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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:56 pm 
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The Alleged Evidence for a Historical Jesus of Nazareth

Christian apologetics includes the claim that there are "references" from antiquity that "prove" a "historical Jesus of Nazareth" existed. This contention is false, as this "evidence" turns out to be nothing of the sort and has been rebutted for centuries by numerous mythicists. I have written about this "evidence" in my books - here are some of my articles regarding these purported references in the works of historians:

The Jesus Forgery: Josephus Untangled

Does Josephus prove a historical Jesus?

Josephus forgery on Jesus

Josephus’s Testimonium Flavianum Examined Linguistically: Greek Analysis Demonstrates the Passage a Forgery In Toto

Jesus passage in Josephus a forgery, says expert

Jesus passage in Josephus a forgery in toto, says Greek expert

Pliny, Tacitus and Suetonius: No Proof of Jesus

Is Suetonius's Chresto a Reference to Jesus?

Does Suetonius refer to Jesus?

See also my book Who Was Jesus? for more on these sources and Phlegon, Thallus, Mara Bar-Serapion, Africanus and the Talmud.

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The good folks at the "Jesus Birther Movement" have compiled a site discussing the purported sources for a historical Jesus, such as Pliny, Suetonius, Tacitus, et al.

Debunking the Fraudulent christian Apologist List of Extra-biblical but non-contemporary, claimed "sources" used as jesus "evidence." (Jewish, "Pagan," Non-christian, "Secular")

They've included some of my work.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:14 pm 
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One thing Christian apologists love to claim as evidence for Jesus is that there were at least 40 authors who mention Jesus within 150 years of his life:

9 traditional authors of the N.T.:

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, author of Hebrews, James, Peter, Jude

20 early Christian writers outside the N.T.:

Clement of Rome, 2 Clement, Ignatius, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Didache, Barnabas, Shepard of Hermes, fragments of Papias, Justin Martyr, Aristides, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch Quadratus, Aristo of Pella, Melito of Sardis, Dhognetus, Gospel of Peter, Apocalypse of Peter, Epistula Apostolorum

4 heretical writings:

Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Truth, Apocryphon of John, treatise on resurrection

9 secular sources:

Josephus, Tacitus, Pliny the Younger, Phlegon, Lucian, Celsus, Mara Bar-Serapion, Suetonius, Thallus.

It's not always just what devotees say that is wrong it can often be what they don't say. For example, not a single one of the "42 authors" ever met Jesus while he was alive. The four canonical Gospel writers were all anonymous until the names Matthew, Mark, Luke and John were added as authors late in the 2nd century. There is no contemporary eyewitness testimony for Jesus at all whatsoever. Nobody ever wrote about Jesus during his lifetime and the canonical gospels didn't exist as we have them today until around 180CE - that is what the literary and historical records show i.e. evidence that actually exists.

Even top Christian NT scholars disagree that there's credible evidence for the historical existence of Jesus:

Quote:
"One would naturally expect that the Lord Jesus Christ would be sufficiently important to receive ample notice in the literature of his time, and that extensive biographical material would be available. He was observed by multitudes of people, and his own followers numbered into the hundreds (1 Cor. 15:6), whose witness was still living in the middle of the first century. As a matter of fact, the amount of information concerning him is comparatively meager. Aside from the four Gospels, and a few scattered allusions in the epistles, contemporary history is almost silent concerning him."

- Merrill C. Tenney

- Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ (WWJ) 85-86

* Dr. Tenney is a conservative evangelical Christian who was a professor of Theological Studies and the dean of the school of Theology at Wheaton College. Tenney was also one of the original translators of the NASB and NIV editions of the Bible.

