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  #111  
Old 13th February 2018, 07:58 AM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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SEG said:
From Wiki: Docetism is broadly defined as any teaching that claims that Jesus' body was either absent or illusory
The 'illusory' part is the most common way it is understood. A reading through the entire wiki article will show that. It's funny that when the wiki article references where it got the definition you've quote from, it quotes Justo Gonzalez: "Docetism is the claim that Jesus did not have a physical human body, but only the appearance of such".

Either way, this is pretty irrlevent. Marcion did not believe that Jesus was completely absent in the mythicist sense, only that he was an apparition. This is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus had never been here on Earth in any form.

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I meant that Paul never wrote about him having a regular life and biology, i.e. no birthplace, no childhood and no parents. I feel the same way about Paul and other Bible characters like Mary, Joseph, all the disciples, Joseph of Arimathea etc.
Given the occasion of Paul's epistles, there's no necessity for Paul to go into details about the name of Jesus's parents, childhood stories, his birthplace, etc. None of that would be relevent to the conversations he's having.

You clearly believe that Paul did exist. And yet none of our earliest sources tell us who his parents were, on what day he was born, or any childhood stories either. Why? Certainly not because Paul was originally thought to be a celestial being.


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Btw, the earliest Christian texts such as the Didache don’t mention Paul. He also doesn’t get a mention in any of the canonical gospels.
There's no reason to expect Paul to be in either the Gospels or the Didache. The Gospels narrate the life of Jesus. The Didache is supposed to be teaching from the twelve disciples, of which Paul was not one. You're searching for silences that you think are relevant that simply aren't.

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I don’t treat the Bible as a history book, more like a literary work of mainly fictional characters created for the purpose of theology and evangelism. So should you, unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary?
You treat 'the Bible' like a fundy Christian in that you see it as a single entity. Best to remove that presupposition and ignore whether book x is or is not in 'the Bible'. Discussions about 'the Bible' are irrelevant.

You use material from the Bible to justify your own beliefs about Paul just as I do.

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Some historians say that Marcion’s was the first gospel (preceding the 4 canonical gospels) mentioned by the Church Fathers who thought that their Christ was a flesh covered angel.
"Some" historians. Hardly any. Marcion is acknowledged as being the first to compile and circulate a singular 'gospel + epistles' text. He is acknowledged as producing what can be fairly described as the first 'New Testament'. He did not write "the first gospel". His gospel did not precede the 4 canonical gospels. Like I said, there are excellent reasons for understanding that the Gospel of Luke had used Mark as one of its key sources. Marcion's gospel was a variant version of the Gospel of Luke. The variants were probably the result of both Marcion himself taking the knife to the text and removing bits he didn't like (i.e. the bits that present Jesus as Jewish - Marcion was heavily anti-semitic). Some variants may be the result of him preserving an earlier form of Luke. But this does not mean that he wrote "the first gospel". Far from it. It was a tampered-with version of a Gospel that was sourced from the Gospel of Mark.

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Exactly when do you think that Jesus of Nazareth came to Earth as a newborn?
I don't know exactly. He was an adult around the year 30CE.

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Paul if he ever existed, is a very bad historian
Paul wasn't attempting to be a historian.

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In summary, Yes, Jesus was an Israelite as a heavenly angel.
Paul never says that. Paul believed that Jesus was the incarnation of the Angel of Yahweh.

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He can’t be a descendant of David/Jesse as they were in his supposed mother’s lineage, which doesn’t count.
Paul doesn't say his David/Jesse lineage came from his mother's side. We don't know what Paul thought of Jesus's father. And it would count if Paul was a Matrilinealist, thinking that 'Jewish flesh' came from the mother's side, a view that may well predate Paul.

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According to the flesh = Allegorical
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we once knew Christ according to the flesh, we know him no longer in that way" (2 Cor 5:16)

"They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah" (Rom 9:4)

"[God] promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh" (Rom 1:2)

You and Carrier are like fundy Christians here, trying desperately to avoid how such phrases were typically understood, seeking for 'alternate' ways they 'might' be interpretted. Fundy Christians do this regularly regarding the word "generation". When Jesus says that the apocalypse should have occurred within his "generation", fundies don't want that to mean what it clearly means (because it means that Jesus was wrong) and so they conjecture all sorts of other ways in which "generation" 'might' be interpreted. This is all I see Carrier doing regarding "kata sarka".

