On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Charles Wilson
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by Charles Wilson »

maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:03 amAnd that is the real debate. What history was relevant to the writers of the gospel story? That means we have to stand on ground zero before we reach for the heavens with Paul....
maryhelena --

Well stated.

CW
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

Charles Wilson wrote: Thu Mar 25, 2021 2:43 am
maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:03 amAnd that is the real debate. What history was relevant to the writers of the gospel story? That means we have to stand on ground zero before we reach for the heavens with Paul....
maryhelena --

Well stated.

CW
:thumbup:

I do bang the history drum a lot. Interpretations of NT texts are important but I can't see that alone is going to lead to understanding early christian origins. One has to, as it were, get outside the gospel story. One needs to take in the wider political realities in which the gospel writers were a part of. It is their history - not just their immediate historical situation - that is important. We are all products of where we have come from - our past is ever present. We should not be about denying that human reality to the gospel writers.
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

The Josephan story about taking a living man down from a cross after the Jewish Roman war of 70 c.e. has come up a number of times of this thread. Below is a copy of an earlier post of mine:


Was Antigonus crucified, hung on a stake, or was he beheaded? Probably both. According to Daniel Schwartz there was a period of time between the fall of Jerusalem to Herod in July of 37 b.c.e. and the execution of Antigonus by Marc Antony. Time in which a crucifixion, a hanging on a stake for punishment by scourging followed some months later with a death by beheading.


''The chronology of Herod's conquest of Jerusalem has been studied in detail by
numerous scholars, including, in the past generation, Schalit, "Schiirer,"
Stern, van Bruggen, Smallwood and Baumann. Although Josephus {Ant.
14.487) dates it to the Day of Atonement (10 Tishri), all these scholars, as
others, agree that the conquest was in fact completed in ca. July 37."'
Accordingly, on the basis of the usual assumption cited above, that Herod
counted his years from Nisan, it is usual to assume that he counted
"inclusively" from Nisan 37. If, as we argued, he used an "inclusive" autumn
era, it would have begun in 38. But such a conclusion as the latter is excluded
by various considerations which show that Herod counted his years from 37
(see below).
......

More important, however, is a second point: this whole problem is
only an illusion, for Josephus did not count Herod's years from the conquest
of Jerusalem, although Schiirer and numerous others say he did. In fact, if one
takes the statement in the scholarly locus classicus on Herodian chronology
(SVM I, p. 326, n. 165) that Josephus states that he reigned 37 years from the date of his appointment (40 B . C . ) , 34
years from his conquest of Jerusalem, 37 B . C . Cf. Ant. xvii 8 , 1 (191); B 7 i 3 3 , 8 (665)
and checks the references, he will find that Josephus in fact counts the thirty four years from
the execution of Mattathias Antigonus. But Antigonus was executed in Antioch by Mark Anthony {Ant. 14.488-490;
Strabo, apud Ant.15.9),"^ and, as is shown by the latter's movements, that occurred in the late
autumn of 37, or perhaps early in 36. Anthony was still in Tarentum in
September—October 37."' Thus, there is nothing here to contradict the usage
of an autumn 37 era. Apparently, Josephus, or already Herod, was only
willing to count the new king's regnal years after Antigonus was completely
removed.
.....
However, as we have seen, in fact
at least a few months went by between July 37 and Antigonus' execution.

Daniel R Schwartz: Studies in the Jewish Background of Christianity. Page 176/177/178.

Interestingly, Josephus, at the fall of Jerusalem in 70 c.e. tells a story about finding a friend of his crucified and has this friend removed from the cross - the friend survived - to die another day.

It seems to me that Josephus is simply remembering the history related to the siege of Jerusalem in 37 b.c. History repeating itself through the eyes of one steeped in his people's prophetic history. History viewed and recorded through a prophetic lens. Not in the sense of fortune tellers but in his people's age old method of retelling history through the form of stories or allegories.

