Bob Price, Did Jesus Exist?

Bob Price, Did Jesus Exist?

alright it looks like we're live so dr. Bob price I'm not exactly sure what your position is on Jesus so could you tell me a little bit about when you say you don't believe there is a historical Jesus what exactly would it mean for there to be a historical Jesus how much of what is said in the New Testament would have to be true to qualify as a historical quote Jesus well I'd agree that if there was a historical Jesus he would be something like what most mainstream critics say that he would have been perhaps an apocalyptic prophet predicting the soon coming into the world I don't think that historical Jesus would have thought he was the Messiah for various reasons I can go into ie or Jesus might have been wandering sage like Diogenes with the apocalyptic stuff added on and later like at the fall of Jerusalem when when everybody started thinking apocalyptically the end is coming but the the one option for a historical Jesus that seems the most plausible to me is that of Robert Eisler sgf Brandon Robert Eisenman and and recent well yeah let's leave it at that though let me just mentioned that the valiant and Faye he's book creating Christ though they don't get into the question of whether there was a historical Jesus or not I see that dovetailing with Brandon's work in his books the fall of Jerusalem in the Christian Church I think that's a title and another one he wrote called Jesus and the zealots Fahy and a valiant seemed to me that they're not trying to to lend a lot more weight to the speculations of Brandon that jeez this was a revolutionary kind of like Theotis the magician Simon Barr giora Menachem and these other guys around the fall of Jerusalem and that is my favorite but any of those are plausible readings of the evidence and it partly depends on what you think is authentic and the Gospels and what you think is a subsequent edition let's see however I I don't really go along with any of them though I'm more and more warmed up to the combined valiant Fahey and Brandon idea of Jesus Lee is the revolutionist who has sort of tamed and sanitized by Rome and it's Christian allies that makes a lot of sense to me but I have to admit that my estimate of the gospel data is so negative and and this was over some years it seems to me for one thing that virtually every story in the Gospels can very easily be accounted for or as a rewrite of Old Testament stories of the various heroes David Moses Joshua why Asia and Elijah especially UK I'd written of the whole book about this and nor am i the first one to point these things out it was drawing on the work of a lot of different scholars who zeroed in on this or that and said you know this looks like it's really too close to this of that Old Testament parallel and if you look at them closer it kind of looks like here's how mark or Matthew or whoever juggled the elements Thomas L Brodie did a brilliant job with a lot of the Gospels showing how a lot of it seems to be rewritten from the so called Deuteronomic history Joshua through kings and the sayings also a lot of those are so parallel to rabbinic sayings and sayings of cynic and stoic philosophers of the era who are widely known that you have the same problem Jacob news new points out with regard to the attribution of sayings to the rabbi's in the Mishnah and the Talmud often the same saying will be attributed to two or three different people in different places and new sinner says there's really no way to know who originally said this it must not have been all of them who originated it and III think that Jesus could have historical Jesus could have said many many of these things what's left doesn't make him very distinctive and it's hard to see how he would have become the Fountainhead of a new religion just to beat this to death a little further I think that the the complete conformity of the gospel stories of Jesus to the mythic hero archetype that you see in loads of hero tales and biographical legends of founders like Moses and the Buddha and Zoroaster the fact that you've got the whole thing pretty much you've got a divine incarnation and divine Annunciation a miraculous conception signs in the heavens attending the the birth of the the Messianic child sometimes the stories being very close a dedication seen like Zoroaster coming up from the waters of the holy river and receiving the PIFAN ii of the angel of Voe who mana who gives him his mission to preach the oneness of allah mazda whereupon he's tempted by a cream on the the devil to forsake his mission but he won't do it paralleled also with the buddha and abraham and all that then you get into the child prodigy stories like Jesus in the temple with with the elders holding his own with them a story that's repeated with various other ones then you got miracles done many of the same ones described very similarly eventually you have the the crowd turning on the the Savior and he's executed often on a hill for some reason and then he's he comes back or ascends into heaven and then makes appearances to his disciples like Romulus telling the Romans to go conquer the world and his name Jesus giving the Great Commission etc etc and an ascension into heaven being taken up and obscured by a cloud this happens in various stories some of them that the gospel authors may well have known I mean they certainly seem to have known Josephus who has an ascension of Moses and and so forth some they needn't have known it's more like what Martin dibelius called the law of biographical analogy that in the same sort of historical circumstances the founding of a religion you're gonna hear again and again the same sort of stories told about the hero the founder in order to glorify Him and underline the earth-shaking significance of his entering the historical stream and it's no wonder that so many of these things sound so similar Apollonius of Tyana and and other ones same thing so you're and and it seems to me there is nothing left like there are some characters about whom such stories are told Caesar Augustus Cyrus of Persia and so on and there's there's really no doubt that they existed because we know enough else about them we know they were tied in intimately and intricately to the events of their time and their their activities are attested by various sources friendly and hostile but none of that is true about Jesus the the Gospel writers are not even sure how old he was or when he was born Luke has implied to rival dates for the birth of Jesus and John seems to by Jesus was 50 when he was executed whereas Luke it's somewhere around 30 and on and on it goes I just think the burden of proof is on the person that would say that there was a historical Jesus at the center of it there might have been but if so he's he's lost two historical scrutiny as far as I can tell so that's a whole lot of gibberish but it's it is a complicated question and it seems to me like I'm an agnostic on it I don't think we can know and I think it would be foolish to go around saying oh brother did you hear there's no historical Jesus hallelujah that read surd historians don't work like that you have to make tentative provisional conclusions but maybe they're not conclusions because it all like in science your current understanding must always be open to revision and that's the way I am about this and so I kind of juggle basically two paradigms for understanding the the Jesus material and the Gospels the one is that he's a mythic fictive creation analogous to other dying and rising gods in the Mediterranean world or he was he did exist but was some kind of revolutionary character like several others we know of from the same period and that in the process of sanitizing him to pacifying him and his followers he was embellished with all of these traditional miraculous elements so if you're still awake go ahead and ask God yeah so I technically I take the position that he's more of like a contemporary just figure like you said that was embellished to appease his followers mostly because if I think of it like the claim if I told you I saw a dog you'd probably believe me because there's lots and lots of dogs all the way it's pretty pretty common claim and back then having a claim of a some guy who claimed to be a mess at Messiah with some magical powers that was then crucified by the Romans I mean that happened every day that's an everyday occurrence like the claim I saw a dog so from my perspective someone like Tacitus taking the story of some Christians that he met there was this guy named Jesus I mean that's like to me that's equivalent to the claim I saw a dog there was just some guy who claimed to be a messiah who had claimed to have magical powers killed by the Romans oh we had that last Tuesday so there's pretty much no reason to doubt this at face value so would you say that Jesus is somehow different from that kind of just everyday claim since there it was so common to have that it's sort of like Pilate says in Jesus Christ Superstar you Jews produce messiahs by the sack full and and even if I mean I didn't even go into that other than to say there were other priestly and messianic revolutionaries but the the similarity to non Jewish figures who were known in in the day it like when Jesus says let this cup pass from me is that the cup of poison that Socrates took I mean it sort of sounds like a literary allusion and that alone wouldn't prove anything but the fact that there's so much of this stuff and on and on it goes so yeah there there might have been a historical Jesus and I like to say but there isn't any more because we just can't know right and they just added all the stories in and just like zombify time and just put all the parts into this one story because it made them feel good but to me it seems like it's hard to say that there was a mythical Jesus because it was just so prevalent that the Jews had these messiahs and so it would be like if I told you I saw a dog and you said well no no that you that was probably an imaginary dog I mean the burden of proof seems to be more on the claim that it was imaginary because the dog claim is just so prevalent it's just the burden of proof is so low and just claim that there was this Messianic Jew who was crucified by the Romans would you disagree with that a little bit there's so much more to it though what they said about Jesus for one thing and things that sound very either like literary borrowings or or mythic embellishments like though you're not suggesting that it was everyday that somebody was supposed to have walked on water or changed water into wine and though we have such stories about the Buddha and Dionysus and all that so the fact that there are every day claims what day is every