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PostPosted: Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:48 am 
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Tat Tvam Asi wrote:
That Richard Carrier has stood up as spokesman for mythicism and hailed himself as our strong PhD proponent, has become a disservice to the entire venture...

Yeah, it's so bad that I wish somebody would take the most significant parts of the FAQ post and turn it into a video with video clips of Carrier in his own words from his lectures. People need to be made aware. Carrier has made this bed all by himself, he chose to do it, now, it's time for him to lie in the bed he made and take responsibility and be held accountable.

So now, Carrier is lying about the FAQ:

Richard Carrier wrote:
Acharya has publicly stated she will attack me and my book regardless of its merits, as revenge for criticizing her.

Take note how Carrier failed to cite a source - because a source of her saying that does NOT exist ... Carrier is now LYING again. I've never heard Acharya even hint any thing even remotely close to that about anybody's books. It's just another smear and lie and not the behavior of a professional scholar. Acharya has always been open to constructive criticism and making necessary adjustments so, contrary to Carrier's lie that this is all about revenge over his Luxor criticism is false and is just more, either, dishonesty or another sloppy error on Carrier's part. I have made a very strong case with Carrier on video and in his own words in the FAQ: Stupid Things Richard Carrier has Said and Done. I would much rather be doing far more productive things, believe me, but, Carrier's utter dishonesty must be pointed out and everybody needs to be made aware, apparently, to get Carrier to break the habit he has created for himself over the last 10 years, so, he must be called out on it since none of his fanboys or supporters are double-checking his claims, it looks like we will have to do the work for them.

Acharya has NEVER criticized a single book of Carrier's and even if she did, she's not in the habit of LYING or SMEARING other people or their work. It's not Carrier's work that we have a problem with, of course, we have valid criticism of it since he admits he knows nothing about the astrotheological origins of religion since he admits he has no interest in it and refuses to study it because he finds it "dull."

Our issues are the fact that Carrier's criticisms of Acharya's work include sloppy and egregious errors and he goes around in his lectures making an endless stream of derogatory remarks about Acharya and her work and tells people not to read it when Carrier himself has not actually studied it. Plus, the fact that Carrier goes around in his lectures telling everybody to: "forget about all the other mythicist theories ... So, I say, if you want a simple rule: Basically, if you don't hear it from me, be skeptical of it.", we just don't accept he's the legend he'd like everybody to believe. Many have witnessed it for themselves at his lectures. Carrier has an irrational war on astrotheology and Acharya S based on his own admission of biases and willful ignorance and it's an embarrassment and disservice to the entire field of mythicism. If Carrier is not interested in the astrotheological origins of religious concepts, perhaps mythicism is not the best field for him.

I may have to lay out a transcript of significant points to cover should anybody decide to make a video.

FAQ: Stupid Things Richard Carrier has Said and Done
viewtopic.php?p=4771#p4771

'On the Historicity of Jesus' by Dick Carrier
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=4520

Nuskeptix "Christ Myth Theory" Video Chat
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=4640

Carrier discusses Philo's pre-Xian "celestial Jesus" and Josephus but, does he mention these?:

Quote:
"See Exodus 39:9-14: "...they made the breastplate... And they set in it four rows of stones... And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve...according to the twelve tribes."

As Josephus says (Antiquities, 3.8): "And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning." (Josephus/Whiston, 75.)

Earlier than Josephus, Philo ("On the Life of Moses," 12) had made the same comments regarding Moses: "Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?" (Philo/Duke, 99.)"

- Christ in Egypt, 261-2

The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology
http://freethoughtnation.com/forums/vie ... =16&t=2639

Does Carrier mention Malachi 4:2?

Quote:
"...the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Like Father, like son, and the connection between Jesus and the sun is first evidenced in the OT book of Malachi (4:2), which immediately precedes the New Testament and in which the author refers to the "Sun of Righteousness" who will "arise with healing in his wings." This scripture, which is in the last chapter before the Gospel of Matthew, sounds much like the winged solar disc of Babylon and Egypt."

Image

"This scripture in Malachi is perceived as a reference to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. In this regard, this clearly solar appellation "Sun of Righteousness" is repeated many times by early Church fathers as being applicable to Christ."

Jesus as the Sun throughout History
http://www.stellarhousepublishing.com/j ... cerpt.html

On what basis does Carrier stick with the status-quo dating for the Gospels?:

Richard Carrier: "I favor the later end of mainstream ranges for these documents and concede the earlier end is possible"

"On the Historicity of Jesus" by Richard Carrier
viewtopic.php?p=28961#p28961

What about all the similarities between the OT Joseph and Jesus?

Image

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... 168&type=1

Does Carrier mention any of the primary sources or quotes from scholars in this video?

Jesus Christ, Sun of Righteousness


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 27, 2014 1:33 pm 
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Neil Godfrey is at it again, providing misinformation due to his utter ignorance on the subject:

Quote:
"What Carrier's method comes down to is the assurance that alternative arguments are also given due weight and consideration alongside your own theory. The equation ensures you don't forget to take proper and due account of alternative explanations when you are evangelizing your own. This is why the Caesar = Jesus, the Antigonus, and the astrotheology of Robert Tulip -- all of them so convince their devotees but not others: devotees only look at their own arguments and forget to evaluate the alternatives...."

- Neil Godfrey
Code:
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=687&start=820#p18083

Previously from Godfrey: Nuskeptix "Christ Myth Theory" Video Chat

Quote:
50:18 Neil Godfrey: "I've been in some conversations on a discussion board with one of Murdock's publicists, Robert Tulip, and um, my point is, ok look, I have this hypothesis I believe that the gospel miracle stories can be explained, ya know, by ya know such & such and the prediction here would be that every word and phrase in this particular pericope can be explained in terms of yeah, some other scripture and I can go through and show that and I ask him, "what is your prediction?" and all he can do is say well, (inaudible to me) ... the fish and the 12 or something like that ..." (laughter & ridicule)

My thoughts: Neil's comment here is just a bizarre display of biases demonstrating Neil does not have any clue what Robert Tulip is talking about, which is a red flag as everybody who has ever taken a debate class already knows that one must be able to accurately explain the opponents position and argument. Obviously, Neil cannot, in fact, he can't even really begin to explain Robert Tulips position or argument or even the basics of astrotheology due to the fact that Neil Godfrey has never studied it and just accepts what his hero, Richard Carrier, says about it without ever studying the subject for himself.

What does Carrier say about astrotheology? The quote below comes from a video chat that Neil Godfrey was a party to and was there when Carrier admitted:

Quote:
Carrier Has No Interest in Studying Astrotheology

In a 2014 video, Nuskeptix "Christ Myth Theory" Video Chat (53-54m), Carrier admits he has no interest in pursuing or investigating astrotheology, as he finds it "dull." That's basically an admission that he has never studied the subject. Therefore, Carrier is not an expert and is unqualified to comment on the subjects of astrotheology and its relationship to mythicism with any authority or competence whatsoever. He says he "could never write a book on the subject" - ain't that the truth!

Since Carrier is so deferential to Doherty - who actually has read some of Murdock's books - maybe he should listen to Earl's comments about Murdock and astrotheology, as here:

Quote:
"A heavenly location for the actions of the savior gods, including the death of Christ, would also have been influenced by most religions' ultimate derivation from astrotheology, as in the worship of the sun and moon. For this dimension of more remote Christian roots, see the books of Acharya S, especially Suns of God."

- Earl Doherty, Jesus: Neither God Nor Man: The Case for a Mythical Jesus (2009; 153)

Or how about these?

Quote:
"I have no objection to postulating a 'prehistoric' (i.e., prior to our earliest horizon on Christianity) phase to the heavenly Christ cult in which observations of the heavens helped shaped the Christ myth... Acharya has that aspect of things sewn up!"

"Acharya S has done a superb job in bringing together this rich panoply of ancient world mythology and culture, and presenting it in a comprehensive and compelling fashion.... We sorely need a new History of Religions School for the 21st century, to apply modern techniques to this important ancient material. Perhaps this book [Christ Con] will help bring that about."

"Personally, I was fascinated by the window she provided onto the old History of Religions school of the 19th century, something we've largely lost sight of since mainstream academia circled its wagons in the early 20th century and drove them into eclipse. I think Acharya has done invaluable work in bringing them back into the light, as she has the unduly neglected field of astrotheology."

- Earl Doherty

Richard Carrier is simply not a reliable or credible source on the subjects of Jesus mythicism, astrotheology or Murdock's work. His irrational war on astrotheology and Acharya S based on his own admission of biases and willful ignorance is an embarrassment and disservice to the entire field of mythicism. If Carrier is not interested in the astrotheological origins of religious concepts, perhaps mythicism is not the best field for him.

viewtopic.php?p=4771#p4771

So, how is it even possible for Neil Godfrey to imply that Carrier or Bayes Theorem debunks astrotheology when Carrier admits he refuses to study it? Just more proof of the Carrier fanboy club agenda of 'poisoning the well,' biases, and utter dishonesty.

