Alternatives to the crucifixion story

Discussion in 'Comparative Religion' started by Sorcerer, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    624
    First, being unsure WHEN a record was written is not the same as being unsure THAT a record was written. But in my case, it has been MANY years since I studied the Buddha and my recollection of what the documentary evidence was is hazy. But IIRC, his family was recorded and the son was mentioned as part of the family and it was mentioned that the son left to study life or some such term they used when becoming a monk.
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. KitemanSA Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    624
    As I said in my first post on this topic, Jesus was said to have traveled to and studied in India, so teaching Buddhist and other eastern thought is not surprising.
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,353
    Nope. That's not it at all. Please read again. Nothing in my post about His going to India: nothing Buddhist about but what is common to Buddhism. That was pure Jesus in one of His most famous quotations. There is nothing like it in Buddhism. There are so many paths up the mountain. And the view from he top is the same.
     
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    856
    That doesn't make sense: what is common to Buddhism - There is nothing like it in Buddhism. What on earth are you talking about?
     
  8. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,353
    I should have wrote : ' there is nothing Buddhist about it, but what is common to Buddhism and Christianity.' My bad. (I must have hit the touchpad by accident)

    "There's nothing like it in Buddhism" - the 'Lilies of the Field', verse. However, the zen master Gasan got it. Zen masters appreciated hearing truth spoken of in a new, original way. And in the story I quoted, The Matthew Gospel is new to Gasan.
     
  9. Sorcerer Put a Spell on you Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    856
    Oh, Ok, that's much clearer.
     
  10. Balerion Banned Banned

    Messages:
    8,596
    Both points are completely untrue. The first point--about legends and their timing--is just flat-out absurd, since myths are not bound to a timeline, nor are they necessarily tied to actual events. The second point, of course, is also untrue, and also beside the point. It doesn't matter if there's no physical evidence for the existence of Socrates, since the value of his purported teachings lie in the lessons themselves, rather than who wrote them. In the case of Jesus, the validity of his claims, and the wisdom of his teachings, is virtually entirely dependent on the central question of who he was, and if he existed. If he was not the son of God, if he did not even truly exist, then the gospels are absolutely worthless. Wicked, even.

    At least according to the gospels, which are of unknown authorship except that they were obviously written by believers in the Christ myth (worth noting that I said believers, and not eyewitnesses), and therefore of spurious veracity. That you choose to accept them as fact is a matter of faith, not scientific rigor.

    That the Christ myth was originally propagated orally is not evidence that it was true. All stories were passed along orally, not just true events.

    Of course, you have to realize that oral tradition is unreliable. Even if Jesus were real, and what he said was true, there is literally zero chance the stories you know are completely accurate, and that's putting it kindly. I mean, it isn't even really worth saying, given the inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the gospels, but you probably knew about those already.
     
  11. Arne Saknussemm trying to figure it all out Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,353
    I said "mythical stories (legends)" by which I meant the, well, legends, that grow up around a historical figure over the years. For example, The Buddha, who we've been talking about. In his lifetime and soon after - he was just seen as an enlightened and admirable man. After a few hundred years some of his followers had him flying around like Superman, or in any case doing super-human things that were clearly legendary (or mythical, whatever). So, I prefer the term 'legends' for the sake of this discussion. Legends are bound by a timeline - the figure has to live his/her life first, and the followers build up that image over the years. Sounds like a timeline to me.

    Why, "of course"? Why untrue? Because you say so? What is the point except that you won't admit there are better and more historical sourced for my guy than yours?

    How can you object that His ministry was not valid if He was not the Son of God? You don't even believe in God. so what are you talking about?

    And I could argue that much of Christ's wisdom is valid in the same way as that of Socrates, it wouldn't matter if He were real, but you are correct, Christ was about actions not words. (All respect to Socrates for his actions as well). What I don't get is that all you science people will not accept any explanation on the validity of oral tradition or the FACT that there are far more written and recorded histories of Jesus than absolutely anyone else you can name. It's not good enough that "you don't think so" - show me!

