JESUS CHRIST: Myth or Historical Person?

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Alter2Ego, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Alter2Ego
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    Alter2Ego Member

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    ALTER2EGO -to- EVERYONE:

    A favorite argument by non-believers is that Jesus Christ's existence is confined to the pages of the Judeo-Christian Bible. When presented with documentary evidence of his historical existence, Bible critics then use another ploy: they attack the credibility of those who confirmed the existence of Jesus Christ and/or they attack the credibility of what was written about Jesus Christ.

    Below are three non-Christians from the 1st Century AD who mentioned Jesus Christ in their secular writings. The questions for debate are at the end of this post.


    PERSON #1:
    Name and Occupation: Cornelius Tacitus, Roman Historian

    DOB to Date of Death: A.D. 55 to A.D. 120

    Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile

    What He Said: He confirmed that CHRISTUS (a common misspelling of Christ at the time) was executed by Pilate.

    Highlights on Tacitus: A Roman historian who lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors, Tacitus has been called "the greatest historian of ancient Rome."



    PERSON #2:
    Name and Occupation: Flavius Josephus, Jewish Historian

    DOB to Date of Death: 37 AD -- Died after 100 AD

    Attitude Towards Christianity: Apathetic (could care less about them)

    What He Said: He confirmed that Christ who performed miracles was executed by Pilate.

    Highlights on Josephus: A Jewish historian of priestly and royal ancestry who recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the 1st century AD (the century in which Jesus Christ lived and died). He has been credited by many as recording some of the earliest history of Jesus Christ outside of the gospels. Flavius Josephus belonged to the group of Jewish religious leaders--the Pharisees--responsible for Jesus' death.

    Flavius Josephus joined the zealots who rebelled against Roman rule between 66 and 74 AD, becoming a leader of their forces in Galilee, and living through the Roman destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70. He was captured by the Romans, and would have been executed, but he went over to their side and ended up becoming the Roman emperor's Adviser on Jewish Affairs.



    PERSON #3:
    Name and Occupation: Pliny The Younger (born Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus), Roman Governor

    DOB to Date of Death: 61 AD to 112 AD

    Attitude Towards Christianity: Hostile. He executed Christians

    What He Said: Referred to Christ as a "god of the Christians."

    Highlights on Pliny: Pliny condemned Men, Women, and children to death if they refused to curse Christ and if they refused to deny they were Christians.


    DISCUSSION QUESTIONS:
    1.
    All three of the individuals described above were people in powerful positions who were anti-Christian and belonged to groups that actively killed Christians. All three individuals belonged to organizations that were responsible for Jesus' death. What did they have to gain from mentioning the existence of Jesus Christ in their writings--thereby confirming his earthly existence?

    2. Flavius Josephus, a Jew, was born a mere four years after Jesus was executed. He became a Jewish Pharisee as an adult, in addition to becoming a respected historian and advisor to the Roman emperor. Do you see anything significant to his being a Pharisee, a historian, and Roman emperor advisor--and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings?

    3. Cornelius Tactitus was known as the greatest historian of his time, during which he lived through the reign of over a half-dozen Roman emperors. Do you see anything significant to his resume and the fact that he mentioned Jesus Christ in his writings?
     
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  2. hjmick
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    hjmick Gold Member

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    Speaking for myself, a borderline Atheist, I believe Jesus lived. I do not believe he was born of a virgin, nor do I believe he was "the son of GOD" as that would require a belief in a god. If pressed, I would say that he was a rabbi who wandered and preached. He was probably the inspiration for the Jesus in the Bible. As for the tales of Jesus' exploits in said Bible, parable.

    But hey, that's just me.

    To each his own...
     
  3. RetiredGySgt
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    RetiredGySgt Platinum Member

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    Except for the historical fact we have at least one confirmed living person during the time writing of Jesus Miracles.
     
  4. TakeAStepBack
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    TakeAStepBack Gold Member

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    Both.
     
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  5. SayMyName
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    SayMyName Live, Love, Laugh.

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    Yet, Paul, the most prolific writer of the New Testament, and who wrote shortly after the time that Jesus perportedly lived, says nothing of an actual life of the spiritual being he professes to have encountered. Meanwhile, we are led to believe that the gospels, which contain much about Jesus and his early life, were written no earlier than four decades and more after his supposed lifetime on earth, and when done so, in Greek, a language not even known by the disciples by way of mouth or pen.

    As for Josephus, the Jewish historian, the one reference he made to Jesus living has now been debunked. It is generally agreed that the one reference between chapters that is normally cited as proof of a historic Jesus was added centuries later by order of the new christian church.

    Imagine someone writing today as fact about someone who lived 150 years ago with as little evidence. The closest example could be Mormons, and see how much they are villified?
     
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  6. konradv
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    konradv Gold Member

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    None of the historians mentioned were alive during Jesus' life, making all of their accounts second-hand. Unfortunately, there are no first-hand sources, even the New Testament.
     
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  7. Dragon
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    Dragon Senior Member

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    Agreed.

    While we have no final, definitive proof that such a person ever existed, his existence is the most economical explanation for the existence of Christianity, and so I'm inclined to believe he was a real person. That does not, of course, mean that what Christians believe about him was true.
     
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  8. CrusaderFrank
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    CrusaderFrank Diamond Member

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    Jesus was real.

    I grew up RCC and my conclusion is that his message got garbled in translation.

    I'm a Gnostic and I'm weary of these "debates".

    Worship as your heart tells you
     
  9. amrchaos
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    amrchaos Pentheus torn apart

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    Have you seen how old that person was at the time of Jesus cruxificition?

    less than the age of 5!
    One would also have to question the sources of these esteemed historians as well. I bet it was from christian sources, such as believers and the bible.

    Thus we go full circle back to the original criticisms that the op tries to disprove.
     
  10. vlad
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    vlad Rookie

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    Totally real....open your heart
     

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