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Old 05-15-2006, 09:48 PM   #31
Steven Carr
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Originally Posted by FFlemming

'So unfortunately what they are doing in this movie that's over an hour long, they take one background graphic that appears for like one second and they blow it up to represent the whole movie.'
Flemming is so naive if he thinks that a second edition will stop people scouring the film in the minutest detail in search of something they can use to discredit it.

Meanwhile, Christians happily plug their religion as historically reliable, when for years after the alleged events, whole churches of Christian converts were baffled by the concept of resurrection. See 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians for details.

This is a continuity error much more glaring than one graphic in a hour long film.
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Old 05-18-2006, 12:16 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by GakuseiDon
Out of interest, which parts of my review do you not agree with? Section 4 looks at the different variations of the Jesus Myth, so I don't doubt that you disagree with me there. But are there any errors in Sections 1 to 3 that need correcting?
I can't say for sure whether our disagreements consist of errors of fact or analysis, and I don't have the time to examine the matter to be sure, so I won't pick on anything in particular. All I can say is that caution is in order. If I continue to make any arguments that seem to contradict what you have argued, I'll go back and examine more carefully what you said about that particular thing. For example, I'm not convinced the orpheus seal is a forgery but I need to study the arguments for that conclusion before pronouncing a judgment, and I don't think you have correctly analyzed Justin, but neither have you gotten it completely wrong either, so I'll have to pick through that more carefully the next time I use Justin myself.

Ironically, your section 4 is the one I have least quarrel with. Your criticisms of everyone you name are apt. In fact, I think the only quarrel I have there is with your critique of sublunar theory, since a close reading of Philo, 1 and 2 Enoch, the Ascension of Isaiah, and Hebrews clearly supports Doherty, at least in outline (it should be noted that I have many disagreements with Doherty as well), and Doherty would be wrong to say Paul's view must have been atypical. I still believe it is directly parallel to Plutarch's "higher theology" of Osiris. The existence of "other" interpretations of what gods were or how they acted should not confuse anyone into thinking everyone embraced the same understanding of the matter. Plutarch, for example, is explicit in stating that everyone did not, and he is pretty clear where he himself sides on the matter against alternatives others propose (and that he summarizes). But I'm sure we could debate that whole issue for hours. That will have to wait for another time.

To everyone else here: I'm not going to debate the contents of my white paper. As I said in this thread, "though there were disputable elements, any argument that started about them would not end well for the Christian apologist."

Regarding Epiphanius: EPI ALEXANDROU cannot be translated "descendants of Alexander" because there is no plural noun or pronoun.

Note that this section appears in the chapter Kata Nazôraiôn, "According to the Nazoraeans," in a long series of chapters each attacking a different heresy. The context is thus the beliefs of this sect. The preceding sentence has "For they said..." and the sentence before that has "so they say" and so on. Then the sentence of our concern begins, "for..." as if to explain their previous statement. The critical edition marks this point as a crux or lacuna, meaning the sentence has been corrupted somehow. I am presently working from the TLG, which does not have an apparatus so I can't see what the deal is, or analyze this further, but either way this means we can't construct a grammatically correct sentence here and therefore any difficulty in translating is the fault of a flaw in the received text.

Keeping that in mind, the extant sentence reads: heôs gar autou * hêgoumenoi diepese de hê taxis kai estê exote autos gennatai en Bêthleem tês Ioudaias, epi Alexandrou tou apo genous hieratikou kai basilikou, "for until his leaders...the line fell away and was set back up from the time he was born in Bethlehem under Alexander who was from a clan both priestly and royal." The sentence is unintelligible because of a corruption in the first clause, but the remaining clause seems completely clear in stating that Jesus was born under Alexander. Because this lies in a stream of sentences that in various ways begin, end, or imply "they said," I think it is reasonable to conclude that whatever Epiphanius originally wrote, he was writing something the Nazoreans were claiming, not asserting it himself.