And that is of course what the gospel writers have done - they told a story. A story cherished by millions of people. The search for early christian origins is not to diminish their story but to understand the history their story is attempting to preserve.
lsayre
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by lsayre »

maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:03 am And that is the real debate. What history was relevant to the writers of the gospel story? That means we have to stand on ground zero before we reach for the heavens with Paul.... ..
Indeed well stated! I've often stated it this way: "In order to arrive at where you intend to go, you must first know where you are."
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

lsayre wrote: Thu Mar 25, 2021 5:38 am
maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 24, 2021 11:03 am And that is the real debate. What history was relevant to the writers of the gospel story? That means we have to stand on ground zero before we reach for the heavens with Paul.... ..
Indeed well stated! I've often stated it this way: "In order to arrive at where you intend to go, you must first know where you are."
Nice..... :D

If for the sake of argument, Paul wrote first and the gospels followed. That scenario would still indicate that the NT writers found it necessary to base their Pauline theology/philosophy on a literal, physical footing. Ground Zero was important. In other words - NT writers knew very well where they were, where they were coming from....thus able to forge ahead to their new philosophical worldview. Pauline theology/philosophy did not just drop out of the sky.....
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

After all the Carrier verse Doudna debate over on the Bible and Interpretation site - here is a flashback to an old post of mine from the very long thread dealing with Carrier's book: On the Historicity of Jesus, Why we many have reason to doubt.


Page 53/54

If ‘Jesus Christ began as a celestial deity’ is false, it could still be that he began as a political fiction, for example (as some scholars have indeed argued - the best examples being R.G. Price and Gary Courtney). But as will become clear in following chapters (especially Chapter 11), such a premise has a much lower prior probability (and thus is already at a huge disadvantage over Premise 1 even before we start examining the evidence), and a very low consequent probability (though it suits the Gospels well, it just isn't possible to explain the evidence in the Epistles this way, and the origin of Christianity itself becomes very hard to explain as well). Although I leave open the possibility it may yet be vindicated, I’m sure it’s very unlikely to be, and accordingly I will assume its prior probability is too small even to show up in our math. This decision can be reversed only by a sound and valid demonstration that we must assign it a high prior or consequent, but I leave to anyone who thinks it’s possible. In the meantime, what we have left is Premise 1, such that if that is less probable than minimal historicity, then I would be convinced historicity should be affirmed (particularly as the ‘political fiction’ theory already fits historicity and thus is not really a challenge to it – indeed that’s often the very kind of fiction that gets written about historical persons.)

And there you are - that is Carrier's big problem. He is viewing the gospel Jesus story through a Pauline lens. A political theory "suits the Gospels well" - and yet, re Carrier, this gives the political theories a low probability......

Carrier needs to realize that a claim for the historicity of the gospel Jesus, a figure that does reflect zealot characteristics (re Reza Aslan's Zealot) is in fact a political claim. How much plainer could the gospel story be when it puts that King of the Jews sign over the crucified man? The gospel writers, and any Jew of that time, and even now, were not just interested in abstract theological or philosophical ideas - they are interested in politics, interested in the social/political arena in which they lived. Such interests being heightened, during the gospel time frame, due to Roman occupation.

Indeed, Carrier can keep his celestial christ figure - what he can't do is impose this celestial christ figure upon the gospel Jesus story. Theological and philosophical ideas are fine, in their place. However, when theology infiltrates social/political structures it produces social/political problems. Likewise, interpreting the gospel story through a Pauline theological/philosophical lens reduces the social/political relevance of that story. Theology cannot be allowed to trump the relevance of history to the gospel story.