    And why (how?) can you object that the writers of these accounts were believers? Of course they were. Are you saying Plato and anyone else who wrote about Socrates did not believe in him? Yes. Let's toss out Plato's Republic and his Dialogs, that biased bastard actually believes in what he wrote!

    Granted, but my point is that oral accounts are just as valid as written. That is hard to see in the modern age where talk is dismissed as mere hearsay in a court of law, but it is how things were done in the old days. Paper was expensive and hard to come by -even as late as the 18th century A.D. That's why they relied on the oral tradition 2,000 years ago, and made darn sure they were getting it accurate - as I've explained.

    "Of course, of course." You use these word like a bludgeon to suggest you can't possibly be wrong. As I've just said above: the oral tradition is not unreliable. I think that the history (not stories) I'm talking about are fairly accurate despite their seeming inconsistencies. Yes, there are some inconsistencies, but that is so in any eye witness account. Ask any police detective. It is much more suspicious when all the accounts exactly agree. And if they did in the case of the Gospels, I'm sure you would be the first to jump on that as evidence of their falsehood.

    Scholars have discussed these inconsistencies for centuries, and many of them have been resolved. I could point some out to you, but I have no doubt you will come back saying, "but they were written by believers" (even if they sometimes were not) or you would just scam them and dismiss them out of hand because although you honk about science and objectivity, you haven't the slightest interest in anything but Christ-bashing. Time and again in this thread and others I have presented reasonable data, and it's always rejected because you guys choose not to believe it. Some scientists you all are!

    Okay. I changed my mind: here's one example: Tacitus wrote his Annals of Imperial Rome circa 116 A.D. His first six books exist in one manuscript today. They are a copy dating from 850 A.D. Books 11-16 are copies from the 11th century and 12th century. Yet, most of you would accept Tacitus and his writings as historical - based on these several centuries after the fact copies. So why don't you accept written manuscripts either by eye-witnesses or scribes that they spoke to just decades after Christ ceased His Ministry? There are 5,000 manuscripts in languages as diverse as Ethiopian and Georgian, and they all match up to exactly what they say in Greek and Hebrew from the time of Christ as well as Modern English.

    So what's the problem here other than you are dead set on not believing that Jesus Christ was God? He quite clearly a number of times said that He was; He performed actions (miracles) to prove it, and He fulfilled prophecies such as the circumstances of His birth (which He could have had no control over, if He were 'just some guy') as well as details about the circumstances of His death (for instance the Roman soldiers playing dice to win His seamless robe) - a matter that was written in The Psalms over a thousand years before he lived. Did the Hebrew priests and scribes allow their Holy Scriptures to be altered by the Christians? Are there not independent Jewish manuscripts (not in any church's hands) from back when that show that these verses were not tampered with? Why, yes. OF COURSE there are!
     
  12. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,633
    The Buddha was a forest recluse, a sramana. It was a tradition and he wasn't the first sramana, or the last. Their descendents are still found in India today. One of the qualities traditionally associated with practicing austerities out in the forest was the ability to work wonders, the possession of paranormal powers.

    Given that many people sought out this kind of life precisely in order to become powerful wizards, I expect that stories of the Buddha's super-powers were probably circulating during his life. As his reputation grew, it's what many people would have expected from such a one.

    What's significant is that the Buddha tried to tamp down that stuff. He expressly forbid his monks from claiming any supernatural powers. Doing so was one of the worst violations of the early monastic code.

    It depends in some large part on what the people who are telling the stories want.

    In the case of Jesus, there seem to have been two phases.

    During his life, Jesus kind of followed a prophetic trajectory, in the context of the apocalypticism and messianic expectations prevalent among the Jews of his time. It's likely that Jesus imagined himself as some sort of prophet of God's coming Kingdom, and it's likely that some minority of the Jews poured their expectations into him and started imagining that he might be the messiah.

