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Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 10:28 am
by Giuseppe
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archive ... ment-30749

It’s good to try out different theories. But methodologically this one would fail for the same reasons I lay out for other mythicist (and historisist) theses that even mainstream scholars agree fail (in Chs. 2 and 3 of OHJ).
His human body was created probably by a divine fertilization of an earthly woman with king David’s seed. [Then] Jesus was killed by Satan…
This is ad hoc. There is no evidence for the “added step” you are inserting: that an earthly woman was involved. Every time you add an ad hoc assumption to a hypothesis (in this case, to what I describe as minimal mythicism), your theory becomes less probable than it, not more. I do mention the possibility of an earthly myth in OHJ, but don’t emphasize it for this very reason: it is too ad hoc on extant evidence. This is what I say about it (n. 67, p. 563):

The original ‘revealed’ death and burial could have been imagined as occurring on earth and still be (from our perspective) mythical, if, e.g., the passion sequence was ‘revealed’ to have occurred somewhere like the Garden of Eden, a place no one knew the actual location of and thus where no ordinary witnesses could have been available (of course, the earliest Christians thought even the Garden of Eden was in outer space: 2 Cor. 12.2-4; see Element 38).

By contrast (as I show in OHJ) we have actual evidence for the celestial death hypothesis. But in any event, minimal mythicism is compatible with both, so your thesis is already subsumed and thus included in what I call minimal mythicism in OHJ (hence lemma 3 of the definition of that hypothesis only says “in a supernatural realm,” not being specific as to where; and lemma 4 only says “on earth, in history” to distinguish mythical places on earth from ordinary, historical places on earth). So we have no need of your hypothesis, and it isn’t competing with mine.
They believed in a historical Jesus, but, as stated above, they did not know anything about his life on Earth.
Note OHJ makes very clear the minimal mythicist thesis fully asserts that they believed in a historical Jesus. Just as they believed in a historical Satan or Gabriel.

The only issue debated in OHJ is whether that Jesus was actually historical; just as with Satan or Gabriel. The issue of “where” they thought a historical Jesus lived and died is not the same as whether there really was a real Jesus who lived and died there. OHJ only concerns itself principally with the latter. As to the former, it is formally nonspecific, and only spends most of its time on the celestial alternative because it’s the one we have the most evidence for (per above), not because minimal mythicism requires it.
Christians were obviously curious about the historical Jesus and tried to locate him in their more or less recent past (probably by looking at crucified men named Jesus). Some suitable candidates have been found, such as a Jesus killed by the romans at the orders of Pilate or another one killed a century earlier when Alexander Jannaeus was King.
These may be possible, but these are again ad hoc. We have no non-circular evidence either person existed. Any theory that does not require these ad hoc assumptions will always be more probable. As will any theory that already includes these possibilities—as my minimal mythicism already does.

For example, unlike those, which you merely conjecture, we have actual evidence for a Jesus ben Ananias killed in the 60s whom Mark used as a model for his passion narrative (see the index to OHJ for where this is covered), as also the “Jesus Christs” (Joshua-emulating messiah-figures) Josephus documents (see Ibid. Ch. 6.5 and Element 4, Ch. 4). So we already have evidence that the “Jesus” of the Gospels was built out of other actual historical Jesuses. But as none of them founded the religion, they don’t count for minimal historicity (which is defined in Ch. 2.4).

Likewise we have extensive evidence the Gospel Jesus was invented using other models as well, principally Moses, Elijah-Elisha, and Judeo-Christian missionaries and holy men generally (and possibly John the Baptist, Romulus, Odysseus, and Bacchus, although I don’t lean on those for any conclusion as to probabilities). In short, there is no single “historical Jesus” the Gospel Jesus is built out of, and no historical Jesus at all that had anything actually to do with Christianity. Hence, minimal historicity cannot be sustained with a thesis like yours. To the contrary, you are simply describing a sub-variant of what I already define as minimal mythicism.
It explains better the evidence in Paul’s epistles (in almost any aspect is similar with MMT but additionally, it has no problem with some “inconvenient” passages like “made from sperm” or “made from a woman”.
Neither does the celestial hypothesis. The belief that that does create problems is based on modern anachronistic understanding of what ancient people thought was possible or normal, and what Paul actually says in the Greek.

