The Web of Jesus' Historicity



 photo church_of_nativity_zps7syqbgzu.jpg
Church of the Annunciation, Bethlehem.


I. Archeological Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus

,,,A. Jesus' Childhood documented

,,,...(1) Bethlehem manger.

"For the purposes of worship, the Jewish-Chrsitians of Palestine availed themselves not only of the synagogues, but also developed their ritual in certain "sacred and mystic grottoes" as reported by the ecclesiastical historian, Eusebius of Caesarea. In Their worship in this "Lord's house" in Bethlehem which was carried on until the fourth century, they celebrated two of three mysteries par excellence: Mary's Virginity and her bringing forth the Christ child; ...Hadrian profaned the site by planting a wood over the grotto, but this helped to maintain the tradition of the birthplace of Jesus." (Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible. New York: Harper and Row, 1976,p.2779-280)......
,,,,,,(2) Nazareth.

Skeptics sometimes claim that Nazareth was not inhabited at the time of Christ. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact the very website they sometimes point out actually says the opposite of what they want it to. See my Pages on the "history of Nazareth."

.................a. Nazareth Inhabited In Time of Christ part 1

 ................b. part 2)

,,,B. Luke and Acts

,,,...1) The Pool of Bethseda

The pool of Bethseda in Luke where the angle "troubled the waters" for healing, and Jesus healed the lame man and told him to take up his bed and walk, has been discovered beneath the Church of ST. Anne. There is a pool at the bottom of a flight of stairs and an ancient fresco with a picture of an angel troubling the waters. (Bruce, The New Testament Documents,94).This find is also documented in Cornfeld's work Archaeology of The Bible, where he supports the conclusions.

,,,lll2) Luke's geographical Accuracy.

Harnack and others attest to Luke's accuracy in terms of the ship wreck on Malta, the flavor and historicity of the cities he speaks of the, the time period and all other verifiable elements of this nature. "Sir William Ramsay who devoted many fruitful years to the Archaeology of Asia Minor testifies to Luke's intimate and accurate acquaintance and the Greek East at the time with which his writings deal." (Bruce 90). Ramsay began as a Tubingen liberal, believing Luke to be a second century production with no validity. By the end of his life he was so persuaded of the truth and validity of Luke that he gave up scholarship and became an Evangelist and apologist using arguments based upon the discoveries he had made. (Ibid). It cannot be claimed that he was not an "objective" scholar, as he is one of the grates of the field. Dr. Henry J. Cadbury delivered the Lowell lectures in 1953 and produced a work on the Book of Acts in which he hailed Luke as a first rate historian (Ibid.).

,,...,3) Luke's Social Accuity.

Neil thinks that one of the most impressive aspects of Luke as an historian is that he always gets the titles right. Many of the titles of local officials which Luke provides us with were not validated until modern times. "The writer of Acts knew the correct titles and used them with varying precision. In the words of Ramsey: 'the officials with whom Paul and his companions were brought into contact are those who would be there. Every person is found just where he ought to be; proconsuls in senatorial provinces, asiarchs in Ephesus, strategoi in Philippi, politarchs in Thessolonica, magicians and soothsayers everywhere.' The Most remarkable of these titles is Politarch the ruler of the city used in Acts 17:6...previously this word had been completely unknown except for this passage in Acts. It has now been found in 19 inscriptions dating from he second century..." (Stephen Neil, The Interpretation of the New Testament:1861-1961, London: Oxford University press, 1964, p.143).Neil argues that titles are the hardest things to get right, modern French writers never get English titles right, and this is something that would easily and surely betray an anachronism (147)Historians of the modern day judge Luke a superb historian.

(This makes him a better historian than Tacitus, and if Tacitus getting the title of Pilate wrong is an argument against his veracity, than surely getting them right must mean something) Skeptics argue that the Apostles could have made up the stories of the Gospel despite the fact that they contain historical information. One, on an internet discussion board, even went so far as to compare the Gospels with Ernest Hemingway novels which have fictional plots set in historical settings. Of course Hemingway lived in the places he wrote about. It would be absurd to think of Luke trooping around ancient Palestine just to be abel to add a few verifiable touches to his account, especially in the days before anyone knew about archaeology. When we consider how many forgeries form this era have no historical evidence, or betray themselves with anachronisms, this argument seems to lack substance.

,,,C. Peter's House

"The house was built in the first century, it became a center of religious activity [in Capernium] already in the second half of the first century Jewish-Chrsitians (or Mimin..as they were called) were numerous and lived continuously in Capernium and kept this tradition alive [the site for the house of Peter--which is mentioned in Mark; their graffiti on the plaster wall of the place of worship testify to their faith in Jesus, the Lord, the Most High, the good, and to their veneration of Peter." (Cornfeld p. 288). The house was taken over by Gentile Christians in the 5th century, and then build a splendid basilica. Now of course the skeptic will say "O, they just chose any old spot and said it was the right place for the pilgrims in the middle ages." But Pilgrims did troop to the Holy land as early as the fifth century, however, as Corfeld shows, most of these sites were already old by the fourth century. The tomb, Peter's house, The Bethlehem Grotto, Mary's house in Nazareth, and many other such sites, were already venerated as far back as the first century. While there is no definitive proof that these sites are the actual locations, the evidence is stronger than it seems at first glance.

,,,D. The empty tomb

Archaeology cannot yet identify with certainty the tomb of Christ, but here is strong evidence supporting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as the original site. The site does date back to the fourth century when it was shown to Constantine. Bruce attests to the evidential support.(New Testament Documents) . More important confirmation comes from Gaalyah Cornfeld in Archaeology of The Bible Book By Book. Cornfeld tells us that from early times Christians reverenced the site, but it was desecrated when the Romans put up a statue of one of their gods. Jewish-Christians could no longer worship at the site for that reason, but they continued the knowledge of it until the time of Constantine when they were able to point him to it as the original site of the resurrection. Constantine put up a basilica over the original shrine, the Anastasis. Excavations by V. Corbo found a gold ring with the representation of the dome of the original shrine Anastasis. This indicates that this site was venerated by Christians in ancient times as the site of the resurrection. (and there is an empty tomb under neither it). (See Archaeology of The Bible: Book by Book, New York: Harper and Row, 1976, 271-2).

Bahat, Dan 1986 "Does the Holy Sepulcher Church Mark the Burial of Jesus?" Biblical Archaeology Review 22.3 (May/June):26-45.

"The fact that it had indeed been a cemetery, and that this memory of Jesus' tomb survived despite Hadrian's burial of it with his enclosure fill, speaks to the authenticity of the site. Moreover, the fact that the Christian community in Jerusalem was never dispersed during this period, and that its succession of bishops was never interrupted supports the accuracy of the preserved memory that Jesus had been crucified and buried here." (Bahat 1986:37.)

All of these studies have a very high probability and while none can be proven conclusively, the evidence is very strong that they were all venerated early on. The conclusion of a major Archaeologist of the NT:

Alviero Niccacci, O.F.M.

