Jesus Christ! And just who the hell was this?

I am busy reading (again) The Christ, by John Eleazer Remsburg. It is available for free online at The Project Gutenberg.

And what a read it is! Marvelous.

Apologists are forever it seems  ridiculing non-believers about any stance regarding the non historicity of the character Jesus Christ and if one is fairly new to this argument one might be forgiven for thinking it is in fact a new argument. And when I say new, I mean new-ish, in the sense that since the advent of the internet and more so Youtube there have been a flurry of videos featuring proponents refuting the existence of the miracle-wielding biblical character.

And yet …  the following book was published in 1909!

Remsburg’s position seems agnostic in regard Jesus being wholly a myth but he certainly makes a brilliant case for the fallacy of a miraculous god-man.

If you haven’t read the book, I recommend it.

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/46986

A couple of snippets.

CHAPTER I.

Christ’s Real Existence Impossible

… these and a hundred other miracles make up to a great extent this so-called Gospel History of Christ. To disprove the existence of these miracles is to disprove the existence of this Christ.

Canon Farrar makes this frank admission: “If miracles be incredible, Christianity is false. If Christ wrought no miracles, then the Gospels are untrustworthy” (Witness of History to Christ, p. 25).

Dean Mansel thus acknowledges the consequences [18]of the successful denial of miracles: “The whole system of Christian belief with its evidences, … all Christianity in short, so far as it has any title to that name, so far as it has any special relation to the person or the teaching of Christ, is overthrown” (Aids to Faith, p. 3).

Dr. Westcott says: “The essence of Christianity lies in a miracle; and if it can be shown that a miracle is either impossible or incredible, all further inquiry into the details of its history is superfluous” (Gospel of the Resurrection, p. 34).

Christianity arose in what was preeminently a miracle-working age. Everything was attested by miracles, because nearly everybody believed in miracles and demanded them. Every religious teacher was a worker of miracles; and however trifling the miracle might be when wrought, in this atmosphere of unbounded credulity, the breath of exaggeration soon expanded it into marvelous proportions …

CHAPTER II.

Silence of Contemporary Writers.

That a man named Jesus, an obscure religious teacher, the basis of this fabulous Christ, lived in Palestine about nineteen hundred years ago, may be true. But of this man we know nothing. His biography has not been written. E. Renan and others have attempted to write it, but have failed—have failed because no materials for such a work exist. Contemporary writers have left us not one word concerning him. For generations afterward, outside of a few theological epistles, we find no mention of him.

The following is a list of writers who lived and wrote during the time, or within a century after the time, that Christ is said to have lived and performed his wonderful works:

Josephus,Philo-Judaeus,Seneca,Pliny the Elder,Arrian,Petronius,Dion Pruseus,Paterculus, [25]Suetonius,Juvenal,Martial,Persius,Plutarch,Justus of Tiberius,Apollonius,Pliny the Younger,Tacitus,Quintilian,Lucanus,Epictetus,Silius Italicus,Statius,Ptolemy,Hermogones,Valerius Maximus,Appian,Theon of Smyrna,Phlegon,Pompon Mela,Quintius Curtius,Lucian,Pausanias,Valerius Flaccus,Florus Lucius,Favorinus,Phaedrus,Damis,Aulus Gellius,Columella,Dio Chrysostom,Lysias,Appion of Alexandria.

Enough of the writings of the authors named in the foregoing list remains to form a library. Yet in this mass of Jewish and Pagan literature, aside from two forged passages in the works of a Jewish author, and two disputed passages in the works of Roman writers, there is to be found no mention of Jesus Christ.

On the Testimonium Flavianum by Josephus

The early Christian fathers were not acquainted with it. Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen all would have quoted this passage had it existed in their time. The failure of even one of these fathers to notice it would be sufficient to throw doubt upon its genuineness; the failure of all of them to notice it proves conclusively that it is spurious, that it was not in existence during the second and third centuries.

As this passage first appeared in the writings of the ecclesiastical historian, Eusebius, as this author openly advocated the use of fraud and deception in furthering the interests of the church, as he is known to have mutilated and perverted the text of Josephus in other instances, and as the manner of its presentation is calculated to excite suspicion, the forgery has generally been charged to him. In his “Evangelical Demonstration,” written early in the fourth century, after citing all the known evidences of Christianity, he thus introduces the Jewish historian: “Certainly the attestations I have already produced concerning our Savior may be sufficient. However, it may not be amiss, if, over and above, we make use of Josephus the Jew for a further witness” (Book III, p. 124).

Chrysostom and Photius both reject this passage. Chrysostom, a reader of Josephus, who preached and wrote in the latter part of the [31]fourth century, in his defense of Christianity, needed this evidence, but was too honest or too wise to use it. Photius, who made a revision of Josephus, writing five hundred years after the time of Eusebius, ignores the passage, and admits that Josephus has made no mention of Christ.

Chapter III

The Gospels

Twenty books—nearly all of the remaining books of the New Testament—are said to have been written by the three apostles, Peter, John, and Paul, a portion of them after the first three Gospels were written; but it is admitted that they contain no evidence whatever of the existence of these Gospels.

There are extant writings accredited to the Apostolic Fathers, Clement of Rome, Barnabas, Hermas, Ignatius, and Polycarp; written, for the most part, early in the second century. These writings contain no mention of the Four Gospels.

The Four Gospels were unknown to the early Christian Fathers. Justin Martyr, the most eminent of the early Fathers, wrote about the middle of the second century. His writings in proof of the divinity of Christ demanded the use of these Gospels had they existed in his time. He makes more than three hundred quotations from the books of the Old Testament, and nearly one hundred from the Apocryphal books of the New Testament; but none from the Four Gospels. The Rev. Dr. Giles says: “The very names of the Evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, are never mentioned by him [Justin]—do not occur once in all his writings” (Christian Records, p. 71).

 

And it only gets better …

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/46986

Ark

 

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227 thoughts on “Jesus Christ! And just who the hell was this?

  1. This is where the label of the New Atheists comes from. The old atheists published where they would not be read. (Mark Twain’s “Letters from he Earth” was published 50 years after his death and didn’t draw much notice.) The New Atheists have the audacity to publish out in the open! where people can read it! This is why they are called “angry,” “aggressive,” and “militant.” (All of those words were vetted by Christian apologists to use as counter propaganda.)

    There were Roman atheists who wrote but since a death penalty accompanied the publishing, etc., etc, also Spinoza’s work, and those of many others. Vulgate Bibles were not to be tolerated. (Publish the Bible in English when Jesus clearly spoke Latin? Burn him at the stake (which they did)! Now all you get for publishing atheist diatribes is “thumbs up” and “thumbs down.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. That list of contemporary writers/historians is the most damning:

    Josephus,Philo-Judaeus,Seneca,Pliny the Elder,Arrian,Petronius,Dion Pruseus,Paterculus, [25]Suetonius,Juvenal,Martial,Persius,Plutarch,Justus of Tiberius,Apollonius,Pliny the Younger,Tacitus,Quintilian,Lucanus,Epictetus,Silius Italicus,Statius,Ptolemy,Hermogones,Valerius Maximus,Appian,Theon of Smyrna,Phlegon,Pompon Mela,Quintius Curtius,Lucian,Pausanias,Valerius Flaccus,Florus Lucius,Favorinus,Phaedrus,Damis,Aulus Gellius,Columella,Dio Chrysostom,Lysias,Appion of Alexandria.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mean all of the authors of the time who don’t mention the dude … at all? That list?

      And John, you have to slow down, man. There are spaces that come after commas, don’t you know. ;o)

      Liked by 1 person

    2. “That list of contemporary writers/historians is the most damning”

      No, actually, it isn’t. To make an actually “damning” argument from silence it’s not enough to merely list writers who are silent on an issue. You also have to show why these writers should have NOT been silent. So if some or all of those writers had mentioned other early first century Jewish preachers, prophets or Messianic claimants but failed to mention Jesus, THAT would be a damning argument from silence. But how many other such figures do those writers mention? None. So why would we expect them to mention this one? We wouldn’t.

      So that argument fails. This is why no historian finds this silly argument convincing, despite people on the internet untrained in historical analysis seem to think it’s “damning”. It’s nonsense.

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      1. I think john is actually arguing against the god-man, not the possibility of just another smelly little itinerant 1st century rabbi, for whom no one could give a shit. Though I stand under correction.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. … another smelly little itinerant 1st century rabbi, for whom no one could give a shit … “

          Apart from those of us who are interested in history and find the origin of the largest religion on the planet an issue worth rather more than “a shit”. Feel free to have no interest in major historical questions.

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          1. You seem to be getting upset over this?
            In the past I have leaned towards the biblical character being myth, but if the biblical character was originally based on the template of some messianic eschatological rabbi, then so be it.

            If you have evidence for the miracle making god man then feel free to present it. Otherwise, smelly little shit that history ignored is perfectly correct. The character in the bible, the product of the supernatural rape of a fourteen year old Jewess, is a narrative construct. Period.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “You seem to be getting upset over this?”

              Not in the slightest.

              “If you have evidence for the miracle making god man then feel free to present it. “

              I’m an atheist. I don’t consider this historical person who got turned into miracle making god man to be any different to the other ones from the period.

              “smell little shit that history ignored is perfectly correct”

              My point was simply that it makes sense to be interested in this “little shit” now, given how his sect, for no fault of his own, came to totally change history.

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      2. So you’re saying Jesus was so utterly ordinary, so pedestrian, so thoroughly unremarkable and plain that he didn’t warrant a single line. Not even a raised eyebrow.

        Interesting angle, considering the claim.

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        1. “So you’re saying Jesus was so utterly ordinary, so pedestrian, so thoroughly unremarkable and plain that he didn’t warrant a single line.”

          I’m saying he was about the same as all the other early first century Jewish preachers, prophets and Messianic claimants in this respect, yes.

          “Interesting angle, considering the claim.”

          Considering what “claim”?

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            1. “Messianic personalities such as simon of peraea got mentions.”

              If you’ve discovered a contemporary reference to Simon of Peraea then this is great news! But if you’re simply saying that Simon got some later, non-contemporary mentions (well, just one actually) just like Jesus and all the other early first century preachers, prophets and Messianic claimants, then thanks for backing up my point nicely.

              “Claim? Are you kidding?”

              No. What “claim” are you referring to? The only “claim” I’m making is that an early first century Jewish preacher called Yeshua from Nazareth existed and was the origin of the Christian sect. Nothing more. Therefore that’s the only “claim” relevant here.

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                1. “The TF is a forgery.”

                  Yes, it’s usually at about this stage that we start to get these faith statements and arguments by stentorian assertion. I’m afraid the consensus of Josephus scholars is that the TF is not a wholesale forgery, but contains an authentic core. And you’re still left with Ant. XX.200.

                  The claim made by Christians.

                  As I said, the only relevant claim here is the claim made by me. If you want to argue about any Christian’s claims then I suggest you go find one.

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                2. If there were a core, then one would imagine Origen (whose library eusebius inherited) would have mentioned it.

                  He didn’t.

                  No, I would say the claim made by Christians is relevant.

                  Tell me Tim, do you have to work daily at coming across as an arrogant prick?

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                3. “If there were a core, then one would imagine Origen (whose library eusebius inherited) would have mentioned it.”

                  Origen states several times that Josephus didn’t believe that Jesus was the Messiah. So where would he be getting that information from if Josephus never mentioned Jesus at all? And if the original passage simply said Jesus existed and was executed, in what context would Origen mention this passage? Were the Jesus Mythicists in the third century that Origen was arguing against?

                  “No, I would say the claim made by Christians is relevant. “

                  Sorry, but you were responding to me and saying that my “angle” was “interesting” considering “the claim”. If I’m not a Christian, my “angle” has nothing to do with their “claim”. Only my “claim” is relevant.

                  “Tell me Tim, do you have to work daily at coming across as an arrogant prick?”

                  Yes, we usually get to the weak tone policing at about this stage as well. If I really wanted to be a “prick” to you, you’d know all about it. Try focusing on the arguments.

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                4. You claim the argument from silence is useless. I say that is nonsense considering the fantastic claim connected to the person, and said life story.

                  Now, what is it you’re trying to achieve?

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                5. “You claim the argument from silence is useless. I say that is nonsense considering the fantastic claim connected to the person, and said life story.”

                  Again, you made that comment in response to ME. So my “claim” is the only one relevant. If you want to argue that the argument from silence works against any Christian claims about a divine miracle-working Jesus, I suggest you go respond to a Christian on that point.

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                6. “You seem to have created an argument that was not presented. Nice Straw Man.”

                  Really? Where? The argument being made was that the supposed lack of references (ignoring Josephus and Tacitus) means no historical Jesus existed at all. I showed that this doesn’t follow. Then the goal posts got shifted in replies to what I SAID to claims about a divine Jesus made by Christians. Which was nothing like what I was arguing.

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    1. Pleasure, Mak. It really is a good read- Loads of factual info and full of references to cross-check.
      I haven’t finished it yet, but, although it is an old book, offhand, I don’t recall from past reading that there was anything not relevant or outdated.
      I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy it and could write a better review than me as well.
      Let us know how you get on with it, all right?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I downloaded it already. I will read it then continue with the old novel I was reading.
        The last book I read on the subject left me at a place where I will need a lot of convincing to even think of the possibility of a historical Jeebus

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I have proof that I have aged faster than my years. I read this book in the beginning of 2014 and I couldn’t recall.
        Instead of re-reading it, I am reading his volume on the bible: it’s authenticity,credibility and morality.
        Have the arguments put forth in the Christ been answered a century plus later? Why do people still hold onto the Jesus of theology?

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Assuming the Christ story to have been invented, not for purposes of fiction but as a basis for a religion, the surprising thing is that the inventors didn’t root it in some verifiable facts to add credibility. Any theories on that?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Christopher Hitchens once said it would seem more plausible if there were at least a human character behind the divine, and yet, there any number of examples of religious cults having been founded on purely mythical characters, and at least one, Appolonius whose story mirrors that of Jesus in some rather surprising ways!
      In Josephus there are several Jesuses and at least one who had a number of followers -fishermen if memory serves, and was rather a naughty boy during an incident at the Temple.
      I have Josephus work on file, but I can’t remember offhand exactly whereabouts this particular episode is.
      Maybe someone reading along can remember save me trawling through several tomes?

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      1. It is rather puzzling. One doesn’t look for anything behind the myth gods except the myth, but gods woven into history one would expect to have some basis in actual facts of the day. Which is also why it is so surprising that no evidence for Moses has been found.
        From your reading, has any case been put forward that accepts Genesis as invalid but still supports the Christ concept?

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        1. Ah! A great many Christians accept this ”angle”.
          Even Francis Collins, who at one time headed the Human Genome Project, believes Genesis is largely myth but considers Jesus to be divine.
          Over at Nate Owen’s blog, the infamous unkleE, a retired engineer of some sort, and a Very Clever Fellow has stated openly he has no problem regarding Genesis as mostly myth but holds fast to the divine nature of Jesus, including the Resurrection and the Virgin Birth, which is a notable fraudulent entry in gMatthew ripped off from Isaiah 7 :14, never mind the biological nonsense. I kid you not.

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                1. It is simply a manipulation of Scripture, Col. And even when it is pointed out that Paul accepted the veracity of Adam and Eve and Moses etc it is like water off a Duck’s back.
                  The usual reply is along the lines of Sin still exists and the only answer is Jesus.
                  Blinkers and Blindfolds indeed.

                  Liked by 2 people

      2. “In Josephus there are several Jesuses and at least one who had a number of followers -fishermen if memory serves, and was rather a naughty boy during an incident at the Temple.
        I have Josephus work on file, but I can’t remember offhand exactly whereabouts this particular episode is.
        Maybe someone reading along can remember save me trawling through several tomes?”

        Having read Josephus several times, I can assure you that your memory does not serve at all. Yes, there are several people called Jesus mentioned in Josephus, which is hardly surprising given that it was a very common name. But no, none of them are said to have had followers who were fishermen. There was a Jesus ben Ananias who preached the fall of Jerusalem and was later killed by a catapult stone during the siege of Jerusalem, but that was in 70 AD, so clearly not a reference to Jesus of Nazareth.

        However the reference to a “Jesus who was called Messiah” and who had a brother named James who was executed when Josephus was a young man ( Ant. XX.200) IS clearly a reference to Jesus of Nazareth and it alone kills this “Jesus was never mentioned outside the Bible” nonsense.

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        1. No, the reference to James being the brother of Jesus of Nazareth is considered a likely interpolation.
          Especially as there is no evidence for Nazareth being the place described in the bible.
          But you know this of course, yes?
          You are aware of Bagatti’s work and also the Nazareth Farm Report?

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          1. “the reference to James being the brother of Jesus of Nazareth is considered a likely interpolation.”

            Not by Josephus scholars it isn’t. In fact, virtually no-one considers it so except a certain unemployed blogger and failed academic who wrote an obscure paper on this a few years ago – a flawed paper cited by no-one.

            “Especially as there is no evidence for Nazareth being the place described in the bible.”

            Given that none of the gospel writers had ever been there, it’s hardly surprising they didn’t describe it correctly. The fact remains that all the relevant evidence indicates Jesus was from Nazareth (despite this being rather awkward for the gospels writers, given that the Messiah was supposed to be from somewhere else). And the archaeologists are unanimous that Nazareth was inhabited in the relevant period.

            “You are aware of Bagatti’s work and also the Nazareth Farm Report?”

