Talk:Jesus as myth/Archive6

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Spliting up the article[edit]

read recent removal of the Mithras section

Neutrality Warning Removal[edit]

dear All, I just thought I would notify you that I am removing the neutrality warning from the start of this article, as I regard it as being inappropriate. My reasons for this are very simple. This page is NOT saying that Jesus is a myth, as it makes clear in its opening statement. It is a review of the theories and claims advanced by other people that Jesus was a myth. The article does not therefore have a POV, since it is just reviewing other peoples ideas and claims, not advancing any of its own. The only grounds for challenging the neutrality of an article of this kind would therefore be;

a) That it unfairly represented or characterised the ideas of one of the theorists it discusses.

b) that it made incorrect or inaccurate statements regarding the amount of support that a particular theorists ideas' possessed within the academic community.

c) that it unfairly or inaccurately represented the degree of support that the theory of 'Jesus as Myth' as a whole enjoys within the academic community.

Clearly, c) does not apply, as the page makes clear in its second section the extremely limited levels of suport for the idea among contemporary scholars, and that the theory is generally rejected by the mainstream.

In the case of either a) or b), the neutrality warning should be attached to the top of the relevent subsection of the page, to indicate where the problem is, not to the page itself, as its overall tone and stance, as set out in its opening statement, is correctly neutral.

Furthermore, a number of issues have been raised ragarding the accuracy of some of the material included in the page. For example, someone raised an issue regarding the validity of certain statements about language ie that a word was arabic and not ancient egyptian. I cannot comment on whether these criticisms are fair or not, as i am no sufficiently well informed on the topics in question. However, i can suggest what the correct wikipedia response should be. Either, an accuracy warning at the start of the section,or the addition of a warning at the start of the page that some people have disputed the accuracy of some statements, and leave it there until such time as their accuracy has been properly debated on the discussion pages, and the staements adjusted accordingly. The use of the quality/cleanup warning is not apropriate for such a situation, as it is meant for situations where the grammar, presentation, spelling etc have problems, not the content itself.

In light of these arguments, I am going to alter the warning signs at the start of this page to fit the the correct useage. Anyone who feels that their are any problems with the neutrality of certain sections, or their accuracy, should reattach signs to those sections, and preferably edit them to bring them into line with the generally accepted facts and interpretations of particular authors works.

Mattlav 06:22, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

Removed from page[edit]

material removed by SOPHIA and Wesley on April 29 moved to /Archive 3. Arch O. La Grigory Deepdelver 15:57, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

  • How about asking for sources rather than axing out 2,600 words? Most of this section uses the bible as a source, and the rest can be easily cited if only somebody had asked. I'm adding the section back in and will attempt to include citations. Big Brother 1984 09:54, 31 July 2006 (UTC)
  • Strange, the section I undeleted has been deleted again before I had a chance to source it. There really wasn't a discussion about removing this section the first time it was deleted, nor was there a comment made this time. The lack of contemporary secular mention of a man named Jesus is of key importance to the Jesus myth theory and should therefore be included. Likewise, the apparent inconsistencies of the gospel accounts with other secular account (and between the gospels themselves) is equally important to the theory. I'm not in the mood for a revert war, but could somebody explain why these sections should not be included in this article? If you want citations, ask for them on any comment you feel may be incorrect. But does anybody really question whether or not Philo failed to mention Jesus, or that the gospel accounts of Jesus' life contain contradictions? If sources are required to verify these claims, they can easily be found. Big Brother 1984 10:17, 31 July 2006 (UTC)

Specific arguments of the theory[edit]

Previous discussion (AJA proposal from May 2006) moved to /Archive 5

This section as it now stands is pure nonsense, especially the Horus claims, which are nothing but pseudo-Egyptology based on the work of three or four authors who are not Egyptologists. None of the people making these claims are mentioned in M.L. Bierbrier's "Who Was Who in Egyptology" or in I.B. Pratt's exhaustive Egyptology bibliography. One of the claimants, A.B. Kuhn, was a high school English teacher. Most Egyptologists have not even heard of these claims, and those who know of them roundly scoff at them. I'll just give a few examples to give everyone an idea of how ridiculous this stuff is:

--"KRST" is not a title of Horus or anyone else. It is the Egyptian word for "burial". Similarly, the Egyptian word for "coffin" is "KRSW".

--Osiris was never viewed as a creator deity (he was the god of the dead), so Horus was never viewed as the son of a creator deity.

--Isis was never known as "Meri".

--Neith's identity was absorbed into Nephthys, not Isis.

--The Egyptians never referred to the stars in Orion's belt as "MNTK", "ANLM", and "ALNTK". This claim is a lie, as "Mintaka", "Alnilam", and "Alnitak", like most modern star names, come from Arabic. "Mintaka" comes from the Arabic "mantaqah", meaning "belt". "Alnilam" comes from the Arabic "an-nizam", meaning "the string of pearls". "Alnitak" comes from the Arabic "an-nitaq", another phrase meaning "the belt". This is a blatant attempt at fooling people who don't know the Arabic origin of these star names, fabricating pseudo-Egyptian names by removing the vowels from the modern English names.

--Horus did not resurrect his father Osiris. Osiris' wife, Isis, resurrected him after piecing together his dismembered body. Horus had not even been conceived at the time.

--Heliopolis was never known as "Beth-Annu" in Hebrew, though it was sometimes referred to as "Beth-Shemesh" (house of the Sun, translated literally from the Egyptian "per-Atum"). In any case, Bethany was a real historical village, today known as el-Azariyeh (Arabic for "place of Lazarus").

--Set never tried to tempt Horus with gifts. The struggle was much more bloody than that, with Set gouging out one of Horus' eyes and Horus castrating Set (neither of which have any parallel in the Gospels).

--Satan is not based on Set, though Set was often identified with the Canaanite deity Baal and the Hittite deity Teshub. In Judaism, Satan (actually a title, hasatan, "the accuser") is not a dualistic evil entity like the Christian Satan or the Egyptian Set, but rather plays a role more similar to that of a plaintiff. The Christian concept of Satan comes from the Zoroastrian influences absorbed by the Jews while in exile between 586 and 537 BCE.

--Etc., etc., etc....

Clearly these claims are the work of someone not qualified in Egyptology. More information can be found here: (George Mason University's History News Network). The Dionysus and Mithra claims suffer the same factual inaccuracy; much like the urban legends on, these silly claims often surface in a slightly different form, with Horus being replaced with Osiris or Dionysus or Mithra as the claimed origin of the Jesus-Myth.

This section should be either deleted entirely, or heavily fact-checked and corrected (a process which I am sure will yield roughly the same result as a full deletion). 05:11, 16 July 2006 (UTC)

The main point of this article is not to describe ancient religions per se; it's to describe what proponents (and hopefully opponents) of the "Jesus as myth" theory have said. If you disagree with the theory, compare it with writing about Aristotle. An article on him wouldn't be complete without a description of his theories, even if some of them are thoroughly discredited. That being said, I agree that the article needs some indication of the source(s) for the claims. If a specific refutation or counterargument has been published, it should be included as well. Maestlin 21:42, 18 July 2006 (UTC)
I've added the POV-section flag to this section. Given the IP editor's statement above a stronger flag might be needed, but at the very least the section violates the NPOV policy by giving undue weight to these arguments without any critical discussion of them. I'm tempted to add a NPOV flag to the whole article, but the first few bits looked reasonable, so what it really needs is a NPOV-hereafter flag, and I don't have time to figure out where the line belongs. Perhaps at the "Influences on the earliest Christianity" section break. GRBerry 21:10, 1 August 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the article should describe the specific postulates of the Jesus-Myth theory, but should we really present supporting "evidence" that is not at all factual? It would be like having an article that says "Holocaust denial is supported by the failure of the Allies to recover any bodies from Nazi concentration camps". I do think that the article should describe the Jesus-Myth theories' assertions of a connection between Jesus and Egyptian mythology, but I don't think it's appropriate to "support" these theories with fabricated "evidence", even if it is immediately rebutted. This is a fringe theory, and like most of the fringe, fabrication and misconception abounds; I do not think Wikipedia should be contributing to that. 16:52, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

NEW ERRORS: In the "Parallels with Astrology" section, I found several major errors. First of all, section entitled "The Great Year" states that it has been proposed that Mithraism was inspired by Hipparchus' discovery of precession. Besides the fact that no source for such a proposal is cited, this claim is false--Mithraism predates Hipparchus by several hundred years. In the section "Timeline of Jesus' Life", it is stated that Jesus of Nazareth was said to have begun his ministry at an age of 30. The Christian New Testament actually only states that he was *approximately* 30. Also, the claim is made that Jesus' ministry is said to have lasted for one year. In reality, the New Testament and every other Christian source I have ever seen states that Jesus' ministry lasted for about two to four years, the most common belief being that it lasted three years. Unless there is some source that I am not aware of, I can't say that anyone has ever seriously suggested that Jesus' ministry lasted for only one year. 17:18, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

  • Reply -- "Mithraism predates Hipparchus by several hundred years." -- Mithra predates the discovery, but not Mithras. Don't get the two related deities confused. Mthra did not fight the bull... that's Mithras. It is difficult to say exactly when the cult of Mithras first got it's start, but (according to the page on Mithraism) it is estimated that it first appeared some time after 168AD. But it's hard to say just how long after 168AD. It is generally reckoned that Hipparchus discovered the Precession of the equinoxes in the 130's BC, which is fairly close to the beginnings of the Mithras cult. Mithraism, like Christianity, did not emerged fully-formed. There is little information concerning Mithraism during the first 100 years or so of it's existence. It isn't very hard to believe that Hipparchus' new-found discovery would have had a profound effect on the "science" of astrology, and could have quite possibly lead to the development of two new religions -- Christianity and Mithraism. -- "The Christian New Testament actually only states that he was *approximately* 30." - Then feel free to add the word "approximately". -- Also, the claim is made that Jesus' ministry is said to have lasted for one year. - I have heard estimates of either one year or three. Feel free to add that info if you wish. Big Brother 1984 10:28, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
  • 'Additional Reply' -- I cleaned up the portion on The Precession of the Equinox. The discovery of precession did not challenge the geocentric theory; the non-geocentric (sun-centered and NOT earth-centered solar system) theory is attributed to Galileo at a much later time in history. I tried my best to preserve the link to [[1]] because it contains valuable information. Never-the-less, precession is NOT the movement of the entire outer universe; precessional movement is determined by eccentricities in the earth's axis rotation that makes it seem that the entire outer universe is gradually moving 'backwards'. If anyone wishes to 'revert' to the original that's cool with me, however, the original is erroneous. The link to www.themystica reveals much interesting information, however, I question the conclusions as speculation. I tightened up and trimmed the text because these side issues (e.g. precession, astrological ages, astrology) are of immense importance to the article but can get out of hand. I would like to note that issues like 'precession, astrological ages, and astrology' are not within the western mind-set (fringe elements only) so drafting this article becomes much more of a challenge. Additionally, The Gregorian Calendar is at war with astrology [[2]] and The Roman Catholic Church has done everything (it seems) possible in the creation of The Gregorian Calendar to divorce itself from its possible astrological/astronomical origins. For instance: On this issue of precession.... The Sun 'precesses' out of the astrological sign of Virgo (The Virgin) into Leo, the sign of the king. Thus, a son (sun) 'born' (precessed out of) of a virgin (Virgo) as a king is an astronomical/astrological allegory dealing with astrology and celestial mechanics [[3]]. This analysis also suggests that any ancient civilization that created a 'myth' regarding a deity (king) born of a virgin was aware of precession. See, [[4]]. Portions of precessional information as it relates to Christianity, as quoted here, cited and quoted with permission of the author/researcher [[5]]. Note: Nothing in this comment should be interpreted as debunking the teachings of Christianity, rather I am suggesting that The New Testament contains (also) an allegorical depiction of ancient astrological beliefs regarding the spiritual nature of Man. I am not suggesting that Jesus was a myth; I am suggesting that The New Testament contains mythological elements that are directly related to ancient astrology and celestial mechanics. Let's not throw out the baby with the bath water. I doubt that George Washington (1st President of USA) ever cut down the cherry tree, but I do not doubt that George ("G") existed. Mythological elements do not disprove an historical Jesus, archaeological elements (writings in this instance) should be the focus of this article. (Additionally there are 24+ 'gospels' in existence, only 4 of which are included in The New Testament.) Revealing 'mythological' components (Ben Franklin's kite & key or Sir Isaac Newton's head bonking by a falling apple) regarding an alleged historical personage is not proof of a full blown 'myth'. It is only proof of mythological embellishments. John Charles Webb 21:59, 10 August 2006 (UTC)
I have added a {{Not verified}} due to these objections. --Awesome 03:35, 25 September 2006 (UTC)