Theories need to be based on the actual context of ancient beliefs and norms and language, not deliberately crafted to evade any need for a correct understanding of those things.
Mark’s story, about Jesus being born in Galilee, having human parents and getting killed by the romans, is a direct denial of Paul’s.
No more than the Osirian Gospel was a “direct denial” of the actual secret teachings of the priesthood who disseminated that very Gospel. Mark is not affirming his account is true. He is representing the Gospel in allegory, just as was done for all other mythical heroes, including celestials like Osiris and Bacchus. This is extensively explained in OHJ. This is why he has Jesus tell his own readers:

“The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables so that,

“‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving,
and ever hearing but never understanding;
otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’”

Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable?”

It is only later authors who try pushing harder the literalism of the stories. Though their intentions could be various, as I discuss in OHJ—until John, who adamantly insists you must take his story as actually true lest you be damned. John is therefore the first extant author to positively affirm historicity as an actual doctrine (and not as a symbolic fiction of use in mission work).
On the other hand, according to HMH Mark simply added some detail to Paul’s story, which would be more easily accepted by the Christians.
That doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. On your theory, Mark finds some non-Christian Jesuses Paul never had in mind, and still invents a Jesus who is not at all the person Paul preached. So it’s just as denying of what Paul actually preached.
It explains better the fact that two or more such “historicizations” occurred.
So does any kind of mythologizing a nonreal Jesus. So this is not an advantage to your theory. As discussed in Ch. 8.1 in OHJ.

So, in short, your new theory has no advantages, and can only be less probable than my MMT, which already includes your HMH as an available variant. I deliberately avoided theories like that so as to avoid the charge of being overly ad hoc. So I stuck with a minimal theory, that is inclusive of all other theories like yours, without having to commit to any one of them.


Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:08 am
by Giuseppe
The guy who is defending before Carrier the Wells's theory does an error when he answers:
According to MMT, as you present it, Paul believed and preached a Jesus that was not on Earth. Is there any evidence that this was a secret teaching and he also preached, for the less initiated, that Jesus was on Earth, like Osiris’ priests? If no such evidence exist this is ad-hoc and it decreases the probability of MMT.

It might be that Mark did not intend his gospel to be believed as true, but then some other Christians did, that’s a fact. So, you still need to explain why they accepted Mark as true when they previously believed in a Jesus that never came on Earth. On HMH this is 100% expected
Note that he has to explain why he thinks what (he concedes) succeed with Osiris - the acceptance of a earthly Osiris as a FACT by people who previously believed in a Osiris who never came on Earth - was not successful for Jesus.

This is the precise point not explained by the fans of G.A.Wells (included our Ben):

If the Osiris's death was successfully transposed from outer space to earth, then why did not the same thing happen for the Jesus's death?

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:08 pm
by Giuseppe
Carrier on the location of Osiris's death in outer space:

And when it comes to admitting what he himself believes, Plutarch says the exact opposite of what you take him as saying: "it is not right to believe that water or the sun or the earth or the sky is Osiris or Isis...but as the work of Isis and as the image and reflection and logos of Osiris..." (64 = M377a-b) and he immediately disparages those who interpret Isis and Osiris as mere natural phenomena as tiresome and wrong (65 = M377b-d), and says the correct view is that Osiris is not a past king or a force of nature, but an actual God in heaven, and instead of being a metaphor or having actually been killed on earth, he is routinely (54 = M373a) supernaturally killed "in the outermost areas" of the sublunar realm (78 = M382e-383a). Ultimately, Plutarch believes they are real gods (e.g. 26 = 361c, 27 = M361e). So you are wrong to see him offering only the two options you describe--he himself rejects both

(my bold)

http://bcharchive.org/2/thearchives/sho ... 230&page=4

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 12:25 pm
by Joseph D. L.
You and Carrier are fucking morons.

