Author Topic: The Jesus Myth...  (Read 2042 times)

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Offline jeffinjapan

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The Jesus Myth...
« on: April 25, 2016, 04:05:08 AM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed? I have always believed that the general consensus among scholars was that Jesus did indeed exist and only the crackpots believe his existence is a myth.

After several years of no longer really being interested in the subject, my interest in the historical Jesus has again been piqued; but I noticed a rather surprising assurance from the Jesus Myther types.

Any good, recent studies on the topic?

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Offline rakovsky

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2016, 08:36:14 AM »
Bart Ehrman the Skeptic says he existed.
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Offline NicholasMyra

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2016, 11:59:51 AM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed?
No. Carrier is one guy, and non-scholar Achyra S died recently.
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2016, 12:02:42 PM »
Bart Ehrman the Skeptic says he existed.


I really need to pay more attention....I read this as Skoptic

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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #4 on: April 25, 2016, 12:05:16 PM »
I've done my search some time ago... I remember coming across the afirmation people who defend this usually either: 1) make their entire careers on this polemical assumption (no bias! ::) ) 2) don't really know what that's all about and don't have the credentials to affirm such a thing.

Although I'm no big fan of this kinds of apologetics, James Bishop did an awesome research on the historicity of Jesus Christ, even quoting skeptics. Long, but worth-reading.

I really need to pay more attention....I read this as Skoptic
Maybe that's how we should call a doubtful Copt.  :P
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 12:11:25 PM by RaphaCam »
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Offline DeniseDenise

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2016, 12:07:30 PM »


I really need to pay more attention....I read this as Skoptic
Maybe that's how we should call a doubtful Copt.  :P


ouch.  That would be painful


see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skoptsy

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Offline RaphaCam

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #6 on: April 25, 2016, 12:10:27 PM »


I really need to pay more attention....I read this as Skoptic
Maybe that's how we should call a doubtful Copt.  :P


ouch.  That would be painful


see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Skoptsy
I'd forgotten about the Skoptsy. I hope none of our OO brothers get so radical if they eventually have doubts on their faith.
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Offline Keble

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2016, 05:48:48 PM »
After several years of no longer really being interested in the subject, my interest in the historical Jesus has again been piqued; but I noticed a rather surprising assurance from the Jesus Myther types.

Well, everyone in the field has far more assurance than can actually be accounted for by the evidence.


Offline truthseeker32

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2016, 05:57:27 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed?
No. Since the 1950s there have always been a couple on the fringe. When they die they are replaced by a couple more. There are plenty of pseudo-scholars who are buying into this idea to promote their anti-theistic biases, but they tend not to have a decent grasp of the relevant scholarship.

Quote
I have always believed that the general consensus among scholars was that Jesus did indeed exist and only the crackpots believe his existence is a myth.
That is the general consensus.

Quote
Any good, recent studies on the topic?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2016, 06:05:29 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed?
No. Carrier is one guy, and non-scholar Achyra S died recently.

And then there's Earl Doherty who only has a BA in history. Though R. Joseph Hoffmann is an historian who seems to be at least skeptical that Jesus existed (and Bob Price, if an ex-theologian counts as a relevant scholar in this case). Gerd Lüdemann, I'm not sure about. He at least seems to think we know very little about the historical Jesus (which in itself seems to me to be pretty common among historians).
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 06:06:16 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline RobS

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #10 on: April 25, 2016, 06:42:41 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed? I have always believed that the general consensus among scholars was that Jesus did indeed exist and only the crackpots believe his existence is a myth.

After several years of no longer really being interested in the subject, my interest in the historical Jesus has again been piqued; but I noticed a rather surprising assurance from the Jesus Myther types.

Any good, recent studies on the topic?
The evidence of an historical Jesus is about the same as any major figure in antiquity, in short it's a mixed bag. If a historian wants to cite that Jesus didn't exist either by limited textual references or historical evidence, then that also must apply to about a few hundred of those in antiquity. The earliest manuscript copy of the gospel of John is slightly over a hundred years (the other gospels two-three hundred), whereas the earliest copy of Plato's manuscripts are over a thousand years from when are they supposedly written. I'm not suggesting that means they are historically reliable, certainly I have made an argument why the gospels as historical biographical accounts is an error, but nevertheless I can't think of any other copies from antiquity that are so close in date of they were composed.

