Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat May 11, 2019 7:45 am

John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 6:10 pm
If Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were even born (which Irish1975 and I agree with), but Mark was Flavian propaganda to get Jews to worship Vespasian or Titus, how did the Romans distinguish "Flavian" Jewish Christians from "non-Flavian" Jewish Christians? Did they have to ask them if they used Mark instead Matthew (which is the only gospel Jewish Christians are said to have used)? In other words, what's the difference between "non-Flavian" Jewish Christianity and "Flavian" Jewish Christianity?
Where have I said any such thing?

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat May 11, 2019 8:04 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 2:37 pm
Irish1975 wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 7:34 am
I didn't say "that Jesus was not the son of David in Mark," I said that he is not a Davidic messiah. Why is this so difficult?
I already told you why. Because you wrote this:
Irish1975 wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 10:56 am
Wow, okay. Let's go over some fundamentals. The Jesus of gMark is precisely, emphatically not a Davidic messiah, not "king of the Jews," not a rebel against Roman rule. This is why the Donkey ride into the Temple, when the crowds proclaim that he will restore the kingdom of David, results in the nothing burger that you referred to in 11:11. It is why Jesus teaches overtly that the messiah is not David's son (12:37).
Well, anyone who knows that I am not Jesus can see that those are two different statements. Saying that Jesus taught that the messiah is not David's son is not tantamount to saying that Jesus (in Mark) is not David's son. Maybe you just don't want to acknowledge a mistake.
The only reason I can see to debate whether "son of David" means "descended from David" in gMark is that that's what it means in Matthew, Luke, Romans, and Christian theology. But this is a history forum.
I am going to let this one slide....
Why? You were so adamant about this earlier:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon May 06, 2019 11:16 am
Whether Jesus is really the messianic son/heir of David in the gospel of Mark is an issue to be debated. Maybe he is; maybe he is not. Good arguments can be mustered on both sides, and the reason is simply that Mark never actually answers the question for us: not even in Mark 12.35-37. He could have; it would have been easy. But he did not.

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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 11, 2019 11:22 am

Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:45 am
John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 6:10 pm
If Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were even born (which Irish1975 and I agree with), but Mark was Flavian propaganda to get Jews to worship Vespasian or Titus, how did the Romans distinguish "Flavian" Jewish Christians from "non-Flavian" Jewish Christians? Did they have to ask them if they used Mark instead Matthew (which is the only gospel Jewish Christians are said to have used)? In other words, what's the difference between "non-Flavian" Jewish Christianity and "Flavian" Jewish Christianity?
Where have I said any such thing?
It seems to me that only one Flavian-sponsored Gospel is required in order for the Flavian hypothesis to work: gMark.
It's really a question of when the Gospels were written, not when Christianity (broadly defined) began. The fact that Paul was founding churches and worshipping a deity he called Jesus Christ is not in dispute.
When it's done and over, Lord, a man is just a man.

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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat May 11, 2019 12:52 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:22 am
Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:45 am
John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 6:10 pm
If Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were even born (which Irish1975 and I agree with), but Mark was Flavian propaganda to get Jews to worship Vespasian or Titus, how did the Romans distinguish "Flavian" Jewish Christians from "non-Flavian" Jewish Christians? Did they have to ask them if they used Mark instead Matthew (which is the only gospel Jewish Christians are said to have used)? In other words, what's the difference between "non-Flavian" Jewish Christianity and "Flavian" Jewish Christianity?
Where have I said any such thing?
It seems to me that only one Flavian-sponsored Gospel is required in order for the Flavian hypothesis to work: gMark.
It's really a question of when the Gospels were written, not when Christianity (broadly defined) began. The fact that Paul was founding churches and worshipping a deity he called Jesus Christ is not in dispute.
So it was something that you said, to which I responded by saying that I wasn't talking about "Christianity." That doesn't mean that I agree with your statement that Christianity existed in the 30s. As far as that issue goes, the evidence for the dating even of Paul's conversion is pretty slim. Paul casually refers to Aretas IV of the Nabateans, so we have that to go on. But nobody knows when he started founding churches, or when he wrote Galatians or 1 Thessalonians. There is no archeological record, no definite historical record, of when "Christianity" began. Today "Christianity" means the belief that Jesus of Nazareth was the messiah. It's not clear that Paul's Christianity meets that test. And so all of this is a mess.

However you want to argue, please don't ascribe to me things that I haven't said. Such as, that "Judaism is bad, Romans are good" in gMark.

