Jesus Had a Wife?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Rex, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    From BR's link of Ehrman:
    So just to reiterate, there are no accepted scholars in the field who contest the existence of Jesus as a historical figure--none. These are not religious adherents, but rather scholars fluent in the many source languages and history of antiquity, are expert hermeneuticists who have studied the literature and archaeological data of that era on an extraordinarily detailed level, and where the scholarly consensus has remained constant over time on this issue (it's probably the only issue for which there is such broad based agreement).

    In contrast, figures like David and Solomon are not considered to have existed by many scholars. Ditto with several other figures. So it's not like scholars aren't willing to contest some major things. But the historical evidence for Jesus is just too strong to be reasonably contested.

    And just to speak plainly, scholars would consider mythicists to be whackadoodles on par with fundamentalists who believe the world is only 6,000 years old. It's that fringe and that unsupported by evidence.
     
  2. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Because there is no record of a man name Pontius Pilate crucifying a man named Jesus. To me, that's huge.
     
  3. Simone411

    Simone411 aka IceSkate98

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  4. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Actually there is a record of Jesus' crucifixion by order of Pilate in Tacitus' Annals.

    Here's Ehrman describing in an interview the breadth of scholarly consensus on this issue and why.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPvbQsJHY-w&feature=youtube_gdata_player

    Eta: the vid was posted by a theist rather contemptuous of mon-theists, so please ignore the opening screed.
     
  5. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    Tacitus' Annals were not written contemporary to Jesus's supposed crucifixion. The Romans were kick-ass record keepers. They kept records of EVERYTHING. And many of those records are still around. Yet none of them mention any of the stuff that supposedly happened to Jesus and his family. There is no record of Joseph & Mary in the census they were going to when Jesus was born, no record of Jesus' crucifixion, etc., etc.

    I find that suspicious and none of the defenses of Jesus as an historical person address these gaps in a way I find convincing.
     
  6. snoopy

    snoopy Team St. Petersburg

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    I think believers believe that non-believers come to their opinions the same way they do. With the usual retort being, it's not a leap of faith not to believe in the Easter bunny.
     
  7. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    Could you please comment on whether there is any academic consensus or any seriously considered evidence of Jesus' wife?
     
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  8. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    There isn't enough evidence to develop a consensus view re: Jesus' wife, and I can't think of a scholar that would disagree with that. Scholars don't typically set out to make a consensus view, but rather to point to credible possibilities within a text.

    I've posted about arguments in favor of Jesus being married before, so people can look that up if they're interested. The most well-known proponent of such views has been John Shelby Spong. His arguments are credible, but not compelling. By that I mean they are intellectually sound arguments, but are of insufficient scope to dispel other possibilities.

    The main issue with this fragment appears to be whether it's authentic or not. I've only looked at transcriptions of the Coptic, but the Coptic word used for wife here is pretty unambiguous (there's another related term in Coptic which can be used for wife, but which also has other meanings. That more ambiguous term wasn't used here though).

    Anyhow, King was rightly careful to say this doesn't prove anything about Jesus being married. But it does point to the contestation over celibacy in the early church, and potentially the status and role of women in that. If the fragment is genuine (and sadly there are a lot of forgeries out there, so this is a real concern), I find interesting that this is proof of a definite oral tradition related to Jesus potentially being married. We've seen possible indications of that from a rhetorical analysis of early polemical writings, but to have the actual text in hand is of course incredibly exciting :).
     
  9. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps you could give us the names and locations of these extant records that cover that specific time and geographic area.

    And if your response is you can't do that because you aren't a specialist, then maybe listen to actual specialists in the field when they tell you you are wrong about the historical data, what is proper attestation in antiquity and why, and what is currently extant or not.

    Then ask yourself if you also question the existence of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, Judas Maccabeus, Pontius Pilate, Hillel, the Baal Shem Tov, etc. Because if you don't, there is less historical attestation for those figures than there is for Jesus. So ask yourself why that doesn't bother you and why you trust historians then, but not with Jesus?
     
  10. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    I think its interesting to look at what we can know and how about the distant past. I don't know much about the subject but I've also not encountered the claim that there is not enough evidence of Jesus' historical existence in anything serious which I've read. The only place I've seen that is in little advertisements in the back pages of skeptic magazines for self-published books that say something like "Jesus Fictional!"

    So encountering the suggestion here piqued my interest enough to look around the internet. That search certainly leads me to the opinion that scholars in the field do feel that there is enough evidence of the historical existence of Jesus.

    There are a couple of extensive articles in Wikipedia:

    Historicity of Jesus

    The notes to this contain quotes from several more scholars besides Bart Ehrman. For instance:

    Historical Jesus

    Its pretty interesting stuff in terms of knowledge of the past and what we can know.
     
