JESUS? CHRIST?- Gospels are Legends

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Post Info TOPIC: புதிய ஏற்பாடு நம்பகத் தன்மை வாய்ந்ததா?


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புதிய ஏற்பாடு நம்பகத் தன்மை வாய்ந்ததா?
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புதியஏற்பாடுநம்பகத்தன்மைவாய்ந்ததா?

பைபிள்என்றால்புத்தகங்கள்என்றுபொருள். அரேபியபாலைவனத்தின்இஸ்ரேல்நாட்டின்எபிரேயமொழிபேசும்அரேபிய (யூதர்கள்) மக்களின்புராணக்கதைநூல்கள்கிறிஸ்தவபழையஏற்பாடுஎனப்படும். கத்தோலிக்ககிறிஸ்துவமதப்பழையஏற்பாடு 45 புத்த்கங்களும், மறுப்பியல் (ப்ரோட்டஸ்டண்ட்) கிறிஸ்துவமதப்பழையஏற்பாடு 39 புத்தகங்களும்கொண்டது. பைபிள்-(விவிலியம்) இவைமுழுவதுமாகஆன்மிகக்கருத்துக்களோஇறையியற்நோக்குகொண்டதுஅல்ல, பெரும்பாலும், அரசியல் -ஆக்கிரமிப்புபோன்றவற்றைஇறைவன்பெயரில்மிகப்பிற்காலத்தில்அரசியல்நோக்கில்புனையப்பட்டவையேஆகும்.

பழையஏற்பாடு- 3 பிரிவுகளாகசட்டம், நபிமார்கள்மற்றும்எழுத்துக்கள்எனமூன்றாகும். சட்டம்எனப்படும்முதலைந்துநூல்கள்பெருமளவில்பொ.மு 4 - பொ.கா. 1ம்நூற்றாண்டுஇடையேபுனையப்பட்டவையாகும். மற்றநூல்கள்இதன்பின்னரேவரையப்பட்டவை. இவைஅனைத்தும்இன்றையவடிவில்தொகுக்கப்பட்டதுபொ.கா.120 வாக்கில். இவைபொ.மு 2000 த்திற்கும்பொ.கா.மு 100க்கும்இடையேநிகழ்ந்தசம்பவஙள்அடிப்படையில்பலகற்பிதஙகள்கொண்டுபுனையப்பட்டவை.


( பொ.கா.- பொதுக்காலம்-பன்னாட்டுவரலாற்றுஆசிரியர்கள்முன்புபயன்படுத்திகைவிட்டகிபி ஆங்கிலத்தில் Common Era-CE பொ.மு- பொதுக்காலத்திற்குமுந்தையது- பன்னாட்டுவரலாற்றுஆசிரியர்கள்முன்புபயன்படுத்திகைவிட்டகிமுஆங்கிலத்தில் BeforeCommon Era-CE)

புதியஏற்பாடு- .கா.30 வாக்கில்ரோமன்ஆட்சிகவர்னர்பொந்தியுஸ்பிலாத்துஎன்பவரால்கைதுசெய்துதூக்குமரத்தில்தொங்கமரணதண்டனையில்இறந்தமனிதர்ஏசுஎனப்படுபவர், மரணத்திற்குபின்மீண்டும்பழையஉடம்பில்உயிரோடுகாட்சிதந்ததாகவும், அவர்பெயரில்பவுல்என்பவரால்தொடங்கப்பட்டமதமேகிறிஸ்தவமதமாகும். இவர்கள்வழிவந்தபல்வேறுசர்ச்சின் 200க்கும்மேற்ப்பட்டபுனையப்பட்டநூல்களுள் 27 நூல்கள்.கா.350-400 இடையேஇன்றையவடிவைப்பெற்றன.


புதியஏற்பாட்டுநூல்கள்கிபி 50 முதல், கிபி 200 வரையிலானகாலகட்டத்தில்புனையப் பட்டவைகள். கிறிஸ்துவமதப்புராணக்கதைநாயகர்ஏசு, இந்தஏசுபற்றிநடுநிலையாளர்ஏற்கும்படிஒருஆதாரமும்இல்லை, இத்தைபிரிட்டானிகாகலைக்களஞ்சியம்கூறுவது “None of the Sources of his Life can be Traced on to Jesus himself. He did not leave a Single Known Written Word. Also there are no Contemporary Accounts of Jesus’s Life and Death” – Vol-22, Pg.336 Encyclopedia Britanica.


அமெரிக்கநூயுயார்க்பைபிளியல்பேராசிரியர்ரெஜினால்ட்புல்லர்தன்நூலில்உறிதிசெய்கிறார்.“ஏசுவுடன்பழகியோர்ஏதும்எழுதிவைக்கவில்லை; புதியஏற்பாட்டுநூல்கள் 27ல்ஒன்றுகூடவரலாற்றுஏசுவினோடுபழகியயாரும்எழுதியதுஇல்லை”- The earliest witnesses wrote nothing’ there is not a Single book in the New Testament which is the direct work of an eyewitness of the Historical Jesus. Page-197, -A Critical Introduction to New Testament. Reginald H.f. Fuller. Professor OF New Testament, Union Theological Seminary NewYork .


மான்செஸ்டர்பழ்கலைக்கழகத்தில்வேதாகமவிமர்சனம்மற்றும்விவாதத்திற்கானரைல்ண்ட்ஸ்பேராசிரியராகஇருந்த, காலம்சென்றபேராசிரியர் F F புரூஸ்அவர்கள் தன்நூல் “The Real Jesus”பின்வருமாறுசொல்லுகிறார்-

“ The Conclusion usually(and I think rightly) drawn from their comparative study is that the Gospel of Mark (or something like it) served as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and that these two also had access to a collection of sayings of Jesus(conveninently called ‘Q’), which may have been complied as a handbook  for the Gentile mission around AD50.- P-25.

பெரும்பாலனா ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள் கூறுவது, (என் கருத்தும்-அது சரி)  மாற்கு சுவி(அல்லது அது போன்றது) கதையைக் கொண்டு, இத்தோடு இயேசு சொன்னவை எனப்படும் ஒரு 50 வாக்கில் எழுந்த குறிப்புகளும் கொண்டே மத்தேயு லூக்கா சுவி கதைகள் வளர்ந்தன



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மான்செஸ்டர்பழ்கலைக்கழகத்தில்வேதாகமவிமர்சனம்மற்றும்விவாதத்திற்கானரைல்ண்ட்ஸ்பேராசிரியராகஇருந்த, காலம்சென்றபேராசிரியர் F F புரூஸ்அவர்கள் தன்நூல் “The Real Jesus”பின்வருமாறுசொல்லுகிறார்-“ The Conclusion usually(and I think rightly) drawn from their comparative study is that the Gospel of Mark (or something like it) served as a source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, and that these two also had access to a collection of sayings of Jesus(conveninently called ‘Q’), which may have been complied as a handbook  for the Gentile mission around AD50.- P-25.

பெரும்பாலனா ஆராய்ச்சியாளர்கள் கூறுவது, (என் கருத்தும்-அது சரி)  மாற்கு சுவி(அல்லது அது போன்றது) கதையைக் கொண்டு, இத்தோடு இயேசு சொன்னவை எனப்படும் ஒரு 50 வாக்கில் எழுந்த குறிப்புகளும் கொண்டே மத்தேயு லூக்கா சுவி கதைகள் வளர்ந்தன

Biblical quotations are generally from the Revised Standard Version, but I have frequently made my own translation where it seemed better suited to the context or the argument. P-11 in Preface footnote. இப்புத்தகத்தில் RSV பைபிள் மொழிபெயர்ப்பு பயன்படுத்துகிறேன், ஆனால் பல இடங்களில் சொல்வதற்கு வசதியாக தேவைக்கு ஏற்ப என் சொந்த மொழி பெயர்ப்பை- பயன்படுத்தியுள்ளேன்.

 

Whereas in the synoptic record most of Jesus’ ministry is located in Galilee, John places most of it in Jerusalem and its neighbourhood. –P.27 ஒத்த கதை சுவிகள் இயேசு பெரும்பாலும் கலிலேயாவில் சீடரோடு இயங்கியதாகச் சொல்ல, நான்காவது சுவி ஜானிலோ பெருமளவில் ஜெருசலேமிலும் யூதேயாவிலும் இயங்கியதாக என்கிறது.



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Bible Scholar A.M.Hunter- ஸ்காட்லாந்தின் அபேர்தின் பல்கலைக் கழக புதிய ஏற்பாடு பேராசிரியர்- ஹன்டர் பின்வருமாறுசொல்லுகிறார்-

“If we had only Mark’ gospel we should infer that Jesus ministry was located in Galilee with one first and final visit to Jerusalem, and that the Galileen ministry began after Baptist John was imprisoned.

4th gospel takes a different view. Here the scene shifts backwards and forwards between Galilee and Judea during the first six chapters , from chapter 7 onwards the scene is totally laid in Judea and Jerusalem,(See Jn3:24 for Baptist John and Jesus).” –P 45, Works and Words of Jesus.

நம்மிடம்மாற்குசுவிமட்டுமிருந்தால்நாம்இயேசுமுழுமையாகசீடரோடுஇயங்கியதுகலிலேயாவில்என்றும், -ஞானஸ்நானம்பெறவும்கடைசியாகமரணத்தின்போதுமட்டுமேஜெருசலேம்வந்தார்; மேலும் -ஞானஸ்நானர்யோவான்கைதிற்குப்பிறகுகலிலேயாஇயக்கம்துவக்கினார்என்பதாகும்.நான்காவதுசுவியோவேறுவிதமாக, முதல்ஆறுஅத்தியாயங்களில்யுதேயாவிலும்கலிலேயாவிலும்முன்னும்பின்னும்இயங்கியதாகவும்; எழாம்அத்தியாயத்திற்குப்பின்முழுமையாகஜெருசலேமிலும்யூதேயாவிலும்எனச்சொல்கிறார், யோவன் 3:24- ஞானஸ்நானர்யோவான்கைதிற்குப்முன்பேஏசுஇயக்கம்எனவும்காட்டும்.



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Dr. C.J. Cadoux, who was Mackennal Professor of Church History at Oxford, thus sums up the conclusions of eeminent Biblical scholas regarding the nature and composition of this Gospel:

“It was written after Peter's martyrdom (65 A. D.), and at a time when Mark, who had not himself been a disciple of Jesus, apparently had non of the personal disciples of Jesus within reach by whose knowledge he could check his narrative. These circumstances of its composition account for the existence in it, side by side, of numerous signs of accuracy and a certain number of signs of ignorance and inaccuracy."-   C.J. Cadoux : The Life of Jesus Penguin Bookds, P. 13

 

"The speeches in the Fourth Gospel (even apart from the early messianic claim) are so different from those in the Syoptics, and so like the comments of the Fourth Evangelist both cannot be equally reliable as records of what Jesus said : Literary veracity in ancient times did forbid, as it does now, the assingment of fictitious speeches to historical characters: the best ancient historians made a practice of and assigning such speeches in this way."I

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1. C.J. Cadoux: The Life of Jesus, p. 16.

Rev. T.G. Tucker writes:

"Thus Gospels were produced which clearly reflect the conception of the practical needs of the community for which they were written. In them the traditional material was used, but there was no hesitation in altering it or making additions to it, or in leaving out what did not suit the writer’s purpose"

The four Gospels included in the Bible were not the only Gospels written in the early centuries of Christianity.

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1. T.G. Tucker : The History of the Christians in the Light of Modern Knowledge, p.320



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Dr. C.J. Cadoux, who was Mackennal Professor of Church History at Oxford, thus sums up the conclusions of eeminent Biblical scholas regarding the nature and composition of this Gospel:

“It was written after Peter's martyrdom (65 A. D.), and at a time when Mark, who had not himself been a disciple of Jesus, apparently had non of the personal disciples of Jesus within reach by whose knowledge he could check his narrative. These circumstances of its composition account for the existence in it, side by side, of numerous signs of accuracy and a certain number of signs of ignorance and inaccuracy."-   C.J. Cadoux : The Life of Jesus Penguin Bookds, P. 13

 

"The speeches in the Fourth Gospel (even apart from the early messianic claim) are so different from those in the Syoptics, and so like the comments of the Fourth Evangelist both cannot be equally reliable as records of what Jesus said : Literary veracity in ancient times did forbid, as it does now, the assingment of fictitious speeches to historical characters: the best ancient historians made a practice of and assigning such speeches in this way."

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1. C.J. Cadoux: The Life of Jesus, p. 16.

Rev. T.G. Tucker writes:

"Thus Gospels were produced which clearly reflect the conception of the practical needs of the community for which they were written. In them the traditional material was used, but there was no hesitation in altering it or making additions to it, or in leaving out what did not suit the writer’s purpose"

The four Gospels included in the Bible were not the only Gospels written in the early centuries of Christianity.

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1. T.G. Tucker : The History of the Christians in the Light of Modern Knowledge, p.320

 

C.J. Cadoux sums up the position in these words in his book Life of Jesus.

 

“In the four Gopels, therefore, the main documents to which we must go if we are to fill-out at all that bare sketch which we can Put together from other sources, we find material of widely-differing quality as regards credibility. So far-reaching is the element of ucertainly that it is temptig to ‘down tools’ at once, and to declare the task hopeless. The historical inconsistencies and impobabilities in parts of the Gospels form some of arguments advanced in favour of the Christ-myth theory. These are, however, entirely outweighed as we have shown-by ther considerations. Still, the discrepancies and uncertainties that remain are serious and consequently many moderns, who have no doubt whatever of Jesus’ real existence, regard as hopeless any attempt to dissolve out the historically- true from the legendary or mythical matter which the Gospels contain, and to recostruct the story of Jesus’ mission out of the more historical residue.”

-----------------------------1. C.J. Cadou: op. cit., pp.16,17.



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Prophecies Allegedly Fulfilled in Jesus.

Born of the Seed of a woman-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Gen 3:15 And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel."

Gal 4: 4 But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law,

Every single man born on earth comes from the 'seed' of a woman. The alleged prophesy simply describes the hatred for snakes which is common to all people on earth.

Born at Bethlehem.

Micah 5: 2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." ........... He will deliver us from the Assyrian when he invades our land and marches into our borders.

Jesus’ family came from Nazareth in Galilee, but is represented as having been born at Bethlehem in Judaea. Bethlehem, was a person, the son of Ephratah, who is mentioned among the descendants of Judah (1 Chron 4:4 — Penuel was the father of Gedor, and Ezer the father of Hushah. These were the descendants of Hur, the firstborn of Ephrathah and father of Bethlehem.). Matthew misinterprets this

prophesy and through some exegetical contortions, arranging for Jesus' birth at Bethlehem. Moreover in his mistranslation of the prophecy, Matthew describes this Bethlehem as not the least among the princes of Judah — Mt 2:6 "`But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel.'"

David came from a village called Bethlehem (1 Sam. 17;12,58 Luke 2; 4). So that this alleged "prophecy" is nothing but a reference to the genealogy or birthplace of the great David, a descendant of whom was expected to restore the kingdom of Israel. The statement about this ruler "whose origins are from of old, from ancient times" seems to anticipate the Christian doctrine of the trinity and that Jesus is the eternal God himself — it is in this way that prophecies and doctrines are invented.

Jesus did not fulfil this prophecy, for he never was a ruler in Israel, and did not deliver Israel from the Assyrian when he came into the land. And even if we accept the baseless doctrine of the second coming — it can never be fulfilled because Assyria no longer exists.

Slaughter of the Innocents –Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Jer 31:15 This is what the LORD says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."

Matt 2:17 Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more."

The Jews have been the most embattled people throughout history and Jewish women have frequently wept for their children from the time of Abraham — this alleged prophecy is so general as to be worthless in terms of Scriptural proof of some specific occurrence – the slaughter of the innocents by Herod — a disaster which remains unrecorded in any Jewish or contemporary literature.

Flight to Egypt-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Hos 11:1 ¶ "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son.Hos 11: 2 But the more I called Israel, the further they went from me. They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images.

Matt 2:14 So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Out of Egypt I called my son."

The second verse of the prophetic text clearly indicates that the "son" spoken of is the entire nation of Israel not Jesus of Nazareth.

Declared the Son of God-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Psalm 2:7 ¶ I will proclaim the decree of the LORD: He said to me, "You are my Son; today I have become your Father.

Matt 3: 17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

God obviously has a short memory as he could not remember the exact formula predicted. The nation of Israel is repeatedly referred to as the "Son of God" there is nothing in this unremarkable saying that could be a direct and affirmative reference to Jesus.

Galilean Ministry-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Isa 9:1 ¶ Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honour Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan— The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

Matt 4:14 to fulfil what was said through the prophet Isaiah: "Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, the way to the sea, along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles – the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned."

The alleged prophecy when read in context also declares that the person referred will —

Isa 9: 3-4 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor.

— since only one line of the entire prophecy can legitimately be applied to Jesus the context would indicate that the prophecy in its entirety refers to someone else.

Rejected by his own people-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Isa 53: 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

John 1:11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.

Mt 21:9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, "Hosanna to the Son of David!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

Mt 15:30 Great crowds came to him, .......

Mt 20:29 As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him.

Mark 10:13 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them The gospels record that Jesus enjoyed great popularity among the masses who thronged in their thousands to hear him. So this prophecy can be applied to Jesus only by a very overdeveloped imagination.

Triumphal Entry into Jerusalem-Prophecy-Alleged Fulfilment

Zech 9:9 ¶ Rejoice greatly, O Daughter of Zion! Shout, Daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

Mark 11: 7-10 When they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks over it, he sat on it..... Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, "Hosanna!" "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!" "Hosanna in the highest!"

The second part of the prophecy reveals an additional clause:—

Zech 9:10 I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken. He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the River to the ends of the earth.

None of these things were achieved by Jesus except the contrived riding on a donkey — even in a metaphorical esoteric sense Jesus still does not rule the universe.

Betrayed by a friend=Prophecy Alleged Fulfilment

Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

Luke 22:47-48 ¶ While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them.

He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"

The entire context of the manipulated prophecy proves that the reference is by David to himself and has naught to do with Jesus. In the 4th verse he says:— Psalm 41:4 I said, "O LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you."

— Jesus was apparently sinless and was God himself.

Accused by ‘false’ witness Prophecy Alleged Fulfilment

Psalm 35: 11 ¶ Ruthless witnesses come forward; they question me on things I know nothing about.

Mark 14:57 Then some stood up and gave this false testimony against him: 58 We heard him say, I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and within three days I will build another made without hands.

The supposed ‘false’ testimony was simply the twisting of words that Jesus was on record as having said — John 2:19 Jesus answered and said unto them, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up’. So it was not a case of "things I knew nothing about"!

Given a drink of Vinegar and Gall Prophecy Alleged Fulfilment

Psalm 69: 21 They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. 23 May their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and their backs be bent for ever. 24 Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them.

27 Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation.

Matt 27:34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.

The alleged prophesy is spoken again by David referring to himself in the past tense — his enemies putting gall in his food and giving him vinegar to drink, in the case of Jesus the gall was mixed with the vinegar/wine — hardly an accurate fulfillment of a divine prophecy! Secondly the speaker of the prophecy goes on to curse his enemies, Jesus was alleged to have blessed them (Luke 23:34)

Silent to accusations

Isaiah 53: 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

Luke 22:67 "If you are the Christ," they said, "tell us." Jesus answered, "If I tell you, you will not believe me, and if I asked you, you would not answer. But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God."

Luke 22:70 They all asked, "Are you then the Son of God?" He replied, "You are right in saying I am."

Mt 27:11 Meanwhile Jesus stood before the governor, and the governor asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?" "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.

Mark 15: 2 "Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate. "Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. John 18:33 Pilate then ... asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"

34 "Is that your own idea," Jesus asked, "or did others talk to you about me?"35 "Am I a Jew?" Pilate replied. "It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?"36 Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place."37 "You are a king, then!" said Pilate. Jesus answered, "You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me."38 "What is truth?" Pilate asked. With this he went out again to the Jews and said, "I find no basis for a charge against him.



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 Final Things

113. Jesus judges the world, casts out the Devil, and draws all men to him.

John 12; 23 Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.... 31 Now is

the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself."

This promise is given in the present tense and Jesus was indeed lifted up, but drew only a tiny group to himself at the time stipulated. Even 2000 years later the majority of the worlds people do not know Jesus, nor believe in him, the Christian churches are in decline and losing adherents every day. The judgment of the world and the casting out of the Devil, although announced in the present tense, are still unfulfilled. Christians apologists invent the doctrine of two judgements — the "interim" which took place then and the "final" — at a time still to be announced. As for the Devil being driven out — it was not long before he gained a re-entry.

114. Stars to fall from the sky and planets to shake.

Matt 24:29 "Immediately after the distress of those days "the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from the sky, and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.'

Given our present knowledge of astronomy this "holy revelation" becomes merely a figure of speech and no revelation at all.

The Parousia (Second Coming)

115. Christ's promise of his speedy return in glory.

Matt 24:3 As Jesus was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately. "Tell us," they said, "when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?"

27-35 For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man..... 30 "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other...... Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door. I tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (see Mark 13; 25-30 Luke 21; 22-33, and Matt. 25; 31-46.)

