Food for Debate-History

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
Food for Debate-History

Ok those not interested can turn off now: Its going to be, for me, a long OP so snooze or read on

I was doing some re reading after a spirited discussion about Tacitus and Josephus and their supposed supporting entries of the Jesus Myth.I thought I would clarify a few things here.

Lets go with Tacitus first: When he mentioned "Chrestus" it was in the context of Tacitus reporting the beliefs of a small group of Jewish Christians at the time of the Great Fire of Rome in 60CE. Tacitus was writing some decades after the event. Tacitus did not endorse the belief, in any way, in fact he also reported that the general populace were disgusted by the reported religious practises of that group.

Josephus: Josephus was a garrulous old gossip. He wasn't active until the late 1st century and wrote about the Jews in the 80 to 89CE some 50 years after any events. Josephus's works are not entirely accurate and in fact originals do not survive, The earliest copy is from around 300CE. It has numerous inserts by later scribes. One of the most famous is in Book 18 where he supposedly mentions "A wise Man, Good Man, Jesus" and describes his trial and execution. It has been identified by nearly every sane scholar as a much later 4th Century insert. Similarly in Book 20 there is a mention of "James, brother of Jesus, the one called Christ", this has been mostly (not by Carrier) accepted as an original piece of Josephus. but and it is a big BUT, in context Josephus doing exactly the same as Tacitus, i.e reporting the beliefs of the Jews not endorsing them at all.
In addition, Josephus wrote the work "the Jewish Wars" some 20 years before and made no mention of Jesus or James at all adding fuel to the speculation that "The one called Christ" was a margin interpolation.

Note: Neither Josephus nor Tacitus entries are contemporary to this alleged Jesus, they were both writing decades after the supposed crucifixion and inconveniencing of Jesus for the Passover weekend.

Now here's the biggy and I must add kudos to posters on the who have a much bigger list than I!

Here is a list of 1st Century writers we could reasonably expect to have mentioned Jesus and just didn't. They are all available in any good library or online.

Seneca The Younger (4 BCE - 65 CE)
Very prolific writer. So much so that later christians actually forged documents and letters from Seneca mentioning Christ, because, well, he just didn't. Not once. And he would have.

Philo (20 BCE - 50 CE) 

Philo Judaeus:
He wrote books about Jewish religion and history, and would have mentioned Jesus Christ had he known of him.
Philo was a contemporary of Jesus and Paul,
he had family in Jerusalem,
he wrote a about the times and peoples in Jerusalem, Samaria and Judea as well other places,
he wrote a fairly critical commentary on Pilate
He developed the concept of "Logos" (an intermediary divine being, or demiurge. Philo followed the Platonic distinction between imperfect matter and perfect Form, and therefore intermediary beings were necessary to bridge the enormous gap between God and the material world.The Logos was the highest of these intermediary beings, and was called by Philo "the first-born of God" (Wikepedia)

Pliny The Elder (23 - 79 CE)

Another Roman writer, prolific and a tattle tale. Also an amateur astronomer who doesn't mention the Star of Bethlehem, the darkness at the Crucifixion or jesus at all. He does mention many other individuals including; writers,politicians, revolutionaries,poets and artists. He would have mentioned this "extraordinary "son of god" if he had heard of him.

Petronius (c. 27 - 66)
Was a professional taker of the piss. He was the Roman equivalent of SNL, the "Life of Brian " and "The Holy Grail" a la Monty Python. Nothing was sacred to him. He wrote the Satyricon covering just about every event and important person of the times including crucifixion (no jesus jokes) a Guarded tomb (no Jesus jokes or references) and another tomb scene where someone sees a person they mistake for a resurrection (no jesus jokes or references) All very strange considering he wrote about (and it is bloody funny) Sophocles, Cato, Pompeii, Hannibal and assorted Governors and politicians. Strange that he didn't mention the new christian cult of Jesus as both Peter and Paul were (according to the NT) in Rome preaching at the time, but he did mention bathtimes,dinner, wine, Arabs and Lawyers.

