Joe Atwill Takes on Covert Culture Shapers |354|

Discussion in 'Skeptiko Shows' started by Alex, Jun 27, 2017.

  1. chotki

    chotki Member

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    What parallels?

    Which experts?

    What sources?

    I'm not saying that it is logically impossible that the Gospel of Mark was written after The War of the Jews and utilized it as a source. It is unlikely as far as the consensus dates of both documents hold. I am saying that Atwill's claimed parallels are bogus, as is the dependent hypothesis that Josephus wrote Mark for the Flavians. Go ahead, tell me where the experts I cite agree with Atwill in either regard.
     
  2. chotki

    chotki Member

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    Another critical point: even if Josephus and Mark share an awareness of a given historical event, that doesn't necessarily mean that either one knew and copied from the other. Josephus could not have written such tedious and detailed history without relying upon a variegated set of source material: written documents and oral recollections alongside his own memory. Even if Mark were completely making up his narrative about Jesus and, say, recasting events from the Jewish revolt to a time 40 years prior, he would have utilized sources. In such a (hypothetical!) scenario, he might have used Josephus, or the very sources upon which Josephus is reliant, or even both.

    So even to say (alleged) parallels in Josephus and Mark = dependence of the latter upon the former is a non sequitur. Another logical fallacy.
     
  3. the.dudermensch

    the.dudermensch Member

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    The criticism is obviously not aimed at your position Alex which is not dismissing the discussion. I do respect faith in general and even Christian faith...but where truth can be found, it must be found, otherwise we have the position of the sophist (or any of the hundreds of synonyms for the condition). I think Jay Dyer does have a point about pure empiricism and that you cannot dismiss metaphysics...and you really can't dismiss moral relativism because when it comes to human drama, it is in fact mostly relative. Walking on water is not relative in the same sense. Nature has real boundaries and there is not a reason to suppose a supernatural explanation, this I agree with Atwill. What we are talking really about is conspiracy. People everywhere are lying all the but time pretending they are not. Contradictions, false dichotomies, paradox and irony is only evidence to me of a yin/yang model that I incorporate into my philosophy which does not entertain obvious lies. Supernatural powers I assume to be lies. Evidence of conspiracy..of such things like "the dead sea scrolls" as recently presented in Jan Irvin's podcasts with Jacob Duellman have the power to explain something which would otherwise send us into a religious trance of mystical uncertainty.
    http://www.gnosticmedia.com/unspun-074-jacob-duellman-scaliger-notatus-hallucinatio-scaligeri/

    Just like current day hoaxes (the list is long), It is possible get to the truth about Jesus, if it is a hoax.
     
  4. Alex

    Alex New

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    so Mark, who is supposed to be recording the prophesies of Jesus, is actually writing after the fact. and he just happens to have this history book in his hip pocket that contains all these details from the war the Jesus is prophesying. Jesus is predicting the encircling of Jerusalem... just like the history book describes. Jesus is predicting the leveling of the temple... just like the history book describes. but we're supposed to believe Mark never peeked/copied from the history book.

    and remember, the history book Mark is using claims Cesar is real Messiah... completely undermining Judaism and this newly forming Christianity thing.

    this is like a Rabbi using Mein Kampf as secret source material to record the history of the Jews in Europe.
     
  5. Hurmanetar

    Hurmanetar New

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    I guess I somewhat mischaracterized Atwill's position earlier by saying that he says the entire story was invented by one man out of whole cloth. I listened to an hour and a half documentary of his today and it sounds a little bit more like I was suggesting... a composite character combining ancient pagan myths and well worn archetypal tales and nuggets of wisdom and stories about similar prophets of that day... all rolled into one central personality.

    If the Flavian think tank actually did write the gospels, do you think that their purpose was purely to make the population easy to control and re-program the Jews, or do you think there was any benevolent desire to help people by providing levels of exoteric and esoteric wisdom? That is the part I struggle with... if they were propagandists, they weren't Madison Avenue MK Ultra propagandists, they were people of great penetration and broad understanding who provided a story that actually made people want to be better people.
     
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  6. malf

    malf Member

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    Btw. Anyone fancies a game, I'm malf on chess.com
     
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  7. Alex

    Alex New

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    this is where Atwill's theory breaks down a bit (IMO). There is a lot of spiritual wisdom floating around at the time of Jesus. A lot of it works it's way into the Bible and other Gnostic texts of the time. Atwill discounts a lot of this because he leans atheistic. It's hard to imagine the Romans having a handle on all this... and it's especially hard to imagine them predicting how things would turn out.
     
