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Re: The Historical Jesus Versus Faith?
Thomas M Simms wrote:
> Someone called Pontius Pilate lived. An inscription from Caesarea
> proves that.
> No direct evidence that Jesus lived exists. All the evidence is secon-
The only evidence we have for the existence of both is the writing
of others, either on paper (papyrus, parchment) or on stone. Another
consideration is the totality of evidence beyond the NT. We have the
Caesarea inscription for Pilatus and Josephus. For Jesus, we have the
non-interpolated portions of the Testimonium Flavianum, Tacitus,
and five mentions in the Baraitha and Tosefta (Mishnaic supplements
to Jesus' time.
> The Rabbinic texts are perhaps more cleanly datable. However, there is
> a growing controversy over the nature of their biases, similar to that
> faced among NT scholars. And, they are late. I'd like to see a rundown
> of their appearances, even jots and tittles could help.
Four examples are:
"It has been taught: On the eve of Passover they hanges Yeshu...
because he had practiced sorcery and enticed and led Israel astray."
"It happened with Rabbi Elazar ben Damah, whom a serpent bit, that
Jacob, a man of Kefar Soma, came to heal him in the name of Yeshu(a) ben
Pantera; but Rabbi Ishmael did not let him......."
"Once, I was walking on the upper street of Sepphoris, and found
one of the disciples of Yeshu the Nazarene, by the name of Jacob, a man
of Kefar Sechanya......."
Our Rabbis taught" Yeshu had five disciples; Mattai, Nakkai, Netzer,
Buni and Todah."
> I think you have all seen my brief note on the fever of Paul's conver-
> sion. IMO, this was a personal encounter with Jesus. It fed on Paul's
> Fourth Philosophy biases, and, again, IMO, fed on the Greek thought that
> his journeys through the Grecian world offered and which had nurtured him. He
> was a Graecized Jew. The Jesus of today's conventional faiths is Paul's
Paul is too much of an enigma to me, even after 4 decades of
thought, to assess the validity of his conversion. I find it hard to
believe that a Pharisee, "brought up at the feet of Gamaliel," would
be an agent of the Sadducee High Priest. However, I don't see the
Jesus of today's conventional faith as Paul's creation. He may be
responsible for Jesus as the pre-existing Messiah as the embodiment
of divine wisdom. He is not responsible for the virgin birth and
trinity which would be later christological developments.
> But although I don't agree with Bob's unsaid bias toward supernatural
> sources, I do agree with him that there was more to Jesus than another
> Hillel. Whatever that was, it went to the heart of Paul's being. As
> with Willi, I think HJ is recoverable.
There is evidence in Pauline writings that he was guilt-ridden
with a "thorn in his side." Perhaps he had a greater role in the
of Stephen. The act of laying Stephen's clothes at Paul's feet suggests
Acts of violence against others were contrary to Pharisaic teaching but
prevalent view of God as a distant and generally unconcerned creator
sacrificial homage was supplanted by the rare Yeshuine view of a close
personal "Abba." Jesus' "Kingdom Movement" may be that which preyed on
Saul's conscience. If he was, as has been suggested, an epileptic, the
of this guilt could have led to his seizure and conversion.
> The rest is history - for us to dig out.
I agree. The search must begin with a de-mythologized Jewish Pharisic/
Essenish Yeshua ben Yosef. I do believe, however, that Yeshua did
from his sepulchre ALIVE following the crucifixion. Whether he survived
the 6 hours of trauma (it usually takes days), whether the men in white
were "healers" (ASSAYA/Essenes), whether the hundred pounds of medicinal
unguents were for that purpose, I cannot say. His survival by natural
"supernatural" means is miracle enough for me.