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Did Jesus Exist?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Did Jesus Exist?

 First I would like to start off with a disclaimer, I am writing this to put forth the idea and compile information, if I missed anything and/or you have evidence to the contrary please post it in the comments WITH A SOURCE and if it is a reliable/legitimate source I will make the appropriate corrections. Secondly, if you do choose to correct me you don't need to be all pissy about it. If I am wrong I will refine my statement. Also let me say that there may be other historians out there who have "referenced Jesus" that I left out either a) they don't talk about him, just about early Christianity yet fail to mention him or b) Just say "christ" which literally means anointed one, not Jesus.


"Well in the case of someone like Caesar Augustus around whom many of the same myths clustered we know there none the less there was a Caesar Augustus because he's intricately tied into the history of the time and many secular historians talk about him you can't rewrite history without Caesar Augustus. But at the very two points Jesus appears to be locked into history, these stories are either still mythical like the slaughter of the innocents derived right out of the book of exodus or they contain outrageous improbabilities such as the Jewish supreme council meeting on Passover eve to get rid of this guy, it's just out of the question or Pontius Pilate letting go a know killer of Romans and insurrectionist and just letting Jesus be thrown to the mob, after however trying to get him off the hook as if he has to have a vote on it, it just defies any sort of historical verisimilitude and then when you realize 'well there were other Jews and Jewish Christians that believed Jesus had been killed a century before under king Alexander or in the Gospel of Peter it says Herod had Jesus killed. How could this be a matter of such diversity if it was a recent event that people remembered? It just makes you wonder, is this man really part of the historical time stream or does it begin to look like someone tried to put a figure, originally mythical, into a historical framework and made various stabs at it?" -Robert M. Price, Fellow, Jesus Seminar


"There are these other gospels and there are the apocrypha after all. Apocrypha in the New Testament and apocrypha in the Old Testament, stories that were frankly to folkloristic and got thrown out because people thought these couldn't have happened therefore we get rid of them, of course some of the apocrypha stories are as interesting as the regular bible. Then there were attempts to so called 'de-mythologize', attempts mostly by Jesuits and other intellectuals who say, who are upset by in a sense, the folklore if you will and they say 'let's make this more intellectual, let's get rid of the folklore, let's get rid of the virgin birth which seems unlikely let's get rid of all the stuff' you see if you take away the folklore, away from the bible, you don't have a heck of a lot left except big gap, big gap, big gap, big gap." -Alan Dundes Professor of Folklore, UC Berkeley



I will be using a number of sources and will link them with numbers next to the evidence as well as a list in the footnotes below. So let's start, practically every Christian, or almost any other religious person for that matter, was taught that Jesus lived and died between the years 4 B.C. and 26-36 A.D.1 and it is still commonly accepted to this day but in this post I will entertain the notion that Jesus may have never existed. The most commonly cited historians that "mention" Jesus are as follows: Tacitus, Josephus, Pliny the Younger and Suetonius and I will address them accordingly. After that I will move on to the Gospels and then to the similarities between Jesus/Christianity and early Pagan myths.

Part 1: The Historians

Tacitus: Tacitus was a Roman historian and senator who wrote Annals among many other things. He was born in A.D. 56 and died in A.D 117.2 Tacitus was a great historian and therefore we would think that when he supposedly talks of Jesus he must have existed, but before we argue that we must examine the passage in which Jesus is mentioned. Said passage occurs in his book Annals which was written in 109 A.D.3

              "Therefore, to scotch the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished those whom he has inflicted a hated for their abominations by the crowd styled Christians. name, Christ, the author of the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate, the punishment of emotions was checked for a moment, the deadly superstition broke out again, not just in Judaea, the source of the disease, but in the capital, even with respect all things horrible or shameful a vogue. Therefore, first of those were arrested who admitted that they had, and then, on their disclosures, vast numbers, not so much in the arson as for hatred of the human race were convicted" 4 (starting at "ergo abolendo" and ending at "convicti sunt" translated by me)

Now there is an interesting thing that has been noted by Georg Andresen in 1902, that in the original manuscripts, the 'I' in the word ChrIstianos was altered and was originally an 'E'. This was mentioned because  there is a rather large gap between the 'I' and the 'S' that looks as if someone had erased parts of the 'E'.5 If this were true then the original word would have been Chrestianos, the Greek word "χρηστός" made into a Latin word literary meaning useful or good.6 It was subsequently shown in 1950 when Dr. Teresa Lodi, the director of the library at which the manuscript is held, examined it that the 'I' was in fact an 'E' that was previously erased.7 It was again shown in 2008 by Dr. Ida Giovanna Rao that the 'I' was most likely a change to a letter, probably an 'E'. It was also then found that when exposed to ultraviolet light that there was in fact an 'E' instead of an 'I' which means Tacitus was referring to the good people. 8
Of course that doesn't necessarily show that Jesus never existed but if he isn't referring to Christians, the Christ that was mentioned could just be any other anointed one as the definition implies? But before we move on to the other historians we will look at the validity of Tacitus' claims. The main point that must be made is that when Suetonius mentions the Christians and Nero, the claim that Christians started the great fire (which is what is being talked about) is completely ignored thus contradicting Tacitus' claims. Secondly, Tacitus wrote Annals in 109 A.D. (see source above) which was at least 70 years after Jesus' death so anything that was written was purely hearsay.




Josephus: Josephus was a Jewish historian who was born in the year 37 A.D. and died in the year 100 A.D. The commonly cited passage comes from Josephus' writings in Antiquities of the Jews which was written around 93-94 A.D. 9 The passage cited states this:

"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 among 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." (Let it also be stated that there are a few versions of this passage with slightly different wordings)

There is one other passage that is cited which is as follows:

"Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king, desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrin without his consent. Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest"

At first glance this looks pretty compelling but only when you delve deeper in to the history behind this passage does its flaws show. First let me say that in Antiquities there are a plethora of references to Jesus but most if not all are referring to a Jewish High Priest, Jesus ben Damneus.

I will first address one passage and then the next. On the first passage, the famous Church Father Justin Martyr makes no mention of this passage in his debates with Trypho which raises the question why? It would have been an amazing asset seeing as it supposedly directly references Jesus. This suggests that the passage may not have even existed.10 Of course this doesn't prove the passage didn't exist but it raises some questions regarding its validity and if indeed it did exist. The next point that must be mentioned is that over the next 700 some odd years there were at least eleven Church leaders who had known of Josephus' works yet remained ignorant of that passage. 11 Also, Dr. Larnder compiled a list oddities in and involving said passage.

