Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Nov 11, 2020 10:13 pm

I think that there is a third option with Ignatius that is going to be ignored: the opponents were anti-Christian Jewish deniers:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3188&hilit=archives+ignatius#p70537

I would refer you to Salomon Reinach, Revue moderniste, 1912, p. 184-188, where he argues for even 3 actors:
  • Ignatius
  • docetist Mythicist Christians
  • Jewish anti-Christian deniers
The second were a reaction to the third, and Ignatius polemized against both, by saying to the second: don't become mythicist Christians (='don't judaize') only because you are attacked by the third.

Reinach could be a mythicist, but he was persuaded by the Slavonic Testimonium to believe that Jesus was a seditionist.

Chris Hansen
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:01 am

True it could be both. But as we are right now, it is simply the case that the statement is too non-descript in its nature to tell. This is why I don't consider the "fable of Christ" statement reported by John Bale in 1574 to be a mythicist one. We simply have no way of figuring out what that means because the context isn't really alleviating the burden of ambiguity.

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:16 am

you may be interested to this 'Mythicist' accusation raised by Pagans in Recognitions 8:62 and the relative comment by Peter Kirby shortly after:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3119&hilit=esse#p69390

In addition, the American Mythicist William Benjamin Smith noted this curious claim by Naassenes:


We have heard his voice, but we have not seen his form.

Pseudo-Hyppolytus, 5.8.14

Note that the Naassenes appealed to authority of Mary Magdalene and James the Just, the famous 'brother of Lord'. Could that James have limited himself to hear only the voice of the Lord, and not to see his form?

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:32 am

It is an interesting one, but I would posit that that passage could be just as well explained without mythicism. The language of "But if any one seek Him not purely, nor holily, nor faithfully, He is indeed within him, because He is everywhere, and is found within the minds of all men; but, as we have said before, He is dormant to the unbelieving, and is held to be absent from those by whom His existence is not believed.” is rather telling to me. This more seems to be a report about his heavenly post-existence (i.e. his post existence after death) not being believed, not about him having never existed at all.

Similarly the statement of Pseudo-Hippolytus. These just aren't explicit enough passages to clear up those ambiguities which make historicist, mythicist, or blended interpretations possible. This is why I also dismiss the Trypho allegation of "inventing" a Christ, as it appears to me that the context is very easily indicated to be a general messiah, not saying there was no Jesus (which makes sense, given that nowhere in the rest of the text is there a defense of Jesus' existence, and, in addition, Trypho is likely a made up character by Justin, so it seems absurd Justin would give him this argument but then fail to refute it).

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:51 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:32 am
This more seems to be a report about his heavenly post-existence (i.e. his post existence after death) not being believed, not about him having never existed at all.
It is interesting the following Peter Kirby's observation:
Peter Kirby wrote:
Sun May 07, 2017 9:15 am
However, I'm struck again by some of the particular wording of this text, which might mean that there truly were people who did not believe in the existence of "the true Prophet" (i.e. Jesus). Indeed, if the group who produced this text presented Jesus as "the true Prophet," this is quite what you'd expect a denial of the claim of his existence to look like: a denial of the existence of the true Prophet (much the same way saying that Christ didn't exist, e.g. in Arthur Drews' formulation, "The Christ Myth," is also meant to implicate Jesus).
...
I can find no way to refute this suspicion; thus, while it may not be proven in all details, it certainly seems to be a legitimate reading.
(my yellow)

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Giuseppe
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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:59 am

Last but not least, there is the curious Celsus's claim:

viewtopic.php?t=6323#p106803

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:04 am

I read all the bits of Kirby's observations. I think my interpretation still stands.

As for Celsus' claim, I would instead interpret this as a sect of Christians who did not believe Jesus was the son of God, cf. Ebionites. Rejecting his divinity, thus that there was a son of god before Jesus, and Jesus functioned as the final prophet, basically.

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:17 am

Lastly, there is this attested Valentinian belief in a celestial crucifixion (in outer space) of at least a (superior) avatar of Jesus. Valentinians were historicists, but their dual Christ suffering in heaven would make very dubious the sincerity of their historicist beliefs (the possibility is concrete that the historical Jesus could be reduced by them to a mere allegory of the superior celestial Christ suffering in heaven).

Note that Richard Carrier shows indirectly the desire of having mentioned it in his opus magnum OHJ.

That belief is attested too late to be of any use in reconstructing the origins of Christianity.

I mention such beliefs in general only in two sentences in OHJ and only as proofs of concept, i.e. that some groups could imagine such things (pp. 580-81, 609-610, and that only in regards nativities, although the same point would extend to crucifixions).

Gnosticism, BTW, didn’t exist. It’s a modern construct that actually had no ancient correlate.

(my bold)

when he says:
although the same point would extend to crucifixions

...then he is going to concede that he would have mentioned my reference to Valentinian belief about Stauros and Jesus's sufferings on that cosmic cross.

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Chris Hansen » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:22 am

Yeah, the issue with that is that they could only imagine a heavenly crucifixion under a dualistic worldview. That is where it breaks down as an analogy, because their perception of this dualism always implies the counterpart of Christ on Earth. This kind of dualism is why lots of Carrier's "analogies" tend to fail in a lot of ways, also that Carrier often misses the issue of separationist dualism as well (i.e. that Jesus [man] and Christ [celestial spirit] were two different beings, which is where he screws up in his citation of Ophites and others).

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Re: Quest of the mythical Jesus available online

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:29 am

Chris Hansen wrote:
Thu Nov 12, 2020 10:22 am
Yeah, the issue with that is that they could only imagine a heavenly crucifixion under a dualistic worldview. That is where it breaks down as an analogy, because their perception of this dualism always implies the counterpart of Christ on Earth.
Tertullian would disagree with your claimed need of "the counterpart of Christ on Earth", since he concludes for the final uselessness of the latter, under the assumption of their dualistic worldwiew:

The animal and carnal Christ, however, does suffer after the fashion of the superior Christ, who, for the purpose of producing Achamoth, had been stretched upon the cross, that is, Horos, in a substantial though not a cognizable form. In this manner do they reduce all things to mere images — Christians themselves being indeed nothing but imaginary beings!

(my bold)

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0314.htm

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