Last edited by toejam; 13th February 2018 at 08:13 AM.
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  #112  
Old 14th February 2018, 12:56 AM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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The 'illusory' part is the most common way it is understood. A reading through the entire wiki article will show that. It's funny that when the wiki article references where it got the definition you've quote from, it quotes Justo Gonzalez: "Docetism is the claim that Jesus did not have a physical human body, but only the appearance of such".

You're stretching it. Docetists believed Jesus was earthy-historical. Anyone could have seen him.
Except the Docetists that couldn’t. Some taught that Jesus was only an illusion but having no body like a ghost. Like the Gnostists, they thought that a material Jesus was an evil concept and he was an unseen spirit, never to be truly known. Did you note the last part of that article?

Docetism and Christ myth theory
Since Arthur Drews published his The Christ Myth (Die Christusmythe) in 1909, occasional connections have been drawn between docetist theories and the modern idea that Christ was a myth. Shailer Mathews called Drews' theory a "modern docetism".[27] Frederick Cornwallis Conybeare thought any connection to be based on a misunderstanding of docetism.[28] The idea recurred in classicist Michael Grant's 1977 review of the evidence for Jesus, who compared modern scepticism about a historical Jesus to the ancient docetic idea that Jesus only seemed to come into the world "in the flesh". Modern theories did away with "seeming"

Other forms of Docetism taught that Jesus had a “heavenly” body of some type but not a real, natural body of flesh. Docetism was closely related to Gnosticism, which viewed physical matter as inherently evil and spiritual substance as inherently good.

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Either way, this is pretty irrlevent. Marcion did not believe that Jesus was completely absent in the mythicist sense, only that he was an apparition. This is still a long way from your belief that Paul thought Jesus had never been here on Earth in any form.
St Paul seems to think that Jesus was a celestial being, what Carrier disparagingly calls a space god. No man taught him what he knew of Jesus, he insists repeatedly that he got it all from revelations and the scriptures.

Remember what you disputed what I put forward earlier? I said, “Belief in all sorts of "space gods" that never came to Earth was rife in that region and time, especially mystery cults and Jewish beliefs. For example, Marcion believed that Jesus came down to Earth as an angel and never had a birth narrative. He developed the first Bible and it is thought that the Gospels were written to dispute what he wrote about Jesus being a celestial being.

At the times and in the locations that Paul was said to roam, mystery cults were a dime a dozen with saviour gods that suffered through passions and even dying and resurrecting gods. Most of them had baptisms. Bacchus for example had teachings of being “born again”.

To top it off those cults all had Lord’s suppers where they had passing and breaking bread, drinking from cups after supper, etc. 1 Corinthians 10 even gave a warning against participating in pagan Lord’s Suppers

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Warnings From Israel’s History

Idol Feasts and the Lord’s Supper

14Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry. 15I speak to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ? 17Because there is one loaf, we, who are many, are one body, for we all share the one loaf.

18Consider the people of Israel: Do not those who eat the sacrifices participate in the altar? 19Do I mean then that food sacrificed to an idol is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20No, but the sacrifices of pagans are offered to demons, not to God, and I do not want you to be participants with demons. 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
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I meant that Paul never wrote about him having a regular life and biology, i.e. no birthplace, no childhood and no parents. I feel the same way about Paul and other Bible characters like Mary, Joseph, all the disciples, Joseph of Arimathea etc.
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toejam said View Post
Given the occasion of Paul's epistles, there's no necessity for Paul to go into details about the name of Jesus's parents, childhood stories, his birthplace, etc. None of that would be relevent to the conversations he's having.
Well he wrote tens of thousands of words in his epistles, and mentioned the crucifixion 80 times. You would think that he could have squeezed in some historical and biological facts, but he doesn’t even mention the virgin birth. In fact the supposed virgin birth is only recorded in Matthew and Luke. Mark, the earliest of the canonical gospels and John also don’t mention it.

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toejam said View Post
You clearly believe that Paul did exist. And yet none of our earliest sources tell us who his parents were, on what day he was born, or any childhood stories either. Why? Certainly not because Paul was originally thought to be a celestial being.
I thought I made it clear that I don’t think that Paul existed, I feel the same way about other Bible characters like Mary, Joseph, all the disciples, Joseph of Arimathea etc.

I think that a few people had a hand in writing what Paul was supposed to have written. I also think it strange that Philo of Alexandria, who would have been very interested in Paul never met him either.

