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Friday, November 20, 2009

What If Jesus Had Never Been Born?

Any Christians reading this may wish to bookmark this entry.

A world apart By Julia Duin (2001)

THE WASHINGTON TIMES

What if Jesus had never been born? Western culture would not exist in its current form, scholars say, were it not for that event that demarcated world history two millennia ago.

"Christianity has gotten a bad rap from people who have not done their homework," says retired Illinois College sociology professor Alvin J. Schmidt, author of the recent book "Under the Influence: How Christianity Transformed Civilization." "In what countries have women lacked freedom?" he says. "Where Christianity is not present, especially in the Middle East. Were it not for Christianity, Gloria Steinem would still be walking about in a veil." Presbyterian authors the Rev. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe say in their book "What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?" that had the event never happened, the "gaping hole" in civilization "would be a canyon about the size of a continent." Christianity's immediate effects were to bring an end to infant exposure (where unwanted children were left out in the elements to freeze or die of thirst), gladiator contests, cannibalism and abortion, they write. Mr. Kennedy's Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Coral Ridge Ministries has produced a TV special, "Scrooge & Marley," on the question. Appearing on "The Coral Ridge Hour," a weekend syndicated show airing locally on Trinity Broadcasting Network, the special stars Dean Jones as Ebenezer Scrooge. Scrooge is reincarnated as a 21st-century New England personal-injury lawyer who is president of Atheists R Us. After he decides to sue a Connecticut town for displaying a Nativity scene in front of its town hall, he raises a toast to "a world where Jesus had never been born." Then his long-dead law partner, Jacob Marley, portrayed by Reg Grant, appears in a dream to lecture Scrooge on the transformational effect of Christ's birth. Scrooge eventually repents. "We live in a culture that is so often denigrating Christianity and Christian morals," Mr. Newcombe says. "Many people in our culture would eschew bigotry of any kind, but at the same time they are anti-Christian. You see a lot of Christian-bashing in movies, TV and court rulings. "The goal of our book was to say Christianity gave the world a lot more than the Inquisition and the Crusades." For instance, the International Red Cross was founded in the 19th century by a Swiss evangelical Christian for "the love of Jesus Christ," he says. "Mother Teresa would not have been who she was without Jesus Christ." Had Christianity never happened, the world might look like pre-20th-century China, he said. Because Christianity is based on individual choice, political systems with Christian underpinnings tend to be democratic, he says. But China has no history of democracy in its 5,000 years. "Democracy allows people to govern themselves," he says. "The congregational form of church government was extremely important in the Massachusetts Bay colony. So was the presbyterian form of government, where elders govern. Some have said the U.S. government is patterned much like the Presbyterian Church." Donald Schanzenbach, director of the Mission to Restore America in Mound, Minn., argues that Christ is the central figure of world history in his book "Advancing the Culture." Pre-Christian tribes, especially those in the Western Hemisphere, were known for brutal forms of slavery, human sacrifice and cannibalism, he says. One overlooked change brought about by Christianity is emphasis on kindness toward enemies and avoidance of torture. "Non-Christian societies throughout history have been universally despotic and always ruthless toward enemies," he says. "The non-Christian world never had any compunction about compelling the accused to testify against themselves until the Christians came along and taught them otherwise." Not everyone is enamored of the Christian event, including Friedrich Nietzsche, who likens Christianity to "a poison that has infected the whole world." The editorial writers at the Charlotte (N.C.) Observer appeared to agree in a Nov. 20 essay criticizing the Rev. Franklin Graham, the eldest son of evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, for calling Islam "wicked." The younger Mr. Graham represents a religion, the newspaper said, "whose sacred book taught that everyone who didn't profess that faith would fry for eternity in a fiery pit, a religion whose teachings were cited as the justification for burning unbelievers at the stake, keeping blacks in slavery, restricting women's freedom, banning books and executing scientists whose findings contradicted the religion's tenets. "Hardly a religion based in love and tolerance, you might say. That religion would be Christianity." Such logic causes Mr. Schmidt to see red. "Have these people ever read the Koran?" he asks. "I have read it with a fine-toothed comb more than once. Islam was founded by the sword. Muhammad took part in 66 battles and sold women and children into slavery. All this is documented. "To present Islam as a peaceful religion is to have your head in the sand. Jihad is right out of the Koran. The Christians who took part in the Crusades never cited any verse out of the New Testament backing what they did. But the Muslims who practice violence do cite the Koran." Christianity was considered radically pro-woman at the time of its founding, he says. "Christ was never quoted as saying anything demeaning or derogatory to women. Women in Greek days could hardly leave their homes. When her husband had guests over, she was not even allowed to sit in the same room. Their status was extremely low among the Romans, where the father of the family had the power of life and death, even over his wife. "In [the Gospel of] John, Chapter Four, Jesus was asked what he was doing talking to a woman in public, as you only talked with prostitutes in public. When he taught Mary and Martha in Luke 10, that was a behavior you did not do with women. "Christianity also nullified polygamy, as Jesus made it clear a man has one wife. If a Greek man was walking about outside with a woman, that was his mistress, not his wife. Christianity also made it clear widows were to be taken care of." Other benefits of a Christian civilization included hospitals, which Christians introduced in the 4th century. Before that, there were private physicians, potions and shrines, but no such thing as people being nursed or cared for in a given facility, he said. The one exception would be hospitals the Romans may have had for their military. "The Romans, Greeks and other ancients usually did not take care of their loved ones in times of plague," he says. "Christians did - and often died themselves as a result. Even Plato said you shouldn't give medicine to those who would die anyhow."

