lundi 18 avril 2011

No, true enough Acharya, Varro did not write about Jesus ...

A What were the texts? 1) somewhere else : The Question of Contemporary Evidence, 2) No, true enough Acharya, Varro did not write about Jesus ..., 3) What a blooper, Dan Barker from Atheist League!, 4) 1st C Historians, Wikipedia Category, 5) HGL's F.B. writings : Critiques of Testimonium Flavianum, 6) Assorted retorts from yahoo boards and elsewhere : ... on "Contemporary Historians Not Mentioning Jesus" (Answering aekara1987), 7) Φιλολoγικά/Philologica : Challenged Again on Testimonium Flavianum,

B How were they transmitted? 1) somewhere else : Laci Green likes strawmen?, 2) Variation on the Scriptoria Game,

Commenting on some sentences and name lists of

Acharya quoting her opponent:

they showed a list of about 20 people who they claimed were historians writing in the first century who never mentioned Jesus, and the claim was that because not one of these people mentioned Jesus, clearly he couldn't have been a real historical figure

Now, the blogpost where she is writing about this opponent she is rebutting - a Dr. Chris Forbes, I think - comes to back that list up with (I am quoting it as it stands now, she is free to change it later):

Expert in Agriculture and Religion

Marcus Terentius Varro

When one considers that in antiquity writers often addressed multiple disciplines, it would not necessarily be surprising if experts on "farming and gardening" discussed such a purportedly important and allegedly widespread phenomenon, which Christian tradition claims spread like wildfire during the first and second centuries. In this regard, ancient Roman scholar and statesman Marcus Terentius Varro (116–27 BCE) wrote extensively about religion and agriculture; unfortunately, his works on religion were destroyed, leaving us to wonder why and whether or not they may have contained information damaging to Christian origins. Varro's book about agriculture, however, survives. So, here we have an important ancient scholar who wrote about both religion and "farming and gardening." Others would likely follow suit.

It is I who highlighted the time he lived in. It is confirmed by wikipedia. He died about 27 years before Our Lord was born, and Acharya S thinks, if Our Lord were historical, he would have mentioned him! What a blooper! You made my day!

Matthew 4:23-25, 5:1, 8:1, 8:18, 9:8, 9:31, 9:33, 9:36, 11:7, 12:15, 13:2, 14:1, 14:13, 14:22, 15:30, 19:2, 21:9, 26:55; Mark 1:28, 10:1; Luke: 4:14, 4:37, 5:15, 14:25, etc.

These are the two dozen verses in which the Gospels claim Our Lord was famed far and wide. Of Acharya's chosing. She misses the point that this fame was among Jews having not yet rejected him. And that Pilate is not currently considered a writer, since his acts are considered a Christian forgery by scholars agreeing with her, obviously because these acts very much do mention Our Lord. Here is what she says about these passages:

If Christ truly had lived and had the impact claimed of him in the New Testament in some two dozen passages asserting he was famed far and wide , there is little reason why several of these authors would not write about him.

Was Varro among these authors, I wonder?

As Forbes himself remarks:

There are plenty of writers whose manuscripts written in the period we're talking about still survive now...

All those manuscripts, yet not one of them contains anything about Jesus, even though he was supposedly widely famed!

I wonder if Forbes remarks or quotes his opponents in that passage. Most ancient authors do not have manuscripts of their own days surviving into ours. I will have to check, when I see the video. Meanwhile, let us take Strabo and Pausanias:

As concerns geographers, they too might be interested in knowing that the God of the cosmos was supposedly wandering around in the tiny 90-mile area of Judea and Palestine—such a claim would be an interesting tourist point to make for any geographers. In reality, ancient geographers such as Strabo (63/64 BCE–c. 24 AD/CE) and Pausanias (2nd cent. AD/CE) frequently discussed the religion of the people of the areas about which they were writing, as any serious historian should know.