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Btw, the earliest Christian texts such as the Didache don’t mention Paul. He also doesn’t get a mention in any of the canonical gospels.
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toejam said View Post
There's no reason to expect Paul to be in either the Gospels or the Didache. The Gospels narrate the life of Jesus. The Didache is supposed to be teaching from the twelve disciples, of which Paul was not one. You're searching for silences that you think are relevant that simply aren't.
Don’t you think that he should have been recorded interacting with the disciples? Wasn’t he a famous persecutor of Christians? If he was as important as he said he was and travelled as much as he did he would have appeared in all early Christian texts including the above and the Odes of Solomon, Shepherd of Hermas, and the Gospel of Thomas. They all make no mention of Paul.

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I don’t treat the Bible as a history book, more like a literary work of mainly fictional characters created for the purpose of theology and evangelism. So should you, unless there is compelling evidence to the contrary?
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toejam said View Post
You treat 'the Bible' like a fundy Christian in that you see it as a single entity. Best to remove that presupposition and ignore whether book x is or is not in 'the Bible'. Discussions about 'the Bible' are irrelevant.
Who says I treat it as a single book? This guy thinks it is: The Bible Is a Single Book Paperback – March 14, 2014
by H. Doyle Smith (Author)

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toejam said View Post
You use material from the Bible to justify your own beliefs about Paul just as I do.
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Some historians say that Marcion’s was the first gospel (preceding the 4 canonical gospels) mentioned by the Church Fathers who thought that their Christ was a flesh covered angel.
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toejam said View Post
"Some" historians. Hardly any. Marcion is acknowledged as being the first to compile and circulate a singular 'gospel + epistles' text. He is acknowledged as producing what can be fairly described as the first 'New Testament'. He did not write "the first gospel". His gospel did not precede the 4 canonical gospels.
How do you know that? The first mention of the Gospel of Mark was in Irenaeus of Lyon and his Against Heresies (c. 180 CE) See (H. Raschke, Die Werkstatt des Markusevangelisten, Jena: Diederichs, 1924:33-34). Chronologically, then, Marcion appears to have preceded the first canonical gospel.


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toejam said View Post
Like I said, there are excellent reasons for understanding that the Gospel of Luke had used Mark as one of its key sources. Marcion's gospel was a variant version of the Gospel of Luke. The variants were probably the result of both Marcion himself taking the knife to the text and removing bits he didn't like (i.e. the bits that present Jesus as Jewish - Marcion was heavily anti-semitic).
It may have been the other way around and got embellished.

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Exactly when do you think that Jesus of Nazareth came to Earth as a newborn?
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toejam said View Post
I don't know exactly. He was an adult around the year 30CE.
Oh Ok. Where do you think he was born? Are your sure that he was an adult at around the year 30CE?

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Paul if he ever existed, is a very bad historian
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toejam said View Post
Paul wasn't attempting to be a historian.
So you don’t think that he was an expert of history, especially that particular period and geographical region?

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In summary, Yes, Jesus was an Israelite as a heavenly angel.
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toejam said View Post
Paul never says that. Paul believed that Jesus was the incarnation of the Angel of Yahweh.
He actually DOES say that in Galatians 4:14
King James Bible
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Even your mate Bart Ehrman admits it here: https://ehrmanblog.org/pauls-view-of...l-for-members/
Paul’s View of Jesus as an Angel
Here’s a bit from my chapter 7 of How Jesus Became God where I talk about why I think Paul understood Jesus, before coming to earth, to have been an angel. There’s more to the argument than just this, but it’s a start. As you’ll see, this isn’t just a crazy idea I had. I learned this from some very smart colleagues in the field, who have convinced me. It’s one of the HUGE surprises that I’ve had writing this book, coming to this realization. It affects a LOT in terms of New Testament interpretation.

Many people no doubt have the same experience I do on occasion, of reading something numerous times, over and over, and not having it register. I have read Paul’s letter to the Galatians literally hundreds of times in both English and Greek. But the clear import of what Paul says in Galatians 4:14 simply never registered with me, until, frankly, a few months ago. In this verse Paul indicates that Christ was an angel. The reason it never registered with me is because the statement is a bit obtuse, and I had always interpreted it in an alternative way. But thanks to the work of other scholars, I now see the error of my ways.

In the context of the verse Paul is reminding the Galatians of how they first received him when he was ill in their midst, and they helped restore him to health. This is what the verse in question says:
Even though my bodily condition was a test for you, you did not mock or despise me, but you received me as an angel of God, as Jesus Christ.
Btw, Jehovah's Witnesses believe that the Archangel, Michael is Jesus in his pre-human existence. Probably a lot of other Christian denominations think of him as God’s messenger too.

