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Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

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Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus
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tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

Mugnuts wrote:
Three books written by Carrier about his Jesus Study.
Three books all with sources and citations after years of research.
The position that Carrier holds is not just his own so how you can state that underlined portion doesn't fly.

Have you had the chance to read any of the books? I presume obviously not or you wouldn't have said the above.

FYI, watching a few Carrier videos will not detail his case, hence reading them might give you more of an informed opinion.


You are correct, I have not read his books, but it is on my todo list. That being said, his conclusion would still be conjecture. He is working on incomplete information. The region where Yeshua supposedly lived has been war torn for centuries. A lot of the evidence may be lost forever. We may never know for certain whether or not the historical Jesus existed. More evidence may surface in the future or maybe no further evidence will surface.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:45 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3104Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Well, main stream scholarship has shown that both the "Sermon on the Mount" and the "he who is without sin" stories are later additions to the gospels (Ehrman points this out in a few of his lectures, I can track them down of you like). Take away both of those stories and your left with someone the did not say anything new or revolutionary. If anything, his ideas were quite regressive in that he said things like people do not have to wash their hands, negating one of the few useful rules in the Torah, and he was here to set families against each other.


Are you referring to Luke 14:26?


Yes. Plus, there should be some others besides that (if I am remembering my catholic school classes correctly).
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VisakiUser avatarPosts: 640Joined: Fri Nov 12, 2010 12:26 pmLocation: Helsinki, Finland Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:You are correct, I have not read his books, but it is on my todo list. That being said, his conclusion would still be conjecture. He is working on incomplete information. The region where Yeshua supposedly lived has been war torn for centuries. A lot of the evidence may be lost forever. We may never know for certain whether or not the historical Jesus existed. More evidence may surface in the future or maybe no further evidence will surface.

You are pretty much correct. Even Carrier does admit the scarcity of evidence about the matter, for both sides. He just thinks that a credible case for the mythisist position can be made (I think he's right on this) and that he thinks that it's more probable that a historical Jesus didn't exist (I don't agree with him on that).

Then again many questions about ancient history are such that we can't ever be certain about the answers.
Fri Dec 11, 2015 8:45 am
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:[You are correct, I have not read his books, but it is on my todo list. That being said, his conclusion would still be conjecture. He is working on incomplete information. The region where Yeshua supposedly lived has been war torn for centuries. A lot of the evidence may be lost forever. We may never know for certain whether or not the historical Jesus existed. More evidence may surface in the future or maybe no further evidence will surface.

All history is conjecture to a certain extent so this objection is kind of meaningless. History is about determining what is most probably true based on the evidence, which is what Carrier is doing.

And Carrier (and all proper historians) don't draw conclusions based solely on lack of evidence in the way you are suggesting. The lack of evidence is always assessed in the context of what evidence we can reasonably expect to find, which takes things like the overall state of records from the time and place into account.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Sat Dec 12, 2015 3:55 pm
thenexttodie
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Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

SpecialFrog wrote:
thenexttodie wrote:There has been some misunderstanding here. Now I know why. You view divine communication not only as an event where God speaks to someone but to you, divine communication can also be when a person is speaking to God.

SpecialFrog wrote:No I don't.

thenexttodie wrote:Yes you do. Here is one example of you doing just that.

SpecialFrog wrote:So you agree that without evidence otherwise we should assume that Paul did not speak to a divine entity?

I acknowledge I used "speak to" in a colloqiaul sense there, intending it to means "was in communication with". However, I think my overall intent has been clear, particularly in this bit, which you quoted and then did not answer.

SpecialFrog wrote:To summarize (again):
- many people claim that a divine being has spoken to them personally
- while I don't know that allof these claims are false, some are most certainly false
- we probably agree that a large majority of these claims are false, if only because you most likely regard all claims related to other gods to be false

Do you agree?

thenexttodie wrote:It seems to me, that the Bible gives an account of the first and last time God ever spoke to anyone. This is consistent with my understanding of God's nature and reasons for him actually speaking to a certain few people.

