Fiction of History?

144 posts / 0 new
Last post
jonthecatholic's picture
Fiction of History?

I’ve been thinking about the Jesus myth theory that keeps being thrown around on here. I thought of something which doesn’t make sense to me.

Fictional works typically don’t have two characters with the same name unless one os the child of another or their same name has something to do with the plot.

Historical accounts, on the other hand, have no choice but to use the real names of the people even if they share the same name.

I want to test if this theory has some weight to testing if an ancient text would have been seen as fiction or a historical account.

Do you guys have any fictional books where two characters simply share the same name coincidentally? Meaning not because they were named after someone or it being a plot device?

The Gospel accounts, for example, have multiple Marys, multiple Judases, multiple Johns and Jameses. Jesus isn’t even the only Jesus in the NT. I cannot perceive of a reason why the author would do this if his purpose was to write a work of fiction.

Anyway, go have at it.

[Added 2/22/2018]

Note: This post does not assert that what is in the gospels are historically accurate. All this post is trying to say is that the gospel writers were intending their works to be read as historical documents and not as works of fiction. This is, actually looking only as internal evidence so asserting historical accuracy is something outside the scope of this post.

Subscription Note: 

Choosing to subscribe to this topic will automatically register you for email notifications for comments and updates on this thread.

Email notifications will be sent out daily by default unless specified otherwise on your account which you can edit by going to your userpage here and clicking on the subscriptions tab.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
"The Gospel accounts, for example, have multiple Marys, multiple Judases, multiple Johns and Jameses. Jesus isn’t even the only Jesus in the NT. I cannot perceive of a reason why the author would do this if his purpose was to write a work of fiction."

*sigh* to add veracity of their story? Their not even 1st century names. The names (except Judas) are all Romanised or Greek 3rd century or later . If it were a true account why change the names to suit the culture? Surely the characters were very important as were the matrial or Patrial lineage (customary to state in 1st century Judea and Samaria.) e.g Yeshua bin Josef, Miram sin....whatever.

Your argument leaks like a colander with a large gap in the side.

chimp3's picture
Authors bring their books to

Authors bring their books to publishers. Besides editors, publishers sometime provide threats of torture and burning alive. Not so much these days, unless the author lives in North Korea or ISIS held territory. Certainly true in the eras the Bible was assembled.

Sapporo's picture
Many genealogies have

Many genealogies have legendary characters who may or may not have once originated in real individuals. For example, Woden/Odin in the Norse and Anglo-Saxon kinglists, or Romulus for the Romans, or the Patriarchs of the Old Testament.

If a person said they descended from Thor, would it be useful to treat Thor as a historical person considering all the made-up stuff associated with that name?

Flamenca's picture
About the name, I agree with

About the name, I agree with the answers above. And for me, there are many clues to know why Jesus is a mythological character:

- No written records of his life apart from the Gospels, which are not even contemporary to his supposed timeline.

- The Gospels have all kinds of aspects coincidental to literary structure.

- Coincidence in features with older Mediterranean myths, and other characters such as Moses. Dr. Richard Carrier accounts for similarities between those two characters, such as the Ten Miracles, splitted in 2 pairs of five:

- Mastery of the Waters: Moses did both miracles.

- Moses also defeats forces of evil (army/legion of Amalekites or Syrophoenician, so Moses' and Jesus' myth were actually referring to the same people) with miraculous powers.

-Moses also cured diseases using the a tree which fell down on a pool from the sky, and people drank and they were magically cured. When Jesus half cured a deaf man with spit, he claimed to see people as trees.

- Like Jesus', Moses feeding takes place in the wilderness, invoke "gathering up" the food, everyone is fed, and they end up with more than they started.

- Moses also caused water of life to flow from the rocks.

Etc. Etc.

jonthecatholic's picture
So no one is willing to

So no one is willing to asnswer the main point of the post except assert (with no evidence) that this was done to lend credence to their writings? I’d like to see someone show me an example of a fictional writing that does this. Coz if only the Biblical authors did this, that doesn’t sound like a very believable theory.

Now I get it. Some of the things in the Gospels are hard to accept happened. I’m not talking about the text here. I’m talking about context. Were the authors intending to write fictional stories or were they intending to write historical accounts?

Sapporo's picture
They were intending to write

They were intending to write a hagiography. This doesn't necessarily mean they all intentionally wrote things they knew were factually incorrect. There are many accounts throughout history that conflict with the gospel that we also know are false.

