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Debunking the Evidence for a Historical Jesus, Part 1: Tacitus and the Talmud

Updated on September 18, 2013
Source

Claim Number 1

Tacitus:
Tacitus was hardly a contemporary source. He wasn't even born at the time that Jesus supposedly lived. Tacitus is widely known in apologist circles as the first pagan reference to christ or christianity. Early church fathers, however, curiously did NOT save all of Tacitus' writings. In fact, there's an interesting gap in his work concerning the emperor Tiberius from 29 CE - 31 CE, which includes the supposed year of the crucifixion. The passage that apologists cling to is in the 15th volume of his annals where he describes an incident concerning the emperor Nero.

"In order to put an end to this rumor, therefore, Nero laid the blame on and visited with severe punishment those men, hateful for their crimes, whom the people called Christians. He from whom the name was derived, Christus, was put to death by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius. But the pernicious superstition, checked for a moment, broke out again, not only in Judea, the native land of the monstrosity, but also in Rome, to which all conceivable horrors and abominations flow from every side, and find supporters" Annals 15, ch 44


Can this brief mention in the annals be considered reliable, historical and contemporary evidence for the existence of Christ? Simply put, no. Tacitus does not claim to be quoting any original source that cites this "christus". What he is doing is doing a quick drive-by account of what modern christians believe to be true, repeating the legends that he's come into contact with - not claiming historical truth. Furthermore, this passage is the exception, not the rule to the overall feel of the passage, and he clearly does not hold these christians in high regard.

Romans did not keep records of their countless crucifixions, so there is nowhere that Tacitus could have looked to source his information at all - for an event that happened almost a century earlier. If there WERE historical records concerning Jesus, the early church fathers would have pounced on it, seeing as they jumped on this passage and any other passing reference to someone they could claim fit the bill for their supposed savior. There is no written documentation from Pilate, or anyone else associated with the crucifixion itself. Furthermore, no roman record would have referred to someone they considered to be a common criminal as Christus. Christus (or the Christ or Messiah) is a title, not a name, therefore a common criminal would have been listed as Jesus ben Joseph - or the Latin equivalent.


Arguments against Tacitus are not reserved for purely secular scholars. Respected Christian scholar R. T. France does not believe that the Tacitus passage provides sufficient independent testimony for the existence of Jesus.


Source

The Talmud

The Talmud:

Apologists often cite the Talmud for corroborating accounts of their savior Jesus. Unfortunately for them, the Talmud fails to mention Jesus at all - at least the Jesus that they're looking for. What could be better than a corroborating account of Jesus - especially from the people who ultimately despised him and shared in his ultimate execution, right? Since any Jewish references to any Jesus take place in the wrong century, it's unlikely that these references to someone with the same or similar name can be listed as evidence. If it is evidence, it is certainly not contemporary or corroborating of the stories we are so familiar with in the gospels. Unfortunately for apologists, the Talmud is the best possible evidence for a historical Jesus figure - and if this is the best that they can come up with, their case is already on critical ground.

When you take the reference within the Talmud at face-value, it initially seems as though you may have a case:

On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth) and the herald went before him for forty days saying (Yeshu of Nazareth) is going forth to be stoned in that he hath practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel. Let everyone knowing aught in his defence come and plead for him. But they found naught in his defence and hanged him on the eve of Passover.


Unfortunately, this passage encounters problems even on the surface level. Namely, it does not line up with any of the gospel accounts of Jesus' arrest, trial or execution.

1) He was incarcerated for 40 days - not the gospel accounts of an illegal, overnight trial followed by an immediate execution
2) He was arrested for sorcery and sedition - not blasphemy and treason
3) He was offered the opportunity for redemption but no one was found in 40 days who would speak on his behalf. A herald announced his eminent execution, rather than the secret ordeal portrayed in the gospels
4) He was sentenced to be stoned - not crucified - and he was hung only after the sentence was carried out.
5) he was executed by Jewish authorities - not crucified by the Romans


Scholar John Meier argues credibly that the conclusion reached by Josh McDowell's "Evidence that demands a verdict" is imply improbable - and it makes no headway in the case for a historical Jesus. Although the Talmud does not doubt the historicity of the character known today as Jesus of Nazareth, their silence does not confirm the contrary conclusion either for two reasons.

1) You can't assume that because the Jews did not question or commit to writing doubts on the historical nature of Jesus of Nazareth that they were in agreement. Concepts of myths and historicity are far different now than they were then - and silence does not equal evidence to the contrary.
2) Evidence from the Talmud could only be considered as independently sourcing the historicity of Jesus if it came from independent sources. The sources for the the Talmud are undetermined, and as such they cannot be considered as a truly independent source. Since it's sources are questionable and it was written and compiled at such a late date, its credibility is shaky as a source.

The name associated with Jesus (Yeshua'ha Notzri) didn't even appear in rabbinic literature until the 6th or 7th century. He is often confused instead with Jesus Pandira (mid 1st Century BCE) and Jesus ben Stada (2nd Century Ce) The second was a semi-political figure who practiced magic, and was ultimately arrested. When no witnesses can be presented to testify for him within 40 days time, he is hanged on the eve of Passover along with 5 of his disciples - but this occurs long after the supposed new-testament Jesus ever existed. Therefore, the Talmud does not provide corroborating evidence for the historical Jesus, but instead points to others with similar claims to divine authority who ultimately met similar results.

