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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:16 pm 
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Here's an exchange between Ehrman and Dr. Christian Lindtner at Ehrman's blog:
Quote:
Christian Lindtner May 2, 2012

"Dr Ehrman,

You concluded by stating that it is absolutely true that the New Testament (text) is far better attested than other ancient writings, etc.

Actually – if you will allow – this view is not correct when it comes to many ancient Buddhist writings (sûtra-s), or “gospels”. Most of these were composed in Sanskrit and/or Pâli about 2000 years ago. At an early date some of them were translated into Chinese and, later on, into Tibetan and other Oriental languages. Many of these texts are still extant (and published) and can thus be compared word for word. They have, in other words, been independently transmitted in the different languages mentioned. In many cases we can therefore confirm the transmitted Indian text (or part(s) of it) with the help of the ancient “external” witnesses.

If by “original” we mean the earliest transmitted version know to us now, we can speak of a text that is better attested than that of the NT, thanks, as said, to the early translations etc. -

It may, now that I am at it, interest you and your readers to know that in several cases it can be pointed out that some of these Buddhist sûtra-s also left clear traces in the New Testament. Take the 46 syllables of Luke 10:38 (e-ge-ne-to… etc), for instance.

You will find the Sanskrit original – which likewise consists of 46 syllables – in my book Geheimnisse um Jesus Christus, Süderbrarup 2005/2011, p. 111. Luke´s context also reflects that of the original Sanskrit (which will tell you more about Mary and Martha than you ever expected!)

By comparing the Sanskrit original(s) we can, in numerous cases, confirm the readings of the textus receptus of the NT. Moreover, many old problems in the NT can be solved in the light of the Sanskrit texts.

It takes time to learn Sanskrit, I know; but if we are seriously interested in “Q”, we must. It is a great pity that these Buddhist sources are still being ignored by most NT scholars. Fortunately, the situation is beginning to change!
Buddhist texts in Greek and Aramaic are known already from the 3rd century B.C. "

Regards
Dr. Christian Lindtner

Ehrman responds:
Quote:
Bart Ehrman May 2, 2012

"Thanks for this. By “better attested” I meant “more manuscripts” — and yes, I should have clarified, I was referring to books in Western Civilization; I’m not familiar with the textual traditions of other traditions. Are there more than 5560 manuscirpts of the Sutras? (Genuine question! I have no idea)"

Dr. Christian Lindtner responds:

Quote:
Christian Lindtner May 3, 2012

"Dr Ehrman,

Thanks for your R & Q:

As a rule, we only have very few manuscripts of early Buddhist texts, i.e. if you take manuscripts stricto sensu meaning written by hand.

But we can also speak of “living manuscripts”, meaning Buddhist monks or missionaries who were able to memorize very long texts. We have early reports from China where Indian monks impressed the Chinese by their ability to go on reciting the sütras for days. This reflected a very ancient Indian tradition. They are decribed e.g. in the famous Lotus Sûtra, as Dharma-reciters (dharma-bhânaka). In such cases “better attested” is a concept not merely defined by “more manuscripts”.

Even in the case of the more than 5560 MSS of the NT, we do not want to say that “more manuscripts” always means “better attested”. Surely, a few “good” MSS are better than a huge amount of “bad” MSS. All classical scholars are aware of this fact when it comes to the transmission of our Greek and Latin authors. The first thing an editor must do is to collect all available MSS, then collate them, propose a stemma, and eliminate the secondary witnesses. Thus a huge amount can safely be reduced to a smaller amount. Quality counts more than quantity, here as elsewhere.
When we speak of interpolations, original texts etc., there is, I find, an aspect that has too often been ignored.

Modern studies of Buddhist gospels as well of the Greek NT (J. Smit Sibinga, M.J.J. Menken et al.) have firmly established that the (unknown) redactors of these gospels carefully counted the number of syllables and words.

An enormous amount of analytical work remains to be done in this new field of research. (The same goes for the OT, Greek as well as Hebrew.) It has been shown recently that Greek and Sanskrit gospels in some cases share similar numerical patters. They are, therefore, somehow historically related.

The numerical patterns are objective facts that must not be ignored.

This means that before we decide about interpolations, original texts etc., we must take the objective arguments provided by numerical analysis into account.