The next sentence reads: aph' hou Alexandrou diepesen houtos ho klêros apo chronôn Salinas, tês kai Alexandras kaloumenês, epi tois chronois Hêrôidou tou basileôs kai Augoustou tou Rhômaiôn autokratoros: hos kai diadêma epetheto heautôi ho Alexandros houtos, heis tôn christôn kai hêgoumenôn huparchôn, "from Alexander this office fell away from the time of Salina, who was also called Alexandra, until the time of Herod the King and Augustus the Roman Emperor. This very Alexander even put a diadem on himself, being one of the Christs and Rulers." Those unaware should know that "Salina Alexandra" was Alexander's wife and hence queen, and the word "existed" is not in the clause that mentions her, so the translation at http://people.uncw.edu/zervosg/PR238...htm#Epiphanius is flawed. Epiphanius is saying the royal office ceased to exist from Salina to Herod, thus indicating (correctly) a gap of considerable time. Thus, when his previous sentence says Jesus was born under Alexander, he is not conflating this with a birth under Herod. Again, the corrupted passage probably would have made clear that he was only reporting what the Nazoreans were claiming.

Epiphanius then says from Herod's time on the kings of Judaea were not of David's line, and that metapesousês de tês basilikês kathedras, en Christôi epi tên ekklêsian...to basilikon metestê axiôma, "when the royal seat changed...the royal honor was transferred in Christ to the Church," and then he gets to discussing James as Christ's actual brother. But by now we are no longer in a "they said" context but clearly hearing what Epiphanius himself thought, since he gives several expressions of that fact. From then on we are no longer in a clear context of interaction with Nazorean beliefs until many paragraphs later. I think it does get confusing here. But the previous statement that Jesus was born under Alexander and that a long time followed between Alexander and Herod, is clear and indisputable. I think the most reasonable conclusion is that Epiphanius is describing the beliefs of the Nazoreans.

This has support, IMO, in the fact that the Talmud knows only of a Jesus born under Alexander. Jews, especially in the region of Babylon, may have interacted mainly with the Nazorean sect (if this sect rejected Paul's innovation and remained committed to Jewish Law--I haven't checked the Greek on that), and/or dismissed the Pauline sects as not even Jewish and therefore beneath even their contempt (whereas a sect like the Nazoreans would pose a greater threat to Jewish order, if it was exclusively poaching Jews and could more easily be acknowledged as Jewish by other Jews).

Anyway, as the purpose of my white paper was only to provide the context for any ensuing debate, not resolve any debate, I'm not going to debate this here. I provide it just FYI.
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Old 05-19-2006, 07:47 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
Ironically, your section 4 is the one I have least quarrel with. Your criticisms of everyone you name are apt. In fact, I think the only quarrel I have there is with your critique of sublunar theory, since a close reading of Philo, 1 and 2 Enoch, the Ascension of Isaiah, and Hebrews clearly supports Doherty, at least in outline (it should be noted that I have many disagreements with Doherty as well)
I know you don't want to spend time on debate, but if you have them handy, can you tell me which passages in those works are pertinent to the subject at hand?

Philo depicted Moses as a pre-existent being who enacted a covenant on earth with God, and then was (IIRC bodily) taken up to heaven. The parallels with Paul are well known, however I can't see how Philo offers support for a belief in a crucifixion in a sub-lunar realm above the earth. Nor do I see how 1&2 Enoch are relevant to that subject.

The "Ascension of Isaiah" has been done to death on this board, and I'm not sure how a work which in its final redacted form has Christ being crucified on earth helps Doherty. He seems to put a lot of stock in the "as above, so below" passage, but to me that passage is referring to jealousy. Even if it has a more general application as Doherty seems to be suggesting, I just can't see how it could be referring to idealised forms existing in the sub-lunar realm. I'm also not sure how Doherty rules out "as crucifixion above, so crucifixion below", anyway.

Hebrews offers some interesting comments -- Jesus coming into the world, enduring hostility from sinners -- that seem to place Christ on earth, though I know that both you and Doherty believe that Hebrews refers to Christ being sacrificed in heaven.

I'd be interested to review any key passages in Philo and 1&2 Enoch relating to activity in the sub-lunar realm if you are able to suggest them. ("Hebrews" and "Ascension" have already been given a good going over on this board).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
and Doherty would be wrong to say Paul's view must have been atypical.
Well, he didn't at the start. It was only when I tried to pin him down on the nature and location of the sub-lunar realm by comparing his ideas with the thoughts expressed by Ocellus and others, as well as Theophilus's statements about "birds flying in the firmament", that he started to move away from Paul being consistent with other Middle-Platonist writers. Doherty said recently on his website:

"It is admittedly impossible to nail down with any precision the exact viewpoint early Christians held in regard to the death of their mythical Christ, except that it took place in a dimension not our own, in "some other place," as one IIDBer put it."