Strabo, as I mentioned in an earlier post, ceased writing before Our Lord started getting the fame those 24 + verses talk about. Which explains the silence of Strabo. Pausanias might have been too ill at ease with Christianity to be conscientious about it. There are people in our days who refuse to cite a certain apologist writing this blog, though I know by internet I have been read in both Iran and Mexico. Or Pausanias might have been a persecuted Christian. Or Pausanias might have been interested in the kind of religion as makes pretty folklore, which was not yet the case so openly with as yet persecuted Christianity. He might have, as much as National Geographic, preferred going into gorgeous rites over going into intricate questions of Christian Orthodoxy - even or especially when the questions of Christian Orthodoxy are not so intricate. But citing Varro or even Strabo as one who would certainly have mentioned Jesus "if he had been widely known" is thick in rhetoric and thin in logic.

Exposing the fact that the writers of the first century—considered one of the best documented periods in history—never recorded the existence of Jesus Christ, Christians or Christianity is a vitally important exercise that should not "get up the nose" of any serious historian. Only a biased Christian historian interested in shoring up the faith at all costs would not want that shocking fact exposed. How many millions of Christians have never been told that there is no credible, scientific and independent evidence for the existence of Jesus Christ from the contemporary record of when he allegedly walked the earth?

Well, the first C may be well documented in some ways, but not in others. And a plethora of historians writing history about it when it happened, when they lived in it, is not one of those ways. Unless you count Josephus and the Christians. By the way, when I say "historians" I do not talk about people studying history at university, I talk about people writing coherent accounts of historical events, even if it were only chroniclers, only chronologically coherent.

But there is a mass of indirect evidence in this century. If Petronius wrote Satyricon and was Nero's arbiter elegantiarum, this tells us something about Nero, even if Satyricon never mentions him. If it is known Seneca and Burrus first tried to influence Nero for the better and then failed so badly they preferred suicide to continuing to bear with him, it is quite consistent with first point and also a very satisfactory explanation why Seneca did not often discuss very overtly contemporary events one after another.

Tacitus - late Ist C. Mentions the Christians of the time when disciple St Peter was crucified upside down - though he does not mention that particular event, he points at no particular figure among them. He mentions them as scapegoats for Nero's incendiary activities, and he mentions them as confessing - being arrested - and getting tortured. They confessed - before arrest and torture! - not to firing the city but to the crime of being Christian and were burned for "detesting mankind". A thing said already about the Jews and meaning up to then either violent non-conformity with Pagan practise or even peaceful such.

Now, Tacitus, as well as Suetonius, write at a safe distance, when Nero and Domition are already dead. See a wiki about one very particular Proclus, not the philosopher:

Larginus Proclus lived in the 1st century in Germany. He predicted that the Roman emperor Domitian would die on a certain day. He was in consequence sent to Rome, where he was condemned to death; but as the punishment was deferred, in order that he might be executed after the fatal day had passed, he escaped altogether, as Domitian died on the very day he had named. (Dio Cassius 68.16; cf. Suetonius Domitian 16.)

Germany must be taken for Germania as a province, not the barbarian Germany beyond the limes, of course. Dio Cassius and Suetonius by stating this give us the reason why so much of Ist C. is short of direct narrative about contemporary events. It is as if Gospels and Acts and Apocalypse, and Josephus who writing for a beaten nation had little to loose, were stray historians in a very historian hostile era. As far as contemporary history is concerned.

This makes very little sense of Acharya's claim that so many as twenty first century writers would have mentioned Jesus if he had existed. I am trying to look up the list given in her book (not recopied on her rebuttal) and find from search link it starts with "aulus perseus". I suppose that means Aulus Gellius and Perseus. Aulus Gellius was an essay writer. But not as controversial as Chesterton. Perseus was a poet. Meanwhile I have looked up a few others, as given on an actual list of hers, thye one on Ancient writers. I have taken away Babylonian and Hindooistic stuff, retaining only Greek and Roman names. Some I have already commented on, here are three more that I take in detail: Celsus, Philo, Josephus.

Celsus - wiki:

Celsus (Greek: Κέλσος) was a 2nd century Greek philosopher and opponent of Early Christianity. He is known for his literary work, The True Word (Account, Doctrine or Discourse) (Λόγος Aληθής), preserved by Origen. This work, c. 177 [1] is the earliest known comprehensive attack on Christianity. Jesus' mother was a poor Jewish girl. This girl's husband, who was a carpenter by trade, drove her away because of her adultery with a Roman soldier named Panthera (i.32). She gave birth to the bastard Jesus. In Egypt, Jesus became learned in sorcery and upon his return presented himself as a god.