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:39 pm
by rakovsky
It feels pretty hard to reconstruct from a skeptical yet neutral point of view what exactly happened with so many major events in the Gospels. On one hand Paul and if I remember correctly Peter rites strongly that gospel story is not some myth. Even in the time of the Apostles and soon afterward there were leading Christians like Stephen and the two James and St Ignatius who were killed and persecution with their Faith being a major factor. Paul writes that there were 500 Witnesses to Jesus's resurrection state, which even if it is an exaggeration it is still a strong claim meant to exhort to Faith. So it is not directed by Peter and Paul for their audiences as if these are myths, and meanwhile the leading Christians treated as if it's real when undergoing persecution.

Yet on the other hand there are major aspects of the Gospel stories that sound mythical or as literary fiction due to the impressively miraculous nature of the claims, like the weird coincidence with Joseph and Mary being his two parents, Joseph being the adopted one and Mary earthing him from her womb, and then in his death, Joseph of Arimathea and the two Mary's being at his tomb. Not to mention the miraculous nature of the birth, as well as the numerous appearances of Jesus after the resurrection including the physical aspects of them like Jesus eating food. Every gospel story that narrates appearances, ie all gospels except for Mark, includes physical aspects to the appearances.

One could theorize that the apostles were like charismatics today who have visions and survey had visions of Christ in agreement with their charismatic type practices. But then you get into the issue at what point would or should have realized that the miracle stories were often made up, if you're coming at this from a skeptical point of view. I guess that Mary could have made up a story about Virgin birth. But then what do you do with the Story of Lazarus or Jesus walking on water. Well I guess the walking on water could be an optical illusion if he was walking in shallow water or standing on a reef but they should have been able to figure it out in that case.

And then if you are a neutral, informed skeptic you have to deal with the whole Old Testament prophecy issue where Jesus correctly understands that the Old Testament prophecies predict the killing of the Messiah, and then Jesus acted in defiance of the Sanhedrin leaders and that led to Hiis killing. And how would you explain psychologically that Jesus went forward with a mission that he correctly explained was predicted in the Old Testament to lead to his killing, if all the while he knew that these miracles were fake?

So let's say that you decide that the apostles were basically analogous to modern charismatics and were having unreal mental visions. Then you have to deal with the issue of what happened to Jesus's body. And there is no easy answer because his resurrection from the tomb became a big deal. So if his supporters or family took the body, then it would result in a counter-intuitive psychological situation because Christianity was being repressed while the supporters who took the body would understand that the resurrection claim was fake.

If you theorize that Pilate took the body and hid it to make it look like a resurrection, then you are in the tough situation of explaining why he would do that. For instance did he want to create a cult based around a figure he was at least partly responsible for crucifying, just to provide a pacifist counterweight to the zealots? That would not seem very necessary because the Pharisees and Sadducees tended to be anti Rebellion. And anyway the gospel story does not really make the Romans look good. At best the Romans are portrayed as being pressured into killing Jesus by the religious leaders. Besides, Christianity made major inroads into Rome itself only 20 years later, involving conversion of leading Romans. If The Romans were basically responsible for hiding the body in order to start Christianity, then wouldn't the Romans in Rome be able to find this out? Meanwhile the Romans would be suppressing the movement that they helped start. It seems counterintuitive and seems that there would be a lot of counter arguments.

And even if it was a Roman conspiracy to hide the body, then trying to figure out almost 2000 years later seems difficult especially when we were talking about time that didn't record impartial views while the events were taking place. Probably the best that we have is Josephus in terms of academic historians and even there , I think he was a Christian. Even if you don't agree, that he was a Christian, then you still have the fact that he wrote about miracles in his last several volumes describing the Christian era or the lead up to it. So when he writes in his testimonium that Jesus performed impressive miracles, then it might not prove to you in an objective scientific way that he actually did.

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:00 pm
by Giuseppe
This is not a thread for historicists or Christian apologists (like you), even less for Christian historicists who are so interested in the use of the Testimonium Flavianum as evidence of a historical Jesus.

