Why do so many atheists deny the existence of an historical Jesus?

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Militant_Atheist's picture
Why do so many atheists deny the existence of an historical Jesus?

We know there was an historical Jesus for the following reasons:

1.) We have near contemporary references to Jesus by Paul, gMatthew, gMark, gLuke and gJohn, which are independently corroborated by near contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, namely Tacitus and Josephus.

2.) We know of one eyewitness of Jesus, whose name was James "the brother of the Lord," who is independently confirmed by Josephus.

3.) All of these sources situate Jesus within a specific historical and cultural context, allowing us to date when Jesus lived and died.

3.) Occam's razor shows us that the best explanation for the origins of Christianity is an historical Jesus.

4.) There is a 300 year-old scholarly consensus that Jesus was a real historical figure.

We have more than enough evidence supporting the existence of an historical Jesus. The existence of an historical Jesus does not mean that Christianity is true or that god exists, in fact quite the opposite. So why do so many atheists continue to deny the historicity of Jesus?

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Militant_Atheist - We have

Militant_Atheist - We have near contemporary references to Jesus by Paul, gMatthew, gMark, gLuke and gJohn

As far as I know:

  • Paul never met Jesus in the flesh.
  • The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn't either.
Militant_Atheist's picture
"Paul never met Jesus in the

"Paul never met Jesus in the flesh."

So what? This is a very fallacious use of the argument from silence. As far as we know, Paul never denied meeting Jesus. He also acknowledged the historicity of Jesus in numerous passages, see Romans 1:3, 5:15, 9:5, Galatians 1:18-19, 4:4, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 etc.

"The authors of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John didn't either."

Again, so what? Just because they may not have met Jesus does not mean he never existed. None of our surviving accounts of Alexander the Great are primary sources, they were written centuries after his existence, but that doesn't mean Alexander the Great never existed. In fact, virtually all modern historians acknowledge the historicity of Alexander.

In my experience, people who make these kinds of objections do not understand how evidence is evaluated when it comes to the ancient world, nor are they aware of the kinds of evidence we have.

As it stands, Paul and the gospel writers are near contemporary sources that provide significant confirmation of the historical existence of Jesus.

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Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

In my experience, people who make these kinds of objections do not understand how evidence is evaluated when it comes to the ancient world, nor are they aware of the kinds of evidence we have.

Be very careful sunshine. There are people on these forums that are very aware of historical methods.
It is obvious that you are not, by the very presentation of your hackneyed, unoriginal arguments.

As it stands, Paul and the gospel writers are near contemporary sources that provide significant confirmation of the historical existence of Jesus.

Neither Paul's Epistles (the first 6 which we can ascribe to someone called Paul) the others, a mix of amalgamations, interpolations and in several cases downright fraud, nor can the Anonymous gospels can be considered "contemporary" i.e 'at or of the time'.

Nor can they be considered evidence of themselves as there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO CORROBORATE THEIR CLAIMS.They are claims, for which there is no evidence. How hard is it for you to understand?

Which jesus are you claiming to exist? The divine magical Jesus of the gospels or a 100% jewish agitator Jesus who had a brief, lacklustre career and was killed by the occupying Romans?. The end. Perhaps answering that question would clear some of your obvious confusion.

For Alexander (and his Father) we have a wealth of archeological corroboration, coins, jewellery, ruins of towns he constructed all bearing out the written records.
Please don't construct these ridiculous strawmen.

"nor are they aware of the kinds of evidence we have".

What evidence that is not public knowledge? Who is 'we"? Please list this evidence post haste as I am sure I, and many others would be tremendously excited at finding anything that would bear out the existence of the jesus as described in the gospels. Party at the Nobels for sure,

I think you may be treating the truth a little carelessly with that remark.

(Edit last para and last line added)

Militant_Atheist's picture
Be very careful sunshine.

Be very careful sunshine. There are people on these forums that are very aware of historical methods.
It is obvious that you are not, by the very presentation of your hackneyed, unoriginal arguments.

They obviously aren't very knowledgeable about historiographic methodology if they believe we need contemporary references to prove historicity.

Neither Paul's Epistles (the first 6 which we can ascribe to someone called Paul) the others, a mix of amalgamations, interpolations and in several cases downright fraud, nor can the Anonymous gospels can be considered "contemporary" i.e 'at or of the time'.

Nor can they be considered evidence of themselves as there is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO CORROBORATE THEIR CLAIMS.They are claims, for which there is no evidence. How hard is it for you to understand?

Straw man. I said they were near contemporary, not contemporary sources. Learn the difference.

Paul's letters are corroborated by the gospel writers, which are further corroborated by Jewish and Roman historians.

Which jesus are you claiming to exist? The divine magical Jesus of the gospels or a 100% jewish agitator Jesus who had a brief, lacklustre career and was killed by the occupying Romans?. The end. Perhaps answering that question would clear some of your obvious confusion.

We're talking history, not theology. There is no "divine magical Jesus," only a fool would believe in such a thing.

For Alexander (and his Father) we have a wealth of archeological corroboration, coins, jewellery, ruins of towns he constructed all bearing out the written records.
Please don't construct these ridiculous strawmen.

You're totally missing the point. There are no surviving contemporary historical accounts of Alexander, but that does not mean he never existed. Instead, we use other sources, like archaeology, to prove historicity. It is the same with Jesus; in the absence of contemporary literary sources, we turn to the next best thing, near contemporary sources.

The earliest historical source for Alexander dates to the 60s to mid-30s BC, centuries after his death, but our earliest sources for Jesus were written 20-25 years after his death.

Please think about this logically. If the historical record for Alexander is so fragmentary, despite his enormous influence, why would we expect something more for an obscure Galilean preacher?

Now stop acting like this is nuclear physics, because it isn't.

"nor are they aware of the kinds of evidence we have".

What evidence that is not public knowledge? Who is 'we"? Please list this evidence post haste as I am sure I, and many others would be tremendously excited at finding anything that would bear out the existence of the jesus as described in the gospels. Party at the Nobels for sure,

My point is that we don't have contemporary references for most ancient historical figures because the evidence we have is fragmentary.

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Nyarlathotep's picture
Militant_Atheist - So what?

Militant_Atheist - So what? This is a very fallacious use of the argument from silence.

I didn't post an argument. So I'm disturbed by your reference to me doing so.
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Militant_Atheist - None of our surviving accounts of Alexander the Great are primary sources, they were written centuries after his existence...

That simply isn't true. That is a common lie told by Christian apologists. I hope you are just inadvertently repeating their lies.

Militant_Atheist's picture
I didn't post an argument. So

I didn't post an argument. So I'm disturbed by your reference to me doing so.

But you did make an argument. You said Paul never met Jesus as evidence counting against his historicity.

That simply isn't true. That is a common lie told by Christian apologists. I hope you are just inadvertently repeating their lies.

And this proves what? Do you even know what a primary source is? It's an immediate, firsthand account of what someone did during his lifetime. We don't have any contemporary historical accounts of Alexander. They were all written long after he died.

Nyarlathotep's picture
Militant_Atheist - We don't

Militant_Atheist - We don't have any contemporary historical accounts of Alexander. They were all written long after he died.