So that doesn't really answer the question.

Are you saying that the only people to whom God has spoken are the authors of the Bible (or characters in the Bible to whom God speaks)? This implies all other claims of this nature (such as made by alleged prophets of other gods, Joan of Arc, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, all the Republican presidential candidates, etc.) are false.

If so, this still imples that a majority of claims that your God has spoken to someone are still false.

But if you want we can define a special class of "biblical claims of God speaking to someone". Would you include authors of apocryphal gospels in this? What about books that are in the Orthodox cannon? What about the author or authors of the Pauline epistles not written by Paul (which includes at least four letters and possibly as many as seven)?

And do you agree that the claim "God spoke to Moses" can only be true if Moses actually existed?

thenexttodie wrote:We have 60 some other books of the Bible, which you could to study in order to determine whether or not Pauls teachings really came from God. I believe they do. Lots of other people do not.

How does studying the Bible tell us if Paul's teaching came from God? How can we tell if any of the Bible really came from a god?

thenexttodie wrote:SpecialFrog, your tendency to misrepresent what has been said, is obvious. While it might not be intentional, it is seriously annoying for me to have to have to constantly correct you.

Apart from (arguably) the above bit you have yet to correct me. Additionally, you have yet to demonstrate me misrepresenting you.

If you are actually trying to communicate with someone and you think they have misinterpreted what you said, you can explain what you actually mean as I did above rather than just saying, "I never said that!".

thenexttodie wrote:In fact, you have done this so often, in this thread and the other one, I don't really even longer care to discuss anything with you. It's that bad.

You can stop talking to me if you like but it won't make this statement true.

SpecialFrog wrote:Put me in touch with God or provide me with some evidence of His existence.

thenexttodie wrote:Well, okay. Actually you can put yourself in touch with God very easily at anytime because He loves you very, very much. You could start by telling him that you are sorry for all of the bad things that you have done and you can ask Him to help you know that he is real.

In other words, no you don't have any evidence of God's existence. Also, since you say above that God hasn't talked to anyone since Biblical times (was John the Divine the last?) he clearly hasn't talked to you.

So your uncle analogy is still worthless.


Special Frog, "Oranges are blue"

Thenextodie,"Oranges are orange."

Special Frog, "You said that oranges are blue."

Thenexttodie, "Actually I have never said that."

Special Frog, "Yes you did, you said oranges are blue. You know you did! Admit it!"

Thenexttodie, "Listen, I think the best way for us to resolve this dispute is by going back and actually reading what I said."

Special Frog, "NO! Nothing you have said matters!"

Thenexttodie, "What the fuck? Why not?"

Special Frog; "Well let's pretend for a minute that you actually said that oranges are orange. That does not make it true."
Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:00 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

thenexttodie wrote:Special Frog, "Oranges are blue"

Thenextodie,"Oranges are orange."

Special Frog, "You said that oranges are blue."

Thenexttodie, "Actually I have never said that."

Special Frog, "Yes you did, you said oranges are blue. You know you did! Admit it!"

Thenexttodie, "Listen, I think the best way for us to resolve this dispute is by going back and actually reading what I said."

Special Frog, "NO! Nothing you have said matters!"

Thenexttodie, "What the fuck? Why not?"

Special Frog; "Well let's pretend for a minute that you actually said that oranges are orange. That does not make it true."

Is that how you think our conversation has gone? If so your responses make a lot more sense to me now.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Last edited by SpecialFrog on Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sat Dec 12, 2015 11:15 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

SpecialFrog wrote:All history is conjecture to a certain extent so this objection is kind of meaningless. History is about determining what is most probably true based on the evidence, which is what Carrier is doing.


And what are the probabilities that Christ never existed, and how does one determine that objectively?

SpecialFrog wrote:And Carrier (and all proper historians) don't draw conclusions based solely on lack of evidence in the way you are suggesting. The lack of evidence is always assessed in the context of what evidence we can reasonably expect to find, which takes things like the overall state of records from the time and place into account.