·         "It was not quoted or referred to by any Christian apologists prior to Eusebius, c. 316 ad.
·         "Nowhere else in his voluminous works does Josephus use the word 'Christ,' except in the passage which refers to James 'the brother of Jesus who was called Christ' (Antiquities of the Jews, Book 20, Chapter 9, Paragraph 1), which is also considered to be a forgery. (I will comment on this later)
·         "Since Josephus was not a Christian but an orthodox Jew, it is impossible that he should have believed or written that Jesus was the Christ or used the words 'if it be lawful to call him a man,' which imply the Christian belief in Jesus' divinity.
·         "The extraordinary character of the things related in the passage--of a man who is apparently more than a man, and who rose from the grave after being dead for three days--demanded a more extensive treatment by Josephus, which would undoubtedly have been forthcoming if he had been its author.
·         "The passage interrupts the narrative, which would flow more naturally if the passage were left out entirely.
·         "It is not quoted by Chrysostom (c. 354-407 ad) even though he often refers to Josephus in his voluminous writings.
·         "It is not quoted by Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople (c. 858-886 ad) even though he wrote three articles concerning Josephus, which strongly implies that his copy of Josephus' Antiquities did not contain the passage.
·         "Neither Justin Martyr (110-165 AD), nor Clement of Alexandria (153-217 ad), nor Origen (c.185-254 AD), who all made extensive reference to ancient authors in their defense of Christianity, has mentioned this supposed testimony of Josephus.
·         "Origen, in his treatise Against Celsus, Book 1, Chapter 47, states categorically that Josephus did NOT believe that Jesus was the Christ.
  •  
"This is the only reference to the Christians in the works of Josephus. If it were genuine, we would have expected him to have given us a fuller account of them somewhere."12  

Something else that must be mentioned is the fact that the name Jesus was actually a quite common name 13 so even if parts of the passages that do say Jesus, it doesn't necessarily mean they were talking about Jesus Christ. And to make matters even harrier, Eusebius was the first person to ever quote the passage about Jesus 14 and is commonly regarded as the person who forged it. And to add salt to the wounds, Ken Olson says that the wording of the passage, mainly the part about him being a "wise man" is almost identical to something Eusebius writes in his own works. 

Something else I must mention about the vocabulary, in Testimonium, Josephus uses the the Greek word poietes in the meaning of doer yet in his other works he uses the same word to mean poet, not doer where as Eusebius uses poietes to mean doer much like the account of Jesus by Josephus.15 Yet to be fair to both sides of the argument this is still a topic of debate and is not conclusive proof. 

Now moving on to the second passage, as I have previously stated, the Jesus that was mentioned was actually not Jesus Christ but was merely a priest. Isaac Mayer Wise talks talks about the passage being historically accurate but the line "who was called the Christ" was an addition.16
Also, John Remsburg agreed that the passage was an addition made in the 3rd century. 17 His proposition says that it was a note in the margin of the work but was added in during the copying. 
Of course this doesn't provide conclusive evidence but it does lower the credibility and considering the passage mentions him being a high priest and not a messiah at the end, it raises some questions as to its validity. 

Pliny the Younger: Pliny the Younger was a lawyer and an author who was from Rome and was born in 61 A.D. He wrote many letters to emperors but the one we will be dealing with was his letter to Emperor Trajan. The communication between Pliny and Trajan began around the year 111 A.D. making them well out of the range of eye witness accounts of Jesus.18 Pliny's account can easily be discredited for a few reasons, a) he is merely mentioning the fact that there were Christians living during his time and b) he could have easily gotten any information he had from Christian sources so it isn't extra verification. 

Suetonius: 
Suetonius was a Roman Historian who was born in 70 A.D. and died in 130 A.D. He wrote many works but the most famous and the one we will be talking about was the one entitled The Twelve Kings which was written in 121 A.D.19 In said book Suetonius says the following: 

"As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them [the Jews] from Rome".

The first, and most noticeable problem is the word Chrestus which, as shown when I was talking about Tacitus literally means good or useful and thus may have not been referencing Jesus at all. But again, it doesn't even mention Jesus Christ, just Christ. And that doesn't prove a whole lot considering that the word Christ literally means anointed one and nothing more.

And one other very important note that must be added is that every Historian was born after the time Jesus supposedly died and thus do not serve as eye witnesses.

Part 2: The Gospels

So up until now we have been looking at the extra biblical sources that supposedly proves Jesus' existence but after thoroughly examining those we see that we must turn to the religion that preaches about this man. We must look to the Gospels. It is commonly thought that the Gospels are the true eye-witness accounts of Jesus' life and everything they say is true but that might not necessarily be the case. In fact, the author of the book of Mark may not have actually been Mark! It's the same of Matthew, Luke and John. So first off about Mark. Mark was the first Gospel that was written although it comes after Matthew in the Bible it's self. But that is not important, what is important is the year it was written in. In the Gospel of Mark the destruction of the temple which occurred in 70 A.D. is mentioned which means it must have been written sometime after that thus leaving a gap four decades between the supposed death of Jesus and the writing of the first gospel and then when we look at the life expectancy during that time we see that Mark was almost certainly not alive at the time of Jesus if he did in fact write said Gospel. There is some discrepancy among this fact seeing as some people claim that the passage referring to the destruction of the temple was a prophecy set forth by Jesus and was thus fulfilled. But if you look to the passages directly after it, Jesus mentions how the world will end within the disciples’ life times which it obviously didn't. So here Mark is in a double bind. If it was a prophecy he was writing about and he wrote his Gospel before the actual event then we can obviously see the second prophecy isn't true because the world has not ended thus showing Jesus can be wrong and thus must not be God, OR the "prophecy" was really just describing the destruction and thus the Gospel was written after 70 A.D.

Religious scholar, J.D. Crossan has this to say on life expectancy: "the life expectancy of Jewish males in the Jewish state was then twenty-nine years."

