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Fc dofep
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#31
06-05-2009
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Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
Why ask questions to which you assume you already know the answer? That is not much of a question is it? Unless you were just wanting to give your own personal opinion as well I suppose.
I asked the question to see what other people's thoughts were. I gave my own answer to the question and a few reasons for believing it. To which I would state it is actually a fact that Jesus is the greatest martyr of all time but I know the kids in here will just be ready to hang me for uttering those words, "fact" and "jesus" in the same sentence.


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Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
Of course he could have ran. Although technically, I would argue that he himself didn't choose to die for the people, he was just being obedient to his father's will. But then the trinity comes into play, and all these non religious peeps start tripping. So I needn't say more. That can be another debate in and of itself, and I don't want to get into that. Mike has already sufficed for that sort of indulgence.
I would argue the same as you based on my faith.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
And why do you say according to historians? It is also according to the bible. Don't you know that? Or are you just being secular friendly?
I didn't want to bring in the Bible yet. I knew kids on here would immediately respond negatively if I did. But then again, I also thought they were less ignorant than they actually are. I was trying to leave religion completely out of the argument and only argue his martyrdom from a historical standpoint, to which they immediately tried to bring religion back in. I know it's hard to leave it out considering Jesus is the focal point of Christianity, but I figured I could try.




Quote:
Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
True. I remember National Geographic had a TV series a while back devoted to the top influences of the world, whether it be bad or good. They listed people, religion, countries, rules, history, wars, genocides, events, etc. Number one ended up being Jesus. Whether you believe in Christianity and/or Jesus or don't believe in Christianity and/or Jesus is irrelevant. If you argue against Jesus' impact on the world you are a flat out idiot. Just as I don't follow/believe in most of Islamic teachings, but I can attest that Mohamed has impacted life on a worldwide scale. And I certainly am not a Nazi, yet I can agree that Hitler's impact on the world is immeasurable and undeniable.
Agreed.



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Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
If everyone treated one another better than themselves, life would be incomprehensible. Think about it. Cannot even picture that sort of world. Although many will argue that if people strive to be like Gandhi or Mother Teresa you would also get the same outcome, so why does it have to be Jesus?
You are right, but the Bible is more well known and easily accessible. To which I would say Mother Teresa was devout Catholic and I would argue she used the Bible as her teachings.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sC DeLAy View Post
But in their fictionalization they can be martyred. So why limit the question to a fictional or non-fictional person? If Jesus is fictional, then wow, that proves the point of his global impact even more so I think. Most non-fictional people cannot even do that. Ultimately saying that Jesus was fictional or non-fictional is pointless, doesn't change the way, or the people, that he impacts.
Agreed.




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#32
06-05-2009
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Originally Posted by Fc dofep View Post
I asked the question to see what other people's thoughts were. I gave my own answer to the question and a few reasons for believing it. To which I would state it is actually a fact that Jesus is the greatest martyr of all time but I know the kids in here will just be ready to hang me for uttering those words, "fact" and "jesus" in the same sentence.
Okay, fair enough, that is what I assumed. Yeah, I don't get the fuss about proving Jesus' existence or not when it comes to seculars, it is not like people would actually believe in Him just because they found out He really did exist, if there was a way to prove so. And even more so, what makes people believe that some people existed, but not others? Why not take every person from history and question their existence? When I was a secular for a good portion of my life, I still believed Jesus existed, I just did not believe He was God. That is just me though.

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I would argue the same as you based on my faith.
Good boy.

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I didn't want to bring in the Bible yet. I knew kids on here would immediately respond negatively if I did. But then again, I also thought they were less ignorant than they actually are. I was trying to leave religion completely out of the argument and only argue his martyrdom from a historical standpoint, to which they immediately tried to bring religion back in. I know it's hard to leave it out considering Jesus is the focal point of Christianity, but I figured I could try.
Yes, it is hard to leave it out when discussing about Jesus. I love how many people in here to have completely dodged your original question, and they all just whine about Jesus not ever existing and stating all these things that were nothing do with your OP. You should edit your OP and say 'hypothetically, for argumnets sake, let us assume Jesus did exist. With that, do you think he was the greatest martyr in history?'

Or something similar to that. Otherwise, people will never address the real question here.

