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Old 08-19-2016, 07:29 AM
 
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An entire faith was built around one man. I am comfortable in the belief he existed. Things passed down through oral histories are often embellished and translated. The man who walked in water, now walks on water.

One man changed the World, or the idea of one man changed the World.

The Jesus of history is much more interesting than the Jesus some now call God. You get small glimpses of him in the NT.
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Old 08-19-2016, 07:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
The problem is that the men who wrote the current version of the NT bible were in no way "eye-witnesses." Experts say, even if we had originals, they were written some 100-200 years AFTER the death of Christ.
The originals were not written 200 years after the death of Christ. At the end of the Gospel of John (21:20-24) the writer is identified as the beloved disciple who leaned upon the breast of Jesus at the last supper. The words, ''This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things,'' in verse 24 refer to ''the disciple whom Jesus loved'' in verse 20. And the Gospel of John was one of the last of the New Testament letters to have been written, probably somewhere around A.D. 95.



F. F. Bruce, (1910-1990), Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England comments,
Here we have a plain statement that the beloved disciple is the real author of the Gospel. Even if the words 'who wrote these things' do not mean that his hand held the pen, any more than the language of John 19:19 means that Pilate with his own hand wrote the inscription which was fixed to the cross, they do point to him as the guarantor of the record. 'These things' cannot be confined to the narrative of chapter 21; indeed, since chapter 21 has the nature of an epilogue, they may refer more directly to the preceding chapters than to this. The claim then, is that the witness to the truth of this Gospel is one who was in close touch with all that is described in it.

The Gospel of John, F. F. Bruce, p. 409

Dr. Edwin A. Blum writes,
The fourth Gospel ends with information about its composition. The beloved disciple is identified as the author (cf. comments on ''Authorship'' in the Introduction). The first sentence in verse 24 may have been someone other than John, but the wording sounds Johannine (cf. 19:35). These things most likely refer to the entire Gospel. The words, We know that his testimony is true, were probably written by someone other than John. They are an endorsement, perhaps by the Ephesian church, or a testimony from the early church as a whole. They were certainly in a position to know the facts better than any generation since then.

The Bible Knowledge Commentary, New Testament, An Exposition of the Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, p. 346

As for our current version of the Bible, New Testament textual critics state that what we have is around 99 percent accurate to the original text. You might ask how can we know that since we don't have the originals with which to compare them. If we had the originals there would be no need for textual criticism which by comparing all the extant manuscript copies can recover most of the original text by identifying and filtering out what was not in the originals. In other words, what was in the original text can be found among the many extant manuscript copies. The goal of textual criticism is to identify the original text by comparing the copies and identifying the variants thus leaving the original text. We will probably never have 100 percent accuracy, but again, textual critics say we have around 99 percent accuracy.


While New Testament textual criticism which deals with the issue of the degree of accuracy with which the original New Testament text has been transmitted down through the ages does not really concern the issue of whether what was originally written is true, before the issue of whether what was originally written is true can be addressed it must first be determined if we can know what was originally written. Though we don't have the original autographs, can we determine to what degree the original New Testament text has accurately been transmitted through the manuscript copies which are extant.

Regarding the issue of New Testament textual reliability (is what we have now what they wrote then), here is what the experts, the textual critics who have studied the matter say.

Gary Habermas comments;
The textual purity of the New Testament is rarely questioned in scholarship. It is well established and agreed among almost all who have ever seriously studied the ancient texts that the text is virtually the same as what was originally written. Even critical scholars question very few words in the New Testament, and those words do not affect doctrinal issues.

[Habermas, The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, p.85]

Most New Testament textual critics (scholars who study and compare the New Testament documents) maintain that the New Testament text is extremely reliable. Though there are an estimated 300,000 to 400,000 textual variants, the vast majority are absolutely meaningless and affect nothing. Many of them are not even translatable from Greek into English. A textual variant is simply a lack of uniformity of wording among the manuscripts regarding a particular word, sentence, or paragraph. These variants fall into the following categories.

1.) Spelling differences and nonsense errors. This category is by far the majority of the variants.
For example, in Greek, the name John may be spelled Ἰωάννῃ (Ióannés) or Ἰωάνῃ (Ióanés). But in English, it is translated as John.

One of the most common textual variants involves the 'movable nu.' This is a nu - 'ν'. In English, it is the letter 'n.' In Greek the nu - 'ν' can occur at the end of certain words which precede a word that begins with a vowel. Whether a scribe used the nu or not is similar to saying 'a' or 'an'. 'An apple', or 'a apple.' Not using it when he should have just means the scribe was careless or couldn't spell. But it doesn't affect the meaning.