  11. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    But, that does not mean that the Romans were capable of keeping record of everything. It makes sense that they could be "kick-ass" keeping records within the cities. But in rural areas, not so much. People traveling, a woman giving birth in the barn of an inn, very possible that the birth was not recorded. It is also possible, that because the Romans wanted to remove themselves from responsibility for the death of Jesus, the records for Jesus' crucifixion were destroyed. Just suggesting that there could be any number of reasons for why certain "facts" are not recorded. We simply don't know. That is what faith is about. I do believe that Jesus existed as a man. Whether or not he had a wife, I don't know. But, it certainly would not bother me to know that he did.

    As to the earthquake, there seems to be some geological proof that there was earthquake activity in the area, at the appropriate time: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4755598...crucifixion-researchers-believe/#.UFsZpULle-I
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  12. Rex

    Rex Well-Known Member

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    Wouldn't at least some of the records kept by the Roman government been destroyed either by war or old age?
     
  13. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    That is another very good possibility. We cannot state with any certainty that the records did not exist at some time. They could have, and have been lost or destroyed, accidentally or intentionally. And, as good as the Romans may have been at keeping records, they had to have missed a lot.
     
  14. zaphyre14

    zaphyre14 Well-Known Member

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    Nero's Great Fire did a lot of damage to Rome, as did numerous other fires, riots, and the sheer incompetience of the very human record keepers.
     
  15. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    We should also remember that parts of Rome (especially the Forum area) were effected by flooding from the Tiber River. Sediment would cover areas and raise the ground level. As buildings were damaged and the ground level rose, the people just leveled buildings and build on top of what existed. There are layers of "city" in Rome. Not all of it is excavated.
     
  16. PRlady

    PRlady aspiring tri-national

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    As a non-theist I agree with agal. I'm an amateur reader of many books about the birth of Christianity and the early relationships between the nascent Christians, Jewish leadership, Hellenist thinkers and so on. And whereas I certainly don't believe Jesus was the son of god, the evidence that he existed historically is pretty overwhelming.

    IIRC, scholars postulate that the synoptic Gospels were sourced to an original document (known as the Q document) that was contemporary with Jesus. But I studied this many years ago and don't know if that's still the consensus.

    What IS evident in the gospels is the beginning of the struggle to differentiate Christianity from its Jewish roots, providing fodder for 2000 years of antisemitism by those who didn't see the argument in historical context. Pharisees, for example, were just thought-leaders who were not of the priestly caste, but the designation came to be negative because of how it was used in the New Testament.

    The New Testament is responsible for a lot more Jewish suffering than the Koran is, ironically enough.
     
  17. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    So the fires (and human incompetence) managed to destroy every piece of evidence that Jesus existed but not every piece of evidence that other historical figures existed? That reminds me of the arguments of the Italian police that Amanda Knox was able to destroy only her DNA in her apartment.

    And the argument that Jesus' crucifixion was such a political hot potato that it would be destroyed always amuses me because it presumes he was a much more important figure than he actually was at the time.
     
  18. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    MacMadame, why do you think most scholars in the field believe Jesus did exist historically, if you think it is clear that evidence for that does not exist? (I'm asking this seriously not snarkily.)
     
  19. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    Here's Ehrman addressing some of the misperceptions behind MacMadame's argument:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/2012/04/03/did-jesus-exist-bart-ehrman_n_1400465.html

    And the following is a compendium of views from top biblical scholars around the world re: the existence of Jesus.
    http://chab123.wordpress.com/2012/03/28/quotes-on-the-existence-jesus/

    People can believe what they want obviously, but arguing for the non-existence of Jesus is the intellectual equivalent of birtherism. Personally I wouldn't want to be associated with something that ignorant, but it's a free country and all that.
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  20. IceAlisa

    IceAlisa Port de bras!!!

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    I have always wondered how Christian antisemites reconciled the notion with their belief in Jesus. "They killed OUR Jesus!" was/is the popular accusation. Do people ever stop and think that Jesus was a Jew or does it fall by the wayside?

    Whoa, wait a minute:
    :confused:
    Thanks for the post, ag. Please please elaborate on the first and last sentences. What does he mean by "resurrection experiences" and why exactly is that a fact?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2012
  21. agalisgv

    agalisgv Well-Known Member

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    People believed they had witnessed some type of resurrection. It doesn't mean they actually did--there are many theories on what they actually experienced. But scholars don't really argue that some believed some sort of resurrection event took place.

    As a parallel, it wouldn't be contested that some people today believe the world is 6,000 years old. It would be contested that world is actually that young, but not that some people believe that.