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You are right, but the Bible is more well known and easily accessible. To which I would say Mother Teresa was devout Catholic and I would argue she used the Bible as her teachings.
Yeah. I was just being 'Devil's Advocate' sort of. I know what you are saying. And yes, Mother Teresa was a devout Catholic, so her beliefs undoubtedly aspired from Jesus too.

Overall, good posting man. I was just ruffling the feathers a bit, trying to understand more of your intentions and stuff. Nice post, nice thread. Good luck with the flaming, as always comes from the religion debate section.

Oh, and as for myself, I do think Jesus was obviously the greatest and most significant martyr of all time. Although I do immense respect to Paul, Stephen, and the apostles for their faith to be martyred as well. Especially in the given conditions of their times. Specifically Paul because he once killed Christians, until he turned his life around. And Stephen, because he was the first ever martyred for Jesus in recorded history.

Pretty crazyness if you ask me.
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#33
08-05-2009
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I say it's master chief... because he fights side by side with elites that look like walking penises and the marines are a bunch of fagots with the crappiest AI ever.
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#34
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by General AI View Post
You do realize that there are several other "Prophets" who had an identical story to Jesus Christ (born from a Virgin mother, had 12 disciples, went around doing miracles, were crucified, died, and resurrected 3 days later)? Really, Jesus' life story is not original, and we've been over this a lot in the forum.

Use the search button (try looking for "Horus").
Actually, the Horus story is completely unlike the Jesus/Krishna/etc. story.
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#35
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by General AI View Post
I'm arguing that since Jesus probably never existed, he could not be a martyr or a "man who has such a strong impact on the world".
What the hell are you talking about? Almost all historians and scholars believe that a man named Jesus Christ not only existed, but that he was born a Jew from Galilee, baptized by John the Baptist, accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and -- on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate -- sentenced to death by crucifixion.

And you can't downplay the impact he has had on the world, regardless of whether or not he's the son of God.

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Originally Posted by General AI View Post
That's like me saying that Harry Potter is a great hero because destroyed Voldemort. Jesus is a character.
No, it's not.
A man's errors are his portals of discovery. -- James Joyce
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#36
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by ReVeLaTioN View Post
What the hell are you talking about? Almost all historians and scholars believe that a man named Jesus Christ not only existed, but that he was born a Jew from Galilee, baptized by John the Baptist, accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and -- on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate -- sentenced to death by crucifixion.
Care to cite any of these scholars and historians? Of course not, because other than the authors of the gospels (written well after the time they discuss), nobody mentions him. Not a single firsthand account.
Spoiler!
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#37
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Care to cite any of these scholars and historians? Of course not, because other than the authors of the gospels (written well after the time they discuss), nobody mentions him. Not a single firsthand account.
WRONG...

The Romans attacked Israel around 70 A.D. and destroyed many of the writings from that era and before. It isn't hard to believe that many of the first hand accounts of Jesus would be destroyed in the razing. Which, actually, is what many historians do believe. Go to history class sometime. But there are accounts of Jesus from outside of the Bible still. These are some historians of that era.

Jesus is referred to in history by the first-century Roman, Tacitus. He is considered one of the best historians of the time.

The Babylonian Talmud refers to Jesus' crucifixion.

Flavius Josephus, a jewish historian of the time, refers to Jesus in his writings.

Lucian of Samosata was a greek that also referred to Jesus and talks about how he was worshiped by the people.

There are more but I figure these should do for now. You ask for historians today, I give you the known historians from then. Who were not affiliated with Christ at the time... That's why MOST historians of today believe he existed. Whether they believe he is their God is up to them. That's not the argument anyway.

And before you blast me and say, oh, you're just some Christian and you believe what the Bible tells you blah blah blah.... I am a historian first. All throughout high school and through my first semester of college, I had no religion. An atheist if you will. Finally, I decided on a religion, which is unimportant to the cause here. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I am attacked without reason.




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#38
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Care to cite any of these scholars and historians?
Yeah.

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Originally Posted by Fc dofep View Post
Jesus is referred to in history by the first-century Roman, Tacitus. He is considered one of the best historians of the time.

The Babylonian Talmud refers to Jesus' crucifixion.

