Author Topic: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses  (Read 344 times)

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Offline Add Homonym

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Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« on: August 03, 2017, 10:58:21 AM »
http://evidenceforchristianity.org/robert-eisenman-says-that-paul-of-the-bible-is-the-spouter-of-lies-in-the-dss-and-saul-who-is-kinsman-of-costobarus-of-josephus-he-concludes-that-the-pauline-epistles-are-a-fabrication-how/

I just googled Eisenman to remember if he was the guy who did the Paul the Liar, and got the question and answer on the EFC website.

The person who definitively replies to the question, says

This theory also assumes that Luke is a conniving, manipulative liar when he discusses the life of Paul. This theory requires that Luke is making up the entire story of Paul, which is a rather ludicrous proposal to make, given that we have quotes from Luke and Acts in the late first century. There are literally dozens of eye witnesses from the late first and early second century who testify that Saul (Paul) of Tarsus was a real person who traveled around the Mediterranean Sea, planting churches. The theory of this person requires us to assume that all of these people are either liars or deluded. It is an indisputable fact that the churches everywhere in the late first century and early second century were convinced that this guy Paul really started churches and really wrote these letters. The extremely speculative theories of Robert Eisenman does absolutely nothing to erode this evidence.

Just wondering if anyone knows WTF he is talking about. It may be telling that he doesn't name any of them.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2017, 11:48:52 AM »
as far as I have read, there are no "eyewitness" reports of Paul e.g. no one noticed him in Rome or anywhere else.  At best, scholars seem to think the same person wrote some of the supposed Pauline documents, but not that it was necessarily anyone named Paul or that he did anything claimed within them.  Since the Pauline docs are dated before Luke and Acts, iirc, there is no reason to think that those books can be used as evidence of the actual existence of Paul. 

considering that "Paul" can't even keep his own origin story straight, there is little reason to believe any of it. 
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Offline jetson

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2017, 12:26:19 PM »
slightly off topic...

Should Christianity be called Paulianity? lol

or Messianity, really...

The tangled web.

Offline jdawg70

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #3 on: August 03, 2017, 03:07:27 PM »
The theory of this person requires us to assume that all of these people are either liars or deluded.

This just...bothers me.

For a group of people who seem to constantly harp about the fallibility of human beings, they never, ever seem to think of the possibility that a person is spouting untrue information independently of specifically malicious intent or delusion.  The very notion of being honestly mistaken seems utterly foreign to these people.  Someone can't just be wrong without intending to be evil about it, or mentally unfit about it.  There is no damn middle ground here.  They cannot fathom the possibility that someone just honestly fucked up.

Like, I don't know what or who this person is referring to when he talks about these eyewitnesses.  Maybe they're real people, maybe he's just making up these eyewitnesses, maybe others made up these eyewitnesses.  I dunno.  But this guy seems to just assume that human beings have infallible perception - that whatever it is they think they heard and/or saw, and how they explain what they heard and/or saw, is certainly an accurate reflection of reality.
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Offline velkyn

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #4 on: August 03, 2017, 05:18:43 PM »
I think that this can work but how many times should someone be given the excuse of "honestly mistaken" or "honestly fucked up" (not quite sure what this means), in this world where information is pretty easy to get, especially in the developed countries? 
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #5 on: August 03, 2017, 05:43:13 PM »
I think that this can work but how many times should someone be given the excuse of "honestly mistaken" or "honestly fucked up" (not quite sure what this means), in this world where information is pretty easy to get, especially in the developed countries?

So I don't really have any good answers for you here but I would like to point out that obtaining information is rather easy but that is only somewhat related to obtaining and understanding accurate information.

Let's remember that with the increase in signal we have thanks to things like the Internet, so too have we increased the noise floor.  And the nature of that noise does not make sifting between what is true and what is bullshit necessarily easy.  Especially if you've got a bunch of preconceived notions and assumptions that include both "very good things for accepting" and "very bad things for rejecting."

But I don't know where thresholds for acceptability of honest mistakes are.  That's a trickier question.
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Offline Nick

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2017, 06:12:59 PM »
Paul, along with all the other characters of this Jesus story, are imaginary characters. All part of this chapter of the God/Man myth.  A story passed down through many cultures.  Never meant to be taken as literal or historical.  The Dark Ages made it historical and the rest is history.
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Offline Andy S.

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2017, 10:45:12 PM »
This theory requires that Luke is making up the entire story of Paul, which is a rather ludicrous proposal to make, given that we have quotes from Luke and Acts in the late first century.

^^^This is funny.  Shouldn't this sentence be written this way?:

This theory requires that Luke is making up the entire story of Paul, which is a rather ludicrous proposal to make, given that quotes were written by Luke in the book of Luke and Acts in the late first century. ;D
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2017, 04:58:59 AM »
Never seems to occur to him that the witnesses are inventions of Luke.
When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be bleedn obvious.

