CADRE Comments

A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

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There are two basic reasons we can put this nonsense behind us:

(1) There is no reason why we have to theorize that the original evangelists strooped to copying pagan lore when all the elements of the dying rising messiah were present in Judaism.

(2) We can prove Jesus existed as a man in history.


The Whole thesis that the story of Jesus is shaped out of bits and pieces of the mono myth, archetypes from all cultures that make up the basis of all mythology, is extraneous to the facts. All the elements of the Jesus story come from Judaism, including that of the suffering Messiah whose death has atoning implications for his people. This is nothing new. This fact has been known for more than two decades. It comes from several fragments found at Qumran, suggesting that Messiah would atone for the sins of Israel. In fact, the atonement implications were discussed in his book The Dead Sea Scrolls by John Allegro as ealry as 1962. But fragments from Qumran were discovered in the 80s.


Dead Sea Scrolls Isaiah 9

[John Allegro, The Dead Sea scrolls, Pelican, 1956] Allegro was the only member of the original translation team who was neither Christain nor Jew, but claimed "nutrality." However, he was criticized by other members of the team as being anti-Chrsitian and skeptical]

[the most ancient source--pre Christian]

Ibid.

"In one of their hyms the sect pictures itself as a pregant woman suffering the pangs of parturition as she gives birth to her 'firstborn' who is described in terms reminiscent of the Child of Isaish 9:6, the 'Wonderful Counsellor.' Most scholars agree that the passage retains its biblical Messianic significance, in which case it appears that the Sect believed that out of its suffering of atonement for 'the land' would come the Anointed One or Christ."
(161).

DSS Testament of Levi-- 2.1 4Q541 frag. 9 col. I/

2.2 4Q541 frag. 24 col. II

Messianic Hopes in the

Qumran Writings

Florentino Garcia Martinez

Florentino Garcia Martinez is professor at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, where he heads the Qumran Institute. This chapter is reprinted from The People of the Dead Sea Scrolls, ed. Florentino Garcia Martinez and Julio Trebolle Barrera (Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995).



Section 1:

"In spite of that, the general lines of the text are clear enough to assure us that in Qumran interpretation, Jacob's blessing of Judah was seen as a promise of the restoration of the davidic monarchy and of the perpetuity of his royal office. And since the future representative of the dynasty is identified not only as the shoot of David, but also explicitly as the "true anointed," there remains no doubt about the "messianic" tone of the text. Unfortunately, the details which the text provides about this "Messiah" are not many."


section 5

"... However, a recently published text enables us to glimpse an independent development of the hope in the coming of the "priestly Messiah" as an agent of salvation at the end of times."

"It is an Aramaic text, one of the copies of the Testament of Levi, recently published by E. Puech,32 which contains interesting parallels to chapter 19 of the Greek Testament of Levi included in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs. From what can be deduced from the remains preserved, the protagonist of the work (probably the patriarch Levi, although it cannot be completely excluded that it is Jacob speaking to Levi) speaks to his descendants in a series of exhortations. He also relates to them some of the visions which have been revealed to him. In one of them, he tells them of the coming of a mysterious person. Although the text is hopelessly fragmentary it is of special interest since it seems to evoke the figure of a "priestly Messiah." This "Messiah" is described with the features of the Suffering Servant of Isaiah, as J. Starcky indicated in his first description of the manuscript.33 The two longest and most important fragments of this new text can be translated as follows:


2.1 4Q541 frag. 9 col. I


1 [. . .] the sons of the generation [. . .] 2 [. . .] his wisdom. And he will atone for all the children of his generation, and he will be sent to all the children of 3 his people. His word is like the word of the heavens, and his teaching, according to the will of God. His eternal sun will shine 4 and his fire will burn in all the ends of the earth; above the darkness his sun will shine. Then, darkness will vanish 5 from the earth, and gloom from the globe. They will utter many words against him, and an abundance of 6 lies; they will fabricate fables against him, and utter every kind of disparagement against him. His generation will change the evil, 7 and [. . .] established in deceit and in violence. The people will go astray in his days and they will be bewildered (DSST, 270).


.... The priestly character of this figure is indicated expressly by his atoning character: "And he will atone for all the children of his generation...."

The agreement of the person thus described with the "Messiah-priest" described in chapter 18 of the Greek Testament of Levi is surprising.34 At least it shows us that the presence of this priestly figure in the Testaments of the XII Patriarchs should not simply be ascribed to interpolations or Christian influence. Rather, it is a development which exists already within Judaism. This text also shows us that the portrayal of this "Messiah-priest" with the features of the "Suffering Servant" of Deutero-Isaiah is not an innovation of purely Christian origin either, but the result of previous developments. Our text stresses that although he would be sent "to all the sons of his people," the opposition to this figure, "light of the nations" (Isaiah 42:6) would be great: "They will utter many words against him, and an abundance of lies; they will fabricate fables against him, and utter every kind of disparagement against him" (compare Isaiah 50:6&endash;8; 53:2&endash;10). What is more, according to the editor, it cannot be excluded that the Aramaic text even contained the idea of the violent death of this "Messiah-priest." In other words, this opposition would reach its ultimate outcome as in Isaiah 53. His argument comes from the other fairly extensive fragment of the work, in which possible allusions to a violent death by crucifixion are found. However, to me this interpretation seems problematic. The fragment in question can be translated as follows:


2.2 4Q541 frag. 24 col. II 2 Do not mourn for him [. . .] and do not [. . .] 3 And God will notice the failings [. . .] the uncovered failings [. . .] 4 Examine, ask and know what the dove has asked; do not punish one weakened because of exhaustion and from being uncertain a[ll . . .] 5 do not bring the nail near him. And you will establish for your father a name of joy, and for your brothers you will make a tested foundation rise. 6 You will see it and rejoice in eternal light. And you will not be of the enemy. Blank 7 Blank (DSST, 270).


... Whatever might be the possible allusion to the death of the expected "Messiah-priest," the identification of this figure with the "Servant" of Isaiah seems confirmed by the parallels indicated in fragment 9. In any case, the idea that the eventual death of the "Messiah-priest" could have an atoning role, as Christian tradition attributes to the death of the "Servant," is excluded from our text since the atonement he achieves (frag. 9 II 2) remains in the perspective of the cult.


As far as I know, this is the only text which in the preserved sections deals with the priestly "Messiah" alone. However, many other texts refer to this figure when speaking of a two-fold messianism. This is the two-headed messianism in which we are presented with the "davidic or royal Messiah" and the "levitical or priestly Messiah" together. They are called the "Messiahs of Israel and of Aaron" respectively."




[Martinez urges scholarly caution as the scrolls are very fragmentary, there is no guarontee they do not contiain references to other Messianich figures as well, and the notion of a curcifiction for the presitly Messiah is doubtful for several reasons, pertaining to the nture of the text--but his overall opinion seems to be that the concept of a Preistly Messiah on the order of the suffering servant is vindicated]

Qumran text, 4Q521


Hebrew Scholars Michael Wise and James Tabor wrote an article that appeared in Biblical Archaeology Review (Nov./Dec. 1992) analyzing 4Q521:

"Our Qumran text, 4Q521, is, astonishingly, quite close to this Christian concept of the Messiah. Our text speaks not only of a single Messianic figure.but it also describes him in extremely exalted terms, quite like the Christian view of Jesus as a cosmic agent. That there was, in fact, an expectation of a single Messianic figure at Qumran is really not so surprising. A reexamination of the Qumran literature on this subject leads one to question the two Messiah theory. As a matter of fact, only once in any Dead Sea Scroll text is the idea of two Messiahs stated unambiguously.


Ibid.

"There is no doubt that the Qumran community had faith in the ultimate victory of such a Messiah over all evil. However, a closer reading of these texts reveals an additional theme, equally dominant-that of an initial, though temporary, triumph of wicked over righteousness. That is, there was the belief among the Qumran community that the Messiah would suffer initial defeat, but that he would ultimately triumph in the end of days."

Of course I'm sure that mythers will reach for straws and argue that there was earlier pagan influence upon the Jews from Egypt. At that point we are just not talking about the same things anymore. The bread and whine are found in the passover ceremony which do have roots in arab culture, but thousands of years back. There is just no reason to pushing the pretense at that point. We don't need to reach for the pagan parallels to explain the major elements in the story.


In the words of the great scholar Franz Cumont, often quoted and admired by the Mythers themselves: "resemblances do not necessarily suppose an imitation," (The Mysteries of Mithra, p 194).



In terms of the second point: We can prove Jesus existed in history.

First, there are two important observations to make about the myther's standard of evidence:

(1) They do not use a historical standard. the demand a level of documentation that would only be possible in the modern world with the 6:00 news.

They do not seem to understand that documented sources on scene, form the hour,t he day even same year as the events are extremely rare. They poo poo the use of any historian because historians write years after the event and the level of documentation they exact is up to the minute. But no other figure in history can be documented in this manner prior to the invention of the telegraph. Almost all reports from the ancient world are written years after the fact. Now it's true that most are not written sixty years after, but even a couple of years is rare. This is not impossible but its not the norm either. Arguments made by mythers about trying to compare the solidity of documents proving Caesar existed to those of Jesus, are silly comparisons. Of course Cesar can be documented more easily than Jesus Caesar controlled the known world, he was the most important man in his day from the perspective of the world as such. Jesus was an unknown peasant. Events in the Roman world had importance only in relation to Rome. Jesus did not have much proximity to Rome, Geographically, politically, culturally, economically or otherwise.

Most of the Mythicist arguments turn on an argument from silence that fails to appreciate the true nature of history or documentation in the Roman world. For example, some will argue Philo doesn't mention Jesus, as though he should hear all about some guy in Palestine with no polsitical position, money or military accomplishment. With Messiahs and saviors and prophet figures cropping up every day out in the desert, and Philo in Rome or elsewhere most of the time, why should he hear about Jesus? If he did why should should he take note? Most of these internet sketpics seem obvious to the fact that they did not have the evening news.

(2) the use a totally a historical standard of proof.

Historians used to believe that Pilate didn't exist, because he was not mentioned outside the Bible. Then they found two mentions of him and now they accept his existence. But Jesus mythers want to see birth certificate, driver's license appearance on the 6:00 news and so on. There doesn't have to be that much material to demonstrate Jesus existence. Two good reasonable mentions by historians or sources who were in an authoritative position or in a position to know should do it. There are many more than two references. Let's go with three.

(1) The Gospels Themselves: all 34 of them.

The Mythers just refuse to the accept the Gospels at any price, but that is not the standard used by historians or scholars. The former darling of the atheists, John Dominick Crosson hinsts that Doherty doesn't know much and states explicitly that he acceptes Jesus as historical becasue he is testified to in the Gospels.

John Dominic Crossan

QUESTION 62

The full review is at:

If I understand what Earl Doherty is arguing, Neil, it is that Jesus of Nazareth never existed as an historical person, or, at least that historians, like myself, presume that he did and act on that fatally flawed presumption.

I am not sure, as I said earlier, that one can persuade people that Jesus did exist as long as they are ready to explain the entire phenomenon of historical Jesus and earliest Christianity either as an evil trick or a holy parable. I had a friend in Ireland who did not believe that Americans had landed on the moon but that they had created the entire thing to bolster their cold-war image against the communists. I got nowhere with him. So I am not at all certain that I can prove that the historical Jesus existed against such an hypothesis and probably, to be honest, I am not even interested in trying.