Last of all, evidence for Jesus from the Talmud runs into an irreconcilable problem. Dating. The Palestinian Talmud was not written until between the 3rd and 5th century CE. The Babylonian Talmud was not written until between the 3rd and 6th Century. Therefore, their existence only after the gospels were written and in circulation among believers as well as the rise of early Christianity automatically discredits their reliability - irrevocably so. These are not contemporary sources. If the Jesus mentioned is, in fact, Jesus of Nazareth (as unlikely as it may be due to prior examination) it's not a contemporary account. It appears between 3-600 years after the fact, and would not be considered 'evidence' by any reasonable standard.

© 2013 Julie McFarland

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    • profile image

      K12rswow 2 years ago

      Still feisty I see. I was actually responding to Gio. But, glad your around too.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 2 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I'm not a dude, but my gender doesn't really play a role in my writing. Glad you're impressed, though.

      I'm not sure that anyone here has a problem with the "great I am" any more than we have a problem with the wonderful Wizard of Oz. Calling yourself I am though does not make you great or a god, however, let alone one that deserves worship or adoration.

    • profile image

      K12rswowd 2 years ago

      Gio,

      What's your beef with the great "I AM"?

    • profile image

      k12rswow 2 years ago

      McFarland? I thought you were a dude. Glad to find out your an intelligent woman.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 2 years ago from Orlando Florida

      Thanks for your presentation of this evidence. Those who want to prove the existence of Jesus clutch at straws.

    • Joseph041167 profile image

      Joseph Mitchell 4 years ago from Nashville TN 37206.

      That was a messianic age. Several people came up trying to be messiahs. A few of them had the name Jesus, Jesus Christ was not the only messianic figure named Jesus even. Jesus was a very common name there as it is in the Latino culture today. There were several messiah "wannabes." Jesus was also not the only one with supposed magical powers eithor. There are a few other historical messiahs who supposedly performed miracles.

    • Joseph041167 profile image

      Joseph Mitchell 4 years ago from Nashville TN 37206.

      JMcFarland is absolutely awesome.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I'm not sure why you're having a hard time grasping the concept that I'm done with this conversation. You started out negative, and now you've just directed your approach away from me and onto actual scholars. I'm not going to change your mind, nor do I care to try. You can continue on and do your "research" which confirms what you already think, and the rest of us can continue ours. End of story. Good day.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Actually, after reading a review on Amazon, I think I'll check out Price's work on the Christ myth and its problems.

      Carrier's titles really paint that picture of him, sorry. Whenever I see titles like that, I'm guaranteed that it won't be a good read (I really don't care if it was a religious person who wrote it).

      "That's the key to honest, genuine scholarship - not just writing people off after getting a "feeling" by watching part of one presentation."

      It was much more than a feeling. Fitzgerald obviously has no idea whatsoever in the slightest as to what he is talking about to assert things like John 14:28 disprove the Trinity and that the Biblical writings never describe Jesus as a man. You want my feeling - the dude's a propagandist. You want facts about Fitzgerald - the dude should start paying people to read his books, not the other way around. Another fact - Fitzgerald's an idiot.

      Is that the entire position of yours? To call those who disagree with you "not open-minded". No, those are simply tactics of argumentum ad bacculum. I used to be a mythicist. Of course I'm open-minded. Open-minded doesn't mean I sell myself out to 9/11 "truthers" though now does it? Maybe you should read Eric Jon Phelps's works. Oh wait, you won't, he's a conspiracy theorist. Malachi Martin! Nope, he's a conspiracist too. Sorry, but many things in this world are worth NOT having and that says nothing about one's open-mindedness. I said explicitly that I would read Doherty, Freke, and Gandy's works on this subject. So apparently I'm not open-minded not because I don't read mythicists but because a certain mythicist I've viewed a lecture of doesn't even give us factual information.

      ????? Yup, me NES, not open-minded because a guy that you want me to read I dismiss for not even presenting factual information. Go figure.

      FYI, apologists aren't actually scholars, Josh McDowell isn't even a scholar by credential and Lee Strobel is a journalist (aka, also a propagandist, just on the Christian side but McDowell is too).