A nonsense error is a mistake on the part of a scribe which in context obviously makes no sense and when compared with other manuscripts can be easily seen to not be the original wording.
2.) Minor variations that have no affect on translations or that involve the use of synonyms. This category of variant does not involve spelling or nonsense readings, but which also don't affect translation. For example, The Greek may or may not use the definite article with a proper name, whereas the English does not. Luke 2:16 in Greek says 'the Mary' - τήν τε Μαριὰμ (both the Mary) καὶ τὸν Ἰωσὴφ (and the Joseph). So 'Mary' or 'the Mary' would be variants which affect nothing. And in English we simply translate it as 'Mary.'

Then there are variants among the Greek manuscripts resulting from the fact that Greek is an inflectional language which means that when writing something the same thing can be said using different word order since the subject is always in the nominative case and the direct object is always in the accusative case. In Greek, the subject and object are not determined by word order as in English, but by the case ending.

Variants are also the result of using synonyms. A scribe of a particular manuscript might use the noun 'Jesus' instead of the pronoun 'He.' For instance, in Matthew 4:18, 12:25; Mark 2:15, 10:52; and Luke 24:36 the Byzantine manuscript text type tends to use the name 'Jesus' while the Alexandrian manuscripts say 'He.' While this affects translation, whether 'Jesus' or 'He' is used, the referent is still Jesus.

Another variant might involve an addition such as a passage saying 'Christ Jesus' instead of 'Jesus'. In Acts 19:4, the Alexandrian manuscripts have 'Jesus' while the Byzantine manuscripts have 'Christ Jesus.' Obviously Jesus is the Christ, and so whether or not a particular passage says 'Christ Jesus' or simply 'Jesus' doesn't affect the meaning.

3.) Differences that affect the meaning, but are not viable (that is, there is no chance of them going back to the original autographs.) As an example, I quote Dan Wallace in an interview.
For example, in Luke 6:22, the ESV reads, “Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man!” But one manuscript from the 10th/11th century (codex 2882) lacks the words “on account of the Son of Man.” That’s a very meaningful variant since it seems to say that a person is blessed when he is persecuted, regardless of his allegiance to Christ. Yet it is only in one manuscript, and a relatively late one at that. It has no chance of reflecting the wording of the original text, since all the other manuscripts are against it, including quite a few that are much, much earlier.

An Interview with Daniel B. Wallace on the New Testament Manuscripts | TGC
4.) Differences that affect the meaning, and are viable. This last category involves only about 1 percent or less of the varients. These variants affect the meaning of the text to some degree, but not in any major way.

For instance, in Romans 5:1, did Paul write, ''We have peace'' (ἔχομεν - echomen), or did he write, ''let us have peace'' (ἔχωμεν - echōmen)? The difference in the two words is one letter. Regardless of which of the two reading is correct, they don't contradict what the Bible teaches. If Paul was saying that we have peace with God he was referring to the believer's positional status with God in Christ Jesus. If he was saying ''let us have peace with God'' then he was simply urging believers to realize that peace.

The largest textual variant in the New Testament involves Mark 16:9-20. Did Mark intend to end his gospel account at verse 8 or did the last part of that chapter get lost somehow? Scholars debate that question. But verses 9-20 are generally believed not to have been the original reading. Even so, that reading doesn't really affect any cardinal doctrine. The apostles did cast out demons, and did speak in tongues [v. 17]. As well, they did lay hands on the sick and heal them [v.18].

As for picking up snakes and drinking poison, while nowhere in the New Testament are these practices reported as happening, Eusebius tells of a tradition in which a man drank poison but was unharmed.
Church History Book 3.39.9

8. But it is fitting to subjoin to the words of Papias which have been quoted, other passages from his works in which he relates some other wonderful events which he claims to have received from tradition.

9. That Philip the apostle dwelt at Hierapolis with his daughters has been already stated. But it must be noted here that Papias, their contemporary, says that he heard a wonderful tale from the daughters of Philip. For he relates that in his time one rose from the dead. And he tells another wonderful story of Justus, surnamed Barsabbas: that he drank a deadly poison, and yet, by the grace of the Lord, suffered no harm.
CHURCH FATHERS: Church History, Book III (Eusebius)
As well, this could be referring to being compelled to pick up snakes and drink poison rather than to the voluntary practice of them. And it could be restricted to the apostolic period of the Church-age. Regardless, no cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith is affected by this variant.


