3 bad arguments for the existence of Jesus
28th Oct. 2021 | The Counsel of Trent
- "better proven than Julius Caesar"
- The argument you try to denounce as inadequate is not "there was more evidence for Jesus than for Julius Caesar in the first C. AD" but "there is more evidence for Jesus than for Caesar Julius left to us now" - and the relative positions of Our Lord and Julius Caesar in 1st C BC Rome and 1st C AD Palestine is not relevant to that.
It's more a question on which community was best at preserving evidence.
5:54 Your comparison with William Wallace goes to the heart of the comparison with Caesar.
While we have knowledge of Caesar from his own writings, earliest example of these we have is a manuscript from Francia written in Carolingian minuscule writing. I. e. it is way less proven by early manuscripts than the Gospels are, since from 1000 years after Caesar lived. [After 5:54 Trent Horn admitted this too.]
- Coins is overrated. We have coins with Pallas Athena and do not consider her as being a historic archon of Athens.
Inscriptions of Julius Caesar? A quick search on the Google doesn't reveal any. We have inscriptions about Caracalla Caesar, since he built much in Rome, like baths, and we have inscriptions with the name Caesar on pedestals of statues supposed to be of him.
So, I think the argument stands despite the rejection by Tim O'Neill, who is in fact has blocked me both on his blog and on quora.
Inscriptions dedicated to him ... well, some of them on pagan altars, I'd suppose?
We have such dedicated inscriptions to precisely Jesus on lots of churches.
His autobiography? Not all of it, and its earliest extant manuscript is from c. 900 - 1000 years after he lived.
- "Pilate's letter" +
- "we have found no such reports at all"
We don't have those archives any more. Tertullian did. Btw, those archives would obviously also be including lots of now lost proofs for Julius Caesar.
Now, Tertullian mentioning Pilate's letter is a very good parallel to people like Velleius Paterculus or Tacitus with Suetonius (both preserved, but around a gap of non-preserved historians - except Synoptics are preserved from the time of this gap) mentioning Caesar from the same archives.
- "Lentillus/Lentilius" is very fairly using Renaissance canons of descriptions of persons, ancient authors usually didn't do such.
I know the Renaissance canons of descriptions from Erasmus, Opus de Conscribendis Epistolis - I did my D level essay on it (or fourth term, if that's clearer, in Latin language and literature studies).
- "Testimonium Flavianum" (only bad if you don't know the arguments against it)
- Josephus could have given the story as told by Christians without stating how much he agreed. Up to the destruction of the temple, as you mentioned earlier in the video, things were somewhat less clearly limited between Christians and Jews. Josephus can have been a sympathiser (he had to get an imperially paid lawyer to get him accepted among Jews at one point) without being fully Christian too. Or he could have stated all of these things with some reservations of a nasty type that a Christian copyist left out as blasphemies. Or he could have wavered.
Orthodox credit him with being a hagiographer of IV Maccabees (which they consider canonic).
15:53 Christians do call Our Lord true God and true Man.
And "if indeed one ought to call him a man" can express either Christian admission of divinity or anti-Christian sentiment stamping Him as subhuman.
16:04 "surprising deeds" could refer to the double cleansing of the temple and dining with sinners.
before 16:11 "he was the Christ" need not be interpolated, it could mean a Jewish rejection about a failed messianity - starting good but "he blew it" ... A Christian would not have used past tense.
The words about resurrection and according to Scripture can have been Josephus' reference about what Christians believed.
- Does it matter if there was historical Jesus of Nazareth? Christianity is not based on the mere existence of this man. Rather, it is based on this man being God, dying for mankind's sins and resurrecting from the dead. There exists NO evidence for these claims. But, I want to thank Trent Horn for finally dealing with the ridiculous claim that there is more evidence for Jesus than other people from antiquity like Julius Caesar.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- Finally and ridiculous are strong words.
If the words in TF are genuine, the Christian story of the Resurrection can't be a later addition, if Christians back in Josephus' youth hand't believed that, he wouldn't have written so to accomodate their later beliefs, if he knew they had changed them (and it's likelier he knew them in his youth than later on).
This brings up the question who moved the stone. Or in other words, why the early Christians believed that. It's true? One option. Involves there being a God and that God preferring Christianity over Judaism and Islam, which is irksome to some. It's not true? How did it come to be believed then? A fake resurrection has to be a real sth else.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl I'm not saying there was a "fake resurrection". All I am saying is that no good evidence exists that supports the claim.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @colinmatts If the belief in the resurrection could only be traced some three hundred years after the facts, you might have had a point.
