Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Chris Hansen
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:20 am

Btw, just want to thank you for this really delightful conversation. Not often I get to have an unheated and just nice back and forth in mythicist debates anymore.

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7547
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:23 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 am
"only in opposition to people who denied the birth"

That is a presumptive argument with no justification. As a case in point, shall we then declare that all statements about birth of Julius Caesar were because people denied his birth? No. This argument is purely an invention to fit your agenda, but has no validity in historical sources. There are actual theological arguments that have nothing to do with the denial of Jesus' birth, for why one could claim it.
You fall in a contradiction, here. For Caesar the mention of his birth by woman was functional to give the name of his mother, probably. But if you assume that Paul had "actual theological arguments" for the mention of a birth 'by woman', then you can't use the costruct 'born by woman' as evidence of historicity, but only as evidence of theology. And in Revelation Jesus was born by woman but in heaven.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 am
"Mark 12"

This is not a denial that he is a descendant of David. This is a theological question as to how the son of David could be the son of David and the son of God (hence called Lord), not a denial of a genealogical connection.
I am not able to follow you, here. It is evident that the question of Jesus is rethorical: “How then can he be his son?” assumes already implicitly the answer: he is not his son.

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 am
"we know at least that Marcion denied the birth, having a Jesus descended already adult on earth. Hence I disagree willingly with you about these points."

Yes, we do, but Marcion is coming so late that it is pretty irrelevant what he thought. He has no bearing on earliest Christianity.
Marcion is only a name to name the docetists. Saint Jerome wrote:

The blood of Christ was still fresh in Judaea, when His body was said to be a mere phantasm

(Adv. Lucif. 23)

...hence you have even a Catholic giving me absolute reason about the phenomenon 'Marcion' being very early.


Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 am
And the "brother of the Lord" argument Carrier uses has no merit. If 1 Cor. 9:5 is an interpolation as you suppose, then Gal. 1:18-19 is the ONLY time that "brother of the Lord" is *ever* used by Paul, and therefore Carrier has no argument for saying this is a specific station of baptized Christians. Carrier's argument is completely ad hoc and has no textual support. It does not explain why on all other occasions Paul only calls them "brother/sister" and never "brother of the Lord." *Only* James is ever called "brother of the Lord."
No, also 1 Cor 9.5 can be read according to an use of the specific 'of the Lord' designed to distinguish them, as Christians of low rank, from apostles.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:01 am
Also, we can apply Carrier's own Bayesian metric here to determine the prior probability.
Sorry but the explanation of Carrier (using 'brother of the Lord' to distinguish him from Peter the apostle) is too much perfect to be given up so rapidly as you do.

In addition, we have Hebrews 13:11-14 as strong evidence of a celestial crucifixion:

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.

'here' is the earth, as Couchoud pointed out, so Jesus suffered outside the "city": in heaven.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7547
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:30 am

P.S. In the Gospel of Hebrews, it is the Risen Christ who heals James as 'my brother'. Hence, Jesus can't be existed only because his ghost claims that he has a brother.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Chris Hansen
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am

(1) The mere fact that there is a theological reason for mentioning Jesus as "born of a woman" does not in any way invalidate it as historical evidence. That historical datum are used for theological purposes does not invalidate them. Thus, it is not a contradiction. This also makes the context of Paul calling Jesus the descendant of Abraham, Jesse, and David make sense, otherwise these passages are nonsensical under a mythicist view.

(2) It implies that the son of David has been adopted as the son of God.

(3) Marcion was an actual person. And Jerome is even later, so his testimony is also kinda problematic. You are making use of a lot of anachronistic method here to make your case.

(4) 1 Cor. 9:5 is an interpolation under your thesis though, so your point is irrelevant.

(5) I already gave you a Bayesian reason why my thesis is 66% more likely than Carrier's.

