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Theological debate: please join me inside.


mrcrow

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Rob, While I had no issue with the rest of your post. This is a bit inaccurate. The Hebrews had compiled a version of Old Testament Scripture as early as 200-250 BC. It was in circulation by the time of Christ. Now obviously I'm talking about hand printed scroll copies. But they were in circulation enough for their to be copies in most of the synagogues at the time of Christ.


In fact the Septuagint ( a greek copy of the Hebrew scriptures) for Jewish converts appeared around 200 BC too. And was available in many temples and some libraries thru-out the ancient world.


And the Latin Vulgate ( a full Latin Bible) was finalized about 400 AD. Before the vulgate their were plenty of copies of epistles and gospels in circulation. Again these became readily available in early churches and some libraries. So while the scriptures didn't appear in the language of the common man until around 1500. They were available to Scholars and Clergy far earlier. So Christianity was not practicing without the Bible for 1500 years, not even close.






 

 

You are correct, I was not very clear on that. That is what I meant, that by the time of Christ, there was a Greek version of the Hebrew scriptures in use.

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"Considerable"?


I can think of at most three or four significant historians who doubt his historical existence. Heck, even G.A. Wells acknowledges Q at this point, and he's perhaps the most vocal "Jesus wasn't historical" scholar of the 20th century.

 

 

I think that's enough to be considered. Don't you?

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claiming to be God. Clearly the Jews who heard him at that moment thoght he was claiming to be God. I don't recall Jesus issuing a clarification later. Again Luke in acts calls the church something "bought with Gods own blood". Who else came and bought the church? Luke clearly believed Jesus was God.

 

 

Perhaps you didn't read the rest of the prophecy.

 

Isaiah 9:7

Of the increase of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David's throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty

will accomplish this.

 

Jesus, if he existed at all, certainly did not reign on David's throne. He established no kingdom. So while the prophecy may be applicable to the Messiah, it is not applicable to Jesus, who did not fulfill it.

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I'm not sure why the first account being written well after Jesus' death is too critical. Afterall, the Apostles would have had expectations of Jesus return (He was coming back "soon."). Why write something down in that case? Perhaps KK will weigh in on that, too.

 

 

Indeed, Jesus is said to have claimed several times that he would return within the lives of those listening to him.

 

Still waiting...

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I didn't say it was, but KK implied that first hand accounts led validity to the story.


As far as I know the first mention of him in historical, non-religious, writing was Josephus. There are other mentions of him in historical writings as well. There probably was a man named Jesus back then. Big deal, there's a guy named Jesus who works on the assembly line at my company.

 

 

The mention in Josephus, the Testimonium Flavianum is highly debated, and is questionable at best.

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I said, "some would argue", not I would argue. I'm sure that there's plenty of rhetoric on the subject online if you care to take it up with them. Again, I haven't looked into enough to form an opinion one way or another, but I do personally know people who have been in the very real danger of "going away" because they happened to be Christians in countries where that's not kindly looked upon. Call it Atheism or anti-religion, I'll leave the labels up to you.

 

 

"Because they're Christian" doesn't mean that their persecutors are necessarily atheist. Likewise, even if they are atheist, it doesn't necessarily follow that that is the reason for the persecution of Christians. So any claim that it is done "in the name of atheism" remains unsupported.

 

Which brings up a question. If you're not going to support it, why bring it up?

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They're based on 1st hand accounts if the people writing them were there, regardless of when it was written.

 

 

But memories fade and change over time, so even if they were written by people who were there, it is by no means certain that what they wrote, what they remember, is what actually happened. That's why contemporary sources are so important to historians.

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The debate is only over the manner in which he was discussed. He is definitely mentioned.

 

 

But necessarily by Josephus. It is quite possible that the entire mention is an interpolation by a later Christian. Eusebius is a common suspect.

 

The most compelling argument against the Testimonium Flavianum for me is that Origen, who was obviously familiar with Josephus, never referenced the Testimonium, even when it would have been in his interest to do so. This implies that he was not aware of it, which could only be the case if it wasn't in the copy of Josephus' "Antiquities" that he read. That implies that it was added later.

