The Jesus Claim

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  • Theweakeredge
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    So... this is an old paper of mine, about 3 or 4 years old. This came up whenever Benjamin, yes him, decided to use a specific web page to prove that Jesus was "historically true" funny stuff, so now I'm transferring this old piece of work here.


     The Jesus Claim.

    Jesus is a popular figure in today’s world, from a symbol of the church to his infancy representing Christmas for the popular Christian family. Overall Evangelical Christianity has seen a rise in recent years in America directly leading to the increase of Jesus as a historical figure.’ This is my attempt to explore that claim. Did Jesus actually exist back during Nero’s time, or was he a myth brought up to start a new sect of Christianity?

    How do historians actually evaluate someone’s existence? They primarily gather first-hand testimonies, primary sources, documents that validate and confirm each other, and several different sources mentioning the person. Note that I myself am NOT a historian and am simply an aspiring philosopher who is sifting through the evidence, researching, and making an argument for the truth. Let’s go over each source, or at least the main sources, that claim Jesus’s existence and see if there are any flaws, or if each account is true. 

    Before we can investigate separate claims we must prosecute the main source of evidence for Jesus’s existence. The bible. According to Atheist and former Christian studying to be a priest Matt Dillahunty, the bible has over 80 books in total with several Jewish and Roman Catholic sources confirming this fact. However the popular protestant bible has 66 books, the Roman Catholic have 73, and the Jews have 23 books. Why such a big disparity? Well, it's speculation that a majority of books were cut from the bible due to an unpopular view of the books by the society of the time. 

    Based on how most priests and religious scholars treat the Bible as a perfect book, the fact that other sources of the bible were found suggest that the books were cut by religious sources. Based on this fact we can deduce that whenever the protestant or catholic church doesn’t like a book they can simply discard it leading us to mistrust the rest of the book. You see, if the book is god's word then there are two reasons for people cutting books, A) They didn’t like what the books say, or B) they didn’t feel like they were inspired by God. However, 3 different churches claim three different book amounts. So even if it were true that the church didn’t believe the books were inspired by God, which church is right? I mean they all operate on the same book with differences of translation and which books are in it. 

    Now let’s talk about the disparity of time. Basically, most sources conflate and confuse when the bible was written. Some say even 4000 years before the roman empire for the old testament while others claim it's as new as 100 years after Nero. Not to mention some sources claim as few as 5 authors collected and wrote the bible while others cite 40. Almost no one can seem to agree WHEN the bible was written, who it was written by, how many books are in it, or how many people actually wrote the thing. All of these by themselves would throw heavy doubt on the historic veracity of the Bible, but all of them has to lead me to throw it out as a source of historical claims altogether.

    Based on these facts we can conclude the bible to be an unreliable source at the very least. As history has shown this collection of texts has been heavily edited and changed, entire books shaved away or added in order to fit the religion. So only relying on the bible as a source to prove Jesus’s existence won’t work. We’ll need extraocular sources to conclude Jesus's existence. Some popularly cited work that has been used to prove Jesus’s existence is Jewish Antiquities by Flavius Josephus. In XX, Chapter 11 there are a handful of mentions to a character named Jesus. 

    Both of them mention Jesus as someone with a different father. There is Jesus, the son of Damneus, and Jesus, the son of Josadek. As opposed to the bible in which he is referred to as the son of Joseph. He is also referred to as a high priest of the Jewish religion even though the Bible specifically refers to how most of the Jews were opposed to Jesus. This would lead to me to again suppose one of two things. One, there were at least three different Jesus’s gallivanting around, though the Jewish Antiquities do mark out how he is ‘christ’, or the source of Flavius’s information on Jesus was unreliable or a myth. Along with Flavius's accounts, there are several other historians who are cited as mentioning Jesus.

    Tacitus is one of these historians. He records and writes on the times around when Jesus would have been alive and kicking; however, much of his work was lost including around the time when Jesus would have been supposedly tried. However, his later works mention him once as ‘Christos’. These works are dated to about 1000 years after Jesus would have been born indicating none of these of a direct account and therefore debunking these as primary sources. Also barely any of his ‘works’ are referenced just as in Flavius’s writing indicating a lack of information that the bible supposedly drew from. Not to mention a large group of historians bring into contention the translation ‘Christos’ as it is often mistranslated and confused with ‘Chrestos.’ Leading me to believe that the record of ‘Christos’ is nothing speculative rumor. 

    Another popular one is Suetonius; however, he is the source of the ‘Christos’ ‘Chrestos’ conflation. Not only that, but his works do not indicate any of Chrestos’s actual life instead of seemingly describing a god on earth as most generally broad myths would describe. Again no mentioning of his works would not only not connect the source with the bible but at this point actively discredit the bible as most of these are historically valid sources for the most part. Beyond the translations issue, several Historians and philosophers debate about the timing of this too dated to about 150 years after his supposed death more than enough time for rumors to start and myths to conflate.

