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Let's be biblically literary
#51

Let's be biblically literary
(09-08-2019, 03:19 AM)Minimalist Wrote: BTW, start with Canticle for Leibowitz.  It puts all the other religious horseshit into context.

 Thanks  Mim. yes I've heard that. Looking  forward to reading it. 

Did I misunderstand you? I thought you were arguing from silence .  IE due to a lack of evidence  

I just  found this interesting Blog  by a bloke called Richard Carrier  which seems to contradict you.  His stuff seems  scholarly to me.  The article is quite long : 

You wrote:

"There are no Pauline letters (original or copies) extant dating from the first century BC or AD and the earliest fragmentary copy we have is P-46 and which is dated from the late 2d to the early 3d century AD.... although it was in codex form which scholars did not think came into general usage until the 4th century which is a bit of a question mark on it.  It does not matter - the given dates are sufficient for our purpose now. "

Are you claiming that what are known today as the Pauline  epistles  could not have been written before the second century at the earliest? 

Carrier claims  the Pauline  letters date from the 50's ce.  

 
------------------These six letters also claim to be written by Paul and cohere in references to and descriptions of himself, and if they were indeed written when claimed, there is no reason to doubt that the author was Paul. No motive existed then to invent that name. Nor would such an invention at that point in history matter, since the exact name of this apostle is irrelevant to any argument one might construct about this man’s and these letters’ role in the history of Christianity. Paul may well have been the apostle’s adopted pen name, the Mark Twain to his Samuel Clemens. That makes no difference to anything (other than the fact that Paul is a distinctively Roman name that would be unlikely for anyone to have who was not a Roman citizen, which may be where Luke got the idea).

All that considered, that a Paul wrote those letters in the 50s A.D. makes all the evidence very likely. Otherwise, not at all likely. Therefore, it’s the far more probable hypothesis. And that makes Paul far better attested than Jesus: because we have some things written by Paul himself! (Would that we had such evidence for Jesus.) You can only assume “the evidence for Paul’s historicity is equivalent to that for the historicity of Jesus” if you assume the letters are forged. But then you can’t use the fact that “the evidence for Paul’s historicity is equivalent to that for the historicity of Jesus” as an argument for the letters being forged (without arguing in a circle).-----

https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7643

I'm beginning to become all confused again. I think I'd better shaddup and just concentrate on some more reading for awhile 

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PS here is his conclusion, if you don't feel like reading the whole article :


"What lowers the probability of Jesus existing is the kind of evidence we don’t have for Paul. Evidence placing Jesus in several myth-heavy reference classes, but not Paul. And evidence the non-existence of Jesus explains better than his existence does. There is nothing comparable for Paul.

In particular: Mistakes in Acts make the existence of Jesus less likely, because they are more likely to have occurred if his existence was being fabricated and hamfistedly inserted into a real outline of early Christian history (OHJ, Chapter 9.3-5). We have nothing of comparable effect for Paul. And evidence that Jesus was originally known only through revelations and hidden messages in scripture (OHJ, Chapter 11; e.g. Romans 16:25-26), which we also don’t have for Paul. And though that last requires agreeing the Pauline letters were written before the Gospels, that is a highly probable fact. Even apart from what the dates were, arguing the reverse requires swallowing too many improbabilities to credit. The sequence of Epistles, then Gospels, simply explains the evidence far better than the reverse can.

So unlike Jesus, Paul has a high prior probability of existing. And unlike Jesus, the Bayes factor for Paul not only does not reduce that prior, it actually raises it, because there is no evidence Paul’s non-existence explains better than his existence, and some evidence his existence explains better than his non-existence. The logically correct conclusion is that Paul probably existed and wrote the six authentic letters in the 50s A.D. (albeit we are now seeing only fractions of the actual letters he wrote, and somewhat meddled with). And that conclusion follows even when the same logic and methodology leads to the conclusion that, unlike Paul, Jesus probably did not exist. Except, originally, in the fevered imaginations of the revelators of a schizotypal cult (OHJ, Chapter 4, Elements 15 and 16, pp. 124-41)."
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#52

Let's be biblically literary
(09-08-2019, 03:25 AM)mordant Wrote:
(09-08-2019, 12:45 AM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote:My understanding is Paul's letters  are the earliest writings of the  New Testament .


There are no Pauline letters (original or copies) extant dating from the first century BC or AD and the earliest fragmentary copy we have is P-46 and which is dated from the late 2d to the early 3d century AD.... although it was in codex form which scholars did not think came into general usage until the 4th century which is a bit of a question mark on it.

That doesn't have anything to do with the scholarly dating of the time in which the Pauline corpus was AUTHORED. That is not determined by the age of the earliest manuscripts, anymore than one could legitimately conclude today what year a book was written based on the oldest surviving print edition. Writing and publishing are two different processes. It is not unusual for the oldest extant copy of a book to postdate the death of the author himself. It is more common, the older the work.

That is simply a statement of fact.  We have no letters or copies dating from the time prior to the late 2d/early third century AD.  

Citations of gospel passages by Justin Martyr beginning in the year 100, for example, argue strongly for the authorship of those books prior to 100. That the oldest complete manuscripts are hundreds of years younger is irrelevant. I realize that some of these reasonings can be circle jerks, where one work with questionable dating is used to determine the date of something earlier. In any event it's not an exact science. However, taken as a whole, first century dating of the entire NT is not one of the weakest positions of conservative scholarship. If you have Clement of Rome citing 3 different NT passages in about AD 97, that trumps the lack of a 1st century manuscript copy of what he's citing. So far as I know it's an accepted fact that Clement died in AD 99, so ...

You lost me with the beginning there.  Justin was born around 100, I doubt he popped out of the womb with a stylus in hand.  Clement of Rome is dated to 96-97 by churchie scholars who insist that the text refers to the "persecution of Domitian."  There is no evidence that there was any persecution by Domitian.  As you say, circle jerk reasoning.

