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Jesus From Outer Space

 

I have finally got around to reading my copy of Richard Carrier’s superb book Jesus from Outer Space: What the Earliest Christians Really Believed about Christ, published in 2020.  It is a brilliant book, vividly showing through rigorous historical analysis how Christian faith rests entirely upon the psychological comfort of emotional fantasy, not historical evidence.  I do have my criticisms of Carrier, which I will come to, but the overall assessment is that his work utterly demolishes all claims that Jesus Christ was a real historical person. 

 

Jesus was a fictional myth.  Exactly how that myth arose is something that requires debate, but insisting Jesus was real puts any contributor outside the boundaries of evidence, logic and historical method.  I will use this thread to provide page by page commentary on Jesus From Outer Space, and would welcome conversation here about it.

 

The idea that Jesus was real is in fact the central myth of Christianity, which is why this story is so resilient against evidence and logic.  Many people are concerned that the whole edifice of Christian faith would come crashing down if people were to admit that the story of Jesus was a complete fake and fraud.  I disagree with that view, as I explain in my analysis of the role of astronomy in the construction of the myth of Jesus, an analysis that differs from Carrier’s ‘outer space’ explanation. 

 

The Christian convention is that ‘he came down to earth from heaven, who is God and Lord of all’, as the Christmas Carol Once In Royal David's City helpfully summarises. Carrier suggests this story of the descent from heaven means what modern people would understand as that Jesus was a space alien who descended through the seven heavens which physically were thought to surround our planet.  I will come back to discuss this further.

 

For now I will just present some thoughts that come to me in response to reading Jesus From Outer Space.  These are not Carrier's arguments, but it seems to me they provide essential context to explain why his historical analysis is so pertinent and important.

 

A key issue in my view is that admitting that Jesus was invented is essential to bring Christianity into sensible dialogue with rational people, so that the moral content of Christian faith can gain some credibility and legitimacy.  At the moment such dialogue does not exist, because Christians are so intransigent and impervious about their insistence that the Gospels are historical, a claim that Carrier proves is false.

 

Voltaire said that if God did not exist it would be necessary to invent him.  I think the same can be said of Jesus, because of the perceived political need in Christendom for a universal anointed saviour to hold society together.  But Christendom is now over, so we can look at the invention of Jesus with dispassionate rational historical method, as Carrier does so well.

 

Saint Anselm proved the existence of God with the surprising Monty Python logic that a real God is better than a fake one, and therefore God exists.  This argument stood triumphant against all criticism until the time of Kant, through the simple expedient of declaring any opposition to it heretical.  Anselm’s view is not so much an argument from reason as from emotion.  Exactly the same emotional comforting sense of social tribal unity emerges from the belief that a real Jesus is better than a fake one, so we better not admit Jesus might be fake.

 

Calvin explained as the first point in the Tulip puritan theology that humanity is totally depraved.  What could prove this psychological depravity more fully than the broad enduring psychological hold of the fictional fantasy of the Gospels on so many people, when rational analysis, of the type provided by Richard Carrier, shows that Christ is entirely a myth?  Our emotional propensity to believe myths is well captured by Paul Simon, ‘a man sees what he wants to see and disregards the rest.’

 

I am now about halfway through Jesus From Outer Space.  I would appreciate any responses to the above comments, and look forward to explaining Carrier’s argument in more detail.

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This looks very interesting, thank you for posting it Robert_Tulip.

 

Now why does it bring immediately to mind the opening  scene of the pre-human apes from "2001: A Space Odyssey"?

 

 

 

 

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Carrier opens the Preface by defending himself against the anticipated insults that he is a hack, a crank or a conspiracy theorist, due to his support for the hypothesis that Jesus Christ was a fictional invention.  He is obviously rather traumatised by these charges, which he is at pains to rebut.  These type of attacks arise from the intensity of emotion that surrounds the topic, which he ascribes to “irrational hostility”.  His failure to gain academic appointment despite a solid Columbia PhD and extensive publishing record illustrates that his whole approach to history has strong enemies.

 

A hack is an incompetent writer, a crank is someone who insists on an implausible claim despite being refuted with evidence, and a conspiracy theorist is someone who produces a wildly improbable explanation of historical events by imagining a secretive cabal who plotted to deceive the public for nefarious motives.  Carrier is none of these, so there are other reasons why his views get so stridently attacked.

 

This placing of his analysis as based on rigorous scholarship seeks to insist on the academic legitimacy of the Christ Myth Theory.  The context is that Christian apologists continue to deal in extreme polemical hostility, designed to bully anyone who challenges the basic historicity of the Gospel account, or even intimidate anyone who gives credence to that challenge as a legitimate question.  So Carrier begins by noting the peer review status of his fat book On The Historicity of Jesus.  I have read OHJ, and thought it was brilliant, except for one key point, his Outer Space Hypothesis.

 

My view, which Carrier rejects and totally ignores, is that the Christ Myth evolved from the allegory of a saviour figure as a personification of the Sun.  My impression is that he rejects this hypothesis for reasons that are more emotional than rational, more about culture than scholarship. Essentially, he considers the Jesus as the Sun idea is associated with forms of New Age thinking that have a seriously bad woo woo reputation.  He thinks that placing the Christ Myth Theory within the framework of scientific historical respectability and credibility means he has to totally distance himself from that taint.  The result is that he constructs his own myth, the Outer Space Theory, which imports a series of modern assumptions and ignores major aspects of how the inventors of Christ probably thought.  

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On 8/26/2021 at 7:01 PM, Robert_Tulip said:

 

A key issue in my view is that admitting that Jesus was invented is essential to bring Christianity into sensible dialogue with rational people, so that the moral content of Christian faith can gain some credibility and legitimacy.  At the moment such dialogue does not exist, because Christians are so intransigent and impervious about their insistence that the Gospels are historical, a claim that Carrier proves is false

Well I for one am not a mythisist. And I'm an Ehrman Fan as everyone has probably figured out. So this is probably biased.

 

I've been waiting to watch this debate between Robert Price and Bart Ehrman on "Did Jesus exist". After seeing your post I decided to watch it. In it Ehrman argues for the existence of a historical Jesus and Price of course argues against the existence of a historical Jesus. Here is the link for your reference. 

 

 

I feel that Bart Ehrman blew Robert Price away in this debate. Several times it seemed Robert had a hard time explaining his stance against the arguments Ehrman presented. In one section they talk about this Jesus from space theory. 

 

Prof. Ehrman does not believe the gospels are historically reliable. That is one thing he and Price have in common. But he does make a good case for the existence of Jesus. After watching this debate and knowing that the Gospels were written well after the death of Jesus and the writings of Paul. There was sufficient time for the Legend of Christ to circulate by word of mouth. By the time Mark pinned his Gospel he was writing about the Legend of Christ and not the biography of the real christ. 