day the thing like ice the claim a sod dog in the neighborhood big deal why would anybody fabricate that well the claims made about Jesus by the Gospel writers and by apologists aren't recent reports they're not if they're not tantamount to I saw a dog or gee it's December but I saw an ice-cream truck outside well that could be it's pretty weird and it's so weird that you can well imagine if somebody saw it that's a get a load of this but this is like not anywhere near the alleged events it's not someone's claimed a record of anything if the very first time we meet it right out of the box it's it's this huge grand mithy mythic religious structure and and again there were plenty of those but they suffer from the same thing they're not based on immediate reports either so how would Jesus be any different from most other historical figures because if you asked essentially most North Koreans about Kim jong-un or Kim Jong Il they would have cently essentially only be able to tell you those same kinds of allegorical stories about how he was born in the bird spoke and these kind of mythical stories they probably don't know anything about his everyday life so wouldn't the same be true of most historical figures from the perspective of most illiterate demographics of people well as I'm gaining senility losing my senses here collingwood RG Collingwood in this great book the idea of history says that there is a history of propaganda for which propaganda is is the fodder it doesn't tell us about actual history because we can especially since we can disprove a good bit of it but it's not just worthless it tells us something that people fabricated certain stories and in North Korea it's the the cult of personality spawned by a propaganda machine I mean that it's not even authentic legend you've got a huge wall mural showing incredibly Kim jong-un walking on the face of the Sun which apparently they wanted people to believe he did like and of course I guess they do because they'll get their head blown off if they don't and the nice peaceful regime of the Democratic Republic of Korea and in in a sense mythic propaganda like that the only difference is it's true there what some critics of Christianity say wrongly I think that the whole thing was made up as a scheme as propaganda as if you had a bunch of TV writers getting together and saying well what kind of boffo thing can we come up with it get good ratings that seems to me just it's possible but I see no reason to think so it just seems to me to be popular legend and scribal rewriting like a lot of these stories assume a pretty close familiarity with the Old Testament text and people couldn't just go into their local Christian bookstore and buy a Bible so who knew the text that well well of course it was it was scribes Jewish and later Christians so yeah you do have some professionals working this stuff up but it appears to have been a gradual thing and I don't think there's any kind of you know the old thing a hoax or history I don't think there's any intent to deceive anybody they're just creating edifying tales of the the Paramount example of this would be Peter walking on the water the probably Jesus walking on the water is based either on the Odyssey where Hermes walks on the water and similar circumstances or in well I think one of the Psalms that it speaks of Yahweh walking on the waves or some such thing but what about what about Peter well in mark and John of course you do have Jesus walking on the water doesn't appear in Luke but in in Matthew it's pretty much the same until with the disciples reaction in the other Gospels the disciples say oh my god it's a ghost and and Jesus says no no no it's me don't worry and he gets into the boat but in Matthew there's a bit of a detour because I Peter isn't just skeptical it's a ghost like everybody screams in ghost movies and the like he says lord if it is you have me walk on the water to join you and and I've always wondered how is that an answer but I think I got it I think he's he says well I know I'm not a ghost if you can somehow uphold me on the water then I and I guess it's your doing the same with yourself however it is well and then he does but he then he becomes like Wiley coyote in a Warner Brothers cartoon he suddenly notices hey I'm defying gravity err whoops and down he begins to go and Jesus says what happened to your faith why did you doubt yeah yeah why would you doubt if you're suddenly walking on water right anyway the what is going on why did Matthew add that which he plainly did I mean if that was the original story there is no way either mark or John much less both of them would have omitted it why were they just running out of ink and so I better wrap this thing up and it's ridiculous well it's obvious what Matthew was doing he saw this as like an allegory for the Christian life friend you may be going through difficult times though the waves of trouble may be going up around you at this very moment but don't sink you you keep your eyes on Jesus and you'll stay above those problems of course that's brilliant it's a great piece of exhortation and so on and I willing to bet my life that anyone who has ever preached a sermon on that story made that point and they're right certainly that's what I meant what was Matthew thinking boy these suckers these rubes I'm gonna gonna trick them all of course not I mean there were quacks and frauds in the ancient world but this doesn't do you any any good I mean it's it's an edifying story who knows if the Evangelist Matthew who ever really was thought people would believe it literally because that wasn't exactly the point the point is that Christ will save you even if you begin to doubt and so uh it's it just seems to me the kind of stuff we have it's easy to account for and to show that it's not historical fact this and even violating the the intention of it possibly and I've gone far afield from Tess's said that the Christians made up the story about how the crisis was Curtin was persecuted by Pontius Pilate but do you think the tasklist thought that the Jesus was a myth or do you think he was just a guy who could have existed just like one of those other messianic people killed by the Romans do you think well he go ahead I'm sorry what do you think TAS in this position on this would be on the mysticism well if he actually wrote the celebrated paragraph and I'm willing to assume he did though there are real arguments against it but if he did write it it sounds like he just took Jesus well he doesn't even use the name Jesus but Christmas or some manuscripts have crest us that he took this to be another guy like Judas the magician or Judas of Galilee zazz a Christians oh you know who I mean don't you the sect that wood found was founded by this guy he doesn't make any claim of miracles I think he does say that no its Josephus who says his disciples who those who loved him from the first never abandoned him but said that he appeared to some of them three days late I don't think Tacitus even says anything like that yeah Yves the founder of these Christians well that's where I give my analogy from like the claim I saw a dog because it seems like that's just that's just the history of the time which is rife with these examples that it seemed like you just take it at face value that this Christ guy existed he was just one of those Jews that was just killed so it seems comparable to me do they claim my god I saw a dog I saw a Christian guy who was who was crucified by the Romans like yeah okay could be on the other hand he's writing nearly a hundred years after this supposedly happened and most likely seems to me he's simply reporting some version of what contemporary Christians in Rome were saying and so we don't know how like he doesn't say anything any of the big stuff that Christians said but of course he's not going to say that even if he knows that given the subject matter or talking about Nero burning down Rome blaming it on the Christians who are they well the the guy Chris just found that it he's not gonna say and you know interestingly he walked on water changed water into wine ascended into heaven and all that so even if he knew they said that he's not gonna get into that at the moment so it's very hard I mean this is the kind of picky endless ambiguity you find in all these historic reports that really make it almost impossible to know what the heck happened and they think of today with mundane events that that this whole thing that Donald Trump was colluding with the Vladimir Putin there's no evidence for this at all but there was a propaganda legend created to discredit Trump and and this is going on all the time I remember it back in the I guess the early 90s do you remember what the heck was that was some babysitter who can't think of her name of the the Long Island Lolita they called her and she apparently tried to kill the husband of the guy she was dating and and all that well right around the same time the three big non cable networks put out docudramas about this and they all differ I mean whatever happened had happened only months before and it was impossible already to tell what happened and same thing here as it seems to me oh do you think that it would be more likely that people would that it would be easier for Christianity to build early followers if there was really a guy behind it as opposed to it being a fictitious character not necessarily because that I hate when people say beg the question and in this sense I guess it's appropriate that sort of presupposes the answer to a prior question how did people wind up joining this religion it's very difficult to say what the early Jewish Christians were thinking because of course the war with Rome wiped out a whole lot of them we we don't know what they could have told us the people in the Mediterranean world and Asia Minor and all that if Paul if the Pauline epistles are anything to go by nobody was talking about any life of a historical Jesus anyway they were talking about somebody who sounds very much like a mystery religion deity Mithras Attis Adonis Osiris Dionysus and so on all they knew as far as we can tell was that that I can have eternal life if I join myself to the dying and rising of the Savior called Jesus which happens to mean Savior anyway and so I'm going to do it and eventually people started telling stories about what Jesus was supposed to have done perhaps to fill the gap which would have been very analogous by the way to the kind of whoppers you read in the the infancy Gospels of Thomas of pseudo Matthew of the Arabic infancy Gospels and so on where they early Christian curiosity couldn't rest when it came to what was Jesus doing as a kid and so they just used their pious imagination