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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:06 pm 
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Jersey Girl wrote:
huckelberry wrote:

Philo , I was not wondering why the Jesus sayings survived. There is no historical mystery there. I asked where they came from. Did they come from this cosmic angel?


Do any of the sayings that you're thinking of in any way reflect the OT?


If you mean is that the sort of background being used, yes definitely. Working out various stories on the theme of vineyard sounds rabbinic.

People when they write and think have a style. It is not impossible to recognize. Jesus sayings do not come from Paul. Paul is smart but he thinks differently. They certainly do not come from that leaden footed writer of Hebrews. They do not come from John nor from James. The gospel writers mix and share the Jesus sayings . In the Gospels people see church related alterations and additions so none of those four writers would be the source.

The sayings are pretty recognizable, They are in the gospel of Thomas as well as in Luke. They are not in some other documents. I think it is clear that no known early Christian writer is the source for Jesus sayings.

They are real, they came from somewhere, Did George the baker create them but wish to remain anonymous? George could have avoided trouble that way but how did they spread around and get associated with somebody named Jesus? One should also consider that they are in the form of discourse with others not the style of a private moral speculator.

Yes they are associated with a Great Angel, some sort of supernatural angel. Perhaps one believes that is the real source.

Occam suggests they are from Jesus and Jesus after his death became associated with that Angel.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:26 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Agreed. However, it is not the Jesus of the Gospels Paul knows. If it is even a "real" Jesus, since all he ever claimed was receiving revelations (An illusion to God's presence, so to speak), it ain't the earthly Jesus Paul was elaborating on. The mythicist argument would say at Romans 16:25-26 that the mystery of Jesus had been kept secret from all ages in the world until it was revealed to Paul at his Damascus conversion. "kept secret since the world began" says Paul, not given to the world in an earthly ministry, which Paul knows nothing about. It is now made manifest to Paul, and his interpretation through the scriptures (the Old Testament ones, there being no others available, the Gospel aren't even written yet). As the C.H.R.E.S.T.U.S. app notes - "the only way anyone knew the preaching of Jesus was by finding it in scripture, and learning of it in visions. That is what Paul says. He knows it and says this several times in different epistles, not by an earthly history or other people telling him about Jesus on earth. For Paul that isn't even a thought. It all came from heaven or scripture. Paul never mentions anyone having any other source of knowledge about Jesus, except scripture and revelation." And that includes those he had been persecuting.


This seems to me to be a very narrow and strained reading of Romans 16:25-26. I would not take that as a claim that no one knew of Jesus before Paul’s mystical experience. Nor would I read Paul as saying that people only knew of Jesus through visions or scriptures. Paul is instead establishing his authority as one whose knowledge is superior because it comes by way of revelation and scripture. It seems like a funny claim to us, but it is the one he has and I do not doubt that he would sell it as the better authority and the superior teaching. There is a big difference between elaborating on what you’ve got and a scholar today using Paul to claim that’s all there was.

It seems more likely to me that there was a historical person whose movement flowered and metastasized, containing a core of early members who knew the charismatic leader and other joiners who knew neither the leader nor perhaps even his first followers. Once you see the richness and variety in Mediterranean religion, all the various expressions of Christianity we see, including Paul, seem perfectly natural. Moreover, I see no foundation in Paul’s writings for arguing that the historical Jesus never existed. It is instead the case that Paul has less use for that Jesus than others do. That does not mean he would have done the same thing without such a historical Jesus.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:50 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
This seems to me to be a very narrow and strained reading of Romans 16:25-26. I would not take that as a claim that no one knew of Jesus before Paul’s mystical experience. Nor would I read Paul as saying that people only knew of Jesus through visions or scriptures. Paul is instead establishing his authority as one whose knowledge is superior because it comes by way of revelation and scripture. It seems like a funny claim to us, but it is the one he has and I do not doubt that he would sell it as the better authority and the superior teaching. There is a big difference between elaborating on what you’ve got and a scholar today using Paul to claim that’s all there was.