Yet the sub-lunar realm was presented as anything but another dimension -- the earth and everything below the moon is firmly in the same dimension. I don't know where Doherty gets the sublunar realm existing in "another dimension" -- it sounds like he is imposing modern ideas a la Twilight Zone into the text. A "dimension not our own" below the firmament simply didnt exist in the literature AFAICS. It was all just one dimension from earth to moon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
I still believe it is directly parallel to Plutarch's "higher theology" of Osiris. The existence of "other" interpretations of what gods were or how they acted should not confuse anyone into thinking everyone embraced the same understanding of the matter. Plutarch, for example, is explicit in stating that everyone did not, and he is pretty clear where he himself sides on the matter against alternatives others propose (and that he summarizes).
Plutarch gives several views of the myths, but they seem to come down to two groups: either the myths were thought to have taken place on earth, or the myths were allegorical and referred to natural forces (which nevertheless were ultimately acts of the gods), thus the myths didn't take place at all.

AFAICS Plutarch is the "smoking gun" against Doherty. Doherty has stated a few times that Plutarch is the sophicated philosopher whose ideas didn't represent the "man in the street". Doherty speculates what the "man in the street" believed. Yet Plutarch DOES give us the "man in the street" view:
http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/...Osiris*/A.html

11 bTherefore, Clea, whenever you hear the traditional tales which the Egyptians tell about the gods, their wanderings, dismemberments, and many experiences of this sort, you must remember what has been already said, and you must not think that any of these tales actually happened in the manner in which they are related... Nor, again, do they believe that the sun rises as a new-born babe from the lotus, but they portray the rising of the sun in this manner to indicate allegorically the enkindling of the sun from the waters.

As I said, it seems to have been either "on earth" or "it didn't happen at all". So, as far as Doherty's favorite rhetorical question goes, "Where did Attis get the knife he used to castrate himself?", Clea's answer would have been "on earth", but Plutarch's answer would have been "he never actually had a real knife". In neither case would the answer have been "in a sub-lunar dimension not our own".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
But I'm sure we could debate that whole issue for hours. That will have to wait for another time.
Yes, I understand. I'm not expecting you to reply to this in the short term, since I know you've announced your intentions to write articles or even a book on the subject. I appreciate your time responding to my questions on TGWWT movie.

I will be very interested in what you write on the sublunar incarnation idea. Lots of people have read Doherty, and lots of people have agreed with Doherty, but I've found few that have actually investigated his sublunar thesis. I think I have a better understanding of Doherty here than most Jesus mythers. At least, whenever I've tried to engage someone on Doherty, they usually admit that they don't really understand him on this point (though somehow they do know that he is right). For that reason, I've pretty much given up trying to debate the mythicist view. You're the only one I know who has actually investigated Doherty and come out in favour of him (with the qualifications that you've given above). So I'm very much looking forward to any articles that you produce on this subject. Thanks again for your time.
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:21 PM   #34
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I haven't time to say much more, but I can offer this much today:

Perhaps you are confusing what I think is correct, with the specific claims made by Doherty. I don't go beyond in agreement with him than what I express in my review of his book:

http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...shtml#Sublunar

[except that I now think that Inanna might have started on earth in her myth rather than in heaven, but still didn't die on earth--a correction I made publicly on Doherty's website]

It's important to be clear about that: please don't add to what I say there anything that he has said in addition to it.

I may have misunderstood what you mean, since (perhaps unlike Doherty) I distinguish the perfect forms of things in heaven (which is what I assumed you were challenging, but I see now that's not what you doubt) with where Paul imagined Christ to have been killed. Christ was not killed among the perfect forms in heaven--to the contrary, that would have been theologically impossible (and to Paul's mind, physically impossible), which is why Jesus had to descend to the realm where flesh and death are possible, and then his blood was carried back up to the heavenly perfect altar (according to Hebrews, which I assume is close to Paul's thinking if not identical to it--I don't see any clear references to a Jesus on earth there, see below).