I just linked you information about an account written on the day of his death that still exists. It seems you are doubling down on this apologist falsehood. I wonder why?
---------------------------------------------------

Militant_Atheist - You said Paul never met Jesus as evidence counting against his historicity.

I did not say that (you added the bold part). I think this would work better if you restrict your criticism to things I've actually said; and not reference things you wish I've said.

Militant_Atheist's picture
I just linked you information

I just linked you information about an account written on the day of his death that still exists. It seems you are doubling down on this apologist falsehood. I wonder why?

He's not even mentioned by name in that entry. It's inferred. Moreover, it's not even drawn from an historical source. Again, my point stands, we have no contemporary historical references, accounts of Alexander, until centuries after his death. Please learn how to interpret the evidence.

I did not say that (you added the bold part). I think this would work better if you restrict your criticism to things I've actually said; and not reference things you wish I've said.

I said that Paul counted as evidence in favor of Jesus's historicity, but you pointed out that Paul had never met Jesus. So what was the purpose of that observation?

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Militant Atheist

@ Militant Atheist

1.) We have near contemporary references to Jesus by Paul, gMatthew, gMark, gLuke and gJohn, which are independently corroborated by near contemporary Roman and Jewish historians, namely Tacitus and Josephus.

Not these hoary old lies AGAIN!

I shall take your ignorant assertions name by name, point by point:

20 years after the alleged resurrection, Paul began writing his Epistles. He never met the physical Jesus of his dreams (Paul only wrote about a spiritual Jesus evidenced by revelations in his dreams/hallucinations) . Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John are all anonymous writers. Most of Luke and Matthew are copied from Mark. There is a growing consensus that Mark based his NOVEL on the writings of Paul. John was not written until the turn of the First Century (i.e 100 CE) and in a radically different style.

Tacitus: Writing at the turn of the 1st Century CE Tacitus mentions only the much reviled christians and their beliefs as they were blamed for the Great Fire of Rome. That is all. A third party mention of the existence of 'christians' and their beliefs.

Josephus: A much reviled, interpolated favorite of the Roman Emperors' and writing many years after the reported events, Josephus has two mentions of a Jesus: The first, a direct mention is established and accepted as a 3rd century interpolation, i.e fraudulent. The second entry is a a reference to a James as High Priest in Jerusalem the "brother in OR of Jesus" Scholars are still debating a) whether it is IN christ (i.e a fellow christian) or OF Jesus: which of course raises the question which Jesus? There were several prominent people of the time connected with the Temple all called Yeshua or close equivalent. Without definitive evidence this cannot be considered evidence of a divine magical jesus figure as worshiped today.

There are NO contemporary references to a jesus figure as described on the gospels. None.

Please read my many previous posts for citations and references. I have knocked down so many ignorant assertions like the OP over the last two years, really,. do you guys just not read?

3.) All of these sources situate Jesus within a specific historical and cultural context, allowing us to date when Jesus lived and died.

Rubbish. The contradictions between Luke and Matthew in the birth narrative have a discrepancy of about 400 years. So which one do you pick? Was Herod on the Throne or was there a Roman census? You can't have both.

There is a 300 year-old scholarly consensus that Jesus was a real historical figure.

Unsurprising as up until the the latter half of the 20th century the bible "history" as the exclusive province of theologians who had a vested interest in finding 'evidence' to bolster their faith, not hold its lies and gaps to the light.

Much more recently the historians have held to the idea that there is no evidence at all for a divine jesus as described in the gospels, and they are split on the existence of one or more very human Jesus figures that could have given rise to the much later stories.

I am happy to give you more references if you undertake to read and understand that there is no contemporary evidence for a jesus figure as described in the gospels.

If you think there is such a thing, please post it here, claim your Nobel history prize and lets party.

If you would like more information on the origins of your "christianity" please just ask.

Militant_Atheist's picture
Not these hoary old lies

Not these hoary old lies AGAIN!

I shall take your ignorant assertions name by name, point by point:

20 years after the alleged resurrection, Paul began writing his Epistles. He never met the physical Jesus of his dreams (Paul only wrote about a spiritual Jesus evidenced by revelations in his dreams/hallucinations) .

So what? This is a very fallacious use of the argument from silence. As far as we know, Paul never denied meeting Jesus.

Furthermore, Paul acknowledged the historicity of Jesus in numerous passages, see Romans 1:3, 5:15, 9:5, Galatians 1:18-19, 4:4, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 etc.

As it stands, Paul is a near contemporary source that provide significant confirmation of the historical existence of Jesus.

Mark, Luke, Matthew, and John are all anonymous writers. Most of Luke and Matthew are copied from Mark. There is a growing consensus that Mark based his NOVEL on the writings of Paul. John was not written until the turn of the First Century (i.e 100 CE) and in a radically different style.

Actually, most scholars believe that Luke and Matthew were written independently of each other, although both relied on Mark and a collection of earlier Jesus sayings known as Q.

There is no "growing consensus that Mark based his NOVEL on the writings of Paul." Where is the evidence for that? This is highly implausible since both authors write from different perspectives: Mark is writing a narrative of Jesus, proclaiming his Messiahship before a gentile audience, whereas Paul is primarily concerned with doctrinal and ecclesiastical issues. His letters are addressed to an audience of gentile and Jewish Christians.

At any rate, most scholars treat the gospels as historical documents with varying degrees of historical reliability:

Almost all scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed,[7][8][9][10] but scholars differ on the historicity of specific episodes described in the Biblical accounts of Jesus,[11] and the only two events subject to "almost universal assent" are that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist and was crucified by the order of the Roman Prefect Pontius Pilate.[12][13][14]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_reliability_of_the_Gospels

Tacitus: Writing at the turn of the 1st Century CE Tacitus mentions only the much reviled christians and their beliefs as they were blamed for the Great Fire of Rome. That is all. A third party mention of the existence of 'christians' and their beliefs.

Then you need to go over the passage again, because Tacitus does mention the existence of an historical Jesus, who was executed by Pontius Pilate under Tiberius.

Josephus: A much reviled, interpolated favorite of the Roman Emperors' and writing many years after the reported events, Josephus has two mentions of a Jesus: The first, a direct mention is established and accepted as a 3rd century interpolation, i.e fraudulent. The second entry is a a reference to a James as High Priest in Jerusalem the "brother in OR of Jesus" Scholars are still debating a) whether it is IN christ (i.e a fellow christian) or OF Jesus: which of course raises the question which Jesus? There were several prominent people of the time connected with the Temple all called Yeshua or close equivalent. Without definitive evidence this cannot be considered evidence of a divine magical jesus figure as worshiped today.

Modern scholars would say otherwise:

The first and most extensive reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 18, states that Jesus was the Messiah and a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate. It is commonly called the Testimonium Flavianum.[1][4][5] Almost all modern scholars reject the authenticity of this passage in its present form, while the majority of scholars nevertheless hold that it contains an authentic nucleus referencing the execution of Jesus by Pilate, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, however.[12][13]

Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the second reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 20, Chapter 9, which mentions "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."[14] This reference is considered to be more authentic than the Testimonium.[15][1][16][17][18][19]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

There are NO contemporary references to a jesus figure as described on the gospels. None.

