A book on first and second century Christian communism using David Graeber's work

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Dave B
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May 12 2017 16:58

I agree with a lot of what you are saying about the cynics as we are on really flimsy ground with them as what we do have very much second hand stuff.

However as Celsus tell us JC did actually go to Egypt as according to him an economic migrant worker.

And there were cynics in Alexandria in the first century.

As to Jesus not knowing Greek philosophy isn’t the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 a Democritus ‘pun’ re truth lies at the bottom of a deep well that you draw out?

Bit of another point re eating people.

Does anyone know the origin of ‘food for thought’ and ‘thirst for knowledge’ and is it an ‘idiom’ in other languages?

Dave B
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May 13 2017 17:49

Hi Rommon

I have had my personal internet book buying private secretary order your book for me.

She rang me up a few days ago to tell me that it costs about £15.

She was concerned that I may have been drunk when I emailed her to get it for me.

My ceiling is normally £10, for second books, and I prefer to borrow from libraries.

You should feel justifiably flattered.

For others on cynic thing it has been extensively well covered by academics with books written on it and books written about the books.

The arguments end up being quite simple.

The anti cynic influence people will say something like; Greek cynicism appeared to die out around 100BC and revived suddenly in the late first century with reports of large numbers of ‘Greek cynics’ in the urban centres of the eastern portion of the Roman empire.

So; JC wasn’t interacting with urban centres being a rural peasant and all that.

The urban Greek cynic revival was post 50AD and thus post JC.

And maybe Palestine etc wasn’t Hellenised then either.

And some of the kind of the supposedly weird cynic sounding stuff in the gospel was already present in ‘Jewish Wisdom’ documents.

And there is no contemporary evidence of Greek cynicism in the first century Judea literature.

There is a bit of hyprocrisy here as we are onto the absence of evidence being evidence of absence which is what the Richard Carrier school use to deny the historicity of JC.

The Christian apologists will say absence of evidence doesn’t mean the evidence of absence when it comes to the historicity of JC.

But will say the of absence of evidence is the evidence of absence when it comes to cynic influence.

There is also a bit of straw manning,

So you get from some a hypothesises that maybe there was an influence or fusion of Greek cynic type ideas.

And they respond with an argument, that has not been made, that JC was not a Greek Cynic.

Actually the whole thing is a problem for a ‘Marxist’ because we are not supposed to believe in the primacy of the ‘influence’ of ideas in the first place, which more Hegelian Idealism.

That is that some clever bod comes up with a good idea, out of his head, which is so good that other people accept it and it spreads just because it good cerebral idea.

And we have a cerebral and philosophical human progression of enlightenment.

[You could make the case that some sections of ‘natural philosophy’ does that like theoretical physics and cosmology in the sense that it is science for science sake and of no practical use.]

But for us new ideologies are more about re-orientating modes of thought to deal with and make sense of new material realities.

So then we come across something more sensible in this anti cynic debate called ‘parallelism’ or ‘parallelmania’.

Or in other word just because you may have something similar in Greek cynicism to gospel stuff it doesn’t mean one influenced the other.

Anymore than the Russian Mir communists influenced the Scottish Saint Kilda ones, or the other away around.

Or in other words, from my potential hypothesis, certain economic conditions in the first century Roman empire produced an ideological reaction from expropriated self employed peasants etc.

That took similar forms in different groups, that only differed in their religious paraphernalia.

So a ‘Greek’ becomes a Cynic and a ‘Jew’ becomes a Christian.

So you get it in scientific methodology.

An increase in one thing and a correlated increase in another; and bad science pre supposes that one is causing the other.

Rather than a ‘hidden’ third thing is producing both the observable phenomena.

When you look at the revelation according to John it reads like a theological Maoist Shining path- red brigade stuff.

But no one would suggest that the one influenced the other.

If all that stuff about burning Rome written in 69AD was part of the previous Christian ideology I am little surprised that Nero blamed them for it.

Like they blamed Bin Laden for 9/11.

Dave B
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May 14 2017 08:49

Contra Celsum by Origen

On "True Discourse," as Celsus has entitled it; probably written at the pagan intellectual centre at the Celsus library at Ephesus

Book one

CHAP. XXIX.

Quote:
And now, our Jesus, who is reproached with being born in a village, and that not a Greek one, nor belonging to any nation widely esteemed, and being despised as the son of a poor labouring woman, and as having on account of his poverty left his native country and hired himself out in Egypt, and being, to use the instance already quoted, not only a Seriphian, as it were, a native of a very small and undistinguished island, but even, so to speak, the meanest of the…

Quote:
CHAP. XXXVIII.

But, moreover, taking the history, contained in the Gospel according to Matthew, of our Lord's descent into Egypt, he refuses to believe the miraculous circumstances attending it, viz., either that the angel gave the divine intimation, or that our Lord's quitting Judea and residing in Egypt was an event of any significance; but he invents something altogether different, admitting somehow the miraculous works done by Jesus, by means of which He induced the multitude to follow Him as the Christ. And yet he desires to throw discredit on them, as being done by help of magic and not by divine power; for he asserts

"that he (Jesus), having been brought up as an illegitimate child, and having served for hire in Egypt, and then coming to the knowledge of certain miraculous powers, returned from thence to his own country, and by means of those powers proclaimed himself a god."

Now I do not understand how a magician should exert himself to teach a doctrine which persuades us always to act as if God….