So what do the textual critics say about the reliability of the New Testament?

F. F. Bruce (1910-1990) was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England. He stated...
Fortunately, if the great number of MSS increases the number of scribal errors, it increases proportionately the means of correcting such errors, so that the margin of doubt left in the process of recovering the exact original wording is not so large as might be feared; it is in truth remarkably small. The variant readings about which any doubt remains among textual critics of the New Testament affect no material question of historic fact or of Christian faith and practice. [The New Testament Documents; Are They Reliable?, F.F. Bruce, pgs. 14-15.]

Bruce Metzger (1914-2007) was one of the most highly regarded scholars of Greek, New Testament, and New Testament Textual Criticism. He served on the board of the American Bible Society and United Bible Societies and was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary. He commented...
But the amount of evidence for the text of the New Testament , whether derived from manuscripts, early versions, or patristic quotations is so much greater than that available for any ancient classical author that the necessity of resorting to emendation is reduced to the smallest dimensions. [The Text of the New Testament, Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Fourth Edition, Bruce M. Metzger and Bart D. Ehrman, pg. 230]

Daniel B. Wallace (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament Studies. He is a member of the Society of New Testament Studies, the Institute for Biblical Research, and has consulted on several Bible translations. He made these comments...
To sum up the evidence on the number of variants, there are a lot of variants because there are a lot of manuscripts. Even in the early centuries, the text of the NT is found in a sufficient number of MSS, versions, and writings of the church fathers to give us the essentials of the original text. [Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament, Daniel B. Wallace, pg. 40]

Even Bart D. Ehrman who puts a skeptical spin on things when writing for the general public made the following statement in a college textbook as quoted by Dan Wallace in 'Revisiting the Corruption of the New Testament' on pg. 24...
"In spite of these remarkable differences, scholars are convinced that we can reconstruct the original words of the New Testament with reasonable (although probably not 100 percent) accuracy."
Ehrman wrote that in a college textbook called 'The New Testament: A Historical Introduction To the Early Christian Writings', 3rd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2003), pg. 481.


In an article by Dan Wallace, he wrote...
'Though textual criticism cannot yet produce certainty about the exact wording of the original, this uncertainty affects only about two percent of the text. And in that two percent support always exists for what the original said--never is one left with mere conjecture. In other words it is not that only 90 percent of the original text exists in the extant Greek manuscripts--rather, 110 percent exists. Textual criticism is not involved in reinventing the original; it is involved in discarding the spurious, in burning the dross to get to the gold.' [The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical?
Study By: Daniel B. Wallace The Majority Text and the Original Text: Are They Identical? | Bible.org - Worlds Largest Bible Study Site

The following quotes are from the book 'Reinventing Jesus', 2006, by J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, and Daniel B. Wallace.
''Since the earliest texts that we have agree substantially with the later ones, if we were to project backward to the original, the changes from the original text to the earliest copies would be miniscule.'' [p. 55]

''The reality is that, although most of the text of the New Testament is not in dispute, some passages are.'' [p. 61]

''As we look at the materials and methods of textual criticism in the succeeding chapters, we will see that there are solid reasons for regarding the manuscripts of the New Testament as substantially correct in representing the original text.'' [p.70]

''As we saw in the last chapter, only a very small percentage of the New Testament is in doubt.'' [p. 73]

''For the vast majority of the textual variants, there is simply no difficulty determining the original wording.'' [p. 83]
New Testament textual criticism then is a very important endeavor as it demonstrates the reliability of our New Testament text.

Last edited by Mike555; 08-19-2016 at 09:10 AM.. Reason: Misspelled the word disciple in one of the mentions of the word.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:09 AM
 
Location: US
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Originally Posted by pneuma View Post
You are free to believe as you will thrill, but the historical records are against you.
Where are the historical records written DURING his time?...
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:29 AM
 
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Originally Posted by pneuma View Post
You are free to believe as you will thrill, but the historical records are against you.
In what way are they against me?

You're listing people who wrote 70 to 120 years AFTER Jesus died and you're trying to make us believe that just the mention of Chrestus is enough to prove that Jesus rose from the dead when NOT a single one even mentions resurrection. How gullible and naive do you think we really are??????????????????