This prophecy by the Son of God states quite emphatically and specifically that the second coming and the final Day of Judgement etc will be completely fulfilled within the lifetime of the generation then living. 2000 years have passed and there is still no hint of the predicted signs occurring. This prediction more than anything else gives the lie to Biblical prophecies, if the most specific prophecy has been a lie how can we be expect to put our trust in the vague and non-specific ones?.

116. Jesus announces the Day of Judgment to be close at hand.

John 5: 28-29 "Do not be amazed at this, for a time is coming when all who are in their graves will hear his voice and come out—those who have done good will rise to live, and those who have done evil will rise to be condemned.

Matt. 16; 27-28 For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom."

Mark 9; 1 ¶ And he said to them, "I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the kingdom of God come with power." (see Luke 10:27.)

John 21; 22 Jesus answered, "If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me."

These passages show clearly that Jesus' second coming in power and glory, enthronement and Judgement was to take place during the lifetime of the then existing generation. Seeing that they were never fulfilled there are two options based on whether Jesus actually said these things.

1. If they are an accurate record of Jesus' statements than he is a false prophet.

2. If the Gospel writers have put them into his mouth then the Gospels are unreliable fabrications.

In either case the conclusion would be that Christianity is based on falsehood.

117. The impending Day of Judgment

Rev. 22; 6 ¶ The angel said to me, "These words are trustworthy and true. The Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets, sent his angel to show his servants the things that must soon take place." "Behold, I am coming soon! Blessed is he who keeps the words of the prophecy in this book.".... 10 Then he told me, "Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, because the time is near..... 12 "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done.

The urgency and the immanence of the Day of Judgement are indisputable in these passages. Almost 2000 years have passed with no sign of these things. Some Christians would argue that a thousand human years are like day in God's sight. Be this as it may, it would be gross deception on God's part to give hope and expectation to people by speaking in human years when in fact divine years are intended. So whatever be the case God stands condemned either as a liar or as a deceiver.

118. James also predicts Christ's coming as close at hand.

James 5: 7 Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord's coming..... 8 You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord's coming is near. ...... 9 The Judge is standing at the door!

This statement is evidence that James deluded his contemporaries by asking them to be patient for the impending arrival of the Lord. Either this is an inspired revelation or not. If it is divinely inspired it has been falsified, if not then James was an imposter.

119. The Christians of the second coming will meet the Lord in the air.

1 Thess. 4;15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the

archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord for ever. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.

More evidence of the expected "Day of the Lord" which never came. Paul was clearly deluded into believing that some of them would be alive to witness all the things promised and would rise up into the stratosphere to meet the Lord descending from outer space.

120. Some more of Paul's references to the approaching end of the world.

Heb 1: 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son,

1 Cor. 7; 29 What I mean, brothers, is that the time is short.

Heb 9:26 ..... But now he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Heb 10:37 For in just a very little while, "He who is coming will come and will not delay.

I Tim 6:13 ¶ ......... and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, All these texts show that Paul taught his converts that they could expect the Day of the Lord in their lifetimes. He was either deluded himself or an imposter.

121. Peter also believed that he lived in the last days.

I Peter 1:20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

I Peter 4;5 But they will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

I Peter 4; 7 ¶ The end of all things is near.

2 Peter 3;11-12 ¶ Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat.

A day may be a thousand years in the sight of God but Peter has either been duped or is obviously deceiving the people by instructed them to be patient and look forward to the day that is near at hand.

(See also Acts 2; 16, 17.)

122. Christ is on his way and will be seen by everybody, including his executioners.

Rev 1: 1 ¶ The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John,

Rev 1:7 Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen.

Rev. 3; 11 I am coming soon. Hold on to what you have, so that no-one will take your crown.

"Soon" so far means "±2000" years. Christian evangelists are repeatedly revising their calculations and making more hazardous guesses. Christians stupidly argue that with the Lord a thousand years are as a day and a day is as a thousand years. The purpose of communication is to transmit meaningful and relevant information, for the Lord to boost human expectations by saying a day when he means a thousand years is like declaring the price to be a cent when he means a 100 dollars.

123. Restraining of Satan for a thousand years.

Rev. 20; 2-3 He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations any more until the thousand years were ended. After that, he must be set free for a short time.

Rev. 20; 4 I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. ......

They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.

If the Lord gets confused between human and divine years what are we frail humans to understand from these verses? Perhaps here a "thousand years" means only 24 hours; who decides? And since every evangelist will tell you that the devil is roaming about intensely active, either the thousand year/24 hour day is over or has not yet begun.

124. Satan's campaign; and his punishment.

Rev. 20; 7-10 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth — Gog and Magog — to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God's people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.

These incoherent ramblings indicate that after his imprisonment for a 1000 years/24 hours, the Devil will be released to mount a campaign against all nations — at the same time some sort of apocalyptic battle will take place. Either he is still imprisoned or he is free but in either case no preparation has been made for an apocalyptic battle except by some deranged fanatical Protestants.

125. A new heaven and earth to be created.

Isaiah 65: 17-23 ¶ "Behold, I will create new heavens and a new earth. The former things will not be remembered, nor will they come to mind. But be glad and rejoice for ever in what I will create, for I will create Jerusalem to be a delight and its people a joy....... "Never again will there be in it

an infant who lives but a few days, or an old man who does not live out his years; he who dies at a hundred will be thought a mere youth; he who fails to reach a hundred will be considered accursed. They will build houses and dwell in them; they will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. No longer will they build houses and others live in them, or plant and others eat. For as the days of a tree, so will be the days of my people; my chosen ones will long enjoy the works of their hands.

They will not toil in vain or bear children doomed to misfortune; for they will be a people blessed by the LORD, they and their descendants with them.

These verses are taken as the basis for the teaching of the advent of "New Jerusalem" that will descend from the skies at the time of the Second Coming or thereabout. And all the elect will be gathered into it. The fact that it clearly refers to some form of physical state with copulating, giving birth, raising infants, living to old age and dying at about 100 years old, of building houses and farming is either overlooked or made to mean whatever best suits the particular doctrine of the Christian sect quoting it.

126. A new heaven and earth without any sea.

Rev 21:1 ¶ Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.

This prophecy was meaningful in a pre-scientific world with a cosmology of a flat earth surrounded by sea and canopy of the heavens. But seeing that heaven is in fact merely ether which cannot be changed this prophecy cannot possibly be fulfilled literally.

 



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1. Rewards of serving God

Exo 23: 25-26 Worship the LORD your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water. I will take away sickness from among you, and none will miscarry or be barren in your land. I will give you a full life span.

Such conditions have never obtained either among the most pious of Jews or Christians or will ever come to pass. We see all the pious believers and worshippers of Yahweh/Jesus experiencing suffering, sickness, miscarriages, infertility and early death just like everyone else. The holocaust, the genocide of the Christians in Rwanda and Sudan all testify this lie.

2. Adam was promised that he would die

Gen. 2;16 ¶ And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die."

Gen. 5;3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.

3. The snake was cursed to eat dust.

Gen. 3; 14 ¶ So the LORD God said to the serpent, ......... "Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life.

Isa 65:25 The wolf and the lamb will feed together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox, but dust will be the serpent's food.

Every school child knows that snakes do not eat dust. Christians will claim that this prophesy will only be fulfilled in the New Jerusalem after the second coming.

4. Cain cursed to be a restless wanderer.

Gen 4;10-12 The LORD said, ...... Now you are under a curse and driven from the ground,..... When you work the ground, it will no longer yield its crops for you. You will be restless wanderer on the earth."

Gen 4;16 16 ¶ So Cain went out from the LORD's presence and lived in the land of Nod, east of Eden. ....... Cain was then building a city, and he named it after his son Enoch.

In spite of the curse of the omniscient Lord Cain built a city. Some Christian apologists will rationalize that he only built the city but did not live in it.

5. God gives Noah and his sons control over every living creature.

Gen. 9: 1 ¶ Then God blessed Noah and his sons, saying to them, "Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the earth. The fear and dread of you will fall upon all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air, upon every creature that moves along the ground, and upon all the fish of the sea; they are given into your hands.

Thus according to this blessing lions, leopards, tigers, crocodiles and sharks were all delivered into Noah's hands and fear mankind.

6. God promises that the harvest will never cease.

Gen. 8; 22 "As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease."

Gen 41; 56 When the famine had spread over the whole country, .....for the famine was severe throughout Egypt.

Gen 45; 6 For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will not be ploughing and reaping.

There were frequent periods of famine throughout the history of the land of Israel, so either God changed his mind or forgot his original promise.

7. The earth to be destroyed and to remain for ever.

Deut. 4;40. The earth, which the Lord thy God giveth thee, for ever.

Eccl. 1; 4 ¶ [One] generation passeth away, and [another] generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Ps. 104; 5 [Who] laid the foundations of the earth, [that] it should not be removed for ever.

2 Peter 3; 10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

One of these two conflicting, announcements will evidently be falsified.

8. Abraham & Sarah are to be the progenitors of many nations.

Gen 17;4 ¶ "As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations.

Gen. 17; 15 ¶ God also said to Abraham, "As for Sarai your wife, you are no longer to call her Sarai; her name will be Sarah. I will bless her and will surely give you a son by her. I will bless her so that she will be the mother of nations; kings of peoples will come from her."

The Jews are the only nation descended from Sarah, and only five nations appear to have descended from Abraham, namely the Jews, the Ishmaelites (Arabs), the Midianites, and the Edomites and the Ammonites. Today the Arabs and the Jews are the only two nations that claim descent from Abraham.

In the scheme of a multicultural world — two can hardly be reckoned as “many”.

9. God predicts that the Edomites will serve the Israelites.

Gen. 25: 23-26 The LORD said to her (Rebbekah), "Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you will be separated; one people will be stronger than the other, and the older will serve the younger."....... The first to come out was red, and his whole body was like a hairy garment; so they named him Esau..... After this, his brother came out, with his hand grasping Esau's heel; so he was named Jacob.

Esau was the father of the Edomites with whom the Israelites were constantly at war. Sometimes the Edomites prevailed and sometimes the Israelites, but there is no record in Scripture or in History of the Edomites ever serving the Israelites.

10. Pinhas and his sons are promised that they will retain the priesthood for ever.

Num. 25; 10-13 The LORD said to Moses, "Phinehas son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, the priest, .................. He and his descendants will have a covenant of an everlasting priesthood,

The NIV tactfully changes the word everlasting to 'lasting' to soften the obvious untruth of this promise. The Hebrew term is 'olam which clearly means forever.

The "everlasting", priesthood was subsequently transferred to the descendants of another son of Aaron. It was taken from Abiathar by Solomon (1 Kings 2:27) and restored to Zadok, who was descended from Pinhas (I Chron. vi. 4,8), with whose family the 'eternal' priesthood continued as long as it lasted. 

11. Naphtali's possessions wrongly assigned.

Deut. 33; 23 And of Naphtali he said, O Naphtali, satisfied with favour, and full with the blessing of the LORD: possess thou the west and the south.

Naphtali received a district in the north in Galilee (see Jos 20:7) but none in the south or the west.

12. God revokes his promise to Eli, and makes another almost equally futile one concerning Samuel.

1 Sam. 2;27 ¶ Now a man of God came to Eli and said to him, "This is what the LORD says: ................. 28 I chose your father out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, and to wear an ephod in my presence. ................... 30 "Therefore the LORD, the God of Israel, declares: 'I promised that your house and your father's house would minister before me for ever.' But now the LORD declares:..... 31 The time is coming when I will cut short your strength and the strength of your father's house,....... 35 I will raise up for myself a faithful priest, who will do according to what is in my heart and mind. I will firmly establish his house, and he will minister before my anointed one always. ............. 1 ¶ The boy Samuel ministered before the LORD under Eli.

The omniscient Lord of the Universe makes firm promises and then revokes them when it suits him. Samuel is clearly the faithful priest who was to replace Eli; but his house was far from being "firmly established" and his sons were almost as bad as Eli's (I Sam. 8:3). Neither he nor his descendants "always" ministered before God's anointed.

The Promised Land-13. The promised land extended from the Nile to the Euphrates.

Gen. 15; 18 On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram and said, "To your descendants I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the Euphrates— Exo. 23:31 "I will establish your borders from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, and from the desert to the River [Euphrates]. I will hand over to you the people who live in the land and you will drive them out before you.

Deut.1;7,8.............. go to all the neighboring peoples in the Arabah, in the mountains, in the western foothills, in the Negev and along the coast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the Euphrates. See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land that the LORD swore he would give to your fathers— to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—and to their descendants after them."

The territory ruled by the Israelites never extended from the River Nile or from the Red Sea to the Euphrates although it remains alive in the hopes and aspirations of radical right wing Israelis.

14. The promised land to be fertile and extensive.

Exo. 3; 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey — the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.

The promised land was neither a fertile nor a spacious land except in the romantic sense. It was a land that required extremely hard work to produce anything from it and thus in reality could not be described as a land flowing with milk and honey — in fact famine was a regular occurrence. If not for chemical fertilizers and elaborate irrigation schemes and land would still be quite barren and unproductive.

15. God promises eternal proprietorship of the land of Canaan to Abraham his descendants.

Gen. 13; 14,15 ¶ The LORD said to Abram ...... "Lift up your eyes from where you are and look north and south, east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring for ever.

Acts 7:5 He gave him [Abraham] no inheritance here, not even a foot of ground. But God promised him that he and his descendants after him would possess the land, even though at that time Abraham had no child.

Gen. 17; 8 The whole land of Canaan, where you are now an alien, I will give as an everlasting possession to you and your descendants after you; and I will be their God."

Exo 32;13 Remember your servants Abraham, Isaac and Israel, to whom you swore by your own self: 'I will make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and I will give your descendants all this land I promised them, and it will be their inheritance for ever.'

Abraham never received the land that God promised to him — The Northern Kingdom of Israel was conquered by the Assyrians in the 8th century BCE. In 587 BCE Jerusalem was finally destroyed by Nebuchadnezzer and all the Jews were exiled to Babylon. In 538 BCE Cyrus allows the Jews to return to their promised land. From 304 — 200 BCE Judea was ruled by the Ptolomies, from 200 — 142 BCE by the Seleucids. Then Judea came under Roman rule, in 70 CE the Second temple was destroyed and the diaspora of the Jews began lasting until 1948, when the state of Israel was declared.

16. Canaan promised to Jacob.

Gen. 28; 13 There above it stood the LORD, and he said: "I am the LORD, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you [Jacob] and your descendants the land on which you are lying.

Jacob never received the promised land, and it is questionable whether the spot [near Haran — a place in the middle of modern Syria] on which he then lay ever came into the possession of his descendants.

17. Israel to be established in their own land for ever.

2 Sam. 7; 8 "Now then, tell my servant David, 'This is what the LORD Almighty says: ......... 10 And I will provide a place for my people Israel and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed. Wicked people shall not oppress them any more, as they did at the beginning ..... I will also give you rest from all your enemies. "`The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you ... 16 Your house and your kingdom shall endure for ever before me; your throne shall be established for ever.'"

The house of David is long since gone as has his kingdom and throne. Although the Jews who were scattered all over the world for 2000 years have returned to Israel they are still afflicted, the orthodox Jews do not accept this "return" as a fulfillment of the prophecy because the State established is not a Messianic Theocracy but a secular one. Most Christians would argue that this is a prophesy to be fulfilled in the future. One must then ask how David himself understood this prophesy, what would be the point of making revelations to someone about a utopia to exist in 5000 years time.

18. Restoration of Judah and the lost tribes under one king.

Ezek. 37;21-24 and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites

out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land. I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms...... "My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.

The Kingdom of Israel split up after the death of Solomon the son of David in about 10 BCE and was never united until 1948 when the state of Israel was created. This prophesy still has not been fulfilled because Israel is not a monarchy. This prophesy implies that David would be reborn to rule the restored kingdom, nevertheless some Christians pretend that it refers not to David himself but to Jesus who is related to David through his mother's marriage to Joseph, and that this prophesy will come about sometime in the distant future.

Bondage in Egypt

19. The Israelites to be afflicted as slaves in Egypt for 400 years.

Ge 15:13 Then the LORD said to him, "Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and ill-treated four hundred years.

According to the orthodox, biblical chronology, the Israelites were only in Egypt for 215 years in all. Jacob entered Egypt in 1706 BCE and the Exodus under Moses took place in 1446 BCE. Of the 215 years the first portion under Joseph was a time of great prosperity for the Israelites. Exodus 12; 40 says "Now the children of Israel dwelt in Egypt for 430 years". In Gal. 3; 16:17 Paul loosely claims the period from the covenant with Abraham until the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai was 430 years. Act 7; 6, however, affirms the 400 years of affliction. Moses was only the great grandson of Levi a half brother of Joseph (Ex.6;16-20 — Levi (lived 137 years) ’ Kohath (lived 133) ’ Amram (lived 137) ’Aaron and Moses — even with this fantastic longevity it would still be difficult to make these four generations cover 430 years. Josephus (book ii., chap 15:2) says the Jews were in Egypt 2I5 years, and this agrees with the Samaritan and the Septuagint.

20. The Jews to return from Egypt in the fourth generation from Abraham.

Gen.15;15,16 You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure."

The Jews returned from their captivity in Egypt in the 8th generation from Abraham.

21. God promises to bring Jacob back from Egypt.

Gen. 46; 3 "I am God, the God of your father,"he said. "Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you into a great nation there. I will go down to Egypt with you, and I will surely bring you back again. And Joseph's own hand will close your eyes."

Gen 47; 28 Jacob lived in Egypt 17 years, and the years of his life were a 147. When the time drew near for Israel to die, he called for his son Joseph and said to him, "If I have found favour in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh and promise that you will show me kindness and faithfulness. Do not bury me in Egypt, God did not bring Jacob back again from Egypt, as he promised, he died in Egypt.

22. Judah to remain an independent state till the Messiah comes.

Gen 49:10 (KJV) The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him [shall] the gathering of the people [be].

Gen 49;10 (NIV) The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs and the obedience of the nations is his.

Shiloh is a word of disputed meaning; it either refers to a national meeting place before Jerusalem or it can be taken to refer to the messiah. If Shiloh is taken to mean Jesus the prophecy was falsified, for Jerusalem and the temple were sacked and the king of Judah and all the leaders were carried away into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar 588 years before the birth of Jesus.



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பைபிளியல் அறிஞர்கள் ஆய்வு உண்மைகள்

I give the Current Position of Biblical Theologians summarised by American Scholar
Professor John Hick, sums up the current position of Theological research as follows:
Quote:
“The weight and extent of the strain under which Christian Belief has come can be indicated by listing aspects of Traditional Theology which are, which are in the opinion of many Theologians today [including myself], either untenable ot open to Serious Doubts.
1. There are divinely revealed truths [such as the doctrines of Trinity or the two natures of Christ]
2. God Created the physical Universe out of nothing “n’ years ago.
3. Man was created originally brought into the existence as a finitely perfect being, but rebelled against God, and the human condition has ever since been that of creatures who have fallen from grace.
4. Christ come to rescue man from his fallen plight, buying man’ [or some men’s] restoration to grace by his death on the cross.
5. Jesus was born of a Virgin mother, without human Patenity.
6. He performed miracles in which the regularities of the natural order were suspended by Divine Power.
7. His Dead Body rose from the Grave and Returned to Earthy Life.
8. All men must respond to God through Jesus Christ in order to be saved.
9. AT Death a person’s relationship to God is irrevocably fixed.
10. There are two human destinies, traditionally referred to under the symbols of Heaven and Hell. “
“God and the Universe of Faiths”- John Hick,Formerly Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Claremont Graduate School. California Published by Macmillan 1998.

கிறிஸ்துவ மத நம்பிக்கைகள் பெருமளவில் சிக்கலைடந்துள்ளது என்பதை பழைமைவாதிளின் அடிபடை மத உணர்வுகள் பெரும்பாலும், இன்றைய பைபிளியல் அறிஞர்கள் ஆய்வுக்குப்பின் ஏற்கமுடியாதது, சந்தேகத்துக்கு உரியவை என நான் உட்பட பெருமளவு பைபிளியல் அறிஞர்கள் சொலவதை பட்டியல் இடுவோம்.
1. ஏதோ தெய்வீக உண்மைகள் அடிப்படையில் இருந்தது-அதாவது மூன்று கடவுள்; மூன்றும் ஒன்றே மற்றும் ஏசு மனிதன் – தெய்வம் என்னும் கற்பனைகள்.
2. கடவுள் இத்தனை ஆண்டுகட்கு முன் வெறுமையிலுருந்து இவ்வுலகைப் படைத்தார்.
3. மனிதன் முதலில் இறப்பே இன்றி தொடர்ந்து வாழ படைக்கப்பட்டு, பின்னர் கடவுள் சொல்லை மீறியதற்காக மனிதன் அதன்பின் இந்நிலைக்கு வந்து ம்ரணமடைகிறான்.
4. கிறிஸ்து மனிடர்களின் பாவத்தை மீட்க வந்தார், தன் சிலுவை மரணம் மூலம் மனிதர்களை (அல்லது சில மனிதர்களை) மீட்டார்.
5. இயேசு ஒரு கன்னிப் பெண்ணிடம், மனித உடலுறவின்றி பிறந்தார்.
6. இயேசு பல மேஜிக்குகள் செய்தார் என்றும் அதில் இயற்கையின் ஆற்றலை இறை சக்தியில் கட்டுப் படுத்தினார்.
7. இயேசுவின் மரணத்திற்குப்பின் இயேசுவுடைய பிணவுடல் சவக்குழியிலிருந்து மீண்டும் உயிர் பெற்று வந்தது.
8. உலக மாந்தர்கள் அனைவரும் தாங்கள் காப்பாற்றப்பட இயேசு கிறிஸ்து மூலமே ஆகும்.
9. ஒரு மனிதன் மரணத்தில் அவனுக்கும் கடவுளிற்கும் ஆன உறவு மாற்றமுடியாதபடி இறுதியாகிறது.
10. மனிதன் பெரும் இரு முடிவுகள், எனகூறப்படும் சொற்கம்-நரகம் என்பவை எனகடவுளும் உலகின் மத நம்பிக்கைகளும் என இன்கிலாந்து பினிங்காம் பல்கலைக் கழகப் பேராசிரியர் கூறுகிறார். “God and the Universe of Faiths”- John Hick,Formerly Professor of Philosophy of Religion, Claremont Graduate School. California Published by Macmillan 1998.

