Mod+ Is the Bible a political con job? This scholar says the proof is right in front of us |289|

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#41
Hi, Ian
I remember reading a very detailed book by a good female Oxford scholar (I can't remember her name, sorry ) .What I do remember is that she summed up based on her opinion and some of her colleagues that the term "son of man" from Palestinian Aramaic ... simply meant THIS MAN, nothing more. I haven't looked into it again since studying her book years ago.
Doesn't mean she's right of course but she did have excellent credentials.
Thanks Tim. I read this Wiki article on the expression and it makes me think there is no way of coming to any firm conclusion about what it means.

The expression is also present throughout the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible.
 
#42
I just feel I need to say this much. I cannot see how anyone can really make a case for Jesus not existing (if anyone feels so inclined) We all know the sources that mention him.

His teaching was in my opinion very unique, too. "Turn the other cheek" and "If a person asks for your tunic give him your coat too" were revolutionary.
I don't personally believe that he was >the< son of God, that is surely beyond common sense and a translation error BUT ...?? The universe is bizarre.

The idea that Christ took away the "sins" of the world by his sacrifice doesn't make any sense to me either. Somewhere in the Palestinian Aramaic to Greek translation, the word sin has changed it's meaning, sin should mean wrong understanding. Looking at it that way it makes sense.

The light (his/the truth) came into the world so that wrong understanding will be corrected and I am the man that has been given this task.. and to back up my claim to have this authority, I will not (and cannot) back down even in the face of the most horrific death.

I think about the last bit a lot. Would I submit to the terrible torture and crucifixion that he did. Absolutely no way would I volunteer for that ...I'd deny everything ...."I've made a mistake, I'm not who I said I was now let me get out of here, Caiaphas"

Why didn't this man, Jesus. Just my thoughts, please continue
 
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#44
If true, that's interesting. It would make for a different experience reading the Gospels.
It's a long time since I went through that book, Ian but this female scholar was very insistent about this. So I need to remember the person and the book and that may take some time. I'll bow out anyway because I'm going off topic and my views are not in the main.
 
#45
From Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman:

And so, with Did Jesus Exist?, I do not expect to convince anyone in that boat. What I do hope is to convince genuine seekers who really want to know how we know that Jesus did exist, as virtually every scholar of antiquity, of biblical studies, of classics, and of Christian origins in this country and, in fact, in the Western world agrees. Many of these scholars have no vested interest in the matter. As it turns out, I myself do not either. I am not a Christian, and I have no interest in promoting a Christian cause or a Christian agenda. I am an agnostic with atheist leanings, and my life and views of the world would be approximately the same whether or not Jesus existed. My beliefs would vary little. The answer to the question of Jesus’s historical existence will not make me more or less happy, content, hopeful, likable, rich, famous, or immortal.

But as a historian I think evidence matters. And the past matters. And for anyone to whom both evidence and the past matter, a dispassionate consideration of the case makes it quite plain: Jesus did exist. He may not have been the Jesus that your mother believes in or the Jesus of the stained-glass window or the Jesus of your least favorite televangelist or the Jesus proclaimed by the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention, the local megachurch, or the California Gnostic. But he did exist, and we can say a few things, with relative certainty, about him.

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Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible
Why does all the major religions have to have something about Jesus in there, like Muslims Jews Catholic Jehowa witness Buda Christians, why is it that all religions does have some sort of an acount of Jesus life or teaching in there religions
 
#46
Q
From Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth by Bart Ehrman:

And so, with Did Jesus Exist?, I do not expect to convince anyone in that boat. What I do hope is to convince genuine seekers who really want to know how we know that Jesus did exist, as virtually every scholar of antiquity, of biblical studies, of classics, and of Christian origins in this country and, in fact, in the Western world agrees. Many of these scholars have no vested interest in the matter. As it turns out, I myself do not either. I am not a Christian, and I have no interest in promoting a Christian cause or a Christian agenda. I am an agnostic with atheist leanings, and my life and views of the world would be approximately the same whether or not Jesus existed. My beliefs would vary little. The answer to the question of Jesus’s historical existence will not make me more or less happy, content, hopeful, likable, rich, famous, or immortal.

