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Is There Any Historical Proof for the Existence of Jesus?

Historians of the 1st and 2nd century apparently never heard of Jesus Christ.
Historians of the 1st and 2nd century apparently never heard of Jesus Christ. | Source

Do 1st and 2nd century historians give us accounts of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ?

In an earlier article, Did Jesus Exist or Is It All a Myth, I wrote about how it is very odd that we have no eyewitness accounts of Jesus, his life, and his teachings. No one wrote a thing about him during his supposed lifetime. We don’t even have any accounts of Jesus from someone who knew someone who knew Jesus.

Christian apologists often cite the Epistles of Paul or the historians of the 1st and 2nd century CE Jospehus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Suetonius as proof that the man we have come to know as Jesus Christ actually existed. Here is why their proof is no proof at all.

How are ancient historical documents authenticated?

Scholars often refer to the known dates of historical events to determine when a document was written. If the author mentioned who was ruler at the time of his writing, or if he mentions an historical event for which the date is known, the reference can be used to discern the date of the document.

Linguistics also comes into play. The use of certain language and words can help pin down when a document was written.

Authorship can be determined by comparing the writing style of a particular document from a known writer with the writing style of newly found document ascribed to the same author. If they don’t match, the new document is probably a forgery.

Documents are also dated by archeologists based upon where they were found and what was found near them. Carbon dating is also used.

A detail of a painting of St. Paul by Rembrandt.
A detail of a painting of St. Paul by Rembrandt. | Source

Do the Epistles of Paul (4 BCE-64 CE) prove the existence of Jesus Christ?

A Jew, Saul of Tarsus, later known as St. Paul, is considered the founder of Christianity. He changed it from a Jewish sect to a separate religion. He took on the mission of converting Gentiles to Christianity. He is not a historian, but his Epistiles contain the earliest mentions of Jesus Christ.

According to the story that Paul himself tells in the Epistles, he was a Pharisee (a Jewish sect of the time) whose job was to persecute the new Jewish sect of Christians who were becoming a threat to the authorities among the Jews and the Romans. So Paul knew about the early Christians, but that does not mean that he knew anything about the actual man known as Jesus Christ. He himself was not an eyewitness and he did not base his writings on anything told to him by eyewitnesses.

Paul reported that around 37CE, he had a revelation from God on the road to Damascus. According to his writings, he saw a blinding light, fell to the ground unconscious, heard voices, and became temporarily blinded. During this episode, Jesus appeared to him and spoke to him.

Some say his description is consistent with an epileptic seizure, (Epilepsy, at that time, was thought to indicate possession by a demon—perhaps Paul called his seizure a revelation to avoid the stigma of epilepsy.) Others suggest that Paul had a psychotic episode. It is also possible that Paul was affected by a fireball or meteor passing through the sky which accounts for the blinding light, being knocked to the ground, and temporary blindness.

The first of Paul’s Epistles was written fourteen years later around 52CE. (We have no earlier writings from him and know nothing about what he did for those 14 years.) Paul said that he met Peter and James, the brother of Jesus. However, he reports that he made no attempt to meet and talk with them or any of the other disciples. Just the opposite—there appears to have been a rift between Paul and the people who could have known Jesus. I think Paul and the early Christians had very different opinions about who Jesus was and what he taught.

Paul is quite insistent that he bases his ideas about Christ on his revelation and not upon any eyewitness account told to him.

For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.

— Galatians 1:12

The early Christians believed that Christ was the Jewish Messiah and that he was sent to restore the Jews to power. He was put to death, but then resurrected, and he would return soon to complete his mission of freeing the Jews from Roman rule.

Paul mentions only Christ’s death, resurrection, and some post-death appearances. He does not mention any miracles, parables, or teachings of Jesus. There is nothing about healing the sick, driving out evil spirits, or raising the dead. He does not mention the virgin birth, the Sermon on the Mount, or the loaves and fishes that fed 5000 people. He doesn’t tell us anything that Jesus did during his lifetime; not even his final words on the cross. He doesn’t even give us historical references—no mention of Caesar Augustus, King Herod, or even Pontius Pilate.

So what exactly does Paul tell us? He tells us that there was a Jewish sect who thought that a person they called Jesus Christ was the promised Jewish Messiah and that this man died and was resurrected as was prophesized and that he, Paul, had a vision of this Christ. There is not much there that is of use to historians. Visions are not history.

Note: Only about half of the writings considered to be from Paul are now accepted by the majority of Biblical scholars as having actually been written by him. The others are considered forgeries.

A bust of the historian Flavius Josephus.
A bust of the historian Flavius Josephus. | Source

Does the Jewish historian Josephus (37–100 CE) prove the existence of Jesus?

The extant writings of the first century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus included two references to Jesus. The mentions occur in his work Antiquities of the Jews written around 93–94 CE, about 60 years after the date of Jesus’ death and about 50 years after Paul began to write about Jesus. There are three sentences referencing Jesus (Book 18, Chapter 3, Paragraph 3).This passage known as theTestimonium Flavianum. It is most likely a forgery—even most Christian scholars do not believe it to be true. It is believed to have been inserted into the text during the fourth century by a Catholic Church historian named Eusebius

Its placement interrupts the narrative that Josephus is writing. It doesn’t relate to the paragraph before or after, but those two paragraphs relate to each other.

Its brevity argues against it authenticity. Josephus wrote 20 volumes and covered his subjects, even the accounts of minor events, in great detail. Yet, all he has to say about Jesus Christ can be contained in three sentences? It strains credulity.

Older manuscripts of Josephus’ work do not contain this mention of Jesus and earlier church historians made no reference to this passage.

There is also a mention of “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James.” (Book 20, Chapter 9, paragraph 1) and a reference to John the Baptist (Book 18, Chapter 5, Paragraph 2).

  • Josephus tells us that James was stoned to death on the order of the High Priest Ananus. The mention of Jesus probably refers to the Jesus mentioned later in the same passage, "Jesus son of Damneus." The "who was called Christ" part was inserted into the text by some scribe. Prior to this insertion, this passage was never thought to be about Jesus Christ.
  • The story Josephus tells about John the Baptist may be authentic but it does not correspond to the story told in the Gospels. In Matthew 14:1-12, John the Baptist is beheaded on the order of King Herod at the request of a dancing girl who had been offered whatever she might ask for because her dancing had so pleased him; in Josephus, there is no dancing girl. Both accounts mentioned that Herod feared John the Baptist as a threat to his rule because John the Baptist was so popular with the people. (One of these two stories, if not both, must be wrong.) John the Baptist is estimated to have died in 28-29 CE.)

Some Christian apologists say that the very fact that Josephus and the Bible stories do not match is proof that the passages were written by Josephus. (A cleric fabricating text would have been more careful to make them match.) In any event, Josephus is not an eye-witness, nor does he have an eye witness report; if he actually wrote the passage he is telling the stories that he heard.

It should also be noted that there are many references to men with the name of Jesus in Josephus’ work—both Jesus and James were very common names. There is nothing else in the text to indicate that he is talking about the brother of Jesus Christ.

A detail of a sculpture of Pliny the Younger.
A detail of a sculpture of Pliny the Younger. | Source

Does the Roman historian Pliny the Younger (62-113 CE) prove the existence of Jesus?

There is a short passage in the works of the Roman historian, Pliny the Younger, sometimes cited as evidence for the existence of Jesus. In 110 CE, Pliny, who was proconsul of Bithynia, a province in Asia Minor, wrote a letter to the Emperor Trajan concerning a group of mystics, “Christiani,” who were causing trouble and would not renounce “Christos” as their god or bow down to the image of the Emperor.

The “Christiani” was described as a group worshiping Serapis –a Graeco-Egyptian god introduced during the 3rd century BCE on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. If so, “Christos” may have been the god Serapis, and not a man who had been crucified in Judea. The god Serapis—was called not only Christos but also "Chrestos," centuries before the purported birth of Jesus.

“Christ” is a tile meaning “Lord”; there is nothing in the letter to indicate that “Christos” refers to the man we today call Jesus of Nazareth.

But we have even another reason to doubt the authenticity of this letter—it is very similar to a letter allegedly written by Tiberianus, Governor of Syria, to Trajan, which has been exposed as a forgery. Pliny's letter is not quoted by any early Churchman—it is quite likely a 5th century forgery.

The only argument in favor of it being genuine is the same as for Josephus—how could the Church be so bad at forgery?

Detail of a statue of Tacitus.
Detail of a statue of Tacitus. | Source

Does the Roman politician and historian Tacitus (c. 56-120 CE) prove the existence of Jesus Christ?

Tacitus wrote in his history, Annals, (written around 107 CE,) that the Roman Emperor Nero (37-68 CE) blamed the burning of Rome during his reign on "those people who were abhorred for their crimes and commonly called Christians." The passage in Annals (Book 15 Chapter 44.) states that these fire-setting agitators were followers of a certain "Christus" or “Christos,” who, in the reign of Tiberius, "was put to death as a criminal by the procurator Pontius Pilate.” The passage ends, “Those who confessed to being Christians were at once arrested, but on their testimony a great crowd of people were convicted, not so much on the charge of arson, but of hatred of the entire human race.”

There are many reasons to believe that this passage was not written by Tacitus. It was probably done in the fifth century by a churchman and known forger, Sulpicius Severus (363 CE to 425 CE). This text is present almost word-for-word in the Chronicle of Sulpicius Severus, mixed in with obviously false stories. Severus could not have obtained his material from Tacitus because because neither Christian apologists nor pagan historians prior to, or contemporary with, Severus mention this passage. It may have later been inserted into Tacitus by other copyists.

There are many other reasons to doubt the authenticity of this passage.

  • There is no other mention of Christians in Tacitus’s voluminous writings. In fact, the word “Christians” was not in use in Rome during the time of Nero. The sect was called “the Nazarenes” or other names. They were not considered to be a group separate from the Jews.
  • There is no other evidence that Nero, who ruled from 54 CE to 68 CE, persecuted Christians. Tacitus never mentions this persecution in his other writings.
  • Pontius Pilate was a prefect, and not a procurator, and Tacitus would surely have known that. (However, some say Pilate held both titles or that procurator was the term used in the time of Tacitus and it meant the same thing as prefect..)
  • The passage refers to vast multitudes being convicted. At that time there were not vast multitudes of Christians in Judea.
  • Some linguistic scholars say that this passage is not written in the style of Tacitus. (However, the passage is too short for a definitive analysis.)

Moreover, even if this was written by Tacitus, it still proves nothing about the existence of Jesus Christ. Tacitus mentions "Christos" tangentially only in the context of explaining the origins of Christians. He was probably only reporting what he had heard from Christian sources and, thus he is not providing independent evidence. When Tacitus used records as his sources, he usually cited them.

A detail from the an illustration of Suetonius from the Nuremberg Chronicle.
A detail from the an illustration of Suetonius from the Nuremberg Chronicle. | Source

Does the Roman historian Caius Suetonius (c. 70-130 CE) prove the existence of Jesus Christ?

Suetonius wrote a set of biographies of twelve successive Roman rulers (from Caesar to Domitian) titled, De Vita Caesrum. Other works by Suetonius concern the daily life of Rome and describe the politics and oratory of the time. He also wrote biographies of famous writers, poets, and historians.

The passage in Suetonius's Life of Claudius, written around110 CE, states that the Emperor Claudius "drove the Jews out of Rome, who at the suggestion of Chrestus were constantly rioting."

Claudius reigned from 41-54 CE. Christ was purported to have been crucified around 30 CE, so the agitator called Chrestus who was causing trouble in the 50’s CE could not have been the supposed preacher of the 20’s CE. Furthermore Chrestus does not refer to the word “Christ,” but to the Greek word for “good” or “useful.” It was a common proper name at the time especially for slaves. Suetonius was clearly talking about the Jews being expelled from Rome, not the Christians.

In his Life of Nero, Suetonius blames Nero for the fire. However, he also makes an isolated comment that refers to "Christiani," whom he calls "a race of men of a new and villainous, wicked or magical superstition," who "were visited with punishment." Could this be another forgery? Even if it is authentic, it refers only to a Jewish sect, and not to an actual person.

Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are
Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are

Bart Ehrman is a Biblical scholar who believes that Jesus Christ existed as a real person, but even he recognizes that many books of the New Testament are not only not written by people to whom they are attributed, but that they are deliberate forgeries.

 

Do we have ANY proof from 1st and 2nd century historians of the existence of Jesus Christ?

These oft-cited historians and their supposed isolated passages that Christian apologists cite as references to Jesus Christ do nothing to prove his existence. What they do prove is that the early church was quite fond of forgery, and at the same time, quite bad at it.

Even if the passages were authentic, it would prove nothing except that these first century historians were aware of a Jewish sect who were followers of someone they called Christ or Christos.

It turns out that there is a person who was in exactly the right place and time to witness the events in Judea in the first half of the first century CE. He was the leader of the large Jewish community of Alexandria. Although he lived in Egypt, he spent time in Jerusalem as an ambassador of the Egyptian Jews to the Romans. He had family and social ties to Judea and to Herod and other rulers in the region. He was Philo of Alexandria, sometimes called Philo Judaeus (c 25 BCE--50 CE).

Philo was a prolific writer who often wrote about religious philosphy. He is noted for his attempts to blend Hebraic and Hellenistic philosophy. His works were preserved by the early Catholic Church because his philosophy was thought to be consistent with the ideas of Christianity. Yet Philo says not a word about Jesus, not a word about Christianity, and not a word about any of the events described in the New Testament. In all this work, Philo makes not a single mention of his alleged contemporary, Jesus Christ. He does not mention him as a Jewish revolutionary dangerous to the rule of Rome, as a Messiah to the Jewish people, of as the son of God who could perform miracles.

As Nicholas Carter writes in his book The Christ Myth: "No sculptures, no drawings, no markings in stone, nothing written in his own hand; and no letters, no commentaries, indeed no authentic documents written by his Jewish and Gentile contemporaries, Justice of Tiberius, Philo, Josephus, Seneca, Petronius Arbiter, Pliny the Elder, et al., to lend credence to his historicity."

The only history we have for Jesus Christ comes from the Bible, especially the Gospels. However, the Gospels are not eyewitness accounts and were not written by the disciples whose names they bear. But that is a subject for another article.

Tell the world what you believe about Jesus Christ.

Which of the following statements best expresses your opinion?

See results

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

More by this Author


I welcome your comments. 414 comments

steve8miller profile image

steve8miller 17 months ago from Ohio Great City of Dayton

What historians are you referring too? Roman? The people that killed him? The persecution that went on after the death of Christ put all Christians into hiding underground. In the meantime Historians of the era were ordered to cover up the death and resurrection of Christ.

The Romans along with the Jews were set to write Christ out of history entirely. You bring up a good point, just look at how much of a miracle it was that Christ and the New testament still exist today. So many generations have sought to wipe it out.

Its just like America the bloodlines have ruled over man for over a thousand years, we have only been free for a few hundred. People really think these bloodlines care about a few hundred years? How easy would it be for them to write America out of the history books as well? Look at Xerxes and Greece, Xerxes died having never seen victory over Greece, but Greece did go down.

Hitler tried to destroy the history of the Jews as well. People do not realize that they do not know where they come from still to this day. Something happened and people have forgotten who they are.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

If yu read the hub, yu know what historians I am referring to. If you haven't read the hub, please read it so you don't ask questions that I already answered.

It did cross my mind that the reason no early historians wrote about Jesus is that they were forbidden to. But no churchman or scholar that I have found has suggested that. Can you direct me to an objective source so I can verify your claim?

Christians were persecuted in the early years by the Romans (more for sedition than for religion), but once they gained power it was the Christians during the persecuting. They tried to wipe out the pagan religions. And we all know how for centuries they have tried to wipe out the Jews. During the Crusades they tried to wipe out the Muslims.


DJ Anderson 17 months ago

Like so many others, I went to church every Sunday and sang in the choir. As an adult, I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir, and was

monitor for Friday night teen time that sponsored a safe place for young

Christians to play board games, table games, play cards and listen to music. My husband was right by my side for many of these activities.

After 13 years of marriage and a new baby boy, my husband said he did not want to be a father or a husband any longer.

I say all that to say when the church found out that my husband had divorced me, they no longer wanted me to teach S.S. . There was no place, in their eyes, for a divorced woman and her baby. Ironic, isn't it?

Hubby left the church to be with another woman, and they did not want me.

Humans have a tendency to mess up so much in this world. But, for the last 30 years, I listen, read and watch some most interesting information

concerning the progress of mankind on earth. I have matured in my beliefs, as well. I intend on continuing to learn and expand my mind and

to be open for many ideas that once were out of my league of understanding.

You have given us a most informative article that people can use to add to their expanding knowledge. It is never easy to step over the line of

social, political or spiritual boundaries, but you have done so with grace

and poise.

Thank you,

DJ.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

DJ Anderson: Thanks for reading and commenting. I'm so sorry that you could not get support from your church when y most needed it. If that caused you to leave the church, then my hubs hopefully reinforce that decision.


Richard B Evans profile image

Richard B Evans 17 months ago

Thanks for your work Catherine.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Richard B. Evans: Thank you for your comment. I put a lot of work into this article.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 17 months ago from Pacific Northwest

I am not sure where you get the idea that Paul was the founder of Christianity. Christianity was in full swing before Saul/Paul's conversion in Acts 9. If you read the book of Acts from the beginning, the apostles Peter, John, and the other disciples (except Judas Iscariot) begin the work of the Church. There are accounts in that book of Peter and John being arrested for preaching Christ.

The first gospel writer was Matthew, who was one of the 12 disciples that walked with Jesus during His ministry. Luke and Mark refer to him also as Levi. Many Bible people had more than one name. If you read the Mark and Luke their accounts of him match with his own gospel. He was an eye witness if ever there were one. Then there is the disciple/apostle Peter who wrote 1 and 2 Peter. And John who wrote Revelation, and 1 and 2 John, and the gospel of John.

In Isaiah 53, Isaiah gives an prophetic message in minute detail about the death of the promised Messiah. It's almost chilling how accurate it was when you read the gospel accounts of the death of Christ. Consider this was around 700 years before Christ.

The issue of Paul and the other apostles having a rift is explained in Acts 15. If you read it, you will see that actually there was no rift between paul and the apostles.

" Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question." Read the whole account and you will get the context. Some Jewsish believers were teaching that circumcision was necessary to be saved.

In Acts 9, you will find that when he was coverted, the other apostles were afraid to believe that he had a true conversion because prior to his conversion, he was a zealous persecutor of Christians. It was Barnabas who advocated for Paul and convinced them he was truly converted to Christ.

I think outside evidence is good to persue, but starting with the Bible is best. Not what other people say of the Bible, but reading it yourself and taking care to read it in context in every page and story.

Have you read The Case for Christ by Lee Strobel? He took a very intellectual historical approach in proving Christ was not who he is claimed to be. Fascinating book.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Lamb, Matthew was not the first gospel written, mark was. Aside from that, no one in the field of biblical scholarship believes that any of the gospels were written by the people who eventually had their names ascribed to them, and it's hocking improbable that they were written by eyewitnesses due to the dating. Nor do any of them claim to be written by eyewitnesses. The names of the gospels did not occur until 100-200 years later. This is basic biblical scholarship and is well known and understood in textual criticism.

The case for Christ claims to be intellectual, but is riddled with factual errors, logical fallacies and special pleading. http://www.makingmyway.org/?p=507. Also look up the case against the case for Christ.

As a former bible student and believer who is now an atheist, i have read the apologetics books and the bible in several languages several times. What you're saying is simply not true, nor is it believed in biblical scholarship - a field that employs mostly Christians. The subject of this hub, however is evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus (or lack thereof). The bible is not evidence for Jesus, due to its dating, unknown authorship, being non contemporary and obvious bias.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 17 months ago from Pacific Northwest

JM, you are correct about Matthew, I was referring to it being first in order as it is seen. But Im curious, having read the rest of your comment, how is it you are assured Mark was written first?

I think we can find so much information on both sides, as far as historians are concerned. I respect your right to believe and interpret as you understand it, but I am not in agreement.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lambservant: I accept the work of the Bible scholars on this. At the beginning of the hub, I explained a some of ways biblical scholars date things. I will go into more detail when I write about the gospels. As for your first comment, I think JMcFarland did a good job of answering your points. Thanks JM.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Mark is known to be written first, around 70 AD by biblical scholars. This is not contested or debated in scholarship, and is known because Matthew and luke copy from Mark and then expand on its ideas, hence the synoptic problem.

This is not a matter of interpretation, either yours or mine. It's a matter of facts and scholarship. You don't have to like or accept that scholarship, but that doesn't make it any less true.


WiccanSage profile image

WiccanSage 17 months ago

You bring up many good points; some I've heard before, which is why I've long been saying there is good cause to doubt the existence of a historical Jesus. Others you've brought to my attention make that argument even stronger.

We'll probably never know. If there was a historical Jesus (and personally I mean a man the stories were based on, I'm not even getting into his divinity, which I don't believe in at all), he's a figure lost in history. I doubt we'll ever find him.

Great hub here.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

WiccanSage: You are probably right; we can never have conclusive evidence. It's just weird to think that the largest religion in the world could be based on a man who never lived.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Catherine, as someone who has been fascinated with this subject and written about it myself, you've done an excellent and thorough job here. While i doubt we'll ever have conclusive enough evidence to say one way or another, there is significant room for doubt, and you're right - it is weird to think. Shared and voted up.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: Thank you for your compliment. It means a lot because you know a lot about the subject. Thanks for your vote and share.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

If bible scholars cannot agree on the authenticity of Jesus, why do non-bible scholars think that they know the truth? Why do some people actually claim that Jesus "speaks" to them, literally speaks to them? They see Jesus' face in toast, in shadows, in rock formations, whatever. Where does this delusion come from?

Why do people believe in rumors, whispers of rumors, forgeries, and completely made up assumptions about a person who may, or may not have ever existed?

One would think that if god himself wanted to prove himself, he could easily do so. Why all the drama and false witnesses?

I don't get it and never will.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AustinStar: I completely agree.God doesn't tell us who got the religion thing right; he wants us to play guessing games. Really? My thought is that people are so hungry for "meaning" and mystery, and the desire to feel special that they invent the things you mention.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

First off you are my friend and I respect your opinion. 2nd, I have no dog in the fight from a religious aspect. I do believe there is some manner of God, but organized religion has no bearing on my faith.

That said, I still believe Jesus was some sort of actual person. I prefer to believe he was a peace loving hippy who at least wanted to do good in the world.

I respect your argument, but as far as documentation, there wasn't much at the time regarding simple folks, or even fairly important people. In my way of thinking the lack of documentation doesn't tell us much.