பைபிள்-(விவிலியம்) இவை முழுவதுமாக ஆன்மிகக் கருத்துக்களோ இறையியற் நோக்கு கொண்டது அல்ல, பெரும்பாலும், அரசியல் -ஆக்கிரமிப்பு போன்றவற்றை இறைவன் பெயரில் மிகப்பிற்காலத்தில் அரசியல் நோக்கில் புனையப் பட்டவையே ஆகும்.
நாம் காணும் பைபிள்-(விவிலியம்) 16ம் நூற்றாண்டு வரை ரோமன் கத்தோலிக்க கிறிஸ்துவ சர்ச்சினால் சிறைப் படுத்தப் பட்டுயிருந்த்தது, பைபிள் நூலைப் பதிப்பித்த பலர் மதத்திலுரிந்து வெளியேற்றம் ம்ற்றும் மரணதண்டனை என கொலையும் சர்ச்சினால் செய்யப்பட்டனர். மறுப்பியல் (ப்ரோட்டஸ்டண்ட்) அணியினரின் கிளர்ச்சியினால் அதிலும் புத்தகங்கள் மட்டுமே (sola scripture) என்ற கோரிக்கையினால் பைபிள்-(விவிலியம்) சுதந்திரம் பெற்றது.



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சுவிசேஷங்கள் கதைப்படியே- ஏசு கைதானபின் அவரை விட்டு சீடர்கள் கலிலேயாவிற்கு ஓடிவிட்டனர். இவர்கள் ஏசு சொன்னதைப் புரிந்து கொள்ளவே இல்லை. ஆனால் பின்னர் அத்தனையும் -ஞாபகத்திலிருந்து சொல்ல சுவிகள் வந்ததாம். நம்பாதது நினைவில் இருக்குமா?



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Your Questions are very valid-

 

Where did jesus ministry was?

what was the length of ministry?

Why did Mark and others LIE if 4th gospel is right.



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NON-CHRISTIAN SOURCES

Virtually all other claims of Jesus come from sources outside of Christian writings. Devastating to the claims of Christians, however, comes from the fact that all of these accounts come from authors who lived after the alleged life of Jesus. Since they did not live during the time of the hypothetical Jesus, none of their accounts serve as eyewitness evidence.

Josephus Flavius, the Jewish historian, lived as the earliest non-Christian who mentions a Jesus. Although many scholars think that Josephus’ short accounts of Jesus (in Antiquities) came from interpolations perpetrated by a later Church father (most likely, Eusebius), Josephus’ birth in 37 C.E., well after the alleged crucifixion of Jesus, puts him out of range of an eyewitness account. Moreover, he wrote Antiquities in 93 C.E., after the first gospels got written! Therefore, even if his accounts about Jesus came from his hand, his information could only serve as hearsay.

Pliny the Younger, a Roman official, got born in 62 C.E. His letter about the Christians only shows that he got his information from Christian believers themselves. Regardless, his birth date puts him out of the range of eyewitness accounts.

Tacitus, the Roman historian’s birth year at 64 C.E., puts him well after the alleged life of Jesus. He gives a brief mention of a “Christus” in his Annals (Book XV, Sec. 44), which he wrote around 109 C.E. He gives no source for his material. Although many have disputed the authenticity of Tacitus’ mention of Jesus, the very fact that his birth happened after the alleged Jesus and wrote theAnnals during the formation of Christianity, shows that his writing can only provide us with hearsay accounts.

Suetonius, a Roman historian, born in 69 C.E. mentions a “Chrestus,” a common name. Apologists assume that “Chrestus” means “Christ” (a disputable claim). But even if Seutonius had meant “Christ,” it still says nothing about an earthly Jesus. Just like all the others, Suetonius’ birth occurred well after the purported Jesus. Again, only hearsay.

Talmud: Amazingly some Christians use brief portions of the Talmud, (a collection of Jewish civil a religious law, including commentaries on the Torah), as evidence for Jesus. They claim that Yeshu (a common name in Jewish literature) in the Talmud refers to Jesus. However, this Jesus, according to Gerald Massey actually depicts a disciple of Jehoshua Ben-Perachia at least a century before the alleged Christian Jesus. [Massey] Regardless of how one interprets this, the Palestinian Talmud got written between the 3rd and 5th century C.E., and the Babylonian Talmud between the 3rd and 6th century C.E., at least two centuries after the alleged crucifixion! At best it can only serve as a controversial Christian and pagan legend; it cannot possibly serve as evidence for a historical Jesus.

Christian apologists mostly use the above sources for their “evidence” of Jesus because they believe they represent the best outside sources. All other sources (Christian and non-Christian) come from even less reliable sources, some of which include: Mara Bar-Serapion (circa 73 C.E.), Ignatius (50 – 98? C.E.), Polycarp (69 – 155 C.E.), Clement of Rome (? – circa 160 C.E.), Justin Martyr (100 – 165 C.E.), Lucian (circa 125 – 180 C.E.), Tertullian (160 – ? C.E.), Clement of Alexandria (? – 215 C.E.), Origen (185 – 232 C.E.), Hippolytus (? – 236 C.E.), and Cyprian (? – 254 C.E.). As you can see, all these people lived well after the alleged death of Jesus. Not one of them provides an eyewitness account, all of them simply spout hearsay.

As you can see, apologist Christians embarrass themselves when they unwittingly or deceptively violate the rules of historiography by using after-the-event writings as evidence for the event itself. Not one of these writers gives a source or backs up his claims with evidential material about Jesus. Although we can provide numerous reasons why the Christian and non-Christian sources prove spurious, and argue endlessly about them, we can cut to the chase by simply determining the dates of the documents and the birth dates of the authors. It doesn’t matter what these people wrote about Jesus, an author who writes afterthe alleged happening and gives no detectable sources for his material can only give example of hearsay. All of these anachronistic writings about Jesus could easily have come from the beliefs and stories from Christian believers themselves. And as we know from myth, superstition, and faith, beliefs do not require facts or evidence for their propagation and circulation. Thus we have only beliefs about Jesus’ existence, and nothing more.



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Many people– then and now– have assumed that these letters [of Paul] are genuine, and five of them were in fact incorporated into the New Testament as “letters of Paul.” Even today, scholars dispute which are authentic and which are not. Most scholars, however, agree that Paul actually wrote only eight of the thirteen “Pauline” letters now included in the New Testament. collection: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Virtually all scholars agree that Paul himself did not write 1 or 2 Timothy or Titus– letters written in a style different from Paul’s and reflecting situations and viewpoints in a style different from those in Paul’s own letters. About the authorship of Ephesias, Colossians, and 2 Thessalonians, debate continues; but the majority of scholars include these, too, among the “deutero-Pauline”– literally, secondarily Pauline– letters.”

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (Adam, Eve, and the Serpent)

We know virtually nothing about the persons who wrote the gospels we call Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University, (The Gnostic Gospels)

Some hoped to penetrate the various accounts and to discover the “historical Jesus”. . . and that sorting out “authentic” material in the gospels was virtually impossible in the absence of independent evidence.”

-Elaine Pagels, Professor of Religion at Princeton University

We can recreate dimensions of the world in which he lived, but outside of the Christian scriptures, we cannot locate him historically within that world.

-Gerald A. Larue (The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read)

The gospels are so anonymous that their titles, all second-century guesses, are all four wrong.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

Far from being an intimate of an intimate of Jesus, Mark wrote at the forth remove from Jesus.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

Mark himself clearly did not know any eyewitnesses of Jesus.

-Randel McCraw Helms (Who Wrote the Gospels?)

All four gospels are anonymous texts. The familiar attributions of the Gospels to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John come from the mid-second century and later and we have no good historical reason to accept these attributions.

-Steve Mason, professor of classics, history and religious studies at York University in Toronto (Bible Review, Feb. 2000, p. 36)

The question must also be raised as to whether we have the actual words of Jesus in any Gospel.

-Bishop John Shelby Spong

Many modern Biblical archaeologists now believe that the village of Nazareth did not exist at the time of the birth and early life of Jesus. There is simply no evidence for it.

-Alan Albert Snow (The Book Your Church Doesn’t Want You To Read)

But even if it could be proved that John’s Gospel had been the first of the four to be written down, there would still be considerable confusion as to who “John” was. For the various styles of the New Testament texts ascribed to John- The Gospel, the letters, and the Book of Revelations– are each so different in their style that it is extremely unlikely that they had been written by one person.

-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

It was not until the third century that Jesus’ cross of execution became a common symbol of the Christian faith.

-John Romer, archeologist & Bible scholar (Testament)

What one believes and what one can demonstrate historically are usually two different things.

-Robert J. Miller, Bible scholar, (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p. 9)

When it comes to the historical question about the Gospels, I adopt a mediating position– that is, these are religious records, close to the sources, but they are not in accordance with modern historiographic requirements or professional standards.

-David Noel Freedman, Bible scholar and general editor of the Anchor Bible series (Bible Review, December 1993, Vol. IX, Number 6, p.34)


It is said that the last recourse of the Bible apologist is to fall back upon allegory. After all, when confronted with the many hundreds of biblical problems, allegory permits one to interpret anything however one might please.

-Gene Kasmar, Minnesota Atheists

Paul did not write the letters to Timothy to Titus or several others published under his name; and it is unlikely that the apostles Matthew, James, Jude, Peter and John had anything to do with the canonical books ascribed to them.

-Michael D. Coogan, Professor of religious studies at Stonehill College (Bible Review, June 1994)

A generation after Jesus’ death, when the Gospels were written, the Romans had destroyed the Jerusalem Temple (in 70 C.E.); the most influential centers of Christianity were cities of the Mediterranean world such as Alexandria, Antioch, Corinth, Damascus, Ephesus and Rome. Although large number of Jews were also followers of Jesus, non-Jews came to predominate in the early Church. They controlled how the Gospels were written after 70 C.E.

-Bruce Chilton, Bell Professor of Religion at Bard College (Bible Review, Dec. 1994, p. 37)

James Dunn says that the Sermon on the Mount, mentioned only by Matthew, “is in fact not historical.”

How historical can the Gospels be? Are Murphy-O-Conner’s speculations concerning Jesus’ baptism by John simply wrong-headed? How can we really know if the baptism, or any other event written about in the Gospels, is historical?

-Daniel P. Sullivan (Bible Review, June 1996, Vol. XII, Number 3, p. 5)

David Friedrich Strauss (The Life of Jesus, 1836), had argued that the Gospels could not be read as straightforward accounts of what Jesus actually did and said; rather, the evangelists and later redactors and commentators, influenced by their religious beliefs, had made use of myths and legends that rendered the gospel narratives, and traditional accounts of Jesus’ life, unreliable as sources of historical information.

-Bible Review, October 1996, Vol. XII, Number 5, p. 39

The Gospel authors were Jews writing within the midrashic tradition and intended their stories to be read as interpretive narratives, not historical accounts.

-Bishop Shelby Spong, Liberating the Gospels

Other scholars have concluded that the Bible is the product of a purely human endeavor, that the identity of the authors is forever lost and that their work has been largely obliterated by centuries of translation and editing.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “Who Wrote the Bible,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Yet today, there are few Biblical scholars– from liberal skeptics to conservative evangelicals- who believe that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John actually wrote the Gospels. Nowhere do the writers of the texts identify themselves by name or claim unambiguously to have known or traveled with Jesus.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Once written, many experts believe, the Gospels were redacted, or edited, repeatedly as they were copied and circulated among church elders during the last first and early second centuries.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The tradition attributing the fourth Gospel to the Apostle John, the son of Zebedee, is first noted by Irenaeus in A.D. 180. It is a tradition based largely on what some view as the writer’s reference to himself as “the beloved disciple” and “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” Current objection to John’s authorship are based largely on modern textural analyses that strongly suggest the fourth Gospel was the work of several hands, probably followers of an elderly teacher in Asia Minor named John who claimed as a young man to have been a disciple of Jesus.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Some scholars say so many revisions occurred in the 100 years following Jesus’ death that no one can be absolutely sure of the accuracy or authenticity of the Gospels, especially of the words the authors attributed to Jesus himself.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Three letters that Paul allegedly wrote to his friends and former co-workers Timothy and Titus are now widely disputed as having come from Paul’s hand.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The Epistle of James is a practical book, light on theology and full of advice on ethical behavior. Even so, its place in the Bible has been challenged repeatedly over the years. It is generally believed to have been written near the end of the first century to Jewish Christians. . . but scholars are unable conclusively to identify the writer.

Five men named James appear in the New Testament: the brother of Jesus, the son of Zebedee, the son of Alphaeus, “James the younger” and the father of the Apostle Jude.

Little is known of the last three, and since the son of Zebedee was martyred in A.D. 44, tradition has leaned toward the brother of Jesus. However, the writer never claims to be Jesus’ brother. And scholars find the language too erudite for a simple Palestinian. This letter is also disputed on theological grounds. Martin Luther called it “an epistle of straw” that did not belong in the Bible because it seemed to contradict Paul’s teachings that salvation comes by faith as a “gift of God”– not by good works.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The origins of the three letters of John are also far from certain.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Christian tradition has held that the Apostle Peter wrote the first [letter], probably in Rome shortly before his martyrdom about A.D. 65. However, some modern scholars cite the epistle’s cultivated language and its references to persecutions that did not occur until the reign of Domitian (A.D. 81-96) as evidence that it was actually written by Peter’s disciples sometime later.

Second Peter has suffered even harsher scrutiny. Many scholars consider it the latest of all New Testament books, written around A.D. 125. The letter was never mentioned in second-century writings and was excluded from some church canons into the fifth century. “This letter cannot have been written by Peter,” wrote Werner Kummel, a Heidelberg University scholar, in his highly regarded Introduction to the New Testament.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

The letter of Jude also is considered too late to have been written by the attested author– “the brother of James” and, thus, of Jesus. The letter, believed written early in the second century.

-Jeffery L. Sheler, “The catholic papers,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

According to the declaration of the Second Vatican Council, a faithful account of the actions and words of Jesus is to be found in the Gospels; but it is impossible to reconcile this with the existence in the text of contradictions, improbabilities, things which are materially impossible or statements which run contrary to firmly established reality.

-Maurice Bucaille (The Bible, the Quran, and Science)

The bottom line is we really don’t know for sure who wrote the Gospels.

-Jerome Neyrey, of the Weston School of Theology, Cambridge, Mass. in “The Four Gospels,” (U.S. News & World Report, Dec. 10, 1990)

Most scholars have come to acknowledge, was done not by the Apostles but by their anonymous followers (or their followers’ followers). Each presented a somewhat different picture of Jesus’ life. The earliest appeared to have been written some 40 years after his Crucifixion.

-David Van Biema, “The Gospel Truth?” (Time, April 8, 1996)

So unreliable were the Gospel accounts that “we can now know almost nothing concerning the life and personality of Jesus.”

-Rudolf Bultmann, University of Marburg, the foremost Protestant scholar in the field in 1926

The Synoptic Gospels employ techniques that we today associate with fiction.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

Josephus says that he himself witnessed a certain Eleazar casting out demons by a method of exorcism that had been given to Solomon by God himself– while Vespasian watched! In the same work, Josephus tells the story of a rainmaker, Onias (14.2.1).

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

For Mark’s gospel to work, for instance, you must believe that Isaiah 40:3 (quoted, in a slightly distorted form, in Mark 1:2-3) correctly predicted that a stranger named John would come out of the desert to prepare the way for Jesus. It will then come as something of a surprise to learn in the first chapter of Luke that John is a near relative, well known to Jesus’ family.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 43)

The narrative conventions and world outlook of the gospel prohibit our using it as a historical record of that year.

-Paul Q. Beeching, Central Connecticut State University (Bible Review, June 1997, Vol. XIII, Number 3, p. 54)

Jesus is a mythical figure in the tradition of pagan mythology and almost nothing in all of ancient literature would lead one to believe otherwise. Anyone wanting to believe Jesus lived and walked as a real live human being must do so despite the evidence, not because of it.

-C. Dennis McKinsey, Bible critic (The Encyclopedia of Biblical Errancy)

The gospels are very peculiar types of literature. They’re not biographies.

-Paula Fredriksen, Professor and historian of early Christianity, Boston University (in the PBS documentary, From Jesus to Christ, aired in 1998)

The gospels are not eyewitness accounts

-Allen D. Callahan, Associate Professor of New Testament, Harvard Divinity School

We are led to conclude that, in Paul’s past, there was no historical Jesus. Rather, the activities of the Son about which God’s gospel in scripture told, as interpreted by Paul, had taken place in the spiritual realm and were accessible only through revelation.

-Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.83

Before the Gospels were adopted as history, no record exists that he was ever in the city of Jerusalem at all– or anywhere else on earth.

-Earl Doherty, “The Jesus Puzzle,” p.141

Even if there was a historical Jesus lying back of the gospel Christ, he can never be recovered. If there ever was a historical Jesus, there isn’t one any more. All attempts to recover him turn out to be just modern remythologizings of Jesus. Every “historical Jesus” is a Christ of faith, of somebody’s faith. So the “historical Jesus” of modern scholarship is no less a fiction.

-Robert M. Price, “Jesus: Fact or Fiction, A Dialogue With Dr. Robert Price and Rev. John Rankin,” Opening Statement

It is important to recognize the obvious: The gospel story of Jesus is itself apparently mythic from first to last.

-Robert M. Price, professor of biblical criticism at the Center for Inquiry Institute (Deconstructing Jesus, p. 260)

CONCLUSION

Belief cannot produce historical fact, and claims that come from nothing but hearsay do not amount to an honest attempt to get at the facts. Even with eyewitness accounts we must tread carefully. Simply because someone makes a claim, does not mean it represents reality. For example, consider some of the bogus claims that supposedly come from many eyewitness accounts of alien extraterrestrials and their space craft. They not only assert eyewitnesses but present blurry photos to boot! If we can question these accounts, then why should we not question claims that come from hearsay even more? Moreover, consider that the hearsay comes from ancient and unknown people that no longer live.

Unfortunately, belief and faith substitute as knowledge in many people’s minds and nothing, even direct evidence thrust on the feet of their claims, could possibly change their minds. We have many stories, myths and beliefs of a Jesus but if we wish to establish the facts of history, we cannot even begin to put together a knowledgeable account without at least a few reliable eyewitness accounts.

Of course a historical Jesus may have existed, perhaps based loosely on a living human even though his actual history got lost, but this amounts to nothing but speculation. However we do have an abundance of evidence supporting the mythical evolution of Jesus. Virtually every detail in the gospel stories occurred in pagan and/or Hebrew stories, long before the advent of Christianity. We simply do not have a shred of evidence to determine the historicity of a Jesus “the Christ.” We only have evidence for the belief of Jesus.

So if you hear anyone who claims to have evidence for a witness of a historical Jesus, simply ask for the author’s birth date. Anyone who’s birth occurred afteran event cannot serve as an eyewitness, nor can their words alone serve as evidence for that event.


Sources (click on a blue highlighted book title if you’d like to obtain it):Briant, Pierre, “Alexander the Great: Man of Action Man of Spirit,” Harry N. Abrams, 1996



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Josephus (c37-100 AD)


Flavius Josephus is a highly respected and much-quoted Romano-Jewish historian. The early Christians were zealous readers of his work.

A native of Judea, living in the 1st century AD, Josephus was actually governor of Galilee for a time (prior to the war of 70 AD) – the very province in which Jesus allegedly did his wonders. Though not born until 37 AD and therefore not a contemporary witness to any Jesus-character, Josephus at one point even lived in Cana, the very city in which Christ is said to have wrought his first miracle.

Josephus's two major tomes are History of The Jewish War and The Antiquities of the Jews.In these complementary works, the former written in the 70s, the latter in the 90s AD, Josephus mentions every noted personage of Palestine and describes every important event which occurred there during the first seventy years of the Christian era.

At face value, Josephus appears to be the answer to the Christian apologist's dreams.

In a single paragraph (the so-called Testimonium Flavianum) Josephus confirms every salient aspect of the Christ-myth:

1. Jesus's existence 2. his 'more than human' status 3. his miracle working 4. his teaching 5. his ministry among the Jews and the Gentiles 6. his Messiahship 7. his condemnation by the Jewish priests 8. his sentence by Pilate 9. his death on the cross 10. the devotion of his followers 11. his resurrection on the 3rd day 12. his post-death appearance 13. his fulfillment of divine prophesy 14. the successful continuance of the Christians.

In just 127 words Josephus confirms everything – now that is a miracle!