NT scholars – that is my main point here – can learn a lot by comparing their texts with the Buddhist gospels. "

Regards
Dr. Christian Lindtner (Denmark)

The Text of the New Testament: Are the Textual Traditions of Other Ancient Works Relevant?

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:14 pm 
Dear FTL22,

Great post as always, I thing Dr. Lindtner is the Cat's Pajamas!


B. Ehrman refers to the NT as a "writing" when it is a collection of separate works and scholars think that many of these separate works pulled quotes from an unidentified source. This is them basically admitting that they don’t have the original, or earliest, Gospel source/s.

Regarding the hundreds of early Greek gospels, and why we don't have as many sources for other ancient "western" traditions, it is a wonder anything survived the packs of book burning Christians and most of the surviving testimonies of other faiths have been long since bent out of shape by Christian hands.

There can be no question that several hundred years after the said of time of Jesus versions of the short gospels had started to become very popular but it is a mistake to compare such a short work, which is dependent on a historical savior, to the many different surviving sutras (many of these individual sutras greatly outweigh the NT books) which were much more widespread then the NT. Several times a month the ancient Buddhists, stretching from Afghanistan to China, would recite the Pratimoksa and there are similar accounts about them having memorized other Buddhist works such as the Vinaya and the Dhammapada. Most of the Buddhists were not concerned with an historical Buddha and they also had great liberty to incorporate some of the Buddha's teaching in their fables, even at the expense of giving Buddha a facelift suitable to the location.

In my book "Jesus' Godama Sources" I believe that I give good proofs showing that the Buddhists also created fables for the Egyptians, such as the Tale of Two Brothers (Anubis and Bata {Buddha, the female form being the Greek and Egyptian Buto whose oracle was consulted by Leto, or "Lotus", at the birth of Apollo}). Herodotus also mentions that the Egptians thought that the Apis bull of Memphis was another recent import designed to overtake the true Epaphus.

Scholars have long since recognized that a story Herodotus tells of Darius seizing the family of Intaphernes (“The fortunate [of] Indra”, he was said to have helped Darius kill Gomata) for execution may have been related to a Buddhist fable. Herodotus says that Darius came to pity them when the man’s sister wept to him. Darius offered to let one person go and the mother chose her brother as she said that she could find another husband and make other children; the exact same situation appears in Jataka # 67 except where the pardoning king is said to be the king of Kosala who pardons all the women’s family that were to be executed. Another western version was later to be found in the play Antigone. Mention is made here of a Persian trend, according to Herodotus, for noble women to hold a viewing so that the many princes can show themselves in front of the women. One mention is made of a likely husband who destroys his chances of marriage by dancing like a fool. Others have compared this account to a similar incident in the Dancing Peacock Jataka. The noble women being shown around to possible husbands was a well established practice in ancient India (see the Visakha Jataka and Siddartha’s marriage contest to win Yashodhara in the Lalitavistara which has been theorized to have been composed near Persia) and no such system as this existed in those parts of the Persian empire not connected with India and the nuptial contracts found in the ancient Persian inscriptions probably reflect the traditional Persian system of marriage.

The Dancing Peacock Jataka mentions Indian merchants traveling to the island of Baveru, which is probably the island of either Tyros or Arados, both which were under Babylonian (Pali ‘Baveru’, Old Persian ‘Babiru’) control and, to give an idea of how frequent Indian merchant ships sailed to far off lands, the reader is reminded that bottomry is mentioned in the Laws of Manu and in other ancient Indian records. The moral to the related Jataka is that there is always a female more beautiful or exotic than the next and this thought is often echoed throughout the Buddhists texts, where, a rich Buddhist householder, or king, that is attached to good looking women, is often shown a nymph from heaven whose beauty is said to be much greater than that of a human female.

Buddha's mother was named Maya and she was also known as Marica, and it should be noted that Jesus was alleged to have had a lover , sister, and mother named Mary, which is from 'mari' (marry). Moses is said to marry Mari and Abraham was said to marry his sister just as the Buddhists tell of the exiled Sakyan princes marrying their sisters (cousins).


