Major holidays coming

| 103 Comments

Three major holidays occur in the next two days. First, there’s Kitzmas on Dec 20th, the 7th anniversary of Judge Jones’ 2005 ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Second, there’s the winter solstice on the 21st, the beginning of winter. It’s the day the sun is at its lowest altitude above the horizon in the northern hemisphere and the day is the shortest of the year. The winter solstice is celebrated by many cultures, not including those who have to go to work in the dark of morning and return home in the dark of evening. But be of good cheer: The days will get longer again!

Finally, of course, both of those holidays are trumped by the ultimate on the 21st, THE END OF THE WORLD! (Or maybe just a transition to a new world of sweetness, light, and endless beer for the FSMers.) At least some of the loonier wingnuts (see here for some descriptions) tell us the world will end, basing their story on a misinterpretation of the Mayan calender. Skeptics notwithstanding, you can watch the end of the world live here.

So, Merry Kitzmas, Happy Solstice, and I’ll see you on the other side of the end of the world (maybe…)!

103 Comments

First, there’s Kitzmas on Dec 20th, the 7th anniversary of Judge Jones’ 2005 ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover.

Obviously designed to be just in time to make baby Jesus cry.

We’re just so diabolical…

Glen Davidson

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

And you know Byers’ track record…

You know, there’s this fantastic hedge fund run by a Bernie Madoff–every bit as solid as creationism…

Glen Davidson

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

Not to worry, the earth will come to an end long before that happens.

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

DING! DING! DING! BRAUGH! BRAUGH! BRAUGH!

CONGRATULATIONS Robert Byers ! YOU ARE THE ONE MILLIONTH PERSON TO PREDICT THE IMMINENT DEMISE OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION! MAJOR PRIZES ARE YOURS!

All you have to do to collect is to be right. But after all, a million people have been wrong before you! Somebody’s got to be right sometime!

Oh yeah, evolution will definitely collapse. Read about it here

oops, bad link. Guess it really is collapsing!

phhht said:

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

DING! DING! DING! BRAUGH! BRAUGH! BRAUGH!

CONGRATULATIONS Robert Byers ! YOU ARE THE ONE MILLIONTH PERSON TO PREDICT THE IMMINENT DEMISE OF THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION! MAJOR PRIZES ARE YOURS!

All you have to do to collect is to be right. But after all, a million people have been wrong before you! Somebody’s got to be right sometime!

Robert Byers is disqualified because he’s already made this prediction before. Not that it’ll stop the moron.

Deadly Criticism, like: “ID is a science in the same sense astrology is a science”?

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

On a different note, yesterday I went to a couple of videos on youtube about Nibiru and asked where it was? Strangely I was banned.

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

What have the creationists achieved this year anyone, anyone?

Whilst in the science world, how many papers were published? I’m sure the people here would know more than I would. Didn’t a team create a working cell from spare parts? More fossils of feathery dinosaurs. What other cool things happened this year?

On a different note, yesterday I went to a couple of videos on youtube about Nibiru and asked where it was? Strangely I was banned.

I think I saw a movie trailer about Nibiru Saturday. Evidently it’s the location of Ann Gauger’s lab, in the green screen galaxy.

What have the creationists achieved this year anyone, anyone?

Whilst in the science world, how many papers were published? I’m sure the people here would know more than I would. Didn’t a team create a working cell from spare parts? More fossils of feathery dinosaurs. What other cool things happened this year?

Who cares? Their elves were busy in the workshop churning out distortions and ID legislation. No time or interest for anything else!

MichaelJ said:

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

A whopping TWO “research” articles? http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index[…]ssue/view/26

What have the creationists achieved this year anyone, anyone?

Whilst in the science world, how many papers were published? I’m sure the people here would know more than I would. Didn’t a team create a working cell from spare parts? More fossils of feathery dinosaurs. What other cool things happened this year?

Sorry, bad formatting.

MichaelJ said:

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

What have the creationists achieved this year anyone, anyone?

Whilst in the science world, how many papers were published? I’m sure the people here would know more than I would. Didn’t a team create a working cell from spare parts? More fossils of feathery dinosaurs. What other cool things happened this year?

A whopping TWO articles? http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index[…]ssue/view/26

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

The Kitzmiller trial had nothing whatsoever to do with defending the theory of evolution from criticism.

