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The Historical Jesus?


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Yet. Imagine the first groups of Christians saying the same thing, those radical atheist hippies. wink.png

I can't since this never happened in the way you're implying. Careful with this equivocation.

 

mwc

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Yet. Imagine the first groups of Christians saying the same thing, those radical atheist hippies. wink.png

I can't since this never happened in the way you're implying. Careful with this equivocation.

 

mwc

You know how it happened? I'm of the mind it was first primarily a social movement in its origins, a counter-culture, challenge the beliefs of the old generation, smash their idols, out with the old in the with new, type movement. But like little clumps of dust in outer space they attract other clumps of dust and collide and and grow and attract other dust movements. Soon you have a planet. In light of that understanding, the comparison isn't out of line. It's a cyclical dynamic; old religion grows stale, new fresh ideas seek salvation from the old, freedom, in other words. New gets popular, dumbs down, becomes social, becomes religious, becomes cultural; new movement comes along saying 'out with the old in with the new'. And so it begins again.

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Yet. Imagine the first groups of Christians saying the same thing, those radical atheist hippies. wink.png

I can't since this never happened in the way you're implying. Careful with this equivocation.

You know how it happened? I'm of the mind it was first primarily a social movement in its origins, a counter-culture, challenge the beliefs of the old generation, smash their idols, out with the old in the with new, type movement. But like little clumps of dust in outer space they attract other clumps of dust and collide and and grow and attract other dust movements. Soon you have a planet. In light of that understanding, the comparison isn't out of line. It's a cyclical dynamic; old religion grows stale, new fresh ideas seek salvation from the old, freedom, in other words. New gets popular, dumbs down, becomes social, becomes religious, becomes cultural; new movement comes along saying 'out with the old in with the new'. And so it begins again.

No early xians were claiming to be atheists and were actually making the opposite claim. They certainly weren't doing anything in the name of "atheism" as you were suggesting.

 

I'm not sure why you've brought up the rest here since it wasn't being discussed prior. I'm sure this is probably the explanation to something that happened so I'm not going to question it.

 

mwc

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Yet. Imagine the first groups of Christians saying the same thing, those radical atheist hippies. wink.png

I can't since this never happened in the way you're implying. Careful with this equivocation.

You know how it happened? I'm of the mind it was first primarily a social movement in its origins, a counter-culture, challenge the beliefs of the old generation, smash their idols, out with the old in the with new, type movement. But like little clumps of dust in outer space they attract other clumps of dust and collide and and grow and attract other dust movements. Soon you have a planet. In light of that understanding, the comparison isn't out of line. It's a cyclical dynamic; old religion grows stale, new fresh ideas seek salvation from the old, freedom, in other words. New gets popular, dumbs down, becomes social, becomes religious, becomes cultural; new movement comes along saying 'out with the old in with the new'. And so it begins again.

No early xians were claiming to be atheists and were actually making the opposite claim. They certainly weren't doing anything in the name of "atheism" as you were suggesting.

 

I'm not sure why you've brought up the rest here since it wasn't being discussed prior. I'm sure this is probably the explanation to something that happened so I'm not going to question it.

 

mwc

In a Yoda voice, "So literal, are you?" They were in essence the same thing as atheists. It's irrelevant whether they claimed God literally existed or not. They were saying to their culture, "YOUR God doesn't exist". Not to mention the fact that people of their culture claimed Christians were in fact atheists because they didn't accept the traditional gods. You're hung up on the literal beliefs. The role they played is the same, hence in essence, they were the atheists of the day. I say the difference though is they developed a program for their vision, rather than just saying what's wrong with the current system. I'm just looking at this as a social movement. You view it as a religious movement. The latter became the tack-on; the vehicle.