"We have reason to believe that only 4% of the population at any given time was over 50 years old; over age 70, less than 2%. And that is under normal circumstances. But the Gospels were written after two very devastating abnormal events: the Jewish War and the Neronian Persecution, both of which would have, combined, greatly reduced the life expectancy of exactly those people who were eye-witnesses to the teachings of Jesus. And it just so happens that these sorts of people are curiously missing from the historical record precisely when the Gospels began to be circulated."  ~~Richard Carrier 

"Even if they lived to those unlikely ages, consider the mental and physical toll (especially during the 1st century) which would have likely reduced their memory and capability to write. Moreover, those small percentages of people who lived past 50 years were usually wealthy people (politicians, land and slave owners, etc.). However, the Gospels suggest that the followers of Jesus lived poorly, and this would further reduce the chances for a long life span. Although the New Testament does not provide the ages of the disciples, most Christians think their ages came to around 20-30 years old. Jesus' birth would have to have occurred before Herod's death at 4 B.C.E. So if Jesus' birth occurred in the year 4 B.C.E., that would put the age of the disciples, at the time of the writing of the first gospel, at around age 60-70 and the last gospel at around age 90-100! Based on just life expectancies alone, that would make the probability unlikely they lived during the writing of the first gospel, and extremely unlikely any of them lived during the writing of the last gospel (and I have used only the most conservative numbers)." ~~No Beliefs.com

So basically it is massively unlikely that Mark, if he even wrote the Gospel of Mark lived during the life of Jesus because he would be at least in the rare 4% of the population that lived above 50 (and that would be assuming he was 10 when he was a disciple) and thus it stands to reason that seeing as all the other Gospels were written much later than the Gospel of Mark they too could not have actually lived with Jesus and thus all claims in the Gospels serve only as hearsay.  

We now move on to why the people whose names are on the covers of the Gospels didn't actually write them. There is no hard evidence to suggest that the disciples didn't actually write the Gospels but if we look at their ages keeping in mind the life expectancy of someone in Roman times while looking at when the respective Gospels were written some oddities are revealed. So to know the age each was when they were with Jesus we look to Matthew 17:24-27 which mentions that Peter paid taxes meaning he was over twenty while the others were pretty close to that age. So first let's look at Mark. At this time Mark was also about twenty meaning that at the time of the writing of the Gospel of Mark (after 70 A.D) Mark would have been at least sixty years old which is extremely unlikely considering the time period they were living in. The next gospel that was written was Matthew which was written after Mark thus meaning after 70 A.D. again putting Matthew out of the range of eyewitness accounts (if he even wrote said Gospel). It is essentially the same thing with Luke and John. They all came after Matthew again making it impossible that they would have been eyewitnesses.

The claim is sometimes made that Mark was Saint Peter's scribe and thus witnessed all but again this is only mentioned in the Bible and we are mostly looking at extra biblical evidence to prove Jesus existed we can affirm this or negate this without much change on the outcome. 

The next very important thing that must be mentioned in this section are the Pauline epistles or Paul's letters. 
In Paul's letters he mentions a lot about Christianity as a whole but very little about Jesus himself. First off, Paul never mentions a virgin birth20, if anything, it argues against it seeing as in Romans 1:3 it says "A descendent of David according to the flesh"21 which implies he was not born of a virgin but of a mortal. (It must be noted that in some translations 'according to the flesh' is omitted). One then begins to wonder, why would Paul leave that out if it was a recent event? People being born of virgins rarely happens and it'd probably important to note. Paul never mentioned Mary, Bethlehem, no specific miracles, none of Jesus' quotes ect... which leaves us to wonder why. These things were recent so wouldn't Paul have thought to write them? It really leads you to question whether this man [Jesus] is actually locked into history.

Part 3: Similarities to Pagan religions

(One thing that must be mentioned is that when I get to the lists I will just add numbers for the footnotes and if you doubt the validity of the claim, scroll down, find the number and read for yourself.)
At long last we move to the final section of this argument, the similarities between Jesus Christ and ancient Pagan religions/Christianity and ancient Pagan religions. One commonly mentioned and quite interesting similarity between Christian beliefs and Pagan beliefs is that an ancient inscription to Mithra was found which read "He who will not eat of my body and drink of my blood, so that he will be made on with me and I with him, the same shall not know salvation" 22 which says almost the exact same thing as the passage in John 6:53. Also, Christians and also most Pagans ultimately celebrated the birthday of the Messiah on December 25th. Yet another similarity is that early Christians initiated new members in March/April as did Mithra-ism. 23 Of course none of this really proves Jesus didn't exist but it does show you that the rituals the Christians were involved in were based off Pagan ones. But now we get to move to the fun stuff, the similarities between Jesus himself and other supposed Man-Gods. First we will start by talking briefly about when Horus of Egypt was worshiped. Horus was the God-Man of Ancient Egypt of around 3,000-2,000 B.C., well before Jesus allegedly lived. Horus was born on or around December 25th 24,25,26 of the virgin Isis-Meri 27,28,29.
The fact of her virginity is one that is commonly debated and I will shed light onto its truth. 
Acharya S. quotes priest and author Joseph McCabe:
"Whatever we make of the original myth, Isis seems to have been originally a virgin (or, perhaps, sexless) goddess, and in the later period of Egyptian religion she was again considered a virgin goddess, demanding very strict abstinence from her devotees. It is at this period, apparently, that the birthday of Horus was annually celebrated, about December 25th, in the temples. As both Macrobius and the Christian writer [of the "Paschal Chronicle"] say, a figure of Horus as a baby was laid in a manger, in a scenic reconstruction of a stable, and a statue of Isis was placed beside it. Horus was, in a sense, the Savior of mankind. He was their avenger against the powers of darkness; he was the light of the world. His birth-festival was a real Christmas before Christ." 30,31

As stated by Egyptologist Dr. Reginald E. Witt:
The Egyptian goddess who was equally ―the Great Virgin (hwnt) and ―Mother of the God was the object of the very same praise bestowed upon her successor [Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus].28

