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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:03 am 
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I've been reading the God Delusion, and I was honestly shocked to see a section of the book dedicated to ... the historicity of Jesus Christ.
Though he did say, he felt, that Jesus did really exist he went on to say that the story we have probably bears no resemblence whatsoever to who Jesus is to people today.
He also made remark (and this is what really shocked me) about mediterannean religions which had virgin births, death, resurrection etc.

You might be wondering why I'd be shocked by that. Firstly, a lot of scholars don't seem to acknowledge this information (am I right?). Secondly, there are a lot of people who claim it is debunked (lol @ all the Zeitgeist debunked plunk we see).
And then, regarding this and other things, DAWKINS is saying it ... considered one of the greatest intellectuals today, no?

I was just totally wowed by this thought.

P.S: If my spelling is a bit off I apologise. I'm tired.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 10:44 am 
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The main problem here is that when the mythological aspects of the story are taken away, there's really nothing left. Not to mention that there's no record of Jesus being crucified under Pilate for instance:

Quote:
The Trials of Jesus Christ

If there were a perfect opportunity to supply convincing evidence for a historical Jesus it should be in the trials of Jesus. The first century was actually a well documented time period in this area. If the story is true, then, it should not be difficult to prove, at least, a historical Jesus who had these trials as detailed in the Gospel story.

There are 6 or 7 parts to the trials of Jesus - events reported by all the Canonical Gospels of the Bible. Mark 14:53–65, Matthew 26:57–68, Luke 22:63–71 and John 18:12-24. http://www.godlygames.com/biblebread/jctrials.htm
Quote:
"Question: "What trials did Jesus face before His crucifixion?"

Answer: The night of Jesus’ arrest, He was brought before Annas, Caiaphas, and an assembly of religious leaders called the Sanhedrin (John 18:19-24; Matthew 26:57). After this He was taken before Pilate, the Roman Governor (John 18:23), sent off to Herod (Luke 23:7), and returned to Pilate (Luke 23:11-12), who finally sentenced Him to death.

There were six parts to Jesus’ trial: three stages in a religious court and three stages before a Roman court. Jesus was tried before Annas, the former high priest; Caiaphas, the current high priest; and the Sanhedrin. He was charged in these “ecclesiastical” trials with blasphemy, claiming to be the Son of God, the Messiah...."
http://www.gotquestions.org/trials-of-Jesus.html


Guess what...

Quote:
"...the events of the passion have been disputed over the centuries by Jewish scholars who have argued that the representation of the Jews and the Romans in the gospels is inaccurate and unhistorical, particularly as concerns Jesus's trial and the involvement of Jewish authorities."

-- WWJ page 241

Quote:
"Scholars in the area of biblical criticism take these inconsistencies with Jewish practice to indicate that such a trial most likely did not take place."
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanhedrin_Trial_of_Jesus)


They fail to make a convincing case that the trials of Jesus ever really happened. The Trials of Jesus thread -
http://forums.truthbeknown.com/viewtopic.php?t=2335


I would think that an actual intellectual position would certainly have to be one that involves an indepth knowledge of the problems surrounding this issue. Dawkins seems to fall short in this particular area. There's nothing to go on that supports an historical Jesus in the time of Pilate other than the gospels and the various Christian interpolations that have followed. Does Dawkins trust the Gospels and later Christian interpolations? He must in order to make a statement like that.

As for the Virgin birth, world famous comparative mythology and religion scholar Joseph Campbell went over the fact that this is an old old motif that we find in mythologies the world over. All of the serious scholars in the world know, recognize, and speak about this:

Joseph Campbell wrote:
Thou Art That: transforming religious metaphor

"A Mythology may be understood as an organization of metaphorical figures connotative of states of mind that are not finally of this or that location or historical period, even though the figures themselves seem on their surface to suggest such a concrete localization. The metaphorical languages of both mythology and metaphysics are not denotative of actual worlds or gods, but rather connote levels and entities within the person touched by them. Metaphors only seem to describe the outer world of time and place. Their real universe is the spiritual realm of the inner life. The Kingdom of God is within you.

