Disciples weren't lying because they were tortured

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UnKnown's picture
Disciples weren't lying because they were tortured

How do you respond to people who claim the disciples weren't lying because they didn't confess under torture?

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Poppycock.

Poppycock.

UnKnown's picture
Is it poppycock because they

Is it poppycock because they weren't tortured, or because they confessed?

Algebe's picture
Poppycock because there are

Poppycock because there are no reliable accounts about who was tortured or not tortured, and what anybody said or didn't say under that torture.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Algebe - Poppycock because

Algebe - Poppycock because there are no reliable accounts about who was tortured or not tortured, and what anybody said or didn't say under that torture.

exactly, but i'll add:
If you torture someone to try to get them to confess the world is flat, and they refuse; does that mean the world is flat? Or does that mean the world isn't flat? I don't see how you can conclude either from the situation. I don't get the basic logic of the original question.

Also what exactly would they be confessing too (the disciples)? Being a discipline of Jesus? I thought Christians weren't supposed to hide their light under a bushel!

Or in short: Poppycock.

Algebe's picture
Nyarlathotep:

Nyarlathotep:
"Also what exactly would they be confessing to (the disciples)?"

http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics-more/resurrection-evidence.htm

According to this site, nobody ever confessed that Jesus' resurrection was faked, so therefore the resurrection must really have happened.

Nyarlathotep's picture
OK so we got a tradition

OK so we got an oral tradition about a group of legendary characters who refused to confess to faking the resurrection of another legendary character, while under torture; and this is supposed to convince us that this other legendary character was actually resurrected?!? I bet someone’s arms are getting tired from grabbing all those straws! I'd like to change my response to the original question to: fucking poppycock!

Algebe's picture
The main authority for

The main authority for stories about these early martyrdoms is Eusebius, who was born about 250 years later. One thing's for sure: the Christians certainly wrote the book on torture.

UnKnown's picture
You don't believe that the

You don't believe that the "legendary characters" are martyrs, but you cannot deny there was persecution against them with the Romans. The constant threat of death and torture. You may not believe that they suffered, but they continued to teach despite knowing that you could die for what they are saying, and tortured.

watchman's picture
Unknown...

Unknown...

"you cannot deny there was persecution against them with the Romans. "......

Well....yes I can.....

I recommend the book "The Myth of Persecution" by Candida Moss.....

Not to give too much away...but the stories of thousands or tens of thousands of early Christian martyrs are just that...... stories...

Apparently the actual number is closer to ...... 9 (yup...that's nine)

"We know that Christians weren't persecuted empire-wide until the middle of the 3rd century. Until then, persecution was “sporadic and local,” and Christians greatly exaggerated the extent of the persecution.

In fact, it seems that the myth of a constantly persecuted early church didn't fully develop until after Constantine converted the empire to Christianity.

The myth was also driven in part by competing Christian factions who would use stories of martyrs to bolster their authority, by claiming the martyrs had supported their side."

link :http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hallq/2013/03/review-candida-moss-the-myth-...

Further it would seem that some early Christians actually colluded in their own destruction.... or at least tried to....

"In a famous episode in Asia Minor around 185, a mob of Christians marched to the home of C. Arrius Antoninus, the governor of Asia, and demanded to be executed. The governor, no doubt irritated by the interruption, sent the Christians away, telling them that if they wanted to die, they had cliffs to leap off and ropes with which to hang themselves"

So...martyrdom.?......just another myth. as it seems it always was.

UnKnown's picture
1. Emperor Trajan wrote to

1. Emperor Trajan wrote to Pliny the Younger saying that "These people are not to be sought for; but if they be accused and convicted, they are to be punished". The only way Christians were able to get out of execution was by burning incense to the Roman
God's.
2. Suetonius: "Vast numbers were convicted...torn to death by dogs...fastened on crosses...were burned to serve as lamps"
3. Tacitus: "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt 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, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."

I think the use of the words "vast number" and "an immense multitude", imply more than merely 9.

watchman's picture
OK Unknown…..

OK Unknown…..