In fact the trial featured lawyers (not in black robes, it took place in the US, not Canada) trying, unsuccessfully, to defend ID/creationism from deadly criticism.

The trial was about an effort to teach sectarian science denial dogma as “science” in public schools. The unsurprising finding was that this effort violated the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. (Such efforts also violate Canadian human rights law.)

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Merry Kitzmas.

Merry Christmas and/or Happy Holidays to everyone, too.

Video of Judge Jones public talk on 9 December at the University of Oklahoma discussing the Kitzmiller trial, intelligent design and related topics with a Q and A is here:

http://mainstreambaptist.blogspot.c[…]-design.html

The film was made with permission of Judge Jones by Dr. Bruce Prescott. Bruce is a strong supporter of evolution, a Board member of Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education ( http://www.oklascience.org/ )and a former member of the national board of trustees of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, where he served with Barbara Forrest. His organization, Mainstream Baptists, opposes the Southern Baptist Association and works to return the Baptist Church to the historical position of strong separation of church and state, individual governance of each congregation, etc.

harold Wrote:

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Yeah, but only because that liberal, atheist activist judge refused to let the Isaac Newton of Information Theory testify. ;-)

Frank J said:

harold Wrote:

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Yeah, but only because that liberal, atheist activist judge refused to let the Isaac Newton of Information Theory testify. ;-)

Does “testify” in this usage mean “to make an utter fool of oneself”? Was the Wizard of ID (who refused to make a deposition because they wouldn’t let him have a whole lawyer just for himself) somebody different?

Frank J said:

harold Wrote:

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Yeah, but only because that liberal, atheist activist judge refused to let the Isaac Newton of Information Theory testify. ;-)

Frank J helpfully used an emoticon, but still, I hope everyone else realizes that he is kidding here. The best guess as to why Dembski didn’t testify is that the defense realized that he would make a terrible witness, but that’s only a guess.

Just to pound home the point, there has never been and presumably never will be a trial to “defend” the theory of evolution. The theory of evolution is just a scientific theory.

Technically, there has never been and probably never will be a trial to “defend creationism”, either. It is perfectly legal to advocate creationist science denial.

There have been a number of trials at which the teaching of sectarian creationist dogma as “science” in taxpayer funded public schools was defended (but always found to be illegal). None of these trials have had anything to do with either “defending evolution”, nor “defending creationism”, broadly defined.

All of these trials have focused squarely on the violation of constitutional rights that occurs when a particular sect is favored by the government, by the teaching of the dogma of the favored sect as “science” in public schools.

Robert Byers can’t get it - he literally can’t get it, the way a parrot with a large vocabulary can’t get advanced calculus. He is literally more or less biologically incapable of getting it. He was probably born with a nervous system that could get it, but it is probably too late now.

Robert Byers would not want someone teaching that science proves a Hindu fundamentalist interpretation of the Bhagavadgita on his tax dime. Yet he wants to do exactly the same thing himself.

Byers’ logic here - and creationist logic in general - is exactly equivalent to wanting a law that says that their house can’t be burgled, but that they can burgle anyone else’s house at will, rather than being able to comprehend that a general law that protects everyone from burglary is better.

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

Deadly criticism? that’s funny.

harold said:

Frank J said:

harold Wrote:

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Yeah, but only because that liberal, atheist activist judge refused to let the Isaac Newton of Information Theory testify. ;-)

Frank J helpfully used an emoticon, but still, I hope everyone else realizes that he is kidding here. The best guess as to why Dembski didn’t testify is that the defense realized that he would make a terrible witness, but that’s only a guess.

Yeah but he pocketed a cool 20K. ID pays!

Robert Byers said:

… lawyers…defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging.

Well, as Spock would say, fascinating.

Fascinating considering that ID “star” Michael Behe of the defense said this under oath during the trial, “there are no peer reviewed articles by anyone advocating for intelligent design supported by pertinent experiments or calculations which provide detailed rigorous accounts of how intelligent design of any biological system occurred”.

Behe also admitted that if the definition of science theory was expanded to include ID, astrology would also qualify as science theory!!

Speaking of lawyers, two of the lawyers for the plaintiffs (the side challenging ID) were open about their Christian faith, a third lawyer (Eric Rothschild) being Jewish. The lead expert witness for the plaintiffs (Brown Univ biologist Ken Miller) is Christian. Of the 11 regular plaintiffs, 8 of them IIRC were Christian. Yep, a big atheistic bias here, folks.