NONE of the people you list, pneuma, mentions Jesus resurrecting. I told you this is your collective imaginations jumping to the conclusion he did just because a handful (a VERY small handful--less than 5) mentions him 100 years later.

And then someone says, "I am getting so sick of these unbelievers demanding proof!!!!!!

Oh, I just couldn't stop laughing. Like you guys wouldn't demand proof if a bunch of us came in here saying Zeus was actually Jesus....Zesus = Jesus.

Again, I'll say as many times as it needs to be said. Maybe someone will finally wake up:

From the Washington Post, as about a conservative neutral reporting source as you can get:

Quote:
Did historical Jesus really exist? The evidence just doesn’t add up.




There are clearly good reasons to doubt Jesus’ historical existence.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/poste...=.0fddb71fa750

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Where are the historical records written DURING his time?...
That's what I keep asking for and they keep dodging answering a straight question, playing a shell game with us instead.

"We have historical records"
"When were they written?"
"Well, 100 years after Jesus died, but what does that matter?"
"Are they eyewitnesses to his resurrection? Were they even in Israel at the time?"
"How could they be? They were written 100 years after he died, but again what does that matter? I'm getting so sick and tired of your skeptics demanding proof he actually lived!"

Last edited by thrillobyte; 08-19-2016 at 08:43 AM..
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:39 AM
 
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Originally Posted by RonkonkomaNative View Post
An entire faith was built around one man. I am comfortable in the belief he existed. Things passed down through oral histories are often embellished and translated. The man who walked in water, now walks on water.

One man changed the World, or the idea of one man changed the World.

The Jesus of history is much more interesting than the Jesus some now call God. You get small glimpses of him in the NT.
I agree with this. I think there probably was an historical Jesus. The record does not prove that he existed, but there are some references to him and no proof that he did not exist.
I think he was a preacher who had a fervent fan base in 1st century Palestine. He may have become known due to his many wise and revolutionary teachings. Or it is entirely possible that many of these wise sayings originated with others and were later attributed to Jesus. Finally, the miracle stories were added to lend credence and authority to what he had said.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:44 AM
 
Location: US
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Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
That's what I keep asking for and they keep dodging answering a straight question, playing a shell game with us instead.

"We have historical records"
"When were they written?"
"Well, 100 years after Jesus died, but what does that matter?"
"Are they eyewitnesses to his resurrection? Were they even in Israel at the time?"
"How could they be? They were written 100 years after he died, but again what does that matter?"
Well, a few more educated Jews than I have said that he was just a Rabbi with a small following...
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by zthatzmanz28 View Post
The problem is that the men who wrote the current version of the NT bible were in no way "eye-witnesses." Experts say, even if we had originals, they were written some 100-200 years AFTER the death of Christ.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Where are the historical records written DURING his time?...
If that's your standard of evidence, then hardly anyone existed prior to 1000 years ago. There is no such evidence for most ancient figures.
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Old 08-19-2016, 08:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Richard1965 View Post
Well, a few more educated Jews than I have said that he was just a Rabbi with a small following...
I have no problem believing he was a rabbi who had a small following. In truth there were hundreds of Jesuses who had small followings during the first half of the century. Separating THE Jesus of the gospels from all these other Jesuses is an impossible task. All we can surmise is that one of these Jesuses got crucified for sedition and his followers were so heartbroken they started having visions of his appearance the way family members who have lost a loved one start hallucinating visits from them.

Quote:
The first problem we encounter when trying to discover more about the Historical Jesus is the lack of early sources. The earliest sources only reference the clearly fictional Christ of Faith. These early sources, compiled decades after the alleged events, all stem from Christian authors eager to promote Christianity
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Old 08-19-2016, 10:01 AM
 
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Originally Posted by thrillobyte View Post
I have no problem believing he was a rabbi who had a small following. In truth there were hundreds of Jesuses who had small followings during the first half of the century. Separating THE Jesus of the gospels from all these other Jesuses is an impossible task. All we can surmise is that one of these Jesuses got crucified for sedition and his followers were so heartbroken they started having visions of his appearance the way family members who have lost a loved one start hallucinating visits from them.
The hallucination hypothesis doesn't explain the post crucifixion appearances of Jesus to His disciples. He appeared to them both individually and in groups on multiple occasions over a forty day period in which He spoke to them, had conversations with them, ate with them, and invited them to touch Him.

