Page 1 of 23 12311 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 221

Thread: Best evidence for a historical Joshua ben Joseph

  1. Top | #1
    New Member
    Join Date
    May 2020
    Location
    Europe
    Posts
    18
    Archived
    683
    Total Posts
    701
    Rep Power
    5

    Best evidence for a historical Joshua ben Joseph

    What do forum-dwellers view as the best evidence for a historical (as opposed to mythical) Jesus?

    William Harwood (Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus) argues that the recording of Josh being baptized by John the Baptist in the Gospels casts such doubt on Jesus' claim to being the Messiah (why would the real Messiah need baptism by another, imposter Messiah?) that it was only included in the Gospel because the fact of his baptism by JtB was so well-known as to be irrefutable. He concludes that Josh must have been a real dude, and separate from the Righteous Rabbi, also named Joshua, who flourished ~ 100 BCE.

    What's your take?

  2. Top | #2
    Super Moderator ruby sparks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2017
    Location
    Northern Ireland
    Posts
    9,167
    Rep Power
    26
    I might say that there is no one piece or strand of best evidence. Certainly no clincher. As such, that Jesus was mythical (never actually existed) is possible. However, I have not yet read a mythicist theory that is not more complicated, less parsimonious, and is not thus overall more unlikely, than the arguably more simple and commonplace explanation that he did exist. In other words, while the case for mere existence is ambiguous, the alternative case is even less convincing because imo it involves jumping through more explanatory hoops (several of them fairly implausible) so existence is the least worst option, imo.

    And I don't mean existence as a fictional prototype or alias (as per comparison with the spy who may have been the basis for James Bond), or some reinvented figure from the dim and distant past of the writers, or a composite figure composed from several others, I mean an actual 1st Century, Jewish, Judean, fringe ('non-establishment') preacher, who met an early death.

    But if you pressed me for one strand of evidence that I think comes closest, in itself, to being reasonably persuasive, I'd say the Pauline Epistles.
    Last edited by ruby sparks; 05-05-2020 at 11:46 PM.
    "Let us hope that it is not so. Or if it is, let us pray that the fact does not become generally known."

  3. Top | #3
    Veteran Member Tharmas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,269
    Archived
    184
    Total Posts
    1,453
    Rep Power
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by joebleaux View Post
    What do forum-dwellers view as the best evidence for a historical (as opposed to mythical) Jesus?

    William Harwood (Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus) argues that the recording of Josh being baptized by John the Baptist in the Gospels casts such doubt on Jesus' claim to being the Messiah (why would the real Messiah need baptism by another, imposter Messiah?) that it was only included in the Gospel because the fact of his baptism by JtB was so well-known as to be irrefutable. He concludes that Josh must have been a real dude, and separate from the Righteous Rabbi, also named Joshua, who flourished ~ 100 BCE.

    What's your take?
    Ah yes, the embarrassment argument: they wouldn’t have written this and embarrassed their hero if it weren’t true. That can be a persuasive argument for those who:

    1. Haven’t read much fiction.
    2. Have never known a good liar.
    3. Have never been to an AA meeting to hear drunks try to outdo each other with their stories of how dissolute they had been.
    4. Have never been to a (Christian) religious service where the preacher claimed to be a great sinner.

    But if JtB was a real character (and I don’t know any major arguments against that) and had a real following, what better way to establish your hero’s credentials than to have than to have him encounter JtB and then, lo and behold, JtB endorses your hero as the real deal, greater than himself? Then a miracle happens and seals the deal. Must be true.
    So my conclusion is, the argument fails because it is no more plausible than its counter argument. It doesn’t prove anything one way of the other.

    As for the embarrassment criterion in general, Paul (I preach Christ crucified) made it the central pillar of his theology. If it didn't sell tickets Christianity would have closed on opening night.

  4. Top | #4
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,550
    Rep Power
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by joebleaux View Post
    What do forum-dwellers view as the best evidence for a historical (as opposed to mythical) Jesus?

    William Harwood (Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus) argues that the recording of Josh being baptized by John the Baptist in the Gospels casts such doubt on Jesus' claim to being the Messiah (why would the real Messiah need baptism by another, imposter Messiah?) that it was only included in the Gospel because the fact of his baptism by JtB was so well-known as to be irrefutable. He concludes that Josh must have been a real dude, and separate from the Righteous Rabbi, also named Joshua, who flourished ~ 100 BCE.

    What's your take?
    This atheist is my goto guy for impartial refutation of Jesus mythicism.
    http://www.rationalskepticism.org/ch...219.html#p4642

    He is a member here too.

  5. Top | #5
    Deus Meumque Jus
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Canada's London
    Posts
    11,424
    Archived
    9,514
    Total Posts
    20,938
    Rep Power
    55
    My take is that this topic has been done numerous times at this forum already, and that those threads contain hundreds, maybe thousands of posts. So if you're interested in learning more about the topic you would do well by reading those threads first, and if you still feel like you have something new to contribute, carry on with this thread.