Flavius Josephus, a jewish historian of the time, refers to Jesus in his writings.

Lucian of Samosata was a greek that also referred to Jesus and talks about how he was worshiped by the people.
That should be enough.
A man's errors are his portals of discovery. -- James Joyce
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#39
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by davobrosia View Post
Care to cite any of these scholars and historians? Of course not, because other than the authors of the gospels (written well after the time they discuss), nobody mentions him. Not a single firsthand account.
so just a question when do you feel the Gospels were written? Also lets just assume that the Gospels were not written in the 1st century how many years in between his life and the writing of the Gospels would make them unreliable in the context of looking at ancient sources?
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Dark Night of The Soul: St. John of the Cross
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1 Cor 2:6-7 "Yet among the mature we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to perish. But we speak God's wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory."
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#40
08-05-2009
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Originally Posted by Fc dofep View Post
WRONG...
The Romans attacked Israel around 70 A.D. and destroyed many of the writings from that era and before. It isn't hard to believe that many of the first hand accounts of Jesus would be destroyed in the razing. Which, actually, is what many historians do believe. Go to history class sometime. But there are accounts of Jesus from outside of the Bible still. These are some historians of that era.
Oh, how convenient.
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Jesus is referred to in history by the first-century Roman, Tacitus. He is considered one of the best historians of the time.
Tacitus was born in 64CE.
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He gives a brief mention of a "Christus" in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus' mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote the Annals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.
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In the "Annals" of Tacitus, the Roman historian, there is another short passage which speaks of "Christus" as being the founder of a party called Christians--a body of people "who were abhorred for their crimes." These words occur in Tacitus' account of the burning of Rome. The evidence for this passage is not much stronger than that for the passage in Josephus. It was not quoted by any writer before the fifteenth century; and when it was quoted, there was only one copy of the "Annals" in the world; and that copy was supposed to have been made in the eighth century--six hundred years after Tacitus' death. The "Annals" were published between 115 and 117 A.D., nearly a century after Jesus' time--so the passage, even if genuine, would not prove anything as to Jesus.
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The Babylonian Talmud refers to Jesus' crucifixion.
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Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu (a common name in Jewish literature) in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Jesus, according to Gerald Massey actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. [Massey] Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud got written between the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion! At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian and pagan legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.
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Flavius Josephus, a jewish historian of the time, refers to Jesus in his writings.