Sky Pilot's picture


Even the Bible says that it's just an entertaining story and that a person shouldn't believe in silly Jewish fairy tales. If you think about it you would realize that all of the dialogue scenes are pure bullshit because there was no one there in most of the stories except one or two people. So how could the writer know any of the details even if the people had been real?

And don't forget, the real purpose of the stories is to illustrate the effects of following or disobeying the Ten Commandments found in Exodus 34:12-28. As pointed out elsewhere, all of the major characters have aliases and not original Hebrew names.

jonthecatholic's picture
I’m curious as where you’re

I’m curious as where you’re getting this idea. Especially the one where even the bible says it’s just an entertaining story? Do you mean every single book in the Bible says this? You know that the Bible is more than one book, right?

Sky Pilot's picture


The Bible was written by a committee. That's why all of the stories flow as a movie. If the stories had been written by different people at different times in different places the Bible would be unreadable as a book.

As it says in 2 Maccabees 15:38-39 (CEB) = "38 If the story was told effectively, this is what I wanted. But if it was told in a poor and mediocre fashion, this was the best I could do. 39 Just as it is harmful to drink wine or water alone while wine mixed with water is delightful and produces joy, so also may the writing of this story delight the ears of those who encounter this work.
The end."

For context that little jewel is at the end of another story But the biblical writers cleverly included it to refer to the entire Bible.

And they also included this gem from Titus 1:14 (CEV) = "Don’t pay any attention to any of those senseless Jewish stories and human commands. These are made up by people who won’t obey the truth."

Now did you see what the writer said? "Don’t pay any attention to any of those senseless Jewish stories". So how can you determine which ones are not senseless Jewish stories? Hell, all of them are Jewish stories!

While I don't now your background I'm far more comfortable with my knowledge of the Bible than I am of yours. So if you want to discuss any topic put it out there.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrpehes

@ Diotrpehes
"But the biblical writers cleverly included it to refer to the entire Bible."
how do you know that? It refers to the story of the defeat of Nicanor. Nowhere does the in entire verse does it say 'all the stories" it refers particularly to a singular event.
You seem to have a facility for making stuff up to agree with your preconceptions.

Titus 1:14
is a letter from Paul to Titus in Crete where he was having problems with Cretan traditionalists insisting on the rite of circumcision before conversion. That is all. To try and read anything else into it is complete bollocks.

"For many are rebellious and full of empty talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision, 11 who must be silenced. For the sake of dishonorable gain, they undermine entire households and teach things they should not. 12 As one of their own prophets has said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”

13This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sternly, so that they will be sound in the faith, 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the commands of men who have rejected the truth.

Paul didn't want anyone fucking up his second 'big lie' about not needing the gentiles to circumcise to become jews then christians.

I've refrained from correcting you on this very point before but you really must learn to read the bloody bible or you make yourself look foolish.

Sky Pilot's picture
Old man shouts ...,

Old man shouts ...,

It's been my observation over the years that self-proclaimed atheists tend to defend the Bible more than the self-proclaimed theists.

As I've said before, a committee of story tellers, writers, and artists produced three master copies of the Bible in Latin in the 690s. They were based in what's now England. The Bible as a complete book didn't exist before they wrote it. At that time some of those people had their own traditional religious beliefs. So they cleverly inserted all kinds of clues to show that they were just writing one big joke because no one had anything to counter what they wrote. And because it was so beautifully done and weighed a whopping 75 pounds each who could call it a lie?

One of the other clues was when they included Paul's speech in what's now 1 Corinthians chapter 15 that defines Christianity. You have to believe that a Jewish zombie will save you from hell fire and give you eternal life. And if the dead do not rise then your faith is in vain. Now how many corpses have you seen in your lifetime pop out of the grave and visit you? Even an idiot would say not one because that crap doesn't happen.

Overall the writers did an excellent job in tying all of the biblical stories to the Ten Commandments in Exodus 34;12-26. But they also said that the overall story was just a prank.

As I said, the writers included the clues in the various stories. You have to read it as an unit to see it. It's very easy to do now because we have computers and can rapidly identify the common themes. But if you want to believe in the fairy tale then you are free to do so but the dead do not rise and neither did Yeshua (aka Jesus)= 1 Corinthians 15:15-19.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes

You are very wrong on several points:
I do not choose to believe anything; I require some evidence.
I have only your assertions about the purpose of the bible and interpretation. You extract verses that agree with your preconception. You have provided no study or citations or papers for me to read and either agree or disagree. You have no answer when an alternative interpretation is posted. Extraordinary claims require...I am sure you know the rest.

