mercredi 27 juin 2018

Answering William P. Lazarus


Article
William P. Lazarus : The Bible as (Non) History
https://williamplazarus.blogspot.com/2018/06/the-bible-as-non-history.html


This will now be analysed, sentence by sentence for a good portion, quasi as a dialogue between us:

William P. Lazarus
For the past few days, several of my religious Facebook friends have climbed back on the old warhorse by claiming that the Bible is historically accurate.

Hans Georg Lundahl
I'll reduce the diversity of topics by sticking to historical.

History involves a human observer of the facts. Genesis 2 account of Adam's and Eve's creation can be history, from the point on when Adam is there. Genesis 1 is, very rarely for the historical books of the Bible, mostly not even purported history, normal sense, since it involves, up to verse 27 or 28, no human observers. It is revelation, given to Moses on Mt Sinai.

Compare how much in Greek paganism is involved in the Theogony, much of which (whether Uranos and Gaia or birth of Apollon and Artemis) is in this sense not history.

However, in a larger sense this also is history, as in known facts from the series of events, since they were revealed by God, they are known, even if not having human observers.

Also, historical accuracy is not affected by scientifically inaccurate terminology or beliefs of those recording it. A Hittite account of Battle of Kadesh is not affected by Hittites probably believing in Flat Earth. So much less is an account affected by simply another terminology being used than the now current one.

Note, historical accuracy is not always tied to inerrancy. Inerrancy also requires accuracy of endorsed beliefs.

William P. Lazarus
Scientific research on chemicals found on Earth, in moon rocks and in meteors clearly shows a consistent result of about 4.6 billion years.

Hans Georg Lundahl
This is about pre-human "history". Scientist's rivalling God on Mt Sinai or Nine Muses to Hesiod.

It is ALSO a very blanket statement of full confidence with overdone wording when it comes to uniformitarian science.

William P. Lazarus
Such evidence from folds in the Earth ...

Hans Georg Lundahl
I am not sure how folds are supposed to be related to deep age. Details could be welcome.

William P. Lazarus
stratification such as visible in the Grand Canyon

Hans Georg Lundahl
Grand Canyon is very unique in its succession of diverse biotic strata.

It is also almost entirely marine (like other successions, the one in Bonaparte Basin involving trilobites below elasmosaurs).

On "land", meaning on what was land at the relevant time or times, you simply do not find strata above each other.

I particularly researched Karoo on this one, you don't find a Triassic fossile and then dig deeper and find a Permian one a bit lower same spot, but Triassic and Permian fossils are in different "assemblage zones" - so the near surface finds of Karoo form a map, which uniformitarians explain as lower strata cropping out in relation to more recent ones not completely covering them, but which can also be simply the map of the bio-zones in the moment when the Flood hit what is now Karoo.

Since Flood is Biblical history, this is important for Global Flood argument.

William P. Lazarus
and multiple geological studies

Hans Georg Lundahl
Translates as : "someone else has argued, I don't bother to go into details, I just trust them, because many conclude the same thing".

If he had lived in Germany in 1937, would he have said that too?

William P. Lazarus
demonstrate the vast number of years needed to develop today’s environment.

Hans Georg Lundahl
We Creationists know very well what Evolutionists try to demonstrate. We just don't agree they succeed very well.

William P. Lazarus
Simply adding up biblical years is pointless and completely refuted by scientific study.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Where do I start?

Well, adding up years in a source you don't trust on chronology is pointless to you, adding up years in a source you do trust on chronology is not so.

Instead of telling us what he trusts, WPL might try to find out how we argue about what he is trusting, and try to refute that (no such chance so far).

William P. Lazarus
In the beginning, the order of creation starts with the Earth and places stars, birds and whales before reptiles and insects, as well as flowering plants ahead of animals. Science has easily demonstrated that’s the reverse of reality.

Hans Georg Lundahl
We agree on rejecting Theogony by Hesiod.

My choice for sth better is Genesis 1, his choice is evolutionist ideology, mislabelled as "science", which is about as gross a mislabelling as mislabelling following an antibirth policy (of state or company you work with) is by some mislabelled "responsibility".

What WPL choses to label things is not a valid argument for them actually being so. And, SO FAR, he has been content with showing a blanket trust in evolutionism rather than entering into what was rightly called "the scientific detail".

William P. Lazarus
On the first day, God created light, but the sun and moon don’t arrive until the fourth day: “the greater light [the sun] to rule the day, and the lesser light [the moon] to rule the night.” However, the moon has no light.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Except the Sun, by which it is a light to us. Here on the centre of the universe.

William P. Lazarus
It only reflects the sun.

Hans Georg Lundahl
As I just mentioned. Which makes it a light source, second hand, but still so to us.

William P. Lazarus
Nevertheless, repeated biblical writers in the Old and New Testament somehow think the moon creates its own light

Hans Georg Lundahl
A clear reference would be very nice.

William P. Lazarus
and that the stars are incredibly close by.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Again, a clear reference would be very nice.

My own point (stars created on day 4 including fix stars and being visible to Adam and Eve on the evening of day 6) would perhaps be labelled as "incredibly" by WPL, but perhaps you had sth else in mind?

William P. Lazarus
Vegetation, created on the third day, would have no sun, based on the biblical version.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Since light was already created, that is no problem. Vegetation needs light with a spectrum close to sunlight, not that the actual source of it be the actual sun. As I already mentioned in the FB debate where he brought it up.

This starts looking like a standard list of arguments which WPL seems unable to discard even one of even when it has been refuted just a few days ago (and he tried no refutation of my refutation).

Demonstration : in Amsterdam in cellars, illegal marijuana growers do cultivate plants that have never in their lives been exposed to one ray of sunlight. (Source : The Botany of Desire). Why? Bc they are 24 by 24 exposed to halogen lamps.

If halogen light is good enough for plants (and marijuana hemp has no different chlorophyll from all other green plants), why should a light God Himself is supernaturally shining not be good enough for them?

Btw, I am not recommending cultivating marijuana hemp, I mentioned the fact because it proves that total lack of sunlight can be replaced by other light sources.

William P. Lazarus
Noah’s flood is impossible, not just from all the geological evidence to the contrary.

Hans Georg Lundahl
I think I just mentioned my viewpoint on "geology" or palaeontology. You know, Grand Canyon context. I gave exempla of Karoo and of Bonaparte Basin.

William P. Lazarus
Scientific research into DNA shows that, for humans to be as diverse as we are, the population had to contain a minimum of 1,500 unrelated individuals, not just a single family on a floating zoo.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Considering the number of alleles on each gene and considering some alleles are mutations arisen after the Flood (bleeder's disease or hemophilia, probably even white skin), I would like to know what that is supposed to be based on.

Here is a CMI study on this very question:

Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics
by Dr Robert W. Carter | Published: 11 May 2010 (GMT+10)
https://creation.com/noah-and-genetics

And a shorter summing up in a feedback:

Is there enough time in the Bible to account for all the human genetic diversity?
Published: 17 September 2011 (GMT+10)
https://creation.com/bible-time-human-genetic-diversity


Note, we are 2018, WPL is ignoring answers which were already there in 2010 and 2011.

William P. Lazarus
Sodom and Gomorrah, two large and prosperous cities supposedly destroyed by God, are phantoms. No other culture mentioned the cities despite voluminous records, and no trace of them has ever been found.

Hans Georg Lundahl
As far as I have mainly heard, both were in the Dead Sea.

Note, while they were in fact sunk somewhat more recently than 1935 BC, close to or in 1916 BC, St Jerome's chronology, as 1935 BC carbon dates to 3200 BC, and as even Joseph in Egypt carbon dates to c. 2600 BC (Djoser being obviously Joseph's pharao, see Egyptian memory of Joseph as Imhotep), and since "extensive records" are from at least recently carbon dated 2400 BC (after Joseph) - except the original records behind Moses' Genesis and some other records also revalorised in contexts now labelled as "mythical" (Ramayana and Mahabharata), this means it is very clear why Sodom and Gomorrah are not mentioned. IN Greek myth, Abraham and Sarah and also Lot and his daughters are reworked as family situation of Deucalion and Pyrrha, transferring them to Flood avoided direct mention of Sodom and Gomorrah, since people with similar vices might not care to recall a divine punishment on these.

But as to records from the neighbourhood and from the time, back when this happened the burial of Djoser was still some centuries off and this means we don't have records for this time.

Here it can be noted, for Greek and Roman and Hebrew chronologies, we have continuous record (though its early stages in each is disputed as to historicity by modern scholars), and that continuous record reaches to us.

For Ancient Egyptian, Mesopotamian, excepting Manetho and Berossus, Hittite, Minoan, etc records, we are piecing together a scrap here and a scrap there. This means that we cannot go to a calendar to check when Ebla tablets date from, but it is more like carbon dating one bit about them, or more, and relating the rest to that or those carbon dates.

This means, knowing when Ebla tablets are from by adding up years in records is as impossible as knowing distance of stars by angle of reflected sunlight.

Wiki says:
They all date to the period between ca. 2500 BC and the destruction of the city ca. 2250 BC.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Tantalisingly, I have no full assurance whether real date for 2250 BC is actually fall of Jericho date (1470 BC or years just after, which is how my friend more or less such Damien Mackey would like to identify the layers of Jericho - he eschews even mentioning carbon dates) or rather before Moses was born (if Sesostris III was the Pharao just at beginning of Exodus, as I tend to think, since his burial ship is like carbon dated 1715 BC for a real date close to 1590 BC).

I also do not know if the date "2500 BC" is done by adding up years up to "2250 BC" (whether 1470 BC or between 1730 and 1590, so 1720 or between 1980 and 1830) or whether "2500 BC" is derived from another carbon date (in which case it would normally be squeezed in between 1730 BC and 1590, see previous discussion).

But I do know that a Biblically recalibrated carbon dating opens up for Ebla tablets being later than destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.

William P. Lazarus
The tiny bit of ruins today erroneously called Sodom shows no sign of the “fire and brimstone” and contained maybe six homes in contrast with the biblical account.

