2019-03-28

Still Better Informed History for Atheists — More Scholars assess the Two Jesus Parallels

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by Neil Godfrey

In my recent response to Tim O’Neill’s attempt to dismiss the significance of the parallels between Jesus son of Ananias in Josephus’s Jewish War and the Jesus of the gospels, in particular the Gospel of Mark, as without any scholarly merit (see Jesus Mythicism 4: Jesus as an Amalgam of Many Figures), I set out the evidence for at least ten reputable biblical scholars who take the parallels and the question of their significance seriously. O’Neill was inferring that Richard Carrier’s discussion was an unscholarly outlier but it clearly was not.

I now have access to another scholarly discussion of those parallels so for the sake of completeness I can now add a couple more names of biblical scholars who have taken note and considered the significance of the parallels.

David R. Catchpole calls the parallels “strikingly similar”:

The scheme of the proceedings against this man is strikingly similar to the case of Jesus.

1. A Jewish arrest followed by examination and beating.

2. Evaluation in religious terms, followed by delivery to the procurator.

3. Silence of the accused.

4. A savage procurator who yet refuses to execute the accused.

5. Jewish pressure, but resisted this time and followed by the man’s release after scourging.

(Catchpole, 62)

And I. H. Marshall and other Institute for Biblical Research Fellows:

Both I. H. Marshall and other IBR Fellows raised the possibility, given the numerous verbal parallels, of some sort of literary relationship between J. W. 6.5.3 and the passion tradition.

(Evans, 361)

Craig Evans added his own argument that the parallels indicate similar judicial processes independently undergone by both Jesuses.

Although this possibility was not vigorously pursued during our time of discussion, perhaps a brief reply would be useful. First, the “parallels” comprise no more than nouns of place and context and verbs that mark the various steps in the judicial and penal process. In other words, the parallels are precisely what one would expect in cases where routine actions are being described. Second, aside from the single parallel cluster where we have a common verbal root, preposition, and Roman governor as object, there are no instances of parallel sentences or phrases. Literary relationships are suspected when there is a high concentration of common vocabulary, especially phrases and whole sentences. In short, I think that the common vocabulary adduced above indicates common judicial and penal process, but not literary relationship. There is no indication that the story of one Jesus influenced the telling of the story of the other Jesus.

For alternative views to those of Evans see the previous post. What is significant in this context is that Evans’ view is one of many found in the scholarly debate. Scholars do indeed consider the possibility of a literary or “oral tradition” relationship between the two Jesuses as worthy of scholarly discussion. Only someone uninformed could declare that attempts to argue for a literary relationship are unscholarly as per the History for Atheists post.


Catchpole, D. R. 1970. “The Problem of the Historicity of the Sanhedrin Trial.” In The Trial of Jesus. Cambridge Studies in Honour of C. F. D. Moule, edited by Ernst Bammel, 47–65. Naperville, Ill., A. R. Allenson. http://archive.org/details/trialofjesuscamb00moul.

Evans, Craig A. 2001. Jesus and His Contemporaries: Comparative Studies. Boston: Brill.


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60 Comments

  • Mark S
    2019-03-29 00:35:25 GMT+0000 - 00:35 | Permalink

    It wouldn’t be surprising if bits of the story of someone like Jesus ben Ananias ended up getting attached to Jesus – especially by Mark, who is clearly trying to marshal the Jewish War and destruction of the Temple for his apocalyptic Jesus messianism. (No one believes the so-called Olivet Discourse is from the early 1st c.; it’s part of the reason people tend to date Mark as they do.)

    This is very different from the theory that ‘Jesus’ in Paul and Mark is a conflation of various figures. Jesus is definite figure to whom various predicates get attached, many of them simply impossible, because miraculous. Just as no number of miracle stories will show that a definite Jesus didn’t exist, but tend rather to show that he did, so no number of war stories copped from others tends to show this either.

    • Jeremy Johnson
      2019-03-29 09:14:51 GMT+0000 - 09:14 | Permalink

      What does one say though, when a figure, like Frankenstein’s monster, seems nearly or 100% composed of attachments, known appendages from other figures?

      • Mark S
        2019-03-29 19:05:11 GMT+0000 - 19:05 | Permalink

        This isn’t true of Paul’s Jesus, as we know. He basically just gets born of a woman and in David’s line, then crucified and buried, and then somehow “reappears” to several including some of his brothers known to Paul. The outline of what happened is pretty clear.

        It seems unreasonable in the extreme to doubt we have to do with a Galilean preacher and exorcist who wandered into Jerusalem for some holiday and wound up crucified by the Romans under Pontius Pilate.

        • MrHorse
          2019-03-29 20:17:18 GMT+0000 - 20:17 | Permalink

          The outline of ”what happened” is an abstract.

          Mark’s Jesus is different to Paul’s ‘Jesus’.

          • Mark S
            2019-03-29 23:09:16 GMT+0000 - 23:09 | Permalink

            Mark and Paul don’t get to have personal Jesuses, though they may have opposing views about the guy. It’s true Paul seems to have no interest in Jesus before he is ‘exalted’ and triggers the general pharisaical resurrection (which seems not to have advanced much since then). Some of his character traits are mentioned, e.g. meekness I think. But it’s perfectly clear he’s talking about some would-be ‘Davidic messiah’ crucified by the Romans, mostly unrecognized by his contemporaries.

            Mark is clearly talking about the same guy and contradicts Paul nowhere. There can’t be many Jews named Jesus who were crucified by the Romans and about whom some sort of ‘appearance’ or ‘resurrection’ idea promptly developed, together with messianic epithets. Mark is writing 40 (or 80 or whatever) years later, and picking up gossip, and filling in blanks, and coercing Scripture, and marshaling the Jewish War for the cause, so of course it’s a mess. I don’t think he’s fundamentally dishonest, just a credulous believer.

            • Jeremy Johnson
              2019-03-30 08:05:53 GMT+0000 - 08:05 | Permalink

              Paul’s Jesus is partly a patchwork quilt. Partly a Jew, according to the flesh. But then something beyond flesh. Partly a man, but mostly not.

              And insofar as Jesus is Paul, we hear all the endless sophistical complicities of Paul’s legalism being, to be sure, attached to him.

              But finally the very thinness of Jesus, and his huge, Frankensteinian spiritual side,
              also suggests he was not a man, as well.

              Jesus was Paul’s imaginary friend. The giant invisible rabbit. His only complexity was what Paul’s mind created. Outside that,
              there was perhaps nothing but the thinnest of, at that, contradictory rumors. Man or God? Real or fake?

            • Jeremy Johnson
              2019-03-30 09:13:44 GMT+0000 - 09:13 | Permalink

              Paul’s Jesus was divided into the historical flesh, and spirit.
              And of these two main parts, the flesh was, as you note, tiny.

