ForumsWEPRWhat do we know about Jesus?

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09philj
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09philj
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It is generally accepted among historians that only to facts about Jesus are almost certainly true:
1. That he was baptised by John the Baptist. (From the reliable source Josephus)
2. That he was executed on the orders of the Roman Pontius Pilate.
No other information is from a reliable source, so we can only speculate. What do you think?

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Freakenstein
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Freakenstein
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Nos Monte Vesuviem quam unum deus intellexerunt, sed nihil curo.

MattEmAngel
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MattEmAngel
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I think this thread is going to quickly devolve into the "Atheism VS Theism" thread. I noticed that you ignored the Bible as a "reliable source," so you're already biased towards the question, which is essentially a flame war waiting to happen.

Not worth answering.

Ernie15
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Ernie15
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I noticed that you ignored the Bible as a "reliable source,"


Now that's an entirely different debate in and of itself.

My one cent: The fact is, we know very little about Jesus or anything that went on in Biblical times, but I don't see that as a reason to advocate against the entire religion as a whole. I go by the definition that religion is based on faith, not facts, and while I don't practice any religion (I don't have faith in anything), there's no reason why other people shouldn't have faith in something relatively unknown if it makes them happy.

Just my input to keep this from turning into an Atheism vs. Theism thread.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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I noticed that you ignored the Bible as a "reliable source," so you're already biased towards the question


This is not (pron. not) related to any bias on his part. There are stringent limitations upon what sources can qualify as "reliable". At best, we may conclude that it meets two criteria; being a primary source, and having high spacial/temporal proximity to some of the events described. It falls far short of every other standard. It has no support from independent sources. It is derived from highly biased and conflicting accounts. It has been edited at length and rewritten several times over.

Personally, I would call the claims of Josephus into question as well.
09philj
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09philj
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Personally, I would call the claims of Josephus into question as well.

Why? I like history; tell me more.

I think this thread is going to quickly devolve into the "Atheism VS Theism" thread.

Not if we keep it confined to a historical rather than metaphysical stance. I see it as being more likely devolve into a debate on the trustworthiness of any historical source. I ignored the Bible as a historical source for the reasons FishPreferred gave, but I would dispute whether it actually was first written at any time near to the events it describes. Additionally, there are multiple parts which are evidently wrong. For example, the whole basis of the christmas story (the census) makes no sense:
1. Nothing is known in history of a general census by Augustus.
2. In a Roman census Joseph would not have had to travel to Bethlehem, and Mary would not have had to travel at all.
3. No Roman census would have been made in Judea during the reign of Herod.
4. Josephus records no such census and it would have been a notable innovation.

Now, to look at things from an alternative view, at the time Jesus would have been active as a faith leader, (I will assume this is true, but it may not be) many people were trying to get people to follow their teachings, so Jesus must have had something they didn't. Was he truly special? Did he have a greater conviction? Or was he just a better liar?
Moegreche
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Moegreche
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I would claim no historical knowledge whatsoever about Jesus. In fact, I would call into question the basic claim that he existed in the first place! The similarities to other mythologies cannot be overlooked and serve to demotivate the notion that Jesus was a real person. (Philosophically, this last claim is tricky and subtle and depends on the theory of reference that's in the background).
To be clear, I also don't claim to know that Jesus didn't exist. I find the claim that he existed to be quite dubious, but not enough to tip the scales beyond withholding a belief. And since I'm withholding belief, I'm not even in the market for knowledge in this respect.

09philj
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09philj
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I would call into question the basic claim that he existed in the first place!


A man named Jesus existed. This, at least, is probably true as the Roman records say he was executed by them on the orders of Pontius Pilate. The rest is questionable.
Moegreche
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Moegreche
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Huh, thanks for pointing that out. I wasn't aware that there were such historical records in place. And I would think that Roman record keeping would be pretty reliable.
A quick Google search also revealed this on Jesus' Wikipedia page: "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically". I tend to cede to experts in a particular domain, though I (for some reason I can't put my finger on) can't seem to revise my belief withholding.
In the same Wikepedia article (located here ) there is also this fact that stood out:
"The first-century works of historian Flavius Josephus ... refer to at least twenty different people with the name Jesus."
This is at least an explanation for a Jesus being crucified. But it may well not be the best explanation (given the other information in the background, I'm leaning towards thinking this isn't even close to the best explanation).
On the plus side, my doxastic quandary strongly motivates doxastic involuntarism!

Minotaur55
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Nos Monte Vesuviem quam unum deus intellexerunt, sed nihil curo.


I'm sorry but you cannot speak Palestinianese in this forum. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ban you.

Now that's an entirely different debate in and of itself.


I think Matt means it is easy for this thread to curve in a direction similar to "Atheists VS Theists". He's not wrong. From what I see the end of this thread has already begun.

I see it as being more likely devolve into a debate on the trustworthiness of any historical source.


Isn't that every thread in WEPR that has appeared in the last year (2013 I mean)?

Here is my input. The truth is we cannot have a stable input about the historically recorded events of Jesus because his whole existence is debatable, and the sources that record his existence are not intended to be used for historical verification - the bible didn't record history. This is a major factor.

Second, even if we were to prove Jesus existed we still need to question the possibility of his actions. The only source recording (in a slightly indirect manner) his life and actions was the bible and very little in the bible has been confirmed to be truth in scientific practices. This suggests we need to retrace his footsteps and find the truth as to what he had done in his life - that is if you accept the premise he lived.