Since our last conversation regarding the complete text of the gospels I have this: "The Codex Sinaiticus is a 4th century CE handwritten parchment manuscript containing the Septuagint and New Testament in Greek."
It is the earliest complete version of the gospels known and is being studied intensively. I have joined the study group and wait with great interest the outcome. You may be interested to know that these texts contain numerous corrections and seeming edits in the text and margins which is fascinating.

Can you not see that by cherry-picking verses you are falling into to the exact same trap as the fundamentalist believer? I.e there is no other interpretation but yours as a valid reading of the texts?

"But they also said that the overall story was just a prank." apart from the two verses where I have countered your very dubious claim is there any other evidence you bring for this 'prank"?
If not then the dreaded Hitchens Razor falls on you.

"It's very easy to do now because we have computers and can rapidly identify the common themes." true. Please supply your proofs.

"but the dead do not rise and neither did Yeshua (aka Jesus)= 1 Corinthians 15:15-19." absolutely agreed. They did not...or there is no contemporary proofs that they did, is the accurate way of putting it.

We are often on the same side in debates Diotrephes and some of your insights I find both penetrating and apt in context. Where we differ is the structure of the argument.

Sky Pilot's picture
Old man shouts ...,

Old man shouts ...,

I don't need to rely on an appeal to authority to analyze ancient ethnocentric Middle Eastern Jewish and Arabian religious fairy tales. I can read the material and use my own understanding of human nature to determine BS when I read it. And don't forget that just about everyone has a vested interest in maintaining the fairy tales.

I'm not trying to convince anyone that my opinion is the ultimate truth. But I am basing my opinion upon history and human behavior. When you read about how the people had to fork over cash or food every time they had a first born or else kill it who do you think benefited from that? It was the priests who got the loot. And they (common human beings) are the ones who made that rule. There was no invisible celestial deity involved because such an entity doesn't exist.

Sure, there were all kinds of ancient religions floating around the area. The Roman Emperor Hadrian created one to honor his dead boyfriend. He had temples and priests and all of the trappings. But like all of the others it was just BS. So if a rational person can say that Hadrian's religion for his dead boyfriend was bullshit why is it illogical to say the same thing about Judaism, Christianity, and Islam as well as all of the others? And we know how Mormonism, Wicca, and Scientology were started.

The basic fact is that there is no legitimate, original copy of the Bible that predates the master copies produced in the 690s. So the writers could put anything they wanted to in it and it would be considered legit because no one knew any difference. And most people still don't. Hell, they don't even know when the books called the Apocrypha were deleted from the Bible. Nor do they know what the real Ten Commandments are. So do you think the average priest or televangelist or corner preacher knows that? Judge Roy Moore sure as hell doesn't with his phony Ten Commandments.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes
Agreed religion is a made up collection of tales to mystify the masses and feed the greed for power, property, money and influence for the priests and the establishment.

And because the theist argument relies on an "appeal to authority" it is best to destroy that 'authority' with research and scholarship rather than baseless unprovable opinion and flatulence.

Your opinion, like a theists is baseless without a reference to reality. You can have an opinion, but without corroborated evidence it can be rejected as baseless. Just like the theists common assertions.

"The basic fact is that there is no legitimate, original copy of the Bible that predates the master copies produced in the 690s."
Wrong. Wrong wrong.

I gave you the link to the the manuscript Codex Sinaiticus, "it contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible and the manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive Antiquity – is of supreme importance for the history of the book." It is indisputable 4th Century.
Dont ignore this because it negates your argument, be open minded go look at the studies!

It is on display at the British Museum at the moment, I can assure it exists and the fascinating part ? The corrections have the possibility to blow the whole christianity myth into oblivion. Give it a shot you may open a bit of that closed mind you have cultivated.

As we both know the Swaggerts, Bakkers, Grahams, Dollars and so on are just the able descendants of the snake oil salesmen, itinerant preachers, aluminium siding salesman and secondhand car sales men who discovered that selling an invisible product with an after death delivery date 'guaranteed ma'am' is a better and more profitable pitch than anything else.