Quote:
"Apart from the New Testament writings and later writings dependent upon these, our sources of information about the life and teaching of Jesus are scanty and problematic"

- F.F. Bruce, a founder of the modern evangelical movement

- "Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ" (WWJ) page 84

Quote:
"...there are very few sources for knowledge of the historical Jesus beyond the four canonical Gospels. Paul and Josephus offer little more than tidbits. Claims that later apocryphal Gospels and the Nag Hammadi material supply independent and reliable historical information about Jesus are largely fantasy. In the end, the historian is left with the difficult task of sifting through the Four Gospels for historical tradition."

- John P. Meier

- "Who Was Jesus?" page 86

* Dr. Meier is a Catholic University New Testament professor, Catholic priest and monsignor

Quote:
"The gospels are in fact anonymous"

- Dr. Craig L. Blomberg

- WWJ (60)

Quote:
"The Gospels are neither histories nor biographies, even within the ancient tolerances for those genres."

- Dr. John Dominic Crossan

- WWJ (24)

Quote:
Jesus famed far and wide:

"These "great crowds" and "multitudes," along with Jesus's fame, are repeatedly referred to in the gospels, including at the following: Mt 4:23-25, 5:1, 8:1, 8:18, 9:8, 9:31, 9:33, 9:36, 11:7, 12:15, 13:2, 14:1, 14:13, 14:22, 15:30, 19:2, 21:9, 26:55;

Mk 1:28, 10:1; Lk 4:14, 4:37, 5:15, 14:25, etc."

- Who Was Jesus? Fingerprints of The Christ" by D. M. Murdock page 85

"Additionally, even though many times in the gospels Jesus was claimed to have been famed far and wide, not one historian of the era was aware of his existence, not even individuals who lived in, traveled around, or wrote about the relevant areas. The brief mentions of Christ, Christians or Christianity we possess from non-Christian sources are late and dubious as to their authenticity and/or value. Nor is there any valid scientific archaeological evidence demonstrating the gospel story to be true or even to support the existence of Jesus Christ. Despite this utter lack of evidence, Christian apologists and authorities make erroneous and misleading claims that there are "considerable reports" and "a surprisingly large amount of detail" regarding the life of Jesus and early Christianity."

- WWJ page 257

The one constant theme is, there's no credible evidence for a historical Jesus, same as there was no valid evidence amongst the 1st Xians either. The earliest Christians never had any evidence they could point to in order to demonstrate Jesus actually existed. If Jesus was really a carpenter, there was no work done by his hands. There were no paintings, rock carvings, writings - nothing by him at all. And, there's no evidence that the earliest Christians ever tried to claim anything by him ever existed. And what about Jesus' own family? Isn't it odd that nobody ever went to them for an interview of any kind? Where's Jesus' supposed family today? If they were real people i.e. Joseph, Mary and Jesus' siblings etc. don't you think Constantine and his mother would've sought them out? NOPE, nothing, notta, zippo, ZERO! There's never been anything beyond 'anecdotal evidence' or evidence based on hearsay.

So, it appears that in 2,000 years nothing has changed. Which is significant considering all the research, investigations and all the money / funding spent on them. So, it's really bad form for NT & biblical scholars to rigidly adhere to the a priori assumption that Jesus must have existed when there's no valid evidence substantiating that claim.

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The Jesus Challenge

The Nazareth / Bethlehem Debate

The Gospel Dates: A 2nd Century Composition?

Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History

Why I Am a Mythicist

Below are responses to a few Christian apologists:

Dr. Chris Forbes on Zeitgeist part 1, DEBUNKED

Did Jesus Really Exist? By Paul Maier, DEBUNKED

Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie by Dr. Mark Foreman, DEBUNKED

Is Jesus a Myth? by S. Michael Houdmann, DEBUNKED

Dr. John Oakes, DEBUNKED

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 7:33 pm 
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It has been said that: "You can't prove a negative." If this is true, then we are wasting our time trying to prove what Christ wasn’t. When are we going to try to prove what he was? Christ was the personification of the “Word” and I believe that it is actually possible to prove this assertion beyond any reasonable doubt.