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In a Yoda voice, "So literal, are you?" They were in essence the same thing as atheists. It's irrelevant whether they claimed God literally existed or not. They were saying to their culture, "YOUR God doesn't exist". Not to mention the fact that people of their culture claimed Christians were in fact atheists because they didn't accept the traditional gods. You're hung up on the literal beliefs. The role they played is the same, hence in essence, they were the atheists of the day. I say the difference though is they developed a program for their vision, rather than just saying what's wrong with the current system. I'm just looking at this as a social movement. You view it as a religious movement. The latter became the tack-on; the vehicle.

I'm hung up on the issue that xians were doing anything in the name of atheism. They didn't.

 

The rest of what you're saying appears to be mostly anachronistic projection.

 

mwc

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You still don't get it. In effect, in essence, the end result, etc. Of course it wasn't directly in the name of atheism. The comparison is in essence, iconoclasm. Smash the sacred idols of the establishment in favor of a new paradigm. Do you honestly believe historically Christianity was simply a religious reformation movement? I don't. If you do, then this comparison fails for you. You would see Jesus more like Martin Luther. But if you see him more as a Cynic Sage, then what I suggest is a valid comparison. The disagreement is in how we view early Christianity.

I don't get how you've turned to this discussion yet again.

 

How you're trying to separate things into nice, neat, categories also escapes me. There was no social movement with a little religion on the side. There was no simple religious reformation movement. It works well in a culture such as ours but not in some theocratic society like ancient Israel. This is just ridiculous. If you suggest tossing out the laws of Moses you were removing both secular and religious law. If this is what they suggested then it was complete social upheaval. But that didn't happen now did it? All the writings leave Mosaic law in place. The theocracy was secure. So it must be something a bit more complicated than what you're suggesting.

 

What we can know is this means it wasn't in the name of atheism. It was in the name of the ancient mosaic laws. Its god. Its theocracy. It claims as such in the writings we generally consider the earliest.

 

No more than you assuming historically early Christianity looks like inherited myth about it that was created. That's anachronistic as well. The difference I see between the social movement model vs. the 'miracle boy from heaven teaching his 12 who taught the Bishops of Rome who present to you the Holy Bible in their name' model, is that the former can be seen in action across all cultures throughout history. It follows patterns of human and social behaviors and therefore seems reasonable and fits the data. The latter is believing in a miracle as a matter of faith and takes some squinting of the eyes just right for it to work.

If I'm reading this correctly (since it looks like a typo in that first line) it appears you're saying that I have stated (apparently elsewhere since not in this thread and you wish to take this opportunity to insert this topic into this thread) that Christianity is based upon other myths. Or created out of other myths? Do those myths include Judaism?

 

The story, as we have it and as the patristic fathers would state time and again, is that there was a union between a spirit (a god) and a human and their offspring was "Jesus." This is a sample of the story I put forward. I call it a MYTH. It came largely from the Hebrew texts. Again, this largely agrees with the patristic fathers. It is NOT the story you put forward. You remove the parts you do not care for, add others, and call it a HISTORY. None of the church documents, or really anything I can think of, mention their leader was a cynic sage born of the usual means between a couple of Jews in Nazareth (and here there's just the unlikely "Pantera" reference). This is the fantasy that you have accepted and are trying to impose on the rest of us as historical reality.

 

To me reading several stories of mythical doings by a mythical demi-god and calling it a myth seems reasonable. Reading several stories of magical events and calling them a history, but only after I have to perform significant surgery and apology on them, seems far less reasonable.

 

If what I am saying is anachronistic than the entire study of history is.

Introducing anachronisms is one of the dangers when studying history.

 

mwc

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You still don't get it. In effect, in essence, the end result, etc. Of course it wasn't directly in the name of atheism. The comparison is in essence, iconoclasm. Smash the sacred idols of the establishment in favor of a new paradigm. Do you honestly believe historically Christianity was simply a religious reformation movement? I don't. If you do, then this comparison fails for you. You would see Jesus more like Martin Luther. But if you see him more as a Cynic Sage, then what I suggest is a valid comparison. The disagreement is in how we view early Christianity.

