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

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May 19 2017 11:48
Noa Rodman wrote:
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.

Well ... I don't know what scholars you're Reading, but the majority do. Dates are not gonna really fit, especially when you're talking hundreds of years of a gap.

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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.

There are stories in the synoptics which give evidence of being oral accounts of eye witness testimony, Richard Bauckham has done a lot of work on this demonstratinc such.

If you're gonna say EVERYTHING is an interpolation (Tacitus, Pliny, the Whole of Josephus, Seutoneus) you're going aganst the vast vast majority of scholarship on the issue, and just saying such doesn't mean anything, what evidence is there for calling it an interpolatoin?

Yes the gospels are evidence ... they are early written srouces, as is the Growth of the Christian movement since it's a historical phenomenon With a cause.

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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.

What are you talking about? Qumran materials are mostly BEFORE Jesus and have nothing to do With Jesus or Christianity.

you're really just showing an absolute ignorance of how ancient history is done. A miraculous increase in literacy? What are you talking about ... the writers of the gospels were using oral Sources, and they were within the Generation of the eye witnesses.

Why the hell would ANYBODY Write about Jesus when he was alive? he only mattered in retrospect due to the movement that grew from his Death. If that's the standard for historicity in the ancient world, i.e. it has to be written before the person dies, and it has to be signed by eye witnesses (rather than use them as Sources), then you have no ancient history.

This is why you're basically at the Level of a holocause denier or a 911 conspiracy theorist ... you make up Your own standards for this specific historical question and then ignore all the actual evidence, or say it's been faked .... it's conspiratorial nonsense which is why NOBODY takes it seriously in historical scholarship.

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May 19 2017 12:15
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There are stories in the synoptics which give evidence of being oral accounts of eye witness testimony, Richard Bauckham has done a lot of work on this demonstratinc such.

he's an exception though.

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Qumran materials are mostly BEFORE Jesus and have nothing to do With Jesus or Christianity.

your first post:

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It's a book I wrote which is a historical reconstruction of the events described in acts 2:42-47 and 4:32-37 using all the textual data (from the Qumran documents to the early church fathers to pagan sources)

--

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A miraculous increase in literacy? What are you talking about ... the writers of the gospels were using oral Sources, and they were within the Generation of the eye witnesses.

Why the hell would ANYBODY Write about Jesus when he was alive? he only mattered in retrospect due to the movement that grew from his Death. If that's the standard for historicity in the ancient world, i.e. it has to be written before the person dies, and it has to be signed by eye witnesses (rather than use them as Sources), then you have no ancient history.

A generation of eye witnesses would be mostly death (considering the average life span then) by the time of the first writings. And even if they were still alive, since these alleged first poor followers would not be literate, they could also not check if what was written down was accurate.

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May 19 2017 12:21
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This is why you're basically at the Level of a holocause denier or a 911 conspiracy theorist ... you make up Your own standards for this specific historical question and then ignore all the actual evidence, or say it's been faked

Why not apply your standards to the claim that Christians made human sacrifices. No evidence required, let's just assume it's true because many people claimed it happened and why would people make up shit?

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May 19 2017 12:28

On the supposed communist slogan of "each according to their ability", see Guesde's critique of it: http://www.marxistsfr.org/francais/guesde/works/1882/05/g18820514.htm

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May 19 2017 12:31

Believe what you will, I don't care, but comparing whether or not someone believes that some dude actually existed in first century Palestine actually existed to holocaust denial is really fucked up.

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May 19 2017 15:04
Fleur wrote:
Believe what you will, I don't care, but comparing whether or not someone believes that some dude actually existed in first century Palestine actually existed to holocaust denial is really fucked up.

Not really, because the scholarly consensus is the same on both and those who oppose it resort to ignoring the evidence and making up conspiracy theories, while not at all understanding how history is done.

I'm not making a moral comparison, I'm making an intellectual one.

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May 19 2017 15:11
Noa Rodman wrote:
Why not apply your standards to the claim that Christians made human sacrifices. No evidence required, let's just assume it's true because many people claimed it happened and why would people make up shit?

Because Noa, there are Methods People use to figure out ancient history ... which if you don't care to actually study, but instead follow some crack pot conspiracy theorist who is rejected in the actual Field, it's really no point in having a conversation. It's really like trying to talk to a creationist about evolution, it's pointless.

Btw Qumran is relevant as context ...

If you're just gonna keep repeating "NO EVIDENCE" without actually looking at the evidence and what the scholarly literature is saying about it there is no point in talking to you ...