              So the minimal, historical-seeming Jesus, was 1) not only tiny; but was 2) also probably, semi secretly, just material “flesh” to Paul. Which deep down meant dispensible,
              and suspect, compared to faith and spirit

              • Mark S
                2019-04-01 16:05:58 GMT+0000 - 16:05 | Permalink

                No, he thinks he was born, crucified, died and was buried, and thus 100% ‘historical’. Then once he’s good and dead, he resurfaces with a ‘pneumatic’ body, an accordance with fairly typical pharisaical expectation.

                It isn’t really possible that Paul is wrong about the existence of a historical crucified Jesus any more than I can be wrong about the historicity of minor LA punk rock figures from the late 70s, before my time there, like Darby Crash or the Flesheaters or the Screamers.

            • Booker
              2019-04-01 19:23:01 GMT+0000 - 19:23 | Permalink

              Just curious, but where do you tease out “Galilean exorcist preacher” from what are deemed the authentic Pauline epistles?

              He says he learned everything from scripture and revelation (Gal. 1:12), not from anyone who walked with and knew Jesus. He says Greeks and Jews want wisdom and signs but Christians have neither to offer (1 Corinthians 1:22) — so where does that line up with your historical preacher/exorcist?

              Even the “seed of David” claim, which some try to argue as evidence for historicity, is something he’s likely simply informed of through scripture (2 Samuel 12) (i.e. he believed it to be true because scripture said so); likewise “born of a woman” has been argued to be allegorical (and otherwise would be an odd thing to say about someone outside of making a theological claim).

              Paul believed Lucifer was real and historical, even though he’s a mythical character, and he believed Heaven (or the Heavens) were a physical place. I don’t see how it’s so clear that Paul couldn’t have well conceived of Jesus as having been sacrificed at some unknown point and place (earthy or heavenly), and believed this to be absolutely historical because he learned it from scripture and scripture “must” be right.

              • Mark S
                2019-04-02 02:51:57 GMT+0000 - 02:51 | Permalink

                Galatians 1 12 says the εὐαγγέλιον that he εὐαγγελισθὲν is not κατὰ ἄνθρωπον but by ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ.

                Crudely: The imperial-announcement I imperially-announce is not human-wise, but taken from an apocalypse of Jesus Christ (Christ=super-emperor). The apocalypse/revelation is presumably his famous vision. Paul thinks of himself in political or even military terms as an officer with delegated authority, this is what apostolos means. It has a somewhat diplomatic overtone as in ‘ambassador’ or ‘envoy’. Similarly ‘Christ’ for him has attracted some of the sense of a political epithet modeled on e.g. Caesar.

                He is saying he wasn’t commissioned by the Jerusalem crowd, but by Jesus. This is why he doesn’t mind there being different evangelia also from Jesus – deputed to an angel, or even a different commission to himself – but the Galatians have been brought together under his specific commission and ‘announcement’.

                Nothing at all follows about where he gets his views about Christ from. He already knew that Jesus was crucified and died before his apocalypse. In the next section he goes and compares notes with Jerusalem to make sure he has his story straight. He just wasn’t commissioned by men.

                I very much agree that Paul thinks he knows Jesus must be of the House of David because he thinks scripture, prophecy and apocalyptic lore require that of a messianic figure of the type he thinks Jesus is. This is however a rational inference in the admittedly irrational context. ‘Born of a woman’ doesn’t seem allegorical at all. This is just one of a thousand little bits of desperate pleading need to deny ‘historicity’.

                Paul indeed clearly believes in powers and principalities and dark forces and so on (I would not call these mythical since that is specific form of human experience, but sure, they don’t exist!) But he clearly believes that Jesus was crucified (staked) – thus necessarily by the Romans – bled, died and was buried. The crucifixion and death are not things he can seriously be taken to be wrong about; he is too close to the events.

                Then he alas also thinks, as had a previously existing crowd he characterizes, that Jesus was subject to the ‘resurrection’ that the Pharisees predict for all people, or maybe just for all Jews. He is the first in a general process that will lead to the general resurrection. This is not rising from the dead or revivification, like Lazarus, but a transmutation that can occur even without death, as will happen to those of us believers living when he makes his parousia (imperial arrival) – “we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed” 1 Corinthians 15:51. (Later pharisaical-rabbinical tradition has also considered this fine point, and sometimes says there will be a brief second of death at this point, before the transformation.) In the new form, Jesus cannot shed blood, as he had before, since ‘flesh and blood’ are not involved, but rather pneuma, whatever that is.

                On these latter points he has been taken in by some hysterics or the like — and become one himself, having gotten too close to the fire. But the structure of what he thinks even there completely entails a conviction in the human existence of his supposed Christ – which again is not something he can sensibly be supposed wrong about, as he is about this resurrection bit.

            • Pofarmer
              2019-04-02 04:35:17 GMT+0000 - 04:35 | Permalink

              Pretty much Everything Paul says about Jesus is contained in scripture. He quotes Isaih and Psalms and Hosea. He even says he got his revelations about Jesus “From the Scriptures”. He doesn’t need a walking around dude at all.

              • Mark S
                2019-04-02 16:59:11 GMT+0000 - 16:59 | Permalink

                He needs a ‘walking around dude’ to belong to the house of David, to be meek, obedient, crucified, bleeding and dead. He even needs a formerly-but-no-longer-walking-around dude to undergo transformation from a flesh-and-blood body to the pneumatic body of pharisaical resurrection.

                Of course, he also needs the rest of the pharisaical resurrection to have happened almost 2000 years ago.

            • Greg G
              2019-04-02 14:45:16 GMT+0000 - 14:45 | Permalink

              The difference between Paul’s Jesus and Mark’s Jesus is that Paul fabricated his Jesus from OT scripture while Mark fabricated a story about Paul’s Jesus that included elements from the literature of the day.

              Paul knew nothing about a preacher/teacher from Galilee who was crucified by Pilate. Paul got the crucifixion from the scriptures cited in Galatians 3:6-14, using some strange logic.

              Everything Paul says about Jesus can be found in the Old Testament. Paul’s Jesus died for sins and was buried according to scripture, which would be Isaiah 53:8-9, and that he was raised on the third day according to scripture, which would be Hosea 6:2.

              • Mark S
                2019-04-02 17:08:20 GMT+0000 - 17:08 | Permalink

                Isaiah 53 and Hosea 6 are both about Israel, so no. Maybe Paul, who evidently got too close the fire, started coming over to the Jesus-resurrectionists by rendering Isaiah 53 as the later church does, dunno.

                You don’t get crucifixion or death-by-staking, except from the Romans, and only of real people. You don’t get laboriously developed transformation from flesh and blood bodies to pneumatic bodies, unless you think you are starting with a flesh and blood body. And on and on. Paul can’t be wrong about the flesh and blood existence, crucifixion and death of his would-be Christ.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-04 10:29:36 GMT+0000 - 10:29 | Permalink

                Isaiah 53 and Hosea 6 are both about Israel, so no.

