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Desc:Following six years of research, historian Richard Carrier summarizes the most up-to-date case.
Category:Educational, Religious
Tags:Bible, Jesus, history, Richard Carrier, Mythicism
Submitted:kamlem
Date:08/21/15
Views:929
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Comment count is 28
fluffy
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The Mothership
Legitimate academics don't give lectures in people's living rooms dressed like Disco Stu. This guy is so full of shit I don't even know where to begin.

Right, I'll begin with the fact that he has 20 different questionable assumptions each building on top of the other by the 8 minute mark.

"There are so many confusing contradictory points of evidence, and if maybe A and maybe B and maybe C are true... then X MUST be true...and this proves Jesus never existed."

Don't be fooled kids, there are plenty of reasons not follow Christianity, but don't buy this crap.
oddeye
I'd like to hear the opinion of that gay harvard divinity book specialist guy that used to post

Grandmaster Funk
>Legitimate academics don't give lectures in people's living rooms dressed like Disco Stu.

We have very different experiences of academia.

Mr. Purple Cat Esq.
@Mothership Just posting this here is its the only way we can communicate here.
I played a good few hours of alien isolation and it was actually really really good! Its plays like a very atmospheric slightly horrifying stealth game. The audio / visual design are excellent. If they werent so great the game might get old but they are so it doesnt. I didnt experience any unfair deaths though I had read its better to play this game on easy mode and thats what I did.
I still wouldnt buy a PS3 for it though.

That guy
Can you be more specific, Mothership??

I watched it, thought it was interesting, and I know it's not wall-to-wall horseshit.

Explain.

kamlem
Well, here is the online discussion between Carrier and Ehrmen...

www.huffingtonpost.com/bart-d-ehrman/did-jesus-exist_b_1349544 .html

https://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/667

http://ehrmanblog.org/fuller-reply-to-richard-carrier/

https://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1794

kamlem
Here is Bart Ehrmen answering a question about mythicism.

https://youtu.be/sAsQULGs1kU?t=51m10s

EvilHomer
Yeah, I was going to bring up Dr Ehrman. I personally find the idea that Jesus was a tulpa to be quite interesting and would love for it to be true, but it is difficult for me, as a non-scholar, to take that hypothesis seriously when no less a god-hating atheist than Bart Ehrman rejects it.

Thank you for those links, Mr Kamlem, they are very interesting. Do you happen to know if Dr Ehrman responds anywhere to Carrier's accusation in the second link, heading "Mistake #2" - namely, that there are no independent, contemporaneous sources attesting to the existence of a historical Jesus? It has long seemed to me that Dr Ehrman's claim regarding independent sources is the strongest argument he's offered for Jesus not being a tulpa, yet, in his reply to Mr Carrier, it did not appear as though he saw fit to defend this claim. At the end of his response, Dr Ehrman says that he doesn't have time to respond to everything, and will concentrate instead on "writing books" (sounds like certain individuals I know...); if you know of anywhere in his books that he addresses this matter, Mr Kamlem, please post it here.

Rodents of Unusual Size
I don't think Jesus ever existed. There are over 700 similarities between the New Testament and the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

The Mothership
It is not wall to wall horseshit, many of the small individual points he makes are entirely sustainable and backed up with real scholarship. What he does is stack these on top of each other all the way to the moon, in ways that do not necessarily follow each other in a demonstrable way. It is a delicately balanced house of cards that falls apart if any of those little points are demonstrated to not work as well as he says, which is a pretty easy thing to do. His arguments are based on assumption and saltwater taffy-like stretches of the imagination.

kamlem
Ehrmans response I have already linked.

http://ehrmanblog.org/fuller-reply-to-richard-carrier/

The only independent source really is Tacitus, which is mentioned in Erhmans post above.

The relevant Tacitus passage.

"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 Judća, 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".

Tacitus was a patriotic Roman senator.[44][45] His writings shows no sympathy towards Christians, or knowledge of who their leader was.[5][46] His characterization of "Christian abominations" may have been based on the rumors in Rome that during the Eucharist rituals Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their God, interpreting the ritual as cannibalism by Christians.[46][47] Andreas Köstenberger states that the tone of the passage towards Christians is far too negative to have been authored by a Christian scribe.[48] Van Voorst also states that the passage is unlikely to be a Christian forgery because of the pejorative language used to describe Christianity.[42]

Authenticity and historical value

Tacitus was about 7 years old at the time of the Great Fire of Rome, and like other Romans as he grew up he would have most likely heard about the fire that destroyed most of the city, and Nero's accusations against Christians.[14] When he wrote his account, Tacitus was the governor of the province of Asia, and as a member of the inner circle in Rome he would have known of the official position with respect to the fire and the Christians.[14]