As for the linguistic dating of the text, that doesn't tell us much either, because the lion's share of history was often carried orally a long time before it was written down.

I realize I'm talking about different time periods, but let's compare the existence of the city of Troy some 400 years or so before the supposed birth of Christ. For a long time historians assumed it didn't exist, but recent archeological findings strongly indicate it did.

A similar situation. The religion of the ancient Greeks was largely carried down orally for centuries before it was written down. The point is style of linguistics may have little bearing on whether or not Jesus actually lived.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Larry Rankin: Thanks for your comments. There would be no record of an ordinary person, I agree. but someone who was doing miracles and speaking before multitudes and rising from the dead was not an ordinary person. As I researched this topic, I was surprised how many historians there were and much they wrote. They wrote everything down, volumes and volumes, most of it trivial.

If Jesus was just an ordinary a person, no one would have noticed him. But even after you put aside the miracles, he appears to have been a bit of a rabble-rouser. If he was important enough to be crucified, he was important enough to be noticed. And if he was just a nobody, how could a religion have possibly formed around him.

I am not saying he did or didn't exist, just that it is very surprising, if he did exist, that no one wrote down a word about him. There is no evidence from contemporaneous sources that he existed.


Adam G Vigansky profile image

Adam G Vigansky 17 months ago

Great article, Catherine Giordano. Keep up the good work. Did you mean to say that James was stoned and not Jesus? I'm looking forward to mare articles. I should probably get to adding articles to my own blog myself.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Adam G Vigansky: James was stoned or beheaded depending on which account you are reading. And you are right. I said Jesus when I meant to say James. Thanks for letting me know.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

Catherine: I want to qualify that I don't absolutely believe he existed, and your leanings may be right. But my leanings are that he did exist, and I liken him to the tall tales of the U.S. Was Paul Bunion 50ft tall? No, but he probably was based on somebody.

I don't think Jesus performed miracles, but I think he may have tricked people into believing he did.

I believe he was a person of the people, and as such the normal people would have taken the most note of him. Normal people would have spread his legend, like the tall tales, orally.

The biggest point I'll concede, one would think there would be some record of his crucifixion, but that the record would not be there either because it didn't stand the test of time or wasn't taken certainly isn't inconceivable.

Even today in modern countries documentation is lost.

Anyway, maybe I just feel like arguing with intelligent company this Saturday:-) in all of this I have rudely forgotten to tell you I think you've done another wonderful article.


Adam G Vigansky profile image

Adam G Vigansky 17 months ago

I think that if there really were a Jesus that was crucified and he had a following that believed him to be the Messiah or a prophet that the Roman record of his execution would likely have been considered a run of the mill record that no one would have taken any special pains to preserve. I'm not convinced that he resurrected. Jesus did not become widely popular for a few centuries later. By then the records would have been lost or destroyed.

His miracles are all conveniently similar to the miracles and mighty acts of the Old Testament prophets. This suggests that they were written as midrash. Jesus was fashioned after the likeness of the prophets. He was written as the quintessential prophet of God. This does not suggest that Jesus actually performed any miracles or that he faked miracles. It does strongly indicate that the gospel authors were creating a character largely if not entirely from their imaginations drawing from the Old Testament books. Paul preached a Jesus that was entirely a product of a revelation from God to himself. It stands to reason that the gospel authors drew from the Old Testament to create a character and place him in the context of the early first century Judea.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks Larry: it could be just as you describe. Tall tales based on a real person. But is Paul Bunyan a total myth too? Maybe there was no real Paul Bunyan. Just a story someone made up to tell around the campfire.

The best debates are when people are not debating to "win," but looking to exchange ideas and build upon what the other says.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Larry, just for arguments sake, we know with certainty that Christians in the first couple centuries poured over histories for any mention of Jesus, which is why we have so many copies of Tacitus and Josephus. We have early Christian apologist Origen lamenting the lack of historical evidence for Jesus: “but from what other source can we can furnish an answer than from the Gospel narratives?” (Contra Celsum, 2:33) even though that same book repeatedly quoted josephus, meaning that the testimonium did not exist in the original and was added by a Christian scribe later. Early Christians diligently searched for historical corroboration and came up empty. The big problem for me was the trial transcripts recorded in the new testament of the early Christians. They make no sense, had Jesus really been on earth just before they occurred.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: Again you add valuable information. Thanks.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Adam and Larry: Why do the Bible stores have to be necessarily based on a real man? No one says Zeus was based on a real man. We consider it 100% myth.


Larry Rankin profile image

Larry Rankin 17 months ago from Oklahoma

The quick answer: it doesn't; I just believe it is.

Longer answer, Zeus was a God. All Gods given specific attributes are made up, because we just don't know who God is or if this entity exists.

Jesus is an account of a person. Accounts of people are often true. I don't see anybody questioning if Brigham Young existed, yet the majority of people think his teachings are bogus and he made a lot of stuff up.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Larry, are accounts of Hercules true? How about Achilles? Do they have to be true if they're about a person? Why?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Jmcfarland, do we have corroboration that the gospels were real men? Surely they weren't named Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John? I have no idea and I'm curious.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Austin, that's a whole hub topic right there. Briefly, no. All of the gospels are anonymous, first of all, and none of them even claim to be written by eyewitnesses to the events they are describing. There is a lot of commonality between the writing style and the style of Greek hero narratives and they are riddled with historical, geographical and religious practice errors, and many of the stories such as Jesus birth and trial scenes which authors had no access to know anything about.

http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier...


Chantelle Porter profile image

Chantelle Porter 17 months ago from Chicago

I really liked your article. I thought it was thought provoking and very well researched. I think Christians must rely on faith, not historical fact, if they intend to follow the teachings of Christ. Just my 2 cents.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Sounds like all Christians have is faith. Not a lot of fact and logic to it.


Venkatachari M profile image

Venkatachari M 17 months ago from Hyderabad, India

Very interesting hub. You dealt with it so deeply and very logically. It lands me into deep thoughts about Jesus' life and history.

Thanks for sharing it. Voted up.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

venktachari M: It is a great compliment when someone says I made them think. Thank you for your comment and your votes.


William Armstrong 17 months ago

The Catholic Church defined Jesus to suit their own purposes and gain them power. But I do not believe his very existence was a fabrication. He was most probably a wandering preacher who attracted a following of devoted adherents, and they in turn mythologized his deeds after his death.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

William Armstrong: Thanks for your comment. I can't say for sure if Jesus existed or not. I can only say there is no evidence from any contemporary of Jesus or any person who lived close to his time that he existed.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Chantel Porter: I agree that it is only faith; not fact. Many people hae theories as to whether or not there was a real person named Jesus, and if not, who made him up and why. I don't know which of these theories, if any, are true or even probable. I'm still studying this. But so far I am pretty certain that there is no objective evidence for the person we call Jesus Christ. Thanks for your comment. This is a fascinating area of study.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AustinStar and JMcFraland: Thank you for your support. I think that because we have believed that there was a Jesus, whether divine or not, our whole lives, it is a shock to realize that he might not have existed at all. There are stories about Hercules and Achilles, but we don't think that the mere fact that there stories about them prove that they actually existed because we didn't grow up believing they existed.


Henri Lansink 17 months ago

Miss Giordano, do you think a religion is 'not weird' if it is based on a person that really lived? In that case the islam - contrary to christianity - would not be weird. One thing is for sure: almost no one recognised Jesus as son of God in his time - supposing there was a man called Jesus of Nazareth. And, yes, perhaps many people made him so long afterwards.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Henri Lansink: First thing I never said religion is weird. I don't recall saying anything was weird. I did say it was odd that there is no contemporaneous mentions of Jesus. Islam accepts Jesus as a prophet, but not a messiah. So if Jesus didn't exist that means Islam has gotten at least that much wrong. Islam like Christianity was founded on visions. Mohammed's visions for Islam; St, Paul's visions for Christianity. Thanks for your comment.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

As an interesting side note, there has been done recent inquiries into the historicity of Mohammed as well.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

JM and Catherine - It's true! Although we have thousands of paintings of "Jesus", there is not ONE of Mohammed, LOL. I think religion is weird, even if no one else does.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland and Austinstar: Interesting. You are right--no pictures of Mohammed, despite the lack of pictures since no one knows what Mohammed looked like, How can the Muslims get upset when someone draws a picture of him? It probably doesn't look anything like him and so it is not actually a picture of him, is it?

Islam is better authenticated than Christianity, I think. Maybe I'll research Islam, but right now too busy with Christianity.


Chantelle Porter profile image

Chantelle Porter 17 months ago from Chicago

I would assume Muslims would be upset because the picture was identified as Mohammad. I think, and I could be wrong about this, that the Muslim religion doesn't permit any images of their deities? Probably someone else knows more about this than I do.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

You are correct Chantelle Porter. I was joking about the picture not looking like him. So far as I know, Islam has only one God. No other deities; not even saints like the Catholics. Mohammad is a prophet, not a deity.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

This strange custom of not having pictures of people is like the superstition of photographs stealing your soul. Or like the painting of Dorian Grey. People actually believe that images have "power"over you. Another weird religious belief.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AustinStar: Good point. Straight from the "Good Book of Weird Religious Beliefs." (I just made that up.)


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I would probably buy that book. Lol


SherryPeyton profile image

SherryPeyton 17 months ago

I note a couple of things...First Bart Ehrman admits very candidly that he along with MOST all scholars agree that Jesus was a real person...odd that you cited so many of his books and seem unaware that he disagrees fully with your premise...Second you make no mention of the historical-critical methods used in biblical and other ancient writings to determine their reliability...many of the methods refute your conclusions regarding Josephus and Tacitus explicitly...


dustin 17 months ago

i don't believe he ever existed


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

dustin: Thanks for your comment. I appreciate your support.


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 17 months ago from USA

You have truly found your niche, Catherine! Look at these comments and the numbers of people voting. Your arguments are well reasoned and I enjoyed reading. Keep up your great work!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Sherry Peyton: Thanks for yur comment. I included Bart Erhman to provide the full spectrum of scholarship. However, yesterday I watched a couple of video interviews with him. He was condescending, arrogant and told half-truths. Every third sentence was "Buy my book." I was very disappointed because I thought he was a real scholar, and I intended to remove him from my hub. I just hadn't gotten around to it yet. What methods are you talking about? Any objective independent scholar believes that those mentions are forgeries. Actually, all it takes is to read them and use your common sense to see they are forgeries. (That is why I linked to the actual statements so they could be read in full and in context.) You don't refute the evidence I offered as to why they are forgeries. You just say they are not. I suggest you research it on the internet using non-christian websites.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

FlourishAnyway: Thanks for reading and commenting. Yes, I finally found my niche. It's a supersaturated niche, but it still brings in views. It's exciting to finally have views, despite having to deal with some nasty comments. The hubs on religion get a 1,000 views a day on some days. Some of my other hubs haven't reached even 100 views after months. These hubs are very difficult and time consuming to write because I have to do a lot of research and be very careful of my facts. People are waiting to take me down. But others effusively praise my work so that makes it all worth while.


SherryPeyton 17 months ago

Bart Ehrman is a "real" scholar, in fact he is one of the leading American biblical scholars today. He studied under a giant in the field, B. Metzger, and has gone on to author a number of well-received books. One a believer, he no longer is. Yet he confoundedly, from your prospective, disagrees with your premise and conclusion and states so decisively. He is in line with the great weight of the majority of biblical experts worldwide. The fact that you don't like his personality is of no importance here. I am talking about historical critical methods, such as form, source, and redaction criticism to name but three...there are dozens actually, and a good place for you to start might be Methods Matters, which gives an overview of some of the various methods being used in universities across the world to discern the import of ancient texts. You can acquire it at Amazon. I have no need to "do research" as you suggest, since I did it back in grad school under the tutelage of two theologians schooled in Brussels, arguably the best theological school in the world. The facts simply don't support your "common sense" approach conclusion. You have that in common with fundamentalists oddly enough, who also like to think that the bible is a book best read without education and with just good old "common sense." You are entitled to believe what you wish regarding Jesus of course, but it's rather interesting when an atheist takes the tack of proving what can't be proved...I guess I should invite you to prove your statements, which of course are impossible...as you always say, "you can't expect me to prove a negative." Nice try though. Please give a list of what you consider "objective independent scholars." And of course explain to us who and why others are not by your conclusion.


Oceanbob 17 months ago

Sherry. Yes, Bart believes Jesus existed but was not devine. (Had magical powers). The absolute best scenario of the Jesus Character is a Jewish Nutball preaching End Times and making enough people angry to get himself executed. The other scenario is he was invented by Mr. Schizophrenic (Paul, before medication was invented) who formed Jesus out of speech. Later author of Mark embellished a few pages of story (not 1st person). The others copied and embellished Mark.

One thing to remember when thinking rationally and logically. That any story that involves Magic is never history. Just beliefs.

Oh, and regardless if their authorship is genuine, Josephus and Tacticus weren't even Born until the alleged Jesus Character was dead. So their writings could only be based on 2nd generation believers. Big deal....

Not valid in the least.

Bob


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

SherryPeyton: I do not dispute that Bart Ehman is a Biblical scholar. All I know of him is the two video clips I saw. He was condescending and arrogant. he spoke half truths. He appeared to not be interested in answering questions honestly, but only in selling his book. I came away with a very negative impression of him.

I gave my arguments for my conclusions in the hub itself. You do not say that any of the facts I presented in the hub are wrong. You just ignore the "proof"I gave, and then demand that I give you "proof." BTW, I am not trying to prove that Jesus did not exist; I am only trying to prove that there is no evidence that he existed. I think I proved that.

I provided a list of books by some authors who I feel are objective independent scholars. Why don't you take a look at what they have to say?

As for theology school, no one there is going to teach you that what they are teaching you is not true. I assume they taught the Bible. You can't prove the Bible is true using the Bible. The stories have to match up with some objective facts.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you oceanbob. You said it a little more bluntly than I did, but you mainly backed up what I said. With all of the historians I mentioned, the main take-away is that they said nothing about Jesus. I would have accepted hearsay as partial evidence, but there was not even that. I don't think historians of the time even mentioned Paul, but I am not sure about that. I will have to research that.


Oceanbob 17 months ago

Another point is that the 12 are not in history either. All information on the 12 came from the Holy Roman Catholic Church in the 4th century. There is nothing in secular history about the 12.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Hi Sherry, it's little wonder that the overwhelming majority of biblical scholars believed Jesus existed for the simple reason that most biblical scholars are Christian and have every reason to believe Jesus existed, but belief is not knowledge. Ehrman, as a former conservative Christian who went to seminary no doubt retains some of his bias even now as a non believer. His book on the historicity of Jesus is riddled with fallacies and poor logic, so much so that a team of scholars wrote a book in response.

I do, however, respect a lot of Ehrman's work, and he does a stellar job on proving that the gospels are not history and cannot be reliable. Without the gospels, what evidence is there? Even early church father's realized there was none.

Your comment seems to just be an appeal to popularity wrapped in an appeal to authority.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: Thank you so much for providing more information on Bart Ehrman. Would you happen to know the name of the book which shows his biases and errors? I would like to read it. Although his book about Jesus is not respected, I'm glad to hear his other work, like his book about the forgeries of the church is well respected. I know Ehrman's book is very popular and I felt like the Lone Ranger criticizing it. Glad to see I'm not alone.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Catherine: the book on the historicity of Jesus is "did Jesus exist". The book refuting it is a compilation by David Fitzgerald, Frank Zindler, Richard Carrier, Robert price and others is called "bart ehrman and the quest for the historical Jesus".


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: It took a little searching, but I found the book It is called "Bart Ehrman and the Quest of the Historical Jesus of Nazareth." As I searched, I found lots of internet posts going into detail about all the errors in his book. His other books seem to be respected, but not this one. Thanks for the tip. I also found a YouTube video of Erhman saying exactly what I said in the hub. No historical evidence for the existence of Jesus in the first century. He seems to have changed his mind. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyi15_npTj8

I suspect a sell-out.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

No, he didn't change his mind. He still maintains that there is no historical evidence of Jesus in the first century. His argument is an argument from ignorance and from silence that Christianity could not have begun or succeeded without a historical Jesus. That argument is blown out of the water by carrier's "not the impossible faith:why Christianity didn't need a miracle to succeed". As an aside, while i respect carriers scholarship and knowledge, i do find him to be pretentious and arrogant as well, but that doesn't diminish his scholarship.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland. I only know a little about Carrier's personal life. I agree his arrogant, but on him it looks good.

In the video I posted in a comment earlier, Erhman says the first mention of Jesus occurs 80 years after his death. That would be 110 CE. Do you know what he is referring too. I first I thought he meant Josephus, but Josephus was dead by 110 CE.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

I'm not sure who he's referring to, but it is all dependent upon the date of Jesus supposed death. Since the birth narratives are incompatible, he had a 10-20 year window, which would alter the alleged date of death. I'm guessing that he's referring to Tacitus or Pliny, although they mention Christians and Christian teaching of Christ and can therefore not be considered independent historical references to Christ himself.


AJ Bird 17 months ago

Great article, but I think it should be pointed out that this part is wrong:

"Josephus tells us that this man James was stoned to death on the order of the High Priest Ananus. But in the Bible, King Herod has James, brother of Jesus, beheaded. (Acts 12:2) (One of these two stories, if not both, must be wrong.) Using the references in Josephus, James died in 62CE.)"

The James referred to in the Acts passage is actually the brother of John, not Jesus.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AJ Bird: I will check that out and correct it if it is wrong.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you JMcFarland. Christos means Lord and the Christiania mentioned by Pliny and Tacitus means people who follow the Lord. There is nothing specific to the Lord we call Jesus Christ. I thought maybe he was referring to the forgery in Josephus because that is the only early mention that is specific but the date he gave doesn't match up. maybe he is referring to Paul.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 17 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Paul wrote earlier than 80 years after Christ's death, and gives extremely little biographical information and cannot be considered an independent, unbiased source. Mark, written in 70 AD also wouldn't qualify.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks JMcFarland: Perhaps I'll find out what he was referring to later. Nothing fits the "80 years after the death of Jesus" time-frame.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AJ Bird: Thank you for pointing out the error about James. I have made the correction.


SherryPeyton 17 months ago

Catherine: you keep mentioning Ehrman said "half-truths" but that is but your opinion, and if you think you have "proved" that there is no evidence for Jesus existence, then I suggest we don't have to pay much attention to your opinion about half-truths either...the "proofs" you gave are well argued elsewhere, and I don't have to redo them for an amateur researcher...as I said, even if true, (your analysis) which most theologians dispute, it proves absolutely nothing about whether Jesus was a real person or not..To suggest as some have that theologians are somehow more suspect in their research because of bias, is simply to find a convenient excuse to ignore what they have said...Their work is subject to the same peer pressure review as any other discipline of inquiry is, and thus your claim is irrelevant and simply hot air. Your assumptions about schools of theology is hideous wrong. Like any intellectual discipline, the search for truth is paramount and they simply don't teach the bible...in fact, sad to say, if you don't know that theology is not the same as studying the bible, you have much to learn...what might be your educational background... I have looked at the three books you have listed....2 are highly suspect. You might check out Seminaries before you quote someone who teaches at one...they are very different in training and in outlook...And "most" biblical scholars are not believers actually...a rather startling number are agnostic or deists of one sort or another....you have essentially no idea of what work is being done in the field...but I'll not bother you again, since like most fundamentalists, you new atheists are essentially stuck to your beliefs and brook no dissent...how else do you waste so much time and trouble on a subject that in the end, means zero....proof that Jesus is not attested to in the ancient literature would prove absolutely nothing on the issue of his actual existence or not..so why the need? You guys have no convinced me after several year of discussion, that indeed subconsciously you all want to be proven wrong...so you fight that consciously with the usual "magic" crap. Continue in your funny belief that declaring yourselves non-believers by definition makes you smarter than anyone else...sorry but it doesnt...many of you are so ill educated and rely on simple rote arguments that it's truly embarrassing the assumptions you start with..


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Sherry, the Christians had their chance to convince me for the first 25 years of my life. It was only after going to college and reading books with actual facts in them (as apposed to opinions and speculations) that I became educated to the fact that Jesus or God never existed.

So, you chiming in to insult Catherine just shows how much convincing YOU need to keep believing in the lies, myths, magic, and mind slavery that is known as religion.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: It has been my theory that people who react to the facts about their faith with anger and diatribe do so because they have doubts themselves. Otherwise they would just laugh and walk away. They are desperate to convince those who don't believe because they really want to convince themselves. The more they insult; the more it looks like they are scared that they are wrong. I wish that people who get angry when they read facts would just stop reading facts.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 17 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

You are wise and way more tolerant than I am now towards those who continue to insult me and others just because we see through the desperation and mind control that is religion. I continue to applaud your efforts to educate those that have to be brought kicking and screaming into the 21st century of science, education, and yes, facts.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

sherrypeyton: I stand by everything I wrote. If you can show me an actual fact I got wrong, I will fix it. (Actually, someone did point out one small error and I fixed it. ) Many people are saying that Erhman got stuff wrong in his "Did God Exist" book, not just me. Google it on the internet. Books are not peer reviewed; you are thinking of journal articles.

It is not my intention to convince you of anything. You are the one trying to convince me. I am not writing for Christians. I am writing for those who have an intellectual curiosity. I am writing history, not theology.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks again Aistinstar.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: Dragging people kicking and screaming is not my thing. They will come round in their own good time. The best I can do is pique their curiosity enough for them to do their own research.


LaShondaYDunlap profile image

LaShondaYDunlap 17 months ago from USA

Your article was well written and thought provoking. I noticed that you said apostle Paul did not speak of Jesus Christ teachings. In actuality Apostle Paul taught the teachings of Christ in a manner that made them understable to gentiles that were being grafted( converted) in from various non-Jewish backgrounds,including philosophical backgrounds. When thoroughly reading the bible one can see multiple parallels and oneness in messages to hope and God's love for mankind


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

LaShondaYDunlap: Paul said nothing about the details of the life of Jesus. He only spoke of his vision. As I said in the Hub "Paul mentions only Christ’s death, resurrection, and some post-death appearances. He does not mention any miracles, parables, or teachings of Jesus. There is nothing about healing the sick, driving out evil spirits, or raising the dead. He does not mention the virgin birth, the Sermon on the Mount, or the loaves and fishes that fed 5000 people. He doesn’t tell us anything that Jesus did during his lifetime; not even his final words on the cross."


ShunkW profile image

ShunkW 17 months ago

Good research Catherine. Going to keep up with your writings.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 17 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you ShunkW. I hope to have a new one early next week.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Hi Catherine,

I found your remarks on Philo interesting. I have studied and writen on him over the past seven or so years (in fact the complete Greek and Aramaic texts of his extant works are sitting on a shelf just above me as I type this) and my PhD is partly on him. I recognize your claims but not because they bear any resemblance to what the evidence says or what scholars believe/think, but because I have sadly come across dubious amateur mythicist claims of the type that you appear to be depending upon. I would like to go through some of your comment and show how you have been let down by your source(s).

"It turns out that there is a person who was in exactly the right place and time to witness the events in Judea in the first half of the first century CE."

No. Philo only once (Prov. 2.64) records being in Judea, and for Passover- so likely for only a week or so, and before the time of Jesus' purported activities. Philo was so removed from daily life in Palestine that he only knew Greek. As is best seen from his inability to understand the language's etymology he had no working knowledge of Hebrew. Surely this needs to be mentioned to your readers(!).

"He was a Jewish aristocrat, leader of the large Jewish community of Alexandria who spent time in Jerusalem"

There is no aristocracy in antiquity. Do you (or your source?) mean that he was wealthy? Anyway, he was not the *leader* of the Jewish community in Alexandria! How can you read his "On Joseph" (amongsts other works) and think this! His only recorded political involvement was when he was pressed to lead an embassy to Gaius, but he was NOT part of the political world. On Jerusalem, well, again, he visited there once that we know of.

"who had family ties to Herod and other rulers in the region, and who was a prolific writer writing commentary on the Pentateuch and on the politics of the day."

Unless it relates to Jewish legal rights Philo does not chronicle contemporary Jewish history. In fact beyond a couple of historical books on two very specific matters he completely ignores contemporary politics, people and history. It just does not interest him. Aside from specific events such as his embassy to Gaius he barely gives us any information about his own life or the events surrounding it (what we do know you can find helpfully collated by Dorothy Sly's "Philo's Alexandria"). None of the myriad of important religious and cultural leaders, figures and movements that Josephus mentions (and that Herod had to deal with) are recounted in Philo's work. Nor does he even mention the Pharisees or the Sadducees! So again you- or more likely your dubious source- have selectively and actually mostly deceptively edited how this is being framing, but surely you can see on closer inspection that this just does not make sense. Also the tone of this argument seems to imply, or rest upon, the assumption that Philo' writings are complete extant and thereby can allow you to state with the confidence you have that he never talked about Jesus (which, for reasons I have just given, I doubt he would have, but anyway...) when they are very fragmentary. Surely, for the sake of honesty, this at least needs to be mentioned to your readers.

There is a lot more I would want to say in response to this article (particularly some problematic statements regarding Paul) and the types of arguments that you are drawing upon, but I will leave this I think and wish you all the best with your future writings on this topic (oh but you missed out my favourite early source- Mara Bar-Serpaion! which you will be very interested to read the recent conference report regarding it http://www.brill.com/letter-mara-bar-sarapion-cont...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Erlend M: Thanks for your very thoughtful comment. I will check out the information you provided. You have studied Philo much more extensively than I have. By aristocracy, I mean wealthy and well connected.

If my reporting on Philo is wrong, I will correct it. Some people are a little over-zealous in making their case. I don't want to be one of them.

We can never be sure that Jesus is not mentioned in some lost document. All I can state is that the historians of the time did not mention him in the volumes and volumes of writings that we have from them.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Thanks Catherine. Nice to meet you, and thank you for the courteous response and desire to be impartial.

I really don't have that much time to get into an extended discussion, but I notice you do keep returning to the idea that some mythicist have obviously given you that Jesus not being mentioned by the contemporary records from the time is a key reason to be suspicious that he did not exist. The reason though why this objection is not entertained by scholars of antiquity is because this betrays an (actually woeful) ignorance of extant first century documents, and the correlation between contemporary fame and preserved records. In fact I remember in a debate between Zeba Cook and Richard Carrier, even Carrier says that his objection should stop being made. I took one of the worst offenders of to task in small article I put on a project's website that I help to edit. I have linked to in my comment to your other article, if you have the free time you might like to read it. Again I would caution that your dependence on this arguments should, if not abandoned, be heavily qualified and set in its proper context.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

I just read your article that you linked to in your comment. It essentially says, as you say here, that it is not unusual for great men to have nothing or very little written about them by their contemporaries that has survived to become part of the historical record. But Jesus is the foundation for the largest religion in the world and it is possible that not one word of it is true! It's possible that it all just myth with new details being added with each retelling. Even in the Bible, the earliest writings give very few details.

As for the university professor issue, it occurs to me that people who choose this field of study are mostly believers or predisposed to believe. And since the non-existence of Christ is either not being taught in classes or being actively disparaged, few of these students are going to become proponents of these positions.

I appreciate your respectful tone. So many of those who want to refute me resort to quoting bible verses at me and/or calling me stupid. You are so tactful to say "misled." However, some of those who support my conclusions have credentials equal to yours.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Well Catherine I agree it might be a myth. Believers can vastly and ignorantly overstate the evidence. You are right to point this out. Of course secular historians presume that Jesus was a regular man, and the type of evidence we have for him from contemporary sources is concomitant with this, and nothing suspicious. Actually most observe the frequency and date of references to him is remarkable (almost uniquely) large.

You are right, in part, for that to occur to you regarding people who are mainly attracted to the field are Christians. But obviously the emergence Christianity is one of the most interesting and meaningful events in Western (and now world) history so the academic fields attracts people from many and no faith traditions. For example I am really a student of the Stoic philosophers for such similar reason of the importance they have had over Western culture, even though I am not a Stoic! Further, from experience a significant minority of people who start out Christians end up deconverting because of their studies. In fact it was reckoned in the 1950's there was only two evangelical historians of early Christianity left teaching in a U.K. University! The fact that these deconverted Christians (Bart Erhman, Maurice Casey) are often the most vehement opponents of Jesus mythicism though should be a red flag for mythicists. These people should be their most natural sympathizers- not most ardent critics!

I am not really wanting to drag myself in this (I mention my experience with Philo for obvious reason...), but as far as I am aware the only mythicists who was relevant credentials is Richard Carrier- out of the thousands of equally qualified secular historians. That is, by any measure, an extreme fringe position. This doesn't mean it is wrong and the argument shouldn't end by noting this, but the reason scholars do not agree with mythicists, as we have seen with the argument regarding lack of contemporary references to Jesus and Philo of Alexandria, is that so often what the amateur internet skeptical community gets excited about is just fluff.

I think I shall bow out of this conversation now. I have no intention of becoming a comment-box troll. For the best simple, online atheist look at this question I think that http://www.strangenotions.com/an-atheist-historian... and http://www.strangenotions.com/an-atheist-historian... is the most helpful.

Anyway all the best with your research- you have picked a fascinating topic to obtain an interest in.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

ErlendM: Thank you. I agree. There comes a point where the back and forth should stop. By the way, you might like my Atheists in the Pulpit where hub I discuss how Bible college inadvertently "de-converts" its students.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Thanks Catherine. I will check it out. I look forward to reading more of your articles.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Erlend M: I see you are new to HubPages. Welcome. I hope you will become a regular writer. You will be a great addition to HubPages.


Keith Peyton profile image

Keith Peyton 16 months ago

Love this article and want to read more! Like most contemporary western people, I grew up having learned the life of Jesus as passed down through the church. For grins (and an "easy" credit) in University I took a course titled "Early Christian History". It quickly became one of the most interesting and belief altering courses ever. The professor (a Southern Baptist Minister) opened the first lecture with these words: "the most important surprise to 1st century christians...was that there was a second century". He then went on to explain how a primarily oral tradition found itself needing to piece together a written heritage. I was shocked to learn that everything I thought I knew about the bible (including the authorship of the gospels) was entirely built upon a popular, yet entirely un-factual, mythos. I was not, at the time, uber religious to begin with so I certainly did not develop a crisis of identity nor feel the need to cling to that mythos and defend it with my last martyr'd breath. It did lead me to view church leaders (of all denominations, catholic and protestant) with a great deal of skepticism. The "Jesus" club is wielded against so many people and the church (again collectively) would be so much better off to acknowledge (openly) that proof of Jesus is hard to find, but that they have faith in it. When you have to "think" about your faith, you're far less likely to zealously force it down another's life, no?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Keith Peyton: Thank you for your comment. It is always nice to have confirmation. If more people would take religion courses, we would have fewer people believing in religion. I loved your "2nd century" quote. If you haven't seen it already take a look at my "Atheists in the Pulpit" hub.


vector7 profile image

vector7 16 months ago

Do people that have never heard a word of history but have uncanny knowledge of Jesus count? Lol, Though, if i am straight with you i dont believe you'd believe any account if it held bias toward Christ, regardless if the account or experience were true. Because i certainly have less credibility than some of the men you've wrote on! Lol And that is one amazing account of discredibility there.. It's almost.. mm seemingly 'doubt casting' which leaves no room for um.. contemplation? :)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

vector7: I began my research into this topic without any preconceived conclusion. I went where the facts led. I was actually surprised to see where the facts led. I try to be objective and write without bias. If there is evidence I will believe it and report it. thanks for reading and commenting.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Catherine- are you going to keep your points about expectations of contemporary references to Jesus and Philo in this article?

I will try to show how the arguments you have read regarding Paul are equally problematic- either over the next two days or by the end of next week.


ErlendM profile image

ErlendM 16 months ago

Catherine- are you going to keep your points about expectations of contemporary references to Jesus and Philo in this article?

I will try to show how the arguments you have read regarding Paul are equally problematic (in some cases blatantly misleading)- either over the next two days or by the end of next week. As I say I have no intention of being an internet comment box troll, let alone to be confused as being an apologist or a polemicist! But I do agree at all that this article is unbiased or an accurate look at the evidence. I am 100% convinced though that this is not your intention, and I see the respectful and congenial tone that wish to interact with people (which I will hopefully also follow). The skeptical internet movement though does seem to push people to only be aware of fringe/pseudo-scholarship on this topic.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Erlend M: I haven't had time to look into your objections yet. I had to give some time to my neglected blogs. I know you took issue with Philo, but I was not aware you had issues with what I said about Paul. No one else has given me a factual objection as to these two. I usually try to find a corroborating source for every fact. I did not do that with Philo. I came across it after I was done writing and I was just confirming some other facts before publishing. It seemed an ideal ending for the piece and I guess I forgot to double check the info. I thought it was a reliable

source.


Ephrem Hagos 16 months ago

The demo of Jesus Christ’s divine nature and absolute power, a.k.a., "the first-born from the dead" (with others in his footsteps), is hardly a subject that befits even Scriptures let alone historical records.

(Matt. 26:64; 27: 50-56; John 19: 34-37)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Ephrem Hagos: Err OK. I'm not really sure what your are saying. I think you mean something like not being able to look at the face of God. The topic is so awesome (in the original sense of the word) that historians literally were unable to write about it. Err OK.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Erlend M: I found an objective source for information on Philo. http://www.iep.utm.edu/philo/ It led me to amend my statements slightly, but I think the points I made were essentially correct. Philo was in a position to know about Christ, he wrote a lot of stuff, but he didn't write anything about Christ. However, I can see why you might think differently.

I was particularly impressed to learn that the church preserved his works. Surely, if there was something about Christ in them, they would have been especially careful to preserve it.

Our study of history can only be done using documents that have survived. Unless a writer mentioned something that was in a document that we no longer have, we can't even begin to speculate what might have been in lost documents.

I saw that the Annals of Tacitus are missing for the years 29 to 32--those are the years when a mention of Christ would be most likely. Why didn't the church preserve those? Or did they intentionally destroy them? Just wild speculation.

Speculation about what might be in documents that are not extant is not good scholarship.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Do we really have to do this dance again? I've already written three hubs that thoroughly refute the arguments you are putting forward.

They are

1. Jesus, fact or fiction?

2. The Gospels, can we trust them?

3. In the footsteps of the Apostles

As for you mentioning using carbon dating for dating ancient manuscripts sorry but its almost never used because its too inaccurate!! Paleographic dating is the primary means with pottery found near the scrolls, carbon dating has only been used on a few of the later documents to check and it was found to be too inaccurate (it gave a date range of 50 years when the paleographic dating narrowed it down to 30 years!)

As for the gospels "not giving dates" Matthew dates Jesus move from Egypt to Nazareth as the year Herod died (incidentally Philo of Alexandria dates the massacre of the innocents with a reference to Herod having his youngest son murdered five days before his own death).

Luke dates the start of Jesus ministry to the 15th year of Emperor Tiberias so both of them put dates in that can be verified by the historical record.

Recently I was reading D A Carson's latest New Testament Survey (2012 edition) that says no scholar today doubts that Matthew and Luke are eye witness accounts. Apparently the only one modern scholars doubt is John that some say may have been a disciple of John (quoting internal evidence that Carson says they disregard the e ternal evidence!)

Finally you claim Paul changed things from being a sect of Judaism into a seperate faith. This would mean Paul would have had to rise from the dead as it took place 24 years after he met his maker!!!

The Christians were thrown out of the Jewish faith in AD 90 at the council of Jamnia where the remnants of the Sanhedrin angry that Christians had not supported the AD 70 rebellion threw us out!

Its all in the historical record that is conveniently overlooked by skeptics

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Thank you for commenting. You keep ignoring my refutations of your refutations. I'm not interested in pursuing this with you any longer. You must have commented at least 10 times on this one hub. Enough already.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

This is the first time I visited the hub! How can I have commented?

We've had pretty robust debates on your other hubs but nothing on this one I assure you!

If you don't believe that then ask the HP editors to check!

My points do stand though as you haven't addressed them.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01; Sorry. It must be the other hubs. You can understand why I made the mistake. I get so many comments from you over and over on the same hub. I'm busy doing a new hub right now. I'll have to get back to you.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

I realized that and apology accepted. Actually I should apologize for my tone a bit as I realized it wasn't the best.

I enjoy robust debate and thats why I make a point of reading your hubs:)

Have a good weekend

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I'll publish my new hub in the morning. You will love it.

P.S. I apologize for my tone also. I put 20 + hours of work into this new hub and I'm tired after 12 hours at the computer today.


vector7 profile image

vector7 16 months ago

Um.. miss Catherine. Pardon, but you said 'follow the evidence'.. I don't believe "non-credible accounts" are considered evidence. Lol ;D Just eh, thinking on paper, or screen. Ahem

I believe I have a present for you. You spent 20 + hours on a hub, so have plenty of time to study these subjects [im assuming here]

Simon Greenleaf. Specifically his Treatise on the Law of Evidence, & also his work Testimony of the Evangelists.

And I don't want to hear a word of discredibility toward mister Greenleaf missy. Lol [If he holds no credit in this field.. NO ONE does, including me.. and you.. ;)]

Talk soon, thanks for being kind.

-Vector


vector7 profile image

vector7 16 months ago

And i noticed the christian bashing or 'stereotyping' cough cough Keith.. lol but we typically overlook amatuer comments and stick to the rhetoric if you're running with the big dogs. Maybe i can finish a conversation in here without a re-run of ugly sentiments being thrown at me like poo from a monkeys hand lol.. ;)

Polite & Mature, keeps friends for sure.

[PS, if my jokes arent funny, laugh anyway, it's good for you] :D


Phoebe Vixen 16 months ago

Maybe make a persuasive essay and question the existence of Buddha, Allah etc. and see.Why is everybody concerned with Jesus Christ?


mikeydcarroll67 16 months ago

One thing that I would like to add: if you look at the Gospel authors, who had intimate knowledge of Jewish scriptures in one form or another, may have found someone who represented a few of the predictions made in the Old Testament and portrayed the individual to be the "Messiah."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

vector07 Please don't be condescending.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Phoebe Vixen: I think your comment is a non-sequitur.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

mickeydcarroll67: I have noticed that you did not actually refute the facts I presented. How about you write about prophecies--I wouldn't want to steal your idea.


Phoebe Vixen 16 months ago

Yes it does not. I just noticed that atheists are more concerned towards Jesus than anybody else. I haven't seen an article very much that questions and carefully examined the existence of Buddha and any other so called gods. Why is it?


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Pheobe

The main reason for that is none of the other religions have someone who made the claims Jesus did!

Islamic tradition has it that one time Muhammed and his followers were talking about heaven when he rebuked them saying that even he wasn't sure he'd get into heaven!

When asked who would he replied "the only one sure to get in is Jesus!! That's why he will be coming back on Judgement day!"

No other figure claimed to be God and no other figure backed it up by rising from the dead! If you can throw doubt on those two or even better discredit them then you destroy the foundations of the Christian hope!

Hope that helps explain it

Lawrence

Actually Catherine if you took the 'few prophecies' and did a mathematical calculation of the probability of them coming to fruition you end up with a figure that if it were miles for a spacecraft to travel it would be outside our galaxy. Yet they are true and are historically recorded!


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Phoebe, i imagine that you're in a western country. Atheists in countries that comprise overwhelmingly Christian populations focus on Christianity over other religions because we're surrounded by it and inundated by it constantly. I can't go a week without being invited to a church. I pass one every two to three blocks with messages posted all over it. And actually, there are scholars who are questioning the historicity of both Buddha and Muhammad currently.

Lawrence, Jesus claims are not unique. And add for prophecy, if you discount every prophecy that doesn't meet the criteria for prophecy (for example, self fulfilling, specific, fulfilled by only one specific event, bias, etc. ) the list becomes very small indeed. Besides, there is no way to know whether or not Jesus fulfilled any prophecy since you find both the prophecy and the supposed claim to fulfilment in the bible, and using the bible to prove the bible is circular reasoning. There is no corroboration. That's the problem.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

JMcFarland

Your statements would be correct if the Bible one book! But it isn't! Its a collection of 66 books (for protestants 74 for catholics) written by at least 40 different people over a two thousand year period (if you take the conservative view, only 700 years if you take the more liberal) hence the argument falls at that hurdle.

As for prophecies he didn't meet as far as I am aware there are none! There are those that the wording was changed after the event (after the split with Judaism in AD 90 as the Jews sought to remove all traces of Jesus being the Messiah) a classic case of this is in Isaiah 7 "And the virgin shall concieve and bear a child" where the text was changed slightly to read "young woman" but the discovery if the Dead sea scrolls changed all that as we could compare them with the Septuagint.

As for the prophecy and the fulfillment they were 700 years apart and whike Matthew knew about Isaiah he wasn't the one fulfilled it! Jesus did and he was a little young to jnow what he was doing!


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

No it doesn't. It is compiled into one book, and the writers of the new testament were very familiar with the writings of the old. We have more than sufficient evidence in Matthew, for example, to know that the anonymous author picked through the septuigent with a fine tooth comb to shoe horn Jesus into prophecy at any opportunity, even having him enter Jerusalem on a donkey AND a foal simultaneity die to misunderstanding the original prophecy. That's self fulfilling. If i tell you that i want steak for dinner and then go into a restaurant that serves steak and order a steak and then eat it, I'm not fulfilling a prophecy. I'm making it happen. We even have examples of Jesus mentioning a prophecy and then fulfilling it. Those are self fulfilling. The Jews list of messianic prophecies are strikingly not the same as the ones Christians use, which is why they say Jesus did not fulfill the messianic criteria. http://www.thelawkeepers.org/yeshua.htm

http://www.atheismresource.com/2010/the-twelve-bas...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Phoebe Vixen: I have written about Buddha. Perhaps you don't see more articles about him because he is not an important person in the English speaking world. Not too many people are Buddhists. Perhaps you would like to write about him.

You said "yes they do" Who does what? It's not clear what you are referring to.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I haven't researched Biblical prophecies so I can't give you a specific answer at this time. In general, prophecies are vague and cryptic and can be interpreted after the fact to mean any number of things. (I heard that Nostradamus predicted the fall of the twin towers.) Second, prophecies are easily fulfilled retroactively. If I know the prophecies, I can set out to fulfill them. Third, I don't believe in fortune telling. No one can know the future.

Why don't you write about some of the major prophesies fulfilled and I can start my research there. I always look at the pro and con sides of an issue as well as going to objective sources when I write on an issue.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: Thanks once again for an illuminating comment. If I ever get rich, I'd like to hire you to answer all my comments for me. You always have something insightful to add. I had already answered the comments prior to yours before I saw your comment. If I had seen your comment, I could have just written, "What she said."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01; May I suggest that you read more widely. All of your knowledge seems to come solely from Christian apologist sources. Try looking at both sides of an issue and do so with an open mind. See if the claims that others make are objectively true with real evidence to support them. You remind me of this saying: "The Bible said it, I believe it, and that is all there is to it." (Or something like that.)


vector7 profile image

vector7 16 months ago

I'm sure if you read my first post you can get a better perspective on me. If my playfulness is condescending, I'll be glad to stick to the topic. Which I noticed you did not reply on. I'll take that as a sign.

:)

Hope you guys resolve the "bias" issue. lol (sry, last you'll hear from me on here, it's like a curse i can't be serious..) :D

Jokes aside, I truly mean no disrespect. I hope you guys have an awesome day. Or, night.. whenever you read it.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine.

Busted! Most of my library is evangelical. HOWEVER I am not at home at the moment! Most of my replies are written at my day job (Bus driver) so about 90% of my sources are from the web. I use search engines to check the information I'm giving is accurate and it comes from scholars "across the board." I especially liked Bart Ehrman as the stuff I read made me realize you'd seriously got him wrong!(he actually does believe Jesus did exist and the new testament is accurate, he's the one told me that even without the gospel manuscripts if we take the writings of the early church fathers we can reconstruct the New Testament in entirety except for eleven verses!)

So, as you see. I do read widely and my sources are accurate. I don't try to make them say things they aren't saying!

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

vector7: I appreciate the apology. You didn't say anything in your initial comment that requires a reply.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I know Bart Ehrman said the Jesus existed. I never said otherwise at anytime or at anyplace. Ehrman can make his case and I can make mine. I haven't read his books, but I saw some video interviews of him. He was snarky and condescending. He told half-truths and misrepresented facts. Every third sentence was "Buy my book." Maybe his book is sound scholarship, but he did not sound like a scholar in those interviews. I've been told that his other books are good, but not "How Jesus Became God.". He goes out of his way to libel and insult his critics in the book. Again, not the way I expect a scholar to behave.


John walsh 16 months ago

The stories of the time are timeless, oral tradition. Jesus had children, well documented, I'm in the blood line, the Vatican has this information, they burned the library at Alexander, so to control the information and knowledge. If the Vatican library information and knowledge was unless ed to the world, a clearer picture would emerge, that's a fact!


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Lawrence, you are either mis characterizing Ehrmans position on the reliability and accuracy of the new testament in error or you're doing it deliberately. I'm not sure which, so I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, so I'll let ehrman explain in his own words.

https://youtu.be/b-cZncVmtIU

Yes, ehrman posits that there was a historical Jesus. I think his arguments for historicity have been thoroughly debunked, and his book was riddled with fallacies and inaccuracies which were pointed out to him. But saying he is a biblical scholar and therefore you're wrong to disagree with his position is an argument from authority and popularity, and you can't get anywhere when you start with fallacious reasoning.


Gayle Miller 16 months ago

The ancient Romans were scrupulously careful to preserve the memory of all remarkable events which happened in the city; and this was done either in their "Acts of the Senate" (Acts Senatus), or in the "Daily Acts of the People" (Acta Diurna Populi), which were diligently made and kept at Rome . . . In like manner it was customary for the governors of provinces to send to the emperor an account of remarkable transactions that occurred in the places where they resided, which were preserved in the "Acts of" their respective governments . . . we find, long before the time of Eusebius [3rd century], that the primitive Christians, in their disputes with the Gentiles, appealed to these "Acts of Pilate" . . . Thus, Justin Martyr, in his first "Apology" for the Christians, which was presented to the Emperor Antoninus Pius [A.D. 138-161] and the senate of Rome, about the year [A.D.] 140, having mentioned the crucifixion of Jesus Christ and some of its attendant circumstances, adds, "And these things were done, you may know from the 'Acts' made in the time of Pontius Pilate."


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland: I watched the youtube video you suggest in your comment. My understanding is that Erhman began as a very conservative devout Christian. His bible studies led him to lose his belief. In this video, he sounds very angry. Maybe he is always like that, but it seemed that he was angry because this stuff he believed so fervently is so riddled with errors that it is impossible to know what is true and what isn't. He left his Faith, but he can't quite let it go. Hence his latest book claiming to tell us all about who Christ was as a person. It is like he has recanted his earlier work where he said we can know nothing about Christ becausethre is no evidence.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Gayle Miller: Thank you for your comment about the Roman methods of keeping records. I did not know about Justin Martyr quoting Roman records in the year 140CE to assert that Jesus was crucified. I will have to look into that. If Justin Martyr is indeed claiming to be quoting a Roman record and if this is truthful and accurate this is the best proof I have sen yet for the existence of Jesus Christ. I will have to look into that. I'm tending to doubt it because if this was true I'm sure I would have come across it. I see Josephus everywhere and this would be much better proof than the Josephus forgery.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Catherine, even if there were Ronan records, those records were lost and not preserved. I have a hard time believing they'd exist, since the writers of the church carefully poured over histories like josephus to bolster their claims about Jesus, and preserved them, which is why we see josephus and Tacitus and others. Even if there were records, there is no way of knowing if they were records of Jesus or records of what Jesus' followers claimed about him, which is far more likely. We have early church writer origen admitting as much: Origen

answers that Jesus‘ life was indeed full of striking and miraculous events, “but from what

other source can we can furnish an answer than from the Gospel narratives?” (Contra Celsum, 2:33)


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JMcFarland; I am assuming there are no historical reference other than the ones I mentioned and debunked. If there were, Christian apologists would not have had to resort to forgery. I found dozens and dozens of websites citing the ones I named in the hub; if there was anything else it would have been cited right next to the ones that I debunked.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

This is quite interesting actually. What year are you in? Our entire system of time is based on the life of a poor Jewish carpenter. Have you ever stopped and thought about that? You are searching records from 2000 years ago. The Bible has survived being banned and burned and outlawed, etc., etc. Jesus said all will pass away but my words will never pass away. You and I will be long gone and they will still be talking about Jesus. He is remembered but you and I will not be. As far as I know each of the remaining 11 apostles are given a chance to refute Jesus Christ and save their own lives but not even one of them does. John lives a long life in order to write Revelation just as Jesus said he would. The great temple in Jerusalem is destroyed just as Jesus says no stone unturned. I guess it comes down to faith. I believe that whatever we believe will indeed be our ultimate destiny. You seem like a very nice lady and while I am sure you will not believe I will pray for you any way.

God bless.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damian10: Thanks for your comment. We are speaking two different languages. I speak Facts; you speak Faith.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

I do speak faith as it is the most important thing in my life. I think that some of your facts are not exactly factual but more the result of the political complications of the time that they lived in. The gospels are not written at the same time or by the same author or even in the same place yet there seems to be some obvious repetition of the recalling of events. Maybe the prophesy and foretelling of future historical events in the bible are merely great coincidence but being a lover of history I guess I just do not believe in that much coincidence. I am as much of a realist that you will ever find yet after considering all of the facts I will choose Jesus each and every time. For me He is as real as it ever gets.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Damian, is it reasonable to suggest that the gospels have obvious repetition of the retelling of events because both Matthew and luke copy mark? That's not an opinion, it is a fact. It is so much a fact that there is even a name for it. It's called the synoptic problem. And John was written over a hundred years later and it's author was familiar with the other accounts. None were written by eyewitnesses, nor do they claim to be, and the gospels are the only things that claim a historical Jesus, as this hub demonstrated. And they're not even contemporary.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

J:

Once again you need to believe in what works for you. It is my belief that for a poor Jewish carpenter to change time as we know it forevermore is much more than a mere coincidence but I cannot bestow my belief on any other. I am a believer and that is obvious but each of us has our own individual relationship with God. It belongs to us. Luke was the physician and his writings do indeed seem to reflect a position of an eyewitness account as he writes often " it happened". Syntax and semantics can often be somewhat misleading based on the author's intention. No matter how you view it you cannot change history. Long after you and I are both gone and forgotten they will still be talking about Jesus. He lives on despite what any of us do, say or write. Blessings to you.


JMcFarland profile image

JMcFarland 16 months ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

Bit even if the Gospel of luke was written by luke (it wasn't), luke was not an eyewitness. None of the Gospel writers were, and (again) none claim to be. In the opening of luke, the author outright lies. He says that lots of accounts have been written, but he's going to relay the "right" one. And then goes on to steal upwards of 80% of mark. And the Gospel of luke, aside from claiming to be written by a historian, gets a lot wrong. Geography, for example. Its not a matter of my facts verses your facts. Facts are facts whether you like them or not, and I'm not dating anything that is not known and documented by actual biblical scholars. Does that mean you can't believe it's true anyway? Of course not. But for someone who cares about the truth and who desires to be intellectually honest, the mistakes cannot be explained in light of being inspired by any sort of all knowing deity. The problem is that, despite having some historical fact, the bible is not a history book, nor does it claim to be. History is not decided by one single collection of books without corroboration or any unbiased evidence. As someone pursuing a doctorate in history, this is an obvious truth.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Look up the calendar beginning again. It was a politician that decided to restart the calendar nomenclature. He did not actually change time itself. And he used the new religion of Christianity to mark the occasion, not because of jesus the man, but because of the new religion that became popular at the time. He could have used something else to mark the calendar, and indeed, the names of the days and months are still based on Roman and Greek gods, not Christian ones. It's just a rumor and myth that the Common Era was started to mark the birth of Jesus.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

You can obtain all the doctorates in the world but the bottom line is God is and always will be a whole lot smarter than we are. If you are doubting the dates and authors I guess one could raise the question of the authenticity of all sources. I was not there and neither were you. If the ultimate question is was/is Jesus God than the ultimate answer lies within your heart. I happen to believe in a plural God who says I created man in OUR image and in OUR likeness. I am of the belief that God wants us to come to Him by our own means not because another does. Fellowship is amazing but our relationship with God is just that; it is ours. Obviously there must have been something quite special about this Jesus person who is the sole reason we are in 2015. Religion can be downright dangerous as shown by the Pharisees but faith is music to the soul. To me He is as real as it gets. I do believe in some coincidence but have had too many incidences where God was present. Even a goof like me can sometimes get it right. Mostly I am humbled and that is just fine by me. Keep searching you and He will find each other.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 16 months ago from Southern Georgia

Another thought provoking and--as obvious by some of the comments--controversial hub, Catherine. I too have researched all of the aforementioned contemporary historians you've discussed here and find it very telling that none of them mention the darkness during the day and the dead arising from their graves and walking the streets during the crucifixion and resurrection.

Since Pliny the Elder died while trying to investigate the eruption of Vesuvius at Pompey-- if I remember correctly he was overcome by poisonous fumes--he would have certainly noted the aforementioned zombies and darkness.

Some people who have experienced Biblical indoctrination--especially at a very young age--are filled with such guilt trips they can never accept they've been following generations of other followers.

Enjoyed as always. :)

Randy


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

If you'd bothered to read my rebuttals of your hubs you'd have come across the discussion I had with a couple of people about the Acts of Pilate inthe comments!!!

Kind of frustrating but you didn't "debunk" anything as you've been ignoring the evidence we've been presenting all along!

The Acts of Pilate occur in two documents. One is the fouth century "gospel of Joseph of Aramathea" a Hebrew gospel that in the middle is the document concerned in Latin and paleographically dated possibly mid to late 1st century and the other is in Justin Martyrs writing!

As I said, if you'd bother actually following the discussion you'd have come across this!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Randy

Actually Randy Thallus does! Catherine conveniently left him out but he's in my hub "Jesus, fact or fiction?"

Lawrence


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Just checked my info and I was slightly wrong. The fourth century "gospel" was called the gospel of Nicodemus. Yoy can look it up on the web as thats where I got my info from.

My reference to it was in the rebuttals to JBM

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I have read some of your hubs which you know because I left a very nice comment. You wrote a hub about proving the gospels are true, but that was a very misleading title because except for the first and last paragraph you never mentioned the gospels. (You did do a nice job however of explaining how the dates of manuscripts are determined.) I read that hub because I was specifically interested in how you would prove the gospels to be true. Your did not do that and your title and intro were misleading. I will not be back because your title and conclusion were dishonest. You didn't even attempt to prove why the gospels were true. I will not read your hubs. Will you kindly return the favor and not read my hubs? Stop trying to gain attention for yourself by repeatedly commenting on the hubs of someone who is a far more popular writer than you are.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you, Randy Godwin for your comment and for adding information to this hub. People who actually study history with objectivity generally agree with my statements and conclusions or at most have a few quibbles usually about things that are a matter of opinion not fact. I research my hubs carefully looking at websites that approach the subject from different points of view. I confirm my facts with websites that I judge to be credible and objective.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

JmCFarland: Thank you for yor response to Damian10. You are 100% correct. I think every single serious biblical scholar without exception recognizes that that the later gospels copy the earlier ones since, for one thing, they use exactly the same string of words.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

AustinStar: Thank you for the information about the change in the calendar and, in particular for pointing out that the days of the week are named after the gods of what we now call mythology. I never gave much thought to why a new system of naming the years was adopted. Any the funny thing is --they got the date of Jesus' birth wrong. Using references from the Gospels, his birth date would most likely be something like 4BCE, although other dates are also given. No serious scholar says he was born in 1CE. Years used to be expressed as the year of the reign of a Caesar (emperor). For instance, "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar" such and such happened. It changed to "in the year of our lord"-- "anno domini" in Latin-- abbreviated as AD. I prefer to use CE which stands for Common Era.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Catherine - there is some "new" religious pundit going around saying that Jesus was real simply because the calendar we live by began because of Jesus' birth. It's a misnomer to believe that, just like many things associated with Christianity. As usual, they don't do their research about things and totally deny facts that prove they are in error about thinking such outrageous things.

Blind faith is a strange thing. What really gets me is that some people are so proud of being deluded.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: Thanks for the added information. It's a game of whack-a-mole. As soon as one claim is completely discredited, they pop up with a new one.

The fundamentalists cling to their faith for dear life. I mean that literally. I guess they want to stick around to see the end of the world that they claim is imminent.

Many Christians today have let go of the superstition part, but remain Christians because they follow the teachings of Jesus. If Jesus did not exist, they can still be Chiristians if they become followers of the myth of Jesus because the myth embodies their worldview. Not quite as satisfying, but more honest.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Jesus Christ was supposed to be the perfect man, the son of god himself. And he couldn't even leave behind an autobiography written on some relatively indestructible medium like stone tablets, walls of a pyramid, or even carved into copper? I fail to see why a real person as important as JC could not have left behind some physical and indisputable evidence of his own existence.

The stories of Jesus' miracles would/should have been front page news! His resurrection would have been documented by someone in a manner that would have lasted through the ages. How inconvenient for skeptics that his body just disappeared up into the sky!

The fragments of parchment/papyrus and nearly illegible scrolls (the bible) just don't cut it. The Egyptians left books and writing behind that lasted over 4,000 years! Surely, Jesus could have left some sort of physical evidence that would have lasted!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinsatr: But don't you see, the lack of evidence is deliberate--it is to test our faith. It is what the faithful would say. (When I say it, I'm just being sarcastic.) Seriously, if the Epistles of Paul survived, why not something from a contemporary of Jeus--it was only 50-60 years earlier.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

You sounded so convincing in you reply that I went and checked my own hub!

But as usual you were well off the mark! If I were you I'd stop swinging that bat at the mole as you clearly haven't connected once!

With regard to my hub that you claim is misleading the first two paragraphs deal with why the hub.

The next four paragraphs tell you the gospels are all found in the four main codices (an early type of book) and then a paragraph each along with links to each codex's website (run by the museums where they reside!) There is also some backgound to trace the history of the codex (provenance is important(!)

Next we deal with how Ancient documents are dated (two paragraphs).

The next section deals with documents that are either based on the gospels (the diatessaron and didache though I don't think I actually menrion the didache!) Then we go on to the fragments of the gospels and look some of the earliest ones.

Finally there is a comparison with other ancient documents to see how accurate they are! You'll be suprised with that one as most of the other docs (Julius Caesar.

, Homer etc) earliest manuscripts are at least a thousand years after the writing (Homer is five hundred years but all the others, and theres a long list) and only a few copies survive!

I didn't think it was good practice to spell out my own hub on your site but you said I was being "misleading' yet how can that be?

I challenge you and any other to go to the hub " The Gospels, can we trust them?" And put comments there that prove me wrong if you can!

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I remember that another person also commented that you didn't answer the question that you posed in the title. If I got it wrong, I apologize, but it is not important enough to me to go and check. I really don't care any more.


amer786 profile image

amer786 16 months ago from Los Angeles

Hi Catherine, another well put-together Hub and can see you have done your research. However, here is how I would challenge it . . .

Firstly, there are several sources to gauge historicity of Jesus as your Hub illustrates. It is unlikely they all suffered the same fate of forgery. Also, there are historical records of Jesus in India and East Asia ignored by western academia.

Secondly, since conviction in religion is faith-based, the logic is weak that Church fathers felt compelled to establish non-Christian sources of the historicity of Jesus thus undertaking forgeries. I don't see what challenge they were facing that would compel them to make such forgeries especially past the third century when the faith was flourishing. And if passages such as the brief ones in Antiquities was forged, I'd think they would be elaborated and embellished in character. Also, Josephus and others writing down stories they heard still argues for the historicity, especially if there are several sources.

Lastly, you quote Nicholas Carter that nothing exists from Jesus's own time-- no relic, no text, no statue. Call it a forgery all you want but for many it is a key piece of evidence that authenticates many verses of the Bible . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RrGB777Wm8Y


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

amer786: I've been doing more research and I'm pretty sure that the entire Bible is a fiction. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible and there are no legimate sources outside of the Bible. Forgeries were done to try to answer questions. That is why Christianity has a field of study called apologetics. They try to explain away the stuff that does not make sense. I have not heard about any writings in India and Asia about Jesus. It is highly unlikely that they were written during the first century because of the distances involved.

Read the book I recommend "Forged" by Bart Ehlman if you want to know why and how the Church did their forgeries.


amer786 profile image

amer786 16 months ago from Los Angeles

@CatherineGiordano

You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but the Shroud of Turin is a relic outside of the gospel narrative. Whatever your opinion on it, it reconciles to some of the gospel texts i.e. a crown of thorns, unbroken legs, scourge marks from torture and the spear wound. Those who assert it to be a medieval forgery have to face the challenge of how did the forger know that the science of photo-negatives will be discovered hundreds of years later.

Also, as I asserted, we need to rationalize with a motive. What motive did Church fathers in fourth century with a flourishing faith have that compelled them to conjure several forgeries? What attacks were they facing on the historicity of Jesus?

Thanks for recommending the Bart Ehlman book, hopefully will get to it some time.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

amer786. The Shroud of Turin is a forgery. Look it up. Please stop bringing up the shroud of Turin over and over again. http://www.historytoday.com/charles-freeman/origin...

You can also check the Wikipedia entry which states: "In 1988 a radiocarbon dating test was performed on small samples of the shroud. The laboratories at the University of Oxford, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology concurred that the samples they tested dated from the Middle Ages, between 1260 and 1390."


amer786 profile image

amer786 16 months ago from Los Angeles

@CatherineGiordano

Ah, I should've guessed . . . you were going to call it a forgery.

I can understand you not wanting me to bring it up. The 1988 radiocarbon has been strongly disputed by many researchers as it likely took a portion of the cloth that was woven in for repairs following a fire at that time. Also, there is further analysis by researchers that supports its authenticity. But I won't get into that since you are not interested in evidence that contravenes your analysis. And I won't ask you to explain how the forger already knew about photo-negatives and imprinted images that he/she knew would only be discovered hundred of years later with scientific advancements so he/she could fool the world that it is authentic.

Good luck with your research and peace be unto you


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

amer786 - The shroud of Turin is not a "photo-negative" It is a big stain. And anyone can see patterns in stains. They do not need to have "advanced" knowledge about photography.

Of course you would argue against real science and proof. You are proud of your "blind faith". Keep apologizing for your ignorance and stubbornness of how proof is analyzed and admitted as fact.

A fire burned repair? Really? You think a scientist couldn't figure that out beforehand?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: I have decided to ignore all comments from people after their 3rd rebuttal. I don't have time to waste on people who refuse to separate fact from fiction. I sometimes waste my time doing their homework for them. I'm not going to do that anymore. Everything I state has been carefully researched. If people want to tell me I got something wrong, they should carefully check it out first so they don't look like a fool. And that goes double for people who have such limited vocabulary that they think words that I use that are in common usage are something that I made up. Sorry Austinstar for using my comment to you as a bank shot. I appreciate how you can add to what I say.


amer786 profile image

amer786 16 months ago from Los Angeles

@Austinstar

Negative/positive are photo-aspects, not objects (I suspect you may know this). The Shroud of Turin is an ancient linen cloth that has been under intense scientific study since 1898 when it was first photographed and the negative (the true positive in this case) revealed a rich, 3-dimensional image of a man apparently having undergone a crucifixion and with characteristics consistent with Biblical accounts of Jesus's crucifixion.

If ridiculing it as a 'stain' or calling me 'blind' brings you any level of self-assurance, so be it.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

amer86 - We know what the shroud of Turin is, you are the one needing assurance that it is an artifact that "proves" something.

I did not call you blind. I said you seem to be proud of your blind faith. You are trying to turn someone's burial cloth into proof for your god. It isn't. You are still believing in myths, rumors, hearsay, and well, basically, poppycock.

You need to do more unbiased research.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: I don't think the Shroud of Turin is the burial cloth of anyone. The sale of "relics" was a big business for medieval con-artists.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 16 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Catherine - It was touted as the burial shroud of Christ. That is why it is still passed off as "proof" of Jesus. The rumor persists and it appears that no amount of logical examination that shows what it really is will convince those that believe in the "word of mouth" claims.

This is the core issue with religion. You said it - they speak in terms of faith, and we speak in terms of facts.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

Another excellent, comprehensive hub, Catherine -- one that should prove quite useful and informative to anyone examining the issue of Jesus' historicity. I'm only sorry I arrived so late (I had internet access problems for a few days)!

Obviously, it's far too late for me to weigh in on the discussion that's been going on now for days (and well over a hundred comments!). But a couple of observations spring to mind:

First, I recall noticing that you mentioned that Josephus mentioned multiple characters named 'Jesus.' Indeed he did! I once took the time to examine his "Antiquities," and based on mutually exclusive details in each of his 'Jesus' references, there are a total of FOURTEEN different characters named 'Jesus' in his work!

Actually Josephus spends a good deal of time discussing one particular 'Jesus' who was the leader of a gang of robbers -- devoting many more words to this 'Jesus' than the one who is supposedly the Messiah! This only reinforces the conclusion that the suspect passage you mentioned was, indeed, a later interpolation.

I also recall someone mentioning the "born of a virgin" prophecy by Isaiah as a supposed reference to Jesus. But, contrary to what so many believe, the so-called "Immanuel prophecy" had NOTHING to do with Jesus.

Rather, it was part of a 'prophecy' (in chapter 7) in which Isaiah informed Ahaz (king of Judah) that Israel and Syria's impending attack on him would fail. Isaiah used the birth of children more than once to herald his 'prophecies,' and this is just another example.

I actually wrote a hub on this ("Immanuel CAN'T" -- my attempt at clever titling), but will provide no link as I know you frown on that sort of thing...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: Thanks for your comment and the supplemental information. I've been doing a lot of reading about myth, mystery cults, and prophecies. It seems that anything written about religion on those days had at least three levels. The literal meanings were for the general public. The secondary meaning, hidden in allegory and metaphor was for initiates. And there were often even deeper meanings known only to the most advance devotees. If you think something written as part of a religion of those times means just what it says it means, you are most likely wrong. Fascinating.

Your comments are definitely not too late. I will read your Immanuel Kant hub as soon as I can.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

Just to give you a head's up, it's not about Immanuel Kant. Rather, it's about the "Immanuel" prophecy in Isaiah chapter 7. My title, "Immanuel CAN'T" (with a "C") is my attempt to be clever, making a pun out of the reference.

I largely agree with your reference to different "levels" of meanings with regard to 'holy' text. However, I suspect those 'meanings' -- those interpretations -- are much more dependent upon contemporary apologetic convenience or utility than any intention of the original author or authors.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

First of all I want to apoligise for some comments I made earlier that were rightly deleted, I went a bit too far (sorry, won't happen again)

Paladin is partly right about Isaiah 7. The prophecy would have been initially about an event during the time of Ahaz and would not have made any sense for them to have to wait the 700 years to the birth of Jesus.

But even the ancient Rabbis recognised this prophecy as being "Telescopic" in that had a fulfilment then and a future fulfilment.

After the council of Jamnia (90 AD) the Rabbis wanted to break with Christianity so they changed the words slightly, this is reflected in the Masoretic text (9th century AD) that many translations use but both the Dead sea scrolls and the Septuagint (both circa 150 BC) support the reading that Matthew has.

Hope this helps

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

Lawrence, at the risk of taking this discussion off on a tangent, which part of Isaiah's 'prophecy' was changed in the Masoretic text to coincide more with the New Testament?

I have serious doubts about this explanation, for in the very next chapter of Isaiah, he makes ANOTHER 'prophecy,' heralded by the birth of yet ANOTHER child (Mahershalalhashbaz) -- this time regarding the conquest of Judah by Assyria.

Either we must accept the ridiculous notion that BOTH these prophecies are somehow about Jesus (as well as about the military campaigns to which they specifically refer), or conclude that the Masorites cherry-picked only one of them (Immanuel) to coincide with New Testament events (which, incidentally, pre-date the oldest existing Old Testament Masoretic text by nearly 1,000 years!)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

The Jews worked through the entire OT to re-interpret the Messianic prophecies (Isaiah 7 is regarded as Messianic) the Jews are waiting for a Warrior messiah not a "suffering servant"

The Masorites worked to eliminate them from being used by Christians.

I'm happy to continue the discussion but maybe we set up a forum?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 16 months ago from Michigan, USA

I'm afraid I misinterpreted what you were trying to say. From your previous comments, I had the impression that the "telescopic" interpretation of the Masorites was for the purpose of adapting the text to the New Testament, but re-examining it, I now see what you were trying to say. Just a bit of confusion, I guess...

Could you provide a link for more information on this 'telescopic' interpretation of the OT text by the Masorites? This is the first time I've ever encountered this theory...


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

"Telescopic prophecy" is where a prophetic utterance has a fulfilment (or partial one) and another fulfilment later.

As for the rest we can discuss in a forum.

Lawrence


Jamie Banks 99 profile image

Jamie Banks 99 16 months ago from Japan

I got suspicious when reading this because the level of writing was higher than what I was accustomed to from you. The first sentence I ran through Google was this:

"The extant writings of the first century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus included two references to Jesus."

The first entry to appear was this:

The extant manuscripts of the writings of the 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus include references to Jesus and the origins of Christianity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

Basically, this is plagiarism. The article doesn't provide any decent grounds to say Jesus didn't exist, it only gives us reason to doubt some of the claims of some people that he did.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

I find her to be an excellent writer and quite an avid researcher. As a believer I do not necessarily agree that because what she presents as fact is even necessarily factual ( I think all of it is open to human error and human perception ) but I see her citing each reference and attributing the source she has thoroughly researched. I was a journalism major and this is not plagiarism. Hubpages does not and would not allow it. There have been times where I had to change title and or content simply because a similar Hub existed. So whether you agree with her conclusions or not this is in no way plagiarism.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jamie Banks 99: A sentence that is similar to a sentence that someone else wrote is not plagiarism. (Please consult a dictionary.) There are only so many ways to say something. (Also, I don't use Wikipedia as a source.) I bet if I checked out your hubs I could find the same kind of similarities. I won't because I have better things to do with my time. And I couldn't even if I wanted to because you haven't written anything.

And Jamie, personal insults only make you look disreputable especially when those insults are totally unfounded. I have been told many times that I am one of the best writers on HP even by people who may not agree with some of the positions I take in my hub. Check out my hubber score and see if you can even get close to matching it.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damian: Thank you for your comment and your defense of my integrity. You, at least, display "Christian values." I appreciate that you can disagree with my conclusions without resorting to personal attacks. Thank you for complimenting my writing and research despite not agreeing with my conclusions.

You are quite right. HP checks every hub as soon as it is published by running it through plagiarism software. I know this because once I had huge chunks of my content published on another website. HP immediately unpublished my hub until they checked it out and saw that I had published first.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I want to second the motion. Please take the discussion of relics and prophecy and every thing else that is off-topic to a forum. I appreciation your consideration. I welcome comments that are on-topic whether they agree or disagree as long as they are stated politely.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

Catherine you are obviously a good writer and I believe most of what you write is rather thought provoking. I do not have to agree with you to respect the obvious work that you put into these hubs. Probably sounds funny from a bible thumper like myself but keep up the good work. I always say saying you are a Christian is easy but living it I know for me is the most difficult thing in the world. It involves thinking of someone other than yourself.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you Damiano10: Christianity does inspire some people to treat people well--with kindness and respect.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Damien10

I'd agree with you that Catherine does put a lot of work and research into the hubs. But history doesn't back up the claims these hubs make

Lawrence


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

Lawrence I was responding to Jamie's claim of plagiarism which was and is not accurate. Catherine is a good writer whether you agree with her or not. I am a huge believer in Christ. Nothing will ever change that but all of us lead by example so even if you disagree with another's position it can certainly be done in a respectful manner. Being a true Christian can sometimes be a real challenge for all of us. God bless.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 16 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Damien10

I agree, I try to live up to it but don't always live up to it.

Lawrence


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

Lawrence none of us live up to it. I find myself only becoming more and more humble.


the rawspirit profile image

the rawspirit 16 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Aruba - Carlsbad, CA - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert, AZ

Hello, Ms.Catherine, I have been reading your work for the past week. I had to think hard about what to say, as I am not a biblical scholar or historian. I am just an everyday Christian, and I am surely a fool, as I have no proof of Jesus, accept the gospels, and you have pretty much invalidated them. I may be just lazy, but I don't even have the desire to try to prove Jesus is real. I guess I will continue to live in my delusions of being one with the Spirit of Christ, in spite all of your excellent research. Whether your research is found to be correct or in error, does not matter in the end, to me. I don't know why, but I love Jesus, whether He is God, man, or never born, somehow it just does not matter to me. I feel His presence in me all the time. To me, Jesus stands for all things that are good, kind and loving. His consciousness is becoming my consciousness, as I humble myself knowing we are one in Spirit. He's in my soul, not my head.

OK, that sure what not very scientific, but to me Jesus is the purest representation of love, and God is Love, to me.

I don't think it's my personal duty to try to dissuade anyone from their beliefs, especially a learned person as yourself. You would cut me to ribbons. You have written a very scholarly hub that really should be challenged by Christian historians and theologians. You have permitted open, honest inquiry about your research, and maybe I am missing it, but it does not appear that any Chrisitan scholars have challenged you point by point or made any very convincing rebuttals. I believe that discussion couched in respect for each person involved in the debate is healthy, so I hope a Christian scholar will rise to the occasion, and challenge your research and premises capsule by capsule. Lots of people have expressed doubts or raised questions about the authenticity of Jesus. Catherine, you have answered well for the doubters and have answered question after question, in the comments section. You have set a good example for those who have the proofs for the historical Jesus to come and challenge you capsule by capsule. I am following you as I do enjoy reading your research. I look forward to reading many more comments. Thank you, for writing this hub. I have to vote it way up.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 16 months ago from Southern Georgia

Catherine, you always have to keep in mind there are millions of people who've been subjected to religious indoctrination from their early childhood days, usually with the blessings of their parents. They essentially inherited their beliefs and were taught not to question the Bible at all. It was suggested doing so would be a sin in itself.

I find there are a large percent who take that "sin" seriously enough to believe that ignorance is indeed bliss. I'm also thankful for those who dare to learn about the truth of Christianity by searching for the facts. :)


Jamie Banks 99 profile image

Jamie Banks 99 16 months ago from Japan

Hi Damian,

Thank you for replying. I like your kind approach. However, truth is also important.

Catherine, on your other blog on this subject you have very dubious sources that you have declined to identify regarding your claims you have not been able to support that Constantine settled the canon. As I said, the very first sentence that I felt didn’t sound like your writing was this one:

"The extant writings of the first century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus included two references to Jesus."

If you truncate the first two sentences of the relevant Wikipedia entry you get this:

“The extant…writings of the 1st-century Romano-Jewish historian Flavius Josephus include…two references to…Jesus.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

Then you say, “I don’t use Wikipedia as a source” and that my claim of “plagiarism” is “totally unfounded” and a “personal insult” that makes me look “disreputable”.

Your explanation for the similarity with Wikipedia is that “There are only so many ways to say something.” If you were really were “one of the best writers on HP” according to what you say people have communicated to you, you would know that there are thousands of combinations of words that would be possible in this instance. There is not one original word in your sentence that differs from Wikipedia (with the semi-exception of “included” instead of “include/s” which is still 80% the same) and neither does the order change in even one case.

How did I guess correctly that I would find this sentence elsewhere? I haven't even tried to look for any others yet.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 16 months ago from Naples

All that I am saying is that this is not as easy as it looks. It takes time, effort and dedication. I have only been writing for four months and my hubs are short and not even close to the level of Catherine's work. I do not even agree with her position and yet I am defending her work. That is quite ironic. I am a believer!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damian10: Thanks, you can admire the craftsmanship even if you don't agree with my conclusions. It shows you are a fair-minded person.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jamie Banks: You continue with personal attacks. You certainly do have a lot of time on your hands. This article has near 2400 words and you find a few sentences that somewhat resemble a few sentences you found elsewhere. Why don't you spend your time writing your own hubs instead of nit-picking the work of others? You could spend your time doing a little research of your own, and then you could write your own hub. I see you still haven't written anything. Let's see if you can make a coherent argument for your thoughts on this subject, assuming you actually have any.


Jamie Banks 99 profile image

Jamie Banks 99 16 months ago from Japan

I joined this site because I was very concerned about the inaccuracies of your blog and that people were swallowing what you were saying as if it was "fact," which it clearly isn't on occasions. This issue is not one I am passionate about and I have no inclination to write a blog on it.

However, I am passionate about the need to write about religion in a balanced way so that the walls that separate people can be broken down. I do not like your public attacks (such as saying Bart Ehrman was arrogant and that you are not interested in his books - despite the fact that you advertise his book on your blog) and stereotypes of people who disagree with you (implying the Jesus Seminar participants were simply cherry pickers for instance).

I have been researching religion for 23 years, including at university and have written two books on biblical related matters. That doesn't make me more right than anyone who has studied less than that of course but it does mean that I have built up a reasonable sense of whether a person is using reliable sources and treating an issue fairly. Of course that sense is very fallible - I would be silly to claim otherwise.

I think it's important you allow your own work the same scrutiny that you are putting on the opinions of others.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jamie Banks 99: I look forward to reading your hubs.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jaime Banks 99: I include Ehrman's book about the forgeries in the Bible to support my point. He is a well-known Biblical Scholar. I just happen to have taken a dislike to him personally based on the videos I watched. Also, although he left Christianity and became an agnostic, I think he might be reverting back. Just my impression.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

the rawspirit: Thank you for your comment. I welcome comments and questions from everyone, even people who disagree with me. I don't cut anyone to ribbons as long as they are polite themselves. Sometimes I lose patience with people who are insulting and obnoxious. Yu have been very kind in your assessment. I write on this topic because it is a way to solve an intellectual puzzle. I don't seek to cause anyone to leave their religion, just to understand it better. If you read "Atheists in the Pulpit," another of my hubs, you will see that even some members of the clergy don't believe, but they remain Christians because they believe in the ideals of Christianity, if not in the truth of the Bible.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Randy Godwin: I understand the anger that some people feel is because the foundations of their existence is threatened by what I report. I guess that is why they can't just express their disagreement once, but they have to come back ten or more times.


the rawspirit profile image

the rawspirit 16 months ago from Hutchinson Island, FL - Aruba - Carlsbad, CA - Myrtle Beach, SC - Gilbert, AZ

Thanks for your kind response to my comment. Looking forward reading more of your work.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you, the rawspirit. I will try to keep the new hubs coming.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 16 months ago from California

Well this was fascinating and controversial--


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 16 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Audrey Howitt: Definitely fascinating. Definitely controversial. Definitely historically accurate. Unlike my previous article which debated the historicty of Jesus, this one focuses only on some bogus claims about whether or not historians of the 1st and 2nd century mentioned him. in their writings. Thanks for commenting.


Rod 15 months ago

I read a lot of assumptions from respondents who wish to defend their Christian faith.

One cannot make assumptions without facts to back them up. One must know what they believe, why they believe it and be able to intelligently substantiate them.

After 40 years a Bible Thumper I came to the realization that Jesus's actual human existance outside of the Bible in real human history was totally void. The big question why? and the simple answer, "Jesus is a myth and fable that morphed from antiquity.

I think this documentary best explains it.

Caesar's Messiah The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus English Movie https://youtu.be/XkjCD5roU5c


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 15 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Rod: Thanks for your comment. I totally agree if you start with no assumptions, and then look at the evidence, you will come to the conclusions that I (and many others) have come to. However, I do not subscribe to the theories presented in the video you cite. It is all speculation with little in the way of facts to support it. I have not come across any serious scholar who supports that theory. However, many scholars do believe that Jesus is almost certainly 100% myth. Here is a video debunking it. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnV0cJgTRiM


Mark Steggles 14 months ago

Even if there was no evidence at all outside of the bible I would still believe in Jesus. Because: 1) My testimony. I was dead in sin and now I am alive. I am a new creation in Christ 2) Jesus's words are amazing. No one ever spoke like this man! 3) The prophecy in the bible concerning the Messiah... written by different authors at different time periods who did not know each other... hint: inspired by the Holy Spirit.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 14 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Mark Steggles: Jesus never said anything because he did not exist. The stories were shaped in order to fulfill the prophesies, sometimes helped by forgeries and interpretations of text that are implausible. The sayings attributed to Jesus were not original. You just think they are because you have not studied the writings and philosophy of those who came before him. (I think I need to write a whole article on this because your comment is a very common one.) Finally, if your belief in Jesus helps you to live a good life, that is fine, well, and good. However, I wish to point out that you can believe in good things and be a good person without putting Jesus into the picture.


Prince 12 months ago

It took me about 4 hours to go through your Hub and comments Catherine and my comment is 4 months late.

Your writing is easy, well referenced for an average reader like me with no History, Theology or any religious studies to comprehend. I am learning and will continue to read your Hubs as I continue to realize that what I grew up knowing might not necessarily be true.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Prince: Thank you for your great compliment--you spent four hours with my hub. Is that why it took four months for you to comment. It's not important that it took you so long to write a comment; I am just thrilled that you did. Never stop reading and learning.


Tim Dugan 12 months ago

Claiming Jesus was a myth is undecidable, you cannot offer proof.

There are documents....such as those in the bible and the Dead Sea scrolls. But those are not proof of existence.

But make sure you are using the same criteria for other historical figures.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Tim Dugan: It can not be "proven" one way or the other, but overall I think the probability is in favor of non-existence. You can not use the Bible as proof since it is the Bible that is being disputed. The Bible is not an objective historical account. for one thing it is full of miracles and other impossible things. Some people will try to say we have more evidence for Jesus that for other historical figures of the time, but a little research will show that it is not true.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Actually Tim, if we use the same criteria for everyone (as historians do) then his existence has been 'proven' beyond reasonable doubt!

If we conclude it isn't proven then we throw people like Julius Ceasar, Augustus Caesar and just about everyone else who has ever lived into doubt.

For example Catherine's own sources say that of the entire sum of gospels and fragments (some 16,000 all from within the first five centuries of christianity and can be traced to within two hundred years of him) only .001% is in doubt!

Julius Caesar on the other hand has only ten documents that mention him and they are all from 8-900 years after he lived yet we don't doubt Caesar!!

Hope this helps

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

Lawrence, to be fair, we do have evidence of Julius Caesar's existence that is actually contemporary to him (which we don't have for Jesus). For example, there is architecture (such as the Forum, whose construction he began). There are official Roman coins issued with his name or image on them. There are actual books that he personally wrote (his accounts of his wars in Gaul). He even established an official calendar (which bears his name, though it was later replaced by the Gregorian calendar).

And, of course, there are also numerous references to him by other contemporary writers (including Cicero and Virgil), while there are absolutely NONE for Jesus (all references to him are dated long after his death).

Add to all this the quite relevant point that, by and large, the historical references to Julius Caesar aren't mitigated by incredible supernatural claims. Though Caesar may have been inclined to think of himself as 'divine,' most of the documentation of his existence is of a decidedly historical, not theological, nature. Thus, it doesn't pose such an enormous challenge to one's credulity.

In the end, there's really no comparison between the amount of evidence for the existence of Caesar and Jesus. For the former, there is an overwhelming variety of CONTEMPORARY evidence (including all the items I noted above). For the latter, there are a few mentions made decades after he supposedly lived.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you Paladin for your learned response. I am bored with all those who keep saying the same lame things over and over, things like there is no evidence that Julius Caesar existed. No matter how many time you refute them, they just keep saying the same thing. Everything you said could have easily been looked up by the people making the false claims here and saved both you and me the trouble of exposing their ignorance. The information is readily available and I did not feel like taking the time to present it as you just did in your comment. I think I'm feeling a bit testy right now. However, I really wish people would take the time to be sure they have the facts before making claims. I think if is fine to argue about the validity of evidence--for instance, do coins prove Caesar existed, and if not, why not--but people have to stop denying the evidence exists.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

You're right about the architecture. But the inscriptions don't 'prove' anything as they could have been added at any time!

Luke has details of buildings and titles used in various cities he says they were used in that have been dated to the time period he says they were used (scholars had previously said the gospels were forgeries as these 'titles' were not used when he said, that was until archaeologists found the evidence)

As for the historians, both have contemporary historians who mention them and as for books we have about ten copies of Ceasar's book dated 800 years after the event! And we have no idea how accurate it is! His Gallic war and the reasons he gave for going to war in Gaul has been shown to be total BS as archaeology has shown he lied about the reason for the war!

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I think you are saying all the evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar is false, but all the evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ is 100% accurate. I suggest that you decide on a standard for proof and then apply it across the board.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

Lawrence, of course you're correct about the inscriptions of the architecture attributed to Caesar. You're also correct that all the contemporary writing we have mentioning Caesar (including his own works) are translations of copies of copies, etc.

However, as Catherine rightly points out, if we're to be objective, we must use the same standards of evidence for both personages. If we can challenge the authenticity of evidence for Julius Caesar's existence using a multitude of hypotheticals, we can use those same or similar hypotheticals to challenge the historical authenticity of Jesus!

And that's assuming all things are equal, and they're not. As I observed before, there's simply a much greater quantity and variety of evidence for the historical existence of Caesar than there is for Jesus (and that's not even considering the aforementioned supernatural nature of the claims regarding the latter). Even if we can hypothetically discount a couple of items, like the Forum or the authenticity of Caesar's "Chronicles," there is simply too much historical evidence remaining to generate any reasonable doubt.


Puddintame ... 12 months ago

If you're looking for a guy named Jesus, and he's really named "Yeshua" (written 'esau' in other language characters), what's the chance ... ? Haysoos is very popular, these days. Which One is the Returnee? Adamant assertions rarely convince the ignorant.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

At the risk of taking the conversation off on a semi-relevant tangent, I'd like to comment on the commonality of Jesus' name. From my own research, I can relate that it was probably quite common back in pre-millennium Palestine, and not just today.

For example, the Jewish historian Josephus is routinely cited as a reference for the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. And it's true that he DID mention "Jesus." The problem is that, throughout all his existing works, he mentions FOURTEEN different people named "Jesus!" I meticulously counted them, one by one, using mutually exclusive details that separated one identity from another (I think I still have the list somewhere, and may actually do a hub on it someday).

Just an interesting historical footnote... I now return you to your regularly scheduled discussion...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thanks Paladin. I have heard that Josephus mentions the name Jesus many times-maybe 19 times. (14 or 19 is irrelevant. The point is, it is frequent.) However, from the context we can see that they are The Jesus, whom he mentions not at all. I have also heard that 1 in 26 men had the name Jesus at that time.


Man from Modesto profile image

Man from Modesto 12 months ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California)

People, the Bible is THE most verified collection of documents in all of history. No other thing has been as oft challenged, and proven true at the conclusion of said challenge.

Sloppy articles like this one, full of errors typically result from lack of honest research, and lack of intent in presenting truth.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Man from Modesto: Thank you for taking the time to comment. I have just shown in my essay that almost nothing in the Bible is verified by objective researchers. Instead of showing even one fact I got wrong, you just heap insults on me and my scholarship. Insults prove nothing.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

Man, I can honestly say that I'm always looking to expand my knowledge of such things. If you can offer some actual proof for your claim that the Bible is "THE most verified collection of documents in all of history," I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Folks

The Man from Modesto is actually right, then again you'd expect me to say that :-)

On my hub dealing with this issue (called 'the gospels, can we trust them?') I've put links to the four major codices used to translate the Bible specifically so people can check them out for themselves and read what the experts say.

There is no 'new proof' that will appear suddenly as these documents have been in our libraries for centuries. There is one papyrus that we are waiting for the results of testing on that has been claimed to be a 1st century copy (or partial) of tge gospel of Mark, if it turns out a forgery, or later than 1st century then nothing changes, but if it turns out to be authentic then its a 'game changer'

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

I'm sorry, Lawrence, but the Man from Modesto is most assuredly NOT right -- at least, he has yet to be proven right. The information on your hub refers only to the DATING of ancient documents (not their veracity), and contains a number of flaws.

First, it presumes that the existing number of copies of a document has ANY bearing whatsoever on the accuracy of the document. There is no logical support for this assumption.

Second, most of the documents are identified solely by the name of a person, without actually identifying WHICH document is in question (which makes it difficult to verify the dating).

Third, it presents a percentage of "accuracy" for two of the documents on the list while offering no methodology for computing that accuracy, as if we're supposed to simply take the word of whomever compiled the chart.

Fourth -- and most importantly -- it offers no sourcing on the dates of the documents. Again, apparently we're simply supposed to take someone's word on this.

And all this refers only to the DATING of the documents, including the New Testament. If we actually critically examine the NT in detail, I -- or anyone else -- could point to a multitude of contradictions and inconsistencies, as well as myriad supernatural assertions that are simply IMPOSSIBLE to verify using any reasonable standard of evidence.

In the end, the essential question isn't HOW OLD (i.e. how 'original') the existing New Testament manuscripts are. The question is HOW TRUE they are!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you once again Paladin. I had some of the same complaints about Lawrence01 and his hub about the gospels. The title is very misleading since he offers nothing about the veracity of the gospels. He does do a nice job describing how documents are dated--he really should change the name of that hub. I loved how you put it: "myriad supernatural assertions that are simply impossible to verify using any reasonable standard of evidence."

I think knowing exactly when a document was written can be useful. The earlier it is, the more likely it is to reflect the thinking of people who were contemporary with Christ's purported lifetime. What we usually find is that the earliest documents have the fewest details which indicates that the stories were embellished over time.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Thanks for the comment, as for what you're saying I'll try to answer the points

1). Presumption that the existing number of copies proves the veracity. I don't make that assumption! Reading the hub you'll see that it's the similarities and differences that prove the accuracy, where there are variations in the text scholars often 'go with' the lowest common denominator, alongside that we also have to take into account the writings of early christian writers (as early as the laye 1st century) by doing this we get a better picture of what the original document contained and even the sources quoted in this hub say that of the 25,000 fragments and whole books there are 400,000 grammatical errors and spelling mistakes (an average of 16 per fragment or book!) Of these .001% are worthy of a mention in a study Bible and only 11 verses can't be found in any writing before 150 AD. To scholars that speaks of the accuracy of transmission which is what we were discussing!

2). Dating the document has nothing to do with the name attached to it! The four gospels don't themselves indicate who wrote them (except maybe John when he talks of 'the disciple Jesus loved') and they were added later when scribes tried to match them up to early church traditions.

Carbon dating is used to a limited degree but most libraries baulk at it as it means destroying part of the document (not just NT docs but any ancient document!) so a technique called 'paleographic dating' (literally analyzing handwriting and style of language) that can date a document to within 30 years eg p52 ('p' stands for papyrus) an early (possibly still the earliest NT fragment) fragment of John's gospel is dated at between 110 and 130 AD with most scholars saying around 120 to 125 AD! Carbon dating has verified the accuracy of the dating method!

3). Only two documents on the list have a % of accuracy, that's simply because there is no consensus as to accuracy with all the others!

If you look at the list there are only two with more than a hundred copies! Check the info out and you'll find it accurate, if it usn't then let me know and I'll update it! (please include a website so I can confirm it)

4) Sourcing the dates. Thays why I put the links to the Codices in! You can trace any fragment or gospel that you want to but with over 16,000 of them the hub would be huge if I tried that!

I think I've answered your points here so I'll finish up for now

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 12 months ago from Michigan, USA

Hehe. You may have "answered" my points, but certainly not to my satisfaction! ;-)

For example, with regard to names, without the actual NAME of the document, how can any of us actually know WHAT document was dated? It would be helpful to give us something specific we can verify for ourselves.

As to accuracy, I think you missed my point. Whether an accuracy percentage was assigned to two documents or ALL the documents in the list (regardless of the number of copies!), objective observers like myself need to know HOW these percentages were determined, using what methodology. I can't just take some anonymous person's word for it!

And, again, despite all your information regarding the DATING of the documents on your chart, that isn't the essential question here. What's important -- with regard to Modesto Man's argument -- is whether or not the documents in question (the New Testament) are TRUE.

Please remember his COMPLETE assertion:

"...People, the Bible is THE most verified collection of documents in all of history. No other thing has been as oft challenged, and proven true at the conclusion of said challenge..."

Again, authenticating the AGE of existing New Testament manuscripts has NO bearing on whether or not the contents of those manuscripts are "proven true."

In any case, I don't wish to belabor this point. But I certainly couldn't let Modesto Man's completely unsubstantiated claim go unchallenged (especially given that he has made no subsequent effort to support it)!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01 and Paladin: The dating of documents is just one piece of evidence. It does not attest to the veracity of the documents (unless it dates prior to the supposed date of birth for Jesus, in which case it would show that the story of Jesus was based on an older story.) However, when we see a later document that differs from an earlier one, it makes us suspect that the later document has been altered. It also make us think that the earlier document could be different from still earlier documents. These pieces of the puzzle show us how the story of Jesus evolved. The earliest documents have the fewest details of the actual human life of Jesus suggesting that all the stories were added much later. It is also consistent with the interpretation that Jesus began a a myth about a celestial angel who sacrificed himself for the sins of man in the celestial realm (one of the lower heavens) and then ascended up to the 7th heaven where God resided.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 12 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

One thing we really have to take into account is that the Stories told during those times were the only source of information and entertainment available. All of the old books, parchments, and even inscribed rocks were for information and entertainment. They didn't have TV or radio, or even newspapers. So the stories were embellished, copied, incorrectly translated, re-copied, and spread verbally. There were no photos, no independent verifications, or true authorities.

When you look at the actual content of old manuscripts, there is no "truth" that can be concluded.

The Egyptians had the only written language that was carefully preserved enough to rely on. They literally set their stories in stone that lasted for centuries. But the content of the stories still cannot be 100% verified.

So, when looking at pieces and parts of old scrolls and papyrus, it is simply foolish to declare it is all "true". Some of it is true, some of it is totally made up. Some of it is garbled. Some of it is unverifiable. Some of it is nonsense.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 12 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Thats what I'm saying about 'the lowest common denominator' which counteracts the 'embellishment' that did go on! That's why our Bible is translated using this method and why we can be so confident that what we have is accurate to what was recorded!

Austinstar is partly right but doesn't take into accout that the earliest christians were Jews who had (and still have) a reverence for God's word that puts us to shame.

Even today Jewish synagogues use hand copied texts that take a year to do and if even the smallest mistake is made the whole copy is trashed!

The christians making the copies weren't interested in 'entertainment value' so much as passing knowledge from one generation to the next!

Lawrence


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 12 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

lawrence - they were passing garbled knowledge from one generation to the next!

You can't prove that a "word" is from a "god" without proving that a "god" said it!

Copies of gibberish are still gibberish.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 12 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: Thank you for your comments. I appreciate them, but it is kind of pointless to try to refute faith with reason. Some of us want actual truth and some of us want to apply a veneer of truth to conclusions based on faith.


Khadija 11 months ago

I read most of comments here! And as a Muslim, I do really think you guys really got serious problems with your religion. I'd like to emphasize that even I don't question or debate on if Jesus existed!!! Belief doesn't work so! In my religion Jesus was one of the 125000 prophets came on earth! And he was the mentioned in Koran more than any prophet, he has a very big respect of all Muslims! I just don't understand why you don't respect your own prophet?! If churches disappointed you at some point, it doesn't mean it was God's will or what your prophet taught!!! Don't lose a faith or you have no difference from brainless sheeps!!! Peace be upon you all!!!


Khadija 11 months ago

And besides, God said there are some truth on universe that u are not meant to know for 100%, and this is test of your faith!!! Its like levels of truth theory, don't know if u heard of!!! It's like we say, sun rises on east, sets on west!! Hey! Wait NO! Sun doesn't rise or set!!! It's true for only our planet, it's not true on cosmic levels, right?! And another example, if u don't see the oxygen, it also doesn't mean it's not exist!!! Here for us only discrepancy is how he could be a God, father and son of himself in the same time? And who was controlling whole universe when God was in the womb of Mary, or when he was dead 3 days! And why when he crucified he called upon his father, if he was all 3 in the same time? This is my questions!!! Please reply these questions!!! Not if he existed or not!!! U never will know this!!!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Khadija: Thanks for your comments. You ask some interesting questions. I ask those same questions myself so I have no answers for you. I will agree tho that if you are trying to understand religious beliefs it makes no sense to try to use reason and logic. The beliefs are not based on reason or logic. It is based, as you yourself said in your comment, on faith.


edward nixon profile image

edward nixon 11 months ago

I agree of what you said that no other editorials in history talked about Jesus at that time may be because it would have been an offence to talk or mention about Jesus a sigh of intolerance from the royal society and then head religious leaders and eminent people of that time. That doesn't prove Jesus in-existence. Any way a book written to its compilation took a stretch of 1500 years cannot be an art of one person and 15 to 20 generation and 40 authors of different time frame and the power of words, sentiments and moral expression of the book is same from the beginning till the end and shows no differences at any point of any of its books, what if-otherwise written under human influences. and more over age old manuscripts of bible and other materials are still available and can be checked as a verification on this fact.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

edward nixon: All I can say with certainty is that there are absolutely no objective records to show that Jesus Christ existed--no letters, no books, no official documents, nothing. There is nothing whether favorable or unfavorable. What evidence we do have supports the conclusion that the story of Jesus began as a myth. The Gospels recorded those myths, not actual events. The myths were given a historical context--real people and places were named, but the central characters were most likely not actual people as described in the Bible stories.


edward nixon profile image

edward nixon 11 months ago

Sorry my knowledge is limited. But the I believe this by faith and bible dont even insist that u have to believe that. infact, It talks of some thing which is a gain in our interest ,that is it talks about some thing, life after death and only 666 only will enter the narrow door of heaven. Any way you pray that God would answer your query through some one. and if you think this promised gain is not in your interest you dont have to believe that and its just a mere myth. because that bible say I dont have to prove you any more.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 11 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Catherine...Hello! I stopped by here with a purpose. I'm in search of something. I scrolled down all your works and maybe I missed it, but I didn't see anything on the BIBLE itself.

If you can help me or direct me to one or 2 non-biased books on the history of the actual bible, I'd be grateful. When was the first page ever written, by whom? where & when were all the books of the bible discovered? Zealots insist it is the inerrant word of God...BUT, he didn't actually write a single word. Inspired by Him? Really? How on earth do sane individuals believe this? Do they claim to have audibly HEARD him?? That has a label now, it's schizophrenia........anyway, dear friend, can you direct me to anything that might help answers my litany of questions?? Thanks so much "Happy New Year!" Peace, Paula


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 11 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

fpherj48: Thanks for your comment. I'm not sure I can answer your question. I read "Misquoting Jesus" by Bart Erhman and that may answer some of your questions. He discusses all the different versions of the Bible and how they differ and how passages were changed to suit the whims of of the times. It is definitely NOT inerrant. You could also go to amazon and do a search and see what comes up. You are correct I have not written on the bible itself. I'll put that on my to-do list.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

The historical proofs of JC are of a higher order than just about any other proofs offered for other events of ancient history.

Sorry for the short post but contrary views can disappear at times so it doesn't pay to go into detail.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

You mean that the "proof" is all in your head? Or are these proofs written somewhere in stone or gold tablets or something? The Egyptians were capable of making writing last for thousands of years, why couldn't yahwe do it? Is Ra so much more powerful?


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

Lets not forget the thousands of manuscripts or fragments of manuscripts dating from the late 1st century to the 6th century!

Granted most are from between the 4th-6th centuries. Then there's the writings of the early church fathers and the Apostolic fathers (late 1st to early 3rd century) all of which we have in libraries and Museums around the globe!

These are just a few of the reasons no serious historian doubts Jesus was a real person, whom he may be is another matter!

Lawrence


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

There were many named Jesus, or variations of that name, just as there are to this day. But what is in doubt is the premise that a god gave birth to himself, had himself tortured and killed, only to bring himself back to life in order to prrove his "divinity". If a god could do all that, why couldn't he at least provide a birth certificate, death certificate, and other proof of life?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

The question is whether the person we have come to know as Jesus Christ ever existed. All of these manuscripts that lawrence01 refers to are church documents. What I want is an independent source saying anything that says something about Jesus. For example, a historian who writes, "There is this person stirring up crowds saying he's the son of God." Or a record of his trial and execution. Or a letter from someone mentioning it. Or even someone saying my grandfather met Jesus and he told my father about it and my father told me.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

You're right about the name. Paladin has done a great hub on the people named Jesus in Josephus' books (called Josephus and the bakers dozen in reference to the 13 people named Jesus in his writings)

With regard to the other things you're completley misunderstanding the concept of 'Sonship' in the Ancient Jewish and Roman world where where one could be adopted and given total rights of the firstborn that were irrevokable!

Couple that with the pre-existence of 'the word' (Logos, a concept in both Greek and Jewish thought at the time) and you start to get the picture of what it means by 'Son of God'

I'm doing a series at the moment exploring what the early christians believed and how some of our doctrines came about, you might want to look them up.

Lawrence


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

I'd urge you to check out Paladin's hub and the references to Jesus of Nazareth.

Lawrence


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Khadija

yes your totally correct. The entire Middle East including Arabs and Jews all recognise JC. India's historians also verify JC and apostles. Only those who give no credence at all to any aspect of scripture could get it wrong. Correct atheistic attitude to scriptural takes an anthropological approach. Archaeologists, even atheists, often use the Bible as a reference re site excavation for example.

Add to this the huge contemporaneous seismic cultural shifts, the art and architecture, the personages and sites, the tombs, the catacombs etc and we have undeniable historical proof that extends into our modern era with great force as a law book (the Bible) still used in the court room and halls of parliament.

Critics are left with some kind of bizarre conspiracy theory as to why all this art, architecture, tomb art etc were deliberately falsified.

The fact that certain groups of people spend large amounts of time disparaging religion online (particularly Christianity) only shows a basic intellectual prejudicial flaw.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

fpherj48

One of the most unbiased and authentic books on the history of the Bible would be the Lion Handbook to the Bible (Lion Press) it deals with the discussions as to when each book was written and who penned the book, some of them we actually don't know when they were written (Book of Job is a classic).

Most good study Bibles will give a brief outline of the arguments for when each book of the Bible is written but often with a leaning as to what that particular scholar thinks, they can be really useful in knowing the brief outline of when and by whom (even covering the idea of if the Penteteuch was written in the post exilic period)

Hope this helps

Lawrence


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Additionally, what does one do with Pontius Pilate? He is written about by non- Christian sources such as Philo, Tacitus and Josephus. He is governor of Judea from 26 to 36 AD. Jesus lived during this time. In 1961 an archeological dig discovers the Pilate Stone, a dedication he made to the emperor at the time, Tiberius. Pilate is said to have executed a man who claimed to be the Christ. Many others claimed this man was as well.

Perhaps the Bible calls for belief based on faith for exactly the reason God knows how weak our faith is.

Blessings to all.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damianio: Philo wrote about Pontius Pilate, but never about Jesus. You wrote "Pontius is said to have executed a man..." Who said this and where?

I am writing about fact. To quote a well-known phrase: "With faith , all things are possible." I take that to mean that you can believe anything you want regardless of whether or not there is evidence and regardless of whether or not it is rational.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Oxinato: As I have said many times in these comments, the existence of Christianity does not prove that Jesus Christ actually existed. The art, etc. is about Christianity and very little of it is from the first century.We also have art, temples, and literature for Athena--in the 1st century more than for Jesus. Does that mean that Athena existed as a real person?

As I said, the myths about Jesus were placed in some real places as a history was fabricated for him.

Also about those archaeologists using the Bible about where to dig to find ancient towns and cities, sometimes they come up empty. For instance, there is no archaeological evidence for the Exodus.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Tacitus references the execution of Christ in his document the Annals. This is a NON Christian source.

The Pilate Stone is an archaeological find.

Pilate obviously existed and each of the four Gospels gives reference to Him.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Tacitus The Annals passage 15.44

Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damaiano: Please reread the section of this hub that deals with Tacitus. I don't know why you would mention that when I have already discredited it as evidence.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Catherine:

Are you making the case against Tacitus? Or is this common knowledge/belief ? Also, do you believe that Pontius Pilate existed? Do you believe they found a Pilate Stone? It seems like an awful lot of conspiracy going on? Does it not?


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Following the comments here is interesting. I wasn't aware of the 'Pilate stone' so I'll be looking into that.

You said that there's no evidence for the Exodus, thats because we've been looking in the wrong place!

In 2010 archaeologists started excavating in North Western Sinai where they now believe the ancient land of Goshen was. They also found the remains of eleven fortified cities (look up the 'highway if horus') built along the Sinai coast to protect Egyptian ports and copper mines in Sinai and southern Canaan

If this is the Biblical Goshen then the site we've traditionally thought of the exodus and the Mountain itself is wrong and the Mount would be in Saudi Arabia right where the Bible says it should be!

I think I might see if I can put this together in a hub.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: It's like when these preachers give the date for the end of the world and the date comes and nothing happens. They say, "Oh, I got the date wrong. This is the real date." And then that date comes and goes with no end of the world." So if the archaeologists can't find anything, you just say they looked in the wrong place. It gets tiresome.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Actually Catherine I didn't! The CIA did!

The evidence came to light in declassified satellite reconnaisance photos taken during the Cold war. Nothing was done then as Egypt and Israel both contended for the region and until the 1990s it was in a military restricted area right next to the Suez canal, probably the most strategic shipping lane on our planet!

No one could get near it until Egypt gave the OK around the turn of the millenium despite knowing (or suspecting) from the photos from as early as the sixties!

If you don't believe me then Google the highway of horus!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks for the referral, Lawrence! :-) If memory serves, you also did a hub on this particular topic, did you not?

I just don't know about the Tacitus reference. I've read the quote in my own copy of "Annals," but the skeptic in me says that the criticisms cited by Catherine deserve a closer examination. It looks like I have some research to do!

That said, I am fascinated by the mention of the remains of the cities Lawrence mentioned, about which I've heard absolutely nothing (you'd think such a discovery would have been front page news!) Lawrence, would you happen to have a link, or must I do a search for 'highway of horus?'


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Aha! The bible has been 100% accurate all along! It's just the silly humans "looking in the wrong places". Or interpreting the lessons wrongly. And that's why Christian apologists exist!


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: I bit. I googled Highway of Horus. I found nothing for that, but did find "The King's Highway," and the website said this is what some think was the route of Moses (Also the route of about everyone else in the region for millenia.) No mention of archaeological finds. It covers a very great distance so archaeologist could have examined some parts of the route regardless of the politics in the region.

This appears to be another example of apologists grabbing every random fact they can, and then using it to "prove" something or other.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Sorry. I got it wrong, it's been over a year since I last looked at this, apparently it's called "The way of horus" and was a fortified highway that the Egyptians built starting around 1,500 BCE and xompleted around the time of Akhenaten.

Instead of sending you on a wild goose chase again I'll write the hub.

Paladin, I did write some about Josephus in a hub but felt your hub was more 'on point' and unbiased (mine did have the 'bias' that I was arguing he existed)

Lawrence


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks to both of you (Lawrence and Catherine) for clarifying that information. I'll definitely have to do a search on that, as I'm always looking to expand my theological knowledge. I like to know what the heck I'm talking about! ;-)


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 10 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

I'd like to thank Catherine & Lawrence too....for the info on the books I asked about! I'll check out that Lion Handbook! Paula


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

You may also want to check out a letter from Mara Bar Serpian to his son denoting the unjust executions of three persons including that of a Jewish King.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Actually, it's Mara Bar Serapian (with an extra "a"), and he refers to the MURDER of their "Wise King, seeing that from that very time their kingdom was driven away from them." While it's possible it's a reference to Jesus, he doesn't specify Jesus by name, as he does the other two "wise" men -- Socrates and Pythagoras.

Further, I don't recall Jesus ever being referred to as the "king" of the Jews (though I could be mistaken), nor is it clear how the Jews "lost their kingdom" immediately after the king's death (as Serapian suggests) if the "king" was Jesus.

On this particular reference, I'm more inclined to think Serapian is referring to someone more contemporary to the time of Socrates (who lived near the end of the 4th century BCE) and Pythagoras (who lived about a century before Socrates). For example, the Jews DID lose their kingdom (at least one of them) just a few decades before Pythagoras lived, when the Kingdom of Judah was captured and the Jews entered their infamous Babylonian exile.

In any case, Serapian's reference conflicts with the biblical account of Jesus' death, which states that he was crucified (Roman capital punishment - in other words, an EXECUTION). According to Serapian's account, the "king" in question was "murdered."


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Pal

Great clarification. I guess I am starting to wonder about the seemingly multitude of references which certainly could be associated with this poor Jewish carpenter. I am seeing a whole lot of opining on subject matter rather than real complete clarification of documents. The mere fact that these references exist at the very least would lead one to wonder about their relevance and importance.

Blessings.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Thats interesting stuff above. Pilate had "King of the Jews" nailed to Jesus' cross which really 'pleased' the Jewish leaders. John's gospel says tgey asked him to change it but he (in not so many words) said "Tough, LIVE WITH IT!" his actual words were "I've written what I've written!"

Not sure if that would qualify as a reference to the title in the right sense but its the only one I know of.

Lawrence


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Peeps

This JC denial stuff implies a conspiracy theory.

There really only remains one thing to solve: who has created all this confusion and conspiracy surrounding JC? The "Illuminati"?:)

Why even our calendar date is wrong as AD or BC are a fraud etc

In other words the conspiracy theorists are left with a "tin foil hat" theory.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

The christians are the ones confusing everything. Hence all the denominations, cults, protestants, catholics, and straight up loons.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Austinstar

Is that a conspiracy too?

This is about ancient times right? Silly ancient confused Christians getting eaten by lions in the Colosseum and scurrying around catacombs painting symbols to escape detection. But wait that wasn't them that was the Illuminati pretending it all happened. Or who was it? Now that's confusion.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Catherine/Paladin_

if JC never existed then all Western calendar dates past and present must therefore be wrong:)

No comment?


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks for the reminder, Lawrence. I'd completely forgotten about that reference from Mark!

Oz, as usual, your devastating logic has us all trembling. You DO realize, don't you, that the calendar years to which you refer are used only in the primarily CHRISTIAN world, and that other parts of the world (for example, Islamic countries and the Chinese) use DIFFERENT years?

Those western calendar years to which you refer were concocted CENTURIES after Jesus supposedly lived, by believers who wished to fashion the official historical record in accordance with their own beliefs -- just as the Muslims count their historical years according to theirs.

So, by your logic, the god Thor must have existed, as we still acknowledge Thursday ("Thor's day") each week. The same goes for Saturday (the god Saturn) and Wednesday (the god Woden). And let's not forget the names of the months, chock full of references to gods like Janus, Mars, Aphrodite, Maia and Juno.

Not a reference to Jesus or Yahweh anywhere in the mix. It's another of those darned conspiracies, I tell you!!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

"...believers who wished to fashion the historical record...": and there it is, the conspiracy theory we've been waiting for. In other words our calendar dates are all wrong by your logic. There's no BC or AD, it's another conspiracy.

(Of course as the record shows I stipulated Western calendars).

The conspiracy theory grows bigger: No catacomb Christian art? Why that was just someone faking it. Everything it appears has a conspiracy involved. It's just tin foil hat stuff that will never be taken seriously.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Ozinato: Calendar dates are arbitrary. They are whatever is agreed upon. Jewish people and Israel use a different calendar--a lunar calendar with 13 months. The calendar we use today was adopted in 1582 when it replaced the calendar previously used. There is no right or wrong calendar. What ever gave you that idea?

I also have to add you are the only one here interpreting everything as a conspiracy theory. It must be hard to live in your world.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: I loved your comment about the calendar and the gods--the non-Christian ones.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Cath

hardcore atheists are slowly ticking off all arguments re JC as implied conspiracies. Historians, sites, the date, the apostles, the scriptures, other cultural traditions etc. It has nothing at all to do with actual historical research but is just an obsessive agenda of denigrating religion. This world of "historical conspiracies " is the atheist world and has nothing to do with my world at all. I'm firmly grounded in archaeology with a completed degree from Sydney University. The atheist world is the world of sensationalist dan brown historical conspiracies and ignorance. When you add this to the continuous online churning out of anti religious "hubs" then all claims to unbiased intellectual debate is eliminated. You are removing ethics as well as historical fact which leaves nothing of real substance.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Gee Oz, why don't you churn out some anti-atheist hubs for all of us to enjoy? I'm sure we would all be interested in your learned views.


fpherj48 profile image

fpherj48 10 months ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

Lela oh dear friend Lela.....speak for yourself. Id rather stick needles in my eyes.....(yes, I do know you were tongue-in-cheek) I was thinking more of fist-in-face. Now that may be a worthwhile activity.