(6) Hebrews 13:11-14 is easily interpreted as historical. You are imparting the "city that is to come" onto the city that Jesus died "outside" of, but this is mixing two different cities. The city that is to come is what Christians seek after, the city that Jesus died outside of is historical. Also, Hebrews 1:5 has Jesus as a descendant of David, Hebrews 2:9 has Jesus entering into "the world" (i.e. earth, which we know because at his death he ascends into the Heavens, Heb. 4:14 meaning he was not there at death), Hebrews 2:17 has Jesus as a descendant of Abraham, and Hebrews 7:14 has him of the lineage of Judah.

All of this is convoluted and not parsimonious on your hypothesis. Which makes your interpretation less likely.

Chris Hansen
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:36 am

Also, the Gospel of Hebrews is a second century text, so we can't exactly argue it reflects earliest Christianity nor can we anachronistically implant it on our interpretation of Paul.

Chris Hansen
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:40 am

Also the Gospel of the Hebrews says no such thing. This is what we have from a *summary* (so not the actual text) from much later:

"Also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: 'Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, 'Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread', and immediately it is added, 'He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep'."

This does not indicate in any way that James was not a brother of Jesus before hand. He is not "raised" a brother in this text. That is an excessively loose interpretation of yours which a plain reading does not in any way support.

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7547
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:51 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(1) The mere fact that there is a theological reason for mentioning Jesus as "born of a woman" does not in any way invalidate it as historical evidence. That historical datum are used for theological purposes does not invalidate them. Thus, it is not a contradiction. This also makes the context of Paul calling Jesus the descendant of Abraham, Jesse, and David make sense, otherwise these passages are nonsensical under a mythicist view.
the problem is that the only possible theological reason requires that the woman in question was Agar, for the allegory of the "two women, two laws".
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(2) It implies that the son of David has been adopted as the son of God.
again: you can't remove the strong suspicion that “How then can he be his son?” is an allusive way to deny that Jesus was son of David.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(3) Marcion was an actual person. And Jerome is even later, so his testimony is also kinda problematic. You are making use of a lot of anachronistic method here to make your case.
It is not necessary Jerome to prove the presence of 'docetism' ante litteram. In Hymn to Philippians, Jesus descends 'in the form of men', hence: not really man. The point was so strong that Jeza Vermes declared the Hymn as interpolated by docetists.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(4) 1 Cor. 9:5 is an interpolation under your thesis though, so your point is irrelevant.
Then I have the Gospel of Hebrews, where the Risen Christ names James as his brother. How can you decide which gospel is more "historical", if Mark or Hebrews ?
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(5) I already gave you a Bayesian reason why my thesis is 66% more likely than Carrier's.
see above as I resolve easily the brother question using the Gospel of Hebrews.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
(6) Hebrews 13:11-14 is easily interpreted as historical. You are imparting the "city that is to come" onto the city that Jesus died "outside" of, but this is mixing two different cities. The city that is to come is what Christians seek after, the city that Jesus died outside of is historical.
my error of memory, excuse. I meant to say (quoting Couchoud): ''suffered outside the camp'': hence 'here', i.e. the 'camp', is the earth. Outside the camp is; in heaven.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:34 am
Also, Hebrews 1:5 has Jesus as a descendant of David, Hebrews 2:9 has Jesus entering into "the world" (i.e. earth, which we know because at his death he ascends into the Heavens, Heb. 4:14 meaning he was not there at death), Hebrews 2:17 has Jesus as a descendant of Abraham, and Hebrews 7:14 has him of the lineage of Judah.
how can Jesus be descendant of Judah in Hebrews, when he is 'proclaimed high priest according to order of Melchizedek'', notoriously 'without father nor mother, without genealogy, etc'' ? The best answer is that Hebrews was interpolated where it talks about provenance from Judah.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7547
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:56 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 7:40 am
Also the Gospel of the Hebrews says no such thing. This is what we have from a *summary* (so not the actual text) from much later:

"Also the Gospel according to the Hebrews, lately translated by me into Greek and Latin speech, which Origen often uses, tells, after the resurrection of the Saviour: 'Now the Lord, when he had given the linen cloth unto the servant of the priest, went unto James and appeared to him (for James had sworn that he would not eat bread from that hour wherein he had drunk the Lord's cup until he should see him risen again from among them that sleep)', and again after a little, 'Bring ye, saith the Lord, a table and bread', and immediately it is added, 'He took bread and blessed and brake and gave it unto James the Just and said unto him: My brother, eat thy bread, for the Son of Man is risen from among them that sleep'."