http://www.washingtontimes.com/culture/20011226-11632871.htm

20 comments:

Makarios said...

Excellent, excellent post. Even atheist Michael Shermer admits, “However, for every one of these grand tragedies (crusades) there are ten thousand acts of personal kindness and social good that go unreported . . . Religion, like all social institutions of such historical depth and cultural impact, cannot be reduced to an unambiguous good or evil.”

So complete is the infusion of compassion and caring into western society, via Christian morals and obligaions that atheists are completely oblivious to what life WILL be like in a few generations as the stark and cold reality of atheism takes hold of society.

JD Curtis said...

Thank you for your comment Mak. I respect your opinion. Keep up the good work you do on your blog.
God bless.

Tracy said...

Thanks for posting this JD. It's good to step back and remember all the positive things that the practice of Christianity has indirectly brought to our world.

GCT said...

Wow, there's a lot of revisionist history and overlooked facts going on there. Are you really sure you want to stand behind this piece? There's a reason the Washington Times doesn't actually register a blip on the radar vs. the Washington Post. The latter is actual news while the former is a rag spewing out stuff that right wingers want to hear regardless of facts and truth.

For instance, Xianity did not bring about women's liberation. It's straight out revisionist history to suggest that as the author does in the lead off. And, it was Xianity that was mired in ignorance during the dark ages while the Muslims kept learning alive. If not for the Muslim conquests, their knowledge would not have spread back to the Xian states (it probably would have later, but imagine how it would have set back science). Xianity is not the progenitor of democracy, nor does it support such. Xianity aligned itself to fit the democracies of Greece and Rome in order to survive. Once the Roman system was gone (i.e. the dark ages) we had fiefdoms and lords with slaves. The pre-Columbian people living here had some savage rituals, so the Xians that arrived savagely beat them into submission, although the author glosses over that part.

Finally, "Such logic causes Mr. Schmidt to see red." That's because he completely missed the point of what was being said, which the author here seems to have missed too. Typical. The newspaper in question was pointing out a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

And, I wonder just what Makarios thinks is going to happen to society if we decide to start basing out lives and decisions on reason and rationality instead of superstition? For an example, we could look at Denmark and Norway, two countries that have the highest standard of living and are the most secular in the world. Yeah, the "stark and cold reality" is that those countries are doing quite well, thank you very much.