It seems more likely to me that there was a historical person whose movement flowered and metastasized, containing a core of early members who knew the charismatic leader and other joiners who knew neither the leader nor perhaps even his first followers. Once you see the richness and variety in Mediterranean religion, all the various expressions of Christianity we see, including Paul, seem perfectly natural. Moreover, I see no foundation in Paul’s writings for arguing that the historical Jesus never existed. It is instead the case that Paul has less use for that Jesus than others do. That does not mean he would have done the same thing without such a historical Jesus.

These are very good points, Kish. While we can look at Paul's disproportionate influence on what came after him, it's problematic to view his focus as derivative of the source as well. Even then, his focus on the spirit does not reflect all of his statements the support or assume a historical physical person which Carrier focused on in the debate in order to attempt to refute.

I'm particularly curious if you could speak to the use of Greek by Carrier in the debate which I found problematic. Two items that come to mind include my previous mention of "ginomai" (γίνομαι) which Carrier seems to latch onto when Paul uses it to refer to Jesus rather than Paul using "gennao" (γεννάω) to describe the birth/descent of Jesus. He relies on this to make the case that we should see Pauline references to Jesus' birth as a spiritual formation that could not apply to Jesus being born. The other item that came to mind is the question of the use of the Septuagint as a comparison source where Carrier contrasted the use of the Greek words in Paul with the OT which seems to mean the Septuagint. Is this acceptable practice when it comes to the epistles? Most often when I've seen the Septuagint referenced in New Testament studies it's to show it as a source of a thought compared to the Hebrew.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 9:57 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Well, not essentially Christianity, but it isn't the Gospel's historic minded Christianity. There never was a singular thought out theology of early Christianity, let alone Judaism. Paul's view was very close to Philo of Alexandria's in understanding the heavenly man (Logos) idea, not an earthly man Jesus of the later Gospels. The problems biblical scholarship have is reading the later Gospels views back into the earlier epistles point of view. They are not a monolithic all thinking alike group of theological documents written in linear fashion. The entire New Testament, as Burton Mack has shown "Who Wrote the New Testament?" is based upon several competing communities' views not all together agreeing on what is right or what happened. The epistles represent one such voice (and not all unified themselves either!), while the Gospels most definitely have by the later time of their composition, those communities have historicized the views and life of Jesus. That is something different. Is it logical and allowed to read our own ideas onto earlier views and imagine that is their thinking? No. Then how does biblical scholarship get away with doing that with the Gospels being read back onto the earlier views of someone? That to me appears to be a problematic issue.


You have touched upon one of those issues that irks me. A Gospel is not an epistle. These are two very different modes of writing. If one has two quite different sources for the same historical event, one must understand those sources with all of their strengths and weaknesses, and not try to make too much out of the fact that the sources are different. An epistle may not be written with the aim of providing a historical narrative. A Gospel/biography may not have the same didactic, rhetorical, and theological force as a letter.

Does the fact that an earlier letter does not reveal a biographical narrative mean that the later Gospel’s biographical narrative is made up out of whole cloth or worthless? Do the accidents of preservation determine the scope of early Christianities? It looks to me that the mythicists are making too much out of these accidents. A later source can have better information than an earlier source. It depends on the source. Historiography is a very delicate business. Later sources can rely on earlier sources (including oral sources) that have disappeared but are more reliable than the earlier source you have. If the earlier source you have is not a historical narrative, you are on thin ice claiming there is NO historical narrative to be had because your extant source does not have one.

In numerous ways, the “no historical Jesus” argument strikes me as a clever but artificial and very modern construct. It is a species of adolescent skepticism that one leaves behind sometime in grad school. I recall when I had that month in which I doubted history altogether, since all of the evidence from our written sources seemed so rhetorical and shaky. While I am grateful that this no Jesus fad tempers overconfidence in early Christian sources, I think it gets absurd when it goes to the extreme of leaning too hard on the argument that Jesus never existed.

