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Posted: 01 June 2009 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]  
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Jesus is not a myth. Before there were any gospels, there were the letters of Paul. Seven or so of them are basically undisputed by modern scholarship. One of them is Galatians, written about 49 CE (if one accepts the South Galatian Theory).  In that letter, Paul describes Jesus as a Jew, who had a brother named James.  He mentions the apostles Peter and John. He says Jesus was crucified.

A couple of years later Paul wrote I Thessalonians.  In that letter he states that Jesus was killed by the Judeans. These letters (and the others written by Paul) are the earliest evidence that we have of the historical facts of Christianity. They were written by a man who was a contemporary of Jesus (whether he actually knew him or not) and was intimately familiar with the experience of the early church.  He is also a man who claimed to have seen the resurrected and glorified Jesus. He’s not just some fellow who decided to speculate about his subject.

There is no documentation of the same period that disputes the writings of Paul about Jesus. His epistles are the best evidence that we have of the historicity of Jesus, and he wrote that Jesus was real and historical. You may not like the way the evidence falls, but that’s the best evidence. You don’t even need to get into the gospels to prove the historicity of Jesus.  If one just looks at the historical evidence provided by Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that he wrote about a real person who was crucified. But if one has already come to a conclusion based upon something other than historical evidence, reason will not have any effect on that person.

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Posted: 01 June 2009 07:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]  
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Eugenie - 01 June 2009 09:52 PM

Jesus is not a myth. Before there were any gospels, there were the letters of Paul. Seven or so of them are basically undisputed by modern scholarship. One of them is Galatians, written about 49 CE (if one accepts the South Galatian Theory).  In that letter, Paul describes Jesus as a Jew, who had a brother named James.  He mentions the apostles Peter and John. He says Jesus was crucified.

A couple of years later Paul wrote I Thessalonians.  In that letter he states that Jesus was killed by the Judeans. These letters (and the others written by Paul) are the earliest evidence that we have of the historical facts of Christianity. They were written by a man who was a contemporary of Jesus (whether he actually knew him or not) and was intimately familiar with the experience of the early church.  He is also a man who claimed to have seen the resurrected and glorified Jesus. He’s not just some fellow who decided to speculate about his subject.

There is no documentation of the same period that disputes the writings of Paul about Jesus. His epistles are the best evidence that we have of the historicity of Jesus, and he wrote that Jesus was real and historical. You may not like the way the evidence falls, but that’s the best evidence. You don’t even need to get into the gospels to prove the historicity of Jesus.  If one just looks at the historical evidence provided by Paul, it is reasonable to conclude that he wrote about a real person who was crucified. But if one has already come to a conclusion based upon something other than historical evidence, reason will not have any effect on that person.

Don’t forget that Jesus, assuming your understanding for a moment that he existed, was not a Christian. He was a Jew. Why aren’t you trying to emulate your Hero? He’d be absolutely horrified if he could be brought back to life. What’s been done in his name has been nothing short of horrific. (I’m only assuming you’re a Christian for the sake of my little rant here. My apologies to you if you’re not a Christian.)

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Posted: 02 June 2009 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]  
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Ah, Paul never met Jesus & therefore, his writings are NOT evidence of the historical facts of Christianity. Paul seem to know almost nothing of what we would call the story of Jesus.

“They were written by a man who was a contemporary of Jesus (whether he actually knew him or not) and was intimately familiar with the experience of the early church.”

Ah, Paul never heard of Jesus until after his death supposedly - remember his “vision” - that was the first experience Paul had with Jesus according to scripture.

“His epistles are the best evidence that we have of the historicity of Jesus, and he wrote that Jesus was real and historical.”

No, they’re really not & Paul’s Jesus existed in a heavenly realm - not on earth.

“if one has already come to a conclusion based upon something other than historical evidence, reason will not have any effect on that person.”

That’s correct - faith & euphoria are obstacles to real facts & evidence.  Which demonstrate that there’s no VALID evidence for Jesus. He’s just another mythical figure in a long line of other mythical figures.

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Posted: 02 June 2009 11:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]  
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Eugenie,

In your opinion, when Jesus was meeting people and preaching, did he tell them that he was born from a virgin mother?  If you were born from a virgin, would you tell people or keep quiet about it?  Do you think Jesus mother told him that Joseph was not his father?  That he had no earthly father?

