A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

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Post #71

Post by Furrowed Brow »

Goose wrote: I think your first option is the most likely - Pilate was not worried about the multitudes – when we consider the evidence. The reason was simply that these were peaceful gatherings.
Goose, thank you for you response. I first attempted a point by point reply but the post was too long. So I've distilled my response down to these basic points which still make for a long post. Feel free to pass over point without comment you deem irrelevant or a distraction accept for point 1. This is a core point I think.

1] If people from afar had heard of Jesus to the degree they were willing to travel to see him, why had those stories not reached Pilate?

2] How does any occupying empire know a crowd is peaceful? And the obvious answer is the empire keeps eyes on the crowd.

3] That Jesus' ministry was peaceful and not a threat to the Romans misses the point of what it means to administer an empire. Emphasising the lack of threat fails to engage the point that the Romans need sufficient intelligence to make that assessment. It is they that decide Jesus was not militant. They could not do that if they were not aware of him. There is only one way Pilate could know Jesus' teaching were peaceful and that would be if he had intelligence on the matter.

4] Pilate was not going to crush every crowd, but he did need sufficient intelligence to know when he needed to crush a crowd.

5] If Pilate didn’t know about Jesus, then Jesus wasn’t famous - removes the nuances from argument. The argument is that on balance of probabilities Pilate's ignorance signals Jesus was not well known (see point 1). Meaning he was no so famous and probably was just a local ministry. This is a question about the size and scope of Jesus' fame. As though Pilate’s knowledge of the details of Jesus’ life is somehow the litmus test for the scope of Jesus’ fame - Yes that is a good way of putting it. It is a litmus test. If the account in the gospels had a a verse that said something long the lines of Pilate had heard tales Of Jesus' miracles. That would have been sufficient to block this line of questioning. That he appears ignorant is not the the final litmus tests nor hard and fast proof, but it is a notable test that raises questions of balance of probabilities. And the basic tension bubbles up in point 1 and the claim people from afar had heard of Jesus but Pilate hadn't.

6] We can question both Pilate's resources and his competence. These indeed need to be diminished if Jesus' ministry was as large and as famous as described. The argument hangs on how we assess this point. Pilates willingness and capacity to collect intelligence the smaller Jesus' ministry versus the larger the ministry the smaller Pilate's intelligence gathering. Pilate's ignorance does not signal Jesus' non militant peacefulness, as already stated the Romans needed to make that assessment themselves, it signals an empire not paying attention. Maybe this is true..it just seems less likely than downsizing Jesus' ministry a degree it would not have piqued the curiosity of Roman intelligence.

7] It is true that silence in the historical record from the contemporaries of people in antiquity is more the norm than the exception. And yes many famous people have likely been lost to us because their fame was not so great or they were really not so very noteworthy. But the central thrust of this argument is that Jesus' fame was lost on Pilate. That Jesus was unknown or only vaguely known to Pilate would help explain the silence. Because if Pilate had not heard of Jesus than there is no reason to expect anyone else from Rome to heave heard. The only documenters of Jesus life would then be his followers and Jewish historians interested in the minutia of Jewish politics. The surprise I am registering is Jesus' fame that could draw large crowds had had apparently spread afar had not register more deeply with the likes of Pilate.

8] Herod moved on John because he was a threat, but was also afraid to kill John because he was a holy man. It is not clear whether Herod respected John's holiness or he feared the trouble it would cause in the populace if he killed a holy man. Either way Herod does not appear to fear Jesus.

9] It is also not at all clear where Pilate and the Romans knew of John or not, or how large were the crowds that followed John (we are doubting the biblical claims after all). If they were large then maybe Herod feared their reaction. Maybe he didn't want to be seen to kill any holy man. These are tricky issues difficult to parse with so little information. But there is a point of which we can be clear - if we follow the gospels - Herod was curious but not impressed by Jesus and if Jesus had a large following Herod like Pilate was not concerned.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #72

Post by For_The_Kingdom »

Danmark wrote: Please prove carrier was 'destroyed' in the debate.
Carrier already admitted that he lost the debate (he claimed because he "ran out of time").https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4212 (July 25th, 2013 8:42am comment).