I don't get how you've turned to this discussion yet again.

Because you challenged my comparison of modern Atheism to early Christianity. I explained the basis for it as a meta-view, it is totally irrelevant what god or no-god is put forth, but the underlying basis, motive, and goal of such movements. I offered the basis, you don't agree with it. Hence this discussion now.

 

How you're trying to separate things into nice, neat, categories also escapes me. There was no social movement with a little religion on the side. There was no simple religious reformation movement.

Says who? I'm not making this clean and neat at all. In fact, to accept the myth as presented by the early Church fathers as accurate is taking the clean and neat path - too easy, too convenient. Too supportive of how they wrote history to favor themselves. It is full of holes. The myth they created was one of a single Teacher who trained his disciples, who trained the Bishops, who have the True Message (as opposed to all them heretics out there!). I love how Ehrman aptly refers to early Christianity, as Early Christianities. That is correct. Simply taking the Fathers at their word as close to the real history, is simply too neat and easy and doesn't fit the facts on the ground.

 

It works well in a culture such as ours but not in some theocratic society like ancient Israel. This is just ridiculous. If you suggest tossing out the laws of Moses you were removing both secular and religious law. If this is what they suggested then it was complete social upheaval. But that didn't happen now did it? All the writings leave Mosaic law in place. The theocracy was secure. So it must be something a bit more complicated than what you're suggesting.

I don't agree with this. Galilee was a cultural crossroads, not some little isolated little rural pastoral setting. Cynic style philosophers and a wide range of beliefs were common place there. This is evidenced by recent archeological finds of great mosaics from that time. I really get the impression in your views of a very conservative scholarship.

 

What we can know is this means it wasn't in the name of atheism.

That's right. It was however saying "Your view of God is wrong. There is no difference between Jews and Greeks". That's radical stuff. The modern atheist says, "Your view of God is wrong. There is no-God sending people to hell". One example of the comparison. It does not matter one toot what that god looked like, so long as it supported their evolved sensibilities. To the atheist, "no-god" supports their sensibilities. It's people, not beliefs.

 

It was in the name of the ancient mosaic laws. Its god. Its theocracy. It claims as such in the writings we generally consider the earliest.

No it wasn't. Not really. Some scholarship can demonstrate that the attempts to tie the movement into the Judaic traditions was a latter myth added to give it validity as a movement. There were lots of Jesus' about at those early years, too many in fact to be accounted for by anything other that creative mythmaking.

 

Novel religions were bad. But if you could claim the accepted ancient religion of the Jews as yours, then you can claim historical roots and hence offer claims of validity to support your novel beliefs - which they were in fact.

 

If I'm reading this correctly (since it looks like a typo in that first line) it appears you're saying that I have stated (apparently elsewhere since not in this thread and you wish to take this opportunity to insert this topic into this thread) that Christianity is based upon other myths. Or created out of other myths? Do those myths include Judaism?

Some of the Jewish myths were attempted to make fit the Jesus movements claims to their religion as part of it, hence why you have such piss poor theology as the Virgin Birth, etc. Jesus was whoever they needed him to be. It was creativity at is finest.

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(continued...)

 

The story, as we have it and as the patristic fathers would state time and again, is that there was a union between a spirit (a god) and a human and their offspring was "Jesus." This is a sample of the story I put forward. I call it a MYTH. It came largely from the Hebrew texts. Again, this largely agrees with the patristic fathers.

I don't accept this. The Orthodox wrote this history, and burned all the other histories and beliefs that disagreed with them. Fortunately, they missed enough for us to look at today and get a whole different picture.

 

It is NOT the story you put forward. You remove the parts you do not care for, add others, and call it a HISTORY.

Not at all, it's looking at all the pieces of how myth actually works in culture. Something I don't believe you do.

 

None of the church documents, or really anything I can think of, mention their leader was a cynic sage born of the usual means between a couple of Jews in Nazareth (and here there's just the unlikely "Pantera" reference).

