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Did Jesus Exist?


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Is it possible that belief in God creates emotional dependencies that we would be better off not having if we hope to function as mature adults?

 

BULLSEYE! :17:

 

I agree our minds are our own jail.

 

Yes. Our prison, our dungeon is in us. It's in our own mind, our own thinking. We strap ourselves in chains of our own making, and we do the same to each other. We train our children in the ways of bondage.

 

We pass by the joys of life without knowing we've missed anything.

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I know you were addressing Ruby, and I know you said not to quote you, but you are raising a point I have wanted to hear someone raise for a long time, so I'm going to run with it if you don't mind? Why do you feel we cannot do this in ourselves? What makes you say we cannot recognize that we can do it ourselves? What do you see that makes you feel we harbor a suspicion we need someone else?

 

Do you think that maybe this is a leftover from childhood that we look to our parents to "fix" it for us, or to know the answer? Isn't part of becoming an adult learning to recognize our own capabilities, and gaining confidence in ourselves, learning to believe in ourselves? Is it possible that people look to God when they should be looking to themselves? Is it possible that belief in God creates emotional dependencies that we would be better off not having if we hope to function as mature adults?

 

You may quote me any time, Antlerman. Just don't misquote me. And don't misspell my name! :HaHa:

 

Hmmmm....typing out loud here.

 

I'm a big fan of self-reliance. Ever read Emerson's Self-Reliance? What a great work. Trust in yourself. Self (God, Soul) is within. You can do it on your own. Don't worry what others think. Be a nonconformist. Peace is within. It was revolutionary for its time. Here's the text. Another great thinker along these lines is another 19th century revolutionary, Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Her speech "The Solitude of Self" advocates for the cause of women's rights on the basis of her view (shared by me) that in the final analysis we stand alone. We are a self, independent, and we must be self-dependent. That essay is here.

 

So my answer to all your questions in the second paragraph is a resounding "Yes!"

 

Your first paragraph is not answerable in one word. Let me try with many. (Typing out loud--again!)

 

All that I have read, seen, heard and experienced leads me to believe that we are great. We are "gods," as the biblical Jesus said. We are a little lower than the angels, as the psalmist said. We are all of that. And yet. And yet -- in the final analysis we need others. Our self-reliance and solitude take us only so far. Eventually, we must reach out to friends, family, neighbors, government, teachers, lovers, even pets -- to give us a hug, a helping hand, a word of encouragement, a loan. We cannot stand alone, forever.

 

The ultimate friend -- "the invisible friend" -- is Something Behind It All. That Something helps many do all things. It gives hope and comfort, rest and reprieve. To many. (Doesn't make it real, real-world real, but it makes it real in the minds/hearts of the believer.) The atonement, wrapped around the death of Jesus who took everything that is amiss in us on his own shoulders freeing us of an unbearable burden, offers a way for many to believe that that Something loves them, has removed the veil between them and declared them righteous. It gives many power.

 

Don't quote me on anything. Nothing I say is gospel truth.

 

--CC in MA

 

Looking to others for self-worth is to deny your own value, making it dependent on someone else. This is the problem I have with the idea of a "savior". If anything, a Jesus, or a Buddha, or a God should be a "guide" to lead you to save yourself. But in the end, it’s only recognizing and embracing what's always been there. I wouldn't turn then and call them a "savior" that my "salvation" is dependent on. We need to stand on our own two feet. Otherwise we will never be able to let our own light shine, so to speak.

 

Thinking out loud. Nothing "given by inspiration of God" here.

 

One's self-worth is not dependent upon another in this world or the other one. We are worthy. Just as we are. Even so, in my view, there are some things I cannot do, some mountains I cannot climb. Others may not need a "savior," and that's perfectly fine by me, but I do. When I have done all I can do, there's almost always a little bit (at least) I can not do, and for that I look to that other dimension.

 

Not trying to convince anyone else to look anywhere!

 

-CC in MA

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If anything, a Jesus, or a Buddha, or a God should be a "guide" to lead you to save yourself. But in the end, it's only recognizing and embracing what's always been there. I wouldn't turn then and call them a "saviour" that my "salvation" is dependent on. We need to stand on our own two feet. Otherwise we will never be able to let our own light shine, so to speak.

 

And the Buddha claimed just that. Upon his death he said, "Be a light unto yourselves." He said. "I never had any teacher or divinity to teach me or tell me how to reach the truth. "What I achieved I did by my own effort, energy, and knowledge."