                You need to do some research on how Isaiah 53 was understood among various groups of Second Temple Judeans. Isaiah 53 was very much understood by a range of groups as an individual messianic figure. I have posted the scholarly explorations of this point many times now — not “mythicists” but mainstream scholars who argue for that very point. You appear not to be up to date with what Second Temple Jews believed and how they interpreted their scriptures.

              • 2019-04-02 18:59:27 GMT+0000 - 18:59 | Permalink

                @Mark S

                Actually, there was a lot of reinterpretation going on at this time. There are many examples where various groups/individuals, such as the Qumran community, etc. were reinterpreting the OT in ways that weren’t in line with the original intentions.

                At this time where was certainly school that considered the “OT” a collection of mystically encoded prophetic writings, that could be reinterpreted by modern prophets in new ways that weren’t apparent to the casual reader.

                This is also why we see so many “misquotes” in Paul, i.e. were there are quotes from scripture that don’t actually match any scriptures. It’s because Paul is quoting prophetic interpretations of scripture, not scripture directly.

                So that Isaiah 53 is about Israel is irrelevant. What matters is how it was interpreted by prophets. For example, Qumran shows us how they were reinterpreting figures like Melchizedek, clearly a mortal person in in Genesis, as eternal heavenly deities, and people like Enoch, etc.

                Early Jesus worship appears to have emerged from a community of millenarian prophets who were engaged in radical re-interpretation of the Jewish scriptures.

              • Mark S.
                2019-04-03 21:46:57 GMT+0000 - 21:46 | Permalink

                Actually, there was a lot of reinterpretation going on at this time.

                The fundamental feature of Jesus-resurrectionism/messianism, is that Jesus-‘messiah’ had begun the pharisaical resurrection of the dead into higher, more exalted bodies and begun the cosmic transition to ha olam ha ba. None of these ideas are is in scripture. The distinctive feature of the Jesus crowd is to fuse the existing opaque ideas about a ‘messianic’ age with the pharisaical end times. This fusion exists no where else, but explains the crucifixion.

                They use scripture for some of this, but this is pharisaical practice for all their non-scriptural ideas, as when Jesus refutes the Zadokites on the resurrection, saying the text says “I am the god of Abraham …” but “God is the god of the living” etc.

                They very much need a flesh and blood character to make the transition to resurrection-time and the beginning of ha olam ha ba, as ‘messiah’; they are committed to historicity from the whole structure, from day 1.

                The misquotes in Paul are presumably due to the fact that he didn’t have a copy of the text, which would cost a fortune. He presumably looked at what synagogues had from time to time, when they let him in.

              • 2019-04-03 22:30:15 GMT+0000 - 22:30 | Permalink

                @ Mark S. Actually, mythicism (Carrier’s anyway) suggests God got a sperm sample from David and stored it in a cosmic sperm bank and eventually “made” Jesus in the same way (using the same word) that he made Adam. So, according to Carrier’s model, it was a flesh and blood Jesus who was killed by demons.

              • db
                2019-04-03 23:28:33 GMT+0000 - 23:28 | Permalink

                Mark S. writes: “They very much need a flesh and blood character”

                Yes, Paul needs a flesh and blood character for whatever “magic” he is talking about. However Paul is at the least ambiguous as to where this “magic” needs to occur and critical scholarship places said “flesh and blood character” not on earth per Paul’s mysticism and “magic”.

                Carrier (27 February 2019), “The New Gathercole Article on Jesus Certainly Existing”. Richard Carrier Blogs.

                [Per Christians] the original belief was indeed that Jesus became a human man, wearing a body of Jewish (indeed Davidic) flesh formed by God, in fulfillment of prophecy, long enough to be crucified in it by demonic powers, all to effect God’s cosmic plan to stymie Satan. The question is not whether the original Christians taught or believed that had happened, but where they believed that had happened.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-04 00:09:36 GMT+0000 - 00:09 | Permalink

                It is a mistake to confuse “flesh and blood” with “historical” or even with physical flesh and blood. Second Temple Jewish beliefs (and “pagan” beliefs also!) allowed for spiritual flesh and blood beings. See Riley, Gregory J. 1995 Resurrection Reconsidered: Thomas and John in Controversy. Minneapolis: Fortress Press.

                Adam, Jacob and others lived in heaven as spirit before they appeared on earth, for example. The demoness Igrath stole semen from men to create other men — demonstrating the ability of physical and spiritual to interact in the same world.

                We need to be clear and not confuse flesh and blood with historical as a default. Certainly Jesus was resurrected according to some NT authors as flesh and blood, to others as spirit. The two can indeed be one. And I dare say that the overwhelming majority of mythical (non-historical) figures in literature have been flesh and blood, too.

              • db
                2019-04-04 00:43:18 GMT+0000 - 00:43 | Permalink

                Mark S. writes: “[P]harisaical resurrection of the dead into higher, more exalted bodies” and beginning “the cosmic transition to ha olam ha ba. None of these ideas are is in scripture.”

                • If religious syncretism exhibits blending of two or more religious belief systems into a new system, then it is possible that Paul syncretized Pharisaical and Hellenistic ideas per the resurrection of the dead.

                • Per Paul, being morally blameless and spotless results in earning a new body for devotees when standing in the presence of Christ in the future: “[O]btain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ . . . whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (1 Thess. 5:9-10)”.

                Engberg-Pedersen, Troels (2000). Paul and the Stoics. Westminster John Knox Press. p. 121. ISBN 978-0-664-22234-5.

                [Per Philippians 2] Salvation appears to stand for the future goal of all Christ-believers, their stay in the heavenly politeuma when Christ will have changed their lowly bodies and made them symmorphic with his own body of glory (3:20-21).
                […]
                Paul first speaks of the Philippians as working on their own salvation (2:12) and then (apparently) of the end of that work, namely that they become (‘morally’) blameless and spotless (2:15)…

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-04 01:36:49 GMT+0000 - 01:36 | Permalink

                It is also a mistake to assume the false dichotomy of either a heavenly Jesus or a historical Jesus. The heavenly Jesus is only one mythicist model that has become a focus of attention since Earl Doherty work and Richard Carrier’s development of that. I personally suspect that the evidence favours a earthly visit by Jesus for the purpose of being crucified.

              • 2019-04-04 16:55:02 GMT+0000 - 16:55 | Permalink

                @Mark S
                “They very much need a flesh and blood character”

                As Neil has said, it’s specious to jump from “flesh and blood” to “historical”.

                I bought up Melchizedek for a reason, because the references to Melchizedek in Hebrews have traditionally been interpreted in much the same way that you are interpreting Isaiah 53 and Hosea 6.

                Melchizedek in the Torah is clearly depicted as a mortal person. Thus when Hebrews compared Jesus to Melchizedek this is viewed as comparing Jesus to a mortal person. Yet, this is confusing because the theology of Hebrews implies the opposite.

                This issue was resolved, though, with the findings as Qumran, where we find that indeed by the 2nd century BCE they were re-imagining Melchizedek as an eternal heavenly being, who was clearly not a mortal and who had never been human “without mother”. This is clearly the Melchizedek that Hebrews is referring to.