The problem, as have noted many times, is that these metaphors, which concern that which cannot in any other way be told, are misread prosaically as referring to tangible facts and historical occurrences. The denotation - that is, the reference in time and space: a particular Virgin Birth, the End of the World - is taken as the message, and the connotation, the rich aura of the metaphor in which its spiritual significance may be detected, is ignored altogether. The result is that we are left with the particular "ethnic" inflection of the metaphor, the historical vesture, rather than the living spiritual core.

Inevitably, therefore, the popular understanding is focused on the rituals and legends of the local system, and the sense of the symbols is reduced to the concrete goals of a particular political system of socialization. When the language of metaphor is misunderstood and its surface structures become brittle, it evokes merely the current time-and-place-bound order of things and its spiritual signal, if transmitted at all, becomes ever fainter.

It has puzzled me greatly that the emphasis in the professional exegesis of the entire Judeo-Christian-Islamic mythology has been on the denotative rather than on the connotative meaning of the metaphoric imagery that it is active language. The Virgin Birth, as I have mentioned, has been presented as an historical fact, fashioned into a concrete article of faith over which theologians have argued for hundreds of years, often with grave and disruptive consequences. Practically every mythology in the world has used the "elementary" or co-natural idea of a virgin birth to refer to a spiritual rather than historical reality. The same, as I have suggested, is true of the metaphor of the promised land, which in its denotation plots nothing but a piece of geography to be taken by force. Its connotation - that is, its real meaning - however, is of a spiritual place in the heart that can only be entered by contemplation.

There can be no real progress in understanding how myths function until we understand and allow metaphoric symbols to address, in their own unmodified way, the inner levels of our consciousness. The continuing confusion about the nature and function of metaphor is one of the major obstacles - often placed in our path by ORGANIZED RELIGIONS that focus shortsightedly on concrete times and places - to our capacity to experience mystery. A system of mythological symbols only works if it operates in the field of a community of people who have essentially analogous experiences, or to put it another way, if they share the same realm of life experience.


Here's a link the thread about the Virgin Birth: http://forums.truthbeknown.com/viewtopi ... 70&start=0

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 11:50 am 
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Great question about Dawkins' belief in a historical Jesus.
Quote:
"It is even possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, as has been done by, among others Professor G. A. Wells of the University of London in a number of books, including Did Jesus Exist? Although Jesus probably existed..."

- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p.122

He's a biologist, not a theologian. He relies on other biblical scholars who tell him a historical Jesus must have existed. The agenda of the God Delusion was to disprove theism, not a historical figure.

Dawkins' beliefs on Jesus
http://www.richarddawkins.net/forum/vie ... kins+Jesus

A thread at IIDB asks the same question -

Richard Dawkins and Jesus??
http://iidb.infidels.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=243872

At IIDB you will see the point being made that Dawkins is *NOT* a specialist in the specific field of textual/biblical criticism - he simply is not a biblical scholar.

They also bring up the point that if he had said Jesus never existed, he would probably have gotten a huge backlash from it & his books probably wouldn't have sold nearly as well.

The consensus within academia, textual/biblical criticism that there was a historical Jesus is currently being challenged more & more. We just need to keep making a more clear and solid case for a mythical Jesus that can be accepted in academia, textual/biblical criticism circles.

Acharya's new book soon to come out Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection is the most comprehensive book making the case I've ever seen - it's her best book to date. It looks like it's going to be 600 pages with nearly 2,200 footnotes and 750 books, journals, articles etc in the bibliography. Hopefully, Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens etc. will read it.

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Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 12:27 pm 
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Lord Terrible wrote:
I think it goes a little too far when dispelling the myth of Christianity to deny Jesus even existed. Saying he existed and was only human is the most logical route as it agrees with the evidence (Tacitus, Roman execution records etc) and doesn't make it seem like he is the SoG.

Merely 'Jesus was a human man who lied a lot' should suffice.