The Bible is allegory from beginning to end and if enough of this allegory can be accurately deciphered it will be difficult for reasonable minds to deny this truth. We only need to find the real meanings of key metaphors and then the allegory begins to fall apart like a house of cards. Most metaphors are defined in relation to other metaphors (i.e. Song of Solomon, Proverbs), so whenever we learn the real meaning of one metaphor, the hidden meanings of other metaphors are more easily learned.

The half interpretations of Philo and other religious scholars are designed to deter non-believers from attempting this approach, and so far it has worked magnificently. It takes so little thought to begin to see the truth, that I am dumfounded by the fact that I seem to be the only secularist following this line of investigation. Above and Below—Literal and Hidden—Life and Death—Heaven and Earth.

Kabbalah, Alchemy, Astrology, and many other mystical sciences give us a multitude of clues that can be used to decipher this allegory. All we have to do is see them in the correct context.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2014 3:38 pm 
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Quote:
If this is true, then we are wasting our time trying to prove what Christ wasn’t.

We're not doing that. I've stated many times that the debate is not whether or not a "Jesus" or "Christ" existed. The contention is that the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional compilation of characters.

From there, we move to an analysis of who or what these various characters were, what their attributes are, where those syncretized elements come from and what they mean.

For those of us who are interested in the history of religion and myth dating back thousands of years, we are assuredly not wasting our time in any way, shape or manner.

I disagree, obviously, that my books are a waste of time, as they are providing what I feel is very important and fascinating information about our shared cultural heritage dating back millennia.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 11:45 am 
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swordwords wrote:
It has been said that: "You can't prove a negative." If this is true, then we are wasting our time trying to prove what Christ wasn’t. When are we going to try to prove what he was?

Welcome to the party, swordwords.

The principle of proving a negative is an interesting one. In the case with Jesus or other supernatural claims, it simply is not necessary for critics to 'prove a negative' because it is not the responsibility of the critics to prove they don't exist when theists have yet to provide credible evidence that they do.

If something does not exist, there will be no evidence for or against its existence i.e. "Absence of evidence is evidence of absence." That's just one principle of proving a negative. The responsibility for 'burden of proof' rests in the hands of those making the positive claims, not the skeptics. Same as we do not need to prove magic elves, fairies, gremlins, pink unicorns, flying spaghetti monsters, the celestial teapot or Santa Claus doesn't exist. Faith and euphoria do not trump credible evidence and facts.

We certainly can prove negatives on very specific claims, but it's the vague claims like "god exists somewhere in the universe" that make it practically impossible merely due to the fact that it's not easy to search every millimeter of the universe in order to debunk the claim. But, if a little girl claimed that there was a pink polka dotted elephant in her closet, we can certainly investigate that specific claim by checking the closet to 'prove a negative' or, show that it was just a toy.

Theists have failed in their responsibility to provide the 'burden of proof' to substantiate their claims for 2,000 years now even after all the money and time spent on a variety of investigations; they still fail to produce credible evidence for a historical Jesus to this very day. All of the specific claims about Jesus and god in the bible have been debunked. All theistic arguments have failed.

To show what Jesus really was I refer you to the links and videos above and more throughout this forum.

For a quick general explanation see Zeitgeist part 1:


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2014 3:41 pm 
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I recall watching a lecture by Richard Carrier in which he claimed that using Bayes Theorem one can actually prove, in some situations, that the absence of evidence is indeed evidence of absence. Not being a Bayesian wiz myself, I can't verify his claim, but it's something worth looking into regarding the subject of "proving a negative" or "proving absence."


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:15 pm 
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Acharya wrote:
Quote:
If this is true, then we are wasting our time trying to prove what Christ wasn’t.

We're not doing that. I've stated many times that the debate is not whether or not a "Jesus" or "Christ" existed. The contention is that the "Jesus Christ" of the New Testament is a fictional compilation of characters.

