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Old 06-09-2013, 09:41 PM   #11
ApostateAbe
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"How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!"

Opinions on this? I am not sure how to approach this question. Is the opinion shared by anyone else? I am tempted to think the perspective is shared commonly among mythicists, but maybe it is either only the hyperbolic representation or the opinion of a scattered minority?
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:44 PM   #12
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We know exactly how cults are formed.

We have Joseph Smith of the Mormon religion.

Joseph Smith writes a story and people believed the story was true and we have a religion.

No one ever saw the Angel Moroni or the Golden Plates.

It is the simplest have matters to resolve.

Some unknown person or persons started a story about a Son of a God that was killed by the Jews and that he was soon coming back and NON-JEWS believed the story was true.

That is how the Jesus cult most likely started.

It is well known that people start religion by fabricating stories about Gods and Sons of God.
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Old 06-09-2013, 09:59 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
"How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!"

Opinions on this? I am not sure how to approach this question. Is the opinion shared by anyone else? I am tempted to think the perspective is shared commonly among mythicists, but maybe it is either only the hyperbolic representation or the opinion of a scattered minority?
What "perspective" is 'shared' by mythicists? [don't answer: it is a rhetorical question your non-specific assertion]

I suggest you
  • try to understand the Historic Method , particularly the importance of 'primary sources' ie. documents, artifacts, or archaeological sites from the specific period of history in question. and
  • understand formal arguments - deductive arguments and inductive arguments.
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:28 PM   #14
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For evidence I will use primarily the New Testament, as those documents tend to be the earliest evidence, but I must emphasize: it is NOT about trusting the New Testament. Instead, it is about making probable sense of the documents.
Using the New Testament is circular "reasoning" - it "begs-the-question - a logical fallacy.

How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!

Especially documents infused in theology and promoted because of that theology??!

The NT does not meet criteria as reliable [trustworthy] historical sources.


This is equivocation - merely a bait 'n' switch - belief is NOT fact!!!


"diplomatic" ?? your reference to diplomcy is a red-herring to the failure to establish Jesus historicity, let alone the right to claim he can be descrived as anything.

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I contrast this theory with the theory that Jesus was merely myth. I disregard other hypotheses, though I am open to discussing them.
Your waffle about cults and the Jesus-cult having a real Jesus leader is unsound.






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Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
"How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!"

Opinions on this? I am not sure how to approach this question. Is the opinion shared by anyone else? I am tempted to think the perspective is shared commonly among mythicists, but maybe it is either only the hyperbolic representation or the opinion of a scattered minority?
What "perspective" is 'shared' by mythicists? [don't answer: it is a rhetorical question your non-specific assertion]

I suggest you
  • try to understand the Historic Method , particularly the importance of 'primary sources' ie. documents, artifacts, or archaeological sites from the specific period of history in question. and
  • understand formal arguments - deductive arguments and inductive arguments.
OK. Thanks. Some mythicist authors have attempted to make sense of the early Christian writings without either trusting them or believing their claims, like Earl Doherty. He tries to explain the ancient beliefs and the origins of Christianity by examining those documents. Do you think he is going about it the wrong way? Like absolutely nothing can be inferred from early Christianity by reading those documents?
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:43 PM   #15
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Some mythicist authors have attempted to make sense of the early Christian writings without either trusting them or believing their claims, like Earl Doherty. He tries to explain the ancient beliefs and the origins of Christianity by examining those documents. Do you think he is going about it the wrong way? Like absolutely nothing can be inferred from early Christianity by reading those documents?
Of course something can be inferred about early Christianity by reading, analyzing & discussing early Christian documents, but one cannot conclude the characters in the documents were real, or all the events they were involved in were real, without corroborating other sources from those times.

They're theological stories without 'other' substantiation
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Old 06-09-2013, 10:52 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
"How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!"

Opinions on this? I am not sure how to approach this question. Is the opinion shared by anyone else? I am tempted to think the perspective is shared commonly among mythicists, but maybe it is either only the hyperbolic representation or the opinion of a scattered minority?
Do you consider professional historians a scattered minority? Perhaps they are.

The reliability of documents is foundational. Even if you are only reading the documents to make sense of the beliefs of those who wrote them, you need to know if they are an accurate representation of the author (as opposed to later forgeries or redacted documents.)

For example, you continue to refer to early Christians as believing in a human founder. But you can only do this by ignoring the likelihood that the earliest documents might have been rewritten by later Christians.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
"How can one try to make sense of documents without establishing some 'trust' in them???!!"

Opinions on this? I am not sure how to approach this question. Is the opinion shared by anyone else? I am tempted to think the perspective is shared commonly among mythicists, but maybe it is either only the hyperbolic representation or the opinion of a scattered minority?
Do you consider professional historians a scattered minority? Perhaps they are.

The reliability of documents is foundational. Even if you are only reading the documents to make sense of the beliefs of those who wrote them, you need to know if they are an accurate representation of the author (as opposed to later forgeries or redacted documents.)