    After his death, the stories veered off in a new direction. Now the messianic aspect was emphasized, along with a a new, radical and to most Jewish ears totally blasphemous assertion that Jesus was God in human flesh. Jesus' death and resurrection became the new focus and Jesus slipped into the ancient archetype of a dying and rising savior god.

    I'm inclined to agree with the Muslims that the first phase was probably much more consistent with Jesus' own vision of himself. Jesus was very much a Jew of his time, and like any good Jew he would almost certainly have been totally aghast at the claim that he was literally God in the flesh. At the most, Jesus probably thought of himself as God's chosen mouthpiece and instrument.

    It would seem to depend on what shape his ministry actually took, and on how that appeared to his fellow Jews.

    The evidence suggests that Jesus had started attracting crowds during his life and there may have been messianic talk. That's probably why the authorities had him crucified. And when the stories went into phase two, the risen savior phase, the Palestinian Jews didn't buy it, they lost their interest again, and Christianity took on the form of a small "cult" in Jerusalem. It ended up having more success preaching in diapora synagogues up in Asia minor, where Paul founded his congregations. Palestinian Jewry found other leaders to cheer and the two disastrous Jewish Wars followed. Interestingly, the second, about 100 years after Jesus' crucifixion, championed Bar Kochba as the promised messiah. Obviously a messiah was what Palestinian Jewry wanted, and just as obviously, they had concluded that Jesus wasn't it.

    If Jesus was a teacher of wisdom, that would be true. The important thing would be the wisdom, not the events of his life. That's roughly the Buddha situation. It's interesting that some Christians do interpret Jesus that way. It's a popular approach among many modernist Protestants.

    "Validity of oral tradition" how? What kind of claim are you making about oral tradition? It certainly isn't the case that everything passed on by oral tradition has to be true.

    The problem is that Christians are insisting that non-Christians believe some pretty extraordinary things. (The existence of the Jewish God, the assertion that Jesus was that God incarnated, Jesus's death and triumphant resurrection, and the sotoriological significance of all of that.)

    On their face, those kind of claims seem inherently unlikely. But then it's asserted that there's overwhelming historical evidence for their truth. What evidence is that? The early Christian writings. Ok, great. We can probably all agree that the early Christians did believe these sort of things. That's not the issue.

    The issue is justifying the movement from the recognition that the early Christians believed particular things to the confidence that those things both literally happened and had the religious significance the early Christians thought they did.

    Pretty clearly the vast majority of the people who were physically present on the scene of Jesus' life, the Jews in Palestine and Jerusalem, didn't embrace the more radical claims that were being made about him.

    There's actually quite a bit of scholarly disagreement about whether Plato always believed the things he put into Socrates' mouth. (Socrates kind of takes the role of 'the ideal philosopher' in the dialogues.) It often isn't entirely clear what the conclusions of a Platonic dialogue are. Sometimes it's more like Plato is exploring an issue by setting various points of view into discussion in a dramatic format, without committing himself to fully endorsing any particular outcome.

    It's a history book. There's an abundant literature discussing how objective Tacitus might have been. He definitely had his own agenda, and historians today have to take that into account when they read his spin on things.

    The New Testament is a different kind of animal. It isn't really a history at all, really. It's more of a theological text. The issues it raises aren't really historical issues at all: What was Jesus' preaching the coming Kingdom all about? Did the God he preached even exist? Was he the messiah? Did he rise from the grave? Was he the incarnation of God himself? And what's up with the Jewish law, with atonement, with salvation, and so on?

    The difficulty here seems to revolve around the the idea that the historicity of the early Christian writings themselves (the fact that they existed in antiquity) should somehow justify our believing in the truth of the theological doctrines that they contain.

    It is a pretty extraordinary claim. If the Christians are right, it's a totally unique claim. Frankly, I'm not sure what kind of evidence would justify the belief that some human being was in fact a god. What empirical signature does divinity supposedly have? How would a mortal and finite human being even recognize such a thing? (Assuming it exists at all, which can't just be assumed.)

