Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
maryhelena
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Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?

Post by maryhelena » Thu Aug 28, 2014 1:14 pm

Richard Carrier has an article on the Bible and Interpretation site.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8028.shtml

Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?


I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principe apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion’s “actual” teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).

On this model, Christianity, as a Jewish sect, began when someone (most likely Cephas, perhaps backed by his closest devotees) claimed this “Jesus” had at last revealed that he had tricked the Devil by becoming incarnate and being crucified by the Devil (in the region of the heavens ruled by Devil), thereby atoning for all of Israel’s sins, so the Jerusalem temple cult no longer mattered, the sins of Israel could no longer hold back God’s promise, and the end of the world could soon begin.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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MrMacSon
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by MrMacSon » Thu Aug 28, 2014 3:19 pm

.
The reference to listed in that article are not hyperlinked and don't work with the '.' seemingly on the end of the urls, so here they are

[2] Richard Carrier, “Bayes’ Theorem and the Modern Historian: Proving History Requires Improving Methods” The Bible & Interpretation (April 2012): [3] Philip Davies, “Did Jesus Exist?” The Bible & Interpretation (August 2012): http://www.bibleinterp.com/opeds/dav368029.shtml
.

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Blood
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by Blood » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:33 pm

maryhelena wrote:Richard Carrier has an article on the Bible and Interpretation site.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8028.shtml

Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?


I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principe apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion’s “actual” teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).

On this model, Christianity, as a Jewish sect, began when someone (most likely Cephas, perhaps backed by his closest devotees) claimed this “Jesus” had at last revealed that he had tricked the Devil by becoming incarnate and being crucified by the Devil (in the region of the heavens ruled by Devil), thereby atoning for all of Israel’s sins, so the Jerusalem temple cult no longer mattered, the sins of Israel could no longer hold back God’s promise, and the end of the world could soon begin.

Why is it so difficult for some people to imagine that Christianity was never a Jewish sect? The vile hatred for Jews by Christians begins with the New Testament and continues unabated for the next 20 centuries. And, that entire time, non-Jewish people were using the Jewish Bible as if it were written for them and about them.
“The only sensible response to fragmented, slowly but randomly accruing evidence is radical open-mindedness. A single, simple explanation for a historical event is generally a failure of imagination, not a triumph of induction.” William H.C. Propp

Stephan Huller
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by Stephan Huller » Thu Aug 28, 2014 5:20 pm

But why reference Jewish writings, why fit with Philo and the two powers doctrine, if early Christianity wasn't Jewish? Certainly the hostility within Judaism could sustain the early Christian identification (in the gospel) of Jesus as the second power who communed with the Patriarchs. How couldn't this belief be Jewish?

ghost
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by ghost » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:01 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:But why reference Jewish writings, why fit with Philo and the two powers doctrine, if early Christianity wasn't Jewish? Certainly the hostility within Judaism could sustain the early Christian identification (in the gospel) of Jesus as the second power who communed with the Patriarchs. How couldn't this belief be Jewish?
Because the employee who lives in the Roman imperial palace is not the protagonist.

Stephan Huller
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by Stephan Huller » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:40 pm

Yeah that's great. If you were a piano every key would hit the same note.

ghost
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by ghost » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:53 pm

Stephan Huller wrote:Yeah that's great. If you were a piano every key would hit the same note.
I hope this is less monotonous to you:

http://www.vanfrieslandfilm.nl/pages/myalbum/27.jpg

Stephan Huller
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by Stephan Huller » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:01 pm

I really wish you would leave this forum. You have yet to say an intelligible thing since you arrived.

maryhelena
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by maryhelena » Fri Aug 29, 2014 12:45 am