 

I like to refer to them as fish stories. For instance. The story of Jesus healing the daughter of Jairus. He could have went to the house. Prayed for her. And she naturally beat the illness. Those people in ancient times would have considered that a miracle in itself. Now let that story spread by mouth for 50 years. Jairus comes to Jesus, or sends his servant. In one account she's dead, in the other she's dying. So Jesus brings her back to life. Yay!!! BIGGER MIRACLE! LOL

 

On top of that. Since that time all the gospels have been copied time after time and we really don't know for sure what miracles may have been tweaked or added that are lost to us now. The copier may have been trying to prove a point that the narrative didn't fit. But having watched another debate, whether the biblical texts are historically reliable or not. I know that generally if all the fragments in existence generally say (x,y,or z) then scholars agree that (x, y, and z) are most likely reflect the original text. So when they analyze these fragments and all of them mention these people from the Bible. Why act like they didn't exist at all?

 

Prof. Ehrman points out that in the writings of Paul that he mentions knowing Peter, James the Brother of the Lord, and Jesus' closest deciple. Many people in exterior books related to the Bible mention Jesus and Paul. I think Ehrman makes a great case that while ofcourse these people weren't the miracle workers the Bible portrays, they were real people. 

 

I'm kind of baffled as to why Jesus needs to not have existed at all for some people to be happy. Does the existence of a historical Jesus pose some threat to their belief? I mean either way, we know that the Bible overall is flawed and not historically accurate. Yes there are a lot of historically accurate events depicted in the Bible. But we know the miracles of Jesus didn't happen, we know the world isn't flat, we know there is no water above the heavens, we know that the garden of eden, tower of babel, flood of Noah, and all that didn't happen. But we also know stories like the flood of Noah do have a historical inspiration from costal flooding, that destroyed cities when the glacial lakes poured into the ocean. 

 

So why can't we apply a similar attitude toward Jesus? He was a figure in history. Possibly a revolutionary which Price even concedes in this debate at one point. That if there is a historical Jesus that he believes he was a revolutionary that ended up getting crucified by the Roman empire. Price also concedes that his views can't be proven. I feel like Ehrmans argument is more historically accurate than prices unprovable theories. 

 

Ehrman also mentions Carrier in this debate, and scoffs at the method he uses for his research. 

 

I guess what I'm getting at. Is there anything in this book that isn't in this debate I watched? If not. Eh...... I just don't buy it. Jesus was just to widely accepted as a real person early on in the first century for me to accept that he wasn't real unless there is substantial peer reviewed evidence to support the assertion. 

 

If you say there is tho. I would gladly buy the book and give it a go. I just dont want to waste my money. 

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1 hour ago, DarkBishop said:

Jesus was just too widely accepted as a real person early on in the first century for me to accept that he wasn't real unless there is substantial peer reviewed evidence to support the assertion. 

So interesting that you should make this claim.  Carrier specifically focusses on how wildly untrue it is.

 

"Early in the first century" is the time when Jesus allegedly lived.  Unfortunately there is no attestation about him dating from that time.  The earliest claims were with Paul's letters in the 50s (mid century), which unfortunately contain only a tiny number of highly ambiguous statements about Jesus as a real person, with most of the letters given over to Jesus as a cosmic deity.   Then we come to the Gospels, specifically Mark, in the 70s (late first century), which fleshes out Paul's cosmic Jesus with a historical back story.  There are no eyewitness records of Jesus whatsoever.  All claims about Jesus of Nazareth derive from the Gospel of Mark.  There is no independent evidence.

 

I think you would really like reading Jesus From Outer Space.  The argument is incredibly sharp.

 

I haven't watched the Ehrman-Price debate, but I heard commentary backing your point that Price did not present the case well, which does not really surprise me.  By contrast, Ehrman refuses to debate Carrier, which I can only surmise is due to fear of Carrier wiping the floor with him.

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38 minutes ago, Robert_Tulip said:

So interesting that you should make this claim.  Carrier specifically focusses on how wildly untrue it is.

 

The way Ehrman explains it, the writing aren't until around 50 AD but Paul's was persecuting Christians around 32 or 33 AD just shortly after Jesus died. He would have had first hand knowledge whether Jesus actually existed. And for him to believe he was a real man and know Peter and James personally, His testimony may not have been written till later. But he lived when Jesus lived. And that's a strong piece of evidence IMO.

 

Ehrman puts it into more perspective than I can. I'm just an automation technician from GA. He's the scholar. That's why I linked the debate so you could see for yourself. But I will give your book a look after the book I'm currently on and we can discuss it further. If Ehrman is correct on Carriers methods, that may be the reason behind not wanting to debate him.

 

In the debate he states there are only two scholars that use his method. He uses it to disprove the existence of Jesus. While the other scholar uses it to prove irrefutably that Jesus existed. Two polar opposite views using the same method of research. While most other scholars use different methods. 

 

From what I gather. Most scholars in academia do not agree with carrier and I'm afraid that has to speak volumes. But anyway. 

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I found this on Wikipedia. It is pretty much verbatim what Ehrman said of carrier during the debate:

 

New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman writes that Carrier is one of only two scholars with relevant graduate credentials who argues against the historicity of Jesus.[87] Discussing Carrier's theory that some Jews believed in a "humiliated messiah" prior to the existence of Christianity, Ehrman criticizes Carrier for "idiosyncratic" readings of the Old Testament that ignore modern critical scholarship on the Bible.[88] Ehrman concludes by saying "[w]e do not have a shred of evidence to suggest that any Jew prior to the birth of Christianity anticipated that there would be a future messiah who would be killed for sins—or killed at all—let alone one who would be unceremoniously destroyed by the enemies of the Jews, tortured and crucified in full public view. This was the opposite of what Jews thought the messiah would be."[89] Ehrman has also publicly addressed Carrier's use of Bayes' Theorem, stating that "most historians simply don't think you can do history that way." He said he only knows of two historians who have used Bayes' Theorem, Carrier and Richard Swinburne, and noted the irony of the fact that Swinburne used it to prove Jesus was raised from the dead. Ehrman rejected both Carrier and Swinburne's conclusions, but conceded that he was unqualified to assess specifics about how they applied the theorem. "I'm not a statistician myself. I've had statisticians who tell me that both people are misemploying it, but I have no way of evaluating it."

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10 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

So why can't we apply a similar attitude toward Jesus? He was a figure in history. Possibly a revolutionary which Price even concedes in this debate at one point. That if there is a historical Jesus that he believes he was a revolutionary that ended up getting crucified by the Roman empire. Price also concedes that his views can't be proven. I feel like Ehrmans argument is more historically accurate than prices unprovable theories. 

 

The problem is that when historians go looking for the "real jesus" beneath the mythology, they usually end up with vastly different pictures of who that person was and usually reflects personal subjective views of the historian in question. The Jesus will end up looking like what the person question favors their version of jesus to be (I have become all things to all men - Paul). More so than hitting a home run for who the man behind the myth really was.