I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

The YECs had double black eyes from court battles decades ago. For example, during the 1981 McLean v. Arkansas creation science trial, the defense (representing the creation science side) did not submit as evidence even one example of a creation science paper that had been rejected by a mainstream science journal (this was even noted by the judge [Judge Overton] in his decision). The McLean trial was such a disaster for creation scientists, even one of the expert witnesses for the defense (yes, the defense) said under oath that no rational scientist accepts a world Flood and a young-earth!!!

BTW, McLean, the lead plaintiff in the case for which the case is named, is a (now retired) minister.

Kevin B said:

Frank J said:

harold Wrote:

“Evolution” wasn’t on trial. ID/creationism was on trial. ID/creationism lost.

Yeah, but only because that liberal, atheist activist judge refused to let the Isaac Newton of Information Theory testify. ;-)

Does “testify” in this usage mean “to make an utter fool of oneself”? Was the Wizard of ID (who refused to make a deposition because they wouldn’t let him have a whole lawyer just for himself) somebody different?

Adding to Harold’s reply: As for the rest of my Byers imitation, you probably know that Judge Jones is a Christian and conservative, appointed by George W. Bush, who, in a later comment, not the clueless “teach the controversy” one from before the trial that’s always cited, suggested that he approved of the judge’s decision. You probably also know that he’s not remotely “activist,” but predicted that the DI would call him that. Which they did without skipping a beat.

Ah, Booby Byers is just out of sorts because 3 US states approved same sex marriage. See Booby dodging and weaving as he moves the goal posts on Larry Moran’s blog.

http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2012/1[…]comment-form

Robert Byers said:

Actually that was funny. However celebrating lawyers in black robes defending a scientific theory from deadly criticism is sign of the intellectual times and that they are achanging. I predict this next year will be a further eroding and dissenting away of old man evolution. A Christmas gift to YEC old timers who fought the good fight.

George W. Bush, who, in a later comment, not the clueless “teach the controversy” one from before the trial that’s always cited, suggested that he approved of the judge’s decision

George W. Bush has a proven track record of contradicting himself on the subject of evolution, sometimes advocating “teaching both theories” or seeming to deny evolution, and other times, seeming to take evolution for granted (google for examples).

I agree with what Frank J implies here - George W. Bush was probably insincere when pandering to creationists. Although he played a congenial idiot on television, he’s actually reasonably intelligent and well educated.

Where I may disagree with some people is whether or not this, if true, is a credit to George W. Bush. I do not think it is.

This comment is on topic because if there are well educated, privileged people who are willing to get into bed with religious authoritarians, for political gain, that is relevant. It doesn’t matter what politicians “secretly believe”, it matters what they do.

“First, there’s Kitzmas on Dec 20th, the 7th anniversary of Judge Jones’ 2005 ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover.”

Yes, the Darwinian judge ruled as expected.

Frank J said:

.…you probably know that Judge Jones is a Christian.…

His ruling against ID (Creator-did-it) and for evolution (unintelligence-did-it) is good evidence that he is not a real Christian.

“My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter.”

–Adolf Hitler (1922)

Anyone can claim to be a Christian.

Tenncrain said:

Speaking of lawyers, two of the lawyers for the plaintiffs (the side challenging ID) were open about their Christian faith, a third lawyer (Eric Rothschild) being Jewish. The lead expert witness for the plaintiffs (Brown Univ biologist Ken Miller) is Christian. Of the 11 regular plaintiffs, 8 of them IIRC were Christian. Yep, a big atheistic bias here, folks.

Rothschild is savagely anti-Christianity and an Atheist. Your assumption that “Jewish” automatically means “Theist” or “Deist” is error.

Since all Atheists accept, defend, and promote evolution with fanatical zeal, and since evolution uses pro-Atheist assumptions to explain reality (Naturalism-Materialism), these facts say all other persons mentioned cannot be real Christians. Real Christians do not accept pro-Atheism assumptions about reality, neither do they accept the Atheist explanation of life. The only thing left to explain is why do these “Christians” THINK they are Christians?

Short answer: existence of an invisible Deceiver.

This is why we are Christians and have faith: whatever the Bible says, good or bad, is true.

Ray Martinez said:

“First, there’s Kitzmas on Dec 20th, the 7th anniversary of Judge Jones’ 2005 ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover.”

Yes, the Darwinian judge ruled as expected.

