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  #211  
Old Yesterday, 08:33 PM
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SEG SEG is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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toejam said View Post
I'm not finding Neil's response very persuasive.
G'day TJ. I'm munching on some popcorn atm, enjoying how civilly this discussion is going between you two. I have some points to make later regarding the "Jesus of Nazareth" demonym. Have you worked out yet how post 50 CE tombs were found under Mary's bedroom? Also Neil, would you like to comment on what TJ said here:

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I pointed out that by supporting their unjustified beliefs [toejam] is unwittingly supporting their faith by giving it credence where it isnít deserved.
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toejam said View Post
My view is that Jesus was a deluded apocalyptic preacher who made false predictions about a coming apocalypse that didn't happen when it should have. This is hardly "giving Christianity credence where it isn't deserved".
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toejam said View Post
Again your language here is telling. You don't want there to be a historical Jesus because you fear that such a proposition "supports the faith" of Christians. This has you grasping for mythicism. I'm not saying you do this intentionally. But you give the strong impression of having a horse in the race.
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SEG said
I donít naively accept poor arguments like you do. I look for the strength in arguments, not who delivers them.
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toejam said View Post
I don't see that I've naively accepted any poor arguments. A poor argument is saying the Paul of the genuine epistles thought Jesus had never been here on Earth. That is contradicted by the many 'earthy' verses in his epistles. To read Paul in this way requires too many conjectured alternative readings of otherwise straight forward passages - i.e. Paul says he met Jesus's brother, Paul says Jesus was a descendant of Jesse and David, Paul says the Jesus event happened in Judea/Zion, Paul says Jesus handled bread and cups one night after supper, and was crucified and buried. He NEVER qualifies any of this as having only happened in outer-space.
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SEG said
An historical Jesus is NOT a simple proposition. Their claims are a whole lot more easy to accept because they have bothered to do the thorough research to validate their proposals. Have you?
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toejam said View Post
I believe I have done my homework. I suspect I've read more on this than yourself, from a more varied range of scholars.

Who are the "they" you are referring to here? I find the idea of a historical Jesus much easier to accept than conspiracy theories suggesting it was all made up in the 2nd century or what-have-you. I think this because it makes so much sense contextually, anthropologically, textually, etc. You're aware at how common Jewish cult leader / Messianic pretenders were back then. That gives the idea of a historical Jesus high contextual credibility. The gospels make best sense as heightened propaganda partially trying to justify how Jesus's execution didn't override his Messianic status. One definitely gets the sense of an "Oh, don't worry, it was all part of the plan!" apologetic to get around the fact that Jesus had been executed. But this only makes coherent sense if there was a historically executed Jesus to propagate over.
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SEG said
Do you have a problem with me referring to "the Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible"? Isnít he the same guy you are talking about?
I'm not the first in this thread to call you out on this. It gives you an "out". It seems you're seeing this issue too black and white - either Jesus was all that fundy Christians think he was, or he never existed at all. You don't seem to be able to handle a nuanced idea of a historical Jesus whom wasn't all that Christians think he was yet wasn't made up from scratch. I thought it was obvious that when I refer to a "historical Jesus" I'm not equating that with the Jesus of fundy Christian imagination, which language of yours like "Jesus of Nazareth of the Bible" implies. Such language gives you a safety net because you can always fall back with a response about how biblical verse x contradicts biblical verse y, or how it's ridiculous to think that Jesus was really born of a virgin, etc. But this is kind of irrelevant and not inconsistent with a "historical Jesus" proposition.
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toejam said View Post
Neil Godfrey
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toejam said View Post
Godfrey makes some errors of judgement here, which I think affect his attempted Bayesian-derived percentages. Let me give you an example, in which Godfrey states a case against the authenticity of Galatians 1:18-19:

Godfrey: "There is a critical case of some slight cogency against the authenticity of Gal. i, 18, 19, which was absent from Marcionís Apostolicon; the word ďagainĒ in Gal. ii, 1, which presupposes the earlier passage, seems to have been interpolated as it is absent from Irenaeusís full and accurate citation of this section of the Epistle to the Galatians in his treatise against Heretics"