 

We mustn't seek salvation by depending on others. We must develop our own confidence in ourselves.

 

Getting back to "Jesus," have a look at a new topic I've posted about "Jesus" and his possible use of cannabis.

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...c=13360&hl=

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If anything, a Jesus, or a Buddha, or a God should be a "guide" to lead you to save yourself. But in the end, it's only recognizing and embracing what's always been there. I wouldn't turn then and call them a "saviour" that my "salvation" is dependent on. We need to stand on our own two feet. Otherwise we will never be able to let our own light shine, so to speak.

 

And the Buddha claimed just that. Upon his death he said, "Be a light unto yourselves." He said. "I never had any teacher or divinity to teach me or tell me how to reach the truth. "What I achieved I did by my own effort, energy, and knowledge."

 

We mustn't seek salvation by depending on others. We must develop our own confidence in ourselves.

 

Getting back to "Jesus," have a look at a new topic I've posted about "Jesus" and his possible use of cannabis.

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...c=13360&hl=

 

Whoever wrote that article had to be high on pot at the time. :Doh: But thank you for the link! :HaHa:

 

Last night, I started reading Nietzsche's "The Anti-Christ" - his last work before he went insane, so be careful. While Nietzsche seems to have despised the Christians and the Jews (he was a 19th-century German, after all, and adored by Hitler), he had a much more likeable view of Buddhism. He hated Paul for turning the Buddha-like Jesus into what he viewed as a monstrous Christ.

 

Here's a link to the text. And here's a link to an essay about "The Anti-Christ" posted at infidels.org. And here'san excerpt about Hitler's admiration of Nietzsche from William Shirer's seminal work on the Third Reich.

 

-CC in MA

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Here's the Shirer link. Sorry...

 

CC in MA

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We mustn't seek salvation by depending on others. We must develop our own confidence in ourselves.

 

:goodjob:

 

:notworthy: + :jesus: = :crazy:

 

In other words, be your own savior.

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We mustn't seek salvation by depending on others. We must develop our own confidence in ourselves.

 

:goodjob:

 

:notworthy: + :jesus: = :crazy:

 

In other words, be your own savior.

 

It sure can. But I'd take that truth several steps beyond:

 

Anything + Anything (in the right person at the right time) = :crazy:

 

In terms of saving myself, sometimes I can't even make myself empty the dishwasher. I need -- in the final anaylsis -- a savior.

 

-CC in MA

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Did Jesus exist? And if so, what is the non-religious historical evidence?

 

SUETONIUS

 

The essay below is from a Christian apologetics website, but it exhibits precisely what a historian's job (in my view) is: to portray the evidence fairly, to analyze it fairly, to offer all sides a fair say, and when all of that is done, allow the reader to make up his/her mind.

 

________________________________________

The Reliability of the Secular References to Jesus

J. P. Holding

 

We now move to the references to Jesus in secular sources that have little value - beginning with the testimony of the Roman historian and contemporary of Tacitus, Suetonius.

 

Here is the first of the two relevant quotes: "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

 

A second quote does not mention Jesus, but refers to Christians being persecuted under Nero.

 

Does this passage really refer to Jesus?

 

This is the key objection to using this passage. "Chrestus," as Suetonius spells it, is the correct Latin form of a true Greek name, so that some would say that it does not refer to Jesus Christ. Benko, for example, has suggested that "Chrestus" was some kind of Jewish agitator who had no association with Christianity, perhaps a semi-Zealot reacting to plans by Caligula to put a statue of Zeus in the Jewish Temple; as for the spelling issue, he points out that Suetonius spells "Christians" correctly, so it is unlikely that he misspelled "Christus." [see Benk.EC49, 410-3] .

 

Some may find support for this in that Suetonius' sentence literally refers to "the instigator," not actually "the instigation." [VanV.JONT, 31, 33; who counters, though, that the name "Chrestus" is otherwise unattested among the Jews. On the other hand, one oddball author suggested that the reference was to Jesus Himself - still alive, and visiting Rome in the 40s AD!] Mason [Maso.JosNT, 166], on the other hand, believes that the reference is to Jesus, but that Suetonius altered the name he heard to that of a common slave name. Harris [Harr.3Cruc, 22; see also Harr.GosP5, 354, VanV.JONT, 34-5] notes that the substitution of an "e" for an "i" was "a common error in the spelling of proper names" at the time; Van Voorst adds the peculiarity of a gravestone that offers both spellings at once! Harris also says that because Suetonius did not say, "at the institution of a certain Chrestus," the historian expected that his readers would know the person that he was referring to - hence, this "Chrestus" could not have been merely a Jewish agitator, for there was only one possible "Chrestus" that Suetonius could have been referring to that would have been so well known at the time he was writing (120 AD).