Lucan (39 - 65) ( Thanks to Kapyong I didn't know of this guy at all.
Marcus Annaeus Lucanus wrote the Pharsalia (Civil War) in Rome in mid 1st century. In this large poem he mentions some events from later times, and he covers many different issues and people in passing. He :
mentions an event from 56 CE,
refers to places as far afield as Sicily and Kent,
referred to Stoic religious beliefs about the end of the world, refers to many books and myths and persons and events not part of the main story.

Feel free to copy with or without acknowledgement for the education of those poor souls that insist there is indeed contemporary independent evidence of the Jewish Jesus character.

Oh and anyone who wants to really debate this subject I have a list of approx 100 or so writers up to the 2nd Century CE (including some christians) that could have mentioned those amazing happenings of approx 38 - 33 CE, but, unaccountably, did not.

(edited for spelling and international readers, last two paras added))

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Grinseed's picture
Thanks Old Man, I really do

Thanks Old Man, I really do appreciate all that information.
I haven't read much on the writers of the First Century as I would like, but its one thing to read their works and another to understand what sort of person they were. I like your short character descriptions.
With such a dearth of corroborated references about Jesus it makes you realise what a incredible job the propagandists did particularly in the earlier centuries.

Could you list just a few more of those 100 writers, especially the christian ones, who could have mentioned Jesus but didn't? Ta.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Grinseed

@ Grinseed

Thanks once again to "Kapyong"

I didn't know of these guys at all, so I haven't read them yet. I have just ordered them from my State Library and will also have a gander online (but I do like a real book)
Interesting to see the Logos (Philo's contribution) mentioned by these authors. Gives me some some new tracks to follow down the dusty aisles! I will add them with appropriate Bios when I have digested the contents!

Mathetes c.140
Mathetes, a Christian author, wrote a book To Diognetus which has plenty to say about the Word, the Son of God, but no mention they had anything to do with a Jesus Christ, who is never even mentioned. 

Minucius Felix c.150
"Octavius" defends Christian beliefs, but does not mention Jesus even once. 

Tatian c.160
Tatian wrote an Address to the Greeks which describes Christian beliefs in terms of the Logos, the first-born Son of God - without any mention of Jesus. 

Hope these help!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Grinseed

@ Grinseed
Jewish writer 1st Century

Not much (only fragments) of Justus of Tiberia's writing survives but it is noted by Photias who must have had a full copy in the 8th Century CE.
Justus was a sycophant and toady who fell out with Josephus (no not that one*) who did write about Justius in unflattering terms. Justus wrote two books we know of; one a history of the First Jewish-Roman War (66 -73CE) and the second a chronicle of the leaders of Israel from the time of Moses to Agrippa II which includes a list of the leaders of Galilee in the 1st century I am told. (haven't seen it myself) . Nether of which as Photias remarked contained one single reference to Chrestus, Jesus, christians or the Messiah. Not one.

(edited for punctuation and added "leaders of Gailee")
EDIT: *" No not that one" refers to Jesus' alleged Uncle the merchant who supplied the tomb. This passage refers to Flavius Josephus the 'historian'. Apologies for confusion and lack of clarity)

Grinseed's picture
I'm not familiar with any of

I'm not familiar with any of tbose names and thats a good thing! More to read. I will run these guys through Gutenberg and see what I pick up.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Very well done Old Man!

Very well done Old Man! *Hands a well deserved cookie*

Old man shouts at clouds's picture

Grabs cookie with both hands and nibbles *chocolate chip!* nom nom nom
Thanks mate.Its just a quick reference to fuck up a theists day.