Hans Georg Lundahl
I am not sure what you are talking about.

I would tend to think Sodom as a city is now under Dead Sea and I have not seen any reference to Mount Sodom even containing any ruins. But if it actually does contain six houses, so what? It would still not be the Biblical city of Sodom in its entirety.

William P. Lazarus
The story of Jewish slavery doesn’t match known history. For starters, Egypt did not use forced labor to build anything.

Hans Georg Lundahl
That is a very sweeping statement.

Next, Gulag archipelago is probably unhistorical too, since Soviet authorities don't record all cruelties done in Gulag - and therefore the story is undocumented, unsupported by "real" documents.

What you are actually talking about is Egypt's normal relations between Egyptians.

You are also talking as if every monument in Egypt (I don't think Israelites were involved in any Pyramid by the way) was well known as to how it was built, much like the building of Versailles.

No, 17th C AD is a tiny bit better recorded than 1590 to 1510 BC in Egypt (whatever the Egyptological dates for this, I'd go on between Sesostris III and Hyksos invasion).

William P. Lazarus
Moreover, documented evidence, including archaeological, written language and other finds from the region, shows that Jews lived in what is now Israel the entire time period of their supposed sojourn in Egypt.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Probably involves some carbon misdating, among other things.

I'd like to know the details of the case being made, though.

William P. Lazarus
Moreover, many of the cities cited in the text did not exist until centuries later.

Hans Georg Lundahl
A city can have a rotation of existence and non-existence. Ramesses might be what you are referring to.

And Ramesses can be a name given that city in the time of Ramses II, but it existed earlier, and priests made a linguistic update in the Torah by changing the name to Ramesses - or it could be quite another origin to the name.

Patterns of evidence: Exodus. A review
A new film shows evidence of the Hebrew occupation of ancient Egypt
by Gary Bates | Published: 15 January 2015 (GMT+10)
https://creation.com/patterns-of-evidence


According to this, it could seem "Ramesses" was Avaris.

Some others have identified it with Ain Shams, for which I don't know the carbon dates. Avaris seems to have been occupied mainly by Hyksos, who I think were Amalekites.

It could of course be also the case that Avaris was first the Ramesses of Exodus 1:11 and later also served for Hyksos (carbon date 1783 seems to be previous to Exodus).

Wiki says
It was occupied from about 1783 to 1550 BC, or from the Thirteenth Dynasty of Egypt through the second intermediate period until its destruction by Ahmose I, the first Pharaoh of the Eighteenth dynasty.

William P. Lazarus
Scholars now think the Exodus account was a fabrication to justify a war with Egypt in the 8th century B.C.E., when the first texts were written down.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Anti-Christian and Anti-Torahic ones, yes ...

William P. Lazarus
Yes, that’s an interpretation, but it matches the complete lack of evidence of any wandering in the Sinai Desert or Jewish presence in Egypt.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Desert wanderings are easily lost track of.

Complete lack of Israelite presence in Egypt?

I must admit, I was searching for a CMI article which at the moment I do not find.

William P. Lazarus
In Leviticus, we are told that hares and coneys (akin to a rabbit) are unclean because they “chew the cud” but do not part the hoof. However, those animals are ruminants; they don’t have cuds.

Hans Georg Lundahl
You mean are NOT ruminants.

The Hebrew verb is so unspecific it need not always refer to rumination.

ALSO you have strayed from the stated topic of historical accuracy. This is terminology. And no, "chewing the cud" in Biblical sense is not the same thing as being in modern zoological sense a "ruminant."

William P. Lazarus
In Daniel, the author doesn’t know the name of the king. He identifies Belshazzar as the king. Here’s actual history: Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 BCE. His son, Awil-Marduk (who the Bible calls "Evilmerodach") followed him on the throne, but was assassinated by his brother-in-law, Nergal-shar-usur, in 560. The next and last king of Babylon was Nabonidus who reigned from 556 to 539, when Babylon was conquered by Cyrus. Belshazzar was a son of Nabonidus, but not king or a relative of Nebuchadnezzar.

Hans Georg Lundahl
One problem is taking fairly fragmentary Mesopotamic accounts or even Herodotus as more reliable than the Bible just because it is not the Bible. A bit like a very unfair policeman or shrink could find anyone more reliable than his suspect or patient.

Another one is not checking whether certain names can refer to same person. Nabonidus is NOT an Akkadian or Hebrew form of anything, but is Herodotus.

This opens the question on what he would be in Hebrew?

Well, Damien Mackey goes for Nabonidus = Nebuchadnezzar.

Which obviously would make Belshazzar the son of Nebuchadnezzar.

Here are the equations in dynastic series:

  • Nabu-apla-usur
  • Labashi-Marduk
  • Nabu-kudurri-usur II = Nabonidus
  • Amel-Marduk = Neriglissar = Belshazzar


The Bible doesn't specify that Belshazzar and Evilmerodach are different persons.

Damien gives the etymologies for Belshazzar and for Neriglissar as Belsharezer and Nergalsharezer - which is basically same name except for difference of theonym in the theophoric name. So, if Belshazzar was fond of theophoric names why not add Marduk to Nergal and Bel, which means he could easily also be Evilmerodach.

Here is his paper:

If King Belshazzar madeDaniel 3rd, who was 2nd?
by Damien F. Mackey
http://www.academia.edu/23063639/If_King_Belshazzar_made_Daniel_3rd_who_was_2nd


William P. Lazarus
Not one to stop there, the author then makes Darius the successor to Cyrus. Actually, that was Cambyses.

Hans Georg Lundahl
It is actually even more complicated. Citing Cambyses involves relying on Herodot.

Here is an actual phrase in Daniel:

"Now Daniel continued unto the reign of Darius, and the reign of Cyrus the Persian."
[Daniel 6:28]

Seems Cyrus could even be successor of Darius?

I'd trust Daniel over Herodotus, who did not even pretend to have been personally involved in Persia back then, but was writing a retrospect about prequels to Greco-Persian wars.

Messy things are likely to later get tidied up a bit. Not saying tradition is unreliable as totally NOT reliable at all, but tidying things up that are complicated would be one of the turns it naturally takes.

William P. Lazarus
The census described in Luke took place, in 6 C.E., 10 years after Herod the Great died. However, Matthew said Jesus was born when Herod was in power. According to Luke, Emperor Augustus ordered the whole world registered. Not true. In fact, the census was held only to determine taxable property in Judea, which had been placed under Roman control.

Hans Georg Lundahl
There seem to be two problems with one solution.

The 6 AD census (if from then) limited to Judaea is another one than the one ordered by Augustus for the whole world (a census which could have been of loyalty rather than property).

It would involve retranslating a phrase as "before Quirinus etc".

William P. Lazarus
No one had to return home, such as Joseph from Galilee to Bethlehem.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Any census I have heard of, one usually registers at one's hometown.

THEN I also think Joseph took a polemic liberty with that wording.

Suppose he had lived in Nazareth all the time up to then, except brief hospitalities (including in Bethlehem).

Suppose he then hears an order about registering in "his" city. Well, ancestrally, Bethlehem was his. This was also potentially a move to underline Messianic connections of his family, as the Messiah had not come yet, but as Mary was exspecting under circumstances which on the angel's words were - suspiciously like Messianic ones.

William P. Lazarus
Luke just wanted to get Jesus to Bethlehem for polemic purposes. So did Matthew; he just used a different device that contradicted Luke.

Hans Georg Lundahl
No contradiction. In Matthew, nothing is said of how JOseph came to Bethlehem. In Luke there is nothing saying Nazareth was not also a point of return after Egypt.

William P. Lazarus
Mark and John are sure Jesus was born in Galilee.

Hans Georg Lundahl
I think the wording was often "from Galilee" or "from Nazareth". Or nouns or adjectives meaning inhabitants or people born somewhere. Not always identic to actual birth place. I'm Viennese by birth and Malmowite by upbringing from pre-teens to adult (and remained there a while too).

Neither of these other two Gospels has any account of His birth, both start the story when John is baptising. In other words, they are not specific enough to warrant such a conclusion as WPL's.

William P. Lazarus
There was no murder of the innocents as described in Matthew. Josephus, who left us a detailed history of the time period, hated Herod and yet knew nothing about this supposed slaughter.

Hans Georg Lundahl
How much text did Josephus dedicate to Herod?

Had murder of innocents become a taboo subject on which Josephus could have had scarce access to the facts (he wrote far later than St Matthew).

William P. Lazarus
One of my favorites in the New Testament is where Paul was bitten by a snake on Malta. The pagans there decided Paul must be a god because he didn’t die. Except there are no snakes on Malta. Never have been. (That’s true in Ireland, too, despite stories of Patrick.)

Hans Georg Lundahl
Unless St Paul drove the snakes out of Malta ... recent changes in legislation and attitudes are likely to bring snakes back to both places.

Or unless another ship with a transport of snakes had previously stranded there.

Or, why not go to a Catholic resource on this one:

SNAKES OF THE MALTESE ISLANDS
http://www.shadowservices.com/nature/Maltese/biology/snakes.htm


Telescopus fallax fallax, Elaphe situla leopardina, Coluber florulentus algirus, Coluber viridiflavus carbonarius.

William P. Lazarus
Close examination of records from the time of Pontius Pilate show that the description of the trial of Jesus bears no resemblance to documented Roman trials.

Hans Georg Lundahl
"records from the time of Pontius Pilate" = Gospels (unless you consider Acts of Pilate as genuine or unless you consider last chapter of Velleius Paterculus as "records" - it's a panegyric on Tiberius).

William P. Lazarus
For one, judges were never seen.

Hans Georg Lundahl
I'd like to know the source for that one. "Never" is also a big word implying a uniform routine which could never have been varied for whatever reason.

For one, it's not totally a Roman trial, it's a Jewish trial followed up by a Roman validation.

William P. Lazarus
There was no “tradition” of freeing anyone on Passover.

Hans Georg Lundahl
In Rome? Certainly not. In Holy Land? Very possibly as an accomodation to local tastes.