This does not indicate in any way that James was not a brother of Jesus before hand. He is not "raised" a brother in this text. That is an excessively loose interpretation of yours which a plain reading does not in any way support.
The text implies that the Risen Christ said these words:

My brother, eat thy bread



This is sufficient to make 'brother' a title, not a carnal relationship. Since James couldn't be carnal brother of a ghost.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Chris Hansen
Posts: 93
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:46 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Chris Hansen » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am

"the problem is that the only possible theological reason requires that the woman in question was Agar, for the allegory of the "two women, two laws"."

No that is just Carrier and Verenna retroactively reading the allegory back into a non-allegorical passage. Theologically, if you read Gal. 3-4, the reasoning becomes clear that Paul is using Jesus' human birth as a theological way to demonstrate that everyone is a child of God. Read the passage, there is tons of theological reasoning to take it as historical, and as theologically motivated.

"again: you can't remove the strong suspicion that “How then can he be his son?” is an allusive way to deny that Jesus was son of David."

You are the one arguing that a strong suspicion exists where there is none. It is just as likely that this is asking about a dualistic quality of sonship.

"It is not necessary Jerome to prove the presence of 'docetism' ante litteram. In Hymn to Philippians, Jesus descends 'in the form of men', hence: not really man. The point was so strong that Jeza Vermes declared the Hymn as interpolated by docetists."

Except that "in the form of men" is not necessarily docetic. As Paul believes Jesus was an angel who became man, the language makes sense, even in a historical context.

"Then I have the Gospel of Hebrews, where the Risen Christ names James as his brother. How can you decide which gospel is more "historical", if Mark or Hebrews ?"

The Gospel of Hebrews never says James was not his brother before hand. So, your point is moot. You are reading too much into an ambiguous passage.

Also, your use of the Gospel of the Hebrews does not actually rebut my Bayesian analysis. On three hypothesis where two are historical for interpreting Paul and we have no way to tell which one, the probability is therefore 66% prior probability in my favor.

Also, no, your argument that "my brother" in the Gospel to the Hebrews indicates it as a title is unsubstantiated. The exact same problem as Paul would then occur.

(1) Jesus is calling him a biological brother
(2) a title and a biological brother
(3) a title only

Because of the Bayesian prior, it is 66% more likely (based on 1 and 2) that a biological brother is implied. Therefore, my position is more likely for the Gospel of the Hebrews as well.

"my error of memory, excuse. I meant to say (quoting Couchoud): ''suffered outside the camp'': hence 'here', i.e. the 'camp', is the earth. Outside the camp is; in heaven."

But Jesus is not crucified outside the "camp," but outside the "city." The "camp" reference is a metaphor. The idea was that Jesus was killed outside of the city in accordance with a sin offering. This does not indicate Earth or Heaven. You are again projecting gnosticism onto the text without justification.

"how can Jesus be descendant of Judah in Hebrews, when he is 'proclaimed high priest according to order of Melchizedek'', notoriously 'without father nor mother, without genealogy, etc'' ? The best answer is that Hebrews was interpolated where it talks about provenance from Judah."

You are conflating Melchizedek with Jesus. Hebrews does not say that Jesus *is* Melchizedek, but "according to the order of Melchizedek". It is Melchizedek who is "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever."

Your argument for Jesus having no genealogy is based on a conflation and is inaccurate to the text.

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 7547
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:25 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"the problem is that the only possible theological reason requires that the woman in question was Agar, for the allegory of the "two women, two laws"."