Cognostic's picture
Why would I debate verifiable

Why would I debate verifiable "facts?" Richard Carrier discusses these in several of his talks. He trashes Christians when they bring up this information. Face it, Christians are not Historians and they are not polyglots and most who preach do not have valid PhDs. Richard has all of these and has a lot to say about Early Christianity.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Cognostic

@ Cognostic

I assume you are referring to the Josephus mention of Jesus in book 20. Carrier makes some good points, referring to Jesus Adneus(?) who took over the temple after the stoning of James (that's all from memory) but is the general gist of Carriers argument. The "who was the Christ" Carrier maintains was a margin note added in some hundred(s) of years after.
He is in a minority on that score. Most scholars reckon that the rhythm and style of that passage is Josephus, but again Josephus was only reporting the Jewish belief, some 40 years after the events, not endorsing the belief at all.

The reason I wrote the OP is that many ill informed (and that's nearly all) christians bring up Tacitus and Josephus without (as usual) any critical examination (if any reading at all) of the texts and history. The other references are there for anyone interested to actually read them (or the translations) and get a real taste of what the 1st century was like from the point of view of actual contemporary authors. Not folk tales written 200 years later. A short cut to slice the theists off at the knees without wasting too much energy.

Like the speeches of Catullus, they are as relevant in their observations now as they were in the 1st Century CE.
Although the lack of reporting from ANY source of the extraordinary happenings surrounding the alleged events of 29 to 33CE in Jerusalem does not mean those events did not happen (that would be a fallacy) bur does form part of the jigsaw of negative evidence and these writers are contemporary to the time and place of the alleged events Unlike the discredited synoptic gospels from some 200 years later.
Again most christians are unaware of the synoptic gospels provenance and evidence (or lack of ) for their authenticity. I like to back up a bald statement like" There is no contemporary evidence or writings for the the extraordinary claims about Jesus in 1st Century Jerusalem or Judea" with the evidence that there plenty of people writing about daily happenings in Judea, the Empire and the Jews but not one mention of this Jesus fellow.

If I can sow one tiny seed of doubt in a thiests mind about the provenance and ultimate truth of their church teachings I am a happy man. Critical thinking leads to independent though, Anathema to all religions.

algebe's picture
@Old man shouts:

@Old man shouts:

Great work! I like Pliny. he was a scientist and a hero. He died during a mission to rescue people from Herculaneum and Pompeii. His ship probably got hit by a pyroclastic flow. As a scientist, Pliny would have been fascinated by stories a dead man coming back to life. Because of his reputation, people would have surely brought such stories to him.

When you survey contemporary writers and find no credible references to the extraordinary events claimed in the Bible, you have to conclude at some point that absence of evidence is evidence of absence.

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

Old man shouts ...,

"Josephus: Josephus was a garrulous old gossip. He wasn't active until the late 1st century and wrote about the Jews in the 80 to 89CE some 50 years after any events. Josephus's works are not entirely accurate and in fact originals do not survive, The earliest copy is from around 300CE."

All of the crap attributed to "Josephus" is pure bull shit written in the Late Middle Ages or later. The variation of the name "James" wasn't used until the 13th Century. The variation of the name "Joseph" wasn't used until the 14th Century.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes

The earliest manuscript copies we have of Josephus is about 300CE. I do understand where you are coming from when you say that most of the copy manuscripts we have date from the 14th and 15th Centuries. However it is the comparison of those manuscripts ( and there are hundreds) that scholars have pieced together most of the Antiquitates Judaicae that survives today. There are missing volumes. I did say that there were many additions, margin notes and pieces added from earlier margin notes.

However it is entirely inaccurate to say that "All of the crap attributed to "Josephus" is pure bull shit written in the Late Middle Ages or later"
You will have to back that claim with some strong evidence to refute 150 years of scholarly research.

I also like this description from Britannica of Josephus

"As a historian, Josephus shares the faults of most ancient writers: his analyses are superficial, his chronology faulty, his facts exaggerated, his speeches contrived. He is especially tendentious when his own reputation is at stake. His Greek style, when it is truly his, does not earn for him the epithet “the Greek Livy” that often is attached to his name. Yet he unites in his person the traditions of Judaism and Hellenism, provides a connecting link between the secular world of Rome and the religious heritage of the Bible, and offers many insights into the mentality of subject peoples under the Roman Empire.