Karl Marx

The Difference Between the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature

Difficulties Concerning the Identity Of the Democritean and Epicurean Philosophy of Nature

Quote:
….If the phenomenon is the true thing, how can the true thing be concealed? The concealment begins only when phenomenon and truth separate. But Diogenes Laertius reports that Democritus was counted among the Sceptics. His saying is
quoted:

“In reality we know nothing, for truth lies at the deep bottom of the well.” (3) Similar statements are found in Sextus Empiricus. (4)
This sceptical, uncertain and internally self-contradictory view held by Democritus is only further developed in the way in which the relationship between the atom and the world which is apparent to the senses is determined…..

http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/marx/works/1841/dr-theses/ch03.htm

Democritus is or was generally regarded as an atheist or Epicureuan which makes the woman at the well thing doubly amusing.

Quote:
Most histories of atheism choose the Greek and Roman philosophers Epicurus, Democritus, and Lucretius as the first atheist writers. While these writers certainly changed the idea of God, they didn't entirely deny that gods could exist.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/atheism/history/ancient.shtml

the passage is also a rosseta stone for unlocking other boxes in the gospel.

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Rommon
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May 15 2017 08:18
Dave B wrote:
My ceiling is normally £10, for second books, and I prefer to borrow from libraries.

You should feel justifiably flattered.

I am flattered, and I am anxious to hear what you think about it.

I'm sorry about the price, the Publisher sets it.

Quote:
I agree with a lot of what you are saying about the cynics as we are on really flimsy ground with them as what we do have very much second hand stuff.

However as Celsus tell us JC did actually go to Egypt as according to him an economic migrant worker.

And there were cynics in Alexandria in the first century.

That's true about Celsus, and I am generally inclined to believe Celsus in that what he says about Jesus is what People more or less believed about him, that his father wasn't his real father was known, some Christians claimed miraculous conception non Christians claimed Mary slept With a Roman soldier, but the fact that his father wasn't his blood father was agreed on (just to take one example), as far as Jesus going to Egypt, I agree that People thought that about Jesus, as to whether or not it is true historically who knows, I think there are reasons to believe it though.

But I do think it's a stretch to say that a Young migrant worker who may or may not have spent some time in Egypt would have been able to learn cynic philosophy enough to adjust it for a Palestinian audience.

And that he only took the parts of Cynic philosophy that we also find plenty of precedent in the Hebrew Tradition.Not only that but I don't know that there was Cynicism in Egypt in the early first Century.

By the way I'm not saying the Whole Cynic theory is a bad theory, I do think it has arguments for it, I just think that the problems With it prevent me from accepting it, and that other explanations are better; but it's an argument to be had and certainly a defensible position, I'm willing to be won over to it.

Quote:
As to Jesus not knowing Greek philosophy isn’t the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 a Democritus ‘pun’ re truth lies at the bottom of a deep well that you draw out?

I would be carefuly drawing out historical data on Jesus himself from John; scholars disagree on how much historical Jesus data can be taken from John, I think some certainly can, and I do think some of what John describes is historical, but it was written through a THICK theological lense, so I'd be careful With that. John certainly puts his own theological reflections in Jesus' mouth, not nefariously ... that was simply the genre John was working in.

I would say what we can assertain from the philosophical puns and concepts in John is that JOHN was accainted With philosophy and drew out Jesus' story through the lenses of his philosophical Insights.

Jesus' Meeting With Nicodemus may very well have happened, but as to the actual recording of the conversation, if there was a remembering of it, John shaped it for his theological purpose.

Quote:
There is a bit of hyprocrisy here as we are onto the absence of evidence being evidence of absence which is what the Richard Carrier school use to deny the historicity of JC.

The Christian apologists will say absence of evidence doesn’t mean the evidence of absence when it comes to the historicity of JC.

But will say the of absence of evidence is the evidence of absence when it comes to cynic influence.

There is also a bit of straw manning,

I kind of dissagree, we don't have absense of evidence for the historicity of Jesus, we have Mountains of evidence, way more than we would expect. Here's what I would say though, if there is no evidence for cynicism in Palestine pre-70 CE, yet we would have expected evidence, it would be an innapropriate framework for a pre 70 Palestinian preacher IF better frameworks are available.

Richard Carrier doesn't say there is no evidence, he just tries to explain all the evidence differently ... something which really in the end fails miserably. But for Cynicism all we really have are parallels, but not any historical grounding.

Quote:
Actually the whole thing is a problem for a ‘Marxist’ because we are not supposed to believe in the primacy of the ‘influence’ of ideas in the first place, which more Hegelian Idealism.

That is that some clever bod comes up with a good idea, out of his head, which is so good that other people accept it and it spreads just because it good cerebral idea.

Yeah but Cynicism was an idea tongue, so that also doesn't fit With Marxism. But I'm not a Marxist so I'm not bound by that, I think the Jesus movement would have been impossible without the material conditions of Roman oppression and Herodian exploitation, and would have been impossible without the Hebreaic Prophetic tradition.

But I think you're actually agreeing With me ... Cynicism, revolutionary Zealot Judiasm, Sparticus, and Jesus all were shaped by the same material conditions, but that doesn't mean they depend on each other ideologically.

Dave B
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May 15 2017 19:31

Hi Rommon

I am really glad you are back

I wasn’t complaining about the price of the book just the idea of paying £15 for them.

I think when it comes to this kind of thing you need start with a hypothesis, or one of a series and then test them.

I think Celsus can be taken as seriously as Joesphus; they both had their bias and agenda’s etc but we know what they are so that can help.

They were both reporting on ‘things’ that happened a hundred or years or so before them.

And there was an interesting rational ‘dialogue’ about how you could be sure anything had actually happened.

[That made me think as they didn’t have a print media, photography and the internet etc. I think it was the dove thing or maybe one of the talking cloud stuff where there appeared to be some kind of ‘internal logical contradiction’ in the gospel version.

Celsum pulled apart the gospel stuff including contradictions in the reports of the crucifixion narrative, as well as how JC fell for the old crucifixation feeling thirsty, here have a suck on this.]

