How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
hakeem
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by hakeem » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:30 am

hakeem wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:31 pm
Based on the writings attributed to Justin there were people called Christians since the time of Claudiusc c41-54 CE but they were followers of Simon Magus.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:09 am
What is our earliest independent witness to the existence of this Justin and his writings? Should we just take Justin's self-witness for granted?

How do we know he was not simply repeating a late legend or ideologically fabricated narrative?

I think you know why I am curious about your methods.
What is our earliest independent witness of this Paul and his writings? Should we just take Paul's self witness for granted?

Claims about Simon Magus in the writings of Justin are also found in the writings attributed to Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hyppolytus, Acts of the Apostles and others.

Irenaeus Against Heresies 1

1. Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and follower of the apostles, says, "But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This is the power of God, which is called great....
Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies
Therefore, according to this reasoning, Simon became confessedly a god to his silly followers.....

Tertullian Prescription Against the Heretics
The doctrine, however, of Simon's sorcery, which inculcated the worship of angels, was itself actually reckoned among idolatries and condemned by the Apostle Peter in Simon's own person.
Acts 8:9
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.
It would appear that Justin's claim that Simon Magus was worshiped as a God since the time of Claudius is corroborated by multiple sources.

neilgodfrey
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm

hakeem wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:30 am
hakeem wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 8:31 pm
Based on the writings attributed to Justin there were people called Christians since the time of Claudiusc c41-54 CE but they were followers of Simon Magus.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:09 am
What is our earliest independent witness to the existence of this Justin and his writings? Should we just take Justin's self-witness for granted?

How do we know he was not simply repeating a late legend or ideologically fabricated narrative?

I think you know why I am curious about your methods.
What is our earliest independent witness of this Paul and his writings? Should we just take Paul's self witness for granted?

Claims about Simon Magus in the writings of Justin are also found in the writings attributed to Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hyppolytus, Acts of the Apostles and others.

Irenaeus Against Heresies 1

1. Simon the Samaritan was that magician of whom Luke, the disciple and follower of the apostles, says, "But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime used magical arts in that city, and led astray the people of Samaria, declaring that he himself was some great one, to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This is the power of God, which is called great....
Hippolytus Refutation of All Heresies
Therefore, according to this reasoning, Simon became confessedly a god to his silly followers.....

Tertullian Prescription Against the Heretics
The doctrine, however, of Simon's sorcery, which inculcated the worship of angels, was itself actually reckoned among idolatries and condemned by the Apostle Peter in Simon's own person.
Acts 8:9
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one.
It would appear that Justin's claim that Simon Magus was worshiped as a God since the time of Claudius is corroborated by multiple sources.
I certainly have never taken Paul's self witness for granted. Certainly not.

But is not your method somewhat circular? Okay, you find corroboration in other writings, but on what firm foundation do you rest any of those other writings? None of them mentions Justin, and how do we know the time and authenticity of any of the ones you list - Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc... ?

How can you be sure you are not grasping at sky hooks to save the witness of Justin? You don't just assume the self-witness of any of them, do you?

Why quote Justin in the first place? Why not quote instead, say, Irenaeus, if you think he is clearly established in time and place as an authentic witness? And if you think that about Irenaeus then on what evidence do you base your opinion?

(These are serious questions, I trust we understand.)

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arnoldo
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by arnoldo » Tue Feb 13, 2018 3:58 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:29 pm
andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:21 pm
arnoldo wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:06 pm
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sat Feb 10, 2018 3:32 pm
It's not about "proving" anything. It's about testing and falsifying and riding with what we have provisionally been able to establish and that works -- until we find new tests and falsifications lead us to new hypotheses.
Is there any way to test/falsify that Lucian of Samosata was a historical rather than a mythical person?

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/lucian.html
Just to clarify.

Did you mean Is there any way to test/falsify that Peregrinus Proteus was a historical rather than a mythical person?