The Romans called these people Christians on the model of political factions being named after their leaders. Followers of Sulla were called Sullani. Followers of Pompey were called Pompeiani. Very early on, in the city of Antioch, people called the followers of Jesus Christiani. I think they did so on the basis of a strong historical memory that the founder of the movement was called Christus by his followers. I don’t think they were called such because they were worshippers of the anointed Great Angel.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:15 pm 
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Kishkumen wrote:
I recall when I had that month in which I doubted history altogether, since all of the evidence from our written sources seemed so rhetorical and shaky


Me too! to me ancient history is like a guess who game

Kishkumen wrote:
I think it gets absurd when it goes to the extreme of leaning too hard on the argument that Jesus never existed.


Isn't it best to say that we don't know?


Last edited by DoubtingThomas on Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:16 pm 
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honorentheos wrote:
I'm particularly curious if you could speak to the use of Greek by Carrier in the debate which I found problematic. Two items that come to mind include my previous mention of "ginomai" (γίνομαι) which Carrier seems to latch onto when Paul uses it to refer to Jesus rather than Paul using "gennao" (γεννάω) to describe the birth/descent of Jesus. He relies on this to make the case that we should see Pauline references to Jesus' birth as a spiritual formation that could not apply to Jesus being born.


BDAG, the standard lexicon for Koine has as the first definition for γίνομαι: To come into being through process of birth or natural production. γίνομαι is much more flexible than γεννάω, which is going to be translated as "beget/begat" in most cases. γεννάω is what you are going to see as the verb in the long lists of he begat, who begat, who begat, etc. as in Matt 1. I don't see how γίνομαι can be limited to a spiritual birth only. For example, when Jesus curses the fig tree in Matt 21:19 he literally says that the fig tree will no longer "γίνομαι" fruit. That seems pretty physical to me.

honorentheos wrote:
The other item that came to mind is the question of the use of the Septuagint as a comparison source where Carrier contrasted the use of the Greek words in Paul with the OT which seems to mean the Septuagint. Is this acceptable practice when it comes to the epistles? Most often when I've seen the Septuagint referenced in New Testament studies it's to show it as a source of a thought compared to the Hebrew.


You'd have to be more specific. Although Paul was mostly likely fluent in both Hebrew and Greek he clearly was a native Greek speaker. The Septuagint was what he cited and would have been "The Bible" to him, just as it was to all Jews in the Greek speaking disapora.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:41 pm 
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I'm particularly curious if you could speak to the use of Greek by Carrier in the debate which I found problematic. Two items that come to mind include my previous mention of "ginomai" (γίνομαι) which Carrier seems to latch onto when Paul uses it to refer to Jesus rather than Paul using "gennao" (γεννάω) to describe the birth/descent of Jesus. He relies on this to make the case that we should see Pauline references to Jesus' birth as a spiritual formation that could not apply to Jesus being born.


Carrier explains this in detail in his book "On the Historicity of Jesus," and it's technical, which, again, in a debate that gives him just a few minutes to elaborate on so many details is not sufficient time. Paul used the Greek at Romans 1:3 that Jesus was "made" from the sperm of David. The Greek word he used means "made" not born. Paul used the same word at Philippians 2:6-11, where in an act of divine construction (not birthing or human procreation) Jesus 'took' human form, was "made" to look like a man. There is no mention of parents, birth, childhood, etc. The word "genomenos" means "to happen," "to become." Now at Galatians 3:26-4:29 every Christian comes from the sperm of Abraham by spiritual adoption, so Jesus could have come about the same way. Now Paul's normal word he uses when he is talking about being born is "gennao." So he uses a different word, the same word that he used when talking about Adam who "was made" as he uses for Jesus, even though a different and more accurate word for birth was available, and one he used elsewhere when he talks about birth, but he didn't use that word, he used the one for "being made." Furthermore, Paul uses the same word for the construction of our future spiritual bodies at 1 Corinthians 15:37, according to Carrier (p. 576). This future body is not born from any parents either, but is directly manufactured by God, and already waiting in heaven (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

So Paul never mentions Jesus's father, and he actually never named Jesus's mother either, because Jesus did not have a birth of parents. This is Carrier's argument. He apparently used some weird Greek if Paul was trying to say Jesus was born of parents, when more suitable Greek was available to him here, and which he did apparently use on other occassions when discussing the birth issue. That's what makes it look deliberate that Paul was saying something other than an earthly physical birth according to Carrier.