            I’m aware that there isn’t an archaeologist on the planet who thinks that Nazareth wasn’t inhabited in the early first century AD. Are you now going to bring up the kooky Oregon piano teacher Rene Salm now? I strongly suggest you don’t.

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            1. Not by Josephus scholars

              And can you name the top two Josephus scholars please.

              The fact remains that all the relevant evidence indicates Jesus was from Nazareth

              And what exactly is all the relevant evidence please?
              Can you name some of it.
              Thanks.

              And the archaeologists are unanimous that Nazareth was inhabited in the relevant period.

              really? Which archaeologists are these?
              I would be highly interested in reading the name on your unanimous list please.
              So I take it you are unaware of Bagattis initial report and have niot, in fact read or even seen the Nazareth Farm Repirt then?

              I would still lie t read the names of at least …. say 20 of the archaeologists who are unanimous concerning Nazareth.
              I presume you do have such details, yes?
              Thanks.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. And can you name the top two Josephus scholars please

                On this question, proabably Mason and Whealey.

                And what exactly is all the relevant evidence please?
                Can you name some of it.

                Go to a concordance to the Bible and type in “Nazareth”. Then look at the fact that his followers were called variants on “Nazarenes” for centuries.

                Which archaeologists are these?

                Every single one that has excavated on the site: Dark, Feig, Gal, Alexandre etc. More to the point, can you name any archaeologist who has excavated there and thinks otherwise? Try doing that.

                “So I take it you are unaware of Bagattis initial report and have niot, in fact read or even seen the Nazareth Farm Repirt then?”

                I’ve read both. And the kooky piano teacher’s silly attempts at debunking the evidence. And the responses to the kooky piano teach which demolishes his nonsense. Do you really want to play this game? I strongly suggest you don’t.

                “I would still lie t read the names of at least …. say 20 of the archaeologists who are unanimous concerning Nazareth.”

                If you are claiming the consensus of archaeologists isn’t unanimous, then it’s you who needs to cough up those who dissent. I’ll accept just one name. Good luck! ;>

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                1. Every single one that has excavated on the site: Dark, Feig, Gal, Alexandre etc. More to the point, can you name any archaeologist who has excavated there and thinks otherwise? Try doing that.

                  Actually you named four, and have never heard of Etc. Is he/she Israeli?

                  Where did Salm try to debunk Bagatti?
                  Bagatti said nothing that could actually confirm anything. Surely you know this after reading his report?

                  If you are claiming the consensus of archaeologists isn’t unanimous, then it’s you who needs to cough up those who dissent. I’ll accept just one name.

                  It is my understanding that, the archaeological sphere has little to say about this area supposedly the home town of the biblical character Jesus.
                  There is in fact so little evidence to even make a case and it was you who stated the archaeological field was unanimous over Nazareth and now when asked for 20 archaeologists who are part of this unanimous consensus you balk.
                  Anyone reading along might be forgiven if they felt you were now crying wolf, whining and offing a hand wave.
                  If you cannot name or find 20 give me 15 who belong to this archaeological consensus.
                  And maybe you could also cite any papers they have written please?
                  I have read Dark, Alexandre , but not Feig or Gal.
                  What have they got to say and can you link to any papers they have written also?
                  Thanks.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. “Actually you named four”

                  Yes. And I keep asking you to name just one archaeologist who has excavated there who doesn’t think Nazareth was inhabited and you keep … failing to do so. Until you do, my claim that there is a consensus on the matter stands. How about you either meet my challenge or admit you were wrong.

                  “and have never heard of Etc. Is he/she Israeli?”

                  Gosh, i’ts a good thing you aren’t “obnoxious”.

                  “Where did Salm try to debunk Bagatti?”

                  You mean this Salm?

                  Bagatti said nothing that could actually confirm anything. Surely you know this after reading his report?

                  You bought up Bagatti, not me. You asked if I had read his report and I told you I had. I have no idea what point you’re wandering off to now.

                  “There is in fact so little evidence to even make a case and t was you who stated the archaeological field was unaimous over nazareth and now when asked for 20 archaeologists who are part of this unanimous consensus you balk.”

                  Because you plucked the arbitrary number “20” out of your arse. As far as I know, there have not been 20 archaeologists who have worked on the site. But I gave you the names of four who have. Given that the issue here is unanimity, if I have given you four and you have given me none, my point stands. So either you now cough up that one or you’ve failed here.

                  “What have they got to say and can you link to any papers they have written also?”

                  Gal, Z. Lower Galilee During the Iron Age (American Schools of Oriental Research, Eisenbrauns, 1992) p. 15; Feig, N. 1990 “Burial Caves at Nazareth”, ‘Atiqot 10 (Hebrew series). pp. 67–79. Gal notes the topography of the site and its water sources show why it was occupied. Feig excavated tombs in the area and dated lamps in those tombs to the Early Roman Era. It helps to actually read the relevant material.

                  Now, where is that dissenting excavator? Put up or shut up time for you.

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                3. Thanks for the links.
                  So, do you not agree with Salm’s assessment of Bagatti’s interpretation of the material? Where do you consider Salm erred?

                  Are the the burial caves the ones also described as kok tombs?
                  And are the lamps the same sort of funerary lamps Salm mentioned?

                  “and have never heard of Etc. Is he/she Israeli?”
                  Gosh, i’ts a good thing you aren’t “obnoxious”.

                  Sarcastic actually.
                  Your comment below is what one would generally regard as obnoxious, Tim

                  Now, where is that dissenting excavator? Put up or shut up time for you.

                  If you say so …

                  As someone who claims to be a skeptic you seem quite okay that those who have excavated in the area seem to have been quite content in their unanimity over this being the biblical ”city”, ”town”, ”village”, or whatever it was or was not called Nazareth.
                  Considering the paucity of archaeological finds when considered against such inflammatory statements as ”Jesus-era house”. etc -( etc being the unknown archaeologist) – and the type of reaction this would get and the millions upon millions invested in the ”Nazareth Village Project” or whatever it is officially called, I am, quite frankly, surprised that you are so adamant the place existed.
                  While Salm is no archaeologist, what he writes seems to have a ring of common sense. And his initial objections to the farm report caused quite a lengthy revision, so he claims.
                  Do you dispute this as well?

                  From this skeptic’s perspective there seems an awful lot of vested self-interest tied up in Nazareth and all on the flimsiest of evidence.

                  As for the ”dissenting excavator”. Off the top of my head, I suspect there has been no large scale archaeological dig there simply because there is really nothing to dig for and because of the highly controversial nature, digging for less than crumbs seems like a fools errand, all things considered.

                  Liked by 1 person

                4. “So, do you not agree with Salm’s assessment of Bagatti’s interpretation of the material? “

                  I’ve never analysed Salm’s arguments about Bagatti, but if they are anything like his other weak attempts at armchair debunking, they are most likely junk. As I said, you were the one who keeps bringing up Bagatti. My confidence about the archaeology comes from much more recent archaeological work.

                  “Are the the burial caves the ones also described as kok tombs?
                  And are the lamps the same sort of funerary lamps Salm mentioned?”

                  The caves include kokhim. The lamps are Herodian bow spout lamps that Salm tries hard to push out in date from the early first century and fails utterly. They actually date from exactly when Salm tries to pretend Nazareth wasn’t inhabited. Ooops.

                  “As someone who claims to be a skeptic you seem quite okay that those who have excavated in the area seem to have been quite content in their unanimity over this being the biblical ”city”, ”town”, ”village”, or whatever it was or was not called Nazareth.”

                  All I’m “content” with is the unanimous consensus that the site was inhabited in the early first century. I also know of no archaeologist who claims it was anything other than a very small, poor village in the relevant period.

                  “While Salm is no archaeologist, what he writes seems to have a ring of common sense”

                  No actual archaeologists think so. A lot of Creationists think that Ken Ham makes sense as well, but no actual biologists or geologists agree.

                  “And his initial objections to the farm report caused quite a lengthy revision, so he claims.
                  Do you dispute this as well?”

                  I don’t know what he’s referring to but I do know I don’t trust that fact-twister’s claims at all.

                  “From this skeptic’s perspective there seems an awful lot of vested self-interest tied up in Nazareth and all on the flimsiest of evidence.”

                  Most of the archaeologists I’ve cited are Jewish. I fail to see what “self-interest” these people would have or why they would risk their careers and their association with the Israeli Antiquities Authority by publishing nonsense in peer reviewed journals. When people start claiming that the experts are all wrong and are just pandering to murky special interests, the argument begins to stink of crackpot conspiracy theory.

                  “As for the ”dissenting excavator”. Off the top of my head, I suspect there has been no large scale archaeological dig there simply because there is really nothing to dig for and because of the highly controversial nature, digging for less than crumbs seems like a fools errand, all things considered.”

                  There have been no “large scale” digs there because there is a modern city of 75,000 people sitting on top of the site. So the digs have been when and where the archaeologists can get access to relevant areas. And they have been of a sufficient scale to establish the consistent habitation of the site from the Hellenic Era onward to the satisfaction of every single archaeologist in the field. Making fantasy excuses for why you’ve now (finally) admitted there are NO dissenters at all is pretty pathetic.

                  “I realise now that I was referring to Philo.”

                  What Philo reference?

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                5. I’ve never analysed Salm’s arguments about Bagatti

                  Well if you have not analysed the Baggatti claims, which seem at least a pretty good place to start to discredit Salm, as after all Bagatti was the first official archaeologist to dig the site, why are you so scathing about all his other claims?

                  Re: The revision of the report;

                  I don’t know what he’s referring to but I do know I don’t trust that fact-twister’s claims at all.

                  So you haven’t analyzed what he said about Bagatti, you have no idea about the revision that was undertaken yet you ridicule Salm at every turn.
                  As you have a lot to say about him would you not think it better to offer a proper scholarly critique of his work?
                  Just a thought.

                  by publishing nonsense in peer reviewed journals.

                  Could you please list the peer reviewed journals you mention where the work of these archaeologists who have dug specifically at the Nazareth site is published?

                  And they have been of a sufficient scale to establish the consistent habitation of the site from the Hellenic Era onward to the satisfaction of every single archaeologist in the field.

                  Are these the four or five you mentioned at the beginning of this dialogue the ”every archaeologist the field” or are there a lot more that you know of?

                  Making fantasy excuses for why you’ve now (finally) admitted there are NO dissenters at all is pretty pathetic.

                  Yes, it probably does seem pathetic, I agree. However, I am simply unaware of any dissenters, which does not mean there aren’t any.
                  Somewhat like all those archaeologists –
                  four was it? who are unanimous about the historicity of Nazareth.
                  For what t’s worth, one of those archaeologists, Ken Dark is on record stating that the evidence for Nazareth is ambiguous, as a matter of fact.

                  Just putting this out there.

                  The Philo reference was meant for someone else. Don’t fret, I already adjusted our thread.

                  Like

                6. “Well if you have not analysed the Baggatti claims, which seem at least a pretty good place to start to discredit Salm, as after all Bagatti was the first official archaeologist to dig the site, why are you so scathing about all his other claims?”

                  Because I have analysed those “claims” (it’s actually called “expert, peer reviewed analysis”) and Salm’s responses to them and found Salm’s responses to be utter crap. And that expert, peer reviewed analysis on its own shows that Nazareth was inhabited in the early first century AD. So even if everything Salm says about Bagatti is correct, which I sincerely doubt given Salm’s track record, the habitation of Nazareth in the relevant era is firmly established by the later work.

                  “you have no idea about the revision that was undertaken yet you ridicule Salm at every turn.”

                  I ridicule Salm over his failed attempts at debunking the most recent evidence of first century habitation, and for good reason. It’s garbage. I’m afraid I can’t respond to any claims he’s made about any “revision”, since you haven’t given any more details. But I simply noted that I don’t trust Salm, given his slippery track record of distortions.

                  “As you have a lot to say about him would you not think it better to offer a proper scholarly critique of his work?”

                  What makes you think I haven’t? Try this to begin with. Tell me if you still want to defend this crackpot piano teacher after going over all that.

                  Could you please list the peer reviewed journals you mention where the work of these archaeologists who have dug specifically at the Nazareth site is published?

                  You mean like the American Schools of Oriental Research monographs series, ‘Atiqot and the Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society?

                  “Are these the four or five you mentioned at the beginning of this dialogue the ”every archaeologist the field” or are there a lot more that you know of?”

                  That would be those, the peer reviewers and editors of the journals they published in and all the archaeologists who read their papers and didn’t seem to notice anything to object to. “Skepticism” doesn’t mean ignoring all that and just deciding to still think these experts are all wrong because … well, because reasons. That’s actually the opposite of skepticism. You seem to be clinging to a faith-based idea out of pig headedness.

                  “However, I am simply unaware of any dissenters, which does not mean there aren’t any.”

                  I’ve been over this dozens of times, including with Salm. There aren’t any. Stop clinging to a dumb idea out of what you’d like to be true and think rationally FFS.

                  “one of those archaeologists, Ken Dark is on record stating that the evidence for Nazareth is ambiguous, as a matter of fact.”

                  Where? You keep making claims like this and never back them up with citations, links or quotes. Yet you demand these (and get them!) at every turn, as though somehow *I* am the one championing a kooky theory by a crackpot amateur. Sorry, but that’s you. And you backed yourself into this corner – don’t say I didn’t warn you.

                  Like

                7. So even if everything Salm says about Bagatti is correct, which I sincerely doubt given Salm’s track record, the habitation of Nazareth in the relevant era is firmly established by the later work.

                  Is it?
                  Do you have a citation for this?

                  However, just to be clear, you have not in fact examined Salm’s claims about Bagatti’s work, but are calling him out nonetheless because of his claims about other stuff?

                  You mean like the American Schools of Oriental Research monographs series, ‘Atiqot and the Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society?

                  Excellent. Thanks.
                  Do you have a link to the specific editions discussing the work in question and in particular confirmation of the dates attributed to the finds?
                  I am going to presume you have read these pieces, and can vouchsafe them yes?

                  Re: Dissenters.

                  I’ve been over this dozens of times, including with Salm. There aren’t any. Stop clinging to a dumb idea out of what you’d like to be true and think rationally FFS.

                  I think it more accurate to state that there aren’t any dissenters we know of or on record. After all, there are thousands upon thousands of archaeologists and although you cite archaeological unanimity over Nazareth we only have a handful who have dug there.
                  I would be interested in what Salm said about your statement about no dissenters. What did he say?
                  FFS? Is this For Fuck’s Sake? Please, feel free to swear properly anytime you like. I generally don’t censor comments Tim

                  Where? You keep making claims like this

                  What other ”claims like this” ?

                  Out of interest, if you were satisfied that Dark did in fact say that the evidence for Nazareth was ambiguous would you at least reconsider your view of archaeological unanimity?

                  Out of curiosity, if we agree there was a core of the TF, and why not, eh?, why do you think Josephus never made mention that Jesus came from Nazareth?
                  After all, it was only a few kilometers down the road and Josephus seemed quite knowledgeable of this city.

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                8. I think it worthwhile pointing out, just for some sort of comparison, that there are a number of archaeologists who are respected in certain areas of their chosen fields state categorically that the biblical Exodus is an historical fact. I can think of two such people, Hoffmeier and Kitchen.
                  As far as I am aware no secular archaeologist worth his salt gives the Exodus proposals of either of these gentlemen any credence whatsoever.
                  Just a thought …

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                9. “Do you have a citation for this?”

                  What? Try to focus – even if we totally ignore all of Bagatti’s excavations at the Bascilica of the Annunciation, there are three other sites where three other, more recent teams have found solid evidence of early first century habitation on the site: the Mary’s Well site excavated by Ariel Berman and Yardenna Alexandre, the Nazareth Village site excavated by Pfann, Voss and Rapuano and the Nazareth Convent site excavated by Ken Dark. So even if we ignore Bagatti completely, we still have three separate sites which have had their Early Roman Era (i.e. the early first century) finds published in peer reviewed literature. Understand now?

                  “However, just to be clear, you have not in fact examined Salm’s claims about Bagatti’s work, but are calling him out nonetheless because of his claims about other stuff?”

                  Yes. His critiques of Pfann, Voss and Rapuano were an absolute joke. He also tried to claim that they lied about Alexandre’s finds of Early Roman Era coins and jeered that she hadn’t published this material. A couple of years later she did so (see A. Berman, “The Numismatic Evidence” in Mary’s Well, Nazareth: The Late Hellenistic to the Ottoman Periods ed. Y. Alexandre, IAA Reports, 49, Jerusalem, Israeli Antiquities Authority, 2012, 108). She even included a wry note dismissing Salm:

                  “A recently propagated theory based partialiy on the location of the tombs, that the Roman-period village of Nazareth was settled only at the end of the first century CE and was located on the valley floor, is not tenable (Salm 2008).” (Alexandre, “Introduction” p. 9)

                  Salm was left with egg on his face. Again.

                  “Do you have a link to the specific editions discussing the work in question and in particular confirmation of the dates attributed to the finds?”

                  This is getting insane. I’ve already given you two of them once: Gal, Z. Lower Galilee During the Iron Age (American Schools of Oriental Research, Eisenbrauns, 1992) p. 15and Feig, N. 1990 “Burial Caves at Nazareth”, ‘Atiqot 10 (Hebrew series). pp. 67–79. You can add K.R. Dark, “Review of Rene Salm, The Myth of Nazareth”, Bulletin of the Anglo-Israel Archaeological Society, 26 (2008) and K.R. Dark, “Early Roman Period Nazareth and the Sisters of Nazareth Convent”, Antiquaries Journal, 92 (2012), 37-64. And yes, of course I’ve read them. What’s hilarious is that I can cite all these peer reviewed archaeological papers that all confirm early first century habitation and what do you have? The kooky piano guy and “well, ummm, maybe there are some dissenters hiding somewhere”.

