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The W - Random - Proof of Jesus, written in stone?
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Fletch
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Since: 17.7.02
From: Columbus, Ohio

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#1 Posted on
Yaakov bar Yosef akhui di Yeshua.

I'm skeptical, but that's just my nature.

Even though 100% proof positive that this is the brother of Jesus is out of the question, it is thought provoking.



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Since: 11.7.02
From: MD

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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.29
I'm not certain that it's all that thought provoking, but it is kinda cool they found something they think could've been linked to the guy(especially after that Shroud of Turin nonsense...)
DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#3 Posted on
Actually one can still make a valid argument for the Shroud. But the stone ossuary could very well be a solid find too. Actually it is not the first such burial box connected to Jesus. Years ago another was found of Caiphas, the high priest who sent Jesus to death for blasphmey. While it didn't mention Jesus, it was a pretty amazing find to have the actual burial box of someone straight out of the New Testament. We'll see what happens with this one. But if it made it into Biblical Archaeology Review, then there could very well be something there.

DMC



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Since: 12.5.02
From: Junction City OR.

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#4 Posted on
Even the most skeptical skeptical person like me doesn't think that Jesus was never born. The question is whether he was the Christ. You know the son of God, the Prophet predicted by the Bible, and whether he rose from the dead. If Jesus' brother was named James it certainly doesn't hurt the Gospel.



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MoeGates
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Since: 6.1.02
From: Brooklyn, NY

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#5 Posted on
Actaully, there is significant scholorly debate as to whether or not Jesus existed. The Jesus Seminar, is probably the leading organization on scholorly debate of Jesus and his life, and is a good place to go to get some idea of the debate out there today.

Also, here is an excerpt from an article that gives a good overview of the basic arguements of those scholors that don't think Jesus existed.

The line between a minimalist Jesus and no Jesus is razor thin. For a century and a half, some scholars have taken the final step. Those who have denied existence to an historical Jesus include Bruno Bauer, Robert Taylor, Joseph Wheless, John Robertson, Arthur Drews, Peter Jensen, Gordon Rylands, P. L. Couchoud, Guy Fau, and George A. Wells. Viewing the biblical Jesus as a pastiche woven from stories of various pagan gods, demigods, and heroes adapted to a first-century Jewish milieu, many scholars have noted striking similarities between Jesus and his pagan counterparts. For example, the Persian sun-god Mithra, widely worshipped in the Roman Empire before the inception of the Christian era, had 12 disciples, performed miracles, was buried in a tomb, rose on the third day, was called the Good Shepherd, identified with the lamb, considered "the Way, the Truth and the Light, the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah;" his principal festival was held on what was to become Easter, and he instituted a Eucharist or Lord's Supper. When Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Empire in 313 C.E. (Common Era), he was influenced by the pell-mell conversion of Roman soldiers from Mithraism to Christianity. The biblical Jesus gave them a sort of home-grown Mithra.

Among contemporary scholars who deny an historical Jesus, George A. Wells is the best known and the most formidable. In six carefully reasoned, heavily annotated books (The Jesus of the Early Christians, Did Jesus Exist?, The Historical Evidence for Jesus, Who Was Jesus?, The Jesus Legend, The Jesus Myth), Wells, Professor Emeritus of German at the University of London, has propounded the thesis that the Jesus of the Gospels is a late first-century fabrication, devised some forty to eighty years after the time of his supposed death. Wells, magnanimous indeed, doesn't accuse the Evangelists of conscious duplicity. In Palestine, in the first-century C.E., Messiahs were a dime a dozen. By the time the Evangelists took up their quills, vague reports about sundry Messiahs had been conflated as episodes in the life of a crucified savior called Jesus, then a common name. In the early phases of the developing myth, details about his life and death were hazy. Later, the Evangelists would naturally suppose he was crucified when Pontius Pilate was the prefect of Judea (26 C.E. - 36 C.E.) since Pilate was infamous for his ruthless rule of Judea. The Evangelists amplified the sketchy reports they had heard by attributing to Jesus maxims, doctrines, actions, and a history befitting a Jewish Messiah.