The references I gave (Enoch, etc.) were to the "forms in heaven" part of this, which I now see is not what you have a problem with. As to dying below the moon, that's directly paralleled in Plutarch exactly as I show in my review (the link above). Obviously this is a novel importation by Christians because they are the first to kill this heavenly Christ in their soteriology--that's what makes this sect of Judaism "Christianity" rather than something else. IMO, the only direct parallels are pagan, and the inspiration for importing it comes from re-interpreting the OT.

Where you do seem to have the wrong idea is reading Plutarch:

Quote:
Originally Posted by GakuseiDon
Plutarch gives several views of the myths, but they seem to come down to two groups: either the myths were thought to have taken place on earth, or the myths were allegorical and referred to natural forces (which nevertheless were ultimately acts of the gods), thus the myths didn't take place at all.
You are confusing "the myths" with "the gods." Plutarch distinguishes the myths (which parallel the Gospels) from the gods they are purported to be about (which parallel the Jesus actually being worshipped by Paul). Thus, when he gives different ways of reading the myths, this is like giving different ways of interpreting (or failing to interpret) the hidden meaning of the Gospels. That is a different activity from discussing the nature of the actual gods themselves (the actual Jesus, for example, rather than what Jesus is depicted as doing and saying in the Gospels). In fact, Plutarch is saying the common man euhemerizes these gods with stories, while the true theology is reserved for the initiated, which is almost exactly the Doherty thesis.

And when it comes to admitting what he himself believes, Plutarch says the exact opposite of what you take him as saying: "it is not right to believe that water or the sun or the earth or the sky is Osiris or Isis...but as the work of Isis and as the image and reflection and logos of Osiris..." (64 = M377a-b) and he immediately disparages those who interpret Isis and Osiris as mere natural phenomena as tiresome and wrong (65 = M377b-d), and says the correct view is that Osiris is not a past king or a force of nature, but an actual God in heaven, and instead of being a metaphor or having actually been killed on earth, he is routinely (54 = M373a) supernaturally killed "in the outermost areas" of the sublunar realm (78 = M382e-383a). Ultimately, Plutarch believes they are real gods (e.g. 26 = 361c, 27 = M361e). So you are wrong to see him offering only the two options you describe--he himself rejects both.

On Hebrews: I read everything there with the interpretive theory that Jesus speaks through revelations, with all his actions (descending, taking on flesh, suffering, praying, dying, etc.) taking place where Osiris still dies every year (which is certainly not on earth), and I encounter no difficulties. Note that I don't think Doherty's interpretation of "appear a second time" is necessary (since Jesus certainly did appear a "first" time: in revelations to the apostles--and that entails no earthly sojourn).

Hebrews 13:10-14 can easily refer to Jesus entering our world of decay, hence departing the perfect sphere in order to die, which again agrees with the sublunar death and does not entail a death on earth in an actual Jerusalem. In fact, in context, I think the gist is that he had to be killed outside the gate of the perfect Jerusalem, not the terrestrial one. And Hebrews 12:2-3 says "consider him who submitted to so much rebellion against him by the sinful" which is far too vague to entail anything like what is shown in the Gospels. It could still mean the heavenly Jesus endured the sins and rejections of humans below; or in accepting death Jesus submitted to the consequences of human rebellion, i.e. death, which is felt throughout the sublunar realm; or that Jesus submitted to the demonic agencies of sin, etc. Though, as with many things, one can "read into" this verse the Gospel narrative, the verse itself is too vague to make that reading any more innately plausible than "reading into" the same verse the cosmic theory instead. Had this verse said "endured so much abuse from Roman soldiers" or "endured so much hatred from the Jewish mob" or anything that places it in a historical context, that would be different.
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Old 05-20-2006, 08:29 PM   #35
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Interesting and useful exchange, guys.
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Old 05-21-2006, 07:07 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
To everyone else here: I'm not going to debate the contents of my white paper. As I said in this thread, "though there were disputable elements, any argument that started about them would not end well for the Christian apologist."

Regarding Epiphanius: EPI ALEXANDROU cannot be translated "descendants of Alexander" because there is no plural noun or pronoun.

