The Invention Of Jesus

Jim

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#91
Have heard debates - lectures for the existence of God, Jesus, etc. and debates - lectures of the contrary. Both sides claim they're right (this is unlikely change). The atheists often point to lack of scientific data and poor actions of many in the name of God, Jesus, etc. The so-called religious scholars point to deep inner truths, spiritual experiences, ancient writings and some uncertainties in science (or worse case even invent pseudo-science's).
To add I've worked with doctors of (engineering, EM, mathematics) that were deeply religious and some that were atheists, so it's not based on mental capability - IQ. Can I prove your beliefs or research wrong or right? Always willing to look at an interesting Fortean read however.
:boozing:
 

Ermintruder

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#92
Always willing to look at an interesting Fortean read however.
Jim, I think that's an admirable position for us all to follow.

But there's a vital aspect to the whole Jesus Christ phenomenon. The vast range of paradoxes, inconsistencies and impossibilities surrounding his supposed existence are incontravertably-substantive: in an eliminating way.

Here's the thing- I have no doubt that many people believe in the absolute physical reality of Jesus Christ (in the full Christian sense), for them now, in the immediacy of this moment, and back at the time of his alleged birth.

For them, there is a personal inability to accept any information or evidence to the contrary, because of the intimate contemporary belief they have in him. Put another way, for them, the absolute proven physical origins of Jesus Christ are irrelevant. What "he" provides for them is comfort, hope and a reason to exist.

What are otherwise-rational people are willing to entirely set-aside is all of their standard logical thought processes.

Take one example. The name "Jesus Christ" is an honorific title. A position, like 'Caesar' (and I chose that comparison deliberately). People in the current day who are deeply-religious don't even accept that fact.

Nor are they willing to accept that crucifixion was a standard public execution technique used by Rome on countless thousands of 'terrorists and insurgents' throughout the Roman Empire. Such a statement is considered by them to be blasphemy, despite it being inarguably true.

And Christians are not prepared to accept that all of the main religious ceremonial observances across every calendar year are JUST a direct adaptation of tens of thousands of years'-worth of pagan sun/moon/stars worship. To suggest this is, again, thought by them to be insulting and incorrect. Yet it is true beyond all reasonable doubt.

Hiding behind facades of irreducible complexity, offering-up statements such as "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or "this is the devil's work" is all an incredibly-flimsy defence of what is meant to be a contemporary actual supernatural relationship between God and Man.
 

Coal

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#93
To add I've worked with doctors of (engineering, EM, mathematics) that were deeply religious and some that were atheists, so it's not based on mental capability - IQ.
IMHO I think that demonstrates the human condition quite well. We have the capacity for extraordinarily rational and empirical thought and behaviour, but we can't throw off the part of us that evolved as a social animal and the resulting (vestigial?) social interpretation of the world around us - that we see 'things' as 'social creatures'. So we ascribe an 'omnipresent being' to the universe because it feels a bit rude to treat it just as a 'thing'. People name their cars (and talk to them) for the same reason.
 

Mikefule

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#94
Jim, I think that's an admirable position for us all to follow.

But there's a vital aspect to the whole Jesus Christ phenomenon. The vast range of paradoxes, inconsistencies and impossibilities surrounding his supposed existence are incontravertably-substantive: in an eliminating way.

Here's the thing- I have no doubt that many people believe in the absolute physical reality of Jesus Christ (in the full Christian sense), for them now, in the immediacy of this moment, and back at the time of his alleged birth.

For them, there is a personal inability to accept any information or evidence to the contrary, because of the intimate contemporary belief they have in him. Put another way, for them, the absolute proven physical origins of Jesus Christ are irrelevant. What "he" provides for them is comfort, hope and a reason to exist.

What are otherwise-rational people are willing to entirely set-aside is all of their standard logical thought processes.

Take one example. The name "Jesus Christ" is an honorific title. A position, like 'Caesar' (and I chose that comparison deliberately). People in the current day who are deeply-religious don't even accept that fact.

Nor are they willing to accept that crucifixion was a standard public execution technique used by Rome on countless thousands of 'terrorists and insurgents' throughout the Roman Empire. Such a statement is considered by them to be blasphemy, despite it being inarguably true.