And here we find one reason that appeal to the Bible, even in the Greek, really doesn't settle things or convince folks to change their minds about what they believe. Anyone who favors an interpretation, usually sticks to it no matter what. So Carrier may very well be playing a losing battle, I don't know. What he says makes sense to me as to Paul's usage of the Greek. But others will find, and probably have found other ways of interpreting it to fit their own pet theories, as Carrier also does so in this case, and many others. Everyone has theories, and everyone can use evidence to back them up, and everyone uses what they like to believe so they can continue believing whatever it is they believe.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:47 pm 
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Yes they are associated with a Great Angel, some sort of supernatural angel. Perhaps one believes that is the real source.

Occam suggests they are from Jesus and Jesus after his death became associated with that Angel.


Paul would have been helped to know that. He never claims this. He always insists it was by revelation that knowledge of Jesus came to him, not of man. He is truly, ridiculously adamantine about that. What he knows of Jesus is because Jesus told him himself, or else he found it in scripture. And Paul most definitely identified his Jesus with the angel of ancient Israel's ancient theological angelmorphology. Charles A. Gieschen is quite good in this angle, as Margaret Barker is as well.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:05 pm 
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Aristotle Smith wrote:
BDAG, the standard lexicon for Koine has as the first definition for γίνομαι: To come into being through process of birth or natural production. γίνομαι is much more flexible than γεννάω, which is going to be translated as "beget/begat" in most cases. γεννάω is what you are going to see as the verb in the long lists of he begat, who begat, who begat, etc. as in Matt 1. I don't see how γίνομαι can be limited to a spiritual birth only. For example, when Jesus curses the fig tree in Matt 21:19 he literally says that the fig tree will no longer "γίνομαι" fruit. That seems pretty physical to me.


Exactly. I don’t know precisely what Carrier thinks he’s getting at with this odd linguistic argument, other than to try to suggest that Paul’s use of γίνομαι is intended to indicate something like Hephaestus and Athena fashioning Pandora, but every example he provides in the debate seems to indicate the opposite—that Jesus was born as other people were understood to be born in antiquity, from the seed of their fathers and the flesh of their mothers. Maybe I misunderstood Carrier at this point, and I hope I have, because this is not what I would expect from a student of William Harris who wrote a dissertation on Ancient Greek science.

As Aristotle shows, Paul’s use of the verb for physical bearing/birth is unremarkable. It is not the kind of thing one should propose an exotic Pauline theology of spirit fashioning from.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:10 pm 
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Carrier doesn't appear to me to be saying the Greek means a spiritual birth. When Paul used it at Romans he meant it to be meaning Jesus was made, not birthed. At least as far as I can gather. It's not about physical verses physical birth, it's about being made as opposed to being born from a father and mother.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:12 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Carrier explains this in detail in his book "On the Historicity of Jesus," and it's technical, which, again, in a debate that gives him just a few minutes to elaborate on so many details is not sufficient time. Paul used the Greek at Romans 1:3 that Jesus was "made" from the sperm of David. The Greek word he used means "made" not born. Paul used the same word at Philippians 2:6-11, where in an act of divine construction (not birthing or human procreation) Jesus 'took' human form, was "made" to look like a man. There is no mention of parents, birth, childhood, etc. The word "genomenos" means "to happen," "to become." Now at Galatians 3:26-4:29 every Christian comes from the sperm of Abraham by spiritual adoption, so Jesus could have come about the same way. Now Paul's normal word he uses when he is talking about being born is "gennao." So he uses a different word, the same word that he used when talking about Adam who "was made" as he uses for Jesus, even though a different and more accurate word for birth was available, and one he used elsewhere when he talks about birth, but he didn't use that word, he used the one for "being made." Furthermore, Paul uses the same word for the construction of our future spiritual bodies at 1 Corinthians 15:37, according to Carrier (p. 576). This future body is not born from any parents either, but is directly manufactured by God, and already waiting in heaven (1 Corinthians 5:1-5).