Btw, that link you posted in French, as far as I can tell doesn't deal With ANY of the actual history, scholarship or litrature on the issue .... But of course you're not interested in that.

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May 19 2017 15:25
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that link you posted in French, as far as I can tell doesn't deal With ANY of the actual history, scholarship or litrature on the issue .... But of course you're not interested in that.

It's a rejection of the slogan "each according to their ability" which you start your book with (quoting Marx). Shows I'm not a dogmatic Marxist, he made poor choices sometimes, like using this slogan.

I'm interested in the origin and development of Christianity. Kautsky dealt with that. Settling the question of the non-historicity of Jesus is just a starting point.

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May 19 2017 16:42

Rommon #97
‘I’m not making a moral comparison, I’m making as intellectual one.’

Ok, though I still think it is a very poor intellectual comparison.

From the little I know of the evidence that shows JC was a real person, I’d say that he probably did exist. Much like I think the extinction of most of the dinosaurs was prompted by a meteor hitting the earth. (The evidence supporting this has changed since I was at school – then it was argued it was probably a volcanic eruption.)

I fully believe the holocaust is a historical fact as the evidence is not only overwhelming, it has been personally authenticated to me by a workmate who was present when the Bergen-Belsen camp was liberated. Some of the stuff he told us I’ve never read in any history book – like the British officers threatening their soldiers with revolvers as many were outraged at what they were seeing. (I know there is film of American soldiers shooting some of the guards at one camp.)

There is a vast difference in the quality of the evidence between modern and ancient history.

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May 19 2017 17:00

Rommon on another thread:

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Every position is a moral position, Anarchism is a moral position, Socialism is a moral position, the fight against exploitation and oppression are all moral positions.

But not this one, eh?

I have to admit, I find a long winded thread on theology and whether or not Jesus actually existed a bit of a weird thing to be happening on a libertarian communist website.

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May 21 2017 11:59

I think the post did start off with a discussion on the historicity of early christain communism.

That was deemed a valid topic of discussion by our ‘elders’ and early Marxist fathers so I think it should be allowed as orthodoxy.

The post was split into the separate topic of the historicity of JC; by the anti historicity of Jesus people, I think?

Rommon and myself had fallen out on the possible antecedents of early Christian communist ideology.

With myself arguing for Greek cynic influence probably fused with a separate essene communism; which is relatively so well documented it must be very difficult to contest it.

Rommon was putting forward the argument that Greek cynicism wasn’t around in the first century, and or?, JC was hermetically ideologically sealed into a ideologically isolated Palestine.

Actually Jerusalem was anything but ideologically isolated; in the first century there was a ‘Jewish’ Diaspora who regularly made pilgrimages from all over the Roman Empire.

Which was in part what the possibly mythical overturning of the money changers tables about?

However when we look at early Christian ideology and the gospel documents and Acts (irrespective as to whether or not that was a fiction and whether or not it was a political novel like news from nowhere).

What it contains is some kind of ‘proto communist’ material re the condemnation of money and decadent wealth and the desire to accumulate it etc.

A raising of the social status of ‘poverty’; and even in Acts, at least material related to sharing things in common with ‘friends’.

So the question is was there anything like this kicking around elsewhere about that time that had maybe the same level of resemblance to early Christian communism as say the League of the Just communism had to the Marxist communism of twenty years later?

I think the following is interesting as it is attacking a wide range of economic relations and realities including money itself, interest on debt and even Karl’s ‘fictitious capital’

Quote:
“…..letters of credit, promissory notes, and bonds, empty phantoms of property, ghosts of sick Avarice,….”

Seneca somewhat derails the subject by diverting it towards a discussion about communism amongst the ruling class eg Lycurgus.

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

- and this tract does require a bit of intelligent unpicking in general.

L. ANNAEUS SENECA,

ON BENEFITS

By Seneca

BOOK VII.

[We estimate a date of this or at least the part relevant to the cynic Demetrius as the reign of Caligula AD 37-41 ]

Quote:
Had some god wished to give all our wealth to Demetrius on the fixed condition that he should not be permitted to give it away, I am sure that he would have refused to accept it, and would have said,

IX. "I do not intend to fasten upon my back a burden like this, of which I never can rid myself, nor do I, nimble and lightly equipped as I am, mean to hinder my progress by plunging into the deep morass of business transactions.

Why do you offer to me what is the bane of all nations? I would not accept it even if I meant to give it away, for I see many things which it would not become me to give.