                The Qumran texts provide a multiple of examples of this type of reinterpretation of the scripture that was taking place in such Jewish communities.

                Now as to the claim that, “They very much need a flesh and blood character,” again Hebrews tells us why that is not the case.

                “Hebrews 9:
                11 But when Christ came as a high priest of the good things to come, then through the greater and perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation), 12 he entered once for all into the Holy Place, not with the blood of goats and calves, but with his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption. 13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, with the sprinkling of the ashes of a heifer, sanctifies those who have been defiled so that their flesh is purified, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to worship the living God!”

                A “real person” would never have been seen as “without blemish”. This is why they later had to invent the concept of the immaculate conception, to contrive a way to explain how a human Jesus could have been “without blemish”.

                This is also why we get complexities in the baptism scene between Mark, Matthew and Luke. Mark is presenting an adoptionist tale about a fictitious Jesus, who did not need to be “without blemish”.

                Matthew, though, is not comfortable with this, and thus changes the baptism scene, having John protest because Jesus is ALREADY without blemish.

                But clearly the theology of Christology required a Jesus who was “without blemish”. The only such Jesus that could have been “without blemish” would be a heavenly Jesus. The idea of “immaculate conception” is a late contrivance that certainly wouldn’t have been adopted by followers of a real Jesus.

                So the earliest Jesus worshipers, who worshiped a Jesus who was “without blemish”, had to have been worshiping a Jesus of heavenly origin who had never been born of an earthly mother. That is not to say that he didn’t “become flesh”, by, as Hebrews describes, descending through the lower heavens, but he was certainly never born of an earthly mother, which would have tainted him and made him unfit to serve as the final sacrifice.

              • Greg G
                2019-04-05 12:21:05 GMT+0000 - 12:21 | Permalink

                Mark S.

                Isaiah 53 and Hosea 6 are both about Israel, so no.

                It seems to me that “the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but is now disclosed, and through the prophetic writings” (Romans 16:25b-26a) is saying that things that were in the OT texts for centuries were being read differently. The Suffering Servant was not so actually a metaphor but a hidden story of the Messiah.

                You don’t get crucifixion or death-by-staking, except from the Romans, and only of real people.

                Paul explains how he got there in Galatians 3:6-14. He quotes Deuteronomy 27:26 LXX in Galatians 3:10 to get the law is a curse, he quotes Deuteronomy 21:23 LXX in Galatians 3:13 to get that someone who was hung on a cross/wood/tree would become a curse so Jesus had to have done that. The Greek word “ξύλον (xylon)” would be correct as the translation of the Hebrew word for “tree” but it is also used for “cross” in Greek, as in 1 Peter 2:24.

                Paul claims in 1 Corinthians 1:23 that he “preaches Christ crucified” and says that the Greeks and Jews didn’t accept that. In Galatians 3:1, he rhetorically asks who bewitched them and immediately recounts that they had been given a demonstration that Jesus was crucified before going over the OT passages that lead him to the conclusion. He is very sarcastic toward the “circumcision faction” (calibrate your sarcasm detector with Galatians 5:11-12) and spent the first two chapters discrediting James and Cephas, so both, or one acting under the orders of the other, would be the answer to Paul’s rhetorical question. He points out that the circumcision faction rejects the persecution of the cross in Galatians 6:12.

                Josephus tells us there was a prophecy of a coming world leader that the Jews derived from their writings. Some apparently thought the scriptures told more and some thought the scriptures implied crucifixion. It seems that the diversity of Christian religions in the second century was just a continuation of the diversity of ideas from the first century.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2019-04-02 07:31:33 GMT+0000 - 07:31 | Permalink

          Mark S wrote:

          It seems unreasonable in the extreme to doubt we have to do with a Galilean preacher and exorcist who wandered into Jerusalem for some holiday and wound up crucified by the Romans under Pontius Pilate.

          First point: what does this have to do with the topic of the post?

          Second point, assuming some relevance . . . .

          Certainly, we are indeed dealing with ” a Galilean preacher and exorcist who wandered into Jerusalem for some holiday and wound up crucified by the Romans under Pontius Pilate”. No doubt. That is what the story is all about and I don’t question that fact.

          But I know of no historical method (except for biblical scholars’ ‘criteria of authenticity’) that can justify any belief that there is any historical basis for such a story. When I turn to other historians, including ancient historians and classicists, and I inquire into their methods for establishing what happened in the ancient past, then I find there is no evidence to support any historical basis to the narrative at all. Yet ancient historians have strong evidence for many ancient persons, including ‘minor’ figures like personal slaves or debators who never made any direct personal mark on history themselves. And for some reason they seem to have no confidence in anything like “criteria of authenticity” that we find among the biblical scholars. Strange.

          • Mark S
            2019-04-02 17:12:13 GMT+0000 - 17:12 | Permalink

            That there was a Galilean preacher and exorcist who wandered into Jerusalem for some holiday and wound up crucified by the Romans under Pontius Pilate – about whom hysterical ‘Feel the Presence!’ resurrectionist ideas later arose — is the best way of explaining the composition and actual existence of Mark’s messianic propaganda and Paul’s letters. Inference to the best explanation is the fundamental principle of rational thought.

            • Neil Godfrey
              2019-04-04 10:22:56 GMT+0000 - 10:22 | Permalink

              Why is it “the best” explanation? Do you have an argument to justify your assertion? (That will obviously include a discussion of why the alternative hypotheses are poorer fits for the evidence.)

              One might say the “best explanation” for any narrative at any time is that it is true. But one has to be able to justify such assertions.

  • db
    2019-03-29 01:27:45 GMT+0000 - 01:27 | Permalink

    • Evans original:

    Craig A. Evans, “Jesus and the ‘Cave of Robbers’: Toward a Jewish Context for the Temple Action” [PDF]. Bulletin for Biblical Research (1993) 93–110.

    There are several important parallels between the temple-related experiences of Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus son of Ananias. —(p. 106, n. 47)

    • db
      2019-03-29 02:50:29 GMT+0000 - 02:50 | Permalink

      Evans, Craig Alan (1998). “Jesus in Non-Christian Sources”. In Chilton, Bruce David; Evans, Craig Alan. Studying the Historical Jesus: Evaluations of the State of Current Research. BRILL. pp. 477, n. 85. ISBN 90-04-11142-5.

      There is no indication that the story of one Jesus influenced the telling of the story of the other Jesus. For further discussion of the parallels and their implications, see C. A. Evans, “Jesus and the ‘Cave of Robbers’: Toward a Jewish Context for the Temple Action,” BBR 3 (1993) 93–110.

      • Jeremy Johnson
        2019-03-29 09:26:26 GMT+0000 - 09:26 | Permalink

        I seem to recall that when some looked at another Jesus – Jesus Bin Sirach – there were said to be as many or more parallels. Or in particular regarding the idea of a life after death.