From there, we move to an analysis of who or what these various characters were, what their attributes are, where those syncretized elements come from and what they mean.


It is too bad that you limit your investigations to the easy stuff. Can't you see what you might be missing if the Bible really is allegory? There is a hidden history there that would turn the world upside down. I suppose you might already know this, but you are simply too timid to take on this approach.

How about syncretizing these passages?

"And now Simon, thinking he might be able to astonish and elude the Romans, put on a white frock, and buttoned upon him a purple cloak, and appeared out of the ground in the place where the temple had formerly been. At the first, indeed, those that saw him were greatly astonished, and stood still where they were; but afterward they came nearer to him, and asked him who he was. Now Simon would not tell them, but bid them call for their captain; and when they ran to call him, Terentius Rufus who was left to command the army there, came to Simon, and learned of him the whole truth..." Josephus Wars of the Jews, Book 7, Chapter 2.

They dressed him in a purple robe, and they wove thorn branches into a crown and put it on his head. 18 Then they saluted him and taunted, “Hail! King of the Jews!” 19 And they struck him on the head with a reed stick, spit on him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship. 20 When they were finally tired of mocking him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him again. Then they led him away to be crucified. 21 A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) Mark 15:17-21.

Either you dismiss this as just amazing coincidence or you accept the idea that allegory is involved. The message in this case is simple. The "Jewish" Revolt of 66-70 CE was really a Christian revolt and Simon took Christ's place on the cross.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 10, 2014 6:22 pm 
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swordwords wrote:
It is too bad that you limit your investigations to the easy stuff. Can't you see what you might be missing if the Bible really is allegory? There is a hidden history there that would turn the world upside down. I suppose you might already know this, but you are simply too timid to take on this approach.

I would very highly recommend editing your comment. Your last comment is very offensive and disrespectful - do you understand that?

What have you actually read of hers because she is anything but "timid" throughout her work and she always, always takes on some of the most complex and difficult investigations that few dare. Plus the fact that a significant part of her work demonstrates the bible is allegorical so, this just shows that you have read nothing of hers if you don't at least know that much. You can only make those types of comments if you've never read her work and have no idea what you're talking about.

Who are you, really, and why are you here?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 12:05 pm 
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Freethinkaluva22 wrote:
swordwords wrote:
It is too bad that you limit your investigations to the easy stuff. Can't you see what you might be missing if the Bible really is allegory? There is a hidden history there that would turn the world upside down. I suppose you might already know this, but you are simply too timid to take on this approach.

I would very highly recommend editing your comment. Your last comment is very offensive and disrespectful - do you understand that?

What have you actually read of hers because she is anything but "timid" throughout her work and she always, always takes on some of the most complex and difficult investigations that few dare. Plus the fact that a significant part of her work demonstrates the bible is allegorical so, this just shows that you have read nothing of hers if you don't at least know that much. You can only make those types of comments if you've never read her work and have no idea what you're talking about.

Who are you, really, and why are you here?


I did not mean to offend, but when someone uses a pseudonym when publishing, timidity is somewhat implied. Actually, the controversy that Ms. Murdock has thus far excited is nothing compared to what would occur if she embraced my approach. I am convinced that if enough of the Bible's allegory could be deciphered, no reasonable mind will be able to deny that the religions that it belongs to are frauds. Can you imagine the position that this would put governments in? Any one that is not at least a little timid when facing a giant, is a fool. And I will confess that I am timid since I am not using my real name either.

Yes, I did read some of Ms. Murdock's earlier articles and they helped free me of my Christian beliefs, but once I determined that the Bible was allegory, I lost interest the the superficial attacks of atheist authors on religion. I have seen several atheist authors suggest that the Bible is allegory, but none that have attempted to interpret this allegory. It is easy to point to Philo as evidence and leave it at that. Has Ms. Murdock done any interpretations? Has she defined the "water" metaphor? Has she identified "wine"? How about "walking"? From my own discoveries, allegoric interpretation should be the primary focus of attacks on religion, but based on the entries in this forum it seems to be of extremely limited interest.