I should like to place before my eyes the things which fascinate both kings and peoples, I wish to behold the price of your blood and your lives.

First bring before me the trophies of Luxury, exhibiting them as you please, either in succession, or, which is better, in one mass.

I see the shell of the tortoise, a foul and slothful brute, bought for immense sums and ornamented with the most elaborate care, the contrast of colours which is admired in it being obtained by the use of dyes resembling the natural tints. I see tables and pieces of wood valued at the price of a senator's estate, which are all the more precious, the more knots the tree has been twisted into by disease. I see crystal vessels, whose price is enhanced by their fragility, for among the ignorant the risk of losing things increases their value instead of lowering it, as it ought.

I see murrhine cups, for luxury would be too cheap if men did not drink to one another out of hollow gems the wine to be afterwards thrown up again. I see more than one large pearl placed in each ear; for now our ears are trained to carry burdens, pearls are hung from them in pairs, and each pair has other single ones fastened above it.

This womanish folly is not exaggerated enough for the men of our time, unless they hang two or three estates upon each ear. I see ladies' silk dresses, if those deserve to be called dresses which can neither cover their body or their shame; when wearing which, they can scarcely with a good conscience, swear that they are not naked. These are imported at a vast expense from nations unknown even to trade, in order that our matrons may show as much of their persons in public as they do to their lovers in private."

X. What are you doing, Avarice? see how many things there are whose price exceeds that of your beloved gold: all those which I have mentioned are more highly esteemed and valued.

I now wish to review your wealth, those plates of gold and silver which dazzle our covetousness. By Hercules, the very earth, while she brings forth upon the surface every thing that is of use to us, has buried these, sunk them deep, and rests upon them with her whole weight, regarding them as pernicious substances, and likely to prove the ruin of mankind if brought into the light of day.

I see that iron is brought out of the same dark pits as gold and silver, in order that we may lack neither the means nor the reward of murder. Thus far we have dealt with actual substances; but some forms of wealth deceive our eyes and minds alike.

I see there letters of credit, promissory notes, and bonds, empty phantoms of property, ghosts of sick Avarice, with which she deceives our minds, which delight in unreal fancies; for what are these things, and what are interest, and account books, and usury, except the names of unnatural developments of human covetousness?

I might complain of nature for not having hidden gold and silver deeper, for not having laid over it a weight too heavy to be removed: but what are your documents, your sale of time, your blood-sucking twelve per cent. interest? these are evils which we owe to our own will, which flow merely from our perverted habit, having nothing about them which can be seen or handled, mere dreams of empty avarice. Wretched is he who can take pleasure in the size of the audit book of his estate, in great tracts of land cultivated by slaves in chains, in huge flocks and herds which require provinces and kingdoms for their pasture ground, in a household of servants, more in number than some of the most warlike nations, or in a private house whose extent surpasses that of a large city!

After he has carefully reviewed all his wealth, in what it is invested, and on what it is spent, and has rendered himself proud by the thoughts of it, let him compare what he has with what he wants: he becomes a poor man at once.

"Let me go: restore me to those riches of mine. I know the kingdom of wisdom, which is great and stable: I possess every thing, and in such a manner that it belongs to all men nevertheless."

XI. When, therefore, Gaius Caesar [ Caligula reign AD 37-41 ] offered him two hundred thousand sesterces, he laughingly refused it, thinking it unworthy of himself to boast of having refused so small a sum. Ye gods and goddesses, what a mean mind must the emperor have had, if he hoped either to honour or to corrupt him. I must here repeat a proof of his magnanimity. I have heard that when he was expressing his wonder at the folly of Gaius at supposing that he could be influenced by such a bribe, he said, "If he meant to tempt me, he ought to have tried to do so by offering his entire kingdom."

End of Seneca “quoting” Demtrius

Quote:
XII. It is possible, then, to give something to the wise man, although all things belong to the wise man. Similarly, though we declare that friends have all things in common, it is nevertheless possible to give something to a friend: for I have not everything in common with a friend in the same manner as with a partner, where one part belongs to him, and another to me, but rather as a father and a mother possess their children in common when they have two, not each parent possessing one child, but each possessing both. First of all I will prove that any chance would-be partner of mine has nothing in common with me: and why? Because this community of goods can only exist between wise men, who are alone capable of friendship: other men can neither be friends nor partners one to another.