    But more likely this thread will reach hundreds of posts again and say the same essential thing that the previous threads did.

  6. Top | #6

  7. Top | #7
    Veteran Member Lion IRC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,550
    Rep Power
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by joebleaux View Post
    What do forum-dwellers view as the best evidence for a historical (as opposed to mythical) Jesus?

    William Harwood (Mythology's Last Gods: Yahweh and Jesus) argues that the recording of Josh being baptized by John the Baptist in the Gospels casts such doubt on Jesus' claim to being the Messiah (why would the real Messiah need baptism by another, imposter Messiah?) that it was only included in the Gospel because the fact of his baptism by JtB was so well-known as to be irrefutable. He concludes that Josh must have been a real dude, and separate from the Righteous Rabbi, also named Joshua, who flourished ~ 100 BCE.

    What's your take?
    Ah yes, the embarrassment argument: they wouldn’t have written this and embarrassed their hero if it weren’t true. That can be a persuasive argument for those who:

    1. Haven’t read much fiction.
    2. Have never known a good liar.
    3. Have never been to an AA meeting to hear drunks try to outdo each other with their stories of how dissolute they had been.
    4. Have never been to a (Christian) religious service where the preacher claimed to be a great sinner.

    But if JtB was a real character (and I don’t know any major arguments against that) and had a real following, what better way to establish your hero’s credentials than to have than to have him encounter JtB and then, lo and behold, JtB endorses your hero as the real deal, greater than himself? Then a miracle happens and seals the deal. Must be true.
    So my conclusion is, the argument fails because it is no more plausible than its counter argument. It doesn’t prove anything one way of the other.
    Well that makes it kind of hard for anyone to present any account of the historical Jesus.

    If it's flattering it's probably embellishment.
    If it's embarrassing it's also probably embellishment.

    If it fulfills prophecy it's deliberate post hoc fabrication to make Jesus fit the Messianic picture.
    If it doesnt fulfill prophecy then Jesus isnt the Messiah.

    As for the embarrassment criterion in general, Paul (I preach Christ crucified) made it the central pillar of his theology. If it didn't sell tickets Christianity would have closed on opening night.
    ...a stumbling block.
    Nobody was trying to sell tickets.

  8. Top | #8
    Contributor skepticalbip's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Searching for reality along the long and winding road
    Posts
    6,368
    Archived
    12,976
    Total Posts
    19,344
    Rep Power
    71
    Quote Originally Posted by joebleaux View Post
    What do forum-dwellers view as the best evidence for a historical (as opposed to mythical) Jesus?
    I don't see it as a binary choice. It is quite possible that there was an actual character that was a religious preacher and then all sorts of mythical stories were attached to him.

    Gautama Buddha comes to mind as an example of that.

    And then there are actual known historical figures that had myths of 'magical powers' attributed to them... Like the leaders of the Kim family in North Korea.

  9. Top | #9
    Elder Contributor Keith&Co.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Far Western Mass
    Posts
    20,534
    Archived
    24,500
    Total Posts
    45,034
    Rep Power
    90
    Quote Originally Posted by Tharmas View Post
    That can be a persuasive argument for those who:

    1. Haven’t read much fiction.
    2. Have never known a good liar.
    3. Have never been to an AA meeting to hear drunks try to outdo each other with their stories of how dissolute they had been.
    4. Have never been to a (Christian) religious service where the preacher claimed to be a great sinner.
    I just also note, just among my colleagues, how many military stories, college recollections, and business travel anecdotes could include the phrase 'and that's when i REALLY fucked up.'
    No one ever wants to hear the story about the time i did the spped limit all the way home, no one broke traffic laws, and i got a good night's sleep.

  10. Top | #10
    Veteran Member Tharmas's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Texas
    Posts
    1,269
    Archived
    184
    Total Posts
    1,453
    Rep Power
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by Lion IRC View Post

    Well that makes it kind of hard for anyone to present any account of the historical Jesus.

    If it's flattering it's probably embellishment.
    If it's embarrassing it's also probably embellishment.

    If it fulfills prophecy it's deliberate post hoc fabrication to make Jesus fit the Messianic picture.
    If it doesnt fulfill prophecy then Jesus isnt the Messiah.
    YES!! You understood my point exactly: you can't use literary Biblical criticism to establish the historicity of Jesus.
    As for the embarrassment criterion in general, Paul (I preach Christ crucified) made it the central pillar of his theology. If it didn't sell tickets Christianity would have closed on opening night.
    ...a stumbling block.
    Nobody was trying to sell tickets.
    I was actually using a metaphor. My reference was to a Broadway or West End play that closes without selling any admission tickets, in other words, a non starter. Check out the concept: metaphor.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •