Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:26 am

For those interested, here is a comparison of two relevant texts:

History of the Church 2.23.20: 20 Of course Josephus did not shrink from giving written testimony to this as follows: "And these things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, for the Jews killed him in spite of his great righteousness" [ταῦτα δὲ συμβέβηκεν Ἰουδαίοις κατ̓ ἐκδίκησιν Ἰακώβου τοῦ δικαίου, ὃς ἦν ἀδελφὸς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδήπερ δικαιότατον αὐτὸν ὄντα οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀπέκτειναν].

Origen, Against Celsus 1.47: 47 .... For in the eighteenth volume of the Judaic Antiquities Josephus testifies to John as having been a baptist and promised cleansing to those who were baptized. But he himself, though not believing in Jesus as Christ, in seeking the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these things happening to the people, since they killed the prophecied Christ, even says, being unwillingly not far from the truth, that these things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, for the Jews killed him in spite of his great righteousness [ταῦτα συμβεβηκέναι τοὶς Ἰουδαίοις κατ̓ ἐκδίκησιν Ἰακώβου τοῦ δικαίου, ὃς ἦν ἀδελφὸς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδήπερ δικαιότατον αὐτὸν ὄντα ἀπέκτειναν]. ....

Origen does not claim to be quoting Josephus here. The only citation he gives (which he then paraphrases briefly rather than quoting in any sense) is book 18 of the Antiquities, which we all know lacks anything about James the Just. But he does attribute something about James the Just to Josephus, without using any of the usual lead-ins for direct speech or quotation. The most interesting thing, obviously, is the comparison of his apparent summary or paraphrase of Josephus with Eusebius' quotation of Josephus (the underlined words are the only differences between the two):

Origen: ταῦτα συμβεβηκέναι τοὶς Ἰουδαίοις κατ̓ ἐκδίκησιν Ἰακώβου τοῦ δικαίου, ὃς ἦν ἀδελφὸς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδήπερ δικαιότατον αὐτὸν ὄντα ἀπέκτειναν.
Eusebius: ταῦτα δὲ συμβέβηκεν Ἰουδαίοις κατ̓ ἐκδίκησιν Ἰακώβου τοῦ δικαίου, ὃς ἦν ἀδελφὸς Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, ἐπειδήπερ δικαιότατον αὐτὸν ὄντα οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι ἀπέκτειναν.

Clearly the two passages are connected. In order to conjure up a lost writing of Josephus in which to mentally place this passage alleged by Eusebius, one would have to suppose that Origen, too, is quoting from this lost writing, and that when he names the exact book (number 18) of the exact work (the Antiquities) he ends up paraphrasing, whereas when he fails even to name the work he ends up quoting pretty much verbatim. One would also have to suppose that Eusebius, contrary to his usual custom, also failed to name the work from which he was quoting, despite quoting it nearly verbatim. All things are possible, but this is a lot to swallow.
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Nov 18, 2017 8:16 am

It is still an interesting question what it is Origen and Eusebius are citing. What is the best solution here? Is it possible that 'Josephus' originally read Hegesippus so:

Of course Josephus did not shrink from giving written testimony to this as follows:

becomes

Of course Hegesippus did not shrink from giving written testimony to this as follows:

Doesn't that make more sense in the context?
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Secret Alias » Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:18 am

I guess I am not smart enough to boil down what is being suggested by the three or four members of the forum or at least not figuring out who caused the misunderstanding. So the passage wasn't in Josephus. How did Origen and Eusebius arrive at near verbatim references? Not getting it.
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by John2 » Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:43 pm

hakeem wrote:
You forget that Christian writings claim Peter was killed in the 14th year of Nero.

You forget that it is claimed that Hegesippus and Clememt are in agreement in Church History 2.23.

De Viris Illustribus

Simon Peter...... pushed on to Rome in the second year of Claudius to overthrow Simon Magus, and held the sacerdotal chair there for twenty-five years until the last, that is the fourteenth, year of Nero. At his hands he received the crown of martyrdom being nailed to the cross with his head towards the ground and his feet raised on high, asserting that he was unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord....

Preface to the Recognitions

The epistle in which the same Clement, writing to James the Lord's brother, informs him of the death of Peter, and that he had left him his successor in his chair and teaching...

In Christian writings James must have died after or around c 67-68 CE which would imply that the siege of Jerusalem at c 70 CE would be considered an immediate event.

Hegesippus and Clement are in agreement.

James the Just and James the anointed in AJ 20.9.1 are not the same person.
The Clement that Hegesippus is in agreement with concerning the death of James is Clement of Alexandria, and the person who is purported to have written the Clementine literature is Clement of Rome. One has nothing to do with the other.

Regarding Eusebius' statment that Hegesippus' and Clement of Alexandria's accounts of the death of James are in agreement, Eusebius says in EH 2.23.3 that:
The manner of James' death has been already indicated by the above-quoted words of Clement [of Alexandria], who records that he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, and was beaten to death with a club.