But as a historian I think evidence matters. And the past matters. And for anyone to whom both evidence and the past matter, a dispassionate consideration of the case makes it quite plain: Jesus did exist. He may not have been the Jesus that your mother believes in or the Jesus of the stained-glass window or the Jesus of your least favorite televangelist or the Jesus proclaimed by the Vatican, the Southern Baptist Convention, the local megachurch, or the California Gnostic. But he did exist, and we can say a few things, with relative certainty, about him.

###########################

Did Jesus Exist? Searching for Evidence Beyond the Bible
I find it very interesting that all the major religions out the has got an account of Jesus life, if He wasn't important why would so many religions talk about Him??
 
#47
Hi, Ian
I remember reading a very detailed book by a good female Oxford scholar (I can't remember her name, sorry ) .What I do remember is that she summed up based on her opinion and some of her colleagues that the term "son of man" from Palestinian Aramaic ... simply meant THIS MAN, nothing more. I haven't looked into it again since studying her book years ago.
Doesn't mean she's right of course but she did have excellent credentials.
I would say that seems to be the most common interpretation of the phrase.

At the end of the synoptic gospels (matthew 26:64, mark 14:62 and luke 22:69), however, Jesus clearly makes a reference to the "son of man" in Daniel 7:13, which is usually seen to be a messianic prophecy.

I first found the idea that the "son of man" should be referring to Titus Flavius a bit far fetched. I have to admit, though, that after giving it some thought, there are things that fit this narrative...
This passage in Daniel 7 is a dream/prophecy of different kings/kingdoms ruling one after another. And the son of man came after these kingdoms and "He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." A pretty tempting description for a Caesar...
Daniel asks for the true meaning of his dream, and the interpretation he gets for this son of man is "the saints of the Most High". Thus plural, implying that this son of man is in fact many saints. But the son of man in this passage is most commonly looked upon as foreboding The Messiah. And given the other similarities between Jesus an Titus, and since Titus fulfilled the prophecy of the abomination of desolation (also from the book of Daniel), it does seem more likely that this son of man (used by Jesus throughout the gospels when speaking about himself and then specifically making the connection to the son of man in the book of Daniel before the Jewish court when they made him say who he is) would be a splendid way of making the connection between the messiah and the Caesar Titus, indicating that Titus was given authority to rule the whole world by God.
 
#50
According to the quran Jesus is the Spirit of God and the Word of God and that He is not dead and that He is alive and He is coming back again
Yeah. In the quran Jesus never dies on the cross, isn't that right?
The books we have that are most probably written first about Jesus are the letters of Paul. Paul makes a really big deal about Jesus death (1 cor 15 for example: Jesus died for our sins and then he rose from the dead, if that didn't happen, then our faith is futile...) So it can be hard to reconcile some of the writings about Jesus.

This thread circles around the ideas of Joseph Atwill - that there are many similarities between Jesus in the gospels of the New Testament and the Roman emperor Titus Flavius as described by the historian Josephus. I would say the big questions here are:
1. Are there similarities between Jesus and Titus that go beyond what one could view as coincidence?
2. If you recognize those similarities, what conclusions can you draw from that?

The podcast that is the outset for this forum discussion: http://www.skeptiko.com/is-the-bibl...r-says-the-proof-is-right-in-front-of-us-289/

Examples of the similarities between Jesus and Titus:
 
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#51
Well, of course it's hard to be certain of it. And yes, I agree that it works equally well without knowing who was really behind those sayings. (That would apply to any spiritual teaching, wouldn't it?)
I guess I just have a hard time believing that such profound teachings as that of "Jesus" could have been invented as part of a con trick to gain political power.
I hear you... but turn it around... hard to believe that such a profound teacher/leader would go unrecorded by history.

Another reason for me to view Jesus as a historical person is maybe somewhat more weird. I read a book a couple of years ago that is called Teachings of Silver Birch. It is channelled material from a spiritual being calling himself Silver Birch. I found these teachings to be very profound, standing on their on right. Silver Birch makes many references to Jesus.
good point... there are several similar references by channelers/psychics... not sure how to square this with the known history.
 