In your opinion, do you think Jesus knew that he was founding a major religion?  That he was founding the one true religion?  Do you think he talked to scribes and historians?  Do you think he knew how to read and write?

In your opinion, why did Egyptian pharaohs have their biographies and exploits carved in stone?  Why is there more historical evidence for Ramses II (reigned 1304-1237 B.C.) than for God’s only son?  Paul’s writing is good enough to convince you, so it should be good enough to convince skeptics, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and atheists?  After all, atheists know that Ramses II lived and died in Egypt.  Wouldn’t God want everyone to know for sure that Jesus lived and died in Israel?

[ Edited: 02 June 2009 12:17 PM by unsmoked]
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Posted: 02 June 2009 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]  
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Concerning Paul and his writings-

Authorship of the Pauline Epistles
Thirteen epistles in the New Testament are traditionally attributed to Paul, of which seven are almost universally accepted, three are considered in some academic circles as other than Pauline for textual and grammatical reasons, and the other three are in dispute in those same circles. Paul apparently dictated all his epistles through a secretary (or amanuensis), who would usually paraphrase the gist of his message, as was the practice among first-century scribes. These epistles were circulated within the Christian community, where they were read aloud by members of the church along with other works. Paul’s epistles were accepted early as scripture and later established as Canon of Scripture. Critical scholars regard Paul’s epistles (written 50-62) to be the earliest-written books of the New Testament, being referenced as early as Clement of Rome (c. 96).


Paul’s letters are largely written to churches which he had founded or visited; he was a great traveler, visiting Cyprus, Asia Minor (modern Turkey), mainland Greece, Crete, and Rome bringing the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth with him. His letters are full of expositions of what Christians should believe and how they should live. He does not tell his correspondents (or the modern reader) much about the life of Jesus; his most explicit references are to the Last Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17-34) and the crucifixion and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15 1 Corinthians 15). His specific references to Jesus’ teaching are likewise sparse (1 Corinthians 7:10-11, 9:14), raising the question, still disputed, as to how consistent his account of the faith is with that of the four canonical Gospels, Acts, and the Epistle of James. The view that Paul’s Christ is very different from the historical Jesus has been expounded by Adolf Harnack among many others. Nevertheless, he provides the first written account of what it is to be a Christian and thus of Christian spirituality.

Of the thirteen letters traditionally attributed to Paul and included in the Western New Testament canon, there is little or no dispute that Paul actually wrote at least seven, those being Romans, First Corinthians, Second Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, First Thessalonians, and Philemon. Hebrews, which was ascribed to him in antiquity, was questioned even then, never having an ancient attribution, and in modern times is considered by most experts as not by Paul (see also Antilegomena). The authorship of the remaining six Pauline epistles is disputed to varying degrees.

The authenticity of Colossians has been questioned on the grounds that it contains an otherwise unparalleled description (among his writings) of Jesus as ‘the image of the invisible God,’ a Christology found elsewhere only in St. John’s gospel. On the other hand, the personal notes in the letter connect it to Philemon, unquestionably the work of Paul. More problematic is Ephesians, a very similar letter to Colossians, but which reads more like a manifesto than a letter. It is almost entirely lacking in personal reminiscences. Its style is unique; it lacks the emphasis on the cross to be found in other Pauline writings, reference to the Second Coming is missing, and Christian marriage is exalted in a way which contrasts with the grudging reference in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9. Finally it exalts the Church in a way suggestive of a second generation of Christians, ‘built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets’ now past.[49] The defenders of its Pauline authorship argue that it was intended to be read by a number of different churches and that it marks the final stage of the development of Paul of Tarsus’s thinking.

The Pastoral Epistles, 1 and 2 Timothy, and Titus have likewise been put in question as Pauline works. Three main reasons are advanced: first, their difference in vocabulary, style and theology from Paul’s acknowledged writings; secondly, the difficulty in fitting them into Paul’s biography as we have it.[50] They, like Colossians and Ephesians, were written from prison but suppose Paul’s release and travel thereafter. Finally, the concerns expressed are very much the practical ones as to how a church should function. They are more about maintenance than about mission.

2 Thessalonians, like Colossians, is questioned on stylistic grounds, with scholars noting, among other peculiarities, a dependence on 1 Thessalonians yet a distinctiveness in language from the Pauline corpus.

