Let's try doing this in reverse history with Constantine and Eusibius as our villians (Forgers)
I accept that the historicity of Jesus is weak up to Eusibius, bit here's where I'm coming from.
Assume Constantine does do a "Baldrick" and cons or threatens Eusibius into tweaking a little history.
Constantine's Motive: Power and Division. Note his Senate and himself have priors for tampering with the Historical Record.
But the christian story lacks the right stuff to go head to head with paganism and it's lofty fake promises. Christianity (or the Jesus story needs some sauce). It may have had a low profile in the early centuries but due to some good evangelical work its growing in popularity. it's new and it's the option considering Judaism is so well known. Christianity has the heresy debate raging and multiple variations on the theme(possibly).
Constantine knows of the story of Horus and he says to Eusibius tweak the Jesus story and add this stuff and I'll guarantee you'll get thousands to church on Sunday. God will be pleased. http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_jcpa5b.htm
You'll need to use the Q Source (or Thomas) because some of the population like and know that parable stuff, but don't include the stuff that talks about a personal relationship with God. To much like anarchy. We (the church and I Constantine) need to remain between the people and god. This Bible that we create will give us that authority.
Make sure you include miracles, we pagans know that people like miracles and will worship those close to God.
Now let's look through Bertaberts references for Eusibius Hand and contradictions at work.
The famous Testamonium Flavianum is considered probably the best evidence for Jesus, yet it has some serious problems :
* the T.F. as it stands uses clearly Christian phrases and names Christ as Messiah, it could not possibly have been written by the Jew Josephus (who refused to call anyone “messiah”),
* The T.F. comes in several versions of various ages,
* The T.F. was not mentioned by Origen when he reviewed Josephus - Origen even says Josephus does NOT call Jesus the Messiah, showing the passage was not present in that earlier era.
* The T.F. first showed up in manuscripts of Eusebius, and was still absent from some manuscripts as late as 8th century.
* (The other tiny passage in Josephus is probably a later interpolation.)
In short - this passage is possibly a total forgery (or at best a corrupt form of a lost original.)
Such is the weakness of this evidence, This suspect passage is considered some of the best “evidence” for a historical Jesus of Nazareth, go figure.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus"The first person to cite this passage of Antiquities was Eusebius, writing in about 324..."
"Tacitus on Christ
Main article: Tacitus on Christ
In his Annals, in book 15, chapter 44, written c. 116 AD, there is a passage which refers to Christ, to Pontius Pilate, and to a mass execution of the Christians after a six-day fire that burned much of Rome in July 64 AD by Nero.
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 Judæa, 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.
This narration has long attracted scholarly interest because it is a rare non-Christian reference
to the origin of Christianity, the execution of Christ described in the Canonical gospels, and the persecution of Christians in 1st-century Rome. Almost all scholars consider these references to the Christians to be authentic.
PLINY the Younger (c.112CE)Agreed just possible evidence for 2nd century Christians who worshipped a Christ(us).
But remember, I think Jesus may have been given his resounding notoriety by Eusebius
Roughly 80-90 years after the alleged Gospel events, (about 75 years after the war) Suetonius refers to a “Chrestus” who stirred the Jews to trouble in Rome during Claudius’ time, but:
* this “Chrestus” is a Greek name (from “useful”), and is also a mystic name for an initiate, it is not the same as “Christos”
* this Chrestus was apparently active in Rome, Jesus never was.
So this passage is not evidence for Jesus,
it’s nothing to do with Jesus,
it’s evidence for Christians grasping at straws.
Ignore... no value either way.
IGNATIUS (107CE? 130-170CE?)
The letters of Ignatius are traditionally dated to c.107, yet:
* it is not clear if he really existed, his story is suspicious,
* his letters are notoriously corrupt and in 2 versions,
* it is probable that his letters were later forgeries,
* he mentions only a tiny few items about Jesus.