viewtopic.php?p=14733#p14733

Carrier should not be simply rejecting, without consideration, the theory Greg Doudna presented him with. Perhaps, the context of Carrier's Bible and Interpretation article was not the best place to confront him with the Jesus ben Saphat theory. Although I noticed that in his website review of Lena Einhorn's book A Shift in Time, he wrote: '' Normally I wouldn’t bother with another amateur treatise on this subject. And in fact, please don’t send me yours. As a rule, I have no interest in such works.''. That's his prerogative of course. He could simply have stated, to Greg Doudna, his position on such theories instead of going into attack mode. How to get his attention ? Looks like one has to become a 'Patron' and buy some face time with him.....''After six months of support at this level, as a one-time gift, you can claim one free video chat with me of up to one hour. During which you can consult me on anything in my wheelhouse.''
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

It looks as though Richard Carrier is going to let Greg Doudna have the last word re their exchange on the Bible and Interpretation website. (it's a week now since Greg's last post)

Apart from addressing the issue of his 'tone' - I can't see what else Carrier can say re the substance of Greg's theory re Jesus ben Saphat being the historical Jesus. After Richard labeling it 'speculation' methinks it's up to Greg to move his argument forward in some way.

The relationship, if any, between the gospel story and Josephus has been an ongoing debate. Did the gospel writers use Josephus, use aspects of his stories and reflections of his figures in their own stories - thereby dating their own Jesus story after the writing of Josephus. Such comparisons have produced a number of theories. Judas/Jesus of Galilee, The Egyptian, Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Saphat. And of course, Josephus is pointed to as establishing, via the TF, support for the historicity of the gospel Jesus figure. (albeit a Josephan passage carrying it's own loaded baggage). Then we have the Josephan story of John the Baptiser - linked to the gospel figure. (interestingly, Greg Doudna has cut this link by suggesting a misplacement by Josephus i.e. the Josephan John the Baptizer figure relates to the Hasmonean Hyrancus II). And then we have the James passage linked to the NT Jesus story.

Perhaps it's time to call out the elephant in the room. The fact that is staring one in the face, in clear sight. Josephus, and whatever school of intellectuals and philosophers he was associated with, had a hand in the developing Jesus story. How many more Jesus figures do we have to find in Josephus before the penny drops - both the gospel writers and Josephus were drawing from the same historical well. Hasmonean history. If, as seems obvious, reflections of figures and events in the writings of Josephus can be observed in the gospel story - a story that is itself reflecting Hasmonean history - then are we not dealing with a circle of writers with the same objective. A circle of writers that brought about a new philosophical approach to Jewish thinking. An approach that was to lead to what became Christianity. (Unfortunately, a Christianity that was soon to loose its way....)

Time, methinks, to face that elephant in the room. Ignoring it's presence, turning a blind eye, is for the faint of heart - maybe it's time for 'onward christian soldiers'..... ;)
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Jax
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by Jax »

maryhelena wrote: Fri Mar 26, 2021 11:59 pm After all the Carrier verse Doudna debate over on the Bible and Interpretation site - here is a flashback to an old post of mine from the very long thread dealing with Carrier's book: On the Historicity of Jesus, Why we many have reason to doubt.


Page 53/54

If ‘Jesus Christ began as a celestial deity’ is false, it could still be that he began as a political fiction, for example (as some scholars have indeed argued - the best examples being R.G. Price and Gary Courtney). But as will become clear in following chapters (especially Chapter 11), such a premise has a much lower prior probability (and thus is already at a huge disadvantage over Premise 1 even before we start examining the evidence), and a very low consequent probability (though it suits the Gospels well, it just isn't possible to explain the evidence in the Epistles this way, and the origin of Christianity itself becomes very hard to explain as well). Although I leave open the possibility it may yet be vindicated, I’m sure it’s very unlikely to be, and accordingly I will assume its prior probability is too small even to show up in our math. This decision can be reversed only by a sound and valid demonstration that we must assign it a high prior or consequent, but I leave to anyone who thinks it’s possible. In the meantime, what we have left is Premise 1, such that if that is less probable than minimal historicity, then I would be convinced historicity should be affirmed (particularly as the ‘political fiction’ theory already fits historicity and thus is not really a challenge to it – indeed that’s often the very kind of fiction that gets written about historical persons.)