Archaeology, New Testament, and Early Christianity

Tomado de la página del "Estudio Bíblico Franciscano"
Archaeological excavations - since about the beginning of this century but particularly since the fifties - helped fill the gap of the first three centuries of Christianity in the Holy Land. Actually, in certain holy places remains of cultic installations have been uncovered that preceded the Byzantine buildings of the IV cent. AD. These remains were markedly different from those familiar to scholars of Christian archaeology. In order to interpret these remains, Christian and Jewish literary sources were consulted. From these we come to know that Christians of Jewish origin lived in Galilee, particularly in Nazareth, Tiberias, Sephoris and Capernaum, and in other parts of the country. Among these Jewish Christians, the relatives of Jesus had a preminent place in the community. It was only natural that these “relatives of Jesus” were deeply attached to the places and the traditions of their own family. It was around these places that Christian life and worship were organized and the first communities came into being. This has been one of the most exciting discoveries. Sudying the literary sources and the pre-Byzantine remains, a conviction arose that a certain literature had to be taken into consideration that showed a foreign mentality: the so-called apocryphal literature. This literature was of a popular nature but not heterodox. It shows the thinking process and faith of the followers of Jesus (Christians) who though they beleived in him still followed the Jewish thought. This made their way of thinking clearly distinct from the Christians of the period coming from the Western world. In some cases this literature reflects the mentality and beleifs of the Mother Church of Jerusalem. A literature which contains ancient elements that are in agreement with archaeological data. Over forty years of research have given us a much better picture of the history of the Christian presence in ther Holy Land from the NT times down to the present. The main links in this chronological chain, going back in history from today’s reality, are as follows: today’s church or sanctuary, Crusader, Byzantine, and finally pre-Byzantine periods. It is obvious that those sites where this chronological chain is uninterrupted can be considered as authentic sites and beyond any reasonable doubt. The excavations at NAZARETH (1955-1960) by Bellarmino Bagatti revealed an uninterrupted sequence of cultic installations around the Grotto of the Annunciation. The present basilica is built on almost the same plan as the Crusader’s. A smaller Byzantine church of the fifth century AD was also found. The main result was the discovery, beneath the Byzantine church, of an early Christian building of a special layout, similar to that of the Jewish Galilean synagogues of the second-third centuries AD. The Nazareth excavations revealed for the first time clear traces of the Jewish-Christian communities that lived and prayed in the same place before the arrival of the Byzantines in the fourth century AD. Similar traces were also found in excavations at Dominus Flevit (The Lord wept) on the slopes of the Mount of Olives (1953-1955) and in Capernaum (1968 on). At CAPERNAUM a well-preserved village has come to light, with its magnificent synagogue, the living quarters and a special house transformed into a place of worship already in the second half of the first century AD. It is called the House of Peter. We will return to Capernaum later on. The excavations of B. Bagatti at BETHLEHEM (1948-1951) proved that despite important transformations, the grotto of the Nativity and the manger hewn into the rock remained basically the same. There are elements to show that a veneration of the place by the local Christian community existed uninterrupted since the apostolic times. This is proved by the fact that already in the second century AD several tombs were set up in the proximity of the venerated grotto, according to the well-known custom of burying the dead around holy places. In 135 AD emperor Adrian established on the place of the nativity a sacred grove in order to supplant Christian worship on the spot that was very popular. A consequence of this substitution was that the memory of the place was preserved for future generations. Thus emperor Constantine in 333 AD could easily locate the place and then built on it a basilica that has come down to us renewed by emperor Justinian. It is in fact the only Byzantine basilica preserved until today. The grotto of the Nativity presents us with an exegetical problem that we are going to deal with later on.
II. The Absurdity of a fictitious Jesus!

,,,A. The Historical world

,...,,1) Early documentation

History is documents. Historians do not usually assume that documents are fake just because they are polemical, or that all the information in them is fictitious. It is absurd to think that Jesus was fiction or legend. It is absurd to think that the Gospel could have spread within the life time of eye witnesses. The accounts were being written by AD 50. Just because the canonical Gospels weren't yet written doesn't mean that the stories in them weren't written.

,,...,2) Living participants

The stories were certainly circulating during the time of eye witnesses. Wouldn't it have occurred to some one in Jerusalem, "say why is it that I don't' remember anything about a Pilate, or a Jesus of Nazareth, or even a town called Nazareth. Peter, Paul, James, Philip, all were real people, the stories with them in them circulated during their life times, would it not dawn on them "I don't' remember any of this?" would they not try to put a stop to it?

,,...,3) Living Memory of the Masses

Where were the multitudes, where were the throng of recipients of Jesus healing power? Where were those who greeted him when he rode into Jerusalem and the crowd put palm leaves in his path and shouted "Hosanna!"? If these things never happened how could 12 fishermen from the stix possibly convince the multitude of Jerusalem, a might urban center, that they had not only seen but participated in what all of them would have known never happened? And if one thinks well it wasn't written until 70 years latter, no it was written 50 years latter, but it was told orally from day one AD 33 Christ's resurrection. So how could they possibly convince a city that it saw what everyone in the city would know never took place? At the first writing just 20 years latter (AD 50) (see Jesus Puzzle pages) there would still be sufficient eye witnesses left to refute the claims. Such claims at that point would be laughed out of town. But even 70 years latter (actually 40 for Mark) there would still be some eye witnesses left, quite a few in fact since Polycarp lived to 86, one could live at least half that long and a little over. But wouldn't the next generation find it storage that their parents and grandparents never said anything about any such events? Moreover, there would be no basis for proof of such things, no record of witnesses, no empty tomb, no sacred sites.

,,...,4) Sacred Sites

Where did all the sacred sites come form? How could they just pick a site and tell people it was the site upon which this event that one remembers happened and expect them all to believe it? Why would they mark it? Why would they tend such sites? All the sacred sites of Christianity marked by tradition can be traced back to the first century, or at least the early second century. This is because people have living memoirie and as the first generation passed away people marked the sites to point out for future posterity, and for sacred veneration. But who would mark a site for an event no one could remember? Who would start going there to worship if there was no tradition anywhere that this was the site?

,,,B. The Hoax

The only way the Christ-Myth notion could work is if it were a hoax. So Peter and 11 friends fabricate this account and start telling it to everyone around them. Wouldn't down on someone that "I never saw you with any Jesus of Nazareth! and say, where' s Nazareth?" Just how would that work? With all the principles still alive and living around the communities in which the stories were spreading. NO one ever saw a Jesus of Nazareth, or his crucifixion, or heard of an empty tomb. But suddenly here are these people proclaiming all the things that everyone would know nerve happened! The whole idea is ludicrous.

,...,,1) Motive?

Why would they start such a hoax in the first place? What would their motive be? Some thing that it was already a mystery cult form pagan sources. If this is the case than why would the principles create a hoax around it? What would they expect to gain from it? There would be no money in it because they had to work against the odds, face persecution,give up their family and friends, just to establish it. And they did get nothing out of it.

,,...,2) Why die for a lie?

We know from Clement's letter that at least Peter died for his faith. In fact Church tradition records that all the Apostles except John died for their faith. Why would anyone die for a hoax that he/she knew to be a lie? Who dies for a lie that he/she helps to create?

,,,C. Why the Resurrection?

Even more ludicrous is the notion that this fictitious Messiah rose form the dead? The Messiah, according to Jewish belief was supposed to raise all the dead of Israel when he returned to establish his Kingdom. But the Jews did not look for a Messiah who would himself raise from the dead. Why would hoaxers risk such an outlandish story, if they could even think of it in the first place, when it was sure to be rejected?

III. The Strength of Jesus' Personality.

C.S. Lewis once argued that Jesus is too dynamic a character to be entirely fictional. The arguments for this can be found on my Page: "How do we know that Jesus is the Son of God." This is not the argument I give there, but the materail presented there also proves this point. He was one of the most profound ehtical teachers, anticipating Kant's Categorical imperative by two millenia. He also had a focuss and concern for people one rarely finds in a figure of greatness. The important point is, no one in Jesus' time had a concept of historical ficiton in a litterary sense. Sure there are stories form that or previous time where people combine real locatoins and events with ficition, but they did not write realistically, they did not have the concept of "court room evidence" or "historical proof." Their criteria for what made historical documentation was much different than ours. To invent a character like Jesus would require a writter of the greatness of Jesus (or at least that of William Faulner or Mark Twain). How absurd to sugges that some ancient unkown Hemingway created the historical novel 2000 years early and it just happend to become the world's dominat religion!