So Ignatius is no evidence for Jesus himself,
at BEST it is 2nd century evidence to a few beliefs about Jesus."St. Ignatius was Bishop of Antioch after Saint Peter and St. Evodius (who died around AD 67). Eusebius records that St. Ignatius succeeded St. Evodius. Making his apostolic succession even more immediate, Theodoret (Dial. Immutab., I, iv, 33a) reported that Peter himself appointed Ignatius to the see of Antioch."
Quadratus apparently wrote an Apology to Hadrian (117-138), but:
* we have none of his works,
* it is not certain when he wrote,
* all we have is 1 sentence quoted much later.
So Quadratus is uncertain evidence from about a century later.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadratus_of_Athens
"Saint Quadratus of Athens (Greek: ????? ????????) is said to have been the first of the Christian apologists. He is said by Eusebius
of Caesarea to have been a disciple of the Apostles (auditor apostolorum). Dionysius of Corinth, in a letter summarized by Eusebius,
 records that Quadratus became bishop of Athens after the martyrdom of Publius, invigorating the faith of the congregation in that city and keeping them together. He is counted among the Seventy Apostles in the tradition of the Eastern Churches.
He addressed a discourse to the Roman Emperor Hadrian containing a defense, or apology, of the Christian religion, when the latter was visiting Athens in AD 124 or 125, which Eusebius states incorrectly moved the emperor to issue a favourable edict. With the exception of a short passage quoted by Eusebius (H. E., 4.3), this work has entirely disappeared.
The passage quoted notes that many of those healed or raised from the dead by Christ were still living; this seems to be part of an argument that Christ was no mere wonder-worker whose effects were transitory. P. Andriessen has suggested that Quadratus' Apology is the work known as Epistle to Diognetus, a suggestion Michael W. Holmes finds "intriguing". While admitting that Epistle to Diognetus does not contain the only quotation known from Quadratus' address, Holmes defends this identification by noting "there is a gap between 7.6 and 7.7 into which it would fit very well."
Because of the similarity of name some scholars have concluded that Quadratus the Apologist is the same person as Quadratus, a prophet mentioned elsewhere by Eusebius (H. E., 3.37). The evidence, however, is too slight to be convincing.
The later references to Quadratus in Jerome and the martyrologies are all based on Eusebius
, or are arbitrary enlargements of his account.
Another apologist, Aristides, presented a similar work. Eusebius had copies of both essays
. Because he was bishop of Athens after Publius, Quadratus is sometimes figured among the Apostolic Fathers. Eusebius called him a "man of understanding and of Apostolic faith." and Jerome in Viri illustrissimi intensified the apostolic connection, calling him "disciple of the apostles," though no claim is made in the brief surviving fragment of the Apology that he was personally in touch with any of the Apostles."
THALLUS (date unknown)
We have NO certain evidence when Thallus lived or wrote, there are NONE of Thallus’ works extant.
What we DO have is a 9th century reference by George Syncellus who quotes the 3rd century Julianus Africanus, who, speaking of the darkness at the crucifixion, wrote: “Thallus calls this darkness an eclipse”.
But there is NO evidence Thallus made specific reference to Jesus or the Gospel events at all, as there WAS an eclipse in 29. This suggests he merely referred to a known eclipse, but that LATER Christians MIS-interpreted his comment to mean their darkness. (Also note the supposed reference to Thallus in Eusebius is a false reading.)
Richard Carrier the historian has a good page on Thallus:http://www.infidels.org/library/mode...r/thallus.html
So Thallus is no evidence for Jesus at all,
merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.OK
Phlegon wrote during the 140s - his works are lost. Later, Origen, Eusebius,
and Julianus Africanus (as quoted by George Syncellus) refer to him, but quote differently his reference to an eclipse. There is no evidence Phlegon actually said anything about Gospel events, he was merely talking about an eclipse (they DO happen) which LATER Christians argued was the “darkness” in their stories.
So Phlegon is no evidence for Jesus at all -
merely evidence for Christian wishful thinking.
