A simple---but serious---question

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A simple---but serious---question

Post #1

Post by Athetotheist »

There are numerous god-men who died and rose from death in stories predating the time of Jesus. Considering the notable differences between the gospel accounts, and particularly the differences between the accounts of Jesus's supposed resurrection, here's a question for gospel apologists to think seriously about:

There are four resurrection accounts about Jesus in the Christian gospels. If the exact same accounts, with the exact same differences, were written about Osiris, Tammuz, Attis or any such god-man other than Jesus, would Christian apologists find all of those accounts believable?

And if they wouldn't find all of them believable, would they find any of them believable?

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #111

Post by TRANSPONDER »

It seems to come down to another serious question. Is the appeal of Christianity - especially to western society where we are taught history and science - that rather than being mythology, the Bible at least reads like an historical account as does indeed the Islamic writing and the Tripitaka of Buddhism. Indeed I could even say that the NT at least reads like eyewitness record.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #112

Post by David the apologist »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:08 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmDifferent things from different cultures need different names. If "the rest of you" don't use that principle, then "the rest of you" need to start.
Maybe. Once again, though, assuming that we already do doesn't make your argument more understandable.
As much as I'm trying to be understood, I'm trying even harder to be precise.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmBut that morass of ritual and folktale we denote with the term "paganism" had no equivalent belief.
I disagree. Osiris was dead, then alive, which fits the concept of resurrection.
Osiris may have been given enough steam to orgasm one last time before dying for good. Then again, Isis may simply have been hit by a magical thunderbolt. The stories surviving to this day are contradictory.

Either way, we don't see a dramatic reversal of Osiris' fate. He began the evening dead and embalmed. In the morning, he is still dead and embalmed. What, I ask you, is the parallel between this and Christ's (alleged) triumph over the grave and inauguration of the New Creation?
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmIt's the criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity. Christianity doesn't make sense as a mere evolution/continuation of second temple Judaism, but it also doesn't make sense as something wholly different from its parent.
Those are also true for contemporary forms of apocalyptic Judaism and gnostic Christianity.
Christianity is strikingly distinct from the former in the way it handles notions like "messiah" and "resurrection."

As for the latter, it can be explained by syncretism between pagan mystery cults (y'know, the kind that want to achieve apotheosis rather than resurrection) and Christianity itself.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmSo you seriously think that a historical figure can be invented out of whole cloth in 30-ish years without anyone noticing and calling the fraudsters out on it? In first century Palestine? To support wildly unpopular superstitions?
That's a little more than what I was claiming, but nonetheless, yes.

My point in the current discussion is that we have at least six different Jesuses (the four Jesuses of the Gospels, the one of the Pauline epistles, and the one of Revelation) that have been synthesized into a seventh, harmonized Jesus that is different than any other in the New Testament. Whether or not there was a historical Jesus and any details of his life can be gleaned from the New Testament as we have it, all six different and fictional New Testament Jesus characters have been transformed by modern theology into a brand-new character that exists nowhere in the Bible and is no less fictional.
As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered about him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask something; and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders; then as Caesar cried, "Why, this is violence!" one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca's arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound.

When he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, "You too, my child?"

All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, and finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the physician Antistius, except the second one in the breast.
—Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars
Some of the partisans of Brutus took their places round the back of Caesar's chair, while others went to meet him, as though they would support the petition which Tullius Cimber presented to Caesar in behalf of his exiled brother, and they joined their entreaties to his and accompanied Caesar up to his chair. But when, after taking his seat, Caesar continued to repulse their petitions, and, as they pressed upon him with greater importunity, began to show anger towards one and another of them, Tullius seized his toga with both hands and pulled it down from his neck. This was the signal for the assault.

It was Casca who gave him the first blow with his dagger, in the neck, not a mortal wound, nor even a deep one, for which he was too much confused, as was natural at the beginning of a deed of great daring; so that Caesar turned about, grasped the knife, and held it fast. At almost the same instant both cried out, the smitten man in Latin: "Accursed Casca, what does thou?" and the smiter, in Greek, to his brother: "Brother, help!"

