Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
JoeWallack
Posts: 1113
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 8:22 pm
Contact:

Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by JoeWallack » Thu Sep 27, 2018 7:13 am

JW:
I hesitate to create this Thread out of fear and astonishment. This Thread of course is the companion to my hilarious and than some Thread here:

Proofs That Jesus Existed

My fear is not so much that Believers will predictably use this Thread as Proof that Jesus did exist but that they will think this Thread is anywhere near as funny.

The mistake that Believers make of course in thinking that they have proved that Jesus existed is that their evidence does not support their conclusion. No matter how many times myself and spin explain the relationship between evidence and conclusions Believers still don't get it and that is understandable because Believers would not be caught dead here. But what is the excuse of Skeptics?

In order to consider the relationship between evidence and conclusions the process is as follows:
  • 1) What would be good evidence for a contemporary event?

    2) Good evidence for 1) would be multiple, credible, independent, first-hand evidence that lacks contradicting evidence.

    3) 2) deteriorates with age.
Practical examples would be standards used in legal and business settings (what evidence proves that someone died/was born/lived).

If we look at what we have for Jesus there is a big difference between what would be good evidence and the evidence we have. Believers of course than switch the standards from absolute (what would be good evidence) to relative (what evidence do we have). Most of these Believers are beyond saving. Unfortunately some Skeptics do the same thing. They think that lack of quality evidence that Jesus existed is quality evidence that Jesus did not exist. But the standards for any conclusion do not change. They are always the same. So what quality evidence do we have that Jesus did not exist such as the known, credible author of GMark telling us that GMark is complete fiction and the author was not aware of any evidence that such a person ever existed? While it's true that the worse the evidence is that Jesus existed the more likely it is that Jesus did not, but without quality evidence in absolute terms that Jesus did not exist, you are not going to prove that Jesus did not exist because there is a huge difference between what would be good evidence to support that conclusion and the evidence you actually have. This difference is called uncertainty. So why would some Skeptics have such a problem with uncertainty? God knows.

So, gentlemen, start your Search Engines:

ARGUMENT FROM Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed
(1) GMark was the original Gospel narrative.
(2) All of GMark parallels The Jewish Bible, Paul and the first Jewish/Roman War.
(3) Therefore, Jesus did not exist.

Giuseppe
Posts: 4887
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Sep 27, 2018 9:26 am

In particular, what I find particularly persuasive in the optimal book of RG Price, is whereas he writes:

What we don't find is any description of Jesus the person that is completely distinct from the Markan text. At best, one can try to argue that these noncanonical texts were written before the Gospel called Mark, but there is no proof of this, and given what has been shown about the Markan text regarding its use of literary allusions, a case against Mark coming first would require extraordinary evidence.

(p. 152, my bold)

This is the reason why my only motive of interest is the Marcion's Gospel and to inquiry the possibility that it was the Earliest Gospel. But the my point is that if the Marcion's Gospel was a gospel written by one who adores the Jewish god, then I don't see how that gospel could be so different from the our Mark's Gospel (notoriously a Gospel written by a believer in YHWH).

What is there in GMark that an hypothetical Marcion worshipper of the Jewish God would have rejected? Zero.


Hence the only way of escape to avoid the RG Price's argument is:

1) to deny that Mark is the earliest Gospel
2) to argue that in the Earliest Gospel the Jewish God is not adored.