The only question is, how bad did he lose? My opinion, it was a LANDSLIDE lost.
Danmark wrote: Those who favor WLC's position thought he won. Those who don't preferred Carrier's arguments.
Not necessarily. It isn't always about the position, but how well you defended your position and ATTACKED your opponents. It was clear that Craig defended his position than Carrier defended his.
Danmark wrote: WLC is an excellent debater in part because he makes so many phony arguments, using false facts that it is virtually impossible to keep up with them all.
False facts? Did Carrier call him out on any false facts? Nope.
Danmark wrote: At any rate, your opinion means nothing, has nothing to do with the truth of the matter debated.
I will agree with Carrier's opinion of the debate, he lost.
Danmark wrote: The more important point is not whether or not there was a preacher or cult leader named Jesus who was from Nazareth. Most scholars indeed believe there was a person like that.
I'm glad you acknowledge that. Now, relay that message to some of your comrades on here.
Danmark wrote: The IMPORTANT question is whether the Gospels' various contradictory versions of him are true.
I disagree on the notion that there are any "contradictory versions" of him, not within the Gospels.
Danmark wrote: Are some of the stories in the Gospels accurate?
Based on the presented evidence, yes.
Danmark wrote: What we know for certain is that the story of his prophecy on the Mt. of Olives certainly did not come true. He did not return within a generation as the authors said he claimed he would.
Many interpretations have been given on this issue.
Danmark wrote: 2000 years and counting and nothing.
We (believers) will keep waiting for Christ' return, and evolutionists can keep waiting on a reptile-bird kind of transformation in nature. We will see which one comes first.
Danmark wrote: Nothing but some late entries in the NT that tried to muddy the water about what the disciples, including Paul, wrote about the imminence of the "2d Coming."
What late entries?
Danmark wrote: With each passing year the coffin on the corpse gets sealed tighter.
The tomb was found empty.
Danmark wrote: Every year when some 'miracle' healing gets found out as fraud, the 2000 year old lie is further exposed.
No it doesn't, because every true believer knows that there will be frauds. Many counterfeits. But the real thing aint here yet. Not yet.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #73

Post by rikuoamero »

[Replying to post 72 by For_The_Kingdom]
Carrier already admitted that he lost the debate (he claimed because he "ran out of time").https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4212 (July 25th, 2013 8:42am comment).
Not having watched the debate (I will tomorrow), why rely on what Carrier says here? If we are to believe Carrier, in that he lost the debate and admits it, why not believe the rest of what he says, in that he did indeed run out of time? Or are you being selective as to which parts of what Carrier says that you believe?
The only question is, how bad did he lose? My opinion, it was a LANDSLIDE lost.
Danmark asks you to prove something, and what you give him is your opinion.
I will agree with Carrier's opinion of the debate, he lost.
Do you agree with the reason Carrier gave, that WLC didn't give him enough time and doesn't care about the truth?
Craig shotgunned me with far more claims than I could answer in the time allotted). If Craig honestly cares about the truth,
We (believers) will keep waiting for Christ' return, and evolutionists can keep waiting on a reptile-bird kind of transformation in nature. We will see which one comes first.
I could answer with a dissertation on phylogenetics and how under that birds are reptiles...but you and I both know that isn't what you want. Whenever I see responses like this, I know it harkens back to Kirk Cameron's demand for a crocoduck. Like with Cameron, such requests deserve to be laughed at.
No it doesn't, because every true believer knows that there will be frauds. Many counterfeits. But the real thing aint here yet. Not yet.
So there really IS a Nigerian millionaire out there, willing to give me a fortune? One just has to wade through all the frauds before he'll show himself?
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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #74

Post by For_The_Kingdom »

Jagella wrote: I've been told that many times. What are the percentages?
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historici ... oorst14-29

Check out the second paragraph of the wiki page on the historicity of Jesus. The paragraph is heavily cited...and not only that, but guys like Richard Dawkins and Bart Erhman, both unbelievers, admit that Jesus of Nazareth existed.

However, of course, they don't believe that he was the Messiah, rose from the dead, and is the Son of the Living God. They believe in Jesus the "man", not Jesus the "Lord and Savior", which is what separates them from us (believers).

