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cuchulain

Historical Jesus

231 posts in this topic

I have a feeling that even if Jesus had stayed in his grave, and the grave was clearly marked and preserved, nonbelievers would still deny that he had ever existed. And why wouldn't the Pharisee's and Romans preserve the evidence that would have substantiated their claims? All the apostles were persecuted and most were killed for his sake, so I can't imagine them suffering such fates for a fairytale. The devotion of those who witnessed him is the best evidence. jmo

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The story of Paul's conversion experience is in the 9th Chapter of Acts. Before the conversion, there is very little detail.

Courtesy of Biblegateway.com

"9 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked.

“I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. 6 “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”

7 The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything."

That's all we know about Paul's background, before his encounter with the Light. That he persecuted members of "the Way." What do we have? A Fundamentalist of his day. He is out to persecute blasphemers and heretics. Shades of ISIS and other killer fundamentalists. There is nothing to suggest that he knows anything about this group except that they are heretics. There is nothing to suggest independent research. He is enforcing the party line -- period.

After his conversion, Paul is working with what he learns directly from the risen Christ. Again, there is no suggestion of independent research. Quite the contrary. Now Paul KNOWS.

How is Paul an authority on the historic Jesus?

There will now be a pause, while the believers inform me that I am not inspired by the Holy Spirit -- which is why I don't understand. That if I did have the Holy Spirit, I could never take such a foolish position. Let's get it over with.

The account you give comes from acts. Thought written around 120 to 200 AD. It is Galatians chapter 1 & 2 that suggests there is evidence.of someone called Jesus. Paul meets the disciples 3 years after his conversion (whatever that was, but I do not believe acts). He stays 15 days and is supposed to have met peter for 15 days. Who knows the quality of that visit. He is supposed to have met James too for a short while. He then goes away for 14 years and then returns and falls out with Peter. We do not know his reply. He then said he is given the job of preaching to the gentiles which is no great shakes as the gentiles were not much concern to the average Jew at the time. Sure it does not prove Jesus but it reports that he met someone who did (peter). It is this suggestion that there were these individuals that Paul talks about that were supposed to have know Jesus. This however does not justify all else said about the guy.

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I have a feeling that even if Jesus had stayed in his grave, and the grave was clearly marked and preserved, nonbelievers would still deny that he had ever existed. And why wouldn't the Pharisee's and Romans preserve the evidence that would have substantiated their claims? All the apostles were persecuted and most were killed for his sake, so I can't imagine them suffering such fates for a fairytale. The devotion of those who witnessed him is the best evidence. jmo

All the Jews were persecuted. The invasion of Jerusalem in 70 ad was a bloody affair with horrendous cruelty. The Jews then were persecuted by the Romans and later by the Christian church for hundreds of years. The disciples deaths however they were not unusual to a Roman empire and a later a church who considered one dead Jew of little consequence. As for the so called witnesses as you put it we have no proof the writers of the gospels ever met Jesus and the books were only named years later. Yet I know you will not accept this but one can see why atheists find it all hard to swallow.

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I have placed the books recommended on order from the local library. Dan, I don't deny that a Jesus existed, I am simply trying to research more secular literature about the actual Jesus, rather than propagandized fundamentalist views. The Christian view is clearly well known, and I am not getting into a religious debate, merely trying to find some of those many secular references that are always claimed, you know? I would like to see the references, that is all. Having all the information available is a great start when a person is trying to research actual history, and not history as the bible tells it, which sometimes is accurate and sometimes isn't.

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Even Islam accepts the historical Jesus. And gnostic texts that may dispute the divinity of Jesus still take it for granted that he did exist. With all the inter-church antagonism during the first few centuries the fact that there is little dispute over the existence of Jesus is telling.

Yes. It does. You are now accepting the historic accuracy of the Koran; as proof of the historic accuracy of the New Testament. Do you really think that helps?

I'm not familiar with the Gnostic texts. Did you have anything in particular in mind?

Edited by Jonathan H. B. Lobl

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The Koran was thought written in around 600 ad. It is a bit like me giving an eye witness account of the Great fire of London or the Black death Plague in Britain.

However I share your point on the Gnostic Gospels and especially the Gospel of Thomas.