Herodotus mentions that Cambyses (Kamboja/Cambodia) had a problem figuring out how to make a marriage with his sister legal under Persian law and also relates why Cambyses killed his brother Smerdis. The reader is reminded that the Ptolemies also married their sisters and that the most clever excuse for this supremacist act is given in the Buddhist account of the Sakya princes being expelled essentially due to a Queen’s jealously over the king’s rightful heir, a storyline which, although in its basic form represents historical happenings in any family, in this form is seen most strongly in Far Eastern traditions. It is added here that the Japanese Okikurumi is also said to marry his sister Turesh.

"The critics have now declared that Herodotus has attached to the marriage of Agariste an incident derived from the Jataka of the Dancing Peacock already noticed (p. 106) Mr Arnold C. Taylor pointed out the paralelism between the story of the Dancing Peacock and the marriage of Agariste to Dr. R. W. Macan, Master of University College, Oxford, and the latter has endeavoured to show that, while the historical character of Agariste and her marriage with Megacles the Alcmaeonid is undoubted, the Greeks had attached to it an incident derived from the Indian tale. This Dr. follows Dr. Macan, but goes further and declares dogmatically that this passage of Herodotus (in which Pheidon of Argos is also mentioned) is "valueless” as regards his date. The story of Agariste's suitors only a Greek version of the Indian story of the shameless dancing peacock, and the personages are introduced regardless of chronology."-The Early Age of Greece, p. 113

A.M. Hocart, in his Buddha and Devadatta, states;

“Anyone who has the slightest acquaintance with kinship systems will immediately diagnose the case. It is the cross-cousin system, under which a man's children are expected to marry his sister's children, but not his brother's children. In technical language a man marries his cross-cousin, a term invented to express the fact that they are cousins through parents of opposite sexes. Such a form of marriage results in a system of reckoning kin, in which the maternal uncle is the same as the father-in-law, the paternal aunt as the mother-in- law, and so forth, as anyone can work out for himself on the above pedigree. This mode of reckoning kin is found in its typical form among the Tamils, the Todas, and other peoples of South India, among the Sinhalese, ancient and modern, the Torres Straits Islanders, the New Hebrideans, and in Fiji. With a trifling modification it occurs among the Seneca-Iroquois of North America species of the same genus, or roses between this and other species, are found broadcast from South Africa to America across the Pacific. I assume straightaway that all these systems have a common origin. If we maintain that they have arisen independently, then good-bye to all history of civilization. We might just as well be consistent and say that the resemblances between Latin and Sanskrit, or Mala- gasy and Hawaiian are accidental. If all these systems have a common origin,we are justified in drawing inferences from one to another, provided we observe the laws of evidence. Just as we compare the Latin pater, with the Sanskrit pitar, the Gothic fadar, and, so hark back to an original pater, so we are justified in placing the Sakya custom besides the Sinhalese, the Fijian, and the New Hebridean, and thus restore the original practice from which all these varieties are derived.”

“The antagonism of the Buddha and Devadatta is that of Good and Evil, which appear again in the persons of Osiris and Seth, Ahura Mazda and Angro-Minyus, Christ and Satan, the Devas and Asuras. If it is based on the rivalry of two intermarrying groups, may not those other antagonisms go back to the same source. In Fiji we have seen that the gods of intermarrying tribes over-reach one another just as their descendants do. May not the same have happened in other parts of the world, and the rivalry of the tribesmen be shared by their gods? I must insist that this institution is essentially religious: in Fiji the relation of tauvu is defined as "having gods in common;"and a man who resents the seizing of property by his cross-cousins is made ill by the spirits. In South Africa the pelting of the uterine nephew is part of a religious ceremonial. The story of the malice of Devadatta has only been preserved by the Buddhist religion. It is not therefore surprising that a feud, which is essentislly religious, should have been preserved in the annals of religion; nor that, once the custom had died out, the tradition should have been misunderstood, and an animus crept in which was not there before. Scholars may fail to see how a theory of good and evil can have arisen out of a mere system of intermarriage; but it is not a mere system of intermarriage; it is an elaborate theology of which the intermarriage of two tribes orfamilies is only one consequence. That theology is only beginning to unfold itself. As the picture becomes clearer and more detailed we shall cease to find it difficult to believe that the powers of good and evil go back to the ceremonial antagonism of intermarrying groups.”



