So I have been debating with this lady for a few days now on FB, needless to say she disregards anything I say as false information, and this includes things like pointing out the fact that the bible has hundreds of contradictions, the numerous gods long before the new testament that have striking similarities to Jesus's story, the fact that the Romans have no documentation of any such thing as a character like Jesus, and that the new testament wasn't even written until decades after Jesus's alleged death.
This is her last post, and I just don't even know what to do with it:
No other ancient historical writings are anywhere near as close to the event (most, like Ceasar's, are more than 900 years removed) or as numerous as the New Testament manuscripts (over 5000). Please check this concise chart - http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence. Outside of the New Testament you also had the historical references to Jesus by Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus around 112AD, Jewish general turned Roman historian Flavious Josephus born 37AD and several others.
Any help here? I don't even know what to say to this, and I am hoping someone here does.
This is just stupid. Pure burning stupid. We have Caesar's own writings FFS! Not to mention the writings of contemporaries that discuss him and what he did. We have no such thing for Jesus! Anyone saying different is either lying, deluded, or possessed of some deep cognitive deficits.
Josephus does include two ostensible references to Jesus, one, the Testimonium Flavianum (as it is known; “the testimony of Flavius [Josephus]”), is all but universally acknowledged to be either a complete or substantial interpolation into the text by later Christian copyists, and the second, that refers to “the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name is James” some also believe has been interpolated, but note that even if it wasn’t it tells us nothing about Jesus’s life, death, or resurrection. But it’s worse than this for both of Josephus’s mentions of Jesus. Jesus is supposed to have lived from either about 4 BCE or 6 CE (the Bible is unclear and contradictory on this as with so many things; cf. Matt 2:1, Luke 2:1; before Herod died in 4 BCE or at the time of Quirinus’s census in 6/7 CE?) up to perhaps 33 CE. People in the ancient world not only did not have the same concept of what it means to write a biography as we do today (Grant 1995, Marincola 1997) but they believed all sorts of patently absurd things, based only on whether the account was entertaining with a compelling message and the teller charismatic, never verifying with witnesses of the purported events before accepting a claim. Not only this but a typical lifespan in the ancient world was 46 years (Parkin 1992, Frier 1980, Coale 1983 and Bognall and Frier 1994) Josephus himself tells us that it usually took just 20 years for witnesses to no longer be around to rebut a story. (Life 360, Jewish War 1.15, Against Apion 1.55) So knowing all this, when do Josephus’s two mentions of Jesus date to even if we take them at face value? Well they both appear in his Antiquities written about 93-94 CE. Indeed, as your opponent says, Josephus himself wasn’t even born until 37 CE. So, at best, anything Josephus wrote can only ever be considered evidence that there were people by the closing hours of the first century that believed these things about Jesus, not that these things about Jesus were true or that these things attest to his existence in fact. But no one doubts that there were people who believed these things about Jesus, that’s not in question. And the other mentions of Jesus or of Christians in the works of Tacitus’s Annals, dating to c. 116 CE, or Seutonius’s Lives of the Twelve Caesars, dating to 121 CE, are even worse!
Something you need to know about Josephus is that at least one of his Jesus references is commonly accepted as complete fraud, even by apologists. Point her here: http://www.sacred-texts.com/jud/josephus/ant-18.htm and reference Chapter 3. You can see the Christ mention is obviously not original.
For many others, read http://www.amazon.com/Nailed-Christian-Myths-Jesus-Existed/dp/05577...
I don't think it's definitive proof Jesus didn't exist. I'm agnostic on the historic Jesus question. But people who claim "it's better documented than Caesar" are wishful thinking.
for starters Josephus's writings supposely of jesus was NOT written by Josephus they were more likely than not written by Catholic Church historian Eusebius....in Josephus's writing he is arguing and then all of sudden is this comment about jesus and then after the discussion about jesus the arguement continues....so logic there...as for cornelius tacitus i would have to do more research....read The Jesus Mystery: Was the Orginal Jesus a Pagan God? great book....filled with references
This Wiki on Tacitus is a poor source of info. Paragraph 3 …”Scholars generally consider Tacitus's reference to the execution of Jesus by Pontius Pilate to be both authentic, and of historical value as an independent Roman source…..” The reference for a Helen K. Bond points to a Christian theologian with a vested interest in saying such rubbish. These wikis are often taken as “gospel” by xtians who don’t usually check references.
i have a reference (not to hand) on Josephus. Not much more to add only that it concurs with what is already said above. I would ask for references for the "several others"
The url posted makes appeals that are not relevant to the premise of the argument. Appealing to other sources or authorities is not good enough.
Have you listened to debates with the late Christopher Hitchens? Whether you have or not it is obvious that a "believer" is just that and will not listen to ANY facts with which they disagree; however, if you listen to 'The Hitch' (and Sam Harris) you will find that, even if the writings about Jesus and the rest of the bronze age 'miracles' are all true, religeous people still have everything to prove about the existence of a god.