- Identical to Talmudic slander of Our Lord. So, earliest evidence, possibly, for this anti-Christian story which also admits historicity of Christ as well as of at least some miracles.

Philo & Josephus: one does not and one does mention Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Testimonium Flavianum has been problematised, by people who, if asked, would have considered it most likely for Josephus, since a Jew, to attest Jesus, if at all, in terms of above slander as known from Celsus. But Josephus lived before Jews definitely decided to reject Jesus, as did Philo. Whom he mentions, as we learn from Wikipedia:

We find a brief reference to Philo by the 1st-century Jewish historian Josephus. In Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus tells of Philo's selection by the Alexandrian Jewish community as their principal representative before the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula. He says that Philo agreed to represent the Alexandrian Jews in regard to civil disorder that had developed between the Jews and the Greeks in Alexandria (Egypt). Josephus also tells us that Philo was skilled in philosophy, and that he was brother to an official called Alexander the alabarch.[5] According to Josephus, Philo and the larger Jewish community refused to treat the emperor as a god, to erect statues in honor of the emperor, and to build altars and temples to the emperor. Josephus says Philo believed that God actively supported this refusal.

Brother of head of Jewish community? Himself involved in an Embassy on behalf of the Jews? AND having beliefs similar to the Christian ones? Sounds like a very delicate situation for him, if he were to pronounce himself on Christ and on Christianity. I find it very plausaible that he had a kind of wait and see attitude.

On her page I found this list of Ancient Writings - all Babylonian and Hindoo stuff gleaned away, all comments from wiki, unless it be clear it is my comment. Some already mentioned above, not repeated here.

* Berossus - a priest of Bel Marduk[2] and astronomer writing in Greek, who was active at the beginning of the 3rd century BC
* Diodorus - disambigation page gives Diodorus Siculus (1st century BC), Greek historian who wrote the Bibliotheca historica ("Historical Library")
Diodorus of Adramyttium (1st century BC), rhetorician and Academic philosopher
Porphyry - Porphyry of Tyre (Ancient Greek: Πορφύριος, AD 234–c. 305) was a Neoplatonic philosopher who was born in Tyre. Wrote against Christians.
* Bible - Mentions Jesus.
* Epiphanius - Christian authors named such all too late. But see also:

Epiphanes is the legendary author of On Righteousness,[1] a notable Gnostic literary work that promotes communist principles, that was published and discussed by Clement of Alexandria, in Stromaties, III. Epiphanes was also attributed with founding Monadic Gnosis.[2] G.R.S. Mead however thinks that Epiphanes was a legend and may not have been an actual person, that the real author of On Righteousness may be the Valentinian, Marcus.

According to Clement, Epiphanes was born on Cephalonia in the late 1st Century or early 2nd Century to Carpocrates (his father), and Alexandria of Cephallenia (his mother). Epiphanes died at the age of 17. Clement wrote that Epiphanes was "worshipped as a god with the most elaborate and lascivious rites by the Cephallenians, in the great temple of Samē, on the day of the new moon."[3] Mead discusses that the idea of temple worship is probably a misunderstanding, that Clement may have mistaken the worship of the moon god Epiphanes with a person of the same name. The Epiphany was a sun-moon festival at the Samē temple. The new moon's life of 17 days (in the lunar cycle) may have been misunderstood as Epiphanes' 17 years of life.[4]

* Hippolytus - Historical figures:
Hippolytus of Rome (died 235), Christian writer and saint
Hippolytus of Thebes, Byzantine chronographer
Saint Hippolytus, one of several possible saints of that name
* Plutarch - Plutarch (Ancient Greek: Πλούταρχος, Ploutarchos) then named, on his becoming a Roman citizen, Lucius Mestrius Plutarchus (Μέστριος Πλούταρχος),[1] c. 46 – 120 CE/AD, was a Greek historian, biographer, essayist, and Middle Platonist known primarily for his Parallel Lives and Moralia.[2] He was born to a prominent family in Chaeronea, Boeotia, a town about twenty miles east of Delphi.
* Tertullian - Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus, anglicised as Tertullian (c. 160 – c. 220 AD),[1] was a prolific early Christian author from Carthage in the Roman province of Africa.[2] He is the first Christian author to produce an extensive corpus of Latin Christian literature. He also was a notable early Christian apologist and a polemicist against heresy.
* Justin Martyr - Justin Martyr (103–165) was an early Christian apologist. Most of his works are lost, but two apologies and a dialogue survive. He is considered a saint by many Christian denominations including the Roman Catholic Church[2] and the Greek Orthodox Church.[3]
* Minucius Felix - Marcus Minucius Felix was one of the earliest of the Latin apologists for Christianity.