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i wonder myself to the import of god in the flesh as jesus actually died...but that was when god departed from him and left him to take on all sin..god couldnt be a part of that

so we have god and jesus separated at the crucifiction

the only connection between them being the conception by the holy spirit being gods own

so in concept jesus was god and then developed humanities so he could experience our existence and then suffer from it

he could forgive sin and heal...an attribute only credited to god..by the jews

jesus was resurrected on the third day...as a dead human..by god no doubt as reward for faith, obedience, and sacrifice

my position is that whatever the theology was the effect would be the same for christians in their relationship to god through the blood of jesus..which definately was human

in the book of acts jesus was asked when he would return

no one knows the day or the hour...except the father he stated...so meaning he didnt know not having the mind of god

altogether quite mystifying

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"Because they're Christian" doesn't mean that their persecutors are necessarily atheist. Likewise, even if they are atheist, it doesn't necessarily follow that that is the reason for the persecution of Christians. So any claim that it is done "in the name of atheism" remains unsupported.


Which brings up a question. If you're not going to support it, why bring it up?

 

Again, I'll leave the labeling up to you. And it doesn't matter whether the subjects are Christians, Muslims or Jewish, the fact is there are and have been countries and governments who are against the freedom of religion and will use extreme tactics to enforce their code. Do you dispute this? There have been countless stories of people in North Korea, Cambodia, China, etc... "disappearing" because they've made the mistake of discussing religion.

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But necessarily by Josephus. It is quite possible that the entire mention is an interpolation by a later Christian. Eusebius is a common suspect.


The most compelling argument against the
Testimonium Flavianum
for me is that Origen.

 

 

That only would cover Testimonium Flavium. AFAIK, there is no debate that Josephus mentions Jesus as the brother of Joseph.

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Here's what gets me:


Straight outta Exodus:



According to the ten commandments worshiping this Jesus character is in direct violation of that commandment.


The only argument that can be surmised is that Jesus is the manifestation of some god/deity/etc. Otherwise (and I'm trying not to laugh while I type this) the followers might be hypocrites.


I know I know. Hard to believe, eh?

 

That commandment refers to idols that are made. Probably a better argument for you would be Commandment #2, the idea being something like "You shall have no other gods before me".

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But memories fade and change over time, so even if they were written by people who were there, it is by no means certain that what they wrote, what they remember, is what actually happened. That's why contemporary sources are so important to historians.

 

Read up on Verbal Transmission. The Jewish people took a lot of pride in their ability to relay information down through the generations with an incredibly high degree of accuracy.

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Indeed, Jesus is said to have claimed several times that he would return within the lives of those listening to him.


Still waiting...

 

'Tis all about interpretation, which makes things really difficult when you throw culture and tradition into the mix.

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That commandment refers to idols that are made. Probably a better argument for you would be Commandment #2, the idea being something like "You shall have no other gods before me".

 

 

good observation..god gave the commandments to a idolatrious nation coming out of egypt having lived there and not known the true god

 

god is referring to gods whom the egyptians worshipped

 

jesus as god in the flesh could be worshipped...but he usually indicated that god was to be worshipped..

 

now he is worshipped as god..fulfilling his destiny and returning to the father...presumably as the word again

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Perhaps you didn't read the rest of the prophecy.


Isaiah 9:7

Of the increase of his government and peace

there will be no end.

He will reign on David's throne

and over his kingdom,

establishing and upholding it

with justice and righteousness

from that time on and forever.

The zeal of the LORD Almighty

will accomplish this.


Jesus, if he existed at all, certainly did not reign on David's throne. He established no kingdom. So while the prophecy may be applicable to the Messiah, it is not applicable to Jesus, who did not fulfill it.