So as we can see, most likely Horus' mother was in fact a virgin seeing as she was called the Great Virgin as well as demanding abstinence from her followers. But let's continue, Horus' birth was announced by a star in the East 32,33 and then met by three Kings or Magi 34, 35. Here is where we reach another topic of much debate. Horus is said to have had twelve disciples who followed him around 36 and preformed miracles like healing the sick and walking on water 37,38. The main topic of dissent is on the number 12 and there are arguments to both sides of the coin.
Glenn Miller wrote:
"...my research in the academic literature does not surface this fact. I can find references to four 'disciples'--variously called the semi-divine HERU-SHEMSU ('Followers of Horus'). I can find references to sixteen human followers. And I can find reference to an unnumbered group of followers called mesniu/mesnitu ('blacksmiths') who accompanied Horus in some of his battles. ... But I cannot find twelve anywhere." 39
 So here we see he may not have had exactly 12 but he would have had at least sixteen thus we cannot rule out the possibility that later, Christian writers saw the number and simply changed it. But for a piece of evidence regarding the number 12:

As Murdock says:
The configuration of Re, Osiris or Horus with 12 other individuals, whether gods or men, can be found abundantly in Egyptian texts, essentially reflecting the sun god with 12 ―companions, ―helpers or ―disciples. This theme is repeated numerous times in the nightly passage of the sun: Like Hercules in his 12 labors, when the Egyptian sun god entered into the night sky, he was besieged with trials, as found in some of the Egyptian ―Holy Scriptures. One such text is the ―Book of the Amtuat/Amduat, which ―describes the journey of the sun god through the twelve hours of the night, the term ―Amduat meaning ―underworld or ―netherworld....
Horus is thus firmly associated with 12 ―star-gods, who, in conducting the sun god through his passage, can be deemed his ―protectors, ―assistants or ―helpers, etc. 38

So about the number of disciples, it is essentially up to you to decide which number suits your fancy but there is no doubt that there were in fact either 12 or 16 disciples.
Moving on, Horus was crucified 40,41 was buried for three days 42,43,44,45 (Osiris is interchangeable with Horus)  and then was resurrected.46 The main point of dispute among this is that claim that Horus was crucified. A very important piece of evidence that must be mentioned is that crucifixion doesn't necessarily refer to the Roman method of execution. To fully understand why this is the case we must study the etymology of the word crucify. The word crucify comes from the Latin word crucifigere which is made up of crux meaning cross and affigere meaning to attach to. So essentially crucify means to attach to a cross, not necessarily the roman method of shoving people and beating them and finally, nailing them to two planks of wood. 

"Regarding the Egyptian god in cruciform, Thomas W. Doane relates:
Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, was crucified in the heavens. To the Egyptian the cross was the symbol of immortality, an emblem of the Sun, and the god himself was crucified to the tree, which denoted his fructifying power. Horus was also crucified in the heavens. He was represented, like... Christ Jesus, with
outstretched arms in the vault of heaven" 40
"This concept of Horus with outstretched arms or wings is confirmed by Egyptologist Dr. Hornung: Horus shows himself in the image of the hawk whose wings span the sky." 41

So as we can see, the similarities between Horus and Jesus are immense which begs the question, if Horus existed before Jesus supposedly did and had these same traits, who's to say that the early Christians didn't add these to their Man-God?

So if we add all this up, we can see it is unlikely that Jesus was in fact a historical figure but again, I leave you to believe what you so choose. 




~~Peter


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Footnotes:

5: Georg Andresen in Wochenschrift fur klassische Philologie 19, 1902, p. 780f
7: Harald Fuchs, Tacitus on the Christians, published in Christian Vigil (1950) volume 4, number 2, p. 70, note 6
9: Freedman, David Noel, ed., The Anchor Bible Dictionary, (New York: Doubleday) 1997, 1992
10: Feldman (1989), p. 431
14: "Eusebius and the Testimonium Flavianum,"Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61 (1999): 305-322
15: Ken Olson, Eusebian Fabrication of the Testimonium (2001)
16:  Wise, Isaac Mayer (1868) The origin of Christianity Bloch and co; Page 137
22: J. Goodwin, "Mystery Religions of the Ancient World," Thames & Hudson, (1981), Page 28. Quoted in Timothy Freke & Peter Gandy, "The Jesus Mysteries: Was the 'Original Jesus' a Pagan God?" Acacia Press, (1999), Page 49
24: Plutarch, ―Isis and Osiris‖ (65, 387C); King, C.W., 56; Plutarch/Babbitt, 153
            Obviously, the English term ―December 25th‖ did not exist in the ancient Egyptian calendar but simply refers to the winter solstice, which the ancients perceived as beginning on December 21st and ending at midnight on the 24th. We learn from one of the most famous historians of the first century, Plutarch (46-120 AD/CE), that Horus the Child—or ―Harpocrates,‖ as was his Greek name—was ―born about the winter solstice, unfinished and infant-like...
25: Mojsov, 13.
            As Egyptologist Dr. Bojana Mojsov remarks: ―The symbol of the savior-child was the eye of the sun newly born every year at the winter solstice.
26: Murdock, CIE, 94.
Isis and Nephthys holding the baby Sun over the Life-Giving Ankh, representing the Winter Solstice (Budge, An Egyptian Hieroglyphic Dictionary, 351)
            As [Egyptologist Dr. Heinrich] Brugsch explains, the Egyptians not only abundantly recorded and revered the time of the winter solstice, they also created a number of hieroglyphs to depict it, including the image mentioned by Budge, which turns out to be the goddess-sisters Isis and Nephthys with the solar disc floating above their hands over a lifegiving ankh—the looped Egyptian cross—as the sun‘s rays extend down to the cross symbol. This image of the sun between Isis and Nephthys, which is sometimes depicted without the ankh, is described in an inscription at Edfu regarding Ptolemy VII (fl. 145 BCE?) and applied to the winter solstice, translated as: ―The sun coming out of the sky-ocean into the hands of the siblings Isis and Nephthys.‖ This image very much looks like the sun being born, which is sensible, since, again, Harpocrates, the morning sun, was born every day, including at the winter solstice
27: Frazer, GB, IV, 8.
            The virginity of Horus‘s mother, Isis, has been disputed, because in one myth she is portrayed as impregnating herself with Osiris‘s severed phallus. In depictions of Isis‘s impregnation, the goddess conceives Horus ―while she fluttered in the form of a hawk over the corpse of her dead husband.
28: Witt, 273
As stated by Egyptologist Dr. Reginald E. Witt:
The Egyptian goddess who was equally ―the Great Virgin‖ (hwnt) and ―Mother of the God‖ was the object of the very same praise bestowed upon her successor [Mary, Virgin Mother of Jesus].
29: Murdock, CIE, 138-157
            One of the inscriptions that calls Isis the ―Great Virgin‖ appears in the temple of Seti I at Abydos dating to the 13th century BCE, while in later times she is equated with the constellation of Virgo, the Virgin.
30: Joseph McCabe, "The Story of Religious Controversy," Stratford Co, (1929)
31: Acharya S., "Born of a Virgin on December 25th: Horus, Sun God of Egypt,
32: Botterweck, II, 338-339.
33: Walker, B., WEMS, 749.
34: Allen, J., 107.
35: Griffiths, OOHC, 157.
36: Lenormant, 83.
37: Diodorus/Murphy, 31-32.
38: Murdock, CIE, 296-297.
39: James Patrick Holding, "Comparing Osiris, Horus and Jesus,"
40: Doane, 484.
            Regarding the Egyptian god in cruciform, Thomas W. Doane relates:
Osiris, the Egyptian Saviour, was crucified in the heavens. To the Egyptian the cross was the
symbol of immortality, an emblem of the Sun, and the god himself was crucified to the tree, which
denoted his fructifying power.
Horus was also crucified in the heavens. He was represented, like... Christ Jesus, with
outstretched arms in the vault of heaven
41: Hornung, CGAE, 124.
            This concept of Horus with outstretched arms or wings is confirmed by Egyptologist Dr. Hornung:
Horus shows himself in the image of the hawk whose wings span the sky
42: Mettinger, 182.
43: Bertholet, 5.
44: Plutarch/Babbitt, 95-97.
45: Murdock, CIE, 400. For more information on the ―Burial for Three Days, Resurrection and Ascension,‖ see Christ in Egypt, 376-430.
46: Diodorus/Murphy, 31.