 

It may be that Suetonius wrongly presumed from one of his sources that Chrestus had at some time in the past personally delivered His message to Rome, and that is why he seems to indicate that Chrestus was directly behind the agitation. [ibid., 356] Harris also explains, in an amusing footnote, that to Greek ears, the name "Christos" would have sounded like something drawn from medical or building technology, meaning either "anointed" or "plastered"! (The Romans who heard these Jews talking about "Christus" assumed that, perhaps, another type of "plastering" was going on!) So, they switched it to the more comprehensible "Chrestus," which means "useful one." Harris further indicates, via a quote from the 4th-century Latin Christian Lactantius, that Jesus was commonly called "Chrestus" by those who were ignorant.

 

Is this historian/writer a reliable source? Is there good reason to trust what they say?

 

I now have two varying opinions on this subject. One source would say, if this is indeed a reference to Jesus, then it is a good one, nearly as good as Tacitus'. Suetonius was known as "a painstaking researcher, interested in minute details," [benk.PagRo, 14] as well as a prolific writer in matters of history and antiquities, including biographies of Julius Caesar and several Roman emperors - this was a man "in a position to know!" - see Harr.GosP5, 353) On the other hand, Van Voorst [VanV.JONT, 38] tells us of Suetonius, "Repeating a mistake in his sources is characteristic of Suetonius, who often treats then uncritically and uses them carelessly." Benko and Van Voorst are both modern and equally qualified, so for now, take your pick.

 

The only way to completely devalue the Suetonius reference is to say that it has nothing to do with Jesus, or with Christians, at all. The issue is an open one, and since we have Tacitus (who both wrote earlier and gave far more information), this reference is not really that important.

 

What do we learn about Jesus and or Christianity from this historian/writer?

 

At worst, the passage reflects Suetonius' confusion after hearing about Jews arguing over a "Chri/estus" who the Christian Jews would have spoken of as still alive. This, and the second passage referring to persecution of Christians, provides us with nothing that we do not find elsewhere or that can be substantially used. Perhaps more important is the possible historical connection with the expulsion of Jews from Rome referred to in Acts (which is commonly dated in 49 AD, though some prefer 41 AD - see Wlkn.JUF, 215; Benk.EC49, 407-415; and Harr.3Cruc, 23 for a nice sampling of opinions). If there were Christians in Rome in 41-49 AD, then that's a pretty strong indication that Jesus existed, since His life would have been well within the memories of those living at the time.

 

 

Source: Tektonics.org

 

-CC in MA

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I can only speak for myself. I spent the best part of half a century to find a reason to believe in Jesus. I think that should count as sincere "emotional desire to believe." I have searched the literature of a number of Christian communities (I am speaking of large international communities of different types of Christianity i.e. pietism, evangelical, and liberal). I have been studying theology on the graduate level for several years. Nowhere anywhere by anyone do I find sufficient explanation for what changed when Jesus died to support belief that his death was significant.

 

This is a very powerful question, so fundamental yet complex and hard to grasp. It really makes me think. Of course we know the view of Paul -- somehow in the cosmos, or at least on this planet, this one person bore in his body the totality of darkness: sin, sickness, infirmity, separation, guilt, pain, suffering, death, the grave and torment. He took these things upon himself, willingly (yet reluctantly). He laid down his life for his friends. But I know you know this.

 

More likely your point is: Why was this necessary? How did this change things?

 

YES!!!

 

I can speak only to my situation. Somehow I sense that the arc of the moral universe is long, as Martin Luther King said, but it bends toward justice. Somehow, justice must prevail. Somehow, there must be a means of reconciliation who we are in our humanness (fallible, inept, ignorant, weakn) with who we can become. We can't do this ourselves or we can't recognize that we can do it ourselves. We harbor the suspicion that we need someone to show us the way and take away that which is not genuine in us.

 

It is a great salve to the psyche to believe that in that one person's death we have life. In that one sacrificial afternoon, all that is false and falls short of who we are has been redeemed. His death give us someone, a tangible someone, to throw our faults and weaknesses and failures and disappontments to, so that they can vanish and we can move on. It was done for our minds, to meet our sense of justice and goodness, and to allow us to walk away free. In that sacrifice we are given a get out of jail free card, and that jail is the mind, the psyche, the conscience.