Another example. The Sadducees collapsed around ad 70 as a prominent political force, but their prominence in the book of Acts suggests that book was written prior to AD 70. Here again ... there's nothing to prevent someone much later writing fan fiction about a period prior to AD 70 -- or writing with a later period in mind without realizing the Sadducees would not have been involved by then. Still, putting together multiple clues like this contribute to the dating process also.

Acts also insists that the apostles were wandering around performing miracles.  Acts also insists that "Paul" was converted by a flash of light on the road to Damascus.  Acts also insists that Peter and Paul reconciled and went on to become one big happy church..... long before Marcion produced the supposed epistles in which Paul should have ripped yahweh a new asshole.  I'm sorry, but I don't put much stock in Acts.

So the statement that Paul's writings are the earliest in the NT has zero really to do with whether we have the original manuscripts or how old the surviving copied manuscripts are. That statement isn't based on the age of the extant manuscripts.

Again, you are disputing a simple fact.  WE DO NOT HAVE ANY EVIDENCE OF ANY NT DOCUMENT PRIOR TO THE SECOND CENTURY.  Apologists love to make excuses for that.  I find those excuses lame.

I accept absent evidence to the contrary, the consensus that Paul's writings predate the earliest of the gospels by about 20 years. Indeed, it is in large part the contrast between Paul's description of and teachings concerning Jesus, and the later gospels, that make me skeptical of Jesus' historicity.

Possible but largely irrelevant.  The apologists try to shove the dates earlier and earlier while modern scholars find them older.  They want us to accept... on little more than their word... that Paul wrote in the 50's and the gospels started to be written in the 70's.  That's 20 years.  It's also roughly 20-30 years between the time that early xtian writers tell us that Marcion was the first to create a xtian canon, albeit a heretical one c 144 and the time that the proto-orthodox story of jesus began to emerge.  

Finally, this "copy of copy of copies" business, as if manuscript copying had no rigor and is equivalent to photos of photos of photos with inherent deterioration in fidelity, is one of the more embarrassing claims made by internet atheists. One can compare manuscripts hundreds of years apart and find the later manuscript adequately true to the earlier one, and from this we can extrapolate that even hundreds of years of manuscript copying don't present a huge fidelity problem.

You'll have to take that up with scholars like Ehrman who have conclusively demonstrated how those manuscripts were accidentally and sometimes deliberately altered to serve the doctrinal needs of the church.  I'm convinced.

The Bible is so full of fanciful nonsense, demonstrable untruths and internal inconsistencies that we don't need to fight a quixotic battle against biblical historical criticism. We are not that desperate. Indeed, we aren't desperate, period. Let's not act like it.

Battle?  It's merely a discussion.  But I am not going to accept the word of holy horseshitters because they claim that god is on their side.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#53

Let's be biblically literary
Quote:Did I misunderstand you? I thought you were arguing from silence .  IE due to a lack of evidence 



No, no.  You've got it.  We have no evidence that any of this holy horseshit ever happened except the later ramblings of church writers.  Just like we have no evidence that Alexander attacked Rome or Martians landed in Ohio in the 13th century. Those things did not happen but if someone can produce actual evidence that they did I would evaluate that evidence and alter my views if need be. 

Same goes for fucking jesus... except there really was an Alexander the Great.
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#54

Let's be biblically literary
Quote:Carrier claims  the Pauline  letters date from the 50's ce. 


I wish Carrier had gone into depth about the Paul shit in OTHJ but his topic was jesus and he seemed to be quite satisfied that the paul stuff we have now did not damage his argument.  Aside from some later xtian interpolations Paul speaks of a mythic jesus in outer space.  

As Carrier concludes on pg 595 of OTHJ:


Quote:Given my own estimates (which are closer to what I think the odds actually are), the evidence

of the Epistles is exactly 100% expected on minimal mythicism, and
has a probability of only 6% on minimal historicity. Or again, whatever the
percentages, I think the evidence of the Epistles is at least sixteen times less
likely on historicity. Because they are simply so very strange on minimal
historicity but not at ali strange on minimal mythicism. In fact, these are
pretty much exactly the kind of letters we should expect to now have from
Paul (and the other authors as well) if minimal mythicism is true. Not so on
historicity.

Maybe some day Carrier will aim his considerable talents at "paul?"  We can hope.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#55

Let's be biblically literary
(09-08-2019, 04:33 AM)Minimalist Wrote: Again, you are disputing a simple fact.  WE DO NOT HAVE ANY EVIDENCE OF ANY NT DOCUMENT PRIOR TO THE SECOND CENTURY.  Apologists love to make excuses for that.  I find those excuses lame.

Min, I am not, and clearly WAS not, disputing that we have no manuscripts dating from the 1st century. I am simply pointing out that determining the authorship date of a document has literally nothing to do with the age of the extant manuscripts.

Picking something extra-Biblical at random, the Illiad is dated to the 700s BC or so, but the best preserved extant manuscript dates from 150 AD. For quite some time it appears the best manuscript dated from the 10th century. No one has ever suggested therefore that the Illiad's authorship in the 7th century BC is somehow in question.

THAT was my point.

As to the scholarly consensus on fixing dates of authorship, it has always been a back and forth between different camps, and I do mean back and forth. Prominent late authorship scholars have been known to recant later in their careers, and vice versa. That's why it's fair to say that the general consensus that, e.g., the Gospel of John dates from 90 to 100 AD and could possibly be younger than that but this is a minority view [shrug].

Regardless of the dating being argued, I'm not aware of any scholarship that says the gospels predate the Pauline letters ... are you?

Finally ... as I said, the NT is so full of horseshit that it really wouldn't bother me if someone could produce a pristine manuscript of, say, the Gospel of Luke from 35 AD.

That, by the way, is the ONLY way in which the dating of a manuscript would influence the date of authorship -- obviously a document indisputably dated to a given year X means the authorship has to be in a year <= X, so if a manuscript much older than anyone thought possible were found, then authorship estimates would have to be revised in light of that.

You are basically saying year of authorship must be assumed to be X and only X and there can be no basis even entertained for an earlier date. I don't know why you feel the need to stake such a claim as it would be rejected by researchers and historians in any other realm. It is almost like an inverse special pleading when it comes to the Bible.