Edward Pococke believed that the Tower of Babel (Gen. 11:2; “As men moved eastward they found a plain in Shinar and dwelt there”), which was built on a large plain, was a reference to the ancient geographic location in India known as Mawla, which was previously known as “Bopal”, as a district of Avanti (Sans. AvantiBhupala, the “Bills” of classical writers. I believe that they are currently called “Oujain”). The current name is probably due to the Malavas, or Mallas who moved there from West India. They are mentioned in the Mahaparinnibana sutta as being the group of people who held Buddha’s remains before Ajatasatru, who, like Vidudabha, became a Kosali king (‘kozya’) and held other western lands, possibly a branch of Turanians (Vajjis, or Bajjins), and the other clans claimed their portion, and the“Iranian” influences on the Kosalyins are also well known to doctors of Iranian studies (although the group of "Iranians", or, "Aryans", appear on the historical record just before the ALexandrian Christian Arius, they had long been a group of "Persian" Buddhists who also attempted to infiltrate the Medes . The Kambojas (Cambyses) also established themselves in this area and around the same general area the Yadu, or, Haihayas, are said to have overtaken power from the Nagas. As the Tower of Babel fable tells of men trying to built a tower reaching to the heavens, and such a reference may be built on the Persian attempt of world control (presumably via. synchronism) it should also be noted that when Buddha argued once against believing in a personal creator God he gives the illustration of men building a huge staircase that they say will reach to Brahma’s world. He then asks if the men building such a staircase, having never seen (or directly experienced) the world of Brahma, are wise or foolish. It should also be noted that in the Jatakas, which mostly only speak of rudimentary architecture, towers that reached high into the sky are described and the Lotus sutra tower will later be compared to similar described majestic and mythic towers appearing in Western literature. It is believed that the Kham people of Tibet built “Himalayan Towers” as a symbol of power. Leaving to the side any relation this has too many of the worlds ancients building large phallics, the same types of towers are said to exist in Ireland and in parts of Northern India and Central Asia.

Like many others, Ehrman errs greatly in limiting his sources to what he calls "western books"; as if there was a real East/West divide and I would like to ask him how he values the Babylonian sources which was known to the Scythians, Indians and later the Chinese among many other Easterners? The rise of this so called East/West divide starts when the Christian elites recognized a growth of "Oriental" systems flooding Europe even before the hordes of Central Asians pushed into Europe. It is also around this time that early Christian church fathers had the opportunity to compare Jesus to other savior figures, such as Terebinthus, "the NEW Buddas", which implies that they knew of an older Buddas, who was obviously Buddha.


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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 8:15 pm 
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Yes! Bible code crackers have been trying for years to prove gematria is real. I don't know if what he is describing is gematria, per say, but this line of study is very exciting. I suppose it is considered "fringe"?

Once again, such a simple method, overlooked by mainstream scholars.

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PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 9:30 pm 
Dear Karmachameleon,

Basilides, who also used Gematria and Isopsephy (his secret name for Jesus was Caulacau which, like Jesus, has a value of 888), quoted by Hippolytus, is made to say “The Gospel came from the sonship through the son, that was seated besides the Archon, and the Archon learned that he was not God” . Albert Joseph Edmunds examines this quote in some detail and reminds us that, besides Buddhism, no other faith claims that a fundamental error existing in the first man is that he believes himself to be the first begotten God. Where the Gnostics held the OT God was lower, Jesus says that Moses’ God did not give true bread , rather, he says, “PaterMoo", or “My Father” gives true bread and he agrees with the Gnostics that the lord of the world is Satan; Jesus agrees with the Gnostics that good cannot exist without evil, for God lets the sun shine on the wicked also. Here I remind the readers of the Ptolemies “secret God” who is mentioned on the Rosetta Stone. For a detailed examination of Basilides Buddhist sources see, Buddhist Gnosticism, the system of Basilides by J Kennedy. Epiphanius says that Caulacau is a name taken from a phrase in Isaiah 28:10, if so Basilides believes Jesus was sent to trick Christians just as Brahmins, and the Lotus sutra, describe Buddha.