Most historians, whether they are believers or not are able to put theological biases and untheological prejudices aside and, based on the evidence, conclude that it is more likely than not that Jesus of Nazareth existed.

It is only a small minority, with Richard Carrier and Robert Price leading the pack, who believe that Jesus of Nazareth never existed at all. It seems to me as if they have a "if we admit that Jesus existed, we open ourselves up to a whole bunch of stuff that we just don't want any part of, so its best to just deny his existence altogether".......approach.

But whatever.
Jagella wrote: And what is that evidence? We should check that evidence to see if it truly supports the hypothesis that Jesus existed.
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Paul
Josephus
Tacitus

7 independent sources.
Jagella wrote: What was the final score?
Final Score..

WLC- a lot
Richard Carrier - a little
Jagella wrote: Do those on "the popular level" simply don't understand the evidence for Jesus? Are those "on the popular level" made up of skeptics or believers or both?
By popular, I mean a young, popular level. He is popular, interacting with his followers personally on his blogs and such.
Jagella wrote: Other scholars who are either mythicists or agnostic on the historicity of Jesus include Robert Price, Hector Avalos, and Raphael Lataster.
Those guys are still in the minority, though. Not all believers in the historicity of Jesus are Christian...so whenever you can get a mixture of believers/unbelievers to agree on something (that Jesus existed), the evidence that he (Jesus) existed must be overwhelming.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #75

Post by Tiberius47 »

liamconnor wrote:
Tiberius47 wrote:
1213 wrote:
Jagella wrote: Some of you may be familiar with the argument from silence advanced by many mythicists in which it is claimed that the historians of the early first century never mentioned Jesus. If he really lived, then how could they have missed him? ...
According to the story, people wanted to kill Jesus and didn’t want that he becomes more influential. If that is true, it is obvious that they would have made everything to destroy all mentions about Jesus. In that story, it would be illogical to find easily any information about Jesus, from that era.
But it's not very plausible. Bill Clinton couldn't keep the Lewinsky thing secret, and he had far more resources than anyone living back in the days of Jesus. And the Lewinsky thing was just one person. If they couldn't keep one person quiet, how could you expect anyone living 2000 odd years ago to keep 5000 people quiet?

I have not followed this inner thread. But the argument on technology works both ways: 5,000 people did not have the same means of making themselves known. If you think that 5,000 people walked arm in arm throughout the region signing songs, you have both misread the text and lack historical imagination.

The crowds of Jesus dispersed shortly after their visit with him. They did not go off on a carol together. The congregation in the wilderness was short lived. Even if the government heard about it (which is unlikely) by the time they heard, it was days, if not weeks, since disbanded. No Roman official would have said, "Well, that was four days past, find all of them, no matter what it takes". That is ridiculous.

Jesus was never on "F.B.I's" most wanted list. He appeared once as a blip on the radar screen of Herod Antipas, and then vanished from the government. And no wonder! He never stayed in one place; he never kept crowds for long; he discouraged news about him; he never visited large cities; he traveled several times on water (try tracking that in the 1st c.!).

Here is the irony: one of his chief goals was to avoid official notice; 2,000 years later we doubt his existence, because he succeeded in doing so!
The more people involved, the more likely it is that one of them would have had the capacity to make some record of the event. Yet we never see this. Your attempts to handwave away this are not very convincing. If it was really as hard as you claim for the word to spread, how did any of those 5000 people know to turn up?

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Post #76

Post by Goose »

[Replying to post 71 by Furrowed Brow]

Hey FB you have some interesting points and when I get some time I'll come back to them.

I do think, however, in the end the crux of your main argument hinges on fundamentally arguing a non-sequitur with Pilate.
"And it is the case that torturing and killing babies for entertainment is immoral." - Goose, Christian

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Post #77

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Furrowed Brow wrote: 1] If people from afar had heard of Jesus to the degree they were willing to travel to see him, why had those stories not reached Pilate?

2] How does any occupying empire know a crowd is peaceful? And the obvious answer is the empire keeps eyes on the crowd.