 

Don't quote me on anything. Just typing out loud. (And not trying to convince anyone of anything...just typing what I'm thinking in response to your point.)

 

-CC in MA

 

Not quote you? But this is the most sensible answer I have ever come across. Honest to the core. Sorry I ever was nasty to you, CC. You seem like a sensible and sensitive person, very insightful. I'm really sorry.

 

This explanation makes sense. It also leaves room to suggest that on a factual historical level Jesus was executed because he was seen as an enemy of the state. But his followers could not accept his death as the end. So they came up with a spiritual explanation, which Paul extended far beyond the teachings of the Man of Galilee. Somehow, it grew to powerful churches so that several centuries later, by the time of Constantine, it was powerful enough for the Emperor himself to accept it as a legitimate religion. And so the religion just kept on growing in power and magnitude so that it ruled the lives of hundreds of thousands throughout the world and its history for at least two thousand years.

 

Thanks for sharing your insights and ideas, CC.

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Not quote you? But this is the most sensible answer I have ever come across. Honest to the core. Sorry I ever was nasty to you, CC. You seem like a sensible and sensitive person, very insightful. I'm really sorry.

 

This explanation makes sense. It also leaves room to suggest that on a factual historical level Jesus was executed because he was seen as an enemy of the state. But his followers could not accept his death as the end. So they came up with a spiritual explanation, which Paul extended far beyond the teachings of the Man of Galilee. Somehow, it grew to powerful churches so that several centuries later, by the time of Constantine, it was powerful enough for the Emperor himself to accept it as a legitimate religion. And so the religion just kept on growing in power and magnitude so that it ruled the lives of hundreds of thousands throughout the world and its history for at least two thousand years.

 

Thanks for sharing your insights and ideas, CC.

 

Dear RubySera, It's water long ago washed under the bridge.

 

Thank you for your response to my thoughts, however incomplete they were -- and are.

 

I'm really enjoying this thread. It has forced me to do a lot of research and I have learned a ton already!

 

-CC in MA

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[

I never thought about Zeus, in terms of whether or not I would believe in him. That raises a question in my mind, though: Did the Greeks and Romans at one point literally believe in these gods/goddesses in the way that traditional Christians literally believe in God (and Jesus)? Or were these stories always known as stories (myths, not verifiable facts)? Ancient mythology is an area of weakness in my studies that I need to work on.

 

-CC in MA

 

They really did, the same way as people do in christianity. There were sacrifices etc. and plenty of competition between followers of different gods. There were atheists too of course, but they were less likely to speak up, rather like the christian europe of ages past.

 

Hi neverclear5. In an attempt to brush up my seriously lacking knowledge of these ancient myths, I have been bouncing all over the Internet. (How did we ever live and do research without the Internet?) I found a group called Hellenic Reconstructionists. They have "reconstructed" the practice of the religion of the ancient Greeks! Here's a link to a fascinating 2004 story about a Hellenic Reconstructionist in Boston who converted when, she says, Apollo appeared to her in a dream.

 

 

Here's an interesting passage from a much longer essay:

 

<< The Greek myths had no regular religious structure or "Theology" to reinforce popular belief, since Greek religion never became institutionalized beyond the needs of the individual city-state. Myths became formalized and politicalized after the fifth century, and in the Hellenistic period they became more of a political or even literary tradition than a religious phenomenon. It was the ancient Mystery Cults which were the real religion of the Greeks, from the time of Homer down into the Hellenistic Period, even with some features which were absorbed into early Christianity.The myths were reduced to a complicated system of formalized storytelling, largely bereft of historical and the earlier pre-Greek associations. Greek mythology turned into a formalized political apparatus with specific associations and rituals assigned to each city-state, but it could also be used as entertainment for a literary Hellenistic society. >>

 

 

Here's another short excerpt from a long essay on how the Greeks worshipped their gods:

 

<< Myth or literature? The Greek myths are stories, after all, not sacred texts. They were recorded in literary works, in Homeric epics and Hesiod's poetry, in classical Greek drama and by a multitude of later Greek and Roman writers. It was bards, philosophers and literati, not priests or mystics, who created, embellished and interpreted them from their earliest written appearance through adoption by the Romans and deathless acceptance into European culture.