Offline albeto

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2017, 11:46:22 AM »
Paul, along with all the other characters of this Jesus story, are imaginary characters. All part of this chapter of the God/Man myth.  A story passed down through many cultures.  Never meant to be taken as literal or historical.  The Dark Ages made it historical and the rest is history.

I always thought of Paul as being real, but having some significant mental health issues that contributed to his writing. I've heard some say his writing style (no pauses, no sentence breaks, celestial visions) are indicative of frontal lobe seizures. That would make sense to me, and if Richard Carrier is correct that these mythologies were floating around Israel before Paul, this his writing it down wouldn't have been so bizarre. It would have been writing down what some cults already believed, only he had the charisma and energy to run around the middle east and Rome and convince people he was on to something. To me, this isn't an extraordinary claim to make - some guy with serious neurological fireworks wrote a lot of crazy shit down and convinced people he saw the son of god in a vision, and by the way, the "last supper" (similar to those of contemporary religions in the area), is something xians should start doing now.

One question I've had for some time is who was the first pope? If Jesus was a mythological character, then naturally his band of merry men were also mythological. So much for Peter being the first pope. So who was? Was it the guy the RCC claims is second? Third? When I look online, I find only catholic sources who assume Peter was real. Of course that's like saying Dasher was real because I believe in Santa.

Offline wheels5894

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2017, 12:37:05 PM »
I think the main argument against this rather far-fetched idea is that it requires both the writer of 2 Peter and writer of Luke / Acts to have invented a character without anything to create it with. This sound rather far fetched to me. It seems eminently more likely that Paul did exist and that he did have some missionary work in Greece and and Italy, though maybe some of his adventures are inventions or at least 'enhanced' stories.


We have a terminus ad quem for Luke's gospel and, as the article says, Luke was quoted in other works before the end of the first century. It thus seems pretty likely that there was a real life Paul - no doubt the inventor of Christianity, probably from the bits and pieces he heard from people who had seen or heard Jesus the Itinerant preacher.


Whilst it is nice to think sometimes that the whole of the NT is invention, it seems rather improbable that such an important character was invented. One can see how Jesus wold have been a story, based on a real person, but enhanced and grown to the level we see in the NT but the one person who seems to have got the whole thing  off the ground - no, really, this guy must have existed if nothing else as the author of the texts which bear his name, or at least some of them.


As for the first pope? Well there is no evidence of Peter making it to Rome. In fact, there's precious little to go on to discover much after what we read in Acts - a narrative intended to promote Pauline teaching over Peter's. I think the RC believes Peter to have been the first pope in the same way it believes the rest if its doctrine - in the face of a lack of evidence.
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Offline junebug72

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2017, 06:01:37 AM »
I think that this can work but how many times should someone be given the excuse of "honestly mistaken" or "honestly fucked up" (not quite sure what this means), in this world where information is pretty easy to get, especially in the developed countries?

So I don't really have any good answers for you here but I would like to point out that obtaining information is rather easy but that is only somewhat related to obtaining and understanding accurate information.

Let's remember that with the increase in signal we have thanks to things like the Internet, so too have we increased the noise floor.  And the nature of that noise does not make sifting between what is true and what is bullshit necessarily easy.  Especially if you've got a bunch of preconceived notions and assumptions that include both "very good things for accepting" and "very bad things for rejecting."

But I don't know where thresholds for acceptability of honest mistakes are.  That's a trickier question.

I can certainly relate to this.  I have been doing a lot of research lately.  Some is for court and some for school. 

Sifting through the enormously vast amount of info is hard for 1 person to do.  I guess that's why news reporters have teams of people researching a topic. 

I have trouble just putting the right wording in the search box.  When you're looking for peer reviewed papers it gets harder and cost money.

.gov websites are difficult to read.  I can go on and on about how hard sifting through all that info to find something legit can be.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2017, 09:18:54 PM »
Luke was quoted in other works before the end of the first century.

Can you flesh that out a bit? Was the whole of Luke Acts quoted, or just little fragments?
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Offline Anfauglir

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #13 on: August 11, 2017, 04:56:31 AM »
The theory of this person requires us to assume that all of these people are either liars or deluded.

This just...bothers me.

For a group of people who seem to constantly harp about the fallibility of human beings, they never, ever seem to think of the possibility that a person is spouting untrue information independently of specifically malicious intent or delusion.  The very notion of being honestly mistaken seems utterly foreign to these people.  Someone can't just be wrong without intending to be evil about it, or mentally unfit about it.  There is no damn middle ground here.  They cannot fathom the possibility that someone just honestly fucked up.

Like, I don't know what or who this person is referring to when he talks about these eyewitnesses.  Maybe they're real people, maybe he's just making up these eyewitnesses, maybe others made up these eyewitnesses.  I dunno.  But this guy seems to just assume that human beings have infallible perception - that whatever it is they think they heard and/or saw, and how they explain what they heard and/or saw, is certainly an accurate reflection of reality.

