Thus membership in this group was fully focused on and the community was very concerned with acceptance and rejection of Jesus--essential to its christology was the acceptance of Jesus as the fulfillment of Jewish messianic expectations. But at the same time, belief in Jesus meant an acceptance also of his death and resurrection, as the story of his life indicates. First we begin with some basic facts. This text was discovered in at a site in Egypt called Nag Hammadi. It formed part of an ancient codex of Coptic works which came from the library of an ancient Christian monastery.
Its text as well as that of the other works contained in the codex was Coptic or late, ancient Egyptian the term Coptos being derived from the Greek form Egyptos. Thomas itself is a "sayings" collection improperly called a "gospel" , consisting of sayings or sayings complexes, most of which are introduced by "Jesus said. Our present Coptic manuscript dates to about A. The work itself seemingly underwent a long period of development.
Its compositional history stems from the apostolic period either using the Synoptic tradition or a form similar to that used by Matthew especially , when it was composed in Greek, in which form it made its way to Egypt--note that Greek fragments of this text were discovered about the turn of the century in Egypt.
Sometime after its arrival in Egypt it was translated into Coptic and was generously edited by a member of a Gnostic community. Thomas' major ideas might be described thus. Indeed, he comes from the heavenly realm to teach gnosis or knowledge to imprisoned souls. Thus, for the Gnostic there are type types of humans: the enlightened Gnostic or spiritual person who has received knowledge from Jesus and the psychic or material being that is blind, drunk or sleep-walking.
So the parables of Thomas will tend to suggest the special concerns of their author or Gnostic community. Finally, we might say that this esoteric text from late Christian antiquity has some importance for a course on the parables of Jesus, particularly since it contains 13 parables allegedly spoken by Jesus 12 with Synoptic parallels and one unique to Thomas --see your class handout for a list of these. In minimal terms one must admit that Thomas is important because it provides us with one more version of Jesus' parables and assist the modern reader in seeing how the Jesus tradition was employed by one more early though heterodox Christian community.
In maximal terms, Thomas' version of several parables offer a stark contrast with the usage one finds in the Synoptic writers. Class 5:e-f Popular Texts and Images. Class 4. Class 3. Church Centered Evangelism! Toggle navigation sermonsfortheworld. We need your help to add more languages. The purpose of this website is to provide free sermon manuscripts and sermon videos to pastors and missionaries throughout the world, especially the Third World, where there are few if any theological seminaries or Bible schools. Chercher un sermon:. Install our app to your phone.
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The God-Forsaken Christ! Cagan Abortion and the Second Coming of Christ! Make the Thessalonian Christians Your Example! Cagan Your Total Depravity by Dr. Try to look better, there is an excellent demolishing of Fitzgerald's appeal to Whealey and a solid counterargument to Carrier's paper. If you take away these pillars of the mythers their case is substantially weakened. Then there are other good points, such as Fitzgerald not and never mentioning these other writers interested in Jewish messiahs from the first century. But he has also written some theological and apologetical books, so you might want to check the books' contents first.
Much of Wright's work is accepted as legitimate scholarship, however, I don't think that many mainstream scholars treat his defense of the historicity of the resurrection as much more than apologetics. I suspect that the book your Christian friend is recommending contains hundreds of pages of sophisticated sounding discussions of historical methodology and an argument that boils down to "The resurrection must have happened because nobody could have invented it. Reading between the lines, you've discerned that there was an internecine power struggle between two priestly houses, that of Ben Hanan and that of Ben Dameus.
Hanan ben Hanan seized an opportunity to have one James ben Damneus illegally executed. Jesus ben Damenus objected and the leading people Jerusalem agreed, so Ben Hanan was deposed as High Priest and Jesus ben Damneus was elevated in his place. Then Ben Hanan tried to curry favour with Ben Damneus by giving him rich gifts, but true to the memory of his recently killed brother, Ben Damneus rejected him. Wow - that's quite an exciting story. So much so it almost makes you wonder why Josephus didn't actually tell it. Still luckily we have internet Mythers who can see these things between the lines and so can reveal them unto us.
I haven't discerned that at all. All I've discerned is that Hanan giving gifts to Jesus ben Damneus is in no way a critical flaw in the hypothesis that he was the brother of James that Josephus was referring to. However, I have been alerted to the possibility that the Jesus to whom Hanan gave the gifts was not Jesus ben Damneus at all, but the next high priest Jesus ben Gamaliel, which would refute your argument completely. Ah yes - a "possibility".
And in Myther Land, if there's a "possibility" that allows them to prop up their thesis, it immediately becomes the best explanation and rapidly hardens into unimpeachable fact. Carrier's thesis still has the problem of going against the consistent way Josephus designated people via appellations. It's a possibility that you seem to have overlooked which makes me wonder what else you missed. I'm actually being pretty gracious in even acknowledging it at a possibility. It is, but only just. Then in XX. And Jesus ben Gamaliel doesn't get mentioned until XX.