I haven't said, furthermore, that gMark was Flavian propaganda "to get Jews to worship" the emperors. The Romans were not idiots. They knew and took seriously the peculiarity of Jewish monotheism. Rather, the suggestion is that gMark was intended to put forward a Jewish messiah, a teacher of gentile-friendly, apolitical Judaism, who correctly prophesied the war and the temple's destruction, and of whose death the people of Jerusalem were guilty. You can argue that gMark also makes Pilate responsible for Jesus' execution, out of callous indifference. But I don't think the Flavians would have minded that at all. Pilate was just one man to them. To the people they ruled, the Romans were happy to be hated, so long as they were feared (borrowing from Tacitus). They didn't go around like Americans hoping the whole world would love them.

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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 11, 2019 2:05 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 12:52 pm
John2 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:22 am
Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:45 am
John2 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 6:10 pm
If Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were even born (which Irish1975 and I agree with), but Mark was Flavian propaganda to get Jews to worship Vespasian or Titus, how did the Romans distinguish "Flavian" Jewish Christians from "non-Flavian" Jewish Christians? Did they have to ask them if they used Mark instead Matthew (which is the only gospel Jewish Christians are said to have used)? In other words, what's the difference between "non-Flavian" Jewish Christianity and "Flavian" Jewish Christianity?
Where have I said any such thing?
It seems to me that only one Flavian-sponsored Gospel is required in order for the Flavian hypothesis to work: gMark.
It's really a question of when the Gospels were written, not when Christianity (broadly defined) began. The fact that Paul was founding churches and worshipping a deity he called Jesus Christ is not in dispute.
So it was something that you said, to which I responded by saying that I wasn't talking about "Christianity." That doesn't mean that I agree with your statement that Christianity existed in the 30s. As far as that issue goes, the evidence for the dating even of Paul's conversion is pretty slim. Paul casually refers to Aretas IV of the Nabateans, so we have that to go on. But nobody knows when he started founding churches, or when he wrote Galatians or 1 Thessalonians. There is no archeological record, no definite historical record, of when "Christianity" began.

I didn't realize you had such issues with dating Paul, so I was wrong to assume that we were in agreement that Christianity existed before Josephus and Titus were born.

When it comes to the dating of Paul for me, I factor in something else that you may not. I think the reference to James "the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ" in Ant. 20 is not an interpolation or a reference to any other James (or Jesus) than the one Paul mentions in Gal. 2. And since Josephus places James' death c. 62 CE and James was still alive when Paul says he met him (and which happened after his conversion), then I assume Paul existed (and was a Christian) sometime before c. 62 CE, at least.

But since you have issues with dating the existence of Christianity to the 30's CE then we are not in agreement about it as I had thought.

However you want to argue, please don't ascribe to me things that I haven't said. Such as, that "Judaism is bad, Romans are good" in gMark.

I didn't say you said that, I said that you seemed to be suggesting that based on comments like this:
... Jesus, the messiah who preached a humble Judaism of righteousness (12:28-34), rejecting sacrifices and purity laws, and affirming the payment of taxes to Caesar. For gMark, the people of Jerusalem get in 70 from God and from Rome what they deserve for this blind, theologically perverse, and sinful decision in 30.



And now that you have clarified your opinion I no longer have that impression, though I think the above citation warranted the clarification I had asked you for:
Does this not suggest that you think Judaism (as a whole, with its sacrifices and purity laws) in Mark is bad and the Romans are good? Are you not suggesting that the Romans destroyed Jerusalem in accordance with the Jewish God because Jews as a whole (represented by the crowd in Jerusalem) were bad for killing Jesus?

I haven't said, furthermore, that gMark was Flavian propaganda "to get Jews to worship" the emperors. The Romans were not idiots. They knew and took seriously the peculiarity of Jewish monotheism. Rather, the suggestion is that gMark was intended to put forward a Jewish messiah, a teacher of gentile-friendly, apolitical Judaism, who correctly prophesied the war and the temple's destruction, and of whose death the people of Jerusalem were guilty. You can argue that gMark also makes Pilate responsible for Jesus' execution, out of callous indifference. But I don't think the Flavians would have minded that at all. Pilate was just one man to them. To the people they ruled, the Romans were happy to be hated, so long as they were feared (borrowing from Tacitus). They didn't go around like Americans hoping the whole world would love them.