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  8. ChadWooters

    ChadWooters New

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    Aren't we forgetting about the Pauline Epistles? These can be reliably dated to before destruction of the 2nd Temple.
     
  9. chotki

    chotki Member

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    Lots of problems here, so let's get crackin'.

    Now you're begging the question. You're starting off with a whole set of assumptions and creating a situation where there are no steps toward reaching the conclusion because the conclusion is simply a restatement of the premise. In order to make the case here, you will need to demonstrate sound probability judgments for the following:

    1. That Mark postdates Josephus' War of the Jews.

    2. That the chronologically posterior Mark is aware of War of the Jews

    3. That the chronologically posterior Mark has access to War of the Jews

    (#1 and #2 are necessary but not sufficient conditions to enable #3)

    4. Finally, that the chronologically posterior Mark is utilizing War of the Jews for his narrative.​

    Do we know that there were other sources? Again, there had to be if Josephus himself wasn't making up his account of the war. Besides the primary material, we know that at least one other historian, Justus of Tiberias, a fellow Jew and rival of Josephus, wrote a secondary narrative of the revolt.

    The biggest issue here is #1. As I said, the consensus dates for Mark place the gospel before Josephus' War of the Jews. But perhaps a pair of evidenced claims could swing the probability away from the consensus, which you imply:

    A. Mark demonstrates some detailed knowledge of the war that is reflected in the chapter 13 discourse and, barring some basis for believing in Jesus' supernatural predictive abilities, demands a post-70 date.

    B. Mark narrates that detailed knowledge with particular stylistic clues that indicate dependence upon Josephus' War of the Jews.

    A* Analysis: It is not beyond dispute that the Markan "Little Apocalypse" evinces a more than passing acquaintance with the events of 66-70, or that it is even referring to the war. The discourse isn't actually all that descriptive, and in one instance you have misattributed a feature (the "circling with armies" bit is a Lukan verse). To point to two examples from atheist New Testament scholars, James Crossley dates Mark to the period of the Caligula Crisis (ca. 40!) and believes that Mark 13 address the challenges of that period. On the other hand, Robert M. Price believes that Mark 13 is super-late and is alluding to the Bar Kokhba revolt of 132-135! And, as Craig Keener points out, pre-70 Jewish predictions of the Temple's destruction are not unknown, so we can't discount the real possibility that Mark 13 is an edited version built around the kernel of real utterances by the historical Jesus.

    B* Analysis: This is the part that needs to be argued in detail. Again, it will not even be enough to say that Mark alludes to events that are also recorded in Josephus. This is a basic principle of source criticism, which is a very tricky enterprise. Just read about all the variant theories of source relationship among the Gospels: the Two-Source Hypothesis, the Farrer-Goulder-Goldacre Hypothesis, the Griesbach Hypothesis, the Johannine Priority Hypothesis. Did Luke and Matthew both use Mark and Q while never knowing about each other? Was there no Q and Luke used Matthew? Was there no Q and Matthew used Luke? Is John familiar with any of the Synoptics or completely independent? Was there a pre-Markan Passion Narrative, or are all the other gospels reliant upon Mark? So, similarly, even granting A, on what grounds will it be decided that Mark is using Josephus and not, say, Justus of Tiberias, or other sources?
    If Atwill really wants to build a sound, credible argument, then instead of publishing wacky books where he throws all his speculation down he should do the work of building his case through methodical testing of various premises. He should spend several months researching, for example, the potential evidence for Josephan influence on Mark, write a paper that dispassionately reviews the case, and submit it for peer review. Then it can be tested by the community of scholars and that particular claim can stand or fall on its own merits without being tied to the dead weight of a feverish-looking fantasy.

    i. No, Josephus did not "completely undermine" Judaism. There were a range of messianic beliefs, and non-beliefs, in 1st century Judaism just as there are today. Most laypersons think there was this univocal tradition about THE MESSIAH but it simply isn't true. Presumably, most or all Sadducees, who didn't think that any writings outside the Torah were Scripture, had no messianic expectations. And there was a range of speculation about messianic/eschatological prophet/king/warrior figures based on various scripture texts. Say, for example, the theory of two eschatological messianic figures, one who suffers defeat and one who is victorious. Besides, "messiah" meant simply "anointed" and could be a title given to all sorts of persons past, present, and future. And there is already precedent in the Old Testament for a pagan ruler being named a "messiah." As livius.org correctly puts it:

    ii. Furthermore, even if Mark drew upon Josephus, that doesn't mean he did so to endorse Josephus' perspectives. Just as we do today, ancient writers routinely adapted, alluded to, quoted, or parodied sources they disagreed with in order to invert their claims. Mark was religious, but there's no reason to think he was superstitious and was in some way afraid to deal with Josephus because Josephus was wrong.