A man named Jesus existed. This, at least, is probably true as the Roman records say he was executed by them on the orders of Pontius Pilate. The rest is questionable.


A man named Jesus existed, yes. But there isn't a lot of evidence to support that this is the same Jesus the bible speaks of - the son of God, capable of walking on water, and dying for man's sins.
pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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I'm sorry but you cannot speak Palestinianese


Latin :c

A man named Jesus existed. This, at least, is probably true as the Roman records say he was executed by them on the orders of Pontius Pilate. The rest is questionable.


Could I get a source for this please? Would like to read em
Freakenstein
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I'm sorry but you cannot speak Palestinianese in this forum. I'm afraid I'm going to have to ban you


What? That is clearly Latin, even though what I typed probably had incorrect conjugation XD

I think Matt means it is easy for this thread to curve in a direction similar to "Atheists VS Theists". He's not wrong. From what I see the end of this thread has already begun


See that was kinda why I took that matter to the other thread, but a couple people didn't get the hint.

Isn't that every thread in WEPR that has appeared in the last year (2013 I mean)


I'd say only 33% of the threads were about religion :P
MacII
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MacII
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[quote=09philj]A man named Jesus existed. This, at least, is probably true as the Roman records say he was executed by them on the orders of Pontius Pilate. The rest is questionable.[/quote]

[quote=Moegreche]Huh, thanks for pointing that out. I wasn't aware that there were such historical records in place. And I would think that Roman record keeping would be pretty reliable.
A quick Google search also revealed this on Jesus' Wikipedia page: "Virtually all modern scholars of antiquity agree that Jesus existed historically". I tend to cede to experts in a particular domain, though I (for some reason I can't put my finger on) can't seem to revise my belief withholding.[/quote]

I do forget all the details, however whether it was Josephus or another historical record, what's problematic about Jesus' existence or not is rather that indeed there is just a one, or perhaps a couple of, references to someone of a name that could be construed to be that having been crucified.

Now the Romans were indeed meticulous record keepers, and it would be next to impossible for this not to show up in their records; nor of someone kicking up a fuss against their rule, if such had been the case; nor and as would seem more likely, going by the Gospels and what have you, of kicking up a fuss not so much directly against them, but against the Judaic status quo of the time, thus threatening the peace in a province under their rule. There are no such records.

Re: Jospehus, remember in any event that historiography at the time wasn't what we think of it today; there was much recording on hearsay, not rarely years to decades after the fact and from not just second but third-fourth up to the umpteenth sources, and indeed a ready intermingling with mythological notions, etc.

Finally, that name or variants of it of course was far from unique, and those meagre records that do exist of someone of that name having been crucified it takes some stretch if I recall to link to the Jesus of the gospels. Again, the occasion also doesn't show up in those records (if again I do recall) as having been marked by any further special circumstances; i.e., it was just another execution that deserved no further special mention, very much business as usual.

I have come across that mention at Wikipedia before (must've been there for a while) about this supposed scholarly "consensus" regarding a historical Jesus, but while I'm far from a theologian, I do reckon that's a typical case of spuriousness such as may be found at W'edia. I reckon that may just be a matter of whether it's a scholar-believer you're asking or not, and I thought the question is very much up for debate still, with the facts looking not at all favorable for adherents. I may well be wrong.

If you ask me, I don't see how or why believers would need to feel threatened by the notion that he may not have been a historical figure; as others have noted above, the belief can stand on its own, whether he actually lived or not. (Of course, it would relegate their beliefs from being based in fact to being a matter more of allegory and metaphor, as indeed with most if not all religion; a hard pill to swallow no doubt for the literalist orthodox.)

Salvidian
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Google gave me some stuff, although most if not all of you will skim over/ignore it.








There is certainly some bias in there but I tried to get stuff from both sides.

Latin :c

What? That is clearly Latin, even though what I typed probably had incorrect conjugation XD


Mino was kidding. He speaks Latin, after all. :P
MageGrayWolf
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MageGrayWolf
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(From the reliable source Josephus)


Why would you say he is a reliable source?

A man named Jesus existed. This, at least, is probably true as the Roman records say he was executed by them on the orders of Pontius Pilate. The rest is questionable.


Far as I know there are no first hand accounts of his existence, so I have to wonder what records you're speaking of?

Far as I know there are several records of a Jesus existing (at least two off the top of my head) but they are not the ones that were likely the basis of the Biblical mythology.

Excavating The Empty Tomb

The part where it starts talking about the non-Biblical evidence for Jesus.
Excavating The Empty Tomb - Part 15A
Kennethhartanto
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Kennethhartanto
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if you ask me, the only comprehensive account on Jesus and other biblical figure is from the bible. what i do notice, is a lack of other historical accounts which would otherwise justify the presence of biblical figures. Quoting a figure from the 1st century like Josephus won't really help the justification of Jesus either, since if you read the works from an early biographer like him, you'll notice that they tend to be hyperbolic in the choice of words and frequently add unverifiable folklore and myths. Regarding that fact, i would not really trust the contents of the bible to be otherwise not full of unverifiable facts and fictions, so the only thing that you can hold on ( if you are a Christian ) is the FAITH that He exist. if you're looking for objective proofs that Jesus exist and did all those "miracles" , then i reckon that's pretty impossible, unless you can travel back in time to that period of His presumed existence

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