William P. Lazarus
Romans never “wash hands” to free themselves from guilt. That was a Jewish custom.

Hans Georg Lundahl
And no British official in Pakistan ever said "Inshallah" and as to Nelson saying "Kismet" it is probably faked, he really must have been saying "kiss me" ... I sense a total, but very, very total incomprehension of how colonisers deal with natives (perhaps because Zionists are not as sensible about Palestinian sensibilities?).

Of course a coloniser picks up some local habits. He doesn't want to show himself off as a complete foreigner in all and every detail.

And suppose he had never used that gesture before or after, he would have known it. He would have been using that in a non-Roman, since very Jewish, context.

William P. Lazarus
The Sanhedrin didn’t meet on holidays;

Hans Georg Lundahl
There is some doubt on the precise chronology. It could also have made an exception.

William P. Lazarus
there’s no record of any earthquake in that time.

Hans Georg Lundahl
By what Institute of Seismology?

William seems to imply we have about as complete a record of that decade - fourth decade of AD - as we would have of any decade of 19th C, where some press museum certainly would preserve some newsclip for an event which happened at least in any big place.

Also, the circumstances of that earthquake are such that it could very easily have become taboo because of the Christian implications, directly after Matthew published his Gospel in Hebrew (or Aramaic) original. If so, that would explain why subsequent Gospellers don't mention it.

"The mountains tremble at him, and the hills are made desolate: and the earth hath quaked at his presence, and the world, and all that dwell therein."
[Nahum 1:5]

Oh, an OT prophecy fulfilled in that quake ... and one involving even Adonai.

Guess why that earth quake would have become taboo among Jews VERY quickly, except those who were Christians.

(This line of thought obviously argues for Matthean priority.)

William P. Lazarus
Having written several books detailing many – but not all – of the textual problems, I see no reason to continue a familiar recitation.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Reminds me, I should continue the refutations of his The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information, which he graciously sent me ...

William P. Lazarus
[the rest]

Hans Georg Lundahl
[diatribe, not much to refute]

dimanche 17 juin 2018

Carrier's Entire List


Blooper, Carrier! · Carrier's Entire List

Here is the list of evidence Carrier gives for Caligula, restricted to contemporary:

  • We have busts and statues of Caligula carved from life. Indeed, Wikipedia correctly says “Based on scientific reconstructions of his official painted busts, Caligula had brown hair, brown eyes, and fair skin” (source: The Smithsonian). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have a huge number of coins minted by and naming and depicting Caligula as the extant emperor (numerous examples are also depicted and discussed at Wikipedia; here’s another; and another). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have a huge number of papyri, actually written during Caligula’s life, mentioning him as the reigning emperor (e.g. as Gaius Caesar Germanicus Augustus). Because that was how documents were dated (example; example; example). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have a huge number of contemporary inscriptions, erected by Caligula himself and eyewitnesses to his reign. Examples. Examples. Examples. Examples. Examples. Examples. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have excavated several of Caligula’s most peculiar ships. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have actual wine barrels from Caligula’s private vineyard, with his name on them. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We have his mother’s tombstone, declaring him her child. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • Pliny the Elder, an eyewitness to Caligula, supplies us a great deal of information directly from his own observations, and from government records and other eyewitness and contemporary sources. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • Other eyewitnesses and contemporaries who report on Caligula include Philo of Alexandria and Seneca, who both met with him personally, and record several things about him (e.g. Philo’s Flaccus and On [My] Embassy to Gaius [Caligula]; Seneca’s On Consolation to My Mother Helvia and On Rage and On the Constancy of the Wise).

  • We have extensive accounts of Caligula in Josephus (a historian born when Caligula reigned, discussing Caligula within only 35 years of his death, and more extensively only 52 years after his death), an account that is exactly in Josephan style and rich with realistic detail (Antiquities of the Jews 18-19, written c. 93 A.D.; and Jewish War 2.184-203, written c. 76 A.D.). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No. Not even the alleged Josephan mentions of Jesus qualify on any relevant point.

  • We know eyewitnesses and contemporaries of Caligula wrote works about him that are lost but that are discussed and used by later writers. These include Seneca’s own friend Fabius Rusticus; Cluvius Rufus, a senator actually involved in the assassination of Caligula (very likely these were the sources employed by Josephus, who even mentions and quotes Cluvius); the memoirs of Claudius (Caligula’s successor); the published correspondence of Augustus; and various poets (e.g. Gaetulicus). Even Caligula’s sister, Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger, wrote up her own memoirs that were cited and used as a source for Caligula by several later historians. Do we have anything like any of this for Jesus? No.

  • We have several later critical historians writing about Caligula who name, cite and quote eyewitness, documentary, and contemporary sources for Caligula: e.g. besides Suetonius (whose example of this I already discussed), also Tacitus, Life of Agricola 10 (written c. 98 A.D.), and Annals 13.20 (written c. 116 A.D.), and even Dio Cassius (not even two hundred years after the fact). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We even have government documents that do this: for example, we have unearthed a bronze tablet copy (dating c. 168 A.D.) of a letter personally written by Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Journal of Roman Studies 1973.63) that mentions him consulting the extant register of those granted citizenship by Caligula (in a list of such registers from other emperors as well). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • Oh…and we have Caligula him-fracking-self! An inscription recording his own letter, in his own words, to the Achaean League, dated 19 August 37 A.D. (Inscriptiones Graecae 7.2711, ll. 21-43). Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

  • We also have declarations of alliance and celebration from many localities at the accession to power of Caligila. For example, the Oath declared by the Aritensians, inscribed on stone shortly after 11 May 37 A.D., elaborately asserting they shall ally with Caligula and declare his enemies their enemies; similarly the Cyzicans as well; and the Oath and Decree of Celebration of the Assians of the same year, which says they are sending an embassy “to seek an audience with and congratulate him, and beg him to remember” their city “as he personally promised when together with his father Germanicus he first set foot in our city’s province” (see Lewis & Reinhold, Vol. 2, § 3 and 9). So here we have the eyewitness, original autograph testimony, of an entire city of people. Caligula was with his father at the age of six when he visited their region (so they are trucking rather hard on the utterance of a toddler). But you don’t say this of, or send embassies to, a guy who doesn’t exist. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? Hell to the no.


Now, the main point on each item, since neither the pastor nor I are in fact trying to pretend Caligula is a myth, is Carrier's refrain : Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.

This is therefore what I intend to answer. For each item. On some, "we would not expect to". On most, yes, we do have sth like that for Jesus.

  • We have busts and statues of Caligula carved from life. - And we have the miraculous likenesses sent to King Abgar, the Sudarium of Oviedo and the shroud of Turin.

  • We have a huge number of coins minted by and naming and depicting Caligula as the extant emperor ... - and since Jesus was living as a subject under Herod and Augustus, and under Pilate and Tiberius, we do not at all exspect any coins to have His image in His lifetime.

  • We have a huge number of papyri, actually written during Caligula’s life, mentioning him as the reigning emperor (e.g. as Gaius Caesar Germanicus Augustus). Because that was how documents were dated - and as AD dating was not yet a thing, we do not exspect to have sth like that for Jesus.

  • We have a huge number of contemporary inscriptions, erected by Caligula himself and eyewitnesses to his reign. - Jesus was probably not building too many houses that still stand, since Romans swept off many in the Jewish war, back when He was serving His fosterfather as a carpenter.

  • We have excavated several of Caligula’s most peculiar ships. - I'm not sure anyone claims to have timbers of St Peter's or St John's bark as relics, otherwise we do not exspect such a thing.

  • We have actual wine barrels from Caligula’s private vineyard, with his name on them. - The miracle of Cana was a wine which was drunk up very quickly.

  • We have his mother’s tombstone, declaring him her child. - We have the belt and the veil of the Blessed Virgin. We also have His own glorious sepulchre.

  • Pliny the Elder ... - dealt with, previous post. Pliny is not so convincing as proof as Carrier would pretend, and is certainly inferior to Gospels in giving details.

  • Other eyewitnesses and contemporaries who report on Caligula include Philo of Alexandria and Seneca, who both met with him personally, and record several things about him (e.g. Philo’s Flaccus and On [My] Embassy to Gaius [Caligula]; Seneca’s On Consolation to My Mother Helvia and On Rage and On the Constancy of the Wise). - Pliny, Philo and Seneca all give less information in* Caligula than Gospels do about Our Lord Jesus Christ. Citing them would be like having no Gospels and only citing Epistles and perhaps Apocalypse.

  • We have extensive accounts of Caligula in Josephus (a historian born when Caligula reigned, discussing Caligula within only 35 years of his death, and more extensively only 52 years after his death), an account that is exactly in Josephan style and rich with realistic detail (Antiquities of the Jews 18-19, written c. 93 A.D.; and Jewish War 2.184-203, written c. 76 A.D.). - If I got this correctly, 22 chapters in Josephus deal with Caligula. Matthew 28, Mark 16 (44), Luke 24 (68), John 21 (89), Acts 1:st chapter (90).

  • We know eyewitnesses and contemporaries of Caligula wrote works about him that are lost but that are discussed and used by later writers. These include Seneca’s own friend Fabius Rusticus; Cluvius Rufus, a senator actually involved in the assassination of Caligula (very likely these were the sources employed by Josephus, who even mentions and quotes Cluvius); the memoirs of Claudius (Caligula’s successor); the published correspondence of Augustus; and various poets (e.g. Gaetulicus). Even Caligula’s sister, Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger, wrote up her own memoirs that were cited and used as a source for Caligula by several later historians. - Indeed. Indeed. No, we do not have a plethora of named lost writers, since the plethora mentioned collectively by St Luke is not named and the 50 odd non-canonical Gospels cannot all be assigned to pre-Gospel tries. This is the point I was making : contemporary writers (who as adults saw events) are there for Jesus, namely four of them in continuous narrative (not mentioning all event related scraps in Epistles and Apocalypse which would arguably more than just rival Pliny), while the contemporary writers for continuous narrative about Tiberius (unless you count Velleius Paterculus as giving continuous narrative about him too!), Caligula, Claudius, Nero, even up to Domitian are gone, excepting perhaps what Josephus had to say on some Flavians, which I had overlooked when earlier stating this. They are gone, and their witness survives only second hand, in authors quoting lost authors after Domitian died (again, excepting Josephus, OK).

