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Farmer Geddon

Did Jesus Exist?

I mean; surely we must all agree that Jesus, (or whatever the derivative of his name is/was), was an actual itinerant preacher from the back-arse of a huge Empire.

You know, that rural Jewish prophet who was predicting that the end of the world was soon to come, within his own generation.
Who apparently angered the powerful civic and religious leaders of Judea so much that they engineered the 'state' to execute him for sedition.

Who, within a century, turned from a little known prophetic preacher - to the Son of G-d!
Lexilogio

Re: Did Jesus Exist?

Farmer Geddon wrote:
I mean; surely we must all agree that Jesus, (or whatever the derivative of his name is/was), was an actual itinerant preacher from the back-arse of a huge Empire.

You know, that rural Jewish prophet who was predicting that the end of the world was soon to come, within his own generation.
Who apparently angered the powerful civic and religious leaders of Judea so much that they engineered the 'state' to execute him for sedition.

Who, within a century, turned from a little known prophetic preacher - to the Son of G-d!


So the answer to your question would appear to be - Yes, he did exist.
Farmer Geddon

Yes - It took me a while to admit to it, but there is absolutely no reason to think that Jesus never existed..

I was hoping that the naysayers would join in and tell us why they think Jesus never existed.. but I think they have long gone!

**ETA** what is it with you lot and [quoting]?

genghiscant

Quote:
to the Son of G-d


Why won't you write God? Are you Jewish?
bnabernard

The Jews had a problem over God instead of sticking His name up the noses of their enemies they hid it and feared it, bit like the guy who buried his talent.

If the jews where brave anough they would dust off Gods name and stick on the next note they send to their enemies, cor them demons, they don't like it up'm, they might be able to stick their fingers in their ears rather than hear the name 'THEY' dread but whatch their dust.
(or their smoke)

bernard (hug)
Shaker

Since it doesn't actually matter either way, who cares?
Shaker

Well I am absolutely amazed.

You'd think that the actual existence - or not - of this alleged figure would be of some sort of importance to people claiming to adhere to a belief system instituted by him, and yet the topic is dead.

Interesting.
Farmer Geddon

I'm guessing it's because they believe, not in his existence, but he never existed?
Lexilogio

It seemed relatively obvious at the outset that Jesus existed. Therefore there didn't seem much point in pursuing the topic further.
Shaker

Lexilogio wrote:
It seemed relatively obvious at the outset that Jesus existed. Therefore there didn't seem much point in pursuing the topic further.

Why is it obvious?
Lexilogio

Shaker wrote:
Lexilogio wrote:
It seemed relatively obvious at the outset that Jesus existed. Therefore there didn't seem much point in pursuing the topic further.

Why is it obvious?


Whatever you think of Christianity - religious movements always start with a central figure. For us it was Jesus. Why would people have started following a piece of fiction?
bnabernard

Lexilogio wrote:
Shaker wrote:
Lexilogio wrote:
It seemed relatively obvious at the outset that Jesus existed. Therefore there didn't seem much point in pursuing the topic further.

Why is it obvious?


Whatever you think of Christianity - religious movements always start with a central figure. For us it was Jesus. Why would people have started following a piece of fiction?


Well that poses a question, what are false religions based on?

bernard (hug)
Powwow

Well Mormonism is based in the lies of a false prophet, the Russellites (JWs) false religion is based on the lies of the watchtower etc, etc.
Farmer Geddon

Lexilogio wrote:
It seemed relatively obvious at the outset that Jesus existed. Therefore there didn't seem much point in pursuing the topic further.


TBF Lexi - it isn't obvious that the Jesus of the gospels actually existed. It is possible that there may have been a Jesus, who the story writers based him on, but it doesn't follow suite that Jesus as we know of him existed.
Farmer Geddon

pow wow wrote:
Well Mormonism is based in the lies of a false prophet, the Russellites (JWs) false religion is based on the lies of the watchtower etc, etc.


So, using that analogy: Paulinism is based in the lies of a false prophet, the Paulinites are a false religion, based on the lies propagated by the gospel-writers etc, etc...
Shaker

Lexilogio wrote:
Whatever you think of Christianity - religious movements always start with a central figure. For us it was Jesus.

Not necessarily - arguably the oldest more or less organised religious tradition in the world is Hinduism and that's certainly not traceable to a single figure.
Quote:
Why would people have started following a piece of fiction?