In the next place, things may be owned in common in various ways. The knights' seats in the theatre belong to all the Roman knights; yet of these the seat which I occupy becomes my own, and if I yield it up to any one, although I only yield him a thing which we own in common, still I appear to have given him something. Some things belong to certain persons under particular conditions. I have a place among the knights, not to sell, or to let, or to dwell in, but simply to see the spectacle from, wherefore I do not tell an untruth when I say that I have a place among the knights' seats.

Yet if, when I come into the theatre, the knights' seats are full, I both have a seat there by right, because I have the privilege of sitting there, and I have not a seat there, because my seat is occupied by those who share my right to those places. Suppose that the same thing takes place between friends; whatever our friend possesses, is common to us, but is the property of him who owns it; I cannot make use of it against his will. "You are laughing at me," say you; "if what belongs to my friend is mine, I am able to sell it." You are not able; for you are not able to sell your place among the knights' seats, and yet they are in common between you and the other knights. Consequently, the fact that you cannot sell a thing, or consume it, or exchange it for the better or the worse does not prove that it is not yours; for that which is yours under certain conditions is yours nevertheless.

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3794/3794-h/3794-h.htm

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May 21 2017 12:33

The following is a technical question for Rommon as he can read the original Greek , and totally separate from my previous post.

Is Origen changing his position here or do we have a more modern Christian interpolation into the commentary on Matthew?

Origen. Contra Celsus
BOOK I.

CHAP. XLVII.

And James is he whom Paul says in the Epistle to the Galatians that he saw, But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Galatians 1:19 And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the Antiquities of the Jews in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James. And Jude,

http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/101610.htm

Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book X)

CHAP. XLVII.

that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/origen161.html

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May 21 2017 13:08

correction

Got my quotes the wrong way around.

…….of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus (called Christ),--the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine……..

Is in contra celsum

And

………… James is he whom Paul says in the Epistle to the Galatians that he saw, But other of the Apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. Galatians 1:19 And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the Antiquities of the Jews in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James. And Jude, who wrote a letter of few lines, it is true, but filled with the healthful words of heavenly grace, said in the preface, Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ and the brother of James. Jude 1 With regard to Joseph and Simon we have nothing to tell; but the saying, And His sisters are….

Is in Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew (Book X)

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May 21 2017 16:28
Dave B wrote:
The post was split into the separate topic of the historicity of JC; by the anti historicity of Jesus people, I think?

No, Rommon and you were blissfully dissing the "Carrier school". I just finally jumped in to point out that Rommon's comparison to Holocaust deniers is wrong. Strange why you would even need to attack the "mythicists", since what would the historicity of Jesus explain concerning your object of study (the practice of early Christians or origin of christianity)? It seems for Erhman the particular thing about Jesus' historicity that is important to explain the origin of Christianity (ie why none of the other Jewish dissident rabbis or miracle-men saw a movement arise in their wake), is the resurrection. Erhman's thinks that some people (of course just imagined) they saw him resurrected and from that Christianity developed. Seems a very weak explanation to me.
--
Anyway, some contemporary Christian group that bases itself on Acts: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hutterite#Community_ownership

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May 21 2017 16:49

OK

Maybe it was me and Rommon and I should have gone back and re read 100 posts.

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May 21 2017 17:08

yeah, there are no anti-historicity people on this thread, just me, so would be easy to find, though your posts are a horror to read.

Dave B
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May 21 2017 17:15

……….Erhman's thinks that some people (of course just imagined) they saw him resurrected and from that Christianity developed. Seems a very weak explanation to me……..

I agree and I am not taking the idealist position of some kind of progressive development of theology.

There was something ‘superstructually’ ‘political’ about it that appealed to the socio economic position of an emerging ‘class’ in society.

Probably the post 6AD cash tax nexus and usury resulting in the expropriation of simple commodity producing peasants from the land to become wage slaves.

There was a parallel historical development in homeland Rome that Karl talked about re small Roman Peasants.

Elsewhere I suspect the ideological response took the form of mid Greek cynicism.

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May 22 2017 06:15
Dave B wrote:
Rommon and myself had fallen out on the possible antecedents of early Christian communist ideology.

With myself arguing for Greek cynic influence probably fused with a separate essene communism; which is relatively so well documented it must be very difficult to contest it.

Rommon was putting forward the argument that Greek cynicism wasn’t around in the first century, and or?, JC was hermetically ideologically sealed into a ideologically isolated Palestine.

Actually Jerusalem was anything but ideologically isolated; in the first century there was a ‘Jewish’ Diaspora who regularly made pilgrimages from all over the Roman Empire.

Which was in part what the possibly mythical overturning of the money changers tables about?