Not true. The creationists were crowing that Judge Jones was one of them - a conservative Republican - and the anti-evolution / pro-creationist decision was in the bag.

Ray Martinez said:

Since all Atheists accept, defend, and promote evolution with fanatical zeal, and since evolution uses pro-Atheist assumptions to explain reality (Naturalism-Materialism), these facts say all other persons mentioned cannot be real Christians. Real Christians do not accept pro-Atheism assumptions about reality, neither do they accept the Atheist explanation of life. The only thing left to explain is why do these “Christians” THINK they are Christians?

Short answer: existence of an invisible Deceiver.

This is why we are Christians and have faith: whatever the Bible says, good or bad, is true.

But Christians, Ray Martinez, believe in non-existent gods, just like your “Invisible Deceiver.” Their gods are no more real than Harry Potter is. Christians believe that fictional characters are real. The Christian Biblical zombies are no more real than the zombies on TV in The Living Dead. Christians can’t distinguish fact from fantasy.

And you can’t show any different, Ray Martinez. You can’t show anybody a god. You can’t even show anybody a picture of a god. You can’t say how to detect a god. You can’t get your impotent gods to do anything, not the least little thing, here in the real world, because they do not live in the real world. They are fictional, just like Batman.

You are mistaken in your religious convictions, Ray Martinez. You believe in things that are not real.

Now you can squawk and whine about how blinding naturalism is, but naturalism makes claims you can test for yourself. You probably have a car. You probably know how to use a phone. Every time you do so, you confirm naturalism.

You can deny all day long and the nighttime too - and you will - but what you cannot do is to provide even the slightest shred of objective, testable evidence for the existence of gods. Why should anybody believe your fairy tales?

All you got is hot air, Ray. You got nothing but delusions.

Actually, the available evidence, such as it is, appears to show a birth in the year 4 BCE or perhaps even earlier. As for December 25, that was chosen so that Jan. 1 became the date of his bris.

Just Bob said:

And there are strong reasons to think that the historical Jesus was NOT born anywhere near December 25, or in the year 1 ‘AD’ (CE).

Ray Martinez said:

apokryltaros said:

Just Bob said:

Have 2 creationists, say a YEC and an OEC, seriously gone after each other here on PT? Or do they always refuse to challenge anybody else who screams, “I’m a CRISSCHUNN and evolution is of the DEVIL!”

The latter, always the latter. Like on this thread, Ray Martinez deems Robert Byers too irrelevant to be worth mentioning, and Robert Byers is too stupid brain damaged to care/notice.

I’ve never had an exchange with Robert Byers. But for the record: the man you refer to as “brain damaged” accepts the main cause-and-effect claim of Darwinism (natural selection/microevolution) like all Atheists. In other words, the YEC Fundy is in YOUR bed, not mine, Thank God.

There is no evidence supporting the existence of natural causation, microevolution or speciation.

RM (Old Earth, Paleyan IDist-anti-selectionist/species immutabilist; Obama Democrat)

I only accept selection as a working thing based on logical observation of biology striving to reproduce/survive, Micro evolution to me is an option but probably is so rare as to be irrelevant including YEC only have some 6000 years to work with. Innate adaptation must be the real role for biology within kinds. Like with people and details of our bodies like colour, and so on. Not micro evolution but change from biological innate mechanisms. Very limited cause and effect in nature but the logic is there for it within tight boundaries.

by the way it doesn’t matter to me to be called “brain damaged”. A Christian must believe the intelligent thinking is in our soul as we take it with us to the afterworld. While leaving the brain behind. the brain is only a middle man between our thinking and our body. From conception to death we always have the same thinking ability as we do at 25 years etc. It simply is interfered with by things that block it. like being babies, or drunk. Brain damage never hurt the innate thinking of human beings. its a myth.

harold said:

Jesus is the reason for the season

As a Christian atheist who enjoys Christmas and calls it that (I also say “Happy Holidays”, of course, to include everyone), I do have to point out that the timing of this particular holiday is about the winter solstice.

Happy Holidays may be good enough, but to me, “Happy Solstice” has more profound implications. The new year; the sun returning in the cycle of death and renewal of the world.

