Can you prove from Josephus' Antiquities XVIII, 5, 2?
Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man,
Herod, who feared lest the great influence John had over the people might put it into his power and inclination to raise a rebellion, (for they seemed ready to do any thing he should advise,) thought it best, by putting him to death, to prevent any mischief he might cause, and not bring himself into difficulties, by sparing a man who might make him repent of it when it would be too late. Accordingly he was sent a prisoner, out of Herod's suspicious temper, to Macherus, the castle I before mentioned, and was there put to death. Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him.
I am quite sure you cannot.
The history of the beginning of Christianity history can only have one true one. It is not something which need to renew itself in many different ways every year, with a myriad of vastly different & ill-evidenced theories.
You have refused to engage me on my evidence and arguments like I am some sort of antiquated historicist paria.
Instead you rely on strong words from Visi & others with theories not backed up by evidence which is direct, not far fetched, not created by an interpretive process.
If you read my website, you see that I am not like other historicists (tainted by accepting crucial elements without analysis and from that, going off track in different ways).
Here is what some of my readers wrote to me:
* "Congratulations! ... easily the best documented & most objective piece of Jesus research that I have found on the internet in almost a year of surfing. ... independent evaluation of the historical evidence that you demonstrate so well. ... such historical clarity ..."
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* "Your work is impressive, and valuable to those like myself ... but have immense difficulty accepting all the add-ons ... Again, thanks for your work, and for sharing it with others who care to explore the truth of religious matters."
* "This is where your rational approach is most helpful ... by using historical research and factual information. It really takes a careful eye to spot these things, some of which are buried under layers of "over-familiarity". This is not a criticism, rather more a compliment, but I do want to say that your site is demanding careful attention."
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* "Bernard D. Muller provides a beautifully presented picture of the historical Jesus ... he brings to the table, mostly, a lot of common sense. It's a deep site, with a lot to think about and ponder over. Highly recommended ..."
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* "I recently found your site and I am very impressed, you did a lot of work! I never read about the events at Cesarea before and I can see how they could inspire John the Baptist and Jesus to do what they did. ... I find your reconstruction very believable ..."
* "... what I found most refreshing about your work is its objectivity and impartiality ... Thank you for bringing me closer to the truth without inciting bad emotions. And thank you for providing such a gold mine of information. Your site is at the top of my bookmarks! ... Keep up the good work."
* "Here he does a good job of logically reconstructing the life and ministry of Jesus. It's a fascinating read whether you are a Christian or non-believer."
* "Pages are a little long, but easy digest. But most importantly, he usually supports his arguments with evidence, and never indulges in religious rhetoric and baseless speculations."
* "And in addition to that, I would suggest the following site for further in depth studies on "the historical Jesus". Very educative, I may say: ..."
"Yes, that is probably the best source for the historical Jesus that I have encountered. Glad you posted that link again, ..."
* "I am speechless ... Now, after reading most of your site, I can see that my simple view of Jesus was closer to the truth. Thank you for helping me see this. I am still in shock. There is much to catch up on. Many ideas to rethink ... I can see that a rational or scientific view is very helpful ..."
* "I visited your website and found it quite thorough and informative ... I thought that your comments at your site regarding the beginning of Christianity, proto-Christianity, and the later date for Acts, and its problems of continuity with 'Luke' and 'Luke's' discontinuity with the rest of the Gospels to be accurate observations that have been made by many scholars. Excellent stuff. ...
I realize English is not your native tongue, but I do hope someone sometime will re-edit your articles or utilize them in their own work, since they contain some excellent observations."
* "... Truly, thank you for being so kind and taking the time to help me find answers to the questions I have never been able to resolve on my own. Your scholasticism simply amazes me. It is so honest and pure. Yes, I am very familiar with the works of other scholars who begin with a "belief" and are "bent" on proving it ...
Sorry, but so little information is available to me. I go on line to find information, and it is almost like "mission impossible". Now, you see why I am so intrigued by your web site. I am still stunned and amazed by the hours of research you invested in making this knowledge available. Thank you, again ...