But even so, “a case against Mark coming first would require extraordinary evidence”.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

rgprice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by rgprice » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am

ARGUMENT FROM Deciphering the Gospels: Proves Jesus Never Existed
(1) GMark was the original Gospel narrative.
(2) All of GMark parallels The Jewish Bible, Paul and the first Jewish/Roman War.
(3) Therefore, Jesus did not exist.
Well, my argument is a little more nuanced than that :)

In simplistic form it is:
1) GMark is entirely fictional
2) The character of Jesus in GMark is based on Paul
3) The entire narrative was developed by a single individual after the First Jewish-Roman War
4) Every narrative about Jesus shares elements with GMark, therefore we can conclude (since GMark is an entirely fictional postwar narrative) that every narrative about Jesus descends from GMark
5) There are no descriptions of Jesus the person that show independence from GMark
6) There is no evidence that anyone had knowledge of or worshiped a person named Jesus prior to GMark
7) All worship of Jesus the person is based on the Jesus character first created in GMark
8) When pressed to defend the claim that Jesus was a real person in the 2nd-4th centuries, the best that defenders of the claim could do was refer to the Gospels
9) The Jesus being worshiped prior to the creation of GMark was "the Lord Jesus Christ" - a heavenly deity of immense power, including the power to overcome death, heal the sick, absolve sins, destroy the world, create a new kingdom in heaven, pass judgement on sinners, and bring about total justice
10) Paul (and James) do not even provide any teachings of Jesus, nor do they tell us about any deeds of Jesus that would give cause to worship some person
11) Paul (and James) says many things that are incompatible with the notion that Jesus was a real person, such as saying that Jesus was a "mystery" being revealed through the interpretation of scripture
12) The attributes of "the Lord Jesus Christ" do not comport with the attributes of a person, they are the attributes of a deity
13) We are given no reason in the letters of Paul (or James or Hebrews) as to why a Jesus person would be worshiped. The only reasons for worshiping Jesus that are ever provided are either those in point #8, or claims from the Gospels (which are all fictional)

I'm actually spelling this out more plainly in the second edition of my book, which I just sent to my publisher today.

So, my contention is that the only "evidence" that gives us reason to think that Jesus was a real person, either now or from the earliest days of Christianity, are the Gospels. Without the Gospels there is nothing to support the idea that Jesus was a real person. Once it is proven that the Gospels are entirely fictional, as I would argue that I do in my book (am I'm putting together an article now to show that there is actually growing academic support for this position), then there is no evidence to support the case for a historical Jesus anymore, and in fact, when you go only on the pre-Gospel works, you see that those pre-Gospel works are best explained as the product of a community that worshiped a heavenly deity, not a real person.

The Gospels are the cause of belief in a human Jesus. Indeed I would argue that the fictional nature of GMark is itself evidence that the writer knew that Jesus wasn't a real person, because if the writer thought that Jesus was real, and a god, then he wouldn't have fabricated a story about his life and modeled his life on Paul. So the fact that the writer modeled the Jesus character on Paul itself shows that the writer of GMark knew that Jesus wasn't a person.

nightshadetwine
Posts: 121
Joined: Mon Aug 06, 2018 10:35 am

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by nightshadetwine » Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:53 am

rgprice wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am
9) The Jesus being worshiped prior to the creation of GMark was "the Lord Jesus Christ" - a heavenly deity of immense power, including the power to overcome death, heal the sick, absolve sins, destroy the world, create a new kingdom in heaven, pass judgement on sinners, and bring about total justice
What's your opinion on what Paul meant when he says that Jesus was "born of a woman" and "descended from David according to the flesh"?

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 6065
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:02 am

nightshadetwine wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:53 am
rgprice wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am
9) The Jesus being worshiped prior to the creation of GMark was "the Lord Jesus Christ" - a heavenly deity of immense power, including the power to overcome death, heal the sick, absolve sins, destroy the world, create a new kingdom in heaven, pass judgement on sinners, and bring about total justice
What's your opinion on what Paul meant when he says that Jesus was "born of a woman" and "descended from David according to the flesh"?
"Born of a woman" was probably not in the Marcionite version of Galatians, and may be an orthodox interpolation, IMHO. And I have made an argument elsewhere that Romans 1.1b-5a is an interpolation. I am not completely persuaded by either of these positions, but I do feel they are worth considering.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

rgprice
Posts: 23
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2018 11:57 pm