                  “I think it more accurate to state that there aren’t any dissenters we know of or on record. “

                  Oh for god’s sake. Please give up, for the sake of your own self-respect. That is just sad.

                  “Out of interest, if you were satisfied that Dark did in fact say that the evidence for Nazareth was ambiguous would you at least reconsider your view of archaeological unanimity?”

                  All archaeology is ambiguous – it’s all a matter of interpretation. But Dark has gone on the record as saying that Salm’s arguments are nonsense. So unless he’s changed his views on that I’m afraid you won’t be able to use some out of context comment about ambiguity to pretend he thinks otherwise. And why haven’t you produced this quote from Dark you keep referring to so vaguely? Why so shy? Bring it on.

                  “why do you think Josephus never made mention that Jesus came from Nazareth?”

                  He didn’t mention all kinds of other things either – big deal. How was his origins in a in tiny Galilean village relevant to his execution?

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                10. “why do you think Josephus never made mention that Jesus came from Nazareth?”
                  He didn’t mention all kinds of other things either – big deal. How was his origins in a in tiny Galilean village relevant to his execution?

                  It was just a passing thought as it was supposed to be just down the road from Sepphoris. Isn’t it normal in the course of writing about a character that one would mention where he came from?
                  Re: Bagatti.
                  So, to be perfectly clear, even if it seems a tad pedantic, you vociferously slating Salm over Bagatti is, in fact, not really germane to your argument if you haven’t even bothered to analyse any of his claims. I just wanted to clear this up.
                  Re: Ken Dark and the ambiguous statement.
                  It is in fact a quote from Salm who quotes Dark. I have not been able to trace the original piece so one will have to operate under good faith here. But I doubt you will, of course – perfectly understandable.
                  At least, Prof. Dark admits that the earliest evidence from Nazareth is “ambiguous.” That is a tacit admission that the case for Nazareth in the time of Jesus is not certain.
                  Oh, and here’s the link in any case. http://www.nazarethmyth.info/naz3article.html

                  His critiques of Pfann, Voss and Rapuano were an absolute joke.

                  Really? And what exactly were those critiques?

                  He also tried to claim that they lied about Alexandre’s finds of Early Roman Era coins

                  Did he? Why do you think he would write all this especially if there was a possibility of a libel action being instituted against him. I mean, seriously, why bother to do any of it?
                  Why go to all that trouble, all that time and effort?
                  Re: Journals.
                  I have read some of Dark’s work on the tombs.
                  What is your take regarding the claim that such tombs … or any burial facilities could be placed so close to an area of habitation? I think this was Salm’s main objection to the claims and it seems a fair one based on Jewish custom in this regard.
                  I can’t access the other reports, sorry.

                  Oh for god’s sake.

                  Which god are you referring to here?

                  All archaeology is ambiguous – it’s all a matter of interpretation

                  Interesting. Yet all along you seem to be stating the case that ambiguity regarding Nazareth is not a part of this and that certainty has been established?

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                11. Here we go again …

                  “Isn’t it normal in the course of writing about a character that one would mention where he came from?

                  If it’s not relevant to what you’re saying about them, no.

                  “you vociferously slating Salm over Bagatti “

                  I have never slated Salm over Bagatti., so you’re chasing your tail there. Try this – quote me slating Slam over Bagatti. Good luck.

                  “It is in fact a quote from Salm who quotes Dark. “

                  *chuckle* Oh, so an unimpeachable source then.

                  “But I doubt you will, of course – perfectly understandable.”

                  Doubt it I do, because Salm is a weasel. But I also check things, so I just went back to all of Dark’s papers addressing Salm’s thesis and all of the ones on Nazareth generally and the word “ambiguous” appears in precisely none of them.

                  “Really? And what exactly were those critiques?”

                  I linked to a detailed post I wrote on them and the reasons they fail two replies ago. Are you even bothering to read my responses? Here it is again. How about you read it this time.

                  “Did he?”

                  Yes. I detailed it in the long post I linked to that you didn’t even bother to read.

                  “Why do you think he would write all this especially if there was a possibility of a libel action being instituted against him. I mean, seriously, why bother to do any of it?
                  Why go to all that trouble, all that time and effort?”

                  A question I often ask myself about these crackpot theorists. They seem to get some kind of perverse gratification from deluding themselves they know better than the experts. And he probably realises that academics rarely bother to sue amateur nobodies like him and that a law suit from Israel, where Prof Alexandre lives, against a piano teacher in Oregon would be hardly worth the effort and expense. She obviously didn’t need to sue him anway – all she had to do was publish the material Salm stupidly claimed didn’t exist and slap him down with her wry note that his bumbling armchair thesis is crap. That’s how real academics deal with gadflies like silly Salm.

                  “What is your take regarding the claim that such tombs … or any burial facilities could be placed so close to an area of habitation? “

                  Dark answers this perfectly well: “Salm does not take into account that while domestic occupation on a cemetery is,of course,unthinkable in Jewish religious law,the placing of tombs in a disused area of domestic activity is not. The distribution of Roman period tombs is, therefore, not of assistance to Salm’s case that no Second Temple period settlement existed at Nazareth, because even if he could date all the known tombs to later centuries (and this is not possible), there could have been earlier occupation.” (Dark, 2008, p. 143).

                  “Which god are you referring to here?”

                  Yesterday was Thursday, so obviously I was referring to Thor.

                  “Interesting. Yet all along you seem to be stating the case that ambiguity regarding Nazareth is not a part of this and that certainty has been established?”

                  I was merely guessing at what context Dark may have been using the word “ambiguous”. But since you can’t actually produce any quote of him using the word, that’s kind of irrelevant. Within the parameters of any such ambiguity, we still have four separate archaeological teams working at different times on four separate sites in Nazareth and ALL of them finding evidence of early first century habitation. One of them even produced such evidence after Salm stupidly crowed that they would not be able to. The guy is a bumbling idiot.

                  Are you sure you still want to nail your colours to the mast of Salm’s sinking ship? I did warn you not to, remember?

                  Like

                12. Read your (linked) response.

                  Tim O’Neill: ”I have never slated Salm over Bagatti”

                  ”So even if everything Salm says about Bagatti is correct, which I sincerely doubt given Salm’s track record,”

                  I’ve never analysed Salm’s arguments about Bagatti, but if they are anything like his other weak attempts at armchair debunking, they are most likely junk.

                  So these statements are what … compliment? Just asking.

                  You stated that all archaeology was ambiguous, did you not?

                  …here we go ….

                  All archaeology is ambiguous – it’s all a matter of interpretation.

                  emphasis mine.

                  Are you sure you still want to nail your colours to the mast of Salm’s sinking ship? I did warn you not to, remember?

                  Oh, I am not nailing anything to anything and am actually inclined to agree with you, Tim that all archaeology is ambiguous.
                  It is fascinating though, don’t you think so?

                  There are quite a number of anomalies about the whole episode right from the word go.
                  Oh,yes, I remember you warned me Tim and you do sound like the type of chap that actually would warn other people.

                  Liked by 1 person

                13. “So these statements are what … compliment?”

                  They are not me “slating Salm over Bagatti”. They are me saying that if I did analyse his critique of Bagatti I’m sure they would be as bad as his other critiques. Are you always this confused?

                  You stated that all archaeology was ambiguous, did you not?

                  I said very clearly that there was a degree of ambiguity in any interpretation and that this may have been what Dark was referring to in this alleged quote that you can’t produce. I also said:

                  “Within the parameters of any such ambiguity, we still have four separate archaeological teams working at different times on four separate sites in Nazareth and ALL of them finding evidence of early first century habitation.”

                  So what wild goose chase are you off on now? You really seem to be getting desperate.

                  “I am not nailing anything to anything and am actually inclined to agree with you, Tim that all archaeology is ambiguous.”

                  Don’t bother twisting my words. See the quote above. It is not ambiguous on the issue of the Early Roman Era habitation of Nazareth – that is perfectly clear from the evidence and accepted by all archaeologists. Unless you’ve finally found one who dissents. And no, don’t try your feeble invocation of ghost dissenters you hope exist – if any did exist their objections would be referred to in the papers I’ve kindly cited for you. That’s what scholars DO. Your wishful thinking about phantom dissenting archaeologists is another one of your bumbling fantasies.

                  “There are quite a number of anomalies about the whole episode right from the word go.”

                  More gibberish. “Anomalies”? What? And what “episode”? What the hell are you talking about now?

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  4. Hell, Ark—if being published were enough, I believe in the Discworld and all who sail in her (got to, no option).

    And I’m sure there were lots of Jesi running around the Middle East at the time. (Certainly there are oodles in Latin America today.)

    Now, stop wasting your life reading old moth-eaten tomes in dusty attics … get thee down to your local sin bosun and open your poor ensoured heart to the love of Christ. Stop working so hard to maintain this image of disbelief and the Power Of Christ will confound thee~!

    (Toots loves that movie) (Reese Witherspoon, she plays a lady doctor trapped twixt two worlds and ‘haunts’ her old apartment; the new incumbent tries to get her removed).

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Are you yeshting me?

        But you have a good point, there’s only ever one of one.
        (Oops … unless one of those ones is three in one, but I draws me line there.)

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  5. Ark I have followed your argument on this subject before and it was convincing to me then. This adds more reason to support the conclusion about the lack of a historical Jesus. However what I don’t understand is why people like Mel and unkleE insist that the majority of historical scholars support their view , which is the opposite. I got to where I couldn’t stand to talk to unkleE because he always claimed that the majority sided with him no matter what the evidence presented. The second section above you wrote about about the writers known from that time did not mention him. We have those writings. What Mel said was a lie then, he said that we have almost no known writings from that time, and that later ones did mention Jesus. My question is on this seeming making up of evidence in support of their view. Why do they do it? It is really easy for people like you to check and refute. When caught in the lie it makes them look worse than ever, like they not only don’t know their material but that they have no faith in their view. Why don’t they say they can’t agree the evidence means what it clearly seems to instead of making stuff up that just makes them look really bad. Also now that it is really clear that no historical writers from about that time wrote of this man / deity that did miracles like raising people’s dead kids ( which I think would get loads of press time and be talked of because every wealthy parent would beg him to raise their kid that died if he could be proven to have done it.) How do you get them to see it and to acknowledge the fact. They could still claim to draw a different conclusion from that same information, so why claim the stinking dog turd on the doorstep is not there at all when it can be seen and smelt? Thanks Ark. Hugs

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    1. Hi Scottie, I know you have addressed Ark but I can chime in.
      If you look hard enough, you can find evidence to support and refute any single position. Look at the conspiracy theorists. They shore up claims by learned people as supporting their claims. For a matter such as religion where people like uncleE have invested so much, you definitely expect that he will want to defend untenable positions like talking donkeys and men eating fish.

      On contemporary writings of the time Jesus is said to have lived, there are a number. And they are already mentioned in the list Ark gives. And no, it is not easy to refute their arguments or claims.

      I don’t think it is going to be that easy to accept the evidence or the criticism. It means acknowledging one has believed a lie for so long. And that is not one easy thing to do.

      It is enough to present the evidence. What someone does with them is their own business. If you set out to change people’s minds, you will end up frustrated.

      I hope that was helpful. I know the stone god will have much more to say.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hello makagutu. I am glad you responded and it is helpful. I understand what you wrote and I agree. I don’t think I try to change minds, at least I hope that is not the start place of my talking with others. I do want them to talk reasonable and without deceit. My problem with UnkleE and what Mel started to do is they started answering everything with “the majority of scholars…say I am correct”. when it might have been only a couple in a much larger group. I can’t address that, but I can read. If ten people say that 70% of historians believe X and UnkleE denies this because in his mind “the majority of scholars believe I am correct” argument I have to go with the ten people. Thanks for your thoughts. I enjoy these posts and everyone’s ideas help me to understand. Hugs

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    2. Scottie: when presented with conflicting opinions we have to weigh any evidence for ourselves.

      Often ‘expert’ opinion is a crock (“Man will never fly”… “Rockets won’t work in the vacuum of space” etc) but there are no end of university degrees, doctorates even, in arcane and irrelevant subjects (who would be a more reliable expert—a doctor of Islam, a doctor of Hindu studies, or a doctor of Christianity?
      Does it matter?

      It matters most of course to the guy who invested years of study into it … and people don’t lightly abandon such expensive investments. Even today a doctorate mostly doesn’t come cheap.

      But simply weighing by numbers isn’t really the way to do it—I’m sure (say) Mel could muster infinitely more Goddists than I could Realists. (One of the reasons for that being that rational people are mostly ‘live and let live’ types who simply want to get on with life—whereas the Goddists find security (and income) in numbers, and are for ever desperately recruiting—as if Truth were ever a product of votes?

      Again I draw attention to The Law of Contradiction (it won’t let you down).

      As for how do you get them to see and acknowledge (that their investment of years and thousands may be a crock) … very few will. Despite the gritted teeth on their part they cannot admit that they are wrong; to do so isn’t merely biting the hand that feeds them, it is to chew it off up to the neck.

      As for Mel—he goes by the Infallible Word Of God as laid out in the Infallible Bible.
      He is an organic robot incapable of being reprogrammed—discussing with him is fun but only to draw him out enough to show himself for what he is; and then move on to a mind that is open to reason. ‘Arguing’ with such a True Believer is a total waste; mental masturbation (feels good but achieves nothing).

      I just try to open folks’ eyes to possibilities …

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Hi Argus. Well said. I had to look a few things up. I agree with what you wrote. I may give people too much of face value doubt. I think they seem reasonable so I expect them to be. Then when we get deeper into conversation, I get slammed with the “I am correct because my bible says I am correct and the bible is correct because I say it is” . I don’t mind different views and opinions, but I get frustrated at the denial of simple facts. I need to learn to read people better. Be well. Hugs

        Liked by 1 person

    3. In actual fact it is very simple to answer why they lie through their proverbial teeth.

      Think; Ken Ham and His Ark!
      And don’t worry about Unklee, he is a sycophantic disingenuous quarter-wit who likes to think he is intellectually savvy, when in fact, he is nothing but a very silly person.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. @Scottie

      First, one needs to distinguish between the Jesus of Theology–the Jesus of the Gospel who walks on water, raises the dead, etc. and the possible Jesus of history, an itinerant peasant preacher, who these later stories were based upon. The reason Mel and UnkleE are suggesting most historical scholarship supports a historical Jesus is because as far as I can tell most historians interested in this topic do accept that he most likely existed. See: link.

      If he were an itinerant peasant preacher, basically an unknown nobody, in the eyes of mainstream Roman writers why would any of those writers (some who were writing poetry, some natural history, some early forms of the novel, some rhetoric, along with a host of other topics) mention an itinerant peasant preacher? If we’re specifically talking about a dude who raised the dead and multplied loaves of bread, then yes, maybe a case could be made that some more of those writers should’ve mentioned him, but the itinerant peasant preacher not so much.

      People like Mel and UnkleE then take this possible historical nugget and use faith and the Gospel narratives to take the next step and leap of faith to then believe Jesus also performed the miracles.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One must also remember that, even if he was not the Lake Tiberias Pedestrian as claimed by the bible and merely a scruffy little shit of an itinerant rabble rouser executed for sedition there is not a single mention of this character either.
        Suetonius for example, said nothing about this supposed god-man or the human and he was around before and after the supposed creator of the universe donned a long white nightshirt strutted his stuff all around Galilee.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Given Suetonius was probably born 69 AD and Jesus, if the guy existed, is generally considered to have been crucified somewhere in the 30 AD range (i. e. 30 – 39 years earlier than Suetonius’ birth), I’m not really sure why you think “he was around before” Jesus and his rabble rousing days. Can you explain?

          I think the more important sources that such a guy likely existed would be Tacitus and Josephus. See the link I provided in my first post for why the typical objections to using them as sources of evidence have major problems.

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          1. @consoledreader.
            While I am happy to accept there was someone behind the story, I must be honest, I am not all that happy with the Tacitus reference and certainly not happy at all with Josephus, even the supposed core of the TF.

            One could argue that with the removal of the divine interpolations it might be okay, but what remains still seems out of place and does not flow. Yet take it all out ….
            and it reads a lot easier.

            And of course the Suetonius’s reference re: the Rome incident –

            “As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of one Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.” –

            which is often thrown on the table by those looking for Jesus witnesses is simply nonsense.

            Never been a particular fan in any sense of O’Neill. He has always struck me as someone with a humongous bug up his arse.
            Takes all sorts I suppose, but some people seem to like him.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “I am not all that happy with the Tacitus reference”

              Actual Tacitus scholars are, so I think I’ll go with them over some random internet guy.

              “and certainly not happy at all with Josephus”

              Actual Josephus scholars are.

              “One could argue that with the removal of the divine interpolations it might be okay, but what remains still seems out of place and does not flow. “

              Then I can only assume you haven’t read the rest of Josephus – that’s his style. I can give you detailed citations of about a dozen other places in his text where you could remove an digressive anecdote that “doesn’t flow”. Josephus is notorious for his digressions that interrupt what he is saying.

              “Never been a particular fan in any sense of O’Neill. He has always struck me as someone with a humongous bug up his arse.”

              Also known as “knowing what he’s talking about and not letting those who clearly don’t get away with it”.

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              1. Now you are simply sounding like every other apologist.

                Removing the TF in its entirety actually does make the text flow better. Whether he uses the digressive anecdote style elsewhere does not detract from the fact.
                A forger would likely know this and utilise such a practice.
                I would. And quite possibly the prime suspect, Eusebius knew this as well.