Of his personal history nothing is known, and even the date at which he wrote can be only approximately ascertained as between 150-270 AD. Jerome's De Viris Illustribus #58 speaks of him as "Romae insignis causidicus," but in that he is probably only improving on the expression of Lactantius[1] who speaks of him as "non ignobilis inter causidicos loci."

* Clement Alexandrinus - Titus Flavius Clemens (c.150 - c. 215), known as Clement of Alexandria (to distinguish him from Clement of Rome), was a Christian theologian and the head of the noted Catechetical School of Alexandria. Clement is best remembered as the teacher of Origen. He united Greek philosophical traditions with Christian doctrine and valued gnosis that with communion for all people could be held by common Christians specially chosen by God.

* Tatian - Tatian the Assyrian[1][2][3][4] (c. 120–180) was an Assyrian early Christian writer and theologian of the 2nd century.

Tatian's most influential work is the Diatessaron, a Biblical paraphrase, or "harmony", of the four gospels that became the standard text of the four gospels in the Syriac-speaking churches until the 5th-century, when it gave way to the four separate gospels in the Peshitta version.

* Arnobius - Arnobius of Sicca (Greek: Aρνόβιος εκ Σίκκης; died c. 330) was an Early Christian apologist, during the reign of Diocletian (284–305).[1]
Julius Firmicus Maternus - Not to be confused with Arnobius the Younger. - Arnobius ("the younger"), Christian priest or bishop in Gaul, flourished about 460.

He is the author of a mystical and allegorical commentary on the Psalms, first published by Erasmus in 1522, and by him attributed to the elder Arnobius.

* Julian - disambiguation page: Didius Julianus (133 or 137–193), Roman emperor
Sabinus Iulianus (fl. 283-293), also known as Julian I or Julian of Pannonia, Roman usurper
Julian the Apostate (332–363), Flavius Claudius Julianus, Roman emperor
Julian of Eclanum (Latin: Iulianus Aeclanensis, Italian: Giuliano di Eclano) (c. 386 – c. 455) was bishop of Eclanum, near today's Benevento (Italy). He was a distinguished leader of the Pelagians of 5th century.
Saint Julian of Antioch (sometimes called Julian of Cilicia, Julian of Anazarbus, Julian of Tarsus) is venerated as a Christian martyr of the fourth century. His date of death is given as 305 AD (or between 305 and 311 AD[1]).
Saints Julian and Basilissa (died ca. 304) were husband and wife. They were Christian martyrs who died at either Antioch or, more probably, at Antinoe, in the reign of Diocletian, early in the fourth century, on 9 January, according to the Roman Martyrology, or 8 January, according to the Greek Menaea.

* Proclus - Proclus Lycaeus (8 February 412 – 17 April 485 AD), called "The Successor" or "Diadochos" (Greek Πρόκλος o Διάδοχος Próklos ho Diádokhos), was a Greek Neoplatonist philosopher, one of the last major Classical philosophers (see Damascius). He set forth one of the most elaborate and fully developed systems of Neoplatonism. He stands near the end of the classical development of philosophy, and was very influential on Western medieval philosophy (Greek and Latin) as well as Islamic thought. - Proclus or Proklos Mallotes (Greek: Πρόκλος Μαλλώτης) was a Stoic philosopher and a native of Mallus in Cilicia. According to the Suda he was the author of:[1]

A Commentary on the Sophisms of Diogenes (Greek: Eπόμνημα των Διογένους σοφισμάτων)
a treatise against Epicurus
His date is unknown; he probably lived at some point between the 1st century BCE and the 3rd century CE. It is probably this Proclus who is mentioned by Proclus Diadochus.[2]