The "critical case" simply cannot be sustained. Firstly, Godfrey seems to state plainly that Galatians 1:18-19 wasn't included in Marcion's Apostolikon. But we can't know if that's the case because, a) seemingly no copy of the Apostolikon has survived, and b) Proto-Orthodox Church Fathers who wrote treatises against the Apostolikon don't tell us whether it was or wasn't included (as they do elsewhere for verses that were missing). This doesn't mean it wasn't there. Many verses of the Apostolikon simply go unattested by the Church Fathers. To say a verse wasn't there because Church Fathers don't quote it would be about as strong an argument as saying that because Richard Carrier doesn't quote any of 2 Cor 7 in 'On the Historicity', then that chapter wasn't included in Richard Carrier's Bible.

Most of the anti-Marcionite Church Fathers, like Irenaeus and the later Epiphanius, who wrote against the Apostolikon, and from whose writings we use today to reconstruct the the text, were themselves holders of the dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity. And as such, they would not have found quoting Galatians 1:18-19 from the Apostolikon "useful". Other Anti-Marcionites who quote the Apostolikon like Tertullian who were against the dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity certainly would not have quoted Marcion's Apostolikon in their defense.

Secondly, Godfrey tries to make something out of an assumed fact that when Church Fathers Tertullian and Irenaeus quote Gal 2:1 from the Apostolikon, where Paul tells us of his second meeting with James, they omit the word "again". The idea is that because they don't quote the word "again", then the earlier encounter when Paul met with 'James the brother of the Lord' must not have been present.

But simply looking at Tertullian's quotation, for example, shows that he's merely summarising the verse, not quoting it verbatim:

Tertullian: "But with regard to the countenance of Peter and the rest of the apostles, [Paul in Marcion's Apostolikon] tells us that fourteen years after he went up to Jerusalem, in order to confer with them about the rule which he followed in his gospel..."

Note the "he" in the supposed quotation. This shows that Tertullian is merely summarizing the content of the Apostolikon, not giving a verbatim quotation. All we can really say from this is that Galations 2:1 was in there, but we don't know its precise wording. This is the case with a lot of the reconstruction of the Apostolikon. A lot of the time the Church Fathers only allude to verses, rather than quote them verbatim. So this does not add much, if anything, to the supposed "critical" case.

Regarding Irenaeus' citation of Gal 2:1, it's a shame Godfrey doesn't tell us what book/chapter/verse he's referring to. I tried to find it. The only verse I could find in Ireaneus that alludes to Galatians 2:1 is from Against Heresies 3.13.3. But there it seems Irenaeus does include the "again" that is supposed to be missing. So I'm not sure what Godfrey is referring to.

But *even if* we had direct attestation saying that Galatians 1:18-19 was not present in Marcion's Apostolikon, it wouldn't be that strong a point because Marcion was renowned for editing out verses that could be seen as emphasizing Jesus' Jewishness (Marcion was very much anti-Judaism).

So contrary to Godfrey's claim, we don't have a "critical case" against Gal 1:18-19's authenticity. I think the idea of it being an interpolation is weak due to the growing dogma of Mary's perpetual virginity, the picture these verses paint of fractured and bickering group of apostles, and the presence of these verses in all surviving early manuscripts - including P46, a Proto-Orthodox manuscript contemporaneous with Irenaeus and Tertullian. All of this goes against the idea of it being a scribal interpolation.
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  #212  
Old Yesterday, 09:03 PM
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vridar vridar is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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SEG said View Post
Also Neil, would you like to comment on what TJ said here:
Is that a comment about the "brother of the Lord" in Galatians 1:19?

It seems there are a many different subtopics in this Chris Hitchens thread. If that's the way things work here I'll continue to comment in the same thread, but I'd prefer there to be a separate thread for different topics if only to help me keep track of what's what and not miss anything relevant.

Maybe I can comment, if you like and others are interested, after the Jesus the Nazarene/of Nazareth discussion has run its course.