Who am I? I am a simply a former Christian who discovered that the Bible was allegory and I am frustrated by the fact that no one else seems to want to decipher it. I am a nobody, so I can never hope to be published, so a go around planting seeds in the hope that someone better qualified than me will pick one up.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 12, 2014 1:47 pm 
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Ok, thanks for admitting that you have not read one single book of Acharya's, just online articles, which do not include all the information - that is what the books are for. Using a pen name does not in any way have anything to do with being "timid." That issue is the very first issue addressed in the FAQ's: Why does Acharya S use a pen name?

You appear to be very new at this issue. The Christian apologists are extremely protective in upholding their house of cards. You are free to get your thoughts published in peer-reviewed academic journals and see just how "easy" it is, or, at least start your own blog and make your case.

Give this thread a going over: Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History

Lets do this, start your own thread and put all of your thoughts there rather than post across all the other threads.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 05, 2014 2:00 pm 
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Atheist, Tim O'Neill, is well known as a disturbed, hateful, loud mouth and nasty hack and embarrassment to atheists and freethinkers.

Code:
Tim O'Neill:

"The proponents of the Jesus Myth hypothesis are almost exclusively amateurs with an ideological axe to grind and their position is and will almost certainly remain on the outer fringe of theories about the origins of Christianity."

"This is the explanation offered by the New Age writer who calls herself "Acharya S" in a series of self-published books beginning with The Christ Conspiracy"

Did Jesus Exist? The Jesus Myth Theory, Again by Tim O'Neill
http://armariummagnus.blogspot.no/2014/01/did-jesus-exist-jesus-myth-theory-again.html

Tim O'Neill's claim that Acharya's Christ Conspiracy is "self-published" is false, it was published by AUP and so was her 2004 book, Suns of God. I suppose that was just too difficult for a historian like Tim O'Neill to figure out. Oh the hypocrisy, does Tim O'Neill not understand that his own blog is self-published? People like Tim O'Neill render having a Ph.D. completely worthless.

Btw, it's funny to watch Tim try to label her "new-age" when that insult was debunked in Acharya's FAQ's 7 years ago. Tim's selective perception has run amok as usual:

Is Acharya a "New Ager" and part of the “New Age Movement”?

I just love how Tim O'Neill claims all mythicists are fringe amateurs while he claims Jesus existed based on no credible evidence whatsoever. I guess he knows nothing about the history of mythicism.

Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History

Evemerist vs. Mythicist Position

What is a Mythicist?

Why I am A Mythicist

The Mythicist Position



Nobody cares about Tim O'Neill's opinion on anything, let alone his fallacious claim that Jesus existed based on no valid evidence whatsoever. Tim needs to get a life. Acharya has utterly debunked everything Tim holds up as evidence in the links in the posts above. I feel sorry for Tim, easily forgettable and ignorable. It's embarrassing for him to claim to be an atheist, yet, regurgitate Christian apologist arguments that have been debunked repeatedly.

Tim O'Neill wrote:
1. "Jesus was an amalgam of earlier pagan myths, brought together into a mythic figure of a god-man and saviour of a kind found in many cults of the time."

Tim O'Neill goes on to attempt to debunk that claim and it is categorically clear that Tim O'Neill is utterly oblivious to the fact that many, more honest, Christian scholars disagree with him, for example:

Quote:
"Apart from the New Testament writings and later writings dependent upon these, our sources of information about the life and teaching of Jesus are scanty and problematic"

F.F. Bruce, a founder of the modern evangelical movement

- Who Was Jesus? 84

Quote:
"...there are very few sources for knowledge of the historical Jesus beyond the four canonical Gospels. Paul and Josephus offer little more than tidbits. Claims that later apocryphal Gospels and the Nag Hammadi material supply independent and reliable historical information about Jesus are largely fantasy. In the end, the historian is left with the difficult task of sifting through the Four Gospels for historical tradition."