Because they believed it to be true, not because it necessarily was.
Powwow

Luci,
Paul's writings do not contradict the teachings of Christ, I don't care what Tolstoy had to say about it. Tolstoy should have concerned himself with fixing his own miserable life.
Farmer Geddon

Emm - I think you will find that Paul started christianity, "Jesus" was just a side-note!!
Powwow

"...Paul started christianity" Ha, Lucism, a religion started by the false prophet Billy the pancake boy!!
bnabernard

Farmer Geddon wrote:
Emm - I think you will find that Paul started christianity, "Jesus" was just a side-note!!



I suppose the use of Paul was preety much to excuse the gentile from having to commit to Judaism.
And then of course allow them to persecute Judaism.

bernard (hug)
Farmer Geddon

pow wow wrote:
"...Paul started christianity" Ha, Lucism, a religion started by the false prophet Billy the pancake boy!!


***Edited by Lexi***..  Which 'books" are universally acknowledged as the first writings of the NT?
Powwow

"universally acknowledged"
lol, you're a funny little pancake boy!
Farmer Geddon

Lexi - what the fuck are you doing?

***Edited by Lexi***



 
Farmer Geddon

Consistency is called for in moderation.. you twat..
Lexilogio

Farmer Geddon wrote:
Consistency is called for in moderation.. you twat..


Personal insults are not allowed outside of the Bear Pit. If this carries on, I will simply move your posts which insult other members to the moderator area.

I do this one voluntary basis, and if you don't like it then I suggest you go elsewhere.
Dryghtens Toe

HI, not posted for ages but I have to ask why you think it is so obvious that Jesus had to exist?

To be honest I think the most rounded view is that there were probably one or more real people around who the Jesus mythology formed – nevertheless I don’t think its totally implausible to suggest that there was never any historical Jesus at all.

In order to understand the Jesus Myth claim we need to understand the alternative hypothesis. The alternative is this:

The origins of Christianity were not in the teaching of 1 man but rather in a form of Gnostic Judaism, with multiple sources, including the Esscenes amongst others. These movements use Gnostic practices, often inspired by ritual and possibly drugs to enter alternate states in order to gain wisdom. These movement were Jewish equivalents to the mystery religions found in Greco-Roman world which used ritual re-enactment of myths in order to identify with the focus of the mystery religion and gain spiritual benefits by doing so. With the Jewish version of these we can see this forming around a spirutalised version of the traditional Jewish Messiah (something taking shape in Isaiah) and its association with the personification of the Jewish Idea of Wisdom (something we see clearly in the inter-testament Wisdom literature) and the concept of Logos – a powerful idea in wider thinking at the time.We can see a clear theological thread developing from this pre-Christian literature to the 2nd century Gnostic texts which survived.

The idea then is that some of the Christian factions started to take the Gnostic understanding of Christ as a mythological mystery figure as a literal account and so developed the fictional account of a historical Jesus.

Besides the strong theological thread between the pre-christian Wisdom literature and the later Gnostics (who always denied Jesus was a historical figure as we understand it by the way – so this is an idea that’s been around since the dawn of Christianity) there is other reason to favour this account too. For example,

