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Old 04-26-2001, 12:15 PM   #1
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Post What facts about Jesus are well-established historically?

Bookman wrote, in the thread Jesus Mythers Unite ! (Page 1):

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Polycarp and Layman,

Given that most people agree that Jesus existed, what specific facts about his life do you consider to be well established historically? Based upon your understanding of the process of history, what do we know with a high degree of certainty about him? We can use the 50% or greater probability that you threw out to begin with.</font>
Polycarp replied, on page 2 of that thread:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Bookman,

Great topic ! As you can see, I'm quite busy with the topic of this thread, but I would definitely like to discuss your suggested topic at a later time. It seems to me that the majority (?) of the non-Christians on this board do not believe Jesus existed. Maybe I'm wrong though...</font>
And Layman replied, "Ditto."

Any time you're ready....
 
Old 04-26-2001, 02:17 PM   #2
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I'm pretty swamped at work right now, Kate, so it may be a while longer. The question is a great one, but I expect it to be time consuming.

In the meantime, I would like to know what you thought about Polycarp's and my response to your question regarding Paul's not having been to Rome prior to writing his letter and who founded the church in Rome.

http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000454.html
 
Old 04-26-2001, 03:22 PM   #3
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To Layman:

The threads Paul in Rome? (attn: Polycarp) and How Many Myth Founders Where There? are both very interesting. Not being an expert on the early history of Christianity myself, I'm not really in a position to judge the validity of any of the historical theories that have been tossed around here. All I can do is ask questions.

However, it would require an awful lot of evidence to persusade me to take seriously any claims of miracles, such as the Resurrection. (See also my thread The Resurrection: cutting to the heart of the matter.) Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

And it appears that the early history of Christianity is not even remotely well-documented enough to constitute such extraordinary proof. It appears that some key aspects of early Church history are a mystery even to historians, such as who founded the Church of Rome.

So, I'm wondering what facts about Jesus ARE well-established historically.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
Old 04-26-2001, 03:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kate Long:
Any time you're ready....
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</font>
Kate,

I appreciate your eagerness to discuss the topic. I still think it would be a very interesting one. Unfortunately, my free time will be quite scarce for at least the next week or so. Sporadically popping in to see what everyone else is writing will be about the extent of my time at the SecWeb in the foreseeable future. I know how saddened this makes everyone. If anyone responds to an existing post of mine I’ll try to get to it. Otherwise, I hope to be around more frequently when my schedule lightens up.

Like Layman, I would enjoy hearing your comments related to the other two threads we were discussing.

The first one is here http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000383.html where in the last post you said you replied to me here: http://www.infidels.org/electronic/f...ML/000454.html

I don’t see any reply in the second thread. The only thing you posted there is a question asking what evidence existed for Paul never having visited Rome. Your entire response said:

“What evidence is there that Paul had not yet been to Rome before writing his letter to the Romans? I was always under the impression, even back when I was a Christian, that Paul's letter to the Romans was written to a church he himself founded.
Who did found the church in Rome, if not Paul?
Catholics have a tradition that Peter was the first Bishop of Rome, but this tradition has long been disputed by Protestants. Do you know of any hard evidence one way or the other on this question?”


I gave what I thought was a very thorough reply, but haven’t heard your feedback. I’m genuinely curious to know what you thought of my ideas on both topics (‘Paul the Persecutor” and “Paul in Rome”). As I said earlier, I beg your patience if you do post a reply to either topic in the next week as it may take me a few days to answer.

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 04-26-2001, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kate Long:
Not being an expert on the early history of Christianity myself, I'm not really in a position to judge the validity of any of the historical theories that have been tossed around here. All I can do is ask questions.

However, it would require an awful lot of evidence to persusade me to take seriously any claims of miracles, such as the Resurrection.
Quote:
</font>
I posted my last response at the same time you posted this. You have to remember that we haven’t been making “extraordinary claims” in the two topics being discussed. There is nothing extraordinary about whether or not a Jew opposed other Jews, or whether or not some wandering missionary had ever been to Rome. You simply can’t fall back on that excuse for these topics. When we start making miraculous claims then you can use this argument. Otherwise, please stick to the issues at hand.