Another major factor here that this guy on the "Internet Infidels" forum failed to consider is that while many people would point to these historians who operated outside of the gospels in order to support the idea that Jesus had actually been documented as an historical person, unfortunately none of these writings hold any real weight in reality:

Quote:
Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius: No Proof of Jesus

"Pliny the Younger, Roman Official and Historian (62-113 CE)

In addition to the palpably bogus passage in the Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus called the "Testimonium Flavianum" is another of the pitiful "references" dutifully trotted out by apologists to prove the existence of Jesus Christ: To wit, a short passage in the works of the Roman historian Pliny the Younger. While proconsul of Bithynia, a province in the northwest of Asia Minor, Pliny purportedly wrote a letter in 110 CE to the Emperor Trajan requesting his assistance in determining the proper punishment for "Christiani" who were causing trouble and would not renounce "Christo" as their god or bow down to the image of the Emperor. These recalcitrant Christiani, according to the Pliny letter, met "together before daylight" and sang "hymns with responses to Christ as a god," binding themselves "by a solemn institution, not to any wrong act." Regarding this letter, Rev. Robert Taylor remarks:

If this letter be genuine, these nocturnal meetings were what no prudent government could allow; they fully justify the charges of Caecilius in Minutius Felix, of Celsus in Origen, and of Lucian, that the primitive Christians were a skulking, light-shunning, secret, mystical, freemasonry sort of confederation, against the general welfare and peace of society.

Taylor also comments that, at the time this letter was purportedly written, "Christians" were considered to be followers of the Greco-Egyptian Serapis per Emperor Hadrian's statement--"and that the name of Christ [was] common to the whole rabblement of gods, kings, and priests." Writing around 134 CE, Hadrian purportedly stated:

The worshippers of Serapis are Christians, and those are devoted to the God Serapis, whocall themselves the bishops of Christ. There is no ruler of a Jewish synagogue, no Samaritan, no Presbyter of the Christians, who is not either an astrologer, a soothsayer, or a minister to obscene pleasures. The very Patriarch himself, should he come into Egypt, would be required by some to worship Serapis, and by others to worship Christ. They have, however, but one God, and it is one and the self-same whom Christians, Jews and Gentiles alike adore, i.e., money.

It is likely that the "Christos" or "Anointed" god Pliny's "Christiani" were following was Serapis himself, the syncretic deity created by the priesthood in the third century BCE. In any case, this god "Christos" was not a man who had been crucified in Judea.

Moreover, like his earlier incarnation Osiris, Serapis--both popular gods in the Roman Empire--was called not only Christos but also "Chrestos," centuries before the common era. Indeed, Osiris was called "Chrestus," long before his Jewish copycat Jesus was ever conceived. Significantly, in relating that under Claudius certain "mathematicians" or astrologers were expelled from Italy, individuals who were apparently Egyptian and Egypto-Jewish kabbalists, Drews cites the same Hadrian passage as above, with a different translation. According to him, the original contained the word "Chrestus," not "Christos," and "Chrestiani" instead of "Christiani," important distinctions. Drews relates Hadrian's remarks thus:

"Those who worship Serapis are the Chrestians, and those who call themselves priests of Chrestus are devoted to Serapis. There is not a high-priest of the Jews, a Samaritan, or a priest of Chrestus who is not a mathematician, soothsayer, or quack. Even the patriarch, when he goes to Egypt, is compelled by some to worship Serapis, by others to worship Chrestus They are a turbulent, inflated, lawless body of men. They have only one God, who is worshipped by the Chrestians, the Jews, and all the peoples of Egypt."

Drews further states, "Chrestus was not only the name of the god, but, as frequently happened in ancient religions, also of his chief priest."

In his Divine Institutes, Book IV, Church father Lactantius (fl. 4th cent.) discusses the importance of distinguishing between the terms Christos and Chrestus:

for Christ is not a proper name, but a title of power and dominion; for by this the Jews were accustomed to call their kings. But the meaning of this name must be set forth, on account of the error of the ignorant, who by the change of a letter are accustomed to call Him Chrestus.

