arnoldo wrote: ↑
Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:58 pm
If Lucian of Samasota was historical then is the following writing attributed to him of any historical significance?
Indeed, people came even from the cities in Asia, sent by the Christians at their common expense, to succour and defend and encourage the hero. They show incredible speed whenever any such public action is taken; for in no time they lavish their all. So it was then in the case of Peregrinus; much money came to him from them by reason of his imprisonment, and he procured not a little revenue from it. The poor wretches have convinced themselves, first and foremost, that they are going to be immortal and live for all time, in consequence of which they despise death and even willingly give themselves into custody; most of them. Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they are all brothers of one another after they have transgressed once, for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws. Therefore they despise all things indiscriminately and consider them common property, receiving such doctrines traditionally without any definite evidence. So if any charlatan and trickster, able to profit by occasions, comes among them, he quickly acquires sudden wealth by imposing upon simple folk.
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... rinus.html
Can I begin with a comment about the method your question implies?
The historicity of an author writing a satire about a historical person does not of itself mean that everything he writes is "historically true". We can find allusions to "true historical" events and persons in ancient fiction and "fiction" posing as "history" in historical works of real historians. We have examples of both in the ancient literature.
So it does not follow that if an author was "historical" then what he wrote about purported historical events was either true or not true. It doesn't work like that.
I have written more fully of the difficulties historians face with their ancient sources, most recently ...
I concur with the ancient historian Moses Finely who wrote:
For the great bulk of the narrative we are faced with the ‘kernel of truth’ possibility, and I am unaware of any stigmata that automatically distinguish fiction from fact. . . . .
That is where we stand if we take the Lucian passage you cite on face value. It is a possibility but we simply are left with no way of knowing, by relying on the passage alone, if it is "historically true" at any level.
However, to the extent that we can establish contemporary or earlier records describing Christians in a similar way then we can claim we have independent corroboration of Lucian's portrayal of them.
Roger Parvus argues that there is sufficient evidence to identify the author of the earliest forms of the letters of Ignatius as Peregrinus Proteus. See Roger Parvus: Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius
This is pretty much how we all operate in deciding what to believe and not believe. We look for corroboration, independent corroboration. And we look to the "authority" of the source -- are they trustworthy? how do they know? do they have some agenda we should be aware of?
We don't normally decide just on the answer to any one of those questions. We normally want to cover all bases when a lot is at stake on whether something is true or not. Hence we have entire court systems and legal training to facilitate the testing of all questions that arise in testing the truth or otherwise of a claim.