It was, however, that hypothesis taken not as a settled conclusion, but as a simple question that was behind the first pages of BofC when I mentioned Josephus and Tacitus. I do not think that either of them checked out Jewish or Roman archival materials about Jesus. I think they were expressing the general public knowledge that "everyone" had about this weird group called Christians and their weird founder called Christ. The existence, not just of Christian materials, but of those other non-Christian sources, is enough to convince me that we are dealing with an historical individual. Furthermore, in all the many ways that opponents criticized earliest Christianity, nobody ever suggested that it was all made up. That in general, is quite enough for me.

There was one other point where I think Earl Doherty simply misstated what I did. In BofC, after the initial sections on materials and methods (1-235), I spent about equal time in Galilee (237-406) , or at least to the north, and in Jerusalem with pre-Pauline materials (407-573). I agree that if we had a totally different and irreconcilable vision/program between Paul and Q (just to take an example), it would require some very good explaining. Part of what I was doing, for example, in talking about the Common Meal Tradition was showing how even such utterly distinct eucharistic scenarios as Didache 9-10 and I Cor 11-12 have rather fascinating common elements behind and between them. It is a very different thing, in summary, for Paul to say that he is not interested in the historical Jesus (Jesus in the flesh) than to say that "no Galilee and no historical Jesus lie behind Paul."M

QUESTION 71

Crosson's Asnwer:I am not certain, Neil, that I have much to add to my previous post. I do not claim "ideological immunity" against the possibility that the historical Jesus never existed. That such a person existed is an historical conclusion for me, and neither a dogmatic postulate nor a theological presupposition. My very general arguments are: (1) that existence is given in Christian, pagan, and Jewish sources; (2) it is never negated by even the most hostile critics of early Christianity (Jesus is a bastard and a fool but never a myth or a fiction!); (3) there are no historical parallels that I know of from that time and period that help me understand such a total creation. There is, however, a fourth point that I touched on in BofC 403-406. It is crucially important for me that Jesus sent out companions and told them to do exactly what he was doing (not in his name, but as part of the Kingdom of God). The most basic continuity that I see between Jesus and those companions was, as I put it, not in mnemonics, but in mimetics. In other words, they were imitating his lifestyle and not just remembering his words. I find that emphasized in the Q Gospel’s indictment of those who talk, but do not do, and in the Didache’s emphasis on the ways (tropoi) of the Lord (not just words/logoi). When, therefore, I look at a phrase such as "blessed are the destitute," and am quite willing to argue that it comes from the historical Jesus, I am always at least as sure that it represents the accurate summary of an attitude as the accurate recall of a saying. For analogy: If Gandhi had developed a large movement after his death of people who are living in non-violent resistance to oppression, and one of them cited an aphorism of Gandhi, namely "if you do not stand on a small bug, why would you stand on a Big Bug," I would be more secure on the continuity in lifestyle than in memory and could work on that as basis.

It doesn't matter that these were not the eye witnesses the Gospels were named after. The whole community was witness to Jesus existence.

It's not just the canonicals. There are 34 Gospels that are known are thought to exist, taking into account, fragments, theories such as Q and so forth. Many of them are dated to the first century. They all depict Jesus as flesh and blood. Not one of the early one's depicts him in any other way. All the lost Gospels take him to be a man in history.



Story by Kay Albright, (785) 864-8858

University Relations, the public relations office for the University of Kansas Lawrence campus. Copyright 1997

LAWRENCE - Fragments of a fourth-century Egyptian manuscript contain a lost gospel dating from the first or second century, according to Paul Mirecki, associate professor of religious studies at the University of Kansas.

Mirecki discovered the manuscript in the vast holdings of Berlin's Egyptian Museums in 1991. The book contains a rare "dialogue gospel" with conversations between Jesus and his disciples, shedding light on the origins of early Judaisms and Christianities.

The lost gospel, whose original title has not survived, has similarities to the Gospel of John and the most famous lost gospel, the gospel of Thomas, which was discovered in Egypt in 1945.

The newly discovered gospel is written in Coptic, the ancient Egyptian language using Greek letters. Mirecki said the gospel was probably the product of a Christian minority group called Gnostics, or "knowers."

Mirecki said the discussion between Jesus and his disciples probably takes place after the resurrection, since the text is in the same literary genre as other post-resurrection dialogues, though the condition of the manuscript makes the time element difficult to determine.

"This lost gospel presents us with more primary evidence that the origins of early Christianity were far more diverse than medieval church historians would tell us," Mirecki said. "Early orthodox histories denigrated and then banished from political memory the existence of these peaceful people and their sacred texts, of which this gospel is one."

Mirecki is editing the manuscript with Charles Hedrick, professor of religious studies at Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield. Both men independently studied the manuscript while working on similar projects in Berlin.

A chance encounter at a professional convention in 1995 in Philadelphia made both men realize that they were working on the same project. They decided to collaborate, and their book will be published this summer by Brill Publishers in the Netherlands.

The calfskin manuscript is damaged, and only 15 pages remain. Mirecki said it was probably the victim of an orthodox book burning in about the fifth century.


The 34 Gospels


Bible Review, June 2002: 20-31; 46-47


Charles W. Hendrick, professor who discovered the lost Gospel of the Savior tells us

Mirecki and I are not the first scholars to find a new ancient gospel. In fact scholars now have copies of 19 gospels (either complete, in fragments or in quotations), written in the first and second centuries A.D— nine of which were discovered in the 20th century. Two more are preserved, in part, in other andent writings, and we know the names of several others, but do not have copies of them. Clearly, Luke was not exaggerating when he wrote in his opening verse: "Many undertook to compile narratives [aboutJesus]" (Luke 1:1). Every one of these gospels was deemed true and sacred by at least some early Christians


These Gospels demonstrate a great diversity among the early chruch, the diminish the claims of an orthodox purity. On the other hand, they tell us more about the historical Jesus as well. One thing they all have in common is to that they show Jesus as a historical figure, working in public and conducting his teachings before people, not as a spirit being devoid of human life.Hendrick says,"Gospels-whether canonical or not- are collections of anecdotes from Jesus' public career."

Many of these lost Gospels pre date the canonical gospels, which puts them prior to AD 60 for Mark:

Hendrick:

The Gospel of the Saviour, too. fits this description. Contrary' to popular opinion, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were not included m the canon simply because they were the earliest gospels or because they were eyewitness accounts. Some non canonical gospels are dated roughly to the same period, and the canonical gospels and other early Christian accounts appear to rely on earlier reports. Thus, as far as the physical evidence is concerned, the canonical gospels do not take precedence over the noncanonical gospels. The fragments of John, Thomas and theEgerton Gospel share the distinction of being the earliest extant pieces of Christian writing known. And although the existing manuscript evidence for Thomas dates to the mid-second century, the scholars who first published the Greek fragments held open the possibility that it was actually composed in the first century, which would put it around the time John was composed.

Using the science of Textual criticism http://www.doxa.ws/Bible/Gospel_behind2.htmlHelmutt Koestler demonstrates that the Gospel material was written and circulated in written form as early as mid century, and this includes the story of the empty tomb. Many sources can be shown to per date Mark. The Gospel material was circulating in many forms prior to its final closure in the form of the four that we know as canonical. There was Thomas, Peter, the saying source Paul used, Q, Pre Mark non Q and so on. see my pages on: Gospel Behind the Gospels (2 pages). What all of this means is the figure of Jesus as flesh and blood human was circulating from a verity of sources, not all of them acceptable to Orthodoxy as early as the middle of the first century. As far back as that period Jesus is a flesh and blood man in history.



(2) The Talmud

Talmudic Evidence is hard to sift through.



Jews self censored the Talmud to remove mentions of Jesus, thus modern Jews deny that it is talking about him, while ancient rabbis used examples supposedly speaking of him for centuries. But what cannot be denied is that the Talmud gives evidence of Christians believing in Jesus as a flesh and blood rabbi from the late first century, which contradicts the Jesus myth theory.


There is a history of the Talmud

The Babylonian Talmud

translated by MICHAEL L. RODKINSON
Book 10 (Vols. I and II)
[1918]
The History of the Talmud

from Vol I chapter II


Thus the study of the Talmud flourished after the destruction of the Temple, although beset with great difficulties and desperate struggles. All his days, R. Johanan b. Zakkai was obliged to dispute with Sadducees and Bathueians and, no doubt, with the Messiahists also; for although these last were Pharisees, they differed in many points from the teaching of the Talmud after their master, Jesus, had broken with the Pharisees




This clearly indicates that Jesus was followed by Christians who understood him as a Rabbi in the late first century, but the Jesus myth theory says that it was only in the second century that began to put a concrete history to Jesus. Note this history indicates that they had a history about him as they said he had been a pharisee.

The index indicates that this statement is from the time covering the late first century.
Index to the wrok

The Talmud is Rabbinical commentaries that begin about the second century but they draw upon even older material. some parts of the Jerusalem Talmud go back to the frist century and even before:


Michael L Rodkinson

"History of Talmud"

"The Talmud is a combination of Mishna and Gemara, the latter is a collection of Mishnayoth, Tosephtas, Mechilta, Siphra, Siphre and Boraithas, all of these, interpreted and discussed by the Amoraim, Saboraim, and also Gaonim at a later period. "The Mishna is the authorized codification of the oral or unwritten law, which on the basis of the written law contained in Pentateuch, developed during the second Temple, and down to the end of the second century of the common era." The author of which was R. Jehuda, the prince named "Rabbi" (flourishing toward the end of the second century), taking the unfinished work of R. Akiba and R. Meir as basis."



It seems pretty obvious that the Talmud is discussing Jesus, at least in some enstances. A summary of what the most liley passages say about theone I take to be Jesus of Nazerath makes this clear:

a Summary of what is said about the charactors who seem go by these names:



*He was born under unusual circumstances, leading some rabbis to address him as ben Pandira and " a bastard of an adulteress."
*mother Mary was Heli's daughter.
*was crucified on the eve of Passover.
* made himself alive by the name of God.
* was a son of a woman. (cf. Galatians 4:4)
* claimed to be God, the son of God, the son of man.
* ascended and claimed that he would return again.
* was near to the kingdom and near to kingship.
* had at least five disciples.
* performed miracles, i.e. practiced "sorcery".
* name has healing power.
* teaching impressed one rabbi.
The Talmud essentially affirms the New Testament teaching on the life and person of Jesus Christ, God's unique Son and Savior of the world.


Before going into that we need to understand what we are looking for. The Talmudic writters don't say "O Jesus of Nazerath is who we are talking about." The counch things in langaue form their world is very different to anything modern Christian would expect to find. they have many nicknames for Jesus, both as derogatory and as part of the self censering. soem of these can be translated as "may his name be blotted out" Others are of doubtful origin, but it is asserted strongly by Rabbis over the centuries that they are Talking about Jesus.Some of htese names include:

*Such-an-one
*Pantera
*Ben Stada
*Yeshu
*Ben Pantira


Celsus


The pagan detractor of Christianity,Celsus, demonstrates a connection to the material of the Talmud, indicating that that material about Jesus was around in a least the second century. Since Jewish sources would not have been available to Celsus it seems reasonable to assume that this information had been floating around for some time, and easier to obtain. Therefore, we can at least went back to the early second, late first century.