And Christians are not prepared to accept that all of the main religious ceremonial observances across every calendar year are JUST a direct adaptation of tens of thousands of years'-worth of pagan sun/moon/stars worship. To suggest this is, again, thought by them to be insulting and incorrect. Yet it is true beyond all reasonable doubt.

Hiding behind facades of irreducible complexity, offering-up statements such as "the Lord works in mysterious ways" or "this is the devil's work" is all an incredibly-flimsy defence of what is meant to be a contemporary actual supernatural relationship between God and Man.
You some to be making a "some to all transition" here. There are no doubt some Christians who refuse to accept some of these points. It is certainly not the case that the majority of Christians take such a position, particularly in respect of the established historical facts such as the widespread use of crucifixion. Indeed, any Christians who rely on the narrative of the gospels will believe that two other people were crucified on the same day as Jesus.

Inconsistencies in stories about someone do not necessarily cast doubt on that person's existence. It is a normal part of folklore, and of the way that "official history" is deliberately manipulated, that stories attach to prominent people. Nero did not fiddle while Rome burned. Not only had the fiddle not been invented, but Tacitus reports that Nero was elsewhere at the time of the fire, returned to Rome, personally helped with the relief effort, and paid for much of it from his own funds. William Webb Ellis did not invent the game of Rugby. However, Nero and William Webb Ellis both existed, and Rugby still does.

Also, the Christianisation of the pagan calendar is not as simple and clear cut as you are suggesting. It is widely believed that the Christians built their churches on pagan sites and timed their festivals and holy days to coincide with pagan festivals. There is of course some truth in this, but less than you might think. Also, there was no single and centralise "pagan religion". The word "pagan" itself is a label imposed on non-Christian religious practices by Christians. It is no more useful as a descriptive term than "infidel". Beliefs and practices varied from region to region and from tribe to tribe, although of course there were regional similarities and recurring memes.

I recommend this as a good if somewhat heavy read on the subject:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pagan-Reli...+pagan+religions+of+the+ancient+british+isles

Incidentally, Julius Caesar's full name was Gaius Julius Caesar. He was succeeded by Augustus, whose original name was Gaius Octavius Thurinus, but who was Julius Caesar's adopted son — therefore, using the name Caesar was at least partly a genuine "family matter" rather than adopting a title. Augustus, in turn, adopted Tiberius as his son, and Tiberius took the name Caesar. It was not simply a title or honorific at this stage.
 

Cochise

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#96
Nor are they willing to accept that crucifixion was a standard public execution technique used by Rome on countless thousands of 'terrorists and insurgents' throughout the Roman Empire. Such a statement is considered by them to be blasphemy, despite it being inarguably true.
I'm not sure where you get that one from. The whole point is that He was executed as a common criminal. Since two other people were crucified at the same time it's abundantly clear it was a standard punishment.
 

Mythopoeika

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#97
Take one example. The name "Jesus Christ" is an honorific title. A position, like 'Caesar' (and I chose that comparison deliberately). People in the current day who are deeply-religious don't even accept that fact.
The name "Christ" is not a surname, it is rather an indication of his manner of death (Crossed / Christ). And "Jesus" is clearly a Roman name, distinct from many of the other names in the Bible.
 

Ermintruder

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Also, the Christianisation of the pagan calendar is not as simple and clear cut as you are suggesting
I find this fascinating- in what way is this not the case, I am really intrigued.

In particular, the alignment of the birth/rebirth of Christ & other solar messiahs in relation to the winter solstice (including the third-day resurrection delay 22-25 Dec), and the 'moveable feast' of Easter at close to the spring equinox, but still (to this day) is date-linked to the phases of the Moon. How does that even *begin* to be validated in Christian scripture?

I do of course realise that the word 'pagan' is only a placeholder proxy, rather than any homogenised group.

Can you please dissect my misunderstanding on these matters? Is it your interpretation that Christianity substantially *did not* adopt/occupy 'pagan' locations/customs/observances?
 