Time for me to get back to your site and uncover more of the truth that I have been searching for."
* "... I feel I have wasted much time and energy piecing ideas together from my own readings, when you have done such a thorough job already!
... these [3-4] years have given me an appreciation of the work you must have put in, both in painstakingly reading, re-reading and comparing, as well as scrupulously arranging your material into coherent topics and valid conclusions.
So this sums up my second amazement, which is my real joy at seeing the elegant, lucid and compelling arguments you make - 'arguments' is almost the wrong word: since you rely so much on primary sources to tell the story, your own interpretations are almost unnecessary. The texts, when arranged and compared as you do, reveal their secrets quite readily for those with eyes to see. I ... had cause to laugh out loud in pleasure at the novel (to me anyway) but straightforward and undeniable conclusions that your patient research has yielded.
And for this, I thank you.
... I shall sign off there. Once again, let me register my deep admiration and appreciation for your wonderful work, which is at the same time so unlike any of the other Jesus resources available on the web, and so reassuringly transparent despite the obvious weight of reading and careful scholarship behind it."
* "... I suspect that you, as I, dislike the intellectual shallowness, strident vulgarity of expression and bad mannered tactlessness of the "New Atheists".
What really provoked this e-mail, however, was your clear concise and commonsensical methodological rules of thumb. I had to drop a line saying how much I was enjoying your work.
* "... I found your site a few years ago and was very impressed. I remember it being one of the best "historical Jesus" sites I've seen on the web... And I think you've come up with one of the most plausible reconstructions of a possible historical Jesus that I've seen.
To everyone else here, I would say that Mr. Muller's site is well worth reading whether or not you buy into all of his conclusions. He brings in a wide range of sources (apocryphal accounts, writings of early church fathers, etc.) which are not often discussed in one place, and provides some excellent deconstructions and analyses of the primary texts. ..."
* "I just want to thank you tremendously for your site. For quite some time now I have been researching the historical jesus, reading and reading books upon books. I find it fascinating how one man could have altered the course of human history. Your theories are by far and away 1, the most plausible, and 2, the best sourced. It is simply just occam's razor spelled out for anyone to read. ...
This is by far and away, the most honest approach to a historical Jesus I have ever seen. Started from completely non-biased, completely objective, detective work.
I am an atheist, however, I have received catholic school education from kindergarten all through college and have always been interested about who the man they were teaching actually was, outside of the faith. I wish I would have had one professor who was open and honest to an approach such as this, sadly they don't exist because they are blinded by faith.
For years I have been doing my own independent research (starting as a part time hobby such as yourself), and concluded an end to a means extremely similar to yours but couldn't exactly put it to words the way you masterfully have. I stumbled upon your site about 1 year ago from earlychristianwritings.com and haven't been able to stop devouring every bit of information you have on it. ...
Again, thank you for all the work you have done, especially since this is your free time you work on this and thank you for putting out the best theory on a historical Jesus that exists."
About "Q", the gospel of Thomas, etc.:
* "... the eloquent cases you make for a later (and real) 'Q', 'Thomas' and the like have given me pause over taking John Crossan's opinions as the last word ... I really think you are closer to disentangling the NT mess than most."
About the epistles of Ignatius:
* "I just read your website about "The epistles of Ignatius: are they all forgeries?". I was absolutely impressed. Zwingende Argumente! Great work! Will this be published in a "Fachzeitschrift"? ... I appreciate good scholarship - as you call it: "highly inquisitive" ..."
* "I discovered your admirable essay only yesterday. Your methodology is impeccable, your points are apropos & well explicated, your research is thorough and satisfying, and your speculative reconstruction of the writing of the epistles is persuasive and imho very likely to be true. I'm eager to explore & learn from the rest of your site. Thanks again, Bernard, for the opportunity to think with you on this fascinating episode!"
I believe freedom of expression should not be curtailed