__Speaking as a former admin and mod on two of the more prominent mythicist discussion forums, the article as it now stands is very poorly organized and out of touch with the main currents of modern mythicism. The section on mystery religions and ancient Egypt needs to be radically reduced, as the history of religions arguments have given way to more modern views, championed by Doherty and others, that the disciples saw Jesus in visions rather than experienced him as a living person. Modern mythicism also notes the extensive use of fiction and Hellenistic fiction techniques in the Gospel texts, the construction of the Jesus story out of the Old Testament and Josephus, and other things that are not well-discussed in this article. It's an improvement on the old article, which was a hopeless disaster written by a rabid Christian apologist, but at the moment, it is way out of touch. It needs far more extensive citation from Doherty, from the modern radical critics like Hermann Detering, and from recent works. The history of religions approach, while useful for comparative evaluation, is no longer the main approach. Rather, it has become deconstruction of the extant texts. Also, reference is needed to a second and smaller strain of mythicism, the Romans-invented-Jesus school, currently championed by Joe Atwill, who argues that Jesus is Titus, son of Vespasian. 22:52, 4 December 2006 (UTC)Michael Turton

Logical Fallacies[edit]

The article's tone and execution rests uncomfortably upon errors in logic. See, Logical_fallacy, False_Dilemma, Begging_the_question, Biased_sample, Denying_the_antecedent, plus many more. One error is that the presence of 'mythological components' is conclusive evidence to debunk the entire Jesus cosmology as myth. Any professor of "Logic and Argumentation" will tell you that you have to consider your 'audience' in determining the tone and flow of an 'argument' (a logical progression of thought and evidence). The conundrum of this article is in attempting to present information (fact) that challenges deeply held emotional/religious beliefs. As such, this article will be closely scrutinized for errors, unsupported conclusions, bias, poor scholarship, logical fallacies and fringe theories. I have tried to re-write the opening paragraphs (nothing posted) of this article numerous times, however, the body of the article has too many fatal flaws to be considered 'encyclopedic'. The article is a 'tirade' disguised as scholarship. It needs to be recreated from the ground up. The topic is important enough to suffice as a thesis for a Ph.D candidate. You cannot just 'graffiti' in a few swipes of text , cite a few non-relevant links to create the illusion of validity and then conclude that Jesus is a myth using bold type as additional proof. The article requires a thorough analysis of all 24+ gospels, a search for historical records via earlier scholarly articles, and a search for physical archaeological artifacts including all pertinent writings. This article has just won a reprieve from a death sentence, and now it is committing suicide. The third paragraph states, "The study of whether or not Jesus might be a purely mythological requires academic analysis of the available evidence from times near-contemporary with the dates for Jesus' life, and on analysis of how reliable such evidence is..." Well..... where is it? I am going to repeat this (opinion) "The article is a 'tirade' disguised as scholarship". How about (proposed flow): The evidence for Jesus, The 24+ gospels, The gospels determined to be closest to the time frame, The similarities between The New Testament and earlier writings or syncretisms, The Writings of Josephus and THEN a critical analysis of the referenced materials including ancient astrological beliefs (Egypt and Sumeria) and astronomical symbolism, etc. I have no interest in reviving the deletion debate. I strongly support the decision that this article should be published. However, I can take you to the 'finish line' ... There is only very little archaeological evidence of the existence of an historical Jesus. The 'evidence' is hotly disputed and is considered as 'clues' rather than conclusive. The matter has already been covered in the Wikipedia article Historicity of Jesus although lacking in depth the historicity article is 'encyclopedic'. A new roof and a coat of paint is not going to suffice for a house built upon a crumbling foundation; this article, presently, is based upon a logical fallacy (its foundation) and that (repeat) illogical foundation is that the presence of syncretism and mythological components equates to Jesus as Myth. (See also, Newton's apple, Ben Franklin's Kite & Key, Washington's Cherry Tree, etc). An additional fallacy is that you cannot refute The New Testament's 4 gospels and then impliedly attest to the accuracy of The New Testament by ignoring the 22+ other gospels not included in the bible as (presumably) inconsequential. If you are going to gore somebody's ox then you better have a swift steed, a formidable suit of armor, have no stone left unturned AND iron clad verifiable references. Even if all of those tasks are performed, the best that you will be able to come up with (absent POV and personal conclusion) is where you started from.... i.e. There is no significant body of archaeological evidence, outside of the bible, to prove the existence of an historical Jesus. To conclude that Jesus is a myth, based upon the lack of archaeological evidence is, however, illogical. John Charles Webb 00:42, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Do you have ANY IDEA how many people [not me particularly, I know that He is real] you are offending? This site should not be allowed.

Should not be allowed? The goal of truth seeking is to find truth, NOT to find truiths that people do not find objectionable. I would also like to point out that, if to be taken seriously, a belief should be founded on evidence in order to be concidered knowlege, belief without warrent of evidence is just belief. SHould, in terms of a critical approach, belief be allowed to go unverified just because a people will be offended if the evidence should not turn out in their beliefs favor? This would lead to absurd consequences as beliefs are bound to conflict with others; without grounds for validation, these different world views, will have no choice but to breed inhtolerance toward one another, or persecution. If this site should not be allowed, by what means are we going to legislate this inhibition? SUppress information? Coersion by physical force? This sounds utterly fascist in one spectrum, or run by mob rule on another... depending on how it is implemented. By allowing human beings rights, we arrive at the querstion at what point these rights are revoked, shall it be by the whim of the dictator for all that is anathema to it, or at the whim of the impulsions of the herd? There are dangers for all human beings in both regards. First, if rights are subject to the whim of one persons decision, the only means of attaining power is by appealing to this persons interests; Second, if rights are revoke merely by the outrage of the public, this puts into power those who form the most successful herds. Eitherway, BOTH are not a grounds for knowlege, because the intentions are biased towards certain agendas, from which which knowlege that proves contrary can be suppresed. If a debate between positions is not freely availible, then opinion prevails by brute power, and not on merit of theory.

Do you know how offended I am by your comments? And of course, there are sections of Wikipedia that discuss the Holocaust, Pogroms, the Klu Klux Klan, Adolph Hitler, Creationism, Loch Ness Monster, and the Toronto Maple Leafs that are highly offensive to me, and that's just free speech. If you would like to censor, I don't think that Wikipedia is the place for you to be. Since the Bible is not a verifiable source of information, there is no other source for the existence of jesus, except for the guy that trims my hedges every Thursday morning. And no, but you must not know much about Wikipedia--opinion does not prevail over fact, or we would be thriving under the Nazis and I would be in a concentration camp. I'm guessing that you need to read the following: WP:NPOV, WP:VERIFY, WP:TIGER, and who knows what else WP there is. By the way, Jesus is a myth. What you believe is faith, and that's not something that can put into an encyclopedia. Orangemarlin 22:33, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Pro-Christian Bias[edit]

Once again, a good article has been vandalized by people with an agenda. Rejection of Pascal's Wager:Non-Christian Documentary Sources sums up the historical view nicely. I wish to add:

Flavius Josephus was trained as a Pharisee and the passages attributed to him do not read true to this; It fails a standard test for authenticity, in that it contains vocabulary not used by Josephus per the Complete Concordance to Flavius Josephus, ed. K. H. Rengstorf, 2002. Professor Shlomo Pines found a different version of Josephus testimony in an Arabic version of the tenth century. It has obviously not been interpolated in the same way as the Christian version circulating in the West. Most scholars do not believe Josephus wrote the passages, but that it is a later addition by Christian scribes - Bishop Warburton denounced it as "a rank forgery and a very stupid one, too." is all paraphrased from Wikipedia sources

These same people have rendered the Historicity of Jesus Christ article into a sham. I'd like to see a rewrite. Some sources Tobin listed:
ISBN 085632096X The Jesus Hoax by Phyllis Graham
ASIN B000CRKGQ4 Jesus by Charles Guignebert
ISBN 0895262398 Jesus: The Evidence
ISBN 087975429X The Historical Evidence for Jesus by G. A. Wells
Is that enough for the citation hungry? - Sparky 04:47, 23 May 2006 (UTC)

So only these citations are historically accurate, is that it? Homestarmy 16:39, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
No, but it begs the question - about how many citations are needed when debunking a forgery (the 4th Century add on to Josephus) that supports a myth. - Sparky 19:21, 2 June 2006 (UTC)
What im trying to get at is that the other side has sources which are apparently trusted quite a deal more than these, and you seem to essentially be saying that only the sources you list are truly trustworthy. Homestarmy 16:11, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
What sources? Forgeries that have been debunked for more than an hundred years? Faith is not fact. - Sparky 06:41, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
If the only thing Christian scholar type people used was Josephus alone, I daresay our case would be really rather boring, wouldn't you agree? Homestarmy 13:05, 12 September 2006 (UTC)
I totally agree with the notion of Christian bias and influence eventually ruining the neutrality of this article. How come we do not have similar pages debating the historical existance of, say, Hercules or Mithra or any other related mythical character of the time? Is it not because Greek and Roman mythology, once so ferociously defended by it's followers, fell out of favor, and were replaced by the totalitarian and intolerant teachings of Islam and Christianity? And how can one expect an unflinching and honest look at the subject, even among modern scholars, when the historical authenticity of Jesus is of such an enormous and paramount importance to the very foundation of the largest, richest and most powerful and influential religious institution in the world (with the Vatican as the only religious institution given permanent seat in the UN)? My suggestion is that the authors put aside their (possible) personal interfering beliefs they were raised upon, taking a neutral perspective on the situation and historical facts, especially taken as a whole. Or simply abstain from editing if you feel that your priori religious convictions significantly influences your ability of impartial judgement. 8:45, 7 June 2006 (UTC)—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) .

I've not seen evidence of good faith yet. And there is clear bias in the opening paragraphs. Why do these defensive Christians think that everything is majority rule? There is not a single shred of historical evidence of “Jesus” being either a person or God. It isn't about numbers - it should be about truth. - Sparky 00:16, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

We don't know the truth do we? And yes, of course there is evidence. The gospels are the evidence as are the refereces in Josephus and other writers. We shouldn't have to go over this repeatedly, just explore the theory and it arguments and its critics. Paul B 00:27, 6 January 2007 (UTC)
I'd argue we do. The Jesus Puzzle's website might be a good place for you to start. - Sparky 18:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
The policies wikipedia state that Wikipedia should seek to reflect what reliable published sources already say. Reliable published sources are generally much more pro-Christian than this article. Therefore, regardless of the personal opinion of those people who criticise this article, this article is in a shape that reflects a POV that is biased against Christianity, according to the definitions of wikipedia.
Reliable sources shouldn't refer to forgeries as cited above. - Sparky 18:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
If you're talking about Josephus, they don't regard the Josephus account as the sole proof. Furthermore, even if they did, the criteria for reliable sources on wikipedia are not how right the reader thinks they are or how solid the reader thinks their argument is - it would be impossible for a community to run an encyclopedia like that. Rather, reliability is dependent upon things like the scholarly status of the publications (e.g. something published in an academic journal is regarded as reliable scholarship, some trash published in the mind, body, spirit section of a bookshop is not.)
Regarding the Josephus account, it has far from been 'proven' that it is entirely a forgery in the eyes of all experts. That some of it was likely added later, though, seems highly probable to the mainstream of scholarly opinion. TheologyJohn 18:39, 19 January 2007 (UTC)
Frankly, I don't care if your opinions about the evidence for Jesus is. It is entirely irrelevent to the policies of wikipedia. I recommend you read WP:NPOV.TheologyJohn 00:58, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

And? - Sparky 18:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

I'd like to add to that the fact that non-Christian scholars generally believe that Jesus existed and bore some reflection to the person seen in the New Testament. Therefore, the alleged 'pro-Christian bias' is shared by non Christian experts in the field.TheologyJohn 01:07, 6 January 2007 (UTC)

Experts who claim an established forgery is proof? What color is the sky where you're from? - Sparky 18:04, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

If you're talking about the Josephus account as proof, you're arguing from a false premise - I'm not talking about experts as regarding the Josephus account as proof, either the parts that are generally regarded as forgery or the parts that are generally not regarded as forgery. Please don't insult me or others - follow the rules in WP:Assume Good Faith and WP:Civil.