Recycled1

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I was brought up in a very Bible based Baptist family.
I no longer believe God in the traditional Christian sense, but experiences (long before I ever drifted into a Spiritualist church) led me to believe that physical death is not the end, and I still believe there is some sort of energy source that can be tapped into either for good or bad.

When you read the Gospels, whoever or whatever Jesus was, a real person comes through.
I don't care what his real name was, and I can't believe he was a sacrfice for sins, because I don't believe in the concept of physical sacrifice for sins. But Jesus himself -brought up as a good Jewish practitioner of his time -may well have that thought he was .
I still have every respect for the non materialistic life style he was advocating, plus loving your neighbour as yourself, and not judging other people.
 

INT21

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Recycled1,

..I still have every respect for the non materialistic life style he was advocating, ..

All well and good, but the things of life, even the simple things, have to come from somewhere. Imagine if everyone adopted, let's admit it, the 'freeloader' lifestyle that Jesus was pushing. Who would do all the work ?

INT21.
 

Ermintruder

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I'm not sure where you get that one from. The whole point is that He was executed as a common criminal.
During my childhood bible classes (UK, 1960s) I can assure you that we were explicitly told that the mechanism of Christ's execution was an especially cruel & unnatural death, since he was 'atoning for our sins'- (as God's only begotten Son....not to mention that we are All, also, according to scripture, God's children). Absolutely no mention was made to us of the thousands of others that suffered exactly the same fate- the emphasis was upon this being a unique/ironic/special punishment for Him.

I have no wish to cause any true literal believers any anger or distress- but I feel there are far far too many contradictions within mainstream Christianity for it just to be accepted in its entirety. It has done many good things, as a religion, and produced many good people. But it has been the root cause for much grief & persecution- even true believers that are honest would have to admit that is unavoidably-true.
 

Mikefule

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I find this fascinating- in what way is this not the case, I am really intrigued.

In particular, the alignment of the birth/rebirth of Christ & other solar messiahs in relation to the winter solstice (including the third-day resurrection delay 22-25 Dec), and the 'moveable feast' of Easter at close to the spring equinox, but still (to this day) is date-linked to the phases of the Moon. How does that even *begin* to be validated in Christian scripture?

Can you please dissect my misunderstanding on these matters? Is it your interpretation that Christianity substantially *did not* adopt/occupy 'pagan' locations/customs/observances?
I simply said "it is not as simple and clear cut as you are suggesting", not that it did not happen at all.

As regards the alleged Christianisation of sites, I have already cited an academic book which I read many years ago. You may be aware of books that argue the opposite. I can think of a dozen old churches locally, and not one of them is obviously linked with any earlier earthworks or standing stones. Whether there was a sacred grove or tree on any of the sites is of course only a matter for speculation.

I am however reminded of a story I once read of a survey of defensible sites in Britain in preparation for a possible German invasion. I read that every site they considered building a defensive position on already had evidence of previous defences. Some sites are just ideally positioned for a purpose.

As regards Easter, here's an extract from Wkipedia about how and why the date was fixed:

Extract begins<< The feast of Easter is linked to the Jewish Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread, as Christians believe that the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus occurred at the time of those observances.

As early as Pope Sixtus I, some Christians had set Easter to a Sunday in the lunar month of Nisan. To determine which lunar month was to be designated as Nisan, Christians relied on the Jewish community. By the later 3rd century some Christians began to express dissatisfaction with what they took to be the disorderly state of the Jewish calendar. They argued that contemporary Jews were identifying the wrong lunar month as the month of Nisan, choosing a month whose 14th day fell before the spring equinox.[55]

Christians, these thinkers argued, should abandon the custom of relying on Jewish informants and instead do their own computations to determine which month should be styled Nisan, setting Easter within this independently computed, Christian Nisan, which would always locate the festival after the equinox. They justified this break with tradition by arguing that it was in fact the contemporary Jewish calendar that had broken with tradition by ignoring the equinox, and that in former times the 14th of Nisan had never preceded the equinox.[56] Others felt that the customary practice of reliance on the Jewish calendar should continue, even if the Jewish computations were in error from a Christian point of view.[57]

The controversy between those who argued for independent computations and those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar was formally resolved by the Council, which endorsed the independent procedure that had been in use for some time at Rome and Alexandria. Easter was henceforward to be a Sunday in a lunar month chosen according to Christian criteria—in effect, a Christian Nisan—not in the month of Nisan as defined by Jews.[6] Those who argued for continued reliance on the Jewish calendar (called "protopaschites" by later historians) were urged to come around to the majority position. That they did not all immediately do so is revealed by the existence of sermons,[58] canons,[59] and tracts[60] written against the protopaschite practice in the later 4th century.