Lets take a look at your points shall we…?

Emperor Trajan wrote to Pliny the Younger saying that "These people are not to be sought for; but if they be accused and convicted, they are to be punished". The only way Christians were able to get out of execution was by burning incense to the Roman
God's.

Yep…that’s true enough… Trajan did write to Pliny (in reply to a letter from Pliny asking for advise on how to deal with the Christians…)…..

But I note you’ve been somewhat selective in your editing of Trajan’s letter…. The full text is as follows ;

“You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it--that is, by worshiping our gods--even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.”
Now you see……

” it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard.”

Surely ,if the Christians were deemed such a danger and to be exterminated …then just such a “general rule” would have been in place.

“They are not to be sought out”

Not to be sought out…??? It appears that in Trajan’s view the Christians barely merited the the trouble of finding them….. strange sought of persecution this.

“if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished”

Simple statement of the principles of the law . along with the proviso that guilt must be proved…again I have to say…an odd sort of persecution.

“whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it--that is, by worshiping our gods--even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance”

Again a reinforcement of a controlled ,considered legal process…hardly the act of blood thirsty ,ravening “witch hunters”.

“anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.”

And again….law respecting ,considered ,intelligent directions …it really is becoming quite difficult to see just how the “many thousands of martyrs” figures could even be approached…

2. Suetonius: "Vast numbers were convicted...torn to death by dogs...fastened on crosses...were burned to serve as lamps"
But surely you must be aware that the references you make ,Vast numbers ,death by dogs ,fastened on crosses and burned as lamps ,were not made by Seutonius…they are from Tacitus. Can you be deliberately misquoting in order to make your case…I do hope not….It would show an appalling lack of respect.

No…Seutonius is quoted by your ilk usually for his quote supposedly referring to Christ….

“Iudaeos impulsore Chresto] assidue tumultuantis Roma expulit”

It can be plainly seen that what Seutonius wrote was Chresto not Christo…as many Christians maintain.

The brief Latin text is ambiguous, giving two ways of interpreting it:

"He expelled from Rome the Jews constantly making disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus"

"Since the Jews constantly make disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

So nothing here about any persecution…..although it should be noted that this text does mention Christians being punished but only in the context of a general “crackdown” instigated by Nero ……thus…

"During his reign many abuses were severely punished and put down, and no fewer new laws were made: a limit was set to expenditures; the public banquets were confined to a distribution of food; the sale of any kind of cooked viands in the taverns was forbidden, with the exception of pulse and vegetables, whereas before every sort of dainty was exposed for sale. Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition. He put an end to the diversions of the chariot drivers, who from immunity of long standing claimed the right of ranging at large and amusing themselves by cheating and robbing the people. The pantomimic actors and their partisans were banished from the city."

3. Tacitus: "Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt 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, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind."

Ah yes…and so we come to it…… Tacitus….. in his famous exposure of Nero….. but there are some points to be made…..

Ms Moss in her book ,The Myth of Persecution , makes the point that the work in question (Tacitus’s Annals) dates from 115-120 AD. At least fifty years after the events he writes about. Also his use of the term “Christian” is somewhat “anachronistic” ….

It’s highly unlikely that ,at the time the Great Fire occurred, anyone recognised followers of Jesus as a distinct and separate group.

Followers of Jesus themselves do not appear to have begun using the name “Christian” until ,at the earliest ,the very end of the first century. If followers of Jesus weren’t even identified as Christians, its highly improbable that Christians were well known and disliked enough that Nero could single them out as scapegoats.

It would seem likely that Tacitus was reflecting ,not the views of AD 64 but those of AD 115…when there was growing popular animosity to the Christians .

Now you may consider that the words vast numbers and immense multitude have implications…..

“I think the use of the words "vast number" and "an immense multitude", imply more than merely 9.”

But they don’t prove anything do they ?