And in EH 2.23.19 he says:
These things are related at length by Hegesippus, who is in agreement with Clement [of Alexandria].
And in EH 2.23.12-18 "these things" are that:
The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple ... these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another "... let us go up and throw him down ..." So they went up and threw down the just man ... And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom.
Regarding the reference in the Clementine literature, I wasn't aware of it until I saw you mention it several days ago, so I did some research on the dating of Peter's death and came away with the impression that the dating of it is not very certain and it ranges from 68 CE to as early as 55 CE.

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/11744a.htm#IV
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:55 pm

Secret Alias wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 11:18 am
I guess I am not smart enough to boil down what is being suggested by the three or four members of the forum or at least not figuring out who caused the misunderstanding. So the passage wasn't in Josephus. How did Origen and Eusebius arrive at near verbatim references? Not getting it.
Origen summarized Josephus incorrectly. Eusebius quoted Origen, but under Josephus' name, as if he had quoted (not summarized) Josephus correctly. It is the simplest thing in the world.
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by John T » Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:06 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:01 am

You are relying on an English translation, whereas Eusebius wrote in Greek. Here follows both the Greek and the Loeb translation by Kirsopp Lake. I actually have a potential issue or two with that translation, but not with respect to the word which you have claimed above to be plural:

Your error is due probably to the reasoning (if you can call it that) of the buffoon.

Forget stubbing one's toe; to rely on an English translation for the fine grammatical details of wording which was originally rendered in Greek, and to do so with such disdainful haughtiness, is the research equivalent of jumping headlong off a cliff onto an exposed reef surrounded by sharks.
Toe stub number 9.

Actually, you are the arrogant buffoon for suggesting your English translation of Greek is better than Josephus, Eusebius, and C.F. Cruse.
I would love to see your credentials and your time traveling machine. :facepalm:

John T
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:10 pm

John T wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:06 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:01 am

You are relying on an English translation, whereas Eusebius wrote in Greek. Here follows both the Greek and the Loeb translation by Kirsopp Lake. I actually have a potential issue or two with that translation, but not with respect to the word which you have claimed above to be plural:

Your error is due probably to the reasoning (if you can call it that) of the buffoon.

Forget stubbing one's toe; to rely on an English translation for the fine grammatical details of wording which was originally rendered in Greek, and to do so with such disdainful haughtiness, is the research equivalent of jumping headlong off a cliff onto an exposed reef surrounded by sharks.
Toe stub number 9.

Actually, you are the arrogant buffoon for suggesting your English translation of Greek is better than Josephus, Eusebius, and C.F. Cruse.
I would love to see your credentials and your time traveling machine. :facepalm:
Your puerile games are not going to work on me, John T. I gave you the Loeb translation of the passage. Please feel free to revisit this topic with me once you have either (A) learned Greek or (B) learned humility and manners. Either will do.
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by John T » Sun Nov 19, 2017 4:27 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 6:10 pm

Your puerile games are not going to work on me, John T. I gave you the Loeb translation of the passage. Please feel free to revisit this topic with me once you have either (A) learned Greek or (B) learned humility and manners. Either will do.
Toe stub number 10.

Childish (puerile) games? :eek:
You mean like when you called me a baffoon because you couldn't prove your point? :facepalm:

Then you edit C. F. Cruse's translation of Ecclesiastical History, thinking no one could spot your error/trick. :facepalm:

As far as humility and manners go, please remember I said from the get go, this time I get to use the double standard of the mythicists.

The shoe is on the other foot and you are mad because you stubbed your toe?

Hypocrisy much? :facepalm:

When you actually have verifiable evidence and not wishful mythicist thinking, please let me know.

John T
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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Steven Avery » Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:21 am

The problem here from what I can see is that "the writings", even if it is the text, does not mean that more than one writing applies.

"I found the story of Huckleberry Finn in the writings of Samuel Clemens." -

It might well be in only one writing where it is found, it is simply saying that Clemens has more than one writing.

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Re: Why Are Historicists So Certain That Jesus Existed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:40 am

Steven Avery wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:21 am
The problem here from what I can see is that "the writings", even if it is the text, does not mean that more than one writing applies.
This is a correct observation, but "the writings" is not in the text, at least not in the literal sense demanded by the observation that "writings" is plural. I quoted the passage above both in the original Greek and in the English translation by Kirsopp Lake (for the Loeb series). The word which the Schaff series translates as "in his writings" is ἐγγράφως, the adverb from ἔγγραφος, which you can look up here: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/tex ... %2Fggrafos (the adverb is mentioned under A). As an adverb, naturally, it cannot be either singular or plural.

Just for reference, here is Crusé's translation (first published in 1838), simply because John T keeps going on about it for some reason; to my knowledge I had never even laid eyes on it until this very morning while writing this post:

Christian Frederic Crusé: Josephus also has not hesitated to superadd this testimony in his works: "These things," says he, " happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of him that is called Christ, and whom the Jews had slain, notwithstanding his preeminent justice."

And here is the Loeb edition:

Kirsopp Lake (for the Loeb series): Of course Josephus did not shrink from giving written testimony to this as follows: "And these things happened to the Jews to avenge James the Just, who was the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, for the Jews killed him in spite of his great righteousness."

But yes, you are correct. In either case, there is no suggestion in this passage that more than one writing applies, which makes perfect sense given the Greek wording.
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