These two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the Council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies (see also Computus and Reform of the date of Easter.) In particular, the Council did not seem to decree that Easter must fall on Sunday.[61]

Nor did the Council decree that Easter must never coincide with Nisan 14 (the first Day of Unleavened Bread, now commonly called "Passover") in the Hebrew calendar. By endorsing the move to independent computations, the Council had separated the Easter computation from all dependence, positive or negative, on the Jewish calendar. The "Zonaras proviso", the claim that Easter must always follow Nisan 14 in the Hebrew calendar, was not formulated until after some centuries. By that time, the accumulation of errors in the Julian solar and lunar calendars had made it the de facto state of affairs that Julian Easter always followed Hebrew Nisan 14.[62]>> Extract ends

Certainly it's far from a simple case of the Christians rebranding a pre-existing pagan festival.

Apart from that, much of what we think we know about pagan festivals was not written by the pagans themselves, but by Romans. You only need to read few items written in the glory days of the British Empire to see how an educated outsider with preconceptions and a sense of superiority might misrepresent or misunderstand the "natives".
 

INT21

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..And a beard...

Plus He also urged people to stop work and go out on the street.
 

dr wu

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Recycled1,

..I still have every respect for the non materialistic life style he was advocating, ..

All well and good, but the things of life, even the simple things, have to come from somewhere. Imagine if everyone adopted, let's admit it, the 'freeloader' lifestyle that Jesus was pushing. Who would do all the work ?

INT21.
Is that you or Jordan Petersen talking...?
;)
Where does it show in the NT that 'Jesus' was pushing a 'freeloader lifestyle'..? Indeed almost all of his followers according to the NT were working class folk who believed in hard work. Jesus was 'pushing' spirituality ;a new personal relationship with God that was different from the traditional Jewish one of the past.
BTW..'non materialism' is also a fundamental idea in many Hindu paths as well as Buddhism and Taoism......and it's not about not working but about not grasping for wealth and material goods as an end in itself.
'One does nothing yet nothing is left undone.'
-Haquin-
:)
 

INT21

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Mikefule,

Just looked up Herod.

..Herod overthrew the Hasmonean Antigonus in a three-year-long war between 40 and 37 BCE, ruled under Roman overlordship until his death ca. 4 BCE,

Now, if BCE means Before Common Era, which is a PC way of saying Before Christ, How does Herod happen to be King when Jesus was born. He apparently died four years before the birth.

INT21.
 

INT21

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Blaming the wrong king for the 'Slaughter of the Innocents' is indeed sloppy recording.

INT21.
 

Xanatic*

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No, I wasn't saying they got the king wrong. Just the timing.

Though everyone outside the Bible seem strangely silent on King Herod's killings.
 

INT21

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One can imagine the Three Wise Men looking up at the star and saying,'well, it's not exactly satnav, but it will have to do'.
 

INT21

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Trying to remember the story.

Didn't the family go to Egypt until they heard that Herod was dead ?

INT21.
 

Mikefule

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Mikefule,

Just looked up Herod.

..Herod overthrew the Hasmonean Antigonus in a three-year-long war between 40 and 37 BCE, ruled under Roman overlordship until his death ca. 4 BCE,

Now, if BCE means Before Common Era, which is a PC way of saying Before Christ, How does Herod happen to be King when Jesus was born. He apparently died four years before the birth.

INT21.
I never mentioned either Herod or the historical date of the birth of Jesus in any of my posts.

I see that the extract you quoted says Herod died ca. (circa = "around") 4 BCE. There is therefore clearly a margin for error on the date of the death of a significant historical figure who is presumably well documented in a number of sources.

