Apparently you can't do polls on here.... but

Do any of you think that Jesus actually existed? What do category do you fall into?

A. Believed he existed, claims are false

B. Believed he existed, claims are exaggerated

C. Don't believe he existed

D. Believe he existed, claims are true (sorry had to leave the idiot category open)

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Thanks for getting this information together. Now we have something to consider other than what we have been getting from Matt. 

Matt, now you do raise my curiosity.

Why do you include Vermes as a secular academic?  

Geza Vermes (1924–2013)

http://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/archaeology-today/archaeol...

He reads like he is a Jew who joined Fathers of Notre-Dame de Sion to avoid the Nazis roundup that took his parents. 

What about Paula Fredriksen?

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9653.html

She reads like a Jewish/Christian who teaches comparative religion. She writes and teaches about sin and how it impacts religion?! How does she qualify as a secular?

You will have to give more information about Casey. There are too many to know which one you mean. 

So now Matt VDB thinks I'm pulling some "weird McCarthyism" if I mention that Paula Frederiksen was a Catholic before she became Jewish. He diverts the attention to "Catholic." NO, NO, NO, Matt. Are you doing this deliberately? My point is that any person with 2 religious beliefs in their background is NOT secular. They are not secular and they are not atheist. That means they are not "non-believer." Get it? They still believe in god.

    There has been uncovered massive amount of evidence that the Jesus character is based upon much older myths and heroes from around the globe. The historical representation of the Jewish rebel carpenter who had a physical incarnation, and a crucification, the performed miracles is a body of collected paleolithic traits and virtues, a “frankenstein-like” type of characterization that morphed through time and has been carried along through migration, taking shape as the cultures intermixed with each other.

    One of the “original” gods is the god of the ancient greek cult, Dionysos, a religion that originated from a cultural infiltration coming from the exterior, the Orient, a form of worship of the ecstatic, and of the mystic. It was a cult of barbarism finding it’s discharge in mysteries and bacchanals by offering an escape of the world and as a means of liberation. So in the religious tableau of Greece has appeared two main trends, one of the embodying a spirit of order, clarity and natural, the Olympian religion, and the other in the spirit of mystery. “The religion of mystic is much less identifiable in Greece’s arts, poetry, and sculpture. Music has served though, this religion, being the main form of interpretation of it’s spirit.”

    Aristides Quintilian: “From the most ancient times, people realized that some cultivate song and music when they are in a state of bliss, when they experience pleasure and happiness, others when the give themselves up to melancholy and restlessness, and other when they are filled with a certain charm, and divine ecstasy.” Aristides also says the through the art of horeiei (dance) people expressed strong emotions in the hoped that it will lighten their state of mind, and that only those who, on a more inferior level of culture, took part in such dances and songs because they were experiencing the actual feeling of relief and satisfaction, and that this could also be experienced by those on a more superior cultural level, by spectating and listening. “The dionysian sacrifices and those similar to them were justified because the dances and songs that were interpreted there had a pacifying effect.” Aristides shows that this art, formed of dances, singing and musical interpretation was related mostly to rituals and cults, especially related to Dionysos. It was an endeavor to calm and pacify feelings and “cleanse souls”. The greeks called this cleansing catharsis, a term commonly used for art.


History of aesthetics, Wladyslaw Tatarrkiewicz

http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/originsofchristianity.pdf

There has been uncovered massive amount of evidence that the Jesus character is based upon much older myths and heroes from around the globe.

No there isn't.

And nowhere in your reply do you even got close to demonstrating any significant parallel between Jesus and Dionysos.

History of aesthetics, Wladyslaw Tatarrkiewicz

Pro-tip: for questions of history, it's best not to base yourself on an aestheticist-philosopher who died decades ago.

For such a short document, it is full of information and references. Causes one to puzzle over the references to "Gospel Fictions" in the official documents of the church. I hear, repeatedly, that a large part of the seminary is learning how to give apologetics for the discrepancies and denial of the scriptures and traditions. 

What was that whole "walking on water" thing? This is a "miracle" that Jesus did. Why not have him floating in the air? Wouldn't that have been more impressive? The more I look at it today the so called "miracles" were just cheap parlor tricks. Most of them had no rhyme or reason.

Then the man curses a fig tree because it won't bear him fruit out of season. Oh, come on!

What was that whole "walking on water" thing? This is a "miracle" that Jesus did. Why not have him floating in the air? Wouldn't that have been more impressive? The more I look at it today the so called "miracles" were just cheap parlor tricks. Most of them had no rhyme or reason.

Hey Michael,

Actually it does have a reason and it's a very straightforward one, if you look at Jesus in a context of Judaism. Here's some lines from 2 Kings 6:

They went to the Jordan and began to cut down trees. As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron axhead fell into the water. “Oh no, my lord!” he cried out. “It was borrowed!”

The man of God [Elisha] asked, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float.

Throughout the gospels, several of Jesus' miracles are reflections of the Old Testament prophets such as Elisha, and Jesus is depicted as "one-upping" them in several ways. Elisha makes an axhead float on water? Well Jesus can make himself float on water!

It's kind of funny to see some in this thread look for parallels between Jesus and Egyptian or Norse mythology, when the actual parallels are to be found in Judaism and are staring us right in the face.

Also, while we may miss the parallel with Elisha because of not knowing the texts, first-Century jews certainly would not. It's actually unclear to what extent they would have literally believed in the miracle, versus seeing it as allegorical and seeing the point behind it.

If it was allegorical it would prove nothing supernatural in any way. Matt VBD, your answers are something like I would expect if I was still in church. I'm beginning to think that's where they come from.

If it was allegorical it would prove nothing supernatural in any way.

Errr yeah, that was my point. Check the last paragraph.

Just because I'm showing you the background behind what's in the gospels and why they contain the stories that they do, doesn't mean I actually believe in miracles, you know.

Matt VBD, your answers are something like I would expect if I was still in church. I'm beginning to think that's where they come from.

They're actually pretty basic analysis that you can find in any (secular) analysis of the gospels.

Why exactly would you accuse me to peddle Sunday school talk, just because I'm showing a link between the Old and New Testament? Anyone can do that.

Maybe I should be going "har har har Jesus story is liek soo stoopid": that seems to be what is expected in this thread.

Let me think a minute. Making parallels with Jesus and Egyptian or Norse mythology is "staring us right in the face". 

If I hear a mythological story from the far distant past, and then I hear a story about Jesus doing the same thing or better, how do either story gain credibility for me? A story retold is a story retold and there is no mystery to either one. They both exist as "Gospel Fictions". 

Thank you, Joan. That was well said.

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