GCT said...

BTW, it occurs to me that we don't even know that Jesus existed. It's quite possible that Jesus is a mythological figure. The article should be titled, "What if Xianity had never formed."

JD Curtis said...

History records more examples for the historical existance of Jesus Christ than Alexander the Great and almost nobody questions that.

GCT said...

That's simply not true. There are no contemporary accounts of Jesus. None. Nil. Zilch. Not one. All of the accounts we have that he existed are highly dubious or are records of people who believe he existed or were followers of Xianity (i.e. some historians record that this group existed that believed in Jesus and that is usually counted as evidence that Jesus existed).

JD Curtis said...

GCT, Happy Thanksgiving BTW. In your opinion, who is the most reputable historian that discounts the historical existance of Jesus Christ? I'm of the belief that they are few and far between.

GCT said...

JD,
Hope you had a happy Thanksgiving as well.

Let me turn your question around. What evidence do you have that Jesus actually existed? I'm not going to reiterate what I said just one comment ago. We have scant historical evidence for Jesus to have actually existed, and there are historians who are skeptical. There are a few that come out and claim that Jesus did not exist at all, and I'm not sure if I agree, because it's possible there was an itinerant preacher in that area with the name, but I am highly skeptical of the existence of this figure.

JD Curtis said...

This is from Makarios' blog...

"Extra Biblical, Non Christian documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding Jesus died due to Crucifixion -
“The Christians, you know, worship a man, the distinguished personage who introduced their novel rites and was crucified on that account.” Lucian of Samosata - (The Death of Peregrine), 11 - 13

“Nero fastened the guilt of the burning of Rome and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, Called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus.” Tacitus - Annals 15.44

“When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified.” Josephus - (Fides et Historia) 13

“Or what advantage came to the Jews by the murder of their Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them?” Mara Bar Serapion, in a letter to his son from prison.” - Fragment currently at the British Museum, Syriac Manuscript

“On the eve of the Passover, Yeshua was hanged on a cross.” The Babylonia Talmud - Sanhedrin 43a - I. Epstein Editor and translator, London

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding the dramatic changes in the character in the disciples and claims of witnessing the resurrected Jesus.

“Therefore, having received orders and complete certainty caused by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and believing in the Word of God, they went with the Holy Spirit’s certainty, preaching the good news that the kingdom of God is about to come. Jesus’ apostles were fully assured by Jesus’ resurrection. Polycarp also was not only instructed by apostles, and conversed with many who had seen Christ, but was also, by apostles in Asia, appointed bishop of the Church in Smyrna, whom I also saw in my early youth, for he tarried on earth a very long time, and when a very old man, gloriously and most nobly suffering martyrdom, departed this life, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles.” Clement of Rome - (1 Clement ) 47

JD Curtis said...

Continued....

"“Bishop Clement has conversed with the apostles to the extent that it might be said he had their preaching still echoing and their traditions before his eyes. Nor was he alone, for there are many still remaining alive who had received instructions from the apostles. When I was still a boy I saw you in Lower Asia with Polycarp, when you had high status at the imperial court and wanted to gain his favour. I remember where Polycarp sat and conversed, his comings and goings, his character, his personal appearance, his discourses to the crowds and how he reported his discussions with John the apostle and others who had seen the Lord. He taught what they reported about the Lord and his miracles and his teaching, things that Polycarp had heard directly from eyewitness of the word of life and reported in full harmony with Scripture.” Irenaeus - (To Florinus) 5.20

“For this is the manner in which the apostolic Churches transmit their registers: as the church of Smyrna, which records that Polycarp was placed therein, by John the apostle; as also the church of Rome, which makes Clement to have been ordained in like manner by Peter.” Tertulian - (The Prescription Against Heretics) 32.