Please read my many previous posts for citations and references. I have knocked down so many ignorant assertions like the OP over the last two years, really,. do you guys just not read?

So what? We don't have any contemporary eyewitness accounts of Alexander, but that doesn't mean he never existed. We have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, but that doesn't mean it never occurred. In fact, modern scholars universally acknowledge the historicity of Alexander and the destruction of Pompeii.

Absence of contemporary or eyewitness accounts does not mean that something never occurred. That's a totally fallacious application of the argument from silence.

Rubbish. The contradictions between Luke and Matthew in the birth narrative have a discrepancy of about 400 years. So which one do you pick? Was Herod on the Throne or was there a Roman census? You can't have both.

So what? There are contradictions in the various historical accounts of Alexander the Great, does that mean he never existed?

Unsurprising as up until the the latter half of the 20th century the bible "history" as the exclusive province of theologians who had a vested interest in finding 'evidence' to bolster their faith, not hold its lies and gaps to the light.

That's simply not true.

The scholarly consensus is based on logic and evidence; many biblical scholars are atheists, like Bart Ehrman, but even he acknowledges the existence of an historical Jesus.

Much more recently the historians have held to the idea that there is no evidence at all for a divine jesus as described in the gospels, and they are split on the existence of one or more very human Jesus figures that could have given rise to the much later stories.

No one believes in the Jesus of theology, but rest assured, virtually all modern biblical scholars acknowledge the existence of a historical Jesus, with the exception of one or two cranks.

I am happy to give you more references if you undertake to read and understand that there is no contemporary evidence for a jesus figure as described in the gospels.

If you think there is such a thing, please post it here, claim your Nobel history prize and lets party.

If you would like more information on the origins of your "christianity" please just ask.

If you have such information, I would be more than happy to go over it with you.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

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.

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

Now let's get to the rest of your amateur apologetic bollocks:
So what? This is a very fallacious use of the argument from silence. As far as we know, Paul never denied meeting Jesus.
How could Paul(?) ever deny meeting the Jesus figure? .
“Paul”said he never met the Jesus figure except in visions and dreams. So it is not a “fallacious argument” at all. What the blue fuck are you on about?

Next:

How can a claim, unsupported by any other references actually contemporary to the claimed events be evidence?
Do you know the historical method ?

Next: ”Actually, most scholars believe that Luke and Matthew were written independently of each other, although both relied on Mark and a collection of earlier Jesus sayings known as Q.

Nope, no they don't. Some scholars still think there “may be” an original source (Q)* but now many scholars are considering that the Greek writer of 'Mark” gained his inspiration for his much later (70CE) fictional account of the Jesus from “pauls” first three Epistles. Advances in textual analyses has advanced this hypothesis, some good reading is available if you look for it.

Over 600 verses are verbatim in Matthew cribbed from Mark. A similar amount in Luke.

Remember each of the synoptic gospels were written (copied from Mark) and altered to suit their audience.
Note that the early versions (Ebionite and Marcionite and other sects) of both Matthew and Luke did NOT contain a birth narrative. They were added later.
Paul does not mention a "virgin birth"

Each synoptic writer wrote “THE” gospel after 75CE. None were intended to be anthologised and compared. Indeed it took 500 years to have a homogenized universal “bible” (codex) to be produced acceptable to the majority of Roman christian sects.

John was written in a more foreign style about 100 to 125CE (*Rylands Fragment) and includes fanciful personal interviews and known literary artifice to simulate verisimilitude.

*there is no evidence at all for this source. None. Only outdated academic supposition.

The rest of your post is, hardly readable. If you are going to just copy heavily redacted paragraphs of Wiki, then you are obviously not debating here. You are continuing as you started with, yes, falsehoods and lies.

There is no contemporary evidence for the Jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

If you have it, present it.

I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

Militant_Atheist's picture
The most anyone can get out

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)

1. Pilate's title as governor, as attested on the Pilate stone, is "prefect of Judaea" (praefectus Iudaeae). His title is given as procurator in Tacitus, and with the Greek equivalent epitropos (ἐπίτροπος) in Josephus and Philo.[35] The title prefect was later changed to "procurator" under the emperor Claudius, explaining why later sources give Pilate this title.[36]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pontius_Pilate#Footnotes

2. Paul's Letter to the Romans was written in the mid-50s AD, so there would have been a large Christian community there, during the Neronian persecution.

Is that a Jewish Cult of Chrestus was in Rome in about 64CE according to reports some 30 - 50 years later.

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

Tacitus provides us with independent near contemporary corroboration of the early Christian witness. When the sum totality of the evidence is taken into consideration, it reveals that Jesus is an historically well-attested figure.

Most scholars see it as convincing evidence of an historical Jesus:

The scholarly consensus is that Tacitus' reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate is both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.[5][6][7] Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd argue that it is "firmly established" that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.[8] Scholars view it as establishing three separate facts about Rome around AD 60: (i) that there were a sizable number of Christians in Rome at the time, (ii) that it was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome, and (iii) that at the time pagans made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Roman Judea.[9][10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

Now let's get to the rest of your amateur apologetic bollocks:
So what? This is a very fallacious use of the argument from silence. As far as we know, Paul never denied meeting Jesus.
How could Paul(?) ever deny meeting the Jesus figure? .
“Paul”said he never met the Jesus figure except in visions and dreams. So it is not a “fallacious argument” at all. What the blue fuck are you on about?

Where in his letters does he ever say he never met Jesus? Please show me.

Next:

How can a claim, unsupported by any other references actually contemporary to the claimed events be evidence?
Do you know the historical method ?

You obviously know nothing about historical method if you believe we need contemporary references to someone in order to prove their historicity. Again, we have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, does that mean it never occurred?

Nope, no they don't. Some scholars still think there “may be” an original source (Q)* but now many scholars are considering that the Greek writer of 'Mark” gained his inspiration for his much later (70CE) fictional account of the Jesus from “pauls” first three Epistles. Advances in textual analyses has advanced this hypothesis, some good reading is available if you look for it.

Over 600 verses are verbatim in Matthew cribbed from Mark. A similar amount in Luke.

Remember each of the synoptic gospels were written (copied from Mark) and altered to suit their audience.
Note that the early versions (Ebionite and Marcionite and other sects) of both Matthew and Luke did NOT contain a birth narrative. They were added later.
Paul does not mention a "virgin birth"

Each synoptic writer wrote “THE” gospel after 75CE. None were intended to be anthologised and compared. Indeed it took 500 years to have a homogenized universal “bible” (codex) to be produced acceptable to the majority of Roman christian sects.

John was written in a more foreign style about 100 to 125CE (*Rylands Fragment) and includes fanciful personal interviews and known literary artifice to simulate verisimilitude.

*there is no evidence at all for this source. None. Only outdated academic supposition.

Wrong. Actually the Q source is supported by most biblical scholars:

The two-source hypothesis (or 2SH) ... posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a hypothetical sayings collection from the Christian oral tradition called Q. ... Later scholars have advanced numerous elaborations and variations on the basic hypothesis, and even completely alternative hypotheses. Nevertheless, "the 2SH commands the support of most biblical critics from all continents and denominations."[1]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Two-source_hypothesis

The rest of your post is, hardly readable. If you are going to just copy heavily redacted paragraphs of Wiki, then you are obviously not debating here. You are continuing as you started with, yes, falsehoods and lies.