And these documents could be bonkers eg Josephus in claiming that emperor Vespasian was the one that would be the king of kings who would emerge from Palestine to rule the world as prophesised in the old testament etc.

[The Romans quite liked the old testament as an old book and we all like the Nostradamus type stuff even today.]

Although contra celsum is more interesting in that it we have two antagonists discussing a ‘history’.

My Hypothesis is that Celsum’s true doctrine was in fact a compilation of separate anti Christian documents re written and strung together into a continuous document at the Celsus library.

[Celsum appears to have a political and ideological multi personality disorder when attacking Christianity as he attacks it from mutually exclusive ideological positions.

Eg Pagan one moment, Judaic the next and then an atheist epicurean.

Origen the christain is all too aware of that and frequently is heard banging his fist on the table over it before carrying on.]

However for all that “he” seems an intellectual and I think it is reasonable that they both Origen and Celsum had access to material around 200 AD that we don’t have now.

It is interesting in what Origen doesn’t deny or just moves on; like the physical description of JC himself.

For the historicity of Jesus thing it is relevant I think that despite throwing everything at JC the one thing Celsum doesn’t do is challenge that he existed.

As origen quoted celsum saying Mary was a whore who had sex with a roman soldier from which JC was the product; I think we are safe in saying if Celsum had said JC didn’t exist we would have heard about that as well.

It would have been fantastic for us if he had.

It wouldn’t have disturbed the integrity of Celsum’s argument to have said that JC didn’t exist after describing what he looked like.

It is even obvious in gospel stuff and Paul that JC had brothers and sisters eg James although the catholics have tried to bury it.

The is some very old Christian material that has Joseph as a widower with a brood who takes in or marries a young and pregnant mary.

It is in some of the infancy gospels.

I seem to remember one has James? leading the donkey back with pregnant Mary on it and one of Joseph’s daughters acting as midwife at the birth in a cave.

They used caves carved out of soft rock as stables as they still do and it was common practice for women to birth in the cave stables often attached homestead farms for hygiene and privacy reasons etc etc.

Justyn the Martyr circa 150AD has JC born in a cave and it appears elsewhere.

The stuff about the roman soldier as the father, possibly rape or prostitution would have been really offensive in Roman occupied Palestine eg german occupied France in the 1940’s etc.

CF monty python Life of Brian.

This could have been anti Christian judiac mud slinging.

It existed in 6th century anti Christian Judiac material.

There is a debate as to whether it pre dated that or they were plagiarising celsum’s true doctrines.

The Christians in the 6th century, feeling a bit more secure, preserved it as a justification for anti Semitism against lying slanderous ‘Jews’.

On;

And that he only took the parts of Cynic philosophy that we also find plenty of precedent in the Hebrew Tradition.

I think there is some thing whacky and in common re the the method of thought in the gospel stuff and cynicism.

I actually started off with a Buddhist-gospel thing.

I have done Buddhism.

Then I think I see the same kind of alien to western thought thing in cynicism.

But I am ok with the idea of Buddhism influencing cynicism and Judaic thought; although I am not up to speed of this ‘Jewish Wisdom’ stuff.

Thus it is possible that that kind of stuff, parallel and similarity is another thing having an influence on both.

Perhaps it is no accident that cynicism with Diogenes is contemporary with Alexander just back from India.

As to the content of the gospel documents and John I am trying be where Christians “are at” and taking it from there as basically a valid un-interfered with record.

The platonic word was made flesh thing was obviously a philosophical intrusion and prologue.

Although I still ‘like it’, Rosa did a good take on it and used it when the international Marxists all joined the let the workers kill each other.

I thought it was funny.

On Jesus going to Egypt I don’t know how locked in your are into the Matthew nativity narrative etc.

I mean how long he could have stayed there and how old he could have been there as a child labourer when he came back?

According to the infancy gospel of Thomas? JC as young child was doing the old magic trick of turning mud into birds; which is part of the few patchy references to JC in the Quran.

I have seen that kind of thing done live on stage.

I am inclined to contemplate that there may have been some nugget of truth in it as well in fact in the Luke version.

Deconstructing it is an impossible task as you can’t hope to test it; although Celsum’s take on things and Origens hand wave away is worthy of consideration.

They do do the absence of evidence thing; no 1st century documents or archaeology on the lower class sub culture of Christianity.

But there wouldn’t be.

By the second half 1st century there were loads of greek cynics on the streets of Alexandria.

There must have been a seed culture before that.

There was no record of the anti Vietnam war movement before 1965 but it was there as Noam Chomsky insists on.

Anyway the anti cynic thesis, and I really appreciate the fact the you are as being open minded on it as me.

JC may have gone to Egypt once and he may have gone again and was not probably hermitically sealed into Palestine as a peasant, land locked, redneck hillbillie.

Who knows his pissed off weaver mother or his older step brother James could have picked up proletarian cynicism whilst over there.

[ The hiring himself for labour to the Egyptians was another pop at JC but it obviously doesn’t work as well now or her were it is a badge of honour- eg according to Cicero working for a wage de-facto slavery; in fact wage slave comes from Cicero. There was a dignity to being a self employed peasant, that culture prevails in our 2nd generation Indian working class peasants over her- she has ordered your book for me and earns in IT twice what I get as an English chemist]

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May 17 2017 07:23

What I think we can say about Celsus is that he reported what was basiaclly known about the historical Jesus, of course earlier Sources, and more established Sources take precedence. So for example about Jesus going to Egypt ... he very well might have for a bit as an adult; but he was called "Jesus the Nazarene", that's established,so if he did go to Egypt it would have been just for a short time.

Celsus' pointing out the contradictions in the gospels had nothing to do With the historical Jesus, it was just him trashing the apostles, saying they were stupid and unreliable.