Note that this section appears in the chapter Kata Nazôraiôn, "According to the Nazoraeans," in a long series of chapters each attacking a different heresy. The context is thus the beliefs of this sect. The preceding sentence has "For they said..." and the sentence before that has "so they say" and so on. Then the sentence of our concern begins, "for..." as if to explain their previous statement. The critical edition marks this point as a crux or lacuna, meaning the sentence has been corrupted somehow. I am presently working from the TLG, which does not have an apparatus so I can't see what the deal is, or analyze this further, but either way this means we can't construct a grammatically correct sentence here and therefore any difficulty in translating is the fault of a flaw in the received text.

Keeping that in mind, the extant sentence reads: heôs gar autou * hêgoumenoi diepese de hê taxis kai estê exote autos gennatai en Bêthleem tês Ioudaias, epi Alexandrou tou apo genous hieratikou kai basilikou, "for until his leaders...the line fell away and was set back up from the time he was born in Bethlehem under Alexander who was from a clan both priestly and royal." The sentence is unintelligible because of a corruption in the first clause, but the remaining clause seems completely clear in stating that Jesus was born under Alexander. Because this lies in a stream of sentences that in various ways begin, end, or imply "they said," I think it is reasonable to conclude that whatever Epiphanius originally wrote, he was writing something the Nazoreans were claiming, not asserting it himself.

The next sentence reads: aph' hou Alexandrou diepesen houtos ho klêros apo chronôn Salinas, tês kai Alexandras kaloumenês, epi tois chronois Hêrôidou tou basileôs kai Augoustou tou Rhômaiôn autokratoros: hos kai diadêma epetheto heautôi ho Alexandros houtos, heis tôn christôn kai hêgoumenôn huparchôn, "from Alexander this office fell away from the time of Salina, who was also called Alexandra, until the time of Herod the King and Augustus the Roman Emperor. This very Alexander even put a diadem on himself, being one of the Christs and Rulers." Those unaware should know that "Salina Alexandra" was Alexander's wife and hence queen, and the word "existed" is not in the clause that mentions her, so the translation at http://people.uncw.edu/zervosg/PR238...htm#Epiphanius is flawed. Epiphanius is saying the royal office ceased to exist from Salina to Herod, thus indicating (correctly) a gap of considerable time. Thus, when his previous sentence says Jesus was born under Alexander, he is not conflating this with a birth under Herod. Again, the corrupted passage probably would have made clear that he was only reporting what the Nazoreans were claiming.

Epiphanius then says from Herod's time on the kings of Judaea were not of David's line, and that metapesousês de tês basilikês kathedras, en Christôi epi tên ekklêsian...to basilikon metestê axiôma, "when the royal seat changed...the royal honor was transferred in Christ to the Church," and then he gets to discussing James as Christ's actual brother. But by now we are no longer in a "they said" context but clearly hearing what Epiphanius himself thought, since he gives several expressions of that fact. From then on we are no longer in a clear context of interaction with Nazorean beliefs until many paragraphs later. I think it does get confusing here. But the previous statement that Jesus was born under Alexander and that a long time followed between Alexander and Herod, is clear and indisputable. I think the most reasonable conclusion is that Epiphanius is describing the beliefs of the Nazoreans.

This has support, IMO, in the fact that the Talmud knows only of a Jesus born under Alexander. Jews, especially in the region of Babylon, may have interacted mainly with the Nazorean sect (if this sect rejected Paul's innovation and remained committed to Jewish Law--I haven't checked the Greek on that), and/or dismissed the Pauline sects as not even Jewish and therefore beneath even their contempt (whereas a sect like the Nazoreans would pose a greater threat to Jewish order, if it was exclusively poaching Jews and could more easily be acknowledged as Jewish by other Jews).

Anyway, as the purpose of my white paper was only to provide the context for any ensuing debate, not resolve any debate, I'm not going to debate this here. I provide it just FYI.
Thanks for these comments Richard.

I'm still trying to work out what I think is going on in Epiphanius.

I'll just say now that if what Epiphanius says is related to the tradition in the Babylonian Talmus (something which is IMHO doubtful) then it might be worth noting that Epiphanius is a late 4th century source and the Babylonian Talmud tradition which is presented as a Baraita but occurs in another form in the Jerusalem Talmud (tractate Hagigah) without mention of Jesus, very possibly dates from about the same time.