If however the very first Christians believed it, back in the youth of Josephus, that's the cue for a conundrum:
Who moved the stone? No one? If the grave was intact, the Pharisees and Priests could just have pointed to it. The disciples? Not likely when they were soon enough going to be martyred for the claim they were making. The authorities? They could have pointed to the new grave. An angel? Well, that means there was a resurrection.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl All this stuff about who moved the stone, why was the tomb empty, how were the women the first to see the risen Jesus is just a part of the claim. Historically, no one has ever presented evidence that any of it is true. It doesn't matter how far back people were believing the story. That tells us nothing about how true it is or even how likely it is to be true
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @colinmatts A claim has three changes of being made : being true, being lied, being said from honest mistake. Contents of the claim in this case can rule out honest mistake, fates of claimants from early on can rule out lie, leaves being true.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl It's a story. A story with little or no substantiating evidence. We actually don't know what the fates of the claimants was. If, by the claimants, you mean the disciples, history has no record of how any of them died. The stories of martyrdom are just church tradition. " the claims of martyred apostles do not rely upon historical or biblical evidence, but only on tradition"- Gary Wills, "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis" (2015)
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @colinmatts "It's a story."
One claiming to be true. That being the primary type of evidence for any event of the past.
"A story with little or no substantiating evidence."
It's sufficiently evident it was not made up by Rowling a few decades ago.
"We actually don't know what the fates of the claimants was. If, by the claimants, you mean the disciples, history has no record of how any of them died."
Yes, for instance Peter's martyrdom.
"The stories of martyrdom are just church tradition. " the claims of martyred apostles do not rely upon historical or biblical evidence, but only on tradition"- Gary Wills, "The Future of the Catholic Church with Pope Francis" (2015)"
Tradition is the collection of stories from the past that are our primary way of knowing history. That Gary Wills doesn't see that bodes better for the future of a Catholic CHurch without antipope Bergoglio.
- @Hans-Georg Lundahl There are thousands of people every year claiming to be abducted by aliens. Do you believe their stories are evidence for the truth of alien abduction? You can go and speak to some of these people and hear their stories from their own mouths. You can't do that for anyone who told the gospel stories.
I never said anything about it being "made up". I just don't see how anyone can know which parts of the story are true and which parts are not. Being skeptical about miracle claims and resurrections is a good place to start though.
"Theologians Donald Fay Robinson and Warren M. Smaltz have suggested that the incident in Acts 12:1–17, where Peter is "released by an angel" and goes to "another place", really represents an idealized account of his death, which may have occurred in a Jerusalem prison as early as AD 44." Most of what is believed about Peter's death and burial is based on church tradition. I think you are confusing tradition with actual history.
There hasn't been an "antipope" in the Catholic church since the 15th century
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- @colinmatts "There are thousands of people every year claiming to be abducted by aliens."
"Do you believe their stories are evidence for the truth of alien abduction?"
At least for some type of alien abduction - whether demonic or hallucinating or code for evil people they nickname "grey ones" - but the historic fact such and such experienced an alien abduction does not prove the idea (not detail of story as it goes from beginning of end, but idea supposed behind it) that such and such abducters actually came in space ships from Alpha Centauri or from Orion or whatever.
"You can go and speak to some of these people and hear their stories from their own mouths."
Very probable. This tends to confirm that some real demonic abductions happened. If such and such had had a purely mental delusion, he would probably have been still to this day in mental hospital. If they abduct ten times more people than who are mad (if shrinks do so, not real or supposed aliens), this means a madman who just suffered a hallucination would not be out and telling the story.
There is more of a connection between the historic fact of the Resurrection (as experienced by Apostles) and the idea Jesus Christ is lord over life and death, than there is between the historic fact of such and such being abducted and the idea the abductors came in space ships from other galaxies.
"You can't do that for anyone who told the gospel stories."
The exact reason why it is so valuable to have proof they were told early on in that precise way.
"I never said anything about it being "made up". I just don't see how anyone can know which parts of the story are true and which parts are not."
I have. [an idea about it]
- 1) Ideas can be left aside until the historic facts are there (ideas : an abductor being from space or an abductor being from Hell or an abductor being a hallucination, Christ risen being God, Christ risen being a clever alien, Christ risen being aided by clever aliens);
- 2) what can be observed (not what can be so now, but the kind of thing that could be observed) is historic fact about observations;
- 3) some observations can't be hallucinations (like, collective hysteria will not cause collective hallucinations, that's a thing that doesn't exist).
"Being skeptical about miracle claims and resurrections is a good place to start though."
No. Being open minded either way is.
Your quote: "Theologians Donald Fay Robinson and Warren M. Smaltz have suggested that the incident in Acts 12:1–17, where Peter is "released by an angel" and goes to "another place", really represents an idealized account of his death, which may have occurred in a Jerusalem prison as early as AD 44."