Wells demonstrates that St. Paul, who wrote several (probably eight) New Testament epistles to various churches between 45 C.E. and 60 C.E., knew next to nothing about the Jesus described in the Gospels because the "facts" about him therein recorded had not yet been devised. (The earliest of the Gospels, Mark, was written no earlier than 70 C. E. and possibly as late as 90 C.E.). Paul's Jesus is a shadowy figure invoked by Christians before the Gospels fleshed him out. Paul's Jesus had died for people's sins, was resurrected, briefly appeared to a few witnesses, and would soon return to judge the living and the dead. Paul associated Jesus with the Wisdom figure of Jewish literature. In that tradition, Wisdom is represented as a supernatural being made by God before he made heaven and earth. According to Wells, Wisdom "is the sustainer and governor of the universe who comes to dwell among men and bestow her gifts on them, but most of them reject her; after being humiliated on earth, Wisdom returned to heaven."

Wells also demonstrates that the only first-century references to Jesus are in Christian sources. Many Christian theologians contend that the following passage in Antiquities of the Jews, written by the Jewish historian Josephus in 94 C.E., confirms the existence of Jesus since it provides independent testimony:

"About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth of the Messiah. When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing among us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him. On the third day he appeared to them restored to life, for the prophets of God had prophesied these and countless other marvelous things about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared."
Wells shows that the passage wasn't written by Josephus, but was added in the fourth century, probably by the church father Eusebius. No one before him quotes the passage, though second and third-century Christian scholars knew the Josephus book well. Had they known of the passage, they would have quoted it in their theological disputes with the Jews. Wells also points out that the passage interrupts the narrative flow of Josephus' text and that it absurdly imputes to Josephus, an orthodox Jew, the sentiments of a devout Christian.




(edited by MoeGates on 22.10.02 2248)

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DMC
Liverwurst








Since: 8.1.02
From: Modesto, CA

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#6 Posted on
First off, while there are always hyper-skeptics and minimalists, to say that there is a "signiificant scholarly debate" about whether or not Jesus existed is hardly true. Those like Wells are clearly in the small minority. (In fact it has been said that he is the *single* legitimate modern day biblical scholar who attempts to question Jesus' existence!) Even the great biblical critic and father of "demythologizing," Rudolph Bultmann, accepted the existence of Jesus as fact--more and more since his time, scholars and critics have begun accepting more of the traditional, New Testament picture of Jesus, moving away from Bultmann's more critical and existential positions. They may not believe he was the all powerful "Son of God" described in the NT, and many still doubt whether or not he actually claimed to be Messiah, but his basic existence is *not* an issue, either in history or in biblical studies. After decades and even centuries of criticism, it is still widely accepted as a basic historical fact because the evidence for his existence is overwhelming.

Second, to refer to the *Jesus Seminar* to make your point that there is significant debate about Jesus existence is silly on many counts. First, these "scholars" (some of which do not hold any scholarly credentials) have been widely criticized in the field, and not only by more conservative scholars. When the latest movements within studies of Jesus seek to uncover more and more truth about him and his life via understanding the *Jewish* context he lived in (or what is known by some as the "Third Quest" for the historical Jesus), the Seminar folk have largely been out of place. Second, correct me if I am wrong, but nowhere in their writings do they state that it is reasonable to discount the existence of Jesus. They are simply questioning the types of things Jesus could and couldn't have said (in very silly and *a priori* fashions, I might add). They were not attempting to make any strong argument that Jesus never existed. I do not even know if *Wells* claimed to be doing this either; read Gary Habermas' discussion of Wells' thesis in *The Historical Jesus*. Not only does it go a long way to disprove Wells, as other scholars have done already, but I believe it shows how Wells has somewhat waffled on what he is actually attempting to show in his evidence.

Basically, the Jesus Seminar is a joke and was largely a publicity stunt. It can not be presented as evidence that modern biblical scholars and historians have serious doubts about the basic existence of Jesus. Take the Josephus reference you mentioned, for example. The consensus which seems to have been reached on this issue is that the passage is genuine, but that the "Christian" comments were likely added in by a later writer. It is not unreasonable to assume this for a variety of reasons, that we can get more into later if you wish. But the fact is that the quote is accepted by many scholars, and more importantly, so are a number of others from the ancient world, outside of Christian writers, which mention Jesus as a actual historical person! And there are a number of other areas of evidence which one has to answer. Again, there is no debate that Jesus existed--the particular things he did or said is what is still debated. Don't misrepresent this issue.

Read *The Historical Jesus* by Gary Habermas.

