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The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.

Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby stevencarrwork » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:14 am

GakuseiDon wrote:
pakeha wrote:Doesn't Philo's On the Embassy to Gaius count as a 1st century reference?

My guess is that Ehrman doesn't consider Philo as a "Roman source". Based on his statement, he appears to disregard Josephus also as a "Roman source", and Josephus actually lived in Rome and became a Roman citizen.

I was under the impression that Philo and Josephus were, or became, Roman citizens.

Of course, Ehrman is doing no more than saying that apart from the sources we do have for Pilate, we don't have any sources for Pilate.

Why not just admit there are no Roman writings about Jesus and that this is a tiny, tiny point in favour of mythicism?

Why the obstinate refusal to accept that there iseven one tiny data point in favour of mythicism?
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby steve43 » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:59 am

Josephus trained as a Priest in the Second Temple, and probably knew Ananus, Caiaphas, and the whole bunch- though he was a generation or two younger.

And he wrote about Jewish history.

How does that NOT make him a Jewish historian?

But give Erdman credit. He gets paid.

How much money has Jenny McCarthy made slamming the science of virology and vaccines?

Does the Flat Earth society still exist?
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby stevencarrwork » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:23 am

steve43 wrote:Josephus trained as a Priest in the Second Temple, and probably knew Ananus, Caiaphas, and the whole bunch- though he was a generation or two younger.

And he wrote about Jewish history.

How does that NOT make him a Jewish historian?


I was under the impression that he was also a Roman citizen. I may be wrong.
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby Diogenes the Cynic » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:31 am

pakeha wrote:How strange.
Doesn't Philo's On the Embassy to Gaius count as a 1st century reference?

XXXVIII. (299)
... Pilate was one of the emperor's lieutenants, having been appointed governor of Judaea. He, not more with the object of doing honour to Tiberius than with that of vexing the multitude, dedicated some gilt shields in the palace of Herod, in the holy city; which had no form nor any other forbidden thing represented on them except some necessary inscription, which mentioned these two facts, the name of the person who had placed them there, and the person in whose honour they were so placed there. (300) But when the multitude heard what had been done, and when the circumstance became notorious, then the people, putting forward the four sons of the king, who were in no respect inferior to the kings themselves, in fortune or in rank, and his other descendants, and those magistrates who were among them at the time, entreated him to alter and to rectify the innovation which he had committed in respect of the shields; and not to make any alteration in their national customs, which had hitherto been preserved without any interruption, without being in the least degree changed by any king of emperor. (301) "But when he steadfastly refused this petition (for he was a man of a very inflexible disposition, and very merciless as well as very obstinate), they cried out: 'Do not cause a sedition; do not make war upon us; do not destroy the peace which exists. The honour of the emperor is not identical with dishonour to the ancient laws; let it not be to you a pretence for heaping insult on our nation. Tiberius is not desirous that any of our laws or customs shall be destroyed. And if you yourself say that he is, show us either some command from him, or some letter, or something of the kind, that we, who have been sent to you as ambassadors, may cease to trouble you, and may address our supplications to your master.' (302) "But this last sentence exasperated him in the greatest possible degree, as he feared least they might in reality go on an embassy to the emperor, and might impeach him with respect to other particulars of his government, in respect of his corruption, and his acts of insolence, and his rapine, and his habit of insulting people, and his cruelty, and his continual murders of people untried and uncondemned, and his never ending, and gratuitous, and most grievous inhumanity. (303) Therefore, being exceedingly angry, and being at all times a man of most ferocious passions, he was in great perplexity, neither venturing to take down what he had once set up, nor wishing to do any thing which could be acceptable to his subjects, and at the same time being sufficiently acquainted with the firmness of Tiberius on these points. And those who were in power in our nation, seeing this, and perceiving that he was inclined to change his mind as to what he had done, but that he was not willing to be thought to do so, wrote a most supplicatory letter to Tiberius. (304) And he, when he had read it, what did he say of Pilate, and what threats did he utter against him! ...


http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/text ... ook40.html

Philo doesn't count as "non-Jewish,"
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby Roger Pearse » Tue Apr 22, 2014 12:14 pm

Hawthorne wrote:What Hoffmann doesn't seem to realize is that Caesar's weight in history is clearly felt in the writings of contemporaries, his own writings, archeological artifacts, etc.


I ought to point out that we have contemporaries, own writings and archaeology for a very tiny handful of people in antiquity (indeed to have all of those would probably apply to ... well, something like a dozen or two?). For the vast majority of people, we do not have any of this. Consequently we don't use that method to establish whether people existed.

All the best,

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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby pakeha » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:24 pm

Ah.
I see I missed "Roman" as a qualifier for the type of contemporary historical reference Erhman had in mind.
In any case, I understand that with the destruction of the Roman records in the fires of 64, 69 and 80 it's understandable there's so little by way of 1st century documentation that survived into the 2nd second century and beyond.
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby neilgodfrey » Tue Apr 22, 2014 3:41 pm

Roger Pearse wrote:
Hawthorne wrote:What Hoffmann doesn't seem to realize is that Caesar's weight in history is clearly felt in the writings of contemporaries, his own writings, archeological artifacts, etc.