Recent edit by LaC9187[edit]

User LaC9187 recently made substantial changes to this article, possibly a revert. The edit summary said "Corrected citation usage" which IMO is misleading. I will revert to the previous version so that readers who monitor this page know that something substantial has happened. Edits to such a controversial page should be done with more care, by describing changes in full, and hopefully discussing in advance or else taking small steps and giving others a chance to look over changes. If such steps were taken and I simply missed it, please accept my apologies. Maestlin 16:24, 19 June 2006 (UTC)

Jesus-Myth as opposed to Jesus as myth[edit]

Someone recently moved Jesus-Myth to Jesus as myth. This strikes me as a little unusual. Is this alright with you regular editors to the article? --Lord Deskana Dark Lord of YOUR OPINIONS 21:05, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

comment - "The Jesus Myth" is a copyrighted book [[6]] and can raise copyright violation issues because of the use of a copyrighted title. The 'Jesus as Myth' title, for the article, appears to be free of any possible copyright infringement claims. John Charles Webb 22:24, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
The archive links seem broke now :/. Didn't we use this title awhile ago and somebody decided it was no good? Homestarmy 21:06, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
I can delete the redirect that now exists at Jesus-Myth, so you can move it back, if you'd like. --Lord Deskana Dark Lord of YOUR OPINIONS 22:00, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
Yeah, not so long ago it migrated briefly to "Jesus as historical creation" or some such title. In the absence of a clear naming convention to apply to this article, I would prefer to see historical continuity within Wikipedia maintained by putting it back. Any other thoughts? Maestlin 18:32, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I didn't complain because "Jesus-Myth" is a bit misleading as it looks like it should refer to a particular theory rather than a spectrum of different ideas with a lot of overlap. "Jesus as myth" isn't perfect but I do think it's an improvement and I can't think of anything better. Shall we give it a few days and see who objects? I'm happy to fix all the links if it sticks. Sophia 18:48, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I don't much care, if the links get fixed. Maestlin 21:28, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
I deleted the redirect at Jesus-Myth. If you ever fancy moving it back, you're good to go. --Lord Deskana Dark Lord of YOUR OPINIONS 09:01, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I've changed all the links that I could find and relinked the archives - if you come across one I missed then please change them as you find them. Sophia 11:21, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I don't like that this is labeling Jesus as a myth. User:AaronPaige
I appreciate your concerns but this article discusses the well established although minority view that the Jesus of the Gospels was based on earlier myths. If you can suggest a better name we can discuss it as there have been disagreements about this in the past. Sophia 17:54, 6 July 2006 (UTC)
This is my personal opinion based off etymology, but Jesus-Myth should solely be used as terminology for the notion that the accounts of Jesus were imbellished with surrounding mytholgies to create a larger-than-life character or an awe-inspiring legend. The small minority of thinkers who go even further, positing that Jesus never existed as an organic human being, call their ideology "Jesus as Fantasy" or some other namesake to imply their position better. We shouldn't add anymore connotation to the word myth than need be. Rec Specz 15:09, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
Major proponents of the idea that you call "Jesus as Fantasy" have used the term "myth." There are arguments on both sides. Maestlin 19:53, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

Article's lead[edit]

The article's lead, reads more as an original research essay than an encyclopedic entry. As per the Wikipedia:Lead_section guideline:

The lead section should contain up to four paragraphs, depending on the length of the article, and should provide an overview, or executive summary, of the main points the article will make, summarizing the primary reasons the subject matter is interesting or notable, and including a mention of its notable controversies, if there are any. The lead should be capable of standing alone as a concise overview of the article, or abstract, should be written in a clear and accessible style, should be carefully sourced like the rest of the text, and should encourage the reader to want to read more.

≈ jossi ≈ t@ 19:31, 11 July 2006 (UTC)

Just to clarify, is this an explanation of why you tagged the article for possible OR, or a separate point? Maestlin 15:33, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

The lead in its current form seems to conform perfectly to the guideline you cite, nor do I see any "original research". It giveds an overviiew of the main arguments, mentions the controversial nature of the argument and it stands alone as a "concise overview". It's also clear and accessible. So where is the problem? Please be specific. Paul B 15:44, 12 July 2006 (UTC)

On another note, but still in the realm of the lead article, why does the article constantly refer to the claim that Jesus is 100% myth as the "extreme" side of the argument? There are always two extremes if there is even one, and the other extreme would be to claim that Jesus is 100% real and the gospels are 100% accurate. It just seems a little POV to me. Flannel 18:14, 14 July 2006 (UTC)
The argument in question is the "Jesus = myth" argument. "Jesus is not myth" lies outside the argument, since it contradicts it. Clinkophonist 10:31, 15 July 2006 (UTC)
As well, isn't it a logical assumption that if an extreme is Jesus as 100% myth than the other pole is as you described? I don't see POV in this article. --Rec Specz 12:46, 24 July 2006 (UTC)

I've edited the first paragraph and added a second. The whole introduction needs to be rewritten. The paragraph on historiagraphy and methodology of NT studies should be moved to a separate section and radically expanded. It also contains several errors, and should be expanded to include comments from prominent new testament scholars, not historians with no special training or background in NT studies like Grant, who does not understand the issues. -- Michael Turton —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 23:10, 4 December 2006 (UTC).

Ok. I've rewritten the introduction to make it a real introduction to mythicism. I've removed the erroneous paragraphs on scholarly responses (for example, there is no reference to Jesus' vocal ministry in Hebrews 10:5-9, his words there are citations of the Old Testament placed in his mouth); they need to be restored to somewhere else in the article. And EXTENSIVELY rewritten.

++++++++++The theory is based on apparent similarities between early Christian accounts of Jesus and pre-existing mystery religions, and on the lack of extant evidence about his life outside the Gospels. The portion of the theory questioning evidence outside the Gospels has not found widespread acceptance among Bible scholars and historians.[1]

The debate over the truth of Jesus' existence requires academic analysis of the available evidence that is roughly contemporary with the given dates for Jesus' life, and it depends on the reliability, verifiability and biases of such evidence. It includes the use of historiography, linguistics, and hermeneutics as tools for analyzing the evidence. The relevant evidence itself can be broken down into Christian and non-Christian texts[citation needed]; the only surviving Christian texts close enough to the era being the books within the New Testament itself. The earliest part of the New Testament, and thus the most important to answer the question, are the Pauline Epistles, though as these contain very little actual narrative concerning Jesus. It is important to note that the majority[citation needed] of scholars believe that Paul has quoted Jesus several times[2] and if the Epistle to the Hebrews was made before the destruction of the Second Temple, it too has several passages where Jesus struggles with opposition and speaks.[3] The later accounts in the Gospels are also of significance. The purpose of this article is not to provide said academic analysis, but rather to provide an account of research that has been performed into the subject thus far.++++++++

Editing the talk page and biased editing[edit]

I noticed that a user edited this page for content, which is prohibited, adding that Pliny's letters mention Jesus, which they don't. See for the full text of these letters. Futhermore, if there are to be edits of this page, they should be backed up with reliable sources. Devotional literature is not a reliable source, any more than racist literature is an authority on minorities. Please edit this article impartially for facts, not to prove the point you like the best. --Chuchunezumi 01:23, 31 July 2006 (UTC)


Due to editorializing, I believe this article shuld be deleted.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by Wikilagata (talkcontribs) .

Then don't say so here - say so here: Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Jesus as myth, but remember the fact that the current article is a mess does not mean that there should be no article at all. Paul B 01:06, 1 August 2006 (UTC)

i'm very glad this wasn't deleted- it shows that some people think outside of convention Dawn Abend 03:04, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Messiah Myth[edit]

A question has come up at Talk:Jesus about Thompson, Thomas L. 2005. The Messiah Myth. New York: Basic Books. Does Thompson actually argue that David and Jesus are myths, or is Thompson summarizing the opinion of others? If Thompson does make this argument, on which page number does he state his conclusion? Grigory Deepdelver of BrockenboringTalkTCF 13:04, 6 April 2006(UTC)

Cautionary Comment: There is a legal copyright infringement issue to take an author's conclusions (the heart and soul of the published work) and to publish those conclusions without the author's permission. The legal theory is that the publishing of an author's conclusions devalues the work and reduces book sales. Any such use violates the fair use exemption of national and international copyright laws. John Charles Webb 22:05, 6 August 2006 (UTC)
There shouldn't be a copyright issue if someone summarizes the conclusion with the source identified. If doing so were a problem, most academic writing would come to a grinding halt, since academics constantly write about the work of their colleagues without getting permission. Informing potential readers about the conclusions of a book can stimulate book sales. I cannot imagine any copyright infringement that would occur if someone were to write: "Thompson states on page X that he believes David and Jesus are fictional creations." (Or whatever his conclusion is.) Maestlin 18:02, 8 August 2006 (UTC)
Reply - I agree with you, partially, however, this is a global forum and not just communication among the members of an academic group. In a copyright infringement case the author does not have to prove 'actual damages', the author only needs to prove that an infringement occurred. The crux of the matter is defined by Fair_use. It is one matter to cite and quote a copyrighted work, however, there is a difference between citing a work for critical analysis and giving away the author's conclusions. The burden of proving 'no infringement' is upon the person or persons sued (In other words, you are already in court). It is similar to writing a movie review and giving away the ending or stating, in a review, 'who did the deed' in a mystery novel. The solution is easy, get the author's or publisher's permission by showing them the proposed article. Seeking permission shows good faith and avoids lawsuits. Otherwise, the self-test to apply is, 'is the quoting of this work considered fair use [[7]] and does such usage devalue the commercial value of the quoted work'. John Charles Webb 05:19, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
I looked at your links and I confess I don't see how they apply here. If what you say is true, the Wikipedia article on Fair use is worse than useless. Maestlin 17:39, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
This sounds like nonsense to me. I don't see anything about "giving away" an author's conclusions being an infringement of copyright. Conclusions are not copyrighted. Einstein did not get royalties everytime someone wrote about relativity theory. Not giving away plot twists in novels and films is a matter etiquette, not copyright. Paul B 18:04, 11 August 2006 (UTC)

Article length problem[edit]

The article is now 90k. This is much too large! Only a few will want to sit down and read through such a long article, and editors will have increasing trouble keeping track of what is/isn't included as it continues to grow. Please consider what is most important before you add new information to the article, and ask if it should be elsewhere. For instance, there is an article on Mithraism that includes a section on possible parallels with Christianity. Astrological parallels might do better in the article on the Great Year or another astrology article. Maestlin 18:02, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

  • It's not the "myther's" fault that there is so much information on this subject. Completeness is more important than brevity. Big Brother 1984 09:16, 9 August 2006 (UTC)
Readability and usability are paramount in an encyclopedia (otherwise, why bother?). That means striking a balance between completeness and brevity. Encyclopedias are rarely complete on any subject they cover. As I said, some information could be better added to other articles, or new articles started. In particular, some of the authors and books could be covered in a lot more detail. That would add a lot of information to Wikipedia while keeping this article short enough to read in a single sitting. Maestlin 17:26, 11 August 2006 (UTC)
  • Speaking of the "Astrological parallels" section, it's full of errors. See my "NEW ERRORS" comment above under "Specific arguments of the theory" heading. 17:26, 9 August 2006 (UTC)

I think the article needs to be rewritten. It comes across more like an essay than an Encyclopedia article. For example, it uses "Christian apologists claim..." far too often -- does it really matter in an Encyclopedia article on a scholarly subject what Christian apologists claim??? The article should summarize the main positions of the Jesus Myth proponents WITHOUT judging them, and then link to other articles where the information could be laid out in more depth. There are too many claims, some good, some not-so-good, and I think that is what is causing the churn. This article would be best served by moving specific claims from this one to other articles that can specialize on those claims. Let the debate more on to specific claims, not to this one. GDon 03:00, 10 August 2006 (UTC)GDon

The article length can be reduced by eliminating the section on the outdated and generally erroneous claims related Jesus to ANE religion. That is totally unnecessary and probably unsupportable. Instead, this section should be substituted with data on modern views, including a discussion of methodology in historical Jesus and mythicist models. 02:30, 5 December 2006 (UTC)Michael Turton

Celsus' View[edit]

This section states:

"It is important to note that Celsus, a first century critic of Christianity, accused Jesus of being a bastard child and a sorcerer. He never questions Jesus' historicity."

But here is a quote from Celsus (quoted by Justin Martyr).

"[Christianity] continues to spread amongst the vulgar, nay one can even say it spreads because of its vulgarity, and the illiteracy of its adherents. And while there are a few moderate, reasonable, and intelligent people who are inclined to interpret its beliefs allegorically, yet it thrives in its purer form among the ignorant." [8]

Celsus is stating here that the gospels are merely allegorical fiction. How does this jive with the above statement which claims that Celsus never doubted Jesus' historicity? Big Brother 1984 06:22, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Celsus certainly thought Jesus was a historical figure and cited that he had sources in his polemic:

"In VI.75 Celsus says that Jesus' body was, 'as they say, small and ugly and undistinguished.' Origen finds an unlikely source for 'ugly' in Isaiah 53.1-3, but knows of no evidence for 'small and undistinguished,' yet 'they say' indicates that Celsus had some source. His statement that Jesus claimed to be a god (II.9, etc.) is explicable from Christian texts, but is also attributed in the gospels to Jesus' opponents. That he was thought an 'angel' looks like a reflection of an early Jewish Christology not represented by the gospels. 'Deserted and betrayed by his associated, hid, fled, and was caught' (II.9-12) all might have come from the gospels; but 'hid' and 'fled' could better have come from a different account of the same events, and Celsus said he was betrayed by 'many' disciples (II.11)." [4]

See for his charges of sorcery and such. I am removing your disputed section, there is nothing being dsputed. -Wikilagata

  • Reply - There certainity is something to be disputed here. You can't say that Celsus never doubted Jesus' historicity when Celsus refers to the gospels as allegorical literature. Justin Martyr responds to Celsus' allegation as follows:

"But we, in proving the facts related of our Jesus from the prophetic Scriptures, and comparing afterwards His history with them, demonstrate that no dissoluteness on His part is recorded. For even they who conspired against Him, and who sought false witnesses to aid them, did not find even any plausible grounds for advancing a false charge against Him, so as to accuse Him of licentiousness; but His death was indeed the result of a conspiracy, and bore no resemblance to the death of AEsculapius by lightning. And what is there that is venerable in the madman Dionysus, and his female garments, that he should be worshipped as a god? And if they who would defend such beings betake themselves to allegorical interpretations, we must examine each individual instance, and ascertain whether it is well founded, and also in each particular case, whether those beings can have a real existence, and are deserving of respect and worship who were torn by the Titans, and cast down from their heavenly throne. Whereas our Jesus, who appeared to the members of His own troop--for I will take the word that Celsus employs--did really appear, and Celsus makes a false accusation against the Gospel in saying that what appeared was a shadow. And let the statements of their histories and that of Jesus be carefully compared together. Will Celsus have the former to be true, but the latter, although recorded by eye-witnesses who showed by their acts that they clearly understood the nature of what they had seen, and who manifested their state of mind by what they cheerfully underwent for the sake of His Gospel, to be inventions? Now, who is there that, desiring to act always in conformity with right reason, would yield his assent at random to what is related of the one, but would rush to the history of Jesus, and without examination refuse to believe what is recorded of Him?" - "Contra Celsus", Book III, CHAP. XXIII [9].