In mid 2nd century the GNOSTIC Valentinus almost became Bishop of Rome, but:
* he was several generations after the alleged events,
* he wrote of an esoteric, Gnostic Jesus and Christ,
* he mentioned no historical details about Jesus.
So Valentinus is no evidence for a historical Jesus.But perhaps evidence for a Gnostic Jesus. Just read the Gospel of Truth and it is in the same vein as the Gospel of Thomas. i.e. a personal relationship with Spirituality or innate wisdom.
"Valentinus taught first in Alexandria and went to Rome about 136 AD, during the pontificate of Pope Hyginus, and remained until the pontificate of Pope Anicetus. In Adversus Valentinianos, iv, Tertullian says
Valentinus had expected to become a bishop, because he was an able man both in genius and eloquence. Being indignant, however, that another obtained the dignity by reason of a claim which confessorship had given him, he broke with the church of the true faith. Just like those (restless) spirits which, when roused by ambition, are usually inflamed with the desire of revenge, he applied himself with all his might to exterminate the truth; and finding the clue of a certain old opinion, he marked out a path for himself with the subtlety of a serpent.
Commonly unaccepted, we cannot know the accuracy of this statement, since it is delivered by his orthodox adversary Tertullian
, but according to a tradition reported in the late fourth century by Epiphanius, he withdrew to Cyprus, where he continued to teach and draw adherents. He died probably about 160 or 161 AD."
Polycarp wrote in mid 2nd century, but :
* he is several generations after the alleged events,
* he gives many sayings of Jesus (some of which do NOT match the Gospels),
* he does NOT name any evangelist or Gospel.
So Polycarp knew sayings of Jesus,
but provides no actual evidence for a historical Jesus.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycarp
"There are two chief sources of information concerning the life of Polycarp: the letter of the Smyrnaeans recounting the martyrdom of Polycarp and the passages in Irenaeus'
Adversus Haereses. Other sources are the epistles of Ignatius,
which include one to Polycarp and another to the Smyrnaeans, and Polycarp's own letter to the Philippians. Other sources, such as the Life of Polycarp or excerpts from Tertullian and Eusebius of Caesarea
are considered largely unhistorical or based on previous material. In 1999, some third to 6th century Coptic fragments about Polycarp were also published."
Nearly one-and-a-half CENTURIES after the alleged events, Lucian satirised Christians, but :
* this was several generations later,
* Lucian does NOT even mention Jesus or Christ by name.
So Lucian is no evidence for a historical Jesus, merely late 2nd century lampooning of Christians.
Ignore... no value either way.
GALEN (late 2nd C.)
Late 2nd century, Galen makes a few references to Christians, and briefly to Christ.
This is far too late to be evidence for Jesus.
Ignore... no value either way.
NUMENIUS (2nd C.?)
In the 3rd century, Origen claimed Numenius “quotes also a narrative regarding Jesus—without, however, mentioning His name” - i.e. Numenius mentioned a story but said nothing about Jesus, but by Origen’s time it had become attached to Jesus’ name.
This not any evidence for Jesus, it’s just later wishful thinking.
"Statements and fragments of his apparently very numerous works have been preserved by Origen, Theodoret, and especially by Eusebius
, and from them we may with learn the nature of his Platonist-Pythagorean philosophy, and its approximation to the doctrines of Plato."
TALMUD (3rd C. and later)
The Talmud was written over the third, fourth, and fifth centuries.
In the tractiate Sanhedrin, page 43a it mentions a Yeshua(Jehoshua), who was hung for forty days before his execution. it also states he was born a hundred years pre-christ and that he had five disciples Matthai, Nakai, Nezer, Buni and Todah who were executed along side him.
* these references are from 3rd century or later, and seem to be (unfriendly) Jewish responses to Christian claims.