"A great advance was made in Geometry which is believed to have been borrowed by Greece from India. This science originated in India from the Sutra rules for the construction of altars. These altars were of various shapes and sizes, and the rules of sacrifices often required that the shape of the altar should be changed without altering the size, or that the size should be increased without altering the shape. Thus squares had to be found which would be equal to two or more given squares.... The last task, and not the least, was that of finding a circle, the area of which might equal as closely as possible, that of a given square" A brief history of ancient and modern India according to the syllabus, p. 16

Although Dr. Lindtner has convincingly shown the Pythagorean element in the gospels it appears, on many levels, within the broader pool of sources available to the gospel authors at a time when manuscripts, scrolls, codices, and firsthand accounts and attempted histories of far off lands, first became widely circulated, everyone gained from each other to some degree. In my new book I make some interesting comments about Greek astronomers and mathematicians employed by several ancient Chinese emperors and what the purely astrological Greek words in several early Pali texts can tell us of this interaction.


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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 8:06 am 
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If the sayings of the speculated "Q" / source were simply Buddhist sayings and evolved into the gospel efforts, then I don't know where Ehrman would try and go with it. If such a thing were proven and accepted by the greater scholarly community, I bet Ehrman would still insist that an historical Jesus learned about these Buddhist sayings, which would have been known in Israel, and went around vocalizing them and gathering followers, who, deified Jesus in the generations following his death. It looks like it would be tough to convince an evemerist that tracing the sayings to Buddhist sources discredits the historicity of an historical gospel Jesus in and of itself.

Although I think looking for answers in Israel is errant altogether. These sayings probably filtered through Alexandria and Antioch and had little to do with starting up from an historical seed in Israel. I think that the heavenly mythical savior idea was merged with a process of amalgamation with things like the John the Baptist myth and people like Yeshua Ben Pantera / Pandira, the Notzri, etc who weren't even from the suspected timeline given in the tale. But the placement of the story line setting into the reign of Pilate probably has to do with the fact that pin pointing the time of the beginning of the age of Pisces when the seasons matched the zodiac took place during the reign of Pilate, around 20 CE or so. That's reason enough to find the story line setting back dated to the early first century. But to Erhman this is all lunacy. It's so foreign to his thinking that he can't even entertain the possibility.

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 11:39 am 
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Here's an article by Rook Hawkins addressing Ehrman's book along with his latest attack on Acharya S:
Code:
Did Jesus Exist? The Trouble with Certainty in Historical Jesus Scholarship
http://www.bibleinterp.com/PDFs/Response.pdf

Rook/Tom wrote:
"First he makes no real distinction between the types of mythicist arguments and instead lumps them all together, creating a ‘guilt by association’ effect that is neither appropriate nor reasonable.12

That claim is misleading as the footnote Rook/Tom provides actually cites the Huffington Post article by Ehrman not his book. Acharya addressed that article here.

Leave it to Rook/Tom to gloss over the 'guilt by association' regarding Ehrman's holocaust denial comparison to mythicists comment in the Huff Po article in order to take a jab at Acharya instead. It just shows how some like Rook/Tom are unnecessarily cannibalistic and will maliciously smear other mythicists in hopes it will raise their own credibility. It doesn't, especially when the criticisms are inaccurate or flat wrong. Rook/Tom has a history of smearing Acharya S. Rook/Tom's biases are as transparent as glass as he's incapable of acknowledging that Acharya S could be right about anything.

Rook/Tom wrote:
"For example, Carrier’s arguments which are often sound and methodical are lumped in with the claims made by Acharya S whose arguments are usually poorly researched and lack in contextual understanding. So the mistakes of one are stretched across the spectrum, as if Carrier were making the same claims Acharya S does, which is just not true.13"

It's as if Rook/Tom read Ehrman's book as well as Ehrman read Acharya's or worse (he didn't). Ehrman does not do that in his book so, leave it to Rook to be sloppy and inaccurate but, that's fine so long as he's smearing Acharya S - such is the influence of Rook/Tom's hero, Carrier. Take note that Rook and Carrier are in the same camp with Ehrman as none have actually read her books. So, it's just more intellectual dishonesty from Rook/Tom. It's as if Rook is as jealous of Acharya S as Carrier and is also as desperate for oneupmanship rather than any sort of objectivity or honesty. They don't seem to understand how that ruins their own credibility.