No that is just Carrier and Verenna retroactively reading the allegory back into a non-allegorical passage. Theologically, if you read Gal. 3-4, the reasoning becomes clear that Paul is using Jesus' human birth as a theological way to demonstrate that everyone is a child of God. Read the passage, there is tons of theological reasoning to take it as historical, and as theologically motivated.
sorry, but I can't consider as a mere coincidence the repetition, in the same chapter, of the binomy "woman"/"law", for 3 times. You are forced to consider it as a mere coincidence. I not. Please like the difference.

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"again: you can't remove the strong suspicion that “How then can he be his son?” is an allusive way to deny that Jesus was son of David."

You are the one arguing that a strong suspicion exists where there is none. It is just as likely that this is asking about a dualistic quality of sonship.
at most, it is "just as likely", right. Who can decide for us? Surely not the presence of davidic sperma in the incipit of Romans, since it falls or stands with the 'strong suspicion' raised about Mark.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"It is not necessary Jerome to prove the presence of 'docetism' ante litteram. In Hymn to Philippians, Jesus descends 'in the form of men', hence: not really man. The point was so strong that Jeza Vermes declared the Hymn as interpolated by docetists."

Except that "in the form of men" is not necessarily docetic. As Paul believes Jesus was an angel who became man, the language makes sense, even in a historical context.
I have Jeza Vermes supporting my reading of docetism, hence of denial of a human birth, in the Hymn of Philippians. Who are you to go against Jeza Vermes?
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"Then I have the Gospel of Hebrews, where the Risen Christ names James as his brother. How can you decide which gospel is more "historical", if Mark or Hebrews ?"

The Gospel of Hebrews never says James was not his brother before hand. So, your point is moot. You are reading too much into an ambiguous passage.
I am reading what is sufficient to raise the possibility that James was only a privileged spiritual brother of the Lord as opposed to a privileged carnal brother of the Lord.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
Also, your use of the Gospel of the Hebrews does not actually rebut my Bayesian analysis. On three hypothesis where two are historical for interpreting Paul and we have no way to tell which one, the probability is therefore 66% prior probability in my favor.
Error by you. Now we have 3 possibile hypotheses where two support mythicism and only one supports historicity:
  • spiritual privileged brother (Risen Christ dixit)
  • spiritual not-privileged brother (a mere baptized)
  • carnal brother
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
Also, no, your argument that "my brother" in the Gospel to the Hebrews indicates it as a title is unsubstantiated. The exact same problem as Paul would then occur.

(1) Jesus is calling him a biological brother
(2) a title and a biological brother
(3) a title only
The Risen Christ calls Paul 'my apostle', not "my brother". I don't understand what is evidence that the Risen Christ called Paul as privileged his spiritual brother.

Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"my error of memory, excuse. I meant to say (quoting Couchoud): ''suffered outside the camp'': hence 'here', i.e. the 'camp', is the earth. Outside the camp is; in heaven."

But Jesus is not crucified outside the "camp," but outside the "city." The "camp" reference is a metaphor. The idea was that Jesus was killed outside of the city in accordance with a sin offering. This does not indicate Earth or Heaven. You are again projecting gnosticism onto the text without justification.
Correct, ''camp'' is a metaphor for ''here'', hence if we are "here", Jesus suffered not "here", but "outside" here, i.e. outside the earth: in heaven.
Chris Hansen wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 8:07 am
"how can Jesus be descendant of Judah in Hebrews, when he is 'proclaimed high priest according to order of Melchizedek'', notoriously 'without father nor mother, without genealogy, etc'' ? The best answer is that Hebrews was interpolated where it talks about provenance from Judah."

You are conflating Melchizedek with Jesus. Hebrews does not say that Jesus *is* Melchizedek, but "according to the order of Melchizedek". It is Melchizedek who is "Without father or mother, without genealogy, without beginning of days or end of life, resembling the Son of God, he remains a priest forever."

Your argument for Jesus having no genealogy is based on a conflation and is inaccurate to the text.
Jesus is not Melkizedek, but he is ''according to his order'' just in virtue of his being ''without mother and father, without genealogy etc". A birth by woman is denied, too. It is in evidence.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Post Reply