So the affair began, and those who were not privy to the plot were filled with consternation and horror at what was going on; they dared not fly, nor go to Caesar's help, nay, nor even utter a word. But those who had prepared themselves for the murder bared each of them his dagger, and Caesar, hemmed in on all sides, whichever way he turned confronting blows of weapons aimed at his face and eyes, driven hither and thither like a wild beast, was entangled in the hands of all; for all had to take part in the sacrifice and taste of the slaughter. Therefore Brutus also gave him one blow in the groin.

And it is said by some writers that although Caesar defended himself against the rest and darted this way and that and cried aloud, when he saw that Brutus had drawn his dagger, he pulled his toga down over his head and sank, either by chance or because pushed there by his murderers, against the pedestal on which the statue of Pompey stood.

And the pedestal was drenched with his blood, so that one might have thought that Pompey himself was presiding over this vengeance upon his enemy, who now lay prostrate at his feet, quivering from a multitude of wounds. For it is said that he received twenty-three; and many of the conspirators were wounded by one another, as they struggled to plant all those blows in one body.
—Plutarch, Parallel Lives

The conspirators had left Trebonius, one of their number, to engage Antony in conversation at the door. The others, with concealed daggers, stood around Caesar like friends as he sat in his chair. Then one of them, Tillius Cimber, came up in front of him and petitioned him for the recall of his brother, who had been banished. When Caesar answered that the matter must be deferred, Cimber seized hold of his purple robe as though still urging his petition, and pulled it away so as to expose his neck, exclaiming, "Friends, what are you waiting for?" Then first Casca, who was standing over Caesar's head, drove his dagger at his throat, but swerved and wounded him in the breast.

Caesar snatched his toga from Cimber, seized Casca's hand, sprang from his chair, turned around, and hurled Casca with great violence. While he was in this position another one stabbed him with a dagger in the side, which was stretched tense by his strained position. Cassius wounded him in the face, Brutus smote him in the thigh, and Bucolianus in the back. With rage and outcries Caesar turned now upon one and now upon another like a wild animal, but, after receiving the wound from Brutus he at last despaired and, veiling himself with his robe, composed himself for death and fell at the foot of Pompey's statue. They continued their attack after he had fallen until he had received twenty-three wounds. Several of them while thrusting with their swords wounded each other.
—Appian, The Civil Wars
When Trebonius, then, talked with Antony, the rest in a body surrounded Caesar, who was as easy of access and as affable as any one could be; and some conversed with him, while others made as if to present petitions to him, so that suspicion might be as far from his mind as possible. And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators.

Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: "Thou, too, my son?"
—Cassius Dio, Roman History

Would you also contend that Julius Caesar was assassinated multiple times?
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmHonestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
I've been called worse by better.
Likely with far less cause. Or, so I hope.
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #113

Post by Athetotheist »

[Replying to David the apologist in post #112
Osiris may have been given enough steam to orgasm one last time before dying for good. Then again, Isis may simply have been hit by a magical thunderbolt. The stories surviving to this day are contradictory.
Then they certainly have something in common with the resurrection accounts concerning Jesus.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #114

Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmOsiris may have been given enough steam to orgasm one last time before dying for good. Then again, Isis may simply have been hit by a magical thunderbolt. The stories surviving to this day are contradictory.
To what effect? Jesus supernaturally vanished from the tomb, never to be seen again (Mark), was resurrected to heaven in a glorified body (Paul), was resurrected to meet the disciples in Galilee (Matthew), was resurrected to meet the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke) whence he departed to heaven as the disciples watched (Acts), was resurrected in a normal human body that ate fish and bore scars. The stories are contradictory.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmEither way, we don't see a dramatic reversal of Osiris' fate. He began the evening dead and embalmed. In the morning, he is still dead and embalmed.
"Later, as they relate, Osiris came to Horus from the other world and exercised and trained him for the battle."—Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 19 (358b).
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmWhat, I ask you, is the parallel between this and Christ's (alleged) triumph over the grave and inauguration of the New Creation?
Regardless of Paul's theological interpretation, both Jesus and Osiris died and then were alive.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmChristianity is strikingly distinct from the former in the way it handles notions like "messiah" and "resurrection."
You're seriously overstating if not outright misrepresenting your case:

Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus, p. 74:
In this way, the talmudic legend adopted the idea of a catastrophic messianism developed by the disciples of Menahem the Essene: the destruction was a necessary stage in the redemptive process. It is as if the legend of the rejected Messiah, Menahem, the son of Hezekiah, expresses a willingness on the part of the rabbinic tradition to revoke the excommunication of Menahem the Essene Messiah and recognize his important role in the process of redemption.9 This development reached its culmination in the midrashic tradition concerning the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was killed in the war of redemption and was destined to be resurrected.10 This tradition was a reflection of the historical story of Menahem the Essene Messiah.11 The figure of Menahem, the hero of our book, was the foundation of the Jewish messianic myth, just as he served as the inspiration for the messianism of Jesus of Nazareth.
Albert L. A. Hogeterp, Expectations of the End, p 333:
1 Corinthians 15 constitutes a representative core example of resurrection in Pauline theology, which has been extensively analyzed in previous scholarship for its indebtedness to contemporary Jewish apocalyptic tradition on the one hand and for its accommodation to Hellenistic Greek categories of thought on the other. With regard to the latter point of accommodation to Greek thought, my comparative discussion has argued against compartmentalization of Paul’s thought from Palestinian Jewish traditions. Qumran literature includes an anthropological notion that distinguishes perishable flesh and life-giving realm of the spirit ( רוח החיים in 4QDd 7 8 // 4QDg 1 I 7–8 // 4QpapDh 4 II 3–4) as well as an eschatological perspective of the inheritance of reward for humanity with spirit whose fashioning is ‘according to the image of the holy ones’ (4Q417 2 I 13b–18a). Paul’s conceptualization of bodily resurrection as spiritual body and as a state of ‘those who are of heaven’, bearing ‘the image of the heavenly one’ may have points of intersection with Greek cosmology and anthropology. Comparison with the abovementioned Qumran evidence indicates that these Pauline categories of thought also resonate with apocalyptic strands of thought and apocalypticized wisdom in contemporary Palestinian Jewish tradition.
Since I'm not going to keep doing your homework for you, I'll assume that further unsourced, unsupported assertions are similar overstatements.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmAs for the latter, it can be explained by syncretism between pagan mystery cults (y'know, the kind that want to achieve apotheosis rather than resurrection) and Christianity itself.
So you were first arguing that the Jewishness of Christian resurrection is distinct enough to separate it from pagan ideas, but now you're claiming that a distinctly Jewish mystery cult isn't distinctive because it's syncretistic? Or are you going to claim that the New Testament with its reliance on a distinctly Alexandrian set of scriptures is somehow immune to Egyptian syncretism?
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmWould you also contend that Julius Caesar was assassinated multiple times?
You mean like claiming that Jesus gave a sermon on both the mountain and the plain? Or cleansed the Temple twice? Of course not. Nor would I contend that I have to weave all (or any, for that matter) of the specific details into a unified harmonization.

If you're interested, I've had this conversation already.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmHonestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
I've been called worse by better.
Likely with far less cause. Or, so I hope.
Hubris is hubris.
My preferred pronouns are he, him, and his.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #115

Post by brunumb »

Technical details aside, the notion of dead god-men resurrecting predates Jesus and the authors were obviously not going to pass up on a good selling point. Everything evolves by selecting for the best survival traits and that includes religions.
Christianty: 2000 years of making it up as you go along.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #116

Post by otseng »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pm Honestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #117

Post by TRANSPONDER »

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pm
Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:08 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmDifferent things from different cultures need different names. If "the rest of you" don't use that principle, then "the rest of you" need to start.
Maybe. Once again, though, assuming that we already do doesn't make your argument more understandable.
As much as I'm trying to be understood, I'm trying even harder to be precise.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmBut that morass of ritual and folktale we denote with the term "paganism" had no equivalent belief.
I disagree. Osiris was dead, then alive, which fits the concept of resurrection.
Osiris may have been given enough steam to orgasm one last time before dying for good. Then again, Isis may simply have been hit by a magical thunderbolt. The stories surviving to this day are contradictory.

Either way, we don't see a dramatic reversal of Osiris' fate. He began the evening dead and embalmed. In the morning, he is still dead and embalmed. What, I ask you, is the parallel between this and Christ's (alleged) triumph over the grave and inauguration of the New Creation?
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmIt's the criterion of double similarity and dissimilarity. Christianity doesn't make sense as a mere evolution/continuation of second temple Judaism, but it also doesn't make sense as something wholly different from its parent.
Those are also true for contemporary forms of apocalyptic Judaism and gnostic Christianity.
Christianity is strikingly distinct from the former in the way it handles notions like "messiah" and "resurrection."