DMC



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ekedolphin
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Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.52
Jesus was and is the Christ, the son of God. He came down to earth and died to save us from our sins, and he rose again to show us that we too can triumph over death.

I don't need historical proof to know that these things are true. However, for the rest of you, I'd strongly recommend reading “The Case for Christ” by (I believe) Lee Stroebel. When the author started his research about Jesus, he was an atheist. Confronted by the overwhelming proof from many, many sources, he converted to Christianity near the end of the book.

“Because you have seen me, you believe. Blessed are those who have not seen me and yet have believed.”



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Since: 20.9.02
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#8 Posted on
It seems to me that any kind of PROOF would be missing the point. Isn't it all about faith anyway?

I mean, that's just one heretic talking, but...



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drjayphd
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Since: 22.4.02
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#9 Posted on
All this proves is that someone named Jesus, who was the son of Joseph, existed and died. I thought there was already historical proof that Jesus existed, and that the question was if anything else about him happened.



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Since: 1.8.02
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#10 Posted on
There certainly is a great deal of historical evidence that supports not only the existence of Jesus, but his role as something of a revolutionary against the Jewish Temple of the time-
Whether or not he is the Son of God or not, or is a matter of debate- I for one think that the stunt he pulled by riding a donkey into the city got a little too much play- people STILL take that as meaning he was the messiah, when he was only attempting to draw attention to himself... Then again, I think the MEANING of what the Messiah was supposed to be has drastically changed over the centuries... but that is just me...



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El Nastio
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Since: 14.1.02
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.33
    Originally posted by ekedolphin
    Jesus was and is the Christ, the son of God. He came down to earth and died to save us from our sins, and he rose again to show us that we too can triumph over death.

    I don't need historical proof to know that these things are true.



Well said.



    Originally posted by DJ Ran
    It seems to me that any kind of PROOF would be missing the point. Isn't it all about faith anyway?

    I mean, that's just one heretic talking, but...



A lot of Non-Christians expect 'proof', such as "outside the Bible, is there proof? Give me proof that Jesus Christ exsisted". These people are often the ones who place their trust in science and/or the material world, and as such don't want anything to do with Jesus Christ and/or God for that matter. To acknowledge Their existence would threaten those people's lifestyle and what they like doing because more often than not, the particular actions wouldn't be accepted as right. Which is why we see plenty of athiest and agnostic college/university/high school kids running around these days.


For myself, regardless of what that stone is, the continued botched efforts to date The Shroud, and recent turmoil surrounding the Church, I'm Catholic. As such, I believe in Jesus Christ 100%, and will continue to do so. This latest discovery is interesting, but if it leads nowgere it won't bother me at all.



As for reading material, The Confessions of St. Augustine is good. And C.S. Lewis = awesome. Very awesome.

(edited by El Nastio on 23.10.02 1915)

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Since: 2.1.02
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#12 Posted on
As a non-Christian, all I gotta say is this.

Believe what you want, and draw strength from your beliefs. I have no doubt that the man Jesus Christ existed, lived, and was killed by the Romans via crucifixion. Everything else is speculation, but there is no right answer.

I tend to disagree with the greed that is prevalent in organized religion, and I philosophize better with the poetry of Emily Dickinson than I do with the local congregation. However, to each, their own.



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Since: 29.4.02
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#13 Posted on
Here, here! I agree whole-heartedly, well except for the Emily Dickinson part. But like the man said, to each their own.
Fletch
Cotechino








Since: 17.7.02
From: Columbus, Ohio

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#14 Posted on

    Originally posted by El Nastio
    A lot of Non-Christians expect 'proof', such as "outside the Bible, is there proof? Give me proof that Jesus Christ exsisted". These people are often the ones who place their trust in science and/or the material world, and as such don't want anything to do with Jesus Christ and/or God for that matter. To acknowledge Their existence would threaten those people's lifestyle and what they like doing because more often than not, the particular actions wouldn't be accepted as right. Which is why we see plenty of athiest and agnostic college/university/high school kids running around these days.


That's not why I'm an agnostic...

I'm not one of these people who puts God et. al. in a box,
and I'm also not too fond of being put in a box myself.

People come to Christ for many reasons. They leave him for just as many.

Anyway...


    Originally posted by El Nastio
    And C.S. Lewis = awesome.


Indeed!