The word "Chrestus," meaning "good" or "useful," was a title frequently held by commoners, slaves, freedmen, bigwigs, priests and gods alike, prior to the Christian era. "Chrestos," according to Mead, was "a universal term of the Mysteries for the perfected 'saint.'" Followers of any deity called "Chrestus" would be not "Christians" but "Chrestians." Because the Church fathers such as Justin Martyr pun on this word crestoV (chrestos), apologists have haphazardly substituted cristoV (christos) for it. As do other early Church fathers, Justin uses the term "Chrestiani," not "Christiani," to describe his fellow believers.

Johnson considered "Chrestus" a distinction made to separate the "good god" of the Gnostics from the evil god Yahweh. This term, Chrestus, is thus traceable to Samaria, where Gnosticism as a movement took shape and where it may have referred to Simon Magus, whom we have seen to have been a god, rather than a "real person." Hence, these Chrestiani were apparently Syrian Gnostics, not followers of the "historical" Jesus of Nazareth. Confirming this assertion, that the first "Christians" were actually followers of the "good god" Chrestus, the earliest dated Christian inscription, corresponding to October 1, 318 CE, calls Jesus "Chrestos," not Christos: "The Lord and Savior, Jesus the Good." This inscription was found above the entrance of a Syrian church of the Marcionites, who were anti-Jewish followers of the second-century Gnostic Marcion. The evidence points to "Jesus the Chrestos" as a Pagan god, not a Jewish messiah who lived during the first century CE.

In any event, the value of the Pliny letter as "evidence" of Christ's existence is worthless, as it makes no mention of "Jesus of Nazareth," nor does it refer to any event in his purported life. There is not even a clue in it that such a man existed. As Taylor remarks, "We have the name of Christ, and nothing else but the name, where the name of Apollo or Bacchus would have filled up the sense quite as well." Taylor then casts doubt on the authenticity of the letter as a whole, recounting the work of German critics, who "have maintained that this celebrated letter is another instance to be added to the long list of Christian forgeries" One of these German luminaries, Dr. Semler of Leipsic provided "nine arguments against its authenticity" He also notes that the Pliny epistle is quite similar to that allegedly written by "Tiberianus, Governor of Syria" to Trajan, which has been universally denounced as a forgery.

Also, like the TF, Pliny's letter is not quoted by any early Church father, including Justin Martyr. Tertullian briefly mentions its existence, noting that it refers to terrible persecutions of Christians. However, the actual text used today comes from a version by a Christian monk in the 15th century, Iucundus of Verona, whose composition apparently was based on Tertullian's assertions. Concurring that the Pliny letter is suspicious, Drews terms "doubtful" Tertullian's "supposed reference to it." Drews then names several authorities who likewise doubted its authenticity, "either as a whole or in material points," including Semler, Aub, Havet, Hochart, Bruno Bauer and Edwin Johnson. Citing the work of Hochart specifically, Drews pronounces Pliny's letter "in all probability" a "later Christian forgery." Even if it is genuine, Pliny's letter is useless in determining any "historical" Jesus.

Tacitus, Roman Politician and Historian, (c. 56-120 CE)

Turning next to another stalwart in the anemic apologist arsenal, Tacitus, sufficient reason is uncovered to doubt this Roman author's value in proving an "historical" Jesus. In his Annals, supposedly written around 107 CE, Tacitus purportedly related that the Emperor Nero (37-68) blamed the burning of Rome during his reign on "those people who were abhorred for their crimes and commonly called Christians." Since the fire evidently broke out in the poor quarter where fanatic, agitating Messianic Jews allegedly jumped for joy, thinking the conflagration represented the eschatological development that would bring about the Messianic reign, it would not be unreasonable for authorities to blame the fire on them. However, it is clear that these Messianic Jews were not (yet) called "Christiani." In support of this contention, Nero's famed minister, Seneca (5?-65), whose writings evidently provided much fuel for the incipient Christian ideology, has not a word about these "most-hated" sectarians.

