point: Jesus existed, but what we can claim about him is very limited, especially compared to other historic figures of the times (such as Caesar).

Meta =&gt;That's true if one is not willing to accept he NT.If we accept the NT than we have a full body of his ethical teachings.

In other words, believe what you want. But to claim that historical research justifies that belief in providing evidence that the claimed supernatural events really happened -- in light of the fact that historians routinely discount supernatural claims of other ancient figures -- is simply wrong.


Meta =-&gt;Back to the straw man argument again. The issue we seem to all be centering on is the bare existence of the man, so that' s not the issue.


http://www.geocities.com/metagetics/...calJesus3.html

 
Old 05-28-2001, 09:15 PM   #6
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As to the alternate Jesuses, there are lots of the -- the canonical Gospels are one each, Paul's letters are another one, and there are even more alternatives among the noncanonical documents. Earl Doherty explains it all in his book, _The Jesus Puzzle_, http://www.jesuspuzzle.com

And the only way that Jesus Christ could be much better documented than Julius Caesar is if he had written several surviving books, got mentioned in numerous inscriptions made when he was alive, and was discussed in gory detail by historians who were careful to be as objective as possible, like Thucydides and Polybius.

Julius Caesar wrote a book, Apollonius of Tyana supposedly wrote a book, where is Jesus Christ's book?
 
Old 05-28-2001, 09:47 PM   #7
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Metacrock, you manage to actually contradict yourself in the same post:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The reason people care is that, very frequently, Christians like to make claims like "the resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history" or that "we have mountains of evidence" for the historical Jesus, and other hogwash like that.

Meta =&gt; that's a straw man argument...</font>
But then you say:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The evidence that a guy named Jesus existed is strong enough, and stronger than most evidence for most people we know of in the ancient world.</font>
This is simply false. The evidence is weaker than for most historical figures. Weaker is the opposite of stronger. Whether the evidence is so weak that it is impossible to infer the actual existence of any hsitorical person is the crux of Doherty's argument.

If you disagree with this statement, why did you not comment on Caesar v. Jesus: for which do we have better sources?

You just throw these sorts of assertions out and expect that we'll be so awed by your Little-Bo-Peep theology diploma that we'll just swallow it whole. Ain't gonna happen, Meta.

[This message has been edited by SingleDad (edited May 28, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by SingleDad (edited May 28, 2001).]
 
Old 05-29-2001, 06:10 AM   #8
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DMcD:
The reason people care is that, very frequently, Christians like to make claims like "the resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history" or that "we have mountains of evidence" for the historical Jesus, and other hogwash like that.

SWL: Hi Dennis. I agree that there are Christians who say such things and that they are false. I just didn't realize that lpetrich was directing his post at those specific Christians.

DMcD: The trouble is that the entire historical argument is based on a double standard -- that the quality of the evidence for Jesus is as strong as for other historic figures. It's not even close. In fact, the historians I've read who've written about Jesus are very clear on this point: Jesus existed, but what we can claim about him is very limited, especially compared to other historic figures of the times (such as Caesar).

SWL: What historians have you read on Jesus? E. P. Sanders, whose considered one of the greats, in his "The Historical Figure of Jesus", writes:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"We know a lot about Jesus, vastly more than about John the Baptist, Theudas, Judas the Galilean, or any of the other figures whose names we have from approximately his time and place."[xv.]</font>
In comparing the evidence concerning Jesus to that concerning Alexander the Great, Sanders notes:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">"The superiority of the evidence for Jesus is seen when we ask what he thought."[p. 4]</font>
DMcD: In other words, believe what you want. But to claim that historical research justifies that belief in providing evidence that the claimed supernatural events really happened -- in light of the fact that historians routinely discount supernatural claims of other ancient figures -- is simply wrong.

SWL: I don't think historians take "supernatural claims" into account, so I really don't think its relevant that they "routinely discount" them. I think they pretty much assume methodological naturalism.

SecWebLurker


[This message has been edited by SecWebLurker (edited May 29, 2001).]
 
Old 05-29-2001, 07:05 AM   #9
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lpetrich: As to the alternate Jesuses, there are lots of the -- the canonical Gospels are one each, Paul's letters are another one, and there are even more alternatives among the noncanonical documents.

SWL: There's really no contradiction between Paul's Jesus and that of the Gospels. Earl D. is pretty much alone in his assertions that Jesus is a Platonic entity in Paul, and he can only smuggle that argument in because of Paul's high christology (which John also shares, while also emphasizing Jesus' humanity).

lpetrich: Earl Doherty explains it all in his book, _The Jesus Puzzle_, http://www.jesuspuzzle.com

SWL: Be sure and read those who have rebutted his work as well:

JPH vs. ED

part 1:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D01_FYCBS.html

part 2:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D02_4SQF.html

part 3:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D03_20LB.html

part 4:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D04_RDRD.html

part 5:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D05_FRGF.html

part 6:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D06_NOAP.html

part 7:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D07_PKTB.html

part 8:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D08_HBH.html

part 9:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D09_MMMM.html

part 10:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D10_OCEG.html

part 11:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D11_2FDG.html

part 12:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_D12_TFH.html

part 13:
http://www.tektonics.org/JPH_ED-DOA_01.html

Meta vs. ED

part 1:
http://www.geocities.com/metagetics/Puzzle.html

part 2:
http://www.geocities.com/metagetics/Puzzle2.html

lpetrich: And the only way that Jesus Christ could be much better documented than Julius Caesar is if he had written several surviving books, got mentioned in numerous inscriptions made when he was alive, and was discussed in gory detail by historians who were careful to be as objective as possible, like Thucydides and Polybius.

SWL: Since I'm not claiming that Jesus is the best-attested historical person, why should I care whether or not he's better attested than Caesar, or Lincoln, or JFK?

lpetrich: Julius Caesar wrote a book, Apollonius of Tyana supposedly wrote a book, where is Jesus Christ's book?

SWL: He didn't write one. He didn't build a boat or fly a kite either. Who cares?

Oh, and what book did Apollonius write?

SecWebLurker


 
Old 05-29-2001, 07:15 AM   #10
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SingleDad: Metacrock, you manage to actually contradict yourself in the same post:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">DMcD:The reason people care is that, very frequently, Christians like to make claims like "the resurrection is the best attested event in ancient history" or that "we have mountains of evidence" for the historical Jesus, and other hogwash like that.
Meta =&gt; that's a straw man argument...</font>
But then you say:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">The evidence that a guy named Jesus existed is strong enough, and stronger than most evidence for most people we know of in the ancient world.</font>
SWL: There's no contradiction here, SingleDad. I think he's saying that McD's statement was a strawman - presumably in the sense that he's creating an opponent that doesn't hold views convergent with anyone on this board. But let's suppose he's calling the Christian arguments being mentioned by McD a "strawman", which is perhap what you thought he was saying? Well then, even there we see no contradiction, as if he disagrees with the statement "we have mountains of evidence for the historical Jesus", he can still affirm that the evidence concerning Jesus is "stronger than most evidence for most people we know of in the ancient world.", given that we don't have a lot of evidence at all about most people in the ancient world.

SingleDad:This is simply false. The evidence is weaker than for most historical figures.

SWL: Oh really? What do you mean by "most historical figures"? All those who've lived throughout history? Or all of those that are mentioned by name within the historical record? Please clarify and proceed to provide evidence for your claim.

SecWebLurker
 
 

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