to fill it in and it happened fast once the question arose seems to me the same kind of thing probably happened with the New Testament Gospels what would the sky have done while he was on earth originally it didn't matter anymore than what Mithras might have been doing not before he killed the cosmic bull to save everybody just wasn't relevant so who cared when I think about contemporary examples of people who are followed as a religious leaders like Jonathan Jonathan Smith of Mormonism and the guy who created Scientology l ron Hubbard or a Russian guy Viserion there always seems to be some some body behind the curtain to use your analogy from the Bard airman debate there always seems to be some charismatic character that really caused people to follow this ideology so to me it seems like without that charismatic personality to guide it even if it wasn't Jesus must have been somebody like Paul or Peter or somebody then it wouldn't have really gained as much popularity so to me it seems it must have had some kind of really charismatic person behind it oh there must have been such people that spread the gospel it's just a question of did Jesus start the ball rolling well I'm because there's a major theory that more liberal scholars have always held that Jesus did exist but really the Christianity was founded by Paul if you get to that point and think that's plausible it then it's like it doesn't really matter if there was a Jesus and if there may have been I mean there's nothing implausible about that I'm just saying all the supposed evidence seems either like literary rewrites or Mis attributed sayings or the the the mythic hero archetype it's like there's nothing left like again Augustus his biography fits some of those things he was the savior he was the son of God he brought peace on earth the news of his birth was the beginning of the gospel the same Greek phrase in the beginning of mark and so on and we know he existed because you wouldn't have had all this history without him but you just don't have Jesus connected to history in that way even the stories that seem to do that in the Gospels where he's connected with Pontius Pilate with Caiaphas with Herod the Great and all that scholars for generations have seen these stories as likely fictitious and people that never even thought about Jesus not having existed just looking at these stories they said wait a minute Pontius Pilate a jew-hating bigot who outraged Jews every chance he got he's gonna let a bunch of poolhall Rowdies in an alley bully Amanda letting go a guy he is convicted as a terrorist and let Barabbas go come on that's just not possible and the stuff we know about Pilate we know from other sources of Philo and Josephus and all that so that one's virtually impossible or Herod the Great he tries he kills all the kids in Bethlehem to get rid of Jesus this sounds so much like the slaughter of the innocents connected with the birth of Moses not only a nexus Exodus but even more in Josephus is rewrite of the Exodus story so yeah Herod the Great was a paranoid maniac you can imagine him doing this maybe he did but there's no record of it though many other atrocities committed by him are recorded and it's so much like this well-known biblical story you really have to say I'm not so sure or a Caiaphas the high priest of Israel he is having a legal hearing with Jesus on Passover Eve this this is like the Pope skipping the Christmas Eve of the Easter Mass saying you know I got a I got a goat out of a drycleaner I'm sorry you guys what today it's impossible and so it's one like with no connection to a theory that Jesus didn't exist these things fall away one by one and so again I say you know where was this Jesus where was his footprint on history we can say about the the the theological Christ oh well yeah the huge footprint there but that's not quite the point we're making and I said to Bart that if you come up with a modest historical Jesus that would not have been significant enough for Josephus and others to record him why did Christians make a big deal out of them it's like deciding you want to discover the historical Superman and finding out that well there was a Clark Kent who was employed by the Daily Planet so we've got four historical Superman no you don't you have the historical Clark Kent and that is quite different and so there's there's a lot of slipshod argumentation I think though there may have been a Jesus and and all it would take to convince me would be if we had one of the many many old papyrus letters from that period where somebody just happened to mention that they had seen the the famous Jesus of Nazareth during a visit to Jerusalem or something that's all it would take I mean that's not any kind of propaganda if we had only that I would say okay that's it forget the mythos ISM thing I don't care one way or the other it does not have an impact on me though it's a fascinating question oh yeah I agree I think it's that's why I'm interested in the topic is because there's a fascinating question so but to go back to your point of why would they be interested in this Clark Kent character I mean most of the people that people are revered today they're just like the Clark Kent it's just people are deluded into thinking they're the Superman character and they attribute all these weird stories to them like the I'm one of your several of your debates I've heard you talk about how Charles Manson was claimed like he can lift us over a gorge or something and that there was the these claimed miracles of all these essentially just average dudes just because they're charismatic and so it seems like most people tend to aggregate towards these just Clark Kent characters who they are deluded leaving their Superman characters so I'm not too surprised at the fact that even if there was a historical Jesus and the Clark Kent kind of a sense that that was embellished to be the Superman character and that was fun why would anybody have done that with good old Clark a bumbling but well reporter probably a coward everybody thought but a good writer why would they have have done that and if you're gonna say you might say well I bet he got the Pulitzer Prize so let's say he did but how much farther could you go you can well imagine people telling stories about Batman that oh he flies through the air and he sucks people's blood and he that would be not much of a big jump but it wouldn't be like changing Bruce Wayne at a Batman it would be changing Batman into Superman and he's already like the charismatic dynamic figure but just some guy and with with mance and of course his followers claimed to have seen this kind of stuff and they were drugged out zombies who were all sleeping with him and stuff you know there I wouldn't trust anything they said even if it was just asking him what time it was so that that's not the typical case either but there certainly have been cult leaders and like Jim Jones and reverend moon and so on Jesus could have been one but I don't think there's enough evidence even to say that it could have been though I I don't know otherwise I also had a question about your the business interpretation of the crucifixion where there was the once it it's in like the firmament with the organs are something the archons are conscious oh yeah right yeah this would fit very old mythology which nonetheless continued to pop up like in Zoroastrianism and and in the Rig Veda where the primal man who appears to be another version of what we later read called the Son of man in heaven at the right hand of the Ancient of Days he sacrifices himself in in the heavens and from his sundered form everything is created it's also a lot like Philo judea's who says that the Lagos was the heavenly atom emanated from God and he was a vast human form and he was the pattern for the creation of the world in humanity and so on if so the I and I think that that the mythos this thing about the crucifixion represents a historicize ation of the gnostic creation myth which held that again one of these emanations from the godhead whom some called the christ or some the man or whatever he had he was a being of spiritual light who was ambushed by the the vicious archons who were sort of fallen angel figures the Demiurge their boss who was a kind of a dimwit semi divinity he had created the world out of matter but it was just a swamp just motionless a bunch of gunk and so the archons went out and ambushed the primal man of light ripped him apart and used the use of modern term photons that made him up as a kind of self-replicating DNA I wish the ancients had had these modern things they're great analogies and they used it to give life to the Mudpie creation of the Demiurge and they tied that in with God breathing the spirit of life and to Adam in the garden and all that he said that's what was happening and that got the human race and all other life going so the death of the the primal man the son of man character gave life to the world and then this they in some vague way they said that the primal man had returned in recent days as the gnostic reveal kind of like Morpheus in the matrix which is overtly based on Gnosticism to awaken the sparks within those who had them and to say you know you don't really belong here you're a stranger in a strange land I can tell you how to get back there you won't have to be reincarnated and reincarnated tears anymore once you realize you have a divine origin and destiny you upon death you will just ascend to the player Ouma the fullness of light to be with God and so they kind of eventually seem to merge the the the primal man of light with the Gnostic revealer and historicized it but originally it was the principalities and powers that put him to death on the crosses and Colossians or was the archons of this age who saw to his death as in first Corinthians and no political background or historical detail is even suggested in the Pauline epistles but it gets historicized though this happened on earth well then who would have engineered it I guess it would have been the human rulers of this world so to me that that is not problematical at all and there's a myth assist I mean I don't think that's more provable than that it happened historically but if you're asking in mythos terms how do you get the crucifixion well that's how it's it's not very difficult to see so these are mutually exclusive kinds of things it's not like you have the crucifixion on earth and then also the crucifixion in heaven is there they're contradictory yeah though they're Gnosticism was the many-headed Hydra and there were different versions of it and Valentinian Gnosticism the most successful form they said that that Jesus was the human flesh and blood man who acted as the