I'm providing you with supporting evidence of my claims. It's either you're too lazy to go through a few sentences or you don't have anything to say in response.

There is no contemporary evidence for the Jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

If you have it, present it.

I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

Just because there are no contemporary references to someone or some event does not mean they never existed or it never occurred. That is a fallacy. We don't have any contemporary references to the Samnite Wars, the Hannibalic War or the destruction of Pompeii, but they nevertheless all occurred.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

I am not going to reply in detail, to someone who googles and quotes wikipedia without proper credit.

I could do the same, sanitise the quotes and refute your near nonsense.

I could do the same with bible quotes without bothering to read the thing or make any effort.

I am still awaiting my answers to the following claims (you don't have to plagiarise to answer these): I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

I reiterate, you have produced NO evidence to contradict me so far:

There is no contemporary evidence for the jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

NOTE: "Near" contemporary is a weasel...no prize for you.

I am waiting for an answer to this question that you seem to ignore:

Are you positing a magical, divine jesus figure as described in the gospels?
Or, a very human jewish zealot who had a short career as an agitator before being executed by the Romans at the behest of the jews?

And finally your last paragraph...strawmen much?
There were two Samnite wars from memory...and although contemporary accounts do not survive there is ample corroborating evidence to their outcome.
None for your Jesus figure.

Although many of the Hannibal legends are hyperbole and seem to be Roman propaganda designed to heighten the supposed warlike threat of Carthage, we have archeological evidence of the Carthaginian wars as well as documentation of the campaigns against that commercial competitor of Rome. You should try reading some Cato. No, no READ some Cato, not just Wiki, you poseur.
Hannibal's existence is, like the human Jesus at best "not proven"

But regarding Pompeii...Pliny the Younger struck a bell, although written some years after the event he is an historical figure who witnessed the event as a young man. Plus of course we KNOW the event occured and there is a shedload of evidence to support it. You can tour the evidence today.

None for your jesus figure though...unless your "we" have that evidence you were talking about?

(Edit for speling, tabs and general errors)

Militant_Atheist's picture
I am not going to reply to

I am not going to reply to someone who googles and quotes wikipedia without proper credit.

I could do the same, sanitise the quotes and refute your near nonsense.

I could do the same with bible quotes without bothering to read the thing or make any effort.

Oh come on, these are excuses.

They're all easily verifiable wiki quotes... of only a few sentences.

They're all relevant to everything I post, which you would know if you actually took the 30 seconds required to read them. Or are you too lazy to point and click? Do you want me to link you the sources too? I never said a word when you spammed that lengthy quotation from Tacitus in the original Latin.

Or are you just looking for a convenient way get out of this?

I am still awaiting my answers to the following claims (you don't have to plagiarise to answer these: I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

I reiterate, and you have produced NO evidence to contradict me so far:

There is no contemporary evidence for the jesus figure as described in the gospels. None.

I've already explained to you why this is a ridiculous demand. Just because we don't have any contemporary references to Thales, Pythagoras, Boudica, the Samnite Wars, the Pyrrhic Wars, the Hannibalic War, or the destruction of Pompeii, does not mean these events did not take place. That is a fallacy.

Also I am waiting for an answer to this question that you seem to ignore:

Are you positing a magical, divine jesus figure as described in the gospels?
Or, a very human jewish zealot who had a short career as an agitator before being executed by the Romans at the behest of the jews?

No, there is no god and there is no "magical, divine jesus figure." We're talking about history, not theology here.

And finally your last paragraph...strawmen much? Therewere two Samnite wars from memory...and although contemporary accounts do not survive there is ample corroborating evidence to their outcome. None for your Jesus figure.

Why is there "ample corroborating evidence to their outcome" for the Samnite Wars, for which we have no contemporary references, but none for Jesus? Does that make any sense to you? If the "outcome" is "ample corroborating evidence," then we have more than enough evidence for Jesus's existence because his death lead to the establishment of Christianity.

Although much of the Hannibal legends are hyperbole and seem to be Roman propaganda designed to heighten the supposed warlike threat of Carthage, we have archeological evidence of the Carthaginian wars as well as documentation of the campaigns against that commercial competitor of Rome. You should try reading some Cato, no, no READ some Cato, not just Wiki, you poseur.
Hannibals existence is, like the human Jesus at best "not proven"
But regarding Pompeii...Pliny the Younger struck a bell, although written some years after the event he is an historical figure who witnessed the event as a young man. Plus of course we KNOW the event occured and there is a shedload of evidence to support it.

You're missing the point again. We have no contemporary historical references for any of these people or these events. The earliest source for the Hannibalic War was written decades after its conclusion. Does this mean it never took place?

The same goes for the destruction of Pompeii, for which we have no contemporary references. How do we know it took place? We turn to the next best thing, which is archaeology. The same goes for Jesus; we don't have contemporary references, so we turn to near contemporary references. That's how we establish the historicity of Jesus. It's ridiculous to expect contemporary references in a world where few people could read and where there was far less bureaucracy. If historians made those kinds of demands with regards to the evidence, they would have to dismiss most ancient historical figures as myths.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ MA

@ MA

Oh come on, these are excuses.They're all easily verifiable wiki quotes... of only a few sentences.

Exactly what I said. You chose and cherry picked wikipedia without crediting them as your source. Intellectual dishonesty.

"I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

And again after claiming such things as "we" and that you have "evidence that scholars do not" you wimp out and avoid a direct question.

Seems you are following the normal theist example here.

No, there is no god and there is no "magical, divine jesus figure." We're talking about history, not theology here.

So, it seems you have no contemporary HISTORICAL evidence for a human jesus and deny a divine jesus as described in the gospels....I smell fish here.

And you refuse to divulge your "we" sources of evidence....oh fuck me, another pseudo masonic cultist appears.

Why is there "ample corroborating evidence to their outcome" for the Samnite Wars, for which we have no contemporary references, but none for Jesus?

Because that is the fact. The archeological traces left by the "Samnites" is ample proof of their existence, married with the (admittedly later) writings of Livy and others. As you seem to have no idea of what you are talking about try this "Samnites 101" article, if you do understand it it should show you that they existed, something you have yet to demonstrate for your Jesus figure. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/9781119099000.wbabat0190

The earliest source for the Hannibalic War

"Hannibalic War?" There were Punic Wars against Carthage. Are you referring to the Second Punic War? Or the Third? Ok,one word Polybius. He was with Scipio.

Lots of historical and archeological evidence for those wars. Nothing for your jesus.

You keep trying to compare major historical events to your nasty little jewish zealot that may or may not have existed. Then you say he was not god. Hmmm.

So to clarify: You do not believe Jesus was born of virgin, did not die in the cross and was not resurrected?

It's ridiculous to expect contemporary references in a world where few people could read and where there was far less bureaucracy.

In fact in 1st century Roman Jerusalem there was a LOT of bureaucracy, and all sorts of things were recorded. What is telling are those things claimed for the jesus figure in the gospels that were NOT recorded.

