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Old 05-15-2001, 11:21 AM   #1
Toto
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Post Question for Nomad/Brian on HJ Debate

Is it your position that everything Doherty says about Paul's concept of Christ is not worth challenging? If so, does that mean that you think that Paul took a movement based on a historical person and turned it into a mystery cult based on a spirit?
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Old 05-15-2001, 12:33 PM   #2
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Is it your position that everything Doherty says about Paul's concept of Christ is not worth challenging?</font>
I have challenged Earl on a number of points with regards to his understanding and interpretation of Paul. At the same time, I see the points as being entirely secondary to the question of the historicity of Jesus. My real problem with his arguments centre around the fact that his theories have driven his research and conclusions. Thus, he has had to make the evidence fit those theories, and this is very poor methodology. I do not accept it when it comes from fundamentalist Christians, nor from Muslims, and certainly not from mythers. The study of history cannot be confined by such dogmatic beliefs.

Thus, for example, it is possible, however unlikely, that the Last Supper was a Pauline invention, or at least an early tradition that predated the Gospels, but did not go back to Jesus Himself. Earl is not the first to put that idea forward, but he is the first to go the next step and say that this helps to prove that Jesus never existed. This is too big of a step to take however, since the historicity of an individual never rests on whether or not he or she did every single thing attributed to him. We need only establish that this person did or said something that is known to us from the evidence.

So is this a question worth debating? Yes. For example, if Paul did invent the Eucharist as a "mystery", how did Mark and the other evangelists hear about it? The problem is that it does not matter in the larger question of whether or not Jesus was a real live human being. That debate needs to answer only one question: can we establish that Jesus did or said even one thing that is historically probable? If we can, then we accept that He existed. Period. The greater the probability that He did any of these things, the greater the certainty that we can say with confidence that He lived.

Remember, Earl's position is that Jesus is a 100% mythological construct on the order of Mythras or Demeter. He cannot conceed that Jesus actually did or said even one thing in real life, or his entire argument fails. Since the question of the existence of a specific human being at a specific point in history is a natural and non-extraordinary question, then the level of evidenciary support to accept the historicity of this person must be weighted accordingly. I have deliberately focused the evidence exclusively on those things with which we can have the most confidence, namely His baptism, His death, and the foundation of the Christian religious movement in the 1st Century AD. If Earl cannot account for, and explain away all three of these things, then his argument fails.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If so, does that mean that you think that Paul took a movement based on a historical person and turned it into a mystery cult based on a spirit?</font>
No. My thoughts about the formation of the early Christian Church (and Paul's role in that formation) are highly complex, and I have discussed some of them at length before. I will say that I have not made final conclusions on all of these questions. But none of that is relevant to this debate. My position in the debate is simple and straightforward:

Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as an historical person in the first third of the the first century AD?

I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, and that the argument that He is a mythological construct is untenable and indefensible, at least as the argument has been made to date by Earl and all other mythicists. Does that mean that someone will come up with a better argument at some point in the future? Who knows? Right now the evidence points in one direction, and does so with such force, that all serious historians classify the existence of Jesus of Nazareth as being historically certain.

Now, what I will say, is that the question you have posed here is far more interesting, and far more open to debate than the mere historicity of the man, Jesus. Faded_Glory's question on the baptism of Jesus is another interesting question, and one that Christians must face and address. At the same time, until participants in such discussions establish that Jesus did live, and accept this as being effectively an historical fact, then we cannot have real progress in these more interesting questions. This was my reason for my challenge to Earl. By effectively putting the theory of Jesus as myth to bed, we can then move forward and discuss these separate issues.

Brian (Nomad)
 
Old 05-15-2001, 01:44 PM   #3
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NOMAD: I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, and that the argument that He is a mythological construct is untenable and indefensible, at least as the argument has been made to date by Earl and all other mythicists.