What is important here is not what Martyr says, but rather what this is written in response to. Celsus is clearly doubting the historicity of the gospels by calling them allegory. Martyr's response to Celsus is that the gospels are allegory, but allegory based on an historical character. It is clear that Justin Martyr viewed Celsus' claim that the gospels are allegory as an attack on the historicity of Jesus. Calling a story "Allegory" generally implies that the work in question is pure fiction, but allegory can sometimes be based on real people and events. And this is the view that Martyr seems to take, which is apparently contrary to Celsus' view.

Perhaps I can just reword the statement to say something like....

"Celsus, a second century critic of Christianity, attacked Christianity in a writing titled "The True Word". In this piece, Celsus mocks the Christian faith by claiming that Jesus was a bastard child and a sorcerer. Although Celsus' generally doesn't question the historicity of Jesus (he is more content to take the Jesus story at face value so he can then lampoon it), he does on several occasions imply that Christian writings were meant to be interpreted allegorically rather than as literal history."

Does that qualify as NPOV? Big Brother 1984 10:43, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

"Some of them interprete it allegorically" is different from "it is allegory". A.J.A. 15:31, 18 August 2006 (UTC)
I second that. BB, Celsus called JJesus "a mere man" and a "bastard child." These are not accusations thrown around by someone who thinks his opponent was not real. He would have said, "Jesus is not real!" The fact of the matter is that he does rgw opposite and it is likely his sources were rabbinic satires of Jesus. Lastly, though there is nothing specifically wrong ith your paragraph, there is nothing wrong with the current one. A sentence that Celss believed that stories of Jesus' life were allegorical could be added, but there seems to be no questioning that he thought Jesus was real.-Wikilagata

There existed several Jesuses (Josephus reports them). When Celsus speaks about a historical Jesus it can not be used as evidence for the existence of a historical Jesus of Nazareth (as claimed by the gospels). --Der Eberswalder 23:59, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

Contra Celsus was written by Origen, not Justin Martyr! 02:05, 5 December 2006 (UTC)Michael Turton

It is said that Origen claimed Celsus wrote the following.... "...continues to spread amongst the vulgar, nay one can even say it spreads because of its vulgarity, and the illiteracy of its adherents. And while there are a few moderate, reasonable, and intelligent people who are inclined to interpret its beliefs allegorically, yet it thrives in its purer form among the ignorant" Where is Contra Celsus does it say this? I can't find it. There appears to similar passages here and there, but not the exact quote cited above. Big Brother 1984 00:00, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

It appears that the correct quote is as follows.... "And although, among the multitude of converts to Christianity, the simple and ignorant necessarily outnumbered the more intelligent, as the former class always does the latter, yet Celsus, unwilling to take note of this, thinks that this philanthropic doctrine, which reaches to every soul under the sun, is vulgar, and on account of its vulgarity and its want of reasoning power, obtained a hold only over the ignorant. And yet he himself admits that it was not the simple alone who were led by the doctrine of Jesus to adopt His religion; for he acknowledges that there were amongst them some persons of moderate intelligence, and gentle disposition, and possessed of understanding, and capable of comprehending allegories. Contra Celsus, Book I, Chapter XXVII. It appears that the original quote cited about was merely a paraphrase of this actual quote (or rather, an attempt to extrapolate Celsus' original words from Origen's reply). But these are the words of Origen, not Celsus. Is there some other writer who recorded Celsus' actual words? Big Brother 1984 00:07, 30 December 2006 (UTC)


I suggest a new framework for this article that compares histocic method that must get extremely relaxed in order to support a historical-Jesus hypothesis. The genealogies that explain Jesus in terms of other phenomena are fine, but it does not take the place of the inability to posit the figure in the first place. There should be a section that is devoted to these alternate theories, many of which I find compelling and interesting, but should not substitute for the break, or percieved break, with modern historical method.

1) All historical indices at Jesus come from heresay accounts which lack Contempraneous corroberation outside of the new testament. 2) The bulk of description of Jesus takes place in the Gospels to which different variations have both existed and been selected against by athorities such as Nicea. The Authorship usually posited to the appropriate authors, comes from variations we have from hundreds of years later in preserved texts. The gap between his supposed death and the first gospels are attributed to being at least over 3 decades due to the mention of the fall of the temple in Mark which is placed at around 70 c.e. Side from the true Authorship being unknown in the case of the canonical gospels, there is a host of non biblically incorperates gospels as well as epistles, many of which appear to scholars as equally viable to the cononical texts, perhaps even more so as they had less opportunity to be altered. 3) Archealogical evidence does not support theories of an historical figure of Jesus during his lifetime, but has found a wealth of non-canonical texts dated at around the same time as the canonical texts. the bulk of sources do not come from his supposed time, but rather from the time of the growing movement. 4)The gospels mention a degree of fame and infamy that had traveled around the following of the man of Jesus. The discrepancies of supporting this fame, with its lack of mention in any sources predating Mark (70 c.e.) are further bothered by the the evidence other cult figure heads have left behind. 5)The geographical idosyncracies provided by the text of the New Testament are too clumbsy for anyone familiar with the area to have made them. The Bible depicts Herod, the Ruler of Jewish Palestine under Rome as sending out men to search and kill the infant Jesus, yet nothing in history supports such a story. Pontius Pilate supposedly performed as judge in the trial and execution of Jesus, yet no Roman record mentions such a trial. The gospels portray a multitude of believers throughout the land spreading tales of a teacher, prophet, and healer, yet nobody in Jesus' life time or several decades after, ever records such a human figure.

Oh, for God's sake, as though we have records of any other trials performed by Pontius Pilate. Are you suggesting that Pilate was not involved in any trials during his period of rule in Judaea? I don't think anybody except fundamentalists believes that the massacre of the innocents is based on fact. And there just aren't any good sources on Judaea written in Jesus's life time. The best source we have, Josephus, er, does mention Jesus. john k 12:53, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

As you can see, this is not trying to erect other explanations for the Jesus problem, but calling into question the modes historical validity one would have to accept if one were to apply the unscupulous methods by which Jesus as an historical figure would require. The ability, I think, to posit other explanations for the Jesus phenomena comes aft6er this, which could be included in another section or formatted in all sorts of ways. I tahnk you for your time in reading. =)

this was added by User: 22:54, 3 September 2006 (edit)

This Article is Propaganda[edit]

Not surprisingly, in my absence the mythicists have turned it back into an extended polemic in favor of their views, including extensive inexcusable inaccuracies. A few samples:

the Gospel [John] also appears to contain several direct attacks on alternative forms of Christianity that only arose to prominence in the mid second century (including the opening words, which directly contradict Arianism), suggesting it was written to counter them, i.e. that it is mid second century in date.

Arius was born in the mid third century. Oops.

By the first century Isis was seen as the mother of Horus. She was traditionally known as Meri, meaning beloved, which is phonetically near-identical to Mary, the name of the mother of Jesus

English didn't exist yet. Her real name was Mariam. Oops.

though the Bible does not specifically mention an inn or a stable [in the nativity]

Luke 2:7: "And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn." Oops.

