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Switch to Forum Live View Historical Jesus = No Supernatural Christ
6 years ago  ::  Apr 18, 2008 - 5:29PM #1
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
It occurred to me that the more folks argue that there WAS a historical Jesus, the further they get away from “Jesus Christ” of most Christian denominations. A “Historical Jesus” is about a quantifiable person and his quantifiable events, not legend. One of the purposes of the quest is to find a Jesus rooted in humanity. (That's one reason John is considered the least historical, in terms of acts (signs) and those speeches.) Therefore, when one finds a historical person (like you or me, nothing “exalted” by God), one must do away with the theology of God incarnate, the Trinity, as well as any thoughts of a miraculous birth or resurrection. One is left with some sayings. I thought it would be interesting to thumb through the original gospel Mark (therefore the least cluttered) and jot down a list of what a Historical Jesus didn’t do/what didn’t happen to one in Mark, according to what we know about science and medicine. This is nowhere near complete, even for Mark (and he did triplets and doublets, where his protagonist repeated things. On a historical hunt, we can immediately get rid of these anecdotes:

1. Skies didn’t open and a spirit come down like a dove with a voice from the skies saying “You are my favored son.”
2. He wasn’t in the wilderness being put to the test by Satan.
3. He didn’t heal Simon’s mom-in-law.
4. He didn’t heal the sick and demon possessed.
5. He didn’t heal lepers.
6. He didn’t heal paralytics.
7. He didn’t still the storm.
8. Unclean spirits didn’t accost him or speak to him.
9. He didn’t turn the spirits into pigs.
10. He didn’t cure twelve year vaginal flows.
11. He didn’t raise the dea. Not once, twice or whatever.
12. He didn’t feed 5000 or 4000 with a can of sardines and pack of crackers.
13. He didn’t walk on water.
14. People weren’t cured by touching his clothes.
15. He didn’t make deaf-mutes talk and hear.
16, He didn’t make the blind see.
17. Elijah and Moses didn’t come down and rub noses with him.
18. God’s voice didn’t boom out of a cloud.
19. He didn’t heal the epileptic.
20. He didn’t kill a fig tree by cursing it.
21. He wasn’t raised from the dead.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 8:21AM #2
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
I thought it would be interesting to look at the Latin Catholic version of the Creed. (That would be the largest denomination. The others - Lutheran, Episcopal and other denominations pale, numberwise.) From it, we can pull out the non-historical (using a modern viewpoint). A search for a historical Jesus, you see, in this century is a response as much to a fundamentalist mentality which really erupted after Darwin and the Scopes trial (1859, 1925). One can't, however, look at Jesus through a pre-modern lens of a flat earth, a three-tiered solar system which has earth at the center, and the  mythological mindset of "god incarnate." A search for a historical Jesus within the Christian writings MUST strip away the mythical/legendary/supernatural and must must strip away the theology of the early Church (as opposed to the man Jesus). It can't be done from within the structure of the church that believes the mythical, believes the supernatural believes the theology. Universities have, for 200 years, investigated but until recently the work that has been done has not really found the masses. THAT is one reason most of the scholars who still wear their church robes, miters or whatever, are not seen seriously in the world of scholarship. They are reacting against research, for the most part, not joining in the research. Their world world of faith is crumbling under the weight of reason, the weight of the Enlightenment.

Without any more preambling, let us see what might be considered historical in the Creed:

believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only begotten, born of the Father before all ages.

I say: "...Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only begotten, born of the Father before all ages." That is not historical, in any sense of "the word." (Pul intended. It is Johanine theology, a high Christology.)

Light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in essence with the Father; through whom all things were made.
For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.

I sez: That isn't histoical. It isn't even comprehensible in a modern world.

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
He rose on the third day according to the scriptures.

I say: There are no scriptures that Judaism would have interpreted as a human (or godman) rising on the third day. That's attempted theft of the Septuagint! The Church should have to pay restitution!

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

I say: This isn't rocket science, but I think rocket science show that this "three-tiered universe" is not really a way to look at the cosmos...I read somewhere that Jesus would still be ascending!!! Coming back again??? Heck, the religionists already having him here twice and he blew those chances, didn't he!

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, who proceeds from the Father.