“Paul himself and the other apostles, for they did not love the present age, but Him who dies for our benefit and for our sake was raised by God.” Polycarp - (To the Philippians)

The above sources point to multiple, very early and eyewitness testimonies to the disciple’s claims of witnessing the risen Jesus. The late New Testament critic at the University of Chicago, Norman Perrin, who rejected Jesus’ resurrection wrote, “The more we study the tradition with regard to the appearances, the firmer the rock begins to appear upon which they are based.” What we have are three categories of evidence that the disciples claim to have seen the risen Lord. 1) Paul 2) Oral tradition 3) Written Tradition.
Paul had firsthand fellowship with the disciples. We have an oral tradition originating from the time of Jesus resurrection. We have written tradition that attests to the disciples claims.

Extra Biblical documentation from the time of Jesus and / or his disciples:
Regarding the suffering and martyrdom of the disciples:
“The greatest and most righteous pillars have been persecuted and contended unto death. Peter, endured, not one or two, but many afflictions, and having borne witness went to the due glorious place. Paul pointed to the prize. Seven times chained, exiled, stoned, having become a preacher both in the East and in the West, he received honour fitting of his faith. Thus he was freed form the world and went to the holy place. He became a great example of steadfastness.” Clement of Rome - (1 Clement ) 5:2-7

“. . . the unlimited endurance of Ignatius, Zosimus and Rufus as well as the apostle Paul and the rest of the apostles among others. In association with Jesus they also suffered together. For they did not love the present age. Polycarp - (To the Philippians)

“And when Jesus came to those with Peter, he said to them: “Take, handle me and see that I am not a bodiless demon.” And immediately they handled him and believed, having known his flesh and blood. Because of this they also despise death.”
Ignatius - To the Smyrnaeans 3:2

JD Curtis said...

Cont.

"“That Paul is beheaded has been written about. And if a heretic wishes his confidence to rest upon a public record, the archives of the empire will speak. We read the Lives of the Caesars: At Rome Nero was the first who stained with blood the rising faith. There is Peter girt by another, when he is made fast to the cross. Then does Paul obtain a birth suited to Roman citizenship, when in Rome he is ennobled by martyrdom.” Tertulian - Scorpiace, 15

According to Tertullian, if one did not want to believe the Christian records concerning the martyrdoms of some of the apostles. He could find the information in the public records, namely “The lives of the Caesars.”

“The disciples’ devotion to the teachings of Jesus was attended with danger to human life and that they themselves were the first to manifest their disregard for death’s terrors. Jesus who has both once risen Himself, and led His disciples to believe in His resurrection, and so thoroughly persuaded them of its truth, that they show to all men by their sufferings how they are able to laugh at all the troubles of life, beholding the life-eternal and the resurrection clearly demonstrated to them both in word and deed by this one, Jesus.” Origin - Contra Celsum - 2.56

. Papias cites both Paul and the apostle John and records their sufferings and deaths. (Fragments: Traditions of the Elders) 2,5 (Fragment 5)

. Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History 2.23 cites Dionysius of Corinth - Tertullian, Origen, Josephus, Hegesippus, Clement of Alexandria, all who wrote of the “martyrdom of James the brother of Jesus.”

All these non-Biblical sources affirm the disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for their claims that Jesus rose from the dead. The disciples’ willingness to suffer and die for these claims indicates that they certainly regarded those claims as true. The case is strong that they did not willfully lie about the appearances of the risen Jesus, for liars make very poor martyrs.

. On his way to be martyred in Rome Ignatius of Antioch penned several letters to various churches. All of which attest to the reality of Jesus and the suffering of His disciples.