So Paul never mentions Jesus's father, and he actually never named Jesus's mother either, because Jesus did not have a birth of parents. This is Carrier's argument. He apparently used some weird Greek if Paul was trying to say Jesus was born of parents, when more suitable Greek was available to him here, and which he did apparently use on other occassions when discussing the birth issue. That's what makes it look deliberate that Paul was saying something other than an earthly physical birth according to Carrier.

And here we find one reason that appeal to the Bible, even in the Greek, really doesn't settle things or convince folks to change their minds about what they believe. Anyone who favors an interpretation, usually sticks to it no matter what. So Carrier may very well be playing a losing battle, I don't know. What he says makes sense to me as to Paul's usage of the Greek. But others will find, and probably have found other ways of interpreting it to fit their own pet theories, as Carrier also does so in this case, and many others. Everyone has theories, and everyone can use evidence to back them up, and everyone uses what they like to believe so they can continue believing whatever it is they believe.


In other words, Carrier insists that a very common Greek verb must mean the same thing every time he needs it to in order to make his argument work. And, by the way, the metaphor (key word) Paul uses to describe resurrection is of wheat springing up from seed—a context in which one would naturally expect γίνομαι to be used.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:17 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
So Paul never mentions Jesus's father


Simple explanation: he didn't think Jesus had a physical father, kinda like Luke didn't think that either.

Philo Sofee wrote:
and he actually never named Jesus's mother either


Simple explanation: nobody in the ancient world (unfortunately) cared much about who your mother was. The only gospel writer who takes much interest in this fact is Luke, and Luke is very much interested in the outsiders such as women, the leprous, the poor, etc.

Philo Sofee wrote:
because Jesus did not have a birth of parents.


Even if the above statements were true, this still wouldn't follow.

Philo Sofee wrote:
This is Carrier's argument. He apparently used some weird Greek if Paul was trying to say Jesus was born of parents, when more suitable Greek was available to him here, and which he did apparently use on other occassions when discussing the birth issue.


What weird Greek word? Neither γίνομαι nor γεννάω is weird. Also, the Romans 1:3 connection seems really strange. Paul was making a philosophical/theological point in identifying Jesus parentage there, i.e. that Jesus was of the lineage of David. I really don't see how there isn't a physical/lineage connection there since Paul uses his characteristic "according to the flesh" (κατὰ σάρκα) to describe Jesus' descent.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:18 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
Carrier doesn't appear to me to be saying the Greek means a spiritual birth. When Paul used it at Romans he meant it to be meaning Jesus was made, not birthed. At least as far as I can gather. It's not about physical verses physical birth, it's about being made as opposed to being born from a father and mother.


But one of the primary meanings of γίνομαι is “to be born.” Clearly this is a verb Paul uses to describe the bearing of fruit and grain, and the birthing of people. It does not appear to mean “make” or “fashion” in many of the contexts Carrier cites. He simply is incorrect in saying that Paul had to use γεννάω to refer to being born.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:21 pm 
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I thought he was simply showing Paul using a different word than the Greek word for being born when it came to Jesus. He uses the Greek word meaning "made." Made does not mean the same as being born. This shows (according to Carrier) that something different is going on with Jesus. Paul could have used the normal Greek word he used elsewhere when he talks about birth, but he didn't when he was talking about Jesus. He found that a little odd and different and noted it.

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He simply is incorrect in saying that Paul had to use γεννάω to refer to being born.


Carrier does not say Paul had to use it. He is saying it's odd that he did so choose to use it. I.e., Paul appears to be trying to say something about Jesus other than being born of earthly parents. At least that's my impression of Carrier's analysis.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 11:26 pm 
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Philo Sofee wrote:
I thought he was simply showing Paul using a different word than the Greek word for being born when it came to Jesus. He uses the Greek word meaning "made." Made does not mean the same as being born. This shows (according to Carrier) that something different is going on with Jesus. Paul could have used the normal Greek word he used elsewhere when he talks about birth, but he didn't when he was talking about Jesus. He found that a little odd and different and noted it.

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He simply is incorrect in saying that Paul had to use γεννάω to refer to being born.


Carrier does not say Paul had to use it. He is saying it's odd that he did so choose to use it. I.e., Paul appears to be trying to say something about Jesus other than being born of earthly parents. At least that's my impression of Carrier's analysis.


