Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
Jesus famed far and wide:
"These "great crowds" and "multitudes," along with Jesus's fame, are repeatedly referred to in the gospels, including at the following:
Matthew 4:23-25, 5:1, 8:1, 8:18, 9:8, 9:31, 9:33, 9:36, 11:7, 12:15, 13:2, 14:1, 14:13, 14:22, 15:30, 19:2, 21:9, 26:55;
Mark 1:28, 10:1;
Luke: 4:14, 4:37, 5:15, 14:25, etc."
- Who Was Jesus?
, page 85
"Additionally, even though many times in the gospels Jesus was claimed to have been famed far and wide, not one historian of the era was aware of his existence, not even individuals who lived in, traveled around, or wrote about the relevant areas. The brief mentions of Christ, Christians or Christianity we possess from non-Christian sources are late and dubious as to their authenticity and/or value. Nor is there any valid scientific archaeological evidence demonstrating the gospel story to be true or even to support the existence of Jesus Christ. Despite this utter lack of evidence, Christian apologists and authorities make erroneous and misleading claims that there are "considerable reports" and "a surprisingly large amount of detail" regarding the life of Jesus and early Christianity."
- WWJ page 257
Why should we expect to read something from contemporary sources, and why should Philo have at least known something about this? Well because we're talking about someone who is supposed to be famed far and wide, whether a God-Man or just a man with a doomsday cult following. And if they're all lying about his fame far and wide in that region, and the multitudes of people involved, why then trust the authors about anything at all? Are the Mormons lying about Joseph Smith's fame? What about the SDA's and Ellen White's or William Miller's fame? Were these people known far and wide? Should we use them as an example to look back on the fame that Jesus should have had too, as the leader of a doomsday "personality cult"? What about Herald Camping? Doomsday nonsense brings fame along with it regardless how ridiculous and played out the concept of crying doomsday is.
I think that is actually a good objection, and it deserves thought. I think Christianity may be at least somewhat unique with respect to the fact that it seemingly went from one culture to another: from the Jews to the Greeks. Not only that, but it crossed languages: from Aramaic to Greek. And, its fame magnified the most among the Greeks, not the Jews. The gospels were written in Greek for Greeks, with the exception of the gospel of Matthew, which was apparently written in Greek for Jews of the Greek-speaking Hellenistic-diaspora who didn't live in Israel. Among all Christian communities of the gospels, their knowledge of Israeli culture comes to them only through spoken myth and second-hand information at best. And, they apparently got things wrong, because (1) they were wishful thinkers, and (2) they just didn't know.
For example, Luke claimed that there was a synagogue in Jesus' hometown of Nazareth, where Jesus read a passage from a scroll of Isaiah (actually misquoting it), convincing everyone in the synagogue that he is the messiah. A native Jew would be, at best, surprised to learn that there was a synagogue in Nazareth, because synagogues existed only in larger cities, and Nazareth was very small and out of the way. The Greek myth-tellers had freedom to speculate about what existed in Nazareth, because they wanted to believe certain things about Nazareth, they actually didn't know anything about Nazareth, and there was no one to tell them wrong.
Likewise, they had freedom to speculate about the popularity of Jesus among the Jews of Israel
, a culture that was perfectly foreign. They didn't live in Israel, and they wanted to believe that Jesus was popular, being followed everywhere by thousands of people for Jesus' wise teachings. There was nobody to tell those Greek-speakers wrong, so they told it among themselves and believed it.
That is the basic idea of myth-telling: believe and tell what you want and expect, as long as it is not obviously wrong. A lot more claims may be obviously wrong about what is popular in your own culture. If someone were to tell you that Acharya S is a very popular author in your own country, then you may know that is not true, even though you may want it to be true, and you would not pass along that obviously-false claim. But, if someone were to tell you that they have it on good authority that Acharya S is a very popular author in Egypt
, then you may be inclined to believe it and tell it again to someone else, if it helps reinforce a point that you want other people to understand. Unless you are a friend with someone from Egypt, you wouldn't know the reality of what is popular in Egypt. That is just an example--not that you would really do such a thing.
And the writing of CiE goes through the primary sources of the Egyptian texts very thoroughly and carefully cites them on each page.
Good to hear. Unfortunately, I was talking with STF in another thread, and he relayed to me a quote from Christ in Egypt
that seems to only follow the same old pattern of Christ Conspiracy
--quoting and citing modern opinions about the ancient sources rather than quoting and citing the ancient sources directly. That was with respect to Acharya S's claim that Horus had the title, "Lamb of God." It is something I would expect to be a title for Jesus and absolutely nobody else in myth, because Jesus had a special reason for it--reputedly, Jesus was killed at the Jewish Passover, Jesus would seem unique in that respect, and the gospel of John portrayed Jesus as a sacrificed Passover lamb to atone for the sins of the world (and John was seemingly the only gospel that did so). If I could find that thing about Horus being called "Lamb of God" in the ancient sources rather than just the modern echo chamber, that would be a very big step forward for me.