Origin quoting Celsus: Jesus had come from a village in Judea, and was the son of a poor Jewess who gained her living by the work of her own hands. His mother had been turned out of doors by her husband, who was a carpenter by trade, on being convicted of adultery [with a soldier named Panthéra (i.32)]. Being thus driven away by her husband, and wandering about in disgrace, she gave birth to Jesus, a bastard. Jesus, on account of his poverty, was hired out to go to Egypt. While there he acquired certain (magical) powers which Egyptians pride themselves on possessing. He returned home highly elated at possessing these powers, and on the strength of them gave himself out to be a god."


So we estabilsh:

(1) Mary was poor and worked with her hands

(2) husband was a carpenter

(3)Mary committed adultery with Roman soldier named Panthera. (where have we heard this before?)

(4) Jesus as bastard

(5) driven to Egypt where Jesus leanred magic.


All of these points are made in the Talmudic passages. This can be seen both above and on the next page. The use of the name Panthera is a dead give away. Clearly Celsus got this info from the Talmud. Christians never used the name Panthera. He could only have gotten it form the Talmud and these are very charges the Talmudists made.

Here is a Mishna passage, which makes most of the points. Being from the Mishna it would draw upon first century material:

MISHNAH.[104b]
If one writes on his flesh, he is culpable; He who scratches a mark on his flesh. He who scratches a mark on his flesh, [etc.] It was taught, R. Eliezar said to the sages: But did not Ben Stada bring forth witchcraft from Egypt by means of scratches [in the form of charms] upon his flesh? He was a fool, answered they, proof cannot be adduced from fools. [Was he then the son of Stada: surely he was the son of Pandira? - Said R. Hisda: The husband was Stada, the paramour was Pandira. But the husband was Pappos b. Judah? - his mother was Stada. But his mother was Miriam the hairdresser? - It is as we said in Pumbeditha: This is one has been unfaithful to (lit., 'turned away from'- satath da) her husband.]
(Shabbath 104b)




In fact Origin himself almost hints at special knowledge of Jesus "true" origins, what would that knowledge be? Christian knowledge would be positive and not contain many of the points, such as Mary being a spinner or hair dresser. No Christians ever said that. It was suspect for a woman to work. That's an insult to her.

The following quotes are taken from Celsus On the True Doctrine, translated by R. Joseph Hoffman, Oxford University Press, 1987:

Celsus:

"Let us imagine what a Jew- let alone a philosopher- might say to Jesus: 'Is it not true, good sir, that you fabricated the story of your birth from a virgin to quiet rumourss about the true and insavoury circumstances of your origins? Is it not the case that far from being born in the royal David's city of bethlehem, you were born in a poor country town, and of a woman who earned her living by spinning? Is it not the case that when her deceit was uncovered, to wit, that she was pregnant by a roman soldier called Panthera she was driven away by her husband- the carpenter- and convicted of adultery?" (57).




why a Jew? or Philospher? Celsus was obviously reading the Jewish sources. This is one of the charges made in the Talmud.

Here he claims to have secret knowledge that Christians don't have:

"I could continue along these lines, suggesting a good deal about the affairs of Jesus' life that does not appear in your own records. Indeed, what I know to be the case and what the disciples tell are two very different stories... [for example] the nonsensical idea that Jesus foresaw everything that was to happen to him (an obvious attempt to conceal the humiliating facts)." (62).




where is that from? It has to be the Talmud, or sources commonly drawn upon by the Talmud.


But how does this prove it was Jesus? Celsus sure thought it was. Apparently his Jewish contacts told him this is the straight scoop on Jesus' life. We see that everywhere in the Talmud Jesus is talked about as a living person,and connections are made to his family and genealogy.

Shomoun, Ibid:

R. Shimeaon ben 'Azzai said: I found a genealogical roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, "Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress." McDowell and Wilson state, on the authority of Joseph Klausner, that the phrase such-an-one "is used for Jesus in the Ammoraic period (i.e., fifth century period)." (McDowell & Wilson, p. 69)

According to the Jewish Tractate of Talmud, the Chagigah a certain person had a dream in which he saw the punishment of the damned. In the dream, "He saw Mary the daughter of Heli amongst the shades..." (John Lightfoot, Commentary On the New Testament from the Talmud and Hebraica [Oxford University Press, 1859; with a second printing from Hendrickson Publishers Inc., 1995], vol. 1, p. v; vol. 3, p.55)



Celsus pushes the knowledge back to late second century, but due to the access for Rabbinical writings it must have been around for some time before that. The Jews were very consicous of geneologies and family connections. why wouldthey not pick up on the fact that Jesus had none and no one had ever seen him personaly, if indeed that was the case?


(3) Josephus' "brother" of James passage.


Despite hoards of evidence, skeptics have managed to convence themselves that the Testimonium Flavianum is fabricated (here's proof that it isn't). The way atheists on the net work is, if certain websites say something is the csae, it is the case and to deny it is so stupid one darn attempt the denial. If the IIB said grass is pink and grows down instead of up, there's just another reason to assume Christians are stupid! Therefore, they treat the TF's alleged fabrication as an absolute fact and if one doesn't go along with it one is just denying something so obvious he might as well deny that life is real. In a sort of guilt by association move they have managed to convence themselves that since the TF is fabed then it only follows that the brother passage must be too.But in point of fact there are no scholarly arguments for this, the same kind of evidence for that does not exist. There is no good reason to assume that the brotehr passage is not a frank and authentic historical reference to Jesus' existence:

But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought before it the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.(Jospheus "brother of James passage")



Lacking any real evidence of fabrication, atheists just assume it by association but I've seen two arguments which, as my old sainted granny would say, "take the cake!" The first one is a frank denial that it's the same guy! This is rich, there was another James with another brother named Jesus who just happened to also be thought of as the Messaih! The other argument is more particle but shows a real ignorance of historical method: "it was written several years after his death." That's the demand for a report from the 6:00 news again. The fact of the matter is, this constitutes a valid and authentic historical reference from outside the new testament. If we treat those 34 lost Gospels as one source, this makes three reference. Its' actually a mot more than that because we 34 lost Gospels, the four canonicals, Talmudic references and Celsus, Jospheus brother passage and we are not even counting Papias and Polycarp who appeal to eye witness testimony.

The hilarious nature of the charge that there's a different James and a different Jesus just staggers the imagination. Think about it. We are supposed to believe that not only was there another guy named Jesus was had a brother named James, who was head of Jerusalem church and was taken to be Messiah, but somehow that Jesus, who apparently was a historical guy, didn't ground the Jesus myth in a concrete history, some how the fictional Jesus and the real Jesus were kept separate until the second century when the fictional Jesus could be given a real background, which included James his bother as head of the church stoned in the same circumstances of which Josephus speaks. Of course the skeptics could say well this Josephus James taken to be the real one and his brother Jesus was confused with the mythological Jesus and so that gave him a concrete history earlier than we thought. But then what's the difference in that a real historical Jesus? Any way you look at it it's stupid! It's all going come down to saying "there was a real guy but we don't know much about him." However, if they say that, the Jesus myth is gone. Its' not a mythology anymore, its' a real guy whose history is kind of shadowy and we have to dig to learn more about him. I predict that will not satisfy the mythers.

Not only do they muliply Jameses and Jesus's but also Peter's and Paul's. Now they deny that Paul was a real guy. So we have a myth spreading the gospel of another myth. Nothing short of absurd. Everything time anything counts against their view they try to same the paradigm by violating Occam's razor and Multiply Jesus and his side kicks beyond necessity.

The obvious simple logical solution is just to admit there was a guy named Jesus who was some kind of Rabbi, probably taken to be Messiah by some set of groupies, and now we can happily blog away arguing about how much we really know about him!

38 comments:

So to summarise you listed three proofs:
1) All Gospels prove that man described in the Gospels was real.
2) Jewish conspiracy stating that "Jews self censored the Talmud to remove mentions of Jesus", but we can still read him as a son of Pandira and a "the hairdresser"
3) Josephus' writings when even Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that it has been changed multiple times, but we can use forged evidence and it must have some bit of truth in it. Your statement "Lacking any real evidence of fabrication" is just silly as you know we have several versions of it.

Would that be that circular reasoning, conspiracy and forgery are the final nails? Personally I think Ehrman made a better case for historicity of Jesus...

Many of the 34 Gospels are dated to the first century.

Can we quote the Christian Cadre saying this?

Many of the 34 Gospels are dated to the first century.

Can we quote the Christian Cadre saying this?

quote the guy who said it.

So to summarise you listed three proofs:
1) All Gospels prove that man described in the Gospels was real.

several sources, both canonical and non canonical from early period depicted him as flesh and blood. that in itself disproves Dhorety's theory.



2) Jewish conspiracy stating that "Jews self censored the Talmud to remove mentions of Jesus", but we can still read him as a son of Pandira and a "the hairdresser"

Celsus clearly got his info from the Talmud and as much as says he did.



3) Josephus' writings when even Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that it has been changed multiple times,

Not talking about the brother passage and you know it. So you are using that info dishonestly and arguing by guilt by association.


but we can use forged evidence and it must have some bit of truth in it.

show me one single scholar who says the brother passage was forged!

totally dishonest. you are pretending your remarks pertain to the passage in question and you know they do not.

that doesn't surprise me because atheists and mythes cannot play fair. you have no concept of fair.

you are committing the mythers response fallacy.




Your statement "Lacking any real evidence of fabrication" is just silly as you know we have several versions of it.


show me one scholar who says the brother passage is forged.

do you get that we are talking about two different ones? I'm not talknig bout the Tf you understand that?

NO ONE THINKS THE BROTHER PASSAGE WA FORGED. UNDERSTAND? CAN YOU GET THAT THROUGH YOUR LITTLE JESUS MYTHER HEAD NOW?


Would that be that circular reasoning, conspiracy and forgery are the final nails? Personally I think Ehrman made a better case for historicity of Jesus...

do you understand why guilt by association is a fallacy. do you get what a fallacy is?

do you not understand you just got through fabricating everything about those arguemtns? you created your own distorted version of each one of them.

you are committing the Jesus myther response and the brown shirt move.

what circular reasoning did I use? let's see if you have enough logical faculties to even understand what circular reasoning is. show what is circular about it?

Great Post. I need to print this one out. Quite thorough.

J.L. Hinman said...
"several sources, both canonical and non canonical from early period depicted him as flesh and blood."

Even early Church father thought that non-canonical Gospels were fan fiction. So does infancy Gospel of Thomas prove that Jesus killed kids when he got angry?


J.L. Hinman said...
"Celsus clearly got his info from the Talmud and as much as says he did."

You seem to refer to Scholars a lot, so lets make it clear that Christian scholars don't agree with you on this one. If fact many Christians claim Sanhedran passage 43a refers to Jesus, not the one you mentioned.


J.L. Hinman said...
"Not talking about the brother passage and you know it. So you are using that info dishonestly and arguing by guilt by association... show me one single scholar who says the brother passage was forged!"


Catholic Encyclopedia early Christians forget Josephus "Antiquities of the Jews". You are arguing that they only forged one passage repeatedly and not the other one at all. If you go to court please don't try that defense.
Louis Feldman wrote in his book "Josephus" stated that majority of scholars consider the passage authentic and are arguing if "who was called Christ" was in the original text. Some scholars have suggested that this “Jesus” referred originally to “Jesus bar Damneus” who was mentioned in that paragraph.