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He can’t be a descendant of David/Jesse as they were in his supposed mother’s lineage, which doesn’t count.
Paul doesn't say his David/Jesse lineage came from his mother's side.
Of course he doesn’t, that would be silly.

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toejam said View Post
We don't know what Paul thought of Jesus's father.
Oh yes we do. Jesus only had one father, who art in Heaven

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toejam said View Post
And it would count if Paul was a Matrilinealist, thinking that 'Jewish flesh' came from the mother's side, a view that may well predate Paul.
Yes, but he doesn’t say that he was a Matrilinealist, does he?

According to the flesh = Allegorical
"From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh, even though we once knew Christ according to the flesh, we know him no longer in that way" (2 Cor 5:16)

"They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and from them, according to the flesh, comes the Messiah" (Rom 9:4)


"[God] promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy scriptures, the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh" (Rom 1:2)

[QUOTE]
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toejam said View Post
You and Carrier are like fundy Christians here, trying desperately to avoid how such phrases were typically understood, seeking for 'alternate' ways they 'might' be interpretted. Fundy Christians do this regularly regarding the word "generation". When Jesus says that the apocalypse should have occurred within his "generation", fundies don't want that to mean what it clearly means (because it means that Jesus was wrong) and so they conjecture all sorts of other ways in which "generation" 'might' be interpreted. This is all I see Carrier doing regarding "kata sarka".

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Pardon? I would be the last person you would call a Christian Fundy! I think that the majority of Christian writings are bogus, which they clearly are. You seem to be supporting Christian apologetics that cling to the weak scraps of evidence that exist in the form of turns of phrase that Carrier has provided extensive answers for, such as;
“brother of the lord”, “according to the flesh” and “borne of a woman”.
There are no contemporaneous witnesses to JC, there is no documentary, archaeological evidence of him, no writings from him, and no extra-biblical evidence til the end of the first century which part of has been proven to be fake. Do you stand by the extra biblical “evidence” for him too?
Allow me to stretch it a bit more TJ. See if you can second guess me as to how JC earned his nom de plume, Jesus of Nazareth? Trust me, it's got nothing to do with a physical location named "Nazareth". Any clues?
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  #113  
Old 14th February 2018, 07:27 AM
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Thanks for sticking around with this TJ and anyone else that is interested in pursuing the topic. My last two points will be worth sticking around for.
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  #114  
Old 14th February 2018, 08:10 AM
toejam toejam is offline
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I thought I made it clear that I don’t think that Paul existed
Oh. So Paul didn't exist now to even think that Jesus was only a 'space god'? Now your argument is imploding in on itself and into the territory of mass conspiracy theory! Not even your buddy Richard Carrier goes to that extreme!
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  #115  
Old 14th February 2018, 08:22 AM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

I think you should go back and read my posts more carefully and take a bit more time responding because there are numerous times in which you've misunderstood what I've said. Case in point:

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toejam said
Paul never says that. Paul believed that Jesus was the incarnation of the Angel of Yahweh.
He actually DOES say that in Galatians 4:14

King James Bible
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. Even your mate Bart Ehrman admits it
Here I am telling you that I think Paul thought Jesus was the incarnation of the Angel of Yahweh only to have you respond as though I wasn't saying that . The "Paul never says that" was regards to your claim that Paul thought "Jesus was an Israelite as a heavenly angel". Paul believed Jesus was the incarnation of an angel into the human Israelite line.
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Old 14th February 2018, 05:23 PM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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I think you should go back and read my posts more carefully and take a bit more time responding because there are numerous times in which you've misunderstood what I've said. Case in point:



Here I am telling you that I think Paul thought Jesus was the incarnation of the Angel of Yahweh only to have you respond as though I wasn't saying that . The "Paul never says that" was regards to your claim that Paul thought "Jesus was an Israelite as a heavenly angel". Paul believed Jesus was the incarnation of an angel into the human Israelite line.
Ok, I thought you were being sarcastic. My Christian friends would be mortified if I told them that Paul thought Jesus was an angel. You don't think that the Jews thought Jesus was an Israelite?
It is not literal descent from Abraham, but faith in God.
See: Galatians 3:7
"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."