For example, when you compare Maccoby's theory to the one we've proposed - which seems more probable and why? This is the type of issue I'm talking about. I understand your acknowledgement that you're not an expert on history (neither am I), but if you can't form an opinion on non-miraculous issues like "Paul the Persecutor" and "Paul in Rome" then I can assure you it will be no different with Jesus.

Peace,

Polycarp

 
Old 04-26-2001, 03:47 PM   #6
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Kate Long: Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.

ChristianSkeptic: This is a meaningless, question begging, infinite regress since the "extraordinary proof” for the "extraordinary claim” must be drawn from the "extraordinary claim” that would then require "extraordinary proof” for its "extraordinary claim” and on and on and on ad infinitum.

Is your authority and/or source for this phantom criterion for historical investigation historians (including Christian historians), both past and present or is it Thomas Paine who is not known, to my knowledge, for scholarly historical investigation?
 
Old 04-26-2001, 03:59 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Polycarp:
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<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">I posted my last response at the same time you posted this. You have to remember that we haven’t been making “extraordinary claims” in the two topics being discussed.</font>
I realize that. My "extraordinary claims" remark pertains to things I anticipate we might be discussing this present thread. It was not intended as a rebuttal to anything in the other threads. (I'm sorry if I wasn't clear on that point.) My point is that, based what I saw in the other threads, it seems that the entire history is too murky to constitute proof of even mundane history, let alone miracles.

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">For example, when you compare Maccoby's theory to the one we've proposed - which seems more probable and why?</font>
I have just now replied in the threads Anyone here knowledgeable about the Talmud? and Paul in Rome? (attn: Polycarp). Sorry I didn't reply earlier.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
Old 04-26-2001, 04:06 PM   #8
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Kate Long: So, I'm wondering what facts about Jesus ARE well-established historically.

ChristianSkeptic: See: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/jesusref.html

A couple of good books by highly visible Christian philosopher/apologist Dr. William L. Craig are “Jesus' Resurrection: Fact or Figment? (with Gerd Luedemann)” “The Historical Argument for the Resurrection of Jesus”

See also his debates with atheists posted at this site and @

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billc...s/debates.html

A complete list of “resources” including more debates is @

http://www.leaderu.com/offices/billc...resources.html


Happy Reading

 
Old 04-26-2001, 04:16 PM   #9
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About "Extraordinary claims require ordinary proof":

I don't know who originated that saying, but it is a common-sense criterion that we all use every day. For example, if someone finishes a phone call and says, "That was my mother on the phone," you would probably believe it. On the other hand, if someone says, "That was the Virgin Mary on the phone," wouldn't you think the person was probably nuts? In these two cases, though, you have exactly the same amount of evidence, namely one person's say-so.

Anyhow, CS, I thought you were avoiding this forum. If not, please see my old thread Claims of proof of resurrection (from a post by MAS). It contains links to rebuttals to an article you once asked me to read.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
Old 04-26-2001, 04:57 PM   #10
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Originally posted by ChristianSkeptic:
Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"> Kate Long: So, I'm wondering what facts about Jesus ARE well-established historically.

ChristianSkeptic: See: http://www.christian-thinktank.com/jesusref.html
</font>
This page looks like it might eventually contain some answers to my question, but it doesn't yet. The other URL's you gave me here pertain to debates that are mainly about other matters entirely, such as the existence of God.

What I'm looking for in this thread is a concise statement, preferably by some of the more scholarly people here, as to what facts are well-established historically concerning Jesus.

Anyhow, the above site says:

Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Jesus lived His public life in the land of Palestine under the Roman rule of Tiberius (ad 14-37). There are four Roman historical sources for his reign: Tacitus (55-117), Suetonius (70-160), Velleius Paterculus (a contemporary), and Dio Cassius (3rd century). There are two Jewish historical resources that describe events of this period: Josephus (37-100?), writing in Greek, and the Rabbinical Writings (written in Hebrew after 200, but much of which would have been in oral form prior to that time).</font>
If this is correct, then it would appear to me that our records of that era are quite limited indeed, and hence that it would be difficult to establish anything with anywhere near real certainty, though the evidence might be conceivably be adequate to establish at least the probable existence of a man named Jesus and some mundane assertions about his life.


[This message has been edited by Kate Long (edited April 26, 2001).]
 
 

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