 

In spite of how much these stories can tell us about ancient Greek religion, they aren't dogma; they don't define religious belief in the way, for instance, the New Testament does for Christians. On the contrary, from their earliest written expression in the Iliad, myths often take a satirical attitude towards the gods. Even in their naïve forms, the stories seem more speculative than doctrinal, as if their writers don't believe them literally. >>

 

 

And, finally, here's a snippet from a New York Times book review of the book Greek Gods, Human Lives: What We Can Learn From Myths.

 

<< Before 500 B.C. the free-thinker Xenophanes (who even attacked the Greek obsession with athletics!) spurned the gods of Homer and Hesiod for their deplorable behavior -- ''thieving, fornicating and tricking one another.'' Before 400, Thucydides wrote a history, obsessed with explanation, that all but left the gods out of the frame. Plato, not much later, wanted to exclude these old portrayals of the divine from his ideal polity. So, by the time of the tragedian Euripides, many did not take the Homeric vision of the gods literally: their mythical interventions were a way of talking about human life rather than a description or a truth. >>

 

 

Just wanted to share some of the information I've been reading. Sorry to take us on a sideroad from the "was Jesus real?" topic...

 

-CC in MA

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Maybe the whole point of these myths is as a 'vehicle' for the psyche to use. The beauty of myths is that they will speak to people according to their level of consciousness. There is always more to understand from them. In this way the psyche is able to move towards greater understanding and insight into who we really are, as opposed to who we think we are.

 

And because all of our psyches are individualised then no one mythology is going to appeal to all people (the mistake fundamentalists make, I feel).

 

So CC when you say that Jesus is your Saviour you could well be right. Your psyche identifies with Jesus...He becomes for you the Ideal to follow. By identifying with His life, death and ressurection maybe it becomes your life, death and ressurection? You die with Christ to the old, prison bound psyche and it rises with him in eternal life. Perhaps the meaning of many of the rituals such as baptism, the Eucharist etc. is to identify with Jesus....and many can attest to the transformative power of such rituals. Jesus comes to lead people to the Father; the Heavenly home. The psyche which has become orphaned and alone becomes united again with the "divine" in the discovery of our true selfhood.

 

Such was the thinking of many Gnostic christians. Their aim was to become a "Christ" themselves.

 

So have you "saved" yourself? Well, yes. Has Jesus saved you? In a way, yes He has. Not because you believe in a literal flesh and blood man; but because you identify with him and his message in the myth.

 

The lady who hears Apollo in her dream has heard the call of the divine within her, which has appeared to her in a way most comfortable to her psyche.

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Maybe the whole point of these myths is as a 'vehicle' for the psyche to use. The beauty of myths is that they will speak to people according to their level of consciousness. There is always more to understand from them. In this way the psyche is able to move towards greater understanding and insight into who we really are, as opposed to who we think we are.

 

And because all of our psyches are individualised then no one mythology is going to appeal to all people (the mistake fundamentalists make, I feel).

 

So CC when you say that Jesus is your Saviour you could well be right. Your psyche identifies with Jesus...He becomes for you the Ideal to follow. By identifying with His life, death and ressurection maybe it becomes your life, death and ressurection? You die with Christ to the old, prison bound psyche and it rises with him in eternal life. Perhaps the meaning of many of the rituals such as baptism, the Eucharist etc. is to identify with Jesus....and many can attest to the transformative power of such rituals. Jesus comes to lead people to the Father; the Heavenly home. The psyche which has become orphaned and alone becomes united again with the "divine" in the discovery of our true selfhood.

 

Such was the thinking of many Gnostic christians. Their aim was to become a "Christ" themselves.

 

So have you "saved" yourself? Well, yes. Has Jesus saved you? In a way, yes He has. Not because you believe in a literal flesh and blood man; but because you identify with him and his message in the myth.

 

The lady who hears Apollo in her dream has heard the call of the divine within her, which has appeared to her in a way most comfortable to her psyche.

 

What you have written, so well, is quite possibly correct. So much that we do, feel, and become in this life is linked to our thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and expectations. I've often wondered how much of what we do, feel and become when our bodies die is not likewise linked to what we think will happen. But that, of course, would mean that one who blows himself up for his cause would get what he thinks--72 virgins in paradise. That wouldn't make any sense.

 

Finally, and this is why I try to be very "ecumenical," this universe is too big for me to get my mind around and, therefore, the One behind this universe (in my theistic opinion) is much, much too large for me to figure out. Humility (e.g., this is what I think, but I may be wrong) is of utmost importance even if one's view is that in Jesus he caught a glimpse of Infinite Holiness.