In any event, the Tacitean passage next states that these fire-setting agitators were followers of "Christus" (Christos), who, in the reign of Tiberius, "was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate." The passage also recounts that the Christians, who constituted a "vast multitude at Rome," were then sought after and executed in ghastly manners, including by crucifixion. However, the date that a "vast multitude" of Christians was discovered and executed would be around 64 CE, and it is evident that there was no "vast multitude" of Christians at Rome by this time, as there were not even a multitude of them in Judea. Oddly, this brief mention of Christians is all there is in the voluminous works of Tacitus regarding this extraordinary movement, which allegedly possessed such power as to be able to burn Rome. Also, the Neronian persecution of Christians is unrecorded by any other historian of the day and supposedly took place at the very time when Paul was purportedly freely preaching at Rome (Acts 28:30-31), facts that cast strong doubt on whether or not it actually happened. Drews concludes that the Neronian persecution is likely "nothing but the product of a Christian's imagination in the fifth century." Eusebius, in discussing this persecution, does not avail himself of the Tacitean passage, which he surely would have done had it existed at the time. Eusebius's discussion is very short, indicating he was lacking source material; the passage in Tacitus would have provided him a very valuable resource.

Even conservative writers such as James Still have problems with the authenticity of the Tacitus passage: For one, Tacitus was an imperial writer, and no imperial document would ever refer to Jesus as "Christ." Also, Pilate was not a "procurator" but a prefect, which Tacitus would have known. Nevertheless, not willing to throw out the entire passage, some researchers have concluded that Tacitus "was merely repeating a story told to him by contemporary Christians."

Based on these and other facts, several scholars have argued that, even if the Annals themselves were genuine, the passage regarding Jesus was spurious. One of these authorities was Rev. Taylor, who suspected the passage to be a forgery because it too is not quoted by any of the Christian fathers, including Tertullian, who read and quoted Tacitus extensively. Nor did Clement of Alexandria notice this passage in any of Tacitus's works, even though one of this Church father's main missions was to scour the works of Pagan writers in order to find validity for Christianity. As noted, the Church historian Eusebius, who likely forged the Testimonium Flavianum, does not relate this Tacitus passage in his abundant writings. Indeed, no mention is made of this passage in any known text prior to the 15th century.

The tone and style of the passage are unlike the writing of Tacitus, and the text "bears a character of exaggeration, and trenches on the laws of rational probability, which the writings of Tacitus are rarely found to do." Taylor further remarks upon the absence in any of Tacitus's other writings of "the least allusion to Christ or Christians." In his well-known Histories, for example, Tacitus never refers to Christ, Christianity or Christians. Furthermore, even the Annals themselves have come under suspicion, as they themselves had never been mentioned by any ancient author.

It is a peculiar and disturbing fact that the entire Annals attributed to Tacitus never existed until their discovery by Johannes de Spire, at Venice in 1468, and that this sole copy, purportedly made in the 8th century, was in his possession alone. The history of the Annals begins with the Italian calligrapher, Latin scholar and Papal secretary Gian Francesco Poggio Bracciolini (1380-1459), who, writing in 1425, intimated the existence of unknown works by Tacitus supposedly at a Benedictine monastery in Hersfeld, Germany. "The Annals" was subsequently "discovered" in a copy of Tacitus's Histories at the monastery, in the sixteenth century. This text was not named "Annals," however, until 1544, by Beatus Rhenanus.

In 1878, the "excellent Latin scholar" WJ Ross wrote the book Tacitus and Bracciolini, which evinced that the entire Annals were a forgery in very flawed Latin by Bracciolini in the 15th century. Ross's work was assailed by various clergymen, who claimed the main defect in his argument was that "one of the MSS. [manuscripts] of the Annals is at least as early as the XI century." In reality, the critics had not actually read Ross's book, in which Ross does indeed address this purported 11th century manuscript, which he shows was merely pronounced by dictum to be early. Interested readers are referred to Cutner and Ross's books for further discussion of this debate, which includes, in Ross's dissertation, a minute examination of the Latin of the Annals. Suffice it to say that the evidence is on the side of those who maintain the 15th century date, in that the Annals appear nowhere until that time.