Leave it to Rook/Tom in his footnote 13 to include links to Carrier's trash on the Luxor issue without including Acharya's responses, which do in fact demonstrate that Errier (Carrier) is in error but, Carrier simply doesn't have the integrity to admit that Acharya S was correct and he made sloppy and egregious errors in his criticisms of her work, as per usual. Rook/Tom does the same thing at his blog as he provides whatever trash he can to toss at Acharya S - doesn't matter how inaccurate it is so long as it's maliciously smearing Acharya S and he NEVER provides her responses or ours here at this forum proving those criticisms wrong or inaccurate.

Notice how Rook/Tom is incapable of providing a link to where Carrier, Dr. Price and others quite strongly defend Acharya S against Ehrman's sloppy claim accusing her of making up the statue? No, instead he provides those Luxor links that have nothing to do with Ehrman's book.

So Rook/Tom, like Errier and Errorman, is not a reliable or credible source that can be trusted for information regarding Acharya S. As we've talked about here many times, Rook hasn't even studied Acharya's work, but he dishonestly pretends to be an expert on it. He attacks her whenever he can, and he's just piling on. This crap of attacking the only known woman in this field is a really bad habit - sounds like sexism and misogyny as usual. Rook is also totally "professionally jealous," because, despite all these attacks, she's still one of the best known mythicists. Guys like Rook have little to offer except to puff themselves up by putting down Acharya - it's just puerile, unprofessional and, probably, sexist.

Oh, and according to Ehrman's credentialism, Rookie, who's barely got a high school education and is apparently attending classes at community college - pursuing the very, exact credentials that Acharya already possess - is unworthy of even a passing glance. So, Rook/Tom is beneath Ehrman's notice as he made no mention of Rook/Tom in his book, which gives Rook/Tom one more reason to be jealous of Acharya S once again.

Acharya's responses on Luxor omitted by Rook/Tom:

Quote:
"However, in "skimming" Brunner's text, as he puts it, Carrier has mistakenly dealt with the substantially different Hatshepsut text (Brunner's "IV D"), demonstrating an egregious error in garbling the cycles, when in fact we are specifically interested in the Luxor narrative (IV L)."

- Luxor

Parallelophobia, personal attacks and professional jealousy: A response to Richard Carrier's 'That Luxor Thing'

Is Jesus's nativity an Egyptian myth?

What Egyptologists (and other scholars) say about Egypt's role in Christian origins

Here are just a few articles omitted by Rook/Tom regarding his blog section on Zeitgeist part 1:

Zeitgeist Part 1 & the Supportive Evidence

The New Zeitgeist Part 1 Sourcebook Transcript (2010)

Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes concerning 'Zeitgeist, Part 1'

To see more criticisms of ZG1 being exposed and debunked, including those cited at Rook/Tom's blog held up by him as reliable, goto our section on Zeitgeist part 1

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PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 12:58 pm 
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DanielHopkins wrote:
Although Dr. Lindtner has convincingly shown the Pythagorean element in the gospels it appears, on many levels, within the broader pool of sources available to the gospel authors at a time when manuscripts, scrolls, codices, and firsthand accounts and attempted histories of far off lands, first became widely circulated, everyone gained from each other to some degree. In my new book I make some interesting comments about Greek astronomers and mathematicians employed by several ancient Chinese emperors and what the purely astrological Greek words in several early Pali texts can tell us of this interaction.


Thanks Daniel, I will be sure look into this!

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 2:41 pm 
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Here's a short commentary about this issue, from Mother Jones.

http://m.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/201 ... esus-exist

Not particularly enlightening, but I haven't read the comments.

Quote:
Did Jesus exist? I'd guess so, just on the grounds that it's more likely for a story like this to be exaggerated after repeated retellings than it is to be made up out of whole cloth.

Spoken by someone who has not studied mythology to any extent.

Here's the simple formula of how myths are "exaggerated," stated by Robert Spencer concerning the creation of the fictional Mohammed: "Legendary elaboration of a mythical figure."

What this person at Mother Jones is espousing is called "euhemerism" or "evemerism," and it is not the most scientific perspective in this case, despite the casual commentary here suggesting that it is "more likely."