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25 Comments:

At February 19, 2011 at 4:37 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Josephus mentions another Jesus? Of course he does, I read his Antiquities, but there were MANY people named Jesus back then. The burden of proof is on YOU to show that this passage is when Josephus actually is referreing to the same Jesus, for he does not give him his other names or titles, nor does he ever say this other Jesus was another Messianic person, in which he dedicates much of his history to talking about. Furthermore, all of the references about this passage about this Jesus reflects the traditional Christian Jesus anyway.

The lack of references to his passage is irrelevant. Upon this reasoning, we should doubt every single quote Eusebius gives us from another text that supports Christianity (such as Papias confirming Mark's authorship) yet is never addressed. The simple fact is so much history since then has been lost. Furthermore, Eusebius actually depended on Josephus FAR MORE than the previous scholars. Eusebius actually loved Josephus as he says himself in the Church History (or more like appreciates this Jew's historical contribution to the time period) which not only makes it very doubtful he quoted this comment in good faith, but just explains why this is where we find the first quote. There are indeed, Christian editing or interpolations in the text to specific details such as the resurrection and prophets, "if it be lawful to call him a man" and "He was the Christ" but the rest of the passage flows smoothly as Josephus' common style. Craig Blomberg pointed this out in "The Historical Reliability of the Gospels" as did E.P. Sanders in "The Historical Figure of Jesus" and Bart Ehrman in "Jesus Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium."

One final comment on the Gospel section. John Dominic Crossan is a Jesus scholar that completely believes he existed, and considers such people who doubt his existence to be absurd. He believes he existed purely and only on the Gospels alone, I suggest you read his book "Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography" or "The Historical Jesus." He has radical views not shared by msot scvholars such as his arbitrary dating of other gospels like that of Thomas and Peter to earlier than even the New Testament Gospels, but he completely believes Jesus lived.

The life exptancy is irrelevant. You have to know HOW that average is adduced, because it is mostly because infants and children died so early. Once they were around 20-30, they had a much higher chance of living to good old age. If you don't believe,. just look at every single life time of notable figures there. I know every single chuch father that lived lived LONG after the life expectancy. And since Jesus' followers were average Jewish males in their 20s and 30s, OF COURSE we can expect eyewitnesses to be alive throughout all of the 1st century as E.P. Sanders stated in the same book.

I could respond to ALL your points, especially your use of Archarya S. who is one of the most worthless, erroneous sources of all the ones you listed (I suggest watching her video where she tries to defend her "facts" from Zeitgeist and basically argues the church destroyed all her evidence, meaning she does not HAVE ANY, just read the mythological stories yourself as they are translated today!), but I do not have the time or energy to do that,. so I just felt like addressing Josephus and your use of John Crossan, I scholar I enjoy reading and know his views relatively well.

 
At February 19, 2011 at 4:38 AM , Anonymous zach said...

Hey. First of all, great research and great article :). If you don't mind, I'd like to correct and critique a couple things that I found factually inaccurate or questionable.

1 - I know from several scholars (Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1990), pp. 53-56, 84-89, 125-131, 297-303; Michael Grant, Jesus: A Historical Review, pp. 183-189; John Drane, Introducing New Testament, p. 184; Mark D. Roberts, Are the New Testament Gospels Reliable?, Part 3) that the majority of scholars generally puts Mark at about 60 - 65 CE. This makes me question the dating of the destruction of the temple.

2 - The life expectancy was really low because of the high infant mortality rate. Once you reach the age of 20-25 as the gospel writers are typically seen, your life expectancy goes up to about 57. Once you reach 35, your life expectancy goes up to about 61...etc (http://www.utexas.edu/depts/classics/documents/Life.html). Life expectancy probably wouldn't have been a problem, unless the gospel writers were around the age of 4 when they started writing.

Oh yea, and I have to question nobeliefs.com too. On what grounds are we to assume that the 1st century was soooo horrible that no one could ever get past the age of 70. And if they neared that age, they would be completely unable to write or remember extremely significant events, like the savior of the fricking world being tortured to death and then rising from the dead and ascending into heaven :P. Oh yea and the latest I've seen John dated by any respectable scholar was 90-100 CE, putting his age at 70.

3 - Mark and Luke were probably written by Mark and Luke. They both have historical evidence supporting the authorship, the traditional names were put on the gospels pretty fast and it's also very unlikely that if people were just randomly coming up with names that they would use Mark and Luke - they probably would have used someone with authority, like Peter, Mary, Andrew, etc (remember, the apocryphal gospels were written later). As for Matthew, he has a decent case, if I remember correctly, supporting his authorship, so it's pretty much a maybe. John has an even better historical case, so that's a possibility as well. Even when you have scholars that don't accept the authorship of the gospels, you still have a growing number of scholars who will accept that the gospels were written by the disciple's disciples in the same way as the disciples.