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by rgprice » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:05 am

nightshadetwine wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:53 am
What's your opinion on what Paul meant when he says that Jesus was "born of a woman" and "descended from David according to the flesh"?
I address it in the book. The first statement is part of an allegory. I take it as an allegorical statement and actually the "woman" Paul is describing is in heaven. The second statement is an obvious interpolation.

perseusomega9
Posts: 486
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:19 am
Contact:

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by perseusomega9 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:09 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:02 am
nightshadetwine wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:53 am
rgprice wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am
9) The Jesus being worshiped prior to the creation of GMark was "the Lord Jesus Christ" - a heavenly deity of immense power, including the power to overcome death, heal the sick, absolve sins, destroy the world, create a new kingdom in heaven, pass judgement on sinners, and bring about total justice
What's your opinion on what Paul meant when he says that Jesus was "born of a woman" and "descended from David according to the flesh"?
"Born of a woman" was probably not in the Marcionite version of Galatians, and may be an orthodox interpolation, IMHO. And I have made an argument elsewhere that Romans 1.1b-5a is an interpolation. I am not completely persuaded by either of these positions, but I do feel they are worth considering.
Just go the JC O'Neill route and burn it all down

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 6065
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:18 am

perseusomega9 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:09 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:02 am
nightshadetwine wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:53 am
rgprice wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 10:38 am
9) The Jesus being worshiped prior to the creation of GMark was "the Lord Jesus Christ" - a heavenly deity of immense power, including the power to overcome death, heal the sick, absolve sins, destroy the world, create a new kingdom in heaven, pass judgement on sinners, and bring about total justice
What's your opinion on what Paul meant when he says that Jesus was "born of a woman" and "descended from David according to the flesh"?
"Born of a woman" was probably not in the Marcionite version of Galatians, and may be an orthodox interpolation, IMHO. And I have made an argument elsewhere that Romans 1.1b-5a is an interpolation. I am not completely persuaded by either of these positions, but I do feel they are worth considering.
Just go the JC O'Neill route and burn it all down
What do you think of that route?
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

perseusomega9
Posts: 486
Joined: Tue Feb 04, 2014 7:19 am
Contact:

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by perseusomega9 » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:55 am

Entirely speculative but I love it. I can see why it's not embraced by scholars in general, given that he's assuming certain passages were present, absent, or in a different form based entirely on assumptions of what the original authors theology must have been, but he's also correct in the assumption that there must be many more interpolations than the textual record (or scholars) would allow for. I tend to read the more speculative or fantastic scholars over the mundane ones who will write a commentary and try to develop a theology out of an entire epistle assuming the form we have it now is near enough Paul's original to attempt such a task. I'm sure some of those scholars have some excellent points or insights, but the whole approach is based on a house of cards. For example, I'll probably never read NT Wright or Meier. I'd really love to get my hands on Winsome Munro's book(s) on the subject, but they seem to be hard to find and are expensive for used books. I don't have access to a University library so I'm limited to grabbing used books at the bookstore*, online, or legally ambiguous pdfs.



*I usually listen to at least one Bible Geek podcast from Robert M. Price a day during my commute so you get a lot of authors thrown at you, then when I'm perusing the shelves at the bookstore I'm able to recognize the authors if not specific works that were recommended. I can usually walk out with a stack of 4-6 books for less than $20.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 6065
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Proofs That Jesus Did Not Exist

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Sep 27, 2018 1:39 pm

perseusomega9 wrote:
Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:55 am
Entirely speculative but I love it. I can see why it's not embraced by scholars in general, given that he's assuming certain passages were present, absent, or in a different form based entirely on assumptions of what the original authors theology must have been, but he's also correct in the assumption that there must be many more interpolations than the textual record (or scholars) would allow for.
I feel much the same way. I appreciate having his notes on Galatians, for example, but cannot assent to a lot of his more assumption-driven conclusions. But yes, I feel like he is probably right in his assessment that there were more interpolations than we usually take into account.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

Post Reply