channeler as we would say for the Christ spirit who was one of the the emanations from the Godhead and so the Christ did not die on the cross and there were Gnostic texts that where people thought he did but it was like a hologram no it's such a fools think that he died but valentineís said no no no Jesus the man did die on the cross and for those who don't have the divine spark those who aren't saved by Nature if they have faith in the crucified Christ God is willing to save them too so he had to Christ as sort of like Nestorian ISM much later so there were a lot of different versions of it but some Gnostics thought no it's like in Jairus Lee the Last Temptation of Christ yeah when the the angel lets him down from the cross the people on the ground are still shaking their fists and curse and who we can see there's no one there but they're under there having a hallucination well that's kind of what some Gnostics thought but well you know Hebrews comes kind of close to what you're suggesting because it the way I read it and most people do Jesus did die on the cross physically I mean Dougherty thinks that Hebrews doesn't even picture a historical Jesus he might be right I sort of don't think so but I'm sorry anyway I Hebrews says Jesus died on the cross physically but then his saving work really happens in the heavenly tabernacle not on earth he presents his own shed blood as the atonement for the people down below so you almost do have the the saving work done in heaven and also on earth so what happened to the early Gnostics who believed this like and what were they like would you suggest that Peter and Paul had this kind of Gnostic belief or who believed this and what happened to them what how did they become a change to the more modern view of the human Christ crucified on the cross by Pontius Pilate well that part of the big question of how if Jesus was originally a mythic deity how do you get his star size period I mean the whole shooting match and the answer to that I think that was supplied a hundred over a hundred years ago by Arthur Drew's it looks like in in in the English pronunciation I think it's drafts though Arthur drafts a Dutchman in a couple of books he did the Christ myth and so on he said it's pretty simple there was a big competition between all these versions of Christianity of course nobody doubts that whether even in the New Testament period or for a couple of centuries we've got all kinds of material about that people began to deposit that they had the truth about Christianity right from the horse's mouth that that their leaders a few generations back had been taught by a historical founder and they transmitted it and so if you want to know what Christianity is about listen to them I mean that's very clearly stated by RNAs and his book against heresies but Gnostics began to do the same thing valentineís claimed that he got his teaching from Theotis a disciple of Paul and basil I DS claimed he was taught by Glau Kias a disciple of Peter are they right I have no idea but the the idea was in mythos ISM that you were trying to say look shake the hand that shook the hand we heard him say it you Gnostics can hallucinate all you want oh Jesus appeared to me and said communion should be done with pizza from now on or Jesus told me there's life on Mars hallelujah and irony I said you go ahead with you with your game and you top this all of its subjective hallucination you just wing in it we don't have that problem because our guys were taught by Jesus when he was on earth this this comes up explicitly in these pseudo Clementine romances these novels about Peter and Clement and all that where peter has a showdown with simon magus and simon says you guys don't understand Jesus correctly he really stands for Marci owned I said I do however because the Risen Jesus appeared to me and set me straight you guys are all wrong and I'll show you how this look power if you were were really an authoritative teacher about Christianity you'd agree with us because we knew the guy we know what he said you're just making it up and so that created the need to have a supposedly authentic historical source our founder because otherwise anybody can say anything they wanted to let a hundred flowers bloom I mean we have definite evidence of that happening so I think drops was right the whole thing was a matter of an authority struggle let's avoid subjectivity and believe what we say of course since the good and some Gnostics would say the same thing it amounted to a kind of a leap in the dark as to who you're gonna believe anyway so up till that point before this power struggle settled kind of on the historical Jesus side what do you think most Christians at that time really believed or did they really not care one way or the other I suspect that before this started people Christians didn't really care much about if they still don't I mean if you if you bring up the question no so well of course Jesus existed as a historical individual but uh that's not what's important about Jesus for them it's still I mean about here this on Good Friday and Easter that it was that he's a mystery religion deity he came from heaven he died for us he rose from the dead and we can appropriate that through faith and the sacraments as as the Kierkegaard said if all we knew about Jesus was that he came and died and rose from the dead that'd be enough and that's what the Nicene Creed says there's nothing about though you know Jesus taught in parables of no and so I think that's still all that really matters I know they're people who say what would Jesus do and and all that but that's not the essence of Christianity for people now there were there was a compromise position I believe between a mythic Jesus and historical Jesus and that was this view I already mentioned docetism that many Gnostics upheld from Tokyo to see more appear and the idea was well people did see or thought they saw Jesus walking around teaching and all that but it was really just a projection a kind of a hologram and the acts of John could not be more explicit John tells his followers years on he says let me tell you some of the stories about the good old days with Jesus I used to notice that if I reached out to pat him on the shoulder sometimes my hand would go right through as if he was a ghost but then other times I'd I'd have to rub my knuckles because it was like striking Superman or it was like steel he said I would notice when you're walking on the Sea of Galilee the shore he left no footprints I noticed that when we were sitting next to each other at the table he would never eat what's this and and so he says yeah Jesus just had the appearance he wasn't really a flesh and blood character my theory is that that was a way of splitting the difference between there was never a Jesus who lived on earth saying oh yeah there was and he was okay miraculously born but a flesh-and-blood human like us this is kind of a compromised position and a lot of people believe that and in fact in effect they still do ask devout Christians do you think Jesus ever had to go to the bathroom could Jesus have starved to death if Jesus was hammering a nail in the carpenter shop and hit his thumb what he started cussing ass liar mocker a great father of liberal theology he was still haunted by stuff like this he believed Jesus had to have been a flesh-and-blood human but he said that being perfect Jesus could never have made a mistake on a math problem he could learn but not by trial and error because he couldn't make errors somebody that says this is is a kind of like against K Zaman said a naive dosa 'test in remember in John chapter 4 the Jesus is tired sitting by the the well disciples go on into some supermarket couldn't very well have been the piggly-wiggly and that's for sure but let's say the Food Lion of Judah maybe and he's there and this woman's dipping the bucket and the well when Jesus said would you mind if I had a drink today hey look nothing doing you know as well as I do Jews can't use the same ditches that Samaritans do they hated each other so much and and then etcetera etc and the disciples come back with the bags full of baloney sandwiches and stuff and and they say here master eating it's not no thanks maybe next time I have food to eat that you know nothing about for my nourishment is to do the will of my father wait a minute Jesus doesn't need to eat or he's on the cross and says I thirst ok there he's real really human right no it says simply in order to fulfill Scripture he said I thirst because I line quoted out of one of the Psalms and so it's it's a lot of people today and even when you don't expect it in the New Testament you've got or in appalling epistles he assumed the form of a servant the likeness of mankind why don't you just say he became a man why this this distancing language so a lot of people may have believed in ghosts at ISM if not mythos ISM and my guess is though citizen was a sort of a mutation of mythos ISM but there are other stories they make up in order to account for certain things like the fact that it was Jesus of Nazareth Nazareth and the fact that he was born in Nazareth and they created this entire elaborate nonsense of a census that people were forced to go back to their homeland now that doesn't make any sense at all and that seems whoever created that story totally undermines their credibility if they're trying to argue that there are credible sources of knowing what Jesus was like because he was supposed to be born in the house of David which was Bethlehem so wouldn't it make more sense that if they made up this story to try and accommodate someone who they were already worshipping like a real guy who was actually from Nazareth I've Christopher Hitchens said that and I'm constantly hearing that in the Bible geek but I don't see it because it presupposes that you've already come to believe that there was a historical Jesus who was the Jewish Messiah and some I mean Christianity was just a room with 12 guys these stories weren't necessarily told at the beginning and all one would need to say was that some Christians said well if Jesus was the Messiah where was he born well I want Bethlehem but in what's it then Amos I think it says you Oh Bethlem though least among the clans of Judah from from you will come forth for me or one who was Ancient of Days etc and it mentions Jerusalem in the house I mean Bethlehem a city of David right well so I'm said well if he's talking about the Messiah which I'm not so sure of but let's say he was they thought so they said I've had settles that Jesus must have been born in Bethlehem but there were others that said he was called Jesus the Nazarene what would that mean well I guess he was from Nazareth but