4 - The majority of scholars (secular and non-secular) accept Josephus's first passage as a legitimate reference to Jesus, even though it is partially interpolated. As for the second reference, even more scholars accept that one. Very few scholars believe the second reference to be an interpolation and the ones that I've seen generally have the "Jesus doesn't exist, therefore it's an interpolation" reasoning behind it. We don't really have any reason to reject it to be honest.

5 - I really have to question your references to Horus. I'm not an expert, but all of the secular respectable historians (who actually know what they are talking about), such as Bart Erhman, reject the idea that Horus has significant similarities to Jesus. Bart Erhman wrote, "You will notice that trained scholars who are experts in the ancient world do not write books like this or agree with what the authors – who are not experts, who do not know the ancient languages, and do not have an intimate knowledge with the ancient sources – claim." With "books like this" referring to several books claiming that Gods like Horus and Isis had significant similarities. So far as I know, while the god Horus was invented way before Jesus, the stories of his resurrection were after 200 CE. I honestly don't know for sure, but I am pretty skeptical of your claims.

 
At February 19, 2011 at 4:46 AM , Anonymous zach said...

Oh yea I forgot to give a couple examples of some old guys back at that time. Off the top of my head...Polybius made it to 82, Livy lived past 75, Plutarch lived until 81, Cornelius Nipos lived to over 75, Philo lived to 70, Polycarp over 85, and Tertullian lived past 75.

And yea, Crossan not only accepts the acceptance of Jesus, he also accepts as a fact that Jesus was crucified.

 
At February 19, 2011 at 10:26 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Ok, so @anon. Your first two arguments seriously make no sense. Something is screwed up. It's either you can't tell what I'm advocating or you cannot articulate what you're advocating. (or I could just be dumb) I would love to comment if you could make it more clear. (Referencing the same Jesus as what? Other references?) I would love to argue this but I need to know what you are claiming. And also, as my evidence suggests, most if not all of that passage was a forgery.

You then talk about the Bible scholar that has controversial claims. So what? Just because he sets the dates differently doesn't make it so. I have no clue where this argument is going.

So on the life expectancy. You ignored my evidence by Richard Carrier, a well respected historian, talking about how under 4% of the population was above 50. You completely ignored this for some claim made by some random New Testament Scholar. Which is probably more reliable, a random New Testament Scholar or a well respected Historian?

Then you argue against my evidence from Acharya S/D.M. Murdock yet there are only like 5 or 6 references in the footnotes so the other 39/40 are still fine. And regardless, read her credentials if you contest her. http://www.truthbeknown.com/credentials.html

 
At February 19, 2011 at 10:45 PM , Blogger Peter said...

@Zach So what about the destruction of the Jewish temple? Scholars generally don't contest the date but if you want here is a link which talks about it: http://www.templemount.org/destruct2.html

Ok, cross apply what I said to anon about Richard Carrier's evidence. But also, I didn't go for the gospels that hard solely because I mainly wanted to focus on extra biblical evidence but again, if I'm reading your chart right, to get to age 70 they would have to live to age 60 making them again in the rare 4%. (If I read it wrong please correct me)

And, according to your evidence, if John was 20 when he was with Jesus, he would be 80 or 90 when it was 90-100 B.C.

It is true very few believe the second to be a forgery but again he is talking about a Jewish high priest. (and the part about Christ is considered a forgery)

Could you give me the source on the quote you give and about Horus' resurrection being written after 200 CE? Thank you lots :)

~~Peter (If I missed anything feel free to write)

 
At February 22, 2011 at 3:14 PM , Anonymous Django said...

It seems like this wold be an interesting post, but I can't really read it because of the background. Could you please change it to something other than brown?

 
At February 22, 2011 at 6:28 PM , Blogger Peter said...

That's probably a good idea. Can do.

 
At February 23, 2011 at 8:36 PM , Anonymous Django said...

Thanks Peter

 
At February 23, 2011 at 10:10 PM , Blogger Peter said...

No problemo.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 5:18 PM , Anonymous Eric said...

Ok, so there’s a lot here but I’ll start out small.

Tacitus- So whoever wrote this is arguing that the word Christianos and is actually Chrestianos, which means “the good people,” not Christians and Christ respectively, due to the I actually being an E. Thus, Tacitus is not actually talking about Jesus. This argument has serious problems for a number of reasons.

The Pagan writers Tacitus and Souetonius, along with later pagan writers, don’t know what a “Christ” is so they used the name Chrestus. However, in both cases the context is clear as to who they are referring to. Here is the translation from Tacitus found here http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/ancient/tacitus-annals.txt.

“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.”

As you can see, Chrestus, is the founder of this new religion and was executed by Pontius Pilatus (i.e. extreme penalty, which to the Romans means crucifixion). This of course is an extra biblical source that supports the gospel accounts. Tacitus doesn’t know who Jesus is or what a Christ is, but he does know the leader of the Christian movement was crucified by Pontius Pilatus.

However, this translation is like night and day between the one you have:

“Therefore, to scotch the rumor, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished those whom he has inflicted a hated for their abominations by the crowd styled Christians. name, Christ, the author of the reign of Tiberius by the procurator Pontius Pilate, the punishment of emotions was checked for a moment.”

That last sentence makes no sense at all. Chrestus is the author of the reign of Tiberius? What the hell is a punishment of emotions? It even starts with the word “name,” yet doesn’t connect it to anything else. I don’t know where this translation came from, but it is extremely misleading, and all credible sources refer to the previous translation, which not only makes sense but backs up the gospel accounts.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 6:39 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Well let me point out a few flaws. 1) Of course Pagans knew what an anointed one was. Christ is basically a Latin word meaning anointed one so assuming he wouldn't have ever heard of the word or of what an anointed one is is utterly insane. And 2) your link isn't working so I really can't check for validity. And as I said, it still doesn't necessarily refer to Christians seeing as he could have said Christians and Christ because those words existed yet he said good people instead of Christianos which, if we were actually talking about them, would help. This knowledge coming to light really lowers the validity.
You said you didn't know where my source was. It's in the footnotes but I will repost it here. It is the actual Latin version (save for the Chrestianos discovery) http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.02.0077:book=15:chapter=44
Remember that this is a direct translation and sometimes word orders are reversed or things are omitted/added. Just because something was written in a language that isn't native to you doesn't mean it never made sense.
And you never disputed that his passage is in contradiction to Suetonius' either thus lowering the validity even more. So essentially, if you add up the facts that there are parts that were forged and that another famous Historian utterly contradicts this passage it really lowers the validity.