I say: This hearkens back to the "ruach," or the holy wind that created the earth.... "...a wind from God sweeping over the water..." of Genesis 1. I don't think it is considered historical by anyone smarter than a rock. (The Hebrew scriptures were recited and read in more than a literal sense.

Together with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified; he spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I profess one baptism for the remission of sins.
I expect the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

I say: Them bones, them bones, them DRY bones! Coming back for a "resurrection of the dead and a life in the world to come." Not historical..

Seriously, I see that the Trinitarian nonsense of Tertullian (and a couple before him) has more or less been dropped. I guess the Church can change....  The only part of this creed that could be quantifiably studied is " He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried." The rest is a statement of faith, which if believed literally, halts any ability to think in modern terms about a historical Jesus!
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 10:24AM #3
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
" He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried."

"He was crucified..."   Philo, On the Embassy to Gaius, reported about Pilate, "But this last sentence exasperated him in the greatest possible degree, as he feared least they might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his covernment, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity." (302)

This was purportedly written around the time Pilate was recalled and the whole mission was to report on a pogrom against Jews by Flaccus. It documents, from the time frame of the stories about Jesus the brutality of Pilate. The brutality is backed up almost sixty years later by the second hand information of the adopted Flavian, Flavius Josephus. There is a degree of reliability to the notion that Pilate had people killed. It varies significantly from gospel reports which have a different Pilate, one who is willing to free Jesus, one who obeys the standards of law and tries the accused. It is possible that Pilate crucified "Jesus" or many "Jesuses."

"...and suffered..." That, too, has a degree of certainty, as much as we know about crucifixion... It seems like it would cause pain and suffering to be nailed to a cross.

"...and was buried..." This is problematic, especially if Jesus was crucified as a troublemaker. Torah has the dead being buried before sundown. Jesus, however, even according to the Creed, was executed under Roman law. We read from Seutonius, about Julius, "He did not use his victory with moderation, but after sending Brutus' head to Rome, to be cast at the feet of Caesar's statue, he vented his spleen upon the most distinguished of his captives, not even sparing them insulting language. For instance, to one man who begged humbly for burial, he is said to have replied, "The [carrion] birds will soon settle that question"" The Deified Augustus 13) Horace, Epistles 1: "You'll hang on no cross to feed crows."   Tacitus "Annals 6.29: "...a man legally condemned forfeited his estate and was debarred from burial..."  It is clear that if this Jesus was crucified under Roman law, his body was left for the vultures, to serve as a reminder of anyone who would think of committing the same offense. This creedal statement doesn't jibe with Roman law and the gospel reports of a kind and gentle Pilate letting the body be buried is just silly.

Prosit!

Excursis: It is notable that Philo makes no mention of Jesus, no mention of Jesus Christ, and no mention of any group that has been identified as Christians (though Eusebius thought the Theraputea to be an example). It is also remarkable that Philo documented a trip to Jerusalem in the thirties, when Jesus was supposedly around, in De Providentia, I and II, and all but fragments are missing. Rational minds would have to wonder about that and sense that
a. Jesus wasn't known in Jerusalem.
b. Jesus was known as a sorcerer to Jews (like the farcical Toledoth Yeshu, the second century Celsus and later talmudic references imply.

Neither of these would bode well with Eusebius and the other keepers of Philo.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 8:21AM #4
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
I thought it would be interesting to look at the Latin Catholic version of the Creed. (That would be the largest denomination. The others - Lutheran, Episcopal and other denominations pale, numberwise.) From it, we can pull out the non-historical (using a modern viewpoint). A search for a historical Jesus, you see, in this century is a response as much to a fundamentalist mentality which really erupted after Darwin and the Scopes trial (1859, 1925). One can't, however, look at Jesus through a pre-modern lens of a flat earth, a three-tiered solar system which has earth at the center, and the  mythological mindset of "god incarnate." A search for a historical Jesus within the Christian writings MUST strip away the mythical/legendary/supernatural and must must strip away the theology of the early Church (as opposed to the man Jesus). It can't be done from within the structure of the church that believes the mythical, believes the supernatural believes the theology. Universities have, for 200 years, investigated but until recently the work that has been done has not really found the masses. THAT is one reason most of the scholars who still wear their church robes, miters or whatever, are not seen seriously in the world of scholarship. They are reacting against research, for the most part, not joining in the research. Their world world of faith is crumbling under the weight of reason, the weight of the Enlightenment.