I say, even if you grant the conservative scholarship and earliest dates for the sake of argument -- what are they left with? Horseshit. I don't see the problem.

I guess if you could establish that Jesus and Paul were unknown and unmentioned at least in anything like their presently known form until, I don't know, 300 AD, and that all scholarship to the contrary over the past two millennia was a vast theist conspiracy, you could in principle undermine the whole basis of Christianity and Christian tradition, but that seems like quite a project to take on. It is rather like claiming that millions of bureaucrats and politicians and military personnel and contractors, not just in the US but worldwide, faked the 1960s moon landings. Kind of ignores that it's impossible to begin with, and there's no coherent motivation to even attempt it.

I grant you that the level of certainty and quantity of empirical evidence about authorship and manuscript dating from 2,000 years ago is not as great as the moon landings, but the principle is still the same. The simplest explanation for a consensus in any realm is that the evidence tends to zero in on exactly that. Of COURSE we factor in that the Church is the organization with the most to gain and has likely stacked the deck to the extent it can. But at least in the modern scientific and information age, it has no special ability to manufacture evidence or sustain conspiracies. Its favored tactic has always been to just spin facts and add in bullshit. But the manuscripts exist, are in general transparently visible for all to examine, and most of the people with credible expertise to bear on the matter have credibility precisely because they stick to the objectively determinable facts and not to some pet dogma or other. We tend to forget what an intellectual desert fundamentalism is; they can spout whatever they want but that can always be compared with the known facts and data. When we filter out bullshit and spin and look at the textual and historical evidence, we keep zeroing in on dates earlier than you (or I, frankly) would in some ways like.

But so what? It's still scholarship about a fantasy account of a miracle working zombie godboy.
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#56

Let's be biblically literary
(09-08-2019, 04:40 AM)Minimalist Wrote:
Quote:Did I misunderstand you? I thought you were arguing from silence .  IE due to a lack of evidence 


No, no.  You've got it.  We have no evidence that any of this holy horseshit ever happened except the later ramblings of church writers.  Just like we have no evidence that Alexander attacked Rome or Martians landed in Ohio in the 13th century. Those things did not happen but if someone can produce actual evidence that they did I would evaluate that evidence and alter my views if need be. 

Same goes for fucking jesus... except there really was an Alexander the Great.

That's what  I thought.  are you seriously asking me to accept an argument  from silence as proof  Paul did not exist?  I'll accept an absence of proof SUGGESTS  actual absence, and MAY be the case, but is not necessarily so.  (se Russell's Teapot) 

Was it you who said Justins  did not mention Paul?   I've been reading "Did Jesus Exist?" by Bart Ehrman, former Christian and respected biblical a scholar.   He states  Justin DID mention Paul, more than  once.  I'm afraid I must  accept that claim  unless you have proof  his references are  forgeries,

Umm ,did you read Carrier's blog? The article I linked  is actually  about the historicity of  Paul.  Its title is "The Historicity Of Paul The Apostle" .He mentions  Jesus as contrast.
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#57

Let's be biblically literary
So if Ehrman says Justin Martyr mentioned Paul, (and we know apologists go to all the trouble to explain why he didn't mention him)
then how about we get the references from Ehrman's book, where he did mention him.
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#58

Let's be biblically literary
Quote:You are basically saying year of authorship must be assumed to be X and only X and there can be no basis even entertained for an earlier date.


Nope.  You are reading way too much into it. 

The point is actually quite simple.

One, we do not have any first century manuscripts.  Period.  It seems we agree here.

Two, later xtian sources tell us that Marcion was the first to produce a xtian canon which comprised the Gospel of the Lord and 10 epistles of Paul.  They ( not I ) date Marcion to the 140s AD. 

Three, those same writers tell us that Marcion was a Gnostic heretic who thought Yahweh was a corrupt lower god who created this miserable place called earth.  He claims that there was a higher god who sent "jesus."

Four,  as the champion of Marcionism it must be assumed that whatever "Paul" wrote would support Marcion's point of view otherwise it would not be in there.

Five, in spite of #4 the epistles of "paul" that we have now repeatedly cite the Old Testament that Marcion rejected.  

Six, these later xtian writers claim that Marcion, in spite of being the first to construct a written canon, actually took existing documents and edited them to suit his purpose.  We don't know if this is true or an invention because we do not have any original versions or even historical references to earlier versions. 

Seven, Justin writing to Antoninus Pius c 160 AD names Marcion in his First Apology.  He makes no reference to anyone named Paul.  Coincidentally, or not, Lucian of Samosata, a Roman satirist of the mid first century refers to xtians worshiping a crucified criminal at roughly the same time.  But he never heard of any "Jesus" he didn't know the name.  Equally curious is that the earliest Greco-Roman mention of jesus comes from Celsus.  The xtian writer, Origen, in the 3d century cites a work written by Celsus c 180 AD which is roughly when the proto-orthodox tale of jesus on earth begins to make the rounds.  Celsus is quoted as saying:  "Christians, needless to say, utterly detest one another; they slander each other constantly with the vilest forms of abuse, and cannot come to any sort of agreement in their teaching. Each sect brands its own, fills the head of its own with deceitful nonsense..."  which is certainly an interesting observation for a Roman philosopher to make.

Eight, only after all of this do we get an early written version of this paul stuff (now known as P-46).  For all we KNOW ( and know is in caps for a reason ) that was the original or at least the original put forward by the proto-orthodox.  Xtians may believe otherwise but you can imagine what I think of their beliefs.


Now, if you want to know if I think the xtian-related story of Marcion is true the answer is "no."  It has all the hallmarks of later tales meant to substantiate Papal Supremacy such as the story of the pope turning aside Attila the Hun.  But that is a subject for another thread.
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#59

Let's be biblically literary
Quote:That's what  I thought.  are you seriously asking me to accept an argument  from silence as proof  Paul did not exist?


You can believe whatever you want.  No skin off my nose. 


Here is a link from Early Christian Writings to Justin's First Apology.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ology.html

Open it up, search for "Paul" on the page ( I have an "edit" function which brings up a search box ) and see what you get.  Then, for the fun of it put "Peter" in and it will duly find the name of Peter Kirby who put out the web site.  It also will find "Marcion" if you put that in. 

You can do this for yourself.
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#60

Let's be biblically literary
(09-09-2019, 05:30 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: So if Ehrman says Justin Martyr mentioned Paul, (and we know apologists go to all the trouble to explain why he didn't mention him)
then how about we get the references from Ehrman's book, where he did mention him.

 I was hoping no one would ask that .  Now I'm not sure if it was Ehrman or Wilson. I'll check both, I haven't read all that much of either book .


 In "Paul; The Mind Of The Apostle ' . A N Wilson  explains  lucidly how it was that early 'Christians' hated each other. For a start, there was no such thing as "a Christian' in the first century. There was no agreed  Canon , with different sects using different texts. That which jesu allegedly taught  was called 'The Way'  . This was not a new religion at first, but a Jewish  sect which worshipped in the Jewish  temple.


I have a dilemma . I admit, I only did a year of [modern ] history at University, so can't call myself an historian . However, I have been reading only history for about 20 years. I've been caught out by woo a couple of times, but can usually spot a trained  historian  fairly quickly. 

When  I visit this and other forums (try 'Historum Forum') , I often encounter very passionate  amateur historians who insist mainstream professional  historians are simply wrong.  Some get quite narky if asked  to provide credible evidence . An argument from silence/absence  is  not accepted as proof in historical writings nor in fact in reasoned discourse. It's a basic logical fallacy.   IE a thing is not  necessarily false  because it  has not been proved to be true, although it MAY be false .

So I'm afraid that in the absence of pretty strong proof, I am obliged to accept the claims of  respected professional historians over the passionate amateur. 

I'll have a look for that  Justin Martyr  reference  a bit later today, and post it, if I can  find it.
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#61

Let's be biblically literary
(09-09-2019, 11:36 PM)grympy Wrote:
(09-09-2019, 05:30 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: So if Ehrman says Justin Martyr mentioned Paul, (and we know apologists go to all the trouble to explain why he didn't mention him)
then how about we get the references from Ehrman's book, where he did mention him.

 I was hoping no one would ask that .  Now I'm not sure if it was Ehrman or Wilson. I'll check both, I haven't read all that much of either book .


 In "Paul; The Mind Of The Apostle ' . A N Wilson  explains  lucidly how it was that early 'Christians' hated each other. For a start, there was no such thing as "a Christian' in the first century. There was no agreed  Canon , with different sects using different texts. That which jesu allegedly taught  was called 'The Way'  . This was not a new religion at first, but a Jewish  sect which worshipped in the Jewish  temple.


I have a dilemma . I admit, I only did a year of [modern ] history at University, so can't call myself an historian . However, I have been reading only history for about 20 years. I've been caught out by woo a couple of times, but can usually spot a trained  historian  fairly quickly. 

When  I visit this and other forums (try 'Historum Forum') , I often encounter very passionate  amateur historians who insist mainstream professional  historians are simply wrong.  Some get quite narky if asked  to provide credible evidence . An argument from silence/absence  is  not accepted as proof in historical writings nor in fact in reasoned discourse. It's a basic logical fallacy.   IE a thing is not  necessarily false  because it  has not been proved to be true, although it MAY be false .

So I'm afraid that in the absence of pretty strong proof, I am obliged to accept the claims of  respected professional historians over the passionate amateur. 

I'll have a look for that  Justin Martyr  reference  a bit later today, and post it, if I can  find it.

There are times when you can say something is a fallacy but in fact it might not be wrong. For example, Occam's Razor is sometimes used but is simply wrong. Things are, in fact, as complex as they are. They may or may not comply with the Occam's Razor argument. The argument from silence is legitimate sometimes. For example, why is it no non-Christian Jew mentions a Jesus who called himself King of the Jews ? Why is it if he was important enough to merit a meeting of the Sanhedrin in Passover week, does no Jew mention that. If the temple curtain was torn, why is it no Jewish commentator mentions it ? Or 500 dead people rising on Easter Sunday ? What do we have ? Silence. Why is it the Romans did not mount a search and re-arrest of someone who was important enough to merit a trial and execution ? What do we have ? Silence. When you can certainly EXPECT more than silence, from commentators who comment on far more mundane occurrences, it does mean something. Silence is not nothing. Fallacy or not, it can, in context be something.
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#62

Let's be biblically literary
(09-10-2019, 01:28 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(09-09-2019, 11:36 PM)grympy Wrote:
(09-09-2019, 05:30 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: So if Ehrman says Justin Martyr mentioned Paul, (and we know apologists go to all the trouble to explain why he didn't mention him)
then how about we get the references from Ehrman's book, where he did mention him.

 I was hoping no one would ask that .  Now I'm not sure if it was Ehrman or Wilson. I'll check both, I haven't read all that much of either book .


 In "Paul; The Mind Of The Apostle ' . A N Wilson  explains  lucidly how it was that early 'Christians' hated each other. For a start, there was no such thing as "a Christian' in the first century. There was no agreed  Canon , with different sects using different texts. That which jesu allegedly taught  was called 'The Way'  . This was not a new religion at first, but a Jewish  sect which worshipped in the Jewish  temple.


I have a dilemma . I admit, I only did a year of [modern ] history at University, so can't call myself an historian . However, I have been reading only history for about 20 years. I've been caught out by woo a couple of times, but can usually spot a trained  historian  fairly quickly. 

When  I visit this and other forums (try 'Historum Forum') , I often encounter very passionate  amateur historians who insist mainstream professional  historians are simply wrong.  Some get quite narky if asked  to provide credible evidence . An argument from silence/absence  is  not accepted as proof in historical writings nor in fact in reasoned discourse. It's a basic logical fallacy.   IE a thing is not  necessarily false  because it  has not been proved to be true, although it MAY be false .

So I'm afraid that in the absence of pretty strong proof, I am obliged to accept the claims of  respected professional historians over the passionate amateur. 