And Ms Moss ,a graduate of Oxford University ,a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame….. seems to have research that comes to different conclusions

UnKnown's picture
So to summarize, your

So to summarize, your problems are:
Trajan to Pliny: The persecution was to organised, calm, controlled and not deemed much of a threat to be considered a massive persecution
Suetonius via Tacitus: I don't see what your problem is. You quoted some other part of his work after insulting my choice of person.
Tacitus: Not enough people to be deemed a whole group and it was written half a century after the persecution
Is this it?
(Btw means to be good, a good teacher perhaps as many have referred to him as that, so Chrestus/Chrestus could have been used to describe Jesus, rather than another person entirely.)

watchman's picture
Unknown.....

Unknown.....

You posted ,"but you cannot deny there was persecution against them with the Romans. The constant threat of death and torture."

I demurred and you went on to offer sources to illustrate your point ,you cited the somewhat half hearted "persecution" of Plinys/Trajan's time.

You then went on to add Suetonius to your list of sources for the persecution...yet you did not quote Suetonius ..you quoted Tacitus..

My problem is...do you have a quote from Suetonius supporting your position or not.....does Suetonius say anything about any persecution.??

Tacitus...yes pretty much ok with what you put..

BTW...Chrestus can mean "good"...but was more often used in its meaning of "useful"....a name much given to slaves

UnKnown's picture
1. There was still

1. There was still persecution, however I agree with you that it was "half-hearted". My argument is with the apostles death which happened before this source which was roughly 111-113 AD, well after the deaths of the apostles

2. You question the reliability of Tacitus because he writes roughly 60-70 years after. Emperor Tiberius died roughly 37 AD. The first writings about him were 114 AD. 77 years, roughly the same time distance as Tacitus

3. Several examples have praised Tacitus:
a. Syme, who was regarded as one of the foremost Tacitean scholars, says [Sym.Tac, 398] "the prime quality of Cornelius Tacitus is distrust. It was needed if a man were to write about the Caesars." He adds [ibid., 281, 282] that Tacitus "was no stranger to industrious investigation" and his "diligence was exemplary."
b. Chilver [Chilv.Tac, 24] indicates that "for Tacitus scepticism was inescapable is not to be doubted."
c. Martin [Mart.Tac, 211], though noting difficulties about discerning Tacitus' exact sources, says that "It is clear, then, that Tacitus read widely and that the idea that he was an uncritical follower of a single source is quite untenable."
d. Grant [Gran.Grec, 40-3; see also Gran.Tac, 18], while charging Tacitus with bias, error, and "unfair selectivity" in various areas (especially associated with the Emperor Tiberius), nevertheless agrees that Tacitus "was careful to contrast what had been handed down orally with the literary tradition." Elsewhere he notes that "There is no doubt that (Tacitus) took a great deal of care in selecting his material" [ibid., 20].
e. Dudley [Dud.Tac, 29] notes that despite problems in discerning what sources Tacitus used, "it may be said with some confidence that the view that Tacitus followed a single authority no longer commands support."
f. Mellor [Mell.Tac, 20, 45] observes that although he made use of other sources, including friends like Pliny, Tacitus "does not slavishly follow, as some of his Roman predecessors did, the vagaries of his sources."

4. Do you have proof that the Christian didn't have a distinct group. I do not deny that they didn't call themselves Christians, but I believe that they were a distinct group.

5. Wells also offers this objection [Well.HistEv, 16-17]. Like the above objection, however, it is not considered at all problematic by any Tacitean or other historian. Rather than find some deficiency in Tacitus because of this, it is more plausible to recognize that Tacitus would use the name with which his readers would be most familiar - and that would not necessarily be the name that Jesus was executed under.

Furthermore, simply referring to "Jesus" would not explain how it is that Jesus' followers were named Christians; Van Voorst [VanV.JONT, 43ff] further makes the point that Tacitus is actually issuing a subtle corrective here! The text of the oldest manuscript, and most likely reading, spells "Christians" with an e ("Chrestians"). In naming "Christ," Tacitus "is correcting, in a way typical of his style of economy, the misunderstanding of the 'crowd' (vulgus) by stating that the 'founder of this name'...is Christus, not the common name given by the crowd, Chrestus...he calls attention by his somewhat unusual phrase to the nomen of the movement in order to link it directly--and correctly--to the name of Christ." It should be further added that the NT itself tended towards the direction of using "Christ" as though it were a proper name, and that Tacitus (and Pliny as well) may be reflecting this [VanV.JONT, 46].

