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Thread: Was Jesus real?

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    TOL Subscriber Zeke's Avatar
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    The literal isn't sustainable past the childness mentality level its meant for, once the age of mental accountability is reached the images of childhood become a wheel of vanity/slavery for the maturing Soul, But that is the common denominator of pablum fed to the masses by the religious rulers of this worlds who know better .


    Warning! please study the Heimlich Maneuver before watching.
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    Trying to awaken the divine principle in the belly of the fish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post

    This might have been true up until more recent times when more objective scholars currently are QUESTIONING and at least accepting as more probable or possible, the 'historical Jesus' presented in the gospels
    , since there is little or no comtemporaneous historical evidence for the Jesus of the gospels outside of the NT records themselves. Also note that christian theologians or bible teachers sponsored by christian schools and organizations have to tow the line and only support and promote a 'pro-historical-Jesus' model, since their very jobs and life-styles (besides personal faith investments) depend on it. (its a social-political bondage of sorts, until the knot of religious vice is freed, and here I only refer to 'religion' which falsely binds, but does not really spiritually liberate).

    > A Growiing Number of Scholars are Questining the Historical Existence of Jesus

    In the above article I do not endorse Joseph Atwill's theory of 'Ceasar's Messiah' shared towards the end, and neither do more credible non-christian scholars as well, but I'd have to research particular points more.

    ~*~*~


    Otherwise Richard Carrier's recent hallmark work 'On the historicity of Jesus' is the first peer reviewed book of such volume offering tenable data that allows a more honest critical look at questioning the historical Jesus of the gospel records, which supports the view of a celestial Jesus or divine-savior-figure found in Paul's letters who somehow comes down into our sphere or heavens above the earth, mediates a special redemptive act (crucifixion, burial, resurrection, ascension) and is then somehow placed or made into a historical figure incarnated among men on earth as portrayed in the gospel narratives (written decades later after Paul's letters), so was a celestial Messiah who later was 'historicized' and made to live on earth, and undergo his redemption drama in this sphere. (note that it may not matter where the 'drama' of salvation takes place, as long as the Christ-figure undergoes the experience somewhere, to then make it available to men in order to be 'efficacious' - it could just as well have happened in a sphere above the earth, in the lower heavens, but still communicated to man in figurative terms).

    Paul never mentions much at all about the earthly Jesus later romantacized in the gospels, never quotes his teachings or sayings from those records, his miralces, virgin birth, etc. His 'Jesus' is a celestial angel of sorts sent down into this sphere to enact some kind of redemption passion, death and drama, and is then taken back up, but all this translates on a psychological/spiritual level, and correlates or mirrors man's own process of soul-transformation,...with the ultimacy of this mortality putting on immortality, and this is what is most important to Paul, concerning this living Christ-figure, who is now become to us a 'life-giving spirit'.

    The whole gospel of Paul is given to him by only 2 means by his own testimony,....1) personal revelation.....and 2) allegorical interpretation of scriptures. (he himself boasts about it, that he received from no man!, this would include the original apostles of Jesus, which his gospel went couunter to, and later became more adversarial). On this deeper esoteric level, it is purely 'gnostic', since only by revelation of the Spirit is the key of secret knowledge knowledge given, and by one being "in Christ" is the mystery of the ages realized,...."Christ in you, the hope of glory". It is wholly spiritual, no matter what 'story' of Jesus is entertained, since it is 'allegorical' anyways. Therefore, the resurrection is ALWAYS SPIRITUAL, and this is a key to all mystery-schools. (one can entertain a concept of a physical body becoming spiritualized, or a soul continuing to enter into new bodies, but thats just 'cosmetics').

    After the death of the physical body, the soul is then raised in its spiritual body. - its actually quite natural process, one that does not need a carnalizing of the spiritual, as if the spirit need to get a physical body again. (the incorrupt does not go back into the corrupt). NO. - the 'natural' is first,...then the 'spiritual'. No one can prove Jesus is now in an immortalized physical human body somewhere, but to Paul he is a life giving spirit. If a celestial Jesus came down and took on a human body and became one with it somehow, no one can prove this Jesus exists anywhere, beyond such being a mere 'belief', or that Jesus abides in them somehow as a life-giving spirit (Christ in you), and is 'real' to that person by his own personal religious experience. - thats all one has, unless one can provide some criteria to prove or judge otherwise.