As for the latter, it can be explained by syncretism between pagan mystery cults (y'know, the kind that want to achieve apotheosis rather than resurrection) and Christianity itself.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmSo you seriously think that a historical figure can be invented out of whole cloth in 30-ish years without anyone noticing and calling the fraudsters out on it? In first century Palestine? To support wildly unpopular superstitions?
That's a little more than what I was claiming, but nonetheless, yes.

My point in the current discussion is that we have at least six different Jesuses (the four Jesuses of the Gospels, the one of the Pauline epistles, and the one of Revelation) that have been synthesized into a seventh, harmonized Jesus that is different than any other in the New Testament. Whether or not there was a historical Jesus and any details of his life can be gleaned from the New Testament as we have it, all six different and fictional New Testament Jesus characters have been transformed by modern theology into a brand-new character that exists nowhere in the Bible and is no less fictional.
As he took his seat, the conspirators gathered about him as if to pay their respects, and straightway Tillius Cimber, who had assumed the lead, came nearer as though to ask something; and when Caesar with a gesture put him off to another time, Cimber caught his toga by both shoulders; then as Caesar cried, "Why, this is violence!" one of the Cascas stabbed him from one side just below the throat. Caesar caught Casca's arm and ran it through with his stylus, but as he tried to leap to his feet, he was stopped by another wound.

When he saw that he was beset on every side by drawn daggers, he muffled his head in his robe, and at the same time drew down its lap to his feet with his left hand, in order to fall more decently, with the lower part of his body also covered. And in this wise he was stabbed with three and twenty wounds, uttering not a word, but merely a groan at the first stroke, though some have written that when Marcus Brutus rushed at him, he said in Greek, "You too, my child?"

All the conspirators made off, and he lay there lifeless for some time, and finally three common slaves put him on a litter and carried him home, with one arm hanging down. And of so many wounds none turned out to be mortal, in the opinion of the physician Antistius, except the second one in the breast.
—Suetonius, The Twelve Caesars
Some of the partisans of Brutus took their places round the back of Caesar's chair, while others went to meet him, as though they would support the petition which Tullius Cimber presented to Caesar in behalf of his exiled brother, and they joined their entreaties to his and accompanied Caesar up to his chair. But when, after taking his seat, Caesar continued to repulse their petitions, and, as they pressed upon him with greater importunity, began to show anger towards one and another of them, Tullius seized his toga with both hands and pulled it down from his neck. This was the signal for the assault.

It was Casca who gave him the first blow with his dagger, in the neck, not a mortal wound, nor even a deep one, for which he was too much confused, as was natural at the beginning of a deed of great daring; so that Caesar turned about, grasped the knife, and held it fast. At almost the same instant both cried out, the smitten man in Latin: "Accursed Casca, what does thou?" and the smiter, in Greek, to his brother: "Brother, help!"

So the affair began, and those who were not privy to the plot were filled with consternation and horror at what was going on; they dared not fly, nor go to Caesar's help, nay, nor even utter a word. But those who had prepared themselves for the murder bared each of them his dagger, and Caesar, hemmed in on all sides, whichever way he turned confronting blows of weapons aimed at his face and eyes, driven hither and thither like a wild beast, was entangled in the hands of all; for all had to take part in the sacrifice and taste of the slaughter. Therefore Brutus also gave him one blow in the groin.

And it is said by some writers that although Caesar defended himself against the rest and darted this way and that and cried aloud, when he saw that Brutus had drawn his dagger, he pulled his toga down over his head and sank, either by chance or because pushed there by his murderers, against the pedestal on which the statue of Pompey stood.