EARL/PHILIP: Then why haven't you refuted Doherty's arguments themselves, Nomad? If they're so indefensible why did you ignore Doherty's first post and spend your first two with red herrings and well-poisonings of your very own? Why did you then ignore his latest effort to turn the debate around by offering an easily manageable handful of specific mythicist arguments, and instead brush them off in the blink of an eye and offer three albeit relevant arguments that don't, however, take account of Doherty's views? Why, for example, did you ignore Doherty's arguments on Tacitus and Josephus? Why did you cite the opinion of a number of scholars on a number of topics, as if the minority status of Doherty's position was ever in question? Why did you not take the opportunity to demolish DOHERTY'S ARGUMENTS? Why when you had Doherty in your sights did you ignore HIM, his arguments themselves, and instead shoot up the scenery with broad-based attacks and other evasive material? Why didn't you show everyone how untenable Doherty's ARGUMENTS are? Why have you evaded the debate?

And the better question is, who for pity's sake will quickly replace Nomad so that this opportunity for a formal debate with Doherty isn't lost? Metacrock or Bede? Will one of you step up to the plate?
 
Old 05-15-2001, 02:05 PM   #4
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:
NOMAD: I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, and that the argument that He is a mythological construct is untenable and indefensible, at least as the argument has been made to date by Earl and all other mythicists.

EARL/PHILIP: Then why haven't you refuted Doherty's arguments themselves, Nomad? If they're so indefensible why did you ignore Doherty's first post and spend your first two with red herrings and well-poisonings of your very own? Why did you then ignore his latest effort to turn the debate around by offering an easily manageable handful of specific mythicist arguments, and instead brush them off in the blink of an eye and offer three albeit relevant arguments that don't, however, take account of Doherty's views? Why, for example, did you ignore Doherty's arguments on Tacitus and Josephus? Why did you cite the opinion of a number of scholars on a number of topics, as if the minority status of Doherty's position was ever in question? Why did you not take the opportunity to demolish DOHERTY'S ARGUMENTS? Why when you had Doherty in your sights did you ignore HIM, his arguments themselves, and instead shoot up the scenery with broad-based attacks and other evasive material? Why didn't you show everyone how untenable Doherty's ARGUMENTS are? Why have you evaded the debate?

And the better question is, who for pity's sake will quickly replace Nomad so that this opportunity for a formal debate with Doherty isn't lost? Metacrock or Bede? Will one of you step up to the plate?
</font>
This is unbelievable. I know some of you guys are just as biased as the most conservative fundies, but this is really unbelievable.

The question we all thought was being addressed in this debate was whether or not Jesus really existed. Earl D. says no, Jesus is a myth. Nomad says yes, Jesus really existed.

But now you are arguing that this was not the issue up for debate? You have a very tortured definition of what a debate is Earl. Nomad is limited to responding directly to every argument that Earl D. makes and can make no arguments of his own?

Nomad's last point put forth strongly argued points that tend to demonstrate the existence of Jesus the human being. But somehow, you and Earl D. think this is irrelevant?

How is a discussion of Josephus' references to the human Jesus just "shooting up the scenary?"

How is an argument that forcefully demonstrates that Jesus was actually baptized by John the Baptist "evading" the argument that Jesus never existed?

How is an argument that demonstrates that Jesus was a real person who was really crucified "avoiding" a discussion about whether Jesus was merely a mythical creation of the early Church?

If Josephus refers to Jesus, Earl D. loses.
If John the Baptist baptized Jesus, Earl D. loses. If Jesus was cruficied, Earl D. loses.

Sounds like Earl D. has just decided to take his ball and go home.
 
