samedi 18 mars 2017

Carrier on Tacitus

Creation vs. Evolution : Richard Carrier Refutes Certain Evolutionists · somewhere else : Carrier on Tacitus

I am here continuing my reading (partly perhaps sloppy, but I am dealing with things that catch my eyes too much for me to misconstrue them, not with article as a whole), of Richard Carrier's article.*

Thus, that Tacitus should mention a Gospel claim about Jesus (if in fact he ever did) is already 100% expected on the existence of the Gospels, regardless of whether Jesus existed or not. That reference in Tacitus thus has no effect on our final probability of historicity. That’s how dependent probability works. And ironically, here it’s Christian apologists who typically don’t grasp the point that Fishers of Evidence is making: that the probability the extrabiblical sources would mention Jesus, even if he didn’t exist, is dependent on the Gospels having already done so (and their Christian informants subsequently relying on the Gospels, as we know they did).

That Tacitus mentioned a Gospel claim about Jesus is not 100 % expected on the existence of the Gospels.

It could be he never laid eyes on them and therefore would not mention Jesus.

Also, his having read a Gospel is not 100 % expected on his having referred to a Gospel claim, since he could have it, directly or indirectly from a Christian.

But it is if evidence he knew the Gospel claims as in Gospels at least evidence the Gospel already existed in his time, and that Christians already believed them OR it is evidence that Christians already believed the claims before the Gospels were written.

Does the evidence Tacitus brings here tie this to only his own time?

The Christians persecuted by Nero could (theoretically, from the point of view of a non-Christian enquirer) have believed something totally different, then changed their minds, then Tacitus had access to what they later believed, then projected this back to the time of Nero's persecuting Christians.

But this is where skepsis would be getting really unlikely.

For one thing, it is unlikely in the first place that a community believing in a purely spiritual Jesus without any historic or physic connection (comparable to Hindoo beliefs about Shiva or Greek about Apollo, the kind of belief Carrier thinks was that of the first Christians) would become a belief in a historical one (comparable to Hindoo beliefs in Krishna or Greek beliefs in Hercules, and yes, I think these existed as men).

But for another thing, it is also unlikely that Tacitus would do such a blunder about the Christians. He cites and therefore had access to three historians from the time of Nero, which are lost to us.

This means, Tacitus' is functioning as a wiki article for information gleaned from these three historians, and this means Tacitus would have known what Christians believed about Jesus, not in AD 90 only, but in AD 64, when Nero crucified St Peter, decapitated St Paul and used x number of other saints as torches in the dark, which, irony on irony, spiritually they actually were for pagans who saw them from the dark of their paganism.

So, Tacitus and Suetonius (both of which had access to three historians mentioned, as well as to Acta Senatus from those years) are telling us that Christians in AD 64 "already" believed Jesus had lived as a historical person.

Though Tacitus does not mention St Peter and St Paul as individual persons, their existence was believed by his contemporaries among Christian writers whose historicity is generally not put in doubt. Sts Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons and Papias are accepted as historical and they accepted the evidence internal to the Apostolic community for the existence of Apostles, Irenaeus directly mentioning Sts Peter and Paul and I think more of them did so.

And this in turn means that Sts Peter and Paul are as well attested by Christians in the time of Tacitus, as Jesus is attested in the time of Nero by Tacitus' sources.

And St Peter was identified as having spoken with Jesus for years, as His disciple.

Presumably, this is also the story Christians in Rome could get from St Peter close to AD 64.

Either he invented the story and died a martyr's death for it, which is totally improbable, or he believed it.

If he believed it, he either made a mistake or was right about what he was dying for.

But this brings us to the Gospels' as to what circumstances he gained his impression from.

So, for example, if assessing the evidence of a murder, FoE found blood on the accused, he could rightly say “the probability that the accused is bloody, given that I observed and verified the accused is bloody” is 1 (or near enough; there is always some nonzero probability of still being in error about that, but ideally it will be so small a probability we can ignore it).

Yes, when the hypothetic policeman in whose skin Carrier puts himself observed the blood, it is probability of 1 or very close that the man actually was bloody.

And when Peter saw Jesus while on a fishing tour, after Jesus had died, it is a probability of 1 that he observed Jesus alive.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sabbath after
II Lord's Day in Lent

* I think I forgot attrubution on the previous article, needing a coffee, so here is the attribution:

Fishers of Evidence Gets Confused about Math
by Richard Carrier on March 17, 2017

I was going to notify him by commenting under that article with a link to these two articles of mine. But I saw this:

I only publish comments by my patrons and anyone who or whose work I discuss in the article commented on. Comments must also follow good etiquette. Those who engage in dishonest, abusive, or harassing behavior may even be banned as commenters and patrons.

If my comment won't be published anyway, why not let his patrons notify him, if they are reading this?

For my own part, I am not into patreon ...

jeudi 9 mars 2017

While Acharya Sanning has died, her mistakes may live on - here is for her Pagan Parallels

If you recall her, she considered that Christ's Ascension or even Resurrection was plagairised from Krishna.