    The last historian I would like to talk about would be Thallus who addressed several of Christians's prominent arguments. For example, he contested the claim of the world’s supposed darkening during Jesus’s execution. He never confirmed his existence nor did he ever even actually claim he had valid sources for thinking Jesus was real. Instead, he simply confuted popular protestant and even catholic opinions of what happened. The thallus is typically misrepresented in most Theological talks about Jesus as a historical figure. 

    None of these historians have linked a solid or coherent valid proof for Jesus’s existence. Not only are none of this good evidence, but some of them decently imply that Jesus was nothing but a myth. For example Flavius’s ponderings and listing of different Fathers of Jesus in his own work not to mention against the bible. Thallus, Suetonius, and Tacitus's failure to mention Jesus as anything more than a vague idea with barely any reference to what he did. To claim someone is anything more than a rumor you have to have accredited sources agreeing he existed with at least some first-hand testimony backing up said sources. 

    For these reasons, I see no reason to treat Jesus as a historical figure instead he was most likely a mythical figure made up to inspire Jews to rise up out of systemic Roman and Jewish oppression of the time. The myth taking inspiration from other beings like Buhda or Muhamad. Using Secular and Theistical Historical and philosophical sources I’ve deduced this much. This paper also further destroys the bible as a historical document even without scientific claims the book likes to violate. As Jesus is a central idea to the new testament and if I was indeed correct in concluding he was false then the entire book would be discredited. Upon this evidence I have concluded that Jesus is a myth please join me in questioning the seemingly unquestionable.


    Sources

    https://www.gutenberg.org/files/2848/2848-h/2848 -h.htm Author: Flavius Josephus/Translator: William Whiston/Release Date: January 4, 2009/Last Updated: August 9, 2017
    https://www.britannica.com/biography/Flavius-Josephus November 12th, 2019 by Gary William Poole
    http://www.josephus.org/testimonium.htm Jewish Antiquities, 18.3.3 §63 (Based on the translation of Louis H. Feldman, The Loeb Classical Library.) 
    http://bib.irr.org/tacitus-suetonius-and-historical-jesus Febuary 20th, 2017 by Robert M. Bowman Jr.
    https://www.reasonablefaith.org/question-answer/P70/thallus-on-the-darkness-at-noon May 10, 2010 Transcript of a question from emailer ‘Steve’ response by ‘Dr.Craig’


  • SirAnonymous
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    --> @Theweakeredge
    May I recommend that you read Bart Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist? Ehrman is an agnostic New Testament scholar who is a strong critic of Christianity. The book itself is an examination of the historical evidence about Jesus' existence. You may find it interesting.
  • FLRW
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    The following is a review of Did Jesus Exist by S. Mezger

    I'll start out by saying that many of the one star ratings say what I want to say better than I can. I'm giving Bart credit for addressing this issue in the first place. Unfortunately, once he got going on his book, it seemed he was on autopilot, repeatedly failing to address the compelling evidence that the Jesus mythicists have brought into public discussion. To him, one important bit of evidence that Jesus was historical was that Paul knew Jesus's brother James, and Peter. That seems to be a direct contradiction to what he said in his wonderful book, Misquoting Jesus. In that book, he made it very clear that we can't trust what the original books of the New Testament said because they were copied and edited repeatedly over their first centuries. We have no originals, so we don't know what was written into them by later Christians. A copier of Galatians certainly could have inserted that Paul knew James, but was James really the brother of Jesus? Was he a real person? Did someone want to plant evidence that Jesus was really a historical human being? I hope Bart continues to think this issue through instead of washing his hands of the evidence for the myth. The rebuttal to this book by mythicists, Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth, is very interesting, and shows what a weak effort Bart put into understanding the wide range of legitimate myth evidence.
  • SirAnonymous
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    --> @FLRW
    Since the scholars in relevant fields agree almost unanimously with Ehrman, I think I'll take Ehrman over Mezger. The debate over Jesus' existence exists almost solely at the popular level. It is barely disputed at the scholarly level.
  • SirAnonymous
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    Woah, hold on a second here. I looked up S. Mezger, and he's just a random dude who reviewed the book on Amazon. Worse, so far as I can tell, the name S. Mezger doesn't belong to anyone even remotely notable. You just quoted some random yokel like he was an actual authority. What are you playing at, dude?
  • fauxlaw
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    Arguing over what the Bible says, what Ehrman or Mezger, or Josephus, or Tacitus said, or any mortal said seems counterproductive and counterintuitive. Do we seek a plumber to obtain roof repair? Listening to y'all, I'd assume that's your only option.
    Why not ask God. If you are really sincere in your questions, have real intent in obtaining an answer. ask the source. We say the Bible is the word of God, but ignore him when we have questions. Really? No, God did not write one word of it. Did he have to, or , like any good executive, did he deligate, even using imperfect men for the job. Who better to use than struggling men to do a task. Men who want to do it right, but make mistakes. Since they do and did, if you want to know what is true, ask God, but know what you want and have faith that an answer will come. Faith is not mere belief, it is, literally, as Paul told the Hebrews, "...the substance ofd things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Is that even a true rendition of what Paul really said? Don't know? Ask God. Is that so hard?
  • Theweakeredge
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    --> @fauxlaw
    I believed sincerely for 14 years, and I never heard god once. 
  • fauxlaw
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    You think belief is sufficient? Belief compels no one to do anything. Faith is the operative word. The two are not synonymous words. What is faith? Hebrews 11: 1 is as good a definition as I've seen. Actually, the entire chapter.
  • FLRW
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    You have to look at the logic of his comment, it has nothing to do with his credentials.
  • FLRW
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    That is because you don't have brain damage. Professor Brick Johnstone of the University of Missouri studied 20 people with traumatic brain injuries affecting the right parietal lobe, the area of the brain situated a few inches above the right ear. He surveyed participants on characteristics of spirituality, such as how close they felt to a higher power and if they felt their lives were part of a divine plan. He found that the participants with more significant injury to their right parietal lobe showed an increased feeling of closeness to a higher power.
  • FLRW
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    --> @SirAnonymous
    Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth is a compilation of essays by many proponents of historical minimalism or mythicism as Ehrman defines it. It was constructed in order to refute and point out errors in Ehrman's book Did Jesus Exist: the Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazaret

    mythicism  is the scholarly opinion that the gospels are mythological expansions of historical data quotations and the habitual practice of attributing everything to mythological causes; superstition, the opposite of rationalism, or of realism quotations
  • Theweakeredge
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    Funnily enough, I actually do have damage, well severe underdevelopment to my frontal lobe, I almost died as a child, and I had to stay in the hospital and then lots of therapy in my formative years.

  • SirAnonymous
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    You have to look at the logic of his comment, it has nothing to do with his credentials.
    And why should I trust the logic of his comment? Why should I trust that he accurately represented the book? Why should I trust that he has any idea what he's talking about? There are over 400 reviews for the book on Amazon with an average of 4.4 stars. Why would I trust his review and not the majority of reviews, many of whom presented reasons that would contradict Mezger's comment?

    Simply put, the fact that you plucked a random review from Amazon and  quoted it as though it had actual authority shows that you are simply looking for things that support your views. Why didn't you pick one of the reviews that thought the book was good? If you are going to present the opinions of random people and pretend that they have some kind of authority, go right ahead, but don't expect me to take it seriously in any way.
    mythicism  is the scholarly opinion that the gospels are mythological expansions of historical data quotations and the habitual practice of attributing everything to mythological causes; superstition, the opposite of rationalism, or of realism quotations
    I am aware of what it is. I am also aware that it has next to no support from actual scholars.
  • SirAnonymous
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    Funnily enough, I actually do have damage, well severe underdevelopment to my frontal lobe, I almost died as a child, and I had to stay in the hospital and then lots of therapy in my formative years.
    I'm very sorry to here that. It doesn't seem to affect you much now, at least from what I can see. You seem pretty intelligent.
  • Theweakeredge
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    Mmm, thanks, typically though frontal lobe injury doesn't have much to do with cognitive or deductive development. 
  • SirAnonymous
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    That's good. I must confess that I don't know a lot about the brain or brain injuries.
  • Reece101
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    Did you include a part about how common the name Jesus was back then? By the way Jesus’s name in Hebrew is Yeshua, and if translated to English is Joshua. The reason Jesus isn’t called Joshua today is because it’s a Greek to English translation. 
  • Theweakeredge
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    I did not, I didn't know about it at the time - though - its kinda funny how the letter J wouldn't have even existed then and yet people claim that people named Jesus lived there - I did know about the Yeshua though. If I were to rewrite it I probably would include that though - I did get to a part where three different Jesus's were mentioned though - and yet none of them had a father called or translated to "Joseph" pretty funny that.
  • Reece101
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    Translations ah.
  • n8nrgmi
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    we KNOW that the bible is true, because the bible SAYS that the bible is true..... and if you remember from earlier in this sentence, every word of the bible is true 
  • zedvictor4
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    --> @fauxlaw
    The Bible is the work of a GOD?....Did Jesus of the Bible exist?....Similar dilemma, different central characters..


    Was the Jesus of Middle Eastern Folklore, based upon a real person?.... Would be a more pertinent question.