of course it need not mean that there was a pre-christian Jewish sect of wandering carpenter's an ultra pious Jews called the Nazarenes which means the keepers apparently the keepers of the Torah or whatever and they were still around in the first couple of centuries of Christianity I think it's a athenaeus of salamis who mentions him well if that could have been somebody could have thought for whatever reason that Jesus was a member of that sect but after a while people said I don't think Jesus would have needed to learn anything from anybody no must mean something else and though we have no real archaeological evidence that there was a nazareth in the first third of the first century it's a very strange many many jewish towns are named in Josephus in the Talmud but not this and they they're they rebuilt Nazareth about the middle of the 1st century AD now it had been settled on and off for hundreds and hundreds of years but it wasn't settled at the time Jesus was supposedly around as far as we can tell but it was later so by the time the Gospels were written there was a Nazareth again and so people began to say I bet it means he was from Nazareth but wait a minute isn't he what about the Bethlehem thing they had heard of that and so both Matthew and Luke see this as a problem like you mentioned the implausibility of Luke's version where well maybe Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth but they got this notice in the mail that everybody had to go out for a Roman taxation census to the place their ancestors lived a thousand years before I'm not gonna do that nobody's ever done that they wanted to go where you live so they'll know where to send the IRS and and what do you know Mary gave birth while they were up there for the census and then they went home to Nazareth well that didn't occur to Matthews was absurd and he said no no Mary and Joseph lived in Bethlehem their son was born there and as much as two years later these the Zoroastrian Magi astrologers came and asked carrados congratulations new king your successor I presume was just born can we see him well what are you talking about there's no king born well where's he supposed to be born oh and the the scribes tell him Bethlehem and of course kind of makes you wonder why the star didn't lead them there immediately you know why they have to go on anyway so they go there and they find Jesus you know the rest of the story then an angel says look you better get out of here go to Egypt the liver find you there and they do and then after Herod kicks the bucket the angel says okay coast is clear now go on back and they're about to and then the angels oops I just heard Arkel a as' is on the throne 'is worse than its dad don't go back to Bethlehem one should go way up north to Nazareth yeah that's the ticket like there is no way to get these two together it's just that they both have in common we got a Jesus of Nazareth who must have been born in Bethlehem what wasn't he called Jesus of Bethlehem well you just have diametrically opposite answers to the question and neither one of them really holds water but in the underdog man's the historical Jesus either right well you said that your account of how he came to be known as a Nazarene was just somebody thought he was not have been related to the Nazarenes is that really a plausible thing that people would a conclusion they would really draw well according to this they might have I mean that's no different than saying for whatever reason that he was baptized by John and who was a similar sort of a sectarian why would they have said that well if there was no Jesus well that would be if John the Baptist was a real historical figure venerated as much as that Josephus passage said it might well have been a credential for Jesus to have been a protege of John the Baptist and the same might be true here if these guys were were well-known pious ascetics and if you said well Jesus was one of those that would have been a great credential what was he doing all that time well he was with these Bible study and carpenters and hint and so it's not that hard to imagine but that gets reinterpreted and there's an exact parallel in Buddhism where in earlier versions of the story after Prince Siddhartha renounces his wealth he wants to seek the key deliberation and first he'd studies with two different ascetic sages he finds their teaching unsatisfactory and then goes and sits beneath the Bodhi tree and is enlightened well then later retellings to the story they cut out the two teachers and I think that's the that's the same kind of thing that for somebody it was a mark of distinction for Jesus to have been associated with the the Nazarene sect but later on when when the Christology rose and they said oh he wouldn't have needed that that would have been a charade so to think with that maybe Nazarene means something else oh that's interesting because who knows though it's all speculation because I mean they did say that Jesus when he was a kid you've brought up the story about him arguing with the scholars and things so it seems like he would have meaningful interactions with them he could have been a part of the group in that kind of sense where he was elected as a young kid just because he was so knowledgeable so it couldn't they also have made a case that he was in fact that he would have benefited by being part of this group and instead of making up all this stuff about the consensus they could have just said yeah he was actually a part of this Nazarene group but it doesn't mean he was born there wouldn't that make more sense then say was actually from Bethlehem then arguing for this whole consensus line of reasoning well it's just that different Christians believe different things you can see even in the Gospels like when Jesus in mark denies that the Messiah is even supposed to be a descendant of David well in other parts of the Gospels people hello help me son of David not everybody believed the same thing and so uh luckily these things are preserved you have the same thing in Genesis when did people start addressing the deity as Yahweh or Jehovah well according to chapter four or five it says in in the days of Enosh people began to call upon the name of Yahweh but then in Exodus 3 I guess it is Moses encounters God in the burning bush and he says well Who am I to tell the Israelites sent me and he says tell him that Yahweh did I am that I am tell them I am has sent you tell them Yahweh which is upon sent you well which way was it I mean he nage must have at one point been understood to be the first man again the different groups had different first men had Amaury nage both of them kind of mean man and so some people said well as soon as he was created man was told to call him a name of his creator but somebody else I don't know that and had no idea of that story and so well it must have been with Moses he really started the Jewish revelation there's just no way to harmonize it and lucky for us the the Bible editors usually didn't try they just preserved what they found and made a kind of a scrapbook of it could you explain to me more about your methodology because you disagree with like Bart Ehrman and most of the academic consensus about certain passages like the Gnostics where Bart Ehrman says that the Gnostics we don't really know anything about them and they probably came in the second century where you interpret them is coming earlier and there are a lot of passages you interpret as being interpolations that they seem to disagree on can you explain to me how your methodology works to come to those conclusions and could we apply those to lots of other historical characters as well oh yeah you sure can and it's been done like I was his name EJ something Thomas wrote this great book the life of Buddha as legend and history he does the same thing showing the inconsistencies between the stories and the teachings and peeling back the layers and saying this must be the later when this must be the earlier one with the interpolations bard like a lot of anti myth assists say you just in a tight spot you're trying to get out of it you say that Paul knew nothing about the life of Jesus what about this that in the other thing well as I said in the debate which nobody seemed to hear all of these passages were tagged as interpolations by non myth assists who weren't even taught and are thinking about it no it's because you know this doesn't have the standard pas line vocabulary or this seems to interrupt the flow of the argument and this seems he was anachronistic stuff or what my favorite in Galatians 1 and the fullness of time God sent forth his son born of a woman and born under law do you usually go out of your way to say that all under President Trump he was born of a human mother does anybody doubt that well in the case of Jesus you bet they did the Marcy and I said Jesus descended directly from heaven as an adult and went right to the synagogue in Capernaum yeah it seems to me that that is an interpolation to try to have Paul undercut the claims of Marcia Knights who were Paul's biggest fans and a bunch of things like this that the Last Supper thing in first Corinthians 10 or 11 wherever it is this doesn't seem to fit the context it's like a zig zag and and often that's the case we don't have any trouble seeing this in the Gospels everybody for four generations has known that yeah these things are we're quilts they recorded all these different sayings and stories and sometimes group them by subject sometimes maybe chronologically the same sort of seams appear redaction 'l seems as they say appear in the epistles where this like oh my god first corinthians what a playground for this kind of thing in one chapter you have it said that it's okay to eat food previously sacrificed to idols if it's given somebody else trouble don't do it but inherently there's nothing wrong with it in the very next chapter it says hey don't be like the israelites who joined in the feast of one of the bales and god killed 20,000 of them for it don't take the same risk wait a minute it does it you can't eat from the table of Christ and the table of demons I thought it didn't make any difference or can women speak in church according to chapter 14 let him keep quiet and asked their husband questions when they get home but in in chapter 7 oh no they're our prophet Isis who can speak to the assembly as long as they're veiled which is it and and so on and so on it just seems like as the Dutch radicals pointed out of van Maanen and others that we have people continuing to add material to correct it like they don't agree with what it said and so they say well I will undermine that by having Paul say this and we have this all over the place in the