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Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
#1
Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
Since the topic came up in great detail in the Why believe the Bible? thread, I thought why not make a thread to cover this topic.

What are your opinions on Josephus' writings? Is the TF partially authentic or entirely fabricated?

What about the more elusive James reference?

And while we're at it why not go ahead and discuss others as well? Pliny, Justin, Clement, the Apostle Paul, etc.

I'm curious to hear views from both atheists and theists here on these writings as well. Let's compare and contrast our views and interpretations.
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#2
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
Let's just assume that they are authentic for the sake of argument. It's still entirely meaningless. Written after the first two gospels, it's not a primary source, contains scant reference to Jesus and on top of all of that a historical basis for Jesus doesn't make a single shred of supernatural events of the Bible any more true to start with.

I've always found the debate over a historical Jesus pointless. If he was or not based on a historical person, God is no more real because of it. So whether Josephus wrote about Jesus doesn't change that the central character of the whole thing yaweh, is totally made up.
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#3
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
(July 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm)JairCrawford Wrote: Since the topic came up in great detail in the Why believe the Bible? thread, I thought why not make a thread to cover this topic.

What are your opinions on Josephus' writings? Is the TF partially authentic or entirely fabricated?


Lets look at the reference.

Quote:About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.


Its a forgery. Remember Josephus was a jew till he died but that's fan boy speak of Christ if ever there was one. You never get the context do you with this what were the passages before and after this because if he wrote it the passage afterwards should be along the lines of and now he's a Christian.

It would be like me saying and mohammed was a fine man who spoke directly to the lord allah. And then remain an atheist.

Quote:What about the more elusive James reference?

You mean.

Quote:Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:

I would say at least partly forged. Remember lying for the church was a very very common things for scribes to do. if they couldn't find evidence they just made it up. All the time.

Quote:And while we're at it why not go ahead and discuss others as well. Pliny, Justin, Clement, the Apostle Paul, etc.


Pliny you mean the letter he wrote to Trajan in 112 ad about 80 years after christs supposed execution which seems to be about the existance of Christians rather than Christ. It would be like saying that scientologists exists it is proof of xenu.

Similarly Justin wrote in ad 150 120 years after Christ supposedly died.

And it goes on and on.




Quote:I'm curious to hear view from both atheists and theists here on these writings as well. Let's compare and contrast our views and interpretations.


The "evidence" for Christ is thin to non-existent. But even if there was a historical Christ you would still have all your work to then try and show that it wasn't just a con man.


I tend to think there was an actual person and it was a cultish David Koresch or Charles Manson type with a hold over their followers that lingered after death. You see that with the Branch Davidian who still follow David Koresch to this day.

I think this because of the way he was killed and the mental gymnastics required to turn the ignominious death by crucifixion into a somehow worthy death.



You can fix ignorance, you can't fix stupid.

Tinkety Tonk and down with the Nazis.




 








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#4
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
Their no true contemporaries too Jesus

Josephus is fake
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7437

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/12071

The rest 

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/13573

And for people who keep comparing Jesus to real historical figures 
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/14117
Seek strength, not to be greater than my brother, but to fight my greatest enemy -- myself.

Inuit Proverb

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#5
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
I will admit, the TF, even if you take away the most obvious interpolations, still seems to have some issues.

The James reference seems authentic to my eyes, though. Because if you remove the "who was called Christ", then we don't know which Jesus he's talking about. And if this is supposed to be the same person as the Jesus Damneus mentioned later on, it doesn't make sense that he wouldn't clarify who this person is in the first line but only later on.

Now, -if- this James passage is authentic, I wonder if the TF was more than simply an added forgery. What if it was a cover-up? It wouldn't be illogical for Josephus to mention this Jesus who was called Christ again, if needed, but what if he only had very bad things to say about him?

Would that not then give Eusebius (or someone in his vein) the perfect reason to redact what might have originally been said and replace it with his own writing instead?

It would also explain the argument from silence. If this scenario were the case, first of all, the early church would have no reason to call into question Jesus' existence because it was relatively common knowledge. But when politics got involved, hmm, then it becomes time for damage control.

Much of this is speculative, so don't assume I'm stating my current thinking as absolute truth. I'm just thinking out loud here.
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#6
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
(July 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm)JairCrawford Wrote: Since the topic came up in great detail in the Why believe the Bible? thread, I thought why not make a thread to cover this topic.

What are your opinions on Josephus' writings? Is the TF partially authentic or entirely fabricated?

What about the more elusive James reference?

And while we're at it why not go ahead and discuss others as well? Pliny, Justin, Clement, the Apostle Paul, etc.

I'm curious to hear views from both atheists and theists here on these writings as well. Let's compare and contrast our views and interpretations.