If you can't get facts like this right, why should anyone trust you with obscure unsourced details of Egyptian mythology? A.J.A. 05:22, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

````Horseface: could wikipedia be any more complicated? Anyway, I see that the belief that Jesus was a historical person is accepted without question by commentors: and anyone who questions this belief is jumped on without any rational reason. I would like to see an article that PROVES the historical existence of this 'Person.' To disprove that Jesus existed is like trying to disprove the existence of Moby Dick or any other literary creation.

Can you please fix the problems instead of just complaining?-Wikilagata
"Anyway, I see that the belief that Jesus was a historical person is accepted without question by commentors: and anyone who questions this belief is jumped on without any rational reason." - I see that the belief that the world is round is accepted without questions by many ... but that doesn't mean that it's based on no evidence. And the opposition is jumped upon because they have no evidence for their claims of non-existence. Str1977 (smile back) 14:41, 12 September 2006 (UTC)

"The world being round" is scientifically proven and can be easily verified with photographs viewing a solar eclipse. The proof of existence of a man that is documented in a collection of ancient stories is hardly a fair comparison.

And Jesus' historical existence is also established by the relevant branch of scholarship.
There are Flat-Earthers denying the world is round despite the evidence, and there are Jesus-mythers denying that Jesus existed despite the evidece. Still, we have to present their views fairly and accurately but WITHOUT endorsing them. Str1977 (smile back) 13:57, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Problems with neutrality and factual accuracy of article[edit]

I have restored the Totally Disputed template. The article presents minority opinions in such a way as to make them sound like theories that are currently broadly accepted by academics, especially in the extended section on pagan parallels with Christianity. The same section is also biased towards parallels with Egyptian mythology and religion, and to a lesser extent the Dionysian/Bacchic and Orphic mysteries (which are not simply interchangeable), even though important works have alleged parallels with various other mythical figures. I suspect that much of the article is modeled on a single book, maybe Tom Harpur's Pagan Christ (this is a guess since I haven't read the book). That's the bias, in my opinion: slanted towards exaggerating the scholarly acceptance of the Jesus-myth theory, as well as the importance of just one thread within the theory. Factual problems have been listed at length on the talk page, and they don't stop being relevant just because nobody has added to them in the past fortnight. Now the discussion is not "stale". Maestlin 20:20, 6 September 2006 (UTC)

I agree. I restored the POV/bias tag. 08:44, 23 September 2006 (UTC)kdbuffalo
I was thinking the same thing and was about to point out the WP:NPOV#Undue_weight Wikipedia policy in a separate section in the discussion page. This Jesus myth article really seems to violate WP:NPOV#Undue_weight given how much material here is in favor of the myth (many of it unsourced to boot). Compare this with the intelligent design entry, which follows WP:NPOV#Undue_weight to the extent that it looks more like a "why mainstream scientists reject intelligent design" entry (after every ID argument is explained, it's picked apart). --Wade A. Tisthammer 04:11, 21 October 2006 (UTC)
Science is an observable and objective discipline. Myth, religion and history are not. It's one thing for a bunch of scientists to have consensus on something that is repeatable, like the evolution of finches, mice or other lower life forms. It is quite another to come to consensus on such a subjective subject as the theoretical historical existence of a mytho-religious icon. Please note that this is one of three articles (all part of the larger Jesus series), it's companion article is Historical Jesus. Are you suggesting that both articles devote equal space to both arguments, when each page is about the specific sides (thus both are companions to the Historicity of Jesus article, which is about the debate itself, suggesting that there is no consensus, since there isn't)? I mean, because if so maybe all the articles should be merged. Which is kind of silly, since there's all this information to present. Also I will be working on the citations and info over the next few weeks. And yes, Homestarmy, "some" is the correct word. "Most" implies unsupported POV. I'm going to change it back.Phyesalis 04:14, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Unsupported POV of what now? It doesn't matter how low a view you wish to hold the majority of historians who think Christ was real in some fashion, most of them think Christ existed anyway, "some" can imply that it is around 50 percent, or worse, that only a small amount of them believe Christ existed. Homestarmy 04:19, 12 November 2006 (UTC)

I have to disagree.[edit]

I have to disagree with the fact the theory that Jesus Christ was a myth.

Considering that Roman historians of the time documented the crucifixtion of Jesus Christ. Anker99 16:36, 22 September 2006 (UTC)

Disagreeing with the theory is relevant how?

Im not simply disagreeing Im dismissing the theory because there is documented history about Jesus Christ outside the Gospels. Anker99 06:06, 24 September 2006 (UTC)

Roman historians did not document the crucifixion of Jesus. The most reliable source, Tacitus writing 80+ years later, documents the execution of a "Christus" by Pontus Pilate. See Tacitus on Jesus. Josephus is not regarded as reliable on Jesus, see historicity of Jesus. --Michael C. Price talk 07:30, 24 September 2006 (UTC)
does everyone realize that the fact that the story of Jesus acquired a mythical essence is in no contradiction whatsoever to the possibility or likelihood that Jesus may well have lived, breathed, gone to the toilet and been nailed to a cross by the Romans. It's just that the "myth" isn't about historical fact, it is about the impact of the story on posterity. dab () 12:08, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
True, but unfortunately, the term "Jesus Myth" has been attached to a small group who contends that Jesus did not, in fact, ever live, and is in fact some sort of mythical sun god, or something (this last part differs among different authors). john k 12:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
well, then, cleanly separate the "no historical Jesus" crowd from the discussion of "Jesus as a myth" proper. That's really very straightforward and I cannot see how it may be controversial. I mean, King Arthur is a mythical figure, and Lucius Artorius Castus is a historical figure, and the latter may be the nucleus of the former, but King Arthur is not any less of a myth if Lucius acutally did live and did slap around some Saxons. Deities are always fluid to a certain extent and may "eat" or "admix" other deities. The theological notion of "God the Son" is a compound of historical Jesus, Sol Invictus, Adonis-Tammuz, YHWH-El, Platonic-Augustinean 'Good' and lots of other things. This is a matter of mythography and theology and unrelated to a discussion of the historical figure of Jesus. dab () 13:53, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
Even if all this were true, the "Jesus Myth" is the view that there was no actually existing Jesus. Str1977 (smile back) 14:20, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
not at all, this is precisely what I dispute (did you even read what I just said?) And even if "Jesus Myth" is used in this sense by the "no historical Jesus" crowd, the title of this article isn't "Jesus Myth", it is "Jesus as myth". If that is the case that's all the more reason to cleanly distinguish the two. This article should not address the question "did Jesus really live", we have the entire historicity of Jesus dedicated to that question.. dab () 15:22, 4 October 2006 (UTC)
If Jesus the miracle worker was real you'd think they'd have written a lot more about him, huh? Braksator 08:34, 19 October 2006 (UTC)
Not necessarily, as the end of John I think states, if books were written detailing all of the things Jesus did, John supposed not even the whole world would have room for the volumes of books. Homestarmy 12:02, 20 October 2006 (UTC)
You don't hear much about Lilienthal building the first airplane or Joseph Swan inventing the light bulb, either. Did these also not exist, or could it perhaps be in the best interests of the Romans/Americans not to have much talk about it?

I have to say, adding my two cents worth, that like the guy above said, anker99 is just plain wrong if he/she thinks there is actual roman documentary evidence for jesus' existence. There are no documents of any kind that have ever been found that refer to jesus or his crucifixion. The earliest reliable reference is, like the guy says, from Tacitus. He was writing in around 85 or 90AD as a historian refering to a new cult that had appeared in rome thirty or so years earlier(christianity). The passage in question is just a passing reference to the cult's claim to have been founded by a man called 'christus' who was executed by pontius pilate. Most likely he got these claims from the christians themselves, and there is no proof whatsoever that tacitus or anyone else had ever heard of jesus until christian groups started poping up all over the empire. This of course does not mean that he wasnt real, its perfectly possible that the romans simply didnt consider the execution of yet another Jewish rebel worth noting. In fact, it seems pretty unlikely that a whole religion could spring up so quickly, with leaders like peter claiming to have met jesus, if he was a total fantasy. However, the lack of documentary evidence does present at least the possibilty that he was made up, and hence why so many pople have written books about it. And hence why its worth having a page rev iewing those books and theories, however unlikely their proposition seems.

Oh, and in comment on the piece above about John and the question of 'wouldn't a guy who really performed massive miracles have had a lot mor written about him?', im reminded of soemthing AN wilson wrote when discussing the claims about the events that took place when jesus was resurrected; "and the dead rose from the earth, and the ground shook"; dont you think that a bunch of dead people suddenly getting up and walking around might have been a subject of slightly more comment from the roman garrison?. 02:52, 22 October 2006 (UTC)

On the Roman Garrison, I don't think so, do you really think a bunch of Roman Guards are going to tell their superior officer "Well, we would of went on patrol today, but there were zombies walking around, so we just hung out in the barracks all day long"? Homestarmy 00:38, 10 November 2006 (UTC)
The Romans were fantastic record keepers. Don't you think someone would have noted a bunch of zombies? But then again, Josephus does mention witnessing a demon himself, if I remember correctly. If Josephus could make note of such a supernatural phenomenon, why wouldn't the Romans? Suggesting that there were real zombies risen from the dead in RL history is rather, well...mythical. Lets's break this down:
  • Which Roman historians of which time documented whose crucifixtion? That's a rather vague statement. There are also accounts of Roman Historians witnessing demons and exorcisms, Josephus for one, if I remember correctly. But let's stick with Christus/Chrestus,
  • Christus/Chrestus are both used intercangeably throughout early Christian texts. Both are Greek, Christus means "annointed" and "Chrestus" means "kindly one". The Greek language predates Latin language and the Roman empire by at least six hundred years and that's not even getting into Proto-Greek.
  • The entire Roman culture is based on things they absorbed from other cultures, particularly the language and the Pantheon of Greek culture. In much the same way that the Hebrews absorbed many aspects of the cultures they passed through as nomads. Funny that the two cultures so archtypically known for syncretizing other cultures' religious aspects come together to produce this "unique" mytho-religious figure?
  • Chrestus is associated the Hellenic cult of Mithras and Mithraism, a mystery cult based on the Mithra's life and ascension to Heaven. There are Parthian coins celebrating the year of his ascension, dated at 208 BCE, 64 years after his birth. Now Mithraism wasn't introduced to the Roman legions until 163 CE, but it had been around for 200 years before Christ's birth. 264 if you go by the historical evidence supporting the birth and existence of a human/god. See how easy it is to prove that a human/god existed and ascended to Heaven?
  • Mithraism is in turn theorized to be syncretized either from the Persian Mithra (Mithras is the Greek masculine form of Mithra) or from some other Mesopotamian or Anatolian systems. The point is people who study the mimetic culture shifts of myht systems acknowledge as a basic component of their research that myths do evolve from one to another.
  • And to get back to Christ, what about the myth system of Judaism, you know, the one that no one disputes was a contributing origin of the syncretization of Christianity? You now the myth about, well, a Messiah? What a coincidence! A historically nomadic culture that wandered through all sorts of Mid Eastern/North African cultures accumulating bits and pieces along the way (check out Karen Armstrong, A History of God) and develops a centuries old myth system of a Messiah that is itself syncretized out of other older cultures. The culture settles down in Roman territory, accretes some land and power and BEHOLD a Messiah is produced who can challenge the cultural politics of the day. Not just one, a whole bunch, they too were called Christus and Chrestus and Christani and Chrestani, for at least 100 hundreds years before the debated birth of JC.
  • So please, spare us the incredulity. There's far more support and physical evidence for a theory of pan-cultural mytho-religious syncretization than there is for the existence of any mytho-religious human/god. Tons of people (remember there are 6 billion of them - not just the Western world) and honest academics come to what I think is the most rational and common position, that given the mytho-religious origin of JC and the dearth of verifiable and reliable evidence, there is simply no way to confirm or deny his existence. Like with WP articles, it is up to the reader to choose based on the evidence, not from how many of whomever agree on what. Look through any scholarly database, there are thousands of peer-reviewed articles published on this subject in all sorts of disicplines. Do you really think that the "vast majority" of millions of academics across multiple disciplines are in agreement on anything as contestable as this? Because they aren't. This article is primarily about how mythographers and socio-anthropologists categorize and theorize about Jesus as a myth system, just like Historical Jesus is primarily about Christological and historical theorizations of Jesus of Nazareth, and again, Historicity of Jesus is about how the two positions come together. Phyesalis 08:05, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
How does my one comment about one roman garrison probably not reporting one thing about one group of zombies in a city on the edges of the roman empire turn into a discussion on pan-cultural mytho-religious syncretization? Homestarmy 18:04, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
How doesn't it? •Jim62sch• 21:13, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Because it seems to be an entirely disproportionate response to base on the actions of a single garrison of soliders on the very edge of an ancient empire. Homestarmy 21:58, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
For my part I find Phyesalis's post very interesting and relevant. Sophia 22:50, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
So how does the concluding sentence "There's far more support and physical evidence for a theory of pan-cultural mytho-religious syncretization than there is for the existence of any mytho-religious human/god." relate to "do you really think a bunch of Roman Guards are going to tell their superior officer "Well, we would of went on patrol today, but there were zombies walking around, so we just hung out in the barracks all day long"?" Because I don't see the connection to my comment here. Homestarmy 23:21, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
I was responding to the debate in general, presenting my side and using it as a segue to my overall commentary on the incredulity of the Pro-historical POV editors. My use of the "you" is general as I make reference not only to your post, but to points raised by John k, Str1977 and user:82 as well. I'm sorry if you don't find anthropology and mythography relevant to the subject of the "Jesus-Myth" and as far as I know, the theory that Jesus is a part of a mythic and social construct is held by millions of academics in a variety of fields. Check the focus, in reality, the social/historical/anthropolgical theory of religious syncretization is NOT about "Jesus" as "Jesus" is just one symbol, among many, that affects a relatively small portion of the planet's population (considering China and India together comprise about 1/3). Now, Homestarmy, I'm sorry if you thought I was addressing you personally, I apologize. Also, too, if I misunderstood your point. Typically when I address someone specifically, I put their name in the post. I'm sorry my rant was a little snippy, but I' really surprised at the resistance to what is a globally acknowledged theory in a well-respected discipline. I'm not saying y'all have to agree to it, just acknowledge that it exists and is a valid position, just as I respect the fact that some people believe in a historical Jesus. They are both valid world-perspectives.Phyesalis 01:06, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
Oh, my mistake. But this article in particular certainly acknowladges the theories existance, (I mean, how can it not, it is the subject of the article and all) and stating that it is heavily in the minority and often held most notably by people who aren't necessarily authoritative in the field doesn't imply that it isn't a valid position, just that its, you know, not the most popular of theories.... Homestarmy 01:55, 13 November 2006 (UTC)