    As I suggested in the sramana comments up above, the ancients believed that wonders and wonder-workers were essentially everywhere. Wonders were not only acknowledged, they were expected in certain contexts. Stories of such things abounded.

    That might be an argument against treating the gospels as if they are historical documents. They seem to have been written in such a way as to depict Jesus doing little more than fulfilling prophecy after prophecy. That was probably carefully calculated by the authors. The original purpose of these writings might have been as rhetorical documents intended to pursuade Jews that Jesus was indeed their awaited messiah, having shown all the signs. So the question arises, was Jesus depicted as doing X because he really did that thing in life, or because the episode represented a prophecy that needed to be checked off the list? For example, many scholars think that Jesus' birth in Bethlehem is historically unlikely, but Bethlehem did have Davidic associations at the time that the early Christians believed Jesus must have been connected with.
     
  13. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    The answer is no. The reason most of the Jewish elders did not go along with Jesus, was their anticipated Messiah, was supposed to be more like a hybrid of King David and King Solomon; a righteous warrior and wealthy king; "He will come like a rushing stream that the wind of the Lord drives". He was supposed to kick butt and drive out their adversaries and rule over them.

    Jesus was meek, humble, and not very materialistically driven for wealth and prestige. He was not what the Jews expected or wanted. He appeals more to the slaves and the poor, not the elite. Jesus was tortured and killed, which is not what was supposed to happen to the Messiah. The Messiah of Revelations is more in line of what the Jews were expecting; awe inspiring and overwhelming.

    Interestingly, the temptations by Satan in the desert, was connected to Satan offering Jesus all those things/attributes that would have made Jesus much more in the image of the Old Testament Messiah. But the price was Jesus would need to serve Satan. He was offered all the kingdoms and wealth of the world, etc. If he accepted the Jews would have seen their Messiah.

    Satan was the left hand man of God in the old Testament. This can seen in Job where Satan has God punishing Job as a test. The symbols of Satan being thrown from Heaven, does not appear until revelations 100 years after Jesus is killed. Satan is in heaven, messing with God at the time of Jesus. Satan's council is part of the reason the Old Testament God is not always very loving and nice, but often does things one would associate with evil/Satan; torture Job.

    Jesus, in order to get rid of Satan from God's council, and precipitate his rebellion in Heaven, he needed to oppose him to do the opposite. He for filled the old prophesies by superseding the influence of Satan. Instead of being rich Jesus became poor, instead of tough he was weak, instead of immortal, he would die on the cross. There are not many myths where man is allowed to kill a God by the God's choice. The example, also meant that the other multitudes of gods of BC, where all about to come down at the hands/minds of man. The times were a changing into AD.
     
  14. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    The idea of Satan, still being in heaven at the time of Jesus's ministry on earth, is not often discussed. But according to the traditions it is not until the Revelations of John, which happens many years after the death of Jesus, is Satan thrown from heaven.

    In tradition, Satan was originally called Lucifer, the son of the morning.

    Satan still was in the council of God during the time of Jesus. If Satan successfully convinced Jesus to accept the temptations, Satan could have ironed this out with God via his continued council. Jesus would have been the Messiah expected during the old Testament; rich, powerful, immortal with special powers over both matter and energy.

    The quote about the "he will give his angles charge of you", comes from Psalms 91 which discusses the Messiah.

     
  15. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,152
    That's sounds something like "George Washington had wooden teeth" which doesn't apply here. Since Jesus is not any actual person, as far as anybody knows, none of the legends about him are any less real than he is.

    Like Jesus, Siddhartha Guatama (Buddha) is not a historical person.

    You are assuming that the legend is based in some actual person. There's no evidence to support that. Otherwise we would say the character was a historical person. Neither Jesus nor Buddha fit that description, since there is nothing but legendary material purporting to attest to their existence. In my mind you would do better to stick with a dictionary definition:

    a traditional story sometimes popularly regarded as historical but unauthenticated.

    The reverse is true. If a person says "Jesus is a historical person" then the appropriate reply is "why? because you say so?" since there is no autograph giving testimony of first hand knowledge of any such person.