                And again it was not cited by anyone before Eusebius, and let’s be honest, one would think it would have been if one wanted to make a defense of the man -god.
                But as I noted, if it was only referring to some smelly little itinerant rabbi then it didn’t really matter did it?

                Actually I do not doubt O’Neill’s, credentials, I just find much of his delivery style obnoxious. that’s all.
                Much like I find you.
                Only O’Neill is open about his position and states he is not an historian in the strict sense but in the main likely knows much of his stuff ,whereas you probably not so much.

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                1. “Now you are simply sounding like every other apologist.””

                  More relevantly, I’m sounding like the Josephan scholars I’m referring to. But nice try at poisoning the well.

                  “Removing the TF in its entirety actually does make the text flow better. Whether he uses the digressive anecdote style elsewhere does not detract from the fact.”

                  As I said, there are about a dozen places where the text seems to flow better when you remove one of Josephus’ many digressions. So I’m afraid the fact that the text seems to flow better does not therefore mean this digression is an interpolation.

                  “A forger would likely know this and utilise such a practice.
                  I would. And quite possibly the prime suspect, Eusebius knew this as well.”

                  That ad hoc hypothesis doesn’t make your argument any stronger I’m afraid.

                  “And again it was not cited by anyone before Eusebius, and let’s be honest, one would think it would have been if one wanted to make a defense of the man -god.”

                  Please (i) list the pre-Eusebian patristics who you can show had access to or knowledge of Antiquities and then (ii) show the context in which they should have used this passage. I think you’ll find that once you get beyond glib assertions and into that level of technical textual analysis these arguments you think are so persuasive begin to fall apart quite rapidly.

                  “But as I noted, if it was only referring to some smelly little itinerant rabbi then it didn’t really matter did it?”

                  Which goes some way to answering your own question about why a pre-interpolated Ant. XVIII.63-64 wasn’t referred to.

                  Actually I do not doubt O’Neill’s, credentials, I just find much of his delivery style obnoxious. that’s all.

                  If you’re responding to me, why are you referring to me in the third person? And I’ve been perfectly civil in all my replies here and not “obnoxious” at all. Unless, of course, you find someone who you can’t dismiss as an “apologist” interrupting a cosy circle jerk with actual scholarship to be “obnoxious” rather than rational critical analysis. Perhaps you don’t like rationalism.

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                2. If you’re responding to me, why are you referring to me in the third person?

                  Smile … my mistake. Can you believe I did not read your blog name correctly. I just saw timo007 and never made the connection.
                  Getting old in my old age.
                  I tried to click on the avatar but it didn’t work. Perhaps if you want a bit more traffic on your new posh blog you might want to fix this?

                  So, I reiterate. I am in agreement with much of what you write only I find your delivery style, or rather the manner in which you interact, would be more accurate, somewhat obnoxious.
                  And no, you are never really that civil Tim.
                  But that’s okay, really it is.

                  Oh, and on the ”Jesus and the fishermen” in Josephus.
                  You are correct – of course! The term he used was mariners, wasn’t it?

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                3. “And no, you are never really that civil Tim.”

                  If I ever actually get uncivil I assure you that you’ll know about it. I’ve been rather more civil than you here.

                  “You are correct – of course! The term he used was mariners, wasn’t it?”

                  I have no idea because I don’t know what passage you’re referring to.

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                4. Oh, then should I dig it out for you?

                  Since you’re the one trying to make an argument about it and only you know (kind of) what the hell you’re referring to, I suppose only you can “dig it out”.

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                5. Sorry, Tim you did state that it seemed I had obviously not read much Josephus (quite true, in fact ) and that you could point out lots of places where he used a similar anecdotal style.
                  I was merely trying to correct my own error regarding the statement about ”fishermen” and offered the correct word Josephus used, which was Mariners. Although, funnily enough, I did read somewhere that mariners was simply another term for fishermen. Who would guess, right?

                  So, although you were the one telling me I had obviously not read much Josephus -and you do sound a bit uptight once more -, would you like me to reference it or not?

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                6. “So, although you were the one telling me I had obviously not read much Josephus -and you do sound a bit uptight once more -, would you like me to reference it or not?”

                  I’ve asked you to do so several times. I have no idea why you keep asking me if that’s what I’d like you to do. Yes, please cite whatever it is you’re talking about. I also have no idea why saying “Okay, then please finally cite the thing you keep referring to so vaguely” is somehow “uptight”.

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                7. Here we go, Tim.

                  The Life of Flavius Josephus

                  So Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people, prevented us, and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace on fire, and thought he should get a great deal of money thereby, because he saw some of the roofs gilt with gold. They also plundered a great deal of the furniture, which was done without our approbation; for after we had discoursed with Capellus and the principal men of the city, we departed from Bethmaus, and went into the Upper Galilee. But Jesus and his party slew all the Greeks that were inhabitants of Tiberias, and as many others as were their enemies before the war began.

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                8. @Ark. the passage you just typed out makes this Jesus and his followers seem much more like the thugs and want to be warriors of god his followers are. 🙂 Love the post. Hugs

                  Liked by 1 person

                9. the passage you just typed out makes this Jesus and his followers seem much more like the thugs and want to be warriors of god his followers are.

                  Ummm, you do realise his passage is about another Jesus entirely and is set about 33 years after Jesus of Nazareth died, don’t you? It is not about Jesus of Nazareth and has no relevance to him other than to show that “Jesus” was a very common name at the time.

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                10. Can’t speak for Scottie, but yes. I realise perfectly, thanks.
                  I was just drawing attention to certain similarities, that’s all.
                  And why could not the god man have been based on such a character?
                  I’m not saying he was, of course, but there are certain … let’s say …. interesting parallels, don’t you think?
                  After all, it isn’t as if the gospel accounts are contemporary, are they?
                  And there aren’t any contemporary accounts either, as we both know.

                  After all, the god man character had to be based on someone .

                  Liked by 1 person

                11. Can’t speak for Scottie, but yes. I realise perfectly, thanks.

                  Then don’t speak for him. Of course you realise that ben Sapphias was a different person, but I was responding to him. He’s clearly very confused.

                  “I was just drawing attention to certain similarities”

                  What “similarities”? Apart from the very common name, there are none. “Mariners” and “fishermen who work on a very small lake” are not the same thing.

                  … there are certain … let’s say …. interesting parallels, don’t you think?

                  No. Unless you have a special edition of the gospels where Jesus and his guys start looting and killing people in Galilee.

                  After all, the god man character had to be based on someone .

                  And we don’t need to go searching for non-parallels like this to work out who. The evidence points clearly to Jesus of Nazareth, brother of James. The James who Paul explicitly tells us he met and who Josephus mentions being executed when Josephus was 25 and living in the same city. No need for any wild goose chases.

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                12. I am sure Scottie won’t mind my comment, Tim. he is a very amenable bloke.
                  I mentioned I didn’t think the reference was to the supposed Jesus you are arguing full tilt for, I just think it had a couple of similarities ( interesting parallels) that’s all.

                  No, there is still a fair amount of dissent and there are a number of historians who consider the TF an entire forgery.
                  I quite like some of their explanations which have a distinct ring of commonsense to them.
                  And it is worth remembering that at one point practically every scholar, and many if not most Christians included considered the entire TF a forgery.
                  The subject of this post, Remsburg being one of them
                  I like this idea. And those historians who champion it don’t feel the need to rant about it.

                  Liked by 1 person

                13. OK this was the nearest reply to the threat I could find. Sorry I am late back to the party, I was over on Nan’s blog talking to a person who thought grains of sand on their skin and the lines in leaves show they clearly were made by god. I had to jump over to Jerry Coyne’s blog for a bit.

                  So yes I never mind Arks speaking up , his answers are better than mine. Tim I may not know dates and names and figures in the story but I can understand tone and I do reason, although a bit slowly. Your tone is off putting most of the time to say the least. When you disagree you clearly make it known how you feel towards the author of the comment as well as the substance. Oh well, no problem, all big boys as they say and I do try not to hold that against you. I just feel a person should be able to make their points without belittling the other person they are talking to. Ark and the others have so far.

                  About the Jesus thing. I am not convinced there was one person who ran around screaming into the wind. I think it was a group or multiple ones. Reason says it wouldn’t be hard to go around pretending to be someone, it happens today. Also you could have had many oral stories morphed into anything the teller wants or needs. So you reasonably don’t need a individual at all, and if one they may not have been called Jesus as that was a really common name back in the day I have read. Here on this blog I believe it was. That also is done often today. Recently there was a comedy show that went out and asked people to pick which made up person was not true and people missed all the time when they should have known the answer. Hey yes well not all people in the states feel feed the brain is a good thing.

                  So did I realize it was Jesus son of Sapphias? Yes. Do I know whom Sapphias is, nope. do I care, not really of I would have looked it up. Did I notice it was not “son of Nazareth? Yup. That is a town that I don’t think existed at the time of , nor was in that spot said to be needing to be to make biblical stuff work for the “every jesus” who became bible jesus. Long sentence, try to work it out, I will help when you start to get fleas. So my comment was THIS Jesus and his followers seem much more like the thugs and want to be warriors of god his followers are. I don’t think I was that wrong based on my beliefs of the situation. I was talking about the followers of the bible who I think of as thugs and warrior want to be’s.
                  I am loving this, learning a lot. Don’t let me get in the way of the epic.
                  Hugs

                  Liked by 1 person

                14. I just think it had a couple of similarities ( interesting parallels) that’s all.

                  Then you have a very good imagination. Or I really have missed the bit in the gospels where Jesus and the disciples go looting and killing.

                  “there are a number of historians who consider the TF an entire forgery.”

                  Very few these days, actually. In fact, the only one who really makes that case is … surprise, surprise, vocal Jesus Myther and unemployed blogger Richard Carrier. Gosh, I wonder if he has any ideological biases here …. ?

                  And it is worth remembering that at one point practically every scholar, and many if not most Christians included considered the entire TF a forgery.
                  The subject of this post, Remsburg being one of them

                  Yep, back in 1909. Real cuting edge stuff there. Since then there has been a lot more work done on the relevant stylistic analysis techniques and on the textual variants and that is why the consensus has swung away from that position.

                  And those historians who champion it don’t feel the need to rant about it.

                  *chuckle* You mean like Carrier – the guy who calls all his opponents (i.e. pretty much everyone in the field) either liars or actual lunatics? Yes, so level-headed. Who knows why his career crashed and burned? Such a mystery ….

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                15. Or I really have missed the bit in the gospels where Jesus and the disciples go looting and killing.

                  You wouldn’t be indulging in selective omission here Tim would you? Cherry Picking?
                  I meant his ”groupies” and the fact they were Mariners … fishermen. I dd mention this, Tim …Twice.

                  Re: entire TF Forgery.

                  Very few these days, actually. In fact, the only one who really makes that case is … surprise, surprise, vocal Jesus Myther and unemployed blogger Richard Carrier. Gosh, I wonder if he has any ideological biases here …. ?

                  Really? So you are saying there are no extant scholars/historians who maintain it is a forgery in its entirety? Okay …. if you say so,

                  Yep, back in 1909. Real cuting edge stuff there. Since then there has been a lot more work done on the relevant stylistic analysis techniques and on the textual variants and that is why the consensus has swung away from that position.

                  Yes,odd then that there might still be a few around who agree with” oldies” like Remsburg etc.
                  Oh, wait a minute you said there was only one these days didn’t you? Richard Carrier. Oops, sorry my mistake.

                  And those historians who champion it don’t feel the need to rant about it.
                  *chuckle* You mean like Carrier

                  To be honest, I wasn’t actually thinking of Carrier, but rather some of the people cited on a piece I was reading earlier this evening.
                  But, silly me. I was using Historian and rant in the same sentence. You, like me, can rant all you like I guess.

                  Liked by 1 person

                16. I am not convinced there was one person who ran around screaming into the wind. I think it was a group or multiple ones. Reason says it wouldn’t be hard to go around pretending to be someone, it happens today.

                  Sorry, but simply coming up with a plausible way that it could have been “a group or multiple ones” isn’t enough. There are hundreds of things that plausibly “could have” happened. What a historian does is sift through those mere possibilities with reference to the source materials to work out what is most likely. When you have Paul mentioning meeting Jesus’ brother and best friend and Josephus mentioning the death of the same brother when Josephus was 25 and living in the same small city, we aren’t dealing with some vague amalgam of multiple figures. We are clearly dealing with one guy who existed within the living memory of at least two of our sources.

                  That is a town that I don’t think existed at the time of

                  Then you’d better go tell those silly Jewish archaeologists that they are wrong. You seem to be working very hard to ignore good evidence so you can believe what you want to believe. You seem driven by emotion, not rationality.

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                17. I meant his ”groupies” and the fact they were Mariners … fishermen.

                  “Mariners” does not mean “fishermen”. The word Josephus uses is ναυτῶν. It means “seaman, those who sail on the sea”. It doesn’t mean “fisherman” and certainly doesn’t refer to people who fish in tiny boats on a very small lake. Your imagination outruns your understand, as ever.

                  “So you are saying there are no extant scholars/historians who maintain it is a forgery in its entirety?”

                  I said they were greatly in the minority these days, unlike back in 1909.

                  odd then that there might still be a few around who agree with” oldies” like Remsburg etc.

                  Not really. If you work hard enough you can find someone in this field who holds pretty much any position you can think of.

                  Oh, wait a minute you said there was only one these days didn’t you? Richard Carrier. Oops, sorry my mistake.

                  Yes, your mistake. I didn’t say he was the only one. Read what I actually said. And drop the arch sarcasm – it really doesn’t work while you stumble from one error to the next.

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                18. “Mariners” does not mean “fishermen”. The word Josephus uses is ναυτῶν. It means “seaman, those who sail on the sea”. It doesn’t mean “fisherman” and certainly doesn’t refer to people who fish in tiny boats on a very small lake. Your imagination outruns your understand, as ever.

                  Oh well, he was called Jesus and his groupies caught fish. How’s that?
                  I suppose it would have been totally ridiculous had they been bricklayers then there would have no recourse.
                  Having an imagination is always as asset when one writes.
                  The gospel writers and many of the early church theologians are excellent examples, don’t you think so?

                  Yes, your mistake. I didn’t say he was the only one.

                  You said: ”In fact, the only one who really makes that case is … ”

                  So in actual fact you did say Carrier was only one.

                  Sarcasm? No, I think this time I was going for obnoxious. I thought you would find it easier to relate to.

                  Liked by 1 person

                19. Oh well, he was called Jesus and his groupies caught fish. Hows that? …

                  I have no idea what this or the rest of that paragraph is trying to say or how its a response to what I said. Again, ναυτῶν means “mariners” and never means “fishermen”. Your fantasy has no evidential basis. Again.

                  You said: ”In fact, the only one who really makes that case is … ”

                  There I was talking specifically about historians. Carrier is one. All the others who make that case are textual critics. There’s a difference.

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                20. The bloke was governor of Tiberias which as you know was on the eastern shoreline of the Sea of Galilee.
                  The Mediterranean sea seems just a tad far away for his Mariners to have come.

                  Geography was never my strong suit though. I got stuck when we had to do Fijords.

                  There I was talking specifically about historians. Carrier is one. All the others who make that case are textual critics.

                  Of course you were, and everyone reading along realised this … naturally.

                  I really am going for a cup of of tea, now. T’ra!
                  It’s been lots of fun.
                  Hope you enjoyed playing, Tim

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        2. Essentially, it all goes back to Constantine and his proclamation. Before that, it was most likely like reading the Sunday paper with special enjoyment of the comics.

          Liked by 2 people

    5. “However what I don’t understand is why people like Mel and unkleE insist that the majority of historical scholars support their view”

      They say that because it’s correct. You can count the scholars who don’t accept a historical Jesus existed on the fingers of one hand, and that’s only if you’re really generous with the definition of “scholar”. This is out of hundreds of thousands of scholars working in relevant fields. The consensus that a historical Jesus existed is absolutely overwhelming.

      … he always claimed that the majority sided with him no matter what the evidence presented>

      He’s right. See above.

      ” We have those writings. What Mel said was a lie then, he said that we have almost no known writings from that time”

      I suspect what this “Mel” was actually saying was that our sources for anyone are scanty, so we would not expect contemporary references for someone as unimportant as a Jewish preacher. We have no other examples of an early first century Jewish preacher being mentioned in contemporary sources, so we would not expect any for this one.

      “My question is on this seeming making up of evidence in support of their view.”

      It seems you just didn’t understand what they were saying.

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      1. Hello timoneill007. I have been following your discussion with Ark and the others with great interest. While I don’t have the academic depth in the siiue you guys have, I would like to add a few things to your comment here. First I get wary when people add things like “absolutely overwhelming” to their statements. Any time someone tries to make something that others are currently disputing seem definitively over in their favor I question that. It normally is added without the qualifying who and wheres just to make it seem the issue is now beyond debate or question.

        The “… ” was about UnkleE and he would use it on every issue he was stumped on. So I don’t really agree with you on that.

        As to what Mel may have been saying it was a conversation between Ark and Mel and it seemed Ark had more reason and evidence to support his view of the issue. Like today I am listening in without a background in studying of the subject so I can not argue the specifics but I can look at the reasoning. Be well. Hugs

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        1. “First I get wary when people add things like “absolutely overwhelming” to their statements. “

          If someone said the acceptance of evolutionary biology was “absolutely overwhelming” would you also be “wary”? Or does this “wariness” only kick in when you don’t like what the other person is saying?

