Beliefs Without Foundation For Christians

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BigTrav123's picture
I have, it just seems very

I have, it just seems very selective with how evidence is put forwards to them now. Very echo-chamber-esque.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Trav

@ Trav

No, there are no contemporary to his life commentaries about a jesus figure as described in the gospels. Lets look at Tacitus, writing very late in the 1st century...

Tacitus and that Jesus Passage:

Tacitus was a Roman Historian writing at the turn of the 1st Century CE, i.e between 90CE and 120CE. Many theists make much of a brief mention of a “Chrestus” and use it to bolster their beliefs without ever realising what the passage actually says.

Just to make sure no fantasy mad theist argues the point here is the passage in English and Latin:

“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 Judæa, 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.”

In Latin: ergo abolendo rumori Nero subdidit reos et quaesitissimis poenis adfecit, quos per flagitia invisos vulgus Chrestianos appellabat. auctor nominis eius Christus Tibero imperitante per procuratorem Pontium Pilatum supplicio adfectus erat; repressaque in praesens exitiabilis superstitio rursum erumpebat, non modo per Iudaeam, originem eius mali, sed per urbem etiam, quo cuncta undique atrocia aut pudenda confluunt celebranturque. igitur primum correpti qui fatebantur, deinde indicio eorum multitudo ingens haud proinde in crimine incendii quam odio humani generis convicti sunt. [Wiki]

The most anyone can get out of this rather inaccurate passage (Pilate was Prefect not Procurator and there was not an 'immense multitude" of christians anywhere much less in Rome in 60CE) Is that a Jewish Cult of Chrestus was in Rome in about 64CE according to reports some 30 - 50 years later. That those "christians" ( they were not called that then) were despised by the populace and many were killed. That is all.

Not very convincing evidence for an actual gospel Jesus, even for a rabid theist now is it?

Josephus has but two entries that mention a Jesus. The first is now recognised by nearly all scholars as a 3rd century interpolation (the good man entry) aka, a FAKE

The second entry is where Jospehus is writing about the Temple at Jerusalem, in particular he mentions James and here we have the rub...does the entry say Brother of Jesus? or Brother IN jesus? It it is brother "of" Jesus, then either the jesus referred to is not the divine godly jesus of the gospels ( james is the "elder brother') or the passage refers to another Jesus altogether which is entirely likely if not probable as the Jesus referred to was probably one of the High Priests for whom we have records.
If brother "in" Jesus than it may be argued that James was a member of the messanaic jewish cult that hailed the Jesus figure as "the perfect man" and the ADOPTED (not divine) son of god. Not the divine magical zombie as described in the gospels.

Any other writers you want to bring up? I notice you said among others they must have esacaped my notice as , apart form Paul NO ONE until about 75CE mentions a jesus figure at all...not once. anywhere.

it's a pretty safe bet to acknowledge that the man existed with the evidence we have.

So, based on your own evidence, not it isn't a "safe bet". The existence of a magical zombie 'sonofgod jesus' is improbable.

That a 1st centruy jesus figure existed that gave rise to the tales and legends embroidered about him is NOT PROVEN.

I would not be taking bets on that basis.

BigTrav123's picture
I understand. I hadn't

I understand. I hadn't claimed that the man was a magical zombie even if he had existed, but your points provide a lot of clarity, and thank you for them.

boomer47's picture
@Old man shouts.

@Old man shouts.

I'm aware of the lack of contemporary evidence for the existence of Jesus, as I understand it, so are most reputable scholars. It is also my understanding that Flavius Josephus (Jewish name Yosuf Ben Matityahu ) can be a bit uneven. I've even seen him dismissed as a Roman apologist. I don't remember when or by whom, so I guess anecdotal .

I'm confused about Jesus' brothers. The Catholics claim Jesus had no siblings. Some claim James the Just was the brother of Jesus.Others that his brother was [Doubting] Thomas DIDYMUS . I've always thought that an odd claim. Surviving twin boys would have been a very a pretty big deal in that a time and place, yet he's barely mentioned in the Gospels as far as I know. Not even in the probably later fabrication of the infancy gospels.Surely some one would have thought to mention Joseph, Mary and their boys escaping to Egypt?.

