Talk:Historicity of Jesus/Archive 22

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Factual Inaccuracy, Unsubstantiated Assertion on Tacitus

Richard Carrier asserts the following:

"it is inconceivable that there were any records of Jesus for Tacitus to consult in Rome (for many reasons, not the least of which being that Rome's capitol had burned to the ground more than once in the interim), and even less conceivable that he would have dug through them even if they existed."

The following quotes from Tacitus' Annals challenge the assertions of Mr Carrier:


BOOK III A.D. 20-22

Tiberius Augusta refrained from showing themselves, thinking it below their dignity to shed tears in public, or else fearing that, if all eyes scrutinised their faces, their hypocrisy would be revealed. I do not find in any historian or in the daily register that Antonia, Germanicus's mother, rendered any conspicuous honour to the deceased.


BOOK XIII A.D. 54-58

During Nero's second consulship with Lucius Piso for his colleague, little occurred deserving mention, unless one were to take pleasure in filling volumes with the praise of the foundations and timber work on which the emperor piled the immense amphitheatre in the Field of Mars. But we have learnt that it suits the dignity of the Roman people to reserve history for great achievements, and to leave such details to the city's daily register.


BOOK XV A.D. 62-65

I find in the registers of the Senate that Cerialis Anicius, consul-elect, proposed a motion that a temple should as soon as possible be built at the public expense to the Divine Nero.


As we can see according to the dates listed above, the records Carrier asserts as not being available to Tacitus due to them likely being burned are clearly being accessed by Tacitus before, during, and after the Great Fire of Rome. In addition to that, we demonstrate that Tacitus did indeed "dig through them" to aquire other information for his Annals. Also, it should be noted that the section on Christ is part of the story of the fires of Rome, which begins with this:


BOOK XV A.D. 62-65

A disaster followed, whether accidental or treacherously contrived by the emperor, is uncertain, as authors have given both accounts,


The above quote from Tacitus demonstrates that he was researching previous histories (as authors have given both accounts) regarding the fires of Rome, which resulted in what he wrote, which in turn includes the section on Christ. Tacitus tells us that there were two accounts regarding whether Nero was to blame, or not to be blamed, for the fires. Tacitus them gives information regarding both accounts, which demonstrates he's following previous historical records. This is direct textual evidence to support Tacitus' use of previous historical records for his section on Christ, which it is included in Tacitus' re-telling of the previous history of the Great Fires of Rome.

In addition to this, Mr Carrier's statement of "there can be no doubt that what Pliny discovered from Christians he had interrogated was passed on to Tacitus," is baseless, as there is no evidence whatsoever that Tacitus and Pliny had ever discussed the Christian sitiuation.

Due to this information, we strongly recommend Mr Carrier's remarks be struck from this Wiki record due to clearly being both factually inaccurate, and baseless assertion. Team FFI (talk) 09:19, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

It's Dr. Carrier, actually. Nevertheless, there's no reason to be using a self-published internet essay as a source for this article, when this is a topic that has been widely covered in academic books and journals. --Akhilleus (talk) 15:28, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Agreed. We need to keep the quality of the article as high as possible, and if there are no good arguments against historicity then perhaps it's best to not list any for the singular purpose of neutrality? - Team FFI (talk) 18:04, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
Can you cite a reliable source that responds to Carrier? Could you cite a source that jumps to the conclusions you are so happy to jump to here? I mean these may very well be great replies to Carrier, but we cannot publish them here if they are your own thoughts. WP:NOR forbids original research. Maybe we could find a scholar who says that Tacitus actually most likely did have access to Jesus' execution records or something like that? Are there any sources that support these and your other claims?-Andrew c [talk] 21:10, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
I think the reliable source has been established as Tacitus himself. The thoughts you claim to be mine are merely the echoing of the words of Tacitus. Tacitus himself responds to Dr. Carrier. - Team FFI (talk) 21:18, 14 February 2009 (UTC)
We cannot interpret ancient, primary sources in this manner. We need to cite scholars who hold these interpretations, we can't be the first to publish material. Sorry.-Andrew c [talk] 21:38, 14 February 2009 (UTC)

Nonetheless, Dr. Carrier's comments should be removed for precisely the reason (talk) 15:28, 14 February 2009 (UTC) has specified. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Team FFI (talkcontribs)