          “The “… ” was about UnkleE and he would use it on every issue he was stumped on.”

          I know UnkleE and so I would question your claim that he would point to the fact that the consensus on these issues is overwhelming because he was “stumped”.

          “it seemed Ark had more reason and evidence to support his view of the issue”

          Which is the problem when people with biases and a lack of a detailed grasp of the scholarship play in a echo chamber. Ark does not have a good grasp of the material at all – though he has just enough to convince himself and others who have even less that he knows what he’s talking about.

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          1. I think you have an assumption that is invalid. I would be wary if someone said “acceptance of evolutionary biology” was without debate, or beyond doubt or any other way that makes it seem there is not a question on the subject. So yes. As for UnkleE I was reading a post on Nate’s blog where he did just that, no matter what anyone argued with him about it always came down to “overwhelming most scholars” or nearly everyone agrees. He just kept trying to make it seem that if you disagreed with him you were bucking everyone one on the planet. I was not talking to him about that stuff because I have not studied most of it. I was responding to a point he made about using the bible to prove something. After I argued about not using one book to prove something he claimed he did not mean that and wrote something that came across as he was too well versed in these issues to do something he clearly had done. Maybe it was short hand as he thought everyone understood his point. But it stuck with me. As for an Echo chamber, I did read the page at the link consoledreader sent me. https://historyforatheists.com/2017/05/did-jesus-exist-the-jesus-myth-theory-again/ . But after about half of it I couldn’t stay awake and it was blurring together. You may say I am biased in the argument I am reading and have read parts of before and you might be correct. I do tend to follow arguments better when I can understand them and they don’t bore me to death. Plus in all the time I have been reading the posts here , Ark has never deliberately lied or misrepresented facts. Some others mostly thesis have. So yes I am biased to a bunch of the regulars I have read here. Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

            1. “I think you have an assumption that is invalid. “

              I didn’t make an “assumption”, I asked you a question.

              “I would be wary if someone said “acceptance of evolutionary biology” was without debate, or beyond doubt “

              Knowing UnkleE, I sincerely doubt he simply cited the consensus and made no other argument. Or that he said the issue of the historicity of Jesus was “without debate” or “beyond doubt”. Can you link to or quote him saying these precise things?

              “He just kept trying to make it seem that if you disagreed with him you were bucking everyone one on the planet.”

              It sounds like all he was actually doing is noting the consensus. And he’s correct.

              “But after about half of it I couldn’t stay awake and it was blurring together.”

              Really? I tried to make it as simple and straightforward as I could. Sorry if you were falling asleep – perhaps historical analysis isn’t for you.

              I do tend to follow arguments better when I can understand them and they don’t bore me to death.

              Which parts didn’t you understand, exactly?

              “Plus in all the time I have been reading the posts here , Ark has never deliberately lied or misrepresented facts. “

              Have I lied or distorted facts?

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              1. You ask if you lied or distorted facts? I don’t know but I doubt it. As I repeatedly said I don’t have a background in the subject so I couldn’t cite specifics of a lie. What I also said in instances of doubt on the same thing I will trust Arks reasoning and his assertions. Sorry if that hurts but I have know and read him longer. As for links to the post on Nate’s blog where the conversation was going on, no I did not save the post. I have my opinion of UnkleE’s written statements and while you say it doesn’t sound like him it was what he was doing on a couple of subjects. IF I remember correctly they did concern the historical accuracy of different things. No I don’t remember the exact conversations verbatim. I think it started with the gospels not being the same and who authored which and yes to me it seemed he used that whole ” I am correct because I think more scholars agree with me” trick. Phrased differently and repeatedly attested too. Now I think we have covered my opinion of UnkleE quite enough and I am missing a lot of the good conversation here by devoting my time to responding to you about him. Have fun. Hugs

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                1. “What I also said in instances of doubt on the same thing I will trust Arks reasoning and his assertions. “

                  Your faith in his competence is touching, but surely if he’s arguing against an overwhelming consensus of experts on this topic, that should ring some alarm bells. Perhaps you should be paying a bit more attention to the reasons those experts disagree with this random, non-expert guy. Note, for example, that in my replies to him here I’ve been able to answer all his arguments in some detail.

                  And If you can’t quote or link to the relevant discussions to support your claims about UnkleE, then all I can say is that does not sound like the guy I know. I suspect you’re misremembering things.

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                2. @Tim
                  Not wanting to hijack you conversation with Scottie …. If I may …

                  If we are being specific regarding Eric’s claims about Jesus, he does tend to use the consensus card to further his god- man agenda, although he is a past master at the theological two-step, a clever apologist , and tends to avoid answering direct questions that oblige him to isolate and demonstrate the veracity of the foundational tenets of his faith-based claims.
                  Thus, he words his arguments to give maximum credibility to his claims of divinity for Jesus while occasionally reminding the non-Christian reader he is engaging at the time that faith plays a part of his beliefs but not all.
                  I think Scottie and anyone reading unklee, especially over an extended period has a right to doubt his credibility ,especially when he openly admits he believes in the historicity of the Virgin Birth among other things.

                  Liked by 1 person

      2. I am new to this, when you say the consensus is that there was a historical Jesus. Do you mean a son of a virgin, miracle performing god man or do you have some other person in mind?

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        1. The consensus is minimalistic. But it does include a man from Nazareth who had followers and was crucified by Pontius Pilate. Of course, Jesus “scholarship” isn’t too far removed from calling Jesus “the lord”.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Never having seen the originals for myself I’ve read in many places that the mentions of Josephus are “obvious interpolations”
    And Chrestus isn’t a name but a title, I understand that there were lots of Chrestuses (Chresti?) running around in that period.

    But frankly it doesn’t matter to me. It remains academic drivel until some Mormon, Catholic, Jew, Islamic, Seventh Day Adventist etc etc ad infinitem nutcase trots across the surface of a lake and slaps me in the face with a wet fish He keeps conjuring out of nowhere. The day this happens I’ll cheerfully nail myself to a cross—in the meantime I’ll look at various gods/godesses and other money-making schemes around the world with a jaundiced eye.

    Religion is a ‘flavour du jour’ wherever we are, and nothing more than a scheme to garner wealth and power.

    Any takers?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Academic it is. After all, it has been speculated that even if the character was wholly myth it would simply require a minor revision / shift in hermeneutics and things would level off and it would be a case of ”As You Were”.

      Surely the only way for it to have any serious hope of coming to a grinding halt rather than dying a slowish natural death as most other religions have done, is for Jewish and Christian clergy at the highest level to come out of the Theological Closet and ‘fess up to its spurious nature and begin to dismantle the infrastructure.

      Islam would still be difficult, but far easier to tackle.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Islam may be easy to tackle academically—but I never argue with the hijacker holding a gun to my head or a knife to my wife’s throat.

        The rest of it will never grind to a halt—not until little upcoming kiddies can be taught how to think for themselves (and given the freedom to do so).

        As for senior clergy coming out of the closet—would you willingly do so, if your wealth, perks, privileges, and power would thusly be removed? I doubt that the Pope or Head Lopper-Offers of Islam would willingly step out and go to the breadline.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Vid inactive but can be seen if you hit the YouTube link bottom RHS.

            I think from watching that ol’ Hitch may have a major heart problem—a pity, we need more like him, desperately.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes, he died, cancer I think. But even when he was really sick he kept giving talks and stuff. He was saying things about how violent Islam was that I figured you would like. Hugs

              Liked by 1 person

              1. Thanks Scottie … “They told me, Heraclitus—they told me you were dead. They brought me bitter news to hear, and bitter tears to shed …”

                He will be missed, candour (and courage) in a mind like that doesn’t come often.

                Liked by 1 person

    2. Religions are a behavior modification device designed to control the actions of the masses and to move wealth from the lower population base to the upper echelon of religious leaders. This is what I told Mel. He agreed with the control part, but got rather upset and defencive about the money thing. 🙂 Hugs

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      1. And yet look how wealthy the Catholic Church is!
        What the Roman Empire failed to achieve with the Sword alone the Roman Church had almost achieved with the bible , n the sword.
        And the bonfire and the thumbscrews and the rack and the pear and the red hot poker and the threats and … and … love? (sic)

        Liked by 2 people

        1. ARK:

          I have had the indignant counter to such points take the form that ‘The Pope (etc) doesn’t one all the gold, jewels, riches, real estate etc etc … the poor bugger lives in poverty himself and is merely custodian’. To each his own.

          Personally I like what ‘they’ did to ‘the smiling pope’ that time, it keeps the others in line—and God of course always looks after His own; after all, it was His hand that misguided the assassins bullets so that Popey was spared that time (a wee bit wounded, yes, but spared). And the armoured cars (Popemobile, boom boom~!) are NOT a sign of lack of faith—they just show that the incumbent doesn’t want to be a drain on God’s time and resources; he’s trying to ‘help himself’ by taking reasonable precautions which spare God’s attentions for elsewhere.

          Liked by 1 person

    3. “I’ve read in many places that the mentions of Josephus are “obvious interpolations””

      Yes, that gets repeated but it’s not correct. The consensus view of the reference to Jesus in Ant. XVIII.63-64 is that it has been added to, but that there was an original reference to him at this point. And the overwhelming consensus on the second reference in Ant. XX.200 is that it is genuine. Those who claim both are wholesale interpolations are fringe contrarians at best.

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      1. And why do you think Origen never mentions it? Or anyone else before Eusebius?
        It would seem there are only two likely reasons;
        It did not exist and is wholly a forgery or,
        he was talking about just another smelly little eschatological itinerant rabbi.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re referring to Ant. XVIII.63-64? Because (i) virtually no ante-Nicean patristics show any indication of having access to Antiquities and (ii) before the interpolated additions were made, it didn’t say anything that had any apologetic value. It was only after the “he was the Messiah” and “they saw him again on the third” day additions were made that the passage had any use to them. It’s not like anyone was denying Jesus existed.

          “It would seem there are only two likely reasons”

          Wrong. See above.

          “or,
          he was talking about just another smelly little eschatological itinerant rabbi.”

          How could Ant. XVIII.63-64 be about someone else? Or are you talking about Ant. XX.200 now? What exactly are you trying to argue here?

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          1. “Because (i) virtually no ante-Nicean patristics show any indication of having access to Antiquities”
            Good grief – Acts of the Apostles draws heavily from Antiquities. The “Theudas problem” even demonstrates a misreading of it.

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            1. Good grief – Acts of the Apostles draws heavily from Antiquities. The “Theudas problem” even demonstrates a misreading of it.

              That’s a hypothesis, and far from certain. But my point stands – few of the the ante-Nicean patristics seem to have had access to Antiquities even if (and it’s a big “if”) the author of Luke/Acts may have. If you want to claim otherwise, please note which ante-Nicean patristics you believe did have access to it and note your evidence. Good luck.

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              1. BTW, I think it’s far more “certain” that Acts’ author had access to Antiquities than it is that Jesus existed. The fact that there are echoes of Josephus in other early Christian works adds to the likelihood. For instance, the talent-sized boulders falling from the sky in Revelation (16?) are a striking match to the talent-sized boulder Jesus ben Ananias was killed by in Wars. The description of the temple and city in Revelation is very similar to Josephus’s description of the temple. In Mark, Jesus “gave up the ghost”, a phrase which Josephus used more than once. In Acts’ reference to Theudas and Judas of Galilee (where Acts created a chronological error), it’s likely because Josephus wrote about Theudas…and then immediately after, wrote about the “sons” of Judas of Galilee (Antiquities xx).

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      2. In all truth (“interpolations”) does it really matter a damn?

        If Enid Blyton’s works are rewritten (sanitised—Noddy and BigEars sharing a bed, eeeek~!) does it matter a damn, or do we have to believe in Toytown?

        The big argument used to be over ‘how many angels could dance on the head of a pin’ … ye gods. I think the answer eventually was six thousand … so one loaf and fish each?

        We should be moving on, not endlessly counting the beans in various works of fiction, or arguing with the obviously insane. I honestly won’t mind if they keep their delusions to themselves—and allow their children to think. For themselves …

        The answer lies in resolving contradictions into their premises, as in ‘true or false?’.

        Is there a contradiction between the omnipotent infinite compassion of God, and a hydrogen bomb? (Or a holy stake …)

        Don’t ask me, I’m just a dum dog. So, good people, think for yourself, it might hurt a bit at first, but go on … you know you’d like to.
        Mel?
        A lost cause—but the spread of his ilk could be halted and reverse by upcoming generations if only they be taught (and allowed) to think.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know, I know, I know … God gave us Free Will, right?

          I can see the contradictions in that—if you can’t, then be advised that God authorised me to sell you that rusty old bridge in Sydney Harbour, and pocket the cash.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. “In all truth (“interpolations”) does it really matter a damn?”

          I usually find in these discussions that as soon as the “there was no historical Jesus at all” arguments start to fall apart people fall back on “okay, but if he wasn’t the Jesus of the gospels why does it matter?” I suppose it doesn’t “matter” if you aren’t very interested in history. But many of those of us who are happen to find the questions about how the largest and most influential religion in human history got started fairly interesting. Some would even say it was kind of important. Feel free to disagree.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Glad to know that I’m following a well-beaten path (and on the right track?).

            If the Bible relies on the historicity of Jesus, it’s a wee beat weak.
            I am actually interested in history, but only as an aside.

            And I think that if present trends continue—are allowed to continue—we will both be subject to the up-and-coming ‘largest and most influential religion in history’ within a generation or two—and it won’t be Christianity.

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            1. “If the Bible relies on the historicity of Jesus, it’s a wee beat weak.”

              What is “weak” exactly?

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              1. (Please forgive typos) (I’m good at them.)

                All through childhood I was indoctrinated with Jesus. Then into adulthood with compulsory Christianity, especially in the navy—although we were allowed to be ‘agnostic’ (on paper).

                Whenever I queried the validity of JC I was told that ‘they didn’t have birth certificates in those days’; and if pressing the issue it resolved into the circular argument: Jeez was in the Bible and the Bible was about Jeez.

                It was only when I couldn’t spare the time nor the interest to go deeper that I came across Josephus, which was (decades ago now) written off as interpolation. I accepted that.

                But if you can prove the historicity of Jesus, I’m all ears—for the historicity of Jesus, but for the ‘truth’ of the Bible, no … that would take an act of God.

                But I’m not totally lost, I’ve often stated that the Big Bang and the Creation could be two different names (descriptions of) for the same event. I believe in neither …

                No, I’m not attempting to shift the focus of the discussion. I admit up front that I’m an uneducated man (but I ain’t dum).

                Your move …

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                1. “But if you can prove the historicity of Jesus … “

                  “Prove” is a big word. People who like “proof” should probably avoid ancient history altogether and stick to the hard sciences or to mathematics. Historians don’t “prove” things – they make careful and structured assessments of likelihood, based on analysis of relevant material. It is most likely that a man called Yeshua who came from Nazareth and was executed in Jerusalem by crucifixion is the point of origin of the later stories. This is the most parsimonious reading of the evidence and the one that requires the least number of suppositions.

                  The idea that there was no such person when so much of our material points directly to him existing, on the other hand, doesn’t stand up to Occam’s Razor. It requires a convoluted series of suppositions, perhapses, what ifs and maybes, none of which are sustained by any evidence. For example, most versions of the Jesus Myth hypothesis requires that there was an earlier form of proto-Christianity which didn’t believe in a historical Jesus at all but believed in a purely mythic, allegorical or celestial one. It is claimed this earlier form Christianity gave rise to the form that taught about a historical Jesus (even though one didn’t exist) and then vanished from history. Where is the evidence that indicates all this? There isn’t any. Why do none of the opponents of early Christianity point to this earlier form? This isn’t explained. Why do none of the Christian writers who condemn “heretical” alternative forms of Christianity mention this one? That isn’t explained either. The whole idea is nothing more than an ad hoc contrivance created to try to come up with an alternative point of origin for the later stories. Not surprisingly, no professional scholars find this silly alternative theory in any way convincing.

                  The historical Jesus idea just fits the evidence better and makes more sense. It’s simply more logical.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. 007:

                  “Historians don’t “prove” things – they make careful and structured assessments of likelihood, based on analysis of relevant material” — reads like scientific guesswork*.

                  I could hazard a guess that the local equivalent of ‘Jesus’ (as a name) could have been as common as (say) ‘John’ is today? Or ‘Jesus’ in Hispanic America?

                  But miracle workers abound— only today we know them as TV illusionists. Some of them are very good, but this is evading the issue: Jesus was created for a reason, wealth and power for his creators. He was sold as being God incarnate, the Creator of the Entire Everything Everywhere Everytime who popped in to His creation (one of many hundreds of billions, I believe) via a virgin in an obscure little nowhere to move among a few scruffy folks to heal (just some of) the sick, and raise (just one of?) the dead to reinforce the lessons held dear by all sorts of folks (like the Essenes as one example) in an unsavoury political/religious environment.

                  The myth—whether based on a true historical figure or not (I guess we’ll never know but ol’ Occam points very strongly at not)—holds infinite appeal for the unhappy and powerless wishful and could be (was~!) invoked and milked by unscrupulous power/wealth hunters.

                  * ‘Science is a moving target, no? ‘Flavour of the day’ decided by vote—yesterday’s ‘fact’ is often today’s big giggle.

                  Liked by 1 person

                3. I could hazard a guess that the local equivalent of ‘Jesus’ (as a name) could have been as common as (say) ‘John’ is today? Or ‘Jesus’ in Hispanic America?

                  Yes, it was about that common.