  • We have several later critical historians writing about Caligula who name, cite and quote eyewitness, documentary, and contemporary sources for Caligula: e.g. besides Suetonius (whose example of this I already discussed), also Tacitus, Life of Agricola 10 (written c. 98 A.D.), and Annals 13.20 (written c. 116 A.D.), and even Dio Cassius (not even two hundred years after the fact). - You are omitting Early Church Fathers quoting Gospels, presumably because the Gospels are not lost.

    Also, calling Suetonius, Tacitus and Dio Cassius (guys who wrote after Domitian died, as I mentioned) "critical historians" is somewhat equivocal. If by "critical" you mean they are not uncritical of the Caesars in question, granted (easy to criticise a dead Caesar, except Julius and Augustus, right?). If you mean they are not uncritical of their sources, well, they do not show the modern kind of criticism to them - they are not as critical to Agrippina's life of her son as Carrier is of the Gospels.

  • We even have government documents that do this: for example, we have unearthed a bronze tablet copy (dating c. 168 A.D.) of a letter personally written by Emperor Marcus Aurelius (Journal of Roman Studies 1973.63) that mentions him consulting the extant register of those granted citizenship by Caligula (in a list of such registers from other emperors as well). - Again, this is a type of proof you cannot get for someone not engaged in administration.

  • Oh…and we have Caligula him-fracking-self! An inscription recording his own letter, in his own words, to the Achaean League, dated 19 August 37 A.D. (Inscriptiones Graecae 7.2711, ll. 21-43). - There was also a Letter, not just a miraculous image, to King Abgar.

    Oh, Carrier thinks that could be a fake? Well, why not that inscription, if we are tin foilish?

  • We also have declarations of alliance and celebration from many localities at the accession to power of Caligila. For example, the Oath declared by the Aritensians, inscribed on stone shortly after 11 May 37 A.D., elaborately asserting they shall ally with Caligula and declare his enemies their enemies; similarly the Cyzicans as well; and the Oath and Decree of Celebration of the Assians of the same year, which says they are sending an embassy “to seek an audience with and congratulate him, and beg him to remember” their city “as he personally promised when together with his father Germanicus he first set foot in our city’s province” (see Lewis & Reinhold, Vol. 2, § 3 and 9). So here we have the eyewitness, original autograph testimony, of an entire city of people. Caligula was with his father at the age of six when he visited their region (so they are trucking rather hard on the utterance of a toddler). But you don’t say this of, or send embassies to, a guy who doesn’t exist. - Our Lord was probably younger than six when He received an Embassy of a sort which went by Herod to Him, but avoided Herod when returning.


Note, one key point not adressed here is Gospels being genuine, or not adressed in detail.

The point is, Carrier perfectly knew he was not counting them when repeating his refrain, and he was not doing so because he counted them as fakes.

That is another argument, to be answered on more specific grounds pretending that they are such.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris, Porte Dorée
IV Sunday after Pentecost
17.VI.2018

* on (spellcheck or vicinity of touches)

vendredi 1 juin 2018

Blooper, Carrier!


Blooper, Carrier! · Carrier's Entire List

So What About Caligula? How Do You Know HE Existed!?
by Richard Carrier /on May 31, 2018/
https://www.richardcarrier.info/archives/14117


Pliny the Elder, an eyewitness to Caligula, supplies us a great deal of information directly from his own observations, and from government records and other eyewitness and contemporary sources. Do we have anything like that for Jesus? No.


Did Carrier say "a great deal"? Richard Carrier links to a Perseus Tuft's search on the word Caligula in author Pliny.

Here are the hits to Naturalis Historia:

  • book 4, chapter 5: ... Asia. , Cæsar the Dictator, the prince Caius Caius Caligula, the Emperor. , and Domitius Nero The Emperor Nero

  • book 5, chapter 1: ... which, until the time of Caius Cæsar The Emperor Caligula, who, in the year 41 A.D., reduced the ... to Rome in the year A.D. 40 , by Caligula, and shortly after put to death by him, his

  • book 5, chapter 44: ... , Domitius Corbulo Brother of Cæsonia, the wife of Caligula, and father of Domitia Longina, the wife of Domitian.

  • book 7, chapter 4: ... , who became the wife of the Emperor Caius. Caius Caligula. The name of this woman, who was first his ... was Milonia Cesonia. She was neither handsome nor young when Caligula first admired her: but was noted for her extreme ... and at the time when she first became intimate with Caligula, had already had three children. She and her daughter,

  • book 7, chapter 6: ... of Agrippa and Julia, was the mother of the Emperor Caligula; and of a second Agrippina, who became the mother

  • book 7, chapter 11: ... in the Life of Augustus, c. 63; and that of Caligula, c. 7.—B. Certain individuals, again, both men

  • book 7, chapter 18: ... of Germanicus Cæsar, and the grandmother of the emperor Caligula, whom she lived to see on the throne, and

  • book 7, chapter 44: ... same meaning as our expression, "from the ranks." The Emperor Caligula received that surname when a boy, in consequence of

  • book 8, chapter 64: ... The nephew of Tiberius and the father of the Emperor Caligula.—B. wrote a poem, which still exists. There

  • book 8, chapter 84: ... known. He probably flourished in the reign of Tiberius or Caligula. Cato the Censor, See end of B. iii

  • book 9, chapter 31: ... the reign of Caius, The reign of the Emperor Caligula. at the price of eight thousand sesterces. Juvenal

  • book 9, chapter 33: ... centurions, were distinguished by the name of "caligati." The Emperor Caligula received that cognomen when a boy, in consequence of

  • book 9, chapter 56: ... ii. c. 12, and Pliny, B. xxxvii. c. 6, that Caligula wore gold and pearls upon his socculi. it

  • book 9, chapter 58: ... but was divorced from him, and married to the Emperor Caligula, who, however, soon divorced her. At the instigation of ... the Emperor Nero. the wife of the Emperor Caius Caligula. —it was not at any public festival, or

  • book 9, chapter 81: ... vii. c. 18, and B. xxxv. c. 36. Her grandson, Caligula, is supposed to have hastened her death. the

  • book 12, chapter 5: ... that afforded in the reign of the Emperor Caius. Caligula. That prince was so struck with admiration on ... that he here alludes sarcastically to the extreme corpulence of Caligula. very materially to the shade it threw-the

  • book 16, chapter 76: ... brought from Egypt, by order of the Emperor Caius, Caligula. the obelisk B. xxxvi. c. 14. that

  • book 16, chapter 95: ... but is conjectured to have lived in the reign of Caligula or Tiberius. Cremutius, See end of B. vii

  • book 26, chapter 3: ... say whether Tiberius, the predecessor, or Claudius, the successor of Caligula, is meant; most probably the latter, as the former

  • book 32, chapter 1: ... one of these fish arrested the ship of the Emperor Caligula. Caius in its course, when he was returning ... a trick was played for the purpose of imposing upon Caligula's superstitious credulity, and that the rowers as well

  • book 33, chapter 6: ... and demanded his signet-ring, which his son-in-law, Caligula, had removed from his finger, under the supposition that

  • book 33, chapter 16: ... storeys, which were raised or depressed, to all appearance, spontaneously. Caligula is the emperor meant. introduced into the Circus,

  • book 33, chapter 22: ... substance greatly excited the hopes of the Emperor Caius, Caligula. a prince who was most greedy for gold.

  • book 33, chapter 27: ... 5. From Suetonius, c. 18, we learn that the Emperor Caligula, also, had the Circus sanded with minium and chrysocolla.

  • book 33, chapter 47: ... 63 . Callistus, C. Julius Callistus, the freedman of Caligula, in whose assassination he was an accomplice. The physician

  • book 34, chapter 9: ... is employed by Suetonius, in speaking of a statue of Caligula, c. 22.—B. I do not know whether

  • book 35, chapter 6: ... , though the temple is in ruins. The Emperor Caius, Caligula. inflamed with lustfulness, attempted to have them removed,

  • book 35, chapter 59: ... works were at first proscribed, but were afterwards permitted by Caligula to be read. Fabius Vestalis, See end of

  • book 36, chapter 14: ... one in which, by order of the Emperor Caius, Caligula. the other obelisk had been transported to Rome,

  • book 36, chapter 15: ... is mentioned above as having been removed from Alexandria by Caligula. obelisk This obelisk was transferred by Pope Sextus ... Vaticanus. Circus, which was constructed by the Emperors Caius Caligula. and Nero; this being the only one of

  • book 36, chapter 24: ... City environed by the palaces of the Emperors Caius Caligula. The Palace of Caligula was situate on the Palatine Hill: that of Nero ... which was more recently commenced by the Emperor Caius, Caligula. and completed by Claudius. Under these princes, the

  • book 37, chapter 6: ... . He has rendered, however, comparatively excusable the Emperor Caius, Caligula. who, in addition to other femmine luxuries, used


It looks a bit as if some of theme were from footnotes. Second hit mentions AD dating - not one known to Pliny. Third hit mentions Domitian who started ruling in AD 81 - two years after Pliny died.

The search engine took in hits not only to text by Pliny himself in English translation, but also to annotations made much more recently - by people who have read historians writing after Domitian died, inter alia.

Let's see, I'm checking hit after hit, showing in each case the words of Pliny (or editor other than in footnotes for 5:44?) and saying which of the hits showed words in a footnote:

  • book 4, chapter 5: The Peloponnesus, which was formerly called Apia1 and Pelasgia, is a peninsula, inferior in fame to no land upon the face of the earth. ... For this reason it is that both King Demetrius6, Cæsar the Dictator, the prince Caius7, and Domitius Nero8, have at different times made the attempt to cut through this neck by forming a navigable canal; a profane design, as may be clearly seen by the result9 in every one of these instances. - the hit was to footnote 7.