Then how does a scholar like Ehrman come to the conclusion that Christ probably existed?
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:41 am
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

Visaki wrote:You are pretty much correct. Even Carrier does admit the scarcity of evidence about the matter, for both sides. He just thinks that a credible case for the mythisist position can be made (I think he's right on this) and that he thinks that it's more probable that a historical Jesus didn't exist (I don't agree with him on that).

Then again many questions about ancient history are such that we can't ever be certain about the answers.


Agreed!
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Sun Dec 13, 2015 12:46 am
MindHackPosts: 59Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2011 4:05 pmLocation: Netherlands Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:
Visaki wrote:You are pretty much correct. Even Carrier does admit the scarcity of evidence about the matter, for both sides. He just thinks that a credible case for the mythisist position can be made (I think he's right on this) and that he thinks that it's more probable that a historical Jesus didn't exist (I don't agree with him on that).

Then again many questions about ancient history are such that we can't ever be certain about the answers.


Agreed!

We can be certain about "we can't be certain", as an answer though.
Sun Dec 13, 2015 3:04 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3104Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

thenexttodie wrote:It seems to me, that the Bible gives an account of the first and last time God ever spoke to anyone. This is consistent with my understanding of God's nature and reasons for him actually speaking to a certain few people.


thenexttodie wrote:Well, okay. Actually you can put yourself in touch with God very easily at anytime because He loves you very, very much. You could start by telling him that you are sorry for all of the bad things that you have done and you can ask Him to help you know that he is real.


Since the bible is the last a count if a god communicating with humanity (in your mind) how could SpecialFrog communicate with it? Your earlier statement makes it seem as if SpecialFrog cannot communicate with Jesus since the last time Jesus conversed with humanity was ~2,000 years ago. It appears as if you want SpecialFrog to speak to Jesus without ever knowing Jesus is listening. You see how that could be a problem?
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SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:
SpecialFrog wrote:All history is conjecture to a certain extent so this objection is kind of meaningless. History is about determining what is most probably true based on the evidence, which is what Carrier is doing.

And what are the probabilities that Christ never existed, and how does one determine that objectively?

You would have to read his book to see the details of how each piece of evidence contributes to the probability but he essentially applies Bayes Theorem. Even applying a fortiori probabilities (i.e. ones that he thinks are overly-generous to the opposing hypothesis) he comes out with a probability of 1 in 3 that Jesus was historical. Really, he thinks actual odds are much lower (like 1 in 12 000)

Bayes Theorem is provably correct given the correct inputs so to argue against his hypothesis you really have to do one of the following:
- argue that his prior probabilities are wrong
- argue that particular pieces of evidence are more probable / improbable for one of the competing hypotheses
- argue that evidence is improperly included
- argue that evidence is improperly excluded

Carrier has said that he would like someone in the historical camp to do just this but so far the responses have largely been either hand-waving or claims that he didn't take into account something that he demonstrably did.

tuxbox wrote:
SpecialFrog wrote:And Carrier (and all proper historians) don't draw conclusions based solely on lack of evidence in the way you are suggesting. The lack of evidence is always assessed in the context of what evidence we can reasonably expect to find, which takes things like the overall state of records from the time and place into account.

Then how does a scholar like Ehrman come to the conclusion that Christ probably existed?

To my knowledge, Ehrman has never "shown his work" in coming to this conclusion.

But in general, I would say that people who take the historical position are likely giving greater weight to things like Josephus and Tacitus, the criterion of embarrassment or other arguments, etc.

It would be nice to see someone do the equivalent of what Carrier did for the historical position or to criticize his work in the manner described above but to my knowledge, it has not happened.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Mon Dec 14, 2015 3:19 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

Crappy website (bogged down my browser with all the ads), but interesting read.