Of course that's the terribly handy thing about myths. Writers can add and subtract as much as they like, at least before the printing press. According to Bart Ehrman , in "Misquoting Jesus", they did exactly that, with gay abandon, for centuries. So today's new testament contains at THOUSANDS of errors, some quite significant.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Cranky

@ Cranky

Josephus can't be dismissed although the earliest manuscript dates back to the 11th century (f128) and is riddled with post hoc additions, interpolations, margin notes and the like.

Josephus was a toady to Vespasian ( Flavius Vaspianus) writing a lot of bollocks to make him and the Flavian dynasty look good....but still there is a kernel of truth in a lot of his entries.

It is also helpful to note that Josephus was in Galilee during the jewish wars and listed all of the towns and villages of note.....yet no he is indeed a very helpful tool in establishing truth from fantasy.

James is an historical figure at the Upper Temple, Josephus's account of him marries with local records and also later entries in Acts. Unlike Jesus we can be a lot more confident in allocating the label of "existing character".
It is likely that he is indeed the James that Paul mentions as does 'Luke' in Acts and is backed up by the early Church fathers when they visited the Temple in the mid 2nd Century and found not the apostles in charge but a group of "poor Men" the Ebionites who had their own gospels (oh the horror) were Adoptionists, did not have the narrative of the virgin birth or physical resurrection and...worse were Jewish! They also claimed the right of ascendancy being direct inheritors of the Temple of James.

Confusion arises over the term "brother" not just in Josephus account, but because "brother" and "sister" was a term that christians used to describe each other as members of that apocalyptic cult. Hence why the descriptor "brother 'in' or 'of' Christ" is important. The terms that christians used was also repugnant to all the Romans who believed they really were siblings (brothers and sisters and fathers) engaged in unholy rites of blood sacrifice, cannibalism and incestuous marriage and that did lead to persecution, especially when they also refused to acknowledge the Emperor as a god.

(edit..insert Josephus re Galilee)

boomer47's picture
@Old man shouts

@Old man shouts

"Josephus was a toady to Vespasian ( Flavius Vaspianus) writing a lot of bollocks to make him and the Flavian dynasty look good....but still there is a kernel of truth in a lot of his entries."

Thanks for that. I wasn't aware of his specific link to power. Have no problem believing it . That's because Josephus was no different from a lot of ancient historians

I understand that the the modern discipline of history Is said to have began with Edward Gibbon. Yet, he is often very judgemental in "The History Of The decline and Fall Of The Roman Empire"

It is my understanding it was common in Roman times at least, for histories to be commissioned by the subject, or commissioned to do a job on the reputations of one's enemies.

Most of the historical perception of Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus** comes from Suetonius' "De Vitus Caesarum" ( aka "The Lives Of The Twelve Caesars" ) At least one modern historian*** thinks Suetonius did a hatchet job on Gaius. That much of what he wrote is"'scurrilous". That is not to say the emperor Caligula was not an arsehole. Only that he was nowhere as bad as Suetonius paints him.

Then there are Julius Caesar's peans to himself****. The man even invented an entire country to make his campaigns far greater than they were. IE Germania . In fact Rome never succeeded in conquering and holding any territory east of the Rhine. Those ambitions ended with the catastrophe of the massacre of Varus' legions in the Teutoburg Forest in 9 CE, by the very cunning Roman educated Arminius.


**Caligula; Little boots, or 'bootikins, according to Mary Beard. This was a term of affection used by his father's legion when Gaius was a chid. I'm not entirely convinced he would have been called 'Caligula' to his face as an adult .

***my reference: "CALIGULA: THE CORRUPTION OF POWER." ANTHONY A BARRETT. B T Batsford Ltd London 1989 .

I admit I have not read further on Caligula. There may well be other, better books, with different opinions. I was simply interested in a different perspective. I guess I'm a sucker for revisionist history. Probably because I see history as a continuum in which we are all a part, rather than a convenient series of events instigated by great men and women .

******* I had not realised before today that he wrote so many. He must have had at least one top rate amanuensis.

Cognostic's picture
@Nyarlathotep: ??? No

@Nyarlathotep: ??? No known sources contemporary to the life of Jesus that would substantiate his existence.


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