As we have been telling you, the verb he uses does mean “to be born.” Go look it up for yourself. There is nothing odd about Paul using synonyms to convey the same meaning. Nothing obligates him to use only one verb to mean one thing. He used different words to convey the same meaning, and there is absolutely nothing remarkable about his usage.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:53 am 
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Thanks Kish and Aristotle Smith, I appreciate the insight.

I need to add some clarification to help the discussion to ensure that the question is being fully addressed. In the presentation when talking about the two citations Philo notes above (Romans 1:3 and Phil. 2:7) Carrier discussed the language issue but I either missed the specific Greek wording or he didn't state it but could you comment on the specific use of "genomenos" γενόμενος ?

The Biblehub website gives the following for Romans 1:3 -
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/1-3.htm

περὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ* κατὰ σάρκα


And Philippians 2:7 as follows:
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/philippians/2-7.htm

ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 8:46 am 
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honorentheos wrote:
I need to add some clarification to help the discussion to ensure that the question is being fully addressed. In the presentation when talking about the two citations Philo notes above (Romans 1:3 and Phil. 2:7) Carrier discussed the language issue but I either missed the specific Greek wording or he didn't state it but could you comment on the specific use of "genomenos" γενόμενος ?

The Biblehub website gives the following for Romans 1:3 -
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/romans/1-3.htm

περὶ τοῦ Υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ τοῦ γενομένου ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυὶδ* κατὰ σάρκα


And Philippians 2:7 as follows:
http://biblehub.com/interlinear/philippians/2-7.htm


ἀλλὰ ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν μορφὴν δούλου λαβών ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος



Well, it is an aorist middle participle from γίνομαι. In the first instance it is in the genitive form, agreeing in gender, number, and case with τοῦ Υἱοῦ. In the second instance it is nominative, agreeing with the subject of the verb ἐκένωσεν. The participle is middle/passive voice, meaning that the action can be conceived as the subject/word it agrees with acting on itself or as being performed on the subject/word it agrees with. In the LSJ the meaning "to be made or created" does not appear, but that meaning does appear under #2 in Arndt and Gingrich's A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament. It should be noted that A&G does not cite any passage of Paul's authentic epistles for this meaning. It does cite Hebrews 11:3. Hebrews is not believed to be an authentic Pauline epistle.

Romans 1:3 seems to use a biological metaphor to establish that Jesus came from the seed of David, or the royal lineage, as concerns his earthly body.

Philippians 2:7 seems somewhat more poetic to me, stating that Jesus took the "form of a servant" and "came in the likeness of man." Note that the first aorist participle is active, meaning that the subject of ἐκένωσεν is performing the action of taking (λαβών). This makes me rather doubt that γενόμενος is to be interpreted as passive, in other words, to suggest that Jesus was "made in the likeness of human beings" by someone else.

In general, I would stress that the history of the word points to the predominance of a meaning that does not emphasize the action of others in making things. Rather, the meaning appears to begin with the idea of coming about, emerging in a biological process, or happening, and only eventually is it applied to the idea of someone making something. The fact that Carrier insists on "being made" as the primary sense of γίνομαι seems pretty weak to me. I have not examined all Pauline uses of the verb, but my reading of these examples (which Carrier chose for the debate, presumably because he thought they were very strong) does not support his argument.

Now, I will grant that the aorist participle that follows the phrase with γενόμενος in Philippians 2:7, εὑρεθεὶς, is passive. This participle indicates that Jesus was "found" in the form of a man. And naturally that must be by someone else. So, I have to admit that there is a degree of ambiguity here. I can think of a simple explanation for it--that on earth he was seen by others as having a human form--but it is *possible* that Paul is alluding to a Christology in which Jesus actively took the form of a servant, then was made in the likeness of a man, and was found in the form of a man. That just does not seem the more probable reading to me.