It would therefore hardly be surprising if the date of birth of a humble carpenter's son was not accurately recorded.

Wikipedia says, <<This calendar era is based on the traditionally reckoned year of the conception or birth of Jesus of Nazareth, with AD counting years from the start of this epoch, and BC denoting years before the start of the era. There is no year zero in this scheme, so the year AD 1 immediately follows the year 1 BC. This dating system was devised in 525 by Dionysius Exiguus of Scythia Minor, but was not widely used until after 800.[9][10]>>

So in 525, someone introduced a new dating system, working out "year zero" from "traditional reckoning" — and that traditional reckoning of course was happening over a period of around 500 years during which there was no agreed year zero to work from.

It is unlikely that anyone outside Jesus' immediate family paid any attention to the exact year of Jesus' birth until after his death and after a religion had begun to develop in his name. Therefore, some error in the traditional reckoning is understandable.

It is common for historical and quasi historical figures to be "moved about" in history to fit the story teller's purpose. There are plenty of modern films and dramas where known historical figures are shown as contemporaries when they were not. Louis Armstrong always claimed to have been born on 4th July (Independence Day) but around 10 years after his death, the true date was established as 4th August. My ex partner had three dates of birth: one on the driving licence she got before she was old enough to drive, one on her birth certificate, and one that she tried to get away with if anyone was incautious enough to ask.

The various religions that claim to follow Jesus' teachings are all man made, and like any man made organisation, there was an element of personal agenda and ambition and political manipulation involved. If it suited to attach Jesus' birth to events in Herod's reign, it would be a simple matter.

On the BCE/CE thing, I agree it always sounds a bit "Politically Correct".

Most people from most religions will accept that, for historical reasons, the common dating system, working from the estimated date of Jesus' birth, is too well established to change, and that any proposed new "year zero" would be equally arbitrary and contentious.

However, bear in mind that "BC" stood for "Before Christ" and "AD" stood for "Anno Domini". "Christ" means "saviour, redeemer, Messiah" and of course "Dominus" means "lord or master". People who will happily accept the dating system may not be equally happy using terms which imply a very specific interpretation of who or what Jesus was. Jews are still waiting for the Messiah, and Muslims would consider calling Jesus "Lord" to be blasphemous.

A YouTuber, Lindybeige, suggested we should stick with BC and AD and that they should be reinterpreted to stand for "Backwards Chronology" (because the year numbers count down to 0) and "Ascending Dates" (because the year numbers count up from 0). He was joking, of course, but would be is a satisfying solution.
 

Ermintruder

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BC/AD versus BCE/CE - please note that only the second 'modern' version is now used in UK schools/colleges/universities. This is apparently non-optional.

From the various references I have cited recently on the Jesus topic- I'm most intrigued to discover that one of the two criminals traditionally considered to have been crucified alongside Jesus....has also been called Jesus, from some sources. To be be exact, Jesus Barabbas.

Which translates to...Jesus, the son of the father. As opposed to Jesus, the Son of Our Father.
 

INT21

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Slightly off topic.

..There is no year zero in this scheme, ..

When it comes to age, there is apparently no year zero in the present system of aging people when it comes to the Arabs. Possibly it is the same for Jews.

I fell foul of this back in the eighties.

When I returned from the Middle East with my family, my eldest daughter was (what we would call) 11 years old. But the airline, Iraqi Air, said that, by her birth day, she was 12. And thus had to pay full fare. And it wasn't cheap.

It seems to work like this.

Over here, if a mother was asked 'how old is your child' and the child is less than 365 days, usually the answer would be given in months.

But an Arab would consider that child to be in it's first year, so it is one year old.

So, a five year old child to us is actually six years old to the Arabs.

No year zero.

Something to remember when calculating age in the Middle East.

INT21.
 

INT21

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Back on topic.

It would help if it was known how many years Pontious Pilate was into his term when he adjudicated on Jesus.

It appears that pilate was Prefect for the area from AD 26/27 to AD 36/37 , And the Romans kept good records. Working back should give us the date of Herod. Who appears to have died only a few years before Pilate took over as Prefect.

INT21.
 
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