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  1. #41
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    I don't think you understand the nature of scholarship in antiquity. Unlike today, histories weren't composed during or immediately after (in the modern sense) they took place. People's living memories of events preceded the need for such a thing, and writing of any sort, but particularly scholarly histories, were extraordinary undertakings back then.

    So you would expect a history of that time period to be published when it was. If it was written significantly earlier, it would actually call into question the credibility of the work.

    Tacitus wrote disparagingly of Christians and Jesus, so the idea that he would shill for them by only republishing sectarian documents defies credulity. Further, he is known to have consulted Roman archives for the basis of his work.

    But more than that, there is the plethora of writings circulating from very early. We have epistles dated to within 20 years of Jesus' death, and numerous polemical writings that follow during that first century. But in none of the polemical writings is the argument ever made that Jesus didn't exist. So what that would mean is during the time when people were alive that would have witnessed the events in question, the debate was over the nature of Jesus' teachings and the behavior of his followers--never that he didn't exist. Given the heated nature of these debates, it defies logic that the strongest argument that could be used to delegitimize the opposition (that the object of worship by Christians never even existed) was neglected by every polemical writer in antiquity.

    Couple that with cross-referencing data mentioned in these early documents to other writings and annals, and the weight of evidence is clear. Then there are developmental chronologies which conform to a Jesus event around 30 CE, etc.

    Obviously all of the above is cursory and I'm speaking in broad strokes, but all I can tell you is if you actually did research in this area in the original languages, it's really not a matter of debate. Even non-theist biblical scholars will say the existence of Jesus isn't a matter of contention (eg. Bart Ehrman).

    Fwiw, the writings of Tacitus are far more compelling evidence than Josephus IMO. And that's not just me, but the scholarly consensus as well.

  2. #42
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    Googled Bart Ehrman and found this interview:

    Biblical scholar Bart Ehrman supports the historic existence of Jesus


    I myself am an agnostic, and one would ask why would it matter to me.

    The answer is that history really matters. It's important that we not rewrite it as the way we want it to be. Once we give people that license, it can lead to all sorts of dangerous political and social implications. It's important to get history right even if it's something that we're not that concerned about.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Artemis@BC View Post
    The Catholic church obviously has the most at stake here -- their rationale for requiring priests to be celibate (and male) is their assertion that that model is what's most "Christlike."

    Not so much. It is rather based on Paul's assertion that giving up marriage for the service of the gospel is ideal.

    From I Corinthians:

    "But I say to the unmarried and to widows that it is good for them if they remain even as I." (i.e. not married)

    Later in the same passage: " But I want you to be free from concern. One who is unmarried is concerned about the things of the Lord, how he may please the Lord;"

    Additionally, Jesus suggested, as recorded in the Gospels, that a true disciple would give up family. From Luke:

    "If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple."

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    I thought Ehrman identified as non-theist at a debate awhile back, but if he claims agnosticism now, fine and dandy.

    Thanks for the link btw

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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    I have always asked the question - what difference does it make if Jesus had a wife and/or children? We know that he had to have participated in other basic human needs - like food, water (at the time wine), why not sex and physical love. Does not make him less of a teacher or someone who shared wisdom.

    .
    It was more of a debate among early theologians which has become canon in later versions of the Bible and Church history. Early Christian church history is intimately involved with the changing political landscape of Europe and the near East (Constantinople vs Rome as it were) and the celibacy of Christ and consequently the priesthood were part of this debate. I forget which Edict formally declared priests could not marry, but this was more of a means of controlling church lands and funds so a wealthy bishop could not pass lands on to his sons. You cannot separate the entire first millennium of church doctrine from the sociopolitical environment in which it was constructed.

    Many early religious texts were discarded or re-interpreted if they did not support a certain political agenda.

    I have a friend who did his dissertation on the cult of St. Michael in the 3rd and 4th centuries and how it evolved in regard to the political changes happening in Europe.

    So, this debate regarding Mary Magdalene and her role isn't new. It's just that the papyrus may provide support for the role of wife. It won't change any doctrine because even though it does appear to be of an appropriate age, it is such a small fragment of a larger document, it will be interpreted to mean what the reader already thinks. Those who think she played a more important role, including being a sexual partner, will cite it as supporting data; those who do not will interpret the text as meaning something else.
    Last edited by rfisher; 09-19-2012 at 09:54 PM.
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    In some branches of Catholicism, married priests are permitted. For example, the Russian Catholic church permits married priests---but they must be married before they are ordained.

    Therefore, it is not a theologic doctrine that is the basis of celibate priests.