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About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and as a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvellous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.
This passage is called the Testimonium Flavianum, and is sometimes cited by propagandists as independent confirmation of Jesus' existence and resurrection. However, there is excellent reason to suppose that this passage was not written in its present form by Josephus, but was either inserted or amended by later Christians:
The early Christian writer Origen claims that Josephus did NOT recognize Jesus as the Messiah, in direct contradiction to the above passage, where Josephus says, "He was the Messiah." Thus, we may conclude that this particular phrase at least was a later insertion. (The version given above was, however, known to Jerome and in the time of Eusebius. Jerome's Latin version, however, renders "He was the Messiah" by "He was believed to be the Christ.") Furthermore, other early Christian writers fail to cite this passage, even though it would have suited their purposes to do so. There is thus firm evidence that this passage was tampered with at some point, even if parts of it do date back to Josephus.
The passage is highly pro-Christian. It is hard to imagine that Josephus, a Pharisaic Jew, would write such a laudatory passage about a man supposedly killed for blasphemy. Indeed, the passage seems to make Josephus himself out to be a Christian, which was certainly not the case.
Many Biblical scholars reject the entire Testimonium Flavianum as a later Christian insertion. However, some maintain that Josephus's work originally did refer to Jesus, but that Christian copyists later expanded and made the text more favorable to Jesus. These scholars cite such phrases as "tribe of Christians" and "wise man" as being atypical Christian usages, but plausible if coming from a first century Palestinian Jew. Of course, a suitably clever Christian wishing to "dress up" Josephus would not have much trouble imitating his style.
Philip Burns (pib@merle.acns.nwu.edu) has provided some of the following material on the following alternate versions or reconstructions of the Testimonium Flavianum.
One possible reconstruction of the Testimonium Flavianum, suggested by James Charlesworth, goes like this, with probably Christian interpolations enclosed in brackets:
About this time there was Jesus, a wise man, [if indeed one ought to call him a man]. For he was one who performed surprising works, and) a teacher of people who with pleasure received the unusual. He stirred up both many Jews and also many of the Greeks. [He was the Christ.] And when Pilate condemned him to the cross, since he was accused by the first-rate men among us, those who had been loving (him from) the first did not cease (to cause trouble), [for he appeared to them on the third day, having life again, as the prophets of God had foretold these and countless other marvelous things about him]. And until now the tribe of Christians, so named from him, is not (yet?) extinct.
In Charlesworth's version, references to Jesus' resurrection, Messiahship, and possible divinity ("if indeed one ought to call him a man") are removed. These elements are clearly unacceptable coming from a non-Christian Jew such as Josephus. If in fact Josephus's original text mentioned Jesus at all, it was certainly much closer to this version than to the highly pro-Christian one which has survived. One possible problem with Charlesworth's reconstruction is the use of the term "Christians"--it is not clear from the reconstructed text why "Christians" would be named after Jesus, unless Josephus had previously referred to him as "Christ". It seems inconsistent to delete the reference to Jesus being "Christ", but to keep the suggestion that this is how Christians got their name.
A reconstruction by F.F. Bruce sidesteps this particular problem by having Josephus take a more hostile stance towards Jesus:
"Now there arose about this time a source of further trouble in one Jesus, a wise man who performed surprising works, a teacher of men who gladly welcome strange things. He led away many Jews, and also many of the Gentiles. He was the so-called Christ. When Pilate, acting on information supplied by the chief men among us, condemned him to the cross, those who had attached themselves to him at first did not cease to cause trouble, and the tribe of Christians, which has taken this name from him, is not extinct even today.
Bruce's version also seems somewhat inconsistent, calling Jesus a "wise man" while also identifying him as a source of trouble and as someone who "led away many Jews". A further problem concerns the reference to Jesus's ministry among the Gentiles. In Jesus: A Historian's Review of the Gospels, Michael Grant argues that Jesus in fact avoided ministering to Gentiles, and that a Christian Gentile ministry arose only after his death. If Grant is right, then Josephus is confusing the actions of Jesus with the actions of the early Christian church.
A late Arabic recension of this passage in Josephus comes from Agapius's Book of the Title, a history of the world from its beginning to 941/942 C.E. Agapius was a tenth century Christian Arab and Melkite bishop of Hierapolis. The following translation is by S. Pines:
"Similarly Josephus, the Hebrew. For he says in the treatises that he has written on the governance (?) of the Jews: "At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. His conduct was good, and he was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. But those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion, and that he was alive; accordingly he was perhaps the Messiah, concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders."
While some have argued that this passage may be close to the original, one should note especially that this version is from a much later text, and that Josephus at least admits the possibility that Jesus was the Messiah, which seems unlikely. These two facts make this version suspect. In fact, E. Bammel argues that the passage reflects the conflicts between Christianity and Islam in Agapius's time, rather than being a genuine reflection of the original text.
The consensus, if there is such a thing, would seem to be that:
The Testimonium Flavianium preserved in the extant Greek is not the original text. At best, certain phrases within it are later Christian insertions. At worst, the entire passage is a later insertion.
In particular, Josephus probably did not claim that Jesus was the Messiah, or that he rose from the dead. At best, he only confirms that Jesus existed and perhaps was killed by Pilate.
Josephus apparently refers to Jesus in passing later in the "Antiquities", where we find this passage:
"so he [Ananus, son of Ananus the high priest] assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before him the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and someothers (or some of his companions) and when he had formed an accusation against them, he delivered them to be stoned." (Antiquities 20.9.1)
Opinion about this passage is mixed. Some scholars believe that it is a later Christian insertion, like the Testimonium Flavianium may be, but of course much less blatantly so. Others believe that the passage may in fact be genuine. No adequate means of deciding the issue exists at this time. However, those who argue for Jesus's non-existence note that Josephus spends much more time discussing John the Baptist and various other supposed Messiahs than he does discussing Jesus. However, while there is some reason to believe that this second passage is a fabrication, there is not enough evidence to definitely conclude this.
On the whole, it seems at least plausible that Josephus made some references to Jesus in the original version of Antiquities of the Jews. However, the extent of these references is very uncertain, and clear evidence of textual corruption does exist. While Josephus may be the best non-Christian source on Jesus, that is not saying much.
More detailed information and references to other discussions on Josephus may be found in:
Bruce, F. F. Jesus and Christian Origins Outside the New Testament. Eerdmans, 1974.
Charlesworth, James H. Jesus Within Judaism. Doubleday (Anchor Books) 1988.
France, Richard T. The Evidence for Jesus. Intervarsity Press, 1986.
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Not a single writer before the 4th century . not Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, etc. . in all their defences against pagan hostility, makes a single reference to Josephus’ wondrous words.
The third century Church 'Father' Origen, for example, spent half his life and a quarter of a million words contending against the pagan writer Celsus. Origen drew on all sorts of proofs and witnesses to his arguments in his fierce defence of Christianity. He quotes from Josephus extensively. Yet even he makes no reference to this 'golden paragraph' from Josephus, which would have been the ultimate rebuttal. In fact, Origen actually said that Josephus was "not believing in Jesus as the Christ."