(1) there is a significant and shocking silence in pre-gospel writings of any detail of the life of Jesus,
(2) Outside the Christian texts and despite substantial historical records written at the time of Jesus’ supposed life there is almost no reference to him at all - that which there is (Josephus) is probably interpolation (which raises questions in itself!). We don’t find anything clear until Tacitus around 115 CE, but he may simply be repeating newly-developed Christian belief in an historical Jesus in the Rome of his day.
(3) It is very easy to read Pauls account of Jesus not as a historical account but as an account of a spiritual heavenly figure that was reveal to people in the same way he was revealed to Paul – in visions. There are a number of clues in Pauls writing that lead us to believe it should be interpreted in this way. This is particularly the case when you look at the original language used to describe the death of Jesus – the archons of the age (original culprits for his death according to Paul according to 1 Corinthians 2:8 ) had a clear meeting at the time – demonic beings well understood in Greco-Roman mystery traditions. The Epistle to the Hebrews locates Christ’s sacrifice in a heavenly sanctuary (ch. 8, 9). The Ascension of Isaiah, a composite Jewish-Christian work of the late first century, describes Christ’s crucifixion by Satan and his demons in the firmament (the heavenly sphere between earth and moon) see 9:13-15.
(4) To understand the alternative hypothesis you need to understand some of the common Platonic thinking that was around at the time – this involved there being a number of ‘layers’ of spiritual reality – not just one of God and one of man. The mystery religions believed the visions they experienced occurred in the lower spiritual levels where Gods and heroes carried out their dramas with some very physical like characteristics which explain the few references of this nature that apply to Jesus in the pre-gospel accounts. Certainly these are not out of place with descriptions found in Gnostic accounts that make no claim to be in the physical world.
(5) In this context the strong parallels between the Christian dying rising God account and the many mystery cult figures (e.g. Osiris) become easily recognisable for what they are – mythical accounts of a psycho-mystical Gnostic movement that its practitioners identify with during Gnostic experience.
(6) The gospel accounts are all just variants on a single source –Mark. The later ones expand on this but Mark is extremely limited and the passion narrative is almost certain written as a Midrash of old testament passages. Whatismore many if not all of the sayings attributed to Jesus which many scholars believe come from the Q document – have a suspiciously strong resemblance to teachings found in Greek cynicism.
(7) The evidence therefore could easily be interpreted as suggesting that Christianity originated in a diversity of religious movements responding to the collision of Judaism and Greco-Roman spirituality and that the Jesus of History was a manufactured literal account building from these movements rather than a single originating figure.

There is much more that could be said about all of the above and also many counter points that could be made. As I said at the beginning I don’t think this is necessarily all the story at all and there may well have been one or more real people that the myths formed around but I really don’t think this is an open and shut case – quite the contra there are many questions and probably no clear answer.

Regards

dt
Lexilogio

Well considered post, DT - thank you.

I agree there is a lack of other accounts of Jesus's life, although given his relative lack of importance to the Roman world at the time, this is not overly surprising.

I think there is at least the same evidence level for Jesus as there is for Socrates, as a historical figure. I have no doubt he existed - although I can appreciate that there may be differing views as to his importance and divinity.
bnabernard

point 7 strikes me

(7) The evidence therefore could easily be interpreted as suggesting that Christianity originated in a diversity of religious movements responding to the collision of Judaism and Greco-Roman spirituality and that the Jesus of History was a manufactured literal account building from these movements rather than a single originating figure.

When we take into account Noah and the flood, the subsequent scattering at Babel, then a collision would be a ''necessary'' appointment.

bernard (hug)
genghiscant

Quote:
When we take into account Noah and the flood, the subsequent scattering at Babel, then a collision would be a ''necessary'' appointment.


I don't know about Noah, but a global flood can't have happened.
bnabernard

genghiscant wrote:
Quote:
When we take into account Noah and the flood, the subsequent scattering at Babel, then a collision would be a ''necessary'' appointment.


I don't know about Noah, but a global flood can't have happened.


No? aint no such word as can't   think positive  

bernard (hug)
Dryghtens Toe

HI Lex – well maybe in terms of the raw historical accounts – but the context of the two figures is very different.

There wasn’t a widespread movement around shortly after Socrates was supposed to have lived that saw him as a mythical rather than a historical figure (as there was in Christianity). There wasn’t a clear trend from writing in pre-socrates time to post-socrates movements that provide us with a good reason for thinking the figure of Socrates was one a theological and mythical figure of theological significance rather than a real person.

Socrates didn’t fulfil a role that brought together the ideas of Logos, Greco-roman mystery religious figures and the spiritualised Jewish messiah in a manner that looks very much like the dying rising God figure of the mystery religions.

Earliest accounts of Socrates life we have can’t be traced to a Midrash of older texts and those accounts aren’t full of interpretations that raise serious questions over whether they should be interpreted as accounts of a literal figure or as a visionary being (as Paul does).

It may be the case that we could look at the writings of Plato and argue that Socrates is purely a literal creation for the purpose of Plato’s writing – this is not impossible. A case would have to be made on the texts and context etc – but I think the case for the non-existance of Jesus – the strength of the alternative hypothesis – is much stronger in the case of Jesus than with Socrates.

Regards

DT
Lexilogio

Dryghtens Toe wrote:
HI Lex – well maybe in terms of the raw historical accounts – but the context of the two figures is very different.