IV. Time line.

With the first writting of the Gospel story in AD 50 (see above) it is clear that the Jesus' story was already set in stone by mid century, just 20 years after the events. This would not be enough time for myth to develop.

William Lane Craig quotes prof. Sherwin-Whtite ("Contemporary Scholarship and the Historical Evidence for the Rsurrection of Jesus Christ," Truth 1 (1985): 89-95) "For in order for these stories to be in the main legendary, a very considerable length of time must be available for the evolution and development of the traditions until the historical elements have been supplanted by unhistorical. This factor is typically neglected in New Testament scholarship, as A. N. Sherwin-White points out in Roman Law and Roman Society tn the New Testament. Professor Sherwin-White is not a theologian; he is an eminent historian of Roman and Greek times, roughly contemporaneous with the NT. According to Professor Sherwin-White, the sources for Roman history are usually biased and removed at least one or two generations or even centuries from the events they record. Yet, he says, historians reconstruct with confidence what really happened. He chastises NT critics for not realizing what invaluable sources they have in the gospels. The writings of Herodotus furnish a test case for the rate of legendary accumulation, and the tests show that even two generations is too short a time span to allow legendary tendencies to wipe out the hard core of historical facts. When Professor Sherwin-White turns to the gospels, he states for these to be legends, the rate of legendary accumulation would have to be 'unbelievable'; more generations are needed. All NT scholars agree that the gospels were written down and circulated within the first generation, during the lifetime of the eyewitnesses."


V.Community As Author: Self Checking Information Dissemination.

,,,A. It has the check of eye-witnesses in the Community.

,,,B. oral tradition was not uncontrolled spreading of rumor a disciplined and ancient method of disseminating teachings. Oral tradition in first-century Judaism was not uncontrolled as was/is often assumed, based on comparisons with non-Jewish models.

From pg. 53-55 in B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), "Authenticating the Activities of Jesus" (NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998):
"...[T]he early form criticism tied the theory of oral transmission to the conjecture that Gospel traditions were mediated like folk traditions, being freely altered and even created ad hoc by various and sundry wandering charismatic jackleg preachers. This view, however, was rooted more in the eighteenth century romanticism of J. G. Herder than in an understanding of the handling of religious tradition in first-century Judaism. As O. Cullmann, B. Gerhardsson, H. Riesenfeld and R. Riesner have demonstrated, [22] the Judaism of the period treated such traditions very carefully, and the New Testament writers in numerous passages applied to apostolic traditions the same technical terminology found elsewhere in Judaism for 'delivering', 'receiving', 'learning', 'holding', 'keeping', and 'guarding', the traditioned 'teaching'. [23] In this way they both identified their traditions as 'holy word' and showed their concern for a careful and ordered transmission of it. The word and work of Jesus were an important albeit distinct part of these apostolic traditions."Luke used one of the same technical terms, speaking of eyewitnesses who 'delivered to us' the things contained in his Gospel and about which his patron Theophilus had been instructed. Similarly, the amanuenses or co-worker-secretaries who composed the Gospel of John speak of the Evangelist, the beloved disciple, 'who is witnessing concerning these things and who wrote these things', as an eyewitness and a member of the inner circle of Jesus' disciples.[24] In the same connection it is not insignificant that those to whom Jesus entrusted his teachings are not called 'preachers' but 'pupils' and 'apostles', semi-technical terms for those who represent and mediate the teachings and instructions of their mentor or principal.[25]


------------------ 22. O. Cullmann, "The Tradition," in Cullmann, The Early Church (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Westminster, 1956) 55-99; B. Gerhardsson The Origins of the Gospel Traditions (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1979); H. Riesenfeld The Gospel Tradition (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1970) 1-29; Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer.

23. Rom 6:17; 16:17; 1 Cor 11:2, 23; 15:3; Phil 4:9; Col 2:6-7; 2 Thess 2:15; 3:6; 2 Tim 3:14; Titus 1:9; 2 John 9-10; Jude 3: Rev 2:13, 24. Cf. Abot 1:1; Philo, The Worse Attacks the Better 65-68. 24. John 19:35; 21:24-25; cf. 13:23; 18:15-16; 19:26-27; 20:1-10; 21:7, 21-23. Cf. J. A. T. Robinson, Redating the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1976) 298-311. 25. On parallels with other rabbis and their disciples and other Jewish usage cf. Mark 2:18 = Luke 5:33; K.H. Rengstorf TDNT 1 (1964) 412-43;.TDNT 4 (1967) 431-55.Also, there wasn't necessarily a long period of solely oral transmission as has been assumed:"Under the influence of R. Bultmann and M. Dibelius the classical form criticism raised many doubts about the historicity of the Synoptic Gospels, but it was shaped by a number of literary and historical assumptions which themselves are increasingly seen to have a doubtful historical basis. It assumed, first of all, that the Gospel traditions were transmitted for decades exclusively in oral form and began to be fixed in writing only when the early Christian anticipation of a soon end of the world faded. This theory foundered with the discovery in 1947 of the library of the Qumran sect, a group contemporaneous with the ministry of Jesus and the early church which combined intense expectation of the End with prolific writing. Qumran shows that such expectations did not inhibit writing but actually were a spur to it. Also, the widespread literacy in first-century Palestinian Judaism [18], together with the different language backgrounds of Jesus' followers--some Greek, some Aramaic, some bilingual--would have facilitated the rapid written formulations and transmission of at least some of Jesus' teaching.[19]" (p. 53-54
)

------------------ 18. Cf. Josephus, Against Apion 2.25 204: The Law "orders that (children) should be taught to read."; cf. idem, Ant. 12.4.9 209; Philo, Embassy to Gaius 115, 210, Further, see R. Riesner, Jesus als Lehrer (WUNT 2.7; Tubingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1981; 4th ed., 1998) 112-15.

19. Jesus had hearers and doubtless some converts from Syria (Matt 4:25), the Decapolis (Matt 4:25; Mark 3:8; 5:20; 7:31), Tyre and Sidon (Mark 3:8; 7:24, 31; Matt 15:21).

N. T. Wright, critiquing the Jesus Seminar's view of oral tradition as uncontrolled and informal based on some irrelevant research done in modern Western non-oral societies writes:"Against this whole line of thought we must set the serious study of genuinely oral traditions that has gone on in various quarters recently. [65] (p. 112-113)

--------------- 65. For example, see H. Wansbrough (ed.), Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition (JSNTSup 64; Sheffield: JSOT Press, 1991), referring to a large amount of earlier work; Bailey, "Informal Controlled Oral Tradition," 34-54.
The following discussion depends on these and similar studies, and builds on Wright, The New Testament and the People of God, 418-43; and idem, Jesus and the Victory of God, 133-37."Communities that live in an oral culture tend to be story-telling communities. They sit around in long evenings telling and listening to stories--the same stories, over and over again. Such stories, especially when they are involved with memorable happenings that have determined in some way the existence and life of the particular group in question, acquire a fairly fixed form, down to precise phraseology (in narrative as well as in recorded speech), extremely early in their life--often within a day or so of the original incident taking place. They retain that form, and phraseology, as long as they are told. Each village and community has its recognized storytellers, the accredited bearers of its traditions; but the whole community knows the stories by heart, and if the teller varies them even slightly they will let him know in no uncertain terms. This matters quite a lot in cultures where, to this day, the desire to avoid 'shame' is a powerful motivation."Such cultures do also repeat, and hence transmit, proverbs, and pithy sayings. Indeed, they tend to know far more proverbs than the orally starved modern Western world. But the circulation of such individual sayings is only the tip of the iceberg; the rest is narrative, narrative with embedded dialogue, heard, repeated again and again within minutes, hours and days of the original incident, and fixed in memories the like of which few in the modern Western world can imagine. The storyteller in such a culture has no license to invent or adapt at will. The less important the story, the more the entire community, in a process that is informal but very effective, will keep a close watch on the precise form and wording with which the story is told."And the stories about Jesus were nothing if not important. Even the Jesus Seminar admits that Jesus was an itinerant wonder-worker. Very well. Supposing a woman in a village is suddenly healed after a lengthy illness. Even today, even in a non-oral culture, the story of such an event would quickly spread among friends, neighbors and relatives, acquiring a fixed form within the first two or three retellings and retaining it, other things being equal, thereafter. In a culture where storytelling was and is an art-form, a memorable event such as this, especially if it were also seen as a sign that Israel's God was now at last at work to do what he had always promised, would be told at once in specific ways, told so as to be not just a celebration of a healing but also a celebration of the Kingdom of God. Events and stories of this order are community-forming, and the stories which form communities do not get freely or loosely adapted. One does not disturb the foundations of the house in which one is living."[B.D. Chilton and C.A. Evans (eds.), Authenticating the Activities of Jesus (NTTS, 28.2; Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1998) p. 113-115.]
,,,D. Summary