        But note that if Jesus is borrowed from dozens if not a hundred figures, then all we get from each, or in each biblical pericope (sp?), is just a piece, or a skeleton, from any one of them.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2019-03-29 10:02:33 GMT+0000 - 10:02 | Permalink

          Jesus son of Sirach is a model of a righteous man and there were standard tropes that went into how righteous persons were understood, including the idea that they suffered wrongfully, yet did not seek retribution, were exalted by God to shame their persecutors, and such. These sorts of templates certainly went into the Jesus of the gospels narrative. Many critical scholars acknowledge this influence.

          Sorry – when I wrote the above I was thinking of the Wisdom of Solomon, not that of Sirach. What I said applies specifically to the Wisdom of Solomon. I do plan on a post addressing the way such literature influenced the gospel narratives.

          • db
            2019-03-30 13:21:48 GMT+0000 - 13:21 | Permalink

            burton mack The Quest for Christian Origins [PDF] forum third series 7,1 spring 2018

            Carsten Colpe found that the anthropos myth was a scholarly fiction; there was no such thing in antiquity. And I, finally, told Conzelmann that the wisdom myth was hardly to be found in the Ancient Near Eastern literature… —(p. 9)

            • Jeremy Johnson
              2019-03-30 13:54:28 GMT+0000 - 13:54 | Permalink

              Though “Sophia” and wisdom figure in say, Greek tales?

            • db
              2019-03-30 18:02:30 GMT+0000 - 18:02 | Permalink

              • There appears to be a “oriental works” dark age per the Greeks prior to the eighth or seventh century.

              Burkert, Walter (2004). Babylon, Memphis, Persepolis: Eastern Contexts of Greek Culture. Harvard University Press. pp. 52–53. ISBN 978-0-674-01489-3.

              Do we really owe some decisive development to the Greeks, and in what sense? Philosophy and science seem to be at the center of answers in the affirmative; but corroboration cannot be achieved without full view of the oriental background and alternatives.
              […]
              As far as we know, there are no direct translations at all in Greek literature before Hellenistic times . . . No doubt writing as such, together with the book scroll and the writing tablet, came from Syria to Greece in the eighth century. But we cannot point to any oriental work which a Greek person of the eighth or seventh century has demonstrably read or seen.

        • 2019-03-29 15:28:20 GMT+0000 - 15:28 | Permalink

          What I think we have to be clear on is that the writer of Mark may have been basing his character on multiple real people, but that does not mean that the worship of Jesus had anything to do with any of these people.

          First and foremost, I believe the Jesus of mark is primarily based on the apostle Paul. It is from Paul that we see the strongest and most relevant parallels. The teaching of Jesus come primarily from Paul. The relationships to the apostles in based on Paul. The Eucharist comes from Paul. I suspect that even the idea of crucifixion comes from Paul. I’m also now working on trying to support or refute the possibility that “Paul” (or Saul or whomever) actually died during the reign of Pilate, thinking that may be why the author of Mark set the story in that time-frame.

          So I think Paul is the main inspiration for the Jesus character, and that can be established pretty solidly.

          But there is certainly room for other influences as well.

          My view is that whoever wrote Mark was a highly proficient, professional writer, who was well ready and had extensive experience crafting narratives like Mark. This was certainly no amateur scribe we are dealing with.

          So given that this person was likely very well read, was clearly interested in the complexities of the issues, and was, I believe writing this story in reaction to the First Jewish-Roman War, it is certainly possible that this person had read The Jewish War, and possibly even works from Philo as well.

          I believe that whoever wrote Mark had done extensive background “research” for his story and was someone who had written many other such stories. It is thus very plausible that such a person would draw from a wide range of source documents and would exhibit a wide range of influences.

          One criticism that many people level at such all of these parallels is that this is just parallelorama, just jumping a shadows, etc. But I think the prospect that the writer of Mark was a highly experienced, and highly trained, writer and reader explains many aspects of Mark and would also allow for a multitude of real influences and parallels.

          It’s like, what if someone who worked as a beat reporter for the New York Times for 30 years decided to write a crime novel. The prospect that such a person may produce a novel with many parallels to real-world crime cases would be quite high, as opposed to if some high school student wrote a crime novel from their imagination.

          • Jeremy Johnson
            2019-03-29 16:02:00 GMT+0000 - 16:02 | Permalink

            I’m positing a similar master compiler editor. Who assembled a hundred stories of similar religious heroes, into one master composite narrative.

            One place to start?
            Luke opens his book with an explicit statement that his goal is to assemble an orderly narrative. Like others had.

            If Paul didn’t do it, then probably another of his very literate, sophisticated Roman friends?

            • 2019-03-29 17:10:48 GMT+0000 - 17:10 | Permalink

              I big irony of biblical scholarship is that traditionally biblical scholars have imagined and painted the “evangelists” basically as amateurs or mere scribes, with essentially no literary ability at all. This of course serves their purpose of presenting the Gospels as “records” as opposed to “stories”.

              Goodacre addresses this issue as well, talking about how Q comes from the era when essentially every aspect of every Gospel was attributed to a lost source. The Gospel writers, then, were merely people who transcribed oral accounts or compiled existing records. The writers themselves added nothing at all to the material. This of course, gives the writers no credit for being writers, they were merely robots, cogs in the wheel of transmission.

              That of course is a way to view these stories as the most direct possible records of real events or real community traditions.

              My view is entirely opposite.

              I think the writers were the inventors. Most of what they wrote has very little basis in any community tradition. It was the writers who created these narratives themselves from whole cloth. Yes, they drew on various sources for inspiration, but they were creating entirely new narratives that they fabricated themselves.

              I think that prior to the writing of Mark Jesus was just a vague concept, with very little definition around who or what Jesus was. He was some eternal heavenly messiah, son of God, who would bring judgement at the end of days and save the righteous, and that’s about it. According to Paul he was crucified as a final sacrifice, but its not even clear if that was a widespread belief.

              The writer of Mark created the human Jesus from nothing. Mark’s Jesus is only loosely based on Paul’s letters and doesn’t tie back to any meaningful community traditions or oral histories. That’s why Mark was free to invent Jesus the man, because there was no existing concept of Jesus the man to conflict with. But such an author then is a literary genius, while the Mark of the biblical scholars is imagined as a novice who was just recording what he was told.

              • Jeremy Johnson
                2019-03-29 18:07:07 GMT+0000 - 18:07 | Permalink

                Another model suggests that popular culture accidentally mixed up, conflated stories of many vaguely related heroes, sages. And then artful scribes, writers, who may or may not have completly shared the confusion, systematically molded them into a more definite, single alleged figure.

                It’s fascinating to speculate to what extent and when, at what stages this was 1) natural confusion. Versus 2) conscious artifice.

                For a long time I focused on “redaction” periods. But this “confused period” probably began from c. 200 BCE on.