However when we look at early Christian ideology and the gospel documents and Acts (irrespective as to whether or not that was a fiction and whether or not it was a political novel like news from nowhere).

What it contains is some kind of ‘proto communist’ material re the condemnation of money and decadent wealth and the desire to accumulate it etc.

A raising of the social status of ‘poverty’; and even in Acts, at least material related to sharing things in common with ‘friends’.

So the question is was there anything like this kicking around elsewhere about that time that had maybe the same level of resemblance to early Christian communism as say the League of the Just communism had to the Marxist communism of twenty years later?

There's no falling out; we dissagree, but I respect Your position, as I said it is not a stupid position, I don't agree With it and I find the evidence to point away from it, but that my no means implies that I don't respect Your position or I don't think you are well read on the subject and thoughtful (you clearly are).

My argument wasn't that Palestine was culturally Sealed in the first Century, just that Cynicism wasn't part of the influence.

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May 22 2017 06:17
Fleur wrote:
But not this one, eh?

I have to admit, I find a long winded thread on theology and whether or not Jesus actually existed a bit of a weird thing to be happening on a libertarian communist website.

I said the comparison isn't a moral comparison, that that my position is an a-moral position, anyway this isn't a political position, it's a question about history.

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May 22 2017 06:19
Auld-bod wrote:
Rommon #97
From the little I know of the evidence that shows JC was a real person, I’d say that he probably did exist. Much like I think the extinction of most of the dinosaurs was prompted by a meteor hitting the earth. (The evidence supporting this has changed since I was at school – then it was argued it was probably a volcanic eruption.)

I fully believe the holocaust is a historical fact as the evidence is not only overwhelming, it has been personally authenticated to me by a workmate who was present when the Bergen-Belsen camp was liberated. Some of the stuff he told us I’ve never read in any history book – like the British officers threatening their soldiers with revolvers as many were outraged at what they were seeing. (I know there is film of American soldiers shooting some of the guards at one camp.)

There is a vast difference in the quality of the evidence between modern and ancient history.

The point is the historical certainty based on the evidence we expect compared to the evidence we have.

The evidence we have for Jesus far outweighs the evidence we would expect (and no I don't mean by evidence just the writings, I mean the writings after being critically examined), the same goes with the holocaust.

The ONLY way to get around the evidence in both those cases is to basically insist that everything was carefully manufactured to deveive everyone, or just make up standards of "historicity" as you along.

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May 22 2017 06:20
Noa Rodman wrote:
I'm interested in the origin and development of Christianity. Kautsky dealt with that. Settling the question of the non-historicity of Jesus is just a starting point.

It's not a question in serious scholarship, at all.

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May 22 2017 08:43
Quote:
The ONLY way to get around the evidence in both those cases is to basically insist that everything was carefully manufactured to deveive everyone, or just make up standards of "historicity" as you along.

The Church due to its basic monopoly on literacy could get away with interpolation of passages, which in case of Josephus you admit. Moreover there are the manipulations in the Gospels/Christian writings themselves. There is no such manipulation possible of a mass event in modern times, the odd fake survivor account doesn't cast doubt on the whole and isn't done in order to prove it either.

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I am rather conservative theologically myself, I am a sola/tota scriptura Christian.

So you believe that Jesus really was resurrected?

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May 22 2017 08:59
Noa Rodman wrote:

The Church due to its basic monopoly on literacy could get away with interpolation of passages, which in case of Josephus you admit. Moreover there are the manipulations in the Gospels/Christian writings themselves. There is no such manipulation possible of a mass event in modern times, the odd fake survivor account doesn't cast doubt on the whole and isn't done in order to prove it either.

1. The manuscripts of Josephus we have are very late, not so With New Testament manuscripts ... and we have syriac and arabic translations of Josephus without the interpolations, even With Josephus. ... by the way ... we KNOW about interpolations

2. They Church didn't have a monopoly on anything until very late antiquity or the early middle ages, the early manuscripits we have are from the persecuted Church.

3. New Testament Textual critics have basically reconstructed the New Testament completely, the NA28 is the latest incarnation of that, the text has SO many Sources, from SO many different lines, that it wouuld be impossible to actually manipulate.

Modern texts can just be manipulated by the Publisher, it would be really easy as you don't have lines of texts being hand copied all over the world so you can see if someone changed Things here or there.

This is what the Field of textual criticism does ... But look, to be honest I really don't want to continue this discussion ... if you're going to the entire Field of ancient history, early christianity scholarship, and just say they are all wrong; you should at least learn about the actual subject ... it's obvious you haven't; so there's really no point in arguing With you about this.

