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← The Historical Jesus

Zakie Chan's Avatar Jump to comment 56 by Zakie Chan

Steve Mading, I should have been more clear… I agreed with your post, but had not thought of that point until you mentioned it.

I still think my criticism of the Jesus-mythers holds, since basically everyone who holds the Jesus-myth position is a layperson. It is the laypeople that need to get in line with the professionals, not the other way around.

I think there are excellent examples of the criterion of embarrassment. The first being that Jesus was killed, and that the end failed to arrive! The Jews thought that their messiah would come and set up God’s kingdom here on earth. Instead, Jesus was a nobody that basically no one knew about, or cared about. The Romans squashed him, and that was that. The end that Jesus promised didn't arrive, and life went on as usual.

And it’s not about what Christians today think. It is about what Christians at the time of Jesus believed (which is a helluva lot different).

MarkOnTheRiver, No one cared about Jesus. Hardly anyone knew about him. He was just one more Jewish apocalypticists, claiming the end was near. The idea that Jesus was some huge force, who wondered the land, amassing thousands of followers everywhere he went is just not how it was. Granted, it would have been nice if someone had mentioned him... but he didn’t do anything to even warrant being discussed.

Also, I am curious… if we don’t have accounts of a person in history from his/her contemporary, do you think they probably didn’t exist?

Tord, No, the criteria of embarrassment does not say that the more implausible or weird the story is, the more likely it is to be true. That is like a creationist defining evolution as a frog randomly changed into a person.

The criteria states that parts of a narrative that go against the commonly held views of the people who wrote it are more likely to be historical. I mean, as I have stated several times now… why would early Christians make up a story in which their savior is killed? Why wouldn’t Luke (like Matthew) state that Jesus was born in Bethlehem? These go against OT prophecy, and are unlikely to have been made up. I mean, can you even think of an example of someone making up a story that doesn’t confirm your beliefs, in order to convince other people that your beliefs are true?

Yes, it is possible that scholars think the evidence for Jesus is too weak either way. However, the only one who seems to actually hold that position is Robert Price. From the books I have read, and interviews I have heard with well respected, legit historians, no one debates the existence of Jesus (except Price and Carrier). Also, your same argument that “studying the historical Jesus assumes he existed” could be used by a creationist against an evolutionary biologist.

The fact of the matter is that the historical community views the idea of “Jesus didn’t exist” as pseudo-scholarship. To quote Michael McClymond (in his very well received book, “Familiar Stranger: An Intro to the Jesus of Nazareth), “Most scholars regard the arguments for Jesus’ non-existence as unworthy of any response – on a par with claims that the Jewish Holocaust never occurred or that the Apollo moon landing took place in a Hollywood studio.”

Seriously, please read Jesus, Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium by Bart Ehrman.

Tachibauna, I am afraid you are simply wrong, and you are quote mining Stein (who isn’t even a historian). Firstly, Stein was referring to Josh McDowell’s statement that the Christianized verses are authentic… which scholars definitely reject. However, at the top of the article that that quote is taken from, the editor states “While there is no doubt among the majority of scholars that the Testimonium has been tampered with (and thus the entire passage cannot be authentic), a decent number of scholars believe the Testimonium is based upon an authentic core. In other words, on their view, Josephus really did write a passage referring to Jesus on which the modern Testimonium is based, but that passage was embellished by later Christians.”

If you don’t believe me that scholars accept the non Christianized version, email them and ask them yourself. This stuff is in all the basic books you guys, seriously. Heck even the Wikipedia article on this topic admits that scholars accept that the non Christianized parts are genuine.

Sun, 04 Jul 2010 16:44:03 UTC | #486232