    For the most serious research into the question of Historicity, for debate and discussion is to take on Richard Carrier's thesis and particular points head on. (hes a good start at least as a primer of the mythicist view and certain particulars). Ralph Latasters book, which I'm reading now is good, almost finished, and he agrees with much of Carriers work, but has his own views, criticisms and preferences in his approach as well.

    > Questioning the Historicity of Jesus
    You obviously read. Have you read about Rabbi Akiba and the Tanaiim?

    The lack of evidence for a "historical" Jesus is largely because the Jews, under the influence of said Rabbi, did their damnedest to scrub it from the record of history.

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    Tradition's interpretation is like eating dry husk compared to the connection made here with the symbols in scripture' Galatians 4:24
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    Eclectic Theosophist freelight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wick Stick View Post
    You obviously read. Have you read about Rabbi Akiba and the Tanaiim?

    The lack of evidence for a "historical" Jesus is largely because the Jews, under the influence of said Rabbi, did their damnedest to scrub it from the record of history.
    References of Jesus in the Talmud or a lack thereof of correspondence with any records of non-Jesus believing Jews in the 1st century is problematic, as there are different persons named 'Jesus' and put in different time periods than the tradition dates. The Romans and other groups would have been competent enough to keep their own records without Jewish rabbis having the power to keep or alter such, so the lack of historical records in the general universal cultural context couldnt be because of some rabbis. I dont see that as very probable. The references we do have of a Jesus (there are different Jesus personalities) is interesting, but the lack thereof of records in general may be because of greater more varied factors than a Jewish attempt to eradicate records of the so called Jesus of the gospel narratives.

    It would seem the Bayes Theorem approach by Richard Carrier holds as far as determining what is most 'probable' concerning support for a 'historical' or 'mythical' Christ story, BASED on what actual historical evidence and records DO exist for the Jesus of the gospels. The 'Christ' of Paul appears to be more 'mythical' , a celestial Jesus model. It depends on the criteria and methodology being used to 'determine' what theory is most probable. The truth could be a mix of historicity, mixed personality applications, mythology and good mix of other elements that developed and produced the 'Jesus Story'. We could do a seperate study and commentary on the non Jesus believing Jewish records in the Talmud, etc. At this point, I find the 2 Josephus accounts both problematic, and non trustworthy. Thats another post

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    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    References of Jesus in the Talmud or a lack thereof of correspondence with any records of non-Jesus believing Jews in the 1st century is problematic...
    That's silly. The earliest parts of the Talmud weren't even written until about 200AD - the beginning of the 3rd century. You can't really expect 1st century writings on Christianity, when there aren't ANY 1st century Talmudic writings on ANY topic whatsoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    ...as there are different persons named 'Jesus' and put in different time periods than the tradition dates.
    The traditional dates are probably off by about 20 years. I tend to believe the time frames put forth by Ireneus of Lyons, who wrote ca 200AD, and (unlike the Biblical books) clearly wasn't heavily edited after the fact by Eusebius and co. He is, probably, the latest author who can claim a real apostolic succession to his writings, as well.

    The Romans and other groups would have been competent enough to keep their own records without Jewish rabbis having the power to keep or alter such, so the lack of historical records in the general universal cultural context couldnt be because of some rabbis. I dont see that as very probable.
    Roman "history" is problematic in itself. The Romans were not interested in preserving the history and culture of peoples they conquered.

    The opposite was the case. After conquering a people in military fashion, the Romans always sent a special envoy whose task was to wage cultural warfare on the people afterwards - someone tasked with "Romanizing" or "civilizing" the conquered peoples through the destruction or re-writing of their traditions. The title given this envoy might seem familiar - apostolos.