And the pedestal was drenched with his blood, so that one might have thought that Pompey himself was presiding over this vengeance upon his enemy, who now lay prostrate at his feet, quivering from a multitude of wounds. For it is said that he received twenty-three; and many of the conspirators were wounded by one another, as they struggled to plant all those blows in one body.
—Plutarch, Parallel Lives

The conspirators had left Trebonius, one of their number, to engage Antony in conversation at the door. The others, with concealed daggers, stood around Caesar like friends as he sat in his chair. Then one of them, Tillius Cimber, came up in front of him and petitioned him for the recall of his brother, who had been banished. When Caesar answered that the matter must be deferred, Cimber seized hold of his purple robe as though still urging his petition, and pulled it away so as to expose his neck, exclaiming, "Friends, what are you waiting for?" Then first Casca, who was standing over Caesar's head, drove his dagger at his throat, but swerved and wounded him in the breast.

Caesar snatched his toga from Cimber, seized Casca's hand, sprang from his chair, turned around, and hurled Casca with great violence. While he was in this position another one stabbed him with a dagger in the side, which was stretched tense by his strained position. Cassius wounded him in the face, Brutus smote him in the thigh, and Bucolianus in the back. With rage and outcries Caesar turned now upon one and now upon another like a wild animal, but, after receiving the wound from Brutus he at last despaired and, veiling himself with his robe, composed himself for death and fell at the foot of Pompey's statue. They continued their attack after he had fallen until he had received twenty-three wounds. Several of them while thrusting with their swords wounded each other.
—Appian, The Civil Wars
When Trebonius, then, talked with Antony, the rest in a body surrounded Caesar, who was as easy of access and as affable as any one could be; and some conversed with him, while others made as if to present petitions to him, so that suspicion might be as far from his mind as possible. And when the right moment came, one of them approached him, as if to express his thanks for some favour or other, and pulled his toga from his shoulder, thus giving the signal that had been agreed upon by the conspirators.

Thereupon they attacked him from many sides at once and wounded him to death, so that by reason of their numbers Caesar was unable to say or do anything, but veiling his face, was slain with many wounds. This is the truest account, though some have added that to Brutus, when he struck him a powerful blow, he said: "Thou, too, my son?"
—Cassius Dio, Roman History

Would you also contend that Julius Caesar was assassinated multiple times?
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 6:24 pmHonestly, anyone who thinks that Jesus never existed is a crackpot.
I've been called worse by better.
Likely with far less cause. Or, so I hope.
That's as good a case as any could make for arguing that differences in the NT account do not make it untrue. Just as differences in the accounts of Caesar's assassination or indeed the Battle of Waterloo (1) do not make them untrue. It's a serious and perhaps pivotal question; can the serious contradictions be dismissed as eyewitness error or do they raise a serious doubt whether the story is true at all?

Part of the problem is the miraculous. We are inclined to dismiss portents or prophetic dreams in Roman histories and go with the mundane record. i don't dismiss the resurrection because it is a miracle. Rather I suggest taking the accounts of Jesus as historical and looking to see what can be regarded as excusable eyewitness error and what can't. That's why the 'biggies' are the ones that establish the principle of 'these can't both be true', while the principle of embarrassment sets (in my view) the principle of 'if this had been invented, they would never have written it that way', So it is likely true. What I found doing this was that it enables one to predict how a writer will treat his material before you even look. 'this is something in Matthew's sermon but not in Luke's. It isn't found in Mark. Therefore I predict that you will find it in Luke between ch. 11 and 15'. And when this prediction pans out you know how the gospels work, and you know this is not eyewitness. Though the original story might be.

In short like the accounts of Caesar's death or Waterloo, one can pare of the dubious, or non -credible bits and end up with a credible story. This why the Crucifixion is credible but the resurrection is not and the resurrection is what the Religion stands and falls upon and bursts open.

(1) in fact when I was studying the discrepancies in the Gospel accounts in the 80's, I was was also studying the discrepancies in the accounts of that battle.

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #118

Post by David the apologist »

Difflugia wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 9:57 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmOsiris may have been given enough steam to orgasm one last time before dying for good. Then again, Isis may simply have been hit by a magical thunderbolt. The stories surviving to this day are contradictory.
To what effect? Jesus supernaturally vanished from the tomb, while a "man in white clothes" predicted the disciples would see him again in Galilee (Mark), was resurrected to heaven in a glorified body (Paul), was resurrected to meet the disciples in Galilee (Matthew), was resurrected to meet the disciples in Jerusalem (Luke) whence he departed to heaven as the disciples watched (Acts), was resurrected in a normal human body that ate fish and bore scars. The stories are contradictory.
Fixed that for you.