J.L. Hinman said...
"what circular reasoning did I use?"

Gospels prove that the content of the Gospels is true.


J.L. Hinman said...
"do you understand why guilt by association is a fallacy. do you get what a fallacy is?"

My premises was that early Christian copiers forged Josephus' text. Had I also claimed that because of that we can not trust Tacitus that would have been a fallacy. Modern courts would follow the same logic.


J.L. Hinman said...
"dishonestly... totally dishonest... atheists and mythes cannot play fair. you have no concept of fair...CAN YOU GET THAT THROUGH YOUR LITTLE JESUS MYTHER HEAD NOW... you are committing... brown shirt [nazi] move."

So now is the time for ad hominem attacks and comparing me to a nazi. How original... People often resort to ad hominem attack when they realise they have lost the argument. Like I said before I am not "Jesus myther". It is just sad that the "best" secular record of the savior of the mankind is hearsay 60 years after his death and even that was later needed to be forged by apologist. Just think about that...

"Louis Feldman wrote in his book "Josephus" stated that majority of scholars consider the passage authentic and are arguing if "who was called Christ" was in the original text. Some scholars have suggested that this “Jesus” referred originally to “Jesus bar Damneus” who was mentioned in that paragraph."

Peter, you write that the majority of scholars are arguing if the phrase 'who was called Christ' was in the original text. But your first statement was that most scholar considered the passage authentic. That is the correct statement. Most scholars consider the entire passage authentic. So what is your source that these scholars are debating whether the passage originally contained 'who was called Christ'?

It sounds like you're paraphrasing an article at Wikipedia, in the article "Josephus on Jesus." I am not challenging the veracity of Wikipedia or challenging you on the Jesus Myth. I am not anti-Wikipedia; and from what you've said you're not even a mythicist. My only concern here is to find out what you're reading.

The Wikipedia article should be written so that it's perfectly clear that the majority of scholars consider the ENTIRE passage authentic, and that the debate about "who was called Christ" was not among the majority of scholars but among a minority, including Doherty, who has his own arguments, and a few authors who promote the Damneus argument. You seem to have read something that gave you the impression that the majority was debating "who was called Christ." I just want to ask you, where did you read that?

Kevin, great to see you back!

Here are some quotes:

Alice Whealy, Berkely Cal.

The TF controversy from antiquity to present

Twentieth century controversy over the Testimonium Flavianum can be distinguished from controversy over the text in the early modern period insofar as it seems generally more academic and less sectarian. While the challenge to the authenticity of the Testimonium in the early modern period was orchestrated almost entirely by Protestant scholars and while in the same period Jews outside the church uniformly denounced the text's authenticity, the twentieth century controversies over the text have been marked by the presence of Jewish scholars for the first time as prominent participants on both sides of the question. In general, the attitudes of Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish and secular scholars towards the text have drawn closer together, with a greater tendency among scholars of all religious backgrounds to see the text as largely authentic. On the one hand this can be interpreted as the result of an increasing trend towards secularism, which is usually seen as product of modernity. On the other hand it can be interpreted as a sort of post-modern disillusionment with the verities of modern skepticism, and an attempt to recapture the sensibility of the ancient world, when it apparently was still possible for a first-century Jew to have written a text as favorable towards Jesus of Nazareth as the Testimonium Flavianum.



Ancient Evidence for Jesus from Non-Christian Sources

Michael Gleghorn

"Did Josephus really write this? Most scholars think the core of the passage originated with Josephus, but that it was later altered by a Christian editor, possibly between the third and fourth century A.D."


Josephus'Testimony to Jesus: by Dr. James D. Tabor

Testimonium Flavianum)
Josephus, Antiquities
18. 63-64

"We have only three Greek manuscripts of this section of Josephus, all from the 11th century. These phrases, added rather clumsily, appear to be rather obvious additions even to the modern reader in English. Once restored to its more original reading Josephus offers us a most fascinating reference to Jesus. Indeed, it is the earliest reference to Jesus outside the New Testament, and its rather matter of fact, neutral reporting, makes it all the more valuable to the historian. It is worth noting that in his earlier work, The Jewish War, written shortly after the revolt under the auspices of the Emperor Vespasian, he mentioned neither Jesus, nor John the Baptist, nor James, while in the Antiquities, written in the early 90s C.E., he mentions all three. For an excellent discussion of this text see John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus(Doubleday, 1991), Vol I, pp. 57-88.

.L. Hinman said...
"several sources, both canonical and non canonical from early period depicted him as flesh and blood."

Even early Church father thought that non-canonical Gospels were fan fiction. So does infancy Gospel of Thomas prove that Jesus killed kids when he got angry?


you are lumping them all into one category as though they are not diverse. The newly found lost Godples are not in the same category as the infant gospels which are late and known for centuries.

church father didn't necessarily know about GTom or GPete or Q.



J.L. Hinman said...
"Celsus clearly got his info from the Talmud and as much as says he did."

You seem to refer to Scholars a lot, so lets make it clear that Christian scholars don't agree with you on this one. If fact many Christians claim Sanhedran passage 43a refers to Jesus, not the one you mentioned.

I said it refers to Jesus. My arguments are consensus for the most part. But as always when scholars disagree you have to aruge it out!


J.L. Hinman said...
"Not talking about the brother passage and you know it. So you are using that info dishonestly and arguing by guilt by association... show me one single scholar who says the brother passage was forged!"


Catholic Encyclopedia early Christians forget Josephus "Antiquities of the Jews". You are arguing that they only forged one passage repeatedly and not the other one at all. If you go to court please don't try that defense.

are you reading the term "forget" as though it means forge? that's a meaningless quotation.

the Catholic encyclopedia article does not say that the TF is forged and it doesn't' say the brother passage is either. I use that same source to defend the tf on the pages I linked to. You are using sources deceptively



Louis Feldman wrote in his book "Josephus" stated that majority of scholars consider the passage authentic and are arguing if "who was called Christ" was in the original text.

you are ignoring the obvious fact that you just said the majority agree with me. the statement "who was called Christ" name one scholar who argued that?



Some scholars have suggested that this “Jesus” referred originally to “Jesus bar Damneus” who was mentioned in that paragraph.

who is that? was he also called Christ and had a brother named James who was head of the church? that's ridiculous.


J.L. Hinman said...
"what circular reasoning did I use?"

Gospels prove that the content of the Gospels is true.


that is just plain crazy? I see you clearly don't understand what circular reasoning is. You seem to think that circular means self referential. it does not. it means the premise rests on the conclusion. you can clearly use a text a text to defend itself. that's crazy you think you can't. If that were the case you could never defend anything. atheists are so fallacious in their understanding of logic. pathetic.


J.L. Hinman said...
"do you understand why guilt by association is a fallacy. do you get what a fallacy is?"

My premises was that early Christian copiers forged Josephus' text. Had I also claimed that because of that we can not trust Tacitus that would have been a fallacy. Modern courts would follow the same logic.


That doesn't clear you of guilt by association. You are saying the TF is forged (which is not proven and you don't read the pages I linked to) and then because was forged (you think) the brother must also be forged. that's like saying "A committed a crime so B, because he is A's brother, must also be guilty." That is guilt by association.

These are quotes from the same catholic encyclopedia you claim says the TF was forged.


New Advent Encyplopidia:

"all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."



b) Passage known prior to Eusebius

Nor is it ture that our first indication of the existence of the Passage begins with Eusebuis:

Again, the same conclusion follows from the fact that Origen knew a Josephan text about Jesus, but was not acquainted with our present reading; for, according to the great Alexandrian doctor, Josephus did not believe that Jesus was the Messias ("In Matth.", xiii, 55; "Contra Cels.", I, 47).



c)Silence of Early writters is explianed

Second, it is true that neither Tertullian nor St. Justin makes use of Josephus's passage concerning Jesus; but this silence is probably due to the contempt with which the contemporary Jews regarded Josephus, and to the relatively little authority he had among the Roman readers. Writers of the age of Tertullian and Justin could appeal to living witnesses of the Apostolic tradition. (Ibid)




3)Eusebius careful with sources.

Lightfoot, again:

The manner in which Eusebius deals with his very numerous quotations elsewhere, where we can test his honesty, is a sufficient vindication against this unjust charge.1Moreover, Eusebius is generally careful not only to collect the best evidence accessible, but also to distinguish between different kinds of evidence. “Almost every page witnesses to the zeal with which he collected testimonies from writers who lived at the time of the events which he describes. For the sixth and seventh books he evidently rejoices to be able to use for the foundation of his narrative the contemporary letters of Dionysius; ‘Dionysius, our great bishop of Alexandria,’ he writes, ‘will again help me by his own words in the composition of my seventh book of the history, since he relates in order the events of his own time in the letters which he has left’ (vii. praef.) . . . In accordance with this instinctive desire for original testimony, Eusebius scrupulously distinguishes facts which rest on documentary from those which rest on oral evidence. Some things he relates on the authority of a ‘general’ (iii. 11, 36) or ‘old report’ (iii. 19, 20) or from tradition (i. 7, . 9, vi. 2, &c.).


that is all powerful evidence it was not forged. Nothing in article says it was. They mention that me people think so but clearly that is not the opinion of the author of the article.

J.L. Hinman said...
"New Advent Encyplopidia:
all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."


You call me a dishonest, but you use this? Let's copy-paste the what it actually tells us:

"Those who consider it to be completely genuine

The third class of scholars believe that the whole passage concerning Jesus, as it is found today in Josephus, is genuine. The main arguments for the genuineness of the

Josephan passage are the following:

First, all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."


School book example of out-of-context statements. And we of course know it is incorrect, just google arabic version of Josephus.


J.L. Hinman said...
"that is all powerful evidence it was not forged. Nothing in article says it was."

That is out of context. Go to Flavius Josephus page of Catholic Encylopedia and read about interpolations...



J.L. Hinman said...
"That doesn't clear you of guilt by association. You are saying the TF is forged (which is not proven and you don't read the pages I linked to) and then because was forged (you think) the brother must also be forged. that's like saying "A committed a crime so B, because he is A's brother, must also be guilty." That is guilt by association."

Huh! You did not read my comment, please read it again. The copier (or team lead of copiers) who improved TF also had his hand in "brother passage". Because of this modern court system would not be able to uses Josephus Antiquities as evidence.


J.L. Hinman said...
first: "(1) The Gospels Themselves: all 34 of them."
later: "you are lumping them all into one category as though they are not diverse."

Which one is it? First you lumped them together and now you accuse me of lumping them together. To make your case please argue only one side of an issue.


J.L. Hinman said...
who [scholars] is that? was he [Jesus bar Damneus] also called Christ and had a brother named James who was head of the church? that's ridiculous.

This has been speculated by many like Humphreys. Like in TF passage "called Christ" was possibly added later and pretty much everyone had a brother called Jacob, one of the most common name at the time.

Peter: context.

This is about the "Jesus Myth". One of the proponents, Doherty, claims that the text, when properly understood reveals that Jesus is properly thought of as mythical. Thus it makes the operational implication that the text is reliable to discern the conceptions people had of Jesus.

In such a context, it is not suddenly circular to argue that the text is not best interpreted in that way. I realize that you atheists--believing that you're the best in breed in thinking logically--load these modules whenever you think somebody has tripped the wire, but that does not an intelligent discussion make.