I'll have a look for that  Justin Martyr  reference  a bit later today, and post it, if I can  find it.

There are times when you can say something is a fallacy but in fact it might not be wrong. For example, Occam's Razor is sometimes used but is simply wrong. Things are, in fact, as complex as they are. They may or may not comply with the Occam's Razor argument. The argument from silence is legitimate sometimes. For example, why is it no non-Christian Jew mentions a Jesus who called himself King of the Jews ? Why is it if he was important enough to merit a meeting of the Sanhedrin in Passover week, does no Jew mention that. If the temple curtain was torn, why is it no Jewish commentator mentions it ? Or 500 dead people rising on Easter Sunday ? What do we have ? Silence. Why is it the Romans did not mount a search and re-arrest of someone who was important enough to merit a trial and execution ? What do we have ? Silence. When you can certainly EXPECT more than silence, from commentators who comment on far more mundane occurrences, it does mean something. Silence is not nothing. Fallacy or not, it can, in context be something.
 
I agree in  principle, which is why I  stated an argument from absence is not proof , but suggests a thing MAY be false. Of course ,it sometimes  is actually  false.  However, I do not resile from my position that an argument from silence/absence is not accepted in itself as proof, nor accepted in reasoned discourse. Such an argument implies but does not infer truth. A valid logical inference may be said to provide truth IF AND ONLY IF THE PREMISE IS TRUE. 

I have no problem accepting the claims of trained and respected historians over autodidacts, without strong evidence .  Hence rightly I think,  I reject an argument  from silence as proof in itself .

Such claims are  examples of the classic  'argument from ignorance'  fallacy and  may be dismissed, as a rule of thumb . 

I will concede that the issues being discussed seem to be  unfalsifiable.   In such cases, the  most I am usually prepared to accept is; 'likely' or 'probable' at best. I'm happy to accept the historicity of Paul as likely.

I invite you to read  "The Historicity Of Paul The Apostle " By Richard Carrier.  It's a blog  but I find it quite scholarly. I invited Min to read it, but seems he couldn't be bothered.
 
Carrier mentions Justin Martyr. I do hopeI haven't gotten him and Ehrman confused.  If   in checking Ehrman  I find I have, I will  say so and apologise profusely.   

Below I've posted  Carrier's response to the argument  from silence  for the non existence,  of Paul. The other arguments  for the existence of Paul are also worth reading imo.  :

" An Argument from Silence?
But can we deploy a valid AfS against the historicity of Paul? Doesn’t the fact that no one seems to mention him for almost a century seem odd? No. To be valid an AfS requires the actual expectation of mentions (Proving History, index, “Argument from Silence”). But between 30 A.D. and 150 A.D. there are no documents (none whatsoever) that would likely have mentioned Paul, except those that would—and they do!
In fact, there are almost zero documents, period. The history of the Christian Church before 150 A.D. has been scrubbed almost entirely clean. Tons of documentation and books that would have existed, were destroyed (OHJ, Chapter 8.4). All we have left is what’s in the canon, and a few stragglers beyond. Among those stragglers, several do in fact mention Paul. The letter of 1 Clement attests to Paul’s existence (and his body of letters)—and is ignorant of later legends placing Paul’s death in Rome; Clement places it in Spain. That letter is traditionally dated to the 90s A.D. Although I and some other scholars concur the evidence actually places it before the year 66 (OHJ, Chapters 7.6 and 8.5). And the Ignatian epistles attest to Paul’s existence (and his body of letters). Those are traditionally dated to the 110s A.D. Although I and several other scholars concur the evidence actually places them decades later (OHJ, Chapter 8.6).
What else could have mentioned him? We have nothing. The apologies of Aristides and Quadratus don’t concern themselves with ancillary actors in history like Paul. Nor do documents like the Didache (which sets rules for “apostles” but does not concern itself with listing who they are). So we can’t expect them to mention Paul. We don’t have the books of Papias. So we can’t say what “wasn’t in” Papias. And in that same period non-Christian sources are all oblivious even to the existence of Christians—or at best are only vaguely aware of Christ, and that’s lifetimes after Paul. So they can hardly be expected to know about Paul.
So there is no sound argument from silence against the historicity of Paul. Any document we would expect to mention him either does mention him, or no longer exists (and therefore can’t be checked). As I explained in my analysis of Bart Ehrman’s use of Pilate as a false analogy (whom Ehrman claimed was no better attested than Jesus, a claim that is factually and egregiously not true), most historical persons have as little evidence for their existence as we have for Jesus. Thus, we cannot infer non-historicity from just that (as I explain in Proving History, pp. 26-29 and 117-19). We need a prior favoring non-historicity. Or a state of evidence favoring it. Or both. For Paul, we have neither. For Jesus, we have both.
Desperate to avoid this fate for the argument, defenders of a mythic Paul will resort to insisting the Gospel of Mark should mention Paul. I cannot fathom a single reason why, or where on earth in the narrative that fact would ever come up. And that’s not just because Mark is a symbolic fiction that communicates nothing literally to begin with (see Mark 4 and OHJ, Chapter 10.4). Even taken literally, there is no point in it where a mention of Paul would be expected. But it does defend the version of Christianity that in his letters Paul says he invented. Yet Paul’s letters show no awareness of any of the stories told in Mark (apart from too vaguely to match the specifics introduced by Mark, e.g. OHJ, Chapter 11.7). The best explanation of that fact is that Paul’s letters precede Mark.
That argument failing, they will resort to saying that Justin Martyr never mentions Paul, therefore Paul didn’t exist. But that’s absurd. Justin wrote around 160 A.D. To suppose the Pauline letters were not circulating by then is ridiculous. Justin’s near contemporary Tertullian reports that Marcion was already circulating those letters by 140 A.D., decades before Justin wrote. Whereas when Justin wrote the anti-Marcionite canon did not yet exist. It was being created during Justin’s life or shortly thereafter. So there is no reason Justin would talk about Paul’s any more than any other letters. There were just a bunch of letters by bunches of different people. Not relevant to anything Justin argues. Only the Gospels were, and Justin was working from, it appears, the post-canonical Gospel of James (the first to place the birth of Jesus in a cave, the only birth story Justin mentions). Which doesn’t argue for the non-existence of Mark, by the way. So neither would not mentioning Paul.
Similarly other late authors (e.g. Theophilus, writing c. 180 A.D.). It is simply not reasonable to expect everyone to mention Paul, as we know for a fact even people using the canon with Paul in it often didn’t, and they rarely wrote anything in which mentioning him would be relevant. So that some authors don’t mention him is 100% expected. True, that some authors would mention him is also expected to be highly probable—except for the fact that we have almost no authors from the relevant historical period to check from. And yet, lo and behold, we still have some references to Paul (1 Clement and Ignatius; and one might also, albeit weakly, count the forgery of 2 Peter and the historical fiction of Acts, etc.). Everything else was destroyed. And we can’t argue from the silence of documents we don’t have.
There is therefore no valid argument from silence to work from.
To be fair, I don’t think there is an argument from silence against the historicity of Jesus, either—provided we accept he was an uninfluential nobody (OHJ, Chapter 2; although that is a tough pill for historicists to swallow: see OHJ, pp. 574-75 n. 82 and p. 557 nn. 55 and 56). Hence I assign a Bayes factor to that of even steven: no effect (OHJ, Chapter 8.13). And if so for Jesus, definitely the same goes for Paul."