 

Your point about fundamentalists believing that their view is one that will work for all people is exactly right. How limiting a view that is! (Seems to me.) I've written on this forum before that religion is like food. Italian works for some; Chinese for others; McDonald's for another. Let's give each other leeway and breathing room to find out what works for them. One Quranic verse that always rings true, divinely true, to me is: "There shall be no compulsion in religion."

 

-CC in MA

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What do we learn about Jesus and or Christianity from this historian/writer?

 

At worst, the passage reflects Suetonius' confusion after hearing about Jews arguing over a "Chri/estus" who the Christian Jews would have spoken of as still alive. This, and the second passage referring to persecution of Christians, provides us with nothing that we do not find elsewhere or that can be substantially used. Perhaps more important is the possible historical connection with the expulsion of Jews from Rome referred to in Acts (which is commonly dated in 49 AD, though some prefer 41 AD - see Wlkn.JUF, 215; Benk.EC49, 407-415; and Harr.3Cruc, 23 for a nice sampling of opinions). If there were Christians in Rome in 41-49 AD, then that's a pretty strong indication that Jesus existed, since His life would have been well within the memories of those living at the time.

 

Source: Tektonics.org

Did I miss a connection here? Christ is a title, not a name referring to a specific person. For example, King does not always mean King James. So I do not see a connection here with anyone called "Jesus." Modern day Christians follow someone who was named Jesus. So why did they not refer to him as Jesus at least once? Or Jesus the Christ even. There were a bunch of religious agitators in this time period, and I am sure more than a couple of them used the title of Christ, so I do not see any evidence to firmly support that the group that is being persecuted in this text refers to "Christians" who follow Jesus, as opposed to any other Christ of that time.

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Did Jesus exist? And if so, what is the non-religious historical evidence?

 

SUETONIUS

He wrote his information roughly 120AD, which is quite awhile after the alleged events.

 

I'll quote my info from EarlyChristianWritings.com:

Information on Suetonius

 

In The Life of Claudius 25.4, we find the statement, "As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

 

This is plausibly a reference to the expulsion of Jewish Christians from Rome. The author of Acts makes mention of this same expulsion, which occurred in 49 CE according to the fifth century church father Orosius, in Acts 18:2. "There he [Paul] met a Jew named Aquila, a native of Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla, because Claudius had ordered all the Jews to leave Rome." Aquila and Priscilla seem to have been converted prior to meeting Paul.

 

However, it is also possible that the Jews were expelled from Rome for a different cause. Chrestus is a suitable Greek name, so there may have been an agitator by the name of Chrestus in Rome. Or there may have been a different messianic pretender in Rome. It is difficult to say.

 

Suetonius also makes mention of Nero's persecution in 16.2: "Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition."

 

Notably, unlike Tacitus, Suetonius does not associate this punishment with the fire that swept Rome.

In short, the passage supports the existance of xians but really nothing more...but no one's arguing that xians didn't exist.

 

All this simply supports my assertions that the Romans are persecuting Jews, not xians per se (even if xians are getting caught up in the net). It is my strong belief that these events are the primary reasons that xians wanted to do away with their Jewish connections (specifically the obvious ones such as dietary and circumcision so they could blend into local society).

 

Also, we don't know the specific time, but the earlier these claims get should we not find at least one reference to the followers of the Way? According to Acts the term xianity only came about in Antioch but the Way was widespread prior to that (since the beginning of the movement) but we hear nothing of it. This alone tells me that, again, Acts was written to "explain" (as an apology) some of these "issues" at a much later date.

 

So keep that in mind. The movement wasn't named after "Christus" or anything of the like but rather it was "The Way" in it's infancy. It's a conveniently forgotten fact.

 

mwc

 

P.S. Here's a link to that coin for CC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sestert...-RIC_0424.4.jpg

 

It's important to note that Vespasian is the one who waged the battles against the Jews. As for the preterist views on the whole incident, yes, I am familiar with them (I suppose I should just go back and respond to your message but I'm too lazy :) ).

 

If there were Christians in Rome in 41-49 AD, then that's a pretty strong indication that Jesus existed, since His life would have been well within the memories of those living at the time.