In any event, even if the Annals were genuine, the pertinent passage itself could easily be an interpolation, based on the abundant precedents and on the fact that the only manuscript was in the possession of one person, de Spire. In reality, "none of the works of Tacitus have come down to us without interpolations." Drews considers the Tacitus passage in its entirety to be one of these forgeries that just suddenly showed up centuries later, and he expresses astonishment that "no one took any notice during the whole of the Middle Ages" of such an important passage. Says he:

No one, in fact, seems to have had the least suspicion of its existence until it was found in the sole copy at that time of Tacitus, the Codex Mediceus II, printed by Johann and his brother Wendelin von Speyer about 1470 at Venice, of which all the other manuscripts are copies.

The reason for this hoax may be the same as the countless others perpetrated over the millennia: The period when the Annals were discovered was one of manuscript-hunting, with huge amounts of money being offered for unearthing such texts, specifically those that bolstered the claims of Christianity. There is no question that poor, desperate and enterprising monks set about to fabricate manuscripts of this type. Bracciolini, a Papal secretary, was in the position to collect the "500 gold sequins" for his composition, which, it has been claimed was reworked by a monk at Hersfeld/Hirschfelde, "in imitation of a very old copy of the History of Tacitus."

Regarding Christian desperation for evidence of the existence of Christ, Dupuis comments that true believers are "reduced to look, nearly a hundred years after, for a passage in Tacitus" that does not even provide information other than "the etymology of the word Christian," or they are compelled "to interpolate, by pious fraud, a passage in Josephus." Neither passage, Dupuis concludes, is sufficient to establish the existence of such a remarkable legislator and philosopher, much less a "notorious impostor."

It is evident that Tacitus's remark is nothing more than what is said in the Apostle's Creed--to have the authenticity of the mighty Christian religion rest upon this Pagan author's scanty and likely forged comment is preposterous. Even if the passage in Tacitus were genuine, it would be too late and is not from an eyewitness, such that it is valueless in establishing an "historical" Jesus, representing merely a recital of decades-old Christian tradition.

Suetonius, Roman Historian (c. 69-c. 122 CE)

Moving through the standard list of defenses, we come to the Roman historian Suetonius. The passage in Suetonius's Life of Claudius, dating to around 110 CE, states that the emperor Claudius "drove the Jews out of Rome, who at the suggestion of Chrestus were constantly rioting." The passage in Latin is as follows:

Claudius Judaeos impulsore Chresto assidue tumultuantes Roma expulit.

Once more, we see that the reference is to "Chresto," not "Christo." In any case, Claudius reigned from 41-54, while Christ was purported to have been crucified around 30, so the great Jewish sage could not have been in Rome personally at that time. Even such an eager believer and mesmerized apologist as Shirley Jackson Case must admit that Christ himself couldn't have been at Rome then, that the "natural meaning" of the remark is that "a disturbance was caused by a Jew named Chrestus" living in Rome at the time, and that Suetonius's "references to Christianity itself are very obscure."

It is possible that these diasporic Jews--a mixture of Hebrew, Jewish, Samaritan and Pagan descent--revered their god under the epithet of "Chresto." Or, as Eisenman suggests, the incident may record Jews agitating over the appointment of Herod Agrippa I as king of Judea by his friend Claudius in 41 CE. In this regard, Agrippa I is called "chrestos" by Josephus.

In his Life of Nero, Suetonius refers to "Christiani," whom he calls "a race of men of a new and villainous, wicked or magical superstition," who "were visited with punishment." This passage, although establishing that there were people called "Christiani" who were a fairly recent cult in Suetonius's time, obviously does not serve as evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed.

