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Thread: The Testimony of Nathan Son of Isaac Concerning Jesus of Nazareth

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    The Testimony of Nathan Son of Isaac Concerning Jesus of Nazareth

    Although this isn't a religious text per se, I nonetheless thought this the best place to discuss it. The Testimony of Nathan Son of Isaac Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, translated from the Greek by Ben Armhardt, has been dated to the eleventh century on the basis of paleography but appears to be a copy of an exemplar dating to the first century. The translator states that it could be a modern forgery (tests still have to be done on the manuscript), an eleventh century forgery, and most remotely, an eleventh century copy of a first century exemplar. Nathan purports to be a contemporary of Jesus, and he debunks the miracles and resurrection of Jesus. A friend at work showed me his copy and lent it to me, asking what I thought of it. I really don't know what to make of it; it appears to be written in a very academic format and well documented, but the possibility of its actually having first century roots seems far-fetched. Just for grins, though, I bought a copy and passed it on to an impressionable Christian acquaintance to see if it will shake his faith ;-)

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    More likely this book is a hoax or practical joke perpetrated by the pseudonymous "translator". On another forum, it was pointed out that "Ben Armhardt" is an anagram for "Bart D. Ehrman", a well-known New Testament scholar. I'll bet that the supposed Greek codex (forged or not) doesn't even exist.

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    So Ehrman's a hoaxer? What's the other forum?

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    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
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    I'm surprised there's not more debunking counter-Gospel documents around since, according to skeptics, Jesus never did the things claimed. Where is all the contemporary Roman or Jewish propaganda against the fact claims of Christianity?

    Imagine how many fewer Christian martyrs there would have been if the biblical accounts of Jesus' miracles could have been properly debunked by the authorities - who had all the money and power.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oecolampadius View Post
    So Ehrman's a hoaxer? What's the other forum?
    Or, more likely IMO, Prof. Ehrman is merely the butt of a lame practical joke. The other forum thread is:

    http://www.textkit.com/greek-latin-f...=68369#p198343

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    There were many accounts and 'gospels'. Not all presented a supernatural Jesus. One more account more or less changes nothing.

    Being asked to read and what you think is really I hope I can hook this guy.

    There is no more or less proof of any accounts of JC. The canonical New Testament writhings were selected more or less by political consensus, not based on any validation of the stories.

    I doubt Christians who are raised or come to believe the NT as truth have any idea of how it came to be, and all the handwritten translations which undoubtedly had embellishments added.

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    Veteran Member James Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post
    I'm surprised there's not more debunking counter-Gospel documents around since, according to skeptics, Jesus never did the things claimed. Where is all the contemporary Roman or Jewish propaganda against the fact claims of Christianity?

    Imagine how many fewer Christian martyrs there would have been if the biblical accounts of Jesus' miracles could have been properly debunked by the authorities - who had all the money and power.
    Well, let's not forget that starting with the 4th century, it was Christians who had money and power. Very easy for them to destroy any debunking works under the name of "eliminating heresy".

    Also, in the time of the Gospels and Epistles, Christianity was a minor splinter of a small movement. Why would those with money and power bother debunking Christianity when none of them could have known that in three centuries it would become a world power?

    It would be comparable to the Heaven's Gate cult. If, say, in three hundred years, Heaven's Gate becomes strong, then its apologists will ask, "Why didn't NASA launch a probe to inspect the tail of the Hale-Bopp comet?? They could have proved there wasn't an alien spacecraft there and decisively DEBUNKED the early claims." Of course, we know why NASA didn't do that--they have better things to do with their time and money.

    And suppose someone did uncover that the miracles of Jesus (written down decades after they supposedly happened) likely didn't happen? How would they let the world at large know? Hold a press conference? Write a blog? Film a documentary? No, other than bother their friends into annoyance, about all they can do is write a book.

    And what does that mean? In first-century Palestine, writing a book was expensive, costing hundreds or thousands of today's dollars. First you have to find someone who knows how to write (literacy was abysmally low), you have to find suitable materials to write on (they didn't have reams of college-ruled paper for sale,) then you have to dictate your ideas to them while they slowly write it down word by word. But assuming you get the book written, now you need to publish it for a mass audience.

    And what does that mean? Millions of copies sold in all major bookstores? Getting the New York Times to review it? Author tours around the country? Of course not. Spreading books far and wide wasn't easy as it is today. "Write a book" and you might hold the only copy in existence for years, until you can go through the expensive process of making a single copy.

    And to what end? Do people who hold beliefs about the fantastic enjoy having their beliefs debunked? Do they love learning that what they've been raised to believe is an exaggerated lie? Do people appreciate it when all the amazing stories they've told and retold each other probably never happened? A quick check of my Twitter feed suggest the opposite.

    Debunking the miraculous is rarely a crowd pleaser. Just look at the vitriol thrown at the kind folks behind Snopes.com. All they do is get to the bottom of the nonsense that people enjoy--that people LOVE--to share with each other. And for their efforts, they are accused of being paid corporate shills, of being anti-American, of being Communists. It's no wonder to me that when one person promises eternal life accompanied by amazing magic tricks, and another person says "Can you prove that?", it's usually the first person that gains the most market share.

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    Zen Hedonist Jobar's Avatar
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    Where is all the contemporary Roman or Jewish propaganda against the fact claims of Christianity?



    "All heretics we pronounce mad and foolish ... these are to be visited first by the divine vengeance, and secondly by the stroke of our own authority, which we have received in accordance with the will of Heaven."


    Thus spoke Theodosius in 380 (Norwich, p118).

    A new and darker culture emerged. In 397, at the 4th Church Council of Carthage, the synod drew up a list of approved books of the Catholic canon and at the same time instituted a prohibition on anyone, including Christian bishops, from studying pagan literature. Non-Christian teachers, army officers, public employees and judges were dismissed from office. Early in the 5th century John Chrysostom (erstwhile patriarch in Constantinople) recorded with delight:

    "And as for the writings of the Greeks, they are all put out and vanished"

    – On John, Homily 2, Trinity, Sophists, Philosophers, 5.


    He goes on to describe Pythagoras as a sorcerer and barbarian!

    Within half a century, imperial edicts required the burning of non-Christian books. Many libraries of antiquity had been attached to temples, academies, and public baths and therefore suffered in the general attack by Christians on these vulgar pagan edifices. Plato's Academy, and the last of the pagan schools, were closed by Justinian in 529.
    ...
    Some classic writers – Homer (in whose work Christians saw allegories), Plato and Aristotle (philosophies which 'anticipated' Christianity'), and some poetic and rhetorical works (Juvenal, Ovid and Horace) useful as teaching aids – were preserved; most were destroyed.

    Such was Christian hostility to general learning and practical knowledge that access to scripture itself was forbidden to any lay-person who might still be literate. Preoccupied with ceremonial and holy pageants, within a few generations most members of the priesthood could not even read their own Bible. Ritual had replaced reading, iconography had replaced words.
    http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/science.html

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    Hey...I read The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Better known as 'Lamb'. A fun read.

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    Quote Originally Posted by James Chapman View Post
    Or, more likely IMO, Prof. Ehrman is merely the butt of a lame practical joke.
    Lame? I think it's funny as hell, given some of the X-rated material in the Testimony. That's what those eggheads on TextKit were arguing about, wasn't it?

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