In 1885 P. Hochart had proposed that the passage was a pious fraud,[49] but the editor of the 1907 Oxford edition dismissed his suggestion and treated the passage as genuine.[50] Scholars such as Bruce Chilton, Craig Evans, Paul R. Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd agree with John Meier's statement that "Despite some feeble attempts to show that this text is a Christian interpolation in Tacitus, the passage is obviously genuine.”[36][51] However, Richard Carrier argues that the phrase "Their founder, one Christ, had been put to death by the procurator, Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius" in the passage is a Christian interpolation.[9] He argues that even if the phrase is totally genuine, it is likely that Tacitus is merely repeating what Christians believed.[52] Carrier also argues that there is a strange gap in the Annals of Tacitus for the period of middle 29 to middle 31 and cites Robert Drews' suggestion that the period was cut because it provided no information regarding Jesus.[53]

Suggestions that the whole of Annals may have been a forgery have also been generally rejected by scholars.[54] John P. Meier states that there is no historical or archaeological evidence to support the argument that a scribe may have introduced the passage into the text.[55]

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

EvilHomer
Oh... but that's not what Dr Carrier claims Dr Ehrman said. Dr Carrier cites the following passage, written by Dr Ehrman:

---
With respect to Jesus, we have numerous, independent accounts of his life in the sources lying behind the Gospels (and the writings of Paul) — sources that originated in Jesus’ native tongue Aramaic and that can be dated to within just a year or two of his life (before the religion moved to convert pagans in droves). Historical sources like that are pretty astounding for an ancient figure of any kind.
---

Dr Ehrman raises three key points in the passage quoted above, but Tacitus wouldn't fulfill any of them: Tacitus wasn't writing in Aramaic, he wasn't writing within a year or two of Jesus' life, and he's just one source, not numerous. So surely, in that passage specific, Dr Ehrman could not have been alluding to Tacitus; we would need to have another source, and Dr Carrier claims "we do not".

EvilHomer
Oh, OK, I think I figure out where the confusion lies.

I believe Dr Ehrman's Tacitus rebutall was written in response to a separate blog post; in fact, most of the third post you linked {Ehrman's "Fuller Reply to Richard Carrier"} appears to have been a reply, not to the second post (Carrier's "Ehrman Trashtalks Mythicism"}, but rather to a different piece of writing entirely {Carrier's "Ehrman on Jesus: A Failure of Facts and Logic" http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/1026 }.

In "Ehrman on Jesus: A Failure of Facts and Logic", Dr Carrier neither discusses Ehrman's HufPo article, nor does he mention the problem with these allegedly non-existent Aramaic sources. That would explain why Dr Ehrman failed respond!

That guy
Mothership, we're not comparing to Ehrman, right? My choices aren't Ehrman or Carrier, right?

And we're not claiming that American academia has no intellectual pogroms, right?

The Mothership
Don't be silly, That guy, of course American academe keeps outsiders at bay; but except when it's personal, it only really happens when the scholar being poo-poohed's arguments and research methods are shit.

Ehrman writes an interesting blog, but he degrades himself and his arguments by taking an unprofessional tone in his online work. There are always good scholarly works on early Christianity; few of them are in the internet.

That guy
OK well I'm not picking a nit on these two characters.

But
"of course American academe keeps outsiders at bay; but except when it's personal, it only really happens when the scholar being poo-poohed's arguments and research methods are shit. "
is not possibly true. I know plenty of stories where it's either about heterodox ideas in the humanities, or just plain old kicking balls on straight white males. I have several friends in that world.

The Mothership
Oh right, I hear what you're saying. In English, theory, gender studies, what have you, yes, you're going to see some of that what you describe. I'm in medieval history, and you don't see much of that aggression at all. We're all just passive aggressive, medievalists are.

That guy
Cool. I have just enough Bronze Age nerd factor to have read all these links above. I find the JC mythicism thing interesting. It doesn't mean I know whether Carrier or Ehrman is right, or if they're both wrong.

I'm pretty sure I'd rather have a beer with Carrier, though.

Oh also, I read all of Chaucer and Dante in original languages. So I got some medieval nerd factor too.

EvilHomer
I can't imagine medieval histories people getting into vicious academic slapfights, but I would love to see such a thing; if you ever encounter a humanities-style rumble in your own field, Mr Mothership, please submit a video about it here!

I'd like to think that, amongst medievalists, academic disputes which turn personal would get settled by judicial duels.

kamlem
He never said he had proved that Jesus never existed. Bart Ehrman takes this guy seriously, and disagrees with him. You can google their correspondence, and personally I find Bart's counterarguments lacking. But, history being what it is, who knows what ancient texts or evidence may be uncovered tomorrow.
The Mothership
see above, yo.

Ocyrus
Try to forget that the Christian-Roman Empire burned, banished, and buried everything it found to be contrary to the narrative they wanted to propagate.
Unless you could open up the Vatican Archives, odds are we'll never get our hands on any such documents.

kamlem
^^^ reply to mothership.
kamlem
^^^ reply to mothership.
TeenerTot
^^mothership do you copy
kamlem
I was trying to reply on my phone at work. That didn't go so well. :'(

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