Answer my questions.

Militant_Atheist's picture
Exactly what I said. You

Exactly what I said. You chose and cherry picked wikipedia without crediting them as your source. Intellectual dishonesty.

It should have been blindingly obvious those quotes were from wiki. Didn't you even notice the footnotes in the text? They're supposed to neatly summarize the evidence so I won't have to waste time typing it out myself... repeatedly, especially for people who have no interest in paying attention to the evidence.

"I again ask “who is we?” and “What is the evidence you claim to have that scholars do not?”

And again after claiming such things as "we" and that you have "evidence that scholars do not" you wimp out and avoid a direct question.

Seems you are following the normal theist example here.

What are you talking about? I never claimed to have any evidence modern biblical scholars do not have.

So, it seems you have no contemporary HISTORICAL evidence for a human jesus and deny a divine jesus as described in the gospels....I smell fish here.

And you refuse to divulge your "we" sources of evidence....oh fuck me, another pseudo masonic cultist appears.

Yes, as I've admitted many times, we don't have contemporary historical evidence of Jesus, but that doesn't mean he never existed. Please explain to me why you think the absence of evidence is the evidence of absence. Again, we have near contemporary historical evidence for Jesus, which indicates that he was a real person.

It should be obvious that when I speak of "we," I'm referring to the consensus position of modern Biblical scholarship.

Because that is the fact. The archeological traces left by the "Samnites" is ample proof of their existence, married with the (admittedly later) writings of Livy and others. As you seem to have no idea of what you are talking about try this "Samnites 101" article, if you do understand it it should show you that they existed, something you have yet to demonstrate for your Jesus figure.

You're still missing the point. I'm not saying there's no evidence any of these events took place; I'm saying that just because there's no contemporary historical evidence of these events doesn't mean these events never occurred.

Or can you explain why not having any contemporary historical references means an event never happened or a person never existed? To argue this way, just in case you didn't know, is a logical fallacy.

"Hannibalic War?" There were Punic Wars against Carthage. Are you referring to the Second Punic War? Or the Third? Ok,one word Polybius. He was with Scipio.

Lots of historical and archeological evidence for those wars. Nothing for your jesus.

No, we have very little archaeological evidence for the Second Punic (Hannibalic) War. We don't even have contemporary historical sources for Hannibal himself, nothing. It's not until Polybius that we finally have a written account of Hannibal, but these are not contemporary. At most, he's directly linked to a single inscription, that's it.

If the contemporary historical evidence for Hannibal is practically non-existent, despite being a major historical figure, how can you expect there to be any contemporary historical evidence for some obscure Jewish preacher in a backwater of the Roman empire? Can you not see how ridiculous your position is?

Given the nature of the evidence we are dealing with, which is fragmentary, Jesus is quite well-attested in the historical record.

You keep trying to compare major historical events to your nasty little jewish zealot that may or may not have existed. Then you say he was not god. Hmmm.

So to clarify: You do not believe Jesus was born of virgin, did not die in the cross and was not resurrected?

Have I not told you repeatedly that I'm an atheist? Be careful with your reasoning, you sound like you're on the verge of committing a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

In fact in 1st century Roman Jerusalem there was a LOT of bureaucracy, and all sorts of things were recorded. What is telling are those things claimed for the jesus figure in the gospels that were NOT recorded.

No there wasn't. How can there be "lots of bureaucracy" when most people can't even read? Isn't bureaucracy dependent on red tape, which requires literacy skills in order to navigate?

Again, you're overstating the evidence. We don't have the "meticulous Roman records" you're always yammering on about. Less than 1% of Latin literature has survived the Dark Ages; similar figures could be quoted for the literature of ancient Greece. The fact of the matter is, we're not awash in sources. The historical record is a fragmentary one.

When you realize the state of the evidence, then you understand that, in comparison to many other ancient historical figures, Jesus is quite historically well-attested.

Cognostic's picture
@Militant_Atheist: You are

@Militant_Atheist: You are mistaken. Most atheists just don't care. Another large chunk of them will freely admit that some man, possibly many men, named Jesus, actually existed. Finally you have a small group of Atheists that are known as the "Mythacists," These folks have a range of beliefs from the Jesus story is myth and that no one named Jesus existed to a myth was generated by work of mouth concerning many characters, Apollonious of Tyana for example, and then attributed to the Christian Jesus. http://www.truthbeknown.com/apollonius.html

REGARDLESS OF ANY ARGUMENTS FOR OR AGAINST THE CLAIM THAT JESUS WAS REAL: It is the responsibility of the person making the claim to provide evidence for that claim. The evidence for the existence of Jesus is woefully inadequate.

1. You have no contemporary references to Jesus. NONE. Paul's Jesus did not have a virgin birth. Paul's Jesus did not have a ministry on earth. Paul's Jesus did no miracles. Paul never met Jesus and knew nothing about his life. Paul's Jesus was "According to Richard Carrier" an old testament angel. The closer you get to the time Jesus existed, they less information you have about him.

2. What does Book 20, Chapter 9, actually say?
"1. ..... "Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees,[23] who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions];"

Josephus is telling you a story. "NOW THE REPORT GOES," He is telling you what a report says. Josephus himself makes no claims. This is hearsay; the equivalence of a rumor simply being reported by Josephus.

3. When did Jesus live or die? We have no idea. There is evidence for his existence 100 years before he existed. His birth according to the bible is + or - 3 to 5 years. It is largely believed by the mythacists that Jesus was a constructed character placed into a historical backdrop. The evidence for this is strong.

4. Occam's Razor: I don't know why any atheist would have a problem with an historical Jesus, or two or three. What difference would it make to atheism? NONE AT ALL.

5 4.) There is a 300 year-old scholarly consensus that Jesus was a real historical figure.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.... That's funny? 300 years ago! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.... You do realize that just 140 years ago we were burning witches. 300 years ago was "The Great Awakening." It makes perfect sense that they would support such nonsense during that period. DOES NOT MAKE IT CORRECT.

We have no evidence contemporary to the life of Jesus supporting the existence of an historical Jesus. The existence of an historical Jesus would not mean that Christianity is true or that god exists, and it would in no way what so ever assert the opposite. So why do some atheists continue to deny the historicity of Jesus?

1. THE EVIDENCE IS NOT THERE!
2. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL TO ATHEISM.

Militant_Atheist's picture
REGARDLESS OF ANY ARGUMENTS

REGARDLESS OF ANY ARGUMENTS FOR OR AGAINST THE CLAIM THAT JESUS WAS REAL: It is the responsibility of the person making the claim to provide evidence for that claim. The evidence for the existence of Jesus is woefully inadequate.

I agree. The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim, but I believe that in this case, my burden has already been met, given how well-supported Jesus's historical existence is.

1. You have no contemporary references to Jesus. NONE. Paul's Jesus did not have a virgin birth. Paul's Jesus did not have a ministry on earth. Paul's Jesus did no miracles. Paul never met Jesus and knew nothing about his life. Paul's Jesus was "According to Richard Carrier" an old testament angel.

1. We don't have any contemporary references to many historical characters, Thales, Pythagoras, Hamilcar, Boudica etc. but that doesn't mean they never existed.