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PostPosted: Sun May 06, 2012 3:53 pm 
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I've added a new post in the FAQ: Acharya's Response to Bart Ehrman's Book 'Did Jesus Exist?'

Please share it and pass it around.

Oh BTW, in case some haven't noticed, I've cleaned up the FAQ section and added direct links to some of the FAQ's in the first post of the FAQ for convenience. So, please use it, share it and pass it around too.

Acharya's Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q)

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 5:25 pm 
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Another rebuttal, this time by FTN guestwriter Frank Zindler, editor of "American Atheist Magazine" and Director of American Atheist Press.

Quote:
Jesus of where? A response by Frank Zindler to Bart Ehrman

The subtitle of Bart Ehrman's Did Jesus Exist? promises The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth. This leads prospective readers to expect that the Jesus of concern in the book is to be associated with the "town" of Nazareth and that it is this identifying tie between Nazareth and Jesus that will be the major investigative concern of the book. One would expect to find evidence supporting the historical existence of not just any-old Jesus. Rather, one anticipates learning the evidence supporting the existence of a Jesus who lived in a place called Nazareth at the turn of the era....

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PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 9:01 pm 
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The question of the origin of the phrase Jesus of Nazareth is a very good one to explore how the Christ myth evolved. René Salm, in The Myth of Nazareth: The Invented Town of Jesus, edited by Frank Zindler, details extensive archaeological work in Nazareth that found no evidence of a town at the purported time of Christ. Link is http://www.nazarethmyth.info/

Paul never locates Jesus physically, whether in Nazareth, Galilee, Jerusalem or Bethlehem. Why then did the Gospel authors say Jesus came from a town in Galilee? The evidence is sketchy. What seems most plausible to me is that the Nazarenes were a radical messianic Gnostic sect, linked to groups such as the Essenes and Ebionites, who provided a large part of the impetus for imagining that the messianic prophecies of the Old Testament had been fulfilled. However, with the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, it is plausible that the Nazarenes were banned. So, early Christians faced political difficulties in describing Jesus as a Nazarene, without linking this title to a safer political basis. As Jesus was gradually carnalized, turned into a historical person, the Evangelists faced the problem of inventing a life story, in a way that would give some acknowledgement to the role of the Nazarenes while not going too far in a direction viewed as seditious. Hence the invention of Nazareth in Galilee.

Jesus says (Mark 4:34; Matt 13:10-11, 34) that everything told to the public is a parable, whlle the truth is reserved for the initiates. The whole story of the historical Jesus can be viewed as a parable, a public story with a hidden symbolic meaning, designed to provide a believable account to expand public interest. For the Gnostic initiates, the whole story of Jesus is explained as a cosmic parable, with Jesus as a symbol of the sun. Nazareth too makes sense in this framework as a parable, aiming to provide a believable historical story, while also pointing to a concealed meaning.


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PostPosted: Wed May 09, 2012 8:55 am 
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I always see interesting parallels between the story of Samson the Nazarite and Jesus of Nazareth.

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Samson, Shimshon (Hebrew: שמשון, Modern Shimshon Tiberian Šimšôn, meaning "man of the sun"1][); Shamshoun (Arabic: شمشون‎) or Sampson (Greek: Σαμψών) is the third to last of the Judges of the ancient Israelites mentioned in the Tanakh (the Hebrew Bible) (Book of Judges chapters 13 to 16).[2][3][4]


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He was to be a "Nazirite" from birth. In ancient Israel, those wanting to be especially dedicated to God for a while could take a nazarite vow


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Academics have interpreted Samson as a demi-god (such as Hercules or Enkidu) enfolded into Jewish religious lore, or as an archetypical folklore hero, among others. These views sometimes interpreted him as a solar deity, popularized by "solar hero" theorists and Biblical scholars alike.[31][32][33] The name Delilah may also involve a wordplay with the Hebrew word for night, 'layla', which of course consumes the day.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samson

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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 8:39 pm 
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Well, he's still ranting and raising straw men. This time - ta daa! - Kersey Graves. How original.

I guess people aren't paying enough attention.

Did Jesus Exist? The Birth of a Divine Man

Snore. Can you give us something beyond the tired old evemerist theory?