The historicity of Jesus is more secure than most figures in the ancient world. We have no birth certificate for Julius Cesser. We have no real proof that Chalemaine existed, but Historians except him as having lived, and there are pure legends about him; they are even modeled after the Arthurian legends. (See Bullfinch, Mythology).

The major historians of the day witness Jesus' existence. While they could have been going merely on what Christians said about him, most of them were good historians who loved truth and believed passionately in documenting their cases. They had access to such documentation, why would they not use it? Joseph's himself is probably the most trustworthy historian of the first century. He records twice that Jesus of Nazareth existed, and there is no reason not to take him at his word. The texts have been emended, but not made up out of whole cloth. The bits that aren't emendations clearly testify to Jesus' existence in history.

The places where the drama unfolded are real and historical. The empty tomb of Christ was marked form the beginning and Christians made sure they kept track of the site. Why would a fictitious legendary character have a solid tomb? Why would it be empty? The principle characters in the story were real people. We know their historicity because we have the writings of those who knew them. While the Patristic writers do make mistakes, and while they don't' leave us a historical record that can fill in all the gaps reliably, they at least do testify to the existence of Jesus! They document their own associations with those who knew Jesus. There is no reason to assume that Jesus was not a real historical person. It would be enough just to take it on Joseph's' word, but the case is far stronger than that. In fact there is probably a stronger case for Jesus existence than for most figures in that time period.


Comments

im-skeptical said…
So if I visit Russia, and I see some of the places there, and learn the names and titles of a few officials, I can then write a fiction story about some supposed "special person" who supposedly lives there, and hundreds of years from now, historians and archaeologists will examine my story and declare that the people and places are real, so it must be a true story.
Joe Hinman said…
If you get the titles right and the names (if you can get Russian names right especially) that's one indication you were there. The problem with your example is you would really be there,That's what it indicates,that's all I said it indicates.

Ever read Tolstoy or Dostoevsky? check out the names.
im-skeptical said…
OK, so someone who invented this story of Jesus actually visited that part of the world. Wow, that's convincing.
Joe Hinman said…
you really don't know squat about the Bible do you? we are talking about Acts. its not a story about Jesus, it means Luke is a trust worthy recorder, Tere no reason to think he was writing fiction. Acts his historical and trustworthy so Gospel of Luke is probably so as well, Sae author, on fact the same work. some historians think it;s a two part letter to the same guy,
im-skeptical said…
Why does Luke disagree with Matthew? And why does describing a place make him historically accurate? Does my accurate description of a place in Russia make my fictional story true?
Joe Hinman said…
did you read the quote? why the hell don[t you read things? It says specially ghettoize the titles right is something people often don't do. They did not have a set of encyclopedia to look them up in. It's probably many of them would not be wrote about anywhere.The missionary journies wind around over large area you could not easily find out the titles without being on the trip.
Anonymous said…
One of my problems with Joe Hinman’s posts on the archaeological evidence related to Jesus is that he does not seem to be
aware of scholarly arguments made on the other side. One might get the idea from reading his posts that those who doubt the
authenticity of the holy sites he talks about are all uninformed atheists and skeptics and all the scholarship is on his side. This is
not the case.

A good book on the subject is Joan Taylor, The Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1993). Taylor is a Christian (Quaker) and Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s
College, London. She argues in the book that Christians did not revere holy sites in Palestine before the fourth century and that
many of the best known holy sites, including the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, Peter’s House in Capernaum, and the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher/Golgotha are probably inauthentic.

Google Books has a short blurb as a preview:

The origins of Christian holy places in Palestine and the beginnings of Christian pilgrimage to these sites have seemed obscure.
From a detailed examination of the literature and archaeology pertaining to specific sites and the region in general, the present
author finds no evidence that Christians of any kind venerated 'holy places' before the fourth century. It appears that scholarly
Christians had visited certain Biblical sites out of historical and exegetical concerns, but that these sites were not considered
holy, or the visitors as 'pilgrims'. Instead, the origins of Christian pilgrimage and holy places rest with the emperor Constantine,
who established four basilicas in Palestine c. 325-30 and provided two imperial matrons, Helena and Eutropia, as examples of a
new kind of pious pilgrim. Pilgrimage to intrinsically sacred shrines had been a pagan practice, which was grafted on to
Christianity. Many Jewish, Samaritan, and pagan sites were thereafter appropriated by the church and turned into Christian holy
places. This process helped to destroy the widespread paganism of Palestine and mark the country as a 'holy land'. Very few
sites are genuine, the most important being the cave (not Garden) of Gethsemane, in which Jesus was probably arrested

There’s also a “Look Inside” preview on Amazon.
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous Anonymous said...
One of my problems with Joe Hinman’s posts on the archaeological evidence related to Jesus is that he does not seem to be
aware of scholarly arguments made on the other side. One might get the idea from reading his posts that those who doubt the
authenticity of the holy sites he talks about are all uninformed atheists and skeptics and all the scholarship is on his side. This is
not the case.

I am not aware of all arguments but I am very much aware of the fact that on almost any topic dealing with religion and especially the Bile one can find scholarly criticisms of any position. I don't think it's true that I convey any such impression,I do talk about criticisms, but I have no respect for Jesus mythers and most scholars still don't either,

A good book on the subject is Joan Taylor, The Christians and the Holy Places: The Myth of Jewish-Christian Origins (Oxford:
Clarendon Press, 1993). Taylor is a Christian (Quaker) and Professor of Christian Origins and Second Temple Judaism at King’s
College, London. She argues in the book that Christians did not revere holy sites in Palestine before the fourth century and that
many of the best known holy sites, including the Church of the Nativity at Bethlehem, Peter’s House in Capernaum, and the
Church of the Holy Sepulcher/Golgotha are probably inauthentic.

my argument is not that these places are authentic that proves the Bible, my argument is that the places were named early mid first century and Jesus is at the center of all of those places that contradicts all the Jesus myth theorizes,no time for myth to evolve.

Google Books has a short blurb as a preview:

The origins of Christian holy places in Palestine and the beginnings of Christian pilgrimage to these sites have seemed obscure.
From a detailed examination of the literature and archaeology pertaining to specific sites and the region in general, the present
author finds no evidence that Christians of any kind venerated 'holy places' before the fourth century. It appears that scholarly
Christians had visited certain Biblical sites out of historical and exegetical concerns, but that these sites were not considered
holy, or the visitors as 'pilgrims'. Instead, the origins of Christian pilgrimage and holy places rest with the emperor Constantine,
who established four basilicas in Palestine c. 325-30 and provided two imperial matrons, Helena and Eutropia, as examples of a
new kind of pious pilgrim. Pilgrimage to intrinsically sacred shrines had been a pagan practice, which was grafted on to
Christianity. Many Jewish, Samaritan, and pagan sites were thereafter appropriated by the church and turned into Christian holy
places. This process helped to destroy the widespread paganism of Palestine and mark the country as a 'holy land'. Very few
sites are genuine, the most important being the cave (not Garden) of Gethsemane, in which Jesus was probably arrested

There’s also a “Look Inside” preview on Amazon.

again my argument is not about proving the authenticity of the places,
Joe Hinman said…
I wasn't that clear about my argument. When I made the Peter's house argument in past I was clear to point that out,I just forgot.
im-skeptical said…
my argument is that the places were named early mid first century and Jesus is at the center of all of those places

Let me get this straight, because the last thing I would want to do is misinterpret your argument. So a guy writes a story sometime around 85 AD, and we don't know exactly who wrote it, or where he lived. In this story, he describes Jesus being in a certain place. Now, it turns out that archaeologists confirm the place was real. But that's not the important point. What matters is that this author gives the correct name of the place. And therefore Jesus must have existed.

