Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jesus?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 9665
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Giuseppe »

@maryhelena
Philo invented the Essenes as an ideal society and Josephus was much influenced by him,
A case may be made that they were the same historians & writers (and here I allude to people as Josephus, Philo, Tacitus...) to invent fictional ''historical'' men in order to better explain some caotic movements and cults of otherwise apparently unknown origin.

Maryhelena has already mentioned Elior's thesis about who invented the essenes.

But there is another candidate about who invented just him: ''Judas the Galilean''.

It has been argued that both Judas and the Fourth Philosophy were not historical realities, but merely inventions of Josephus; see J.S. McLaren, ‘Constructing Judean History in the Diaspora: Josephus’s Accounts of Judas’s, in J. Barclay (ed.), Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2004), pp. 90–108.

This scholar argues:
This study shows that we can no longer assume that this Judas presented by Josephus is an historical figure who engaged in some activity in 6 CE. It is not simply a case of claiming that Josephus may have exaggerated the account of Judas' career and its impact by adjusting a few details here and there. Rather, Josephus's apologetic has constructed Judas, making him a vital part of the explanation of what happened in Judaea in 66-70 CE. Who he was, what he did and what he advocated, if anything at all, need to be established afresh, outside the framework provided in War and Antiquities.
(p. 108, my bold)

Therefore maybe Couchoud was right about Tacitus: he invented Jesus to explain (possibly in a rationalistic way) the origin of the name of the Chrestiani (we would call it euhemerism).

The logic of Tacitus could be the following:

1) I have not the faintest idea who they were these Jews killed by Nero after the Great Fire.

2) maybe they were the same Christians who preach in Rome today.

3) these Christians mourn the death of their crucified 'Christ'.

4) if this crucified Christ is nevertheless revered by Christians, then it must have been that cruel and inept governor named Pilate to crucify him by mistake (since he killed so many Jews indiscriminately, according to Josephus).

5) therefore: the ''more simple explanation'' for the origin of the name Chrestiani (auctor nominis eius...) is that they derived by a certain 'Christ' crucified by Pilate.


That euhemerist idea introduced by Tacitus took root among the Pagans largely as anti-Christian mockery, and later Marcion was inspired by that idea, and wrote a story... :lol:
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.
User avatar
maryhelena
Posts: 2180
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:22 pm
Location: England

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by maryhelena »

Giuseppe wrote:@maryhelena
Philo invented the Essenes as an ideal society and Josephus was much influenced by him,
A case may be made that they were the same historians & writers (and here I allude to people as Josephus, Philo, Tacitus...) to invent fictional ''historical'' men in order to better explain some caotic movements and cults of otherwise apparently unknown origin.

Maryhelena has already mentioned Elior's thesis about who invented the essenes.

But there is another candidate about who invented just him: ''Judas the Galilean''.

It has been argued that both Judas and the Fourth Philosophy were not historical realities, but merely inventions of Josephus; see J.S. McLaren, ‘Constructing Judean History in the Diaspora: Josephus’s Accounts of Judas’s, in J. Barclay (ed.), Negotiating Diaspora: Jewish Strategies in the Roman Empire (London and New York: T&T Clark, 2004), pp. 90–108.

This scholar argues:
This study shows that we can no longer assume that this Judas presented by Josephus is an historical figure who engaged in some activity in 6 CE. It is not simply a case of claiming that Josephus may have exaggerated the account of Judas' career and its impact by adjusting a few details here and there. Rather, Josephus's apologetic has constructed Judas, making him a vital part of the explanation of what happened in Judaea in 66-70 CE. Who he was, what he did and what he advocated, if anything at all, need to be established afresh, outside the framework provided in War and Antiquities.
(p. 108, my bold)
Thanks for that reference re Judas the Galilean. For sometime now I've been saying that Judas is not a historical figure. Judas is a figure created by Josephus to reflect the historical figure of Aristobulus II and his two sons, Alexander and Antigonus. Both sons executed by Rome and Aristobulus himself poisoned.

Josephus can create literary figures - as easily as any gospel writer. In both cases, the gospel writers and Josephus, it is Hasmonean history that is the fundamental issue at stake - remembrance of that history. The context is Jewish history remembered while under Roman occupation of Judea.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats
outhouse
Posts: 3574
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

neilgodfrey wrote:
earlydude wrote: But it was an accident. Honest. He didn't mean to. He wrote a parable. Others responded to his work with literal (as distinct from literary) tales. These responses served the political function of laying a historical foundation -- the Twelve -- for the "proto-orthodox".

Providing evidence this "form" was the one the community wrote in, I guess will be ignored ?
outhouse
Posts: 3574
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

MrMacSon wrote:What does Ludemann say?

Gerd Ludemann Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity (1996) comments in passing in a footnote that Detering's thesis (Urchristentum im Zwielicht, 1995), that the letters of Paul come from the second century, "is mistaken and is refuted by the existing sources."
John2
Posts: 3691
Joined: Fri May 16, 2014 4:42 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by John2 »

Maryhelena wrote:

"Philo certainty had the ability to write the Jesus story - and, of course, lived during the relevant gospel time period."