* the references are highly variant, have many cryptic names for Jesus, and are very different to the Gospel stories
So the Talmud contains NO evidence for Jesus,
the Talmud merely has much later Jewish responses to the Gospel stories.http://www.heartofisrael.org/chazak...es/intalmud.htm
This Yeshua is not the same jesus now is heNot according to Eusibius, I'd say.
Christianity is simply a mishmash of much older religions, and below is a list of other writers (apart from the ones in the above links) around at the time of this alleged christ, that wrote nothing whatsoever about him.
Some even walked the same paths, but heard and wrote nothing.
Here tiz from Bertabert:Now to the gospels.My scenario proposes that the Gospels are forgeries and that Eusebius (in Rome) is the possible culprit.
It is consensus among modern scholars that the first Gospel to be written was G.Mark - but it clearly was NOT by an eye-witness, for several reasons :
* G.Mark shows ignorance of Palestine geography,
* G.Mark shows dependence on oral tradition,
* G.Mark was most likely written for a Roman audience,
* Ireneus says G.Mark was written in Rome.
* G.Mark was largely crafted from the whole cloth of the OT.
For more detail, I suggest Michael Turton’s great work on G.Mark:From Michael's web page.
The author of Mark has traditionally been identified with the early disciple John Mark, based on a citation of the writer Papias in Eusebius. The citation is usually dated around 125 CE, though some have moved it back to 100 CE. Eusebius writes
"For information on these points, we can merely refer our readers to the books themselves; but now, to the extracts already made, we shall add, as being a matter of primary importance, a tradition regarding Mark who wrote the Gospel, which he [Papias] has given in the following words]: And the presbyter said this. Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately whatsoever he remembered. It was not, however, in exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him. But afterwards, as I said, he accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities [of his hearers], but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Wherefore Mark made no mistake in thus writing some things as he remembered them. For of one thing he took especial care, not to omit anything he had heard, and not to put anything fictitious into the statements." (Papias, ECW)
It is sometimes argued that Mark was the secretary of Peter, but this seems unlikely for several other reasons -
* there is no evidence in the NT stories to support Mark being Peter’s secretary,
* G.Mark shows the structure of literature crafted from the Jewish scriptures, not recorded conversations,
* G.Mark includes many scenes in Peter was NOT present, which can only mean they are fiction.
* Peter is a cowardly dullard in G.Mark which ends with Peter un-redeemed after having betrayed Jesus (G.Mark ended 16:8 with the empty tomb - G.Mark 16:9-20 is merely the most popular of one of a number of later endings which were attached to the abrupt end 16:8.). A secretary recording the words of a hallowed elder would hardly portray him like that.
It is also sometimes noted that Papias gives early evidence of G.Mark (and is the source of the Peter connection) - but Papias refers to G.Mark being the recollections of Peter but “adapted as needed” ... “but not in order”. This just does not match at all well with G.Mark, which is in chronological order, and shows no sign of being the adapted words of Peter.
It is the firm consensus of scholars that G.Matthew was NOT written by a disciple, because :
* it depends largely on G.Mark, copied word for word, while making changes based on theology, not history
* it conflicts with statements by Papias and Ireneus,
* it shows signs of being a 2nd or 3rd generation work
(our Villians again
It is also sometimes noted that Papias gives early evidence of G.Matthew - but Papias refers to G.Mark being written in Hebrew - this just does not match at all well with G.Matthew, which was written in Greek.
1, 2 Peter
Scholars agree that the letters attributed to Peter were forged by 2 different people, neither of whom had ever met Jesus - 1 Peter probably written in Rome c.90, 2 Peter in early-mid 2nd century.
Scholars agree that the Gospel of John could NOT be by an eye-witness - because :
* the issue regarding expulsion from the synagogues - such a glaring anachronism could not be by an eye-witness,
* at one stage this Gospel was believed to be written by Cerinthus (and thus rejected),
* it tells such a different, and fantastic, story.