    Certainly not. Josephus wasn't advocating the destruction of his people, or arguing that they were the source of all the empire's ills, or whatnot. What he advocated against was the zealotry that led to the war, which he consistently argued in his writings was a blight upon Judaism. A bug, not a feature. Josephus wrote his Antiquities and Against Apion as apologetics precisely to defend Judaism as an ancient and wise religion.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2017
  10. Alex

    Alex New

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    this is silliness. so, so much like an arguing with an atheist about NDEs. "last gasp of a dying brain" anyone?

    "Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianicpropheciesthat initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome."
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus


    my biggest problem with this kind of discussion is the it completely obscures the much deeper important truth (based on the data) that Jesus (I prefer Christ consciousness, but what the hay) is very much alive. The accounts of NDErs as well as ordinary people who have extraordinary spiritual experiences are the best and most important evidence of Jesus.

    But that opens up a lot of questions that most Christians are not willing to contemplate.
     
  11. chotki

    chotki Member

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    Alex remaining in willful ignorance and rationalizing his emotionally-driven support for Atwill, anyone?

    It is impossible to define, and difficult to describe the messianology of the early Jews. . . . There is no script the Messiah is to act out. There is no clear, widely accepted Jewish description of the Messiah. The references to him are frustratingly vague and imprecise.
    - James Charlesworth, qtd. in Matthew V. Novenson, Christ Among the Messiahs: Christ Language in Paul and Messiah Language in Ancient Judaism, p. 41

    In Jewish writings before or during the emergence of Christianity, ‘messiah’ appears neither as an evocative religious symbol nor as a centralizing native cultural category. Rather, it [“messiah”] is a term of disparity, used in few texts and in diverse ways... - WIlliam Scott Green, qtd. in ibid.

    The Qumran Scrolls speak very little of an eschatological messiah — even of a messianic figure broadly defined — and when they do it is always incidental to other concerns and usually subject to multiple interpretations. In short, it is clear that messianic expectation was not central to the religious worldview of the Qumran sectarians, and what little such expectation there was is hard to pin down. - Al Wolters, "The Messiah in the Qumran Communities," in Stanley Porter, ed., The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, p. 80

    It is somewhat of a surprise to discover that in the literature of the period the notion of the messiah is often absent when one might have expected otherwise. - Sean Freyne, "The Herodian Period," in Markus Bockmuehl and James C. Paget, ed., Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity, p. 29

    Of crucial import for exploration of “messianic” ideas or figures, we can no longer blithely assume that “the Jews” generally in late Second Temple times thought in a certain way...There are precious few occurrences of the term “Messiah” in Palestinian Jewish literature in late Second Temple times. That is, we have little or no literary evidence that, let alone how, Palestinian Jews at the time of Jesus were thinking with regard to some sort of “anointed” figure. The relative paucity of the term “Messiah” in Palestinian Jewish literature suggests that expectations of a Messiah were relatively unimportant among literate groups in particular...In the literature of late Second Temple times there appears to be little interest in a “Messiah” or in a future Davidic king. Why? . . . An anointed and/or Davidic king was simply not important, or even present, in their recent historical experience, in the Torah, or in their concerns for and visions of the ideal Israel. The dominant roles and functions of the powerful and/or literate were priestly and scribal-sapiential...There is no evidence . . . that the imperial Davidic ideology was perpetuated or revived in late Second Temple times, although this may be due partly to limited literary remains from this period generally. Without such evidence we cannot use these earlier psalms and prophecies as evidence for later times.Hence the unavoidable conclusion remains that ideas or expectations of a “Messiah” of any sort were not only rare but unimportant among the literate groups in late Second Temple Jewish Palestine...First-century Jewish Palestine, although fairly simple in its social structure, featured a wide variety of groups and movements. There is little or no evidence that any of these were eschatologically oriented. And most of them had no leadership that could be legitimately labeled as “messiahs.” The ad hoc popular protests that occurred from time to time were neither eschatologically oriented nor apocalyptically inspired, judging from available evidence and comparative material.
    - Richard A. Horsley, "'Messianic' Figures and Movements in First-Century Palestine," in James Charlesworth, ed., The Messiah: Developments in Earliest Judaism and Christianity, pp. 278-80.
     