 

Their methodology is usually to try and strip away what they think is fluff and then leave what they think is likely. But what happens is that when you narrow down what some think is likely, even that comes with problems. Some of what they think is likely is the midrash content. Where it's clear that the content is midrash, not historical documentation. It's it's actually not very likely that the midrash scenes have to do with real history. 

 

Check out this article about the Nazareth issue: Jesus of where? A response by Frank Zindler to Bart Ehrman - Stellar House Publishing

 

"Christ Jesus" literally translates to "anointed savior." Looks more like a title than a common name. "Jesus Christ", then, translates to savior anointed. He has a point about finding problems with (1) early first century historical Nazareth and (2) the very name given itself, which, could be something entirely other than Jesus. The name Jesus of Nazareth, whatever the case, is part of the myth more than anything else. 

 

The main issue is that whatever jesus may or may not have been, it's pretty much lost to time and the best scholars today are outside of being able to piece it back together in any objective sense. And that's good enough to conclude that the gospel myths are irrelevant in that way - as history. They're so mythological that it makes little sense to try and patch quilt any real histories. Especially when there's always counter arguments to the patch quilt attempts. At the end of the day people are left to branch off into personal opinions as to how much, if any, was really historical. 

 

And I think that has led to the situation this century in the growing numbers of people referred to as, "don'ts": 

 

Don't know.

Don't believe. 

Don't care. 

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

At the end of the day people are left to branch off into personal opinions as to how much, if any, was really historical. 

 

And I think that has led to the situation this century in the growing numbers of people referred to as, "don'ts": 

 

Don't know.

Don't believe. 

Don't care. 

 

Guess this is a common problem on both sides of the fence. 

 

For Christians the Bible says so many different things that it is ultimately the most popular book of chaos and confusion. Even tho God is not the author of confusion. Right? 

     So in the end all Christians are left to branch off into personal opinions as to what they believe the scripture really says.

     Just as scholars are left to their own opinions on what the historical truth is. 

 

Ultimately, as I stated before. It doesn't really matter. Either way the Bible fails 100 percent of the time. Whether there was a historical Jesus or not. It doesn't really matter when from cover to cover the whole book is proven to be a sham. 

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So nothing's changed. People are still making things up, trying to "prove" their conjecture is factually true (and the more contrary and far out the better to get noticed), and nobody actually has any factual evidence or proof of anything at all. Was there an actual Jesus character that some people ultimately wrote about or did no such person ever exist? Seriously, what difference would it make in the realm of myth and allegory? Seems a bit like the King Arthur legend (or Xenu).

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1 hour ago, DarkBishop said:

 

Guess this is a common problem on both sides of the fence. 

 

For Christians the Bible says so many different things that it is ultimately the most popular book of chaos and confusion. Even tho God is not the author of confusion. Right? 

     So in the end all Christians are left to branch off into personal opinions as to what they believe the scripture really says.

     Just as scholars are left to their own opinions on what the historical truth is. 

 

Ultimately, as I stated before. It doesn't really matter. Either way the Bible fails 100 percent of the time. Whether there was a historical Jesus or not. It doesn't really matter when from cover to cover the whole book is proven to be a sham. 

 

Yes, I spent years moderating (and Robert too) for DM Murdock of the mythicist camp. She actually created a formal mythicist position: 

 

The Mythicist Position:

“Mythicism represents the perspective that many gods, goddesses and other heroes and legendary figures said to possess extraordinary and/or supernatural attributes are not “real people” but are in fact mythological characters. Along with this view comes the recognition that many of these figures personify or symbolize natural phenomena, such as the sun, moon, stars, planets, constellations, etc., constituting what is called “astrotheology.” As a major example of the mythicist position, various biblical characters such as Adam and Eve, Satan, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Joshua, King David, Solomon & Jesus Christ, among other figures, in reality represent mythological characters along the same lines as the Egyptian, Sumerian, Phoenician, Indian, Greek, Roman and other godmen, who are all presently accepted as myths, rather than historical figures.”

 

1 hour ago, DarkBishop said:

Ultimately, as I stated before. It doesn't really matter. Either way the Bible fails 100 percent of the time. Whether there was a historical Jesus or not. It doesn't really matter when from cover to cover the whole book is proven to be a sham. 

 

Ultimately there can't be any home runs for either side, even though it may seem like an unknown guy lost to history could be the simplest answer. It's outside of proving with confident certainty. And the con side of the argument can't prove a negative so that's completely off the table as well. These arguments can't be won in any ultimate sense. And people are left to side off with whatever they think is likely. 

 

My take is that what remains are a bunch of myths and I'll leave them as such. For all intensive purposes jesus is myth regardless of any potential for an unknown person at the base of any of it. I'm interested in keeping up with the arguments just to see what's being argued. But Carrier can't prove a negative so that's off the table.  

 

But, I'm reading through the book preview on amazon right now. I do want to see the argument he's putting forward. His argument that Jesus was nothing more than similar to Smith's Moroni or Mohhamed's Gabriel shows HOW a religion could be originated with only a celestial, angelic being

 credited as the source for it. There were no literal angelic beings, but a school of thought was credited to these angelic beings to give it some appearance of authority. 

 

But that get's me thinking further. If Smith made it up and then included Moroni to try and give it some heavenly authority, so too could the same happened with a celestial angel jesus. Peter would be the Joseph Smith in this scenario. Possibly the founder of christianity, not the celestial myth figure credited for it. 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

, King David, Solomon

 

Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't they recent discovered evidence of an actual king david lately? I think if any two biblical characters were real it would be king david and Solomon. Ofcourse just as Jesus. They have a lot of legend mixed in. Mostly on David's side. Other than the wisdom of God thing. Solomon sounds like most kings in history. 

 

2 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

But that get's me thinking further. If Smith made it up and then included Moroni to try and give it some heavenly authority, so too could the same happened with a celestial angel jesus. Peter would be the Joseph Smith in this scenario. Possibly the founder of christianity, not the celestial myth figure credited for it. 

 

Now this is an idea I've entertained myself. I can see this. Paul was the supposed persecutors of Christians and trained in the law. He would have known enough about the law and prophets to create the Christian religion all on his own. 

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3 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

Correct me if I'm wrong but haven't they recent discovered evidence of an actual king david lately? I think if any two biblical characters were real it would be king david and Solomon. Ofcourse just as Jesus. They have a lot of legend mixed in. Mostly on David's side. Other than the wisdom of God thing. Solomon sounds like most kings in history. 

 

 

This thread covers an article about just that, and similar issues of biblical accuracy: 

 

I read the article through. Most of it I'm already aware of. So what is hailed as evidence for the historical existence of King David is an inscription saying, 'I killed the king of the house of David.' The inscription being from a later period than the historical period that David is supposed to have been in.