Edited by Pete

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I have a feeling that even if Jesus had stayed in his grave, and the grave was clearly marked and preserved, nonbelievers would still deny that he had ever existed. And why wouldn't the Pharisee's and Romans preserve the evidence that would have substantiated their claims? All the apostles were persecuted and most were killed for his sake, so I can't imagine them suffering such fates for a fairytale. The devotion of those who witnessed him is the best evidence. jmo

If we had the bones, what else would we have? As in -- "No Easter this year. They found the body."

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The account you give comes from acts. Thought written around 120 to 200 AD. It is Galatians chapter 1 & 2 that suggests there is evidence.of someone called Jesus. Paul meets the disciples 3 years after his conversion (whatever that was, but I do not believe acts). He stays 15 days and is supposed to have met peter for 15 days. Who knows the quality of that visit. He is supposed to have met James too for a short while. He then goes away for 14 years and then returns and falls out with Peter. We do not know his reply. He then said he is given the job of preaching to the gentiles which is no great shakes as the gentiles were not much concern to the average Jew at the time. Sure it does not prove Jesus but it reports that he met someone who did (peter). It is this suggestion that there were these individuals that Paul talks about that were supposed to have know Jesus. This however does not justify all else said about the guy.

I just read these two chapters. They agree with you that Paul met some of the Apostles. Now -- do we have independent verification that the Apostles existed?

It's clarification time. I do not have a positive belief that Jesus did not exist. Instead -- I am not satisfied by the evidence that he did.

The Hebrew word which is commonly translated as "Jesus" is also commonly translated as "Joshua." The Book of Joshua is what follows Deuteronomy. It's a common name.

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True Jesus is a common name. I can understand your scepticism considering all the claims made however we get Jewish groups like the Ebonites who saw Jesus as a jewish teacher but not God. Now I can accept the possibility Jesus was Jewish teacher, teaching jewish teachings and considering the climate he got killed but its the hype I have difficulty with as it parallels so much of other so called divine dieties of the time. I am not trying to convince anyone or insist it is so. Just that it is possible he existed but that does prove anything else.

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I have a feeling that even if Jesus had stayed in his grave, and the grave was clearly marked and preserved, nonbelievers would still deny that he had ever existed. And why wouldn't the Pharisee's and Romans preserve the evidence that would have substantiated their claims? All the apostles were persecuted and most were killed for his sake, so I can't imagine them suffering such fates for a fairytale. The devotion of those who witnessed him is the best evidence. jmo

You are now taking the Gospel accounts at face value. That was not the point of this thread -- which is independent verification of the existence of Jesus. That is, verification not from Scripture.

Alright, I don't mind digression in these thread. Let us take the Gospel accounts at face value. Jesus breathed his last; then the Temple tore itself in half No, This did not happen. The Temple was destroyed by the Roman soldiers. We are also informed that when Jesus died, the tombs broke open and the dead walked among the living. That is a seriously hard sell. The streets of Jerusalem were filled with zombies and this did not make the history books? Really?

A very small point in passing. According to the Gospels, Peter denied his Lord three times. So much for devotion.

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Now if you have seen someone heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, bring forth the prophets, and Peter has doubts like this?

This debate is about the existence of Jesus from a secular view Dan. Please not let this again end in a senseless debate about your biblical viewpoint which is not what this is about.

Edited by Pete

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True Jesus is a common name. I can understand your scepticism considering all the claims made however we get Jewish groups like the Ebonites who saw Jesus as a jewish teacher but not God. Now I can accept the possibility Jesus was Jewish teacher, teaching jewish teachings and considering the climate he got killed but its the hype I have difficulty with as it parallels so much of other so called divine dieties of the time. I am not trying to convince anyone or insist it is so. Just that it is possible he existed but that does prove anything else.

This much is true. It is possible that there was a great Jewish teacher named Jesus -- who lived in that time and place. I'll go further than that. He might have been a great spiritual master, who filled his followers with awe at his great wisdom. I don't know. The evidence is lacking. Sure, it's possible.

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Now if you have seen someone heal the sick, raise the dead, walk on water, bring forth the prophets, and Peter has doubts like this?

In fairness, there is doubt and there is terror. When the Romans crucified a leader for sedition -- they commonly crucified all his followers with him. It is an awful death.