So we don't really know where the author lived, and we don't even know who it was. Maybe he lived there. Or maybe he spent some time there. But what difference does that make? How does this confirm that the story of Jesus is real? I think the logic is bizarre. But that's just the way Christians think, I guess.
Joe Hinman said…
Let me get this straight, because the last thing I would want to do is misinterpret your argument. So a guy writes a story

It is not a "story." no text from any period ever portrayed NT writings as mere fiction .There is no reason at all to think it was merely a story for entertainment, They were always regarded as historical fact as far back as we have any memory of them.



sometime around 85 AD,

the original written record of the story is from mid century l,50AD, proto Mark was probably from 40s.


and we don't know exactly who wrote it, or where he lived.

we know he lived i the original Jerusalem community and that community attests to his validity.

In this story, he describes Jesus being in a certain place. Now, it turns out that archaeologists confirm the place was real. But that's not the important point. What matters is that this author gives the correct name of the place. And therefore Jesus must have existed.

Skepie why ca't you pay attention? I pointed out that the missionary journalese in Acts are long and winding routes for the ancient world they were an arduous trip, they did not have reference books that would allow them to look up info about the places, He got the info right that means he was there. No one would undertake such a trip to write a fictional story when non of his readers will travel the route to see if he got it right. So that increases the probability that there was really such a sojourn with a guy named Paul and it did involve spreading the gospel,the reason for the whole thing was Jesus, as Jesus is at the center of all the examples, it all a giant web of harlotry and Jesus is at the center of it,

So we don't really know where the author lived,

assumimg you mean the first to write the story of the Gospels we know he Linked in Jerusalem.


and we don't even know who it was.

we don't have to know because the community itself is the author,the whole community produced the Gospels through the redaction process and we know it originated im n Jerusalem

Maybe he lived there. Or maybe he spent some time there. But what difference does that make? How does this confirm that the story of Jesus is real? I think the logic is bizarre. But that's just the way Christians think, I guess.


the community as a whole is testifying o the story as the history that it experienced as a community.if you look at the examples from my post you can see they involve a lot of historical elements that testify to Jesus historical existence

(1) the house in Californium said to be Peter/s house was a place of worship in mid first century, That is just around 20 years after Jesus ministry,so that pushes the reality of Jesus back to almost the actual time he lived,

(1) Jesus' alleged hoe town was inhabited in his day, including early life

(3) His mother is attested to as historical person and her dwelling known

(4) the community surrounding his place of burial attests to the historical reality of his existence and of his burial,

several other exanples read the post again,
Don McIntosh said…
"Does my accurate description of a place in Russia make my fictional story true?"

Of course not. Fictional stories are not true. But what's at issue here is the historical veracity of the gospels, not whether fictional stories can be made true.

A story that accurately describes geographical sites, typographical features, historical personalities, etc., is much more likely to be true than a story that gets many or most of those things wrong. Likewise a story that purports to be genuine historical narrative is much more likely to be actual history than a story that is clearly intended to be fictional.

im-skeptical said…
A story that accurately describes geographical sites, typographical features, historical personalities, etc., is much more likely to be true than a story that gets many or most of those things wrong. Likewise a story that purports to be genuine historical narrative is much more likely to be actual history than a story that is clearly intended to be fictional.

I agree. So let's look at what the gospels say.

Luke: Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Matthew: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

The census of Quirinius took place in 6AD, but Herod died in 4BB. That's a problem. Someone is not telling the truth. The most likely way to account for this is that the authof of one or both of these stories was NOT there at the time, but was relying on accounts of past events somewhere near the supposed time if the birth of Jsus, which he worked into the story. This is basically confirmation that the biblical accounts are NOT historically accurate, at least in part, but were cobbled together by someone who certainly was not an eye-witness to the events described.
Joe Hinman said…
m-skeptical said...
A story that accurately describes geographical sites, typographical features, historical personalities, etc., is much more likely to be true than a story that gets many or most of those things wrong. Likewise a story that purports to be genuine historical narrative is much more likely to be actual history than a story that is clearly intended to be fictional.

especially the case when the issue is the historical validity of arduous journey most would never undertake.It's less likley to be fathered for incidental reasons so it;s more likley the author really was on the trip.

I agree. So let's look at what the gospels say.

Luke: Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city.

Matthew: Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. Gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born.

The census of Quirinius took place in 6AD, but Herod died in 4BB. That's a problem. Someone is not telling the truth. The most likely way to account for this is that the authof of one or both of these stories was NOT there at the time, but was relying on accounts of past events somewhere near the supposed time if the birth of Jsus, which he worked into the story. This is basically confirmation that the biblical accounts are NOT historically accurate, at least in part, but were cobbled together by someone who certainly was not an eye-witness to the events described.

show me some docs that say the census was only in 6AD and they didn't have one before?also that's a difference of 10 years what Mat got it wrong? why Mat? there's evdience tahtLuke interviewed Mary but Mat is not knwn for his historical accrumen.,
im-skeptical said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
im-skeptical said…
You can try to conflate a different census with the one described by Luke, but the language of the text is clear: "first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria".

Here is a historical account of the life of Quirinius.


but Mat is not knwn for his historical accrumen.

My point exactly.
Joe Hinman said…
You can try to conflate a different census with the one described by Luke, but the language of the text is clear: "first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria".

Here is a historical account of the life of Quirinius.


but Mat is not knwn for his historical accrumen.

My point exactly.

2/09/2017 09:29:00 AM Delete


I told you I have reason to believe Luke over mat,
Joe Hinman said…
but Mat is not knwn for his historical accrumen.

My point exactly.

I think you are confused. I am not an internist,
Joe Hinman said…
the classic answer is Quarinias was governor twice, you have no evidence that his term time was 6AD. That was the second,

im-skeptical said…
I told you I have reason to believe Luke over mat
- So you would discount the book of Matthew?

I think you are confused. I am not an internist
- I didn't think you were a doctor of internal medicine. Why would I?

the classic answer is Quarinias was governor twice, you have no evidence that his term time was 6AD. That was the second
- Governor twice, but not of Syria, according to more impartial historical accounts. Note also that the article says this:

"However this may be, Quirinius' census and the riots that followed were remembered by the Jews. As we have already seen above, the evangelist Luke, writing two generations after the events, could assume that every reader knew Quirinius' governorship."
Joe Hinman said…
I told you I have reason to believe Luke over mat

- So you would discount the book of Matthew?

in a contradiction with Luke I would go with Luke

I think you are confused. I am not an internist

- I didn't think you were a doctor of internal medicine. Why would I?

dyslexia, inerentist

the classic answer is Quarinias was governor twice, you have no evidence that his term time was 6AD. That was the second

- Governor twice, but not of Syria, according to more impartial historical accounts. Note also that the article says this:


wrong he was governor of Syria twice that is proved by Harrison,

"However this may be, Quirinius' census and the riots that followed were remembered by the Jews. As we have already seen above, the evangelist Luke, writing two generations after the events, could assume that every reader knew Quirinius' governorship."

that doesmt say when you also have cited the soirce sloppy scholarship


"That the machinery for such an administrative percedure was in fact opprative seems clearly indicated in the writtings of Clement of Alexandria (155-202) who recorded that it commenced with the census that was in progress at the time when Christ was born. Documentary evidence form Egypt consisting of actual census reports for enrolements in AD 90, 104, 118, 132, and suceeding years is now to hand, and it is an accredited fact that in the latter empire there was a 14 year interval between enrolments."[Harrison, p.23]Harrison,Archaeology and The New Testament,p.25] That's four sources supporting Quarinius' governorships: Bruce, Ramsey, Harrison, and Robinson.