I think all gospels (canonical and non-canonical) were written after 70 CE (i.e., after Philo), when people like Epaphroditus and Tiberius Alexander were living. But if you think they were written earlier then I suppose Philo could be a candidate for writing the Jesus story.
You know in spite of all you gained, you still have to stand out in the pouring rain.
User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 6862
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by MrMacSon »

outhouse wrote:
MrMacSon wrote: What does Ludemann say?
Gerd Ludemann Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity (1996) comments in passing in a footnote that Detering's thesis (Urchristentum im Zwielicht, 1995), that the letters of Paul come from the second century, "is mistaken and is refuted by the existing sources."
Interesting. Ludemann has some interesting views of Paul, writing in Dec 2014 -
Paul constantly ignored the reality that his missionary work created. It necessarily led to an alienation of Jews from their native religion and thus to the diminution of Judaism.[43] Not much later many of these converts sided with their non-Christian fellow Jews and like them permanently stamped Paul as an apostate.

Nor could Gentile Christians have been overjoyed with Paul’s new ethnocentrism; they may even have doubted whether they could continue to trust him. In short, Paul had likely suffered a falling-out not only with those closest to him but also with the Jewish Christians and the Jerusalem Jews. These latter two groups clearly saw that Paul’s activity was ultimately destructive of Jewish customs and threatened an end to the law of Moses.

Until the end Paul claimed that he never consciously abandoned the faith of his fathers and never forsook Judaism.[44] That now seems difficult to sustain; but rather than charge him with duplicity, might we see it as an almost involuntary but necessary strategy on Paul’s part? At a time when things were not going terribly well in the mission field, did he deem it advantageous to curry a bit of favor with the Jewish converts[45] who constituted a significant minority presence in the Roman community?

Or if that seems too calculated a motive, can we imagine an elderly and battle-weary apostle creating yet another “truth” to satisfy a sentimental attachment to the people and faith of his youth? At any rate it probably strengthened both the Roman congregation and the movement as a whole, and few can imagine that Gentile Christianity fared any the worse for Paul’s “Jewish patriotism.”

http://www.bibleinterp.com/articles/201 ... 8017.shtml
outhouse
Posts: 3574
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

MrMacSon wrote:
Interesting. Ludemann has some interesting views of Paul
One can create many different Pauls based on how one interprets the evidence.

I see a Hellenistic Proselyte that had little loyalty to Israelite Judaism and traditions. Claims of being a Pharisee I see as rhetorical prose to build authority in he text his community produced co authored with him.
outhouse
Posts: 3574
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 6:48 pm

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

I see many missed Apollonias of Tyana and Rabbi Honi the Circle-Drawer and Apuleius of Madauros
User avatar
maryhelena
Posts: 2180
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:22 pm
Location: England

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by maryhelena »

John2 wrote:Maryhelena wrote:

"Philo certainty had the ability to write the Jesus story - and, of course, lived during the relevant gospel time period."

I think all gospels (canonical and non-canonical) were written after 70 CE (i.e., after Philo), when people like Epaphroditus and Tiberius Alexander were living. But if you think they were written earlier then I suppose Philo could be a candidate for writing the Jesus story.
I'm not attempting to date the gospels - just attempting to find an original author for the master copy of the Jesus story. The Jesus story being in print, i.e. written down, does not necessarily indicate published as a formal document. The story developed over time - the original could have been very limited in scope. For instance, the wonder-doer story now in Slavonic Josephus. If the wonder-doer story in the Slavonic material comes from an earlier edition of War - then Josephus might have got the story from someone else - as I think he did with the core story of the TF. (not of course that Josephus was supporting a historical Jesus - just supporting the gospel story....a story that, if Philo is the source, preceded him.)

Bottom line: We have two important writers living during the NT time frame. To assume that they had no connection with early christian origins seems, to my thinking, to be a rather naive way of looking at these two first century sources....We have one writer with the theological and philosophical ability to craft such a story as the Jesus story - and we have another writer with the historical and prophetic ability to give that story a 'historical' footing. A Jewish intellectual and a Jewish prophetic historian - what more did early christian origins require? An illiterate carpenter itinerant preacher with illusions of grandeur................... :eek:

Conspiracy? A literary story given a historical backing. Yep, could be read that way by someone not familiar both with Jewish history and Jewish retelling of their history. Salvation history, finding meaning in history, required history to be interpreted not simply recorded. Thus, for Josephus it's history alongside pseudo-history. For Philo, as creator of the Jesus story, it would be history viewed through a philosophical lens, history as parable, history as reflecting otherworldly, non-material, concerns. The end result being a gospel political allegory with a top dressing of theology and philosophy.

Obviously, the NT writings are not simply the product of Philo and Josephus - but these two prominent figures had the ability to provide a foundation for the early christian movement. Others, perhaps a school of writers,
would be involved with the development of the NT material.
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats
StephenGoranson
Posts: 607
Joined: Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:10 am

Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by StephenGoranson »

Though I do not suppose that such a posited invention occurred, here's comment on the proposal concerning Philo. mary helena wrote: "Rachael [she uses the spelling Rachel] Elior has already suggested that it was Philo that invented the Essenes..." It may be worth recalling that Prof. Elior first proposed that Essenes were "invented by...*Josephus*" (my emphasis, Haaretz, March 13. 2009; cf. Times [London], March 18, 2009, and I think I recall elsewhere online and/or in email). Only after she was reminded that Essenes appear in Philo, whose works (most agree) predate Josephus' works, did she switch to Philo. (The dog that did not bark may be found in Doyle rather than Christie.) I suggest that Philo did not invent them, but rather, in part, drew on a source, as proposed in my "Posidonius, Strabo, and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa as Sources on Essenes," J. of Jewish Studies 45 (1994) 295-8.
Last edited by StephenGoranson on Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post Reply