6. There couldn't have been many Christians in Rome to be a distinct group. Well, if 50 people were arrested for holding up a McDonald's, that is a great multitude it respect to the crime and scale of it. There is no force behind this objection as it lack specifics

7.The first real recognition Christianity other than Nero's slaughter, was an inquiry by emperor Domitian who supposedly, upon hearing that the Christians refused to perform Caesar worship, sent investigators to Galilee to inquire on his family, about fifty years after the crucifixion. They found some poor smallholders, including the great-nephew of Jesus, interrogated them and then released them without charge. The fact however that the Roman emperor should take interest in this sect proves that by this time the Christians no longer merely represented an obscure little sect.
(BTW I pretty much got all this info from http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/tacitus.php , it's pretty good)

Nyarlathotep's picture
UnKnown - BTW I pretty much

UnKnown - BTW I pretty much got all this info from http://www.tektonics.org/jesusexist/tacitus.php , it's pretty good

Robert Turkel's site? That guy is a well known liar, young Earth creationist, and biblical inerrancy supporter. Sigh.

UnKnown's picture
What I found on his site, I

What I found on his site, I found on other sites, not just his.

Nyarlathotep's picture
I think it is quite telling

I think it is quite telling that you thought it was a good source...

UnKnown's picture
I did. But what I am saying

I did. But what I am saying now, is that all that I found in his site, whilst going on my google search rambles, I found on several other sites.

watchman's picture
OK…

OK…

So where do we stand now ?

1/ We appear to be in agreement that the Pliny –Trajan “persecution” was something of a small /limited event …. which of course would account for why Pliny ,a senator and experienced magistrate had to ask the emperor for advise ….its not like there were many precedents to follow….at least as far as dealing with Christians is concerned.

2/ Your points 2,3 & 5 while appearing to bolster the claims of Tacitus …. all seem to highlight the several problems with Tacitus’ writings…..and the fact that they ALL mention these problems shows how suspect it makes his testimony.
Then there is the tellingly damaging point made about Tacitus…

“Tacitus "is correcting, in a way typical of his style of economy, the misunderstanding of the 'crowd' (vulgus) by stating that the 'founder of this name'...is Christus, not the common name given by the crowd, Chrestus...”

So an admission that Tacitus was not above manipulating the source material to achieve the result he wanted…not to record what was fact

4/ Of course I have no direct proof that the Christians weren’t a distinct and separate group…it not like we have census form to go on……and it has to be that they viewed themselves as a separate and distinct ….. regardless of what they did or didn’t call themselves …

6/ Here you seem to be arguing the relativity of the numbers involved in Christianity….but you do finish the point with…

”There is no force behind this objection as it lack specifics”.

And yet …that same “lack of specifics” did not stop you from claiming ….

"Vast numbers were convicted...torn to death by dogs...fastened on crosses...were burned to serve as lamps"

7/ Here you introduce new territory…the emperor Domitian……..

”who supposedly, upon hearing that the Christians refused to perform Caesar worship, sent investigators to Galilee to inquire on his family, about fifty years after the crucifixion. They found some poor smallholders, including the great-nephew of Jesus, interrogated them and then released them without charge.”

Interesting and impressive…if its true…..but that’s pretty big IF.

You have a source for this….?

“that the Roman emperor should take interest in this sect proves that by this time the Christians no longer merely represented an obscure little sect.”

Indeed…… but like I said…..If its true……

Oh yes.. … I take it that you have found no reference in Suetonius to a persecution. Or have you simply overlooked the question….

As to the “so called” Domitian persecution…… This too seems to have been greatly exaggerated….

I refer you (indeed anyone interested ) to … http://bibleworld.com/domper.pdf

Here you will find arguments both for and against….read and make up your own minds.