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12rswow - a lot of people die for lies all of the time, friend. It's hardly a good, unique or convincing argument. Additionally, if you're going to continue writing notes/comments on my hubs, I would appreciate it if you would actually read them first. If you want to just have a conversation or a debate, there are other forums for doing so other than an author's hub/work.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      The god delusion is good, but I get the impression that you don't even bother looking into names based on snap judgements you make off of nothing. That's not the way to honest research. I love Dawkins, but he's not a biblical scholar, nor does he have a degree in the field (a qualification that you yourself said that you looked for) Yet you write off the scholars that do (Carrier, Price, etc) because you just assume that they're propagandists that don't know what they're talking about. I think you just decide what you like based on your own bias - hell, we all do that to an extent - but you do it in a field that you claim to be interested in. I don't work that way. I've read "the case for christ" and "evidence that demands a verdict". I've read the rebuttals to them. I've read everything I can get my hands on. Personally, I think Carrier comes across as pompous and arrogant, but that doesn't mean that his scholarship isn't sound - it means that personally I don't necessarily agree with his methods. That's the key to honest, genuine scholarship - not just writing people off after getting a "feeling" by watching part of one presentation. I really have nothing further to say to you. You don't seem nearly as open minded as you expect others to be. Maybe I'll read your recommendations, or maybe I'll take a page out of your book and find a way to decry them as propaganda or get a "feeling" that I don't like or agree with them.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      The god delusion is good, but I get the impression that you don't even bother looking into names based on snap judgements you make off of nothing. That's not the way to honest research. I love Dawkins, but he's not a biblical scholar, nor does he have a degree in the field (a qualification that you yourself said that you looked for) Yet you write off the scholars that do (Carrier, Price, etc) because you just assume that they're propagandists that don't know what they're talking about. I think you just decide what you like based on your own bias - hell, we all do that to an extent - but you do it in a field that you claim to be interested in. I don't work that way. I've read "the case for christ" and "evidence that demands a verdict". I've read the rebuttals to them. I've read everything I can get my hands on. Personally, I think Carrier comes across as pompous and arrogant, but that doesn't mean that his scholarship isn't sound - it means that personally I don't necessarily agree with his methods. That's the key to honest, genuine scholarship - not just writing people off after getting a "feeling" by watching part of one presentation. I really have nothing further to say to you. You don't seem nearly as open minded as you expect others to be. Maybe I'll read your recommendations, or maybe I'll take a page out of your book and find a way to decry them as propaganda or get a "feeling" that I don't like or agree with them.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      Ok, ok....

      Tacitus was the Wolf Blitzer of the day reporting on events. Massive evidence for a God associating with his people were evident during this time. What can you think of is something you would die for? As a member of Roman media he also had to write in such a way as to not lose his head. Nero was a nut, and if Tacitus wrote that he'd lose his nuts too. I finally read your hub, and it lacks substance. I'm sure you can find more suitable arguments for a Jesus denying historian.

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      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      No, I gathered the overall impression of who David Fitzgerald is from that video and decided that I couldn't take him seriously. That doesn't mean I won't read any mythicists. It just means that Carrier and Ftizgerald are off my list. Sorry if I disappoint but it'd be like having an option to purchase something written by Joseph Ratzinger or The God Delusion. I think I'll choose Benedict XVI every day within those two realms.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12rswow - Then find an evolution hub to comment on - or talk to an actual scientist.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      newenglandsun (second comment) yes, I often write people off after watching a view minutes of a single video because that's honest scholarship and a desire to understand all positions. absolutely.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12rswow - what does that have to do with this hub or anything we're actually discussing - and why on earth would you pull that out of your hat here of all places?

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      I couldn't help myself since I was thinking he is a living God, alive and well even today. Have you ever maintained a system of computers? Network traffic, updates, scans, and the occasional knob. Lots of fine adjustments and maintenance. I see the same thing happen when Jesus spoke everything into existence. A continual maintenance package for human life on this planet.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      LOL you're basing your "assessment" of David Fitzgerald from an hour long talk that he gave at...wait for it...Skepticon? Seriously? And you expect him to lay down every single point with all of the backstory and all of the references in a single, hour-long presentation? He's hardly the only person to suggest that the NT was forged - it's also Bart Ehrman's top selling point (consider his book, Forged).

      What makes something "propaganda" to you? Are pastors propagandists because they're trying to sell their religion? Who are these mythicist authors trying to "sell" their ideas to? Are they trying to convert people to another "church" to gain tithes or offerings? Sure, they sell books - but all authors do, don't they? You don't like the titles of Carrier's books (even though he has a PhD in history) so that makes him an automatic propagandist too? What a small, narrow way to view the world. I'm sorry, but I don't see the point in continuing this conversation. You approach things the way christian apologists do. Mock and belittle the work of people you disagree with without actually LOOKING at it in depth and analyzing the points that are made. I'm fully willing to admit that I may be wrong, and have repeatedly stated that I don't believe it's possible to determine one way or another whether a historical Jesus existed or who/what he was. I'm willing to read all of the stupid crap that I disagree with to gain a better understanding of the arguments and make a logical, informed and rational decision. I just don't get that feeling from you, and your approach is still combative and leaves much to be desired. We can go back and forth and throw scholars and youtube videos and books at each other all day, but what's the point, really? I'm pretty much calling it done. Thanks for stopping by.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      k12rswow,

      The discussion is on the historical Jesus. Not ID vs. evolution.

      JMcFarland,

      I am now past the 40 minute mark and this guy has no ounce of Biblical or Pauline knowledge whatsoever. He takes us to Colossians (actually possibly pseudo-Pauline among the seven non-Pauline) to prove Paul's Christ. He holds ignorance of 1 Cor. 11:23-26, and obviously leaves out much of the book of Romans where Paul talks EXPLICITLY about Jesus's humanity. Obviously leaves out Romans 2 and Galatians 5 when speaking on how Paul's soteriology disagrees with Christ's.