To quote “The Jesus Mysteries”:

There was quite a dispute in early Christianity about whether the birth of Christ was December 25 or January 6. Was this because no one could remember? Or could it be simply because early Christians were unsure whether to synchronize it with the birth of Mithras or with the birth of Aion, both of whom were different representations of the perennial Mystery godman? These dates were not arbitrarily chosen. Both were once the dates of the winter solstice, the shortest day, which signals the turning point of the year and the returning of the life-giving sun. Due to the precession of the equinoxes this date changes slightly over time. So, although the solstice moved progressively from January 6 to December 25, some traditions continued to celebrate it on the familiar night. Today it falls around December 22. The annual celebration of the nativity of the Mystery godman celebrated the death of the old year and its miraculous rebirth as the new year on the date of the solstice. Osiris-Dionysus represented and was represented by the sun, as was Jesus, whom the Church father Clement of Alexander calls “The Sun of Righteousness.” By way of balance, Dionysus’ virgin mother Semele derives her name from the virgin moon goddess Selene. The angel Gabriel who comes to Mary to announce the birth of Jesus was likewise equated with the moon.

Doesn’t also the uncertainty about the date of such a celebrated historical event as the birth of Jesus make us suspect it never happened?

Doesn’t also the uncertainty about the date of such a celebrated historical event as the birth of Jesus make us suspect it never happened?

I have no idea whether the Biblical character Jesus is based on an actual historical individual, nor how accurate the representation is, if there was a historical figure. Neither does anyone else. The same could equally be said for the Buddha and many other religious figures. That question is irrelevant to me; I find value in the teachings of Socrates, too, regardless of whether or not depictions of the character are historically accurate http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrat[…]atic_problem

The early incorporation of very ancient pre-Christian symbols and rituals into Christianity is obvious.

Most ancient records, if records they be, are as problematic, or worse. For example, no record exists of Alexander the Great that was written in his own lifetime or near to it. The nearest annals date from thirty years or more after his death and consist merely of the mention of his name. All other sources are secondary, and date from long afterwards. They claim earlier sources, and there are even a few fragmentary quotes from them - Arrian gives a few words from Callisthenes, for example - but we mostly rely simply on their word that these sources existed.

Only very few ancient historical figures have better attestation. Writers who left their own words, certainly, like Julius Caesar or Aristotle, but they are very much in the minority. To write ancient history at all, it is usually necessary to rely on third and fourth hand accounts written long afterwards, and all of these are subject to criticism for bias. Somewhat as the Gospels are, in fact.

Dave Luckett said:

…subject to criticism for bias. Somewhat as the Gospels are, in fact.

I think one must be even more suspicious of the gospels. Someone writing many years later about Alexander probably didn’t have much of an axe to grind. Maybe “He was the greatest general ever,” or “Ptolemy is his legitimate successor.” But an apostle, 40 or 50 years after Jesus, is a member of a persecuted–even legally proscribed–minority, whose religious duty is to PROSELYTIZE.

Well, maybe. But that’s inseparable from the fact that our sources on Alexander are unequivocably secondary sources. No historian is free from bias, and the question of how much they had invested in their presentation is a perennial chestnut.

On Alexander, the words remaining to us were written by writers who were working with an inbuilt series of personal biases that are just as real as the biases of the Evangelists, if more insidious, with the added rider that we can only construct those biases from the words they wrote, rather than infer them, as you have done, from the writers’ avowed purpose. Arrian, for example, used Ptolemy, who admired Alexander, and Callisthenes, whose writings were straightforwardly sycophantic, although he changed his mind over the proskynesis business, upbraided Alexander, and was executed for it. But we only know these are his sources because Arrian, unlike most ancient historians, was good enough to state them.

Some of the New Testament sources originate closer to their subject than that, both in time and in transmission. Paul’s first letters date from not more than twenty years after the crucifixion, well within living memory, and there’s no reason to doubt his statement that he knew and spoke with eyewitnesses. John’s gospel and letters were undoubtedly redacted by his followers, but there is apparently eyewitness testimony in them, although teasing it out is the subject of some controversy. The Nag Hammadi hoard provided a page of sayings of Jesus that appears to antedate the Gospels.

And the question, with respect, was not what our interpretation of Jesus should be, but whether he existed at all.

I think he did exist. That is, I think there is enough evidence to say that there was a Galilean nabi by the name of Yeshua bin Yussuf, who probably said a good deal of what he is credited with in the Gospels, and who was executed by the Romans about 37 CE, tellingly in the manner used by them for rebels and revolted slaves. More than that I think is speculation, but that much is reasonable, on the available evidence.