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So you believe that Jesus really was resurrected?

Yeah, but that has nothing to do With the historical Jesus or historical studies.

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May 22 2017 12:14
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They Church didn't have a monopoly on anything until very late antiquity or the early middle ages, the early manuscripits we have are from the persecuted Church.

To connect this with the point on low literacy that Khawaga brought up, in order to justify the lack of contemporary documents (in the immediate aftermath, the 30-70 period): I asked, but then how come there are so many early manuscripts just after this period (I take the year 70 as the earliest Gospel), if the early Christians couldn't write or read? We can rule out that literacy suddenly increased. If more literate people only later joined the group of initially illiterate Christians, enabling them to write down their accounts, then how could these illiterates (supposing they were still alive 40 years later) even check or control what the more educated people were up to. Isn't it at least just as likely that an initial educated group first started a religious following by inventing the premise of someone named Jesus, ie only later illiterate followers took their word for it (based on their authority as educated persons), with the educated group later splitting among themselves into several sects.

Quote:
the text has SO many Sources, from SO many different lines, that it wouuld be impossible to actually manipulate.

"Alleged" sources, and as Carrier points out, it's the same with the various Hadiths about Mohammad, all claiming to be handed down from older sources.

It would be impossible to get the story straight, not impossible to start with the invention of a most simple premise (ie the existence of someone, named Jesus, perhaps the only thing the various stories agree upon). The premise of the holocaust is more difficult to invent: the particular murder of millions of people of which we have birth-certificates etc.

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Modern texts can just be manipulated by the Publisher, it would be really easy as you don't have lines of texts being hand copied all over the world so you can see if someone changed Things here or there.

I had in mind eg a Tacitus or Josephus, such documents that survive only due to the Church.

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But look, to be honest I really don't want to continue this discussion ...

there's really no point in arguing With you about this.

You or Dave brought up the dispute (for which, again, I even see no reason, as the historicity of Jesus is irrelevant to the object of study - practice of early Christian communities) and you continue to call one side's reasoning comparable to holocaust-deniers.

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Rommon
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May 22 2017 12:38
Noa Rodman wrote:
To connect this with the point on low literacy that Khawaga brought up, in order to justify the lack of contemporary documents (in the immediate aftermath, the 30-70 period): I asked, but then how come there are so many early manuscripts just after this period (I take the year 70 as the earliest Gospel), if the early Christians couldn't write or read? We can rule out that literacy suddenly increased. If more literate people only later joined the group of initially illiterate Christians, enabling them to write down their accounts, then how could these illiterates (supposing they were still alive 40 years later) even check or control what the more educated people were up to. Isn't it at least just as likely that an initial educated group first started a religious following by inventing the premise of someone named Jesus, ie only later illiterate followers took their word for it (based on their authority as educated persons), with the educated group later splitting among themselves into several sects.

Literacy was not as low as some scholars have claimed (recent studies on Things like street art, buisiness docuements and the such show that mnay People required a measure of litaracy to live).

Christianity (like Judaism) was a literary religion, however unlike Judaism it was, more the most part, illigal; so the scribes that DID exist copied the manuscripts as much as they could, the earliest ones that survived were in Egypt (where a ton of Things survive because of the climate.

We know it wasn't always the most educated People copying because of the writing, but we do know they copied furiously.

It's not at all likely that educated People would invent someone within their generation and then sell it to the People IN the area where that person supposedly walked, and then couldn't get their story straight, Christianity started in Judea and Galilee ... very early on.

And the earliest materials in the gospel are the least philosophically sophisticated, and most likely to be drawn from peasant oral traiditions (mark and Q).

Quote:
"Alleged" sources, and as Carrier points out, it's the same with the various Hadiths about Mohammad, all claiming to be handed down from older sources.

It would be impossible to get the story straight, not impossible to start with the invention of a most simple premise (ie the existence of someone, named Jesus, perhaps the only thing the various stories agree upon). The premise of the holocaust is more difficult to invent: the particular murder of millions of people of which we have birth-certificates etc.

If you can create a plausable narrative for how People invented Jesus (within his generation in Judea and Galilee) and got away With it, making it look like the remnants of a peasant prophet and his followers' memories, and no one caught them, go Ahead.

And no, not alleged Sources, the actual texts are pretty established.

Again, there is a reason Your theory is viewed as crack pot nonsense by the actual scholarly community.

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I had in mind eg a Tacitus or Josephus, such documents that survive only due to the Church.