      Yeah, I'll pass on Fitzgerald.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      Entropy. Order to disorder. Everything eventually breaks down at the cellular level.

      Where did we come from? Who programmed DNA? How does the body know to heat itself up to kill bacteria in the form of a fever. How do we even know how to communicate, and not look at each other like cows. Who invented sneezing? The list goes on... What is the latest puddle of ooze forming? Where were you when the earth was placed at the exact orbit around the sun? Too much; too little = no life

      Hmm?

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      When someone comes out as a propagandist, they generally are one and just simply aren't worth the time.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvleOBYTrDE

      Take note of the approximate 30 minute part where he accuses the guys of plagiarism. This is simply sloppy scholarship on his part. "Badass mofo" ???? Listening to this right now and it's completely ignorant propaganda.

      He clearly doesn't get the overall concept of the Trinity either.

      Let's see...titles like Why I Am Not a Christian: Four Conclusive Reasons to Reject the Faith and The End of Christianity aren't propaganda from Carrier?

      Price at least admits The Christ-Myth Theory and Its Problems. Maybe I'll look at that one.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      quite the contrary, actually - but if you're going to just write people off without even examining their body of work on its own merits, I really can't sympathize with that position. that's not (to me) an honest way to examine the cases and form an informed and rational position.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Most of the newer ones have kind of lost it on me. They're really nothing more than propagandists. Honestly, if someone is a "lead speaker" that to me points that they are preaching to a choir. I would have more fun reading Neither God Nor Man by Doherty than anyone else.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Carrier goes through a peer review process before publishing, but I'm not sure where or how. So you think only the older school mythesists are worth studying? What about David Fitzgerald? He's newer, but he's one of the leading voices in the modern mythicist movement. I've spoken with him multiple times, and I think his voice is easy to understand and well-researched.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Where is Carrier, Price, Fitzgerald, et al, peer reviewed to begin with?

      I can name several scholars. Honestly, when I get around to reading a mythicist, it certainly won't be them.

      k12rswow,

      Wow, just wow. How do prophecies prove a historical Jesus?

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Lol, I'm not feisty. Typing in depth on my phone at work is a bit challenging.

      Yes I understand, but Matthew has him riding two. An ass and a foal. Or maybe that's Mark. One or the other. I think it's Mark, and then Matthew corrects him. Additionally, the prophecy he's referencing only begins with the entry into the city. Its followed by an army. Maybe jesus forgot that part.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      Don't get feisty, it's me your old pal k12.

      """(For example, see the triumphant entry into Jerusalem)"""

      The jews had been doing this mock entry procession every year when they celebrated passover. This particular year was different, since the messiah was riding the ass.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Look at matthew. Everything jesus supposedly does is "in order to fulfill a prophecy" and he takes these prophecies out of context and even gets them wrong. Blatantly so. (For example, see the triumphant entry into Jerusalem). The author was clearly trying to justify his claims and his story, and incorrect prophecies and self fulfilling prophecies aren't actually prophecies at all. It's like me saying I'm going to eat steak for dinner then claiming I'm a prophet when i actually do.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      Yes the NT was written after, but it is a written account of events. Correctly pointed out the Jews had a different idea of their messiah, that's why they didn't pick up on the subtle little prophecies.

      We can go round and round, but if you like I would point you to Brian (head) Welch of Korn.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BIotPq8TI84

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Was the new testament written after these verses in Greek by people familiar with them? Yep. It's really easy to make things line up with something when you know what it should line up to. Ever wonder why Jews don't accept jesus as Messiah? They have a whole different set of messianic prophecies from what Christians claim from cherry picking the old testament.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      These verses were written hundreds of years before the crucifixion. Yet there are many more.

      Isaiah 50:6

      I offered my back to those who beat me,

      my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard;

      I did not hide my face

      from mocking and spitting.

      Psalms 22:16

      Dogs surround me,

      a pack of villains encircles me;

      they pierce[e] my hands and my feet.

      All my bones are on display;

      people stare and gloat over me.

      They divide my clothes among them

      and cast lots for my garment.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      And how many books on mythisism have you ordered, paid for and read thoroughly?

      Where is your peer reviewed, published work completely refuting Richard carrier, David Fitzgerald, Robert price, Frank zindler, etc.?

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      You can look up the idea of what they have to say or order them on Amazon if you're seriously interested in the historical Jesus.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I'm sure at some point in the next fifty years, I will have time to look up those references to see what they say.

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Antioch and Rome: New Testament cradles of Catholic Christianity by Raymond Edward Brown, John P. Meier 1983 ISBN 0-8091-2532-3 page 99

    • profile image

      newenglandsun 4 years ago

      Robert E. Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence, Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2000. p 39- 53

    • Freeway Flyer profile image

      Paul Swendson 4 years ago

      I'm not surprised that there would be few (if any) written references to Jesus by his contemporaries. In general, writings from 2000 years ago are not going to be very common. But even if you could demonstrate that a person living around 30 AD wrote about Jesus, you would not know if these writings were accurate. Every day, we see a wide variety of contradictory accounts regarding events that happened the previous day. Historians can only draw definitive conclusions when they have a large number of sources to draw from. So for me, I find it strange that God might expect me to base my life on events that took place 2000 years ago.