 

I'll take your "if Jesus existed at all" with a grain of salt. In between the Gospels, his effect on the culture, the testimony of his followers, and his mentions in outside sources, we have more evidence of Christ then almost anyone else in the ancient world. Perhaps Julius Caesar didn't exist either, after all the only "proofs" we have of his existence are the writings of historians who were obviously biased in their views, certainly as biased as any of the gospel writers? ;)

 

As a Christian I would also disagree strongly with your interpretation of the rest of IS 9. Jesus did start a Kingdom, it just wasn't of this earth, and the establishment of Peace was peace in the heart. He explained this clearly to his followers, and the history that followed showed this clearly fulfilled. The Church is truly a representation of the Kingdom on earth and it has proven to have as much influence (not all of it admittedly good) as any physical kingdom has on the planet. Again Christ clearly said to the Jews that he was God "Before Abraham was, I am". I see no contradictions here.

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I'll take your "if Jesus existed at all" with a grain of salt. In between the Gospels, his effect on the culture, the testimony of his followers, and his mentions in outside sources, we have more evidence of Christ then almost anyone else in the ancient world. Perhaps Julius Caesar didn't exist either, after all the only "proofs" we have of his existence are the writings of historians who were obviously biased in their views, certainly as biased as any of the gospel writers?
;)

As a Christian I would also disagree strongly with your interpretation of the rest of IS 9. Jesus did start a Kingdom, it just wasn't of this earth, and the establishment of Peace was peace in the heart. He explained this clearly to his followers, and the history that followed showed this clearly fulfilled. The Church is truly a representation of the Kingdom on earth and it has proven to have as much influence (not all of it admittedly good) as any physical kingdom has on the planet. Again Christ clearly said to the Jews that he was God "Before Abraham was, I am". I see no contradictions here.

 

 

I don't think that's anywhere near where "accurate" would sit, sorry.

As far as Ceasar vs. Jesus:

 

You have the writings of Julius Ceasar to start with, then we have the writings of well known and respected historians immediately following his death.

 

As far as Jesus, we have books written by numerous unknown authors a hundred years after his death.

 

This is a played out comparison that literally holds no water IMO. I mean, C'mon you are comparing emporers to carpenters here...if nothing else, common sense would lead one to believe you would have plenty of evidence for the existence of Ceasar.

 

 

Dan

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As a Christian I would also disagree strongly with your interpretation of the rest of IS 9. Jesus did start a Kingdom, it just wasn't of this earth, and the establishment of Peace was peace in the heart. He explained this clearly to his followers, and the history that followed showed this clearly fulfilled. The Church is truly a representation of the Kingdom on earth and it has proven to have as much influence (not all of it admittedly good) as any physical kingdom has on the planet.

 

 

NT Wright has written some pretty good stuff on this topic. His book "Surprised by Hope", in particular really makes you go "hmmmm". I hate his writing style, but his thinking is really good.

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Again, I'll leave the labeling up to you. And it doesn't matter whether the subjects are Christians, Muslims or Jewish, the fact is there are and have been countries and governments who are against the freedom of religion and will use extreme tactics to enforce their code. Do you dispute this? There have been countless stories of people in North Korea, Cambodia, China, etc... "disappearing" because they've made the mistake of discussing religion.

 

 

Of course I don't dispute that. Only a fool disputes demonstrable facts. What I dispute is that any of it was done "in the name of atheism".

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That only would cover Testimonium Flavium. AFAIK, there is no debate that Josephus mentions Jesus as the brother of Joseph.

 

 

Jesus was the brother of Joseph?

 

Perhaps you mean that Josephus mentions James as being the brother of Jesus.

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Read up on Verbal Transmission. The Jewish people took a lot of pride in their ability to relay information down through the generations with an incredibly high degree of accuracy.

 

 

And yet, differences occur. Look at the differences between the Hebrew Bible and the Septuagint.

 

Verbal transmission has little if anything, to do with what one person remembers and writes down decades after the event. Rather, it has to do with a group of people memorizing a story and passing it on, correcting each other in the retelling, and agreeing on a standardized version. I know of no evidence that this was the case with the NT books.

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'Tis all about interpretation, which makes things really difficult when you throw culture and tradition into the mix.

 

 

That also completely trashes the argument that the meaning of the Bible is clear, or available to the layman simply by reading it.

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