In this thread I am listing the reasons why Carrier doesn't agree with the Wells's version of mythicism, since I don't like and detest the Ben's claim et similia that :
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Jan 23, 2019 6:11 pm
I was simply a Jesus mythicist (of the Wells variety, for the most part).

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:30 pm
by GakuseiDon
Giuseppe wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 9:00 pm
In this thread I am listing the reasons why Carrier doesn't agree with the Wells's version of mythicism
I'd be interested in that list, Giuseppe. Dr Carrier barely mentions Wells in OHJ. If I remember correctly, plugging in Carrier's own odds from OHJ, Wells' theory arguably comes in as four times more likely than Carrier's. To explain:

Carrier gives the following odds for these items (OHJ, page 594):

1. Made from sperm (2 times more likely on historicity) -- ridiculously low odds, since it implies that for every 3 references to "made from sperm" in ancient texts, one out of three refers to a celestial being. Even 100 times more likely is probably still too low.
2. Made from a woman (2 times more likely on historicity) -- ditto

2 times by 2 times is 4 times more likely. Most of the rest of the odds around the epistles and the later writings seem to be equally as relevant between both theories, though I didn't go into the details of them at the time.

The caveat is that the comparison is not "historical Jesus" vs "mythical Jesus", but "earthly Jesus" vs "celestial Jesus". Carrier, when calculating his odds, seems to assume throughout OHJ that anything indicating an earthly Jesus supports a historical Jesus. But that simply isn't the case. Non-historical people can be claimed to be born to a woman, etc. It means they are earthly, but it doesn't support historicity especially when myths are involved.

So I'll be interested to see you list the reasons why Carrier doesn't agree with Wells' version of mythicism.

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:27 am
by maryhelena
GakuseiDon wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:30 pm

<snip>
The caveat is that the comparison is not "historical Jesus" vs "mythical Jesus", but "earthly Jesus" vs "celestial Jesus". Carrier, when calculating his odds, seems to assume throughout OHJ that anything indicating an earthly Jesus supports a historical Jesus. But that simply isn't the case. Non-historical people can be claimed to be born to a woman, etc. It means they are earthly, but it doesn't support historicity especially when myths are involved.
.
Excellent point, GakuseiDon.

And even then - no need to choose between an ''earthly Jesus'' and a 'celestial Jesus''. Both versions of the Jesus story serve to complete, as it were, the Jesus package. As that old song goes......you can't have one without the other..... :)

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:31 am
by Giuseppe
At the moment Carrier has already replied (you have simply to follow the link given in my first post of this thread) about "born by woman", etc. If you read the sequel, the proponent of the Wells's version is saying something of similar to you, but he has already made a crucial error, as I explain diffusely in my second post:
  • He concedes (correctly) that a celestial Osiris in outer space was trasposed on the earth and believed as a real Pharaon lived on the earth;
  • ...but he denies irrationally a priory that the same process could happen easily for Jesus.
For me it is very evidence of the fallacy of double standard.

I wait the rest of the answers of Carrier, but raising the comparison with Osiris he has already a good reaaon in his support against Wells's fans.

Re: Richard Carrier versus George Albert Wells

Posted: Thu Aug 13, 2020 12:38 am
by Giuseppe
GakuseiDon wrote:
Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:30 pm
Carrier, when calculating his odds, seems to assume throughout OHJ that anything indicating an earthly Jesus supports a historical Jesus.
this is false and you and maryhelena are complete liars (and a fool Christian apologist) if you continue to diffuse that falsity. Carrier makes it explicit, in the quote above, that:

The only issue debated in OHJ is whether that Jesus was actually historical; just as with Satan or Gabriel. The issue of “where” they thought a historical Jesus lived and died is not the same as whether there really was a real Jesus who lived and died there. OHJ only concerns itself principally with the latter. As to the former, it is formally nonspecific, and only spends most of its time on the celestial alternative because it’s the one we have the most evidence for (per above), not because minimal mythicism requires it.