OK! Thank you, BTW. See I think we're (and by we I mean the editors on the page) coming at this from different perspectives. I mean this respectfully, but it seems that a lot of the contributions to these hotly contested Christian/Myth issues from BOTH perspectives is drawn from some rather dubious web-based research, and lacks either access to a comprehensive body of academic texts/criticism or a basic familiarity with the scope of academics who are concerned with this issue. If one is not familiar with the equally valid and comprehensive body of academic research that supports the idea of a syncretic myth origin, I can certainly understand how one might question the validity of such a position. But, please, I assure you that outside of Wikipedian web scholars, the concept is a common position in other fields. As for its popularity, allow me to disabuse you of the notion that it is unpopular. Check out Joseph Campbell (an award-winning and world reknowned scholar), Levi-Strauss and the subsequent mountain of literature, that BTW consistently reaffirms the basic principles of Muller and Frazer (although not their methodology or specific mimetic shifts), namely that religions are the syncretic formulations of geography, origin, culture and influence cultures, and individual/group psychology to embody, celebrate and understand the universal cycles of life/universe - this would be a basic principle taught in 101 classrooms ALL OVER THE WORLD. IMO, most scholars in these fields do not spend their whole lives trying to disprove the existence of one mythic man/god figure because there is no reason to believe that he/she ever existed since he/she is an amalgamation of multiple ideas or identities.
Quite the contrary, "scholars" whose major work is devoted to "proving" the existence of Christ are typically considered to have an agenda, an obvious bias motivated by a need to either sell books or reaffirm "authority", that is itself unpopular in all respectable academia Which is why the work of Elaine Pagels, an interdisiplinary scholar who examines things without asserting ridiculously unprovable conclusions is so widely regarded. These other diverse disciplines, of which there is so much study not just one religion, but the development of all religions in general. Read Karen Armstrong's "A History of God" studying the geo-political and syncretic evolutions of Abrahamic religions, a specific syncretic cycle that differs from other cycles primarily in their belief that their mythic literature is factual history instead of metaphorical (along with the intergration of theocratic social law above and beyond taboo, which is the interweaving of bureacracy/government), another common concept taught in 101 classes around the world. This is not to say that's it's a trivial or unproductive area of study, merely that one shouldn't approach it with preconceived beliefs. Consider the origin of the modern debate, Reimarus and Bauer. Bauer was a student of Hegel, the father of modern historical analysis, a socio-historical analysis that acknowledged the influence of power on the progressive evolution of "history" (which is a thing that only exists in its perception - what has happened in the past has happened, what we think of it,the perception of history, is another matter). Their ideas come not out of dogma and doctrine, but from a different approach, a different world perspective that questioned the motives of institutions whose primary goal was self-preservation, particularly the Church. Between the likes of Muller/Frazer and Hegel (and others) we have the birth of entire disciplines: anthropology, sociology, mythography, comparative religious studies, all of which are prefectly qualified to weigh in as legit reps for the mythical origins of Jesus.
And for one to assert which is more popular is original research. It's the equivalent of weighing the limited Biblical studies and the entire field of Cultural anthropology and then saying Biblical studies is the dominant Western Perspective - are you kidding me? You can try that argument all you want on the HoJ page, but it's an obviously biased and/or uninformed perspective. I am personally unaware of a comprehensive study surveying the majority of academics as to which is a more legitimate perspective and has made more contributions based on legitimate scholarship to Academia at large - because the idea is ridiculous. Again, I will state I don't think any of us is qualified to assert what most academics believe. My understanding is that this article is to be an overview of the two approaches "Historical" and "Cultural". Any assertion of "most scholars" of any group is POV on an issue like this. Besides if one has a good argument, it is good by right of evidence, not popularity. 14:08, 14 November 2006 (UTC) 14:09, 14 November 2006 (UTC)

"Criticism of the Theory" section...[edit]

There are so many weasel words in this section, it's not funny. Also, a lot the citations I looked at are from Christian websites, or websites run by Christian schools (btw, I wish Christianity would get a notary seal or something so you'd know you were looking at a Christian website). One of them had a trivia game with questions such as "If a person tells you Jesus is not real, what should you say?" You might as well cite the Bible, or your priest's blogs.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure that Christian institutions don't have a monopoly on "the majority of scholors," or "most historians."

Please excuse my tone, as I do think this is an important debate.

( 12:09, 9 November 2006 (UTC))

Who better than to critique something like this than Christians who would already have come up against a lot of the things raised here?
And, although Christians might not 'have a monopoly on "the majority of scholors," or "most historians"', there are many who are Christian.
Btw, if Christianity needs a 'notary seal', I guess we better apply that to websites aetheist, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan, Hindu, Tamil, Jedi ... can't discriminate now can we? SparrowsWing 19:48, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
To the anon - this is the sort of topic that Wikipedia can never do well as there are too many people out there with the "truth" (notice the above editors defensive tone). Biased websites of any persuasion should be identified as such to allow the reader to understand the context of the information presented to them. Sophia 22:59, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
No defensive tone - you did not see me disagree with what the anon. user said about weasel words ... I am just tired of a totally biased viewpoint being put across by one side of the argument. Naturally a topic like this will have a controversial tone as there are two opposing viewpoints being brought into close proximity - which means that both sides of the argument need to be respected. Note anon. author's aggressive tone regarding 'Christian institutions' and their 'monopoly' - why not take him to task as well if you yourself are concerned about bias? SparrowsWing 23:09, 9 November 2006 (UTC)

Hi KillerChihuahua, I changed "wrote" to "theorized" because the sentence has "wrote" later in the line. I think theorized is valid (almost all premises are theories or theoretical - I don't think it implies scientific in this context), but I'm not stuck on it. Is there another word you would prefer? And the wording in this section is awful, and some of the links are to personal pages, not too reliable. I'm going to clean this section up for POV and weasel words. Ja?

See Wikipedia:Words_to_avoid#Theory for what I based my edit on. KillerChihuahua?!? 07:06, 12 November 2006 (UTC)
Pathetic. I wrote the original section, all properly cited, in August. Some pathetic anti-Christian or self-hating Christian has totally destroyed it in the aim of removing the subject. Who needs historical accuracy? We can just make up what we want to be true. Search back in the old edits. For example:
I agree. I noticed that there was a lot of good information in the older revisions as well that seem to have been lost in current versions, even in other related articles. The following link is another good example. What happened to the sections on Philo, Plutarch, Justus, Damis, Pliny the Elder, and others? Were they not good enough or do they need to be mentioned in the Historical_Jesus page? Do we need to consider adding some of this stuff back (either into this article or others)? Loosing good data because of POV wars (which may have been what happened) is a shame. 04:26, 30 November 2006 (UTC)


I wonder given this response to a Google Answers question here why Josephus is not mentioned more in this article? Is it wrong? Extremely biased?--Filll 19:54, 21 December 2006 (UTC)

see above - where the “Jesus” sections are shown to be later edits of wishful thinking and outright forgery. Which begs the question who keeps putting him into this article without mentioning that actual fact? Maybe I'm not seeing the good faith others claim I should ... - Sparky 16:22, 9 February 2007 (UTC)

My recent edits[edit]

I've just edited this article a fair bit, and I felt that as I changed so much it would be best if I explained my edits on the talk page.

In Influences on the earliest Christianity, I felt that the original article presented an obvious false dichotomy between 'evangelicals' holding that there was absolutely no influence on Christianity from the surrounding culture, and 'critical' approaches, which held that there probably was, and seemed to imply that this indicated that Jesus was simply a myth. This is a false dichotomy - very few evangelicals would hold that culture had no impact upon Christianity; for example, evangelicals usually refer to "Greet one another with a holy kiss" as a cultural interpretation. They would generally dispute that culture affected Christian beliefs as such, and there'd be a range of positions on this whole issue from the fundamentalists down to the jesus as a myth types.

In The influence of the Old Testament, I first of all changed 'conceding' into 'often believing' in the sentence "Though conceding that the gospels may contain some creativity and midrash". I did this because 'conceding' is POV - it's arguing that otherwise they wouldn't want to, etc. I added the 'often' because I'd be very surprised if that was a universal - really, I would have changed it to 'sometimes' or 'occasionally' if I hadn't been feeling charitable to the original editor, since I've studied the gospels academically at a secular university and never come across that particular interpretation, so I expect it's pretty minor. That said, I couldn't verify it, so it wouldn't be fair for me to add a comment like 'occasionally'.

I also removed reference to the scholar, F. F. Bruce, as an example of someone who holds the gospels to be sufficiently historical to be used as a source, because although this is true of F. F. Bruce, he actually goes a lot further than that - if I remember correctly, his position is that when the bible is correctly interpreted (e.g. in context of genre etc) it is without error anywhere. Therefore, he's not a good example of a scholar who argues that the bible is simply "sufficient" to establish the historicity of the Bible.

In Gnostic themes, I edited 'Undisputed epistles' to 'generally accepted epistles', because nothing is undisputed in New Testament studies! The seven epistles concerned are near to universally held, but they're not quite universally held.

A similar rationale was behind my editing of "from writers whose theories have not received widespread acceptance", because it is contrasted with Elaine Pagels, whose theories have also not receieved widespread acceptance - but she is nonetheless respected as a scholar herself. I meant to not mention "theories" and just turn the contrast into a contrast of how well respected the scholars are, but looking at it now I must have carelessly forgotten to remove "theories" in my editing. I'll try to remember to change that when I've finished writing this.

I edited the later comment on the fact that Paul doesn't often quote Jesus to comment that there is also the explanation from believers in the historical Jesus that it is explained by the fact that Paul had not had a great deal of contact with the original disciples, as he himself said (Gal 1). (There's also the theory that he lost contact with those kind, explaining a greater use of historical material about Jesus in 1 Cor to the later Romans, but that's not really worth mentioning.)

I added a couple of Fact citation required markers to Parallels with Mediterranean mystery religions and other non-Abrahamic sources, because both of the comments there were things that I would expect to be familiar with had they been the case to any great degree, but I have knowledge of limited truth in either of those cases. I'm currently not sure whether I was right to assume that, since both of the comments were certainly true to some extent, perhaps not the extent implied by the language - I wonder whether I should have simply deflated the language a bit. But hey, citations are required all over the place in this article, hopefully that'll just make someone make a start.

In Timeline of Jesus' life, I simply pointed out that the reference to Jesus' ministry as lasting a year is not universal, which it isn't.

In, Criticism of the theory I removed ", but to what degree the dispute is grounded in historical accuracy versus Christian apologetics is unclear", on the grounds that it is simply false. This is the most strong of a number of points in the article which imply that the only people who dispute the 'Jesus as myth' hypothesis are "Christian apologists", which is plainly false; I've read atheist and Jewish scholars who regard the hypothesis as utter rubbish.

Later I removed "Scholars believe that the apostle Paul did not quote Jesus more often, because he took for granted that Christians knew what Jesus said. Jesus Myth proponents believe this is a weak argument from silence", because this is a response to a criticism by the "Jesus as Myth" people that is already dealt with above, and it's not the obvious responseto mention - better or more typical explanations for this include are occasionality of the Pauline corpus, and the suggestion that Paul himself said that he didn't see much of the initial disciples, so why should he know a lot about the precise history?

I'll probably make some significant alterations to this article in the future, too, because I do think it can do with a lot of improvement in various areas, but I think that what I've done is enough for one day!TheologyJohn 00:55, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

category for deletion[edit]

Interested editors should see Wikipedia:Categories for deletion/Log/2006 December 20#Category:Jesus as myth. — coelacan talk — 05:14, 23 December 2006 (UTC)

This article is indeed "in terrible shape"[edit]

One of the editors on Existence of God remarked that this article is "in terrible shape" and (s)he seems to be quite right. It's full of OR and quotes "sources" that have little or no scholarly weight. It's also far too long. Will try some clean-up but would others like to pitch in? NBeale 07:02, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

About a week ago I was made aware of the book of Tom Harpur "The Pagan Christ", and I got interested in dominant influence on the teaching on Jesus from myths and religions from Egypt, the Jews, Greece (and later the Roman Empire). A integrated question is if Jesus is a myth. In Wikipedia I found this article the most informative and NPOV. I read the whole article, even if it is long. As one who recently used the article with links to get informed, my impression is that this article is very good. But of course I am just starting to learn about the topic. More references to sources would be fine, but maybe not much need to change the text. I was quite suprised to read that this article actually was a candidate for deletion. That would be a shame. But of course I understand that this article may provoce believers in Jesus, who may regard it as heresy. Axlalta 23:08, 4 January 2007 (UTC)

There are lots of articles on wikipedia which neutrally refer to views which I regard as heresy. What I find distasteful about this article is that it simply is not reflective of modern scholarship according to WP:NPOV criteria etc. As someone who has a degree in these kinds of questions (from a secular university), I can tell you that it is indeed "in terrible shape"!

NBeale, hopefully I'll do some editing of this article over the next few weeks - I've done a bit recently. I suspect I might be more open to including their arguments than you, though. But it is, you are right, in terrible shape. TheologyJohn 00:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
TheologyJohn, please do not edit this article any more. This article is already in a mess beyond repair. The least it needs is another biased view on Jesus' mythology from an evangelival Christian. There are plenty of evangelical topics to contribute out there. Let's wait for the contribution of a more impartial source. Viaappia 02:09, 5 January 2007 (UTC)
I don't believe one needs to be an evangelical Christian to hold that there are problems with the current article. (I'm not, and I do.) I also don't believe that a contributor's religious views, or lack thereof, disqualify him or her from editing an article on a religious subject; what matters is a willingness to put personal views aside and aim for neutrality. And it seems to me that the article as it stands has serious neutrality problems (references to opponents of the Jesus-myth theory as "Christian apologists"), not to mention factual errors (the plot of the Bacchae bears little resemblance to the description this article gives of it). EALacey 09:06, 5 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks, EALacey.
Viappia, I think it's really odd that you assume that an evangelical Christian cannot be neutral. It is impossible to be entirely objective about any subject - so agnostics cannot be neutral on this topic. Furthermore, the significance of the topic means that if you understand it properly, one will have strong emotional reactions to the topic. I expect that the reason you think I am especially biased is simply prejudice, since I've not come across you.
I rather suspect that you may not understand what "evangelical" means - perhaps you're from America, where I gather the common use is "deranged lunatic religious right". That's not fair of all evangelicals in America (although there are some over there that make me want to shoot myself, frankly), and really is unfair of non-Americans.
In any case, I've studied these issues at a secular university as part of my degree (which is three years in one subject over here - not sure exactly what it is over where you are), and in all the essays that can only recall two occasions where it was implied that I might be weak as a result of bias. On one of them, it was suggested that I was biased against the evangelical approach!
I would therefore submit that not only am I capable of being probably more neutral than the average contributor to this article, but I also have a lot of background knowledge in the area. TheologyJohn 09:55, 5 January 2007 (UTC)


Until recently, the section of this article on Dionysus contained some highly inaccurate statements about Jesus-like deeds supposedly ascribed to Dionysus by Euripides and Achilles Tatius. The problem was not simply the strength of the parallels; rather, the texts simply don't say what the article claimed they do. I've corrected the relevant paragraphs.

Seeing the inaccuracy of the sourced paragraphs in the Dionysus section, I feel it would be irresponsible to leave the unsourced paragraphs in the article, even with them fact-tagged. So I've moved them here. Obviously, if reliable sources can be found for them, they can be restored. They follow:

  • The Passion of Jesus has a number of features which are argued by Jesus-Myth-theory advocates to be borrowed from Dionysus. Just before his actual crucifixion, the narrative portrays Jesus as being tortured - during which his captors make him wear a purple robe and crown of foliage, both of which were said to be ordinarily worn by Dionysus (due to being imperial symbols).[citation needed] According to Christian apologists the temporary similarity is co-incidental and due to universals,[5] but advocates of the theory that Jesus was derived from myth contend[citation needed] that although temporary, the similar appearance during the torture scene was a deliberate reference by the early gospel writers to Dionysus, in a similar manner to plays and dramas when an actor breaks the fourth wall and reveals their disguise to the audience.
    • Apologists would argue that the resurrection of Dionysus/Bacchus was different than that of Jesus, because Bacchus had the help of Pegasus to escort him to heaven.[6]

EALacey 20:29, 7 January 2007 (UTC)

Minority Opinion[edit]

A couple of days ago, the statement in the lead that the theory is a minority opinion among scholars was deleted, citing that it was "dubious" and "irrelevant." I've restored it (without the subsequent "including atheist scholars", since). I think it's highly relevant in a page about this theory - I don't quite get why anyone would see it as irrelevant.

It's also quite clearly true - I've spent a bit of time searching my books about the history of Jesus (I did a course on it at a secular university last year, and got a fair few of the mainstream books while doing that - including books that overview the theories of scholars), looking for a reference proving it. I haven't been able to find one, simply because I haven't been able to find a reference to the Jesus as Myth theory - it's that obscure!

While that is OR, it demonstrates that it's clearly true. I've heard with my own ears scholars say that it's really fringe, and there must be a reference to that fact somewhere. TheologyJohn 14:41, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

To say that it is a minority opinion among scholars is to imply that all scholars have an opinion on this subject - go ask an astrophysicist and see if you get an informed relevant opinion. Sophia 17:00, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
To be honest, I thought that it was so obvious as to not need mentioning that this only referred to scholars in this particular area. Does anyone think that the wording as it is at present is likely to make anyone think contrary? TheologyJohn 17:03, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Sophia, that really is sophistry. By that logic even the most established views in any field of history are a "minority opinion among scholars" because astrophysicists and other scholars who aren't historians can't have an informed relevant opinion about it! Can we now say that the claim that "Abraham Lincoln wrote the Gettysburg address" is a minority opinion among sholars. Paul B 17:08, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
After all the debates that have been held on who is or isn't a scholar I'm surprised you see it that way. Only a tiny minority study in depth in this area and of them a minority disagree with the status quo. I would have thought giving the readers a feel for the specific nature of this research would have been a good thing. Sophia 21:44, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

Potential other sentence[edit]

Looking elsewhere on Wikipedia, I found [quotes], which seem to back up this line of reasoning.

How about something like this:

Speaking of those who have denied the historical existence of Jesus, Professor Robert E. Van Voorst has said, "Contemporary New Testament scholars have typically viewed their arguments as so weak or bizarre that they relegate them to footnotes or ignore them completely."

And then footnote it (obviously).

Do you guys think that might be an improvement on what it currently is? TheologyJohn 17:19, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

It's certainly better than having no source cited. However, it could be argued that quoting a judgement of "weak or bizarre" in the opening paragraph of an article on a theory qualifies as poisoning the well. It might be preferable to quote from elsewhere in Van Voorst's Jesus Outside the New Testament. These quotations address the degree of scholarly support for the theory:
"Although [G. A.] Wells has been probably the most able advocate of the nonhistoricity theory, he has not been persuasive and is now almost a lone voice for it. The theory of Jesus' nonexistence is now effectively dead as a scholarly question." (p. 14)
"The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." (p. 16) EALacey 18:32, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Quite right - those kinds of words were the kind of words that I wasn't really comfortable with. I'm especially uncomfortable with them if it's contrary to wikipedia policy! But I like both of the quotes you suggested. I've altered the article now to include the second in the opener instead of previous sentence, on the assumption that that's better than it is now. I do wonder though whether it would be better to write something there rather than use a quote and use the quotes to reference. TheologyJohn 20:30, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
So a guy from a Christian theology college is the last word on this subject huh? Now I remember why I gave up editing this page. Sophia 21:49, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I think it makes more sense to say that a trained expert who happens to teach at a religious institution is citable, than to say that he is automatically not citable simply because he teaches at a religious institution. Especially when he's not pronouncing on the correctness of the theory or otherwise, but simply on the status of the theory as a question in academic circles.
Since I began editing this page, I have searched a number of academic books written about the history of Jesus, not all written by Christians. I have yet to find a single reference to the theory. Perhaps that shows you just how obscure the theory is. TheologyJohn 22:14, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
I honestly don't understand why various posters on these walls seem to assume that someone being religious invalidates their academic claims. No-one who understands the significance of the religious claims about Jesus could be without bias, one way or another. TheologyJohn 22:17, 8 January 2007 (UTC)
Can you point to a source we can quote which suggests that the Jesus-myth theory is not held only by a small minority of scholars in relevant fields? I've just been looking at Earl Doherty's response to Van Voorst, and I notice that while Doherty disputes his brief arguments against the theory, he doesn't seem to disagree that it's a minority position. Instead, he seems to argue that scholars haven't examined the evidence honestly. For example:
"The problem is, New Testament scholarship has not kept pace with today’s mythicism. They are in a rut of rejection and condemnation, repeating the same old objections, recycling the same old prejudices. Michael Grant is a good illustration. Someone in the mainstream, a respected, open-minded critical scholar, unencumbered by confessional interests and peer pressure, needs to take a fresh look, to consider and address every aspect of the mythicst case in an in-depth fashion, without the perennially jaundiced eye of a Van Voorst. It is possible there is no such candidate available."
If there simply isn't a citable source claiming that the theory enjoys significant scholarly support, then how can we provide balance to a quotation asserting that it doesn't? (Not a rhetorical question.) EALacey 22:36, 8 January 2007 (UTC)

A New Viewpoint[edit]

As a part of my learning about Creationism and Evolution (remember, I'm a solid scientist who believes in Evolution as a fact), I wanted to educated myself on other religious articles that might be written in a strict NPOV manner, meaning making no assumptions as to "truth" only to what is verifiable. I don't consider the bible to be a verifiable source, so we can start with that. I thought this article and a couple of others Historicity of Jesus and Jesus and History might give me an insight into a well-written article that might be controversial. Well, without intending to insult anyone, this reads like WWI trench warfare. Lots of smoke, noise and shell holes. It reads like there was a battle between the Christians and those who aren't (or maybe a bit more pragmatic) fought, and we are left with a poorly written compromise.

If I may start from the introduction, by using the word "mythicist", which I'm not sure really is a word, it reads like a POV battle. In my opinion, which may be construed as POV, a mythicist is someone who endorses or pushes a myth. I consider jesus a myth, so to me mythicists are Christians. But I swear when I read this article someone is pushing that my POV is considered the myth. Confusing.

This quote drives me crazy: Professor Robert E. Van Voorst has stated of these views, "The nonhistoricity thesis has always been controversial, and it has consistently failed to convince scholars of many disciplines and religious creeds. ... Biblical scholars and classical historians now regard it as effectively refuted." This is a POV. This article should discuss the verifiable facts that surround this discussion. It does not mean that any editor even has to agree that Jesus is a myth, although I would hesitate to believe anyone would write here in support if they didn't actually believe it. Moreover, it shouldn't be a place to convince anyone whether Jesus is a myth.

This article does have a lot of good information in it. I'd like to give a couple of shots at upgrading it, with the hope it does not induce an edit war, in which I do not have any patience.Orangemarlin 20:40, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Hello! Brief comments on a few of your points. (a) I agree that the article isn't very good at the moment. It's very long, and large sections of it are repetitive, unclear or unsourced. Anything you can do to improve the situation will be very welcome, especially since you have experience in handling controversial topics.
(b) It seems that the term "mythicist" is widely used by proponents of the "Jesus as myth" theory. For example, Earl Doherty's website, the first of the article's external links, includes an article titled "Responses to Critiques of the Mythicist Case". Googling finds other examples of people using the word to describe their own position.
(c) Few modern biblical or classical scholars hold to theories about the origins of Christianity that do not involve a historical Jesus. The truth of that statement is, as far as I can tell, accepted by both proponents and opponents of Jesus-myth theories. That doesn't mean the Jesus-myth theory is false; it could mean, as Earl Doherty argues in the passage I quoted above, that it simply hasn't received a fair hearing. But it would be misleading if the article didn't make clear its status as a minority position. In the absence of a survey of scholars, the only way I can see to do that is to quote the judgement of a scholar on how widely the theory is accepted. EALacey 21:14, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I need to study up a bit more apparently. So what you seem to be saying that even those who believe in a jesus as myth believe that he existed? I'm confused!!!!  :) And being the skeptic that I am, I like to see proof (and since I think the bible is a marginal moral document and is not a verifiable source, I can't use it) that Jesus actually existed. When you read documents about Julius Caesar, you can find everything from written documents to coinage. I'm convinced he existed. It seems like this article is written from the POV that Jesus existed, so prove otherwise, everything from the so-called miracles to his own life. It's really hard to prove a negative. Orangemarlin 21:34, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
I think there may be some ambiguity in the term "myth". Many Christian scholars, and essentially all non-Christian scholars, believe that some deeds attributed to Jesus in the New Testament are unhistorical. But only a few of those conclude that there was no historical Jesus at all (or in other words, that none of the Gospel narratives about Jesus have any basis in history). The main Jesus article currently states: "Most scholars in the fields of history and biblical studies agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee, who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, and was crucified in Jerusalem on orders of the Roman Governor Pontius Pilate under the accusation of sedition against the Roman Empire. A very small number of scholars and authors question the historical existence of Jesus, with some arguing for a completely fictional Jesus."
The Bible is not a reliable source by Wikipedia's definition; few, if any, ancient texts would be. But Wikipedia can report the opinions of scholars who believe that the Bible has some value for reconstructing history. EALacey 21:45, 9 January 2007 (UTC)
Well, I certainly never thought of the bible as a verifiable source. Well, the Bible of Maintaining a BWM Motorcycle qualifies as verifiable! OK, being serious, I'd like to find out more about these small number of experts and scholars. I have had to read a bunch of minority POV garbage from Creationists to be better qualified to discuss Evolution, I may as well read some minority viewpoints that fit with my attitudes toward jesus. I guess I take a much more strict interpretation of the word "myth". Orangemarlin 22:04, 9 January 2007 (UTC)

Recent removal of Mithras section[edit]

Not quite sure why. It is a common argument by popular-level critics of Christianity. Don't see why removed from this article. TheologyJohn 01:10, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

A few minutes after the original removal it was turned into a new page, and linked to from this page. Similar with Dionysius section. Not completely clear this was the best thing to do - doesn't seem the best way of organising information. Still, I'm not sure. What thinketh the rest of you? TheologyJohn 01:17, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

The article is currently long enough that a case can be made for splitting some of its content off into other articles. However, many sections of the present article are unreferenced, and there's some needless repetition. I think the article could be shortened significantly by removal of repetition and unverifiable claims, and that we should try to do that before splitting. The "Parallels with non-Christian myths" section is particularly short on references, and I'm concerned that splitting parts of it off in their current state will simply make their problems easier to overlook. EALacey 09:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

It is not only extremely long, but I wonder about its POV, frankly. Why is there nothing about Josephus in the article?--Filll 13:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

The value of Josephus and other non-Christian sources in establishing the historicity of Jesus is currently discussed in the Historicity of Jesus article. Josephus should probably be mentioned here under Criticism of the theory, however. EALacey 13:20, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
TheologyJohn is correct, those sections should not be removed but summarized with a link to the child article (using Template:Main). KillerChihuahua?!? 13:59, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
And upon taking a look at the supposed "child" articles, I find see Similarities between Jesus and Horus, Similarities between Jesus and Dionysus, and Similarities between Jesus and Mithras, none of which are sourced or formatted as articles. Now we have a POV fork splitting off as "Criticisms" which is quite similar. I hate spamming Afd but this is ridiculous. Thoughts, everyone? KillerChihuahua?!? 14:04, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I think we should summarize and then have a link a page with all of the information we should do this for Criticisms and for Pythagorean elements --Jesusmyth 14:06, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

We should NOT do this for Criticisms, that is a POV fork. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:11, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
This page is such a mess, and so heavily protected, that it would be very hard to make any improvements, IMHO. I am just observing, but my goodness...--Filll 14:36, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Jesusmyth - why? This article is only so long because it is written so badly. We should just try to shorten it down to a sensible length article. What's more, I'm not sure that any subset of this article is notable enough in itself for its own article - this is, after all, a pretty obscure theory in scholarly circles (even if more popular in non-scholarly ones). TheologyJohn 14:15, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

it actually was very commonly held for a long time but as time went by the theory was virtually forgotten --Jesusmyth 14:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Depends what you mean by "very common" - was always a minority opinion in scholarly circles. Also depends upon what you mean by "forgotten" - the reason it's been forgotten is because experts generally now regard it as refuted (as indeed at least some of its proponents regard the older versions to which you refer.) TheologyJohn 14:55, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Also we can shorten the gnostic section and give it a link to a page containing all of the information i do no think it is written incorrectly also for the horus section we can use a table for space purposes --Jesusmyth 14:23, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

  • Fine go and delete i had made it to save space but someone reverted the main article to earlier--Jesusmyth 14:45, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

Does anyone agree with making a table for the horus section? --Jesusmyth 14:46, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I object. KillerChihuahua?!? 14:52, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Not quite sure what you're suggesting, Jesusmyth, but it sounds unencyclopediac, pointless, and just would be better done by improving the Horus section so that a table isn't needed. TheologyJohn 14:55, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
Agreed. A table is not suitable for complex comparisons. EALacey 14:56, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