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Posted: 02 June 2009 05:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]  
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Is Jesus a Myth?

No smile

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Posted: 02 June 2009 11:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]  
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Again with the ‘Did Jesus exist’ topic?  The short answer is, there is no contemporary first hand evidence he did.  Paul’s letters are hearsay.

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Posted: 03 June 2009 06:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]  
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Skip, now why didn’t I just say what you said instead of copy and pasting a thousand word essay? grin

Very, very little historical evidence for the son of god outside of the bible, which we know is biased. Thats the point and bottom line.

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Posted: 03 June 2009 10:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]  
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“The only definite account of his life and teachings is contained in the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All other historical records of the time are silent about him. The brief mentions of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius have been generally regarded as not genuine and as Christian interpolations; in Jewish writings there is no report about Jesus that has historical value. Some scholars have even gone so far as to hold that the entire Jesus story is a myth ...”

from: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (v.6,83)

- “Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ” (WWJ) 84

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Posted: 03 June 2009 03:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]  
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here’s the skinny on this topic…

Most scholars agree that Jesus was a real person and that the biblical texts provide valid information about him (as a real person)

Most scholars agree that myth has been added to the real person of Christ.

Generally conservative Christian scholars are going to attribute all of Scripture as an accurate account of Jesus’ life. 

Most lay people that claim Jesus never existed or is a myth have failed to do the research to make such a claim and most scholars that say the same thing are on the edge of mainstream scholarship and research regarding the topic.  Some, like Bart Ehrman for example, have exceptionally obvious biases in their literature on the subject. 

That sums up about 3 years of debating this topic on here smile

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Posted: 03 June 2009 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]  
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You may be somewhat accurate in your assessment here, clayforHim648. Except claiming that those who take the mythicist position have “failed to do the research” - that’s bogus. The real problem here is that mainstream academia refuses to actually give the mythicist position a chance. It’s the mainstream scholarship & academia who fail to research the myth.

Scholarly Opinion

by Earl Doherty

“Why is it that no individual scholar or group of scholars has undertaken a concerted effort in recent times to discredit the mythicist position? (The brief addresses that have been made to it in various publications are outlined in my Main Article “Postscript”.) In the heyday of the great mythicists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a few valiant efforts were offered. However, both mainstream scholarship and the mythicist branch itself have made dramatic leaps since then. Biblical research has moved into bold new territory in the last several decades: unearthing a wealth of ancient documents, arriving at a new understanding of elements like Q, the sectarian nature of early Christianity, the Cynic roots of the great Gospel teachings, and so on; an almost unprecedented “critical” dimension to New Testament scholarship has emerged.

And yet the mythicist position continues to be vilified, disdained, dismissed. We would condemn any physicist, any anthropologist, any linguist, any mathematician, any scholar of any sort who professes to work in a field that makes even a partial bow to principles of logic and scientific research who yet ignored, reviled, condemned largely without examination a legitimate, persistent theory in his or her discipline. There are tremendous problems in New Testament research, problems that have been grappled with for generations and show no sign of getting closer to solution. Agreement is lacking on countless topics, and yesterday’s theories are being continually overturned. There is almost a civil war going on within the ranks of Jesus study. Why not give the mythicist option some serious consideration? Why not honestly evaluate it to see if it could provide some of the missing answers? Or, if it turns out that the case is fatally flawed, then put it to rest once and for all.

Doing that would require one essential thing: taking it seriously, approaching the subject having an open mind that the theory might have some merit. Sadly, that is the most difficult step and the one which most critics have had the greatest difficulty taking. It is all in the mindset, whether of the Christian believer whose confessional interests are overriding, or of the professional scholar who could never consider that their life’s work might be fatally compromised.”

http://jesuspuzzle.humanists.net/ChallengingDoherty.htm

The denial to openly discuss the mythicist position and the refusal for even mainstream academia to properly research it honestly & allow it to be taken seriously pretty much sums up the last 2,000 years.