Personally, Josephus was vain, callous, and self-seeking. There was not a shred of heroism in his character, and for his toadyism he well deserved the scorn heaped upon him by his countrymen. But it may be said in his defense that he remained true to his Pharisee beliefs and, being no martyr, did what he could for his people."

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

Old man shouts ...,

"However it is entirely inaccurate to say that "All of the crap attributed to "Josephus" is pure bull shit written in the Late Middle Ages or later"
You will have to back that claim with some strong evidence to refute 150 years of scholarly research."

I am going by human nature. As I've said before, it's in just about everyone's best self-interest to support and sell the religious fairy tales. Religion is a very big business. So it's only natural that all kinds of people will push the fables. They owe their livelihoods on people buying it. That's why all religions support each other even when they are killing each other. They have to keep people believing in the fairy tales by whatever means necessary.

It's intellectually dishonest for "researchers" to claim that some imaginary guy named "Josephus" wrote a damn thing when that name didn't exist in the time period he supposedly wrote it. If they want to push the lie then they should use his real name, if he existed, or make up an alias that fits the time period.

The most authentic verifiable ancient Bible is the Codex Amiatinus for the 690s but even so I have yet to see legitimate legible copies of every page in it. So even the reputed real deal is treated like it's a fake. Why do you think that is? They can easily make digital copies of it and spread it throughout the world. So what if it's written in Latin? I can read Latin a hell of a lot better than I can read Greek.

And the same thing for the Koran. Who revised it into numbered chapters and verses and when did he do it?

So my opinion is that most of what people think they know is simply lies with maybe a trace of truth in it. Hell, the average Christian doesn't even know what the real Ten Commandments are. So if you want to evaluate the credibility of one of those "researchers" or that of a typical preacher that's a good first question to ask.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes

I have been through most of your hysterical 'fake news' diatribes and amazing worldwide century spanning conspiracy theories.

What it boils down to, without a shred of solid evidence, only a partial understanding of history and a huge ego bending "understanding of human nature" you reject all the scholarship and research that's gone into Josephus, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, you even claim Josephus was "some imaginary guy"

Please publish your papers, have them peer reviewed and I will applaud as you claim your various prizes and the Nobel for History.

Dave Matson's picture
@Old man shouts...

@Old man shouts...

I don't know where Diotrephes is getting his stuff, but he is way off base.

Sky Pilot's picture


"I don't know where Diotrephes is getting his stuff, but he is way off base."

It's been my observation over the years that some atheists defend the biblical fairy tale more strongly than the average Christian does. They probably have a financial stake in the religious business.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Diotrephes

@ Diotrephes
Or maybe we have done some actual research? Just sayin....

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
I've just finished reading

I've just finished reading Minucius Felix c.150 ( some say 197 - 250 CE) "Octavius" . Its bloody fascinating. Its in the form of a Argument and Riposte between two 'friends" and an arbiter (Minicius). One of whom is dead against christians (terrorists and perverts) and the other defending against the accusations of orgies and baby eating and talking about early christian beliefs.
Curiously,or maybe not, (such was the the fragmented nature of the early christians jews and gentiles), Minicius never ever once mentions a jesus or Yeshua or many of the other (now considered) essentials of the christian faith*.

Anyhoo before Diotrephes gets on his high horse, yes, the only surviving copies of the manuscript date from the 9th century " The only MS. of the Octavius is ninth-century . * It is in in the Paris Library (no. 1661). It was at one time in the Vatican Library, but was presented by Pope Leo X to the French King Francis I. There is an eleventh-century copy of it at Brussels. The MS. contains seven books of Arnobius' Adversus Gentts, the seventh book being followed by the note;" Arnobii liber vii explicit incipit liber viii." ("here the seventh book of Arnobius ends, and the eighth begins "). The copyist had confused Octavus and Octavius, and his mistake has preserved the treatise which otherwise might have been lost.