 

BUT WAIT A MINUTE ...

Not a single writer before the 4th century – not Justin, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Cyprian, Arnobius, etc. – in all their defences against pagan hostility, makes a single reference to Josephus’ wondrous words.

The third century Church 'Father' Origen, for example, spent half his life and a quarter of a million words contending against the pagan writer Celsus. Origen drew on all sorts of proofs and witnesses to his arguments in his fierce defence of Christianity. He quotes from Josephus extensively. Yet even he makes no reference to this 'golden paragraph' from Josephus, which would have been the ultimate rebuttal. In fact, Origen actually said that Josephus was"not believing in Jesus as the Christ."

Origen did not quote the 'golden paragraph' because this paragraph had not yet been written.

It was absent from early copies of the works of Josephus and did not appear in Origen's third century version of Josephus, referenced in his Contra Celsum.

Josephus knows nothing of Christians

It was the around the year 53 AD that Josephus decided to investigate the sects among the Jews. According to the gospel fable this was the period of explosive growth for the Christian faith: " the churches ... throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria ... were edified... and ... were multiplied." – Acts 9:31.

This is also the time of the so-called "Council of Jerusalem" when supposedly Paul regaled the brothers with tales of "miracles and wonders" among the gentiles (Acts 15.12).

And yet Josephus knows nothing of all this:

"When I was sixteen years old, I decided to get experience with the various sects that are among us. These are three: as we have said many times, the first, that of thePharisees, the second that of theSaduccees, the third, that of theEssenes. For I thought that in this way I would choose best, if I carefully examined them all. Therefore, submitting myself to strict training, I passed through the three groups." – Life, 2.

Josephus elsewhere doesrecord a "fourth sect of Jewish philosophy" and reports that it was a "mad distemper" agitating the entire country. But it has nothing to do with Christianity and its superstar:

"But of the fourth sect of Jewish philosophy, Judas the Galilean was the author. These men agree in all other things with the Pharisaic notions; but they have an inviolable attachment to liberty, and say thatGod is to be their only Ruler and Lord.

They also do not value dying any kinds of death, nor indeed do they heed the deaths of their relations and friends, nor can any such fear make them call any man Lord ...

And it was in Gessius Florus's time that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and to make them revolt from the Romans. And these are the sects of Jewish philosophy." – Antiquities 18.23.

Nothing could better illustrate the bogus nature of theTestimonium than the remaining corpus of Josephus's work.

 


Consider, also, the anomalies:

1. How could Josephus claim that Jesus had been the answer to his messianic hopes yet remain an orthodox Jew?
The absurdity forces some apologists to make the ridiculous claim that Josephus was a closet Christian!

2. If Josephus really thought Jesus had been 'the Christ' surely he would have added more about him than one paragraph, a casual aside in someone else's (Pilate's) story?

In fact, Josephus relates much more aboutJohn the Baptist than about Jesus! He also reports in great detail the antics of other self-proclaimed messiahs, including Judas of Galilee,Theudas the Magician, and the unnamed'Egyptian Jew' messiah.

It is striking that though Josephus confirms everything the Christians could wish for, headds nothing that is not in the gospel narratives, nothing that would have been unknown by Christians already.


3. The question of context.

Antiquities 18 is primarily concerned with "all sorts of misfortunes" which befell the Jews during a period of thirty-two years (4-36 AD).

Josephus begins with the unpopular taxation introduced by the Roman Governor Cyrenius in 6 AD. He presents a synopsis of the three established Jewish parties (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes), but his real quarry is the "fourth sect of philosophy ... which laid the foundation of our future miseries." That was the sect of Judas the Galilean, "which before we were unacquainted withal."

At the very point we might expect a mention of "Christians" (if any such sect existed) we have instead castigation of tax rebels!

"It was in Gessius Florus's time [64-66] that the nation began to grow mad with this distemper, who was our procurator, and who occasioned the Jews to go wild with it by the abuse of his authority, and made them revolt from the Romans; and these are the sects of Jewish philosophy."


"Nor can fear of death make them call any man Lord." Sound a tad familiar?

Chapter 2 notes the cities built to honour the Romans; the frequent changes in high priest (up to Caiaphas) and Roman procurators (up to Pontius Pilate); and also the turmoil in Parthia.

Chapter 3, containing the Testimonium as paragraph three, is essentially about Pilate's attempts to bring Jerusalem into the Roman system. With his first policy – placing Caesar's ensigns in Jerusalem – Pilate was forced to back down by unexpected Jewish protests in Caesarea. With his second policy – providing Jerusalem with a new aqueduct built with funds sequestered from the Temple, Pilate made ready for Jewish protests. Concealed weapons on his soldiers caused much bloodshed.

At this point the paragraph about Jesus is introduced!

Immediately after, Josephus continues:

"And about the same time another terrible misfortune confounded the Jews ..."


There is no way that Josephus, who remained an orthodox Jew all his life and defended Judaism vociferously against Greek critics, would have thought that the execution of a messianic claimant was "another terrible misfortune" for the Jews. This is the hand of a Christian writer who himself considered the death of Jesus to be a Jewish tragedy (fitting in with his own notions of a stiff-necked race, rejected by God because they themselves had rejected the Son of God).

With paragraph 3 removed from the text the chapter, in fact, reads better. The "aqueduct massacre" now justifies "another terrible misfortune."


4.
 The final assertion, that the Christians were "not extinct at this day," confirms that the so-called Testimonium is a later interpolation. How much later we cannot say but there was no "tribe of Christians" during Josephus' lifetime. Christianity under that moniker did not establish itself until the 2nd century. Outside of this single bogus paragraph, in all the extensive histories of Josephus there is not a single reference to Christianity anywhere.

 

5. The hyperbolic language is uncharacteristic of the historian:


'... as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him."

This is the stuff of Christian propaganda.

 

REALITY CHECK

In fact, the Josephus paragraph about Jesus does not appear until the beginning of the fourth century, at the time of Constantine.

Bishop Eusebius, that great Church propagandist and self-confessed liar-for-god, was the first person known to have quoted this paragraph of Josephus, about the year 340 AD. This was after the Christians had become the custodians of religious correctness.

Whole libraries of antiquity were torched by the Christians. Yet unlike the works of his Jewish contemporaries, the histories of Josephus survived. They survived because the Christian censors had a use for them. They planted evidence on Josephus, turning the leading Jewish historian of his day into a witness for Jesus Christ ! Finding no references to Jesus anywhere in Josephus's genuine work, they interpolated a brief but all-embracing reference based purely on Christian belief.

Do we need to look any further to identify Eusebius himself as the forger?

Sanctioned by the imperial propagandist every Christian commentator for the next thirteen centuries accepted unquestioningly the entire Testimonium Flavianum, along with its declaration that Jesus “was the Messiah.”

And even in the twenty first century scholars who should know better trot out a truncated version of the 'golden paragraph' in a scurrilous attempt to keep Josephus 'on message.'

 

The "Arabic Josephus"

In a novel embellishment to the notion of an orthodox Jew giving testimony of Jesus, defenders of the faith have in recent times tossed an Arabic version of the Josephus text on to their pile of dubious evidence. The Arabic recension was brought to light in 1971 by Professor Schlomo Pines of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Pines himself remained cautious about claims of untampered authenticity but the brethren have no such reservations, such is their desperation to keep Josephus in the witness stand for Jesus.

The work in question is actually a history of the world to the year 941/942 penned by a Christian Arab bishop, Agapius of Hierapolis. His World History preserves, in Arabic translation, a version of the Testimonium minus the most obvious Christian interpolations.

But what does a 10th century copy actually prove?

Claims that the Arabic passage itself dates from the 4th century are untenable (written Arabic barely existed at such an early date). Moreover Agapius was a Melkite Christian (pro-Byzantium) at a time of intensifying Islamization of his native Syria. What he wrote was political correctness for his own times. A new Shia Hamdani dynasty had been established barely 50 miles away in Aleppo. Its first prince, Sayf ad Dawlah ("sword of the state"), began a century of persistent attacks against Byzantium. Agapius' paraphrase of a Syriac rendition of Josephus from a Greek original rather significantly mentions JC's "condemnation to die" but not the actuality of it and of JC being "alive" 3 days later – in other words, a carefully balanced compatibility with Muhammad's view of a Jesus as a prophet who did not die on the cross.

In short, the Arabic Josephus is no evidence of the Christian godman and serves only to confuse the unwary.

 

Justus of Tiberias

'I have read the chronology of Justus of Tiberias ... and being under the Jewish prejudices, as indeed he was himself also a Jew by birth, he makes not one mention of Jesus, of what happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did.'

– Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, 9th Century 

Justus was also an historian, a rival to Josephus, and from the same region. Perhaps his work was not as easily doctored – his histories did not make it through the Christian Dark Age and are – as they say! – 'lost to us'.



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Chronology of Jesus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

he only sources of information on Jesus' birth are the gospels of Matthew and Luke of theBible.

Matthew describes King Herod as the ruler during the time of the Nativity, and Herod died in 4BC. Furthermore, to kill Jesus and eliminate him as a rival king, Herod orders the "Massacre of the Innocents" — the killing of all male children in Bethlehem aged two years and under. This means that Jesus may have been up to two years old already by that time, and this sets the Nativity at around 6BC.

Luke places the Nativity during the Census of Quirinius, which took place in 6 AD, although Luke states the conception took place during the reign of King Herod — about 10 years earlier.

 

Many scholars regard the star as a literary invention of the author of the Gospel of Matthew, to claim fulfillment of an Old Testament prophecy (Numbers 24:17).[8].

 

 

Dating John the Baptist from the Bible

The Gospel according to Luke is unusually specific about the date of John the Baptist's teaching:
"Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins..." [Luke 3:1-3]
Historical records are available for all of the rulers mentioned:
  • Tiberius Caesar was joint ruler of Rome from 12 CE, and came into power in his own right in 14 CE. Therefore the fifteen year of his reign must have been between 26-29 CE.
  • Pontius Pilate was governor of Judaea between 26-36 CE.
  • Herod Anitpas and his brother Philip ruled until their deaths in 39 CE and 34 CE respectively.
  • Annas was high-priest between 6-15 CE, and was apparently still influential during the tenure of his son-in-law Caiaphas in 18-37 CE.
According toLuke, therefore, John The Baptist's ministry must have began around 26-29 CE. Further,Luke 3:23states that Jesus Christ was about thirty years old at this time.

It is commonlycalculatedthat Jesus was crucified on 7 April 30 CE or (more likely) 3 April 33 CE. (Sir Isaac Newtonpreferreda date of 23 April 34 CE).


Dating John the Baptist's death from Josephus

Josephus mentions John The Baptist in hisAntiquitiesat 18.5.2 116-119.
"Now some of the Jews thought that the destruction of Herod's army came from God, and that very justly, as a punishment of what he did against John, that was called the Baptist: for Herod slew him, who was a good man... Now the Jews had an opinion that the destruction of this army was sent as a punishment upon Herod, and a mark of God's displeasure to him." [18.5.2116-119]
In his web pageJohn the Baptist and JosephusG. J. Goldberg writes:
"A puzzle for readers is that Josephus' description of John the Baptist occurs several paragraphs after his description of Jesus (18.5.2 116 compared to 18.3.3 63), implying that John came later in time; but it is important in the gospels that John appeared before Jesus so as to announce him..." 

"...it does appear that Josephus is giving John's death as occurring in 36 CE, which is at least 6 years later than what is expected from the New Testament, and after the crucifixion of Jesus. This date is seen as follows. Herod's battle with Aretas appears to have broken out soon after Herod's first wife, Aretas's daughter, left him. If so, then John did not have much time between the moment people were aware Herod was remarrying and the start of the battle with Aretas, for John was already dead before the battle. Josephus gives several indications that the battle occurred in 36 CE..." 

"According to Josephus, John the Baptist is arrested around this time and killed shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, this is after the traditional dating of Jesus death, but traditional also says that Jesus began his ministry around the time John died."
Goldberg considers explanations for this 36 CE dating by the scholar Christiane Saulnier, but concludes:
"Considering the arguments as a whole, Saulnier does propose a possible way in which Josephus' chronology can be reconciled with the gospels'. For believers in the basic accuracy of the gospels, that is enough. But if one regards the gospels' dating as suspect and solely works from Josephus' text, then Saulnier's discussion pushes the date back some but does not produce any firm evidence identifying the date... before the early 30's CE. The reader can choose between these alternatives according to his or her own predisposition. "
The 36 CE date is of interest not only because it is two or three years later than the accepted date for Christ's death; but also because Pontius Pilate's term as governor of Judaeaendedin that year.

This problem with dating has long been recognised by Christian writers. The 1902 Catholic Encyclopedia has thisexplanationfor the discrepancy:
"...it should be remembered that [Josephus]... is woefully erratic in his dates, mistaken in proper names, and seems to arrange facts according to his own political views; however, his judgment of John, also what he tells us regarding the Precursor's popularity, together with a few details of minor importance, are worthy of the historian's attention."
This argument is expanded by the Fundamentalist apologetics website Tektonics:"...It contains an assumption, namely, that because Joe reports the war with Aretas right after he records the execution of John, that this means that he is reporting that the war took place soon after the execution. But this assumption is gratuitous, and as Hoehner points out [126n], "The Jews felt that God's revenge did not always occur immediately at the time of the misdeed..." The death of Antiochus was regarded as a judgment for his profanation of the Temple, though he died three years after the event; Pompey died in 48 BC, 15 years after he profaned the Holy of Holies, but it was still regarded as a judgment for that act (Jos. Ant. 14.71-2; Ps. Sol. 2:30-5), and the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 was thought by some to be a judgment for the execution of a high priest who lived in the 50s (Jos. Ant. 20.160-7)."This does indeed seem to throw the datings apparently given by Josephus into question. 


Conclusion

It seems that either Josephus is wrong, or the Bible (or both!). The very specific dating given in Luke3:1-3isnotrepeated in the other Gospels, and the authorship of Luke isuncertain.

Readers may also be interested to note that the early Christian writer St.Irenaeus(c. 125-191 CE) wrote that apostlistic tradition taught that Jesus was aroundfiftywhen he died - and that he preached for many more than the three years commonly attributed. If trus, this would imply that Jesus was either born well before 1 BCE, or that he died well after the time of Pilate.


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McDowell's "Sources for the Historicity of Jesus"

What about the relevant body of alleged evidence for the historicity (or existence) of Jesus? It can be conveniently grouped under two main headings: (1) Christian sources, and (2) non-Christian sources.

Christian Sources

Again, we can conveniently divide McDowell's Christian sources for the historicity of Jesus into two categories: (1) the New Testament, and (2) other Christian texts.

The New Testament

McDowell quotes John Montgomery, who states the New Testament documents are reliable and therefore provide good evidence for the historicity of Jesus. Although I disagree with McDowell (and Montgomery) over the degree of reliability of the New Testament, that disagreement is irrelevant here. There is simply nothing intrinsically improbable about a historical Jesus; the New Testament alone (or at least portions of it) are reliable enough to provide evidence of a historical Jesus.[3] On this point, it is important to note that even G.A. Wells, who until recently was the champion of the Christ-myth hypothesis, now accepts the historicity of Jesus on the basis of 'Q.'[4]

Other Christian Texts

The other Christian texts cited by McDowell do not provide any support for the historicity of Jesus:

1. The Church Fathers do not provide any independent confirmation of Jesus. Under the heading "Christian Sources for the Historicity of Jesus," McDowell refers his readers back to his discussion of the church fathers in his chapter on the historical reliability of the Bible. In particular, he draws attention to Polycarp, Eusebius, Irenaeus, Ignatius, Justin, and Origen.[5] Turning to He Walked Among Us,[6] McDowell and Wilson suggest two reasons why the church fathers confirm the existence of Jesus: (a) the Church fathers did not base their belief solely on Christian tradition (he cites the 'Acts of Pilate' as an example); and (b) most of the church fathers died as martyrs for their beliefs.

Concerning (a), McDowell only cited one example of church fathers relying on non-Christian tradition--Justin Martyr's reference to an alleged 'Acts of Pilate'--so I will have to restrict my comments to that.[7] There are three problems with Justin's reference. First, Justin Martyr was not known for his historical accuracy. For example, in his Apology (1.31), Justin incorrectly claimed that the Ptolemy who had the Septuagint translated was a contemporary of Herod; he has also been caught referring to documents which ostensibly support his exaggerated claims but in fact do not.[8] This leads to my second objection. Given Justin's inattention to historical detail, he probably just assumed that such documents must exist. According to Felix Scheidweiler,

Justin in his First Apology refers twice (c. 35 and 48) to documents of the trial of Jesus before Pilate. The same author in c. 34, however, and in the same terms, invites us to examine the schedules of the census under Quirinius, which certainly did not exist. This prompts the suspicion that Justin's reference to the acta of Pilate rests solely on the fact that he assumed that such documents must have existed.[9]

Perhaps Scheidweiler's use of the word "certainly" is too strong, especially if one is inclined to regard the report in Luke as fundamentally historically reliable. Yet the fact remains that even if we assume the existence of an 'Acts of Pilate', it is not at all clear that such a document would have referred to a Judaean decree, since that would not have been binding on the independent province of Galilee. There is simply no evidence that the results of criminal trials of non-citizens would be sent to Rome. But in fact it begs the question to assume that such documentation ever existed. Such documentation surely did not exist in the fourth century, when Christians apparently felt the need to forge the apocryphal 'Acts of Pilate'.[10] Moreover, when Pliny (see below) writes to Trajan asking for advice on his trials of Christians, he describes these trials. If records of these trials were in Rome, such a description would not be necessary. And when Trajan replies to Pliny, he mentions no precedents and no decrees.[11] Thus, it is unlikely that any such records existed.

Turning to (b), McDowell and Wilson state that Ignatius, Polycarp, Justin Martyr, and Origen died for their faith, and that Irenaeus suffered for his faith.[12] For their sacrifices to have any value at all as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus, at least two conditions would have to be met. First, they would have needed sources other than what is now included in the New Testament. Second, they would have to have been in a position to know if Jesus existed.

Does the testimony of any of the church fathers meet both conditions? At the outset, we may note that Origen (CE 185-ca. 254) was simply too late to have been in a position to know if Jesus existed. Irenaeus may also be dismissed as a possible independent source to the historicity of Jesus since, according to McDowell and Wilson, Irenaeus obtained his information from Polycarp. Polycarp, in turn, is said to have converted around 109. While he may have had access to one or more sources independent of the New Testament, our knowledge of his sources is uncertain. As for Ignatius, there is no evidence that he had any sources other than the New Testament and so he cannot be used as an independent source. Finally, we have already noted that Justin Martyr was not known for his historical accuracy and that his reference to an 'Acts of Pilate' is dubious. While he certainly may have had sources other than the New Testament, this is unknown. In sum, the evidence presented by McDowell and Wilson is simply too inconclusive to justify the conclusion that the church fathers had independent sources of information. Therefore, the church fathers cannot be used as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

2. Tertullian's reference to Tiberius provides inconclusive confirmation of Jesus. Tertullian (c.160-c.230), a Christian theologian, converted to Christianity (c.197) and became a vocal Christian apologist. He later (213) left the church to join the Montanists. Around CE 197 he wrote the following passage in his Apology:

Tiberius accordingly, in those days the Christian name made its entry into the world, having himself received intelligence from Palestine of events which had clearly shown the truth of Christ's divinity, brought the matter before the senate, with his own decision in favor of Christ. The senate, because it had not given the approval itself, rejected his proposal. Caesar held to his opinion, threatening wrath against all the accusers of the Christians.[13]

Unfortunately for Christian apologists who like to use this passage as independent confirmation of Jesus, this passage is highly doubtful. There is an extremely high probability that Tiberius never converted to Christianity, in which case this passage is unreliable and can't be used as independent confirmation of Jesus. The reasons for believing that Tiberius never converted to Christianity are as follows:

(a) Tiberius was extremely intolerant of cults. It is difficult to believe that Tiberius would have threatened "all the accusers of the Christians," for he "had little tolerance for foreign cults and expelled all the Jews from Rome in 19 C.E. (Jos Ant 18.3-5)."[14]

(b) Paul never mentions the emperor converting to Christianity. The passage has Tiberius (in Rome) converting to Christianity before 37 CE, long before Paul arrived there to preach it. Yet Paul never mentions this conversion. Paul's silence on the matter is inexplicable apart from the fact that Tiberius never converted to Christianity.[15]

(c) No other ancient writers mention the conversion. Obviously Tiberius' deeds were of interest to contemporary writers of the time. (After all, he was Caesar.) Moreover, had Tiberius become a Christian, this would not have been just another one of his deeds; this would have been the most significant event in Roman history: the Pontifex Maximus, priest of Jupiter Optimus Maximus, renouncing the protection of the gods of Rome in favor of a hated foreign Jewish cult? Yet not one contemporary writer corroborates Tertullian's second- or third-century report.[16]

(d) The passage is very late and is therefore unreliable. Even McDowell will admit that one hundred years is enough time for legendary development. Since we have no hint of this tradition before Tertullian's writing in the late second- or early third-century, this passage is therefore highly suspect.

Non-Christian Sources

Turning to the second category of evidence for the historicity of Jesus, we now evaluate McDowell's evidence from non-Christian sources: Jewish sources and Pagan sources. Again we shall consider first the evidence as stated by McDowell inETDAV and then briefly interact with objections to his evidence.