The theory is gaining popularity even in academic circles due to the Nag Hammadi texts and the Dead sea scrolls. The theory was effectively refuted at the turn of the 20th C but neither of these sources had been discovered. There is a lot of interest in the early church now and that is raising questions that are difficult for the "official" history to answers. However all this is personal speculation and therefore worthless to the article. What this article should do is give a brief summary of the ideas (opening paragraph), set it in the context of its academic field (minority) and then give a history of the theory, with the main points that various ideas have raised. There should be a section dealing with balanced criticism of the theory. As this theory is not in the form of a Gospel and does not have the power and ruthlessness of an organised religion behind it to ensure the purity of the message it is understandably a diverse subject. Check out the late April 2006 copy to see how the article was prior to it's vast "improvements"by some very devout Christians and you will see why I am sceptical of the ability of "believers" to be impartial on this subject. It just becomes a breeding ground for apologetics which I have neither the time or the energy to bother with. Sophia 17:11, 10 January 2007 (UTC)
This article is a complete mess. The problem, IMHO, is that there are certain individuals that are not going to allow this to be written as NPOV no matter what is written. As I have been lectured over and over (to the point that I gave up on participating in a couple of articles) that NPOV means that we have to deal with the title of the article without our own belief set clouding how it is written. Factually, there is evidence for and against the existence of jesus. It is not meant to debunk Christianity or faith in Christianity. In addition, it must be verifiable. Just because everyone (which I highly doubt) assumes that jesus existed, only means that we can verify that a bunch of people assume that he existed, not that he actually did or did not exist. If it's going to be an article to slam Christianity, then sure it should be deleted. If it is going to, using WP:NPOV to discuss the Myth of Jesus and what supports or debunks that, then this article needs a serious rewriting. Orangemarlin 22:54, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

WP:Assume good faith[edit]

I, as a religious contributor to this article, have seemingly been accused (alongside all the other religious contributors) of deliberately trying to promote my own POV in this article - or at least that's been the implication. Is it really necessary for people to do this? I am honestly just trying to present this article in an entirely truthful and balanced way. I'm sure the same can be said for our other current regular religious contributors (whoever they may be - I'm not sure if there are any, actually.)

For what it's worth, as I've said before, when I've studied these kinds of questions at a secular university for three years, I was only twice to my memory accused of bias - once against my own christian approach! I really do try to approach these questions with objectivity. TheologyJohn 01:06, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I havent followed the edits and discussion carefully, but I have often been accused of being an atheist, and I am a former Sunday School teacher! And OM has also been accused of atheism and he is an observant (ok maybe that is stretching it? I dont know) Jew. So yes things can get pretty hot and heavy in these discussions.--Filll 01:16, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

On the other hand, I have to admit it does seem a bit curious to me that in an article about Jesus as myth, there appears to be minimal discussion of him AS a myth. I have to read it carefully; maybe you slipped it in someplace. But it is long and baggy anyway. --Filll 01:19, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I haven't written more than a small amount of this article; I only even added it to my watchlist less than a month ago. My guess, though, is that the article as it is is not actually written about the theory as scholars propose it, but is rather a collection of poor propaganda from atheists websites. If it isn't, the theory really is absurd! TheologyJohn 01:54, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
This is not meant to be an attack but an observation, and the fact that you have missed they key point does not bode well. It matters not a jot to me whether Jesus lived or not - the reserrection is a matter of faith and as a naturalist I would not accept it. However, the existence of Jesus is central to your world view and therefore this article for you represents an erroneous view. Sophia 07:34, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
To be honest, I don't see why whether one agrees or disagrees with a theory, or how confidently one holds that judgement, has anything to do with whether one can edit it according to the policies of WP:NPOV, which only requires that one explain the positions of relevant notable literature fairly. It's clearly made out to be a non issue in the wikipedia guidelines over at Wikipedia:Neutral_point_of_view/FAQ#There.27s_no_such_thing_as_objectivity - based upon that, your case that my objectivity should automatically disqualify me from attempting to edit this article because I'm religious is clearly wrong.
That I have a belief regarding this theory is true. I don't think that this means that nobody else has any concern over whether or not it exists - there is no such thing as an unbiased position on anything. I have met many atheists who one suspects of enormous bias on matters like this, and one can speculate on tons of reasons why they might be (insecurity in their own beliefs, anger against religious upbringing, etc etc).
If you really think my approach is so irretrievably POV, I suggest you take issue with my edits by showing that they're not NPOV or some similar, rather than simply complaining about me and other religious editors in the abstract. When I next make a POV edit, call me on it. Don't just write me off as a serious editor because I'm religious.
I genuinely do not believe that I am incapable of presenting other peoples positions well, and I don't think any of my edits to this page have done anything other than correct clear inaccuracies (e.g. only Christian apologists promote the existence of Jesus, the seven generally accepted Pauline epistles are 'undisputed', etc) and alter biased weasel words ("admit", "Christian apologists"), or rearrange the information in a more helpful way. The only exception to that that I can think of is the addition to the first paragraph that this is a minority opinion, which I don't think anyone is likely to take issue with. TheologyJohn 08:23, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
As I said - not an attack but an observation. Also this is not personal - you are not responsible for the mess this article is in but editing by the "faithful" has effectively trashed it and made it unreadable.. Bias is one of those things that we can never see in ourselves and I include myself in that category. However this article has ended up a woeful mess because instead of just reporting the basics as I outlined above, every statement has had to be countered/qualified/apologeticized to death due to the need to refute the theory by those whose belief system rests on it being wrong. Sophia 11:53, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Yes "believers" have been resposible for some of the mess, but so have "mythists" who have filled it with quasi Da-Vinci-Code level analysis of religious history. That's part of the problem. We don't have a clear analysis of the history and range of theories, just a melange of arguments and counter arguments. Paul B 17:42, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
Sorry, I didn't get around to replying to this earlier. Sophia, I do want to apologise for saying things that implied that you were intending to personally attack me - I don't think you were doing so, and I'm pretty sure I didn't think you were earlier. IIRC It's more that I was getting irritated by stuff and felt it would be best discussed - most people are reasonable after all (although it must be said that these kinds of articles do attract more than their fair share of unreasonable types on both "sides").
I would agree that it's likely that this article is partially in a mess because of the faithful, but equally likely is that it's partially a result of atheists - most of the more POV language that I've noticed is directed against opponents of the theory (e.g. they don't "believe" Christianity was influenced by , they "admit" it, etc.). Paul B said it well. TheologyJohn 17:12, 13 January 2007 (UTC)

Truth is still there. If "mythists" fill is only because of the inmense lack of proof that the so-called scholars leave behind. At least, "mythists" are true to their position, that is, some theories that fits into the gap. On the dishonest side of it all stands the claim that there is a "historic Jesus" supported by NO EVIDENCE AT ALL. What kind of 'scholarship' is based on assumptions and not evidence? Only 'Bible scholarship'. This is an article about Jesus as myth, and it is supposed to point and number the theories about the myth of Jesus. Trencacloscas 21:11, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

I am aware that you regard your opinions on these matters as superior to those acclaimed as world experts in the field. However, Wikipedia has a policy of not attempting to present truth (because that would ultimately be utterly unworkable on a consensus based editable encyclopedia), but rather on an approach to scholarship based upon only stating as facts things that are undisputed by scholars, and presenting other views as views - attributing appropriate weight in terms of size based upon how common they are in educated circles. TheologyJohn 17:12, 13 January 2007 (UTC)
My concern with this article is not the quality of the editors. I think that many are qualified (although not all). My concern is the quality of the article. If your assumption is that Jesus is a historical person who did everything that the bible said he did, then you would write this article from the POV that there are people who attempt to convert Jesus into a myth, and they are the mythmakers. If one's assumption is that Jesus did not exist (even historically as a Carpenter/Rabbi living in Galilee in 30CE), then the article would be written that there is a line of myth going back some thousands of years that developed into the myth of Jesus. Given these two diametrically opposed POV's, it is easy for me to see how this article has become a bit of a mess. IMHO, the article Historicity of Jesus is where the NPOV should be that here are the facts that Jesus existed, and here are the facts that he did not. Do not use pseudohistory or pseudoscience to make the case one way or the other. In this article, it merely states that Jesus is a myth, and here is the chain of thinking that may have lead to his being a myth. It does not presume one agrees or disagrees with the article, only what the myth would be, and how it came into being.
We've gotten into these discussions many times. For example, Noah's Ark is considered by many to be a myth. There are many who think it really happened, including a flood filling the earth. It took me a while, but the point of the article wasn't to prove that Noah's Ark existed or not, it was merely to state what it was, and what expeditions were out there looking for it (even though they are a perfect example of both pseudohistory and pseudoscience). Accepting Noah's Ark by faith means that the article stands, it cannot be dissuaded by science. The same here. The article Jesus assumes he existed, assumes that there is faith in his miracles, etc. I don't subscribe to any of it, but I wouldn't expend one microsecond of time in editing it because: 1. I don't care. 2. It would cause a war. 3. The NPOV is to describe the Jesus story, not to accept it as a fact or not.
Therefore, it is my opinion, that this article's NPOV is to state that Jesus is a myth, and describe that information only, including the chain of history that might have lead to that myth. There should be references to the Historicity of Jesus where there would be balancing arguments. It does not matter that 49 out of 50 scholars believe that Jesus existed. We're not trying to prove or disprove that here. We are merely describing the Myth of Jesus. Those of you who take offense should realize it is not asking anyone whose faith includes belief in Jesus to debate these facts. Wikipedia is certainly not a debating forum (for good reason). If you want to improve the Historicity article, that's where most of the case should be made. This article is describing how a Myth of Jesus may have arisen. That's all.
So yes TheologyJohn, when I read you in here, you're taking this article like all of Christianity will fall if you don't make every point a war against good and evil. Your assumption that because I think your Christian god does not exist means I'm an atheist is both reprehensible and illogical. Do not make assumptions about editors. Orangemarlin 04:14, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
That suggestion, no offense, would be the archtypical example of a pov-fork. NPOV is NPOV; you do not make multiple articles with different POV assumptions which constitute the particular NPOV position. Thanatosimii 04:25, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I take no offense. This article is about Jesus as Myth. It is established and stands on its own, and does not assume anything. But if your rationale about forks were true, can we delete the whole host of Evolution articles that I consider unnecessary as POV forks. Let's see, we can throw out all of the POV Creationist, ID, and other pseudoscience. How about that article of Dinosaurs in Religion. That should go, because Dinosaurs is good enough for me. So thanks, now I can list a whole bunch of stuff that are just POV forks in the deletion area. Orangemarlin 04:29, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
It makes me laugh when even the skeptical articles about Jesus have the same POV as the ones that describe his life. But no one can confront the cabal of people frantically protecting this article. It would take a large group of people to mount a challenge, and as OM says, it would be a huge war. It is too bad that this minority POV cannot be described, even an article dedicated to it. But it is not worth going through WWIII to try to do it.--Filll 04:21, 14 January 2007 (UTC)
I've been here a year now and if anything things are getting worse. To get a feel for whether mythology was a suitable category for Christianity I looked at the articles on Buddism and Hinduism. They, along with Isalm which has always been a problem, also seem to be be battle grounds for opposing ideologies. I'll state again how I think this article should go but I'm time strapped at the moment so making major changes is not possible. The article should have a first paragraph briefly describing the category of views that encompass the idea that Jesus is wholly or part mythical. Within the lead it should be made clear that this is a minority view but it is NPOV to not mention that most research in this area is funded by religious bodies and that persecution, legal and political pressure has been used in the past to supress these ideas ( I can find again the quotes from someone about a British publishing company that had to share publication of a book along these lines in the 60's to avoid the blasphemy laws). With such a background it is no suprise that the vast majority of published works supports the totally historical Jesus and the NT as a reliable historical document.
The article should give a history of the subject which actually spans the history of Christianity itself. Distinction should be made between rigorous academic papers and popularist New Age theories. From there there should be details of what various theories propose and why they o so. Within these sections there should be balanced discussion and criticism of the theories.
The main thing is that all criticisms, theories, opinions and discussions should be sourced and referenced. This should ensure readers can follow up any points they want. Obviously there is huge scope for POV positioning so that is where discussion on this page should focus. People have been marginalised, imprisioned and even killed in the past for proposing these ideas which is something the current article doesn't even touch upon. Sophia 11:25, 14 January 2007 (UTC)

Osiris stuff.[edit]

A request was put in at Wikiproject:Ancient Egypt for someone to swing by and check the osiris stuff for factual accuracy. Now, I have read it and found it to be quite... "interesting," let us say. What is currently there is at best rather... warped; at worst original research. It needs to be tagged and then cited, and what cannot be cited after reasonable amounts of time must be removed or reworded.

I get a horrible hunch when I read it that it's based upon the works of Wallace Budge, an Egyptologist whose works are far out of date. If so, it can be mentioned as a historical theory but not an actual modern theory. To include this material you need to have a statement "such and such argues," and if that person is not either a scholar of ancient egypt whose works are from at least the 60's or later, or of Second Temple Judaism whose works come from preferrably after 1991 (the date by which the last of the Dead Sea Scrolls were finally translated, but the middle 70's aren't unuseable), then there must be an appropriate proviso.

I have some particular doubts that any competant historian or linguist would call the etymology of Christ with the greek word for anointing and thus messiah anything other than a dead certainty; the corrolating the breath of life with the holy spirit is... interesting; I could go on and on.

On a secondary note, that section seems to be more aptly suited to be in a page titled "Second Temple period Jewish messiology as an introduction from Egyptian mythology" since the arguments there have little to do with Jesus, but more to do with what the dead sea scrolls show to be widespread Jewish opinion during the perod 200 BC – AD 70. It has very little to do with Jesus himself, except inasmuch as the gospels tie him into Jewish messiology. Thanatosimii 05:29, 11 January 2007 (UTC)

Thanks for the very helpful comments. I've added an unreferenced template to the section, and with luck somebody will be able to indicate who's made this argument (and when). EALacey 17:49, 11 January 2007 (UTC)
    • ^ Michael Grant, Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels; Rudolf Bultmann, Jesus and the Word; Robert Van Voorst, Jesus Outside the Gospels, and Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus.
    • ^ Society of Biblical Studies, The Harper Collins NRSV Study Bible, San Francsco: Harper Collins Publishers, 1989, 2141, see Romans 14:14, 1 Corinthians 7:10, and 1 Corinthians 9:14
    • ^ See Hebrews 10:5-9 for Jesus' vocal ministry, and Hebrews 5:7 and Hebrews 12:3 for descriptions of hostility towards Jesus.
    • ^ Morton Smith, Jesus the Magician: Charlatan or Son of God? (1978) pp. 78-79
    • ^ Cite error: The named reference tektonics_dionysus was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
    • ^