              • 2019-03-29 18:39:32 GMT+0000 - 18:39 | Permalink

                Conscious artifice is undeniable. I don’t think the author of Mark was confused about anything. The narrative is very complex and deliberate. He knew what he was doing. Now Luke may have been confused, but he was the only one. The rest knew exactly what they were doing.

                The “confusion” model assumes the authors would still have been acting according to the view of traditional biblical scholars, it’s just that some of their sources aren’t what they thought they were. But the evidence strongly indicates that the authors themselves were the inventors of their narratives, especially Mark and John.

                The author of Mark didn’t model his Jesus character on Paul because he was confused and thought that Paul was Jesus.

                The author of Mark didn’t create a narrative that followed the Elijah/Elisha narrative because he was confused.

                The author of Mark didn’t invent dozens of scenes because he was confused and thought that he was writing about Jesus ben Ananus.

                Its an entirely contrived narrative – consciously created with intentional symbolism. It’s not a narrative created by someone trying to cobble together facts but who just got confused and mixed a few things up.

              • Jeremy Johnson
                2019-03-30 18:50:43 GMT+0000 - 18:50 | Permalink

                Well, I’d mostly agree that the gospels don’t look confused, and seem to know where they are going.

                But if we put the origins or roots of Christianity as early as c. 200 BC to 10 AD, Sirach and the Maccaben revolt, and the crucifixion of 2,000 Jews by Varus in 4 BC? Then the early confused period goes from 200 BC to 10 AD. With confusion ending, as Paul imposed Roman order (and fiction?) on the numerous dying hero narratives c. 55 AD. Inventing one figure to represent, consolidate, summarize, hundreds.

          • MrHorse
            2019-03-29 19:57:35 GMT+0000 - 19:57 | Permalink

            r.g.price wrote “I’m also now working on trying to support or refute the possibility that “Paul” (or Saul or whomever) actually died during the reign of Pilate”.

            It’s possible Paul is./was just a literary character too (with composite aspects as ‘Saul’ indicates). That he is thought to have been a real person may just be an illusion b/c works attributed to him were written as if written ‘in’ the first person.

          • Greg G
            2019-04-05 16:45:45 GMT+0000 - 16:45 | Permalink

            The Eucharist comes from Paul.

            That is the only thing I do not agree with. I used to think that Justin Martyr’s claim that the Mithras cult stole the idea from the Christians was the other way around and was confirmed by Plutarch’s account of the pirates around Cilicia (a place visited by Paul) were in the Mithras cult in the first century BC and that their rituals were still extant in Plutarch’s time but that was dispelled by https://vridar.org/2007/03/14/pastoral-interpolation-in-1-corinthians-10-11/ But the passage in Mark appears to be based on Psalm 41:9 and Isaiah 53:12 in a Markan type of construct. I think the interpolation into 1 Corinthians is based on Luke’s version.

            I believe writing this story in reaction to the First Jewish-Roman War, it is certainly possible that this person had read The Jewish War, and possibly even works from Philo as well.

            I think Mark 3:7-8 is taken from Jewish Wars. The first clause about going to the sea comes from Jewish Wars 2.2.1 §14, even using the same word for “sea/sea-side”. The rest is based on Jewish Wars 2.3.1 §43, with many people leaving Galilee, Idumea, beyond Jordan, and both with a mention of the great number from Judea. Jewish Wars 1.18.5 §361 mentions Jericho plus Tyre and Sidon together, so Mark may have swapped them out for Mark 3:7-8.

            The names of Jesus’ four brothers in Mark 6:3 can be found in a 12 word span in the Greek of Jewish Wars 6.2.6 §148.

            Mark 6:8-10 has Jesus giving his disciples traveling instructions that match up with the practices of the Essenes described by Josephus in Jewish Wars 2.8.4 §124-127.

            Jewish Wars 6.5.2 caught my eye this week as it reminded my of Mark 13:21-23. Josephus used “pseudoprophet” (singular) while Mark uses “pseudoprophets” (plural).

            It seems obvious that The Mocking of Jesus is based on The Mocking of Carabbas from Philo’s Flaccus and that the Barabbas story immediately precedes that. The difference in spelling between Carabbas and Barabbas is the same in Greek – the only difference in the first letter.

            Barabbas means there are two prisoners named “Son of the Father” which makes for a Leviticus 16:5-22 scapegoat analogy where one goat is killed for the sins of the nation and the other is released into the wilderness.

            Mark never explained his use of Latin words but he nearly always did with Aramaic words so he had to pre-explain Barabbas for his readers by explaining that “Bartimaeus” means “son of Timaeus” and had Jesus open his Gethsemane prayer with “Abba, Father” per Paul’s use of the phrase in Galatians or Romans. Mark was a master at bringing all that together in a chiastic structure.

            • 2019-04-05 16:56:15 GMT+0000 - 16:56 | Permalink

              “But the passage in Mark appears to be based on Psalm 41:9 and Isaiah 53:12 in a Markan type of construct. I think the interpolation into 1 Corinthians is based on Luke’s version.”

              I don’t agree with that. Mark’s version is very close to 1 Cor 11. On top of that, David Oliver Smith has outlined multiple examples of Luke referring back to Paul based on Mark.

              So the Eucharist passage fits perfectly into a pattern that we see between the works of Paul, Mark and Luke and is perfectly explained by the same model that explains other data we see across those works.

              Not to mention that there are other passages from 1 Cor that Mark has clearly referenced. So given that we can see that Mark is using 1 Cor, it would be remarkable that he wouldn’t have used this passage.

              Luke having recognized that Mark used 1 Cor 11 and Luke treating Paul as more authoritative than Mark, and thus going back to Paul to quote Paul more directly, fits a pattern of multiple of examples in Luke. This is what Luke was doing and it makes sense and we see many examples of it.

              • Mark S
                2019-04-05 20:25:01 GMT+0000 - 20:25 | Permalink

                The names of Jesus’ four brothers in Mark 6:3 can be found in a 12 word span in the Greek of Jewish Wars 6.2.6 §148.

                There are a lot of Jewish names in that bit of Josephus, including four distinct people called by the quasi-bilingual favorite Simon/Shimon. I don’t see that “τοῦ Ὁσαΐα” can be a version of Joseph as the name in Mark is supposed to be — Joseph variants all begin “Ἰωσ” not “Ὁσ”. Yōs vs Hoss don’t seem the same. Ἰώσηπος would know how to spell versions of his name. But I don’t know.

                The rest is based on Jewish Wars 2.3.1 §4

                Galilee, Idumea, Judea are the three obvious ‘Jewish’ areas, it’s strange you would find any similarity between these passages of Mark and Josephus. Josephus is talking about the Mediterranean ‘thalassos’, not the Galilee, to which Mark is strangely attached to applying that term. If you want a lot of “pros thalassan” try Septuagint Ezekiel 27-8

                Josephus used “pseudoprophet” (singular) while Mark uses “pseudoprophets” (plural).