      Personally, I don't concern myself too much with the question of Jesus' existence. It's hard for me to believe that a purely fictional character could inspire such as massive religious movement. I have no clue, however, what the historical Jesus may have actually said and done. It does not take long, after all, for actual people to be turned into myths and legends, particularly in an age where most people were in no position to determine if the stories that they heard were true. Even in our age of massive written records, myths and legends can develop very quickly. Many Americans, for instance, have mythologized their own history as much as people did in ancient times. And historical research does not seem to be able to do much to wipe out these misconceptions.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      I understand the personal experience argument, K12. The problem with it is that, while it may have sufficiently proven things right for you, it doesn't translate to anyone else. Realistically speaking, I don't know you from the guy down the street, and your experience that you attribute to god cannot be verified, tested or proven to anyone but you. There's more I could say on personal experience, but it would be ultimately counter-productive, and I don't want to be disrespectful of the experience that you obviously believe that you had.

      The "turn the other cheek" thing is not a purely biblical principle. It existed hundreds of years before Jesus' time, and will exist probably in some form or another forever. While I understand your point, I also maintain that I will respond to people in a manner equal to the way they approach me. Taze was disrespectful from the beginning, so he got the same response. Accusing a writer who has studied this stuff for over 15 years of plagiarism is taking it way too far, and that kind of behavior is simply not going to be tolerated on my hub.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      satan loves to attack the church, and one way to do it is to make everyone think they are right.

      McFarland, I don't know who your contending with here with tazo. Scripture says if one strikes you on the cheek offer the other. Also, we are to humble ourselves, as Christ humbled himself for our sake.

      You and I have sparred in the past, but I like to do it with respect to my opponent.

      The problem with everyone in these forums, including me sometimes; is that we try very hard to convince others on various things. Reality is some of us have had a supernatural experience with God. Once you've tasted that; it's easy to get excited and slap happy with the Bible.

      Don't let tazer get under your skin. You guys are like two bull moose, once in a while you have to let go.

      http://billingsgazette.com/lifestyles/recreation/g...

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      on further examination, I cannot tolerate your comments anymore, since you're now accusing me of plagiarism. You want to talk about a personal attack? Congrats - no further comments will be entertained, and it's NOT because I'm so frightened by your position. If it makes you feel better to tell yourself that you "beat an atheist with your logic and superior evidence" then go right ahead. Much like the historical jesus that you advocate, asserting something as fact does not make it one.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Okay dude, last warning. Stop calling sources that you don't like my "pet anything". I picked fun at you. So what? Is that demeaning? Because I called you unoriginal and questioned your reading abilities? Please. You've said far worse to me, and if you deny that then you're a liar AND a hypocrite.

      AS to your statement: false. http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_car... This is an article by Richard Carrier commenting on the work of Earl Doherty, who also wrote a book on the historicity of jesus. Here is Richard Carriers' page with links to his OWN works http://www.richardcarrier.info/jesus.html

      I will admit that the ahistorians are a minorit - at least right now. But they have existed throughout history.

      Time for my question. Have you studied this subject in depth on your own? Have you read the actual books that these quotes and historical "evidences" are from? How long have you studied it? At what level?

      part two is actually already done. I actually do not have all of the time in the world to devote to hubpages. I have a full time job and a second job. Hubs are for fun. Since you only have one hub published, I hardly think you're in a position to be dictating when or what I should write about.

      I warned you about calling something my "pet" book or "pet website" or pet anything else. Why do you insist on using such inflammatory language and then cry personal foul and attack whenever someone does the same thing to you? Aren't you supposed to be treating other people like you want to be treated?

      Here's the thing. I've read the apologist websites. Wrap your mind around the idea that I went to one of the biggest and most prestigious bible colleges in the world before I became an atheist. I KNOW this stuff. I've studied it. Going to a new or different apologist website is NOT going to tell me anything I've never heard before and from simply perusing your link, it's proven me correct - it's the same old stuff and it's simply not convincing for someone who has studied the material, read the bible in Greek, Hebrew and Latin, continues to study the historicity of jesus and the bible to this DAY and can pretty much predict what your apologists are going to say before they say it. You don't have to agree with me, and I don't care - but why do believers always insist that others should just 'Read up on it" so they can change their minds - and assume that we HAVEN'T? How may of the opposing points of view have you read?

      Lets talk about "attacking" or "Defaming" language, shall we?

      You:

      -Interesting how you choose to ignore many other evidences

      -all scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established, all except the author of this hubpage itappears

      -Oh you mean the link to a book written to soak money from suckers who are uninformed and want to buy anything that deny's Chrsitianity - yeah I saw it and realized it is a pathetic reason for your hub page "promotion" of such an ambarassing piece of work

      -you use hub pages as a propaganda vehicle.

      -Only inference I see is you haven't spoken to them? or you just want to make some money promoting a book for suckers.