https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/7643 

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Argument from ignorance (from Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance represents "a lack of contrary evidence"), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false or a proposition is false because it has not yet been proven true. This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes the possibility that there may have been an insufficient investigation to prove that the proposition is either true or false.[1] It also does not allow for the possibility that the answer is unknowable, only knowable in the future, or neither completely true nor completely false.[2] In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used in an attempt to shift the burden of proof. In research, low-power experiments are subject to false negatives (there would have been an observable effect if there had been a larger sample size or better experimental design) and false positives (there was an observable effect; however, this was a coincidence due purely to random chance, or the events correlate, but there is no cause-effect relationship). The term was likely coined by philosopher John Locke in the late 17th century.[3][4]

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance
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#63

Let's be biblically literary
Addendum: still wading through Ehrman from the beginning to find the bit about Justin Martyr .

Bart mentions Richard Carrier in the main text, as a significant "mythicist" on the issue of the historicity of Jesu. Apparently DR Carrier has a Phd in classical studies.

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FOUND IT, kind of----Just reread the passage. What Ehrman actually wrote was : (refuting a mythicist ,"Acharya ,author "The Greatest Story Ever Sold")

" (that) The second century church father Justin never quotes or mentions any of the Gospels. [This simply isn't true: he mentions the Gospels on numerous occasions; typically he cals them "Memoirs of the Apostles" and quotes from them, especially from Matthew, Mark and Luke] "

I misremembered . I'm very sorry. My short term memory is shot to hell.
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#64

Let's be biblically literary
No problem.  No one ( except idiot fundie apologists ) ever said this shit was easy.

It's  late here.... I'm in Arizona not Australia.  I'll take a peek at that stuff tomorrow.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#65

Let's be biblically literary
(09-05-2019, 01:14 AM)Minimalist Wrote: I read the Passover Plot long ago as well.  Unpersuasive then and almost laughable now but it does demonstrate how virtually anyone can look into the pile of shit that jesus freaks swear by and construct their own theory.

A real jesus is no more necessary to xtians than a real Questzlcoatl was to the Aztecs.

Now, for a really good religious themed book try "A Canticle For Leibowitz."

"Eat, eat!" said the Pope's child.

I also read that long ago.
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#66

Let's be biblically literary
So, Grymp... I got a chance to check out this Memoirs of the Apostles stuff.

The first one I checked shows the problem.  It also shows a little modern cherry-picking.

In The Development of the Canon it gives a sample of a Justin reference but from the Dialogue with Trypho, not the First Apology.  Trypho was a jewish strawman figure that Justin created to argue with so he could show how wonderful his jesus shit was.  In Chapter 106 the site draws this inference from Justin and his Memoirs stuff and cites the Gospel of Matthew as the modern equivalent.  Well.

Quote:Justin Martyr and the Gospel according to Matthew
Justin    Dial. 106.4
...when a star rose in heaven at the time of his [Jesus'] birth, as is recorded in the Memoirs of his apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognizing the sign by this, came and worshipped him.

Matthew c.f. 2:1

Now I agree that you can see the gist of the idea but what actually appears in our modern versions of "Matthew" is this:

Quote:2 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

But if you take the time to read through Trypho - and I don't know why anyone would - you find that the entire idea is:

Quote:And that He should arise like a star from the seed of Abraham, Moses showed before hand when he thus said, 'A star shall arise from Jacob, and a leader from Israel;' and another Scripture says, 'Behold a man; the East is His name.' Accordingly, when a star rose in heaven at the time of His birth, as is recorded in the memoirs of His apostles, the Magi from Arabia, recognising the sign by this, came and worshipped Him.

Justin's entire thought goes way beyond what made it into "Matty."  And I have to be concerned about the intellectual honesty of a "scholar" who carefully edits the text so that it sort of, almost, nearly, reflects what was written in a later work.


Now, just by way of comparison, in Chapter 103 in Trypho we get this which is a reference to "Luke" 22

Quote: 42 saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

It matches pretty closely to what xtian writers tell us was in Marcion's Gospel of the Lord.

http://gnosis.org/library/marcion/Gospel6.html#Mount

Quote:42 Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.

Nonetheless, this does not really count as we know going in that Marcion had already published the Gospel of the Lord and what emerges later is "Luke" which is about 2/3 of Marcion's work - heavily edited, of course, - and about 1/3 new material added on for doctrinal purposes.

The implication is that this stuff was in the process of being fleshed out and was not ready for prime time when Justin wrote.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#67

Let's be biblically literary
One other thing, Grymp.  I found this for Phaedrus yesterday in a PM discussion.  You might want to take a look at it.  Pay particular attention to Ehrman's discussion on the documentation of early jesusism.