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Old 05-21-2006, 07:42 AM   #37
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Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
Where you do seem to have the wrong idea is reading Plutarch:
Quote:
Originally Posted by GDon
Plutarch gives several views of the myths, but they seem to come down to two groups: either the myths were thought to have taken place on earth, or the myths were allegorical and referred to natural forces (which nevertheless were ultimately acts of the gods), thus the myths didn't take place at all.
... when it comes to admitting what he himself believes, Plutarch says the exact opposite of what you take him as saying: "it is not right to believe that water or the sun or the earth or the sky is Osiris or Isis...but as the work of Isis and as the image and reflection and logos of Osiris..." (64 = M377a-b)
I'm not sure what you thought I was saying, but that seems to be the same as what I wrote above. Perhaps you have misread me?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
and he immediately disparages those who interpret Isis and Osiris as mere natural phenomena as tiresome and wrong (65 = M377b-d), and says the correct view is that Osiris is not a past king or a force of nature, but an actual God in heaven,
Yes, agreed.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
and instead of being a metaphor or having actually been killed on earth, he is routinely (54 = M373a) supernaturally killed "in the outermost areas" of the sublunar realm (78 = M382e-383a). Ultimately, Plutarch believes they are real gods (e.g. 26 = 361c, 27 = M361e). So you are wrong to see him offering only the two options you describe--he himself rejects both.
As I said, you seem to be saying the same thing that I was saying, so I'm not sure where you think I am wrong.

The only problem I see in the above is your view that Osiris is "routinely killed in the sublunar realm". The myths take place on earth, as allegories of natural forces which shed light on the gods. Osiris himself is a god who exists above these things. As Plutarch says, Osiris "himself is far removed from the earth, uncontaminated and unpolluted and pure from all matter that is subject to destruction and death" (382F) The myth of Osiris being dismembered takes place on earth, as allegories of the natural forces that act in the sublunar realm, but Osiris himself is not touched by these.

Plutarch writes here:
that part of the world which undergoes reproduction and destruction is contained underneath the orb of the moon, and all things in it are subjected to motion and to change through the four elements: fire, earth, water, and air. (376D)

This could NOT include Osiris, since Osiris was not subject to change. So Osiris himself could not have been dismembered in the sublunar realm except as myth, but the myth locates it on earth. You cited this passage to show that Osiris was "routinely supernaturally killed in the sublunar realm":
It is not, therefore, out of keeping that they have a legend that the soul of Osiris is everlasting and imperishable, but that his body Typhon oftentimes dismembers and causes to disappear, and that Isis wanders hither and yon in her search for it, and fits it together again;305 for that which really is and is perceptible and good is superior to destruction and change. (373A)

But this is the myth that takes place on earth. It is an allegory for natural forces working under the moon. As you noted above, Plutarch disparages those who see the sun, etc, as the gods; rather he believes that the myths are allegories of natural forces which nevertheless somehow reflect the gods:
To put the matter briefly, it is not right to believe that water or the sun or the earth or the sky is Osiris or Isis;342 or again that fire or drought or the sea is Typhon, but simply if we attribute to Typhon343 whatever there is in these that is immoderate and disordered by reason of excesses or defects; and if we revere and honour what is orderly and good and beneficial as the work of Isis and as the image and reflection and reason of Osiris, we shall not be wrong. (373A)

You wrote earlier, "Plutarch distinguishes the myths (which parallel the Gospels) from the gods they are purported to be about (which parallel the Jesus actually being worshipped by Paul)." But Paul talks about Jesus as being "born of a woman", "seed of Abraham", "killed", "crucified" and "buried", etc. If Paul is playing the sophisticated philosopher of Plutarch to the Gospels' Clea, then he appears to be using concepts that are not suitable for such a role. At least, that is the problem that I see ahead of you.
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Old 05-22-2006, 12:21 PM   #38
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Further confused and confusing ramblings about Epiphanius