So-Called ‘Biblical Scholar’ Says Jesus A Made-Up Myth
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:02 pm
tuxboxLeague LegendUser avatarPosts: 1172Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 7:05 amLocation: Vero Beach Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

SpecialFrog wrote:
You would have to read his book to see the details of how each piece of evidence contributes to the probability but he essentially applies Bayes Theorem. Even applying a fortiori probabilities (i.e. ones that he thinks are overly-generous to the opposing hypothesis) he comes out with a probability of 1 in 3 that Jesus was historical. Really, he thinks actual odds are much lower (like 1 in 12 000)

Bayes Theorem is provably correct given the correct inputs so to argue against his hypothesis you really have to do one of the following:
- argue that his prior probabilities are wrong
- argue that particular pieces of evidence are more probable / improbable for one of the competing hypotheses
- argue that evidence is improperly included
- argue that evidence is improperly excluded

Carrier has said that he would like someone in the historical camp to do just this but so far the responses have largely been either hand-waving or claims that he didn't take into account something that he demonstrably did.


One of the books Carrier uses for evidence is the Ascension of Isaiah, which was supposedly written by several authors, and was probably written after Paul's letters and the Gospel of Mark. How can we take this book seriously, especially since scholars do not take the Gospels seriously, since they were written decades after Christ was crucified?

SpecialFrog wrote:It would be nice to see someone do the equivalent of what Carrier did for the historical position or to criticize his work in the manner described above but to my knowledge, it has not happened.


Yeah, that would be great.
"Belief in a cruel God makes a cruel man." ~ Thomas Paine
Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:13 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:One of the books Carrier uses for evidence is the Ascension of Isaiah, which was supposedly written by several authors, and was probably written after Paul's letters and the Gospel of Mark. How can we take this book seriously, especially since scholars do not take the Gospels seriously, since they were written decades after Christ was crucified?

I'm pretty sure he doesn't use the Ascension of Isaiah as a source of historical information. Like the Gospels, it is a valid source of information on what kinds of ideas were floating around the early Christian community. Even the fake Paul letters are useful from that point of view.

I don't recall specifically how he uses the Ascension of Isaiah, but my general recollection is that it is an example of early Christian writing that is more compatible with a Jesus who resided wholly in the supernatural realm rather than being a historical being.

tuxbox wrote:Crappy website (bogged down my browser with all the ads), but interesting read.
So-Called ‘Biblical Scholar’ Says Jesus A Made-Up Myth

I fully acknowledge that there are a lot of crackpot mythicists out there, like Joseph Atwill.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:55 pm
DustniteUser avatarPosts: 493Joined: Wed May 27, 2009 9:11 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

thenexttodie wrote:
SpecialFrog wrote:
Special Frog, "Oranges are blue"

Thenextodie,"Oranges are orange."

Special Frog, "You said that oranges are blue."

Thenexttodie, "Actually I have never said that."

Special Frog, "Yes you did, you said oranges are blue. You know you did! Admit it!"

Thenexttodie, "Listen, I think the best way for us to resolve this dispute is by going back and actually reading what I said."

Special Frog, "NO! Nothing you have said matters!"

Thenexttodie, "What the fuck? Why not?"

Special Frog; "Well let's pretend for a minute that you actually said that oranges are orange. That does not make it true."


Really? This is how I saw that conversation go down:

Thenexttodie, "How dare you say that God's CB radio is broken. I tell him 10-4 Good Buddy! every night!"

Special Frog, "WTF are you talking about? Provide evidence for your claim, please."

Thenexttodie, "Well you can't talk to him anymore, because the Bible records the last time God's CB radio had power."

Special Frog, "Then how do you tell him '10-4 Good Buddy' every night?"

Thenexttodie, "How come you keep misrepresenting everything I say!!!! *drivers off on a martyrbike*"


If I didn't already know you were a troll, I would tell you to take the Jesus goggles off for a minute and read what you actually write to people.
"But this is irrelevant because in either case, whether a god exists or not, whether your God (with a capital G) exists or not, it doesn't matter. We both are, in either case, evolved apes. " - Nesslig20
Tue Dec 15, 2015 9:08 pm
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2916Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:
One of the books Carrier uses for evidence is the Ascension of Isaiah, which was supposedly written by several authors, and was probably written after Paul's letters and the Gospel of Mark. How can we take this book seriously, especially since scholars do not take the Gospels seriously, since they were written decades after Christ was crucified?