John P. Meier

- Who Was Jesus? 86

* Dr. Meier is a Catholic University New Testament professor, ex-Catholic priest and monsignor

Quote:
"One would naturally expect that the Lord Jesus Christ would be sufficiently important to receive ample notice in the literature of his time, and that extensive biographical material would be available. He was observed by multitudes of people, and his own followers numbered into the hundreds (1 Cor. 15:6), whose witness was still living in the middle of the first century. As a matter of fact, the amount of information concerning him is comparatively meager. Aside from the four Gospels, and a few scattered allusions in the epistles, contemporary history is almost silent concerning him."

Merrill C. Tenney

- Who Was Jesus? 85-86

* Dr. Tenney is a conservative evangelical Christian who was a professor of Theological Studies and the dean of the school of Theology at Wheaton College. Tenney was also one of the original translators of the NASB and NIV editions of the Bible.

Quote:
"The only definite account of his life and teachings is contained in the four Gospels of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. All other historical records of the time are silent about him. The brief mentions of Jesus in the writings of Josephus, Tacitus and Suetonius have been generally regarded as not genuine and as Christian interpolations; in Jewish writings there is no report about Jesus that has historical value. Some scholars have even gone so far as to hold that the entire Jesus story is a myth."

- The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia

Quote:
"...Christian scholars over the centuries have admitted that ... "there are parallels between the Mysteries and Christianity"1 and that "the miracle stories of the Gospels do in fact parallel literary forms found in pagan and Jewish miracle stories,"2 "...According to Form Criticism the Gospels are more like folklore and myth than historical fact."3

1. Metzger, HLS, 8.
2. Meier, II, 536.
3. Geisler, CA, 320.

- Who Was Jesus? 259

Serapis Christ
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpDN2802YzA

Quote:
"I find it undeniable that many of the epic heroes and ancient patriarchs and matriarchs of the Old Testament were personified stars, planets, and constellations."

"I find myself in full agreement with Acharya S/D.M. Murdock"

- Dr. Robert Price, Biblical Scholar with two Ph.D's

Tim O'Neill wrote:
"Christian apologists often cite a long list of writers who mention Jesus, usually including Josephus, Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Lucian, Thallus and several others. But of these only Tacitus and Josephus actually mention Jesus as a historical person - the others are all simply references to early Christianity, some of which mention the "Christ"

Tim O'Neill does acknowledge the fact that only Josephus mentions Jesus by name, yet, Tim O'Neill fails to be honest and admit that Tacitus does not mention Jesus by name. It's bizarre to watch Tim give his best citation for Tacitus WITH NO MENTION OF THE NAME "Jesus" and still claim it is a reference to Jesus ... looks like another giant leap of faith for Tim O'Neill. So, Christian apologists can make good use of this so-called atheist scholar who believes in a historical Jesus but, the evidence proves otherwise. Tim O'Neill is a hack that makes all atheists/ freethinkers look bad for citing sources like Josephus and Tacitus as evidence for his historical Jesus, which have been debunked repeatedly:

Does Josephus prove a historical Jesus?

Josephus mentions nearly 20 Jesus's & none turn out to be the NT Jesus

Josephus Untangled

Does Suetonius refer to Jesus?

Christos or Chrestos?

For responses to Christian apologists who've been exposed and debunked read the links below:

Did Jesus Really Exist? by Dr. Paul Maier, DEBUNKED

Challenging the Zeitgeist Movie by Dr. Mark Foreman, DEBUNKED

Is Jesus a Myth? by S. Michael Houdmann, DEBUNKED

Dr. John Oakes, DEBUNKED

Christianity was influenced by pagan religion, James Bishop

William Lane Craig, DEBUNKED

Dr. Chris Forbes on Zeitgeist part 1, DEBUNKED

Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson gets schooled!

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