The following article has a rather extensive discussion of the Testimonium Flavianum, and is probably a good resource to start with.

Jesus Myth - The Case Against Historical Christ
[Image: Fenrir-sign.jpg]
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#7
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
First off, you need to understand what the word "contemporary" means.  It means living at the same time.  Josephus was born in 37 so at least one year after the terminus ad quem for any of your jesus stories since they demand that Pontius Pilate be prefect of Judaea which ended in 36.  Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius were second century writers as was Justin Martyr.  Which Clement?  Clement of Alexandria was a 2d-3d century writer.  Clement of Rome is probably legendary.  Paul is the fly in the ointment since no one in the first century ever heard of him and his writings were put into circulation in the second century.  First, it seems, by Marcion and later by the proto-orthodox after they sanitized whatever the hell Marcion had published.  We do not have the originals and so we will probably never know.

Actual contemporaries of your godboy, Seneca the Elder, Seneca the Younger, and Philo of Alexandria never heard of any such person.
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#8
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
(July 3, 2018 at 4:30 pm)Minimalist Wrote: First off, you need to understand what the word "contemporary" means.  It means living at the same time.  Josephus was born in 37 so at least one year after the terminus ad quem for any of your jesus stories since they demand that Pontius Pilate be prefect of Judaea which ended in 36.  Tacitus, Pliny and Suetonius were second century writers as was Justin Martyr.  Which Clement?  Clement of Alexandria was a 2d-3d century writer.  Clement of Rome is probably legendary.  Paul is the fly in the ointment since no one in the first century ever heard of him and his writings were put into circulation in the second century.  First, it seems, by Marcion and later by the proto-orthodox after they sanitized whatever the hell Marcion had published.  We do not have the originals and so we will probably never know.

Actual contemporaries of your godboy, Seneca the Elder, Seneca the Younger, and Philo of Alexandria never heard of any such person.

Of course news traveled a great deal more slowly then.  

But I tend to agree with Captain Awesome here.  Historical or not, supernatural does not follow.  As to the stories that are attributed to him, they do seem like the sort of legends attributed to Paul Bunyon .. especially in pre-literate times when story telling just begged for juicier elaboration.

If I were you Jair C., I'd content myself with choosing to believe what you like secure in the knowledge that no one will ever establish once and for all the absence of any deity beyond the curtain.  But you're probably better off being vague about it.  I wouldn't pin all your hopes on a historical Jesus.
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#9
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
(July 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm)JairCrawford Wrote: Since the topic came up in great detail in the Why believe the Bible? thread, I thought why not make a thread to cover this topic.

What are your opinions on Josephus' writings? Is the TF partially authentic or entirely fabricated?

What about the more elusive James reference?

And while we're at it why not go ahead and discuss others as well? Pliny, Justin, Clement, the Apostle Paul, etc.

I'm curious to hear views from both atheists and theists here on these writings as well. Let's compare and contrast our views and interpretations.

Garbage.
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#10
RE: Josephus and other contemporaries on Jesus
Quote:The James reference seems authentic to my eyes, though. Because if you remove the "who was called Christ", then we don't know which Jesus he's talking about.

One of the big problems with translating from one language to another is that some of the nuance gets lost.  Famously everyone knows the Yiddish word chutzpah but an actual translation is more problematic.  You end up describing chutzpah - the suspect admitted killing his parents and then asked for clemency because he was an orphan - rather than defining the word from Yiddish to English.

So with the phrase tou legomenou christo we have a similar problem.  It implies giving an appellation or name.  But I have seen scholars point out that it can equally mean:

"called"
"so-called"
"named"
"known as"
and a couple of others.

But you must ask yourself what christos meant to Josephus?  Remember, he was a jew from a priestly ( i.e. noble ) family.  To him the phrase was "moschiach" or "maschiach" and referred to the practice of anointing the king and/or high priest in sacred oil.  The translation into the Greek word chrio refers to the covering with oil.  Now, in the Book XX reference, virtually everyone named except the two Romans, was a christos at one time or another.  Unlike the TF which is a bald-faced lie I do not think the Book XX reference is much more than some later xtian scribe coming across the word "christos," wetting his loin cloth in joy, and shouting "I FOUND HIM!"  

But Josephus makes it perfectly clear what he thinks of troublemakers and considers them rightfully executed by the powers that be.


Quote:Of course news traveled a great deal more slowly then.

But it did travel and one of Herod the Great's best moves was to build the port of Caesarea which connected the shitty little backwater of Judaea to the Roman sea-borne trade network. It may have traveled slowly but the story of a man, lawfully executed by a Roman magistrate who then comes back to life would have been BIG FUCKING NEWS across the empire and would have been seen as a repudiation of the magistrate and therefore the emperor. And there would have been no hushing that up.
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