False NT attributions
The same is true of all the NT documents (apart from Paul1) - NONE are by an eye-witness, all are later FORGED by unknown authors who never met Jesus -
* James (FORGED in c.80s)
* 1 John (FORGED in c.80s)
* 2 Thessalonians (FORGED in c.80s)
* Ephesians (FORGED in c.90s)
* 1 Peter (FORGED in c.90s)
* Jude (FORGED in c.100s)
* 1 Timothy (FORGED in c.120s)
* 2 Timothy (FORGED in c.120s)
* Titus (FORGED in c.120s)
* 2 John (FORGED in c.120s)
* 3 John (FORGED in 120s)
* 2 Peter (FORGED in c.130s)
The arguments for these can be all be found at Peter Kirby’s or in Brown NT Commentary e.g.
No NT author met Jesus
So, of the NT authors we find -
* Paul only met Jesus in a VISION,
* several of “Paul’s” letters were forged by unknown authors,
* G.Mark was written in Rome by someone who never met Jesus,
* G.Matthew was largely copied from G.Mark, not by an eye-witness,
* G.Luke was largely copied from G.Mark, not by an eye-witness (A.Luke does NOT claim to be an eye-witness, A.Luke does NOT claim he spoke to eye-witnesses, he merely refers to eye-witnesses as distant sources),
* G.John was written long afterwards by someone who never met Jesus,
* Jude - forged by an unknown author who never met Jesus,
* 1,2 Peter - forged by 2 unknown authors who never met Jesus,
* James - forged by unknown author who never met Jesus,
* 1,2,3 John - forged by unknown authors in early-mid 2nd century who never met Jesus.
In other words - the general consensus of modern NT scholars is that NOT ONE SINGLE NT document was written by anyone who ever met Jesus. You can check this is any modern commentary - try Brown’s or the New Jerome or see Peter Kirby’s.
”This article is only about the historicity of Jesus - whether he existed as a real person. That is the only point that historians regard as effectively proven; that he existed, not that the claims made about him are true.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Historicity_of_Jesus
nowhere in any Roman records does it state that a jesus person, was executed by Pilate, this is only written in the NT. And the Romans kept meticulous records.
According to Luke 4:16–30, for example, there should be a synagogue at the top of Nazareth hill and a “brow of the hill” (cliff) over which the Jews once tried to cast Jesus down to his death. No such cliff exists, nor is there any reasonable place where such a cliff could have existed during the last hundred-thousand years. Of course, no synagogue remains have ever been found atop the Nazareth hill’or anywhere in the vicinity. In fact, no evidence of buildings of any kind dating to the turn of the era has ever been found at the Venerated Sites.http://www.nazarethmyth.info/naz3article.html
All old writings must be evaluated by all the methods at our disposal. Christians sometimes try to argue that ancient documents can be presumed to be true, unless proven otherwise - sometimes even invoking the irrelevant phrase “innocent until proven guilty” or even invoking a supposed law of Aristotle. Well, this is nonsense - no historian assumes an ancient book to be true, and certainly not religious works, and nor did Aristotle say so. Rather all ancient writings are criticised and compared and analysed carefully to see what can be considered reliable, and what is myths and legends or lies or exaggeration or just plain error.
Consider some other ancient works
The Golden Ass of Apuleius - this “historical document” tells the story of how Apuleius turned into an Ass and met the gods face to face. It dates to the very same period as the Gospels, is set in historical places and includes historical figures and events. It has speeches and stories and miracles and divine events, including an EMPTY TOMB scene!. In short it is very similar to the Gospels.http://eserver.org/books/apuleius/
The Iliad - this “historical document” is famous and very well attested indeed. This work was seminal in Greek culture and includes real places and realistic people, it has Gods and miracles and speeches and heroes - to the Greeks, Homer was like the Bible.
Both of these writings are similar to the Gospels and are similarly true - i.e. not particularly true at all. In other words being a “historical document” means nothing about a books truthfulness.