Regarding these various non-Christian "references," Count Volney remarks:

There are absolutely no other monuments of the existence of Jesus Christ as a human being, than a passage in Josephus (Antiq. Jud. lib. 18, c.3,) a single phrase in Tacitus (Annal. lib. 15, c. 44), and the Gospels. But the passage in Josephus is unanimously acknowledged to be apocryphal [false], and to have been interpolated towards the close of the third centuryand that of Tacitus is so vague and so evidently taken from the deposition of the Christians before the tribunals, that it may be ranked in the class of evangelical records. It remains to enquire of what authority are these records. "All the world knows," says Faustus, who, though a Manichean, was one of the most learned men of the third century, "All the world knows that the gospels were neither written by Jesus Christ, nor his apostles, but by certain unknown persons, who rightly judging that they should not obtain belief respecting things which they had not seen, placed at the head of their recitals the names of contemporary apostles." See Beausob.a sagacious writer, who has demonstrated the absolute uncertainty of those foundations of the Christian religion; so that the existence of Jesus is no better proved than that of Osiris and Hercules, or that of Fot or Beddou, with whom, says M. de Guignes, the Chinese continually confound him, for they never call Jesus by any other name than Fot

It is evident that by Volney's time (late 18th century) the European intelligentsia had already so demolished the Testimonium Flavianum passage in Josephus that it was "unanimously acknowledged" as a forgery. It should also be noted, once again, that Jesus was deemed "Beddou" or Buddha, called "Fot" in China.

The "German Jew" author of The Existence of Christ Disproved declared that the Tacitus and Suetonius references "cannot be admitted as of a feather's weight in the balance of arguments for or against the existence of Jesus."

Regarding these "references," if they were genuine they would no more prove the existence of Jesus Christ than do writings about other gods prove their existence. In other words, by this same argument we could provide many "references" from ancient writers that the numerous Pagan gods also existed as "real people." In this case, Jesus would be merely a johnny-come-lately in a long line of "historical" godmen.

In the final analysis there is no evidence that the biblical character called "Jesus Christ" ever existed. As Nicholas Carter concludes in The Christ Myth: "No sculptures, no drawings, no markings in stone, nothing written in his own hand; and no letters, no commentaries, indeed no authentic documents written by his Jewish and Gentile contemporaries, Justice of Tiberius, Philo, Josephus, Seneca, Petronius Arbiter, Pliny the Elder, et al., to lend credence to his historicity."
http://www.truthbeknown.com/pliny.htm

_________________
The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:11 pm 
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The God Delusion has several editions so, the quote I provided above may be found on different pages depending on the edition...

Quote:
"It is even possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, as has been done by, among others Professor G. A. Wells of the University of London in a number of books, including Did Jesus Exist? Although Jesus probably existed."

- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p.122"

On google books it is found on page 97

On page 92 Dawkins writes:
Quote:
"Ever since the 19th century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus' life."

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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 5:52 pm 
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Dawkins did a descent job of relaying information in the above quoted edition. At least he informed the reader that scholars question the historicity of Jesus so that it's not as if Jesus is being passed off as well proven historical figure or anything like that.

Hopefully the CIE book will spark another round of understanding for everyone about this issue. Has Dawkins made any public comments about Acharya? I haven't heard any. I wonder what position he takes towards her books.

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Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 11, 2008 8:06 pm 
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Has Dawkins made any public comments about Acharya?


Not publicly no. Neither has Harris or Hitchens either, that I am aware of. It would be a great idea to ask them if they've heard of her work or read it and ask them for their thoughts - they need to be made aware that Acharya is coming out with her best book so far, Christ in Egypt which will be the strongest case for the Jesus Myth & the mythicist position ever made. One would think they'd be interested - they SHOULD be.

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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Dawkins did a descent job of relaying information in the above quoted edition. At least he informed the reader that scholars question the historicity of Jesus so that it's not as if Jesus is being passed off as well proven historical figure or anything like that.

Hopefully the CIE book will spark another round of understanding for everyone about this issue. Has Dawkins made any public comments about Acharya? I haven't heard any. I wonder what position he takes towards her books.