Catherine....everyone is in awe of your tolerance.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks, Catherine! :-)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Austin

I have many and varied interests in art, science, humor, archaeology, anthropology etc.

I have only one hub critical of atheism which has been highly rated.

People who constantly come up with solely anti religious hubs are engaging in unethical contact and can't be taken seriously: some legalistic definitions label it a type of "trolling".

Get a life peeps. Create hubs about art and music sometimes.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Ozinato: Regarding your previous mention of Dan Brown, you do realize that Dan Brown writes fiction, don't you?

If you take a look at my profile page, you will seen I have writien about writing, language, poetry, health, dragons, cars, bees, Buddhism, history, ethics, and many other topics in the 114 hubs I have done over a period of 18 months.

The definition of trolling is repeatedly commenting on someone else's post , not to honestly discus but to disrupt and insult. In short, making a pest of yourself.

In your two years as a HubPages member you have written only 12 hubs. I suggest that you spend less time commenting and more time writing hubs.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Cath

You are on record as saying you feel you have now found your niche: anti-Christian hubs.

What hardcore atheists write is just sensationalist fiction too. Such things as the illuminati faking history etc. Someone needs to point out the obvious flaws in reasoning.

Alternative opinions are part of free speech.

I have never blocked anyone from commenting.

Commentators are the life's blood of HP.

Strong clear alternative opinion is not trolling but the online definitions regard continuous usually anti Christian rhetoric as trolling.

My work schedule doesn't allow me to sit at a computer all day writing hubs. Maybe one day I'll write a few more but there's no reason to turn out electronic pulp. I do freelance art and professional piano. Overuse of computers can injure eyes and fine motor skills: both of which are essential for my work.

Certain people on HP seem to have "settled in" for a constant string of offensive anti religious dan brown style" fictional history".

I look forward to future hubs about how the catacombs were faked or perhaps how the illuminati penetrated Islam to fake history about JC.

I'm sure if we were to talk about other subjects we would have much more in common.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

At the risk of venturing off on a tangent, I'd like to return momentarily to the topic of the "way of Horus" mentioned by Lawrence, above (if it's okay with Catherine, whose hub, after all, is on another topic entirely).

I've been researching this item, and everything I've found thus far indicates that this highway (also referred to as the "Great Horus Route") was an Egyptian creation -- from the Egyptian temples and fortresses along the route (with Egyptian inscriptions) to the drawings and seals of Egyptian kings in various locations. One of the more recently discovered remains even corresponds to inscriptions in the Karnak Temple in Luxor which lay out a series of 11 military fortresses constructed to defend Egypt's Eastern border.

There are also remains of pottery from Palestine, Syria and even Cyprus, which suggests that this highway was a commercial as well as a military route.

Lawrence, either we're researching the wrong topic, or there is additional information regarding these ideological sites which I've thus far been unable to find. Unless some new information comes to light, I'm going to have to conclude that they have nothing to do with the Jewish exodus described in the Bible.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: Thank you for your research.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Oztinato: I have given up trying to make senses out of anything you say. I have never said a word about the illuminati. I know nothing about that except I have a vague feeling that it never existed except in the mind of conspiracy kooks. Note to Self: Do not waste any more time trying to prove or disprove anything Ozinato says. Do not even respond to his rants here or elsewhere.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine and Paladin

I'm in the process of researching the hub at the moment, you're right with what you say Paladin and I'll try and address some of it in the hub. It'll be called 'Exodus, history or hoax?'

Lawrence

Ps I'll also put the sites I use for my research so people can check them out.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Cath

just as a new planet can be sensed by the gravitational interactions in the solar system, likewise there is an implied conspiracy behind the fictional convoluted concoctions of anti religious theorists be it the Illuminati, generic "believers" or generally invisible conspirators.

We have living proof in such hubs: it's not really 2016 AD, all historical scriptures of all cultures are fabrications, Nero didn't really sacrifice Christians, the catacombs are fakes etc etc.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

These Hubs seem to treat the Bible as some kind of faerie tale. There are so many things in history to show the accuracy of the Bible. The Tel Dan inscription referencing the House of David is an obvious archaeological find proving the existence of King David. We could go on and on. This so called faerie tale seems to have great historical clarity. The mere fact that our human condition gets in the way does not indeed prove anything except for our humanity and our doubting Thomas nature.

By the way I find Oz to be learned on many topics.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I suppose Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara were real since GWTW mentioned real places and people in the novel. :P


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Randy, hope you are doing well. I don't believe there was any archaeological evidence for Rhett and Scarlett. Great flick though.

Blessings!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Hey Damian! Hope you are well also. :) Actually Rhett was loosely based on the Pierce Butler family from Charleston South Carolina. And there's no archaeological evidence for JC either. :P


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

You are a good guy. Anyone can see that. Good info on the Rhett Butler thing. Hope you don' t mind if I mention you in my prayers as well as all who don't believe.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I believe you're a good guy also, Damian. You must be judging me as a sinner to offer prayer for me. Doesn't your handbook mention something about not judging folks? :P


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Not judging you or anyone else. Not now and not ever. The handbook says don't judge or you will be judged, don't condemn or you will be condemned. I am the sinner. Cannot speak for any other.

Blessings.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

That's good to know, Damian. In my experience Christians are the most judgmental of any group I've been associated with. Pleased you're not one of them. :P


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks for the reply, Lawrence. I look forward to reading your hub!

I finally remembered to subscribe to your HubPages (which is long overdue). It's nice to know that all Hubbers from your part of the world aren't annoying and obnoxious wankers! :-)


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Thank you. None is righteous, no not one. A real CHRISTIAN should be nothing but humble. Stay well.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

You too, Damian. I'll mention you to my god Moe. I assume you didn't know I was a Stoogist. Woop, woop, woop, my brother! :)


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

I love the stooges!

Nghat, Nghat, Nghat ...... Oh a wise guy!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Most people refer to me as a "wise ass," Damian. Hope you're warm during this winter weather. It's even cold here in the Deep South! brrrrr!


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Live in Florida now but originally from Maryland. They're getting pounded. Catherine write a great Hub on Florida. You should check it out.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 10 months ago from North Carolina

Who sinned? This man or his parents that he be born blind?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damian10: Thanks for noticing that I have hubs on other topics--like the "joys" of living in Florida. Oz may be quite learned, but when I read the comments who puts here it makes me think he is off his meds. Maybe you should pray for him. You can pray for me too. I take it as an expression of your goodwill towards me. I will keep you in my thoughts and offer you my best wishes.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Thank you. You are in my prayers. Keep up the great work.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Hello Oz, I've always wondered how religious folk pictured Jesus in their mind. The pictures always portray him as wearing spotless robes with a stern but loving expression on his face. In reality if he existed at all, he probably didn't have access to a bath most of his life and was certainly missing a few teeth by the time of his unlikely crucifixion.

His nails were dirty and his skin was more than likely pocked and wrinkled by the sun as 35 years of living was teetering on old age at the time. So tell me Oz, how do you picture him in your mind? I'll wager you too had him pictured differently than was factual for a mortal man during JC's supposed last years.

And no, it's really not AD 2016, Oz. It's actually 14,000,000,000 +/- ET (Earth Time). :D


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Randy

You're right on there, the picture we have of Jesus is more to do with the Middle Ages and the Shroud of Turin (No I'm not arguing for any authenticity here, jsut observation that because it was thought so the image on it influenced the way we saw him for seven hundred years!)

However just because we don't know what he looked like doesn't take away from the historical reality.

By the way Catherine and Paladin I've just put the hub about the Exodus up, it's called "Exodus, History or Hoax?"

And yes I'm praying for you folks as well!

Lawrence


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Hello Lawrence, agree with you about the Shroud and suspect it may have been the inspiration for some of the likenesses of JC by early artists. And historical unreality is just what I was pointing out by my example. I doubt most Christians have historic reality foremost in their minds as to Jesus's life. Good to talk to you again. :)


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Thanks for the note on the hub, Lawrence. I just visited, and actually had to follow the link in your "recent activities" to find it (my own hubs also take a few hours to show up on my page after I publish them). But I now see that it's up on your profile page, so I recommend the hub to anyone else interested in the exodus story.

I wish I could generate hubs that quickly, but I'm part lazy and part perfectionist, which means my hub production is slower than molasses in an ice storm. I'm still trying to decide which one to complete next out of the twenty or so drafts I have floating around in my folder!


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Randy

as I thought you don't believe the current date is real. Neither do a few others here. The ultimate conspiracy theory. Sorry to use cynical humour but there's no other way to point out extreme folly.

Basic sanity tests often begin with asking the patient what the date is. The meds are then administered.

The earliest images of JC appear in the catacombs. These look like the standard idea of JC: bearded and long haired, longish Jewish type face but with noticeably reddish brown hair colour. Of course as we are dealing with ongoing conspiracy theorists these catacomb images were obviously painted by Jewish Benedictine albino monks scuttling around in medieval times. One of these monks was named "Shemp" and the others were Moehi, Larrhi and Curli.

Of course actual history proves the earliest Christians were meeting in secret in sparse plain small rooms in family homes and in large tombs to escape hideous executions during Neros bloody reign. As these tombs were expanded they gave growing numbers of Christians some kind of refuge. No doubt the tombs reminded them of the resurrection. Others withou faith were often afraid to enter tombs.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I'm glad you're well acquainted with 'basic sanity tests,' Oz. I've never had any reason to take one. You neglected to mention how old the 'earliest images of JC' were nor the dates of the 'actual history' you referred too.

How old do you think earth is, Oz?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Oz, it doesn't matter what the current date is. It is totally ARBITRARY! If you can grasp the meaning of that word. Like we have been trying to explain to you, the "christian" dates are only relevant to "christians". The age of the Earth is measured in arbitrary time, which is to say, the number of orbits around our sun.

The dates and time are all man made measurements - like a ruler is for distance. We can use American measurements and/or metric measurements. Neither one has anything to do with christianity any more so than the Gregorian or Julian calendar has anything to do with time measurement and "dates".


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thank you Austinstar for reinforcing the point that calendars are arbitrary.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I cannot understand why so many "christians" are convinced that the "christian" calendar is proof of the birth and death of JC. They even believe that Dec. 25th is his birthday and then turn right around and cite other sources that "prove" JC was born in the summertime. Since no birth certificate is available, no one knows when or where or even if JC was ever born in the first place!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Actually, it's even more arbitrary than that. As I understand it, many of humanity's earliest calendars used months that were based on LUNAR cycles which, while they roughly approximated a year, after a few years became notably off-kilter with regard to the changing seasons. So they required regular tinkering, adding days here and there.

This is why there is often confusion when it comes to deciphering ancient Hebrew date-keeping (as they used this system, and you have to add days to make it correspond with more modern and accurate chronologies).

And let's not forget that, at various times in history, even different parts of the so-called "western world" used different calendars -- wholly because of their own preference. For example, when the Catholic Church adopted the "Gregorian calendar," England (a country ruled by Protestant monarchs) refused to adopt it for a time, even though it was more accurate. So their years were different. ALL arbitrary!

Of course, in some peoples' warped minds, this is all part of a vast conspiracy to discredit and devalue religion!


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

We may be dealing with someone who only believes in science when it's convenient for his own beliefs.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have noticed that the more you use "christian proofs" to decipher christianity, the more they scream about how ACCURATE everything is! It is amazing to me how people take facts and twist them around so as to be unrecognizable, yet still PROVE something!

And am I the only one? or do most conspiracy theorists appear to be totally batshit crazy?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Hey Randy! I do believe you may be right. Science is a method of study - it's not a "thing". Science is convenient to religionists when it suits their purposes, but for the most part, they do hold real scientific inquiry to be erroneous when it comes to religion. weird, huh?


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

This morning at church my Pastor said that there is always one obstacle between humanity and Christ.... It is religion. That is so true.

I thought of some of the challenges that all of us face. Believer or non believer we cannot even agree on the calendar.

Let us just say God does exist. I kind of wonder sometimes will He think that He has made it so difficult for us to understand or will He merely think that our humanity will have just gotten in the way?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Damian - let's just say that god doesn't exist. All this superstitious conjecture is just that - conjecture. People have argued over it for millenia. If a god existed, he/she/it would have put an end to it by now out of sheer frustration.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Austin,

True but is that not what Faith is?


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Peeps

as all historians know the proof of ancient events are holistic groups of phenomena, sites, events, etc. If people deny such masses of evidence for the sake of a prejudiced agenda, say gross religious intolerance, it is inevitable odd conspiracy theories appear as in this and other bizarre hubs. The ethnocentricism of such ideas is appalling. To discount historical evidence from whole swathes of culture is practically racist.

I'll let you have the pleasure of googling the real archaeological evidence. It only takes a few minutes. Do just a little homework and get away from sensationalist "historical conspiracy theories" as they relate to paranoid thought. It's not healthy. Who do you say falsified so many evidences?

I'm not your apparent stereotype of right wing backwoods fundamentalist (be that religious or atheist) and agree with geologists about the enormous age of the earth.

Continuously coming up with deliberately offensive hubs could give the impression of "religious trolling" to objective observers.

I'm not your "token theist friend" here to justify atheist rationales that border on mental impairment. I'm here to lay waste to false historical balderdash, poor first principles and constant implications of ever present conspiracy theories.

You're not rewriting history at all on HP. They're just piddly hubs of no real substance designed to stir up religious hatred.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Oztinato: I hope you are not referring to me when you talk about "deliberately offensive hubs." My hubs use facts to present a logical thesis. I take pains to never be offensive.

If you want to see offensive, look at the writings of people who take the other side. They straight out call people who disagree with them "idiots" and worse.

If you don't like my hubs, stop reading them.

BTW Here is the top definition of troll from the Urban Dictionary (emphasis mine): A person whose sole purpose in life is to SEEK OUT people to argue with on the internet. Here's another definition: "Someone who posts...irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community ... [n order to] provoke other users into an emotional response or to generally disrupt normal on-topic discussion."

Who is seeking out whom? I have never once visited your pages.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Deliberately offensive? Wow. Just wow.

I suppose you think the Crusades were just the christian way of saying "Howdy"?

Refuting religion and its falacious "proofs" is only offensive when you just can't handle the truth.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Austinstar: Once again you say it all with a few well-chosen words.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Peeps

logically presenting alternative views and answering other's direct questions can only be seen as normal. It is not normal to continually present anti religious views designed to offend both intelligence and race. The only thing the crusades have in relevance to the hub topic is that it was during that time when the Illuminati/Freemasons were allegedly busy concocting history according to the paranoids guide to history. I am deeply sorry for using cynical humour but that is my genuine response to attempts to eliminate JC or marry him off or making him Scottish or whatever the latest dan brown style fashion is at any given moment.

I am right on the hubs topic : rewriting history based on new atheist trends and screwball conspiracies designed to offend and create controversy.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Catherine, I don't know what to say about Oz's comment about "deliberately offensive hubs". It's just so low that I am stunned. I think he may be referring my hubs, which are quite a bit more forcefully intimidating toward religionists. He knows I will delete his comments on my hubs which is why he is posting it here.

Suffice it to say, that your hubs are so polite and well thought out that they would never deserve such a comment.

Thank you for your hard work and research.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I admit I feed the religious trolls too often, Catherine. Perhaps it's because I was brought up in the very navel of the Bible Belt. You couldn't sling a cat without hitting a Baptist up side the head. I find Oz and his ilk tremendously funny as they try to rationalize their silly beliefs. Perhaps I've missed some singular proof or evidence of JC as I haven't been keeping up with thread lately. I'd wager not though.


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Austin/Randy

I have never banned anyone from any hub as I believe in free speech. I have deleted hate speech on occasion.

Austin there are certain others on HP even worse than Cath who uses a subtle suggestion technique. Banning free speech removes all credibility.

Randy there are few "singular" proofs in ancient history: real historians know there are entire groups of phenomena, sites and facts to take into consideration. Certainly by simply denying other culture's historical records (Jews, Muslims, Christians and Hindus no less) an alleged researcher could legitimately be accused of being potentially racist.

Randy, do you believe in Jewish conspiracies to take over the world?


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Oz, I'm not aware of the "real historians" you use to back up your claims. Perhaps you'd provide a few links to prove your point. And you never answered my query as to how old you believe the earth is. You want answers but you never provide any yourself.


Link10103 profile image

Link10103 10 months ago

Nope Randy, gotta do your own homework. That means picking up any old random history book and taking it as gospel, even if its completely unrelated or totally contradicts the topic.

Or go to Oz's hubs. Depends on what he says to avoid giving you a direct link...


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I suspected as much, Link. I won't waste my time reading the hubs Qz authored if he's no more accurate than on this thread. :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Randy

I answered your question re age of the earth. I agree with geologists.

Now answer mine: do you believe there is a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world?


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Oz: There is no Jewish conspiracy to take over the world. If you post anymore conspiracy nonsense, your posts will be deleted.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

All religions wish to control the world through the minds of its residents. Duh!!


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

So I guess the entire Bible is just stockpiled full of coincidence.

The temple by the way is still in ruins today. More coincidence I guess?

No stone left unturned indeed.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 10 months ago from North Carolina

Maybe Oz can be gotten off conspiracies and thus saved here. Let's shift the focus to agendas. There are some serious researchers who believe there may well have been the historical man called Jesus. Some also believe parts of his story, and some things he taught, were rewritten to an extent between the late second century and Constantine's time. And in this "editing" process, they might have missed several NT quotes. One of them is this one: The disciples asked: Who sinned? This man or his parents that he be born blind? There is only one way to rationally interpret that question.The man had lived before. Maybe Oz, or anyone else, can get their teeth in on this one, maybe not. But I really would like to see Oz saved...on the thread, that is. I'll exit the comments now, but Oz, if you post on this, please don't say innocent babies in the womb are sin-filled.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Damian, I'm not saying nothing in the Bible is true as relates to places such as cities and countries, nor ancient accounts of famous kings and such. Things of a known ilk add realism to both ancient and present day writings. But let's be realistic, the Bible itself is rife with impossible scenarios and downright murder as well as plagiarized tales written long before it was conceived and written by common men.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Randy, you surely make some very valid points here but some of the things that we deem impossible from a human perspective certainly may not be from a Godly one. I had earlier alluded to the Tel Dan inscription which clearly denotes the House of David. He was at one time one of the murderers that you reference. I look at the history of the bible and unlike many on here I do not deem it a faerie tale. Way too much coincidence for my way of thinking. For some reason I do not struggle with the faith part and yet at least try and give credence to another's point of view without insulting them.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I realize you have more faith than I in biblical matters and know you always act with good intentions , as well as, being polite to others in the process. It's always a pleasure to discuss religious topics with you. :D

I admit to having a lack of patience with some of your religious aficionados, but you are always open to consideration from those of different beliefs. I appreciate it and I'm sure others feel the same. :)


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Alastair

I'm not any kind of right wing fundamentalist. I am inter religious and have therefore studied the religious history of all major religions with Respect. Please read the previous posts.

Randy your silence is a resounding YES to my question. Thought so.

Cath you are stifling free speech.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

I thank you for that and obviously feel the same.

Perhaps we can all learn a great deal from each other regardless of our opposite views and beliefs.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

Oz--Since it only takes 3 people for a plot to become a conspiracy, I figured you'd be satisfied by my last answer to you. Once more, all religions were concocted for control of the common and unlearned. Get it now?


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

My intentions entirely, Damian. A longing for knowledge is admirable no matter what one presently believes is true. Sometimes I wish I hadn't searched for the truth. If I were religious, I supposed I'd say, "that's jest the way god made me!"


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

This may sound funny but sometimes religion and faith are not necessarily the same. The Pharisees would be a prime example.

You may not agree much with Oz but he has a degree in Archaeology. Without that none of us would know the history or what the history means. I have alluded to the Tel Dan Inscription, The Pilate Stone and the Mara Bar Serapian Letter. These are just a few of many, many discoveries. My belief stems from both my upbringing and my research. It is the very best combination of both.

Blessings.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 10 months ago from North Carolina

Uh, I did read the posts, and the last one from Catherine said you were off the thread with anymore conspiracy talk. Your a student of Comparative Religion, so I thought maybe you, or anyone, could address something in that post. My bad for the last sentence, only human you know. All this with good intentions, Oz, chow.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I don't know if Oz has an archaeological degree or not, Damian. The significance of where he attained said degree and the opinions of his more noted peers concerning his claims may be the deciding factor in my opinion of his claims.

Some of the best educated people I've ever come across were also some of the dumbest as far as common sense was concerned. :)


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Randy,

Point well made. I like to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes I can be rather naive but Oz seems quite knowledgeable.

I know you don't pray but think of me tomorrow as I go to Miami University for alternative treatment for my MS.

Have a great night.

Fondly,

D


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

If you don't mind I'd like to answer Randy's challenge to Oz about the historians and Jesus as on my hub 'The Gospels, can we trust them?' I provide links to the historical institutions where the four main codices for translating the Bible are kept. I know they aren't 'historians' as such but the institutions have sites dedicated to explaining the codices and their accuracy.

If you want more then one codex you can look up is codex washingtanus kept in the library of Congress and the Dead sea scrolls atvrhe Israeli antiquities museum.

Hope this helps

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Oz: In the United States, "free speech" is the right not to have government interference with speech. As a private individual, I can censor you all I want. Second, your comment was racist, and I will not permit that. Consider yourself lucky that I did not report you. Third, go exercise your free speech elsewhere--maybe on your own hubs. I don't like your comments even when they are not racist--they are usually off topic, rambling, and pointless.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

You bet I'll be hoping for good news for your MS treatment, Damian! You deserve it. :)


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Amen to that, be praying for you

Lawrence


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Randy and Lawrence,

Thank you for those very kind sentiments. Back from Miami and doing great. Will stay on Copxone for at least the next four months.

God is so very, very good to me.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

Actually, modern medicine is very, very good to you. But I won't quibble too hard over that one... ;-)


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Thank you. I appreciate that. So what do you think of those artifacts? Should they mean something? The King David thing really speaks volumes in my way of belief.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

If you're referring to the King David inscription mentioned earlier, I honestly don't know what to make of it, as I don't know that much about it. I seem to recall reading years ago about some tangential mention of King David in an Egyptian or Assyrian inscription from history, and it may be the same thing.