I counsel you to be prepared, always, to change your world view when new evidence, compelling evidence, is introduced. Change is life, stasis is death.

Sky Pilot's picture
Old man shouts ...,

Old man shouts ...,

The Codex Sinaiticus is a fake.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes

"The Codex Sinaiticus is a fake"

This is your evidence?

"Constantine Simonides
On 13 September 1862, in an article of The Guardian, he claimed that he is the real author of the Codex Sinaiticus and that he wrote it in 1839. According to him it was "the one poor work of his youth". According to Simonides, he visited Sinai in 1852 and saw the codex. Henry Bradshaw, a scholar, didn't believe his claims." (Wikepedia)

How long did you spend googling that? 20 secs and the 30 secs reading before excitedly concluding that all the other scholars must be wrong?

A little more research gets you this...
On the whole I prefer the accounts garnered from four of the most prestigious institutions in the world as to the documents authenticity. However, as I said, I am watching and learning as the project to digitally restore the Codex is completed. It has far reaching consequences for the Church nowadays if entirely authentic with all the corrections..

jonthecatholic's picture
I’m really sorry. But what

I’m really sorry. But what Committee are you claiming wrote the Bible? All of your assertions simply do not follow even internally.

Please don’t tell me it was commissioned by Constantine as this, my friend, is a myth. A very persistent myth that doesn’t stand against the evidence. Numerous early church fathers have writings dating back to the 1st and second centuries referencing these books even before Constantine. If you have another theory, put it out there.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture


" Numerous early church fathers have writings dating back to the 1st and second centuries referencing these books even before Constantine. If you have another theory, put it out there."

References and citations of these 'Numerous' 1st century church fathers, please, with dates.

There are no references that I can find dated before the 2nd Century, and half way through it at that. If you have a secret stash of knowledge please share or are you are going down the same route as Diotrephes by uttering unsupported statements.


Fleeing in Terror's picture
Definitely NOT Constantine.

Definitely NOT Constantine. He did the council of Nicaea that came up with the Nicean Creed.

I would have to Google or look it up, but the Bible was about the 600's. The Catholic Church sat down and went through all the writings and compiled together what everyone in the group thought was the best and dropped out the stuff that seemed weird, fake, or not that useful. I've read some of the Apocrypha. A lot of baby Jesus causing people to drop dead and bringing clay birds to life. The mutual admiration society between Peter and Paul and a lot more boring or not relevant to much of anything. And if the Bible wasn't relevant, no one would bother arguing about it pro or con.

It is the warts and all of the errors of the characters in the writings that make them more believable. Pick your self up, dust yourself off and try again until you get it right or at least closer.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture


"Definitely NOT Constantine. He did the council of Nicaea that came up with the Nicean Creed" (Correct Nicene Creed)

Who is this comment directed at ?. It would be helpful if you could do the @ at the start and a first line or relevant quote as the posts get disordered and then replies do not make sense. Just a hint.

jonthecatholic's picture
These are quotes from

These are quotes from writings of early church fathers directly referencing scriptures. These are but some of them.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC

The only two that reference parts of the apocrypha are these two below that you supplied; the rest are all at least mid 2nd Century or later hardly 'early church' or evidence of anything.

My point remains there are no contemporary accounts of the events.

Also, as most of the apocrypha was removed from the collection (for very sound reasons) that make up the bible texts they can hardly be considered proof of anything, written as they were a minimum of 40 - 100 years after the events supposedly occurred.

Since, therefore, Christ was about to be manifested and to suffer in the flesh, his suffering was foreshown. For the prophet speaks against evil, `Woe to their soul, because they have counseled an evil counsel against themselves' (Isaiah 3:9), saying, `Let us bind the righteous man because he is displeasing to us' (Wisdom 2:12)." St. Barnabas, "Epistle of St. Barnabas" c. 70-100 A.D.

"By the word of his might God established all things, and by his word he can overthrow them. `Who shall say to him, 'What have you done?'' or who shall resist the power of his strength?' (Wisdom 12:12)." St. Clement of Rome, "Letter to the Corinthians" c. 80 A.D.

Back to the assertion factory my old friend. Try again with something evidentiary.

Sky Pilot's picture


A committee of story tellers, writers, and artists wrote three master copies of the Bible called the Codex Amiatinus in Latin in the 690s in England. There was no Bible before they wrote it.