Interestingly, Carrier has picked up on comments from Bart Ehrman's latest book: Bart Ehrman:How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee (HarperOne, 2014).
As Bart Ehrman himself has recently confessed, the earliest documentation we have shows Christians regarded Jesus to be a pre-existent celestial angelic being.[8] Though Ehrman struggles to try and insist this is not how the cult began, it is hard to see the evidence any other way, once we abandon Christian faith assumptions about how to read the texts.
In a recent thread, Ehrman's "How Jesus Became a God" is now out. I made the following points:

viewtopic.php?f=3&t=482

The quote below is from the Introduction to Ehrman's book:
What I have come to see is that scholars have such disagreements in part because they typically answer the question of high or low Christology on the basis of the paradigm I have just described—that the divine and human realms are categorically distinct, with a great chasm separating the two. The problem is that most ancient people— whether Christian, Jewish, or pagan— did not have this paradigm. For them, the human realm was not an absolute category separated from the divine realm by an enormous and unbridgable crevasse. On the contrary, the human and divine were two continuums that could, and did, overlap.
From that perspective, methinks that Ehrman is not, anytime soon, going to give up on the possibility that a historical JC became a god after death. Looks to me that this book is Ehrmans' real answer to the ahistoricists/mythicists. There are two stories in the NT: The Pauline angel (re Ehrman) that is incarnate on earth - plus the man that becomes, after death, a god in the heavens. It's not one or the other. There is no choice between them - no walking through that 'door' for Ehrman. Consequently, the road forward for the ahistoricists is not to keep singing the Pauline 'song' of a celestial christ figure - Ehrman can sing that song well. The 'fault line' in Ehrman' scenario is not his from man to god scenario - it's that his 'man', his gospel Jesus, is not a historical figure but a composite, pseudo-historical, literary figure. However, despite this error, the fundamental premise that Ehrman is upholding, that "the human and divine were two continuums that could, and did, overlap" remains.

A pseudo- historical, literary gospel JC does not suffice for the "overlap" between the "human and divine". Two imaginary entities do not reflect the thrust of the NT story - 'body' and 'spirit' are both part of our human experience. Or as Paul would have it - the Jerusalem above has it's corresponding Jerusalem below. In other words; physical reality cannot be eliminated from any theology/philosophy that seeks to reflect the human experience. The question then becomes: what historical realities influenced the gospel writers in the creation of their NT story. All in the mind, all Pauline imagination, and off we go on a magic carpet ride. It's the Jerusalem below - Jewish history - that can open a 'door' through which a search for early christian origins can move forward.
------------------------------------

I think Ehrman wants both JC NT stories, the Pauline story and the gospel story. (from what I've read so far....) His "the human and divine were two continuums that could, and did, overlap". seems, to me, to indicate that. And in that, I happen to think he has something to offer. Perhaps, "overlap", might not be the best choice of words. Maybe, relationship, interaction, would better reflect what I think he is attempting to say. ie there is no magic tricks here, reality does not morph into some ethereal or cosmic, or spiritual otherness. Our spiritual/intellectual capacity, our ideas, can become 'flesh', ie can be transformed into concrete reality - as our physical realities influence our, 'spiritual', thinking. In other words, body and spirit co-operate without either surrendering their own unique identities.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

The Crow
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Re: Carrier: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jes

Post by The Crow » Fri Aug 29, 2014 2:08 am

Blood wrote:
maryhelena wrote:Richard Carrier has an article on the Bible and Interpretation site.

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8028.shtml

Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt: Should We Still Be Looking for a Historical Jesus?


I think it is more likely that Jesus began in the Christian mind as a celestial being (like an archangel), believed or claimed to be revealing divine truths through revelations (and, by bending the ear of prophets in previous eras, through hidden messages planted in scripture). Christianity thus began the same way Islam and Mormonism did: by their principe apostles (Mohammed and Joseph Smith) claiming to have received visions from their religion’s “actual” teacher and founder, in each case an angel (Gabriel dictated the Koran, Moroni provided the Book of Mormon).

On this model, Christianity, as a Jewish sect, began when someone (most likely Cephas, perhaps backed by his closest devotees) claimed this “Jesus” had at last revealed that he had tricked the Devil by becoming incarnate and being crucified by the Devil (in the region of the heavens ruled by Devil), thereby atoning for all of Israel’s sins, so the Jerusalem temple cult no longer mattered, the sins of Israel could no longer hold back God’s promise, and the end of the world could soon begin.

Why is it so difficult for some people to imagine that Christianity was never a Jewish sect? The vile hatred for Jews by Christians begins with the New Testament and continues unabated for the next 20 centuries. And, that entire time, non-Jewish people were using the Jewish Bible as if it were written for them and about them.
Why is it so difficult for some people to imagine that Christianity was never a Jewish sect?
I have often wondered that myself especially since the entire religion is based on a Jewish carpenter....I think they often forget that fact.

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