Old 05-15-2001, 02:23 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Nomad:
I have challenged Earl on a number of points with regards to his understanding and interpretation of Paul.
</font>
That's the problem - you didn't. You plunged into your counter-arguments.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
At the same time, I see the points as being entirely secondary to the question of the historicity of Jesus. My real problem with his arguments centre around the fact that his theories have driven his research and conclusions. (blah blah blah.)
</font>
You are wasting space. If he has forced facts to fit the theories, just point out how. The apologetics you practice forces facts into pre-conceived theories. I notice that one of your tactics is to agressively accuse your opponents of every charge that has been leveled against Christians. It's just a little too obvious.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Thus, for example, it is possible, however unlikely, that the Last Supper was a Pauline invention, or at least an early tradition that predated the Gospels, but did not go back to Jesus Himself. Earl is not the first to put that idea forward, but he is the first to go the next step and say that this helps to prove that Jesus never existed. This is too big of a step to take however, since the historicity of an individual never rests on whether or not he or she did every single thing attributed to him. We need only establish that this person did or said something that is known to us from the evidence.
</font>
But if you go through the evidence and find one thing after another attributed to that person that looks unlikely, the case for his historicity gets weaker.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
So is this a question worth debating? Yes. For example, if Paul did invent the Eucharist as a "mystery", how did Mark and the other evangelists hear about it?
</font>
Are you saying Mark came before Paul? or that they had no contact? or couldn't have drawn on an earlier common tradition? Get real.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The problem is that it does not matter in the larger question of whether or not Jesus was a real live human being. That debate needs to answer only one question: can we establish that Jesus did or said even one thing that is historically probable? If we can, then we accept that He existed. Period.
</font>
You are setting a very low standard of proof here.
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
The greater the probability that He did any of these things, the greater the certainty that we can say with confidence that He lived.
</font>
What is this probability? If all you are going for is probability, how do you balance the many improbable events?
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
Remember, Earl's position is that Jesus is a 100% mythological construct on the order of Mythras or Demeter. He cannot conceed that Jesus actually did or said even one thing in real life, or his entire argument fails. Since the question of the existence of a specific human being at a specific point in history is a natural and non-extraordinary question, then the level of evidenciary support to accept the historicity of this person must be weighted accordingly. I have deliberately focused the evidence exclusively on those things with which we can have the most confidence, namely His baptism, His death, and the foundation of the Christian religious movement in the 1st Century AD. If Earl cannot account for, and explain away all three of these things, then his argument fails.
</font>
I myself found your apologetic arguments based on the peculiar "embarassment" criterion to be flimsy. I imagine that Doherty reacted the same way.

And if all you have shown is "probability", what standard does Doherty have to reach to disprove it?
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
. . . My position in the debate is simple and straightforward:

Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as an historical person in the first third of the the first century AD?

I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, . . .

Now, what I will say, is that the question you have posed here is far more interesting, and far more open to debate than the mere historicity of the man, Jesus. Faded_Glory's question on the baptism of Jesus is another interesting question, and one that Christians must face and address. At the same time, until participants in such discussions establish that Jesus did live, and accept this as being effectively an historical fact, then we cannot have real progress in these more interesting questions. This was my reason for my challenge to Earl. By effectively putting the theory of Jesus as myth to bed, we can then move forward and discuss these separate issues.
</font>
And why exactly is it, that on these discussion boards run by non-theistic non-Christians, you insist that everyone concede your point about the historical Jesus existing? Your evidence comes down to a few debatable passages in ancient manuscripts, which have clearly been doctored by Christians to some extent. Can this issue be decided here?

All I hoped to get out of this debate was more information, perhaps more clarification of the issues. You have been alluding for some time to the extensive proofs that you had for Jesus' existence. So far, on the basis of probabilities, I think Doherty has the more "probable" case. But I don't think that this debate format is working.
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Old 05-15-2001, 03:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Toto:

Nomad: I have challenged Earl on a number of points with regards to his understanding and interpretation of Paul.

Toto: That's the problem - you didn't. You plunged into your counter-arguments.
</font>
That's the problem Toto. You cannot read, and carping is not helping you look better. Go back and read my first two posts to Earl.

Also, presenting evidence for the existence of the historical Jesus in a debate about the historical Jesus is not out of bounds (at least I hope that it is not).

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: At the same time, I see the points as being entirely secondary to the question of the historicity of Jesus. My real problem with his arguments centre around the fact that his theories have driven his research and conclusions. (blah blah blah.) (Editorial note, cute. ).