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  12. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    Salaam! Peace! I don't know any of you, so I ask your kind indulgence in adding another perspective to the narrative. The story, as it has come down through various lines of traditional Islamic teaching, has it that, at a time 600 years after Jesus, there was a large community of Jews settled in and around the city of Yathrib (present day Madina). They were said to be waiting in that barren and forbidding land for the appearance of the Messiah, the 'last Prophet'. Furthermore, they were expecting him to come from the lineage of Issac. When Muhammad (s) appeared, and claimed that position, he was rejected and eventually fought with militarily, because he was from the lineage of Ismael, Abraham's second son, by his second wife Hagar. (This isn't meant to be a Muslim polemic, I'm only intending to add some more 'stuff' to the mix.).
    The Quran goes on to describe its version of Jewish/Israelite history, including the accounts of the two destructions of the temple, firstly by the Babylonians and secondly by the Romans.
     
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  13. Alex

    Alex New

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    I'm not well schooled in the Islamic religion. Would you mind telling me how Atwill's discoveries re Roman influence of the NT would impact yr beliefs?
     
  14. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    Not sure yet. Only that after 600 years there was another massive religious 'up swelling', one that was decidedly NOT pro Roman! Our mister Atwill is in the position of someone who has spent huge energy hacking his was through the underbrush, only to come into a clearing and find a vast forest in front of him! Sorry, I'll try to come up with a better metaphor later! The issue I'm wrestling with is, assuming all the social control, elite mind control programs that have gone on for centuries to be true, where is the'Divine Hand' in this. Is all this mess our collective karma? Quran states, in several places, (and I'm paraphrasing), 'when ye fall into a difficulty,,it is on account of the deeds that YOUR HANDS (singular and plural) sent forth!'
    There is also the warning, 'Beware the day when the punishment of God will fall on everyone - both the sinful and the righteous (on account of what mankind has done)'.
     
  15. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    If the original Christian movement was hijacked by the Romans, there followed another historic response, and struggle has continued to this day.
     
  16. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    Though, in fairness, BOTH movements may have been subverted! ('definitely' can be substituted for 'may')
     
  17. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    Someone asked Muhammad (s), "When is the judgement day coming?" He replied, "What have you done to prepare for it?"
     
  18. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    I'll try one more, if I may, and then I'll shut up (for a while).
    After a terrible battle, the Prophet (s) was riding back with his men. As they neared home, he called out, "Be of courage men, don't let down your arms! We are going from the small battle to the great one!"
    "What could be greater that what we just saw?", the companions replied.
    "We are going to confront the worst enemy, the wild beast that lives within the breast of men!"
    So that is the situation as I see it. Regardless of historicity, we have to either grab the reins of that damned ego, and ride him, kicking and screaming, to 'heaven', or find a way to 'dissolve' him and confront the Reality directly.
    Bye bye for now, again Salaam, peace!
     
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  19. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    The question seems to be, do people (and society) need a myth, whether true or not, or can the individual attain (take your pick) Reality, the Divine, expanded consciousness, Nirvana, etc through his or her own efforts? Plato vs Karl Popper?
     
  20. Psazonoff

    Psazonoff Member

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    I went to Atwill's web site postflaviana.com tonight after posting here, and I must say that I was humbled by the depth and breadth of his research, as well as that of his associates. Though I am out of my league, as a member of the generation that was disintegrated - apparently by design - I still wonder what was the higher (or lower) cause of all this. I think Peter Levenda, whatever one may think of his present project, was on to something when he wrote "Sinister Forces". There seems to be a current of pure malevolence - evil, if you will - circulating beneath the 'deep state' and its doings, driving mankind like cattle to a bad end. Again we have the Quranic verse, "Do you not see that we have sent the devils (satans) upon the disbelievers, inciting them to evil with constant incitement?" Quran 19:83. I don't know who are those 'disbelievers' and I'm not trying to be preachy, but the door to the 'underworld' seems to have been left wide open. Good night everyone. I enjoy these podcasts immensely, many thanks, Alex
     

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