    Anyway, where the Romans record foreign history, it is only ever political: a showcase of the Roman triumph over such cultures. One cannot look to the Romans for such records.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    The references we do have of a Jesus (there are different Jesus personalities) is interesting, but the lack thereof of records in general may be because of greater more varied factors than a Jewish attempt to eradicate records of the so-called Jesus of the gospel narratives.
    Yeshua/Yehoshua was a common name. More importantly, it was a name loaded with prophetic/messianic significance to the Jews, because of what is written in the book of Zechariah. A multiplicity of Jesus'es with messianic ties was unavoidable. They aren't all the same person.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    It would seem the Bayes Theorem approach by Richard Carrier holds as far as determining what is most 'probable' concerning support for a 'historical' or 'mythical' Christ story, BASED on what actual historical evidence and records DO exist for the Jesus of the gospels. The 'Christ' of Paul appears to be more 'mythical' , a celestial Jesus model. It depends on the criteria and methodology being used to 'determine' what theory is most probable. The truth could be a mix of historicity, mixed personality applications, mythology and good mix of other elements that developed and produced the 'Jesus Story'. We could do a seperate study and commentary on the non Jesus believing Jewish records in the Talmud, etc.
    I'm hoping my foregoing comments call a lot of that into question for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    At this point, I find the 2 Josephus accounts both problematic, and non trustworthy. Thats another post
    It's clear they were pious forgeries, added after the fact. I discount those as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jzeidler View Post
    What is your opinion? Was there a historical Jesus? If so who was he? If not what evidence do you have that Jesus wasn't real. Keep the discussion civil. I look forward to reading your posts.
    I know Jesus is real because I can hear the wisdom of God in him, no man can just make what he says up, he's full of the Holy Spirit and once we know God, we can clearly hear the Spirit in him. And he's the son of God. He would have to have power and wisdom from God to live and speak as he did. He's not a figment of the imagination, and he most definitely came here and walked the earth as a man.

    And even Josephus who was a Jewish historian born after Jesus lived, mentions Jesus and those that follow him in his writings.

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    Over 4000 post club Caino's Avatar
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    Yes, he was real, he is still real, what he taught in the original gospel was true, and it is still true.

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    Eclectic Theosophist freelight's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Historical and allegorical interpretations......

    Quote Originally Posted by Wick Stick View Post
    That's silly. The earliest parts of the Talmud weren't even written until about 200AD - the beginning of the 3rd century. You can't really expect 1st century writings on Christianity, when there aren't ANY 1st century Talmudic writings on ANY topic whatsoever.
    Well, the issue of potential accounts availaibe made contemporaneously to the time is debatable, since if we assume the gospels were written in the first century sometime (some hold later dates for gospels, into 2nd century), why not other colloborative ACTUAL eyewitness accounts?, outside those gospels themselves? All we have is Mark, which the other synoptics use for their own narratives (John using some elements besides his own contributions), with their own added embellishments.....while other no longer extant writings ('Q' or otherwise) are only 'hypothetical sources'.

    There are no primary sources documents apart from Mark or the gospels themselves, concerning the earthly gospel version of Jesus, being its own self-reference
    . The gospels themselves can be examined critically from different criteria-perspectives to establish 'historicity' ....probablistically speaking. Some contend the gospels read like more fictional myth narratives, not actual historical biographies.

    The traditional dates are probably off by about 20 years. I tend to believe the time frames put forth by Ireneus of Lyons, who wrote ca 200AD, and (unlike the Biblical books) clearly wasn't heavily edited after the fact by Eusebius and co. He is, probably, the latest author who can claim a real apostolic succession to his writings, as well.
    Dont get us going on good ole Eusebius - I've a few more deeper studies here, and find Tatian's Diatessaron most interesting in regard to gospel harmony formations. As a liberal gnostic I also enjoy the gnostic gospels, apocryphal and intertestamental writings, which chart the evolutional flow of the Messianic figure in time.

    Roman "history" is problematic in itself. The Romans were not interested in preserving the history and culture of peoples they conquered.
    Maybe so, but of all the Romans scholars and recorders of the time, none speak of a 'Jesus of Nazereth', or even a 'Jesus, son of Joseph/Mary', or even a positive ID on this special 'Jesus' (the gospel version Jesus) which is somewhat significant. God incarnate walking the earth?! Not a trace or eyewitness, no contemporaneous accounts, not a peep. - only later non-christian records of christians existing (the belief or following existing), or various messiah figures arising, or some 'Chrestus', etc. (the debate over use of 'Christ' and 'Chrestus' in some of the scant records also somewhat notable and confused).