And then finally we get "And NOW Jesus, the son of Gamaliel, became the successor of Jesus, the son of Damneus, in the high priesthood, which the king had taken from the other". See that word "NOW" there? So we're supposed to believe that Josephus neglected to mention that Ben Gamaliel was the high priest referred to in XX. You've got to be joking. And than you people wonder why no-one takes your dumb crap seriously.
Your graciousness is truly overwhelming, but I think the reason that we might consider the possibility is because Josephus discusses the relationship between Jesus ben Gamaliel and Hanan in Book IV of The War of the Jews. If we know that Hanan had a working relationship with the high priest after Jesus ben Damneus who was also named Jesus, that might be some reason to think that's the high priest he was presenting with presents. Doesn't it make sense to read Antiquities in conjunction with Wars?
The gift-giving is mentioned at XX. So your reading fails. Got anything else? How long will it take until somebody claims "James, the brother of Jesus called Christ" originally read "James, the brother of Jesus son of Gamaliel"? I guess the sky is the limit for Mythicism. As Josephus tells different parts of the story in different places and different books, I cannot imagine how anyone who wasn't bluffing could pretend to know which readings make sense without reading all the different parts.
And now we get to the Myther blurting in the place of sense. As ever. Hey Vinny - tell us where Josephus says anything in the War that somehow makes Jesus ben Gamaliel's elevation to the high priesthood come earlier than it does in Antiquities. Because those of us looking at things objective4ly can't see that at all. Do tell, there's a good chap. Even within Antiquities XX Josephus skips around a lot. It is only after he relates that ben Gamaliel succeeded ben Damneus that he talks about the sedition that arose between the high priests as a result of Hanan's replacement with ben Damneus.
So just a couple paragraphs after you read Josephus as describing ben Damneus and Hanan as BFF, Josephus actually tells us that they were throwing stones at one another. After that Josephus again describes Hanan using his wealth to gain influence, which would fit with him giving presents to ben Gamamiel rather than ben Damneus. Your objectivity is most impressive, but your reading skills are less so. That makes it very hard to credit your claim to know which stories Josephus would have thought important enough to cover in detail.
Vinny, correct me if I am wrong, but Josephus is describing there feuds between the mobs of ben Damneus and the mobs of ben Gamaliel. Ananos then conveniently exploits their quarrel. That you misread it in the way you do demonstrates your strong bias. And Josephus is good enough to tell us when he's doing so. That doesn't mean you can just decide he is whenever it helps you prop up your stupid crackpot theory. That doesn't mean you can suddenly leap back to the beginning of the chapter and decide that someone who was described at the "high priest" then was the one he just told us was made high priest NOW.
He tells us there were factions in the priestly caste, some of whose followers whose? Try to actually read what's there. I can't warp and bend the text to fit a whacko story the way crackpots like you can. Too much training in actually analysing the text as it is I'm afraid. Josephus tells us about factions that resulted from ben Damneus replacing Hanan so it does not take any imagination to figure out that the two were on different sides of the stone tossing. But you have a Myther's unique talent for seeing things in texts that aren't there, when convenient. It's how you people keep your contrived thesis propped up.
Ig, I think you are correct. I had assumed that he was talking about the king taking the high priesthood from Hanan and giving it to ben Damneus since that was what was described earlier, but the natural reading of the later passage is that the sedition arose from the king taking it from ben Damneus and giving it ben Gamaliel.
However, Josephus still goes on to tell us that Hanan used his wealth to gain influence with those who were willing to receive and Wars tells us about a relationship between Hanan and ben Gamaliel so I would still think we have to put Hanan on the opposite side of the conflict from ben Damneus, don't we? Good post Tim. Out of interest, do Carrier or Fitzgerald provide any evidence there actually was such a person as James ben Damneus?
And how do they deal with Josephus' statement that Ananus accused James and the rest "as breakers of the Law", which would fit with this being an accusation against Christians? Tim missed countless other possibilities. After all, Josephus could have very well been writing about Jesus, but has it ever occured to Tim that it simply might have been sarcasm? No, but most of these people are solely attested by Josephus, often with only one or two passing references.
Much like Jesus. It would fit all kinds of things, so that doesn't really need to be dealt with. If Tim were writing a frigging book he would have discussed all kinds of other possibilities - there's no shortage of them. How the hell would you know what has or hasn't occurred to me, idiot? Sorry Tim, I thought bolding the word sarcasm together with its content would make it sufficiently clear that the comment was intended as such. Seriously, given the level of stupid we've been getting in the comments on this post it probably did need more of a red light than that.