    There is no eyewitness autograph attesting to Jesus. That leaves all of the sources you refer to as hearsay (hearsay upon hearsay was the more accurate characterization).

    That's putting a conclusion before the fact. In analysis, like some folks are doing here, one must be willing to follow the rules of logic. What fact has ever been offered in evidence to produce the incontrovertible conclusion that a man named Jesus ever even existed? None. What real person ever left an autograph attesting to firsthand knowledge of a man named Jesus? None. Hence, it's incorrect to say Jesus was a historical person, much less a person who had a ministry of any kind, much less offspring of another presumed entity not attested to, God.

    People who don't believe in God are better-situated to comment on this subject objectively.

    "Valid" applies to a proposition, not the adages such as Jesus used. Socrates may have used them sparingly but none of his logic rests on it. But unlike Jesus, Socrates actually lays down hundreds of propositions inquiring into the nature of human beings, of virtue, law, freedom, and above all -- reason. I don't see any connection between the two characters other than archetypal imitation of Socrates seen in Jesus which gives the legend a borrowed flavor.


    Actually pro-science people will be the first to tell you that legends begin as oral tradition, and hence the likelihood that all of the content is nothing more than imaginative fiction.

    They are not histories. They are hearsay from anonymous sources and/or possibly historical figures (like Paul) who have no first-hand knowledge of Jesus, and/or definite historical figures (church scholars) who left autographs but were born after the events of the Gospel allegedly took place.

    Now apply that logic to religion. Ask what else there is other than "I think so" to support the claim that Jesus was historical. "Show me".

    Because it means they have no evidence to support the writings you rely on. It adds to the inventory of legendary material that the religion bases itself on.

    No one knows if Plato was a student of Socrates, or whether Plato created the fictional character called Socrates to emulate some other teacher, or perhaps himself. In any case it's not correct to say Plato believed in Socrates or not, since Socrates does not profess to be a god, or to work magic.

    It doesn't matter whether Socrates existed or not. Nothing hinges on the belief that Socrates existed. Nothing is at stake. Nothing changes in the meaning of any of Plato's works.

    Hearsay was just as valid a reason for rejecting claims in Plato's time as any other. How things were done is that when someone wanted to tell about something they witnessed, they picked up a writing instrument of some kind and recorded it. Since that never happened in the way the Jesus story percolated down to us, there is nothing left to conclude but that he did not actually exist, not as far as we know.


    The Dead Sea Scrolls were written on papyrus, parchment, and bronze. Judaeans had ceramic technology and could have used clay tablets as well. The reason there are no accounts of Jesus are not cost or lack of technology. It's because the events never took place. If they had, there would have been investigations and documentation to give credence to the stories.

    No, the cost of paper is not the reason they relied on oral tradition. They relied on oral tradition because they preferred to believe in the legend rather than to accept that God had abandoned the Hebrews. That is, abandonment was the only plausible explanation for why God allowed the Romans to destroy the Temple.

    It's not only highly unreliable, it's highly imaginative. But it's useless to the question of historicity. You can't simply declare that something is historical just because it originated in oral tradition.

    You are free to think that, but it's factually incorrect to call the legend of Jesus a history.

    We have no eye witness accounts of Jesus.

    Ask any police detective if they will drop your DUI charges because rumor has it you don't drink.

    There are no accounts. Go find the oldest codex speaking of Jesus and tell us who wrote it.

    Not of it's falsehood per se. It's truly legendary material.

    Name one inconsistency in the Bible that has ever been resolved. I've never heard of any such resolution.

    That would at least give us some idea what you mean.

    That leaves us scratching our heads wondering what non-believers ever tried to resolve the inconsistencies of the Bible.

    Or just speak to the facts, not opinions.

    The reverse is true. You are honking about historicity, without the slightest interest in the documents of history, or anything more than the opposite of bashing: inflating legend into what only purports to be history.