In his letter to the church in Smyrna, Ignatius writes that the disciples were so encouraged by seeing and touching the risen Jesus that “they too despised death” and that after his resurrection, Jesus ate and drank with them like one who is composed of flesh. 3:2-3 “So pay attention, however, to the prophets and especially to the Gospel, in which the Passion has been made clear to us and the resurrection has been accomplished.” 7:4

In his letter to Philadeophians, Ignatius writes concerning the gospel, which of course was at the centre of Christian preaching. “But the Gospel possesses something distinctive, namely, the coming of the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ, his suffering, and the resurrection.”

In his letter to the Magnesians, he writes, “I want to forewarn you not to get snagged on the hooks of worthless opinions but instead to be fully convinced about the birth and the suffering and the resurrection, which took place assuredly by Jesus Christ.” 11:2-4

“And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James. Origen on Josephus - (Ante-Nicene Fathers, vol 10) (Antiquities of the Jews) (Contra Celsum) 1.47

“Jesus appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him.” Agapius - (Historia) 1.7.13

JD Curtis said...

“Peter preached the Gospel in Pontus, and Galatia, and Cappadocia, and Betania and Italy, and Asia, and was afterwards crucified by Nero in Rome with the head downward, as he had himself desired to suffer in that manner. Andrew preached to the Sythians and Thracians, and was crucified, suspended on an olive tree at Patrae, and town of Achaia; and there too he was buried. John, again, in Asia was banished by Domitian the king to the isle of Patmos, in which also he fell asleep at Ephesus, where his remains were sought for, but could not be found. James, Jesus brother, when preaching in Judea, was cut off with the sword by Herod the tetrarch, and was buried there. Philip preached in Phygia, and was crucified in Hierapolis with his head downward in the time of Domitian, and was buried there. Bartholomew again, preached to the Indians, to whom he also gave the Gospel according to Matthew, and was crucified with his head downward. And was buried in Allanum, a town of the great Armeia. And Matthew wrote the Gospel in the Hebrew tongue, and published it at Jerusalem, and fell asleep at Hierees, a town of Pathia. And Thomas preached to the Pathians, Medes, Persians, Hyrcanians, Bactrians and Margians and was thrust through in the four members of his body with a pine spear at Clamene, the city of India, and was buried there. And James the son of Alphaeus, when preaching in Jerusalem, was stoned to death by the Jews, and was buried there beside the temple. Jude who is also called Lebbaeus, preached to the people of Edessa, and to all Mesopotamia and fell asleep at Berytus, and was buried there. Simon the Zealot, the son of Clopas, who is also called Jude, became bishop of Jerusalem after James the Just, and fell asleep and was buried there. And Matthias who was one of the seventy, was numbered along with the eleven apostles, and preached in Jerusalem, and fell asleep and was buried there. And Paul entered into the apostleship a year after the assumption of Christ; and beginning at Jerusalem, he advanced as far as Illyricum, and Italy and Spain preaching the Gospel for thirty five years. And in the time of Nero he was beheaded at Rome, and was buried there.” Hippolytus - Cyprian, Novatian, Appendix [ECF 1.5.0.2.3.0]

. Celsus - a critic of Christianity wrote strongly against the resurrection but admitted that the tomb was empty and that no body was found anywhere. He was forced to propose magic or deception i.e., lies. This type of claim shows that critics like Celsus had to respond to the reality of the empty tomb and the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

. Pliny the Younger, . Suetonius, Tactus, and Celsus were all enemies of Christianity yet attested to the historicity of Jesus.

“Nero fastened the guilt of the burning of Rome and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus. Tacitus - Annals 15.44

. Shepherd of Hermas (Parable 9, section 28); (Vision 3, section 1) . Melito of Sardis
. Hegesipius . Polycrates - (To Victor of Rome) are early Christian authors attesting to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

JD Curtis said...

Modern:
. “That he was crucified is as sure as anything historical can ever be.” John Dominic Crossan - Founder of the Jesus Seminar - In (“Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography”) San Francisco, Harper Collins, 1991 - 145,154, 196, 201

. Rudolf Bultmann - (“What Really Happened to Jesus - A Historical Approach to the Resurrection.”) John Bowden Trans. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1995 - 80

. Paula Frederickson - Historian - In an interview with Peter Jennings for “The Search for Jesus,” American Broadcasting Company, 2000.