Jewish Sources

McDowell quotes two lines of evidence for the historicity of Jesus from Jewish sources.

1. Josephus provides independent confirmation to the life of Jesus. The most important non-Christian witness to the historical Jesus is Josephus, who wrote five works in Greek: Life, his autobiography; Contra Apion, a defense of Judaism;The Jewish War, an eyewitness account of the revolt against Rome (66-74 CE); Discourse to the Greeks Concerning Hades; and The Jewish Antiquities, a history of the Jews from Adam to his generation. McDowell cites two references to Jesus in The Jewish Antiquities; I will discuss them in reverse order.

(a) The reference to James as the brother of Jesus. Josephus described how the high priest Ananus took advantage of the death of the Roman governor Festus in 62 CE to organize a mob to stone James. McDowell mentions this passage because Josephus identifies James as "the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ:"

But the younger Ananus who, as we said, received the high priesthood, was of a bold disposition and exceptionally daring; he followed the party of the Sadducees, who are severe in judgment above all the Jews, as we have already shown. As therefore Ananus was of such a disposition, he thought he had now a good opportunity, as Festus was now dead, and Albinus was still on the road; so he assembled a council of judges, and brought it before the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ, whose name was James, together with some others, and having accused them as law-breakers, he delivered them over to be stoned.[17]

According to Josephus scholar Louis Feldman, the authenticity of this passage "has been almost universally acknowledged."[18] However, since there a few scholars who deny the authenticity of this passage, let's consider the arguments for and against authenticity.

Of course, McDowell does not consider any of those arguments in ETDAV, but in his book He Walked Among Us (co-authored with Bill Wilson) he presents three arguments in favor of the authenticity of this passage.[19] Let's consider each argument in turn:

(1) "The phrase 'James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ' is too noncommittal to have been inserted by a later Christian interpolator who would have desired to assert the messiahship of Jesus more definitely as well as to deny the charges against James." This is probably the single most important argument in favor of authenticity; in my opinion, McDowell and Wilson are right about this. The phrase is incidental to the story. If this passage were an interpolation, it is surprising that so little is said about Jesus and James.[20]

(2) "Origen refers to this passage in his Commentary on Matthew 10.17, giving evidence that it was in Josephus prior to his time (approximately A.D. 200)." This is true but inconclusive. The fact that the passage was referenced by Origen around 200 is simply inconclusive as evidence for the authenticity; that still leaves well over a century when the passage could have been interpolated.

(3) The passage identifies 'Jesus' as the one 'called the Christ,' which "betrays an awareness that 'Messiah' was not a proper name, and therefore reflects Jewish rather than Christian usage." Unfortunately, this is also inconclusive. From the fact that Josephus needed to distinguish this Jesus from other people in his book named Jesus, it does not follow that the phrase "called the Christ" was the most likely way Josephus could have identified Jesus. Josephus could have also said, "the one who was crucified by Pilate," since Josephus' earlier reference to Jesus (see below) did mention that point.[21]

McDowell and Wilson also have occasion to consider an objection by G.A. Wells to this passage, that "it is unlikely that Josephus would have mentioned Jesus here simply--as it were--in passing, when he mentions him nowhere else."[22] In response, McDowell and Wilson argue that Wells' "statement demonstrates that even he recognizes that the James passage is incomplete without the Testimonium."[23] However, it is false that the James passage is incomplete without the Testimonium. Just read the passage: the meaning of the passage is quite clear without reference to the Testimonium. Moreover, McDowell's and Wilson's rejoinder completely neglects the primary flaw in Wells' objection. Even if we assume that the Testimonium is completely inauthentic, there is simply no reason to expect Josephus to have said anything more about Jesus.

But the above objection is hardly the only objection to the authenticity of this passage, and it is certainly not Wells' only objection. In Wells' 1982 book, The Historical Evidence for Jesus, Wells objects that "the Greek does not have 'so-called' but 'him called Christ,' and this, so far from being non-Christian, is the exact wording of Mt. 1:16."[24] Furthermore, in Wells' later books, he presents additional objections to the authenticity of the passage.[25] So while I think McDowell's and Wilson'sconclusion concerning this passage is correct, their discussion is incomplete. Readers interested in a complete summary of the debate concerning this shorter passage will need to go elsewhere.

(b) The Testimonium Flavianum probably contained an authentic, independent witness to Jesus. Josephus was known as "Flavius Josephus" from his patrons the Flavian emperors, Vespasian and his sons Titus and Domitian. Testimonium Flavianum means literally "Testimony of Flavius" and refers to Antiquities 18.3.3 §63-64:

Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ, and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned him to the cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians so named from him are not extinct at this day.

Unlike Josephus' shorter reference to Jesus, this passage is extremely controversial. Indeed, even McDowell admits this when he writes that the Testimonium Flavianum is "a hotly-contested quotation."[26] Most scholars suspect there has been at least some tampering with the text on the basis of some or all of the italicized sections. Thus scholarly opinion can be divided into three camps: those who accept the entire passage as authentic; those who reject the entire passage as a Christian interpolation into the text (perhaps authored by the fourth-century church historian Eusebius); and those who believe that the original text contained an authentic reference to Jesus but was later embellished by Christian copyists.

In He Walked Among Us, McDowell and Wilson seem to favor the third option. They begin their discussion of the evidence by considering several arguments favoring the authenticity of the Testimonium: (i) the passage exists in all extant manuscripts of Josephus; (ii) Eusebius quotes it around the beginning of the fourth century; (iii) the vocabulary and style are basically consistent with other parts of Josephus; and (iv) the passage blames for the crucifixion of Jesus on Pilate rather than on Jewish authorities.[27] However, contrary to what McDowell and Wilson assert, not all of these arguments are "strong." (i) is irrelevant; the extant Greek manuscripts of Josephus' Antiquities all date to the tenth century or later![28] (ii) is also irrelevant; three centuries is still plenty of time for an interpolation. (iii) is inconclusive. While the vocabulary and style are basically consistent with the writings of Josephus, McDowell and Wilson present no evidence that the vocabulary and style of Josephus would have been hard to imitate.[29] Finally, (iv) is the one good argument in the bunch. Whereas the gospels tend to blame the Jews for Jesus' death, the Testimonium blames the Romans. Furthermore, it does not mention anything about Jewish authorities sentencing Jesus. It is difficult to explain how the hands of a Christian interpolator near the time of Eusebius would have left this intact.

McDowell and Wilson next consider several objections to the authenticity of the Testimonium: (i) it is unlikely that Josephus would have called Jesus the Messiah; (ii) it is unlikely that Josephus would have written the other italicized phrases; (iii) the passage is never quoted by Justin Martyr, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, or Origen, despite its enormous apologetic value; and (iv) the passage interrupts the narrative flow of the surrounding text. I find McDowell's and Wilson's answers to all four of these objections convincing. As they correctly point out, removing the italicized sections from the passage answers objections (i)-(iii).[30] Turning to (iv), I think McDowell's and Wilson's answer is incomplete. In response to Gordon Stein's objection that "the passage comes in the middle of a collection of stories about calamities which have befallen the Jews,"[31] McDowell and Wilson rightly note that in Josephus' chapter containing the Testimonium, "[o]nly two of the five paragraphs ... are true calamities."[32] While this is certainly correct, this does not answer the objection by Wells (quoted by McDowell and Wilson), that "if the passage is excised, the argument runs on in proper sequence."[33] Given that this objection is a common one, it deserves an answer.

My answer would be as follows. Even if the passage were out of context, that would still not make it likely that the passage is an interpolation. It was common for ancient writers to insert extraneous texts or passages which seemingly interrupt the flow of the narrative (whereas today the material would be placed in a footnote):

A further main reason why ancient historiography differed from its modern counterparts was provided by digressions. They were far more frequent in Greek and Roman writings than in our own. For one thing, there was a simple technical explanation for such digressions. Nowadays we have footnotes; the ancients did not, so that what would now be relegated to a footnote had to appear in the text. But there was also a deeper philosophical explanation. The Greek and Roman historians wanted to supply background....[34]

Moreover, as E. Mary Smallwood argues, this was particularly characteristic of Josephus:

One feature of Josephus' writing which may be disconcerting to the modern reader and appear inartistic is the way in which at times the narrative is proceeding at a spanking pace when it is unceremoniously cut short by a paragraph or a longer passage of material unrelated or only marginally related to the subject in hand, and then resumed equally abruptly. Basically, these interruptions are of two types, with different reasons behind them, and it may therefore be helpful if a word is said here about the conventions of ancient historiography, which differed considerably from ours.

One type of interruption, such as a sudden move to another theatre of war, occurs because ancient historians usually wrote annalistically---literally, by years ...

A quite different explanation lies behind other interruptions to the flow of the narrative. The ancient world never invented those useful lay-bys in which the modern author can park essential but intractable material, and thus avoid breaking the main thread of his argument, the footnote and the appendix ... what we relegate to notes and appendixes appeared as digressions.[35]

But in fact I see no reason to believe the Testimonium occurs out of context. For example, New Testament scholar R.T. France has argued that Josephus is simply listing events that happened during or near Pilate's reign.[36] And Steve Mason thinks that Josephus is merely "trying to paint a picture of escalating tension for Jews around the world."[37] It is therefore unclear why the Testimonium is "out of context."

There was one objection which McDowell and Wilson did not discuss, but which I think deserves to be taken seriously by anyone who defends a reconstructed Testimonium. According to that objection, the fact that there has been any tampering with the text at all makes the entire passage suspect; a heavy burden of proof falls upon anyone who defends partial authenticity. I will leave it as an exercise for the reader to decide what to think about this objection.

As further evidence for the authenticity of the Testimonium, McDowell and Wilson cite the Arabic version of the Testimonium preserved by tenth-century Bishop Agapius of Hierapolis in his World History. Schlomo Pines, the Israeli scholar who rediscovered the Arabic text, translates the passage as follows:

At this time there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good, and [he] was known to be virtuous. And many people from among the Jews and the other nations became his disciples. Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They reported that he had appeared to them three days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah concerning whom the prophets have recounted wonders.[38]

McDowell and Wilson believe that this text "provides textual justification for excising the Christian passages and demonstrating that Josephus probably discussed Jesus in Antiquities 18."[39]

However, this text is far from conclusive. Although McDowell and Wilson claim the Arabic version actually dates to the fourth century, they provide no defense or justification for that claim.[40] Yet even if the Arabic version can be dated to the fourth century, the text would still not provide any additional evidence for the authenticity of the Testimonium. Again, three centuries would still have been plenty of time for the Testimonium to have been interpolated. Indeed, for all we know, the extant Greek versions and the Arabic version have a common source, perhaps the original interpolation itself! Though McDowell and Wilson quote Pines' translation of the text, they neglect to mention that Pines himself is quite cautious about claiming that the Arabic text represents Josephus' original. Indeed, Pines admits there are other explanations for the text besides the one favored by McDowell and Wilson.[41]

In conclusion, I think McDowell is right to appeal to the Testimonium as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus. However, given the centuries-old debate over how much, if any, of the Testimonium is authentic, McDowell's mere quotation of the full Testimonium (combined with an acknowledgement that the quotation is "hotly-disputed") is simply inexcusable. By itself, the unqualified quotation of the Testimonium in ETDAV gives readers the misleading impression that, although there is some unspecified controversy concerning the passage, McDowell accepts the full authenticity of the Testimonium. Furthermore, since skepticism concerning the authenticity of the Testimonium is fairly widespread, I think McDowell did a disservice to his mostly Christian audience by not answering these objections. Indeed, if McDowell had made it clear inETDAV that his own view is that the Testimonium is partially authentic, that would have answered most of the objections. Of course, McDowell and Wilson have discussed the objections at some length in their 1988 book, He Walked Among Us. But many of their arguments for authenticity are weak; their response to one of the objections against authenticity is incomplete; and they neglected what I consider to be a very serious objection against their view.

2. The Talmud contains inconclusive evidence of Jesus. The Talmud [42] is a massive compilation divided into two parts, the Mishna [43] and the Gemara [44]. The Mishna was codified by Rabbi Jehudah ha-Nasi circa 200 CE but was not actually committed to writing until the fifth century; it discusses numerous subjects, including festivals, sacred things, etc. TheGemara was completed in the fifth century and is really a commentary on the Mishna.

McDowell cites six lines of evidence for the historical Jesus from the Talmudic writings:

(a) The Tol'doth Yeshu. At the outset, note that the Tol'doth Yeshu is not in any sense a part of the Talmud; in ETDAVMcDowell erroneously lists the Tol'doth Yeshuas if it were a part of the Talmud. (In fairness to McDowell, I should note that he does not repeat this error in his later book, He Walked Among Us; in that volume, the Tol'doth Yeshu is listed under the heading of "References from the Rabbis."[45]) Anyway, McDowell states that the Tol'doth Yeshu is a reference to Jesus; in that document "Jesus is referred to as `Ben Pandera'".[46] Yet Joseph Klausner--who McDowell relies on heavily in his section on the Talmud--believed the Tol'doth Yeshu "contains no history worth the name."[47] Furthermore, Klausner stated, "The present Hebrew Tol'Doth Yeshu, even in its simplest form, is not earlier than the present Yosippon, i.e. it was not composed before the tenth century. Therefore it cannot possibly possess any historical value nor in any way be used as material for the life of Jesus."[48] Even on McDowell's view, this is more than enough time for legendary development. And inHe Walked Among Us, McDowell and Wilson list the Tol'doth Yeshu among the "unreliable [rabbinic] references to Jesus."

(b) The Babylonian Talmud. McDowell next lists the opinion of the Amoraim that Jesus was hanged on the eve of Passover.[49] However, Klausner thinks that the Amoraim traditions "can have no objective historical value (since by the time of the Amoraim there was certainly no clear recollection of Jesus' life and works)."[50] Morris Goldstein states that the passage "cannot be fixed at a definite date within the Tannaitic time-area."[51] The value of this passage as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus is therefore uncertain.

(c) The tradition about Jesus as the son of Pantera. Commenting on the Talmud's references to Jesus as "Ben Pandera (or 'Ben Pantere')" and "Jeshu ben Pandera," McDowell writes, "Many scholars say `pandera' is a play on words, a travesty on the Greek word for virgin `parthenos,' calling him `son of a virgin.'"[52] However, "Jesus is never referred to as `the son of the virgin' in the Christian material preserved from the first century of the Church (30-130), nor in the second century apologists."[53] As Herford argues, this passage "cannot be earlier than the beginning of the fourth century, and is moreover a report of what was said in Babylonia, not Palestine."[54]

(d) The Baraitha describing hanging Yeshu on the eve of Passover. McDowell considers "of great historical value" the following Jewish tradition about the hanging of Jesus:

On the eve of Passover they hanged Yeshu (of Nazareth) and the herald went before him for forty days saying (Yeshu of Nazareth) is going forth to be stoned in that he hath practiced sorcery and beguiled and led astray Israel. Let everyone knowing aught in his defence come and plead for him. But they found naught in his defence and hanged him on the eve of Passover.[55]

It is unclear whether this passage refers to Jesus. As Goldstein admits, "the possibility of the Jesus named in the Talmud being someone other than Jesus of Nazareth, and identified as such only because of confusion, cannot be entirely dismissed."[56] But even if the passage does refer to the Jesus of the New Testament, according to Goldstein, "it is of no help one way or the other in the question of the historicity of Jesus."[57]

Following this Baraitha are some remarks of the Amora 'Ulla, a disciple of R. Yochanan and who lived in Palestine at the end of the third century. McDowell quotes these remarks as follows:

'Ulla said: And do you suppose that for [Yeshu of Nazareth] there was any right of appeal? He was a beguiler, and the Merciful One hath said: Thou shalt not spare neither shalt thou conceal him. It is otherwise with Yeshu, for he was near to the civil authority.[58]

Both McDowell and Klausner conclude, "The Talmud authorities do not deny that Jesus worked signs and wonders, but they look upon them as acts of sorcery."[59] However, given our ignorance of both the date of these passages as well as the author's sources, we simply can't assume these passages represent independent traditions about Jesus.

(e) Talmudic references to the disciples of Jesus. McDowell writes, "Sanhedrin 43a also makes references to the disciples of Jesus."[60] Turning to Joseph Klausner, we read:

Immediately after this Baraita comes a second (Sanh. 43a): Jesus had five disciples, Mattai, Naqai, Netser, Buni and Todah.[61]

Yet as Klausner notes, "In any case the Baraita itself is lacking in accuracy, for although the names are those of real disciples, they include some who were not disciples of Jesus himself, but disciples of the second generation."[62] In other words, the list of names is simply a list of Christians, not a list of contemporaries of Jesus.[63]

Laible has suggested that "the story refers to the prosecution of Christians under Bar Cocheba"[64] because (1) the story occurs in the same passage which describes the death of Jesus and (2) "the key to the understanding of the statements there made about Jesus in the anti-Christian hatred of Bar Cocheba, and more especially of Aqiba, his chief supporter."[65] If that is the case, then the passage can be dated to the second century, which would prevent it from providing independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

(f) The reference to such-an-one as a bastard of an adulteress. McDowell, following the lead of Klausner, cites the following passage from the Babylonian Talmud, Yebamoth 4.49a:

R. Shimeon ben Azzai said: 'I found a geneaological roll in Jerusalem wherein was recorded, Such-an-one is a bastard of an adulteress.'"[66]

McDowell takes this to be a reliable reference to Jesus.[67]

However, there are good reasons to doubt that this passage represents an independent tradition about Jesus. First, the passage comes from the Babylonian Talmud, which dates to around the sixth century. Second, the gospel of Matthew begins with the words, "The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ."[68] This "genealogical roll" or "Book of Pedigrees" may have been influenced by the gospels. Third, this passage fits the pattern of Rabbinical polemic. Thus this reference may not be based upon an independent source. Of course, it's also possible that this passage was based on independent sources. The available evidence does not favor one view over the other; thus, we can't use this passage as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

(g) The reference to the 'hire of a harlot.' Finally, McDowell quotes the following passage from the Talmud:

He answered, Akiba, you have reminded me! Once I was walking along the upper market (Tosefta reads 'street') of Sepphoris and found one [of the disciples of Jesus of Nazareth] and Jacob of Kefar Sekanya (Tosefta reads 'Sakkanin') was his name. He said to me, It is written in your Law, 'Thou shalt not bring the hire of a harlot, etc.' What was to be done with it--a latrine for the High Priest? But I answered nothing. He said to me, so [Jesus of Nazareth] taught me (Tosefta reads, 'Yeshu ben Pantere'): 'For of the hire of a harlot hath she gathered them, and unto the hire of a harlot shall they return'; from the place of filth they come, and unto the place of filth they shall go. And the saying pleased me, and because of this I was arrested for Minuth. And I transgressed against what is written in the Law; 'Keep thy way far from here'--that is Minuth; 'and come not nigh the door of her house'--that is the civil government.[69]

What is crucial to the evidential force of this passage is the words in parentheses; yet McDowell never defends them. He simply quotes Klausner, who in turn quoted an obscure, 19th century manuscript.[70] Nonetheless, most scholars would reject the passage as McDowell has it:

To establish the reliability of this passage, Klausner must engage in a contorted argument that includes an appeal to Hegesippus' account of the martyrdom of James--something that would not inspire confidence in many scholars today. Joachim Jeremias weighs the pros and cons of the argument about authenticity and decides in the negative--rightly in my view. The saying is a polemical invention meant to make Jesus look ridiculous.[71]

In conclusion, the value of the Talmud as a witness to the historicity of Jesus is at best uncertain. John Meier argues that theTalmud contains "no clear or probable reference to Jesus."[72] And Twelftree states that the Talmud is "of almost no value to the historian in his search for the historical Jesus."[73] Of course, as McDowell and Wilson point out, the Talmud never questions the historicity of Jesus.[74] But that fact cannot itself be used as evidence for the historicity of Jesus, for two reasons. First, as Goldstein points out,

we must be careful not to make too much of [the] argument [that had Jews doubted the historicity of Jesus, they would have said so]. It is not conclusive. Can we attribute to ancient peoples our modern concept of myth, or historicity? Furthermore, this manner of logic lends itself to fallacious extension whereby one could attempt to prove that whatever the early Jewish tradition does not specifically mention in contradiction to the Christian tradition must have taken place.[75]

Second, the Talmud can only provide independent confirmation of Jesus's existence if it relied on independent sources. Given our ignorance of the sources for the Talmud as well as its late date, it simply can't be used as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.



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Pagan Sources

McDowell cites several pagan writers in support of the historicity of Jesus: Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, Suetonius, Thallus, Phlegon, Mara Bar-Serapion, Lucian, Tertullian, and Thallus. I shall argue that none of these writers provide independent confirmation of Jesus.

1. Pliny does not offer any independent evidence for Jesus. Pliny the Younger (62?-c.113) was Governor of Bithynia (northwestern Turkey). Around 111 or 112 CE,[76] he wrote the following letter to the emperor Trajan asking for advice on how to deal with Christians.

It is a rule, Sir, which I inviolably observe, to refer myself to you in all my doubts; for who is more capable of guiding my uncertainty or informing my ignorance? Having never been present at any trials of the Christians, I am unacquainted with the method and limits to be observed either in examining or punishing them. Whether any difference is to be allowed between the youngest and the adult; whether repentance admits to a pardon, or if a man has been once a Christian it avails him nothing to recant; whether the mere profession of Christianity, albeit without crimes, or only the crimes associated therewith are punishable--in all these points I am greatly doubtful.