                It’s in Philo and everywhere. Septuagint supposedly uses it for a nabi/prophet that it judges false. http://sci-hub.tw/https://www.jstor.org/stable/1559939

                Why bother with this paranoia?

              • Mark S.
                2019-04-06 22:21:19 GMT+0000 - 22:21 | Permalink

                MK: beyond the Jordan
                JW: beyond Jordan

                I should have mentioned that the expression “Transjordan” was even in use in this century. Like Galilee Idumea and Judea is a standard place where there are Jews.

                Jesus has parallels with Paul and Odysseus, both of whom sailed about in the Mediterranean, but Mark put Jesus traveling around the “Sea” of Galilee.

                It is strange he calls it ‘sea’, but the parallels with Odysseus and Paul are over then. If Jesus is like Odysseus, he is a peripatetic Odysseus, which spoils everything. (No one doubts Mark studied plenty of Homer in learning to write.)

                One can say “coincidence” just so many times before there is a pattern that needs explaining. Can’t see the forest for the trees.

                It isn’t a coincidence that a coming together of Jews should be characterized as from these places.

                The point is that “false prophet” in Josephus is linked firmly to Jewish prophets without association or links with pagan diviners or anything outside the Jewish tradition. (The Septuagint does the opposite: it always uses the term in the context of association with pagan practices — if my quick reading is accurate.)

                In LXX Jer ch 34 MT 27 pseudoprophētēs is indeed used for pagan prophets in the message “to the king of Edom, and to the king of Moab, and to the king of the Ammonites, and to the king of Tyrus, and to the king of Zidon, ” and linked to some pagan sounding stuff:

                “hearken not ye to your prophets, nor to your diviners, nor to your dreamers, nor to your enchanters, nor to your sorcerers, ”

                In the five earlier passages, prophets are all standard officers of the state – “priests and prophets” or “priests and prophets and all the people” – and are not connected with anything particularly pagan. LXX thinks they’re no good, like Jeremiah, and calls them pseudoprophētēs. In 35/MT 28 one of them is discussed, Hananaiah, introduced as ὁ ψευδοπροφήτης but in e.g. line 15 it gets bored and omits MT navi title for both Jeremiah and Hananaiah thus preventing a lot of “and the prophet J said to the pseudoprophet H …” . But these uses of ‘prophet’ are in e.g. KJV In any case there doesn’t seem anything pagan about him.

                Here’s a little LXX/KJV parallel of Jeremiah passages with other junk https://justpaste.it/2c4kv

                But finally in the letter in ch 36/29 to the exiles, we get some additional pagan goo: Let not your [LXX: pseudo]prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. So we have diviners/ οἱ μάντεις ὑμῶν/ קסמיכם and suspicious dreaming, as in the message to the pagan states. It may be that due to the location the prophetic retinue of the exiles is taking on pagan characteristics.

                So I think it’s just bad occupants of the standard national quasi-office of the prophet – just lying deceitful ones with wrong method – who are called pseudoprophetes.

                Of course this sort of thing doesn’t exist in the 1st c. But Jewish crackpots, poseurs and suchlike people step forward in prophetic posture all the time, as we see in Josephus. They don’t seem much different from Hananiah, say.

                If Mark is copying Josephus’ usage of pseudoprophet, it’s curious he coins pseudochrist in the same passage.

                A pseudoprophētēs also appears in Revelation twice as sidekick of the beast. I think ‘the Revelator’ can’t know Josephus; but in any case, it isn’t the sort of use you were finding in him.

                So the word is abroad. No Josephus -> Mark causality is needed. One might as well use Patmos -> Mark causality.

            • Mark S
              2019-04-05 20:23:52 GMT+0000 - 20:23 | Permalink

              The names of Jesus’ four brothers in Mark 6:3 can be found in a 12 word span in the Greek of Jewish Wars 6.2.6 §148.

              There are a lot of Jewish names in that bit of Josephus, including four distinct people called by the quasi-bilingual favorite Simon/Shimon. I don’t see that “τοῦ Ὁσαΐα” can be a version of Joseph as the name in Mark is supposed to be — Joseph variants all begin “Ἰωσ” not “Ὁσ”. Yōs vs Hoss don’t seem the same. Ἰώσηπος would know how to spell versions of his name. But I don’t know.

              The rest is based on Jewish Wars 2.3.1 §4

              Galilee, Idumea, Judea are the three obvious ‘Jewish’ areas, it’s strange you would find any similarity between these passages of Mark and Josephus. Josephus is talking about the Mediterranean ‘thalassos’, not the Galilee, to which Mark is strangely attached to using that term. If you want a lot of “pros thalassan” try Septuagint Ezekiel 27-8

              Josephus used “pseudoprophet” (singular) while Mark uses “pseudoprophets” (plural).

              It’s in Philo and everywhere. Septuagint supposedly uses it for a nabi/prophet that it judges false. http://sci-hub.tw/https://www.jstor.org/stable/1559939

              Why bother with this paranoia?

              • Greg G.
                2019-04-06 00:08:11 GMT+0000 - 00:08 | Permalink

                Galilee, Idumea, Judea are the three obvious ‘Jewish’ areas, it’s strange you would find any similarity between these passages of Mark and Josephus.

                Using NRSV and Whiston
                MK: a great multitude, in great numbers
                JW: an immense multitude
                Mark uses many words that are translated as “multitude” but only in these two verses does he use “πλῆθος” (plethora comes from it) and Josephus used it to describe the number from Galilee as well in JW 2.3.1.

                MK: from Galilee
                JW: out of Galilee

                MK: in great numbers from Judea
                JW: the people that naturally belonged to Judea itself were above the rest, both in number

                MK: Idumea
                JW: Idumea

                MK: beyond the Jordan
                JW: beyond Jordan

                Josephus is talking about the Mediterranean ‘thalassos’, not the Galilee, to which Mark is strangely attached to using that term.

                Jesus has parallels with Paul and Odysseus, both of whom sailed about in the Mediterranean, but Mark put Jesus traveling around the “Sea” of Galilee.

                It’s in Philo and everywhere. Septuagint supposedly uses it for a nabi/prophet that it judges false. http://sci-hub.tw/https://www.jstor.org/stable/1559939

                Why bother with this paranoia?

                One can say “coincidence” just so many times before there is a pattern that needs explaining. Can’t see the forest for the trees.

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-06 03:14:54 GMT+0000 - 03:14 | Permalink

                Comparing Josephus’s JW with details in the gospels poses problems that need to be addressed: See, for instance, two comments where these problems are raised:

                https://vridar.org/2019/03/22/better-informed-history-for-atheists-scholars-assess-the-two-jesus-parallels/#comment-91973

                https://vridar.org/2019/03/23/even-better-informed-history-for-atheists-the-lincoln-kennedy-parallels-fallacy/#comment-91974

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-06 04:09:27 GMT+0000 - 04:09 | Permalink

                The 1971 Reiling article introduced here by Mark S. does supply some further evidence for the link between the Gospel of Mark and Josephus. Mark’s use of “false prophet” is not the same as found in the Septuagint or Philo but is indeed unique to Josephus, and Reiling does even cite the passage Greg G refers to (JW 6.5.2 or Bell VI.286). The point is that “false prophet” in Josephus is linked firmly to Jewish prophets without association or links with pagan diviners or anything outside the Jewish tradition. (The Septuagint does the opposite: it always uses the term in the context of association with pagan practices — if my quick reading is accurate.)