                  Jesus was created for a reason, wealth and power for his creators.

                  Really? Given that for the first three centuries all he got for his followers was ridicule, oppression and occasional death, these “creators” you assume did a pretty bad job.

                  The myth—whether based on a true historical figure or not (I guess we’ll never know but ol’ Occam points very strongly at not

                  Actually ol’ Occam points very strongly the other way. Whatever else they say about him, all the sources talk about him as a historical person in a very specific context. Even the later Gnostic ones that didn’t want him to be human at all were still forced to set him in a historical context. The Jesus Myth idea has to dismiss this by positing a proto-Christianity that didn’t do this and then try to make excuses for why there is absolutely no evidence for any such thing. Occam’s Razor makes short work of theories that depend on this kind of baseless supposition, but the Jesus Myth theory depends on a tottering pile of them. This is one of the reasons a historical Jesus is generally accepted by those who actually understand how historical analysis is done.

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                4. 007:

                  Mea culpa, with apologies.

                  Perhaps the myth wasn’t created by the folks who made vast fortunes and gathered vast powers from it. More credit to them, then, for being astute enough to milk the extant myths and develop them into huge Big Business. Clever …

                  But without wishing to set up a straw man (or whatever other rule of debate I’m breaking) —you have to admit that Uncle Mo and the merry men of Islam took up the standard, amended it a bit, developed it a lot and haven’t looked back since? Their prophet (I am told) was a real undeniable person (a bit of a pederastic bigamist and sadistic swine by my standards, but nonetheless a true genius in the way that Christians can only envy).

                  Liked by 1 person

          2. “But many of those of us who are happen to find the questions about how the largest and most influential religion in human history got started fairly interesting.”
            Doesn’t the belief of the earliest Christians give it away? That the Christ descended onto the ordinary man? We even know what they thought the Christ was via Hippolytus and Epiphanius. The Nasarenes, Nazarenes, Ebionites, and Essenes believed there were masculine and feminine Spirits in the sky. http://www.masseiana.org/panarion_bk1.htm#18.

            We get more definition of these Spirits from 2 Esdras 9-10. The female Spirit was the Queen of Heaven, who Margaret Barker makes a case was the voice who said “you are my son…with you I am well-pleased” after the heavens opened after Jesus’s baptism. The Christ Spirit was the temple – the bridegroom who died on his wedding night. This is the Christianity that Paul believed in, and it was the combination of allegory and Paul’s letters that likely gave rise to the allegorical Gospel tales, which drew on all sorts of messiah types – Theudas, Jesus ben Ananias, The Egyptian (who Acts of the Apostles equates with Paul), Jesus of Galilee, James – that Jerusalem pillar who was killed by Ananus ben Ananus.

            Liked by 3 people

  7. The historical Jesus idea just fits the evidence better and makes more sense. It’s simply more logical.

    Does it? Why?

    If there was someone as the basis for the god-man nonsense then there was always the possibility the paper trail could be followed back and eventually we could arrive at a point here we could point and exclaim ….”Aha! ”

    Whereas, a wholly fictitious character, parsed from various other rabbis running around at the time,would also likely pass muster and would probably slip under the radar, yet be very difficult if not impossible to refute .

    Moses did, and still does for some people.

    In a world where illiteracy, myth, and miracles dominated why is a made-up character that unbelievable?

    We are fairly certain that all the tales of the biblical disciples are nonsense as are the supposed later martyr’s.

    What is the real problem of contemplating that the biblical character is a complete work of fiction,a composite figure?

    Not that I’m saying he is, mind you, but simply asking why is there such a problem with considering he is?
    Also, what do you think the reason might be that Josephus and Tacitus did not reference any of the gospels?

    Josephus wrote Antiquities around 90 AD, Tacitus penned Annals around 116-120.

    I would imagine there must have been a few copies of the ”gospels” around by this time, even if there was no official names attached. Certainly gMark and gMatthew in some form or another, and one would think that if not Josephus, a scholar of Tacitus’s acumen, relative wealth and position would have been able to have access to something in writing and would likely want to if he were making mention of the character, deemed to be the founder of a pernicious superstition, if only to ridicule written claims of divinity.

    Yet neither man makes any sort of allusion to any written material whatsoever.
    I wonder why not?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Does it? Why?”

      Occam’s Razor. All the evidence talks about Jesus as a historical man. They make various supernatural and, later, Christological claims about who this historical man “really” was, but he is a historical man in every single account we have. This is even in the later Gnostic accounts, that desperately try to insist that he was only the illusion of a man and was a purely spiritual being – but they still accept that he at least seemed a man and had a historical existence. The Mythicist alternatives, on the other hand, all require suppositions piled on suppositions about proto-Christian precursors that believed in a non-historical Jesus and which then somehow vanished without leaving a trace in the historical record. Usually along with contorted conspiracy theories about why there is no sign of these supposed precursors that their fantasy theories require. This crap only convinces those who have an emotional need to be convinced.

      “If there was someone as the basis for the god-man nonsense then there was always the possibility the paper trail could be followed back and eventually we could arrive at a point here we could point and exclaim ….”Aha! ””

      You mean like we can trace back to Galatians 1:19 and Josephus Ant. XX.200 and say “Well, amalgams of other rabbis can’t have flesh and blood brothers that people can meet and whose deaths can trigger political events. So James’ known existence attested by two contemporaries means Jesus existed”.

      Josephus wrote Antiquities around 90 AD, Tacitus penned Annals around 116-120.

      I would imagine there must have been a few copies of the ”gospels” around by this time, even if there was no official names attached.

      The gospels were circulating in a very small number of copies in a sect that numbered in a few thousand and was made up mainly of peasants, slaves and a few merchants. The idea that either Jospehus or Tacitus, both working in Rome at the time, even knew of their existence is absurd. And nothing in either’s references to Jesus indicates any Christian source.

      ” one would think that if not Josephus, a scholar of Tacitus’s acumen, relative wealth and position would have been able to have access to something in writing and would likely want to if he were making mention of the character”

      You clearly haven’t read much Tacitus. He rarely tells us what his sources were.

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      1. I must stress that I am only utting suggestions out there. My take on whether there was someone called Jesus or rather Yeshu is much along the lines of what Remsburg states.

        The gospels were circulating in a very small number of copies in a sect that numbered in a few thousand and was made up mainly of peasants, slaves and a few merchants.

        I actually wouldn’t know how many copies were in circulation. However, considering the very level illiteracy among these classes why would they be circulating among such people?

        You clearly haven’t read much Tacitus. He rarely tells us what his
        sources were.

        Correct. I have not read that much. I only have Annals and Histories. In hardback. Nice too, and in goof nick.
        So, if he was not referring to records then
        would you agree all he was relaying was hearsay?

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        1. I actually wouldn’t know how many copies were in circulation.

          Luckily there are scholars who devote their lives to studying the relevant evidence and its historical context and so know much more than you about such things. They agree that the Jesus Sect was very small before the third century and the number of copies of the gospels would therefore have been tiny.

          However, considering the very level illiteracy among these classes why would they be circulating among such people?

          Because even a small sect has some literate people. Because the Jesus Sect spread, as new religions usually do, along trade routes and so picked up converts from the literate merchant class. And because the set evolved out of a Jewish tradition where some literate members read aloud to those who could not read.

          “So, if he was not referring to records then would you agree all he was relaying was hearsay?”

          Reducing the choices to either (a) literary sources or (b) mere hearsay is too restrictive. Tacitus actually disapproved of the use of hearsay and condemns it in no uncertain terms (see Annals IV.11). But there he is referring to unsubstantiated gossip and general rumours. People in the ancient world made use of networks of information that were not mere hearsay and Tacitus was careful about who he used for relevant information. On Jewish sectarian affairs such as the origins of the Christian sect he would not have had to go far. He worked at the court of Titus and had access to a number of well-educated and highly informed Jewish exiles in Rome. These included Herod Agrippa’s daughter, the Princess Berenice (also the emperor’s mistress) and none other than Josephus himself.

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          1. … and the number of copies of the gospels would therefore have been tiny.

            Gotta’ remember … no printing presses during those days. 🙂

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      2. 007:

        you use Occam’s razor as if it were holy writ, sacred and infallible.

        Can we apply it to Jesus?

        What is more occam:

        (a) that someone gathered some of writings and sayings of various anonymous speakers of the middle east and created a religion from them?

        Or—

        (b) that some self-created infinite ‘being’ dwelling in the middle of the absolute definitive nowhere, using His (male? Don’t ask) infinite powers created both infinity and a universe (or several, possibly many?), and with His infinite fore-knowledge created the human being (that He knew would eventually and inescapably be nailed to a cross) so that that human could be called Jesus and run around in parts of an obscure little non-event country so that he could gather a few nondescript dribs and drabs of folks and found a church with/from them; one that later would gather very great wealth and very great (ruthless) power for privileged fews—some of whom would fight truly vicious wars over His divine name?

        I vote (a) …

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny how this one brings them all running.
      Definitely one of Tim’s Jump up and Down Topics.
      I’m wondering if we should introduce the etymology angle as well?
      Or bring Constantine’s mum, Helen into it?

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I started reading the book when you linked to it on Nate’s blog. It’s got some great info in it. Personally, I think the initial reflections on miracles and natural law are great.

    With regards to an historical Jesus, I’m still seeing this retreat to ignorance that marks many arguments in favor of a real guy that may or may not have altered reality on his whims. Ultimately it does not matter, because whatever construct that got created ended up dominating the failing Roman Empire and its subsequent territories. Like the myths in Virgil’s Aeneid or in Homer’s epic poetry, the only facts we can know for sure is that they got promoted everywhere they went.

    It cannot be stressed enough that we have zero evidence for the breaking of natural laws in any culture’s body of myths – Jesus included. The only proponents of a myth in actual fact are those who already ascribe to the reality of it. This is why the argument from silence carries traction within skeptical circles. Jesus is no different from any other culture’s fantastic claims of supernatural events.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for visiting, SB.
      You’ll notice that the post has branched a bit to include Nazareth, and Tim O’Neill is adamant that archaeological evidence is firm enough to state that the village existed at the time of Jesus … if he indeed did exist.
      And when we say Nazareth we mean, of course, the village as referenced in the bible.
      Any thoughts?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. So if a town existed, then there must have been a supernatural demigod that can break the laws of nature? By that reasoning, the fact that Troy existed means Achilles totally was real and invulnerable except for his heel.

        It does not logically follow that a town’s existence increases the likelihood of supernatural events. If that was the case, we’d have to reexamine every work of fiction set in actual times and places.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Okay, so I did some digging and found this assertion of his:

            “The fact remains that all the relevant evidence indicates Jesus was from Nazareth (despite this being rather awkward for the gospels writers, given that the Messiah was supposed to be from somewhere else). And the archaeologists are unanimous that Nazareth was inhabited in the relevant period.”

            (comment 21 June 17 @ 22:31, emphasis omitted).

            After reading it, I think he’s just asserting there’s a real Jesus that the religion was based off of. The quote implies that Jesus was real, and he was from Nazareth. Logically, Nazareth has to exist in order for Jesus to be from there.

            Although Nazareth existing is a necessary condition for there to be a Jesus of Nazareth, it doesn’t actually go to proving there’s a real rabbi that taught people an apocalyptic version of Judaism that spread around the Empire. All it means is that Jesus could have existed. Going from could have existed to did exist requires some fairly big assumptions that aren’t warranted by any facts I’ve seen presented.

            In other words, it would be like saying there’s a real version of Achilles out there based on evidence of the siege of Troy. You could make the claim, and there’s no conflicting evidence, but one ought to at least recognize the conjecture involved.

            Still, the whole discussion doesn’t seem to matter if there’s no assertion of divine works. That Jesus was a real rabbi doesn’t mean anything significant, except that one could blame a real person. Christians still are on the hook for proving that this rabbi had super powers.

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            1. The thrust of the post – the book from Remsburg – is primarily to dispel any notion of divinity, and Remsburg states he is not disputing there may have been a figure behind the biblical nonsense, but this persons biography – the itinerant rabbi with no superpowers – has not been written.
              O’Neill is not disputing this fact. Well,, I don’t think he is!
              Why O’Neill jumped all over this post is a bit baffling, he’s never visited one of my posts before …ever, but he does have a thing for Jesus mythers so maybe he assumed this a mysticist post?
              He then decided to got in balls deep over Nazareth, a place which I personally think is even more suspect than a ” real” Jesus.
              And I still don’t think he has made a decent enough case no matter what the archaeologists claim.
              There is an awful lot of vested interest wrapped up in Nazareth and as this town appears nowhere on the ancient radar I am still on the fence.

              But as far as I can tell, no one is disputing the god man found in the gospels is anything but make-believe. Unless I am reading this al wrong?

              Liked by 1 person

              1. “Why O’Neill jumped all over this post is a bit baffling”

                The link to my blog that someone posted may help you solve that “baffling” mystery Sherlock. Since then I’ve been responding to bad arguments, silly assertions and some of the most bone-headed wilful ignorance I’ve seen in ages. Speaking of which …

                “And I still don’t think he has made a decent enough case no matter what the archaeologists claim.”

                “And I don’t think there is archaeological evidence despite what those silly old professional archaeologists publishing in their peer reviewed journals say”. Good grief.

                “There is an awful lot of vested interest wrapped up in Nazareth and as this town appears nowhere on the ancient radar”

                It does appear on the ancient radar. It’s in all of the gospels, despite it being a problem for the gospel writers. Then there is the inscription that mentions it. And then the archaeology. You seem wilfully blind.

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                1. The link to my blog that someone posted may help you solve that “baffling” mystery Sherlock.

                  Oh yes, of course! From Consoledreader! Forgot about that. Thank you Mr Watson. Nice you’d visit my spot. My stats must be going through the ceiling by now.
                  And now you have lots more friends who will pop over to your posh new blog and say nice things about your colourful header.
                  How cool is that!

                  It does appear on the ancient radar. It’s in all of the gospels,

                  Indeed it does appear in the gospels.
                  Such as Luke … and Matthew and as it did, therefore it was very important that it be found.
                  And, yippee! They found it.
                  And the Tourist industry was saved.
                  Good thing too, I’d say. Right?

                  Except what has been found doesn’t quite match the geographical description/location in Luke.
                  I do not know why not, because I am not an archaeologist.
                  But I have read Luke.

                  And is there a consensus that the term Jesus of Nazareth actually refers to a place or is there still uncertainty surrounding the etymology of the word?
                  I think you provided a link. Not sure. I don’t think I read it if you did.

                  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a bit more certainty?
                  But then, if there was you wouldn’t be over here apparently blowing a gasket.
                  However, all said and done, you will have lots and lots of material for a new blog post. Won’t that be fun?

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                2. Indeed it does appear in the gospels.
                  Such as Luke … and Matthew and as it did, therefore it was very important that it be found.
                  And, yippee! They found it.
                  >

                  Right. So was the Jewish inscription in Caesarea that mentions Nazareth planted there by time travelling Christians as well?

                  “Except what has been found doesn’t quite match the geographical description/location in Luke.”

                  If I write a description of Barcelona despite have never been there and it turns out to be inaccurate, does this somehow mean Barcelona doesn’t exist? And what exactly does Luke say that makes the location a problem?

                  And is there a consensus that the term Jesus of Nazareth actually refers to a place or is there still uncertainty surrounding the etymology of the word?

                  There are people who claim it means “Nazarite”, though this makes no sense either etymologically or logically. If Jesus was a Nazarite then why would they (i) forget or cover over this fact and then (ii) invent a town that then, somehow, managed to be mentioned in a later Jewish inscription despite not existing?

                  This whole tangle of nonsense just gets worse the further you get into it. The lengths you people go to to avoid the bleeding obvious are absolutely amazing.

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                3. Right. So was the Jewish inscription in Caesarea that mentions Nazareth planted there by time travelling Christians as well?

                  Isn’t there speculation that this is actually fraudulent or a forgery?

                  If I write a description of Barcelona despite have never been there and it turns out to be inaccurate, does this somehow mean Barcelona doesn’t exist? And what exactly does Luke say that makes the location a problem?

                  Depends how inaccurate your description of Barcelona is. Barcelona is a big city.
                  One could hardly miss it.
                  Nazareth on the other hand … well .
                  And Nazareth never had a bullring.
                  It never had a synagogue either but the gospel suggests it had.
                  Luke’s description? I take it you haven’t read much of Luke then?

                  There are people who claim it means “Nazarite”,

                  Yes so I read. I know there are several theories concerning the etymology I just asked if the question had been resolved/agreed upon.

                  This whole tangle of nonsense just gets worse the further you get into it. The lengths you people go to to avoid the bleeding obvious are absolutely amazing.

                  ”You people?” Nice one!
                  And I’ve always wanted someone to think I was amazing. Thanks, Tim!

                  Liked by 1 person

                4. Hi Tim. I have a suggestion on the Barcelona thing. You have resources to find out. Now take that to the discussion of Nazareth, I think they had resources also. They surely could have hired a young guy or two to run down there, draw out the place, or walk it out, then run back. The historians were said to be wealthy and well known correct? so they have ways to get the info without going themselves. IF it was important and they wanted it to really be correct. Two things I am not sure they did. Hugs

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                5. Isn’t there speculation that this is actually fraudulent or a forgery?

                  No. But keep clutching at those half-remembered straws, by all means.

                  Barcelona is a big city. One could hardly miss it.
                  Nazareth on the other hand

                  The point stands. If I describe a small town my friend told me about and get the details he told me wrong, this still doesn’t mean the town doesn’t exist.

                  It never had a synagogue either but the gospel suggests it had.