I don't really see the contradictions. Looks more like a "blind men and the elephant" sort of situation to me: each source fills in the gaps in the others, with the exception of Paul who expounds the theological significance of the facts related.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmEither way, we don't see a dramatic reversal of Osiris' fate. He began the evening dead and embalmed. In the morning, he is still dead and embalmed.
"Later, as they relate, Osiris came to Horus from the other world and exercised and trained him for the battle."—Plutarch, Isis and Osiris, 19 (358b).
And yet this incident isn't related in actual, pre-Christian Egyptian sources. Despite the large number of "Horus vs Set" narratives we have.

Incidentally, while re-familiarizing myself with the sources, I found that the whole "golden dildo" thing in Plutarch didn't come from actual Egyptian Osiris myths, but rather came from an entirely unrelated myth. Whatever's going on here, Plutarch isn't afraid to alter the narrative to suit his purposes.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmWhat, I ask you, is the parallel between this and Christ's (alleged) triumph over the grave and inauguration of the New Creation?
Regardless of Paul's theological interpretation, both Jesus and Osiris died and then were alive.
Except Osiris wasn't, as I've been pointing out repeatedly.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmChristianity is strikingly distinct from the former in the way it handles notions like "messiah" and "resurrection."
You're seriously overstating if not outright misrepresenting your case:

Israel Knohl, The Messiah Before Jesus, p. 74:
In this way, the talmudic legend adopted the idea of a catastrophic messianism developed by the disciples of Menahem the Essene: the destruction was a necessary stage in the redemptive process. It is as if the legend of the rejected Messiah, Menahem, the son of Hezekiah, expresses a willingness on the part of the rabbinic tradition to revoke the excommunication of Menahem the Essene Messiah and recognize his important role in the process of redemption.9 This development reached its culmination in the midrashic tradition concerning the Messiah, son of Joseph, who was killed in the war of redemption and was destined to be resurrected.10 This tradition was a reflection of the historical story of Menahem the Essene Messiah.11 The figure of Menahem, the hero of our book, was the foundation of the Jewish messianic myth, just as he served as the inspiration for the messianism of Jesus of Nazareth.
While the Qumran community did identify their "Teacher of Righteousness" with the "Suffering Servant" of Isaiah (who, in the original context, was really supposed to represent Israel as a whole, but leave that aside), there is no reference to that figure being an anointed one, and if texts like the Community Rule - which still await the Messiah of Israel and Aaron - are any guide, there's no reason to think that this "Teacher of Righteousness" was any kind of "messiah." In the words of John Collins, "it is misleading to speak of him [the teacher] as the eschatological prophet or as a messiah, in the definitive eschatological sense." See Collins' essay "A Messiah Before Jesus?"
Albert L. A. Hogeterp, Expectations of the End, p 333:
1 Corinthians 15 constitutes a representative core example of resurrection in Pauline theology, which has been extensively analyzed in previous scholarship for its indebtedness to contemporary Jewish apocalyptic tradition on the one hand and for its accommodation to Hellenistic Greek categories of thought on the other. With regard to the latter point of accommodation to Greek thought, my comparative discussion has argued against compartmentalization of Paul’s thought from Palestinian Jewish traditions. Qumran literature includes an anthropological notion that distinguishes perishable flesh and life-giving realm of the spirit ( רוח החיים in 4QDd 7 8 // 4QDg 1 I 7–8 // 4QpapDh 4 II 3–4) as well as an eschatological perspective of the inheritance of reward for humanity with spirit whose fashioning is ‘according to the image of the holy ones’ (4Q417 2 I 13b–18a). Paul’s conceptualization of bodily resurrection as spiritual body and as a state of ‘those who are of heaven’, bearing ‘the image of the heavenly one’ may have points of intersection with Greek cosmology and anthropology. Comparison with the abovementioned Qumran evidence indicates that these Pauline categories of thought also resonate with apocalyptic strands of thought and apocalypticized wisdom in contemporary Palestinian Jewish tradition.
NT Wright discusses Paul's treatment of the Resurrection Body at length in The Resurrection of the Son of God, as well as the radical innovations being made by Christian teaching, both on the subject of the Resurrection, and on the subject of the Messiah.
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmAs for the latter, it can be explained by syncretism between pagan mystery cults (y'know, the kind that want to achieve apotheosis rather than resurrection) and Christianity itself.
So you were first arguing that the Jewishness of Christian resurrection is distinct enough to separate it from pagan ideas, but now you're claiming that a distinctly Jewish mystery cult isn't distinctive because it's syncretistic?
Christianity wasn't a mystery cult. If you're part of a mystery cult, you can't breath a word about the rituals or doctrines of said cult, let alone put them to writing. It's why we know next to nothing of Mithraism (to take just one example). With Christianity, we have references to the major rituals (Baptism and the Eucharist) in multiple documents with multiple authors, some of which (the synoptic gospels) at least appear to be intended for use in evangelism. That's kind of the opposite of a mystery cult.