                Mark 13’s use of “false prophet” even matches the context of hope in false deliverance that we find in Josephus. Not to mention also being in the same section as the son of Ananias prophet.

                (Thanks, Mark S. Perhaps you’d like to engage with my own responses to your other comments, too.)

              • db
                2019-04-06 05:21:51 GMT+0000 - 05:21 | Permalink

                Reiling, J. (April 1971). “The use of ψευδοπροφήτης [psevdoprofítis] in the Septuagint, Philo and Josephus“. Novum Testamentum. 13 (2): 147–156. doi:10.2307/1559939.

                [Per Josephus] It is also evident that the primary association of prophecy with pagan divination which gave birth to the noun ψευδοπροφήτης [psevdoprofítis] is totally absent, even in the references to the false prophets of Baal in Ant. VIII, 318 and IX, 133. —(p. 155)

              • Mark S.
                2019-04-06 22:34:29 GMT+0000 - 22:34 | Permalink

                I got lost with the threading but the link below responds to some things Neil and Greg said.

                The LXX usage is actually quite strange as the Hananaiah interlude especially shows, where they have to delete most uses of the quasi-title hanavi הנביא to avoid seeming absurd.

                https://vridar.org/2019/03/28/still-better-informed-history-for-atheists-more-scholars-assess-the-two-jesus-parallels/#comment-92160

              • Neil Godfrey
                2019-04-08 07:10:48 GMT+0000 - 07:10 | Permalink

                I got lost with the threading but the link below responds to some things Neil and Greg said.

                Mark S — with your references to “got bored” and “other junk” and “pagan goo” and your flippant off-the-top-of-your-head ad hoc rationalizations to justify your assertions you do not present yourself as a serious commenter but a smart-alecky clown. If you want a serious engagement then cut the ad hoc responses (those you simply imaginatively make up after any objection is raised). You presented the article with the clear inference that it rebutted the other view but when pointed out that it in fact supports the other view you finally read it yourself and found a non sequitur to toss in instead — along with an argument based on the informal fallacy of incredulity.

                It would be appreciated if you attempted to educate yourself on reasonably scholarly standards of discussion and debate.

  • Michael J. Alter
    2019-03-29 13:32:27 GMT+0000 - 13:32 | Permalink

    Hello Neil:

    A lengthy (343 page) and detailed analysis of this topic was penned almost 15 years ago:

    Theodore J. Weeden
    Two Jesuses, Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth: Provocative Parallels and Imaginative Imitation
    Forum: Foundations and Facets
    New Series 6, 2 Fall 2003

    Two Jesuses, Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth: Provocative Parallels and Imaginative Imitation (Theodore J. Weeden)

    Prologue
    Part One, Sec. A: The Case for Mark’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus the Son of Ananias
    Part One, Sec. B: The Markan Jesus and Jesus the Son of Ananias
    Part Two: The Case for Luke and the Final Q Redactor’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus Son of Ananias
    Part Three: The Case for John’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus Son of Ananias
    Part Four: Results of the Investigation of Parallels Between Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth
    Addendum: The Case for Caesarea Philippi as the Provenance for the Markan Community
    Epilogue: A Case for the Typecasting of Jesus Son of Ananias Originally as a Latter-Day Jeremiah

    Take care and be safe.

    Michael J. Alter (The Resurrection: A Critical Inquiry 2015)

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-04-02 07:39:30 GMT+0000 - 07:39 | Permalink

      Was the Forum edition you cite really 343 pages dedicated to an analysis of Weeden’s article?

      I think I addressed Weeden’s argument more prominently in my first post of this series. I have not seen his Forum article (it is costly to acquire from outside the U.S. and appears not to be in electronic format!) but I have seen his other very lengthy posts (that Weeden himself said were the essence of his published article) on the Crosstalk2 discussion forum and followed those discussions.

      But I would be interested in any confirmation that 343 pages were devoted to “a detailed analysis of this topic”.

      • Michael J Alter
        2019-04-02 09:40:41 GMT+0000 - 09:40 | Permalink

        Hello Neil:

        Yes, the entire issue of Forum is dedicated to that topic. The preface reads: “This issue of Forum represents a departure in that it is devoted to publication of a single important provocative thesis…” Just examine the table of contents that I sent you and available online.

        Take care.

        Mike

      • Michael J. Alter
        2019-04-02 15:38:57 GMT+0000 - 15:38 | Permalink

        Hello Neil:

        Below, is a page break down by section of Weeden’s work.

        Prologue 135-136
        Part One, Sec. A: The Case for Mark’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus the Son of Ananias 137-177
        Part One, Sec. B: The Markan Jesus and Jesus the Son of Ananias pp. 179-207
        Part Two: The Case for Luke and the Final Q Redactor’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus Son of Ananias 209-238
        Part Three: The Case for John’s Imitation of the Story of Jesus Son of Ananias 239-271
        Part Four: Results of the Investigation of Parallels Between Jesus of Jerusalem and Jesus of Nazareth 272-276
        Addendum: The Case for Caesarea Philippi as the Provenance for the Markan Community 277-286
        Epilogue: A Case for the Typecasting of Jesus Son of Ananias Originally as a Latter-Day Jeremiah 287-331

        I hope that this additional/follow up information is useful. Feel free to e-mail if you have a question.

        Take care

        Michael J. Alter

  • Sili
    2019-03-29 19:10:15 GMT+0000 - 19:10 | Permalink

    There you go using facts and references again.

  • Attila Csanyi
    2019-03-30 00:28:36 GMT+0000 - 00:28 | Permalink

    I think there are several sources that may be identified in the gospel authors’ creative writing, the two major sources were reports about Jesus son of Ananias by Josephus, and about Carabba by Philo. Also, it seemed necessary that Jesus had to be charged with something and it appears that at least at some point (perhaps already in the lost proto-Mark?) the case of Josephus’ Judas the Galilean was also considered, as found in the charges leveled against Jesus in Luke 23. Note that the sons of Judas and the brothers of Jesus are named James and Simon and at least one of them is identified as Simon the Zealot (Kananaios). (The Catholic Encyclopedia suggests that Simon the Zealot may be the same person as Simon the brother of Jesus. )

  • Giuseppe
    2019-04-02 16:21:12 GMT+0000 - 16:21 | Permalink

    About parallelisms and midrash, I discover that in old Hebrew, “PLT” means “to set free”. So I have done 2+2, here.

  • Pingback: Much More Fully Informed History for Atheists — The Scholarly Introduction to the Two Jesus Parallels |

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