And there you are - that is Carrier's big problem. He is viewing the gospel Jesus story through a Pauline lens. A political theory "suits the Gospels well" - and yet, re Carrier, this gives the political theories a low probability......

Carrier needs to realize that a claim for the historicity of the gospel Jesus, a figure that does reflect zealot characteristics (re Reza Aslan's Zealot) is in fact a political claim. How much plainer could the gospel story be when it puts that King of the Jews sign over the crucified man? The gospel writers, and any Jew of that time, and even now, were not just interested in abstract theological or philosophical ideas - they are interested in politics, interested in the social/political arena in which they lived. Such interests being heightened, during the gospel time frame, due to Roman occupation.

Indeed, Carrier can keep his celestial christ figure - what he can't do is impose this celestial christ figure upon the gospel Jesus story. Theological and philosophical ideas are fine, in their place. However, when theology infiltrates social/political structures it produces social/political problems. Likewise, interpreting the gospel story through a Pauline theological/philosophical lens reduces the social/political relevance of that story. Theology cannot be allowed to trump the relevance of history to the gospel story.

viewtopic.php?p=14733#p14733

Carrier should not be simply rejecting, without consideration, the theory Greg Doudna presented him with. Perhaps, the context of Carrier's Bible and Interpretation article was not the best place to confront him with the Jesus ben Saphat theory. Although I noticed that in his website review of Lena Einhorn's book A Shift in Time, he wrote: '' Normally I wouldn’t bother with another amateur treatise on this subject. And in fact, please don’t send me yours. As a rule, I have no interest in such works.''. That's his prerogative of course. He could simply have stated, to Greg Doudna, his position on such theories instead of going into attack mode. How to get his attention ? Looks like one has to become a 'Patron' and buy some face time with him.....''After six months of support at this level, as a one-time gift, you can claim one free video chat with me of up to one hour. During which you can consult me on anything in my wheelhouse.''
He and Ehrman have no problem demanding payment for their services, I'll grant you that.
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Jax
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by Jax »

maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:41 am It looks as though Richard Carrier is going to let Greg Doudna have the last word re their exchange on the Bible and Interpretation website. (it's a week now since Greg's last post)

Apart from addressing the issue of his 'tone' - I can't see what else Carrier can say re the substance of Greg's theory re Jesus ben Saphat being the historical Jesus. After Richard labeling it 'speculation' methinks it's up to Greg to move his argument forward in some way.

The relationship, if any, between the gospel story and Josephus has been an ongoing debate. Did the gospel writers use Josephus, use aspects of his stories and reflections of his figures in their own stories - thereby dating their own Jesus story after the writing of Josephus. Such comparisons have produced a number of theories. Judas/Jesus of Galilee, The Egyptian, Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Saphat. And of course, Josephus is pointed to as establishing, via the TF, support for the historicity of the gospel Jesus figure. (albeit a Josephan passage carrying it's own loaded baggage). Then we have the Josephan story of John the Baptiser - linked to the gospel figure. (interestingly, Greg Doudna has cut this link by suggesting a misplacement by Josephus i.e. the Josephan John the Baptizer figure relates to the Hasmonean Hyrancus II). And then we have the James passage linked to the NT Jesus story.

Perhaps it's time to call out the elephant in the room. The fact that is staring one in the face, in clear sight. Josephus, and whatever school of intellectuals and philosophers he was associated with, had a hand in the developing Jesus story. How many more Jesus figures do we have to find in Josephus before the penny drops - both the gospel writers and Josephus were drawing from the same historical well. Hasmonean history. If, as seems obvious, reflections of figures and events in the writings of Josephus can be observed in the gospel story - a story that is itself reflecting Hasmonean history - then are we not dealing with a circle of writers with the same objective. A circle of writers that brought about a new philosophical approach to Jewish thinking. An approach that was to lead to what became Christianity. (Unfortunately, a Christianity that was soon to loose its way....)