3] That Jesus' ministry was peaceful and not a threat to the Romans misses the point of what it means to administer an empire. Emphasising the lack of threat fails to engage the point that the Romans need sufficient intelligence to make that assessment. It is they that decide Jesus was not militant. They could not do that if they were not aware of him. There is only one way Pilate could know Jesus' teaching were peaceful and that would be if he had intelligence on the matter.

4] Pilate was not going to crush every crowd, but he did need sufficient intelligence to know when he needed to crush a crowd.
I know these are addressed to Goose, but again I have to point out that on the only occasions specific numbers are described in the NT - feeding 5000, feeding 4000, and 3000 converts on Pentecost - they are not particularly large crowds. If Jesus sent disciples to half a dozen local villages saying that he'd be preaching and healing somewhere that afternoon and hyping up all the 'miracles' they had supposedly seen him do, most likely a crowd of those sizes could be gathered if only a quarter of the people within two hour's stroll came out for the afternoon.

So do we go with what those specific numbers suggest, or do we instead rely on the vague observational descriptions passed on by star-struck fisherman finding themselves in the middle of such relative fame? That's what your question #1 hinges on. Not to say that there might not have been a few Jews from Tyre, Sidon and so on whose Galilean relatives had persuaded them to come, and perhaps "many" from Jerusalem and Judea. But it's not as if the disciples were likely to have done a formal survey of the origins of those who heard him preach. The implication of far-flung fame doesn't really gel with much of the other information provided, yet could easily have been simply the way Jesus' disciples honestly but mistakenly perceived his ministry at the time.

Of course it would be not unreasonable to guess that Herod Antipas may have had someone stationed in each Galilean village, or most of them, to keep an eye out for any signs of unrest. But that still wouldn't necessarily mean that he personally would have heard all about Jesus: Even if such an intelligence network were in place there still undoubtedly would have been a few levels of bureaucracy between the people on the ground and the guy at the top. A wandering preacher going from place to place, never gathering a large permanent following, never speaking against the political authority or taxes, never advocating violence or gathering weaponry... maybe Herod was informed (as Luke suggests), but otherwise there's no particular reason to assume that even the ruler of Galilee would want to be bothered with that information. Let alone Pilate down in Judea!

Though, again, Luke is the only gospel which even suggests Pilate was ignorant about Jesus to begin with! He entered Jerusalem to some modest fanfare, caused a disturbance in the temple, and was crucified within the week. All gospels agree that Pilate left it to the priests to condemn and turn a mob against Jesus (which given their gentile audiences, and especially in those written after the Jewish revolt, may or may not be historically valid information), but that he would have known about Jesus in that final week or at least would have been briefed before starting the hearing is highly probable. Luke's suggestion to the contrary might be a bit of a 'gotcha' moment against fundamentalist Christians, but as far as the historicity of Jesus goes it really is a non-starter.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #78

Post by Mithrae »

rikuoamero wrote: [Replying to post 72 by For_The_Kingdom]
Carrier already admitted that he lost the debate (he claimed because he "ran out of time").https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/4212 (July 25th, 2013 8:42am comment).
Not having watched the debate (I will tomorrow), why rely on what Carrier says here? If we are to believe Carrier, in that he lost the debate and admits it, why not believe the rest of what he says, in that he did indeed run out of time? Or are you being selective as to which parts of what Carrier says that you believe?
The only question is, how bad did he lose? My opinion, it was a LANDSLIDE lost.
Danmark asks you to prove something, and what you give him is your opinion.
I will agree with Carrier's opinion of the debate, he lost.
Do you agree with the reason Carrier gave, that WLC didn't give him enough time and doesn't care about the truth?
Craig shotgunned me with far more claims than I could answer in the time allotted). If Craig honestly cares about the truth,
If only someone had warned him beforehand :lol:
  • April 2009 - http://commonsenseatheism.com/?p=1437

    Andrew at Evaluating Christianity has put up some excellent posts of advice on how to debate William Lane Craig (one, two, three, four, five). The reason Craig wins all his debates with atheists is not because his arguments are sound, but because he is a masterful debater. Craig has been honing his debate skills literally since high school. Not only that, but he is a Ph.D. philosopher and encyclopedic historian: an expert on the two subjects he debates, the existence of God and the resurrection of Jesus.