That JL believes that the gospels have a truth value, seems to be a separate situation--though often distracting for atheists, I'll have to admit.

Harry Houdini--about many marvelous things are said--once hired H.P. Lovecraft to ghost-write a story called Imprisoned with the Pharaohs. In this first-person story, "Harry" alleges that he found a passageway underneath an Egyptian tomb which lead to horrors that seem strangely Lovecraftian. How would that story being false, affect whether the subject of the story is real?

This is of course why the story in Thomas is entirely irrelevant to whether or not Thomas treats Jesus as if he actually existed. Lovecraft being meticulous, the tomb under which "Houdini" found the passage very much most likely exists (I don't offhand remember). So he uses the legitimacy of such real life objects: Houdini + the tomb to get you to buy the story.

Just the same way as if I wanted to persuade you that CareBears are evil, I might float a story that Hitler conceived of the CareBears, showing you forged drawings and leveraging the argument that Hitler was an "art student". I leverage a real character in a fictitious story to use that the effect of that persona.

Adude you have a good post here. Thank you.

The issue is that textual criticism reveals older redactions of the synoptics that demonstrate the materials were circulating in written form a lot closer tot he original events than atheists want to believe.

That's really the only sort of defense of the text I use the text for; that and the argument because they wrote about Jesus as a man they probably believed in him as such.

The real point there is that that really destroys the theory.

For Pete to spring this "o you can't use the text becasue its in question" is ridiculous. It's like saying a defense lawyer can't defend a client accursed of murder because he's guilty of being accused.

J.L. Hinman said...
"New Advent Encyplopidia:
all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."


You call me a dishonest, but you use this? Let's copy-paste the what it actually tells us:

"Those who consider it to be completely genuine

The third class of scholars believe that the whole passage concerning Jesus, as it is found today in Josephus, is genuine. The main arguments for the genuineness of the

Josephan passage are the following:

First, all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way."

School book example of out-of-context statements. And we of course know it is incorrect, just google arabic version of Josephus.

The arabic version contains the core statments. you are confussing the tweeked bits with the core passage. I did not argue that the entire passage verbatem is in all Ms I said the core passage is.

the core passage is given by Taber is what speaks of Jesus himself apart from tweaking like "messiah." But again this is the TF and not the brother passage.

the quote on Advent says exactly what I quoted. You are lying if you think it doesn't. I cut and pasted it. it is not out of context because it's a fact, it's either true nor not true, doesn't matter what scholars support it, either in contains the core or it does not. that is a question of fact,and the article says it does.

read the statement again man, it says the core is there and that's why the third group support it. you have twisted the meaning to obscure the distinction between the core and the tweaking.



J.L. Hinman said...
"that is all powerful evidence it was not forged. Nothing in article says it was."

That is out of context. Go to Flavius Josephus page of Catholic Encylopedia and read about interpolations...


again, this mistaken nonsense of yours is based upon not understanding the argument. see above.


J.L. Hinman said...
"That doesn't clear you of guilt by association. You are saying the TF is forged (which is not proven and you don't read the pages I linked to) and then because was forged (you think) the brother must also be forged. that's like saying "A committed a crime so B, because he is A's brother, must also be guilty." That is guilt by association."

Huh! You did not read my comment, please read it again. The copier (or team lead of copiers) who improved TF also had his hand in "brother passage". Because of this modern court system would not be able to uses Josephus Antiquities as evidence.


there's no proof of that! you did not quote a schoalr saying that! you think that becaue you are arguing fomr associaition like I said.

why can't you take a logic class??



J.L. Hinman said...
first: "(1) The Gospels Themselves: all 34 of them."
later: "you are lumping them all into one category as though they are not diverse."

Which one is it? First you lumped them together and now you accuse me of lumping them together. To make your case please argue only one side of an issue.


The quote I used said Peter, Thomas, the Unknown Gospel of Papyrus Egerton 2, Gospel of the savior, and others which are dated to the first centruy.

Now I also said the infant Gospels are not dated tot he first century didn't' I? so that's the difference. that's why they are not included.



J.L. Hinman said...
who [scholars] is that? was he [Jesus bar Damneus] also called Christ and had a brother named James who was head of the church? that's ridiculous.

This has been speculated by many like Humphreys.

many like? who? who are they? quote please. who is Humphreys. please quote something to prove he thinks this?

what are his reasons? Does he really have a reason for thinking so or is he begging the question too?



Like in TF passage "called Christ" was possibly added later and pretty much everyone had a brother called Jacob, one of the most common name at the time.


because if it wasn't' it would destroy your little hedge against God wouldn't it? that's evidence isn't it? you have no valid reason for thinking this other than if it was true that Jo talked Jesus then it would blow your world view.

full passage, tweaking in bold

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man IF IT BE LAWFUL TO CALL HIM A MAN, for he was a doer of wonders, A TEACHER OF SUCH MEN AS RECEIVE THE TRUTH WITH PLEASURE. He drew many after him BOTH OF THE JEWS AND THE GENTILES. HE WAS THE CHRIST. When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, FOR HE APPEARED TO THEM ALIVE AGAIN THE THIRD DAY, AS THE DIVINE PROPHETS HAD FORETOLD THESE AND THEN THOUSAND OTHER WONDERFUL THINGS ABOUT HIM, and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day" (Antiquities 18:63-64).


Here is the core passage as Taber reconstructs it


Tabor's Version of Josephus' account without the emmendations.

"Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man [...,] for he was a doer of wonders[....] When Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him,[ ...,] and the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day" (Antiquities 18:63-64




New Advent article says:

"The passage seems to suffer from repeated interpolations."

One thing that is confusing you. The term "interpolation" does not mean it's a total forgery. The Quote from Whealty said that most scholars believe that's a core passage that talked about Jesus and it was "tweaked." That's an interpolation. So you are not distinguishing. So most scholars don't believe thing is made up form scratch.

Here is the arab version, as you can see it contains the core passage.


Tabor: "Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus testimony in an Arabic version of the tenth century. It has obviously not been interpolated in the same way as the Christian version circulating in the West:"

"At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus, and his conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon their loyalty to him. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive. Accordingly they believed that he was the Messiah, concerning whom the Prophets have recounted wonders."


The most compelling is not the arabic but the Syriac text.

Syriac text.

Alice Whealy, Berkely Cal.

The TF controversy from antiquity to present

In the second major twentieth century controversy over the authenticity of the Testimonium Flavianum, the erudite Near Eastern studies scholar, Shlomo Pines, tried to argue that the paraphrase of the Testimonium that appears in a Christian Arabic chronicle dating from the tenth century might be more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium. 21 Reaction to Pines' thesis was mixed, but the most important piece of evidence that Pines' scholarship on Christian Semitic sources brought to light was not the Arabic paraphrase of the Testimonium that he proposed was more authentic than the textus receptus, but the literal Syriac translation of the Testimonium that is quoted in a twelfth century chronicle compiled by the Syrian Patriarch of Antioch (1166-1199). 22 It is this version of the Testimonium, not the Arabic paraphrase of it, that has the greatest likelihood of being, at least in some ways, more authentic than the textus receptus Testimonium because, as noted earlier, this version of the text agrees with Jerome's Latin version of the text in the same crucial regard. The medieval Syriac Testimonium that Pines uncovered is very strong evidence for what many scholars had argued since birth of the controversy over the text in the Renaissance, namely that Jerome did not alter the Testimonium Flavianum to read "he was believed to be the Christ" but rather that he in fact knew the original version of the Testimonium, which he probably found in Eusebius' Historia Ecclesiastica , which read "he was believed to be the Christ" rather than "he was the Christ."

here's the quote in New Advent that i use on Doxa. Its' not under Josephus but an article about "Pangan sources for Jesus."

"The third class of scholars believe that the whole passage concerning Jesus, as it is found today in Josephus, is genuine. The main arguments for the genuineness of the Josephan passage are the following:

* First, all codices or manuscripts of Josephus's work contain the text in question; to maintain the spuriousness of the text, we must suppose that all the copies of Josephus were in the hands of Christians, and were changed in the same way.




that is no where near out of context. My argument is that there is a core passage but it was tweaked. The original argument on the blog was not even about this passage remember? But of the TF my argument is that it was tweaked but not fabricated.

so that is exactly the context in which it is used. The author is making the argument for the group of scholars who say that the core existed but was tweaked. He says to assume the text is serious one must assume that all the texts were controlled by Christians. NOW I made that very argument myself.

It is exactly in context, it's exactly what it says, and what I said. you are wrong!

let's go on with the article:




* "Second, it is true that neither Tertullian nor St. Justin makes use of Josephus's passage concerning Jesus; but this silence is probably due to the contempt with which the contemporary Jews regarded Josephus, and to the relatively little authority he had among the Roman readers. Writers of the age of Tertullian and Justin could appeal to living witnesses of the Apostolic tradition.
* Third, Eusebius ("Hist. Eccl"., I, xi; cf. "Dem. Ev.", III, v) Sozomen (Hist. Eccl., I, i), Niceph. (Hist. Eccl., I, 39), Isidore of Pelusium (Ep. IV, 225), St. Jerome (catal.script. eccles. xiii), Ambrose, Cassiodorus, etc., appeal to the testimony of Josephus; there must have been no doubt as to its authenticity at the time of these illustrious writers.
* Fourth, the complete silence of Josephus as to Jesus would have been a more eloquent testimony than we possess in his present text; this latter contains no statement incompatible with itsJosephan authorship: the Roman reader needed the information that Jesus was the Christ, or the founder of the Christian religion; the wonderful works of Jesus and His Resurrection from the dead were so incessantly urged by the Christians that without these attributes the Josephan Jesus would hardly have been acknowledged as the founder of Christianity.

All this does not necessarily imply that Josephus regarded Jesus as the Jewish Messias; but, even if he had been convinced of His Messiahship, it does not follow that he would have become a Christian. A number of possible subterfuges might have supplied the Jewish historian with apparently sufficient reasons for not embracing Christianity."

So Peter, did you locate the source for your claim? What was it?

James' Passage

Catholic Encyclopaedia ( Early Historical Documents on Jesus Christ):

"Two passages in his "Antiquities" which confirm two facts of the inspired Christian records are not disputed. In the one he reports the murder of "John called Baptist" by Herod (Ant., XVIII, v, 2), describing also John's character and work; in the other (Ant., XX, ix, 1) he disappoves of the sentence pronounced by the high priest Ananus against "James, brother of Jesus Who was called Christ."

So, the article only discuss the authenticity of Antiquites 18:63. The James' passage and John Baptist's passage were said to be not in the discussion.

However, the internet version of Catholic Encyclopaedia was written in 1910. So, we need a more up-to-date authority.

The leading Josephus scholars, Prof. Louis Feldman (Yeshiva University) and Steve Mason (York University), state:

"That indeed, Josephus did say something about Jesus is indicated, above all, by the passage - the authenticity of which has been almost universally ackonowledge - about James, who is termed (A XX, 200) the brother of "the aforementioned Christ" (Feldman, Louis H, Introduction In Feldman, Louis H. & Hata, Gohey "Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity", page 56)

"Nevertheless, since most of those who know the evidence agree that he said something about Jesus, one is probably entitled to cite him as independent evidence that Jesus actually lived, if such evidence were needed. But that much is already given in Josephus' reference to James (Ant. 20.200) and most historians agree that Jesus existence is the only adequate explanation of the many independent traditions among the NT writings. (Steve Mason, Josephus and the New Testament, page 174 ff)

The authenticity of the James passage "has been almost universally acknowledged" by josephan scholars. So, J.L. Hinnan is quite right right to appeal to Ant. 20, 200 as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

TESTIMONIUM FLAVIANUM:

Prof. Mark Goodacre, Duke University:
"Josephus' text has, of course, been interpolated by Christians, but most scholars think that there is at its base a passage written by Josephus: NB style, context & non-Christian elements that survive". (http://www.ntgateway.com/courses/jesus/lecture1.htm)

Prof. Paula Frederiksen, Boston University:
"Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by Christian scribes." (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, page 249).