In the 640s Uthman had a committee write the Koran. It included basic Jewish and Christian beliefs and characters. The Christians didn't have an unified book of their own fairy tale so they got busy and started planning. As part of the process they had to raise 2,000 head of cattle for the vellum. Each copy of the book weighed 75 pounds.

You can't produce a legitimate original copy of the Bible that was written before that time.

When do you think the "Protestant" Bible was created?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Joc

@ Diotrephes (sorry JoC)
You don't give it up do you. Produce evidence of this committee, they must have been eminent and the Pope must have been privy to this grand enterprise yet , strangely not a mention anywhere.

Nor was there a response last time I asked for proof of your assertion.

(Edited for preceding poster correction)

jonthecatholic's picture
Is this to me? I never

Is this to me? I never asserted any committee. I actually oppose this view.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
oops many apologies. Corrected.

Sheldon's picture
"Were the authors intending

"Were the authors intending to write fictional stories or were they intending to write historical accounts?"

That's entirely irrelevant to the validity of the claims in the bible. Your claim about name patterns sounds absurd to me if I'm honest. Though again it's irrelevant to the validity of the claims. People make claims and assertions, and then others write them down, the intentions or the beliefs of the authors or the original people who made the claims doesn't lend any validity to the claims themselves.
"So no one is willing to asnswer the main point of the post except assert (with no evidence) that this was done to lend credence to their writings? "

Now that's funny, fair play.

Edit Thanks to David Killens, for pointing out you made that claim just 90 minutes after you opened this thread, and after you have failed miserably to demonstrate a shred of objective evidence for your deity after a few weeks and almost a dozen pages of the thread requesting it.

jonthecatholic's picture
"That's entirely irrelevant

"That's entirely irrelevant to the validity of the claims in the bible."

- Hahahaha. That's because it is entirely irrelevant. I've said over and over on this thread that saying certain things actually happened is not the goal of this thread. It simply does not follow. What I'm trying to get at is, we have 4 distinct ancient accounts of a Jesus of Nazareth existing during their time. And yet some atheists are quick to simply dismiss all of them. Some ancient figures where lucky to get one mention in any ancient texts and no one questions their existence. Here we have a man of low social status and he somehow has several mentions in ancient texts and atheists are just so quick to dismiss all of them.

Tacitus mentions him. Josephus mentions him twice. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John mention him. Paul mentions him. Several gnostic gospels mention him.

So if the Gospel writers did not intend to write historical accounts, what were they intending to write?

Nyarlathotep's picture
JoC - Tacitus mentions him.

JoC - Tacitus mentions him. Josephus mentions him twice. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John mention him. Paul mentions him.

Paul never met Jesus. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John where not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Tacitus and Josephus weren't even alive during the time Jesus is reported to have lived. So as we've told you again and again; there isn't a single contemporary source for the character of Jesus.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture

The Tacitus entry does not mention Jesus as existing. Tacitus merely reports that this is what the christians believed in Rome at the time 35 years after the supposed resurrection .
Look it up.

The Josephus entry is an obvious forgery and is accepted as such by all but a few crackpot scholars.

Citations from the 'gnostic gospels' please, as none of them I know of are contemporary to the events described I would be fascinated to hear that.

The synoptic gospels and 'John" as you now them date from the 3rd and 4th centuries, They have been heavily edited as I have explained over 200 years before the establishment of the central church.

The earliest traditional gospel is that of Thomas dated between 40 and 150 CE. But its not part of your gospels, How do you explain that? Is it because it shows your saviour in a much more human light like when he murdered a 'school mate' in a fit of anger?

Now for the last time there is no contemporary evidence for the events described in any of the gospels. Not one note, record, letter describes the extraordinary events that your gospels say happened.

If you have evidence of clear custody of any gospel text from lets say 45 CE to the present then I would love to read it. The 'gospels you refer to did not exist until at least 70 to 150 years after the described events at the very earliest, and then only a small business card sized fragment have survived.

JoC you keep repeating the same nonsense in the hope that somehow it will be isn't, it will not be and you should do some study if you are interested in truth.

(word order edited in 1st para)


Donating = Loving

Heart Icon

Bringing you atheist articles and building active godless communities takes hundreds of hours and resources each month. If you find any joy or stimulation at Atheist Republic, please consider becoming a Supporting Member with a recurring monthly donation of your choosing, between a cup of tea and a good dinner.

Or make a one-time donation in any amount.