 

It's another one of these loose items touted as strong historical evidence. The article goes into some commentary on the issue. And the Solomon issues. You can imagine that an inscription about King Arthur and the knights of the round table hundreds to thousands of years after the fact wouldn't be evidence of anything other than the existence of myths during the later time periods in question. Not to be touted as hard evidence for the existence of King Arthur. So again, no home runs. And no proving a negative which is impossible. Same general results. 

 

Granted historical David and Solomon, the same thing happens as with an historical jesus. If they existed they were not famed far and wide as the bible claims. And that's why people are jumping on any scant hint of evidence, such as the "house of David" reference. There's lots of references to Abraham, but no historical evidence to support him. Same thing. Just because someone at a later period used the name Abraham for something doesn't mean there ever was an historical Abraham. Or Moses. Or the rest. 

 

3 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

Now this is an idea I've entertained myself. I can see this. Paul was the supposed persecutors of Christians and trained in the law. He would have known enough about the law and prophets to create the Christian religion all on his own. 

 

It could be Paul. One glaring issue is that the Pauline epistles were apparently unknown until Marcion, an early second century gnostic, claims to have found the authentic or original Pauline epistles in Antioch. He publicized them and added a gospel of his own making. That was the original NT. It appears into history in the second century, beginning with the gnostic Marcion's claims. The gospels, however, don't appear into the historical record until the mid to late 2nd century after Marcion's claim and his gospel. That they were started around the end of the 1st century relies on assumptions. Maybe so, but it's an assumption. And they must have been more hidden than Paul's epistles and NOT present in Antioch unless Marcion purposely disregarded all of them. 

 

But one can imagine a scenario where Paul originated christianity.

 

The other factor mentioned in by Carrier (which is something that Gerald Massey covered in the 19th century) is that the Babylonian Talmud places it's nazarene jesus around 75 BCE! Not from a nazareth that didn't yet exist, but a nazarene of the same religious sect as Samson. This is either just midrash or perhaps the historical figure called' jesus the nazarene' who was hung prior to Roman occupation, was one of many different people mentioned in old historical records that were all taken and grafted together to create the jesus of nazareth myth. Because you have this guy from 75 BCE known to the Talmud. You have Josephus mentioning up to 20 jesus's in his writings. If someone went through existing records looking for different references and just sort of slapped together diverse references to different people named jesus, what you end up with is what you find in the existing NT scriptures. Many different aspects of different people named jesus lives, rolled together. 

 

Some one in the 2nd century had the ability to do such a thing based on what historical records apparently existed at the time. 

 

About the disciples. Carrier wonders if they were from the earlier period of 75 BCE like that jesus? He goes into that in the book preview on amazon. Plus offers possibilities for Paul as well. 

 

What if they all got rolled into the 'fictional 1st century setting for the myths' that apparently arose sometime during the 200's CE?

 

These later gospels (called the synoptics) are the works that have the heavier astrotheological content. More so than the earlier writings of Paul. This is where Robert's position comes into focus. If Paul created christianity, then others came in behind him and tried to add more and more layers to the initial myths. 

 

There are two things going on when you look at it that way:  

 

On 8/27/2021 at 10:27 PM, Robert_Tulip said:

My view, which Carrier rejects and totally ignores, is that the Christ Myth evolved from the allegory of a saviour figure as a personification of the Sun.  My impression is that he rejects this hypothesis for reasons that are more emotional than rational, more about culture than scholarship. Essentially, he considers the Jesus as the Sun idea is associated with forms of New Age thinking that have a seriously bad woo woo reputation.  He thinks that placing the Christ Myth Theory within the framework of scientific historical respectability and credibility means he has to totally distance himself from that taint.  The result is that he constructs his own myth, the Outer Space Theory, which imports a series of modern assumptions and ignores major aspects of how the inventors of Christ probably thought. 

 

Carrier hasn't made this up. Earl Doherty started this thinking and it's based on what early christians, including Paul, believed. This is all before the gospels. So what looks like myths about a multi-layered universe of seven heavens where Paul himself makes references to, and found in works like the book of Enoch, are historically previous to the heavily astrotheological gospels that appear into history after Paul's epistles and Marcion's gospel around the mid to late 2nd century CE.

 

I think Carrier is justified in looking that direction for better answers on origins. What may have been a gnostic mythology about visions and traveling through the celestial sphere's, somehow became increasingly astrotheological as Mark and then the following gospels came out. Adding all of that sophisticated philosophical content present in popular pagan myths about the solar mysteries, precession of the equinoxes and everything else. But doing so behind the more primitive origins in the Pauline Epistles. 

 

So why place the gospel tales during the time of Pilate when the nazarene lived around 75 BCE? 

 

Because that's when the precession of the equinoxes had Aries (symbolized by Moses) crossing over to Pisces (symbolized by Jesus). That's what happened during the early 1st century, when the Romans were occupying and when Pontius Pilate was in power. If the point of the myths is not historical but symbolic and astrotheological, then the early 1st century is the only timeline that makes any sense.

 

A myth about the new age based on a pseudo historical storyline set to that time period.  The pseudo historical gospels, full of astrotheological references, place the story setting to around the time of the changing of the Aeons or Ages. Making use of these diverse historical references to many different jesus's (who have names that mean savior) which were known to Josephus near the end of the 1st century and apparently lasted into the Babylonian talmud times. A patch work of historical references focused in on a time line that really only makes sense if you're looking at the astrotheological aspect of that particular time in the early 1st century when the sun crossed into the constellation of Pisces. 

 

And this is a complete guessing game.

 

I'm just taking every bit of available information that I'm aware of and placing it into something that could possibly answer many questions. Can't prove any of it. Can't prove a negative any more than anyone else can. I wouldn't say that I believe the above to be the case, it's just a working hypothesis on how to fit the pieces of the jesus puzzle together. Which is a very difficult thing to try and do. 

 

This stuff can be fun, but it's all speculation. 

 

Aside from a time machine, I don't know how it could ever be settled....

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@Joshpantera

 

This really makes me wish the big guys like Carrier, price, and Ehrman would visit this site and hash it out. I mean we can speculate all day long. But these guys are the ones that have access to all the data. We probably get a drop in the bucket compared to what they see. 

 

I'm sure there is carbon dating data on the fragments of scripture that can truly tell us what time period they are from. That could easily dispel the idea that marcion fabricated the Pauline epistles. What I gathered from Ehrmans book. Forgeries and counter forgeries the accepted Pauline epistles were already in circulation in the church during marcions time. But he believes some of the epistles that have been proven not to be authentic Pauline epistles were written by marcion and others to sway the church to accept their views as truth. I dont understand how that wasn't considered heresy. I guess they never got caught. Most people couldn't even read back then. So write a letter in Paul's name that reflect your views. Rub it in dirt, make it look authentic and TADA!!! Now marcion can say. See I told ya so. Even Paul said it. 

