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Need Help Answering A Historical Fact Or Fiction.


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I have been studying lately the historical proof of Jesus as I am searching for truth and trying to seperate truth from fiction. And one common point that Christians try to use is Josephus refererence to Jesus but what I have found is that Josephus from my reading wasn't even born when Jesus had died so his writings had to come from someone else telling him because he certainly could not have been a witness.

 

Are there any historical facts of literature that can prove Jesus even existed? some people who do not believe in God may still accept Jesus existed but is there really any real proof in secular literature?

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You don't have any secular proof of Jesus' existence. Josephus is considered on of the "best" one, and as you said, he wasn't even born at that time. The only records are second hand accounts of the Christian cult. Maybe it was a group that had some mass hypnosis done on them? Maybe the core group did mushrooms? Maybe they were the first Raelians? Who knows...

 

And then we also have writings from some contemporary people to Jesus, like Philo, who didn't write anything about Jesus, even though religion and reforming Judaism was his big interest. He if any would have written books after books about the teachings of Jesus, but not one word came from him.

 

The only "historical" evidence anyone can claim to have are the Gospels. Paul is not a reliable witness since he claims he never saw Jesus in person, but only through visions, and his teachings came through reveleations and not through the teachings of others (i.e. he made up 99.9% of his stuff).

 

The Gospels were written long time after Paul, and no one knows who wrote them, but it seems there were many contributors to each one of them. And neither of the Gospels were written as eyewitness accounts, but as fictions. I mean: not like "I saw Jesus stand on the hill..." but "and then he went into a secret room and said 'I like donuts', and he never told this to anyone." (how could the writer know about the "secret" things that were not spoke off? Unless the author is writing a fiction!) I don't remember in which one of the Gospels, but one of these supposed "eyewitness" accords talks about himself in third-person. I think it was John, and he wrote something like "and then John walked over to the donut shop...", which I assume you would not do if you were a true eyewitness giving your statement, but rather "and then I walked over to the donyt shop". Right?

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Are there any historical facts of literature that can prove Jesus even existed?

None. There are no credible extrabiblical sources to indicate that the NT character called Jesus Christ ever lived. Josephus' Antiquities is a favorite source for xian apologists, but the passage they refer to has often been doubted as authentic. Many scholars believe it is an interpolation, as (I read this somewhere) the oldest known version of Josephus does not contain the passage, and the passage differs in style and context from the rest of the chapter. Eusibius has been named as a possible culprit.

 

The fictional Galilean sorcerer described in the gospels may have been based on the life of a real person; a Jewish sage, a religious ascetic rebel who failed at a coup d'etat takeover of the temple, and was crucified for sedition. This scenario is possible, and there are many who believe Jesus was just that. A wise (but very human) sage.

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Soor,

 

You might try checking out The Freethinker's Text-Book, Part II (Christianity: Its Evidences, Its Origin, Its Morality, Its History), by Annie Besant. It was written way back in 1876, but it hits on just some of the questions you are examining. Besant, a freethinker, explores the available historical information surrounding the early church, including discussions of Josepheus. It might be one useful source of information.

 

It is available from Project Gutenberg as a free e-book: http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/13349

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Hi Soor,

 

What Christian's like to use regarding Josephus is called the Testimonium Favinium.

Heimdall had a great post on the Testimonium Favinium a while back.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...monium+Favinium

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For those of you who have looked at this issue more closely ...

 

My understanding of Josephus is entirely second-hand, but from what I gather, the problems with his "account of Jesus" are these -- do I have it basically right?

 

1) The style, wording, etc. of the actual text makes it obvious that it's not written by the same person who wrote the surrounding text. By analogy, suppose you saw a passage someone had written, which was in mostly modern language, and said something like this -- "I went to New Orleans with some buddies of mine, regular good ole boys. We had a hell of a great time. One night, I went to Pat O'Brien's bar, and whence I arrived there, I met a woman named Janis, who sheweth me many wonders, and verily, revealed much that was beyond mere human understanding. Then Fred, Joe Bob, and I scooted over to this little dive on Canal Street and got some ass-kicking shrimp gumbo."

 

2) The clumsy insertion of the text puts it in a spot in which the surrounding text conflicts with its intended (by the forger) meaning -- essentially, the passage and surrounding text is something like, "Around that time, there were several people who were persecuting the Jews. There was Jones, who did all sorts of wicked things to them; here's some more about him ... There was this guy Jesus, who preached, etc. ... There was Smith, who murdered hundreds of Jews." In other words, Jesus is one of the guys who is harassing and persecuting the Jews; at least that's what the Jesus section seems to mean in the surrounding context.

 

3) The statements about Jesus, and those elsewhere (Josephus' real writings), can be assumed prima facie to be written by different persons solely on the basis of the ideas. "X" (the unknown forger) explicitly refers to the purported resurrection of Jesus. Jospehus never mentions it elsewhere and is obviously not a Christian. So if Josephus had hypothetically written that, what would it mean? It would be like me saying, "oh, yeah, I remember when Sam and Laura got married, it was 1985. I know 'cause that was the same summer Joe Bob rose from the dead," then never mentioning it again. Unless one wants to argue that, in Josephus' era, people rose from the dead all the time, so it just wouldn't have been that big a deal.

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For those of you who have looked at this issue more closely ...

 

My understanding of Josephus is entirely second-hand, but from what I gather, the problems with his "account of Jesus" are these -- do I have it basically right?

I have been researching this lately and what is compelling is that even Christian scholars say it is a forgery based on writing style but mostly because Josephus a Jew would not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and yet not convert if he really believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

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Josephus was an historian... he catalogued the times of his father, who was involved in the Temple at the time of Jesus' supposed ministry.

 

He mentions John the Baptist, who was no more popular with orthodox Jewry than a Jesus style prophet would be. If there WAS an important figure called Yeshua then Josephus would have mentioned it. There wasn't, thus the 'Holy Forgery' of what some later scribe thought should be there... Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, but forgery makes one ponder if there was was a man called Yeshua who lived and died in the approximate time frame (the biblical time frame being a nonsense)

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I have been researching this lately and what is compelling is that even Christian scholars say it is a forgery based on writing style but mostly because Josephus a Jew would not acknowledge Jesus as the Messiah and yet not convert if he really believed that Jesus was the Messiah.

Correct, it would be like a Christian calling Mohammed a Holy Prophet and a Messenger from God.

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but there was nothing to stop him pointing it out as a false one... but Messianic claims were ten a penny back then... and that is in the Roman record. Seems Jesus, if he existed, wasn't an important mover and shaker at the time... Simon of Gitta gets more mentions...

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Are there any historical facts of literature that can prove Jesus even existed? some people who do not believe in God may still accept Jesus existed but is there really any real proof in secular literature?

 

No mention of Jesus by any contemporary writer or historian. The authenticity of Josephus is highly controversial and doesn't really matter. Josephus was born after Jesus' supposed death anyway.

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The best evidence would have been if Jesus himself had written something, or the disciples had written something immediately after or during their walk with Jesus, and before Paul even had his "conversion". It is kind of strange that Paul was persecuting a cult of believers that didn't have anything written, and Paul had to go to the scripturs (i.e. Torah) and have revelations to even get the story. For sure this isn't the way a deity would create a new religion, especially not one that is claimed to be "intelligent".

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