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    In some branches of Catholicism, married priests are permitted. For example, the Russian Catholic church permits married priests---but they must be married before they are ordained.

    Therefore, it is not a theologic doctrine that is the basis of celibate priests.
    This is true. And even in the Roman rite, exceptions are made. There are Anglican and Episcopal priests who have converted and been ordained as Roman Catholic priests even though they are already married.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    So, this debate regarding Mary Magdalene and her role isn't new. It's just that the papyrus may provide support for the role of wife. It won't change any doctrine because even though it does appear to be of an appropriate age, it is such a small fragment of a larger document, it will be interpreted to mean what the reader already thinks. Those who think she played a more important role, including being a sexual partner, will cite it as supporting data; those who do not will interpret the text as meaning something else.
    So, really ... just like the Bible.

    (never mind the "slinkaway" one, I think I might need a "ducking lightning bolts" emoticon here ...)
    Last edited by Artemis@BC; 09-19-2012 at 10:26 PM.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by numbers123 View Post
    I have always asked the question - what difference does it make if Jesus had a wife and/or children?
    Hey, why think small and debate whether Jesus had "a" wife, in the singular? Mitt's religion portrays Jesus as a man-whore who had at least three wives, with whom he bred like a cockroach. Jumpin' J.C. be pimpin'!

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    In some branches of Catholicism, married priests are permitted. For example, the Russian Catholic church permits married priests---but they must be married before they are ordained.

    Therefore, it is not a theologic doctrine that is the basis of celibate priests.
    You mean the Russian Orthodox Church, right?
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  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by IceAlisa View Post
    You mean the Russian Orthodox Church, right?
    I assumed the post referred to Eastern Rite Catholics. They are not Russian Orthodox and are affiliated with the Roman/Latin Rite.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rfisher View Post
    I forget which Edict formally declared priests could not marry, but this was more of a means of controlling church lands and funds so a wealthy bishop could not pass lands on to his sons.
    Yes, I've heard this before. It makes sense. It kept the wealth in the Church. If I am remembering correctly, the wealthy clergy gave up their family possessions to the Church.

  13. #53

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    Quote Originally Posted by euterpe View Post
    Matthew 16:18: "And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it."

    Peter is considered to be the first Pope.
    I am absolutely NOT an expert on any of this. I was raised as a Catholic, and converted to Judaism.

    The quote from the Gospel of Matthew is accurate, however, it was written 70 years after Jesus died. So any "quotes" of what Jesus said or didn't say are really memories. And frankly, could be considered as political writings.......designed by various people to put forward a point of view.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Matthew

    The Gospel According to Matthew (Greek: κατὰ Ματθαῖον εὐαγγέλιον, kata Matthaion euangelion, τὸ εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Ματθαῖον, to euangelion kata Matthaion) (Gospel of Matthew or simply Matthew) is one of the four canonical gospels, one of the three synoptic gospels, and the first book of the New Testament. It tells of the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.

    Matthew probably originated in a Jewish-Christian community in Roman Syria towards the end of the first century A.D.[1] The anonymous author drew three main sources, including the Gospel of Mark, the sayings collection known as the Q source, and material unique to his own community.[2] The narrative tells how Israel's Messiah, having been rejected by Israel (i.e., God's chosen people), withdrew into the circle of his disciples, passed judgment on those who had rejected him (so that "Israel" becomes the non-believing "Jews"), and finally sent the disciples instead to the gentiles[3]
    And, just to add from my personal perspective. I (personally) believe that the Bible was written by G-d.............and I accept what it says as true. AND, I know that is a decision on my part, and is neither right or wrong, or provable one way or the other. And, I do ridiculous things like observe the Laws of Kashrut..........just 'cause. I don't think any religion is right or wrong. I suppose Jesus lived. (I sort of don't have a dog in that fight, so to speak). But I also think that most of "what he said" is what others say he said. Is it divinely inspired? Who knows? No one.