Robert Tulip, maybe you would respond by posting those quotes and links above, especially the Doherty quotes and the video:

Jesus Christ, Sun of Righteousness



And please ask what sources and evidence convinced Carrier to support the mainstream dating of the gospels in his book, OHJ?

Quote:
"I favor the later end of mainstream ranges for these documents and concede the earlier end is possible"
- R. Carrier

viewtopic.php?p=28961#p28961

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:00 pm 
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Here's a response to a comment posted by Acharya from her blog: Newly discovered ancient Christian magical spell reveals Egyptian influence

Quote:
"Thanks. Yes, of course I know who Richard Carrier is, since he’s been attacking me dishonestly for the past several years.

All Carrier has “hypothesized” is what the Gnostics claimed of Christ, and he ignores the pre-Christian mythology that they created their Christ from. His work is shallow and worthless overall, as he has declared gleefully that he has no interest in the actual history of Jesus mythicism and is therefore willfully ignorant.

For more information, see:

Stupid things Richard Carrier has said and done
http://tbknews.blogspot.com/2014/05/stu ... -done.html

For more information – far more complete information – on the Christ myth, see my writings here at http://FreethoughtNation.com, as well as at http://Truthbeknown.com/ and http://Stellarhousepublishing.com

When one traces back the Gnostic ideas and the many other strains of thought that the fictional Christ character was predicated upon, the gospel story resolves itself largely to nature worship, solar mythology and astrotheology, of which Carrier is likewise admittedly extremely ignorant."

- Acharya S

The hotlinks included were:

Rebuttal to Dr. Chris Forbes
https://www.facebook.com/groups/Secular ... 097701631/

Jesus Christ, Sun of Righteousness
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=faILHU82-Cw

Her comment is spot on for those who study the Christ Myth subject in serious depth.

Quote:
"All Carrier has “hypothesized” is what the Gnostics claimed of Christ, and he ignores the pre-Christian mythology that they created their Christ from. His work is shallow and worthless overall, as he has declared gleefully that he has no interest in the actual history of Jesus mythicism and is therefore willfully ignorant ... When one traces back the Gnostic ideas and the many other strains of thought that the fictional Christ character was predicated upon, the gospel story resolves itself largely to nature worship, solar mythology and astrotheology, of which Carrier is likewise admittedly extremely ignorant."

- Acharya S

P.S. Acharya's comment is referring to Richard Carrier's own comments on video here: Nuskeptix "Christ Myth Theory" Video Chat and here: Stupid things Richard Carrier has done and said

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:29 pm 
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Below is a sincere and honest critique of Carrier's OHJ. It is sure to upset Carrier's fanboys because it does not kiss Carrier's arse or beat around any bushes and is quite frank. I share it here not because it's a 1-star review as that does not interest me ... we have grievances against Carrier for very good reasons but, regardless of all of that, we support and are always open to the most accurate and credible work proving or disproving whether or not Jesus existed and the credibility of the bible and other religious texts. Nevertheless, the person is correct about Bayes Theorem and it simply does not require a Ph.D. to figure that out. We agree that the methodology and peer review needs a complete comprehensive shake up because it's pathetic and Bayes Theorem certainly is useful when used properly but it's fair to point out that Bayes Theorem is not the answer to most of the problems with the bible and history as it certainly can be far too subjective. Bayes Theorem is best used for statistics as pointed out below.

Quote:
"To begin with, it's illustrative to note who uses Bayes Theorem to analyze history and who does not. In the first category we have William Lane Craig, the conservative Christian apologist, who uses Bayes Theorem to "prove" that Jesus actually did rise from the dead. And we also have Richard Carrier, the anti-Christian activist, who uses Bayes Theorem to "prove" that Jesus didn't exist at all. Right away, a curious observer would find themselves wondering how, if this Theorem is the wonderful instrument of historical objectivity both Craig and Carrier claim it to be, two people can apply it and come to two completely contradictory historical conclusions. After all, if Jesus didn't exist, he didn't do anything at all, let alone something as remarkable as rise from the dead. So both Carrier and Craig can't both be right. Yet they both use Bayes Theorem to "prove" historical things. Something does not make sense here.

Then if we turn to who doesn't use Bayes Theorem to analyze history we find this category includes ... pretty much every single historian on the planet. Again, this should strike the objective observer as distinctly odd. After all, if Bayes Theorem can genuinely be applied to determine the truth or otherwise of a historical event or proposition, it's exceedingly strange that thousands of historians all over the world are not applying this remarkable tool all the time. Richard Carrier maintains that this is because every historian on earth, except him, is too ignorant and mathematically illiterate to understand the wonders of this remarkable tool and only he has been clever enough to realize that it can be applied to history. Given that Thomas Bayes' theorem was first published in 1763, our objective observer would be forgiven for finding it remarkable that no-one noticed that it could be used in this way until Richard Carrier, an unemployed blogger, came along.

Bayes Theorem is used in probability theory and statistics as a tool for determining statistical probability. When used to compare two competing statements or probabilities, it is expressed like this:

Where:
P(A),the prior probability, is the initial degree of belief in A.
P(-A), is the corresponding probability of the initial degree of belief against A: 1-P(A)=P(-A)
P(B|A), the conditional probability or likelihood, is the degree of belief in A, given evidence or background B.
P(B|-A), the conditional probability or liklihood, is the degree of belief against A, given evidence or background B.
P(A|B), the posterior probability, is the probability for A after taking into account B for and against A.

For an idea of how this can be applied, let's look at a real world example (originally found in this post):

Marie is getting married tomorrow, at an outdoor ceremony in the desert. In recent years, it has rained only 5 days each year. Unfortunately, the weatherman has predicted rain for tomorrow. When it actually rains, the weatherman correctly forecasts rain 90% of the time. When it doesn't rain, he incorrectly forecasts rain 10% of the time. What is the probability that it will rain on the day of Marie's wedding?

Solution: The sample space is defined by two mutually-exclusive events - it rains or it does not rain. Additionally, a third event occurs when the weatherman predicts rain. Notation for these events appears below.

Event A1. It rains on Marie's wedding.
Event A2. It does not rain on Marie's wedding.
Event B. The weatherman predicts rain.
In terms of probabilities, we know the following:
P( A1 ) = 5/365 =0.0136985 [It rains 5 days out of the year.]
P( A2 ) = 360/365 = 0.9863014 [It does not rain 360 days out of the year.]
P( B | A1 ) = 0.9 [When it rains, the weatherman predicts rain 90% of the time.]
P( B | A2 ) = 0.1 [When it does not rain, the weatherman predicts rain 10% of the time.]
We want to know P( A1 | B ), the probability it will rain on the day of Marie's wedding, given a forecast for rain by the weatherman. The answer can be determined from Bayes' theorem, as shown below.
P( A1 | B ) = P( A1 ) P( B | A1 ) P( A1 ) P( B | A1 ) + P( A2 ) P( B | A2 ) P( A1 | B ) = (0.014)(0.9) / [ (0.014)(0.9) + (0.986)(0.1) ] P( A1 | B ) = 0.111
So, despite the weatherman's prediction, chances are Marie won't be rained on.

The first thing our objective observer should notice here is that we have hard data to plug into the equation. We know how often it does rain in this region, how often it doesn't rain and how often the weather forecast is right or wrong. So we can get a meaningful answer out of the equation because we can plug meaningful data into it in the first place.

So there are two problems here when it comes to trying to apply Bayes Theorem to history: (i) Carrier and Craig need to treat questions of what happened in the past as the same species of uncertainty as what may happen in the future and (ii) historical questions are uncertain precisely because we don't have defined and certain data to feed into the equation.

Bayes Theorem only works in cases where we can apply known information. So, in the example above, we know how often it rains in a year and we know when the weather forecast is and isn't correct. So by inputing this meaningful data, we can get a meaningful result out the other end of the equation.

This is not the case with history.

Bayes Theorem's application depends entirely on how precisely the parameters and values of our theoretical reconstruction of a real world approximate reality. With a historical question, Carrier is forced to think up probabilities for each parameter he put into the equation. This is a purely subjective process - he determines how likely or unlikely a parameter in the question is and then decides what value to give that parameter. So the result he gets at the end is purely a function of these subjective choices.

In other words: garbage in/garbage out.

So it's not surprising that Carrier comes up with a result on the question of whether Jesus existed that conforms to his belief that Jesus didn't - he came up with the values that were inevitably going to come up with that result. If someone who believed Jesus did exist did the same thing, the values they inputted would be different and they would come up with the opposite result. This is why historians don't bother using Bayes Theorem.

So what exactly is Carrier doing by applying this Theorem in a way that it can't be applied? Apart from being incompetent, he seems to be doing little more than putting a veneer of statistics over a subjective evaluation and pretending he's getting greater precision.

Not surprisingly, despite his usual grandiose claims that his use of Bayes Theorem is some kind of revolution in historiography, his book Proving History: Bayes's Theorem and the Quest for the Historical Jesus (2012) has pretty much sunk without trace and been generally ignored by historical Jesus scholars and historians alike. His failure to convince anyone except a gaggle of historically clueless online atheist fanboys of his vast genius means that Carrier is most likely to remain what he is: an unemployed blogger and general nobody.

(For those who are interested, his mathematics and statistics is about as bad as his historiography. See the Irreducible Complexity blog's rather scathing review of Carrier's use of Bayes: http://irrco.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/a ... d-carrier/ The blogger is actually inclined to agree with Carrier on the existence of Jesus, which makes his criticisms of his misuse of the mathematics even more trenchant.

And for an amusing critique, try this blog post that applies Bayes Theorem and Carrier-style reasoning to "prove" that, in fact, Richard Carrier doesn't exist: http://www.rightreason.org/2012/does-ri ... ier-exist/

- by "No Dice!," September 19, 2014

One commenter says:

Quote:
David Marshall says: I think the point is that Bayes is no magic wand. Carrier's occasional references to it here solve no pressing problems in Historical Jesus research, because his analysis is as subjective and biased as that of anyone else, at least. As evidenced by where Carrier actually focuses most of his attention, this is not really where the rubber meets the road. Bayes is not a substitute for the criteria that Carrier berates (futilely, in my view), but simply a framework for talking about the evidence, which can be done well or poorly. If Carrier had done that well, then use of Bayes in itself would not be a problem, I think. But unlike love, Bayes does not cover the multitude of intellectual sins that make up Carrier's actual argument. so talking of it as if it were the best invention since mustard was added to hot dogs, seems a bit gimmicky.

If Carrier responds feel free to post the link.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:57 pm 
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I am going through Carrier's book, OHJ, and I can now confirm that Richard Carrier does not ever mention any of what is quoted below. No mention of Exodus 39:9-14, no mention of Josephus "Antiquities" 3.8, no mention of Philo "On the Life of Moses" 12, no mention of Malachi 4:2 as Richard Carrier avoids any discussion of astrotheology like the plague. Also, there's no mention of the Mazzaroth or zodiac as found in the book of Job 38:31-32.

Quote:
"See Exodus 39:9-14: "...they made the breastplate... And they set in it four rows of stones... And the stones were according to the names of the children of Israel, twelve...according to the twelve tribes."

As Josephus says (Antiquities, 3.8): "And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months, or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning." (Josephus/Whiston, 75.)

Earlier than Josephus, Philo ("On the Life of Moses," 12) had made the same comments regarding Moses: "Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?" (Philo/Duke, 99.)"

- Christ in Egypt, 261-2

Malachi 4:2

Quote:
"...the sun was worshipped by the Israelites, who associated it with their tribal god Yahweh. Like Father, like son, and the connection between Jesus and the sun is first evidenced in the OT book of Malachi (4:2), which immediately precedes the New Testament and in which the author refers to the "Sun of Righteousness" who will "arise with healing in his wings." This scripture, which is in the last chapter before the Gospel of Matthew, sounds much like the winged solar disc of Babylon and Egypt."

Image

"This scripture in Malachi is perceived as a reference to the coming messiah, Jesus Christ. In this regard, this clearly solar appellation "Sun of Righteousness" is repeated many times by early Church fathers as being applicable to Christ."

- Jesus as the Sun throughout History

Quote:
The claim that the 12 tribes of Israel were identified with the 12 signs of the zodiac is spelled out clearly by the ancient Jewish writers Philo and Josephus, during the first century. During the first century BCE, Diodorus Siculus identified the 12 tribes with the 12 months.

- The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology

All I have seen from Carrier's fanboys is an endless stream of hand-waving dismissals and excuses.

Watch Carrier's fanboys squirm with biases and attempt to dismiss those ancient primary sources out of hand with absolute zero curiosity whatsoever as they just cannot ever allow any sort of objective discussion of the subject like the intellectual cowards that they are:

Code:
"Look at what Josephus and Philo are quoted as saying. They do not support Murdock's original claim that the 12 tribes were (historically according to tradition) "based on" the zodiac."

- Neil Godfrey
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=397&hilit=breastplate&start=50

"Jesus (=Joshua) is the "new Moses" establishing the new covenant with a new Israel. Twelve is symbolic of Israel, not the constellations, in the NT. "

- Neil Godfrey
http://earlywritings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=687&start=860

Neil Godfrey has lost all credibility on the subject of astrotheology as he insists on being dishonest like so many Christian apologists out to shore up their faith and euphoria at all costs - even when Josephus says: "we shall not be mistaken in their meaning" and Philo says: "what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?" Neil Godfrey is simply not a trustworthy source on the topic of astral religion or astrotheology and neither is Richard Carrier and everybody needs to be made aware of that fact.

Carrier does make one mention of "astral" but that's it:

Quote:
"Element 14: Mystery cults spoke of their beliefs in public through myths and allegory, which symbolized a more secret doctrine that was usually rooted in a more esoteric astral or metaphysical theology. Therefore, as itself a mystery religion with secret doctrines, Christianity would have done the same."
- Richard Carrier, OHJ page 114

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 5:26 am 
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Quote:
Neil Godfrey has lost all credibility on the subject of astrotheology as he insists on being dishonest like so many Christian apologists out to shore up their faith and euphoria at all costs - even when Josephus says: "we shall not be mistaken in their meaning" and Philo says: "what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?" Neil Godfrey is simply not a trustworthy source on the topic of astral religion or astrotheology and neither is Richard Carrier and everybody needs to be made aware of that fact.


Yeah Josephus, Philo, even Clement of Alexandria. They all state that the twelve tribes of Israel are equivocal to the zodiac. And that was even a big charge Irenaeus leveled against the Gnostics, who equated the disciples with the twelve signs. Pretty much every church father uses astrotheological and agricultural themes as analogies to Christ. Off the top of my head, Clement of Rome uses the annual death and rebirth of nature to describe resurrection.

It's strange to hear Carrier still not giving astrotheology its due credit when he's pretty much come to the same conclusion every one hear came to years ago: that Christ was a celestial allegory played out in the heavens. It sounds more like he's undergoing mental dissonance.

As much as I like Carrier (as a researcher) I do think he has a bit of an ego and is just upset he didn't figure it all out first.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:01 pm 
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D wrote:
Yeah Josephus, Philo, even Clement of Alexandria. They all state that the twelve tribes of Israel are equivocal to the zodiac...

Thanks for posting, D. Indeed, Josephus, Philo etc., are merely the tip of the iceberg as one can find more such evidence in Christ in Egypt: The Horus-Jesus Connection especially in the chapter entitled, "The Twelve Followers" beginning on page 261. Also in Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver especially in the chapter entitled, "Yahweh and the Sun" beginning on page 414.

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
viewtopic.php?f=15&t=2473

Did Jesus's Twelve Apostles Exist?
viewtopic.php?f=18&t=4753

The Twelve in the Bible and Ancient Mythology
viewtopic.php?p=16402

Star Worship of the Ancient Israelites
http://www.freethoughtnation.com/forums ... =27&t=4747

Here's what the Jewish Encyclopedia says on the topic of the zodiac:

Quote:
"The twelve constellations represent the twelve tribes, while each station of the zodiac has thirty paths, and each path has thirty legions (of stars) (Ber. 32b). The standards of the tribes corresponded to the zodiacal signs of the constellations, so that in the east was the standard of Judah, with Issachar and Zebulun beside it, these three being opposite Aries, Taurus, and Gemini; in the south was the standard of Reuben, with Simeon and Gad, opposite Cancer, Leo, and Virgo; in the west was the standard of Ephraim, with Manasseh and Benjamin, opposite Libra, Scorpio, and Sagittarius; and in the north was the standard of Dan, with Asher and Naphtali, opposite Capricornus, Aquarius, and Pisces (Yalḳ., Num. 418)."