    The opposite was the case. After conquering a people in military fashion, the Romans always sent a special envoy whose task was to wage cultural warfare on the people afterwards - someone tasked with "Romanizing" or "civilizing" the conquered peoples through the destruction or re-writing of their traditions. The title given this envoy might seem familiar - apostolos.
    Maybe in some respects, but this opens the door to other 'conspiracy' epics, like posed by Joseph Atwill, considered pretty 'fringe'

    Anyway, where the Romans record foreign history, it is only ever political: a showcase of the Roman triumph over such cultures. One cannot look to the Romans for such records.
    Maybe in some respects, and if the case somewhat...note that christian interpolators were ever busying themselves tucking passages in here and there to support their cause.

    Yeshua/Yehoshua was a common name. More importantly, it was a name loaded with prophetic/messianic significance to the Jews, because of what is written in the book of Zechariah. A multiplicity of Jesus'es with messianic ties was unavoidable. They aren't all the same person.
    Yep. There is the theory that Jesus may be a mixture of historical personalities and mythic elements (archetypal personality) woven into one, then historicized into a particular space and time upon which the building of Christianity was constructed, and that 'building' took its own various evolutional 'forms', and like a tree...grew its own branches.


    I'm hoping my foregoing comments call a lot of that into question for you.
    Well, Richard Carrier's specialty and major is Roman history, and his recent work speaks for itself, - Im only reading Ralph Lataster's book, and have not yet read Richard Carrier's seminal work here. - its fairly spendy, and I align more with Lataster in a more liberal philosophical sense (he takes an agnostic historical Jesus view, more friendly to religion and even pantheism, although a committed atheist in the traditional sense).

    It's clear they were pious forgeries, added after the fact. I discount those as well.
    Carrier also makes this case with documentation, reasons in his books, articles.

    At this point Carrier is bringing new more modern day and critical historical 'methodology' to the historical Jesus question, worth a look into, since this now spearheading a more inclusive acceptance of the 'mythicist' position on Jesus being a invisible celestial being historicized (incarnating) in time upon whose motif a whole religion sprang. NOTE: - whether you accept a histotical fleshly Jesus or a mythological Jesus, - no difference except in HOW one assumes or interprets the STORY. - this is another significant issue about the subject,....the 'story' still can be used to communicate religious meanings, spiritual values, moral principles, esoteric truths, allegorical precepts, ETC.

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    Eclectic Theosophist freelight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caino View Post
    Yes, he was real, he is still real, what he taught in the original gospel was true, and it is still true.


    You know I'm always pro-Jesus, and enjoy studies of Jesus in all the extant schools, traditions and revelations claiming to be of Jesus, by Jesus or 'Christ-friendly'. I'm just diving into these more critical secular studies and researching the historical and mythical elements of the 'Christ-story',..trusting some value and fruit will come forth in the process and conclusions discovered - I havent abandoned the "faith" of God or "faith" in Deity, although some of the fundagelicals here might assume other wise, since some are buggering on ingorance, easy believism and tradition, afraid to think 'outside the box'.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    Well, the issue of potential accounts availaibe made contemporaneously to the time is debatable, since if we assume the gospels were written in the first century sometime (some hold later dates for gospels, into 2nd century), why not other colloborative ACTUAL eyewitness accounts?, outside those gospels themselves? All we have is Mark, which the other synoptics use for their own narratives (John using some elements besides his own contributions), with their own added embellishments.....while other no longer extant writings ('Q' or otherwise) are only 'hypothetical sources'.

    There are no primary sources documents apart from Mark or the gospels themselves, concerning the earthly gospel version of Jesus, being its own self-reference. The gospels themselves can be examined critically from different criteria-perspectives to establish 'historicity' ....probablistically speaking. Some contend the gospels read like more fictional myth narratives, not actual historical biographies.
    There's always more written than you think. Since you are of a gnostic bent, you really ought to be aware of the gospel of Thomas, a progressive work whose earliest parts pre-date Mark. There's also Secret Mark, which appends some small amount to the former work. The gospel of Judas. The gospel of Peter. Pretty much the first column on this site:

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/

    If there is no historical Jesus, how is it that his brothers were held as equals to the apostles in the early church? What do we do with the 1st century books of James and Jude?