Prof. David Flusser, Hebraica University:
"Although it is generally recognized that the passage concerning Jesus in the extant greek manuscripts of his Jewish Antiquities (18:63-64) was distorted by later christian hands "the most probable view seems to be that our text represents substantially what Josephus wrote, but that some alterations have been made by a christian interpolator" (The Sage from Galilee - Rediscovering Jesus' Genius, page 12)

The leading Josephus Scholar, Steve Mason discusses the two references to Jesus in Josephus' writings in his book "Josephus and the New Testament":

about scholarship consensus:
"Taking all of these problems into consideration, a few scholars have argued that the entire passage (the testimonium) as it stands in Josephus is a Christian forgery. The Christian scribes who copied the Jewish historian's writings thought it intolerable that he should have said nothing about Jesus and spliced the paragraph in where it might logically have stood, in Josephus' account of Pilate's tenure. (...) Most critics, however, have been reluctant to go so far." (page 170-171)

About alternate versions (Agapius, Pseudo-Hegesipus, Michael the Syrian):

"Finally, the existence of alternative versions of the testimonium has encouraged many scholars to think that Josephus must have written something close to what we find in them, which was later edited by Christian hands. if the laudatory version in Eusebius and our text of Josephus were the free creation of Christian scribes, who then created the more restrained versions found in Jerome, Agapius, and Michael?" (page 172)

And:
"Nevertheless, since most of those who know the evidence agree that he said something about Jesus, one is probably entitled to cite him as independent evidence that Jesus actually lived, if such evidence were needed. (page 174 ff).

Prof. Louis Feldmann, in his book Josephus and Modern Scholarship, noted that between 1937 to 1980, of 52 scholars reviewing the subject, 39 found portions of the Testimonium Flavianum to be authentic - 10 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely or mostly genuine, 20 accept it with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and 13 regard it as being totally an interpolation. (See Christopher Price, A Thorough Review of the Testimonium Flavianum; Peter Kirby, Testimonium Flavianum)

So, according Feldman, the vast majority of scholars (75 %) favor partial authenticity of the Testimonium. Some scholars who accepts that Josephus wrote something about Jesus: Lane Fox, Michael Grant, Crossan, Borg, Meier, Tabor, Thiessen, Frederiksen, Flusser, Charlesworth, Paul Winter, Feldman, Mason...

Finally, many commentators who regards TF as entirely interpolation, do accept smaller passage (eg. Per Bilde, Hans Colzelmann).

Nehemias

That is an excellent post. I may use your quotes on my pages, or maybe just cut and paste thew whole post to my pages, giving you due credit of course. If you don't' mind?

In any case, thank you.

Dear J.L

Thank You.

No problem. I would actually feel honored.

Nehemias

Kevin Rosero said...
"So Peter, did you locate the source for your claim? What was it?"

It seem to be useless for me name sources on this blog as I usually don't see CADRE people accepting any of those (see above the usual reaction). My post was actually once removed when I mentioned the scholar who wrote it.

Anyways, I should have read the wikipedia article about it, like you suggested, as it states:
"According to William Benjamin Smith's Ecce Deus[34], there are manuscripts which contain this passage [brother of James], and there are also manuscripts which do not contain it, indicating that it might be an interpolation that took place before the time of Origen but did not succeed in supplanting the original text universally." I have not read that book nor anything from that author...

There is also the reference to Kenneth Humphreys who I mentioned before. His books are not popular on this blog.

Feldman's book Josephus, Judaisms and Christianity can be partly read via Google books online. Every Jesus critic and mythist have written about Josephus passages (tons of books) and you can image their views.

My main point earlier was that if you were accused of something in a court of law and the other side would present a 60 year old hearsay which was modified several times in one place and possible in another place, you would immediately object to that and judge would dismiss the case. But when it comes to Josephus, Christians claim it as an evidence...

It seem to be useless for me name sources on this blog as I usually don't see CADRE people accepting any of those (see above the usual reaction). My post was actually once removed when I mentioned the scholar who wrote it.


I feel that's rather unfair Pete, because I used your source. I didn't say it was no good, I said you didn't interpret it as I do.

call me "Joe" btw


Anyways, I should have read the wikipedia article about it, like you suggested, as it states:
"According to William Benjamin Smith's Ecce Deus[34], there are manuscripts which contain this passage [brother of James], and there are also manuscripts which do not contain it, indicating that it might be an interpolation that took place before the time of Origen but did not succeed in supplanting the original text universally." I have not read that book nor anything from that author...

Yet when no text lacks the core of the TF you still don't see that as a reason to buy it. but if one lacks something that's a reason to suspect it.

There is also the reference to Kenneth Humphreys who I mentioned before. His books are not popular on this blog.


Never heard of him. But that doesn't' mean he's bad. I'll look him up see what he has to say.

Feldman's book Josephus, Judaisms and Christianity can be partly read via Google books online. Every Jesus critic and mythist have written about Josephus passages (tons of books) and you can image their views.

My main point earlier was that if you were accused of something in a court of law and the other side would present a 60 year old hearsay which was modified several times in one place and possible in another place, you would immediately object to that and judge would dismiss the case. But when it comes to Josephus, Christians claim it as an evidence...


The problem with that analogy is textual scholarship is not analogous to a court trial, and scholars are not persuaded by it.


the majority of scholars take Jo as good evidence for Jesus. But that was my third back up example. I already made my point with the two other sources you are not arguing with.

Peter,

Why would we use the rules of court to study history? Is that how the leading history departments train their students?

Peter,
Your last post does not answer my original question. You originally claimed this:

“Louis Feldman wrote in his book 'Josephus' stated that majority of scholars consider the passage authentic and are arguing if 'who was called Christ' was in the original text.”

My question to you was, where did you read that the majority of scholars are arguing whether the original text included 'who was called Christ' ? I could go even further: where did you read that Feldman wrote this?

Your last post simply pointed to the Wikipedia page, which mentions William Benjamin Smith, who claimed in 1912 that the James passage was absent in some manuscripts (an argument you never hear today), and Kenneth Humphreys, who promotes the present-day argument that the James passage was originally written without the phrase 'who was called Christ.'

Humphreys does not make a majority of scholars, so I’m asking you again, where did you read that the majority of scholars (per Feldman or anyone else) are arguing over the authenticity of the phrase 'who was called Christ' ?

Please be clear that I am not asking you to defend an argument; I’m asking you simply to identify where you read it.

Your last post simply pointed to the Wikipedia page, which mentions William Benjamin Smith, who claimed in 1912 that the James passage was absent in some manuscripts (an argument you never hear today), and Kenneth Humphreys, who promotes the present-day argument that the James passage was originally written without the phrase 'who was called Christ.'

O does it Wiki say that today? well look and see if it says it tomorrow.

Hey Nehimias I broke your post into three sections. I use the quotes on pages 1, 2, and all of page 3 is your stuff on the brother passage. I attribute all to you of course.

Kevin Rosero said...
"I’m asking you simply to identify where you read it."

I originally stated: "...Josephus' writings when even Catholic Encyclopedia tells us that it has been changed multiple times..." and when Joe wrote that I used "...guilt by association..." I wrote "Louis Feldman wrote in his book "Josephus" that majority of scholars consider the passage authentic and are arguing if "~who was called Christ" of both passages were in the original text .

I got the Feldman's quote (regarding TF) from his book online page 430 (I can not remember the key words I used, but Google "Feldman overwhelming majority scholars"). I studied a little bit the subject couple months ago in "Simply Christianity" bible study course where Josephus was discussed and I have plenty of notes about that. "~who was called Christ" has been challenged in both TF and brother passages. Sorry if my references were not clear ealier.

Layman, it seems to be common sence that if a text is known to be forged then it does not have a truth in it. Do you use forged/"interpolated" evidence to show the truth?


Joe said...
"O does it Wiki say that today?"

This is a Red Herring. It does not matter if that is in or out of wikipedia. It matters what is in Smith's book. BTW Journal of Nature study showed that Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, so it can not be that bad...

Joe said...
"Yet when no text lacks the core of the TF you still don't see that as a reason to buy it."

The "core" is so short unlike Josephus' normal style and if it was forged, it was easily done early on by one person.


Joe said...
"The problem with that analogy is textual scholarship is not analogous to a court trial, and scholars are not persuaded by it."

I agree with you and maybe I should read scholars who believe at least bother passage is fully authentic. But if Smith is right I don't know how you can reconsile different manuscripts.


Joe said...
"the majority of scholars take Jo as good evidence for Jesus."

This puzzles me too. If it is authentic Jo got his info from Christians 60 years after Jesus' death. How does this hearsay become a "good evidence for Jesus"?


Joe said...
"But that was my third back up example. I already made my point with the two other sources you are not arguing with."

I thought I refuted the two other points in my first comment. Scholars don't use Pandira passage as proof of Jesus, which leaves us with all 34 Gospels proving Jesus existance (discussed earlier).

BTW you stated "the Catholic encyclopedia article does not say that the TF is forged" and now that you have read the "Flavius Josephus" page of Catholic Encylopedia, you might want to retract that.

Peter,

Layman, it seems to be common sence that if a text is known to be forged then it does not have a truth in it. Do you use forged/"interpolated" evidence to show the truth?

You might get more respect if you actually answered questions asked of you. You avoid them like the plague. And I suspect you avoided mine in this case because you know very well that historians do not apply the Rules of Evidence from courts of law to do their task.

Textual criticism is not only a Christian practice, it is used to study the texts of other writings, such as Herodotus, Pliny, Tacitus, etc. Until the printing press the unfortunate fact is that texts were hand copied and mistakes and "clarifications" were made that ended up in our textual traditions. The good news is that there are some helpful tools and methods and evidence to help us detect such changes.

And you are begging the question. I, and most scholars from varying backgrounds, do not believe that the Testimonium was forged. We believe that there are likely two interpolations -- additions -- to the text. These are easily identifiable and excisable, leaving us with a core, authentic Josephan account about Jesus.

Additionally, there is another reference to Jesus by Josephus that shows no evidence of tampering whatsoever. Again, this is the opinion of the vast majority of scholars from varying backgrounds (except proponents of the Jesus Myth whose bias is clear on this point). It is also a reasonable opinion supported by the overwhelming weight of the evidence.

Finally, I rarely play the "I am a lawyer and THIS is how history should be card," but since you raised the comparison; if there is evidence that a document was tampered with, the Court will generally take evidence on exactly what tampering occurred and when, with the goal being to have the finder of fact -- either the Court or a Jury -- make a factual finding as to what the document originally said.

I have retained handwriting experts, for example, to help with just this purpose. Other cases I have been on have utilized ink specialists or specialists in paper type to establish authenticity or the scope of possible later additions to original documents. The point is that even if there are allegations or evidence of tampering, the goal is to detect any alterations and conclude what the original document most likely said. The goal is to find truth after all, not to simply find reasons to ignore evidence.