France, RT (1986). Evidence for Jesus (Jesus Library). Trafalgar Square Publishing. pp. 19–20 is used for a reference on the problems with Tacitus in the Christ Myth theory article so it is a valid problem.--BruceGrubb (talk) 22:42, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

RT France's statement about Tactitus is unreliable. He is only stating his opinion. As much of a New Testiment scholar he is, he is not saying any proven. It is only a theory —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.72.233.213 (talk) 21:00, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

You admit that RT France is a New Testiment scholar and yet you say his evaluation Tactitus is unreliable. Mind telling us, 75.72.233.213, just what kind of loopy logic is at work here or what part of "New Testiment scholar" you don't understand?--BruceGrubb (talk) 11:14, 20 April 2009 (UTC)

He's a New Testament scholar? Then I'm the pope, congratulations you're a heretic and therefore excommunicated.... How you like that? Whatever paper hes got, in the end... is just that... paper "in the end" so I can wipe it with; (the paper). He has proven, with his POV, that he has thrown any notion of "TRYING" to prove or disprove historicity out the window and is doing just what he and other anti-christian/anti-semitic (yes you read right) posters have commented on here, just to further his stagnant feelings for any proof of Jesus being anywhere in history. He would have us ignore one of Romes most celebrated and most accurate scholars (at least not so much so in Annals), so he can push his agenda because here he is about 2000 years later and he says absolutely bogus information because he has a PAPER to back him up? In the law field and in engineering, you can loose your license permanently for persuing ludicrous/bogus endeavours for your own gain like this. They have anywhere near as high standards in the history field or do we have to see this guy teaching young people in a college (or having a part) to be heretics to the science and art that is History? WOW, I should have gotten my PHD in History instead (as opposed to my current field), would have been WAY easier and a subject I enjoy just as much.

And no I'm NOT 100% agreeing that Jesus IS a historical figure, but face it, there's WAY too many manuscripts from within 200 years after Jesus that talk about him in detail, not to mention 3 different "DIFFERING" religions (that I can think of) that testify to him having been a real living man in a fashion similar to what is described in the bible. And, scrap that even, where is YOUR PROOF!! You give me proof that Tacitus COULD NOT HAVE POSSIBLY had access to those records in his time (due to fires or whatever gibberish you're preaching) and I'll believe you, otherwise face it, the subject is moot, also, that would be a poor research job since within 3 links of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historicity_of_Jesus is the counter to that anyways. Good luck on your stilted research; judging as you're a Historian and all lets see what you have.... Wikipedia isn't a failed system, its human failures that try to fail it by trying to tilt the scales in their favor and then whine when its not working. —Preceding unsigned comment added by GuyinTPA (talkcontribs) 02:48, 20 August 2009 (UTC)


The heck with it,

Norman Perrin and Dennis C. Duling, The New Testament: An Introduction (Second ed., New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1982), p. 407, quoted by Earl Doherty in private correspondence.

See Gary Habermas, The Historical Jesus (Joplin, Missouri: College Press, 1996), p. 189; and McDowell and Wilson 1988, pp. 50-51.

Good scenarios with a good probability, that Tacitus got his information from either Prisoner/Roman police interrogations or from historical records.

Oh, and some good reasons for Tacitus having information other than what he heard from Christians; McDowell and Wilson 1988, pp. 50-51.

someone edit these in, since these other clowns are posting "assumptions" made by other researchers its only fair to add a few more that seem much better grounded. Hate feeling like im taking this side... —Preceding unsigned comment added by GuyinTPA (talkcontribs) 04:12, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

A or an before "historical"

I reverted one so that all versions in the article are consistent. Oddly, someone has changed it back because it is the "established consensus". Changing just one instance away from all the rest, leaving the majority unchanged, is against the consensus, or am I missing something? WP:MOS#Retaining the existing variety also seems to apply. --Old Moonraker (talk) 21:10, 2 March 2009 (UTC)