 

I think I'm going to go back and read Mark and the 7 accepted Pauline epistles sometime and just try to reflect on how different Christianity would be today if those were the only books they could draw from. 

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I’ve just finished reading Jesus from Outer Space and can highly recommend it for its demonstration of why the literal Jesus story is utterly impossible, although Carrier’s own theory of how Christianity actually started is not plausible.  I will return to reply to comments, but I would like first to set out some of the main argument of the book, with my critique.

 

Carrier says what the Bible authors meant by heaven is the “ancient sense” of our concept of outer space. That is rather confusing, as it wrongly blends spiritual and material ideas.  The old geocentric cosmology of concentric spheres supported by ether imagined the planets as each in a sphere called a heaven.  He says “they imagined creatures of various kinds lived in every level, which we would call space aliens,”  and that the modern idea of heaven as another dimension bears no resemblance to ancient thinking, making heaven a misleading word.

 

Carrier says most leading scholars agree the earliest Christians thought Jesus was an angelic extra-terrestrial who descended to teach the gospel and rose again to his throne among the stars. His difference with other scholars, he says, is that Carrier believes the original idea was that Jesus descended to the sky to battle Satan, not all the way to earth.

 

I am not comfortable with this portrayal.  While it has an internally consistent logic, I think it is grounded in a wrong premise about how Jesus was originally imagined.  That wrong premise turns on the relationship between spirit and matter, and on the resulting problem of thinking the earliest Christians imagined Jesus in material terms. 

 

Carrier’s ‘outer space’ motif picks up that the ancients equated the visible heavens of the starry sky with the divine eternal heaven of God.  But Carrier diverges by imagining they originally thought the pre-existent Christ was a three dimensional physical being, who physically descended from heaven, rather than seeing this dogma as a later corruption.

 

Carrier explains that Christianity started with the idea of Jesus as a pre-existent deity in heaven. For example, Paul explains the Israelites “drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ” (1 Corinthians 10:4).  Other similar ideas are at Philippians 2 and Colossians 1:15.   My view is that this pre-existence of Christ was imagined in the earliest church as purely spiritual and conceptual, and was only corrupted into an imagined physical existence among the ignorant illiterates who gradually infested and took over the church from its founders.  For Carrier to call Christ a ‘space alien’ involved a reification (making physical) of something that was actually imagined as purely conceptual. Reification is when you fallaciously think of or treat something abstract as a physical thing.  That is exactly what Carrier is doing.

 

A connected example is how Greek mythology tells that heroes like Hercules and Perseus ascended to heaven where they can be seen today in the constellations that bear their names. This is a purely imaginative illustration, which no one could take literally.  These constellation figures are two dimensional, formed by imagining lines between stars on the curved surface of the perceived heavenly sphere.  They are not three dimensional, like actual heroes.  But Carrier insists on an extreme literalism, with his 3D space alien theory.  His derisive mockery may be fair as critique of Christendom but not of the authors of the Gospels and Epistles. 

 

An irony is that Carrier proceeds to demolish the conventional theory that Paul described a historical Jesus with his lines “born of a woman” at Gal 4 and “from David’s seed” at Rom 1.  He neatly explains why both of these lines make far more sense as allegory than as literal claims.  He should apply the same symbolic logic to his own space alien theory.

 

As I mentioned, my recent paper on Christianity for the Age of Aquarius explores a hypothesis that the originators of the Christ Theory structured their ideas against the encompassing cosmic order of the precession of the equinox, as the grand motion of the fixed stars against the seasons.  On that theory, Jesus was the personification of the Sun.  His descent from heaven was the historical movement of time toward the unique moment in 21 AD when the ancient cosmology saw the seasons and the stars in perfect harmony.  This is a totally abstract and spiritual way of thinking which the masses could not cope with.

 

Carrier’s crude materialism reflects his strong philosophical bias in favour of the empirical doctrines of modern secular reason, with an inbuilt hostility toward spiritual ways of thought.  Taking a more sympathetic and receptive approach toward how Christ could have been constructed as pure myth should not mock these thinkers as magical simpletons.  We should treat them with respect as having potentially constructed a coherent story that was subsequently obliterated by the mass stupidity of Christendom.

 

In taking an ex-Christian viewpoint, it is important to define Christianity as the literal nonsense of Christendom that has dominated the world for most of the last two thousand years.  Excavating the hidden foundations of pre-Christendom Christianity can help the corrupt edifice to tumble, by revealing how it is built upon sand.  This is not to say that religion is intrinsically deluded, rather it is to analyse the delusions to find an underlying coherent view that fully accords with modern scientific knowledge while also maintaining respect for the ancient heritage of spiritual wisdom.

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2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

taking an ex-Christian viewpoint, it is important to define Christianity as the literal nonsense of Christendom that has dominated the world for most of the last two thousand years.  Excavating the hidden foundations of pre-Christendom Christianity can help the corrupt edifice to tumble, by revealing how it is built upon sand.  This is not to say that religion is intrinsically deluded, rather it is to analyse the delusions to find an underlying coherent view that fully accords with modern scientific knowledge while also maintaining respect for the ancient heritage of spiritual wisdom.

 

Ill just have to read this book I guess. It sounds like nonsense to me right now. Maybe if I read it I can get a better grasp on what he is trying to say. I personally think that if there was no historical christ the most down to earth conclusion would be that the author known as Paul made it all up and was the Joseph Smith of his time. If there was a historical Jesus then he would be the Joseph Smith. I could certainly imagine Paul spreading these new ideas to the Jewish people. And his whole back story may have been false. Maybe he just told people how he persecuted the Christians and tortured them and christ struck him blind, and so on. We all know the story. I can absolutely see that. 

 

But this alien theory of his. Maybe his terminology could be better. When I think aliens. I watch A LOT of sci-fi. So my mind goes to any number of movies or TV shows I've watched. If we go back to creation this is the basic concept of most religions right? 

 

cosmos-enns-post.jpg

 

I'm guessing that the heaven of heavens is where Carrier is saying Jesus came from right? On a side note. Can you believe this stupidity is coming back with the flat earth movement. Fucking aye that is so messed up. Thousands of years of science and astronomy just thrown out the window. 

 

Anyway I don't think using the terminology outer space and aliens is a good thing. For me it makes it confusing. That makes me think he believes Jesus gets in his space craft and flies down to earth etc. 

 

2 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

An irony is that Carrier proceeds to demolish the conventional theory that Paul described a historical Jesus with his lines “born of a woman” at Gal 4 and “from David’s seed” at Rom 1.  He neatly explains why both of these lines make far more sense as allegory than as literal claims.