    I have this conversation about G-d and believing in G-d all the time with my husband. He does not believe in G-d. But I don't see any real logic in either position. Either is a leap of faith. Oh, maybe that is why it is all called "faith"
    DH - and that's just my opinion

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    Quote Originally Posted by PDilemma View Post
    I assumed the post referred to Eastern Rite Catholics. They are not Russian Orthodox and are affiliated with the Roman/Latin Rite.
    Could be.
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  15. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Whole post.
    Yes. Another example of documents describing historical events after the fact are the Soto chronicles describing the Soto expedition through the southeast. All four chronicles were written well after the fact and only one is purported to have been written by someone who was actually on the expedition. The Spanish crown deemed the expedition a failure in that no gold was recovered and half the expedition died; therefore, no official history was written. Archaeologists who work in the SE consider the documents to be of interest, but not necessarily factual unless events are supported by other forms of data including the archaeological record. Biblical archaeology does much the same thing in Israel, Jordan and other regions mentioned in the Bible. There is evidence to support some historical events described in the Bible. There is nothing to indicate that Jesus was not a real person. Faith is what elevates him to a spiritual being.
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  16. #56
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    This is why I am not a firm believer of any one religion. There are so many angles, beliefs, so many writings that either do or do not make up a religion (and some that haven't been discovered or are lost) and I find it impossible to say that one is any more true than another. Much has been decided by the people in positions of power at different times who were not infallible. I guess I don't have faith in them as opposed to faith in G-d.

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    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    I don't think you understand the nature of scholarship in antiquity.
    How patronizing. And presumptuous. And given that you were just recently lambasted in another thread for just that sort of attitude, it's disappointing that you didn't take the criticism to heart before you submitted that post.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Unlike today, histories weren't composed during or immediately after (in the modern sense) they took place. People's living memories of events preceded the need for such a thing, and writing of any sort, but particularly scholarly histories, were extraordinary undertakings back then.
    I know. My History class in ninth grade covered that as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    So you would expect a history of that time period to be published when it was. If it was written significantly earlier, it would actually call into question the credibility of the work.
    There are other possible sources besides histories such as Tacitus and Josephus wrote, as I am sure you know.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Tacitus wrote disparagingly of Christians and Jesus, so the idea that he would shill for them by only republishing sectarian documents defies credulity.
    I never said he was shilling for them or republishing sectarian documents. If you inferred it, it's because you are pursuing your own agenda rather than reading in a detached manner. As far as I can tell, you do that a lot.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Further, he is known to have consulted Roman archives for the basis of his work.
    But what did he find there? What documents did he rely on?

    Modern historical scholarship requires something more than an unsourced statement about something that happened decades previously in a distant land, which is all that Tacitus offers.

    Quote Originally Posted by agalisgv View Post
    Rest of post
    Again, the writings of people who believed that Jesus was the son of God are hardly objective sources to establish that even the earliest texts (which vary in their details) refer to one specific historical person.

    It's pointless to talk about how there is no contemporary source stating that Jesus did not exist. The issue framed upthread is whether there is evidence that he did. And all of the early evidence on that point is either (1) written by people who believed he was the son of God or (2) from close to a century after his ostensible death and unsourced.

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    The interview I posted with Bart Ehrman says basically the same thing agalisgv did, that scholars believe Jesus was an historical person. If you disagree with the scholarly consensus, Vagabond, maybe you could say more about why? Why do you think mainstream scholarship is wrong on this?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AxelAnnie View Post
    I have this conversation about G-d and believing in G-d all the time with my husband. He does not believe in G-d. But I don't see any real logic in either position. Either is a leap of faith. Oh, maybe that is why it is all called "faith"
    why is lacking a belief in God a leap of faith?

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    I had seen this on the news today.

    There were several books left out or dismissed from the King James Version of the bible like The Gospel of Mary because of authenticity.

    The Gospel of Mary exalts Mary Magdalene over the male disciples of Jesus. The Gospel of Mary provides important information about the role of women in the early church.

    In her introduction in The Nag Hammadi Library, Karen King makes these observations:

    The confrontation of Mary with Peter, a scenario also found in The Gospel of Thomas, Pistis Sophia, and The Gospel of the Egyptians, reflects some of the tensions in second-century Christianity. Peter and Andrew represent orthodox positions that deny the validity of esoteric revelation and reject the authority of women to teach. The Gospel of Mary attacks both of these positions head-on through its portrayal of Mary Magdalene. She is the Savior's beloved, possessed of knowledge and teaching superior to that of the public apostolic tradition. Her superiority is based on vision and private revelation and is demonstrated in her capacity to strengthen the wavering disciples and turn them toward the Good.
    http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/gospelmary.html

    The lost books from the Dead Sea Scrolls are other examples due to whether they were authentic or not. I'm referring to the carbon dating of the scrolls.

    There are several other books, gospels, that were also dismissed or left out, especially a collection referred to as the Apocrypha.

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

    The total list of the ancient New Testament Apocrypha is found here

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

    And here:

    http://www.interfaith.org/christianity/apocrypha/

    Another book is The Book of Jubilees:

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/jub/index.htm
    Angie
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