True, I missed that there were 2 other examples in the text. However, up until 8 November last year, all the instances used the 'a historian' version: [1]. I have reverted all to this version now. --Rbreen (talk) 22:18, 2 March 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for taking the trouble to reply here. I prefer the "an historical" version, but that's not important: it's consistent use throughout the article that counts.--Old Moonraker (talk) 06:42, 3 March 2009 (UTC)
I should mention "an historical" is better English and prevents a historical from being confused with ahistorical which is defined as "unconcerned with or unrelated to history or to historical development or to tradition" ie non-historial.--BruceGrubb (talk) 09:50, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
"An historic" / "an historical" is one of the most confused English usages out there. The "H" of "historic" was originally silent, as it still is in words like "hour". and "heir", and used to be in "host" and "hotel". (All these words were originally borrowed from French, where all "H"s are silent). Thus in past centuries the usage "an historic" made sense, since it would actually have been pronounced "an istoric". Unless you still pronounce it this way, there is no more reason to say "an historic" than there is to say "an host" or "an hotel". "An historical" is "better English" only if "better" means "more pretentious". Grover cleveland (talk) 13:13, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The distinctly unpretentious and idiomatic Merriam Webster has "Before unstressed or weakly stressed syllables with initial h both a and an are used in writing <a historic> <an historic>". I prefer the reason given in the Wikipedia entry: it's the different ways people pronounce "a" that leads them to select "a" or "an": "You choose the article that suits your own pronunciation." Where's the pretension, please? --Old Moonraker (talk) 13:35, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
The "unstressed h" theory for "an historic" advocated in that Wikipedia article (itself uncited) doesn't hold water unless you would also say things like "an habitual offender" or "an hallucinatory image". As for pretentiousness, I cite the Oxford Dictionary of American Usage and Style which says "Today however an hypothesis and an historical are likely to strike readers as affectations". Grover cleveland (talk) 15:21, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I've always thought of "an historic(al)" as being British usage. Am I imagining that? Because I perceive it as British usage, when an American employs it, it seems to me like putting on airs... --Akhilleus (talk) 15:28, 6 March 2009 (UTC)
I don't think it using "an historic(al)" is putting on airs. You are simply following the English that is spoke in most of the world which is British not American. "The school rule is that an must be used before words beginning with h in which the h is silent, such as honourable. That’s correct, but many people — often without knowing it — follow an extended rule: that in speech an appears before a word beginning with h if the first syllable of that word is unstressed, whether or not the h is silent." World wide words The article includes several printed examples including the King James Bible as it originally appeared (nad appears in the online version: ie "And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years."Genesis 3:9 KJV Another example in the article is "Forms like an hotel are heard from, and written by, older people in the main."--BruceGrubb (talk) 21:07, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

outdent] So as a British user (cf. Moonraker), may I continue to use my preferred pronunciation without being thought pretentious? That's gratifying. As I said at the beginning, I'm very happy to follow the WP:MOS#Retaining the existing variety guidelines when editing to be read on Wikipedia. --Old Moonraker (talk) 15:58, 6 March 2009 (UTC)

So can we at least agree that an historic is not necessarily "better English" than a historic (which is what got me involved in this fracas in the first place)? Cheers :) Grover cleveland (talk) 01:27, 7 March 2009 (UTC)


No because it is too easy to confuse a historic with ahistoric which has a totally opposite meaning.--BruceGrubb (talk) 06:21, 7 March 2009 (UTC)
...(sigh)... Consider the following two examples:
There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written.
An election is a moral horror, as bad as a battle except for the blood; a mud bath for every soul concerned in it.
They both contain the sequence a moral, which could easily be confused with amoral which has a "totally opposite meaning". Just like "a historic" and "ahistoric" in fact, except that "amoral" is a much more common word than "ahistoric" so the potential for confusion would be even greater! Presumably you think these sentences are terrible examples of English. Well, they were written by two of the greatest masters of English prose: Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw. Perhaps you now realize how ridiculous your position is? Grover cleveland (talk) 19:45, 8 March 2009 (UTC)
Since everyone (save Bruce) is ok with the article saying "a historical", etc. perhaps we don't have to carry on this unproductive conversation. Or it can be carried on at the WP:MOS talkpage... --Akhilleus (talk) 20:03, 8 March 2009 (UTC)

Tacitus Annales

Why is the reference about the earliest extant manuscript of Tacitus' Annales saying Chrestianos, being deleted? This must be valid information in this article./83.172.125.228 (talk) 16:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)