No quibbles. I bow before your erudition.

But I still see the gospels as pretty much selling jobs, all the way through: selling Jews on the idea that Jesus was the messiah; selling various early christian groups on the idea that MY christian ideals and practices are the correct ones (not that other guy’s); and eventually selling the idea that no matter how badly we’re treated now, VERY SOON Jesus will come back and reward us, and punish all the non- (or incorrect) believers, so stick with us real tight.

They can be read that way, sure. They can be read in a number of different ways, all perfectly supportable from the text. They’re complex texts, and all complex texts are polythemic and polysemic.

FWIW, I don’t think they were much interested in selling the idea to Jews that Jesus was the Messiah - Matthew is the possible exception, but even so, the content is difficult to square with that idea. I think they wanted to sell the idea to gentiles that it was Jews who rejected Jesus, and the Sanhedrin that caused his death - not the Roman governor, who tried to save him. Jesus wasn’t a rebel against Rome, dear me, no.

That is, the church was disassociating itself from Judaism, because Judaism was very much on the nose after 66 CE. John, particularly, had gone beyond the Messiah idea and was heading towards the God Incarnate one, a notion completely repugnant to a Jewish sensibility, but which fitted nicely with the sons of gods and anthropomorphised gods of pagan mythology.

The synoptics were selling the notion that Jesus would return soon, pretty clearly, but John sang quite a different tune, see John 21:21-23. And even the synoptics didn’t have anything much to say about contemporary church leadership or practices, except that they depicted the original disciples as quarrelsome and pretty dim. One might make out from this that they supported Pauline apostleship; but by 70 CE Pauline Christianity was all that was left anyway, the Jerusalem Church and Jewish Christianity (if it had ever gotten much off the ground) being smoking rubble by then, so the point seems moot.

Dave Luckett said: …by 70 CE Pauline Christianity was all that was left anyway, the Jerusalem Church and Jewish Christianity (if it had ever gotten much off the ground) being smoking rubble by then, so the point seems moot.

I contend that “Saint” Paul, was a secret agent of the Roman government and the most successful one of all time. He managed to subvert and convert a simple religion of loving socialism into the misogynistic mess that became the Church of Rome.

As my old classics prof used to say, “Well, it’s an interpretation.”

Merry Christmas, and if that offends you,

Hypothesis: the carefully observed and rationally considered evidence should demonstrate a heightened level of seratonin and a measurable improvement in mood over the next few days. More research into this phenomenon should now be undertaken.

Me, I prefer the former, but DSFDF.

Actually it is my information that the alleged execution of Yeshua of Nazareth occurred sometime around 27 CE.

Dave Luckett said:

Well, maybe. But that’s inseparable from the fact that our sources on Alexander are unequivocably secondary sources. No historian is free from bias, and the question of how much they had invested in their presentation is a perennial chestnut.

On Alexander, the words remaining to us were written by writers who were working with an inbuilt series of personal biases that are just as real as the biases of the Evangelists, if more insidious, with the added rider that we can only construct those biases from the words they wrote, rather than infer them, as you have done, from the writers’ avowed purpose. Arrian, for example, used Ptolemy, who admired Alexander, and Callisthenes, whose writings were straightforwardly sycophantic, although he changed his mind over the proskynesis business, upbraided Alexander, and was executed for it. But we only know these are his sources because Arrian, unlike most ancient historians, was good enough to state them.

Some of the New Testament sources originate closer to their subject than that, both in time and in transmission. Paul’s first letters date from not more than twenty years after the crucifixion, well within living memory, and there’s no reason to doubt his statement that he knew and spoke with eyewitnesses. John’s gospel and letters were undoubtedly redacted by his followers, but there is apparently eyewitness testimony in them, although teasing it out is the subject of some controversy. The Nag Hammadi hoard provided a page of sayings of Jesus that appears to antedate the Gospels.

And the question, with respect, was not what our interpretation of Jesus should be, but whether he existed at all.

I think he did exist. That is, I think there is enough evidence to say that there was a Galilean nabi by the name of Yeshua bin Yussuf, who probably said a good deal of what he is credited with in the Gospels, and who was executed by the Romans about 37 CE, tellingly in the manner used by them for rebels and revolted slaves. More than that I think is speculation, but that much is reasonable, on the available evidence.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on December 19, 2012 5:11 PM.

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