2. We only have a single contemporary inscription for Hannibal (but alas, no contemporary literary references), so why would you expect an abundance of historical information for some obscure Jewish preacher in a remote corner of the Roman Empire? That's absurd.

3. Paul certainly believed that Jesus was a real historical person, see Romans 1:3, 5:15, 9:5, Galatians 1:18-19, 4:4, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22 etc.

4. Carrier is a known crank; he believes Jesus was made from David's sperm, which was stored in a cosmic sperm bank in heaven. Is this what you believe as well?

The closer you get to the time Jesus existed, they less information you have about him.

Our knowledge of the ancient world is fragmentary at best, but Jesus remains quite well-attested, given the state of the evidence. He is even more well-attested than many other people whose historicity is taken for granted.

2. What does Book 20, Chapter 9, actually say?
"1. ..... "Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees,[23] who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions];"

Josephus is telling you a story. "NOW THE REPORT GOES," He is telling you what a report says. Josephus himself makes no claims. This is hearsay; the equivalence of a rumor simply being reported by Josephus.

Wrong:

Unlike the other, hotly contested reference to Jesus in Josephus – the so-called “Testimonium Flavianum” at Ant. XVIII.63-4 – this reference is almost universally regarded as genuine and as referring to the Jesus and James of the Christian traditions. And this reference has added weight given that Josephus was not commenting on something that happened long before his time on the other side of the Empire. He was a younger contemporary of James, being around 25 when James was executed, and was a fellow citizen of Jerusalem, a small city of roughly 80,000 inhabitants. It seems he was in the city when James was executed, though it may be he returned to it very soon afterwards, having just been on an embassy to the Roman Senate on behalf of the Temple priesthood (see Josephus, Life, III). Either way, as a member of the priestly caste himself, the young Josephus would have followed the circumstances of the deposition of the high priest Ananus very closely. So all this makes Josephus’ passing mention of James rather close to direct testimony and certainly makes it hard to dismiss as some kind of rumour or Christian story.

3. When did Jesus live or die? We have no idea. There is evidence for his existence 100 years before he existed. His birth according to the bible is + or - 3 to 5 years. It is largely believed by the mythacists that Jesus was a constructed character placed into a historical backdrop. The evidence for this is strong.

Not true.

All of our historical sources (a total of 7) indicate Jesus was executed under Pontius Pilate in Judea, which would mean he died sometime in the early 30s AD.

The mythicist position is, at least partially, based on the idea Jesus was manufactured from David's sperm, stored in some cosmic sperm bank in heaven. It's so crazy, it's not even worth addressing.

4. Occam's Razor: I don't know why any atheist would have a problem with an historical Jesus, or two or three. What difference would it make to atheism? NONE AT ALL.

I agree, but it would significantly undermine the Christian religion.

5 4.) There is a 300 year-old scholarly consensus that Jesus was a real historical figure.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.... That's funny? 300 years ago! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.... You do realize that just 140 years ago we were burning witches. 300 years ago was "The Great Awakening." It makes perfect sense that they would support such nonsense during that period. DOES NOT MAKE IT CORRECT.

It's perfectly legitimate to appeal to a scholarly consensus that's based on logic and evidence.

We have no evidence contemporary to the life of Jesus supporting the existence of an historical Jesus. The existence of an historical Jesus would not mean that Christianity is true or that god exists, and it would in no way what so ever assert the opposite. So why do some atheists continue to deny the historicity of Jesus?

1. THE EVIDENCE IS NOT THERE!
2. IT MAKES NO DIFFERENCE AT ALL TO ATHEISM.

Again, we have no contemporary evidence for many ancient historical figures, but that doesn't mean they never existed. That is a fallacy. Given the state of the evidence, Jesus is historically well-attested.

We can be certain there was an historical Jesus.

Cognostic's picture
RE: 1. We don't have any

RE: 1. We don't have any contemporary references to many historical characters, Thales, Pythagoras, Hamilcar, Boudica etc. but that doesn't mean they never existed. (AND IT DOES NOT MEAN THEY DID.) You are arguing against your own assertion that it is the person making the claim that has the burden of proof. No one asserted Jesus did not exist. The assertion is NO GOOD EVIDENCE FOR EXISTENCE = NO GOOD REASON TO BELIEVE IN EXISTENCE. (THIS IS NOT THE SAME AS BELIEVING IN NON-EXISTENCE).

Militant_Atheist's picture
A number of people in this

A number of people in this thread have argued that lack of contemporary sources means Jesus never existed, which is why I have pointed out, repeatedly, that this is a logically fallacious argument, since evidence of absence does not mean absence of evidence. How does this mean my interlocutors now have the burden of proof?

Please pay attention.

My argument, which has been abundantly substantiated so far, is that given the nature of the historical record, which is a fragmentary one, Jesus is quite historically well-attested.

Cognostic's picture
@Militant_Atheist:

@Militant_Atheist:
re: We only have a single contemporary inscription for Hannibal (but alas, no contemporary literary references)

We are not discussing Hannibal. The topic is Jesus, Comparing the two is not offering evidence for Jesus. Your comparison is fallacious.

Militant_Atheist's picture
I see you're not familiar

I see you're not familiar with historiography. It's highly relevant because we're dealing with the same fragmentary body of evidence for all ancient historical figures. By showing that there are no contemporary historical accounts of major historical figures like Hannibal, it should be immediately obvious how silly it is to expect a contemporary historical account of an obscure Jewish rabbi inhabiting a provincial backwater.

Now go look up what "fallacy" means in a dictionary.

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David Killens's picture
"I agree. The burden of proof

"I agree. The burden of proof is always on the person making the claim, but I believe that in this case, my burden has already been met, given how well-supported Jesus's historical existence is."

Proof to support your claims have been requested, and all you do is just double down on your unsupported assertions.

Here is a hint: when proof is requested, provide the proof instead of just stating that your previous statement is enough proof. Maybe you don't like being asked the same question twice, but you must realize that if the first explanation results in a request for more explanation, the first one was not convincing.

Militant_Atheist's picture
I've already provided more

I've already provided more than enough evidence of Jesus's historicity.

We have historical references to Jesus from Paul, who was a contemporary; we have the accounts of the four gospel writers. These are all independently supported by Jewish and Roman historians, plus we know of an eyewitness of Jesus, by name. Occam's razor says that an historical Jesus is the best explanation for the origins of Christianity. Finally, we have a 300 year-old scholarly consensus that Jesus is an historical person.

This evidence is more than enough to prove the historicity of Jesus.

Saying there are no contemporary references to Jesus—as so many of you have done so far—is not proof of anything! It reveals a complete ignorance of historiographic methodology. We don't have contemporary references to historical figures like Thales, Pythagoras, Cincinnatus, Hamilcar, Boudica and many others, yet their historicity is taken for granted. We have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, yet historians universally acknowledge that it happened.

If the contemporary evidence for major historical figures like Alexander the Great and Hannibal is fragmentary at best, how can anyone expect contemporary references to an obscure Jewish preacher, a failed Messiah, one of many, who lived in a provincial backwater of the Roman empire? Please think about this logically. We're talking about a world where the vast majority of people live their entire lives without ever having any information about themselves recorded on a scrap of papyrus.