Time, methinks, to face that elephant in the room. Ignoring it's presence, turning a blind eye, is for the faint of heart - maybe it's time for 'onward christian soldiers'..... ;)
Personally, I don't think anyone could not notice the convenient timing of when Josephus was writing and when the Gospels might possibly have been written. For me anyway, the similarities of content make it all but certain that the Gospel writers are using Josephus.

Good luck getting someone that needs a historical Jesus in the 30s to go along with that though.
maryhelena
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Re: On the hypothesis that the Gospel Jesus == Jesus ben Saphat

Post by maryhelena »

Jax wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 8:41 am
maryhelena wrote: Wed Mar 31, 2021 4:41 am It looks as though Richard Carrier is going to let Greg Doudna have the last word re their exchange on the Bible and Interpretation website. (it's a week now since Greg's last post)

Apart from addressing the issue of his 'tone' - I can't see what else Carrier can say re the substance of Greg's theory re Jesus ben Saphat being the historical Jesus. After Richard labeling it 'speculation' methinks it's up to Greg to move his argument forward in some way.

The relationship, if any, between the gospel story and Josephus has been an ongoing debate. Did the gospel writers use Josephus, use aspects of his stories and reflections of his figures in their own stories - thereby dating their own Jesus story after the writing of Josephus. Such comparisons have produced a number of theories. Judas/Jesus of Galilee, The Egyptian, Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Saphat. And of course, Josephus is pointed to as establishing, via the TF, support for the historicity of the gospel Jesus figure. (albeit a Josephan passage carrying it's own loaded baggage). Then we have the Josephan story of John the Baptiser - linked to the gospel figure. (interestingly, Greg Doudna has cut this link by suggesting a misplacement by Josephus i.e. the Josephan John the Baptizer figure relates to the Hasmonean Hyrancus II). And then we have the James passage linked to the NT Jesus story.

Perhaps it's time to call out the elephant in the room. The fact that is staring one in the face, in clear sight. Josephus, and whatever school of intellectuals and philosophers he was associated with, had a hand in the developing Jesus story. How many more Jesus figures do we have to find in Josephus before the penny drops - both the gospel writers and Josephus were drawing from the same historical well. Hasmonean history. If, as seems obvious, reflections of figures and events in the writings of Josephus can be observed in the gospel story - a story that is itself reflecting Hasmonean history - then are we not dealing with a circle of writers with the same objective. A circle of writers that brought about a new philosophical approach to Jewish thinking. An approach that was to lead to what became Christianity. (Unfortunately, a Christianity that was soon to loose its way....)

Time, methinks, to face that elephant in the room. Ignoring it's presence, turning a blind eye, is for the faint of heart - maybe it's time for 'onward christian soldiers'..... ;)
Personally, I don't think anyone could not notice the convenient timing of when Josephus was writing and when the Gospels might possibly have been written. For me anyway, the similarities of content make it all but certain that the Gospel writers are using Josephus.

Good luck getting someone that needs a historical Jesus in the 30s to go along with that though.
Methinks the historicists will stick to the gospel time frame re the 30s. After all even Josephus places the TF in a context of Jews expelled from Rome i.e. around 19 c.e. The historicists that want to time-shift the gospel story are chasing shadows. Seeing reflections of the gospel story in Josephus is not a reason to time-shift the gospel story. Reflections are what they are - reflections. They are not a replacement for the gospel story timeframe. The gospel story itself is a reflection on Hasmonean history - thus it's double vision time seeing a further reflection of that history placed in a later time period in the writing of Josephus.

The time-shift proponents need to check their premises. That means concentrating on the gospel story before chasing any reflections of that story they might observe in the writing of Josephus.

After all which is more probable: 1.The gospel writers wrote their Jesus story from the writings of Josephus. 2. Both Josephus and the gospel writers were drawing water from the same historical well.

1. Diminishes the gospel writers as copycat writers, plagiarists.
2. Opens up the field of research for early christian origins.
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