  • book 5, chapter 1: On our entrance into Africa, we find the two Mauritanias, which, until the time of Caius Cæsar3, the son of Germanicus, were kingdoms; but, suffering under his cruelty, they were divided into two provinces. - The hit was to footnote 3. It explained Caligula is our name for Caius Caesar.

  • book 5, chapter 44: Domitius Corbulo - cited as one cited author. Caligula is mentioned in a footnote to his name.

  • book 7, chapter 4: There are great variations in this respect, which occur in numerous ways. Vestilia, for instance, who was the wife of C. Herdicius, and was afterwards married, first, to Pomponius,4 and then to Orfitus, very eminent citizens, after having brought forth four children, always at the seventh month, had Suillius Rufus at the eleventh month, and then Corbulo at the seventh, both of whom became consuls; after which, at the eighth month, she had Cæsonia, who became the wife of the Emperor Caius.5 As for children who are born at the eighth month, the greatest difficulty with them is to get them over the first forty days. - We learn this emperor Caius was Caligula in footnote 5.

  • book 7, chapter 6: It is contrary to nature for children to come into the world with the feet first, for which reason such children are called Agrippæ, meaning that they are born with difficulty.1 In this manner, M. Agrippa2 is said to have been born; the only instance, almost, of good fortune, out of the number of all those who have come into the world under these circumstances. And yet, even he may be considered to have paid the penalty of the unfavourable omen produced by the unnatural mode of his birth, in the unfortunate weakness of his legs, the misfortunes of his youth, a life spent in the very midst of arms and slaughter, and ever exposed to the approaches of death; in his children, too, who have all proved a very curse to the earth, and more especially, the two Agrippinas, who were the mothers respectively of Caius and of Domitius Nero,3 so many firebrands hurled among the human race. - Obviously book 7 is on pregnancy and childbirth, and that Agrippa was born feet first totally explains how the children of his two daughters tunned out as first class monsters, like Caligula and Nero. Note in passing that Pliny was superstitious, since he believed this, and yet Carrier is willing to cite him as a source on history ...

  • book 7, chapter 11: There exists a kind of peculiar antipathy between the bodies of certain persons, which, though barren with respect to each other, are not so when united to others;1 such, for instance, was the case with Augustus and Livia.2 - the footnote 2 tells us from Suetonius that Caligula is alluded to.

  • book 7, chapter 18: Less important peculiarities of nature, again, are to be observed in many persons; Antonia,6 for instance, the wife of Drusus, was never known to expectorate; and Pomponius, the poet, a man of consular rank, was never troubled with eructation. - Footnote 6 tells us, Antonia was granny to Caligula.

  • book 7, chapter 44: Fortune has determined that P. Ventidius alone should enjoy the honour of a triumph over the Parthians, and yet the same individual, when he was a child, she led in the triumphal procession of Cneius Pompeius, the conqueror of Asculum.1 Indeed, Masurius says, that he had been twice led in triumph; and according to Cicero, he used to let out mules for the bakers of the camp.2 Most writers, indeed, admit that his younger days were passed in the greatest poverty, and that he wore the hob-nailed shoes3 of the common soldier. - Pliny is providing info on Ventidius and mentions caligae, and footnote 2 says those gave Caligula his nickname.

  • book 8, chapter 64: The late Emperor Augustus also erected a tomb to his horse; on which occasion Germanicus Cæsar5 wrote a poem, which still exists. - footnote 5 says who Germanicus Caesar was, but Pliny himself doesn't tell us he was father to Caligula

  • book 8, chapter 84: Cornelius Valerianus cited as author, and footnote guesses he flourished under Tiberius or Caligula.

  • book 9, chapter 31: ENORMOUS PRICES OF SOME FISH. Asinius Celer,1 a man of consular rank, and remarkable for his prodigal expenditure on this fish, bought one at Rome, during the reign of Caius,2 at the price of eight thousand sesterces.3 - while footnote 2 explains Caius as Caligula, the actual text of Pliny says more of fish market or of Asinius Celer (perhaps wellnamed) than of Caligula.

  • book 9, chapter 33: Some fishes have numerous gills, others again single1 ones, others double; it is by means of these that they discharge the water that has entered the mouth. A sign of old age2 is the hardness of the scales, which are not alike in all. There are two lakes3 of Italy at the foot of the Alps, called Larius and Verbanus, in which there are to be seen every year, at the rising of the Vergiliæ,4 fish remarkable for the number of their scales, and the exceeding sharpness5 of them, strongly resembling hob-nails6 in appearance; these fish, however, are only to be seen during that month,7 and no longer. - Pliny tells us of fish scales, the annotator explains hob-nails as translation of Clavorum caligarium"—"nails for the caliga." and then goes off a tangent on the etymology of Caligula.

  • book 9, chapter 56: Long pearls also have their peculiar value; those are called "elenchi," which are of a long tapering shape, resembling our alabaster6 boxes in form, and ending in a full bulb.7 Our ladies quite glory in having these suspended from their fingers, or two or three of them dangling from their ears. For the purpose of ministering to these luxurious tastes, there are various names and wearisome refinements which have been devised by profuseness and prodigality; for after inventing these ear-rings, they have given them the name of "crotalia,"8 or castanet pendants, as though quite delighted even with the rattling of the pearls as they knock against each other; and now, at the present day, the poorer classes are even affecting them, as people are in the habit of saying, that "a pearl worn by a woman in public, is as good as a lictor9 walking before her." Nay, even more than this, they put them on their feet, and that, not only on the laces of their sandals, but all over the shoes;10 it is not enough to wear pearls, but they must tread upon them, and walk with them under foot as well. - Annotator at note 10 tells of Caligula. Of his doing much like these ladies. Sources are given as We find from Seneca, De Ben. B. ii. c. 12, and Pliny, B. xxxvii. c. 6. Well, at book 37 we may indeed find sth on Caligula by Pliny ...

  • book 9, chapter 58: I once saw Lollia Paulina,1 the wife of the Emperor Caius2 —it was not at any public festival, or any solemn ceremonial, but only at an ordinary wedding entertainment3—covered with emeralds and pearls, which shone in alternate layers upon her head, in her hair, in her wreaths, in her ears, upon her neck, in her bracelets, and on her fingers, and the value of which amounted in all to forty millions 4 of sesterces; indeed5 she was prepared at once to prove the fact, by showing the receipts and acquittances. - Footnotes 1 and 2 explain the relation between Lollia and her husband Caligula. The rest of the chapter explains a bit on why Lollia had that apparel.

  • book 9, chapter 81: It was at the same villa that Antonia,5 the wife of Drusus, placed earrings upon a murena which she had become fond of; the report of which singular circumstance attracted many visitors to the place. - Footnote 5 explains Antonia was granny of Caligula.

  • book 12, chapter 5: Another curious instance, again, was that afforded in the reign of the Emperor Caius.2 That prince was so struck with admiration on seeing a plane in the territory of Veliternum, which presented floor after floor, like those of the several stories of a house, by means of broad benches loosely laid from branch to branch, that he held a banquet in it-himself adding3 very materially to the shade it threw-the triclinium being formed for the reception of fifteen guests and the necessary attendants: to this singular dining-room he gave the name of his "nest." - Footnote 2 explains Caius was Caligula and 3 that "adding to the shadow substantially" means he was fat. But yes, Pliny does say that Caligula held a banquet in a plane tree (which is what the chapter is about). Carrier, if you think miraculous reports arise quickly after non-miraculous facts, do you think Caligula was, at the time, lean, and not holding a banquet? Excess reports on people not too excessive arise even quicker.

  • book 16, chapter 76: There was a fir, too, that was particularly admired, when it formed the mast of the ship, which brought from Egypt, by order of the Emperor Caius,17 the obelisk18 that was erected in the Vaticanian Circus, with the four blocks of stone intended for its base. It is beyond all doubt that there has been seen nothing on the sea more wonderful than this ship: one hundred and twenty thousand modii of lentils formed its ballast; and the length of it took up the greater part of the left side of the harbour at Ostia. It was sunk at that spot by order of the Emperor Claudius, three moles, each as high as a tower, being built upon it; they were constructed with cement19 which the same vessel had conveyed from Puteoli. It took the arms of four men to span the girth of this tree, and we not unfrequently hear of the price of masts for such purposes, as being eighty thousand sesterces or more: rafts, too, of this wood are sometimes put together, the value of which is forty thousand. - Pliny say Caligula imported sth ... you obviously think all imports by King Solomon prove he existed too? Footnote, as so often, explains Caius means the guy we call Caligula.

  • book 16, chapter 95: Calpurnius Bassus - cited as an author, and note : 17 He is wholly unknown: but is conjectured to have lived in the reign of Caligula or Tiberius.

  • book 26, chapter 3: CHAP. 3.—AT WHAT PERIOD LICHEN FIRST MADE ITS APPEARANCE IN ITALY. This curse was unknown to the ancients,1 and in the times of our fathers even, having first entered Italy in the middle of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius2 Claudius Cæsar; where it was introduced from Asia,3 in which country it had lately made4 its appearance, by a member of the equestrian order at Rome, a native of Perusiun, secretary to the quæstor. The disease, however, did not attack either females or slaves,5 nor yet the lower orders, or, indeed, the middle classes, but only the nobles, being communicated even by the momentary contact requisite for the act of salutation.6 Many of those who persevered in undergoing a course of remedial treatment, though cured of the disease, retained scars upon the body more hideous even than the malady itself; it being treated with cauteries, as it was certain to break out afresh, unless means were adopted for burning it out of the body by cauterizing to the very bone. - Footnote 2 hesitates whether Tiberius Claudius Cæsar means Tiberius or Caligula. See above for probable resolution it being Tiberius. (Footnote 6 is not likely to be taken in a friendly manner in Balkan or Italy ...or France)

  • book 32, chapter 1: In our own time, too, one of these fish [an echenëis] arrested the ship of the Emperor5 Caius in its course, when he was returning from Astura to Antium:6 and thus, as the result proved, did an insignificant fish give presage of great events; for no sooner had the emperor returned to Rome than he was pierced by the weapons of his own soldiers. Nor did this sudden stoppage of the ship long remain a mystery, the cause being perceived upon finding that, out of the whole fleet, the emperor's five-banked galley was the only one that was making no way. The moment this was discovered, some of the sailors plunged into the sea, and, on making search about the ship's sides, they found an echeneïs adhering to the rudder. Upon its being shown to the emperor, he strongly expressed his indignation that such an obstacle as this should have impeded his progress, and have rendered powerless the hearty endeavours of some four hundred men. One thing, too, it is well known, more particularly surprised7 him, how it was possible that the fish, while adhering to the ship, should arrest its progress, and yet should have no such power when brought on board. - Footnote 5 explains it is Caligula who is called Caius and 7 adds a note of scepticism:

    And well it might surprise him. If there was any foundation at all for the story, there can be little doubt that a trick was played for the purpose of imposing upon Caligula's superstitious credulity, and that the rowers as well as the diving sailors were privy to it.