In the meanwhile, the method I have observed towards those who have denounced to me as Christians is this: I interrogated them whether they were Christians; if they confessed it I repeated the question twice again, adding the threat of capital punishment; if they still persevered, I ordered them to be executed. For whatever the nature of their creed might be, I could at least feel not doubt that contumacy and inflexible obstinacy deserved chastisement. There were others also possessed with the same infatuation, but being citizens of Rome, I directed them to be carried thither.

These accusations spread (as is usually the case) from the mere fact of the matter being investigated and several forms of the mischief came to light. A placard was put up, without any signature, accusing a large number of persons by name. Those who denied they were, or had ever been, Christians, who repeated after me an invocation to the Gods, and offered adoration, with wine and frankincense, to your image, which I had ordered to be brought for that purpose, together with those of the Gods, and who finally cursed Christ--none of which acts, it is into performing--these I thought it proper to discharge. Others who were named by that informer at first confessed themselves Christians, and then denied it; true, they had been of that persuasion but they had quitted it, some three years, others many years, and a few as much as twenty-five years ago. They all worshipped your statue and the images of the Gods, and cursed Christ.

They affirmed, however, the whole of their guilt, or their error, was, that they were in the habit of meeting on a certain fixed day before it was light, when they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god, and bound themselves by a solemn oath, not to any wicked deeds, but never to commit any fraud, theft, or adultery, never to falsify their word, nor deny a trust when they should be called upon to deliver it up; after which it was their custom to separate, and then reassemble to partake of food--but food of an ordinary and innocent kind. Even this practice, however, they had abandoned after the publication of my edict, by which, according to your orders, I had forbidden political associations. I judged it so much the more necessary to extract the real truth, with the assistance of torture, from two female slaves, who were styled deaconesses: but I could discover nothing more than depraved and excessive superstition.

I therefore adjourned the proceedings, and betook myself at once to your counsel. For the matter seemed to me well worth referring to you, especially considering the numbers endangered. Persons of all ranks and ages, and of both sexes are, and will be, involved in the prosecution. For this contagious superstition is not confined to the cities only, but has spread through the villages and rural districts; it seems possible, however, to check and cure it. 'Tis certain at least that the temples, which had been almost deserted, begin now to be frequented; and the sacred festivals, after a long intermission, are again revived; while there is a general demand for sacrificial animals, which for some time past have met with but few purchasers. From hence it is easy to imagine what multitudes may be reclaimed from this error, if a door be left open to repentance.[77]

Although this passage mentions only Christ, it is virtually certain that this passage refers to Jesus. Given that everything Pliny claims to know about Christians is attributed to Christian sources (the recanters who reported what Christians really did, and the two deaconesses that he tortured to find out what the religion was about), it is extremely likely that Pliny was referring to the same "Christ" they would have spoken about: Jesus.

But even if the passage refers to Jesus, how does it provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus? McDowell and Wilson argue the fact that Christians were willing to die for their beliefs is extremely unlikely unless there had been an historical Jesus.[78] However, it is unlikely that all of these martyrs had firsthand knowledge of the historicity of Jesus since Pliny did not even become Governor of Bithynia until around 110. Furthermore, Pliny also stated that many people had renounced Christianity years before Pliny's interrogation. Indeed, one could argue that some of the Christians who recanted under Pliny were the very ones with firsthand knowledge of the historicity of Jesus: they knew that their beliefs were false and not worth dying for! Although I think that explanation for their recanting is rather doubtful--we don't know if any of the martyrs had firsthand knowledge of the historicity of Jesus--it is consistent with all of the evidence we have.[79]

Christian historian Robert Wilken concludes, Pliny's "knowledge of the new movement must have been slight and largely second-hand."[80] And France writes, "for our purposes, looking for evidence about Jesus, [Pliny's letter] has nothing specific to offer. ... Pliny seems to have discovered nothing about him as a historical figure."[81] Thus, Pliny's letter cannot be used as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

2. There is inconclusive evidence that Tacitus had independent sources. The Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus, writing in 115 CE, explicitly states that Nero prosecuted the Christians in order to draw attention away from himself for Rome's devastating fire of 64 CE:

But not all the relief that could come from man, not all the bounties that the prince could bestow, nor all the atonements which could be presented to the gods, availed to relieve Nero from the infamy of being believed to have ordered the conflagration, the fire of Rome. Hence to suppress the rumor, he falsely charged with the guilt, and punished Christians, who were hated for their enormities. Christus, the founder of the name, was put to death by Pontius Pilate, procurator of Judea in the reign of Tiberius: but the pernicious superstition, repressed for a time broke out again, not only through Judea, where the mischief originated, but through the city of Rome also, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind.[82]

Scholarly debate surrounding this passage has been mainly concerned with Tacitus' sources and not with the authorship of the passage (e.g., whether it is an interpolation) or its reliability.[83] Various scenarios have been proposed to explain how Tacitus got his information. One possibility is that Tacitus learned the information from another historian he trusted (e.g., Josephus). Another possibility (suggested by Harris) is that he obtained the information from Pliny the Younger. According to Harris, "Tacitus was an intimate friend and correspondent of the younger Pliny and was therefore probably acquainted with the problems Pliny encountered with the Christians during his governorship in Bithynia - Pontus (c. A.D. 110-112)."[84] (Defenders of this position may note that Tacitus was also governing in Asia in the very same years as Pliny's encounters with Christians [112-113], making communication between them on the event very likely.)[85] Norman Perrin and Dennis C. Duling mention a related possibility; they state that Tacitus' information "is probably based on the police interrogation of Christians."[86] Yet another possibility (suggested by Habermas and defended by McDowell and Wilson) is that Tacitus obtained the information from official documents.[87] (I shall say more about this possibility below.) It is also possible that the information was common knowledge. Finally, there is the view (defended by Wells, France, and Sanders) that Tacitus simply repeated what Christians at the time were saying.[88] The bottom line is this: given that Tacitus did not identify his source(s),we simply don't know how Tacitus obtained his information. Holding himself admits, "Truthfully, there is no way to tell" where Tacitus obtained his information about Jesus.[89] Therefore, we can't use Annals XV.47 as independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

McDowell and Wilson disagree. They give nine reasons for believing that "Tacitus had information other than what he heard from Christians", which may be briefly summarized as follows: (i) Tacitus does not say he was repeating information obtained from other sources; (ii) "both Justin and Tertullian challenged their readers to go read for themselves the official secular documents;" (iii) as a Roman Senator, Tacitus had access to official records; (iv) on other matters, Tacitus states that he used reliable sources and followed the majority of historians; (v) Tacitus is careful to record conflicts in his sources; (vi) he does not quote his sources uncritically; (vii) he qualifies his opinion when others do not; (viii) he distinguishes between rumor and fact; and (ix) even if Tacitus did not have independent sources concerning the historicity of Jesus, he still records the fact that Christians were willing to be martyred for their beliefs.[90]

As I argued above, it is certainly possible that Tacitus obtained his information from independent sources. But have McDowell and Wilson been able to show that it is probable that Tacitus did so? Let's consider each of these reasons in turn. (i), (vii) and (viii) are simply beside the point. To be sure, all Tacitean scholars believe that Tacitus in general was a very reliable historian who was trustworthy, critical of his sources, and usually accurate.[91] But there are exceptions to this rule. Michael Grant, quoting Tacitean scholar R. Mellor, notes that Tacitus occasionally reported stories which were false historically[92] but were true in a literary sense[93] or a moral sense[94]. Turning to Mellor, we read that

Besides relaying unverifiable rumors, Tacitus occasionally reported a rumor or report that he knew was false. When reporting Augustus's trip to be reconciled with his exiled grandson Agrippa, he alludes to a rumor that the emperor was killed by his wife Livia to prevent Agrippa's reinstatement... All the components of such a tale foreshadow the murder of Claudius by his wife Agrippina to allow her son Nero to succeed before the emperor reverted to his own son Brittanicus. Tacitus is content to use the rumors to besmirch by association Livia and Tiberius who, whatever their failings, never displayed the deranged malice of an Agrippina and a Nero. It is good literature but it can be irresponsible history.[95]

There is no good reason to believe that Tacitus conducted independent research concerning the historicity of Jesus. The context of the reference was simply to explain the origin of the term "Christians," which was in turn made in the context of documenting Nero's vices. Tacitus thus refers to "Christus" in the context of a moralattack on Nero. Remember that according to Michael Grant, this is the very type of story in which Tacitus might be willing to repeat unhistorical information. And if Tacitus were willing to repeat unhistorical information in such a context, surely he would be willing to repeat noncontroversial, incidental, historically accurate information (such as the historicity of Jesus) without verifying the matter firsthand. Besides, in the context of the passage, it is unclear that Tacitus (or anyone else for that matter) would have even thought to investigate whether "Christus" actually existed, especially given that Tacitus called Christianity a "pernicious superstition." (To make an analogy, although I am extremely skeptical of Mormonism, I'm willing to take the Mormon explanation for the origin of the term "Mormon" at face value!) As Robert L. Wilken, a Christian historian, states:

Christianity is not part of Tacitus's history. Except for the one reference in the Annales, he shows no interest in the new movement. When he adverts to Christians in the book it is not because he is interested in Christianity as such or aimed to inform his readers about the new religion, as, for example, he did in a lengthy discussion in another work, the Histories (5.1-13), but because he wished to make a point about the extent of Nero's vanity and the magnitude of his vices, and to display the crimes he committed against the Roman people.[96]

That Tacitus was uninterested in Christianity is confirmed by Mellor:

For a man who served as governor of Asia his knowledge of Jews and Christians is woefully (and unnecessarily) confused, since the Jewish historian Josephus lived in Rome and Tacitus's good friend Pliny knew something of the Christians. But Tacitus is contemptuous of all easterners--Greeks, Jews, and Egyptians alike--and he clearly thought them unworthy of the curiosity and research he lavised on court intrigues.[97]

Mellor concludes that Tacitus "scorned or merely ignored" the Jews, Christians, and other religious groups.[98] Since the historicity of Jesus was not in doubt at the time Tacitus wrote and since Tacitus' reference to Christus is entirely incidental, Tacitus would have had no motive for investigating the historicity of Jesus. As far as Tacitus and his "political peers" would have been concerned, the fact that Tacitus did not investigate the historicity of Jesus would have been no strike against Tacitus' "prestige and honor."[99] On the contrary, Tacitus still would have been considered to be exhibiting high standards of professionalism and integrity at the time he wrote![100]

As for (ii), I have already addressed both Justin's reference to an alleged document, 'Acts of Pilate,' and Tertullian's reference to Tiberius. Neither the evidence from Justin nor the information provided by Tertullian make it probable that official Roman records confirmed the historicity of Jesus. Moreover, the records may have been destroyed during the First Jewish Revolt.

Turning to (iii), Harris has doubted whether Tacitus would have had access to the imperial archives,[101] but Holding has convincingly argued that if Tacitus had wanted access to some record, he could have gotten it.[102] Nevertheless, there is no reason to believe that Tacitus had a motive for accessing those records. Moreover, we do not even know whether official records (now lost) said anything about Jesus.

Concerning (iv) and (vi), Grant notes that Tacitus was only skeptical "on occasion," that he "persistent[ly] and lamentabl[y]" accepted many rumors, and that he "conducted extremely little independent research, quite often [he] quotes the sources that were available to him,"[103] a fact that is consistent with the hypothesis that Tacitus simply repeated what he learned from Christian sources. Grant quotes the following excerpt from Goodyear:

One feature very damaging to Tacitus's credit is the manner in which he employs rumores. Of course, a historian may properly report the state of public opinion at particular times, or use the views of contemporaries on major historical figures as a form of 'indirect characterisation' of them. But Tacitus often goes far beyond this.

He implants grave suspicions which he neither substantiates nor refutes. Their cumulative effect can be damning and distorting.... Time and again Tacitus is ready with an unpleasant motive, susceptible neither of proof nor of disproof.[104]

Again, we simply don't have enough data to justify the claim that Tacitus probably had independent sources for his information about Jesus.

(v) is a non sequitur, not to mention an argument from silence. The fact that Tacitus does not mention any conflict in his sources is just as probable on the hypothesis that Tacitus obtained his information from Roman records as it is on the hypothesis that Tacitus learned his information from Christian sources. On the latter hypothesis, this would simply imply that none of Tacitus' Christian sources doubted their own reports, which is precisely what we would expect even if Tacitus had obtained his information from Christian sources. This is completely inconclusive.

Finally, (ix) is irrelevant to determining whether Tacitus had independent sources. Yes, Tacitus testifies that Christians were martyred for their beliefs. But his testimony can only provide independent confirmation if he had independent sources, the very point at issue. (Besides, there is no reason to believe that Christians had a choice in whether they were martyred. Thus, even if they were not willing to die, they would have died anyway. Note that Tacitus does not report whether any of them tried to escape by recanting. Moreover, initially only Christians who were "out of the closet" were seized; they were forced to reveal the others who were unknown or in hiding. Finally, from Pliny's letters, we know that many Christians in 112 were ready to recant their beliefs in order to save their lives. And there is no evidence that Christians in 64 had any better evidence to base their faith on than Christians in 112.)[105]

In short, at best, McDowell and Wilson have presented an inconclusive case for believing that Tacitus provides independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus. And contrary to what some apologists (not necessarily McDowell or Wilson) have suggested, it is not just 'Christ-mythicists' who deny that Tacitus provides independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus; indeed, there are numerous Christian scholars who do the same! For example, France writes, Annals XV.44 "cannot carry alone the weight of the role of 'independent testimony' with which it has often been invested."[106] E.P. Sanders notes, "Roman sources that mention [Jesus] are all dependent on Christian reports."[107] And William Lane Craig states that Tacitus' statement is "no doubt dependent on Christian tradition."[108]

3. It is unclear that Suetonius knew of Jesus. Suetonius, the Roman historian and biographer formerly known as Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, wrote several works, including his Lives of the Twelve Caesars, which is an account of the lives of the first twelve Roman emperors. In his Life of Claudius, he writes:

As the Jews were making constant disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome.[109]

In order to use this as a reference to Jesus, McDowell must assume that this 'Chrestus' was Jesus. Thus, in He Walked Among Us, we find McDowell and Wilson declaring that "Chrestus was probably a misspelling of 'Christ' (Greek 'Christus')."[110] Quoting France, McDowell and Wilson argue that 'Chrestus' is a misspelling of 'Christus' because (i) 'Chrestus' is a Greek name; and (ii) the meaning of 'Christus' would be unfamiliar to a Gentile audience. Furthermore, McDowell and Wilson argue (iii) that Christian witnessing to the Jews in AD 49 (similar to that recorded in Acts 18) "probably resulted in the hostilities which led to the expulsion of all Jews from Rome." This, they argue, would have led to the writing of a Roman "police report" which in turn would have attributed the violence to 'Chrestus' (a familiar name).[111]

I find these arguments unconvincing. Indeed, while stating that it is possible that this passage is a misspelled reference to Jesus, France nevertheless dismisses (i) and (ii). According to France, the claim that 'Chrestus' is a misspelling of 'Christus' "can never be more than a guess, and the fact that Suetonius can elsewhere speak of 'Christians' as members of a new cult (without any reference to Jews) surely makes it rather unlikely that he could make such a mistake."[112] McDowell and Wilson never offer any reasons for rejecting France's argument on this point. As for (iii), this is so speculative as to be laughable. There is no evidence of such a police report and there is no evidence that Christian preaching to the Jews led to hostilities which in turn led to the Jews' expulsion from Rome. In sum, then, McDowell and Wilson have been unable to show that this passage even refers to Jesus.

McDowell also quotes Lives of the Caesars--where Suetonius mentions Nero's punishment of Christians--though his reference is incorrect. (McDowell lists the passage as originating in 26.2; the passage is actually found in 16.2.[113]) The passage reads as follows:

Punishment by Nero was inflicted on the Christians, a class of men given to a new and mischievous superstition.

McDowell and Wilson think this "verifies" that Christians were "being put to death" for their Christian beliefs.[114]

However, Suetonius "verifies" nothing of the sort. Suetonius only says that Christians were punished, not that they were "put to death." Moreover, Suetonius does not say that the Christians were punished simply for being Christians; indeed, Suetonius does not specify their crime at all. As the Christian New Testament scholar R.T. France, who McDowell quotes repeatedly in his 1988 work, notes

The great fire of AD 64 is not mentioned in this connection, and indeed the punishment of Christians is included in that part of the book (up to section 19) which deals with Nero's good acts, before he turned to vice and crime. (The fire is not reported until section 38, where it is unconditionally blamed on Nero himself.) Nor does Suetonius even so much as mention the 'Christus' from whom their name derived.[115]

In short, this passage is not independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus. As Wells argues, this passage "tells us nothing more than what we already know about this from Tacitus and nothing about Jesus himself."[116]

4. There is no reason to believe that Thallus is a witness, much less an independent witness, to the historicity of Jesus.Although the works of Thallus are not extant, the Christian writer Julius Africanus refers to them in the following passage cited by McDowell:

Thallus, in the third book of his histories, explains away the darkness as an eclipse of the sun--unreasonably, as it seems to me.[117]

Dating of the Thallus material referenced by Africanus is problematic. Eusebius references a "brief compendium" of world history by this Thallus in three volumes from the fall of Troy (1184 BCE) to the 167th Olympiad (109 BCE). Yet virtually all scholars have conjectured that the latter date is in error and that the original date was either the 207th Olympiad (CE 49-52) or the 217th Olympiad (CE 89-92).[118] Thus, if one accepts that the book referenced by Eusebius is the same book in which Thallus mentioned an eclipse, one could date Thallus' book between CE 49 and CE 180 (when Theophilus mentions Thallus).

However, ancient historian Richard Carrier argues persuasively that the work described by Eusebius

does not appear to be the same work quoted by everyone else. This is because it is described as a "brief compendium" (in three volumes, which is indeed exceedingly brief--equivalent to three chapters in a modern book) covering the years from the fall of Troy (1184 BC) to the 167th Olympiad (109 BC), but Thallus is often cited for events long preceding the Fall of Troy, and on one occasion appears to be cited regarding an event at the death of Christ, which comes long after 109 BC (leading several scholars to amend the text to give a later date). In all cases the nature of the facts being drawn from Thallus further suggests a rather detailed work, and not a "brief compendium." It is most likely that the book referenced by Eusebius is one of at least two works by Thallus, and not the work in which he mentions the darkness associated with the death of Christ (if he mentioned this at all).[119]

Thus, it appears that Eusebius was probably correct in stating that Thallus's compendium ended with the 167th Olympiad (109 BCE).

Some scholars have suggested that a reference to this same Thallus can be found in Josephus's Antiquities (18.167). The relevant passage in Josephus refers to a Samaritan freedman of Tiberius, whose reign began in CE 14.[120] Yet, as Carrier notes, Josephus's "reference" to Thallus was actually invented in the 18th century:

But most importantly, the name does not in fact appear in any extant text of Josephus. The passage in question (Antiquities of the Jews18.167) does not have the word THALLOS in any extant manuscript or translation, but ALLOS. The addition of the letter theta (TH) was conjectured by a scholar named Hudson in 1720, on the argument that ALLOS didn't make sense, and that Thallus was the attested name of an imperial freedman of Tiberius in inscriptions: in his own words, "I put 'Thallos' in place of 'allos' by conjecture, as he is attested to have been among the freedmen of Tiberius, going by the inscriptions of Gruter" (p. 810, translated from Hudson's Latin). But there is no good basis for this conjecture. First, the Greek actually does make sense without the added letter (it means "another"), and all extant early translations confirm this very reading. Second, an epitome of this passage does not give a name but instead the generic "someone," which suggests that no name was mentioned in the epitomizer's copy.[121]

Thus, Josephus cannot help us date the material referenced by Africanus.

So when did Thallus write? We know that it could not have been later than CE 180, since that is the year Theophilus mentions Thallus. As for the earliest possible date for Thallus's book, that depends on whether Thallus ever mentioned the darkness. As the Christian scholar R.T. France writes, Africanus does not give Thallus' words, "so we do not know whether Thallus actually mentioned Jesus' crucifixion, or whether this was Africanus' interpretation of a period of darkness which Thallus had not specifically linked with Jesus."[122] Even McDowell and Wilson acknowledge that post-apostolic writers like Africanus had a tendency to exaggerate details in their interpretations and to use "questionable sources."[123] Thus, if Thallus did mention Jesus' crucifixion, then Thallus could have written between CE 28 and 180. If he did not, then he could have written between 109 BCE and CE 180, a range of almost three entire centuries.