Upanishads there's no no debate about that people kept adding incompatible materials so that it's impossible to systematize it any one of them same thing here it seems to me Minh have to have Paul as a multiple personality or who changed every time he picked up a pen or several different writers were involved in this and and these and William Oh Walker Jew and winsome Munroe both have great books on interpolations in the Pauline epistles and they lay out a long list of textual and stylistic ways you can detect these things why is there so much reluctance to to recognize that there may well have been interpolations well because we don't have any copies of these letters or any New Testament books before the Chester Beatty papaya around 200 AD and there's no way to know what might have been added and that's the period in which they would have been added so who knows so then why don't they agree with this well as a couple of these scholars have actually said if we admitted that if we suppose that there were a bunch of interpolations we'd never know what paul really wrote and we kind of need to know that we would need to write books on Pauline theology we'll forget that if we can't know if he wrote the whole thing so we have to assume that he did that it's a strange phenomenon whereby what ought to lead to agnosticism who knows leads instead to fede ISM let's just assume that it's all kosher because otherwise we can't play the game so that's one reason and it's likely it's kind of like a more sophisticated version of the fundamentalists that say the King James Bible is the only word of God but you got to admit it maybe you can't play the game and Bart also I believe having studied under Bruce Metzger who I did to very briefly the one summer a saintly man a great scholar he's a textual critic as is Bart and Herman very Metzger was a fundamentalist religiously and so was Bart and he's gradually emerged from that and he's still emerging from it he you to believe the empty tomb narrative was historical not anymore I don't know where he's gonna end up but he's he's really a textual critic his knowledge of all the rest of it is is secondary though he has a wide knowledge of it but I think he really is not sufficiently critical a historical critic I did a thing in my book Bart Ehrman interpreted where I just went over a lot of the the verses that he cites to say you see Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet and I showed that for one reason the serious doubt serious reason to doubt that I need Jesus said this even if there was one and secondly even if he did it's not at all clear that these things are about the end of the world he's reading in I think the stuff that he learned in in seminary so he still that's why and one of my chapters in that book was called agnostic apologist is he still arguing that that kind of from that sort of framework I think you asked something else about Oh meh analogy not just with the interpolations but do you remember me right I was asking can you tell me more about your methodology just for clarification what is this could you define an interpolation that's like an addition or reinterpretation of something from a later or a different source yeah like a scribe has added something into the text often because I mean there's some cases where nobody doubts this happened and not only in the Bible where like the one of the one of them would be like when Jesus knelt down and written wrote in the sand he whose thoughts in will cast the first stone that's right yeah that whole story the woman taken in adultery doesn't occur in the earliest copies of John and we start seeing it in a couple of different places in different manuscripts of John or in Luke so it seems obvious that people like this story but it hadn't made it into any gospel and so independently a two or three scribes said well Stu good Toulouse let's let's anchor it in there or an even more outrageous example would be I think it's in chapter 5 the the guy who's at the portico of the Pool of Bethesda and he remains there laying on the ground week after week and Jesus is aware of this and he says the guy do you even want to be healed and he says well you see I it's a catch-22 you the the reason it was a healing shrine was it the water would bubble occasionally apparently from some underground gas or something but the they believed that an angel had come down and stirred up the water and first one into the pool gets healed and he says of course my affliction is I can't jump up and run in there and so Jesus all you don't need to hear you're healed as the ex leper says in Monty Python ohms for next level and that so much as a by-your-leave he hands me and so on I wha that's that explanation of why people are jumping into the pool and a race wasn't in earliest manuscripts the idea that it was an angel that came to make it bubble up some scribe must have written in the margin this little marginal note in case people weren't familiar with the thing or that this is what they're talking about but when that copy wears out and another scribe makes a new copy he sees the thing in the margin and says oh boy my predecessor skip this accidentally I'll put it back where it belongs and there's another one in 1st Corinthians 14 and so on so there are a few places that they will accept interpolations though it's there's got to be manuscript evidence well there what about those decades where there's no manuscript evidence there you just you just have to believe it came that way from the hand of the author well we know that the texts are more flexible the further back you go we can start seeing comparing a that people would making this kind of goo for adding that or whatever but before that you have to assume they were even more careless so you'd kind of expect interpolations some are just stupid goofs that you'd catch in proofreading but as Bard himself showed people were changing the text to help them win theological debates this great book Bart wrote the Orthodox corruption of Scripture is all about that says take a look at some of these aberrant readings they're not just mistakes nobody would make this mistake somebody is trying to change the text so oh yeah you're wrong look at this verse Oh okay let's take a look at hey where'd it go so that you had that kind of thing as he shows so there shouldn't be anything controversial if you can show that it's anomalous doesn't fit into the the the logic of the of the argument the vocabulary is strikingly different than that we usually find in this author there's an anachronism like when Paul seems to be referring to the destruction of Jerusalem the God's wrath has come upon the Jews at last wait a minute I thought this was written in the 50s the Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 and what else could he mean well maybe he didn't write that and so there's a lot of stuff is not really inherently controversial it's just theologically inconvenient for some people that a mainstream society biblical literature two scholars are a lot closer to the fundamentalist rock from which they were human was it possible that it's an interpolation by Paul or like he wrote it and then he windbag and said oh I you know I'll change this a little bit this this works better like this could at that of your possibility well yeah in fact I think that's what the Western text of Acts is well there is this there's a couple of manuscripts one in Greek one in Latin codex B's I it's called because theodore beza owned it where the book of Acts is like 20 percent longer than it is in all other manuscript traditions but it all seems to be of a uniform style and and since you can compare it it looks like this just some flourishes added here and there like an the Ethiopian eunuch they don't fill up the evangelists converts the Ethiopian and tells them that Isaiah is talking about Jesus in this passage and he says wow what stopping me from being baptized right here and now and in the Eman he's baptized in the regular text but in the Western text Philip says to him you may if you believe that so and so in Jesus Christ is the son of God or something now why would he add that well just to tighten up their requirements for baptism so to me a lot of those changes read exactly like what you're saying somebody going back now maybe I had to put that a little differently but with some of these things why would Paul have put it where he did surely he would have been sensitive to the logic of the argument he's pursuing in 1st Corinthians 10 surely he would have put it between these things but a lot of ancient readers just were not looking at it that way they just looked at the Bible as a source of proof texts and so that that's no surprise one thing Bart Ehrman Matt Dillahunty asked Bart's like what would it cause to really make a change or an impact that condemned you to cause them to change their mind and he said that it would require someone to really start publishing in academia like the Oxford press have you tried to publish any of your books and like the Oxford press in those academically peer-reviewed journals well I had an acquisitions editor from Oxford contact me and asked if I would write something for them but the idea is I had they just didn't think would fly and it wasn't because they were controversial they just died one of them may it's been a few years now it wasn't because it was myth assist I don't quite remember philip davies sadly passed away a year or so ago he knew where I stood on all the stuff and I had I'd sent him an outline of a book a couple of books I am still working on one called Judy izing Jesus where I argued that the orthodoxy of today and that insists Jesus was basically a rabbinic Jew is really just a theological construct for the sake of Jewish Christian ecumenical dialogue and it's going to try to show that this really isn't supported by a critical look at the Gospels the other one was called Christ mythos ISM and gospel Christology addressing the question of if Jesus did start as a myth and God historicized how come from one gospel to the next it appears that he's more of a human prophet and gets elevated to godhood shouldn't it have been the reverse and I try to explain why this happened well Davies said he was one of the judges editorial judges whatever for Sheffield Academic Press which was pretty prestigious and he said he'd be willing to help get it published he didn't find it substandard thereof Morris Casey also sadly died a couple of years ago he did a book slamming of mythos he was really nasty and sarcastic well I just couldn't wait to hear what he'd say about me and he he was pretty soft on me because I had the credentials of the other ones he was he would refer to blog or so and so and