Although of course I do think there is a difference between a historical Jesus and one found in the gospels, so any sort of argument for a historical Jesus is a non-starter for me. The Orthodox Church itself doesn't even preach a historical Jesus, as I understand it.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2016, 06:44:17 PM by nothing »
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #11 on: April 25, 2016, 06:50:13 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed? I have always believed that the general consensus among scholars was that Jesus did indeed exist and only the crackpots believe his existence is a myth.

After several years of no longer really being interested in the subject, my interest in the historical Jesus has again been piqued; but I noticed a rather surprising assurance from the Jesus Myther types.

Any good, recent studies on the topic?
The evidence of an historical Jesus is about the same as any major figure in antiquity, in short it's a mixed bag. If a historian wants to cite that Jesus didn't exist either by limited textual references or historical evidence, then that also must apply to about a few hundred of those in antiquity. The earliest manuscript copy of the gospel of John is slightly over a hundred years (the other gospels two-three hundred), whereas the earliest copy of Plato's manuscripts are over a thousand years from when are they supposedly written. I'm not suggesting that means they are historically reliable, certainly I have made an argument why the gospels as historical biographical accounts is an error, but nevertheless I can't think of any other copies from antiquity that are so close in date of they were composed.

Although of course I do think there is a difference between a historical Jesus and one found in the gospels, so any sort of argument for a historical Jesus is a non-starter for me. The Orthodox Church itself doesn't even preach a historical Jesus, as I understand it.

Fwiw, I tend to agree.
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Offline Valekhai

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #12 on: April 25, 2016, 07:29:01 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed?

Depends on what you mean by "more and more." There aren't many who are (publicly) seriously doubtful over Jesus' existence, and even among those there are few (if any) who take a hard-line stance on it and say that Jesus definitely didn't exist. Richard Carrier only lists seven credentialed doubters in a blog post:

Quote
Ehrman falsely claims in his book that there are no hyper-specialized historians of ancient Christianity who doubt the historicity of Jesus. So I named one: Arthur Droge, a sitting professor of early Christianity at UCSD.

And of those who do not meet Ehrman’s irrationally specific criteria but who are certainly qualified, we can now add Kurt Noll, a sitting professor of religion at Brandon University (as I already noted in my review of Is This Not the Carpenter) and Thomas Brodie, a retired professor of biblical studies (as I noted elsewhere). Combined with myself (Richard Carrier) and Robert Price, as fully qualified independent scholars, and Thomas Thompson, a retired professor of some renown, that is more than a handful of well-qualified scholars, all with doctorates in a relevant field, who are on record doubting the historicity of Jesus.

Most recently, Hector Avalos, a sitting professor of religion at Iowa State University, has also declared his agnosticism about historicity as well.

That makes seven fully qualified experts on the record, three of them sitting professors, plus two retired professors, and two independent scholars with full credentials. And there are no doubt many others who simply haven’t gone on the record. We also have sympathizers among mainstream experts who nevertheless endorse historicity but acknowledge we have a respectable point, like Philip Davies.

So, only a handful so far, but this skepticism was pretty much unheard of until recently (as far as I know), at least among experts. I wouldn't be surprised if it keeps rising, but I'm not expecting consensus to change anytime soon. I'm kind of hoping this lights a fire under the pro-historicity academics to put a little more elbow grease into their defenses; too many of them seem to just want to fold their arms and talk about how this has never seriously been doubted and that the consensus is so overwhelming that they shouldn't even be bothered with a few crackpots on the fringe.

Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2016, 08:33:16 PM »
I'm kind of hoping this lights a fire under the pro-historicity academics to put a little more elbow grease into their defenses; too many of them seem to just want to fold their arms and talk about how this has never seriously been doubted and that the consensus is so overwhelming that they shouldn't even be bothered with a few crackpots on the fringe.
Making a vigorous defense against crackpots only makes them appear legitimate. I would mention the Intelligent Design movement here, except it would probably derail the thread into embarrassing polemics.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2016, 08:52:59 PM »
Is it true that more and more scholars in relevant fields are at least entertaining the possibility the Jesus never really existed?

Depends on what you mean by "more and more." There aren't many who are (publicly) seriously doubtful over Jesus' existence, and even among those there are few (if any) who take a hard-line stance on it and say that Jesus definitely didn't exist.

But all you've got to do is quote four of those, say it represents the majority opinion and let the neckbeard brigade retweet it until it becomes true by repetition.
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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2016, 10:52:12 PM »
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Re: The Jesus Myth...
« Reply #16 on: April 26, 2016, 10:57:51 PM »
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