In He Walked Among Us, McDowell and Wilson argue that Africanus's reference to Thallus provides evidence for the historicity of Jesus because Thallus

does not seek to explain away the existence and crucifixion as a definite historical event, though one which needed a naturalistic explanation for the darkness which covered the earth at the time of the event.[124]

I agree that there is no evidence Thallus ever questioned the historicity of Jesus. Moreover, it is certainly possible that Thallus referred to the crucifixion and even that he did so as an independent witness. But it also possible that Thallus did not mention Jesus' crucifixion or even Jesus himself. Thallus may have written before the crucifixion; Africanus may have simply assumed that the darkness mentioned by Thallus was the darkness associated with Jesus' crucifixion. Since we don't possess any extant copies of the Thallus material, there is simply no way to know if Thallus was a witness to Jesus. Likewise, we don't know what Thallus's sources were. Again, it is certainly possible that Thallus had an independent source for his information, but it is equally possible that Thallus was dependent on Christian sources. Thus, even if Thallus were a witness to the historicity of Jesus, there is no reason to believe he was an independent witness. Therefore, given the present data (or the lack of it, depending on your perspective) Thallus cannot be used to provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

Moreover, the darkness itself is doubtful. As Carrier notes:

Such a story has obvious mythic overtones and can easily be doubted. That a solar eclipse should mark the death of a king was common lore among Greeks and other Mediterranean peoples (Herodotus 7.37, Plutarch Pelopidas 31.3 and Aemilius Paulus 17.7-11, Dio Cassius 55.29.3, John Lydus De Ostentis 70.a), and that such events corresponded with earthquakes was also a scientific superstition (Aristotle Meteorology 367.b.2, Pliny Natural History 2.195, Virgil Georgics 2.47.478-80). It was also typical to assimilate eclipses to major historic events, even when they did not originally correspond, or to invent eclipses for this purpose (Préaux claims to have counted 200 examples in extant literature; Boeuffle and Newton have also remarked on this tendency). The gospel stories also make a solar eclipse impossible: the crucifixion passover happened during a full moon, the darkness supposedly lasted three hours, and covered the whole earth. Such an impossible event would not fail to be recorded in the works of Seneca, Pliny, Josephus or other historians, yet it is not mentioned anywhere else outside of Christian rhetoric, so we can entirely dismiss the idea of this being a real event.[125]

Thus McDowell and Wilson, in an attempt to provide independent confirmation of Jesus, are appealing to an alleged astronomical event which itself needs independent confirmation but lacks it![126] But that entails that Africanus's reference to Thallus does not provide independent confirmation of Jesus.

Finally, the passage does not even pass the bibliographical test, one of McDowell's three standards for assessing historical documents. McDowell defines his bibliographical test as follows:

The bibliographical test is an examination of the textual transmission by which documents reach us. In other words, since we do not have the original documents, how reliable are the copies we have in regard to the number of manuscripts (MSS) and the time interval between the original and extant copy?[127]

With McDowell's definition in mind, does Thallus' Histories pass the bibliographical test? Absolutely not! The original manuscripts of Thallus' Histories are not extant and we do not possess any copies of the original. Carrier explains:

The only manuscript copies we have of this Thallus quotation date over 1600 years after the crucifixion itself. And this is not even a tradition of Thallus, but of George Syncellus, who wrote it down from his source over 800 years after Thallus would have written the original according to McDowell, and yet not even that: for Syncellus is copying not from Thallus, but from a late copy of Africanus, who was in turn writing well over 100 years after McDowell proposes that Thallus wrote. There could not be a tradition less reliable or more prone to disastrous errors and corruptions than this![128]

Thus it is utterly impossible to determine the transmission reliability of the passage. The passage fails miserably one of the same tests for historical reliability employed by McDowell to establish the historical reliability of the Bible. The Africanus passage therefore deserves to be discarded.[129]

5. References to Phlegon of Tralles provide inconclusive evidence for Jesus. Phlegon's works are no longer extant, but they are referenced by Julius Africanus and Philopon. McDowell cites the following comment made by Africanus:

[Phlegon] records that in the time of Tiberius Caesar at full moon, there was a full eclipse of the sun from the sixth hour to the ninth.[130]

Although McDowell and Wilson assume without argument that this passage is authentic, Carrier has convincingly shown that the passage is an interpolation and he is by no means the only scholar to hold this view.[131] Some of the reasons for believing this passage to be an interpolation include (i) Eusebius' quotation of Phlegon does not include a reference to a full moon or a three-hour eclipse;[132] and (ii) "we cannot accept that, having just found fault with Thallus for calling this darkness an eclipse of the sun, Africanus then went on to cite Phlegon, without any censure at all, as calling it just that, and as adding, what he has just stated to be an absurdity, that it occurred at full moon."[133]

6. Mara Bar-Serapion is worthless as a witness to the historicity of Jesus. Mara Bar-Serapion, an imprisoned Syrian who wrote sometime after 73 CE, made the following statement in a letter to his son:

What advantage did the Athenians gain from putting Socrates to death? Famine and plague came upon them as a judgment for their crime. What advantage did the men of Samos gain from burning Pythagoras? In a moment their land was covered with sand. What advantage did the Jews gain from executing their wise King? It was just after that their Kingdom was abolished. God justly avenged these three wise men: the Athenians died of hunger; the Samians were overwhelmed by the sea; the Jews, ruined and driven from their land, live in complete dispersion. But Socrates did not die for good; he lived on in the teaching of Plato. Pythagoras did not die for good; he lived on in the statue of Hera. Nor did the wise King die for good; He lived on in the teaching which He had given.[134]

In a previous version of this essay, citing an essay by Farrell Till, I denied that 'wise King' was a reference to Jesus. Emphasizing that the other characters Bar-Serapion mentions by name lived long before Jesus, Till argues that "[m]essianic pretenders in Judea were a dime a dozen" and that the 'wise King' could have been the "Teacher of Righteousness" mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.[135] However, it now seems to me that this is nothing more than a bare possibility. Just because Bar-Serapion discusses Pythagoras and Socrates in the same passage as he mentions this 'wise King' does not make it likely that this 'wise King' lived during roughly the same period as them. Moreover, given that Jesus was crucified by the Romans, not the Jews, Bar-Serapion's choice of words is inexplicable unless we assume that he received his information about this 'wise King' from Christians. (Remember that the Christians held the Jews at least partially responsible for Jesus' crucifixion.) However, if Bar-Serapion received his information from Christians, two conclusions follow. First, it is highly likely that this 'wise King' was Jesus.[136] Second, Bar-Serapion does not provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus.

The value of Bar-Serapion's letter as an independent witness to the historical Jesus is further decreased by our uncertainty concerning its date. McDowell quotes the conservative scholar F.F. Bruce as stating that the letter was "written some time later than A.D. 73, but how much later we cannot be sure."[137] Indeed we cannot. Archibald Robertson--who accepted the historicity of Jesus--reported that "such authorities as Cureton and M'Lean date it in the second or even third" century.[138] Of course, as McDowell and Wilson point out, "the letter could be as early as the first century," but possibility must not be confused with probability.[139] For this letter to have any value at all as a witness to the historicity of Jesus, it needs to have been written earlier rather than later, and there is simply no evidence that it was.

Yet another problem with Bar-Serapion's letter is its historical inaccuracies. In addition to the bogus claim that the Jews executed Jesus, Bar-Serapion's letter contains other errors. Till notes that the letter implies Pythagoras had been killed by his countrymen, yet "Pythagoras left the island of Samos in 530 B. C. and emigrated to the Greek colony of Croton in Southern Italy. He later died in Metapontum, which is now Metaponto, Italy."[140] McDowell and Wilson admit that Mara Bar-Serapion's "information about Athens and Samos is inaccurate."[141]

In closing, it is interesting to note that even Holding is forced to admit that "[t]his reference to Jesus is not particularly valuable."[142] However, that is an understatement. Bar-Serapion's letter is virtually worthless as a witness to the historicityof Jesus: it does not provide independent confirmation.[143]

7. Lucian is not an independent witness to Jesus. Lucian of Samosata (c.125-180 CE), was a Greek satirist best known for his dialogues (Dialogues of the GodsDialogues of the DeadThe Sale of Lives) ridiculing Greek mythology and philosophy; he also authored a work entitled True History. McDowell cites the following statement by Lucian written around 170 CE:

... the man who was crucified in Palestine because he introduced this new cult into the world.... Furthermore, their first lawgiver persuaded them that they were all brothers one of another after they have transgressed once for all by denying the Greek gods and by worshipping that crucified sophist himself and living under his laws.[144]

In a previous version of this essay, quoting Michael Grant, I questioned whether Lucian was concerned with historical accuracy.[145] I misinterpreted Grant; elsewhere Grant makes it clear that Lucian was concerned with historical accuracy. According to Grant, Lucian felt it important to separate instruction from entertainment.[146] Grant notes that Lucian felt a historian should be "stateless;" in other words, Lucian thought the historian should try to remain impartial when recording events concerning the historian's own nation.[147] Moreover, Lucian "denounced fraudulent biography" and said that "it was the sole duty of the historian to ... say exactly how things happened."[148]

Nevertheless, given that Lucian's statement was written near the end of the second century, it seems rather unlikely that he had independent sources of information concerning the historicity of Jesus. Lucian may have relied upon Christian sources, common knowledge, or even an earlier pagan reference (e.g., Tacitus); since Lucian does not specify his sources, we will never know. Just as is the case with Tacitus, it is quite plausible that Lucian would have simply accepted the Christian claim that their founder had been crucified. There is simply no evidence that Lucian ever doubted the historicity of Jesus. Therefore, Lucian's concern for historical accuracy is not even relevant as Lucian would have had no motive for investigating the matter.[149]

Conclusion

I think there is ample evidence to conclude there was a historical Jesus. To my mind, the New Testament alone provides sufficient evidence for the historicity of Jesus, but the writings of Josephus also provide two independent, authentic references to Jesus.

As for McDowell's other sources for the historicity of Jesus, I think they are inconclusive. There is no evidence that the written works of the church fathers were based on independent sources. Tertullian's reference to Tiberius is inconclusive, as is Africanus' references to Thallus. Africanus' reference to Phlegon is probably an interpolation. The Talmud is too late to be of any value in establishing the historicity of Jesus. Pliny the Younger, Tacitus, and Lucian are not independent witnesses to the historicity of Jesus. Suetonius did not refer to Jesus. And Mara Bar-Serapion's letter is worthless as a witness to the historicity of Jesus.[150]

Appendix: Hadrian

There is one final reference I have not mentioned until this point because McDowell does not include it in ETDAV. However, I chose to discuss this reference in an appendix because McDowell and Wilson do quote the letter in their 1988 book, He Walked Among Us. The reference is the following letter preserved by Eusebius and purportedly written by Hadrian:

I do not wish, therefore, that the matter should be passed by without examination, so that these men may neither by harassed, nor opportunity of malicious proceedings be offered to informers. If, therefore, the provincials can clearly evince their charges against the Christians, so as to answer before the tribunal, let them pursue this course only, but not by mere petitions, and mere outcries against the Christians. For it is far more proper, if any one would bring an accusation, that you should examine it.[151]

McDowell and Wilson believe this letter is "indirect evidence confirming the same things Pliny had recorded."

Unfortunately, just as Pliny's letter does not provide independent confirmation of the historicity of Jesus, the above letter preserved by Eusebius also does not provide evidence for the historicity of Jesus. The letter quoted by Eusebius simply states that there were Christians who were tried under Hadrian, which nobody denies. Furthermore, the above letter is found only in the writings of Eusebius. Given that Eusebius' reliability is itself doubtful, we can't even be sure that Hadrian ever actually wrote the letter Eusebius attributes to him!



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நண்பர் ரப்பீக் அவர்கள் அழுப்பியது நியாயமான கேள்வியே. இவ்விவாதத்தின் முதல் பகுதிகள் தவிர மீதம் பற்றி இங்கு விவாதிக்கப்படவில்லை.

 

பழைய பைபிள் ஏடுகள் 27000 உள்ளன என்பதை மிக அழகாக உடைத்தனர். ஆனால் அவற்றின் நம்பிக்கைதன்மைக்கும் ஏடுகளுக்கும் சம்பந்தமில்லை.

 

மேலும் ஏடுகள் நம்ப்பிக்கைகுரியவை என பைபிள் அறிஞர் புரூஸ் சொன்னார், என்றனர், ஆனால் அவரும், பல உண்மைகளை சொல்லி உள்ளார்.

 

அதே போலா தௌரத் நூல்கள் இன்றைய பைபிளியல்படி, மினிமலிசம் என்பதுபடி பொ.மு. 300 - 200 வாக்கில் தான். இதற்கு பழைய ஏற்பாட்டில் பல ஆதாரங்கள் உள்ளது.

அதே போல புதிய ஏற்பாட்டில் 27 புத்தகத்தில் ஒன்றைக்கூட ஏசுவை பார்த்தவர்களால் எழுதப்படவில்லை. இதை தமிழில் பைபிளைத்தரும் கூழுள்ள இணைய தளத்தில் காணலாம்.

http://www.arulvakku.com/biblecontent.php?book=Mat&Cn=1

இவற்றைக் கூட குழு சொல்லவில்லை.

பைபிள் புனிதமானதா என்பதற்கு - ஆதாரமாக ஒரு வாதத்தைக் கூடத் தரவில்லை.

பீஜே தரப்பு- விவாதத் தலைப்பை அர்வருப்பானது பைபிளா- குரான்,  திஸா என மாற்றி விட்டது.

 



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ஏசு சீடருடன் இயங்கிய காலம் எத்தனை நாள்? 

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மாற்கு1:4 இதன்படியே திருமுழுக்கு யோவான் பாலை நிலத்துக்கு வந்து, பாவ மன்னிப்பு அடைய மனம் மாறித் திருமுழுக்குப் பெறுங்கள் என்று பறைசாற்றி வந்தார்.5யூதேயாவினர் அனைவரும் எருசலேம் நகரினர் யாவரும் அவரிடம் சென்றனர்; தங்கள் பாவங்களை அறிக்கையிட்டு யோர்தான் ஆற்றில் அவரிடம் திருமுழுக்குப் பெற்று வந்தனர்.6யோவான் ஒட்டகமுடி ஆடையை அணிந்திருந்தார்; தோல்கச்சையை இடையில் கட்டியிருந்தார்; வெட்டுக்கிளியும் காட்டுத்தேனும் உண்டு வந்தார்.
9 அக்காலத்தில் இயேசு கலிலேயாவிலுள்ள நாசரேத்திலிருந்து வந்து யோர்தான் ஆற்றில் யோவானிடம் திருமுழுக்குப் பெற்றார்.
14 யோவான் கைதுசெய்யப்பட்டபின், கடவுளின் நற்செய்தியைப் பறைசாற்றிக் கொண்டே இயேசு கலிலேயாவிற்கு வந்தார்.15 ' காலம் நிறைவேறிவிட்டது. இறையாட்சி நெருங்கி வந்து விட்டது; மனம் மாறி நற்செய்தியை நம்புங்கள் ' என்று அவர் கூறினார்.
 
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16 அவர் கலிலேயக் கடலோரமாய்ச் சென்றபோது சீமோனையும் அவர் சகோதரரான அந்திரேயாவையும் கண்டார். மீனவர்களான அவர்கள் கடலில் வலை வீசிக்கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.17 இயேசு அவர்களைப் பார்த்து, ' என் பின்னே வாருங்கள்; நான் உங்களை மனிதரைப் பிடிப்பவர் ஆக்குவேன் ' என்றார்.18 உடனே அவர்கள் வலைகளை விட்டுவிட்டு அவரைப் பின்பற்றினார்கள்.19 பின்னர், சற்று அப்பால் சென்றபோது செபதேயுவின் மகன் யாக்கோபையும் அவர் சகோதரரான யோவானையும் இயேசு கண்டார். அவர்கள் படகில் வலைகளைப் பழுது பார்த்துக் கொண்டிருந்தார்கள்.20 உடனே இயேசு அவர்களையும் அழைத்தார். அவர்களும் தங்கள் தந்தை செபதேயுவைக் கூலியாள்களோடு படகில் விட்டுவிட்டு அவர் பின் சென்றார்கள்.

 
பாவ மன்னிப்பு அடைய மனம் மாறித் திருமுழுக்கு தரும் யோவான் யூதேயாவை ஒட்டிய எல்லை ஓர வனாந்தரத்தில் ஞானஸ்நானங்கொடுத்து, வந்தார்.-//   அக்காலத்தில் இயேசு கலிலேயாவிலுள்ள நாசரேத்திலிருந்து வந்து யோர்தான் ஆற்றில் யோவானிடம் பாவ மன்னிப்பு அடைய மனம் மாறித் திருமுழுக்குப் பெற்றார்//

 

மாற்கு சுவிசேஷம் கதைப்படி, ஞானஸ்நான யோவான் கைதான பிறகு, கலிலேயா சென்று அங்கே ஏசு இயக்கம் ஆரம்பிக்கிறார். பிறகு 

மாற்கு 10:1 இயேசு அங்கிருந்து புறப்பட்டு யூதேயப் பகுதிகளுக்கும் யோர்தான் அக்கரைப் பகுதிக்கும் வந்தார். மீண்டும் மக்கள் அவரிடம் வந்து கூடினர். அவரும் வழக்கம் போல மீண்டும் அவர்களுக்குக் கற்பித்தார்.
32 அவர்கள் எருசலேமுக்குப் போகும் வழியில் சென்றுகொண்டிருந்தார்கள். இயேசு அவர்களுக்குமுன் போய்க்கொண்டிருந்தார். சீடர் திகைப்புற்றிருக்க, அவரைப் பின்பற்றிய ஏனையோர் அச்சம் கொண்டிருந்தனர். 
மாற்கு 11:1 இயேசு தம் சீடரோடு ஒலிவமலை அருகிலுள்ள பெத்பகு, பெத்தானியா என்னும் ஊர்களுக்கு வந்து, எருசலேமை நெருங்கியபொழுது இரு சீடர்களை அனுப்பி,2 ″ உங்களுக்கு எதிரே இருக்கும் ஊருக்குள் போங்கள்; அதில் நுழைந்தவுடன், இதுவரை யாரும் அமராத ஒரு கழுதைக்குட்டி கட்டி வைக்கப்பட்டிருப்பதைக் காண்பீர்கள். அதை அவிழ்த்துக் கொண்டு வாருங்கள்.3 யாராவது உங்களிடம், ' ஏன் இப்படிச் செய்கிறீர்கள்? ' என்று கேட்டால், ' இது ஆண்டவருக்குத் தேவை, இதை அவர் உடனே திருப்பி இங்கு அனுப்பிவிடுவார் ' எனச் சொல்லுங்கள் ″ என்றார்.
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.9 முன்னேயும் பின்னேயும் சென்றவர்கள், 'ஓசன்னா! ஆண்டவர் பெயரால் வருகிறவர் போற்றப்பெறுக!footnote.jpg10 வரவிருக்கும் நம் தந்தை தாவீதின் அரசு போற்றப்பெறுக! உன்னதத்தில் ஓசன்னா! ' என்று ஆர்ப்பரித்தனர்.11 அவர் எருசலேமுக்குள் சென்று கோவிலில் நுழைந்தார். அவர் அனைத்தையும் சுற்றிப் பார்த்துவிட்டு, ஏற்கெனவே மாலை வேளையாகி விட்டதால், பன்னிருவருடன் பெத்தானியாவுக்குப் புறப்பட்டுச் சென்றார்.
 
மாற்கு14:1 பாஸ்கா என்னும் புளிப்பற்ற அப்ப விழா நிகழ இன்னும் இரண்டு நாள்கள் இருந்தன. 
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12 புளிப்பற்ற அப்ப விழாவின் முதல் நாள் வந்தது. பாஸ்கா ஆட்டுக்குட்டியைப் பலியிடும் அந்நாளிலே இயேசுவின் சீடர், ' நீர் பாஸ்கா விருந்துண்ண நாங்கள் எங்கே சென்று ஏற்பாடு செய்ய வேண்டும் என விரும்புகிறீர்? ' என்று கேட்டார்கள்.13 அவர் பின்வருமாறு கூறி, தம் சீடருள் இருவரை அனுப்பினார்: ' நீங்கள் புறப்பட்டு நகருக்குள் செல்லுங்கள். மண்குடத்தில் தண்ணீர் சுமந்துகொண்டு ஓர் ஆள் உங்களுக்கு எதிரே வருவார். அவர் பின்னே செல்லுங்கள்.14 அவர் எந்த வீட்டுக்குச் செல்கிறாரோ, அந்த வீட்டின் உரிமையாளரிடம், ' நான் என் சீடர்களோடு பாஸ்கா விருந்து உண்பதற்கான என் அறை எங்கே? ' என்று போதகர் கேட்கச் சொன்னார் ' எனக் கூறுங்கள்.15 அவர் மேல்மாடியில் ஒரு பெரிய அறையைக் காட்டுவார். அது தேவையான வசதிகளோடு தயார் நிலையில் இருக்கும். அங்கே நமக்கு ஏற்பாடு செய்யுங்கள். ' 16 சீடர்கள் சென்று, நகரை அடைந்து, தங்களுக்கு அவர் சொல்லியவாறே அனைத்தையும் கண்டு பாஸ்கா விருந்துக்கு ஏற்பாடு செய்தார்கள்.
18 அவர்கள் பந்தியில் அமர்ந்து உண்டு கொண்டிருந்தபொழுது இயேசு, '
                          ---------------------------------------------------------------

 
மாற்கு சுவியில் நாம் மேலே பார்த்த வாக்யங்கள்படியாக, ஞானஸ்நான யோவானிடம் சென்று, ஏசு பாவமன்னிப்பு-மனம்திரும்புதல் ஞானஸ்நானம் பெறுகிறார், உடனே ஞானஸ்நான யோவான் கைதாகிறார்.
ஏசு யூதேயாவை விட்டு கலிலேயா வந்து சீடர் சேர்த்து இயக்கம் தொடங்குகிறார்.
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இஸ்ரேல் நாட்டின் புராணக்கதைப்படி எகிப்தில் பஞ்சம் போக்க சென்ற எபிரேயர்கள் அடிமைப்படுத்தப்பட, மோசே செய்த அதிசயங்கள் பார்த்து எகிப்து அரசன் அவர்கள் திருமிபிசெல்ல அனுமதித்தும், கர்த்தர் அரசன் மனதை மாற்றி, கடைசியில் எபிரேயர்கள் வீடுகளில் ஆட்டு ரத்தக் குறிபோட, எகிப்தியர்களின் முதல் குழந்தை, முதல் மிருகக் குழந்தைகளை கர்த்தர் கொலை செய்தார். எகிப்தியரின் அப்பாவி சிறுகுழந்தைகளை மட்டும் கொலை செததற்கு நன்றியாக ஒவ்வொரு வருடமும் கர்த்தரின் ஒரே இடமான ஜெருசலேம் யூத ஆலயத்தில் ஒவ்வொரு யூதரும் ஒரு ஆடு கொலை செய்து பலி தர வேண்டும்.
லூக்கா2 :41 ஆண்டுதோறும் இயேசுவின் பெற்றோர் பாஸ்கா விழாவைக் கொண்டாட எருசலேமுக்குப போவார்கள்  42 இயேசுவுக்குப் பன்னிரண்டு வயது ஆனபோது, வழக்கப்படி விழாவைக் கொண்டாட எருசலேம் சென்றனர்
தீவீரமான யூதரான ஏசுவும் இயக்கம் தொடங்கியபின் வந்த முதல் பஸ்கா பண்டிகை ஆடு-கொலை-பலி செய்ய ஜெருசலேம் வந்தபோது கைதாகி மரணமானார்.