just ridicule him but he I guess he couldn't say that much bad about me and this is you know this thing about you got to get published in these respectable venues or another thing they say similarly you have to represent some elite academic institution bard also makes no bones about the fact that if a myth assists applied for a teaching position UNC where he teaches he'd make sure they didn't get the job because they're they don't hire lunatics or you know eccentrics well okay I guess that's out in the open but that that was pretty obvious anyway that that's that's not gonna happen so the so it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy they make sure they keep nuts like me out of the the halls of academia that sounds like sour grapes but it's been years since I ever even wanted to join the faculty of a university or a seminary so I'm happy enough to do what what I'm doing with a Bible geek and all of that or not serve on committees and not be forced to mouth politically correct shibboleths I hate that stuff i I hate the whole enterprise that's good for some but I'm just not that kind of person so I'm luckily I'm on sidelines on this he's not keeping me out and I'm mad about it I wouldn't go in if the if I were invited but it's no mystery and he explained why well that's certainly a interesting position I don't I would like to see you compete at that level I want to see what happens when you guys get into really big arguments in debates in an academic setting that would be interesting for me to watch well there's a book that InterVarsity press published called the historical Jesus five views where John Dominic Crossan Darrell Bock James DG done I forget the fourth one was and and me we were all invited to sum up what we thought about the historical Jesus and mine was called Jesus at the vanishing point and it was a case for mythos ISM and then we each were invited to write a critique of all for the other guys and to tell you the truth I've never read what they said about my but but the that that might be something to read that might be worth looking at yeah that was one of the books suggested to me by one of my friends coming into this conversation but he said you've never you didn't read the responses why not I just get sick of that I get I've been debating on and off for twenty years I just realized the other day it's profitless I know what they're gonna say and when I do hear it or read it I turned out to be right it's just you can't spend if you're trying to do something of a pioneering nature you can't let engagement with the traditionalists slow you down I'm very very familiar with what all of these people say none of it surprises me anymore I've been at this I've been doing this research for over 40 years ever since I was in I guess some freshman in college and I just can only stand so much of it by the way I don't I'm not trying to vilify these people I've thoroughly enjoyed meeting them those in the Jesus Seminar for a long time and those were great people Bart is a fine fellow I enjoy his friendship it's just that it's a great sport to take these issues around so one final questions we've been going for the lower almost an hour and a half now what what do you think are the strongest criticisms of the Missis is positioned I think this may sound weird ly marginal but the thing that I think is the strongest argument and it's not decisive is what Adolphe Harnack and aethelbert staffer pointed out many decades ago that from these little statements in church fathers it seems that there was what one of them called the Caliphate of James that the the list of brothers of Jesus given in MA six I think Josas James Judas and Simon or simian that these guys after Jesus was gone had where a succession of substitutes which is what Khalif means like the Muslims used it as an official title but this would have been the same sort of thing so James the just is the leader of the Jerusalem church even in acts I mean when they have the apostolic council in chapter 15 they don't vote on it he listens to both sides and says okay here's what we're gonna do well we're told that he was a martyr that he was so Jewish that the Sanhedrin didn't even realize he was a Christian and when they called upon him to state his beliefs they were shocked and sad abstained to death and then we're told that Simmi and Berkeley office another brother of Jesus to over as the head of the Jerusalem church and then presumably after that other ones did but we don't have a whole lot of information but why would there have been a kind of canonical list of the Brothers of Jesus unless it was a set a succession list originally and I thought well that is certainly plausible the reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints took that route the the successor to Joseph Smith had to be his son and so on down the line whereas the regular old LDS Church said no our leaders are chosen from the quorum of apostles that Smith appointed so there you had the same parting of the ways and and there are other examples that the Nation of Islam the son of Elijah Muhammad took over but then Louis Farrakhan was more of a traditionalist and said no no no I'm his disciple you better follow me I mean this is the kind of sectarian dynamic and this fits and now of the principle of analogy so well I said now this certainly implies that these people thought Jesus was a man who had brothers it's just that that isn't decisive because people used to make up in the Bible all the I'm fictive genealogies as authority claims like how do we know that that Jacob had 12 sons each of whom was a patriarch of a different tribe well in all probability that twelve tribes of Israel was a confederation of twelve originally separate groups or plenty of these in the Mediterranean world Roman Greek middle-eastern and all that there will be twelve tribes because each tribe to the turn maintaining a central cult site an altar or temple or whatever and and so there'd be 12 and to seal the deal they would effectively claim we are all descended from the sons of one man that makes us Blood Brothers and or in with John the Baptist you don't hear anything about Jesus being related to John until Luke because Luke has this agenda of paralleling figures that he wants whose followers he wants to reconcile he does that acts with Peter and Paul does the same thing in Luke with with Jesus and John the Baptist and to seal the deal he has John suddenly be a cousin of Jesus why didn't we hear that before I mean he doesn't even he's not even said to know who Jesus is and the other ones so there's reason to believe that these connections may have been later fictions and in in this case if James as Robert Eisenman says was the teacher of righteousness said Qumran and I think he makes a real good case for it well somebody wanted to get those groups to join together them and the Jerusalem church and so there hello you know brothers and and so this that's also a strong historical analogy so I don't think there are really any strong arguments decisive against mythos ism but it's all pretty vague I mean there's there's no real decisive arguments for any of this stuff well there any extra biblical the followers of Jesus like James and the is the linee elegy you mentioned about the successors were there any extra read local accounts of them existing independent of the Bible well if Josephus is referring to James and Jesus there's a story where he says that James was martyred and and this James was the brother of Jesus called the Christ well people love to say well there you go he's writing pretty close to the events well not that close actually is some 60 years after what happened I guess but as Richard carriers pointed out I think there's a pretty strong argument that Josephus isn't talking about them he's talking about a different incident where a guy named James the son of damned næss was supposed to be the next high priest but the house of Anna's are animists they both names and I forget which was which didn't like that and they his line had been High Priest for quite a while and he didn't he wanted to pass somebody else so he arranged for James to be murdered assassinated a lot of Jews didn't like this and told but he was able to get away with this because they were between procurator's one had been recalled another one was on the way and other Jews said to the new guy hey look at this you're not gonna let this go on are you and they says no I'm not and so the he kicked out animus and said let's let it go to James's brother Jesus son of damned Gnaeus because you know every other guy was named Jacob or Joshua and I think carrier really takes the cake on that one and if so that's off the table hedges Sipos a 2nd century Jewish Christian historian whose works survived only in quoted fragments has a longer more elaborate story about James being stoned to death by the Sanhedrin and that's often taken to be another version of the Josephus thing it might be it might be a fictitious expansion of it no way to know but I think that's about it I somebody mentions that Simeon bar Cleophus like James the just live to be about a hundred and twenty years old whatever was in Moses I think of Moses was 120 supposedly but I believe that's it there are apocryphal stories of the Apostles but we really know nothing about any of them a lot of what we think we know is derived from apocryphal Gospels that are just completely legendary otherwise so we know much I mean the lists of their names don't even agree in the Gospels we know a lot less than some people take for granted well I would still consider that to be a lot more than what we know about most of the people during the time so even those yeah moderate accounts still seem to be strong evidence that that James existed in that sense it could of course be referring to a different James but that still is evidence in the direction that he could have existed oh well yeah yeah I'm just saying I have this is another pain in the neck reason why I find it increasingly hard to come to any particular conclusion it's so old and the evidence is so fragmentary and equivocal you you cannot just assume okay there was no Jesus or there was but he was quark and or he was just like they told me in Sunday school and good luck that's any one of these things is a chain of weak links oh I totally agree with you on that point I just tend to lean towards the Jesus was a Clark Kent kind of character with a little bit more than anything else like a 51% kind of a thing could be Oh anyway thanks for coming on I really enjoyed our conversation you man oh me too most of my Congress most of my questions I had for you so okay thanks for having me great to meet you absolutely uh talk to you later bye