The amount of evidence that we have concerning Jesus is actually very impressive. We can start with approximately nine traditional authors of the New Testament. Another twenty early Christian authors, and four heretical writings mention Jesus within 150 years of His death on the cross. Moreover, nine secular, non-Christian sources mention Jesus within the 150 years of His death: Josephus, the Jewish historian; Tacitus, the Roman historian; Pliny the Younger, a politician of Rome; Phlegon, a freed slave who wrote histories; Lucian, the Greek satirist; Celsus, a Roman philosopher; and the historians Suetonius and Thallus, as well as the prisoner Mara Bar-Serapion. In all, at least forty-two authors, nine of them secular mention Jesus within 150 years of his death. Why am I telling you this? Let me make a comparison.

Julius Caesar, was one of Rome’s most prominent figures. Caesar is well known for his military conquests. After his Gallic Wars, he made the famous statement, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Only five sources report his military conquests: writings by Caesar himself, Cicero, Livy, the Salona Decree and Appian. If he made such a great impact on Roman society why didn’t more writers of antiquity mention his great accomplishments? Yet no one questions whether Julius made a tremendous impact on the Roman Empire. Yet within 150 years of his death, more non-Christian authors alone comment on Jesus than all of the sources who mentions Julius Caesar’s great military conquests within 150 years after his death.

JD Curtis said...

"One more example. Tiberius Caesar was the Roman emperor at the time of Jesus’ ministry and execution. Tiberius is mentioned by ten sources within 150 years of his death: Tacitus, Suetonius, Velleius Paterculus, Plutarch, Pliny the Elder, Strabo, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Josephus and Luke. Compare that to Jesus’ forty-two sources in the same length of time. That’s more than four times the number of total sources who mention the Roman emperor during roughly the same period. If we only considered the number of secular non-Christian sources who mention Jesus and Tiberius within 150 years of their lives, we arrive at a tie of nine each.

I’ve mentioned that the vast majority of historical scholars, be they merely secular, atheist or Christian attest to the life, death and resurrection “sightings” of Jesus. These scholars attest to the empty tomb, the conversion of the sceptics Paul and James, the dramatic change in the disciples and of course the rise of the Christian church based solely on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead. As there are not very many historical scholars who specialise in this area I will list them here. Glank, Blinzler, Bode, von Campenhausen, Delorme, Dhanis, Grundmann, Hengel, Lehmann, Leon-Dufour, Kremer, Lichtenstein, Manek, Martini, Mussner, Nauck, Rengstorff, Strobel, Stuhlmacher, Trilling, Vogtle and Wilckens. There are sixteen additional prominent scholars who are not evangelical who attest to the historicity of the above: Benoit, Brown, Clark, Dunn, Ellis, Gundry, Hooke, Jeremias, Klappert, Ladd, Lane, Marshall, Moule, Perry, Robinson, and Schnackenburg.
These forty-five prominent scholars believe that there was an empty tomb, that the disciple truly believed they saw the resurrected Jesus, that that belief caused such a dramatic change in Jesus’ followers that they endured hardship, persecution and many suffered execution for that belief, that the sceptics Paul and James were changed by an encounter with what they believed to be the resurrected Jesus. In the world today, more than one hundred historical scholars who specialise in this areas believe these premises versus thirty-five who do not."

JD Curtis said...

Again, giving credit where it is due, this is from Mak's blog, not original writings from me. Just so we're clear.

GCT said...

Wow, Gish gallop much? Let me go in order:

Lucian wasn't even born until 125 CE and you left out the rest of the quote where he says, "All this they take quite on faith..." indicating that he's not saying Jesus existed. Oh, and he wasn't a historian either, but even if he were, he'd be working off of second hand sources and hearsay.