      -you are so transparent. Maybe you should get a new play book that isn't so old.

      Me:

      -but why would you notice that, when you can't even read a simple title?

      -is that because you haven't actually studied this stuff for yourself or are you just that unoriginal?

      -Before you jump in to criticize, perhaps you should actually read what you're critiquing first. It does wonders for not only comprehension but also conversation about the material.

      Which of my comments did you decide to take as a personal attack - and how are you not doing guilty of doing the same thing several-fold?

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      You have done nothing but demean me from your first comment, and I don't care in the least- my point was instead of answering my direct criticism of your hub and pet book you chose to demean and make fun of me from the start. The point isn't that I have or have not thick skin - the point is you use tactics to avoid discussion of the facts, over and over in all, even your last comment. What does my reading ability have to do with anything - if you were respectful you would simply have said, I plan to cover those topics in part two - no reason to be demeaning and get in your dig after that, and then again over and over. Respectful? I don't think so. Especially since you gave no indication at all of where you might be going with more parts which we both know you could have been done with ancient secular evidence and moved on to other "evidence." But I am looking forward to part2 and how you deal with:

      Evidence from the Babylonian Talmud

      Evidence from Pliny the Younger

      Evidence from Josephus

      Evidence from Lucian of Samosata

      Part 2 or 3 or 4 right?

      I discern you probably hoped I had thin skin and that being rude would make me go away.

      So tell me, you never commented on the statement "Among the variants of the Jesus myth theory, the notion that Jesus never existed has little scholarly support, and although some modern scholars adhere to it, they remain a distinct minority; virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established"

      A simple true or false would suffice. If false can you support it? Maybe find one credible link that shows virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research DO NOT believe that his existence can be established. After all you can't believe your pet author is the only person who has researched these things.

      If you can muster up the courage to answer that without denigrating anyone. I'd like to know what you think of the criticisms of your pet author in this link . http://www.realapologetics.org/blog/category/criti...

      which is only the second criticism I put forth in my second comment which has gone unanswered while you chose to continue criticizing my reading ability instead. And of course criticizing me not the information I cite asyou said "you can't critique anything without quoting someone else - is that because you haven't actually studied this stuff for yourself or are you just that unoriginal?" Originality isn't the question here it is factuality and while you are virtually plagiarizing the work of your pet author I am sourcing credible critics which is far better than being an anonymous source of originality. But you chose to go down the path of distraction once again. No distractions, let’s go through that link one item at a time and I'd love to see you defend your pet if you are up for it, or are you the one with a thin skin?

      We can start with this - http://www.realapologetics.org/blog/2011/05/05/a-r...

      Your comments?

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      See? That's disrespectful. My "pet book?" Seriously? You don't have to like my sources or agree with them, but just because I listed one does not mean that it's the only one. Yet I'm not the one claiming "attack" You are. the link you provided is to an apologists source. I've studied them. I went to more apologetics classes in college than I can count and I KNOW what it's going to say. Every book on the planet that's controversial gets a predictable bad review from the opposing side. So what? You haven't read the book i mentioned, so you are in no position to judge it's material, it's conclusions or its reliability - you're just pointing out someone else (not you) that disagreed with it too. I can give you a like that refutes your link that you'll then just call my "pet link" and the conversation will continue to degrade. I didn't respond to your "points" (if you can call them that) because they have nothing to do with the actual hub.

      I don't know how many times we have to go over this. Your first comment accused me of ignoring other "evidence" even though my hub is clearly marked as a part of a series as indicated by the "part 1" on top of it. Then you brought up the Talmud, which I actually did address in part in my hub, completely ignoring the fact that I had, actually, mentioned it. Everything devolved from there. If you can't see that, I don't know what to tell you. I understand that this conversation is a personal one for you, and it's clear that you're upset - but try to see things objectively for just a moment and see where other people with a different viewpoint are coming from. Can you do that?

      Now you're accusing both myself and Randy of ignoring things found in your link because we know them to be accurate and/or irrefutable - and this coming from someone who's just pointing to another source and not bothering to present the argument for himself. I can turn this around on you, too, you know. I can say that you're not refuting any of the points in the book (or this hub, for that matter) because you know them to be accurate and irrefutable and you know it, thus the charade....but I'm guessing that you're not really thrilled with your own words being turned around.

      This hub addresses two common apologetics sources for the historicity of jesus christ. That's it. More will come later. If you have something to say about that - YOU - not some random website that supports what you claim to be your position, then fine. Go ahead. Otherwise, stop assuming things about complete strangers and I'll stop teasing you, since you clearly can't take a bit of humor.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Okay first of all - nothing I have said to you could possibly be perceived as an "attack" unless you have extremely thin skin, in which case you should probably not be commenting on hubs that are controversial. Secondly, I don't think you're in a position to criticize me for personal attacks when you've done nothing but criticize me, my sources, etc. I hate to act like a kindergartner here, but I don't know how else to explain it to you - you started it, dude - and I responded to you in the exact same way that you came at me.