Quote:
Dawkins seems to fall short in this particular area. There's nothing to go on that supports an historical Jesus in the time of Pilate other than the gospels and the various Christian interpolations that have followed. Does Dawkins trust the Gospels and later Christian interpolations? He must in order to make a statement like that.

I think Dawkins is simply being conservative, so as not to "rock the boat" too much. But the fact that he even scrapes the subject, to me, is a lightbulb being turned on.


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FTL wrote:
The God Delusion has several editions so, the quote I provided above may be found on different pages depending on the edition...

Quote:
"It is even possible to mount a serious, though not widely supported, historical case that Jesus never lived at all, as has been done by, among others Professor G. A. Wells of the University of London in a number of books, including Did Jesus Exist? Although Jesus probably existed."

- Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, p.122"

On google books it is found on page 97

On page 92 Dawkins writes:
Quote:
"Ever since the 19th century, scholarly theologians have made an overwhelming case that the gospels are not reliable accounts of what happened in the history of the real world. All were written long after the death of Jesus, and also after the epistles of Paul, which mention almost none of the alleged facts of Jesus' life."



Dawkins clearly made a step in the right direction in the God Delusion link FTL provided, a sort of one foot in one foot out position of course, but a step forward nonetheless.

I like the idea of trying to contact Harris, Hitchens, and Dawkins about Acharya's upcoming CIE. Perhaps she can provoke another step forward with her scholarship. :wink:

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The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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Is CIE going to be a published book? Or just an e-book?


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Brenton wrote:
Is CIE going to be a published book? Or just an e-book?

The Companion Guide to ZEITGEIST, Part 1 - E-Book is the e-book. Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection will be a Stellar House Published paperback book only. We're hoping it will be available by Thanksgiving - we're soooo close.

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I've read the companion guide, and enjoyed it very much. But I must re-read it, because when I read it, I very much just wanted to get it read, if you know what I mean?

It's a habit I sometimes have, which I don't like.

Has anyone emailed Dawkins about Acharya's work? Has Acharya herself? Or is someone going to?


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Brenton wrote:
Has anyone emailed Dawkins about Acharya's work? Has Acharya herself? Or is someone going to?


I haven't yet, but I will. I've spoken to Dr. Robert Price about Acharya's astrotheology research a few times in the myspace messaging system. This led to he and I going over the astrotheology of John 1:15 very closely:

"He who comes after me is greater than me because he was before me, for he was before me."

Here we see John representing Aquarius and Jesus representing Pisces, as the sign of Aquarius comes before Pisces during the yearly cycle yet during the precessional cycle it's backwards - the age of Pisces comes before the age of Aquarius. So 'he who comes after me, meaning Pisces, was also before me', says the sign of Aquarius (John).

Procession (months): Aquarius---Pisces(after me)---Aries---Taurus---Gemini...

Precession (Ages): Gemini---Taurus---Aries---Pisces(before me)---Aquarius...

This sort of thing shows that we're not dealing with historical references when reading this verse at all. This isn't some guy talking about some other guy, it's a mythological allegory about the passage of time and how the yearly cycle intersects the processional cycle as the signs of the zodiac move in both clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations. Price agreed with me on this. I'm sure that Dawkins would see the light as well. :wink:

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The Jesus Mythicist Creed:
The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple "people" is no one.

The celestial Origins of Religious Belief
ZG Part 1
Jesus: Hebrew Human or Mythical Messiah?


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 4:36 am 
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Brenton,

Dawkins is a atheist biologist and has no business sticking his nose in historical theology. The reason these atheists dismiss the biblical portrait of Jesus, is because they approach the subject with the presupposition that the supernatural and God do not exist. This bias obstructs their reasoning.

Read "THE DAWKINS DELUSION," by Mcgrath.

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Will you quit with the atheist bit. Even he grew up in the Church of England. I think he knows as much about Christianity as you do, probably more than you do. See that is what Xians really hate about atheists, because atheists do know more about the Bible and religion than they do. Thus Xians don't want atheists openning their mouths and they can't take it when atheists do, because atheists do know more than most Xians.

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