By the way, It's almost certainly true, as you say, that Celsus was drawing off multiple Sources, it wasn'st just him, and the Talmud's arguments were not drawing of Celsus, but rather drawing from Jewish tradition which the Talmud itself was also drawing on.

I do think the traditions putting Jesus being born in a Cave are very reliable, it doesn't really clash With either Matthew or Luke as far as I understand.

I wouldn't give the infancy narratives ANY play when it comes to the historical Jesus, or really any of the gnostic writings, the only historical information they have is derivative from the gospels, and the rest is really just rehashed gnosticism.

I really don't think that being a maybe migrant working in Egypt, (of course maybe we have no early attestation), and even if he did it didn't effect how he was known; is enough to add cynicism to the context of Jesus' teachinges ... of course it's possible, I just don't find it likeley.

Not to mention the fact that his teachings are not relaly cynicism, not when read in their own context.

By the way, it is absolutely true the the gospel of John is saturated With philosophical Language, but that's because John's gospel was a theological reflection, NOT a historical biography; John was taking Jesus' story and Reading it in light of his theology, which was saturated With neo-platonism.

When it comes to mythecism, I usually don't engage With them for the same reason I don't deal With holocaust deniers; the evidence against them is overwhelming and you end up just arguing about possible conspiracy theories that almost never make any sense; and the are usually motivated by ideology and not scholarship, the Jesus mythicist conspiracy theories are really just as rediculous as holocaust deniers.

I don't mind Jesus being influenced by Cynicism, I mean John was influenced by neo-platonism and Paul was certainly influenced by greek philosophy; I just don't think the historical and textual evidence supports the claim tha Jesus was influenced by Cynicism ... I'm open minded to just about everything, and like I said before it's not an insane idea, I just think it doens't hold up to the evidence.

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May 17 2017 12:29
Dave B wrote:
The stuff about the roman soldier as the father, possibly rape or prostitution would have been really offensive in Roman occupied Palestine eg german occupied France in the 1940’s etc.

CF monty python Life of Brian.

This could have been anti Christian judiac mud slinging.

It existed in 6th century anti Christian Judiac material.

There is a debate as to whether it pre dated that or they were plagiarising celsum’s true doctrines.

The Christians in the 6th century, feeling a bit more secure, preserved it as a justification for anti Semitism against lying slanderous ‘Jews’.

There were lots of Jewish guys called Jesus. The Talmud story isn't about the Jesus.

Rommon wrote:
the Jesus mythicist conspiracy theories are really just as rediculous as holocaust deniers.

Wrong comparison. There are not even writings of eye witnesses to Jesus, whereas there are living participants to the Nazi mass murder of jews. I think already Kautsky tended to believe in the non-historicity of Jesus, so it's not just some new Atheists thing. There's even a similar claim about the non-historicity of Mohammad.

Dave B
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May 17 2017 18:52

Richard Carrier is the main ones arguing against the historicity of Jesus and there is no doubt that his site is full of interesting material on this kind of thing.

I think even Carrier accepts Paul as a valid and contemporary historical, so it must be and is probably not worth delving into.

[There are question marks over whether all of the documents attributed to Paul were actually written directly by him or the same person.

Computer pattern recognition on the texts technologically ‘undisputedly identifies at least two authors.

Even the die hard christians accept this; but they suggest a secretarial argument in that the disputed ones were dictated or drafted by Paul and written up by another scribe.]

On the historicity of JC one of the ‘best’ ones is from Paul.

Quote:
Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days. But I saw none of the other apostles except James the Lord's brother.

gallatians 1:18-2:10New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

As Bart Erhman quipped to Carrier; “if jesus hadn’t existed you would think his brother would have known about it.

Barts book on the historicity of Jesus is worth a read, he really is quite entertaining and it ain’t heavy.

What nailed it for me was the stuff in contra celsum; which was a refutation or response to a document called True Doctrines by an author called Celsum or Celsus , depending on how it declines in Latin.

As to the dating of True Doctrines it can be internally dated to three possible dates as it was written when there were 'two Emperors'.

I seem to remember there are three possible dates; eg around AD 80 , Ad 120 and AD 180.

The third date is generally accepted based solely on the somewhat tenuous argument that was when Christianity was being more persecuted.

I actually think the 180AD date conclusion and basis is doubtful.

Although ‘True Doctrines’ is quite ‘nasty’ it is still a somewhat measured intellectual attack and doesn’t sound to me very like the kind of ranting ‘send them to the gas chambers’ type stuff that you would expect in a period of persecution.

And when Origen the Christian in 230 AD responds to it he makes clear that he has no idea who wrote it, seems to think it something old that has reappeared all of a sudden.

Origen was the Christian’s number one intellectual in 230 AD and that was the reason why it was passed to him.

He had a massive library himself and apparently wrote loads of stuff; most of it trashed by later Christians as he himself by the 4th century was regarded as a bit dodgy and was posthumously excommunicated, a rare honour.

And slandered I think we can presume as he was ‘accused’ of chopping his own dick off to stop him sinning.

Some Origen’s material was kept and preserved by the Christians as ‘top shelf’ material probably due to its ‘intellectual and theological’ quality.

For instance he had read Josephus and quoted from it etc.

Thus for instance in the less famous passage in Josephus about ‘James the brother of Jesus.

That passage is interesting on its own.

There are several Jesus’s in Josephus but somehow Josephus seems to think we should automatically know or is it obvious which one, or bothers we are talking about?

However Origen unequivocally identifies or interprets that James, in Josephus, as the brother of ‘his Jesus’.

Origen also says in the same passage that Josephus didn’t believe that ‘his’ Jesus was the messiah.

That was an accurate interpretation as Josephus, as Vespasian’s poodle, said Vespasian was.

It is also important as it trashes somewhat the

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/testimonium.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus_on_Jesus

Origen was no idiot either as he seems to have spotted a problem with the contradiction in the nativity in Luke and Matthew, which is a more modern thing.

Anyway!

Celsum says that JC was a dwarf, ugly, shifty looking with some kind physical deformity; as well as coming from a working class and not noble background.

And Celsum comes up with a very modern argument as to why son of a divine would appear in such a form.

I mean JC is portrayed as a drop dead gorgeous movie star eg Robert Powell?

Not as some Filius Flitwick as in Harry Potter?

In the gospel document stuff there are several examples of out of context stuff I thought, laugh if you like.

But doctor heal yourself was one of them.

I actually ringed them when I first read it and my first take on it. seems to have proved later instructive.

Anyway according to Celsum and Origen they were both aware of 'reports' that JC was no ‘movie star oil painting’ and Origen says that that was how it was prophesied.

Thus;

CHAP. LXXV, in one of the books

"Since a divine Spirit inhabited the body (of Jesus), it must certainly have been different From that of other beings, in respect of grandeur, or beauty, or strength, or voice, or impressiveness, or persuasiveness. For it is impossible that He, to whom was imparted some divine quality beyond other beings, should not differ from others; whereas this person did not differ in any respect from another, but was, as they report, little, and ill-favoured, and ignoble."

Now it is evident by these words, that when Celsus wishes to bring a charge against Jesus, he adduces the sacred writings, as one who believed them to be writings apparently fitted to afford a handle for a charge against Him; but wherever, in the same writings, statements would appear to be made opposed to those charges which are adduced, he pretends not even to know them! There are, indeed, admitted to be recorded some statements respecting the body of Jesus having been "ill-favoured;" not, however, "ignoble," as has been stated, nor is there any certain evidence that he was "little." The language of Isaiah runs as follows, who prophesied regarding Him that He would come and visit the multitude, not in comeliness of form, nor in any surpassing beauty:

Personally I have prejudicially switched from JC as a Calvinistic modern Christian to a kick arse communistic revolutionary cynic and reclaim him as my ‘own’.

And trash these born again Christians in Armani suits.

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Noa Rodman
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May 17 2017 20:51

Yeah, so Paul was no eye witness to Jesus.

Dave B wrote:
As Bart Erhman quipped to Carrier; “if jesus hadn’t existed you would think his brother would have known about it.

Carrier's response to that:
http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516

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May 18 2017 07:29
Noa Rodman wrote:

There were lots of Jewish guys called Jesus. The Talmud story isn't about the Jesus.

Yeah, not that many called Jesus the Nazarene in the early first Century who traveled around as an apocalyptic prophet and god crucified under Pontius pilate.

Quote:
Wrong comparison. There are not even writings of eye witnesses to Jesus, whereas there are living participants to the Nazi mass murder of jews. I think already Kautsky tended to believe in the non-historicity of Jesus, so it's not just some new Atheists thing. There's even a similar claim about the non-historicity of Mohammad.

It's completely the right comparison ... when you compare the amount of evidence for the holocuase With what we would expect the evidence to be it's overwhelming, the same goes for Jesus, InFact we would expect WAY less evidence than we have.

We have almost NO Eyewitness accounts for most of the People who know about in ancient history ... we have very very few ... most of what we have is historians recording known accounts, other historians, or oral traditions.

As far as the eye witnesses I think the gospels (the synoptics) DO record eye witnesses, even if they were not written by eye witnesses, Richard Bauckham has recently done a lot of work basically demonstrating that huge chunks of the materials in the gospels are basically directly from eye witness testimony and would have been recognized as such.

Anyway, even putting the gospels aside there is tons of evidence for the historical Jesus, more than we would expect at that time period.

Which is why I say that the mythecists are at the same Level as holocaust deniers ... to explain the evidence (if they ever actually deal With the scholarship) they have to appeal to conspiracy theories that verge on the insane.

Quote:
Yeah, so Paul was no eye witness to Jesus.
Dave B wrote:
As Bart Erhman quipped to Carrier; “if jesus hadn’t existed you would think his brother would have known about it.
Carrier's response to that:
http://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/11516

The grammar is challenged in the peer review literature ... of course, EVERYTHING is challenged in the peer review literature; but the actual consenses is that James was the Brother of Jesus, (not only because of Galatians by the way), and the consensus is overwhelming. Not only that all the early Christian literature understood James as Jesus's Brother.

By the way, we have no idea if Paul was an eye witness to Jesus, we know he know about his movement early on and opposed it ... prior to that we have no idea.

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May 18 2017 07:46
Dave B wrote:
I seem to remember there are three possible dates; eg around AD 80 , Ad 120 and AD 180.

The third date is generally accepted based solely on the somewhat tenuous argument that was when Christianity was being more persecuted.

I actually think the 180AD date conclusion and basis is doubtful.

Origen seems to assume that Jesus and the begining of the Jesus movement was recently history, not something over 100 years ago, at least the Sources he was drawing on were Close to the time of Jesus.

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There are several Jesus’s in Josephus but somehow Josephus seems to think we should automatically know or is it obvious which one, or bothers we are talking about?

However Origen unequivocally identifies or interprets that James, in Josephus, as the brother of ‘his Jesus’.

Origen also says in the same passage that Josephus didn’t believe that ‘his’ Jesus was the messiah.

If you take out the interpolation of the Jesus part of Josephus (ignoring the part about James the Brother of Jesus), the description fits perfectly, you even have the Ebionite literature, the psudo-clemantine literature (coming in the second Century) describing the same event but blaming James' Death on Paul.

There is very little doubt that James the Brother of Jesus in Jospehus refers to James the Brother of Jesus of Nazareth.

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Celsum says that JC was a dwarf, ugly, shifty looking with some kind physical deformity; as well as coming from a working class and not noble background.