Was Christianity a distinctly Jewish cult? Yes. What I'm taking issue with is the claim that it was a) syncretistic, and b) a mystery cult.
Or are you going to claim that the New Testament with its reliance on a distinctly Alexandrian set of scriptures is somehow immune to Egyptian syncretism?
I would claim that, if you want to show that Christianity is syncretistic, you need to do the following things:

1. Establish that the parallels between Christianity and some specific pagan myth are, in the words of Glenn Miller, "numerous, very 'striking', non-superficial, complex, within similar conceptual or narrative structures, detailed, have the same underlying ideas, are difficult to account for apart from borrowing, and are 'core' or 'central' to the story/image/motif enough to suspect borrowing."

2. Establish a plausible mechanism by which the borrowing occurred.

Seeing as the Septuagint was the only real option for exposing the Greek-speaking world to Hebrew scriptures, I'm not sure how your point about the Septuagint being "distinctly Alexandrian" has anything to do with anything. The "Alexandrian" scriptures were the only game in town if you wanted to expose the Greeks to any scriptures at all - and were, in any case, quite widely distributed and influential prior to Christianity, independently of distinctly Egyptian concepts (like Ma'at and burial rituals - you know, the kind of things the Egyptian myths you've been waving around are actually concerned with).

David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmWould you also contend that Julius Caesar was assassinated multiple times?
You mean like claiming that Jesus gave a sermon on both the mountain and the plain? Or cleansed the Temple twice? Of course not. Nor would I contend that I have to weave all (or any, for that matter) of the specific details into a unified harmonization.
Then why should the "inconsistencies" in the Christian accounts discredit them, if similar inconsistencies do not discredit secular sources?
"The Son of God was crucified; I am not ashamed to say it, because it is most shameful.
And the Son of God died; I believe it, because it is beyond belief.
And He was buried, and rose again; it is certain, because it is impossible."
-Tertullian

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Re: A simple---but serious---question

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Post by Difflugia »

David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmFixed that for you.
I'm not sure what you think that fixes. The young man in white did indeed say that, but the women fled without telling anyone. If nobody knew to go see him, he wasn't seen again.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmI don't really see the contradictions. Looks more like a "blind men and the elephant" sort of situation to me: each source fills in the gaps in the others, with the exception of Paul who expounds the theological significance of the facts related.
I'm glad you changed your mind about Osiris and Isis. How do you feel about the Gospel contradictions, though?
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmAnd yet this incident isn't related in actual, pre-Christian Egyptian sources. Despite the large number of "Horus vs Set" narratives we have.
Is that the new goal post? It's considered polite to at least tell us when you shift them.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmIncidentally, while re-familiarizing myself with the sources, I found that the whole "golden dildo" thing in Plutarch didn't come from actual Egyptian Osiris myths, but rather came from an entirely unrelated myth. Whatever's going on here, Plutarch isn't afraid to alter the narrative to suit his purposes.
Perhaps you'd support this? Unless making me look up all of your assertions myself is important to your argument.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmExcept Osiris wasn't, as I've been pointing out repeatedly.
You've repeatedly asserted this without support, yes. You've also repeatedly misstated the evidence.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmNT Wright discusses Paul's treatment of the Resurrection Body at length in The Resurrection of the Son of God, as well as the radical innovations being made by Christian teaching, both on the subject of the Resurrection, and on the subject of the Messiah.
I await your quotation and support that this is relevant. I'm not doing your homework for you again.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pm
David the apologist wrote: Fri Dec 31, 2021 7:51 pmAs for the latter, it can be explained by syncretism between pagan mystery cults (y'know, the kind that want to achieve apotheosis rather than resurrection) and Christianity itself.
So you were first arguing that the Jewishness of Christian resurrection is distinct enough to separate it from pagan ideas, but now you're claiming that a distinctly Jewish mystery cult isn't distinctive because it's syncretistic?
Christianity wasn't a mystery cult. If you're part of a mystery cult, you can't breath a word about the rituals or doctrines of said cult, let alone put them to writing. It's why we know next to nothing of Mithraism (to take just one example). With Christianity, we have references to the major rituals (Baptism and the Eucharist) in multiple documents with multiple authors, some of which (the synoptic gospels) at least appear to be intended for use in evangelism. That's kind of the opposite of a mystery cult.