And this is meaningful how? If you accept the indications of the Q document (which I do), and if you accept those who have examined it outside later writings and see very distinct layers, you can see in the earliest layers what other scholars have picked up on prior to this regard cynic-style teachings. In Q1, the earliest layers, it is pretty strongly evident. It wasn't really about religion at that point.

 

None of this is hard fact, of course. But it definitely is evidence to be taken into the whole picture with everything else.

 

This is the fantasy that you have accepted and are trying to impose on the rest of us as historical reality.

Impose? No. Consider, yes. You call it fantasy, so are you imposing your view?

 

For a good reference to a lot of this stuff, I'd recommend reading The Christian Myth, by Burton Mack: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Myth-Origins-Logic-Legacy/dp/0826413552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321549256&sr=8-1

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Because you challenged my comparison of modern Atheism to early Christianity. I explained the basis for it as a meta-view, it is totally irrelevant what god or no-god is put forth, but the underlying basis, motive, and goal of such movements. I offered the basis, you don't agree with it. Hence this discussion now.

I challenged the idea that the early xians were doing anything in the name of atheism. That was the assertion. We've since agreed on that point. You've widened the topic to try make your statement relevant.

 

Says who? I'm not making this clean and neat at all. In fact, to accept the myth as presented by the early Church fathers as accurate is taking the clean and neat path - too easy, too convenient. Too supportive of how they wrote history to favor themselves. It is full of holes. The myth they created was one of a single Teacher who trained his disciples, who trained the Bishops, who have the True Message (as opposed to all them heretics out there!). I love how Ehrman aptly refers to early Christianity, as Early Christianities. That is correct. Simply taking the Fathers at their word as close to the real history, is simply too neat and easy and doesn't fit the facts on the ground.

So we'll just toss all that out since you've declared it to not be trustworthy?

 

Now what are we left with?

 

I'm sure you'll have some method to choose the parts you like and cut out those that you don't. From just reading the above I'm guessing you'll weight those who have the "True Message" (with caps) lower than the rest with the fine reason that you don't like them as much. It doesn't matter to me that anyone was orthodox or heretics. They were all orthodox in their own sect and outsiders were heretics. If that wasn't the case then they would have remained in the same (orthodox or correct thinking) group.

 

I don't agree with this. Galilee was a cultural crossroads, not some little isolated little rural pastoral setting. Cynic style philosophers and a wide range of beliefs were common place there. This is evidenced by recent archeological finds of great mosaics from that time. I really get the impression in your views of a very conservative scholarship.

Lots of cynics just sort of roaming aimlessly around in your ancient world.

 

I am aware of the mosaics. I'm not sure what you're trying to prove by mentioning them.

 

Mosaics in synagogues plus bands of roving cynics does not add up to what is revealed in the xian texts. It might be fun to suggest it but it doesn't make it happen in real life. Do the gospels mention mosaics or anything related to them? Nope. How about these fields of cynics? Not a one. Let's go earlier just for fun. Does Paul mention anything like you're suggesting? He sure doesn't. No mention of a sage, much less a cynic, roaming the plains. And mosaics? Too literal? He doesn't mention anything that should suggest the ancient laws should go the way of the dinosaur. He defends the Law (capital "L" so we know he means the Torah...the Law of Moses) time and again. Move forward and the gospel texts defend the same Law as well. And they place your "sage" at home in Capernaum. He had a home. He didn't wander with no place to be. This is the myth you've cooked up and called "history."

 

So why am I listening to any of this when the texts, and not even the patristic texts, tell a different tale? A mythical one to be sure but different? Because you WANT a historical human. It would kill the mythical Jesus dead. Rip him from heaven and put him firmly in the ground where he belongs. He could never rise again. Everyone would know there was a Jesus, he lived and he is good and dead. Now it's time for a new thing. Maybe YOUR thing whatever the hell that is. Brand X spirituality. A mythical "jesus" is the original Jesus and is very gnostic. It just doesn't fit in to kill xianity.