Never knew this before this week, now eager to read the rest of these early christians who unaccountably failed to mention a "jesus/Yeshua/resurrected god" person.

I rcommend this as a good read, and also an understanding of the 2cnd and first century christian thought. It was not a one horse race. Early christians were fragmented in many ways. I found the propaganda from the "christianophobic" adversary echoing what we see today from our politicians and some followers in their ignorance and xenophobia.

Plus ca change......and all that. Anyhoo f you ahve a quiet hour or so here's a link...

Warning its a christian site so there is lots of bullshit propaganda but the translation is quite good. A better one (but so much harder to read) is at the



mykcob4's picture

Keep this info on tap because it is useful in debunking the revisionist history that the christians always post!

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Myk

@ Myk
Isn't it so! And thank you.
Catholics especially like to pretend there is a direct link from the present to Jesus life and death through the gospels and the spread of Christianity. All very homogeneous. But it just is not so. Now I have the time I am tracking down the "oddities" and writers of the times that show that christianity had multiple fragmented sects and followings.
There were the gentile christians, uncircumcised and quite happy to give votive offerings to Ceasar on the feast days, there were the Jews, and then the Jewish christians who were excused from certain Roman votive practises yet allowed Romans into their temples to hear the scrolls being read...Until the 4th century it was a complete and utter mess of conflicting followings, rituals, legends, gospels and a not a majority in Rome or the provinces at all.

All changed with Mrs Constantine! Her bio is worth a read. An early evangelist and the moving force behind the establishment of Christianity with historicity (not very accurately) but who cares when you have a whole religion to prove? Christians should be thanking her, Not Mary for the establishment of the Jesus figure as we know of it today.
But as a woman, I don't think the Christian Fathers wanted a female to be acknowledged for the part she played in establishing their influence.
I will be looking at her influence next. Should blow the underpants off the likes of Breezy and JoC. Bur we will probably just get the "llalalalaalalalal, I cant hear you" response as usual.

Dave Matson's picture
@Old man shouts...

@Old man shouts...

Thanks for rounding up some of the characters! Looks good. At the VERY BEST Jesus was part of an obscure cult. Those Gospel accounts that have him preaching to huge crowds, and of marching into Jerusalem to the adoration of crowds of people who had planned for the event by collecting palm leaves, is just so out of place with real facts. I can only imagine Pilate, known for his cruelty, getting word that some dude was going to ride into Jerusalem as though he were a king!

As for good reading, I recommend Robert M. Price (the scholar, not the idiot) who wrote "Deconstructing Jesus" and "Beyond Born Again." Here is a high-level scholar who can write! I read his "Beyond Born Again" when it was still in its manuscript form (later getting the book as well) and it has some fascinating insights and was written with believers in mind (believers who still had a mind).

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Greensanke

@ Greensanke

Thanks. And thanks for the recommendation. I have read it before, but I shall do so again.

jonthecatholic's picture
The argument from silence is

The argument from silence is a tricky one. Before it can have any weight, it must be established that the author in question would have written about the person but didn’t. An example would be if the author wrote about US presidents and wrote extensively so but left out Abraham Lincoln. To a historian’s eye, a case from the silence may be made. However, if a certain contemporary author of Lincoln simply doesn’t mention him, it should be examined it this author had any reason to mention Lincoln. It’s quite possible that the author is a poet or was writing plays. Or that they wrote a how-to book. Even if Lincoln did in fact exist, it would make very little sense to the author to include him in their writings.

Most of the ancient authors brought forward who never mention Jesus simply had no reason to include a Rabbi in their writings.

Seneca The Younger wouldn’t have any reason to mention Jesus as most of the works we have of him are plays. Asking why Seneca never mentions Jesus is like asking why JK Rowling never mentions Margaret Thatcher in her Harry Potter Books.

Philo Judaeus wrote mostly about about the Hebrew scriputes. True enough, he does write history which describe events in Alexandria in Egypt as that’s where he was from. Again, no reason to think he’d write about Jesus who was all the way in Palestine. That’s like saying Lee Kwang Yew didn’t exist because no Filipino historian wrote about him.