Toto: You are wasting space. If he has forced facts to fit the theories, just point out how.</font>
I have done this as well. Please read my posts before commenting Toto.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Toto: But if you go through the evidence and find one thing after another attributed to that person that looks unlikely, the case for his historicity gets weaker. </font>
Why? Besides, Earl is not making this point in either the debate, nor on his website. Legendary development of an historical figure does not invalidate their probable existence Toto.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: So is this a question worth debating? Yes. For example, if Paul did invent the Eucharist as a "mystery", how did Mark and the other evangelists hear about it?

Toto: Are you saying Mark came before Paul? or that they had no contact? or couldn't have drawn on an earlier common tradition? Get real.</font>
Actually, Earl's entire argument rests on there being no earlier traditions about Jesus. My guess is that since he knows that this is ludicrous, he fled the field.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: The problem is that it does not matter in the larger question of whether or not Jesus was a real live human being. That debate needs to answer only one question: can we establish that Jesus did or said even one thing that is historically probable? If we can, then we accept that He existed. Period.

Toto: You are setting a very low standard of proof here. </font>
Since it is the exact same standard of proof demanded to prove the existence of anyone, why would you find this objectionable?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: The greater the probability that He did any of these things, the greater the certainty that we can say with confidence that He lived.

Toto: What is this probability? If all you are going for is probability, how do you balance the many improbable events? </font>
Question Toto: Have you ever studied history at all? If you had, you would realize that all we have to go on is probabilities. My recommendation is that if you do not like this fact, that you do as Philip/Earl does, and tell us that we can't know anything about anything. That will also save you the trouble of having to study history in anything approaching a serious manner.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: Remember, Earl's position is that Jesus is a 100% mythological construct on the order of Mythras or Demeter. He cannot conceed that Jesus actually did or said even one thing in real life, or his entire argument fails. Since the question of the existence of a specific human being at a specific point in history is a natural and non-extraordinary question, then the level of evidenciary support to accept the historicity of this person must be weighted accordingly. I have deliberately focused the evidence exclusively on those things with which we can have the most confidence, namely His baptism, His death, and the foundation of the Christian religious movement in the 1st Century AD. If Earl cannot account for, and explain away all three of these things, then his argument fails.

Toto: I myself found your apologetic arguments based on the peculiar "embarassment" criterion to be flimsy. I imagine that Doherty reacted the same way.</font>
Just curious Toto, but do you consider the field of apologetics to be a bad thing? If so, why?

As for your handwaving about my use of the criteria of embarrassment, it is noted. Do you ave a counter argument to make however? Apparently Earl does not.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And if all you have shown is "probability", what standard does Doherty have to reach to disprove it? </font>
History is the study of probability. Earl need only show that his arguments are more probable than my own, and that they account for the evidence in a satisfactory manner.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Nomad: . . . My position in the debate is simple and straightforward:
Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as an historical person in the first third of the the first century AD?
I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, . . .
Now, what I will say, is that the question you have posed here is far more interesting, and far more open to debate than the mere historicity of the man, Jesus. Faded_Glory's question on the baptism of Jesus is another interesting question, and one that Christians must face and address. At the same time, until participants in such discussions establish that Jesus did live, and accept this as being effectively an historical fact, then we cannot have real progress in these more interesting questions. This was my reason for my challenge to Earl. By effectively putting the theory of Jesus as myth to bed, we can then move forward and discuss these separate issues.

Toto: And why exactly is it, that on these discussion boards run by non-theistic non-Christians, you insist that everyone concede your point about the historical Jesus existing? Your evidence comes down to a few debatable passages in ancient manuscripts, which have clearly been doctored by Christians to some extent. Can this issue be decided here?</font>
I do not know what will decide the issue for you Toto. I have demonstrated three solid reasons to believe that Jesus actually existed. Earl has refused to challenge any of those reasons, and in fact, has refused to engage the debate at all.

Such is his right, but perhaps you (or at least others reading these threads) now know why he and other Jesus Mythers are not taken seriously, even by sceptical and atheist critics and scholars.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">All I hoped to get out of this debate was more information, perhaps more clarification of the issues. You have been alluding for some time to the extensive proofs that you had for Jesus' existence. So far, on the basis of probabilities, I think Doherty has the more "probable" case.</font>
Yes, well you as much as told us that you found Earl more convincing than me before the debate even started, so seeing you remain firmly rooted in your prejudices does not come as a real surprise to me.