 

That's right. It was however saying "Your view of God is wrong. There is no difference between Jews and Greeks". That's radical stuff. The modern atheist says, "Your view of God is wrong. There is no-God sending people to hell". One example of the comparison. It does not matter one toot what that god looked like, so long as it supported their evolved sensibilities. To the atheist, "no-god" supports their sensibilities. It's people, not beliefs.

Again we agree.

 

The Jews, Christians and Muslims say this all the time about one another's god and no one is doing it in the name of atheism. To equate any of these to atheists, as you did, is incorrect. If they see one another as atheists is one thing but they are not the same as myself. I am not an atheist as a social movement. The people in these religions are not doing so as a social movement with religion on the side. You need to rethink your position.

 

I can imagine a xian, or others, conceding the case as an atheist but this case was far varied. What we might call deism could be atheism in the past. That is to concede that a god might not divinely interact with us. This does not mean they did not believe in a god but it was just removed from us in an unknowable way. It's very difficult to know what it is you're arguing when you say Jews and Greeks say they were alike. They finally went to war when Greeks defiled a synagogue. In Galilee. How can you say because of some mosaics they were saying such things? This is a very simplistic view of these apparent syncretisms. Synagogues were general meeting places, comparable (but not identical) to churches were in the old West so it's uncertain why the mosaics appear in them. There are also representations of seven prong candle holders even though the law stated those were forbidden. That must mean something as well.

 

No it wasn't. Not really. Some scholarship can demonstrate that the attempts to tie the movement into the Judaic traditions was a latter myth added to give it validity as a movement. There were lots of Jesus' about at those early years, too many in fact to be accounted for by anything other that creative mythmaking.

 

Novel religions were bad. But if you could claim the accepted ancient religion of the Jews as yours, then you can claim historical roots and hence offer claims of validity to support your novel beliefs - which they were in fact.

Some scholarship?

 

All I have to do is read G.Matthew and the guy(s) who wrote it quotes the Hebrew (LXX) texts like it is going out of style. It WAS tied to Judaism without question. Nearly every word that "jesus" utters is from the LXX. Paul mentions the Hebrew texts time and again. So how is it that this isn't a valid connection? I am quoting your post. A lot. This is a pretty good sign that my post relies on yours. It's not made up whole cloth.

 

So that scholarship that shows it's not about Judaism? Let me guess. They strip it all away and come up with a historical "jesus" that was born to a couple of real parents and so on. They remove everything the stories and witnesses actually say and replace it with their own versions. Those scholars. The ones who invent their own "jesus" just like the original authors did except instead of using Jewish texts to invent their "jesus" these scholars use the Christian texts to invent their Jesus of Nazareth. The one you like. The cynic sage that roamed the countryside.

 

Some of the Jewish myths were attempted to make fit the Jesus movements claims to their religion as part of it, hence why you have such piss poor theology as the Virgin Birth, etc. Jesus was whoever they needed him to be. It was creativity at is finest.

The theology is spot on. If it was piss-poor then we wouldn't have it. But it's still in there and it is believed even today. There was a G.Matthew that was without the birth narrative but was declared heterodox. Had it been preferred it would have easy been co-opted and made orthodox. And there's two gospels that lack birth narratives in the strictest since with G.John having a purely gnostic birth narrative. All bases are covered and accepted. The story, except for G.Mark, is purely mythical (depending on the time and place it might have been accepted as factual but the patristic texts show resistance in some places here...but we've tossed these out above so I shouldn't have mentioned it). I see no reason to attempt to place a real human here now. Especially since you obviously see the stories as myth but can't bring yourself to admit to the myth itself.

 

mwc

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(continued...)

I don't accept this. The Orthodox wrote this history, and burned all the other histories and beliefs that disagreed with them. Fortunately, they missed enough for us to look at today and get a whole different picture.