This is a faulty argument.

We do not take the Gospels seriously as history but they can been taken seriously as accounts of Christian belief. For example Matthew believed in Torah observance whereas the others do not.

No one is saying that the Ascension of Isaiah should be taken seriously as history, but as an account of Christian belief it is interesting. The fact that some copies have a part where Jesus came to earth where others just have a chunk of text missing is also telling, given that Christians deleted or re-wrote a lot of stuff that they didn't like including documents about Pilate (presumably because they do not mention Jesus).
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Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:32 am
LaurensSocial EditorUser avatarPosts: 2916Joined: Sat Mar 20, 2010 11:24 pmLocation: Norwich UK Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:Laurens,

I’ve notice you keep on using the word “prove” in a lot of your responses. I do not believe proof can be had on either side of this debate. Evidence on the other hand, is a different story. I realize that the skeptics will dismiss the evidence that is brought to the table on the historical figure known as Christ, however, there are others that dismiss the evidence that the mythicists bring to the table, too. I’m open minded at this point, and like I have said in other posts, I am not 100 percent certain that a historical figure existed. At this point I’m trusting the majority of historians who believe there is enough to conclude that the historical Jesus existed. That said, I may change my mind after reading Carrier’s book. Then again, I may hold my position after reading Ehrman’s book. I will have to read both to come to a final conclusion.


I don't think it can either. However I think it's easy to see how it could be proved beyond reasonable doubt that he did exist. If for example Paul mentioned details about Jesus's life, deeds, and sayings that were not only corroborated in the Gospels, but also independent sources. You would then have excellent reasons to say unequivocally that Jesus existed. A lot of NT scholars talk about Jesus as though this were the case, and that really should change.

I suppose what I mean to say when I say something like "that doesn't constitute proof either way" is "that is not evidence in favour of historicity, or if it is, it is inconclusive" forgive me for speaking in colloquial terms. It's been a while since I've debated anything :)
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Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:42 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3104Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

tuxbox wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:


;)


Has the debate already taken place? According to the video, the debate was suppose to take place in the fall of this year. We are now closing in on winter.


Bart Ehrman vs. Robert Price & Richard Carrier vs. Justin Bass: The Debates Are On! (Get Your Tickets Now)
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Fri Dec 18, 2015 2:30 pm
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thenexttodie
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Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

Dustnite wrote:
Really? This is how I saw that conversation go down:

Thenexttodie, "How dare you say that God's CB radio is broken. I tell him 10-4 Good Buddy! every night!"

Special Frog, "WTF are you talking about? Provide evidence for your claim, please."

Thenexttodie, "Well you can't talk to him anymore, because the Bible records the last time God's CB radio had power."

Special Frog, "Then how do you tell him '10-4 Good Buddy' every night?"

Thenexttodie, "How come you keep misrepresenting everything I say!!!! *drivers off on a martyrbike*"


If I didn't already know you were a troll, I would tell you to take the Jesus goggles off for a minute and read what you actually write to people.



Is it really that hard for you people to understand that it is possible to speak without being spoken to?
Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:31 pm
SpecialFrogUser avatarPosts: 827Joined: Wed Jul 16, 2014 2:13 pmLocation: Great White North Gender: Tree

Post Re: Richard Carrier's On the Historicity of Jesus

thenexttodie wrote:Is it really that hard for you people to understand that it is possible to speak without being spoken to?

No one has claimed otherwise. So what? I can claim I am talking to the ghost of Richard Nixon all I want. Until I have evidence he is listening it doesn't demonstrate that such an entity exists or has ever responded to anyone.
"Life is nothing but an electron looking for a place to rest" -- Albert Szent-Gyrgyi
Mon Dec 21, 2015 9:10 pm
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