And Celsum comes up with a very modern argument as to why son of a divine would appear in such a form.

I mean JC is portrayed as a drop dead gorgeous movie star eg Robert Powell?

Exactly .... this is not an argument that would have happened over a mythical figure ... by the way, Celsus is just one of many non-Christian Sources on Jesus.

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Personally I have prejudicially switched from JC as a Calvinistic modern Christian to a kick arse communistic revolutionary cynic and reclaim him as my ‘own’.

And trash these born again Christians in Armani suits.

Calvinism is SO anti-Christian at its core ... I don't know what to even Call it, in my opinion Calvinism is the worst thing to happen to Christianity.

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May 18 2017 11:37
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not that many called Jesus the Nazarene in the early first Century who traveled around as an apocalyptic prophet and god crucified under Pontius pilate.

Actually there were many apocalyptic prophets at the time and there were many crucifixions. I think it's the mainstream view in Judaism that the Talmud's mention of a Jesus of Nazareth does not refer to the Christian Jesus, but to one who lived some century earlier. It's possible that Celsus mistakenly based himself on this jewish story.

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We have almost NO Eyewitness accounts for most of the People who know about in ancient history ... we have very very few ... most of what we have is historians recording known accounts, other historians, or oral traditions.

But we have even more compelling evidence than eye-witness accounts for eg Alexander the Great, namely a huge empire. There's archeological evidence of even some minor characters, much earlier in the Hebrew bible, eg some scribe. Like I said also, we have no eye-witness accounts for Mohammad, hence his historicity can be legitimately questioned.

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but the actual consenses is that James was the Brother of Jesus, (not only because of Galatians by the way), and the consensus is overwhelming.

I think Carrier's point is that "Brother of the Lord" was a designation of any Christian believer. If I'm not mistaken, there were also lots of guys called James. There is no evidence to explain away by a conspiracy theory.

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May 18 2017 12:39
Noa Rodman wrote:
Actually there were many apocalyptic prophets at the time and there were many crucifixions. I think it's the mainstream view in Judaism that the Talmud's mention of a Jesus of Nazareth does not refer to the Christian Jesus, but to one who lived some century earlier. It's possible that Celsus mistakenly based himself on this jewish story.

Yes, but Jesus of Nazareth WAS always described as a specific person ... the fact that he wasn't the only apocalyptic prophet, the only person called Jesus, and the only person who was crucified, doesn't really mean anything; at all, there was no other Jesus of Nazareth that we know of, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and who was an apocalyptic prophet of his kind, the combination refers to a specific person.

The Talmud was compiled in the 6th Century and Origen was writing in the 3rd .... so .... he obviously was not quoting from the Talmud.

By the way, NOBODY uses the fact that Jesus was mentioned in the Talmud as solid evidence for the historical Jesus, it's too late, whether or not it refers to the historical Jesus is completely irrelevant to the historical Jesus.

Although the Christians were known ... VERY early on by Jews, as Nazareans ... which makes since if they were started by a person who was known as a guy from Nazareth.

As far as your claim that the Talmud Jesus isn't the historical Jesus ... I mean, some People claim that, but Jews have generally understood it to be a Reference to Jesus, and most scholars have too ... the fact that there are historical anomolies in the Talmudic stories shouldn't suprise anyone anymore than the fact that there are discrepencies in the gospels.

All that proves is that there were seperate traditions about Jesus that didn't always agree on every detail.

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But we have even more compelling evidence than eye-witness accounts for eg Alexander the Great, namely a huge empire. There's archeological evidence of even some minor characters, much earlier in the Hebrew bible, eg some scribe. Like I said also, we have no eye-witness accounts for Mohammad, hence his historicity can be legitimately questioned.

Alexander the great ruled the Whole Near east ... you'd expect more evidence from him than you would for an uppity jewish peasant. The Archeological evidence for Jeramiah's scribe is more likely to be expected (although not really expected at all, arhceologists were very Lucky to find that seal) than artheological evidence for Jesus because Baruch was in the high Court of the King, he was part of the nobility ... not an uppity peasant.

What possible archeological evidence for Jesus would you expect from when he was alive? his shoes With his signature on them? What?

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I think Carrier's point is that "Brother of the Lord" was a designation of any Christian believer. If I'm not mistaken, there were also lots of guys called James. There is no evidence to explain away by a conspiracy theory.

Yeah but he's wrong ... on the grammar itself "Brother of the lord" was used by Paul as a special designation for james, other's were called Brothers, but not "Brother or the lord" in the same way James was, he was a Brother in the lord in a way which differentiated hiim from the aposltes.

No shit there were many People called james ... that's not an argument for anything. We are talking about James the Brother of Jesus, the "lord" or according to josephus "the so-called christ."

There's a reason Richard Carrier's position is held by almost no one in New Testament scholarship. He has to assume the gospel writers made up a James the Brother of Jesus, he had to assume that Josephus was talking about someone else, even though it's Clear who he's talking about, he has to argue that Paul wasn't saying what he clearly was saying, he has to assume that ALL the later Christian writers were all duped or in on inventing the Brother.

And you have to explain the entire Ebionite movement that followed Jesus' Brother over Pauline Christianity.

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May 18 2017 12:39

By the way, If anyone bought my book from Amazon, Write a review after you read it smile (if you like it of course). It helps.

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May 18 2017 13:25

Send a review copy to the SPGB for a review in the Socialist Standard....
Or suggest DaveB submit one for it, once he has read it
Mind you, i don't think religious debates are very popular with the editors

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May 18 2017 14:27
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was no other Jesus of Nazareth that we know of, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate

I don't think the Talmud's mention of a Jesus of Nazareth specified though that he was crucified (and under Pilate at that).