#52
I feel the same about discussions about the felling of the twin towers - I mean given the fairly extreme physics involved, it is really hard to know if the towers would have dropped as they did.

David
I think it's kinda relevant to this topic... i.e. what do we do when we have evidence that runs counter to cherished mainstream beliefs? how hard to we push against the status quo? what do we risk/give up by doing so?

put options were 90 times normal on the days before 9/11. economic ministers from around the world (as well as financial experts) concluded that they activity demonstrates prior knowledge. the only thing that holds people back from accepting the obvious is the "how could it be" factor.

 
#54
I hear you... but turn it around... hard to believe that such a profound teacher/leader would go unrecorded by history.


good point... there are several similar references by channelers/psychics... not sure how to square this with the known history.
Not to mention NDEs where non-Christians even seem to run into JC.
 
#55
I think it's kinda relevant to this topic... i.e. what do we do when we have evidence that runs counter to cherished mainstream beliefs? how hard to we push against the status quo? what do we risk/give up by doing so?

put options were 90 times normal on the days before 9/11. economic ministers from around the world (as well as financial experts) concluded that they activity demonstrates prior knowledge. the only thing that holds people back from accepting the obvious is the "how could it be" factor.
Actually, I'll probably respond in more detail after I get home and have time to listen to the podcast.

Couldn't the stock market anomaly before 9/11 have been precognition?

David
 
#56
what sources outside of the Bible?
The five or so authentic epistles of Paul and the Roman recorder, Tacitus.

Tacitus was a member of the Roman consular nobility committed to the senatorial ideals of the Roman republic. He detested both Christians and Jews.
Tacitus wrote of the fire that consumed much of Rome in 64 C.E. during the reign of Nero and the chaos which followed the fire. Then Tacitus reported that Nero fixed blame for the disaster on Christians:


Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, and the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed by the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired
...........................................................
Also, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, (A.D. 38-100+) wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities, saying that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, that Jesus was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected.2

The existence of Jesus Christ is recorded not only by Josephus and Tacitus, but also by ancient writers such as Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian. And from the Jewish Talmud, "we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God."
 
#57
I would say that seems to be the most common interpretation of the phrase.

At the end of the synoptic gospels (matthew 26:64, mark 14:62 and luke 22:69), however, Jesus clearly makes a reference to the "son of man" in Daniel 7:13, which is usually seen to be a messianic prophecy.

I first found the idea that the "son of man" should be referring to Titus Flavius a bit far fetched. I have to admit, though, that after giving it some thought, there are things that fit this narrative...
This passage in Daniel 7 is a dream/prophecy of different kings/kingdoms ruling one after another. And the son of man came after these kingdoms and "He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all peoples, nations and men of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed." A pretty tempting description for a Caesar...
Daniel asks for the true meaning of his dream, and the interpretation he gets for this son of man is "the saints of the Most High". Thus plural, implying that this son of man is in fact many saints. But the son of man in this passage is most commonly looked upon as foreboding The Messiah. And given the other similarities between Jesus an Titus, and since Titus fulfilled the prophecy of the abomination of desolation (also from the book of Daniel), it does seem more likely that this son of man (used by Jesus throughout the gospels when speaking about himself and then specifically making the connection to the son of man in the book of Daniel before the Jewish court when they made him say who he is) would be a splendid way of making the connection between the messiah and the Caesar Titus, indicating that Titus was given authority to rule the whole world by God.
thanks for the reply, Mr Opti. I'll leave it there.
 
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#58
The idea that Christ took away the "sins" of the world by his sacrifice doesn't make any sense to me either. Somewhere in the Palestinian Aramaic to Greek translation, the word sin has changed it's meaning, sin should mean wrong understanding. Looking at it that way it makes sense.
My understanding was that "sin" means to "miss the mark" as in an archer whose arrow falls short of the target. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

Where there is no target, there can be no sin. "If they were blind, they would have no sin, but since they claim that they can see, their guilt remains." The law - either written on tablets or in the conscience or spoken through Jesus or prophets - provides the target for right living. So the greater the knowledge, the greater the accountability.
 