Last edited by SEG; 14th February 2018 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 14th February 2018, 05:41 PM
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Oh. So Paul didn't exist now to even think that Jesus was only a 'space god'? Now your argument is imploding in on itself and into the territory of mass conspiracy theory! Not even your buddy Richard Carrier goes to that extreme!
No doubt that SOMEONE wrote his works, probably a few Christian scholars did, but that doesn't prove that the fishy stories are true or that he existed in history. You are correct that Carrier thinks he is the real deal, but other scholars like Robert Price aren't convinced. Bullshit stories like the phoney family house of Jesus belong to the actual mass conspiracy theory.

Did you also read about the tombs buried just metres from Mary's bedroom where she got a visit from archangel Gabriel?
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  #118  
Old 14th February 2018, 07:10 PM
toejam toejam is offline
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Ok, I thought you were being sarcastic. My Christian friends would be mortified if I told them that Paul thought Jesus was an angel.
I've had the discussion with many Christians before. Some find it blasphemous, others are OK with it. Jehovah's Witnesses more-or-less hold to this view. Christian scholars Susan Garrett and Charles Gieschen are hip to it, as well as some atheist scholars like Ehrman. The basic idea is that Paul thought Jesus was the human incarnation of the 'Angel of Yahweh', a figure who pops up in the Old Testament now and then. This makes the most sense of Paul's views. It explains his high Christology as well as his earthly references.

Paul: "Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped at, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness, and being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross."

Note the lack of "... in the heavens" for any of this stuff. Paul thinks Jesus had been here on Earth as a human, and who had died on a cross.

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You don't think that the Jews thought Jesus was an Israelite?
Which Jews? Most Jewish polemics against Jesus painted him as a bad egg - a Jew/Israelite who lost his way.

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It is not literal descent from Abraham, but faith in God.
See: Galatians 3:7
"Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."
Nope. You're cherry picking verses and missing the wider context. Paul is saying that now that Jesus has come and fulfilled his mission as the Jewish Christ, only now can non-Israelites (gentiles) be grafted onto the family tree of Israel by way of faith in Christ. Paul thinks the apocalypse is imminent. He believes he is living in the last days. And he believes there's a brief window of time for gentiles to be grafted onto the family tree of Israel. Paul is not saying Jesus's Jewishness "according to the flesh" was only allegorical.

Last edited by toejam; 14th February 2018 at 07:24 PM.
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  #119  
Old 14th February 2018, 07:21 PM
toejam toejam is offline
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No doubt that SOMEONE wrote his works
The seven 'genuine' epistles all cohere fairly well linguistically, stylistically and theologically. They are also ripe with imminent apocalyptic expectation. They also present tension between Paul and Peter & James. The last two points especially don't seem like the kind of thing one might make up after the fact. Proto-orthdox, Marcionites and Valentinians all revered these letters. The underlying assumption by those who start discussing them (c.130s onward) is that these letters have been around for a while. It simply makes most sense that the core of them are authentic. Even Carrier can see this.

I've read Bob Price's "The Amazing Colossal Apostle". It's certainly interesting and thought provoking, but I'm not convinced. Price is pretty well on his own on this one.

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Old 14th February 2018, 08:07 PM
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The seven 'genuine' epistles all cohere fairly well linguistically, stylistically and theologically. They are also ripe with imminent apocalyptic expectation. They also present tension between Paul and Peter & James. The last two points especially don't seem like the kind of thing one might make up after the fact. Proto-orthdox, Marcionites and Valentinians all revered these letters. The underlying assumption by those who start discussing them (c.130s onward) is that these letters have been around for a while. It simply makes most sense that the core of them are authentic. Even Carrier can see this.

I've read Bob Price's "The Amazing Colossal Apostle". It's certainly interesting and thought provoking, but I'm not convinced. Price is pretty well on his own on this one.
A lot of North Koreans seem to think that Kim Jong-un is the real deal too. Yeah, he exists, but is he a god? The bible has no significance in or of itself, but rather what believers think about its "truth". The NT is just hearsay. At least the OT was meant to be a conversation between Yahweh and folks like Moses or Abraham. Either way, it is all just "Chinese whispers", distorted even more by blind belief. Some "non-magical" parts of the bible may be true, but most of it is just yarn-telling, and given [false] authority by "virtue" of its antiquity. It is a social construct, a conspiracy of sorts [even if many of the "conspirators" are unaware of the conspiracy].

Of course, some myths can have basis in fact, but be misinterpreted, like the cyclops legend, which is based on real deformities caused by the mis-expression of the developmental gene Sonic hedgehog. Remember that at least some of the authors of the bible believed in shit like seas parting, and Jesus walking on water. It have no confidence in them as being objective reporters or historians. They only saw a world of magic and miracle.
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