Debunking the Myth that Jesus Never Existed – the Historical Sources for Jesus, Part One

It seems bizarre to many that some people believe that Jesus never existed. Not Jesus the figure of faith, miracle working Son of God – nope – even a historical holy man Jesus, who inspired the stories in the bible. Many honestly believe it is all made up. They are almost certainly wrong, and this is probably down to peoples lack of understanding of how historians work. This is not a religious question, not one of faith, but one of history, and historians atheist, Jewish, Hindu or Christian can all agree on this.  Hey, let me start at the beginning…

Spending a lot of time as I do chatting on hard core sceptic and atheist forums (and yes I’m a sceptic myself, but a Christian as it happens) I was increasingly bewildered in the middle years of this decade to find a massive upswing in the belief that Jesus who inspired the Christian faith never existed, but was a mythical construct, or based on earlier pagan redeemer figures. This is a position taken seriously by no mainstream historian, and complete rot, but after the QI Christmas special in which the usual Mithras crap was spouted and Stephen Fry put attempts to put the record straight down to Christian propaganda I was outraged enough to become combative and actually engage the “Christ Mythers”, that is not Christians, but people who deny there was a Historical Jesus.

I was astonished by the vehemence, ignorance and appallingly bad scholarship which met my early attempts, though the JREF forum (James Randi Educational Foundation Forum) had long since been a place where this nonsense was attacked, as befits a sceptical community, and after  a couple of years anyone arguing it on Richard Dawkins forum is likely to get shot down – but the real change there came where Timothy O Neil an Australian atheist joined me and made a principled stand against this nonsense.

* Pliny the Younger, writing in Bithynia c.111AD Pliny is concerned about how to handle an outbreak of Christianity in his region. He writes to the Emperor Trajan, and the relevant part for our inquiry is

“They asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ as to a god, and to bind themselves by oath, not to some crime, but not to commit fraud, theft, or adultery, not falsify their trust, nor to refuse to return a trust when called upon to do so. When this was over, it was their custom to depart and to assemble again to partake of food–but ordinary and innocent food. Even this, they affirmed, they had ceased to do after my edict by which, in accordance with your instructions, I had forbidden political associations. Accordingly, I judged it all the more necessary to find out what the truth was by torturing two female slaves who were called deaconesses. But I discovered nothing else but depraved, excessive superstition.

This merely shows Christ was worshiped in Asia Minor, and a reference later in the letter says that some has apostatized up to twenty five years before, so the churches were established there by c.85AD, and probably before. I don’t think Paul ever got this far north.

You can read the whole letter (and Trajan’s response) here

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pliny1.html

and the excellent historical resource Peter Kirby’s Early Christian Writings website has a couple of links to articles on this letter.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/pliny.html

Trajan’s response was

“You observed proper procedure, my dear Pliny, in sifting the cases of those who had been denounced to you as Christians. For it is not possible to lay down any general rule to serve as a kind of fixed standard. They are not to be sought out; if they are denounced and proved guilty, they are to be punished, with this reservation, that whoever denies that he is a Christian and really proves it–that is, by worshiping our gods–even though he was under suspicion in the past, shall obtain pardon through repentance. But anonymously posted accusations ought to have no place in any prosecution. For this is both a dangerous kind of precedent and out of keeping with the spirit of our age.”

It seems that Trajan was well aware of Christians, and that some persecution occurred presumably as a threat to the State through their “atheism” as it was usually termed. Beyond establishing that Christ was worshiped as God this comparatively early stage, it leads us no closer to the Historical Jesus, but it seemed as good a point as any to begin!

Let’s move on to Suetonius, 115CE

Early Christian Writings  ( http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/suetonius.html )  is excellent as usual here – so it seems pointless for me to rehash what is said already there.

Suetonius wrote in The Life of Claudius (25.4)

“As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.”

He also notes the presence of Christians –

“Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition “

Now Claudius from 41 to 54CE, so is this Chrestus actually Christus, Christ? Did rows in the synagogue (and recall Christianity was still part of Judaism at this point) lead to the expulsion? It seems not unlikely, and agrees with the account in Acts. Traditionally dated to 49CE, this event is probably within twenty years of the crucifixion so very early – but its not certain. the instigation of Chrestus seems to imply someone alive, but if Suetonius who was writing some seventy years later was using a lost source, it would be an easy mistake to make. I think this probably does represent the earliest Christian missions to Rome – and yet again, it brings us no closer to the Historical Jesus…

Nero ruled from 54 to 68CE. As we shall see other references exist tot he Christian community in his reign in Rome.

Tacitus, Annals – c.115AD

Annals, 15:44

Such indeed were the precautions of human wisdom. The next thing was to seek means of propitiating the gods, and recourse was had to the Sibylline books, by the direction of which prayers were offered to Vulcanus, Ceres, and Proserpina. Juno, too, was entreated by the matrons, first, in the Capitol, then on the nearest part of the coast, whence water was procured to sprinkle the fane and image of the goddess. And there were sacred banquets and nightly vigils celebrated by married women. But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace.  Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed.”

It probably goes without saying that Early Christian Writings is the best place http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/tacitus.html to start your evaluation.

The possibility this is a Christian interpolation strikes me as highly unlikely – we have an independent reference to Neronic persecution in Suetonius (see above) and it is very unflattering.  However none of the Christian Church Fathers make mention of it  .  It strikes me as entirely probable.   Note Pilate is described as a Procurator, but in fact was a Proconsul, a simple enough error, Tacitus using a contemporary title resulting in this anachronism.

The absolutely central issue here is where Tacitus got his information from.  It may well have been a Roman source, as Christian sources are unlikely to express these kinds of feelings, and Tacitus appears to have despised Christians. One can’t help feel Tacitus had some early reference from which he worked for the Neronic persecution at least — the references to public sympathy brought about by the persecution have that feel.

A common claim I often see is that it is odd that none of the Church Fathers mention the Neronic persecution (they do) or Tacitus’ mention of it. I may as well address it briefly here before proceeding.

Eusebius cites the Church Father, Tertullian (155-230), Defence 5

“Study your records: there you will find that Nero was the first to persecute this teaching when, after subjugating the entire East, in Rome he especially he treated everyone with savagery. That such a man was author of our chastisement fills us with pride.  For anyone who knows him knows him can understand that anything not supremely good would never have been condemned by Nero.”

I think that Tertullian is here drawing directly on Tacitus, and his account (cited above) of the Neronic persecution.  I may be wrong, but “Study your records” implies that Tertullian was referring to a Roman authority, and Suetonius or Tacitus fit the bill, and Tacitus best.

Phlegon of Tralles, c130-160??? EDIT: or possibly much earlier, writing circa 80CE – see links for detailed discussion.

Jerome  wrote —
Jesus Christ, according to the prophecies which had been foretold about him beforehand, came to his passion in the eighteenth year of Tiberius, at which time also we find these things written verbatim in other commentaries of the gentiles, that an eclipse of the sun happened, Bithynia was shaken by earthquake, and in the city of Nicaea many buildings collapsed, all of which agree with what occurred in the passion of the savior. Indeed Phlegon, who is an excellent calculator of olympiads, also writes about these things, writing thus in his thirteenth book:

(Phlegon) – “In the fourth year, however, of olympiad 202,* an eclipse of the sun happened, greater and more excellent than any that had happened before it; at the sixth hour, day turned into dark night, so that the stars were seen in the sky, and an earthquake in Bithynia toppled many buildings of the city of Nicaea. These things [are according to] the aforementioned man.”

The events referred to are from 32CE, a possible date for the Crucifixion and darkening of the sky.  Yet in Jerome’s translation Jesus is never mentioned!  My suspicion is that he was referring to Jesus, and that Jerome was honest here, as that is his implication. However Phlegon was clearly extremely credulous and loved fortean phenomena – see his

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phlegon_of_Tralles – Wikipedia entry
, so I hesitate to put much emphasis on him.  Still he mentioned Jesus and prophecies fulfilled, and was a secular historian.  Good technical discussion complete with excellent links and analysis to be found on Textcavation —

http://www.textexcavation.com/phlegontestimonium.htm

This brings us to Thallus, writing somewhere between 50 and 150CE

The key passage here by being quoted by Julius Africanus  in alost work, but quoted by George Syncellus in a 9th century text! Does not inspire confidence does it, but very normal for recovering historical data

Here is the passage from Africanus —

“A most terrible darkness fell over all the world, the rocks were torn apart by an earthquake, and many places both in Judaea and the rest of the world were thrown down. In the third book of his Histories Thallus dismisses this darkness as a solar eclipse, unreasonably, as it seems to me. For the Hebrews celebrate the Passover on Luna 14, and what happened to the Saviour occurred one day before the Passover. But an eclipse of the sun takes place when the moon passes under the sun. The only time when this can happen is in the interval between the first day of the new moon and the last day of the old moon, when they are in conjunction. How then could one believe an eclipse took place when the moon was almost in opposition to the sun? So be it. Let what had happened beguile the masses, and let this wonderful sign to the world be considered a solar eclipse through an optical [illusion]. Phlegon records that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar there was a complete solar eclipse at full moon from the sixth to the ninth hour; it is clear that this is the one. But what have eclipses to do with an earthquake, rocks breaking apart, resurrection of the dead, and a universal disturbance of this nature”

There are three good sources for study of this – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thallus_%28historian%29 Wikipedia is succinct and good , but also see

http://www.textexcavation.com/thallustestimonium.html

Textcavation and for all you atheists out there the generally very sound  Richard Carrier.

http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/thallus.html

I don’t aim to make any real judgements myself at this point, just chronicle the key texts,  but I will end here for today. More tonight or tomorrow!

cj x

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About Chris Jensen Romer

I am a profoundly dull, tedious and irritable individual. I have no friends apart from two equally ill mannered cats, and a lunatic kitten. I am a ghosthunter by profession, and professional cat herder. I write stuff and do TV things and play games. It's better than being real I find.
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26 Responses to Debunking the Myth that Jesus Never Existed – the Historical Sources for Jesus, Part One

  1. David says:

    A very good piece CJ. I missed that particular episode of QI.

    BTW have you read Jaroslav Pelikan’s ‘Jesus Through The Centuries’? Highly recommended.

  2. Dirk Hartog says:

    Everybody agrees there were Christians in the late first and early second century. People − Tacitus, Suetonius, Lucian, are some −− wrote about them and their myths. How exactly would you expect someone to describe an odd new cult to people who didn’t know anything about the cult, without mentioning the cult’s peculiar beliefs?

    For example, in 1997 the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, etc. all wrote about the Heaven’s Gate cult, mentioning the space−gods cult members believed were coming to earth in the trail of the Hale−Bop comet. Do you think the New York Times, Time, Newsweek articles are evidence that the comet−Gods actually existed?

    If not, why are Tacitus, Suetonius, Lucian mentioning the Jesus cult’s legendary founder evidence that that God actually existed?

    ————–
    At to Thallus, the usual early date, 52 AD date is a lie. Or give your evidence of it.

    Thallus never mentions Jesus. Hellooooo.

    But even if there were an eclipse as Thallus − whoever he was, whenever he wrote − reported, can you please explain to me why you imagine that would indicate the Jesus myths are real? Why would these facts not prove instead exactly the opposite, that the gospel writer − whoever he was, whenever he wrote − mythologized the story of the godman Jesus’ death, as other ancient pagan religions mythologized the deaths of their savior Sons of Gods?

    After all, dark skies at the moment of great events was a very old pagan idea. For eg.

    “And now when all was prepared−the bridges, and the works at Athos, the breakwaters about the mouths of the cutting, which were made to hinder the surf from blocking up the entrances, and the cutting itself; and when the news came to Xerxes that this last was completely finished, then at length the host, having first wintered at Sardis, began its march towards Abydos , fully equipped, on the first approach of spring. AT THE MOMENT OF DEPARTURE, THE SUN SUDDENLY QUITTED HIS SEAT IN THE HEAVENS, AND DISAPPEARED, THOUGH THERE WERE NO CLOUDS IN SIGHT, BUT THE SKY WAS CLEAR AND SERENE. Day was thus turned into night; whereupon Xerxes, who saw and remarked the PRODIGY, was seized with alarm, and sending at once for the Magians, inquired of them the meaning of the portent. They replied, “GOD IS FORESHOWING TO THE GREEKS THE DESTRUCTION OF THEIR CITIES; FOR THE SUN FORETELLS FOR THEM AND THE MOON FOR US.” SO XERXES, THUS INSTRUCTED, PROCEEDED ON HIS WAY WITH GREAT GLADNESS OF HEART.”
    [Herodotus, The Persian War, 7.37]

    Of course early Christians borrowed this Pagan understanding of portent miracles: “It has been observed that, ON THE OCCURRENCE OF GREAT EVENTS, AND OF MIGHTY CHANGES IN TERRESTRIAL THINGS, such stars are wont to appear, indicating either the removal of dynasties or the breaking out of wars, or the happening of such circumstances as may cause commotions upon the earth. ”
    [Origen, Against Celsus, 1.58]

    If Thallus were evidence of anything, he’d be evidence that Jesus was just another phony Pagan godman.

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Dirk, good to hear from you. I’m just heading out, so I will have to respond in detail later.

    Your first point – “Everybody agrees there were Christians in the late first and early second century.” is amusingly not true. Year before last I was involved in a correspondence with a gentleman who has spent considerable efforts, and considerable scholarship defending what I still consider to be an absolutely loony hypothesis – that Christianity was invented out of the whole cloth at the time of Constantine, and that Eusebius forged all the gospels, epistles and the rest!

    That aside – I just wanted ot point out how extreme some CM beliefs in circulation are – I think we agree totally. This is evidence for a historical Jesus, or early Christianity, nothing more, nothing less. There is no logical relationship between those facts and the existence of a Christian God, and I would never assert there was – it would be as in the examples you give, or claiming the Temple at Karnak is evidence of the existence of Amun of Thebes!

    On the dates for Thallus – yep, the early date looks pretty shaky for me, why I linked Richard Carrier who attacks the early date intelligently and the Textexcavation article. Without checking the relevant scholarship myself I have no idea if the early date claimed can be substantiated, hence my offering the range and links. I have some notes on this from a couple of years back, so I may blog on it later.

    And the citations from Herodotus and Celsus via Origen are really useful (which reminds, I should blog on Hoffman, Pearse & the curious affair of the faux-Celsus sometime.)

    Nice to meet you Dirk – spot on, and no disagreement I can see, but very valuable and useful comments. Cheers!

    cj x

    • Bruce Grubb says:

      Thallus has been on the iffy list for nearly 200 years. Even Robert Van Voorst in 2000 admitted “Some fog of uncertainty still surrounds Thallos’s statement: its extreme brevity, its third-hand citation, and the identity and date of the author.”

      Scott Oser in 1994 stated in his on line FAQ: “In a lost work referred to by Julius Africanus in the third century, the pagan writer Thallus reportedly claimed that Jesus’s death was accompanied by an earthquake and darkness. However, the original text is in fact lost, and we can confirm neither the contents of the text or its date.”

  4. Mo says:

    Hi CJ, just dropped in to your very interesting blog — thanks for publicizing it!

    Surprised you didn’t mention Josephus and his c.93CE reference to Jesus as the brother of the executed James — has he been discredited?

  5. Chris says:

    Hi Mo! Great to see you here. I try to promote fun upcoming events and that certainly includes any of your games — but I will not blog about them unless you say that is ok. I will write about Freeforms soon.

    Publicize the blog? Ah, I added it to my signature didn’t I on email? I’m pleased but a bit astonished someone came to look, thats really cool. A lot of it just deals with the various historical controversies I’m involved with – I think most people know I’m a “third rate ghosthunter” but few realize my more “respectable” academic past! However I need to sort out the categories so people can click on Forthcoming Events.

    In response to your question on Josephus – I certainly will write on it, I’m just working through the Pagan sources really, and I guess Josephus counts – he may have been a Jew but he is writing with the unusual apologetic aim of showing the Emperor Vespasian to be the Jewish Messiah, possibly given what has happened (destruction of the temple, Jerusalem etc) the hardest Public Relations brief in the history of the world t that date???

    I deliberately omitted it so far – I will deal with it though – but basically there are two references, in two of Josephus’ works, and one has definitely been “sexed up” Iraq dossier style by later Christian copyists. The debate is therefore what if anything was actually written there originally – and I will deal with this at ( no doubt tedious length) in a future post! The other reference is much more respectable — though not as useful in terms of biography – but again attacks have been made on it.

    I’m very fond of Josephus, who seems to have had a healthy attitude to self preservation (read “was a coward and a traitor”!) And think he would make a wonderful Freeform game character. I think a “Carry on Cleo” style game might be wonderful fun – visions of Kenneth Williams shouting “Infamy, Infamy, they’ve all got in in-for-me!” – and Steve H in a toga.
    🙂
    Um, I might have to start working on this!

    Anyway great to hear from you!
    cj x

  6. Mo says:

    Mm, the whole spectacle of these miscellaneous fled / hostage / exiled foreigners hanging around in Rome trying to sustain patronage is a very appealing one for a game. Could be a good project to write for Consequences in November!

  7. Chris says:

    I mean to make Consequences this year. Have booking started yet? That is one Fun Forthcoming Event I finally intend to make!

    Actually is there a GENCON this year? It’s normally annual? I gophered for Fiona last year and it was a really good time. I guess I should ask these questions on the mailing list! I shall go do that. 🙂

    cj x

  8. Mo says:

    (a) Not yet, but it will fairly soon;
    (b) Dunno;
    (c) Yes, in theory, although it hasn’t always lived up to that.

  9. krissmith777 says:

    I wrote a post about the reference made to Jesus by Tacitus. Please tell me what you think of it:

    Link: http://nonpaganorigins.blog.com/?p=48

  10. Chris Jensen Romer says:

    I thought it was superb, and will add a link to your blog. Check out may article on Eostre too!

  11. Basilides says:

    If Tertullian is drawing directly on Tacitus, and his account (cited above) of the Neronic persecution, it’s odd that he doesn’t relate it to the burning of Rome (as Tacitus does) or mention the burnings of Christians.

    In chapter 5 of his Apology, after claiming that the emperor Tiberius had been a Christian, Tertullian writes:

    Consult your sources; you will find there that Nero was the first who assailed with the sword the Christian sect, making progress then especially at Rome.

    In chapter 21, after asserting that Pilate also had become a Christian, he said that:

    His disciples also… after suffering greatly themselves from the persecutions of the Jews…at last by Nero’s cruel sword sowed the seed of Christian blood at Rome.”

    There is no hint that Tertullian was aware of Tacitus’ tale of Christians being burned as night-lights in Nero’s garden.

  12. Jack says:

    Your examples prove only that Christians existed, not that the savior figure they worshiped actually lived. By the same token, I know Hindus exist, but that doesn’t prove Krishna was real. I know Shintoists exist, but that doesn’t mean Amaterasu was a historical figure.

    The problem here is no historians alive at the time Jesus allegedly lived ever mentioned him. Not even once. So if Jesus did exist, he didn’t merit any attention by contemporary writers. Everyone you quote lived decades after the supposed crucifixion of Jesus and thus were not present at any event in his life. At most, they’re just writing about what Christians believed.

    Did Jesus really exist? Well, the character in the Gospels didn’t. Then again, there may well have been some deluded rabbi wandering around in Galilee in the early 1st century and stories were invented about him. No offense, but back then in Israel, “messiahs” were a dime a dozen. Every street corner had one. In the long history of Judaism, many have claimed to be the long-awaited messiah – Jesus was certainly not unique in that regard.

  13. Chris Jensen Romer says:

    Hi Jack, yep, no contemporary records – though some new early Christian writings in the form of a metal codex may have turned up in Jordan I see. However, we equally have no contemporary historical evidence for the vast majority of 1st century figures, including some of stature. The obvious argument is from Josephus, who mentions a number of other messianic figures as you rightly say — but none of those are attested in the contemporary record either?

  14. Dan says:

    You’ve listed people who where born well after the alleged death of Christ, so at best, they are using hearsay , and hearsay is never trusted as historical fact. Jesus was a myth…

    • Chris Jensen Romer says:

      So we know nothing of Boudicca? How Julius Caesar actually died? 🙂

      • Dan says:

        Are you devoting your life to Caesar? Do you see any tax free churches established in the name of Caesar? Does Caesar influence today’s science classes with wrong information? No.

        So it really makes no difference if Caesar was a myth (we have overwhelming evidence to suggest otherwise) but exposing the Jesus myth will do us all a favor and get us out of the stranglehold that is Christianity.

  15. man4pak says:

    In fact even the blogosphere only returns Darkchilde, myself and Peter Harrison’s blogs. This is not going to hurt the RDF, or makke any difference; We lost, people got treated like shit, and no one will care outside of TAF and Rationalia.

    _________
    Sami

  16. Gregg Davis says:

    How are these evidences of the existence of a historical Jesus? They are evidence that there was a sect of people called Christians, worshipping a deity called Christ. All mythicists are well aware of these references…they just disagree that they refer to a historical person. In the case of Tacitus, has it ever occurred to you that he was simply repeating what some Christians by that time had come to believe?

    All these “evidences” have been analyzed in depth by mythicists, particularly Earl Doherty.You really should take the time to actually read what they’re saying.

  17. Bruce Grubb says:

    Carrier’s _On the Historicity of Jesus blows these “sources” out of the water.

    Pliny the Younger only talks about revering a Christ which even Christians sources themselves say was a title Dositheus and Simon Magus used. Also Tacitus’s Annals shows signs of tampering (Christians was in fact ChEstians which some identify as a PAGAN group worshiping Osiris under the name Serapis) and in fact the section covering for the period of middle 29 to middle 31 is missing: “That the cut is so precise and covers precisely those two is too improbable to posit as a chance coincidence.”

    Suetonius simply mentions Christians as part of a general housecleaning of Rome and strangely neither Pliny the Elder or Josephus mention this incident supporting the idea that Suetonius was either repeating an urban myth or was actually talking about Chrestians who would have been the worshipers of Egyptian gods that Tiberius had driven from Rome in 19 CE.

    Thallus is the biggest joke in the whole supposed references. It is in reality a ninth century Byzantine writer named George Syncellus quoted a third-century Christian historian named Julius Africanus, who quoted an unknown writer named “allos Samaritanos” on the darkness at the crucifixion. More over the document supposedly ENDS at the 167th Olympiad or 109 BCE and requires fudging to get tot he correct date.

    • Chris Jensen Romer says:

      As I note i do respect Richard’s scholarship but his book was not completed when this was written

      • Bruce Grubb says:

        And many of these points were in Scott Oser’s 1994 “Historicity Of Jesus FAQ” and Dan Barker’s 2009 “Godless”, David Kent’s 2002 “Jesus: Fact or Fiction?” (which has been updated since then) and even in Resmburg from 1909 all well BEFORE this article.

        Even Eddy and Boyd’s 2007 _Jesus Legend_ admits the problems with ALL these sources though it does try, in what in some places has to be the most goofy non sequitur I have EVER seen, to say that they are still evidence for Jesus. Even by what was available in 2008 the research regarding the quality for supposed evidence for Jesus presented in this article was crap.

        All Carrier really did was collect what was ALREADY out there into one convenient reference with high quality scholarly references.

  18. Rick Wilm says:

    If Jesus did not exist as both god and man then xtianity still does not have a leg to stand on, for at the very core of xtian belief is the assertion that Jesus was also a god and was therefore the only sacrifice that was sufficient enough for his daddy to accept as an atonement for his deliberate creation of a failed world! An omnipotent and omniscient being that deliberately created a failed world would be the one solely responsible for this failed world, not humans. You would think an omnipotent being would have been a little smarter than this?.
    There is no such thing as sin, this is merely a concept invented by a dishonest priesthood in order to gain power for over the gullible and ignorant, and wealth for themselves. The largest criminal/pedophile organization in the world, the Vatican Catholic Church is the best evidence that this is the truth.

  19. Mark W. says:

    http://infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/thallus.html
    Most of your sources are bunk. Either interpolations by latter church apologists(aka liars), or misrepresentation of facts, or connecting dots that aren’t there.

    You complain about bad scholarship, yet you quote a boat load of it.

    • Chris Jensen Romer says:

      You refer me to Richard Carrier on why Thallus is rubbish – but surely this is the same link that I gave?

      • Bruce Grubb says:

        Michael Martin in his 1993 The Case Against Christianity one Page 51 shows why Thallus is rubbish and George Wells in his 1996 _Jesus Legend_ states regarding Thallus “Articles on the source of Jesus’ life in Christian religious encyclopeadias either make no reference to him at all, or mention him only in order to say he canNOT be included among the witnesses to Jesus’ historicity”

        “Some writers have pretended that the eclipse was mentioned by one Thallus, an author wholly unknown,…” is quoted many times in the 1820s over 190 years ago!

        “Actually, the manuscript is damaged, and “Thallus” is merely a guess from “_allos Samaritanos.” – Baker 1992 “Losing Faith in Faith”

        So at some level issues with Thallus were known as early as the 1820s but it seems it wasn’t until the 1990s that people actually started to go back and actually look at the manuscripts.

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