"All may be traced to Assyrian mythology and influence. The Jews during the Babylonian exile adopted Hebraicized forms of the Assyrian names of the months and constellations. In some instances the Rabbis endeavored to explain the origin of these names. Thus they said that the Temple could not be destroyed in the first month (Nisan) since the sign Aries is a reminder of the 'Aḳedah, Isaac representing the sacrificial "ṭaleh" (= "lamb"). In the second month (Iyyar) the sign Taurus or Shor (= "ox") recalls the "calf tender and good" (Gen. xviii. 7) which Abraham provided for the angels; and in the third month (Siwan) the sign Gemini (= "twins") represents Esau and Jacob. In the fourth month (Tammuz) the sign Cancer (= "crab"), which lives in water, represents Moses, who was saved from water, while in the fifth month (Ab), which is designated by the sign of Leo, "the lion is come up from his thicket" (Jer. iv. 7), the Temple named "Ariel" (= "the lion of God") was destroyed (Isa. xxix. 1; Pesiḳ. R. 27-28 [ed. Friedmann, p. 133b]). The constellations represent the Creation: Aries is light and Taurus is darkness; Gemini represents the two sexes; Cancer symbolizes man, who first retreats to nooks and corners like the crab, but eventually becomes as brave as a lion (= "Leo"); Virgo is a symbol of marriage; Libra weighs all the deeds of man, who, if found guilty, is punished by Scorpio, a symbol of Gehinnom; after purification in Mercy, however, he is cast forth as quickly as an arrow from a bow, represented by Sagittarius, and becomes as innocent as a kid and is purified as by water poured by Aquarius (Pesiḳ. R. 20 [ed. Friedmann, p. 97b])."

- Jewish Encyclopedia

(bold emphasis mine)

So, to recap:

East

1. Judah = Aries
2. Issachar = Taurus
3. Zebulun = Gemini

South

4. Reuben = Cancer
5. Simeon = Leo
6. Gad = Virgo

West

7. Ephraim = Libra
8. Manasseh = Scorpio
9. Benjamin = Sagittarius

North

10. Dan = Capricornus
11. Asher = Aquarius
12. Naphtali = Pisces

Astrological Attributions of the Twelve Tribes of Israel

Numbers 2

Do not tell Richard Carrier or his fanboys because they might have a hissy fit.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 6:41 pm 
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In Carrier's newest book, "On the Historicity of Jesus" he cites himself at least 104 times according to his own index on page 673, plus many more because on many of those citations he cites himself more than once and sometimes 3 or 4 times, so, it's possible he cited himself 200 times or more.

We only take issue with that fact due to Richard Carrier's own hypocritical double-standard criticism aimed at Acharya S/Murdock for citing herself:

Quote:
Oblivious to Scholarly Practice of Citing Previous Work?

"Carrier and his fanboys love to harp on the fact that, in certain instances, Murdock refers back to her own work in her citations. For example, in order to cover up the fact that he didn't even read the paper he's pretending to critique - in this case, Murdock's lengthy ZEITGEIST Sourcebook, Carrier lies once again by claiming:

Carrier: "Most of it consists of Murdock citing herself"

As if that fallacious argument debunks anything at all.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:54 pm 
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I've been very interested in finding out exactly what sources and evidence convinced Carrier to support the mainstream status-quo dating of the Gospels and Epistles in his book, OHJ and in the coming days I plan to discuss that here. So, it would be helpful to have a few folks to discuss it with. Anybody have Carrier's OHJ?

Quote:
"I favor the later end of mainstream ranges for these documents and concede the earlier end is possible"
- R. Carrier

viewtopic.php?p=28961#p28961

Here's a blog by Richard Carrier from 2008 discussing this issue: Ignatian Vexation

Quote:
"In most standard references or scholarly discussions, it's routinely claimed that the early Christian martyr Ignatius quotes the Gospel of Matthew in his letters, and Ignatius wrote those letters in the year 107 A.D. (or so), therefore Matthew was written before 107 A.D. That would be a fine example of establishing what we call a terminus ante quem, "point [in time] before which," the latest year a particular document could have been written. If either premise were a settled fact, that is. Unfortunately, they aren't. Yet typically this little problem isn't mentioned or explained, and these premises are declared in some form as if no one doubted them.

Already I encountered a general muddle even before getting to this particular vexation. In any other field, when historians don't know the exact year a book was written, they determine a terminus post quem ("point after which," also written terminus a quo) and a terminus ante quem ("point before which," also written terminus ad quem) and then conclude the book was written sometime between those two years. And they admit they can't know any more than that, which is something New Testament scholars tend to gloss over, often wanting to fix the year more exactly than the evidence actually allows, and then browbeat anyone who disagrees with them.

In other areas of history we don't try that. If the terminal dates for On Playing with Small Balls (an actual book written by Galen, no kidding) are "between A.D. 150 and 210" then we accept that On Playing with Small Balls may have been written at any time within that sixty-year span. We don't scoff at someone who suggests it could have been written near the end of the author's life, nor claim as if it were a decided fact that it was written at the start of his career instead. Either is possible.

But in New Testament studies, the fact that the evidence only establishes termini for Matthew between A.D. 70 and 130 isn't something you will hear about in the references. Indeed, I say 130 only because the possibility that the earliest demonstrable terminus ante quem for Matthew may be as late as 170 involves a dozen more digressions even lengthier than this entire post. Because all the relevant issues of who actually said what and when remains a nightmare of debate so frustrating that I actually gave up on it mid-research, seeing it would take months to continue to any sort of conclusion, and not even a clear conclusion at that. Mind-numbing, truly.

But what about Ignatius? First of all, the year he wrote is not actually known. He doesn't say (which is always odd of Christian letters--real ancient letters were routinely dated). And there is no consensus now, either. Dates from 102 to 117 are still defended by well-qualified scholars, and from what I can tell, any of these are possible. Normally that entails a terminus ante quem of 117, not 107. Until possible dates later than 107 are conclusively refuted, we must accept that the termini for Ignatius are from 102 to 117, so if Ignatius mentions Matthew, that sets a terminus for Matthew of 117, not 107 (because any date up to 117 is possible).

But no, it can't be as simple as that. For yes, of course (as if you didn't see it coming), there is still contention as to whether the letters of Ignatius are even authentic, or which ones are authentic, or whether they have been edited or interpolated, or whether the one datable reference in them (to the reign of Trajan) is inauthentic (and thus Ignatius actually wrote in a different, later reign) , and on and on. The concerns are not crank. But sorting through and assessing them all would take months of research. And that's just on this one, entirely, mind-numbingly peripheral issue of the authenticity of the current text of the relevant epistles of Ignatius, all just to establish a terminus ante quem for Matthew!

Okay, but just for instance (just one point among a great many): some scholars argue that the context of the Ignatian letters makes exactly zero historical sense. Ignatius is supposed to have been arrested and sent to Rome on a crime of illegal assembly (as a Christian), and on his journey to court his Roman jailers willingly take him to visit community after community of felonious illegal assemblies, and to meet with them and write letters to them and generally continue to flagrantly commit the capital crime for which he was arrested, in the presence of entire communities of fellow Christians also flagrantly committing that same crime, and in fact actively promoting the commission of that crime across half the Empire, and his Roman jailers don't mind. Not only do they not report any of this illegal activity, but they even aid and abet it at every step, taking him from church to church, allowing him ready access to his fellow criminals, a regular supply of papyrus and ink, and interfering not one whit. That sure is odd. Don't you think?

Now, let's suppose there is some brilliant response to this observation that explains everything and makes historical sense of these letters again. To find it and evaluate it--not just all the evidence and merit opposing this perplexing observation but supporting it as well, to give each side of the debate a fair shake--is a time-consuming task of no small order. And that's just one of literally dozens of objections to the authenticity of the Ignatian letters. But if they aren't even authentic, their date is no longer secure (even if it ever had been).

We could still argue for a terminus ante quem for these letters if they are all forgeries (since it wouldn't matter if they were, as a forged quotation of Matthew is still a quotation of Matthew) by observing that Polycarp, at some unspecified time in his life, wrote his own letter as a preface to the entire collection of Ignatian letters, and Polycarp was martyred sometime between 155 and 168. Or so we think. In actual fact the evidence is problematic and some scholars argue his martyrdom could even have been as late as 180. Again, resolving that issue would require mountains of research (which, I must keep adding, might not in fact resolve the issue at all but merely demonstrate conclusively that it cannot be resolved on present evidence). And all that just to establish a terminus ante quem for the letters of Ignatius, just to establish a terminus ante quem for the Gospel of Matthew. (Oh, and remember, that's just one Gospel. Multiply all this by Mark, Luke and John and you will only begin to touch the depths of my vexation in all this).

Okay. That's all just for the first problem with the Ignatian terminus for Matthew. The date. It gets worse when you start on the second problem: Did Ignatius even quote Matthew? Now things get extraordinarily annoying. Most scholars agree only some of his letters are authentic and that several were definitely forged, and that even the 'authentic' ones were expanded by forgers later on--we think we have the earlier, undoctored versions, simply because we have shorter, unembellished versions, although there is no secure reason to be certain these shorter versions aren't just longer redactions of even shorter but now lost originals...which we might even have in Syriac translation (and so on and so on and so on). But all that aside (Really? Can we just throw all that aside?), in his supposedly "authentic" letters (which ones are those again?), Ignatius definitely shows he knows of various stories peculiar to Matthew (like Matthew's nativity story), and he appears to quote Matthew verbatim a few times, and vaguely many times more.