    Maybe so, but of all the Romans scholars and recorders of the time, none speak of a 'Jesus of Nazereth', or even a 'Jesus, son of Joseph/Mary', or even a positive ID on this special 'Jesus' (the gospel version Jesus) which is somewhat significant. God incarnate walking the earth?! Not a trace or eyewitness, no contemporaneous accounts, not a peep. - only later non-christian records of christians existing (the belief or following existing), or various messiah figures arising, or some 'Chrestus', etc. (the debate over use of 'Christ' and 'Chrestus' in some of the scant records also somewhat notable and confused).
    Okay, but they speak of a sect of Nazirites or Nasori. The existence of both Peter and arch-rival / NT villain Simon Magus are substantiated. That's something, and something is more than I would expect from the Romans, whose main contributions were to raze the local architecture, and replace it with their own.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    Maybe in some respects, but this opens the door to other 'conspiracy' epics, like posed by Joseph Atwill, considered pretty 'fringe'
    I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but have you heard this one?

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    Yep. There is the theory that Jesus may be a mixture of historical personalities and mythic elements (archetypal personality) woven into one, then historicized into a particular space and time upon which the building of Christianity was constructed, and that 'building' took its own various evolutional 'forms', and like a tree...grew its own branches.
    Have you read Ecclesiasticus/Sirach? The Dead Sea Scrolls on the "teacher of Righteousness" (and wicked priest) are also fascinating.

    At this point Carrier is bringing new more modern day and critical historical 'methodology' to the historical Jesus question, worth a look into, since this now spearheading a more inclusive acceptance of the 'mythicist' position on Jesus being a invisible celestial being historicized (incarnating) in time upon whose motif a whole religion sprang. NOTE: - whether you accept a histotical fleshly Jesus or a mythological Jesus, - no difference except in HOW one assumes or interprets the STORY. - this is another significant issue about the subject,....the 'story' still can be used to communicate religious meanings, spiritual values, moral principles, esoteric truths, allegorical precepts, ETC.
    I have a hard time taking someone seriously who has made their living advancing one side of the debate as a partisan. Alas but that goes for both sides. Is neutrality really too much to ask for? I guess it doesn't sell books.

    For myself, it is a question of what is type and what is anti-type. Is Jesus part of the pattern? Or is He the substance, the corporeal projection of that pattern? In Paul's letter to the Colossians (ca 50-80 AD), he strongly advances Jesus as corporeal. Consider Colossians 1:15:

    [Jesus] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

    I wish the translators had sacked up and used stronger language... Paul's point is that:

    He is the idol of the invisible God.

    That's what εἰκών really means. God forbid idols of stone and wood, because He intended to provide the idol Himself, in the form of a man. Or... at least that's what I believe.

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    there are many historical accounts of James the Just and most if not all of them always add "the brother of Jesus" when they first say his name.

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    Red face Pin points.......

    Quote Originally Posted by Wick Stick View Post
    There's always more written than you think. Since you are of a gnostic bent, you really ought to be aware of the gospel of Thomas, a progressive work whose earliest parts pre-date Mark. There's also Secret Mark, which appends some small amount to the former work. The gospel of Judas. The gospel of Peter. Pretty much the first column on this site:

    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/
    See our Gospel of Thomas thread here,...we are about near sayings 50, continuing a commentary on the text. Quincy and I also did a whole commentary on GOT in our 'Gnostic Cosmology' thread (no longer extant). GOT has no details on the earthly life of Jesus so cannot necessarily prove historicity or collaborate the Jesus of the gospels, except to say a collection of wisdom sayings have been ascribed to a Jesus. We'd have to tally all the other extant non-canonicals and put them up to the same tests or methodology to establish 'historicity' of Jesus like the synoptics. Yes, a tradition, story, mythology, allegorical parable of a Christ-figure 'Jesus' exists,...no one is denying that,...just a greater critique of historical methodology is coming to light and making a 'mythicist' view of Jesus more tenable, if not more probable (Carrier is one of the pioneers in this direction within Acedmia, there are others as well. I may post a video from our favorite Bible Geek, Dr. Robert M. Price, hes a pioneer in this area as well )