Source: Tektonics.org

Did I miss a connection here? Christ is a title, not a name referring to a specific person. For example, King does not always mean King James. So I do not see a connection here with anyone called "Jesus." Modern day Christians follow someone who was named Jesus. So why did they not refer to him as Jesus at least once? Or Jesus the Christ even. There were a bunch of religious agitators in this time period, and I am sure more than a couple of them used the title of Christ, so I do not see any evidence to firmly support that the group that is being persecuted in this text refers to "Christians" who follow Jesus, as opposed to any other Christ of that time.

What you've got there is a "Leap of Faith!"

 

We also know, from the bible itself, that the early xians had a knack for following anti-christs and false teachers. Perhaps "Chrestus" is one of those? Perhaps every mention of someone outside the bible is one of those? Perhaps every mention of someone inside the bible is one of those and outside the bible is the "right" one? :shrug:

 

mwc

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In short, the passage supports the existance of xians but really nothing more...but no one's arguing that xians didn't exist.

 

Indeed, this is all that is incontrovertibly supported by this passage.

 

-CC in MA

 

 

 

 

Also, we don't know the specific time, but the earlier these claims get should we not find at least one reference to the followers of the Way? According to Acts the term xianity only came about in Antioch but the Way was widespread prior to that (since the beginning of the movement) but we hear nothing of it. This alone tells me that, again, Acts was written to "explain" (as an apology) some of these "issues" at a much later date.

 

So keep that in mind. The movement wasn't named after "Christus" or anything of the like but rather it was "The Way" in it's infancy. It's a conveniently forgotten fact.

 

This is an interesting point. It might be that "The Way" was the name those within the group used for themselves while outsiders used "Christian" or some derivation of the title "Christ."

 

Don't know.

 

-CC in MA

 

 

 

P.S. Here's a link to that coin for CC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Sestert...-RIC_0424.4.jpg

 

Thank you so much for looking that up for me, mwc. This is a beautiful and poignant coin brand new to me. Muchas gracias.

 

I wonder if any extra-biblical records of Jesus or the early Christians were destroyed with the Jewish Rebellion and the overthrow of Jerusalem? We'll never know...

 

-CC in MA

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This is an interesting point. It might be that "The Way" was the name those within the group used for themselves while outsiders used "Christian" or some derivation of the title "Christ."

Could be. Or perhaps two groups had similar belief structures and one later usurped the other? This is the, again, what Acts appears to present.

 

Thank you so much for looking that up for me, mwc. This is a beautiful and poignant coin brand new to me. Muchas gracias.

As you can see, the coin shows that the Jews were not liked by the Romans and they used this coin to tell the world who was in charge. However, you'd have to understand the symbolism to truly understand it and for diasporatic Jews this had to be a painful and humiliating sight.

 

I wonder if any extra-biblical records of Jesus or the early Christians were destroyed with the Jewish Rebellion and the overthrow of Jerusalem? We'll never know...

That's a question many people have asked. As you say, we'll never know. However, this wasn't a "sneak attack" so any important documents could have been removed from the area prior to the start of the siege. If we use conventional dating we can include G.Mark as a text that we think was in Jerusalem prior to the siege but is with us today. If this one text managed this then why not others?

 

mwc

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That's a question many people have asked. As you say, we'll never know. However, this wasn't a "sneak attack" so any important documents could have been removed from the area prior to the start of the siege. If we use conventional dating we can include G.Mark as a text that we think was in Jerusalem prior to the siege but is with us today. If this one text managed this then why not others?

 

mwc

 

Good point, mwc, and it reminded me of something I first heard about this fall.

 

There's the new theory that the Dead Sea Scrolls were not the product of the Essenes in and around the Dead Sea, but were stashed away by those fleeing the Jerusalem area as the Romans came near. That’s the thesis of chief West Bank Israeli archaeologist Yizhak Magen who excavated at Qumran off and on for the past 10 years and is an expert on the region. His work was just published in The Site of the Dead Sea Scrolls: Archaeological Interpretations and Debates (Leiden: Brill, 2006). According to Magen, the Dead Sea Scrolls were taken from various libraries in and around Jerusalem by refugees fleeing the Roman war against the Jews in 66-70 C.E. During the Second Jewish Revolt of 132-135 C.E. other refugees brought additional scrolls to the caves surrounding Qumran. Some did use pottery jars from the Qumran pottery factory as a repository for their sacred scrolls prior to hiding them.

 

If these were stashed there and, as you say Mark was preserved, why not others. Oh, for a time machine, mwc. We could take off and be there and SEE what happened!!

