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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Simon of Peraea. A slave of Herod who rebelled but was killed by the Romans. The Jews who believed in him named him their king. He's said to be the messiah mentioned in Gabriel's Revelation.

Athronges. A shepherd. He led a retaliation against the Romans.

Those are a couple from exactly when Jesus was supposed to be around. There are plenty more from a broader range. Those two are from 3 and 4 BCE. If you would like more information, please feel free to look it up.
Both interesting cases. A couple of things about them though.

1. Both were known solely from Josephus, one of the sources that Matt has been using for Jesus as a historical figure. In fact, both preceded Jesus and were killed before the debated historical Jesus was two and possibly before he was born. In other words, there is a greater time lag between them and Josephus and Jesus and Josephus. There are also fewer sources, though there may be some archeological evidence for Simon.

2. What they indicate is a context for Jesus. There was apocalyptic fervor following the Roman occupation. Insurrection failed, though there were still advocates (Simon the Zealot). Put into that context, Jesus teaching of some End Time makes sense. It also makes his message very time- and location-specific, hardly universal.

3. Why accept them as historical figures but not someone with more evidence?
Hi Kiru,

Well yes, and? You're making my exact point for me: they are both mentioned in Flavius Josephus but (to my knowledge) not anywhere else. I was asking for Messiahs attested to by "historians alive at that exact time period", since that was the requirement you set up. You asserted that Jesus failed this - for you important - test because he's only mentioned by Josephus and Tacitus, but now you mention two other Messianic figures and it turns out that the evidence for their existence comes from Josephus too.

In other words, you adopted a double standard when comparing Messiah's.
What you need to do, if your argument from silence is going to have any value, is show us Jewish Messianic figures alive in Jesus' time who are attested by contemporary historians (or alternatively, contemporary historians who we can expect to have mentioned Jesus). What you will quickly find, however, is that such a thing does not exist, meaning it's unrealistic to expect contemporary references to one particular Messianic claimant.

Take care,

Matt

EDIT: and of course Danny beat me to it again ;)
I don't feel the passion for such research the way I used to. A decade ago I could read and analyze verse after verse from any culture's scriptures. I once read everything I could find on the Sumerian writings. If my memory serves me wrong, then I am sorry. If I am correct, hopefully I can come across the information again. If I do, I'll let you know. I used to write everything down.
"There is no difference in the so called historical jesus and the biblical jesus, only Matt VDB thinks otherwise..............oops and maybe one or two followers."

And the majority of New Testament scholars, religious or otherwise. For good reason: there are clear and obvious ways a historical character could lie at the basis of the biblical Jesus.
Perhaps you'd have more fun making fart noises and drawing penises on bibles.
You seem to lack the conviction and cognitive ability to present your opinions and ideas or back them up under scrutiny without acting like a spoiled child. You're no better than any close minded creationist that believes the world is 6 thousand years old. Perhaps you'd like to have an intelligent discussion with people who disagree with you, I'd recommend practicing in the mirror before you try it again.
Um, Yeah JstN. The admins have asked us all to play nicer in the sandbox.

And I seriously don't get where you thing Matt VDB is saying there's "no difference" between HJ and BJ. I see him making huge distinctions between the two.

Where he and I and some others diverge is on whether or not HJ's existence is merely a most-likely or a proof-beyond-reasonable doubt, and whether or not we can therefore look for HJ in the canon bible and expect to distinguish him from biblical authors, from other preachers and from storytellers passing down the Jesus tradition.

But as much as Matt and I have butted heads, I gotta say ... dude. No idea where you're getting what you're getting.
Thanks Jo <3
I agree.

...I have to lie down now...
I didn't even think anyone had said we could know beyond a reasonable doubt. This is all a matter of what seems likely or not likely. Disagreement or not, Jo has maintained a respectful way of communicating that should serve as an example to this Earthling fellow. People can disagree without belittling each other and acting like cretins.
Matt - Whoa. I agreed with a post of yours and now you've agreed with one of mine. I think the Earth may have stopped spinning for a moment there.

And on my post here ... "I seriously don't get where you think Matt VDB is saying..."

"Think." Not "Thing."

Dyslexia + black plague of the sinuses = even wonkier on the keyboard than usual.

x_x
JstN - Where did I call you childish? I said that the admins have asked us all to play nice in the sandbox. Is that what you're referring to?

You posted that Matt VDB thinks there is no difference between Historical and Biblical Jesus.

I responded that I don't know where you're getting that - For all that I do disagree with Matt on, for all that many of his tactics are suspiciously like that of Theists, I have indeed seen him make huge distinctions between HJ/BJ.
Why can't you defend yourself using reason? Why do you have to resort to ranting and raving?

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