Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:37 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:04 am
Part of my difficulty to justify your apology of yourself from accusation of crypto-Christianity, Ben, is my own difficulty to understand how one could be sincere at all, when he says that Jesus could be mythical, when the same guy denies so dogmatically and a priori a Crucifixion in Outer Space in Hebrews.

That is equivalent to say :
  • That I don't recognize intellectual consistency for mythicists who assume an earthly crucifixion in Hebrews;
  • That the dichotomy: Outer Space AUT historical Jesus, for me is a correct true dichotomy.
It is very simple. First, my denial is neither dogmatic nor a priori; it is not an argument from personal incredulity. Second, I disagree with your premises, your reasoning, and your conclusions when it comes to mythicism practically requiring early Christian belief in a celestial crucifixion. I can be agnostic about Jesus' historicity, or even an outright Jesus mythicist, without any resort whatsoever to a celestial crucifixion. I can also be, in precisely the same manner, a Hercules mythicist, as it were, while not in any way denying that the myths about Hercules located his Twelve Labors on earth.

In short, you and I share nothing in common on the topic of how a celestial crucifixion relates to Jesus mythicism. We do not even have a Ground Zero. For you it is a sine qua non for Jesus mythicism, and for me it is just one option of several. I will not be debating you on that matter, because there is no starting point. What I will say, once again, is that none of this has anything to do with any "faith in my ancestors." That kind of accusation is simply a distraction.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by GakuseiDon » Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:09 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 10:04 am
Paradoxically, I am more near to GDon, here. You would have noted the (apparently unexpected) GDon's rapidity to post in the only threads where I argue for a crucifixion in Outer Space. He tacitly is assuming that mythicists à la Wells are crypto-historicists. Hence he doesn't waste his time to confute them.
Please don't confuse 'earthly' with 'historical'. Dr Carrier's approach in his Bayes calculations was fundamentally flawed by conflating the two. GA Wells' Paul's Jesus is earthly, just not necessarily historical. The options in 'Hebrews' are between a celestial Jesus and an earthly one, not a celestial Jesus and a historical one.

Actually, I think that Wells probably has the strongest mythicist theory out there. I don't spend any time refuting it because my hobby is wondering about how ancient people thought about their world and how that interacted with their religious beliefs, and Wells' works don't tickle that fancy. There are many other mythicist theories out there that I haven't looked into for the same reason.

I don't care whether a historical Jesus existed or not. I haven't identified as a Christian for quite a while, and even when I did I didn't care. No doubt I have my biases, but I do believe that a historical Jesus (as a bare stick figure) best fits the evidence that we have. Since I am a rank amateur who knows nothing about the ancient languages being used, my conclusion is worthless as evidence for anything. However, a non-existent Jesus holds no metaphysical implications for me. I simply hate it when people like Doherty torture the ancient writings to try to make the writers confess to something they didn't say or think. Those ancient writings are humanity's cultural heirloom that should be respected and protected. I have no problems with them being used to support mythicism or any other view, but treat them well.

Giuseppe, I find your persistence and misplaced certainty annoying and many of your readings ludicrous. But I understand you've had your Damascus moment and you are eager to share your new understanding. In that way, you follow in the footsteps of those who were later called 'heretics'. I see your posts as offering insights into how early self-educated thinkers reacted to others' beliefs in order to produce new ones. If that sounds condescending, I apologise. Keep up the good fight!
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:30 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:09 pm
Actually, I think that Wells probably has the strongest mythicist theory out there. I don't spend any time refuting it because my hobby is wondering about how ancient people thought about their world and how that interacted with their religious beliefs, and Wells' works don't tickle that fancy. There are many other mythicist theories out there that I haven't looked into for the same reason.

I don't care whether a historical Jesus existed or not. I haven't identified as a Christian for quite a while, and even when I did I didn't care.
There was about a decade of my life during which I identified as a Christian but was essentially agnostic about Jesus' existence. I had been influenced by Wells, whom you favorably mention above. Contrarily, the decade or so during the middle of which I "came out" as an atheist was characterized by a much higher degree of confidence in an historical Jesus. The two things — Jesus' historicity and my own Christianity — just do not relate to one another in any meaningful way. My upbringing as a Christian is obviously what inspired my interest in this particular field of study, but that is where the influence comes to an abrupt end.
I simply hate it when people like Doherty torture the ancient writings to try to make the writers confess to something they didn't say or think.
This is one of my greatest annoyances, as well. Doherty and I went round and round once about the phrase "born of a woman" in Galatians 4.4, because he was trying to make that phrase mean something other than what it clearly meant in antiquity. Then, toward the end of the debate, he suggested that the phrase might be an interpolation. I immediately suggested further that it was probably not in the Marcionite text, so yes, for that reason and others interpolation is certainly a viable option. My reaction to his outright torture of "born of a woman" was pretty strongly negative, my reaction to his suggestion that the phrase was an interpolation pretty positive. Both suggestions open precisely the same possibility of reinterpreting Paul's view of Jesus and his crucifixion, but only one of those suggestions is an act of violence against the evidence.
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Apr 24, 2020 3:56 pm