 

-CC in MA

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If these were stashed there and, as you say Mark was preserved, why not others. Oh, for a time machine, mwc. We could take off and be there and SEE what happened!!

 

Or see what didn't happen.

 

If the qumran materials came from jerusalem circa 60 C.E., wouldn't that be another little item to add to the already deafening silence?

 

(I mean, since there is no mention at all of Jesus of Nazareth in any of the scrolls)

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If these were stashed there and, as you say Mark was preserved, why not others. Oh, for a time machine, mwc. We could take off and be there and SEE what happened!!

 

Or see what didn't happen.

 

If the qumran materials came from jerusalem circa 60 C.E., wouldn't that be another little item to add to the already deafening silence?

 

(I mean, since there is no mention at all of Jesus of Nazareth in any of the scrolls)

It's off-topic but I used to have this re-occurring dream when I was xian that I could travel back and meet jesus. He spoke perfect english (being a god) and I could get all my biggest questions answered (seems the answer is "42"). As time went on he no longer spoke english and I needed a translator (I had one of those little english to Hebrew books since I didn't know he probably spoke Aramaic). Eventually, I would go back in time and he wouldn't even be there. All this and I was firmly xian! I took it too mean that we aren't supposed to be able to get easy answers. Like a time machine is somehow easy. I used to really like that dream too. Oh well.

 

mwc

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If these were stashed there and, as you say Mark was preserved, why not others. Oh, for a time machine, mwc. We could take off and be there and SEE what happened!!

 

Or see what didn't happen.

 

If the qumran materials came from jerusalem circa 60 C.E., wouldn't that be another little item to add to the already deafening silence?

 

(I mean, since there is no mention at all of Jesus of Nazareth in any of the scrolls)

 

No, Mythra, it's impossible to see what didn't happen, because it didn't happen. We would see what DID happen, even if what did happen isn't what we think happened. :HaHa:

 

I don't know that the lack of a reference to "Jesus" in the Dead Sea Scrolls means anything much. Pick up any contemporary religious book written by anyone of any religion other than Christianity and often you'll not find one reference to "Jesus" in the index. Doesn't mean he didn't exist; it means he's not deemed of value to the author of that book and the author's subject.

 

-CC in MA

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Finally, and this is why I try to be very "ecumenical," this universe is too big for me to get my mind around and, therefore, the One behind this universe (in my theistic opinion) is much, much too large for me to figure out. Humility (e.g., this is what I think, but I may be wrong) is of utmost importance even if one's view is that in Jesus he caught a glimpse of Infinite Holiness.

 

Absolutely CC. Ultimately this universe and the One are an absolute mystery. All we have are opinions (some well researched and well evidenced), but opinions none the less. Heraclitus said that all human opinions are toys for children. Todays certainties could well be tomorrows foolishness.

 

 

I could easily hang out with you CC......your doubt and lack of dogmatism are truly refreshing :grin:

 

Did Jesus exist? Ask me in another 50 years...I may have a different conclusion.

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Did Jesus exist? Ask me in another 50 years...I may have a different conclusion.

 

Imagine how uneventful our lives must have been if what we thought/felt/believed at 15 was precisely what we thought/felt/believed when we died at 84. That seems very sad to me.

 

-CC in MA

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Did Jesus exist? And if so, what is the non-religious historical evidence?

 

This Wikipedia article on the historicity of Jesus seems to be fair and balanced, presenting myriad views and voices on the question at hand.

 

-CC in MA

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Did Jesus exist? And if so, what is the non-religious historical evidence?

 

This Wikipedia article on the historicity of Jesus seems to be fair and balanced, presenting myriad views and voices on the question at hand.

 

-CC in MA

 

From that link provided by CC -

 

"....our prime sources about the life of Jesus were written within about fifty years of his death by people who perhaps knew him, but certainly by people who knew people who knew him. If this is beginning to sound slightly second hand, we may wish to consider two points. First... most ancient and medieval history was written from a much greater distance. Second, all the Gospel writers could have talked to people who were actually on the spot, and while perhaps not eyewitnesses themselves, their position is certainly the next best thing."

 

Even in the traditional analysis, it must be asserted that the authors wrote with certain motivations and a view to a particular community and its needs. Furthermore, it is also certain the authors relied on various sources, including their own memories, the testimony of eyewitnesses, and as even the traditional analysis asserted, the later authors did not write in ignorance of some texts that preceded them, as is claimed explicitly by the author of Luke.

 

The whole article is certainly interesting.

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