"Earlier scholars objected that a census held by Qurinias could not have occurred in the time of Herod, since Quritinias had not them become governor of Syria. However it is clear from contemporary inscriptions that Quarinias exercised some kind of executive power on two distinct occasions in Syria. One of these source found at Antioch in Pisidia spoke of P. Sulpicius Qurarinias dummvir waging a campaign in Syria about 10 BC.* in his capacity of Chief Magistrate, while a second inscription attested to his prominence in the imperial army in 6 BC." (Bruce).* It should be noticed that Luke does not say that Quarinius held the census himself, but only that it was conducted at the time that he was Legate...ON this basis W.M. Calder concluded that Quarinius had held two govenorships in Syria. F.F. Brucefollowed Ramsay in maintianing a date for the first of these between 10 and 7 BC and commented:

"There is evidence that Quarinias held such a post at an earlier time, probably between 10 BC and 7 BC when as extraordinary imperial legate in the province of Syrio-Cilicia for military purposes, he commanded an expedition against the Homanadenses, a Moutin Tribe of Asia Minor."

Don McIntosh said…
Skeptical, as I understand it* your argument is that if inerrancy is false, Jesus Christ was not an actual historical figure. That of course would be a non sequitur.

*note that I am not saying to you, "You said that if inerrancy is false, Jesus Christ was not an actual historical figure." I am saying that your statements seem to suggest an argument whose logic doesn't follow.
J. P Holding said…
The hilarity is that fundy atheist groupies like these are always the first to have a conniption when they think e.g., Mark has an error in geography. So even if the Gospels get that stuff right, they're still wrong.
im-skeptical said…
I have encountered many Christians, some of whom consider themselves to be historians, who believe that every word of the New Testament is literally true. In my opinion, their position is untenable. Yet they manage to find inventive ways to harmonize the many discrepancies and contradictions. To an objective observer, all this harmonization is just an exercise in logical contortionism. Even if you're not an inerrantist, there's still a lot of harmonizing needed to keep the whole enterprise from falling apart at the seams.
Joe Hinman said…
I have encountered many Christians, some of whom consider themselves to be historians, who believe that every word of the New Testament is literally true. In my opinion, their position is untenable. Yet they manage to find inventive ways to harmonize the many discrepancies and contradictions.

Yes it is a ridiculous posiitomn that;swhy I don't hold to it.


To an objective observer, all this harmonization is just an exercise in logical contortionism. Even if you're not an inerrantist, there's still a lot of harmonizing needed to keep the whole enterprise from falling apart at the seams.

nothing wrong with harnonizing itjust depneds upom to what exptremeone takes it, taht;swhy Isay Ill take Luke over amatt ifImust
Anonymous said…
Before looking at his post, I had better say that I think Jesus probably did exist. On balance, the evidence does go that way. However, the other side of that is that I think it possible he did not, so it is ineresting to look at the evidence.

JH (quoting Cornfield) "For the purposes of worship, the Jewish-Chrsitians of Palestine availed themselves not only of the synagogues, but also developed their ritual in certain "sacred and mystic grottoes" as reported by the ecclesiastical historian, Eusebius of Caesarea. In Their worship in this "Lord's house" in Bethlehem which was carried on until the fourth century, they celebrated two of three mysteries par excellence: Mary's Virginity and her bringing forth the Christ child; ...Hadrian profaned the site by planting a wood over the grotto, but this helped to maintain the tradition of the birthplace of Jesus." (Cornfeld, Archaeology of The Bible. New York: Harper and Row, 1976,p.2779-280)......

This states that Eusebius reported that the Jewish-Chrsitians held sacred certain places, but it does say say that Eusebius had anything to say about Bethlehem. What exactly did Eusebius say with regards to this worship in a house in Bethlehem? I cannot find anything. I presume you have researched properly, given your background in history, and not accepted it on blind faith.

I am dubious because my guess is that the whole Bethlehem thing was made up to fit OT prophesies (which is about a tribe, not a place).

A side issue; what are the two mysteries? It seems to count Mary being a virgin as a mystery, and her given birth as a mystery. They would seem to be the miracle, if we accept the Biblical account.

You seem to use this book to support most of your chaim, I note in passing.

The Nazareth issue is complex, but my feeling here is that Jesus picked up the nickname, and the Gospel writers then worked back from there to say he came from Nazareth. Yes, it looks like it did exist back then, but a tiny place with a population of just 400. I think that actually this does argue for Jesus existing.

With regards to Luke, I have to say: So what? All you are showing is that luke was familar with the geography and culture of the region. You cite the shipwreck on Malta, an event that occurred many years after Jesus death. The shipwreck could have been a real event whether Jesus was real or not.

Pix
Anonymous said…
JH "Archaeology cannot yet identify with certainty the tomb of Christ, but here is strong evidence supporting the Church of the Holy Sepulcher as the original site. The site does date back to the fourth century when it was shown to Constantine."

Why was the site not venerated right from that first Easter? It was the location where Jesus triumphed over death, the most important event in Christian history, and yet there is nothing to suggest early Christians knew about it at all.

JH "It is absurd to think that Jesus was fiction or legend. It is absurd to think that the Gospel could have spread within the life time of eye witnesses. The accounts were being written by AD 50. Just because the canonical Gospels weren't yet written doesn't mean that the stories in them weren't written."

It also does not mean that they were written. I get that you think it is absurd, but saying it does not make it so. Even if you say it twice.

We do not know what the orignal works said, whether written or spoken, or how they were understood.

JH "The only way the Christ-Myth notion could work is if it were a hoax. So Peter and 11 friends fabricate this account and start telling it to everyone around them."

That is just plain wrong. An alternative explanation is readily available on Wiki on this topic, and it is surprising your research failed to find it, especially given your background in history.

Wiki: "That is, that Paul and other writers of the earliest existing proto-Christian documents did not believe in Jesus as a person who was incarnated on Earth in an historical setting, rather, they believed in Jesus as a heavenly being who suffered his sacrificial death in the lower spheres of heaven, where he was crucified by demons and then was subsequently resurrected by God. This mythological Jesus was not based on a historical Jesus, but rather on an exegesis of the Old Testament in the context of Jewish-Hellenistic religious syncretism, and what the early authors believed to be mystical visions of a risen Jesus.[213]"

JH "With the first writting of the Gospel story in AD 50 (see above) it is clear that the Jesus' story was already set in stone by mid century, just 20 years after the events."

What does "set in stone" mean to you? This is not the case as I understand the phrase. Mark's gospel developed the original narrative, and that was on turn added to at some point later, plus we have the authors of both Luke and Matthew modifying the text too.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…

This states that Eusebius reported that the Jewish-Chrsitians held sacred certain places, but it does say say that Eusebius had anything to say about Bethlehem. What exactly did Eusebius say with regards to this worship in a house in Bethlehem? I cannot find anything. I presume you have researched properly, given your background in history, and not accepted it on blind faith.