Peter,

In your last post you're holding out the possibility that William Benjamin Smith might have been right when he claimed, in 1912, that the brother passage is absent from some manuscripts of Josephus.

You wrote:

"It matters what is in Smith's book. BTW Journal of Nature study showed that Wikipedia as accurate as Encyclopedia Britannica, so it can not be that bad..."

Well, then, please note that the Wiki article we've been discussing has this in the opening paragraph:

"All extant copies of this work [Antiquities], which all derive from Christian sources, even the recently recovered Arabic version, contain the two passages about Jesus."

Peter Kirby did a useful overview of the whole problem at this page: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html.

He writes:

""The reference appears in all extant manuscripts."

He then quotes Doherty suggesting reasons why this is true. This is a feature of the debate about Josephus, that everyone on both sides agrees that the TF and the James passage appear in all the extant manuscripts.

I noticed Humphreys on his page also does not bother to claim that the brother passage is missing in some manuscripts -- which he obviously would if it were true, because it would be a strong argument for his case.

All seem now to agree that the passage is in the extant manuscripts, which is why I pointed out to you that Smith's claim is from 1912. That's the best that the argument has going for it -- nothing more recent.

His book is available here in Manhattan's Mid-Manhattan Library and I went to have a look at it. There is nothing behind his claim. He just says "The passage is still found in some Josephus manuscripts; but as it is wanting in other it is, and must be, regarded as a Christian interpolation older than Origen." No footnote or supporting evidence.

You also wrote:

"But if Smith is right I don't know how you can reconsile different manuscripts."

Kirby tells us that these are the relevant manuscripts: "Ambrosianus in the 11th century, Vaticanus in the 14th century, and Marcianus in the 15th century."

He then says something about the TF that you might find interesting:

"It is sometimes claimed that manuscripts before Eusebius do not have the passage in question. This is simply not true; there are no extant manuscripts before Eusebius. It is also sometimes pointed out that the Josippon, a medieval Hebrew version of Josephus, lacks the passage in question. However, Josippon is dependent on the text of the Antiquities preserved by Christians, so it is clear that the author of Josippon does not represent an independent manuscript tradition but rather purposely omits the passage."

Now, maybe Smith is referring to the Josippon. Hard to tell, when he offers no supporting evidence.

One thing I have learned in my own studies is that understanding manuscript traditions is not a simple task, and that amateurs can easily fall into errors. I saw nothing in Smith's book to suggest he was a Josephan scholar; he writes over 200 pages and devotes 9 to Josephus.

J.P. Holding adds the following (http://www.tektonics.org/uz/zindler01.html):

"According to real Josephan scholars -- Smith is not one of them -- there are no manuscripts at all that lack the passages."

But you hardly have to ask a Christian about it. Ask any skeptic of your choice about the manuscripts.

Kirby's conclusion about the brother passage is interesting:

"But assuming that at least the shorter reference is authentic, what can we conclude from this? It shows that Josephus accepted the historicity of Jesus. Simply by the standard practice of conducting history, a comment from Josephus about a fact of the first century constitutes prima facie evidence for that fact. It ought to be accepted as history unless there is good reason for disputing the fact."

And I mean this respectfully but seriously -- do some work on the issue. One thing I did not like about your posts is the way you presented Smith as a find that you were thankful for, a possibly valid argument (even though I'm sure you could see for yourself that the Wiki footnote dated him to 1912), and yet you introduced it with the caveat that you had not read anything from or about Smith.

This is a kind of lazy hedging in anyone unwilling to do the homework, but it bothers me most in a skeptic who likes to admonish people about how they should not use weak evidence. You put Smith's claim out there, as if expecting that we would accept or reject it, but I wonder why if you're a skeptic you didn't even give it the barest skeptical whiff before starting to embrace it. If you're a skeptic then that's what you should be doing on your own.

Kevin Rosero,

Thanks for checking the Smith book.

Kevin Rosero quoted wikipedia
"All extant copies of this work [Antiquities], which all derive from Christian sources, even the recently recovered Arabic version, contain the two passages about Jesus."

Your quote does not mention that the wording of the manuscripts are different and our copies are versions 1000 years after the original.


Kevin Rosero wrote...
"Peter Kirby did a useful overview of the whole problem at this page: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html"

Peter Kirby also wrote:
"Feldman noted that 4 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely genuine, 6 as mostly genuine, 20 accept it with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and 13 regard it as being totally an interpolation. In my own reading of thirteen books since 1980 that touch upon the passage, ten out of thirteen argue the Testimonium to be partly genuine, while the other three maintain it to be entirely spurious...It is impossible that this passage is entirely genuine"


Kevin Rosero wrote...
"I mean this respectfully but seriously -- do some work on the issue."
"This is a kind of lazy hedging in anyone unwilling to do the homework"

I have noticed that when I don't agree with Christians/Muslims/Mormons, they ask me to work more on the issue, but at the same time Christians/Muslims/Mormons reject the skeptic PhD scholars who have done a lot of home work. See Kirby's quote above how many Scholars reject TF and how many dispute the brother passage. They have done "more work on the issue", yet you still don't accept it.


Kevin Rosero wrote...
"One thing I did not like about your posts is the way you presented Smith as a find that you were thankful for"

Sorry, but that was an example what Wikipedia page had when you wrote that I copied my original info from that. I even wrote the caveat that I have not investigated the source. My main source was Feldman, see above, and it seems that Kirby agrees with Feldman that most scolars dispute the passages.


Kevin Rosero wrote about Smith...
"I wonder why if you're a skeptic you didn't even give it the barest skeptical whiff before starting to embrace it"

Notice that I wrote "I have not read that book nor anything from that author..." and "But if Smith is right..." so please re-consider your statement.


Kevin Rosero wrote...
"If you're a skeptic then that's what you should be doing on your own."

I noticed that Christians/Muslims/Mormons/JWs want skeptics to do "on your own", while they seem to follow a great commission and God given right to prosletyse when ever they can, like on a street corner near where I live. We would not want skeptics opinion here do we... Nice little push to try to curb the free speech there...



Layman said...
"You might get more respect if you actually answered questions asked of you."

Very funny! Considering four CADRE members including you regularly name call me here and I can not even count how many times you have called me "ignorant". Why do even talk about "more respect"? Even in this thread my action has been refered to nazism. On a positive side two CADRE members have always been very respectful when communicating with me...

And your accusation is equally amusing as I tried to answer your question while you did not answer my yes/no question "Do you use forged/"interpolated" evidence to show the truth?"


Layman said...
Additionally, there is another reference to Jesus by Josephus that shows no evidence of tampering whatsoever. Again, this is the opinion of the vast majority of scholars from varying backgrounds (except proponents of the Jesus Myth whose bias is clear on this point)

Funny comment again. Please read Kevin Rosero said comments if you don't believe mine. Note: according to Kirby "It is impossible that this [TF] passage is entirely genuine". And as a lawyer you must know that even if someone is biased it does not mean they are wrong about some issue.

Peter,

Feldman, you claimed before, had written that the majority of scholars were debating whether the phrase 'who was called Christ' was in the original James passage. I asked you a few times where you had read that Feldman said this about the brother passage -- because he has not said this.

You gave your source as p. 430 of one of his books. It's Josephus, the Bible and History. The quote actually appears at the Wikipedia article:

"The topic of the Testimonium's authenticity has attracted much scholarly discussion. Louis Feldman counts 87 articles published during the period of 1937-1980, 'the overwhelming majority of which question its authenticity in whole or in part'."

I’m glad that when you gave your source, you identified that Feldman was referring to the TF (not the James passage). But you didn’t acknowledge that Feldman had nothing to say on p. 430 (or anywhere in that section, if you check Google Books) on whether “who was called Christ” was in the brother passage; still less on whether the majority of scholars were debating that point.

When Layman wrote about the brother passage, you quoted Kirby's review of the scholars writing about the TF, not the brother passage. You quoted Kirby arguing that the TF cannot be fully authentic, as if someone here was arguing that the TF was fully authentic. Who do you think has been telling you that the TF is fully authentic?

For some reason – I don’t think it’s dishonesty, but I don’t what it is – you keep responding to our arguments as if we’re referring to the TF. Every time we add something about the James passage, you just repeat that the TF can’t be fully authentic (as if we were pushing its full authenticity) and that a lot of scholars argue for full interpolation (which we acknowledge but, along with a lot of other scholars, disagree with).

I gave you quotes about both passages being in the manuscripts, as an answer to Smith's claim that one passage was missing in some manuscripts. Instead of following that part of the debate, you quoted Kirby again on the other passage, the TF. And again what you used from Kirby is non-controversial. His work is well-regarded here and I don’t know why I would disagree with his description of what certain scholars have said about the TF. This again seems like some kind of disconnect has occurred here.

You do make the claim that the manuscripts we were referring to have different wording, but that is incorrect. Kirby provides the wording in Greek, and Feldman also refers to it as one text (in different manuscripts). I even pointed you to Doherty’s argument trying to EXPLAIN why the wording is the same. You may be thinking of the fact that Eusebius’ quotations and/or paraphrases of Josephus vary among themselves; but that is very different.

And Peter, no one is trying to curb your free speech. I see that used as a cheap ploy in a lot of debates, when someone’s speech is challenged in some way, they act as if their right to dissent is being questioned. I just asked you why you didn’t speak more skeptically about a source that you surely could see was, at least, possibly outdated. Moreover, you said you knew nothing else about the source, yet you were already putting it out there as possible support for your evidence. Yes, with caveats. But I would not even do that. I would verify it myself or ask others to do so. Only then would I advance it as possible support for an argument. Perhaps that makes us different; but that hardly makes this a free speech issue.

I don’t know if this post will actually help, when this kind of disconnect seems to be taking place. So my suggestion to you is, if you want, to email me through Blogger. This format here is clearly not working -- and by that I don’t mean that you’re supposed to agree with me. When I suggested that you do more work, that’s not what I expected; I just hoped you might read good work like Kirby’s (I gave the link for a reason), and that you might at least understand our arguments. Who knows. If you want, email me.

Very funny! Considering four CADRE members including you regularly name call me here and I can not even count how many times you have called me "ignorant". Why do even talk about "more respect"?

Ignorant just means you don't know something about something. Unfortunately with you, it has cropped up. Should I ignore that?

But part of the reason you come across as ignorant is your refusal to answer some basic questions. If you answered those questions, I was suggesting that you might be treated with more respect around here.

In other words, part of the reason you perceive negative treatment is your refusal to discuss matters in a straightforward manner.

Even in this thread my action has been refered to nazism.

I don't imagine you are a Nazi in any way.

On a positive side two CADRE members have always been very respectful when communicating with me...

Good for them. Perhaps you are more credible on the subjects with which you engage them.

And your accusation is equally amusing as I tried to answer your question while you did not answer my yes/no question "Do you use forged/"interpolated" evidence to show the truth?"

I answered this at length.

Forged does not equal interpolated.

The goal is to figure out what was interpolated -- added or changed -- in the passage. If I have a document that has a sentence that was not part of the original, that is what you tell the jury. But you don't then go on and say that the entire document was forged if the evidence is that only one sentence was forged.