Case closed, yes? Well, no. First, just because Ignatius knows the Matthaean nativity story doesn't mean Matthew preceded Ignatius. That would follow only if you assume (and note this) that Matthew invented that story. Now, that's a rather damning assumption. But if you reject it, then you can no longer conclude that Ignatius knows that story from Matthew. For he might know it from the same source Matthew learned it from. In which case, Matthew could possibly have written after Ignatius (indeed, he might even have taken details he learned from Ignatius and embellished them into his story). Again, resolving this, one way or another, takes considerable work, since the scholarship isn't entirely decisive or in agreement on these things. The problems are typically glossed over, as if there were no ambiguities or uncertainties here. Yet dig a little, and that's all you find.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Quote:
"Now the virginity of Mary was hidden from the Prince of this world, as was also her offspring, and the death of the Lord; three mysteries of renown, which were wrought in silence by God. How, then, was He manifested to the world? A star shone forth in heaven above all the other stars, the light of which was inexpressible, while its novelty struck men with astonishment. And all the rest of the stars, with the sun and moon, formed a chorus to this star, and its light was exceedingly great above them all. And there was agitation felt as to whence this new spectacle came, so unlike everything else above. Hence every kind of magic was destroyed, and every bond of wickedness disappeared, ignorance was removed, and the old kingdom abolished, when God appeared in human form [or revealed himself in a human manner] for the renewal of eternal life."

- Ignatius, Letter to the Ephesians 19

Ignatius is supposed to be attesting here to his knowledge of Matthew. Hey, sure, right? Matthew talks about a nativity star. Bingo! Often scholars or reference books will simply assert this as a given. Yet clearly Ignatius knows a completely different story. Ignatius does not appear to know Matthew's star story at all. He makes no reference to Magi, nor any moving star rising in the east and settling over the manger, no Herod, no Bethlehem. And in Matthew the star is but a sign, not the Savior Himself. Instead, Ignatius knows some completely different star story, one that arguably conflates (or more likely lies behind, as more original) the nativity stories that found their way into Matthew and Luke (e.g. Luke mentions a chorus of angels in heaven, but no star, Matthew mentions a star but no chorus, while Ignatius knows about a chorus of stars in heaven). As far as Ignatius appears to know, the star was the arrival of Jesus himself (not a mere sign of his birth or birthplace), it was brighter than even the sun, all the stars in heaven sang, and the whole world was astonished and agitated by all this. Clearly, Ignatius has some other Gospel in mind. Or stories that precede all the Gospels we have. Or neither (because, remember, this letter could be a fake). But just as clearly, there is no evidence here that Ignatius knew the Gospel of Matthew.

Well, what about the exact quotes, and the paraphrases? Surely that's conclusive! I wish. Annoyingly, much of this evidence seems to imply the opposite: that Ignatius had no knowledge of Matthew's Gospel at all. For on several occasions when Ignatius is supposed to be "quoting" Matthew he uses the material in a completely unrelated context, as if he never knew how Matthew used it or even that he did. Problem number one. Ignatius also never mentions that he is quoting anyone (much less a Gospel, and much less a Gospel attributed to anyone named Matthew) or even indicates that he is quoting. Problem number two. In any other field, those two facts, combined with the first fact that Ignatius appears to employ phrases and wording and concepts found in Matthew, would indicate that Matthew borrowed from Ignatius, not the other way around. Or does it? Again, there are arguments pro and con from here. And again, they are elaborate and vast. Time sucks down a rabbit hole.

Once again, I'll just give you one single example among several:

Ignatius quotes verbatim Matthew's phrase "He that is able to receive it, let him receive it" (in Smyrnaeans 6:1). But in Matthew's Gospel (Matthew 19:12) Jesus utters this phrase about castration, becoming a eunuch for Christ, while Ignatius uses it in reference to receiving salvation. Ignatius says:

Quote:
"The things in heaven, and the glory of the angels, and the rulers, both visible and invisible, if they believe not in the blood of Christ, shall, in consequence, incur condemnation. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

It is inconceivable that Ignatius would quote what Jesus said about accepting castration in a line about angels and demons accepting the salvation of Christ. One would sooner expect that Ignatius had no idea this line was ever used about men cutting their balls off. Hence this "exact" quotation would seem to suggest Ignatius didn't know Matthew, but knew a common stock of phrases and idioms shared by Matthew. But again, one could argue the point, and resolving any such debate is arduous.

Oh, by the way, did I also mention the manuscripts even of the "authentic" letters of Ignatius don't agree with each other, often containing entirely different sentences or even radically altered paragraphs? And that there may be evidence of retroscription? (That's later scribes correcting "inaccurate" quotations with "correct" quotations, a phenomenon that is definitely found in the manuscripts of Irenaeus, for example, thus calling into question any reliance on Irenaeus for the original readings of biblical passages, hence it might be circular to say Irenaeus confirms a biblical reading...yeah, because medieval sneeks rewrote his text to, but I digress). If we can't even know for sure what the original text of Ignatius' letters said, you can only imagine how much more this multiplies the task of sorting out issues of quotation or paraphrase.

And then there is the question (frequently overlooked) as to why Ignatius would rely on Matthew at all. For his soteriology is exactly the contrary of Matthew's and agrees instead with Mark's. For instance, Ignatius rails against the idea that Christians must obey Torah laws, but Matthew's entire Gospel was written to defend that position as endorsed by Christ (whereas Mark's entire Gospel was written to defend the position held by Ignatius), yet Ignatius supposedly repeatedly quotes and relies on Matthew (the Gospel of his enemies) without having any idea that Matthew copied from Mark, the very Gospel Ignatius would surely have preferred. How can Ignatius not know Matthew had doctored an earlier Gospel in order to advocate the very doctrines Ignatius opposes? Why doesn't he throw that in the face of Matthew-quoters, instead of inexplicably becoming a Matthew-quoter himself? Sorting these questions out is yet more time consuming madness.

Now sure, everything above can be debated endlessly. But an endless debate on one detail, multiplied by a dozen details, multiplied by a dozen problems, multiplied by a dozen documents (since the Gospels aren't the only vexations among early Christian documents, not by a longshot), you end up with nearly two thousand endless debates. Even supposing you can fit an eternity into a day and thus nail a conclusion on any one point in under ten hours, ahem, two thousand days still works out to more than seven years (as you'll surely be taking weekends off at least--to drink yourself into a stupor, if nothing else). And at the end of it, you have perhaps only a few pages to show for it all, since that's all that will be needed to summarize your conclusions regarding the basic facts of your evidence before moving on to the actual topic of your book. A handful of pages. Which took seven years of soul-crushing tedium to compose.

No thanks.

The field of New Testament studies needs to get its house in order. Until it does, I'll have to do without what I can normally rely upon in other fields: well-supported conclusions (or a ready consensus on the range of conclusions possible) on the most fundamental issues of evidence.

Code:
http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/ignatian-vexation.html

Bold emphasis is mine

P.S. Richard Carrier has never written an article or blog on the dating of the Gospels and Epistles to the best of my knowledge, so, please contact him and request that he address the issues brought up here such as the evidence that convinced him to stick with the status-quo mainstream dating of the Gospels and Epistles, for starters: freethoughtblogs. com/carrier/

Raphael Lataster needs to write a blog or article explaining his position as well:

"Carrier and I (we accept the mainstream dating of the Epistles and the Gospels)"
- Raphael Lataster

What sources and evidence convinced Richard Carrier and Raphael Lataster to support the mainstream status-quo dating of the Gospels and Epistles?

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:43 pm 
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Quote:
I've been very interested in finding out exactly what sources and evidence convinced Carrier to support the mainstream status-quo dating of the Gospels and Epistles in his book, OHJ and in the coming days I plan to discuss that here. So, it would be helpful to have a few folks to discuss it with. Anybody have Carrier's OHJ?


I was about to buy it, but then the Kindle version is kinda expensive at $21.49 so maybe next month. But right now I got the Kindle sample, there's the bragging rights at the preface.

Quote:
"I am a historian by training and trade (I received my PhD in ancient history from Columbia University) and a philosopher by experience and practice (I have published peer-reviewed articles in the field

Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (Kindle Locations 233-235). Sheffield Phoenix Press. Kindle Edition."


So basically, his mythicist journey began when he read Earl Doherty's work.