I have already met my burden of proof, many times over. The onus is now on you to prove why I am wrong.

watchman's picture
@M.A. …..

@M.A. …..

You posted.....
"We have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, yet historians universally acknowledge that it happened."

Are you serious ? NO CONTEMPORARY REFERENCES TO THE DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII ?…...WTF.

You've just lost the last fragment of the little credibility you left yourself with ……..

Pliny the Younger....?

"Pliny wrote the two letters describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius approximately 25 years after the event, and both were sent in response to the request of his friend, the historian Tacitus, who wanted to know more about Pliny the Elder's death. The two letters have great historical value due to their accurate description of Vesuvius' eruption; Pliny's attention to detail in the letters about Vesuvius is so keen that modern volcanologists describe those types of eruptions as "Plinian eruptions"

Link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliny_the_Younger

We've been around these claims before , many times.... so many times in fact that after the last time it happened I put this together...

Often quoted ...

Supposedly contemporary written references to Christ.

Pliny ,Tacitus ,Suetonius & Josephus.

PLINY.

The Roman historian Pliny the Younger. While proconsul of Bithynia, a province in the northwest
of Asia Minor, Pliny purportedly wrote a letter in 110 CE to the Emperor Trajan requesting
his assistance in determining the proper punishment for "Christiani" who were causing trouble and
would not renounce "Christo" as their god or bow down to the image of the Emperor. These
recalcitrant Christiani, according to the Pliny letter, met "together before daylight" and sang
"hymns with responses to Christ as a god," binding themselves "by a solemn institution, not to any
wrong act."

Regarding this letter, Rev. Robert Taylor remarks:
If this letter be genuine, these nocturnal meetings were what no prudent government could allow;
they fully justify the charges of Caecilius in Minutius Felix, of Celsus in Origen, and of Lucian,
that the primitive Christians were a skulking, light-shunning, secret, mystical,
freemasonry sort of confederation, against the general welfare and peace of society.

the value of the Pliny letter as "evidence" of Christ's existence is worthless, as it makes no
mention of "Jesus of Nazareth," nor does it refer to any event in his purported life.
There is not even a clue in it that such a man existed. As Taylor remarks,
"We have the name of Christ, and nothing else but the name, where the name of Apollo
or Bacchus would have filled up the sense quite as well."
Taylor then casts doubt on the authenticity of the letter as a whole,
recounting the work of German critics, who "have maintained that this celebrated letter
is another instance to be added to the long list of Christian forgeries...

" One of these German luminaries, Dr. Semler of Leipsic provided "nine arguments against its
authenticity..." He also notes that the Pliny epistle is quite similar to that allegedly written
by "Tiberianus, Governor of Syria" to Trajan, which has been universally denounced as a forgery.

Also, like the Testimonium Flavianum, Pliny's letter is not quoted by any early Church father,
including Justin Martyr. Tertullian briefly mentions its existence, noting that it refers to terrible
persecutions of Christians. However, the actual text used today comes from a version by a Christian
monk in the 15th century, Iucundus of Verona, whose composition apparently was based on
Tertullian's assertions. Concurring that the Pliny letter is suspicious, Drews terms "doubtful"
Tertullian's "supposed reference to it." Drews then names several authorities who likewise doubted
its authenticity, "either as a whole or in material points," including Semler, Aub, Havet, Hochart,
Bruno Bauer and Edwin Johnson. Citing the work of Hochart specifically, Drews pronounces Pliny's
letter "in all probability" a "later Christian forgery." Even if it is genuine, Pliny's letter is useless in
determining any "historical" Jesus.

TACITUS.

In his Annals, supposedly written around 107 CE, Tacitus purportedly related that the Emperor
Nero (37-68) blamed the burning of Rome during his reign on "those people who were abhorred for
their crimes and commonly called Christians." Since the fire evidently broke out in the poor quarter
where fanatic, agitating Messianic Jews allegedly jumped for joy, thinking the conflagration
represented the eschatological development that would bring about the Messianic reign, it would not
be unreasonable for authorities to blame the fire on them.

However, it is clear that these Messianic Jews were not (yet) called "Christiani." In support of this
contention, Nero's famed minister, Seneca (5?-65), whose writings evidently provided much fuel for
the incipient Christian ideology, has not a word about these "most-hated" sectarians.

...the Tacitean passage next states that these fire-setting agitators were followers of "Christus"
(Christos), who, in the reign of Tiberius, "was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius
Pilate."

The passage also recounts that the Christians, who constituted a "vast multitude at Rome," were
then sought after and executed in ghastly manners, including by crucifixion.

However, the date that a "vast multitude" of Christians was discovered and executed would be
around 64 CE, and it is evident that there was no "vast multitude" of Christians at Rome by this time,
as there were not even a multitude of them in Judea.

Oddly, this brief mention of Christians is all there is in the voluminous works of Tacitus regarding
this extraordinary movement, which allegedly possessed such power as to be able to burn Rome.
Also, the Neronian persecution of Christians is unrecorded by any other historian of the day and
supposedly took place at the very time when Paul was purportedly freely preaching at Rome
(Acts 28:30-31), facts that cast strong doubt on whether or not it actually happened.

Drews concludes that the Neronian persecution is likely "nothing but the product of a Christian's
imagination in the fifth century." Eusebius, in discussing this persecution, does not avail himself
of the Tacitean passage, which he surely would have done had it existed at the time.
Eusebius's discussion is very short, indicating he was lacking source material; the passage in Tacitus
would have provided him a very valuable resource.

Even conservative writers such as James Still have problems with the authenticity of the Tacitus
passage: For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus
as "Christ." Also, Pilate was not a "procurator" but a prefect, which Tacitus would have known.
Nevertheless, not willing to throw out the entire passage, some researchers have concluded that
Tacitus "was merely repeating a story told to him by contemporary Christians."

SUETONIUS.

The passage in Suetonius's Life of Claudius, dating to around 110 CE, states that the emperor
Claudius "drove the Jews out of Rome, who at the suggestion of Chrestus were constantly rioting."

The passage in Latin is as follows:

Claudius Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit.

We see that the reference is to "Chresto," not "Christo." In any case, Claudius reigned from 41-54,
while Christ was purported to have been crucified around 30, so the great Jewish sage could not have
been in Rome personally at that time. Even such an eager believer and mesmerized apologist as
Shirley Jackson Case must admit that Christ himself couldn't have been at Rome then, that the
"natural meaning" of the remark is that "a disturbance was caused by a Jew named Chrestus" living in
Rome at the time, and that Suetonius's "references to Christianity itself are very obscure."

It is possible that these diasporic Jews—a mixture of Hebrew, Jewish, Samaritan and Pagan
descent—revered their god under the epithet of "Chresto." Or, as Eisenman suggests, the incident may
record Jews agitating over the appointment of Herod Agrippa I as king of Judea by his friend Claudius
in 41 CE. In this regard, Agrippa I is called "chrestos" by Josephus.