    If there is no historical Jesus, how is it that his brothers were held as equals to the apostles in the early church? What do we do with the 1st century books of James and Jude?
    Thats debatable, as James himself nowhere alludes to being the brother of Jesus himself in the letter ascribed to such a 'person' (whatever 'James' that might be), while certainly the tradition of James being the 'brother of the Lord' is most interesting, and where James the Just fits into so much of early Christian history, also related to the destruction of the Temple, etc. I used to have Robert Eisenmans book on this, but didnt read the whole thing.

    Jude is relatively late and is considered 'pseudographical' along with James even by some. So these 2 epistles cant really qualify as being written by an contemporaneous eye witness of Jesus, much less prove relationships to him apart from being 'tradition'.

    Okay, but they speak of a sect of Nazirites or Nasori. The existence of both Peter and arch-rival / NT villain Simon Magus are substantiated. That's something, and something is more than I would expect from the Romans, whose main contributions were to raze the local architecture, and replace it with their own.
    Could I have a reference of any Roman recorder mentioning the 'Nazirites' or 'Nasori'? - Its mentioned in Acts about the Nazaranes and the followers of the WAY as being an early group of Jesus followers (which probably got mixed up with Jesus being from 'Nazareth', but this can also be some form of neo-nazarite group of devotees as well, so more research here).

    Some have speculated that Simon Magus may be a code-name for Paul! or even Jesus, of the latter claim I only read a flash on, but could be fun to explore - to say nothing of an old controversy of the original prototypal personality of Apollonia of Tyana being a mold upon which the Jesus figure was formed on, at least one of the personalities. - for a stronger 'bite' on that see 'Antiquity Unveiled' by Jonathan M Roberts

    I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but have you heard this one?
    My last survey of the 'Lost Tomb of Jesus' documentary deemed it all a fraudulent claim - see below. This whole shebang can deserve its own thread, since it smacks the traditional resurrection story on the face -



    Have you read Ecclesiasticus/Sirach? The Dead Sea Scrolls on the "teacher of Righteousness" (and wicked priest) are also fascinating.
    Yes. Interetestamental writings are 'key' to the evolution segway from Judaism into Christianity, so its study is integral to the larger picture.

    I have a hard time taking someone seriously who has made their living advancing one side of the debate as a partisan. Alas but that goes for both sides. Is neutrality really too much to ask for? I guess it doesn't sell books.
    Carrire and Lataster are actually quite generous and objective to allowing a historical Jesus probability/possibility, but according to their historical methodology and criteria methods, a mythicist view is more probable. Authors have their own estimates on certain variables, but the universals hold, despect variable particulars. Again,...back to this all being a STORY in which anyone can 'interpret' or 'translate' as they choose.

    For myself, it is a question of what is type and what is anti-type. Is Jesus part of the pattern? Or is He the substance, the corporeal projection of that pattern? In Paul's letter to the Colossians (ca 50-80 AD), he strongly advances Jesus as corporeal. Consider Colossians 1:15:

    [Jesus] Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

    I wish the translators had sacked up and used stronger language... Paul's point is that:

    He is the idol of the invisible God.

    That's what εἰκών really means. God forbid idols of stone and wood, because He intended to provide the idol Himself, in the form of a man. Or... at least that's what I believe.
    Whether historical or mythical or a blend of both, STILL...the 'Christ-story' is a figurative parable, having its type, shadow and pattern revealed in the God-Man complex, a dual synergy of spirit and matter, essence and form, which JESUS represents....which is the prototypal pattern of our own synthesis or marriage of soul and spirit. Such is the 'Adam-Kadmon' pattern. This 'pattern' was taught before Jesus came along in esoteric schools, further modelled by Philo, taken up by Paul, and since revelation is progressive...will continue to be honed and perfected, conceptually speaking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    Could I have a reference of any Roman recorder mentioning the 'Nazirites' or 'Nasori'? - Its mentioned in Acts about the Nazaranes and the followers of the WAY as being an early group of Jesus followers (which probably got mixed up with Jesus being from 'Nazareth', but this can also be some form of neo-nazarite group of devotees as well, so more research here).
    I'm having a hard time finding this. I read it in my copy of the early church fathers, but I don't remember which work it was in.