                  They suggest it had an assembly of a quora of adult males. That’s what the word συναγωγή meant. It only came to mean the building in which these men gathered at Sabbath later, when such buildings were more common. In this period, smaller villages had their assembly meet wherever they could. The gospels make no mention of any building. Again, you show you simply don’t know enough of the historical or linguistic context to comment here.

                  Luke’s description? I take it you haven’t read muck of Luke then?

                  A weak response. Yes, I’ve read gLuke many times. Including in the original Greek. I asked you what he says that is problematic regarding the location of Nazareth. You failed to reply to that.

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                6. Isn’t there speculation that this is actually fraudulent or a forgery?
                  No. But keep clutching at those half-remembered straws, by all means.

                  Must have made it up then, right? 😉
                  You wouldn’t be interested in a link if I could find it by any chance?

                  No Tim , in fact the point doesn’tstand and all told my observation is quite reasonable.
                  So ,I’ll tell you what, you make a sincere effort to address the issue regarding the fact that although the gospel writer(s) is referring to the hometown of his god.
                  he made no genuine effort to visit.

                  Address this point I’ll respond with pleasure to the other things you mention.

                  Away you go …

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                7. I think they had resources also. The surely could have hired a young guy or two to run down there, draw out the place, or walk it out, then run back. The historians were said to be wealthy and well known correct?

                  There are multiple problems here:
                  (i) We don’t know exactly who wrote the gospels, but its highly likely none of them were in Palestine or even from there. So it was not a matter of someone “running down there” – it would have been a hazardous and expensive journey of weeks or even months.
                  (ii) The gospel writers were not “historians” and nothing in their style of writing (except perhaps that of gJohn) indicates that they were even well-educated, let alone “rich”. Their prose is actually very rough.
                  (iii) Ancient writers tended not to do things like travel vast distances to “check” things
                  and
                  (iv) What exactly would he be “checking” anyway? That Nazareth existed? Why would he feel a need to “check” this?

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                8. You wouldn’t be interested in a link if I could find it by any chance?

                  If it’s by or refers to the work of an actual archaeologist or professional scholar, sure. If it’s another crackpot babble by the many partisan loons that infest this subject, no thanks.

                  No Tim , in fact then point doesn’t stand and all told my observation is quite reasonable.

                  That the discrepancies could mean the whole geography including Nazareth is made up is not something I’ve ever disputed. But the fact that they could just be mistakes about geography and a village that did exist means that it does not necessarily follow that it was a wholesale fiction. For your argument to work it has to be more than a mere ” could“, it has to be a necessary consequence. So your argument fails.

                  you make a sincere effort to address the issue regarding the fact that although the gospel writer(s) is referring to the hometown of his god.he made no genuine effort to visit.

                  I already have. Responding to your garbled and barely articulate comments is tedious enough, without having to cover the same material multiple times.

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                9. That the discrepancies could mean the whole geography including Nazareth is made up is not something I’ve ever disputed.

                  And yet, here you are , championing the archaeologists who have dug ”there” until you almost sound as if you are frothing at the mouth.
                  Seems a bit over the top if you also consider the whole episode may be a work of fiction?

                  But the fact that they could just be mistakes about geography and a village that did exist means that it does not necessarily follow that it was a wholesale fiction.

                  Absolutely correct. And we all have to start somewhere when trying to establish the veracity of claims, and one would think with what’s at stake such effort to establish veracity would be a lot more thorough where possible, and where not then outright claims should be guarded against. There has certainly not been any major PR effort to suggest we are merely dealing with a ”maybe”
                  And as there is a lot of vested interest, political as well as religious and financial, ”maybe” can easily become , ”probably” and then with a little push or a slightly pushy journalist ”Jesus era” becomes…
                  ”Could this be the house where Jesus grew up?”

                  And with a shrug, everyone’s happy, the tourists keep coming, more Disneyland style building gets under way, everyone get’s paid and the Shekels keep rolling in. Oh, boy do they roll in!
                  Of course we can’t even whisper ”corruption” or even bending the rules …. just a little, as this is deemed a crack-pot conspiracy theory and the Christian Church and the religion itself are well known for the being the bastions of truth and honesty. Right?
                  Yeah …. Right!

                  I haven’t got an argument, Tim. I am merely looking at the claims and asking why the archaeologists (and you, it seems) appear to be adamant that this is the home town of the god man/the biblical character Jesus of Nazareth.

                  No, you have not made any serious effort to address the issues regarding travel plans for Luke or Matthew and certainly not Eusebius.

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              2. Okay, I’m all jumbled. In my original comment, I was referencing the things mentioned on Nate’s post. That confusion is solely on my end.

                With regards to Nazareth, I’m not a biblical scholar, so I really can’t get too far into the weeds on evaluating archaeological findings. On its face, the materials he’s presenting sound reasonable. They’re certainly enough to make a colorable argument that Nazareth existed.

                There’s going to be disagreement when there’s no conclusive evidence which establishes or rules out an hypothesis. Stuff relating to Jesus – in any context – is especially going to be difficult to get conclusive on. If we can’t accurately depict events that happened a year ago, two thousand years only adds that much more confusion to the mix.

                Still, in its own way, even if a real Jesus existed, it would behoove scientists to investigate the matter. Any physical evidence would do wonders to dispelling the myths and legends surrounding such a person.

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                1. Regarding Nazareth: A couple of points to ponder, perhaps? Though I am fairly certain our friend Mr O’Neill will have something to say!
                  Most of the epistles were written before the gospels yet none of them mention Nazareth. (Yes, I know, arguments from silence apparently don’t count)
                  The gospels are the first to mention Nazareth and there is a reasonable argument to be made that the village’s name was a misunderstanding of the terms Nazarene or Nazarite or other variant spelling and simply attributed as a place. He had to come from somewhere, right?
                  ”Luke’s” description of the hill and the synagogue all come across as dubious, especially as his tale is simply hearsay.
                  The 1962 archaeological find of the ”priestly course” apparently listing ”Nazareth” N-Z-T-H was discovered by the same person who was later denounced as a fraud over other issues thus casting aspersions over the integrity of the piece in question.

                  Irrespective of Salm’s lack of archaeological credentials, which those in the ”for” camp will slate and ridicule ’til the cows come home, there are enough loose ends or points that do not quite gel that they simply cannot be written off as crackpot speculation.

                  But, like you, I am not an archaeologist and therefore one has to wait and hope that evidence will turn up to fully support one claim or the other.

                  Liked by 1 person

            2. “Although Nazareth existing is a necessary condition for there to be a Jesus of Nazareth, it doesn’t actually go to proving there’s a real rabbi that taught people an apocalyptic version of Judaism that spread around the Empire. “

              Luckily for me, I’m not saying it does “prove” this. I note the existence of Nazareth in two contexts: (i) to counter the (stupid) argument that there is no archaeological evidence that any such place existed and (ii) to note that Jesus’ origins in Nazareth were a problem for the gospel writers, who had to “explain” how a man from Nazareth in Galilee could be the Messiah if the Messiah was meant to be from Bethlehem in Judea. And they do this via some stories which are riddled with problems and which contradict each other and so are clearly fantasies.

              Which raises the question of why they are doing this in the first place. If Jesus didn’t exist, why did anyone depict this non-existence Jesus as coming from an unimportant village like Nazareth and then tie themselves in knots to tell stories about this Nazareth guy being born in Bethlehem? Why not just have a Jesus of Bethlehem and save all the bother? This stuff only makes sense if there was a historical Jesus who was from Nazareth and so they had to shoehorn him into the Messianic prophecies about Bethlehem. It’s evidence he was historical.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. The points you raise are fair ones, and to the extent that I’m jumbling up what you’re saying, I apologize.

                Your points about similar problems with Jesus’s heritage are well taken. They always struck me as a reason to believe someone real had to have been involved in the starting of Christianity, if for no other reason than to provide the seminal teachings for a cult to form around. Admittedly, I don’t have enough of a background of study for any of this to be confident in any conclusions I draw.

                My biggest problem here is that so far I haven’t encountered any evidence which actually can pin down a rabbi in one place. In contrast, we have all sorts of other evidence which details the lives of emperors, kings, and conquerors over the years. I can be confident that some dude named Hammurabi wrote a code of laws thousands of years ago, but I don’t have anything of an alleged teacher other than the religion attributed to him.

                To be fair, none of this ought to matter. But there are people who take what little scraps of information out there and do all sorts of extreme things with it.

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          2. “I am not sure if this is Tim O’ Neill’s premise”

            You’re “not sure”?! Of course that isn’t my premise. I’m an atheist. Where the hell have I ever argued for a supernatural Jesus? Stuff like this really makes me wonder whether you actually bother to read what I say at all.

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    2. Troy was fiction until Schliemann found it … and of course there’s evidence for the breaking of natural laws; Christianity and other religions are filled with eye-witness accounts. (Okay, accounts then …)

      As for the guy altering reality in accord with his whims … if he’s the guy I think you are referring to, then God knew of course—knew even before The Creation, don’t forget—that He’d be doing it strictly in accordance with the script. Sadly for God, and for Jeez, in all of creation they are the only one without even the pretence/illusion of Free Will. God too has to religiously follow the script—otherwise He’d be making a mockery of His own omniscience.

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  9. I have a question about Nazareth. If I remember correctly there was a discussion that the town was not where it should be to make the journeys described in the bible work out correctly? Also wasn’t there a problem where what was found was simply a family farm, not enough to be a whole town as it was described? Thanks guys this is really interesting. Hugs

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    1. There are in fact a whole heap of anomalies that simply cannot be harmonized from any biblical account and this is before we even get to the serious archaeological stuff.
      Geographically it is suspect, and the statement made on this post that it’s no wonder the biblical description is wrong as the gospels writers never visited doesn’t wash with me one bit.
      And here’s why…
      If your are writing a story recounting the exploits of someone you claim to be a god in human form, and you are going to mention where he lived and grew up, what is there to stop you from visiting?
      Why would you rely on second or third hand information especially if some of the details of the town were important to the story?
      I am a fan of Jimi Hendrix.
      He has been dead since 1970. That’s 47 years. Given the opportunity would I go visit where he was born?
      You can bet your bottom dollar I would even if it was simply a barn stuck out in the middle of nowhere!

      And that is only the first problem, as there is not a single mention of this place or anyone visiting it until the end of the second century ( I stand under correction of the exact date).
      And Josephus used to live at Sepphoris which supposed to be only a couple of miles from where Nazareth was supposed to be. He says nothing yet mentions Jesus?

      But the story requires a place where Jesus grew up so …. we have Nazareth.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Given the opportunity would I go visit where he was born?
        You can bet your bottom dollar I would even if it was simply a barn stuck out in the middle of nowhere!”

        You don’t live in the first century Mediterranean. If you think people back then could make a journey of many weeks, largely on foot, simply on whim then this is still more evidence you just don’t understand the historical context of this stuff. Which is why you get so much so badly wrong.

        “And that is only the first problem, as there is not a single mention of this place or anyone visiting it until the end of the second century”

        Please show us a context in which it should have been mentioned.

        “And Josephus used to live at Sepphoris which supposed to be only a couple of miles from where Nazareth was supposed to be.”

        Josephus also tells us there were 204 towns and villages in Galilee. Yet he only mentions 35 of them by name – mainly the large ones. So this means that he doesn’t mention 83% of the towns he says existed. Why is it remarkable that the tiny village of Nazareth is in the 83% of unmentioned settlements?

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        1. You don’t live in the first century Mediterranean. If you think people back then could make a journey of many weeks, largely on foot, simply on whim then this is still more evidence you just don’t understand the historical context of this stuff. Which is why you get so much so badly wrong.

          Absolutely correct I do not live in 1st century, Mediterranean. But if this government don’t soon make a serious plant to fix our roads out here it might begin to feel like it.
          And this was why I used the Hendrix comparison, and why I would make every effort and I am only a devoted fan of his music.
          I have no desire to make spurious claims about any divinity claims. And certainly not have them turned into a book.
          So if ”Luke” wanted to offer an accurate portrayal of the place where his god grew up – and he is claimed to be such a good historian etc – then , yes, it might be difficult ,but certainly not impossible to make the effort to confirm the details of the hearsay he was recording. In fact, as we are talking about his god, one would imagine he might be chomping at the bit to see the place of the Nazarene.
          I am surprised all the writers didn’t actually pop over, set up a booth and sell farking tickets!
          They do at Graceland!

          <blockquote<Please show us a context in which it should have been mentioned
          Please see above reference to ”Luke”.

          Also, it is my understanding There are several others who referenced it Eusebius is one I believe, and he didn’t live that far away and was ”important” enough, as Bishop of Caesaria he could have organised a nice fat Caravan including donkeys, carriages and full retinue to pop over to Nazareth.
          So, even though we are talking about his ”God” and he was also aware of the place, apparently, no effort is made to visit where his god grew up?

          Just seems a bit odd that’s all.

          Yes I read that paper about all the towns Josephus lists. Forget who wrote it. Was a while back
          It was simply that he mentions Jesus in Antiquities and one would think he might have mentioned the bloke came from Nazareth, as the city village was just up the proverbial 1st century road.
          Not a train smash. Just an observation.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. yes, it might be difficult ,but certainly not impossible to make the effort to confirm the details of the hearsay he was recording.

            Why? Was there someone back then disputing that Jesus came from Nazareth? Why the hell would someone writing somewhere else in the Mediterranean made the long, expensive and hazardous journey to Galilee just to do … well something about “confirming” an unremarkable and undisputed point that isn’t even vaguely central to his story. As usual, you make no sense.

            In fact, as we are talking about his god, one would imagine he might be chomping at the bit to see the place of the Nazarene.

            (i) Ancient writers did not do this kind of thing, because travel was long, expensive and hazardous and (ii) the writer of gLuke did not believe Jesus was a god.

            he didn’t live that far away and was ”important” enough, as Bishop of Caesaria he could have organised a nice fat Caravan including donkeys, carriages and full retinue to pop over to Nazareth.

            To do what, exactly?

            It was simply that he mentions Jesus in Antiquities and one would think he might have mentioned the bloke came from Nazareth

            You keep repeating that and you also keep failing to explain why he would need to mention this. He also didn’t mention his mother’s name or his shoe size and for the same reason – he had no context in which he needed to do so.

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            1. Why the hell would someone writing somewhere else in the Mediterranean made the long, expensive and hazardous journey to Galilee just to do … well something about “confirming” an unremarkable and undisputed point that isn’t even vaguely central to his story. As usual, you make no sense.

              Because the writers were offering details of someone who was claimed to be divine.
              it just seems natural that in such an instance that the writer would go see. After all he had a few weeks to plan a trip since Matthew made mention of the place did he not?

              To do what, exactly?

              Oh, I don’t know … confirm in his own mind that the place existed. See where his god grew up … as I already mentioned.
              Or maybe to have an orgy alongside Mary’s Well? Who knows what would motivate an unscrupulous person such as Eusebius?

              As a writer you must surely have heroes?
              If you had the opportunity to visit the hometown of one of them would you not go?
              Especially if said writer was your absolute favorite and your inspiration?
              And I reiterate, Nazareth was the town where Eusebius’s god man came from. Seems like pretty good motivation on its own to visit.
              Maybe you are more the blase type about your heroes and treat them with utter indifference, Tim?

              I didn’t ever say there was need for Josephus to mention it but simply say that as the town was just down the road from where he lived and as he mentions Jesus it would not seem out of place if he had mentioned Nazareth. Gives it a little more context.

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              1. Because the writers were offering details of someone who was claimed to be divine.
                it just seems natural that in such an instance that the writer would go see.

                Leaving aside the fact that you still don’t seem to understand that the synoptic gospels do NOT claim Jesus was “divine”, how would going to his home village confirm this? What exactly would they be going there to “see”? You aren’t making any sense.

                confirm in his own mind that the place existed

                Why? What reason would he have to undertake this long and dangerous journey? Was someone saying it didn’t exist?

                See where his god grew up … as I already mentioned.

                Casual tourism of this kind was not known in the ancient world except for the mega-rich … as I already mentioned. Your responses are getting increasingly silly and I think you’re now just responding for the sake of it.

                If you had the opportunity to visit the hometown of one of them would you not go?

                Given that I live in 2017 and can avail myself of cars, trains and planes, I have plenty of “opportunity”. Yet again, you don’t seem to understand the ancient world at all.

                it would not seem out of place if he had mentioned Nazareth.

                He had no reason to do so. You still don’t seem to grasp how an argument from silence is meant to work.

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                1. You said: ”Leaving aside the fact that you still don’t seem to understand that the synoptic gospels do NOT claim Jesus was “divine”, ”

                  Bart Ehrman:

                  So yes, now I agree that Jesus is portrayed as a divine being, a God-man, in all the Gospels. But in very different ways, depending on which Gospel you read.

                  Want a link to this as well, Tim?

                  I’m off for a cup of tea and then bed.
                  Have fun arguing with Bart , Tim.

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. Want a link to this as well, Tim?

                  No need. I’ve read his book on the subject twice and discussed it with him via e-mail. I feel that his use of the word “divine” here is misleading because it implies equality with God and that the word “celestial” or “angelic” would be better. He disagrees, though he doesn’t think they believed Jesus was wholly equal with God.

                  Yet again, you don’t understand the material or its context. Or the scholarship. Or … anything much. Which makes your weak attempts at being “obnoxious” to me even more funny.