Perhaps you could tell me how Earl's accounting for the baptism crucifixion of Jesus was more convincing than my own. As of right now I have not seen him actually present an argument at all, so I would appreciate your help on this point.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> But I don't think that this debate format is working.</font>
Yes, it is disappointing to see Earl throwing in the towel just as the debate began. On the other hand, I was happy to see that he showed at all. It helped me demonstrate my points to my satisfaction.

Perhaps he will have a change of heart yet, and return. I certainly hope that he does.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited May 15, 2001).]
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:21 PM   #7
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Hmmmmm.

Damn, I'm rather disappointed with the direction of the debate, and I sincerely wish Brian will take it upon himself to address Earl's original evidentiary salvo. But what I've gotten out of these proceedings thus far is surprising, and perhaps makes such a response impossible.

Perhaps I misunderstood the original concept of this exchange, as I see Brian having argued, perhaps proven, that there was indeed someone living at Mount Vernon at the time of George Washington's life, but, I'm disappointed to say, that that was not my expectation.

I fully expected Brian to argue and attempt to prove that the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus of Paul, and the Jesus of Christianity, aka the Messiah, were all the same person. Did I miss something? Wasn't this the point?

So, now we have two people in 100 percent agreement that Paul's Jesus is mythical and 100 percent non-historical! Yes?

Well, end of debate then!
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:43 PM   #8
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Earl:

NOMAD: I believe the answer, based on the evidence, is overwhelmingly yes, and that the argument that He is a mythological construct is untenable and indefensible, at least as the argument has been made to date by Earl and all other mythicists.

EARL/PHILIP: Then why haven't you refuted Doherty's arguments themselves, Nomad?</font>
Hello Philip

When someone like Earl wants to say that Jesus never existed, then he must account for those events and words that are attributed to him by historians. Since he has yet to do that, talking about his curious theories is pretty much besides the point. After all, Julius Caesar was said to be a demi-god, but we don't have to accept that he was to know that he lived and died.

The same holds true for Jesus of Nazareth.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> If they're so indefensible why did you ignore Doherty's first post and spend your first two with red herrings and well-poisonings of your very own?</font>
Oh dear, poor ED. I asked him to offer supports for his arguments, and he even said that he would do his best to provide them, yet Philip, in rushing to his defense, now wants to say that I was mearly poisoning the well. (I assume that the "of your very own" comment was meant to show that you agreed that ED had done a great deal of this himself).

And as for my raising red herrings, well, Earl is free to respond or not to anything I say. Since he has elected to not respond to my first three arguments for the historicity of Jesus, it looks like this show is about done, wouldn't you agree?

For what it is worth, Earl was free to use his opening arguments to help account for the baptism and crucifixion of Jesus, as well as explain the foundation of the Christian movement sans a real Jesus. Since he didn't, I believe the only reasonable conclusion to draw is that he could not account for these things.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why did you then ignore his latest effort to turn the debate around by offering an easily manageable handful of specific mythicist arguments, and instead brush them off in the blink of an eye and offer three albeit relevant arguments that don't, however, take account of Doherty's views?</font>
As I explained in the post, none of the arguments he offered addressed the only question that matters here: Did Jesus of Nazareth exist as a real human being in 1st Century Palestine?

I'm not interested in getting side tracked into a separate discussion on how Paul and the first apostles preached this Jesus as Christ, and God.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why, for example, did you ignore Doherty's arguments on Tacitus and Josephus?</font>
I did not ignore his arguments, I found my post to already be exceptionally long, and posted the links to his relevant arguments. My expectation in this debate was that he would then draw from his own arguments to refute the worth of these two sources. He has not done this. Perhaps he will change his mind and return to do so.