      Thirdly - none of your comments have had anything to do with my actual hub - you realize that, right? You have a problem with the fundamental concept that Jesus did not actually exist, which is fine - but I'm not sure that my hub on Tacitus and the Talmud is the venue for your personal rants.

      Lets get back to the basics here. I am not asserting with absolute certainty that the person Jesus christ did not or could not have existed. I am saying that a lot of the "evidence" that christian apologists use (and have used for centuries - you do understand that you're not bringing up anything new, right) does not stand up under examination - and I'm not alone. But just like I can't prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus was a real, live human being - you can't prove that he was. You don't have a time machine or a birth certificate. You have the same sources that every other apologist for 2000 years has had, and people were questioning the actual existence of christ - or at least questioning mistakes in the gospel accounts - ever since Christianity began. You cannot deny that. You appear to be so completely hell bent to prove that your position is right and everyone else is wrong that you're missing the entire point of this hub and the conversation afterwards.

      Lets leave it at this. If you can be respectful, I will continue to approve your comments, even if I disagree with them, and we can discuss the manner like educated, intelligent adults. I won't pick on you or poke fun at you if you take it so personally. Fine. If you cannot be respectful and continue to claim persecution or attack just because people like me exist, then further comments will be deleted and ignored, and our conversation stops here. My hub, my rules. I don't care if you like it or not.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Randy Godwin - and you are a tower of intellect - Who I am is irrelevant and even if I were to claim an identity you have no way of knowing if it is true or not so for all practical purposes one has to assume it is not or else trust a person whom you've never met, never will meet, can't even prove exists and could be anyone under the sun, no matter what my profile might say... on top of which your best comment is to perpetuate a strawman - no one is attacking Julie, the criticism presented of her premise and "Pet Book" is far from anonymous but sourced in the link I provided. Why don't you address some of the critiques in that link? Because they are accurate and irrefutable, and you both know it, thus the sharade...

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Very interesting how you continue to attack me so you can ignore the criicism of the issues you brought up - just proves my point - the only thing you have discussed is me and my reading ability or "the tone" of my criticisms- you are so transparent. Maybe you should get a new play book that isn't so old.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      No, you two are the ones that claim to live and abide by the teaching of Jesus, and Tase is doing a rather poor job. You don't have to believe in your crap to be familiar with it - I was a Christian missionary and theology graduate before I realized it was all bs. So what?

      Tase, you think that poking fun at you is attacking you? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you came to my hub and left a comment and you set the tone of the conversation by stating outright that I ignored evidence when I in fact had just not addressed it (as evidenced by the part one prelude in the hub title) what is your persecution complex, dude? Not everyone has to agree with you, and I don't take your criticism of my hub as a personal attack. I do maintain that you set the tone of the conversation and I just responded in kind. If you cannot even admit your own error, then you are not intellectually honest enough to make continuing a conversation worthwhile.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      I see you're being attacked by the usual anonymous witnesses for Jesus, Julie. Strange how they hide behind aliases and witness for Jr.. lol!

      What would JC think about that?

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Again you attack me personally (FOR ATTACKING YOU?) when all I did was provide facts from the start while you were criticizing my ability to read, very scholarly. Then you dismiss any criticism of your pet book by attacking the author of the criticism because he is an apologist, yet you don't address one of his factual criticisms...it is clear that you do not think for yourself nor want your readers to do so - you look for propaganda that agrees with your uninformed point of view and conjure up a hub page to promote it. That's not a personal attack, simply an observation of the facts and a clear demonstration that I CAN READ.

      There is no fact that Debunking the Historical Jesus is spreading more rapidly - you have statistics for that? and there is no blind acceptance of tradition, because scholars are constantly re-evaluating the facts in light of recent theories and findings (in case you didn't notice we don't live in the middle ages) and with that said still "virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established", a fact I have repeated but you just ignore. The only dissenters are those who twist the facts as apologists and other scholars have clearly pointed out. Are the ranks of these charlatans growing? Maybe so with the help of people like you but that doesn't change any facts and trying to discredit your detractors by condescendingly demeaning them does nothing for your case except demonstrate a lack of character on your part.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      """"That's called hypocrisy - and I'm pretty sure that the biblical Jesus spoke against such a thing."""""

      You attack the bible, then use it's principles to hide behind it.

      McFarland; your a closet Christian aren't you?

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      You're going to point the finger at me for personal attacks when you continue to do the same thing yourself? That's called hypocrisy - and I'm pretty sure that the biblical Jesus spoke against such a thing. If someone approaches me with respect, I will treat them respectfully. If someone approaches me disrespectfully as you did (its interesting to note that you ignored all these other evidences, etc, and you went downhill from there) then I feel no need to respond in a respectful manner. It really is that simple. You criticized me for "ignoring" things, when the hub title clearly states part ONE, which by default indicates that there will be additional parts. You don't have to be a mind reader to figure that out - everyone else seemed to manage just fine. That's where my criticism of your reading skills came into play - plus the fact that you listed the Talmud in your"other evidences" when the Talmud was at least partially addressed. I plan on expanding that section as I have time. Before you jump in to criticize, perhaps you should actually read what you're critiquing first. It does wonders for not only comprehension but also conversation about the material.

