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.
lsayre
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by lsayre »

How about the Roman government? Could it have fabricated the NT Jesus stories? Is Paul a Herodion?
Ulan
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Ulan »

neilgodfrey wrote:
earlydude wrote:Obviously it's speculative as to whether the idea of Jesus of Nazareth was invented or not, and even if so, the individual responsible may be totally lost to history. But for the sake of argument/theory, let's say this invention did occur and that the storyteller's name is preserved in the historical record. If we consider their means, motive, and opportunity. Who are our prime suspects?

Marcion? Cerdo? Cephas? Ebion? Clement? Simon? Basilides? Paul? Cerinthus? Justin?
Mark. Or at least the author now lost to us but who was much later labelled "Mark". 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".
I still think this idea is pretty good. Whether you call it a parable or a pesher on Isaiah doesn't really matter. The only part that has no good explanation is why the name "Jesus" got attached to this. Of course, you could use Stephan Huller's answer.

What Paul may have added is the crucifixion/resurrection story. Or not.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Secret Alias »

This is what is so unfortunate about the term 'mythicism.' Atheists want to stick the knife into religion. That's what prompts the preference for speaking in terms of 'myths' (= untruths). But 'mythicism' doesn't properly capture the essence of what is going on in early Christianity. One could make a myth about a historical person. Thus being a 'mythicist' really says nothing about what you believe, what was going on in early Christianity. The real point that mythicists want to bring forward is that Jesus was conceived as a god which accordingly is viewed by almost everyone (even religious people) as a myth - viz. it is hard to believe that a man who walked the earth was god (or God).

So that's the genesis I think of the term 'mythicism.' The real idea behind all of this is that Jesus was originally conceived as a god. The fact that the gospel is a myth is about a god who was man reduces everything down to 'myth' status because it is self-evident that gods don't exist, don't take the shape and form of men. We all 'know that' so instead of identifying themselves in the way that would be proper - i.e. 'supernaturalists' - they stress 'mythicism' because they want to distinguish themselves from crackpots who might actually believe that a god in the shape of a man came down to earth as the heretics did.
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Ulan
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by Ulan »

Secret Alias wrote:This is what is so unfortunate about the term 'mythicism.' Atheists want to stick the knife into religion. That's what prompts the preference for speaking in terms of 'myths' (= untruths).
The term is definitely unfortunate, given it has two very distinct meanings.
Last edited by Ulan on Sun Mar 13, 2016 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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maryhelena
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by maryhelena »

StephenGoranson wrote: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.
Yes, it's a typo - thanks for pointing it out! (I do know how Rachel Elior signs her name - I did have an email exchange with her.....)

As to your point above - that Elior changed her position after it was pointed out to her that Philo mentions the Essenes - do you have a quote to support that assertion - i.e. not a newspaper article...It would be astonishing indeed if a Jewish scholar would not know that Philo mentions the Essenes.....

Philo and Josephus differ on the Essenes. Apart from making some Essenes prophets and one a general - what Josephus did was date the Essenes i.e. he gave them a historical context. Josephus gave a philosophical creation a veneer of historicity.

Much like what Josephus has done with the Jesus story....
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outhouse
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

maryhelena wrote: - just attempting to find an original author for the master copy of the Jesus story.
Which may be an impossibility due to the fact we only see widespread diversity in far reaching geographic locations, without any single place of origin.


Since the Hellenistic perversion of Judaism is at the central core of text produced, we can assume with complete certainty the Passover traditions and Hellenist returning home with these traditions before the temple fell. Is as close as we are going to get to any one point of reference.


Due to the massive amount of diversity that also matches typical Judaism diversity, we can with complete certainty ascertain at Passover there were multiple traditions surrounding the Galilean that were being shared in different groups.


This evidence is exactly 100% what we would expect if a man had been martyred. Just because we can imagine a single source may have started these traditions does not mean it can be substantiated with any degree outside imagination.
outhouse
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

Secret Alias wrote: Thus being a 'mythicist' really says nothing about what you believe, what was going on in early Christianity.
.
Agreed

Reality is the text are highly mythical in nature due to the theological context.
That's what prompts the preference for speaking in terms of 'myths' (= untruths).
Your right it is ignorance common in atheist and even more so in theist, who defend their opinion to the point of fanaticism because of he weakness of their position [the reality of it all they must deny to carry levels of faith]
One could make a myth about a historical person.
And we have many examples that range from 100% fiction in theology, to many different degrees of historicity.

And only with study can we even find levels of plausibility.

Atheists want to stick the knife into religion.
Agreed.

But I think there are factors that complicate this. Its no a straight out attack for no reason, faith based reasoning leaves them open for credible criticism.
outhouse
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by outhouse »

Ulan wrote:
Secret Alias wrote:This is what is so unfortunate about the term 'mythicism.' Atheists want to stick the knife into religion. That's what prompts the preference for speaking in terms of 'myths' (= untruths).
The term is definitely unfortunate, given it has two very distinct meanings.

True.

How ever I think anyone in any amount of academic study on Jesus historicity gets the jest of the appointed label in the core of its context.
John2
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by John2 »

Maryhelena wrote:

"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."

it sounds like we are more or less on the same page, that Philo and Josephus provided a foundation for Christianity (at least since they were used and preserved by Christians, if nothing else), and I think what you call the NT material could have been developed by people who were like or associated with them (as were Epaphroditus and Tiberius Alexander).
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MrMacSon
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Re: Top suspects that could have invented the historical Jes

Post by MrMacSon »

Secret Alias wrote: This is what is so unfortunate about the term 'mythicism.' Atheists want to stick the knife into religion. That's what prompts the preference for speaking in terms of 'myths' (= untruths).
Yet many 'anti-mythicism-ists' seem to be atheist (or claim to be).

This is unnecessary super-waffle -
Secret Alias wrote: But 'mythicism' doesn't properly capture the essence of what is going on in early Christianity. One could make a myth about a historical person. Thus being a 'mythicist' really says nothing about what you believe, what was going on in early Christianity.

This less so -
Secret Alias wrote: The real point that mythicists want to bring forward is that Jesus was conceived as a god which accordingly is viewed by almost everyone (even religious people) as a myth - viz. it is hard to believe that a man who walked the earth was god (or God).

So that's the genesis I think of the term 'mythicism.' The real idea behind all of this is that Jesus was originally conceived as a god. The fact that the gospel is a myth is about a god who was man reduces everything down to 'myth' status because it is self-evident that gods don't exist, don't take the shape and form of men. We all 'know that' so - instead of identifying themselves in the way that would be proper - i.e. 'supernaturalists' - they stress 'mythicism' because they want to distinguish themselves from crackpots who might actually believe that a god in the shape of a man came down to earth as the heretics did.
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