 

From my own personal studies of the Bible the whole point of those scriptures was to tell people that he was a man just like you or I. That is what makes Jesus so appealing. This makes him relatable. That he was a man, born of a woman, tempted in all points just as we are, yet without sin. I mean, that is the basis of the whole doctrine. He was a man, he suffered as a man, his own people turned his back on him, he was betrayed by his friend, I mean the list goes on. He wept when Lazarus died. Every bit of it is to make you feel like Jesus is just like you. Tempted and tried. And if he can live without sin. You can too. 

 

It's hard for me to see how Christianity could have exploded like it did if they were worshipping some extraterrestrial that never was on earth. 

 

But like I said. I need to read the book for myself. I'll try to start it this week. Maybe if I read it as a whole some of it will click. 

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4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

Carrier’s ‘outer space’ motif picks up that the ancients equated the visible heavens of the starry sky with the divine eternal heaven of God.  But Carrier diverges by imagining they originally thought the pre-existent Christ was a three dimensional physical being, who physically descended from heaven, rather than seeing this dogma as a later corruption.

 

The idea that jesus was the arch angel michael somehow got down to the 19th century with the mormons, SDA's, and JW's. Pulled from scriptural references. But you have a point nonetheless because angels are not thought of as three dimensional physical beings. More like beings of light or something more immaterial. 

 

4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

My view is that this pre-existence of Christ was imagined in the earliest church as purely spiritual and conceptual, and was only corrupted into an imagined physical existence among the ignorant illiterates who gradually infested and took over the church from its founders.  For Carrier to call Christ a ‘space alien’ involved a reification (making physical) of something that was actually imagined as purely conceptual. Reification is when you fallaciously think of or treat something abstract as a physical thing.  That is exactly what Carrier is doing.

 

The old ideas were more like Philo of Alexandria's "Logos" ideas. Very immaterial and which come before the NT period. Completely abstract. The materialist christians coming along later at some point tried materializing Philo's abstract philosophical logos into a flesh and blood presentation. So all of these pieces of the puzzle are on the table. But again, people looking back from the perspective of the 2nd century had all of this information available. Logos, angelic being up in the upper heavens, and even the jesus's of historical records which Josephus and the Talmudic writers apparently had access to. It was all existing and available to people by the 2nd century. When the town of nazareth begins to show signs of an existence. Jesus the nazarene could at that time be conflated with a town called nazareth. 

 

So wouldn't that place the gospels writing periods to a time when it was possible to make the conflation?

 

4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

As I mentioned, my recent paper on Christianity for the Age of Aquarius explores a hypothesis that the originators of the Christ Theory structured their ideas against the encompassing cosmic order of the precession of the equinox, as the grand motion of the fixed stars against the seasons.  On that theory, Jesus was the personification of the Sun.  His descent from heaven was the historical movement of time toward the unique moment in 21 AD when the ancient cosmology saw the seasons and the stars in perfect harmony.  This is a totally abstract and spiritual way of thinking which the masses could not cope with.

 

But when? Sometime during the second century? Murdock's hypothesis is that the gospels were likely started around the end of the first century but then reworked until appearing by name sometime during the middle to late 2nd century. Based on historical appearances and assumptions about the earlier origins.

 

It doesn't seem that they did this before the changing of the ages, but after it had happened, as a response to what had happened. You have the astronomy software showing when the ages changed during the early first century. The mythologizing at the earliest seems to have started by the end of the 1st century based solely on assumptions. And then enters the historical record a century after the ages had changed. 

 

This is where origins is a real tricky business for anyone. We have to go on all of these assumptions based on back dating later evidences to proposed earlier periods. 

 

4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

In taking an ex-Christian viewpoint, it is important to define Christianity as the literal nonsense of Christendom that has dominated the world for most of the last two thousand years.  Excavating the hidden foundations of pre-Christendom Christianity can help the corrupt edifice to tumble, by revealing how it is built upon sand.  This is not to say that religion is intrinsically deluded, rather it is to analyse the delusions to find an underlying coherent view that fully accords with modern scientific knowledge while also maintaining respect for the ancient heritage of spiritual wisdom.

 

Carrier is not an especially open minded sort of agnostic atheist like some ex christians are. He can be very hard core. And closed off to many things. I do think he's missing a lot by maintaining his biases against the astrotheological dimension of the scriptures. But he thinks that he can separate himself from what he thinks are crack pot theories in academia and become something of the PhD savior of the mythicist argument. But I'm still giving him a fair shake and looking at his work anyways. 

 

4 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

In taking an ex-Christian viewpoint, it is important to define Christianity as the literal nonsense of Christendom that has dominated the world for most of the last two thousand years.  Excavating the hidden foundations of pre-Christendom Christianity can help the corrupt edifice to tumble, by revealing how it is built upon sand.  This is not to say that religion is intrinsically deluded, rather it is to analyse the delusions to find an underlying coherent view that fully accords with modern scientific knowledge while also maintaining respect for the ancient heritage of spiritual wisdom.

 

I think that most of us feel like the delusions run too deep to separate away without tumbling all of it. For instance, the things that people find worth hanging on to in christianity are things like "do unto others," which isn't original to christianity anyways. Neither is precession and the Yuga cycles of time. These are concepts from other cultures that were taken and applied to christianity after the fact. The usage of views that existed in the pagan world already. For sake of growing up christian and not wanting to change that, sure, people make christianity into what they would like to think of it. But there's always the glaring issue of what christianity actually is versus what someone would like it to be. And what it is is a mix a many different things rolled together. Most of which turn out to be unoriginal. 

 

I think it's understandable for many ex christians to then ask, what's the point? And move on paving their own lives, their own ways, leaving religion behind as they do it. Trying to err on the side of good and live decent lives. Shifting from the collective religious mindset to a more individual mind set and to each their own. 

 

8 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

This really makes me wish the big guys like Carrier, price, and Ehrman would visit this site and hash it out.

 

I would like that too. It would give this forum a boost if they'd participate and let their fans see it. 

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3 hours ago, DarkBishop said:

I could certainly imagine Paul spreading these new ideas to the Jewish people. And his whole back story may have been false. Maybe he just told people how he persecuted the Christians and tortured them and christ struck him blind, and so on. We all know the story. I can absolutely see that. 

 

Sort of like the preachers today who like the dramatic approach (usually false), "I used to be a satanist, but now..." And "I used to be atheist, but now..." 

 

Also, the book of Acts wasn't written by Paul and isn't among the 7 authentic Pauline epistles. So the conversion on the road to Dumb-ass-kiss comes from a different source altogether. It was added later as a way of making a back story. Used to bridge the gap between the later written gospels and the earlier written epistles. When we think of Paul it's easy to lump the authentic and not authentic in together. That's why it can be confusing to follow what Doherty and now Carrier are talking about. 

 

They're stripping it down bare and separating everything apart into a historical timeline of the appearances of writings. The cannon has it flipped around backwards to where it reads as if the gospels came first, then acts, then the Pauline epistles. But in reality the gospels and acts are more like the prequel movies nowadays. Where they go back and try and give back stories. Acts is like Rogue One. Wasn't in mind when Star Wars came out. Created after the fact to bridge the prequels with the original trilogy. 