The real question, however, is whether, on the whole, it is more likely that Paul is saying that Jesus was made by some other being(s) in the way Hephaestus and Athena fashioned Pandora, or in the way pagan idols were fashioned by their manufacturers. (When Carrier says "made" or "fashioned," he seems to be getting at something like this.) I would be surprised, based on what I have seen thus far, that this was Paul's view. Had he said who it was that Jesus was γενόμενος by, then it would be clear. A&G's entry for γίνομαι as "made" or "created" usually has the word accompanied by a preposition, such as ἐκ, that is roughly the equivalent of "by" or "from" preceding the person or agent (in the genitive case) that performed the action of making or creating. In Romans 1:3, ἐκ σπέρματος Δαυεὶδ most certainly does not refer to the descendants of David fashioning Jesus like Pandora or a statue.

So, I still think Carrier's reading is a stretch, if not simply incorrect.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:20 pm 
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I've only skimmed through this thead, but has anyone pointed out yet that Romans 1.3 is generally thought to be an pre-existing early Christian formula that Paul is quoting? (As is the "Christ hymn" in Philippians 2.) The passage in question seems to have been carefully constructed as a kind of creedal formula, and the language and ideas are not typically Pauline (e.g. the interest in Jesus' Davidic descent). This makes it difficult to base any conclusion on the fact that "Paul" isn't using typically Pauline language here - it probably isn't Paul.

Nevertheless, Pauline or otherwise, gi[g]nomai (with its participle genomenos) is a stupendously common Greek word. It is one of the first words that a modern student learns when she is first learning the language. Its use has no significance whatever for the existence or nature of Jesus Christ. It looks like Kish is killing this, and indeed the thread in general.

Has the point been made that the reference to the "flesh" at Romans 1.3, in a formula which seems to predate Paul, is difficult to reconcile with the Christ myth theory?


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:48 pm 
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I wouldn't say Kish is killing the thread. He is enlightening it! Thanks Kish and Aristotle.

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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 1:36 pm 
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Johannes wrote:
I've only skimmed through this thead, but has anyone pointed out yet that Romans 1.3 is generally thought to be an pre-existing early Christian formula that Paul is quoting? (As is the "Christ hymn" in Philippians 2.) The passage in question seems to have been carefully constructed as a kind of creedal formula, and the language and ideas are not typically Pauline (e.g. the interest in Jesus' Davidic descent). This makes it difficult to base any conclusion on the fact that "Paul" isn't using typically Pauline language here - it probably isn't Paul.

Nevertheless, Pauline or otherwise, gi[g]nomai (with its participle genomenos) is a stupendously common Greek word. It is one of the first words that a modern student learns when she is first learning the language. Its use has no significance whatever for the existence or nature of Jesus Christ. It looks like Kish is killing this, and indeed the thread in general.

Has the point been made that the reference to the "flesh" at Romans 1.3, in a formula which seems to predate Paul, is difficult to reconcile with the Christ myth theory?


Thanks, Johannes! Your contributions are most helpful! That point about flesh has not been made, nor has the one about the early Christ hymn. I dimly recall that mythicists have an unusual, and to my mind unconvincing, explanation for the flesh reference. We would be very grateful for any further insight you might offer on these points.


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 Post subject: Re: Craig Evans v Richard Carrier Did Jesus Exist SUPERB
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:02 pm 
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Perhaps I should take this moment to tell you about the ancient worship of Artaxerxes II and his younger brother Cyrus (not that Cyrus, a later one). These have long been assumed to be real people, but then again the only roughly contemporary account we have comes from a Greek given to fantastic beliefs in dreams, gods, and oracles. He also had to justify why he got thrown out of town and hooked up with some no-good Spartans. According to him, a god told him to do it. This is not someone we should take at face-value.

True, we have a coin of Artaxerxes II, but there are some things to notice about it:

Image

First, the radiate crown is obviously reminiscent of the sun, and so this was likely a sun god worshiped in the east, of which we have many other examples. He also carries a bow, like the sun god Apollo. And besides, it was very common in antiquity to put images of gods on coins—in fact, it was probably more usual to do so in the east than it ever was at Rome. Even Athens used an owl for their coinage because of its association with Athena, who is on the obverse of this coin:

