If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

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Giuseppe
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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 1:58 am

Put in another way, if the Christian hearsay about a historical Jesus reached Josephus, then Paul could't so easily to eclipse that same Jesus. Contra factum that he did.

The Christian hearsay reaching Josephus is evidence of extreme diffusion of the historicist hearsay (remember: not per se a historicist evidence).

But then how could Paul and the other Christians use a code language to eclipse their historicist belief in the eyes of outsiders, when at least an outsider learned from the same Christians their historicist belief?

How can the outsider Josephus know from the Christians themselves the exact thing that the same Christians were conspiring to eclipse in their inner discussions ?

There is a contradiction here.

If a group Z conspires to eclipse X in their discussion about Y, how can an outsider know from the group himself Z the exact thing X hidden by that group about Y?

So the two following facts are mutually exclusive:

1) Josephus learned from the Christians themselves that Jesus was a Jew teacher, etc.

2) Paul and the his readers conspire to eclipse, before the outsiders, their belief that Jesus was a Jew teacher, etc.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:26 am

I think that this is the reason why Bart Ehrman concedes so rapidly that Josephus derived probably the his Jesuan information from the Christians themselves.

The same Ehrman can't have it both the two ways:

1) Paul and his insiders use code Language to eclipse the historical Jesus

2) the Christian hearsay about HJ was so diffuse that it reached the outsider Josephus

So Ehrman is moved to give up the point 1 and to accept the more modest solution:


3) yes, the Christian hearsay was so diffuse that it reached Josephus (point 2), but that same Christian hearsay justifies why Paul and insiders are silent about the historical Jesus: no need of refer it since “all knew”.

So Ehrman denies DE FACTO that Paul and insiders didn't talk about HJ because they wanted deliberately to eclipse him.

CONCLUSION: A cospirer Paul is incompatible with a too much diffuse Christian hearsay about HJ.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Peter Kirby
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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 am

Bro, I never said anything about conspiracy or eclipsing, and to "sound like they're speaking in code" is not to use a code language.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:35 am

Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 am
Bro, I never said anything about conspiracy or eclipsing, and to "sound like they're speaking in code" is not to use a code language.
is not it the fallacy of the false difference without a real distinction? Usually historicists explain the silence of Paul with two reasons (mutually exclusive):
1) deliberate silence (what I call "conspiracy" or "eclipsing")
2) no need of mention, since "all knew".

Tertium not datur.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 5:49 am

I think that I am on something. When the hearsay about the historical Jesus increases too much (as it is the case if Josephus had reported it from the Christians) , does this affect on the epistles? Has Paul (and Hebrews) more or less right to not report this hearsay? Is the his silence more justified or less justified by a so rapid diffusion of this hearsay?

I think that the following implication holds:

More hearsay (reaching Josephus)--->more the "historical" Jesus is relevant---> more Paul has to refer to him.

Less hearsay----->more the "historical" Jesus is irrilevant---->Paul has more right to ignore (or eclipse) him.

I think that in the first case, the classical dohertian questions ("could the Corinthians or the Galatians ask not this or that moved by curiosity?" etc) have more weight (and more right to urge), since it is surely more natural (=more expected) to raise questions of interest about a famous person (=a person who is famous by hearsay). The historicist can't defend the historicity by the pretext of irrilevance of the HJ, since the excessive hearsay is the precise negation of the presumed irrilevance.

For example: during the festival of cinema in Venice, there is more natural interest about the private life of Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, since the hearsay about them increases more and more during that particular moment than the rest of the year. Note that it is the festival itself to make them more object of curiosity, and not the contrary.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:48 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 4:35 am
Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 3:07 am
Bro, I never said anything about conspiracy or eclipsing, and to "sound like they're speaking in code" is not to use a code language.
is not it the fallacy of the false difference without a real distinction? Usually historicists explain the silence of Paul with two reasons (mutually exclusive):
1) deliberate silence (what I call "conspiracy" or "eclipsing")
2) no need of mention, since "all knew".

Tertium not datur.
I wasn't talking about just a given knowledge being known, but (2) comes closer to what I was saying of your two options, which do not really exhaust the possibilities because you've added more to them than the bare minimum of A or not-A. Notice my phrasing, which intentionally goes beyond the mere idea of shared knowledge rendering mention unnecessary:
People who are insiders can often sound like they're speaking in code because they have a lot of implicit information that isn't stated and for which there is little to no motivation to state because they're talking to each other and all that background information might not be relevant to their point. On the other hand, people who are outsiders and who are actually purporting to describe something in a way intelligible to outsiders - like a Jewish historian Josephus to the Roman audience - would be unable to assume any implicit information about Christians or about Jesus and would need to start from the beginning and build the picture concretely. Meanwhile, insiders don't need to and have less occasion to talk about the basic picture, since they're inside that picture and are busy making new things of interest on top of it - theology, ethics, soteriology, eschatology, ritual, etc.
Also, I wasn't claiming that Paul is silent. I wasn't using the above as an explanation for Paul. I was commenting on your outsider/insider distinction and the lack of support that actually lends to your argument. Before we can talk about why Paul was silent, first Paul must be considered silent. It seems like a useless exercise to me to speculate too much on Paul's silence, because I've never seen a disagreement between a historicist and a non-historicist where they agreed on every passage, interpolation, and reasonable limits of interpretation and finally could not come to an agreement on how to interpret Paul's level of detail about Jesus. Usually they get stuck on the reefs of various particular passages of Paul about Jesus, and the discussion of "silence" is just a hypothetical open ocean that comes up when a discussion gets abstract or start without discussing any particular passages and has its overall approach to talking about Paul guided by the assumptions of someone who interprets Paul in a non-historicist way... like this one has.