 
At February 24, 2011 at 8:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found a typo.
IN YOUR FACE

 
At February 24, 2011 at 9:54 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Yet you didn't add a period/exclamation point after "IN YOUR FACE".

 
At February 25, 2011 at 4:08 PM , Anonymous Eric said...

http://classics.mit.edu/Tacitus/annals.11.xv.html

Here's another link, it's translated by Alfred John Church and William Jackson Brodribb. You can look it up if this link fails too. Search for Christ in Annuals book XV. Any translation you get is vastly different than the one you provided. Either way, like I said, the one you provided is complete nonsense anyway, there's no way that is a possible translation. You don't need to understand Latin to see something that makes no syntactical sense.

As for "Christ," it's originally a Koine Greek word that is a form of the Hebrew word Mashiah. The word "anointed" has no religious meaning to the Pagans what so ever. They hate the Jews and don't care to learn anything about Judaism. No one ever had the name "Christus," it would be a completely absurd name to non-Jews, but tons of people had the name "Chrestus," so a misunderstanding in names is completely plausible.

Either way, the context is obvious.

"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."

The superstition Tacitus is talking about is clearly Christianity, while the leader of said superstition got crucified by Pontius Pilatus. Context supersedes everything, and it's obvious what he's talking about. As for contradictions between Suetonius and Tacitus, I don't see how there are any. Christianity was basically a Jewish sect and Pagans didn't see much of a difference, so kicking out the Jews due to the trouble caused by infighting makes sense.

 
At February 25, 2011 at 7:48 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Even if the translation differs slightly it really has no bearing on the fact that parts have shown to be forged thus lowering its validity. And yes, if you directly translate something it will not appear 100% sensable. If you doubt the translation, copy the Latin and use a translator yourself.

The Egyptian God Horus was literally the savior or anointed one as well. Ancient religions did know of the words usage and wouldn't have been oblivious. You are making a fallacy by assuming that since they supposedly "hated" the Jews they would be oblivious to the words usage. So this argument falls.

The argument is made by some that Tacitus' entire account is a forgery and it is backed by a) the fact that early Christian writers (Tertullian, Lactantius, Eusebius ect...) never use Tacitus as a reference when talking about the Great Fire. 1,2 Again the Suetonius contradiction still stands because Suetonius never mentions the fact that Nero blamed the Christians for the fire. AND, the earliest manuscript found was written by an 11th Century Christian scribe thus leading people to believe it was forged.

Tacitus' description of Pilate contradicts all known historical evidence of him. First off, in Judea he was called a 'perfect',3 not a procurator and Josephus calls him a Governor whilst Tacitus still argues that he was a procurator. So why would there be this much controversy over the title of a man who was involved in a supposedly crucial historical event? So all in all, we should be very skeptical of Tacitus' claims.

~~Peter
-----------------------------------------------

1: See Tertullian, Apologeticum, lost text quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.4; Lactantius, Of the Manner in Which the Persecutors Died II; Sulpicius Severus, Chronica II.28; Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History II.25.5; Augustine of Hippo, City of God XX.19.3
2:Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53
3:See the discussion at livius.org

(Footnote links may not work)

 
At February 26, 2011 at 3:15 PM , Blogger 5th said...

I am familiar with the names of many scholars and so-called authorities in this field, and I can't help but notice you only quote people who are either unqualified in terms of the historical method and otherwise shunned by the historical community at large for their bizarre conclusions that are well outside the mainstream or the historical field.

It's really easy to quote people who agree with you, but if you really want to make this article legitimate, you really have to tackle the assertions of those scholars (most all of them, actually) who support the existence of Jesus.

 
At February 26, 2011 at 3:20 PM , Blogger Peter said...

hmmm, I quoted Richard Carrier, a world renowned historian. I quoted Alan Dundes, a famous professor and I quoted famous theologian. They are defiantly unqualified.

 
At February 27, 2011 at 12:41 AM , Blogger Celia O'Keefe said...

You weren't lying when you said pages and pages of reasons why Jesus didn't exist! I do have to agree with the first comment though, in that there were INDEED (and still are) many people named Jesus (even if the don't speak English and happen to pronounce it "Heh-zues") I do not exactly agree, as you already know my theory about Jesus and opiates ;D

 
At February 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM , Blogger Peter said...

I do know you theory and I like it :D

 
At February 28, 2011 at 7:44 PM , Anonymous Eric said...

The argument that Tacitus’ account was forged is weak. Just because the early church fathers don’t use a source doesn’t mean it didn’t exist. Back then they didn’t really argue about Jesus’ existence, only his deity, miracles, and other religious things. Also, if the text was forged, why would a Christian author spell his name Chrestus? Furthermore, Josephus calls Pilate a "procurator" in Antiquities 18.5.6, It is the New Testament that refers to Pilate as a governor. There are other sources that refer to Pilate as a procurator as well. Our source that calls him a Perfect is his gravestone found by archeologists. It is possible that he either held both titles since they were different aspects in governance, a procurator being a financial administrator while a perfect is a military official, or that he didn’t get the title perfect till later.

Suetonius wrote in Lives of the Caesars in his section on Nero:

“Punishment was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.”

The context of the passage is right after the fire, so it’s really not hard to put two and two together. Furthermore, Suetonius uses similar language when talking about the Christians as Tacitus.

Your attack on Josephus’ second section is also weak. There is no evidence at all that it has been tampered with. Since Josephus refers to Jesus as the “so-called Christ,” he could not be talking about Jesus the High Priest.

Louis Feldman, about the most credible source you can get on Josephus, says this about the passage, “Few have doubted the genuineness of this passage” (Louis H. Feldman, tr., Josephus, IX).

As 5th pointed out, the bulk of your sources come from very dubious authors and web sites, which have opinions not held be most respectable historians.

 
At February 28, 2011 at 8:10 PM , Blogger Peter said...