Image

Moreover, his name (Old Persian Artaxšača) is itself theophoric and means literally "truth-power." For those of you not up to speed on your Zoroastrian mythology, you will remember that "truth" (Avestan Aša, cognate with Old Persian Arta) is actually a Zoroastrian divinity who supports Ahura Mazda ("lordly wisdom") by leading the forces of good in a cosmic battle against the forces of evil (Angra Mainyu, "evil mind") and his army of lies (Avestan druj: "falsehood"). Zoroastrianism was the state religion of the Persian empire, and like other ancient Persian religions, it is far more mystical and abstract than Christianity ever was. That is such an established fact that Persian influence has long been suspected in the gradual divinization of Jesus (thankfully, the apostles of rationality have a better explanation for Jesus the mystical god, and it's about time we repented and embraced the Good News of the mythicist gospel).

It also has cognates with Vedic epithets of the gods in the Hindu tradition (Sanskrit rta-). If we were to translate it into Hebrew, a literal translation would malki-zedeq, or Melchizedek, another mythological being from the Abraham heroic cycle in the Pentateuch. On the Sanskrit, I just looked up the "Sun Hymn" (Rig Veda 10.85) and the first line says:

Quote:
satyenottabhitā bhūmiḥ sūryeṇottabhitā dyauṣ
ṛtenādityās tiṣṭhanti....

Truth [satya] is the earth's foundation; Surya [the sun god] holds the skies,
By truth [ṛta] do the sons of Aditi [an epithet for Surya, the sun god] stand...


You see here the connection between the sun god and truth (ṛta, a cognote of the Arta element in the Artaxerxes's name). Paired with this and the sun imagery on Artaxerxes II's coinage, it becomes harder to explain how he was not originally conceived of as a divine being and later historicized by ignorant Greeks.

We also have reason to suspect the historicity of Artaxerxes II because of the opening lines of Xenophon's account:

Quote:
Δαρείου καὶ Παρυσάτιδος γίγνονται παῖδες δύο, πρεσβύτερος μὲν Ἀρταξέρξης, νεώτερος δὲ Κῦρος: ἐπεὶ δὲ ἠσθένει Δαρεῖος καὶ ὑπώπτευε τελευτὴν τοῦ βίου, ἐβούλετο τὼ παῖδε ἀμφοτέρω παρεῖναι.

Two children were born to Darius and Parysatis: the older was Artaxerxes, the younger Cyrus. When Darius began to grow ill and suspect the end of his life was near, he wanted both of his children by his side.


Two things of note. First, the rest of the narrative will detail the falling out between the two, and how this engulfed the realm into civil war and brought the ancient equivalent of MS-13 to Persia, the Greek mercenaries. This is a common pattern in many ancient myths, the divine or semi-divine twins—remember that the Persians always imagined their kings as divine—the Ashvins in the Vedic tradition, Lado and Lada in Slavic, Castor and Pollux in Greek, and even Jacob and Esau in the Hebrew heroic cycle. But we know too that the filial bonds between these twins were often severed into murderous rivalry: Romulus and Remus is only the most well-known example. Romulus and Remus, in fact, were historicized and imagined to be actual people. Much the same thing happened with Artaxerxes II and Cyrus, and of course Jesus.

The divine twins are often associated with sun worship, e.g. the Ashvins in the Sanskrit tradition—and do remember that Old Persian, Avestan, and Sanskrit are closely related—were the children of the cloud goddess Saraṇyu, who was the wife of the sun god Surya; the Ashvins rode through the sky in a divine chariot and, like Artaxerxes on his coinage, were armed with bows:

Image

The second thing to note, and the real clincher, is the use of the verb γίγνονται (gignontai) which is the same verb as the New Testaments γίνομαι ("ginomai") conjugated in a different person and number (3rd plural rather than 1st singular, i.e "are" vs. "am"). This is a word that in Classical Greek can mean "become" but often there and especially in later Greek means little more than "was." However, with our special Bayesian-based insights, we can see other meanings that were little known to the ancients. For example, the fact that Xenophon uses this verb shows that "it's odd that he did so choose to use it. I.e., [Xenophon] appears to be trying to say something about [Artaxerxes and Cyrus] other than being born of earthly parents."

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Last edited by Symmachus on Tue Jan 02, 2018 3:49 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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