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                3. Ah well, I’ll take a ”Bart” over a ”Tim” any day of the week including Sunday, and public holidays, thanks all the same.
                  He’s well-read, a proper scholar,not quite as arrogant and doesn’t come across as condescending.
                  Also, based on Bart’s credentials and his explanation you don’t appear to understand context either it seems?
                  I’m just a regular Joe? What’s your excuse?

                  And to demonstrate your faux genuineness, you try to include such gems as ”Or ..anything much”.
                  Rather illustrating your obnoxious side, don’t you think so?

                  Oh, and you still didn’t offer a plausible answer why ”Luke” or ”Matthew” or Eusebius or even Origen never visited Nazareth, the hometown of their god.

                  Sweet dreams, cupcake!

                  Liked by 1 person

        2. Tim:

          People in ancient times actually did get around a lot more than is commonly believed. One of my favourites is the guy (wrote about his big OE) Herodotus—and he was no exception (other than he got published).

          The ancient world was criss-crossed with roads, trade routes, footpaths, rivers, canals. More and more evidence is being unearthed and (despite desperate rearguard actions on the part of vested interests*) entering the common weal.

          * I’m a Conspiracy Theorist, don’t forget.

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    2. ” If I remember correctly there was a discussion that the town was not where it should be to make the journeys described in the bible work out correctly?”

      The gospel writers are definitely rather wobbly on the geography of Galilee, indicating that they had never been there and were working from oral traditions that had become garbled on the details. That says nothing about whether Nazareth existed (it did) and has even less to do with whether Jesus did.

      “Also wasn’t there a problem where what was found was simply a family farm, not enough to be a whole town as it was described?”

      In a world without electricity, good roads and other infrastructure, isolated “family farms” did not exist. People farmed in largely self-supporting communities because they had to. So no, it was not “simply a family farm”. What has been excavated was part of a small village of about 300 people, probably made up of several extended families.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Tim, replied to your other question, seen this one now. I have to say the who thing you wrote about Nazareth does make it reasonable that “jesus” did not exist or that there were in fact multiples of them. As for the family farm, about 6 months ago I watched a documentary on a family farm with extended family members living and working at, I don’t know the year but all they had was what they produced or supplied. Everyone had to be good at something. and many at doing many things. It was not 300 people. They did not talk about the people going on a long journey but maybe they did, have to learn to do that stuff somewhere. Anyway. I don’t know about the farm, I had read that somewhere, not sure, they said something about a wall they were extrapolating from and stuff. If you know where I wouldn’t mind here it again. Hugs

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  10. I have to say the who thing you wrote about Nazareth does make it reasonable that “jesus” did not exist or that there were in fact multiples of them.

    What? How does what I said make this “reasonable”? It makes it quite the opposite.

    “As for the family farm, about 6 months ago I watched a documentary on a family farm with extended family members”

    Was this family farm in first century Palestine? No? Okay – irrelevant. People can do that now, thanks to modern infrastructure and technology. Back then they clustered together in villages for a reason.

    Anyway. I don’t know about the farm, I had read that somewhere, not sure, they said something about a wall they were extrapolating from and stuff.

    The building, along with agricultural terraces and a fairly wide distribution of pottery finds and some tombs all indicate a small village.

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    1. Hello Tim. you wrote “The gospel writers are definitely rather wobbly on the geography of Galilee, indicating that they had never been there and were working from oral traditions that had become garbled on the details. That says nothing about whether Nazareth existed (it did) and has even less to do with whether Jesus did.”.
      As that is a rather large important part of the story to fuzz it up makes it seem to me they did not really want to be too specific. Might ruin the narrative or what ever. Do not writers mix in just enough truth to get away with the rest of the details they make up? They fog up parts they want to be less than distinct.

      Well the farm may have been irrelevant to you. Rather dang interesting to me.

      To the point of villages, yes we don’t have people throughout history who were suspicious of anyone not kin? We did not have anyone in history who became famous for getting as far from other people as they could? Now someone like me I would have to be in a town or village. I am a pretty good herdsman in my youth but I couldn’t make a shirt out of a bag with a pair of sharp scissors. But not all people are like me. So if you were self sufficient and had a large family, maybe your kids had families also, you would be able to be ok without being in a village. Heck some quiverfull families could be a village all their own. 🙂
      OK, I am enjoying this, please keep right on like I was not occasionally rattling the mics. Hugs

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        1. Most of the tombs on the site are from a slightly later period – the mid to late first century. But they are of a style that indicates a larger and richer community had developed by then. Since larger, richer communities don’t pop out of nowhere, this alone indicates an earlier, smaller poorer community that was there before. Which is precisely what the early first century finds also indicate. However you stack it up, the archaeology shows that Nazareth was inhabited in Jesus’ time and was a small agarian village.

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      1. As that is a rather large important part of the story to fuzz it up makes it seem to me they did not really want to be too specific.

        That is a conclusion without much foundation. How about that they just didn’t have the details and so filled in the blanks. These guys were not writing modern documentary journalism after all – they were writing works of religious polemic. A lot of the geographical details are just set dressing, as they often are in many ancient works.

        Well the farm may have been irrelevant to you. Rather dang interesting to me.

        Whatever. It’s totally irelevant to the archaeology of ancient Galilee because you’re extrapolating from what would work in the modern world and trying to impose it on an ancient context. That doesn’t work. And there is plenty of other evidence that this was more than just “a family farm” as the archaeologists (you know, the experts in this stuff) make clear. All too often in these exchanges I feel like I’m talking to the equivalent of Creationists who say “yes, that’s what the scientists say but I’v come up with some other idea that I like better so I’m sticking to that”. This is not rational.

        “So if you were self sufficient and had a large family, maybe your kids had families also, you would be able to be ok without being in a village.”

        It was much easier if you got together with some other extended families and pooled your labour and resources. Especially if you not only had to produce enough to sustain you and your families but also enough of a surplus to pay taxes to Herod, which we know were pretty crippling at the time.

        So they tended to live in villages and that is exactly what the archaeology at Nazareth indicates. I have no idea why you are still fighting this. Again, it seems more emotionally-driven rather than anything rational.

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        1. You seem to have a good grasp of history, but I think you miss the motives of people. Many people would find it easier to not be in a village or town. But hey whatever. The thing is you can belittle or talk down things all you like, you simply have not convinced me. Not that I have to be. I am along for the ride, and enjoying the views. You need to convince the other “talented learned people” who are here. I just like to have some questions answered and I see things that make me wonder. But it does seem to bother you addressing them, so I will will throw my thoughts out and try not to interrupt you to often. Be well. Hugs

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          1. Many people would find it easier to not be in a village or town.

            Not in the ancient world. And definitely not in ancient Galilee. I’m sorry, but you’re engaging in baseless speculation about a subject on which there is masses of archaeological evidence. They lived in villages, Scottie. And Nazareth was a village in the early first century. I have no idea why you’re resisting these simple facts.

            The thing is you can belittle or talk down things all you like, you simply have not convinced me.

            You don’t seem to want to be convinced. You seem to have an emotional and rather irrational drive to reject expert opinion and make up your own ideas. That never ends well.

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            1. You are more up to the forefront with these sort of things, but the latest I caught back there a couple of years ago was that Jeez wasn’t ‘of Nazareth’.

              “JC of N”, it was explained, is a courtesy title—they said that Nazareth didn’t exist at that time. Then again, being a senile old dog I may be getting a little mixed up.

              You refer to ‘experts’ as if they are entirely reliable? Oops, not good.

              True, knowledge advances—but it often blows earlier ‘experts’ out of the water. Example? Out of the air I pluck Gobekli Tepe which by now everyone knows about and is old hat. Rocked the boat a bit at the time, though … Virginia Steen McIntyre? Brrrr …

              When it comes to the crunch the incumbent ‘experts’ will always dig in and viciously defend their holdings to the last oik until finally the cutting edge of progress rolls them back.

              So I choose your beloved Occam, and find it easier to accept a guy sinking out of sight rather than trotting across the water towards me scattering love and peace in all directions (although one apologist did offer that he may have been standing on a wee floating door or something, that no-one noticed).

              Occam’s Razor has two edges; be careful when you wield it.

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            2. One has to ponder the traces left by folks living in tents, or sleeping amidst their sheep and moving on. Of course villages and towns will leave traces. (As a kid I used to love that Chrissie carol “While shepherds watched their flocks by night”) (and somewhere on u-tube recently I saw an item about the hugest human coprolite ever found—Viking, and the guy who passed it was riddled with intestinal worms. Can’t remember if it was in a city, town, village, encampment or raid-site. Oops, digression. Or is it?

              Liked by 2 people

      2. Scottie:

        I often think about Otzi the Ice Man. I read as much about him as I could as it came to light (forgotten most of it) and my own theory was that he’d been naughty with someone’s wife or daughter, and paid the price—fFrom his unfinished bow and other clues I guess he’d left in a hurry; from the arrow that killed him I guessed that someone had shot him, and from the location and a few other things I deduced that who ever’d ambushed him was pretty resolute (inspired, even) in this task. If he’d been potted for his kit it wouldn’t still have been with him.

        Most people these days don’t just casually stroll across Alpses and such but I think in those days they had a different outlook on life … certainly they got around a lot more than we give ’em credit for; not only the lords and military were tourists.

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        1. Yes, my thought was why not send a couple of people to check it out if they did not want to go. Also on Nazareth I feel Tim gave very different answers. first he told me they were not sure about it. Then that it was definitely there at the time and place to fit, then he said it was not there to Ark, then he said it was never in doubt…and it went on. And in arguing its size we never got to where it was and which time frame we were talking about. So I was not convinced by him. I felt he was arrogantly tailoring his information to score points rather than inform. He did not want a conversation, he wanted a debate he could win. Be well Hugs

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          1. There are other bits and pieces often overlooked …
            Here’s one gospel reference to ”city of Nazareth”. There are others.
            Luke 4:And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)

            However, we are told that after much downscaling that it was in, merelty a village.
            Yet this village not only had a synagogue – though Tim had an answer for this – he did not mention that Jesus stood up and read from sacred scrolls.
            A tiny village full of laborers who were likely than not illiterate to the last man having their own set of sacred scrolls?
            Yes, I suppose there could have been some/a few who were able to read, but Jesus? A carpenter’s son?
            I dunno … what do you think?

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              1. Do you reckon this would be likely in such a small village?
                Every time we hear or read about Jesus and his disciples /fishermen we are reminded they were in all likelihood, illiterate.

                From where or from whom do you reckon the population of a small village such as Nazareth have learned to read?

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                1. Perhaps many couldn’t, but if in 64 C.E they had plans to have all children (boys, at least) taught in every village, then that would pressupose a pool of literate teachers.

                  But this doesn’t mean every village would have a synagogue.

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                2. I wouldn’t argue you the point with you, Mr Z was just a thought off the top of my head., after reading the date 64ce
                  Oddly enough, the first thought that I had afterwards was of a local government implementing a proper school dinner plan as advised by Jamie Oliver.
                  🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                3. In that case would it be fair to suggest that literacy rates during the supposed ministry of the biblical Jesus were likely quite low?
                  That a village of a few/couple of hundred laborers etc would be mostly illiterate and not likely have a synagogue with ”scared scrolls’?

                  Liked by 1 person

                4. Sure, Yehoshua ben Gamla’s program could be used to support that. What we know is that before his proposal (which never actually happened due to the war) there was a need for schools. If there wasn’t a need he would never have devised the program.

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                5. Okay then … but as you mentioned in your post JC was extolling them to read so maybe some were literate?
                  But for me, this is largely academical, as I do not consider the biblical character anything but a narrative construct.
                  As the gospel writers wrote outside Judea and all after 70CE at the earliest, and seemed unfamiliar with a great many things it would be a lot easier for them t write that central character would utter such exhortations about reading rather than try to describe.
                  On a nostalgic note, I noticed that Nate had linked that post so I clicked on it. I am busy reading it as we ”speak”
                  It’s funny reading Arch’s comments and you know how tough it is sometimes to stop myself liking his comments? 🙂 Bittersweet.
                  It is also funny because unklee is there too and he is just as farking obstreperous and sycophantic then as he is now.

                  Liked by 2 people

                6. I just read this.
                  It is SO arch. Had me hosing myself

                  October 23, 2013
                  3:29 pm
                  Laurie: ”I keep thinking I just mighty start a blog of my own in the winter. Not that it will interest any of you I am sure!”

                  Arch: ”Actually, that’s not true, I would LOVE to come over there and harass you!”

                  pax vobiscum,
                  arch

                  Liked by 1 person

                7. @ John, 64 C.E. would be about 30 years after the death of Jesus correct? I looked up C.E. and B.C.E. and it said they are interchangeable with B.C. & A.D.. Generations were short then also. What I am trying to figure is how fast could people go from a smattering of people being able to read and write to the majority? Would that be taught with religious training as every places had some type of worship and synagogue. Thanks. Hugs

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                8. Hey Scottie.

                  Correct, so the story goes.

                  Education has to be a generational thing, so if Yehoshua ben Gamla’s program was enacted (which it wasn’t), then you’d have to think by the first century CE you could have the majority being mostly literate.

                  Liked by 1 person

            1. I think Tim kept changing his answers slightly depending on who he was address on the subject of Nazareth. He was only constant on the size of it being 300. He changed when it was there, it was there and then not and there again. He changed where it was located and said the geography was wobbly but then claimed it was right where it should be. I was trying to have a conversation with him, he wanted a snarky debate to score points.

              I think one or the other must be. Either it was as the bible described a city, with all the stuff built up cities have, and a large temple with all that entails so that Jesus a lowly carpenter’s son ( that is how they describe him on the sunday preacher shows. ) could read in the temple. Now as you say most couldn’t read, a carpenter wouldn’t send a family member to learn reading and writing as they used memorization in the religious training of kids and still do. So I do not think Jesus read anything. I get confused over what jesus might have been. To me there are far too many things he said to have done and places to be than I can credit for one man of limited skills. Take away the “godhood” part and he sounds like a railroad hobo bum from the 1900’s. A grifter drifter. You are correct about the set of scrolls. Tim was very adamant that copies of texts would be rare and so valuable. Again the things don’t line up for me. Thanks Ark, I enjoyed thinking on these things. Hugs

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              1. If we give a nod of ascent that some could read as John has suggested in his previous comment, we then come up with the scrolls issue.
                Again,not impossible, but how likely in a small village?
                In isolation, one or two quirky bits and bobs might pass muster but they keep stacking up.
                Once you have ”found” a possible answer it soon becomes a case of ,
                ”Oh, and what about this…”
                It reminds me of the Exodus debate and altering the numbers of those fleeing Egypt.
                Once you start tampering with the text in one part it causes problem in the next. And so on.
                I dunno, Scottie, it’s like the wobbly table leg syndrome. You cut a bit off to balance and it’s still not right. You keep doing it until eventually your dining table is a coffee table a few inches off the ground …. and it still wobbles

                Liked by 1 person

                1. I am reading John’s post now. Very interesting. I am wondering how fast things changed back then. I would assume that change would come slow, and the economy would not greatly increase suddenly but also move slow. Lots to think on for sure. Hugs

                  Liked by 1 person

                2. I read it again as well. I’d forgotten this piece! Good stuff.
                  So, as John notes, if reading was fairly widespread it brings into question perhaps
                  why the christian texts were not more widespread at this time?

                  Liked by 1 person

                3. I am to the schools in every village for boys six and up. That was an eye opener to me. If everyone could read and write, if the people of high news were being written down then I can figure two things. First the deity part of the bible Jesus is not true as that would have been written up and hyped everywhere. Even in small towns. The other thing is that even Jesus as a rabbi did likely exist nor a bunch of rabbi Jesuses. Because no one recorded them. Not even in graffiti. Now it is possible a bunch of guys ran around their local towns spouting stuff, oral story tellers made a tall tale out of it, chose a popular name to give the character. They may even have written these stories down for local use. Then more stories get put together and written down. Next thing you know someone is J.K. Rowlings and we have a new Harry Potter named Jesus.?
                  What do you think? Hugs

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                4. Personally I’ll with what I have always felt to the most likely scenario, which tends to lean towards what Remsburg states in the post.
                  Was there an itinerant eschatological preacher running around first century Judea with a group of followers who may have been crucified for sedition?
                  Shrug, why not?
                  But the figure in the bible … a narrative construct. They made him up, or based him on several similar figures. Much like scholar Martin Noth once proposed about Moses – a composite figure.
                  But such a view apparently makes me ”fringe” and uneducated etc etc.
                  So be it …

                  Liked by 1 person

                5. A badge you wear with honor. The ability to put pieces of the puzzle together, to add 1+2=3 means a lot. There could be several factors working together to achieve what we have. Remsburg’s opinion and your’s are reasonable and as likely as any. Hugs

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                6. I have to think that what John wrote here “… contemporary events as expressed in the Jeselsohn Stone; an ink on stone work discovered near Qumran and believed to denote the early 1st Century CE messianic Jewish rebel leader, Simon of Peraea.”. pretty much gives me the idea that more people could read at least simple stuff reasonably well. There was more likely to be more than one such stone, and no one will go to the effort to paint a stone with writing if no one can read it and marvel at the deeds it describes. Hugs

                  Liked by 1 person

              1. One can just imagine:
                ”How’s that bloody atheist crowd, eh?”
                ”Oh, Pete, don’t get me started on His Nibbs. Only last night I had the wife calling out, ”Oh Jesus, I’m coming!” Yeah, that’s right, He was at the back door on the scrounge for supper as usual.”

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  11. Interesting discussion on whether they were literate, or not. We could ask Tim to give it a few quick slashes with Occam’s razor: which is simpler — they could read, or not?

    Liked by 2 people

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