Here is what Mahabharata has to say:

The Mahabharata
Book 16: Mausala Parva
Section 4:

Begins with the words:

Vaishampayana said:

And the rest of the section is what he said, including the end:

"After his brother had thus departed from the (human) world, Vasudeva of celestial vision, who was fully acquainted with the end of all things, wandered for some time in that lonely forest thoughtfully. Endued with great energy he then sat down on the bare earth. He had thought before this of everything that had been fore-shadowed by the words uttered by Gandhari in former days. He also recollected the words that Durvasas had spoken at the time his body was smeared by that Rishi with the remnant of the Payasa he had eaten (while a guest at Krishna’s house). The high-souled one, thinking of the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, as also of the previous slaughter of the Kurus, concluded that the hour (for his own departure from the world) had come. He then restrained his senses (in Yoga). Conversant with the truth of every topic, Vasudeva, though he was the Supreme Deity, wished to die, for dispelling all doubts and establishing a certainty of results (in the matter of human existence), simply for upholding the three worlds and for making the words of Atri’s son true. Having restrained all his senses, speech, and mind, Krishna laid himself down in high Yoga.

"A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking Keshava, who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga and endued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, and filled with fear, he touched the feet of Keshava. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendour. When he reached Heaven, Vasava and the twin Ashvinis and Rudra and the Adityas and the Vasus and the Viswedevas, and Munis and Siddhas and many foremost ones among the Gandharvas, with the Apsaras, advanced to receive him. Then, O king, the illustrious Narayana of fierce energy, the Creator and Destroyer of all, that preceptor of Yoga, filling Heaven with his splendour, reached his own inconceivable region. Krishna then met the deities and (celestial) Rishis and Charanas, O king, and the foremost ones among the Gandharvas and many beautiful Apsaras and Siddhas and Saddhyas. All of them, bending in humility, worshipped him. The deities all saluted him, O monarch, and many foremost of Munis and Rishis worshipped him who was the Lord of all. The Gandharvas waited on him, hymning his praises, and Indra also joyfully praised him."

So, how do we know Krishna was received into Heaven?

Because Vaishampayana tells that story.

Was he received bodily into Heaven?

No, one of the next sections tells of his funeral:

"Thus addressed by Pritha’s son of pure deeds, all of them hastened their preparations with eagerness for achieving their safety. Arjuna passed that night in the mansion of Keshava. He was suddenly overwhelmed with great grief and stupefaction. When morning dawned, Vasudeva of great energy and prowess attained, through the aid of Yoga, to the highest goal. A loud and heart-rending sound of wailing was heard in Vasudeva’s mansion, uttered by the weeping ladies. They were seen with dishevelled hair and divested of ornaments and floral wreaths. Beating their breasts with their hands, they indulged in heart-rending lamentations. Those foremost of women, Devaki and Bhadra and Rohini and Madira threw themselves on the bodies of their lord. Then Partha caused the body of his uncle to be carried out on a costly vehicle borne on the shoulders of men. It was followed by all the citizens of Dwaraka and the people of the provinces, all of whom, deeply afflicted by grief, had been well-affected towards the deceased hero. Before that vehicle were borne the umbrella which had been held over his head at the conclusion of the horse-sacrifice he had achieved while living, and also the blazing fires he had daily worshipped, with the priests that had used to attend to them. The body of the hero was followed by his wives decked in ornaments and surrounded by thousands of women and thousands of their daughters-in-law. The last rites were then performed at that spot which had been agreeable to him while he was alive. The four wives of that heroic son of Sura ascended the funeral pyre and were consumed with the body of their lord. All of them attained to those regions of felicity which were his. The son of Pandu burnt the body of his uncle together with those four wives of his, using diverse kinds of scents and perfumed wood. As the funeral pyre blazed up, a loud sound was heard of the burning wood and other combustible materials, along with the clear chant of Samans and the wailing of the citizens and others who witnessed the rite. After it was all over, the boys of the Vrishni and Andhaka races, headed by Vajra, as also the ladies, offered oblations of water to the high-souled hero.

So, no parallel.

Hindoos who believe Krishna was a god and is a god want to be burned as funeral.

We who believe Jesus is the True God and also the Promised Christ, want to be buried in soil or rock, and hope for the Resurrection of which He, but not Krishna, was the first fruit.

Meanwhile, one may ponder when Mahabharata might have happened, if it happened (most of it, not Krishna's soul being adored by gods), and my solution is, something like it happened in the pre-Flood world.

The hero Bharat, ancestor to Krishna and the Pandavas (and also to the Kauravas) may well have been a post-Flood confusion between two different Henoch : the one who founded a city (or for whom his father Cain named a city), in Genesis 4:17, and the one who was lifted up to Heaven, in Genesis 5:24.

The Semites (at least those who later became Hebrews) remembered the difference between the two Henoch, the ancestors of Hindoos confused them into one single Bharat. That is my guess.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Thursday of Ember week
of Lent