As a believer in Him, I agree. I believe some sort of SHORT discussion on the Chrestus/Christus distinction is in order. That Chrestus is a misspelling and mispronunciation common to that era (and long thereafter) should be pointed out, along with relevant quotations from Tertullian (I Apol. 3.5) and Lactantius (Divine Institutes, 4.7.5) which substantiate the claim. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 71.110.7.47 (talk) 06:03, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

Christ myth theory merger

There is a discussion of a mass merger for Christ myth theory. It is looking to me like this article would end up absorbing quite a bit of the material. If anyone is interested in this discussion please go to Talk:Christ_myth_theory#Avoiding_synthesis. jbolden1517Talk 20:12, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

I've said quite a bit about this at Talk:Christ_myth_theory#Avoiding_synthesis; my basic view is that since the idea of a non-historical Jesus is at best a marginal view (really, it's a fringe theory), it would be a violation of WP:UNDUE to give it much attention in this article, which should concentrate on mainstream views. In this article, the few paragraphs in Historicity_of_Jesus#Jesus_as_myth adequately cover this idea from the perspective of mainstream scholarship, so in this case, "merging" would result in the elimination of most of the content of Christ myth theory. However, I think the topic is notable, and worth covering in its own dedicated article, so I'm not in favor of merging. --Akhilleus (talk) 00:36, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
Agree with the above from Akhilleus. rossnixon 02:58, 18 March 2009 (UTC)
I have to agree with Akhilleus regarding the non-historical position and that merging it with this article would be a majorly bad idea. The only real problem we have over in the other article is that Christ myth theory is not always clearly defined and than is certainly not grounds for a merger though we may have to shuffle things around between articles once we do get things settled.--BruceGrubb (talk) 02:47, 21 March 2009 (UTC)

I Removed Bias, POV Content From The Article

Content from people who just have their own opinions is not neutral. The content which many of these historians have used suggests that Tacitus was an ally of the Christians. He most certainly was not. He was a loyal servant to Nero, and he was likely promoting propaganda for Nero with his essay. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 75.72.233.213 (talk) 20:10, 29 March 2009 (UTC)

Tacitus didn't work for Nero, Nero died when Tacitus was around ten years old. Roy Brumback (talk) 05:42, 30 March 2009 (UTC)
It was also sourced. The correct way to seek to remove sourced material which isn't blatantly offenseive is to seek consensus on the talk page before removing it. Also, regretably, your own speculation about what Tacitus's motivations were are just that, unless you can provide a source which says that yourself. I am on that basis restoring the content. If you wish to have it removed or altered, please provide your reasons why here so we can all work to achieve a consensus as to what the article should say. Thank you. John Carter 20:57, 29 March 2009 (signature added by bkonrad after repairing hidden text problem)
Richard Carrier is not a good source for this article. The essay that the quotation comes from is self-published on the web, and was written at a time when Carrier didn't have a Ph.D. Given that the passage of Tacitus in question has been written about by many different scholars, it shouldn't be that hard to characterize the range of scholarly opinions about it without resorting to self-published essays. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:25, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
So, in effect, at this point, does the Tacitus passage stay or not? My guess might be we remove the Carrier reference and add a citation needed template? John Carter (talk) 23:29, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
The Tacitus section cites plenty of different sources, and I think simply removing the Carrier passage results in a good representation of what different scholars think--Guignebert and R. T. France are both ok sources, and both take a skeptical view of the value of the Tacitus passage. --Akhilleus (talk) 23:44, 29 March 2009 (UTC)
Fine by me. 23:47, 29 March 2009 (UTC) (this edit by John Carter, yet another problem with missing stuff here, John's name added by Dougweller this time)

"Charles Guignebert argued "So long as there is that possibility [that Tacitus is merely echoing what Christians themselves were saying], the passage remains quite worthless". [1]" This needs to be removed, it's tilting the scales with a sort of circular logic.... by the same logic that same possibility, being just a possibility, is an assumption that it is "merely echoing what Christians themselves were saying." I can safely state that its a possibility that Tacitus is NOT merely echoing what Christians themselves were saying, just as for example; theres no proof of Nero NOT persecuting Christians for not worshipping him.... etc etc.. —Preceding unsigned comment added by GuyinTPA (talkcontribs) 03:42, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Actually there are clues Tacitus may be echoing what Christians themselves were saying as he writes "Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius." But was know via a recently discovered inscription that if Tacitus was really using Roman records the passage would call Pontius Pilate by the defunct title of Prefect not by the title of Procurator that didn't exist for the region until 44CE.--BruceGrubb (talk) 18:23, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Tacitus mislabeling Pilate's position is not evidence for a Christian source. Maybe he got the info from a non-official mistaken non-Christian source. Maybe he just changed the title so as to not confuse the audience of his day who used the Procurator term for the head official of the region. Roy Brumback (talk) 20:48, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
This whole discussion is people arguing a POV instead of simply adhering to facts. "Clues" "may be" echoing? Yes, or they may NOT be. And yes, it's "evidence." It isn't proof. Those are two different things. Carlo (talk) 23:06, 24 August 2009 (UTC)

RT France Is Not A Reliable Source Either

France is also writing an unproven POV argument and is arguing that Tacitus was sympathizing with the Christians as well. France's accusations can also be defeated by the fact that Suentonius, another pagan Roman historian, also wrote a documentation of Christians prior to 150 AD as well. Tacitus did not sympathize with the Christians. He was a Roman nationalist and good friend of Nero 75.72.233.213 22:00, 29 March 2009 (signature added by Dougweller)

It was also sourced. The correct way to seek to remove sourced material which isn't blatantly offenseive is to seek consensus on the talk page before removing it. Also, regretably, your own speculation about what Tacitus's motivations were are just that, unless you can provide a source which says that yourself. I am on that basis restoring the content. If you wish to have it removed or altered, please provide your reasons why here so we can all work to achieve a consensus as to what the article should say. Thank you. John Carter 21:02, 29 March 2009 (signature added by bkonrad after repairing hidden text problem)

"R. T. France concludes that the Tacitus passage is at best just Tacitus repeating what he has heard through Christians" I agree with 75.72.233.213 (Dougweller?). This is an assumption that was written down and the source material leaves little doubt. By the same token, I will write down, in my biography that I met Barack Obama last night and that I believed he could turn into Satan/God/Buddha/the Imam Mahdi before my very eyes at any moment because of my complete dislike for his "CONSERVATIVE" rule; and in 2000 years I'm sure some idiot will believe it since its sourced...(Hell, just read or watch some conservative media, I'm sure they have far worse assumptions down on paper as facts they see). This, Charles Guignebert, and Carrier, is plain consensus over credentials. WE NEED PROOF not an opinion of someone with a paper who can write, THAT is WIKIPEDIA. —Preceding unsigned comment added by GuyinTPA (talkcontribs) 03:55, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

Hector Avalos

I reverted the change because I don't see anything where Dr. Avalos denies the basic historical existence of Jesus, which is what the paragraphs about. The user who made the change also seems to be saying that Dr. Avalos' skepticism is about his "deeds" not his person. Carlo (talk) 19:06, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Michael Martin

To this edit: the source is Michael Martin: The Case against Christianity, Temple University Press, 1991. Review here. --Usw. (talk) 10:12, 21 May 2009 (UTC)

He isn't a historian or biblical scholar, he's a philosopher.Roy Brumback (talk) 19:02, 21 May 2009 (UTC)
He's prof. emerit. of philosophy of religion at Boston University. I don't think that this disqualifies him from taking part in the discussion about the Historicity of Jesus. People like Wells, Doherty etc. are mentioned as well and i think Martin is even of greater importance than they are. --Usw. (talk) 09:03, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I've verified that in the book in question Martin attempts to defend Wells non-historicity/myth hypothesis (I guess the same one that Wells would later back track on). Chapter 2 is devoted to it, but at the end, after concluding Wells critics are defeated, he goes on to assume, for the rest of the book, I guess for the sake of argument, that Jesus was a historical figure. Since no one else except for Price that we list is a biblical scholar, I would not oppose adding Martin to the list, but we should at least either add a citation to Chapter two, or better yet, explain his position in more detail in his parent article. -Andrew c [talk] 12:36, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
Yes, citation or explaining his position would take some space. Imho adding him to the list+reference would be enough, his "extended" argument may be explained in detail in the MM-article. (I don't have time to do that and i'd rather work on the deWP-article on Michael Martin in my native language, but perhaps someone feels "inspired". ;-) --Usw. (talk) 14:46, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Considering that the non-historical position is a fringe view I think this article is devoting too much attention to it. A detailed explanation of Martin's views belongs in some other article, especially since his position on Jesus' historicity seems to depend entirely on Wells--i.e., he's adding nothing new to ideas about the historical Jesus. --Akhilleus (talk) 13:23, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Exactly. Does he make any arguments Wells doesn't?Roy Brumback (talk) 19:47, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Much of the "evidence" is hearsay

The fact remains undisputed that many sources on this page (i.e. Josephus, Tacitus, etc.) whose writing claim to reference a historical Jesus character were not alive during the time Jesus supposedly lived (3 BC - 33 AD). Therefore much of the information presented is hearsay and not first hand, contemporaneous evidence of a historical Jesus. This is a very important item that should be noted throughout the article. --Mabu2 (talk) 16:30, 4 June 2009 (UTC)

You're fighting a losing battle. Religious wingnuts have a lot more to lose from a balanced representation of the evidence than rational folks stand to gain. This means that they will _always_ be willing to spend more time and effort resisting edits that introduce balance to this issue than you are willing to spend inserting it. This is a major flaw of the Wiki model... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.44.74.245 (talk) 06:00, 7 June 2009 (UTC)

Yes, and religious wingnuts apparently also dominate all fields of legitimate scholarship, which is why those who think Jesus did not exist are the ones all the way out on the fringe, as opposed to the alleged "wingnuts." Poor, poor pitiful you. Carlo (talk) 13:13, 7 June 2009 (UTC)
"Legitimate scholarship" on this issue comes from people who don't have an ignorant and superstitious religious reason to over-interpret the vague bits of evidence that may point to a historical Jesus. Among non-religious scholars and legitimate archaeologists you will find that the consensus goes the other way. Citing theologists and bible scholars on an issue like this is like citing witchdoctors on a scholarly article looking at the scientific efficacy of reading chicken entrails. I'm not going to bother re-applying the small, reasonable changes I made - as I said, on a forum like this where the most persistent and fanatical have editorial control, it's not worth my time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.44.104.204 (talk) 22:09, 9 June 2009 (UTC)
You haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about, do you? --Ari89 (talk) 03:26, 10 June 2009 (UTC)
Ah, another well-informed and entirely unbiased contributor to this article, right? A quick glance at your user page shows exactly where your prejudices on this issue lies, and shows precisely why this article continues to reflect blinkered Christian wishful thinking. You would continue to hold your opinion, no matter what the evidence says - in fact, your faith demands it. I don't have any horse in this race - I accept proof of the real-world existence of any number of other important religious figures that I don't believe are divine, and it bothers me not a jot. There just isn't any preponderance of evidence for the existence of the biblical Jesus. Many smart, well-credentialed and impartial people have pointed this out, in painstaking detail, but the article reflects none of this work. As I said above, this demonstrates a fundamental flaw in the Wiki content generation process very nicely: consensus is a very, very poor substitute for objective truth. Especially a consensus based on shrillness and time investment, rather than knowledge and rationality. Any idiot with a computer and free time can drown out the world expert on any article on Wikipedia... and this article is just one example of that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 121.44.104.204 (talk) 11:14, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Your sarcasm aside, I agree that I am well informed. However, I would never pretend to be unbiased - and that is why I declare my bias. But it should go without sayingg that as a student of history primarily I set aside my bias when utilising proper historical methodology. Now - other than calling the vast majority of Jesus historians wishful thinkers, do you have any contribution? --Ari89 (talk) 12:40, 5 August 2009 (UTC)
We have a section on the Jesus Myth. And I believe we give it due weight. Wikipedia is not about The Truth, it's about summarizing existing published sources. From my extensive research, the vast majority of biblical scholars and historians of 1st century Judea all agree that Jesus was a historical figure. And this included scholars of many different religious backgrounds. It is our jobs to accurately reflect scholarship. If there is some systematic bias going into the scholarship, it is not our job to try to correct that here. We simply repeat what is already published, in accordance with our neutral point of view and undue weight policies and guidelines. That said, you mention "many smart, well credentialed and impartial people". If you believe this article is missing sources, or you have specific content you want to add, please go right a head. In fact, I'd like you to list some of the scholars you believe we are neglecting in this article. I really don't agree with you about the nature of this article, but I'd like to hear specifics and sources you have. Thanks.-Andrew c [talk] 14:33, 12 June 2009 (UTC)

Is the latin script really from the time of Jesus?

http://aolsvc.timeforkids.kol.aol.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,828101,00.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by Johnsonpeter (talkcontribs) 05:18, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Have we not been over this before?

The paragraph as presented is accurate. Almost all Biblical scholars and historians who have weighed in on the subject concede the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth. It is regarded as a settled issue. Those who disagree are a tiny handful, and almost every single one of them is mentioned. If every single scholar who conceded historicity was mentioned, the list would grow to thousands. That in itself could be viewed as violating WP:UNDUE. Those mentioned have a POV? Of course they do. NO ONE who has weighed in on the subject DOESN'T have a POV. The fact is that almost ALL of the POVs agree with one side of the issue. Trying to pretend that there are two equal sides to the question when there aren't is deceptive, and THAT violates NPOV. Carlo (talk) 15:49, 16 July 2009 (UTC)

That's a ridiculously biased claim. DreamGuy (talk) 21:40, 17 August 2009 (UTC)

It doesn't matter that most historians and scholars BELIEVE the historicity of Jesus. All that matters is PROOF. Since there is a sufficient lack of proof for the historicity of Jesus, therefore the debate rages on. BoyintheMachine (talk) 20:01, 16 August 2009 (UTC)

Define proof in relation to history. Roy Brumback (talk) 07:10, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Actually, what "most historians and scholars believe" is EXACTLY what matters for the purposes of an encyclopedia. An individual user's criteria for "proof" (and Roy Brumback is right on point) is what doesn't matter. Carlo (talk) 13:46, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
Good grief. So you want the article to outright endorse what you choose to believe and reject the opinions of the experts who disagree with your stance. That's not acceptable. DreamGuy (talk) 21:40, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
No, I want the article to reflect what scholars and historians believe, and I have no idea how you got the crap you just spouted from what I wrote. The experts who disbelieve in the existence of a historical Jesus of Nazareth are a tiny handful, almost every one of whom is mentioned by name in the article. You seem to be upset that the article reflects the actual opinions of scholarship instead of your wishes. Carlo (talk) 23:54, 17 August 2009 (UTC)
It all depends on what you mean by "historical Jesus of Nazareth". If you mean the Jesus described in the Gospels in his entirety the majority of historians certainly don't believe that Jesus is historical any more than they believe John Frum as described by the John Frum cargo cult is historical. The real issue has been how much of the Jesus story can be seen in previous religions and-or in motifs that Joseph Campbell described in Hero with Thousand Faces and if you build on those ideas (or ideas similar to those) do you need a historical founder. So far the answer has been no--there is nothing to suggest that historical founder really was needed. It is just as likely (if not more so) that the followers of some 1st century Galilean philosopher plugged into an already existing mythology and added stories from other sources to make the two mesh better.
It doesn't help the pro-historical Jesus side when they make comparisons with Alexander the Great, Plato, or Julius Caesar people for which there is a phenomenal amount of evidence during their life times of their existence. In addition to the coins minted, mosaics laid, and statues made in his honor Alexander also had accounts written about him when he was still living by Callisthenes, Ptolemy, Nearchus, Aristobulus, and Onesicritus. Plato similarlly had accounts written regarding him during his life time. Julius Caesar has the best amount of contemporary evidence in addition to coins, statues, and writing about him you also have writings to and from him. If they were serious why not talk about Apollonius of Tyana? Perhaps because he would create a lot of problems for their position as nearly everything you can say about Jesus you can say about Apollonius showing that contrary to the picture they want to paint Jesus was NOT unique. Worse Eusebius did not challenge these claims as attempts to make a "Pagan Christ" but rather claimed the incidents were either tricks or the work of demons (this is because the now lost accounts Philostratus based his story on were still around preventing Eusebius from pulling the written 130 years later and-or just a copy of Christ song and dance we see today)--BruceGrubb (talk) 09:31, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Tedious. This is a lot of assertions. What scholarship supports your analysis of what the "real issue" is? What scholarship supports your analysis of what the answer to that "real issue" is? The fact is that there are numerous scholars at well-regarded institutions, who are not fundamentalists, who believe that there was a historical person upon whom the figure of Jesus in the Gospels are based. This is the mainstream position. Mainstream debate is focused not on whether there was a historical person, but about how much we can know about him, and how reliable the gospels are as sources. Then there are a small number of writers, most of them amateurs rather than academics, who argue that there was no historical Jesus, but that he was a fictional character made up by the Evangelists. That is the point. This is not a discussion board for arguing about whether Jesus existed. It is a place to discuss an encyclopedia article which is supposed to express the scholarly consensus about issues. If you have anything to contribute on that front, you should do so, but this post contains nothing but your own opinions and original analysis. john k (talk) 14:08, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