The fact still remains:

The "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a composite of characters, real and mythical. A composite of multiple people is no one. Under the mythological and midrashic layers, there is no historical core to the onion.

Here's another one - a response by G.A.Wells:

Ehrman on the Historicity of Jesus and on Early Christian Thinking

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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:48 pm 
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I heard through the grapevine that he issued this challenge from behind the paywall of his members-only blog:
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There are lots of stories of supernatural births among pagan writers in antiquity. To my knowledge, there is no instance of anything like the birth of Jesus as proclaimed in traditional Christian doctrine, whose mother has never had physical contact with a maledivine or mortal – and so is rightly thought of as a virgin. If anyone reading this blog knows of a single instance of a genuine virgin birth (as, for example, the Gospel of Matthew relates for Jesus) I would very much like to learn of it!


Okay, since here he did not, as he did on his public post Acharya posted above, make a specific stipulation of "divine MEN", then I hereby accept the challenge.

Hesiod, in his work Theogony, written in around the 8th century BCE, says that the titan Gaia gave virgin birth to her first children. Only later, AFTER having already given virgin birth, does she then take her first born son as her mate to give birth to the rest of the Titans. As per Professor Apostolos N. Athanassakis's translation, lines 126 to 135:
"Gaia now first gave birth to starry Ouranos, ... and then she bore Pontos, ... all these she bore WITHOUT mating in sweet love. But THEN she did couple with Ouranos to bear deep-eddying Okeanos, Koios and Kreios, Hyperion and Iapetos, Theia and Rheia, Themis and Mnemosyne, as well as gold-wreathed Phoibe and lovely Tethys. Kronos, the sinuous-minded, was her last born," etc. and so on. It's interesting to note that this makes TWELVE children of Uranus & Gaia. Twelve being another recurring motif, along with virgin birth.

And that's just one of many examples.

And before anyone starts making dubious arguments by splitting hairs and making arbitrary distinctions over the nature of the Titans here, Professor Athanassakis wrote the following on page 1:
"To Hesiod, Earth (Gaia), Sky (Ouranos), and Sea (Pontos) are NOT mere elements, but gods."


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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 11:19 pm 
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Bart Ehrman and Virgin Births in Antiquity

Erhman's challenge to show him pre-Christian virgin births merely serves to highlight his ignorance of the subject matter.

The issue of pre-Christian virgin mothers was settled long ago. Does Ehrman believe in Jesus's virgin birth? If so, then he is a Christian. If not, then he thinks it was added to Jesus's mundane biography. Where does he think the virgin-mother motif came from, created whole cloth out of nothing, ex nihilo?! Why, that's not allowed in religious studies!

If the virgin-birth motif is not "biography" that belongs to a "historical Jesus" then it is MYTH, and we already know where that mythical motif can be found in pre-Christian times. It is represented quite abundantly, in fact. Ehrman knows nothing, apparently, about the recognized mythical genre of parthenogenesis, yet he spent much of his adult life believing in a historical Christ's virgin birth.

Quote:
Parthenogenesis refers to creation resulting from just one gender. We can find myths of parthenogenesis distributed throughout world mythologies. (Osborn, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Classical Mythology, 15

Again, Ehrman is revealing himself not to be the go-to guy in this discussion. Didn't know about the priapus gallinaceus genre, doesn't know about the parthenogenesis genre - New Testament scholars are not mythologists. They do not study (non-Judeo-Christian) myths; hence, they do not know where to find this information.

For more information on parthenogenesis and the virgin-mother motif, see the excellent scholarly studies by Dr. Marguerite Rigoglioso - books Ehrman would know about if he had actually studied the subject.

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Virgin Mother Goddesses of Antiquity
Cult of the Divine Birth

See also:

Neith, Virgin Mother of the World
ISIS WAS A VIRGIN MOTHER!!
Was Mithra Born of A Virgin?
Attis: Born of a Virgin on December 25th, Crucified and Resurrected

Then there are all the virgin births in the Mahabharata, including the legendary author of the book, named Krishna - Ehrman knows nothing about all those.

And search the forums and websites for much more, including GA's very own images of the evidence for Isis's status as "Great Virgin."

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