    Let me repeat. Craig has done 20+ years of Ph.D+ level research in the two fields he debates, has published hundreds of academic books and papers on both subjects, and has been debating since high school.

    So yeah, that’s right. You are not qualified to debate William Lane Craig. Richard Carrier? Austin Dacey? Quentin Smith? Bart Ehrman? You are not qualified to debate William Lane Craig. Louise Antony? Christopher Hitchens? Eddie Tabash? You are not qualified to debate William Lane Craig. . . .


    But here’s the thrust of what Andrew and I are trying to say: You can’t just know the arguments to win a debate (though many atheists fail at even this, anyway). You must also know how to debate. It’s a skill. If you haven’t specifically studied and practiced debating for several years, then you suck at debates. You might think you can debate because you “win� little arguments with uber-ignorant Christian fundamentalists, but trust me: you suck at debates. Your suckage will be especially obvious if you debate a master like William Lane Craig.
I haven't bothered to watch the debate, but kudos to Carrier for conceding that he lost, I guess. It's just a little amusing that he did it in the first place; how bad does it look if you lose a debate not even about Jesus' existence, but his resurrection?


Edit: Actually it seems the debate in question was in March 2009 - I guess the post above was a reaction, not a prior warning.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #79

Post by For_The_Kingdom »

rikuoamero wrote: Not having watched the debate (I will tomorrow)
Please do..and tell me what you think.
rikuoamero wrote: , why rely on what Carrier says here? If we are to believe Carrier, in that he lost the debate and admits it, why not believe the rest of what he says, in that he did indeed run out of time? Or are you being selective as to which parts of what Carrier says that you believe?
Because WLC had the same amount of time that Carrier had. When you watch the debate, if you feel (in your unbiased opinion), that Carrier lost, do you think it was because he ran out of time, or because he was unable to match up with WLC on this issue?

You decide.
rikuoamero wrote: Danmark asks you to prove something, and what you give him is your opinion.
I admit, it was my opinion.
rikuoamero wrote: Do you agree with the reason Carrier gave, that WLC didn't give him enough time and doesn't care about the truth?
Um, I watched the debate with my own eyes and it wasn't about WLC "giving him enough time". The allotted time was a set time that both debaters agreed to. WLC had the SAME amount of time that Carrier had...but it isn't about that..it is about quality..the quality of what WLC said, and the quality of what Richard Carrier said in the time that they DID have.

It wasn't even close.
rikuoamero wrote:Craig shotgunned me with far more claims than I could answer in the time allotted). If Craig honestly cares about the truth,
The quantity of arguments from his opponents; was never a problem for WLC.
rikuoamero wrote: I could answer with a dissertation on phylogenetics and how under that birds are reptiles
Regardless of what we label them as, I am still waiting to see such a macro-level transformation in nature. I don't want to hijack the thread with evolution nonsense, but I am only comparing my unnatural belief (Resurrection) to yours (macroevolution).

And I will leave it there.
rikuoamero wrote: So there really IS a Nigerian millionaire out there, willing to give me a fortune? One just has to wade through all the frauds before he'll show himself?
I dunno.

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Re: A Major Conflict in Jesus Historicity

Post #80

Post by Danmark »

[Replying to post 72 by For_The_Kingdom]

"Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."
Jesus, Mark 13:30

"Truly, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom.�
_ Jesus, Matthew 16:28

"Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place."
_ Jesus, Matthew 24:34

"Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all has taken place."
_ Jesus, Luke 21:32

The same people who claim the bible should be interpreted literally, turn on a dime, reverse themselves and claim THESE very clear words, should stretched, turned inside out and be interpreted to mean the opposite of what they say.

Paul and the other early Christians knew the end was imminent and would come in their own life times:

"For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep."
1 Thessalonians 4:14-15

"But this I say, brethren, the time is short, so that from now on even those who have wives should be as though they had none, those who weep as though they did not weep, those who rejoice as though they did not rejoice, those who buy as though they did not possess, and those who use this world as not misusing it. For the form of this world is passing away."
1 Corinthians 7

2000 years and counting.

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