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The Talmud was compiled in the 6th Century and Origen was writing in the 3rd .... so .... he obviously was not quoting from the Talmud.

no, but when the story was transmitted orally from much earlier on, and if Celsus was familiar with the oral tradition, it is possible that was his source.

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. I mean, some People claim that, but Jews have generally understood it to be a Reference to Jesus, and most scholars have too

Not really, Christian antisemitic tradition on the other hand does, which is why I objected to it.

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What possible archeological evidence for Jesus would you expect from when he was alive? his shoes With his signature on them? What?

I don't expect archeological evidence, just some evidence (eg eyewitness report). And according to Christianity he was not some uppity peasant, but a prophet who caused massive commotion in Jerusalem and throughout the land. Kautsky pointed out how Josephus detailed all sorts of detailed occurrences, yet he didn't mention Jesus Christ (later interpolations don't count).

On the James thing, I think Carrier is right that that's probably the weakest pillar you could have as support for the historicity of Jesus.

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May 18 2017 14:47
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I don't expect archeological evidence, just some evidence (eg eyewitness report).

Noa, you do realize that writing was rather uncommon at the time, right? And that the material on which they did write wasn't especially durable.

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May 18 2017 16:39

Khawaga, that point holds eg of records of simple commodity exchange by ordinary people vs. records of them by kings/palace merchants. There their absence is not evidence of non-existence (or limited nature) of simple commodity production. However, I suspect stories of a saviour/miracle man would be better recorded than how many sheep a farmer sold on the local market. Besides there are tons of writings that date from that time, yet no eyewitness accounts.

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May 18 2017 16:44
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Khawaga, that point holds eg of records of simple commodity exchange by ordinary people vs. records of them by kings/palace merchants

Well, on simple commodity production/exchange, I completely disagree that it even existed. Marx referred to it as a theoretical fiction (in the same way that he refers to simple accumulation, which explains what accumulation is logically, but any capitalist enterprise that reproduced itself simply would not be a capitalist enterprise).

My point is that back in the day there simple wasn't that much written, hence the insistence that there should be some written "eye-wtiness" report is kind of misplaced. That was the only point I was making. Sure, there would be great if more writing from that age survived, but there wasn't that much written down to begin with.

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May 18 2017 17:09

In the previous post I was referring to this material not the Talmud material

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledot_Yeshu

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May 18 2017 17:22

On 170 year old oral history?

The latest discovery was made two years and a day after Canadian marine archeologists found the wreck of Erebus in the same area of eastern Queen Maud gulf where Inuit oral history had long said a large wooden ship sank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/12/hms-terror-wreck-found-arc...

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May 18 2017 17:27

I am being baited on simple commodity production Rommon.

we did it before in a massive thread where I mentioned JC making yokes and ploughs as sited by Justyn in chapter 88 on the dialogue with the Jew thing

I am going to ignore it.

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May 18 2017 18:03
Khawaga wrote:
Well, on simple commodity production/exchange, I completely disagree that it even existed. Marx referred to it as a theoretical fiction

You don't disagree that some commodity production existed before capitalism. You just can say that it didn't dominate all of society's labour, like in an abstract model, which is fucking fair enough. Just like I don't deny that there were religious rebels in the first century. There's just not one that can be identified as the Christian Jesus.

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May 18 2017 18:28

Nah, commodity production did exist prior to capitalism and so did the exchange of some commodities for money (and/or other commodities), I am just tired of the assertions that the first few chapters of Capital refers to an actual historical period of simple commodity production/circulation when all the historical material is left for the end of the book. At the very beginning of Capital Marx deals with the logical presupposition of capital and leaves the historical presupposition for the end. Hence, there is no evidence for simple commodity production because it is a theoretical fiction Marx used to explain commodities, money and value in the most abstract way possible. But that commodities were produced and exchanged, is of course, pretty clear from the historical record.

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Just like I don't deny that there were religious rebels in the first century. There's just not one that can be identified as the Christian Jesus.

Yes, but you're misunderstanding my point then. You assertion that "there should be some eye witness evidence" just doesn't square with the fact that the further we go back in history, the less of a historical record there is. Hence, you demand of definitive proof is a red herring (though, of course, your skepticism is a-ok.

Dave B wrote:
I am being baited on simple commodity production Rommon.

Nah, that was all Noa and I (we've had this disagreement before), We'll stop the derail (Noa, if you want to continue discussing this, please start a new thread. Though, I don't think it's necessary as our only disagreement is whether SCP is historical or logical (and I don't think the twain will ever meet)).

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May 18 2017 20:48
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assertions that the first few chapters of Capital refers to an actual historical period of simple commodity production/circulation when all the historical material is left for the end of the book. At the very beginning of Capital Marx deals with the logical presupposition of capital and leaves the historical presupposition for the end. Hence, there is no evidence for simple commodity production because it is a theoretical fiction Marx used to explain commodities, money and value in the most abstract way possible.

Where does your "hence" come from that there is no evidence for simple commodity production? Do you just mean no evidence for it in Capital, or evidence in history?

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But that commodities were produced and exchanged, is of course, pretty clear from the historical record.

Which is all what SCP refers to. So if you disagree, start another thread smile

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You assertion that "there should be some eye witness evidence"

I didn't assert/demand this. I just remind that every single thing ever written about Jesus was not authored by an eyewitness. And I don't demand eyewitness/definitive proof, just any proof will do (example: I don't know if pig bones in sea last 2000 years, but Jesus allegedly drove a herd of demon pigs into the sea, so if there's even a tiny evidence of similar or other stories, it would be interesting to hear).

Quote:
Dave B wrote:

I am being baited on simple commodity production Rommon.

Nah, that was all Noa and I (we've had this disagreement before), We'll stop the derail

I didn't bait Dave. I actually took on board Rommon's point about there being less records for non-important persons, but Jesus (is said to have) caused great commotions throughout the land, so he wasn't a nobody. Meanwhile Josephus recorded events of less importance.