But my apologies. The strangest thing about mythers is they are willing to make up many things without evidence to avoid the idea of a religious peasant in the 1st century and we know many of those existed. Many exist in the 21st century too. They are willing to make up the following: A sublunar realm where deities reenacted earthly events. An unknown group of Christians who called themselves "Brothers of the Lord" A James not known to history to avoid the implications of Jesus having a brother and thus existing. James ben Damneus not known to history and specifically Josephus.
An accidental footnote in the 3rd century of the James passage in Josephus Origen being too stupid to notice this footnote. Josephus writing the James passage in a completely unique manner from all the rest of his writings.
That their is a conspiracy among historians to suppress mytherism and this conspiracy involves many atheist historians. I could list a lot more but it is hard to believe anyone becomes a myther through rational thought. This was a verbal thrashing that Fitzgerald had coming. I also read your review of his book and the comments section where you took on all comers. Very nice work. As an atheist who converses with other atheists almost daily through social networking groups and friends, I find it a disturbing trend that a community which alleges to be a beacon of logic, reason, and evidentialism, many readily embrace mythicism.
Some of their lust for information which confirms their bias is, at times, difficult to deal with. I have however, directed two mythers to this blog in an effort to educate them. So thank you providing me with a go-to source. There is this amazing thing called context. The Antiquities passage about Josephus reads: But as for the high priest, Ananias, he increased in glory every day, and this to a great degree, and had obtained the favor and esteem of the citizens in a signal manner; for he was a great hoarder up of money: he therefore cultivated the friendship of Albinus, and of the high priest by making them presents; Reading this we see that Annias increased in glory due to him receiving the favor and esteem of the citizens via a signal manner for those not familiar with the phrase "signal manner" it means inappropriately.
This inappropriate means is from his wealth and he then gives the examples of presents to individuals including the high priest as examples. Thus, in the context, there clearly is the implication that the receiver accepted the gift. I came here to learn more about your views and I see you have a fairly well-defined position that Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, preaching that angels would soon swoop down, sweep away the Romans and the corrupt jewish temple officials, etc. Let me first say, that if there was a Jesus, I agree that this particular reconstruction is probably the most likely one.
However, there is some troubling evidence to contend with. First, there's the fact that Paul doesn't really mention any of this hear me out before you jump and say AHA another argument from silence. Since Paul, we would agree, is our earliest and closest source for the actual teachings of Jesus, we have to rely on his works first and foremost, maintaining our skepticism in regard to what he says. Now, when I say that Paul never mentions this, what I mean is that Paul does not refer to a Jesus who taught any such things. Paul, himself, certainly has an end of the world or a transformation perspective.
However, we can infer from Romans 13 that the Jesus movement was not at odds with the Romans or civil authorities at all. This is off key if we are trying to argue that Jesus' apocalyptic message caused a conspiracy of Rome and Jewish temple officials to execute him as a political rebel by crucifixion.
And, in fact, Paul does not say that Jesus taught these things, but that his message was a secret revealed by "the Spirit," not taught by an earthly Jesus. Please take note, what I talked about here was the lack of evidence in our primary source to support your position PLUS positive evidence that tends to undermine your position. Now, we can be skeptical about Paul's take. Paul, allegedly a citizen of Rome I don't think Paul actually says this, but I could be wrong , could just want to distance Jesus' more radical message from what Paul wants to focus on.
That's certainly possible and plausible, but it still leaves us with a problem that our primary source evidence does not support your position that Jesus taught an apocalyptic message. So here is the conundrum. You can continue to point out the foibles of "mythicist" arguments, but the problem is every attempt to reconstruct a "real" Jesus also has fatal errors.
Go read 1 Thessalonians where he not only talks about the coming apocalypse but attributes teaching about it directly to "the Lord's word". You really need to get a better grip on the source material if you want to avoid making these constant blunders. You manage to mangle both my first and last names - quite feat for such a simple name.
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That aside, your article goes wildly off the rails at this point and careens off into nonsense from there: "Simply put, [ifeven if josephus did mention Jesus] would the same as claiming that because Jesus Luke or the Epistle of 1 Peter 3: 20 mentioned Noah and the Flood , then both a man name Noah and a worldwide floor must have been real and historical.
If you don't want to post a comment there, then I'll understand. So now Josephus didn't exist? The way you guys are going the whole ancient Mediterranean will soon be completely uninhabited! Right now I'm about to get on a plane to a tropical island in the Philippines, where I suspect I'll be more occupied with which beach we should go to or what cocktail I want to enjoy by the pool.
But I'll post some comments when I get back next week. I can't say critiquing this sad, feeble little effort is high on my priority list right now. Bring it on! I was looking forward to seeing you swat him. I just learned Tim posted a response tonight to my article on Debunking Christianity. I will respond to his criticism latter this week. What the hell are you talking about?