This is pretty straightforward. So with those clarifications, of course I would never use something I believed to be interpolated as evidence. But I and most scholars do not believe the entire passage was interpolated. So I would be remiss if I suppressed evidence I had good reason to believe was authentic and relevant.

You only get to a problem if you start with the presumption -- as you apparently do -- that the entire passage is interpolated.

Funny comment again. Please read Kevin Rosero said comments if you don't believe mine. Note: according to Kirby "It is impossible that this [TF] passage is entirely genuine". And as a lawyer you must know that even if someone is biased it does not mean they are wrong about some issue.

I am not talking about the TF. I have written 30 pages on why I believe the TF is only partially authentic. I have never presented it as entirely genuine as I do not believe that was the case.

Above, I was obviously referring to the reference to James and Jesus. In my opinion and that of most scholars, there is no interpolated part of that reference. It is entirely genuine. So there is no throwing the baby out with the bathwater even with your ad hoc approach to the issue.

About free speech,

This is a private, not a government, forum and it is part of our free speech rights to decide who gets to say what here.

That being said, you've got to say plenty here and voice your disagreement with us time and time and time again.

So take the whining elsewhere if you can't take being disagreed with in a vigorous manner.

Kevin,

Perhaps Peter does not know that there are two different passages which refer to Jesus in the surviving Josephan manuscripts.

Peter,

Is that the case?

Kevin Rosero said...
"When Layman wrote about the brother passage, you quoted Kirby's review of the scholars writing about the TF, not the brother passage."

Layman actually wrote "I, and most scholars from varying backgrounds, do not believe that the Testimonium was forged." (see the thread above) which I was responding to.



Kevin Rosero said first...
"If you're a skeptic then that's what you should be doing on your own."
Then..
"And Peter, no one is trying to curb your free speech. see that used as a cheap ploy in a lot of debates"
and Layman said...
"About free speech, This is a private, not a government, forum and it is part of our free speech rights to decide who gets to say what here. "

I was referring to the attitude Kevin's writing seem to reflect, not about this web site.


Kevin Rosero said...
"So my suggestion to you is, if you want, to email me through Blogger"

Sounds good. If you have good sources I'm always open to read those.


Layman said...
"Perhaps Peter does not know that there are two different passages which refer to Jesus in the surviving Josephan manuscripts. Peter, Is that the case?"

You clearly have not read my posts above...

The entire Kirby's quote:
"Louis H. Feldman surveyed the relevant literature from 1937 to 1980 in Josephus and Modern Scholarship. Feldman noted that
4 scholars regarded the Testimonium Flavianum as entirely genuine,
6 as mostly genuine,
20 ACCEPT IT with some interpolations, 9 with several interpolations, and
13 regard it as being totally an interpolation.”
or:
10 scholars regarded the TF entirely or mostly genuine (19 %)
29 accept it with some or several interpolation (56 %)
13 rejected it as being totally an interpolation (25 %)

It is pretty clear to me that the vast majority of scholars - 39 out 52; (75 %), according Feldman (a Jewish scholar) - accept total or partial authenticity of the Testimonium - they believe that Josephus really said something about Jesus, only 25 % rejected it.

Another Jewish scholar, Paul Winter conducted a similar study, and surveyed 47 scholars who wrote about TF from 1812 to 1968 ((Winter, Paul, "Excursus II -Josephus on Jesus and James," in E. Schurer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ, rev. and ed. by G. Vermes and F. Millar, pages 428-441). He listed:

Winter (1969), 47 relevant studies on Testimonium Flavianum, 1812-1968
9 scholars believed that TF was entirely written by Josephus (authenticity) – 19 %
21 scholars regarded TF as partly written by Josephus, (partial authenticity) – 43 %
17 scholars regarded TF as being totally an interpolation (against authenticity) – 38 %

So, according Winter, a strong majority of scholars (62 %) accepted total or partial authenticity of the TF. However, the Winter’s study indicates a dramatic change towards partial authenticity after I World War.

Winter (1969), 25 relevant studies on Testimonium Flavianum – 1918-1968
6 scholars believed that TF was entirely written by Josephus (authenticity) – 24 %
13 scholars regarded TF as partly written by Josephus, (partial authenticity) – 52 %
6 scholars regarded TF as being totally an interpolation (against authenticity) – 24 %

So, after 1918, an even stronger majority of scholars (76 %) accept total or partial authenticity of the Testimonium. The results are quite similar to the Feldman’s survey.
Kirby: “In my own reading of thirteen books since 1980 that touch upon the passage, ten out of thirteen argue the Testimonium to be partly genuine, while the other three maintain it to be entirely spurious” (80 % favorable to partial authenticity). Christopher Price: “Though my own studies have revealed a similar trend (about 15 to 1 for partial authenticity, with the exception being a Jesus Mythologist)”. It is pretty clear that the great majority of scholars (Christians, Jewish, secular) believe that much of the TF is authentic to Josephus, and a (valuable) testimony of Historical Jesus.

Prof. Louis Feldman, Yeshiva University
"As to the celebrated Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18:63-64) the great majority of modern scholars have regarded it as partly interpolated, and this is my conclusion as well. That the basic kernel is authentic is supported by the fact that it appears in all the manuscripts (Louis H Feldman, Flavius Josephus Revisited, The, His Writings, and his significance, page 822).

Geza Vermes, a Jewish Scholar, Emeritus Professor at Oxford, leading authority on Second Temple Judaism and historical Jesus:
“(…) He [Josephus] also refers to Jesus in the days of Pontius Pilate and calls him a “wise man and performer of astonishing or paradoxical deeds. (…) The reliability of Josephus’ notice about Jesus was rejected by many in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but it has been judged partly genuine and partly falsified by the majority of more recent critics. The Jesus portrait of Josephus, drawn by an uninvolved witness, stands halfway between the fully sympathetic picture of early Christianity and the wholly antipathetic image of the magician of Talmudic and post-Talmudic Jewish literature. “Wise man” and “performer of paradoxical deeds” are genuinely Josephan phrases that no Christian interpolator would have found potent enough to describe the divinised Christ of the later church.” http://www.standpointmag.co.uk/node/424/full

Prof. Paula Frederiksen, a secular Jewish scholar, Boston University
"Most scholars currently incline to see the passage as basically authentic, with a few later insertions by Christian scribes." (Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews, page 249).

Prof. James Tabor, secular scholar, University of North Carolina:
"the descriptions that Josephus, the 1st century CE Jewish historian, gives us of John the Baptizer, Jesus, e James, the brother of Jesus, are of immense value to the historian of early Christianity. (...) His “testimony” to Jesus is more problematic since it has been so heavily interpolated by medieval Christian copyists. However, we are more than fortunate that these pious scribes had such heavy hands, since their additions appear to be so blatant and obvious, in both placement and phrasing. Scholars have worked on this text quite extensively and I recommend the summary discussion by John Meier, A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus (Doubleday, 1991), Vol I, pp. 57-88. (...) The content of this short report is strikingly close to what critical historians would distill as a kind of bare minimum regarding the historical Jesus–a wise teacher and wonder-worker who ran into opposition from the religious and political authorities and was crucified, but whose movement continued after his death” http://jesusdynasty.com/blog/2007/09/21/josephus-on-john-jesus-and-james/

ABOUT JAMES PASSAGE:
“The passage about James (A. XX, 197-203) has generally been accepted as authentic” (Feldman, Louis; Josephus, the Bible and history, page 434)
"Few have doubted the genuineness of this passage on James" (Feldman, Louis H, Josephus X, LCL, 456)
"That indeed, Josephus did say something about Jesus is indicated, above all, by the passage - the authenticity of which has been almost universally acknowledge - about James, who is termed (A XX, 200) the brother of "the aforementioned Christ" (Feldman L. & Hata G., "Josephus, Judaism, and Christianity", page 56)

In fact, Paul Winter, in the study cited above, wrote:
"scholars who consider the second passage genuine are more numerous than those who accept the first (…) Most authors who reject Ant. XVIII 3.3 (63-64) as spurious have no doubts about the genuineness of Ant. XX.9,1, 200.” (Winter, Josephus on Jesus …, page 430).

Winter (1969), 47 relevant studies, 1812-1968
17 scholars regarded TF as being totally an interpolation (against authenticity) – (38 %)
but only 5 scholars regarded both TF (Ant. 18:63) and phrase “brother of Jesus who was called Christ” (Ant. 20,200) as spurious – (10 %)
Winter (1969), 25 relevant studies on Testimonium Flavianum – 1918-1968
6 scholars regarded TF as being totally an interpolation (against authenticity) – (24 %)
2 scholars regarded both TF (Ant. 18:63) and phrase “brother of Jesus who was called Christ” (Ant. 20,200) as spurious - (8 %)

SGF Brandon and Graham Twelfetree reject the smaller passage but, strangely, accept most of the larger passage (TF) as genuine. Finally, scholars such as Schurer and Juster, who rejected both Josephus passages, believed in a historical Jesus. They believed so, because gospels and other sources provide (a lot of) historical information about Jesus.

Prof. David Flusser, Hebrew University, member of the Israel Academy, and a devout orthodox Jew:
"True, we have fuller accounts about the lives of contemporaneous emperors and some of the Roman poets. With the exception of the historian Josephus Flavius and possibly St. Paul, however, Jesus is the one jew of post old testament times about whom we know more" (David Flusser, The Sage from Galilee, page 1)

Professor James Crossley, secular scholar, University of Sheffield
http://earliestchristianhistory.blogspot.com/2008/08/doubting-stephen.html
“I’m not so interested in getting involved in the debates over whether Jesus existed. Given what I've written on this blog and in publications I obviously think he did (and I think I’m relatively conservative concerning the synoptic tradition). This is based largely on the argument that there is much in the synoptic tradition that puts Jesus as a fairly typical Jewish teacher and lacks serious ‘Christianising’ (coupled with independent attestation and various historical Jesus criteria). (…) if we follow [Stephen] Law and doubt Jesus’ existence on the basis of a lack of sufficient evidence, then would we not have to start doubting the existence of the majority of famous and famous-ish figures in the ancient world? After all, the evidence is no better for many ancient figures, right? Would this not even be raising the possibility of re-writing masses of the narrative history of the ancient world?”

Professor. Michael Grant, an atheist scholar, and former professor of Cambridge:
"if we apply to the New Testament, as we should, the same sort of criteria as we should apply to other ancient writings containing historical material, we can no more reject Jesus' existence than we can reject the existence of a mass of pagan personages whose reality as historical figures is never questioned. (…) To sum up, modern critical methods fail to support the Christ myth theory. It has “again and again been answered and annihilated by first rank scholars.' In recent years, 'no serous scholar has ventured to postulate the non historicity of Jesus” or at any rate very few, and they have not succeeded in disposing of the much stronger, indeed very abundant, evidence to the contrary.

Professor. E. P Sanders, a secular Christian scholar:
“The main sources for our knowledge of Jesus himself, the gospels in the New Testament, are from the point of view of historian, taunted by the fact that they were written by people who intended to glorify their hero. The sources for Jesus are better, however, than those that deal with Alexander. The original biographies of Alexander have all been lost, and they are known only because they were used by later – much later – writers. The primary sources for Jesus were written nearer his own lifetime, and people who had known him were still alive. That is one of the reasons for saying that in some ways we known more about Jesus than about Alexander” (E P Sanders, The Historical Figure of Jesus, page 3-4)

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