Then maybe we can have another discussion about "evidence from silence."

Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#68

Let's be biblically literary
(09-10-2019, 05:03 PM)Minimalist Wrote: One other thing, Grymp.  I found this for Phaedrus yesterday in a PM discussion.  You might want to take a look at it.  Pay particular attention to Ehrman's discussion on the documentation of early jesusism.

Then maybe we can have another discussion about "evidence from silence."


 Thanks for that Min. Sounds familiar; a lot of this was lifted from his book 'Misquoting Jesus"
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#69

Let's be biblically literary
Oh, yeah.  He's been beating that drum for a long time now and there is nothing new to be said.

What pisses me off about Ehrman is that he has been trashing this holy horseshit for years and with good reason but he is like a guy who pisses in a small pond for years and then says "it's okay boys, I found a clean spot to drink from!"

Sorry, Bart.  Trying to placate the jesus freaks isn't going to work.  They regard you as a renegade and heretic.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#70

Let's be biblically literary
(09-10-2019, 04:56 PM)Minimalist Wrote: The implication is that this stuff was in the process of being fleshed out and was not ready for prime time when Justin wrote.

^^^^ That. Right there. That's the interesting stuff right there. The early stuff, not quite "orthodoxy" yet.
We know that in the history of human ideas, nothing pops out, fully formed, full-bloom. There are always precursor concepts.
For me, if anything about this nonsense is interesting, it's picking out the precursors.
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#71

Let's be biblically literary
(09-11-2019, 05:17 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(09-10-2019, 04:56 PM)Minimalist Wrote: The implication is that this stuff was in the process of being fleshed out and was not ready for prime time when Justin wrote.

^^^^ That. Right there. That's the interesting stuff right there. The early stuff, not quite "orthodoxy" yet.
We know that in the history of human ideas, nothing pops out, fully formed, full-bloom. There are always precursor concepts.
For me, if anything about this nonsense is interesting, it's picking out the precursors.

Yeah that is definitely interesting. I also find Marcion the Gnostic heretic quoting Paul, whether the version of Paul we have is edited or not, to fit with my notion that Paul was an early gnostic or even the originator of gnosticism or at least a proto-gnosticism. Paul's corpus also reads like it was originally pushing a celestial / ethereal Jesus and then a few passages were bolted on to mention in passing that Jesus was born on earth, was flesh and blood, and interacted with people and ran afoul of the authorities and so forth, enough so that modern theologians can pooh-pooh the "seated in the heavenlies" stuff as mere "positional truth", a sort of convoluted way of looking at Jesus' (and our) spiritual standing with god as a sort of dual or deeper meaning to the physical aspect of Jesus' life and ministry.

I had not considered the lack of manuscripts prior to certain dates as being potentially explained by those being, themselves, first or early drafts. That is of course possible, but I don't know how one would definitively prove it. Or put another way, how would we tell if the Pauline letters known to us were the originals that Marcion edited to suit himself, or if Marcion's edition were the originals that were then retrofitted to later orthodoxy and those edited versions survived for us to read -- or even some fucked up mixture of the two?
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#72

Let's be biblically literary
(09-11-2019, 08:22 PM)mordant Wrote:
(09-11-2019, 05:17 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(09-10-2019, 04:56 PM)Minimalist Wrote: The implication is that this stuff was in the process of being fleshed out and was not ready for prime time when Justin wrote.

^^^^ That. Right there. That's the interesting stuff right there. The early stuff, not quite "orthodoxy" yet.
We know that in the history of human ideas, nothing pops out, fully formed, full-bloom. There are always precursor concepts.
For me, if anything about this nonsense is interesting, it's picking out the precursors.

Yeah that is definitely interesting. I also find Marcion the Gnostic heretic quoting Paul, whether the version of Paul we have is edited or not, to fit with my notion that Paul was an early gnostic or even the originator of gnosticism or at least a proto-gnosticism. Paul's corpus also reads like it was originally pushing a celestial / ethereal Jesus and then a few passages were bolted on to mention in passing that Jesus was born on earth, was flesh and blood, and interacted with people and ran afoul of the authorities and so forth, enough so that modern theologians can pooh-pooh the "seated in the heavenlies" stuff as mere "positional truth", a sort of convoluted way of looking at Jesus' (and our) spiritual standing with god as a sort of dual or deeper meaning to the physical aspect of Jesus' life and ministry.

I had not considered the lack of manuscripts prior to certain dates as being potentially explained by those being, themselves, first or early drafts. That is of course possible, but I don't know how one would definitively prove it. Or put another way, how would we tell if the Pauline letters known to us were the originals that Marcion edited to suit himself, or if Marcion's edition were the originals that were then retrofitted to later orthodoxy and those edited versions survived for us to read -- or even some fucked up mixture of the two?

Have you read Philo ? He was certainly a Gnostic writing at the same time.
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#73

Let's be biblically literary
(09-11-2019, 08:33 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:
(09-11-2019, 08:22 PM)mordant Wrote:
(09-11-2019, 05:17 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote: ^^^^ That. Right there. That's the interesting stuff right there. The early stuff, not quite "orthodoxy" yet.
We know that in the history of human ideas, nothing pops out, fully formed, full-bloom. There are always precursor concepts.
For me, if anything about this nonsense is interesting, it's picking out the precursors.

Yeah that is definitely interesting. I also find Marcion the Gnostic heretic quoting Paul, whether the version of Paul we have is edited or not, to fit with my notion that Paul was an early gnostic or even the originator of gnosticism or at least a proto-gnosticism. Paul's corpus also reads like it was originally pushing a celestial / ethereal Jesus and then a few passages were bolted on to mention in passing that Jesus was born on earth, was flesh and blood, and interacted with people and ran afoul of the authorities and so forth, enough so that modern theologians can pooh-pooh the "seated in the heavenlies" stuff as mere "positional truth", a sort of convoluted way of looking at Jesus' (and our) spiritual standing with god as a sort of dual or deeper meaning to the physical aspect of Jesus' life and ministry.