 
அப்படியென்றால் இயேசு சீடரோடு வாழ்ந்த காலம் ஒரு வருடத்திற்கும் குறைவு. 

இதே கதையை தான் மத்தேயும்- லூக்காவும் திரும்பி சொல்கிறார்கள்.


நான்காவது சுவியில் ஏசு 3 முறை ஜெர்சலேமிற்கு ஆடு கொலை பஸ்கா பண்டிகை செல்லுதல் வருகிறது.

யோவான் 2:13 பின்பு யூதருடைய பஸ்காபண்டிகை சமீபமாயிருந்தது; அப்பொழுது இயேசு எருசலேமுக்குப் போய், 

யோவான் 6:4 அப்பொழுது யூதருடைய பண்டிகையாகிய பஸ்கா சமீபமாயிருந்தது.

யோவான் 11:55 யூதருடைய பஸ்காபண்டிகை சமீபமாயிருந்தது, அதற்கு முன்னே அநேகர் தங்களைச் சுத்திகரித்துக்கொள்ளும்பொருட்டு நாட்டிலிருந்து எருசலேமுக்குப் போனார்கள்.

யோவான் 12:1 பஸ்காபண்டிகை வர ஆறுநாளைக்குமுன்னே இயேசு தாம் மரணத்திலிருந்து எழுப்பின லாசரு இருந்த பெத்தானியாவுக்கு வந்தார்.

யோவான் 13:1 பஸ்கா பண்டிகைக்கு முன்னே, இயேசு இவ்வுலகத்தை விட்டுப் பிதாவினிடத்திற்குப் போகும்படியான தம்முடைய வேளை வந்ததென்று அறிந்து, தாம் இவ்வுலகத்திலிருக்கிற தம்முடையவர்களிடத்தில் அன்புவைத்தபடியே, முடிவுபரியந்தமும் அவர்களிடத்தில் அன்புவைத்தார்.

யோவான் 18:28 அவர்கள் காய்பாவினிடத்திலிருந்து இயேசுவைத் தேசாதிபதியின் அரமனைக்குக் கொண்டுபோனார்கள்; அப்பொழுது விடியற்காலமாயிருந்தது. தீட்டுப்படாமல்பஸ்காவைப் புசிக்கத்தக்கதாக, அவர்கள் தேசாதிபதியின் அரமனைக்குள் பிரவேசியாதிருந்தார்கள்.

முதல் பண்டிகக் முடிந்து திரும்பும்போது பாவ மன்னிப்பு அடைய மனம் மாறித் திருமுழுக்கு பெற்று, 

பின்னர் வந்த 2 வருடம் 

 பஸ்காவிற்கு வந்து, அதன் கடைசியில் கைது எனில் ஏசு சீடருடன் இயஙிய காலம் 2 வருடம் + சில நாட்கள்.

 

 இரண்டில் எது உண்மை-எது பொய்? இரண்டுமே பொய்யா? ஏன் உண்மையை மாற்றி தந்தனர்?

புதிய ஏற்பாடு நம்பகத் தன்மை வாய்ந்ததா?


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இயேசுவைக் கைது செய்தது யார்?

பகுதி-1
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யூதர்கள் என்னும்படியான ஒரு கதை பரப்ப்பப் பட்டுள்ளது. நாம் நான்காவது சுவி- யோவான் விருப்பப்படியான சுவியில் காண்போம்.
KJVயோவான்: 18
2. இயேசு தம்முடைய சீஷருடனேகூட அடிக்கடி அங்கே போயிருந்தபடியினால், அவரைக்காட்டிக்கொடுக்கிற யூதாசும் அந்த இடத்தை அறிந்திருந்தான்.3. யூதாஸ் போர்ச்சேவகரின் கூட்டத்தையும் பிரதான ஆசாரியர் பரிசேயர் என்பவர்களால் அனுப்பப்பட்டஊழியக்காரரையும் கூட்டிக்கொன்டு, பந்தங்களோடும் தீவட்டிகளோடும் ஆயுதங்களோடும்அவ்விடத்திற்கு வந்தான்.

.12. அப்பொழுது போர்ச்சேவகரும், ஆயிரம் போர்ச்சேவகருக்குத் தலைவனும், யூதருடையஊழியக்காரரும் இயேசுவைப்பிடித்து, அவரைக் கட்டி
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From Ecumenial Translation யோவான் 18

2 அவரைக் காட்டிக் கொடுத்த யூதாசுக்கு அந்த இடம் தெரியும். ஏனெனில், இயேசுவும் அவருடைய சீடர்களும் அடிக்கடி அங்குக் கூடுவர்.3 படைப் பிரிவினரையும் தலைமைக் குருக்களும் பரிசேயரும் அனுப்பிய காவலர்களையும் கூட்டிக் கொண்டு யூதாசு விளக்குகளோடும் பந்தங்களோடும் படைக்கலங்களோடும் அங்கே வந்தான்.
12 படைப்பிரிவினரும் ஆயிரத்தவர் தலைவரும் யூதர்களின் காவலர்களும் இயேசுவைப் பிடித்துக் கட்டி


John 18:12(NIV)

Now Judas, who betrayed him, knew the place, because Jesus had often met there with his disciples.So Judas came to the garden,guiding a detachment of soldiers and some officials from the chief priests and the Pharisees. They were carrying torches, lanterns and weapons.
12 Then the detachment of soldiers with its commander and the Jewish officials arrested Jesus. They bound him 
 

King James Version



John 18:And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples.

Judas then, having received a band of men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with lanterns and torches and weapons.
12 Then the band and the captain and officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him



John 18:1-12-New American Standard Bible (NASB)

 Now Judas also, who was betraying Him, knew the place, for Jesus had often met there with His disciples.  Judas then, having received the Roman cohort and officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, came there with lanterns and torches and weapons.

12  So the Roman cohort and the commander and the officers of the Jews, arrested Jesus and bound Him,

ரோமன் 1000 படைவீரர்களின் தலைவன் இயேசுவைக் கைது செய்ய சென்றான் எனில் அது ரோமன் கவர்னர் ஆணையில், அப்படி என்றால் ரோமன் விசாரணை மட்டுமே. யூத மத சங்கக் கூட்டம் எல்லாம். கட்டுக்கதைகளே.


KJV தயாரிக்கும் அதே சர்ச்சினரின் "The Bible society of India" TEV பைபிளில் ரோமன் எனத் தான் வருகிறது.


இந்த வரிகள் இந்த நூற்றாண்டில் கூட எப்படி உண்மை மறைக்கும் வண்ணம் படிப்போர் ரோமன் என்பதை உணரக்கூடாது என சர்ச்சின் மொழி பெயர்ப்பாளர்கள் உழைப்பது தெரிகிறது.

புதிய ஏற்பாடு நம்பகத் தன்மை வாய்ந்ததா? 


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யூதாசு மரணம் எவ்வாறு? giottojudas



யோவான்6:32 இயேசு அவர்களிடம், ' உறுதியாக உங்களுக்குச் சொல்கிறேன்; வானிலிருந்து உங்களுக்கு உணவு அருளியவர் மோசே அல்ல; வானிலிருந்து உங்களுக்கு உண்மையான உணவு அருள்பவர் என் தந்தையே.33 கடவுள் தரும் உணவு வானிலிருந்து இறங்கி வந்து உலகுக்கு வாழ்வு அளிக்கிறது ' என்றார்.
48 வாழ்வுதரும் உணவு நானே.49 உங்கள் முன்னோர் பாலைநிலத்தில் மன்னாவை உண்டபோதிலும் இறந்தனர்.50 உண்பவரை இறவாமல் இருக்கச் செய்யும் உணவு விண்ணகத்திலிருந்து இறங்கிவந்த இந்த உணவே. 51 ' விண்ணகத்திலிருந்து இறங்கி வந்த வாழ்வு தரும் உணவு நானே. இந்த உணவை எவராவது உண்டால் அவர் என்றுமே வாழ்வார். எனது சதையை உணவாகக் கொடுக்கிறேன். அதை உலகு வாழ்வதற்காகவே கொடுக்கிறேன்.
58 விண்ணகத்திலிருந்து இறங்கி வந்த உணவு இதுவே; இது நம் முன்னோர் உண்ட உணவு போன்றது அல்ல. அதை உண்டவர்கள் இறந்து போனார்கள். இவ்வுணவை உண்போர் என்றும் வாழ்வர். '
யோவான்13:26 இயேசு மறுமொழியாக, ' நான் யாருக்கு அப்பத் துண்டைத் தோய்த்துக் கொடுக்கிறேனோ அவன்தான் ' எனச் சொல்லி, அப்பத் துண்டைத் தோய்த்துச் சீமோன் இஸ்காரியோத்தின் மகனாகிய யூதாசுக்குக் கொடுத்தார்.27 அவன் அப்பத் துண்டைப் பெற்றதும் சாத்தான் அவனுக்குள் நுழைந்தான்.
மத்தேயு27:
இயேசுவைப் பிலாத்திடம் கொண்டு செல்லுதல்
(மாற் 15:1; லூக் 23:1 - 2; யோவா 18:28 - 32)
images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSoSyIdTLAUD6YC8qOFxDrf3yhJelfl_bMqlSLvi_8ctmpJYp4U1 பொழுது விடிந்ததும் தலைமைக் குருக்கள், மக்களின் மூப்பர்கள் யாவரும் இயேசுவைக் கொல்ல அவருக்கு எதிராக ஆலோசனை செய்தனர்.2 அவரைக் கட்டி இழுத்துச் சென்று ஆளுநன் பிலாத்திடம் ஒப்புவித்தனர்.
யூதாசின் தற்கொலை
(திப 1:18 - 19)
மத்தேயு 27:
3 அதன்பின் இயேசு தண்டனைத் தீர்ப்பு அடைந்ததைக் கண்டபோது அவரைக் காட்டிக்கொடுத்த யூதாசு மனம் வருந்தி தலைமைக் குருக்களிடமும் மூப்பர்களிடமும் முப்பது வெள்ளிக் காசுகளையும் திருப்பிக் கொண்டு வந்து,4 ' 00-159-256_ps2பழிபாவமில்லாதவரைக் காட்டிக்கொடுத்துப் பாவம் செய்தேன் ' என்றான். அதற்கு அவர்கள், ' அதைப்பற்றி எங்களுக்கென்ன? நீயே பார்த்துக்கொள் ' என்றார்கள்.5 அதன் பின்பு அவன் அந்த வெள்ளிக் காசுகளைக் கோவிலில் எறிந்து விட்டுப் புறப்பட்டுப் போய்த் தூக்குப் போட்டுக் கொண்டான்.6 தலைமைக் குருக்கள் வெள்ளிக் காசுகளை எடுத்து, ' இது இரத்தத்திற்கான விலையாதலால் இதைக் கோவில் காணிக்கைப் பெட்டியில் போடுவது முறை அல்ல ' என்று சொல்லி,7 கலந்தாலோசித்து, அன்னியரை அடக்கம் செய்ய அவற்றைக் கொண்டு குயவன் நிலத்தை வாங்கினார்கள்.8 இதனால்தான் அந்நிலம் ' இரத்த நிலம் ' என இன்றுவரை அழைக்கப்படுகிறது.9 ' இஸ்ரயேல் மக்களால் விலைமதிக்கப்பட்டவருடைய விலையான முப்பது வெள்ளிக்காசுகளையும் கையிலெடுத்து10 ஆண்டவர் எனக்குப் பணித்தபடியே அதைக் குயவன் நிலத்திற்குக் கொடுத்தார்கள் ' என்று இறைவாக்கினர் எரேமியா உரைத்தது அப்பொழுது நிறைவேறியது.
 
அப்போஸ்தலர் பணி)1:16 அன்பர்களே, இயேசுவைக் கைது செய்தவர்களுக்கு வழிகாட்டிய யூதாசைக் குறித்து தூய ஆவியார் தாவீதின் வாயிலாக முன்னுரைத்த மறைநூல் வாக்கு நிறைவேற வேண்டியிருந்தது.17 அவன் நம்மில் ஒருவனாய் எண்ணப்பட்டு நாம் ஆற்றும் பணியில் பங்கு பெற்றிருந்தான்.18 அவன் தனது நேர்மையற்ற செயலுக்கு கிடைத்த கூலியைக் கொண்டு ஒரு நிலத்தை வாங்கினான். பின்பு அவன் தலைகீழாய் விழ, வயிறு வெடித்து, குடலெல்லாம் சிதறிப்போயின.19 இது எருசலேமில் குடியிருக்கும் அனைவருக்கும் தெரியவந்தது. அதனால் அந்த நிலத்தை அவர்கள் தம் மொழியில் அக்கலிதமா என வழங்குகின்றார்கள். அதற்கு இரத்தநிலம் என்பது பொருள்.20 திருப்பாடல்கள் நூலில், அவன் வீடு பாழாவதாக! அதில் எவரும் குடிபுகாதிருப்பாராக! என்றும் அவனது பதவியை வேறொருவர் எடுத்துக்கொள்ளட்டும்! என்றும் எழுதப்பட்டுள்ளது.

 
ஏசு மரணம் நிகழ்ந்த பின்னர், தான் யூத மதப் பாதிரிகளிடம் பெற்ற பணம் கொண்டு யூதாசு தானே ஒரு நிலம் வாங்கி அதில் நின்று இருந்த போது உடல் பலூன் போல உப்பி வெடித்து இறந்தார் இந்த ஏசுவினால் தனக்கு தேவையான நெருங்கிய சீடர் என்று தேர்ந்தெடுத்த 12 பேருள் ஒருவர்.
ஏசு மரணம் நிகழ்ந்த பின்னர் நிலம் வாங்கி அதில் வெடித்து இறந்தார் யூதாசு என்பது லூக்கா விருப்பப்படியான சுவிசேஷம் கதாசிரியர் எழுதிய அப்போஸ்தலர் நடபடிகள் எனக் கூறுகிறது.
ஏசு மரணம் நிகழும் முன்பே துக்கில் தொங்கி தற்கொலை செய்து இறந்தார் என்பதை மத்தேயு சுவி தெளிவாகக் கூறுகிறது.
apostles

எது உண்மை? இரண்டுமே பொய்யா



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1981-லிருந்து இந்தப் ‘புதுமை’ நடந்து வருவதாகச் சொல்கிறார்கள். இதே போல் போர்ச்சுகல் நாட்டில் பாத்திமா என்ற இடத்தில் 1917-ல் 3 சின்னக் குழந்தைகளுக்கு மாதா காட்சி அளித்தாராம். அதனால் அவருக்கு பாத்திமா மாதா என்று பெயருமுண்டு. சரியாக 13 தேதியில் மாதம் ஒவ்வொன்றாக ஆறு மாதங்களுக்கு இந்தக் காட்சி நடந்ததாம். அப்போது இந்தக்
குழந்தைகளுக்கு மாதா 3 ரகசியங்களைக் கொடுத்ததாகச் சொல்கிறார்கள். அதில் முதல் ரகசியம் நரகம் பற்றியது. இந்த நரகம் நம் பூமிக்கு அடியில் இருப்பதாம். இதனாலேயே இந்த ‘ரகசியத்தின்’ உண்மை புரிகிறது. என்னுடன் வேலை பார்த்த ஒரு “நல்ல” கிறித்துவர் பூமிக்கு அடியில் நீண்ட துளை போட்ட போது அங்கிருந்து ஆட்களின் அழுகை ஒலி கேட்டதாகக் கூறினார்! இரண்டாவது ரகசியம் உலக யுத்தங்கள் பற்றியதாம். மூன்றாவது ரகசியத்தைப் பற்றிப் பல கதைகளும், விவாதங்களும், முரண்பாடுகளும் உண்டு. இதையெல்லாம் தெரிந்த பின்னும் இப்போது மாதா ரகசியங்கள் கொடுக்கிறார்கள் என்பதை எப்படி நம்புவது என்பது எனக்குப் புரியவில்லை

இதே போல் போர்ச்சுகல் நாட்டில் பாத்திமா என்ற இடத்தில் 1917-ல் 3 சின்னக் குழந்தைகளுக்கு மாதா காட்சி அளித்தாராம். அதனால் அவருக்கு பாத்திமா மாதா என்று பெயருமுண்டு. //
இது ஒரு பெரிய கதை நமக்கு விள்க்கம் சொல்லியே நேரம் போகுது. பாத்திமா என்பது முகமது(சல்) அவர்களின் மகள். அலியின்(ரலி) அவர்களின் மனைவி.
இஸ்லாமின் மிக முக்கிய பெண்மணிகளுள் ஒருவர்.

போர்ச்சுகலில் ஃபாத்திமா அந்த மலைக்கு பெயர் இட்டனர் அதைக் கைப்பற்றிய உம்மையாது வம்சத்தினர்.ஆகவே அந்த மலையை கைப்பற்ற அதே பேரில் மாற்றுக் கதை பரப்ப் பட்டது.அங்கே மாதா முஸ்லிம் பெண்மணி போல் தெரிகிறார்.
http://www.ewtn.com/library/mary/olislam.htm
It is a fact that Moslems from various nations, especially from the Middle East, make so many pilgrimages to Our Lady of Fatima's Shrine in Portugal that Portuguese officials have expressed concern. The combination of an Islamic name and Islamic devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary is a great attraction to Moslems. 
http://www.sol.com.au/kor/22_02.htm
அதுவும் இல்லாமல் கம்யுனிசத்திற்கு எதிரான ஒரு இயக்கம் ஆகவும்,கத்தோலிக்கத்தின் மறுமலர்ச்சி ஆகவும் ஆனது.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Lady_of_F%C3%A1tima
வேளாங்கண்ணியில் மாத இந்திய தாய் போல் தெரிகிறார்.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrines_to_the_Virgin_Mary
இன்னும் பல இஅடங்களில் அந்த கலாச்சாரங்களுக்கு ஏற்ப காட்சி தருகிறார்.அனைவரையும் மத இஅன் வேறுபாடின்றி ஈர்க்கிறார்.

ஆகவே "மத மாற்றத்தில் கிறித்தவத்திற்கு ஈடு இணை இல்லை" ஆயிரம் பேர் பதிவு இட்டாலும்,(ஆபாச) விவாதம் செய்தாலும்ஓட்டு போட்டு முத்னமை பதிவு ஆக்கினாலும் , சுட்டிகளை வெட்டி ஒட்டினாலும் கிறித்தவம் போல் வித்தியாசமாக வித்தை காட்டாதவரை எந்த மார்க்கமும்(?) மத மாற்றப் போட்டியில் வெல்ல முடியாது!!

நன்றி!!!

Friday, September 28, 2012 8:24:00 PM

தருமி said...

//நோய் உள்ளவன்தான் டாக்டரிடம் போக வேண்டும். //

சரி ஏவிஎஸ்,

இப்படி ஒண்ணு வச்சுக்குவோம்: ‘தவறிய’ ஆட்டைத் தேடித்தான் மேய்ப்பன் போவான்.

ஆர்.கே. நாராயணன், காதல் மணம், ஆங்கிலக் கதாசிரியர் ... அதுனால அவரது கற்பனை/பிரம்மை நிஜமாக இருக்கலாம்னு ஏன் நினைக்கிறீங்க!? அதுவும் உங்களுக்கே அதில் நம்பிக்கையில்லை .. இருந்தும் ஏன் இப்படி? ஆங்கில ஆசிரியர் என்பதாலா?

//கடவுள் இல்லை என்று 100க்கு 100 சர்வநிச்சயமாக சொல்வது அறிவியலுக்கு உகந்த சிந்தனை அல்ல. //

அறிவியலுக்கு உகந்ததே.



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