    Hope that makes sense.
     
  22. numbers123

    numbers123 Well-Known Member

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    My belief in Christianity in no way has been a "then I must hate/vilify" anyone else's belief system (or not belief) to validate that my religion is better than yours.

    I have several friends, who I respect for many reasons, who believe that the ONLY way into heaven is through the belief that everyone must accept Jesus as their savior and really can't understand why I am ok with my niece converting to Judaism or my sons being agnostic.

    For them, they recognize that Jesus was a Jew but that he is the light that other Jews refuse to see. In that faulty reasoning - the Jews who have (had) the opportunity to see the light are not worthy. And the "recorded actions" of the Pharisees - like being elite in the Jewish society, somehow translates to all Jews who have not seen the light.

    Please, understand that this is not my view - but something that I am trying to describe to you.
     
  23. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    It may have been clearer had it been described as a Resurrection experience. Not capitalizing the word confused me - as written I thought it meant his followers believed they had experienced resurrection themselves. :lol:
     
  24. cruisin

    cruisin Well-Known Member

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    Who said that other historical figures' records were not destroyed? We don't know that they were not. The "hot potato" records of Jesus' crucifixion could, very well, have been deliberately destroyed. If Rome was trying to lay blame on the Jews for Jesus' death, that is a great motive.

    I have never understood Jews being blamed for Jesus' death.
     
  25. PrincessLeppard

    PrincessLeppard Pink Bitch

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    At the time the Gospels were written, that area was under Roman control. And the Jews had just staged an uprising. It was politically expedient to hold the Jews accountable and not blame the people in charge.

    That's how I see it, anyway.
     
  26. Rogue

    Rogue Sexy Superhero

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    According to the Gospel, Pilate offered to release either Jesus or a murderer named Barabbus (sp.?), believing the Jews would naturally choose Jesus over a murderer. However, the Jews chose Barabbus, which is why they have historically been blamed for Jesus death. Although that is kinda like blaming all of Islamic faith for 9/11.
     
  27. Holley Calmes

    Holley Calmes Well-Known Member

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    I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. I was raised Baptist. My best friends were always Jewish. I went to their holiday ceremonies. I went to my best friend in High School's confirmation. I dated the Rabbi's son. I have always had a very soft spot in my heart for Jewish people, their religion and their culture.

    When I was about 10, I started worrying about this issue-were my friends going to hell? I could not accept that at all. I asked my precious Daddy about it. He's an incredibly beautiful soul and wonderful Christian. He loves everybody, regardless. I asked him if my friend Carol was going to hell when she died, and he said, "Oh, I don't think so. I think God has a plan for everybody." I have believed that until this day. I know the Bible is interpreted differently by most, but in the words of Frank Sinatra, "My heart just won't buy it." God is a big God. I definitely believe God has a plan for everyone. Even bad people. I think the love Christ described is big enough to accommodate everyone who ever lived. Obviously I don't go by a literal translation of the Bible, but I do try to go by the spirit of it as I interpret it for myself. That's my belief, and I'm sticking to it.
     
  28. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    It's because their arguments for why they accept the evidence they accept seem weak to me.

    For the most part, the argument seems to be "we all agreed to accept this level of proof so, if you don't, you're a moron". [See ag's comments about birthers as a prime example.]

    If you want to convince me, you have to do better than that... :lol:

    What amuses me about this debate is that I don't feel strongly about the subject. I'm quite willing to believe that Jesus was an historical figure. But I want to see some contemporary record of his existence. That's all I'm asking for. And no one has given me that.

    Until you do... I will remain skeptical.

    You are not understanding my point. My point is, if there are 50 years of records of various censuses in the area but they aren't complete, how can you credibly argue that only records that mentioned Jesus and his family got lost? Sure, some years are missing. And maybe some pages within the years that exist are missing or illegible. But, if someone lived for 25-50 years then they should have been caught in at least one of the censuses that took place during that time and that we still have a record of.
     
  29. BlueRidge

    BlueRidge AYS's snark-sponge

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    This is interesting because I think that we all are faced with many, many issues that we can either try to evaluate the evidence for ourselves or lean on those who have specialized in studying them to guide us. I generally do the latter on many issues. Do you usually reject what you hear until you can determine for yourself the evidence? This seems difficult to me given the sea of information out there.
     
  30. MacMadame

    MacMadame Internet Beyotch

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    I tend to like to confirm things. For example, when my neurologist told me to take magnesium and B2 for my headaches, I did a quick Google search first. I wanted to see where this recommendation was coming from (and if there were any gotchas that he failed to mention).

    I don't do this for everything but I do it for a lot.