Quote:
Normally, as with all crank claims, I wouldn’t acquiesce, but instead insist that Doherty get at least one peer-reviewed paper published before I’d bother. He had, in the Journal of Higher Criticism, but as that journal has the specific agenda of publishing essentially those kinds of argument, an appearance there wasn’t an entirely convincing reason to pay more attention . But once the number of requests from respectable people reached a tipping point, I decided I’d give his book a go, hoping that would be the end of it, and I would at least get a good article out of it, which I could then direct everyone to once and for all. I resolved to essentially ‘peer review’ his book, the way I would any paper submitted to a journal. But the result surprised me. I found his book well-researched, competently argued, devoid of any of the ridiculous claims I’d heard from other historicity deniers, and more convincing than I’d thought possible. In my critical review I pointed out the merits and flaws of his book (including the sorts of things I would insist upon as a peer reviewer before accepting it for academic publication), but on balance the merits were greater. 3 He had a good case. I wasn’t entirely convinced . But I was convinced the subject deserved more research. And so my journey began.

Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (Kindle Locations 433-455). Sheffield Phoenix Press. Kindle Edition.
He also said that dating the gospels very late are not necessary for mythicism.
Quote:
Van Voorst says mythicists tend to date all the Gospels unreasonably late (after 100 ce). Yet mythicism doesn’t require this— and even mainstream scholars are starting to agree some of the Gospels might indeed be that late.

Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (Kindle Locations 510-514). Sheffield Phoenix Press. Kindle Edition.


In my opinion, the late gospel dates alone are not enough to disprove the existence of JC. However, it is just one piece of the puzzle to demonstrate that JC didn't exist.

Quote:
Van Voorst says mythicists tend to be far too skeptical of the authenticity of the earliest non-biblical (and even many biblical) passages about Jesus. Yet mythicism does not require such excessive skepticism— and some of it is not excessive.


Mythicists are skeptical because of the fact that early Church fathers like Justin Martyr are not referring to the canonical gospels. I don't know if Papias even existed, since CE relates the fact that nothing in his life is known. The first time canonical gospels are being quoted is by Irenaeus. In fact, same can be said with the Pauline epistles and pastorals. In Dr. Robert M. Price's book <i>The Amazing Colossal Apostle,</i> he said that the only time the epistles became part of the Catholic canon is until Irenaeus and Tertullian, this is probably the time that they have sanitized the epistles.

Quote:
No mainstream historian today believes the book of Deuteronomy was even written in the same century as Moses , much less by Moses, or that it preserves anything Moses actually said or did— yet it purports to do so, at extraordinary length and in remarkable detail. No real historian today would accept as valid an argument like ‘Moses had to have existed, because so many sayings and teachings were attributed to him!


This one, I agree. Although I think there are still few scholars defending Moses historicity like that of Lennart Möller, however Acharya demonstrated that his thesis is insufficient.

Quote:
Distilling all of this down to its most basic principles we get the following set of propositions:

1. At the origin of Christianity, Jesus Christ was thought to be a celestial deity much like any other.
2. Like many other celestial deities, this Jesus ‘communicated’ with his subjects only through dreams, visions and other forms of divine inspiration (such as prophecy, past and present).
3. Like some other celestial deities, this Jesus was originally believed to have endured an ordeal of incarnation, death, burial and resurrection in a supernatural realm.
4. As for many other celestial deities, an allegorical story of this same Jesus was then composed and told within the sacred community, which placed him on earth, in history, as a divine man, with an earthly family, companions, and enemies, complete with deeds and sayings, and an earthly depiction of his ordeals.
5. Subsequent communities of worshipers believed (or at least taught) that this invented sacred story was real (and either not allegorical or only ‘additionally’ allegorical).



Yep, Carrier is rehashing what the Gnostics believe. Dr. Price showed in his book how the early Christians and Church fathers stomped out Gnosticism by writing polemics against them, while sanitizing the Gnostic ideas. Christian apologists like JP Holding says otherwise saying that the epistles are authentic, but by reading the gospels and epistles, there are clear indications of gnosticism and attempts to get rid of it. I was just reading the Bible and it seems to me here are perfect examples of Gnosticism and anti-gnostic ideas. I could be wrong.

“I and the Father are one.” -John 10:30

“…God is Spirit…” -John 4:24

“See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have.” – Luke 24:39


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 12, 2015 8:14 pm 
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Hello JonM, welcome to the party. I got Carrier's book from the library, the book and Kindle are just too expensive, let alone the hardcover. So, I have to return it soon.

JonM The Sun God wrote:
He also said that dating the gospels very late are not necessary for mythicism.

Quote:
Van Voorst says mythicists tend to date all the Gospels unreasonably late (after 100 ce). Yet mythicism doesn’t require this— and even mainstream scholars are starting to agree some of the Gospels might indeed be that late.

Carrier, Richard. On the Historicity of Jesus: Why We Might Have Reason for Doubt (Kindle Locations 510-514). Sheffield Phoenix Press. Kindle Edition.

In my opinion, the late gospel dates alone are not enough to disprove the existence of JC. However, it is just one piece of the puzzle to demonstrate that JC didn't exist.

Quote:
Van Voorst says mythicists tend to be far too skeptical of the authenticity of the earliest non-biblical (and even many biblical) passages about Jesus. Yet mythicism does not require such excessive skepticism— and some of it is not excessive.

Mythicists are skeptical because of the fact that early Church fathers like Justin Martyr are not referring to the canonical gospels. I don't know if Papias even existed, since CE relates the fact that nothing in his life is known. The first time canonical gospels are being quoted is by Irenaeus.

I agree with you JonM: "In my opinion, the late gospel dates alone are not enough to disprove the existence of JC. However, it is just one piece of the puzzle to demonstrate that JC didn't exist."

A later date for the Gospels and some of the Epistles is more about accuracy in the literary and historical timeline, which one would think a historian, like Carrier, would care about. There simply exists no credible evidence to support a 1st century creation of the Gospels. There were sayings and such that were borrowed but, no Gospels as we have them today. It should be a significant red flag to everybody when Carrier makes no legitimate effort to sus out when the Gospels and relevant Epistles show up in the literary and historical timeline. That timeline is extremely significant due to the fact that it's pretty much all we have on Jesus, so, it does matter for several reasons. As previously quoted, (Carrier: "Because all the relevant issues of who actually said what and when remains a nightmare of debate so frustrating that I actually gave up on it mid-research, seeing it would take months to continue to any sort of conclusion, and not even a clear conclusion at that. Mind-numbing, truly") Carrier gave up on that task because, apparently, the work involved was too hard for him. Well, Acharya has been fearless in the face of such hard work and dives right in.

I simply cannot help noting Carrier's wishy washiness on the dating below:

OHJ, Carrier says on page 265-6:

Quote:
"Mark was certainly written after 70 (the year the Jerusalem temple was destroyed), but how long after is an open question ... We really have no evidence that Mark was written any earlier than 100, in fact, so it's simply presumption really that puts his Gospel in the first century. I suspect Mark was written in the 70's or 80's, but only because its author seems to have the Jewish War still in mind as a relatively recent event, but that's a largely subjective judgment. Nevertheless, I will leave it at that until someone proves otherwise."

"There is no evidence really that Matthew was written in the 80's. He certainly wrote after Mark ... I will conclude that Matthew was written in the 80's or 90's simply to err on the side of the earliest likely period, and for no other reason."

Footnote 25, page 266: "For the best (but still occasionally flawed) analysis of the evidence for dating Matthew, see David Sim, "The Gospel of Matthew and Christian Judaism" 1998, pages 31-41, 257-87... Sim argues there for dating Matthew between 70 and 100, with 85-95 most likely; but he has since argued a date in the early second century is more likely than he once thought: David Sim. "Reconstructing the Social and Religious Milieu of Matthew" 2008, pages 13-32. One could argue that Matthew was written before the 90's because Matthew is repeatedly echoed in the book of Revelation, which we know was written around then, but all those correspondences might be explained the other way around."
(red emphasis mine)

Quote:
"Luke also wrote after Mark (as Luke also copied from Mark), and I am increasingly convinced that in fact Luke is also a redaction of Matthew and therefore postdates Matthew (see chapter 10, Element 6). The evidence that Luke used the "Jewish Antiquities" of Josephus for some of his material is also convincingly strong, and that would place this Gospel after 93 CE.26 Many experts have argued for Luke-Acts postdating 115 CE.27 I will conclude that most likley Luke wrote between the 90's and 130's, and then arbitrarily side with the earlier of those dates. ... Luke explicitly says he is not an eyewitness and doesn't appear to know anyone who was.28"

"John wrote after Luke-as almost everyone agrees, but as I will demonstrate in Chapter 10, John is almost certainly a polemical redaction of Luke (just as Matthew is of Mark...) External evidence placing the Gospel of John's appearence in history is also the scarcest. It could have been written as late as the 140's (some argue even later) or as early as the 100's (provided Luke was written in the 90's). I will arbitrarily side with the earlier of those dates.