The first part is simply a retelling of what Wells has been saying all they way back to Jesus Myth and spelled out to his detractors in Can We Trust the New Testament? and is an variation of an idea presented in a university press book in the 1930s. Dodd in the 1938 Manchester University press publication History and the Gospel talked about the idea of a cult forming that mixed the idea of a Savior god with Jewish Messiah and either gave this figure the name Jesus (according to Dodd based on the Hebrew word for Savior) "Or alternatively, they seized upon the report of an obscure Jewish holy-man bearing this name, and arbitrarily attached the "cult-myth" to him." (Dodd, C. H. (1938) under the heading "Christ-myth Theory" History and the Gospel Manchester University Press pg 17).
Go back a century before Wells and you have John E. Remsburg saying much the same thing in The Christ and a century before Remsburg you had Constantin-François Volney also saying much the same thing; this idea is as old as Dupuis' throw the baby out with the bathwater Jesus never existed idea.
Price (who has published who has published articles in Journal for the Study of the New Testament ("one of the leading academic journals in New Testament Studies"), Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith ("The peer-reviewed journal of the ASA"), Themelios ("international evangelical theological journal that expounds and defends the historic Christian faith"), Journal of Ecumenical Studies ("The premiere academic publication for interreligious scholarship since 1964"), Evangelical Quarterly, Journal of Psychology and Theology, Journal of Unification Studies, etc. Even questionable PRO historical Jesus source Strobel admits Robert Price is part of "a very small handful of legitimate scholars) holds that so little exists and what does is so contradictory that there might was well be nothing there as it is impossible to filter the sound from the noise. Of course you have Tom Harpur (former Professor of New Testament and New Testament Greek at Wycliffe) doing the baby out with the bathwater solution.
Between the two extremes of totally historical account and didn't exist at all Remsburg came up with two other options: "Jesus of Nazareth is a historical character and that these narratives, eliminating the supernatural elements, which they regard as myths, give a fairly authentic account of his life." and "Christ is a myth, of which Jesus of Nazareth is the basis, but that these narratives are so legendary and contradictory as to be almost if not wholly, unworthy of credit."
So contrary to your totally bogus claims of "your own opinions and original analysis" my statements are backed up by a university press book whose ideas Wells is currently doing a variation on. So the issue is not so much of did Jesus exist but how much of the actual events have been passed down and what evidence is there outside the canonal scriptures in the 1st and second century to support those accounts.--BruceGrubb (talk) 20:27, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
I for one do not deny that the idea of Jesus being mythic in some way has had a considerable history. But we are also supposed to reflect current academic opinion as well, and there seems to be very little current support in the academic community for this idea. It does seem to me that the existing consensus among academics is that the idea has comparatively little support. While I can and do think the idea is of definite historical importance, I have yet to see much any evidence that the idea enjoys much regard today, and unless I see such evidence I would have to say that the idea is not one widely held today. John Carter (talk) 20:37, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
Once again, what is your point here? Your statements here seem to have no connection that I can discern to the content of the article. What are you proposing? john k (talk) 22:50, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
As I am myself somewhat of the opinion that the theory of Jesus/Christ as a "myth" is at this point quite possibly "fringey", I have raised a question regarding the topic at WP:FTN. John Carter (talk) 23:44, 18 August 2009 (UTC)
    • ^ Jesus, University Books, New York, 1956, p.13