    A quick Google search has Epiphanius enumerating a still-extant sect of "Nazoreans" among the heretical sects that are definitely not catholic.

    Quote Originally Posted by freelight View Post
    Some have speculated that Simon Magus may be a code-name for Paul! or even Jesus, of the latter claim I only read a flash on, but could be fun to explore - to say nothing of an old controversy of the original prototypal personality of Apollonia of Tyana being a mold upon which the Jesus figure was formed on, at least one of the personalities. - for a stronger 'bite' on that see 'Antiquity Unveiled' by Jonathan M Roberts
    Not likely, IMO. Almost all of our information on Simon comes from Ireneus Against Heresies, and his enumeration of Simon's claims, deeds, and doctrine is fairly extensive - AND completely at odds with what what taught by Jesus or Paul.


    Whether historical or mythical or a blend of both, STILL...the 'Christ-story' is a figurative parable, having its type, shadow and pattern revealed in the God-Man complex, a dual synergy of spirit and matter, essence and form, which JESUS represents....which is the prototypal pattern of our own synthesis or marriage of soul and spirit. Such is the 'Adam-Kadmon' pattern. This 'pattern' was taught before Jesus came along in esoteric schools, further modelled by Philo, taken up by Paul, and since revelation is progressive...will continue to be honed and perfected, conceptually speaking.
    We are very different on this point it seems.

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    Guess I'll throw in my opinion for kicks.

    Jesus almost certainly existed. The four canonical gospels are alike but just different enough to make them seem to really be from four separate sources that were (originally) close to Jesus. If all four gospels blanketly agreed on detail, then they would seem to me to be a fabricated story, but this is not what we see. Also, all but maybe one of the gospels were written long after Jesus' death. Oral tradition would preserve them but each orator would tweak the story a bit. Like a game of telephone played over decades. Changes and indescrepancies will undoubtedly result, and this too cold account for the differences.

    I think this could account for the lack of non-biblical writings mentioning Jesus. Oral tradition was the norm at the time, especially in the Middle East. To this day there are those who can recite the ENTIRE Quran start to finish. Just incredible, really. I think that this is why the gospels (a lot more than 4 at this time) are the only place we see Jesus. Writing down history simply wasn't something done much by those in Judea. However, the Romans LOVED records and writing. But it took 300 years for Christianity to be welcomed into the Roman Empire. It makes sense to me that Rome would try to suppress all mentions of Jesus and Christianity from history, as he was a somewhat embarrassing thorn in their side. The religion also created a problem for Rome early on because it explicitly stated that the Emperor was not a god, as there is only one God. Rome tried to exterminate christians. They would've tried to exterminate all traces of it as well.
    On that note, whole African civilizations have been lost to time until recent archaeological finds. The reason being lack of written records and non-mentions in other civilizations' writings. The legendary King Mansa Musa came from a Northwest African kingdom. He had so much gold that he crashed Egypt's economy for a decade after passing through. Despite all that wealth (and you'd think notoriety that came with it) the only reason we know he ever existed is because the Egyptians noted his visit. If large, wealthy civilizations can exist without hardly leaving a trace, then surely one man -- no matter how great -- could also disappear from history.

    Additionally, there is a possible reference to Jesus in the Talmud. And the Pilate story seems very plausible, and we know for certain that Pilate existed due to the finding of the Pilate stone.

    Some other evidence for Jesus' existence would be something that was discovered just in the last few months. NatGeo unearthed a tomb under the Church of the Holy Sepulchre that is very likely the tomb that Emperor Constantine proclaimed as Jesus'. Its mortar is from the exact time it should be: between 330 and 345 AD. Now that obviously doesn't prove that Jesus was buried there, but it proves that -- only 300 years after his supposed death -- Roman officials and their best sourcing obtained via search envoys concluded that the tomb beneath the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was indeed that of Jesus.
    Last edited by Greg Jennings; January 13th, 2018 at 09:56 PM.

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