Tacitus, also was writing from hearsay and second hand sources as he did not live during the time and only wrote this around 115 CE after the burning of Rome, meaning he was probably not using Roman records. You'll also note that he doesn't say Yeshua, but instead Christus, which could mean a different person.

The passages in Josephus are largely regarded to be inauthentic and later forgeries by Xian apologists.

The Mara Bar-Serapian passage is incomplete. In it he talks of specific people by name and then fails to mention Jesus by name. He only speaks of a great king who the Jews killed, even though Jesus was killed by the Romans. This isn't a good manuscript to use.

The Talmud quote is incorrect. It does not say he was hanged on a cross but simply hanged. Other passages say he was stoned, that it happened around 100 BCE, that he was the son of a Roman soldier, etc. These were all written around 200 CE, well after the events and well after the Jews were dispersed. These writings were polemics to defend themselves against Xian accusations that they had mistreated Jesus, like by having a secret trial, which is what the quoted passage is trying to defend against, saying that it was public. But, by that time, they had no way of knowing about whether Jesus was real or not, which is shown by the wild stories they had about Jesus. It's not contemporary and not good evidence.

More later.

JD Curtis said...

The passages in Josephus are largely regarded to be inauthentic and later forgeries by Xian apologists.

Could you please cite a single copy of any of the works of Josephus that is at odds with his above statement?

I didnt mean to Gish Gallop here. Personally? I have access to about 3/4ths or 2/3rds of the above information in books that I have. Mak just put it together with some additional info.

Let me just ask you this, look at the last entry, I'll highlight it here.."In the world today, more than one hundred historical scholars who specialise in this areas believe these premises versus thirty-five who do no"t. We have already seen where you like to seize upon narrow definitions. Why did you decide to seize upon the vast minority of historians rather than the majority?

GCT said...

JD,
"Could you please cite a single copy of any of the works of Josephus that is at odds with his above statement?"

That's not the point. The point is that scholars now regard the remarks contained in Josephus to be forgeries by later Xians. Although I will say that we don't see this passage until the 4th century, and earlier writers who quoted from Josephus did not use this passage. Eusebius is the first to "cite" this passage well into the 4th century. You might also note that Eusebius came out and claimed that it's all right to change texts for Jesus.

"I’ve mentioned that the vast majority of historical scholars, be they merely secular, atheist or Christian attest to the life, death and resurrection “sightings” of Jesus."

Yes, there are many scholars who believe that Jesus existed, but I still don't see why, which is what I've asked. We have scant evidence for Jesus. No historian living at the time wrote about Jesus or mentioned him. None. Zip. Zilch. All the accounts we have are hearsay after the fact, don't add up, and are well after the supposed events. The vast majority of scholars who study this and have studied this in the past have also been Xians, which casts a bit of doubt upon their motivations and judgement in accepting facts.

"These scholars attest to the empty tomb, the conversion of the sceptics Paul and James, the dramatic change in the disciples and of course the rise of the Christian church based solely on the belief that Jesus rose from the dead."

Just as above, there's no reason to believe in an empty tomb as we have scant evidence that it happened. The only evidence we have is that the gospel writers wrote about it, well after the event and using source material from previous beliefs (i.e. they were not eye witnesses) and that people believed it afterwards, which is a weak argument to make. We have very little information on the disciples (if they existed) and what happened to them. We know that 2 of them supposed disciples who were at least higher ups in the cult were killed, but that's about it. We have reason to believe a third might have been, but still, that's simply a claim that some Xian believers were killed.

Lastly, the idea that the church rose up from the beliefs of others is a pretty plain claim.

Duke of Earl said...

My word. What a moronic dribbler.

What evidence do we have for the existence of Gamaliel? A couple of references in the Bible, a couple in Jewish writings.

Who disputes Gamaliel's existence? Nobody.