Pliny The Elder supposedly wrote about strange astrological phenomenon and never mentions a darkness or a star in the east. Let’s look at the text:

“Eclipses of the sun also take place which are portentous and unusually long, such as occurred when Cæsar the Dictator was slain, and in the war against Antony, the sun remained dim for almost a whole year1.

1 The dimness or paleness of the sun, which is stated by various writers to have occurred at the time of Cæsar's death, it is unnecessary to remark, was a phænomenon totally different from an eclipse, and depending on a totally different cause.”

That’s it. This guy was obviously not looking to make an extensive list. Either way, the darkness that followed the death of Christ couldn’t have been an eclipse as he died during Passover (when the moon would’ve been on the opposite side of where it should be if a solar eclipse were to happen.

Petronius was a novelist. Lucan was a poet. I don’t see compelling reason to believe they would mention Jesus at all.

I’d even put Tacitus on the list of historians who don’t have any reason to mention Christ. In fact, his mention of Christ is in connection to the belief of the Christians who were only mentioned since Nero blamed them for the fire in Rome.

Looking at the ancient writers and what they wrote, only Josephus would have had compelling reason to even mention Jesus. And he does. Twice.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Joc

@ Joc

I agree, in another thread I did say that absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. However the fact that no one, not one individual gave any mention to the miracles, the resurrection, the dead rabbis roaming the streets of Jerusalem, the darkness at noon,nothing. Silence.

Josephus was a garrulous, lying, cowardly, roman toadying old fraud. The first mention is a definite later addition by christian monks, the second entry in all probability included a margin note in later centuries.
Josephus is NOT evidence. Especially as it is neither contemporary nor accurate,

Read the OP.

Seneca was a well versed popular philosopher and writer of his day. He noted many happenings, religions and events around the 60CE time period until he fell out of favour with Nero.
He was so influential that the church ( a couple of hundred years later) even clumsily forged correspondence between Seneca and Paul to try and give some credence to the existence of Paul and through him to the christ figure.

To use your own simile why would they do that unless they knew and were afraid that the truth would come out? That no real evidence for this Christ figure nor Paul really existed? That truly would be like the British Prime Minister forging letters between JK Rowling and Margeret Thatcher to pretend that JK supported the Tories in 1984.

The fact that you have faith is fine, but don't taint study and real history with your personal bias. You believe in your Christ figure and all the trappings of your church. Ok. That's fine, your personal privilege.

When you have some real, unassailable evidence, not conjecture, not dogma, but evidence that meets the historical method I have posted elsewhere for you, then we can have a discussion about divinity.

jonthecatholic's picture
"don't taint study and real

"don't taint study and real history with your personal bias"

And you do the same.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
I have no bias. I only ask for evidence.
As an example I had some cherished ideas handed down from relatives about my scots history. When I decided to look them up I found the legends and family myths were baseless.
That was a shock, but the trick is to remain objective.
Nothing is true without evidence and corroboration.

It is very easy for one such as you, steeped in an invading religion, indoctrinated since childhood , to accept the power of that faith. I do not blame you.

What you find difficult is that I am not, in my searches, a mirror image of your religiosity.
I have no viewpoint unless it is proven. I can speculate but I will say "this is speculation" and without evidence it is nothing.

jonthecatholic's picture
Of course you have a bias.

Of course you have a bias. Everyone does. Otherwise you wouldn’t have asserted that all these poets and playwrights and jewish historians from different regions as people who should have mentioned Jesus if he existed.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC

A search for evidence turns up zero, In fact in the case of Seneca turns up forgeries by Christians.

That is not bias its called research.

A search for references to an historical Jesus in early christian writers turns up zero;

That's not bias it is research.

A search for references to miracles and the magic of Jesus in the 7 attributable single author texts labelled "Paul" turns up a big fat zero

That's not bias that's a fact. It's research according to the historical method.