Origen did not quote the 'golden paragraph' because this paragraph had not yet been written.

It was absent from early copies of the works of Josephus and did not appear in Origen's third century version of Josephus, referenced in his Contra Celsum.
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Lucian of Samosata was a greek that also referred to Jesus and talks about how he was worshiped by the people.
Born circa 125CE.

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There are more but I figure these should do for now. You ask for historians today, I give you the known historians from then. Who were not affiliated with Christ at the time... That's why MOST historians of today believe he existed. Whether they believe he is their God is up to them. That's not the argument anyway.
What? None of them--not one--could have been an eyewitness.
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And before you blast me and say, oh, you're just some Christian and you believe what the Bible tells you blah blah blah.... I am a historian first. All throughout high school and through my first semester of college, I had no religion. An atheist if you will. Finally, I decided on a religion, which is unimportant to the cause here. I just wanted to get that out of the way before I am attacked without reason.
You're a bad historian.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ReVeLaTioN View Post
Yeah.
That should be enough.
You don't really know what a citation is, huh?

Quote:
Originally Posted by babygoose View Post
so just a question when do you feel the Gospels were written? Also lets just assume that the Gospels were not written in the 1st century how many years in between his life and the writing of the Gospels would make them unreliable in the context of looking at ancient sources?
My feelings have nothing to do with this. They
Mark came first, and the others were based on it.
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The Gospel of Mark knows nothing of the virgin birth, of the Sermon on the Mount, of the Lord's prayer, or of other important facts of the supposed life of Christ. These features were added by Matthew and Luke.

But the Gospel of Mark, as we have it, is not the original Mark. In the same way that the writers of Matthew and Luke copied and enlarged the Gospel of Mark, Mark copied and enlarged an earlier document which is called the "original Mark." This original source perished in the early age of the Church. What it was, who wrote it, where it was written, nobody knows. The Gospel of John is admitted by Christian scholars to be an unhistorical document. They acknowledge that it is not a life of Christ, but an interpretation of him; that it gives us an idealized and spiritualized picture of what Christ is supposed to have been, and that it is largely composed of the speculations of Greek philosophy. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, which are called the "Synoptic Gospels," on the one hand, and the Gospel of John, on the other, stand at opposite extremes of thought. So complete is the difference between the teaching of the first three Gospels and that of the fourth, that every critic admits that if Jesus taught as the Synoptics relate, he could not possibly have taught as John declares. Indeed, in the first three Gospels and in the fourth, we meet with two entirely different Christs. Did I say two? It should be three; for, according to Mark, Christ was a man; according to Matthew and Luke, he was a demigod; while John insists that he was God himself.