For example, you continue to refer to early Christians as believing in a human founder. But you can only do this by ignoring the likelihood that the earliest documents might have been rewritten by later Christians.
No disagreement. MrMacson seemed to think it illogical to make sense of texts without placing trust in them, but you seem to be with me on that point. Part of making sense of texts is estimating who wrote them.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:34 PM   #18
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This is the first in a series of threads, in which I present the most relevant arguments for the case that Jesus existed as a human being. For evidence I will use primarily the New Testament, as those documents tend to be the earliest evidence, but I must emphasize: it is NOT about trusting the New Testament. Instead, it is about making probable sense of the documents. Their claims do not necessarily reflect ancient facts, except facts of ancient beliefs. So, how do we best explain those beliefs? I defend my explanation as having the greatest historical plausibility and greater explanatory power. It is the explanation that Jesus was a doomsday cult leader. The scholars use the phrase, "apocalyptic prophet," but I am not as diplomatic. I contrast this theory with the theory that Jesus was merely myth. I disregard other hypotheses, though I am open to discussing them.

Patterns of Cults

This is the point that establishes the historical plausibility of the theory. A "cult" is not just a way to insult a strange religious group, but it is a sociological pattern widespread across cultures. They are somewhat spectral and fluid, but the primary defining element of a "cult" is: "The group displays excessively zealous and unquestioning commitment to its leader and (whether he is alive or dead) regards his belief system, ideology, and practices as the Truth, as law." It is not the only defining element: fifteen total are given in "Characteristics Associated with Cultic Groups - Revised" by Janja Lalich and Michael Langone of the International Cultic Studies Journal. Many more items in the checklist are plainly applicable to early Christianity per the early Christian writings, some less plain, but the defining element is plainest of all.

Whether or not Jesus was a human being, we all agree that the information about him is sourced from the myths of the cult. In all cults with a myth of their alleged human founder, the human founder actually existed, as far as we are aware. In absolutely no cases that we know about, there was a cult with a myth of their human founder who never actually existed. This follows directly from the cult pattern of human leaders founding cults and focusing the authority on their own selves, so the esteem of the cult is maintained even after the founder dies. Was early Christianity the special exception? If not, I challenge anyone to find any other cult that breaks the pattern. The International Cultic Studies Association maintains a database of over 1200 cults and cult-like groups. Are there any cults in which the claimed human founder never existed? Was there ever some guy who founded a cult and who claimed that some other guy founded the cult? If so, please present that example, because it would give mythicism the first flyspeck of plausibility.

To be clear, just because it has never happened in any other cult doesn't mean it couldn't have happened with Christianity. But, it means the mythicist hypothesis from the outset has a strong plausibility problem. Very strong explanatory power (arguments based on the direct evidence) would be necessary to compensate for it. But, I don't think the mythicists has strong explanatory power, either, as I explain in threads to come.

Next thread: Abe's Case for the Historical Jesus (Part 2: Nazareth)






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Originally Posted by ApostateAbe View Post
Some mythicist authors have attempted to make sense of the early Christian writings without either trusting them or believing their claims, like Earl Doherty. He tries to explain the ancient beliefs and the origins of Christianity by examining those documents. Do you think he is going about it the wrong way? Like absolutely nothing can be inferred from early Christianity by reading those documents?
Of course something can be inferred about early Christianity by reading, analyzing & discussing early Christian documents, but one cannot conclude the characters in the documents were real, or all the events they were involved in were real, without corroborating other sources from those times.

They're theological stories without 'other' substantiation
Great, I think we are more on the same page than we were before. Is there some kind of delineation concerning the types of historical claims that can be inferred with some probability from biased accounts? Like, we can infer the existence of beliefs but we cannot infer the existence of objective people or events without external corroboration? I ask because I don't have such deliniations, and maybe your historiographical method is fundamentally different.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:47 PM   #19
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... we can infer the existence of beliefs but we cannot infer the existence of objective people or events without external corroboration?
Essentially. Espeically when the 'people' or 'events' are strongly pushed b/c of supernatural claims and belief in those claims.
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Old 06-10-2013, 02:00 AM   #20
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......Some mythicist authors have attempted to make sense of the early Christian writings without either trusting them or believing their claims, like Earl Doherty. He tries to explain the ancient beliefs and the origins of Christianity by examining those documents. Do you think he is going about it the wrong way? Like absolutely nothing can be inferred from early Christianity by reading those documents?
Whether Doherty is wrong or right does not help your argument.

Patterns of cults has zero do with evidence for an HJ of Nazareth.

In Acts, there is NO claim whatsoever that Jesus started the Jesus cult of Christians---it was the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost.

God sent the Holy Ghost and the Holy Ghost could NOT have come to earth unless Jesus had ascended.

The Jesus cult of Christians must start WITHOUT Jesus on earth in Acts.

There is no other story for the start of the Jesus cult in the Bible.

1. Jesus must resurrect.

2. The Resurrected Jesus must meet the disciples.

3. Jesus must ascend.

4. The Holy Ghost must come down from heaven.


Examine Acts. 1&2

The Holy Ghost did come on The Day of Pentecost in Acts.
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