That's the difference. Bias is sticking your fingers in your ears and chanting "josephus" in the face of overwhelming evidence that his two supposed references to Jesus are neither contemporary or, indeed, by Josephus.
Bias is googling references in wikipedia and reading 'approved' church booklets in the hope of finding anything, anywhere that might, however obscure and fanciful, confirm your bias.

The face of bias is in your mirror. As I said, You have your faith. You have no proof, not a skerrick. Either be happy with your faith or do some real research and accept the outcome.
You cannot have both.

(Edit: Grammar.)

jonthecatholic's picture
If you’re truly unbiased, you

If you’re truly unbiased, you’ll listen to both sides of the issue then decide for yourself. Are you willing to read up on it?

As to Paul not mentioning Jesus’ miracles, to a Christian who knows a little bit about the Bible, it’s quite obvious why Paul didn’t mention any of Jesus miracles.

Look at his letters (note that they’re called letters). This is where genre matters. Paul’s letters are pastoral in nature and as such aren’t narrative. He’s telling the different Christian communities what they should or should not be doing. What practices they’re doing that should or should not be done according to what has been taught to him.

The literature simply wasn’t written with that purpose in mind.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC
"If you’re truly unbiased, you’ll listen to both sides of the issue then decide for yourself. Are you willing to read up on it?"

You are joking are you not? I have demonstrated my research to you over the weeks we have been debating. All you have come up with is specious arguments, offers of debunked 'evidence' and a demonstrated confirmation bias. I am confident you haven't read the relevant Seneca, Philo or even actually looked at Josephus or Tacitus in entirety, context and the studies surrounding them.

The reason I became an atheist as opposed to an agnostic which I was for many years on my search for a spiritual home is simple.
There is no credible evidence for the existence of a god or gods. None,zero, zilch nada.

Now lets get on to Paul shall we?
there are seven texts (some maintain only six) that can be attributed to a single author. Who is anonymous. For the sake of argument we can call him Paul as it please you.
'Paul' attributions:(Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, Philemon), three others probably not from him (Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians) and a final three certainly not from him (1-2 Timothy, Titus).

What is very interesting is that you have a firebrand Paul in the beginning (freeing a slave etc) and by the end a conservative reactionary Paul instructing slaves to be obedient to their masters. It is just a Romanisation and retrofitting of Paul to the roman normalcy of the day.

There is no external references to Paul. None. But there is a probability that a character corresponding to Paul did write those six or seven texts.

Why did Paul ignore those very things that are central to a Messaniac faith? Unless of course he didn't know of them?

That is unbiased opinion. after much reading in my youth and a little more recently.
The six 'pauline ' texts themselves have been tampered with and 'improved' to reflect later theology and christian belief. On balance I would maintain that a historical character corresponding to a Paul did exist and did write letters to fellow members of the Jewish cult.

The non mention of miracles, vast crowds, crucifixion darkness, zombies at dawn is telling as they are central myths to later gentile christianity.

jonthecatholic's picture
On Paul:

On Paul:

Again, you’re completely ignoring the context or the purpose that Paul has of writing his letters. Paul was writing to a group of early Christians. From that small information alone, since they were Christians, they already knew the stories and believed. They were pastoral in nature. They are not narrative.

It’s like expecting every single Christian book to mention Jesus’s miracles and life. Many Christian literature doesn’t do this. They instead assume the audience already know the basics and build from that. This is done literally everywhere else.

A calculus textbook isn’t going to explain the basics of arithmatic. The pope talking to Catholics is going to convince people there’s a God. It’s perfectly reasonable to assume the author had some assumptions about their intended audience. In Paul’s case, he assumed they were already Christian and already knew the stories.

On Seneca and the others, again, you have failed to show that they needed to mention Jesus if he existed. It’s quite possible that they knew about him but to write about him, they don’t have any reason to. Kinda like how I know who the US president is and yet don’t mention him at all. I simply have no reason to do so.


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