We just have different impressions of what Mark is and means, and if nothing else at least we are now aware of it.
Last edited by John2 on Sat May 11, 2019 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Irish1975
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Irish1975 » Sat May 11, 2019 2:30 pm

John2 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 2:05 pm
When it comes to the dating of Paul for me, I factor in something else that you may not. I think the reference to James "the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ" in Ant. 20 is not an interpolation or a reference to any other James (or Jesus) than the one Paul mentions in Gal. 2. And since Josephus places James' death c. 62 CE and James was still alive when Paul says he met him (and which happened after his conversion), then I assume Paul existed (and was a Christian) sometime before c. 62 CE, at least.
I basically agree with this. I just have issues about calling Paul a "christian," and the claim often made by apologists that "Christianity" was all over the place in the 30s.

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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 11, 2019 3:36 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 2:30 pm
John2 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 2:05 pm
When it comes to the dating of Paul for me, I factor in something else that you may not. I think the reference to James "the brother of Jesus, who is called Christ" in Ant. 20 is not an interpolation or a reference to any other James (or Jesus) than the one Paul mentions in Gal. 2. And since Josephus places James' death c. 62 CE and James was still alive when Paul says he met him (and which happened after his conversion), then I assume Paul existed (and was a Christian) sometime before c. 62 CE, at least.
I basically agree with this. I just have issues about calling Paul a "christian," and the claim often made by apologists that "Christianity" was all over the place in the 30s.

Fair enough, and not to argue with you and only to share my "big picture" point of view, I think "Christianity" was "all over the place" (at least in Judea) in the 30's CE in the sense that I see Christianity as being a faction of the Fourth Philosophy,which started in 6 CE and which Josephus says had "infected" Judea "to an incredible degree." This is why I think Christianity and the Fourth Philosophy are so similar. They both rejected the oral Torah of the Pharisees while otherwise sharing what Josephus calls "Pharisaic notions" (like the resurrection of the dead) and were inspired by Daniel (as per Ben's argument above) and the idea that "one from their country should become governor of the habitable earth," for examples.

For these reasons I see more or less all Fourth Philosophic factions as being versions of "Christianity," and the Fourth Philosophy was certainly "all over the place in the 30's" to judge from Josephus. Now, I know this isn't what you mean, I'm only saying that "Jesus Christianity" (whenever you date it) at least seems like the kind of Judaism that was "all over the place in the 30's."

So I think that whether "Jesus Christianity" existed in the 30's CE or not, the "religious philosophy" that I see in Mark at least seems very similar to the religious philosophy that Josephus says did exist during the 30's CE.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 11, 2019 4:13 pm

The issue seems clear to me now (but correct me if I'm wrong). It's only a matter of interpreting why Christianity resembles the Fourth Philosophy, and I gather that you think it's because the Fourth Philosophy was co-opted by the Flavians by turning it (via Mark) into a more Rome-friendly religion, while I think it's because Christianity existed more or less as it is presented in Mark and is therein not Rome-friendly.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by John2 » Sat May 11, 2019 5:30 pm

And I'm thinking that Jesus' relative moderation (though I would differ with you on the particulars of it, like the tax issue, which I see as being a huge insult to Caesar) is only due to his "suffering first" approach to becoming "governor of the habitable earth" (which I think is due to his emulation of the Suffering Servant and Daniel's "cut off" Messiah and such in the OT), i.e., this "suffering first" part is what you characterize as him being a "prince of peace who teaches humility ... and non-violence" in the service of Roman propaganda. But that's just the first part of Jesus' approach; the second part is him going to heaven and returning as the "son of man," and as I've noted above, Dan. 7:14 says that the "son of man" is "given dominion, glory, and kingship, so that every people, nation, and language should serve him." This is why Jesus says in Mk. 8:38:
If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.
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Re: Archeological evidence for the Flavian Hypothesis?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat May 11, 2019 7:30 pm

Irish1975 wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 8:04 am
]

Well, anyone who knows that I am not Jesus can see that those are two different statements. Saying that Jesus taught that the messiah is not David's son is not tantamount to saying that Jesus (in Mark) is not David's son. Maybe you just don't want to acknowledge a mistake.
Nonsense. If your way out is to suggest that, for Mark, either (A) Jesus is not the messiah or (B) Jesus was mistaken when he said that the messiah was not David's son, then you are simply piling more and more interpretations upon the text, driving home all the more my point that your claims were not in any way "fundamental." The more interpretations you add in support of your condescending statement, the less fundamental it becomes. If I were mistaken here, I would readily admit it, as I did when I acknowledged that I thought you meant "literal descendant of David" when you wrote of the "son of David" (which is, of course, yet another interpretation you lay upon the text). You were condescending to John2 on a topic about which there was no call to be — since John2 has no less right to his interpretation than you do to determine what is "fundamental" to yours — and I called you out on it, because it frankly sucked.
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