    Your data is useless. All you need to produce is one single eyewitness account testifying to firsthand knowledge of Jesus, and done in an autograph. There is no such document. The rest, the hearsay, is irrelevant. Hearsay is of no use in connection to history.

    Tacitus was 10 years old when Jesus allegedly died. He was in somewhere in Europe at the time, probably Germany, Belgium or Italy. He was not an eye witness to any of these events, and his writings 50 years after they allegedly took place would not be credible even if he had tried to sell himself off as a witness.

    The determination of authenticity and authority of fragments of codices is more technical than any of us can do justice here. But your logic is moot. You are skirting around the question of what an autograph is. That's all that matters. There simply is no autograph attesting to Jesus.

    Because they (the codices written long after that) are neither autographs nor are they copies of autographs.

    They are copies of anonymous source material, therefore useless to the question of historicity.

    The reverse is true. You believe the legend to be historical narrative against overwhelming evidence that you are wrong.

    Legends are very good about weaving the story out of other legends and adages.

    They let the Apocrypha be preserved by proto-Christians. So probably the answer is yes.

    It's not a question of tampering. It's a question of who said what when. Then it becomes at least integrated into the database of history, available for exegetical review. But the Bible doesn't even do that. The unknown authors simply recall some legend that was handed down orally. But they don't bother to tell us who told them the story, much less to identify themselves. This is not limited to the text officially adopted by the Church. There are plenty of texts that are just as obviously not historical, but which purport to be part of Christian teaching: the pseudoepigrapha. And yet no doubt you reject them as fakes. So what's up with that? :bugeye:
     
  16. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Scholars are not 100% convinced of that. It is, of course, odd that a nation as compulsive about recordkeeping as Rome did not create a considerable amount of records about him. But Josephus did. Unfortunately Josephus was Jewish and can be accused of playing with the truth to establish a place in legend for his own people.
     
  17. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    The first centuries of Christianity were based on persecution and execution at the hands of Rome because it was causing rebellion. This religion was not for the elite but for the poor and the slaves, who combined propped up the elite. This has to be nipped in the bud. The first waves of the purge helps to get rid of most of the eye witnesses ,so the party line could maintain, "there is nothing to see here", narrative.

    Picture modern PC elite removing books from schools, instituting revisionists history, because they have taboo words in them and/or the narrative is not correct for the political narrative. Picture giving these same PC people the power to kill and torture anyone caught owning such books or retaining any form of real history. What would happen are these books would need to go underground, while the official word would be, they do not exist, but were written by Christian guys who were racists and homophobes. What they could not remove was the memory of the traditions.

    The Christians persist and instead of fading due to the purge and propaganda, remain. In the 4th century AD, Rome makes Christianity the official religion of the empire. The reason Christianity gained this status was the Christians soldier who fought for Rome (slaves), were the best soldiers of the empire. This was a way to honor these soldier, since they were needed by the empire. The Roman and Christian scholars then make the once PC censored materials and accounts, public again; to form the Holy Roman Empire.

    The Catholic church that forms was as much Roman as it was Christian, being an incarnation of both Rome and Christianity. Now the shoe was on the other foot with atheism on the run for the evils they had done. The atheist of today follow the traditions of censor and persecution lacking tolerance because they not taught they did the evil first.
     
  18. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Messages:
    5,160
    In tradition, Christ was born, and not created, of one substance with God. Unlike Satan who was created by God, Jesus is born. Jesus appears through the middleman of biology, within the womb of Mary. Satan was a direct creation.

    The significance is, Jesus is part of evolution and natural selection, with Mary part of that selection process. Nature is part of the original creation. Instead of starting from scratch, with all the wild card variables of free choice (Satan), God starts with a previous physical creation, using a matrix that has already undergone much in the way of randomization and selection. The new starting point is based on a successful creation that matured properly.

    The analogy is one writes software that is very successful. The next generation of the software, can either start from scratch (creation) or it can build on that which already works well, and has become a standard of excellence (Jesus is born of this). Jesus by becoming born of woman, and then returning to heaven, in spirit, is sort of like reverse engineering a divine natural creation.