Well you really only attempted to disprove 1 of the reasons why it is a suspected forgery and even then it doesn't change anything since we can flow across my sources. Also, debates about the historicity of Jesus did happen. Justin Martyr's debates with Trypho for example somewhat centered around that as I believe I stated above and because other scholars from that time period referenced passages around that one but not that specific one it raises some questions. It of course isn't conclusive proof but it is odd and does make you wonder.

Also, the different titles are important seeing as if the accounts of him were true and all the supposed accounts of Jesus revolved around his [Jesus'] persecution he [Pilate] would have had the same title and the accounts wouldn't differ dramatically. Also, you provided no sources as to any other time when he was referred to as a procurator so I must take that with a grain of salt.

About Josephus, the passage literally says "Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest". It is not disputed that that is who it was talking about and the fact that Jesus was a common name among the priestly sort adds to my claims. You also seemed to have ignored all the evidence and claims that it was forged. You just say it wasn't yet you provide no reasons to believe you thus I can't take your argument seriously. And about the quote you provided. Okay, there are no warrants to that at all.

5th's argument was pathetic. I have shown you that almost every source I use is either a world renowned historian or theologian and to quote my reply to him/her: "hmmm, I quoted Richard Carrier, a world renowned historian. I quoted Alan Dundes, a famous professor and I quoted famous theologian. They are defiantly unqualified." :)

 
At March 6, 2011 at 2:31 PM , Anonymous Eric said...

-The debate between Trypho and Justin Martyr was whether the Messiah had come and if Jesus was the Messiah. Trypho gives several arguments for why the Messiah has not come and also says Jesus was not the Messiah for several reasons. Trypho argues as though Jesus was an actual man, so Trypho could probably care less about Tacitus’ mentioning Christ being killed.

-Josephus calls Pilate a "procurator" in Antiquities 18.5.6

-The first passage of Josephus is interpolation; however, the second one is not. You cannot use evidence from the first to disprove the second.

Is it weird that the Pagans used the word Chrestus? Yes. Was Josephus’ first passage interpolated? Yes. But, history is never 100% accurate and, while taking all the evidence into account we go with the most plausible explanation. The evidence, as a whole, is in favor of a historical Jesus. To systematically accuse every source of forgery based on unrelated, wild reasons is just blatantly cynical. Furthermore, the Gospels are the main source of evidence, while the extra-biblical accounts are confirmation.

You don’t really deal with any of the evidence of why one would believe the Gospels to be reliable. Such as all of the archeological evidence supporting the Gospels and Acts, the number of copies of New Testament documents, significant documents like John Rylands MS, the early dating’s of Luke, Acts, and 1 Corinthians, and so forth. Basically, any argument that anyone supporting a historical Christ would put forward.

Instead, you talk about life-expectancy with 1st century Jews. Statistics like this cannot be applied to specific people, you cannot say, “The life expectancy of first century Jews was low so Mark was probably dead.” This is fallacious. It’s obvious that some Jews lived long lives, there’s no reason to deny that.

As for your sources, Richard Carrier is a staunch anti-Christian atheist. Quoting him is fine, but if he’s the most qualified source you have then your argument is clearly biased. Still, most of your stuff seems to come from Acharya S/D.M. Murdock, who is awful.

 
At March 6, 2011 at 6:18 PM , Blogger Peter said...

This is getting really messy so I hope I'm still covering what you're arguing.

Justin Martyr would have still found the passage good because, if it existed, it would have specifically said HE WAS THE CHRIST. Trypho would have seen that and possibly would have rethought his claims.

I am not using the same reasons to disprove the second as the first. You are just ignoring the arguments I already have out there. In the second one it literally says Jesus Ben Damneus, A Jewish High priest yet you seem to continue to ignore this.

Is it weird that Pagans used a word which literally means anointed one? No. Pagans had anointed ones/God-Mens long before Jesus and we've already argued this. You are running in circles.

I am not accusing the sources of being forged because of unrelated reasons, I have evidence to support everything I say. You ignoring this is just you trying to beat around the bush and make me look bad.

I wasn't really arguing the Gospels that much because using them is using the Bible to prove its own validity. I honestly don't feel the need to argue this but I can. The life expectancy argument works because it is specifically talking about the average life span of the people who lived during that time and it is just statistically unlikely that you would live in the 20-30 A.D's and die past 70-100 A.D.

Claiming my argument is biased because one of my sources is an anti-Christian while the only quote I used by him is one on life expectancy is lame. But if we go by those standards you to would be biased as well seeing as you said yourself the Gospels are the main evidence for Jesus but those are biased. Plus you also don't really use any sources at all but that's beside the point

Acharya S/D.M Murdock is literally in 5 of my footnotes. What of the other 41? Did she magically take over their bodies and make them say that? If you dispute her reputability examine her credentials first: http://www.truthbeknown.com/credentials.html

You really aren't proving anything and your argument is getting really messy. We were talking about Tacitus but then we jumped to Josephus and I don't know where you're going with this.

 
At March 8, 2011 at 5:07 PM , Anonymous Eric said...

Tacitus doesn’t claim he’s the Christ he says he was called the Christ.

There are two Jesus’ in Josephus’ passage, one being the “so-called Christ” the other being Jesus the High Priest. I already mentioned those two are obviously different people, simply reading it and seeing the context shows this as well.

The stat argument does not work. 4% or 2% “odds” seem impressive until you realize how big the population is. Either way it’s fallacious to use population statistics to say something about specific individuals.

I’m saying your argument is biased because your only credible source is Richard Carrier, most of everything else is highly questionable pop-history that came from the Acharya S/D.M Murdock camp.

 
At March 8, 2011 at 9:33 PM , Blogger Peter said...

I was talking about Josephus. Your argument is getting so muddy I'm not confused as to whom you're talking about xD

As I said, the one talking about the "so-called Christ" is considered a forgery. You still haven't refuted this.

It's fallacious to use statistics about the population of a time period when it is also specifically talking about the authors of the Gospels? Eric, your argument is falling apart.

Wow, so first off, you still have made no attempt to refute the other 41 some footnotes most by different authors and you obviously failed to read Acharya S' credentials AND as you stated previously, the basis for you belief that he was a real person is the Gospels which either a) aren't eye witness accounts or b) weren't actually written by the people themselves. So again, literally everything I've said still stands.

 

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