Well, that's up to you to decide. You believe there was this monolithic object called "The Orthodox" and the did something throughout the early centuries. I accept the gospels at face value. There once was a demi-god and his name was Jesus. He did miracles. He died in such a way that causes a strange illness called "sin" to go away if you believe he died to do this. He rose again after a few days. He flew up into the sky. I can either accept this as a history or a myth. I used to accept it as a history. I now accept it as a myth. But I don't get to significantly rip it apart and/or add to it. If you want to interpret it for me then that's one thing but you're turning it into something else entirely. Did he walk on the water? I say yes. You say? I'm guessing no because humans cannot do this (we'd be in agreement on this) but that it was put there later for some reason that can't really be explained except it fulfilled some theological point of later followers (which could be but this is a hollow answer and, as far as I know, never once mentioned by anyone especially if we look early on).

 

Not at all, it's looking at all the pieces of how myth actually works in culture. Something I don't believe you do.

It is what you do. You have zero evidence from the early xians (the group you claimed were behaving in such a way) that YOUR representation of "jesus" existed at all. But you keep telling me of this cynic sage that did all sorts of things. Where did he come from? If you didn't cut away all the myth from the stories to create just a man, and only a man, that you claim is historical where in history is he found? I want to look for myself.

 

We both know I won't find him. He doesn't exist. He's a fabrication. More myth than the one you're replacing.

 

Other than a few details I can just go to the gospels and find a demi-god that did miracles, died, and resurrected and flew to the sky. He's pretty consistent overall. Better than this modern historical "jesus" myth that people toss around.

 

And this is meaningful how? If you accept the indications of the Q document (which I do), and if you accept those who have examined it outside later writings and see very distinct layers, you can see in the earliest layers what other scholars have picked up on prior to this regard cynic-style teachings. In Q1, the earliest layers, it is pretty strongly evident. It wasn't really about religion at that point. None of this is hard fact, of course. But it definitely is evidence to be taken into the whole picture with everything else.

Evidence of what? Cynic style teachings? From? Q? Q was a pretty good teacher. And hypothetical. Dare I say...imaginary. Hey, like Jesus! Q==Jesus! Our job is almost done.

 

Now just to figure out who wrote Q and we've cracked this nut since that's who created this whole myth. I could mention ST:TNG but I won't (wrong haircut).

 

Impose? No. Consider, yes. You call it fantasy, so are you imposing your view? For a good reference to a lot of this stuff, I'd recommend reading The Christian Myth, by Burton Mack: http://www.amazon.com/Christian-Myth-Origins-Logic-Legacy/dp/0826413552/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1321549256&sr=8-1

Yes, impose. You turned a single comment/warning not to equivocate your imagined early xian hippies (yuck) to modern atheists into a rehashed discussion on the whole origin of the xian movement in a thread about about coming out as an atheist. Whatever though. I'm not going to quibble over this.

 

I did a quick stop by Wikipedia and got a chuckle over the criticisms to this book:

Criticism

 

Mack's hypothesis presenting Jesus and the earliest Christians within the frame of Greco-Roman cynicism is controversial. While most scholars have recognised finding Jesus within the context of first century Palestinian Judaism, Mack and other proponents go against the majority arguing that Jesus be understood in a Hellenistic context. According to Craig A. Evans "The Cynic hypothesis will in time assuredly be consigned to the dustbin of ill-conceived hypotheses, but it will be useful nonetheless to appeal to it as our point of departure."[2]

 

Mack follows the lead of Kloppenborg in reconstructing Q in layers, focusing on Q communities. This sort of reconstruction has been criticised by a number of scholars such as Maurice Casey. On Jesus as a Cynic, Casey states that "When all the evidence is taken into account, supposed parallels of this kind show that Jesus was quite different from a Cynic philosopher, not that he was like one." [3]

I feel somehow drawn to these criticisms.

 

On the other hand I feel compelled to email these guys and let them know about the wandering flocks of cynic sages in the 1st centuries...

 

mwc

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