 

 

 

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Continuing in the Preface, Carrier argues the initial Christians saw the earthly Jesus only as a useful myth, but their writings are all lost due to the choices of later Christians.

 

I completely agree with this hypothesis.  However, I justify it by the argument that original Christianity constructed Jesus based on observation of precession of the equinox, so I disagree with Carrier's view that this theory involves imagining Jesus as an angelic extra-terrestrial.

 

The Preface concludes with a summary of the book.  The themes are: problems with identifying a historical Jesus; the case for doubt; why apologetic responses rely on invalid methods; why the Bible is the sole evidence for Jesus; how Jesus compares to other historical and mythical figures; how Christianity evolved from a celestial to a historical faith; and evidence from Paul.  The overall message is that the only explanation that coheres with all the available evidence is that Christianity started with a cosmic skeleton to which the flesh of the Galilee preacher was only added later.

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6 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

The overall message is that the only explanation that coheres with all the available evidence is that Christianity started with a cosmic skeleton to which the flesh of the Galilee preacher was only added later.

 

I read through the entire preview on amazon. The chapter titles look very interesting. I think the most damming thing here is that the Galilee preacher that Ehrman sees as the rebel jesus (Ehrman sees himself as a rebel among academics and his jesus is a mirror of that) is a phantom - can't actually be jesus of nazareth because the town wasn't developed yet and jesus the nazarene is a Tulmudic figure dating back to pre 75 BCE. 

 

So that leaves Ehrman with an apologetics of 'even if he wasn't from Nazareth, there's still a guy at center of it all.' But what guy? The onion has been stripped down layer by layer and there's only layers, no center. The Talmud jesus is only one of many other layers. No home run for Ehrman. And no big justification for the academic biases against the myth theory. 

 

I like how Carrier points out that it might as well be jesus from Timbuktu at that point. It illustrates how irrelevant historicism is as a position on pretty much any world mythology, christianity not withstanding. It's hardly worth trying to fight for. The argument is never proven. And basically only serves to illustrate how weak and frail the historicity actually is. 

 

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Chapter One, Which Jesus are we talking about exactly?, explains some fatal anomalies in the historicist paradigm.  Carrier asks us to imagine a detective putting these factors together on a clue board.

1.       Ancient Jewish texts claimed that Jesus lived a century before Pilate.

2.        “Christ Jesus” is a title meaning “Anointed Saviour”, not a personal name.

3.       The earliest Christian visions are more compatible with a celestial imaginary Christ than a historical earthly Christ.

4.       In Mormonism and Islam, the purported founders are angels – Moroni and Gabriel. Both these angelic figures were believed to be historical, like the model for Jesus, suggesting Jesus really began as an imaginary angel and was only historicised later when the literal Gospel story became popular.

5.       Satan was depicted as historical in the Gospel temptation in the wilderness.  No one now thinks of Satan as a real historical person, but Jesus is just as mythical as Satan in that story.

6.       The eternal pre-existence of Christ described by Paul means he was imagined as an archangel like Satan.

7.       The temptation story makes sense as imagined outside celestial Jerusalem in the sky, not outside the real Jerusalem on earth.

8.       Paul never says anything about historical witnesses to the life of Christ, only witnesses to the imaginary resurrected Christ. 

9.       Nothing in Paul comes from an actual earthly Christ, only from divine revelation and scripture. 

10.   The Epistles weirdly lack any reference to the ministry of Christ on earth.

11.   The first Gospel, Mark, makes sense as an explanation of why God allowed Rome to destroy the temple in Jerusalem in 70 AD, not as an actual record of historical events.

12.   We know nothing about the authors of the Gospels, or their sources, unlike real history books.  The names of the evangelists appear to have been added by later editors.

13.   The key material about the ministry of Christ in Matthew and Luke is lifted straight from Mark, a process called redaction.  Nothing suggests plausible eyewitness testimony.

14.   Luke used material from Josephus, published in 93 AD.

15.   The first surviving mention of Luke’s Gospel is very late, after 160 AD, by Justin Martyr.

16.   The claim in the Gospel of John about eyewitness testimony is fraudulent (see referenced article by Candida Moss).

17.   All the alleged information we have about the historical Jesus comes from just one uncorroborated source, Mark.

18.   The long time gap between the alleged events and Mark’s Gospel makes the veracity dubious, since all possible witnesses were long dead.

19.   Mark presents his story as a parable, not as history.  The claim that it is history only comes much later, with Luke, and then with stronger propaganda in John.

20.    All conflicting accounts from that time were subsequently destroyed, by explicit imperial edict on pain of death.  Apart from the Gospels we have silence.

21.   Since scholars admit most of the Gospel is pure myth, why not admit all of it is?

22.   Before Mark, no Christian text says Jesus was crucified on earth.  The epistles are compatible with the crucifixion as an imaginary celestial event.

23.   The modern consensus that Jesus was real rests entirely upon questionable assumptions.

24.   Paul’s language about Jesus being staked on a post is compatible with a range of other scenarios other than Roman crucifixion.

25.   Historians who claim Jesus was real routinely treat assumptions as facts.

26.   The fact that worshippers believe Moroni, Gabriel, Michael and Jesus exist is not evidence that they actually do exist.

27.   The debate about historicity is clouded by enthusiastic amateurs and needs scholarly scrutiny.

28.   A number of reputable scholars question the existence of Jesus, but doing so is seen by others as dangerous to their academic career or social standing.

29.   The debate about this topic is of appalling quality, with apologists routinely ignoring and distorting what scholars actually write in well-vetted peer review publications.

30.    The consensus about the existence of Jesus is defended by ad hominem, dishonesty, contradictions and unsubstantiated assertions, and is not based on reality but on interests in funding, reputation, ideological inertia and refusal to admit the folly of their position, or even on explicit institutional prohibitions against critical enquiry.

31.    The scandal of confusion in Jesus studies is that numerous contradictory speculative suggestions are taken seriously, except the one hypothesis that could cut through all the contradictions by removing the automatic assumption that Jesus was a real person.

32.   The alleged consensus of historicity is just an axiomatic presumption, not a coherent or reliable argument.

33.   The consensus is maintained by bullying, intimidation and ridicule, with implied threats to employment, grants, tenure, respect, status and prestige.

34.   A similar debate happened fifty years ago about Moses, leading to a new academic consensus that he was entirely fictional, like other major Old Testament figures.

35.   Invention of historical persons with full biographies was common in the ancient world.

36.   Christianity has a unique dependence on the historical existence of Jesus, leading scholars to fear shocking and alienating their Christian peers and patrons.

37.   The evidence for Jesus follows an evolutionary path: from revelatory being (Paul) to sacred allegory (Mark) to attempt to make this look like history (Luke). 