      David is hardly the only source. Carrier has discussed the matter at length as well, and for every apologist you can name that agrees with your position, I can find someone else who has refuted it. This is not a new thing, and even minuscule research will prove that its been out there for a long time. The fact that it its spreading more rapidly is a point for truth and not just a blind acceptance of tradition regardless of actual truth.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Read? Your definition of ability to read is you have to be a mind reader as you make no indication of what you plan to propagandize next and prefer to make personal attacks, a definite sign of weakness in your presentation as opposed to sticking with the facts...of which is virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established, but you think Fitzgerald is the end all because "I've spoken to David". Yeah, I guess he thrills you so much that virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research are wrong...why? Only inference I see is you haven't spoken to them? or you just want to make some money promoting a book for suckers.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Both sides? Why present anything but facts if one is searching for the truth? There's plenty of unfounded speculation and tainted writings already, but then you know about this already since you mentioned Josephus. I'm sure Julie will get to it soon. Be patient, Bro. I'm sure you'll just love it. :)

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      He actually does present both sides. I wouldn't expect an apologist website to exactly promote it. I've spoken to David. He's a very respected historian, and his lectures have never disappointed. I don't expect you to understand. I mean, come on, your inability to read says it all, don't you think?

      Incidentally - can you guys get your stories straight? I've got one of you saying "no, the Talmud would never provide evidence for jesus" and you saying "oh come on, why didn't you discuss the Talmud" Which I actually did. If like-minded believers can't agree, how can you expect anyone else to?

      I don't personally care what you think of my sources, my resources or my friends. You can't critique anything without quoting someone else - is that because you haven't actually studied this stuff for yourself or are you just that unoriginal?

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Oh you mean the link to a book written to soak money from suckers who are uninformed and want to buy anything that deny's Chrsitianity - yeah I saw it and realized it is a pathetic reason for your hub page "promotion" of such an ambarassing piece of work.

      "Fitzgerald consistently uses a double standard to judge history and truth claims. If his skepticism is consistent, no one should be making truth claims about any first-century person – especially not with the kind of certainty Fitzgerald claims for the non-existence of Jesus. But since confidently denying Jesus on the basis of such shifting standards is what he does, we can be more than skeptical about Fitzgerald’s skepticism. That is, his book should be recognized as what is – garbage." You obviously are not in search of the the truth because here it is http://www.realapologetics.org/blog/2011/04/30/a-r...

      One thing a good hubber does is present both sides of a controversial subject so the reader can make his/her own decision but you use hub pages as a propaganda vehicle.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      HA! The same old sad postings of "proof of Jesus" which have been debunked so many times before, Julie. These guys must all visit the same websites. lol

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Interesting how you chose to ignore that this is only part 1 of a multi-part series, and that all these other pieces will be addressed in time.

      I'm not the only one who thinks there is significant evidence to call jesus' existence into question, as evidenced by the amazon link to a book on the subject - but why would you notice that, when you can't even read a simple title?

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of pissants promisem and deantraylor 4 years ago from TWO OF THE MANY LYING LIB CRYBABIES OF HUB PAGES

      Interesting how you choose to ignore many other evidences

      Evidence from the Babylonian Talmud

      Evidence from Pliny the Younger

      Evidence from Josephus

      Evidence from Lucian of Samosata

      There are many ancient Christian sources of information about Jesus. The term "Christ myth theory" is an umbrella term that applies to a range of arguments that in one way or another question the authenticity of the existence of Jesus. Among the variants of the Jesus myth theory, the notion that Jesus never existed has little scholarly support, and although some modern scholars adhere to it, they remain a distinct minority; virtually all scholars involved with historical Jesus research believe that his existence can be established, all except the author of this hubpage itappears. So I guess virtually all scholars are part of a vast conspiracy to make people believe in a mythical being? I doubt it, I mean it's not like Jesus was having sex with a mythical intern.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      Read it. Its all bs too, and modern biblical scholars agree that a lot of the stories were enhanced our downright made up. I know what the Talmud is. Read up on why apologists use it and maybe you'll understand.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      C'mon Man,

      The talmud is a collection of Jewish writings, some contributors are known, most are not. It's a very old blog of sorts.

      I've read foxes book of martyrs, this is great start for you to read up on the subject.

    • JMcFarland profile image
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      Julie McFarland 4 years ago from The US of A, but I'm Open to Suggestions

      k12row - then why is it commonly used by apologists to point out a corroborating account of jesus - even though they're pointing out the wrong one? You're no apologist if you're unaware of these arguments for the historical Jesus. I highly recommend that you read up on the subject.

    • k12rswow profile image

      k12rswow 4 years ago from New England

      The talmud wouldn't mention Jesus, since they (Jews) were directly threatened by his pointing out the mass hypocrisies they were involved in.

    • Randy Godwin profile image

      Randy Godwin 4 years ago from Southern Georgia

      Hi Julie, a very concise and well researched article which disspells a lot of myths about the mythical figure who many Christians know so little about. Most will not believe there are few so facts--or perhaps none at all--about him. Rated up!