Write to him and ask.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why did you cite the opinion of a number of scholars on a number of topics, as if the minority status of Doherty's position was ever in question?</font>
I was not emphasizing the minority status of his position Philip. I was pointing out why scholars reject his position. He is free to defend himself if he so chooses.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why did you not take the opportunity to demolish DOHERTY'S ARGUMENTS?</font>
You mean the ones that are not relevant (like those presented thus far?), or the ones he has not offered or defended yet?

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Why when you had Doherty in your sights did you ignore HIM, his arguments themselves, and instead shoot up the scenery with broad-based attacks and other evasive material? Why didn't you show everyone how untenable Doherty's ARGUMENTS are? Why have you evaded the debate?</font>
Umm... I haven't Philip. I am still here, and I want to see how Earl accounts for three of the most powerful pieces of evidence in favour of the historical Jesus. In the course of discussing his arguments against this evidence, it was my intention to shoot him up. Unfortunately he has elected to withdraw (at least temporarily) from the discussion. This is his right, of course, but like others here, I find his choice to be unfortunate.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">And the better question is, who for pity's sake will quickly replace Nomad so that this opportunity for a formal debate with Doherty isn't lost? Metacrock or Bede? Will one of you step up to the plate?</font>
Hmm... was I too hard on your namesake Philip?

Perhaps you would like to step in for him and save the day? Would you like to replace Earl and defend his position? As for replacing me, I do not think that would change matters much. Besides, I see no reason for me to withdraw. I have broken none of the rules of the SecWeb, nor any of Earl's prconditions for this debate. In any event, my guess is that Bede and Metacrock would start the debate with something like "Would you address the three points raised by Brian please?"

Then we would just be back in the soup again, no?

Earl wants to be taken seriously. I am prepared to do exactly that, and to show why he is wrong. I agreed to reveal my name, I have abided by the rules of the boards. I have not attacked him personally, but only his arguments and methods, and presented my own arguments to show that Jesus is historical. What happens next is now up to Earl. He can choose to defend himself or not, but he cannot get out of this by demanding a replacement more to his liking.

Brian (Nomad)

P.S. If he does not like to go one on one with me, he is free to respond to any of the excellent points raised by Bede or Layman on these very boards. After all, it is a free country, and the boards are open to anyone.
 
Old 05-15-2001, 03:48 PM   #9
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by joedad:

I fully expected Brian to argue and attempt to prove that the Jesus of the Gospels, the Jesus of Paul, and the Jesus of Christianity, aka the Messiah, were all the same person. Did I miss something? Wasn't this the point?</font>
No joe, this was not the point. The point was simple really, and I made it as clear as I could in the opening of my debate posts, and throughout the brief discussion. The question is, did an historical Jesus live in Palestine in the 1st Century AD?

That question appears to have been answered in the affirmative (barring Earl's return), and now we can move to these other more interesting questions.

As with most things, we have to move one step at a time, and having cleared this first bothersome hurdle, we now address the others.

Thanks for your interest.

Nomad
 
Old 05-15-2001, 05:01 PM   #10
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A lot of people here seem very concerned that Nomad didn't address Doherty's arguments. Right, he didn't! He doesn't have to in order to win the debate. If even one of Nomad's arguments for the probable existence of an historical Jesus holds water, Nomad wins. He can completely ignore ALL of Doherty's arguments and still win. It is incumbent on Doherty to demonstrate why Nomad's positive assertions for the evidence of an historical Jesus are insufficient or better explained by Doherty's own theories. The only way that Doherty can win this debate is to defeat all of Nomad's arguments and show that his theory has a high likelihood of being true. Doherty must win every point in the debate that Nomad raises until Nomad can think of no more objections. Then he still has to make a positive case for himself. Nomad is using a very proper stategy here. Even if Nomad fails to answer Doherty's arguments, Nomad still wins if he can come up with even one event in the life of Jesus which is more likely to have happened than not!

Tough position for Doherty? You bet!
Does Nomad have the advantage by the very nature of the debate? Of course.
But that's what happens when someone wants to advocate as revolutionary of a theory as Doherty has. It just comes with the territory.
 
 

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