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The sentence I objected to is barely coherent, let alone a quote from me. I hope writing that made you feel a bit better Harry. We have something a bit like Godwin's Law around here: "the first person to react to a debunking of their pet pseudo historical fringe theory by comparing me to a Christian apologist loses. Do let us know when you get around to writing that response. If it's anything like the first one I'm sure it will be a hoot.
Well it does have to be said that Holding's contempt for Christian Fundamentalists not to be confused with the scholars who wrote "The Fundamentals" a century ago as well as the group he describes as Fundy-Atheists who started as Christian Fundamentalists and still read the Bible with the same wooden literalism they started with is quite On the other hand he respects skeptics like Peter Kirby who take the time to actually know the subject.
It is quite possible for two intelligent people to look at the same historical evidence and disagree in the conclusions they draw from it, however the Christ myth is not a matter of interpreting evidence differently, but of basically hand waving away all the evidence, often by inventing criteria as Tim demonstrated with Hannibal's contemporary references or lack thereof that would leave us unable to believe anything written in history books.
That is not something a genuine scholar of history of any religious persuasion would do.
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The Christ Myth is anti-history. First of all, who the hell are you to throw out criticism of another author when you are not even on the same level? Worse, you even mention Hitchens and Dawkins, as if you are even a pimple on the ass of either of them. Your arrogance is astounding, and I see very little you should be so arrogant about. You think you're better at "the game" than Hitchens was? What stages have you stood on debating anybody? At least a Google search of Fitzgerald brings up quite a bit of his work, including lectures and debates.
Even more on Carrier. A search for you brings up a ton of people with the same name, and other than a couple obvious entries, I can't even tell which is you. What I did see was certainly not very impressive. Just you spouting off about what you think other atheists are doing wrong. I don't even understand why Carrier is bothering with small potatoes like you. I would agree that Fitzgerald needs to bring forth his evidence on scholars besides Josephus who were referencing messianic prophets of the time.
Any word from his camp on this? Fitzgerald was simply trying to substitute bluster and bombast for solid argument and got caught out. Like much of the Myther case, it was smoke and mirrors. It was difficult to navigate through the pointless vitriol and condescension in this post which is not to excuse Fitzgerald's and actually hone in on the actual arguments. The post ultimately reinforced my own point of view: nobody actually knows whether a historical Jesus existed. It's speculative. The existence of Q and the other 'primary sources' is speculative, period. The reliability of Josephus' account is speculative.
Take for example the idea of Jesus escaping any contemporaneous notice. The absence of contemporaneous accounts of course doesn't disprove his existence, and we can construct some plausible scenario of why it might have taken a long time for tales of his deeds to be written down. But again, it's entirely speculative. If one is a skeptic regarding the existence of a historical Jesus, there's certainly no compelling evidence in that regard which should persuade one otherwise. I haven't read Fitzgerald's work only watched his lectures , but I've read some of Carrier's and his conclusion is agnostic.
He think it is more plausible that Jesus is entirely mythical, and even assigns some supposedly Bayesian probability to it, but he doesn't go so far as to claim that any of his arguments conclusively prove that Jesus never existed.
And that's really where the mythicist position really gets distorted beyond all recognition by advocates of a historical Jesus. The existence of a historical Christ is, at best, a controversial claim rooted in a great deal of speculative conditionals. Maybe the Christ myth is loosely based on a real person, maybe not. Ultimately, who gives a shit? A great deal of accounts of historical figures are dubious and speculative — did Vlad III, for example, really invite peasants to an extravagant dinner and then lock them in the room and set it ablaze, or was that a myth born from exaggerated tales of his cruelty?
Who knows? Who cares? Even relatively recent historical figures, like George Washington, can quickly become enshrouded in myth. Ultimately, the mythicists are dead right about one thing:there's no compelling reason to believe that a historical Jesus existed, and more importantly no compelling reason at all to believe the Christ of the gospels existed.
The former is a debate that, because it's so rooted in wanton speculation, can never be conclusively settled. It's also why it's irrelevant. And the condescension was in response to his attempts at being condescending to me, while at the same time making idiotic errors. Speaking of which - the expression is "home in", not "hone in".
People who want certainty and to "know" things should avoid ancient history altogether. You'll find that many things in ancient history come down to an assessment of likelihood. People who aren't comfortable with that should perhaps stick to the sciences. The things you mention are all supported by good evidence and so are not merely "speculative". The trick is in having the skill to work out how likely they are.
They are wrong on this - there is sufficient evidence to conclude that his existence is most likely. If you don't agree with that then this seems to be because, judging from your confused comments above, you don't have much of a grasp of historiography. But if you're really so uninterested in the whole subject, feel free to go away. I am certainly no scholar on Biblical Studies, but, Mr. O'Neill, if you're typical of apologists--being Christian or otherwise--religion is very much disserved.