There is not the smallest fragment of trustworthy evidence to show that any of the Gospels were in existence, in their present form, earlier than a hundred years after the time at which Christ is supposed to have died. Christian scholars, having no reliable means by which to fix the date of their composition, assign them to as early an age as their calculations and their guesses will allow; but the dates thus arrived at are far removed from the age of Christ or his apostles. We are told that Mark was written some time after the year 70, Luke about 110, Matthew about 130, and John not earlier than 140 A.D. Let me impress upon you that these dates are conjectural, and that they are made as early as possible. The first historical mention of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke, was made by the Christian Father, St. Irenaeus, about the year 190 A.D. The only earlier mention of any of the Gospels was made by Theopholis of Antioch, who mentioned the Gospel of John in 180 A.D.

There is absolutely nothing to show that these Gospels--the only sources of authority as to the existence of Christ--were written until a hundred and fifty years after the events they pretend to describe. Walter R. Cassels, the learned author of "Supernatural Religion," one of the greatest works ever written on the origins of Christianity, says: "After having exhausted the literature and the testimony bearing on the point, we have not found a single distinct trace of any of those Gospels during the first century and a half after the death of Christ." How can Gospels which were not written until a hundred and fifty years after Christ is supposed to have died, and which do not rest on any trustworthy testimony, have the slightest value as evidence that he really lived? History must be founded upon genuine documents or on living proof. Were a man of to-day to attempt to write the life of a supposed character of a hundred and fifty years ago, without any historical documents upon which to base his narrative, his work would not be a history, it would be a romance. Not a single statement in it could be relied upon.
Christ is supposed to have been a Jew, and his disciples are said to have been Jewish fishermen. His language, and the language of his followers must, therefore, have been Aramaic--the popular language of Palestine in that age. But the Gospels are written in Greek--every one of them. Nor were they translated from some other language. Every leading Christian scholar since Erasmus, four hundred years ago, has maintained that they were originally written in Greek. This proves that they were not written by Christ's disciples, or by any of the early Christians. Foreign Gospels, written by unknown men, in a foreign tongue, several generations after the death of those who are supposed to have known the facts--such is the evidence relied upon to prove that Jesus lived.
But while the Gospels were written several generations too late to be of authority, the original documents, such as they were, were not preserved. The Gospels that were written in the second century no longer exist. They have been lost or destroyed. The oldest Gospels that we have are supposed to be copies of copies of copies that were made from those Gospels. We do not know who made these copies; we do not know when they were made; nor do we know whether they were honestly made. Between the earliest Gospels and the oldest existing manuscripts of the New Testament, there is a blank gulf of three hundred years. It is, therefore, impossible to say what the original Gospels contained.
Spurious or genuine, let us see what the Gospels can tell us about the life of Jesus. Matthew and Luke give us the story of his genealogy. How do they agree? Matthew says there were forty-one generations from Abraham to Jesus. Luke says there were fifty-six. Yet both pretend to give the genealogy of Joseph, and both count the generations! Nor is this all. The Evangelists disagree on all but two names between David and Christ. These worthless genealogies show how much the New Testament writers knew about the ancestors of their hero.

If Jesus lived, he must have been born. When was he born? Matthew says he was born when Herod was King of Judea. Luke says he was born when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria. He could not have been born during the administration of these tow rulers for Herod died in the year 4 B.C., and Cyrenius, who, in Roman history is Quirinius, did not become Governor of Syria until ten years later. Herod and Quirinius are separated by the whole reign of Archelaus, Herod's son. Between Matthew and Luke, there is, therefore, a contradiction of at least ten years, as to the time of Christ's birth. The fact is that the early Christians had absolutely no knowledge as to when Christ was born. The Encyclopaedia Britannica says: "Christians count one hundred and thirty-three contrary opinions of different authorities concerning the year the Messiah appeared on earth." Think of it--one hundred and thirty-three different years, each one of which is held to be the year in which Christ came into the world. What magnificent certainty!

Towards the close of the eighteenth century, Antonmaria Lupi, a learned Jesuit, wrote a work to show that the nativity of Christ has been assigned to every month in the year, at one time or another.