He authenticated the site of the CHS the tomb and the site of Galgatha and latter is one of the grottos, he doesn't have to hae said thing about bethlhem,

I am dubious because my guess is that the whole Bethlehem thing was made up to fit OT prophesies (which is about a tribe, not a place).

let's don;t forget my argument is not that these are the actual places but their veneration from early period straches back the knowledge Jesus to the time when he was supposed to have lived,so no time for myth,

but in Isaiah 9 it says the people in such and such (gives geographical place) hyave seen a great light, So it does reference a physical place,that doesn't answer the charge of self fulfilling


A side issue; what are the two mysteries? It seems to count Mary being a virgin as a mystery, and her given birth as a mystery. They would seem to be the miracle, if we accept the Biblical account.

those look like two mysteries to me, o if one I guess there;s one more whqtever it is,

You seem to use this book to support most of your chaim, I note in passing.

what is a "chaim?"


The Nazareth issue is complex, but my feeling here is that Jesus picked up the nickname, and the Gospel writers then worked back from there to say he came from Nazareth. Yes, it looks like it did exist back then, but a tiny place with a population of just 400. I think that actually this does argue for Jesus existing.


why think that? you are only asserting it because it gives youanotehr trimesome bible contradiction

With regards to Luke, I have to say: So what? All you are showing is that luke was familar with the geography and culture of the region. You cite the shipwreck on Malta, an event that occurred many years after Jesus death. The shipwreck could have been a real event whether Jesus was real or not.

you ave apparently not bothered to follow the argument carefully since it takes some attention, I know I didn't do it justice, you need to read it in Neil's book Stephen Neil was one of the top scholars in teh world of eh 190s he presents the argument in excellent fashion, I can't take that much ime hie wrote a whole half a chapter about it,
\
Neil talks about how in the 19th century all these Englishmen when they got out of college woudl gon the "rang tour" tavel allover eruope and wrote back and they would get a buch of things wrong, oen thing always got wrong titles of local officials,

Titles is one thing hard to get right when they very from town to town,that Luke got them right shows he was on the tripe was there that means the journey harpooned, I said taht clearly,


Anonymous said…
JH: He authenticated the site of the CHS the tomb and the site of Galgatha and latter is one of the grottos, he doesn't have to hae said thing about bethlhem,

Seriously? You are citing this as evidence for "A. Jesus' Childhood documented (1) Bethlehem manger." and you actually think the work does not need to mention Bethlehem? Does it mention a manger at all?

I think that says volumes about the level of support your so-called evidence gives for your claims.

JH: let's don;t forget my argument is not that these are the actual places but their veneration from early period straches back the knowledge Jesus to the time when he was supposed to have lived,so no time for myth,

Then your post is very badly written, because it reads as though you are claiming archaeological evidence for the historicity of Jesus. For example, the first section is titled "Archeological Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus".

JH: but in Isaiah 9 it says the people in such and such (gives geographical place) hyave seen a great light, So it does reference a physical place,that doesn't answer the charge of self fulfilling

Not sure what your point is.

JH: Neil talks about how in the 19th century all these Englishmen when they got out of college woudl gon the "rang tour" tavel allover eruope and wrote back and they would get a buch of things wrong, oen thing always got wrong titles of local officials,

Titles is one thing hard to get right when they very from town to town,that Luke got them right shows he was on the tripe was there that means the journey harpooned, I said taht clearly,


But we are not arguing about that trip. I think the trip almost certainly did happen, though I think it less certain that Luke was on it (but if not, he talked to someone who was on it). Let us suppose it was Luke who wrote the gospel (and assume Luke joined Paul in Troas on the second missionary trip, as seems commonly believed), that gives you someone who joined the religion around 50 AD, and his belief was based purely on what he was told by a handful of people, given he was hundreds of miles from where it happened. Furthermore, he did not write until several decades later, and to judge from how the theology on Luke disagrees with that of Paul, his beliefs changed in that time.

Is that enough time for a belief in a supernatural hero to get converted into a belief about an actual man? Probably not. But probably not is different to definitely not.

For me, the way the accounts make Jesus more supernatural as time passes is the best evidence that Jesus existed. Mark has Jesus as an ordinary man, adopted as the son of God at baptistism, Luke and Matthew have Jesus born as God's son, and then John has Jesus existing eternally. Extrapolate back from Mark and you get Jesus adopted by God at the crucifixion or resurrection (and there were such beliefs), and even further back, you get Jesus as just a man.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
Anonymous said...
JH: He authenticated the site of the CHS the tomb and the site of Galgatha and latter is one of the grottos, he doesn't have to hae said thing about bethlhem,

Seriously? You are citing this as evidence for "A. Jesus' Childhood documented (1) Bethlehem manger." and you actually think the work does not need to mention Bethlehem? Does it mention a manger at all?

that's irrational, why does this one guy have to mention this place if we have other evidence for it>I'm not sure he doesn't mind you but suppose he doesn't that doesn't prove anything, YOU ARE EMPLOYING THE ATHEIST DIVERSIONARY MINUTIA TACTIC

I think that says volumes about the level of support your so-called evidence gives for your claims.

I think it says volumes ab out the straws you are willing to clutch, why single out that one guy as the be end all of the argument? I quotes one offhand remark that he says one thing you establish him as the only source that counts, Bethlehem was excavated,learn to argue like a graduate student: the modern excavation tells is a hell lot more than a quote by fucking Eusebius!

JH: let's don;t forget my argument is not that these are the actual places but their veneration from early period straches back the knowledge Jesus to the time when he was supposed to have lived,so no time for myth,

Then your post is very badly written, because it reads as though you are claiming archaeological evidence for the historicity of Jesus. For example, the first section is titled "Archeological Evidence for the Historicity of Jesus".

it said it up from,you need learn to follow an argument ,improve your reading skills.

JH: but in Isaiah 9 it says the people in such and such (gives geographical place) hyave seen a great light, So it does reference a physical place,that doesn't answer the charge of self fulfilling

Not sure what your point is.

you don't remember saying its not a place but a tibe? The whole point is fulfillment of prophesy the prophesy was given about a place as well as people in the place, the place were Messiah was to be bron,

Joe Hinman said…
JH: Neil talks about how in the 19th century all these Englishmen when they got out of college woudl gon the "rang tour" tavel allover eruope and wrote back and they would get a buch of things wrong, oen thing always got wrong titles of local officials,

Titles is one thing hard to get right when they very from town to town,that Luke got them right shows he was on the tripe was there that means the journey harpooned, I said taht clearly,

But we are not arguing about that trip. I think the trip almost certainly did happen, though I think it less certain that Luke was on it (but if not, he talked to someone who was on it). Let us suppose it was Luke who wrote the gospel (and assume Luke joined Paul in Troas on the second missionary trip, as seems commonly believed), that gives you someone who joined the religion around 50 AD, and his belief was based purely on what he was told by a handful of people, given he was hundreds of miles from where it happened. Furthermore, he did not write until several decades later, and to judge from how the theology on Luke disagrees with that of Paul, his beliefs changed in that time.

there is a series pof commendations here in historical probability that you need to be aware of, The ultimate point in a historicity is probability. we can't go back imn time with the Doctor in the TARDIS and see.The same author who wrote the Luke book also wrote Gospel of Luke. Now he wasn't at the birth of Christ but there's good evidence that he did interview the principles, if he's a trustworthy recorder of the events he witnessed then he's probably a trust worthy recorder of what the principles told him.


trying to dismiss the key eye witnesses is wrong headed, they are the most important group because they were there.


Is that enough time for a belief in a supernatural hero to get converted into a belief about an actual man? Probably not. But probably not is different to definitely not.

atheist think all or nothing, chemists think in terms of perversion ,history is not like that and historians think in terms of probability, but the facts of history are like this,Did King John sign magna charta? it's probable not certain,

For me, the way the accounts make Jesus more supernatural as time passes is the best evidence that Jesus existed. Mark has Jesus as an ordinary man, adopted as the son of God at baptistism, Luke and Matthew have Jesus born as God's son, and then John has Jesus existing eternally. Extrapolate back from Mark and you get Jesus adopted by God at the crucifixion or resurrection (and there were such beliefs), and even further back, you get Jesus as just a man.