I ought to point out that we have contemporaries, own writings and archaeology for a very tiny handful of people in antiquity (indeed to have all of those would probably apply to ... well, something like a dozen or two?). For the vast majority of people, we do not have any of this. Consequently we don't use that method to establish whether people existed.


We don't use that method directly but indirectly it does factor in, even if it's something that's for so long been taken for granted with these sources that it hardly registers in our thinking.

We don't have any primary evidence for Publius Vinicius the Stammerer, but we do have knowledge of Seneca and archaeological evidence of someone he personally knew. That alone doesn't prove anything since we also have Greek novels that are evidently fictional tales that also include historical persons we can independently confirm existed, including by archaelogical records.

But when we see that that literary evidence is in the form of a genre that we know generally indicates an intent to report something "factual" however much else it also reports and however the facts are coloured. We assess the reliability of the literary evidence according to the extent its contents can be verified. So the writings of Cicero, Caesar, Tactitus, Suetonius, despite their vagaries, count far more than the Historia Augusta.

The more surely we can independently verify details in works of such genres the more our confidence in those works increases.
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby outhouse » Tue Apr 22, 2014 8:45 pm

toejam wrote:. So what? So we're going to drag him through the coals for that? Sheesh. This is such a minor point it's ridiculous.



Exactly.

Its laughable the way people try and drag others to their level of misunderstanding.


I'm not a big Carrier fan.


I was at first.

As I learned more, I started poking rather large holes in his guesses. I wont even grant him the term hypothesis his case is so weak.


Carrier's hypothesis is the best mythicist theory out there



Im not sure about that.


None have even come close to being a decent replacement hypothesis. I do grant him the fact he tried.
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby stevencarrwork » Tue Apr 22, 2014 9:48 pm

pakeha wrote:Ah.
I see I missed "Roman" as a qualifier for the type of contemporary historical reference Erhman had in mind.
In any case, I understand that with the destruction of the Roman records in the fires of 64, 69 and 80 it's understandable there's so little by way of 1st century documentation that survived into the 2nd second century and beyond.


You missed 'Roman' as a qualifier? But Ehrman knows perfectly well there is a Roman inscription.

I guess Ehrman is a really bad historian who doesn't count inscriptions as sources, and doesn't expect his defenders to count inscriptions as sources either.

Ehrman's point is that apart from all the sources we have for Pilate, we don't have any sources at all for Pilate.


So Jesus existed.

It's all so very simple.

No matter how patiently Ehrman explains the lack of evidence of the existence of Jesus, how we shouldn't even expect evidence of Jesus existing, people still wonder if there is evidence of the existence of Jesus.

Ehrman's comparison is with Pilate. Apart from the sources which mention for Pilate's existence, there are just no sources which mention Pilate. None whatever! And yet people don't doubt the existence of Pilate.

If only Carrier read Ehrman's latest book, where Ehrman points out the many parallels between Jesus and many other beings, most of whom where mythical.
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Re: The Ehrman - Carrier Spat - Round 2?

Postby toejam » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:02 pm

Hawthorne wrote:toejam said: "Even if we didn't have Philo or the Pilate Stone, Pilate's governership would still be a safe historical bet, despite not being attested to by contemporaries. And the same goes for a historical Jesus."

If this is so, what sources would you rely on to establish the existence of Pilate? And how do those sources apply to "a historical Jesus."


With no Philo or Pilate Stone, we would still have Josephus and the gospels to verify Pilate's existence beyond reasonable doubt, yet neither of those sources were contemporary.

What do you mean by "a historical Jesus," anyway?


Great question - and I agree that the term "historical Jesus" can be slippery and easily misunderstood. When I use the term, I am refering simply to a specific historical Jewish cult-leader figure named Jesus who was crucified under Pilate, from whom Christianity sprouted. Whether he was the Jesus of Ehrman, Crossan, Aslan, Morton Smith etc. is a different question, and one I feel even less confident about.

What does leaning toward historicity mean?


I think of it this way - If time-travel was possible, and my life depended on betting correctly whether there was or wasn't a historical Jesus, my money is going on the hypothesis that there was. So I'm not sure, or even confident. But after all the reading on the issue I've done, I think it's a more reasonable hypothesis of how Christianity started - that there was a historical crucified figure from whom the religion sprouted. That is what I mean by "leaning towards historicity". If you were forced to bet, where are you placing your chips?

What is your methodology for sifting out true history in the Gospel stories?


The same methodologies any of us use to try and estimate what most likely happened in the past - the principles of analogy. All credible historical methodologies boil down to this I think. What do the gospels more closely resemble? an exaggerated, bias account of an historical religious cult figure? or pure mythology/euhemerization? To me they seem more the former. The gospels remind me of how modern day scientologists write about L.Ron Hubbard (check the 'official' scientology biography - it's a laugh!) - full of bias, half-truths and lies, misunderstandings, a degree of developing unverified legend, exaggeration etc. ... but still based on a historical person who founded their cult.

Mark 1:14
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near repent, and believe in the good news.”

Verses like this seem too strange to me if they were purely euhemerizations of a "heavenly being" or what-have-you.
Last edited by toejam on Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:51 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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