Of course that doesn't mean I have time to argue about any of the passages - actually, I have my own reasons for thinking Paul is not historicist, but it isn't really based very much on the in-the-abstract silence thing. I"m actually one of those who tend to try to set up proof texts against proof texts and try to find actual indications in the letters that support a non-historicist position. I think this is stronger than attempting to talk just about 'silence' when there are plenty of juicy passages that have to be hacked off before we can get to that 'silence' -- I would be much less comfortable with non-historicism if it just waved the banner of 'silence' after giving arguments for alternative interpolation/interpretation theories that could be considered not-very-well-motivated if there's nothing there on the other side (anti-HJ proof texts, if you will) to argue from.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 10, 2019 7:05 am

Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:48 am
I have my own reasons for thinking Paul is not historicist....
I would love to see these (some of which perhaps I have seen before in some form or other) laid out in your usual logical fashion.
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Giuseppe
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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Giuseppe » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:06 am

Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 6:48 am
Usually they get stuck on the reefs of various particular passages of Paul about Jesus, and the discussion of "silence" is just a hypothetical open ocean that comes up when a discussion gets abstract or start without discussing any particular passages and has its overall approach to talking about Paul guided by the assumptions of someone who interprets Paul in a non-historicist way... like this one has.
As example of ''silence'' I may refer to is the “top 20 silences” in Paul not answered by Ehrman, as prophetized by Steven Carr. But without to go to that level of discussion, I may refer to something of even more elementary and apparently not necessary to talk about, in virtue of the his apparent banality: the silence about why a crucified man has to be the Christ and the Son of God. It is a silence that doesn't emerge during only a specific passage (of the kind you prefer to analyze), but virtually always in all the epistles of Paul. The author of the Testimonium is going to give the answer, by listing the things (for example, the resurrection) that would have proved why Jesus was considered the Christ and the Son of God. But Paul doesn't introduce the miracles (if any), nor teachings (if any) nor the same crucifixion or resurrection as the reason of the exaltation of Jesus, rather as the mere consequence of it. This is seen particularly in action in Romans 1:1-4:

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)
3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh;
4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:


...where the Son is rewarded by becoming who he is already, the Son of God: ''with power''. The only merit of the Son to gain again the his previous status is the voluntarily undergoing the temporary emptying of the his powers of Son. A powerful entity is rewarded to be, during a short interval of time, not a rebel, but a servant, of the creator god.

The his real effort that marks the difference - the fatidic act of obedience - is made even before the crucifixion. Even before the his descending. Even before the temporary presence of the Son in the lower heavens or on the earth. Directly in the upper heavens.

By definition, the historicists are condemned to think the exact contrary: a mere servant is (considered) adopted by God after having shown the his powers (miracles, authority, resurrection, etc) not before the his re-obtaining them.

So you have it, both the quote of a particular ''proof texts'' and a ''silence'' that can be named in the singular and not in the plural (contrary to you preference), since it captures the entire essentia of the pauline Jesus.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:42 am

"Paul comes rapidly to mind as example of someone who didn't mention the historical Jesus. And Josephus also."

But Paul often mentioned a fully human Jesus. Period. So is Josephus (but only once) in Ant. 20.9.1.
"When eyewitnesses were still alive, Paul wrote about a minimal Jesus (but also, for Paul, pre/post-existent as a heavenly deity) who, from "Israelites, ... whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to the flesh ..." (Ro9:4-5 YLT) and "come of a woman, come under law" (Gal4:4 YLT) (as a descendant of (allegedly) Abraham (Gal3:16), Jesse (Ro15:12) & David (Ro1:3)), "found in appearance as a man" (Php2:8) "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Ro8:3), "the one man, Jesus Christ" (Ro5:15) (who had brothers (1Co9:5), one of them called "James", whom Paul met (Gal1:19)), "humbled himself" (Php2:8) in "poverty" (2Co8:9) as "servant of the Jews" (Ro15:8) and "was crucified in weakness" (2Co13:4) in "Zion" (Ro9:31-33 & Ro11:26-27)." (from http://historical-jesus.info)

Cordially, Bernard
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Re: If the Testimonium Flavianum is partially genuine, then Jesus didn't exist

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 10, 2019 8:43 am

"Paul comes rapidly to mind as example of someone who didn't mention the historical Jesus. And Josephus also."

But Paul often mentioned a fully human Jesus. Period. So is Josephus (but only once) in Ant. 20.9.1.
"When eyewitnesses were still alive, Paul wrote about a minimal Jesus (but also, for Paul, pre/post-existent as a heavenly deity) who, from "Israelites, ... whose [are] the fathers, and of whom [is] the Christ, according to the flesh ..." (Ro9:4-5 YLT) and "come of a woman, come under law" (Gal4:4 YLT) (as a descendant of (allegedly) Abraham (Gal3:16), Jesse (Ro15:12) & David (Ro1:3)), "found in appearance as a man" (Php2:8) "in the likeness of sinful flesh" (Ro8:3), "the one man, Jesus Christ" (Ro5:15) (who had brothers (1Co9:5), one of them called "James", whom Paul met (Gal1:19)), "humbled himself" (Php2:8) in "poverty" (2Co8:9) as "servant of the Jews" (Ro15:8) and "was crucified in weakness" (2Co13:4) in "Zion" (Ro9:31-33 & Ro11:26-27)." (from http://historical-jesus.info)

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

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