If I ever sit my fat ass down and start writing again for fun and profit I would love to use the style of "The Screwtape Letters". Very few things trounce a position better than showing just how ludicrous and outrageous it can get.



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A-MOL
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Since: 26.6.02
From: York, England

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#15 Posted on
As, kind of, on this subject, is it true that the Koran refers to a Jewish healer called Jesus?



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Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.44

    Originally posted by A-MOL
    As, kind of, on this subject, is it true that the Koran refers to a Jewish healer called Jesus?

From what I've heard from a Religion class I took last semester (hardly authoritative), the Koran refers to many of the great Jewish leaders as prophets. These include Adam, Noah, Moses, and Jesus, at least, and there were others (all well-known from the Bible). Notice that Jesus is at the same level as all these prophets, and is nothing more than a prophet. Even Muhammad himself, the "founder" of the religion, is nothing more than the last and greatest prophet. But I haven't actually read any of the Koran (I can't read Arabic, after all), so anyone who finds any mistakes/omissions can feel free to correct me.



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Since: 27.1.02

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#17 Posted on

    Originally posted by El Nastio


    A lot of Non-Christians expect 'proof', such as "outside the Bible, is there proof? Give me proof that Jesus Christ exsisted". These people are often the ones who place their trust in science and/or the material world, and as such don't want anything to do with Jesus Christ and/or God for that matter. To acknowledge Their existence would threaten those people's lifestyle and what they like doing because more often than not, the particular actions wouldn't be accepted as right. Which is why we see plenty of athiest and agnostic college/university/high school kids running around these days.





Nastio, please...if you expect your beliefs to be treated with respect, it helps to grant that other folks sincerely belief what they profess. It's a bit of a stretch to claim that atheist and/or agnostic folks (students or otherwise) reject religion merely so they can be excepted from the moral code of religion.

Plenty of atheists/agnostics are concerned w/ moral/ethical issues, and also reject organized religions, for what they consider legitimate reasons. At least that's the case with the big old atheist non-student writing this post.



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Since: 9.12.01
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#18 Posted on
The reason that people want "outside of the bible" proof is simple - it is important to get an unbiased view of a situation if you want to truly understand it.

When I buy a car, I don't just go to the Toyota dealer and believe everything that he has to say about his Toyotas. He has an agenda, and is very biased towards what he "believes". Whether or not he actually believes that his cars are the best on the road, he has a financial interest in getting me to believe what he says.

If I call up a pizza place and ask them if they have the best pizza, they are going to say that they do. They will tell me that their pizza is better than their competitors pizza, and that I should eat there.

If I go to a church, they will tell me that their philosophy is correct. They will tell me that their way is the true way, and that I should follow it. Additionally, with many Christian religions, they will go a step further and say "If you don't believe in everything we say and HAVE FAITH IN IT (*without asking for proof, because God doesn't want to be challenged) then you will not be saved".

In this light, the church isn't any different than ANY OTHER BUSINESS, except that they have one advantage - It's completely legal (and considered ETHICAL - nay, MORAL) to go with a hard sell approach.

The proof offered by any religion should be compared to a marketing pamphlet from any company. Just because you see it in a pamphlet, it doesn't mean that it is a lie... but you would do well to try to find independent evidence that what is being said is true.

I don't understand why Christians are so defensive about this subject. It's like asking for proof is the most insulting thing you can do. In my opinion, it's just good sense.



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Since: 11.12.01
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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.21


That was such an excellent post. I think that summarized it very well, Guru.



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Since: 2.1.02
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#20 Posted on

    Originally posted by Guru Zim
    I don't understand why Christians are so defensive about this subject. It's like asking for proof is the most insulting thing you can do. In my opinion, it's just good sense.

Trying to respond without being defensive...

I think the issue comes down to faith. We're "expected" to have faith, because that's what religion is. Most people tend to have difficulty understanding why someone else has different views from their own (Democrat vs. Republican, atheist vs. religious, Rock vs. HHH). Being married to someone of a different religion from myself, yet both Christian, it amazes me every week how we can share the same ultimate faith, yet differ so much on the nuts and bolts of it.

As to whether or not this will offer proof, it doesn't matter to me, because of faith. For someone that wants proof, I can't see how anything (Shroud of Turin, an inscribed ossuary), short of a second coming occurring right in front of them, would do it. Maybe the defensive aspect comes through because of an insecurity in the faith of some.




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