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What can be proved from so long ago but it seems there was a stir about something. Prove to me Plato existed.

In fairness, there is doubt and there is terror. When the Romans crucified a leader for sedition -- they commonly crucified all his followers with him. It is an awful death.

yep! Rome was not known for a gentile approach to those who challenged them.

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What can be proved from so long ago but it seems there was a stir about something. Prove to me Plato existed.

yep! Rome was not known for a gentile approach to those who challenged them.

If the Gospel account is to be taken seriously -- the charge against Jesus would have to be sedition. This is seen by the sign over Jesus' head -- "King of the Jews." The Roman government did not care what their subjugated peoples believed. Sedition or revolt got the cross.

Here comes the question. The Roman government kept their own records. Where are the minutes of the trial? Where is the death sentence? Where is the record of execution? Where is the record of how the body was disposed of? This is all stuff that the Romans would keep for their own purpose. When the Catholic Church took over Rome; they inherited all the old records. If there were anything there -- anything at all -- they would be boasting about having it.

There's nothing. Why do they have no records at all?

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Not sure that they cared about Jewish records. I am not justifying the gospel records of all. I am only saying a hell of a lot was written about by the pro-orthodox, other groups and gnostics and it could easily be based on someone. I am not justifying all that is said about the guy as there are varying claims. I am just saying it is possible a preacher named Jesus existed and a lot of high flung stuff got said about him.

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Pilat was said to be a murderous git who unusually got recalled to Rome for being so. He is said to love to start up conflict with the jews just to kill a few more. The idea he had conflict of conscience over Jesus just does not lay well with history. I believe things were written in the gospels to keep the Romans happy. After all I do not believe pilat would of had an audience when he judged people but a lot seems written about the event which makes me suspicious that the gospels are not reliable but they do write about someone and came from differing sources. It is possible they were based on someone.

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Pilat was said to be a murderous git who unusually got recalled to Rome for being so. He is said to love to start up conflict with the jews just to kill a few more. The idea he had conflict of conscience over Jesus just does not lay well with history. I believe things were written in the gospels to keep the Romans happy. After all I do not believe pilat would of had an audience when he judged people but a lot seems written about the event which makes me suspicious that the gospels are not reliable but they do write about someone and came from differing sources. It is possible they were based on someone.

I agree. The stories might well have been about a man who actually existed. The stories could also have been about several men -- whose stories fused over time. Truly, I don't know. Yes. It's possible. All I can say is "maybe."

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Pilat was said to be a murderous git who unusually got recalled to Rome for being so. He is said to love to start up conflict with the jews just to kill a few more. The idea he had conflict of conscience over Jesus just does not lay well with history. I believe things were written in the gospels to keep the Romans happy. After all I do not believe pilat would of had an audience when he judged people but a lot seems written about the event which makes me suspicious that the gospels are not reliable but they do write about someone and came from differing sources. It is possible they were based on someone.

What makes me question the Gospel account -- is the premise that the Jewish authorities had to go to the Roman powers for an execution. No, they didn't. The Jewish authorities did their own killing. You know the story of the woman taken in adultery. Jesus had to stop the stoning. Why? Because a Jewish group was going to kill her. What this proves is that the Jews could do their own murder. They needed no help from Rome.

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What makes me question the Gospel account -- is the premise that the Jewish authorities had to go to the Roman powers for an execution. No, they didn't. The Jewish authorities did their own killing. You know the story of the woman taken in adultery. Jesus had to stop the stoning. Why? Because a Jewish group was going to kill her. What this proves is that the Jews could do their own murder. They needed no help from Rome.

The story of the woman and adultery was a later addition and does not appear in the earliest works. I like the story but we do not know if it happened,

On the other point, yes being thrown off the temple or stoned was a Jewish way of dealing with those they did not like. Hence, I really do not like it when people turn around and blame the Jews for Jesus' death. Crucifixion was strictly a Roman sentence and they used it frequently and Jews had little say in what Romans did. I think it became a big PR job by the gospel writers., It does not do to blame the Romans when you want to be accepted by them. Thus Pilate gains a conscience and gets his will forced by the Jews. Yet history denotes he was a killer and enjoyed it and I doubt the Jews had any sway on what he did.

PR :scenic:

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