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Posted: 04 June 2009 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]  
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Also taking off from Earl Doherty’s comment above, Acharya’s “Christ in Egypt” is a fantastic book that should be included in every comparative religion & theology course:

“Over a century ago, renowned British Egyptologist Sir Dr. E.A. Wallis Budge (1857-1934), a Keeper of the Egyptian and Assyrian Antiquities at the British Museum, as well as a confessed Christian, remarked that a study tracing the “influence of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and mythology on Christianity” would “fill a comparatively large volume.”  Since Dr. Budge’s time, for a variety of reasons, including the seemingly irreconcilable academic gap between historians and theologians, no one has taken up the call to produce such a volume—until now….”

XIE - Preface

http://stellarhousepublishing.com/ciepreface.html

She even offers a mythicist Position:

The Mythicist Position:

“Mythicism represents the perspective that many gods, goddesses and other heroes and legendary figures said to possess extraordinary and/or supernatural attributes are not “real people” but are in fact mythological characters. Along with this view comes the recognition that many of these figures personify or symbolize natural phenomena, such as the sun, moon, stars, planets, constellations, etc., constituting what is called “astromythology” or “astrotheology.” As a major example of the mythicist position, it is determined that various biblical characters such as Adam and Eve, Satan, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, King David, Solomon and Jesus Christ, among other entities, in reality represent mythological figures along the same lines as the Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian, Greek, Roman and other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths, rather than historical figures.”

- “Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection” page 12

[ Edited: 04 June 2009 02:38 PM by Dave31]
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Posted: 04 June 2009 08:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]  
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Dave31 - 02 June 2009 11:10 AM

Ah, Paul never met Jesus & therefore, his writings are NOT evidence of the historical facts of Christianity. Paul seem to know almost nothing of what we would call the story of Jesus.

“They were written by a man who was a contemporary of Jesus (whether he actually knew him or not) and was intimately familiar with the experience of the early church.”

Ah, Paul never heard of Jesus until after his death supposedly - remember his “vision” - that was the first experience Paul had with Jesus according to scripture.

“His epistles are the best evidence that we have of the historicity of Jesus, and he wrote that Jesus was real and historical.”

No, they’re really not & Paul’s Jesus existed in a heavenly realm - not on earth.”

Paul had some knowledge of the historical Jesus, as he indicates in II Corinthians 5:16.  Paul clearly speaks of an historical Jesus who was born a Jew, of the seed of David, taught against divorce, instituted the Lord’s Supper on the night he was betrayed, was crucified, was buried and rose from the dead on the third day.  References on request, all from the seven undisputed Pauline epistles.

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Posted: 04 June 2009 09:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]  
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Uh? I saw nothing in 2 Corinthians 5 beyond euphoria & in II Corinthians 5:7 Paul says: “We live by faith, not by sight.”

I saw nothing demonstrating knowledge of the historicity of Jesus or any of the other stuff you claim there.
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?book_id=54&chapter=5&version=31

“One would naturally expect that the Lord Jesus Christ would be sufficiently important to receive ample notice in the literature of his time, and that extensive biographical material would be available. He was observed by multitudes of people, and his own followers numbered into the hundreds (1 Cor. 15:6), whose witness was still living in the middle of the first century. As a matter of fact, the amount of information concerning him is comparatively meager. Aside from the four Gospels, and a few scattered allusions in the epistles, contemporary history is almost silent concerning him.”

- Merrill C. Tenney

- “Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ” (WWJ)  85-86

* Dr. Tenney is a conservative evangelical Christian who was a professor of Theological Studies and the dean of the school of Theology at Wheaton College. Tenney was also one of the original translators of the NASB and NIV editions of the Bible.

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Posted: 05 June 2009 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]  
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unsmoked - 30 May 2009 06:20 PM

Jesus could talk to God.  Jesus healed the sick.  Jesus wanted us to be well. 

Why didn’t he teach us to wash our hands frequently?  Whey didn’t he teach us about microbes? 

A.  He didn’t know about them.

B.  He didn’t think it was important.

C.  Cleanliness was already covered by the Torah.

D.  Microbes can’t hurt us if we have faith.

E.  God didn’t send him to teach science classes.

F.  God wanted Christian missionaries to carry deadly microbes to the New World to help stamp out natives.

G.  Jesus is a myth.

H. There was no running water.

I. Soap wasn’t readily available.

You guys come up with some of the most bizarre reasons for disbelief.

You’ll believe anything you tell yourself, aslong as you’re not under a religious brand-name.

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