One problem with regarding what Epiphanius says in Panarion 29 about Christ being born in the days of Alexander as being merely a report of others views is that Epiphanius says much the same in Panarion 51
Quote:
"From the time that Augustus became Emperor, for four years, more or less, from his reign, there had been friendship between the Romans and Jews, and contributions of troops had been sent, and a governor appointed, and some portion of tribute paid to the Romans, until Judaea was made subject and became tributary to them, its rulers having ceased from Judah, and Herod being appointed from the Gentiles, being a proselyte, however, and Christ being born in Bethlehem of Judaea, and coming for the preaching, the anointed rulers from Judah and Aaron having ceased, after continuing until the anointed ruler Alexander and Salina who was also Alexandra; in which days the prophecy of Jacob was fulfilled: 'A ruler shall not cease from Judah and a leader from his thighs, until lie come for whom it is laid up, and he is the expectation of the nations' --that is, the Lord who was born."
(This English version is based on Mead's Did Jesus Live 100 BC ? but I've checked it against the Greek text on the Skeptik site the Migne text is corrupt in Panarion 51.)

This association of Christ with Alexander Jannaeus, repeated from Panarion 29, occurs in Panarion 51 in close proximity to arguments that Christ was born in 2 BCE. (the 42nd year of Augustus) .

The problem seems to be how Epiphanius could believe at the same time that Christ was born in the days of Alexander and in the days of Augustus.

(Further confused and confusing ramblings may follow.)


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Old 05-22-2006, 02:55 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewcriddle
One problem with regarding what Epiphanius says in Panarion 29 about Christ being born in the days of Alexander as being merely a report of others views is that Epiphanius says much the same in Panarion 51...This association of Christ with Alexander Jannaeus, repeated from Panarion 29, occurs in Panarion 51 in close proximity to arguments that Christ was born in 2 BCE. (the 42nd year of Augustus). The problem seems to be how Epiphanius could believe at the same time that Christ was born in the days of Alexander and in the days of Augustus.
I didn't check the context, but the Greek (Holl 2.288-90) has this:

Quote:
Gennatai oun ho sôtêr tôi tessarakostôi deuterôi etei Augoustou basileôs tôn Rhômaiôn, hupateiâi têi progegrammenêi, meta eikosiennea etê tês Augoustou pros Ioudaious sunapheias: basileuei de Augoustos dekatria etê prin ê tên Ioudaian teleiôs sunaphthênai Rhômaiois. ên de kai exote ebasileusen Augoustos epi tessarsin etesin tês autou basileias pleiô elassô philia men Rhômaiôn pros Ioudaious kai summachia pempomenê kai epitropos kathistamenos kai merê phorôn Rhômaiois teloumena * epi pente etesi pleiô elassô, heôs hotou teleon paredothê hê Ioudaia kai hupophoros autois gegenêtai, lêxantôn tôn apo Iouda archontôn kai Hêrôidou ex ethnôn katastathentos, prosêlutou mentoi ge, eita Christou gennêthentos en Bêthleem tês Ioudaias elthontos te epi to kêrugma, lêxantôn tôn apo Iouda kai Aarôn christôn hêgoumenôn, diarkesantôn heôs Alexandrou christou hêgoumenou kai salinas tês kai Alexandras: eph' hois eplêrôthê hê prophêteia tou Iakôb, to «ouk ekleipsei archôn ex Iouda kai hêgoumenos ek tôn mêrôn autou, heôs an elthêi hôi apokeitai, kai autos prosdokia ethnôn», ho estin ho gennêtheis kurios. tauta panta eteleiouto arxamena apo tês gennêseôs tês en Bêthleem, hê egeneto en tessarakostôi deuterôi etei tês pasês basileias Augoustou, ho ên meta pempton etos tês epitropês Antipatrou tou patros Hêrôidou, hote philia ên Rhômaiôn pros Ioudaious kai merê domatôn, kai meta tên epitropên Antipatrou tên apo hektou Augoustou heôs enatou autou, Hêrôidou [te] katastathentos apo tou dekatou etous kai merous phorôn didomenou heôs triskaidekatou etous, ho ên tetarton etos tês basileias Hêrôidou katastathentos hupo Augoustou: meta de to tetarton etos Hêrôidou loipon teleiôs paradotheisês tês Ioudaias. heôs triakostou tritou etous Hêrôidou, Augoustou de tessarakonta duo etê plêrôsantos, kratêtheisês <te> tês pasês Ioudaias, hôs ephên, meta to poiêsai autên eikosiennea etê hupophoron Rhômaiois, kai meta meta to poiêsai autên eikosiennea etê hupophoron Rhômaiois, kai meta to katastathênai epitropon ton Antipatron Hêrôidou patera, meta te to Hêrôidên basilea katastathênai hupo Augoustou en tôi dekatôi etei tou autou Augoustou epi tês Ioudaias.
The immediate context is (the first line above) "And so the Savior was born in the 42nd year of Augustus king of the Romans, [reckoning] from his appointment to the consulship," i.e. c. 2 or 1 B.C. There is no mention here of Jesus being born under Alexander. I think this is a mistake of reading the Greek. There is a problem with the received text as the TLG indicates another crux or lacuna in the middle of the sentence mentioning Alexander. But it is still clear that Alexander is mentioned only as being the last descendant of Aaron and Judah to hold the throne and only in a digression to the main point of the sentence.