UnKnown's picture
1. Because the persecutions

1. Because the persecutions happened after the death of the apostles (which is what the original question is about), I will just assume what you said is true

2. My second point before this is to illustrate that the time difference between the events and the writings aren't consequential enough to have a negative effect on the reliability. The example I used was with Emperor Tiberius, the distance between his life and the recording of his life is longer than with Tacitus and the Christian Persecution.

3. How does my third point have create problems with Tacitus?

4. My fifth point concerns Tacitus using the word Chrestus and Chrestians. The term Chrestians had been used by the general population of Rome to describe early Christians in his book 'Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries page 12'. In the original book of acts, it is written 'Chrestians' not 'Christians'. Chrestus was used to describe Jesus

5. With you fourth point, why do you say that they were no distinct group?

6. The lack of specificity in my part I used to say that there were more than 9, that "vast numbers" implied more than the number you suggested, relative to the actual number of Christians . The lack of specificity used by you is relative to the actual of number of Christians (what would make it specific would be to have the actual number, or an educated guess). When Tacitus uses "vast numbers" it means that there were more people tortured and executed than he would of thought

7. "Hegesippus’s account traces the work of Jesus’ family into a third generation. The historian relates that, in the late first century, two grandsons of Jesus’ brother Jude, called Zoker and James, came under suspicion of the Roman authorities. . . . [T]he brothers were brought before the emperor Domitian for trial . . . To prove that they were hardworking peasant farmers, these nephews of Jesus displayed their tough bodies and the hardened skin of their hands. They also explained that the kingdom of Christ was not an earthly one . . . but one that would come at the end of history. Having been convinced that they were harmless and despising them as mere peasants, Domitian [81-96 CE] released them and ordered the persecution of Christians to cease."

Andre Lemaire, “Burial Box of James the Brother of Jesus,” Biblical Archaeology Review 28, no. 6 (November/December 2002): 24-33, 70

watchman's picture
OK....

OK....

1. Because the persecutions happened after the death of the apostles (which is what the original question is about), I will just assume what you said is true….

That’s damned decent of you…… however I must point out ….. that “what I said” was ,in fact what professor Moss said in her book.

2. My second point before this is to illustrate that the time difference between the events and the writings aren't consequential enough to have a negative effect on the reliability. The example I used was with Emperor Tiberius, the distance between his life and the recording of his life is longer than with Tacitus and the Christian Persecution.

Yes…a 70 odd year difference between Tacitus’ account and the actual events …. If we had access to Tacitus’ sources it would perhaps be not quite so worrying…but Tacitus is notoriously lax with defining his sources.

3. How does my third point have create problems with Tacitus?

No. No….you’re trying the old Theist two step here….. I did not say that your 3rd point created anything…
What I said was….What you posted in an attempt to bolster Tacitus ,seems to highlight the several problems with Tacitus’ writings……
To wit…..
Of the six quotes you use about Tacitus’ work ….three of them raise the problem with his somewhat cavalier attitude to recording his sources….
Martin…”noting difficulties about discerning Tacitus' exact sources,” Grant…”charging Tacitus with bias, error, and "unfair selectivity" in various areas (especially associated with the Emperor Tiberius)” Dudley……”problems in discerning what sources Tacitus used”.

4. My fifth point concerns Tacitus using the word Chrestus and Chrestians. The term Chrestians had been used by the general population of Rome to describe early Christians in his book 'Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries page 12'. In the original book of acts, it is written 'Chrestians' not 'Christians'. Chrestus was used to describe Jesus

You have some evidence for these claims….. What are you referring to as the “original book of acts” and where ,exactly is Christ referred to as Chrestus ?? Just who’s book are you referring to with ,” in his book 'Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries page 12'”

5. With you fourth point, why do you say that they were no distinct group?

Again ?.... I said no such thing…. What I posted was, (another direct quote from Professor Moss)” it’s highly unlikely that ,at the time the Great Fire occurred, anyone recognised followers of Jesus as a distinct and separate group.”