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May 18 2017 23:04

The hence refers to how there cannot be evidence for something abstract that Marx only used for the sake of his argument and logical development of capital as a category.

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May 19 2017 09:22
ajjohnstone wrote:
Send a review copy to the SPGB for a review in the Socialist Standard....
Or suggest DaveB submit one for it, once he has read it
Mind you, i don't think religious debates are very popular with the editors

The book itself has nothing to do With "religion" i.e. theology, it's history.

But the Socialist Standard can definately request a review copy from the Publisher, but I can't sad, it's the Publisher who does that, but I'd love for DaveB to review the book.

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May 19 2017 09:35
Noa Rodman wrote:
I don't think the Talmud's mention of a Jesus of Nazareth specified though that he was crucified (and under Pilate at that).

No, but that's not what I was refering too, the evidences for the historical Jesus doesn't include the talmud, it's way to late.

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no, but when the story was transmitted orally from much earlier on, and if Celsus was familiar with the oral tradition, it is possible that was his source.

Except it isn't the same Source, you can tell by Reading the texts, Celsus' Jewish Source knew he was killed by the state and New he was claimed to be ressurected and so on and so forth ... it's the historical Jesus ... Celsus was not that late.

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Not really, Christian antisemitic tradition on the other hand does, which is why I objected to it.

Actaully no ... actual historical scholarship AND many Jewish scholars say it's refering to Jesus of Nazareth killed by Pontius Pilate .... But either way it's 100% irrelevant to the historicity of Jesus.

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I don't expect archeological evidence, just some evidence (eg eyewitness report). And according to Christianity he was not some uppity peasant, but a prophet who caused massive commotion in Jerusalem and throughout the land. Kautsky pointed out how Josephus detailed all sorts of detailed occurrences, yet he didn't mention Jesus Christ (later interpolations don't count)

On the James thing, I think Carrier is right that that's probably the weakest pillar you could have as support for the historicity of Jesus.

"according to christianity" is meaningless as there isn't one Christianity. According to the historians and scholarly consensus he was an uppity peasant whose movement caused some commotion after his Death.

There IS plently of evidence, eye witness traditions are in the synoptics. The gospels, the epistles, the Growth of his movement, pagan Sources and so on and so forth.

By the way, there are tons and tons of historical figures in the ancient world that almost ALL scholars Accept as definately historical for which there are no eye witness accounts.

Kautsky isn't really a New testament scholar. Josephus DID mention Jesus the (so called) Christ twice, once in Reference to James his Brother, once just himself, the probleem is the second one was interpolated, but not the Whole passage, (which is why the syriac Version has the passage but just without the interpolation).

Not only that you have the gospels, Paul, and Tacitus, Pliny and so on ...

You THINK Richard Carrier is right, ok ... but the vast majority of scholars do not, and on the greek he's simply off base.

You can believe, of course, whatever you want; but in actual scholarship the mythecist theory is seen as just as holocaust denial.

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May 19 2017 09:46
Noa Rodman wrote:
Khawaga, that point holds eg of records of simple commodity exchange by ordinary people vs. records of them by kings/palace merchants. There their absence is not evidence of non-existence (or limited nature) of simple commodity production. However, I suspect stories of a saviour/miracle man would be better recorded than how many sheep a farmer sold on the local market. Besides there are tons of writings that date from that time, yet no eyewitness accounts.

How many messiah accounts exist outside of Josephus? So lets say there was no Josephus, would you have heard about Judas of Galilee who led a revolution? Or the "egyptian prophet"? Or how about the other prophets/messiah figures he mentions?

You would'nt, these were not minor figures.

NO ONE viewed Jesus as a Saviour in the first Century except for a couple jews called Nazareans, most People didn't take note of him as a miracle man, there were plenty of "miracle men" at that time.

There are not "tons" of writings from that time ... not compared to what was actually going on that that time.

The writings we do have about Jesus are from People who cared enough to Write about him, i.e. those who followed him, the fact that we have several of those is amazing, the fact that we have several from those who didn't follow him is even mroe amazing.

I'm sorry you simply do not understand how ancient history Works.

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May 19 2017 11:12
Rommon wrote:
Noa Rodman wrote:
Not really, Christian antisemitic tradition on the other hand does, which is why I objected to it.

Actaully no ... actual historical scholarship AND many Jewish scholars say it's refering to Jesus of Nazareth killed by Pontius Pilate .... But either way it's 100% irrelevant to the historicity of Jesus.

Many scholars say it's not referring to the Christian Jesus. Carrier just mentions that the Talmud dates the story a century off (ie before Christ), that's not controversial I think. That only because of this reason it refers to a different Jesus is not argued btw.

Quote:
There IS plently of evidence, eye witness traditions are in the synoptics. The gospels, the epistles, the Growth of his movement, pagan Sources and so on and so forth.

Not only that you have the gospels, Paul, and Tacitus, Pliny and so on ...

What eye witness traditions in the synoptics? Do you believe there are eye witness accounts?

The growth of the Christian movement is no evidence, neither are the gospels. There are no pagan sources for Jesus. Tacitus was also a possible later interpolation.

Quote:
There are not "tons" of writings from that time ... not compared to what was actually going on that that time.

The writings we do have about Jesus are from People who cared enough to Write about him, i.e. those who followed him, the fact that we have several of those is amazing, the fact that we have several from those who didn't follow him is even mroe amazing.

Yes there are plenty of these apocryphal materials (+Qumran etc), just a few decades after Jesus, and they survived. We can rule out a miraculous increase in literacy between Jesus's time and a century or so later. So many after Jesus, yet none during his life or by contemporary eyewitnesses.