So getting back to the point, yes there could have been a jesus, but not the one written in the bible, thats all, so whether the Muslims have a jesus who was a prophet, or the Jews a Yeshua, who was executed along with his five disciples, a hundred years earlier, does not mean your jesus actually existed.
Some one created the sayings recorded in the GOT and the Gospel of Truth. They are what resonate to my experience of spirituality. It really wouldn't matter who the person was. It's, in my opinion evidence of a condition with much promise for humanity.
And this harks back to the point in the OP.
And NT Authorship
The New Testament alone consists of twenty-seven books written by at least eight different authors. Furthermore, of those eight, only three (Matthew, Peter, and John) were a part of the original twelve disciples. Of the remaining five, two were originally skeptical concerning Jesus’ identity. One was a great persecutor of Christians and even consented to the execution of the first New Testament martyr. One was a gentile, and one was a young boy when Jesus lived and taught. Additionally, these New Testament authors came from a wide variety of backgrounds and experiences. One was a tax collector, another a physician. Another was a highly educated Pharisee. At least two were fishermen while two others grew up as the children of a carpenter and most likely learned that trade.”
The NT must be judged on its merits like any ancient writing - and it HAS been so judged and evaluated, it is one of the most studied works in Western culture
With the exception of some of the letters of Paul, we do NOT KNOW for sure who wrote ANY of the remaining books of the Bible - all we know is what we find IN the books. (Bear in mind there is no external evidence of any kind about Paul either, but some one person wrote most of those letters and we call him Paul mostly for convenience.)
The Gospels were originally anonymous documents of unknown origin - the earliest mentions of Gospels are as UN-NAMED works, the current titles were not attached to the four Gospels until late 2nd century by Iraneus based on a few earlier scraps and speculations. Before then we see various references to Gospels without authors - by Aristides, Justin, Ignatius, Polycarp, Theodotus, Hegesippus, Melito, Polycrates, Autolycus - all make reference to anonymous Gospel(s).Or Eusebius did some tweaking
Papias does make some unclear comments possibly in about 130CE which refer to writings by Mark, and writings by Matthew - however his comments do NOT match our modern Gospels, and he does NOT use the word “Gospel”, and he makes it clear he holds such writings in LOW regard.Could be a Gnostic
Justin in about 150CE is the first to make lengthy quotes of Gospels almost like the modern ones - but he calls them “memoirs of the apostles” as well as “Gospels” but gives NO authors’ names.see above re Justin
Aristides, possibly just before Justin, described a singular, un-named Gospel that had “been preached for a short time”. This is an important clue - a church father who mentions “the Gospel, as it is called” - showing that is what it is called “the Gospel”, no name, just one. Furthermore he explicitly says it had only been preached for a “short time”, perhaps a few years - evidence for when the Gospel became known in Christian circles.The Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Truth perhaps. The Q source
Tatian possibly wrote an important work called the “diaTessaron” (literally “from four”, implying a harmony of four, meaning a harmony of four Gospels) about 172 (after he split from the early Christian. This numbering of the Gospels as four seems to occur slightly before they are actually named, and may have come about because Tatian inherited the “memoirs of the Apostles” from Justin, and there were four of them, but they had not yet been named.
It was not until about 185CE that the Gospels received their current names with Irenaeus.
"Following the death of Justin in 165, the life of Tatian is to some extent obscure. Irenaeus remarks (Haer., I., xxvlii. 1, Ante-Nicene Fathers, i. 353) that after the death of Justin, he was expelled from the church for his Encratitic (ascetic) views (Eusebius claims he founded the Encratitic sect
), as well as for being a follower of the gnostic leader Valentinius. It is clear that Tatian left Rome, perhaps to reside for a while in either Greece or Alexandria, where he may have taught Clement. Epiphanius relates that Tatian established a school in Mesopotamia, the influence of which extended to Antioch in Syria, and was felt in Cilicia and especially in Pisidia, but his assertion can not be verified."This one is a bit of a stretch from the others, but we do have Eusebius hand on it , gnosticism and obscurity.