Where was Christ born? According to the Gospels, he was habitually called "Jesus of Nazareth." The New Testament writers have endeavored to leave the impression that Nazareth of Galilee was his home town. The Synoptic Gospels represent that thirty years of his life were spent there. Notwithstanding this, Matthew declares that he was born in Bethlehem in fulfillment of a prophecy in the Book of Micah. But the prophecy of Micah has nothing whatever to do with Jesus; it prophesies the coming of a military leader, not a divine teacher. Matthew's application of this prophecy to Christ strengthens the suspicion that his Gospel is not history, but romance. Luke has it that his birth occurred at Bethlehem, whither his mother had gone with her husband, to make the enrollment called for by Augustus Caesar. Of the general census mentioned by Luke, nothing is known in Roman history. But suppose such a census was taken. The Roman custom, when an enrollment was made, was that every man was to report at his place of residence. The head of the family alone made report. In no case was his wife, or any dependent, required to be with him. In the face of this established custom, Luke declares that Joseph left his home in Nazareth and crossed two provinces to go Bethlehem for the enrollment; and not only this, but that he had to be accompanied by his wife, Mary, who was on the very eve of becoming a mother. This surely is not history, but fable. The story that Christ was born at Bethlehem was a necessary part of the program which made him the Messiah, and the descendant of King David. The Messiah had to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David; and by what Renan calls a roundabout way, his birth was made to take place there. The story of his birth in the royal city is plainly fictitious.

His home was Nazareth. He was called "Jesus of Nazareth"; and there he is said to have lived until the closing years of his life. Now comes the question--Was there a city of Nazareth in that age? The Encyclopaedia Biblica, a work written by theologians, the greatest biblical reference work in the English language, says: "We cannot perhaps venture to assert positively that there was a city of Nazareth in Jesus' time." No certainty that there was a city of Nazareth! Not only are the supposed facts of the life of Christ imaginary, but the city of his birth and youth and manhood existed, so far as we know, only on the map of mythology. What amazing evidence to prove the reality of a Divine man! Absolute ignorance as to his ancestry; nothing whatever known of the time of his birth, and even the existence of the city where he is said to have been born, a matter of grave question!

After his birth, Christ, as it were, vanishes out of existence, and with the exception of a single incident recorded in Luke, we hear absolutely nothing of him until he has reached the age of thirty years. The account of his being found discussing with the doctors in the Temple at Jerusalem when he was but twelve years old, is told by Luke alone. The other Gospels are utterly ignorant of this discussion; and, this single incident excepted, the four Gospels maintain an unbroken silence with regard to thirty years of the life of their hero. What is the meaning of this silence? If the writers of the Gospels knew the facts of the life of Christ, why is it that they tell us absolutely nothing of thirty years of that life? What historical character can be named whose life for thirty years is an absolute blank to the world? If Christ was the incarnation of God, if he was the greatest teacher the world has known, if he came to cave mankind from everlasting pain--was there nothing worth remembering in the first thirty years of his existence among men? The fact is that the Evangelists knew nothing of the life of Jesus, before his ministry; and they refrained from inventing a childhood, youth and early manhood for him because it was not necessary to their purpose.

Luke, however, deviated from the rule of silence long enough to write the Temple incident. The story of the discussion with the doctors in the Temple is proved to be mythical by all the circumstances that surround it. The statement that his mother and father left Jerusalem, believing that he was with them; that they went a day's journey before discovering that he was not in their company; and that after searching for three days, they found him in the Temple asking and answering questions of the learned Doctors, involves a series of tremendous improbabilities. Add to this the fact that the incident stands alone in Luke, surrounded by a period of silence covering thirty years; add further that none of the other writers have said a word of the child Jesus discussing with the scholars of their nation; and add again the unlikelihood that a child would appear before serious-minded men in the role of an intellectual champion and the fabulous character of the story becomes perfectly clear.
Not a single historian, philosopher, scribe, or follower who was alive during the time period in question mentions Jesus at all.
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Take, for example, the works of Philo Judaeus who's birth occurred in 20 B.C.E. and died 50 C.E. He lived as the greatest Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher and historian of the time and lived in the area of Jerusalem during the alleged life of Jesus. He wrote detailed accounts of the Jewish events that occurred in the surrounding area. Yet not once, in all of his volumes of writings, do we read a single account of a Jesus "the Christ." Nor do we find any mention of Jesus in Seneca's (4? B.C.E. - 65 C.E.) writings, nor from the historian Pliny the Elder (23? - 79 C.E.).
Spoiler!

Last edited by davobrosia; 08-05-2009 at 03:30 PM.
 

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