Was Christianity a distinctly Jewish cult? Yes. What I'm taking issue with is the claim that it was a) syncretistic, and b) a mystery cult.
I'm not sure what you think you're arguing. Why does syncretism obviate claims of uniqueness only in the case of a mystery cult?

Or did I misunderstand your argument?
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pm
Or are you going to claim that the New Testament with its reliance on a distinctly Alexandrian set of scriptures is somehow immune to Egyptian syncretism?
I would claim that, if you want to show that Christianity is syncretistic, you need to do the following things:

1. Establish that the parallels between Christianity and some specific pagan myth are, in the words of Glenn Miller, "numerous, very 'striking', non-superficial, complex, within similar conceptual or narrative structures, detailed, have the same underlying ideas, are difficult to account for apart from borrowing, and are 'core' or 'central' to the story/image/motif enough to suspect borrowing."

2. Establish a plausible mechanism by which the borrowing occurred.
When you've done so for gnostic Christianity, then I'll know what your standard is. As it stands, the bulk of your argument has been to make sweeping, unsupported, and dubious assertions as fact, but nitpick and misrepresent the details of mine. Is there more to it than that?
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmSeeing as the Septuagint was the only real option for exposing the Greek-speaking world to Hebrew scriptures, I'm not sure how your point about the Septuagint being "distinctly Alexandrian" has anything to do with anything.
I'm not sure why you think that helps your argument. The reliance on Egyptian sources suggests Egyptian influence whether it's the "only real option" or not.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmThe "Alexandrian" scriptures were the only game in town if you wanted to expose the Greeks to any scriptures at all - and were, in any case, quite widely distributed and influential prior to Christianity, independently of distinctly Egyptian concepts (like Ma'at and burial rituals - you know, the kind of things the Egyptian myths you've been waving around are actually concerned with).
What's your support that it's independent? Your argument, after all, is that otherwise obvious similarities between Egyptian and Christian myths are misleading because of minor differences in detail. If you can somehow show that Alexandrian forms of Judaism weren't influenced by Alexandria, that might be valid.
David the apologist wrote: Sun Jan 02, 2022 2:36 pmThen why should the "inconsistencies" in the Christian accounts discredit them, if similar inconsistencies do not discredit secular sources?
Who said they did? You claimed earlier that inconsistencies between narratives somehow impacted Egyptian stories, but that the New Testament was apparently immune to them. Now you're claiming that inconsistencies don't matter. Which one is your claim? That the New Testament doesn't suffer from inconsistencies or that they don't matter?
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Re: A simple---but serious---question

Post #120

Post by Wootah »

Athetotheist wrote: Thu Dec 02, 2021 9:04 pm There are numerous god-men who died and rose from death in stories predating the time of Jesus. Considering the notable differences between the gospel accounts, and particularly the differences between the accounts of Jesus's supposed resurrection, here's a question for gospel apologists to think seriously about:

There are four resurrection accounts about Jesus in the Christian gospels. If the exact same accounts, with the exact same differences, were written about Osiris, Tammuz, Attis or any such god-man other than Jesus, would Christian apologists find all of those accounts believable?

And if they wouldn't find all of them believable, would they find any of them believable?
I think, as a Westerner, that I just use the evidence and deduce what is reasonable in each case. The denial of the evidence for Jesus resurrection seems to me to be emotional and people not liking what it means for their lives.
Proverbs 18:17 The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

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