38.   This is the opposite of the popular view that Jesus started out simple and only later became mythical and fantastic.

39.   Mark never pretends to be writing history.  That only came later, as the myth evolved from intended parable to purported history in Luke and John, with a history that was created not recorded.

40.   Numerous social movements have historicised an imaginary founder to create cohesion of belief. 

41.   Continued political success depends on selling the myth as true, since open fiction has no authority.

42.   The institutional hierarchy of the church required elimination of challenges to purported apostolic succession, establishing consistent centralised control to overcome chaos and factionalism.

43.   The original idea from Paul of Jesus as an eternal celestial being was kept out of the Gospels except for the first verse of John, suggesting the early church intended to hide this real teaching behind the historical allegory.

44.   The synoptics explain the real truth is reserved only for initiates (eg Mark 4:11), meaning that the parables told to the public in the Gospels are a front story for the idea of Jesus as celestial being.

45.   The descent of Christ from heaven as described in numerous epistle verses from Paul puts Jesus in a class of similar mythical Gods from other religions.

46.   The victory of the original celestial Jesus over sin and death was celestial, not terrestrial.

47.   The pre-existent Christ was a being whom Philo reveals Jews already believed in, a story that Christians gradually added to with an invented historical backstory.

48.   This original teaching was kept secret when the Gospel of the miracle worker of Galilee became the public face of Christianity.

49.   Fragments of the original celestial Gospel survive in The Ascension of Isaiah.

50.   A lost Christian sect taught the Gospels were just cleverly devised myths (2 Peter 1:16)

51.    The Roman suppression of all competing claims as heresy for more than a millennium secured the evolution of ideology from a celestial to an earthly atonement drama.

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9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

37.   The evidence for Jesus follows an evolutionary path: from revelatory being (Paul) to sacred allegory (Mark) to attempt to make this look like history (Luke). 

 

The fact that Paul didn't emphasize historical information doesn't make any sense if he was a contemporary. Where was Paul when all of these public things were taking place in Jerusalem? If an historical jesus had very recently died, why the lack of attention on his earthly life and ministry? Why is it pretty much a revelatory being situation? 

 

9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

38.   This is the opposite of the popular view that Jesus started out simple and only later became mythical and fantastic.

39.   Mark never pretends to be writing history.  That only came later, as the myth evolved from intended parable to purported history in Luke and John, with a history that was created not recorded.

 

The anonymous author of Mark most likely wrote his allegory knowing full well that he was writing allegory, not history. The historical emphasis evolves later and isn't there from the outset in either Paul or Mark. That's a problem for historicists and evemerists. 

 

9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

41.   Continued political success depends on selling the myth as true, since open fiction has no authority.

 

That has to be the main reason for the eventual, very late, emphasis on historicity. Fiction has no real authority and they tried to give it stronger doses of the appearance of authority over time as christianity got rolling. It has to be taken as true, and that meant taken as historically true. That makes me think of the creeds. By the third and fourth century it came to reciting creeds which basically serve the purpose of hammering down this illusory authoritative angle. 

 

9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

47.   The pre-existent Christ was a being whom Philo reveals Jews already believed in, a story that Christians gradually added to with an invented historical backstory.

 

Going back to what I was saying earlier about Philo of Alexandria and his blatantly abstract and philosophical "logos" beliefs. 

 

9 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

48.   This original teaching was kept secret when the Gospel of the miracle worker of Galilee became the public face of Christianity.

 

Ehrman, as good a scholar as he is, still hasn't penetrated below this public face level of understanding the jesus puzzle. As he's concluding a jesus of nazareth, who, admittedly, may not have come from nazareth after all, all he's doing is stripping down the public face of christianity to bare bones without going one step further and just questioning the entire thing. 

 

This original secret teaching business is either completely lost to time or has to be pulled out of the texts in bits and pieces like Robert has been doing. Where the astrotheological references which are cryptic and esoteric are analyzed for content. And that involves trying to try and understand what the writers meant by comparing the astrotheological symbolism to things that are better known like the Vedic Yuga's and Greek metalic world age formats in myth and religion. And if someone says, "prove it!," you really can't. It's intuitive interpretation of cryptic referencing. Based on assumption like everything else. 

 

10 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

49.   Fragments of the original celestial Gospel survive in The Ascension of Isaiah.

 

When I mentioned the book of Enoch previously, I gave the wrong reference. I meant The Ascension of Isaiah and misspoke. All of this business about the beliefs in a celestial jesus are there. That's why Doherty and Carrier at least have some footing on the issue. Something still exists which allowed them to explore this jesus from outer space idea. Since it exists, it's a consideration to take in among the allegorical Mark astrotheology and the rest. Somehow all of this was present in early christianity. 

 

10 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

50.   A lost Christian sect taught the Gospels were just cleverly devised myths (2 Peter 1:16)

 

That lost christian sect can hold our beers!!!!

 

10 hours ago, Robert_Tulip said:

51.    The Roman suppression of all competing claims as heresy for more than a millennium secured the evolution of ideology from a celestial to an earthly atonement drama.

 

These other beliefs didn't stand a chance after the historicized, authoritative version was produced by the proto catholics and then eventually became the empire wide religion. We basically know about the gnostic gospels from a few vague references and then archaeologists finding scraps in site's like Egypt during last few centuries. Otherwise wouldn't even know about most of these alternative beliefs. Which may not have been alternative as it turns out. They may have simply been the mainstream that went down and got replaced by a newer mainstream. 

 

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On 8/31/2021 at 7:02 AM, Joshpantera said:

can't actually be jesus of nazareth because the town wasn't developed yet

I dont know how true it is. Bit in the debate I posted ehrman actually says that evidence of structures in Nazareth at the time have been found. 

 

Like I said I haven't looked that up to verify. Bit he snacks pruce on the hand about it during the debate. 

 

There is also the possibility that he was a Nazarene like Samson. And that was old testament. Maybe it was confused. 

 

I dunno. But thats still a possibility. Carrier and ehrman really do need to have a debate. 

 

 

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I didn't read all of the above, but in my study of Jesus, the thing that made me decide he may have existed was reading the gnostic gospels which were left out of the bible.  They made him seem more human, probably why they were not canonized.  And he could have been a victium of his circumstances.  Conditioned as a child to believe he was "fathered" by god, and eventually took it seriously, believed he was to be a savior, and set out to "save" mankind.  Summed it up in the 2 "greatest commandments".  Perhaps studied under the Essenes, which (if he existed) some of his teaching and life reflected.   

 

This is a summary of my post in the Testimonial section, titled,  "IN DEFENSE OF JESUS".  I still believe the second greatest commandment, to, "love neighbor as self" is a profound concept.  Basically an improved version of the golden rule.

 

Keep up the good work!  

 

P.S.  My "oldometer" just rolled over 80 years.

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