Again we have Josephus outside the Christian world; and scholars can do Textual Criticism on all the Greco Roman literature.

But if you just want to throw out all of Roman textual history have at it.

Quote:
You or Dave brought up the dispute (for which, again, I even see no reason, as the historicity of Jesus is irrelevant to the object of study - practice of early Christian communities) and you continue to call one side's reasoning comparable to holocaust-deniers.

Because that side makes ridiculous claims without actually looking at the scholarship, and then just throws away all the evidence apriori; and then build up conspiracy theories completely ignoring the insane impluasability of them, it's the exact same thing holocaust deniers do.

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Noa Rodman
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May 22 2017 14:18
Quote:
It's not at all likely that educated People would invent someone within their generation and then sell it to the People IN the area where that person supposedly walked, and then couldn't get their story straight, Christianity started in Judea and Galilee ... very early on.

The area would be Jerusalem, just like urban legends are invented in the city where they are supposed to have taken place. Kautsky grants that

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THERE IS NO REASON whatever to doubt the statement in the Acts of the Apostles that the first communistic Messiah community was formed in Jerusalem. However, communities soon came into existence in other cities with a Jewish proletariat.

Note that very quickly most Christian communities arose outside Judea, where it would be easier to make up more incredible stories.

But what can we say about the Jerusalem community?

Kautsky wrote:
Five thousand organized members would have been something very striking in Jerusalem, and Josephus would certainly have taken notice of something so powerful. The community must have been quite insignificant as a matter of fact for all its contemporaries to have let it pass unnoticed.

(btw, Kautsky is countering a critique by a certain doctor of theology "A.K." disputing the early communist practice)

And how long did this original Christian community, if it even existed, survive in Jerusalem? Paul (allegedly) still visited a congress in Jerusalem:

Kautsky wrote:
Now the apostles and elders come together, the party leaders as it were. Peter and James make conciliatory speeches, and finally it is decided to send Judas Barsabas and Silas, likewise “chief men among the brethren”, to Syria to tell the brethren there: “It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things; That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication.”

The leaders gave up the circumcision of Gentile proselytes. Charitable work however must not be neglected: “Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do,” is how Paul tells it in his Epistle to the Galatians (2, verse 10).

Charity and mutual aid appealed equally to Jewish and Gentile Christians; that was not a moot point. For that reason it is little mentioned in their literature, which is almost exclusively polemical. It is incorrect to conclude from the rarity of these references that it played no part in primitive Christianity; it simply played no part in Christianity’s internal divisions. These continued despite all attempts at conciliation.
...

After the congress of Jerusalem which we have just mentioned, the Acts have Paul make a propaganda trip through Greece, still preaching to the Gentiles. On his return to Jerusalem, he reports to his comrades on the success of his agitation.

“And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs” (Acts 21, verses 20f.).

He is now asked to clear himself of the charge and show that he was still a pious Jew. He is willing to do this, but is prevented by an uprising of the Jews against him; they want to kill him as a traitor to their nation. The Roman government takes him into a sort of protective custody and finally sends him to Rome; there he can carry on his agitation unmolested, not as in Jerusalem:

Is there any evidence of a Christian community in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple?

Dave B
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May 22 2017 17:56

According to Josephus they trashed the place and there was hardly anything left.

CHAPTER 1. HOW THE ENTIRE CITY OF JERUSALEM WAS DEMOLISHED, EXCEPTING THREE TOWERS; AND HOW TITUS COMMENDED HIS SOLDIERS IN A SPEECH MADE TO THEM, AND DISTRIBUTED REWARDS TO THEM AND THEN DISMISSED MANY OF THEM.

NOW as soon as the army had no more people to slay or to plunder, because there remained none to be the objects of their fury, (for they would not have spared any, had there remained any other work to be done,) Caesar gave orders that they should now demolish the entire city and temple, but should leave as many of the towers standing as were of the greatest eminency; that is, Phasaelus, and Hippicus, and Mariamne; and so much of the wall as enclosed the city on the west side. This wall was spared, in order to afford a camp for such as were to lie in garrison, as were the towers also spared, in order to demonstrate to posterity what kind of city it was, and how well fortified, which the Roman valor had subdued; but for all the rest of the wall, it was so thoroughly laid even with the ground by those that dug it up to the foundation, that there was left nothing to make those that came thither believe it had ever been inhabited. This was the end which Jerusalem came to by the madness of those that were for innovations; a city otherwise of great magnificence, and of mighty fame among all mankind..

https://www.ccel.org/ccel/josephus/complete.iii.viii.i.html

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May 23 2017 07:13
Noa Rodman wrote:
The area would be Jerusalem, just like urban legends are invented in the city where they are supposed to have taken place. Kautsky grants that

So why would they invent Jesus, within his Lifetime, and talk about his Brother who was alive at the time, and People who would have saw him, and even talk about him being executed by Pontius Pilate who was still alive, and talk about him being from Galilee, specifically Nazareth?