That is that as far as the General population of Rome was concerned the Christians were just another troublesome sect of the Jews.

6. The lack of specificity in my part I used to say that there were more than 9, that "vast numbers" implied more than the number you suggested, relative to the actual number of Christians . The lack of specificity used by you is relative to the actual of number of Christians (what would make it specific would be to have the actual number, or an educated guess). When Tacitus uses "vast numbers" it means that there were more people tortured and executed than he would of thought

“It means that there were more people tortured and executed than he would of thought”.. ?
You claim to know what Tacitus thought…?
(what would make it specific would be to have the actual number, or an educated guess) …but that’s exactly what Candida Moss is providing in her book….backed up by fully sourced research….

7. "Hegesippus’s account traces the work of Jesus’ family into a third generation. The historian relates that, in the late first century, two grandsons of Jesus’ brother Jude, called Zoker and James, came under suspicion of the Roman authorities. . . . [T]he brothers were brought before the emperor Domitian for trial . . . To prove that they were hardworking peasant farmers, these nephews of Jesus displayed their tough bodies and the hardened skin of their hands. They also explained that the kingdom of Christ was not an earthly one . . . but one that would come at the end of history. Having been convinced that they were harmless and despising them as mere peasants, Domitian [81-96 CE] released them and ordered the persecution of Christians to cease."

And yet…” Hegesippus' works are now entirely lost, save eight passages concerning Church history quoted by Eusebius,”

see that…..entirely lost…….except for eight passages quoted by Eusebius….
This would be the Eusebius who famously prefaced his book with the following ,”

"We shall introduce into this history in general only those events which may be useful first to ourselves and afterwards to posterity."
– Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 8, chapter 2.

– A blatant admission that he was being less than frank with his readers.

Oh yes…… still no sign of anything from Suetonius on Christian persecutions…??

So. if you’ll allow me to summarise ….you originally posted your belief that vast numbers of christians perished in Roman persecutions.
To back this claim ,you then quoted ..

1 the Trajan/Pliny letter exchange
2 A quote apparently from Suetonius
3 A quote from Tacitus

But then we found that the Trajan letter actually did not support any large scale persecution.
Further ,we found that the Suetonius quotation was in fact a misquote from Tacitus and that ,as of this point in time, you have nothing from Suetonius to support your position.
Now it is true enough that your Tacitus quote is in fact accurate…..however when I challenged over Tacitus’ veracity ..you countered by producing six example of scholars who generally supported Tacitus….
I then pointed out that three of the six as well as generally supporting Tacitus also noted his shortcomings as an historical source.

However ,as you were willing to concede my points re Trajan /Pliny I’m willing to concede to you on Tacitus.

Finally you introduced the (no longer extant) works of Hegesippus ,which you claim relate to a supposed expedition by the emperor Domitian to visit descendants of Jesus. But here we find that the only source for this yarn is in the work of famed fabricator and self confessed deceiver Eusabius.

I have to put it to you that in all of this exchange the only point of yours that stands any examination at all is the (suspect) quotes from Tacitus. Nothing else you have presented even implies a large scale 1st century persecution of Christians by the Roman state.

UnKnown's picture
Do you agree that the biggest

Do you agree that the biggest problems that we are having is with the reliability of Tacitus and what he means?
The author is Peter Lampe.

watchman's picture
Unknown .....

Unknown .....

"Do you agree that the biggest problems that we are having is with the reliability of Tacitus and what he means?"

Yup...pretty much.....

"Christus" (Christos), who, in the reign of Tiberius, "was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate."

Apart from any other considerations.....

"For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus as "Christ."

And then ...Pilate was not a "procurator" but a prefect, which Tacitus would have known.

Indeed there are those that think the extracts that specifically mention christ and vast numbers may be later inclusions.... then again some think that Tacitus was relaying what he had heard from christians of his own time.

link:
http://www.truthbeknown.com/pliny.htm

Whatever the case.....Tacitus as we have it is somewhat suspect and unreliable....