I take it you are also asking if I have some comment on the other discussion in the above comment. Again -- happy to address other points, but prefer one at a time. Otherwise the forum will take too much of my time and I'll have to end up ditching it altogether.

Again -- can the different topics be placed in different threads?
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  #213  
Old Today, 12:57 AM
Stu Stu is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

Neil,

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Maybe I can comment, if you like and others are interested, after the Jesus the Nazarene/of Nazareth discussion has run its course.
This thread is clearly about the existence of the historical Jesus, not a ďNazarene/of Nazareth discussionĒ. As TJ has noted, and despite attempts to deflect to other issues such as the historicity of Moses, Mary Magdalene, Paul and other characters, the existence of Nazareth or whether Jesus came from there is a subtopic, and should be discussed in a separate thread, if people are interested.
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  #214  
Old Today, 08:00 AM
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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vridar said View Post
Is that a comment about the "brother of the Lord" in Galatians 1:19?

It seems there are a many different subtopics in this Chris Hitchens thread. If that's the way things work here I'll continue to comment in the same thread, but I'd prefer there to be a separate thread for different topics if only to help me keep track of what's what and not miss anything relevant.

Maybe I can comment, if you like and others are interested, after the Jesus the Nazarene/of Nazareth discussion has run its course.

I take it you are also asking if I have some comment on the other discussion in the above comment. Again -- happy to address other points, but prefer one at a time. Otherwise the forum will take too much of my time and I'll have to end up ditching it altogether.

Again -- can the different topics be placed in different threads?
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vridar said View Post
Again -- happy to address other points, but prefer one at a time. Otherwise the forum will take too much of my time and I'll have to end up ditching it altogether.
Yes, fair comment. I don't want it to drag on forever, as has happened on other threads on other forums. How about addressing the main points of the evidence offered up by the historicists?

1. The Brother of The Lord
2. Born of a woman
3. Born in the line of David
4. Born of the flesh
5. Born as a Jew in Judea

TJ or others could add to the above list, but I am sure that these are the strongest of their best arguments.

Maybe just a summary leading into different threads, or even simpler, pointing links from the summaries to the articles that you have already written on your blog?


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vridar said View Post
can the different topics be placed in different threads?
Sure you can
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  #215  
Old Today, 08:45 AM
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MOAC MOAC is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

Jesus events from birth up to his ministry are just copied stories from the old testament. His ministry to his death copy events in books 5,6&7 if The War of the Jews. The gospel Jesus hated Jews and was trolling them.
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  #216  
Old Today, 10:42 AM
toejam toejam is offline
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Default Re: Why Christopher Hitchens believed in The Historical Jesus

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Vridar said:
The reason I have a different view is that we have no way to verify if Jesus really was called "Jesus of Nazareth" among Galileans.
Having no absolute verification does not mean that you don't hold to less-plausible scenarios. We have much less verification for your attempted counter-proposals than the rather simple idea that Jesus was known as "Jesus of Nazareth", "Jesus the Nazarene", etc., because he came from Nazareth.

The bigger point here is that the gospels are completely consistent in their references to Nazareth. To them, it is the place Jesus was known to have come from. This is seen in identifying language ("Jesus of Nazareth", "Jesus the Nazarene", "Jesus the one from Nazareth of Galilee", etc.), character responses ("Can anything good come from Nazareth?"), a dubious attempt to square it with an unknown prophecy ("made his home in a town called Nazareth, so that what had been spoken through the prophets might be fulfilled, 'He will be called a Nazorean'"), and, perhaps most tellingly, a direct, theologically empty statement in our earliest gospel source ("in those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee").

No where in any of the gospels is Jesus called 'the Nazir', what you believe was originally there but mistranslated or allegorized. This is speculative. There are plenty of times where Mark, for example, uses Aramaic phrases and then explains what they mean to his Greek hearers:

Jesus surnamed them 'Boanerges', which means, 'Sons of Thunder' (3:17)

He said to her, "Talitha cum" which means, being interpreted, "Girl, I tell you, get up" (5:41)

They brought him to the place called 'Golgotha', which is, being interpreted, 'The place of a skull' (15:24)

Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?" which is, being interpreted, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (15:34)

Why then are there no examples of Mark saying something like: "The healed man said, "You are Jesus 'the Nazir'", which is, being interpreted, 'the Consecrated One'"?