What's the evidence that this would even be possible?

Quote:
Note that very quickly most Christian communities arose outside Judea, where it would be easier to make up more incredible stories.

But what can we say about the Jerusalem community?

Kautsky wrote:
Five thousand organized members would have been something very striking in Jerusalem, and Josephus would certainly have taken notice of something so powerful. The community must have been quite insignificant as a matter of fact for all its contemporaries to have let it pass unnoticed.

(btw, Kautsky is countering a critique by a certain doctor of theology "A.K." disputing the early communist practice)

NOBODY takes the numbers recorded in Luke as literal, he exaggerates ... no one (in serious scholarship) disputes this.

Josephus DOES talk about James the Brother of Jesus as assumes that People know that he was the head of a large movement.

The other Place Christianity grew quickly early on was Galilee, where Jesus was from.

What about the Egyptian rebel?

What about Jesus Ben Ananias?

All of these People were much more significant in their Lifetimes than Jesus, yet we only have one Source for them.

This is just further evidence that Kautsky isn't really a Source on the issue, he isn't a New Testament scholar ... you might as well ask some Baptist Pastor about evolutionary biology ... what he says is irrelevant.

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And how long did this original Christian community, if it even existed, survive in Jerusalem? Paul (allegedly) still visited a congress in Jerusalem:

It lasted a long time, after 70 it shrank significantly, after 130 it shrank even more.

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Is there any evidence of a Christian community in Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple?

various later historians record them there, usually as Nazareans or Ebionites, Paulene Christianity was never big there.

You have even in the early Amidah a curse on the Nazareans.

But listen, this is a really bullshit move a lot of mythecists do ... they point out problematic passages in the NT, unbelievable Things, and then think that this is evidence that the Whole thing is a myth .... People who do that simply do not understand how ancient history is done or how ancient texts were written and read.

I suggest, if you are interested in the subject, you read ACTUAL historians of early Christianity, ACTUAL near east historians, and ACTUAL New testament scholars. Not Kausky, who I'm sure is a great Marxist theoritician, but a terrible historian when it comes to Christianity. He simply doesn't know what he's talking about.

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Noa Rodman
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May 23 2017 13:43
Quote:
why would they ... talk about his Brother who was alive at the time,

The life and murder of a James by the high priest (sadduccee) Ananus (or Hanan)(as told in Josephus) would be dated before the earliest Gospel (which Kautsky places after the destruction of the Temple in 73).

sceptical site wrote:
In the New Testament writing, Jesus is said to have brothers and sisters and one of them is James. There is, however, nowhere any indication that he was killed. There is a mention in Acts 12:1-3 of another James, the brother of John who was put to the sword by Herod Agrippa I, shortly before his death in 44 C.E. The Acts are considered to be written ca 85 C.E. therefore, if the James of Acts were the same as James of Josephus, he would be mentioned in there. There is no independent identification of the James from Josephus with James of the New Testament writings, the brother of Jesus.

Josephus doesn't say that James was the head of a large movement.

wiki wrote:
Josephus reports that Hanan's act was widely viewed as little more than judicial murder and offended a number of "those who were considered the most fair-minded people in the City, and strict in their observance of the Law", who went so far as to arrange a meeting with Albinus as he entered the province in order to petition him successfully about the matter. In response, King Agrippa II replaced Ananus with Jesus son of Damneus.

Unlike Kautsky, I think we should be careful to assume anything about an original Christian community in Jerusalem (Kautsky spoke just about "first communistic Messiah community").

But does the invention of the figure of Jesus by some original group require that everyone of this group be located in Jerusalem at the start? We are told that already before Paul's conversion, there were Christians in Damascus. Why couldn't the original group have started in Alexandria or Antioch? There is no indication that the Gospel-writers were in Jerusalem. They could invent some Christian leaders like James and a Christian community in Jerusalem, which by the time Acts was written, would be already insignificant. That smallness seems also a good reason to place the story in Jerusalem.

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Khawaga
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May 23 2017 14:07

Noa, you're clearly out of your element and your arguments reek of dogma. You're better off discussing decadence theory.