I had not considered the lack of manuscripts prior to certain dates as being potentially explained by those being, themselves, first or early drafts. That is of course possible, but I don't know how one would definitively prove it. Or put another way, how would we tell if the Pauline letters known to us were the originals that Marcion edited to suit himself, or if Marcion's edition were the originals that were then retrofitted to later orthodoxy and those edited versions survived for us to read -- or even some fucked up mixture of the two?

Have you read Philo ? He was certainly a Gnostic writing at the same time.

You know, I haven't. I probably should remedy that defect but already have a backlog of reading I'm committed to and theological matters, while still interesting to me in a sort of detached way, are no longer something I have any skin in the game concerning.
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#74

Let's be biblically literary
Quote:Or put another way, how would we tell if the Pauline letters known to us were the originals that Marcion edited to suit himself, or if Marcion's edition were the originals that were then retrofitted to later orthodoxy and those edited versions survived for us to read -- or even some fucked up mixture of the two?


Bingo.  We have a winner.  We don't and we can't barring some amazing archaeological discovery.

I have to go find something for you guys from one of Ehrman's books.  BBS.
Robert G. Ingersoll : “No man with a sense of humor ever founded a religion.”
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#75

Let's be biblically literary
Told ya I'd be back soon!

This excerpt is from the Introduction of Ehrman's 2003 work "The Lost Christianities."
The book itself is fascinating and if anyone wants to read it I have an electronic version I can email to you if you just PM me an email address.

Quote:As historians have come to realize, during the first three Christian
centuries, the practices and beliefs found among people who called themselves
Christian were so varied that the differences between Roman Catholics, Primitive
Baptists, and Seventh-Day Adventists pale by comparison.

Most of these ancient forms of Christianity are unknown to people in the
world today, since they eventually came to be reformed or stamped out. As a     
result, the sacred texts that some ancient Christians used to support their religious
perspectives came to be proscribed, destroyed, or forgotten—in one way
or another lost. Many of these texts claimed to be written by Jesus’ closest
followers. Opponents of these texts claimed they had been forged.
This book is about these texts and the lost forms of Christianity they tried to
authorize.

The Varieties of Ancient Christianity

The wide diversity of early Christianity may be seen above all in the theological
beliefs embraced by people who understood themselves to be followers of
Jesus. In the second and third centuries there were, of course, Christians who
believed in one God. But there were others who insisted that there were two.
Some said there were thirty. Others claimed there were 365.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that
God had created the world. But others believed that this world had been created
by a subordinate, ignorant divinity. (Why else would the world be filled
with such misery and hardship?) Yet other Christians thought it was worse than
that, that this world was a cosmic mistake created by a malevolent divinity as a
place of imprisonment, to trap humans and subject them to pain and suffering.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that
the Jewish Scripture (the Christian “Old Testament”) was inspired by the one
true God. Others believed it was inspired by the God of the Jews, who was not
the one true God. Others believed it was inspired by an evil deity. Others believed
it was not inspired.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that
Jesus was both divine and human, God and man. There were other Christians
who argued that he was completely divine and not human at all. (For them,
divinity and humanity were incommensurate entities: God can no more be a
man than a man can be a rock.) There were others who insisted that Jesus was
a full flesh-and-blood human, adopted by God to be his son but not himself
divine. There were yet other Christians who claimed that Jesus Christ was two
things: a full flesh-and-blood human, Jesus, and a fully divine being, Christ,
who had temporarily inhabited Jesus’ body during his ministry and left him
prior to his death, inspiring his teachings and miracles but avoiding the suffering
in its aftermath.

In the second and third centuries there were Christians who believed that
Jesus’ death brought about the salvation of the world. There were other Christians
who thought that Jesus’ death had nothing to do with the salvation of the
world. There were yet other Christians who said that Jesus never died.
How could some of these views even be considered Christian? Or to put the
question differently, how could people who considered themselves Christian
hold such views? Why did they not consult their Scriptures to see that there     
were not 365 gods, or that the true God had created the world, or that Jesus had
died? Why didn’t they just read the New Testament?

Pgs 1-3

Now I might quibble with Ehrman when he says that these people called themselves "Christians."  We have no fucking idea what they called themselves but even the proto-orthodox xtians did not start using the word "christian" until the mid-late 2d century.  But I'm going to let it go for now.  It doesn't matter. 

But, the eventual winners of this long running dispute over the nature of god have concocted a story which would have us believe that this happy horseshit REALLY happened.  That some time between 4 BC and 6 AD a kid was born who was very special but did fucking nothing until he was 30 except build furniture in "Nazareth."  Then, sometime between 29 and 36 AD he got very famous, did all sorts of miracles, got himself crucified, came back to life 3 days later and then flew up to heaven so "god" would have someone to play checkers with. 

The proto-orthodox (Ehrman's term, not mine) would have us believe that before all of that nonsense no one knew fuckall about this jesus guy.  Then his followers went out and started spreading the word AND THEY DID SUCH A FUCKING SHIT JOB OF IT THAT ALL OF THESE ALLEGED HERESIES THEN GREW UP ALMOST INSTANTLY.  I recall the number 85 separate heresies but can't recall if that came from Irenaeus, Tertullian, [late 2'd/3d century] or Epiphanius [4th century].  Doesn't really matter.  There were a lot of them as Ehrman notes above.  How could these supposedly Holy Apostles do such a shitty job?

The existence of the Mystery Cults in the first century Roman world is well known.  What seems far more likely in a time of poor communication and limited literacy is that individual groups arose with their own separate identities based on local identities.  Whether "Paul" ( a curiously Roman name, btw, it is a cognomen meaning "small" or "little") wrote them or any part of them or if they were originally written by Shlomo the Village Idiot and then re-purposed is something we will never likely know.

But it does seem far more likely that as organized jesusism spread it ran into these groups with their strange ideas and denounced them as heretics.  One by one they were overcome either by being absorbed or violently suppressed. 

Frankly, I don't think anything written by these churchie fucks is worth a fart in a hurricane but that is just my opinion.
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