Same source as previous? Either way, Donald Fay Robinson was simply not there and neither was Warren M. Schmalz, and both obviously had an anti-miraculous bias.
"Most of what is believed about Peter's death and burial is based on church tradition. I think you are confusing tradition with actual history."
The actual events are neither the tradition about them, nor the guesses by Robinson and Schmalz about them. But the actual events are usually known - if so at all - from precisely tradition. N O T from educated guesses by modern scholars. Unless these stick very closely to - precisely - tradition. We know Caesar's Bellum Gallicum was an actual war account, 7 books of 8 by the general himself, from Imperial Roman tradition. Not from a guess by a modern scholar.
Modern scholarly guesses have their function, like explaining discrepancies between traditions, but Acts 12 involving an angel and a miracle simply isn't such a thing.
"There hasn't been an "antipope" in the Catholic church since the 15th century"
You forget Roncalli, Montini, possibly Luciani, Wojtyla, Ratzinger and Bergoglio. And at least the last three with a real Pope whom they are since 1990 in rivalry with (David Bawden took the name Michael after an emergency conclave). Falseness of the claim is enough to be antipope, and heresy prior to election is enough to have one's election invalid (unless the heresy was repented first).
- Trent Horn, did I get you right, you said, on the authority of "nearly all scholars" that Jesus was a marginal Jew?
Would you consider that Martin Luther King and Elvis Presley were marginal US Americans, just because they were not Presidents or Cardinal Archbishops of New York?
Or are you referring to "marginal" as in fact little known? Then you are contradicting the Holy Spirit:
And fear came upon all their neighbours; and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea.
And the fame of him was spread forthwith into all the country of Galilee.
And the fame hereof went abroad into all that country.
And after these things the Lord appointed also other seventy-two: and he sent them two and two before his face into every city and place whither he himself was to come.
And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name.
And the one of them, whose name was Cleophas, answering, said to him: Art thou only a stranger to Jerusalem, and hast not known the things that have been done there in these days?
Ye men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you, by miracles, and wonders, and signs, which God did by him, in the midst of you, as you also know:
- Woo Hoo
- Around time stamp 18:00 you mention the argument of silence however as Richard Carrier points out in 2Peter they must have been battling a mythicist movement by this verse ““For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
There’s no reason to mention this unless some in the church were beginning to believe Jesus was a myth
- A Lone Man Named Fro
- That is a black-and-white fallacy. There could potentially be many reasons to mention that is mentioned that particular passage. You have to assume mythicism is true in order to come to your interpretation.
- Woo Hoo
- @A Lone Man Named Fro give me other reason to write that ?
- A Lone Man Named Fro
- @Woo Hoo
Easy. No one here is denying the existence of Jesus. He's not being treated as a mythological figure, But rather people are beginning to question whether or not he actually rose from the dead. And this is certainly no real surprise. Paul had to produce the 500 eyewitnesses in order to quell the fears of other Gentile Christians during persecution.
Peter, is no doubt having Paul's problem. That's why he calls himself an eyewitness of Jesus Christ's majesty. Peter is making special care to highlight the royalty of Christ. This is important because we believe Christ is ruling in heaven as the Son of God.
Now which interpretation is correct? The truth is we don't actually know. Peter never unpacked his material enough to get a more clear view of what's happening in his time. But as you can see mythicism is not the only valid interpretation what's going on here.
And when you compare that to the rest of the New Testament and history at large, I think you can make a decent case that mythicism is probably one of the least likely explanations.
- Woo Hoo
- @A Lone Man Named Fro I would say that the word "fable" and in some translation "myth" is used tilts it toward mythicism but I do appreciate your response and agree we do not have enough information to make a definitive conclusion as is true with almost all of the Bible :) and why we have over 3,000 Christian sects.
- Hans-Georg Lundahl
- "There’s no reason to mention this unless some in the church were beginning to believe Jesus was a myth"
What about all the Pharisees and others (later resumed as them that say they are Jews and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan, and even later, in same author's Gospel, by narrator voice, as "the Jews") who, by definition believed the Resurrection was a fable?
- And the argument about Caesar, you cited Tim O'Neill for Julius leaving an autobiography, and I thought it was the very partial one for which we have so late manuscripts, Bellum Gallicum and Bellum Civile. I think you mentioned that you left a link to his response on quora, but the link is now not in the description.
I then realised, the "autobiography" was that not of Julius Caesar, but of Caesar Augustus. And the autobiography is "monumentum Ancyranum" - the most complete stele being from Ankara, and the (presumed!) original in Rome destroyed. It was presumably not even raised by Augustus but after his death. It's not on par with the Gospels as evidence even for Augustus, let alone for Julius. Again, it is not about how much evidence was available in 50 AD, but how much is so now.
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