Also, Paul who later saw the resurrected Jesus had not been heart broken over Jesus' death. He had been an enemy of Christianity. Paul saw the resurrected Jesus on the Damascus road, and the men who were with Paul saw the light that accompanied the appearance of Jesus to Paul, as well as heard the voice of Jesus but which they could only make out as a sound. Therefore, Paul did not have a subjective experience, but had an experience that to some extent was also experienced by the men who were with him.


Craig L. Blomberg, Professor of New Testament at Denver Seminary, and who holds a Ph.D in New Testament from Aberdeen University in Scottland, writes,
''Mass hallucinations have never elsewhere occurred over a forty day period (Acts 1:3), in different places, to more than five hundred people (1 Cor 15:6) who are known to be defeated in outlook and not ecpecting anything miraculous to happen (John 20:19). It is far more common, therefore among scholarly skepticism to promote the idea that the Gospel stories of the resurrection are primarily legendary.''

Jesus and the Gospels, An Introduction and Survey, Craig L. Blomberg, p. 410
However, as I pointed out in post #12, The Gospel of John identifies the writer of that Gospel account as the disciple whom Jesus loved, who had leaned against Jesus' breast at the Last Supper. And so while the Gospel of John wasn't written until somewhere around A.D. 95, it was written by an eyewitness to Jesus' life, death, and resurrection.



Here is a link to a paper by, at the time, Ph.D student J. J. Johnson on the subject of whether the resurrection appearances of Jesus were hallucinations.

It is titled, ''Were the Resurrection Appearances Hallucinations? Some Psychiatric and Psychological Considerations''

http://archive.churchsociety.org/chu..._3_Johnson.pdf

Jesus' resurrection appearances were not hallucinations.
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Old 08-19-2016, 10:13 AM
 
Location: Valencia, Spain
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Originally Posted by pneuma View Post
Historical Jesus:
Many people today question whether there was indeed a historical Jesus. They question this because they say there is no evidence outside of the New Testament that Jesus ever lived. Because they believe this they believe Jesus is nothing more than a myth made up by Christians to support the Christian belief. Whether one believe Jesus was the son of God is not the issue, the issue is are there historical record of a man named Jesus.

However; there are historical accounts made by Roman historians that Jesus did indeed live during the time spoken of in the New Testament. Let’s explore some of these historical documents.


On the birth of Jesus:
The Jews at the time of Jesus birth held the belief that their Messiah would come and become the governor of the earth. This belief was not only recorded by the Jewish historian Josephus but was also recorded by two Roman historians.


Josephus37AD-100AD Jewish historian states:
“the Jews had the belief that about that time one from their country should become governor of the established earth”.


Suetonius 70 AD-130 AD Roman historian states:
“there had spread over all the orient an old and established belief, that it was fated at that time for men coming from Judea to rule the world’.


Cornelius Tacitus 56 AD-117 AD Roman historian and senator states:
“There was a firm persuasion that at this very time the east was to grow powerful and rulers coming from Judea were to acquire universal empire”.


So we can see by these three historians that the Jews expected their Messiah around the time that Jesus was born. However that still leaves the question is there any historical evidence that Jesus was ever born? Let’s look again at the same three historians.

Josephus states:
Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrin of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:

Suetonius states:
"Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."

Cornelius Tacitus states:
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.

All three historians, one Jewish and two Roman, agree that there was indeed a historical person named Christ. They agree that at around the time of Jesus birth that the Jewish nation held to the belief that their great governor, the Messiah of their hopes, was about to come. They all agree there was a man named Christ, and Cornelius Tacitus goes even farther than mentioning the person of Christ he tells us of the extreme penalty this Christ suffered at the hands of Pontius Pilatus.


Some however will continue to question the historical Jesus; they do so contrary to the historical records. They cry for historical evidence outside of the New Testament and when that evidence is given they refuse to believe it. They continue to believe Jesus is nothing more than a myth perpetrated upon the world by Christians. A myth they must believe historians would put in a historical record, thus in my opinion showing how little they think of the field of the historian. This is ironic as they cry for historical records, then call those records nothing more than a myth. Why oh why would a Roman historian record as fact a Christian myth?
Oh dear! Here they come again! The tired old Christian apologetics of Tacitus, Josephus, Suetonius et al. Soundly debunked so many times that apologists that use them these days are simply laughed at.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pneuma View Post
You are free to believe as you will thrill, but the historical records are against you.
No. There are no historical records.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph_Kirk View Post
If that's your standard of evidence, then hardly anyone existed prior to 1000 years ago. There is no such evidence for most ancient figures.
Nonsense!
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