    But that is not Pliny's words and yet Pliny did mention Caligula here.

  • book 33, chapter 6: But at the present day, we not only procure dainties which are sure to be pilfered, but hands to pilfer them as well; and so far is it from being sufficient to have the very keys sealed, that the signet-ring is often taken from off the owner's finger while he is overpowered with sleep or lying on his death-bed. - Footnote 39 presumes, by adding a reference to Suetonius, that Pliny alluded to Caligula's and Tiberius' relations.

  • book 33, chapter 16: deserves to be quoted in full:

    CHAP. 16.—AT WHAT PERIOD SILVER FIRST MADE ITS APPEARANCE UPON THE ARENA AND UPON THE STAGE.

    We, too, have done things that posterity may probably look upon as fabulous. Cæsar, who was afterwards dictator, but at that time ædile, was the first person, on the occasion of the funeral games in honour of his father, to employ all the apparatus of the arena1 in silver; and it was on the same occasion that for the first time criminals encountered wild beasts with implements of silver, a practice imitated at the present day in our municipal towns even.

    At the games celebrated by C. Antonius the stage was made of2 silver; and the same was the case at those celebrated by L. Muræna. The Emperor Caius had a scaffold3 introduced into the Circus, upon which there were one hundred and twenty-four thousand pounds' weight of silver. His successor Claudius, on the occasion of his triumph over Britain, announced by the inscriptions that among the coronets of gold, there was one weighing seven thousand4 pounds' weight, contributed by Nearer Spain, and another of nine thousand pounds, presented by Gallia Comata.5 Nero, who succeeded him, covered the Theatre of Pompeius with gold for one day,6 the occasion on which he displayed it to Tiridates, king of Armenia. And yet how small was this theatre in comparison with that Golden Palace7 of his, with which he environed our city.


    Pliny actually gives us Caius being succeeded by Claudius who was succeeded by Nero. And Caius vaguely being preceded (there were two emperors between) by Julius Caesar who had a more modest taste. The context is worthy of the Yellow Press, but I did not think we could get this much history on Caligula from Pliny! Who, by the way, is exspecting the scepticism of the future, not on the list of emperors Caligula, Claudius and Nero, or on Nero being contemporary with Tiridates, but simply on the luxury he was reporting.

  • book 33, chapter 22: Orpiment: There is also one other method of procuring gold; by making it from orpiment,1 a mineral dug from the surface of the earth in Syria, and much used by painters. It is just the colour of gold, but brittle, like mirror-stone,2 in fact. This substance greatly excited the hopes of the Emperor Caius,3 a prince who was most greedy for gold. He accordingly had a large quantity of it melted, and really did obtain some excellent gold;4 but then the proportion was so extremely small, that he found himself a loser thereby. Such was the result of an experiment prompted solely by avarice: and this too, although the price of the orpiment itself was no more than four denarii per pound. Since his time, the experiment has never been repeated.

    And a chemist today, knowing from note one that orpiment is Yellow sulphuret of arsenic, will conclude that being greedy for gold is not the same as being wise on detecting it. My greatgrandfather who was journeyman to a goldsmith would not have been such a sucker, nor was he that greedy.

    Caligula as alchemist, as Nicolas Flamel "avant le mot" ... is this info or intox? Fact or urban rumour? Well, to get a more overall picture on Caligula we go to Sueton and Tacitus, and so we find it is at least believable. B u t these authors come later than Pliny.

  • book 33, chapter 27: Before now, we have seen, at the spectacles exhibited by the Emperor Nero, the arena of the Circus entirely sanded with chrysocolla, when the prince himself, clad in a dress of the same colour, was about to exhibit as a charioteer.7 - Footnote 7 tells us Caligula had done a similar thing, and we know this from Sueton. In other words, Pliny was not writing on Caligula but on Nero.

  • book 33, chapter 47: And yet, although he was the first to become memorable for his opulence—so pleasant is the task of stigmatizing this insatiate cupidity—we have known of many manumitted slaves, since his time, much more wealthy than he ever was; three for example, all at the same time, in the reign of the Emperor Claudius, Pallas,8 Callistus,9 and Narcissus.10 - In footnote 9, we get to know Callistus was both freedman of Caius and implicated in his assassination. But we do not get this from Pliny.

  • book 34, chapter 9: It was not the custom in former times to give the likeness of individuals, except of such as deserved to be held in lasting remembrance on account of some illustrious deed; in the first instance, for a victory at the sacred games, and more particularly the Olympic Games, where it was the usage for the victors always to have their statues consecrated. And if any one was so fortunate as to obtain the prize there three times, his statue was made with the exact resemblance of every individual limb; from which circumstance they were called "iconicæ."2 I do not know whether the first public statues were not erected by the Athenians, and in honour of Harmodius and Aristogiton, who slew the tyrant;3 an event which took place in the same year in which the kings were expelled from Rome.

    Since Harmodius and Aristogeiton and the prize winners at Olympic games were not given honours as in and of themselves gods or demigods, we can safely conclude that icons of saints are not idolatry. However, the footnoter also tells us Sueton tells is that Caligula had an icon made of him self. Selfie-maniacs, take note!

  • book 35, chapter 6: At Lanuvium, too, it is the same, where we see an Atalanta and a Helena, without drapery, close together, and painted by the same artist. They are both of the greatest beauty, the former being evidently the figure of a virgin, and they still remain uninjured, though the temple is in ruins. The Emperor Caius,3 inflamed with lustfulness, attempted to have them removed, but the nature of the plaster would not admit of it.

    While the context is an immodest painting, the outcome shows why flat murals may have been preferred over statues in icons of saints at times : less risk for removal and sacrilege - or even destruction, barring that of the whole building. And yes, Pliny says Caligula was a porn junkie and a clumsy one ...

  • book 35, chapter 59: Severus Longulanus - cited author, footnote 13 says he used to be "on the index" (proscribed) but Caligula allowed his works to be read. Same footnote also says a man he accused of poisoning is found in chapter 46 of same book, but I didn't find him.

    I did however find this:

    It has been already12 stated by us, when on the subject of birds, that a single dish cost the tragic actor Æsopus one hundred thousand sesterces; much to the reader's indignation, no doubt; but, by Hercules! Vitellius, when emperor, ordered a dish to be made, which was to cost a million of sesterces, and for the preparation of which a furnace had to be erected out in the fields! luxury having thus arrived at such a pitch of excess as to make earthenware even sell at higher prices than murrhine13 vessels.


    And then I did find Asprenas, whom Longulanus had apparently accused:

    It was in reference to this circumstance, that Mucianus, in his second consulship, when pronouncing one of his perorations, reproached the memory of Vitellius with his dishes as broad as the Pomptine Marsh; not less deserving to be execrated than the poisoned dish of Asprenas, which, according to the accusation brought against him by Cassius Severus, caused the death of one hundred and thirty guests.14


    OK, did you catch the phrase "Vitellius, when emperor,"? Whatever Pliny says of Caligula is at a safe distance, several subsequent emperors have agreed that Caligula is a baddy. But do we know this from Pliny? No, we know it from authors after Domitian died (and possibly from Josephus too a bit earlier).

  • book 36, chapter 14: There are two other obelisks, which were in Cæsar's Temple at Alexandria, near the harbour there, forty-two cubits in height, and originally hewn by order of King Mesphres. But the most difficult enterprise of all, was the carriage of these obelisks by sea to Rome, in vessels which excited the greatest admiration. Indeed, the late Emperor Augustus consecrated the one which brought over the first obelisk, as a lasting memorial of this marvellous undertaking, in the docks at Puteoli; but it was destroyed by fire. As to the one in which, by order of the Emperor Caius,17 the other obelisk had been transported to Rome, after having been preserved for some years and looked upon as the most wonderful construction ever beheld upon the seas, it was brought to Ostia, by order of the late Emperor Claudius; and towers of Puteolan18 earth being first erected upon it, it was sunk for the construction of the harbour which he was making there. And then, besides, there was the necessity of constructing other vessels to carry these obelisks up the Tiber; by which it became practically ascer- tained, that the depth of water in that river is not less than that of the river Nilus.

    Obelisk and big tree, here it is told again under obelisk, see above under big tree.

  • book 36, chapter 15: The third4 obelisk5 at Rome is in the Vaticanian6 Circus, which was constructed by the Emperors Caius7 and Nero; this being the only one of them all that has been broken in the carriage.

    Same story, now on how the obelisk was used.

  • book 36, chapter 24: But there are still two other mansions by which all these edifices have been eclipsed. Twice have we seen the whole City environed by the palaces of the Emperors Caius9 and Nero; that of the last, that nothing might be wanting to its magnificence, being coated with gold.10 Surely such palaces as these must have been intended for the abode of those who created this mighty empire, and who left the plough or their native hearth to go forth to conquer nations, and to return laden with triumphs! men, in fact, whose very fields even occupied less space than the audience-chambers11 of these palaces.