In any case, the historicity of King David is a whole other topic, separate from the issue of Jesus' historicity.

I do know that there are many historical references in the Bible that correspond to actual historical events and places that are documented elsewhere (and some that actually contradict them) but, as someone already mentioned, that says nothing about the truth of the Bible in its entirety (any more than accurate historical references in "War And Peace" mean that entire story is true).


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Folks

Good to hear things went well Damian. I missed the stuff about King David and the inscriptions, but have read previously the an Israeli archaeologist has excavated what she believes is the foundation to his palace.

Now on to stuff relating to the hub. I just read from Bart Ehreman's blog he has a book coming out about how the stories of Jesus were passed by oral tradition, I'll probably disagree somewhat with him but the discussion should be interesting!

Lawrence


Oztinato profile image

Oztinato 10 months ago from Australia

Lawrence

oral traditions in Australian indigenous society accurately describe geographical changes to the landscape and extinct animals dating back 80,000 years.

Hindu culture was passed down the generations orally for thousands of years.

JC was still in living memory when the letters of the apostles were written down. The oral traditions were only a few years old by this time.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I agree that oral traditions may be true in some part, but recording history by memory is rife with problems as it always has been. I believe the first gospel was recorded over 60 years after the supposed crucifixion. The rest were written over 100 years after JC's end. No one knows for sure who actually wrote the gospels, so how can anyone say they were God-Inspired?


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Here goes and I am sure some or most will not ven begin to agree with these conclusions:

Lawrence: it is called the Tel Dan Inscription and leaves little if any doubt for the House of David.

Paladin: The Hebrew Messiah is forecasted to be in the Davidic Line. Jesus is born in the line of David. I know you do not believe that.

Oz: exactly 2000 years is not 80000 years and throughout history much has been communicated by word of mouth.

Randy: I believe it may be more like 40 years. Also, Paul writes clearly that His writings are of the Holy Spirit.

Blessings to all.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

I think you are correct, Damian. 40 not 60 years after JC's demise. And I'm sure all of the unknown authors of the Bible claim hey were god inspired. Unfortunately, the many books chosen to be omitted from the bible claimed the same by their respected anonymous writers.

Those men selected to decided which books were worthy or not were simply ignorant men with their own agendas, just like today.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Good point again Randy. There are many, many books left out of the Bible.


Randy Godwin profile image

Randy Godwin 10 months ago from Southern Georgia

The problem was JC didn't fit the prophecies of the Hebrew Messiah. Said Messiah was foretold to be a great military leader. Not even close!


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Also Paul reporrtedly suffered from seizures. He could have been schizophrenic as well.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

I don't have time now, but I plan to delete all off topic comments. Sorry, but personal conversations don't belong here.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Sorry Catherine,

I will keep it to point. You are absolutely right.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Paul, aside from seizures, reported "hearing voices" - that is why some people put forth the theory that Paul may have also been schizophrenic. Not just because he had seizures.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

So how does one distinguish what source is credible and what source is not? Does it come down to what is reasonable or rational from our point of view. Would that still not be prejudiced by our frames of reference and or inclination towards or away from our belief or disbelief? It seems to be a rather tight window in order to justify or not justify our belief system. That of course would go both ways. Certainly gives all of us food for thought either way.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

This is the first time (in thirty years of studying this) that I've ever heard of Paul having siezures and possible Schizophrenia, personally I'd really like to know where your information comes from.

Having said that all that doesn't detract from the Historicity of Jesus!

As for oral tradition I'd agree with what Oz says earlier that it was still within living memory and unlikely to have been able to be changed!

A classic example of something that is within living memory that some are trying to re-write the history books and deny it is the Holocaust! two or three hundred years form now how will future generations know that our generation told the truth? The answer lies partly in that the generation that went through it are still with us (although they are fast disappearing) If this is true of today then why can't it be true of Jesus' time?

Think about it. If you take out 'oral tradition' then unless we wrote the things down 'on the day they happened' you undermine 99% of human history!

Are we really sure that we want to undermine 'oral tradition' that much? Or are we being selective in what we undermine?

Lawrence


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I shall have to research where i heard it from, but it was probably Lady Guinevere or from my biblical scholar source in Colorado Springs. I will ask and get back to you.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

To be fair, with regard to the Holocaust, there is actually tons of documentation, both by the Nazis who committed the crimes and by those who liberated the camps. So the reliance on oral tradition is largely unnecessary.

As for oral tradition, it's actually the weakest and most unreliable form of evidence, as anyone who's ever played "telephone" can tell you. Even first-hand 'eyewitness' testimony is somewhat unreliable (as any lawyer can tell you), undermined by the fallibility of human recollection and colored by personal biases. And when that testimony is passed down second-hand, third-hand or more, the potential for mistranslation or alteration increases exponentially.

As I understand it, there are absolutely NO first-hand accounts in the New Testament of Jesus' existence. At best, there are second-hand accounts, recorded (at the very earliest) decades after the events they supposedly describe. And when miracles and supernatural events are thrown into the mix, the legitimate case for skepticism grows stronger and stronger.

As for Paul's supposed schizophrenia, I hadn't heard of that either. So I'll be interested to see what information arises.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Paladin

Sorry about the reference to the Holocaust, it was the first thing that came to mind where I know that there are some who are trying to re-write history (I've come across them on websites and having been to the camps it makes me see red when I come across them).

You are right about oral tradition being the weakest form of evidence, but that doesn't take into acount the care taken by many who pass the oral tradition on, also many scholars actually think that many of Jesus's sayings were written down long before they were put into the gospels and may have been written down as early as the day he said them, there's no actual surviving documents so it's purely speculative but should not be discounted as a possibility.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Yes, this is what bothers me the most about the bible. The Egyptians had a system of writing that lasted 10,000 years, but the Jesus gospels didn't last one lifetime. One would think that the incarnate person of god himself ( or his son) would have made sure that his message was preserved for all time.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

Writing was invented around 3,100 BC in Sumer. Egypt is known to have used some form of pictographics before then but so did the Israelites (Hebrew is pictographic still). Hieroglyphics can first be found from around 2,800 BC but not before! They started to decline around the time of the Islamic conquests around 650 AD.

The earliest parts of the Bible that we have are the dead sea scrolls that date from around 100 BC to 70 AD and show an astonishing accuracy to the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) for the fact that them and the earliest copy of the Septuagint are a thousand years apart!! This goes to speak to the care taken by the scribes when copying such important documents. We might not like what they say, or even believe what they say, but to attack the quality of the work done by the scribes when we have evidence of the care they took would be just plain wrong!

I can appreciate your frustration, but no one questions whether what the ancient Egyptians and Sumerians wrote was what they wrote at the time and what they believed so why would we question other ancient documents that can be verified in the same way?

As for the 'Jesus gospels not lasting a lifetime' here we are with the evidence that says they've lasted twenty nine lifetimes (if a lifespan is to be counted as 70 years) and we all agree that what we have written in our Bibles was written a few decades after his life, surely it's not beyond the realm of belief that the oral traditions lasted one lifetime especially when the fact was that most of the participant were still alive when they were written?


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Lawrence01 - The Paul/Saul reference is in regard to the voices he heard on the road to Damascus and here is one reference - https://lifehopeandtruth.com/bible-questions/how/r...

and:

"As for the 'Jesus gospels not lasting a lifetime'"

No, I am talking about the fact that not ONE single example of writing by Jesus himself actually exists!

Was Jesus illiterate? Did he not know his sermons needed to be factually/permanently/preserved ???

One would think that the incarnate god, or son of god would be able to read and write - and do so in a more permanent, verifiable manner.

The pyramids contain writing that has lasted for some 10,000 +/- years. Sumerian writing even longer some say. Mayan writing has lasted as long as biblical "scrolls".

If they knew of a way to preserve writing, surely the Jews would at least have known that writing on STONE can exist far longer than writing on papyrus or even copper. And Jesus should have known to keep verifiable records that would outlast his lifetime. Seriously!


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

Thanks for the references. I'll have a read.

As for the Pyramids they were built around 2,600 BC (The great pyramid of Cheops) granted there are older pyramids in Sudan but the oldest is the Step Pyramid at Sakkara and if memory serves me right it was built for Djoser around a hundred years before. It was built by Imhotep who sounds remarkably like Joseph (but too early I would say!).

As for the Mayan pyramids tgey are old vut I'm not familiar with them.

The Jews knew all about carving in stone, they also knew it wasn't very portable, something that as shepherda they valued very much!

As for Jesus knowing how to write, as a carpenter cum builder (the word is better translated as builder) he woyld have known and Eusebius (the first church historian) tells of some letters written by Jesus but they lack the authenticity the gospels have and haven't survived (three hundred years of persecution does that!).

What we do have has survived largely with reputation intact and is precisely what you'd expect from such a group.

Lawrence


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Austinstar

I just looked up the reference you sent and it's dealing with the 'apparent contradiction between Acts 9 and 22 with regard to the others hearing the voice!

Acts 9 tells us that they heard the sound when Jesus spoke to Paul but in Acts 22 Paul says that they didn't hear his voice! The conclusion the article comes to is that they heard a sound but to them they couldn't make out the words! Nothing about Schizophrenia in the article.

I did find a reference to Paul and Schizophrenia when I Googled it on 'Beforeitsnews.com' but the article was defending Paul and wasn't too kind to the idea he had schizophrenia.

However it did say that it's due to a misunderstanding of Romans 7 verses 14 to 25 and talking of the dual nature of the believer where the old self is fighting against the new 'self' that Paul does go into a lot. The struggle against the old nature when we try to be like Christ and take on his nature which can sound really strange to some.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 10 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

The pyramids have been arbitrarily dated. Some say longer than your source of 2500 BCE. At any rate, they are much older than any gospels.

Like i said, jesus/god should have been able to preserve his own words whether portable or not. Was he less intelligent than other builder/engineers?

He must have been very short sighted to have overlooked every opportunity to provide valid proofs to future generations of mere humans.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Sorry but still stuck on the Tacitus reference. I do not feel that there is any evidence whatsoever to doubt the relevancy of this reference. This is a NON Christian Reference. He was only authoring history as he understood it. Prefect stopped being used in 46 AD.

"[these] equestrian governors were originally called Praefecti (a new inscription [was discovered, which was published in volume 104 of Revue Archeologique] 1963, shows that Pontius Pilate was called Praefectus Judaeae)."

The term Procurator is the more general term; Prefect is the more narrow meaning within Procurator.

So, all Prefects are Procurators, but not all Procurators are Prefects.

This means that the Gospels (and Josephus, and Tacitus) were correct in using the term.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Damian10: I think you are correct in saying the titles pro-consul and prafect could be used interchangeably. However, a reference to Christians does not prove that Christ existed as a man.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine

Doesn't Tacitus say in the reference that Jesus was 'executed' under Pilate? If Pilate was governor and Jesus was executed under him (it doesn't say 'reputed' or 'supposed' or any other reference to doubt on Tacitus' part) then we have to accept that Tacitus was reporting on an event for which they had records at the time and they knew to be true!

It's only when we get to the resurrection we get words like 'reputed to have' thus they accepted Jesus lived and died but not rose from the dead!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

To those who are curious about the Tacitus reference, I'll provide a textual quote here. Just to clarify, I won't make any declarations about the veracity or legitimacy of the quote, but I will note that the actual reference is more of an aside, where Tacitus is explaining why Nero chose to accuse his chosen scapegoats (for starting the Rome fire) of being "Christian":

"...Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue..."

I honestly don't know if the quote's an interpolation (as is widely presumed in the case of Josephus's reference) or not. But there it is, for people to examine...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: I addressed the issue of Tacitus in the hub. Please read the section on Tacitus. I have nothing else to add.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: I provided a link in the hub in the seciton on Tacitus so to the appropriate book of Annals so people could read the quote in context.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Catherine I was replying to your comment above that seemed only to refer to Tacitus talking about 'christians' which he didn't. We've talked before about the Tacitus reference and show that he is widely accepted as being authentic.

As for my point it still stands that Tacitus knew the history and knew the history, he would have known what happened and he would have known that Jesus was 'reputed' the fact that he says 'was executed' means he accepted it as historical record.

To take up a point you make in the hub I really doubt that a 5th Century monk would have used words like 'pernicious' and the church leadership would never have allowed it! (take a look at the forgeries that do exist and you'll see what I mean)


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Catherine:

Was hoping you could also shed some light on another issue I am having with the Tacitus passage. I hope I am mistaken but it almost seems undeniable that he is talking about these followers of Cristos perhaps participating in a cannibalistic ritual hence Nero being able to fasten the guilt. Eat the body and drink the blood. Did they not understand that this was symbolic. Do this in my memory. My body and blood given once and for all. It is almost like when it is supposed to be symbolic they take it as literal and vice versa when it is supposed to be literal they take it as merely symbolic. It is supposed to be a message of love. I am failing to see the love in any of that. Really struggling with this cannibal thing if that indeed is the reference to their rehenceable acts.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Damian

Christians were accused of 'cannibalism' regarding the Lords Supper from the second century onwards. Justin Martyr (circa 150) refutes it.

The Romans did it as a 'fear tactic' trying to tell people that these Christians 'drink blood and eat flesh in secret rituals'

Hope this helps clear things up.

Lawrence


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

Thank you for that. I woke up at 4 AM with nightmares. I am bothered by the fact that I believe what Tacitus writes is true. Not partially but pretty much entirely. One criticism I have had for non believers is they sometimes seem to extrapolate certain things out of context. I do not want to be selective in that way. So it has to go both ways or it becomes a form of censorship. There is no fairness in that.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: To your point about the word pernicious. Are you saying that Tacitus was well-enough educated to use the word, but a 4th century monk and leader of the Church would not have been as well educated. Also remember, we are dealing with an English translation.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 10 months ago from Michigan, USA

I feel I should clarify the aspect of the Tacitus reference that deals with Nero's accusations of Christianity. He wasn't making any specific accusations against Christians, per se. Rather, he had selected a group of scapegoats to blame for the fire in Rome, and decided to make their position even more tenuous by accusing them of being Christians (who, apparently, had a rather bad reputation at the time).

In other words, accusing these particular people of being Christians was simply a slur -- against them, not the Christians.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: It is possible that Nero didn't persecute anybody--The whole idea rests on one passage in Tacitus which is probably a forgery. I think that the fifth-century Christians were in love with the idea of martyrdom. It made them feel important to have the whole non-Christian world persecuting and denigrating them. It strengthened the group identity.

I don't think Nero scapegoated real Christians or even people he falsely identified as Christians. I couldn't find any real evidence that Nero punished anyone. I did find evidence that "fiddling while Rome burned" stuff was false. He wasn't even present when the fire happened.


Zeus Hera 10 months ago

Catherine,

Thumbs up! This is outstanding, I love it. Thanks for excellent article.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Zeus Hera: Thank you for your enthusiastic approval of my essay.


lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 10 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand

Cathercine

Sorry I didn't see your question before. As for the word 'Pernicious' what I was meaning is that the early Christian monks often tried to portray Christians in a good light (take a look at the forgeries they did produce to 'prove' the primacy of Rome over Antioch and Alexandria in the sixth century) and would be unlikely to use such harsh wording forgeries (they didn't need to convince people of anything).

Paladin's right about the fact that Tacitus isn't wasn't any "specific accusation" but the fact they were 'Christians' was enough of a slur

As far as I'm aware it is pretty extensively documented that Nero used the Christians as the 'scapegoats' for the fire of Rome so I'd love to see some info to the contrary.

Lawrence


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 10 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

lawrence01: Please show me an independent source outside of this passage in Tacitus for the claim that Nero persecuted Christians. I looked and I could not find it. What I did find was a few discussions about how there is no other source to confirm this event.


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 10 months ago from Naples

You should look into the study of Margaret Barker, an English historian dedicated mostly to the Old Testament but also to new archaeological findings dating back to the time of Jesus. Codices have been found which indicate the turmoil between the Romans and the Jews during reigns dating back to both Titus and Nero later on. In addition there are some metallic images of a long haired, bearded man with thorns around his head. Several caves have been discovered dating to this time period. One such cave shows a house with a wall that had a cross on it in 70 AD. Several of these findings seem to indicate a following of the Messiah long before the time of Nero. Certainly these items need to be exported and researched.


TeamSTM profile image

TeamSTM 6 months ago

Jesus is Real, He is Alive and He is Coming Soon to Get His Bride! Amen

Hope in Jesus is Life and we can go to God because of Christ Jesus. Oh Praise Jehovah God for His Son, Yesuha Hamashiach!!


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 months ago from Michigan, USA

Sorry, but according to the New Testament, Jesus (as well as others) repeatedly asserted that he would be coming back in the lifetimes of those hearing his voice -- TWO THOUSAND YEARS ago!

He didn't come back two thousand years ago. He didn't come back ONE thousand years ago. He's not coming back now. End of story.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 5 months ago from Michigan, USA

Damian, I hope you are well, too! :-)

There is, indeed, a reference in 2 Peter about a day being equal to a thousand years for God. However, that has absolutely no relevance to the New Testament quotes regarding Jesus' supposed return, because nobody -- including Jesus -- offers a date or year, anyway.

Jesus repeatedly states that he will return within the lifetimes of those to whom he's speaking, and that "this generation shall not pass" before he comes back. And there are other references throughout the NT that we are in the "end times." These words are all spoken to people who died 2,000 years ago!


Damian10 profile image

Damian10 5 months ago from Naples

I am sure those references you cite are correct. I just believe that our sense of mostly everything is a human sense. That would include any and all human representation of time. I wish that I could say that I was some kind of special person or Godly person but that simply would not be true or accurate. I think He basically believes me to be a knucklehead like one of the stooges or like Fred Sanford called his son, "The Dummy". Still, I have felt His love and He has shown Himself to a wretch like me.

Reasonability and rationality do not really describe God. They do not now and they probably never will. Sometimes I wonder with the state of the world why did He give us a free will? Just to show us how bad that we are. I think in Genesis He says I am sorry I ever created man in the first place. I guess so!


Thomas Baxter 3 months ago

Considering the level of illiteracy of the pre 20th Century world, I would not expect any particular person not a member of the elite to ever have anything written about them. I worked as heir tracing and was attaboyed when I could find a birth or obit that referred to collaterals, our target and that was for 20th Century folks that had something. No mention was made of tax roles and I can easily believe there weren't any. But that was one of the main reasons writing was invented. Tax collectors had lists of folks who owed money. Do any censuses exist? Got a capitation tax, got to have a capitation. Also, executions. Did anyone submit to Rome lists of criminals executed/enslaved in the last month with a list of names? Certainly not for slaves but for subjects.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Thomas Baxter: The reason you have difficulty with your personal genealogical search is most likely that none of your relatives were important people or did important things, so know one took any note of them. The Romans kept very good records of taxes, census, and trials. If Jesus was on any of those lists, historians of the 1st century would have written about it), especially as this new religion of Christianity was becoming popular. And if Jesus actually did any of the miracles that are claimed for him in the Bible, it would surely have been noted and observed at the time. The early church would have surely commented on, and preserved, these writings.


Nudely 3 months ago

Three cheers for your column!

I've just submitted a shorter, more tongue-in-cheek Hub on the same subject: Jesus, Jesus, Wherefore Art Thou Jesus? In trying to discover "wherefore"--i.e., for what reason--that Jesus existed, I show that although Micah predicts the Messiah's (Jesus'?) birth in Bethlehem, scholars are loath to agree. They say Nazareth more likely. But a first-century Nazareth is as diaphanous a concept as a historical Jesus! So how about Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee since that's his HQ later in his ministry? THE SEA OF WHAT, did you say??? Do you mean Lake Genessaret or Lake Tiberias? Oh, yeah, that one, but Mark invents a new name for it. Strangely, there's no mention, in Mark, of places historically located on Lake Tiberias, and places WHICH ARE mentioned that weren't recognized by the likes of Philo and Josephus! So, what exactly is Mark writing, then... fiction? I link to a video by Ken Humphreys that discusses the Book of Mark in its entirety... Knowing the Unknowable. Sure enough, Humphreys proves (to my satisfaction) that the Book of Mark, the prototype "gospel" upon which all the other Gospels are modeled, is immersed in literary techniques that writers of fiction adopt.

So glad to see that there are other like-minded skeptics on the Hub!

~Nudely~


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 3 months ago from Orlando Florida Author

Nudely: There are a few of us skeptics here. I will take a look at your hub. I too have come across information about geographical errors in the Bible. Among all the other types of errors. And, I have also learned that the "gospels" were written using literary devices more common to fiction than biography.


Charlie 25 hours ago


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 24 hours ago from Orlando Florida Author

Charlie: It seems like every year there is some new stunning revelation that proves the existence of Jesus Christ. The media give it lots of play because it what their readers want to hear. Then a year or two later, the news comes out, quietly this time, that it was a forgery or a scam. This case will be no different.


Charlie 23 hours ago

The media has given this very little play. I fear you might have a bias, you may not be acknowledging to yourself, based on your last sentence. I appreciate your article though.


Paladin_ profile image

Paladin_ 23 hours ago from Michigan, USA

It would be a great help if the blog entry linked in Charlie's comment offered links citing the 'evidence,' so we can begin to examine it for ourselves...


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 21 hours ago from Orlando Florida Author

Paladin: Yes, it is a very sensational article, but not much to back it up. If it were true, every major newspaper and magazine would be reporting it so if you can't find sources that strongly suggests it is bogus. "The Daily Mail" is a British tabloid. From what I have heard, it is not too different from "The National Enquirer" in America--sensationalism and celebrity gossip.


Jack Hikl 20 hours ago

Where you go wrong is that you have overlooked the evidence that neither Paul nor Peter existed either.


Greg T 10 hours ago

The author also writes about the similarities between Jesus and Buddha. She'd make a great world religions teacher at a secular school but that's only because the narrative has to be one of co-existence. No religion is superior. Funny thing is, you ask a Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Mormon, Muslim, Scientologist, and Christian about the afterlife (based on their leader's teachings) and you'll have 7 different answers. We can all be wrong but we can't all be right.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 8 hours ago from Orlando Florida Author

Jack Hiki: Paul is generally accepted as an actual historical person. However, there is no good evidence to show that Jesus or any of his disciples actually existed.


CatherineGiordano profile image

CatherineGiordano 8 hours ago from Orlando Florida Author

Greg T: I try to be objective and fair when I write about religion. If you ask a Buddhist who follows the actual teachings of Buddha about the afterlife, he won't have anything to say. Buddha did not teach about an afterlife--he taught a philosophy for living in the here-and-now. Reincarnation and stuff like that were added by some Buddhist sects. See some of my essays about Buddhism for more information on this. https://owlcation.com/humanities/Was-Buddha-a-Real...

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