Without any more preambling, let us see what might be considered historical in the Creed:

believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only begotten, born of the Father before all ages.

I say: "...Jesus Christ, Son of God, the only begotten, born of the Father before all ages." That is not historical, in any sense of "the word." (Pul intended. It is Johanine theology, a high Christology.)

Light from light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, one in essence with the Father; through whom all things were made.
For us and for our salvation, he came down from heaven and was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and became man.

I sez: That isn't histoical. It isn't even comprehensible in a modern world.

He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried.
He rose on the third day according to the scriptures.

I say: There are no scriptures that Judaism would have interpreted as a human (or godman) rising on the third day. That's attempted theft of the Septuagint! The Church should have to pay restitution!

He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he is coming again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.

I say: This isn't rocket science, but I think rocket science show that this "three-tiered universe" is not really a way to look at the cosmos...I read somewhere that Jesus would still be ascending!!! Coming back again??? Heck, the religionists already having him here twice and he blew those chances, didn't he!

And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the Creator of Life, who proceeds from the Father.

I say: This hearkens back to the "ruach," or the holy wind that created the earth.... "...a wind from God sweeping over the water..." of Genesis 1. I don't think it is considered historical by anyone smarter than a rock. (The Hebrew scriptures were recited and read in more than a literal sense.

Together with the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified; he spoke through the prophets.
In one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I profess one baptism for the remission of sins.
I expect the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come.
Amen.

I say: Them bones, them bones, them DRY bones! Coming back for a "resurrection of the dead and a life in the world to come." Not historical..

Seriously, I see that the Trinitarian nonsense of Tertullian (and a couple before him) has more or less been dropped. I guess the Church can change....  The only part of this creed that could be quantifiably studied is " He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried." The rest is a statement of faith, which if believed literally, halts any ability to think in modern terms about a historical Jesus!
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 10:24AM #5
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
" He was crucified for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried."

"He was crucified..."   Philo, On the Embassy to Gaius, reported about Pilate, "But this last sentence exasperated him in the greatest possible degree, as he feared least they might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his covernment, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity." (302)

This was purportedly written around the time Pilate was recalled and the whole mission was to report on a pogrom against Jews by Flaccus. It documents, from the time frame of the stories about Jesus the brutality of Pilate. The brutality is backed up almost sixty years later by the second hand information of the adopted Flavian, Flavius Josephus. There is a degree of reliability to the notion that Pilate had people killed. It varies significantly from gospel reports which have a different Pilate, one who is willing to free Jesus, one who obeys the standards of law and tries the accused. It is possible that Pilate crucified "Jesus" or many "Jesuses."

"...and suffered..." That, too, has a degree of certainty, as much as we know about crucifixion... It seems like it would cause pain and suffering to be nailed to a cross.

"...and was buried..." This is problematic, especially if Jesus was crucified as a troublemaker. Torah has the dead being buried before sundown. Jesus, however, even according to the Creed, was executed under Roman law. We read from Seutonius, about Julius, "He did not use his victory with moderation, but after sending Brutus' head to Rome, to be cast at the feet of Caesar's statue, he vented his spleen upon the most distinguished of his captives, not even sparing them insulting language. For instance, to one man who begged humbly for burial, he is said to have replied, "The [carrion] birds will soon settle that question"" The Deified Augustus 13) Horace, Epistles 1: "You'll hang on no cross to feed crows."   Tacitus "Annals 6.29: "...a man legally condemned forfeited his estate and was debarred from burial..."  It is clear that if this Jesus was crucified under Roman law, his body was left for the vultures, to serve as a reminder of anyone who would think of committing the same offense. This creedal statement doesn't jibe with Roman law and the gospel reports of a kind and gentle Pilate letting the body be buried is just silly.

Prosit!