Dr. Price's"The Case Against the Case for Christ" is a brilliant and funny read but his narration of it on Audible is utterly priceless. I've listened to it a dozen times and still get a kick out of it.

Things to take into acct

Jesus was not crucified by the Romans really, Pilate wanted to let him go. The Jews wanted his blood. Jesus and his family were ok with paying taxes. Jesus was anti Jewish and basically gave Rome permission to destroy the temple and blamed it on the Jews. Christianity basically got rid of all the Jewish laws and holy days. If he were real, he was an anti Jewish messiah.

He is a literary spokesman for Josephus flavius

Dr Price is such a great speaker.
He's animated, full of so much information, quotes from books and authors of different time periods etc.
I always love hearing him talk. I also feels he is one of the most intellectually honest historians speaking on the subject of religion.

The fact that he's trying to defend the mythicist position speaks volumes to that effect. It is so much easier to take it for granted to accept that there really was a historical Jesus, but can you really prove it.

Was there a person named Jesus in Judea at the time that was crucified? Is the story a mish mash of other characters that actually existed? Is it all myth invented by Paul? We cannot know and Dr Price is one of the few that is honest enough to say so.

The "I saw a dog" analogy seems way too hyperbolic to be useful. People see dogs every day. There are millions of dogs in the world. The dying and rising god seems much rarer. And most of these dying and rising gods we know were mythical. Why are we giving Jesus historicity but not Osiris?

In the gospels a thirty year old Jesus’ ministry lasted either one year or three years depending on which gospel you read which is really quite clever of the story writers as this helps with the lack of any actual historical evidence of Jesus because it all happens in such a short period of time. All very suspicious to me?

The fact remains that the first use of the word "Christian", is from Codex Alexandrinus, which is dated from the 6th to 8th Century(maybe later?). The use of "Christ" appears to be just as late. All of the earlier artifacts speak of Chrestians(the good ones), as the followers of Jesus Chrestos(Jesus the Good), as the Tacitus passage actually states(and Suetonius). The Chrestians appear to be lost in translation and hidden by church doctrine. Because of how few artifacts there are, and the time found, it is only now that the artifacts can be "seen at once" because of the internet. . The recent translations of some of the Oxyrhynchus Papyri has resulted in more examples of the original Chrestians. (None of the earliest bibles have been properly dated).

NB See Wikipedia – Tacitus on Christ, "Christians and Chrestians" section to see how The Church's attempt to change the "e" to an "i" was revealed, and verified with ultra violet photography.

Codex Sinaiticus (4th+ century) uses "Chrestian", and the later Codex Bezae 6th+ Century), and Codex Vaticanus (4th+ Century) use the intermediate Chreistians.

Justin Martyr's defence of the group's name makes much more sense as a defense of "the good/useful ones", instead or "the anointed ones".

Is it coincidence that the symbol used for Christ, just happens to be the symbol for Chrest? (Nomina Sacra or even, the cross itself?)

We have irrefutable evidence of The Church attempting to change the "eta" to an "iota" on multiple occasions to hide the origin. Along with the early church line of "those poor simple country folk, didn't know how to spell what they called themselves". (What? In our earliest Bible, stone inscriptions, personal correspondence and geographically distant use? )

To the scholars involved doctrine and tradition remains more important than looking at the latest evidence and whatever truths that may reveal. To Bruce Metzger's credit he did recognise this original name, but did not know what it meant. He did not have access to the later finds, nor an ability to have access to all references. Nineteenth century scholars and archaeologists also appear to have widely known or the use of the original name. (One of the two Christians responsible for the British Library's section of Codex Sinaiticus has published books concerning how demons are at work in our world).

The majority of "ChrEstian" originals are available to view as photographs on the various websites.

Greek magical Papyri (4th Century)
"Excellent rite for driving out daimons: Formula to be spoken over his head:

Place olive branches before him,and stand behind him and say:

“Hail, God of Abraham; hail, God of Isaac; hail, God of Jacob;

Jesus Chrestos, the Holy Spirit, the Son of the Father,

who is above the Seven, who is within the Seven………"

P.Oxy.XLIII 3149 (5th Century)

Just before the first line of text in the left margin can be seen the distinct symbol of the cross (+)

"I write to you, Apa Theon, I, Heras, a ChrEstian, greetings in the Lord. I send your slave Heortasius. According to custom grant him anything that you have. This you will find from before the Lord. "

P.Oxy XLII 3035 (3rd Century)
An order from the head of the council of Oxyrhynchus to the police officers in a country village to arrest a man described as a "Chresian" (lines 4-5). No reason for the arrest is given(dated 28 February 256 CE). This text does not say christian or χρηστιανοι, but χρησιανοι ("Chresian")

P.Oxy.XLIII 3119 (3rd Century)
χρηστιανοι (Chrestian): Official Correspondence.

7th Nag Hammadi Codex (4th Century)
Letter From Harpocration to Sansnos
"But be diligent beloved, and come to the assistance of your brother; for thus it behooves your charity in "Chrest"

Deir Ali Inscription (318CE)
"The meeting-house of the Marcionists, in the village of Lebaba, of the Lord and Saviour JS the Good – Erected by the forethought of Paul a presbyter, in the year 630 Seleucid era. "

Phrygian Epitaph Inscriptions (3rd – 4th Century)
In Phrygia a number of funerary stone inscriptions use the term Chrestians, with (at least) one stone inscription using both terms together, reading: "Chrestians for Christians"

A list of most of the artifacts referring to ChrEstians is available on this website.

I first came across "Chrestian" while reading a nineteenth century archaeology book on Google books. A photo on the right page had a caption in Greek and translated "Chrestian". The body text on the left page had replaced "ChrEstian", with Christian, which sparked my interest having recently come across the Suetonius passage again("Since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome."). Perhaps my understanding, and the church line that it was a different person being referred to, was wrong. I then did some searching and was surprised to find how many "ChrEstian" references there are, and that they are earlier than any "Christian" reference (Searching was hampered, as Google kept insisting I was looking for "Christians" – that has changed now). I found the above website and a few other references since. There may also be new material that has been translated from the Oxyrhynchus collection.

Tertullian in his Apology 3 chides the pagans, saying: "[The name]'

Christian … is wrongly pronounced by you ‘Chrestianus’ (for you do not

even say accurately the name you despise)."
(But it was ChrEstians who were using the name. Is this another attempt to hide the origin?)

Does anyone have a better explanation than The Church's copy of copy of copy, supposed early Second Century claim by a man they called a heretic? Or The Church's later claim that people couldn't spell the faith they followed?

The "ChrEstians" have literally become "lost in translation".


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