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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"No, that is false: declaring yourself a Messiah did not entail divinity..."

no, its not false -- try a dictionary. "still on-going by the time..." as in, people regarded him as a god before his mention by those historians?
@boris urshugur

Boris, see Dannyisme's comments. Danny has a background in Jewish theology and argues cogently that the Jewish Messiah could _not_ be divine. That means that Jesus of Nazareth could either be the Messiah, or he could be god, but not both. Reading the New Testament in the light of that knowledge puts a whole new slant on things.

The only reason that modern day Christians and dictionaries believe the divinity and the Messiah are compatable is that it has been defined that way since the 3rd or 4th century. Period.
Yep, please distinguish between what Christians believe now and what Jews in the First Century AD (and by extension, Jesus himself) believed about the Messiah. The Hebrew word "Son of God" as a title for the Messiah had been used in a figurative sense for centuries in Judaism: just like the word "Shepherd of Men" or "The Light" were figurative statements, the same was true for "Son of God". It's only when Christianity drifted away from its Jewish roots that the term "Son of God" started to be interpreted (by non-Jewish Christians who had no background in Jewish eschatology) as literally being the SON of God. But at Jesus' time in a very Jewish context, the two were very much seperate concepts.

I recommend "Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millenium" by Bart Ehrman. It's a very approachable introduction to the subject
theres no need for a distinction. whether god, son of god, or messenger for god (yahweh), thats still divine.
Er, yup. Tell that to the Jews who for centuries believed (and believe to this day) that the Messiah is not divine.

But what do they know, right?

Do you want to keep asserting these matters as an article of faith or are you going to pretend to be objective just a little bit longer?
Yes, Matt, you did at that give him the benefit of the doubt, I am not faulting you at all. You're balanced skepticism is a breath of fresh air.
Letter D. Totally D. I see no other possible explanation. Honestly, the guy tuned water into wine! He must be God. I wish I had that kind of power... I'd be a happy guy.
A. I do not believe there is or ever will be definitive evidence that historical Jesus existed. If the Jesus we know as described to us in the last 300 years existed and was hanging out here in Oak Park, I am confident he would be quite approachable. As likely to fire up a bowl and get stoned and discuss Nietzsche and Hediger, then he would be to preach his message let alone the completely erroneous message Christians spew out in all directions. I bet he would throw incredible parties and a fair amount of hedonistic adventures would almost always ensue.

As to his teachings if there were any? His message would have been in line with the earlier texts that are the foundation of the bible. His message or the message that comes through if you look for it is one similar to the message of Siddhārtha Gautama, the Buddha. Jesus would not have had to travel to India as some like to speculate to learn this message. There was more then enough commerce back and forth during Jesus' lifetime that he could have easily heard the story many times. But make no mistake the ancient texts that the bible is based on contain a sufficient amount of information that Jesus could have come to similar conclusions as Siddhartha Gautama did without Jesus being exposed to Buddhism.

Jesus' message was never intended to create a new religion. Christianity did not come along at the earliest until 40 years after his death. His message put simply for brevities sake was this and I paraphrase,LOL, he would be preaching to the Jews a message that told them that they were God, that what's inside their heart, the strength they receive when they prayed was not from God, there was no God, the power was from within. It is deeper and more complicated then that, but it's gives you the idea.

To bad those bastard Christians had to come along and F-up a perfectly wonderful message.
Well errrr... no. You've managed to cobble together several myths and fringe theories about Jesus, but I'm sorry to say the end result (while sounding nice) doesn't fit with the evidence at all.

Jesus' message was not that "there was no God and the power was from within"; not by a long shot. He was a ferociously monotheistic and devout Jew who preached about the Jewish expectation of the time: the glorious and imminent Kingship of God. And how everyone else was going to burn in a fiery pitt of hell.
And that message has zero to do with Buddhism; if you want to understand what Jesus was all about, you need to look at what First-Century Jews believed about God and the Messiah. Then all will start to become clear.

And if Jesus was alive today I doubt you'd be seeing him get stoned and throw parties; that liberal hippie Jesus is an invention by... liberal hippies... If Jesus was alive today most people would characterise him as a "nutter"; the kind of wild-eyed preacher rambling on and on about the apocalyps. Not all that approachable if you ask me.

However, what you are correct in saying was is that Christianity deformed his messages (although nowhere near as much as you imply): they turned him into a living God (an incarnation of Jahweh) and into someone who essentially came to do away with the Jewish law.
If Jesus was alive today, he'd probably nail himself to a cross again due to sheer horror and revulsion.
I believe that in the past their was a Prophet who spread this religion, and so were many others. And as time went by his name was forgotten then remembered back once the religion which helped spread took flight.
Of course this might not be the case.
my second guess would be that christianity in the past needed an icon to which people could relate to.
so they came up with Jesus.

On a lighter note, have any of you ever hear of Raptor Jesus.(lol)
But why?
Why are any of these convoluted scenarios more likely than the more reasonable explanation that, yes, the stories about Jesus are based on actual history but the accounts were mythicised and exaggerated?
Because they seem to not be aware of your premises and the evidence it suggests. That would take digging through nearly 60 pages of discussion here when they just want to reply to the original post that started this discussion, barring of course actually going back to study the historians of the era and reasoning out their intentions and motives as you have.

I really don't think it's unreasonable for someone who hasn't considered Josephus and other similar accounts to come to the possible conclusion Jesus was a myth like Robin Hood or King Arthur. (which I'd love to hear your opinions of by the way). It makes sense in a purely hypothetical way without having anything to go on based on researching the evidence you are so familiar with.

Your explanations seem to only be within the last ten pages or so of this thread, so I would expect a number of people to continue bumping this thread with similar responses.
I would advise in that light, that rather than challenging the idea every time it pops up again, and questioning the motives leading to the idea of Jesus as a myth, you copy and paste a summary of the evidence at hand, in the interests of factual knowledge.

I don't think these continued responses are taking into account your explanations, at least most of them don't seem to be, so there's no need to approach them as if they are ignoring your views and continuing on with their own in spite of what you've laid out(outside of the few who obviously were debating with you). I empathize with you though, for approaching this with rationality and logic, and commend you for championing the case.




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