    The first Adam sort of uses this template. However, he is formed of the dust of the earth (pre-DNA), while living in a biological paradise. It is not direct creation, but uses ideal conditions as the middlemen. Christ, on the other hand, is similar, but he based on the real world (tested over time) and not the ideal of paradise. When Christ enters heaven, as the new reversed engineered creation version 2.0, based on the best of nature 1.0, he is superior to Satan (still has this quirky wild card). There is a power struggle and Satan is relieved of duties.

    This reverse engineered path of birth also explains why Christ cherishes the poor. The poor make up 95% of the human DNA (within nature) and contain its diversity and the genetics of future. Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth; through their genetics.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2014
  19. Aqueous Id flat Earth skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    6,152
    I think you're right about Josephus exaggerating. He makes us think the Romans barely conquered the Jews. Plus he interpolates a lot, quite seamlessly, about events he did not witness, and without citing any authority who did witness to them. This becomes obvious as soon as he starts telling what purports to be a history but which is presented as nothing more than legendary anecdotes.

    That being said, Josephus at least provides an autograph, if we accept the 11th c. partially ruined copy of Antiquities of the Jews as authentic. Certainly parts of it are fraud, including one of two references to Jesus Christ ("oiled"). The only possible bearing Josephus might have on this question are the words Jesus, who was called Oiled which is not as obvious a case of fraud as the first case. However, the phrase is nothing more than a reference to some rumor or legend of such a Jesus. Josephus makes this distinction (Oiled) because he is telling about a power play that took place in which Herod appointed another Jesus, the son of Damneus to the position of high priest. He never claims personal knowledge that such an Oiled person ever existed, nor does he bother to mention why Jesus the Oiled was ever called Oiled in the first place--if in fact these are even the words of Josephus.

    More to the point, Josephus gives no firsthand testimony to any of the events or characters in the Gospels, other than John the Bather, and the military and political leaders known to have been real people. In contrast to the legend of John the Bather in the Gospels, Josephus merely calls him a good man doing a religious rite which is probably nothing more than a practice done by the Essenes in a place like Qumran where they had bathing houses. Josephus does not connect John the Bather with Jesus the Oiled, or any of the legend of John the Bather which should have been growing up around him 30 years after the alleged crucifixion.

    For these reasons, Josephus gives evidence that Jesus is entirely legendary, and that John the Bather was simply a bather, nothing more. None of the salient events from the Gospels are attested to, and the Gospels are shown to be entirely disconnected from the Roman atrocities going on around him. He makes no allusions to any such Gospels, nor of any Christian movement. In support of the fact that the Gospels are nearly entirely legendary, Josephus establishes that he was in Jerusalem at the time Jesus the Oiled is alleged to have been crucified. He speaks of many crucifixions, but never even mentions this one.

    Therefore Josephus provides strong evidence that Jesus the Oiled is a purely legendary character, that John the Bather was not a special person held in high regard by any followers, only that a legend grew up about the Bather after Herod executed him. Josephus tells us that a legend arose that God was punishing the Jews in retribution for the execution of the Bather. If we credit Josephus for this, as the first evidence of any kind of Christian movement, then it establishes his testimony that Christianity is a fabrication that grew out of the execution of the Bathed One, not the Oiled One, as the literal reading of the legend has led so many Christians to believe.
     
  20. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Messages:
    24,690
    Isn't "oiled" just an odd, extremely old-fashioned way of saying "anointed?" The English word "messiah" is just Latin messias, which is just a borrowing of Hebrew mashiach, which means "the one anointed (with oil)."
     
  21. Walter L. Wagner Cosmic Truth Seeker Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,520
    I was just about to write that!

    So josephus mentions 'Jesus the Anointed' and 'John the Baptizer (Bather)'. Interesting.
     
  22. rcscwc Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    721
    It would be trivial matter for me to prove you yourself do not exist.
     
  23. The Marquis Only want the best for Nigel Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    2,562

Share This Page