The final "prophecy" (from Genesis 49:10, from the Septuagint, and that somewhat modified, since the Hebrew reads very differently) is:

"No ruler from Judah and no leader from his loins will disappear, until [that office] comes to the one for whom it was laid away, and that man [will be] the expectation of nations"

And Epiphanius says this is the one "who was born the Lord." But there is no "in whose days" this prophecy was fulfilled, at least not in reference to Alexander. The text says "in which [circumstances]" this prophecy was fulfilled, but this refers to the entire previous sentence, the subject of which is not Alexander, or even Herod, but Judaea becoming subject to tribute by Rome, in which circumstances Herod was appointed. All that stuff about Alexander is an even further digressive clause in participial construction, and thus not the actual circumstances that are the subject of the sentence. That digression is an explanation of why the throne went to Herod. In fact, that's a digression from the digression that this is when Herod took the throne, and that is a digression to the actual sentence which is about Judaea coming under Roman tribute, and that is what Epiphanius means when he says "in those [times]," i.e. under Roman rule, and probably specifically Herodian rule (the point of digressing that those times are when Herod took the throne).

Although this entails a problem for an exegete, since the actual history as Epiphanius concedes does not literally fulfill the prophecy, this is no greater than many other similar problems that Christians easily dismissed or "solved." I am sure Epiphanius understood the prophecy (especially since he ignores the Hebrew original and even slightly modifies the Septuagint Greek) as a reference to the royal line that did not cease, and understood the rule as having laid in wait until the one it was "laid away" for came to claim it, i.e. Jesus. In other words, Epiphanius is not remarking on Jesus being the end of an unbroken chain of actual kings from Judah, but on Jesus being the end of Judah's progeny and hence the end of kingship as such for Judaea. That is, I think Epiphanius regards as the fulfillment of the prophecy the fact that the Judaean throne was dissolved under Jesus, and never returned.
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Old 05-23-2006, 04:08 PM   #40
andrewcriddle
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Carrier
Although this entails a problem for an exegete, since the actual history as Epiphanius concedes does not literally fulfill the prophecy, this is no greater than many other similar problems that Christians easily dismissed or "solved." I am sure Epiphanius understood the prophecy (especially since he ignores the Hebrew original and even slightly modifies the Septuagint Greek) as a reference to the royal line that did not cease, and understood the rule as having laid in wait until the one it was "laid away" for came to claim it, i.e. Jesus. In other words, Epiphanius is not remarking on Jesus being the end of an unbroken chain of actual kings from Judah, but on Jesus being the end of Judah's progeny and hence the end of kingship as such for Judaea. That is, I think Epiphanius regards as the fulfillment of the prophecy the fact that the Judaean throne was dissolved under Jesus, and never returned.
Hi Richard

The problem is that the Judaean throne is decisively dissolved according to Epiphanius here by the establishment of Herod's (effectively Gentile) kingship. In order for the dissolution of the Judaean throne to occur under Jesus Jesus has to have been born in Bethlehem before say 40 BCE, when Herod achieved the kingship.

You are quite right that this does not in itself imply or even suggest that Jesus was born in the days of Alexander and/or Alexandra but Epiphanius does seem to be making the birth of Jesus a precondition required by prophecy for Herod's kingdom. (The establishment of Herod's kingdom is the final cessation of rulers from Judah which must be preceded by the coming of Christ)

Although the claim that Jesus had to come before Herod could receive the kingship is a smaller discrepancy from birth in 2 BCE than the claim that Jesus was born in the days of Alexander/Alexandra the problem is still there.

Andrew Criddle
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