Mark does mot have Jesus as an ordinary man,, that is fallacious, he does miracle,the resurrection is recorded before the lost ending, the assimptiopm you are making there is philosophical not scientific. Naturalistic anti SN = philosophy not science
Joe Hinman said…
Luke wrote his Gospel and Acts after he had been to Jerusalem and after the missionary journey. You said:

" Let us suppose it was Luke who wrote the gospel (and assume Luke joined Paul in Troas on the second missionary trip, as seems commonly believed), that gives you someone who joined the religion around 50 AD, and his belief was based purely on what he was told by a handful of people, given he was hundreds of miles from where it happened."

you seen to imply you thin Luke just became a Christian on the missionary journey. He was already a christian when he went on the journey,At the time he wrote ab out it it a long time latter he had lots of time to interview Mary or whomever before he wrote, he could have already done so before the journey or after it. He was in Jerusalem, he also used other sources,that is Gospels, which he implies im the first chapter of the Gospel.
Anonymous said…
JH: there is a series pof commendations here in historical probability that you need to be aware of, The ultimate point in a historicity is probability. we can't go back imn time with the Doctor in the TARDIS and see.The same author who wrote the Luke book also wrote Gospel of Luke. Now he wasn't at the birth of Christ but there's good evidence that he did interview the principles, if he's a trustworthy recorder of the events he witnessed then he's probably a trust worthy recorder of what the principles told him.

Right. Jesus probably existed.

Pix: Is that enough time for a belief in a supernatural hero to get converted into a belief about an actual man? Probably not. But probably not is different to definitely not.

JH: atheist think all or nothing, chemists think in terms of perversion ,history is not like that and historians think in terms of probability, but the facts of history are like this,Did King John sign magna charta? it's probable not certain,

Again, we conclude Jesus probably existed.

JH: Mark does mot have Jesus as an ordinary man,, that is fallacious, he does miracle,the resurrection is recorded before the lost ending, the assimptiopm you are making there is philosophical not scientific. Naturalistic anti SN = philosophy not science

Mark has Jesus as originally an ordinary man, albeit a man God is especially pleased with.

Mark 1:9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my beloved Son;[d] with you I am well pleased.”

Mark is quite clear that this event, not, say Jesus' birth, was the beginning of the good news. And it follows the precedent set in the Old Testament, of God adopting the king of the Jews as his adopted son.

2 Samuel 7:12 When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men,

Psalm 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the Lord and against his Anointed, saying,
...
7 I will tell of the decree:
The Lord said to me, “You are my Son;
today I have begotten you.

JH: you seen to imply you thin Luke just became a Christian on the missionary journey. He was already a christian when he went on the journey,At the time he wrote ab out it it a long time latter he had lots of time to interview Mary or whomever before he wrote, he could have already done so before the journey or after it. He was in Jerusalem, he also used other sources,that is Gospels, which he implies im the first chapter of the Gospel.

I am assuming Luke joined the missionary journey when the text changes from "we" to "they", in Troas (as seems the common position), and that that was because he had just "seen the light", presumably from the preaching of the others on the trip. On what basis can you state (as though it is a fact!) that he was already a Christian? Why do you think Mary was still alive when Luke became a Christian, let alone when he decided to write a new gospel and started interviewing witness?

You challenged me about Mark believing Jesus was just a man, and I have provided evidence to support that position. With your background in history and apologetics, it will be interesting to see what you can come up with to support your assertions here.

Pix
Joe Hinman said…
You challenged me about Mark believing Jesus was just a man, and I have provided evidence to support that position. With your background in history and apologetics, it will be interesting to see what you can come up with to support your assertions here.


where?
Joe Hinman said…
That's argument from silence, he clearly is not emphasizing those aspects the divine pre-mundane aspects the other gospels do that doesn't mean the Markan redaction rejects them/

Mark was not the first Gospel written it is just the first of the four canonical. Those other redactions were pre Mark.

Joe Hinman said…
I am assuming Luke joined the missionary journey when the text changes from "we" to "they", in Troas (as seems the common position), and that that was because he had just "seen the light", presumably from the preaching of the others on the trip.

that does not follow that when he joined is when he got converted. That's not even the issue however ,the issue is when did he interview Mary and other eyewitnesses to Jesus? That was between the missionary journey and the writing of the letter (Luke/Actsletter to Theopholus). we do not know how long after that was.

On what basis can you state (as though it is a fact!) that he was already a Christian?

It's not real likely that a new convert woudl want to go on such a journey immediately,Hey I know that;s conjecture but asIvsay not evenb the issue,

Why do you think Mary was still alive when Luke became a Christian, let alone when he decided to write a new gospel and started interviewing witness?

there are a lot of clues n teh text that impoly taht he knew her, Oneof tehnajorones is he was the first writer kn history to describe a woman;s inner state talking about eh child insider leaping when she met Elisabeth,I can't remember the other reasons/ New he was a physician so that might explain it but he apparently was moved by Mary.

Another is the story of the boy discussing with the wise men it describes how Mary pondered it, every place mary appear he concerned with her feelings,

Even if he didn't meet her he clearly did make an attempt to get it right, he took other accounts into account and researched them.
Anonymous said…
JH: That's argument from silence, he clearly is not emphasizing those aspects the divine pre-mundane aspects the other gospels do that doesn't mean the Markan redaction rejects them/

No, it is not an argument from silence. It is based on what the verses actually say. Mark says the good news started from the baptism; I am not assuming that because that is the first thing he talks about. Further, you are ignoring that Mark describes the adoption process, drawing a clear parellel to the adoption by God of earlier kings in Psalm 2.

JH: Mark was not the first Gospel written it is just the first of the four canonical. Those other redactions were pre Mark.

I accept there were earlier narratives, but what is your basis for claiming they were written? More to the point, on what basis does this support your position about Mark's beliefs? Given we no longer have them, I can as readily claim that the earlier narrative held that Jesus was merely holy, a prophet, and not divine at all. There is no evidence to support my claim, which makes it exactly as valid as any claim you make (i.e., pure conjecture).

JH: that does not follow that when he joined is when he got converted. That's not even the issue however ,the issue is when did he interview Mary and other eyewitnesses to Jesus? That was between the missionary journey and the writing of the letter (Luke/Actsletter to Theopholus). we do not know how long after that was.

It would still seem unlikely that Luke visited Jerusalem before the end of the second missionary trip, which was about two decades after the crucifixion. If we have Jesus born in 4 BC, and Mary 16 at his birth, that puts Mary in her seventies before they had a chance to meet; that would be considered very old a that time. Luke is dated to 80 to 130 AD (though I find the earlier dats in that range more likely), which would make Mary perhaps a century old.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/luke.html

JH: It's not real likely that a new convert woudl want to go on such a journey immediately,Hey I know that;s conjecture but asIvsay not evenb the issue,

What did Paul do when he was converted?

JH: there are a lot of clues n teh text that impoly taht he knew her, Oneof tehnajorones is he was the first writer kn history to describe a woman;s inner state talking about eh child insider leaping when she met Elisabeth,I can't remember the other reasons/ New he was a physician so that might explain it but he apparently was moved by Mary.

I think the fact that he got the date wrong with regards to the census is pretty good evidence he did not talk to Mary.

JH: Another is the story of the boy discussing with the wise men it describes how Mary pondered it, every place mary appear he concerned with her feelings,
Even if he didn't meet her he clearly did make an attempt to get it right, he took other accounts into account and researched them.


He clearly made a good attempt to make a convincing story. You are assuming it all happened exactly as he says.

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