#59
The five or so authentic epistles of Paul and the Roman recorder, Tacitus.

Tacitus was a member of the Roman consular nobility committed to the senatorial ideals of the Roman republic. He detested both Christians and Jews.
Tacitus wrote of the fire that consumed much of Rome in 64 C.E. during the reign of Nero and the chaos which followed the fire. Then Tacitus reported that Nero fixed blame for the disaster on Christians:


Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, and the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed by the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired
...........................................................
Also, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish historian, (A.D. 38-100+) wrote about Jesus in his Jewish Antiquities, saying that Jesus was a wise man who did surprising feats, taught many, won over followers from among Jews and Greeks, that Jesus was believed to be the Messiah, was accused by the Jewish leaders, was condemned to be crucified by Pilate, and was considered to be resurrected.2

The existence of Jesus Christ is recorded not only by Josephus and Tacitus, but also by ancient writers such as Suetonius, Thallus, Pliny the Younger, and Lucian. And from the Jewish Talmud, "we learn that Jesus was conceived out of wedlock, gathered disciples, made blasphemous claims about himself, and worked miracles, but these miracles are attributed to sorcery and not to God."
you obviously haven't listened to the show... that's ok... but, like, we can't really have much of a discussion.
 
#60
I hear you... but turn it around... hard to believe that such a profound teacher/leader would go unrecorded by history.


good point... there are several similar references by channelers/psychics... not sure how to square this with the known history.
Well I actually don't think that would be so strange. Firstly, if he was the man behind the sayings (or some of the sayings) attributed to him, he did not go unrecorded. Secondly, we know nothing about the vast majority of the people living during this time. Bart Ehrman makes a comparison with Pontius Pilate, about how much information we have of Pilate, the arguably most important man Judea of his time. If there is so little that we know about Pilate, then what kind of information would there be about someone not so interested in political power?
If Jesus was an enlightened man (or to put it another way: if he was a man with traits corresponding to the wisdom we have in his alleged teachings), then I see no reason for him to reach for power or fame. I suspect that most enlightened people even don't try to convince others that they are right, but have an easy time accepting that everyone has their own journey. A person like that do not attract the interest of the masses. Rather they move people deeply on a very individual plane. Those moved by a spiritual leader, will go to great lengths in their loyalty and passion for the truth they now live and see, and so others around them will be affected. But it is more a person-to-person process, than an instant success. So we would expect some kind of movement, although it would not at first necessarily be of any political concern. I think this movement might be seen in the writings of Paul, written in the 50's AD, well before the Flavians came to power.

From what I have been taught, there were two major movements among Jewish scholars around the time of Jesus' (alleged) life. One stressing the importance of the Law, and one stressing the importance of Grace. The sayings of Jesus in the gospels fits the tradition of those holding the concept of grace as the most important. I don't have a reference to this now, but I'll see if I can find one.
Although it made me smile when I heard you speak of Judaism in this podcast, Alex, I would say that the old testament is extremely uneven in it's spiritual quality. Some of it is actually really good (and some of it is really really crappy).

I have now finished listening to the unedited version of the interview. I have learned a lot from this episode of Skeptiko, but I get a bit frustrated when Joseph Atwill says things that are clearly not correct (IMO). Like insinuating that the lords supper had it's origin in the Flavian history making, when Paul wrote about it in 1 Corinthians (around 53-54 AD). Or that the old testament view of the Messiah is unambigiously the King-Priest, when there is also the Priest-Servant (Is 52:13-53:12; Zech 9:9-10). Or showing a lack of elementary knowledge when he says that it is implausible that Jesus Christ existed because "Christ" is an improbable name...
This does not make Joseph Atwill wrong about his central theme (the dependency between the gospels and Josephus' writings), but kind of draws down the overall impression a bit. That said, I am pretty impressed with the parallels between the Flavians and the gospels portrait of Jesus and will go on to see if I can verify these similarities myself.
 
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