UnKnown's picture
1. "For one, Tacitus was an

1. "For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus as "Christ."
That's why he didn't. Like it was with Josephus, it was originally Chrestus. Chrestus and Chrestians is what the followers of Christ identified as. Justin Martyr wrote "we are Chrestians", Clement wrote "Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestians". And so one and so forth. To remove confusion, church fathers replaced the letter 'e' with and 'i'.
2. "As it turns out, it was not until the rule of the emperor Claudius (who governed from 41 to 54 AD) that the title of the Roman governors changed from "prefect" to "procurator". The gospel writers accurately label Pilate (who ruled from 26 to 36AD) as "prefect" (or "governor"), not "procurator"." - http://www.raydowning.com/blog/2016/2/8/pontius-pilate-prefect-not-procu...

(extremely sorry about the late reply, technical difficulties had a part to play)

Nyarlathotep's picture
Yeah, it is cool that we have

Yeah, it is cool that we have a contemporary source for Pontius Pilate, now we just need one for Jesus.

UnKnown's picture
Tacitus isn't a contemporary

Tacitus isn't a contemporary source for Pilate. Pilate died in 38 AD. Tacitus was born 54 AD. It isn't contemporary....

Nyarlathotep's picture
UnKnown - Tacitus isn't a

UnKnown - Tacitus isn't a contemporary source for Pilate. Pilate died in 38 AD. Tacitus was born 54 AD. It isn't contemporary....

Wait, let me get this straight:

  1. You make a post, linking to a story about the Pilate stone, the ONLY contemporary source for Pilate.
  2. I reply to your post referencing the "contemporary source for Pontius Pilate".
  3. You think I'm talking about something other than the Pilate stone.

Apparently this is what I get for reading material you link us.

UnKnown's picture
There was NO MENTION of the

There was NO MENTION of the 'Pilate stone' in the debate we were having. I copied a paragraph from a website and made a link to the website. We were talking about Tacitus, so I made the reasonable assumption that by "contemporary sources", you meant Tacitus, which is what this whole discussion, and the purpose of me linking the site, is about. I apologize if I have caused any confusion over this.

watchman's picture
'UnKnown...

'UnKnown...

1/Justin Martyr wrote "we are Chrestians", Clement wrote "Now those who have believed in Christ both are and are called Chrestians". And so one and so forth. To remove confusion, church fathers replaced the letter 'e' with and 'i'.

Indeed this is exactly what Justin Martyr wrote ,some 100 years after the event…(Clement of course was even more distant in time)...... Making your point that it was the “Church fathers” who were responsible for the identification of Chrestians as Christians….As you say in exactly the same way that Josephus’ work was doctored. They were presumably desperately grasping at anything that would give their emerging religion a more impressive grounding in real history. As opposed to the swath of myths, forged prophecies and outright lies they were stuck with.

2/"As it turns out, it was not until the rule of the emperor Claudius (who governed from 41 to 54 AD) that the title of the Roman governors changed from "prefect" to "procurator". The gospel writers accurately label Pilate (who ruled from 26 to 36AD) as "prefect" (or "governor"), not "procurator"." –

Indeed….again quite correct…….thus reinforcing my point that Tacitus is unreliable over this period…..(In my opinion ,it is only this period he has a problem with…using references from his own time and not the period he was covering….his writings covering the military expeditions of Seutonius Paulinus and Agricola are far more reliable…but then Tacitus was actually there…. So only to be expected I suppose…

(extremely sorry about the late reply, technical difficulties had a part to play)

Please don’t concern your self , there is no need to apologise …. Life goes on…it does not all revolve around this forum..

UnKnown's picture
1.

1.
a. How is changing their name from something that is rooted in history (Chrestians) to a name that has never been used before (Christians) "desperately grasping at anything that would give their religion a more impressive grounding in real history"
b. Is "100 years after the event" a bad thing?
2. Yes, Tacitus made a mistake. All historians and people do. However a "procurator" isn't far from the truth and us, his audience, can get an understanding from what he meant by "one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate". This does limit him, but I do not think that this makes his whole testimony unreliable.

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