There wasn’t a widespread movement around shortly after Socrates was supposed to have lived that saw him as a mythical rather than a historical figure (as there was in Christianity). There wasn’t a clear trend from writing in pre-socrates time to post-socrates movements that provide us with a good reason for thinking the figure of Socrates was one a theological and mythical figure of theological significance rather than a real person.

Socrates didn’t fulfil a role that brought together the ideas of Logos, Greco-roman mystery religious figures and the spiritualised Jewish messiah in a manner that looks very much like the dying rising God figure of the mystery religions.

Earliest accounts of Socrates life we have can’t be traced to a Midrash of older texts and those accounts aren’t full of interpretations that raise serious questions over whether they should be interpreted as accounts of a literal figure or as a visionary being (as Paul does).

It may be the case that we could look at the writings of Plato and argue that Socrates is purely a literal creation for the purpose of Plato’s writing – this is not impossible. A case would have to be made on the texts and context etc – but I think the case for the non-existance of Jesus – the strength of the alternative hypothesis – is much stronger in the case of Jesus than with Socrates.

Regards

DT


Whilst I agree that Socrates wasn't a prophesied figure - he was associated with mystical events - the Oracle at Delphi.

And I wouldn't agree that Jesus was seen more as a mythical figure rather than historical, I would say he was seen as both. There were accounts of his having appeared to people post death. I'm sure some put this down the the same phenomenon as Elvis working down the chip shop. But people also saw Jesus as historical.

It is, of course, difficult to compare as the writings are scarce, and much has been lost. Both were written about post death, rather than leaving their own works behind. Both were portrayed slightly differently by different people, Xenephon, for example, gave a different view of Socrates to that of Plato.

I do hope that with greater ability to rescue documents, that more may yet be discovered. I would love to go through the archives of the Vatican, for example, and to see if anything new comes out from the painstaking work at Herculaneum. Unfortunately, that will probably be after my lifetime.
Dryghtens Toe

Hi Lex,

Yes there is no doubt that some of Plato’s writings about Socrates were using him outside of anything he might have actually said and was Plato treating him as a literary device – the voice of the philosophical position he was advocating in his discourse. So I totally agree there is a reason to think all we read about Socrates should not be taken literally. Is there good reason to think Socrates could be nothing but a literal creation? To be honest I don’t know – its not something I’ve ever thought around or studied.

With Jesus again I concede we can never know and that there are some good reasons that can be put forward to counter the mythical Jesus hypothesis I presented earlier in the thread. Nevertheless all I’m saying is the mythical Jesus hypothesis does have some strong points going for it I think – I can’t compare it to Socrates in its entirety in terms of the wider context of the writing because I don’t know enough about that but what I do know seems to suggest that it is I think. The Jesus Myth hypothesis advocates do have some reasonable answers to the points against them.

Take the point you make above about Jesus appearing to his followers post resurrection. First of all of course we can say that there we know there was no post-resurrection account in the earliest gospel – the passage in Mark is a know later addition and it is not until the later gospels we find this detail added - so it’s not really a strong point.

Even beyond this however, one striking point often raised about the resurrection account is that Jesus appears to a woman first – something at odds with social expectations at the time. Now if you talked to any Biblical literalist they will flag this as ‘proof’ that the resurrection story is real – if it was just made up they say then the Jewish authors would not make the first witness of Jesus’ resurrection a woman against social expectations of the day.

There is however another totally contra reading of this point – the figure of Mary Magdalene was a key figure in Gnosticism – the fact that she plays such a prominent role in this story, it could be argued, is a very clear clue that the resurrection story had its origins in an oral tradition that was meant to be understood gnostically – ie it’s not a literal account at all but one were the participant in Gnostic ritual was to identify with the dying rising logos as part of their Gnostic experience.

Anyway – its all impossible to prove one way or the other so we’ll never know – and I’m not convinced myself there was no historical Jesus. I just think the question marks over his existence are substantial and serious and can’t simply be poo-pooed away as some modern atheist attempt to decapitate Christianity in a single stroke. When the birth of Christianity was littered with Gnostic variants who didn’t believe Jesus was a historical person we have to look at this case seriously and in context rather than being dismissive. That’s all I’m saying.

Regards

dt
Lexilogio

I will admit I haven't studied the Gnostics in depth, only as one of the strands of Christianity developing after Jesus's death. But I do know that the Gnostics were only one strand of early Christianity.

But as you say, it's something we cannot prove either way.

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