If, for example, Mark had said something like this and we then noted Matthew and/or Luke's redaction of Mark changing it to "The healed man said "Jesus of Nazareth, you are truly God's son!", your argument would be much stronger. We might actually have evidence then of your proposed corruption from 'the Nazir' to 'from Nazareth'. But we don't have anything like this. We don't have evidence of such a change.

I started writing a comment on your proposed philological curiosities that you believe point to the 'Nazir' mistranslation to be the more plausible originator of the "of Nazareth" tradition. [However, like you said, plausibility is not evidence ;-)]. But I might hold off to see if you decide to post what you think those philological curiosities are. I might anticipate by simply saying that there are ways common proposed philological curiosities regarding these terms can be solved without the requirement of ditching Nazareth altogether and replacing it with a mistranslation of a title of power. But like I said, I'll wait to see if you want to post what you think are the philological issues.

Also, there are no examples in these earliest references of the word "Nazareth" or the phrase "Jesus of Nazareth" being believed to have magical properties. That is a much later phenomenon.

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So the evidence for Jesus being called a Nazarene and being said to be from Nazareth is post 70 CE.

Why did the evangelists say he was from Nazareth if Paul appears to have been unaware of that datum?
I don't see any necessary reason for Paul to refer to Jesus' upbringing in Nazareth given the occasion of his epistles.

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The story in John is not historical evidence for anything that was said sixty or more years earlier in Galilee
Yet it likely reflects the kind of responses early Christians would get when they would say that Jesus came from Nazareth. The gospel authors/compilers are not trying to convince anyone that Nazareth existed, nor that Jesus really came from there against accusations that he didn't. It is simply assumed their hearers know this. The problem the evangelists are faced with is trying to square that understanding with accusation that the Messiah shouldn't have come from there.

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So of course there would be no need for "the church" (whatever that was at that time) to convince anyone that Nazareth existed at the time of Jesus. And possibly there was no reason for anyone writing post 70 to assume that Nazareth hadn't always existed.
The best explanation for "the church's" lack of trying to convince anyone that Nazareth really existed at the time, along with the plethora of independent streams of physical evidence for a 1stC Nazareth, is that there was a Nazareth known to have existed at the time of Jesus.

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You may be correct to say that "there's nothing unusual" (in one respect) in Jesus being named after the town but plausibility is not evidence, of course.
Plausibility in and of itself is not evidence. But plausible, evidence-based reconstructions sure beat less-plausible, poorly-evidenced speculations involving mistranslations of conveniently lost hypothetical Aramaic proto-sources. In a world without traditional last names, identifying someone with their place of origin was common:

Judas the Galilean / Judas of Gamla
John of Giscala
Niger of Perera
Silas of Babylon
the Egyptian
Paul of Tarsus
Joseph of Arimathea
Rabbi Menahem the Jotopaean (from the Galilean town of Jotopata) (Talmud)
etc.

Given the plethora of "Jesus"s that would have been around, identifying our Jesus with the title "Jesus of Nazareth" would have been completely appropriate. Given the consistency and often theologically empty references to Jesus having from from Nazareth in the earliest gospel sources (Mark 1:9, for example), there's really no need to invoke lost mistranslated sources. The earliest attainable tradition about Nazareth is that that is where Jesus came from.

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There's no reason to be hung up over this. I said I am quite prepared to assume that the passage is authentic for the sake of argument
I think you're getting hung up on thinking that I'm getting hung up on it. I've simply said that I will be happy to explain the evidence-based reasoning why the vast majority of qualified textual critics reject your conjecture that Mark 1:9 has been interpolated, whether based on Guignebert or not.

Last edited by toejam; Today at 11:21 AM.
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