If I may say something. I've been thinking about this during the lock down:

1. we should distinguish between the tradition hard atheist arguments that Jesus never existed/Christianity is a lie/everyone's stupid/it's all just a fairy tale to something like what the modern Raelians believed (I've actually been quite familiar with female Raelians) i.e. a mix of history and fiction https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ra%C3%ABlism
2. the Raelians believe in a historical event much like the Mormons, Islam etc - viz a supernatural being who appeared to real people in real historical times
3. in fact when you think about it Judaism is all about theophanies which occurred in real historical time - in point of fact ALL RELIGIONS or at least most well known religions embody this mix of fact and fiction

If we can use Ben as an example, I think all Protestantism represents this 'turning away' from magical thinking. We (as a collective culture) used to believe in these 'historical myths' but now that we've grown up we see Jesus as a historical figure. Are there any examples of religions which are based entirely around 'history'? Sabbatianism perhaps. I can't think of any.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by GakuseiDon » Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:06 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:30 pm
There was about a decade of my life during which I identified as a Christian but was essentially agnostic about Jesus' existence... The two things — Jesus' historicity and my own Christianity — just do not relate to one another in any meaningful way.
I think that's true for a lot of Christians, including many pastors. And I think that is true for many Christians throughout history, including the earliest Christians. Christianity is a huge metaphysical ball, in which the historicity of Jesus is a small bubble. Once you lose the ball (for example, become an atheist or even a mythicist), the bubble suddenly seems much bigger and much more significant. Perhaps that's why some mythicists can't wrap their heads around the idea that the earliest Christians weren't obsessed with the historicity of Jesus.
It is really important, in life, to concentrate our minds on our enthusiasms, not on our dislikes. -- Roger Pearse

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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:41 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 4:52 am
...my admiration for Carrier/Doherty/Price/Couchoud increases vertiginously becoming quasi an authentic worship.
u humorizer, u

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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:54 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 11:37 am
I can be agnostic about Jesus' historicity, or even an outright Jesus mythicist, without any resort whatsoever to a celestial crucifixion. I can also be, in precisely the same manner, a Hercules mythicist, as it were, while not in any way denying that the myths about Hercules located his Twelve Labors on earth.
the analogy with Hercules doesn't work to justify your apology. Hercules's life was placed in an undefinite past, and even if "historical" references were given here and there, it was at any case a distant past. The manipulation of the distant past is too much easy, to invent mythical figures. In the case of Paul's Jesus, his Jesus didn't die in a distant past, pace Robert_J. Hence his crucifixion, if earthly, becomes a Roman crucifixion therefore eo ipso a historical crucifixion. It is so simple. Hence the dichotomy raised by me has to be correct:
  • You have to believe in a historical Jesus, or (AUT)
  • you have to believe in an Outer Space crucifixion.
Insofar that dichotomy is correct, I am obliged to doubt the intellectual honesty of Ben on this point. It is not an offence, since I am giving reasons of the my conclusions.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:02 pm

GakuseiDon wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 2:09 pm
GA Wells' Paul's Jesus is earthly, just not necessarily historical.
in order to be mythicist with an earthly Jesus in Paul, GA Wells was obliged to place that Jesus in the distant past. Ben doesn't assume a distant past for the Paul's Jesus (I agree)... ...and despite of this, he claims that one can be mythicist without an Outer Space crucifixion. I disagree.

Hence, GDon, you can't quote Wells in this discussion if you like to be intellectually honest.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:14 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:54 pm
Insofar that dichotomy is correct, I am obliged to doubt the intellectual honesty of Ben on this point. It is not an offence, since I am giving reasons of the my conclusions.
Feel free. I am through with you.
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Re: Both Paul and Minucius Felix had a problem with euhemerizers

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:23 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 9:14 pm
Giuseppe wrote:
Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:54 pm
Insofar that dichotomy is correct, I am obliged to doubt the intellectual honesty of Ben on this point. It is not an offence, since I am giving reasons of the my conclusions.
Feel free. I am through with you.
This my freedom doesn't mean that I am not curious about a case for a Paul's Jesus who:
  • 1) died in Paul's time
  • 2) died on earth
  • 3) died on a Roman cross
.
  • 4) was entirely mythical
If you show me this case, I may change my views.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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