Excursis: It is notable that Philo makes no mention of Jesus, no mention of Jesus Christ, and no mention of any group that has been identified as Christians (though Eusebius thought the Theraputea to be an example). It is also remarkable that Philo documented a trip to Jerusalem in the thirties, when Jesus was supposedly around, in De Providentia, I and II, and all but fragments are missing. Rational minds would have to wonder about that and sense that
a. Jesus wasn't known in Jerusalem.
b. Jesus was known as a sorcerer to Jews (like the farcical Toledoth Yeshu, the second century Celsus and later talmudic references imply.

Neither of these would bode well with Eusebius and the other keepers of Philo.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 3:26PM #6
MrDynomite
Posts: 57
The title of this thread and every single sentence in the first post are simply gratuitous assertions which beg the question of the truth of their claims. MisterC just likes to hear himself talk (or more accurately, read himself write). One can look at the other most recent "Historical Jesus" threads to see his strategy of making unsubstantiated gratuitous assertions begging all sorts of questions, then when he is called on it, throwing a temper tantrum about how he hates Christians, then changing the subject without answering any of the pertinent questions begged by his erroneous posts.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 6:30PM #7
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
[QUOTE=MrDynomite;447143]The title of this thread and every single sentence in the first post are simply gratuitous assertions which beg the question of the truth of their claims. MisterC just likes to hear himself talk (or more accurately, read himself write). One can look at the other most recent "Historical Jesus" threads to see his strategy of making unsubstantiated gratuitous assertions begging all sorts of questions, then when he is called on it, throwing a temper tantrum about how he hates Christians, then changing the subject without answering any of the pertinent questions begged by his erroneous posts.[/QUOTE]

Gee, Dyno. I'm talking about the historical Jesus. Sorry you can't join the thread. You must believe the supernatural claims of the Christ cult, which in their pre-modern way are still worshipped today. . None of it is historical and has these tings have nothing to do with any quests for the historical Jesus. First, one needs to get rid of the supernatural to look for a figure of history. We can begin with that. I've laid the groundwork.
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 7:03PM #8
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
Okay. Here is a question to anyone out there. How can a pastor, bishop, chaplain, a Burridge, an NT Wright, a Crossan, Ratzinger or whoever recites the Creed of their Catholic or Protestant denomination containing such supernatural language actually engage in historical Jesus research?


Here is another question: How can these "men of god" participate in a language of history if they believe the scientifically impossible found in the Bible? (To do so it seems as if they would have to compromise, delving into the language of metaphor, analogy, parabole and so forth as explanation, whereas they eschew this when it comes to explaining their "historical Jesus.")

Oh, thanks for introducing me to the readers of the thread, Dyno. I'm sure they noted your consummate insecurity within the embecility of your post!

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6 years ago  ::  Apr 20, 2008 - 9:06PM #9
MisterC
Posts: 1,865
It's interesting that the few people here - Dyno and others - don't understand what "historical Jesus" entails. Do churches insist on ignorance?
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6 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 1:36PM #10
BillWitt
Posts: 2,622
[QUOTE=MisterC;447836] Do churches insist on ignorance? [/QUOTE]

Yes, they certainly do.  They do not teach, or say, anything that would bring into question the truthfulness of Church Doctrine.  Clergy practice the "sin of silence" to avoid passing on factual information they know is true, but would lead the layperson to question Church Doctrine.  It is also acceptable for the Clergy to tell "little white lies" if they need to.  Some are even more than even "little white lies"; like the ones that there are no contradictions or false statements in the Bible, and telling their followers that there is overwhelming evidence to support the existence of Jesus.   

The average Christian knows very little about their religion, except for the faith concepts, and has not even read the Bible carefully.  How many still think that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John wrote the Gospels?  How many are even aware of the many contradictions and false statements in the Bible?  How many are aware of the many parallels between the stories of the NT, and those in the OT and those from other religions?  How many are aware of the different groups of early Christians, and their different views of Christ?  How many know  much about the early development of the Christian Church?  Does the Church make any effort to provide education to their followers in these areas?  Of course not, they would much prefer that their followers remain ignorant about any information which would question the truthfulness of the Christian faith.   

It is also a common practice, by some Christians (Dino), to call anyone who questions their beliefs by providing factual information about their religion; Christian haters, bigots, and stupid.
"Properly read, the Bible is the most potent force for atheism ever conceived." - -Isaac Asimov
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