    OK, Pliny says Caligula had a great palace, as had Nero (presumably after him).

  • book 37, chapter 6: But it was this conquest by Pompeius Magnus that first introduced so general a taste for pearls and precious stones; just as the victories, gained by L. Scipio1 and Cneius Manlius,2 had first turned the public attention to chased silver, Attalic tissues, and banquetting-couches decorated with bronze; and the conquests of L. Mummius had brought Corinthian bronzes and pictures into notice. ... But in other respects, how truly befitting the hero was this triumph! To the state, he presented two thousand millions of sesterces; to the legati and quæstors who had exerted themselves in defence of the sea coast, he gave one thousand millions of sesterces; and to each individual soldier, six thousand sesterces. He has rendered, however, comparatively excusable the Emperor Caius,13 who, in addition to other femmine luxuries, used to wear shoes adorned with pearls; as also the Emperor Nero, who used to adorn his sceptres with masks worked in pearls, and had the couches, destined for his pleasures, made of the same costly materials. Nay, we have no longer any right, it would seem, to censure the employment of drinking-cups adorned with precious stones, of various other articles in daily use that are similarly enriched, and of rings that sparkle with gems: for what species of luxury can there be thought of, that was not more innocent in its results than this on the part of Pompeius?

    Story of Caligula's shoes adorned in pearls ... again.


I spotted so many "references to" Narnia and Lord of the Rings, I am much convinced of one thing, both Tolkien and C. S. Lewis had read Pliny the Elder while reading Latin. Gollum grasping for a ring (and taking it from the hand of a dying relative) - and finding fish preciousssssssss. Bilbo throwing the shade of a somewhat fat person. Caspian being a seafarer and amazed at some phenomenon. Tarkheenas and Tisrocs in Tashbaan. Elves holding feasts in trees (perhaps also Digory and Polly holding some on the attic), as well as the party tree. Jadis grand father killed his guests, if by burning, we deal with a reference to Ingjald (an Yngling, see Snorre), but if by poison, the inspiration could as well be Pliny. Since C. S. Lewis did not quite show which it was, he could have thought of both. And Tirian grieving for a horselike friend. And Miraz murdering a competent official ... (or two or three) ...

As to education, this again leaves me jealous of that enjoyed by C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien : as they had it not just before World War II, but even before World War I, in which they fought, they had so much more Classics and so much more time to learn languages (for young Jack Lewis : at least after he was given private tutoring as opposed to boarding school), while myself having grown up some decades after World War II have had to deal with so much more Political Correctness about World War II, Italian Fascism, Spanish Fascism, French Revolution in history, less Latin and more conversation skills in modern languages (the latter is a boon, though), several other lessons impregnated by Politically Correct attitudes, precisely as I have also had less time to learn music and composition than had Haydn and Mozart (they learned more on composition and an instrument or two, while I only learned some on composition).

But when it comes to literary references for the existence of Caligula by a contemporary, unless we pick and chose the non-traditional Gospel dates, this is inferior to what Gospels say of Jesus, in substance. Much inferior. If I had the scepticism of Carrier, I could pretend that Pliny is really too late to be a contemporary of Caligula and his wife and incorporated a myth on Caligula, a parody of how an emperor is not supposed to be. (Coins could have some other source and so. Or, just ignore the coins when dealing with Pliny, he is supposed to be an independent witness beside the coins, right?)

This brings us to the references outside Pliny which Carrier enumerates, and I will deal with them next time. Meanwhile, Pliny the Elder, as I have said, is not an historian writing on contemporary current history. Just as I said earlier there was a gap between Velleius Paterculus writing in AD 30 and Tacitus writing again in c. 98 AD.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
First Friday of June
1.VI.2018

jeudi 29 mars 2018

The Kind of Apologist I do Not Want to Be


This* sums it up:

"How you know the Christian is going to lose: he starts with Pascal's Wager, doesn't want to defend Christianity, misunderstands evolution, and dodges every question he can."


  • Pascal's wager can have its uses in evangelising, but it is not an argument you use in debates about truth. It's a long term appeal.
  • Christianity is attacked, so the apologist is there to defend it. If he doesn't want to, he's not an apologist (note, the charge may be erroneous, it could be a case of wanting to defend general Theistic metaphysics first, before going specifically onto that question which God is the true one).
  • I am attacking evolution, but hopefully not by misunderstanding it.
  • I dodge reanswering questions already answered and I dodge atheistic versions of what they call Gish gallop, if I can, but as few other questions as possible. As few serious questions as possible, and my worst dodge would normally be "please wait".


* Sutra Stevens, three months ago. Here. As the debate topic was existence of God, the not wanting to defend specifically Christianity was in fact appropriate.

vendredi 8 décembre 2017

Fig Tree Complaint Revisited


I don't know where this atheist cited by J. P. Holding at 1:42 and before in a video* gets his knowledge of fig trees from, but I have been around where fig trees grow. Not in Holy Land, but in France, where the ripening of figs obviously happens later by a few months.

One of the things which can start a fig tree growing is:

  • a) you eat a fig (or two, or three ...)
  • b) you shit on the ground
  • c) fig seeds are now on the ground with excellent fertiliser.


In other words, fig trees do not need cultivation to grow. Nor to have good fruit.

A fig tree would typically be able to provide food for free to poor people and that from perhaps a month of two weeks before it is ripe for consumption as usually seen. An unripe fig is giving you starch where a ripe fig would give you sugar. And from perhaps 1 month before, perhaps a bit later, you would not get too much bitter stuff along with the starch either.

Eating an unripe fig from a wild fig tree is not the treat we think of as "eating a fig", but it is a makeshift when it comes to stilling your hunger.

Now, while the Greek word for "fruit" suggests sth like ripeness, since it can be picked, the word per se does not mean the fruits have to be actually ripe - especially not with figs, where the unripe fruit is, if not excellent, at least edible (if you are very hungry).

The thing is, from Bethany to Jerusalem city, Christ would normally either be walking over Mount of Olives or bast Bethphage - a place where figs are cultivated.

He would either have seen a self sown fig tree, or the fig tree closest to the limit of a fig orchard.

Now, in the case of a self sown fig tree, very obviously He and anyone else had a right to pick from it. This no one would contest.

In the case of the fig tree closest to limit of an orchard, the law of Moses stated the right of poor (and at least Franciscans claim Jesus was poor during the ministry, He was certainly not working as a carpenter any more and what He had earned from selling His part to an older stepbrother not believing in Him, He had arguably given away to the poor) ... the law of Moses stated the right of the poor to gather at the edges of someone's property and things falling to the ground.

As to figs falling to the ground, not a very good thing. They are sticky and any gravel tends to get caught. But going in and eating inside the edge of the orchard, taking nothing out, that was allowed in the law of Moses.

Now, where Our Lord was planning to eat some, whether a self sown tree or according to parallel case to Deuteronomy 23:24,25, there were no figs. Meaning, there were no unripe figs even. Now, this could be for diverse reasons.

  • figs were anyway from wild figs, and the fig collectors were very early that year
  • a self sown fig tree was competing with the alms of someone who wanted to show off his almsgiving before men, and he had the fruits removed
  • a cultivated fig at the edge of the orchard was too often used by poor and the owner decided - if not against the law, at least against the spirit of the law - to make this impossible
  • it was a male tree with no fruit, good only for pollination.


Reason four would be making a comment on the excessive machismo of Jewish culture. Reason one would be making a comment on greed. And reasons 2 or 3 would involve someone being stingy to the poor in order to push them to take alms from someone rather than from God through the fig tree.

While God has instituted private property, He has also set a limit on it.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Feast of Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary
8.XII.2017

* Omitting link for now, since J. P. Holding is in same video claiming Our Lady was along with the move to declare Our Lord crazy. Link will be given when I make the post refuting this./HGL

mardi 5 décembre 2017

No More Freewill Than a Bowl of Sugar, Cashmore?


I read a horrifying quote on today's article on CMI:*

Similarly Professor Anthony Cashmore stated, “The reality is, not only do we have no more free will than a fly or a bacterium, in actuality we have no more free will than a bowl of sugar.”

Reference : Cashmore, A., The Lucretian swerve: The biological basis of human behavior and the criminal justice system, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107(10):4499-4504, 2010; pnas.org/content/107/10/4499.full.pdf


OK, Cashmore, how many bowls of sugar are imagining they have freewill?/HGL

* https://creation.com/should-robots-have-rights

mardi 31 octobre 2017

Sipapuni Origin Myths


Should Jimmy Akin Review His View on History? · Sipapuni Origin Myths

Jimmy Akin argued not all origin myths can be taken seriously.

As an example, he cites the one of Hopi and Zuni considering man emerged into the fourth or fifth world at Sipapuni.

FOUND! The Sipapuni!
http://jimmyakin.com/2005/12/found_the_sipap.html


For example, certain long-settled peoples have no memory of their true origins, and they have provided an account based on folklore and mythology.

When this happens, they may say that their people was created by the gods—or otherwise entered the world—in the same territory they now occupy.

This is the case with the Hopi and Zuni tribes of North America, whose origin stories hold that human beings—including themselves—first emerged into this world out of a hole in a rocky mound known as the Sipapuni, which is located on the Colorado River outside Grand Canyon National Park.


From link previously provided. And now, from this link:

Because the Sipapuni is an enormously important location in the folklore of several American Indian tribes, particularly the Hopi and the Zuni.

According to both of these tribes, the Sipapuni is the location from which man emerged into this world. In other words, it’s their equivalent of the Garden of Eden.

According to both tribes (though the details vary), the beings that eventually emerged into the world went through a series of other worlds before climbing up out of the Sipapuni into ours.

In Hopi folklore, this is the fourth world. Things weren’t going so good in the third world, and so they found a way to climb up into a new, largely uninhabited world and became the human race.

In Zuni folklore, humans passed through a series of four caves before emerging through the Sipapuni, making this the fifth world.


