Re: Historical Evidence of Jesus Christ
This is a long post. I will take parts and respond at this point
Which symposium is this?
Originally posted by beanfarmer
This devilishly simply principle is more like a bag of logic worms. There is nothing here based on a 'scientific method,' nor a 'historical method.'
How can one achieve this theological flexibility within the constraints of a historical investigation? The answer is that you can not, or at least could not, until the recent discovery of a rather bizarre wrinkle in theological reality. All of us have had the experience of finding that things are not always what they seem to be. Though it is usually chalked up to misperception or too much of a party the night before, one theory postulates that at certain times and in very restricted situations things seem to be something else because they truly are, not what they are. Though it had always been assumed that an object could not be itself and yet not itself at the same time and in the same way, 20th century advances in the science of relativism have found that this is not so in matters theological. It has in fact been proven via the recombinant technology of relativistic political correctness, that in fact two logical opposites can be true at the same time and in the same way within the narrow field of theology. The first, and most famous, law discovered with this scientific method was the devilishly simple principle,
"What you believe is true for you and what I believe is true for me."
I call the trick 'loading the dice.' This is the most common practice among traditional theologians, assume beliefs, doctrines and dogmas and then present your argument.
Further application of these findings by the fore mentioned Jesus historians led to a rather creative use of the concept of control beliefs. A control belief is a premise upon which you base your investigation. It is used to form your argument and to decide which ideas are worth pursuing and which have to be thrown out. The trick is in arriving at your control belief before your investigation has shown you what reality is.
All these questions remain definitively unanswered on both sides of the fence, and from the less biased perspective, 'How do you know?' could just as well to the believers in the scripture, doctrine, dogma and traditional Christian history of Jesus. The actual evidence that we have available for the life of Jesus leaves these questions open. In part this is apparent in the many divisions within Christianity that each claim they know, and disagree to the point of schism.
It can be an almost mystical experience at times appearing almost prophetic because the basis on which you proceed seems to always end up being backed up by the conclusions that you come to. If you decide that Jesus was a political leader then you may rule out all of his religious statements as later additions. Such additions, put in at a later date, can not be considered to be a part of the historical Jesus. How do you know that Jesus was a political leader? Because we have just proven that claims that he spoke of other maters were later forgeries. How do we know that they are forgeries? Because since he was really only a political leader he would not have been interested in religious maters so he would not have spoken on them. If that type of argument does not convince someone, just keep repeating the last two lines of it until the shear bloody mindedness of it wears them down. This is not circular logic. It is rather the logical and unavoidable outcome of your presupposition. It is not an unsupported presupposition because your end findings show it to be true. It's like the guy who made a sculpture of an elephant by getting a big rock and cutting out everything that didn't look like an elephant. An example of a control belief used by Jesus historians is the belief that things supernatural, miraculous, or that in other ways would show the hand of God intervening in human affairs, do not exist. This denies the main purpose of the Bible and thereby opens up a plethora of imaginative and original discoveries in historical fact that can then be mined from whatever little bits and pieces that are left that you determine to be authentic history.
Doctrine and Dogma are 'control beliefs' for the Traditional Theist. Control beliefs should be limited for secular historians, but nonetheless some have underlying control beliefs in the work.
This cannot be discounted by hand waving. It was a common practice in many ancient cultures.
Of course, this can leave you with practically nothing upon which you can base your particular historical Jesus. Much however, can yet be mined from what you do not know. Why were these stories made up? It could not have been to make the early chroniclers of Biblical myth popular.
True, but this is equally true of many diverse belief systems in history.
Most of them seem to have died for saying it.
'Must be' is the achille's heal of doctrinal and dogmatic assumptions.
There must have been some underlying reason for these stories.
This sarcastic view of 'higher criticism does not hold water. By the above you could assume they were using bowls with holes in the them to draw the water. This not a real nor valid description. One story, particularly a parable, in only one source does not in itself determine whether the story is true.
All of this could get a bit confusing, and we here at Heresy of the Month would certainly not want that, so let us just walk you through one of the many possible historical realities generated by these methods. We will use the passage about the woman at the well found in John 4 as a stating point. Since this story exists only in the book of John it must have been made up because higher criticism has shown us that truth usually comes in triplicate and must at least have a carbon copy to be valid. (To say that a text is more reliable if more than one copy exists and yet to disqualify other texts because multiple copies infer an earlier source that is unknown is not a contradiction. Rather it is due to the anomalies of reality mentioned above that exist only in the realms of theology.) But why was this story included? The obvious answer is that the opposite must then be true. The editorial committee for the book of John must have wanted to cover up Jesus' racist attitude towards Samaritans. A Freudian slip of the redactors quill has however betrayed what really transpired. Jesus asks the woman for a drink and yet he tells her that he can give her water. The story just doesn't make sense. The water, however, is a genuine element of history. Later on in both verse 40 and 43 the phrase "two days" appears. With a little intuition and if you decided that your control belief was that Jesus was the first of a long line of Jewish comics, it can be seen that what actually transpired was a precursor to a well worn comedic standard. It probably went something like this.
"How many Samaritans does it take to draw a drink of water?"
"Only one but it would take him two days to do it."
Light bulb jokes are not relevant.
Yes, it was a bit lame, yet it's importance lies not in Jesus' primitive attempt at humor but rather in the myriad of light bulb jokes that it has spawned since.
Totally irrelevant to question of 'Who was the historical Jesus?' The sarcasm needle just pegged and broke.
In fact, this bit of critical biblical isogesis, could become the start of a totally new ancient Jesus. Jesus could now have been no longer a political reformer, He could cease to have been a peasant philosopher, and henceforth he was not a Zionist zealot. What he becomes was no longer even a religious teacher. What he taught will not be all doom and judgment. He comes to have had a far lighter side than any people living within a generation of his time would have guessed. Not just lighter, but funny. Yes, what Jesus was has now become funny, so funny that we can now call him, "The Hysterical Jesus".
There actually is not a plethora of evidence available.
Once this fact has been discovered it is easy to find a plethora of evidence for it. An example can be seen in the story of the demon possessed man in Mark 5. Our control belief eliminates the demon and the exorcism, but since versions of this story appear in two of the other gospels as well, there must be some real historical basis for it hiding within the text.
No, appearing in more than one gospel only means it appears in more than on gospel, and not whether the story is reliable, There is evidence that the gospels evolved and later gospels used earlier gospels.
Since we have already determined that Jesus was a stand up comic, the true history behind it is easy to imagine. This is a typical case of a comic being heckled! This individual heckler was more than one usually ran into. The mention of his ability to break chains and the mention that "none could tame him" in verse 4 are of course embellishments of the fact that bouncers at clubs he frequented were unable to contain his heckling. A fragment of the original heckling can be seen in verse 7 where he shouts in reference to the quality of Jesus routine, "torment me not". Jesus was not one to be easily frazzled however. His response mentioning compassion for the heckler and the phase "go home and tell thy friends" in verse 19 was obviously an early version of the line, "Here's a quarter.... Call someone who cares."
If you wish to base your conclusions on the evidence, no, Jesus cannot be anything you want Jesus to be. There are only certain options genuinely available in reality.
This, of course is just one example of what you can make Jesus to have been. History, at least when it applies to Jesus, can be virtually anything you want it to be.
This may be true for layman conjecture and speculation, but not from the academic historical perspective. Like scientist, historians do not 'prove' things.
The accuracy of your version of history is verified, or even proven, as long as what you believe is true for you.
The above would be based on the assumptions of Traditional Christian doctrines, dogma, accuracy of the scripture, which from a less biased academic historical perspective may of may not be true like other religious beliefs of the world based on their scripture, doctrine and dogma.
This paticular heresy is not endorsed by Time Magazine, though they have published some nearly as silly, and not based on little more than what we based it on. As always, neither ''Sackcloth and Ashes'' nor ''Heresy of the Month'' will be responcible for the souls of anyone believing in this heresy nor any other "historical Jesus" that doesn't have him dying for your sins.
Last edited by shunyadragon; June 7th 2012 at 08:28 AM.
Go with the flow the river knows.
Hillsborough, NC 27278
Gifts of jade-silk change weapons and war into peace and friendship.
I do not know, therefore I think . . . and everything is in pencil.