You've got to consider what allowing that alternative would actually mean to them.  Given that "Liar, Lunatic or Lord" is a mainstay of many Christians, they cannot admit that there are other alternatives.  To assume that people can be honestly mistaken in what they witness and report means that they might have to accept that some things in the Bible didn't actually happen the way they were reported....and once you've accepted that, the whole edifice starts to shake.

The black-and-white of "telling the truth" or "deliberately lying" is almost a requirement of Christian belief.  And, to be honest, is an attitude that seems increasingly prevalent in the world, encouraged by the tabloid press (especially when talking about "officials", or politicians). 

Remember also that Heavenly Judgement is also rolled into the mix - if "I was honestly mistaken" is a reasonable defence to get you to heaven, then belief becomes less important.  If it is NOT a reasonable defence, then they may have to admit that people get tortured forever for being honestly convinced of the wrong thing.....and neither of those options is palatable to the faithful.
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Offline Add Homonym

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #14 on: August 11, 2017, 07:36:36 AM »
They don't understand evolution, and the way texts can sprout wings and fly to different levels of bullshit.

Ras Tafari/Haile Salassie kept on telling his worshippers that he was not a god. He couldn't stop them doing it.
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Offline jdawg70

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #15 on: August 11, 2017, 09:56:32 AM »
The black-and-white of "telling the truth" or "deliberately lying" is almost a requirement of Christian belief.  And, to be honest, is an attitude that seems increasingly prevalent in the world, encouraged by the tabloid press (especially when talking about "officials", or politicians). 

Well I guess that is where my frustration point really gets to, eventually.  The black-and-white-ness of it all tends to obliterate meaningful, important nuance in a whole lot of matters, and I think it causes some...less than awesome interpretations about how the world operates.

Going into the political realm, I see this manifest in the infuriating 'both siderism' mentality.  For example, the Hillary is just as bad crowd.  That, to me, is one of the most ludicrous statements a human being could make in this day and age.  But I think it stems from the fact that she, like every other sentient entity, was not perfect.  That she had her own baggage.  But the comparison of 'just as bad', to me, seems to stem from black-and-white thinking - the 'all or nothing' assessment.  From my perspective it is a lot like saying "person A stole a candy bar, person B raped a 10-year old to death, person A and person B are equally bad".  It's fucking ridiculous.  Stealing a candy bar is bad, yes.  It is less bad than raping a 10-year child to death.  Yet, apparently, some people don't think that's the case[1].

It also works in the other direction.  A mind-boggling tendency to sugar coat actual, demonstrable lying by actually not calling out a lie.  Yes, there are many reasons why someone can extol incorrect information, like the aforementioned 'being honestly mistaken' bit.  But it is certainly still possible that someone could be saying incorrect information with explicit nefarious intent, or at the very least, the intent of the audience believing something that the speaker knows is not true.  You know, lying.  And, since the meaningful, important nuances have been obliterated between "nefarious lying" and "honest fuck up" and "reasonable mistake based on misinformation" and everywhere else in between, there becomes no distinction between "asshole trying to fuck you over" and "honest misrepresentation".  Just as I think there is danger in calling someone making an honest mistake a liar, so too do I think there is a danger is not recognizing an actual liar when he is lying to you.  There is intent involved in lying, and, depending on the context, it is somewhat important to take into account what that intent is.  Say, for example, if it's from a person in a position of significant power whose decisions and actions can have an affect on millions of lives, up to and including the continuation or cessation of those lives.
 1. Or they have a lot of misinformation buried in their noggin. Or they're genuinely stupid.  Possibly nefariously stupid (e.g. willfully ignorant).  I dunno.
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Offline Jag

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Re: Literally dozens of eyewitnesses
« Reply #16 on: August 12, 2017, 05:43:18 PM »
Ooh, jdawg, those are interesting observations!

My BF's best friend has a ... loose relationship with the truth. Both my partner and I know this. He spins BS over silly things, things which most people would not bother to BS about. There's no way to be sure about the bigger stuff, so I tend to take EVERYTHING he says with a 10 lb bag of salt and look for independent information if it's something that matters.

My BF was in his truck driving, and talking on the phone with this friend. He needed someone to give him a hand with a physical job that I'm just not big enough to help with. It would have taken about 15 minutes beginning to end. Right after my BF asked for the help, his friend said he wasn't available because he was elsewhere - some 45 miles south of his house - along with a full story about what he was doing there. But my BF could see him driving his sort of distinctive vehicle less than a block away. He said nothing to his friend, but he came home absolutely furious.

My BF reacted far more strongly to that than I expected him to. He knew that his friend wasn't always honest, and he's quite aware that he isn't the exception to his friend's tendency to lie. But having it right in his face kind of forced him to acknowledge it in a different way than previously.

What I noticed and found academically interesting is that he used every description you can think of before he finally used the word "lie". I think we have some sort of social conditioning in our culture that makes accusing an adult you personally know of lying - even when there is no question about the lie - is very hard to say. I can't recall ever doing so to anyone other than my kids when they were young. I might say it to someone else, but not to the person I think is dishonest or lying. Dunno why, it's just a thing I've noticed.
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