"Finally, you will often see cited as a source for early Christianity a document called 'Q', for Quelle, which is German for 'source'. But this actually doesn't exist. It is a hypothetical document, whose contents, redactional history and even nature (whether written or oral) are endlessly debated in the scholarship. There are serious metholodological flaws in the defenses made of the existence and contents of Q, and it looks far more likley to me that what we call 'Q' was nothing more than additions made to Mark by Matthew, which were then redacted into Luke. 33 I see no merit is assuming otherwise without very good evidence, and the evidence presented even by staunch advocates of Q cannot honestly be described as even 'good'. Whereas the evidence for Luke using Matthew is very good. (see chapter 10, element 6)."

- pages 266-70

(bold is mine)

So, it appears, for Carrier to attempt to pin down a more accurate date for the Gospels and Epistles comes off like he'd have better luck trying to catch a greased pig at the fair. I suspect that Carrier is just too damn lazy to do the necessary hard work and is trying to find a way out of doing it - that way he can play it safe and ride every fence possible and then, claim the dating of the Gospels and Epistles isn't necessary to the case for mythicism anyway. It just seems like it's too much work for Carrier to me and if he got lazy on this issue, what other issues did he decide to get lazy on? And this is the guy traveling around the country giving lectures telling people not to listen to any other mythicists except him?:

Quote:
"The first thing to know is, forget about all the other mythicist theories ... So, I say, if you want a simple rule: Basically, if you don't hear it from me, be skeptical of it."

- Richard Carrier, "The Historicity of Jesus," youtube.com/watch?v=XORm2QtR-os (3:10)




Transcript of clips of Bart Ehrman from the Craig Evans vs. Bart Ehrman Debate (3/31/2010):

Quote:
"The truth may not be what you were taught, but if it's true, you should believe it, not run from it!

As I studied more and more, using my intelligence as an evangelical but also praying about it, I became convinced that the New Testament gospels were not written by eyewitnesses or by people who knew eyewitnesses.

The first point to make is the rather obvious one that the gospels don't claim to be written by eyewitnesses. They are all anonymous.

The titles in your gospels - the Gospel According to Matthew and so forth - were added by later editors. They were not put there by the original authors.

Second point, none of the gospels claims to be written by the person whose name it bears. They don't claim to be written by eyewitnesses, and they don't claim to be written by people named Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those are later traditions that were added to the gospels. These traditions do not start appearing for about 100 years.

Some people think that there is an early Church father named Papias who attests to the witness of Mark and Matthew, but in fact there are very solid reasons for thinking that Papias, who lived around the year 120-140, is not referring to OUR Mark or OUR Matthew.

The first time anybody refers to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John by name is Irenaeus in the year 180.

But the unfortunate thing about Jesus is that we have such scanty documentation about his life. Most people don't realize this, but Jesus is never mentioned in any Greek or Roman non-Christian source until 80 years after his death.

There is no record of Jesus having lived, in these sources. In the entire first Christian century, Jesus is not mentioned by a single Greek or Roman historian, religion scholar, politician, philosopher or poet. His name never occurs in a single inscription, and it is never found in a single piece of private correspondence. Zero! Zip references!"

- Bart Ehrman, New Testament scholar

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:05 pm 
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On Josephus:

Quote:
"There are two passages in the 'Jewish Antiquities' of Josephus originally published shortly after 93 CE, that mention Jesus Christ as a historical person. However, both are almost certainly interpolations made by Christian scribes. In fact Josephus never mentioned Jesus Christ or Christians. We can therefore exclude these passages from our evidence. This is a somewhat controversial conclusion, so I will summarize the very reasonable basis for it.

The first passage in question is called the Testimonium Flavianum (TF)

TF: "And there was about this time Jesus ...

"Of course, even at a glance anyone can see this would be an absurd paragraph from the hand of a devout Jew and sophisticated author who otherwise writes far more elegant prose, and usually responsibly explains to his readers anything strange. This passage is self-evidently a fawning and gullible Christian fabrication, in fact demonstrably derived from the Emmaus narrative in the Gospel of Luke, inserted into the text at a point where it does not even make any narrative sense, apart from being in a survey of the crimes of Pontius Pilate that contributed (in the long run) to inciting the Jews to war. There is no plausible way the above narrative fits that context: the Christians are not being connected with the war in any such way, and the Jewish elite are not outraged by the execution of Jesus but in fact endorse it.

Historians have tried to rescue this passage by "rewriting" it, removing everything that Josephus would surely never say, and then claiming he surely said what's left and Christians just changed it up. But this is such an extraordinary improbable thesis it must be rejected outright. For example, Josephus must have mentioned "Christ" because he presumes it when he explains the name "Christian in the last line, but there is no plausible way Josephus would say this (or even "he was believed to be the Christ", as some later quotations have it) without explaining to his intended Gentile readers what a "Christ" was and what it meant for Jesus to have been one, and thus why Josephus is mentioning it or how Jesus even came to acquire the moniker. So we can strike those two sentences, Josephus cannot have written them. He also would not have written such fawningly unintelligible things as "if we really must call him a man' or "doer of incredible deeds" or "teacher ... of the truth" without explaining to his Gentile readers what he meant-or giving examples, as Josephus normally would... "and there was about this time Jesus, a wise man". After which no story follows. We can conclude Josephus didn't write this, either." "...Moreover, no other author had ever heard of this passage until Eusebius in the fourth century-not even Origen, who otherwise cites and quotes Josephus several times, so surely Origin (sic) would have mentioned this passage had it existed in his copy of the Antiquities... that probability reduces even further when we consider the silence of every other Christian and Pagan author, even if their silence is not as improbable as Origen's."

- pages 332-335

On the Arabic version, pages 336-7:

Quote:
"... it has since been proved that this Arabic quotation is of a Syriac quotation of a manuscript of Eusebius, and thus represents a text that does not precede Eusebius but derives from him"

"The brother of Jesus, who was called Christ"

"I have demonstrated elsewhere that the phrase "who was called Christ" is an accidental interpolation and was never written by Josephus. It entered the manuscripts of Josephus sometime in the late third century. We know this because Origen never quotes this passage, even where scholars claim he does. In fact Origen shows no knowledge of thispassage as we have it, or the story it relates, or where it was located in the works of Josephus; whereas Eusebius is the first to actually quote the passage we have in the present text of Josephus. He is thus the first to have known of it. Where Origen is now claimed to be citing this passage, he can be shown to have confused a story written by the Christian hagiographer Hegesippus as being Josephus."

"... in summary, there is no evidence Josephus ever mentioned Jesus Christ. There is therefore no evidence here to consider."

- pages 338-342

Pliny

Quote:
"Pliny tells us that he had no idea what Christians were or believed until he interrogated some of them and discovered it was some sort of base superstition involving the worship of a certain "Christ" who was something like a God (quasi deo), but he gives no further details about him (not even the name "Jesus"), and says nothing pertinent to establishing historicity. ...Pliny had been a governor of Bithynia (now northern Turkey) for over a year already before even learning there were any Christians in his province, and before that he held the post of consul (the highest possible office in the entire Roman Empire, short of actually being emperor). He had also been a lawyer in Roman courts for several decades, then served in Rome as praetor (the ancient equivalent of both chief of police and attorney general), and then served as one of Trajan's top legal advisors for several years before he was appointed to govern Bithynia. And yet, he tells us he had never attended a trial of Christians and knew nothing of what they believed or what crimes they were guilty of. This confirms that his father, Pliny the Elder, never discussed Christians in his account of the Neronian fire-despite having been an eyewitness to those events and devoted and entire volume to that year (though his account is now lost). For if he had, his devoted admirer, nephew and adopted son Pliny the Yonger would surely have read it and thus would not have known "nothing" about Christians as he reports in his letter to Trajan."

"We can therefore assume Tacitus would have been no better or otherwise informed when he wrote that Nero scapegoated the Christians for burning down the heart of Rome in 64 CE."

- pages 342-3

Tacitus

Quote:
"The key line here is "Christ, the author of this name, was executed by the procurator Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius". This is the first-ever reference to a historical Jesus outside the NT, dating to around 116 CE ... Tacitus in fact originally described not the Christians being scapegoated for the fire, but followers of the Jewish instigator Chrestus first suppressed under Claudius (as reported by Suetonius, see Element 11). The line about Christ being executed by Pilate was added sometime after the mid-fourth century. Before then, no one, Christian or non-Christian, ever heard of this persecution event under Nero, or of any reference to Christians in Tacitus; this event is not mentioned even when second-century Christians told stories of Nero persecuting Christians!"

- pages 343-4

Thallus

Quote:
"Two other authors used as 'evidence' for a historical Jesus provide no evidence for a historical Jesus. The first of these is Suetonius; the second is Thallus. The passage in the third book of the otherwise-lost histories of Thallus, which was referenced by Julius Africanus (in another lost work, quoted by the medieval chronologer George Syncellus), almost certainly said nothing more than that for the year 32 CE, 'the sun was eclipsed; Bithynia was struck by an earthquake; and in the city of Nicaea many buildings fell", with no mention even of Judea, much less Jesus. For we can reliably deduce that we have this direct quotation of Thallus in several surviving fragments of Eusebius. Which means when Africanus connected this entry in Thallus to Jesus, he was making that assumption, not Thallus."