In his Life of Nero, Suetonius refers to "Christiani," whom he calls "a race of men of a new and
villainous, wicked or magical superstition," who "were visited with punishment." This passage,
although establishing that there were people called "Christiani" who were a fairly recent cult in
Suetonius's time, obviously does not serve as evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed.

Regarding these "references," if they were genuine they would no more prove the existence of
Jesus Christ than do writings about other gods prove their existence. In other words, by this same
argument we could provide many "references" from ancient writers that the numerous Pagan gods
also existed as "real people." In this case, Jesus would be merely a johnny-come-lately in a long line
of "historical" godmen.

JOSEPHUS.

When addressing the mythical nature of Jesus Christ, one issue repeatedly raised is the
purported "evidence" of his existence to be found in the writings of Flavius Josephus, the famed
Jewish general and historian who lived from about 37 to 100 CE. In Josephus's Antiquities of the
Jews appears the notorious passage regarding Christ called the "Testimonium Flavianum" ("TF"):

"Now, there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a
doer of wonderful works,--a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to
him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ; and when Pilate, at the
suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him
at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine
prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him; and the tribe
of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day." (Whitson, 379)

This surprisingly brief and simplistic passage constitutes the "best proof" of Jesus's existence in the
entire ancient non-Christian library comprising the works of dozens of historians, writers,
philosophers, politicians and others who never mentioned the great sage and wonderworker Jesus
Christ, even though they lived contemporaneously with or shortly after the Christian savior's purported
advent.

Despite the best wishes of sincere believers and the erroneous claims of truculent apologists, the
Testimonium Flavianum has been demonstrated continually over the centuries to be a forgery, likely
interpolated by Catholic Church historian Eusebius in the fourth century.

So thorough and universal has been this debunking that very few scholars of repute continued to cite
the passage after the turn of the 19th century. Indeed, the TF was rarely mentioned, except to note
that it was a forgery, and numerous books by a variety of authorities over a period of 200 or so years
basically took it for granted that the Testimonium Flavianum in its entirety was spurious, an
interpolation and a forgery. As Dr. Gordon Stein relates:

"...the vast majority of scholars since the early 1800s have said that this quotation is not by Josephus,
but rather is a later Christian insertion in his works. In other words, it is a forgery, rejected by
scholars."

So well understood was this fact of forgery that these numerous authorities did not spend their
precious time and space rehashing the arguments against the TF's authenticity. Nevertheless, in the
past few decades apologists of questionable integrity and credibility have glommed onto the TF,
because this short and dubious passage represents the most "concrete" secular, non-biblical reference
to a man who purportedly shook up the world. In spite of the past debunking, the debate is currently
confined to those who think the TF was original to Josephus but was Christianized, and those who
credulously and self-servingly accept it as "genuine" in its entirety.

In the final analysis there is no evidence that the biblical character called "Jesus Christ" ever existed.
As Nicholas Carter concludes in The Christ Myth: "No sculptures, no drawings, no markings in stone,
nothing written in his own hand; and no letters, no commentaries, indeed no authentic documents
written by his Jewish and Gentile contemporaries, Justice of Tiberius, Philo, Josephus, Seneca,
Petronius Arbiter, Pliny the Elder, et al., to lend credence to his historicity."

link-
http://www.truthbeknown.com/josephus.htm

http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/josephus-etal.html

Militant_Atheist's picture
You posted.....

You posted.....
"We have no contemporary references to the destruction of Pompeii, yet historians universally acknowledge that it happened."

Are you serious ? NO CONTEMPORARY REFERENCES TO THE DESTRUCTION OF POMPEII ?…...WTF.

You've just lost the last fragment of the little credibility you left yourself with ……..

Pliny the Younger....?

"Pliny wrote the two letters describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius approximately 25 years after the event, and both were sent in response to the request of his friend, the historian Tacitus, who wanted to know more about Pliny the Elder's death. The two letters have great historical value due to their accurate description of Vesuvius' eruption; Pliny's attention to detail in the letters about Vesuvius is so keen that modern volcanologists describe those types of eruptions as "Plinian eruptions"

Link:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliny_the_Younger

We've been around these claims before , many times.... so many times in fact that after the last time it happened I put this together...

Don't you even bother reading your own sources? This is what it says:

"Pliny wrote the two letters describing the eruption of Mount Vesuvius approximately 25 years after the event."

Hardly contemporary.

It also doesn't even mention the destruction of Pompeii. At least make sure you're acquainted with your own sources before posting them.

Often quoted ...

Supposedly contemporary written references to Christ.

Scholarly consensus is that Josephus and Tacitus provide independent historical evidence of Jesus:

The first and most extensive reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 18, states that Jesus was the Messiah and a wise teacher who was crucified by Pilate. It is commonly called the Testimonium Flavianum.[1][4][5] Almost all modern scholars reject the authenticity of this passage in its present form, while the majority of scholars nevertheless hold that it contains an authentic nucleus referencing the execution of Jesus by Pilate, which was then subject to Christian interpolation and/or alteration.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11] The exact nature and extent of the Christian redaction remains unclear, however.[12][13]

Modern scholarship has largely acknowledged the authenticity of the second reference to Jesus in the Antiquities, found in Book 20, Chapter 9, which mentions "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James."[14] This reference is considered to be more authentic than the Testimonium.[15][1][16][17][18][19]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

The scholarly consensus is that Tacitus' reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate is both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source.[5][6][7] Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd argue that it is "firmly established" that Tacitus provides a non-Christian confirmation of the crucifixion of Jesus.[8] Scholars view it as establishing three separate facts about Rome around AD 60: (i) that there were a sizable number of Christians in Rome at the time, (ii) that it was possible to distinguish between Christians and Jews in Rome, and (iii) that at the time pagans made a connection between Christianity in Rome and its origin in Roman Judea.[9][10]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tacitus_on_Christ

In the final analysis there is no evidence that the biblical character called "Jesus Christ" ever existed.
As Nicholas Carter concludes in The Christ Myth: "No sculptures, no drawings, no markings in stone,
nothing written in his own hand; and no letters, no commentaries, indeed no authentic documents
written by his Jewish and Gentile contemporaries, Justice of Tiberius, Philo, Josephus, Seneca,
Petronius Arbiter, Pliny the Elder, et al., to lend credence to his historicity."

Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence. To assume otherwise is a logical fallacy. Only people who do not understand how fragmentary the ancient historical record is assume contemporary references are needed to prove historicity. As it stands, Jesus is historically well-attested.

David Killens's picture
Even if I concede that a

Even if I concede that a jesus did live, that does not prove he performed miracles or rose from the dead.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5AordEPtok&t

Militant_Atheist's picture
Even if I concede that a

Even if I concede that a jesus did live, that does not prove he performed miracles or rose from the dead.

We can indeed be certain that the Jesus of Christian theology is a myth, just like we can be certain there was an historical Jesus.

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Algebe's picture
@Militant_Atheist: Why do so

@Militant_Atheist: Why do so many atheists deny the existence of an historical Jesus?

To provoke interesting reactions from Christians

Mikhael's picture
I was in your camp too but

I was in your camp too but Richard Carrier, robert price and david fitzgerald changed that. I'm now of the opinion that there was no Jesus and if there was, his basis is so far removed from the biblical accounts that there might as well not have been one at all

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