* Origen - Origen (Greek: Ωριγένης Ōrigénēs, or Origen Adamantius, c. 185–254[1]) was an early Christian African[2] scholar and theologian, and one of the most distinguished writers of the early Church despite not being considered a Church father by most Christians who recognize this distinction.[3] - Origen may also refer to: - Origen the Pagan, a third-century Platonist philosopher - Adamantius (Pseudo-Origen), a fourth-century Christian writer

* Pseudo-Eratosthenes - Catasterismi (Greek Καταστερισμοί, "Katasterismoi, placings among the stars") is an Alexandrian prose retelling of the mythic origins of stars and constellations, as they were interpreted in Hellenistic culture. The work survives in an epitome assembled at the end of the 1st century CE, based on a lost original, with a possible relation to work of Eratosthenes that is now hard to pinpoint; thus the author is alluded to as Pseudo-Eratosthenes. Apparently it was pseudepigraphically attributed to the great astronomer from Cyrene, to bolster its credibility. However, the astrological connoisseurship of its fables in fact have nothing to do with Eratosthenes' scientific conjectures and solutions—which belong instead near the origins of an astronomy that was separated from the predictive and interpretive functions of astrology, not an easy feat of the logical imagination. The separation was effected in Alexandrian intellectual circles during the 1st century BCE.

* Hipparchus - Hipparchus, or more correctly Hipparchos (Greek: Iππαρχος, Hipparkhos; c. 190 BC – c. 120 BC), was a Greek astrologer, astronomer, geographer, and mathematician of the Hellenistic period. He is considered the founder of trigonometry.

* Archelaus - Archelaus (Greek: Άρχέλαος, born before 8 BC-38) was a Cappadocian Prince[1] from Anatolia and was as a Roman Client King[2] of Cilicia Trachea and Eastern Lycaonia. [3] He is sometimes known as Archelaus Minor (Minor Latin for the younger) [4] and Archelaus II [5] to distinguished him from his father Archelaus of Cappadocia . ... Historical sources mention little on the life of Archelaus and his reign as King. What is mainly known about Archelaus is from surviving inscriptions from his dominion. [does not sound like a prolific writer] ... As a posthumous honor to Archelaus; as a mark of respect to the former King and their distant relative, Iotapa and Antiochus IV named their son: Gaius Julius Archelaus Antiochus Epiphanes. [Does not sound like a name chosen by anyone liking Jews or interested in Jewish matters]. [Only Archelaus of Ist C.]

* Dead Sea Scrolls - Ist C, do not mention Jesus. Much has been done of this. But since they were from and Jesus was not from Essenian sect, sectarian rivalry explains this.

Hans-Georg Lundahl
18-IV-2011, Monday of
Holy Week

1 commentaire:

  1. Looking for the list of 20 authors. Cannot find it.

    In her book, Perseus and Aulus are not on a preview page.

    Perseus I first took for a poet, but I actually meant Phaedrus, of whom I quote wikipedia:

    Phaedrus (c. 15 BC – c. AD 50), Roman fabulist, was probably a Thracian slave,[1] born in Pydna of Macedonia (Roman province) and lived in the reigns of Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius. He is recognized as the first writer to Latinize entire books of fables, retelling in iambic metre the Greek prose Aesopic tales.

    Perseus, by contrast, I found none close in time except:

    Perseus (c. 150 BC) was an ancient Greek geometer, who invented the concept of spiric sections, in analogy to the conic sections studied by Apollonius of Perga.

    Few details of Perseus' life are known, as he is mentioned only by Proclus and Geminus; none of his own works have survived.

    And Aulus = Aulus Gellius, under Middle Ages referred to as Agellius wrote so much about commonplaces in Noctes Atticae, I suspect he wanted to avoid mentioning Christianity because it was too hot a subject to entertain, besides, he is later than Tacitus who does mention the Christians of Rome, quoting wiki again:

    Aulus Gellius (ca. 125 AD—after 180 AD), was a Latin author and grammarian, who was probably born and certainly brought up at Rome. He was educated in Athens, after which he returned to Rome, where he held a judicial office. He is famous for his Attic Nights, a commonplace book, or compilation of notes on grammar, philosophy, history, antiquarianism and other subjects, preserving fragments of many authors and works who otherwise might be unknown today.

    Article does link to his Noctes Atticae, check for yourself if you think a persecuted sect suspect of wanting to destroy the empire would fit in anywhere: