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Christianity's Critics: The Romans Meet Jesus, Part 1


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John Loftus:

 

Robert Conner studied Greek, Hebrew, some Aramaic and even Coptic back in the mid-70's at Western Kentucky University. He's written nine books, including Jesus the Sorcerer, and the latest on The Secret Gospel of Mark, as well as a number of articles and essays. If you want a primer on what the earliest critics of Christianity had to say about this new cult then I'm publishing an essay he wrote in several parts, with approval. This is Part 1.

 

Christianity's Critics: The Romans meet jesus, Part 1

 

A must see for all students of early Christianity.

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This is excellent, qadeshet!

 

From your link...

 

There are other reasons to doubt the accuracy of Luke’s account. According to Luke, when Jesus was crucified the sun was “eclipsed”[13]kai skotoj ege-neto ef olhn thn ghn ewj wraj enanthj tou hliou eklipontoj—“and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon[14] because of an eclipse of the sun.”[15] However, a solar eclipse at Passover is “an astronomical im-possibility...since Passovers occur at full moon and solar eclipses occur only at new moon...By way of defense [the apologist] Origen insisted that secret enemies of the church had introduced the notion of an eclipse into the text to make it vulnerable to a show of reason.”[16]
 
An unembellished translation of Luke’s grammatically straightforward Greek will leave the translator on the horns of a dilemma: either the gospel writer did not know that a solar eclipse was impossible during a full moon, or he claimed that an eclipse of the sun had not only occurred during a full moon, but lasted three hours! A total solar eclipse that caused ‘darkness to come over the whole land’ would last less than eight minutes at best, not three hours.
 
More than once anxious members of Ex-C have asked about the possibility of a total solar eclipse happening at the time Jesus was being crucified and I've only been able to tell them a three hour eclipse is a physical impossibility. 
(The average duration is more like 4 to 5 minutes, btw.  7 minutes + is possible, but extremely rare.  So Luke's 180 minute long eclipse is way, way off!)  Now they can be told that Luke's Gospel cannot possibly be what that writer claims it is - an orderly and carefully investigated account of the events describing Jesus' birth, life, death and resurrection.
 
Luke 1 : 1- 4.
 
Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled[a] among us, 
just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, 
so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.
 
A total solar eclipse is when the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth.  
 
Like this...
 
4615461196.jpg
 
 
But the Jewish Passover always happens at Full Moon.
 
For a Full Moon to be seen in the sky, it cannot be between the Sun and the Earth, but has to be on the opposite side of the Earth.
 
Like this...
 
moonphase.gif
 
So what Luke is describing is an impossibility!
 
Thanks for this,
 
BAA.

 

 

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I don't think people are prepared to understand that the gospels are not historical writing. They give the appearance of being so, especially in Luke Chapter One, but history-like writing is not the same as actual history writing. 

 

A great deal of writing from the ancient and modern world pretends to appear "historical" to trick the reader. It's a literary technique. 

That's what's happening in the gospels. The writer is very self-consciously trying to trick the reader into believing the stuff he writes actually happened. 

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This is excellent, qadeshet!

 

From your link...

 

There are other reasons to doubt the accuracy of Luke’s account. According to Luke, when Jesus was crucified the sun was “eclipsed”[13]kai skotoj ege-neto ef olhn thn ghn ewj wraj enanthj tou hliou eklipontoj—“and darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon[14] because of an eclipse of the sun.”[15] However, a solar eclipse at Passover is “an astronomical im-possibility...since Passovers occur at full moon and solar eclipses occur only at new moon...By way of defense [the apologist] Origen insisted that secret enemies of the church had introduced the notion of an eclipse into the text to make it vulnerable to a show of reason.”[16]
 
An unembellished translation of Luke’s grammatically straightforward Greek will leave the translator on the horns of a dilemma: either the gospel writer did not know that a solar eclipse was impossible during a full moon, or he claimed that an eclipse of the sun had not only occurred during a full moon, but lasted three hours! A total solar eclipse that caused ‘darkness to come over the whole land’ would last less than eight minutes at best, not three hours.
 
More than once anxious members of Ex-C have asked about the possibility of a total solar eclipse happening at the time Jesus was being crucified and I've only been able to tell them a three hour eclipse is a physical impossibility.

 

Christian apologetics hasn't changed much in 1,800 years.

 

I don't think people are prepared to understand that the gospels are not historical writing. They give the appearance of being so, especially in Luke Chapter One, but history-like writing is not the same as actual history writing. 

 

A great deal of writing from the ancient and modern world pretends to appear "historical" to trick the reader. It's a literary technique. 

That's what's happening in the gospels. The writer is very self-consciously trying to trick the reader into believing the stuff he writes actually happened. 

 

Historical Fiction is a good analogy. Really, who was there to see the shepherds abiding in a field? Matthew Ferguson has some great articles on the Genre of the Gospels.

 

Ancient Historical writing compared to the Gospels of the New Testament

 

Forgive my lack of awareness on this subject, but why do Passovers only occur at full moon?

 

Passover, a Spring Festival, was invented to celebrate the death of Winter. Early calendars were Lunar based.

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Where are Luke's footnotes and where does he note the historiography of Jesus? He probably would get an F from his history professor if he wrote the gospels today.

 

If the Gospel writers were not anonymous, and provided sources, we could still eliminate the supernatural.

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Part 2 is now available and covers the 1st Century certainty of an immediate Second Coming.

Thanks for sharing these!

 

 

Sure thing. The death of Peregrinus is really illuminating. The full account by Lucian is here.

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Part 2 is now available and covers the 1st Century certainty of an immediate Second Coming.

I haven't read it yet, but that's one of the reasons why scholars believe Paul didn't write 2 Thessalonians. Because 1 Thessalonians, the theme is "the end is near, like right now, like tomorrow morning at 9:15 a.m." But then 2 Thessalonians is more like "Hey, the end is near but that doesn't mean soon, so here are some things to look for when it starts happening."

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Thanks qadeshet.

 

Happy to help.

 

 

Part 2 is now available and covers the 1st Century certainty of an immediate Second Coming.

I haven't read it yet, but that's one of the reasons why scholars believe Paul didn't write 2 Thessalonians. Because 1 Thessalonians, the theme is "the end is near, like right now, like tomorrow morning at 9:15 a.m." But then 2 Thessalonians is more like "Hey, the end is near but that doesn't mean soon, so here are some things to look for when it starts happening."

 

 

New letters had to be forged to try and explain why the Second Coming failed to occur as promised. Paul and Yeshua were just false Prophets.

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The death of Peregrinus is really illuminating. The full account by Lucian is here.

 

That. Was. Hilarious. 

 

Snippet: 

 

 

After this, you may be sure, my work was cut out for me: I had to tell them all about it, and to undergo a minute cross-examination from everybody. If it was some one I liked the look of, I confined myself to plain prose, as in the present narrative: but for the benefit of the curious simple, I put in a few dramatic touches on my own account. No sooner had Proteus thrown himself upon the kindled pyre, than there was a tremendous earthquake, I informed them; the ground rumbled beneath us; and a vulture flew out from the midst of the flames, and away into the sky, exclaiming in human accents

 

'I rise from Earth, I seek Olympus.'

 

[paragraph continues]They listened with amazement and shuddering reverence. 'Did the vulture fly East or West?' they wanted to know. I answered whichever came uppermost. 

 

 

 

Just awesome. Thank you. :D

 

d

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The death of Peregrinus is really illuminating. The full account by Lucian is here.

 

That. Was. Hilarious. 

 

Snippet: 

 

 

After this, you may be sure, my work was cut out for me: I had to tell them all about it, and to undergo a minute cross-examination from everybody. If it was some one I liked the look of, I confined myself to plain prose, as in the present narrative: but for the benefit of the curious simple, I put in a few dramatic touches on my own account. No sooner had Proteus thrown himself upon the kindled pyre, than there was a tremendous earthquake, I informed them; the ground rumbled beneath us; and a vulture flew out from the midst of the flames, and away into the sky, exclaiming in human accents

 

'I rise from Earth, I seek Olympus.'

 

[paragraph continues]They listened with amazement and shuddering reverence. 'Did the vulture fly East or West?' they wanted to know. I answered whichever came uppermost. 

 

 

 

Just awesome. Thank you. biggrin.png

 

d

 

 

The next paragraph shows how quickly these stories, originally satire, became embellished.

 

 

They listened with amazement and shuddering reverence. 'Did the vulture fly East or West?' they wanted to know. I answered whichever came uppermost.

40On getting back to Olympia, I stopped to listen to an old man who was giving an account of these proceedings; a credible witness, if ever there was one, to judge by his long beard and dignified appearance in general. He told us, among other things, that only a short time before, just after the cremation, Proteus had appeared to him in white raiment; and that he had now left him walking with serene countenance in the Colonnade of Echoes, crowned with olive; and on the top of all this he brought in the vulture, solemnly swore that he had seen

p. 94

it himself flying away from the pyre,--my own vulture, which I had but just let fly, as a satire on crass stupidity!

 

Christianity may well have begun the same way.

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Yep very funny. I can see something like that becoming sacred texts.

 

"So I told the man..."

"And an angel was at the tomb. No! Two angels! And an earthquake! And he floated up into the sky! No really!"

 

"Hehe, those stupid Christians. They almost believed my story. "

Oops.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Don't miss some of the other great articles over at Debunking Christianity.

 

The Character of god as represented in the Old and New Testaments. Dictated June, 19, 1906. Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume II, page 128:

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This is gold

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