(Is so the answer is probably yes. Lucian's Passing of Peregrinus is mostly fiction but we have corroborating evidence of the existence of Peregrinus.)

Andrew Criddle
I asked arnoldo the same question at the end of my answer to his challenge. viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3886&start=20#p82920
Yes. The evidence indicates that Lucian of Samosata really did write the works attributed to him in those same works. Subsequent ancient scholars included him in their lists of ancient authors so presumably literary traditions supported his historicity, since the works produced by those ancient scholars (Eunapius, Photias, "Suidas") re of the kind that demonstrate an interest in preserving the historical information and independent corroboration supports their value as records of ancient sources.

If we had comparable evidence for Jesus -- quasi-biographical works written by Jesus and subsequent lists including the author Jesus alongside comparable authors like Philo, Josephus, Paul, etc -- there would very likely be no debate about his historicity.

(Your link takes us to a page that asks the question about the historicity of Peregrinus. Did you mean to ask if we can establish the historicity of Peregrinus?)
Hopefully he will reply with clarification soon.
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


neilgodfrey
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 13, 2018 4:26 pm

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 if interested.

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.

hakeem
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by hakeem » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:10 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm


I certainly have never taken Paul's self witness for granted. Certainly not.
You have forgotten that you generally assume there was a first century Paul
neilgodfrey wrote: I generally assume that there was an early first century Paul for the sake of argument.
You have certainly taken Paul's self witness for granted.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm
But is not your method somewhat circular? Okay, you find corroboration in other writings, but on what firm foundation do you rest any of those other writings? None of them mentions Justin, and how do we know the time and authenticity of any of the ones you list - Irenaeus, Tertullian, etc... ?
The corroboration of events in writings attributed to Justin by other sources cannot be a circular method. Corroboration by multiple sources is a fundamental established method in historical research.

It is the assumption of an early Paul to corroborate events in the writings attributed to the same writer that is grossly circular.

neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm
How can you be sure you are not grasping at sky hooks to save the witness of Justin? You don't just assume the self-witness of any of them, do you?
What do you expect to grasp at after admitting you generally assume an early 1st century Paul for argument sake??

You seem not to understand that it is imperative that the writings attributed to Justin or any others be corroborated by other sources before they can be deemed to be credible.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm
Why quote Justin in the first place? Why not quote instead, say, Irenaeus, if you think he is clearly established in time and place as an authentic witness? And if you think that about Irenaeus then on what evidence do you base your opinion?
You seem not to understand the difference between authenticity, credibility and corroboration.

The claims about Simon Magus in the writings attributed to Justin are corroborated by multiple sources whether or not they are authentic just like claims about Emperors of Rome in writings attributed to Josephus are corroborated by other sources whether or not they are authentic.

neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm
(These are serious questions, I trust we understand.)
Why do you generally assume an early 1st century Paul for argument sake when his historicity is questioned?

Bernard Muller
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:11 pm

1 Clement, normally dated 1st century, is a witness for a 1st cent. Paul and some of his epistles.
For dating of 1 Clement, see http://historical-jesus.info/gospels.html then "find" on: 5.2
It also appears that "Luke" and "Matthew" knew about 1 Clement: same web page then "find" on: Did "Luke" know about '1Clement'? and: Did "Matthew" know about '1Clement'?
Some of the earliest Gnostics knew about Paul and his epistles: The Nassennes, Basilides and Marcion. See http://historical-jesus.info/64.html then "find" on: About "heretics" adopting Paul
Also Valentinus acknowledged a 1st century Paul: Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, book 7, chapter 17. "Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul."


Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

neilgodfrey
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:47 pm

hakeem wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:10 pm
neilgodfrey wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 12:18 pm


I certainly have never taken Paul's self witness for granted. Certainly not.
You have forgotten that you generally assume there was a first century Paul
I got as far as this and did not bother to read the rest. You seem to be determined to DISunderstand anything I write. I can only conclude you are reading my comments with a hostile intent.

hakeem
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by hakeem » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:53 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Tue Feb 13, 2018 11:11 pm
1 Clement, normally dated 1st century, is a witness for a 1st cent. Paul and some of his epistles.
For dating of 1 Clement, see http://historical-jesus.info/gospels.html then "find" on: 5.2
It also appears that "Luke" and "Matthew" knew about 1 Clement: same web page then "find" on: Did "Luke" know about '1Clement'? and: Did "Matthew" know about '1Clement'?
Some of the earliest Gnostics knew about Paul and his epistles: The Nassennes, Basilides and Marcion. See http://historical-jesus.info/64.html then "find" on: About "heretics" adopting Paul
Also Valentinus acknowledged a 1st century Paul: Clement of Alexandria, Stromateis, book 7, chapter 17. "Likewise they allege that Valentinus was a hearer of Theudas. And he was the pupil of Paul."


Cordially, Bernard
The letter attributed to the supposed Clement does not claim anywhere that letters under the name of Paul were written in the 1st century. In fact, the supposed 1 Clement is in a far worse condition than the letters under the name of Paul.

No author is identified in 1 Clement and the letter may either a forgery or falsely attributed to Clement.

For hundreds of years, up to at least the 5th century multiple Christian writers had no knowledge of a Clement who was bishop of Rome c 95 CE when there was a supposed great dissension in the Church of Corinth.

Augustine of Hippo supposedly writing in the 5th century stated Clement was 2nd bishop of Rome after Peter.

Letter 53
2. For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: "Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it!"

The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these:— Clement, Anacletus, Evaristus......
Based on multiple Christian writers it would appear that the so-called Clement was not bishop of Rome c 95 CE [the supposed time of the great dissension in Corinth] so the letter is either a forgery or falsely attributed to Clement.

Bernard Muller
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by Bernard Muller » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:44 am

to hakeem,
I already told you that I take 1 Clement as written by a spokesman of the church of Rome, not necessarily Clement, not necessarily a bishop.
Actually, I don't care if Clement existed or not. And the letter never says that it was written by Clement or a bishop.
My dating is from the internal evidence, and not related to any Clement.

Cordially, Bernard
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed

hakeem
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Re: How does the mythical Jesus thing hang together?

Post by hakeem » Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:55 pm

Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:44 am
to hakeem,
I already told you that I take 1 Clement as written by a spokesman of the church of Rome, not necessarily Clement, not necessarily a bishop.
Actually, I don't care if Clement existed or not. And the letter never says that it was written by Clement or a bishop.
My dating is from the internal evidence, and not related to any Clement.

Cordially, Bernard
The internal evidence in the so-called 1 Clement places the writing at least no earlier than the last quarter of the 2nd century. The letter contains anachronisms. One such anachronism is the title of "bishops" .

Christian and non-Christian sources of the 2nd century state that the leader of the Church was called the President.

Justin supposedly writing in the mid 2nd century refer to the leader of the brethren as the President.

Justin First Apology LXV
There is then brought to the president of the brethren bread and a cup of wine mixed with water; and he taking them, gives praise and glory to the Father of the universe...............And when the president has given thanks, and all the people have expressed their assent, those who are called by us deacons give to each of those present to partake of the bread and wine mixed with water over which the thanksgiving was pronounced....
Justin's First Apology LXVII
......the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability.......... And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president.........
Lucian supposedly writing in the mid 2nd century also refer to the leader of the Christians as the President.

Lucian of Samosata Death of Peregrine.
It was now that he came across the priests and scribes of the Christians, in Palestine, and picked up their queer creed. I can tell you, he pretty soon convinced them of his superiority; prophet, elder, ruler of the Synagogue--he was everything at once; expounded their books, commented on them, wrote books himself.
They took him for a God, accepted his laws, and declared him their president.

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