Now, I would argue that Sipapuni is rather the Mount Ararat of Hopi and Zuni. And considering Creationists who say Grand Canyon (where Sipapuni is one part) formed during and after the Flood, it is possible that post-Flood early arrivals to Americas saw the formation of Grand Canyon, including Sipapuni. If they forgot about the Old World and real location of Mount Ararat, referring to Sipapuni as equivalent of Mount Ararat is indeed rather correct, relatively speaking.

How do I know it is rather their "Ararat" than their "Eden"?

This account* is attributed to a present-day Hopi and is obviously an oral tradition that the speaker attributes to the Ancestral Puebloan Indians (often called Anasazi - not to the liking of modern Puebloan descendants).

This is the fourth world. The third world was ended by a great flood and some humans were rescued by the ant people. The ant people were much larger than today (about four foot tall), although they did live in the ground. At the end of the third world, the ant people made some kind of commitment [I do not recall to whom] that they would keep these refugees safe during the upcoming flood. So they stored away food, brought the people down and plugged all the holes to the surface. The problem came when the flood lasted longer than expected and rations were ran low. The ant people, being honorable people, kept their commitment to keep the humans safe by giving their own rations to these humans. Eventually the waters did recede and the humans were back on the land emerging from a hole as represented in the kivas. But the ant people having not eaten for some time had shrunk to their present miniature size.


If you look at palaeontological insects, you will find some of them are lost greater than these days. If pre-Flood insects were greater and this was recalled by earliest Palaeo-Indians, this makes sense.

In other words, the confusion is between Sipapuni and Ararat and between anthive and Ark (where rations may have been dangerously low just before hitting Mount Ararat), and therefore, apart from confusing localities, and means of salvation during Flood (it's not collectivist Communism!), the Hopi and Zuni story is vindicated as in some essentials simply true, corresponding to parts of Genesis 1-11.

Note, I think Palaeo-Indians arrived before Babel and therefore speaking Hebrew.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris III, la Mairie
All Hallow's Eve
31.X.2017

* Hopi Creation Myth
http://www.stavacademy.co.uk/mimir/hopicreation.htm

The Gospel Truth, William P. Lazarus, part 3


The Gospel Truth, by William P. Lazarus : part 1 · part 2 · part 3
William Paul Lazarus reacted to: part 1

I was planning to make a post about obvious blunders in William P. Lazarus' book.

I will instead gratify his itch to infirm defenses of Christianity (supposing he can do so), by giving a somewhat hazardous hypothesis or conjecture of mine.

When WPL argues for a movement with forgotten origins getting completely rebooted ones via a novel writer talented Gospeller under pen name Mark and three of his rip offs, he is arguing for a Yeshu from c. 100 years before the one we worship having been the real founder of a sect called Notsri.

This is a very hazardous claim. I will make one myself.

There was a Yeshu c. 100 years before Our Lord, he made himself conspicuous by looking at women he was not married to, he left a rabbi who would otherwise have forgiven him, he went to Egypt and learned magic. He founded a sect which was idolatrous - in Sweden. In Ynglingatal and Ynglingasaga and in Saxo, he is known as Odin.

Pharisees retained the memory. So did other future enemies of Our Lord.

When about 100 years later they rejected Our Lord Jesus Christ, they decided to conflate the account of Him with the memories of Odin's pre-Swedish carreer.

The result of this conflation is a blasphemous book known as Toledot Yeshu.

Betrayal by a disciple called Ischarioto was added from the Christian story, a disciple named Mattai were added from it, execution by Jews was added from it (bypassing their use of Romans). The conflation with an earlier character allowed them to forget Jesus was crucified by Ethnics, by Goyim, because Jews in the time of Pilate had already lost the right to execute death penalties.

It also allowed them to explain the Divine Miracles of God made Man as dark magic, learned by Egyptian magicians.

Note, by the time that Toledot Yeshu is composed ... by the way, when is it composed?

It is certainly attested much later than the canonic Gospels.

A recent study reports that more than 100 manuscripts of the Toledot exist, almost all of them late medieval (the oldest manuscript being from the 11th century).[10] The earliest stratum of composition was probably in Aramaic. There are recensions extant in Hebrew, and later versions in Judeo-Persian and Arabic as well as Yiddish and Ladino (Judeo-Spanish).[11]

The date of composition cannot be ascertained with certainty and there are conflicting views as to what markers denote dates. For instance, the Toledot refers to Christian festivals and observances that only originated after the 4th century.[12][13] However, in his Incredible Shrinking Son of Man Robert M. Price states that the Toledot Yeshu is "dependent on second-century Jewish-Christian gospel",[14] and Alexander argues that the oral traditions behind the written versions of the Toledot Yeshu might go all the way back to the formation of the canonical narratives themselves.[15]

It is unlikely that one person is the author, since the narrative itself has a number of different versions, which differ in terms of the story details and the attitude towards the central characters. Even individual versions seems to come from a number of storytellers.[1]

Some scholars assert that the source material is no earlier than the 6th century, and the compilation no earlier than the 9th century.[16] Although the individual anecdotes that make up the Toledot Yeshu may all come from sources dating before the sixth century, there is no evidence that their gathering into a single narrative is that early.[17] Some scholars, such as Jeffrey Rubenstein, favour a late composition date, posterior to the seventh century.[18]

The earliest known mention is an oblique mention by Agobard, archbishop of Lyon, circa. 826, and then another mention by his successor, Amulo, circa 849.[3][19] [20] However, since Agobard does not refer to the source by name it cannot be certain that this is the Toledot.[21]

from Toledot Yeshu, wiki cited today
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toledot_Yeshu


So, my conjecture is very tenuous indeed. The Toledot could be very late, and so could the material from Mishna and Gemarah where certain hints come from.

Instead of there being a real man c. 100 years before Jesus from Nazareth, one who is remembered in Toledot Yeshu for the purpose of denigrating Our Lord, and one better known in his idolatry from Norse myths and the historic legends of his arrival in Uppsala region, the person described could be purely fictitious, invented as a parady of Our Lord.

By the time the Toledot is composed or its Talmudic very partial sources are composed (except if some should refer to a real pre-Christian false prophet), one is very much further away from the times when the supposed or real Yeshu would have existed, and already at some distance from the life of Our Lord whom the Jews rejected, also, and therefore, with description of an extraneous community, Jewish intellectuals were free to make conflations in denigrating purposes.

The only falsehood they make about their own one is pretending it is a straight on continuation of pre-Jesus and pre-Caiaphas Judaism. By the time the Temple was destroyed it was already not so.

Before making comments on other obvious blunders, I think it is appropriate to comment on this one, making the possibly real person of Sanh 103a/b; Ber 17b, Sanh 107b; Sot 47a (I checked "Jesus in the Talmud" for the references) the key in understanding the Christian community is a heavy overreliance of Jewish sources, and notably of the conflation between this man and Jesus in Sanhedrin 43 (same source, I am obviously not an expert in Judaica).

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris III, la Mairie
All Hallows' Eve
31.X.2017

Wikipedian references
to the quote above:

10
Ben Ezra, Daniel Stokl, An Ancient List of Christian Festivals in Toledot Yeshu, Harvard Theological Review, vol. 102, nr. 4 (Oct. 2009) pages 483-484.

11
Gero, Stephan (1988). "Apocryphal Gospels: A Survey". Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt (in German and English). Teil II (Band 25 (5 Teilband)): 3991f. ISBN 978-3-11-011893-3.

12
Ben Ezra, Daniel Stokl, An Ancient List of Christian Festivals in Toledot Yeshu, Harvard Theological Review, vol. 102, nr. 4 (Oct. 2009) p. 488; also, Leiman, Sid Z., The Scroll of Fasts: The Ninth of Tebeth, Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. n.s. 74, nr. 2 (Oct. 1983) p.186-188, p.195. See also Van Voorst, ‘’op. cit.’’, p.122, 127.

13
Maas, Michael (2005). The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Justinian. Cambridge University Press. p. 406. ISBN 0-521-81746-3.

14
Price, Robert (2003) Incredible Shrinking Son of Man pg 40

15
Alexander, P. ‘Jesus and his Mother in the Jewish Anti-Gospel (the Toledot Yeshu)’, in eds. C. Clivaz et al., Infancy Gospels, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck GmbH & Co. KG, 2011, pp. 588-616.

1
Dan, Joseph (2006). "Toledot Yeshu". In Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. Encyclopaedia Judaica. 20 (2nd ed.). Detroit: Gale Virtual Reference Library. pp. 28–29. ISBN 978-0-02-865928-2. Retrieved August 4, 2011.

16
Worth, Roland H., Jr., Alternative Lives of Jesus: Noncanonical accounts through the early Middle Ages (2003, NC, McFarland & Co.) pages 49-50; also, Dan, Joseph, "Toledot Yeshu" in Encyclopaedia Judaica (2nd ed. 2007, Farmington Hills, Mich., Macmillin Reference USA) page 29; "The complete narrative, which could not have been written before the tenth century, used earlier sources ....".

17
Klausner, Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth: His life, times, and teaching (orig. 1922, Engl. transl. 1925, London, George Allen & Unwin) pages 52-53 ("The present Hebrew Tol'doth Yeshu, even in its earliest form, ... was not composed before the tenth century").

18
effrey L. Rubenstein, Stories of the Babylonian Talmud’’ (2010), p 272: "There is not one shred of evidence that Toledot Yeshu existed in written form in Babylonian in the seventh century, as Gero claims it did, nor that the Bavli knew it."

3
Schäfer, Peter (2002). Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to the Early Kabbalah. Princeton University Press. pp. 211f. ISBN 0-691-09068-8.

19
Agobard of Lyons, De Iudaicis Superstitionibus, cited in Van Voorst, op. cit. [Van Voorst, Robert E (2000). Jesus Outside the New Testament: An Introduction to the Ancient Evidence. WmB Eerdmans Publishing. pp. 122 ff. ISBN 0-8028-4368-9.]

20
Schonfield, Hugh J., According to the Hebrews (1937, London: Duckworth) pages 29-30.

21
See Klausner, Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth: His life, times, and teaching (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1925), page 53 note.