- pages 346-7

Suetonius

Quote:
"As for Suetonius, there are only two relevant passages. The first is a reference to Jewish rioters, not Christians: Suetonius says of the emperor Claudius that "since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome." We have reason to doubt Suetonius has his story straight, since such an expulsion of all Jews from Rome would have been a near impossibility. There would have been tens of thousands of Jews in Rome at that time, complete with extensive real estate, synagogues, businesses, as well as countless Jewish slaves in both private and public hands that would have been indispensable to the urban economy, not to mention an enormous challenge to locate and drive out. ... It's still possible some select Jews were expelled, as Suetonius does not actually say all Jews were expelled, but only that Jews were.

"...The second passage in Suetonius is simply a casual and uninformative remark during the reign of Nero "punishments were inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition." Which tells us nothing pertinent to the historicity of Jesus. It's even possible this sentence originally read Chrestians (later "corrected" in transmission), and thus referred to the Jewish rioters whom, as we saw, Suetonius reported had begun to make trouble under Claudius (the same possibility we discussed for Tacitus). It's also possible that this line was an accidental interpolation of a marginal note summarizing the passage in Tacitus, although arguments made to that effect are not as strong as they sound."

- pages 347-9

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:38 pm 
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Quote:
"Jesus outside the New Testament" by Robert Van Voorst (2000) pages 13-16, lists 7 general counter-arguments against mythicism, and this constitutes a typical summary of the case usually made against it. But that case is rather weak."

- pages 4-7

It appears that Robert Van Voorst was more specifically attempting to address G.A. Wells. However, Earl Doherty has already tackled Robert Van Voorst's criticisms: Responses to Critiques of the Mythicist Case

"On what grounds have New Testament scholars and other historians rejected the nonexistence hypothesis?"

Jesus Outside the New Testament By Robert Van Voorst, pages 13-16

Jesus Outside the New Testament

Quote:
"Even in biblical studies there is nothing new or crazy about this idea. The patriarchs are safely assumed now to be nonhistorical, and thus entirely mythical. This is no longer considered radical or fringe, but is in fact the most widespread mainstream view among scholars (see ch. 5, Element 44). Thus Moses is now regarded as fictional ..."

- page 10

For more information, see:

The Twelve Patriarchs

Did Moses Exist? The Myth of the Israelite Lawgiver

Carrier's Minimal Theory of Historicity for Jesus (pages 31-35):

Quote:
1. An actual man at some point named Jesus acquired followers in life who continued as an identifiable movement after his death.
2. This is the same Jesus who was claimed by some of his followers to have been executed by the Jewish or Roman authorities.
3. This is the same Jesus some of whose followers soon began worshiping as a living god (or demigod).

Carrier's Minimal Jesus Myth theory (pages 52-55):

Quote:
1. At the origin of Christianity, Jesus Christ was thought to be a celestial deity much like any other.
2. Like many other celestial deities, this Jesus 'communicated' with his subjects only through dreams, visions and other forms of divine inspi­ration (such as prophecy, past and present).
3. Like some other celestial deities, this Jesus was originally believed to have endured an ordeal of incarnation, death, burial and resurrection in a supernatural realm.
4. As for many other celestial deities, an allegorical story of this same Jesus was then composed and told within the sacred community, which placed him on earth, in history, as a divine man, with an earthly family, companions, and enemies, complete with deeds and sayings, and an earthly depiction of his ordeals.
5. Subsequent communities of worshipers believed (or at least taught) that this invented sacred story was real (and either not allegorical or only 'additionally' allegorical).

Quote:
"In fact, the assumption that mythicism has been "refuted" rests entirely on a series of fallacious rebuttals merely assumed to have been decisive. Shirley Jackson Case, for instance, soundly rebuts only certain mythicist arguments. That Case (and everyone afterward) concluded mythicism itself had thus been soundly rebutted is simply incorrect (see ch. 11 and Element 11)."

- page 52

Quote:
Element 11: "The earliest definitely known form of Christianity was a Judeo-Hellenistic mystery religion. This is also beyond any reasonable doubt, yet frequently denied in the field of Jesus research ... To say Christianity was a mystery religion is not to say that Christianity is exactly like any other mystery religion, any more than any mystery religion was "exactly like" any other ... If instead we define a mystery religion as any Hellenistic cult in which individual salvation was procured by a ritual initiation into a set of "mysteries", the knowledge of which and participation in which were key to ensuring a blessed eternal life, then Christianity was demonstrably a mystery religion beyond any doubt. If we then expand that definition to include a set of specific features held in common by all other mystery religions of the early Roman era, then Christianity becomes even more demonstrably a mystery religion, so much so, in fact, that it's impossible to deny it was deliberately constructed as such."

- page 96-7

For more information, see:

Religion and the Ph.D.: A Brief History

Evemerist vs. Mythicist Position

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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2015 12:27 pm 
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Here's a comment and a very revealing response by Carrier at his blog about the dating of the gospels.

A commenter posts:

Quote:
"... On a side note, I notice that there’s no mention of the dating the the gospels and you may not realize it but you have never written one single blog on the topic of the dating of the gospels. In OHJ, it appears that you endorse the status quo dating of the gospels, which seems really confusing since there’s no serious or obvious mention or discussion of them until the 2nd century. In your review of Maurice Casey’s book you say:

“I favor the later end of mainstream ranges for these documents and concede the earlier end is possible”

In OHJ, you make repeated comments like “I will arbitrarily side with the earlier of those dates”

When you have time would you please explain your position of the dating of the gospels? I realize Van Voorst says mythicists tend to date all the gospels unreasonably late and that mythicism doesn’t require that but, for me it’s more about accuracy in the literary and historical timeline, which one would think a historian, such as yourself, would want to get right and not just “arbitrarily side with the earlier of those dates.”

I was disappointed with the dating of the gospels information in OHJ. To me it seems like it would be important to the gospel dates as accurate as possible."

Carrier responds with:

Quote:
"I did write a blog on that. And when you read it, you will understand why I probably will never write another—and why I take the position I do instead (we cannot know when they were written but within a wide plausible range of possible dates; I personally think probably it’s on the late end of the plausible range; but when arguing a fortiori, I assume the early end of the plausible range, so no one can object on those grounds).

Your point about mentions is not effective, because we have no writers at all who survive to check for earlier mentions. Thus the absence of them is expected even if the Gospels were written early. Because all evidence to check that by has been erased.

Code:
Ignatian Vexation
http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com/2008/09/ignatian-vexation.html

Carrier
http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/7463#comment-1056888

I discussed Carrier's "Ignatian Vexation" blog previously in this post above HERE. On one hand Carrier makes a fair point but, on the other hand, I feel Carrier is revealing his own incompetence to make such an authoritative judgement on the dating of the gospels; along with Carrier's laziness or lack of interest to investigate an important topic such as a more accurate dating and timeline of the gospels. So, what Carrier is really saying in the quote above is that trying to figure out a more accurate dating and timeline of the gospels is too difficult for him so, he simply does not even want to try to do the required work. I'm reminded of the fact that Carrier has publicly admitted on video that he has no interest in studying or pursuing astrotheology simply due to the fact that he is biased against it.

What really aggravates me is that Richard Carrier is still going around in his lectures telling others not to listen to any other mythicist works. Carrier has become part of the problem not the solution and it's a blemish on the entire mythicist movement for scholars and others to continue to refuse to take Carrier to task for the many issues I have outlined throughout this thread and many others have pointed out as well.

If one is looking for a scholar who cares about accuracy and is not afraid to take on such challenges I recommend Acharya S/DM Murdock and her sources:

Gospel Dates

Gospel Dates forum thread

Josephus’s Testimonium Flavianum Examined Linguistically: Greek Analysis Demonstrates the Passage a Forgery In Toto

Jesus passage in Josephus a forgery, says expert

Jesus passage in Josephus a forgery in toto, says Greek expert

Does Josephus prove a historical Jesus?

Is Suetonius's Chresto a Reference to Jesus?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 01, 2015 12:41 pm 
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New blog by Carrier on his book OHJ:

Quote:
"dozens of typos in On the Historicity of Jesus that slipped through even our excessive editorial process (a common experience I find)."

Typos List for On the Historicity of Jesus
http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/arc ... #more-8551

What? How could there be "dozens of typos" when he had so many people helping to peer review his book? And, he admits it is "common."

I have to give him a hard time on this because he has made such a big deal out of peer review so, please read this post from page 1 on this issue in order to see where I'm coming from:

Methodology and Peer Review
viewtopic.php?p=29129#p29129

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